Friday, July 31, 2009

The Dying Room

Olivia and Gabe had been seeing each other for around six months and were enjoying the period between the initial I-Love-You-Saying and first For-Granted-Taking. The two of them still nuzzled each other in public and engaged in all the usual grossities that keep early term couples quarantined from their friends until the dew evaporates.

Gabe met Olivia at a movie while she was on an accidental date with a fellow named Chuck from her work. Olivia was oblivious to any romantic maneuverings on Chuck's part and had accepted his invitation to see Slumdog Millionaire as an expression of common interest.

The movie theatre was packed with two-hundred white Americans ready to fetishize Indian poverty.

Chuck left Olivia alone next to the stranger, Gabe. The two of them sat silently for a moment, and Olivia shooed away a shrewdness of teenagers advancing on the open seat next to her. One female sixteen year old rolled her eyes in displeasure and skulked up the stairs.

Gabe noticed.


"I know, right?" Olivia craned her neck over the crowd. Chuck had been gone for what felt like twenty minutes.

"I hate saving seats." Gabe said.

"Ungh. Me, too."

"That's why I don't go to the movies with people. Ever."

Olivia interrupted her gazing to glance back at Gabe. He was not looking at her, and his comment was not a joke either. He glowered off into the onscreen trivia (in its fourth unenlightening rotation) and wagged his knees to and fro. Olivia stared at his cheek until he sensed her eye.

"So you won't even go with me to the movies on my birthday?" She nudged her arm up on the arm rest and Gabe could feel the heat from her pinky drift to his. His wagging knees halted and his eyes side-longed at her.

"Especially not on your birthday."

It was this moment that the two of them would recount time and again through soft chuckles and "Poor Chucks". (Poor Chuck, indeed. He returned bearing bouquets of Raisinettes, Popcorn, and Dr. Pepper, unaware of his loss. In the days following, he would curse the denied impulse to send her for candy.)

For the bulk of their six months together, home base was Gabe's apartment. He lived closer to the areas of interest they both enjoyed and it seemed more convenient. It wasn't until late Summer when he realized that he had never been much beyond the kitchen in her home.

They returned that afternoon hauling bags from a series of procrastinated errands. Olivia was one of the few remaining people who actually had photos developed, and she was anxious to get them home and put away.

Her apartment was a bright, airy place. Upon entering, Gabe immediately wondered why they didn't spend more time there. He set the bags down on the kitchen counter and remarked at the walls:

"Yellow is a really good color for a kitchen."

His saying this out loud surprised him. He was not used to making proclamations about color or light or anything decorative. Olivia was much more given to qualitative statements.

Olivia smiled and rustled through the plastic bags. She had been quiet most of the day and Gabe thought maybe he was treading the line of asking a too frequent, Whatcha thinkin' about?

Gabe peered into the rest of the apartment. It was constructed like most Chicago apartments - from the kitchen one could catch a full view of the entire domicile, a long hallway running through each section. As he looked down the hall, the colors of each room faded from bright hues and into darker tones, ending with a closed door at the other side.

Olivia lifted a packet of photos from the Wallgreen's bag and poked Gabe on the shoulder.

"Could you set this on the Dying Room table?"

Without much of a thought, Gabe reached back and pulled the packet out of her hand with a "Sure." He trotted into the reddish dining room and plopped the photos onto the table surrounded by mismatched chairs. The walls of the room were covered with movie posters. He rammed his hands in his pockets and strolled about the perimeter, focussing for a second on the giant red Apocalypse Now poster.

Olivia appeared beside him, confused.

"Where did you put the pictures?"

They were lying on the table directly behind her.

"Right there," Gabe pointed. "On the dining room table."

Olivia turned and let out a light laugh. " The Dying Room table."

Gabe took a second to register in full what she had just said.

"Yeah. You said to put them on the Dining Room Table."

"No. I said the Dying Room Table."

A long moment passed between them. Gabe was not sure how to phrase the question he wanted to ask. It stewed in his head for a minute and half, until all he could muster was:

"Dyming Rm?"

Olivia took in a deep breath, not quite ready to explain.

"Um.'s right next to the Living Room down the hall."

They stood and looked at one another.

Gabe was a gloomy sort of person prior to this relationship, a fact that Olivia found charming and, in some ways, an appropriate counter to her buoyant personality. He had managed to preserve his gloom over the last six months, only to encounter the occasional sunny spots which allowed him to comment on things like yellow kitchens. Gabe saw this as Olivia's influence and he did not mind.

Even with her light disposition, Gabe had always noted a darkness here and there. He asked about it once, and was met with a cagey answer. Rather than press forth, Gabe opted to be satisfied with her half response and move on happily. He wished now that he had pressed.

The semi-words "Dyming Rm" were pounding in the air, with no other words to compete. Olivia picked up the pictures and took Gabe's hand.

"I think you want to see it."

"No, wait, you actually said DYING room?"


That was the worst thing she could have said. Something about this went beyond quirky likes and dislikes. The sunlight from the kitchen dimmed behind a cloud, causing a darkening about her that filled his guts with dread.

"Wha- no. I don't have to see it." Gabe pulled his hand away.

"Why not?"

"What's in it?"

"Why don't you come and see?"


"I think you want to."

"I don't think I do."

Another awful silence. Gabe was ready to leave.

"You don't have one." Olivia said.

"What? A DYING room. No. I don't."

"So, why don't you come and see?"

He hadn't had this feeling since he was a child. He wanted to leave the apartment, but he knew Olivia would not go with him. She pulled at his hand.

"Just come and see" she whispered. And she guided him towards the hallway, down which lead to the dark closed door.

...To be Continued.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Passive Aggressive Status Updates

In the Facebook/Twitter universe, passive aggression seems not only encouraged, but a requirement. Even in the moments of positive updates, it would appear that the more oblique you imply your current "Status" to be the more your page will popcorn with Likes and Comments.

But only the One for whom the status update was intended will know what the hell it's about.

"Brian Stemple is drowning."

"Lisa Martin could have done without that."

"Mike Fern is listening to The Cure again. and again."

"Zach Jones thinks you look hot in that shirt. Why are you wearing it to work and not around our apartment? Is it because of that guy in the cubicle across from you that you keep talking about?"

"Nora Turk hurts today."

"Carol Larabbee is too hot to handle, to cold to hold."

"Sara Jordan is watching TV by herself tonight!"

"Kara Burke could stand to be pleasantly surprised, you know."

"Steve Gordon is watching."

"Jim Leavett is a Smooth Criminal. RIP KOP. (Just got back from Camping.)"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Song For a Crappy Tuesday (Connective Tissue Edition)

I'm beginning to wonder if all roads in my little brain lead back to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's not a movie that I want to sit down and watch all the time - it's not a comfort food film. However, it seems to cross my mind on a regular basis.

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick released 2001, the adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction short story. Cultural anxiety seemed to be running at an all time high as we prepared to put a man on the moon in 1969. Since man could conceive a world apart from himself, we had dreamed of space exploration, to share knowledge that only God possessed: Was the Moon indeed made of green cheese?

What a beautiful and terrifying time.

Kubrick's film contains what is to me, the most haunting death scene in all cinema. Perhaps it's the marriage of breath, futile struggle, and oblivion. Perhaps the it's the idea that the Artificial Intelligence we created would eventually kill us (Like we had killed God - another echo of Also sprach Zarathustra - at least in the more lay interpretation. The original was not so much about God's death, but the rituals through which we interpret the meaning of god. This phrase seems to gets interpreted in only the most inflammatory ways.).

At any rate this death scene struck a deep chord in me.

Then in 1969, along with the Moon Landing, came David Bowie's Space Oddity. Bowie's monotone delivery in the first phrases, reflects a sense of robotic distance, then breaking in to greater humanity as he adds more melody. Major Tom's decision to float off into the void of space, whips up a real feeling of longing, like an old sea dog pines for the ocean. Distance and peace.

Space Oddity's title (which comes off like a play on 2001: A Space Odyssey) reminds me of that death scene...but a willful voyage into the endless gulf.

14 years later in 1983, Peter Schilling's pop tune Major Tom, re-imagines Space Oddity for the synth-music new wave. It plays with the same beats of preparation that Space Oddity Does, and breaks free in the chorus. Major Tom still chooses the vacancy of space (and certain death), but he is still at home - in some ways truly free.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Serenity Now.

Thank you, Athena.

Now someone needs to go check on the agency that created these ads. I think one of the copy writers is letting his stoner girlfriend write the commercials. ('Cause I swear I hear this exact speech at a party in college.)

Also, is it just me, or does Athena's face seem not to work very well? Like she's having to concentrate really hard to prevent sudden paroxysms. Every facial expression is a hair late.

Maybe she just ate a fistful of barbituates.

I'm a little alarmed that the people in ads for technological gizmos and services are so...placid.

In a busy and chaotic world, I get the desire to suppress animal frenzy. Let us all be at ease for we deserve a period of relaxation. We deserve serenity.


I'm gonna stock up on water and canned goods for when the gaskets start to blow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I don't really post images of myself here...but today, I can't help it.

We did this on my computer the other day, J. and R. My two best buddies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Longing for Adulthood

When I was about seven years old, I wept anguished tears over the fact that, one day, I was going to grow up. The recollection is clear. I wailed and gnashed my teeth as my mother made bootless attempts at consolation.

What could she say? It's not as if this was a ghost in the basement or closet monster. The passage of time is not a fiction. She couldn't very well say, "Now, darling, that won't ever happen to you."

There is every justification in the world for a child to be terrified of growing up. Adults are presented as the walking dead or unfeeling oppressors in most children's books and movies. If there is a savior to come, it is usually in the form of the children's own untapped ingenuity or aid from a grown-up who managed to retain their childlike wonder. (But those people were always sort of melancholy in the end, weren't they? Having seen their lives pass them by, helping the children out of some pickle is their last ditch to cheat the Big Clock.)

Through the hysterical pleas, Death never played a title role in my anxiety. My fear was that I wouldn't know "How to Do It", how to be responsible for things. Who would feed me? Where would I live? I terrorized myself with visions of Dickensian poverty, bare feet, tin cup in hand.

I don't know how I escaped this dread-fueled eddy, but eventually I did. Perhaps I passed out.

Afterwards, I began to look forward to growing up, to the freedom of making my own choices, to learning "How to Do It."

I'm 35 now (middle way through my 36th year) and for the last five years I've grappled with the idea of what it means to be an adult. I am also more exasperated at my generation's desperate grasps to remain children.

There is a pervasive fetishization of childhood as the Elysian period, the salad days when we wanted for nothing and were free to express ourselves without consequence. Passion and pain, agony and ecstasy were the order for the day and what a thrill ride it was!

Adults try to recreate that lauded bygone era by rediscovering the "inner child". Announcing that they will live each moment to its fullest regardless of what anyone else thinks, wearing forced innocence on Elmo tee shirt sleeves in defiance of the coming grey hairs, aching joints and ennui.

Jeez. What a bummer, yo.

The thing is, these bids to remain in a state of childlike exuberance feel more and more cloying. To exist in the fleeting realm of childhood is painful and narcissistic. Children HAVE to have a little narcissism as they are growing up - it's like a downy spotted coat on a deer. That dominant sense of self is what keeps them alive to a degree, it helps to develop perspectives and fend off competition for affection or food.

We grow out of this, though, and the world changes us, for better or worse.

And thank God, really. There are moments of incredible joy and excitement in childhood. Do we forget, though, our own petulance and the intense moments of tedium, selfishness and boredom?

This clutching at childhood as the apotheosis of self fulfillment stinks of fear. Fear of Death, sure, but even worse, fear of being ignored. Fear of irrelevance. The 30-45 year old set is suffering a massive mid-life crisis, as we are shoved over the cliff of marketable demographics.

I'm not talking about owning and playing video games, reading comic books, or even buying some Red Hot Rod. Go. For. It. If it is something that gives you pleasure, enjoy yourself.

On the other end of this is the dour and scolding face of old world Grown-Up-Hood - the twisted child of "Father Knows Best" and cultural reinforcements that wag their fingers and yoke us with words like "Obligation" and "Responsibility". This is no time for fun and games. This is time to get serious. Hide those tattoos and pay your societal dues.

A House + A Car + A Pet + A Baby = Adulthood.

Some folks yearn for this, and are trained for it their entire lives. The unpredictability of youth is stored in the hope chest upstairs and only remembered on occasion...after a few sips of the good Scotch.

This is also stultifying.

But does it exist? Do either of these extremes actually exist? How do I live as an adult? Though forced Myopic Childish Exultation or Forbidding Grown Up Sense of Duty?

Neither. And Both.

If anything is crazy making, it's the longing for an absolute and final arrival into this world. I am troubled by resolutions and the tug of war between the Child and the Adult. You might not feel this directly, but we can look around and see evidence of it in our advertising, in our entertainment. Icons that support a cultural unease with age and identity.

Discovery does not end at the age of 25. Sure, the discoveries might come fewer and farther between...but it's not like we're discovering that we shouldn't eat Pine-Sol. There is never a time when we won't discover something new to like or dislike, something intricate, frustrating, or enticing about other people.

I will certainly die. And I will certainly fall in and out of relevance as I age.

There will never be a time without Tedium or Failure. There will also never be a time without Passion or Excitement. And taking responsibility for the Tediums and Passions might be the most grown up thing a body can do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday (Connective Tissue Edition)

Quick. Quick.

Your power chord was hidden. You know who did it.

Mid-July Tuesday told you repeatedly that if you left it out again, and he tripped over it, that you'd be sorry.

Now you are. Your computer is about to die. Save your work and kiss your Facebook page goodbye as it recedes into oblivion.

(God, but how will the world know you exist?)

On my birthday, I posted a groovy version of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, which was based on Nietzsche's work of the same name. This tone poem was used in Stanley Kubrick's iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey. The whirlpool of Call and Response Existential Wonderment burped out Deodato's cover in 1973.

And nowhere in Nietzsche's mind could he predict that his seminal work on morality would serve as a component in a cinematic treatise on man's responsibility during the era of lightening technological advance.

Or early 70's vibro-jazz.

It is not uncommon for artists to find inspiration in the works of philosophers, politicians or other artists. In the same way that children resemble their parents, art and music will likely resemble its own parents of Culture. And, like our offspring, it is impossible to foresee what shape that influence will take.

Ian Curtis, the desolate lead singer of the British band Joy Division, could never have envisaged the tide of irony that would come to surround the much covered "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (from the posthumously released album Closer - it has been released several times, I believe) from 1979.

In 2007, 27 years after Curtis took his own life by hanging, the Wombats released "Let's Dance to Joy Division", and gleeful and sardonic reflection on the pogo-ing singer's most desperate song.

Joy Division's butterfly wings flapped. Would the Wombats exist without the flutter?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Impromptu Break

I've been working on some new posts, but as I've been writing I realize that my writing habits have not improved. In fact, I think they've gotten a little worse what Summer bringing on the lazy.

One of my greatest failings as a writer is the fact that I don't re-draft or proofread my work. I look back on what I've written and it's a mess - I just type it out and throw it up. The result is a thicket of spotty grammar, misspellings and awkward wording. The point of this blog (beyond exposing myself to the community) is to improve how I write and my habits. I'm proud of what's here but, as with anything worth pursuing, I need to clean it up.

We'll be back to the new and improved regularly scheduled program on Monday.

While you're here have a look at my fellow Bloggers, or check out the some stuff on my labels.

Have a great week!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Song postponed.

I have no battery.

My computer is struggling to stay alight.


Monday, July 13, 2009


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. I may have to see this movie:

If only to blind myself with rage.

(They are already behind the Eight Ball as they use that awesome Mika song as underscore. Why must everything fun and cool be commandeered?)

2. Look what I got off the back of my box of Honey Nut Cheerios!

How does it look?

I can't see very well through the eye holes.

I think it was meant for a head a good deal smaller than mine.

Whatever. I'm wearing it for the rest of the day.

3. Favorite word this week:


[bleb] Show IPA
1.Medicine/Medical. a blister or vesicle.
2.a bubble.
1600–10; akin to blob, blubber

blebby, adjective

4. Least favorite word.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Love List

Over the weekend, I saw Public Enemies.

For the most part, it's a pretty dreadful film. It's dark, unimaginative, loud. I'm pretty good with knowing what characters are doing and when, but in this instance one 1930's suited thug was just as indistinguishable as another (It was obvious, though, that they relished the opportunity to wear a suit. Modern society, in its insistence on liberating attire, robs us of well dressed men. I get it. I know that a "Monkey Suit" is a holdover from a bygone era of oppressed working stiffs. But a guy who can wear a tie and jacket, quite frankly, looks dashing. You could tell Depp and Bale had caught glimpses of themselves, perhaps in a mirror or window reflection, and thought, Damn, I look good. This is probably one of the reasons I tend to costume men in suits on a regular basis...or why I wear them myself. But my not so latent transvestism is not what we're talking about here...move along, move along.).

By the end of the night, I was pretty exhausted and a little aggravated. Not even Bale's veiny eye socket or Depp's disarming charm could save this mess.

The script was terrible. On-the-nose dialogue. Pithy death bed pronouncements. Allusions to emotion were made, but none was actually experienced.

And worst of all, there was a Love List.

We've all seen this tired cinema trope. Whenever a writer feels the need to slash to the chase, he or she will force a character to give us an oral personal ad, a list, outlining just who they are to the target of their affections. Once this list is complete, the Intended will fall under his or her spell and follow them to the ends of the Earth.

The one in Public Enemies went something like this (below is a total paraphrase):

(After Dillinger smashes the face of a patron bugging Billie for his jacket - she was a coat check girl - he holds out her coat, beckoning her to leave with him.)

BILLIE: Why should I go with you? I don't know anything about you.

DILLINGER: I was born in Indiana, my mother died when I was a baby and my father beat me because he didn't know no better way to raise me, I like fast cars, thrills, good food and I want it all now. And you I want you.

(After a second's hesitation, she leaves with him.)

Great. Here -j-j- comes to crush romance.

No. No, I don't. I'm an emmer effing SUCKER for romance.

But hearing a list that, in some way, is meant to express the full breadth and scope of a person with the expectation that, once the list is heard, True Love will rain down from the heavens, is balderdash. I feel like I'm being directed to check out their Facebook page.

On top of all that, this is stuff we can divine from watching Dillinger's behavior anyway (with the exception of the abuse.) Isn't it obvious from his action that he likes fast cars, and good food, and thrills? Can't we SEE that he wants her?

It's lazy writing.

Watch out for this kind of thing. It usually starts with any of the following lines:

Who am I? Well, I'll tell you...
What do I know? I'll tell you what I know...
Why am I here? I'll tell you why I'm here...


I love the movie Bull Durham. I hate this speech.

To be clear, people do indeed talk about what they believe. We list stuff to one another (What are your favorite bands? What are your favorite movies? What do you think about this thing or that thing?), we try in big and small ways to outline who we are, our habits, what turns us on, off, around.

However, in movies the list becomes a tool to calcify a character. To reduce it to a formula that can be balanced. A caricature. Once we get this list, we KNOW how it's going to end - the list will either be subverted or corroborated. Why watch the rest of the movie after this?


Why not take a friggin' chance and tantalize us:

BILLIE: Why should I go with you? I don't know anything about you.

DILLINGER: Well, you certainly won't learn anything staying here.

(He smiles, even as behind him the patron limps off, bleeding. BILLIE stares at him. She reaches over to pull her coat away, but he steps back, out of reach.)

DILLINGER: This coat's mine now. You want it, you have to come with me. Otherwise, you gonna get cold.

(Another beat. She smiles, and lets him drape her in her own coat.)

A little arrogant of me, right? To try to "improve" upon it?


But why not have a little fun instead of being TOLD things we can already see?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

She broke the last remaining glass in set of four that were your favorites.

She ate the last of the expensive ice cream you were saving...even after you hid it behind the Lean Cuisines.

She repeats every funny line during your favorite show, and when you don't laugh she asks "Did you hear that?" and then she repeats it again. Wrong.

She does not squeeze from the bottom on the toothpaste.

She will not let you go to bed early, but she won't let you sleep in either.

And she'll stare at you to get you to wake up.

But for some reason, when Tuesday after July Fourth sings in the stupid shower or kisses you on your dumb ass cheek, you would probably forgive her for just about anything.

But, whatever you do, don't tell HER that.

I had another set of songs in mind for today, but I saw today's song and will have to hold off until next week.

I have no words to accompany this except: Holy Fucking Shit.

Behold: Chris Dane Owens

If any of you know what's going on here, please let me know.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meditations at Lagunitas

By Robert Hass

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown- faced woodpecker
probing the dead sculpted trunk of that black birch is,
by his presence, some tragic falling off from a first world of undivided light.
Or the other notion that, because there is in this world
no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.

We talked about it late last night
and in the voice of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief,
a tone almost querulous.
After a while I understood that, talking this way, everything dissolves:
justice, pine, hair, woman, you and I.

There was a woman I made love to
and I remembered how,
holding her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river with its island willows,
silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish called pumpkinseed.

It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.
I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much,
the way her hands dismantled bread, the thing her father said that hurt her,
what she dreamed.

There are moments when the body is as numinous as words,
days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Random Thoughts

heh, yeah, i accidentally posted the title random thoughts today without any random thoughts to go with it and i've ben sitting here for a while wondering if I should post anything at all and then joe g decides to post a comment on my title and i'm all like, fine I'll post something, but my thoughts are maybe even too random for random thoughts or perhaps i should create a segment called chaotic thoughts where I can post all that lizard brain bullshit about feelings and how i get really tired of shit i think i'm done with cropping up in the worst places but honestly even that, EVEN THAT is aggravating on a day like today when I have to look myself in the mirror and ask are you really an artist at all i mean look at yourself you purchased if you seek amy off of itunes and you weren't even drunk or anything and now when you look at your itunes recommendations you will be reminded of how you forsook your better angels for what winds up being a grammatical train wreck of a ditty about ms. spears getting laid by any and every but whatever why can't we leave britney alone for chrissake who are we to judge anybody for their choices and why they do things in the same situation would we not fall into the abyss of self love to the point of complete and utter self annihilation and die of cardiac arrest after years and years of mental illness and unceasing public scrutiny Mj why did you have to die for the sins of britney spears will you roll away the stone and save the pop idols from their ineluctable misery also i can't believe i spelled annihilation correctly on the first try

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Slayed - The Continuation

The assignment for my writing group this month was to continue the scene begun last month. Here is the continuation. If you'd like to read it from the beginning, click here.

WARNNG: There is aggressive language used throughout. If this bothers you click here.

(Note: Amelia is 15, Gordie is 16 and Bess is 9.)

(To GORDIE, smashing the ice pack to the
floor, standing)
Shut up you fucking' retard before I come over there
and beat the shit out of you and your little hot dog

(Rising, rushing BESS)
You little mongoloid!

BESS gang rushes GORDIE. He grabs her by the arms
and picks her up. She kicks him in the thighs
over and over again, screaming "YOU FUCKING
RETARD." GORDIE rears back a hand to punch her in
the face when PRINCIPAL BRUCE swings the door to
his office open and lurches for the feuding

PRINCIPAL BRUCE is a balding man in his
mid-forties, and terrified. He swats at them to
break it up - holding his face away to guard it
from impact.

Enough! E-NOUGH!

He shoves GORDIE to the floor and picks BESS up as
if she is made of razor blades. He tosses her in
the chair, swipes up the ice pack and hands it to
BESS without looking at her.

After a moment to compose himself:

I am very disappointed in you. Very disappointed. You
told me - no, promised - no more of this, this -
right. You made a promise. I can see now that your
promises mean nothing.

AMELIA snorts.

(Turning on her)
Now you lookahere, Miss Priss. You're not in here for nothing.
So, why don't you wipe that face off your face and -

A door opens and closes in the distance. There
are some official sounding mumblings from off.
Principle Bruce perks up and watches with

(Distant, looking off)
Now lets all settle down.

A moment as the offstage office equipment keens

After a beat, JAKE SPADE enters, late 30's,
attractive and no nonsense. Principal Bruce backs
up as he enters and takes charge of the room.

Amelia stands and runs into Jake's arms. Gordie
grabs the rip in his pants on instinct.

Hi there, Peanut. Not now -
(To Principal Bruce)
Do you mind telling me what the hell is going on out here?
Are you out of your mind to drag me all the way out of
work? Can't this wait? Can't you send a note? You
think I'm made out of time, here?
(To Gordie)
What the fuck happened to your pants? Think I'm made out
of money, here? That's the third pair of pants in a
month, Gordie, Jesus.

It wasn't-

Your fault. Uh-huh. I know. Never is.


Why don't you shut up and let the grown ups talk.
(To Principal Bruce)
So what is it? What is so of-the-essence that I have
to get my hands dirty?

Principal Bruce glances back at Bess. They all
turn to look at her. Bess is sitting and rocking
the force of her breath causing her to sway. Her
feral eyes glare at Jake.

A beat.

The fuck is that?

Bess Hart, Mr. Spade. We had an...inci- incident
today. In the parking lot.


As you can see, she's-

Gordie beat the shit out of her.

Jake turns to look at Amelia.

WHUT? Oh, come ON!

What's that, Peanut?

Gordie did it. He beat her up.

You told me to.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Yeah, you DO, Amelia! You told me to. Wouldn't leave
me alone.

Well, if you weren't being such a pussy-

Watcher mouth, Amelia!

(All fall silent)
Gordie, I don't want to hear another WORD OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.
(To Principal Bruce, who is about to fall apart himself)
What can we do here? What is this - what? What can we do

From off there is more official mumbling. After a moment,
KAY and PATRICK HART enter. They are in their
late 30's both are worn completely out. They stop
short when they enter. Kay surveys the scene.
Patrick looks at Jake.


Pat. Kay.

Jake. Principal Bruce.

Patrick breezes past everyone and into the
Principal's office. Kay makes a b-line for Bess and
sits next to her. They look at each other for a
moment, Kay pushes Bess' matted hair from her
eyes. Kay's presence calms Bess and she smiles up
at her mother.

(with reserve)
Who did this?

Everyone looks at Gordie.

WHUT?! Oh, Come ON.

(Placing Amelia back in her chair)
Wait out here, Peanut.
(grasping Gordie's arm)
You get in here, now.

Principal Bruce scurries into his office and Kay
stands to follow. Bess waits. Everyone but
Amelia and Bess move off to the office.

I'm not staying out here with her!

(from off)
You stay put, Peanut.

Are you crazy?

I mean it! Or no credit card for a week. Sit tight.

The door closes and Amelia and Bess are left out
in the office lobby. Silence.

Muffled conversation can occasionally be heard
through the office door. The volume might raise
and lower as the scene progresses.

A long beat.

Bess stands, black eye covered in the ice pack
and points her gaze at Amelia. Amelia stairs at
the end of her shoe.

Bess takes a slow step towards Amelia.

Amelia hums tunelessly.

Bess takes a second step.

Amelia sniffs.

Bess takes a third step.

One more inch towards me and I'll do worse to you than
my retard brother ever could.

A beat.

Bess takes a fourth step.

Amelia jerks her head up to look at Bess.

You better not.

Already did. You're a cuntless wonder.

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