Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wynona Rider




The more intelligent you are the crappier a writer you will probably be.

The more practical as a business person, all the worse a writer.

Different synergies, the practical and the creative..

"Writers are dickheads," say my pal Joe the Morph, just out of prison. His choice of words.

I do feel, with this influenza, beer breakfasts and steady diet of boiled chicken, that I should put a condom over my head and just say, Goodbye Cruel World.

Then pull the loo chain.

It is with such mixed thoughts, that I now move towards this next ACT VII, Scene 2 of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.


Scene

Interior scene of a bistro.

The professor is sitting in one of eight tables, calico checks of red and black, a little vase with a single flower on each table. There is no one else in the restaurant. He is thoughtfully sniffing the little red rose.
He cannot get his Celia, so like an adolescent, he has fallen in love with her.

There is an old country song on the radio.

Hank Williams.
Faded Love and Winter Roses.


MUSIC: UP

Faded love and winter roses
Sprinkled with a lonely tear
Faded love and winter roses
Still recall each yester year.

Will we meet again tomorrow?
Where we parted yesterday?
Give me back those winter roses
And the love you took away.

MUSIC: TO FADE


Stage business:

A waitress is approaching the professor's table.

Waitress: Well. Your fourth beer, professor. What happened. Lose your job or something?

Professor: Something like that.

Waitress: What are you killing yourself at now?

Professor: Print graphics.

Waitress: Print graphics? My husband does that. Let me give you a cautionary note, professor. Stay small or you'll go crazy.

Professor: Stay small?

Waitress (chewing gum): Once you expand and expand again, your mind won't be able to handle it. You'll go crazy.

Professor: Tell me about it. They once promoted me to Dean of French at the college. I lasted a month.

Witress: That's what I mean, professor. Stay small or you'll go crazy.

THE WAITRESS TURNS TO LEAVE, CHEWING HER GUM.

THE PROFESSOR TURNS HIS FACE TO THE AUDIENCE.

Professor:

I have to go out and meet her, ambush her. She and the Italian have moved to the West End, along St. Clair.
Oakwood. Damn violent neighbourhood. Living on Winona Avnue, those two now. That's where Paul Bernardo used to live.

And her boyfriend's name. William Bathgate Gambini.

How in hell does an Italian get a Bathgate for a middle name?

Wynona Avenue.

My Wynona Rider.

I would have to go to her. Ambush her, without Bathgate.

She is likely taking the streetcar to work now. She has to to go down Winona to get the streetrcar at St. Clair.
...All this planning, all this tracing, all this poring over the city directory, the checks with Motor Transit to get the latest residence, description of the BMW, how much Bathgate paid for it--$!7,OOO--it was second-hand, hey Italian yuppie, caught your there. And the licence to carry hazardous materials. Celia is hazardous material?
Ah, clever prof, clever detective. Such old-style GPS..

And what the hell are you going to do once you intersect Celia?

Last time around, she went into a Kung Fu mode and damn near broke your shoulder.
.
Who, what is Celia anyway?

THE PROFESSOR HAS ANOTHER SLUG OF HIS BEER.

HE AGAIN FACES THE AUDIENCE

She was at the centre median, waiting for her streetcar. She was carrying what appeared to be a big foolscap order sheet. Purse in left hand.

She saw me.

And she spun on her flat slipper and began running back. Back toward her apartment on Winona.

"Celia," I yelled as she passed me. "Celia, go on with your routine. I won't bother you. I just wanted to look at you again."

The scared here even the more.

She was pulling something out of her handbag. It looked like one of those Johnson and Johnson compressors, the kind you might use to bring out a vein for an injection,.
She was already wrapping or trying to wrap this black touniquet around her right arm; she had done something with the order sheet she wa crrying. She had been running away, but she turned to face me now, Celia sort of skating backwards. Facing me, appearing to be skating backwards in her slippered feet. She held up the black compression band and the order sheet like two talismans held by some Egyptian goddess, waving these articles at me, as if to
conjure me away.
She was saying something to me, mumbling something to me:

"Leave two. Leave the tennovas alone."

And she ran back towards 288 Winona.

And I was alone and confused again.

Zigging where I should have been zagging.

Getting no respect, like Rodney Dangerfield.


May as well be masturbating in my car.

Lilke Rodney Dangerfield.

LIGHTS TO:
DIM.

Curtain

........END ACT VII, SCENE 2

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hey, it came out right (+ -).

Okay, give or take a zillion typos, Act VII Scene One finally got put up, more or less the way I wanted it...I tried to get fancy with italics and all, and somehow screwed the post in an attempt to convert "test blog" to real blog to be published. And I still haven't learned Word.
Ain't too smart, but bigod, I'm fancy at covering up my mistakes!
I guess the brain knows when to break down, when to get sick so you can have a periscope view over what in tarnation you're doin'.
You can read what's just below in Act VII , Scene One, or be like the Mafia characters soon to come, "Forgettaboutit."

Cheers,

Ivan

Silk stalking


I think this was the post that made me sick.
It is ACT VII, SCENE ONE of my ongoing play--I think; so banged-out I was from effort and eyestrain.
Gonna try to get this right.
If I screw it, well, back to the drawing board.
There were some comments to this particular blog, which were,unfortunatly, eaten by Blogger.

It's all the same, only the names are changed

And every day it seems we're wastin' away
We all know the place Where the faces turn so cold
Drive all night, just to get back home. --Richie Sambora

Egghead Jack Bean and his stalk. Stalking is a no- no. But this was a special case. A Nick Carter, Master Detective case.
In the first place, The Blue Angel had made a total fool out of the professor, having sex with not only tried-and-true husband, but also the mysterious stranger. Nobody reading this blog would remember anything from 1936, but in the famous German movie with Marlene Dietrich, Professor Jalbert is cuckolded and bidden to act like Chicken Man in a walk-on scene, in the Blue Angel's cabaret routine.
The professor crows like a rooster, while dressed in a clown outfit. He is having a nervous breakdown over his wife's carrying on with the stage director. But he crows all the same. Cuckaruckakoo. One is not sure whether to cry or laugh over this scene.

In the the classic gothic novel, the heroine usually lives in a castle and is purued by a villain, usually Italian. The professor, in his Sherlock Holmes (Holden Caulfield?) hat. He has to find the mysterious Italian. Close with him. Pop him one.
It's really a matter of ego. Some Sicilian has done the professor a dirty. The professor, probably half-mad with Celia's mind games, has decided he is not going to lose at love again. There is also the posssibility that the Italian is indeed a vampire, but of a different sort. He might be a high-level drug dealer and very likely a master pimp. The professor had been observing and reading, viz:
Lief the Unlucky, Celia's husband, worked for a large overground drug company with ties all the way up to External Affairs Canada which at the same time had strange anthropological ties to Astralopitchecus Paisan. Overground drug company becomes underground Mafia.
River is jungle and jungle is river!
How badly we Canadians are served by a weasly media. Only Montreal police and Montreal journalists seem really up to their jobs. Enough that our professor has decided to give chase.
And so we come to Act VII, Scene I of our ongoing play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD .

Scene 1 NARRATOR (WHO IS REALLY THE PROFESSOR):
I had to find her. Either waylay her on the way to work or when she was leaving-- coming home from work. No luck. She apparently wasn't taking the bus any more, her Mustang dangerous and mushy in the wet weather in the first plce. Somebody was driving her back and forth...or maybe she was just good at eluding me now that I had the smell up.
One morning, after fruitlessly waiting in front of Ronald's Printing for her to show up, I tried another tack. She was in Toronto, sure, but her job was still north of the city. She had to go back and forth, but by what means? Most likely, she was taking public transit,--drug dealers are busy people and the mysterious Italian was probably using his standar I-ROC or something as a Fed X delivery van.
I decided to wait at Finch Station, top of Toronto. If she was taking public transit and going south to the city after work, she had to pass by me. I began the stalk position at six p.m., assuming she had quit work at five and had taken to commuter GO-bus.
I waited three hours. What is your brain good for, professor? Would make a fine book-end!

And there she was, same old Celia, but dazed, stunned-looking, her face fixed as if someone about to have an attack of Parkinsonism. An automaton. And she walked right past me as if I didn't exist.
I pursued.
I caught up with her on the down-elevator leading to both the subway and the Kiss'n'Ride, where spouses picked up their working partners. She sensed me behind her and turned.

SCENE.
LIGHTS: UP. IT IS CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR AT THE SUBWAY ESCALATOR.

PROFESSOR: Where are you going? CELIA: (HER TRANCE APPARENTLY BROKEN):

I'm going home.

CELIA BEGINS TO RACE DOWN THE ESCALATOR. THE PROFESSOR KEEPS FOLLOWING HER, WATCHING HER RUBBER-TIPPED HIGH HEELS GO DOWN THE GREASY SUBWAY GRATES.
CELIA TURNS TOWARDS THE PROFESSOR AGAIN, THOUGH DESCENDING FAST,THE PROFESSOR JUST BEHIND HER NOW. SHE HAS DECIDED TO BEHAVE AS IF NOTHING WERE HAPPENING.
CELIA: Still living in Newmarket?
PROFESSOR (TO HIMSELF): Well, damn. We'd only been apart a few months. Where the hell did she think I was living? Celia's way, always the open-ended question, the hint of possibility.

PROFESSOR: Yes. Of course. Of course I'm still living in Newmarket.

STAGE BUSINESS: CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR ARE NOW DOWN TO SUBWAY LEVEL. CELIA IS ABOUT TO TURN, TO GO TO THE KISS'N'RIDE EXIT. SHE FACES THE PROFESSOR LIKE ONE WOULD FACE AN ANGRY DOG, THE LOOK WAS ALL THERE, ALL THAT WAS MISSING IS THE "GO HOME!" CELIA: You've got to stop following me.

CELIA TURNS ON HER HIGH HEEL, RUBBER-TIPPED SO THERE IS NO SOUND, ALL
POPLIN - RAINCOAT AND- SHORT- SKIRT- AND- FEMININITY. SHE IS TURNING BACK TO THE KISS'N'RIDE EXIT. SOMEBODY IS OBVIOUSLY GOING TO PICK HER UP. THE PROFESSOR IS RIGHT BEHIND HER.
NARRATOR (over the action): Presently, up the stairs again, in front of clear glass, where I saw a new BMW waiting. Silver in colour, the effeminate ass-end appearing for all the world like a mechanical bride's buttocks. There was a man sitting there. ...Wearing a Newsboy's hat, modified golfer's model, not the 1930's kind, appearing a little like an aging Frank Zappa, but no moustache, just a tuft of hair under the lower lip. The rest of his outfit was tweedy, professorial, with leather elbow patches. She just opened the car door with what by now was certainly a practised familiarity, came aboard, locked the door from the inside.
She was inside and I was outside. She and the man looked at each other and Celia settled in a bit. I noticed that their movements were similar and congruent. They had obviously been together a long time, probably long before I ever came on the scene. They were one. Goddamn!

I moved to the driver's side of the BMW, whose windows were shut tight. I read Celias lips: "I think he wants to talk to you."
I saw a slender hand, dirt under nails, operating the central console. The window rolled down.
I stuck my stupid head in as the window was lowering, just to get the measure of the man. The Italian glared at me: "You got a problem?" Oh, did I ever. I had said, "yes, I've got a problem!" I tried to smile at the two of them. Celia gave me a look of propitious outrage, as if to ask, who was I, worm, to even try to intercede. Up goes the window, just missing my face.

Inside, they are discussing things, calmly and rationally, as is apparently their way. I was reading Celia's lips throught he parrallax. "Dan is a French teacher and a brilliant writer,"

I read The Stranger's lips, and he is saying,"Well, he may be a brilliant writer but he's out of line here. I should call a policeman. The Stranger picks up a cellphone.
I was not going to get caught. I did not become angry. I became agenty, a secret agent, a detective. I walked behind the car, behind the exquisitively shaped derrierre of the sports BMW to get his licence number, LMA 552, Little Italy for sure. The Italian was busy at his cellphone.
I had to, uh, take it on the lam.
I hit the nearest bar. Five beers in a row, almost at one gulp. Brain is spinning but it is trying for a solution. Why not try the phone book under Horvath, Celia's married name. Paydirt. She was at 229 Pannahill, wherever the hell that was. I dialed the number. It was celia at the other end, but what a Celia! Her hellow was a drone, almost from afar, something straight out of Close Encounters, right at the bottom of a frequency. I had blurted out, "Celia, is this your house? Is this where you live now? And then the weird, bone-chilling reply: "Dan-ahh-aaaargh. Daniel aaa. Weave me alone. Weave me alone...ahh ahh..ahrrrggh..." But she did not hang up, Celia still leaving me hanging through her drugs and whatever else she'd been ingesting. ...........end act VII, Scene 1. Disgusting, no?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dada on the DVD

INTERMISSION IN IVAN'S PL:AY

And here is where de debbil come to visit Ivan:

"I am a reasonal bloke. Just came to offer you some advice. No, don't tremble so. Okay, I look a little like Mr. Spock, but I'm getting some work done. Nifty threads, no? Got them from Old Navy.
"You're always going out to work only to find that that's when your best ideas come.
"Then you quit your job only to find that your ideas--poof--they're gone.
"So you go back to work, same syndrome. You are getting your best ideas again but you're so busy working
you can't commit them to paper.

"And then, on the radio, as you're doing your deliveries you hear a guy with some real ideas.
Like Jack White and his sister Meg, doing the nihilist raga:

I'm gonna fight 'em all
A seven nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Taking their time behind my back
And I' m talking to myself at night, cause I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind behind a cigarette
And the feeling coming from behind my eyes says leave it alone...
And the song that you hear from me is come back home..

"Yeah, yeah, isn't that the way you feel, exactly?
Don't you wish you'd written something like that, Bunky?

"So you quit your job again, and what comes out? Nuttin'.
"I got a plan for you, an arrangement.(Pulls roll of foolscap out of ample Old Navy pocket).
"If you'll just look at this standard form, carefully, and sign right there...

One of my correspondents, a stone Satanist and a published one, says somewhere that God hates us.
Otherwise, why would he treat us so, give us such terrible hangovers, family anxieties, car accidents, wars, exploding people, famine?

My hellishly handsome friend, really good-looking despite the modified Mr. Spock ears, says all I have to do is sign on the blank line and it can all be fixed. No more rejection, failure, pain, just strawberry fields forever--that is, I suppose, until Scrooge comes to collect.

How attractive the Dr. Faustus theme.

How many of us has it led astray.

In the opening stanzas of Goethe's Faust, the first few pages may as well be the first few seconds of your life.
It is that compelling; the dialogue of the gods over your birth, the drumroll, the actual birth.
And then the story of your life as you go to-- the Devil?

A man is born, he marries, he has children, he suffers and he dies. It is somehow touched upon in the White Stripes song:

Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
From the queen of England to the hounds of hell
And if I catch you coming back this way, I'm gonna serve it to you.
I't's not what you want to hear, but that's what I'll do...

And the feeling from my bones says find a home.

My Ukrainian poet says it more poetically, perhaps:

There is no illusion here but plain belonging
Even if you listen to the sand whispering in the pines
Even if you look into the green eyes of chlorophyll..

But Jack White of the White Stripes band gives you some pretty cool Dada on the DVD:

I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera forever more
I'm going to work the straw
Make the sweat drip from every pore
And I'm bleeding and I'm bleeding , right becfore my Lord
And when I finish my song, I ain't gonna sing no more
And the feeling coming from my bones says find a home

I'm going to Wichita...

But wait, wait.

Didn't Dada Jack say something about bleeding right before his Lord?

The Stanley Kubrik Monolith thing?

Dear God, this is getting to be a religious column

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Seventh Circle


Where was Celia?

My professor had to turn detective now. Celia vanished. With what the professsor surmised, she could just as well taken our her own apartment, or she could be cleaning the "new friend"'s apartment, standard operating procedure for runaways about to be trapped by a pimp.

So we go one to--can it be?-- ACT VI, SCENE 6, Take 6--Now isn't that just peachy, 666, the part where our professor approaches the edges of hell.


ACT VI

SCENE 6


Interior scene of the professor's studio apartment.

The professor is pacing. Willie Safer is in the studio with him, doing a juggling act with the professor's cutlery again. Willie is exceedingly adept at this-- for a madman.

Professor (Pacing). Where the hell is she, Willie?

Willie (picking the final butterknife out of the air): She has taken our an apartment. Hard to see through this old "crystal ball" You think you were in a triangle. Hah! A triangle always has four corners, no? Maybe five.

THE PROFESSOR HAS STOPPED PACING. HE PICKS UP A NEWSPAPER.

Willie: See they got your poem up on the editorial page.

Professor: Yeah.

Willie: Have you considered, Herr Professor,that you may be using Celia for material?

Professor: Do you think I'm that much of an ogre?

Willie: Not so much an ogre. Maybe one possessed.

The professor sits down on a futon, next to the telephone on a parson's table.

Strangely, the telephone rings.

Professor: Hello? Hello?

BEAT

VOICE ON OTHER END .FEMALE VOICE: Is it you?

Professor: Of course it's me.
Celia?

Celia: Yes, it's Celia.

Professor: So how have you been? Where have you been? What on earth is going on?

Celia. Oh, Lief and I are breaking up.

Professor: So what now?

Celia: I might go to England and live with my uncle.

Professor: (Giving Willia Safer a wide-eyed look. He has realized that "my uncle" is whore argot for black man.
He covers the receiver, says to Willie: Moving from the red to the black):Now I see it Willie.

WILLIE PICKS UP THE SPOONS TO JUGGLE AGAIN.

Professor: Your uncle. What do you mean your uncle? I thought we had an arrangement.
You could come live with me.

CELIA SEEMS TO TURN ICY.

Celia: Being the kind of person I am, I'm going to take out my own apartment. Take our my apartment,so I can do
what I want.

Professor: Which is?

Celia (In an apparent mood swing): David, you published that poem about us and you didn't tell me.
You have libelled me.

Professor: How could I have libelled you?

(WILLIE SAFER IS OVERHEARING THE CONVERSATION IN THE ECHOING APARTMENT).

Celia: After Lief read the poem, the marriage died for certain. Lief is no fool.

Professor: Au contraire, Madame. Hate to say it. Lief is a dipstick.

CELIA SUDDENLY HANGS UP. DIAL TONE.

The professor puts down the phone, runs his fingers through his hair.

Professor (to Willile): What now, Swami, what now?

Willie: When those on drugs say you libelled them, they're being defensive. And "my uncle" is probably a pseudonym for pimp. Afro-Canadian, I'd guess..

Professor: So what now, Willie:

Willie: You want to saver her? You have to pursue her.
You have to pursue her!


CUT TO:

SCENE SEVEN




Interior scene of Lief Horvath's apartment. LIef is on the same C-shaped couch that Celia and the professor had
often made their strange brand of love on. Lief has a woman half-reclining next to him. They are watching pornography on the VCR. The lights are off, and there is only the TV's Bluish hue, rising and falling.

THE TELEPHONE RINGING. LIEF HORVATH PICKS IT UP.

Lief: Hello.

Oh. Daniel. Celia is not here.

She's in Toronto. Shes working. She is working.

(The professor at other end): Working? What do you mean she's working?

Lief. Shes working. Right downtown.

Professor: Do you have her number in the city?

Lief: Oh. Ooh. I had it somewhere. THERE IS A LONG PAUSE WHILE LIEF EXTRICATES HIMSELF FROM THE
CLUTCH OF THE WOMAN, WHO LOOKS LIKE SHE MAY HAVE BEEN STRIPPER.

LIef: (Back on phone) Sorry Daniel.Can't find.
But she's working in the city.
With her friend. Her friend.

THE PROFESSOR HANGS UP

CUT TO:

THE PROFESSOR'S STUDIO.

THE PROFESSOR IS SITTING DOWN, HEAD IN HANDS.

Willie Safer: What's wrong.

Professor: Give me a scoresheet on this bullshit:

Willie: You want a scoresheet?

Professor: Yeah Give me a scoresheet.

Willie Safer (Laughing):

Celia and the new guy: ten, and the professor? Fuck-all.

CURTAIN

.........End scene 7

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The roadrunner and the coyote


Act VI, Scene Five of my ongoing play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.


Act VI Scene Five



Scene: The professor-turned cabdriver is booting his cab all over Nemarket ON, past the women dressing in the long military coats of the period, spinnakers before the cold wind. He is just driving around, muttering to himself,
singing dark songs to himself. His Celia has disappeared, disappeared into a city of three million people shortly after she rejected him.

Robert Johnson:
I followed her to the station. A suitcase in her hand...

BUT IT WAS NOT A SUITCASE. IT WAS A BLUE MUSTANG THAT SHE DROVE.


Professor (Inside his cab, talking to himself): Jesus. I feel like a North American Indian. The college has screwed me. Somebody is screwing my girlfriend. Somebody is fucking my wife. I was forced to sell my abode. Everybody's fucking me!

Professor (Starts to sing a Jack White song):


I'm gonna fight 'em off.
A Seven Nation Army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Taking their time behind my back
And I'm talking to myself at night
Because I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind behind a cigarette
And the message from behind my eyes says leave it alone

Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
From the Queen of England, to the gates of hell
And if I catch you coming back this way I'm going to serve it to you
I know that's not what you want,but that's what I'll do

And the feeling coming from my bones says find a home.


I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera forever more
I'm going to work the straw
Making the sweat drip from every pore
And I'm bleeding and I'm bleeding right before my lord.
And the words are gonna bleed from me and I'll sing no more.
And the stains coming from my blood
Tell me go back home.

Professor: Ah, but where is home, poor Injun? I want to go to Wichita too!

THE PROFESSOR PARKS THE CAB. HE OPENS THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT, PULLS OUT A MICKEY BOTTLE AND TAKES A DEEP PULL.. HE NOTICES THAT A POWDER-BLUE MUSTANG SEEMS TO BE
CIRCLING HIM. IT IS CELIA DRIVING THE MUSTANG. SHE HAS HER DRIVER'S SIDE WINDOW DOWN AND SHE IS SMILING AT THE PROFESSOR.
THE PROFESSOR QUICKLY ROLLS DOWN HIS OWN WINDOW.

Professor (Yelling). Celia!
Mustang Sally!
Won't you turn your Mustang round!

BUT CELIA IS GONE IN A SWIRL OF SNOW.

Professor: "Aha, cried he, as he grabbed her wooden leg!"HE DOES NOT GIVE CHASE.

Professor (to himself, while reaching for a clipboard) This is going to take serious work. This is going to take a serious panty remover. This is going to take a poem. The poet never loses...(We hope). HE BEGINS WRITING:

He saw the teardrop on the rose
And again he saw the teardrop on a rose
And he knew he could never melt the teardrop
And he knew this was already the end.

So he kissed the face of the evening wife
As he had kissed it before, in all its varying forms
And again said hello to the precipice of silence
A precipice of silence
For his eighteen months of loving.

The Queen of Swords is crossed over
And all the king's horses and all the king's men
Are trying jo get her together again
Like me
To no avail.

Gigolo and Gigolet
This side of the lake of mutilation
Strike a match
And the hotel burns

There is only this path of silence
As we dump our gods
And become like them.

THE PROFFESSOR STARTS THE CAB, BRINGS IT TO A LOW CRAWL, DRIVES TO THE GO-STATION, AND THERE, FOR SURE, IS CELIA'S PARKED MUSTANG. SHE IS NOT INSIDE....WHAT WAS SHE DOING BACK IN TOWN, AND WITH WHOM?
THE PROFESSOR QUICKLY DISEMBARKS FROM HIS CAB AND TACKS THE TWO PAGES OF POEM TO
CELIA'S WINDSHIELD WIPER.

Professor (now back in his cab): Well, if that don't do it, nothin' will!


CURTAIN

............end ACT VI Scene V

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A taxing experience


"Before completion, success," says the I-Ching.
"If, before completion, the little fox dips his tail into the water, nothing will further."

Well, I think I have dipped my tail into the water. Big time.
Why does something as pleasurable as drinking have such severe side-effects?

Discipline, I say. (No, not bondage and discipline, old girlfriend Hah). Discipline. You must use your drinking as a reward for doing something. Like continuing on with your play.
Here is the next installment of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, ACT VI, Scene Three


Scene:

Interior scene of the professor in his apartment. He is at his computer, typing, typing typing, like the animated
cartoon making the web-rounds these days, of the blocked writer at her desk, keyboarding, keyboarding, keyboarding, finally banging head against computer screen, again and again to the point of bashing her brains out all over the keyboard.

NARRATOR:

February Blues, l987.

I was confusing calculus with cabbage heads.

They were starting to notice at the college. Untenured prof with too many problems. I saw no sign of a new contract.
I had now gone into the construction business to cover my sorry ass, but then taking crazy Willie Safer on as a partner was almost a sure prelude to disaster. Disaster seemed to follow poor Willie Safer like it followed the little old guy in a vintage Al Capp cartoon, the storm cloud always over his head, lightning striking at every encounter, even the most innocent encounter.
We had invested in a Starwars technology backhoe and Willie had succeeded in in cutting a vital TV cable link while digging out a foundation. We were run off the project.
I was certainly cutting my own cable.

I contemplated hanging myself. The frustraion and the impossibilityof he situation, the stress of the so-called love-interest.. And there wasn't just trouble with Celia. The landlord was becoming a problem.
I did own a small property and was considering selling it. Yes! That was it! I would give Celia $50,000 just to have sex with her right now. I was seeing Celia in every doorway and lentil.My bloodstream was awash with alligator sperm. "Stay with the easy conquests," says old Herodotus. An obsession like this will take you right over.

THERE IS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR. IT IS WILLIE.
THE PROFESSOR-TURNED BUSINESSMAN GETS UP FROM THE PC AND LETS WILLIE IN.

Willie: Sorry I''m late. I parked the backhoe just in front, and the super told me to park it in front of the Loblaws instead.

Professor: Willie, Willie. I told Celia about our backhoe, and she said, "Backhoe? What do you do with something like that, carry it on your shoulder?" "You drive it," I'd told her. "You'd drive a shovel?" she had asked. I told her stranger things have happened. In Quebec, frogs chop down trees.

You're much better as a psychiatriest, Willie. What the hell are we both doing wrong?

Willie Safer (settling himself down on the professor's couch, the hiss of soda bubbling in his glass):
We're getting into an Oedipus Rex situation, David. Something is sure as hell wrong in Thebes. Everything is going to ratshit. I think it's your problem with Celia. that's it.

Professor: What do you mean, my problem with Celia. You're the rocket scientist who wasn't watching, cut the TV cable and had us run off the job. Screw. I'm not a builder. I know it now.

Willie (taking another sip of his soda. He belches. It comes out in an underwater gurgle): What the hell are your good for anyway, Perfessor?

Professor: An explanation: Fuck off.
You're better as a Swami. What are you divining?


(Willie takes a draft of the soda, inhales deeply on his cigarette. His eyes seem abnormally large behind the glasses, under the bushy brows)

Willie: I think she has left Les. I think she has taken out an apartment somewhere.

Professor: How do you know all this. You got a rprivate line? Get it off the TV cable?

Willie: I was once a doctor, Nuncle. I know some things. I've seen Celia hanging around the hospital.

Professor: In a professional capacity, I'll bet. Those wigged out psychiatrists are now offering sex therapy for
the handicapped. Migod. Do I have to lose my brains to get a blowjob?

Willie: The way your career is going, you might end up doing the same thing. Have you thought of driving cab or something? Degrading, but it's instant money.

Professor: Well, we just blew $50,000 on a backhoe. The Case man will be around to reposess any day now.

Willie: Take out a cab licence. Do it tomorrow. There's a reason I have for suggesting that. It will keep you busy, keep your from going mad. You have to kind of stand on your ear for three months. Not do anything foolish.

Professor: You back to your psychotherapy mumbo-jumbo again? I know you've had all kinds.

Willie: Never mind. Here is what I get from my crystal ball: February will be a bitch for you, as well as March, April and July, all these months. You're a smart guy. You'll probably be able to track her down, but, don't! Above all, don't try to get her number and phone her. She thinks you're stronger than she. The trouble with your relaionship is you guys know knowing who's boss. If you phone her, you'll screw it up.
But get ready for August. Get your best suit ready!

CUT TO:

Scene Four:

The professor can be seen from outside the Diamond Cab he is driving. He has the FM radio full up

MUSIC: "Dead or Alive," by Bon Jovi, written by Richie Sambora.

It's all the same, only the names are changed
and every day, we're just wastin' away.

I'm a cowboy.
On a steel horse I ride.

THE PROFESSOR IS BOOTING HIS CAB ALL OVER THE DOMINION PARKING LOT, DOING DOUGHNUTS THROUGH THE SNOW.

MUSIC:
Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I think for days
And people that you meet...

A prospective fare approaches the professor's taxicab. He stops the taxi.

Prospective customer: Hey, man, you going crazy or what? Doing doughnuts at your age. Can you take me to the mall?

Professor: Sure thing.

PROFESSOR TURNS THE MUSIC UP:

Sometimes I sleep, Sometimes I think for days
And people that you meet, they just go their separate ways.
Sometimes I count th days, by the bottle that you drink
Sometimes you sit alone, and ll you do is think.

THE PROFESSOR TURNS THE KNOB TO AM. HE IS ALMOST IGNORING HIS PASENGER.

STAGE BUSINESS: THERE IS A BEATLE-TYPE "WOW", as in THE EGG MAN. THE PROFESSOR SETTLES FOR AND OLDIES STATION. IT IS HARRY CHAPIN:

It was rainin' hard in Frisco
I needed one more fare to make my night
A lady went to flag me down
She got in at the light

I said where you going my lady fare
You're gonna lose your gown in the rain
She just kept looking straight ahead
She said, "16 Parkside Lane"

REFRAIN:
You see she was gonna be an actress
And I was going to learn how to fly.
She took off for the footlights.
I took off for the sky.

Passenger to the professor: Hey, somebody been smoking a joint in here? Smells like an armpit.

Professor: The world is an armpit.

THE PROFESSOR TURN THE RADIO TO ANOTHER STATION, ALL NEWS.

SOUND:
Charged with running a common bawdy house was Lief Horvath, of Holland Landing...

Professor (as he is letting he passenger out) Well dog my cat! 16 Parkside lane, huh? Exactly Celia's address.
Willie Safer, get the fuck out of my head!

Passenger: I'll dog your cat, you crazy bastard.

Professor (sotto voce) "Before completion, success.
If before completion, the little fox dips his tail into the water, nothing will further"
Willie Safer, you crazy bastard. What in hell am I doing this for? And what's with this mind contro stuff? Did you get a blowjob from Celia while your were at that mental ward?

THE PROFESSOR PARKS HIS CAB AT THE OLD LOBLAWS PARKING LOT, LOCKS IT, AND WALKS AWAY.

CURTAIN.

.......end Act VI, Scene Three

Friday, November 17, 2006

Celia's vice-ridden Uncle


The trouble with most advice you get about drinking and smoking is that most people don't enjoy these things the way you do.
And it's true, probably, that if you enjoy those things too much, you might end up as a nervous wreck throwing
turds at your keeper.
Goergeous woman in the rehab ward, Mariah Carey lookalike, sitting on her own pile of dung brought out by the heavy Lergactyl tranquillizer, loosens your bowels, and calling the psychiatrist a "stupid f*cking dildo!"

"Ah well, St. Thomas infirmary for you," from the bespectacled shrink.

Is the drinking a symptom of something?

Probably.

Gorgeous woman diddled by an uncle so very long ago.

Loss of innocence.

Arrested development.

And the shrink too obtuse to know.

"St. Thomas for you.

This is how we make a vegetable, folks."


My, this is getting heavy.
I have been through something like rehab, have been turned into a turnip, friggin' veg, but it is amazing that the shrink said, "You don't need a shrink. You need a fairly godmother."

So after I signed myself out of the jigsaw puzzle assembly plant (volunteer patient), and giving up my gig of playing guitar to a captive audience (for sure), I immediately set out to find a fairly godmother.

I was teaching creative wriing at the time, Seneca College had a nurse among the writers, just in case the loopy old bastard would freak, and what do I see in the very first row of this adult class?

A fairy godmother. Salagadoola Metchikadoola Bibbity-Bobbity Doo!
She was twenty-four, wore silk and jewelry that was not too showy, a little portly, like the fairy godmother out of
Walt Disney, right down to the little bouffant ponade.

She took the teacher home.

Says mother in the middle of the night, "Janet, you'd better get that man out of there before your father gets home."
So at three-thirty in the morning, we are at the home of John Simpson, CBC writer, John all bleary-eyed.
But kind of alert.
"Yeah, yeah I know. I am your fairy godfather. And this, I presume is the fairy godmother."

"She'll hit you with her wand."

Ah, how swell was the relationship with the fairy godmother. She cured me for a time, of my alcoholism, gave me something to do, father was a banker, "can I set you up with something?"--but I told him all I wanted to do was loaf.
"Loaf? Here you are a man who made his entire living on writing alone, even qualified to teach over it--and you want to loaf?"

Nature of the beast.( Yes, you're right, R. J. Clazy like Roon).

Enough that for four years, one was in a pretty good situation. Not my subsequent dutchess, the subject of my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, ACT VI, Scene One.



THE FIRE IN BRADFORD
Act VI Scene One


Scene:
We are again in the professor's apartment. Willie Safer has gone home. The professor is drinking heavily, smoking depressed.

Music in BG:
Ball and Chain, by Janis Joplin.

Music: UP.


S-sss sittin' by my window
Lookin' at the rain
Yeeah Sittin' by the window
Lookin at that rain (falling down, Yeah!)
Somethin's got a hold of me honey
Feels to me (feels to me)
Like a ball and chain.

"And I said Aw Aw Aw Aw Aw Aw Aw

Why you do me this way

All I want to do is walk your mouth

You got a hold of me honey

Feels to me like a ball and chain.


MUSIC IN BG. Gradually fading..

STAGE BUSINESS: The telephone is ringing.
The professor puts his drink on the coffee table, continues to hold cigarett in mouth, and say, "Hewwo."

Professor: Celia? What the hell. I thought it was over between us. You'd said so."

Celia's voice: David. We've got to get together. As soon as possible.

Professor: Like when?

How about this afternoon? Richmond Hill?

Professor: Come on, Celia, I can't just drop everything and...

Celia: David. come to Richmond Hill at three. Can you make it?

Professor: But I can't drive. I'm half stoned.

Celia: Take a bus. Come over, David. There have been some developments.

CUT TO:

Scene Two:

Interior of same Dickensian Trisha Romance restaurant.

The professor is at a booth, waiting for Celia.

She finally walks through the glass door, the light behind her. There is some kind of mark on her pretty, upturned Wasp nose. Celia approaches the professor's table.

Celia: Sorry I'm late. It's been quite a twenty four hours.

THE PROFESSOR NOTICES THE MARK ON THE LEFT SIDE OF CELIA'S NOSE. IT DOES LOOK LIKE A TINY RAZOR GASH.

Professor: Celia. Your face. What happened.

THE DRINKS COME JUST IN TIME.THEY EACH TAKE A DEEP DRAUGHT.

Celia. I don't know. I was on the edges of a homosexual circle.

Professor: Wha...

Celia: And the next thing I know, I was right in the middle of it.

THE PROFESSOR OBSERVES THAT CELIA HAD TRIED TO COVER THE RAZOR GASH WITH MAKEUP.
IN FACT, IT WAS DEEPER THAN HE AT FIRST THOUGHT.

Celia: What?

THE PROFESSOR IS SILENT.

Celia (to herself) What a wimp. He isn't going to ask what happened.

BUT THE PROFESSOR ALREADY KNEW WHAT HAPPENED.
HE HAD DRIVEN PAST CELIA'S HOUSE, PEERED THROUGH THE WIDE-OPEN PICTURE WINDOW AND SAW A TOGA PARTY, HEAVILY MADE UP MEN,WITH LAURELS, CELIA IN NEGLIGEE, KNEELING AROUND THEM. ONE OF THE MEN WAS HEAVILY BEARDED. DEAD-RINGER FOR A FRENCHCANADIAN CULT LEADER THE PROFESSOR HAD READ ABOUT. THERE WAS A WOMAN RUNNING FOR THE BACK DOOR.
SHE HAD RUN OUT AND WAS MAKING FOR A TOOLSHED ACROSS A GARDEN, WHERE AN AXE WAS IMBEDDED IN A STUMP.
HE HAD DRIVEN OFF, BUT NOT BEFORE HE SAW CELIA'S FACE, PEERING AT HIM THROUGH THE PICTURE WINDOW. THERE WERE MOTORBIKES PARKED IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE.



THEPROFESSOR IS STARING AT CELIA, HER BLONDE HAIR DISARRANGED, NOT EVEN A WIG.
CELIA IS STARING BACK AT HIM. THERE IS SOMETHING BALLING UP BETWEEN THEM.
SHE EXTENDS HER FINGERS, NO RINGS THIS TIME, ACROSS THE TABLE TO DAVID.
THE PROFESSOR"S OWN HANDS COME TO MEET CELIAS.
BUT HE DRAWS BACK.
THE CRITICAL MOMENT IS LOST.
HE HAS LOST.
CELIA NOW WITHDRAWS HER HANDS.

Celia (Under her breath) Loser. Wimp!.

THE MEAL COMES. THEY EAT THEIR STEAKS, OR TRY TO EAT THEIR STEAKS. CELIA HAS LITTLE APPETITE. THE PROFESSOR CHUGGALUGS A BUDWISER JUST BEFORE THEY LEAVE THE RESTUAURANT, SO STRANGE IS THE TENSION.

OUTSIDE, CELIA SEEMS TO WANT TO LEAN AGAINST HIM, TO NUZZLE HIM. HE CAN HARDLY WALK WITH HER TO THE OFFICE WHERE SHE WORKS, RONALD'S PRINTING, ANAGRAM DIVISION. HER RIGHT HIP IS ALL OVER HIS LEFT THIGH.
AND SUDDENLY CELIA MAKES FOR THE OFFICE DOORWAY.

Professor: Celia! All I ever seem to see is your beautiful ass moving away from me.

Celia (Replying over her Eighties padded shoulder)
Jumping away from you, the way you are.

THE PROFESSOR IS OFFERED A BEAUTIFUL FLASH OF A LOVELY, ELEGANT THIGH THROUGH A BLACK SLIT SKIRT AS CELIA CLOSES THE DOOR.

CURTAIN.


......end act VI Scene One,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Enthralling all the ladies


All right.
All right, ladies. Quit your begging. (Hah).
You asked for a picture of me in my high school days, dancing, but in the course my many, many marital separations, someone has run off with an album or two and all I have left is the picture of me playin' geetar, bottom right. Face it, at l9, I was just a pretty face: Shitferbrains and didn't know nuttin'. I am now three (four?) times that aga and am, I fear still shitferbrains and I don't know nutting.
But then, to turn an old phrase around--If I only knew now what I knew then. Ha. After 63, you get really stoopid.

I tried to continue with my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, but my right eye seemed to bulge right out of my Kresge's glasses.
When the going gets tough, the tough get drunk!
Lord, this is one long intermission. What time is it getting to be?

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Horse's Mouth


Press L for Loser.

Put up a beautiful blog, attempted to copy and paste from Outlook Express, pressed V instead of C--and lost the whole note in cyberspace.
When will this old Luddite ever learn Word, so he doesn' lose?

As well. It was time for an intermission in THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, the play I'm putting up.

But what the hell had I blogged about? I do recall it was in fact about an intermission. Is there Memory left in my head?

I have in fact been hit so often over the head in bar fights and auto accidents that I am surprised these days to remember anything at all, but lets see if we can remember what in tarnation we had put up.

Sure do feel like "Prince Violent", a parody of Prince Valiant in old MAD Magazine, where faced with danger, Prince Violent picks up bow, drops bow, picks up quiver, drops quiver, drops chainmail pants!

Ah, well, let's see now.

The blog was about a blocked playwright. I had made the playwright into a character. I had put him in a story:


"Nobody knows why, but instances of insanity were upon the country. In an Orthodox church preists were given
to destroying communion wafers, Rabbis taking up Islam, and parliaments of Canada would set special days to pray for rain.

"A blocked playwright entered his psychiatrist's office singing an old Fifties Doublemint jingle, "Double your pleasure, doubble your fun with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum"

He also said he sucked the sweat off horses.

"Himmel!" gasped the startled Viennese psychiatrist. "You suck the sweat of horses? You are the schwans-zuger?"

The playwright, who had a couple of languages, yelled, "Did you just call me a co.....ucker?"

"Nein, nein,nicht, never,"soothed the psychatrist. "How long have you been sucking the sweat off horses?"

"It's more of a metaphor, really," the young playwright explained."It's just a mode I got into, a kind of Tyrette's syndrome.
I'm stuck at writing my play and I end up reciting entire passages from Equus and other well known plays. Same thing when I'm on the keyboard.

Psychiatrist (under his breath): That's because you haven't got a creative bone in your body, aschloch.

Patient: What was that?

Psychatrist: Nichtwar. So how long have you been unconsciously plagiarizing?

"Since I wrote in an intermission to my work in progress.

"Ah, you are such a dumkopf," said the psychiatrist.

"That's why I'm here, " sighed the young playwright.

Psychiatrist (giggling a bit) What you need is a good horse tranquillizer, hey.

"Does it matter if they're tranquillized?"

Psychiatrist: Is there a horse in your head? Horse's heads. You plagiarising the Godfather now?

Patient: You sure you didn't get that diploma from a Kellog's box?

Psychiatrist: You're the guy who's reciting "Double your pleasure, double your fun."

Patient: Look, doctor, I am a blocked playwright. A blocked artist. You guys should take a course in creative writing.

Psychiarist: I have. Ever since we found out what we did to Hemingway.

Patient: And?

"Keep away from shotguns."

There is a long pause. The psychiatrist is writing something. He gives the note to the young playwright.

Patient: What''s this.

Psychiatrist: It's a book title.

Patient: But it's one of my own books!

Psychiatrist: Precisely.

Patient: So?

Psychiatrist: From your previous visits, it became plain to me that you were using one of your own novels as a template for your play. You weren't stuck. You had just lost the fershlugginer book.

Patient: Is that what I'd been doing? Rewriting my novel into a play?

Psychiiatrist: Yes, aschloch.

Patient: What did you say?

Psychiarist: Something anatomical.

Patient: Omigod. Does this mean that all I have to do is refer back to my source, my own novel.

Psychiatrist: Yes.

There is the great Aha moment. The patient is cured of his problem and his mental block."That's wonderful, Doctor
How much do I owe you?"

Psychiatrist: Seventy housand dollars.

Patient: You got it.

Psychiatrist: Come back Tuesday. You are clazy. Like roon."


Ah well, that was pretty well the point of my blog.

And now it's intermission time. Intermission until I find that book so I can go on with my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

Ich bin ein sneaky bastard, no?

Cheers all.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Red and the Black


Ah, revision in the middle is dangerous.
You start losing track of the idea; your idea may be non-verbal, a symbol, and symbolic writing is the hardest thing to accomplish, so you go to a real manageress of it, like Tillie Olsen, whose "Ironing John's Pants" is a masterpiece of apprehending the symbol, the symbol of crappy John's pants and what the laundress has to go through.And the crap she has to take from John.

So I was extremely cagey when I changed the last couple of lines in my Act V, Scene one in the blog just before, having the professor as a kind a King Lear, with the crap and corruption all over his jacket and bathwater dripping down on him from the ceiling of his studio-apartment.

One has a drink and says, Hey, wait a minute. The King Lear reference was all wrong...How about having the soaked professor, emblazoned here and there with baby-turds, say to the audience: I am Akaky Akakievich.

Would they know of Akaky Akakievich, the subject of Gogol's brilliant tale, perhaps the best short story of modern times, Akaky (certainly an an amonapoteic reference to the Russian word for shit) is a little man suddenly becomes big through the acquisition of a really super overcoat. The overcoat turns Akaky Akakievich into
Super-kaka, Really Hot Shit, and when somebody steals the coat, all hell breaks loose, to the point of Akaky actually chasing the thieves long after his death.

Akaky's ghost.

So if I were to have to professor turn to the audince and say, "Shit. I am Akaky Akakievich, would they get it?

No, better stay with the King Lear image.

So, all that crap out of the way, we'd better move on to Act V,Scene 2 of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD,where the professor and his schizophrenic friend,Willy Safer are now busy with bucket and mop and packages of Lysol.


Act V, Scene 2, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

We are back in the professor's apartment. The professor is busy throwing dry Lysol at a wall, from a package, while applying a wet brush. Willy Safer, bespectacled, heavy-browed and eyes a tendency to fix, like Bubbles, out of Trailer Park Boys, is busy with a mop.

Willy Safer: Dan, what the hell happened here last night? Cleaning up bilgewater isn't exactly my idea of a good time.

Professor: Not my idea of a good time either. And these goddam things always happen when the super is away!
Always the weekend. Shit always happens over the weekend, when the super is away. We're out of beer and the super's gone. We must be in Canada.

Willy Safer: Are you sure it wasn't the Super himself?

Professor: Come to think of it, Willie, maybe so. You sure have a spooky way of getting at the heart of the matter.

Willie (laughing, resting on his mop): I am an alumnus of some the finest mental hospitals in Ontario. I am allowed to be clairvoyant.

Professor: That you are, Willie, that you are.

Professor: I thought I saw Celia last night, through the window. Could she be in cahoots with the Super? Giving me a good drenching, me running around in my bathrobe like a mad King Lear? Why the hell would someone do something like that?

Willie: She is moving from the red to the black.

Professor: What in hell are you talking about Willie? More stuff you learned at the jigsaw puzzle assembly plant?

Willie: She is moving from the red to the black.

Professor: You mean like out of Stendhal's novel? I can't read Stendhal. Frigging boring. That plot about the ambitious young guy who rises to the top only to find he's morally bankrupt and a total asshole to boot?

Willie: Hey, I mean this as a friend. But have you thought about what you just said? Think about your circumstances for a bit. I could recommend a good psychiatrist. I go all the time.
But I'm talking about something else.

Professor: Like?

Willie: Celia is moving from conventional life to some sort of cult.

Professor: What sort of cult? (He has stopped brushing down the wall).

Willie: You know. Like Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Have you seen the movie?

Professor: Not yet. it's just out.

Willie: You may turn out the blindfolded piano player at Lief and Celia's cult.

Professor. Willie, you're nuts.

Willie: And I have the paperwork to prove it. But I was a doctor once, as you knew. Mad doctor, mad scientist.

(This is no entirely lost on the professor).

Professor (Still holding the box of dry Lysol) Okay Willie. Explain it to me as if I were a little child.

Willie: Celia was like a nun, though in the clutches of some sort of energy-suckers. She was like a nun looking for grace, looking in all the wrong places, including your place. You didn't have what she was looking for. At least not then. Believe me, good friend. I have been there.

Professor: You mean she's gone? Gone for good?

Willie: No, not gone for good. She was outside last night with the intention of telling your something, that she had been thrown out, but you guys were feuding, so she couldn't properly approach you.
Celia will find grace one day. And you'll be there. But thats so far into the future...

Willie: Well, it looks like we're pretty close to done. I checked upstairs. It was the bathtub of those tenants who got evicted last week. I guess they bathed a baby or something and they forgot to turn off the tub before they left.
Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! It all fell on your head!

Professor: Not for nothing did My ex-wife call me Col. Sheisskopf.

Willie: Proof is in the puddin'. Ha.

Willie: Oh come on, David. We've both got the blues. Let's put on some B. B. King and have an antidote.

Professor: Yeah, lets.(He moves over to his liquor cabinet) Drink?

Willie: No. Hell no. I'm with A. A. Took the pledge, as you know.

Professor: Come on Willie. One won't hurt you. Just say you had a little wine with your meal (He extends a glass to Willie).

Suddenly, Willie picks up the glass and throws it into a corner.

Professor: What the hell are you doing Willie? I thought you weren't "sick" any more. He goes to extend an open hand to Willie, as if to offer a handshake.

Willie grabs the professor's extended hand, waves it to one side then the other. Waggles the professor's hand.

Willie: Watch it, Professor Jaworski. An Anglo-Saxon can throw you right off balance.

Professor: Don't give me that Masonic mumbo-jumbo. Or is that the way you found out about Celia?

Willie. Sorry. I can't let that happen again. He sits down on the couch. Maybe Celia will find some sort of grace with you after all. You're kind of a priestly bastard. And you have perfect vision. Celia wears contacts. I wear glasses. That's the damn trouble. We can't see very well. So we manipulate.

Professor: You seem to know a lot about Celia.

Willie. No. Just from what you told me.

The professor gulps down his own drink, goes to pick up Willies glass, puts it on the coffee table.

Professor: Want a pop, then?

Willie. I'll take a Coke.

The professor does the honors, has a good shot of Johnny Walker, goes to the stereo and snaps it on. It is B.B. King.

MUSIC IN BACKROUND: Thrill Is Gone, by BB KIng. UP.

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away.
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll be sorry someday.

The professor pours another drink, while the song goes on.

Willie Safer has picked up two teaspoons and a butter knife and does a fair imitation of a Cirque de Soleil juggler.
The professor goes to turn down the music a bit.

Professor (To Willie) For fuck's sake, stop that. You schizos are such intelligent bastards, but you have a way of throwing people off.

The professor turns the music back up. Willie has put down the cutlery and is now playing air guitar.

Professor: We're all waiting for Godot, you old queer.

Willie: You have a way of spotting that, haven't you?

Professor: Comes with the territory.

Willie.Strange territory. If you only knew.

The music is still on, the BB King cut up and then down to fade.

.....................End Act V, Scene 2

Here we go again


Sorry guys.

In my struggle with italic fonts--I think I'm finally getting it, though I'll have to use Roman for the time being--I halfway lost where I was going with my poor play. Like many another half- wit, I am no stranger to Popular Mechanics, most idiots having a mechanical bent in the first place.
.
But this here permutation of Mr. Boole's algebra, let alone html tags, has me totally begaffled.

So the best I can do is clear up all my horrible typos in the last post and follow R. J. Baker's suggestion as to my last couple of lines.

OK. OK. I'll put the italics in later; I might even indenture my poor son to put them into the professor's soliloque--but then I'm already working on Scene II of Act V and I cannot lose the speed and fury of the attack.

So here we go again with more or less the same post as THE WITCH DUNKER HIMSELF DUNKED, but with some of the embarrassing typos cleaned up. I'll get rid of what I'd put up just under this post as soon as I figure out how to delete...Do you find too, dear readers, that when you are separated from somebody, simple things like tying your shoelaces--are impossible to do. How the *&^% do we ever survive anyway, and to add a fatalist note, what's the f*cking point?

My late father comes to the rescue with a ghostly quote: "Because the world is beautiful. Look at it. Look at it!
..."And you're going to meet people, beautiful people. You have no idea of what is yet to come."

Ah, my poor father:

Prodigal son, divorced, middle-aged f*ck-up, comes to sleep among the swine, is given a ring and a hundred thousand dollars and he pawns the ring and drinks the hundred thousand dollars.

But again, I hear my wonderful father's voice from the grave, wonderful, forgiving, talented genius father:

"It was one of your options, Ivan. Do you think I would mind? Eat, drink and be merry. That's what it was all there for."

Why do we wonder, with Dostoevsky, that we are not engineer, teachers, lawyers, instead of pursuing this mad thing called writing.

Fyodor Dostoevky never pulls any punches: "Because we are all closet bumfuckers, that's why.
"--Sorry to mangle your quote, Fyodor, fellow Kievan, but that was the sense of it. Most men are into drinking and buggery?

I am halfway sure that many of you ladies out there would agree.

Anyway, best I can do right now, deriving artificial life from coffee, cigarettes and booze, is to at least clean up the typos in the previous post and follow a suggestion of R. J. Baker's at the end of the scene, though I've varied the suggestion a bit.

--Ivan the Horrible.



Ah, the play's the thing.

My play, The Fire in Bradford, Act V, scene 1

The permutations of unrequited love.

One makes moutains out of molehills.

One gets confusing letters, like those from Celia to the professor:

Dear Daniel,

Yes, its too bad. Too bad the way it turned out for us. You're sitting there in your lonely room, rejected. And yet there is this love. Surely,with your education, the various languages, you must have come across philosophy.
There is the Platonic love that I have for you. I love you only so far as out social circumstances will allow.
I love you spiritually. We can love each other, but we'll have to turn this thing into the spiritual.

I have felt so bad after that time we got together at the Grey Goat, where I made it plain in no uncertain terms that we could'nt be together any more. And there is only one way I can sign this note. With love.

Celia.

Then another:

Dear Daniel,
please don't assume that things are that all right between us. Don't assume anything. There has been a change. We can stay together as before, but it'll be on my terms. My terms...Celia.

Well. While it may be true with Kierkegaard that the business of love is to indeed make mountains out of molehills, this was a pretty tall molehill.

So now we set up Act V, Scene One in our ongoing play.


THE FIRE IN BRADFORD ACT V, Scene One

Interior scene of the professor in his apartment. He is extremely agitated. Paces from corner to corner, hitting
a shin on the edge of the antique coffee table, yelling OW, sitting down and finally taking up a corner where the typewriter sits. He begins typing.

The professor's voiceover:

Dear Celia,

I just got your last note. This is confusing.
My turn to write, but by the time you will have read it, you might wonder whether to laugh or cry.

It has struck me over this past long weekend that all is not hunky-dory in the state of Denmark, allusions to ethnic origins and Newfoundland be damned. My ifeboat seems to have this great big hole in it, and I'm not sure whether you can appear as your usual fetching self in a U-boat uniform or, more accutately, be my angel of the mists who has only now guided me to a firm shore. The lifboat is, at any rate safely moored, but I've been feeling for the longest time that I'd been torpedoed.

When we first met, really met, I was a bit like the hero out of Simon and Garfunkel, was a rock, was an island , was fairly insular in myself, needing little that stemmed from elsewhere; the asbestos suit was on snugly and some of the king's horses and men had succeeded in doing a fair patch job on old Daniel.

Then along came Celia. Well. I went from a fairly self-possessed man of 47 to a love-struck young paranoid of 18 who possessed all the filigree of love without its frruit and enjoying all the pain even so.

You had me hooked, almost grounded and on the road to even more obscurity than I already possess. The situation was hopeless, no man would touch it with a ten-foot pole, but I would, for I was and am deeply attracted to you as we are both alike, and like tends to attract like, right down to the multiple personalities, changes of appearance, attempts at being Honore' de Cossack, guitar playing, stroking, hugging, making strange warm love somewhere on the far side of the moon.

We were and are (even after these twelve months), in the first stages of falling in love, and I do mean love, for I am so much like you-- and do people like you and I ever "fall" in love? We, probably, each of us, consider the world as our playground for our various schemes, our "collecting hearts like notches on a gun", as you once put it.

Ah but even aliens fall in love, and we soon developed a pretty strong mutual admiration society of two.Strangers in a strange land, fairy folk we were, romantics in a fairly ugly and acquisitive world.

I was delighted to get your letters, nicely written, well thought out, neat as pins.
Then came a change. I found myself totally unprepared to have you write to me like a much younger woman, perhaps a girl of 22 rather than an experienced woman of 34. The letters became lovelorny, a little broady, Dear Abby, referencs to collecting hearts like notches on a gun and a quick denial of same, the mark of a hand used to dealing with younger men of a long time back, in a style of hearts and flowers that began to have less and less refrence to experienced people--us-- people who know what it is to walk through fire, to even trade their bodies in situations that sometimes surely approach World War Three, while strangely possessing an altruism, perhaps even an unselfish concern for the other, to, in your own worlds, "get us back to whre we belong."

But I'm starting to hae' me doots.

Perhaps your letters were so practised, so direct and full of unmistakable knowledge of their effects that there was no mistake as to the message sent and to the message that would be received.

You were telling me that we could only be friends, that sex outside your marriage was out of the question, that our love could only be spiritual, all the things you tell a man who is afraid of women, who gets their egos up and is not
really all there, not really grown up, an ingenue, perhaps like our dtinking friend John, though I am not sure.

Now, I have enough fear to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I also know that it's much easier to deal with the father of a child whom your dog has bitten, rather than the wife. Yes, Lief is the man, certainly by contract and financial arrangements and he is infinitely easy to deal with because there is no doubt that Lief and I like each other...:Yet in the words that lovers say to each other at night, when the reveal everything, and I do mean everything, the sublect of old Daniel comes up and Celia is told to the last detail as to wha to do or say.

Yet I know you are making a hellish sacrifice by cleaving onto me with fair appraisal of the consequences, and that kind of loyalty has tobe appreciated. And yet and yet. We come to the bone of contention.

When we first met, you said you would find a way. Later, when I brought up the subject of sex in what was then your "open marriage", you said it was "only sex", perhaps a mere filip or two-in a casual relationhip.

Well. Along comes a developing Daniel, halfway a teacher and halway and alcohol-crazed wild man, driven half-mad by a woman's beauty, not used at all to a woman who will, yet she won't--too used to having women make the first move and not the other way around; I am vain and spoiled, like you, from carrying the auras of too many lovers, and they all had been complementary, coming to me first and not the other way around.

So I was secure in knowing the ways of relationships, certainly my past relationships, too secure I was, and did not go to you soon enough and here we are at this impasse, where the man struggles with the teacher, explaining to the woman why certain things are inappropriate, are just gauche, while at the same time trying to commit those very acts. (The sober Daniel is different fromthe tipsy Daniel, much as the sober Celia is different from the wonderful blues-loving doll that you really are).

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Methinks the lady has explored all her entuitive machinery, which involves a man's income, social position, access to power, personal attraciveness , all of that and the lady has found old Daniel wanting; she will not have sex outside the marriage, she now says, at least not with Daniel.

But the chilling thought comes: What if sex is possible within the marriage, you with me and the inevitable lies to Lief that must come to hold the marriage together?...Take a drink of something bracing.

I am not any more modest than I should be. I am not any more naif than I should be. I am a writer like you, hungry for truth, but if I practice duplicity routinely among my friends and lovers, I cannot make the words come straight and clear, because my heart would not be straight and clear and so I am reduced to the mass of men and women who long ago made their emotional and financial compromise, so therefore I cannot write with all my heart and also my spirit, for onlly half of me would now be dedicated to the task.

So if there is a sourness to my mood, an effeminacy in my style through the halting way I now move and act, it is not because I am still one more teenager looking for ginch, but because I am a writer and a man, not a truckdriver, not a jock, but a man who has had some sort of impact on the world. And not for me the emotional callousness in a world of fleshy Fitzgerald characters who go around and devour each other and everytyhing around them, a world ot the devourers and the devoured.

Many years ago, my then wife, watching me struggling with an angel, said she was witnessing the breakdown of a once-fine man, and in fact, that was the case. She was not a dull woman.
That man has since broken and mended and he is not a semi-literate fuckup that falls heavily for a bit of bait and then has to be treated like a clerk at the take-out.

I have long obsereved you as a person and a writer, an ambitious person, not at all a littlle bit of fluff, a woman of ambition, drive, talent. But there is this unnatural attractiveness that you have. And for women as well as men. This fact gets all the sisty-uglers upset and then you get treated like Cindarella at the cinders, much like I myself have been treated like Cinderfella by my own sisty-uglers.

You are not a sisty-ugler, but a beauiful woman trying to reach her proper place. For Christ' sake, get us back to where we belong. I am running short of patience, too old for much more of the waiting game and I am audacious enough to make some demands and set down a contract.

Okay, here is the swagger:

The conditions of the contract between you and me run nothing short of unconditional adulation. This is the contract. You will revolve around me, not the other way around, kiss my ass on request and be my woman, putting her man forward and not being a millstone around his neck, his badge of being inducted into Celia's Pain Club.
I aim to be your lord and master and the time has come to separate sheep from men. I will not be your uncle, I will not be enslaved like poor old Lief as he watches you change into more and more of a tyrant the older you get. For make no mistake about it, when a woman has these dikey independence famtasies and moves right into them,, when she goes to night classes to find all the unusual men, she risks the convent and the the house of the rising sun.
There is a way out for both of us in a love that promises to be much larger than last year's bestseller. I do not expect you to change overnight, nor do I try to coerce you into a roll in the hay just by fluffing some of my sharpest feathers. I want you to love me as I know you really do. I expect youto be perfectly honest in telling me whom you're invloved with besides Lief and me. I am not a wimp, nor a dweeb, nor a homosexual, your strange preference in men to date. I am a man, a damn good one and that is the source of your roil and occasional spurts of poison as you seen to roll of the anima jof your own animlus. Hell indeed has not fury like a woman scorned., I don't mean to scorn you,Celia, I just don't want to be in a contract where you get everything and I get nothing, literally nothing.

Yes, yes, I have robbed Lief's pantry and sampled some of his goods. I see a hell of a good man in Leif and I blame you not at all for still being with him. But it's how you stick with him. I am not the only threat to a marriage in which the initial trust is broken. Please do not cry, for I have been there and it will take a hell of a lot more tears and a hell of a lot more years until it's all reselved. I have been successful int totally destroying a lover of my ex -wife's, am experienced at it, and I am, Machiavellian as the thought is, perfectly capable of destroying Lief. But If I were to destory Lief, it would be not to me that you would go, but to somebody else.

Leve me, love me unconditionally in a form you can find and stop this high school confidential bullshit I am still the naive, slightly incompetent Inspector Cluseau of the literary world that you had initially met, though a little older now and vrey much in love with you. Find away.Find a way for both of us.

Love, Daniel


STAGE BUSINESS: There is a drip coming from the ceiling, a drop of some strange liquid, posibly bath water,hitting he professor at the crown of his head. He wipes the top of his head and looks up. The drip is fast gaining in frequency.
He raches into the corner for a broom. He holds the broom cornside down, lifts it,and begins tapping on the ceiling.

Professor: Hey. Hey. What's going on up there?

There is no response. Bath water is now dripping all over his studio.

SOUND EFFECTS. Running water, sloshing sound. Sudden crash as a window flies open. Leaves blow in.

Daniel moves towards the window and sees a cloaked young woman running. More leaves now start covering the professor's face and jacket. The overhead dripping continues and down comes something like a turd washed yellow.

The professor is losing the battle with the drips, and now the little turds.

The door to his bathroom is open. It is well lit. The wetness dos not go here. He goes to the bathroom doorway, tuns towards the audience.

Professor (turning to the audience, arms outstretched, from the bathroom doorway): Shit. Baby shit!
I've become King Lear!

Curtain.

...........end Act V, Scene one

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The witchdunker himself dunked


Ah, the play's the thing.

My play, The Fire in Bradford, Act V, scene 1

The permutations of unrequited love.

One makes mountains out of molehills.

One gets confusing letters, like those from Celia to the professor:

Dear Daniel,
Yes, its too bad. Too bad the way it turned out for us. You're sitting there in your lonely room, rejected. And yet there is this love. Surely,with your education, the various languages, you must have come across philosophy.
There is the Platonic love that I have for you. I love you only so far as out social circumstances will allow.
I love you spiritually. We can love each other, but we'll have to turn this thing into the spiritual.
I have felt so bad after that time we got together at the Grey Goat, where I made it plain in no uncertain terms that we could'nt be together any more. And there is only one way I can sign this note. With love.

Celia.

Then another:

Dear Daniel,
please don't assume that things are that all right between us. Don't assume anything. There has been a change. We can stay together as before, but it'll be on my terms. My terms...Celia.

Well. While it may be true with Kierkegaard that the business of love is to indeed make mountains out of molehills, this was a pretty tall molehill.

So now we set up Act V, Scene One in our ongoing play.


THE FIRE IN BRADFORD ACT V, Scene One

Interior scene of the professor in his apartment. He is extremely agitated. Paces from corner to corner, hitting
a shin on the corner of the antique coffee table, yelling OW, sitting down and finally taking up a corner where the typewriter sits. He begins typing.

The professor's voiceover:

Dear Celia,

I just got your last note. This is confusing.
My turn to write, but by the time you will have read it, you might wonder wthether to laugh or cry.

It has struck me over this past long weekend that all is not hunky-dory in the state of Denmark, allusions jto ethnic origins and Newfoundland be damned. My ifeboat seems to have this great big hole in it, and I'm not sure whether you can appear as your usual fetching self in a U-boat uniform or, more accutately, be my angel of the mists who has only now guided me to a firm shore. The lifboat is, at any rate safely moored, but I've ben feeling for the longest time that I'd been torpedoed.

When we first met, really met, I was a bit like the hero out of Simon and Garfunkel, was a rock, was an island , was fairly insular in myself, needing littled that stemmed from elsewhere; the asbestos suit was on snugly and some of the king's horses and men had succeeded in doing a fair patch job on old Daniel.
Then along came Celia. Well. I went froma fairly self-possessed man of 47 to a love-struck young paranoid of 18 who possessed all the filigree of love without its frruit and enjoying all the pain even so.
You had me hooked, almost grounded and on the road to even more obscurity than I already possess. The situation was hopeless, no man would touch it with a ten-foot pole, but I would, for I was and am deeply attracted to you as we are both alike, and like tends to attract like, right down to the multiple personalities, changes of appearance, attempts at being Honore' de Cossack, guitar playing, stroking, hugging, making strange warm love somewhere on the far side of the moon through an amber, alcoholic mist.
We were and are (even after these twelve months), in the first stages of falling in love, and I do mean love, for I am so much like you-- and do poople like you and I ever "fall" in love? We probably, each of us, consider the world as our playground for our various schemes, our "collecting hearts like notches on a gun", as you once put it.
Ah but even aliens fall in love, and we soon developed a pretty strong mutual admiration society of two, strangers in a strange land, fairy folk we were, romantics in a farily ugly and acquisitive world.

I was delighted to get your letters, nicely written, well thought out, neat as pins.
Then came a change. I found myself totally unprepared to have you write to me l as if you were a much younger woman, perhaps a girl of 22 rather than an experienced woman of 34. The letters became lovelorny, a little broady, referencs to collecting hearts like notches on a gun and a quick denial of same, the mark of a hand used to dealing with younger men of a long time back, in a style of hearts and flowres that began to have less and less refrence to experienced people people who know what it is to walk through fire, to even trade their bodies in situations that sometimes surely approach World War Three, while strangely possessing an altruism, perhaps even an ulselfish concern for the other, to, in your own worlds, "get us back to whre we belong." But t I'm starting to hae' me doots.
Perhaps your letters were so young-at-face value, so direct and full of unmistakable knowledge of their effects that there was no mistake as to the message sent and to the message that would be received.
You were telling me that we could only be friends, that sex outside your marriage was out of the question, that our love could only be spiritual, all the things you tell a man who is afraid of women, who gets their egos up and is not
really all there, not really grown up, an ingenue, perhaps like our dtinking friend John, thaough I am not sure.

Now, I have enough fear to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I also know that it's much easier to deal with the father of a child whom your dog has bitten, rather than the wife. Yes, Lief is the man, certainly by contract and financial arrangments and he is infinitely easy to deal with becaouse there is no doubt that Lief and I like each other...:Yet in the words that lovers say to each other at night, when the reveal everything, and I do mean everything, the sublect of old Daniel comes up and Celia is told to the last detail as to wha to do or say.

Yet I know you are making a hellish sacrifice by cleaving onto me with fair appraisal of the consequences, and that kind of loyalty has bto be appreciated. And het and yet. We come to the bone of contention, to coin a phrase.

When we first me, you said you would find a way. Later, when I brought up the subject of sex in what was then your "open marriage", you said it was "only sex", perhaps a mere filip or two-in a casual relationhip.
Well. Along comes a developing Daniel, halfway a teacher and halway and alcohol-crazed wild man, driven half-mad by a woman's beauty, not used at all to a woman who will, yet she won't--too used to having women make the first move and not the other way around. I am vain and spoiled, like you, from carrying the auras of too many lovers, and they all had been complementary, coming to me first and not the other way around.

So I was secure in knowing the ways of relationships, certainly my past relationships, too secure I was, and did not go to you soon enough and here we are at this impasse, where the man struggles with the teacher, explaining to the woman why certain things are inappropriate, are just gauche, while at the same time trying to commit those very acts. (The sober Daniel is different fromthe tipsy DAniel, much as the sober Celia is different from the wonderful blues-loving doll that you really are)..
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
Methinks the lady has explored all her entuitive machinery, which involves a man's income, social position, access to jpower, personal attraciveness , all of that and the lady has found jold Daniel wanting; she will not have sex, real sex outside the marriage, at least not with Daniel.
But the chilling thought comes: What if sex is possible within the marriage, you with me and the inevitable lies to Lief that must come to hold the marriage together?...Take a drink of something bracing.

I am not any more modest than I should be. I am not any more naif than I should be. I am a writer like you, hungry for truth, but if I practice duplicity routinely among my friends and lovers, I cannot make the words come straight and clear, because my heart would not be straight and clear and so I am reduced to the mass of men and women who long ago made their emotional and financial compromise, so therefore I cannot write with all mly heart and also my spirit, for onlly half of me would now be dedicated to the task.
So if there is a sourness to my mood, an effeminacy in my style through the inauthenticity of the way I move and act, it is not because I am still one more teenager looking for ginch, but because I am a writer and a man, not a truckdriver, not a jock, but a man who has had some sort of impact on the world. And not for me the emotional callousness in a world off fleshy Fitzgerald characters who go around and devour each other and everytyhing around them, a world ot the devourers and the devoured.
Many years ago, my then wife, watching me struggling with an angel, said she was witnessing the breakdown of a once-fine man, and in fact, that was the case. She was not a dull woman.
That man has since broken and mended and he is not a semi-literate fuckup that falls heavily for a bit of gash and then has to be treated like a clerk at the take-out.
I have long obsereved you as a person and a writer, an ambitious person, not at all a littlle bit of fluff, a woman of ambition, drive, talent. But there is this unnatural attractiveness that you have, for women as well as men, a fact that gets all the sisty-uglers upset and then you get treated like Cindarella, much like I myself have been treated like Cinderfella by my own sisty-uglers.
You are not a sisty-ugler, but a beauiful woman trying to reach her proper place. For Christ' sake, get us back to where we belong. I am running short of patience, too old for much more of the waiting game and I am audacious enough to mke some demands and set down a contract.
Okay, here is the swagger:

The conditions of the contract between you and me run nothing short of unconditional adulation. This is the contract. You will revolve around me, not the other way around, kiss my ass on request and be my woman, putting her man forward and not being a millstone around his neck, his badge of being iinducted into Celia's Pain Club.
I aim to be your lord and master and the time has come to separate sheep from men. I will not be your uncle, I will not be nslaved like poor old Lief as he watches you change into more and more of a tyrant the older you get. For make no mistake about it, when a woman has these dikey independence famtasies and moves right into them,, when sho goes to night classes she risks the convent and the the house of the rising sun.
There is a way out for both of us in a love that promiseses to be much larger than last year's bestseller. I do not expect you to change overnight, nor do I try to coerce you into a roll in the hay just by fluffing some of my sharpest feathrers. I want you to love me as I know lyou really do. I expect youto be perfectly honest in telling me whom you're invloved with besides Lief and me. I am not a wimp, nor a dweeb, nor a homosexual, your strange preference in men to date. I am a man, a damn good one and that is the source of your roil and occasional spurts of poison as you seen to roll of the anima jof your own animlus. Hell indeed has not fury like a woman scorned., I don't mean o scrro you, Ciliea, I just don't want to be in a contract where you get everything and I get nothing, iterally nothing.

Yes, yes, I have robbed Lief's pantry and sampled some of his goods. I see a hell of a good man in Leif and I blame lyou not at all for still being with him. But it's how you stick with him. I am not the only threat to a marriage in which the initial trust is broken. Please do not cry, for I have been there and it will tak a hell of a lot more tears and a hell of a lot more years until it's all reselved. I have ben succssful int totally destroying a lover of my ex -wife's, am experienced at it, and I am, Machieavellian as the thought is, perfectly capable of destroying Lief. But If I were to destory Lief, it would be not to me that lyou would go, but to somebody else.

Leve me, love me ounconditionally in a form you can find and stop this high school confidential bullshit I am still the naive, slightly incompetent Inspector Cluseau of the litereary world that you had initially met, though a little older now and vrey much in love with you. Find away.Find a wayfor both of us.

Love, Daniel

STAGE BUSINES: There is a drip coming from the celing, a drop of some strange liquid, possibly bath water, hitting the professor on the shoulder. He looks up. The drip is becoming rain.He reaches for a broom, holds the straw end and taps on the ceiling.

Professor: Hey, what's going on up there?

There is no response. Bath water drips down all over his studio. A window opens suddenly, by its own volition and dry leaves blow in.

Professor. Hey, Hey. (he has given up banging on the ceiling. He puts down the broom just in time to have a sausage-shaped bit of familiar material land on his left shoulder, which is already covered with leaves.

Professor: Holy fuck. Holy fuck. I have become King Lear!

Business: The professor is wiping his tweed jacket with the patches down. He runs out of the studio to an adjoining bathroom of which the door is open.

He enters the bathroom with a yell at the audience. Who the hell invented my life?

Curtain.

..........end Act V, Scene One.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The "Dear Ivan" letter

How many times have we gotten a letter of endearment, even love, and we get to the last line and it is really a Dear John?

Ah, the powerfully felt emotions, the brain kicking out and the adrenaline kicking in.

Why, you can raise an army, you could phone the Prime Minister, you can declare war. Swords and Sorcery!

You can't take this rejection, you must win!

You do not heed Burton Cummings' advice; you don't "Stand Tall". You fall.

If there is one thing I've learned in this life, rejection may just be a tactic.

Hank Williams: "A false goodbye, a life is shattered.."

If we could only learn to shut the f*ck up after a letter of rejection, get through that Full Moon feeling and wake up on a Monday with the solution already at hand.
But we don't. The shock of rejection changes your physiology. You want to get on the phone, get on the computer, "Why that ***ing asshole!

It is with such rococo sentiments, addled by a full moon that is sucking up not only the tides, but my brains, that I produce this ACT IV, Scene 4 of my ongoing tragicomedy, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD


ACT IV Scene 4

Business:
Interior scene. Beautiful woman on a computer, writing, writing, writing. It is Celia. She is inside an apartment that looks for all the world like a House of the Rising Sun, the high, multi-tiered bunk beds along a wall, wisps of smoke around the sparsely furnished room.

Celia's voiceover:

Dear Daniel,

Dinner last Monday night and the subsequent musical entertainment was truly a joy! Seeing you, sitting there in that modest little room, in the stifling heat, sweating and caught up in you music was one of those moments I shall not easily forget. It was one of those occasions one should preserve in amber, freeze in time. The Franco-Ukrainian plays and sings very well indeed.

There certainly seem to be about fifteen different Daniels (at least that I have met so far, I am not sure if I want to meet any others!) I haven't forgotten that I said I would try to obtain the sheet music for "Like a Rock" for you.

I told you that I have started to think about fall courses at school. It is hard to imagine that it is nearly a year ago since I first walked into your classroom, on my birthday. And a rather peculiar year it has been. We've had some good times together, Dan. I remember cold, wintry nights at the Granada, coffee shops in Oak Ridges on Sunday mornings in Richmond Hill in the dead of night. I remember a rainy afternoon in Holland Landing and a crazy night with an obstinate old Mustang.

I will not lose sight of those times. Like two brawny he-men, we struggle in a tug-of-war, jockeying for position and planting our feet firmly, but never quite letting go of the rope. It's a crazy relaionship, but we never quite lose sight of the value that it has and never quite walk away and say "fuck this". At least so far, at least I haven't.

You seem to be content to be back in Newmarket. I wonder if you are having any trouble maintaining your privacy, as you feared you might. I remember the conversation we had about being "loners with gregarious tendencies".


True indeed. I personally like to pat myself on the back that it is a sign of maturity, though, of course, it could be a simple ocial deficiency, I suppose.

Are you still immersing yourself in Jung? I am almost finished a Balzac, after which I should read something by your beloved Mr. Borges. I also think I should read something by Doctorow.. I haven't the foggiest notion about him, do you know anything? There was a silly little article in the weekend paper about Toronto cabbies being closet writers--you did take out a cab licence when you feared you were going to lose your job. It made me chuckle.

Daniel, you must not think that I have been using you, or that I have been on some sort of ego trip, collecting hearts like notches on a gun. Surely you know me better than that. I have never meant to cause you pain or hurt you. Sometimes you seem so relaxed and content and other times it feels as the "asbestos suit through hell" that you are always talking about has completely slipped. It all leaves me terribly confused. I am never quite sure if you will be pleased to hear from me or not. I thought at one time that you were indulging in what amounted to emotional blackmail. I realize this is not the case. If you will give this some time, it will sort itself out. Please believe that my affection for you is genuine.

(Here, Celia pauses. She turns to her right, where an invisible hand has proffered here a glass pipe. She takes a deep draught, motions for the mysterious pipe-server to go away for a bit, and adds, on her keyboard:

Reading this letter, it appears a bit disjointed and not terribly sparkling or witty. I shall send it nevertheless, as I wanted you to know that I have been thinking of you and hope that things go well with you. Take care of yourself, Daniel.

Celia.

Business:
The mysterious man with the glass pipe re-emerges.He is dark, Italian looking. Definitely not husband Lief.

Music: (from It's all Right Ma, I'm Only Crying) Darkness at the break of noon, the morning sun, the child's balloon...

Celia (to the Italian man) Hewwooo!

There is a strong hissing sound from the super Bic as Celia takes another lungful.

Music: Up. To fade as curtain drops to end Act IV, Scene 4

-------end Act IV, Scene 4

Friday, November 03, 2006

Green Sleeves


Ah, how we anima-haunted men like to put on the dog.

The Sixteenth Century Shakepearean outfits, the pantaloons, the Marquis boots, the big, pregnant lute in one hand , cigarette in the other, coughing, perhaps a little fruitily, hoping not to go off into a coughing fit that would scare away the damsel in front of us.
The professor is an accomplished phoney. He knows all the ins- and -outs of intelligent women, prefers intelligent women, in fact, because he could say cutting things to them and they would get it, these qualities picked up from a mother who should have been locked up, beating the young professor with an ugly stick so he would know something of the world. Women run the world, dontcha know. Thre is no defence against them. But they have one weakness, a big one: They fall in love.

And so this evening, the professor has somehow lured Celia into his office-apartment in Newmarket ON, the back of which is a bedroom. The room had just been redone. The professor is trying to make it into a bachelor's apartment.

It is this bedroom that the professor has lured Celia into (Or did she lure him--she had come to his studio's back
door, wearing a long white skirt this time. No jeans to pull off. No fumbles. No mistakes.


And so we come to ACT IV, Scene 3 of our play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD


Scene: We are in the bedroom portion of the professor's studio apartment. There are two doors to the place and Celia has entered directly from an alleyway into the professors bedroom. The professor notices that she has long sleeves to her top. Fitting somehow, yet long sleeves. Long sleeves of late. The professor is mildly retarded, a tad
dyslexic, but he is, like a colour-blind furniture maker or an illiterate waiter, very streewise.

Celia seems flustered, hurried. As he greetsw her at this back door, she answers his embrace with only one arm, the other up against her little bicep under the green sleeve. The meetingj is slightly awkward

Celia( In her slightly musical way): Hellloo.

Professor: Hi lady.

Celia: Hey What's that on your cot? A lute?

Professor: Tipple, actually. It's a lot like a guitar. I'm trying to learn to play it.

Celia is still standing, just inside, the door not yet closed behind her. She closes the door, but it is plain to the professor that she is favouring the inside of her left arm.Very awkwardly, she takes off her long, fake-fur coat.

Professor (helping her and putting the coat on chair: You seem a little defensive.

Celia( rather suddenly): You are too observant.

The professor points to a typewriter in a corner, on a raised stand: Comes with the territory.

Professor, to Celia, who is wondering where to sit: He motions to the cot: Sit here.

Professor: A little white wine? I fear I've had a bit already.
Celia indicates yes. He has a little Lazy Susan liquor cabinet that hed liberated from some garage sale. He goes to it, pulls out a bottle of Bright's Catawba, a really cheap Canadian wine, tries to hide the label and pours Celia a drink into a rather heavy goblet from the Salvaion Army. He offers the goblet to Celia. She is sitting a little tensely, knees together on his cot. She is now clutching both arms, a little akimbo. The professor sits next to her, causing the cot to sag a little. He had observed previously that Celia, though very petite, was very heavy, like a possessed person. The arrangement brings them close together. Celia is physically hot.

Professor: Woo. You are hot, and I don't mean skateboard talk.

He touches her shoulder. She pulls away a bit, rises and takes a chair across the antique coffee table from the cot. The professor is sitting on his cot, the little guitar by his side, almost riding into the hollow they had made in the cot.

Celia (indicating to the little tipple) Play me something.Can you?

Professor (sotto voce, and starting to grin) Does a cat have a tail?

He picks up the guitar, plays a few medieval progressions, easy, as they are mostly in A-minor and D, and begins:

With a hey, ho the wind and the rain
A foolish thing is but a toy
For the rain it raineth every day
For the rain it raineth every day

But when I came to man's estate
With a hey ho, the wind and the rain
'Gainst knaves and thieves
men shut their gate
For the rain it raineth every day.

Music: The refrain is picked up by medieval recording, by Medieval Baebes, an English baroque singing group. UP

Lights dim, to dark.

Lights: Up.

The heretofore nattily dressed tweedy professor is now in full Elizabethan regalia, replete with chancellor's hat, tunic and pantaloons and hose, buckled shoes. Celia is transfixed.

Music by Medieval Baebes now down, to fade. Professor does a natural segue and goes on to sing:

But when I came alas to wive
With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain
By swaggering could I never thrive
For the rain it raineth every day
For the rain it raineth every doy.

The professor now segues to an instrumental from the same period, Greensleeves, the ongoing deadly intrigue between Henry VIII and Anne Bolyin.
"Alas my love, you're mean to me, to treat me so discourteously."--but the professor keeps it strictly instrumental.

Celia is looking at the professor, rapt.
He puts down the little guitar for a bit and kisses her right on her mouth
He puts the tipple away, like a pianist in a painting, and they embrace. This they keep up for a long while, until the professor finally unhands Celia and says: Whoo. I'm feeling a bit woozy. More wine?

Celia: Oh yes. Oh, yest please, offering him her glass.

They drink their wine, both on the couch now. Celia is beginning to check her little gold wristwatch. A little nervously. The professor goes to embrace her again. She draws back a little, starting to reach for her fake fur coat, which is sitting on a chair.

Celia: "I've got to go now.

Professor: Go? We're just getting started.

Celia: I've got to go. Lief is in the house all alone.

Professor. Screw Lief. You are my woman, goddamit!

The professor notices that Celia has now become fidgety again.

Professor: You have a temperature. You are very hot. Are you all right?

Celia is about to reach for her coat again.

Professor (upset now): You do this every time. You come to my place cranked up on something, get me all hot and then you take off!

Celia, herself a little angry now: There are things about yourself you can't see. Your heavy drinking and chain smoking, for example.It scares me sometimes.

Professor: My drinking and chainsmoking? And what are you doing up there with Lief in Bradford?
Like a parady on an old country song: "Silver Chains and Golden Needles."

Celia: What's that supposed to mean?

Professor: You're needling it.

Celia: Lay off!

She now has her coat on and is moving toward the door.

Professor: Well lay you too! And if I had another drink I wouldn't put it that gently.

He flollows her out the door. Presently there is the cranking sound of a Mustang starting up. The professor has a good look and there seems to be a man alongside Celia as she goes to drive away. He is wearing a white leather team jacked with numbers on it. It is not Lief.

The professor closes the door, gulps down his drink and turns up the Stones again on the Stereo.

MUSIC:

I saw her at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was going to make her connection
In her glass there was a footloose man.

Music: Fade.

The professor reaches into the cabinet and pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels. He takes a huge swig from the bottle.He takes the tipply by the fingerboard and smashes it against the cot.
Lights, dim


............end Act IV, Scene 3