Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Professor Fires a Guided Missive





The professor is stymied once again in his restionship with whom he now terms the bitch-goddess Celia.
She has tricked him out of having sex with her is obviouly involved with not only her husband but with another man, and he knows he's a fith wheel in her life, a kind of female with a penis who can act like a sounding board, make her feel normal. There is vast difference between the addicted and the non-addicted, and the professor, when out at the Grey Goat alone, had met people who knew Celia in the past."The pint-sized blonde? Oh yeah.
Man, she really loves the coke...will do anhting for it....Anything....And that yuppie with the patches on his sleeve and the newsboy hat seems to have all the money and drugs in the worl. Hell, he woks for Connaught Laboratories. Tortures monkeys for a living. Lab animals. But there are drugs and drugs over there. ANd he's got 'em.
And so we move on to ACIII, Scene Three in my play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.


INT. DAY

THE PROFESSOR IS IN HIS TORONTO APARTMENT, A BACHELOR WITH A SINK IN THE CORNER, A DAVENPORT AND A WRITING DESK. THERE ARE BEER BOTTLES ALL OVER THE FLOOR.
. HE IS HUNGOVER AND IS PACING THE FLOOR.
HE RUNS HIS HANDS OVER HIS HAIR. TRIPS OVER AN EXTENSION CORD LEADING TO HIS TELEPHONE, WHICH FALLS FROM THE PARSON" TABLE ON WICH IT HAD RESTED. HE RAISES HIS HANDS TO THE ROOF IN FRUSTRATION AND GOES HEAD OVER TEAKETTLE TO LAND IN A CLUSTER OF BEER BOTTLES. HE RISES, REPLACES THE PHONE AND GOES TO THE FRIDGE, OUT OF WHICH HE PRODUCES A BEER. HE SITS DOWN AT HIS DESK AND DRINKS THE BEER.

THE TELEPHONE, APPARENTLY NOT MORTALLY WOUNDED, RINGS.

HE GETS UP FROM THE DESK AND GOES ACROSSS THE ROOM TO THE PARSON"S TABLE, WHERE HE PICKS UP THE PHONE, AGAIN RUNNING HIS HAND THROUGH HIS HAIR, WHICH IS DISHEVELLED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

PROFESSOR

Hello

VOICE AT OTHE END
Hi, is that you?

PROFESSOR
Of course it's me, who the....?

IT IS CELIA ON THE PHONE
Oh, I was worried that I may have had the wrong number. Got it from your pal, John Losell...You know John the Loser.

THE PROFESSOR

So you found the old lifeboat. Didn't want to tell anybody about this place. Nice to hear from you though.

CELIA.
Heh( pause)

CELIA
David, I feel so bad about Mnday night. You musnt't think that I don't care....I've sent you a letter to your Toronto address over there. You should have it by now. It may be a little disjointed, but I've sent it anyway. David, I care.
You know I care.

THE PROFESSOR.
Oh yeah.

CELIA
Yeah. I know that it's a strange relationship. But it has value. And we can overcome out problems.. Itls going to take some time, but I'm sure things will work out.

THE PROFESSOR GOES INTO A LINE FROM A CURRNE POP SONG
"Never met a girl like you before."

CELIA

Never met a man like you before. You are fascinating.

THE PROFESSOR.
Yeah. Comes with the territory.

CELIA.
Are you angry with me? Don't be.
David, listen. I have sent you a letter . It should be in your mailbox right now.
Got to go now. I tried to explain everything in the letter.
SHE HANGS UP.

THERE IS A DIAL TONE AS THE PROFESSOR PLACES THE OLDFASHIONED DIAL PHONE ON ITS RECEIVER.

THE PROFESSOR
Fucking women!

HE GOES TO HIS PILE OF MAIL IN THE PIGENHOLE RESERVED FOR MAIL UP ON A RACK. HE FINDS CELIA'S LETTER, LOOKS OVER IT, AND THEN SITS DOWN AT HIS DESK.

CELIA'S VOICEOVER
Dear Daniel,
Dinner Monday night and the subsequent musical entertainment was truly a joy! Seeing you sitting there, in that stifling little room, in the stifling heat, sweating and caught up with your music was one of those moments I shall not easily forget. It was one of those occasions one should like to preserve in amber, freeze in time. The Franco-Ukrainian plays and sings very well indeed!
There certainly does 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 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 wintery nights at the Grey Goat, coffee shops in Oak Ridges on Sunday mornings and in Richmond Hill in the dead of night. I remember a rainy afternoon in Holland Landing and a crazy night with an obstinate Mustang.
I will not lose sight of these 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 relationship, but we never quite lose the value that it has, and never quite walk away and say "fuck this". At least not so far, at least I haven't.
How are you? Did you do any cab driving over the weekend? If so, no doubt you were a basket case following it.
You seem to be content to be back inToronto. I wonder if you are having any trouble maintaining your privacy, as you feared you might. I remember the conversation we had about both being "loners with gregarious tendencies." True indeed. I personally like to pat myself on the back and tell myself it is a sign of maturity, though of course it old be a simple social deficiency, I suppose.
I am on the rampage again. I don't know if you have heard about it, but Environment Canada is planning a deer hunt in our area in November in order that "man and animals can live in harmony." Pardon me while I choke on the irony. I cannot fathom the thinking that justifies destroying that which inconveniences. I phoned the Federation of Ontario Naturalists this morning, and I guess I should start writing some letters. You know, life would be a lot easier if one could just bury ones head in the sand and not get concerned over anything but the newest Harlequin Romance and channels on the tube. Shit, if life could be so simple!
Are you still immersing yourself in Jung? I am almost finished a Balzac, after which I think 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. It made me chuckle.
Dan, 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 you asbestos suit has completely slipped. It all leaves me terribly confused. I am never quite sure if you want to hear from me or not. I thought at one time that your were indulging in what amounted to emotional blackmail. I realize now that 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.
Then, she had added, in her neat round accountant's hand:
Rereading this letter, it appears disjointed and not terribly sparkling or witty.
But Ill send it anyway. And sign it.
With love
Celia





THE PROFESSOR TAKES THE LETTER, CRUMPLE IT UP, TAKES THE TYPERWITER OUT OF ITS LAZY SUSAN NICHE, PLACES IT ON HIS DESK, AND BEGINS
TO WRITE.

Dear Celia,

This is a missive that may have us both wondering 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 origin or Newfoundland be damned. My lifeboat 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 accurately be my angel of the mists who has only know guided me to a firm shore. The lifeboat, is, at any rate, safely moored, but I'd 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 some of the king's 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 fruit and enjoying the pain even so.
You had me hooked, almost grounded and on the road to more obscurity than I already possess. The situation was hopeless, no man would touch it with a ten-foot pole, but 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 this past year) in the first stages of falling in love, and I do mean love, for I am every bit as vain as you and we were bound to start a pretty strong mutual admiration society, a country of two near-extraterrestrials 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 wasn't going to respond too heavily to sentiments that suddenly became those of a younger woman, perhaps a girl of 22, rather than an experienced woman of 35. The letters began to get love-lornish, a little broody, references to "collecting hearts like notches on a gun" and and a quick denial of all that, 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 reference to experienced people who know what it is to walk through fire, to even trade their bodies in situations that surely approach World War Three, while (strangely) possessing the altruism--the love, if you will--to get each back to where each belongs.
I know for certain that you have the altruism, to "get us back to where each belongs". You might even have the love.
But I'm starting to have me doubts.
Perhaps the letters were so young, so direct and full of unmistakable knowledge of their effect that there was no mistake as to the message sent and the message 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, a man not "together" at all. This is the kind of man you can only keep as a friend, a borderline gay like John Losell, though I am not altogether sure.
Now I know I have enough fear to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I also know that it'll be much easier to deal with the husband of a child whom your dog has bitten rather than the wife, for a man is a man, the man I'm dealing with now 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 they reveal everything, the subject of old Daniel comes up and Lana is told to the last detail what to do or to say next.
Yet I know you are making a hellish sacrifice and showing quite a bit of love for me by sticking with me, with a fair appraisal of the consequences. That kind of loyalty has to be 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 you had termed your "open marriage", you said it was "only sex", perhaps a mere fillip to two people who were attracted to each other. Sex didn't seem important to you. It is sure as hell important to me!
Along comes a developing Daniel, halfway a teacher and halfway an alcohol-crazed sex maniac driven half-mad by a woman's beauty, not used at all to a woman who well yet she won't, too used to having women make the first move and not the other way around. I am somewhat vain, spoiled, much like you. Like you, I suppose, I am carrying the auras of too many lovers, who had in the initial meetings, come to me and not me to them.
So I was secure in my resolve, knew that you would come around. I was too secure. I 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 that why certain things should not be done, are not right, while at the same time trying to do those very things. (The sober Daniel is very different from the 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 intuitive machinery, which involves a man's income, social position, access to power, personal attractiveness and the lady has found old Daniel wanting; she does not want sex outside her marriage. Why should she?
But the chilling though comes: What if sex is possible within the marriage and what if those are the only terms through which it can come, and what if it involves not only the lover, but the husband too.. Take a drink of something bracing.
I am not any more modest than I should be; I am not any more naive than I should be; I am a writer, like you hungry for truth, but if I practise duplicity more or less routinely among my friends and lovers, I can not make the words come straight and clean, because my heart is not straight and clean, and so I am reduced to the mass of men and women who long ago made their emotional and financial compromises, so therefore I cannot write with my heart coupled with my mind, the emotion divorced from the logic. Only half of me is up to the task now.
So if there is a sourness to my mood, and effeminacy in my style through all my accusations and all the ways I now move and act, it is not because I am, to you, still one more would-be lover. I have some idea of the dynamic, though I think I'd have to be an outright homosexual to get it all.
I am a writer and a man, not a truck driver, not a jock, a person of some consequence who should be treated with some consideration, for I am vain enough to know that I am not like anybody else; I should not possess the emotional calluses of everybody else in a world of fleshy Fitzgerald characters who go around and devour each other and everything around them, a world of devourers and the devoured.
Many years ago, my then-wife, watching me struggling with an angel, said she was watching the breakdown of a once fine man, and in fact, she was witnessing me having some sort of breakdown, the breakdown of a man in a profession that was somehow not for him, in a marriage that was somehow not for him. That man has since broken and mended and he is not a semiliterate fuckup that falls heavily for a bit of ginch and then has to be treated like the clerk at the local McDonald's.
I have long observed you as a person and a writer, and ambitious person, not at all a little bit of fluff, a woman of great drive and talent. But like many another of us, you have more than your share of personal attractiveness, a fact that gets all the other sisty-uglers upset, and then you get treated like poor Cinderfella, much as in the case of my own life. I have been treated like Cenderfella by many of the sisty-uglers.
You are not a sisty-ugler, but a beautiful woman trying to reach her proper place. For Christ's sake, get us back to where we belong. I am running short of patience, too old now for the waiting game and I am audacious enough to make some demands and set down a contract for you and me. The contract, startling as it seems, runs like so:
You will keep me only through showing me complete and unconditional adulation. I am a jealous god, yes.
You will revolve around me, kiss my ass upon request, and generally put your man forward as best you can without constantly operating in "megahurts", like a radio station. You leave me alone most times, encrusted with the deepest attention- sapping pain. There are times when I feel you are some sort of energy vampire, though, I suppose, six must complement nine, at the risk of being vulgar. We may be drawing our energies from each other.
I am now your lord and master, know it, and I hope I don't blow it. The time has come to separate sheep from men. I will not be your uncle; I will not be enslaved, like poor Lief and go along with anything that you do just to have a little peace as he watches you change into more and more of a tyrant the older you get. This is the path of Anna Karenina. Make no mistake about it, for when a woman first goes to night school, she risks either the convent or the house of the rising sun.
There is a way out for both of us in a love that promises to be much bigger 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 by just fluffing some of my sharpest feathers. I want you to love me as your really do; I expect you to be perfectly honest in telling me whom you're involved with besides Leif and me. I am not a wimp, nor an uncle, nor a homosexual, your strange preference in men to date. I am a man, a damned good one and that is the source of all your roil and occasional spurts of poison as you seem to roll off the anima of your own animus. Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned. I do not mean to scorn you Lana. 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 Lief and I blame him not at all for your staying with him. But how you stay with him! I am not the only threat to a marriage in which the initial trust has been broken...don't cry now, 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 is all resolved. I have been successful in totally destroying a lover of my ex wife's. I am experienced at this now. I am perfectly capable, Machiavellian as it sounds, of destroying Lief. But if I were to, it would be to someone else you would go and not to me.
Love me, love me unconditionally in a for you can find and stop this high school confidential bullshit. I am still the naive, slightly incompetent Inspector Clouseau of the literary world you initially met, though a little older now and very much in love with you. Find a way. Find a way for both of us.
Love,
Daniel


THE PROFESSOR PULLS THE LETTER OUT OF THE TYPEWRITER. THERE IS RIP AS THE PAPER COMES OFF.

HE TAKES AN ENVELOPE OUT OF A DRAWE, INSERTS THE LETTER AND STARES AHEAD INTO SPACE.


LIGHTS DIM






18 comments:

benjibopper said...

this clicks familiar. daniel knows how to throw a written dart. me suspects this isn't going to go down well.

Middle Ditch said...

I love letters, love letters. Good show Ivan, well structured. Methinks he writes too much.

Ivan you have missed several episodes. We miss you in our little village.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

Yep. Ain't gonna be a good response.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks Middle ditch.

Yes, I do write too much.

It' doing something to my health.

....But how else to keep sane? :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

P.s.

I have trouble picking up Miidle Ditch audio today.

But then my TV isn't working either.

entropy!

Will keep trying.

Charles Gramlich said...

"The Telephone, appaerntly not mortally wounded, rings."

Great line, and this shows us a novelist at work rather than a playwright. This is the kind of detail and take on life that I love to see but you don't get that much in plays, or at least the plays I've read.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Charles.

Donnetta Lee said...

Okay, I can "see" this being acted out. Pretty vivid. I'm still trying to figure out whom I would cast in this. Any ideas?
Donnetta

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Anybody who knows the difference between who and whom has got my vote, Donnetta.
Christopher Walken would be fine, but he is too cool. Waycool. Ask Liz, who really likes him.

the walking man said...

Yowzer! Now a change in the symbiosis of the relationship s afoot. Old professor/ novelist appears to want the role of master, in this Master and Servant relationship.

He will lose if Celia decides she will not cede the roll.

Ivan, I never meant to imply that the brevity of the last scene, made it dead. Oh no hell no, it is alive, just as the two letters make this scene rock & roll. This is quite the set up for a whirlwind of Fire over Bradford.

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Yep, it looks like the professor is going to lose.

But he's something of a witch-dunker after long experience in his sudden world of shot horses and fallen women.

He is always reminded by a line from Bob Dylan. The professor is clearly on his last legs, but somehow hanging on, he keeps hearing Bob Dylan from Tom Thumb's Blues:

"Don't put on any more airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they'll really make a mess out of you."

But the professor is, in fact putting on airs.
This is a hubris and may well bring him down.

...Or he might win, hut it might well take him forever.

...By which time he well may have been "a colossal fossil with a docile tassel" and what good will have been the victory?
And Celia become a crone.

Ah well, like my mother used to say, "life fools you."

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Addendum

My mother did say too, in her own Ukrainian way,

"Oh how you will lover each other when you're finally together."

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Middle Ditch (Monique):

I coudn't get in to comment on your site. Maybe it was what I had said? :)

Anyway, here is what I inteded to say on Middle Ditch l3:

It is so British-eccentric.

But then what did I expect?

The lady in the episode is eccentric in the way she keeps her money and her questionable alibi for the money's disappearance.

Btings to mind an old British joke:

"What did you expect Matey...feathers?"

An enjoyable segment

Takes you away from the humdrum of existence,if only for a while.

Anonymous said...

what I want to know is,what happened to the lute?...

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Leading question.

Monique said...

Ivan, as you are a faithful listener to Middle Ditch I am very sad to announce that Paul Hart who plays Alan the publican has suddenly died today Saturday May 10.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Monique,

Not to be anomapotaeic, but why
does the name Paul Hart ring a bell. Was he involved in little theatre?

I am sorry to hear of Paul Hart's death.

These things are sent to try us For certain.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I imagine you are familiar with the Snopes site. Whenever I get a message with a dire warning I check it out with Snopes - most of them are false. I think you will find the following interesting.

From Snopes.com


If you are going to pass something along . . . . let it

be THIS!


To
whom it all concerns:


Just
a word to the wise. E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable
to Congress or any other municipality. To be acceptable,
petitions must have a signed signature and full address.


Same with 'prayer chains' -- be wary!

Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward
on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago
that asked people to send business cards to the little

kid in Florida who wanted to break the Gui nness Book

of Records for the most cards.


All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and
'cookie' tracking info for telemarketers and spammers
to validate active e-mail accounts for their own

purposes.


Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, sign this
petition, or you'll get good luck, or what ever,
it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you
forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy. Each
time it gets forwarded, then it's able to get lists of

'active' e-mails to use in spam e-mails, or sell to others that do.


Please forward this notice to others and you will be providing
a good service to your friends, and will be rewarded by

not getting 30,000 spam e-mails in the future.


(If you have been sending out the above kinds of email,
now you know why you get so much spam!)


Check it out:

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.htm

Anonyous (Mabel):

Why do I fear, as I post this--even more spam!