Monday, May 03, 2010

The professor's self-portrait








ACT IV SCENE V THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, A play.

INT.NIGHT.
THE RESTAURANT DIRECTLY UNDER THE PROFESSOR'S OFFICE-APARTMENT. THE HONKY TONK GIRL, ROSIE AND THE PROFESSOR ARE HAVING AN ELABORATE THREE COURSE MEAL OF SURF AND TURF. THE PROFESSOR NOTICES SHE LOVES TO EAT.... AND WITH HER SOOTHING PRESENCE HE IS HUNGRY HIMSELF. THEY TUCK INTO THE LOBSTER.IT IS QUITE A BIT LIKE THE EATING SCENE IN THE MOVIE TOM JONES. THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE WEIRD SEX UPSTAIRS IN THE APARTMENT. . ROSIE AND THE PROFESSOR ARE DRINKING WHITE WINE BEFORE THE NEXT COURSE. THEIR EYES ARE ON EACH OTHER OVER THE LINEN TABLECLOTH AND THE CANDLE LIGHT. THE WINE IS BEGINNING TO AFFECT THEM. THEY GET A LITTLE MUSHY. THE FRIENDSHIP IS BECOMING COMFORTABLE

THE PROFESSOR INDULGES A LONG, GAZE AT ROSIE ROSE WHILE HAVING HIS OWN RUM AND COKE.

PROFESSOR(MAKING A SOUND OF CONTENTMENT)

Hmmm.

ROSIE (ANSWERING)

Hmmmm!

PROFESSOR

This is such a cool place...Must be the seafood. Reminds, me, somehow, of my student days near a fishing village in Mexico.


ROSIE

You been to Mexico?

PROFESSOR

Sure, hasn't everybody?
I've been lots of places. Professional student, I guess. Protracted adolescence. Alway in the creative writing courses. Getting scholarships, fellowships. It seemed so easy, right up into my thirties.

ROSIE.

Wow. I knew you were a writer, but I thought you were just a dabbler, your French course being your bread and butter.

PROFESSOR,

Oh, I write lots. Probably too much.

A lot lately, especlially after my go-around with that Loreli,
Celia.

ROSIE

Alway the Celia....Don't you know well enough that you should never mention the previous dutchess on a date?

PROFESSOR

Yeah, I've been talking about her too much. Sorry.

ROSIE

I see you're fiddlng with what looks like a manuscript . It's sticking out of your left breast pocket...Kinda destroys the lines of your outfit. What have you got there? It looks as if it's in stanzas. Poetry?

PROFESSOR

Yeah, it's poetry. I am really getting too old, too full of negative capability to write poetry. It seems open-ended. Dr. Doolittle's Push me-Pull you. That, or it's just too fine a form for me...I think I'm basically a journalist.
Hell, in any event an editor of something called Fiddlehead has said it right on in something I'd submitted. "These are not good poems."...How about that for a prof?

ROSIE

Maybe you had to suffer some. You know, the country song thing. Hurtin' poetry. Ya got hurtin' poetry?

PROFESSOR:

Heh. I thought you'd never ask. Yes, I have hurtin' poetry!


THE PROFESSOR REACHES INTO HIS VEST POCKET AND PRODUCES A TYPESCRIPT, FOLDED OVER ONCE.
HE LAYS THE WORK FLAT AND PASSES IT OVER TO ROSIE ACROSS THE RED-AND-WHITE BISTRO TABLECLOTH.

ROSIE IS ABOUT TO READ, BUT SHE IS SUDDENLY DISTRACTED BY SOMETHING GOING ON BEHIND THE PROFESSOR.

SHE PUTS THE SCRIPT DOWN AND HAS A LONG GAZE PAST THE PROFESSOR.


ROSIE:

Behind you. Don't look now.


PROFESSOR:

Wha...?



That woman behind you, by the telephones, wearing a a hood. Really medieval.


PROFESSOR (HIS MOOD NOW SLIGHTLY BROKEN)

What's a strange woman got to do with anything?

ROSIE

Look at her. She is right out of the sixteenth century. Lorna Doone, you'd think.

PROFESSOR

Woman in a hood?...Oh yeah. There she is by the door....Where are we Sleepy Hollow? That's downright gothic.


ROSIE

I think I know her from somewhere.

Whoops. She's gone now.

ROSIE NOW TURN HER ATTENTION BACK TO THE PROFESSOR'S MANUSCRIPT.

ROSIE

Mind if I read it aloud?

PROFESSOR.

Of course not. Spoken word. It's better that way.

ROSIE BEGINS TO READ

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 to 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.


ROSIE PAUSES. LOOKS UP.

Jesus, professor. You are not only a poet, you're prescient, I think. Somehow seems to me a death wish for both of you.

Listen prof, I think we should go upstairs and fuck.
Hoods. Bell book and candle. That woman is death.
We might have to fuck all night just to stay ahead of that Red Queen.. ..Or is she black?

THEY GET UP, THE PROFESSOR A LITTLE AWKWARDLY. THE PROFESSOR GOES TO THE CASH WITH ROSIE.

BUT NOT BEFORE GETTING ANOTHER GLIMPSE OF THE MYSTERIOUS WOMAN IN THE HOOD THROUGH THE FRONT WINDOW.

.....end scene

11 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

A mysterious woman, and an invitation from another woman to fuck. this guy has all the luck.

TomCat said...

And the mysterious woman is....

Gawd! I hope not!

ivan said...

Charles,

Yes, for a prof he seems to have more luck than brains(for a prof)--at least at this point.

ivan said...

TomCat,

You guessed it!

Mona said...

The professor seems resigned since he has no irritable reaching out over facts and reason anymore....

If that is Celia's hooded ghost risen out of apartment fire, this sure is turning Gothic!

I think that your professor is a masochist!

poetry, love poetry. I know I have written it too. But to be frank, I always feel that love poetry is something which is written only by either an egotist or out of frustrated lust.

Love is something that is supposed to make you do greater things...in the word of Mr Lohan " Build".

ivan said...

Mona.

Is it Celia's ghost risen out of the aparment fire?

That is a brilliant insight.

Yeah, I guess it is turning out to be a bit gothic.

The writer is probably running out of gas an is reaching for the Don Juan story, probably Moliere's.

But the prof is acrually Lower East Side by backrdound. His approach to literature might be,

How's it going Don? How're ya dooin'?
You gonna help me with my play, Don? :)

the walking man said...

So the obsession now is turning. Celia is tailing the David. But why? hell as they say hath no fury...and it may simply be that she is telling Rocco where the next fire needs be set.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

You're great at plot analysis.

Me, I'm terrible at it.

Let the characters take over?--But I hear that really never happens.

Gotta bring it to a climax.

Pausing here for prayer and fasting.

Middle Ditch said...

Oh my god Ivan, she isn't is she?

I read most and really enjoy this.


Creepy!!

ivan said...

Monique,

Yeah, it's getting to be a bit creepy.
Your current radio piece, on the other hand, is somewhat lighthearted and wildly funny.
City slicker chased by pigs! Oink!

Take care.

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