Oranges response


This is a poem I wrote in response to another poem. Enjoy 🙂

Your first time was cold
and you weren’t old
Your double meaning
was a bit misleading.
I thought this was innocent,
once I knew what it meant
I was intrigued and amazed
at how well you played.
The words painted two pictures
I didn’t see the hitches
until we dug deeper
and found the peeper.
I never realized
just how wise
it would be to discern
what you wanted us to learn
until we found out
what it was all about.
Now I see the art
and I cannot part
with the wonder
as I sit and ponder
have I deceived myself
by putting it back on the shelf
because I was too lazy
when the meaning was hazy
to pick up a book
and look
for the meaning
I didn’t glean
as I read
the words you bled.

Happy Ending


The following is a play I wrote for my Introduction to Theatre class. It is a little graphic and there is profanity, so if you’re not comfortable with it then I suggest you don’t read it. It is a sensitive topic for some, so read with caution. However, I assure you…it’s not the worst thing you’ll ever read, and those who have read it and seen it performed enjoyed it.

The scene is set in modern day Vale, Colorado. It’s mid-summer, later in the evening on a Saturday, so the weather is perfect for being outside without a jacket or long sleeves. The city is full of people, but not too crowded, and the air is crisp with a touch of humidity. It is the perfect summer night.
The curtain opens to a couple who have just left a restaurant where they intended to have dinner, but the female (Sylvia) was feeling rather drained and didn’t have much of an appetite. She and her date (Austin) agreed to go to his place to watch some movies and drink some wine. The valet brings the car around, and Sylvia is ushered into the car by Austin, who then tips the valet and gets in the car.

Sylvia
Thank you for being so understanding.

Austin
Really, it’s no trouble. As long as I get to be with you, I’m happy.
(He takes her hand, kisses it, then rests their hands on her leg.)

Sylvia
I feel the same way. I enjoy our time together and I look forward to the time we share.
(He glances at her, smiling.)
I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I feel a connection with you that I’ve never felt before.

Austin
(He slips his hand onto her thigh, and gently squeezes it.)
Mmm, I do too. It’s like we were meant to be together, do you agree?

Sylvia
Perhaps, but why don’t we just see where this goes, okay?

Austin
Sounds good to me.
(He turned the radio on to a channel that played slow, smooth jazzy music. It was the kind he used to entice woman to sleep with him.)
Do you like jazz?

Sylvia
It’s not my favorite, but I don’t hate it either. Although, this does sound pretty nice…relaxing and smooth.

Austin
That’s the idea. It’s to help you get in the mood, ya know?

Sylvia
(Sounding slightly annoyed)
Oh? And what mood would that be?

Austin
The mood for comfort, relaxation and pleasure.
(His hand began to slide up her thigh, under her skirt.)

Sylvia
(Squirming at the feel of his hand)
I’m not sure we’re there yet. I mean, this is only our second date.

Austin
Yeah, so. We both want it, so why wait?

Sylvia
Well, I’d like to know a bit more about you and I need to feel the chemistry…I don’t feel it yet.

Austin
What do you mean? You said you felt a connection like you’ve never felt before.

Sylvia
Well yeah, but I just don’t feel that yet.

Austin
Oh, okay, then. Well, what do you want to know?

They stopped at a red light and he looked into her eyes. She could feel her insides begin to melt and suddenly his hand was at the very top of her thigh…barely touching the edge of her panties.

Sylvia
Well, what do your parents do for a living?

He turned to face the light again and took off as soon as it turned green. The thought of his parents angered him.

Austin
They’re dead.

Sylvia
I’m so sorry to hear that.
(She turned to look at him and saw the anger in his eyes.)

Austin
Don’t be sorry, you didn’t kill them. They did it to themselves and left me to clean up the mess.
(The car fell silent except for the sounds of a cool jazzy saxophone heard over the radio. Sylvia slowly reached over to turn up the volume in an attempt to help him relax. After a few moments, the tension seemingly began to dissipate.)
Ya know, I never did ask what you do for a living.

Sylvia
Well, actually, I’m a writer.

Austin
What do you write?
(His hand squeezed her thigh and he began rubbing his pinky finger along the edge of her panties.)

Sylvia
Fiction.
(She didn’t want to say any more, because she didn’t want to lead him on. He already had the wrong idea of how this night would go, and she was determined to change that…she just wasn’t sure how.)

Austin
What kind of fiction?

Sylvia
Well, I’m working on a novel about a girl who kills the man who attempts to rape her, but I’m having a hard time with the ending.
(His hand slides back down to her knee.)

Austin
Sounds like some story.

Sylvia
Yeah, it is, and the research keeps getting more and more interesting as I write.

Austin
Am I research?

Sylvia
No, you’re fun…for now anyway.
(She winked at him to ease the tension that had begun to surface again and his hand went back up her thigh.)
Where did you say you live again?

Austin
On the outskirts of town. It’s got a nice yard and about twenty acres of land surrounding the house.

Sylvia
Sounds nice. Any neighbors?

Austin
No, not really.

Sylvia
How far is it?

Austin
Only about fifteen minutes or so. It’s really nice, you’ll like it. I promise.

Sylvia
How do you know I’ll like it?

Austin
Trust me, you’ll love it.
(He glanced at her and winked, making her feel a bit more at ease.)

Sylvia
If you say so.
(She took his hand in hers, because she needed to think without his hand so close to a place that made her lose her mind.)

Austin
Are you okay?

Sylvia
I’m fine, why?

Austin
Just making sure. Were you uncomfortable with my hand there?

Sylvia
I don’t know, I just couldn’t think with it there.

Austin
What’s there to think about? This is a no-brainer if you ask me.

Sylvia
That’s the problem though. This has never happened to me before—getting a hot, rich guy to even glance my way, let alone take me to his house. It’s a bit nerve-wracking if you ask me.

Austin
(He pulled their hands to his lips and he sweetly caressed the back of her hand and fingers with his lips.)
Trust me, my dear, you have nothing to worry about.

Sylvia
What do you do for a living? I mean, how are you only twenty-eight years old, and so fucking rich? This car costs more than I’ve made int he past three years alone.

Austin
Ha ha, well, let’s just say that I’ve made some smart investments, saved a bunch, and found a profession that supports my lifestyle while paying me a large amount of money, and gives me some time off.

Sylvia
Wow, that’s vague. For all I know, you could be part of the mafia or some other illegal profession.

Austin
I assure you, everything I do is one hundred percent legal.

Sylvia
Then why can’t you tell me what you do?

Austin
Honestly, because very few people know. My job is highly confidential, and only those who I trust know what I do…and that’s only because my job can get dangerous.

Sylvia
Oh. Military?

Austin
No.
(He put his hand back on her thigh and began caressing the edge of her panties—his finger creeping in and out, here and there, hoping for a reaction.)

Sylvia
If all you want is sex, you could have just said so right off the bat.

Austin
Is that what you want?

Sylvia
I…I don’t know yet. This is kind of a lot to take in, ya know?

Austin
Well, how about you just sit back and relax. We’re almost there, and then we can see where the night takes us.

Sylvia
Will you keep your hand out of my panties in the mean time?

Austin
Hmm, I can’t promise you that. You see, your body is doing things to me that I can’t control, and touching you is the only way I can remain calm enough to drive.

Sylvia
That’s a load of bull.

Austin
You think I’m lying? See for yourself. He has been standing at attention since I picked you up this evening.

Sylvia
No, I’m not going to do that, you’re driving.
(Taking his hand off of her thigh, he grabbed her left hand and placed it on his erection.)

Austin
See, not lying…unless you think it works like Pinocchio’s nose.

Sylvia
(Excited by what she felt, she was hesitant to remove her hand. She was still unsure where she wanted the night to go and this wasn’t helping.)
Ha ha, well, I did feel some growth.

Austin
I told you I wasn’t lying.
(He returned his hand to where it came from, this time a bit more brazenly by entering his fingers further into her panties.)

Sylvia
What are you doing? I told you I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

Austin
Well, you haven’t removed your hand from my cock, so I assume what we’re doing now is okay.

Sylvia
How about you go back to what you were doing before. You’re a bit too close to my vagina for my comfort.

Austin
Okay, but I guarantee you’ll want it as soon as it’s gone.

Sylvia
No, I won’t. I don’t want you to think that something more is going to happen. I can assure you, it’s not.
(She removed her hand from his erection and moved his hand closer to her knee.)

Austin
Why did you do that?

Sylvia
Because I’m not comfortable anymore. Take me home please.

He pulled over to the side of the road, took his seatbelt off and turned to face her.

Austin
I promise you, we’ll only go as far as you want, but I assure you, you’ll want to go all the way.

Sylvia
No, I don’t. Take me home, now, please.

Austin
Ah, that’s where you’re wrong. Your little pussy got wet as soon as you touched me, and you know it. You want me, you’re just nervous…there’s nothing to be nervous about.

Sylvia
I’m not nervous, now take me home, please.

Austin
I’m going to take you somewhere, but it won’t be home.

He quickly reached over and grabbed her by the arms. Swiftly, he pushed her into the back seat. It happened so fast, that she didn’t really know what was going on and didn’t really have much time to react or try to stop him.

Sylvia
What are you doing? Get off of me!

Austin
I’m giving you what you want, baby. Now, open your legs like a good girl, so I can get it in.

Sylvia
GET OFF OF ME!!!
She struggled to break out of his grip, but he was too strong. His left hand held both of her wrists, while his right hand worked his pants. His body weight and the tight confines of the backseat fave her little room to move.

Austin
You’re not going anywhere, bitch. No one says no to me.

Sylvia
Like hell!
(She spat in his face which only angered him even more. She could feel his legs between hers, pushing them apart. He ripped her panties off and in that moment, she found her strength.)
Get the fuck off of me you coward!
(She saw and felt that her resistance only excited him more, so she decided to change her tactic.)

Austin
Not until you give me what I want.

Sylvia
Okay, I’ll give you what you want.

Austin
Yeah?

Sylvia
Yes, you’re right. Why fight it? I want you. Right here, right now.

Austin
See, I knew you’d come to your senses.

Sylvia
Only I’d like to do something first.

Austin
Oh, yeah? What’s that?

Sylvia
Well, you’ve been so nice to me, I thought I’d take care of you first.

Austin
Now we’re talking.
(He let go of her hands and they rearranged themselves to accommodate her servicing him.)
Yeah, that feels good, baby.

Sylvia
Shall I keep going?

Austin
Yeah, don’t stop. Mmmm…

Sylvia
Oh, I won’t.

The screams could have been heard for miles, and blood covered her face and the while leather interior of the car. She sat there, and watched as the blood poured out—his face changing color, first red with anger and pain, then white with shock and fear, until all of the color left him and he stopped moving.

Sylvia
Huh, I guess I just figured out the ending to my book.

Then she wiped her mouth with her arm, got in the driver’s seat, and drove away.

Jeremy
Sylvia, wake up…wake up, you’re dreaming.

He shakes her vigorously, in an attempt to wake her up.

Sylvia
(Sweating and breathing hard, she wakes from her dream, and sits up in a panic)
What? What? Wh-where am I?

Jeremy
Sylvia, you’re here, with me, at home. You’re trembling. What were you dreaming about?

Sylvia
(Slowly, she turned her head to look at her husband, then looks at her hands and begins wiping her face—checking for blood.)
What…oh thank God! It’s not real. It didn’t happen.

Jeremy
What? What didn’t happen?

Sylvia
(Tears begin to form, and her face went pale.)
Austin…he…he tried to…but, I…I bit…

Jeremy
Oh, Sylvia.

The scene closes on Sylvia crying on Jeremy’s shoulder as he holds her close to his chest, petting her head, reassuring her that she’s okay, and he won’t let anything happen to her.

Excerpt from my novel “October Rust”


I don’t normally do this…BUT, I had to write a short story for one of my classes last semester. I decided to use a portion of my novel for the assignment. I don’t normally post anything from my novel, but I thought this would be okay since it was one of my papers.

Enjoy!!

She was at her desk preparing for the new check-in when Jeremy walked through the door. A subordinate took his information and asked him to “wait one.” He sat down and not a minute later, was being escorted to the L.P.O.’s desk which was towards the rear of the office. Since Sylvia was the highest ranking in the department, she was the only one allowed to handle the officers.
From the corner of her eye, she saw him standing next to her desk, “Please take a seat,” she said politely as she kept her eyes on task. A moment later, she looked up to greet him apologetically, but was suddenly struck with the inability to speak, and her heart began to race. He just smiled at her, and sat calmly.
“Oh, uh, hi…um….I mean…uh, good morning, Sir,” she stammered.
“Good morning, Petty Officer. I’m sorry, did I startle you,” he asked as she gazed into her eyes.
“No, Sir. Well, yes, Sir. I was expecting a new check-in, Sir,” she stammered. “May I get you some coffee while you wait?” she asked, hopeful.
“Yes, I’d love some, thank you,” he replied, unable to break his gaze.
“Great, how do you take it?” she asked.
“Black, please,” he smiled.
“Yes, Sir, I’ll be right back,” she replied as she hurriedly exited her cubicle. She was desperate for just one moment to take a deep breath and find the military bearing that she had apparently left somewhere else.
His eyes had been glued to her from the moment he caught the first glimpse of her in her cubicle. It was only natural for him to watch her walk away, and subsequently allow himself to dream up a quick imaginary sexual escapade.
“Here’s your coffee, Sir,” she said, as she returned with his coffee in hand, then placed the cup on the edge of her desk.
“Oh, thank you,” he replied, snapping out of his fantasy.
“I just need about five more minutes, then we can start getting you checked in,” she said trying not to blush as she noticed the abnormally larger bulge in his pants.
“Take your time, MA2, I’m in no rush,” he replied.
A few minutes later, she closed the Lieutenant’s file and said, “Okay, Sir, I’m ready to go,” as she tucked her garrison cap under her belt strap, and put her phone in her pocket. “Oh, I’m MA2 Duarte. I seem to have forgotten my manners earlier, Sir, my apologies,” she said, then picked up the Lieutenant’s file and paused as he followed suit.
“Nice to meet you, MA2, I’m Lieutenant Jeremy Kennicot,” he said, reaching out to shake her hand. “I’m sorry, did you say MA2 Duarte? As in former MA3 Duarte who busted the prostitution ring over at the sub base last year?” he asked, sounding surprised.
“Yes, Sir. That’s me,” she blushed.
“Well, then it is a pleasure to meet you, MA2. When I read about you in the Sailor’s Journal, I was amazed at the way you handled that entire case,” he said.
“Well, thank you, Sir, but I was just doing my job,” she replied.
“Well, I’m glad you did. It takes a lot of courage to do what you did, and to handle it all so calmly. I’m happy to be on board ship with such a courageous woman, uh, I mean, MA,” he said, his cheeks reddening.
Seeing the color of his face go from tan to crimson caused hers to do the same, “Okay, well,” she said, clearing her throat, “we’re burnin’ daylight, so let’s get this done. I’m hoping to get you to the O.O.D. (Officer of the Deck) before lunch.”
“You’re right, we should get this done,” he said picking up his coffee, thankful his groin had finally relaxed enough to allow enough comfort to walk.
Sylvia did her best to tactfully slow down the check-in process. She wanted to cherish every moment she could, so she could save the images of him for future reference. Her imagination was already running wild and it was becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the task at hand. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get you to see the OOD today. He’ll be in tomorrow, so I’ll call first thing in the morning to set up an appointment. Would you prefer to call it a day now, or continue after chow?” she asked, hoping he would choose the latter so she could regain some sort of mental clarity.
“Why don’t we pick this up tomorrow. I’ve been traveling for the past three days, and I honestly just want to sleep. I hope you don’t mind,” he replied.
“Sure thing, Sir. I’ve got some phone calls to make and paperwork to file anyway. Here’s my card, if you have any trouble with your living quarters, give me a call and I’ll get you squared away. Tomorrow, 0700 in my office?” she asked hoping he couldn’t see her attraction to him in her eyes.
“Yes, 0700 sounds perfect. See you then, MA2,” he said.
“Okay, have a good day, Sir,” she replied. Knowing the aching between her legs wouldn’t go away, she decided to take a quick detour to her room before returning to the office.
The rest of the day was as mundane as any other day, paperwork was filed, incident reports were written, and new sailors were checked in. She had allowed herself to become consumed by what was in front of her that she didn’t even notice YN3 Knight standing right in front of her until he spoke.
“MA2, it’s 1700, are you going to lock up or should I?” he asked, hoping she’d answer him this time.
Startled by the blast back into reality, she replied, “Uh, what, um, yeah, I’ll lock up.” As she straightened her dest and finished locking up the cabinets and office, it had occurred to her that she hadn’t thought about “Officer Hot pants” for what seemed to be forever. She was proud of that accomplishment, yet disappointed that she was now daydreaming about him again. Normally she’d go to chow before going back to her room, but she decided to go to the gym first to burn off some energy, so she went to her room to change. It was moments like this that made her happy about being an LPO, because they got their own room on ship and she hated sharing her personal space with other people.
As she opened her door and flicked on the light switch, she noticed an envelope on the floor with her first name printed in block letters across the front. Using a pair of tweezers from her handbag, she picked up the envelope and placed it on her nightstand. She didn’t recognize the handwriting and didn’t even want to give it another thought, so she got ready for the gym like she had originally planned. She was just about to leave when she decided to at least see who the note was from. Using the tweezers, she carefully opened the envelope and looked at the bottom where the signature was. Her heart skipped a beat in hopeful disbelief. Thinking it was a joke, she called the number that was printed below the signature. She was startled to hear his voice on the voicemail, but left a message anyway. She couldn’t even remember what she said and didn’t want to waste any more time trying to find out. She was sure it was a howx so she resolved herself with that decision and left for the gym. Upon arriving at the gym, she went through the usual monotony of showing her ID, signing in, and using the ladies room. She was putting her ear buds in her ears as she exited the locker room, and, in her distraction, she walked right into someone. Her right hand whacked him in his family jewels and her forehead slammed into the bottom of his chin.
“Oh my God, Sir, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going,” she said, as her face turned fire hydrant red.
He looked into her eyes, smiled and said, “It’s okay, my jaw isn’t broken,” then he winked at her and continued into the men’s locker room.
Her insides were melting like ice cream on a hot summer day in Iraq, but she managed to maintain her composure. She was reeling, so she went to knock out some push-ups on the floor mats and blare Metallica (the black album).
About an hour later, she felt refreshed and utterly fatigued so she called it a day. She made one more trip to the ladies’ room, then stopped at the front desk for a bottle of water and a protein shake before heading to the chow hall. She was halfway there when she decided to skip chow and go back to her room for a shower and relaxation.
She got cozy in her pajamas, put her favorite old romantic comedy in the DVD player and vegged out on her bed. She was just about to doze off when her voicemail notification sounded. She clicked the icon to listen to the message, and was pleasantly surprised to hear Jeremy’s voice. Hearing his voice did things to her body that she hadn’t felt in a long time. After a few minutes, she steeled herself, then picked up the phone to call him back. As she dialed, she prayed to herself that she wouldn’t sound like an idiot.
“Hello,” he answered breathlessly.
“Uh, hi, um, good evening, Sir,” she stammered. “Is this a good time?”
“Sure, what’s up?” he asked.
“First, I’d like to apologize for bumping into you earlier,” she said.
Laughing, he replied, “It’s okay, trust me. It’s not every day I get my jaw broken while being felt up by a beautiful woman.”
She could hear the sincerity in his voice, and her face turned beet red, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know I did that!”
“Really, don’t worry about it,” he said laughing, “I’m not complaining. My jaw is fine and at least I know that my dick still works.”
She just sat there, not knowing how to respond to his last comment.
“Okay, I’m sorry about that,” he said, clearing his throat. “What did you need?” he asked with a more serious tone.
“Well, there was a letter that had been slipped under my door, when I came home from work earlier today. It says it’s signed by you. I thought it was probably a joke, and wanted to let you know so neither one of us got in trouble for fraternization,” she said, matter-of-factly.
“Oh, do you mind if I take a look at this letter you’re talking about. Do you mind if I come by your room?” he asked.
“Well, no, but…”
“Good, I’ll be right there,” he said, as he cut her off and hung up the phone.
“Wait…what?” she thought to herself, as she realized it really was him who left the letter. A few moments later, she heard a knock on the door, then rushed to open it.
Pushing her inside the room and closing the door behind him, he said, “That was close. So, where’s this letter you mentioned?”
Taken aback by her reaction to the feel of his hands on her body, it took her a minute to respond. Then she could only muster a dazed, “Over there,” as she turned and pointed to it.
He pretended to examine the latter, then asked her, “Would you reject me if I told you I wrote this?”
“Wait, you really did write that? Why? You know as well as I do that we could both get in a lot of trouble. I’m not ready to lose my career, and I’m sure you don’t want to either. Besides, you don’t want me. You’ll always be second to the Navy for me. I never put stock in anyone except myself,” she said.
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” he asked.
“Well, I just…and we just met, and…”
“So no one has to know. We’ll just see where this goes and worry about the rest later, okay?”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“Shh, it’ll be fine. Let’s just give it a try,” he said, tempting her with his ocean blue eyes.
He closed the gap between them, took her by the waist and placed his other hand on her cheek—kissing her tenderly. Slowly, she returned his kiss, deepening their embrace and sparking passion. As he gently pulled away, and looked deep into her eyes, she couldn’t resist allowing him to see right through to her soul. She was reeling. In that instant, he unknowingly held her heart in his hands. Somehow, she didn’t mind, she even felt relieved, because she found comfort in his kiss, and security in his embrace.
“You okay?” he asked, as he wiped a tear from her eye.
“Yeah, why?”
“You’re crying.”
“Oh, am I?
“Yes,” he replied, “I’m sorry if, I mean, was that unwanted?”
“No, actually, I wanted that very much. I’d even like for you to do it again, if you don’t mind…Sir,” she said with a wink. The sexiness in her voice and look in her eyes shot straight to his groin. He closed the gap between them, and kissed her as if it were their last.
Pulling away a moment later, she said, “As much as I want to take this further, I think we should call it a night. We both need to be up early and I know I’ll have a hard time maintaining my bearing if we were to take this any further tonight.”
“You’re right. I should go,” he said with a bit of sadness in his voice. He knew she was right and glad that she had the sense to stop things before they started. In fact, it may have been the breaking point for him—the moment that stole his heart.
“Okay, then,” the look in her eyes told him that she felt the same way, “I’ll see you in the morning.” She opened the door and checked the hallway, giving him a “thumbs up,” allowing him to slip out the door. She closed the door and grabbed some microwave popcorn before returning to her movie. As she relaxed once again, she drifted in and out of sleepiness. She began to dream about her and Jeremy as if they were in the movie.
When she woke the next morning, it took her a few moments to make sense of what her brain had done all night long. It all felt so real, and couldn’t figure out if it was a dream or reality. Doing her best to put it out of her mind, she got ready for work and made her way through the ship to her office. When she arrived, she mindlessly went through her usual routine of turning things on, unlocking cabinets, making coffee and getting her agenda squared away for the day. Once she was through with her tasks, she took a few moments to refocus her thoughts.
Promptly at 0700, she gathered Lt. Kennicot’s paperwork, made his coffee and checked her emails. She must have gotten sucked in to the items on her computer screen, because she sound of him clearing his throat startled her. “Oh, geez, Sir, you scared the shit outta me!” she exclaimed.
“My apologies, MA2,” Jeremy said, entering Sylvia’s cubicle.
“Oh, geez, Sir, you startled me!” she exclaimed.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s okay, Sir.”
“Please forgive my tardiness, I got held up with my Commanding Officer. There has been an adjustment to my billet,” he said, looking directly into her eyes.
“There has? What kind of adjustment?” she asked, perplexed.
“Yes. Apparently the ship’s Admiral decided to move me from my original position. The squadron was running well and didn’t think it was necessary to make even more changes,” he replied.
“Okay…so where are you going then?” she asked.
“Well, since there isn’t an officer in the MA office, they decided I should stay,” he said, almost afraid of her reaction.
“Is that the only reason?” she asked.
“Yes. Some people were complaining that a lower ranking enlisted was working with the incoming officers, which resulted in the need for an officer here. Since I was the newest officer on the ship and my squadron was doing fine without me, I became the prime candidate,” he responded.
“Okay, then I guess we’ll have to get you squared away with the ship first, then I’ll show you how things work here,” she replied. “Just give me a minute to adjust your paperwork.” The anticipation began to build, and her imagination began to drift back to her dream.
“Sure, no problem. Um, is this for me?” he asked, pointing to the coffee on her desk.
“Yes, but it might be cold.”
“I’ll drink it anyway,” he winked.
She melted at the sight of his flirtatious gesture, causing her mind to go into overdrive.
The check-in process went smoothly for the Lieutenant, and he and Sylvia were able to complete the list of tasks before lunch.
“Are people always this accommodating to you?” he asked Sylvia over some pizza in the chow hall.
“Yeah, pretty much,” she smiled. “It’s not just me though, it’s all of us in the MA office. They don’t want to piss us off, because we can get them kicked off the ship or put on restriction. We scratch each others back and everyone is happy. Unless they really mess up, then they know we’re just doing our jobs.”
“That’s cool,” he replied.
“Yeah, it works. Plus, I’ve been here long enough to have dealt with some things I wish I hadn’t, but it’s just part of Navy life.” She looked down at her plate for a moment, trying not to let any tears form. She took a deep breath, then said, “Everyone sees something they don’t want to at some point in their lives, right?”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” he said.
Looking at her watch, she said, “We should get back to the office. There are some things we should get done before the end of the day.”
“Okay, sounds good,” he replied.
They returned to the office and Sylvia showed Jeremy how she runs things, and gave him some time to settle in.
“MA2,” he said, getting her attention.
“Yes, Sir.”
Feeling the power of her gaze and completely succumbing to her, he said, “I can see that you have a fine working office and your coworkers respect you. I’m not one to change things if they work well, so from here on out, I work for you.”
“Thank you, Sir,” she replied, softening. It was amazing how relieved she felt at that moment. His sincerity and the way he bent to her will made her feel powerful and more like a woman than ever before. She wanted him. Right then and there, she had to have him. The inexplicable raw desire she felt towards him slowly began to invade her every thought and she felt it with ever fiber of her being. She took a calming breath with her eyes closed, refocused her thoughts, and went back to her work.
It was a text from the Lieutenant. She felt herself smiling from ear to ear.
“Have I done something to upset or offend you?”
Wanting to turn around to talk to him, it killed her to have to text back. She responded…
“No, it’s just our situation. I can’t get in trouble. We’ll talk later.”
“Okay. 1900. Your room. Leave door unlocked.”
Her heart raced at the thought of him being in her room again.
“Yes, Sir!”
She smiled to herself as she envisioned the look on his face when she heard him chuckle in his silly, flirtatious way, then resumed her work. The next few hours went on as usual. She and Jeremy maintained their bearing and their coworkers were none the wiser. When quitting time came around, Sylvia was all about everyone getting out on time. As soon as she locked the office door, she raced to her room, changed, then went to the gym. Finishing her workout in record time, she made it to the galley before it closed, giving her just enough time to grab dinner to go.
When she returned to her room, she ate her dinner rather quickly. Then anticipation was overwhelming, so she took a shower in hopes to ease her body and mind. As she turned off the water, she heard a noise out in the bedroom. Having lost track of time, she checked her watch. It was a bit early to be Jeremy, so she peeked through the opening between the door and the jamb. She spied him lying peacefully on her bed without a care in the world. As she gazed at his sun kissed skin, she began to wonder why he chose her. Then she remembered the instant spark she felt when she caught herself looking at him as if it were the first time. His bare feet, worn jeans, and unbuttoned shirt sent her body into a frenzy and it took everything she had not to throw herself on top of him.
She saw the glare from the television, and the look of pure joy on his face, melted her heart and she knew he was the one for her. She began to tip-toe out of the bathroom, and as she came into his peripheral view, he turned to look at her. He was looking at the most beautiful girl in the world, she was looking back at him and he was in awe.
He got off the bed, closing the gap between them, then held her face in his hands as he kissed her passionately. Their passion quickly grew to an erotic need. They began undressing each other as though the world would end if they didn’t. He picked her up and gently placed her on the bed. His hands touched her and his lips explored her butterscotch skin as if her body were rose petals and they’d break if he touched her too harshly.
Her alarm woke her out of a sound slumber, and was surprised when she saw no trace of Jeremy. It weighed on her heart to not have had the chance to wake up in his arms, but she was glad he had gone, because there was less chance of anyone knowing about their affair. She took a deep breath, and put the thoughts out of her mind so she could focus on preparing herself for work and the things she’d have to accomplish at work that day.
Her body protested the demand for refocusing, and every time she so much as walked past or near her bed, she felt a tugging in her lower abdomen and a tingly feeling between her legs. She felt as though her body and mind were having an epic battle and it took every bit of mental strength she had to press on with her responsibilities. She prayed the walk through the ship would help her body to submit to her mind’s will and take a break from being so wound up.
She arrived at the office and went about her routine, and immediately became engrossed in the task at hand. She was thankful for the end of the month purging of the filing cabinets, because it allowed her to escape the daily demands of the office. No new check-ins, no appointments and each person took a section of the cabinets. They wore civilian clothes and listened to music as they worked.
A few hours into the project, she was interrupted by the Lieutenant. “May I help you, Sir?” she asked without taking her eyes off the task at hand. She didn’t dare glance in his direction just yet, she was afraid of what her heart might do.
“Well, I thought we might talk a minute,” he replied.
She paused for a moment, then slowly looked up at him. He looked absolutely perfect in her eyes and her heart felt like it skipped a beat. “Well, there is a lot of work to do, so talking isn’t exactly a good idea right now. Besides, we have nothing to talk about, I’ve gone over the procedures with you and you have the S.O.P.,” she stated, trying her best to maintain her bearing in the workplace.
“Well, everyone else went to lunch, so I thought we could talk about last night,” he said, his voice slightly trembling.
Sensing he had something important to say, she replied, “Just this once. I really don’t want to mix our personal relationship with work.”
“Fair enough,” he said as he moved closer. “I’m not sure what it is you’re hoping will come out of this, but I do hope that you want it to go beyond last night. I have had my fair share of flings, and temporary convenient relationships. I don’t want that from you.”
“What are you saying?” she asked.
“I’m saying that I want you to be mine. I know we have to hide our relationship from the Navy, but I don’t care. I just want you,” he said taking her hand and looking deep into her eyes.
For a moment, she could feel their souls intertwining as she fell deeper in love with him. Terrified of the future and how it would go, she replied, “I do too.” Tears began to form in her eyes and gently, he wiped them away.
“Hey,” he said as he softly lifted her chin up, “don’t cry. We’ll figure it out. Leave the door unlocked tonight. I’ll be there by seven.”
“Alright,” she said as she pulled away and wiped the remaining tears. “Why don’t I go get us some lunch?”
“Okay,” he replied.
Sylvia returned with their lunches, then they ate and worked separately. The rest of the office staff had come back from chow and already knee deep in their share of the files, so they were forced to keep their distance. Besides, Sylvia was swimming in anticipation of the upcoming conversation, and she knew that if she were to get too close to him she might not be able to maintain her bearing.
After work she went to the gym, then anxiously awaited Jeremy’s arrival. She found herself three beers deep when Jeremy opened the door. “Hey, you’re here! I was beginning to think you weren’t coming,” Sylvia said. It was obvious she had been drinking, and he found her adorable in this state.
“Yes, I’m here and I’m sorry I’m late,” he said. He couldn’t help the knots he felt in his stomach. He had so much to say, but didn’t know where to begin.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, “You seem nervous or something,” she said, as she sat on the couch.
He took a few steps closer and knelt beside her taking her hand, and when their eyes met, he said, “Sylvia, I know we haven’t known each other for very long, but there are feelings inside of me that I’ve never felt before.” It took her a minute to realize what he was trying to say before he continued, “I know that this isn’t the best situation and there could be some bad consequences if anyone finds out,” he paused for a moment, “I’m willing to take that risk because I don’t leave the ones I love.” Her hands began to tremble, and tears began to fall. She wiped some tears away and tried to speak, but Jeremy stopped her. “Sylvia, I know you feel the same way, I can see it in your eyes. I love that about you. I love how you can put me in my place at work, then be completely opposite at home. I love how you try so hard to hide your feelings at work, but completely fail because your face radiates with love when I’m around. Sylvia, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t ever want to go another day without seeing your beautiful face, or hearing your voice. Sylvia Grace Duarte, will you do me the honor of sharing your life with me?”
Her body was frozen, this was so unexpected, but somehow, it made everything inside of her feel complete.
“I know I don’t have a ring, but I didn’t think you’d want one from the gum ball machine. Plus, I thought it would be better to wait until we got off the ship so you could actually wear it proudly.”
“Oh, Jeremy, I don’t need a ring. All I need is you,” she smiled as she wrapped her entire body around his. He held her with a ferocity that said more than any words in the English language could. His love for Sylvia ran deep, but their connection ran deeper.
It was difficult to hide their love from their co-workers, especially as their relationship blossomed, but over time, they managed. Eventually, the time came for Sylvia to transfer off the ship. She and Jeremy knew the time would come, but they dreaded it all the same. It would be another year before Jeremy could transfer, so this posed a test to their relationship. They knew it would be difficult, but they had faith in each other and their future.
They spent her last night aboard ship making love and planning their future. When the morning came, he was gone, and she left for the mainland.
Over the next few months, Sylvia and Jeremy wrote letters and emailed every chance they got. She told him about the crazy things she saw when she was patrolling the river in front of the base and he told her about the new L.P.O. and how he essentially allowed all of Sylvia’s hard work go to waste.
Time passed and daily emails became weekly emails, which turned into every other week if at all. Sylvia was worried about him, but chalked it up to him staying busy to help ward off the loneliness like she was doing. She wrote him an email one morning to get him caught up on what was going on in her life, and to let him know that she was ordered to take a day off because she wasn’t feeling well.
She had never held onto that porcelain throne like that before, nor had she ever experienced such pain and fatigue after emptying her stomach before. As much as she hated it, she knew it was time for a trip to the doctor.
As she sat in the waiting room, she couldn’t help but notice the smell of EVERYTHING! The scent of the soil in the potted plant tickled her nose, the body odor of the guy sitting across the room made her want to hurl again, and the smell of the hot dogs in the cafeteria downstairs was making her hungry—all at the same time. When she went to ask the nurse how much longer she’d have to wait, she felt at though she would urinate uncontrollably.
“How much longer do I have to wait? ” she asked the triage nurse.
“Just a few more minutes, MA2,” she said as she stepped away from the desk. Sylvia’s mouth began to water, because the sound of her southern accent tasted like fried chicken. “Here,” she said, as she handed Sylvia a plastic cup wrapped in cellophane, “we should do a pregnancy test first.”
“Why? I’m not pregnant. You have to have sex to get pregnant.”
“Well, then we’ll have nothing to worry about. Bathroom is on the right, leave the cup in the door on the wall marked ‘samples’.”
“Yes, ma’am,” she said as she took the cup. She found the bathroom, and completed the task. Her ability to do so without making a mess was an added bonus, considering the dizziness she felt as soon as she bent over to ensure accuracy.
As she wrapped up her cup-peeing adventure, she was overcome again with the urge to empty her stomach into the toilet. She was already over being sick, and she hoped the doctor could give her something to stop it. She washed her face and hands, then continued with the post-cup-peeing procedures. She returned to her seat in the waiting room, and was happy to find that, “Smelly-athlete-guy” was gone and now instead of hot dogs, she smelled chocolate. “Great, now I’m really going to hurl. I wish Jeremy were here with me,” she thought to herself as a well of emotions began to take over. She couldn’t allow herself to cry in the waiting room of a military hospital—being sick was bad enough.
When the nurse called her name, she was relieved to finally be moving on to the next step in this whole process.
The nurse escorted Sylvia down the barren hallway, to a private room where she took her vitals, asked the routine questions, and instructed Sylvia to de-robe from the waist down and cover up with the sheet that was on the end of the exam table.
“Um, why?” Sylvia asked, perplexed.
“The doctor will want to examine you. She’ll be right in,” she said, as she walked out of the door.
“What the fuck?” she said to herself, “I’m so confused.”
“Good morning, MA2, I’m Doctor Lumpquist,” her voice bounced like rays of sunshine dancing in the eyes of a child.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” replied Sylvia.
“Congratulations!” Dr. Lumpquist exclaimed.
“Um, for what?” she asked.
“Oh, well it seems as though no one told you yet.”
“Told me what?”
“Your pregnancy test came back positive.”
“My…what…is….what? No…” she said, thinking back to her last night on the boat. “Oh, no,” she said to herself, covering her mouth in awe.
“I see this is a surprise to you. Do you need to talk to someone or should I contact someone for you?” Dr. Lumpquist asked sincerely.
“What? Oh, no, Ma’am, it’s okay. I just have to call my fiancé. Wow,” she smiled.
“So you’ll be okay, then?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I think I’ll be great, actually. Thank you,” Sylvia said, smiling.
“You’re welcome,” Dr. Lumpquist replied. “Okay, I’m going to do two exams, one internal and one external. This will allow us to find out how well the baby is developing, and we’ll listen to the heartbeat. Does that sound good to you?” she asked.
“Sure,” Sylvia replied. She was beginning to feel overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions, and her heart ached for Jeremy’s touch.
“Now that the not-so-fun part is over, let’s check this baby out and listen to the heart beat.” As they listened to the heartbeat, Syliva’s eyes welled up with tears. Doctor Lumpquist continued with the external exam.
“When did you say your last period was?” she asked after a moment.
“Um,” she thought a moment, then said “I think it was about four months ago,” she replied, hesitantly. It was all beginning to sink in and become pert of her reality.
“Okay, we’ll do an ultrasound to take a look at the baby and get some measurements so we can get an accurate due date,” she said, then left the room. She returned a few moments later with the ultrasound machine and proceeded to prep Sylvia’s abdomen for the ultrasound wand. “Okay, this is going to feel cold,” she said as she squirted some K-Y Jelly on the lower portion of Sylvia’s abdomen, “I’m sorry.”
“Um, how far along do you think I am? I mean it has been almost four months since I’ve had sex,” Sylvia asked. “Wouldn’t I have found out sooner?”
“Not necessarily, every woman is different, but that four months seems about right. Give me just a minute, and we’ll have an answer for you, okay?”
“Roger that, Doc.”
Dr. Lumpquist showed Sylvia all of the parts of her baby and took measurements of the limbs, and head as she went along. “Okay, well it looks like you’re eleven weeks along, which means you’ve got just one week left in your first trimester, and you can find out the gender in nine weeks.”
“Thank you, Doctor Lumpquist. I feel much better now,” she said as she sat up and wiped the K-Y jelly off of her belly.
“You’re welcome. Now give me just a moment while I figure out your due date,” she replied.
Sylvia nodded, and sat in anticipation while doing the math in her head.
“Okay, well it looks like you’re due November 6th and you likely conceived on January 30th. Does that sound right to you?” she asked.
Sylvia thought about it a moment. Yes, she remembered that night. It was the night before she was scheduled to leave the boat and probably the most bittersweet night she shared with Jeremy. He had fixed her a nice dinner and he even managed to get rose petals to sprinkle all over the bed. There was wine, candles and so much love. It was also the first time she had ever seen him cry.
Steeling herself, she responded, “Yes. I remember that night. Those dates are correct.”
“Okay, great. I’m going to prescribe you some prenatal vitamins, and Jenny can schedule your next visit. Do you have any questions?”
“Yes, actually, considering my job, should I be placed on light duty?” she asked.
“Well, what do you do?”
“I’m an MA.”
“Do you want to?”
“Well, to be honest with you, Ma’am, I don’t really see how it’s safe.”
“I understand completely. I’ll write up a chit for your command, which will list all of your physical limitations. You will be exempt from the PRT (physical readiness test) and any heavy lifting.”
“Okay, is that all?”
“For now, yes. I suggest you get the ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book. It will answer the majority of the questions you’ll have, and it will guide you through each stage of the pregnancy.”
“Okay, thank you, Doctor Lumpquist.”
“You’re very welcome. You can get dressed, and don’t forget your prescription at the pharmacy, and to see Jenny on the way out.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied. Finally, she was able to get rid of the goo on her belly. She couldn’t wait to get home so she could check her email to see if Jeremy had responded yet. She dressed quickly, then scheduled her next appointment with Jenny, and got her vitamins from the pharmacy. Hearing the baby’s heart beat earlier gave her a sense of closeness to Jeremy that she hadn’t felt in a while and knowing that she’d be able to hear it again in two weeks made her smile.. When she got into her car, she sat for a moment while she sent Jeremy another email from her phone.
“Hey, sweetie! I’ve got some great news, but I need you to call me as soon as you can. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to hear from you! I love you more than anything in this world.”
-Always, Sylvia

She drove off and blasted her favorite happy tunes as she sang along. Her first stop was the book store to pick up the book Dr. Lumpquist recommended. After that, she stopped by Sonic for some hot dogs and fries before heading home.

“Enveloping”


This past fall semester, I had to write a play for a Dramatic Literature course I took.  It was our final exam, so it was a huge grade.  The first few paragraphs sort of explain the premise of the play, this was required before actually beginning the writing process.  The professor wanted to make sure we knew what we were writing about, and that it was something we could accomplish with minimal difficulty…after all, it was an introductory course.

 

The play will take place at an Irish Pub in modern day New York City, and the characters will be Clytaemestra, Cassandra, Antigone, Lysistrata, and perhaps Everyman.  There may be some additions of characters with small parts or one line.  The idea is that the main characters are all friends, with the exception of Everyman-he’s more of an acquaintance.  Clytaemestra, Antigone and Lysistrata know each other from their college days, and Everyman is the bartender at the bar they frequent.  Cassandra was brought to the group by Antigone, after they met on the subway a few years ago and started chatting.  The play will take place BEFORE the stories that we’ve read in class take place, assuming they were to happen around the same time.  However, the elements of the makings of the stories can/will be brought about through either dialogue, Cassandra’s foresight, or hidden meaning/insinuations.  

 

Clytaemestra is suffering from loneliness due to the loss of her daughter, her husband off at war, and the disappearance of her son.  She is having a hard time dealing with it all and calls for a girls’ night at their favorite bar.  She seeks solace in her friends, even if they can sometimes drive her mad due to their bit of immaturity.  Lysistrata is also feeling lonely due to her husband being off at war, but she tends to put a more comical spin on the whole situation since she knows there’s nothing she can do about it.  She finds humor in her good friend Clytaemestra’s moaning and groaning about the absence of her husband and her jealousy of her sister Helena.  Antigone felt a likeness towards Cassandra, because most people either don’t listen to them or brush them off, so this made them kindred spirits.  Once Cassandra is introduced to the group, she immediately forms a bond with the other girls and earns their trust.      

 

For Antigone, I’m sort of changing her character up a bit.  The play we read in class will be used as a script for Antigone.  In my play, she is an actress at a local film making company and there has been talk throughout the company about her character being killed off.  The way the company hands out the script for each new scene only 12 hours before they are to begin shooting.  With all the talk about her character being killed off, she is in a panic when she is handed her new script.

 

                                                                                           “Enveloping”

At the table sits Cassandra, Clytaemestra, and Lysistrata.  Antigone walks in, holding a yellow manilla envelope, similar to the ones messengers or school teachers use.  She stops at the bar, orders her drink, and greets the bartender, Everyman.  She takes her drink, joins her friends, looking especially anxious.  When she sits, she gently tosses the envelope on the table in front of her.  Lysistrata, sitting across from Antigone, accidentally puts her beer glass down on the envelope.

 

Lysistrata ~ Oh dear, I’m sorry, Anti!  (She wipes the water ring off with her napkin.)

Antigone ~ Eh, don’t worry about it.  It’s my script and I’m terrified to open it.  I wish it would get destroyed.

Cassandra ~ (Recognizing Antigone’s feelings of panic and knowing full well what is in store for her friend.)  Oh Anti, I wish you could find the positive side of this.  If the talk is true, then maybe it means you’re not meant for this role or company for that matter.  Maybe you’re meant for another role.

Antigone ~ (Looking up from her glass.)  Oh yeah, like what?  The only thing I’ve wanted more is to find a good husband to raise a family with.

Lysistrata ~ What do you want a husband for?  Please, it’s much more of a headache to be married and sleep alone because he’s off to war somewhere, than it is to be single and live your life the way you want to.

Clytaemestra ~ Yeah, there’s no one to make a mess right after you clean, no one to tell you dinner tastes gross, and no one to leave you dirty clothes with muddy pants and skid marks in their underwear.

Antigone, Lysistrata, Cassandra ~ Eww gross!

Cassandra ~ Yeah, that’s definitely too much information.

Lysistrata ~ Geez, tell your man to use toilet paper.  Will ya?

Antigone ~ That doesn’t help me feel any better.

Lysistrata ~ Better yet, throw out all of his underwear!

Clytaemestra ~ So he can have skid marks on his pants?  No thanks.

They all laugh, except for Antigone, who is seen by Cassandra staring at the envelope.  Lysistrata puts her beer glass down on the envelope again, this time she doesn’t realize she’s done it.

Clytaemestra ~ Well, girls, you really do know how to lift my spirits.  How about we do a shot to loosen up?

Antigone ~ (Breaking from her daze.)  Great!  I’ll buy!

Lysistrata ~ How about some Petrone?  The way I’m feeling tonight, I don’t want to feel anything at all.

Clytaemestra ~ I agree, and the best part about it is you can all crash at my place since it’s right upstairs.

They all happily agree, and Antigone walks over to the bar where she is greeted by Everyman.  Meanwhile, the girls begin messing with the envelope.  Lysistrata decides to hide it from Antigone in her purse, but doesn’t do a very good job of it.

Everyman ~ Hey, Antigone, how’s it going?

Antigone ~ Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to know something but didn’t have the guts to find out?  The thing that you don’t know, but want to know could change your life, and you’re just not sure if you are ready for your life to change.

Everyman ~ Yeah, that’s how I felt when I applied for the loan to buy this bar.  I was so full of doubt that I could do it, be successful, that it would thrive, I almost prayed the bank would deny the loan. (He chuckles as he thinks back.)

Antigone ~ Really?

Everyman~ Yeah, and when it was approved I almost died.  

Antigone ~ (Relating to the feelings, she looks at her friends a moment.)  Yeah, I know what you mean.  How did you work through it, though?  I mean, you’re obviously doing well, right?

Everyman ~ Yes, I am.  I just took a deep breath, and went with it.  I took each day as it came, and tried not to worry about the little things.  Once things started progressing, I hardly even had time to think about what was going on.  Before I knew it, I had been open for over a year, and things were going great.  Besides, can you imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t gone through with it?

Antigone ~ No, what?

Everyman ~ Well, for one thing, I wouldn’t have met you.  (They share an awkward look into each other’s eyes.)  I’ll tell you what, since you and the girls are regulars and you all seem to be having a rough day, your shots are on me.

Antigone ~ You don’t have to do…

Everyman ~ I insist.  (He pours the shots as Antigone walks away.  A moment later he arrives at the table with the shots.)

Lysistrata ~ Woo hoo!  Let’s get this done!

Everyman and Antigone share a look, then smile at each other, and Everyman passes them out to each girl.

Cassandra ~ (Noticing the look they shared.)  Ooh, looks like someone has a crush on Antigone.

Lysistrata ~ (Surprised she missed it)  Who does?

Clytaemestra ~ Yup, I saw it too.  (Smiling at Cassandra in agreement.)

Cassandra ~ It looks like Everyman has a crush on our Antigone.

Lysistrata ~ You little harlet, I knew you two would get together eventually.  I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.

Antigone ~ Lysie, you’re crazy.  There’s nothing going on between me and Everyman.

Cassandra ~ Maybe not now, but…

Antigone ~ No! (Realizing she does have feelings for Everyman, but doesn’t want to admit it.)  Now, can we just do our shots?  I’d like to forget about the…  Where’s the envelope?  (Lysistrata looks at Cassandra who is sitting next to Antigone.  Antigone notices the look on Lysistrata’s face and immediately knows what’s going on.)  Lysistrata, you give me that envelope right now or I’ll (she grabs Lysistrata’s shot) do your shot for you!

Lysistrata ~ You have to work in the morning, remember?  If you do two shots, you’ll never even be able to read your script!

Antigone ~ (Realizing how right she is, she begins to laugh.  Then she laughs even harder when she sees the envelope sticking out of Lysistrata’s purse – plain as day.)  You’re right, Lysie, now can you please put that on the table?

Lysistrata ~ (Putting the script on the table.)  It’s about time you laughed.  Geesh, I was beginning to think we were all going to be a bunch of depressed bitches tonight.

Clytaemestra ~ Lysie!  Must you use that kind of language?

Lysistrata ~ I’m sorry, Mother. (She looks down, mockingly in shame, as if to poke fun at Clytaemestra for acting too motherly.)

Clytaemestra ~ No, I’m sorry.  I just miss my children so much.  What will I do without my darling daughter, and wonderful son?  (Tears begin to fall) What if my husband doesn’t come home from the war?  (Wiping the tears from her cheeks.)

Lysistrata puts her arm around Clytaemestra and Antigone and Cassandra reach across the table to hold her hand.

Not being able to take the mushiness anymore, and for fear of crying herself, Lysistrata is the first to break off the comforting moment.

Lysistrata ~ (Picking up her shot and putting the bent envelope back on the table.)  A toast, to my best friends.  May our husbands return from war unharmed, and filled with love, may Clytaemestra’s son come home, may Antigone’s fate be something she never could have imagined, and may Cassandra find the man she is meant to be with.

They all clink their glasses, and suck down their shots.

Lysistrata ~ (Feeling a bit daring)  Hey, Anti, open the envelope.

Antigone ~ No, not yet.  I’m really not ready.  (She glances over to Everyman, who nods at her to open it.)

Cassandra ~ Come on, you’ve got to open it eventually.

Clytaemestra ~ She’s right, you can’t sit there and stare at it forever.

Lysistrata ~ (Begins chanting) Open it, open it, open it, (the other girls join in) open it, open it.

Antigone ~ Fine, I’ll open it.  (She nervously looks over at Everyman who is watching her with anticipation.  Then she picks up the envelope with shaking hands.  She unwinds the string, lifts the flap, and pulls out the script.  She scans the words, and flips the pages as she looks for the words.  Suddenly she stops.  She looks up at Everyman, then her friends.  Everyone is looking at her in anticipation…waiting for her to say something.

 

The End

Man in the Long Black Coat response…


In a previous post, I mentioned a Poetry class I took last semester and a paper we had to write about a poet and his/her poem.  Well, we also had to write our own poem in response to the poem we chose.  This is my response to Bob Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat.”

 

Cricket are chirpin’, the water is high

I could leave now and not say goodbye

You say it’s warm, you say it’s hot

I can assure you it’s not

 

Bad enough to leave without

leaving a note just because he’s in a coat

I wouldn’t leave a note

I wouldn’t go with a man in a long black coat

 

I’ve been down and I’ve been out

I assure you, he doesn’t have the clout

To take me away from what I know

God is what makes my heart glow

 

God has a plan

and I proudly hold his hand

Bad things happen daily, this I know

I won’t be caught dead with the man in the long black coat

 

Those who choose not to live

will, in the end, have nothing to give

I’ve danced with the Devil

I’ve condoned evil

 

However, he didn’t win my heart

God is the only one who plays that part

Man in the Long Black Coat


Last semester, I took an Intro. to Poetry class, and we had to write a paper about the author of a poem.  The professor had a list of poems, and we were to choose one poem from the list.  I chose Bob Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat,” because I wanted to learn more about Bob Dylan as a person.  This is what I wrote…

 

“Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan

I chose the poem “Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan because I have always been a fan of the music from the days when he was more popular, and I wanted to learn more about him as an artist. Although I never listened to more than one of his albums, I have always found him interesting and seen a sort of mysticism in his artistry. When you read this poem aloud to the class, I knew that I had to dig into it. I like his use of symbolism, and the way the story is told. When you initially read the poem, without giving it much thought, you read a short story about a girl who gives in to temptation. However, when you begin to look at it on a deeper level, you see that its about the incessant battle between good and evil, or God versus the Devil and humans are constantly battling themselves to decide which side to choose. This is intriguing, because so many people are afraid of reading or hearing about things that have any kind of religious or spiritual motif these days, yet Dylan presents this story in a way that doesn’t exude religion in an obvious way. This is what makes this poem more likable by those who may not believe, or might be at a crossroads in their lives.

Robert Zimmerman was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and began his musical career during his high school years at Hibbing High, in Hibbing, Minnesota. He formed several bands while in High School and performed for the first time publicly when he entered a school talent show with some classmates. Their performance was so loud, that the principle had to cut off the microphone. Perhaps that was the beginning of Dylan’s musical career, and a tell-tale sign that he was made for performing. Throughout the remaining years of the 50’s, Zimmerman performed with other artists doing various back-ups under the pseudonym, Elston Gunn. Zimmerman moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minneapolis in September of 1959. It was here that, while studying rock ’n’ roll, he discovered an affinity for folk music. While in college, Zimmerman performed at a coffee house just a few blocks away from the school. It was during that time that he began to introduce himself as we know him, Bob Dylan, after his poetic influence, Dylan Thomas. Thus inspiring his name change, and perhaps giving him the first step into the artist he is today. Although, he didn’t legally change his name until 1962, after he moved to New York City and performed folk music in Greenwich Village at various clubs.

His interest in folk music and continuous performances was a gateway to further spiritual exploration. Dylan was born Jewish, but converted to Christianity in the late 1970’s. This religious affirmation caused some conflict during performances when he’d preach or “evangelize” to the crowd or whoever he was on tour with. He produced two gospel albums just after his conversion to Christianity, neither of them being as successful as those produced previously. After his conversion and the two gospel albums, most of his music reflected some sort of religious motif or tone, and for a period of about twenty years, he seemed to go through a drought of success. Meaning, any albums that were produced weren’t doing as well as they had before he became “born again.” In 1989, Dylan produced the album “Oh Mercy,” which contains the song “Man in the Long Black Coat.” In his book “Chronicles: Volume 1,” he briefly mentions the album and the song, reaffirming it’s religious tones.

The first time I read the poem “Man in the Long Black Coat,” I got the immediate impression that this had something to do with good versus evil, or man versus temptation. The repetition of the of the phrase “man in the long black coat,” and its use in the title tells me that this image is significant in the meaning of this work. The overall context of the poem reminded me of Star Wars, when the inner conflict began with Anakin Skywalker trying to decipher if he should follow Chancellor Palpetine to the dark side. Anakin would be the girl in the poem, and Chancellor Palpetine would be the man in the long black coat.

There is a sequence of events, a definite beginning, middle, and end. The beginning alludes to a slight possibility that she will stay home, in a place that is familiar with those who know and care for her. The turn around is in the line “It ain’t easy to swallow, it sticks in the throat/ She gave her heart to the man in the long black coat.” This is where her decision is solidified, and it is made known to everyone around her that her mind is made up, and she is leaving her life as she knows it.

The setting and voice is an onlooker or acquaintance who sees a woman who, over time, gives in to temptation due to unfortunate circumstances. This, again, made me think of Anakin’s decision to become a Sith lord, or a kid with a troubled childhood who turns to drugs, or someone who turns their back on God. There are always loved ones surrounding the troubled person who can see the mistake that is about to be made, and no matter what they do, they can’t change the decision that has been made.

The only thing I felt needed clarification was the line “[t]here’s smoke on the water, it’s been there since June.” I immediately got the impression that Dylan was referring to the song by Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water,” so I did some digging. He did, in fact, reference the song, but it brings deeper meaning to this poem. The song is about a fire that destroyed a casino complex and the fire spread over Lake Geneva as the members of Deep Purple watched from their hotel room on the other side of the lake. The fire took place at a Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention concert the night before Deep Purple was set to record in a mobile recording studio rented from the Rolling Stones. The speaker of the poem is seeing someone’s life be destroyed right before his eyes, much like the members of Deep Purple watched the casino be destroyed by the fire. The fire was caused by a concertgoer who decided it would be a good idea to light a flare inside the casino. That was a bad decision that ended in disaster, like the girl in the poem who went with the man in the long black coat. The speaker of the poem sees disaster coming from her decision, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

There is a low and deep intonation, with a sort of good versus evil/right versus wrong/ God versus Devil nuance. Dylan used very easy language with a touch of “old school” lingo (“preacher was a’talkin’). There is the imagery of darkness in “the man in the long black coat,” eerie contentment in the environment “crickets are chirpin’,” and “soft cotton dress on the line hangin’ dry.” The line, “[s]omebody said from the Bible he’d quote,” gives a sense of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

When I read the poem aloud, the darkness became more clear through the repetition of “the man in the long black coat.” This wouldn’t have had the same effect if Dylan had used different words. For instance, if he said, “the tall man in a long coat,” that would have given off a different view from the reader. It would have seemed more like the man was pressuring the girl into doing something, and that would have sent a completely different message throughout the story. The use of a stale type of environment also helps to create the imagery of danger or an eeriness to the poem. If there had been green grass and birds chirping, then that would have created the illusion of pleasantness, and brightness. The crickets show that it’s night time, which gives the vision of darkness which symbolizes the evil that happens under the cover of darkness.

Reading this poem again, gives me a different impression. If you’ve ever read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare or “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg, then you’ll understand what I mean. The very first stanza gives the setting, it’s very hot, it’s night time, and it’s sort of a lazy night because the dress is still hanging on the line. The plays referenced take place on midsummer’s night, a time when strange things happened because the people were somewhat temporarily crazy due to the intense heat. Sometimes they did things they normally wouldn’t do, especially at night when they had the cover of darkness. This first stanza, perhaps, alludes to a similar situation between the girl and the man in the long black coat. He comes to her like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, talks nicely to her using quotes from the Bible, and the girl uncharacteristically goes along with what he’s saying, because she’s not in her right mind, perhaps due to the intense African heat. This is definitely not what I saw the first time I read this, but this new perspective definitely shows that a poem can have multiple meanings each time you read it.

From the reader response lens, the first stanza paints the scene like the beginning of a story. The crickets chirping gives the illusion of darkness and the single dress on the line in the breeze makes me feel like this is an eery and ominous scene. Couple the first stanza with the second one and it made me think the girl slipped out of town under the cover of darkness because she knew that she was doing something wrong. The first thing that came to my mind in the third stanza was the “Phantom of the Opera” and how the cast members would catch glimpses of the Phantom as he moved about the opera house. Christine called to the phantom, and asked what the phantom had planned for her, similar to the girl in the poem asking the man in the long black coat to dance. The man having a face like a mask further drew me to that illusion. The fourth stanza, “[s]omebody said, from the Bible he’d quote/[t]here was dust on the man in the long black coat” reminded me of the book of Romans when Jesus and Satan argue using quotes from the Bible. It’s like saying that if she tried to resist him, he’d use the Bible or other positive/ encouraging words to manipulate the woman. “There was dust on the man in the long black coat” insinuates that the man comes from the ground or our perception that Hell in beneath us and the man in the long black coat is from Hell—or is Satan.

The fifth stanza tells me that we are all sinners and even though we may have bad/evil thoughts, it is up to us to know what thoughts we should act on. We need to always be aware of what is a temptation of the devil and what is going to lead you down God’s path. It was, also, apparent to me that Dylan was a Christian due to the bible references and symbolism.

Coming from an observer or acquaintance of the girl, it’s hard to see this woman make this bad decision, knowing that there are better options for her. The line, “[I]t ain’t easy to swallow, it sticks in the throat,” makes it clear that this is from the perspective of someone who knows the girl, either because he is a friend or family member, or because he’s someone who has lived in the same town/neighborhood for a long time and has, perhaps, seen her grow up.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and the line “[t]here are no mistakes in life, some people say,” says just that. However, we never know what that reason is until all is said and done. At that point, retrospectively, we see why our life went the way it did. Like the saying, “hindsight is always 20/20,” we always see the error of our ways down the road, but not usually in the moment. “But people don’t live or die, people just float,” says that no matter how hard you try to make the right decision, there is a higher power that dictates how your life goes. Or, perhaps, that we are all just mindlessly wandering this earth without really thinking about how we live our lives.

“There’s smoke on the water, it’s been there since June,” gave me the feeling of something heavy lingering and the visual of a heavy fog over a wooded lake. The trees surrounding the lake have fallen down at the roots and not only do the words paint a dark scene, but the suggestion of the moon helps paint the picture of darkness with a glimpse of light. This also suggests that someone told the woman repeatedly not to go with the man, but she never listened. “She never said nothin’, there was nothin’ she wrote,” tells me that she’s rebellious, and the seemingly incessant nagging from a significant person in her life is exactly what caused her to give in to the temptation impulsively and go along with the man in the long black coat.

Reading this poem, and researching Bob Dylan has definitely taught me numerous things. I learned that not only was Dylan a singer/songwriter, but he was also an artist and writer. He was born Jewish and later converted to Christianity, resenting those who referred to him as “born again.” He has deep ancestry from the Russian Empire on his father’s side, and his mother’s parents were Lithuanian Jews who emigrated to the US in 1902. He is a free spirit, is deeply connected to spirituality, and he shows it freely in his lyrics. Dylan’s beliefs and connection to the universe heavily influence his lyrics, and his creativity allow him to tell stories that leave the reader looking deeper into him/herself.

I honestly can say that I don’t think I’ve learned anything specific about poetry that I didn’t already know. I’ve been writing poetry for about twenty years now, so I’m familiar with what goes into writing a poem. However, I see art differently than some people. I don’t like to pick apart other’s work, because I feel like I’m tearing apart their soul. I understand that comes with the path I’ve chosen academically, so I do what is asked of me, and I give it my all when doing so. However, when I read a poem, I always feel as though it is meant to be taken however the reader perceives it. Poetry is art, and all art is open to its own interpretation. 

A reflection on “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad


I took a class this past semester called “Readings in the Short Story,” and we were asked to read “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, then write a reflection about it.  My professor is pretty liberal with our writing, and only gives us some ideas to write about.  We’re never confined to stay strictly with the ideas he has given us, unless he wants us to answer a specific question.  If he does ask a specific question, we have the freedom to answer it in any way we choose…as long as it’s written and stays on topic.  In fact, his only request is that we write about whatever story we recently read, and it has to be at least one page…you know, to ensure some actual thought went into the writing.  The following paragraphs are my thoughts…my reflection on Conrad’s story.

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Heart of Darkness reflection

I’m not exactly sure where to begin with this story.  I had to read it a second time, because I kept falling asleep and losing track of where I was with the story.  However, once I figured out a good strategy for digesting the material, I was hooked.  The story doesn’t start off in a way that will grab your attention and suck you in…it does take some time to get there.  Once I got there, I was good with the story and the flow of it.  I also began to glean a deeper meaning, or another way to look at the story.  When I began to think about what Conrad’s message was, I began to realize that this story can be considered an allegory.  This story shows how the human mind can be effected by its surroundings, and by experiencing trauma.

When you take a step back and look at the big picture, you first see Marlowe as the man who was changed by his experiences.  During his storytelling, he explains how he felt and his perspective, which helps you to see who he was before going to the Congo.  We watch the transformation, we watch him go from Marlowe the proper Englishman to Marlowe the guy who was transformed by life in the Congo.  This story telling, or transformation, can be adapted to just about anyone on the planet.  At one point or another, we all experience some sort of trauma—be it tragic or jubilant.

Those who are imprisoned experience a transformation.  Some are transformed into a better person during their time behind bars, while others become worse.  Some inmates allow their surroundings to take them over and make them become the hell that is the prison system.  However, there are some who are strong enough to resist that type of change.  There are some who can learn to adapt to their daily schedule without allowing the environment to become who they are.  They will go through some sort of change, who wouldn’t in that type of environment?  The difference is how each person allows the environment to effect them.  Some  continue their bad behaviors once released, while few others are able to maintain a stable life and do not return to prison.  

Another comparison is a woman before, during, and after childbirth.  Not all women go through a change or transformation, but I know many who have.  Before pregnancy, a woman may drink more or be a little bit more of a risk taker.  Why not?  She doesn’t have any responsibilities, right?  Then, the pregnancy begins the change of her perception—she begins to think about her decisions and how she lives her life.  She’ll think about her actions and if they are unbecoming of a good mother, and if she’d be happy about how she lived her life before having a child.  The physical act of giving birth, however, is traumatic for a woman.  All of the changes her body goes through during the nine months of carrying the child, then the length of time that the birthing process takes place, and at the end it all just suddenly stops.  That’s a lot for a woman to process, and it can be extremely taxing on her mentality, just like Marlowe’s experience in the Congo.

The Congo symbolizes any traumatic or tragic experience that a person can/will experience in his or her lifetime.  Marlowe symbolizes the person who is effected by the tragedy, but hasn’t been sucked in to it.  Kurtz symbolizes the person who is changed and succumbs to the tragedy, or the environment where the tragedy took place.  Marlowe’s audience symbolizes those who will come along in your life that will benefit from your story in one way or another.  

An interesting element that Conrad used is the three characters who have no names, but are referred to by their occupation.  The Director of Companies, or the captain, symbolizes trust, as stated in the text, “He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.”  The Lawyer symbolizes wisdom, while the accountant symbolizes the good in any situation.  

I’m not exactly sure if it was Conrad’s intention to make this story allegorical.  However, that’s not the point, because he crafted an intricate story so wonderfully that no matter how many times you read it, you’ll get something different out of it every time.  I can definitely see this story being read for at least another hundred years, if not for the story itself, but for the fine craftsmanship and appreciation of an incredible read.

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