Monday, February 20, 2017

His initials spell NAVY

How about a short story called, "Whatever happened to him?" That's what I wonder about the exes who don't appear on Facebook and can't be found anywhere. This one today was someone I dated for a few months while I was working at DePaul Law School in Chicago. He was a law student--handsome,with a shaved head and bright blue eyes. Freckles, and a raspy voice. When his hair started to grow in, it was this strange blond/gray color. He had been a philosophy major in college and there was some mystery surrounding his dad--I think his dad died when N. was eight or ten, and then he also claimed to have survived cancer in college though was never specific about what kind of cancer that was. I do not think it was testicular, if memory serves.

He lived in a garden apartment with very little furniture, possibly an unfriendly cat, and had books stacked up in towers against the walls. He would alternate between being super weird and mean (verbally threatening and saying things like, I could strangle you right now) to being normal and funny, as if that other part of him was a joke. He liked to take baths rather than showers, and he wore almost the same thing every day--a white t-shirt and corduroy pants. When he first kissed me, he had come over to my apartment to make dinner and brought his own colander. He would only kiss me if I laid down on the sofa with my eyes closed. He fluttered above me and I stayed still, and then he kissed me lightly, a series of kisses. That was odd, and yet I kept seeing him because he seemed smart and interesting and possibly just pretending to be violent.  Also, I was lonely.

And then one day I stopped seeing him--I can't remember why--perhaps he did something to my cats or threatened to do something to my cats, as it is only in observing someone mistreating another creature that I can acknowledge his dysfunction, but I stopped seeing him. He then made me a mixed tape and I took it home to listen to it and it was opera, what sounded like music from The Omen. I wrote about him in a story called "The Last Dead Boyfriend," but that didn't exorcise him from my brain. I  must have dreamed about him last night; otherwise, I don't know why I would be thinking about him. Perhaps he is a lawyer, practicing happily in Shebogan. Or perhaps he is dead from a suicide. That was the thing about him. He could go either way.

Addendum: I found him alive after only minimal cyber-stalking. He was being interviewed on NPR Chicago for his work. I recognized his voice. It's very distinct. It made me think of another possible short story idea or poem that someone should write that starts with "I should've broken up with him when..." And then you list all of the moments in relationships when you knew it wasn't going to work, but didn't leave. Like, "I should've broken up with him when he told me he would cut my hair if I fell asleep."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The White House or The Royal Regional Community Theater goes to Broadway

We are learning that Donald Trump is in collusion with Russia and has agreed to give Putin sanctions in return for leaking negative information about Clinton.  I hope his fall is swift and not graceful. Filled with non-grace.

It feels like what happened is that someone took a community theater show produced by amateur actors and a director who has a full time job as an office manager, and producers who have supported the wine and cheese art gallery show in downtown Clearwater, and you said to all of these people, You open on Broadway in two weeks! And the cast is so excited and believe in themselves and think it can't really be that hard to create a Broadway show, they've all learned lines before, they know about the prop room and they will get a set built because they're going to hire the lead character's uncle Frank who has a workshop in his garage. And the costumes...Well, we'll have Tim's teenage son sketch up the costumes, he's a little weird, a little emo, but he's great at sketching and so then they sit down to look at what Tim's son has brought in on sheets of real drawing paper (the kid's name is Sam but he goes by "Tink") and the drawings are okay, I mean, the forms are recognizable as human. He has a little trouble with the hands. They sort of dangle at the end of the arms like puffer fish, and he seems to have a thing for capes, but that's fine, we can work with this plan, and then one of the lower members of the cast (a mere walk on with no lines) raises her hand and goes, "So, like, who's going to like, make the costumes?"


The room goes silent, and all you can hear is the director's little Chihuahua, Cher, licking herself.

They're gathered in the director's living room. It's a nice sort of room, with a puffy couch from Raymour and Flannigan's with a built in chaise lounge, and the director's wife has made mini quesadillas in the microwave and everybody brought chips and dip and soda, and the best thing about the room is pictures from the previous shows hanging on the wall above the faux fireplace mantel. The photos are all professionally mounted in frames from Michael's Arts & Crafts store, look, there's All My Sons; the matinees were always sold out for that one, and remember Carousel, or maybe best not to bring up Carousel, because that was the first musical they attempted and they had some trouble getting the orchestra involved, and so it ended up being accompanied by these kids who had a band, not the most dedicated group, so forget about Carousel, that was a rush job and forced on them by the arts council. Hey, there's Noises Off, holy cow, remember how everybody was so impressed by the British accents they did? And sometimes, a fun thing to do is to go into TGIFriday's and pretend you're from England and order the buffalo chicken wings in the accent, adding, By jove! at the end. The waitresses totally fall for it every time.

Fine, maybe they haven't thought through every detail, but what does it matter, anybody can put on a play, in fact, it's best if you don't have all these hoity-toity Shakespearean types who've studied at like Julliard or Oxford or wherever, because they always think they're so great, and complicate everything by wanting rehearsals ad nauseum or to follow the script. They have no imagination and are stuck in this old way of putting on a show, I mean, how hard can it be?

Then opening night rolls around and the curtain is about to go up and half of the actors are missing because someone (no one is naming names, but possibly Misty, the stage manager) forgot to email the time to show up. The audience waits, rustling in their seats, hands empty of programs because who the fuck was supposed to get the programs? Isn't anybody in charge of those little booklet things they have at the shows, where the bios are listed and there's a cover of the Phantom and people keep them as souvenirs for ten years before throwing them out? Playball or whatever it's called.

Take your marks, the lights are going down, except that no one knows how to turn down the lights or how to turn up the lights and the set isn't finished and the actors have run scared due to lack of preparation and the director has a sudden, stabbing flash of fear in his stomach that they may close after just one night.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Who will be his Watson?

I missed last week, but my  guess is that maybe two of the black girls went home. Chris lets them know there will be no rose ceremony tonight, but Corinne has a rose for possibly riding Nick while traveling on a hot air balloon. The women are scared and their hearts are beating very fast. This is BBC or whatever channel this is trying to create drama where none exists. He wears a hounds tooth suit and looks a bit like a young Sherlock Holmes.

First rose goes to Christina.
Second rose goes to Raven, with the very high forehead and fake accent.
Third rose goes to Vanessa who has put him in his place once or twice.
Fourth rose goes to Danielle who I like the most because of her perfectly placed birthmark.
Jasmine gets the fifth rose. Ladies and Nick, this is the final rose. It goes to Whitney. I was wrong two black girls are going home tonight, alongside one blond and the girl who was like one of the guys (Alexis, who says how much it sucks and who also asked him to celebrate her one year boob job).

It's clear that he should pick that one lady with the great blunt hair cut who acts like an adult. Side note, they are remaking King Kong again, with 15 leading men, maybe one woman, and a lot of Pixar magic. I can't watch any movie that suggests the end of civilization because it zings too close to home.
They are flown to St. Thomas so that we can see them all in short denim shorts and bikinis. They are being put up in a super deluxe Holiday Inn. Nick arrives in a plane that lands on the water. The women scream. He wears a tank top and pastel shorts from OP circa 1992. His one-on-one is with little bitty Christina. They take off on a sea plane. Christina confesses that she kind of knew she would be chosen. Tears are shed by the ones who did not get chosen.

He and Christina clink a beer and she says that she is one of 8 or 9 siblings. They have no chemistry. Maybe Nick will fly her to Russia as part of that date. They kiss enthusiastically and then change into their bikinis so she can wrap her legs around him as they float in the sea. I think he may send her home. That is the feeling that I get.

P.S. Is Grey's Anatomy still on?

I wonder if this was being filmed during the campaign and if anyone would be talking politics at all?

Christina thinks today's day has been fun. He orders her lobster. Christina tells her story about being born in Russia and how she used to eat lipstick because she was hungry. She was then put into an orphanage and her mom never visited. This woman's life is in total direct contrast to Corinne who likes the black lady who is helping out around the house. She was adopted at age 12 and had to leave her sister behind. She makes Nick cry. He has to give her the rose now because she almost had to become a prostitute and her life is utterly so much more difficult than his or possibly anyone's in the house. This story may be why she is so distant and doesn't like to run around laughing in her bikini. Cue drums.

Back at the house, the women are sitting around with nothing to do but grasp huge fluffy pillows. Date card including Rachel, Raven, Vanessa, Corinne, Danielle, and Jasmine. That means the next date will be a two on one where someone has to go home. They contemplate his reasoning despite the fact that he doesn't really have any control over the way the show goes.

Group date where all the women are wearing bikinis and ready to frolic. I would hate to have to wear a bikini for ninety percent of the time. Nick is goofy. He forces them to take shots. I think he belongs with Corinne. Oh, the girl I thought was an adult has what looks like it might be tiny little letters tattooed on her chest. Or is it sand? Vanessa is just now realizing that she's on The Bachelor and having to compete with other women for his attention. Nick says that his plan has back fired. He might be drunk. Corinne decides to take a nap.


The women have showered and are now back in their beachy ball gowns. He steals away Rachel. She explains how she felt one hundred percent out of her element. Nick says he's glad she didn't say peace out and throws a sign, which may be racist. Or not...But maybe? Nick doesn't know how to fix the situation. Jasmine is expressing how disappointed she is and she may have had too much to drink. She lets him know that is sucks not to have a one-on-one and to get to know him at all. She thinks their conversations have gone well, and he clearly feels they have not gone well. I think he thinks she talks too much and she also jokes around about choking him and actually grabs him by the neck. He does not want her to choke him. She offers to do it several times. Now, he's sending her home. This is what too much red wine does to a person. Why do they even go through this pretense of having diversity on this show? In 20 seasons, not one person of color has made it even into the top four. It's a joke. 

Snoozer two on one date where he sends home the more calm Pilates instructor with the lovely and impassive face and poise like someone in a Renaissance painting. Some big fat guy comes back to take Whitney's suitcase. It's hard to even pretend to care. The sucky thing is that Nick and Danielle take off in an helicopter and leave Whitney stranded on the beach, eating their dust and getting bits of sand stuck in her contacts. She didn't see that coming. She will now have to go back to her job posing for ethereal portraits. 
I just ate half a pint of Ben and Jerry's Fro-Yo Fish Food and that was the best part of this show. 

Nick and Danielle go to drink wine and he wears another in an unending series of patterned button up shirts. He doesn't make good eye contact and he's a mumbler. Also, he's sweating. She is sweating too, but in a not gross way. She, by contrast, has excellent eye contact. He wants a relationship that is raw and adventurous. Maybe he should date a sea crab or a Jack Russell Terrier. He pauses like maybe he's going to send her home. 

I watch this show to escape the tweets of a president who writes things like, "So-called judge. Very bad!"

He has dead eyes as she speaks. He does not feel like he can give her the rose. He won't because his heart feels differently. I have never in my life talked this much about what my heart wants or doesn't want. My heart basically just doesn't want dogs to get hurt or cats to be strays or people to be treated like garbage because of where they were born. My heart wants Dan to be happy and not as stressed as he is right now. 
Nick walks her out and she is nearly stumbling in her Grecian dress. Maybe he has someone else in mind the whole time? She berates herself for not being perfect even though she is very nice and extraordinarily beautiful."You can't make people love you," she says. Nick begins to doubt that he is capable of love. We agree. Dan says, "Maybe it is you, Nick." I like Rachel the best and would love it if he would pick her. He is saying that same thing over and over again. He walks into the house. He needs a group massage. He's crying and pouring his heart out to them and I think he would be a great guy to have as a friend, but a disaster to date. He exits the room on cue. He's going to the bar to see if maybe he can meet somewhere there. 

Next week: hyperventilating and many tears because Nick might want to drop out, but he won't.