Archive for the ‘Heather Ouellette-Cygan’ Category

23%

 

Even if fists alone

Are only hands, they’ll

pummel innocence away

Just to announce that you

Are less because you love

Wrong; love the wrong; the wrong

Person loves you. Back

 

Of hands, violent, can grip

Nothing; yet, reversion

Says your tux will not walk

Him down the aisle. The message

 

Says the hand you hold is not

The right hand. And the left

One will be naked. When

 

Hands disapprove and become

Grips around guns – butts that

Will bludgeon – tie him to a fence.

 

Tell him he can’t serve and hold

A gun. Tell others it’s okay to jump

From cars with fists around baseball

Bats that swish violently in the night

At heads already enclosed in gauze.


Nana – 

Hi, it’s me. I just called

To say it’s been nearly

one-year since you left

and I’m still not over it yet. I

 

Feel my heart compress

inside my ribs every time,

Every time, I stop to remind

Myself that you’re gone. Yes,

 

I still have that message

From you in my voicemail

Inbox. I can’t erase it –

 

Am trying to figure out how

To save it when I get

A new phone plan. You

 

would’ve come with me

to set it up if you were still

with me I would have added

 

You to the family plan.

 Merely Players: Part One

George

George wished he had had time to change after work before driving to the Fay Wray Community Theatre for these auditions. He was the only one in the room in a suit and tie. He felt hot and restricted under the expensive grey gabardine. His red silk tie was choking him. The flourish of red made him self conscious. He looked around himself to the others sitting and waiting to audition in the renovated doll factory turned community theatre. No one was looking, so he loosened then removed the tie.  He did not want the restriction to cause a reenactment of that dreadful day in eleventh grade.

As he reached into his pocket to dispose of the tie, he felt the brochure he had been carrying around for weeks. The first time he had noticed the audition poster was on the bulletin board on his way out of grocery shopping. “Act on the Lakes of New Hampshire” it announced. “The Fay Wray Community Theatre on Silver Nickel Lake is hosting open auditions for William Shakespeare’s Tragedy Hamlet.” Below a clip art version of the drama masks, the dates were announced followed by the phrase that got him, “No Acting Experience Necessary.”

“Hmmm,” he had said aloud as he grabbed one of the flyers from the shelf below, folded the smooth, shiny paper and briskly shoved it into his coat pocket. He had looked around behind him as if he had been shoplifting.

A few months ago, he would never have considered auditioning for a play. He was not the artsy type as he liked to remind his daughter. He was the freak, the “Alex P. Keaton” of his family. But then, the members of his Rotary Club had nominated him as head public relations coordinator. At first he was flattered, but when he learned that part of the position’s responsibilities included giving speeches at local businesses and schools, he had tried to resign.

“I have a lot on my plate,” he, relying on cliché, had told the Club’s president, Ned Johnson. “I don’t think Julia will approve of me running around and giving speeches in the evening. She likes me home for dinner.”

“Come on, George. She’s twenty-three and working on her thesis. I think your daughter might appreciate the time alone to work on her research,” Ned had retorted.

George’s brain had looked in all its dusty and uncreative corners for another excuse to get him out of this responsibility. He did not give speeches. He did not talk in public. He rarely spoke in groups larger than two. At least not since that day in eleventh grade.

And so, here he was, sitting in a red velvet chair rescued from a defunct movie theatre, awaiting his turn to audition for the role of Claudius.

“But to persever in obstinate condolent is a course of impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief,” he mouthed quietly to himself as moths battled it out in his stomach. He could close a million dollar deal over lunch with clients from Japan or Saudi Arabia, and yet here he was in this shabby, refurbished theatre, nervous about auditioning in front of a bunch of local-yocals. Deep breath, he thought and imagined the extra-dry Bombay Martini he always drank at those business lunches. He should have had one this evening on his way. That would have put those dancing moths into a coma long ago. Instead, they seemed to be jitterbugging across his pancreas.

Roseanne

At least Nigel had eventually decided to set his version of Hamlet in Elizabethan times. Roseanne had always wanted to design costumes for a period play. She had squirmed at pre-production meetings as Nigel had shared his ideas for setting the play undersea or on a space ship in the twenty-second century. Fortunately, a number of members of the Fay Wray Community Theatre’s board, including Mr. Jefferies, the theatre’s most generous donator of both cash and time, had spoken out against Nigel’s ideas for alternate settings. Roseanne had wanted to speak-up too, but she had not  said a word to agree with those who disagreed.

Instead she had writhed in her chair at the thought of wrapping actors in silver lamé before they delivered the poetic words of William Shakespeare. Roseanne had kept mum about the whole business and suffered in silence. She was open minded about most things, but this seemed a travesty of the worst literary kind. Plus, that fabric was a bitch to work with. Sewing machines did not like it one bit.

And an entire cast in bathing suits, perhaps on Broadway where your actors were fit. But this is community theatre. You have to work with all types of bodies in a community theatre, and although she was usually good at finding the most flattering costume styles for them all, she recognized that there is only so much you can do with a fat man and a Speedo. So, the decision to keep Shakespeare’s work in Shakespeare’s England made the young costume designer quite happy.

“Not a great turn out,” she thought. “Nigel doesn’t look happy with it at all. Of course, he wouldn’t be satisfied with any turn out that was less spectacular than what he had experienced during his short stint in London. God knows we have heard enough about that in the three years that I have been here.”

Roseanne turned from the director’s table and again scanned the audience waiting to audition. As she looked at each face, she could place him or her into a character and her designer’s mind began with the rich colors and fabrics fitting for the Elizabethan age and stage. Purple velvet doublet, golden silk gown. Oh, if she is cast as Ophelia, she noted as she found a young face surrounded by blonde curls in the turnout, I will make her the most beautiful gown of periwinkle silk. Her eyes will come to life in that color.

 Merely Players: Part One

Audrey

“‘The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.’ Protest too much? What does that mean? Oh, God, what am I doing here? I haven’t read Shakespeare, let alone been on stage in twenty years.” Audrey looked around the busy theatre to make sure no one had overheard her talking to herself and was relieved to discover no one was sitting within three rows of her. She glanced down at the pages she held in her lap. The blurry words of  photocopied script excerpts danced there, challenging her. Her left hand found her purse on the seat next to her and groped inside for her reading glasses, gently rubbed the cool leather exterior of her glasses case then exited the purse empty.

Her glasses always got in the way if she tried to read and talk at the same time. She imagined that this effect would be magnified from the stage. She’d opt for squinting.

The faint hum of the others sitting in the dimly lit theatre was deafening. Every so often, however,  a rhymed couplet catapulted out of  the cacophony and landed gently in her ears.

She recognized some of the faces around her from plays she had seen at the theatre before. They seemed to know what they were doing. They were experienced,  professional and poised, three things she had lost years ago when it came to acting. She brushed imaginary crumbs from her script.

Perhaps she should have listened to her family, who had not encouraged her to come.

“What are we going to do with you out every night?” Bill had demanded from the kitchen table after she had told him of her plan to try out.

“I’m sure you’ll figure out something to keep you occupied for a few hours.” She turned away from him and back to breaking dry spaghetti and dropping it into a pot of boiling water.

“No, I mean, what will we eat?”

“You make dinner for yourselves all the time,” she had answered.

“True, but I’ll still be lonely. And who is going to drive Jill to her cheerleading practices? Or pick her up?”

“Honestly, Bill. Are you serious? For two months you can’t drive her the three miles up to the school?” She glanced at the water bubbling out of the pot and turned down the flame underneath it. “I need this.” Audrey could not remember the last time she had done anything creative.  Now her husband’s feigned helplessness threatened her resolve.

“Look,” she had continued, “even if I do get a part, and there is no guarantee of that, it will most likely be a small one. I don’t think I’ll be gone more than an evening or two a week at most.”

“In the beginning,” Bill stood from the table, tipped his face and gave her the puppy dog eyes. “But we know what happens as the rehearsals near opening night. Promise, you will keep a balance.”
She had, with her fingers tightly crossed behind her back, an old trick she had used to get out of actually lying since she was a little girl, but now, in the reality of the tiny community theatre with the words of the Bard dancing in her lap, the idea of being comfy at home in her yoga pants with a large pizza and Home and Garden on the television, seemed very appealing. Her fingers rubbed the red velvet of the seat under her bottom against the grain. It was therapeutic in an odd way. She lifted her hand from the seat to her throat. Instead of pizza, she tasted a nervous combination of bile and garlic working its way up from lunch. Why had she eaten a Caesar salad when she knew bad breath would just make her more nervous?

“Okay, I hope you’re all finishing up with those audition sheets. We are going to get started in just a few moments,” a male voice infused with a commanding British accent announced. She looked down at the papers in her lap and flipped back to the front page and the only two women characters listed under “Names of Actors”.  “Gertrude, Queen of Denmark” was near the bottom of the page. “Why are all the women listed last?” she wondered. Even the gravediggers were listed earlier.

The British voice continued, “Make sure that you accurately fill in all boxes on your audition forms. We need accurate information for our casting process.”

Audrey shuffled through her papers and found the pink slip that she had started to fill out before becoming distracted by the iambic pentameter. “Name” She had that. Audrey Caulkin. “Telephone number.” Check. “Address.” Check. “Age.” Here she’d gotten stuck. With this box she had begun contemplating just how honest she should be. Even though Gertrude is Hamlet’s mother, younger women are often cast in the role. She had gotten caught up and stopped writing. Now, she rubbed the grip of her Uniball pen. She always used her own. Not everyone washed their hands before using a community pen, and even at a live theatre audition there were bound to be people who had just sneezed into their hands before writing. She never got a flu shot. She attributed this to her frequent hand washing and avoidance of touching things other people had touched.

“Okay, if I am going to do this thing, I had better finish this form.” She wrote 41 next to age. After all, theatre is the only business in which those hiring can discriminate based on characteristics such as gender, age and race.

Audrey again stalled at the next line. “Prior Acting Experience.” There were spaces here next to Plays? Year? and Venue? She then continued with her own pen to confess that the last time she was on the stage was her sophomore year in college when she played Agatha in Guys and Dolls. Then she had met Bill and he became the way that she wanted to spend her time. She decided to be honest. She chuckled quietly as she wrote “Gertrude” next to “part(s) for which you are auditioning.” She was realistic to know that her days of playing Ophelia were long past.



 Merely Players: Part One

Nigel

“What a motley-looking bunch of ragtag excuses for actors. How long does it take to fill out a bloody form?” Nigel threw down the pencil he had been tapping on the long, simulated-woodgrain table that he shared with both his assistant director and costume designer and once again stood to get a look at the measly numbers who had arrived for this first night of auditions.

“Two, four, six.” He mouthed as he counted those who were nervously sitting in the chairs that would later house an audience for this production. As he ended with twenty-five, he made eye contact with a middle aged woman in a pink kitten sweatshirt. His mouth struggled against a sneer and achieved a meager smile at the woman.

“God, are those bloody kittens wearing fucking cowboy hats?” he whispered to Claudia, the assistant director. He strained his eyes, which recoiled in disgust. All five of the kittens were indeed wearing a variety of styles of that American atrocity, the cowboy hat.  “There is no part in this play for her,” he continued as he made note of the way the kitten’s faces were stretched across the woman’s ample breasts. He became even more disturbed as he noticed that each tabby colored kitten was also clad in cowboy boots.

“This play shall be absolute disaster. Absolute.” These words he quietly mouthed to himself.

He cleared his throat and tried to pretend that he was alright. “Okay everyone, in just a moment I will start asking you to move forward onto the stage to deliver your lines. Have you all had time to fill in your audition sheets?”

Nigel noted the blank stares returning to him from the first timers in the audience. For the love of God, how hard was it to answer a few simple questions on a slip of paper. He scanned the group. Only five people raised their hands.They were all cast members from previous plays. “Thank God, Marcia is here again. Oh, and Brian.” At least he would be able to cast a couple of the larger roles with some experience.

He continued to the group auditioning, “Those of you who have not, please do so now. Then, bring them forward and hand them to Claudia, so that we can get started.” He looked down to Claudia, who half stood up, turned and waved limply. She then sat back down and continued to riffle through the audition sheets she had already collected. Nigel noticed how her silver bob glistened as her head turned to scan each paper.

At least there is one other competent person here, he thought as a stream of first timers worked their way to the front, arms outstretched in Boris Karloff Frankenstein fashion, to pass in their forms.


Wonder Woman

 

I am always exposed –

Even my jet’s invisible.

 

Superman – when he

Flies – looks sleek

Through the sky in his

Tight spandex and red

Cape floating behind –

 

But me, I’m sitting

There, pushing

And pulling unseen

Levers, buttons, controls,

 

In a plane no one

Can see. My legs

Are bare from the red

Boots up to the elastic

of my bodysuit, and the only

 

Armor I have

Is around my wrists.

I’m fast. Deflection

is a skill quick learned

by women. Those bullets

 

Repel from me; but

When I’m in the air,

Naked, what’s to stop

 

A missile from penetrating

The ship with unnoticed

Wings and a woman

In the driver’s seat

Of some indiscernible night.


Squish

 

The day you drove

Over my heart, I tried

To pick it back up. I wanted

To rush it to the party

Store and have the clerk fill

it up with helium; I wanted

it fixed better than fix-a-flat

Could do. I wanted you –

 

to drive in reverse. Reverse

Time; go back up the road

And uncrush that organ-

 

Mop up its guts

Like a time-machine

Vacuum – but the party

Store is closed now, and

The car you drive seems

To have no gear marked

with an R. You kept

 

Moving forward,

And I grabbed the snow

Shovel out of the shed.

Collapse

 

The spine of the man

ifest was broken, leak

ing a reflection of me

into my world. The poet

had thrust the kind

of loss – when your

children, grow

ing beyond

your walls are talk

ing of getting out

of this place. Wait

ing, they’ll

 

take the new car

to California; find

a self in all this

mess of ink.


Analyzing Distance I

 

When we’re young how we

Long to be close to the trauma.

 

The boy who shot himself in

The head becomes the brother

Of the sister you

Made jelly with in Home Ec;

 

That girl in the coma,

The one who drove her truck

Into the river? Yeah,

She gave me a ride home.

Once.

 

The kid who’d lost

His hair and never

Returned, sends us

Pouring out the front

Steps of the church,

Play doh through the brains

of the Fuzzy Pumper

Barbershop ready for a trim.

 

Older, now, we like

Our tragedy further away,

A war fought overseas, and

When the bodies come back

Under flags, we

Don’t want photos.


Utensils

 

I can write with recesses of memory-

broken swings and hearted-boys.

 

I can write with each ounce of

truth I tried to shake

out of your mouth.

 

I can write with lazy summer

days under a hot Tuscan sun.

 

I can write with dripping

dizziness memories of the way

I loved you.

 

I can write with meth-

lab nights and heroin

afternoons.

 

I can write with coffee stains.

 

I can write with twinkling

lights of good things past.

 

I can write with the icy

fingers of my righteous anger.

 

I can write with a broken, shy

little girl in a yellow, satin nightgown.

 

I can write with the loss of you.

Untitled Young Adult Novel

Chapter 5

“Mom, the house is looking wonderful,” said Cordelia as she walked into the large, rose painted living room. Her mother had just finished hanging lace curtains.

“Well, if there is anything I can say for that bum I married, he left us well off,” said Aida as she jumped down from the stool and admired her work. “The hospital called today.”

“And?”

“I start tomorrow.”

“All right!” exclaimed Corey. “This calls for a celebration. I’ll get the champagne.”

“No champagne for you, young lady.”

“Oh, Mom. You’re a party pooper.”

“Mom, look what I made for you,” exclaimed Nina as she ran into the living room covered in finger-paint. She was holding an upside down picture of a tree.

“That’s lovely,” said Aida looking at her daughter’s work. “Why don’t you hang that on the refrigerator?”

“Okay, Mommy.”

Turing to Cordelia, Aida said, “I also made an appointment with a doctor about your arm.”

“I hope I can get this cast off soon. I don’t want to start school with this thing on.”

“Well, in that case, you had better get it off by tomorrow.”

“Oh, no! you don’t mean?”
“Yep, tomorrow. I made those arrangements today.”

“But Mom,I-I don’t know anyone.”

“What about those weird kids we met at the pizza place?”

“I haven’t seen them since and, besides, I didn’t get the impression that they liked me.”

“Oh, you’re just being silly. Why don’t you go upstairs and pick out something to wear.”

“Okay.” Corey turned and ran up the stairs. She looked into her closet at all of her outfits. After an hour of deciding, she finally picked a purple and white blouse and a pair of baggy jeans.

The next morning, Corey decided she didn’t like what she was wearing and changed about five more times before deciding on her purple and white blouse and baggy jeans.

“You’re almost half an hour late. Good thing I’m driving you to school,” said Aida as she rushed her daughters out the door.

* * *

“If you had come here last year, you would have about twenty kids trying to beat you up right now,” said Lorna as she and her new found friend walked home from the Southfield High School.

“I know what it’s like,” replied Corey, who pointed toward her plaster arm.

“That happened in a fight?” asked a shocked Lorna.

“Yep.”

“Did you have big street gangs were you come from?”

“No, kids just didn’t like me.”

“That’s awful. You won’t have to worry about that in this town. Since the Death Hawks were broken up, everyone is friendly.”

“The Death Hawks?”

“They were a street gang, who didn’t like newcomers. They thought they ruled the town. In a way they did. But then a girl named Sherry and her sister moved to town and together with Barbara brought the Death Hawks to their knees.”

“I know Bobby and Sherry. Don’t they have boyfriends named James and, and . . . “

“David,” helped Lorna.

“Yes. I met them at the Southfield House of Pizza.”

“That’s their favorite hangout.”

“Speaking of pizza, how would you like to come over tonight for some. I’m sure my mother won’t mind.”

“That would be great. What time?”

“Why don’t you give me your phone number and I will call you.”

“Okay,” replied Corey. She wrote her number on a gum wrapper she pulled out of her pocket and gave it to Lorna.

Corey was


Untitled Young Adult Novel

Chapter 4

“That must be the girls now,” said James as he raced up to answer his door. “Wait til they hear what we have in store for them.” He opened the door. “Why, hello, girls.”

“I can tell by the tone of your voice,” said Bobby. “What’s up?”

“Well, what have you girls got planned for Saturday night?”

“It depends,” replied Sherry, who picked some clothes off a chair then sat in it.”

“Well, remember Vinnie?” asked James.

“I don’t want anything to do with him,” said Bobby. She remembered only too well, Vinnie the Death Hawk, who had tried to rape her and Julie.

“You won’t have to,” put in James.

“Go on,” ordered David as he gave Sherry a quick kiss on the cheek.

“It’s his brother, Curt,” said James.

“I didn’t know Vinnie had a brother!” exclaimed Sherry.

“Well, he does,” said David smugly.  “And he is on his way home from college.”

“College?” said a startled Bobby. “Vinnie’s brother is in college? You must be kidding me.”

“No, this weekend we’re having a big welcome back bash for him,” said James excitedly.

“With the help of his girl, Diane,” added David.

“I take it you guys are very close to him,” stated Bobby.

“We were like brothers,” said James. “More so than Vinnie.”

“He and Vinnie didn’t get along at all,” said David. “They almost hate each other. Curt could not stand the things Vinnie did, and Vinnie was terribly jealous of Curt.”

“So, Vinnie’s not going to be there?” asked Sherry.

“Are you kidding?” said James. “He couldn’t get out of that detention hall for that even if he wanted to.”

“Will you girls be our dates?” asked a hopeful yet sure David.

“Sure,” they both replied at the sam time.

“Jinx!” yelled Bobby.


Untitled Adolescent Novel

Chapter 3

“There’s something mysterious about that family,” said Bobby as she and Sherry talked on the phone later that night.

“Your just over imaginative,” laughed Sherry. “Ever since all the excitement this summer, you just are too serious.”

“You have to admit since the Deathhawks have been gone, it’s been pretty boring.”

“You can say that again!”

“You have to admit since -”

“Ha! Ha! Very funny.”

“I thought so.”

“I was being sarcastic. That’s about the oldest joke in the book.”

“While, as I was saying, that girl, the oldest one, ah, Cordelia, she was all bruised up with a broken arm.”

“So,” said Sherry.

“I think she’s abused.”

“Just because she has a few bruises, doesn’t mean she’s abused. She could have fallen down some stairs or something.”

“But she sure acted strangely. Don’t you think?”

“No. She’s just shy.”

“Where has your sense of adventure gone?”

“You’re just being silly. Now, stop it.”

“Well, maybe, but I just don’t know.”

“See you tomorrow morning.”

“Okay. Bye, Sherry.”

“Bye.”

Bobby hung up the phone and rolled around on her back. She knew something was wrong.

***

“Good morning,” said Barbara as Julie opened the door and let her in.

“Sherry will be down in a minute. Then we can leave.” said Julie as she put her freshly made bagged lunch into her blue knapsack. Julie was Sherry’s younger sister, but only by one year.

“Where is Billy today?”

“He says he has a headache. But you know the real reason he stayed home is that Brooke Shields is going to be on The Merv Griffin Show today.”

“That little brother of yours is a pervert,” said Julie. “The only thing he thinks about is girls.”

“You said it. You know that woman across the street?”

“You mean the one with the big, ah, boobs?”

“Yea, the one who doesn’t pull up her shades when she changes. My mom caught my brother watching her through the window. Boy, did he get hell for that.”

“Good. Ah, there you are at last, Sherry. We’re going to be late again. C’mon.”


from Untitled Adolescent Novel continued. . .

 

Chapter Two

 

 

 

“Can you believe I haven’t been in here since school started,” said Sherry as she, Barbara -Bobby to her friends – ,James  and David walked into the Southfield House of Pizza.

 

“During the summer we were here just about everyday,” said Bobby as she walked through the door that her boyfriend, James, held open for her. “I can’t wait to bite into a sausage pizza.”

 

“Hurry up. You’re making me hungry,” ordered David.

 

The foursome chose a table near the large window over looking a highway and the apartment building that had once been a house when Southfield was a prosperous town across the highway. Their regular seat was taken by some family they had never seen before.

 

“Wonder whom them people in our seats are?” stated James as he shoved another mouthful of pizza into his mouth.

 

“I don’t know. They must be from Frankfort,” replied Bobby.

 

“Or they could have just moved here,” added Sherry.

 

“Well, why don’t we just find out,” said David as he stood up. “I’ll go right over there and say, ‘what the hell are you doing here in my seat?’” he turned and began to walk towards his regular table.

 

“David!” said Sherry in a low shout. “Sit down.”

 

David continued to walk.

 

“I’m so embarrassed,” said Sherry with her face in her hands with a faint laughter in her voice.

 

But David continued to walk past the table and into the bathroom.

 

“That chicken,” laughed James. “I knew he wouldn’t dare.”

 

“Well, neither would you, darling,” said Bobby.

 

“Wanna bet?” he challenged. “I’m not afraid of anything.”

 

“Yea, sure,” said Bobby sarcastically.

 

James stood up. “Here it goes.”

 

Bobby whispered in Sherry’s ear, “Don’t worry. He’s just going to join David in the little boy’s room.”

 

But when she looked up, James was seated at their regular table along with the strange woman, man, and two girls, one about their age, the other much younger.

 

“Hi,” said James as he pulled up a chair. “My name is James, Jame Broty.”

 

“Hello, James,” said the man. “This is my sister, Aida Gardner and her two daughters, Cordelia and Nina.”

 

Both girls shyly said, “Hi.”

 

James thought both the girls pretty. Cordelia with the shiny, black hair that curled away from her face, brown eyes and peaches and cream complexion. Her arm was in a sling. And Nina with her long, straight, blonde hair and blue eyes. Her skin was dark. She looked nothing like her sister.

 

“The reason why I’m here is my friends and I like to meet everyone new who moves here, kind of like a welcome wagon. You did just more here, didn’t you?”

 

“Why, yes,” replied Aida, who looked almost identical to Cordelia. “We just arrived here yesterday.”

 

“Where are you from?”

 

“Well, I’ve been here for a while, but Aid and the girls are from ________,” replied the short, bald uncle.

 

“Oh,” responded James. “Have you always lived there?”

 

“No. I moved there when Corey was nine. When I married Nina’s father.”

 

That explained the difference in their appearance.

 

“Would you like to meet my friends?” asked James as he saw David exited the men’s room, shocked when he noticed where James was seated.

 

“Sure,” said Nina’s quiet little voice.

 

“Hey, you guys come over here,” commanded James, motioning to the table. Barbara and Sherry looked at each other, shrugged and got up and walked to the table. David grabbed a chair and sat next to  James. The two girls stood behind them.

 

“This is my best pal, David,” started James, “his girl, Sherry, and my love, Bobby.”

 

Only Aida noticed the hint of disappointment in Corey’s face.

 

James continued, “Meet Mrs. Aida Gardner. Her daughters, Nina and . . . and what was that name again?”

 

“Cor, her voice cracked, “Cordelia, but call me Corey, please.”

 

“And I’m Bill Plumber. Nice to meet you.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” said Bobby.

 

They talked for half an hour. But not much was said. James told the new comers about the town and the school and that was as far as it went.

 

 


The saga continues. Below is the second half of Chapter One from my As of Yet Untitled Young Adult Novel.

 

***

 

The big day finally arrived. It was Sunday, the day they would being their new life. It was a two-day drive from Otter Creek, Kentucky, to Southfield, New Hampshire. They would spend a night in a hotel on the way.

“Do you have everything?” asked Aida as she wiped some grime off of her face with her apron. “Uncle Bill is ready to drive the truck if you do.”

“Yep, I just checked every corner of this place,” replied Corey.

“Let’s go,” said the tired mother as she ran towards the door that led out of the house they had called home for the past three years. “I’m ready to leave this hell-hole of a town.”

They ran out and jumped into their new station wagon anxious to reach their new home.

They reached their destination Wednesday afternoon.

“Think Uncle Bill will be worried about us?” asked Corey as she got out of the stuffy station wagon. “He probably got here yesterday.”

“He didn’t have a fifteen-year-old and a five-year-old girl with him,” replied her mother. “Here he comes now.”

“Thought you’d never get here,” he said as he stepped down the front steps of the small, white, one-floor house.”

“Well, we did,” replied Aida. “Did you get the furniture in the house okay?”

“You betcha,” was the uncle’s reply. “I had some guys from over at the pool house help me.”

“Did you see any kids around here?” asked Nina in a tired voice.

“I saw lots of kids here,” he answered. “Both of your ages, too. The neighborhood’s just crawling with them.”

“Well, tomorrow you can meet them. Tonight, let’s just get this stuff out of the car, then go in and get something to eat.”

“I hate to put a damper on things, Aida, but you have NO food,” said Bill.

“Do you know where a store is?” asked Corey, her first words since she arrived at her new home.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” answered Bill. “I will run and get something if you like.”

“No, I saw a pizza place just a minute from here. Why don’t you girls get cleaned up and we’ll go there,” suggested their mother.

“Sounds good to me,” said Cordelia as she picked up a suitcase with her only available arm. She walked up the stone walkway, up the front steps and into her new home.

 

In an hour, everyone was ready to go. Corey put on a pair of jeans and a polo shirt, then her fall jacket over that. She wanted to cover her cast a bit.

The four of them piled into the station wagon and headed for the Southfield House of Pizza.

When they entered it, they found it was a place of little glamour. Video games lined the wall. Beer mirrors were hung up along the (color) walls. The tables had no table-clothes, yet it was cozy. they found a table near a wall and decided what to order.


Okay, so last weekend, I went out to the barn and retrieved a veritable time-capsule of my adolescent years. And, among my Michael Jackson memorabilia collection and numerous 80’s magazine clippings, ranging from Joy Division to Frankie Goes to Hollywood to (embarrassingly enough) Hall and Oates, was a bunch of my writing from both school and home.

The one piece I was hoping to find was there – this 30 page novel – which I hand wrote in 8th grade. So, I’ve decided to type it up, with little revision or editorial change, to discover the long-lost story a younger me created.

For this week’s submission, I’ve submitted the first half of “Chapter One” of my untitled novel. I’m enjoying rediscovering as I type. Who was the author of this?

 

An as of Yet Untitled Young Adult Novel

Chapter One

Cordelia walked down those old steps. The same steps she had walked down so many times before. But today was the last time ever. The last time she would ever leave this school. She was glad. Ever since her father had been arrested, she had become an outsider. Cut off from her “friends.” Even the teachers looked at her funny. That school was an awful, cold place for her.

She began to walk the usual way. As she walked by some bushes, out they jumped. About twenty kids, some of them who used to claim to be her friends.

“Corey, we heard you were moving, so we decided to have  a going away surprise for you, “ said Danny Brown, whom she had once had a crush on.

“That’s okay,” she said.

“Oh, but we must, dear Corey,” said June Winters as she swung around her numbchuk sticks.

“Please, will you just leave me alone!”

“Of course not,” said Danny.

They all came at her. There was nothing she could do. The punches, kicks were too much for her. She shut herself off. She couldn’t feel anything. She wasn’t there for at least twenty minutes. Then, they left.

“Now, tell your father to swindle us!” they yelled as they left her alone in her own pool of blood. She didn’t move. She could feel the pain now.

 

It seemed like hours when her mother and younger sister, Nina, finally reached her.

This wasn’t the first time they had met her after school, but it certainly was the worst.

“Oh, God! Look what they’ve done to her. Nina, get the first aid kit out of the glove compartment, fast!” said Aida as she bent down to her bruised daughter. “Honey, can you hear me? Can you talk?”

“Ye-, yes,” was Cordelia’s feeble reply.

“Okay, just keep quiet and don’t move. Hurry up with the first aid kit, Nina!”

“I found it!” Nina yelled as she ran to her mother, who was a nurse.

“Thank you.” Aida patched up her fifteen year-old daughter as best she could, then got her to the hospital.

 

 

“How is she, Frank?” Aida asked the doctor who had once employed her.

“Her right arm is broken in two places. She obviously has several bruises, and she has a slight concussion. We’re going to keep her over-night, but she’ll be fine,” replied the man in white lab coat.

“Is it still okay to move Monday?” asked Aida.

“If there is no change, yes.”

“Can I see her?”

“She is in room 236. Nina can go in too.”

 

“Hi, Baby. How do you feel?” asked the concerned mother as she entered room 236.

“Okay.”

“I’m going to call the principal about those kids, Corey.”

“Please don’t, Mom. They’re just upset about the swindle.”

“That’s no reason for them to take it out on you. That was your father’s and only your father’s doing.”

“I know, but they are mad. Their parents were hurt. They have to take it out on someone.”

“Not you. The only person who deserves to be hurt is that lousy father of yours.”

“Well, he’s getting it in jail.”

“Yes, and by losing his family,” reminded Aida. “I hope he never finds us.”

“Mommy, are we going to see daddy again?” asked a small voice in the corner.

“No, honey,” answered Aida. “I’ve explained it all before. We are moving to a nicer place and we’ll make lots of new friends.”

“Oh,” was all Nina could reply. It hurt her to leave her father even though he’d been bad.

“Corey, you need your rest, so we can leave Monday. So you get some rest and I’ll be here tomorrow to visit, okay?”

“Bye, Mom,” said Cordelia. “I love you.”

“I love you too, darling.”

 

A Spiritual Dryness 

 

And so, you ask the question;

How long will I

Choose to wander my

Desert of dissatisfaction?

 

Refusing all you have

offered in drink, from

Evian to Cabernet,

 

My lips blister.

Instead, I spiral

down drowning thoughts

 

And thirst. No nutshell

Is quite big enough

For this sorrow. All is

 

Bad if thinking

Makes it so.

Someone Else’s First Kiss

 

Thames * Periwinkle * London * King’s Road * Avocado * April * Archeologist

 

Perhaps it was the tongue, his tongue, digging more deeply than any archeologist into the cavern of her mouth.  He salivated like the Thames as he seemed to search out each cavity in there. Swallowing an avocado seed would have been less awkward that April.

 

Her eyes, periwinkle twinkles, looked on her crush as he held her on the back porch of the rectory. And she felt the thrill of getting her hair cut off on the King’s Road in London. It was scarier, too.

 

Would he tell she was a sloppy kisser?

 

Didn’t matter. She’d waited for that cigarette kiss and her tongue smooth against the yellow tar stains on his teeth and his worn Carhartt  jacket and that spring day since before she remembered.

Picasso’s Mistress Swims in Paint

 

She looks young,

Sad. I imagine the room

A library.

 

She rests her arms

Over a book and mourns.

She is blue, after all.

 

She wears a bracelet.

How does he 

Create this colour?

 

The blue in contrast,

Directly, with yellow;

Its compliment

 

Sky to sun

Sadness to sunshine

Cowardice to wishes

 

Cradle your head

Young, ponytailed

Girl and weep.

 

Sometimes that is

All there is

To be done.

After the Union

Musings on Julian Beck’s “Romeo and Juliet”

 

Death lurks from behind

The wall of paint. The young

Lovers never knew that first

 

Night they met that he’d be

There always – waiting

For their coming soon.

 

His green hair plastered

Down, he plans for your

Demise over a jar of

 

Mayonnaise. Black spots-

Or is it ink – seal the deal.

A young girl who’ll

 

Stab herself in the breast

Rather than live another

Crypt kept moment without.

 

Gosh, she barely breathed

Three minutes betwixt his

Drink and her awakening and

 

The dagger in the chest

is always a promise

in the mist of the cave.