Monday, March 05, 2007

Write Club exercise


(We see a female usher standing by the red curtain leading up to the cinema balcony. She is lost in thought, slightly frowning. She is the CITY SISTER. The conversation that follows is a recorded telephone conversation between her and her COUNTRY SISTER. The scene on the movie screen is almost exactly as narrated by CITY to COUNTRY.)

CITY
The storm gathers and the wind blows the door to his balcony wide open, catching the lampshade like a sail knocking it over. The rain drops speckle and then drench us. I looked at his eyes; his face now wet seemed handsomer than ever.
(She holds for a dramatic pause.)

COUNTRY
And then, did you kiss?

CITY
His tongue became a typewriter

COUNTRY
Oh my!

CITY
Every keystroke a quick kiss. Still he was gentle, even if amateur.

COUNTRY
Listen to you?!

CITY
What?

COUNTRY
Even if amateur? Would you prefer a professional?

CITY
A professional kisser…perhaps.

(They laugh)

CITY
Stop interrupting. So his amateur lips are moving across my face and my neck. The attention is intoxicating till I feel a little prick

COUNTRY
Stop right now!

CITY
No, no, no! It’s his teeth

COUNTRY
His teeth?

CITY
His is so lost in the passion, that he starts biting at me.

COUNTRY
That’s too much

CITY
You’d think so, but I have to confess…I liked it.

COUNTRY
No

CITY
Yes. I did. So know I can feel his teeth and his tongue and his hairy arms as if they were everywhere at once. He’s biting and begging and I’m blinded by the reflections of moonlight piercing the stormy night sky. Then he bites the buttons of my dress and…

COUNTRY
Tell me you didn’t

(CITY sister laughs)

COUNTRY
So you didn’t?

CITY
I wish I could have seen your face.

COUNTRY
(A touch upset now)I can never tell when your lying or telling the truth anymore

CITY
What do you mean ‘anymore’? You never could.

COUNTRY
Well, if you didn’t…then what did happen?

CITY
Nothing

COUNTRY
He didn’t try anything more forward?

(Pause in conversation. The Usherette moves toward the baroque wooden carved column and looks sadly and longingly at the movie screen.)

CITY
There wasn’t even a he?

COUNTRY
Wait? What?

CITY
There wasn’t a date

COUNTRY
You didn’t go out with the cinema owner’s son?

CITY
I don’t even know if the cinema owner has a son.

COUNTRY
But

CITY
Don’t be so gullible. It didn’t happen. None of it

COUNTRY
It was so detailed. It sounded so…

CITY
I stole it

COUNTRY
It was a lie

CITY
Not a lie. I stole it. It happened to Jane Greer in last week’s picture

COUNTRY
Sis! I want to know what is happened, what is really happening

CITY
Really, really truly?

COUNTRY
We’re all worried. Aren’t you seeing anyone? Anyone at all?

CITY
Sure. Last week I was out with Robert Mitchum every night. The week before that I was painting the town red with Dick Powell, and then it was George Raft…

COUNTRY
When are you going to abandon these ridiculous fantasies?

CITY
Sis…

COUNTRY
There are plenty of boy’s left here. If you came home there’d be ample time to meet someone and fall in love

CITY
Love? A man isn’t always the answer.

COUNTRY
That’s just more fantasy talk. Sis…come home

CITY
I am home

COUNTRY
No! You know what I mean

CITY
I’m happier here OK? I know you can’t believe that, but I’m happier here!

COUNTRY
When are you going to realize? Too late? After you’ve lost your looks and hit rock bottom?

CITY
Come on! What do you know about rock bottom? Trust me, this this isn’t rock bottom. It’s no where near rock bottom

COUNTRY
I lose so much sleep worrying about you alone up there. No family, no one to protect you. We hear stories about single girls in the big cities. Horror stories

CITY
That’s ridiculous. I should come home to avoid the horror stories? If you think your world is any less horrible than mine, you need to grow up! Open your eyes!

COUNTRY
I think you’ve lost hope.

CITY
I haven’t lost all hope. I’ve just brought self delusion to a near stand still.

COUNTRY
I just don’t want all those terrible things to happen to you

(On the movie screen, we see Bela Lugosi stalk his prey. The usherette moves away from the screen back to her original position by the red curtain.)

CITY
Everything terrible you’ve ever thought up or saw or read in the paper…eventually everything terrible happens to you. To everyone. You’ll know loneliness. You’ll know hunger. If the Indian doesn’t tear off your scalp, eventually the worms and the alley rats will.

COUNTRY
That’s it?

CITY
Yes. Sometimes lonely. Sometimes bored. Except every other Friday night.

COUNTRY
A new picture?

CITY
Yes. Till then it’s avoidance, anxiety, fear…but in the movie house we are all looking at the same thing. That gives me…something

COUNTRY
Comfort?

CITY
Maybe. I don’t know.

(Something stirs behind the red curtain. The usherette goes and looks up the step toward the balcony. There she sees the image of Bela again. The silhouette of a huge fat man in a suit steps into the image and obstructs the view of Bela. The man puffs on his cigar looking down at the usherette. The man unbuttons his vest. He rubs his belly and then slaps his belly. He drops his cigar which rolls down to the bottom of the steps where the usherette stands. He looks down at the cigar. She bends over to pick it and looks back at the silhouette of the fat man who folds him arms at the top of the stairs…waiting.)

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