The Poetry of Objects

Here are the rules to the poetry game.

There are to be ten syllables each line,

And alternating lines must rhyme the same,

With fourteen rows in total.  Then combine

All the alliterations, metaphors,

That you can pack into a single phrase;

Assonance, juxtaposition, and more.

Whatever it takes, leave the reader dazed.

Trail blaze them down paths they have never seen.

Stay fresh, try not to use the same words twice.

Create imagery with vivid scenes.

And be spontaneous, throw in some dice.

And oh, the last two lines sound together,

Like thin walls and thunder in bad weather.

      The Object of Poetry

(Walter's Mission Statement)

I move the distance from pen to paper,

To escape the needs of the "little me".

I boil its vapidity to vapor,

By writing down exactly what I see.

I drum out the noise in my toxic head,

With the silencing act of pure vision.

I forget about all that has been said,

I trust in undistorted perception.

If you like how I see, give me money.

By the way, my name's Walter F. Shoutli.

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The Plays of Peoples and Objects

Here are the rules to The Plays of Objects:  1.  It is a one Act play  2.  It must be within the realm of 200 statements (give or take) made by two or more characters making up the complete dialogue of the Act.  3.  To try and enjoy the process.  4.  The play is to be stimulated by an image of people or things, or a combination of both.   5.  Includes no more than 5 characters.  6.  Spend no more than 4 hrs working on it

The Wine Bar

Mike: singer ,  John: drummer,  David: keyboardist,  Cheryl: member of the middle of the audience  Tanya:  Waitress



Mike:  John you are a little off on the down beats… could you….


John:  oh you mean its in 3/4?  Or…


Mike:  well no, it’s in common time its just that you have the accents all wrong.


John:  I think your taking it a little too seriously there Mike.  I mean look at this audience, do you think that they know the difference?  They are idiots.  


Cheryl:  I heard that… (smiling).  Finally we know what you artists really think of their fans.


David:  I think Jim Morrison pissed on his fans in Florida once so at least we didn’t do that Cheryl.


Mike:  No, it wasn’t piss,  he masturbated onto them.  


John:  Oh shit that is disgusting, never say that again.  


:Cheryl:  Well I don’t think it is disgusting.  (Laughing)  he was fucking hot.  I wish I was in the first row.  


Mike:  ok folks maybe we should clean it up a bit here.  I mean there are kids in the audience.


John:  no kidding.  So what number should we do next guys?  


David:  how bout my Bonnie flies over…


Mike:  It’s “lies” not “flies”.  


David:  Oh yea.. duh…


Mike:  sure.. ok with you John?


John:  yea, sounds good… I’ll make certain my down beats are right this time.


Mike:  You do that, or else we might have to get a new drummer.  ( smiles)


              ( they play My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean…. Audience claps afterwards)





Mike:  (to the audience)  well thank you so much, your too kind.  Really your too kind… ( audience still clapping)  I’d like to introduce the rest of… or the other band members.  There are only two of them.  We have on my right our keyboardist, John Hampshire.  ( crowd applauds)  The best darn keyboardist in the USA.  John became a member of the band “ The Cape of Good Hope”  last year unfortunately after our other keyboardist got hit by a bus and killed. ( crowd moans)   But all clouds have a silver lining, and out of the tragedy we were able to scoop up John.    


John:  (peering over to David with his hand cupped speaking with a voice in half secrecy)  God he sounds so clinical when he says it.. like life and death are as important and dramatic a thing as having to change your mind about eating in because you are out of butter or something. 


David:  what?  What?  I didn’t hear…. What’s this about “butter”?


Mike:  Whats this whispering behind me guys?  What’s this about “butter”?  Would you like to share your secrets with the rest of us?  ( crowd laughs)  And then on my left is the one and only John Miller.  The best drummer this side of town from the Colorado River.  ( some chuckles in the audience)


John:  (talking behind to Mike)  well that doesn’t seem to say a lot.  Not a real wide spread of area there.  


Mike:  No I am just kidding.  The best drummer we could get.  ( crowd laughs a little bit more)  


John:  well that’s a little underhanded.  


Mike:  Well folks we are going to take a little twenty minute break and then we will begin the second set.  


( Cheryl approaches Mike)


Cheryl:  oh you guys are spectacular.  Have you ever thought about auditioning to play for Austin City Limits?  I think you guys would be great for it… a perfect match and a great way to promote your career.. get some really good publicity.  


Mike:  (turning to John and David) did you hear that guys?  Cheryl wants to know if we have ever thought about auditioning for Austin City Limits.  


( John and David chuckle in irony)


John:  We’re playing next week.  Next Thursday.  Going to be on national tv.  


Cheryl:  You are kidding!  No way!  I thought you guys would look good up there on that stage.  Oh my god!  I have to go get tickets!  How much do they run do you know?


David:  A three day pass is like around $300.00.  I think a single ticket for a single day is like a little over a $100.00


Cheryl:  Oh!  Your playing in the festival.  I thought the tv show … you know the one you see on PBS.  


Mike:  Oh yea, well we havent played on that yet.  But maybe if we do really well a the festival that will be next.  ( turns to guys)   what do you say guys?  Is that where we’re going next? 


John:  the festival is good enough for me.  We will be amongst many there bands it is true, but we will be live on national t.v and that is all that matters to me.  


David:  fortune and fame and name baby!  That’s what it’s all about.  Solidifying the name like concrete into the public consciousness.  


John:  shit that would be a good band name… “Concrete Consciousness”


Mike:  I’m sure it exists already.  Like there is already like four other bands by the name of “The Cape of Good Hope”.  Nothing is new under the sun boys, especially with the internet now.  


John:  I just looked it up on my cell phone, it fucking exists already.  “Concrete Consciousness”… A band from Liverpool, England.


Mike:  Yep… just gotta brainwash the public into thinking that we are the tits.  Your right about solidifying the name into the public consciousness David.  Who was that guy that said, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American mind? “


Cheryl:  I think it was Mark Twain.  


(John is looking it up on his cell phone)


John:  No… it was H. L. Mencken.  


David:  same thing.. one of those old farts… one of those old dead white farts.  


Cheryl:  I’m not sure that I am going to be able to afford the freakin tickets.  That’s pretty expensive!  


Mike:  Cheryl darling, we will get you a free ticket.. how does that sound sweetie?


Cheryl:  Oh my god!  Would you guys?  How bout this?  I will bake some hash brownies for you guys before the show?  I can bring them to you back stage.  


John:  I don’t touch the shit.. causes schizophrenia.  I saw my little brother turn into a bunch of jigsaw puzzle pieces all shuffled up into the box of his fractured mind.  Kid never was the same again.  I swear you could hear the pieces shift and jumble when you pushed on his head a bit… 


Cheryl:  don’t talk about your little brother like that John!  ( smiling) You nasty boy.  You sound like a real bully.


John:  I’m just saying.. he played the drums too… one less competition to have to deal with.. I’m just saying… I feel bad for the kid don’t get me wrong but.. 


David:  who is sounding clinical and non caring now?  


Mike:  shit maybe we should fire you John and hire your brother… the way you have been playing lately.  


John:  knock it off man.. I play just fucking fine.  



Mike:  ( turning to David)  is it just me David?  Or does he have to work on his down beats?  And the accents!  He’s got the fucking accents all wrong.  Like on “Send me your Flowers baby I aint foolin” the push should be on  the second double beat.. to pump the rhythm so that you feel like you are on a rolling river that is going somewhere.. they way he fucking plays it I feel like I am in a deflating raft and alligators are moving in… 


David:  I didn’t think it was that bad.. I mean I kind of know what you mean but… 


John:  what are you guys talking about… your kidding me right?  I play perfectly fine… 


Cheryl:  well I will bring them for Mike and David.  John what would you like?  A bottle of JD?  


John:  how did you know I was a JD man?


Cheryl:  I could tell by that strong jaw line…


Mike:  what are you talking about?  The guys got the smallest chin around… I keep telling him to have surgery to enlarge it or something.. 


John:  he is right.. I do have a small chin.  I look like a little boy.


David:  what are you talking about?  His jaw line and chin are bigger than yours Mike.  


Mike:  yea right.. and Niagara Falls is in the Grand Canyon.  


John:  I wish that I had a broader and bigger chin.. I wore a beard for a while to try and elongate it.. or hide it.. I remember one time I shaved  off my beard after having worn it for a long time, and this guy who had been used to seeing me with it thought I had had mouth cancer and had to have a huge part of my jaw removed.  Oh well.. nobody’s perfect… it’s a part of the cross I have to bear.  


Mike:  listen to this guy now talking about christ … your as atheist as they get.  


John:  just because I am not a christian doesn’t mean that the metaphor isn’t true.  


David:  Hey guys I gotta go to the bathroom real quick.  Do you know where they are?


Cheryl:  down in the back of the hallway there on your left.  


David:  Oh thanks Cheryl.. Cheryl is it?


Cheryl:  yes Cheryl!  Don’t you know me by now David?  Jees… 


    ( David goes back to the bathroom)


Mike:  so Cheryl how are things going with Bob?  Are you guys still living over there near the river?


Cheryl:  Has it been that long since I have seen you?  Bob and I got divorced.  I own the house now and Bob moved to Nashville.  


John:  well no wonder you have been so friendly with us tonight… are you flirting with us Cheryl?


Cheryl:  maybe.. maybe not… 


Mike:  so your single now?  Your not dating?


Cheryl:  thats right boys… the cougar is out on the prowl in the night looking for a young coyote if you know what I mean?


John:  Ok I think I need to go to the bathroom too now… where are they again?


Cheryl:  down the hallway and to the left sugar.  ( Cheryl winks at John) 


    ( Joh leaves for the bathroom)


Cheryl:  well how bout you Mike?  Are you dating anyone right now?  


Mike:  well you know me.. I get around…


Cheryl:  a rolling stone Hugh?  Don’t gather no moss?


Mike:  that’s right baby, they call me the rambling man.


Cheryl:  oh give me a break.. you guys are a bunch of lambs… your just kids… you don’t know what life is about… 


Mike:  yea?  You don’t think so Hugh?  How old are you Cheryl?


Cheryl:  you know never to ask a woman such a question.  (Pauses)  …. How old do you think I am?


Mike:  well let me see…. I’d better say a good five years less than I really think so… 45?


Cheryl:  oh darling your just an amateur.. your so green.  Your not even close.


Mike:  Higher or lower?


Cheryl:  Higher honey…  way higher.


Mike:  50?


Cheryl:  Higher…


Mike:  55?


Cheryl:  Bingo.


Mike:  wow!  I know it’s a cliche, but you really don’t look it at all Cheryl.


Cheryl:  55 years old young right?


Mike:  That’s right… your only as young as… I mean  ( Cheryl chuckles) old as you feel.  


Cheryl:  I suppose it could be young too right?  Your as young as much as you can delude yourself into believing it I suppose.


        ( John and David return)


Mike:  what the hell took you guys so long?  Giving each other head or something?


John:  No… we just got to talking… 


Mike: about what?


David:  about the show coming up at the festival.


Mike:  what of it?  


John:  My father wants to come and watch.


Mike:  oh fucking hell… 


John:  I know… it sucks doesn’t it?


Mike:  well tell the fucker to go fuck himself.


            ( Crowd starts chanting second set!  Second set!)


John:  I would but I feel bad.. 


Mike:  oh when are you going to stop being a pussy with that guy.. alright we will talk about it later…. Ladies and gentlemen we are back!  Just a note before we begin our second set, we “The Cape of Good Hope” are glad and proud to announce that we will be playing at the Austin City Limits festival coming up this Thursday.  ( crowd roars with whistles and applause)  We would love for you to join us… I’ll be honest with you tickets are a little steep… but it will be fun… should be a good time.. bring the whole family.. bring your significant other… or hell, if your a loner go by yourself.  Wed love to see you there.. alright boys, what are we going to play next?  Oh first I should ask the audience… do you have any requests?  



Crowd Member:  Ramblin Rose!


Mike:  we aren’t much into the Dead … any requests for one of our originals?


Crow Member:  How bout “Sizzling Betsy”?


Mike:  “Sizzling Betsy” it is… a one.. a two.. a one two three four… 


        ( The band plays “Sizzling Betsy”)


        ( song ends…)


Mike:  did you say that your dad is coming to the show?


John:  That’s what he said.


Mike:  I don’t want that asshole showing up at our gig… I remember the last time he came.. remember that?  No … ( shaking head) not this time… he ain’t coming this time.  


David:  Why?  I can’t remember what happened last time.   What did he do?


Mike:  first of all the guy shows up almost completely naked.  Like he is wearing nothing except a little Tarzan strap that is dangling around his package like a thin leaf ready to blow away for the whole venue to see.  


John:  (head down in shame)  I know  I know…. 


Mike:  don’t interrupt, and then the guy starts yelling when its all quiet in-between songs … the guy start yelling right wing politics and shit.  It was fucking embarrassing as hell.  


John:  remember and then the crowd…


Mike:  yea.. ( turning to David) and then some guy in the crowd literally took a lemon meringue pie and threw it into his dad’s face.  ( starts laughing)  Actually I have to admit that was funny as hell… ( turning to John) your fucking dad deserved it man!  You should have seen his face.. have you ever seen …


David:  I wish so too… 


Mike:  well where were you?  


David:  Remember I think that was before Trevor got hit by that bus.  


Mike:  well maybe your right.. but anyway it was funny as fuck.  Have you ever seen the cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s album cover off of “ In the airplane over the sea?”


David:  No.


Mike:  well go check it out man.. that was the way his fucking dad looked.  It looked like he had a tambourine for a head or a bass drum.


David:  I have heard of that album though.  Is it any good?



        ( Crowd starts roaring for another song)


Mike:  I’ll tell you later.  Alright ladies and gentlemen, Im glad you liked that last number.  Any more requests?  




Crowd Member:   How bout “sit on my face and tell me that you love me”


Mike:  easy … easy … there are kids in the crowd… 


Another member:  “Truffles for Tanya!”


Mike:  we would but we need a bass player for that one.. you just can’t play Truffles for Tanya without that  groovy bass line.  Which reminds me guys.. ( turns around to John and David) we may want to eventually get a bass player because that was one of our best tunes in the last studio album.  


        ( John and David nod)


Mike:  That was my song.. ( point thumb to his chest)  Fucking brilliant if I do say so myself.  


        ( John and David look at each other with rolling eyes)


John:  What an arrogant ass…


Mike:  Hey I have the guts to back it up… 


David:  Well I wrote “Sweltering Summer Nights” … none of you guys have the touch the I have.. I have the Midas touch.. Ive really got it!


John:  why are you turning on me all of a sudden?


David:  I’m just saying… if you’ve got it you’ve got it.. tell the world.. 


John:  alright.. I may not be the greatest drummer in the world.. But I can fly fish better than you two put together.  I bet you that if we went up to Alaska one of these summers I would catch double the number of fish than the two of you combined!”


Mike:  alright alright.. Jesus.. don’t get all in a tizzy.  Your dad isn’t coming is he? 


John:  I don’t think so..


Mike:  when are you going to tell that guy to fuck off once and for all?  I’m tired of baby sitting your ass.  Its time you joined the left whole heartedly and dropped that right wing naked ass once and for all!


David:  So your dad is right wing? 


John:  yes… I know I know.. a homosexual but for the right.


Mike:  your dad is almost as fucked up as you are.. 


David:  your dad is gay?


John:  yes.


David:  well then why are you here?  I mean.. 


John:  you mean like how did he get it up?


David:  yea… like how did he get it up?


John:  well obviously he is bisexual right?  So he must like women a little bit.


Mike:  You would never know it on account of how the guy rages and rails against women all of the time.  He calls them ditsy flakes and cows.  


John:  guys can we change the subject?  I don’t feel so well all of a sudden.  




Mike:  I will go with you fly fishing in (  crowd begins to roar for more) Alaska but I’m not going anywhere near that fuck you call your dad.  I hate to be discourteous but.. ( turns to crowd) We can’t do Truffles for Tanya, how bout Shenanigans with Quakers?  ( the crowd roars)  A one, a two, a one two three four… 

            “ When you get near her, you just can’t fake her,

            Don’t get involved in any shenanigans with quakers”  ( Crowd roars) 



        ( the set ends)


Mike:  well guys give me some skin!  ( holds hand up… They all high five)  And especially you John!  You really had the groove down on Twisted Twister,  The bass peddle.. I could have sworn I heard some triplets in their.. but… 


John:  You did, you did hear triplets… studied Bohnam last night.  


Mike:  well keep it up man and maybe I won’t fire you ( winks at John with a smile)


John:  ( rolls his eyes)  yea Mr. Brilliant.  That would be nice if you didn’t.  


        ( the guys start putting away their equipment… Cheryl approaches)


Cheryl:  better than the first set.. better than the first set.. give me some skin too guys… ( hi 5’s all of them)… you guys want to go out for a glass of wine right now?  You guys got plans?


David:  How about here?  Isn’t this place still open for a couple more hours?


Cheryl: or yea.. how about here?


Mike:  sure … why not?


John:  I don’t know guys I might have to get going.. 


Mike:  why?  Are you going home to mommy and daddy now?


John:  Look Mike I know your kidding… this is your way of kidding but your kind of an asshole.. has any one ever told you that?


Mike:  well why don’t you stick around and have a couple glasses?  


John:  ( pauses to think) …. Well ok.




        ( all four: John, Mike, Cheryl, and David gather around a table.  Waitress approaches)


Waitress:  have you decided what you would like?


Mike:  give me a glass of your chardonnay.


John:  I’ll have the same.


David:  I’ll have the merlot.  


Mike:  Cheryl, what will you have?


Cheryl:  I’ll have the Naval of a Hairy Dog 


John:  that sounds gross.  Shit.  What in the hell is in there?


Cheryl:  Vodka, Scotch, Gin, and a pinch of Absinthe.  


John:  they sell absinthe now?  I thought that was outlawed back in the 19th century when Van Gogh and Victor Hugho drove themselves insane by drinking it.  


David:  Van Gogh went insane from sucking on his lead paints. 


Mike:  what a fucking retard.


Cheryl:  Mike… that is an awful word to use.  Your a leftist aren’t you?  


Mike:  yea your right… what’s the word I should use again?  


John:  special.


Mike:  ok… well.. I guess he was special.. gotta give him that much.  What a special guy to suck on his own paints.  


David:  I didn’t know that Victor Hugo went insane.  


John:  I read it in an article somewhere.


David:  where ?


John:  In the New York Times.


David:  Ive heard of those articles.. they just write those things to try and sell papers.. those journalists just make shit up to sell stuff.. I never heard Victor Hugo having gone insane from Absinthe.


Mike:  Is that the guy who wrote the Hunchback of Notre Dame?


Cheryl:  No that was Alexandre Dumas.


David:  no it wasn’t!  Mike is…



                (sudden yells and yahoos in the back of the bar… almost animal noises at a zoo)


Mike:  Jesus, I didnt know they served the chimpanzees in from the jungle here.  ( another animal call)  


Cheryl:  for being on the left you aren’t really sensitive are you?  I think you need more ( more animal hoots and and calls)… I was going to say I think you need more sensitive training, but I have to admit they did let the animals in from the zoo didn’t they?  No Mike was right… Victor Hugo did write the Hunchback.. Alexandre  Dumas wrote the count of monte Cristo and the three Muskateers.


John:  Did he write the three musketeers also?


Cheryl:  he sure did.  


Mike:  they don’t fucking write them like they used to do they?  Those fucking stories rock ass!


        ( the drinks come)


Mike:  what the hell was with all the hooting and hollering back there?  I thought the bonobos go loose from the town zoo…


Waitress:  We had to get the bouncer to get them out of here.. weren’t they annoying?  


Mike:  by the way what is our name?


Cheryl:  your moving awfully fast aren’t you Mike?


Mike:  I just wasn’t to know her name.. 


Waitress:  It’s Tanya.


Mike:  No way!  It’s fucking Truffles for Tanya!  


Waitress:  you want to know what else?


Mike:  what?


Waitress:  I’m a quaker.


Mike: no fucking way!  It’s fucking Shenanigans with quakers!


David:  what did she say?


John:  her name is Tanya and she is a quaker.


David:  there is no way that she is serious… ( turns to waitress)  are you fucking serious?  Is your name Tanya?  And Your a fucking quaker?  


Waitress:  Tanya Hauser.  Here is my drivers license… ( show the guys and Cheryl her driver’s license)


Mike:  No fucking way.  Have you got something to prove that you are a quaker too?  


Waitress:  look at the drivers license.  Look at the state it’s from.  Pennsylvania.


John:  Oh I thought you meant Mormon.. aren Mormons from Utah?  What group is from Utah?  Who was that guy that ran for president.  


Mike:  that’s Mormons you dumb ass.


John:  that’s what I said.. Mormons are in Utah.


Mike:  were talking about quakers.  But actually maybe we should … Or I will write a song about Mormons too.  Little Missy Mormon.


Cheryl:  you need sensitivity training Mike.. there is something about you.. are you sure you are a leftist? 


Mike:  I voted for Hilary in the last election.


Cheryl:  I suppose.  

Stars and Dark Matter

A:  Im brilliant


B:  why?


A:  because I am the mystery of the Big Bang.. I am the Big Bang.. 


B:  yea but so is everyone else.. 


A:  Im brilliant because I have a way with words


B:  a lot of people do.. Im sure your brother does too… so what?  


A:  ok… so I am not brilliant.  


B:  Yea.. I mean there is nothing special about you… to be “brilliant” would mean to stand out … 


A:  ok.. well then that means that there is nothing special about you either… 


B:  right.  


A:  so what happens now?


B:  I don’t know.  


A: but I want to be brilliant.  


B:  why?


A:  I want to be special.. I don’t want to be ordinary. 


B:  Yea but so does your bother.  Your brother also wants to be special.  


A:  that’s just it isn’t it?  To stand out.. you need others to be in darkness.. like that great philosopher, Arjun Watson said,  there could be no shining bright stars without the black void surrounding them.  Is it better to be a star?  That everyone can see?  Or is it better to be the void?  


B:  I  don’t think one is better than the other.  They are just two aspects of the same coin.  


A:  yea but you have to admit that most people would rather be a star than a black infinite expanse of darkness.  A star dances and is participatory.. it’s partying… it is having a better time… don’t you think?  


B:  well all of that dancing must take up a lot of energy and be exhausting sometimes I would think.  And then you have other stars to compete with.. your not the only up there on the infinite dark and massive stage.  In order to catch someones eye you will have to burn your engines all the brighter than the others… and of course they are trying to do the same to you.. out shine you… 


A:  you have a point there.. maybe being black space isn’t such a bad thing.  It is just in the blackness I have no definition.  I wouldn’t mind standing out and partying some.. what are those parties like?   Am I missing anything?


B:  many people standing and posturing in from of one another.. trying to look important and drinking an awful lot of champagne.  


A:  yea but they always seem to be smiling and enjoying themselves.


B:  sometimes that is true… you get a natural star and partier and the really are having a good time… but most of the time it is a facade.  No star wants you to know that deep down they are in terrible despair.. it would be so defeating… so they put on a good show.  


A:  at least something is happening at the parties… where I am nothing happens… its the same as 10 million years ago, silence and nothingness.  


B:  well if you want, go ahead and try and be brilliant, but believe me for most, it isn’t its all it’s cracked up to be.  And usually like you said, you will need to put others into shade.  And if you ave a conscience, that mightt make you feel guilty.  If you don’t have a conscience all the better for you.  It wont be a problem.  


A:  you have to admit anything is better thatn the void.. I mean nothing is happening here.  Sure you are removed from suffering a little bit, but you still have to feel the anxiety of the cosmic microwave background, and then there are all of those other things like invisible gravity waves and cosmic particles that shoot through one all the time.  It isn’t the kind of turbulence one gets in the attempts to become a huge engine, and oven of self inductive power.  An internal convective sphere of hot plasma generating it’s own magnetic field pulling everything like a domino effect into it like a dynamo.  


B:  very well said, that was almost poetic.  You get two extra points on that one.  


A:  who is keeping score?


B:  I guess I am.  


A:  but who are you?  We have both agreed that we are not special… that we are both the Big Bang, and that is special in itself, but that specialness is diluted heavily by that fact that everything every where can lay claim to that specialness, which then in the end makes it not very special after all.  


B:  In order to be special you have to trick others into thinking that they aren’t, that is the only way around that problem  I think.  


A: if no one special is keeping score, then what is the point?  


B:  what do you mean?


A:  to become a star.. to dance on the celestial stage, to entertain the little people below, there needs to be a critic doesn’t there?  A judge?


B:  I don’t follow.  


A:  Yea right..  I’m not sure I even know why I mean.. let me think for a bit.  ( thinks for a time)  Well let’s go back to what you said, “  you deserve extra points for being poetic.”


B:  sure.  


A:  what did you mean by that?  In a way then isn’t something that is poetics seen as more valuable then just plain speech?  And so in it’s way it is showing signs of being a star… it is standing out from the heavy laden night of a regular unadorned sentence.  


B:  Yes you are right.. I feel like we are in Platos dialogues (  chuckles) .  But go on… 


A:  I still can’t get at what I … I had a profound thought but its slipping.. 


B:  heavens, don’t let it slip away into the infinite night.  


A:  well maybe what I mean is that once the stars have decided that they are going to be stars, and try and convince others that they aren’t stars, so that they have some good backdrop upon which to shine, like a big black curtain at a debate, why don’t the stars at that point not compete with one another for their sparkling brilliance?  Wouldnt it be in their interests to join a union of stars of something?


B:  because the more one star shines, that automatically dims another.


A:  so it’s attention that the stars want?  It’s selfish desire for attention?  


B:  yes.. I guess you could look at it that way.  


A:  So once the universe has sorted itself out through matter tricking other matter into  who is and isn’t going to be a star..


B:  why do you say tricking?  Much matter is perfectly fine not shining.  


A:  ok.. right.. but I am of the bias that to be a star is better than being dark matter.  


B:  that may be your mistake..  but go on.  


A:  who is going to judge between the stars as to who is brighter?  There has to be a judge right?


B:  why does there have to be a judge?


A:  Well you said that the stars are competing with one another right?  


B:  right.  


A:  well who ever heard of a competition without a judge?  It would be like going through school as a kid and having no teacher to hand your work into and to get credit for.  Without a judge we don’t even have a structured curriculum upon which to work off of….   


B:  I see what your getting at.. I am puzzled.. let me think on it a second.  ( thinks)


A:  so shinning and getting attention is the end goal of matter that has decided it wants to shine?  Is there a variance of degrees in the shining?  Good shining?  Better shinning?  Bad shining?  


B:   Well yes, like I said, some stars are brighter than others.  


A:  who judges that?  


B:  the observer. 


A:  who is the observer?


B:  I guess we are.  People.  The partiers and the nobody losers who live in the midwest.  


A:  I don’t live in the midwest.. 


B:  it was a metaphor.  Jees…. 


A:  so looking at it in this light, excuse the pun, the value of a star is in how much noise and attention it can get.  How many eyes it can attract towards itself.  


B:  yes, but remember it has to be made up of light.  Being a star cannot be made up of dark thoughts or evil ambitions.  


A:  But in the very act of trying to be a star matter has inherently done an evil act.  


B:  again, your value judging.  Being a star I don’t think is inherently better that being dark matter.  


A:  I think that you are contradicting yourself.  First you say that there is a competition among stars but then you say that being bright matter or not being bright doesn’t matter in the end… ( excuse the pun)  Is light inherently a good thing or not?


B:  right I see what you mean.  Getting attention in itself is not of value.  Look at all the idiots that commit violent crimes just so that they can get in the papers.  That’s not being a star… that is being an idiot.  


A:  right.  Maybe our screw up is in a faulty metaphor.  That the stars that you see on the screen and on the stage, are not really like the stars you see in the sky.  People stars become stars not always by the ways of light.  People stars.. 


B:  yea but we call them stars.. don’t we.   I mean we have your criminals and felons that we call felons, and then we have stars.  So we on the human level distinguish don’t we?


A:  your starting to sound like me all of a sudden.  Like you are asking the questions now.  


B:  ok , lets take a star from the stage that we all agree upon is a star.  Say, 


A:  how bout Micky Karkashian.  


B:  there we go.  We’ll use her.  


A:  she is a star, not a criminal.


B:  yes.  


A:  is she a great star?  


B:  she could be better, but she has a big name.  


A:  ah… so you see that even though she is a star she isn’t a great star.  And yet who has a bigger name today?  


B:  hardly anyone.  


A:  so on the earthly stage amongst we mortals, we have concluded that being the brightest star in the sense of gaining the most attention is not in itself a quality of being a “ great” star.  So it is possible that a “ great” star could not gather as much attention as some lesser stars.  


B:  Yes, I know of many superb actors and actresses who are totally unknown, while many second rates are all the rage.  Perhaps it’s Time.  A star that lasts the longest is considered a greater star.  


A:  yea but we both know nothing lasts.  What on earth does it matter if a star lasted a blink of an eye longer than another star?  On the cosmic stage it is meaningless.  


B:  Are we talking on the earthly realm?  Or the celestial?  


A:  both I guess.  


B:  look I think you are making a mistake thinking that being a star is better than being innocuous black matter. 


A:  funny you should use the word “innocuous”.  


B:  I meant unobtrusive.   Or inconspicuous.  


A: but even in the word “innocuous”, people occasionally interchange that with being unobtrusive don’t they?


B:   do they?  Maybe that was just a blind sight in my vocabulary.  I have been working on it.. it’s better but it still needs improvement, especially in the nuances of meanings.  


A:  it seems like even in  the attempt to “be”, to “stand out” is not an innocuous thing.  One is being obtrusive aren’t they?  


B:  to be honest I am getting a head ache.. I’m lost in all of this.  To be honest I don’t have a clue what is means to be a “star” on the Earthly nor the Celestial stages.  Again, I told you, being dark matter is highly under rated.  


A:  It’s so boring here.  


B:  well that could be a sign of your lack of imagination.  Great minds should be able to find interest in even the most mundane and banal of things.


A:  maybe your right.  I’m just curious that is all.


B:  yes, you have proven to the world your voracious appetite for knowledge, we get it.  In the end you are indeed special.  Nobody is quite driven to understand these things like you are.  


A:  don’t be sarcastic.  



B:  the truth is you have worn me out.  


A:  It is just that I need to know what it means to be a star.  Maybe not to become one, but I have to understand it at least.  


B:  well, alright, go ahead.  ( exasperated)


A:  It could be that we are coming upon a horrid truth.  


B:  what is that?


A:  that one could be a great star, and yet go essentially unknown.  And the universe wouldn’t care in the slightest.  


B:  its possible.  That’s why I can’t emphasize enough how under rated being dark matter is.  One doesn’t have to worry about  such matters.  It’s only when one starts to ponder and consider going out of doors from ones bleak black hole of a home that all of these questions and contradictory value judgements arise.  


A:  it’s just that it’s…


B:  so boring.  I got it.


A:  ok, let’s take a little break.  Maybe get a cup of coffee or tea.


B:  Ok…but I would mind going to bed at a decent hour.  


A:  Ok.. come on!  This is kind of fun isn’t it?


B:  I guess.



            ( they take a break)  



       ( there return with coffees in hand.)


A:  you probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee if you want to get to bed at a decent hour.  


B:  it actually help me sleep.  I drink so much of it during the day that I go through withdrawal, and the the withdrawal is what keeps me awake at night.  


A:  whatever floats your boat.  


B:  well everyone is drowning, I think we can at least both agree on that.  


A:  Yes… both dark matter and all the stars are drowning. 


B:  Not really though, the dark matter is the sea.  It already has drowned.  It’s the stars that are doing all of the drowning.


A:  Boy that’s for sure.  Just look at the front page of the Enquirer.  


B:  I keep saying…


A:  I know I know… being dark matter is highly under rated.  But we have all the time in the world to become dark matter again.  How often does one get to be a star?


B:  Time is eternal so…


A:  we don’t know that for sure.


B:  Well lets just say it is a very long time.  There is probably a good chance to become a star again, with all of that time ahead, I am sure you will get a few more chances.  


A:  are you talking Celestial?  Or earthly?  I agree with you.. there is a real chance that someday I will become a star in the firmament, or a particle of me will, but on earth… on earth do we reincarnate as spirits?  


B:  I can’t answer that.  I wouldn’t have a clue.  Look why are you so keen on become a star?


A:  I don’t like the idea that someone thinks that they have convinced me that I am not every bit as special as they are.  Maybe it is less to do with becoming a star as it is to do with not being a toady, a dummy, a sucker.  


B:  but you know you aren’t , so isn’t that all that matters?


A:  I guess, but why doesn’t that really satisfy?  Is it possible to become a star, to become “special” without committing the crime of tricking others into believing that they aren’t every bit as?  


B:  I don’t think so.  Like I said they go together.  It’s like the word genius, if everyone is a genius then there is no such thing as genius.  


A:  unless you mean it to mean a divine spirit that is unique unto itself.  


B:  right.  


A:  in that case it would mean that everyone is a genius because no one can do things or be exactly the way they do or are… they are “special”.


B:  right, so everyone is special, stars, in the fact that they occupy a special part of the universe that no one else does, They are the universe talking across light years to each other, in their special way.   We are stars who talking to each other in our own special unique tongues and dialects or accents. 


A:  I don’t have a thick accent do I?


B:  I was speaking metaphorically again.. Jees.


A:  does dark matter speak too?  


B:  look I have sort of forgotten what we are even trying to find out.  What problem are we trying to solve?


A:  I have sort of forgotten as well.  (Pauses… regroups his thoughts.)  Maybe what I am trying to say that maybe the quality in a star is not in that fact that it shines more brighter or longer, but that it is unique.  


B:  Right


A:  but everything every where is a star in that it is unique why do some people get more credit than others?  Shouldn’t we all get equal credit everywhere?  Even the dark matter ones among us who support and stage the stars in their grand display of drama and fireworks?  


B:   that would be a pretty mighty task to try and enforce.  You would have to have some kind of Stalinevsky state to achieve that kind of equality.  And who would enforce it?  They would have to be as but no more equal then everyone else.  


A:  is it possible to coerce and control and govern other stars without become “more” than they?  


B:  I’m not sure… we are getting into politics now for heavens sakes.  Look I am getting bit tired, what is it that you are really trying to find out?  


A:  I am not even sure anymore.  What is a star?  Are there better stars than others?  Are people metaphorical stars?  Is light good?  Is getting attention good?  Is all attention good?  Is there bad and good attention?   Is light the same thing as getting attention?     If crime is a dark and evil thing then why does it shine on the earthly news?  If it were in the firmament no one would look at it for a second, it would get lost in the infinite darkness that surrounds it.  Why do we pay attention to it on earth?  Why does being dark matter feel so boring for so many of us?  Is dark matter evil?  Maybe that is why people want to be stars, they want to get out of evil darkness and into the good.  The light.  Is being unique in itself of absolute value?  And if so why do people complain about modern art so much?  And why isn’t the great sculptor Angel Caramello as popular as you are?  A complete unknown?  


B:  Look I would hardly say that I am a complete unknown. I am very well liked amongst my friends I do say.  I am extremely popular in my bridge group.  And that consists of easily 200 people.  You’re a very thought -full star, or person “A”.   Your questions are very penetrating.  I am not sure there are any answers to any of them.  


A:  maybe your right “B”.  But you aren’t dark matter.  You are a kind of star.  You have your bridge group as you say.


B:  yes, well thank you very much “A”.  


A:  so how can u go around advising people to stay as dark matter when you yourself are a star?  Are you patronizing others into thinking they aren’t special?


B:  well… no… I try not to.  Also I … I dont really see you as dark matter.  You have friends don’t you?


A:  A couple.


B:  You really need to get out more.  


A:  I would, its just that there is so much evil out there, that I worry… I don’t want to get lost in evil.


B:  You see being dark matter is not that bad.  Am I evil?  You talk to me.


A:  yea, but I trust you.  


B:  Believe me there are some good folks out there that can be trusted.


A:  it seems so complex out there… I don’t know what I want from people… or what they want from me.  


B:  its called relating.  You find out more about yourself when you talk with others, and in turn they find out more about themselves as well.  Its a win win really.  


A:  so we are all stars talking to one another?  the Universe exploring itself as Watson said?  Finding out who we are together?  Helping each other out?  


B:  yes.  


A:  What are we helping each other out towards? 


B:  I knew you were going to ask another question.  


A:  well it would help to know wouldn’t it?  



B:  Towards the light.  More light, reflecting each others light.  Like a bunch of light bulbs in mirrors all pointing to one  another.  When one bulb brightens he or she brightens the whole, and it is a snow ball effect of light.  A snow cone of light amplifying and radiating, living in and with one another.  


A:  Its the dance then.  The dance of light is the purpose of it all?  The joy of being in light?  The more light the better?


B:  Yes, I think that is it.  


A:  But then we come back to the problem of dark matter.


B:  (moans in annoyance)


A:  (Laughs as if almost proud of being a questioning pursuing mind that nags for the Truth… nay.. maybe even feeling “special”)


B:  What about dark matter?


A:  It supports the light, but it itself cannot add to it.  And yet one would hardly say that dark matter is not a help.  Does not play a significant supporting role.  Like “Watson” said, without the dark space their could be no twinkling stars.  What is their goal then?  Those who play the role of dark matter?  So its isn’t just about shining light towards one another to brighten the whole.  Some of us have to go into the dark night sky so that others can shine more brightly.


B:  yes.. that sounds true.  


A:  but what about the criminals?  


B:  what about them?


A:  are they playing the roles of supporting dark matter?  


B:  in a way I guess yes.. they make the noble pure spirits shine all the more in comparison, so the noble and pure in heart should probably give some thanks to the felons of the starry night.


A:  that is a horrible thought.  Because that would mean that an awful leader like Randolph Splinter was actually doing good when he murdered all of those people.   He was creating more darkness, a blacker curtained background from which the good stars could shine.  Oh nothing makes sense!


B:  Look I think you think too much about this stuff.  


A:  I think the fault is in the analogy.  People are not stars.  They are not matter.  People are a different sort of thing.  They have morals: there is good and bad.  There is no such thing as a good star or bad star, they just are.  People have feelings and emotions and a sense of hatred and love and empathy and envy, a desire for freedom..  We are a complex mixed bag of abstract qualities that are hard to pin down and quantify.  Like they say about abstract qualities, “ have you ever seen freedom?  Have you ever seen hate?  Love?  Have you ever seen empathy?  


B:  I feel like the last 2 hours have been a complete waste of time.  I can’t even remember anymore how all this got started.  


A:  I think it was when I called myself “brilliant” because I was and am the Big Bang.  I don’t think you liked that.  And so you told me I was no more brilliant than anyone else.  That I was just one more piece of the Big Bang fabric… no better no worse than anyone else.


B:  Oh yea… your right.  Yea, that bugged me when you said that… you were taking from my light.  


A:  Maybe, but then maybe I was just affirming my one natural right.  


B:  I never tried to trick you into the role of playing dark matter did I?


A:  I don’t think so.  Actually I have a bit of a head ache as well.


B:  So do I.  It is way past my bed time.  


A:  just one more thing.  Before you go….. When I said I was “ brilliant”… lets’ say I was just stating my own sense of natural right to be brilliant.  As we all are.  Why did that bother you?  Why didn’t you say… oh great your brilliant too?  Hooray!


B:  I dont know… o think it was your tone of voice… there was an arrogance.  A separating timbre that had a haughty “me” in there that was looking down on the rest of us idiots.  


A:  yea… maybe your right.  I try to keep that tone in check.  I get it from my elitist mother.  She always had really high standards… I always had to be better than others….a cut above the herd.  I’m sorry.  


B:  that’s ok “A”.  But I think I need to get to bed now… I am extremely tired.


A:  Ok “B”.  Good night.  Sweet dreams.


B:  sweet dreams to you too “A”.

Empathy and Compassion



A:  what is empathy?


B:  I would guess it is the ability to feel another’s suffering.  Let me look at the dictionary… ( grabs one off of the shelf)

“  The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” First of all, before we continue, I would like to know why you want to know.


A:  Everybody talks about how it is a good thing to be empathetic.  It’s like every one talking about a great new song that came out… one wants to hear it to understand why it is so cherished.


B:  nice answer.


A:  thank you.  ( thinks for a long time… both are in silence.)  So you say that it is the ability to understand the feeling of another.  What does it mean to understand?


B:  oh are you one of those philosopher types that is self -pleasingly fascinated by the simple complexity of his inquiring child like mind?  


A:  No, I really want to understand.  ( laughs )  I want to understand what it means to understand. 


B:  I would say that that is where imagination would come into play.  Well let’s look up the definition of “to understand”. 

( pages through )  


A:  you know lets not use the dictionary ok?  Let’s think these things out for ourselves… alright?  


B:  good idea.  As a kind of thought experiment you mean?  


A:  yes.  Because you know these very same ideas and thoughts have been thought by billions of people and many cultures all over the world over thousands and thousands of years.. when we do it on our own though, it will retain a flavor of originality.  A freshness of thought, not laden down by some archeological dig into the heavy historical thoughts of others.


B:  Poetically said “B”… nice job.


A:  well thank you.  I would think that to understand would mean to know, say… when a person is training a dog to come on the certain sound of a whistle, and the dog comes trotting over, that would be a kind of knowing right?  When it has been able to differentiate between varying whistles.  


B:  Right.  Or say, how we know that 2 + 2 = 4, and say not the proverbial 5.  


A:  right… how do we know that 2+2= 4?  And not as you say the proverbial 5?


B:  well take 2 oranges, and then add two more oranges  and it is plain to see to the visual system that one has 4 and not 5 oranges.


A:  Yes, but if we were trained to mix the sounds of 4 and 5, say we were taught 1,2,3,5,4,… 


B:  yes well that is just a sound.  It doesnt matter what you label the concept “4”  with, whether you dress it in a different visual or verbal cloth.  The concept remains the same.  


A:  like that song, “The Song Remains the Same”.


B:  oh let’s not get juvenile now… 


A:  ok… your right.  So what is the essence of the concept of the number “4”?  


B:  well you should be able to answer that on your own right?


A:  right.  don’t get snotty.  


B:  I’m not.. I am just pushing you harder to think for yourself. 


A:  ok .. and I thank you for it I guess.  Well it is the empty space that follows in a line of whatever three objects you have proceeding it.  Whether it be oranges, apples, or basketballs.  One whatever… followed by 2 whatever … followed by three whatever and finally “blank” whatever. 


B:  Yes , different languages have different words and sounds that represent the number “4”.  In Japanese it is “shi” and in French it is “quatre”.  Just because people speak different languages doesn’t mean that the concept itself breaks down.  People can still exchange goods across cultures and everything tallies up properly still.  


A:  we are sounding a bit didactic and preachy … let’s tone it down a bit.  


B:  yes your right.  


A:  This is actually fascinating.  


B:  yes it is.



A:  a concept like “4” is almost an invisible thing.  How do we know that someone actually knows it?


B:  well you would test them like you would a dog.  If you whistle to a dog and it doesn’t come to the appropriate whistle, you know that it hasn’t understood.


A:  But how do we know that the dog knows that he is supposed to come but pretends not to know?  Or doesn’t want to come over?  Is there any way to know if he really knows?  Or if he is just being stubborn?  


B:  I suppose with the modern equipment they can hook the dogs brain up to some wires and find out that way.  


A:  so knowledge is at is essence reduced to some energy in the brain?  Some lightning up somewheres on the cerebrum?


B:  well if you want to be so clinical about it.. I guess that is it.  


A:  so to understand empathy, the only way we really know if we understand it , is if we check it out on some video screen?


B:  yes but I would think that empathy would entail the required reaction to alleviate anothers suffering.  Say someone falls off of their bike… empathy would be defined by actually going over to the person and helping them up.


A:  yea but what is you see the person looks menacing?  You feel your brain light up with empathy, but then you see that it may be in your best interest to stay away from the guy.  


B:  we are getting side tracked here.  Let’s stay on task.  We have come to understand that to understand means to light up in the brain.    Now how about empathy?


A:  is is just a cerebral thing?  Or should we feel in heart as well?  I heard that you are supposed to feel it in one’s heart as well.  


B:  I think you are right, I heard that too.  


A:  I think that there is supposed to be a sort of tingling of pain in the chest or heart area.  A gnawing sense of despair at the sight or thought of another’s troubles.  Is that something that can be quantified on a doctors screen as well?


B:  im sure they can find some chemical change that suggests on has felt compassion in ones heart.  


A:  this is rather depressing.  


B:  what?  


A:  that everything is being reduced to electrical impulses and chemical reactions.  


B:  well not every thing, just compassion and understanding.


A:  here is another thought that I have been thinking about.. 


B:  yes…( slightly irritated)


A:  who do we feel compassion for?


B:  the suffering obviously.  


A:  who are the suffering?


B:  to take my analogy from earlier, the fella that fell off of his bike is obviously suffering.  You can differentiate his suffering from the guy walking right next to him that didn’t fall.  It is obvious which one is the sufferer and which isn’t.


A:  but is it?


B:  oh you philosopher, are you trying to go one deeper than me again?


A:  well no, I really want to understand.  Can’t you empathize with my suffering in my desire to understand? ( smiles jokingly)  


B:  ok, continue. 


A:  the man or woman that is walking next to the man that fell off of his bike may be suffering in another way.  Say from depression, a guilty conscience, or they may have just found out that their son died or something. 


B:  true.  That is possible.


A:  let’s be honest, it’s “probable” probably.  Have you ever know anyone to not be suffering in some form?  Say even the person that is living in a mansion and has billions of dollars and a beautiful wife and da da da.. you know the deal.  They have ostensibly everything.  They could be suffering from a deep sense of emptiness, the emptiness of having everything.  Perhaps the man lost his soul up on that mansion on the hill.  There is suffering as well.  The suffering of a lost soul.  We both know this.. we are older now and shouldn’t have to go through this, we know that suffering pervades everywhere, always.


B:  your right.  We both know that by now.  


A: should I empathize with the man with the bike or the, let’s say woman for argument sake, the woman walking?  


B:  the man I would think, because his actual physical health is more important at the moment than her theoretical existential pain.  


A:  right.  Now there are people I know who have felt it an insult if one goes up to them to offer a hand of help.  I have seen them snarl when one gets close with a helping hand.  


B:  well you won’t know that till you walk up to him… you shouldn’t make pre judgements about people, you don’t know who will want your help and who won’t.  


A:  good point.  Let’s step back from our example.  Let’s view things more abstractly.  Let’s say we are in the  comfort of our own home, pondering this matter.  We have no visible concept of “4” before our eyes.  We are in our comfy philosophers chair brooding on humanity’s suffering as a whole.  


B:  ok.  Be wary.. this is the point where many plans for mass murders were started.  Remember Stalinevsky said, “one death is a tragedy, while a million is just a statistic.”   Humanity in the abstract is starting to get cold and impersonal but go ahead.  


A:  Yes but it is only in the abstract that we can take in the whole of humanity’s suffering.  If I am tending all day to men who fall off of their bikes I have no time to take in the whole, I have only the time to spend to help some idiot back onto his bike.


B:  now that didn’t sound very empathetic.


A  well how do we know he is not purposely falling off of his bike to get sympathy and pity?  Maybe he is an attention seeker?  And meanwhile the real people at large go on in very real suffering.  He is taking my time away from more important matters.


B:  this reminds me of a cartoon I saw where on man is drowning and pleading for help from another and the man on shore kept asking him to define his terms, like what did it mean to help someone… and of course in the mean time that man drowned.  


A:  lets try and not bring others ideas into our discussion as much as possible ok?


B:  yes, your right.  I think the point is that empathy is not an idea in the head.. it is an active living thing before ones present eyes.  


A:  but I thought that we just concluded earlier that empathy is an electric charge in the brain.  Added perhaps the tingling in the heart.


B:  we did didn’t we?  What caused you to think about this in the first place again?


A:  I think I have been short on empathy of late, and I want to try and get some of it back.  Also I have some deeper questions as well.


B:  what are those?


A:  Like we both now how depressing it can be to really take upon one’s own shoulders the full scope and weight of suffering that abounds throughout the world. 


B:  you sound like Soapwater  there… I thought we were going try and keep this an inside conversation…


A:  I did sound like the old “Soaps”  there a touch.  My point is, that we both know those depressive types that can hardly get out of bed in the morning for claiming to be in tune with the whole of humanity’s anguish too much.  


B:  Yes I know many of them.


A:  These people can hardly be considered to be pulling there own loads.  Are they producing more than they are consuming?  Highly doubtful.


B:  Your right.  Doubtful.


A:  when we say a person is producing more than they are consuming, we are assuming that they are doing more good for society than bad right?  


B:  yes, say there was a commune and the community was growing corn in the fields, that person say is growing more stalks than he eats a day, or month or year… however they are marking it.  He is making more than just for himself, he is helping the community’s supply of corn.  His cup spilleth over so that others can benefit from his labor as well.  


A:  right.  I like the “spilleth”.  


B:  Thank you.


A:  no problem.   I like how you are getting interested in the discussion as well.  I love it that you add your analogies as well.  


B:  Well these are interesting discussions that stir some thought and debate.  


A:  and so in that case he is being empathetic, rather indirectly, he may not be a nurse directly caring for some physically injured person, but in an indirect way he may be doing a much greater service by helping feed many many mouths though he actually may never get to see those mouths being fed my his hard labor.


B:  right.  I see where you are going with this.  


A:  yes, you see the fella that is feeling the whole worlds suffering but can’t get out of bed, in some ways is in actuality causing more suffering on the whole, in his inability produce more than he consumes.  For he is totally non productive.  Now he may be a real soft hearted fellow that feels a lot and the old bright spot of empathy lights up often in his head, and he feels the throbbing pangs of the worlds suffering in his chest, but in practical terms the guy is pathetic.  


B:  right.


A:  He may be a really nice man and sense the invisible concept of another misfortunes very heavily, but it isn’t doing a lot of people any good.  Now on the other hand the man that works hard in the cornfield mass producing lets say way more than what is just self sufficient for him, he may be a real jerk.  He may even have some workers that he hires for almost slave wages, but in an objective quantifiable way, he is really more empathetic than the bed ridden sod.  The corn cropper may treat his workers with a lack of feeling and even a callous contempt, but he is productive.  He is a pillar of strength that the community can rely on to help them eat.  


B:  right, so your question is…I think you are mixing empathy with being helpful.  Or productive.  


A:  yes but maybe the corn cropper is thinking that he feels so much for the community and wants to help everyone survive and he is so driven in his empathy to help the whole that along the way he feels justified in being what one might call even a “slave-driver”.  To get the work finished for all, to help the whole, a few parts or minor eggs may need to be slightly whipped into line.  


B:  right.  Where are you going with this?


A:  just that it may be the people that you see hugging each other all the time with warm comforting hugs of encouragement, confirming to one another that they feel each others sadness, the people that are always talking to one another about their problems and share each others understandings, and the people that cry at films and cry all the time or show emotions that display the sense that they are empathic, may be a bunch of phony drips that can’t haul their own shit… 


B:  that is a little unfair and cold.  Not very empathetic of you.  



A:  yea but do you know what I mean?  The soft feeling types are so busy comforting one another that nothing gets done.


B:  you sound partial against them.


A:  I guess I can look back on my own life, when I was much younger and see when I was filled with a much more tender and caring heart.  And yet I had no action in me, no drive to become and be someone, I was lost is a soup of empathy that made me no income, it gave me no wife or life to speak of.  It was a blob of mush that was going nowhere and the only consolation I had in it, was that I could say to myself that my heart was in the right place. 


B:  and then you decided to become an asshole?


A:  yes.  


B:  And how did that turn out?


A:  not really well either.  I found that I was indeed more “productive” in that I began to have a so called drive and “mission” to improve produce and build, but I found myself becoming an asshole almost in direct proportion to how much I made and produced.  The more I built the bigger the ass I became, and the bigger ass that I became the easier it was to build unfettered by an empathetic heart to burden me down.  When I looked at the person I was when I was younger and people like me then, all “copassionate”, I had a contempt for them.  Like these people that couldn’t do anything but congratulate each other on how much they felt the worlds suffering.  


B:  and I am sure to them you looked like the ass that you were.


A:  yes.  Meanwhile, however it seemed the real helpers that appeared perhaps as asses were actually doing things that bettered the world.


B:  of course and also doing things with equal effect in hurting the world as well.  


A:  yes.  Unfortunately I hurt people as well.  Maybe my question is, is there a way to be productive and yet not be a jerk as well?


B:  I’m not sure.  I have to admit I have noticed the correlation myself.  Who are you “A”?


A:  What do you mean?


B:  why are you always asking these kinds of questions?  Just the other night you were going on about what it meant to be a star and dark matter, and how they related to one another.  Have you ever asked yourself why you often are asking these sort of questions?  


A:  I don’t know, I would like to think it is because I am a thoughtful person, but it may that I had a head injury or something.  And that all of this probing and questioning is just my mind trying to unsuccessfully reboot itself and get back to square one.  


B:  that was very thoughtful.  ( winks)


A:  please don’t wink at me… I hate it when people wink at me.


B:  Why?  I meant it warm heartedly.


A:  it feels patronizing.  Like I am a little cute thing and you are the one who really knows.  


B:  I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.  


A:  thank you.  Maybe I am asking these questions because I want to understand where I have come from, and then in turn try and direct myself onto the best path for the future.  I want to be an energetic functioning member of society, but I also want to have a soul and a heart.  I want to care about people again.  Does that make sense?


B:  it certainly does.  


A:  but how does one do it?  Balance taking care of oneself so that one is a pillar of energy able to produce while at the same time keep a caring eye out for others?  They seem to be in conflict.  


B:  I don’t know.  That may be the answer that humanity has been searching for for a long long time.  The self and other.  How to balance the two.  


A:  we seem to be doing alright.


B:  yes we do.  


A:  we get a little snippety and condescending to one another now and then, but on the whole we fair pretty well.  


B:  yes, indeed we do.  


A:  another quote I think about sometimes…


B:  I thought we weren’t going to bring in others into our discussion.


A:  your right, but will you allow me this one?


B:  ok, well alright.


A:  Alan Lightfoot said that “do gooders are the thieves of virtue”.  What did he mean by that?  


B:  I don’t know… all I can think is that do gooders are concerned with getting credit for their actions and hence that spoils them so that they no longer have credit.  Their actions that is lose value because it is a selfish pursuit.


A:  the problem is I think that I became a monster for a while so as to not be accused of being a “do -gooder.”  


B:  yea, but instead you could be accused of becoming a monster.  


A:  right.  I didn’t want you to say it, but it is true.   I became a monster to protect myself against becoming the bed ridden depressed incompetent that always seemed to be enslaved by the doers all of the time.  I was tired of being a slave, a drag on others, who was always being told what to do and how to do it and for whom to do it for.  I wanted to be an energy that inspired others to climb higher.  I thought I would rather be free, and it seemed that the cover of “monster” instilled some necessary fear into others that gave me some space for that freedom.  I tried not to in turn enslave them.  I knew that would be hypocritical.  Many of the business’s I had I refused to hire any one and preferred to do the work on my own so as not to lord over someone.  The problem is I became this major pillaring tower of a monumental self sustaining and all containing asshole.  




B:  you said that before.  By the way I know you are planning to label this a play.  It isn’t a play.  Its a dialogue really, it is a philosophical dialogue.  A dialectic have you.  


A:  I suppose you are right.  


B:  you need more action in plays.  You need to bring your hero or protagonists to the very pinnacle of possible hope and tension, and then plummet them into a tar pit of bubbling and boiling despair.  We are having a flat line conversation. Here, ( points to both of them) there is no drama.  





A:  your right… thanks for pointing that out.  However have you ever seen some of Herbert Bucket’s plays?  That is some pretty flat line writing.  Not a mole hill of drama.  Like not even a pulse.  Not a whole lot going on there, and he was considered one of the greatest playwrights of the century.  


B:  your right.  That is true.  


A:  well what do you want to talk about now?  Our creator told us that we need to fill the dialogue up to about 200 and we are around 140. 


B:  I know.. what a jerk.  Talk about slaves.  We are slaves right now.  Following this assholes dictates.  


     ( they think a while)


A:  well lets talk about Stalinevsky.


B:  ok


A:  and how he relates to what we were talking about.  Can you imagine that many many hoards of people cried when he died?  Still to this day the people think he was a great leader and some of them wish he were still alive and ruling them with his steel iron fist.


B:  I heard about that.


A:  I mean the guy killed like 50 million people.  How on earth are we to reckon this?


B:  well I guess they rationalize and say that he also modernized the country so that millions could live and survive.  He killed some but then also saved a bunch as well.  


A:  But wouldnt it have been better that he just stay home and not bother getting involved and controlling others lives? 


B:  that’s what you would think, but some people just need to feel important, they want to get into the history books and make a name for themselves.  


A:  yea but what is history?  This little human experiment and all of the logging and recording and writings on who made noise here and who made another noise over there is a pathetic and scrawny attempt to make people feel important when the whole entire human experiment is but a blink of an eye in relation to the cosmos.  In a million years who is going to remember Stalinevsky?  


B:  probably no one.


A:  So what was driving this guy?  Did he not realize that all of his search for power and fame was complete vanity?


B:  he probably didn’t give it a thought.  


A:  No you know I bet I know what happened.  I heard his father beat him when he was a kid and was real hard on him.  

So Stalinevsky swore he would never be a slave or a bottom to someone again.  And the world only has room for two kinds of people.  The Masters and the Slaves.  There is no space for a middle ground.  And so every person he confronted in an already corrupt society he was determined to never be there slave.  So the only alternative he had was to become their master.  ( lost in thought… looking bothered)


B:  Whats wrong?


A:  the part I don’t get is… I understand not wanting to be a slave… but how does one then move on to having a list of people who did nothing wrong and having them be eliminated?  


B:  probably because if he didn’t have a list of them.. one of them would have a list with his name on it.  



A:  so it was kill or be killed?


B:  yep.


A:  I think there must be a way to not get lost in that limited cycle of being.  I may sound like a do-gooder brown nosing thief of virtue, but there has to be a way out.  


B:  I think there is. 


A:  we are having a civilized conversation right now, and neither of us is a slave nor master right?  


B:  Right.  I feel neither inferior nor superior to you.


A:  and in turn for me.  I feel neither inferior nor superior to you.  Although I admit that I am kind of the bull horse that is posing most of the questions and moving the dialogue so that it works forward and you are more passive.  


B:  so being aggressive is slightly superior to being passive?


A:  Well lets face it in the Lion’s world who runs the place?


B:  Actually she does most of the work, he just sits under a tree and puffs himself up to look big.  Occasionally fights other lions.  



A:  yea but he is the king asshole that no one messes with.


B:  right.  But to be feared is to be superior?  there aren’t other qualities?  


A:  yea but lets face it when the shit hits the fan and life and the savannah gets tough, the strongest and fiercest will survive.  If one lioness was awfully sweet and caring and hunted really well that’s nice but… 


B:  ah see…  She hunts well.


A:  maybe the lion was a bad comparison.  Actually maybe he wouldn’t survive as well because he doesn’t work well with the pride.  


B:  I think the males and the females both work together to bring their prey down.  


A:  maybe your right.  Any way have we solved our problem for the evening?  


B:  I don’t know.. you tell me, your the one that does the bull work and I am just the little passive female lion waiting what to be told. 


A:  Don’t get sarcastic.  Lets see.. let me think.  The topic of discussion was “ what is empathy”?  Have we come up with a conclusion answer?


B:  I don’t think that we did.  We got lost in the area where the guy was doing all the work in the corn crop but he was an asshole, an the heart felt softies were busy getting nothing done and congratulating themselves on how empathetic they were.  


A:  that’s right it was sort of a quagmire in there wasn’t it.  


B:  yes it was.  You know I don’t think we are the only ones running into problems in this topic of discussion.  I’m certain if we peeked our heads into other cultures books and thinker heads we would find they came up with some difficulties as well.  


A:  your probably right.  And in this we can have compassion and empathy for other lost souls trying to concretely define what empathy actually is.  

        ( “A” gets up and trips on a crack in the floor and almost falls on the ground)


B:  oh are you ok!?


A:  yes I am fine.  Actually I was just testing you.  I pretended to trip.  I just wanted to see if you would show empathy, and you did. 


B:  your so silly.  


A:  but we never really know unless we take your brain into a scanning machine if you really did feel empathy.  You know there are those people that are called “psychopaths” that mimic empathy really well, they know how to put on the long face and to show tears of concern when demanded and they know because they have staged their act so well to conceal themselves into the population without being detected as faulty, they know how to say the exact right words, they have studied so well the behaviors of others; but they actually feel not a speck of actual empathy.  Like the color blind talking about red and blue because they have been told the words, but have never actually seen the colors.  


B:  we should feel sorry for the psychopaths as well.  For how would you like to be born color blind? 


A:  that is a real good point “B”.


B:  well thank you “A”.  I think it is getting past my bed time.  I think I am going to go to bed now… 


A:  Good idea B.  Sweet dreams…


B:  Sweet dreams to you too A.

me. It's easy.

Cigarettes and Tiramisu

A:  I hate these fucking cunts that give you the silent treatment because you said a nasty thing or two to them in the heat and the pressures of life.  Who the fuck hasn’t said unkind, thoughtless, selfish and hurtful thoughts from time to time?  And yet these self righteous bitches… 


B:  shit.. you should see the hatred spewing from your mouth and eyes right now.. no wonder you can’t get any dates.  You look like a creep when you say shit like that.  


A:  here “B”, listen to my scenario and tell me this isn’t passive aggressive manipulation by alla primo vera feminist BS.


B:  What the hell does alla primo vera mean?  


A:  I don’t know… I think I meant to say a first rate example.  I was being spontaneous in my verbiage.   


B:  alright, go ahead… tell me your story.


A:  ok, so I go out on this date last week and I decide to take her to a really nice restaurant, ( pauses … remembering something)  oh yea!  I remember where Prima Vera comes from, they served it at the Italian Restaurant we went to.  It must have slipped into my subconscious when I looked at it on the menu.  Any way, so we are out on the town, having a really great time.  We went to a movie and then afterwards we went to this Restaurant called “Tucci Ferdinando”.  


B:  what film did you see?


A:  some stupid thing called, “I, Uncle Tanya”.  


B:  never heard of it…


A:  be thankful you haven’t.


B:  wasn’t uncle Tanya a popular play in Russia or something?


A:  I don’t know.. I think so…. 


B:  was it about that Russian character uncle Tanya?


A:  no it was about some stupid gymnast  who hires her own uncle Tanya to take out, not kill, but to injure another Olympic gymnast so that his niece could win gold.  


B:   the uncles name was Tanya?


A:  yea, a transexual.  Had it removed.  Come on .. get with it man.. happening all of the time these days.  


B:  ( grabs his genitals with a face of imagined grimacing pain)  Oh shit.. I just can’t imagine.  


A:  any way can I move on with my story?


B:  yes please do.  


A:  anyway…



B:  wait a second, why would you take her to that kind of film?  You really haven’t a clue have you “A”.  If I were a woman I wouldnt want to go to a movie about some transvestite ..


A:  transexual.


B:  sorry, transexual.  I wouldn’t take her to some film where creeps are doing creepy things.  I would have taken her to a nice romantic comedy or something.  


A:  let’s forget the film ok.. she actually liked it… so.  


B:  are you sure?  Maybe she was just being polite.  


A:  whatever.. do you want to hear my story or not?


B:  to be honest not really but…


A:  ok do me a favor… hear me out ok?  Because I confess I do need some help in understanding these bitches… I mean women. 


B:  yes .. go on.


A:  So ostensibly she enjoyed the film.  I think she liked the idea that I was open the the topic of transexuals.  It was a bit of virtue signaling on my part I guess, showing her that I had a liberal heart for people who were different from the norm.  And so we are at the restaurant and we are brought over to our table.  There was a little bit of a wait but she was a good sport about it.  


B:  Did you pay for the meal?


A:  I will get to that later.  So we ordered our meals… ( pauses in recollection)… that’s right I think the she ordered the Primo Vera.


B:  the Prima Vera?  Or the Primo Vera?


A:  what the hell does it matter?  I think it is Prima Vera.  Any way so we are starting to eat our meals, and we have both ordered a glass of red wine each.  Things are going great, we are both getting a little bit oiled and loosened from the drinks and so we decide to have another each.  And let me tell you “B”.  She was hot as shit.  Looked like Britt Marlon in her prime.


B:  I was going to say have you seen her lately?


A:  yea, I know, she is a bag.    So I was trying to figure a way that I might get laid later that night.


B:  sure… what man doesn’t want to get laid?


A:  exactly.  But of course no man wants the lady to know this outright otherwise it will be seen as too crude.  


B:  Right.  There must be some stealth involved.  Kind of like a leopard, it doesn’t just walk up to the Giselle casually and say, “Can I eat you?”  The Giselle wouldn’t respect it then.  It hides in the weeds and draws as close as he can without giving the game away.  And then the Giselle says you have done some good stealth work, “now you can eat me.”  


A:  ok that was a little creepy there “B” but yes.  


B:  not as creepy as you calling them cunts.  


A:  so any whoooo, we are coming to the end of our dinner and of course the pressure is mounting a bit because I want to pay the bill the old fashioned way, as a man should, the leader.   The one who holds doors open and pays the bills and…


B:  and cheats on his housewife while she has gathered no skills to support herself in society after they divorce.  


A:  right… that guy.  So after we finished our deserts, which were just magnificent I might add…


B:  what were they?


A:  we both had their Tiramisu, it was simply out of this world.  I recommend you go there some time.  They mixed in some actual rum at the bottom that made us both a bit all the more buzzed.  After we finished our Tiramisu’s, the waiter asked which on of us would like to pay the bill.  I raised my hand in the affirmative, and then she cut me off and said, “ oh no, I would like to pay.”


B:  modern woman I see.


A:  Yes, perhaps too modern.  I said , “heavens no!  I will not argue the point again!”, and I grabbed  the waiters arm pulling him over to myself,  and I said to him very firmly, “ now you hear me out!  You will give the tab to me and there will be no more tufts about it.”


B:  I think you meant “tiffs”.  


A:  Yes well I had the image of a man’s hair wind swept up into the air in a whirlwind of emotional turbulence.


B:  I can see where the error came from.  


A:  I could see that she was terribly displeased that I had gained the upper hand in the matter.  And I saw her face redden in frustration.  And you want to know something “B”?


B:  what?


A:  she didn’t speak hardly another word the rest of the night.  After I paid the bill, the fucking cunt didn’t say hardly a fucking word!


B:  cool it down “A”.  You looked like a psycho there again.  


A:  I even apologized to her in the car ride home.  I said very sweetly to her, “  I realize that you are probably a little upset because I ended up paying for the bill.  I can’t help but notice that you have hardly said a word to me since I paid it.  I am terribly sorry that I paid it, and I hope you can forgive me.  I am kind of old school and where I come from a man is still seen as the provider and the protector.  Will you please forgive me?  ”  She just sat there… can you believe it?  Just pointing directions to me silently with her hand where to turn next onto which roads so that I could get her home as efficiently as possible.  Aren’t I entitled to a response?  I did wrong, I apologized, doesn’t she owe me the decency of some kind of response, like “ It’s ok, we live in complicated times where or roles are not that clearly defined anymore, I forgive you.” ?  


B:  you would think that that would be the right thing to do.. but she didn’t, and you just have to accept that. 


A:  Yea but have you ever noticed how women use the silent treatment and the passive aggressive guilt trip bullshit all of the time?


B:  I read an article on it last week in the Bloomberry Times.  There was a scientific study that proved that statistically women are more prone to resort to passive aggressive tactics such as the silent treatment.  


A:  those fucking cunts!


B:  Christ man I think you are over reacting. Think about it.. that is the only resource that they have to rely on.  They aren’t as strong as you and I are.. 


A:  they wouldn’t have you and me believe that!  All I hear all day long in the news and on tv is how this guy and that guy was defeated by some woman on the track field, or the wresting mat,  or even in the weight room.  


B:  that is just the propaganda of the day.  And let’s face it there are some cases where women are indeed stronger than individual men, but on the whole, in general, men are still the stronger sex.  Women use the silent treatment as a substitute power for not having the brawn that you and I have, and it is only natural and understandable for them to do so.  


A:  speak for yourself there “B” .. you are looking a little flabby there with those man tits.  


B: how about you “A”?  You are looking pretty middle aged with those humping shoulders.  You look like you are in the very first stages of osteoporosis.  


A:  do I really look that bad?


B:  I am just saying, you may want to do some exercises to keep those shoulders from rolling forwards like that.  


A:  Oh fuck… were so fucked.  We are all trapped on these conveyer belts.  Just like the ford motor company.  Your spun around at the beginning out of your mothers womb, a machine rinses you off and pushes you onto the next machine that brits you home into your mothers loving care, then you are waxed over to preschool into a machine that has you playing tinker toys with other children, then another arm grabs you by your collar and drops you into adolescence, and the pimple machine come out and dots your cheeks with zits, a tube pumps you body filled with testosterone and fluids that forms you body in expanding different directions, and then its onto college, and the drama of the first turn love affair and heartbreak.  Then rotating wheels set you down in front of the anxiety of having to find a career and after a couple decades.  Screws close on the sides to compress the pressure until you have an expected and well calculated and timed mid life crisis.  


B:  I think I get the point.  


A:  Don’t yo want to hear me finish?


B:  ok…


A:  then your hair is sudsed up into a wash preparing you for the final run down the converter belt to eternity.  But before that, the factory will give you a cancer here and there, some osteoperosis perhaps, perhaps some high blood pressure.  Maybe the well stage direction for the entrance of a heart attack if ones DNA has written it in its script.  And on and on and so forth into the abyss.  And the ou can look around and behind you to others in the factory line and see where they are at.  “  Oh yea, time to be a young political idealist for the left.  Oh yea, that one is moving into the predicted mid age of toying with the idea of becoming a conservative…after being awashed in the disillusionment of radical politics. ”


B:  go it.  


A:  where was I going with this?  ( pauses)  oh yea, we were just making fun of each others bodies and how we both are probably not much of a match against a really strong woman.  


B:  right.  By the way, you said at the beginning that you said a couple of nasty things to her.  That hardly sounds nasty, offering to pay the bill and then doing so.


A:  right.  Well I haven’t completed the story yet.  I mean if someone asks forrgiveness should they be given it?


B:  I guess it would depend on what the sin was.  If you murdered or raped someone, a simple asking for forgiveness would hardly be sufficient a price to pay.  Don’t you agree?


A  Yes.  Well I didn’t rape or kill her.  But after the 30 minute drive home to her house, and her not saying  hardly a word, when I dropped her off in from of her house I did say something very rude I have to admit.  


B:  what did you say?


A:  Said to her, “I had a nice night, and it was nice to meet you, but I have to say it is cunts like yourself that make this world a worse place to live.”  She quickly started searching for her things and her purse so that she could leave my car as quickly as possible and reject me as I sat in my Tesla Model 3.  


B:  oh you finally bought that thing Hugh?  I was wondering if you had.  



A:  oh it purrs like a little kitten.  It’s my substitute pussy.  When I can’t get any, I drive around the block hard as a rock and stroke the gear shift shaft.  


B:  that sound a bit homosexual.


A:  well you take what you can get.  But you know what gets me “B”?  Its the self righteousness of it all.  To expect me to bow down and think about that bitch the whole drive home and trying to figure out what the hell I did wrong.  


B:  you should have just not said anything and dropped her off.  You shouldn’t have called her a cunt.  Then you finally gave her something that she could call an injustice.  


A:  yea, its like she just wanted to have something to feel righteous about.  She was going to drag it out of me, and I like an idiot fell right into the ploy.  Well what do I do now?


B:  may call and apologize. 


A:  bit if she didn’t forgive me for paying the bill, what in the hell is you make us think that she would forgive me for calling her a cunt?  Besides, I did call and left a message on her machine, apologizing deeply for what I had said.  


B:  No reply?


A:  no reply.  


B:  I wouldn’t expect it.  What you said is the worst name a woman can be called.  


A:  yea but it is just a word.  It isn’t like physical violence or anything.  It is just a syllable.  A noise … a rustling in the trees.  One doesn’t get all bent out of shape if a leaf ruffles in the wind do they?  If she were Iranian and couldn’t understand English, it would have registered nothing in her.  


B:  but she speaks English.  


A:  so what do I do now?


B:  I think you have some serious issues that you need to deal with.  Your hostility to women is apparent.  I am sure she noticed it.  


A:  but how?!


B:  Little cues.  Women pick up on subtle indications.  They live off of reading body languages.  Most men are assholes, so they need to weed out the Big assholes from the lesser ones, and then decide whether they can live with the lesser assholes or whether they would rather just stay single or go lesbian.  


A:  I feel used.  I feel like she still has power over me.  I feel horrible for what I said at the end.  I just wish she would call and forgive me.  But the silence is killer.  


B:  Left to ruminate on your own guilt.  


A:  yes but what am I actually guilty of?


B:  being an asshole and calling her a cunt.



A:  But I apologized.  


B:  but she doesn’t accept it.  Obviously.  


A:  to be honest I am starting to hate women I admit.  Because she is not the only one.  I have run into many the woman that uses the silent treatment.. I fucking hate the silent treatment!  It drives me fucking insane!  At least say something, discuss, lets work it out.  But in the silent treatment, they are forever right and you are forever wrong.  Women are like big black holes, they pull you into their dramas and their pussies, and your liable never to come out again in one piece.  


B:  well its women’s weapon par excellence.  What would you do if you couldn’t physically fight on fair ground with someone?  Wouldn’t you use it too?  


A:  I suppose I would.  I tell you one thing, if she ever calls me back though, I am going to do to her what she did to me.  Not return her call and give the bitch the silent treatment.  


B:  Believe me she is not going to call back.  


A:  How do I get out of this feeling that I am in?  This feeling that she has some moral power over me?


B:  I read somewhere that when we start caring what others think of us, we give them power over us.  So it is important not to care what people think.


A  true, but then I don’t think Stalinevsky probably cared a whole lot about what people thought of him when he probably should have.  Or at least more.  


B:  in the end, we are all left unto ourselves.  Our bodies and minds and hearts have recorded all of our actions, thoughts and feelings that we have had in our lives.  In the end, we will be judged by death.  It will review for us our lives and we will feel the pain of our unjust ways. And the joy of our just ones as well.   We can never escape death, our one and only true judge.  


A:  Holy shit!  You sound …


B:  What ?


A:  That was heavy… heavy.  So I have to think some nasty thoughts to get her out of my mind.  Like call her a bitch and a cunt and think about what a selfish bitch she is who thinks her shit doesn’t smell in order for me to move on.  


B:  right.  Its like in order to not stalk someone anymore, you need to think how actually awful they are.  So in a way you are doing them a favor by thinking awful thoughts about them.


A:  ironic. 


B:  yes.


A:  Or I remember when I broke up with the love of my life when I was 21.  I loved her so, but in order to not be a pain to her, and to not keep calling and pestering her with love calls, I had to think awful thoughts about her like a man who doesn’t want to get a hard on tries to think of baseball or doing it with his own mother, and then the desired effect, or antidote will take its course and the desired affect will too.  


B:  right.


A:  so its weird, sometimes thinking evil about someone is actually doing them a favor?


B:  your repeating yourself.  Yes.  




A:  that reminds me of the love of my life,  Delphinia.  When we broke up I thought I was doing her a favor by being cold and distant and thinking ill thoughts of her so that I could be resistant to wanting to call or pester her.  But then I noticed, looking back, that there were times she seemed to want to get back together with me again, but I was playing the role of asshole so as not to be a nuisance and go begging for her.  But then when she approached me, as I said, I was pushing her away as an asshole.  And so I confirmed in her mind and eyes that I was not worth it, that I was indeed an asshole, but she didn’t see that I was being an asshole out of my love for her.  


B:  Life certainly can be a complex affair.


A:  boy that is for sure.  


B:  I think the upshot is, that you need to move on and forget about this date that you had.  You are giving her too much power over you.  


A:  so it is ok for me to think horrible thoughts about her for the greater good?


B:  I don’t see why not.  


A:  ok that fucking cunt bitch %*#**&***$#@@))*********


B: wow.


A:  You know how you say that I need help and should go see a shrink about my hostility and misogyny towards women?


B:  yes.


A:  well how do we know that that hostility and misogyny isn’t actually a good inner intention that looks bad on the outside?  My hatred of them is actually my way of not being a nuisance to them.  I am reminding myself and the world how really undesirable women are.  Like desiring lustfully after some Tiramisu.  You know it is best for yourself to not eat..


B:  Or how about your Tesla Model 3?


A:  what’s wrong with my Tesla?


B:  the carbon foot print. 


A:  what do you mean?  It is electrical.


B:  where do you think electricity comes from?  Coal.  So maybe an even better analogy would be, the Tesla.  You want the car and you know the dangers of driving fast around town in a hot rod car, and the temptation to flush the gas peddle down full throttle.. 


A:  Its electric.


B:  right.  But still.. you push the peddle down running the risk of injuring yourself and others.  Added the carbon foot print.  You lust after the car, you salivate for it, but then you need to think of how really awful owning a car is.  The price of purchasing one.  The parking space that you need to buy for it.  The anxiety of sitting in traffic going slower than a man walking.  If you have a nice car like a Tesla, you have many envious folks that will key it in a parking lot.  Think of the traffic tickets that you will inevitably get.  And once you have one nice car, it is never enough, you will want another better one someday, and it never ends.


A:  right.


B:  I think you should turn in your Tesla.  Go even greener.  Why don’t you buy a bicycle?  




A:  Ok maybe I will, but only if you agree with me on this one thing. 


B:  What is that?


A:  that women should really be thanking misogynistic men.  Because they are that guy, whom desires so badly to get into his Tesla, and drive around the ocean front going 70 mph, but he is resisting it for the better good, and he is resisting it by repeating often and loudly to himself and others, that Tesla’s suck and are bitches and cunts and …


B:  agreed.


C:  what are you guys talking about?


A:  Where did you come from “C”?


B:  Yea where did you come from?


C:  I was just walking around the Ocean front to get some fresh air.  But you didn’t answer my question.  What are you guys talking about?


A:  I was just telling “B” what a drag dating can be, and some of the bitches that you run into.


C:  whoa… whoa… never call a lady a bitch.  Who taught you your manners?


A:  well you see that is just what we were talking about.  I was convincing “B” that misogyny is actually a good thing for both men and women.  It is good to call them bitches ( C winces) and cunts…


C:  whoa whoa…. Cunts?  You actually are using the word cunt?


A:  hear me out.  I use these words to show how much I don’t value them for both of our good.  


B:  yes.  Hear him out “C”.


A:  see let’s take …


B:  the Tesla example..


A:  no… let’s try a different one this time.  Let’s go back to the Tiramisu.  A guy craves like all of the dickens for a bowl of Tiramisu, but he knows that it is in the best interests for everyone, the whole planet as a matter of fact, ( looks over at B as though to say hear me out) for him not to eat it.  If he eats it, he gets fat and clogs his arteries, and then the community as a whole has to help pay his bill.  It is like smoking.  The price to pay for smoking is not just in that one little pack bought at the local station, the price of lung cancer is a bill that the entire society has to pay.  Yes…( thinks about it)  yes cigarettes are an even better analogy.  The cost of cigarettes far outgrows the little consumer, it runeth over into the rest of society.  


C:  yes, so?  What does that have to do with the “c” word?


A:  In order…


B:  by the way I love the use of “runeth”



A:  thank you.  In order for the man to get over his addiction to cigarettes, he needs to take a hostile stance against them.  He needs to imagine in his mind the growing black cancer that is building and coalescing and forming in his moist lungs.  He needs to think of all the negative traits involved with smoking.  He needs to think of how when he goes on dates women will see stains on his teeth and 


B:  but we don’t want dates.


A:  this… don’t be silly, let me continue.  He needs to see how bad his breath is when he smokes and…


C:  yes, but he doesn’t call cigarettes cunts and bitches.  If you want to truly get over women, don’t call them cunts and bitches.  Rather make a rational assessment of some of the negative qualities that women have, rather than just blind name calling.  You make yourself appear to be low class.  You become repulsive to others.  


A:  but that is just the point as well.  I make myself appear to be repulsive so that it is so off putting that the affair can never take place,  for her or for me.  When is the last time you had a date “C”?


C:  just yesterday as a matter of fact.


A:  why are you going on dates?  Don’t you see it as smoking?


C:  heavens no.  I love dating.  I love the play and dance of the sexual tensions.  I think of it as kind of a flamingo game.  The classy art of seduction.  A give and take, a pull and shake.  


A:  its predatory though.. at its core.


C:  well no.  I mean there is an element of the hunt as you say, but you do it with class and artistry.  


B:  yea but in the end you are doing it for yourself C.  You are dating women mainly to satisfy your own selfish needs.


A:  I love it “B”  Continue….


B:  In the end, you don’t use the word cunt and bitch, because you have an end goal in mind, the seduction.  


C:  and what is wrong with that? 


B:  do you really care for the girl?


C:  I wont know until I get to know her more.


A:  and by the way, “C”, why are you still dating?  Shouldn’t you have settled down a long time ago?  


C:  I… ( stumbles)


B:  see! “C”!  Haven’t been able to find anyone for the long term?  So you go through them like they are on tap until you find the right one?


A:  love it “B”  love it!


C:  well surely God made man and woman so that they would get together and it would be a good thing right?  Why on earth would God make man and woman if only to have them be, as you put it “A”, cigarettes to one another?  It doesn’t make sense.  The way I see it is that you guys are just trying to justify being assholes.



B:  Not really me.  It is mainly “A”’s argument.  I personally don’t approve of the use of the “c” and “b” words.  But if it helps “A” in his healthy withdrawal from Tiramisu than I am for it.  



C:  when is the last time you dated “B”?


A:  yea “B”?  


B:  oh.. I…  ( stumbling)


A:  lets’ face it guys, I think we are all a bunch of losers who don’t have a clue what we are talking about.  The only guy that I would respect in this argument against me would be the guy that has been married for 30 years or more and still loves his wife and who has never cheated on her nor been cheated on.  Other than that, I think I am justified in being a misogynistic pig so as to save myself and women the trouble and the suffering of driving 80 mph in a work construction zone.  


C:  yea, but what about sex?  Don’t we need it?


A:  the way I see it is sex is like taking a shit.  It feels great, it has to be done, and it’s dirty.  But if anyone had their objective choice from the beginning and were asked if they would like to have to take a shit.  Most would say a resounding “no”.  


C:  does that mean that we have to masturbate for the rest of our lives?


B:  I guess.  


A:  I suppose.  


C:  guys I feel that I should have just kept on going.  You have just dashed my hopes of ever finding anyone.  


B:  we didn’t mean to do that “C”.  You are welcome to keep dating, don’t let us bring you down.  


C:  why was I feeling so good just twenty minutes ago?  I had my shirt off and I was running by the seaside, I felt sexy and felt like I was a wanted item on the dating scene.  I felt like I had purpose and a mission to look good and work on my etiquette and the right things to say to a lady.  To look good for her.  From y point of view, if I take care of myself, I am helping others.  Who wants to stand next to some smelly guy in a line somewhere?  You do them a favor by taking a shower.  If you had the choice, wouldn’t you rather look at a healthy body that a fat misshapen one?  So I am helping you out in your visual day.  


A:  yea, but the end game… where is it going?  Let me ask you a simple question “C”.  Why haven’t you found that special one yet?  Haven’t you ever thought for a second and come to the conclusion that the whole thing is a bunch of cancerous cigarettes?


C:  I confess I have.  But I have never given up hope.  I always thought that the next day, around the next ocean curve, I would finally find the “one”.  


A:  to be honest, you sound like an idiot.  A naive fool, and I say that with good intentions.  To try and wake yo up out of your torpor.  


C:  I am the one that has been jogging.  When is the last tie you jogged “A”?


A:  “B” don’t get left out of the conversation… say something.  


B:  I don’t know what to say guys.  I am getting tired.



A:  let me guess it is past your bed time?


B:  yes, how did you know?


A:  oh can’t you stay up just a bit longer?  For my sake?


B:  well ok.  But I will say this much “A”, I think “C” has a point.  It isn’t good to use the “c” and “b” words.  


A:  but why?  Aren’t I doing it with good intentions?


B:  but remember what the great Houdini said, “ what is evil that goes into a man’s ears, doesn’t defileth the man, but what comes out of his mouth does.”  


C:  Yea, I think we can all agree, calling women those awful names is terrible, it can’t be seen as a good thing in any light.  


A:  really?  Thank’s guys… now you made me feel like shit.  So what do I do to make myself resist?


C:  maybe just think on how they are all flawed people just like yourself.  Maybe think of it that you are both drowning in a cold dark ocean.  Just let each other drown in peace.  If you go over to help them, they are liable to pull you under, and visa versa.  But don’t hate them.  


B:  that was deep “C”.  I thought you were just kind of a billboard personality that had no depth.. but that was pretty good.  


A:  maybe your right.   I kind of love you guys right now.  You are the best friends a guy could have.  I love you both.  Thank you so much for helping me through my troubles.


B:  no problem “A”.  That is what friends are for.


C:  that’s right “B”, that is what friends are for.  Hey guys I have a question though.


B:  what is that “C”?


C:  I have another date with another woman tomorrow… what should I do?  Should I cancel?


A:  that’s up to you “C”.  I personally think it’s all Tiramisu and Cigarettes, but…


C:  how bout you “B”?  Is it all Tiramisu and Cigarettes?


B:  No comment guys.  I am on the fence.  But it is past my bed time.. and I need to get some rest.  


A:  your such a party pooper.  But ok.  Goodnight guys.


C:  Goodnight “A” and “B”.


B:  sweet dreams “C” and “A”.  

A Quartet



A Quartet in the G major  in four movements with a final crescendo in four voices 



First Movement: Largo


Second movement:  Allegro


Third Movement:  Scherzo


Fourth Movement:  Rondo





First Movement in Largo in G major:  ( exposition, development, and recapitulation)  AABA,  BBCB, CCDC, DDCD, 



Cello:  I break the silence in a sounding low          G


Violin 1:  I play a higher third with stately bow        B


Violin 2:  I stretch the sinews of a major D              D


Viola:  I raise an octave for the status quo               G



Viola:  but now I shift into another key                      F#


Violin2:  And so I follow suit to test and see              F#


Cello:   But I am the expositional base                     G


Violin1:  I sustain B again for harmony                          B



Cello:  I stabilize again the tonic place                       G


Viola:  and I echo the note in subtle chase                 F#


Violin2:  As I violently strike a stroke to break               C


Violin1:  I want the comfort of the warmer bass            B



Violin2:  I hang so high with a wavering ache              G


Cello:  I make a fine reflection like a lake                    G


Violin1:  I finally change and break from my spell          D


Viola:  I double the anguish - like an earth quake          C






Second Movement:  Allegro in Cmajor7                               staccato to 10 syllables 




Viola:  my creator chose to digress from form             C_C_C_C_C_C_C_C_C_C


Cello:  so the second movement is a firestorm        E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E


Violin1:  of an abrupt upbeat chirping songbird           G_G_G_G_G_G_G_G_G_High E


Violin2:  he never cared much to adhere to norms      B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B




Cello:  I am quick to speak a lively brisk word                 E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E


Violin1:  and I march in step to a peppy herd                 G_G_G_G_G_G_G_G_G_G


Viola:  while I completely deviate from rank                    B_B_B_B_B_B_B_B_B_Bflat


Violin2:  so I can play C’s traditional third                        E



Violin2:  No time for depression-  time to give thanks        E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E


Violin1:  I mirror the sentiment with a flank                         E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E_E


Cello:  this is getting silly… its not my style                         D_D_D_D_D_D_D_D_D_ Dflat


Viola:  don’t worry I’ll kill ‘em all with my tank                       B_B_B_B_B_B_B_B_B_B



Violin1:  life is a great show to fill all the aisles


Viola:  who the hell needs a clock or a sundial


Cello:  I still prefer a more serious note


Violin2:  Im with the first two so I line and file





Scherzo in Gmajor


Cello:  Oh why do we keep on this trifling shit?


Viola:  I love to play in an orchestra pit


Violin2:  everything is a super funny joke


Violin1:  I jump onto the stage and do the splits



Violin1:  I enjoy a good tease and jolly poke


Viola:  sure why not?  I am of the common folk


Cello:  I will play my role but without a grin


Violin2:  I am always hard up for inside strokes



Cello:  Why was I composed with you Phillistines? 


Viola:  sometimes I feel like a gay fairy queen


Violin2:  knock knock who’s there?  I lost my score and part.


Violin1:  I am a big peacock - I prim and preen



Viola:  I admit comedy’s a lesser art


Cello:  I bellow like a tuba and then fart


Violin1:  that a way cello.. see?  It’s kind of fun…


Violin2:  How many men does it take to push a cart?







Cello:  I break the silence in a sounding low


Viola:  I play a third higher with stately bow


Violin:  are we just repeating the start again?


Violin:  yes but with a different flavor and flow





Viola:  I stretch the sinews of a major bend


Cello:  Ill go minor for the first time my friend


Violin2:  I love to sit in an orchestra pit


Violin1:  I avant gaurde for an atonal blend




Violin1:  I hang em high in a wavering fit


Violin2:  I double the strains in anguished spirit


Cello:  I cruelly strike strings for tragedy’s aim


Viola:  The tangent reaches but there’s no limit



Cello:  the wave fluctuates in a broad based pain


Violin1:  the crest echoes the trough - vibrates and wanes


Violin2:  Something’s attractive about the insane.  


Viola:  Spinal tapped with wires in a surcharged gain






                                                                                                    G major7


Cello:  now all together in a final flux            ( sung in G major)


Viola:  now all together in a final flux            (Sung in D major)


Violin1:  now all together in a final flux           (Sung in B major)


Violin2:  now all together in a final flux             ( sung in F#)




                                                                                          Dminor 7


Cello:  everything comes to and end and so we must       ( D)       


Viola:  everything comes to an end and so we must         (F)


Violin1:  Everything comes to an end and so we must        ( A)


Violin2:  everything comes to an end and so we must           (C)



Cello:  We harmonize words in choral refrain


Viola:  We harmonize words in choral refrain


Violin1:  We harmonize words in choral refrain


Violin2:  We harmonize words in choral refrain




Cello:  With the admixture of pleasure and pain                    G


Viola:  With the admixture of pleasure and pain                      D


Violin1:  With the admixture of pleasure and pain                  B


Violin2:  With the admixture of pleasure and pain                  F#

A Door

Suburban Home… Man and Wife






        Hand me the potatoes would you Joe?


Joe:     (reading paper)

        Sure honey, would you like the salt as well?  



        well you know what the doctor said.  Do you think I should?



        I would think you could have a little bit.  I would taper off over time… 



        Well ok .. pass me it as well.  


            (Eating …)



        Did you hear that the Sparrows won?



        I did…



        They won in overtime, 24-21.



        I guess eventually I will have to cut it out almost completely.



        Williams kicked a field goal for 58 yards.


              (still reading)

        Can you believe that they passed that legislation in Brownhaven?  Its now against the law to call someone “a farmer”.  



        My goodness, are you serious?  What is happening to our rights?  Our basic freedom of speech?   …. hand me the                  Brussel sprouts would you?


Joe:    (handing her the sprouts)

        I tell you when Howard comes home, the first thing I am going to do is call him a “Farmer”.  



        Oh Joe… why?  Your only going to stir up trouble.  He’s just a kid, he is learning how to think…



        That’s just my point.  He needs to learn how to think.. . your the one that wanted him to go to the University.  You call it                 giving him an “education”, I call in “brainwashing”.  If I had my way you know .. . you know.. we have this conversation all               of the time..



        I still believe in a Liberal Arts education.  Pass me the corn would you?


Joe:      (passing her the corn)

        A real man’s work should involve his hands and body, too many people today are caught up and locked in their heads.  



        You should talk.



        Pass me the carrots would you?



        (Sandy passes the carrots)


              Well are we going to move to San Panadreno next year?  Have you thought about it anymore?  



        Oh let’s not talk about that now….



        Aren’t you tired of these winters?  One of these years one of us is going to slip on some ice and crack our heads open…             and then what?  We aren’t getting any younger or more agile.  I almost broke my hip last night shoveling the the light snow we had off of the driveway.  



        Oh did you Joe?  Why didn’t you say anything?



        I didn’t want to worry you.  ( gets up and goes over to Sandy and kisses the top of her head, then goes back into the                 kitchen)   Do you want me to do the dishes tonight or …



        Just put them in the washing machine.  



        But that thing doesn’t clean them well enough… crap is still all stuck to the plates and….



        Well ok… if you want to.



(Knock on front door)



        Oh for heaven’s sakes… who in the world could be knocking on our door at this hour?…. My god what time is it Joe?



        Its ugh…. Let me see… its… ugh.. 9:34.



        Should I answer it Joe?


Joe:   ( comes out from the kitchen)

        Here… let me handle it.

        ( Joe goes over to the front door.  Peers through the peep hole.)


        I don’t see anyone… 



        Well I wasn’t hearing things.. I definitely heard the front door knock.



        Maybe it was a prank.. the neighborhood has been getting a lot of them lately.  Kids call it “ding-donging”.  I was talking to             Eugenie the other day and she said it happened to her and then she heard some giggling and what looked like some                 shrubs moving outside her window.  Ted Garner told me his car was a victim of “pan -canning” as well.



        What in the world is pan -canning?



        I guess it is where kids put a pop can on each side of a road and connect them with fishing line, and then when a car goes         by, it trips the wire and one hears all of these cans banging in the road.  Apparently one has to stop and untangle the line             from your bumper and .. it is a real hassle to get off…



        Oh what is the world coming to?



        Kids seem to find it fun.  I tell ya… thats why I have my BB gun in the car, just in case… If I get pan canned, you better             believe some asses are going to be shot as they scramble away in the shrubs, giggling up those hills.  I’ll get em.



        Oh Joe… 



        ( door knocks again)



        See?  You heard it … it was a knock.



        Sure was.  ( approaches door)

        Hello?  Who’s out there?  ( peeks through the hole again)

        Gol darnet.. these dang kids.  ( only hears the sound of wind)



        It is getting rather windy out there… is is possible something is bumping up against the door?


        ( Joe opens the door… looks around)




        Well I don’t see anything.  I suppose it could be this ladder leaning up against the wall.   I’ll be right back.. I am going to put         the ladder away in the garage.  


        ( Sandy gets up and closes and locks the door behind Joe as he goes outside towards the garage)

        (Yelling through the window) Oh sweetie… I’m just going to be less than a minute.



        I just want to be safe.



        Well what the hell about me?  I’ll be locked out while you are safe and snug.. nice to know how much you care…




        At least someone will be safe.. and then I can call the police. 



        You have a point.  I’ll be back.



Sandy:    (Talking out loud to herself)

        These stupid kids.. we just didn’t do things like this when we were young.  We respected the elderly. .. Oh getting old isn’t             for the weak, that is for sure.   ( hears something collapse in the garage)

        Oh for god’s sakes… what in the… (calls out through the wall to the garage)   Joe?!  Joe!  Are you ok?  (Pounds on the             wall)  Joe!?   ( hears nothing)  Oh what am I to do?  Well I have to go out there.  (Unlocks the door, goes outside to the             garage.)    


        Joe!  What have you done now?



        ( Joe is on the ground in shock from a bad fall)


        Oh!  Should I call an ambulance?


Joe:  ( foggy)

        no no… I don’t need an ambulance.  I fell off the freakin small ladder trying to put away the big ladder up into the bracings.  



        I’d better call an ambulance.



        No … no.. then we have to worry about all of the insurance and our premiums and all of that stuff… I just bumped my head          on the concrete… that’s all. 



        That’s all?



        Here help me up though… you can do that for me.  ( hold out a hand to Sandy, she helps him up.)



        Oh don’t scare me like this.. you need to take better care of yourself.   Stop climbing ladders and cleaning gutters.  You             need to start letting Howard do some of this work when he comes homes on the weekends.



        You may have a point.  ( rubbing his head)



        How hard did it hit?



        Not hard.. but it was on concrete so.  


        ( they walk together back to the house front door)



        Here, sit down on the couch.  Rest yourself.. I will make you some tea.. ok?




        Yes, that would be nice darling.  Bring me a couple aspirin as well ok?


Sandy:     ( goes to kitchen)

        Will do. 



        Well did you hear the door knock while I was gone?



        No I didn’t.. but it was only a short bit.



        I bet it was the ladder bumping against the wall or the door.  The wind is heavier than I thought.  Did you close and lock the         door when you came out?






        Never mind… it’s nothing to worry about.  Just if it was some kids, they could have come in while you were helping me in             the garage.



        I wasn’t thinking.  I just rushed to help you.



        Honey can I say something?






        I think we are both getting a bit paranoid in our older age.  I think we both need to lighten up a bit.  The world isn’t as bad             as we both make it out to be.



        Your the one talking about your BB gun.  No.. You are right.



        Did you lock the door just now?  Is it locked?



        Oh… I forgot.  I will get it.  ( locks the door)



        Come here.  Give me a hug.  (Sandy gives him a hug)


    ( a long period of silence)


        ( another knock on the door)



        Yes!  Who is it?!  What do you want?!



        Go away!  Or we will call the police!   ( Sandy goes to the peep hole) 



        Do you see anything?



        No… I don’t get it.  All I hear is that stupid howling wind.



        We had better call the police.  This isn’t funny anymore.  It must be those stupid kids playing pranks.  But we just can’t take         the risk.  Call them would you Sandy?



        I’ll do it right now.  ( dials the police)

        Yes officer.  The address is 3458 Tuscan Place.  Well no.. it’s not an emergency, at least I don’t think.  It’s just that we             have been getting knocks on our front door and we can’t figure out what is causing it.  ….. No…No… we considered that             and concluded it wasn’t the wind bumping anything.  Well we would like someone to come out.   We don’t feel safe.  


Joe:  ( calling out from the sofa to the outside)

        We have called the police do you hear?!  They will be here any moment!



        Well don’t tell them that… then they will run away and we won’ be able to nab them.



        You said it earlier.



        I guess I did.  ( turning back to the phone)  Yes.  Please bring someone out as soon as possible.  Thank you so much.              Bye.



        Honey an you finish the dishes for me?  



        sure thing.  Just holler to me when you see the squad car arrive ok?



        I will.


Sandy:   ( calling form the kitchen)

        How is the headache?



        Better.  The aspirin has kicked in.  It is more of the shock than anything.  It was such a startling fall.  Luckily it wasn’t                 serious.  What time is Howard supposed to arrive tomorrow?



        He said around 2 o’clock. We had better ask him to clean the gutters for us don’t you think?



        Yes.  And maybe even mow the lawn while he is at it.



        Assuming that the weather is ok.  



        (no reply)



        Assuming that the weather is ok!  I said.



        Yes.  Yes.  I Heard.  I think I can hear the siren.



        Why do they have that thing on?  I told them it wasn’t really an emergency.



        Well the kids have run away now for sure.  I don’t know why they are even bothering at this point to come out.



        It is just good to talk to them at least.  



        Here they are.  I see them coming. 



        You keep still on the sofa, I want you to rest.  I can talk to them.  



        Well we both can.  (Irritated)  I’m sure I can talk from the sofa right here.   


            (Door knocks, Sandy peeks and opens)



        Yes officer.  So glad that you could come out.  Please come in.  



        Well thank you.  So I hear that you have been getting some prank calls or..



        No.. it’s the door!  Someone or thing.. we actually don’t know what it is, has been knocking on the door.



        So you think it could be some kids?



        Yes.  Joe said that some neighbors were complaining about some … what do they call it Joe?






        Yes.  Ding- dongs.  



        Ok.  You mean like they run up to the door, knock it and then run away?



        Yes.  I think that it what they do.  But like we said, we don’t know for sure.



        Yea well, our neighbor Eugenie Windsmore next door said she heard giggling in some bushes or something once when             she went to go get her door.



        Did you hear any giggling?  Or see anything?  ( writing down in his notepad)



        No we didn’t.  But we are also afraid that when we left the house..



        yea you see, he had a fall when he went out to our garage to put away our ladder that we thought might be causing the             banging on the door.



        Oh it was a banging sound?



        No, I’m sorry, I guess it was more of a knocking.  Wouldn’t you say Joe?  More of a knocking than a banging?



        Yes, a knocking.  Not a banging.  



        And so when he went out and fell in the garage, I went after him to help because I was worried, but then I forgot to lock the         door on my way out to help him.



        So you are saying that you are afraid that someone might have entered the home while you were outside?






        You don’t have to yell Joe, he is right here.  



        Do you mind if I have a look around the house outside?  



        No, by all means please do.



        Maybe while I am out there, you can kind of look around to make sure that all of your belongings are where they should…



        Yes.  Great idea.  We will do that.  



        We probably should have done that earlier, instead of you doing the dishes.  Check all of the china, our DVD player, your             jewelry set which you keep down here for god only knows what reason.



        Yes .. yes.  I know.  



        Check the clock too!  I paid a small fortune for that thing.  




        Can you see him?  What is he doing out there?



        He’s looking around in the Junipers.  ( some silence)

        How about you?  Do we have all of our belongings?



        It seems to be all here.  ( officer returns)



        Did you find anything?



        Well it.. I don’t want to scare you, but it does look like someone might have been out here.  Do you want to come and look?



        What is it?  Joe.. you stay on the sofa.



        No… I am getting up.  I have had a bout all I can…



        Are you sure? 



        Yes.  ( Joe gets up and they all go outside)



        You see here?  See where the branches are broken?



        Yes.  I do.  See it Sandy?



        Yes.  Yes I see it.  



        Also, come over here.  ( they all follow)  See these cigarette butts?  Anybody smoke around here?



        Haven’t touched them in thirty years.



        Never did touch them.



        This is worrying.  ( writing in his pad)



        You suppose it’s some kind of pervert?  Or?



        Probably less likely a pervert, more like someone casing the place.  Preying on the elderly.  Which brings me to my next             question.  Do you have all of your belongings?  Anything missing?



        Everything seems to be here.  Why would they knock on the door?  It doesn’t make sense.  I mean if you are going to steel         from a place, wouldn’t you want to be as secretive as possible?



        That’s why I was thinking it might be a pervert or something.  



        I tell you what.  I will put all of this information into police records and if anything happens you make sure to call the precinct         right away and ask for Officer Newcombe.  



        What was it again?



        Officer Gary Newcombe.



        We will officer Newcombe.  Thank you so much for coming out.  



        Yes.  Thank you so much.  We hear horror stories now and then about some bad eggs that occasionally pop up in your             squads here and there, but for the most part, what would our communities do without the police? 



        Let’s stay off of the politics ok Joe?



        You hear me now, anything happens and you give us a call, ask for my name.



        Oh thanks again.



        Thank you officer Newcombe.  ( They close the door)


        Well what a great police man.  Came in like a gentleman, did his job, asked the right questions.  Almost gives one a little             hope. 



        Yes.  Although I am rather scared of who the hell was out there.  It creeps me out that someone was out there peaking in.          Don’t people have anything better to do than to prey on the elderly? 



        I took some offense to that.  I was going to tell him I didn’t feel so elderly.  And also, he seemed like it was absurd that I  would think a pervert might be watching us, like we are a couple of old sloppy bags with nothing in us anymore.  Little do             they know right Sandy?  ( goes to give her a kiss on her cheek)



        You make it sound like you wouldn’t mind that some peeping tom was out there watching us.  “Who in the world did I  marry?”  I ask myself sometimes.



        Here give me another kiss.  Boy, who would have thought that at… what time did you say?  9:34?  That we would be where  we are right now.



        Well nothing has really changed other than we know now that we have some creep outside. 



        Your right.  But I am a few IQ points lower from that fall.  That is a little different.  



        oh yea.  How is your head?  


Joe:        Better.  I am fine to be honest.  

A Clipboard

Prison - a room .. a table and two chairs.  (Enter Justin Anderson,  escorted by two guards and Dr. Jordan)


(They get seated)


Dr:  (brings out a clipboard)

    Well thanks for coming today Justin.



    It’s not like I had a choice.



    (chuckles officiously)  Yea, I suppose your right.   Let’s first start off with, how are they treating you on the inside?






    Haven’t gotten in any fights… or .. trouble?




    Once, out in the yard, but it was minor.



    You feel safe in your cell?  You don’t feel like anyone is out to ..



    Kill me?






    no… there haven’t been any serious problems.



    Ok great.  I guess how I want to start is by asking you a little bit about your background.  May I ask Justin, how old are you?






    Your height?






    Your weight?



    What the fuck does this have to do with psychology?



    I know, these are stupid questions for what we are doing today, I just have to fill out this form unfortunately.



    155 lbs.



    where were you born?









    Yep, it’s the only one that I know of.



    Let’s see.   Why year would that be?  ( thinking with pen in mouth looking up)





    yep.. 1994.  ( chuckles officiously)  You’ll notice Justin, as you get older, its harder and harder to do simple things like math in         your head.



    That’s what I have heard.  Im’ not looking forward to it. 



    Ok, now tell me a little bit about Memphis, was it a safe neighborhood where you grew up?



    It was in the poorer side of town.  A lot of blue collar workers.



    Was there much crime?



    Yea, a lot of petty thievery.  That kind of thing.



    Any violence?



    Not really.  A few domestics, but just a lot of hobos and people down on their luck.



    Ok.  So it says here in my notes that you went to a boarding school.  Is that right?






    What was the name of it?



    St. John’s school for boys.



    Did you like it?



    No.  It fucking sucked.



    Tell me about it.  



    What do you want to know?



    Was it a therapy school?



    You mean a school for fucked up troubled teens?



    Yea, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yea… was it?






    why were you brought there?  Why didn’t you go to a regular public school?



    My family broke apart early, I got into some trouble with the law, they couldn’t handle me, so they put me in this kind of foster         care boarding school.  



    Tell more about your experience there.  Tell me about your teachers. 




    What do you want to know?



    Did you like any of them?



    Yea, a couple were alright.



    What were their names?



    Mr. Westmueller was ok.  



    What did he teach?



    Car shop.



    You like building cars?



    love it.



    What do you like about it?



    I don’t know.  I just fucking love it.



    It gives you a sense of accomplishment to do something, create something, put together something with your hands?



    I guess.  



    How bout any other teachers.  Tell me about them.



    That I liked?






    There was Mrs. Hannon.



    What did you kind of like about her?



    She was fucking hot for one.



    Ok.  So she was easy on the eyes to look at.  What class did she teach?






    Do you play an instrument?



    You mean did I?  






    I played the drums a few years in band.



    Did you ever have a band of your own outside of school?



    Fuck yea.



    what was the name of it?



    Men of Metal.



    Did you ever play live in town?



    Only a couple of times, sort of.



    What do you mean ‘sort of’?



    well, we knew these guys in another band that became very popular in town, and they kind of let us play a bit in-between their sets.  



    Never went big huh?






    Tell me about…. ( looks at clipboard)… Mrs. Hannon.



    What do you want to know?



    was there anything you liked about her besides that she was hot?



    She was nice to me.  



    Give me an example.



    One time I punched this kid in the nose that was irritating me and she took my side.  



    It felt good that someone understood your feelings?



    I guess.



    Were there any teachers that you didn’t like?  Oh yea, I forgot to ask.  They had woman teachers at the boys school?



    Yea.  The school was taught by both men and women, but the after hours were all boys and men.



    Ok.  Tell me about the teachers you didn’t like.  I’m sure there were plenty of them.



    Well, actually the teachers in general weren’t bad.  It was only or two of them that I just couldn’t stand.



    What were their names?



    Mr. Deacon and…



    Your kidding me.  That was his actual name?



    Yea.  We made fun of it to no end too.



    What was the others name?  



    Mr. Harmon.



    Let’s first start off with him.  Tell me what you didn’t like about Mr. Harmon?



    The guy was a fucking faggot.  That’s what I disliked about him.  



    Why do you call him a faggot?



    Because that was what he was.



    You mean that he talked effeminately?



    Yea.  But it wasn’t just that.



    Ok, what else about him you couldn’t stand?



    The guy was a fucking asshole.  



    Give me an example.  



    I don’t know.  The guy thought he knew everything about everything and he treated you like you were a dumb shit.  He always         had these 8 sets of rules that were the “credo” of the school, that he never lived by himself.  



    What were the “credo” rules.  


Justin:  ( with a nauseated sing song voice laboring in monotony)

    IMPERFECTION-  we can’t all win an election.  FRIENDSHIP  - we are not all a bunch of losers but beggars can’t be choosers.

We are all INSANE- tell a friend and explain.  We are all IDIOTS- sometimes we fall and do the splits.  We are ORDINARY- don’t be so ornery.  Don’t be ROMANTIC- its mean and pathetic.  EVERYONE must wear a grin- even if we didn’t win.  And finally, TRANSCEND YOURSELF- don’t be a petty elf.  



    He made you memorize that by heart obviously?



    Every morning at 8 sharp.  



    They don’t sound like really bad rules to live by though.



    No, I guess not.  But the thing is, he never followed any of the rules himself.  He strutted like a peacock in the front of the class giving his fucking sermons on History.  The guy was an arrogant asshole that made you feel like shit if you didn’t know something. Like: what year the French Revolution started.  So we have “Imperfection”- we all had chant that we were imperfect.   And yet he demanded that we be perfect at the same time.  It was obvious underneath it all, that he was perfect, and we were a bunch of fools.  The guy didn’t make any sense.  And then you have, “Friendship”.  He always talked about the homeless and how someday we might be there ourselves and that no one on earth was a loser.  That we should be kind to one another.  Sounds great right?  Only he lived in the posh side of town in this really nice place.  He was a part of the elite council in the city.  The guy had no idea what it was like to be homeless or anywhere near it.  We had a pretty good idea.  We could see it out our windows from the school at night.  Then take the we are “insane”.  Every morning we had to fucking tell each other why were insane.  It was so fucking stupid.  Then we are “idiots”.  He had us every morning talk with another about how we were idiots.  And he would sit up there with his snotty fucking smirk on his face.  Obviously in his eyes, we were all idiots that had to obey rules that he never bothered about.  We are “ordinary”.  Same thing, he would sit up there in his desk with this superior air in his nose.  Posing like a god.  We all had to chant it, while he just watched.  But when it came to study time we all had to be extraordinary.  The guy was a fucked up brainwasher.  This next one really pissed me of.  Don’t be “romantic.”  He thought there was no such thing as “the one” love of your life and he was like this fucking kill joy whenever one of us let on that we liked some girl from the town.  We all knew the guy was gay and just jealous.  He fucking hated it when we fell in love with girls.  The fucking faggot.  The guy used to look at our asses as we passed by him for our hall passes.  Everyone must wear a grin, even if we don’t win.  The guy was the moodiest asshole I ever knew.  Sometimes he would come into class all sour and pissed off for no reason whatsoever.  He would call us his little scholars.  And finally “ transcend yourself.”  Again, the guy would just sit up there in class sometimes preaching to us about how many articles he writes in the evenings and bragging how many he has written all together.   Total fucking hypocrite!



    Well, that was a mouthful.  He obviously pissed you off.  Tell me, why did it bother you that he, in your eyes, wasn’t following         the rules himself?  



    Oh yea.  And then one Friday one time after, literally the same day after he gave us a lecture on how we should expect no         rewards in life, we were in town watching him from the windows outside of the convention center getting a reward for best             teacher in Memphis.  The audience was clapping and shit.  



    Why did it bother you that he wasn’t following the rules himself?



    I don’t know.  Wouldn’t it fucking bother you?  I mean it would be like me telling you not to pick your nose like a pig, and then I         go ahead and do it myself.  The guy was a control freak, that needed all of the attention on himself.  Total fucking prick.  I don’t     care if I ever see or hear from that asshole again.



    So you didn’t like the idea of being controlled.  



    Well that, and the fucking hypocrisy.



    No I get it.  Like there was a division that he tried to concealingly form between himself and the rest of you.  But then he was the     teacher.  That is kind of a teacher’s role.



    I never asked the faggot to be my teacher.  Any way, we got our revenge on him.  






    One night on a weekend, we found out where he lived in the posh side of town, saw his parked Mercedes, spray painted the         word, “faggot” on its side in pink, and then we all took a shit inside of a big zip lock bag with the zipper open, and chucked it         inside the car’s open window.  There was shit caked all over his dash and seats.   Fucking righteous revenge.  



    Did he ever find out who did it?



    Nope.  We never squealed on each other.  



    Well it is obvious to me you have a problem with gay men.  



    Yea, like I want to fucking kill them.



    Like you did.  



    Yea.. what of it?  The fucking faggot deserved it.



    let’s slow down.  Let’s back peddle before we get into any details about the night you killed Jamie Walker.  I want to talk a little more about Mr…. ( checks his clipboard) Harmon.  First of all I want to know, were yo ever molested at the boarding school?






    You say that without hesitance.  When did it happen?



    One night, when I was 12 years old, taking a shower, one of the monks of the school came into my shower stall with me.  He         masturbated me.



    Did you ejaculate?



    What the fuck does that matter?



    How did that make you feel?



    What do you think?



    I know that many men and women who are molested feel guilty because a part of them enjoyed it to some extent.



    Well I ain’t no faggot.  You don’t have to worry about that.



    Whatever happened to the monk?  Did you ever tell authorities?



    Never did.  You think I want other guys knowing that I got aroused by one of the monks?



    Is he still at that school?



    No, he transferred later that year to a monastery of something.  



    Ever thought about still turning him in?



    Isn’t there a statute of limitations of something like that?



    So you have thought about it to some extent.



    A little bit.  Also I know about the statute of limitations because some bitch a few years ago accused me of date raping her.



    I want to get into that later.  But for now, I want to focus on your hostility towards homosexual men.  It seems obvious that there     is probably a link between the event that made you incarcerated here and your teacher Mr. Harmon and that monk.  I want you     to go a little deeper for me Justin.  When I ask you why you hate homosexuals, give me a little bit more than just, because I         hate them.  I want to help you learn to help yourself.  Why do you feel threatened by homosexuals?



    I’m not afraid of them.  I will fucking kill them before they ever touch me again.  



    Well maybe threatened is the wrong word.  I guess what I am trying to ask is, why do you hate gays?  And I am trying to get         beyond “just because”.  



    I hate them because I like pussy.  And they stand in the way of me getting pussy.



    Many women like a man that has compassion for minorities, like homosexuals.  You might be able to get, as you say, more “pussy” if you were nicer to the less fortunate.  



    How the fuck is a fag like Mr. Harmon less fortunate than I am? 



    Many homosexuals hate being gay.  They hate being teased and hated like they are freaks or something.  They often feel ostracized and bullied by so called     “normal” boys, especially in school settings when they are growing up.  They often have self- loathing.  Let’s put it this way, would you like to be gay?



    Fuck no.



    But I want to go back to what you said earlier, you said that “ gays get in your way of you getting pussy.”  How do they “stand in     your way”?



    Like for example, when I am walking up to Mr Harmon to get the hall pass and I am dreaming of getting it on with some girl in         town, and then out of the corner of my eye I see him spying my ass, it fucking kills the fantasy.   I go from heaven to hell in a         split second.  It fucking ruins my vibe.  



    You like pussy?



    Damn sure.  I fucked half of the girls in town.  They all fucking wanted it.  Even the one that accused me of date rape.



    I mean so for a second you see Mr. Harmon’s eye on your ass, but it is only a nuisance for a few seconds right?  



    yea, but then I start thinking about that time in the shower stall with that monk.



    So you are afraid that you might be gay yourself.



    Listen up doc!  I ain’t no faggot!  You got that?



    I’m sorry Justin.  I see that you are angry.  I think you should know, that most people, men and women, have bisexual             tendencies.  



    If I do then I am 99.999 percent straight.  



    I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of in…



    are you trying to turn me into a faggot?  Are you a faggot!?  What the fuck is wrong with you?  You remind me of Mr. Harmon.          He deep down wanted us all to be a bunch of fags just like him.  


    ( enter a guard)



    Everything ok in here?



    Everything is fine officer McPherson.  We aren’t having any real problems are we Justin.



    If you keep calling me a faggot there will be.  


Dr:     (to officer)

    We are ok , I will holler if I need you help.  I trust Justin.  



    Ok, just let me know.  (Leaves)



    I am not trying to turn you into a faggot Justin.  What I am trying to do is get to what caused you to kill Jamie Walker.  I am         trying to help you.  Your suffering with hatred.  I want to alleviate your pain.  I think that that monk that molested you when you         were 12 hurt you more than you realize.



    He didn’t hurt me, I am not a pussy.  



    It’s ok to be hurt.  To feel hurt.   It is only human.



    ( staring in silence)



    What are you thinking about Justin?  Talk to me.






    Look at me Justin.



    (looks away to the window)




    I tell you what, know might be a good time to take a break, lets go out and get a cup of coffee together and then we will return         ok?







    ( they return and sit down)



    Alright, where were we?



    We were talking about Mr. Harmon.  



    Yea but… (looking at his clipboard)  Oh yea.. the monk in the shower.  I have a book to offer you.  Its called… ( reaches in his brief case)  “Surviving the Predator that Stole Your Youth”



    Sounds like a bunch of gay shit.  



    Here, I want you to take it and read it in your cell and bring it back to me the next time that we meet.



    No.. no.. Iv’e never been in to that self -help crap.  



    All I am asking is that you try.  This book was written by a PHD psychologist.  He really knows what he is talking about.



    I never cared much for reading anyway.  Besides, it will just get me all pissed and feeling like a victim.  I hate it when people try     to make you feel like a victim.  



    Of course, you want to be respected.  It’s really straight forward.  He doesn’t use any fancy jargon or anything like that.  Please     take it… ( hands it to Justin)



    Well, alright.   ( takes is from Dr.)

    Say what is your name again?



    I’m Doctor Jordan.  But you can call me by my first name, Bill.  



    Ok, thank’s Bill.  Well now what?  



    What do you mean?



    Well now what do you want to talk about?



    I suppose we could start talking about the night of the killing.



    Ok.  What do you want to know?



    Well my notes say… ( checks his clipboard).  My notes say that the murder took place around 7:15 pm.  Is that right?



    Yes.  Around there.  I can’t remember exactly.  



    Well where you a couple hours before the killing?



    I was at my girlfriends, getting laid.  ( laughs)



    Ok, where does or did she live?



    Not far from where I worked.  



    Where did you work?



    I worked at Melrose Gas Station as a mechanic, on the east side of town.



    Do you remember roughly when you left her place?  



    Probably about an hour before.



        ( a pause of silence and uncertainty between the two)



    So what happened next?





    I went to go fill my tank and get some smokes at the gas station where I worked.  I used to get a discount.



    Can you tell me what made you decide to go to Lucy’s Bar?



    My friend Matt wanted to go.



    Was that a regular hang out for the two of you?  



    Yea.  We would often go scope out chicks.



    But you said you had a girlfriend.



    (laughs) yea.  Just cause a guy is taken doesn’t mean he can’t look at the menu.  Besides, I cheated on her all of the time.  I         like everything on the menu if you know what I mean.  (Smirks at Dr. but the doctor doesn’t respond)



    Do you remember the first time that you saw Jamie enter .. or maybe I should ask.  When is the first time that Jamie came into         your awareness?



    I saw the fucker the whole fucking time I was in the place.  He was seated right behind me.  The guy wouldn’t fucking shut up.  I     could hardly hear Matt speak, the guy was so loud.   He had this laugh that sounded so lame.  Like the guy was a fucking             retarded walrus or something.  



    Do you remember how the confrontation began?



    Yea.  I finally told the fucker to shut the fuck up.



    Did he?



    No.  The faggot started hitting on me.  Like checking out my chest and ass and shit, and then he started giggling at me with his     boyfriend.  



    And then what happened?



    The guy told me that he knew that I wanted it up my ass.  And that he and his boyfriend were going to give it to me.  The             moment he said it I stood up and hit him straight in the nose and I heard the cartilage crack.  Blood immediately started running     down his face like a fucking pressurized fountain.  I took him off of his chair and threw him down on the floor and as he was         falling his head hit another table.  His boyfriend was a fucking pussy.  He just started walking away. 



    Then what happened?



    I grabbed his head by the hair when he was on the floor and kept hitting his face until it turned into a pulp of blood and puss.          Until the guys fucking eyes were closed shut.  I took one last huge punch right down the center of his face and I heard his head     crack on the concrete.  At that point I knew I had killed him.  The sound of it. 



    (looking disturbed)