Opinion Piece: I Did Not Ask for Your Opinion on My Ex Fiancé

Dear Readership,

The following post is meant mostly in jest. By that I mean I am deadly serious about the content, but want you to imagine it delivered in a humorous tone since tone doesn’t always come across in writing.

Let’s play a game. I’m going to give you four sentences and you have to tell me what they have in common:

“Don’t you think you spend too much time together?”

“I think it would be better if you guys had some space from each other.”

“Won’t it be weird to explain when you start dating other people?”

“Your breakup would be easier if you just stopped talking to each other and moved on.”

Is it:
A) Crappy, entirely unsolicited things people have said about mine and Bryce’s relationship since we called off our engagement
B) Busybodies staying busy
C) Frankly none of anyone’s business
OR
D) All of the frickin’ above!

Now I know what you might be saying right now, “Wowie, Gosh almighty, Jeez Oh Pete, Sierra. Looks like someone took too many passive aggressive pills with breakfast today and is coming on a little strong. Tell us how you really feel, crazy.”

To which I’d say, “Fair enough.”

But to those of you who have wondered (be it rudely, directly, to our faces, behind out backs, with good intentions, as a means of looking for fresh new gossip, out of genuine love and concern, or anywhere in between) HERE is exactly how I really feel – wonder no longer.

I love Bryce. I care about him. He’s important to me and, as a general rule, I like to keep the things I care about close at hand and in my heart. Also let me just go ahead and take a moment to emphasize that I am not concerned about what the the mythical feelings of a currently non-existent future S.O. might be, and I will not let how they may or may not some day feel about mine and Bryce’s relationship dictate my behavior (because, damn! That was exhausting to type, much less live by. Life is too short for that mess).

Further, let it be known that Bryce and I didn’t fall out of love. I say that mostly because I don’t think falling out of love is even possible. If anything, people fade out of love. But as it happens, our love hadn’t faded when we called off our engagement. As previously stated, I still love him. Very much.

But over the last four or five months of our engagement, some fairly serious issues cropped up. We sat down and looked long and hard at the trajectory of our relationship and we didn’t like where it was headed. There were certain things that had to change and certain other things that had to be emotionally dealt with in order for us to have a happy, healthy, marriage and it wasn’t immediately clear that either of those were guaranteed to happen. Could we change? I don’t know, maybe. Could we emotionally process the stuff that needed dealt with? Again, unclear. But both of those things had to happen for us to feel comfortable getting married and both were going to take time.

So we were then faced with a decision — do we postpone our wedding but stay engaged and hope that we can fix what is broken? Or do we break up?

We chose to break up.

We broke up to get clarity and space and remove the time constraint of fixing our problems before a new wedding date. We broke up because we thought it would be the emotionally healthier way to move forward.

We did not break up because we hated each other, or because we wanted to move on from each other, or because we were unhappy. And we did not break up because we wanted to see less of each other.

Bryce didn’t stop being my best friend when we broke up. I didn’t stop wanting to call him whenever something frustrating or funny or exciting or sad happened to me. I didn’t stop wanting to hear his thoughts on the world or stop wanting to lay around and watch TV with him. I didn’t stop missing him when we were apart.

I did, however, stop caring what people thought. Calling off an engagement is agonizingly embarrassing — and that’s coming from someone who has experienced a remarkable amount of social discomfort over the course of her short, awkward, life. Have you ever walked around at work with your skirt tucked in your underwear so that your butt hangs out for god only knows how long before your boss finally tells you? I have. Pretty recently, actually. It was mortifying. NOT as mortifying, however, as having to recontact all of the people who I had just asked for addresses from so I could send them wedding invitations only to then say, “JK! Never mind. We called it off.” I cried from embarrassment. More than once. But it was what was best for us, just like staying an active part of each others’ lives is best for us.

Will we get back together? Um, none of your business. That’s for us to work on and figure out. Maybe. If we can. If we ever reach a point of believing that that is what is the best for both of us and our friendship in the long run. In the meantime, I want him in my life as much as possible.

I broke up with Bryce because I didn’t want to lose him to a bitter marriage. If I cared what people thought, I would have just quietly married him to save face and endured the consequences. Instead, I did the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done because I wanted to fight for continued access to a person that I deeply adore. Now, rather than attempt to understand something they haven’t seen before, so many people have had the audacity to criticize it because it doesn’t follow a “traditional breakup narrative” and what they believe is “right” or “normal.”

My goal in life is not to behave in a way that makes sense to people. My goal is to live a life that is full, fulfilled, wild, beautiful, authentic, joyful and uniquely mine. I know without a doubt that Bryce is an integral part of achieving that for me, even if the exact nature of his role is still unclear. Our journey for answers is messy, but it is our own and I cherish that.

Let’s return now then to our original four sentences from the beginning and respond to them the way they deserve to be responded to:

“Don’t you think you spend too much time together?”
On the contrary, we don’t spend nearly enough time together. He gives my life purpose and direction and I can never have enough of that.

“I think it would be better if you guys had some space from each other.” Oh, do you? The day that space from Bryce is better for me is the day that one of us stops breathing… Because, you know, hanging out with a corpse is never good for you, really.

“Won’t it be weird to explain when you start dating other people?” Idk, but that influences literally 0% of my decisions. And we did try to start dating other people. It didn’t really take. For now, we’re happy to work on ourselves and enjoy each other’s company.

“Your breakup would be easier if you just stopped talking to each other and moved on.”
I’m not really looking to do what’s easier, I’m looking to do what’s best for me and Bryce. And as it turns out, we’re actually the best qualifed people to make that decision for ourselves.

I guess what I’m trying to say to the people who have felt inclined to judge what they don’t understand or tried to force us to behave in a way that fits a small minded perspective — in the most loving and gracious way that I can manage — get bent.

Until next time,

Adieu

Airhead turned Assailant

Dear Readership,

Ever have those days where you seem to only be firing at half your usual mental capacity and you become convinced that maybe you’ve secretly been an idiot all along and no one told you?

Welcome to last Wednesday for me. For whatever reason, it felt like I had all of two brain cells bouncing around in an empty expanse all day — occasionally they would bump into each other and I would produce a semi-intelligent thought, but most of the time it was a misfire.

Mostly this problem expressed itself in my inability to get through a whole sentence without forgetting where in it I was and having to ask someone to remind me what the last words out of my mouth were so I could pick up where I had left off. But there were a couple larger expressions of my idiocy that really drove the problem home.

One of my very dearest college chums and I decided to drive and meet up halfway between where she lives in Boone and where I am in Raleigh. The halfway point just happened to be Winston (where my beloved sister and brother-in-law live). How perfect! Merritt and I met in a Barnes and Noble (and talked, and perused the books, and drank ungodly amounts of coffee, and talked some more. it was perfect). About 3 hours and a VERY large coffee in, I needed to use the bathroom. She had just gone a little while before, so I asked her to direct me to where it was.

I made my way back to the restrooms, pulled the handle, and found it locked. So I stepped back to look at some books and wait for the person to finish. I waited and waited and waited and finally decided that I didn’t really have to pee that badly and that I’d just circle back around later.

I went back to where Merritt was sitting at a table.

“Whoever is in the bathroom must be pooping because they’re taking forever and I got tired of waiting. I’ll try again later.”

“What?” she asked.

I repeated myself.

“Sierra, there are like eight stalls in that bathroom” she said.

It was my turn to be confused.

“Okay, listen,” she said, “Back on that wall there’s the men’s room, then there’s a closet, and then there’s the women’s room. Are you sure you were standing at the right door?”

Yes! …No.

I smiled sheepishly and slunk back to the bathrooms. Sure enough, I had been standing all that time waiting for someone to finish using the CLOSET. That could have been a long wait. Just to the left of it was a door with LARGE letters clearly marked “WOMEN” that I had not previously noticed. I peed, and then returned once more to be heckled for my dumbness. It was all in good fun.

Finally, hungry and in the mood for Japanese, we set off to meet up with my sister and her husband to go to dinner. We were having a lively conversation about the outcomes of last Tuesday’s election on the way and I fiddled with my keys in my lap while we talked, like I often do. Ben and Merritt were mid voter ID law discussion when I loudly and uncomfortably cleared my already burning throat,

“I do hate to interrupt your conversation” I said meekly, clearing my throat again a little harder, “but I think I just sprayed my mace.”

“WHAT?” everyone said loudly and in unison just seconds before gagging. All four windows shot down and we were blasted by the cold night air as everyone blinked their stinging eyes and coughed.

“Way to mace a pregnant lady” Savannah said, squinting at me through her rear view mirror.

“I only maced you a tiny bit” I shot back still feeling sheepish. I hadn’t realized that it had been unlocked and I had sprayed just the smallest little puff into the air. We all recovered fairly quickly, just a burning tickle remaining in the back of our throats (or at least mine anyway. I think I got the brunt of it).

If I’m being honest, I have suspected for some time that this would eventually happen. Me being armed in any capacity is a recipe for disaster. Although I had hoped I would be alone when it did.

Just like I would have preferred to be alone later that evening during dinner when I absentmindedly rubbed my eye and had to be let out of the booth to run to the bathroom to flush out my eyeball because it turns out some of the mace lingered on my finger (like, duh, of course it did).

Despite being thoroughly humbled (and very apologetic) by the end of my visit, I also was absolutely fed by the conversation and companionship of all of the lovely people I got to see that night. I may be an idiot, but I’m an idiot that they love and that’s a very special feeling.

Until next time,

Adieu

Chunky and a lil Traumatized

Dear Readership,
It’s been unforgivably long. I know. I have a whole list of unposted blogs that I wrote and then decided I hated. What can you do?
The following (horror) story is meant for my fellow chunky ladies, but even if you find yourself not in that category, feel free to read on…
Today I went up a jean size (translation: today I ACKNOWLEDGED that I went up a jean size. I have deliberately been wearing dresses and leggings since I got back from my five week binge diet of daily wine and bread in Spain this summer because I didn’t want to recognize the truth that I had totally packed on some pounds). But today it was chilly. Today I wanted to wear jeans. Today I chub-rubbed through the inner thigh of the only pants that fit me, so today I faced the music and sized up.
Because let’s be honest, the only thing worse than grabbing the next biggest size up is trying to stuff your flab into a pair of pants that USED to fit, breaking a sweat while your wrestle your fat ass into them, having to hold your breath so you can button them, and then watching the rolls spill over the top while the waist band cuts off blood flow to your lower extremities.
After I had grabbed a few pairs of jeans to try on, I made my way toward the dressing room. By coincidence, I just happened to pass by the shapewear section on the way. I paused to look at the choices and decided to give it a go. Now, I already have a pretty solid variety of spanx at home (the kind that squeezes your legs, the kind that squeezes your abdomen SO severely you feel like a 18th century courtier who is prone to fainting spells and hysteria because she can’t effing breathe, the kind that looks kinda like a wet suit, and of course the kind that’s basically glorified granny panties). For whatever reason though, something about buying a larger jean size made me feel the need to try a new set of shapewear on (as if somehow NEW shapewear could eradicate fat better than what I already have? Idk). The pair I picked up looked pretty intense and it boasted having “anti slip technology.”
I didn’t really think of it at the time, but you’re more clever than me. You know what anti-slip means, right? IT MEANS THE INSIDE IS FULL OF RUBBER.
Now, for those of you who chose to read this despite not personally identifying as a chunky lady, allow me to explain to you really quickly what exactly it’s like to wear shapewear.
Imagine you have a daughter. Your daughter has a lot of Barbies. The Barbies wear a lot of nylon/spandex. One day you’re chilling at home and you come across one of these Barbie outfits and you think to yourself “I could probably fit in that.” So you decide to take your giant, naked, jiggly adult body and CRAM it into literal doll clothes. Imagine how hard that would be. THAT is what it’s like to put on shapewear.
So I go into the changing room and strip down to my undies in front of a full length mirror (ew) and then decided to try the shapewear first to get it over with. Now, again, for those of you who are spanx virgins (that sounds dirtier than it is), allow me to share with you the cardinal rule of shapewear: NEVER, EVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PUT IT ON OR REMOVE IT WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF A MIRROR. You know how a can of biscuits looks when you bust it open? How the white, doughy rolls ooze and spill out of the cracks? Now imagine that times roughly 1,000 — that’s removing shapewear. Now imagine that in slow motion and reverse — that’s putting on shapewear.
All round I give it a 10/10 for shattering the self esteem of literally anyone (and I say this as someone who believes that she is chubby and gorgeous. Being fat doesn’t really rattle my opinion of myself, but putting on shapewear definitely does).
So hear I am, standing in a room full of mirrors, staring at my own pasty, smushy body, and I decided to stuff myself into that tiny, rubber-coated, Barbie-sized spandex wet suit while making eye contact with my own reflection (AKA, I decided today would be a good day to learn to hate myself). Because you know what feels worse than the feeling of insecurity (and let’s face it, getting winded) while wrestling yourself into shapewear?
Um, how about the sensation of every single hair getting methodically plucked out as you try to yank some rubber-lined micro shorts over your flabby unshaved body!
I’m not sure what the fitting room attendant thought I was doing (based on my grunts, screams, and expletives), but I know that when I looked at myself I was staring into the eyes of a slightly unhinged madwoman.
There were literal tears streaming down my face.
When I  was finally done (and I had managed to stop sobbing) let me tell you, I looked gooood and I knew it. But I also knew that I would rather eat glass shards than try to take the contraption back off, much less ever put it on again. Rest assured, it did not find a new home with me this day. After I peeled it off  I was happy to grab my new jean size and get the hell out of the store before I had any more bright ideas.
Is there a lesson in this? I mean, I guess you could make an argument for “love your body the way it is” (which, for the record, I do. Extra chub and all, I am usually pretty happy in my own skin). That’s all well and good, but I think the real lesson is “No matter what you do, no matter where you go, what you think, or who you become, never try to put rubber spanx on over unshaved legs. Ever.”
Nobody deserves that kind of suffering.
Until next time,
Adieu

Mucking About

Dear Readership,

As I officially start to unwind after the semester, I thought it would be fun to share with you what a lot of my semester was like. I was lucky enough to get a spot in a very small class on playwriting with my ALL TIME favorite professor (joking-not-joking, if he started a cult I would probably join it). This class has stretched me as a writer and challenged my usual novel-esque techniques and crutches to make me better, bolder, more intentional, and to the point. Long and short, I LOVED it. So I present to you a copy of one of my short plays I wrote this semester. A lot of sweat, blood, and tears went into this project (by which I mean sleep-deprivation, coffee, and actual tears went into this project). I hope you like it!

If you’ll forgive me a small brag, my professor called it possibly the most ambitious play anyone had ever turned into him and used it as an example of my ability to write complexly when he wrote my letter of recommendation for grad school. *fan girl screams* it was probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever been paid by someone whose creative genius I idolize. All that to say, here t’is!

*Disclaimer* there is some language, especially towards the third scene. My deepest apologies if you find it distasteful.

~~~~

 

Mucking About

 

Cast of Characters

HARRY WELLINGTON:  32 years old, irritatingly pragmatic operative

WILLIAM FITZHERBERT:  29 years old, emotionally impulsive, Wellington’s partner

DEBORAH GEITZMAN:  45 years old,  The boss at Radar HQ

MAGNOLIA FLETCHA:  35 years old, the person in the chair at Radar HQ

ELMER MORRIS:   22 years old, the twitchy intern

Setting:  A Baltimore alleyway, early fall, 1855. Laundry hangs from lines overhead and various heaps of unwanted materials sit in the background — crates, pallets, a few garbage cans, and an old rug among them.  

At Rise:  The cobblestone streets are awash in the dim flickering glow of recently lit lamplight. There are two men onstage, neither of whom are moving. One, dressed rather raggedly, sits slumped against a wall with his eyes closed and head lolling to one side. The other, dressed much nicer, lies face down center stage in a pool of blood. Two more men enter in conversation. Both are well dressed, but beginning to look a little bedraggled.

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

FITZHERBERT  

Well, dammit all. This does complicate things, doesn’t it?

WELLINGTON  

What an imbecilic thing to go and do.

FITZHERBERT  

To die? That seems a mite unfair.

WELLINGTON  

Well he hasn’t just died now, has he? The idiot’s gone and gotten killed.

FITZHERBERT  

He couldn’t possibly have known it was coming, could he?

WELLINGTON  

Couldn’t he?

FITZHERBERT

Oh, I don’t know.  

FITZHERBERT  

What are we going to do?

WELLINGTON  

Well we can’t leave him here. He could ruin everything. We’ll have to find somewhere to hide the body.

FITZHERBERT  

Oh, no. This is a new waistcoat! I don’t want blood all over it.
(WELLINGTON gives him a dirty look)
No, of course. You’re right. Let’s get him out of here. I think the easiest thing to do is– I say! There’s someone else here.

WELLINGTON  (whips around frantically)

What?! We’ve been compromised. We’ll have to kill him.

(FITZHERBERT approaches the sleeping man and takes a deep whiff)

FITZHERBERT  

That seems hasty, this man’s drunk.

WELLINGTON  

Are you sure?

FITZHERBERT

I’d bet my life on it. I know the smell of spirits better than I know the smell of my own mother.  

WELLINGTON  

And?

FITZHERBERT  

And I don’t think we have to kill him. He’s intoxicated. From the smell of him, very intoxicated. I doubt he’s been aware of anything for quite some time.

WELLINGTON   

Things are complicated enough without overestimating his intoxication and creating a new loose end to deal with.  

FITZHERBERT

This is a human being, you know, not a loose end to be “dealt with.”

WELLINGTON  

Look at him! Does he look like much of a human being anymore to you? We’d be doing the poor wretch a favor by sparing him of the burden of living any longer.

FITZHERBERT  

Somehow I doubt he’d feel that way. Why don’t we just leave him while we deal with the body. If he wakes up and we are forced to do something differently, we will.

WELLINGTON  

I suppose that is a compromise I can live with. But if things go amiss, the paperwork is your problem.

FITZHERBERT  

As I recall, you always make the paperwork my problem.

WELLINGTON  

Shut up and help me think of something to do with this body.

FITZHERBERT

What, like put him in one of those rubbish bins?

WELLINGTON  

Unless you have intentions of hacking him up a bit, no full grown man is going to fit into a rubbish bin.

FITZHERBERT  

So, what? Should we stick him under the crates then?

WELLINGTON  

That is possibly the worst idea I’ve ever heard. You know what, here, help me grab that rug.
(the two men grab the rolled up rug and spread it out next to the body)
There. Now you grab his feet and lay him on the edge.

FITZHERBERT  (grunting)

God, he weighs a ton.

WELLINGTON
(also grunting but trying to seem fine)

Just lift him, you idiot. There! Now roll.

(both men roll the body up in the rug, struggle to carry it back to where it had been originally propped, and nearly drop it. They step back to examine their work, breathing heavily)

FITZHERBERT  

Somehow I feel like a body shaped lump in a rug isn’t really better than a body smushed under a stack of crates. It’s still pretty, uh –what’s the word — eye-grabbing.

WELLINGTON

Perhaps, but we’ve dealt with it as best we can. Now, back to the issue at hand – Elijah Knollwood was last seen in this general area. If we didn’t waste too much time here we may still be able to catch him and get home before supper.

FITZHERBERT

Right, of course. I think our best bet is going to be heading–

(WELLINGTON cuts him short by pulling his gun. He points to the drunk man who has roused just enough to retch on himself)

WELLINGTON  

Look! He’s waking up.

FITZHERBERT  

Stop! He didn’t see anything. You don’t have to do this!

WELLINGTON

Stand back! He could be the killer.

(WELLINGTON aims his gun at the bum, but FITZHERBERT jumps in the way and tries to take the gun from him. The two men fall to the ground and wrestle over it vigorously for a minute before a gunshot rings out. FITZHERBERT jumps back, surprised)

FITZHERBERT  (shaking his companion)

Wellington? Wellington! Oh no… It was me. It was my fault the whole time. I’m the killer.

(FITZHERBERT makes eye contact with the bum for a long second before bolting off stage. The bum looks around him bewildered. He looks at the body then at the audience, then passes out again. The stage is still for 10 very uncomfortable seconds)

(Enter WELLINGTON and FITZHERBERT)  

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

BLACKOUT

SCENE II

(Out of the darkness we hear an unfamiliar voice)

FLETCHA  

On September 22nd, 1855, Elijah Knollwood, a newspaperman and Baltimore socialite, killed his mistress, Eliza Matkins, and their two young children. He shot all three after an altercation in which Matkins threatened to expose Knollwood’s infidelity to the public and ruin his career if he didn’t divorce his wife. As tragic as the event was, the death of Knollwood’s younger son, Peter, was ultimately for the greater good. At age six Peter was no threat to society, but by age thirty-one he would travel to New York to meet, seduce, and eventually marry Jennie Jerome…

LIGHTS UP

Radar Headquarters, 2095.  There are no windows in the fluorescently lit room to indicate season or time of day. The insipid white walls and a long line of monitor screens give the overall environment a feel of government-issued sterility and high intelligence. FLETCHA sits at a desk with a file open in front of her and GEITZMAN stands behind, looking on.

GEITZMAN  

It’s been a long night, Fletcha, drop the theatrics and remind me why I care.

FLETCHA

Right, sorry. Well, Jennie Jerome –or as you probably know her –Lady Randolph Churchill is remembered by history for being the mother of Winston Churchill.  She was never meant to marry Peter Knollwood. The implications could be catastrophic.

GEITZMAN  

Wait, so you’re telling me this Peter kid doesn’t get shot in the head and suddenly Winston Churchill is never born?

FLETCHA  

Sort of. It’s not really that simple, but short answer  yes.

GEITZMAN

And why am I just now hearing this?

FLETCHA  

We had two operatives on the case already. Only, something’s gone wrong.

GEITZMAN  (sighing)

Doesn’t it always?

FLETCHA  

Somehow they’ve come across one of their own bodies.

GEITZMAN  

And?

FLETCHA  

And I’m not exactly sure what’s happening, but they’re stuck in a loop. If I’m reading these heat signatures correctly, they’ve discovered the body four different times now and each time they are unable to move past the anomaly without recreating it.  

(Enter MORRIS)

MORRIS  

Sorry to interrupt. One fat free latte — extra hot, and one large black coffee with two espresso shots and four pumps of sugar-free french vanilla.

GEITZMAN  

Geez, Fletcha, that’s a lot of syrup.

FLETCHA  

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my coffee order was offensive to you. Besides, what’s the point of an extra hot latte?

GEITZMAN

They steam the milk longer.

FLETCHA

Okay, but ask yourself — do they really? Do you really think the barista on the fourth floor takes an extra 30 seconds on your steamed milk?

(GEITZMAN peers suspiciously at her cup)

MORRIS  

I — uh, I can take it back if you want?  

GEITZMAN  

No, actually, I have a different job for you. Listen, we need a new variable in a situation on the field. Someone who can mix things up and change the inevitable so that we can get back to changing a different inevitable back to what it was supposed to be in the first place. God! Can you believe they thought the Cold War was tricky back in the day? What’s an atom bomb compared with trying to keep humanity from unraveling itself at the source?  

MORRIS  

Wait, you want me on the field? But-but I’m an intern.

GEITZMAN  

Right, and one they won’t recognize. You can’t directly confront someone who’s stuck in a time loop like that, it gets… complicated. You just need to be there once to observe what happens and once to change it, got it?

MORRIS  

But… how? Won’t they see me?

FLETCHA  

I’ve been thinking about that. They’re in a pretty unpopulated, rundown part of town. I’m pretty sure we can plant you somewhat inconspicuously. Say, as a bum? If we put you in period dress, rough you up a bit, and I don’t know, douse you in a fair bit of rum — they won’t suspect a thing.

GEITZMAN  

Perfect. What’s your name again?

MORRIS  (wounded)

What? I’m–I’m Morris. Elmer Morris.

GEITZMAN  (sighing)  

Right. Okay, well, come with me. I’ll debrief you and take you back. I don’t know how long we have to fix this and complete the original mission, but it needs to happen before the historic lag wears off. I’m not really interested in seeing the implications of a world without Churchill play out.

(both Exit)

BLACKOUT

SCENE III

Back in the original alley as we left it. MORRIS is passed out in a pool of his own vomit on the back wall and WELLINGTON is lying dead on stage. Enter MORRIS and GEITZMAN in conversation

GEITZMAN  

(looking at a hand held monitor of some kind)

Okay, hurry. We need to get you in place before they make their first appearance. Let’s put you over here against — shit. Is that already you?!

MORRIS  (whimpering)

Oh my god, am I — am I dead?

GEITZMAN  

Dammit. I guess we’re not the first versions of ourselves to think of this. Now what? God, I hate this job.

MORRIS  

Wait, if he’s me and he’s dead, why am I not dead?

GEITZMAN  

This is basic level stuff, Morris. If you die in your own current time on your own timeline, you’re dead. But if you die in the past, then only the you of that exact moment stops living. “You” as an essence continues on because technically you weren’t there for your death, you don’t overlap with yourself. Other alternative versions of you live your life and get up to the moment when you decided to go back in time and can decide whether or not to go back, whether or not to put themselves in the same position, make the same choices, etc.

MORRIS  (still whining)

Wait, so like alternate versions of me in alternate universes?

GEITZMAN  

Now’s really not the time for this lecture. Short answer yes and no. You are a never-ending stream of conscious beings making distinct choices, but on top of yourselves. You are all distinctive, but also not separate. Think like a stack of transparencies. Separate seethrough pages containing different information but overlapped into a single complex image. Now multiply how confusing that is by a million and you’ll have a glimpse into my job.  

MORRIS  

Oh. Um, okay. (to himself) Please don’t let me be dead.

(The two go over to examine the vomit covered MORRIS to determine whether or not he is dead. Once they get close, another MORRIS creeps out from behind some crates where he had been hiding and hits the newest MORRIS over the head with a brick, thus knocking him unconscious)

GEITZMAN  

WHAT THE HELL! Morris? How many times did we send you here?

MORRIS  

Too many, Geitzman! Too damn many.

GEITZMAN  

Why did you hit yourself — er, him?

MORRIS  

I’m not supposed to interact with other versions of myself, right?

GEITZMAN  

What? No, that’s not a real thing. Who told you that?

MORRIS  

Seriously? I don’t know who told me that! No one’s really told me anything!  You’d think for a department that is dealing with such highly sensitive material you guys would have a budget to, I don’t know, maybe train the interns? Or here’s a new thought — NOT SEND THE COFFEE BOY ON A LIFE OR DEATH MISSION. You do know it’s my fault Wellington is even dead, right? Or at least, it has been the last two times he died. Whatever happened before that is beyond me.  

GEITZMAN  

You were supposed to change the outcome. What happened?

MORRIS  

I did what you told me to — I sat here and I waited for them to discover the body. They did. And then they thought I was the murderer. I had to sit here and pretend to be unconscious while they argued over whether or not they were going to kill me. I was freaking out, right? And yeah, I lost my nerve and vomited. It happens. Then trigger happy Harry here tries to kill me, his friend gets in the way, they wrestled, and I don’t know… Maybe he accidentally shot himself? Maybe theother guy got the gun and killed him? I didn’t see, but boom. Mystery solved. I was all set to do a do-over when, wouldn’t you know it, you come walking in with another version of me. I thought I wasn’t supposed to see myself — thanks for nothing — so I hid and got to watch the whole thing happen again from behind a heap of trash. If that won’t mess a guy up, I don’t know what will.

GEITZMAN  

And then what? You knocked that version of yourself out same as this one when we got here?

MORRIS  

(MORRIS points disgustedly to the version of himself still passed out in vomit)

Who, him? No. This guy’s such a pantywaste he got scared shitless and passes out on his own. And next thing I know, you’re here with a NEW me! Any chance you want to explain that?

GEITZMAN  

Shit. Did I explain the process for getting back to your current time?

MORRIS  

NO! Do you think I’d still be here if I knew how to go back?  

GEITZMAN  

I totally forgot that you couldn’t stay here without real-time communication with the present without running the risk that the newest versions of ourselves would make the decision to come here.  

MORRIS  

You are literally the worst director I’ve ever heard of. So, what? There are just three of me now? Are we all separate entities? If I kill them is it murder or just a purging of my own consciousness?

GEITZMAN  

That’s complicated. We probably shouldn’t keep talking about this here. Wellington and Fitzherbert will be here any minute.

MORRIS  

It’s all complicated, isn’t it? But how do I go back to there just being one of me?

GEITZMAN  (distractedly)

Huh? Oh, that part’s not that hard, really. All three of you just need to simultaneously converge on your most current self when you go back. You’ll probably merge seamlessly.

MORRIS  

Probably is not my favorite word in this context.

GEITZMAN  

Shut up. They’re coming. We need to move.

(Both step out of view of the approaching operatives but stay in view of the audience)

(Enter WELLINGTON and FITZHERBERT)

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

MORRIS  (harsh whisper)

I don’t understand, why can’t they see us?

GEITZMAN  

Have you met Wellington? The man’s good at his job but he’s an absolute ass. He won’t take help from anyone. If we directly confront him about being stuck in a loop he’ll become unbearable. It’s easier to redirect him than to deal with his fragile male ego.

MORRIS  

(Pause) … I really hate you.  You fractured me into like four versions of myself and traumatized at least two of them to avoid an unpleasant conversation!?

(MORRIS steps out into full view)

MORRIS  (con’t)

DON’T SHOOT. My name is Elmer Morris, I’m a Radar intern. The two men passed out over there? They’re me too. You’re going to want to kill them. Please don’t. I don’t think I can handle it emotionally. And neither can Fitzy here which is how you end up dead, Wellington, so calm your trigger finger. There are literally four of your dead bodies hidden in a fifteen foot radius of me right now and I’m over it. You’re stuck in a loop or whatever that even means and meanwhile Winston Churchill gets closer and closer to not existing out there. All of you need to get your shit together. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get my selves together– like physically together — get us the hell back to the present, and hightail it to Georgetown University where I will officially be declaring my major as accounting. That’s right, accounting. I thought time travel would be cool, but it’s not. It’s scary and confusing and terrible and I took so many physics classes just to be here right now and let me tell you — not worth it. I quit.

(MORRIS snatches handheld monitor thing from GEITZMAN, puts it in his pocket, and drags both other MORRIS bodies off-stage)

WELLINGTON

Well — I — uh, I’m a little confused.

FITZHERBERT  

I killed you?

WELLINGTON  

Apparently.

FITZHERBERT  

And the intern?

GEITZMAN  

He grows a spine like that every so often. Not to worry. Nothing a little tinkering with his head won’t make him forget. He’s proven himself pretty much invaluable in our research on the effects of times travel on the human psyche. Now, if the two of you could stop mucking about and causing problems, you have a timeline to correct. It wasn’t easy talking Knollwood out of the murder, but if I can do it so can the Russians. They’re only a matter of years away from a breakthrough and we need to have all our bases covered.

BLACKOUT

~~~~~~

Anyway, this about sums up my semester. This is a work in progress that I plan to expand, so I’d love some feedback!

Until next time,

Adieu

Merry Hanukhristmas

Dear Readership,

Two days ago my Holiday-loving, Mariah-Carry-Christmas-belting,  Jewish roommate (Olivia) and I embarked in search of a Christmas tree. We had received some very Southern directions (repeated to the second or third degree) to a Christmas tree stand “over yonder” that had cheaply priced trees and proceeds that went to a local homeless family. A good deal and a good cause? We were all about that! So we set out! Annnnd made it half-way to the Tennessee boarder before we realized we had probably gone too far. “Go a few miles past Mast Gap Rd” is definitely not an exact measurement, but “a few” also doesn’t usually mean 30 minutes in the car. We continued to wander in search of our glorious cause for over an hour before finally admitting defeat and deciding to buy a tree from Lowe’s.

Our MAX budget was $30, and let me tell you, there were some rinky-dink lil ol scraggly trees for $30 that made Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree look like a robust 7 foot fir. We were discouraged and starting to make our peace with buying an underwhelming tree when we found it. From its base to about five feet it was the fattest, fullest, most beautiful tree I had ever seen. Then it stopped abruptly and had only one lone naked branch sticking up to form the last foot of the tree. It was hideous. We loved it.  We crammed it in the back of her tiny Mazda and then picked up our other roommate (Tori) from campus and crammed her back there as well (bless her heart).

After we got home we braved our tiny, spider infested shed to retrieve the Christmas decorations (and by “we” of course I mean “she” while I stood at a safe distance moaning and nervously rocking back and forth in anticipation of a spider attack). The decorating of the tree commenced the next morning in our usual bickering/bantering style…

Olivia and Tori were going to wrap the lights around the tree (with Tori unraveling and Olivia placing them on the tree itself while I supervised) when I noticed Olivia start the strand in the middle of the tree…

Me: Don’t start in the middle, you barbarian.
Olivia: Oh, I’m sorry.  DON’T JUDGE THE JEW’S CHRISTMAS DECORATING ABILITY
Me: Fair enough

A few minutes later Olivia held up a strand of lights…

Olivia: Wow, this looks like a carbon chain!
Me: ….
Tori: Shut up.

Once we started putting the ornaments on the tree, I sat down to put the hooks onto the ornaments while Tori and Olivia put them on the tree…

Tori: I can take over putting the hooks on if you want to put some on the tree.
Me: Nah, that’s okay. I always put the hooks on growing up because the kids were too small to do it. It’s my own little Christmas tradition.
Olivia: Well, you’re a very good hooker, ur, hook-puter-on-er.
Tori: Haha….hooker.
Me: Thanks guys.

I love my roommates and their love of festivities. I love that Olivia loves to join in on our celebrations and is happy to share hers with us too. I love that we have her menorah and dreidel on the coffee table and that she happily answers whatever questions we can think to ask about how Hanukkah is celebrated. I love the sharing and mixing and observing of different holidays, cultures, and backgrounds. I love how much I’ve learned about Jewish customs since moving in with Olivia and how natural it feels to share and learn and experience with one another. So from our household to yours, Merry Hanukristmas.

Until next time,

Adieu

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Hear ye, hear ye!

Dearest readership,

Welcome! I am reluctantly pleased to be stepping into the world of blogging. Blogs feel very 2002 to me and I have always resisted joining the the ranks of self-proclaimed internet experts due to the fact that I can only claim expertise in Netflix binges and drowning in exorbitant amounts of social anxiety. Seeing as how I doubt anyone needs counsel in either of these subjects, I’ve drug my feet on chiming in on the world wide web. However, a writing mentor of mine recently advised me to start and promote a blog to prove to future publishers that people don’t hate my writing. As someone who hopes to someday be published (if my poor neglected novel ever gets the attention it deserves), I’m not above jumping through some hoops and kissing some butts to make it happen. So here you are, a blog — to you, from me. It is founded on nothing but selfish, career-driven motives, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

For those of you who are tuning in from Facebook, my blog will mostly consist of the same kind of content that you’re used to — more laughs at my expense due to my poor decision making skills and terribly awkward social presence. There will also be the same smattering of funny quotes and overheard conversations, the occasional short story, play, piece of art, etc.

For those of you who are new — thanks for showing up. How you found me I have no idea, but please, take your shoes off and stay a while. I’m the second oldest of seven sassy siblings, a frazzled college student on the verge of mental breakdown, and an incredibly nosy snoop who occasionally reports snippets of conversations that are none of my business. These are the primary sources for my material. I hope you like it.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this little anecdote in which my younger sister let her sassy flair shine:

Dad: *says jackass*
Jo (10): Ooooooh, you said a bad word.
Stepmom: The word ass is in the bible you know.
Jo: So is crucifixion, do you think that’s okay?
Stepmom: …

Until next time,

Adieu