juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

HE SAID, SHE SAID

I recently moved and in the process came across a folder of things I’d written some years ago for a class in Creative Writing I took at the U of Chicago. Some of the pieces had favorable comments written on them by the professor and I decided to rework a few.  Most were of  personal reflection nature: some wee fiction.  One was an exercise in dialogue. I laughed when I read it. Perhaps it will bring a smile to your face too.

HE SAID – SHE SAID -1 

  “The back yard looks like shit,” he said.

“I was beginning to think the same thing. But this afternoon I was sitting on the patio and  I rather enjoyed the privacy of the forest that’s growing out there.”

“The weeds are going to kill the bushes.”

“So, pull the weeds.”

“The dead branches of the lilac tree need to be cut out.”

“So do it. Don’t do it. I don’t care. There’s a nice natural earthy feel about it now. I can’t even see the neighbor’s house anymore. I like it.”

“Maybe we should call a landscaper out for a day.”

“You won the lottery and didn’t tell me?”

No silly. But we can’t just let it got to hell.”

“We can as far as I’m concerned. I’ve better things to do than pull weeds.”

“I didn’t ask you to pull weeds.”

“I know  you didn’t. But if you’re going to pay someone to do it, you might as well pay me and then I can pay the butcher and we can have steak one day next week – right on the patio in the middle of the weeds.”

“You’re eight months pregnant. You’re not going out there to pull weeds!”

“I need the exercise and the butcher needs to be paid.”

“Screw the butcher. As for the exercise, let’s take a walk.”

“I did that this morning. Ellen and I walked four miles”

“Good for you. Tired?”

“Not particularly. And speaking of exercise, my dear. You could use a little of that yourself. You really need to do something about those extra pounds accumulating around what was your waist.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ll go on a diet tomorrow. I only need to drop about ten pounds. I’ll start swimming again. Shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Good. And when you come home from the pool, you can get a little more exercise if you pull the weeds, cut the grass and trim the bushes,” she said.

HE SAID, SHE SAID – 2

  “The kids are both going to be gone this weekend and it’s going to be nice out. Let’s do something special.”

“It’s supposed to storm tonight and half the day tomorrow.”

“You’re listening to the wrong weatherman.”

“What do you have in mid?”

“I don’t know. You come up with an idea.”

“We sit on the patio, split a bottle of wine and go to bed early.”

“Oh, how exciting. I can hardly wait.”

“Don’t be snide.”

You’re imagination leaves a lot to be desired dear.”

“I never claimed to have an imagination.”

“Good thing you didn’t ‘cause you don’t.”

“Now you’re getting nasty.”

“I’m not nasty.”

“Critical then.”

“Come on, Archie. Surely you can do better than that.”

“I made my suggestion. What’s yours?

“Book a room in a hotel downtown – go to some fancy restaurant for dinner – take a tour of the Art Institute.”

“I don’t like art.”

“No taste, either.”

“What did you say?”

“Your cultural tastes are on a par with your imagination.”

“So go find yourself some English gentleman who rides to the hounds. carries a walking stick, wears suede jackets and tams, and plays polo.”

“Horses scare the shit out of me.”

“A horse is a horse, of course, of course . . . “

“Highly unlikely but that’s an interesting idea and you can’t sing either – you’re off  key. Okay, how about an overnight trip on a riverboat?”

“Does it have a casino?

“Maybe.”

“I’d do that if you can find one.”

“I don’t gamble. I don’t know how.”

“I’ll teach you.”

“I don’t want to learn.”

“Any idiot can pull the handle of a slot machine.”

“I’m not an idiot. Okay. I’ll take my quarter jar. When it’s half empty I’ll quit. What will you do?”

“Me?  I’ll trip the hostess, order a drink, and play some Blackjack.”

“You get $100 bucks. That’s all. Promise me you’ll quit when it’s gone.”

“You’re cheap but I promise.”

“I’m not cheap. I’m frugal.”

Later:

“Well, dinner was decent and I liked the rag-time band. How’d you do at the Blackjack table?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“Did you keep your promise?”

“I couldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Had three aces and was sure the pot was mine so I raised. Some bastard had a full house.”

“How much?”

“Shut up. How about you? Bet you lost all your quarters.”

“Nope. Sit down.”

“Why?”

“I said sit.” (he sat) I got down to about ½ my quarters and then . .. “

“Then what?”

“Then I hit the jackpot.”

“How much?”

“Sure you want to hear this?”

“I’m about to smack you.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“How much?”

“Jackpot paid   eight thousand, eight hundred and twenty five dollars.”

“Holy shit. Gonna teach you to play Blackjack.”

 

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LONELY HEARTS

LONELY HEARTS

Soon I will move to a different apartment..  My goal is to pack at least one box a day and today was book day.  I’ve already recycled a dozen or more and as I began to pack the rest I had to pause a minute when I uncovered The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.” (Carson McCruthers, 1981, Bantam paperback), one of those I haven’t yet read. Thinking about the title alone nearly brought tears to my eyes and, despite excellent reviews,  I’m not certain I want to open the book and travel into the depths of spiritual isolation the author portrays.

With a grin on my face I thought about the personal ads found in most newspapers  – the voices of those lonely hearts hunting.  How lonely does one have to be to resort to those ads?  Some are honest and heartfelt, some desperate, and some amusing.  Does the lonely hunter ever find the heart that beats in tune with his; the mind that operates on the same train track; the feet that march to his cadence?

These lonely hearts attempted to be serious –

  • …a friend to have fun with, to kiss to love to cuttle all the good thins in live….(Back to first grade and spelling lessons for you kiddo)
  • Looking for a man who is Genuine and tells the truth…a real Country gentleman between the ages of 54 and 60 — (Must  he wear a tam and carry a walking stick as well?)
  • …I look great in jeans, have great legs …I love being pursued and captured… (Place this ad in ‘Field and Stream’ but stay away from the NRA.)
  • Sensitive male seeks dominant female with extensive knowledge of  knots. (Go  to the closest marina buddy!)

These gave humor a shot –

  • Single, attractive, self-absorbed woman, 34, seeks to save money by spending yours. (Listen up ladyhonesty is one thing – idiocy another.)
  • Male, 34, very successful, smart, independent, self-made.  Looking for girl whose father will hire me. (Off to a shrink with you, fella.)
  • You’re probably wondering why an accomplished PhD, LLB, MBA, DDS, MD and Rhodes Scholar like me isn’t married  yet.  I’m a meeskate. (Baby –no man would have enough wall space for all  your certificates and blue ribbons, let alone your ego.)
  • Looking for nice man, 25-35,  to replace my 70 year dead husband. I can dream, can’t I? (Good luck, Granny.)

I admit that’s not very erudite but it was fun writing it and if it brought a smile to your face I’ve done my good deed for the day.

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Julie Rose

julierose60@gmail.com

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DISMAL

DISMAL

My guess is that once in a while everyone has a day when he feels as though the fates have conspired against him. In today’s parlance, “a bad hair day.” A day when he burns his morning toast, can’t find the keys to the car,  runs out of gas on his  way to work, discovers his secretary quit once he get s there, his six o’clock golf date is cancelled and when he finally gets home, he finds a note from his wife telling him his kid fell out of a tree and he should meet her at the hospital

Monday wasn’t quite that bad but it came close. First I discovered I had run out of coffee.  Gave some thought to dashing out to a local Starbuck’s but looked out the window. Cool, foggy, rain glistening on the streets. Scratch the coffee.  I then remembered today was the day of a command appearance at a grandchild’s school. If I must brave the elements I might as well leave a bit early and do some grocery shopping.  The meat for veal stew I wanted was not available nor would the butcher cut a chicken in sixteenths.

The gas tank was nearly empty and at the first station I stopped at the gas pump  was out of order. At the second station I slipped on the wet pavement, bumped my head on the car door and landed on the ground.  When I returned home my key would not fit in the door lock. It took four phone calls to report the broken lock to building management. Worse than dismal.

Onward, I tell myself   The “event,” –  a family sabbath celebration – was, as expected, beyond my capability to hear whatever was being said or sung.  However, the enthusiasm of the children was a delight to behold.  I return home – still can’t get in the door.  I head for the library to wile away some time in the hope the lock will be fixed in a hour or so. A book I’ve been  wanting to check out is not available.  I browse a bit, scan some magazines, and return home. Still no go.

I give up and head for my daughter’s house where I’ll at least be able to have a cup of coffee that doesn’t cost five bucks and there’s a phone.  She’s home – offers some sympathy – and puts me to work making her dinner: not an easy thing to do in her spiceless kitchen. She informs me that when she did my last load of laundry she mistakenly used bleach when she should not have and two of my favorite tee-shirts are “a bit faded.”  My reward is a couple of grandchildren who are delighted I’m  there and we play gin rummy after dinner until I’m informed the door to my apartment has been fixed.

When I do enter my apartment, carrying two bags of groceries, and turn on the light what do you suppose happens?  It wouldn’t have surprised me if the light failed to come on but, no, the light was fine.  What wasn’t fine were several crickets scurrying under the refrigerator.  I call my son to ask him to bring me some insect repellent NOW. He’s not home. I hope the critters froze to death.

What’s the point of this?  It  reminds me that no matter how many little things go wrong in any one given day, there is always something that goes right for which I should be grateful. You might think of it this way:  “I’ll close the door on Dismal and open it to Fresh Air.”

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Julie Rose

Julierose60@gmail.com

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