Crumpled Paper

Two pages of crumpled paper, representing two story ideas that never quite developed:

 

Page One - Prokofiev and Cigarettes

The scene is a small pub. In the background, Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije's Suite" is playing...

At the back of the joint is a small, wobbly, round table, around which sit three communists and a professor from the local community college. The communists are smoking cigarettes; the professor is drinking a draft beer.

A woman approaches and asks the professor for a cigarette. The professor explains that he does not smoke, but that perhaps she should ask one of the communists instead. Eager to be of assistance, the communist sitting in the middle arises, producing a lone cigarette, which he hands to the woman. The woman puts the cigarette to her lips.

Next, the communist to the left stands and lights a match. The woman takes a long drag from the cigarette and then tosses it to the floor, extinguishing it beneath the toe of her shoe. Turning, she walks away humming a melody that the professor is certain is from Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet."

The communist in the middle does not agree, claiming that the melody is from Prokofiev's version of "Romeo & Juliet."

An argument ensues, which is finally ended when the communist to the right exclaims, "Tchaikovsky! Prokofiev! What does it matter - they were both Russian!!"

The communists resume their smoking; the professor hails the waitress for another draft beer. From the kitchen comes the sound of broken glass, followed by elevated voices of a foreign persuasion, perhaps Slavic. Somewhere in the distance, a solitary dog barks.

The curtain closes.

 

Page Two - Satie and Coffee

The scene is a coffeehouse. In the background, Satie's "Gymnopédie" is playing...

Her sudden appearance surprised me, causing me to spill my coffee, burning my hands and spattering the floor. A smile appeared on her face, which erupted into a playful chuckle.

"Be careful," I muttered in my embarrassment. "I spilled some coffee on the floor here."

"I noticed," she said with a laugh, stepping past me toward the counter. I stood there, staring at the back of her head - a cascade of brunette locks, not knowing what to do next. After a few seconds I approached the counter for some napkins.

"Sorry, Kay, I messed up your floor," I stammered.

"That's okay, honey," said the older woman from behind the counter. "It's not every day a beautiful woman walks through the door and causes you to spill your coffee."

I glanced nervously over at the younger woman. She turned toward me, smiled, and then pointed at my chest.

"You've got some coffee on your jacket," she remarked rather nonchalantly.

I looked down at my jacket, to the spot where she was pointing, nodded, and reached for the napkins.

"Don't worry about cleaning up the floor, honey," said Kay as she slid a large mug of steaming hot cocoa across the counter to the young woman. "These floorboards are over a hundred years old. They've seen a lot of spilt coffee in their time."

With that I moved away from the counter and made my way over to a small table near the window. Resting my coffee down carefully, I removed my jacket, placed it on the back of the chair, and then, with some degree of caution, rested myself down. There ... I'm seated ... no more mishaps! Phew! Just as I was lifting the cup to take a first sip she appeared before me suddenly, causing me to burn my lips.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked, laughing at my continued clumsiness.

"Please," I replied as I moved past her to pull out a chair. Moments later we were seated across from one another. She took a sip of her cocoa, and then spoke.

"Ah ... I love Erik Satie. His music is so ambient, so atmospheric, so poetic. Especially this piece of music - Gymnopédie No. 1, if I'm not mistaken."

"Yes, I like Satie as well," I added. "I like all the Impressionists - Satie, Debussy, Fauré, Ravel. Actually, though, this is Gymnopédie No. 3."

"Hmmm ... I don't think so," she answered with a cocky grin. "I believe this is No. 1."

"No, no, no," I rebutted, shaking my head, though attempting to keep the mood light and playful. "This is clearly No. 3. I took a course in impressionistic music at the conservatory last fall. This is definitely Gymnopédie No. 3."

"Oh, you're pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?" was her comeback, a look of seriousness now invading her earlier playful face. "Well I used to play the cello in the symphony orchestra, and I can tell you for certain that it's Gymnopédie No. 1."

"How could you possibly think it's No. 1?!" I argued with arms now crossed. "I'm afraid you and your cello are wrong. This is No. 3."

"You're the one who's wrong," she said as she arose from her seat. "It's Gymnopédie No. 1. Oh and by the way, you spilled some coffee on your shirt, too! Idiot!!"

After she left the coffeehouse I just sat there and sipped my coffee and went over and over the doomed conversation in my mind. In time Kay came out from behind the counter and walked over to my table.

"How could you be so stupid!" she said angrily.

"I know, I know, I always find a way of chasing away women," I replied.

"That's not what I meant by stupid!" barked Kay as she wiped down the table. "Any fool knows that the piece of music was Gymnopédie No.2!!"

Finis.

Jack Sheedy

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