Drop 173: Review

curtains

‘So, what did you think, Sam?’

‘Honestly?’

‘What do you mean honestly? Of course.’

‘OK,’ Sam said, lighting a cigarette and squinting. ‘Then I’ll tell you: I hated it. I really hated it. It was just plain awful. What the hell kind of directing was that? No skill in it, no flow, no intuition for pace. No knack at all for the simple art of story telling. What was he trying to do? I mean, sure, put your stamp on a famous work, by all means, but this guy’s artistic license was off the charts. The plot was all over the place, and none of the characters were believable, though maybe the fault there lay more with the actors — god, don’t get me started on the actors! Every last one, clueless. Not one bright spot among them. No one understood the conflicts inherent in the characters, and the two leads showed none of the ambiguity that drives the story’s critical undercurrent. It was sad. Just sad. All of it. The sets were lame – not period appropriate at all; in fact, the production value overall was appalling, the effects idiotic. Admit it, the horses looked more like overgrown rats! And what were those brown hanging blankets supposed to be?’

‘Wow, that’s harsh.’

‘Well, you asked for the truth,’ Sam said, looking away from Mary as if something had caught his eye on the other side of the street, then snapping his head back to face her, ‘and this is it: every last person involved in that atrocity should be taken out back and shot. I’m upset I had to sit through it. Outraged. Honestly, I’d rather have eaten a bad oyster on my wedding day, got dengue fever in rural Gabon, sawn off part of my pinkie, or lost my only set of house keys during a blizzard in Minsk.’

‘Man! You felt that strongly about a 4th grade play?’

‘Oh Christ, Mary. You fucking asked. You know, just cause your kid is nine, doesn’t mean she can’t wear a ball gown with a soupçon of panache.’

By E.M. Vireo

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Drop 165: Good Boy

bag of poopTom runs into Sarah in the park.

‘Long time,’ he says. ‘How you doing?’

‘Great,’ she says.

‘And who’s this handsome feller?’

‘Oh, this is Duke.’

‘Hey there, buddy.’ He pats Duke on the head. ‘Aren’t you a good boy?’

‘He sure is.’

Duke jerks his head away and watches Tom with distrust.

‘Well, most of the time, at least!’ she adds, smiling timidly.

‘Bet he loves the park.’

‘He sure does. Hates being cooped up in the apartment. Runs around like crazy once we get here. He’s obsessed with the squirrels and the birds. I really should bring him more often—but anyway, what’s new with you?’

‘Not much. Work is slow. Went to Montauk for the long weekend.’

‘Great. Love Montauk.’

‘Yeah. Terrific weather. Fresh seafood and–oh my, will you look at that!’

‘Duke, no!’ Sarah shouts. ‘Not here. God, I’m so sorry,’ she adds, slinging her backpack off her shoulder and struggling to produce a plastic baggy.

‘I guess you just gotta go when you gotta go, hey.’

‘It’s a new thing, to do it around people like that. Right at their feet. I don’t know why.’ She is clearly embarrassed as she crouches down with the small blue bag and picks up the sizeable turd, knotting it tidily afterwards. ‘You know, we should really be on our way. Sorry. Come on, Duke.’ She starts leading him away but he resists. ‘I said let’s go, Duke. That means now!’

‘But I don’t want to go, Mommy,’ Duke says, straightening the shorts he just pulled up. ‘I want to play on the jungle gym.’

By EM Vireo

Drop 155: Kids

park scene‘Have any kids?’

‘Kids?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Sure do.’ She’s in her forties but smiles the way pretty girls smile at handsome dogs unexpectedly passing them on the sidewalk. ‘Just the one. She’s three.’

‘Nice,’ I say. ‘I have two. A girl and a boy. Six and nine.’

‘Great.’

‘Yeah. The boy, Scotty, is getting so old already. We adopted him when he was barely one.’

‘Adopted! You don’t say. That’s wonderful!’

‘Yeah. He’s naughty, clumsy, greedy, messy and kind of chubby but we love him to pieces.’

‘Know what? Our Mandy is adopted too.’

‘Really! Wow, what are the chances?’

‘Yup. Saw her on a trip to Puerto Rico and just fell in love with her. Started the paperwork right then and there. Got her all her shots and documentation and made arrangements to get her back over here to live with us for good.’

‘That’s so great, so special!’

‘She was timid at first but she’s really coming into her own. She’s a real sweetheart, but by God is she food obsessed!’

‘It’s to be expected though, isn’t it? Our girl, Bella, is too. She’ll do anything for a piece of cheese. But isn’t it just so satisfying to watch them grow?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘Got a picture?’

‘I sure do.’ She whips out her phone. ‘Here. That’s my Mandy. Cutest little monster in the world!’

I take the phone and look, tilting my head. ‘Say, that’s a dog.’

‘Sure is.’

‘You’re showing me a picture of your dog?’

‘I sure am. She’s a border collie mix.’

‘Well, I’ll be damned. Here, look at my two babies.’ I pull up a pic.

She licks her lips while she looks. ‘You’re kidding me!’

‘Yeah, Scotty is obviously a Scotty, and Bella is some kind of terrier mix.’

‘Oh they’re gorgeous.’

‘So is Mandy. We should organize a play date.’

‘Definitely!’

By EM Vireo