The Bartlett School – Part 10 of 10 2/27/2019

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“Geezz! Paul! Can’t you try being a little less like a bull in a China Shop!”

“Sorry George”, Paul apologized, “I was just reaching for the sugar.”

“Well here’s the darn sugar!” George said, as he annoyingly, pushed the bowl towards Paul, then brushed the water off his shirt.

“Boys! Boys!” Jan said pleading, “It’s just water George, and Paul please relax, we’re not training for the Olympics here, c’mon!”

George grumbled an apology of sorts and Paul accepted gracefully.

“I’m sorry George” he whispered.

“Ditto” was all George could muster.

“Maybe we need a little something to take the edge off”, said Jan, with a twinkle. Good idea thought George.

“Yes! I agree whole heartedly! Waiter! A bottle of your best Red!” “Actually, I prefer white.” added Paul. Figures thought George.

“Make that two bottles! We’ll have one of your best white as well!” Lucky Paul’s buying lunch he thought, hopefully.

“Now can we read our outlines?” said Jan sarcastically.

“OH sure! Let’s see”, Paul offered, as he started to focus on the yellow sheet.

“This should be perfect for me,’ he chirped as he began to read. “Monsieur Richard, a jovial and, well educated man with a goatee. Oh dear. I don’t have a goatee.” said Paul deflated.

“It’s ok Paul, not to worry, please continue.” Instructed Jan.

“Well preserved for his 60 years. 60? I’m no where near 60! That’s practically ancient! This just won’t do! The guy’s an old man.” Paul protested.

George could hardly control himself. This is getting better and better, he thought delightedly.

“Ah, not to worry Paul,” consoled George. “With lots of makeup we’ll make sure you can pull it off.”

Tons of makeup! He devilishly thought as he gave Jan a sweet smile.

“Go on” instructed Jan. Paul sighed and continued,

“A wonderful man of great integrity. Oh! I like that!” Paul grinned. “He spent 30 years in prison! OH MY GOD! For robbing a total of 10 banks. The money was never found. Holy Moley!” cried Paul as he continued. “The courts concluded, that, after 30 years of good behavior and exemplary service to his fellow inmates, he should be released. Wow! I like this guy!” Paul said excitedly. “It says here” continued Paul, “that he studied culinary arts while serving his time! Sweet! My kind of man!”

I bet! George muttered as he gave Jan the nod.

“Is that all, Paul?” George quipped, rolling his eyes.

“He studied in France with one of the greatest Chef’s of all time! Paul Bocuse!”, beamed Paul. “It’s the perfect role for me!”  Perish the thought George mumbled. AGONY! Looms.

“Another Red please!” he hailed.

“Ok George, your turn.” She smiled and winked.

Alright! George primped! This should be good, he thought, as he rolled up his sleeves, unfurled his yellow sheet and flattened it on the table.

“Hm, let’s see. Mr. Primrose is a very deceiving character. Tall, good looking and well bred.” So far so true! George grinned. “Underneath his warm and elegant exterior lies an evil, minded monster.”

Ouch! Thought George. Not a bit like me, he grimaced.

“Continue George.” said Jan almost in stitches.

“Mr. Primrose would do anything, even so far as to commit murder to get what he needs. Jan! This isn’t at all like me.”

George whined as he gulped more wine.

“Oh, c’mon George.” Paul laughed. “Sounds perfect for you!” George gritted his teeth.

“George? This is a Murder Mystery after all, there should be suspects. Doesn’t mean Mr. Primrose is the murderer, just because he seems like the type. Go on, finish.” Jan raised her eyebrows, smiled sweetly and poured herself another glass.

How can I resist George thought, as he promptly, continued.

“Hm, here we go. Married 5 times, divorced 3 times and the last two disappeared mysteriously. Well! Well! Well! Nice, track record.” George laughed.

“Weirdo!” Paul added, saluting with his glass.

“Oh really?” quipped George. “At least Primrose got married.” “Not appropriate”, chided Jan.

George! Can’t you keep your opinions to yourself! Now look what you’ve done.

“Sorry Paul.” George offered.

“Pas de problem!” Paul sniffed as he sipped some more wine. “Look Guys, this is only a fantasy.” Jan reminded them.

Fantasy, schmantasy, George pouted and squinted eyes.

“George, Mr. Primrose sounds like a fabulous role. If I were a man, I’d fight you for it!” she giggled.

Now there’s an interesting proposition George considered.

“Ok then Jan, its your turn. Let’s hear it.” George quietly demanded.

“Well George I can’t.”

“Can’t? Why not?”

“It’s not allowed” she giggled.”

“What’s that supposed to mean.” George protested.

“Well, if you’d read the whole sheet you’d know.”

Damn George thought as he quickly read through the instructions.

“Jan you little minx! You let us read our characters outloud and you knew all along we were to keep it to ourselves!”

“Well George All’s fair in love and war!” she beamed.

Jan you, little sneak, he thought and smiled.

“I love it! Let’s toast the best Murder Mystery in history!”

“I’ll second that.” Paul toasted proudly, while George considered his options.

 

“It’s not our abilities that prove who we are. It’s our choices.”

Dumbledore- Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

©J.E.Goldie 2/27/2019

Drama Masks

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The Bartlett School 9 of 9 2/12/2019

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After what is seemed like hours going over a “So called menu” George looked pleadingly at Jan. “OK George”, she offered willingly, “You do have choices. We vegan’s, aren’t insensitive to meat eaters, you know,” she quipped. “Do I detect a teensy bit of sarcasm?” he mumbled. “Now come now George!” Paul interjected. “Here look!  This one, features a sun-dried tomato walnut “meat”, shredded kale, salsa, spiced tomato rice, green onions, black beans, and humus. Divine!” George cringed at the very thought of walnut meat. “I’ll have a large salad I think, Paul. That’ll do the trick for me, but thanks.” “For you madame number 2? ” Yes thankyou” smiled Jan. The waiter turned his attention to Paul. “Sir?” “I’ll have what she’s having.” He gestured to Jan. “But hold the nuts.” He instructed. “Very nice” the waiter agreed.

“Well!” Jan sighed, “Here we are.”

“George darling! There you are. What does a girl have to do to pin you down?” came a familiarly, sweet voice behind him. “Pam! Hi! Where’d you come from?” he faltered, “I meant to say, long time no see.” He panicked, as he glanced at the smirk on Jan’s face. “Yes! Too long I’d say. It’s so good to see you after so many years. Still as handsome as ever.” she glowed. Jan began to giggle, and quickly covered up behind her napkin. Paul was in awe. What’s this guy got that I don’t, he thought. Paul stood up and quickly introduced himself extending his hand. Hi, I’m Paul, he offered. “So, George do you have plans for this evening?” she smiled sweetly turning from Paul. “I’m going to a Murder Mystery tonight at The Bartlett. Should be so much fun!” she said exuberantly. I’m sure they can find room for one more!” she offered. “Well”, George reluctantly added, “we’re just having a light bite.” GEORGE! Light bite?  He regretted. Been hanging around with Paul too long. “Well no! I mean yes, I mean, all of us are going tonight,” he stumbled. Jan could hardly contain herself. “Well then, I guess I’ll see you all later then. I’m on my way to get my costume.” Costume? We need a costume? George suddenly felt sick. “Sure, yes, we’ll see you later then,” he offered quickly.

“I didn’t even think to read the rest of this paper. Must be more instructions.” As the waiter was attempting to serve the table, George was excitedly trying to read the yellow sheet.  “George?” Jan said quietly, while lightly removing the sheet from his now trembling hands. “Relax, we have time. Eat your salad, slowly, and then we’ll figure things out.” “I agree with Jan” Paul said skeptically as he flipped his napkin, placed it in his lap and began to eat. Costume? George murmured to himself. Costume? I don’t want to wear a costume, he whined to himself. Jan gave him a motherly look and picked up her fork. He obeyed.

The salad wasn’t half bad George pondered, but he hoped upon hope there would be real food at this event. “Totally enjoyable!” Paul chirped. “I’d recommend this establishment to anyone!” Jan nodded and smiled. “So!” George added, “we now have about 3 hours to gather our thoughts and get ready.” For who knows what, he thought to himself. “Well let’s take a read!” Paul commanded and added “Over coffee and a little dessert?” he inquired. George looked at Jan painfully. She winced and nodded. “Why not.” He grumbled. “Waiter!”

“So!” George took the lead, “Papers out!” Willingly, his loyal troops laid their instructions on the table. “Role Call” Mr. Primrose commanded. “Miss Partridge?” “Here, Pears and all!” Jan said laughing. “Monsieur Richard?” “Je suis Ici!” Paul stood abruptly almost taking the table-cloth with him. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” Paul apologized   Now what George muttered. “Let’s take a look.” “More coffee?” The waiter offered. “Yes please.” said George. “I think we’re going to need it.”  He peered over at Jan pleadingly, “Why don’t you start Jan? You’re the actor around here.”  “I’m not sure what you mean by that George.” she got defensive. “I meant that you studied the Theatre and would be the best one to help us.” GEORGE! You blunderer! Now look what you’ve done! “Jan, we need your help.” He said with his best forgive me eyes. Jan melted. “OK guys!” as she now assembled HER troops like a General. “Each of us will take turns reading our character descriptions, out loud, and we’ll go from there.” George looked at Paul, Paul looked back at George, then they both nodded sheepishly at Jan. “Yes Ma’am.” They helplessly whispered. Thankyou God George mused, we might just enjoy this. We will certainly enjoy this. He melted into Jan’s eyes. “Waiter!”, he commanded. “More coffee!”

©J.E.Goldie 2/12/2019

Mary Treadwell: “Everybody on this ship is in love. Love me, whether or not, I love you. Love me whether I am fit to love. Love me whether, I am able to love. Even is there is no such thing as love. Love me.” Ship of Fools

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The Bartlett School – Part 8 of 8 – 2/10/2019

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Three P.M. was looming like a huge charging elephant in George’s vivid imagination. “Shall we take a walk through the park, before our pending liaison, with PAUL?” George quipped. “That is unless you’d rather check out our “Roles” for this evenings event.” “That wasn’t the first thing on my mind” Jan giggled, “But maybe we should be prepared. This could be my big break!” she smiled. George was delighted. “After you my little starlet!” Jan curtsied. “Let’s get ready for your big debut!”

Most were still in class, so their early arrival took Miss Jones by surprise. “We’re here for our scripts Miss DeMille!” George said exuberantly. “Oh, I’m Miss Jones” she apologized. “I don’t think there’s a Miss DeMille working here.” Poor miss Jones was so taken aback she blushed. “I must apologize Miss Jones, I was joking, sorry”, he whispered. “We’re here for our character descriptions for this evening’s Murder Mystery, can you help us with that?” “OH YES! Yes! Certainly! Now let me see, where did I put those papers” she scrambled. “I think we’re early,” He nudged Jan. “You may be right,” she whispered. While Miss Jones was losing her grip, George decidedly looked around her desk. “How about these?” he queried.  “OH, my goodness. Yes! That’s them! Very good! Very good! How could I have missed them!” she rambled. “It’s ok Miss Jones, I only noticed because they’re yellow. They kind of stood out!” he was trying to be nice. “Just pick one”, she instructed. “Any one?” George quipped. “Well, a male one for you.” she added. “Of course.” George smiled. “Well, we’ve managed to get this far.” George laughed. “Yes,” Jann giggled, “I’ll take Miss Partridge, sounds interesting.” “If pears are to your liking.” George grinned. “Let’s see. How about Mr. Primrose for me, how much trouble could a Mr. Primrose get himself into?” he inquired. “Well, we’ll soon find out” Jan said. “Shall we prepare to the Park my fellow thespian?” George grandly gestured. “After you Mr. Primrose.” Jan curtsied. “Nice day, if it doesn’t rain.” George laughed.

“George?” Jan said as they took a park bench not to far from the school, “Have you ever done a Murder Mystery before?” “No, come to think of it, I haven’t. But there are people I’d like to murder.” he laughed. “George! You’re not serious!” Jan giggled. “No, of course not” George lied. “You don’t suppose Paul would like to participate in our little adventure, do you?” “Well,” said Jan “We could ask him over lunch.” “LUNCH! Oh, geez what time is it?” stammered George. “Time, we sauntered back, unfortunately.” Jan sighed. Time flies when you’re having fun, George pondered sadly.

“There you are!” shouted Paul. “J’ai trouvé un magnifique français buffet dans la ville!” George cringed. “It’s going be the hit of the show!” Paul was so ecstatic George swore he’d faint. “Marvelous!” Jan offered. George shook his hand. “Well after your successful sojourn,” George pumped, “I presume you’re famished.” It was the least he could say. “OH! Paul?” Jan quickly inserted, “We’re all invited to participate in a Murder Mystery this evening. I don’t suppose you’d like to join us.” she offered. “Mademoiselle, Je serais honoré!” Figures George murmured. “George? Let’s go get Paul’s sheets, he’ll need to pick a role.” Uh huh, George sighed under his breath. “De cette façon, mon homme!” George said smugly. “We’re back Miss Jones.” She jumped. “We need one more character breakdown.” “Let’s see,” George pondered, as he shuffled the sheets of paper. Hmmm. “How about this one.” he offered. Paul examined the role. “Perfect!” Paul said “Le chef du manoir!, Monsieur Richard.” “Yep! I can pick em,” thought George.

“Now for a nice light pre-dinner snack. You never know what’s going to be on the menu this evening.” He pondered. “Hopefully they’ll have real food tonight.” He spouted. Now who’s the jerk, he regretted. “Just kidding of course”, he quickly corrected, as Jan nudged him. “George?” she reassured him, “I’m sure it will be lovely.” “Lead the way Monsieur Richard!” George commanded. “Bien sûr de cette façon!” Paul replied. This IS going to be fun, George grinned, as Jan rolled her eyes.

Lots and lots of fun.

©J.E.Goldie 2/10/2019

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The Bartlett School – part 7 of 7 2/9/2019

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George couldn’t help thinking about those “Bad times,” Jan had fleetingly referred to. Everyone goes through “Bad Times”. His mind started to work overtime. Just how bad and bad how? Now he was starting to sound like a jealous lover he thought. I hope this guy’s got better things to do, he projected.

“Jan, I just happened to be in town collecting some antiques for our new season and heard you were here. How lucky is that!” Paul said exuberantly. Yah, how very lucky, George grumbled to himself. Jan smiled and had to agree. “So! George! Are you planning to stick around? I thought I’d take Jan off your hands to see the town. Don’t get to these little places very often.” Little places my Ass, George thought. Some sort of big time Jerk. “Um” George stumbled. Quick George think! “Well Jan and I have plans for Dinner.” He smartly quipped. “Good! I’ve heard there’s a great little Vegan restaurant not far from here! I’ll join you. On me!” he pumped. George was now in panic mode. “Why don’t we finish our lunch?” he smartly suggested. “Will you have a something?” “I’ve had my lunch.” Stated Paul, “One lunch per day will suffice, but Thanks.” George was at a loss for words. “Look! I’ll let you guys finish up with your school business, however important that could be, and meet up with you later. Say three o’clock?” he questioned. “Fine!” George said happily. Better qualify that George thought. “Too bad you can’t stay.” He quickly added, trying to be sincere. “Well Jan my dear, I guess later it is! Be back at 3 on the nose!” he added. He’s currently got one damn lucky nose right now, George imagined. One DAMN lucky nose. “

This, time Paul swung OUT, of the room hailing good-bye to the crowd. George waved a happy anon.

Jan had been sitting there watching George’s futile attempts to put Paul off. “George, come sit by me.” She patted the couch next to her. The animal in him obeyed happily. No whimpering! George! NO WHIMPERING! as he sat close.  “George.”, she reassuringly said, “Paul is just a dear old friend. As simple as that.” she put. “It was frankly nice to see him after all these years. He’s harmless.” George considered this for a moment but quickly concluded HARMLESS as my great aunt’s cat! “Oh, I understand Jan, just a good friend from way back.” He smiled, as thou he understood. “It’s time!” cried Carl. “Let’s not let our fearless leader wait! Off to the foyer! Shall we.” What now he thought.

As the group gathered slowly everyone was curious. Murmurs here and there and some pretty sarcastic remarks were dismissed. “Settle down please! Settle down.” Demanded our fearless leader. Just then everyone gasped at the sight of a mystery guest striding towards them. Who could this be? Jan looked at George and George shrugged. “Ladies and Gentlemen! Please settle down.” The man was tall and lanky, all dressed in black. He had a monkey on his back. His face was painted with black and white stripes. “A rather unusual man” whispered George to Jan. “Unusual is putting it mildly” added Jan as she grasped his hand. I kind of like this guy, mused George, as he tightened his grip.

“OK, here’s the happy surprise!” This fine gentleman will be our host for this evening’s proceedings. “We are having a Murder Mystery Night tonight! The room gasped. I expect all of you to participate. No excuses allowed. We will be passing out your character descriptions and a general scenario for the evening. We will begin at precisely 7 p.m., at which time a formal dinner will be served on the auditorium stage. Any questions?” He acted like he was merely announcing an upcoming recess, George pondered. “What should I wear?” A despondent Jerry cried from the back. “How long will this thing last?” from another. Carl almost fainted he looked so white. Questions flew! Suddenly the Monkey got excited and started screeching. Jan’s grip got tighter as she slid closer to him. George’s mind then started to wander but quickly came to, when the man in black threw up his massive arms and waved his cape into the air. Silence suddenly prevailed. “Well! If you’ll all now return to your classes, we can get on with our day. Your instructions will be disbursed accordingly. Should you need any assistance please proceed to the office.” Slowly the group disbursed. Jan’s hand slipped back to her side, as she calmed. George secretly stretched his fingers trying to get the circulation back. “What now?” Jan whispered, with a twinkle in her eyes. George shrugged his shoulders and said with a smile, “Just another day, but a whole lot better than the last.” “Shall we?”

©J.E.Goldie 2/08/2019

“I don’t think there’s any difference between a crush and profound love. I think the experience is that you dissolve your sentries and your battalions for a moment and you really do see that there is this unfixed free-flowing energy of emotion and thought between people, that it really is there.” Leonard Cohen

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The Bartlett School continues – Part 6 of 6 – 2/4/2019

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The storm let up as fast as it began. “Thanks George,” Carl muttered. “Carl!”, George offered kindly, “It never rains but it pours. Now the sun’s out doing it’s best to shine!” Oh God, he thought, that’s pushing it. I must be losing my edge. “So, Jan? How’re you making out?” He’d never said anything so damn suggestive in his life. “I mean are you ok? Do you want to freshen up at your hotel?” “No, she offered, I’m just a little damp thanks. I’ll be fine.” “OK! Then let’s get back. I’d say it’s almost lunch time! I’m famished.” “Uh Oh! I gotta run. I’m on the lunch committee!” spouted Carl, as he trundled off as fast as his new shoes could carry him. What a guy! Mused George. “Didn’t know they were offering a free lunch. Should we partake Madame?” George almost wanted to take his life. Partake? I’m losing it, he sighed. Jan yet again smiled sweetly and offered her arm. “What Ho! Here we go!”, he almost died.

“George! and Jan!” what a lovely couple. I swear Stephen had a bad case of hoof and mouth disease. He just never stopped. “May I offer you both a lovely pate? I made it last night. It’s my very own recipe.” He glowed, “Its just divine!.” Just what the doctor ordered, George mused. A little strange mashed meat with a touch of who knows. “Don’t mind if I do!” George smiled as he lightly selected a cracker with a minimal of “Pate” on the top. “And you Madame?” as he pushed the plate almost to Jan’s poor face. “UH!” She politely stepped back. “I’m Vegan, but thanks so much, I’m sure it’s lovely.” “Well!” George interjected, “Let’s take a look.” They slid over the table full of goodies. “Jan, here’s what looks like a real nice salad. How’s about I make a plate for you. Dressing?” he offered. “Um no! No please George, just plain thanks.” She smiled sheepishly. “You on a diet?” George questioned. “No! You’re perfect!” At that George decided that silence was golden as he went about making himself a plate. Man cannot live on love alone, he thought. Geezzz, bread George! Bread.

“OK! Ladies and Gentlemen! We’ll have a lovely lunch, thanks to Carl and his crew.” spouted our illustrious leader. “At precisely one p.m. we’ll gather in the main foyer.” He then made a military about-face and left the room. Looking at his watch George determined they had 45 minutes. “Time flies when you’re having fun”, he murmured. “Pardon George?” “Oh, just looking at the time Jan. Just looking at the time. We have lots of time.” “Come George let’s sit.” She whispered as she motioned to the couch. “Here, let me refill your salad. Nice cup of tea?” “That would be nice. Just a little lemon please.”  As Jan made her way to the couch George happily busied himself with her order.

“OH! MY GOD!” came from across the room. Everyone stopped and looked. George stood there stunned. Who could this be?

“Jan! My lovely! My adorably beautiful sweetheart!” as he swung across the room. “Where have you been? I’ve missed you so my darling!” If faces could drop George’s was on the floor. His heart sank. His shoulders dropped, his knees almost gave way and if God could have struck him with a bolt of lightning, he wouldn’t have felt a thing. He was numb. As the gushing continued, he could faintly see a glimmer of angst in Jan’s face. Hope he thought. “George!” Jan cried. “This is my good friend Paul from the Shaw.” All George could utter was “Oh”. “Come George, please sit down here next to me”, she motioned. For what seemed like hours George couldn’t move. FEET! George Feet! He reminded himself. NOW!

The next 20 minutes or so seemed like hours. They ate, drank and HE chatted. Seems Jan knew him well from The Shaw. They were great buddies. Jan filled him in. She’d understudied a few roles and had some bit parts. Paul had helped her out in bad times. “Oh Paul” she interrupted, “I really should introduce you to George.” Yes, she really should, he muttered. “Paul? This is George. We’ve been long-lost friends for years and hopefully for many more years to come.” “Hi George.” “Hi Paul” said George, as he gazed into Jan’s eyes. Many, many more years to come.

©J.E.Goldie 2/4/2019

“We are so lightly here. It is in love that we are made. In love we disappear.” Leonard Cohen

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The Bartlett School – Part 5 of 5, 2/2/2019

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George chose a lovely bench near the small pond that they’d installed the previous year. “It was stocked with mature Koi fish hoping we’d have a pond full.” He said. “What we didn’t know is, that Koi eat their young. Luckily not all of them. Will you just look at those Koi Jan.” he smiled proudly. “They say they can live to be over 100 years old. Imagine that!” She glanced sweetly at George. “Yes, I know. We had quite a few at the Shaw. One, in particular, visited us every Summer for years then Wintered at home in a tank. I think he really liked his summer home.” “You were at The Shaw? Wow that’s interesting.” “The Shaw, yes” she responded hesitantly, not wanting to continue this line of questioning, Jan quickly changed the subject. “So, George aside from teaching your way into oblivion for the last 20 years, what else have you been up to….

“BUZZED YA!” came a call from behind, it was Carl yet again, bow flocking tie and all. “Shouldn’t you be in class Carl?” “Oh no,” he offered, my kids are all caught up for the day! Time for me to play.”  I almost commented on his lousy attempt at poetry but that would have been kind. “You two should come along with us to see the puppet act across the park. They say it’s grand! We’ve got time!” he offered exuberantly. Jan quickly piped up “George! That would be lovely! Lets!” Well I guess, “Yes let’s” was all I could say. “Lead the way Carl!” I added, only because it was the polite thing to say. Jan happily, jumped up and grabbed Carl’s arm, an arm I wanted to remove permanently. “Let’s go see the magic!” I added, trying to pretend I was truly interested. “It’ll be great George!” she beamed. That’s all I needed from Jan. A little beam of radiant sunshine! he mused, isn’t life grand! He suddenly felt light. Lighter, younger and filled with hope. “Onward!” he commanded. Now is the time for all good men, something or other, he thought. He bolstered his wit, cleverly bowed, and added with a smile, “My Lady and Gent”, he offered with a dramatic jester. OH! Man, oh man. Cool it George! He felt a light blush coming on. Jan raised a brow and he winked.

A crowd had already gathered. Laughter was ringing through the air, the pre-school kids were giggling and laughing so hard tears were running down their cheeks. All seemed well with his world.

“Looking a tad dark over there!” commented a man from the lawn. “Don’t call for rain.” someone added. “Hasn’t rained in weeks and we’ve been needing some.” another quipped. Carl in his usual commanding way, suggested we might find some cover, just in case. “Nice big tree over there.” He pointed. “Carl! That’s the most ridiculous suggestion I’ve heard in, I dunno. Under a tree in a storm?” Carl cringed. Jan rolled her eyes.

“I said I heard a rumbling!” cried a disgruntled old codger. His wife looked over her too thick glasses, pursed her lips and hushed him up with a stare that could stop a lion in its tracks. Even I felt intimidated. “George?” Jan whispered. “Maybe we should go back to the school. I’m also sure I heard some rumbling. I think he’s right.” I looked around, Jan looked at me and Carl, well, Carl just looked. Decision time, I thought. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. “Oh heck!” he decided. “We can sit this out for a bit longer.” Didn’t seem to be bothering anyone else, as he checked the heavens once more. Beautiful day!

What’s that saying? Don’t count your chickens?  

BOOM! All hell broke loose! Kids were screaming, puppets were flying, and the old man was cursing like the devil himself. Blankets and picnic baskets were rolling around like tumble weeds. “GEEZZ George!” shouted Carl, “Nice decision! I told ya we should a moved sooner!” Suddenly Carl sounded like he was going to cry. “Carl!” I said quietly trying to calm him, “It’s OK fella, just a little rain.” “Look! My suit! My bow tie! All ruined!” he wept. Jan gathered herself quickly as they hurried through the rain and thunder. “Carl?” I offered sincerely. “That fine suit and that first-class bow tie of yours never looked better.” Carl smiled.

©J.E.Goldie 2/2/2019

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The Bartlett School – Part 4 of 4 – 1/31/2019

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“BOO!” Ah shit! What the…as he quickly shuffled over for some napkins. “Oh my God! He uttered! Jan? Jan Stuart? It IS you! Where have you been? I tried getting in touch, but no one knew where you were!” Suddenly he cut himself short, realizing his interest was a little too exuberant. He corrected, “Jan, how nice to see you.” “And you George.” She smiled. He’d done it now, he thought, she gets the picture. “Me? Oh, I’m just hunky-dory,” he blushed. “It’s good to see the old place.” She stumbled. “Not much has changed, including yourself. Look at you! Haven’t aged a day.” She offered. “Jan, you’re too kind.” He continued awkwardly. “George, I’ve never been accused of being  kind, especially when it comes down to good looks.” Oh my God! He was no Hercules, but she was his Aphrodite and was certainly working her charms on him, he trembled at the thought. Why the hell am I weak kneed. “Come, lets sit down.” He stuttered. “Good idea.” She acquiesced, as she beamed.

He gestured towards a nice comfy chair he thought she’d like. “Oh!”, He stumbled, “Ok we’ll sit there.” As she motioned to a couch. “Fine!”, he blushed, again, at sat at one end. Jan Stuart, he thought, as old romantic feelings rushed over him, he sighed deeply. She was just like he’d remembered her. Young and beautiful. Full figured with just the right curves, he pondered. Still as sexy as hell! OH MY GOD! What the hell am I thinking!. Mind control George! Mind control! This is a respectable, upstanding woman here! He thought, as he brushed his hair back and smiled. “So!” he continued, what’s new in your life?”

Just then the recess bell rang. Saved by the bell, he shook it off as the room began to get busy.

“Oh my God it’s Jan Craig!” Everyone, it seemed needed her attention. “George!” Carl shouted beyond need. “You been holding out on us? You bad boy! Lady’s Home Journal, my oh my.” he added. “You got yourself one heck of a catch! You’re a lucky man.” Well, if the room hadn’t been filling up, I’d have fixed his bow tie beyond recognition! Lucky the old fart had company.

“Well! Jannie-Jan-Jan-Jan! It’s been far too long! Where has our illustrious Deus Ex Machina of the Drama Department been all these years? Been trodding the boards, have we?”  Stephen was always a tad over dramatic or should I say, overly exuberant. A wanna be star of the local amateur theatre company. STOP! STOP IT! he arrested myself. “Now, Stephen,” I interjected, “Jan is our guest let’s not examine her.” I smiled in protest. He winced, looked over his glasses, abruptly turned and moved over to the coffee table.

Jan was suitably embarrassed, I couldn’t blame her. It was true, after all, that she’d left her Drama Studies hoping upon hope to have a successful, if not lucrative, acting career. She certainly had the bones for it, but perhaps not the drive.

Jan looked unmistakably shaken. “Look” I said, “Stephen is a little over the top. Don’t pay attention to anything he says. He blurts out the first thing that jumps into his imaginary mind.” I chuckled, trying to smooth things over. She smiled and quietly seemed to agree. “So, Jan. How about we have a light dinner tonight?” “I’d love to, she said.” And it’s not even close to noon yet, he regretted.

“Attention! Attention Please! Please! May I have your attention!” he cried. It seems Alex Partridge always thought he was standing in the ancient stadium of Delphi announcing the celebration of “Pythia” in honour of Apollo to the maddening crowd. “Alex!” I cried, “We’re not ten feet away from you!.” He immediately regretted his impulse. Alex pouted. “Fine!” he retorted. “Ladies and Gentlemen, some of you will resume your classes and the rest can remain seated or take a lounge around the grounds.” He sighed, looked at Jan and Jan smiled. That’s just about all I need, he thought. “Shall we?” he whispered. “Yes.” She said, as they strolled arm and arm towards the park. Just another fine day, he sighed. One of many.

©J.E.Goldie 1/31/2019 part 4 of 4

 

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The Bartlett School – Part 3 of 3 – 1/29/2019

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As he started to mount the 32 steps to that intimidating front door, he began thinking about his first days. AH! Now it’s “first” days, he shook his head. Those doors, those steps, loomed ahead of him like the Cliffs of Dover. His feet suddenly felt heavier than a ton of bricks. If God had given him wings, he’d still feel the weight of that moment. Any other thoughts on this? He chuckled. It’s a door! Actually, two doors. Both as heavy as… a door. Damn heavy if truth be told! He’d climbed those steps and opened those doors for 20 years!  He sighed.

Youth had scared him into submission and now fear was creeping into his thoughts. OK! Jump back buddy! What’s the deal? He muttered. There are first days and there’s last days. If I were me, I tell me to get real, no big deal! Damn steps, he mumbled, as he mounted the cliff.

Once inside reality started to bite. OK! He thought let’s do her!

He didn’t know what he expected to change just walking through the doors. Geezz this place looks bigger today. Fine looking place. “Hey Sir!” cried a little freckled faced kid. Hay’s for horses kiddo!, I quipped as he scurried off. Gonna be a fine young man, one day, far off! He surmised. Could have been one of George’s brood, got the freckles to prove it.  “There’s my handsome man.” Joan fleetingly, said as she scrambled away.  Well! Should be more “Last” days like this! He admitted as he felt an embarrassing blush come over him. Specializing in Art History has given her a distinct appreciation of the perfect human physique! He pumped. Now! Now! He quietly mumbled. Trouble’s my name! But it ain’t my game!

“My Man! There you are!” came a command from my rear. Mind your flank! Was my immediate thought. Who goes there?“Yes Jerry, I’m standing close enough did you have to scream?” He protested. Almost jumped out of my bejesus jeans! “Most apologetically sorry” he quietly sniffled. Now who’s feeling like a worm looking for a hole. “No problem! “ he said as he sheepishly smiled. “What’s up Jer?” “Thought you might like a good cuppa, he grinned.” Now there’s an idea! Lead on!

As we approached the “Coffee” room aka the sloughing off place, it appeared to me that everyone must have been in class.

Not the usual “lounging around” feel, he chuckled. Ah well! Reasonable coffee, apple fritters! And empty couches. Perfect!

Aren’t you having one Jer, he offered. “Oh! Um no! Gotta run, you know how it is! Work! Work! Work!” he grinned, as he rushed out the door.  Fine, just fine, he mumbled as he made himself a cup, grabbed a fritter and sunk into a comfy chair.

 Nothing like the sweet sound of silence, he mused.

The thought occurred to him that no one ever called him by name. It was SIR! Hey Mr.! or HEY YOU! Or anything but “Hi George, lovely day.” George, he thought, was a simple and common name. In fact, it meant farmer in Greek. Common like Joe or Hank or Tim or whatever! Grandma called me Gigg, because she loved Babe Ruth so much. I did get Georgy of course, in grade school. Hated it! GEORGIE PORGIE PUDDIN AND PIE……. Well “Did not! I’d cry!” and run home. I guess that’s why they never stopped. Kid’s can be so cruel, he sighed.

I think I need another cup and maybe half a fritter, maybe.

“Hello George! What the aces are you sitting around here for all your lonesome?” Damn, he thought, it’s Carl. Just my luck! All decked out in his black, immaculately, pressed, suit. Bow tie, just a tad crooked. He had a dying urge to straighten it.  Not now George, Not Now! He held back, picking up the first piece of reading material he could find. Sadly, it was Lady’s Home Journal. “Something interesting in there?” prattled Carl.  “News about the latest hemlines got you curious?”. Um Yah, I said quickly, making it look serious. Luckily Carl sort of turned his head away, glanced upwards to The Almighty and walked away. Oh Man! He’ll be on to old lady Craig sooner than a bee to honey. Fine day, he thought. Somebody called me by name.

©J.E.Goldie 1/29/2019

 

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The Bartlett School: part 1, 2 and 3rd and the latest post: 1/29/2019

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It was his last day at the Bartlett School. Twenty years is a long time. He expected nothing. Perhaps a good handshake, pat on the back and a fare-thee-well. But this day would remain in his memory forever. This would be a good day.

A perfect, 15 minute walk. Just the way it always was. He couldn’t remember a day when it wasn’t so. He guessed this would be the last perfect walk. Feet on the ground, left right left right, past Cone’s hardware, watching Miss Smith gather her house coat trying to pick up the morning paper from the bushes. Billie always managed to miss the stoop. Just how Mrs. Tool managed those two big Mastiff’s on a walk always entertained him. More like they were walking her, he chuckled. Old Sam having his morning coffee on that decrepit old porch of his. He’d considered more than once that he ought to volunteer to try fixing it, a bit. Another day perhaps. Jack, at the Esso always had the weather report. “Nice Day!” He’d say. “Yep it is!” I’d say. “Gonna rain soon, my hips say so.”, he’d go on. Don’t know how that man manages. “Well you have a nice day”, I’d quip and press on. Yes, it is, it’s a fine day.

One more perfect trip through Sinclair Park. He remembered the day he’d helped plant 10 of those Red Maples. Nobody really expected them to grow up so quickly. Come autumn they put on their red dresses and sure light up the park! Even I couldn’t resist picking up one or two leaves on the way home.  Mary and Stan Packard had put a local group together to take care of the garden. Nice Folks and It was nice all year round. He speculated on just how they managed to keep it going without more support. But they got it done! Should invite them over sometime. That barbecue never got much use. Should talk to Mary and Stan about maybe getting some hydrangea perennials, he thought. Some ground cover would be good too. Some of that Baltic Ivy creeps along real nice, but you’ve got to get it in the right spot. Not sure they like the hot sun much. Something to think about.

Betty Anne jogging again. She sure looks nice in those yellow shorts. Maybe I should throw her a compliment. Well, maybe not. Don’t want her thinking I’m interested. But she sure looks nice. Yep! Nice day. Think I’ll just sit right under this Maple for a spell. I’ve got lots of time.

Can’t remember when my last “last” day was, he thought. Last day of Summer? Fall on the horizon. Something funny in that, he smiled, the last, “last” day. The last day of the end? No silly, it’s the last day of a series of days. Then there it is, event over! Not quite right about that either, he thought. It wasn’t an event. Events start and end in days not years! Damn! Is that what I sound like? Poor kids. God, I’m losing my mind. Wish I had some peanuts those squirrels look hungry. Go on little ones I haven’t got anything for you today. Maybe tomorrow. Damn I’m talking to myself.

Morning to you too Mrs. Craig! Busy body’s already on her way home with the day’s “news”. She must think I’m playing hooky, he thought. Best get going! Damn look at the time! Where did it go? Can’t be losing time like this. Never did before.

Is that what last days do? Better gather myself up, don’t want them to think I’m regretting anything. It’s over. The end. Guess I better find some new beginning. He shouted across the park,

“Hey! Joe! What’s new this lovely day!”, as he trundled quickly

towards his last hurrah.

THE BARTLETT SCHOOL – Part 2

Joe, wouldn’t you know, shouted back. “I gotta run! Get ready for the fun!” Damn Joe was a poet and Don’t ya know it! Sometimes I crack myself up, he chuckled. Well, most people except old Sam seemed to be getting on with their day.

As he picked up his pace through the Park his memories of the past years at Bartlett began to fizzle in his brain. He recalled putting out more cash than he had for that brown leather briefcase he still carried, now worn and torn, just like himself, he admitted. Still useful, still got its memories, just like himself. Once or twice we almost lost each other in the shuffle, but still tried and true, he pondered.

The thought of not being useful kind of caught him short. WHOA! Don’t go there, he reminded himself. Look what happened to George Kramer. Here now, gone tomorrow. He’d planned a trip East as a personal gift for his retirement and blew that away on the bottle before he could even buy the ticket. Man! That was a shocker. His poor wife Grace was beside herself. Heck! So was the town, for that matter. George was such an upstanding citizen. Why!  George bought half of them Maples we planted, come to think of it. God only knows what got into him. Nobody, it seems ever saw him take a drink. At least nobody admitted they saw him drunk. I guess Grace must have, he considered.

HEY Candice! Off to school I see. Have a great day! And DO YOUR HOMEWORK, he added, like she’d listen. Candice was a good kid most times, if she wasn’t caught, he chuckled. Rumours are just that, rumours. Can’t put fact to them unless of course you’re Mrs. “Busy-body” Craig. Who always had the days news before the crack of dawn, well, he pondered, someone’s gotta do it, might as well be her. Poor woman even looked the part. What’s the name of that Movie character? Right, Miss Marple!. If we ever had a mystery to solve, she’d be the one to figure it out. No two ways about it.

Wish I’d picked up a nice bunch of posies for Kate. Gonna miss her. She kept things so tidy in the office we sometimes joked about what she’d do if we put something where it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, we secretly moved things around one time and the look on her face was priceless. We all had to leave we were laughing so darn hard. I almost got caught  but I  was able to put a darn good startled look on my face before she noticed. That’s one prank I regret. Poor sweetheart looked like she was going to faint. Pretty young girl too. Missed the boat on that one, he regretted. Ah well. Life goes on. Now there’s a phrase that’s over used. What’s it really, mean. Life is life. It’s a noun no? Ok so it’s a noun. So, two nouns and a verb in between. What’s “on” got to do with it? God! He shook it off.

I think I need a coffee. Hank brewed the best coffee in town at The Coffee Man. Made real good apple fritters too. He was a little, shall we say, on the robust side but heck, his girl Sally kept him hopping. You could see it in their eyes, a love beyond natural. WHOA! He thought, where’d that come from. I really do need a coffee, he smiled. Yep! It’s a darn nice day! Bit of a chill in the air. You’d think Fall was just around the corner. Always loved the Autumn. No death there just renewal. GADS! You’d think I was on my way to a funeral or something. It’s just the “Last” day for heaven’s sake. Didn’t think this was a such big deal to me until just now.

OVER HERE! OVER THERE! OVER YONDER OVER THERE! He began singing to himself. Singing anything to get his mind off  of those crazy thoughts. They kept creeping up on him. In a few more minutes he’d be there. Somewhere he’d never considered being. Somewhere that seemed to be nowhere. Somewhere that lead to endings and endings had never been part of his agenda. Endings were for short term events. He knew that to be true. At least he thought he did.

The Bartlett School – part 3

As he started to mount the 32 steps to that intimidating front door, he began thinking about his first days. AH! Now it’s “first” days, he shook his head. Those doors, those steps, loomed ahead of him like the Cliffs of Dover. His feet suddenly felt heavier than a ton of bricks. If God had given him wings, he’d still feel the weight of that moment. Any other thoughts on this? He chuckled. It’s a door! Actually, two doors. Both as heavy as… a door. Damn heavy if truth be told! He’d climbed those steps and opened those doors for 20 years!  He sighed.

Youth had scared him into submission and now fear was creeping into his thoughts. OK! Jump back buddy! What’s the deal? He muttered. There are first days and there’s last days. If I were me, I tell me to get real, no big deal! Damn steps, he mumbled, as he mounted the cliff. Once inside reality started to bite. OK! He thought let’s do her!

He didn’t know what he expected to change just walking through the doors. Geezz this place looks bigger today. Fine looking place. “Hey Sir!” cried a little freckled faced kid. Hay’s for horses kiddo!, I quipped as he scurried off. Gonna be a fine young man, one day, far off! He surmised. Could have been one of George’s brood, got the freckles to prove it.  “There’s my handsome man.” Joan fleetingly, said as she scrambled away.  Well! Should be more “Last” days like this! He admitted as he felt an embarrassing blush come over him. Specializing in Art History has given her a distinct appreciation of the perfect human physique! He pumped. Now! Now! He quietly mumbled. Trouble’s my name! But it ain’t my game!

“My Man! There you are!” came a command from my rear. Mind your flank! Was my immediate thought. Who goes there? “Yes Jerry, I’m standing close enough did you have to scream?” He protested. Almost jumped out of my bejesus jeans! “Most apologetically sorry” he quietly sniffled. Now who’s feeling like a worm looking for a hole. “No problem! “ he said as he sheepishly smiled. “What’s up Jer?” “Thought you might like a good cuppa, he grinned.” Now there’s an idea! Lead on!

As we approached the “Coffee” room aka the sloughing off place, it appeared to me that everyone must have been in class. Not the usual “lounging around” feel, he chuckled. Ah well! Reasonable coffee, apple fritters! And empty couches. Perfect! Aren’t you having one Jer, he offered. “Oh! Um no! Gotta run, you know how it is! Work! Work! Work!” he grinned, as he rushed out the door.  Fine, just fine, he mumbled as he made himself a cup, grabbed a fritter and sunk into a comfy chair.

 Nothing like the sweet sound of silence, he mused. The thought occurred to him that no one ever called him by name. It was SIR! Hey Mr.! or HEY YOU! Or anything but “Hi George, lovely day.” George, he thought, was a simple and common name. In fact, it meant farmer in Greek. Common like Joe or Hank or Tim or whatever! Grandma called me Gigg, because she loved Babe Ruth so much. I did get Georgy of course, in grade school. Hated it! GEORGIE PORGIE PUDDIN AND PIE……. Well “Did not! I’d cry!” and run home. I guess that’s why they never stopped. Kid’s can be so cruel, he sighed.

I think I need another cup and maybe half a fritter, maybe. “Hello George! What the aces are you sitting around here for all your lonesome?” Damn, he thought, it’s Carl. Just my luck! All decked out in his black, immaculately, pressed, suit. Bow tie, just a tad crooked. He had a dying urge to straighten it.  Not now George, Not Now! He held back, picking up the first piece of reading material he could find. Sadly, it was Lady’s Home Journal. “Something interesting in there?” prattled Carl.  “News about the latest hemlines got you curious?”. Um Yah, I said quickly, making it look serious. Luckily Carl sort of turned his head away, glanced upwards to The Almighty and walked away. Oh Man! He’ll be on to old lady Craig sooner than a bee to honey. Probably be headlines tomorrow. Fine day, he thought, mighty fine. Somebody called me by name.

 

©J.E.Goldie

 

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