The Best of Shadowbox Live
The Worly Building
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The Non Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
Meaning of Life
Scene: An office area in the Circulation Department of a large Midwestern University library. A single desk sets mid - stage with bookshelves on either side. There is a doorway stage left. Two half-filled, re-shelving book carts set stage right. A 30-something, mildly bookish looking woman named Betsy sits behind her desk. She is dressed professionally. Rick, in his usual t-shirt and shorts, stands stage right leaning on one of the book carts … arms folded. They are in the middle of a lively conversation.
Betsy – Really? You have got to be joking!
Rick – I dunno. I’ve studied religion … philosophy … thought about it over and over for a long time.
Betsy (rolling her eyes) – C’mon!
A 40-something, buxom woman enters through the doorway stage left. Her nametag reads “Cindy”. She is wearing black slacks and a white blouse … carrying a small pile of books in front of her … hair pulled back in a bun. It is obvious Cindy is amply endowed.
Cindy – Just finished fixing the binding on these books. Thought I’d bring ‘em up … save ya a trip downstairs.
She sets the books on the corner of Betsy’s desk.
Betsy – Thanks so much Cindy.
Cindy looks at Rick … then at Betsy … she smiles.
Cindy – I interrupt something important?
Betsy – Hardly. Rick here was telling me of an epiphany he’s had recently.
Cindy – Epiphany?
Betsy – Yeah … he seems to believe he’s figured out the meaning of life.
Cindy – The meaning of life?
There is a pregnant pause.
Betsy (to Cindy) – Tits.
Cindy (confused) – Tits?
Betsy – TITS!
Cindy looks at Betsy with mild shock.
Betsy - He thinks … it’s … TITS!
Cindy looks over at Rick nonplussed.
Rick – Uh … well … I’ve given it a lot of thought and it’s the best thing I could come up with.
Cindy politely ponders Rick’s comment … looks at Betsy … then returns her gaze to Rick.
Cindy (existentially … with implicit sarcasm … yet deadpanned) – Hmmmmmm … I … thought it was …
Betsy – her mildly bookish … not so amused self
Rick – his theologically … philosophically educated … yet not so profound … typically male self
Cindy – her buxom … no nonsense … wise … heard it all before … self
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time
still opens every dream
like a fairy tale
of things unseen.
If only we could
like a butterfly against
the sun lit sky
with colors bright
graceful swirls of
resisting the daily
They say the impossible
takes a little longer.
So the implausible
should be soon.
The Non Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
Scene: A security checkpoint at John Glenn International Airport, Columbus, Ohio. Two lines of passengers are filing from the back of the stage forward, making their way slowly through x-ray screeners, stage left. Luggage moves herky-jerky on a conveyer belt through a screener, stage left. Several uniformed T.S.A. agents stand guard, barking out instructions. Rick walks through the screener and makes his way to the luggage area and waits. Yvonne, carrying their Maltese puppy Freddie, saunters through the x-ray next.
Female TS.A. Agent (pointing at Yvonne … gruffly) – I’m afraid I need to pat you down Ma’am.
Yvonne – Gee, usually you guys just swab my hands.
T.S.A. Agent (annoyed) – We employ many procedures Ma’am.
Rick turns and watches a few feet away.
Yvonne – I see.
T.S.A. Agent (authoritatively with a little condescension) – Is over here okay? (Pointing) Or do we need someplace private?
Yvonne walks, carrying the little fluffy pooch, to the spot without saying a word.
T.S.A. Agent – (While snapping on gloves) Now I’m going to pat down your legs … both inside and out.
The agent abruptly squats and begins frisking Yvonne’s thighs and calves.
Freddie looks up at Yvonne inquisitively.
Finishing, the T.S.A. Agent begins to stand.
T.S.A. Agent (To Yvonne dismissively) – You’re free to go.
As she reaches Freddie’s level he leans in and licks her face … twice.
T.S.A. Agent (Losing her official authoritative game face, composure … and giggling) – And thank YOU … for the sweet kisses PUPPY!
Rick – His bystander self
Yvonne – Her patient, doggie mama self
T.S.A. Agent – Her not quite so authoritative, frisking, security agent, dog loving self
Beach Tails #1
Although he liked what he saw … it really caught him off-guard. They weren't really bare...but the amount of clothing was really scarce. And wow... his blood boiled. Then Rick realized ... for the first time in his life ... he had wandered onto a Spring Break English Majors only beach. And BOY!! …. everyone was wearing nothing but a tiny diphthong.
Song requests screamed by adoring fans at a recent Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Sarasota, Florida:
1) “Mr. Saturday Night (Early bird) Special”
2) “Gimme 30 Steps”
3) “SNOW BIRD”!!!!!!!
Rick's Books, Naked Sunfish Caviar
& Best Bites,
are available at:
book, Best Bites is available at:
Lulu.com & Amazon.com
Jimmy Mak's new book,
Daddies Shouldn't Breakdance,
is available at:
Amazon.com & CreateSpace.com
ExaLted WaRRior (Jean Jean)
aNna (Wellman) rybaT
I went to a very small, liberal arts college … a Lutheran school … in Columbus, Ohio. Expensive and full of students I couldn’t really relate to. Consequently, I hung around with a handful of folks I could find with a similar background. I’d always … in my young life … valued good friends over a multitude of acquaintances.
Dave was certainly one of my kindred spirits. And while we grew up similarly, I am in no way implying we were alike.
I’m from a small town outside Cleveland … the son of a tool and die maker. Dave grew up in Gary, Indiana. His father was a steel worker. While we were both brash at times, Dave could take things farther than more genteel (sticks up their butts?) people at our dining table cared to go. Like how he used to go on and on … loudly dreaming of someday running a steakhouse … in the middle of a cow pasture. Usually Dave would pontificate on Thursday … steak night in the dining hall. And this made diners uneasy as they chewed their food. I’d say, “DAVE! nobody thinks about cows when they’re eating a steak!”
While voraciously chomping on his meat, Dave would bellow … his mouth full of cow … “Well … I DO!”
And I believe he did.
His sophomore year, this rough around the edges, bohemian of a man declared his major:
English Literature. Sticks remained firmly up many genteel butts. And when I recall people bitching about Dave’s in-class commentary … I still laugh heartily. About the same time, Dave decided … after getting a B.A. in English … he was going to pursue the occupation of … farming.
I naively thought this funny at first. Then … after graduating with a degree in history … and a minor in theology … I got a job … the only job I could find … assembling and selling log splitters. I’m pretty sure this is referred to as “getting taken down a peg or two”.
Soon enough both of us were out in the cold, cruel world …. me and the log splitters and Dave operating a pick – your - own strawberry farm near Frankenmuth, Michigan. After a year, he landed a gig closer to his home in Gary managing a small dairy farm.
So, I decided it was time for a break from log splitting and visit Dave on his farm. On the long enough to be irritating AND boring drive up, I thought back on college. Those days seemed a distant past indeed.
Finally, I found the turn into the farm. Like many, there was a winding, dirt lane with rail fences on either side. I didn’t see any cows. And although my wife spent her childhood on a dairy farm, I know nothing about the beasts. After kicking up what seemed to be an afternoon’s worth of dust, I pulled into a small parking area. To my immediate right was an old trailer with a giant TV antenna towering over it. Directly in front of me was a pen … corral? … extending out of a faded red barn. Its door was wide open.
Dave suddenly bounded out of his trailer … waved in a grandiose manner … and yelled, “HEY BROWNIE!” I smiled and waved in response. But instead of heading in my direction, Dave began a slow saunter towards the pen. I didn’t expect this … but what surprised me even more was Dave’s calling out, “HEEEERE Bossy Bossy! HEEEEEEEERE BOSSY COW! HERE BOSSY COW!!!
Out from the gaping barn door lazily ambled a brown and white spotted cow. I think it was brown. I know it wasn’t plaid or paisley. But like I said, I know nothing about cows. Still do not. It obviously was not a baby … but not full grown either.
Dave reached the rail fence still affectionately calling “HEEERE Bossy BOSSY!! HEEEEERE BOSSY COW!!!” When she finally reached Dave, the cow began licking his FACE like a puppy dog … her enormous tongue slobbering him! Dave giggled in appreciation. She then nuzzled her head with Dave’s while he gently hugged her neck and petted her nose. I had never … and to this day have never again … seen such a loving bond between a man and his cow.
Still locked in a firm embrace, Dave turned to me … smiled broadly … and proudly announced
… “I’m gonna EAT HER!”
And I believe he did.