PRISM international

Prism international Prism international Jul 31, 1964

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international / summer ig6^
international / summer 1964
The Geography of Time:
Early Morning Rabbits
The Beef Curry
Just Two Old Men
A Process of Time
The Exterminator
A Kind Numbness
The Harbour
At the Iglesia de Sacromonte
White Birds Watch
Winter's Tale
Jerusalem: New City
The Valleys Kidron
and Gehenna
Two Good-byes for Charlie
In A Glass
These Eyes of Mine
That Time I Saw Einstein
The Circus
Ghostly Story
Black and White
The Audition
editor-in-chief Earle Birney
associate editors   Giose Rimanelli
Jacob Zilber
advisory editor Jan de Bruyn
design David Mayrs
business manager Michael P. Sinclair
editorial assistant Rona Murray
PRISM international is a journal of contemporary writing, published quarterly
by the University of British Columbia. Annual subscriptions are $3.50, single
copies $1.00, obtainable by writing to PRISM, c/o Creative Writing, U.B.C.,
Vancouver 8, Canada.
MSS should be sent to the Editors at the same address and must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope (U.S. and other foreign contributors should send international or commonwealth reply coupons). EDITORIAL
The lives of most literary journals are briefer than those of their
creators. A few, however, learn endurances more than human: Corn-
hill and the Satevepost seem younger and more vigourous than ever,
though respectively one hundred and four, and one hundred and
forty-three years of age. Prism, too, while but five years old, executes
with this issue a feat usually reserved for the gods. It dies, and is
Its first life began vigourously enough. Within twelve months Prism
had seven hundred and fifty subscribers, a fair proportion of whom
lived beyond Canadian borders (some as far as Moscow and Addis
Ababa). From its earliest issue it was one of the few outlets for literature of quality in Canada, and its contributors were winning awards
across the country and in the United States. Established authors
appeared on its pages; more important, new ones were discovered, including a University of British Columbia creative writing undergraduate whose first published piece of fiction was reprinted in Foley's
Best Short Stories of ig&2. During Prism's second year both the Canada
Council and the Koerner Foundation gave it grants, in recognition of
its cultural importance. But this vital aid did not come regularly;
after 1962, though there was no flagging of the magazine's standards,
it failed to be given at all. Meantime costs rose, advertisers remained
few and fitful, and the gallant little company of young Vancouver
writers, teachers, housewives, lawyers, and their friends, who were
Prism's parents, found themselves no longer able to afford its day by
day support. The child grew thin, for a whole year fell silent, and
rallied last December only to sing — though with surprising vigour
and cheerfulness — a farewell from its death-bed.
While this moving Victorian scene was being enacted, however, two
of the present editors (one a member of the original Board) were
already conniving at a resurrection. We knew of only one thauma-
turgist wise and accessible and benevolent enough to perform the
miracle. To this Merlin we repaired and in his various presences
argued that a magazine which had proved itself capable of discovering
and displaying the best in contemporary Canadian literature, and
which was dedicated to the pursuit of literary excellence wherever it
was being created in the English language, should not easily be left
to die. We maintained, indeed, that Prism was plainly intended to live
forever — even though it could not live at all, in Canada, without at
least one powerful patron, as well as many loyal subscribers. We suggested that an immediate practical compromise, between always and
never, would be the creation of sufficient subsidies to continue publication for the next three years — during which time a new board of
editors, centring around the staff in Creative Writing, would serve gladly and without pay. The magician to whom all this was told, the
University of British Columbia, listened, considered, and has agreed.
Prism at once expired and is hereby reborn as Prism international.
We are restored, of course, to a world of hazards. Subsidies can be
promised only on a year-to-year basis, since our patron himself is
subject to annual budgeting. Our grants, moreover, are set at the
minimum for retention of life. It is expected of us, as of right, to preserve and to extend our roll of subscribers and advertisers. Moreover,
by accepting the University's aid, it is possible that Prism international
has placed itself beyond reach of help from the Canada Council. More
than ever, then, this magazine needs the support of its individual
friends, old and new. But we will not conceal our pleasure, nor our
gratitude, to the University of British Columbia for its generous and,
we think, farsighted decision to grant new life, without loss of old
Two of the original editors remain with the journal, and the goodwill, we know, of the others. Basically, their aims and policies also
abide. This quarterly will continue to leave the criticism of Canadian
literature to Canadian Literature, and to provide the literature. It will
still pay its authors, and in turn demand professional standards from
them. It will carry on the search for fresh work by the best writers,
whether celebrated or unknown. The present issue, in earnest of this,
offers unpublished poetry by several leading Canadians, as well as by
others less familiar, and in addition presents writing by four talented
newcomers to print, a dramatist, a poet, and two short storyists.
Changes there will be too. Changes, in fact, there are. We intend a
true Prism international, through which the white-hot light of all good
authors passes, to display the full spectrum of multicoloured humanity.
Within the limits of our pages we will find room for all creative literary
forms, when their quality satisfies us. The present issue contains a play;
we believe it as readable and original as anything in the number; we
invite more plays from more playwrights. We are also appointing a
Special Features Editor to busy himself with finding and bringing back
to us worthy examples of the farther-out forms and themes on today's
literary horizons. We will be concerned too, so far as our dollars permit, with the world of non-verbal expression and design. In token of
this we appear in new clothes, created by the Vancouver artist David
Mayrs, whom we are happy to present as new Art Editor. We feel
fortunate, too, that we shall be continuing Prism's association with a
patient and creative printer, who has honored the occasion by supplying us with a visible backbone.
Its invisible counterpart is shadowed forth by the added word in our
title. Prism international is determined to live up to its name. Our
present editorial board, in addition to three inevitable (but not ineluctable) Canadians, includes citizens of Italy, Japan, and the United
States.  Very shortly we shall be adding representatives from other countries, whether English-speaking or not, and we plan to print work
in various languages where we can accompany it with accurate translations. We do not believe, in the world of 1964, that explanations
need to be made for thinking that internationalism is a paramount
consideration — though we may offer our reasons, at more leisure, in a
later number. Meantime, we would be delighted to hear from any
who have opinions on this or any other subject relevant to Prism
international. Letters accompanied by subscriptions or donations will
of course receive the closest of attention. It is even possible that we
might publish one or two. Meantime, we warn all readers and intending contributors that this may well be the last of our issues in which
Canadians outnumber non-Canadian authors.
And yet it is equally possible that our next could be an all-Canada
number. For the basis of our editorial choice will continue to be not
the address of the contributor but the excellence of what he sends us.
The Alaska Review is the first serious literary journal to be published in the
State of Alaska. The Alaska Review is edited by Robert O. Bowen and published by Alaska Methodist University as a voice for Alaskan scholars, thinkers,
poets, and others of intellectual bent. It is also a sounding board within the
State for intellectuals from outside Alaska whose writing concerns Alaskans.
Since Alaskans are a highly cosmopolitan people, the subject matter appearing
in the Alaska Review will be broad indeed, as its first issue indicated: a
scholarly study on Jack London by Professor Shivers of Colorado State University; Alaska Indian materials by Mr. Vaudrin, lately a resident of an
Indian village; a poem by Earle Birney, the leading man of letters in Canada;
and fine work by other hands. At the moment a London correspondent is researching a forthcoming essay on the British position toward the Alaska Purchase. The Alaska Review will contain in each issue some significant material
on Literature, History, Anthropology, Art, or general culture.
SUBSCRIPTION FORM (Rates: $2.00 for four issues)
ALASKA REVIEW, Alaska Methodist University, Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Name   Date	
(Please print or type)
Street or Post Office Box 	
City   State 	
Payment enclosed $  Bill me later 	
Make all checks payable to ALASKA REVIEW.
A sequence of stories by JOHN METCALF
Part two will appear in the next issue JOHN METCALF
The boy awakened suddenly to see the wavering patch of underwater sunlight pale along the side of the narrow window. The
strangeness bewildered him momentarily, and then he smiled a
little as he remembered. He arched his back and then let himself
flounder in the enveloping featherbed.
He turned over on his face and snuffed the smell of the bed and
the heavy linen sheets. It was different from home. Houses had
different smells. The candle stood on the glossy bed-side table, and there were
grease-spots on the carpet from last night. He turned over and
stared at the massive wardrobe and the chest of drawers, and the
oval steel-engraving of a severe-looking woman with her hair in a
bun, and pictured them as they had been last night in the candle's
leaping shadows.
Lying on his back, he planned what he was going to do. Everything prodded him to get up. A sea of hens in the yard outside
jostled and pecked, and gargled hesitantly. The cows were bellowing at the milking-machine, and butting at the pails of mash. Clogs
clacked across the yard. The door of the feed-shed screeched open
on its rusty runners. Bob would be folding down the mouths of the
sacks and running his scoop into the warm, heavy meal. The boy
jumped out of bed and ran to the window. The hens, anxious to
climb inside the shed, treading each other, clustered in falling
pyramids like the acrobats at the Hippodrome.
It was lovely in the feed-shed. There were lots of sacks of corn
and meal and tasty knobs of cow-cake, and wedged under two
rafters was a long knife, with a strange fat blade and a black handle,
that was used for killing pigs. When his uncle was not there he used
to go alone into the warm gloom of the shed and take the knife
down and stab sacks with it, saying to himself, "This knife has
killed pigs," and he would imagine his uncle stabbing it again and
again into the fat pig in the yard, and then put it back because he
felt wrong.
When Bob threw the corn down, the dust rose and the air became a mass of clucking feathers and speckled bodies. Some of the
hens were in a battery in a long room over the garage and workshop, and they sat all day staring at the whitewashed walls and
letting their sad eggs roll down onto the ledge. He remembered
when he had been on holiday about three years ago he had taken
a hammer with a long light handle, beautifully balanced, and hit
every seventh egg. He had broken lots of them, and later, his uncle
had said to his aunt, "Those hens in the battery need more grit."
Down in the big stone-flagged kitchen he made himself a cup of
tea and walked about softly in his thick grey stockings. The package
on the draining-board must be his sandwiches. His uncle had
laughed about that too. Why, he wondered, was his uncle always
laughing? He had said last night, "Do you think you could make
me some sandwiches for tomorrow, please? You see, I'm going to
get up very early and I'll be hunting all day."
And his uncle had said, "Hear that, Mary? Up very early and hunting all day," and laughed and laughed and ruffled his hair,
which he didn't like.
His uncle had been the one who had told him about the early-
morning rabbits.
"What time did you go out yesterday?"
"About nine o'clock, I think."
"And you didn't catch any, did you?"
"No, but I saw a couple."
"Ah, yes. You might have seen two, but they were small ones,
weren't they?"
"Fairly small, I suppose."
"And what time did you go out on Tuesday, then?"
"I know, and you didn't catch anything, did you? I tell you
what, David my boy, I'm going to let you into a secret. Shall I?"
"Yes please, Uncle," he had said.
"Well you see," said his uncle, "most of the rabbits, the big ones
anyway, come out at about six-thirty when the grass is wet so they
can get a drink. There! Didn't know that, did you?"
And his uncle had laughed and laughed, till the spittle showed
white in the corners of his mouth. His aunt had said, "Really Joe!"
and his uncle had laughed again and said, "Let's feel your muscles
then, to see if you'll be a farmer."
But he had sort of lied. Yesterday, he had caught a fish on his
night-lines in the brook. Why had he not told his uncle? He didn't
really know. It was just that somehow he hadn't wanted to mention it.
One line had plummetted down taut against the pull of the current. He had delicately held the line between his fingers to feel the
quivering and nervous shocks of movement. He had felt the moving
weight upon the other end. It was an eel — a big one too. Very
nearly two feet long and thick as his wrist. He had given the
gathered line a sharp jerk and flopped the eel onto the grass. He
saw quite clearly what had happened, picture after picture.
The hook was well down inside the eel and the line was coated
with messy slime. The eel's tail had slapped over his Wellingtons
and left slime on his knee.
Kneeling, looking at the eel. He was breathing quickly. Slowly,
very slowly, as if it had been having a respite from battle, it began
to curve its body, and its flat tail began to creep up itself. Bony
jaws open.
Its black head with gleaming eyes little black spots in white circles, writhing its sinuous body like a length of conjuror's rope.
Glistening knots, tying and untying, its belly a startling white-blue,
excrement squeezing from its vent like dirty toothpaste. Working
nearer and nearer to him. Its tail slapping the sides of his Wellingtons. He was breathing shallow and quickly. And suddenly he had
felt the tail groping cold across the back of his warm hand and
tightening blindly around his wrist.
He had frantically kicked at the eel. It rose slightly in the air,
falling into a patch of wetter grass. It began to writhe furiously, as
though the water had revived it, working itself in tangles and convolutions of mindless striving back towards him.
There was a strange breathless tightness in his chest as he
thought of it. He had grabbed a flat rock and dropped it crushingly
on the eel's head. Still turning and seeking near him. He had taken
the rock and pounded at the red-black mess until it was still. Not
even the flattened tail moved. The line and hook still led down
somewhere into the unrecognizable flesh. He had angrily forked
the eel and the line and the white marker into the undergrowth
with a dead branch.
His aunt and uncle had already gone out, and he put on his farm
Wellingtons and took the heavy gun down from the beams and
stroked the glossy butt and gleaming barrels. He forced back the
criss-crossed left hammer till it made the skin on his thumb sore.
His uncle had given him six cartridges and he had fired one two
days ago. The empty case was in his pocket and he often played
with it, pushing his thumb through the crimped cardboard of the
opening, and smelling the faded, musty smell of cordite. He had
fired it at a rook in a tree, but missed. Smoke had seeped out of the
barrels like it did in films, and the explosion had hurt his shoulder.
He started to pack his shooting-bag. First the cartridges. Ely-
Knoch Smokeless. No. 5 shot, shiny red and beautifully top-heavy
to feel in your hand with the purple copper nipple in the middle of
the shining brass. Next the bowie-knife with the deer-horn handle,
for skinning things. Sandwiches. A thermos of good hot tea. String
for tying through the legs to make them easier to carry. First aid —
bandages and Elastoplast. Newspaper on the bottom of the bag to
prevent blood from staining the canvas.
As he went through the yard he could see his uncle ploughing
in the bottom fields. The dew was still grey on the grass and wherever he walked he left a long green trail behind him. His Wellingtons, tops turned down, were shiny black and plastered with wisps
10 of grass. The gun was very heavy and he had to keep on shifting
it from arm to arm, like a frontier scout.
In the top field the boy turned to look back on the spread-out
world below. There were faint wreathing suggestions of mist. The
fields, the grass, the trees and bushes, and standing crops were all
mysteriously still as if everything were a painting or as if the enemy
had sprayed the earth with a paralysing gas. To have made a noise
would have been unthinkable, like whistling in church.
Slinging the bag round onto his back he started out for the last
field-gate where the trees looked like a blurred photo in the thin
mist. Beyond the rough-pasture lay the Quarry Wood and the
hunting-ground proper.
Gradually a change came over him. He walked carefully and
quietly, tending to breathe through his mouth. His eyes scanned
the field in wide sweeps and then glanced upwards at the trees to
catch the black bulk of a pigeon against the light tracery of branches.
Frequently, he stopped short, imagining a flicker of movement, and
his lungs filled with air so that he felt the thudding of his heart in
his throat. The muscles in his arms tightened as he lifted the heavy
Each breeze-touched clump of weeds, each ragged thistle and
frond of bracken wavered, and indecisively became a bobbing pigeon
or a crouching rabbit. Alive to rustlings in the hidden bushes, and
suspicious of each trembling tussock, he cocked the right hammer
at each alarm, clenching his teeth in anguish as it triple-clicked,
fearful that the noise would scare away his quarry. And then the
tense, lost excitement as he stalked forward.
Just after he had crossed the brook two partridges exploded
under him and whirred into the air like rockets. He was so surprised
that he pulled the right-hand trigger, and the morning was rent
into tatters with the reverberating crash of the big gun. A hail of
pellets rattled through the trees chopping down twigs and leaves.
The boy stood frightened, holding the gun tightly and listening to
the slow fall of silence. Round a large tree at the top of the field
a rook circled, cawing loudly and harshly.
The field lay on a fairly steep slope, and at the top of it lay
another strip of field enclosed by a dry-stone wall. Beyond the narrow strip was the Quarry Wood. Most of the rabbits and hares and
pheasants were surely in the second field, feeding on the wood's
Because of the lie of the field, it was possible to come right up to
the wall without being seen, and then to look over it in a place
11 where it had collapsed and crumbled into a mound of haphazard
The boy stopped a good distance from the wall and cocked both
hammers of the gun. After each click he held his breath and listened
intently. Then he started towards the crumbled part of the wall,
moving as quietly as he could. To the left of the wall-gap grew
a spiky hawthorn tree. He held the gun stiffly across his body.
A hillock of fresh, sticky earth, turned by a mole. He was breathing dry through his mouth. He brushed against some tall weeds
and felt the heavy drops of water soak cold through his trousers.
Missed his footing. Half-stumbled over a furrow. A curious red
rock. The gap was nearer now. Some of the stones showed white
and fawn, broken recently. Move to the left to avoid the tall grass.
Still wet. Trousers clammy round the knees and cold. Thighs chafed
with the thick cloth. Waders would be a good idea. That rook
drifting round the tree-top again. Warning perhaps? Was that — ?
No. A stirring of wind.
Within five yards of the wall, he crouched and moved bent-
double, hitching the bag higher onto his back. There was a metallic
chink. He froze, and his jaw jutted forward rigid till it ached.
Slowly he moved again. There was a lot of clear saliva in his mouth
as there is when you are going to be sick.
The wall. Careful not to touch any stones and start a rumbling
fall. Yes. Careful. There was the far wall, and the trees of the
wood-edge. Over on the right was the gate, and the path which led
down into the quarry. Slowly. Nothing there. The hawthorn tree.
Its roots were above the ground in places and the earth was brown
bare all round it. A rabbit. Sitting just outside its radius was a
As it came into his focus it raised its head and seemed to listen.
It hopped tentatively forward, raised its head, and then settled
down again, tearing at the grass.
The boy carefully lifted the heavy gun across himself and slowly
stretched its trembling weight in front of him. He settled the butt
into his shoulder and then slid his left hand along the barrels until
he held them where the wood joined the metal. He had not taken
his eyes off the rabbit. He pulled the gun close, and, laying his cheek
along the butt, sighted. The rabbit seemed to be watching him and
he felt sure that it knew he was there.
Taking a half-breath, he steadied the gun and his finger touched
the right trigger. He squeezed, feeling the metallic tensions of the
weapon. The explosion was violent and unexpected. The gun kicked
12 \
and everything seemed momentarily obscured. His eyes came back
to the brown body lying on the grass. He could hardly believe what
he saw. He stood on shaky legs, and, propping the gun against the
wall, clambered over the fallen stones and ran towards the hawthorn tree.
The brown body, salt and peppered back, fawn white belly, lay
on the grass. A trickle of blood matted the fur along the side of its
head and down its nose. Its front paws were folded under it, but
its back legs ran and tore at the earth in a frenzy of escape. Every
few seconds its body jumped a little, forced by the scrabbling legs.
Its eye too, bled a little, and seemed somehow collapsed, oozing
clear jelly like a squashed gooseberry. And all the time it gave a
high-pitched caustic squeal.
The boy stood staring. The seeping eye seemed to grow, spreading
in a viscous pool, blotting out the fringe of trees and the stone wall
and the crooked hawthorn tree, growing in its wounded brownness
till it filled the world. And unceasingly the squealing — the grotesque, shivering agonies of sound like chalk on board or scraping
fingernails. And the running, running legs of the still body.
13 J*.  0^k^
JOHN METCALF Paul, the waiter, was coming towards him up the aisle between
the tables, smiling his grave smile and inclining his head slightly
in welcome. The young man said, "Good evening, Paul."
"Good evening, sir."
He motioned the young man forward with his napkinned arm.
The long room was empty except for an old man chewing his gums
and devouring the evening newspaper, and a couple isolated in the
intensity of their conversation.
The corner-seat was empty and the young man passed between
the tables and settled down. Paul did not give him a menu, but
batted through the swing-door into the kitchen shouting, "One
beef-curry rightaway!"
The young man relaxed into the ritual of the meal, enjoying the
waiter's efficient fuss. Paul laid the fork and spoon, and fetched
the blue-striped dish of mango-chutney and the toughly crusted
rolls. The young man straightened and smoothed the check tablecloth, and cradled the cool, chunky Jacobean tumbler in his hands.
His glance took in the familiar patterned wallpaper, bright with
chefs and pans, and waiters and pots and Eiffel Towers and pavement tables and flowers and carafes of wine, and settled on the
private couple. He tried to overhear what they were saying.
Paul came out of the kitchen and hovered, napkin over arm, by
the door.
"How are things, Paul?"
"Not so bad, you know. And you?"
"Fine, fine."
"And the boxing this week. Is very surprising?"
"Yes, he walked into that one, didn't he?"
"And I have two, three pounds on him to say he win!"
Paul shook his head tragically.
"Ah, thank you. No I get you a light from the kitchen."
When he came back, the young man said, "Done anything on
the horses?"
"No. Nothing," said Paul. He spread his soft hands. "Always I
will be the waiter." A brief sadness deepened his large eyes and he
dropped his shoulders in a resigned gesture. Then, as he always did,
he said, "Here is not good. But in Cyprus.. ." Once Paul had
told the young man of the lemon trees and the square houses white
in the sunlight. They lapsed into silence. They had not talked, but
they had shown sympathy. Paul said, "There is anything else, sir?"
"Yes. I'll have a coffee please, Paul." He often sat for over an
15 hour just watching people, idly thinking, relaxing in the pleasure of
a ritual habit. He liked it best when there were only about eight or
nine people there and no one near his particular table.
Paul came out from the kitchen and began to rearrange the
groups of tables to form one long one. Down its length he spaced
sauce-bottles and cruets.
"What's going on, Paul?" asked the young man.
"Is that works football team again," said Paul. "Many times we
have asked them please not to come. Sure they spend money. But
we have asked them. And they still are coming." The young man
smiled in sympathy and said, "Can I have another coffee?"
The outer door of the restaurant banged open and a voice outraged the quiet level of conversation. "It's all right to park there.
Come on, let the others find their own way." He came into the
restaurant quickly followed by seven or eight others. They all wore
blazers with impressive crests and badges on the pocket. The first
said, "Good evening Giseppe. I see the table's ready."
"Good evening, sir. Everything is ready."
"The others will be along in a few minutes. Seventeen altogether. O.K.?"
"Yes sir," said Paul.
The men settled noisily at the table and examined the menu.
The spokesman for the group said, "Who's having soup? Pete?
George? Dave? How many's that then? Five. Hey, Georgio! That'll
be five tomato soups. Pronto. Comprenez?"
"Yes sir," said Paul. He turned towards the kitchen door. "And
don't forget some bread an' all."
"No sir,"  said Paul.
The young man smoked a cigarette and toyed with his coffee,
watching and listening. The rest of the party arrived and crowded
through the door to the accompaniment of shouts and cries of welcome from the rest. "Here he is. Baldwin and Allcocks' answer to
Stanley Mathews."
"The only left wing with two left feet."
"Where you been?"
"We was hung up, see."
"Hey! Here. Come and sit here you boozy old sod."
"Hullo Fred! Well, I'm surprised to see you. Never thought
you'd have managed to loosen your grip on that bar."
"Now then, now then, make way for the fair sex there. And
watch your language."
Two of the young men were testing their strength together, arms
16 locked across the table. One strained violently and smashed down
the other's arm. A sauce-bottle fell from the table, dribbling gouts
of sauce on the carpet. One of the older men said, "Daft young
"Hey Mario! What about some more rolls?" shouted another.
"What are you having, George?"
"I don't know. Liver and bacon, I reckon."
"Always the same. Always the same. Knock it off, mate. Try
some of this Italian nosh. It's all right for a change."
"No," replied the other. "I'm not upsetting myself with stuff
like that. Remember, I've got a load on."
The young man who had knocked over the sauce-bottle got up
from the table and went over to the old man who was reading the
" 'Scuse me, grandad," reaching across him to take a wicker
basket of rolls. He patted the old man on the back and said, "All
right then, are you?"
The noise, the guffaws of laughter, the strident voices, the crude
gallantries and coarse insinuations had paralyzed the general conversation in the rest of the room. People sat in tight embarrassment,
concentrating on their food or papers, never looking up at each fresh
gale of laughter, deaf to the shouted comments.
"Plays centre forward."
"That sounds lovely," said one of the women who wore brittle
blonde hair.
"He's big enough anyway," giggled her friend.
"I'd bet you'd play a lovely centre, yourself," suggested one of
the men.
"Oh, go on with you. Really!" She turned to her friend. "Have
you ever heard such language. Really!"
"Hey!" shouted another. "Giseppe. Where's that pork chop to,
"Coming, sir. Coming," replied Paul. As he passed the young
man's table, the young man raised his eyebrows and pulled down
the corners of his mouth in a face of sympathy.
The door at the end of the restaurant pushed open and a strange
looking man walked hesitatingly down the aisle between the tables.
He was about forty years old and seemed almost without a chin.
He had badly protruding teeth. Paul walked forward to meet him.
Everyone stared, as they always do, and Paul inclined his head in
"Yes, sir?"
17 "I wonder," said the man in a high-pitched voice, "if you serve
coffee? Separately from meals, that is."
"No, sir," said Paul. "I'm sorry. But there is a coffee-house across
the street."
Suddenly a loud voice said, "Hey! Look at Bugs Bunny!" There
was laughter from the middle table. Another voice, climbing to the
falsetto, said, "I wonder if you'd mind sodding off?" One of the
women said, "That Stan! He can keep it up all night, you know.
Has me in stitches."
The man had turned rather pale, and he said loudly, to no one
in particular, "It's not right that a person can't come into a public
place without being insulted." A silence fell over the restaurant.
Most of the customers hunched silent backs.
One of the young men stood up and faced him.
"Are you complaining about something, mate?"
"Yes I am. I consider your manners deplorable."
"You mean you think I'm bad-mannered?" He turned to his
friends. "He doesn't like our manners," he said. His friends grinned
appreciatively. "Stan," their grins seemed to say, "is quite a card."
"Well I'm warning you," said Stan, "you'd better get out of here
before you get hurt," and sat down heavily.
The strange man turned and walked quickly to the door. As he
pushed it open he muttered, "Louts!"
Stan got up quickly. His face was suddenly mottled with anger.
"Right. That settles it."
"You show him Stan," said one of his friends.
"Who does he think he is?"
"Yeah, smash him Stan."
"Mind your 'and on his teeth, Stan boy!" laughed another.
The young man sat tense and silent. Stan rushed over to the door
and went out. A knife grated loudly on a plate. A cup chattered on
a saucer. From outside, a short distance away, there was a loud
scream, and then a voice shrill with fear, and hysterical, "Help!
Help me! Help! Someone help me!" And then a scream cut short.
And then a sort of crying noise.
Paul came out of the kitchen and slapped at an empty table
with his cloth and unnecessarily rearranged some cutlery. Some of
the people at the middle table were talking in undertones. "What?"
said someone loudly. The young man gripped the sides of his table
and made as if to stand up, but then his body softened and he
seemed to fall back into his chair.
He did not even look up when Stan opened the door and took his place at the table, but continued toying with his teaspoon, turning it over and over in the saucer against the side of the cup, turning it over and over against the side of his cup.
"Hey Mario!" shouted one of the men. "Let's have some coffee
here." Gradually the level of noise began to rise again and one of
the older men began to burn holes in a serviette with a cigarette-end.
"And he said 'Well me and my three daughters all sleep in the
same bed ...' " And the woman with the brittle hair pawed at
her friend's arm in helpless laughter.
"Hey, Dave. What about that one about the car crash and the
bloke that has his ..."
"Here. Yes. That's a good one. Well, you see, there was this
bloke ..."
The young man slowly squashed his cigarette down into the glass
ashtray so that the seam split. He stabbed at the glowing ash and
then stood up abruptly. He put some coins down to pay the bill
and then added three shillings, which he couldn't afford, as a tip.
He started to walk down the aisle. "Thank you sir. Good night,
sir," called Paul. The young man half-turned and nodded.
When he was opposite the man whom the others called Stan,
he stopped. He stared at him. He saw the blazer and the gaudy
badge, the red-mottled skin of his neck and the careful hair rising
to a greasy wave. And then, hurriedly and blushing, he walked on
to the door, and pushing it open, went out into the night. JUST TWO OLD MEN
JOHN METCALF The young man sat at a small table with his half of bitter. His
fingers, curled through the handle of the tankard, tapped against
the glass. It was early evening. There were only three people in
the bar and it was very quiet. In a far coiner, an old woman sat
over a Guinness, and side by side, on the bench near his table, were
two old men. The barman was drying glasses, and there was regularly a faint chink as he pushed them under the counter. The young
man found that he was waiting for the noise.
He looked at his watch. Five minutes past six. The big electric
clock on the opposite wall said ten past six. But pub clocks are
always five minutes fast. He watched the red sweep of the second
hand. She was only five minutes late and, sipping his beer, he decided to make it last until she came.
The young man lit a cigarette and absentmindedly watched the
first grey smoke spread and twist opaquely in the beam of sunlight
which warmed the greyness of the shabby woodblock floor. There
was a panel of stained glass in the window behind him which threw
a haze of warm purple, red, and blue onto the floor. It looked as
if someone had once spilled some powder colour there a long time
ago so that it had left a faint bloom.
He looked at the clock over the rim of his mug. Ten minutes. The
old woman got up and went to the bar for a refill. He'd often
wondered about that. You could always see them, night after night,
drinking Guinness after Guinness. How did they afford it he
He was never late. He stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray
so that the butt split open. He stared at the coloured patch on the
floor, rehearsing, arguing and poisoning.
He sipped his beer, so that the froth line ran and changed like
living lace. The clock stood at twenty minutes past six. She was
fifteen minutes late. He lit another cigarette, drawing hard till he
felt giddy. The lower half of the walls was painted brown, and
grained to look like wood. It never did though. He got up and went
past the two old men to the bar.
"Is the clock right, or is it five minutes fast, please?"
"Five minutes fast, sir," said the barman.
He sat at his table again. The barman had switched the radio
on. The sound was warm, but rather lost in the emptiness of the
room. The orchestra was playing a song called "Everybody Loves
My Baby." The old woman bought a cheese roll.
Voices cut across his thoughts. The two old men were starting a
21 conversation. The voices irritated him. He looked at the old men
without interest, but every now and then a word or phrase would
catch his ear. Round the walls hung little wooden poker-work
mottoes. "We have an arrangement with the bank. They don't sell
beer and we don't cash cheques."
". . . better than we can expect for the time of year."
"Course, if I hadn't been bad last week, I'd have planted them
out then."
"Ah. They do well in frames, mind."
There was one underneath the clock. The young man screwed
up his eyes to read it, not looking at the time. "Old Golfers Never
Die .. . They Only ..." Couldn't read the rest under the curve
of the clock. It was twenty-five past six. She was twenty minutes
late. There was another of them, just above the old men's heads.
"Shakespeare's Dead, Nelson's Dead, And I Don't Feel So Good
"And you can't manage on that. You just can't do it."
The young man, bending forward slightly, peered at the placard.
"Nobody," repeated the old man loudly, "could manage on that."
He slapped his hand on the tabletop.
"If I didn't have my war pension, where would I be?" The
other old man nodded in agreement. The old woman bought another cheese roll.
The old man who was leading the conversation was wearing a
dark blue suit, which was frayed at the cuffs and shiny. He leant
forward to speak, resting one hand on top of the other, on his stick.
A few strands of hair were plastered thinly across his pate. He wore
highly polished black boots. His hands looked almost transparent,
and big with blue veins. The young man looked at him because
he had looked at everything else.
"And you'd think these glasses would be free, wouldn't you? But
I had to pay two pounds. Two pounds!"
The other old man said, "Well take me now, and my leg. One of
the straps broke so I went down the Labour to see about getting
another. They don't do the straps down the Labour, but you have
to go down there first, see. They mend them up the Rehabilitation,
where I was. And this young fellow said it would cost ten shillings.
Ten shillings, he said. So I said, 'Now look here, young fellow, I
want to see the manager'."
"Quite right," said the other. "These young men just don't
22 "So I said to him. 'Although I live with my daughter,' I said,
'ten shillings is a big part of my week's money'."
"Exactly. Quite right. I've lived carefully all my life — I'm not
a spendthrift like some — been a member of the Mutual for, let
me see, fifty-seven years. Shilling a week regular as clockwork.
Joined 'em when I was twenty."
The other old man was not so forceful. Nervous and timid, he
kept running his tongue over his top lip and making a sticky clicking sound with his mouth. His bald head wobbled heavily on the
dried stalk of his neck. They were like young children, springing
from topic to topic, and not really talking to each other at all. Each
pursued an independent monologue, only broken when the other
"Where did you get that? Hope you don't mind me asking?"
said the first.
The poor braced leg was moved into a more comfortable position.
"The war that was. The Great War. Yes, I remember that. The
Somme that was. I was one of the lucky ones. Sent home."
"And me," said the first old man, touching his glasses. The left
lense bulged convex, covering a pad of lint. Beneath was an empty
socket. "Wipers that was. Remember that? The officers used to call
it 'Epree.' 'Wipers' was we called it. There was a song."
"Ah," said the other, and they were silent for a few minutes.
The young man listened.
The old woman had left the top part of the roll because it was
too crusty for her teeth. The timid old man was secretly sliding
some coins about his horseshoe purse, feeling the edges, trying to
decide whether he could afford another drink.
"Do you remember how they collected all the horses from the
farms?" asked the more delicate man, tucking his muffler more
tightly inside his coat. "For the gun-carriages they were. Don't see
many now. Horses I mean. You don't see many horses now." He
clicked his mouth nervously, and ran his tongue over his upper lip.
His legs were crossed, and the top one constantly jiggled up and
The other said inconsequentially, "I remember when I was a
little fellow — five or six years old I must have been at the time.
No, perhaps a little older. Every Sunday my father took me, morning and night. He was what they call a God-fearing man. Nineteen-
thirty he died. A regular church-going man he was. Every morning
and every night, regular. Baptist he was. He said to me," and here
he leaned forward to tap the other on the knee, "he said to me,
23 'The Land of Caanan. That's where I'm going when I'm dead, my
boy. I shall be with the Lord in Caanan. A land flowing with milk
and honey,' that's what he said. My father. It was in nineteen-thirty,
if I remember it right, when he died."
"Ah," said the other, nodding emphatically. "That's it. That's
right. You don't see many now. For pulling the gun-carriages they
His upper lip was red and sore where he licked it so often. He
lifted the leather-braced leg with both hands, and settled further
into the seat. The effort seemed to exhaust him. He looked smaller
than ever, frail and fragile in a bundle of overcoat. He delved
inside his clothing, as he had frequently done, and produced a large
pocket watch. The glass was stained with age, and yellowed with
innumerable cracks. "I have to be home by seven," he said. "Not
long now."
His companion did not seem to hear. "I've got to go soon," he
repeated, as if it fascinated him. His companion did not move.
They lapsed into staring at their beer-mugs. The timid man consulted his watch. The big second hand was sweeping round.
The swing door pushed open and she hesitated on the threshold,
looking round for him.
"I'm sorry I'm late."
"That's all right, love."
"Are you angry with me?"
"No. I'm not angry. Would you like a drink?"
"A half of bitter, please. Are you sure you're not angry? You seem
a bit moody about something."
"No, love. Nothing. Just thinking, I suppose."
They smiled at each other. He got up and went past the two
old men to the bar.
"Two small bitters, please."
"Ordinary or the best, sir?"
"The best, please. The very best."
Behind him he heard the timid man say, "My younger daughter's
in Canada. I had a letter from her last week." He drew the red,
white and blue envelope cracklingly from his inner pocket. "She
works there. Married to a Canadian man. She says it's very cold."
"I had a boy," replied the man with the eyepad. "But he was
killed in the war." Fiercely he said, half to himself, "He was nineteen. They sent a telegram."
"There we are, sir. One and eight, please. Thank you."
24 The young man carried the glasses to the table and smiled at
"I'm sorry I'm late. Honest. I couldn't help it."
"Don't worry, love. I don't mind."
The gentle man said, "Well, if you're sure I'm not boring you . .."
"No, no. I should be most interested," said the man with only
one eye.
"You'd better hurry, love, or we're going to miss the film." She
emptied the glass, and gathered up her handbag and gloves. It was
five minutes to seven. He held the door open for her, and as he
followed he said impulsively to the old men, "Good night."
One nodded, and the other said, "Good night, boy, good night."
Outside, taking his hand, she said, "Who were they? Friends of
"No," he replied slowly. "Just two old men."
JOHN METCALF Neanderthal man was, as usual, hogging the only kettle in the
staff-room. He was resting his paunch on the edge of the sink and
baying on about attendance registers, scraps of paper in the corridors, the ignorance of today's Youth, and the scurrilous nature of
the inscriptions on the walls of the boys' lavatories. When I saw
Peking Man coming to join us I abandoned the idea of coffee and
went to sit down until the bell rang.
I suppose I had no right to be irritated. I should have known it
would be a bad day from the tie-inspection on the door. Another of
the Gnome's inspirations. It must have been added to the Standing
Orders at the last General Staff meeting.
My mind wandered in its usual private maze and I smiled as it
found an image of the Gnome dressed in a Napoleonic costume.
He was cracking the joints in his fingers and doing his nose-whine
thing in the silence.
"Gentlemen. Tomorrow we shall deal with the Tie." Then his
mad eyes flickered over the silent group and he said again, "The
Tie." A murmur swept the throng. "We will show them, once and
for all, that those without Ties will suffer for their temerity."
Huzza! Huzza!
A pale hand lifted for silence.
"Gentlemen, I know that you are worthy of my trust. May God
be with us."
On my way to my first class I saw Miss Rita Brown, forty and
dessicated, president of the Student Christian Union, smelling the
breath of two senior boys to see if they had been smoking in the
lavatory. As I passed I said, "Fighting the Good Fight, Miss
Brown?" and was rewarded with a glare of quite un-Christian
malice. A petty victory, but a victory nevertheless.
Miss Brown was a strange woman who went to the most astounding lengths, lesbianically checking girls' knickers to see whether they
were the regulation shade, tearing off ear-rings, flattening beehive
hair styles and giving strangely horrific accounts of the menstrual
cycle to first-year girls.
A petty victory, but a victory nevertheless. I was still smiling
when I walked into my first class. They gave their usual groan
when I told them to take out their poetry books, but not more than
I, as there were only about three students who would ever reach
anything more complicated than, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
However, Wendy and Peter hadn't brought their books. George had
to be told the page number three times. Rae looked at the poem and
27 asked if he could be excused. Anna wanted to sharpen a pencil.
Finally we started to read.
And, wonders breath indrawn,
Thought I — who knows —• who knows — but in that same,
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new —
— Stern painted brighter blue—)
That talkative bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy's doom-crimson shore. ...
When we reached the end of the poem I looked up at the rows
of leaden faces and the drooping flag in the corner. I said, "If we
find out who the 'bald-headed seaman' is, I think we'll find the
poem easier to understand."
The seconds of the clock ticked by. Tony Bennet put his hand up.
"Anyone else.. . . ? No? Tony, then."
"I think it's about Ulysses."
"Good. Why?"
"Because he was a seaman who sailed from the shores of Troy
after the war."
"Yes, that's right. How many people know who Ulysses was and
why Troy is famous?"
"Support the Work of the Red Cross," said a large poster on the
green board at the back of the room.
"No. Not you, Tony." We shared a glance of complicity.
"It was an old Greek city."
"He was an explorer who fought the Romans."
"How many people don't know who Ulysses was?" Hands sprang
up like weeds. I looked down and saw Lorraine writing a boy's
name on her gym shoes under a drawing of a transfixed heart. There
was a heavy scent of nail varnish on the air.
"Well, we can't read a poem unless you know the background,
can we? So for homework tonight I want you to find out about
Ulysses and Troy. In the few minutes we have left you'd better
check your essays over before you hand them in."
I sat down at my hollow desk again. I glanced over at Tony but
he was already reading a paperback book below the desk. I ignored
the murmur of conversation, the hairdressing, and the badinage at
the back of the room. I wondered if Tony would hand an essay in
this week. Usually he didn't bother. He said once, "Well I didn't
feel it. And if I don't feel it, it's rather a waste of time isn't it?" In
28 one essay, he had written for me, "The woods were filled with
green fight and the clacker of pigeon wings."
Suddenly I was aware of a rigid stillness like a drop in temperature. I looked up quickly and there in the doorway stood the Gnome.
He inclined his head slightly to me and walked into the room.
His eyes stalked up and down the rows. In the frigid silence he
gave his preliminary nose-whine. Not looking at me, addressing the
middle air, speaking softly, he said, "Is this a good class, Mr.
Adams? A class of workers?"
"Yes. Everyone works very hard," I said.
"It isn't a class where there are any boys and girls who are
"Not at all," I said.
The rows of children sat staring at him with blank, expressionless
faces. They sat with their feet together and their hands on the desks.
They too had recognized the pattern.
"Some boys and girls don't seem to recognize that a school has
He would mount slowly, step by rhetorical step, to a height of
gibbering anger. They were wondering, behind the masks of their
faces, who would be singled out this time. I thought at first that he
was, obliquely, after me. Last week I had written the name of the
head prefect in the Detention Book and under Offense had written,
"Taking the Name of the Lord in Vain," and signed myself Rita
Brown. Perhaps he had taken time off to track me down. But no.
"What about that boy in the corner, Mr. Adams? Is he a
worker?" I looked at Tony and said, "A very good student in English. He works very hard."
"You surprise me, Mr. Adams. You surprise me." His mad,
knowing eyes searched me out.
Suddenly he turned on the boy and shouted, "/ don't think you're
a worker, Bennet. I've had complaints from all your teachers about
your attitude. Mr. Levesque says that you haven't handed in any
French homework for two terms."
Tony said nothing. I pretended to be checking something in my
The Gnome stared at him. "Do you know what I think? I think
you're a slacker." He paused and kicked Tony's bag out of the
aisle. "Hasn't Mr. Adams told you about bringing these things
into class? Of course he has. But you have to be different, don't
you? Too big for your boots, Mr. Bennet. The rules don't apply
to you, do they?"
29 I walked over to the window and pretended to look out.
"Too clever to be taught. Know it all. I know your type. Eh?
What do you say, boy? Eh? Nothing! No! Say nothing. Mr. Clever
Bennet. We'll see about you."
I was still looking out of the window when the Gnome said, "Mr.
Adams! Are you sure you find this boy's work entirely satisfactory?
Every other teacher in the school seems to think rather differently
from you. Are you positive?"
I heard a strange voice speaking in the tense silence. It said,
"Well, as a matter of fact, I don't remember ever seeing his last
English homework."
In the staff-room at recess, Peking Man waddled through the
kitchen door and came to sit down next to me. He said, "We can't
allow them to get away with it, you know."
"What?" I said.
"Words in the lavatories," he said.
"It's a slow process," I said. "A process of attrition."
"I suppose you're right," he said.
"A process of time," I said.
There's a kind numbness
of a cold morning possesses me sometimes,
sleep's wine in my veins,
while I dress by the heater, is like
some animal's, a horse in a paddock
turned to brown stone he seems,
only he steams so in first sunlight.
Head bows over the shining grass,
but not eating, his senses all at rest,
as if he sees white fence & farmhouse
are kin to his being, within his skin
as his belly is.    A whole hour before
he must shudder off the flies!
but the city across the harbour from me
drones on daily its monotone music
(while I am remembering yesterday
and china being broken on
the floor of your small room,
each crash was an antiphony to
the breaking of your images;
your hands lifted the plates like babies
and flung them for
the cruel beauty of my vision in you
(wanting rather safety, laughter
or the blind bone which need not ever break •
but you, you with your
halfway armoured vision cracking after
the gravity of our coupling
continued breaking with perfect precision
breaking the dishes —
and watching yourself break them —
I know and I know and today the city
as I cycle home through gulls and rockpiles
sleeps past the bay
on its strange gray music
and somewhere you are there
between the walls of it
and though I cannot hear
in the anchoring distance; I know
that you are throwing dishes
in the small room over and over
forever and ever
and watching them break —
and amazed at their breaking —
and watching yourself break them —
and thinking of gulls and rockpiles
Edna the dog is dead and so is Min;
Mr. Smith's diet worked and now he's thin;
Walter has left the park for his loving wife;
Better warm than happy defines his life.
Toads are asleep and so are bugs and snakes;
Millions of things are asleep in icy lakes;
Edward's asleep where brown stalks fuss and wave
And a squirrel has planted oak trees on his grave.
A death's head
from which falls away
a black soutane,
he conducts me
and the three withered nuns
from Pamplona
through his catacomb of horrors.
Complete with hairy lip
and decaying stumps of tooth,
the three withered nuns
from Pamplona
kiss relic and bloodstained bars
asking for intercession.
As they kneel and mumble
I hear reverberate
in cave and cell
the running bulls of Pamplona.
The reins of the moon are loosed
And the skidding sea plummets down the
berm-backed sand
With the vigor of a rangey roan on turf.
White birds skim the crescent bay,
Drifting above the tentacles of foam
Flung by the mane of the long sea.
Lighting on silver drift logs, they watch
The seal-black rocks drowning
In the rhythmic hoofbeats of the waves
As insistent as the pulse of Bach
Rehearsing new counterpoint
On the measures of sand.
Far at sea, the white wind-mariners,
Raucous with liberty, ignore
The subtle nets of the wind-woven sky
And follow the gleaming flanks to the shore
Where the quays trace
Giant stalls in the sand.
Wary of the riptide and deaf
In the cacophony of breakers
They wheel high above the shifting current;
And the sea, mindful of a steely bit,
Halts and crops the tangled kelp,
Cooling its heaving sides in a quiet coda.
Beside her bed but out of sight
She kept the fairy stories
of her native land.
Some day she thought
Some day in Autumn
When the weather
Is quite right
Ripe but not hot
I'll go.
For in her heart
She wanted to be Queen
Although she kept
the purpose dark
And to that end
She plotted fierce assassinations
in her mind,
Murdered commonplaces
One at a foul time.
Occasionally she went to gaol.
Here she read the stories over
Found that in tale after tale
The queens were old or cruel
The princesses honey young
With gems in their eyes
And jewels like plums of pleasure
on their tongues.
Steadfast she remained
Her desire reaffirmed
She wanted to be Queen
Albeit she recognized
The apple in the worm.
Whether cold, or old or mean,
She wanted to be Queen.
Queens were forever
Princesses were not real.
34 This you see
Was all the shelter
she could seize;
Knowing princesses, no matter
how they please
Princesses, are not forever
Only Queens are real.
ride through the ribs of jeeps
and rusted wreaths unto
the white spider on the hills now
— great heat
and all around are flying
little butterfly skullcaps
for the wind is too strong for them
— and the skull can't be capped
anywhere anytime except
Mea Shearim where the holymen's
beards line up and form
one leg of the white spider.
fill in, fill in quickly
the arab arch, jam it with stones
or make the roundness square
— step lightly through
the eastern music.
O God, O God
in the morning kids spit
both ways through the border;
the sun has barbed wire
through its diameter
and only the cats and the spiders
have passage.
35 story by RICHARD KOSMICKI I exploded from my sleep and saw a rat gnawing my little toe.
I tore the toe from his mouth and he bounced to the floor and
squeezed into a hole in the baseboard.
The toe was bleeding. I thought: Blood poisoning. I did not
limp to St. Vincent's Hospital dispensary a block away. I swabbed
the toe with iodine. That was more rational.
It was eight o'clock and I would have overslept but for the rat.
I'd forgotten to set my General Electric "Snooz Alarm." Did I
really forget, I thought, as I reached for the yellow pages telephone
directory. Exterminating & Fumigating.
The rat had to be exterminated. He had to be dead today. I
dialed the number of Chester Comfort whose ad read "We Exterminate Forever." Comfort answered the phone himself and said
he'd be over in 15 minutes if I could wait. Why not? World's Whine
could wait. My review was in and no one was on the spot if I came
in an hour late.
I started to shave and turned the radio dial to WQXR. I always
shaved to symphonic music. But I had to be preoccupied to listen
to the classics. The music had to be in the background — muted
by the atonal sounds that surrounded me — or I began to tingle in
my toes and fingers.
Comfort knocked. Lathered and half-shaven, I opened the door.
"Never fear, Comfort is here," he croaked. "I'm the bloody cat
that catches the muddy rat."
Comfort wore a Yankee baseball cap, black leather jacket, levis
and carried a black box in each arm. He had wet, dark eyes. His
incisors protruded far below his lower lip. Not more than a dozen
black, stringy whiskers hung from his thick upper lip. His mouth
and jaw formed a snout like that of the rat that had bitten my toe.
The resemblance was incredible.
"Okay, where's my four-legged friend hiding?" Comfort asked.
I pointed to the hole in the baseboard, too astonished by the man's
face to answer. He dropped the boxes and walked to the hole.
"He must be a monster," he said. "You can drive a truck through
that hole."
"Yes, he was big and gray," I said. "Look what he did to' my
Comfort stared at my stained toe. A grin revealed more of his
incisors. He kneeled. "You're lucky," he said. "He only punctured
the skin. I've seen bites that would make you sick. I exteirninated
a place in Brooklyn where a woman had a finger chewed off in her
sleep. That four-legged fellow was big as a dog. Eight pounds.
37 They had the rat cut open and found the woman's wedding ring
in his gut."
Comfort opened one of the boxes and pulled out a bottle.
"My own formula," he said. "I believe in humane poisoning. I
don't like suffering. Most poisons, you know, burn the vital organs.
Not my formula. I call it Rodent's Repose. Like it? Rodent's Repose. I couldn't make up my mind on the name. First I liked
Rodent's Farewell. My formula kills painlessly. It gives a rat a heart
attack. Like humans get. Coronaries. Most of the four-legged fellows
don't last an hour when they take my stuff. With other poisons they
suffer for days. They go crazy with pain. They puke blood. They
drink so much water they get bloated and roll over on their backs
and stay that way for hours squealing. It's a horrible way to die
and I wouldn't wish it even on a rat. A heart attack is different.
You know I belong to SPCA?"
Now the lather had dried on my face and flaked away as I
moved. I was still in shorts and barefoot.
"You go ahead," I said. "I'm late for work. I've got to go."
"Go," he said. "I'll take care of our friend." The grin twisted
his mouth and the incisors glistened with saliva.
I walked into the bathroom and continued shaving. I could see
Comfort from where I stood. He was rooting in one of the boxes
and pulled out a white gown. He removed the baseball cap and
leather jacket and tugged the gown over his head. He saw me
looking at him.
"I have to put myself in the mood to do the job right," he
shouted. "I couldn't do it dressed in my street clothes. That's too
personal. But a gown makes me feel confident.. . relaxed, you
know. When I first exterminated, I got sick. In those days, I took
any job. Dogs, cats, pigeons, snakes, cockroaches, beetles, termites,
ants. I got the gown idea waiting for a haircut. Barbers don't worry
about giving you a bad haircut. The white coat they wear takes the
blame. It shows they're professionals."
I nodded between strokes of my Gillette safety razor with its new
super blue blade. I mumbled, "If it makes you feel professional
that's all that counts."
Comfort poked his snout between my face and the mirror. I
didn't hear him coming and jumped back. Did he move on soft
rat's feet?
"I like jobs like this one," he said. "I like to deal with intelligent
people. I can tell you're intelligent by your face. Very sensitive. In
fact, you look a little like me when I was your age. Around the
38 eyes and mouth. I see you read a lot. So do I. Some people play
cards. I read."
I nodded and rinsed the razor in the steaming water. Comfort
stepped back.
"Are you a writer?"
"I'm a critic."
"A critic? I never knew a critic before. What paper?"
"World's Whine."
"Never heard of it. What do you criticize?"
"I knew you did something important." I did not answer.
Comfort returned to the living room and opened his bottle of
formula. He dropped in a teaspoon of white powder, replaced the
top and shook the bottle as if he were mixing a cocktail. "I put in
a little more of my formula," he said. "It looked weak and I want
to make sure I do the job right the first time." He shook the bottle
until the formula grew sudsy.
"It's okay now," he said, holding the bottle to the light coming
through the dirty window. "I tell by the color. If the concentration
isn't exactly right, the four-legged fellow would suffer only a mild
attack. I don't want him to linger. One attack and it's over. You
might have him on your hands for another day otherwise. If he got
hungry he'd drag himself through that hole no matter how weak he
was. You'd have a mess." Comfort sat himself in the red sling chair
and sighed. "You go," he said. "Don't wait for me. I've got to feel
right before I start. It can take a minute, it can take an hour. Go
to your business and leave the key with me. I'll put it under the
mat. When you come back your troubles will be over. The four-
legged fellow will be out of the way for good."
The grin again and the fangs.
"How much will I owe you?" I asked. "It's not by the hour,
I hope."
"I don't work that way," Comfort replied. "I'm a professional.
I charge a fee." He grinned. "When you find the rat and you're
satisfied he's dead, mail me $10." He held the bottle of formula
before his eyes and squinted at it admiringly.
"Do you ever fail?" I asked.
Comfort looked hurt. "I'm a pro in this business," he said, a little
annoyed. "I have a reputation." I handed him the key.
Minutes later I ran down four flights of my walkup and into the
gray light of Perry Street. It was raining and I'd forgotten my
39 umbrella. The hell with it, I thought, and broke into the jog of a
3 3-year-old.
I was at my desk at ten o'clock with a container of coffee checking the galley proof of the review I'd written. It was a first play
by a young writer and had made a strong impression on me yet
other reviewers had dismissed it as "rank," "inept," "amateurish,"
"irrelevant," "opaque." The playwright, I thought, had plunged
his finger into man's rectum and found a bleeding cancer.
"The author," I wrote, "sees man condemned to extermination
by the same inscrutable process that brought him into existence.
He has been found guilty of murdering one too many living cells
and must pay the penalty. Life is excruciatingly just, man unbelievably unjust. How you define justice doesn't matter. Life is the
official interpreter and life has one interpretation — only the just
will survive. Mercy is a myth."
The review satisfied me and I passed it to the editor. Then I
called Comfort to see if a destructive mood had swallowed him.
Busy line. Busy after lunch. Busy all day. The idiot must have made
a call and forgotten to replace the receiver. I left at five, picked up
a New York Post, and bought a six-pack of Metrecal. It had stopped
raining and the humidity was draining the juices from my body.
When I reached Perry Street my shirt was stuck to my back and my
glasses were steamed. I could barely see as I climbed the stairs. A
stench stopped me on the way up. God damned Puerto Rican
janitor, I muttered. Forgot the garbage again. I dropped the
Metrecal and Post to the floor and lifted the door mat. No key.
I opened the door and saw Comfort collapsed in my red sling
chair, his tongue sticking out, the gown spattered with vomit and
blood. His left hand held the receiver. In his lap lay a large panting
rat. The tan carpet was covered with vomit and blood as well. I
moved closer and the rat flopped to the floor and scurried into the
hole in the baseboard. I pulled the receiver from Comfort's stiff
fingers and returned it to the phone. There was a note on the desk.
"My two-legged critic. Do you know how it feels to die like
a rat?"
are welts flanking Jerusalem
are dips down noman'sland
when the blue eye grows crooked
looking for borders; they
are the borders, the sensitive
God gashed them.
Ge-Hinnom —
so this is hell, well
well and Moloch sat
his terrible buttocks
somewhere at my right hand
under the downward thumb
— his anatomy all anarchy
in the valley.
Beyond it —•
leading from it, the chafkwhite salt
of bleached towns past Jerusalem,
pale, terrified architecture,
houses with wide eyes and white faces
who looked on Moloch once.    Dumb stone.
But children play
today near Gehenna, they play
anarchy and they are only playing
but I keep hearing old tofet drums
beaten to dull their shrieks
and their screaming, as when
on the yellow grass under
the awful shadow of Gehenna, they
lay outstretched in the hands of Moloch
and waited for a sacred knife
to set their sweet blood flowing . ..
Now! Charlie,
Among long faces,
Now they've got you
In God's dully endless graces,
While the beetles up the aisles
In their mourning carapaces,
While your women dab dry eyes
Behind black fashionable laces;
Now! Charlie,
As the practised, nervous staff
Mothers your cortege
Down the path,
Now, while slick hydraulics
Are whispering in the shaft,
Now, Now as they swing
The ju ju jug, chant
'Chuck to Chuck
Mirth to mirth'
And all that crap —
Hey Charlie, just for me,
Throw back the lid
And laugh.
Swing it, Charlie,
Down cedar roots and pine;
Live the lovely earth
As we live sky,
And know ourselves
In reflective pools,
Two ways at least
There are of walking through the world.
42 So swing it, Charlie,
Down cedar roots and pine,
Wink us wild
In one-eyed daisies,
Holler up hollyhocks'
Spring morning praises;
Trail your toes
In cool deep streams,
Stretched out on mountains —
Tomorrow's ranges —
Whistling through dusty fields
And green
The tune of all our seasons.
Nameless, the village
The clay huts, the shorn grass roof
Brown to the ground
The woman huddled outside over a pale flame.
And the child, bringing stools for us to sit upon
Is nameless, boy or girl.
They do not love this place, nor name it
They are too much of it. ..
They smell of grass, of leaves,
And the pitiless dust:
They rise up with the rain
And die with it.
Between the land and themselves
They feel no difference —
Loving the earth no more than a man loves his own hand.
Use it, and live:
Or cut it off, and die.
It is a curious gift, to see this image
Clear and pale as the dark pool subsides,
To have come through terrors of self knowledge
Into the calm where the always known abides,
So strange I could not begin to tell
Where any sameness lies of that moist face
Whose half derisive glance I had thought so well
Reflected out of every shadowy place.
How stern and certain in the white of day
This is, how lightly etched in every inch;
The soft and spendthrift fulness of the blood
Into hard mental fires is burned away,
They flicker in the skin so coldly hued
And in the light blue eyes that do not flinch.
These eyes of mine when you chanced
To turn, made you laugh and call them almost crazed;
You were perplexedly amazed
At my dark abstracted stare; and glanced
The more, to drag my self back to my eyes,
And lightly asked the cause
As if to persuade me to relent and pause:
I think it was fear more than surprise.
You cannot yet allow
The look that smites you selfless, to be love,
Or these bright forms I raise
Between us, delicate and slow
To answer for that gaze, though they could prove
The exact equations of a close embrace.
How lively the old man's eyes!
an astronaut getting younger
with every cast of his mind around the universe.
and somehow they
dance in their aquamarine
sequins, the acrobats,
seeming that in their
slow grotesque arabesque
there is great pain
in the turning,
the hands clutching
and the loins touching
for macabre contact finally
and the music is all
absurd for them.
turning, I
see myself floundering
double in your eyes, in
the blights of them;
two of me repeated
in aquamarine mirrors and
know the grotesque
plural you
is mirrored in.mine also.
in all, pain,    in all
the slow acrobatic dance
behind our eyes
in the skull's circus.
forgive me then
that even this
■—■ your pain
is a poem.
Hair flowing yellow and still
to her shoulders, I
saw my sister once
stand before a new flower
and in a hushed voice
give it a name:
and as she cupped
her first gardenia
under her collarbone
today I held
as a vein round my heart
an unwritten poem;
a word — a few words
delicate as linked blossoms,
more delicate
being thoughts, and
only when winds start
licking them to nothing
do I write so
I may bring you my poem
to find the music of a name,
its vowel-tones to my ears
as a flower reflected in her eyes.
In winter twilight on a side street,
black — touched at the edges by snow,
with secondhand cars parked headlight to trunk,
a deadeye glow in each window,
I heard a 'clip-clop', 'clip-clop'
ringing as if the earth was hollow.
46 And all white with his tall ears
dusting the underside of heaven, a Clydesdale
with mighty brushes of hair on his hooves
swelled and swept from the shadows
. .. One moment I stood in his friendly eye
then like a lord he passed me.
With all the pride of his vanished race
he switched his big wind of a tail,
then turned a corner
and his hoofbeats abruptly stilled,
leaving one steaming brown bun
and a hush as if sparrows were listening.
you wore it you wore the night
strapped like black wings to your white
arm you came as through an inverse film
of bright alarm and darkening will
of knees which crashed the sheets
of shoulders which descended
descended down and crashed from flight
in interchanging black and white.
crash crash fly down bird fly down
in bright absurd alarm as the dove
the bird at the loins the love
plummets down to me and
now fly down black and white fly down
beacon and the brilliant knees
dark outrageous anchoring and the beauty of it
BARRY PRITCHARD Cast of Characters beverly hooker, nearing 40
cal jenner, 32
emery pencil, early 40's.
old man, theatre caretaker
When the curtain rises we see the stage of an old theatre that
appears not to have been used for some time. Except for several
tables and chairs scattered around the stage, the set is bare. The
only light is provided by a single, bare bulb that hangs by a cord
over the centre of the stage, and this remains the only source of light
throughout the play. Up right there are three short steps up to a
door that leads to the alley outside.
As the play begins, cal jenner, about 32, is discovered down
left, sitting in a wooden chair tilted back against the proscenium
arch. His appearance is not exceptional in any way; he has a plain,
but not unpleasant face and dresses quite inconspicuously. He has
never gotten used to wearing a suit and tie and since his work does
not require it, he seldom does, except for an occasional night out or
on a Sunday when his mother succeeds in dragging him off to
church. He is rather quiet and usually tries to get by with saying
as little as he can. When he does speak he seems almost apologetic.
However, when he is near people he knows and trusts, he can
occasionally carry on a relaxed conversation.
He sits smoking quietly for several moments; then the back
door is rattled and opened from the outside and beverly hooker
enters. She is fighting middle-age but as she is almost 40, it is a
losing battle. Her hair, which is naturally plain, is dyed blond. She
looks as if she may have had a rather hard appearance when she
was younger, but the years have softened this and the lines on her
face, which she works so hard to conceal, help, rather than hinder,
her attractiveness. She has become a phone number that travelling
men pass on to one another for an easy good time when they are
in her area, and her opinion of herself is all too obvious in her
conversation, for she gives far too much attention to establishing the
fact that she is a respectable woman. Despite her defenses and the
hopelessness of her situation, there emerges the sensitivity and loneliness, developed as a result of too many broken trusts, that place
her above the people who have betrayed her. She is a tender,
wounded animal, and in a very special way, this makes her beautiful.
She stands uncertainly at the top of the stairs and looks out into
the dark theatre, then comes cautiously down the steps onto the
stage. She sees cal and stops.
49 beverly:   Oh.  (Nervously)  Pardon me . .. have you seen a Mr.
Newman, Mr. Richard Newman around any place?
cal:  (Rises and stands uneasily) He hasn't got here yet. I'm waiting for him myself.
beverly: (Looks at him as if she might recognize him) Oh. (Moves
cautiously about stage and looks out into the audience)  God,
what an immense place. I guess it looks so big because it's empty.
Think what it would be like if it was filled with people and we
were up here. (This idea seems to make her very nervous.)
cal : Yeah. (Looks out into audience and the thought seems to make
him nervous too) I guess we're a little early. (Looks at his watch)
He said two o'clock and it's only ten of, now.
beverly: At least I'm in the right place. We're the only ones here
so far?
cal:   (Nods) I didn't want to be late for the tryouts but I guess I
overdid it a little.
bev: Same here. (She studies his face and this makes him nervous.)
Forgive me for staring but I just know that I've seen you before,
probably on television or in the movies, but I just can't place
who you are.
cal: Who, me? (Smiles, pleased that someone should mistake him
for an actor) Naw, not me. Somebody that looks like me maybe.
I've never been on television or in the movies in my life.
bev: Are you sure?
cal: Positive.
bev: Now isn't that funny, I was certain I'd seen you someplace
like that.
cal:  Naw. (Pause) I was on the radio once when I was a kid in
Racine,  Wisconsin,  but that was only one of these sidewalk
bev:  (Convinced, she relaxes a little) Oh. (She walks around the
cal:  (There is an awkward pause.) They asked me who the father
of our country was and I knew the answer so they gave me a
free carton of 7-Up.
bev: Pardon?
cal : The radio interview I was telling you about.
bev : Oh yes, of course.
cal : I was only about six.
bev : That's very interesting. Really, it is.
cal:   (Shrugs it off modestly) Aw, you know. (There is another
5° awkward pause as they run out of conversation. Beverly sits in
a chair near the centre of the stage.)
bev : Then you're not an entertainer?
cal: Well, not exactly. You'll probably wonder what I'm doing
here when I tell you this, but I've never been on a stage before.
I always wanted to be an actor or something like that but I never
thought I could do it. It wasn't until I met Richard . . . Mr. Newman, that I thought I'd ever really get on a stage. He thinks I'm
a natural comedian.
bev : Is that a fact!
cal : Yeah, no kidding.
bev: Isn't that something! You know, practically the same thing
happened to me. I've been practicing to be a dancer practically
all my life, but I never really had the nerve to try to do anything
with it until I met Richard Newman and he talked me into trying
out for this review he's putting on.
cal : Is that right? And you've been practicing all your life?
bev: Well, actually ... well I've never taken any formal lessons,
I mean, like in classes, but I bet I've seen every movie that Ann
Miller, Betty Grable, and people like that have made, at least
six times. See, I watch very closely everything they do and then
I go home and try to imitate it and practice until I get it. You'd
be surprised how much you can learn that way.
cal: Oh, I can imagine that that's a very good way to learn to
dance. No sir, I believe in that sort of thing very much.
bev : Well, some people might think it was a little funny, not taking
any formal lessons.
cal : No, as a matter of fact, I've been doing the same thing lately
since Richard convinced me I should try to become a comedian.
I've been watching all the comedians on TV — Red Skelton,
Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope — and try to see just
what it is they do that makes them so funny.
bev : Sure, that's the way to do it.
cal: I've learned a lot that way. Of course, Richard doesn't think
I'm the same kind of comedian that they are. He says that I've
got my own style and that I'm funny in a different way.
bev: What sort of thing do you do?
cal : Well, Richard thinks I'm the Will Rogers kind of comedian.
You can probably tell I'm sorta shy anyway and he thinks that
if I get up in front of a bunch of people and put my hands in
my pockets and sorta shuffle around and tell stories — you know,
51 just interesting little stories — that everybody will like me and
think I'm amusing.
bev: Maybe he's right. Richard knows about things like that. I'd
never have thought of it myself but when you explain it I can
see what he's talkin' about. That might be just the right approach
for you because it depends on appeal and there's something
basically appealing about you.
cal:  (Embarrassed) Oh now, I don't know about that.
bev : Yes, there is. I can spot a rat a mile away and I can tell that
you're no rat. A person knows they can trust you right from the
moment they set eyes on you.
cal : I've done some pretty ratty things in my day.
bev : Experience has taught me to be a pretty good judge of character and believe me, there are very few people I trust right off.
cal: (Pleased but embarrassed) Well.. . thanks ...
bev: There are a great many men in this world who mistakenly
believe that because a girl has once been married, she has cultivated certain "instincts" that she now has to satisfy whether she
has a husband anymore or not.
cal: (Obviously embarrassed) Oh . . .
bev: Well, I wasn't talking about myself in particular, I meant
things in general, but as a matter of fact, I was married before.
I'm a widow; my husband died after we were married a few
cal : That's too bad.
bev: Well, that was a long time ago. I have a son who is almost
cal : Fifteen? Gee, you don't look ... I mean, you look so . . .
bev: Most people are quite surprised that I'm old enough to have
a son who is fifteen. I married very young and as it turned out
I'm glad of it. It made it possible for my son and I to sort of
grow up together.
cal: I can see where there would be a great many advantages to
that sort of thing.
bev: He's a very nice boy too and I must say that even though
he's had to grow up without the benefit of a father, he's turned
out pretty well, even though we've had some hard times.
cal : It sounds as if you've done a very good job.
bev: I always feel that if the men I go out with can meet my son
and see the kind of boy he is and the respectable kind of home
I've given him, they'll see the kind of person I am and understand the kind of behavior I expect from them.  (Pause)  Un-
52 fortunately, it is necessary to spell everything out for some people
and several unpleasant experiences have taught me that it is
better to make it absolutely clear exactly where I stand on these
matters before accepting an invitation for an evening out.
cal : Some people just can't seem to take a hint.
bev: Exactly. I say to them, "Please forgive me if I seem overly
frank but I want everything perfectly understood before we go
out. Many men expect certain things from a woman in my position that I have no intention of complying with. I enjoy male
companionship and leading a social fife but if anything is expected in return on my part, then let's call the whole thing off
right here and now."
cal : Good for you. And what do they say to that?
bev: Well, the directness of my tone causes a good many of them
to show their colors right then and there. They find some excuse
for breaking the date or they just don't show up, which is fine
by me. Those who have honorable intentions to begin with find
my directness has cleared the air and we usually have a much
better time because of it.
cal: That's always the best way; just meet the problem head on
and half the time you find there wasn't much of a problem to
begin with!
bev: There you are. (Pause) But as I was saying with a fellow like
you, well, a person knows that you're trustworthy and that it isn't
necessary to draw you any pictures because it's obvious that
you're a gentleman.
cal : (Pleased, he thinks for a moment, then clears his throat) Well,
maybe we could go out some time.
bev: I'm sure that would be very pleasant. (Pause) When did you
have in mind?
cal : Oh . .. well, I dunno. Why don't we see what happens at these
tryouts. Maybe we'll both end up in this revue, then . .. You
know . ..
bev: That would probably be best. My stars, I got to carrying on
so about myself that we got completely off the subject. We were
talking about the kind of act you did.
cal : No, no, there's really nothing to tell.
bev: No, really, I'm interested. You were saying you did Will
Rogers' imitations.
cal: Well, no, not exactly. Richard thinks I'm the same sort of
comedian as Will Rogers. You know, sort of shy and folksy. He
53 told me to work up some material around some interesting stories
I read in the papers or magazines. You know.
bev : I'm not quite sure I understand just what kind of effect you're
after. Why don't you do one — then I could see it.
cal: I don't know. I've never tried it in front of anybody before.
bev : Then I could be your first audience. Besides, it would be good
practice for you.
cal: (Reluctantly) Yeah, I guess you're right. (Looking around, he
takes a stool from the corner of the stage and places it several
yards in front of her.) Well, let's say that up here is the stage and
you're the audience. I worked this up from an article I read in
a magazine. (He sits on the stool.) The lights come up and here
I am on this stool. (He pauses for a moment, then begins. He is
very nervous at first but gradually this disappears. He is obviously
reciting verbatim something he has memorized and occasionally
he adds a wooden gesture.) Now here's a story that you folks
ought to find interesting; I dunno, I thought it was interesting.
It's true too, that's the funny thing. A lot of New Yorkers who
can afford it, go to Florida on vacation during the winter months.
There they escape for a few weeks the northern cold and in
January and February, when most other parts of the country
are freezing, they are basking in the Florida sunshine. New York
children, vacationing there with their parents often buy pets and
occasionally, a baby alligator is selected from amongst the wide
assortment and taken home to a nice warm apartment in New
York where the children play with it in the bath-tub, sleep with
it and so on. Their parents, under the mistaken impression that
the pet is a midget alligator rather than a baby alligator, quite
naturally become concerned when it begins to grow rapidly.
Alarmed, they look for a way to get rid of this menace and quite
logically hit upon the idea of flushing it down the toilet. Now
being flushed down the toilet would kill most of us, but not the
alligator. Its cylindrically-shaped body bears the trip rather easily
and emerges in the sewer beneath the city, a little shaken perhaps,
but really none the worse for wear. Once in the sewer it finds
itself in an environment not too unlike that of its native habitat:
dark, wet and slimy. Although the variety of food available in the
sewer would hardly appeal to many of us, the alligator finds it
quite to his liking. In fact, he thrives on this atmosphere and
barring some unforseen disaster, grows quite naturally to maturity.
There, in his new home, he meets other alligators who have
arrived  under  similar   circumstances.   Certain  conditions  per-
54 mining, he finds a mate and before long there are new little
alligators lurking around the sewers who continue the circle.
Naturally this condition causes some concern among New Yorkers
and as a result the city employs two full-time alligator hunters
who attempt to keep the city free of this menace. Where else but
in New York City would it be necessary to employ two men,
full-time, to keep the sewers free of alligators? (Shakes his head)
I ask you, folks! By the way, let this be a word of caution: please
don't flush your alligators down the toilet. (He grins in a very
forced manner as if to an audience and his act is over. Then he
speaks to Beverly.) Well, that's it.
bev: (She is frowning, as if concentrating deeply. Then slowly she
begins to nod.) Now that's what I call interesting. Very, very
cal : (Pleased) Do you really think so?
bev: Not only that, but it's unusual, very unusual. It really makes
you stop and think about all the things going on around you
that you don't even know about.
cal : Yeah, that's what I want to get across.
bev:  Is that really true? Are there really alligators in the sewers?
cal: Oh sure. I read this in the Reader's Digest.
bev : You see! You could live and die right in New York and never
even know about something like that. Things like that simply
fascinate me.
cal : Well, I'm glad you like it.
bev: Oh, I did, I really did. I think you have a great deal of talent.
cal: (Immensely pleased) Well... well, thank you very much.
Since I never actually tried this sort of thing before, I was a little
bev: Oh, you have nothing to worry about; you're a very talented
man. But one thing: your story wasn't very funny, if that's the
thing you're aiming for. Interesting, yes; funny, no.
cal: (Disappointed) Oh.
bev: Now don't take this wrong, I don't think that's bad; as a
matter of fact it's good.
cal : Good? What good is a comedian if he's not funny?
bev: Well... I don't know .. . (She thinks.) Maybe that could be
the thing that makes you different from the other comedians:
you're not funny!
cal: How's that again?
bev: Well, like I said before, you have a great deal of audience
appeal and your story about the alligators was really interesting
55 and I was enjoying myself all the time you were doing your
routine, so what's the difference if you're not funny?
cal:  (A little bewildered) I dunno. I never really thought about it
that way before.
bev :  Sure, there you are. You can bill yourself as ... Say, by the
way, I've never introduced myself.
cal : Me either. We were so busy talking it completely slipped our
minds. My name is Cal Jenner.
bev:   Cal Jenner. Mine is Beverly Hooker.  (They shake hands.)
cal: Very pleased to meet you.
bev:  Same here.  (She continues.) You can bill yourself as "Cal
Jenner, the Serious Comedian."
cal:   (Considering) Do you really think that has possibilities?
bev : Sure I do. It's very original.
cal : Maybe you've got something there.
bev: I bet that's what Richard had in mind all along.
cal: Maybe you're right. (Pause. He looks at his watch.) I wonder
where he is; it's after 2 :30.
bev: I was beginning to wonder that myself. Are you sure it was
for 2:00? Nobody else has showed up yet either.
cal : I dunno. Oh well, you know people in show business, they're
never on time for anything.
bev: That's what you hear. Who all is going to be in this revue?
cal : Richard said he was trying to land some of the biggest names
in show business.
bev: Like who?
cal : I don't know for sure.
bev: Well, who do you think?
cal : I dunno, he didn't actually mention names.
bev: Do you think somebody like . . . Judy Garland, maybe? That
cal : Well.. . yeah, I suppose.
bev: My God! Do you really think so?
cal : That's the impression I got.
bev:  (Nervously) I'm not so sure I want to go through with this.
That's gettin' a little over my head.
cal : I know what you mean.
bev : After all, I've never tried anything like this before.
cal: On the other hand you've got to figure that Richard knows
what he's doin' and that he wouldn't have asked us to try out
if he didn't think we were up to it.
bev: (She sits.) Well, that might be, but I'm not sure I'm ready for
56 anything this big yet. Up to a few weeks ago when I was introduced to Richard, I had no idea ... I mean ... I think maybe
I should start smaller and gradually work up to something like
this after I build up my confidence. Richard is the only person
I've ever danced for before in my whole fife.
cal: But the thing is, if you do good in this show, that'll give ya'
all the confidence you need, then ya' won't have to build up
gradually. Starting out small and working up a little at a time is
okay for kids who have their whole lives in front of them, but,
if you'll pardon me for sayin' so, for people like you and me, it's
now or never.
bev: Yeah . .. (The truth of this sinking in.) ... I guess you're
right, it's now or never ...
cal: (Instinctively he puts his hand on her shoulder in an effort to
reassure her. Both of them are scared to death. Suddenly he
realizes they are touching and he moves away making both of
them aware that each is alone again. He wanders nervously about
the stage.) It's only natural to be a little nervous at a time like
this. Actually, it's supposed to help put you on your toes. They
say that if you're never nervous, you're never any good.
bev : I've heard that too.
cal : Listen, I've got an idea. You saw what I do, now why don't
you show me what you do. It made me feel better, maybe it'll
do the same for you.
bev: I'm not sure I even want to go through with this at all.
(Pause) But then when I think of going back . . .
cal: C'mon, it'll help ya relax and besides, I'd like to see what
you do.
bev: Well, maybe ... I don't know ... I usually have some music.
cal:  (Pause) I could whistle.
bev: (Considers) Do you know the tune "I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo?" (He nods.) Okay. Give this introduction at about this
tempo. (She demonstrates by whistling the desired introduction
at a fast tempo. He tries it.) Okay. (He starts again from the beginning and after the introduction she begins her dance, using the
whole stage. It is a spectacular dance with a great deal of energy
and movement. It incorporates many different kinds of dances:
tap, modern, ballet, and is a poor imitation of the dances one
saw in the post-war movies of the ig^o's. It alternatively attempts
to be brassy, fresh and artful but succeeds only in being tasteless.
At best, it might be ranked in the class of a revue given by a
third-rate dance studio in a small town. Unnoticed by cal and
57 beverly, a man enters through the rear door about halfway
through her number and stands watching from the top of the
steps. He is emery pencil and is in his early 40's. He is a big
man and although he is not particularly ugly, his appearance is
quite unappealing. No matter how carefully he selects them, his
clothes all seem several sizes too small for him and appear to have
been chosen from a mail order catalogue. He carries a portable
record player and a small satchel containing a number of records.)
bev: (Finishes her dance by doing a "splits," her arm raised over
her head.) Ta daaa! (As she extricates herself from the splits
position, she immediately becomes very busy dusting and straightening herself and talking in what she hopes is a matter-of-fact
tone, all in an attempt to hide her apprehensions about cal's
opinion of her routine.) I never know if I'm going to make it
into that ending or not. It's a matter of split-second timing, you
get one step off and it throws the whole thing. It's like everything
else in dancing; it's all a matter of timing and some days ya' got
it and others you might as well have stayed home ... Well, there
it is, for better or for worse.
cal: (Shakes his head) I don't know. I don't know anything about
dancing so I can't say anything from that aspect. (Searching for
words) I don't know exactly what it is, but there seemed to be
something sad about it.
bev: Are you kiddin'?
cal : No, no, honest I'm not.
bev: (Puzzled) Really? That's not the kind of dance it's supposed
to be. It's supposed to be light and sort of happy, like in musical
cal: Well, it was that too. Yeah, that's just it: it was so happy.
When I used to go to the movies and see the musicals where they
did those kind of dances, it used to make me feel happy; I was
happy all the time in those days ... They don't dance like that
anymore. Y'know what I mean?
bev : Sort of, I think I see what you're drivin' at. Maybe the routine
is a little too old-fashioned to go over. Maybe I should make it
more modern.
cal : No, no that would ruin it.
emery: (His voice booms out from the top of the stairs.) Don't
change a step of that dance, it was absolutely brilliant!
bev: (Peering toward the stairs where the light is dim) Who's that?
emery: (Comes down the stairs carrying his phonograph and records)  The young man is right. Don't ruin a good thing by
58 changing it. (bev and cal regard him apprehensively, not sure
who he is.)
bev : I didn't know anyone was there.
emery: Don't apologize, lady, I loved it and so will everyone else.
And do you know why? I'll tell you. For exactly the reason this
fellow stated before: your dancing reminds folks of happy
times — right out of the movies they used to make in the 40's.
The 1940's! Christ, the memories that brings flooding back! (He
speaks now almost as if he were narrating a documentary film
that shows montage-like pictures of the things he speaks of.) We
met head-on the greatest challenge our nation had ever known
and emerged victorious. Families, separated for four long, terrible
years were reunited and made whole again. Sweethearts, who
had said tearful good-byes, never expecting to see each other
again, now ran full-speed to the nearest church where they had
to stand in line to be married! Employment was at an all-time
high and so were wages. (Ironically) And so was the cost of
living. Inflation? Sure, but so what! Most people had more
money than they knew what to do with anyway. And cars! Oh
my God, after nearly four years of gas rationing and limping
around in patched-up old wrecks salvaged from the junk heap,
at last, new cars. Chevies, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Dodges, Chryslers,
Nashs, Cadillacs — and did you EVER see anything more beautiful than the 1946 Ford!
After living with substitutes for what seemed like a life-time,
we could once more get the genuine article — and without ration
stamps! Gasoline, meat, rubber, butter, silk, and bubble gum to
name a few! All you needed was the money to buy it and it
was yours.
And remember what sheer joy it was to go to the movies and
once again see all the leading men back from the wars: Jimmy
Stewart, Tyrone Power, Robert Taylor, and the King himself,
Clark Gable! "Gable's Back and Garson's Got Him!" Remember
that? (Shakes his head nostalgically) Ah, that's what they really
meant when they said movies are better than ever. And the
musicals the movies made in those days! (Slaps his head unbelievingly) Betty Grable and June Haver in "The Dolly Sisters";
June Allison and Peter Lawford in "Good News"; "Easter
Parade" with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire; Dan Dailey and
Betty Grable in "Mother Wore Tights", and who will ever forget "The Jolson Story." (He seems almost about to burst into
song but he controls himself.) Nosir! They don't make musicals
59 like that anymore, and fife is not as good as it was then, and
people aren't really happy anymore. (He brings his speech to a
close.) So lady, don't change anything, because if you do, you
kill a little something in the rest of us — the memory of a time
that was happy and free and rich, and a time that we will never
again be able to touch in any way — except through you. (He
is finished. Pause.)
bev: Oh!
emery: Lady, you're wonderful. On first sight I'd ask you to
marry me, except that I'm already married, I think. At least I
was this morning. My wife was threatening to divorce me if I
came down here today. Why aren't you famous when you can
dance like that?
cal : She's never had a single lesson in her whole life.
bev:  (To emery) I didn't even know you were watching.
emery: Lady, don't hide your light under a bushel basket.
bev: (Flushed and radiant from this admiration) Until now I've
always been afraid to let anyone see me dance. I've always been
afraid that they'd laugh at me. Don't you know what I mean?
cal : I know what you mean. All my life, I wanted to be an actor,
but where I grew up people think there's something the matter
with you if you talk about things like that.
bev: Don't pay any attention to them.
cal : I made the mistake of tellin' a friend of mine about it. (Shakes
his head) Whooo-eee! I might as well broadcast it over the radio.
Everybody thought that was pretty funny, a guy like me wantin'
to be an actor like John Wayne or Clark Gable or somebody
like that. For a long time after that they all called me Clark.
emery: And if you ever made good, they'd be the first ones to say
how they knew you had it in you all the time.
cal : Now I just keep my mouth shut and think about it to myself
every night. .. watching 13,000 beer bottles roll past me on the
conveyor belt.
bev : While you what?
cal: That's my job: I inspect beer bottles for Schultz Beverages
every night from midnight till 6 in the mornin'. See, a lot of the
bottles that we fill are actually re-fills; they've been sold before,
emptied and returned for the deposit. But sometimes before they
come back to us they sit around on people's back porches and
places like that for a long time and a lot of ... well, funny things
find their way inside the bottles: cigarette butts, hairpins, marbles,
bugs, mice sometimes even get into the bottles and die there.
60 bev: Oh.
cal: You can imagine how well something like that goes over:
some guy sittin' around slugging beer an' he finds a dead mouse
floatin' in his bottle. Things like that get around; not good for
business, so you can see we have to be careful all the bottles are
washed clean. There's this big machine with a lot of small brushes
that can clean the insides of hundreds of bottles at one time. But
every once in a while the machine misses something and "foreign
matter" remains inside the bottle. Foreign matter is what we
call anything inside the bottle besides beer. And this is where I
come in: I sit alongside the tail end of the conveyor belt and just
before each bottle goes off the belt onto the packaging table,
it stops right in front of me. See, there's a light on the opposite
side of the belt that shines right into the bottle and lets you see
right into it. And I peer into each bottle and make sure there's
no foreign matter in it. (bev nods her head. She and emery exchange glances.)
emery: Doesn't it get a little dull sometimes. I mean, just sittin'
there watchin' all those bottles go by?
cal: (Pause) I figured it out once that I look into almost 13,000
beer bottles every day, not counting the ones I look into after
working hours. I do this five days a week an' I been at it more
than two years now. That's 6,844,240 bottles in two years. An'
in all that time, I came across maybe 100 or so bottles with any
foreign matter in 'em. When I find one it's actually an occasion.
I talk about it for days. Christ! It's funny, but I never realized
how much I hated it until I met Richard Newman. Up till then
I figured, somebody's got to do it and actually felt I was doing
something worthwhile in saving people unpleasantness . . .
bev: I directed exercise programmes for overweight women. I don't
know, it wasn't much but it didn't bother me — I just never
thought about it, one way or the other. (Pause — she seems to be
recalling and demonstrates as she does) All right ladies, on your
feet now ... hands on hips .. . no, Mrs. Carson, on the hips . . .
that's it. . . all right, we bend from the waist as far down as we
can, keeping the knees straight... all together now . . . again . . .
that's it. .. that's the way .. . no, Mrs. Werberger, keep your
knees straight. . . that's not the way we have lovely legs . . .
(Laughs softly to herself) And then, one day — ah God — you
realize it might as well be a robot up there doing your job. They're
never going to get any fatter or thinner, or taller or shorter or
61 anything ... and the funny thing is, they don't really care. They're
just a bunch of fat old ladies killing time, until. . . (Silence, bev
stares blankly ahead, cal holds his face in his hands, emery
seems lost in thought, cal rises and begins to pace nervously.)
emery : What time is it?
cal : (Glances at his watch) A little after three.
emery: I thought I was going to be late. You don't suppose we
could have got it mixed up what day we were supposed to be
cal: (Shakes his head) Naw, not all three of us. But it's damn
funny, nobody else showing up and no Richard Newman. (Continues pacing)
bev: (She has been looking at emery and frowning as if she were
entertaining an unpleasant thought.) Are you here to audition
too, Mr. .. .
emery : Pencil, Emery Pencil.
bev : Is that a stage name?
emery : No, that's my real handle. I guess it sounds funny but my
folks were Evangelists in a small town in Pennsylvania and names
like that aren't so unusual there. Pencil of Pennsylvania I used
to call myself.
bev: (Pause) What did you say you did?
emery: Oh, I don't know. I've done a little bit of everything I
guess. Started out, I was gonna be an evangelist, like my folks,
but I got disillusioned with that after my sister died and I started
to wander. Been wanderin' ever since, all over the country. Did
a little bit of everything too: travelling tie salesman, insurance,
was in the army for a while, used car salesman, singing waiter.
bev : A singing waiter!
emery: I guess I'd have to say I liked that better'n anything I
ever did. Singin', that's my first love. Got started as a kid at
Evangelist meetings singin' with my sister. Everybody seemed to
think we were pretty good too. Got so people were asking us to
sing. Hell, we sang everywhere: church, saloons, movie houses,
street corners — everywhere. Well, after my sister died, I drifted
around for awhile until I ended up in St. Louis. I was near
starved when I saw a sign in the window of a restaurant adver-
tisin' for a singin' waiter. (He stops abruptly and stares vacantly.)
bev: (After waiting expectantly for him to continue) And you've
been doing that ever since?
emery: (Pauses) A few years back, somethin' happened to my
voice; I don't know exactly what — I don't even know how to
62 explain it. It's sorta like being drunk and tryin' to walk a straight
line: you can see the line in front of ya an' you know it's only a
matter of puttin' one foot in front of another, yet ya can't do it.
Well that's how my voice got: I could hear the note in my head,
I knew what it was supposed to be but my voice couldn't find it.
I never knew what was gonna come out. So that was that for
me singin'.
bev: Gee, that's too bad, having to give up something that means
that much to you.
emery: Turns out it was an act of God. I honestly believe that
sometimes the good Lord intervenes when our lives are beginning
to take a direction that he doesn't intend them to take, and
straightens us out, painful as it may seem at the time.
cal : I wonder if that's true, I've often had the same thought myself.
emery : And that's what happened to me. The Lord never intended
for me to spend my life being a singing waiter so He took away
my perfect pitch.
bev: (Curious) And now you . . . ?
emery: Wait lady; it's worth waiting for.
(The back door opens again and a small old man enters. He
wears a cap and over his long-sleeved undershirt he wears a vest
which hangs open. He comes down to the stage but stops abruptly
when he sees the others.)
man: Who are you people? What are you doing in here?
cal : We're waiting for Richard Newman.
man : Who the hell is Richard Newman?
bev: He's putting on a revue here. He told us to meet him here
to audition for it.
man: There ain't any revue comin' into this theatre. There ain't
anything comin' in here except a new bowling alley. I'm the
janitor and I know. Now you get out of here before I have ya' all
run in for illegal entry!
cal : But he told us . . .
man : And I'm tellin' you that you don't belong here. If somebody
told ya' to meet 'em here, they don't know what they're talkin'
bev : But he said . .. !
(From the back of the house comes the sound of low laughter
of a man which gets louder and louder as it continues. The four
people on stage stare out into the dark theatre.)
cal: Richard? Richard Newman? Is that you? (Laughter continues)
63 bev : Thank God, at last. Would you explain to this man what's
going on? (Laughter continues louder)
emery: Straighten this guy out.
bev: Are we glad to see you! (Straining to see out into dark auditorium) Richard?
cal:  We thought we might have gotten the time mixed up.
bev : Somehow, we had the impression there was going to be a lot
more people here.
cal : You know, big stars.
emery: An orchestra.
bev : Or at least an accompanist.
cal : It seemed funny — just the three of us.
bev : But now that you're here .. .
cal: We were almost beginning to think . . . (All stare front silently
as laughter continues.)
emery: What's so goddam funny?
(Laughter continues louder than ever. A flash of daylight can be
seen from the rear of the house as a door opens for a moment,
then slams shut. Laughter ceases, cal, bev, and emery stare
silently out into the empty theatre.)
man : That the fella' you were waitin' for? (Silence)
bev : How long ... do you think he was . . . out there?
cal : We just saw the light from outside when he opened the door
to leave. If he'd have come in while we were here, we'd have
seen it then too.
bev :  He must have been waiting there in the dark . . . before we
got here.
emery: What is this? What's going on, anyway?
(bev and cal look at each other in silence. They both know what
has happened but neither wants to say it.)
man : (A little bewildered) Well, I don't know what this is all about,
but you people better gather up your stuff and clear out of here.
(Goes quickly off into wings)
bev:   (Staring out into the theatre) What a cruel, cruel, thing to
do! (She is barely able to keep from crying.)
emery: Cruel? What's cruel? What're you talkin' about?
cal :   Sitting out there in the dark — watching us make fools of
emery: Why, what're you talkin' about? How do you know it was
him — you couldn't see in the dark?
bev : It was him, all right.
cal : That twisted son of a bitch! It's plain as day now.
64 bev : Why couldn't we see it?
cal: (Sitting, his head in his hands) I don't know, I don't know.
It never even crossed my mind that he wasn't on the level. But
now . .. everything he did, everything he said, he was just settin'
us up for this.
emery: That's not true! Richard Newman wouldn't do a thing
like that. Now I been dealing with people all my life and I know
a little bit about 'em an' he's just not the kind that would do
something like that. Now if that was him out there, he probably
just stepped out for some cigarettes or .. .
bev: (Moaning) Ohhh, what fools we've been! The three of us
sitting here nervously waiting to see our names go up in lights:
a comedian who isn't funny, a singer who lost his voice, and a
dancer who can't dance!
emery: In the first place, I'm not a singer — not any more. And
you can dance. I saw you and you have a genuine talent.
bev : I haven't got anything but a punctured pipe-dream! Oh —
it was so . . . (Fighting tears) . . . perfect! It was going to change
everything— (As if she were talking on a telephone) — "Hello?
No, I'm sorry — Miss Hooker no longer has to content herself
by taking what she can get." (Pause) I'm sorry Mr. Pencil, I
don't mean to be unkind, but I just got a very clear look at myself and it wasn't very pretty. I'm just a phone number that
travelling salesmen pass around among themselves for a quick
good time, and it looks like I'm stuck with it.
cal : (Laughing bitterly) Oh, I'm funny all right; funny in the head
for thinking I could ever be anything but a bottle inspector!
Some comedian!
emery: (Stares at them as they sit in silence) If you could see the
picture you make, up to your necks in self-pity.
cal: I don't think self-pity's got anything to do with it. We just
came out on the losin' end of somebody's mixed-up idea of a
joke. Up to a few minutes ago I had some pretty hot ideas about
myself, but now I begin to get the picture. You might be smart
if you figured it out too.
emery: Son, there are sometimes when it doesn't pay to stop and
think. I been knocked down so many times I can't even remember
them all. But I get back up again and I do it without even think-
in' about it, because if I don't I'm dead and I don't want to die.
It's an instinct for survival and if you don't have it, you better
develop it damn quick.
65 bev: Where's your instinct for survival when you find out we're
right and Richard Newman doesn't come back?
emery : But he will come back! Don't you see? He's got to come
back! Lookin' back on my whole life, I can see it now where I
been guided and built up right to this moment. And that's bigger
than you, or Richard Newman, or anything!
bev: (Quietly) Well, I hope you're not disappointed. As for me —
somehow my "instinct for survival" no longer involves kidding
cal : After a few months on the job and a couple hundred thousand
beer bottles, it gradually begins to dawn on me that maybe I
ain't got such a hot deal after all. When you stop and think about
it, what kind of a guy are they lookin' to hire who's gonna sit
there happily starin' into more than six million beer bottles as
they drift by him? (Pause) I didn't get the job because I scored
the highest on the tests, but because I scored the lowest! After
that I was too scared to go out and look for anything better, so
afterwhile I started to day-dream about better things while I
was watching the bottles go by — and that's how I ended up
here. Well, I got kicked in the teeth again today. But feeling it
hurt, I know I can stand it and that's something I didn't know
before. That's why I sat around for so long scared silly, doing
nothing but getting more scared. I don't know where I go from
here, but I'll be goddamned if I'm going back to looking into
beer bottles. (Rises) Well so long, it's been nice meeting you.
(Starts out. Stops, looks at bev) I'm going uptown; can I give
you a lift?
bev : I ... I go the other way . . .
cal: (Pause) C'mon, I'll give you a lift anyway. Maybe we can
stop off some place and have a cup of coffee, or a drink.
bev: What does that mean?
cal : I haven't any idea.
bev: (Pause) All right.
emery: (Desperately) No ... listen, please .. . don't go! The three
of us . . . even if he doesn't show, we can do this together ... we
don't need him . ..
bev : C'mon with us.
emery : (Fiercely) No! A couple of goddamn quitters, that's all you
are! One little setback and you throw in the towel. Well, go on
then, get the hell out; I don't need the likes of you. (cal and
bev look at emery sadly, then start out.) I been knocked down
and kicked all my life and I always got up again and it ain't any
66 different now. Go on, you cowards, run! Run back to your beer
bottles and fat old women! Hurry, they might not be waitin'
when you get there. But not for Emery Pencil! (bev and cal
go out; almost in a frenzy emery comes downstage and speaks
out into the empty auditorium.) No sir, not old Emery Pencil!
Listen, Mr. Newman, in case you're out there; maybe you're out
there — I dunno. That was a pretty good joke you pulled. Those
other two — no sense of humor. But I get it. Yessir, old Emery,
he can take a joke. But now that we had our little laugh, want
to show you my act. All I ask is a chance and if you don't like
it — I'll. . . Well, never mind that, because you'll like it — you
won't be able to help likin' it. (He goes quickly to his phonograph
at the side of the stage, selects a record from the pile beneath it
and puts it on. Excitedly) You'll remember this one! (The music
starts — Al Jolson singing "Mah Blushin' Rosie." emery struts
along the stage elaborately and energetically miming the sounds
and actions of Al Jolson. He is doing a pretty good job but just
when he is really getting into it, the record sticks and repeats the
same passage over and over. Bravely, emery mouths the repetition
of the record, hoping that it will continue, but it is hopelessly
stuck in its groove. Finally, broken, he stops the pantomime and
stands completely defeated as the record continues to repeat the
same passage over and over. Slowly, he goes to the phonograph
and removes the needle arm from the record. He stares sadly at
the machine for a moment, then goes slowly toward the door.
Then he stops, goes back to the phonograph, picks it up and
exits quickly.
The stage is empty for a moment, then the lights fade to darkness.)
the end
milton acorn's latest book of poems is Jawbreakers (Contact Press,
Toronto). He presently lives in Vancouver.
david bromige recently won the Poet Laureate award at Berkeley,
where he is studying for his Ph.D. in English. Sumbooks will publish
his first volume of poems this fall.
R. g. everson, who lives in Montreal, is the author of several books of
poetry, the latest of which is Blind Man's Holiday (Ryerson,
marya fiamengo will present a book of poems as her M.A. thesis in
English at the University of British Columbia. Her first volume was
The Quality of Halves (Klanak Press, West Vancouver).
maurice gibbons teaches in the University of British Columbia Faculty
of Education. His collection of satirical stories, The Predicaments of
Eustace Prim, was published recently by Musson, Toronto.
george Johnston, who teaches at Carleton University in Ottawa, is
the author of The Cruising Auk (Oxford Press, Toronto). His latest
book was a translation of an Icelandic saga.
richard kosmicki, a New York PR man, has written for newspapers,
TV, and radio. "The Exterminator" in this issue is his first published story.
irving layton, well-known Canadian poet and fiction writer, is soon
publishing a new book of poems, Wind in Hades (McClelland &
Stewart, Toronto).
dorothy livesay has twice won the Governor General's Award for
poetry. She is now a graduate student at the University of British
sherry lougheed is a student at Bowling Green University in Ohio.
Her poem in this issue is her first publication.
Gwendolyn macewen is a young Toronto writer, whose first novel,
Julian the Magician, was published recently by Macmillan, Toronto.
charles mayrs did the illustrations on pages 14, 26, 36 and 48. The
other illustrations and the cover photograph are by Prism's designer,
DAVID mayrs.
john metcalf, an Englishman who now teaches high school in
Quebec, has had stories read over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation networks. The ones in this issue are his first in print.
barry pritchard is playwright-in-residence this summer with the
Seattle Repertory Theatre. The Audition, which appears in this
issue, was produced in Seattle and St. Paul, and has further productions slated next year.
heather spears has published in various journals and anthologies
since the appearance of Asylum Poems (Emblem Books, Toronto).
She is now painting and writing in Denmark.
for almost every
taste and purpose
can be found,
easily, at
901 Robson (at Hornby)
Also 4560 W. 10th Avenue
MUtual 4-2718
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