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X 1963 literary Supplement to The Orange & White


Number 1

Volume 5

STAFF

editor Patricia Sutherland

fiction editor joann marinelli

poetry editor bernie leggett

art editor melinda morgan

business manager Carolyn austin

covers Bird on a Block Composition in Cubes by Melinda Morgan


The P H 0

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X 1963 literary Supplement to The Orange & White


CONTENTS

Editor's Note— The human race is unique in the fact that it has created and perfected a written language. Through the medium of this written language, man has been able to communicate with other men and to preserve his thoughts, deeds, and progress. Literature provides the greatest range of opportunity for man to express him­ self to others. From a simple narrative to the philosophical essay of the scholar, the art of writing is accepted among men both high and low. What is the art of writing? A great many books claim to teach one through actual me­ dium of writing how to write. That is nothing more than a formula. Writing should be an instant of thought transmitted from the mind to paper. Still, that doesn’t actually explain writing. Regardless of what writing is, there is the undeniable fact that some men write while others read and enjoy what others have written. In this school year’s first issue of The Phoenix some have written. Our hope is that others will read and enjoy. An endeavor has been made to secure material that appears to be better than the average. In some respects, we feel that we have succeeded. Our efforts were not aided by those people who consider The Phoenix as something less than a literary magazine. As has been noted in the past, the staff can only publish the best of what they receive. As far as that goes, the greater portion of the contents of this issue were “begged, borrowed, and stolen’’ rather than submitted. To those who did submit, the staff extends their thanks. Some of the submissions are being held for consideration for the next issue. After all is said, we hope this issue of what we like to call the “new” Phoenix provides enjoyable reading.

STRELSIAN ACCOMPLISHMENT Hammett Murphy SUNKEN SOUL 'A

Melinda Morgan CRANE : 1932 Ronald Stottlemyer PANCREAS or IN THE RAINY SEASON IT RAINS CONSTANTLY IN THE TROPICS Churchill Roberts MALIGNANT NOCTURNE Judy Fagg CHRISTMAS CAME ON NEW YEARS TODAY Jane Hooper

Submit contributions to: PATRICIA SUTHERLAND, Editor Box 269 1621 West Cumberland Avenue Knoxville 16, Tennessee Please type, double-space, all ma­ terial contributed and include material pertinent to the submis­ sion. Items will not be returned unless a self addressed, stamped envelope is included.

THE PHOENIX december

1963 2


The Strelsian Accomplishment By Hammett Murphy There used to be this weird guy, named Jacob Strelser. He was a real strange guy, like always doing things nobody else was doing. Take for instance everybody used to like to read books about the Dark Ages, when they were small. You know, knights, and dam­ sels, and horses. And Jacob did too—sort of. I mean, what he was interested in was what castles were built out of. He spent very much of his time looking for references as to what a particular castle was made from. And when we all started college and became sort of beat­ niks and all — reading all the latest: Joyce, Faulkner, Salinger — Jacob didn’t. He kept on reading all right. But Willa Gather? So now you see what I mean when I call old Jake a weirdo. But then there were always these develop­ ments. Like not only did Jacob read up on what they made castles out of, he got a damn article published on it. He was only a sopho­ more in college and he gets an article! And other things too. For instance, after he read every damned novel Willa Gather ever wrote he delivered a talk on her to Faculty Wives’ Club. And they just loved it. If you ever met a faculty person’s wife you know what I mean. So old Jacob Strelser by the time he was a junior was really accomplished. But yet you always asked yourself about that. Jake? I mean you couldn’t get it. You couldn’t picture Jacob — Jacob Strelser — accomplished. He was the weirdest damned guy you ever met. He was really the weirdest guy you ever met. Like once in biology we had to turn in some drawings about a particular organ. Most people did a stomach of a cat or something like that. For instance Susan Bordenave did a frog’s giz­ zard or whatever it is. And we had to describe it also. Well, Jacob Strelser — Jesus Christ, you won’t believe this — turns in a descrip­ tion of an Aardwolfl i You ever heard of any­ thing like that? I mean anyone doing some­ thing like that? A goddamned Aardwolf! He talked about the Aardwolf’s jaw muscles. They have very strong jaw muscles. Everyone

cracked up of course. Old Jake. I was so damned tickled I went home and wrote a satir­ ical thing called “How to tell your friends from Aardwolves.’’ I read it to Jacob in the cafeteria —Susan Bordenave was the only person around —and we all cracked up. Even Jacob laughed a little. Susan laughed too. She looks pretty when she laughs. Well another unbelievable Strelsian develop­ ment : Jacob took the stupid satire and turned it in to the school newspaper! He knew a guy on it. I think his name is Robert Fawkes but I’m not sure. Well, anyway he turned it in! That’s the sort of thing old Jake does. Well, the damned paper published the thing. When I opened the paper and saw it I was sort of embarrassed to myself, if you know what I mean. But later on everybody else came up to me and told me I was clever. I never thought of it that way before. I mean like it was some­ thing to laugh at, but if my father found out they called me “clever’’ . . . the damned nut. Susan told me she liked it, but she also said I ought to spend my time learning my books so I could succeed and all when I graduated. That goes to show you that you just can’t write a stupid satire without people telling you stuff you never thought about. Well, that was to introduce you to good old Jacob Strelser. Because a very weird period of his life I know about. I’m sure he wasn’t snapped or anything because I know good old Jake. A guy who could pull off what old Jake used to pull off can’t be crazy. Especially the last thing: he joined the Peace Corps. And they sent him to this African country to teach. Well, somehow he caught the eye of the premier— or whatever they call them in Africa—and he was asked to be special tutor to the guy’s chil­ dren, which are sixteen as he has I don’t know how many wives. So that’s what good old Jacob Strelser pulled off. Living in royal splen­ dor I mean. Instead of out in the goddamned jungles. They did this thing on it in TIME if you saw it. It would have been an embarrass­ ment to refuse to let Jake teach the leader’s

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day I got off the bus a few blocks ahead of time because I knew I would see Susan Bordenave and could walk to class with her. Some bum that drives her to school never drives her all the way and she has to walk a few blocks, even if it’s cold. So I made this strategy to get off sooner and meet her and who knows? Well, I was walking very slowly as I didn’t see her yet, when I look across the street and there’s good old Jacob Strelser. I got ready to call when I noticed him doing a strange thing. So I stopped and watched him. Because when Jacob Strelser is off by himself you never know what to expect. Otherwise he’s very sociable. So I watched him. When I first noticed him he was walking over to a lamppost after having stood by one for a little while. Then he stopped by the lamppost and sort of cocked his head toward it. He even looked at it straight-on for a second. Then he moved on to the next one and did the same thing. I am always very interested in things and I never worried about being told “no” or “mind your own business.” After all, what would have happened to the United States if Columbus was too finicky about asking people to do him favors? So I crossed over to Jake and asked him what was going on, was he counting the damned posts? Old Jake likes me so didn’t mind my asking. “Listen, Floyd,” he said, “Pm going to find out if lampposts—as representa­ tives of so-called inorganic bodies—have life.” Ever since my freshman year I have learned to listen to anything without showing it. I can play like nothing fazes me. Nothing those radi­ cal teachers can say faze me. So I didn’t show I was floored when old Jacob Strelser told me he was finding out if lampposts had lives. “What I’ve been doing, for days now,” he said, “is approaching lampposts and asking them if they have life.” “What have you found out?” I asked just as debonair as hell, although I was still on the floor so to speak. “Nothing yet,” said Jake, “but let’s con­ tinue.” So we walked over to the next lamppost. It had a number on it, 762. Just like he did when I was watching him, Jake leaned over and said, “Hey, lamppost. Listen very carefully. I want to know if you’re alive, a living being. Now I don’t expect an answer — I realize it’s com­

kids. And they had this picture of old Jake. And not only that; a couple of those girls looked over seventeen and the way they were looking at good old Jake I can tell he wasn’t just teach­ ing them about sandstone castles. If you know what I mean. Well, that’s what he did so I know he can’t be a lunatic. So now I would like to tell you about the time in Jacob’s life that is so weird. You see, be­ sides always doing the crazy things I told you about, Jacob also had some weirdo beliefs. He didn’t believe in Jesus was one. Another was that all animals had souls and that they had rational faculties just like us. I mean not really like us, because as Jacob told me that’s why we don’t understand them because they’re dif­ ferent from us. If you think on it awhile you might agree. Jacob said it was a typical atti­ tude to take, just like the nobles used to do in the Dark Ages. Old Jake even said the ants probably lord it all over their cows. Jake said he adopted this position only after much think­ ing on it. Anyway, as he told me, his hypothe­ sis is on no more shakier ground than opposing ones. I thought about it too and I agree with Jacob. I realize it’s a very unusual position to hold, but what the hell. Well, as it came about during his senior year, old Jacob Strelser finally decided that everything lived. I remember it very distinct­ ly. As we were sitting in the cafeteria, Jacob said, “Boudreauz, I can’t believe it.” Naturally I asked what? He looked at me very seriously and said, “I just can’t conceive of so-called inorganic material being non-living.” As I have had some biology courses I im­ mediately knew what he was talking about. “If it’s inorganic it can’t have life,” I said. “I know that’s what they tell us,” Jacob said, “but I simply cannot look at a post or some­ thing and believe that the poor thing is un­ living.” “It does perform quite a service,” I said. “What does?” Jacob asked. “Posts.” “Posts?” “Lampposts, Jake. They light up and show you the way safely home.” “Jump in the lake.” Because he was hacked, Jacob didn’t mention anything about living posts anymore. And I didn’t see him after that for awhile. Then one

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“Now, Boudreaux, you must understand 4hat this is the lampposts’ method of ego-defense,” Jake said. “Every now and then—not often— they have to assert themselves over the hu­ mans.” “Over us, Jake, over us. You’re a damned human too, you know.” “Yes, yes.” Well I spent the rest of the day being mad. I felt like telling the mayor or something, to have those posts sacked. I didn’t though. I’m not like Jake. I got to thinking that Jacob would probably write another article on this. TIME sure would be interested in this. They would take pictures. But later on old Jake told me he would not write an article and that I should not tell anyone, as the world was not ready for such a revelation. He’s right too. Anyway I didn’t tell anyone anything. But I stayed mad as heck at those creepy lampposts. As a matter of fact, the next morning when I was waiting for good old Susan Bordenave again, just looking at those damned posts made me fume. I just got angry all over think­ ing about what those lampposts done to people. They could have done it to me. Boy, was I mad. All of sudden I hollered out: “You bunch of arrogant-looking bastards!” Then I picked up a piece of dirt and hummed it at 794. It splat­ tered all over him. Then I crossed the street and went up to 794 and said: “Just try blink­ ing your lights at me, you bastard, and I’ll throw a rock through your damned lamp.” Boy, was I mad. But what could I do? I mean I couldn’t push old 794 over. So I gave him a kick with the flat of my shoe and hollered out, real loud: “FRUITLAMP!” When I started to walk away I noticed old Susan Bordenave standing across the street looking at me. She looked very confused, as I’m sure you understand. Well I was surprised, and embarrassed too. But I immediately gained my composure, as I have so much experience with those radical teachers, and went up to good old Susan and said, “How’s about some coffeereedo, Susan?” “Okay,” she said, but she looked at me very worried. After we took a few steps she very timidly asked, “Floyd, what were you doing by that lamppost?” “I’m joining a fraternity,” I said, “and that’s part of the initiation.

pletely against tradition. Just think it over. I shall be back tomorrow.” Man, I was really floored then. “Jake!” “What?” “Jake, for Christ’s sake!” “Listen, Boudreaux, you can jump in the lake with concrete on your shoes.” (Oh no, with concrete on my shoes no less.) “I’m sorry, Jacob,” I said. “I’m sorry. No kidding.” “It’s the only way, Boudreaux.” “Sure,” I said. It was too. No one else would have thought of that. Only my friend, good old Jacob Strelser. “Will you come tomorrow, Floyd?” “I have a test.” I didn’t. I was still floored. After that I didn’t see Jacob for about two days. When I finally saw him he just as cool as heck told me about the latest Strelsian accomp­ lishment. He actually talked one of the damned lampposts into talking to him! That really floored me. My friend and all, discovering that. I was very excited so he told me about it, but only after I promised to keep it a secret. Jacob told me that on the third try number 764 responded to his questions. I was on the edge of my seat, as you could imagine. Lamppost 764 admitted to Jacob that they all had a life. Jake said that he was beside himself with the strongest sense of accomplishment ever was. Jake went on to say that the lamppost life is not a real bang. Pretty boring, as you would think: just stand up there during the day, and then light up the street the whole damned night. But sometimes they have a real bang. What they do is on lonely nights they will all shut themselves off. Then when a car comes by they’ll suddenly shoot on brighter than usual and hope that the driver will be so shocked he’ll wreck his damned car. I never heard of anything like that. Right away I could tell I’d never like those screwy lampposts. Boy, that really made me mad. “What else do your jolly friends do?” I asked Jacob. “Sometimes just the opposite. They’ll have all their lights on, and when a speeding car comes along they’ll shut off. And zoop-zipsmasho!” “’Zoop-zip-smasho’ eh Jake?” I was really hacked off. “You’re getting as lousy as your skinny lamppost friends, Jacob,” I said. Boy.

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Crane: 1932 By Ronald Stottlemyer

Ed. Note; On April 27, 1932, Hart Crane’s short, chaotic life ended when he drowned himself in the Gulf of Mexico. He had long envisioned death by drowning as a mystical absolvement into the One.

the seas crossed weathered the capes, the voyage done . . . Walt Whitman

When winter finally died in April, He wandered the derelict of his own Invention — a frail, red-eyed spectre Caught and held in the fluid mural Of fervid spring. Trade winds whirled back the old Presentiments — a sand vortex Skidding beneath the constant stars Of his prophetic dream . . . Glazed eyes betrayed a bone-white Soul once in quest of mystical spring But now committed to the jar of futility From which he drank himself into the blue oblivion. The Gulf quickly forgot his shrill Hysterical laughter and flaming head Bent with half-muttered incantations Toward some sunken, weedy savannah. It knows only his white Ceaseless chatter on the wake Of open sea . . .

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Pancreas or

"In The Rainy Season It Rains Constantly In The Tropics By Churchill Roberts Scene—A bridge, crossing a river. The distance from the top of the bridge to the river is over a hundred feet, and if measured from the surface of the river to the top of the bridge, it is the same dis­ tance. A man is standing on the side railing which is four feet high. The complete height of the man and railing together is twelve feet. When the curtain rises we see the man con­ templating the jump. He is neatly dressed, carrying a briefcase in his right hand. Just as he is about to jump a man enters from stage left. He, too, is neatly dressed. Man #1: (entering). I beg your pardon, do you have a match? Man #2: (regaining his posture). Oh, I didn’t think there was anyone around. Let me see. (He looks first in his shirt pocket then in his pants. He search­ es his coat pocket and looks also in his briefcase.) No, I don’t believe I do. Man #1: That’s all right. Man #2: I’m awfully sorry. Man #1: No, it’s quite all right. Man #2: I do have some gum drops. Would you like one ? Man #1: No, thank you, they’re so dreadfully habit forming. Man #2: You’re quite right. This is my sec­ ond box today. Man #1: Are you preparing to go somewhere ? Man #2: Yes, I’m going to jump. Man #1: Oh. Man #2: Do I seem nervous? You see. I’ve never done this before.

Man #1: Man #2:

Man #1:

Midcom: Applyby: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom:

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Yes, I halfway gathered that. Oh, my name is Midcom. Harry Midcom. How rude of me not to have introduced myself. Not at all. Applyby is my name. George Applyby. (he reaches up and shakes hands with Midcom.) (a little lost for words). Well, nice to have met you. Nice to have met you. (They shake hands again. Midcom again leans forward and starts to jump. May I ask you a question? (quickly standing up again). Yes, yes, go right ahead. Why are you taking your briefcase with you? Oh, I wouldn’t go anywhere with­ out my briefcase. My boss, Mr. Clascon, would fire me for sure. He always says a man with a briefcase is a distinguished man. Oh, I see. Just curious, you under­ stand. Oh, that’s perfectly all right. I’m the same way. (pause). Any more questions ? No, Thank you. (pause). Well, in that case. I’ll be on my way. Bon voyage and clear sailing, (he offers his hand and they shake again). Thank you. You know. I’m almost beginning to get a little excited about the whole affair. Yes, I know what you mean. Well,


Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby:

Midcom:

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don’t let me keep you from the task at hand. Oh, you’re not. I’ve got plenty of time. I’ve really been extremely un­ thoughtful to appear at a time like this. Don’t give it a second thought, (peering over the railing). You know, you’re awfully brave to do this. Do you think it would be better if you sat rather than stood on the railing? I really haven’t given it much thought. I could try it, and then I would be able to compare the two positions. An excellent idea. (Midcom sits on the railing). I believe you’re right. It is a lot more comfortable. And now you won’t have the weight of the briefcase. Yes, I must confess my arm was getting tired. But then again, you’re liable to bruise yourself pushing off. I hadn’t thought of that. This rail­ ing is awfully rough. And besides, it wouldn’t be nearly as graceful. You’re quite right. Perhaps you’d better stand again, (standing again). You’re very kind to help me like this, George. Oh, do you mind if I call you George? Not at all. May I call you Harry? By all means, do. It’s always so for­ mal to call people by their last names. I quite agree. In casual circum­ stances one should always be in­ formal. And isn’t it a shame how much time people spend differentiating what is formal and what is informal! It’s horrible. I had never experi­ enced a situation like this before; yet I knew immediately that it was informal. (nodding) Casual. Precisely the word.

Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby:

Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby:

Midcom:

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My wife was always so insistent about formality. Oh, you have a wife ? Yes, that is, I had a wife. Oh, I see. She died? No, I killed her. Oh. You see, that’s why I’m doing this. If the children ever found out, they’d be terribly angry with me. Children do get upset easily. It’s ridiculous. How will they ever be able to face life? How will they cope with the world of tomorrow? How will they react under stress? They’ll never be able to do it. They’ll probably do something very foolish. They’ll run from reality. They’ll cast off their responsibility. They’ll hide from decision. They’ll escape the strain. They’ll commit suicide, (pause). Oh, I’m awfully sorry. Nothing personal you understand. Of course, I shouldn’t have brought up the subject. I assure you, it was my fault. Not at all. I fully accept the blame. That’s awfully generous of you. (pause). Well, I guess I’ll be going. I’m certain I’ve detained you long enough. No, I thoroughly enjoyed the con­ versation. Well, nice to have met you. Nice to have met you. (they shake hands again). I’ll stay and watch till it’s over if you don’t mind. Not at all. I’ve always liked the feeling of company. You’re sure I won’t be in the way. Oh, no. Crowds never bother me. I used to play a lot of golf, (impressed). Is that so? I’ve always admired people who could concen­ trate with others around. I’m com­ pletely the opposite. I function well only in solitude. My wife was like that. We even had


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to have twin beds. She couldn’t sleep any other way. Isn’t that strange? It’s almost alarming. How will people be able to com­ municate ? How will they be able to think under pressure? How will they act when called upon to make a quick decision? They’ll crack when the time comes. They’ll avoid the situation. They’ll go berserk. They’ll act very foolishly. They’ll take the easiest way out. They’ll commit suicide, (pause). I’m awfully sorry. Really I am. Think nothing of it. I shouldn’t have elaborated upon the topic. You mustn’t blame yourself. But I do, and I fully accept the blame. That’s very generous of you. Well, I mustn’t detain you any longer. Yes, I should be getting along. It’s been a quite pleasant afternoon. I’ve enjoyed every hour of it. It cer­ tainly was a pleasure to meet you. (shaking hands again). Yes, same to you. (reaching in his coat pocket). Oh, here’s my card. If you ever are in the need for insurance, be sure and call me. Thank you. Are you sure you can spare one ? Oh yes. I’ve plenty more in my brief­ case. That’s very generous of you. (reaches in his pocket). Here, take one of mine. You never know when you might want to trade cars. Thank you. You’re very kind, (pause). Well, I must go. I’ll watch just to make sure you hit. Fine, (he turns and looks down at the river below. He wets his finger and tests the wind. Finding it suit­ able, he prepares to jump. Just as he is about to jump, a man enters

Man: Midcom:

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Applyby: Midcom: Man: Applyby: Tween: Applyby: Tween: Midcom:

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from stage right, also neatly dressed). I beg your pardon. Do you have a cigarette ? (again regaining his posture). Let me see. I did have some, (he looks in the same places as before). No, I’m sorry. I seem to be out. That’s perfectly all right. I have one L might offer you. That’s awfully generous of you. You don’t happen to have a match, do you? No, I don’t, but I do have some gum drops. Would you care for one? No, thank you. I have a terrible habit of eating them. This is my second box today, (trying to enter the conversation). I eat gum drops, too. Do you now? May I ask why you are standing on that ledge? He’s going to jump. Oh, how perfectly quaint. Sometimes I eat as many as three boxes a day. What a strange coincidence. There are so few gum-drop eaters left, (enthused). Especially gulping gumdrop eaters. I can eat four at a time. Do you gulp? No, but I chain-chew horribly. This is a coincidence, Mr. Oh, how unthoughtful of me not to have introduced myself. Midcom is my name, (they shake hands) Harry Midcom, and this is an old friend of mine, George, us George— Applyby. (man and Appleby shake hands). Of course, Applyby. How do you do? Tween is my name, Nathan Tween, but everybody calls me by my middle name, Barry. Pleasure to meet you. Here’s my card, (hands each a card). I’m in the Real Estate busi­ ness. Thank you. Have one of mine. (Hands Tween a card). That’s very kind of you. I wish I had one to give you, Mr.


Tween. Oh, do you mind if I call you Mr. Tween instead of Barry? No, by all means, do. Barry is so Tween: informal. Applyby: I quite agree. People should realize that there are certain times when informality isn’t proper. Midcom: And isn’t it a shame that people waste so much time differentiating what is formal and what is informal. (Tween reaches in his pocket and pulls out a black gum drop and eats it). Midcom: I say, was that a black gum drop? Tween: Why, yes? Midcom: Isn’t this amazing? I, too, eat black gum drops. Tween: (surprised). You don’t mean it? Midcom: Yes. I do mean it. (he reaches in his pocket and pulls out a black gum drop). You see? (he eats the gum drop). Tween: Remarkable. Midcom: I eat nothing but black gum drops. Tween: It’s fantastic. I eat only black gum drops myself. Midcom: And the green ones are even more delicious. Tween: Oh, they are. And do you like the red ones? Midcom: Oh, yes, especially when preceded by a yellow one. Tween: And followed by a purple one. Midcom: Exactly. Tween: Do you know, some people even eat the black ones. Midcom: You don’t mean it? Tween: It’s true. I saw it with my own eyes. Midcom: Some people have no taste at all. Tween: The black ones have absolutely no flavor. Midcom: And what’s more important, they add nothing to the enjoyment of the whole. Tween: Absolutely nothing. Applyby: Have you ever stopped to think of the money spent on black gum drops each year? Midcom: A very good question, Mr. Applyby. Tween: It’s harrowing to think of it. Applyby: All that money wasted, gentlemen. Tween: Thrown away.

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Never to be recovered. And, still, politicians wonder why we have recessions. They are too blind to see the source. And yet it is so obvious. Black gum drops. Precisely. You’re very observant, Mr. Applyby. Thank you. We must open our eyes and see what’s not there. (to Applyby). I’ve always . . . ad­ mired an observant man. (to Tween). Really? But what do we do? We close our eyes and see what is there. (to Applyby). Yes, I find that it makes one so much more worldly. We close our eyes and see what is there because we are afraid to open our eyes and see what’s not there. (to Tween). That is true, Mr. Tween. (he raises his arms). And where will this lead to? (to Applyby). I often do nothing but observe on Sundays. I ask you, gentlemen, where will this lead? (to Tween). That is the best month for observing. (louder). I’ll tell you where it will lead. (to Applyby). And also one of the best years for observing. (loud). It’ll lead us to doodlely squat! (to Tween). Observation is an es­ sential element. (to Applyby). The most essential. (loud). Mark my word. Doodlely squat is coming. (to Tween). It’s really very basic. (to Applyby). Absolutely. (very low). It’s doodlely squatting right now. I beg your pardon, did you say something, Mr. Midcom? I? I didn’t hear anything. I don’t believe so.


Tween; Applyby: Tween: Applyby; Midcom: Applyby:

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Do forgive me. (he giggles). I don’t know what came over me. It was probably the rain you heard. Oh, is it raining? Quite hard, I would imagine. Where ? In the tropics, of course. In the rainy season it rains constantly in the tropics. (to Tween). He’s right, you know? (a little embarrassed). I should have thought of that immediately. It is both ghastly and formal. It’s more ghastly. Exactly, I had never experienced a situation like this before — yet I knew immediately that it was for­ mal. Of course. The suits give it away at once. You’ve very observant, Mr. Apply­ by. Thank you. (pause). Well, I hate to rush off, but I really must be going. Well, it was a pleasure to meet you. (he offers his hand). The pleasure was all mine, I assure you. (he turns and stares at the river). Would you do me a favor? Certainly, what is it ? (t u r n i n g around). Would you mind standing a little to the left. You’re off-center, and it looks terribly unbalanced. (Midcom carefully centers himself). Oh, that’s much better, Mr. Midcom. Oh, it does make a difference, especially in one’s perspective. I’ll be eternally grateful to you, Mr. Tween. Don’t mention it. I’m obliged to help. People such as you are indeed rare. It seems that no one these days is interested in helping his fellow man. How true. Everyone has become so egocentric. No one cares these days.

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12

That is true. It makes one wonder what the world is coming to. They’ve lost their sense of values. They’ve strayed from the path. And there is no telling what the tangent may lead to. Revolt, that’s the end result. Anarchy, that’s what will happen. They’ll probably all go crazy. They’ll crawl from the danger. They’ll take the shortest route of irresponsibility. They’ll commit suicide, (pause). Oh, I’m awfully sorry. I wasn’t think­ ing. Think nothing of it. Merely a slip of the tongue. I’m sure. Very kind of you to accept my apology. (looking down at the water). You know, the jump itself is very in­ effective. Is that true? Strange. Then how is one able to perish? Yes, how does one? I really don’t know myself, you understand I am a mere layman, but well known authorities claim that it’s the sudden stop that is so appall­ ing. That does sound reasonable. And yet, how do you account for the toothbrush? I never thought of that. Indeed a good point, Mr. Tween. That is where the answer lies, gentlemen. Nature is so complex. Much too complex for my scope of reasoning. We must adjust to Nature rather than it adjusting to us. A very intelligent statement. Almost intellectual. Not really, but I do write in my spare time. That’s very interesting. I never find the time myself. I do well to read the comic strips in the newspaper everyday.


Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Tween; Midcom: Applyby; Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Tween: Applyby: Midcom: Applyby: Tween:

Applyby:

Oh? Have you read Captain Good­ night lately? Yes, just this morning. Isn't the present episode interesting? Intriguing to say the least. I can hardly wait in the mornings to read it. I find myself waiting on the paper­ boy. (very impressed). What a coinci­ dence. I do the same thing. How do you bear Sundays ? It’s disgusting that it doesn’t appeal then. You’d think someone would take action. It isn’t fair to the people. Communism. That’s what it is. Very shrewd communism. And crafty. Crafty and clever communism. Gazumphattzal. I beg your pardon. What did you say? I’m awfully sorry. It was an uncon­ trolled reflex. Well, we certainly understand. Excuse our inquisitiveness. Gazumphattzal. (turning to Applyby). Should I say God Bless You? I’m not sure of the proper etiquette. I’m terribly embarassed. It’s very rude of me. Not at all. Don’t even think of it. That’s very (he starts to say “kind”). Gasumphattzal. This is interesting. What do you think, Mr. Applyby? I don’t know. I suspect it’s a very formal burp in disguise. In that case, God Bless You would be hardly adequate. (breathing deeply). There, I think it has passed. I’m very grateful for your patience and understanding. It was the least we could do. A man must have patience. And understanding. It’s cruel to think that so few people possess these qualities.

Midcom: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Tween: Midcom; Applyby: Midcom: Tween: Midcom:

Tween: Midcom: Tween: Midcom: Tween:

Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Tween: Midcom: Applyby: Midcom: Tween: Midcom: Tween: Midcom;

13

It’s one of the great problems in our world today. The younger generation is totally lacking in this. How very true. It makes the out­ look for tomorrow awfully dim. And what will happen when we put our fate in their hands? They’ll lead us to destruction. They’ll leave the scene of battle. They’ll seek the line of least re­ sistance. They’ll act hastily and foolishly without thinking. They’ll commit suicide, (pause). Oh, I’m dreadfully sorry. It’s perfectly all right. I’m certain he didn’t mean to say it, Mr. Midcom. I have no hard feelings at all. That’s very kind of you. Think nothing of it. — Well, I really should be going. I know you gentle­ men have important business some­ where. Well, it was nice to have met you, Mr. Midcom. (They shake hands). Nice to have met you. And now I really must jump. Jump? Did you say you are going to jump? Why, yes. But why would you have waited so long, and why are you dressed that way? Are you certain that you plan to jump? I think so. You couldn’t be planning to jump. You’re carrying your briefcase. I never thought of that. Besides, are you qualified to jump? Have you ever jumped before? As a matter of fact, I haven’t. Then it seems very reasonable that you weren’t planning to jump. But where was I planning to go? Do you have a home? Yes. Then, isn’t it logical to assume that that is where you were going? Of course, why didn’t I think of that? (he climbs from the railing).


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Tween:

Very well phrased, Mr. Midcom. We are indeed thankful for your help. Midcom: Think nothing of it. I’m glad to be of some assistance. Applyby: (he climbs up on the railing). This must be where I was going. Tween: (he climbs up on the railing). I couldn’t have been going any other place. Midcom: Well, I must be going home. My wife will be expecting me. It certainly was a pleasure to have met you, gentlemen. (he shakes hands with Applyby and Tween). Applyby: A pleasure to have met you. Tween: Indeed, Sir, I have enjoyed our con­ versation. Midcom: Goodbye. Applyby and Tween: Goodbye, (they turn and jump. Midcom watches, then slowly puts his hand in his pocket. Sud­ denly he removes his hands, holding a card). Midcom: Oh, Mr. Tween. Mr. Tween. Here is my card, (he throws the card over the railing, then turns around). I do hope he calls sometime. CURTAIN

It’s very kind of you to help me. Think nothing of it. And now Mr. Applyby and I must leave. Yes, we really must go. Are you going my way Mr. Apply­ by? Perhaps, which way are you going? I can’t exactly remember, but I’m sure I was going somewhere. Which way were you going, Mr. Applyby? Now isn’t this a strange coincidence. I can’t really recall where I was going. Perhaps you were going to jump, (addressing Applyby). I hardly think so. And isn’t it quite possible that you, Mr. Tween, were going to jump also? I rather doubt it. But why would you have come here ? That is a good question. And why would you have stayed here so long? It is beginning to sound sensible. When you come to a place from which you can jump, then you are most probably going to jump. You must be right, Mr. Midcom.

14


Malignant Nocturne By Uucly Fagg

Pacing the lawn in the autumn tapestry Beagelo, elder in the cathedral chill, had gone mad in silly mediocrity late in the night. Crunch and acrunch and a sermon-swoosh— in centifugal dying brown dance the leaves fell ashen gray on Beagelo like April altars gone wild with alms. Beagelo stomped the bitter white but not brown ones underfoot, ripping and tearing, a casual ground-in soot unseen from the black bare pews, and then the mad wind from the north blew the clouds away, although Beagelo didn’t see them—^but it did— and the silver ball swung down on a chain, steadily, steadily, swinging ever closer to Beagelo.

And he stopped stamping I and stared up I and saw it cuddled on his left eyebrow, that is, it bulged out from his forehead, a glistening cancerous bulb and silver as it was, he looked into it and saw it reflected what he’s seen in the mirror that night after milking— and he knew it was so this time, about the maggot-white insanity covering his head.

15


Writing Workshop The Creative Writing Workshop sponsored by The Back Door Coffee House is being re­ organized after a summer vacation recess. Director of the seminar is Jerry Wright, whose experience includes work in Hollywood and at the University of California as well as teaching at the University of Tennessee. The basic emphasis is on rigorous criticism and discus­ sion of material written by members of the group, with points of theory and formal tech­ nique arising primarily out of this practical application. Helpful reading and background material will also be suggested and discussed. The aim of the Workshop is to encourage a wider interest in creative writing on the Uni­ versity campus and to provide an opportunity for its development to a higher level of achieve­ ment. All aspiring writers of the University community are invited to participate in the work of the group. The Workshop will meet at The Back Door, 1831 Melrose Avenue, at 2:00 p.m. on alternate Sunday afternoons beginning November 24, 1963. Further information may be obtained by calling 524-2080 or 525-7475.

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Phoenix - December 1963  
Phoenix - December 1963