Logo
Eyes SEARCH
Lips RECENT
Ear PUBLICATIONS
ABOUT ME ABOUT ME
CONNECT CONNECT
take a walk with my whimsy
Typewriters and Other Things of Effort

 

Hurricane Irene is past. A black out in the city, two women, and the evening. Francine sits on a big armchair by the window in the dark. Reina’s tight jeans squeak as she lights candles around the room. 

 

Francine: Have you ever studied a naked flame up close?

Reina: I can’t see my own hands in this light.

Francine: But I can see all of you.

Reina: Well, I can barely see you.

Francine (closes her eyes): It even sounds soothing. 

Reina (growing agitated): We’re screwed. It’s impossible to write in this dark.

Francine: No just think, now we can really concentrate. You know, watch the ink as it seeps into the paper, letter by letter. 

Reina: My lucky day, a black out and a writing technique from the sixties! 

Francine (looking at her notebook): It would do you some good to strain your eyes.

 

Across the street, an old man takes his dog for a walk holding a flashlight.

 

Reina: Isn’t it getting hot in here? 

Francine (excitedly): Hot all right - these candles are practically whispering new stories to me. 

Reina: Maybe we should open the window. 

Francine: Just start writing. Don’t worry about the candles.

 

Francine’s pruny hands quiver over her notebook, matching the whiteness of the page. Reina looks at her own notes, full of jagged, black scribbles. She quietly reads a few pages for a while.

 

Reina (stands up): What are you writing? 

Francine: I’m not sure what it is yet.

Reina (sits down): Don’t you need to know before you start?

Francine: What’s the first sentence got to do with the last one?

 

Reina turns to an empty page. Outside, a man drops his cellphone on the pavement and yells, “Fuck.”  

 

Reina: Okay never mind. What should I write about?

Francine: Whatever you’re thinking about right now.

Reina: I’m not thinking of anything. That’s not very helpful. 

Francine: Neither are your questions.

Reina (wipes her forehead): I’m going to blow out some candles. 

Francine (looking away): If you think you need to.

 

In the glass of the window, Reina’s silhouette leans over Francine’s arching back. She blows out the candles lined by the sill one by one...

 

Francine: Leave one burning for me. 

Reina: What’s the point? Stop writing now and let’s go home.

 

Reina’s fingers sting against the hot wax. Under her breath, she whispers, “Fuck.”

 

Francine: One is enough.

Reina: But you’ll just write off the page anyway.

Francine: I don’t think it’s important for my stories to make it to the end. 

Reina: So what’s the point of even trying then? If you’ll never finish anything, you’ve got nothing.   

Francine: I’ve got a bunch of beginnings.

 

Francine lets her short legs hang limply from the armchair. Reina thinks the cross-wired veins in her calves look painful, but Francine’s face is blank, like an empty vase.

[Cut to the streets. Reina steps out for a cigarette, a blurry shape in the thick, waxy night.)  

 

Reina (to a passing stranger): Excuse me, have you got a light?

 

The stranger boy whips out a lighter and thrusts it towards her mouth. 

 

Reina (takes a drag): The power is out on the whole block. It’s not safe to walk here by yourself tonight.

Boy (watching her): I think you’re lucky I’ve got a lighter, not a gun.

 

Reina shifts the weight between her legs and pats down her hair.  

    

Reina (looks him up and down): So you don’t have a gun? 

Boy: Depends. Got another one I can smoke with you? 

 

Reina puts one in his mouth. A sudden burst of wind slaps his scarf across his face. The cigarette flies away.

 

Reina: That was my last one. 

Boy: I probably shouldn’t smoke. 

Reina: Neither should I.

 

The boy looks as rooted as the tree behind him. He lingers. He notices Reina’s perfectly shaped eyebrows. Reina finishes her cigarette and thinks of how many of Francine’s stories haven’t made it to the end. Reina walks away. The boy’s cheeks look like they have just deflated. Reina digs up a book called "Love Letters Exchanged in Tragic Romances" and disappears into a corner to work on her story which has no title yet. Later, Reina realizes that she doesn’t even know the boy’s name.