ME: I was direct,
THEM: You’re direct.
ME: I guess so.
THEM: Really direct.
I suppose so.
THEM: Trust us,
THEM: You’re direct! It’s part of why we like you
as much as we do. Let us embrace.
I mean what I say,
THEM: You see!
That’s it right there!
You do that!
We’ve proven our case.
ME: Well, not quite.
You’ve not proven the whole.
What I do say, I mean,
THEM: See. That’s what we mean!
Now you’ve proven our case. See!
ME: Do you?
ME: Do you see?
Do you hear?
Do you hear
the question I didn’t ask?
Did you hear
the words left unspoken?
ME: Do you hear what I’m thinking?
ME: Do you know how I wonder
About that little blunder
You just made?
ME: Do you know how I wonder
About that story
You just told?
ME: It doesn’t add up,
ME: But I won’t ask,
ME: Because perhaps you’ll do badly,
ME: Under cross examination, see.
YOU: I’d do just fine.
ME: I hope so.
YOU: Try me.
YOU: Yes. Try me.
ME: Alright. Let us begin.
COURT REPORTER: Please state your name for the record.
ME: Why did you say this?
ME: What you said.
YOU: Well, I don’t know.
ME: You don’t know?
ME: Why not?
YOU: Why not what?
ME: Why don’t you know why you said what you said?
YOU: I just don’t. And why are you hammering me in the first place?
ME: Let’s begin again. I ask the questions; just answer them please.
ME: Why did you do that, on such and such day?
YOU: Well, I sometimes do things like that.
YOU: Well, I just do. Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal, maybe it’s because my brain doesn’t work well, maybe it’s because I’m moving, maybe it’s because I am stressed, maybe it’s because I have 1001 reasons for you to feel sorry for me and maybe it’s because I’m so compassionate (when you’re obviously not) and maybe it’s because my motherly heart bleeds, unlike yours (whatever-your-name-is) or maybe I have a medical condition or just nearly did and maybe my work day was stressful and what do you know about working, all the stress at a desk – fourteen years? – I don’t believe it and why are you being so obviously mean?
ME: I’m asking the questions, remember? You agreed to this. You initiated the challenge.
YOU: (sniffle.) You’re not vewy nice. Big meanie, you. :( Unfair meanie, you. :P
ME: Alright, so why did you say what you said on such-and-such date?
YOU: I don’t know and are you done yet?
ME: The party’s just gettin’ started.
YOU: Is this being recorded? And why is this in writing?
ME: It’s simple, it’s clean. It’s all on the record. Do you have something to hide?
YOU: No, but the tone! You can’t tell the tone! Can’t we do this by phone?
ME: Let’s resume.
YOU: I’m going home.
There once was a lawyer, see.
But she didna work in a tower, see.
So they thought she was nuthin’.
She showed up at their office, see.
She pulled out her questions, see.
Along with a fridge magnet.
Was it the letter F?
No, I think it was the letter K.
That one time.
Yes, as a matter of fact it was.
A bright red letter K.
Let’s see, for what?
How about for ‘Kick’?
As in, kick you in the
One time, I remember,
the questions began
and kept going.
Signs of stopping,
she wasn’t showing.
The opposing lawyer,
being Jewish, was poetic
(he knew the verses).
During the exam,
Right on the transcript,
“Watch out! She’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing!”
A strange interruption.
A warning to a client
Running quick to the cliff
“Sure we make changes to documents after people sign ’em.”
Right over the cliff.
Later she remembered.
She liked that.
A vanity plate?
Oh dear, don’t have it made
It wouldn’t go over well
It wouldn’t sell well
With those you call friend.
With those you call family.
Think of your readership!
Is there a readership?
How would one know?
Nobody sells tickets to this kind of show.
I see no ship of any kind,
(but I do see a raft.)
Though not a wolf,
She was glad
That someone could actually see
Because as it turns out,
even a lamb,
can chew grass.
Keep going, and going
What’s on the line?
Hmm, let’s see.
With friends you don’t do that
You let the lines dangle
You let the story tangle
You leave them alone
You don’t pursue the very last colon
You don’t try to solve the confusion
You back away
You back sweetly away
From that crevice, that cliff
The last thing you want
Is to end the friendship
All those friendships
THEM: We like you.
YOU: We really, really
like you. Let us embrace.
A smile on our face.
And in our emails too!
YOU: Let us embrace.
Sorry, we don’t come to your parties.
Sorry, we don’t even reply.
Sorry, we don’t write you often.
Sorry, we don’t even reply.
Sorry, we don’t usually invite you.
Sorry, we don’t mean to neglect you.
Let us embrace.
All those friendships.
YOU: Yes, see how we care.
ME: Where are those who care?
YOU: Over there.
YOU: And there.
YOU: Well, nowhere, just now, but I’m sure.
I’m sure that some care.
There are some that do care.
ME: Yes, somewhere, it’s true.
But what do you know?
What do you know about those who do? And
What do you know about the little boy who did?
Ah, the questions not asked!
The words left unspoken!
Yes, there was someone who said my name with great care
Not breaking it over any rocks in the way
(And speaking of ships, and speaking of rocks . . . the timing amazing, the timing precise)
What it cost me to banish him
The cost I won’t share, that I don’t dare
It wouldna been right, so
“You cannot stay.”
THEM: See, the problem is simple
ME: I see.
THEM: You’re too direct, see.
ME: I see.
THEM: You’ll lose your readership, see.
ME: I see.
THEM: Your very precious readership, see.
THEM: They liked you better, see.
THEM: When you were direct like before, see.
THEM: Yes, like before, stopping just so.
Just at the fringes.
Just at the borders,
where it didn’t count.
ME: As in,
“You aska no questions, I tell ya no lies”?
THEM: Precisely! Now you’ve got it! We knew you could get it! Good lambie you are!
ME: Ah, the borders. That’s where you want me.
THEM: You understand. We’ll invite you for tea, some coffee. Perhaps photography.
ME: The edges. That’s where you want me.
THEM: Yes, it’s all clear.
ME: Ah, yes, it is.
THEM: We’re good?
ME: Nah, you ain’t.
ME: Court reporter, could you please read back my answer?
COURT REPORTER: “Nah, you ain’t.”
ME: Thank you, court reporter.
COURT REPORTER: (Nods.)
YOU: What’s going on?
ME: They say that the pen,
YOU: The pen?
ME: The pen. They say that the pen is mightier than —
YOU: Oh, don’t be silly!
ME: Mightier than —
YOU: Now you speak nonsense.
YOU: Yes, nonsense, myths, poetry. I don’t even want to hear the word ‘sword.’ It’s so scawy. You make no sense. You just say anything.
ME: I say anything?
YOU: Yes, you direct person you, you mean what you say, and you say what you mean and you say random things. At least I make sense.
ME: No, you don’t.
YOU: Well, whatever. I mean well; what does it matter what words I use?
ME: Christ was called “The Word.” Perhaps words matter.
YOU: Oh whatever! Now you’re bringing religion into it!
ME: Was religion ever not part of it?
YOU: You’re impossible.
ME: What did you mean when you said ‘you’re impossible’?
YOU: There you go again!
ME: (Daydreaming.) Hmm. A dart. The tip of a dart. A dart belonging to an old forgotten game. Bull’s Eye. A bull. A Taurus. A birthday in April? Taurus in a china shop. Hmm. The expression ‘bull in a china shop.’ Hmm. Combine something Latin (Taurus) with something from Asia (china), just like the expression. What do you get? Something Eurasian? Would that be the word?
YOU: What’s your point? Do you have a point?
ME: Indeed. The point, the very point. Like a dart. (Oh Chesterton! You spoke often of the tip, the tip of a sword. I have no sword, like you wore at your side — but I might have a dart – but look, even so, I see them step aside. Perhaps nowadays a dart is already too much!)
YOU: Anyway, let us embrace, just like before. We forgive you, you silly old bull in a china shop. We know you mean no harm. Now let’s all apologize to one another. Hold hands and say, “I’m sorry.” Let’s kiss; let’s make up.
ME: Touch me not.
YOU: What? Are you alright? Do you need our help? Let us console you, let us comfort you. You’re distressed! You’re depressed! You’re very upset!
ME: Pity me not. Console me not.
YOU: And what is that – that dart?
ME: Greetings, stranger!
Let me aim at your heart.