Friday, April 25, 2014

Hero of Car Seven

By Bettyann Moore

You’ve probably seen the video. It went viral within hours, though I don’t quite understand why. It had like a gazillion views in the first week, second only to the opera-singing 2-year-old. You know the one. Then came the one where that foreign princess denounces her husband, crown and country – in that order – at her own wedding dinner and that topped them all for at least a couple of weeks. That’s a long time in Internet fame terms.

Of course, you can’t really tell it’s me, which suits me just fine. All you see is the inside of the packed subway car and people jumping up on their seats or holding their legs straight out so as not to touch the floor. Then you see the rat, doing what rats do, scurrying along the side of the car, under the seats, then out in the middle, confused. People are either laughing, crying or screaming. And there’s one who’s mouth is wide open and if you’re watching the video, you think there’s something wrong with the sound at first. Her face is red, her neck muscles taut; tears stream down her face. This is some serious screaming, you think, and you’d be right, except there’s no sound coming out of her mouth. I wondered if maybe she’s a deaf mute. It’s eerie and unsettling, and that’s why I stepped in when I did.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Night at the Theater – Part Two

I consider sending my boss out to get help while I make my escape. Unfortunately, my disappearance would only fix a memory of me in his mind. I look at my partially ruined jacket, 100 percent virgin wool, still salvageable if I get it to my cleaner on time. I sigh and close my eyes as I place it on the floor and use it as a shield to shimmy my way back under the stall’s door, virgin no longer. My boss stares at the jacket as I walk past him.

“Aren’t you going to pick it up?” he asks.


“That jacket still has value, are you going to let that go to waste? I can give you the name of my dry cleaner.”

I can give you the name of my janitorial service, I want to say. I should be thankful he’s distracted, but I want to throttle him. When a board member’s shoes stick to his theatre’s bathroom floor, he should have better things to do than lecture someone on dry cleaning costs. He’s always missing the dollars floating above his head while scrambling for pennies on the floor.

“It was fifteen bucks on clearance,” I lie. “Don’t worry about it.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Night at the Theater - Part One

Image by yiftah-s via Wikimedia Commons

The ballerinas wear gas masks, and I wish for one too. Someone sitting near had hit the garlic too hard, and tried covering it with cologne. A rotten spiciness mingled with peppery flowers causes my eyes to water. I can’t decide whether it is worse to breathe through my nose or mouth, and I wonder if I can get the usher to throw the offender out, or at least douse them with a bucket of something less offensive, like fish heads.

Of course, it could be a plant. Any director that would attempt interpreting trench warfare through ballet, with the prima wearing the spiked helmet of a Prussian officer would not be above gassing the audience. Then again, the production budget and meager cast can’t waste a warm body in the audience. Perhaps there are packets of garlic oil and gutter-quality Chanel under our seats. This is off-off-Broadway after all, dear. Kiss-kiss. Can you handle it?

I am the only accountant in the room. White hipsters living in the former ghettos sit in front of me, arguing if Samuel Adams is really a craft brewer or mini-Budweiser. Two haute couture designers to my left with gravity-defying asymmetrical haircuts whisper  to an immaculately groomed black man so small that I believe him to be a Pygmy. To my right, three Eurotrash gay men in summer-weight scarves hold hands and twirl their feet in synchronicity. The masses of malnourished actors in black sit in either the front or back rows according to some pecking order I cannot fathom. I feel the collective gazes on me and the unspoken question: what’s he doing here?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Losing Game

By Bettyann Moore

“Jesus, Dorkshire, where the hell you been? I’ve been freezing my ass off out here!” Chuck Copiski ground out another cigarette with the toe of his shoe and blew on his fingers. The sidewalk at his feet was littered with butts smoked down to the filter.

“You said 7 o’clock, right? I just heard the church bells ring.” Doyle Dormeyer hobbled up to his friend, out of breath.

“That was 15 minutes ago, Dorkus.” Chuck hocked up a wad of phlegm and spit it onto the walk, just missing Doyle’s shriveled left foot in its built-up shoe.

“Sorry, sorry,” Doyle said. “My ma needed help with Petey. He ain’t feelin’ the best.”

Chuck knew better than to challenge anything to do with Petey. “Yeah, well, don’t let it happen again, Dorkmeister. Come on, we gotta meet The Wop over by the pool hall.”

The two set out, one reed-thin and limping, the other short and stocky, leading with his jutting chin.

“Why do you call him that?” Doyle said, struggling to keep up.