What A Doll

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What A Doll

Post  Jen on Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:52 pm

The story has been revised...
a few more times than I can care to remember.
Should I leave the letter at the end or take it out?
********************************************

"We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone really find us out."- Revelation by Robert Frost


February 2007, 1AM:
One-fifty for the coffee, and thank you, enjoy your drink. An extra .25 cents to the waitress. They are all so much friendlier when there is one person in their space. Like they owe you the world for being there. The hospitality is comparable to the morphine they serve—in a coffee cup.

I took us to the most romantic corner of the coffee shop. The company wasn’t so bright, but it kept me awake. Rather, it kept me from sleeping. Human behavior had ceased to impress me lately.

Then it happened.

Should have never taken notice.
Eve.

November 2007, 2:15AM:
God. I prayed to him about 17 times in the last hour or so. I don’t know for how long, I don’t keep track of the time anymore. I don’t have the presence of mind to look behind me, look at the crippled clock. I just know it has a ’60 orange vibration and it doesn’t tick. It doesn’t have numbers. The entire time I’ve been sitting here, it hasn’t bothered to ring.
I will never look at a clock in my life. Haven’t in 11 years.
Time. It’s just not something you see.
But now, time doesn’t exist at all.

December 1996, 2:46AM:
The storm rammed into my conscious and kept me from sleeping longer than I should have. I paced the kitchen, opened cupboards and sat in the middle of the tiled room before romping back to the bedroom to get my pants and jacket on.

My headlights were winking in the street. The only car that seemed to be sleepwalking that night.
The engine’s ready and we bolt for the night.


TRIXIE’S DINER
OPEN 24 HOURS

After the long commute, I put my car to rest.
I walk in. The place smelled of absolutely nothing. The counter was barren land, or No-Man’s land, depending on how you saw it from the entrance.
But she walked out.
Her beehive was outdated, but it didn’t make a difference.
That look. That smirk. And her pitiful, feminine huff as rain drizzled from the top of my head down my face, neck, and to the floor.

Iron. Irons in her cheeks; something grey and flat. Something Hamlet would imagine to be his sword in her face. That soon-to-be-bloodied white skin on the green cloth.
The cloth is filthy. I wipe the table with my sleeve.
She strikes me as a golden girl, though. Very similar to tinsel in my rat’s cage. He choked and died earlier this week.

If I speak to her, "I will speak daggers to her, but use none."

Her name was Eve.

January 1997, 3AM:
"May I offer you Resistance?"
"No, thank you. Coffee is fine."
"How about Strength?"
"Why?”
“Sir, it will take a while for you to get it back.”
“Well ma’am with true purpose and hard dignity, I’ll get it."
"And if you don’t?"
“I'll hold the fort. “
“It’s much more th—“
“Ma’am, coffee is fine, thank you."

April 1997, 3:33AM:
Eve waited beside me, like a mother watching her Autistic baby sleep—with a anxious look on her face, wondering if I’ll wake up less retarded than before.

She stayed a moment longer, then another and then I got fed up. Gurgled coffee, my brain just washed out the grit.
She stayed moments longer.
She didn’t leave. The counter is in no need of rescuing, anyway. No one waits in line.
Of course, not us—we wait here.

"What's your name?"
"No need for the introductions, dear, that spoils the ending. You never do that in America,"

I told the ashtray.

September 1997, 4:09AM:
"I refuse happiness,“ I said.
“Why do you reject it?“
“I set up the most perfect opportunity to make myself happy and I then deny it..."
"...Tell me.”
“Well… it always rains.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Fine. What’s a perfect day?”
“Picnic at the beach.”
“Well, fuck’s to be you—it’s raining now. Or something like that. You get it though?”
“Yeah. Nothing’s better than jacking off the edge of the sliding doors in the subway and walking off, one stop before 3 million dollars."

Pause. Mental rewind. Where the fuck did she get that from?

"What the...Bah, anyway. What I mean is I feel I can’t have that perfect day; that even the type of happiness I am making for myself isn't what it truly is, or what I’m supposed to have. I can’t have a picnic; I can’t have a beach. I can only have rain. I want something genuine, made-to-fit, elastic. Like me."
"Hm. What's keeping it at bay? An identity crisis?"
"Not sure."
"Fascinating, sir. Need your coffee refreshed?"

Ceramic caper is off with my mug.

August 1996, 4AM:
Coffee, cream, stir, coffee, sugar, stir.

"Everyone around me has said that I have too-high standards for myself and for the people around me and it's why I cannot relate to people. Like, Christ. That’s their fucking problem”

She sighs. I drink.

September 1997 (Continued), 4:13AM:
"You know; if people weren't so fucking superficial all the time..." she contemplated.

She’s back to her position in the outfield, putting the coffee down into the coffee-stained tabletop coaster.

"Superfuckingficial… I can't be like that! And it's that way that I am supposed to be here!” I argued.
“So, act like a stuck up douche bag.”
“But that’s exactly what I can’t be.”
“Sure you can. Everyone can do it. But that’s not what they really are.”
“If they can act like a douche, then they are… ‘Find me some bitch and I’ll beat her.’ That’s all they can say. ‘Gimme some of that ass’, ‘I’m so burnt’, ‘Buzz-kill!’"
"Heh…”

We debrief silently, watching the glass paved with rain.

“Well, self-imposed exile never hurt, except" she advised me.
“Except? And what d’you mean ‘exile’?”
"Exile. Forced isolation. Banning yourself from all these grandeur sources of… amusement.”
“Exile. Sounds goddamn lovely."
"It is. It's being the center of a speck on a white backwash, or the backsplash of your kitchen- sink and all. EXCEPT: you're the cloth and you wipe that shit away. Even the spots ...Ha. It's nice to be the spot."

Eve struggles to keep her finger on the raindrop she’s been following since the rain started to fall.

"Well then! I don't know what happiness is. Not a real happiness, just the illusion, the skim of it on a goddamn smile."

We churned my coffee in each other’s eyes. Hers glistened like a fairytale sunrise, but the sun wasn’t rising here.

"But… nothing,” she mused, “is happiness.”
“It’s nothing?”
“No. Happiness is falsely accusing yourself of solving the world’s problems.” “Accusing isn’t the right word.”
“And? So?”
“You should think about it a bit longer. I, for one, think it’s everything. Hell, I think it’s the source of my problems, not having any happiness in my life.”
“What can I say, Sir, happiness is left up to interpretation.”
“No, happiness has a stagnant meaning in life. It’s there, definitely. But, take it from me; happiness isn’t anything you need. You can live without being happy. I’ve been mastering the art of emotionless survival.”

She stared outside, her face mirroring the window.

“Eve, you’re problem is that you want happiness to be above everything else. It can’t be your priority or something."

Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. Pause. Where the fuck did I get that from?

Then, the tape exploded in the tape player. The sound of rubber grinding erupted from in the slot. And she stopped playing.

The fucking bitch slapped me. Her prudish nails slashing my eyelids. The beast hemorrhaged cusses into the blackness. Her one crooked tooth morphed into a fang, digging and slicing at the breaths between us, now only an inch apart.

I remain calm and repressed my laughter.

"Who said anything about fucking priorities? You think I need priorities?"
"Maybe some."
"I don't want a fucking priority that involves emotions!"
"Fine..."
“Happiness can suck my balls if it has to come first.”
“Harsh.”

Coffee didn’t matter anymore. She was old news.

"You know what? My main priority is to live life until I am due. That’s all. And if I can lessen the time until the deadline then I will, but I will NOT impose it directly. Happiness makes the time go by quicker. It’s cheating. So screw it."
"I agree, it’s a state of mind, it doesn’t help you live or die…"
"So what if I'm not happy? So what if I don't know what the fuck it is? To Hell with that bullshit."
"Happiness is a rare gem in a swelled goldmine…”
"And if it bites me in the ass, well, tough, I got a steel ass."

She stared; I smirked.
I hated coffee now and mourned its sickly cold state.
She didn’t make sense anymore, and the drip coffee was as dull as the company.
I almost looked at the time.
Then, her regret.

"Say what. The coffee was good, I got get going," I said to her.
"No, stay a while long-"

Eve reached over the table and took my hand, holding me back from taking any steps further.

"Dear, I honestly suggest you wait for it. Wait for something called Time. It’ll take all your strength to avoid the cramp, but once it hits… Well, you’ll thank me for keeping you here."

I leave the coffee there, and I leave her hand there as well.
I never took a sip of it- she tried too hard to get my attention.

"Time? Time?” she cried hysterically.
Then calm again, “... You know, I really can see it these days… And no one knows why."

She withdrew her hand and sat there, positioned like a tiny rag doll. Her plastic eyes had nothing in them to measure or watch. Lips were stolen from her face.

Then she panicked.

November 2007 (Continued), 2:50AM:
The door was creaky as I pushed it open. Looking inside I can see she took my seat. Her greasy blond hair fell like a stricken stage in her face and cooled her tongue-in-cheek expression. It dissolved neatly into her sallow eyes. I don’t think she’s slept in a while and she works too many shifts. Bags under her eyes. Baggage.

“Good morning,” said the coffee.
She took a sip. First one she's ever had.

She spat it out.

November 2007 (Epilogue), 3:03AM:
Dearest Eve,

My heart warms at the thought of this being our last night together. There was a moment in time where I thought that you were the goddess of my eternity, but no. Now you’re merely lying in bed with angels set aside, dust mites in their feathers. When did you fall apart?
We can’t be because it’s raining outside. When we first met, the rain was an omen of our tranquility—in the smallest quantity. It rained just enough for the drops to glue our tongues to the roof of our own mouths. Nothing else. We didn’t ask for it to rain that night. But tonight, it rains again and tonight, it won’t end until I leave you.
Eve, I love you. But you’re nowhere near the blood-warmth I need. It’s below freezing where I am. Your skin is a sickness in my hands. You’re as dead as any petal can be in the Arctic. I couldn’t protect you even if I wanted to. But it’s inevitable. Petals only dry in the harshest of weather. This is where we’ve gone.
You’re nothing but this infant, stuffed with cotton. Where’s your heart? Where’s the burnt-star explosion in your eyes? Where’s the sand-washed, sunlight shimmer of cheeks, raised by dimples and delight? Where did you fade?
Like an evening without dusk; all of a sudden you’re my midnight instead of my horizon.
And what a shame, that I tell you all of this. You could have defined my solitude whether or not you died. But you refuse to die. You refuse to breathe, too. I’ve never met anyone more lethargic in my years without you.
Eve, I love you, and if my heart and soul can admit it too, then we could be continued.
For now, my depression evolves. My demons have become stalkers in every paranoid existence I try to lead. You’re being devoured and so am I.
As we split apart, the sea will slowly rise.
Goodbye is so well done without reason. You’re my reason to be without you.

I love you, Eve. Kiss me and remember me.
Time will not change a thing. Not if we turn our back to it.

"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!"- Hamlet (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Act II Scene II)

_________________
"There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."- Oscar Levant

Jen
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Re: What A Doll

Post  love it on Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:22 pm

I hope this doesnt sound harsh, but i have to be honest and say I struggled to the end of this Jen. I found the dialogue tough going; its unnatural and self conscious...people dont talk in such a convoluted, psuedo philosophical, tangled conversations and the fact that it happens between a waitress and customer in a coffee shop makes that even more incongruous. Its all dialogue and the dialogue isnt smooth or reavealing enough for me to get a grip of the characters as individuals... or what their motives are or what draws them together or makes them tick at all. With all that dialgue i should have known alot more about them by the end than i did at the beginning but any information seems to get lost in the mass of flowery speech. All i got was a sense that two disillusioned and bitter people had met, had some bizarre conversations and parted. I'm really not sure what its objective is and it does nothing to make me care. Im sorry if that sounds a bit brutal =( could you tell me what the idea for this was?

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Re: What A Doll

Post  Jen on Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:41 pm

I don't think that was cruel at all. I actually think it's thoughtful, and thank you for reading it. I realized it's kind of biased, seeing that I know the characters because I wrote it Razz. But, I don't know HOW to elaborate, how to remove what's there without making gaps in their communication (more than there already is, as you pointed out).

The story is that he goes to a diner in the early morning to escape his insomnia, and he meets this girl named Eve. He is a bit depressed and she is trying to take that from him as much as possible, but over the years, she becomes just like him, or tries to be like him. But it doesn't work, he loses hope and walks away from her. She is left in the same place he started: desperate, sleepless and trying to find an escape.

_________________
"There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."- Oscar Levant

Jen
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Re: What A Doll

Post  love it on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:29 pm

It think the characters need elaborating but the the volume decreasing. I think part of the problem is the style of dialogue. They dont seem to operate as seperate characters..its like the writer is trying to express her ideas through the characters but the characters dont exist...they talk with the same voice and what they think and feel is obscured by the strange, slightly pompous...perhaps over ambitious style. It needs to have a stronger thread keeping it together. The jumping dates dont help =\ i want to know these people and its difficult to see them through their convoluted expressions.

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Re: What A Doll

Post  Jen on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:30 pm

Hehehehehe, over-ambitious.
How about the letter?

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"There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."- Oscar Levant

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Re: What A Doll

Post  love it on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:39 pm

I dont believe the letter and its very hard to imagine a guy writing it and being expected to be taken seriously...i dont understand why he's expressing himself in that way - hes like don quixote Razz

When i said over ambitious i meant that i get the sense there are some bigger themes trying to express themselves here, the couple sound like they want to be profound or have the desire to express something profound to the other person but the words they use seem to make it too awkward and obscure to have any sort of believability, yet, the other person seems to understand perfectly, but perhaps the reader doesnt?

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Re: What A Doll

Post  Jen on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:48 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ha. Okay.

It's only natural that the actual characters have this sort of "omnipresence", knowledge, in their own story. The reader has to read until the end to know just as much as the characters.

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"There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."- Oscar Levant

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Re: What A Doll

Post  love it on Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:37 pm

I think, for me anyway, i need something to happen earlier on to make me care enough to want to read on and disover what happens to them...its not clear why they care about each other or if they even do (untill he writes the letter) and if its dependence rather than love i still dont understand what they are dependant on. Their connections seem to be insincere or too tenuous or something. I'm still confused by the style of the dialogue, it gives very little clues about them as people...altho she seems to be wittier than him and seems to be cruder but in the letter he turns into someone else entirely. Theres bits of dialogue i like tho; i think it works best when its most casual => but this is only my silly opinion Jens which really should count for very little. I would like to get to know these characters more, maybe you could do a seperate peice with 'extras'; new scenes with these two in...they could happen in the one place like in this one but the different environment (perhaps more intimate one) would let us see them confiding like lovers...or what have you.

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