Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Spangle Maker.

The Spangle Maker
(August 2009)

Sitting in traffic. Late. We’ve been waiting for two hours and only moved about 200 hundred feet. The day is overwhelmingly hot and there’s no sign of relief. Frustrations have parted leaving an aftermath of bad feelings. A pretty nasty dispute over music that led to a violent round of radio commando. I’ve won the battle for the radio station. He’s not speaking to me. Well until she came on. It’s magic sound of the Cocteau Twins The Spangle Maker. The bum bum bum of the drum and the sweet gentle voice of Elizabeth Fraser jumps out of the speakers at us. He looks over and says “sorry.” I smile and look back. “I forgive you for slapping my hand away from the dial earlier.” Perhaps I should apologize? It’s one of those songs from our yesteryears that reminds of innocent days. Those days when we were looking toward the future and thinking about what was to come. Funny thing was I didn’t need to apologize. We both knew the score was even when that song came on. Hostilities could never continue with that angelic voice soaring amidst this chaos surrounding the exterior of the car. The world outside of our moment is completely washed clean. I’m sorry I hit you. Finally he’s smiling back at me. I grab his hand and give a gentle pat. Your hand doesn’t hurt does it? “No. Next time we’ll both agree to disagree.” Yeah, sounds like a plan. Maybe we wouldn’t get there in time. Maybe we would?
The kitchen table is covered in bills. There are two people in the room. A man. A woman. Silence except for the small radio in the corner blaring out the chorus of The Spangle Maker. Her mascara is smeared across her face like a raccoon as she stands in the corner by the counter looking out the window. He sits at the table rifling through the bills that lay before him. “This isn’t working. We can’t keep living like this.” Don’t you get it? I understand that. I’ve been telling you we’re broke. She walks across the room to the sink and fills a glass with water. Standing at the sink, she looks out the window. He tosses the bills on the floor and slides his chair back. The sound is sharp and startling. “Damn it. I guess I expected a different reaction. We’ve been pretending that this has been working for too long.” I think so. The last six months were the breaking point. It’s time to sell this place and move on. Let each other go. Silence. Small radio continues to play. Getting up he walks over to the sink and puts his arms around her waist. “Remember this one?” How could I forget? It was the first time… “Yeah, remember that little restaurant we went to? The one with the waiter that had the speech impediment.” Oh, yes. 2 am. We ordered slam and freggs. You spilt your water on him. “You tore your dress on the front door.” Laughter then Silence. He puts his head on her shoulder and listens. She sighs. Then in the cab when there was nothing to say… “When this song came on and we both tried to sing along with our own versions.” It was then I knew. “Me too.”
Young girl in a bedroom. Late afternoon. Lies on the bed. Plays on a notepad. Scribbles her name with her boyfriend’s several times. Bobby Peters. Mrs. Bobby Peters. Angela Peters. Angie Peters. Gigi Peters. She’s talking on the phone. The spiraling guitar gushes and wanes the closing of The Spangle Maker. “I don’t know Nan. I think I love him. He loves me. He says so. My mom doesn’t understand it either. He says we can be together. Nan, of course he means it. Don’t be stupid. Look it’s almost dinner time, I have to go.” Hanging up the line. The young girl turns up the volume on the small radio. It’s this gorgeous song that she has been repeatedly listening to for about three days. There was a 80s weekend on the local station about a week back. The first time she heard it was like magic. The world made sense and had possibilities. Later that day Bobby told her how he felt. It was a sign. She requested the song on the radio and recorded the show. As the day grows older she can’t help but continue to get swept away by the music. The melody. The unintelligible chorus. This woman and her voice communicate a lifetime of emotion in about five minutes of song. So unusual that a stranger’s voice can reach out and connect. The outside light is shifting and noise comes from the world below. Mom calling. Come to dinner. Time to put things away. The Music. Puppy love. Innocence. Angela! Step back into reality. Clear blue skies of possibility.

Department Store. Buying shoes. Little girl running up and down on the escalator in time with the beat of the drums. Hop. Bounce. Turn. Bounce. Hop. This magical melody dances in my head as I make my way through the aisle. Something I haven’t heard in quite sometime. The tiny department store speaker emits just enough audible sound to make out the drums and distinct vocals of Elizabeth Fraser. The Spangle Maker. Cocteau Twins. It’s been years. Haven’t thought of this track in forever and it’s a welcomed escape for my mind. Suddenly the store is alive with movement. Watching the others move in time with the song seems to send my imagination wandering. Spinning slowly to widen my gaze of these surroundings I realize that this music is alive. Filling my body with emotions that I can not deny. I see a couple holding hands as they walk. The swing of their bodies falls in time. He pulls her in and spins her around. A man stealing a bottle of perfume balances his feet with a kick and gracefully hides the evidence while waving his arm to the stir of guitars. Salesmen spin their wares like tops in the air to customers approaching in the unison of a chorus line. Like a musical slice of life, without the knowledge of others. It’s a private musical show caught in the time of this song. People are moving in sync. Lifts and dips. A public ballroom for the eyes. The actions rise and rescind and the music climbs and decrescendos. Sound retreating backwards into the speaker. Slowly the track continues to fade and I’m once again jarred to life. “Ma’am how can I help you today?” Red. Size 7. “Be right back.” Thank you.

This one is centered on a song. The Spangle Maker - Cocteau Twins. There are four pieces. I’m calling them mini-stories that all contain one commonality. If you’re wondering this was the thing from August that I had to modify quite a bit. I called it backwards adaptation. I promised to explain later. It originally was a play/screenplay for a class and a dare someone set for me several years ago. It was written in four parts. As you can imagine, plays/screen plays are quite short on filler and mostly dialogue, which is why this is quite a bit altered. The stories are not so different from their origins. Someday I’ll share the original. At the time I was completely smitten with this band the Cocteau Twins, thanks to my friend, Sean. And that new found obsession was where the idea had come from. I wanted or rather had to work in the song cause I couldn’t stop listening to it. Ridiculous.

Anyhow… THE DARE. Somewhere I read that you can’t tell a good story in 300 words or less. I shared that tidbit of information and well somebody agreed with that. Of course you understand now. AND… I personally see this as an opportunity to jump at that kind of challenge. As you can tell each of these mini’s are all under 300. So I think my chances of succeeding look pretty good. Will post the ‘300’ once I’m done with it. For now… I hope this is appreciated. Enjoy? kisses, m.

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