By Neil de la Flor and Maureen Seaton
The idea of three skinny spinning women thrown together into an old well appealed to Sly. She often divided up her own energies to fit impossible places. Why not squeeze them all in down there, those spindly spindle clickers – after all, the three shared one hazel eye (some even said one doggy tooth) – and see whose hair color lasted the longest: the blonde, the brunette, or the blue-headed bearer of last rites.
She (Sly) supposedly wrote the first paragraph, a grayish kind of word grouping with references to she and skinny. Those words, the last one for sure, were unpolished in an unbuttoned blouse kind of way.
But nothing easy ever came linearly to Sly – a shrug, perhaps, a crossed lifeline. Those three faces like clocks beside her cradle: point, line, counterpoint. What dimension did they come from? Who let them in the house, anyway? Anyone could see they were environmentally unfriendly. The god of fractals had turned them down long ago: they were so non-duplicable.
Recap: we have two characters. One is Sly, the other is She. God and fractals seem to be subverting the storyline in an environmental way, meaning, we can’t escape the environment and the incessant coverage on ABC World News. World Warming will last longer than these characters, which is a fact they couldn’t stand if they could.
After a while (thirty years), and not only when Sly was looking over her shoulder in a paranoid yet understandable way, she began to resent exhibiting the leery behavior of someone who’d been startled by three Roman women in her nursery before she could even shake a rattle. She’d be strolling along the streets of downtown Albuquerque and she’d hear snipping – snip snap – and the guy eating enchiladas alfresco would fall into his salsa, dead as a corn chip.
She was aligned with chilies and jalapeno peppers. She was also in love with agave and virgin tequila. She was a mouse to her peers, silent as one too. She was tall though undetectable to the many men and women street-strolling. The pasarela, the stroll through the streets, was her way of exercise and walking through limbo.
|M: We need another character, Neil. Is Hector available? Remember when he was a baby and the first Fate, Nona, the blonde, dropped some threads of life on the floor as she was leaning over his bassinet and she acted all, “Who cares?” And Hector’s little foot kicked her in the nose for messing up his room?|
|N: Maybe Sly should be Sydney, not the place, but the boy with long hair and chin scruff who had great expectations for Hector, or the meaning of Hector. He, the Sydney, spent days on jet skis and random phone calls to the police and chopper cops. He was in love with Hector, the boy with the bassinet hidden under his shoe.|
When Sly looked in the mirror, she looked vaguely familiar sometimes. At other times, she could see crossbows and Cheerios, Hector’s favorite weapon and/or playtime food from childhood (although he wouldn’t be caught dead sticking them on his fingers now). She thought to herself, who all along she’d suspected of a fragile duplicity: Sly girl, welcome to Sydney.
And the Fates moaned (as they often do when a human changes gender) at Sunday brunch.
Myth 1: Hector is not a town in Arizona but he is from the desert. He is illuminated by streetlamp. He is fierce in the only way a warrior can be, by his dress, by the coat of “armor” he wears. He is without the mean determination of a hero-want-to-be. He is also Hectoria. Not the female god with evil intentions, but the inner satellite of Saturn.
(Image of a boy with blond hair fades out on a white screen.)
Myth 2: Hector is cold and warm as a star and at the top of his country. While he inhabits Hectoria, and vice versa, his powers often shift from sword-mighty to chaos theory and his battles become erratic, sometimes taking years to affect butterflies outside of Greece, as he originally intended. He is often called mysterious by those who think he’s gorgeous. At other times, he’s completely invisible, like a narc.
(Image of a wounded teenager fades in.)
Myth 3: Hector was not a small boy or a small girl. He is neither a small dog nor cat. Hector, though wounded as a teenager, is ageless. He is a construction of ideas in the same way we all are constructs of other peoples’ imaginations. However, this Hector, the one we chose to mythologize, is not a myth. He is a real being, a sandstorm, a Venus Fly Trap, a dollop of butter. He wears the girdle of another man.
(Hector is seen polishing his sword with Paris, but not with Achilles, who is off buying boots with better-fitting heels at Footlocker.)
Myth 4: Hector’s brother Helenus (a psychic) has his hands full when they both find themselves girdled and part of the Folies Bergere Equine Guild (please see http://www.foliesbergere.com/ for a picture of Hector’s horse and gleaming helmet). Helenus suspects they’ve been transported to the roaring twenties by Zeus, or at least Homer, to prepare the Trojans for future fatal tussles.
(Screen fades to a bedlam of roses.)
Myth 5: Hector.
(Slain beside the little river Grange-Batelière.)
Myth 6: Hectoria.
(Wakes in a stone sarcophagus. Her last words are prophetic. The audience strains to hear them.)
Helenus often spends evenings at The Temple Bar & Grill with his twin sister, Cassandra. It’s said that one night, after they’d had a few ill-prepared crunchy mojitos, snakes appeared and licked the twins’ ears so clean they could both hear the future – and thus began their careers in clairvoyance.
Nobody at the hotline believes Helenus once counseled the greatest heroes of all time. His psychic co-workers look at him, slumped over the phone like a troll, and roll their eyes. He’s too confusing: one day all Bud Lite; the next, sealed inside himself like a code.
Cassandra is also a secret code, Sandra to some, Cass to others. She isn’t a singer but has a voice that could open a bottled Bud. It’s been clear from birth she was destined for bigger things even though she was always the smaller of the two.
Why do we all feel so fucked by fate?
Helenus asks himself this and other questions pertaining to destiny while telling his bereaved or beleaguered callers 1. what they want to hear, 2. what they don’t want to hear but he’s in a mood so he tells them the truth anyway, or 3. what nobody would ever want to hear in any language: Greek, Roman, or Miamian.
Neither Helenus nor Cassandra would have chosen the psychic life. They wanted to be soccer players or shell shuckers. They wanted to waltz and dance with sweaty arms. They wanted to be normal beings, not pawns in literature, or god-like prawns trolling the seabed. Each wanted to be the other, a little Hel, a little Cass.
Fate is a 4-letter word.
Cassandra (on her cell): Hey, Hel, how are tricks treating you?
Helenus (on the psychic hotline): I knew it would be you.
In the background a boy seems to be playing with cars or cards or something that creates a riotous sound. The boy, small in some respects, is bigger than both of them, Cassandra and Helenus, the Romans and the Greeks, even bigger than Miamians and that cockamamie race called human.
The background follows Helenus around like a cape. Whenever he checks, it’s there, red or blue or periwinkle, with children insinuating themselves, catching his third eye. He sees stuff from the past more often than from the future, mostly incidental and personal, nothing like bombs or war or tickertape. More like someone’s grandfather at age three, hiding in the back seat of a Buick. A flash of someone’s humiliation. It’s a real pain in the ass.
Cassandra: I knew you knew it would be me.
Helenus tilts precariously in his swivel chair and closes his eyes.
The background floods with the wings of hawks and doves. Cassandra names every one of them – Sam, Ioa, Indemnity. She gathers their wings and makes pillows.
See Maureen Seaton’s art, poetry and an interview at http://www.scene360.com/STORYboard_interview_seaton.html
“Venus Examines Her Breast” is available from Carnegie Mellon University Press at http://www.cmu.edu/universitypress
See Neil de la Flor’s Web site at http://www.neildelaflor.com