What’s that? said Alex. It’s something I wrote for my Literature class. Your literature class? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, the assignment was to imitate a twentieth century American author. Who did you choose? I chose Hemingway, would you like to hear what I wrote? I’d love to, said Alex.
“I suppose that’s that, said Nick.
“I suppose so,” said Jim.
“I would have thought it would be longer,” said Nick.
“Or shorter,” said Jim.
The wind was in the trees and the wind was on the roof and Nick slumped in his chair and Jim slumped in his chair. The darkness grew until the voices were only two dark chairs talking. The voice of Nick’s chair said, “I suppose this is what the room sounds like when no one’s here.”
“Yes,” said the voice from Jim’s chair, “the sound of the wind on the walls of an empty room.”
“Do you suppose this is what death is like?” said the voice from Nick’s chair.
“Two voices in an empty room?” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices,” said Nick’s chair, “with no objects to distract them.”
“And no words,” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Nick’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
“Or just the wind?” said Nick’s chair.
“Or just the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
The dark chairs sat in the sound of the wind and were dark.
A donkey, a donkey! cried Alex. My kingdom for a donkey!
Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer
by “BlurtZo de la Brava Espada”…
You’re in “Oedipus Rex”? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, Harlan and I have background roles.
Curse this clumsy foot! cried Oedipus.
I don’t know why these students are so stressed…
the cafeteria almost never runs out of pumpkin pie.
Wow, Harvard Square is really crowded! I can’t see in any direction. And I can’t move. All I can do is stand here. Well… that simplifies things.
Are you a student? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso. What’s your major? I don’t have one, said Blurtso. Maybe you should take my class on Greek drama, said the professor. We’re going to stage “Oedipus Rex” in October, the quintessential story of blindness and self-discovery. Blindness and self-discovery, said Blurtso, isn’t that an oxymoron? Have you ever done any acting? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso, I did some barnyard Shakespeare last year, but I ad libbed most of the dialogue. Well, said the professor, this will be a formal production, with a paying public, but the students in my class will be given walk-on roles. Hmm, said Blurtso, “Oedipus Rex.” Are there any elephants and ducks in the play?
Everywhere you go, said Blurtso, people are talking about the economic crisis. Do you think we should be worried? Worried about what? said Harlan. About our university, said Blurtso. How are we going to continue offering the services we’ve promised? What services? said Harlan. Our world-renowned classes, said Blurtso. The classes are free, said Harlan. What about our books? said Blurtso. The books are from the library, said Harlan. What about our Thursday evening pumpkin pies? said Blurtso. The pumpkins are from Pablo’s garden, said Harlan, in fact, everything in our university is absolutely free. It’s hard to believe, said Blurtso, what we’re doing isn’t against the law.
Hmm, thought Blurtso. My eyes are starting to blur… and my hoof is cramping… and my hind legs have fallen asleep… and… oh, no… I need to go to the bathroom!
Pianissimo! said Blurtso. Pianissimo!