Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #10

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Tati as TATI

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Tony as TONY

 

ACT 26 SCENE 11
PAGE FLIPS & FLIP-FLOPS

 

Tati is sitting on a branch high above the ground. She’s almost hidden from view by the tree’s foliage. The only reason Tony can see her at all is because her legs are dangling beneath it in the open air. Tati’s left flip-flop dangles from one big toe, and Tony steps aside so that he doesn’t get a flip-flop slap between the eyes.

TONY: Hi, Tati! What are you doing up there?

TATI: What? What did you say, Tony? I can’t hear you.

TONY: Well, don’t expect me to climb all the way up there, thank you! I don’t wish to slip and break my neck!

TATI: Oh, I’ve always known you were a lazy, old, weak-as-piss arse!

TONY: And I love you too. Sheesh. The question stands. What are you doing?

TATI: Don’t try to muddle me with your loosey-goosey gnomology! Answer me this: How long has it been since we released our last book?

TONY: Erm… October 2016, I think. And what do gnomes have to do with you being up a tree?

TATI: Timber!

Tati slides down the tree trunk like it’s a fireman’s pole.

TONY: How the hell did you do that without getting splinters everywhere?

Tony gingerly touches the tree.

TONY: Nope. It’s not been greased or anything…

TATI: You’re a master of the runaround, Tony! Gnomes and splinters are foreign to my question!

TONY: Well, never mind the fact that you completely ignore mine…

TATI: I ask you, have you put together our new book yet?

TONY: YES! I have, okay? God!

Tati thrusts ‘One Pulse’ under Tony’s nose.

TATI: And where is it? I’ve reread ‘One Pulse’ a dozen times! I remember every line and every poem by heart! Don’t you think it’s time I had something new to read?

TONY: You read your own work all the time? Wow. Talk about narcissistic…

Tati is completely surprised at this.

TATI: Don’t you read our books, Tony? Please, you mustn’t tell me that you’ve failed to buy them!

TONY: Why would I buy the books that I’ve helped to write? That doesn’t make any sense!

TATI: I knew it! You’re a tight bastard! You don’t want to support young, promising poets!

TONY: How will it help us if we buy our own freaking books? We’re not gonna get rich that way!

TATI: No? Strange. I was certain it would be the most sure way.

TONY: No! A thousand times no! We need to sell these books we write to other people. That’s the only way this money-making thing will ever work. Frankly, I’m surprised I have to explain this to an accountant. You are an accountant, right?

TATI: What? What did you say, Tony? I can’t hear you.

Tati becomes transparent, and her voice distant and low.

TONY: I’m standing right beside you, woman.

Tati disappears with a soft hiss, like the bubbles that pop over a glass of lemonade. Tony looks more irritated than surprised about this.

TONY: Is she ever going to listen to me someday?

Tony rolls over to his other side and mutters in his sleep.

TONY: Such a crankypants! The manuscript is ready. The cover is ready, dammit. What more does she want?

He smacks his lips between snores.

TONY: ‘Nothing to read.’ Tsk tsk!

Tony doesn’t suspect that in exactly five minutes he will wake up because of a flip-flop slap between the eyes and a wauling Tati. Poor thing!

Yes, Dear Reader, this is all just Tony’s dream but our new book is not.

 

 

PS: By the way, one half of Unbolt Me celebrates their birthday today. In honour of this, we have prepared a little surprise for you over on our Patreon page. Don’t worry, entry is absolutely free!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

Testing, Part #2 (Fragment #015)

It was like talking to a brick wall. I elevated my voice slightly.

“Hey, four-eyes!”

Yuck. Not only is he blind, he’s deaf too… I was considering poking him with a ruler when I heard a semi-cough right above me. Again.

Any questions, young lady?”

“No, Sir.”

Question 2a: Define a metrical foot used in the following poem.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots—but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to “Hi!” or to any loud cry,
Such as “Fry me!” or “Fritter my wig!”
To “What-you-may-call-um!” or “What-was-his-name!”
But especially “Thing-um-a-jig!”

1) Trochee
2) Iamb
3) Anapaest
4) Dactyl

Question 3a: What isn’t a forme fixe?

1) Qasida
2) Glosa
3) Sequence
4) Tanaga

I looked around helplessly. No help was within reach. Well… if plan A doesn’t work out then I have to use plan B. So, I gave a shit about that, and began to select answers at random.

The blank space below question 1a was very much in evidence, and my inner perfectionist demanded satisfaction. I knew it was better not to argue as this thought would be like a pebble in my shoe—it would hinder and annoy. I wrote something like, “Prompt at five o’clock, I busted a snaplock, and walked around town in a candy-striped nightgown.”

Then I hesitated over where an adverb of time should be placed in an English sentence. Damn. At the start? At the end? Without philosophizing, I repeated the first line at the end. If need be, I could say that I was nervous and forgot to cross out the wrong line.

With a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done, I turned in my paper and left the amphitheater. I felt a roaring hunger.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Testing, Part #1 (Fragment #30)

The desk was a scuffed, sordid blue. I love such things, you know. They’re better at telling you the story of an institution than all those dull, fat conduct books, and they’re more entertaining. For example, right here someone had ably depicted the birth process of star-nosed moles. I sniggered. Considering their knowledge of such ‘niceties’, perhaps it was a future Darwin Medalist. Although… yuck! I reached for a pen.

Twenty two, dolt! Twenty two, not nineteen! I hate giving a lick and a promise! It’s better not to do at all than to do something sloppily.

I was nearly finished coloring the corrected snout when I heard a semi-cough right above me. Yipes! I raised my eyes slowly, and saw the sheen of a badge: ‘Mr. Turdman’. I snickered.

“Follow me, young lady.”

I got up from the desk and dragged myself after the badge wearer’s podge.

Some lanky guy stood near the door and droned like a jammed record: “Please put your cellphones, tablets, and other gadgets into the basket. Please don’t use any electronic devices during the test.”

I shrugged my shoulders and fished my old celly in its scratched maroon sheath out of my pocket. I put it into the plastic basket, right on top of the shiny, posh smartphones. It looked pretty funny, as if a behemoth had decided to join the dance of the little swans.

“Hey, are you dozing off, bimbo? Stop holding up the line!”

His derisive tone brought me back to reality. “I may suck, but you swallow,” I thought reflexively. I stepped into the study amphitheater.

Question 1a. Compose a limerick using the following rhymes: town, nightgown, lock, o’clock.

I scratched my nape and looked helplessly about. Some dweeb with huge glasses to my left seemed like a promising prospect. This dork obviously knows what the hell a limerick is. I whispered, “Psst! You! Hey, you!”

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017