Intro by Joyce Carol Oates,
Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton
Facial Hair (MP3)
At least this one did. The reflection I saw in it looked like shit. Uncombed hair, bags under the eyes.
“I hate mirrors.”
There was a cluster of twelve zits on the right side of my forehead that was beginning to spread down my face. I touched one. Ouch. I touched it again. Ouch, it still hurt. Huh. I really detest zits. Not only do they mar my appearance, they also make it difficult to shave. Not that I shave, anyway. You could tell by the black stubble that ran rampant across my face. I chuckled to myself suddenly.
“I have black stubble running rampant across my face.”
“Alex, you’re talking to yourself again, buddy”
Turning around, I saw my co-star Susan staring at me with amusement from the doorway. She was good looking: long black hair, slim body, green eyes. We were lovers in the play we were performing.
“What, you’re not used to it by now?” I laughed, somewhat nervously. I was always a little selfconscious when she was around.
“Come on, buddy, our big scene is next,” the said laughingly
As I walked through the doorway, Susan slapped my butt. Nice of her to do that, I guess. We made our way to the stage. Our play took place in a black box theater. Actually, I’m assuming it’s a black box theater, because the walls, floor, and ceiling are painted black. The theater is one big ol’ cube. It is also always incredibly hot I always sweat buckets whenever I walk into this room, which was not helping my zit-marred appearance. I looked over at Susan, who winked at me. This was our “passionate” scene, where I run over and “aggressively kiss her” (as it says in the script).
Now, I know I was supposed to be ecstatic. I got to kiss Susan, one of the most beautiful girls in my grade. I’m sure that the thought “Gee, what a lucky guy I am,” was dancing about happily somewhere in the vicinity of my subconscious mind. Unfortunately, I was a bit preoccupied with my conscious mind, which was saying, ‘Oh, for the love of god kill me! I want to die!” I was supposed to aggressively kiss one of the most beautiful girls in my grade. I do not know how to aggressively kiss. I’m not even sure what an aggressive kiss is.
In James Bond movies, Bond gives love-bites to a lot of women, but I was pretty sure Susan didn’t want me to bite her.
My director broke my train of thought. “Alex, can we start the scene, please?’
Right. The stage was bare for the moment. We hadn’t had time to put together any sort of set. As I walked over to the “door”, I heard giggling. The remainder of the eight person cast was sitting in the audience, ready to be amused. Malicious bastards. I made my entrance, mumbled my way through my lines, and stumbled over to Susan. Putting my arm around her waist, I lunged forward, and got a mouthful of hair.
“Oh shit, I missed!”
Everyone burst out laughing. I smiled sheepishly.
“Nice aim there, Alex.”
“Thanks, Jon.” I gave him the finger.
“Alex,” my director interrupted. “First off,” he broke out into chuckles, “that was terrible. Listen, your character has a lot more confidence than you’re displaying. This guy could walk into a bar, say two words, and have women all over him.”
“I don’t have a lot of experience with seducing women with two word sentences.”
“Look try to be more suggestive.”
“Oh. Okay, I can do that, I guess.”
“Just draw from your own experience.”
The entire cast burst out laughing.
I was laughing too, sort of. Dear god, it was going to be a long rehearsal.
- by Alexander Jay Adam
© Copyright 2009