Friday, October 01, 2010

Here's a "flash" I wrote for a contest that asked for a story inspired by the line, "The lady does protest too much, methinks." Unfortunately, I didn't get it submitted in time, so I'll post it here.

Lend Me Your Ears
Once again, Stan was eating dinner alone, while Sadie was out marching, protesting against something or other. Stan had given up trying to keep track of what was riling her up. There was always something she was upset about, something that must be demonstrated against, and some group she could join that felt the same as she did about a particular issue. Some of the groups were small, and marched on city hall. Others were larger, and marched on the state capitol. Today, Sadie had boarded a bus and headed off to Washington to protest the war, or deficit spending, or capital punishment or any of a number of other causes. Who knows? Stan thought. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. I'm going to have a talk with her when she gets home.
He decided to wait up for her, and while he waited, he tried to think of the best way to present his case. He had to be very careful not to antagonize her, or she'd be marching on him next! He knew it would not be productive to come out and tell her that he was tired of being alone so often and that he felt that she cared more for her causes than she did for him. She would accuse him of being selfish and uncaring. And then, he would not be able to resist telling her that it was she who was being selfish and uncaring and they'd end up angry and sleeping in separate beds, which was definitely not what he wanted. He pondered some more, and finally, he experienced an "ah-ha!" moment, just as he heard Sadie opening the front door.
He rushed to greet her, pulling her into his arms as she set down her handbag and jacket. "Not now, Stan," Sadie said. "I'm tired." She sighed heavily and turned away.
"Of course, you're tired, poor baby. It's been a long day. I've made some hot chocolate for you. Let's sit down and relax, and you can talk about the march if you feel like it."
"I don't feel like it, Stan. But the hot chocolate sounds good."
Stan guided her to the couch, and went to the kitchen to get the drinks. He handed Sadie her cup, with a graceful flourish. "For you, Madam!"
Sadie smiled. "Oh my! With marshmallows even! This will be the best part of my day."
They sat quietly, sipping their drinks. Stan decided to make his move. "Sadie, honey, I've been thinking."
"No,'s good! Just hear me out. It seems to me that you're alway demonstrating against something. You're showing the powers-that-be what you think is wrong with what they're doing. How about this? Instead of 'pro-testing,' how about 'testing-pro'! Try being pro some cause, be for something. Instead of being anti-war, for instance, be pro-peace! Instead of being anti-drilling in Anwar, be pro-drilling someplace less attractive. Do you see what I'm getting at? Honey? Sadie?"
Sadie opened her eyes and yawned. "Oh Stan, I'm soooo sleepy. Let's go to bed. I have to get up early, because I'm marching on City Hall tomorrow. We're protesting something or other."


Bukowski's Basement said...

Yup ... Poor Stan... That's usually the way it goes ... ;)

Gorilla Bananas said...

Very witty of Stan to use "the lady doth protest too much" in its literal meaning.

Harry said...

Too much protesting and no free love. Sadie needs to go back to hippie school for a refresher course. Nice Madam!

Pamila Payne said...

Aw, even she doesn't know what she's protesting anymore. That was a sweet tale. I bet it's more true than not. Stan's an activism widower.

ryan manning said...

A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve, originating in the 19th century as an allusion to the dreams experienced by smokers of opium pipes.

John Wiswell said...

I hate it when I miss deadlines. Don't know how I write something for a prompt and then miss the contest gate. Sympathies to your psychic woe, Z. I like his annoyance at her literal protesting playing off the Shakespeare. Right up my non-literal too-literal alley.