There are plenty of times where I just need a change. Whether it’s a change of scenery, office set up or even a new theme for my journal, change is always inspiring. I write a lot of short fiction and sometimes it can get tedious. What do you do to remedy that? Try a new medium. Write a comic book or try a few new poetic forms. Change it up and learn something new.
What I’m sharing today is an older piece of writing. I wrote it about 7 years ago (never edited as you can see) and it was my first time trying to write a stage scene. It’s very short and probably all sorts of jacked up in terms of formatting, but I do have a soft spot for it. I want to say the challenge was to write a scene that was supposed to last a few minutes. Read it slowly and maybe it will. 🙂
Setting: Fabritzio is closing his small, but well-known and loved, clock shop. Clocks cover every last inch of the walls and shelves of the store, and a lone clock is setting in the center of the main counter. There are various tools scattered around it, but the clock itself is in one piece. The cat is not actually on stage, but implied by action and sound.
Fabritzio (standing behind the main counter, the door bells jingle as the neighborhood cat has pushed the door open to enter): Oho! Who is this wandering into my shop at closing time? You know, kitty, if you were a customer, I’d make you buy a clock just for being so late. (pause) We could work out a trade. If you catch that mouse in my cellar, I’ll let you pick out any clock you like. I make the best clocks in Italy. (He pauses again with a smile)Just ask me. (He laughs a full belly laugh and sits on the stool behind the counter to fiddle with the clock there. The cat meows.)
You like this one, do you? This is my most popular item this week. Tell me, cat, should I give you this clock or should I sell it to that American family and their daughter with the pudgy fingers? Hmm? They will be back tomorrow with money. (looks over his glasses at the cat on the floor) How fast can you catch that mouse?
The truth is, I do not know if I can let go of this little treasure.
(somber) Of all the clocks in my store and in my home, I never paid attention to the time. Maybe that’s why Isabella was taken from us. She was so young, and as beautiful as butterflies on a summer afternoon. (points to the clock on the counter with the tool in his hand) This was the clock I made for her sixteenth birthday. I didn’t make it to her party. I was working, as always…working the time away. She had been quite ill for a long time, and…and…she was gone before I made it home.
I never paid attention to time, but it seems that time pays attention to us. (He is visibly shaken, but regains composure. Comes around the front of the counter and to the side of the clock.)
Enough of that! Would you like to see why this clock is so special? Every hour it plays Farfallina…Butterfly. Isabella loved butterflies. Listen. (He moves the minute hand to twelve so the chime will play, sounds of an Italian children’s song, Farfallina, fill the room. He sings along –in English for the audience- and dances a little old man dance.)
Farfallina Translation – Beautiful Butterfly
(Italiano) Farfallina bella Bianca Without tiring,
Vola, vola mai si stanca fly and fly
Gira di qua, gira di la Turning to here and turning to there
Fin che ‘posa su Papa Until she rests on Daddy’s chest.
(Pauses for a moment in the silence and smiles) I think I will sell the clock. Maybe that family, eh, what where their names…The Johnson’s (he says mocking the American accent with a very thick Italian one), maybe the Johnson’s will fill their time together better than an old man and a cat. I’m not a shoe maker, but I know his shoes. That is a man that makes time for his daughter, pudgy fingers and all.
Yes, the Johnson’s. (said more to himself than to the cat)
(Fabritzio snaps back to attention and smiles brightly at the cat) Come now!
(He opens the cellar door and turns off -dims stage- the shop lights) I’ll show you the cellar, and you can decide if a bowl of cream is good trade. (The cat meows agreement.)