Saturday, January 05, 2002


Another excerpt from the unfinished (and in probability unfinishable) novel Pin the Tale: in which Pin Blake hits adolescence, and adolescence hits back...
I was fourteen and Beth Genovese sixteen when the high school drama teacher discovered us in the properties store-room behind the auditorium, my hand in Beth’s blouse, her tongue in my mouth, and my tail up her skirt. The teacher, a big, phlegmatic man named Negri, turned mauve and spluttered, “Gawd dammit, Crispin—” then paused; and peering into the dusty shadows of the store-room, got a good look at Beth and, seeming to perform a sort of mental calculus, muttered, “Clean up in there when you’re done.”

And closed the door. We were “done” mere moments later, though not in any climactic sense—instead in the sense of my stumbling headlong back into the wings with one hand still tucking in my shirt, flushed red to the tip of my tail. (Beth sauntered out a few minutes later, imperturbable—ever imperturbable, as I would come to learn.) Mr. Negri himself was “done” some sixteen months later, sacked without references for gross negligence—a girl in the Drama Club was found to be knocked up, her erstwhile boyfriend having impregnated her under a pile of coats in the back seat of a school bus, during a Club outing that Mr. Negri himself had ostensibly been chaperoning. The aura of discipline that had once surrounded Mr. Negri had dissolved like sugar in water; he no longer seemed to have any iron in his spine, and his students (though never hurtful or cruel) did largely as they pleased without fear of reprisal. It was a time of soft, sensual anarchy—the kids pushed student-penned “experimental” dramas past him, with profanity and rock music and onstage snogging, then made out in the back of the auditorium during rehearsals; they smoked hoodah in the wings and gave giggly, more-than-naturalistic performances in a jury-rigged production of Hair; when the spring musical was Marat/Sade, it was hard to say which was the more debauched bacchanalia—the onstage action or the cast party.

More to come. Mock me freely.

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