Scene One – HOPE or DESPAIR – Madison, Wisconsin, May 2020
“She wouldn’t take the bait until all her babies were gone,” I say.
Jeannie finishes the last nibble of her avocado toast and pushes her plate to the center of the table. She brushes crumbs into the scoop of her hand and drops them on the plate. The mound of crumbs is stacked like an ant hill, a home for ants without ants. Jeannie returns her gaze to me. “What do you mean Bobby?”
Scene One – EVERYONE KNOWS – Homestead High School cafeteria, Mequon, Wisconsin, April 3, 1959
“Sally likes you, Bobby,” Jeannie blushes, flips her pony tail, and walks away.
“Wait.” I reach for Jeannie’s arm. She turns. “How do you know?”
“Everyone but me,” I chuckle. “Who told you?”
“Mandy? How would Mandy know? I thought Sally was gong steady with Tommy.”
“I don’t know–. I’ve got to go. Why don’t you ask Sally? She’ll be at the hop Saturday night.”
Scene One – BLACK SWAN – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 2018
“I dropped him, Bobby,” Dave says snuffing out his Camel cigarette. “It was him or me. Every day in ‘Nam was like that. Never knowing. I can’t remember a day when I would relax. How could I?” Dave shifts his gaze from me to a distant tree outside the window. “He looked like a local, but he came on like a VC. I had to off him.”
Scene 1 – SAVE RUDY – Hillcrest Middle School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 1951
“Die, Nazi, die,” resounds across the snow-covered playground as Gordon heaves an ice ball like an arrow into my friend Rudy’s shoulder. Spinning backward, he falls over walls of a snow fort we are building. We call Gordon the Black Knight. His chest is like a barrel and hands are bigger than grapefruit. He shoots another arrow as I duck behind crumbled snow. Gordon has few friends and enough time to pack snowballs during morning recess, stockpile them in the sun to melt and freeze in shadows of afternoon recess to become arrows of ice.
Scene One – MY STORY – Madison, Wisconsin, June 3, 2012, 7:15 a. m.
He ate a doughy and flavorless bagel in his dream. Bobbie tossed from left to right and faced into the golden morning sun – awake. A corner of his bedsheet, crumpled and wet from chewing, hung from his mouth then dropped to the bed as bile arose from his gut.
About the Author
Richard Wilberg is a creativity coach, musician, writer, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.