Apologies and Proposals

1) Muse’s directive: “Write about a roll of film that has been obtained surreptitiously.”

To whom it may concern:

I am directing this correspondence to the management offices of the 21St. Dollar Movie in hopes that I may shed some light on the property stolen on the 21st of March.

I wish to identify the culprit, but more importantly, I wish to beg his pardon. Furthermore, I wonder if I may go so far as to propose your participation in the designs of the punitive measures levied.

You see, my grandson, Tucker Delaney, has bequeathed to me the story and has enlisted my assistance in his redemption. I will henceforth relate his story to you, and then describe the participation I request from you. Before I go any further, I must insist that I do not write with the intention to excuse Tucker. I merely strive to give you some understanding.

Tuck and his best friend PJ had no idea as they counted their quarters on the sidewalk at your facility, that they were mere minutes away from degenerating into thievery. Seeing the pictures on Saturday evening had been their habit for months, and they hadn’t any reason to suspect that today would be any different than the others. However, they were destined for their first glimpse of that which captivates all men: the seductive beauty of a woman exercising her influence.

They had been sauntering down the corridor towards the viewing of Captain Blood when their progress was arrested by the image of a woman’s naked shoulder, made momentarily visible to the hall by the swinging door as a patron exited the theater. Naturally, their first reaction was to change course–sneak into this theatre instead. They proceeded to mock what they couldn’t readily understand, as the human race is wont to do.

But there’s little that the boys could do to truly distract each other from the lace,  sultry voice, and the postures of that powerful woman (our own Mae West, of course). However, the impending end of the film began to nag at Tuck. He managed to contrive and convey a brilliant plan to his comrade that would prolong the experience for them; namely, to take ownership of the film.

As I’m sure you know from your interview of your employee, the plan involved luring the box attendant form his perch (Tuck is especially apologetic for Lou’s broken leg, I assure you. Permanent harm was not the original intent of PJ’s strategic position on the floor in front of the door.) Only after the boys were making off with the film through the alleyway, did either of them realize that they only had the film, but lacked the equipment for viewing.

The key, paradoixcal emotions of Tuck’s story that I need you to understand are his initial lust and need to possess, followed by shame, inadequacy, and vulnerability after the theft was committed.

I ask you to consider the potential metaphor here that could be utilized to imbue a certain lesson in relating to women for these young gentlemen.  A young man’s mind does begin to wonder at this age towards the physical aspect of romance. In light of the universality of parental frustration in providing guidance at this crucial stage, I request your participation with a humble suggestion.

The reality of love, respect, and lust are misunderstood, and overly romanticized  in our culture today. I fervently wish to take this opportunity to illustrate to our young men the effort, and intentional nature that is required from a man in a healthful relationship.

Please grant me the opportunity to take an active role in my designs. I offer my services in Lou’s stead for the duration of his rehabilitation. I request that Tucker and PJ be gainfully employed at your establishment for the duration, and at whatever terms you deem appropriate, with respect to their crime. In addition, I would like for the boys to be granted permissions typically denied such youth: the continued viewing of movies of this nature, insofar as I am made aware in advance. I believe this will initiate a proactive curiosity, which I will strive cultivate constructively. It is my firm belief that curiosity left to itself at this stage leads to perverse shame, whereas a powerful, guided trust could do much to instill sincere respect for love, lust, and beauty.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter,

Yours in sincerest apology and humility,

Joel Delaney

2) My current word count for my novel is: 19,553/30,000.

3) Muse’s next directive: “Write the following in the voice of a fifty-two-year-old man: I could have avoided all that trouble if only I had remembered to…”

4 thoughts on “Apologies and Proposals

  1. Victor F

    This choice of character fits your writing style with the use of extensive vocabulary and the aura of confidence projected by the speaker. I think it would be good stylistic practice to try a passage exclusively using simple words and practicing a detailed description of events, scenery, and people.

    I followed the flow of this passage smoothly, but was taken out of the story when the narrator makes broadly sweeping statements about the children, men in general, and the nature of lust/love/beauty. I don’t believe that the passage should wax philosophical, which detracts and distracts from the narrator’s purpose.

    “I wish to identify the culprit, but more importantly, I wish to beg his pardon. Furthermore, I wonder if I may go so far as to propose your participation in the designs of the punitive measures levied.” I was confused by the antecedent in the previous sentences. I think it could have been stated “I wish to beg for his pardon”, because the original makes me think the culprit is doing the pardoning. The combination of asking for his pardon but not wanting him excused seems conflicting.

    I enjoyed the passage about the actual theft of the film. I thought it was well described and in good humor.

    Minor point but I was distracted at first by the use of twenty-first street and also the twenty-first of March (because of the cardinal number and the street abbreviation being the same.)

  2. amusing1 Post author

    I appreciate the thorough review, Mr. (or should I say, Dr?) F.
    Two of your points really strike me, so I’d like to take a moment to address them.

    First of all, thank you for the challenge on syntax: I will most likely write the next Muse directive in the simpler style you suggest.

    Secondly, you said, “I followed the flow of this passage smoothly, but was taken out of the story…”
    This concerns me because I need to link the story to something bigger–the moral, the theme, the real reason I’m writing. I understand if this work didn’t achieve that. I suppose it worries me because I recognize your point, but the solution isn’t obvious. I’ll definitely be thinking about this.

  3. Andrej Dukalev

    I think this piece of writing really highlights your strengths. It is very much your style of writing at its epitome. It reminds me of Mark Twain and all the other greats that can seemingly whip up a story about a mundane act and make eloquent. Now for the bad news. It may be my poor reading skills but it seemed that the story was very wordy, for a lack of a better word. I feel like I was reading something out of the 1920s. Maybe I read technical writing too much but I was waiting for more wrongs that were committed and the actions that took them there. When the narrator said he did not want to ask for forgiveness it seems that the story was nothing but that. It was a lot of physiology and justification of why boys are boys. Again it’s hard to judge a piece by such a tiny pinhole into your world of writing. Or maybe my expectations were misplaced.


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