Monthly Archives: August 2017


The enemy had invaded. It was the one they had always been taught to fear and hate. “It is because they fear and hate us,” the older generations had always said. “It is because they are powerful and they take what they want and they control our rulers so that we cannot grow as a nation.”

And now, the enemy had finally gotten tired of them fighting back. “They are coming,” was the whisper. It was everywhere, like the buzzing of planes drowning out the birdsong. They were dropping bombs.

“Don’t worry,” says one, “They’re only aiming for military targets.” Maybe they often miss, or maybe they’ve started to realize every one of these people is a threat because every one of these people hates them.

“I just want to be safe,” says the child, and the mother doesn’t know how to answer.

The child grows into a boy and the boy to a young man.

“We need to fight back,” they tell him. “We are a proud nation and we are under attack. The enemy? They don’t share our values.”

“Remember who you are,” the young man’s mother tells him, “Remember what I taught you, how I raised you.” But everything is so different now, here.

“Your mother was not a true patriot,” the other young men tell him, and the older men, the men who are in control, who have been fighting this war the longest, the most effectively. “She never truly knew our ways—she has been corrupted by the enemy. The things she has taught you will not keep us safe. They will not even make you safe.” They beat the corruption out of him.

There are many people in this nation who have been made weak by the enemy’s corruption, or so the young man finds. But isn’t there something wrong?

“We must stamp out the enemy’s corruption!” say his companions, so in the name of fighting the enemy, what do they do? They do worse to themselves.

Finally, the young man finds his way to the enemy. “I just want my family to be safe,” he tells them.

“They will be,” the enemy promises.

The road is long and the road is hard, but step by step, the young man and the people he cares for are brought out of their country and taken to a new one on the far side of the world. They find a home, find a job, try to put the past behind them.

“Papa,” says the young son, “why do the people here behave so differently? Why do they think differently? Why do they have different language?”

“People are just different,” says the father, “in different parts of the world. They don’t think like us.” But there are things the man does not say at that time.

“Daddy,” the son asks when he’s older, “are we bad people?” He has been told at school by the other children that he is the enemy (and even once, it seems, by a teacher).

“Of course not,” says the father, remembering the poeple he left behind, the things that they did, but also the bombs of the enemy. And he reminds himself he has not seen the kind of rampant outrage here that made him abandon his homeland.

Most days are good here. Most days, nothing actually happens. People are nice, respectful. They are different, which reminds him of how different he must seem to them, but most days, they do not attack him. Most days. However, now and then, often enough to keep him desperate, there are looks and there are words. They do not come to blows (yet) but they remind him why these people, where he grew up, were known as the enemy.

“Why do you hate us so much?” he asks a stranger one day. The stranger looks taken aback at first, but once the ice is broken, she says “A lot of terrible things have happened and I guess you just remind us of that. You make us feel unsafe.”

“So you make us feel unsafe, then,” he replies. “Because you feel unsafe? Wouldn’t it be better to help us feel safe again? Wouldn’t that make you feel safer?”

“I guess?” says the stranger, “But we don’t want you to feel unsafe or uncomfortable. We just want you to be, you know…” She wants to say “normal”. She doesn’t, but he can hear it from her heart.

“You want us to be like you,” he says, “because you don’t want to be yourselves corrupted by the enemy.”

The Ring Cycle

DEXTER: Good morning.


DEXTER: I don’t really spend a whole lot of time out here.

GABRIELLE: I can tell.

DEXTER: Yeah, I’m kind of a fuck-up.

GABRIELLE: I’m sorry.

DEXTER: It’s not you. You’re going back, aren’t you?

GABRIELLE: I’m sorry.

DEXTER: It’s okay. I always knew you were. Honestly, you being here at all, coming here, that was the surprise.

GABRIELLE: You didn’t want me to come?

DEXTER: Of course I wanted you to come, I just never thought you would.

GABRIELLE: I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel unwanted—

DEXTER: Hey, no. Don’t do that. You don’t owe me anything.

GABRIELLE: I do, though. For me. Because I… I don’t know, I’ve always…

DEXTER: Please don’t.

GABRIELLE: Just a little bit.

DEXTER: That’s not exactly what I want to hear.


DEXTER: You just said. You’re leaving.

GABRIELLE: Isn’t it better to have loved and lost?

DEXTER: It’s better not to lose at all. Just to keep on loving. I mean, I get it. I’m a fuck-up.

GABRIELLE: Stop saying that, you’re not a fuck-up—

DEXTER: Well, then—I’m sorry, maybe you just don’t—I need to be a fuck-up. I need that. Because if I’m not…


DEXTER: Being a fuck-up is my only excuse for not winning.

GABRIELLE: Don’t think of it as winning.

DEXTER: That is not up to you.


DEXTER: What’s this?

GABRIELLE: What’s it look like?

DEXTER: Why would you give me your engagement ring?

GABRIELLE: I lost it. I went away for the weekend, ‘cause I had to get away… and I lost it.

DEXTER: That makes no sense at all to me.

GABRIELLE: It doesn’t have to. I don’t care.

DEXTER: What do you expect me to do with it?

GABRIELLE: I better get going. Don’t wanna be late for my own wedding, right?

Irreconcilable Compromise

SHARONA: Hey, babe.

DEREK: Hey. Welcome home. Happy anniversary.

SHARONA: Anniversa—oh, shit, that’s right! I’m sorry—

DEREK: It’s okay.

SHARONA: No, I was thinking about this for a while, I had this whole thing that I wanted to do with like candles—

DEREK: Ooh, candles.

SHARONA: Yeah, and like this whole romantic dinner.


SHARONA: Hold on, you know what? I bet we still could.

DEREK: Yeah?

SHARONA: Yeah, it won’t be, like, all-out with the steak and stuff, but I bet I could whip up that pasta thing—

DEREK: Yay! Pasta!

SHARONA: We could both slip into something nice.


SHARONA: And then later maybe we could… you know.. slip out of something nice.


SHARONA: What? What is it? What’s up?

DEREK: Nothing, I just…

SHARONA: You don’t want to? It’s been a hot minute. Hey. Is something wrong? Derek.

DEREK: It’s just…

SHARONA: Look, I don’t want to pressure you or anything, but… Is something wrong?

DEREK: No. No, it’s just… I don’t want to. Is that okay?

SHARONA: Yeah, no, that’s fair. That’s fair, you’re not, you know, you’re not in the mood or whatever, maybe you’re just not… in that space.

DEREK: Sharona. That’s not it.

SHARONA: What? What is it?

DEREK: OK, so… now don’t take this the wrong way, I don’t want you to be, like… This is not about you, OK?


DEREK: I think I… don’t actually like sex. Please, don’t think like, that’s not a reflection on you, I mean you’re not the only person I’ve had sex with, right? I’ve tried, enough though I, I mean it was more just curiosity, I think, than lust, and then it just became more about expectations, you know, and about I want to make this person happy. And I do. I do want to make you happy. But it’s just, I don’t actually get anything out of it for myself and that makes it…

SHARONA: It’s not fair to you. That’s what you’re saying. Yeah, no, that’s… I’m sorry.

DEREK: Hey, you don’t have to be sorry—

SHARONA: You’ve never, like…

DEREK: And I’m not saying that, like, that I didn’t want to? Like, not that I didn’t want to, you know? Just because I didn’t… I know that you like it.

SHARONA: And I mean, you’re not bad at it. Like, at all.

DEREK: I picked up some tricks. You know. I paid attention. Tried to.

SHARONA: Did you ever… I mean… It just, it always seemed to me like you enjoyed it.

DEREK: And I did. I did. Just not… It’s not me.

SHARONA: What, like it was some other person enjoying it?

DEREK: Like I was putting on a—no, that’s not—

SHARONA: So it wasn’t really you enjoying it?

DEREK: That’s not what I—

SHARONA: You never actually wanted to have sex with me.

DEREK: I did. I did want to have sex with you. I just never wanted to have sex. As me. But now… I’m just, I don’t know, I’ve been starting to realize… I need to be me. And part of that is, you know, cutting back on the parts of my life that are not… me.

SHARONA: Well, you picked a hell of a time to bring this up.

DEREK: I’m sorry.

SHARONA: I guess if I’d actually gone all the way and done the candle-light dinner beforehand, this would be…

DEREK: I mean, we still could. I’d still like a candle-light dinner, just not…

SHARONA: So you’re saying the romantic stuff is fine, you just don’t want the sex?

DEREK: I like the romantic stuff. But yeah.

SHARONA: So hold on. Let me get this straight. You’re not actually breaking up with me?

DEREK: What? No! On our anniversary?

SHARONA: Wait, wait, so… You want a relationship, just not the sex.

DEREK: I have to be true to myself. And… I do love you. I want to be with you.

SHARONA: Just not physically.

DEREK: Sharona.

SHARONA: Well, I do like sex.

DEREK: I know.

SHARONA: I really like sex with you.

DEREK: Thank you. And I mean, maybe I could…


DEREK: I don’t know.

SHARONA: I thought you just said you wouldn’t.

DEREK: Well, I don’t know. Maybe, like…

SHARONA: I like sex. Derek. You know me. I like sex, I like it often, I like it rough, I like it sensual, I like variety. I like doing it with the person that, you know. What are you actually asking of me?

DEREK: I’m not asking anything—

SHARONA: No. No, you are. Because you say you want a relationship. But you don’t want sex. You want me to be celibate.

DEREK: That’s not really the same thing.

SHARONA: It is to me. I love you, but—

DEREK: But you love sex more.

SHARONA: Hey! That is not fair!

DEREK: Isn’t it, though?

SHARONA: You’re asking me to compromise in a way that… I mean, I shouldn’t have to make that kind of… Do you want me to have sex with other people? Is that it?

DEREK: Oh, is that what you want? You can’t get your sex inside the relationship, so you use that as an excuse to—

SHARONA: What excuse? I wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t—

DEREK: If I didn’t what? Force you to sleep with other people?

SHARONA: Why is it more virtuous not to have sex?

DEREK: That’s not what I’m saying.

SHARONA: Yes, you are. I like sex. You don’t like sex. You want to be in a relationship with me, an exclusive relationship with me, but you don’t want to have sex. You want me to compromise my values—

DEREK: That’s not fair—

SHARONA: I’m not judging. Not yet. Just wait, I’ll get there. This is an assessment. Having sex is a value for me. In my value system, sex is a good thing. It is a way of connecting, it is a way of enjoying someone’s company, and tehre is nothing wrong with wanting it and wanting it a lot. Those are my values.

DEREK: What about being with me? How does that factor into your “values”?

SHARONA: You don’t value sex. Obviously. Sex is not important to you. That means we have a different value system. I do love you. But for you to expect me to give up sex to be with you—

DEREK: I mean, now and then, sure—

SHARONA: But you just said you don’t enjoy it! Do you ever enjoy it? Why would I want to have sex with someone who isn’t enjoying having sex with me? That’s not fair to you because it’s not really consent, and it’s not fair to me because, I mean, what does that make me? What does that say about me, having sex with someone who doesn’t really want to have sex? But if I can’t have sex… How is that fair to me?

DEREK: Are you breaking up with me? Is that what’s happening here? I… God, I can’t believe it, I can’t believe you’re breaking up with me because I don’t want to have sex with you.

SHARONA: I want to have sex, Derek. Consenting, adult sex. What’s wrong with that?

DEREK: Can we still have romantic dinners? Long walks on the beach?

SHARONA: Derek… You need to be with someone—


SHARONA: —who appreciates—

DEREK: No! Stop it! I love you! Don’t you love me?

SHARONA: What does that mean? To you, I mean? I mean, I know what it means to me.

DEREK: What does it mean to you? That you want to have sex with me? Is that it?

SHARONA: That is part of it. If I was having sex with you and not doing all the gooey stuff, yeah, no, that wouldn’t be love, either. But without the sex…

DEREK: What’s the point?

SHARONA: There’s something missing.

DEREK: That’s still a shitty attitude.

SHARONA: And pretending to want sex just to be with me isn’t? Look, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with not wanting to have sex. You’re just… you’re not the person I thought you were. Just do me a favor. Next time you… when you do find someone. To date. To be romantic. Don’t pretend you like sex just to—

DEREK: I won’t.


DEREK: Do you think that…


DEREK: Do you think I’ll find someone?

SHARONA: Someone else who wants romance but not sex? I don’t know. But in this day and age… I guess we know they’re out there.


LYDIA: Do you know how to use that?

DARRYL: What, this?

LYDIA: It’s a fine weapon you have there.

DARRYL: Are you supposed to be holding that one? Isn’t that somebody’s prop?

LYDIA: I’m the prop-master. Well, assistant prop-master. Well, I was. On a different show. I know what I’m doing.

DARRYL: Well, OK. I guess that excuses your holding it—although I’m not convinced. But should you really be waving it around like that?

LYDIA: I’m not just “waving it around”. I’m testing the weight.

DARRYL: Is that even a thing?

LYDIA: Of course it’s a thing. You’ve got to know how it’s weighted if you’re going to be waving it around.

DARRYL: I thought you just said—

LYDIA: I know what I just said! I’m testing the weight.

DARRYL: Got it.

LYDIA: How’s yours?

DARRYL: I don’t know. I haven’t tested it.

LYDIA: I don’t believe you.

DARRYL: It’s fine.

LYDIA: Is it?

DARRYL: Why exactly are you testing the weight?

LYDIA: To fight you.

DARRYL: Oh. Of course. How silly of me.

LYDIA: Don’t you want to fight me?

DARRYL: I mean…

LYDIA: What? Is it because I’m a girl?

DARRYL: I think it’s more because I’m an actor and I’m trying to be conscious and aware of the fact that this is my prop, and I haven’t been trained in how not to hurt people when I’m using it.

LYDIA: So it is because I’m a girl. You assume you’ll be the one hurting me if anything goes wrong?

DARRYL: Yeah, OK, there might be a little bit of ohmychristshesgonnakickmyass going on here.

LYDIA: Hm. Honesty. From a male. How refreshing.

DARRYL: I do try.

LYDIA: Well, you’ll have to try harder, soon. Defend yourself!

DARRYL: You’re Lydia, right?

LYDIA: I am.

DARRYL: Kelly was so disappointed you were coming back. She’s been enjoying understudying for you.

LYDIA: Kelly isn’t as good of an actress as I am.

DARRYL: Well, she’s certainly not near as assertive. Well done.

LYDIA: Thank you.

DARRYL: We still shouldn’t be doing this.

LYDIA: Why ever not?

DARRYL: It’s not appropriate.

LYDIA: Oh, pish.


LYDIA: Pish and piffle.

DARRYL: That doesn’t sound very nice.

LYDIA: People overestimate how nice I am.

DARRYL: Noted.

LYDIA: You’re Darryl, aren’t you?


LYDIA: Benvolio, isn’t it?

DARRYL: Whenever I can.

LYDIA: How on Earth don’t you have any fight scenes?

DARRYL: I mean, I draw my sword, but… I don’t know. They cut them out. Benvolio is supposed to be like the peacekeeper. It’s a Latin thing.

LYDIA: A Latin thing?

DARRYL: The name. “Benvolio”. “Ben” means “good” and the “volio” has to do with like wanting, like “benevolent”? Same root.

LYDIA: Huh. So you’re a pretty smart guy?

DARRYL: I mean… I’m in college.

LYDIA: I’m in high school.

DARRYL: So I gathered.

LYDIA: Are you a Freshman?

DARRYL: Rising Junior.

LYDIA: So am I. I mean, I’m old for a sophomore, ‘cause of circumstances, but…

DARRYL: You liking it?

LYDIA: School? No. Hell, no.

DARRYL: Going to college?

LYDIA: M-m. No.

DARRYL: ‘Cause you don’t like school?

LYDIA: That, and it’s expensive.

DARRYL: That is true.

LYDIA: I figure the people who should be going to college are the people who actually want to go to college. I’m not gonna be a doctor or a teacher or anything like that, so… It’s kinda wasted on me.

DARRYL: There are other reasons to go to college.

LYDIA: Like what?

DARRYL: Learning.

LYDIA: Learning what?

DARRYL: Anything.

LYDIA: If I really want to learn anything, I can hang out at the library, read it for myself. Not to mention, there’s the Internet?

DARRYL: There’s something about… college, though.

LYDIA: What is it?

DARRYL: I don’t know. Maybe you have to be into it. Hey, I thought we were done fighting.

LYDIA: Now we have something to fight about!

DARRYL: Oh, yeah? What are we fighting about?

LYDIA: Truth! Knowledge! Justice! I say that true knowledge isn’t found in books, it’s found in the human heart!

DARRYL: Well, then let’s cut out your heart and find out!

LYDIA: Oh, ew!

DARRYL: Was that too much? Hey!

LYDIA: Ha-ha! A hit! A very powerful hit!

DARRYL: Palpable hit.

LYDIA: Palatable hit!

DARRYL: That, too.

LYDIA: Are you getting distracted? Ow!

DARRYL: Oh, shit! Are you okay? Ow!

LYDIA: Ha-ha! I got you again!

DARRYL: No, seriously, though, are you all right? It looked like I got you in the eye.

LYDIA: I’ll survive!

DARRYL: I think we should stop now.

LYDIA: Coward!

DARRYL: I’d rather be branded a coward than actually skewer you.

LYDIA: I could skewer you first!

DARRYL: Lydia. Let me see. Oh, shit, that’s an actual scratch.

LYDIA: I’m okay. It didn’t actually break the skin.

DARRYL: You’ll be okay.

LYDIA: Do you have a crush on Sophia James?

DARRYL: Say what?

LYDIA: Do you?

DARRYL: Is it that obvious, or did Michelle blab?

LYDIA: I could blame it on Michelle, sure. I don’t know if it’s obvious, but… I noticed.

DARRYL: Does she know?

LYDIA: Do you want her to know?

DARRYL: Do you think it would do me any good?

LYDIA: I could find out for you, if you want.


LYDIA: You look like you’d be cute together. Do you think it’ll get infected?

DARRYL: I actually can’t even see it anymore.

LYDIA: Good. Until we meet again, villain!

“Paradise by the Dashboard Light”

I sometimes wonder how many times it’s actually happened. We can’t possibly have accurate statistics on it just from legal abortions and how many are actually born. And I suppose teens aren’t necessarily the only ones who do it. It’s one of those faint, idle thoughts that has me wishing (briefly, not seriously) that my psychic abilities were more developed, that I could see more clearly.

How many kids have actually been conceived in the back seats of cars?

I guess a more interesting question might be, how many have been conceived in the back seats of cars While They Were Moving? It’s not really the kind of thing that official statistics are made to keep track of. And I guess in a lot of circumstances (Most? I don’t know if I can say…) it would be hard to figure out just from asking people, because they might not actually know at what point, in which session, conception took place.

But we know that my niece was conceived in the back of a car because that was the only place that my brother had actually had sex with Ellen Portnoy.

And of course we knew he was the father. Mom tried to get them to agree to a DNA test, but I mean, we look at her now, and she’s totally like, the nose? The chin?

Poor kid.

I don’t mean that. She makes my brother look good. She’s adorable.

But she started out as… well…

“A mistake? How can you say that?” Ellen just didn’t quite get it. I don’t know where these girls come from, the ones who actually, genuinely think that their purpose in life has something to do with having babies, and the sooner the better. Like being mom is the end-all, be-all—I mean, don’t get me wrong, I look at my mom, and like, sure, motherhood is important, but there’s other stuff that she does, too. And if she hadn’t had us, well, I think if she hadn’t had us, she’d have had a pretty decent life. Still. She’d’ve still had a pretty decent life. That’s what I…

Jasper didn’t want a kid, of course. I’m not really convinced that it was what Ellen wanted, either, until it happened. I think that once she put it all together, missing her period, the tell-tale awkward sickness coming and going at weird times, I think she told herself that it was all okay. It was all gonna work out. I think that abortion is something that occurred to her, but not for long enough to really let it sink in. If she’d thought about it… No. No, once she got it in her head she was gonna be a mom, I don’t know, maybe she thought Here’s one way that I can get one over on my own mom. By becoming her. Some kind of endless cycle.

“Well, yeah, it was a mistake!” Jasper insisted. “You think I wanted to get you pregnant?” He didn’t mean it to be hurtful. He didn’t even realize that it would be or, once he knew that it was, why. Of course he didn’t want to get her pregnant! He didn’t want to get anyone pregnant! He was seventeen, he was still in high school and he was on his way to the top with his band.

“She should get an abortion, though, right?” was what he asked the band.

Raven and Declan looked at each other. “It really is her decision,” Raven said.

“Well, shit,” said Jasper. “Here I’m about to be on the line for, like, what eighteen years of—eighteen years! I’m not even fucking eighteen years old, I’m on the line for eighteen years of taking care of some kid I squirted out in the backseat just ‘cause—God Dammit!” And he kicked something. It was like a little basket or something, I can’t really see it clearly. It wasn’t a speaker, but they were still upset.

“Hey, hey!” Declan shouted him down. “What are you doing? You’re gonna break something!”

“Everything’s already broken,” my brother lamented.

He wasn’t wrong. Nothing was ever going to be the same again for him.

There was a weird set of mixed reactions. For Ellen, obviously there was an enormous contingent of people (of both traditional genders and of all ages) who treated her with contempt. She was expecting that part.

What she wasn’t expecting—and what really freaked me the fuck out—was just how many people, especially girls her own age, started treating her with reverence. It was this weird thing, seeing someone, someone you knew, someone pretty much your own age, carring around a child—especially if you yourself had not ever had sex. But even if you had, I mean, this is a new life growing, right?

There weren’t a lot of those people, but there were enough to make things really fucking weird.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. I mean, there is. I mean, seriously, guys. It’s not (just) about biology, although I guess that might be a factor, too, mainly it’s about that’s not how our society is set up. It’s fucking weird to have someone who is in high school being pregnant, and then actually having the kid? Raising it?

Maybe shit should be different. Maybe we should be able to account for this. Maybe everything really is upside down, I mean there was a time if you hadn’t had a kid yet by the time you were like early twenties at the latest, you weren’t likely to, ever. Right? Maybe we’re going about this shit all wrong. Maybe we should be letting the teens have sex, have kids, before going off to college, let the grandparents raise them, which would be fair since their parents had raised their kids in this happy-go-lucky perfect-like society. Right?

But even if that was possible, that’s not the way things are. If you have a kid, you are an adult, automatically, that’s how this shit works. And adults have responsibilities. High school just isn’t a place for folks who have other responsibilities. It just isn’t set up for that.

I guess I’m one to talk, but the fact of the matter is, despite my brother’s baby-momma advertising it like it’s some grand affair, great fun, folks just shouldn’t get pregnant in the backseats of their cars or trucks or minivans, not until they’re settled. Not until they’re on their way to having a career—especially if they wanna be rockstars, right? If there is such a thing as forever-love, ’til death do you part, you don’t want it in high school. It’s not a good idea. Especially if you’re a rockstar. So don’t do it. Don’t do what they did. I love my niece, she’s one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a mistake.

If a Boy Asks You Out

SAM: Rebekkah?

REBEKKAH: Yes, Daddy?

SAM: What’s this?

REBEKKAH: Oh, shit.

SAM: Well, I don’t think that’s what it is, but you’re still not wrong, I guess.

REBEKKAH: Panties?

SAM: No… No, I’ve seen panties, this is something else.

REBEKKAH: Well, I use them just like panties.

SAM: These are not typically used quite the same as panties.

REBEKKAH: Oh, really, Daddy? How are they used?

SAM: Is there something you’re not telling me?

REBEKKAH: I don’t know. Is there something you don’t want me telling you?

SAM: Are you doing something you think I don’t want to know about?

REBEKKAH: Is there something you don’t want me doing?

SAM: Rebekkah. You’re sixteen.

REBEKKAH: I do remember my last birthday, Dad.

SAM: If you want to have a boyfriend, that’s fine, I won’t get mad—


SAM: I won’t get territorial or possessive.

REBEKKAH: Sure, Dad.

SAM: But these aren’t just boyfriend panties, Rebekkah Emerald Shields. This is a thong.

REBEKKAH: Is that how you pronounce it? Gee.

SAM: Now, are you just wearing these for… practice?

REBEKKAH: Right now, I’m not wearing them at all. You’re holding them.

SAM: Rebekkah.

REBEKKAH: Do you have any idea how weird it is for your dad to talk to his daughter about thongs?

SAM: I shouldn’t have to talk to my daughter about thongs. She shouldn’t be wearing them!

REBEKKAH: Better than the alternative, though, aren’t they? Like, the alternative being… Not wearing a thong?

SAM: Tell me you’re not having sex.

REBEKKAH: I am not having sex.

SAM: Are you telling the truth?

REBEKKAH: That wasn’t part of the deal.

SAM: Rebekkah!

REBEKKAH: Well what if I was having sex? You just said you wouldn’t get “territorial” if I had a boyfriend.

SAM: Having a boyfriend is not the same thing as having sex. You can have a boyfriend and not be having sex. Conversely, it is also possible to have sex without having a boyfriend and that, my dear daughter, is every father’s nightmare situation!

REBEKKAH: Oh, really? That’s the nightmare? Come on, Dad, there’s way worse things than a sixteen-year-old having sex.

SAM: Well, at least use protection.

REBEKKAH: If I was having sex, Dad, do you really think I’d be stupid enough not to?

SAM: Both kinds! The pill and the, the other thing.

REBEKKAH: Condoms?

SAM: Yes, those.

REBEKKAH: I’ve been on the pill for two years, Dad. You buy them for me?

SAM: Do you have a boyfriend, though?

REBEKKAH: Oh my God!

SAM: Well, I just wish you would tell me!


SAM: Because I want to be part of your life! Because I can feel you shutting me out.

REBEKKAH: Well, can you blame me? Look at you, you don’t even know what is going on and you’re freaking out.

SAM: Well maybe I wouldn’t if I did know!

REBEKKAH: But it’s none of your business!

SAM: Yes it is. Because you are sixteen and I am your father and there is no one else, no one else whose business it could be. Maybe this conversation would be easier on you if it was your mom, but that’s not an option. Lord knows it’d be easier on me.

REBEKKAH: What if I was a boy? Would it be easier on you then?

SAM: It’d be different.

REBEKKAH: Would you teach me all the tricks? Encourage me? Tell me to “buck up, kiddo, you’ll be having sex before you know it!”

SAM: You will be having sex before you know it. So why rush things? You’re right, it isn’t fair, the expectations that we put on women. Girls. We have to teach you to protect yourselves and we don’t think we have to bother teaching anything like that to boys. We don’t think of them as needing protection in the same way, so instead we teach them how to achieve and we don’t think about how the ways they’ll be achieving are what make girls need protection. If I had a son, I’d like to think I’d teach him how he can protect women, too. Or at least not be a threat.

REBEKKAH: What about a son-in-law?

SAM: Do not bring up marriage, young lady, don’t you dare!

REBEKKAH: I mean, like, if I did have a boyfriend.

SAM: It wouldn’t be someone I knew as well as you.

REBEKKAH: How well do you really know me?

SAM: I think I know you well enough. But much as I trust you as a judge of character… I’d still want to meet him.

REBEKKAH: And what would you say to him?

SAM: I’d tell him what a wonderful, precious jewel you are, and what happen to him if he breaks you.

REBEKKAH: So… you’d threaten him. That’s nice.

SAM: Did I say that? No, I’d just… Quietly inform him of what it would do to him if you actuallly were that person.

REBEKKAH: Aw. You would make completely empty threats. That’s so sweet of you. I’m not having sex, by the way. Like you said, those are for practice. And ‘cause they make me feel… I don’t know.

SAM: I know. I know. You were lying. Told you I knew you well enough.

Crystal Clear





CRYSTAL: Whatcha doin’ here?

JORDAN: Oh, I just, you know, thought I’d come out and see you.

CRYSTAL: Don’t you live like an hour and a half away?

JORDAN: So? Got nothing better to do. What’s going on? We talked about uh. Maybe going to see a movie? You said you might be…

CRYSTAL: That’s when I thought you were gonna be out here anyway. You had that job?

JORDAN: Yeah, sorry I wasn’t able to get away.

CRYSTAL: Yeah, I was, too, but like…

JORDAN: What? You don’t wanna hang out?

CRYSTAL: What’s going on here?

JORDAN: You said you wanted to hang out.

CRYSTAL: Yeah, but like, an hour and a hal drive both ways? That’s not hanging out, Jordan, that’s—

JORDAN: I have been known to drive three times that far just to watch a play. I mean, it’s what I do, it gives me time to listen to audiobooks. What’s wrong?

CRYSTAL: What do you want from me?

JORDAN: To hang out? Like we said?

CRYSTAL: And that’s it?

JORDAN: That’s what we said.

CRYSTAL: You’re not after more?

JORDAN: More? What, like…

CRYSTAL: Like you’re not trying to turn this into a date?


CRYSTAL: I’m sorry—ew?

JORDAN: No, it’s just—I mean, I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just that’s not how I think about you.

CRYSTAL: Seriously?

JORDAN: Oh, what, you think you’re all that?

CRYSTAL: It’s just that, in my experience, when a guy goes to that much effort, it means that he’s after a little something more.

JORDAN: Well, I’m not.

CRYSTAL: Well, I don’t believe you.

JORDAN: Well then.

CRYSTAL: Do you seriously not see me that way?

JORDAN: You were the one who said we should hang out!

CRYSTAL: That was before you drove an hour and a half just to see me, I mean what’s up with that?

JORDAN: I don’t have a lot of friends! OK? That’s what’s with that, is I’m kinda pathetic. It’s not about sex or romance, it’s about I thought we had fun hanging out.

CRYSTAL: I still don’t believe you.

JORDAN: What do you want me to say?

CRYSTAL: Right now, I don’t want you to say anything. I want you to leave.

JORDAN: All right.

CRYSTAL: No, hold on.


CRYSTAL: Why not?

JORDAN: Why not what?

CRYSTAL: Why don’t you find me attractive?

JORDAN: Oh, so you do want to hear that now?

CRYSTAL: I just wanna hear what you’ll say.

JORDAN: I never said I didn’t find you attractive. I’m just not attracted to you. You are attractive. Objectively. You’re gorgeous, definitely out of my league—

CRYSTAL: So you figure you don’t have a shot anyway.

JORDAN: Oh, don’t flatter yourself, honey. That’s my job. No, I just, hanging out is great, but I don’t, I just don’t think we’d work out long-term.

CRYSTAL: Why not?

JORDAN: You want the truth? Because you’re a skinny blonde who doesn’t like Star Trek.

CRYSTAL: Lots of girls don’t like Star Trek. In fact, I think most girls don’t actually like Star Trek.

JORDAN: All the women in my family love it. Most of my female friends have loved it. I’d even go so far as to say it is sexist to assume that a woman is not a Trekkie. So why would I settle for that?

CRYSTAL: But you like me anyway?

JORDAN: As a friend. Like I say, I don’t have many friends.

CRYSTAL: Yeah, I can see why.

JORDAN: Yeah. Yeah, so can I.

CRYSTAL: Seriously, though, how is “skinny blonde” a bad thing?

JORDAN: Look, you’re just not my type, OK?

The Sexuality of Innocence

This one comes with a TRIGGER WARNING. Explicit matters discussed.

ASHLEY: So how you been? It’s been, like…

JESSIFER: Two years. Since we talked. More or less.

ASHLEY: Right. Yeah. Hey, um, is it true that… um…


ASHLEY: I mean um… Are you seeing anybody?

JESSIFER: Yes, what you have heard is true. I am dating two different guys. They both know about each other. No, we do not have threesomes—one of them gets really freaked out by that whole, like, idea.

ASHLEY: I wasn’t gonna—

JESSIFER: I know, I just like to get this shit out of the way. How about you? Are you seeing anybody?

ASHLEY: Oh, um.

JESSIFER: Heard you went out with John Paris. He’s cute. Not really my type, seems like kind of a… I’m gonna say “square”?

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah, he does kind of give that impression. Listen, I… I’m sorry about…

JESSIFER: Dropping off the face of the earth?


JESSIFER: It happens. I’m over it.

ASHLEY: It’s just, I… Back then…

JESSIFER: I get it. People talk. Jessifer’s a big slut, right? Just like her mom? Never mind that my parents have been together more than twenty years and still fuck pretty regularly. I’m sorry, am I shocking you?

ASHLEY: No, it’s okay.

JESSIFER: ‘Cause, I mean, you asked me here. After all this time. Figured there had to be a reason you stopped talking to me, right?

ASHLEY: Listen, I… I’ve been thinking about that, about how… How I’ve judged you?


ASHLEY: I’m sorry.

JESSIFER: Apology accepted.

ASHLEY: Thank you.

JESSIFER: You’re welcome. So what’s changed?


JESSIFER: Why are you bothering to make amends? Why now? What’s changed?

ASHLEY: Oh, um… I just wanted to talk.


ASHLEY: There’s just some stuff that I can’t really talk to my other friends about.

JESSIFER: Are you gonna make me guess what kind of stuff? Is this about sex?

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yes. I mean, ‘cause, I mean, you’ve had sex, right?


ASHLEY: I mean, you seem pretty open about it, pretty non-judgmental.

JESSIFER: What’s there to judge?

ASHLEY: My other friends are very judgmental.

JESSIFER: Yeah. Have you had sex?


JESSIFER: Or are you thinking about having sex? I mean… John Paris. That guy’s a… Isn’t he kinda gung-ho for Jesus or something? Wait, he hasn’t… OK, so… Let me take a step back here. Why are we talking about sex? Are you… do you want to be having sex?

ASHLEY: I don’t know—

JESSIFER: OK, so that’s a no. If you don’t know, if you aren’t absolutely sure that you want to be having sex, then you do not want to be having sex enough that you should be having sex.


JESSIFER: Has he been pressuring you? I mean, that seems a little out of character. Oh, God. Ashley. Did something happen?

ASHLEY: I don’t know.


ASHLEY: I’m okay—

JESSIFER: Oh, sweetie, no. No, you’re not okay. I’m sorry. It was him, wasn’t it?

ASHLEY: Nothing…


ASHLEY: I didn’t—

JESSIFER: Did you say yes?

ASHLEY: Maybe?

JESSIFER: Did you say no?

ASHLEY: I don’t… It just happened so fast, OK?

JESSIFER: What happened? Sweetie? What happened?

ASHLEY: I’m not like you, OK? I can’t just talk about this!

JESSIFER: Then why did you ask me here? Ashley, please, honey, I promise you will feel better if you actually talk about it. Just let it out.

ASHLEY: But if I talk about it, then…

JESSIFER: Then it’ll become real. Which is good. You want it to be real. It happened. Pretending that it didn’t isn’t going to help anybody. Least of all you.

ASHLEY: I didn’t say no.

JESSIFER: Did you say yes?

ASHLEY: I don’t know.

JESSIFER: Did you ask him to stop?

ASHLEY: I don’t… I don’t think that he did anything wrong.

JESSIFER: But you didn’t want to do it?

ASHLEY: I don’t think that I really communicated that to him, though.

JESSIFER: It’s not your job to communicate to him that you don’t want to have sex. If you do want to have sex, that’s what you communicate.

ASHLEY: I’m supposed to see him again. Later tonight.

JESSIFER: Is that what you want? How do you feel about him?

ASHLEY: He’s not who I thought he was.

JESSIFER: Yeah, from what you’re saying, he’s not who I thought he might be, either. I mean, I figured him for a jerk, but I just had the angle all wrong. Hey, it’s okay.

ASHLEY: I just keep thinking, you know… What did I do? What made me…

JESSIFER: You didn’t do anything.

ASHLEY: But he was such a nice guy!

JESSIFER: No. He’s not. You can’t blame yourself for that.

ASHLEY: I feel dirty.


ASHLEY: Because now… I mean, even though… I didn’t want it. I didn’t. I really didn’t. But now…

JESSIFER: Why “dirty”, though? Why that word?

ASHLEY: ‘Cause like… I don’t know.

JESSIFER: Are you saying that you want sex now? Or that you’re, like, curious, at least? I mean, first of all, wow, that’s not a reaction that a lot of girls have, at least not from what I’ve heard, to that kind of experience—and that’s okay. It’s okay to, you know, you feel what you feel, just… Why “dirty”?

ASHLEY: Because now I want sex.

JESSIFER: What’s dirty about that?

ASHLEY: Don’t you ever…

JESSIFER: No! Do I feel dirty? No! Sex is not “dirty”. It can be slimy and it can be sweaty, but I mean, that’s the fun part. It can be gross, I guess, especially if you’re not used to it, or if people have told you specifically that you need to be grossed out by it. And, OK, I guess if you don’t do it right, it can be… unsanitary? But it doesn’t sound like that’s what you mean. Is it?

ASHLEY: It’s just, it’s not how I think of myself, you know? I’m not that kind of girl.

JESSIFER: What kind of girl are you? What kind of girl is the kind of girl who doesn’t want to have sex?

ASHLEY: I’m… I don’t know, sweet. You know?

JESSIFER: You don’t think I’m sweet? I mean, I know I can be blunt sometimes, but…

ASHLEY: I mean, no, I don’t mean, like… It’s not that you’re not a good person, that’s not what I’m saying at all, but… I always thought of myself as, you know, innocent.

JESSIFER: You don’t think I’m innocent?

ASHLEY: I mean, have you heard yourself talk?

JESSIFER: I’m sorry, does having sex make a person “guilty”? Is that what we’ve come to here? And I’m not talking about what happened to you; what John Paris did, that definitely does make him guilty. But where’s the crime in being curious or even, sure, I’ll say it, being lustful when it comes to sex? What does that have to do with Innocence? Some of the worst atrocities ever committed were committed by people who were actively trying to stop sex from happening, to curb sexual desire—sex isn’t a crime! If anything, for most of history, sex has been the victim. So don’t feel “dirty” about wanting it. Feel… I don’t know, feel powerful. Feel good about yourself. You’re out here reclaiming your sexuality, reclaiming this beautiful thing that’s been beaten, you know? And tarnished, dragged through the mud. Think of it as like… Think of it as like a dog, like this itty bitty pupper that never did nothing to nobody but be kind and sweet, but you can tell it’s been just, somebody just thrashed the poor thing to within an inch of its life. And you don’t know who, because, I don’t know, they’re gone, they don’t even matter anymore, but now you’ve got this cute little puppy that makes you feel… I don’t know, some kinda way about the world, it doesn’t matter. So now you’ve got the opportunity to take that poor, abused little doggy, maybe it’s a pitbull, you know, and everybody’s always told you pitbulls are mean, but it’s this cute little doggie, and so you take that cute little doggie, you take this precious thing, and you help it become something beautiful.

ASHLEY: Did you just compare sex to a dog?

JESSIFER: What? I like dogs. Do you see what I mean, though? It doesn’t have to be dirty. It’s a beautiful thing! Despite, you know… everything.

ASHLEY: Are you telling me I should get back on that horse?

JESSIFER: Sorry, it’s funny how sex is a horse now, instead of a dog. But do you want to get back on it? Is that what you want? ‘Cause, I mean, if that’s what you want, I could probably hook you up. My boys are pretty obedient and I don’t mind sharing ‘em. That sounded so wrong, I’m sorry, I can tell you’re shocke again, and that’s not what I meant, but like, I’m sorry. My point is, if that is what you want, I mean look at you, you would not have any trouble finding another horse to get onto, maybe one that’s a little better behaved? And not a jack-ass? Sorry, I’m having way too much fun with that metaphor now. But, like, is that what you want?

ASHLEY: I don’t know.

JESSIFER: Well, what did we say about not being sure? You know, the other thing they don’t really tell you. It’s okay to just be curious. You know, to be that, without actually acting on it. If this was how you’d always felt, I’m betting we wouldn’t have not been friends for the last two years. So this is, like, a new thing for you, from the sound of it. So I’d say, just be curious for a while.

ASHLEY: What about John Paris?

JESSIFER: Oh, fuck that guy. I mean, not, like… Never mind. Don’t “fuck” John Paris.

ASHLEY: What should I do, though?

JESSIFER: Well, first of all, I would say, as your friend, cancel whatever you had going on with him tonight, and maybe tomorrow at school, make it clear to him—in a very public space—that you don’t want to see him anymore, because he is a villain.

ASHLEY: Should I report him?

JESSIFER: I really want to say yes, to that. But in this town? Honestly, it’s likely to hurt you more than it’ll hurt him. I mean, for the purposes of statistics, I would still say yes, you should definitely report him, even if nothing legal actually happens, but I mean, you need to know the risks of the situation. You need to know that… that could actually put you in more danger.

ASHLEY: So you think I should let it go?

JESSIFER: I think that you should let go of him. But I want to be very clear about this, too, I am not saying that John Paris ought to go unpunished.

ASHLEY: So then… what?

JESSIFER: Do you really want to know?

ASHLEY: I don’t know. Do I?

JESSIFER: You know what I said before about how sex doesn’t necessarily make a person not innocent anymore?


JESSIFER: Let’s just say that there are other things that might make me guilty.

Over and Out

AMBER: Hi, honey. How did your midterm go?

NOAH: It was fine.

AMBER: What’s wrong? Don’t I get a kiss? OK, now you have to tell me what’s wrong.

NOAH: I think I’m gay. I’m sorry. I know this is… my timing… I just, I think it’s something that I’ve… You don’t know my parents, they would…

AMBER: Oh my God, you’re serious. But we just had sex, though. Just, like, last night. And then again this morning.

NOAH: I know.

AMBER: What, did you just… Did something…

NOAH: It’s not you.

AMBER: No, I know it’s not me, dammit, Noah! I’m not… I know how this works! I know you can’t just wave a wand or fuck someone so bad they turn gay, I know that’s not how it works.

NOAH: Well, for some lesbians, maybe. Sorry.

AMBER: Are you joking right now? Is that where you think we are? You are breaking up with me! You are breaking up with me less than twenty-four hours after taking my virginity! Am I supposed to care that it’s because of something you can’t help? What happened?

NOAH: Well, I mean, nothing. I was born this way.

AMBER: But how did you not know yesterday, and then…

NOAH: It just… I don’t know, it’s been… brewing.

AMBER: I can’t believe how much I want to hit you right now.

NOAH: I guess if that’s what it takes—

AMBER: Oh, fuck you, Noah!

NOAH: Sorry.

AMBER: What if I’d gotten pregnant? Did you even…

NOAH: Would you have kept it?

AMBER: Well what if I did!

NOAH: I suppose I would’ve… done the right thing.

AMBER: Would you have married me?

NOAH: Would you marry a man knowing he’s gay? I’d have told you.

AMBER: Why did you sleep with me? I mean, obviously it’s not because you think I’m pretty.

NOAH: Of course I think you’re pretty—

AMBER: Stop it. Was I an experiment? Just trying to make sure?

NOAH: I thought I loved you. I do, I think, just not… And I could tell how much you wanted to, so, I mean. I’m sorry. For everything, not just the timing.

AMBER: Two years, Noah. I could’ve gone to Duke.

NOAH: You were never going to go to Duke.

AMBER: No, but I could’ve!

NOAH: You’ll find someone else. You know, if you want, I could put in a good word for you, tell people how good you are in bed.

AMBER: Would anyone believe you, though, since you’re a raging queen?

NOAH: Oh, honey, I’ll make ‘em!

AMBER: Please don’t.


WRENT: You’re behind it, aren’t you?

ALEX: The sofa?

WRENT: The set-up. The whole Romeo and Juliet drama we got going on at school right now You do know Mercutio died, right? And then, like everybody else?

ALEX: What are you actually upset about? Did you want to be included?

WRENT: Why didn’t you include me? Huh? Is it because you knew I’m in love with her?

ALEX: I actually didn’t know that. So…

WRENT: You knew. Come on. You knew.

ALEX: No, you see, what I actually do know is that I specifically asked you if you had a crush on her, if you had feelings for her, and you said no.

WRENT: Oh, come on! Why did you even ask me, if you…

ALEX: I thought you might. It’s why I asked. If you’d been honest with me, maybe I’d’ve helped you, but I mean, it’s too late now. She’s with him.

WRENT: All because of you.

ALEX: Not all. They had a natural affinity, like achemistry together.

WRENT: And you know that from your own extensive love-life.

ALEX: It’s not about quantity. It’s about observation.

WRENT: And you weren’t able to observe that your best friend—

ALEX: That’s why I asked!

WRENT: You should’ve told me. You should’ve told me what you were doing. Instead, you and Ruth went off and did your own thing without telling anybody.

ALEX: You’re right. I should’ve told you. I’m sorry. But I want you to think about the implications here: you had information that was relevant to something I was planning. You didn’t share it. You kept it to yourself. You didn’t trust me.

WRENT: I didn’t trust myself.

ALEX: You see the problem here.