14 May





by L. Stewart Marsden

You like long walks on the beach?

No. My sciatic nerve starts acting up, and then I gotta take ibuprofen.

Chick flicks?

C’mon. Even you don’t like chick flicks I bet.

True. I’m a sucker for James Bond.

I figured you’d go for the slasher movies.

Why the hell would you think that?

You know . . . married three times and all.

What, you think I killed them and dismembered them for their life insurance?

Stranger things have happened.

You don’t have to worry.


Yeah. I like food.

What types of food?

All types.

Your favorite?



Ever tried it?

C’mon! Who eats Spam?

Somebody’s got to. It’s in every grocery store I ever went to. Even the dollar stores. You slice it and fry it with onions, peppers — then mix it with celery soup with half the milk. Really good.

Spam? Sorry.

And fried chicken hearts and gizzards with spicy mustard. And liver.

I hate liver. Makes me gag. There’s not enough ketchup in the world can mask that taste.

Then I guess foie gras is out, too.

I never had it. I thought that was banned.

Are you one of those hippy activists?

Anything wrong with being an activist?

At your age it just sounds funny! Especially with your sciatic nerve thing!

For that matter, I don’t eat veal, either.

Oh, god! And you were looking like such a catch! (Pause) So, do you smoke?

I gave up cigarettes years ago.

I don’t mean cigarettes.

Oh. You mean . . .

Yeah. Do you smoke?

No. Tried it once.

And you didn’t inhale, right?

No. Yes — I did inhale. It didn’t do anything except make me paranoid the cops were going to suddenly burst in and I would end up in jail.

And jail would be a bad thing? For an activist? Again, seems to be a bit of inconsistency going on with you.

Okay. I’m not an activist, per se. I’m more of a mental activist. I think activist thoughts.

Ever march or sit in?

No. But I thought about it. And I supported those that did.

Waved to them as the police hauled them off to jail, did you?

There’s more to activism than being hauled off to jail.

I suppose.

I ate blood pudding once, if that makes it better?

Blood pudding? Gawd — yech!

It wasn’t half bad. With eggs and juice and coffee.

Gag me with a spoon!

I was in Scotland.

And so, when in Scotland . . . So you ate the haggis, then?

I couldn’t bring myself to do that. But you like Spam.

It’s different. I’ll fix it for you one night.

Tell me which night so I can be out of town. What about music?

What about it?

Whaddaya like?

All kinds. Rock, you know. Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.

The hard stuff.

What’s wrong with the Beatles?

Elevator music, now. I’m talking Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss . . .

Not my thing.

So you’re the Perry Como, Steve and Eydie kind of guy.

I like them, yes. And Sinatra and the classics and opera and big bands and beach music and Motown . . .

You still have your eight-tracks, don’t you?

I might.

You do! And a player, too!

Yes. And I have all my albums, if you need to know. They’re collector’s items now.

You’re a collector’s item! God! I have a LOT of work to do on you!

Work? On me?

If we’re going to hang, we gotta bring you up to speed.


You know — be together.

So, for me to be with you, I’ve got to change to your . . . specifications?

Does sound a bit harsh.

Well, yeah! A lot of work has gone into who I am. I don’t think you can snap your finger, or do whatever you have in mind and it’s going to change. And maybe I don’t want to change.

Sure you do. Believe me.

Wow — that’s really — I don’t even know what to say about that!

No need to thank me now.

No, um — so maybe we need to rethink this?

No, wait! Maybe I stepped over the line a bit.

Maybe? You sure do put a lot of stock in who you think you are. May-be it would be a good idea for you to back off and take a look at yourself.


Look, at our age — at my age, anyway — I tend not to want to piddle around. I cut straight to the bottom line. I’m sorry. You’re right, I do think a bit higher of myself. But, you see, I’m the only one who thinks of me anymore. Period.

What about your kids?

What kids? I didn’t have kids. I had marriages, sure — but no kids. They just weren’t on my radar at the time. You know, kids get in the way.

Yeah. They do. But I wouldn’t trade ’em for anything. And, it was my kids talked me into coming to The Glen.

Well, that was good.

I didn’t think so at the time.

And now you’re convinced it wasn’t good.

No. Not at all. Look, I never knew a woman like you before.

Yep, broke the mold with me, they did.

Don’t cry. I think that we can do this.


Yeah. Whatever this is. But I don’t want to change you. I’d just like to get to know you.

You sound like the song.


You know, (sings) I’d like to get to know you!

Yeah, right. Right! That’s exactly it. Let this — whatever it is between us — develop as it will.

Wherever it goes.

Exactly. You remain who you are, and I’ll remain who I am. If we change — we change. If you end up liking Spam because of it — so be it.

So be it. Spam. Ugh!

(Together, quietly, tentatively, not precisely together or in tune with each other):

I’d like to get to know you . . .

(They laugh)


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 14 May, 2014



One Response to “Checklist”

  1. Bharti Athray May 30, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    I found this to be an interesting piece. I often have conversations inside my head with people I know, people I would like to know. I like the line that says,”You sure do put a lot of stock in who you think you are. May-be it would be a good idea for you to back off and take a look at yourself.”

    My response to that would be, “Maybe I should step back, but why should I? I do like myself for the way I am, and I hope you like me too. But if you don’t, well that’s fine by me as well.”

    I enjoy listening in on conversations, they reveal so much about the person, verbally and non-verbally. I have enjoyed listening in on or rather reading your conversations with various visitors and followers on your blog.

    I like your style, your candidness, and your express irritation at this seemingly impersonal medium where people ‘like’ and ‘follow’ often with little or no meaning attached to their actions.

    I often have arguments with my husband on the need for social media and the endless posts on facebook and twitter. I think they are meaningless. Most of us are just happy reading what we have written and posted. Your friends read and ‘like’ you – but I wonder if they even understand what I am trying to say… sorry, I seem to be rambling now.

    It’s just that it’s rare to find someone online, trying to make sensible connections with real people. I am glad to have found you, and yes, I hope to connect at a more real level than just likes and follows.

    I invite you to drop by my blog. It’s still new and I am updating it with content that has long remained in my diaries and old files. You comments, good, bad, ugly are all welcome. BTW, just for the record, I found you through ; just so you know.

    Will be visiting and look forward to your visit over at my blog. Cheers.


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