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A Play in Two Acts: The Age of Descent

9 Feb

The Age of Descent

A Play in Two Acts

By L. Stewart Marsden

I’ve completed the first draft of a play about an older man whose wife has died, and the adjustments he must make –– both life without her, and life as an older man.

While humorous, it has a little pathos in the mix.

If you would like to read the play, find my email address under the ABOUT tab and I will send you a PDF version. I will not respond to mere “Likes” –– I frankly don’t know what there is to like about me announcing I’ll send out a copy of a new play. The play is in PDF format, and must be emailed. Period.

The stipulation to sending you a copy is you will make honest commentary about the play, including plot, characters and whatever strikes your fancy. That’s work. If you don’t have the time nor the inclination for that kind of commitment, please don’t ask for it.

Not for younger readers, and most under the age of 50 will probably not relate, unless you have older parents in your family.

–– LSM

The Gun Show

8 Nov

The Gun Show

By L. Stewart Marsden

Dealer: I need your ID.

Patron: They don’t need it when I vote … why the hell do you need it?

Dealer: It’s the law, Sir.

Patron: Effing law-makers! They need to put those leeches out to pasture.

Dealer: Yeah, the most of them are in it for the money.

Patron: MY money … and yours.

Patron hands the Dealer his driver’s license, who plugs the information into his computer.

Patron: Checking to see if I’m crazy?

Dealer: That, and if you have any felony arrests.

Patron: Ought to make running for office a felony.

Dealer: Get no argument here.

Dealer hands the license back to the Patron.

Patron: Clean?

Dealer: Have to wait ten days for the license to clear.

Patron: Uh. Ten days. Well, you got any of your private stock for sale?

Dealer: You in a hurry?

Patron: I want to get to a range and get used to my gun before the season begins.

Dealer: Well, since you asked – I got this sweet semi I can sell you.

Patron: And I can take it today, right? I mean I don’t have to have a license to buy it and take it home with me.

Dealer: Yep. Kind of like the way it used to be a long time ago. Only thing is if I suspect the buy is unhinged or something. You unhinged?

The Patron laughs in response, and the Dealer laughs.

Dealer: You a hunter?

Patron: Used to when I was a boy. Me and my dad. Squirrel. Rabbits, sometimes. Ever eat squirrel?

Dealer: Can’t say I have. What’s it taste like?

Patron: Chicken. Everything tastes like chicken, right? ‘Cept for chicken …

Dealer laughs …

Dealer: You gonna use this for hunting, then?

Patron: Yeah … hunting. And target shooting, you know.

Dealer: This baby’ll bring down a bull moose at 200 yards. It’s lightweight and won’t throw you to the ground with the recoil.

Patron picks up the gun, hefts it, and points it up, sighting down the barrel. He checks the action several times, then puts it back on the counter.

Patron: Nice! I’ll take it. You recommend a scope with that?

Dealer: I do if you want a clean kill. Otherwise you might miss, or worse – wound your target and have to go traipsing into the brush to finish the kill.

Patron: Well, better add a scope, then. I don’t do traipsing at my age.

Dealer: Okay … I recommend this scope. Assembles onto this model quick and locks in tight. Myself I never use a scope. Kind of takes the challenge out of it.

Patron: Quick and tight. Sounds good to me. Ammo?

Dealer: What do you want? Ain’t cheap.

Patron: What is these days? Any limit on how much I can buy?

Dealer: Only your wallet. Ammo for this gun come in boxes of fifty.

Patron: Ten should do for now.

Dealer: That won’t last very long. Especially on the range.

Patron: It’s 500 shells. It’s enough.

Dealer: How you want to pay?

Patron: Cash okay?

Dealer: Need you to sign for it.

Patron: No problem.

Dealer: Anything else today? Camouflage outfit? Ear protection?

Patron: Naw. I’m good. Wait … can you outfit this with a silencer? For the sound. My hearing is bad enough as it is.

Dealer: What about ear protectors? Cheaper.

Patron: I heard they amplify background noise – least that’s what a friend of mine told me.

Dealer: Yeah. You can actually go online and get instructions how to make one. I sell you one it gets reported to the ATF, and they may want to talk to you about why. Anyways, I don’t carry them.

Patron: I’m an engineer. Or was. I have a huge workshop full of every tool imaginable. Can’t imagine making one will be too difficult for me.

Dealer: Probably not. Anything else?

Patron: You got bump stocks?

Dealer: Nope. But there’s a booth close to the bathrooms that does. They have one that’ll fit what you bought. Not going to use that hunting, right?

Patron: Just curious. Grew up on James Cagney gangster films. Always wondered what rapid-fire would feel like.

Patron pulls out his wallet and counts out the cash, and hands it to the Dealer.

Dealer: Thank you! Now if you’ll sign right here, I’ll get your change.

Patron: Lot of folk pay in cash?

Dealer: Does a bear shit in the woods?

They laugh.

Dealer: Okay, partner … you’re all set. Unless there’s anything else?

Patron: No, no! I’m good. Between you and the guv’mint, I’ll be in the poor house!

They laugh again.

The Patron walks off and disappears into the mulling crowds of the gun show, as the Dealer turns to the next customer.

Dealer: Help you, Sir?

Gun control laws are riddled with loopholes, “protecting” an American citizen’s 2nd Amendment right to own a gun. This is one of them. It’s referred to as The Gun Show Loophole.



Wanted: Eyes

18 Jul






I’ve completed several rewrites of ACT ONE, and the rough draft of ACT TWO of the play I’m working on, The Last Stand.

The play is an adaptation of Boule de Suif, a short story written by Guy de Maupassant. Maupassant was considered one of the best French story writers of his day, and wrote similarly to his American counterpart, William Sidney Porter, who was better known as O’Henry.

Maupassant set the story in the 1870’s, during the invasion of Prussia. I have elected to relocate the story to December of 1864, in Savannah prior to the arrival of General William T. Sherman on his famous March to the Sea military campaign during the Civil War.

If you are willing to read and comment, I’ll gladly send you a copy of each act.

I advise that you read the original short story, which is available in English (or French) online. Just Google Boule de Suif.

If interested, please email me at skipmars at g mail dot com. (Can you figure that out?)

Or, comment below.



Marco Polo

12 Jun

A short exercise as an assignment for a playwriting seminar.

Criteria: Two characters in one location. Ten lines back and forth dialogue for each, with no more than five words per line. Something must occur that forever changes the relationship.



At rise, a backyard. MALE and FEMALE fireflies flitting about. It is evening.


Here I am! Psst!




Right here! Listen to me!


Oh, there — you went out!


Endurance is not my strength.


Apparently no one else, either.






It’s what the kids do.


Huh? What kids?


At the pool. Say Polo.




Right! Say it again! Marco . . .


Polo — oh, I don’t know!


How ’bout I sing, then?


Anything but this!


                                                                      (Sings, like a goat)
You light up my life . . .


AUGHHHH! Stop! Please stop singing!


Well, I could dance like . . .

(A bat swoops down and catches the MALE, then swoops away)


Marco? Are you there? Polo!


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 10 June, 2014

I’m going to save you THOUSANDS of dollars!

11 Jun


I’m going to save you thousands of dollars,

(and headaches)


What a hook! So you’re thinking, just how can Skip save ME $$$$$$ and ######?


Over the next few months, I’m going to blog about my experience at getting my children’s book, Stinky and the Night Mare, published. Now, it’s not through Harper and Row or any other big company that has paid me billions of dollars up front. And, it’s not me going through the trials and tribulations of doing it all myself.

It’s somewhere in between.

This will be more a diary of my experience, with pics, etc., as I can get them. The whole painful/joyful process.

But, that’s not all!

I am ALSO going to have a second diary on my experience writing a play, and the process of formatting it, getting it read, and hopefully produced.

Yes, I know most of you are aspiring poets and novelists, nonfiction writers and the like. Writing a play may not even be on your radar, much less your forte.

But I may as well do both, as both are on my immediate TO DO LIST!

And here’s the nice thing. I’m giving you the benefit of my experience for free!

That’s right! F-R-DOUBLE-E  free!

Tomorrow or the next, you will see a new link on my website for a new page: Follow Along. For those of you who want to know the specific day/date (remind me to tell you about the FREE HOT DOGS TOMORROW billboard I saw while visiting in California as a kid), it will be either Thursday, June 12, or Friday, June 13, 2014.

There’s a remote possibility is could be as late as Saturday, June 14, but I’m usually pretty good about following my schedule.

When you open that page, you will see a link, Stinky and the Night Mare publishing experience. A second link, The Last Stand, writing a play, will be below.

I invite you to come along for the ride, and to share your own experiences, as well in the comment sections. Click on either link — or BOTH — if you like.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Query: looking for contributors to Anthology on Aging

21 May


Anthology on Aging

Poems, stories, essays, art and photography (and more)

on the Golden Years


I’m aware of more and more excellent work being done on the broad subject of aging. As I’m sliding down that slippery silver slope myself, I find much of my writing geared in that direction.

Are you writing about that time of life? Drawing? Photographing? Recording?

If so, and if you would consider contributing to a project that would be self-published, let me know by emailing me at skipmars at gmail dot com.

Agreeable details can be ironed out by agreeable people, I think.

How about you?

Wanna try?



The Final Stand — Act One — draft

7 May





The first draft of “Final Stand,” Act One, is ready for review and critiqu


you would be willing to look at the first act, read it, and critique it for the following:

characters – are they developed enough for you to get a feel for who they are? Are they consistent? Is their speech consistent?

plot – does the plot flow?

What do you like?

What do you dislike?

What confuses you?

What appears to be missing?


1. Put a comment at the bottom of this page that you are willing to help in this endeavor

2. EMAIL me at skipmars at (@) gmail dot (.) com so that I can send you a PDF copy of the script.

3. If you have NOT read “Boule de Suif,” you can go online to and download a PDF copy for free. I recommend this.



Final Stand is based on Guy de Montpassant’s short-story, “Boule de Suif,” (Ball of Fat), and was written based on the Franco-Prussian conflict of 1870. De Maupassant was heralded as a genius of the short-story by the contemporaries of his day. He is much like O’Henry in his usage of irony.

I have reset the location to December 1864 in Savannah, GA and South Carolina, at the time of General William T. Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea, which ultimately was the beginning of the end of the American War Between the States.

I have also adapted this story for the stage. It will run in two acts.

In my economy, every act of support and kindness must be reciprocated, and I am not only grateful for your participation, but will do something for you when the time comes. Kind of like Marlon Brando in The Godfather. Or, if you are familiar with the first rule of Alchemy — that.

Certainly you will be credited for your assistance in the printed script.

L. Stewart Marsden, aka, Skip.

The Final Stand, Act One Under Construction

6 May

The Final Stand





this week.


I am completing the first draft of Act One of  The Final Stand this week, and will be contributing very little to my blog as a result.

The Final Stand is a stage dramatization of Guy de Maupassant’s classic short-story, “Boule de Suif,” which is originally set in France during the Franco-Prussian was in the 1870s.

I’ve chosen to take the scenario and transplant it to December 1864 in Savannah, GA and parts of South Carolina.

Southern civilians are escaping from Wm. Sherman’s march to the sea, hoping to find sanctuary in other parts of the country. They are headed for Charleston, where other means of transportation will remove them from further risk.

De Maupassant was France’s O’Henry, and wove a tale of class conflict, judgment and fickleness in his tale of irony.

My goal is to complete Act One this week. For those familiar with the story, Act One ends on a climactic note when Madame Rousset reveals to her traveling party the real demands of the Prussian officer.

The tale lends itself quite nicely to the new location.

When the rough draft has been completed, I will look for those willing to read it with a critical eye. If you have experience in the theatre, and would be willing to critique Act One, let me know by comment below.




BTW: You can find and read de Maupassant’s “Boule de Suif” online. It should be free to download in a series entitled Original Short Stories, Vol. 1.

A new acquisition

11 Apr



This is a new acquisition from crazymarkovich, a fellow WordPress blogger from Belgorod, Russia. You can see his photo unencumbered by my matte and frame on his blog site. The play between light and dark shades, with the touch of red spoke to me of olden Russian days — of which I have absolutely no memory, being American.

For subtle slices of Russian life, please visit his blog!