This is A Place For Words, a place for short stories, a place for amusing dialogue, for absurdity and for us to imagine... A place to let it all go.

No Ideas


Two random friends converse at random place at a random time.

ALEX
Hey Tommy, there’s an art exhibition not too far from here. I’d like to go. We should go together. Fancy the idea?
TOMMY
No! I can’t. I wish I could but I can’t.
ALEX
What? You love art! What’s wrong? (pause) Oh... you don't look too good.
TOMMY
No man. I’m not. I’m worried. Super worried. I can’t deal with this anymore. It’s driving me nuts. I don't know what to do Alex. What should I do?
ALEX
Well, what is the problem?
TOMMY
Well. You know, no?
ALEX
No. Unfortunately I don’t. But you want me to guess? I can try to.
TOMMY
It’s my blog you see. I try to post some good stuff every once in a while you know. And now is one of those times where I should post something. I should publish something now! I really want to write something great. Something fun. Something exciting. I want to write the best stories, extraordinary stories, divine stories! Short and simple, but cool. I really believe in simplicity. Not cheesy simplicity. Great and constructed simplicity. I want my audience to live what I write, go beyond, interpret it the way they want, to imagine, to read out loud, to get into it you know. I want them to feel the story. They can’t read stuff passively, they have to get involved! The most important for that is to have fun. They must have fun. But for that, I need to have fun myself. I believe that to do great stuff, fun is the most important. But I am worried right now and I can’t find appreciation for anything. I’m doomed. I’m not having fun at all. I can’t sleep at night. I’m looking for ideas but nothing Alex. Nothing! I don’t know what to do. What should I do? I really don't know. I’m always trying to do something new, something original but ideas won’t come. I don't know what to write. I’ve been thinking and thinking and even tried to find new ways of thinking but nothing! You hear? I’m losing hope Alex. I really am.
ALEX
Oh Tommy! (smiles)
TOMMY
There is nothing funny Alex. Why are you smiling? You should be helping me and instead, here you are laughing. What the hell.
ALEX
Well I mean... Yeah it’s true. I should help you. It’s my duty as a friend, right? But its so funny because I never see you like that Tommy; it seems a little odd. But you shouldn't worry. Like you say, have fun! Don't worry, be happy. You remember that song?
TOMMY
I know Bob Marley, yes. But that doesn’t really help, does it? “Don't worry. Be happy,” more easily said then done, no? I think you don't understand my situation. I’m hopeless. I try very hard but... zero. What to do, I don’t know.
ALEX
Talk to people, explore, read, experience. Try new stuff. Travel, look at things from a different angle. Most important, be open! Creativity can come from random talks, discussions. You can run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say “wow” and soon you come up with all sorts of ideas. Just be open and try not to worry. I’m not completely sure what you should be doing but I believe you need to experience and see different things, different people and you're fine. (pause) Come on. Cheer up my boy! You won’t go anywhere worrying like that.
TOMMY
Yeah?
ALEX
Of course! A friend of mine does similar stuff and whenever he writes, first it has to be at night, he lights up, like around 5-6 candles to be in a zen-like environment, so he says. Then he must have his headphones on and listen to great music; really awesome music. And then, most important of all, he always has a glass of gin’n’tonic on his desk. He writes two-three hours like that. He loves it. He explained how he writes with passion, with purity. He is really into it. The music is so important. He would just let himself be and write and write and write until he couldn't any more. He was really happy to share that with me. So happy!
TOMMY
Wow.
ALEX
And so he would go to bed, have a good night sleep and the following day, he'd look at his stuff rearrange some of it, add some words, delete some others. Change the things that don’t sound good and then finalize everything.
(Pause)
A funny chap. “I’d rather think different than think tradition” he used to say. I always appreciate the ones who do things differently. I mean, if they can prove that it works, if they are happy about it, if they actually realize what they are doing then that is awesome. I can only encourage this.
TOMMY
Yeah! Kind of funny. Have you read his stuff? I would have a look at it. Sounds amusing.
ALEX
I don't really read. I mean, I do sometimes but not so often to be honest. I don’t like it that much, I easily get bored. I love to talk though. I love discussions. I love conversations. I adore great dialogue. Like right now, you and me, we’re having a talk and that’s what I like. When you have a great conversation, great dialogue, it’s lovely. It is. It really is! It can be beautiful, charming and fun. There’s something that lies there somewhere deep. It can be so profound, so intense. It’s like sex! Sex with words!
TOMMY
Hahah. You like it eh? You like great dialogue. What you say may be true and I’m sure it is. Your point seems good and you look inspired but um... well...
ALEX
Oh yeah. Concerning the blog issue. I think you should be honest. Honesty is really important. Extremely important. Of course you can’t always be straightforward but sometimes you must be courageous to just say what goes through your mind so here I would just say. “Guys, I don’t have anything. I’m sorry.
TOMMY
No, but I can't do that. I can’t.
ALEX
Why not Tommy?
TOMMY
Because... It’s already done.












© copyright, 2013, Hugo Bertrand.

Character flexibility


This work contains vulgar words. Please be aware. Thank you.

ANDREW
Hey Simon. I realized something. I want to explain this something to you. It might be a little different than what you are used to hear but whatever... It stays true so I feel I should tell you as you’re a cool friend.
SIMON
Yeah Andrew. Go ahead. I’m all ears.
ANDREW
Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve had this thought but I now I feel I’m able to put it into words.
SIMON
What is it? I wanna hear it. Come on. Spit it out. Speak your mind. It’s always important to speak your mind. So go ahead!
ANDREW
Well I found out that I like challenging people... (Simon interrupts him)
SIMON
Ha! But that’s nothing new. Of course we like people offering us challenges. Challenges are the way to go! I mean, without challenges, we are blank, we are nothing. Think about it: challenges lead to motivation. Motivation leads to movement or dynamism. Movement actually makes you do stuff. If there are no challenges, there is no motivation therefore no movement, no nothing. And then people finish stupid. So you are right, challenges, challenging people are all good things Andrew!
ANDREW
Yeah yeah, of course. I agree with you. Good saying. Good Simon. You have a point. But, um... I didn't quite mean it like that. I meant it differently. I was using “challenging” as a verb. I like to challenge people Simon. Sounds different now, doesn’t it?
SIMON
You like to challenge people? So you suggest challenges then? Or what exactly? I’m not sure. Go further. Explain yourself.
ANDREW
No no no Simon. No! I don’t suggest anything, certainly not challenges. That’s traditional stuff. You know how I feel about tradition, right? I challenge people differently. I challenge them with words. I like to look at how people react differently to different words. I’ll give you an example Simon. You seem to be a little lost here.
SIMON
No no. I follow; at least I think I do. I kindda see where you want to go. It all makes sense up to here! (laughs) But please continue, give an example or I don’t know but talk. Give me more.
ANDREW
Well, if for instance I walk in the street and it’s a beautiful day and this and that and I see another person walking the opposite way, I’ll go toward him and shout: "fuck you!" I have to show how serious I am. I’ll point my finger at him. I’ll look at him in the eye; show how angry I am. Just like that. You see? No other way.
SIMON
Wow.... That’s not entirely cool Andrew.
ANDREW
No wait. Let me finish. And so if that guy reacts as if he wants to show he has a bigger dick than I; if the guy is ready to fight, show that he’s stronger and this and that, I say to him: “Sorry sir. I deeply apologize. I didn't mean it like that at all. Please don’t hit me. I’m awfully sorry. I promise it will never happen again. It was a test. I am a little confused at times.” And then this guy slowly disappears and I never see him again. Never! You understand? I don’t like people like that. And so I move on. I carry on and do this exact same thing with other people and if instead of reacting like this other guy did, the “new one” smiles weirdly, appears to be a little puzzled and asks things like: “ I’m sorry sir, but I don’t quite get your point here?” “Can you explain to me why?” “I’m a little lost to be honest.” I respond: “no, don't worry. It was a test. We’re cool.” And we shake hands. And then we grab coffee or tea and we talk and talk and talk and discuss about everything. That's how I make great contacts. If people are able to laugh at some stuff, we have genius. You get it Simon?
SIMON
I’m afraid I don’t Andrew. I do no get your point. I don't see why you’re being so vulgar. It’s not very cool stuff Andrew. I thought you were better than that.
ANDREW
I thought you were all ears.
SIMON
Yes but I mean... we don't usually talk like that. And I don't get your point. Your story doesn't even make sense. No logic here.
ANDREW
Oh Simon... Don't be like that. Come on buddy. (smiles). Besides, I told you you were going to hear something different. I’m not stupid Simon. You know that, right? I may be a little crazy from time to time but eih...
SIMON
But eih? Eih what?
ANDREW
Well.... You know what I say to those people who say I’m crazy? We’re all crazy some way or another! Anyway, you may or may have not noticed that sometimes when I talk, something lies behind. You cannot just hear what I have to say. You have to think about it; maybe a great deal, it depends.
SIMON
Yeah. I guess. So what is it that lies behind what you just told me?
ANDREW
I’m referring to what I call character-flexibility. I presume one can see what I mean by just saying “character-flexibility”.
SIMON
Yeah. No. Maybe. I don’t know. Carry on.
ANDREW
Character-flexibility is the ability to stand on both feet all the time. It’s about not reacting, not being carried away. I want people to have the capacity to go beyond. Beyond words. Beyond actions. Beyond stuff. One mustn’t take himself too seriously. One must be able to accept different judgments, different things and move on. We can’t be too rigid, you understand? Stay neutral. Stay cool. Be flexible. I have a story in mind that can easily relate to the idea of character-flexibility so listen carefully. There are two trees standing close to each other. One is quite small and has a small trunk. The other is big, really big. There was wind. But little wind eh, and the big tree tells the small one: “I laugh. I laugh so much. I laugh tremendously. You’re so funny. I mean look at you; you can’t even stand straight. You wiggle all the time. Stand up for yourself. Come on! You look dumb. Look at me; you have to be strong. Stand up for yourself. ” One day, the winds are even stronger, so strong that the big tree falls down. His trunk is too rigid and doesn't hold. The little tree, still standing, laughs. He looks at the other tree and says: “Who looks dumb now?” You see more or less where I want to go now Simon? Character-flexibility.
SIMON (takes some time to answer)
umm. No. Yeah. I see. I think I see. No, I really see something. It’s a good one. I like it. About accepting, reacting differently, being mild, being flexible. It’s all good stuff. I guess I approve. Good story. (small pause) Really good Andrew! Really really good! (laughs)
ANDREW
You look so enthusiastic right now. Calm down. Its not like it’ a big discovery or something. You see, you get carried away. You have to stay neutral Simon. I mean, you can approve but.... no, forget what I just said.
SIMON
No! I like it. I shouldn't have disagreed earlier and have trusted you and your story. But now I see that you’re done and I like it. Good job! I’m proud of you and I express it, that's all!
ANDREW
Good. Good.
SIMON (tries to “insult” Andrew like he did earlier)
F*** you Andrew! Oh shoot. I guess I can’t.

(They both smile. They shake hands.)







© copyright, 2012, Hugo Bertrand.

An awkward situation


The Characters

MAX               Young adult, in a relationship with Vanessa
VANESSA      Young adult, in a relationship with Max
BENOIT          Vanessa’s father. A physician 
JANE              A friend of Vanessa
SYLVIE          A sort of psychologist, also a psychoanalyst

(At one o’clock in the morning, Max and Vanessa leave a house party to return home. They are both very young and very much in love. They walk normally, but suddenly...)
MAX
What the hell was that?
VANESSA
What was what?
MAX
I saw something. Gosh, it was big. Creepy. I’m scared. Come on, let’s go. Hurry.
VANESSA
Darling, there wasn’t anything. You’re imagining things. I mean...if you remember well, you did take some tequila shots, some vodka, some rum and euh... some of this, some of that. So... well you know, maybe you saw something that isn’t real. That can happen. Don't worry honey.
MAX
I did take some tequila shots. I had vodka, rum and this and that. It’s true. I remember. And I even remember that the alcohol was good! But, I did also drink water in the end so it’s all good. But I promise, I saw something, something weird, like a shadow playing with blood. I don’t know… But it was frightening.
(Max sees something again)
MAX
Careful! (The creature comes and makes a move.) Thank God I took two years of karate! FOAH, that was close!! He nearly had you.
VANESSA
What was that anyway? Why did it try to attack me? What are we suppose to do now? What should we do?  I can’t believe it.
MAX
Vanessa, calm down! There is nothing we can do right now except run home. 
(Arrived home, both go directly to the rooms after having locked all doors and taken the first aid kit.)
MAX
Did it hurt you?
VANESSA
Well I guess this thing came closer and closer and even closer than anything and bit me or at least tried to.... I don’t feel blood, it just feels cold. Tomorrow, we should go to Lagrace hospital. My dad is a doctor there.
MAX
Of course the thing didn't bite you; I managed to push him away with my well-learned skills! But let’s not worry, we’re both tired, I had some to drink, we’ll see your father tomorrow. Now let’s go to sleep. 
(The following day)
VANESSA
I literally did not close my eyes. I am so petrified!
MAX
I did! Haha. But now let’s go.
(At the hospital)
BENOIT (Vanessa’s farther)
Hello Max, how are you? Vanessa, you don’t look great. Is there something? I’m sure there is. Gosh Vanessa, what have you been doing??
VANESSA
Something terrible happened dad. While we were walking back yesterday night, some strange creature ran towards us and tried to bit me like vampires do in the movies.
BENOIT
Holy Christ! It happened. I tried to warn you yesterday. You never answer your phone. I’m a little mad. What’s the point of having a mobile phone if you never answer your calls? Urgh...anyway, our team discovered this weird virus. If this creature or zombie; you name it, bites you, you are contaminated. But the virus has no effect until you fall asleep. Once awake, you feel better, like in paradise, in a better world but oddly enough, you wish to bite everyone. If the person seems happy, is constantly smiling, it means that this person is contaminated. But anyway, tell me: Are you okay? Did you manage to kick him away?
MAX
Yes, I was able to. Yes sir! 
VANESSA
I'm okay. Are we going to inform everyone about this thing?
BENOIT
Only a small portion of the population is contaminated. But I mean, it’s been only two days. We are going to inform everybody. Our team is going on TV in an hour. Everybody should be aware and all of them will know what to do.
MAX
How do we get rid of this... thing?
BENOIT
Well, when someone gets infected, this person definitely doesn't want to go back; they prefer their world. The best way to get rid of it is to contemplate, a different sort of relaxation, after receiving a shot of delustofene and for at least one hour. You should see somebody that is trained. 
MAX
We must go and tell all our friends.
(Later that day, Max and Vanessa organize a get together in their house)
JANE (One of Vanessa’s friends)
Hey Vanessa! What’s up? Hey come over, I need to talk to you about something. (They both go to the kitchen) So I heard yesterday night was quite something, huh? On your way back home, a creature appeared from nowhere and attacked you and tried to bite you?!
VANESSA
Yes that is what happened. Crazy! Right?! 
JANE
You poor girl. You must have been scared to death.  Oh gosh, you don’t look too happy. Come, I’ll give you a big hug.
VANESSA
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!
JANE
Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt much, it’s just a bite. You will feel better in no time. Be ready to live new experiences!! Be ready to... go get it! I’ll rinse off all that little blood. Take this glass of wine and celebrate!
(After a while, they both leave the kitchen, laughing tremendously loud)
VANESSA
I feel so good! Man, this is cool! I feel light. I swear to you! 
MAX
What? Oh gosh. You never drink wine. Come on! What the hell? Go sleep a little. I’ll take you upstairs. Here, lie down. I’ll wake you in half an hour.
(After a short while, Max realises and finds out he made a big mistake. He runs back to the room, wakes up Vanessa who doesn't hesitate to bite him.)
MAX
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH! What’s wrong with you? That hurt. Damn it. Why did I let you sleep? Stupid Max! Now we are both spoiled, what are we going to do? God damn it Vanessa.
VANESSA
Oh Max. Just calm down. Patience. Have patience and you’ll learn how to appreciate stuff. Take a nap! 
MAX
No! No way. Take your stuff. We are leaving. Right now!
VANESSA
Relax, I tell you! Patience, it’s important. It’s good to be patient so relax, sleep a little and then let’s go skateboarding. We’re cool!
(Max and Julia leave the room.)
MAX  (to the crowd)
Guys, there is something going on. I am sorry but I have to ask you all to leave. Sorry for the trouble caused. 
(Later in Benoit’s office at Lagrace hospital.)
BENOIT
Hello again to both of you. I apologise but this is not the time. We are too busy right now.
MAX
You don’t understand. This is an emergency….
VANESSA
Father, don’t listen to him. He is all stressed and, for sure, does not know how to take it easy. Max, just calm down, everything will be sorted out.
MAX
You are insane, you’re not Vanessa anymore.
(Vanessa attempts to bite Benoit but misses)
BENOIT
Oh God! I see. It is amazing how you understand things quickly…
MAX
Okay, very good, you understood… So we are both infected by this virus. Only, I have not slept so the virus hasn’t developed but Vanessa's has.
VANESSA
Isn’t paradise good? Just go with the flow you guys. Gosh!
BENOIT
Oh what has my daughter become? Max, the best way for you to get rid of the virus is to stay awake for at least 5 days; better if it’s a week actually. The body can handle that. You can do it, trust me. Modafinil or adrafinil can help. Vanessa has to do meditation, kind of like relaxation. That is what’s best. I can send you to my friend Sylvie.
(Max and Vanessa disappear and head out to see the lady.)
MAX (to Sylvie)
Hello madam, so here is the story: we are both contaminated by the “vampire/zombie” virus. Vanessa has slept but I haven’t so I still have good conscience.
VANESSA
I don’t understand you… Max you changed. Look how preoccupied you are. Follow the path that is given to you. Accept it! Don’t modify nature. Just don’t!
SYLVIE (the psychologist)
That is not a way to come in someone’s house. Let’s talk before anything. Calm down. Would you care for a cup of tea?
MAX
Listen,  I do not mean to be rude but right now is not the time to have a chitchat. We just want to get out of the state we are in. Do you know Benoit? He sent us.
SYLVIE
Yes he phoned just before you came in. He explained everything. I understand your preoccupation but you have to relax. It is part of the cure. So Max you mustn’t sleep for a week and Vanessa, come with me. Let me help you.

(They hang in for about an hour. Vanessa has to do all sorts of things to contemplate, meditate and work on her reactions after receiving a shot of delustofene and it seems that it works.)
(An hour later.)
MAX
Sylvie, I don’t know how to thank you. You did great now, Vanessa looks like new. It’s amazing. Thank you so much.
SYLVIE
I am glad to see that it all worked out and that "my guiding" so to say, is effective. Now, do not forget, go to a pharmacy and buy modafinil, it well help staying awake. Don't fall asleep for at least a week.
(Later, at the pharmacy.)
VANESSA
No!!! Max, don’t fall down. You can’t fall asleep!
(A minute passes) 
Here, show me your neck. Oh, it doesn’t look too good. Be ready, it is going to be violent.
(Vanessa injects him with the syringe in the wound.)
MAX
Ouch, that hurts tremendously. What the hell??
VANESSA
It’s for your own good. Don’t worry honey. I would never cause harm if it weren’t for a good reason. I’ll do this once every six hours or so; depends on how you react.
MAX
Every six hours?! That makes a lot of injections. You know I don't like needles. I simply don’t like that stuff. I don't like it at all! Stop it right now! No, no, no. I won’t tolerate this. And why in the neck, I think you should never do this in the neck, are you mad??

(On the seventh night of that same week, they both sleep a very, very long night, probably the longest since an extremely long time, a sixteen hours sleep.)
MAX (waking up)
What the hell, I feel so weird. What time is it? What day are we? Gosh, I feel so.... so awkward. I feel kindda dizzy, I don't remember anything.
VANESSA
What a nightmare. Such an intense week. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe what happened. It’s so weird. Lucky you don’t remember anything.
(Ten seconds later)
VANESSA
Hey wait, Max, now that I’m thinking, I’m not sure if this was a dream or reality. It must have been a dream, I mean come on, that sort of stuff does not happen in reality. It has to be a dream; I’m sure it was.
MAX
Honey, what are you talking about?


© Copyright, 2012, Hugo Bertrand.

What are we but the sum of our past experiences?

Everyday is a new experience that completes, follows, explains or adds to the one of the day before. Life is full of them. We learn, we grow, we develop ourselves. Sometimes we discover something, sometimes we surprise ourselves. When you were born, you had nothing, no abilities, no wisdom, no skills. You couldn't even stand up on your feet! But then you learned how to walk. You fell down, you stood up again and finally, you learned how to walk. When you learned how to ride a bicycle, you fell, you hurt yourself but you pursued and finally you learned how to ride the bike. That was an experience, learning how to ride.

I once read “our pasts are contained within ourselves.” Well that is exactly right, the past explains the present. Notice how the author of the quote talks about numerous pasts and not a single past, that’s interesting. In his 2005 commencement address, Steve Jobs compared life experiences to dots. Dots are linked to each other but like he says: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” So, our pasts are contained within ourselves and can only be comprehended when considered as a whole.

When you first leave the nest, you begin living something different, you experience and that is how you grow. If you think you about it, paying your bills, go grocery shopping, pay the rent, managing a budget and all those things can be seen as a challenge at first. In the case you leave for another country, you learn a different culture, you may have to learn a new language or some notions to manage a minimum, you experience a new lifestyle. Living abroad, moving out from home is a learning experience. You learn about yourself, who you are, how others see you in different situations. To sum up, you gain confidence. One particular life experience can be one’s biggest lesson in life and can be very character building.

I watched a movie recently for the second time, Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick. I believe there is something interesting to point out. In this movie, we see two characters that have very different perspectives on the world. The American journalist Maddy Bowen wishes to write a story on the illegal smuggling of diamonds in Africa. She wishes to make a difference and explains that to Danny Archer, a white African from Zimbabwe, a “soldier of fortune”, a smuggler. Danny Archer has his own opinion. He is okay with what he does. We see that both characters have different worldviews because they each experienced different things. Our pasts are contained within ourselves, help us grow, and make us see things differently.

The goal in life is to move forward, there is no doubt. But sometimes it does us good to look back. To look back, can make you a better person. It is necessary to understand who you are, why you are who you are now, how you got here. Then you move forward. But how do you look back? We do so using our memory. Without memory, there is nothing. I believe that memory is one of the greatest gift one can have. It allows us to recall a situation, relive something special, modify our perception, accept anything, or deny anything. Why do we take pictures? Well one reason is to upload them on Facebook to show our Facebook friends how cool we are ... but the other reason is, pictures capture instants, they have the power to transcend the moment so whenever we look at these photographs, there can be something magical, powerful, influential or simply true. That is how we can relive a certain situation. Memory helps us to look back, analyze, comprehend and live again.

Like I said before, it is important to look back before moving forward. It is important to see what we are capable off, our accomplishments. It is important to see our failures, our weaknesses, our strengths. One will better realize what one has lived. We will grow confident and that is why looking back makes us stronger. We are the sum of our past experiences; our pasts are contained within ourselves. After all, there is no future without a past.


© copyright, 2012, Hugo Bertrand.

ABSURDITY


In class, Jack and John are sitting next to each other. John begins.

JOHN
Jack. I’ve been observing you lately while you were in class and uhm...
 (Jack does not let him finish)
JACK
You’ve been observing me? Isn’t that a little creepy? (small pause) I think it is John. It is creepy. I’m a little scared. I am not sure how to interpret that really. Explain to me what’s going on in your mind.
JOHN
No Jack. There is nothing creepy. But you have to listen to me carefully because I noticed something. I noticed something quite upsetting. When you take notes, when you write stuff like short essays or even when you take exams you only use one hand. You only use your right hand. Why?
JACK
I was right. It is very creepy. It is also quite scary to hear you say something like that. I can tell you that what you noticed is the most stupid thing anybody could have noticed.
JOHN
Absolutely not. I think I am allowed to ask you why you only use one hand.
JACK
Well, if you really want to know. Uhm, how to say.... I use my right hand simply because I’m right-handed. That’s what right-handed people do. (To himself: I can’t believe I’m saying that.)
JOHN
So, you never use your left hand?
JACK
No Jack. I don’t. Left handed people use their left hand but... Well it’s one or the other. That’s how it all works. Left handed people write with their left hand and right handed people write with their right hand. It’s pretty understandable, no?
JOHN
No. It isn’t really. It’s not at all. You should stop being traditional. You should be different. You’re better because you’re my friend. I don't pick stupid friends Jack. You know that, don’t you? I-DON’T-PICK-STUPID-FRIENDS! So I think you should stop doing something considered normal and write with both hands. Try it for a change.
 So you use your left hand half the time and the other half, you use your other hand.
JACK
Why? Why would I do something like that? I don’t get the purpose. Do you, John, use both your hands?
JOHN
Yes! Of course I do. I do it exactly like I told you. Fifty percent of the time I use this hand and the other fifty, the other. I’ve done this for 5 years now! So if you look at my notebook, you notice that there are two different handwritings. Look. (He shows him his notebook) 
That will also add diversity to your notebook. It will be easier to read. More entertaining. Much more exciting!
JACK
Oh, I see. Is that really you writing? Show me your ability to...do what you do. I want you to demonstrate everything.
JOHN
Very well. 
(He takes a piece of paper, a pen and writes two sentences using both hands) 
So, you see? Perfect, no?
JACK
(sarcastic) Oh wow, yeah. No really. Good stuff, good stuff. I’m proud of you John. Really, I am. But why are you doing this exactly?
JOHN
Why am I doing this? I’m doing this because it’s important Jack! It’s important to let your left arm become big, become something! You can’t let your right arm do all the good work and your left arm just sit there and do nothing. It’s about fairness. It’s about giving an equal opportunity to your hands Jack. You understand? Use both. The other day we had an exam, right? A few essays to write and you came towards me at the end of the test and you told me how happy you were, how much you wrote. How this, how that. “Oh I’m gonna impress the professor so much.” You were glad, and I could see it but... but it’s such a shame when only your right hand puts all this this time, this effort, this energy into the paper and your other hand does nothing. It’s a shame that you are... how can I say.... falsely proud.
JACK
Are you serious?
JOHN
Dead serious.
JACK
Right.
JOHN
You seem to doubt.
JACK
No. Absolutely not. It’s always useful to hear something unusual.
JOHN
So you get it? Equal opportunity. Treat both hands the same way. Both can achieve success. Both can become something! That’s why it’s so important Jack and that’s why you should give it a try.


JACK
Really?
JOHN
Really. You can work like me: half the time you come to class, you take notes, you write on the board, you do everything with this arm (he points to Jack’s right arm) And the other half, with this one (he points to Jack’s left arm)
(The bell rings)
Okay, well I have an exam right now. It’s in the other bloody building. I’m gonna run. Do you have anything to do now?
JACK
No. I’m free. Nothing in particular.
JOHN
Perfect! You can practice. Just begin practicing. Do exactly as I told you: half and half; you know the drill. You know, just like that. Practice makes perfect. In 3 months, we will look at how you’re doing. Sounds good?
JACK
I guess so.
JOHN
Okay then. Lovely. See you later.


(John leaves. Pause)
JACK
(To himself) GOSH. THIS IS ABSURD.









© copyright, 2012, Hugo Bertrand.

Curriculum Vitae

CV comparison of Sean Fockers's and Henry Gledstone's on a place for words

A boy and a girl


On a Thursday, Julia and Philippe are walking across campus in Saint Louis, (USA)

PHIL
Julia, I have something to ask you.
JULIA
Tell me Phil, what’s up?
PHIL
If I were to ask you out, to be together, would it work? What would you say?
JULIA
No, I can’t. I can’t.
PHIL (smiles)
Why not?
JULIA
Phil, I have a boyfriend.
PHIL (smiles)
Doesn't matter!
JULIA
Well it does to me! I’m already with someone.
PHIL
Yes? And where is this someone?
JULIA
In California.
PHIL
So there’s no problem. What happens in St. Louis stays in St Louis!
JULIA
Phil, you bad boy!
PHIL
What? I’m bad? Why am I bad?
JULIA
Once you have a boyfriend, you stay loyal.
PHIL
You’re acting as if you guys are together, therefore you like him, and therefore you stay together and don't go with anybody else. But, do you like him?
(pause. Julia shows signs of confusion.)
I’m just messing with you. But look, I don't believe I’m asking you to cheat. (Sights.) I hate long distance. I’m asking you to be a better friend, an extraordinary friend! I want us to spend more time together, have drinks together, lunches, conversations. We would sleep together, have sex, lots of sex! We would laugh, dance, respect, talk, walk, run, dream, be crazy, be wise. All of that Julia. All of that! I don't care if you consider me as a boyfriend or not. Not a fuck-friend please. I hate fuck friends. I am better than that. Way better, TONS BETTER! I just want to live the moment. I want us to be extraordinary Julia. But I don't want to fall in love, or do but judiciously. Now, we are young, our lives are in front of us, we need experience, we need to live fully, to enjoy, to have fun. After…well the situation is different: we have a job, we are married, we have kids; we just can’t do the stuff we are doing now so let’s do it now while we can. What are you doing with a boyfriend in California? Talk on skype, “how was your day sweaty?” and nananana and lalalala but where is the fun in all that? You can’t share emotions on skype, you can’t have lunch, you can’t have great conversations, you can’t sleep together. NOTHING! It’s good but not enough. It’s boring. I want you to seize the moment Julia. Have fun. If you feel better, dump him and come with me.
JULIA
 No! We can do all this, without having sex Phil!
PHIL (smiles. He mumbles.)
No! No we can’t. We can’t because (looks for his words) well because it all goes together. You can’t separate anything. It’s like ordering a cheeseburger without a burger. It doesn't make sense!

(He Laughs. Brief pause)
PHIL
Tell you what. I’ll give you two days to think. In two days, we talk again.
JULIA
Gosh Phil.
(The following Tuesday. Phil and Julia are walking across campus)
PHIL
So Julia, have you thought about my proposition?
JULIA
Phil, It’s been over two days. I thought it was over. Come on.
PHIL
Two business days Julia. Friday and Monday.
JULIA
Good one. Good one. But no. Phil, I’m a good girl.
PHIL
So no?  Oh. That’s a shame. I think we would have lots of fun together.
JULIA
We would? How? What makes you think so?
PHIL
Well I like you Julia. Being together, going for drinks, our conversations…everything would be fun with me. I’m a cool guy Julia.
PHIL (She plays the game)
Is that so? You said you liked me. What do you like about me? How do you like me?
PHIL
I like you’re mind Julia. You’re mind amuses me, (raises his voice) it excites me!
JULIA
You like my mind? I’m so glad you like my mind. And my body, what do you think about my body?
PHIL
The body’s great. I love it. It looks sensual. I like the way your body moves. It’s beautiful!
JULIA
You’ll teach me French?
PHIL
And Italian (raises his voice) and Hungarian!!
JULIA
That sounds quite tempting Phil. You’re quite a tempter.
(Small Pause)
I wonder how this discussion would end if we would add some rum and coke.
PHIL
I wonder too. Let’s see. Shall we meet at 6 at 6 row?
JULIA
Six at six, what?
PHIL
Listen. You know Humphreys, right? Everybody at SLU knows Humphreys. Well I don't like Humphreys, I don't like that bar. I don’t like it because everybody goes there and I’m not everybody Julia, I’m Phil. So we can go to 6 row. I’ll meet you at Humphreys and we walk there. 6 row is better. Okay Julia?
JULIA
Okay. See you there!








© copyright, March 2012, Hugo Bertrand. All rights reserved