Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reality Bites (Eavesdroppers Anonymous)

The Intrepid Eavesdropper

She's at it again.

The Intrepid Eavesdropper has been gathering One-Liners, tiny little morsels that have quite a punch to them. Each of them makes me wonder about the rest of the story: What happened in Rwanda? What is a Rodeo Commissioner, anyway? So - before I give them all away - here are they are.

Reality Bites: One Liners

1: "Hey. Tell me about Rwanda."

2: "She studied so hard. She took forty-five practice tests! When she finally took the test and sent it off to them...well...she never heard back. Never heard a thing. Nothing. Why? Why is that? Why would they do that to her?"

3: "How did you write it? I mean, seriously—how did you do it?"

4. (Extremely outraged.) "You never told me you had another grandkid!"

5. "The rodeo commissioner is coming on Monday with his score card."

6. "You know what Molly said to me this morning? 'Mommy! Mommy! My goldfish recognizes me now! He just did tricks for me in his bowl!' Isn't that too cute? I couldn't bear to tell her the truth."

Looking cute is a trick, right?

Snippet Number One: We'll Do Great Things

Two men are at the next table. Both have crew cuts. They're in their fifties, or maybe their sixties. One guy is doing most of the talking. He's excited. He talks fast, his words clipped, his voice full of excitement. He teeters on his chair, leaning back, leaning forward, rocking even. The back of his neck is pink from too much sun, and the bottom of his crew cut sticks straight out from his head like a bristle brush. Evidently, the two men are Christian film-makers, discussing a collaboration.

"I was in Ethiopia, doing a project," says Crew Cut. "I was working with Jeff. You remember Jeff? We were dragging our stuff around the villages, you know, doing our jobs, talking to people, spreading the word. We had the support of five churches, maybe six. I got back to my hotel one night, looked at my camera, and ... BANG! I said, why don't we make a documentary?" Crew Cut bangs his chair onto the floor, as if he were doing sound effects.

"How did it begin?" The other man is soft-spoken, but I feel that he is the one with the power, the one that Crew Cut is trying to impress. "Tell me how you got it going."

Crew Cut leans forward. "I knew I could make a documentary about what we were doing. I sat down that same night and planned it all out. Stayed up all night. I wrote it all down on a white board, every last idea. The story board, you know. In the morning I showed the story board to Jeff. He got behind it right away. He was all excited."

"Yes. He would be, wouldn't he?"

Crew Cut is in such a hurry to tell his story to this man that his words are starting to slur. "So we began filming, like two days after. We already had a camera, you know? Other people helped us. We had a driver, and Christian kids from the local church." Crew Cut crosses his legs, then uncrosses them. He leans forward. "The locals were confused about what we were doing, but we ended up with a knock-out film, you know?"

"You showed it around, if I recall?"

"Absolutely. In churches all over the country. People loved it. Craig Wright especially put his weight behind it."


Crew Cut's voice lowers. "But it all went sideways. Jeff got ran over when it went sour. He took the brunt of it."

"Yes. I heard about that."

They're silent for a long moment. They drink from their coffee. Then Crew Cut leans forward again.

"We're going to start a new project," he says. "We're going to bring Rick and Bobby in."

"Good thinking."

"There's a story there - I'll tell you the whole story if we end up working together. Rick fired Bobby's guys, the specialists that he'd brought in, and that didn't sit well with Bobby. It's like politicians, you know? They're jerks."

The quiet man regards Crew Cut. He seems to come to some sort of decision. "I like you," he says. "You're a great producer, and you're part of a good community. You have people backing you. "

I can tell that Crew Cut is almost weak with anticipation. And then it comes, the words he's been waiting to hear:

"I'd like to work with you.We'll do great things."

Why don't we do a documentary?

Snippet Number Two: A Special Case

Two women are squeezed into a nearby table. As in Snippet Number One, one of the women is doing eighty percent of the talking. I find her voice very irritating, very loud and gravelly. She talks with lots of animation, hand movements, shifting around in her chair, bobbing her head - she could almost be Crew Cut's twin sister. She has neck-length curly blond hair and sunglasses perched on her head. The second woman seems to have only two positions she's comfortable in: she's either resting her chin on her hand, or she holds her hands clasped primly together on the table. It's a sunny day. I get the feeling that Prim Hands would rather be anywhere rather than here, talking with Gravel Voice. It's my guess that both of them are administrators for the Seattle Public Schools.

"Those kids were wild," says Gravel Voice. "I went in there to help the teacher because she couldn't control them. I told those kids, no inappropriate touching. Absolutely no touching, ever. No touching other kids, even through clothing."

Prim Hands nods. "There were problems in that class, yeah."

"Where was the principal?" demands Gravel Voice. "The class was eroding! The parents were in an uproar. The kids weren't happy. The teacher was falling apart." She sets her coffee cup on the table. "The Principal didn't lift a hand to help that teacher. But you know what? She wants a readerboard!"

"I heard about that."

"She wants it to be up for 2018 - so we gave the school ten thousand dollars last May."


"But she's a worthless principal. She won't see about getting a second person in that problem class."

Prim Hands sighs. "It wasn't part of my contract, but I did look into what we could do about her. Not much. Principals are a special case."

Gravel Voice coughs. "Excuse me," she sputters. Maybe her voice sounds the way it does because she has a cold? "Sorry about that. Horrible sore throat. Anyway, they said she was having a hard time. With her daughter." She pauses. "Do you KNOW what happened to that ten thousand dollars, by the way?"

"No. I didn't hear anything."

"She mislabeled the money - can you believe it - and they lost it!"

"No way."

"They have no idea what happened to the money we gave them. They must have spent it on other stuff. So now we're out ten thousand ... and they still want a readerboard."

Sorry, not yet, guys. You lost the money.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know what you think!