Monday, May 11, 2009

The Fugitive Generation (xxiii)


Marlene is sitting stretched out on the mattress on the floor, with her dress on, but her shoes off. Jim is sitting on the floor of the room, shoes off, holding his guitar and glancing at a piece of paper in front of him.

JIM: It’s called “Marlene’s Song.”

Jim sings in a very tender style.

JIM (CONT’D): (sings)

Oh, you’ve won my heart
With your softness
Kind, gentle, blond-haired
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

It’s been so long
Since I felt love
Compassionate, soulful
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

I’m a working-class lover
You’re the fairest I see
I got sisters and brothers
You’re the one most like me.

There’s a sudden sound of a guitar string breaking.

JIM (CONT’D): Shit! A guitar string broke.

Jim continues singing and attempting to continue accompany himself on the guitar, despite the broken string. The guitar accompaniment sounds more off-key and less harmonious with his singing. Marlene looks touched. Jim sings softer, almost in a whisper. But in an intense way.

JIM (CONT’D): (sings)

Hearing your voice
Feeling you close
Makes me just think of
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

Watching you shine
Moves me inside
Wanting to just kiss
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene…

During the last verse, Marlene has moved closer to Jim. As he finishes the verse, she interrupts his singing by starting to kiss him passionately at the same time she takes his guitar out of his hand. Jim responds to her kisses and hugging. The alarm clock on the floor indicates it is 9 o’clock.


The alarm clock indicates it is 1 o’clock. Both undressed now, Marlene and Jim are sleeping together on the mattress.


The alarm clock indicates it’s 8:30. Marlene now has all her clothes back on and is sitting on the front of the mattress. Jim is still half-asleep on the mattress, when he reaches over for Marlene. Not feeling her next to him, Jim opens up his eyes.

JIM: Dressed already, Marlene? What time is it?

Marlene looks at the clock.

MARLENE: It’s 8:30. I have to pack today.

JIM: Do you want me to help you pack?

Jim stands up and quickly gets dressed.

MARLENE: No. You don’t have to.

Jim sits down next to Marlene on the mattress.

JIM: How about some breakfast together before you pack?

MARLENE: No. I really have to get going, Jim.

JIM: Oh. I hope you enjoyed our little trip last night.

MARLENE: It was a great trip, Jim…But you shouldn’t have fallen in love with me.

JIM: Why not? It was obviously destiny that brought us together. And I’m still madly in love with you, Marlene.

MARLENE: That’s the point. You must think that I’m heartless. But I’m not sure it could work out between us in the long run. I still have a year left of school. I have to think about this over the summer. It’s too sudden for me.

JIM: (tenderly) I don’t think you’re heartless, honey...You’re probably right. You’ll end up suffering if you get more involved with me. Once I get paid off for the dissertation, I can’t see any way I can make money in Ann Arbor. Since it looks like the ghostwriting place is going out of business. So I’ll probably be gone anyway when you get back in the fall.

MARLENE: It can’t be that bad. I’m sure you’ll find something else.

JIM: I don’t know, Marlene. Nobody wants my folk songs. Nobody pays me or you for being anti-war activists. And the Death Culture won’t give me any money, unless I agree to be a 9-to-5 slave.

MARLENE: Something’s bound to turn up somewhere.

JIM: But not in Ann Arbor. I don’t mind living at a subsistence level in Ann Arbor if I have absolute freedom and can work with you to stop the War. But the Death Culture wants somebody like me dead. Because I have moral objections to fitting into its imperialist system like a good robot. I can’t see how I can survive in the long-run, unless there’s a Revolution.

MARLENE: I wish I knew what the answer was for you, Jim. But I don’t even know what’s going to happen to me once I’m out of school. I have no answers for myself yet, other than to work to stop the War.

JIM: Well, enough of this down talk, Marlene. Maybe something will work out. You gave me new hope this spring and you’ve been a great inspiration for me this spring. So even if I’m not here in Ann Arbor when you get back in the fall, I’ll always remember you.

MARLENE: Don’t lose heart, Jim. I’m sure something will come up in Ann Arbor for you.

Marlene and Jim each stand up.

JIM: Well, I guess it’s time to say goodbye, Marlene.

Jim kisses Marlene and he begins to cry for a few seconds.

JIM (CONT’D): I’m sorry for getting emotional about you leaving, Marlene…It must be the after-effects of the mescaline trip.

Marlene holds Jim for a second and kisses him goodbye. Then she pulls back from him.

MARLENE: Until the fall, Jim!

JIM: Have a great time at the summer camp, Marlene!

Marlene walks out of the room and closes the door. Jim starts to weep.


Jim is standing in the lobby with a large manila envelope in his hand. A woman PhD CANDIDATE, 43, wearing slacks and blouse, approaches him.

PhD CANDIDATE: Are you Jim Wilson?

JIM: (smiles) Yes I am.

PhD CANDIDATE: Let’s go up to my room and talk. I’m staying for the night in the Student Union building.

JIM: Here? I didn’t know they had hotel rooms in the Student Union Building.

PhD CANDIDATE: They have a floor of them. Follow me.

Jim follows PhD Candidate to a stairway in lobby.


PhD Candidate is looking at a thick manuscript.

PhD CANDIDATE: It looks fine to me. It looks like you did a good job.

JIM: I thought you’d like it.

PhD Candidate writes out check and hands it to Jim.

PhD CANIDATE: I’ve very grateful to you. You saved me a lot of time.

Jim looks over the check.

JIM: It was a pleasure doing business with you.

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