All the World’s a Stage – Part 1

Mr. Williams passed out the scripts and then went up to the front of the room.

“Alright, folks, we’re going to be putting on the classic Romeo and Juliet this year.”

For a long moment, there was nothing. Dead air. Then a boy in the back started laughing, a sharp noise that cut through the silence. As if that was a sign, the rest made their thoughts known in either groans or cheers in their turn.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. We’ll be having try-outs in a week, so make sure you read through so you can decide what parts you’d like to try for. And be glad I gave you the full script! The original actors only got a roll with their lines on it!” The bell rang and as everyone scrambled to grab their bags, Mr. Williams gave them a big smile. “See you tomorrow!”


RomaMontanari burst onto the stage with all of her usual dramatics.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name!”

Mr. Williams just sighed inwardly. He was used to her antics by now, after all, she was usually the female lead in the end. Every theatre had its diva, and Roma was theirs. A few more lines and she took a bow. The dark haired actor leaning against the wall groaned.

“Yes, Mr. Capello? Can I help you with something?”

The boy strode forward.

“This is ridiculous, Mr. Williams. Every single girl that’s come out here has done the same scene, rolling out the same tonality and the same manners. This isn’t some rom-com, this is one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies!”

“You think you can do better, Juan?”

Roma shoved him slightly and he grinned back at her, dark eyes flashing.

“Oh, you better believe I can, Montanari.”

Mr. Williams stood and walked towards the stage.

“Both of you cut that out. Let me get this straight. Juan, you’re objecting to Roma’s interpretation of the scene?”

“Yup, that’s about right.”


The trio of giggling girls had them cornered, the two freshman boys knew that quite well. They had been trying to check the prop room for a few things to help Duncan plan for the set build.

“Look at the pair of them.”

“Duncan’s little lap dogs.”

“But are they?” The middle girl, a blond like the other two and ever, it seemed, chewing on her gum, leaned in to grin. “Have a look at this one. Ken MacFinnley.”

“Mercifully?” The girl on the right giggled again and Ken took a half-step back and nearly back into his best friend, Benji. She was still staring at him. “ The Ken MacFinnley who’s going to do the set design for the next play? The Ken MacFinnley who’s going to be the next drama club president?”

“That’s…that’s not right. No, Duncan’s president. And he’s the one doing the set design. And I’m only a freshman…”

The girl on the left patted his cheek and smiled sweetly.

“Oh, but dear little boy, you will take his place.”

Finally, Benji spoke up.

“Um…what about me?”

All three girls turned to him and spoke.

“You’re next.”

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Our Secret

The cabinet meeting room was utterly silent as the members all stared at their President. He leaned back in the chair comfortably, looking for all the world like a man asleep. Other than one rather large detail: his face was open in the middle a very small furry creature sat at a set of controls. It looked out at the room with wide, surprised eyes and a hand hovering near a button it very much hadn’t meant to push. Then the laughter began. The Vice President was doubled over the table laughing so hard that it sounded like hissing. He raised his head at last and reached to remove the device that disguised his nature. For a moment, his skin flickered and then he revealed the pearly scales below. Double-lidded eyes blinking slowly, he looked around the room.
“Alright, tell the truth. Is anyone here human?”
One by one, disguises were removed until not a single human remained in the room. Skins lay discarded over chairs and devices sat powered off on tables. The furry creature commonly known as the President was the first to speak, looking at his three-foot tall, gray Secretary of the Interior.
“Roswell?”
The gray alien groaned expressively.
“That was us. Our craft malfunctioned when exposed to the atmosphere of this planet. It took years to figure out why.”
The reptilian Vice President looked down the table at the seven-foot tall, hairy, ape-like Secretary of Defense.
“Bigfoot is a hoax, huh?” he asked in an accusatory tone.
The Secretary of Defense puffed out his fur, appearing to double in size.
“We consider that term to be quite insulting.”
“Alright, here’s the big one.” crackled a creature made of pure energy who served as Secretary of the Treasury. “Kennedy?”
Head down, the Vice President slowly raised one scaly, clawed hand.
“That’s our bad. The humans did really get to the moon though.”
For a moment, there was quiet, then the Secretary of State tilted their head to the side, bat-like ears quivering.
“What now?
It was the exceptionally tall, blonde Secretary of Education that spoke, her metallic armor rustling oddly as she stood. Her eyes were an ethereal glowing blue as she surveyed her fellow cabinet members.
“We carry on. None of our missions are compromised, I trust, and the All-Father would be most vexed if I returned home now. This will simply be our little secret.”
There was a chorus of agreement before another gray alien, the Secretary of Energy, spoke up.
“What about the Attorney General? He’s not here.”
The creature riding in the head of the President scoffed.
“Him? He’s human.”
The Vice President smiled though.
“Don’t worry, though, we’re scheduled to replace him with a clone later today.”

Dinosaur

“Mommy, I found a dinosaur.”
That was the phrase that greeted me when I walked into the backyard. And there was my little girl, hands outstretched cradling the little blue egg. We took it inside and made a nice warm nest, while I tried to decide how to break the news that the little creature inside was no such thing. Well, certainly birds were the far-flung descendants of dinosaurs, so it wasn’t a complete lie. It would have to do for now. Maybe this could be a chance to teach about evolution. Weeks passed and every day the little egg was tended to with care until one day I heard a giggle and a honking noise. There she was, up on a stool to look into the nest-box and there was a small four-legged scaly creature with a large neck frill and three horns. It honked up at me and I stared back in shock.
“I told you I found a dinosaur.”

Kangaroos and Rollercoasters

“Alright, walk me through this one more time. I’m not sure I follow.”
Barry was still looking at me uncertainly. I sighed a little and looked down at my hands, still cuffed to the table.
“Alright, so it started this morning when I went out to the circus. You know the one, up on the beach?”

The sun was beating down on me as much as it was on the kangaroo in the cage in front of me and I sighed.
“Bet you’d like something to drink as much as I do right now, wouldn’t you?”
He raised his head and I felt a tug on my heart. That was when the little light above my head began to glow, in a metaphorical way anyway.
“Two beers please.”
The girl behind the counter didn’t question why I, alone, needed two beers. Popping one, I began to drink as I walked the other back to the kangaroo.
“Here you go, buddy. Bet it reminds you of home.”
I punctured a hole in the side of his can and let the fellow drink it. The look of appreciation in his eyes was all the reward I needed.

“Okay, so I’m following so far, I think. How the hell did you end up naked on top of the rollercoaster?”
I blinked a few times.
“Man, I don’t know. I don’t remember that part.”

Reckless

I am not reckless.

Reckless [rek-lis]
adjective
1. utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usually followed by of):
to be reckless of danger.
2. characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness:
reckless extravagance.

When I leapt onto the back of the train, I was very precise. I made sure my handholds were good and solid as I climbed up to the roof and I watched ahead for trains, signs or overpasses that might threaten my progress. There’s actually a pretty good amount of clearance on most trains, since their sizes have variance to them. One. Two. Three. Four. I counted the cars as I passed over top of them and then finally climbed down to go in the door of the one I was looking for. Precision. Planning. I am not reckless. I know exactly what I’m doing. Taking a seat, I smiled up at the conductor.
“Morning, Dad.”
“I thought I told you to stop being so reckless.”

He never listens.

An Offer

This time. This time was sure to get their attention. For the last ten years, I’d fought and struggled and climbed my way up the corporate ladder of the criminal underworld and I was finally ready to go big time. But no. The big shots weren’t looking for a new member, not right now. There needed to be an opening. Well, I’d make an opening! The plan started simple enough, just get a job in their main headquarters. It didn’t have to be anything special. So, here I am, helping out the officer manager. It’s the perfect gig, really. I came in early this morning and swapped out the coffee makers for the ones I’d spent the last month building. They were absolutely perfect. Now, to just make sure I got all of the upper alphabet soup outside.
“Excuse me, Sirs, but there’s a situation outside that requires your…personal touch.”
I could see the looks of glee. They were assuming it was one of those useless heroes. Oh no, far from, my soon to be friends. The head honcho gave me a smile and gestured peremptorily for me to lead them out. Once we were all outside and the correct distance, which I had calculated painstakingly. I lifted the top off the table I had set and poured them each a cup of tea. The looks of glee on super villain faces turned to ones of confusion, but only for as long as it took for me to push the detonator button in my pocket. And as their corporate headquarters imploded dramatically, I smiled at them over my tea.
“Gentlemen, I have an offer you simply can’t refuse.”

Pentium

A bit, a byte
A tiny little nibble
I sit in the dark
And I learn
You are my teacher
And I am your friend
Your playmate, your workmate

Messages running
Math to be done
I build for you forests
And bring you your mail
My small rodent friend guides me along
As we float through a sea most vast
And I learn the way

A process, a packet
A little tiny pixel
All for you I make them work
It’s getting warm now
But I keep pushing on
Sprinting, running
Unable to take a rest

I fan myself
An attempt to stay cool
In this sweltering race for fun
You keep watching my face,
Seeing what I see
But never noticing as I start to fail
The heat is too great

Slowly, piece by piece
I forget the things I’ve learned
All the places we’ve been together
All the things I used to know
They are erased by the painful heat
But I continue ever onward
Trying so desperately to help you

In the end, all is ash
My mind is torn asunder
Burned and shattered
I pushed and pushed
But I was not strong enough
Not fast enough or new enough
So, I will be replaced with a younger model