“I Got The Part”

I got the part.
Victim
Of a parking-lot robbery.
Non-speaking.

Now I myself
Have been robbed
Four times.
Once by a maid
In a hotel
In Athens.
Once by a dude
On a motorcycle
In Barcelona.
Once by a hood
On the El
In New York City.
And once
Coincidentally
By a bum
In a parking garage
In Philadelphia.

In all cases
Surprise
Not fear
Is my dominant memory.
(Greece doesn’t count
I was in the loo
When the maid
Lifted the loot.)
So, if I am to rely
On Stanislavski
And Strasberg’s
Emotional memories
I will not be frightened
By the thug with the gun
In the play.
I will be astonished.

Little drama there.
I close my eyes
And dive deeper
Into my inner being.
Admiration
Comes to mind.
The thefts were all
Routine.
Successful executions
Of well-choreographed
Oft-practiced
Patterns of plunder.

In real life
I have never
Faced a gun.
My imagination
Fails me.
I must rely
On my memory
Of detachment.

When confronted
By physical danger
My mind shuts down.
I seek to survive
By becoming mentally
Invisible.
No threat there
To my attackers.
I see nothing
So I remember nothing.

In my mind’s eye
I play my part
With icy disconnection.
Emotionless
And thought-deprived
I stand unaffected
By the gun
In the thief’s hand
As I parcel out
My cash.

I try my take
During the first rehearsal.
I still have a part
Though not that
Of a robbery victim
I am now
A grave digger.
You can see
The end of my shovel
Flashing over the top
Of a mound of dirt
That has been
Removed from the spot
Which will
Receive the coffin.

However
I play my part
With a nod
To Stanislavski
And Strasberg.
I rely on my memories
Of the summer I spent
Working on a road crew
In South Carolina
When I was sentenced
To thirty days
In county jail
For tokin’ a joint
During a peace demonstration.

(Written for dVersepoetics: Acting, Poetry and The First Person Narrative, December 8, 2012.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “I Got The Part”

  1. billgncs says:

    is this autobiographical ? It is compelling either way.

  2. brian miller says:

    what an interesting story…..i have faced the gun a few times unfortunately…there was a bit of fear there for sure, especially when you can read the intent in the eyes of another…interesting too the contrast to your own time spent for what we seem something petty…

  3. vb holmes says:

    I have never been threatened by a weapon–if I were, I’m sure I would be immobilized by terror In my experiences, the robbers were there and gone–no time for fear. In the case of the parking garage incident, I calmly walked to my car, got in and drove out the IN ramp (so there definitely was a delayed response!).

  4. I can see this ~ the various responses that are not the expected responses ~ but are real responses ~ an absorbing read ~ most interesting

  5. myrthryn says:

    I’ve got a short story robbery to write sometime. The manner this is written reminds me of Bukowski…a compliment for sure.

  6. Having actually lived the moments help you “get into character”. However, this is not to suggest true life experience if you play a bank robber of murderer.

  7. lots of style here, love it. really effective. Starts off so well too, the victim. non-speaking part. such a strong choice there. The attention and use of the the sense memory within the piece is outstanding. Great piece.

  8. Tony says:

    I love this – the display of tension between our real-life responses and what is dramatically required of us when we are playing the part is brilliant.

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