Little Tin Box
Please have your props at the ready:
- A little tin box,
- A little yellowed bag with white, frayed string,
- Cunning letters that make up cunning words on crumbling paper, and
- A conscience.
At the back of a little tin box there is a little yellowed bag tied with white, frayed string, and in that little yellowed bag with white, frayed string are a million cunning alphabet letters that make up a thousand cunning words on crumbling paper, from one slippery boy. One slippery boy who says he loves you, but does not really, because his love is slippery; wet, snake-like. What he loves is to send you cunning words on crumbling paper that he knows you will keep in the little yellowed bag with the white, frayed string in the little tin box. And even though that little yellowed bag looks like it stays safe at the back of the little tin box, the slippery boy also knows you carry with you the cunning words on crumbling paper: everywhere.
In your heart.
In your pocket.
On your keychain.
On your conscience.
Because truly, what does a slippery boy want from a dull girl like you (other than to be oiled up?). Those cunning letters that make up cunning words on crumbling paper will drive your heart mad. You will carry them home and set them free so they can land in your house like poisonous butterflies: beautiful to look at, but dangerous to love. And when your dry man arrives you will pour him a dry drink, and the cunning words on crumbling paper will disappear, folding their wings back into the little yellowed bag with the white, frayed string, back into the little tin box, back into the heart of the slippery boy from which they came.
You will run the same mad dress rehearsal, day after day after day.
For a performance that will never premiere.
Jessica has been teaching high school English since 2013, and in 2020 became an adjunct professor with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.