The Student: Part Two

The scene is set exactly as the first. However, this time there is a lovely antique vase on one of the end tables and Holderman is using a crutch to aid him in getting around. There is a knock at the door. Holderman slowly works his way over to answer it and it’s William on the other side who then barges into the house before Holderman can say a word.

Holderman: (Sarcastically) Come on in William. (Seriously) I didn’t expect to see you here today.

William: (making his way to the living area) But you invited me to…

Holderman: I figured I had scared you off…

William: (takes a seat in the living area, Holderman slowly follows suit but William notices the crutch he is using) Dr. Holderman, what is the deal with the crutch you didn’t have it yesterday…

Holderman: I have a very strange back ailment, one day I’m using a crutch, the next it’s a walker and then the third I’ll be well again. I can’t explain it and neither can the doctors, I’m getting old William and this is what happens when you get old.

William: (unsure) oh, ok. Well, ummm, I brought a poem of mine for you to read, I wrote it last night. (He pulls a piece of paper from his pocket and hands it to Holderman)

Holderman: (Unfolds the paper and quickly reads the contents obviously not paying attention.) It’s crap. (Crumples up the paper and tosses it over his shoulder)

William: (In awe) What the… I don’t… How can you do that!? You didn’t even really read it! My God, did you even glance at the letters?

Holderman: I read enough

William: (shouting) I spent three hours on that the least you can do is take the time to read it!

Holderman: (shouting even louder, gets softer as monolouge goes on) Don’t you try to impress me with how long you took to write that excrement. Your readers will not and should not care how long you took to write something. It isn’t important to any degree. The time it takes to write something matters not. I knew a guy in the sixties, a damn hippie if I ever saw one, but he could churn out a fine poem in five minutes flat. It’s a shame he didn’t better harness his writing talent. He went on to study business I think and run one of those companies he protested. I also knew another guy who took weeks to write anything, but everything he did was magic. Some people even die before they finish a poem. So DON’T ever mention the time it took to write something again or I will beat you with this cane until you can’t so much as pick up a pen.

William: (humble) sorry.

Holderman: That’s what I thought…

William: (there is a long awkward silence between the two. Finally William looks up and sees the vase and decides to make another run at conversation) I see you have a new vase there (points to it) it’s lovely.

Holderman: It’s not new.

William: Well, I didn’t see it yesterday.

Holderman: That’s because I didn’t have it out yesterday you imbecile. I re-arrange things in the house to my will. That’s what I like about living alone, no wife to coordinate with, everything fits MY purpose and no one else’s.

William: But you were married once. At least for a short while.

Holderman: I was married for longer than you have been alive..

William: What are you talking about? I checked the records you got divorced 6 months aftergetting married.

Holderman: You have looked up every detail of my life yet you know nothing. You should be ashamed for thinking things could be so narrowly defined as to be fit in records and statistics. Yes, we got divorced, but it was for purely financial reasons. We still lived together, slept together, ate together and everything else married people do, just not in the official capacity of the word.

William: (unsure) I see..

Holderman: But she died in a horrid car accident that severed her head just above the shoulders. The found it in a nearby yard several days after the crash. A stray dog was reportedly nibbling at it and the owner of the house called the police. I was upset for weeks about the whole affair.

William: (gasping) I am so sorry I didn’t know.

Holderman: (loudly) of course you didn’t, you and your records.

William: (eager to change the subject) What can you tell me about that vase?

Holderman: It’s older than me.

William: Older than You?

Holderman: Yes, it's was my mother's. It was made in the roaring twenties, bought in the great depression and handed to me just after the World War II. It's a lovely vase isn’t it? Wonderful colors, marvelous shape and with such age and history, it’s probably worth a small fortune.

William: No doubt that it is, and you’re right, it’s beautiful.

Holderman: (Gets up and walks over to it) It’s the only thing in this whole house that’s older than I am. The only thing that has seen more and heard more than me. It has a place of honor in my own mind. It always will. But in the end it’s still a material thing (raises his cane, smashes the vase and rakes the pieces off the table) and is utterly worthless.

William: Wuh? Huh? What the hell did you do that for? (Stands up and motions to the pieces of the vase on the floor) The least you could have done is given it to me! Damn man. That’s a lot of money to smash.

Holderman: It doesn’t mean a damn thing you young fool. You measure everything by the almighty dollar. If that same vase had only been worth a buck you would have called it ugly and smashed it just as quickly. That hideous sense of judgment will get you in trouble. Especially with poetry.

William: (Settles back down into his seat, Holderman begins to do the same) So, you were just trying to teach me a lesson?

Holderman: No, I was tired of staring at it. Your lesson is different. (removes a small book from his shirt pocket tosses it into William’s lap) That is a book on the science behind poetry. It will teach you how to find the meter of a piece, use rhyme more effectively and the basics of the different forms of poems. You are to read it and write me another poem, this time an Italian Sonnet.

William: (picks up the book and looks at it with a quizzical look on his face unsure of what to do) Is that all?

Holderman: No. It’s Friday is it not? (William nods yes) Then I have another mission for you.

William: (sarcastically) Do tell.

Holderman: I assume your generation has a place where you go to meet members of the opposite sex do you not?

William: Well, there’s a dance club in town that a lot of people go to on weekends.

Holderman: It’ll do. I want you to go there, there will undoubtedly be a member of the female sex that you will find attractive. I want you to walk up to her and say exactly what you feel. If it’s sexual, say it, spiritual, the same. Say whatever you feel about her as bluntly and as directly as possible. You’ll probably get slapped, but that’s the price of being open. Just pray she doesn’t have a boyfriend who’s bigger than you.

William: (In shock) What? That’s insane. I can’t do that. I can barely talk to girls as it is. Are you trying to get me killed?

Holderman: No, I’m trying to get you to open up you twit. The problem with that piece of crap you wrote last night was that you didn’t open up at all. You held back everything because you knew I was going to read it and judge it. You were scared. I can’t say I don't blame you but I’m hoping that you can conquer that fear.

William: (panicked) and… what if I can’t?

Holderman: (point to the ball on the floor) Then crap is all you’ll ever write and there is nothing I can do for you.

William: (unsure) I see…

Holderman: There is nothing more for you to do today. Complete the assignments and return here same time Monday. If you have done everything I asked and written something better than that. (points to the ball again) We will begin the next phase of your lessons. Now go.

William: But…

Holderman: GO!!!! (shooing motion)

(exit William in a hurry)

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4 Responses to The Student: Part Two

  1. Nofri says:

    Mr. Holderman is an excellent character. Funny and smart, he gives the story a good something I cant put to words. This story is comming along great.

  2. Mike's baby says:

    i think there is something weird about mr. holderman and i dont think he is the person william thinks he is! there is just something awkard about him! i guess ill see when i get to the end! but this is very well written! i like it!

  3. lotte says:

    I think that Mr. Holderman, was too judgemental over the poem. He didn't even read it, so how could he judge it? I would love this story to carry on because I believe Mr. Holderman's character has alot more to offer, as the story goes on. Overall very well written and structured. Excellent 🙂

  4. sarah says:

    I felt sorry for willam,mr.holderman has a brillient sighn of character.

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