Denise Dances: A Return to Perfect Health - Body, Mind & Spirit!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SCREEN GEMS: First Three Acts

SCENE I It was on a blustery day in late April when she found it. Located in an up-and-coming neighborhood with new highrise apartments going up almost daily, it joined countless other tower suites in becoming new members of the most elite club of all, the Manhattan Skyline. Juan was paranoid, as usual. Of course, it was the end of the line, as far as one could go before entering No-Man's Land. One could see Spanish Harlem itself from the tall windows which wrapped around the living room of their plush corner penthouse. His binoculars followed the curve of the windowsill, back across the treetops of Central Park, beyond the Upper West Side to the Palisades and finally left, to glimpse the highlights of midtown, high above the bustle and the crowd, an escape from commotion. He supposed it would be inaccessible enough to suit his purposes. And he could always slip the doorman a fifty to deter uninvited guests. SCENE II Across town, not far away, Lori LaCosta and Debbie O'Donnell stood surveying the burnt exterior of the pre-war building that was to be their new home for the next three months. Boarded up windows overlooked charred marble balconies. Some windows lay agape, with nothing but soot to show for a more romantic time and place. To say that the locale hardly met their expectations of a post-college apartment would be pushing it. The chance to live rent-free until they found a job and a permanent home, here in the Big Apple. "Just three months," Lori's sister had said. "Three months you can apartment-sit for me when I go on vacation. After that, I'll be back with Jim and you've got to be out." Lori had informed Debbie of the tragic fire which had ripped through the building nearly a year ago. A coke dealer downstairs had gotten into trouble. Now his troubles were over forever, with one strike of a match. All the other tenants had escaped the pyromaniac's wrath, but their apartments had not. Only a handful had been salvaged. Nicki had come home from art class to see her security building in flames. She and her boyfriend Jim had worked hard to slavage the sixth floor studio that drained both their savings month after month, their home. Now they could live here for free. SCENE III Crouching among the ashes in the basement of 606 Avenue A, the junkie peered through the hanging slats as the slender pair of legs, dainty in red patent leather pumps, walked by; followed by another pair of more shapely legs, padding past in small gold penny loafers. The two girls approached the cracked stone slab steps and opened the glass door upon which an urgent sign was posted: "Please close door tightly behind you!" SCENE IV Debbie leaned against the door, shutting out the noises of the city. They found themselves locked into a world of cool, musty silence. A round mirror hung on the opposite wall, against a backdrop of peeling, yellowed wallpaper. There they stood reflected in the midst of charred ruin. The ornate high ceiling of a once exquisite lobby was blackened so that remnants of the design barely remained. A florescent light hung lopsided, suspended from a frayed cord which snaked its way into the cracked ceiling. In the dark recesses of the vacant lobby lay several locked doors. A defunct elevator shaft stood to their left. Debbie felt compelled to press the button, but the somber brown door would never budge again. She studied the list of names accompanying buzzers which no longer rang. "You have to call from the pay phone across the street," Lori explained. SCENE V Cautiously, they climbed the dusty stairwells, past a doorway showcasing the ashes of a former apartment, past boarded up windows, the nails pried loose. The few wood beams that remained propped up what ceiling there was left. The very clothes remained unscathed by fire in the closet of former occupants. They passed sturdy doors, securely locked. On the third landing, a lamp was plugged in, its extension cord dangling precariously across the stairs and winding beyond the next corner into darkness. Through the silent musty hallways they climbed, not knowing what lay beyond each landing, each step, looking behind them as they rounded each corner; with what little courage they had left, daring to look ahead; spiraling to the sixth floor. Debbie took a deep breath. Her legs ached. "Whatta you think?" Lori turned to Debbie. SCENE VI After turning their key into the third lock, they left their future home. The apartment itself was actually quite cute with polished hardwood floors and white walls, an oasis in the midst of chaos. Hanging plants and a variety of cacti thrived in the sunlight, which made its way through the black wrought iron bars into the tall narrow windows. Black shredded wallpaper framed the window sill where white paint could not reach. SCENE VII Debbie gazed out the back window where three walls of the building met to form an inner courtyard. Except there was no courtyard but a very steep drop which pulled her gaze further and further downward until it ended in a deep triangular space. She looked across the non-existent courtyard to the other two walls which joined this apartment to form the triangle. Gaping windows faced the triangle on every side. Across the space, she could see curtained windows where a couple of other apartments had been salvaged, not unlike two stars twinkling on the blackest of black nights.
Juan waited nervously for the elevator. That could be a problem, knowing the time it took for one of these elevators to reach the penthouse floor. Why did Nicole have to be so stupid, insisting on the best apartment in the building? She was spoiled. He would see what could be done about that. The soft bell finally signalled the arrival of an elevator.
Fresh chlorine from the health club pool permeated the lobby. He strode impatiently across the peach marble floor, past the concierge at the front desk, past the black and white sign that stood on a silver post.
"All guests must be announced," he read, as one of the 24-hour doormen held open the door.
The penthouse had been her idea. It was located in a prominent neighborhood uptown, it had a view of Central Park, and being the top corner unit, it was the best apartment in the building. And why not? Nothing but the best. It had been difficult to get the two bedroom suite with a view of the George Washington Bridge. She had to prove a yearly income of $100,000. Not exactly an easy task when one did not work for a living. But it hadn't proved all that difficult. She had her mother co-sign the lease and against all Juan's objections, she had secured the most sought after luxury apartment building in Manhattan with the best view the Upper East Side had ever seen. (Carnegie Park) {sic}
The mirrors were his idea. Juan's forte lay in creating illusions. True, they cost $3,000 not including delivery and installation, but they added so much to the wrap-around living room, making it appear larger, the expanse of view -- towers, buildings, Park and sky -- doubled.
It gave her inspiration, it gave her peace of mind, but it did not bring her friends. Who cared? She loved being alone, anyway. She already had one enemy, the doctor across the hall.
"What do you do?" he inquired of his new neighbor.
"Nothing," she said.
ACT III: The Job Interview
"We are looking for a person who is not afraid of a challenge," the rather matronly woman was saying in a tone that echoed so closely the millions of want ads that sugested only qualified applicants need apply.
"We have seven editors who need a mother. Our phones ring off the hook. And we don't want some bubblehead sitting there answering our phones," Elyse said.
"Oh, you mean, I would have to be like, their right arm or something?" Debbie asked politely.
"Yes, exactly. You will be responsible for their mail. One might like it brought to his desk. Another may come and pick it up himself. You will be responsible for training these editors. Where you put their mail is up to you."
"You mean, I will just automatically know? If I were the person you choose to hire, I mean?"
"Yes. You may decide to put their mail here." The woman plunked a large hand on the desk."Unless you want to hand deliver it to all seven editors." She shrugged.
Scene II
Her first job in New York City took her to the forty-eighth floor of a modern mid-town highrise. Content, she settled behind he clean, new desk for a quiet afternoon of typing cover letters to send, along with her resume, to other companies. Nervously she glanced up to be sure no one was rounding the corner.
She took a deep breath and began to relax. Her very own desk, neat and modern with ample draws in which to hide her portfolios and resumes, as well as purse, sneakers, sugar packets, coffee stirrers, straws and make-up. Plenty of supplies, too. She took a personal inventory: white-out (high on the priority list), stapler, pens, yellow markers, sophisticated letterhead stationery and envelopes. What more could one want? Oh, yes, and a touchtone telephone to dial anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world, on the mega-corporation's necessary Watt's line. She assumed they had one.
Ring! The touchtone telephone burst into her thoughts.
"Could you come over to my desk? I have something for you to do."
"See all these control documents? Look up the company names in the file cabinet. When you're finished, I have some filing for you to do," Elyse said.
She reluctantly lugged the stack of hanging file folders back to her desk. She sighed as she surveyed the snot green "pendaflex" folders.
"Debbie, can you come back over to my desk?" Elyse said. Translation into Corporate Communication: "You will come over to my desk, won't you? Do you like your job? Do you want to keep your job?" Debbie stifled a giggle.
"Hi, I'm Amanda. I have another stack for you. I'd be glad to bring it over to your desk."
At that precise moment, she is stopped cold in the wake of hanging green file folders, control documents and unfamiliar overseas addresses. Unaware of it, she is staring at a very young, very cute corporate co-worker. She has never seen someone this, well, young, she guesses it is, in all her travels from the first floor personnel office to the sixtieth floor executive suite and what were you saying, Amanda? Two fellow executives take note of her corporate navy blue skirt and white blouse and exchange glances. But she doesn't notice. Corporate life as she knows it fades from view as she tilts her head ever so slightly to one side. She raises her widened blue eyes toward her new corporate counterpart.
"Hi, I'm Scott McFadden," he smiles, tossing his sandy locks from his eyes and extending his hand. There is an important sound to his voice, she realizes subconsciously.
"Ohhh." She says slowly. "I'm Debbie. It's nice to meet you!" She continues in polite amazement, giving him a small smile.
"Oh, I didn't realize," Amanda laughs nervously, excusing herself for not making the introduction.
But she and this new person are oblivious to any glances or comments made by anyone around them, at this moment, as their hands fall slowly back to their sides.
She leaned over her desk. She stood over a pile of forms, letters, requests, and mail.
A young man carrying a briefcase was coming down the hall. She looked up at him, then she looked down at her desk. He looked too young to be carrying the leather briefcase, which only served to draw more attention to his youth and inexperience. He was just out of college. He had a vulnerable look on his innocent face that told her this was his first job. Shot, sheknew he would go for her instantly.
"Can I help you with something?" she leaned forward.
"I'm Mike, this is my sister, Cindy, and I'm supposed to have an interview this afternoon," he spoke very fast and repeatedly pointed at something on her desk as he spoke.
"Actually, I'm new myself and I do not know what is going on," Debbie consoled him.
"That's OK. I'll come back later. No, don't worry about it." And he and his sister were gone.
"Debbie, I need you to do a reference check on the new salesperson. And I also need you to straighten his office, make sure his desk has a new blotter. See to it that there is a fresh supply of pens, a desk calendar, pencil holder. If you would." Crystal added politely.
"OK, I'll make sure," Debbie nodded. She stood up immediately and went into the empty new office.
"I'll need the reference report completed as soon as possible. I'll need it typed by this afternoon."
"OK, I'll do it."
"Oh, he is the best kid,"the new salesperson's mother said over the phone. "He has the right approach for each person. Especially in a difficult situation, he knows how to react, what to do or say to win the person over. Will you be working with him?"
"Well, yes, but I don't know if I'll be working with him directly," Debbie answered Mike's mother cheerfully. She tried to sound as professional and objective as possible. She did not have much time and so much else was due right now.
"He is just incredible."
"Well, it sounds like he will be very qualified for the position," Debbie said and quickly let Mike's mother go.
There was a contradiction in the information on his resume and in the telephone conversation. His mother claimed he worked in the family business for only three months and he claimed five. Might as well help him out, Debbie thought. He's young and just starting out, and it's only a couple of months difference. She verified his answers.
"His Dad's company!" The VP laughed from his corner office as he read the reference check Debbie had researched, written and typed.
This kid is smart! She smiled as she read his confident cover letter and illustration. Two tennis rackets were pictured. "The ***** Advantage," the title stated. An innovative, persuasive summary followed below. She was amused and impressed.
Mike sat at his new desk. Debbie stood in the doorway.
"Debbie, Mike," Bob said.
Mike eagerly stood to shake her hand. He had the look of a small boy who is eyeing ice cream.
"It's so nice to meet you! I didn't get the chance to introduce myself, I've been so busy!" Debbie said.
He smiled.
"Yeah, well, I was upstairs. They took me to breakfast," he said.
"What? I've never had breakfast on the fiftieth floor!" she said.
"Don't you hate that? A new kid comes in..."
"Corporate jealousy," she smiled.
He burst into loud laughter.
"Isn't this your official start date, too?" Bob asked.
"Yes, it is. I feel like I've been here all my life," Debbie said with familiarity.
Mike opened a milk carton. "I'm a Milk Man myself," he said.
"I am, too," Debbie smiled. He had such a good personality.
He smiled brightly at her, all day long. He buzzed by her desk, he grabbed the copy key, and made it zoom though the air to her directly.
"Can I grab you copy key?" he asked.
He smiled, he flirted, he teased. She could not help but smile back.
This guy is out to break my heart, she thought. But she could not help but smile back.

Monday, February 23, 2009

ACT IV: "Blocking the Confederacy"

Melanie: Did you meet Captain Butler of Twelve Oaks, Scarlet? Scarlet: Yes, I....I think so. Rhett: Only for a moment, Mrs. Hamilton. It was in the library. You....uh...had broken something. Scarlet: Yes, Capt. Butler. I remember you. Ladies, the Confederacy asks for your jewelry on behalf of our noble Cause. Scarlet: We aren't wearing any. We're in mourning. Melanie: Just a moment, please. But, it's your wedding ring, Ma'am. Melanie: It may help my husband my finger. Rhett: That's a very beautiful thing to do, Mrs. Wilkes. Scarlet: Here! You can have mine, too. For the Cause. Rhett: And you, Mrs. Hamilton. I know just how much that means to you. Melanie! "Yes, Dr. Mead?" I need your approval as a member of The Committee for something we want to do that's rather shocking. Will you excuse us, please? Rhett: I'll say one thing. The War makes the most peculiar widows. Scarlet: I wish you'd go away. If you had any brains, you'd know I never want to see you again. Rhett: Now, why be silly? You have no reason for hating me. I'll carry your guilty secret to my grave. Scarlet: Oh, I guess that would be very unpatriotic to take one of the great heroes of the War. I do declare, I was surprised that you turned out to be such a noble character. Rhett: I can't bear to take advantage of your little girl ideas. I'm neither noble nor heroic. Scarlet: But you are a Blockade Runner. Rhett: For profit. And profit only. Scarlet: Are you trying to tell me you don't believe in The Cause? Rhett: I believe in Rhett Butler. He's the only cause I know. The rest doesn't mean much to me. TRUMPET! And now, ladies and gentlemen, I have a startling surprise for the benefit of the hospital. Gentlemen, if you wish to lead the opening reel with the lady of your choice, you must bid for her. YEOW! Darling Mead, how can you permit your husband to conduct this SLAVE auction? Darling Meriweather, how dare you criticize me. Melanie Wilkes told the doctor that if it's for the Benefit of the Cause, it's quite all right. She DID? Oh, dear, where are my smelling salts? I think I shall faint. Don't you dare, Miss Pitypat Hamilton. If Melanie says it's all right, it IS all right. Come, Gentlemen! May I hear your bids? Make your offers! Don't be bashful, gentlemen! "Twenty Dollars for Miss Mabel Meriweatheur!" Rhett: One hundred and fifty dollars in gold. For what lady, Sir? Rhett: For Mrs. Charles Hamilton. For who, Sir? Rhett: Mrs. Charles Hamilton! Mrs. Hamilton is in mourning, Capt. Butler. But I'm sure any of our Atlanta belles would be proud. Rhett: Dr. Mead. I said, 'Mrs. Charles Hamilton.' She will not consider it, Sir. Scarlet: Oh, yes, I will!! CHOOSE YOUR PARTNERS FOR THE VIRGINIA REEEL! Rhett: We've sort of shocked The Confederacy, Scarlet. Scarlet: It's a little like blockade running, isn't it? Rhett: It's WORSE. And I expect a very fancy profit out of it. Scarlet: Why, I don't care what you expect or what THEY think. I'm going to dance and dance! Tonight, I wouldn't mind dancing with Abe Lincoln himself. If I could dance, my reputation would be lost forever. Rhett: With enough courage, you could do without a reputation. Scarlet: How you do talk scandal! You do waltz finely, Captain Butler. Rhett: Don't start flirting with me. I'm not one of your plantation beaus. I want more than flirting from you. Scarlet: What do you want? Rhett: I'll tell you, Scarlet O'Hara. If you'll take that Southern Belle simple off your face. (Pause) Someday, I want you to say to me the words I heard you say to Ashley Wilkes. 'I love you.' Scarlet: That's something you'll never hear from me, Capt Butler, as long as you live.

ACT IV: Blocking the

SCREEN GEMS: "So You Want to Write a Novel?"

OVERVIEW Denise Hickey Instructor: Mary Bringle "So: You Want to Write a Novel?" He was Vice President of the most innovative company to ever rise out of the Corporate Jungle of New York. She was a young, attractive woman whose all consuming desire for power and money knew no moral boundaries. Devastatingly attractive, with a violent energy that he could barely control, he was willing to sacrifice anything in his quest. A bright young man, fresh from an Ivy League college, his ambitions far exceeded anyone's expectations. Fresh out of college in a small farm town, she arrived on the scene. All she wanted ws to meet and marry the man of her dreams. A world of young, attractive men and women with a greed for success, this is like taking a fast ride, in a fast car, through the corporate jungle that is New York. 0982D


Dangerously beautiful, she had the looks any cover girl would die for. She pursued great wealth across the globe, through a winding tunnel of the hottest nightclubs and the most elite dates on teh New York social scene, never dreaming she would become ensnared in the biggest scandal to ever hit the country.
Young and fresh out of college from a small farm town, she arrived in New York. All she wanted was to meet and marry the man of her dreams. But she had a talent that couldn't be ignored.


Inspired by the 81st annual Academy Awards which aired on TV last night, I proudly present to you my novel, copyrighted but never before published -- of my life in New York City, circa May 1987 to October 1990.....
By Denise Hickey
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to persons living or dead is purely coincidence.
("Whenever something good happens...)
Debbie shuffled the cards. Work, she thought. Her boss. No, Mike. The whole situation. Her job. She handed the Tarot Cards back to her roommate, Mari Anne.
They sat on the Oriental rug on the apartment floor. None of the guests had arrived yet, although the party officially started at nine. A wide array of chips, pretzels, hot dogs and the like waited on the dining room table. The red-orange Poisonous Punch looked enticing.
Mari Anne spread out the cards.
"O.K.," she said. She pointed to the middle row. "You're artistic. You want to get out of your present job situation."
"Yeah," Debbie said. She did not like having her fortune read, but it made a great pre-party warm-up.
"Water indicates emotion. Water comes up a lot in my cards because I'm so emotional."
Debbie did not think that Mari Anne appeared to be very emotional.
"The cups. Water. You're very emotional. And you're artistic. Here's the Death Card."
"Huh?!" Debbie gasped.
"No. The card does not usually mean death, but the end of something. An illusion."
The end. To her job? A new job in the same company? Or a different company altogether. She hoped not. An illusion. Her job? Men?
"A purely intellectual young man. Ruthless. He will use any means to gain his own ends. Peaceful exterior masking intense passion. Secret violence and craft."
"Young man? That would be Mike. What does it say?"
"Does he have a calm exterior?"
"No, not really." Debbie thought of Mike's fast movements and energy.
"Now, what's your relationship like?" Mari Anne asked at this point.
"Well..." Debbie hesitated.
"Does he...toy with you?"
"Yes," Debbie said.
"Because here, it has a picture of a web. You know, like how the spider plays with the fly? He doesn't know if he wants you or not, but it's there to play with," Mari Anne wriggled her fingers.
"But I like that," Debbie said naively.
"But be aware of that," Marianne warned. She looked worried. "I think you're looking for love at work."
"What else does it say?"
"Champion, guardian, hero." Her boss? No, Mike. He had done a lot for her.
"Let me see. Anything else? I don't mean to dwell and make you keep reading it over and over," Debbie apologized.
"No, that's O.K.," Mari Anne said. "A young man, with a contradictory mind, supporting many conflicting ideas and designs. Desires power. Ruthless. Elastic, elusive mind."
How wierd. The cards were spinning a kaleidoscopic picture of Mike's complicated mind. Newly forming patterns, ever-changing. His young face. His crooning voice. His sudden meanness. A changling. What you see is not what you get.
Being inside Mike's head, although she did not want to be. Seeing it as it really was. But she had to know.
"The pursuit of material things and dull business matters." Her boss? No, Mike once again.
"This card means the possibility of love. And this card means a disappointment in love."
"Huh! Which will it be?"
"We don't know. It could be either. But you will succeed, no matter what. Just cut through it! is what it's trying to say." Mari Anne cut through the air with an emphatic motion of her hand.
"Lasting successs," she continued.
Debbie imagined a roomful of applause and a dinner party she was giving in her home. She imagined recognition through the years, best loved stories, continuing achievements, reknown.
"Now, this row represents things you cannot change." Mari Anne pointed to three cards. "Catholicism. The belief that you have to suffer for every reward. You can succeed and have love, too. But you will succeed, no matter what."
"I have always thought that. That I would be successfu., but nothing else. You know when you just know you'll be really successful?" Debbie said. She imagined a banner with the word SUCCESS!
Gee, she thought. This prediction really spells out Success in flying colors!
"Total feminitity. This is something you cannot change and you should always be proud of that," Mari Anne said.
Well, she was.
"Also, you're fortunate. You may not believe that, but you are."
"You know, I am fortunate. But I never think I am," Debbie realized.
"I'm that way, too," Marianne said. "Whenever something good happens, I try to find something negative. I say, 'Yeah, but....'"
Spring 89