Written by Ralph E. Shaffer
Rating:

Share/Bookmark
Print this
Tags: Love

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Place: Lynwood Junior High, Lynwood, CA
Time: Spring, 1943, during World War II
Situation: 8th grade English Class
______________

Teacher: "Class, what is the subject of most popular songs? They are often called BALLADS." [writes that word on blackboard]. "The kind of song Bing Crosby would sing."

Roger: "Most of them are about war!"

Teacher: "Well, Roger, you are partially right. That's true now, but wars don't last forever - we hope - and what do songwriters write about the rest of the time?"

[That stumps most of the class, but not Phyllis.]

Phyllis: "Most popular songs, even now,are about love."

Bill [to Eddie, sitting next to him, with hand cupped to keep Phyllis from hearing]: "What does SHE know about love?"

Eddie [whispering, and giggling]: "Not as much as Helen."

Teacher: "That's right, Phyllis. But are all love songs the same? Aren't there various ASPECTS [writes that word on board] of love? What about it class? Are all love songs about the same thing?"

Phyllis [boldly]: "Most - well, at least a lot - are about UNREQUITED love..." [Before the word is barely out she wished she had used a common synonym.] "... about love that isn't returned by the other person."

Eddie [in a loud whisper, so others can hear]: "Miss Big Words is showing off again."

Bill [with cupped hand again]: "I'll bet that's the only kind of love SHE'll ever get."

[Teacher writes UNREQUITED on the blackboard.]

Edna [tentatively]: "Does unre-QUIT-ed mean one of the - uh, lovers - just gives up?"

Teacher: "It's unre-QUITE- d, Edna. Can someone give an example for Edna?"

Jim [blushing]: "It's like when ... No, I better not use that example," [as Doug, one of the biggest boys in the class, glares at Jim.]

Roger [bigger than Jim and braver]: "It's when Phyllis had a crush on Doug and he ignored her." [class gasps. more giggles.]

Teacher: "We shouldn't get personal. How about an example from one of the great novels we've been reading?"

[Silence. Phyllis starts to raise her hand, then pauses.]

Peter: "Would John Alden and Purcilla Mullins be an example?"

Phyllis [to herself]: "It's PRISCILLA Mullins, Peter."

Teacher: "In a sense. Apparently John didn't know that Priscilla liked him until she said..."

Class [in unison]: "SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, JOHN!"

Teacher: "Good. But aren't there other kinds of love songs?"

George [a scrawny kid with wire-rim glasses]: "Wait a minute. Is it unrequited if Priscilla really did love John Alden? Doesn't unrequited imply a sort of rebuff of his love. She didn't rebuff it openly and she didn't reject his love for her. He just didn't give her a chance to express it."

Phyllis [thinking]: "Hey, George made a very good point. Too bad he's so geeky looking."

Teacher: "Very sharp, George. I think you are right. So we have unrequited love, if as George says, it is rejected, but what's the subject of other love songs?"

Phyllis: "Lots of them are about lovers who are apart."

Teacher: "Very good, Phyllis. Now, you all ought to be able to give an example of that one."

[Every hand goes up, even Bill's, but he doesn't wait to be called on]: "The war!"

Teacher: "Yes. But get specific. Can you name a war song about parted lovers?"

[Many hands are raised, but not Phyllis'. The hand raisers included many shyer girls who rarely answered questions in class.]

Teacher: "Melinda?"

Melinda [ had reached into her notebook and pulled out numerous lists of top 10 tunes for each week of the year. Eagerly runs through a short list of such songs. Gives names of singers, orchestras, and how high they got on the Billboard charts. Ends with "We'll Meet Again."]
"
Agnes: "But that's not an American song, that's English!"

Melinda: "Well, don't young lovers in Britain feel the same way as we do when someone goes to war?"

Brenda: " 'I'll walk alone.' The name of the song says that they're apart. And that's an American song."

Melinda: "I'll bet the English sing it too."

Teacher: "Those are two good examples of the kind of song Phyllis mentioned."

Bill [with cupped hand again]: "She won't have to worry about being separated from a lover."

Eddie [in very loud whisper]: "Yeah, she'll never have one."

[Phyllis glares at the two of them.]

Bill [to Phyllis, but loud enough for others to hear]: "Big words aren't gonna get you a boyfriend."

Eddie [raises hand but doesn't wait to be called on]: "What kind of love is it when you don't have anyone to love?"

Teacher: "Can anyone answer Eddie's question?"

[No hands go up. When it becomes clear no one has the answer, Phyllis gives it]: "Forsaken."

Teacher: "That's really a synonym for unrequited, Phyllis."

Bill: "Yeah, Big Words, you don't know everything."

Phyllis [a bit hurt that her error was made public, but she doesn't give up.]: "Unloved?"

Teacher: "That fits the girl who wants a boyfriend but doesn't have one. Or a boy," [she suggests as an afterthought,]

Eddie [in that loud whisper]: "Now we're back to Phyllis again."

George: "I think there is still another kind of love. Maybe it fits John Alden better than any other type of love. A SECRET love."

Bill [to Eddie, with that cupped hand again]: "That's the only type he'll ever have."

Phyllis [to Bill, louder than she should speak]: "And what kind of love will YOU have?"

George [ignoring Bill's slur]: "But when Priscilla tells John to speak for himself, and he does, his love is no longer secret."

Phyllis: "But I can't think of a song about secret love. Maybe you could write one, George."

George [who had long admired Phyllis but was afraid to let her know]: "Will you help me?"

[Bell rings.]

Teacher: "That means it's lunch time. We'll continue this discussion tomorrow. Meanwhile, maybe George and Phyllis will write that secret love song.]

[All the other kids scurry our of classroom. George and Phyllis dawdle.]

Phyllis: "Would you carry my book bag, George?"

George: "Sure, but you bring too much stuff to class." [Then, seizing the moment,] "Do you really think we can write a song about secret love.

Phyllis: "Sure. Got any ideas?"

George [unaware that he is fondling her book bag]: "I think so. We're smart enough. I've already got the closing line: My secret love's no secret any more."

THE END

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

If you fancy trying your hand at comedy spoof news writing, click here to join!

More by this writer

View Story
View Story
View Story
View Story
View Story
View Story

Share/Bookmark

60 readers are online right now!

Go to top

We use cookies to give you the best experience, this includes cookies from third party websites and advertisers.

Continue ? Find out more