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AUGUST 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 8


Renaissance Online's second serial story, "Dear Dreadful Book" will appear over the next four months, concluding with the November 1999 issue.


Carpe Per Diem | Jon Michael Warshawsky


Dear Dreadful Book [chapter two]

SHARON E. SVENDSEN, an English teacher and writing instructor, is a contributing writer to Renaissance Online Magazine. She makes her home in Bremerton, Washington.


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[ 1, 2 ]

May 10
Dear empty book,

Now who am I going to go to the prom with?

May 11
Dear painful book,

Before Sid and I broke up, I got a new dress and everything to go to the prom. I was looking at the dress hanging in my closet - my beautiful dress - and I just started crying. Damn that Sid. How am I going to live without him? My life is over. My only reason to live is that I might get the chance to kill Rita.

Damn that Sid. This really hurts. I think about the things he said and I feel so betrayed. Mom is all cheerful. She never liked Sid anyway. She's charging ahead, planning my graduation party. She's going to invite all her cronies, all her friends from the real estate office, and of course Aunt Lizzy and Rose. Ugh! I should have known it was her party all along.

I saw Nick Sheffield coming out of Ambrozio's with this tall, slender, gorgeous woman who could have been a model. She was just sleek. Long, straight, dark hair, a black dress, long beautiful legs. They both looked like they had just stepped out of "People" magazine or something. I found out that Nick's Mom and Dad are both actors - an actress and an actor. They're both in show business. Trina said that Nick knows Streemax Wilcox. ow. Trina said she heard that Nick was in some play last summer. He should be an actor. His looks are so radical!

All this English homework. Yuk. I'm trying to avoid it. If only I were good at it. I can get decent enough grades, but it all seems so off the wall. Gatsby gets himself killed for Daisy. What's the point? It's not even very romantic. I don't understand.

Sometimes, with things like poems, though, I like parts of them even though I don't understand them. Take "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." I don't have a clue what it means. But some of the language is just so interesting. Maybe "interesting" isn't the right word, but it's, I don't know. Soulful maybe. "In the room the women come and go, speaking of Michelangelo." Doesn't that just feel sad and tedious? And "I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled." Doesn't it just make you feel sorry for the poor old man with his rolled up pant legs? And "I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the flours of silent seas." Doesn't it make you feel the man's defeat? The language makes me feel that Eliot must be saying something very fine, even if I don't understand what it is he's saying.

May 12
Dear gastrointestinal book,

Dad got back from Albuquerque today. He brought me some neat turquoise and silver earrings. He said he was sorry about Sid. I sat next to Dad on the couch and put my head on his shoulder. He patted my knee and told me things would be all right. They won't, of course, but it was nice of him to say they would.

I'm the only girl I know who isn't going to the prom.

And my graduation party. Ugh. If only Aunt Lizzy were discreet. If only she and Rose left people guessing about them - you know, are they roommates or more than roommates? But no, they have to belong to Lesbians Out Loud. They are always marching for some queer thing or another.

What does it matter? My life is over. Over. OVER!

May 13
Dear babbling book,

You won't believe it. Lardbutt Douglass came up to me in the hall today and said he was sorry to hear about me and Sid. He was so sincere. Geez. That's all I need, Lardbutt Douglass feeling sorry for me.

What if that slut gets pregnant? Ha ha. Not Lardbutt Douglass. Rita. Knowing Sid, he'll feel like he has to marry her. And she's the kind who would get pregnant just to trap him. Then they'd get married and his whole life would be ruined. Poor Sid! But that's what he gets for going out with Rita. If she would French kiss him in the hall in front of God and everybody, just think what she would do with him in private.

I saw Lizzy and Rose at the mall. I pretended not to see them, but I don't think they saw me. Lizzy took Rose's hand. It reminded me of the way I used to take Sid's hand. But that thought grossed me out. It was different. It was totally different with Sid. It had to be.

May 14
Dear comic book,

I am going to have to ask somebody to the prom. I wonder if Nick Sheffield would go with me.

May 15
Dear dragon breath book,

Lardbutt Douglass asked me to go to the prom with him! I told him that I would give him my answer tomorrow. I'm going to try to catch Nick Sheffield before my first class and ask him to go. If he says no, then I'll say yes to Lardbutt. I mean, he is freaky and funny, but if I go with Lardbutt, at least I will be there, I won't suffer the humiliation of not having gone to my senior prom.

May 16
Dear faithful book,

I was so humiliated. I went up to Nick Sheffield before first period. He was standing at his locker. I said, "Hi." He said, "Hello. What can I do for you?" I was so sort of embarrassed and everything. I said, "Well, I was wondering - " and he says this comical "Yeess" all drawn out and kind of upward like a slide trombone. I thought he was being nice so I smiled and relaxed a little and said, "I was wondering if you would go to the prom with me." Then - the nasty jerk - he says in this real loud kind of stage voice, "No, Cindy, I already have a date for the prom." Everybody heard him. Everybody kind of stopped and looked around. I could feel myself just blushing. So I turned and walked away. I should have kicked him in the balls. Then I walked past Lardbutt. I wonder if he heard. I mean, I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I hate to hurt people's feelings. Later, I saw him in the lunchroom and I said I would go to the prom with him. His face got all bright and happy and he said, "Wonderful." Great. I'm "wonderful" to Lardbutt Douglass. Lucky me.

May 17
Dear no-date book,

That stupid-ass frosted old-lady hair. Sid must feel like he's going out with his Mom. The pervert. I wonder if he's getting any? Knowing Rita, he probably is. Maybe he'll be a daddy before too long. It would serve him right.

What a bummer not to have a date on Saturday night. Trina is out with Oogy and Lux is out with Ken. I tried calling Marcy, but she's at some Rainbow thing. There's no one even to talk to on the phone.

Maybe going to the prom with Lardbutt will be more humiliating than not going to the prom at all. Lardbutt's name is always on the honor roll. He's smart enough, I guess, he just looks dumb.