Cris Mazza

July 31, 2006

cris-mazza.jpg
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Used to train and show dogs
Writing focuses on issues of gender, sexuality, family and authority

Is it Sexual Harassment Yet? (1991)

Third person objective view during Terence’s side of the story, first person narrative/confessional during Michelle’s

Quotations:

“Even before the Imperial Penthouse switched from a staff of exclusively male waiters and food handlers to a crew of fifteen waitresses, Terence Lovell was the floor captain. Wearing a starched ruffled shirt and black tails, he embodied continental grace and elegance as he seated guests and, with a toreador’s flourish, produced menus out of thin air. He took all orders but did not serve- except in the case of a flaming meal or dessert, and this duty, for over ten years, was his alone. One of his trademarks was to never be seen striking the match- either the flaming platter was swiftly paraded from the kitchen or the dish would seemingly spontaneously ignite on its cart beside the table, a quite explosion, then a four-foot column of flame, like a fountain with floodlights of changing colors.”

“Over the next year or so, the floor staff was supposed to eventually evolve into one made up of all women with the exception of the floor captain. It was still during the early weeks of the new staff, however, when Terence began finding gifts in his locker.”

“Then one of the waitresses, Michelle Rae, reported to management that Terence had made inappropriate comments to her during her shift at work.”

“As soon as you feel like someone, you’re no one. Why am I doing this? Why?
So, you’ll ask about my sexual history but won’t think to inquire about the previous encounters I almost had, or never had: it wasn’t the old ships-in-the-night tragedy, but let’s say I had a ship, three or four years ago, the ship of love, okay? So once when I had a lot of wind in my sails (is this a previous sexual experience yet?), the captain sank the vessel when he started saying stuff like, ‘You’re never going to be the most important thing in someone else’s life unless it’s something like he kills you- and then only if he hasn’t killed anyone else yet nor knocked people off for a living- otherwise no one’s the biggest deal in anyone’s life but their own.’ Think about that. He may’ve been running my ship, but it turns out he was navigating by remote control. When the whole thing blew up, he was unscathed. Well, now I try to live as though I wrote that rule, as thought it’s mine. But that hasn’t made me like it any better.”

“There are so many ways to humiliate someone. … I already know the type: he’ll be remote, cool, distant- seeming to be gentle and tolerante but actually cruelly indifferent. It’ll be great fun for him to be aloof or preoccupied when someone is in love with him, genuflecting, practically prostrating herself. If he doesn’t respone, she can’t say he hurt her, she never got close enough. He’ll go on a weekend ski trip with his friends. She’ll do calisthenics, wash her hair, shave her legs, and wait for Monday. Well, not this time, no sir. Terence Lovell is messing with a sadder-but-wiser chick.”

“When a man looks at you the way he did at me, he’s either ignoring you or undressing you with his eyes, but probably both. And that’s just what he did and didn’t stop there. He’s not going to get away with it.”

“Then winked and smiled at me later when I gave him his share of my tips. Told me to keep up the good work. Used the word ass every chance he got in my presence for weeks afterwards. Isn’t this sexual harassment yet?”

“Two pool tables, a juke box and big-screen TV. What a lousy front- looks exactly like what it really is, his lair, puts on his favorite funky music, his undulating blue and green lights, snorts his coke, dazzles his partner- his doped-up victim- with his moves and gyrations, dances her into a corner and rapes her before the son’s over, up against the wall- that song’s in the juke box too.”

“But wait, nothing ordinary or healthy like that for the girl who was chosen to be the center of his dark side- she’ll have to be both the cause and cure for his violent ache, that’s why he’s been so relentless, so obsessed, so insane… he was driven to it, to the point where he had to paint the tip of his hard-on with 150 proof whiskey then use the fancy revolver to ignite it, screaming- not like any sound he ever made before- until he extinguished it in the girl of his unrequited dreams. Tssss.”

“caller: Once is all it takes, baby. Bang. The rest of your life will start. But guess who’ll still be there at the center of everything you do.”

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