Apr 4, 2006

Blackbeard was not always so mean. Dorothy Hudson can attest to that. She met him on the docks at Charleston. He wasn't like other seamen. He was educated, thoughtful and colorful. He was no Blackbeard then, but relatively cleancut.

He was a man in desperate need of adventure. The schools of England had not sufficed, the long ocean voyage, the exotic ports: all were trifles in his bored, cynical mind.

Apr 3, 2006

first scene of the coaster

The first scene: the first dance class of the season begins. Clive always shows up for such events, to see if John can hook him up with a hot dish. Alex, tired of studying, shows up, too. There are never enough guys.
Sure enough, only one guy shows up: a tall, handsome German named Nick, with girlfriend Gretchen. John sends Alex downstairs to fetch Sal to even things up. Out of the entire group, only John, Charlene and the nordic Gods, Nick and Gretchen, seem to be at ease. Molly is boy crazy, Clive is girl crazy. Alex is always nervous about physical contact. Ashley is struggling under the weight of her emotional baggage. A bespectacled, frumpy looking girl named Lily doesn’t seem pleased with the selection of guys to dance with. The token large woman, Pat, is, of course, a little worried.
The initial pairings: Nick and Gretchen, Clive and Ashley, Sal and Molly, Alex and Lily and John and Pat. John rotates once every five minutes. Gretchen draws the intial attention for her striking blonde hair, severe gray dress, slender figure and goddess bearing. That she had a Calvin Klein type foreign model hanging on her arm and ignoring all outsiders only added to her intrigue. Ashley, though pretty, can’t compete with exotic mystery, at least on a first glance scenario. Molly, an average looking girl with extra weight around the hips, only registers as an annoying man-chaser. Pat is to be avoided like the plague. Lily is frightening with those alien goggles.
John, though handsome, is not initially attractive for his critical eye and business-like manner. Clive and his black forest of hair is striking in appearance and engaging in manner, but too obviously ogling Gretchen to even disguise himself enough to deceive any but Molly or Lily. Alex is cute in his shy way, but too fumbling in the dance to impress any one but Molly, who’s ready to dive on anything with a good face. Sal is older and grumpy, practically shoving his partners around. He and Pat get into it. Nick is skilled and effortless in his dance, but frustrated and snobbish when dancing with anyone but Gretchen.
When Charlene shows up John is surprised. She’s wearing a black hat, her white hair curled, her blue dress sharp and pretty. John breaks off the rough beginning of the dance to dance with her. The business-like manner and piercingly critical gaze dissolve into gentle strength and cooperation as they danced the waltz. Ashley is immediately effected by both. Charlene squeezes John’s hand and smiles to the crowd before walking out.
Alex gets Ashley for a partner in that vulnerable moment: he’s fascinated by her obvious thoughtfulness (he’s just danced with Lily, Pat and Molly). Studying her distant face, it doesn’t take him long to realize she’s pretty in a subtler way than anyone he’s met before. Ashley, coming partially back to earth from her thoughts, is mildly intrigued by this young guy who looks at her with such gentle interest and without glance at her chest or attempts to show off on the dance floor. They begin to talk in between rock steps.