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Mr. Lyle's Novel
Mr. Lyle: Today, you will be writing a short play in which the two characters are in love with one another. However, this information must be presented through stage direction only. For example, (Mr. Lyle closes his eyes as if he is partaking in the activity and puckering his lips as if he is trying to kiss someone) ‘Jeff gently took her hand and stroked it with his thumb while looking deep into her emerald green eyes. He told her lovingly “I don’t want to ever let you go”. She teared up, her blushing face glistening with tears as she went in for the kiss.’ (Mr. Lyle opens his eyes and acts embarrassed) Something like that… now get to work!
Ben raises his hand.
Mr. Lyle: Yes Benjamin?
Ben: (slightly creeped out) I think I can speak for the entire class when I say I feel really uncomfortable writing this.
The class nods and makes several agreeing statements
Mr. Lyle: Oh come on class, haven’t you had a significant other before? Haven’t you ever been in love?
Ben: We’re in high school; we aren’t supposed to fall in love. Plus that example sounded like the beginning of a cheesy romance novel, nobody wants to read that, let alone write it.
Teary eyed, Mr. Lyle takes some papers, which are the rough draft of his romance novel, and rips them up out of disappointment.
Mr. Lyle: I’m sorry to do this to you class. But since Ben here felt the need to speak so harshly about the romance genre and indirectly insulted me, you now have to write a three page drama, using stage directions to indicate love between 8 characters, for a grade.
Ben: (outraged) I just said I felt uncomfortable writing this!
Mr. Lyle: You should have thought about that before you bashed my novel!
Mr. Lyle storms out of the classroom. He then pokes his head in to say one last thing.
Mr. Lyle: (crying) Due Friday!
The class angrily glares at Ben.
Cut to Ben walking to his next class as a girl walks up to him.
Jenna: You’re Ben Taylor right?
Ben: (looking straight forward) Yeah.
Jenna: You know, you got a lot of people pissed at you.
Ben: (Turns to her and frustratingly yells) Thank you for reminding me!
They both stop to look at each other. This is when Ben notices something.
Ben: Wait, you aren’t in my class. Who are you?
Jenna: I’m Jenna; I’m Mr. Lyle’s aide. He changed the assignment for every class and made sure to explain how it’s all your fault.
Ben: For real?
Jenna: Ohhh yeah. I’d watch out if I were you, everybody hates you now.
Ben: (Stressed) Great…
Jenna: I could help you out though.
Ben: (Eager) Really?!
Jenna: Definitely, I’m his aide. I can figure out why he’s doing this.
Ben: Well help me out!
Jenna: Wait wait wait, what would I gain from this?
Ben: The fuzzy feeling you get inside from helping people?
Jenna: Oh come on Benjamin, we’re both cynical people. We know that “warm fuzzy feeling” doesn’t exist.
Ben: I’m not cynical
Ben: What makes you think that?
Jenna: I grade your papers; you have a very skeptical, negative outlook on things.
Ben: (annoyed) fine what do you want?
Jenna: Dinner. I pick the restaurant, you get to pay.
Ben analyzes her.
Ben: Well you aren’t ugly, and you did ask me out. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t take you up on this offer
Jenna: (smiling wryly) Good to hear. Well I’ll be off then; I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Ben: Can’t wait.
Jenna turns around and begins to walk away. Ben stares at her as she leaves.
Jenna: (While walking away) Please don’t stare at my ass, it’s distasteful.
Ben: (Lying) I’m not!
The next day, Ben is sitting at a lunch table eating alone. Jenna sits down across from him
Jenna: So, I have a way to help you out.
Ben: Hello to you too.
Jenna: I found this in Mr. Lyle’s trash can
Jenna hands Ben a crumpled, torn stack of papers titles Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Heart
Ben: What is this?
Jenna: Aside from being the elements needed to make Captain Planet? It’s the rough draft of Mr. Lyle’s romance Novel. The example he gave for the journal prompt was a direct quote from this novel. My guess is when you insulted his book; he got frustrated and took it out on you and the student body.
Ben: That’s pretty immature
Jenna: I know, you should try working for him. I don’t think it was in my course description to bring him lunch every day.
Ben: You really have to do that?
Jenna: Yeah, It sucks. But let’s just get back to how you’re going to fix this.
Ben: What should I do?
Ben: What? Why?!
Jenna: Because that’s how you fix it.
Ben: But I didn’t do anything wrong!
Jenna: I know, but he thinks you did. Listen, you don’t have to mean it, it’s just what he wants to hear. Let him hear it.
The next day, Ben enters Mr. Lyles class.
Mr. Lyle: Alright class, does everybody have their dramas? Pass them forward and hand them in to me.
Ben: Wait Mr. Lyle. Before you take these papers I’d just like to apologize to you. Last night I read a book called Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Heart, a romance novel. This book alone changed my view on romance novels and love in general. While reading this book, I realized what love is. Earth, wind, fire, and water are said to be the four elements of creation. But as this book’s title suggests, there is one more basic element of life, and that is love. Without love, life would be meaningless and by reading this book, I’ve learned to love. And the first thing I would love to love is this book.
Mr. Lyle: (trying to hold back tears and the urge to cry) Apology accepted Benjamin. No assignment is due!
The class cheers for Ben
Cut to Ben walking to his locker, he sees that Jenna is leaning up against it.
Jenna: I heard what you did today. That took guts.
Ben: Yeah well, it wasn’t so bad.
Jenna: You know, several people recorded you apologizing. That was some pretty sappy stuff.
Ben: Well, I did just Google the title. After sifting through hundreds of Captain Planet fan websites, I found that he posted it to a creative writing blog. The review was from SexiJessieLuvsU06, all I had to do was memorize it.
They start walking to the doors
Jenna: You’re not as dumb as you look Benjamin Taylor
Ben: Well thank you Jenna….
Jenna: Vilms, Jenna Vilms.
Ben: Well thank you Miss Vilms
Ben starts to walk to his classroom
Ben turns to her
Jenna: You still owe me dinner, remember?
Ben: Look in your notebook
Jenna flips through her notebook and pulls out a $25 Taco Bell gift card
Ben: You’re welcome
Ben enters his class and leaves Jenna standing alone in the hall