The DeCafé

Where the buzz is in the air AND the coffee!
Let's Table Hop

Things aren't too busy just now, there are only a few people sipping mochas and exchanging information. If you're interested in eavesdropping go check out one of the tables by clicking on the room plan above.


TABLE ONE

Right up front, this large round table is the perfect place for those who want to see everyone and everything and be seen doing it. Seeing and being seen right now are Dr. McGeorge Archibald, his second wife (and one-time Teaching Assistant), Karen (Cliff '73), his current TA (possessed of great T's and A!) Sunny Southern ('97), and Sunny's brilliant boyfriend Running Dog Levenstein ('98).

McGEORGE
Levenstein, you've got to make sure your NASU people don't let that fool, Dick Francis and his army of Security Huns get anywhere near the site. For that matter, you've got to keep Lizzie Goswell out as well. This could be a very important find and the last thing we need is for some forensics team to start digging it up.

RUNNING DOG
Don't you think I know that?!

KAREN
And if you didn't, I'm sure your friend Dennis would make sure you did. He's had a hate on for Dick for over 20 years.

RUNNING DOG
I heard it had something to do with a racial crack.

KAREN
Dick impounded his car for parking violations when we were undergraduates. Nothing racial about it.

SUNNY
That seems like an awfully long time to hold a grudge.

RUNNING DOG
If you were a member of an oppressed minority, like myself, you'd understand how centuries of genocide can turn a man into a grudge-bearing machine.

McGEORGE
Which oppressed minority, exactly, do you hail from?

RUNNING DOG
Yangna Indian.

McGEORGE
Of course. I remember reading about it in your transcript when you took my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. You were one-thirty-secondth part Yangna, as I recall.

KAREN
What about the thirty-one thirty-secondths Tribe of Israel? Doesn't that count?

SUNNY
You're part Jewish?! My mother's going to be so happy!

RUNNING DOG
I thought your family was Episcopalian?

SUNNY
They are, but it wasn't the Jews who scalped my great-great-great-granduncle.

McGEORGE
And it wasn't the Jews who were eligible for tuition grants, was it, Jeremy?

RUNNING DOG
Jacob.

KAREN
Whatever. No point badgering the boy, Mac.

McGEORGE
I'm not badgering anyone. I'm just trying to make the point that from an anthropological standpoint, he's about as much of a Yangna as General Custer.

RUNNING DOG
How dare you compare me to that racist, genocidal, fascist honkey!
Ever vigilant for threats to her husband's reputation, Karen steps in to light the peace pipe.

KAREN
His family may drink Manischewitz instead of firewater, but that doesn't negate his Native American heritage. He may not have much Yangna blood, but it is the blood of a noble, ravaged race, blood because of which his great-great-great grandfather was slain.

SUNNY
How did you know about that? (TURNING TO RUNNING DOG) You said that was a private intimacy between us.

KAREN
It was on his campaign posters when he ran for NASU president.

McGeorge is quite pleased with Karen's performance.

McGEORGE
God, you are good. I'd almost forgotten why I'd fallen in love with you in the first place... (TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE TABLE) Karen was the most brilliant student I ever had. Hers was, without question, the best Oral exam I ever gave...

KAREN
Or got, dear.

McGEORGE
That, too.

Well-satisfied with this endorsement, Karen turns to tell McGeorge something only to discover him studying Sunny's peach-hard, 20-year-old body. Karen's sense of well-being crumbles.

KAREN
Speaking of oral activities, I won't be home tonight. I've got rehearsal...

Lost in lustland, McGeorge responds only with an absent nod. Karen is not pleased.



TABLE THREE

Off to the side but with a great view of the room, frequented by those who want to see before they're seen. Currently occupying this table are Carlotta Schuyler Cliff ('42) and her fraternal twin grandchildren, Clifford "Rad" Cliff VI and Carly ('99).

CARLOTTA
Look, Rad, if you can't stop yourself from gambling away every penny I give you, I'm going to derail the gravy train... I didn't put the brakes on your father's habit, just to have you cut the brakelines on a downhill run.

RAD
What are you talking about?

CARLOTTA
I was running your father's business long before he died. He was just like you... and his own father... and his father: couldn't keep the bottom line out of Vegas.

RAD
You don't understand. I've got a system.

CARLY
I think Grandmother's point is that there's only one winning system: don't bet. It's like safe sex. There's only one way to protect against a leaky condom: abstinence.

RAD
Hey! You're the one who sleeps around, not me...

CARLOTTA
Try extrapolating, dear. Your sister's trying to help you out here.

RAD

Wanna bet?

Grandmother and granddaughter exchange the looks of women well-accustomed to being stymied by the denseness of their menfolk.

RAD
Look, I haven't place a bet in two weeks, okay?

CARLY
I saw you playing liar's poker with Dylan at rehearsal last night.

RAD
That's bullshit. When am I supposed to get a second alone with Dylan with you fawning over him every second?
Carlotta eyes her granddaughter with horror. Rad gloats, having successfully shifted the spotlight.

CARLOTTA
Don't tell me you're interested in the Atkins boy. His father is such an imbecile. And the boy's got fewer prospects than a blind plastic surgeon.

CARLY
First of all, there's nothing going on between me and Dylan. Second of all, he's a very talented actor. And third of all, it's none of your damned business, either one of you.

CARLOTTA
I beg to differ with you. Whomever you marry will be in a position to lay his filthy hands on your inheritance, and I'll be damned if I'm going to leave my hard-earned legacy to a money-grubbing dolt. So choose carefully, dear. Because if you marry a man who's unworthy, I'll cut you off without a single Cliff cent.
If this were a cartoon, darts would come out of Carly's eyes and smoke from her ears. As it is, her fury is all internal, but Carlotta feels it anyway, and not without a tinge of pleasure.



TABLE SIX

Way in the back, this is the spot for people who want the most possible privacy. Seated here now, all alone and not even trying to hide the fact that she is crying as she types something into her laptop computer, is Anais Grace. Karen has spotted her from across the room and now crosses over and sits beside the younger woman, watching the LEDs resolve into Anais's words.

KAREN
It's supposed to be upsetting, Anais. That's part of the process. You're reaching within to unseat some very painful memories. You can't do that without reexperiencing the pain. Hopefully, it'll be easier to bear now than it was when you were just a child.
Anais' fingers struggle to keep up with her thoughts as she types her response, but since we are in front of her, we cannot see what is on her screen.

KAREN
You never had the dreams before because they're related to the internal work you're doing. This is a good sign. It means we're getting closer!
Anais fingers tapdance furiously across her keys.

KAREN
I know I'm not a therapist... at least not yet. But that doesn't mean our work together can't be therapeutic. You're getting so close. Please, don't give up now. I know you can do it if you just hang in there.
Anais looks up at Karen, her face still streaked with tears though her eyes have dried up. She smiles gently and nods her assent, then hugs Karen reassuringly. Now it is Karen's turn to cry.




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