Takin' It to the Streets

My dearest Jennifer,

Though you will never read this document, my heart yearns to possess you so much that I feel the need to write down the steps I will soon take to make you mine. Some might call this cynical; I call it an expression of true love. Here, then, my sweet, is my ‘sinister plan,’ as it were, the result of which will be the fulfillment of our destiny as a couple united in passion now and forever:

I will assemble two years’ worth of notes on folk tales and oral histories of the Midwest into a concise 45-minute program of Native American storytelling.

I will adopt the name “Benjamin Wingfoot” and wear traditional Cherokee garb for my performances, and I will let my graying hair grow even longer in tribute to those proud Indian elders who gave us these rich stories to pass on to our youth.

I will make out a grant application to the Waldorf County Council for the Arts, asking them to partially subsidize a tour of local schools, churches, malls, and senior centers so Benjamin Wingfoot can go boldly amongst the populace to relate my 45-minute program of Native American storytelling and music.

If that grant application is rejected, I shall appear in local coffeehouses with my program, using their open mike nights to tell such vivid tales as “Runs Like Rain and the Spirit of the Lion,” “How Little Squirrel Helped the Gods Invent Thunder,” and “Why Falling Wolf Befriended the Bear.” My vivid words, my elaborate arm and leg movements as I seem to become the characters in each tale (including the animals, which I will mimic to perfection), and the accompanying cassette of authentic Cherokee drum and flute music shall combine to create an indelible cultural experience.

After I have spent a year or so mastering my program, I shall invite you, my lovely Jennifer, to one of these performances under false pretenses, telling you that your friend Jay is performing with his rock band, and on that night you will be treated instead to the spectacle of me, your seemingly platonic supervisor at Omaha Steaks, transformed into a one man theater piece, a burst of pure stage energy who will ultimately both educate and seduce you in the space of forty-five minutes using little more than my Native American storytelling skills. The fourteen years separating our ages and the two dollars separating our hourly pay rate will fall away magically as I prowl the stage speaking fully memorized text, whooping and singing and even dancing when necessary to convey the tales I have chosen to relate. It almost seems unfair to plot against you in this way, knowing there can only be one outcome: our arms around each other as you melt against my chest, finally understanding all that I have within me.

Yes, Jennifer, yes, it shall be. Now I shall burn this document so that no one ever discovers my pure, secret longing. I forget if you open or close tomorrow, but either way, you shall be in my dreams tonight!