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Rough Drafts



If you are reading this, you are doing so because you have been invited to critique samples of work. 

  • The Lecture -- a very short story in one part about the final lecture in a series on the Italian Renaissance.  You'll find The Lecture further down this page. 
  • Shasta -- the first chapter of a larger story originally written as a round robin.  You'll find the link to Shasta at the bottom of this page.
  • Office Maximus -- The ideal receptionist. 
  • Capital Gains --  A prominent attorney meets his new neighbor.

Each scenario falls under the category of "Erotica".  The Lecture thrives on subtlety, While Shasta enjoys being a bit more "in your face".

Your opinion onany of these pieces would be greatly appreciated.  Any suggestions you may have, even more so.  Thank you.

Hiya, Hook.  :)

The Lecture
2001 Elizabeta York

His voice rose and fell over the great hall of The Duomo like a musical instrument I could not describe. A violin? No. A cello perhaps? Not quite. But, the soft notes emanating from his mouth were richly inviting yet somehow tinged with an ominous glee. Barely perceptible, but it was there. His very small, but select audience reveled in every word.

This was a lecture series on the Italian Renaissance and as a visiting American, I was among the fortunate few who were permitted to attend this visual feast normally reserved for local scholars. The speaker was a man by the name of Dr. Kroft and his eyes flashed unforgettably as he spoke. Today’s lecture was the last of a series of five. Michelangelo.

The acoustics of the hall were such that a whisper could be heard across the way. But this final lecture took place in an intimate setting of fourteen people sitting in overstuffed furniture scattered around a large stone fireplace.

Interspersed throughout the seats were gallery tables which held assorted pleasantries such as lush greenery, marble statuettes, carafes of wine and assorted cheeses. Quite cozy. Gas lighting from various table lamps cast a warm glow upon the speaker’s face.

During the previous weeks, Dr. Kroft had shown us the great works of art at the Piazza dell Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi, and the Church of San Lorenzo. We would stroll from place to place listening to him as he painted verbal pictures of the life and art that became known as The Renaissance.

Earlier this morning we had visited the Sistine Chapel, Michelango’s "David", his "Pieta", and the "Crucifixion of Saint Peter". But now, we were comfortably seated, and happily spellbound by the sinuous voice of Dr. Kroft as he moved about his audience and more intimately described the great sculptor’s work....

"...Michelangelo is best known for his treatment of the human body in painting and sculpture. His figures convey a sense of grandeur and power, and arouse strong emotions in those who ponder his works..."

Dr. Kroft looked at each of his listeners as he spoke. From time to time, his gaze seemed to linger on mine a moment or two longer than on anyone else’s.

Or was it my imagination?

His words described the art. His voice expressed a love and appreciation for it. His eyes were as blue conduits which provided anything that might have been missed by the ears. He stopped by a statuette of "The Heroic Captive" which stood on a table by my seat. He ran a fingertip along the muscular arm of the sculpture as he spoke...

"...Both in physical size, strength and emotional intensity, these figures seem to embody all that is human in nature...."

He glanced down at me with a smile... a smile that seemed to ask, "Do you see this masterpiece I’m showing you? ...really see it? Do feel the intensity that went into the work?"

Dr. Kroft didn’t seem to mind baring his soul when he lectured, but was quite reserved when approached about his personal life.

During our tours a few members of the group had casually asked him about his origins, his career, his education. Most people in his position would have reveled at the opportunity to talk about themselves. But he never did. He would give politely ambiguous, albeit very charming answers. Then he would skillfully redirect everyone’s attention back to the subject at hand. Most everyone attributed his artful evasiveness to the eccentricities that so often occupy the world of academia. I sensed there was something more to it. And somehow, I think he was aware that I did.

After Dr. Kroft concluded his lecture, he gave a courtly nod to the enthusiastic applause from his audience. Clearly, no one wanted the lecture to end. Through the course of the series, he had taken us on a mesmerizing journey through time and we were reluctant to return to the present.

As the members of the group slowly trickled out of the great hall, they expressed their delight with the series to Dr. Kroft. He responded charmingly with many thanks. I lagged behind, pretending interest in one of the statuettes.

Finally, the last member was gone. Dr. Kroft turned to face me. Even though we stood at opposite ends of the great hall, I could hear his soft voice perfectly. He smiled as he spoke.

"The lecture has concluded. I would think you’d be joining the others for a celebratory drink."

My eyes never leaving his gaze, I slowly shook my head "no".

"Did you enjoy the Series?"

Still returning his gaze, I slowly nodded my head in appreciation. I couldn’t believe I was being so bold. I knew that by not saying anything, I was leaving my intentions wide open for interpretation. He slowly began to walk toward me. The timber in his voice raised goosebumps on my flesh.

"I wondered if you might stay behind after the others left. I even considered discreetly asking you to stay if you appeared to be leaving."

Dr. Kroft stopped in front of me. He stood closely, but not so as to give the appearance of any impropriety. He looked at me appraisingly as if he were determining my steadfastness. For the briefest moment I thought I saw his nostrils flare, as if below the calm exterior there lived a wild beast testing the winds for an agreeable female. I met his gaze.

Dr. Kroft took a step closer. He smiled, tilted his head... and reached for my hand.

"Come. I want to show you Leda and The Swan."






Rough Drafts