TOUJOURS L’AMOUR - tonight for sure

Arthur Meiselman

Mr. Joe Caswell is a not too old, not too young man

Easy to smile, easy to laugh, quick to anger.

Mr. Joe Caswell is a consumer.

A dismisser of most things, especially people.

Mr. Joe Caswell believes that the end justifies the end.

The means is an opportunity that defines his life in the present.

He doesn't remember his past and can't envision the future.


On this day, Mr. Joe Caswell is lost.

He finds himself on a lonely desert road with an over-heated car.

An empty gas tank.

No traffic after hours of waiting,

A blank horizon in all directions.

Mr. Joe Caswell, the epitome of a self-found, self-made man,

Is lost.

At 3pm sitting in his white silk suit and sweating

In the shade of his car,

He has no drink, no water, no breeze.

He sees a small dust cloud

Moving close to the sand off the road.

It's headed straight toward him.

Through his dry eye-lashes and drowsy eyes,

He watches it carefully.

As the dust begins to clear, it's occupant begins to appear.

It is a sidewinder rattlesnake,

Moving in its acrobatic circus-freak style,

Moving rather quickly,

Straight toward him.

This serpent is known to be relentless.

Mr. Joe Caswell is known to be relentless.

He pulls himself up, takes off his jacket,

Waves it like a warning flag.

Shouting, jumping and sweating.

Everything is extremely hot.

The snake keeps coming.

He reaches under the driver's seat in his car,

Yanks out a paper bag,

Removes a pistol, a revolver.

He turns and fires.

He misses.

He fires five more.

The snake keeps coming.

The gun is empty.

He has no more bullets.

He yells and throws the gun at the creature.

The snake stops six feet in front of him and stares at him,

The way snakes always seem to stare at you,

When you stare at them.

Then this multi-s-shaped reptile does the unexpected.

It turns from its sidewinding to face head on,

And begins to rise up,

Up until it's six feet tall.


Mr. Joe Caswell is having a hallucination.


He takes a step to the right.

The snake coils and leans to its left.

A step to the left,

The snake coils and leans to its right.

An attempted step forward,

The snake coils and leans forward.

He looks over his shoulder at the open car door and thinks:

I can dive into the car and close the door,

I can hide until it goes away.

To his unexpected astonishment, the snake says:

No, you can't move fast enough. You can't escape.


Mr. Joe Caswell is having an astonishing hallucination.


The snake says: You're in my garden,

You're in my desert, there's no escape.

He thinks: It's the heat and no water,

It's a waterless heat stroke.

The snake says: No, it's the end of your road,

It's the rest of your life.

He thinks: I have to get back to Vegas. It's the heat.

For crissakes, I have to shake off this crazy nightmare,

Back to my home, back to my friends.

The snake says: You can't go back.

You have no home, no friends.

All that's waiting for you are the people you've conned,

The men you've ripped off, the girls you've slapped, the cops.

He thinks: I bought and sold the cops in Vegas for years.

Suckers, all suckers.

I never ripped off nobody who didn't want to be ripped off.

I never slapped a dame who didn't want to be slapped.

He sits down.

The snake doesn't move.

He thinks: I gotta shake this off.

The snake says: What do you need?

He thinks: I need gas, I need that air-con.

The snake says: The tank is full, try it.

He jumps into the car.

Turns the key.

It starts.

The air-con starts with it.

He presses himself against the vents,

Breathes in the relief of the cold air.

The snake says: What else do you need?

He thinks: I need something to drink, I need water,

No, I need scotch.

A pile of bottles of scotch appears outside the car.

He pushes himself out of the car, grabs a bottle

With a loud laugh, he drinks.

The snake says: What else do you need?

He thinks: I need a gun, I need bullets.

A pile of guns and boxes of bullets appear next to him.

He grabs one and fires it at the snake.

He misses.

He grabs another and fires it.

He misses again

He thinks, he says: Wait a minute, wait a minute,

This all in my head, none of this is real.

The snake says: Oh it's real, as real as it's going to be.

What else do you need?

He says: Okay, okay, I need a woman

A woman appears in front of him, tall, bleached blonde,

Skin-tight dress.

He grabs her,

Puts his arms around her.

She puts her arms around him.

After a moment, he glares over her shoulder at the snake.

He yells, grabs her, shoves her into the car,

Slams the door shut,

Puts the car in gear

Crushes down on the gas pedal.

The engine revs loudly but the car doesn't move.

He does this over and over again.

Finally, he lunges back out of the car and faces the snake.

He says: I have to go home!

The snake says: You are home, this is home,

This is the only home you'll ever have.

He says: I have to go home.

The snake says: Wherever you've been you've always

Made it your home.

He says: That's right.

The snake says: Then you've always thrown it away

For an other one.

He says: That's right.

The snake says: Well... this is the last other one.

Make yourself at home.

He picks up a gun

Takes a long drink from a bottle,

Turns and lunges at the snake.

The snake doesn't move.


Mr. Joe Caswell was a not too old, not too young man

Easy to smile, easy to laugh, quick to anger.

A dismisser of most things, especially people.

He believed that the end justifies the end.


Mr. Joe Caswell. They found him lying spread-eagled

On his back next to his car.

His coat and a revolver lying on the other side of the road.

He was burnt red and shriveled.

The police who found him called it... severe heat prostration.


The snake called it... home.

Post Your Comments
On This Article Here

Share This Page

View other readers’ comments in Letters to the Editor

Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer and the
Editor of Scene4. He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms.
Read his Blog.
For more of his commentary and writings, check the Archives.

©2016 Arthur Meiselman
©2016 Publication Scene4 Magazine




July 2016

Cover | This Issue | inView | inFocus | inSight | Perspectives | Comments | Blogs | Contact Us | Recent Issues | Special Issues | Masthead | Contacts&Links | Submissions | Advertising | Subscribe | Books | Your Support | Privacy | Terms | Archives

Search This Issue


Search The Archives



Share in Facebook


Scene4 (ISSN 1932-3603), published monthly by Scene4 Magazine - International Magazine of Arts and Media. Copyright © 2000-2016 AVIAR-DKA LTD - AVIAR MEDIA LLC. All rights reserved. Now in our 17th year of publication with Worldwide Readership in 141 Countries and comprehensive archives of over 9000 web pages (36,000 print pages).

Scientific American -
Penguin Books-USA
Character Flaws by Les Marcott at
Thai Airways at Scene4 Magazine