Open-Mic Night at Ohio University’s Baker Center: 14 January 2022

Riley James
Sam Debatin
Bruce Dalzell, emcee
David Bruce, spoken word
Sam Debatin at Right

Velvet Green on YouTube

Velvet Green (Sam Debatin, member)
Sam Debatin on Left
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Riley James on Spotify

Riley James on Spotify

Taking the Long Way Home

Trimble Two-Step


School Legend: A Short Story

By David Bruce

“What are you doing?” Coraline asked.

“I think it’s pretty clear what I’m doing,” Coraline’s Aunt Clara replied.

She was right.

Clearly, she was using lipstick to color the end of a tampon red.

Aunt Clara said, “Coraline, I think you want to ask why I am doing this.”

She was right.

Coraline asked, “Why are you using lipstick to color the end of a tampon red?”

“Watch the end of the show tonight, and you’ll see why,” Aunt Clara answered.

She then taped the red-tipped tampon to her thigh under her skirt. 

Aunt Clara is a punk rocker, and she was preparing for a show.

Her all-woman band is called The Blazing Molotovs, and they are locally and regionally known. 

Aunt Clara, aka Clara Molotov, and her bandmates have lives to lead outside music, and as long as they can play most weekends at bars in and around Athens, Ohio, such as the Union, the site of tonight’s show, they have no desire to become rich and famous and lead rock star lives.

Aunt Clara once explained, “The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard is ‘Live fast, die young.’ I’ve got stuff to do and a long lifetime is not long enough to do it, much less a short lifetime.”

The Blazing Molotovs also reject any kind of lifestyle that would slow down their creativity. 

They are very much a Do It Yourself punk band. 

The members knew each other from Athens High School and like punk fans everywhere, they heard the Ramones, learned to play three chords, and started a band.

Aunt Clara once told Coraline, “The first time we practiced, we wrote a song. We were so excited that we wanted to perform it immediately, so we went to the Union, and the band playing that night let us use their instruments. Halfway through the song, we realized that we had forgotten to write the end of the song, and so the end was a train wreck, but we still got applause from the audience — lots of creative people were in that audience.”

In Coraline’s opinion, although she wasn’t there, the Blazing Molotovs performed well that night — just being on stage for the first time is a triumph. 

Later this night, at the UnionCoraline got to see the purpose of the red-tipped tampon at the end of a good performance. 

The Blazing Molotovs finished with an angry song about the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and misogyny, and then Aunt Clara reached under her skirt, grabbed the red-tipped tampon, held it out so the audience could see it, and yelled, “ARE YOU AFRAID OF WOMEN? YOU SHOULD BE!”

Then she threw the tampon into the middle of a group of men.

Fun ensued.

That was Saturday night.

Monday was school at Athens High School, and during lunchtime some girls met in one of the girls’ bathrooms and discussed a major controversy.

“Did you hear about Susan and Mr. Rome?” Beverly asked.

Beverly is someone Coraline would want to be in her band if — when — Coraline started a band.

“No,” Coraline said. “What happened?”

“Susan’s period started in Mr. Rome’s English class, and she asked to go to the bathroom. He said no, and she told him that her period had started, and he still wouldn’t let her go. He even told her to hold it in and go after class was over. Can you believe it?”

“Hold it in!” Coraline said. “He’s an adult. Doesn’t he know that periods don’t work that way?”

“He’s an adult, yes,” Beverly said. “But he’s a guy, and some guys don’t know much about periods — or about women.”

“What happened?” 

“Susan bled through her pants — just a little and she cleaned it up as soon as she could — and she had to go to the school nurse, who called her mom. Can you imagine the embarrassment?”

Actually, Coraline could. When she was fourteen, she had bled through her pants. Fortunately, a kind woman pulled her aside and quietly said to her, “Pardon me, but you have a stain on your pants. Do you need a pad or tampon?”

Coraline already had what she needed, thanks to her mom’s insistence on her keeping emergency supplies in her purse and in her school backpack. And fortunately, she was wearing a hoodie that she could tie around her waist.

The consensus in the girls’ restroom was this: Somebody ought to do something.

Coraline agreed. 

Coraline was NOT on her period right then, but she wanted to be able to go to the bathroom if she ever had an emergency period situation, just as any girl would.

Coraline formed a consensus of one: She was the person who ought to do something. Mr. Rome was her English teacher, and Coraline had a class with him coming up.

Coraline taped some strips of tape to her thigh under her skirt.

The other girls watched Coraline, and they wondered what she was going to do. 

Coraline told them, “If you’re in English class with me, you’ll see. If you aren’t in English class with me, you’ll hear about it.”

In the middle of English class, Coraline raised her hand and asked, “Mr. Rome, may I go to the bathroom, please?”

“No, you may not,” he said. “Stay here and learn something. Your education is important.”

Coraline said, “I agree that my education is important, but my period has started, and I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Stay here until the end of class,” Mr. Rome said. “Just hold it in.”

“Periods don’t work that way, Mr. Rome,” Coraline said. “If I stay here, I will bleed through my skirt and onto my seat.”

“No, you may NOT go to the bathroom,” Mr. Rome said.

“OK, Mr. Rome,” Coraline said.

Coraline took a tampon and a wet wipe out of her purse, and she went to the wastepaper basket in a corner of the classroom.

With Mr. Rome and the students, including boys, watching her, Coraline unwrapped the tampon, threw away the wrapper, and spread her legs.

Coraline reached under her skirt and used the strips of tape to securely tape the tampon to her thigh under her skirt. 

Coraline threw away the tampon applicator, used the wet wipe to clean her hands, and then threw away the used wet wipe.

Then Coraline went back to her school desk and sat down.

Mr. Rome and some of the boys in class were very red in the face.

Another girl in class raised her hand and asked, “Mr. Rome, may I go to the bathroom, please?”

Mr. Rome said, “Of course.”

In that year’s school yearbook, Coraline was named “School Legend.” 

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