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Thank you for your letter. Too bad you won't be able to write. I guess you'll be too busy moving on. Me too. First of all, I'm quite busy socially. Very busy socially. Plus, my screenwriting is really taking off. I'm basically in discussions with some people. Producer-types. You know. They say moviemaking is the new novel writing. I'm pretty much on the vanguard of that whole thing.Thanks for the memories.
I'm not sure that quite captures my emotional state. A more accurate reflection of how I feel would have been:
Alice Heart-Torn-into-Small-Pieces-and-Then-Thrown-Away MacLeod
Oh Goose, Goose! Why hast thou forsaken me?
About the Author
SUSAN JUBY is the author of the critically acclaimed Getting the Girl and Another Kind of Cowboy, as well as the bestselling Alice series (Alice, I Think; Miss Smithers; Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last) and her latest novel for adults, The Woefield Poultry Collective. After dropping out of fashion college and attaining a BA from the University of British Columbia, Susan went to work in the book industry. She holds a master’s degree in publishing. She currently lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, James, and their dog, who prefers to remain anonymous. Visit her online at susanjuby.com.
Read an Excerpt
Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last
Of Moose and Men
A Screenplay by Alice MacLeod
Wilderness -- Day
A very attractive girl with an innovative, asymmetrical hairstyle sits in an ultra-fuel-efficient four-wheel-drive vehicle, similar to what an environmentally conscious star might drive to the Academy Awards. The very attractive girl is sitting with very handsome but unconventional-looking boy inwilderness setting. They are talking.
I can't believe today is the day you leave, possibly forever.
I know. It's breaking my heart.
Their eyes begin to sparkle with tears, which makes them even more attractive.
I wish this weren't so sudden.
girl (Understandingly, and with a lot of soul)
Life is funny that way.
You are so understanding! And soulful! How can I leave you?
You must. Your country is counting on you.
I suppose you're right.
They are interrupted by a noise outside the car. A moose and her calf walk out of the woods to stand majestically in front of the hybrid sport utility vehicle. As the very attractive girl and boy watch, the moose and her calf stare at them with a great and terrible gentleness. It's almost as though the wild creatures are blessing them. The moose and calf fade back into the bush and the girl and boy fall into a passionate embrace.
Wednesday, June 30
If I hadn't decided to become a screenwriter recently I doubt I could cope with all the things going on in my life right now. But I'm learning that all difficulties are gristle for my artistic mill. I think the first scene is EXCELLENT. It only took about ten minutes to write, so I figure there's a good chance I'll have a first draft of the screenplay done within the week. That will free me up to write several screenplays this summer, any one of which may have blockbuster potential.
The great thing about being a screenwriter is that I can use that common technique of spinning straw into gold. So what was a fairly humiliating and dangerous last afternoon with my boyfriend, before he went away for a year with his parents, became in my screenplay a very real and uplifting scene of love and hope.
As I write this, Goose, so-called because of his tendency to look like a goose when he runs (his real name is Daniel Feckworth), is probably on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic. He and his family are going to Scotland for a year while his mother teaches a course at the University of Glasgow. She was called at the last minute after the professor who was supposed to teach the course ate some bad haggis and suffered permanent damage or something. Anyway, the Feckworths decided they'd all go to Scotland for the year. The worst part, at least from my perspective, is that when they get back, Goose will go to university. And not just any university either, but McGill University. In Montreal, Quebec! That's about as far from me, in Smithers, British Columbia, as you can get without leaving Canada.
All that meant our last afternoon together was extremely intense, you know, emotionally. We went out for a drive in my parents' giant station wagon, which my brother, MacGregor, and I call the "Wonderwagon," because it's like the car Wonder Woman would drive if she became an alcoholic stock-car driver. Goose says it's a car with "a lot of potential for the right body man."
I knew Goose would enjoy driving around with me because I got my learner's permit last week, and I'm in that phase where I'm still learning a lot, and driving with me is really exciting. We didn't talk about what we were doing or where we were going, but we knew it was our last afternoon for a long time, possibly forever. We just cruised, laughing and singing along to the Cher marathon playing on the soft favorites radio station.
We headed out of town and up Babine Lake Road, which is very remote and ideal for people looking for privacy. Then I turned onto this little road so we wouldn't get run over by a logging truck, but I must have turned too sharply and then overcorrected because we somehow ended up sliding off the gravel track into a shallow ditch. I put the car in park, turned off the ignition, and listened to the engine tick angrily in front of us.
"We're here," I said.
Goose pretended to radio ground control from the other side of the car.
"This is Slow Rider. I'm here with Learner's Permit. We've got a bogey down. Over and out."
He was totally into his Top Gun fantasy, blond hair sticking out in all directions.
The nose of the station wagon had pushed into the dense brush on the other side of the ditch. I looked over at Goose, whose brow furrowed with concentration as he continued his pretend dispatch.
"This is Slow Rider to H.Q. Learner's Permit and I have a situation developing here. Please advise."
He looked over at me, mischievous smile on his face.
Realizing this was the perfect moment, I pulled the condom I've been saving for just such an occasion out of my pocket and placed it quite subtly on the dashboard.
"What do you think?" I asked. "I mean, it's our last chance."
"Oh, Alice," he said, and we fell into each others' embrace. Seriously. It was like something you see in the movies.
Things were just heating up when all of a sudden Goose pulled away.
His hand flew to the dash and he whispered, "Alice -- "
A shadow fell over my face as something blocked the light from the driver's side window.
I couldn't help but turn to see what he was staring at.
Pressed against the window, inches from my head, was a huge, bulbous brown nose. The nostrils flared against the glass, making a huffing noise and leaving a smear of mucus. Then the nose disappeared and a small bovine eye set in a bony head filled the window.Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last. Copyright © by Susan Juby. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.