When someone gives me an idea, I can’t help but react by being happy about it. For once, I have an excuse to procrastinate. None of this deadline stuff; just a friend, an idea, and a potential piece of mediocre to fabulous writing.

So this is the idea: pressure on sentences.

And this is the friend: Monty [Montague] Kaplan (see photo).

I have dubbed the following “Under Pressure” simply because I love Queen. The pun, well, that just worked out in the end.

Under Pressure

I loved the way she looked at me, her eyes peeking above and below me, stumbling their way unabashedly back to the middle, touching a finger under words like “sexy” and “anneal.” She lingered there, breathing in, then out as she exited from a phrase with a semicolon; and I lay there without words, panting hyperbolic. Moments like these make my life worthwhile. I’ve been used, interrupted, even cut short sometimes, but for a sentence, this is to be expected. What hurts most is when your life is punctuated—taken from a complex thing to a simple phrase often overlooked. A supporting role in the theater of a page. Enter stage right, then die quietly like Villager #4.

At least that goddamn fragment is getting some action. Look at him, tucked between an exclamation point and a period. And I thought the thesis statement had it good over in academics. I wanted to be introductory, conclusive. Anything but stuck in the middle, between some overgrown, puffed up metaphor (much like a cloud), and then some silly little nothing of a thought. It even started with the word “therefore.” For God’s sake, THEREFORE? What are you, Shakespeare? I was supposed to be something, something special. She wrote me down in a little notepad and screamed out, “this’ll be my masterpiece”—I’m telling you, it was deafening. And I could feel pride fill me up like soda up a bottle after you shake it. Me. A sentence. An important sentence. Up there with the greats like “Call me Ishmael.” That dude Herman Melville knew how important it was to make a sentence feel loved. But what do I get? I get shifted, almost crossed out with a red pen. I inspired this piece, my nouns and verbs the muses to the writer. She used to linger.

She rewrote me, revised me. And my heart, in ellipses…suddenly stopped beating.

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