Coming of Age Drama Teens & Young Adult

“Okay, alright, settle down everyone. Good afternoon students! Today’s lecture is on form versus content, which should come as no surprise if anyone referred to the timetables I sent out at the start of term. Some of you, the ones taking this seriously and hoping to turn their English Literature module into some sort of career, may even have worked their way through the additional reading list. Others may have spent three months in Bali hoping non-stop drugging and partying will transfer into ‘sociable’ and ‘thinks outside the box’ on their CVs. But like I was able to see through my husband, Professor John Edwards (whom some of you may know from the Radio and Television course this shell of an institution offers) claims that his late arrivals home were from losing himself to researching his novel was a blatant lie to cover up his ‘research’ into what lies between the legs of his favourite female students…well, intuitive employers will see through those masking of truths too.

And so! We’re going to start with a poem. A poem by ‘Anonymous’, dated 1951, entitled ‘Birds That Lay Eggs in Another Bird’s Nest’. A rather clunky title, you may agree. Still, it’s a starting point.

‘Birds that lay eggs in another bird’s nest

O, how I strive for such gumption!

Selfish motherships made of beak and claw

Caring not into what lives they tore

Lives that will never get the chance to fully fledge

Instead, laying dazed and broken in the belly of a hedge.

Birds that lay eggs in another bird’s nest

We all know them. We’ve all been there.

The beady black eyes

Trained on your swift demise

Heeding not your angry words demanding an end

To birds that lay eggs in another bird’s nest.

They pillage and plunder

Cast hopes and dreams asunder

Because your home is their home

(Not that it was ever yours to begin with)

In doing so, not thinking it absurd

How I yearn for such self-assuredness of mine

And my progenies’ place in the world

If you’d only thought to check with me first

We could be sharing the warmth, the cradle, the nurse.

Because sharing is caring. Stealing is daring.

You were programmed to multiply

But I see it as subtract.’

Well, what do we think? Comments? Yes, Joanne, share. Sharing is caring.”

“I thought it was ugly, spiteful and…well, unimportant. The rhythm, the metre, it’s all over the place. It’s instantly forgettable. It evokes no emotion. The imagery – asides maybe from the belly of the hedge – could be much richer. It’s more a rant than a poem.”

“It seems Joanne is not a fan. Now that Joanne has laid the corpse out on the table, perhaps someone else would like to dissect. Yes, Antoine, go.”

“I liked it. It’s clearly coming from a place of passion. It’s definitely not about eggs. It’s rough, but then it sounds like the writer was going through a rough time too.”

“Yes, Antoine. Exactly. The form may be shoddy but the content, when we dive beneath the surface layer, speaks of heartache. A sorrow for how a situation was handled. Regret about bonds that could have formed.

Take, for instance, the many secret lives of Professor Edwards, or as I know him, ‘John’. Or as I now think of him, ‘cretin’. He could have explored his fetishes with his adventurous, caring, intelligent wife – AKA moi, yet he chose the form of an 18-year-old student slash bikini model.

Take, for another instance, this lecture. Which will be the last I give here in Cornwall as I have my car loaded and ready to go as soon as I’ve delivered my parting gift to you all. A lesson to look below the surface. Don’t be distracted by shiny, overly made up yet fragile creations when you need to take a deep dive to benefit from the more nutritional value gained from extracting the core.

No, I will not be taking questions, so you may as well lower your hand, Rachel. Enjoy the feeling of the blood returning to your fingers. I haven’t felt any sensation in weeks, it seems. Just numbness, occasionally pierced with needles of shock and shame. I don’t recommend it. I also can’t say I recommend trying to transfer those prickles to a voodoo doll. Yes, I keep an open mind and have open-minded friends but it doesn’t mean their ‘woo’ suggestions are going to work for me. So – and I know some of you pretending to be browsing your phones are recording this – Sally, if you’re watching, you can save your time stitching me any more dolls. Perhaps you should’ve made a life-size version for John to stick his dick into. Food for thought for next time, not that there’s going to be a next–”

“Honey? Adam, dear? ADAM. Just take those headphones off a minute, wouldja?”

“But Mum, this is amazing. So one of my lecturers quit today in the most insane way and I need to watch. Like, man, the one day I dodge a lecture and this shit goes down. Insane, I tell you.”

“And I tell you: you gotta watch your language. You’re not with your friends now, Adam, you’re with your mother.”

“Oh jeez, for fuc–”


Okay, okay. What do you need me for anyway?”

“A question I’ve been asking myself ever since you shot out of my womb…”

“Thanks Mum, that’s real nice, I’ll send you my future therapy bill.”

“I need you to run to the store and fetch me some eggs. We’re having omelettes tonight and your baby brother thought it would be fun to throw all the eggs out of the fridge and replace them with his stupid little Lego bits and bobs”

“Well, eggs…Lego…they do sorta sound alike, I can see where he’s coming from.”

“And I can see that English course of yours is really a great help.”

“That’s such a coincidence, what with the clip I was just watching. It’s all about–”

“I don’t care Adam, I just need some eggs!”

“Hmm. Maybe it’s nothing to do with which bird it is at all, it’s all about the survival of the eggs.”

“What are you mumbling about? I still don’t see any eggs here. Now go, go before your little brother starts eating his Lego. Go, before it gets dark.”

February 23, 2023 13:02

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Wally Schmidt
22:41 Feb 23, 2023



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Kevin V
17:47 Feb 26, 2023

I like this Karen. Definitely more than worthy of this prompt and it is one I shied away from. All dialogue stories can get murky fast if not handled right. I started to think maybe you cheated a little by using essentially a long narrative dialogue. But then you fooled me in a most wonderful way. I found this very funny. - Take, for instance, the many secret lives of Professor Edwards, or as I know him, ‘John’. Or as I now think of him, ‘cretin’. - No, I will not be taking questions, so you may as well lower your hand, Rachel. Enjoy the ...


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Tommy Goround
00:50 Feb 24, 2023

In audio, one reading, everything worked. Good ending. Did you write the poem yourself? Interesting analysis and use of students?/children. The duality is 1) she is leaving. 2) she is giving a shopping list to her son in class? I assume the husband to be an English teacher. Making the comment about the English of the Son to me more funny. Birds that lay eggs in ....eggs = progeny/future. One might say vagabonds that live in your attick... But the mother bird comes home and find someone else in her nest. She asked where her original egg...


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Karen McDermott
13:04 Feb 23, 2023

In keeping with the spirit of this week's prompts, I will only be reading one word comments/reviews of my story. ;)


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