Closing Time

So you all know, I’m putting this tale out piecemeal–if you think there are gaps in the telling, that’s because they are–ask me about them.


The setting is Mrs. Winterstein’s dance on Halloween Night, which Justine, dressed as Joan of Arc, has dragged Emily off to.  As Justine enters the dance floor, Emily, fingering her rosary nervously, and Mrs. Winterstein adhere to the sidelines, trading perspective on the occasion:

Mr’s Winterstein, beaming as all her guests are having a good time:  Ah, they’re drinking and they’re dancing 
As the youth, it’s all romancing 
Emily, nonplussed: And the carnal wisdom’s running very high
Mrs. Winterstein, smiling down upon Emily, in condescension, before calling out to Justine, dancing by:  You’ve a very sweet companion 
Justine, not turning away from her partner as she speaks:  She’s the Angel of Compassion! 
Emily, watching Nataly and Dominic waltz past:  She’s rubbing half the world against her thigh! 
Mrs. Winterstein, laying a hand on her shoulder, pointing something out:  And every drinker every dancer 
Lifts a happy face to thank her (We cut to see men sitting at tables lifting at the goings on in salute.)
Emily, turning away, disgusted:  Yeah, the fiddler’s playing something too sublime 
Mrs. Winterstein, bemused:  You fear, my dear, and too much scoff 
At glances which betray the thoughts
And moments worth the cost (Cut to a random couple necking.)
Emily, unmoved:  But it’s hell to pay when the fiddling stops… 
Chorus: Then it’s CLOSING TIME 
Justine, not looking up, dancing, now with another partner:  Till then we let our masks come off 
As we dance on a cloud filled with polka-dots… 
Mrs. Winterstein, smugly noting as Justine, finding someone cuter, cuts in on him, leaving her last partner burned:  And it’s partner found, and it’s partner lost 
Emily, still bummed:  And it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops: 
Chorus:  Then it’s CLOSING TIME 

Emily, sighing:  It’s so wrong!  Justine:  But it’s romantic! 
Emily, turing to Mrs. Winterstein:  Now I don’t mean to be pedantic
But now the Spirit must be shedding tears of grief.
Mrs. Winterstein, staring out the window:  Yet the moon swims high above us
As the night persists to love us
As it grants the youth this respite of relief
I just help them in their struggle as they we stagger 
An anonymous tipsy couple walks up to her, to which she unlocks  the large door behind her.
Through the snakes and up the ladder (She gives them a gentle push up the stairs before shutting the door behind them.)
To the tower where the blessed hours chime (We see them engage in a deep, romantic kiss within the cupola before returning to Mrs. Winterstein and Emily.)
And I swear it happened just like this: (There’s a flashback sequence corresponding towhen she was young.)
A sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss 
the Gates of Love they budged an inch 
And I’ve been wealthy ever since! 
Emily:  But still we’re nearing…Chorus:  CLOSING TIME… 

The camera takes a panoramic shot of the whole dance, with Mrs. Winterstein and Emily in the prominent background.
Marriage spawns from such as this: 
A cry, a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss 
the Gates of Love they budge an inch 
Emily, glancing up at her arms folded, then back at the party: Still, your words do not convince 
Chorus:  CLOSING TIME…(Cut to a whole series of dance partners’ kisses.)

Emily’s worried attention is again fixated on Justine, who is again dancing with somebody else.
Mrs. Winterstein, walking up behind Emily, also surveying Justine:  Yes, they love us for our beauty
But that doesn’t make a fool, you see; 
Not if you’re also in it for your beauty too (Cut to see Justine still enjoying herself, briefly.)
I, too, was once  loved for my body
But in the end, it made me wealthy, (She sports the diamond ring on her finger.)
And if I can, I’ll assist in others doing likewise, too. (Emily glances up in a brief frown, before turning.)
Mirs. Winterstein:  What if this leads to a wedding feast?
Emily, tartly:  I’ll stick to the one above (she points) to say the least.
Mrs. Winterstein, eyes sweeping the dance floor grandly:  You’re treating love just like a crime.
Emily, eyes sweeping the floor sadly:  Events like this can leave you wrecked
Mrs. Winterstein, eyes still sweeping:  Love doesn’t care what happens next! 
Emily, scoffing with anger in he gaze upon the the dancers:  It looks like freedom but it feels like death! 
Mrs. Winterstein, still looking, but turning reflective for the first time:  It’s something in between, I guess 
Chorus:  Don’t even think of CLOSING TIME… 

Mrs. Winterstein:  Yes, events like this can leave you wrecked,
But romancing freedom flirts with death!
Justine, dreamily, with yet her latest partner:  And you just can’t care what happens next! 
We cut to Emily,pulling out a picture in her locket of God and His angels in Heaven, with the demons and sinners in Hell, below them.
Emily, sighing: We’re someplace in between, I guess…(She pockets it, gloomily.) 
Chorus:  Not yet CLOSING TIME…

Emily, starting to lecture the dancers as they pass her by, and Mrs. Winterstein shakes her head in bemusement.
Emily, pointing to a nearby male dancer with one hand while waving off the fumes with the other:  You’ve been drinking, no one’s thinking 
And your morals, they’re all sinking
Mrs. Winterstein, laughing:  And you’re preaching Heaven here on Halloween Night?
Meantime, your prudely-raised companion (who’s quite wiser than your ranting)
The camera starts regularly cutting between Justine and our two quarreling outlooks.
Sets off rumors with entrancing (Mrs. Winterstein beams in Justine’s general direction.)
Everyone that falls within her sight. (We see that it’s clear she’s having the time of her life.)
Emily, grimly:  But in time she’ll be witness to the Awful Truth
She pauses dancing with her present partner to observe Nataly and Dominic (whom she has quite a crush on) kissing quite shamelessly by the balcony as Emily’s voice over continues. 
Which you can’t reveal to the ears of youth (Her partner tugs hand to resume, but she shoos him away.)
And at last she’ll see the lateness of the Time.  (Her face reddens, and starts fighting back sniffles as the dancers behind her blur.)
The camera cuts back to Mrs. Winterstein & Emily.
Mrs. Winterstein, a bit tiredly:  Of such things dear, you’d simply better not think twice.  (We cut briefly to Justine, still horror-struck, then back.)
Emily, still grim:  Just be prepared to pay the price
For the Boss won’t like these dizzy heights 
When he’ll come one day to pull the lights (Justine’s face turns into scowl, as they’re still necking, and turns he heel on them in a huff.)
Chorus:  Come one day He’ll pull the lights… 
Emily and the Chorus, together:  Then it’s CLOSING TIME…(We  again make a quick to Justine, still storming off as they’re, uh, still at it.)

Chorus: It’s really best to not think twice 
Of being forced to pay the price
Since the Boss don’t like these dizzy heights 
Emily, gravely:  You’ll be caught within the blinding lights
Chorus: The blinding lights…
Of CLOSING TIME…(Emily, back and center, waves her hands dramatically.)

At this, Justine, still glowering, grabs Emily’s hand dragging her off the way she came.
Justine, still frowning:  We’re leaving.
Emily, excited to hear this:  Oh, yes–let’s!
Mrs. Winterstein, coyly, as she glances between Justine and her granddaughter, still going at it by the veranda:  Oh, so soon?
Justine, still simmering:  I’m afraid so.
Mrs. Wintein, unfazed:  Have it your way.  I’ll have my ready in a jiff.

And at this, Mrs. Winterstein confers with a servant, as Justine exits stage right, dragging off Emily, who’s resisting, if only to fire off a few final parting shots…
Emily, eyes furious:  I assure you all, that you’ve transgressed
And on judgment day, you’ll be bereft!

Chorus:  It’s your CLOSING TIME
Mrs. Winterstein, having sent the servant off, is now gazing at the retreating redhead with capricious fondness.
Mrs. Winterstein, more to herself, than anyone, as we cut to a closeup of Justine’s fuming face:  Here,  it’s always partner found and partner lost… 
Emily, still being dragged, turning her finger’s wrath on Mrs. Winterstein:  But it’s Hell to pay when the fiddler’s stopped…
Chorus:  It’s CLOSING TIME 
Emily, returning her wrath on the crowd, but the women in specific:  We’ll leave before you hussies tear your blouses off 
Arousing men with hungry thoughts!
Chorus:  It’s CLOSING TIME…
And thus it ends, with crowd still dancing, Nataly and Dominic still making out, and Mrs. Winterstein still shaking her head in unabashed mirth…


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