Episode 4: Miz Stacks Cuts Loose
Talkin’ Lady (Joan) and Miz Stacks (Susan) cultivate an online flirtation as Go-Go (Margot) tries to protect Miz Stacks’ secret. Margot observes the dynamics unfolding in the chatroom with apprehension, and she and Joan have a tense confrontation about privacy and ethics in the forum.
Narrator: You’re listening to episode 4 of The Electronic Lover. This podcast is a serialized story so we recommend listening to the previous three episodes before this one.
T-Rex has a new lease on life as Talkin’ Lady keeps busy making dreams come true for the women in the forum. The group is bonding more than ever. We join them for a party as they have a little fun with one of their favorite chat topics.
Susan: If we are doing another round of M.E.M., I have got the mother of them all!
Theresa: What do you mean, M.E.M.?
Joan: Most embarrassing moments, darling
Margot: Gather ‘round, children! Stacks, please begin.
Susan: I work at a pretty small branch of the public library
Theresa: I didn’t know you were a librarian
Joan: Her handle is Miz Stacks!
Frankie: She could flip pancakes at IHOP
Susan: Typical afternoon
A handful of solitary seniors
A few young children with their mothers
A couple of students from the community college going through microfiche
All quiet and copacetic on the western front
I was at my desk making my way through War and Peace.
Joan: Oh lordy!
Frankie: Is that the embarrassing part?
Susan: I was short on sleep, and I could feel myself drifting off…
My lids were so heavy
Just two minutes
I’ll just rest my eyes for two minutes
Margot: Oh no
Susan: The next thing I know
The entire place is exploding with laughter
Loud, raucous, belly laughs
I open my eyes
And I am standing on my desk
Theresa: You did this in your sleep?
Susan: Sometimes I sleepwalk…
And there’s more…
As I am climbing down from my desk
With everyone still laughing
I realize what had woken me up—
Everyone: What? What was it? Keep going!
Susan: A fart. My own fart.
Theresa: Oh no!
Frankie: Hah hah hah! I’m choking!
Joan: You’re making me pee over here!
Theresa: Oh no!
Margot: I’m literally laughing out loud!
Theresa: How awful
Susan: In my sleep I had climbed up on the desk
And let loose with a very loud fart
In the library
In the place where I work every day
Where everyone knows me
Frankie: I AM DYING
Joan: That is the best laugh I’ve had in a long while
Margot: I really needed that!
Frankie: I don’t think anyone can top that!
Theresa: Stacks, your candor is remarkable
Susan: I am working on it!
Joan: Laughter is healing, Susan. Honesty is precious.
Susan: If only I could be truly honest, truly honest about myself
Joan: What do you mean?
Susan: Too personal! Next embarrassing moment please!
Narrator: Talkin’ Lady private to GoGo
Joan: What do you think she is referring to?
Margot: You know I never gossip!
Joan: We are creating a safe space
where women can bare all and feel supported
Margot: Yes it’s true, of course
Joan: But we can’t allow dishonesty. It threatens our ideal!
Margot: It’s not like that
Joan: What is it then?
She is hiding something—I will ask her!
Margot: Please don’t.
She needs to do it in her own time.
Joan: So there IS something.
Margot, you know something!
Margot: Promise not to say a word.
Stacks confided in me that she is a lesbian.
Joan: Well that’s wonderful.
You know it’s 1984.
We should encourage her to come out.
Margot: She has her reasons
Her father is a politician
Very conservative, very prominent
Joan: Who is it? Do you know?
Margot: I have said enough, Joan
She needs our trust, Joan
Please don’t breathe a word, Joan
Narrator: And Joan doesn’t breathe a word. But a flurry of private messages starts to make Stacks wonder…
Joan: What do you think of Navratilova winning the Grand Slam?
I just saw Jodie Foster in the Hotel New Hampshire
Should I buy a Subaru?
Do you play softball?
Ever been to the Dinah Shore golf tournament?
Speaking of Joans, who is your favorite? Armatrading or Jett? Besides me, of course…
Narrator: And however ham-handed it may have been, Miz Stacks was intrigued…
Joan: Ever thought of visiting the Isle of Lesbos?
Susan: Am I reading her right?
Narrator: …because no one else had talked about being gay
Joan: Tell me about your hair
Susan: Is this what I think it is?
Joan: Help me picture the shape of your face
Susan: I wonder what gave me away?
Joan: I could read to you
Susan: How could she have guessed?
Joan: Read to you from Emily Dickinson…
Susan: Is this really happening?
Joan: Emily Dickinson’s Letter to Susan
Susan: I love Emily Dickinson!
Narrator: And Margot was keeping tabs on this from her screen…GoGo private to Talkin’ Lady.
Margot: This is very delicate
Joan: I like it hard and I like it soft
Margot: question mark?
Joan: Just playing. Forgive me.
Margot: I mean, your flirtation with Stacks
Joan: I suppose spying is your prerogative as quote unquote community manager!
Margot: There are no quotes around community manager.
I trust you, Joan
Joan: Have I betrayed that trust?
What you told me about Stacks.
It stirred something inside me
That I need to explore
Is that a crime?
Why am I made to feel like a criminal?
How would you feel if I read all your private messages?
if you thought that I could expose you?
If you knew I had evidence of everything
That everyone had said here?
Margot: That’s not you, Joan, you would never
Joan: Don’t underestimate me
That’s not who you are Joan, you don’t mean it, Joan
Joan: You don’t know what I’m capable of
Joan: What if I told you
That our conversations
All our silly frolics
Have been saved and stored
On a floppy!
On a floppy disk!
All of it!
Narrator: It was difficult, but Margot managed to keep her cool and not lash out at Joan on the board. Could she be telling the truth? Was what she said even possible? And why would she want to save everything? Fearing for the future of the community, Margot logged off for the night and went for a long walk in the woods.
Margot: We are all walking
A beauty with a secret
In a play to connect
We reveal and we confide
We leave ourselves open
To regret and despair
But our fates
The moon showers light
On the belladonna flowers
In my path
A small dose
An innocent taste
can do you wrong
The trusting fawn
On the right path
In the wrong company
Not knowing, but hoping
May be our undoing
we go on
Narrator: Meanwhile as Margot ruminates on the direction this is all headed, Susan takes the bull by the horns and makes her move…Miz Stacks private to Talkin’ Lady.
Susan: So I was thinking
to New York
Joan: Oh yeah?
Susan: And I was thinking
Would it be
Out of the question… dot dot dot
Joan: A coffee? A drink?
Joan and Susan: Dancing all night at the Limelight?
Susan: Just a get-together
Not a date or anything!
Joan: Call it what you must
Susan: I wouldn’t call it a date
Joan: I would love to meet
Susan: I was thinking
Joan: It’s not out of the question
Susan: I was hoping
Joan: Call it what you must
Susan: Dancing all night…it’s not even a date
Joan: When can I meet
The divine Miss Stacks
Shall I send you a ticket?