The Electronic Lover

an audio opera by Lisa Mezzacappa & Beth Lisick

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

Frankie: Never!

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

You don’t…

Joan: What if I told you

That our conversations

All our silly frolics

Have been saved and stored

By me

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

with ghosts

With shadows

Moonlight illuminates

The nightshade

This belladonna

A beauty with a secret

So private

So poisonous

In a play to connect

We reveal and we confide

We leave ourselves open

To regret and despair

Our thoughts

our words

our lives

become shareable

We trust

But our fates

are unknowable

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

So carefully


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 

of coming 

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 

in person?

Shall I send you a ticket?


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