20 November 2022
In Episode 05 of Your Performance Review an interstellar commander remembers a heroic effort to save his life.
Chuck is about to retire from an illustrious career as a commander of interstellar ships. To sign off and retire, Chuck must attend a performance review interview conducted by a bot named Michel. Chuck is an aging warrior. He doesn’t care much for bots, performance reviews, or the way admin does things. But as he remembers the time another commander saved his life in space, he breaks down and his arrogance is momentarily lifted.
A few newsletters ago, I wrote about how characters ask for the roles that I write for them. The character of “Chuck” has something of a history with me. I have written an aging male warrior before. I put one in a stage play that I wrote, A Sleepless Night With an Honest Man. A minor hit off-off-Broadway in New York, the play was about Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of George Washington.
Parts of the play took place up on the Hudson River near Garrison, NY. At the time I was writing the play, I’d never been there, so I had to research the area. Years later, my parents bought a house in Garrison overlooking West Point. When I visited them, I could look out over the scenes I wrote about on the Hudson. When Benedict Arnold plotted to compromise West Point and betray his friend George Washington, Arnold sailed up the same part of the river that I could see from my parents’ deck. There was a chain that stretched across the river that was intended to protect West Point from the British. Arnold intended to compromise that chain and weaken the defenses of West Point.
That previous paragraph comprises just about everything I know about the American Revolution, and yet one night the character of Benedict Arnold showed up in my East Village apartment on 10th Street in New York and started to tell me how he felt about his friend George. And now Chuck, an interstellar commander from 2036, and temperamentally a brother warrior, has stopped by and asked to be in the podcast. I wrote what he told me to write.
These things are strange, never explained, but I’ve discovered that when these people show up, it’s best to listen to them and write down everything they say.
Thanks for reading this and listening to the show,
(c) Lee Schneider 2023. Take care of each other. Subscribe.