Skip to main content
PBS logo

The Eclectic Pen - Marcello's final scene with Elizabeth

By: Boris T.   + 13 more  
Date Submitted: 12/28/2008
Last Updated: 12/29/2008
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 1,050

  Right after having her fourth glass of Cabernet Sauvignon of the evening Elizabeth comes to this conclusion --if she has to move back to Boston she can no longer keep the dog. Also, she has decided to terminate her relationship with Marcello. It is so clear in her mind now. Wine makes her think better.

Elizabeth thinks the world of Marcello, though. And so she tells him, "Marcello, I think the world of you. But, you add stress to my life."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I am at a bad place right now. I am sorry." She pours more wine in her glass. She says no more. Elizabeth can't pull herself together and articulate her fears. Only the flavor of the Cabernet Sauvignon makes sense to her tonight. What irks her is the prospect of letting go of the dog.

"I've tried to reach out to you, but you refuse my help." Marcello says, a cigarette between his index and middle fingers absorbing the sudden stress.

Yeah, right, Elizabeth thinks to herself. There's little Marcello can do to help her. At 41, Elizabeth is high-strung over the global financial meltdown. All of her savings and investments had come down to $650,000. She keeps saying that she's broke. "I am broke, I am broke. I ought to file for bankruptcy." Two years ago, Elizabeth had money enough to go into early retirement from a 12-year job as a business analyst in Corporate America. She had been quite lucky. She had built up an investment portfolio that had had pretty good returns. She used to consider herself the female version of Warren Buffett although to a microscopic degree. The Wall Street collapse is now pushing her back into the workforce. The problem is that Elizabeth just can't find a position that would yield her at least $250,000 a year. "Oh my God." Elizabeth had developed a life style that requires more than that amount.

Yes, it's sad, but she can no longer keep Beulah, a Hungarian Viszla that she had adopted from the animal shelter six months ago. "Fucking high-maintenance dog," Elizabeth whispers at the glass of wine. It's strange, however, how much Beulah is fond of Marcello, that man who once told Elizabeth that he's become petless by principle since his Pekingese died when Marcello was 29 years old. He had gone his entire adolescence and first youth with his Pekingese whom he called Gene after Gene Hackman. When Gene passed away of old age, Marcello was left so demolished that he had pledged to never have a pet again. Marcello, however, loved Beulah so much so that he had lifted the ban on pets at his condo in order to spend a few days with Elizabeth's dog as she was out of town on business.

She hears Marcello mumble something in Italian, "Sono un stronzo," but she doesn't know what it means. Whatever, thinks Elizabeth as she opens the second bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon of the evening.

"This is not right, goddammit."

"Why are you telling me this?" Marcello wants to know.

Elizabeth holds the wine in her mouth, the flavor is fading away. She can't get over with what happened the previous night. Her mind in the immediate past, her wine-imbibing self in the critical present. She can see herself in her bed, Marcello on top penetrating her gently. She doesn't move. Her mind is in Boston where she owns a loft that she had rented out to a struggling actress. Her tenant made a living working full-time for Washington Mutual. By the time the Wall Street catastrophe was building up, her tenant began to fall behind her monthly payments and eventually the amateuresse thespian was laid off. The ever expanding crisis drove many people desperate, hopeless or berserk. The latter was the case with Elizabeth's tenant. Prior to being evicted from the loft in Back Bay the woman ripped parts of the hardwood floor with a hammer. On top of the monthly mortgage payments she has now to pay for the repairs, let alone finding a new tenant. No, Elizabeth doesn't move. Her thoughts are trapped in Boston when she hears Marcello, "Amore, are you okay?" No, I am not, she says. Marcello pulls back and holds her. He says that he understands, that she's been under much stress lately. He had emphasized, Much. He falls asleep while holding her. That was last night. Tonight Elizabeth is really pissed off.

"You know what, you are supposed to complete the job."


"You should have come last night. I was perfectly lubricated. Why you didn't come?"

Marcello, the Italian lover --"I am afraid that I can't do that if my lover isn't into it."

Elizabeth, the redhead under stress --"What the fuck are you talking about? There'll be days in a couple's life when one of them isn't into it for whatever reasons. It doesn't mean that you can't come."

"Sorry. If that's the case then I can't play along. I need my partner to be into it as well."

"Fuck. Then it means that we can't be long term." It's over. The sixth glass of wine is over, too.

Marcello, in his eyes there is something that resembles disappointment. So be it. Sometimes booze will shed light on matters that love is prone to ignore.

"Your Italian ego must be badly bruised. I am sorry, but I can't go on with you."

Marcello is not listening. Elizabeth sees him go to the living room where Beulah is lying on the sofa. She walks after him and catches him holding Beulah, whispering something in Italian in the dog's ears. For the first time in a long time Elizabeth is moved. "Do me a favor," she says. "Take her with you. She'll be better off with you."

Marcello, a look of surprise. "Is it the right thing to do?"

Yes, it is. "She loves you, you know."

Marcello nods. Elizabeth grabs the dog leash and hands it to him. Then she walks him and the dog to the front door. She stands looking out of the window as Marcello opens the car door to let Beulah in and then drive away.

Elizabeth hopes for a tear to emerge, but none comes.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Boris T.

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 2 of 2
Marta J. (booksnob) - 12/29/2008 5:32 PM ET
So good to have you back with the last installment. I love the line about booze shedding light etc. Perfectly worded!
Veronica S. (snowkitty) - , - 12/30/2008 1:41 PM ET
Apparently I missed the beginning, but I liked the five or six paragraphs at the end. I could feel their was sad.
Comments 1 to 2 of 2