‘Adam’s Eve’ by Michael Vincent Moore

Fiction, Short Stories

Adams Eve

Illustration by Andres Garzon


Adam, in a horrid state, rouses himself up and searches about, no one to be seen. He stumbles up from the patch of leaves he is laying on. Adam wanders, nude, distraught, seeking. He catches a glimpse of Eve in the distance, stretched out in the shaded grass next to a pond, equally nude. He joins with her. As Adam approaches, Eve looks up at him, and observes his discomfited nature. Before she can formulate a word, he attempts to untangle his disjointed thoughts.

“Eve, I, you.”

Eve, incapable of grasping Adam’s swollen and despairing countenance, nor of embodying his inner turmoil, barely glances at him before returning to her peaceful rest.

Adam, desperate to impress upon Eve the horrific images he has just perceived, proceeds with much effort to render in words his tumultuous tale. “You could not believe what I have just beheld; a dreadful event is poised to burst after us. Such horror, such hopelessness, beyond apprehension.” He lets himself fall next to her, in abject wretchedness.

Eve turns back to him, astounded. “What? Horror, here?”

“No, it was not within this space that I saw it.”

Eve, lost in thought, ponders his words for a moment, then focuses back on Adam, curious. “But we have never been anywhere else.”

Adam fixes his gaze to the crystalline reflections of the star’s rays upon the pond as he endeavours to understand this event. “I was here, then I slumbered, then I was there, and then I was here again.”

Eve raises to her side and leans on Adam’s knee, as the mystery of his experience captures more of her faculties. “Adam, are you implying that he brought you to another place?”

“I am not certain where I was, but it was not here that I conjured these things, this I know.”

“What things?”

“The most horrible things: Agony, decay, pollution, craving, sordid creations. So many people living in fear, living in torment of the worst sort.”

Eve caresses Adam’s flowing hair, attempting to assuage his ill feelings. “I still do not understand. What horrible place do you speak of?”

“It was called Earth, and its history was conferred to my existence in an unending succession of ghastly images. Part of me was there. Part of me endured all of it with them, through them.” He pauses, sorely recollecting those sensations. “A whole world. Inhabitants born, living short suffered lives. Inhabitants who then died of disease, lost hope, regret, hunger. Even murder!”

Eve freezes, her hand still intertwined in Adam’s hair. Her eyes widen. “Murder?”

“Yes, murder, and so much worse still.”

Adam looks at Eve earnestly, trying to gauge her level of discernment, of how far he should delve into the reality of what he has seen without compromising her innocence, her amity.

“Things worse than murder? How could such a place even exist?”

She resumes caressing his hair. Adam further contemplates Eve’s well-being and chooses to discontinue the elaborations of his descriptions.

“I have perceived things that I ought not repeat to you. I have seen what it is that some of these people have done to one another.” He temporarily interrupts his discourse, the painful images coming back to him in the moment. “It is so hideous that it induces a magnitude of displeasure to my being. Billions of people, struggling, over and over again. Life and death. No respite, no end.”

“My dear Adam, even though I am familiar with all these words you speak of, I am at a loss to comprehend the consequence of them, or to sympathize in any way.” As Eve speaks to Adam, she gently slides her hand over his arm in  tender affection.

“Be grateful of that,” Adam replies. “For I have felt their anguish, and I would spare you of it at any expenditure.”

“Was it all so evil? Was there not any redeeming attributes to this place you have sojourned to?”

“Some, but all far eclipsed by the governing perversity to which the beauty could be measured in drops, but the suffering, in oceans.” Adam shakes his head in a dejected manner.

“How can he have brought you there, and why?”

He contemplates Eve’s query, and a faint impression springs forth to him. “It was for a purpose, and,” Adam, arrested in mid-account, his eyes fixed to the ground, becomes exceedingly faint. “Oh, I saw how this place came to be.”

“How it came to be?”

A flash of horror thunders through his mind, and a subsequent expression of great heartache ripples across his facial features, distorting them to an almost unrecognizable form. Eve recoils in fright.

“It, it was because of us. We were responsible.”

Of a sudden, Adam obediently bows his head and shamefully shadows his appearance nether the veil of his consentient palms.

On hearing of Adam’s self-recriminations, of them being at the origin of this harrowing other-worldly disturbance, Eve overcomes her momentary displeasure to Adam’s harsh judgment. She becomes defensive and asks: “How could we be responsible for such a place?”

Adam is despondent and Eve pulls at his hands. At his grief-stricken expression, she grows concerned. “Adam, speak to me!”

Adam takes a few moments to constitute himself, and hesitantly proceeds with the account. “It was that which you were attempting to prevail over me. Us. Our parts, joining together.”

Eve wrenches herself away from Adam in consternation. “How can that have anything to do with this place you called Earth, where you witnessed countless people suffering so dreadfully?”

“I do not know, but he admonished us not to do certain things. He said that there would be grave repercussions.”

Eve cannot come to terms with this inference, this connection that Adam is implying, particularly not through any fault or influence of her own. “But how can there be such grave repercussions for anything we do here? This place is so idyllic?”

“Again, I do not know. But his essence left me somehow within that moment. I experienced darkness, loss of harmony, and we became them,  all of it was created from us.” Adam trembles as he unsuccessfully attempts to dislodge those impressions from his knowing. “Please do not try to persuade me again, do not even refer to it any longer!”

Having difficulty facing Eve and her insistence in the matter despite an admonition of this horrifying outcome, Adam turns aside in dismay.

Eve still contests Adam’s resolve. “But, Adam, I yearn for it in a way I cannot explain.”

Delicately resting her head on his shoulder, Eve proffers an embrace.

“Eve, I beg you. After what I have been through, I would as soon tear it off and burn it to ashes before I would even attempt such a thing with it, the consequences are far too important, just because of this, union, you yearn for.”

“Adam, do not be so hurried to settle your judgment. Please, consider my feelings further.” Through the sensations they are communing by their corporeal link, Eve feels Adam draw back. She reasserts her longing by keeping to him in a more coercive clench.

“No Eve, my word is final. There is nothing additional that you can do or say to convince me otherwise. I am going to Father now, to impart to him what I have witnessed. I will make him aware that he can rest assured, never will I be betrayed to go against him.”

Forcefully parting with Eve, Adam stands. “He will be disappointed of hearing about this deception that we have considered, our contemplation of going against his word. But he is forgiving and will be reassured of my renewed convictions and obeisance.”

Adam distances himself, as Eve, disheartened, sulks into the ground.


MICHAEL VINCENT MOORE is a social science writer and lifelong meditator, with extensive studies on human behaviour and dream research with over 30,000 reviewed dreams, and an active dream journal spanning over two decades. Fascinated by the potential of dreams and consciousness and their connection with our ultimate reality, he has devoted much of his time attempting to unravel the mysteries they contain through himself and others. Much of his insights and findings are translated into both his fiction and non-fiction writing. He is also the founder of TheOneHumanProject.com, a global initiative with a mission to scientifically prove that we are all connected.

Copyright © 2019 by Michael Vincent Moore. All rights reserved.

‘LARRY & JACK’ by Todd MacEwen

Fiction, Short Stories

Larry and Jack

Illustration by Andres Garzon


In the summer of 1990, the curators of a new exhibit at the Royal National Theatre in London discovered something odd and unexpected. Steamer trunks and bankers’ boxes by the dozens had been delivered to the theatre from the estate of its most famous patron and performer.  A team of archivists began the task of cataloguing the costumes, scripts, props, notes, and hodge-podge of personal effects. The task of assembling a great man’s life was a solemn one to  them: placing items in context of time and place while creating a celebration of peerless work and acknowledging both the passion and precision he brought to his craft.

Sir Laurence Oliver had died the previous summer. His work and craft, both onstage and behind the scenes, was an inescapable  specter that haunted the Royal National Theatre while he lived, always the standard that others strove to meet. In death, he had become a ghost of the twentieth century:  maintaining respect and reverence through this transition.

In truth, it wasn’t as poetic as that. Arnold Kroken, the librarian at the theatre, had asked Lord Oliver in the early 1980s if he could see fit to donate a handful of items when the time came for posterity’s sake. According to lore, Olivier grabbed the man he had known since the early 1950s by the shoulders, smiled broadly, and said, “Oh hell, I’ll make sure you get all that shit.  The wife will be glad to be done of it and me at the same time.” True to his word, shortly after the time came, Kroken was contacted by Oliver’s barristers concerning a bequest to the theatre’s archives.

There was no master list to make itemizing easier; many of the trunks simply had a year scrawled on a piece of paper and taped to the side. The boxes tended to be labeled by project.  Henry V warranted two boxes, Hamlet four.  Within one of those boxes, which chronicled Olivier’s relationship with the ill-fated Prince of Denmark, the most curious of curios was unearthed.  A Hamlet box, labelled by name and  the numbers 46-47, contained several revisions of the play that would serve as the basis for Oliver’s film in 1948. Each script was rife with handwritten notes and comments as he tried to determine what scenes and characters could be omitted and yet retain its cohesion as it journeyed from stage to screen.

This box in particular contained seven bound copies of the script, the title page of each edition bearing the legend:


And written by hand beside the title were numbers one through seven and the initials L.O. Also in this box were four leather bound journals, each one brimming with entries dated over those two years, notes on the play ranging from philosophical and moral questions to stage directions, lighting suggestions, edits and critiques.

Kroken and his team were sidetracked for days in trying to determine the identity of M. Orson, who, over the span of two weeks in the summer of 1946, had earned Olivier’s praise (“a strapping sort with an honest face, perhaps Horatio more than Laertes”) and shortly thereafter his derision (“stage left entrance like a sailor on shore leave, stage right exit like a barge taking on water”).  By the end of the two weeks in question, Olivier pondered giving M. Orson another role (“second gravedigger might work but afraid to put a spade in his hands as he might kill the cast before they can do it later themselves”) before he disappears from Olivier’s journals and presumably a life on the stage.

The oddity was tucked into the back cover of one of the journals which contained entries from July 10th, 1946, to August 4th, and included the entirety of M. Orson’s career treading the boards. It was a program from a baseball game, dated July 24th, 1946, for a game in the city of Montréal between the hometown Royals and the visiting Rochester Red Wings. It was a simple document of eight pages: salmon newsprint stock, similar to what was used at the time by the Montréal Monitor.  Half of those pages were dedicated to the home team, poorly staged action shots side by side with player’s photos that ranged from portrait quality to convicted felon.  There was a page of statistics for the Red Wings and the rest was advertising for everything from Old Virginia pipe tobacco, Pepco motor oil and American Express Travel Services, offering ticketing for air, rail and steamship voyages.

The cover featured the not yet familiar face of the man who would in less than a year break the color barrier in major league baseball, but currently, is finding a look between bemusement and humility.  Jackie Robinson looks as he has always looked, a by-product of starting his baseball career, or at least this stage of it, later in life.  He is older than at least half of his minor league teammates, all dreaming of the day they can join the Dodgers in Brooklyn.  At 27, he is also younger than other teammates who have resigned themselves to minor league careers and those who have washed out. By most accounts, his teammates, young and old, grew to not only accept his position on the team, but gradually realize that his talent in the field, and his personage off it, marked him for success.  For the fans and the city no such progression was needed, it was love at first sight.

On the cover, written in a steady, flowing cursive, the following: “Larry, thanks for your support! Best for the future! Jack Robinson”

By 1946, Olivier had a dream project he wished to pursue, a filmed version of Hamlet that would maintain as much of the beloved original as possible and still succeed on its own merits as film.  The success of Henry V two years prior had given him almost unlimited cache in this area.  In addition to box office and critical acclaim, Olivier had earned Academy Award nominations for both acting and producing, as well as a special award for recognizing his achievement in bringing the play to the screen.  Churchill called it the greatest propaganda film of all time, its release coinciding with the push of the British army into Normandy.  It was revealed some years later that the British government had actually financially supported the production to a largedegree.

Olivier’s primary obstacle in fulfilling this ambition was none other than himself. Although celebrity has always attracted a following, Olivier by this point in his career had something almost entirely new.  Not only renowned for his work in the British theatre, he was now a sought after leading man for Hollywood thanks to movies such as Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, and Pride and Prejudice. And his 1940 marriage to Vivien Leigh did nothing to diminish his stature.  His every public move and endeavor was breathlessly reported by the emerging gossip industry on both coasts of the United States.  Ironically, the British press, never one to avoid sensationalism, accorded Olivier a more deferential treatment.

He and Leigh had been contracted for a run of theatre performances in New Zealand in the fall of 1946 and Olivier had agreed to three contemporary shows, a comedy and two dramas.  He did have six weeks unscheduled during the summer prior to departing to New Zealand which he dedicated to revising the script for Hamlet. He knew that despite the prestige the project would receive, very few backers would support a full, unabridged film that would exceed four hours. Olivier had been working on removing characters, scenes and subplots to whittle the story down to a potential running time of two and a half hours and now had a handful of scripts reflecting those changes. The best process, he decided, to determine which would work best would be to see each script performed on stage by actors under his direction.  As it turned out, he knew the perfect theatre in the perfect city in which he could workshop the play and largely avoid the limelight.

Acting, Olivier had been told as a young man, is a wondrous opportunity to fill one’s passport.  In the winter of 1940, that passport took him to Canada for a few weeks of filming on a movie called 49th Parallel.  Director and screenwriters Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger were initially contracted to create a propaganda story of warfare at sea, but instead decided to focus on a project that might sway the United States to enter the conflict by setting a story closer to home, their northern neighbor.  The newly concocted story now had a German U-Boat run ashore in Hudson Bay and the crew deciding to traverse through Canada to reach the U.S. At that time, the U.S. was a neutral party tothe war and therefore an opportunity for the sailors to reach the German embassy and return home.

The director and cast, which included Leslie Howard and Raymond Massey, convened in Montréal a few weeks prior to shooting in order to rehearse.  Many of the roles had not yet been cast, but most of the actors involved were prepared to defer to Olivier had he wished the standard heroic role of the Mountie or Canadian soldier who are on the trail of fugitive sailors.  Olivier, for his part, decided to take the role of Johnny, a French-Canadian trapper who originally encounters the Nazis in the wilds of Manitoba only to meet a tragic end.

Olivier spent some of his time in the city wandering the streets and keeping his ears open to the differences between the French speaking English and the English-speaking French. One evening he and other cast members attended a performance of As You Like It at His Majesty’s Theatre, succeeding in going almost incognito as no one in the crowd that night were likely expecting some of the greatest Shakespearean actors of the day to be sitting together at the back of the theatre.  Following the play, Olivier made his way backstage to meet and congratulate the director and cast, who were understandably taken aback by this unexpected visitor.  The theatre’s general manager, Frederick Dupleses, managed to capture a couple of photographs of Olivier meeting the cast and gave the actor his business card, telling him that if he ever wanted the theatre all he had to do was say the word.

Six years later, Olivier contacted Dupleses to see if the word was still good.  Olivier had explained that he was looking for a cast and crew to work through his variations on Hamlet, that he could see no issue with doing 4 or 5 threadbare public performances during the week for access to everything during the day.  He did make clear that his involvement was that of adapter and that his direction was to determine what worked in the context of presentation and not to plumb to deeper depths of the human soul.  And if possible, he would like his presence and work to be kept a secret and out of any publicity.

Dupleses was initially torn; having Olivier at his theatre, working on Hamlet, was the sort of prestige that rarely occurs in one’s lifetime.  The box office would explode, he thought, particularly with the growing competition for an audience, as many downtown playhouses had transitioned to movie theatres over the past decade.  This could single-handedly revive theatre in the city for a generation. Or it could mean that he would have the means to bring Olivier back in the future for a full commitment, so he decided to continue the  goodwill which evidentially lead to this call in the first place.  Dupleses agreed to Olivier’s requests, telling him that the technical crew was already in place and that he would round up suitable actors for a casting call without informing them of some of the specific conditions they could soon be working under.

Olivier arrived in the city on July 3rd, days after a massive storm broke a week-old heat wave that was deemed typically unseasonable for late June.  Olivier, on the recommendation of Dupleses, took up residence at the Windsor Hotel for the duration of his stay, amused at the providence that he was staying in the same suite that had once welcomed Oscar Wilde.  Although Dupleses had managed to keep a degree of secrecy surrounding Olivier’s work in the city, there was no such courtesy from the Windsor, despite the reassurances of management.  Staff had grown too accustomed to receiving a payout from local press to alert them when someone of note was in residence.  Although his wife hadn’t joined him due to prior commitments in England, she would no doubt have strolled through the lobby on at least one or two occasions. He, however, was there to work, and used his considerable charm and some cash to have the doormen direct him to some of the hotel’s other means of egress.

Casting took place at the theatre with approximately 75 actors brought through over two days.  He was looking for talent, of course, but also those who had experience with the play previously. Technical proficiency was not his highest priority, instead focusing his attention towards those who could take direction and adapt to changes in the script very quickly. He settled on a cast of twenty-eight, promising an opportunity to play multiple roles within rehearsals and performances, explaining his ultimate objective was to stage his adaptive variations to establish which would best achieve his goal.  He did ask that they try to keep knowledge of his involvement to a minimum, but at the end of the process he would certainly allow their participation and his name to be joined together to garner the actors future employment.

A week after he began rehearsals, Oliver meet with Dupleses to thank him for laying the groundwork and to confirm a handful of dates over the next four weeks to accommodate public performances of the work-in-progress. Dupleses furnished Olivier with a list of restaurants and lounges in the city, complete with the names of the  maître d’s and owners who could offer some discretion and privacy should  he feel like dining out or experiencing the city’s legendary nightlife. Surprisingly, Olivier asked about the Montréal Royals, noticing with some interest the coverage they had been garnering in the papers he perused every morning with tea and toast. Enthused by the casual turn in the conversation, Dupleses mentioned that Hector Racine, the owner of the team, was also a notable donor to many of the theatres in the city and, if Olivier liked, he could certainly arrange for Olivier to attend a game while he was in town.

The Montréal Royals began their existence just prior to the turn of the last century as baseball began its slow migration across the border from burgeoning hotspots in New York state and the parts of New England that bordered  Québec. The Royals joined the Eastern League, a development and rookie league that included teams in Toronto (ironically, also named the Maple Leafs), Newark, Buffalo, Baltimore and other medium-sized cities along the east coast.  Despite a largely losing record, the team remained sustainable for two decades before mounting travel and accommodation costs, as well as the loss of innumerable young men to the war effort in Europe in 1917, caused the club to cease operations at the end of that season.

A decade later, a group of businessmen, which included Charles Trudeau, father to the future prime minister, invested in both a resurrection of the club and a new stadium, Delorimier Downs, located in the east end of the city in what is now Ville-Marie.  This version of the Royals enjoyed almost immediate success and support. Within five years, the Royals were affiliated with Major League baseball teams, first  Philadelphia, then Pittsburgh, and ultimately a twenty-one year relationship with the Brooklyn, later Los Angeles, Dodgers.  As the minor league affiliate for the Dodgers, a number of future stars and Hall of Famers came through  Montréal, including Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella and Tommy LaSorda, but there was one player  in the Royals’ 1946 season who would make baseball history: Jackie Robinson.

Following the U.S. entry in the Second World War, a number of prominent baseball players enlisted in various branches of the armed services, causing baseball to carry on without its biggest stars,  including Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial. Team owners and management filled rosters with the injured and aged, struggling to keep interest sustained in the sport.  Even as the stars began returning to their clubs following their tours of duty, there was one general manager whose search for talent lead him to discover that the Negro Leagues were brimming with untapped potential; he knew that there would be a competitive advantage to incorporate some of these players into the Majors.  Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, found a player of extraordinary caliber to break baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson.

Although he had been born in the deep south, Robinson’s family moved to California shortly after his birth. As a youth, through high school and university, he was an uncommonly gifted athlete, excelling in baseball, basketball, football and track. He was looking at playing semi-pro football before enlisting in the army following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although the army had been officially desegregated, lingering racism persisted and following an incident where a bus driver told him to go to the back of the vehicle, Robinson refused, only to be later confronted by superior officers who charged him with insubordination which ultimately lead to a court martial. Robinson was ultimately acquitted, but the experience would serve him well just three years later when he crossed baseball’s color line.

Rickey knew he needed not only an outstanding ball player, but also someone with the character to deal with the pressure when he discovered Robinson, now playing the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. Robinson was understandably weary of the offer and, during the interview, charged Rickey that they were purposely looking for someone who was afraid to fight back against the expected torrent of racial epitaphs. Rickey countered that he was looking for someone with the courage to not fight back.  They came to the agreement that Robinson would do so and he was officially signed by the Dodgers in the winter of 1945.

Branch Rickey was blessed to find the player he needed but also by the fact that the Dodger’s minor league team was in  Montréal, a city he felt would be much more accommodating to Robinson given its international and cosmopolitan reputation. Robinson would face enough pressure from players, on his own team and opponents, and didn’t need the additional worry of living in a community that might not be as welcoming.  Many major league teams at the time had minor league affiliates in places like South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, and Rickey thought being away from those atmospheres  would allow Robinson the time to find himself as a ball player.

Although there were a number of racially charged incidents involving Robinson during the team’s spring training in Florida in 1946, by the time the team relocated to Montréal, the city proved to be more than welcoming to Robinson and his wife Rachel. There were some lingering issues with teammates and road trips could be harsh, but Robinson found solace every time the team returned to Montréal’s Delorimier Stadium  and the 20,000 seats full for almost every  game: more than a million people came through the gates during the season to see him.

The Royal’s owners, particularly Racine, were thrilled by this unexpected turn of events. The team had been competitive during its association with the Dodgers and attendance had been steady and impressive, but this was something new.  While the businessman inside him was delighted, as a person, Racine went out of his way to ensure that Robinson and his family felt the full embrace of the city, arranging things from transportation for Rachel, pregnant with the couple’s first child that summer, to  dinners and other evenings on the town.  Racine had seen the city host world leaders and royalty, celebrities and artists, but had seldom seen a more low-key yet all-encompassing welcome as the Robinsons had received.

That summer, the Royals were winning games at a blistering pace and enjoying sold out games regularly at Delorimier Stadium, the crowds cheering loudest every time Robinson made a play in the field: every time he hit the ball, every time he stole a base.  The stadium had added lights in 1935, a luxury for most minor league parks, so most games during the week were played in the evenings, but the weekend matinees left the nights free for players.  Most of the younger players would make their way downtown to the saloons and dance halls, taking full advantage of their celebrity when possible, but the Robinsons, thanks to Racine’s assistance, usually found a quiet restaurant and followed dinner with a movie or a play, at times awed and overwhelmed to be enjoying life in a city where they didn’t have to check windows to see if they were allowed entrance.

Olivier had decided to take Dupleses up on his offer to attend a baseball game.  He had given the cast and crew a weekend off as he made some revisions to the scripts. The high temperatures had made his apartment at the hotel unbearable during the day and he needed distraction from the play in order to attack it anew. Dupleses had given him Racine’s private number and told the owner that he may expect a call during the summer from someone of great import who might be looking for the opportunity to attend a game or two.

When Racine received the initial telephone call, he was skeptical that the gentleman calling was indeed who he said he was, but a mention of Dupleses’ name went a long way to clearing up the situation. Racine told Olivier that he would be delighted in hosting him at the stadium that evening and that it would be a pleasure to take him to dinner following the game.  Racine gave  explicit instructions to the chief of ushers to make sure that all the ushers knew Olivier would be arriving at the ballpark and to escort him personally to Racine’s box located close to the field, along the third baseline.

Racine recounted years later to the Montréal Gazette that Olivier enjoyed the game immensely but initially confused some aspects of baseball with cricket.  Almost twenty-thousand people were in attendance at the game on Friday evening, and, when Robinson hit a three run home run in the sixth inning, each and every one of them were on their feet cheering. Racine said he explained Robinson’s uniqueness within the larger framework of baseball and told Olivier that Robinson was one of the finest men he had ever met.  Later in the game, Robinson stole two bases and scored a run on an infield ground ball in the eighth inning and started the double play that ended the ninth for the visitors.  Olivier was captivated by Robinson, his reserve in being lauded by those in attendance, particularly under the circumstances that Racine had outlined to him concerning the lack of black men in the sport. Racine put forth the suggestion that heask Robinson to join them for their late dinner and Olivier quickly agreed.

It has been suggested that Olivier saw something of himself that night in Robinson: someone so determined in excelling in their chosen craft, someone who would always have a close yet distant relationship with those they are performing for, someone who could capture an audience’s attention and gain their love simply by taking to the stage or field.

At Bouchard’s Steakhouse on St. Catherine, Racine lead his guests to a private table in the back of the restaurant, away from the revelers on a Friday night in Montréal. Racine recounted that both men were socially polite but guarded, valuing their internal privacies, until Olivier rose from the table and demonstrated for Robinson his form for batting in cricket. Robinson doubled over in laughter and told him about teammates from the Negro Leagues who would try to hit in that manner with no success.  Robinson got up and demonstrated the proper stance for baseball, telling him that his focus had to be on one location, the pitcher’s hand, to pick up the rotation of the baseball as soon as possible.  For fifteen minutes, the two men were swinging a yardstick that a waiter had procured for them, knocking imaginary balls to and fro.

Olivier attended two more games that summer as Racine’s guest, delighting in Robinson’s prowess and grace both on and off the field. Following a matinee, Olivier saw Robinson signing autographs for children who had run down to the railing to try to catch the infielder’s attention. Olivier grabbed a program and joined the line, surprising Robinson when he looked up to give another signature.  Olivier invited Robinson and his wife to attend any of the performances that coming week at the theatre as his guest.

Upon learning that the Robinsons would be attending that very evening’s performance, Olivier doubled up on his duties and took the role of Hamlet for himself in addition to directing. The audience was shocked when they saw him take to the stage and gave him a rousing ovation that Dupleses claimed was the loudest and longest his theatre had ever been witness to. At the conclusion of the performance, Olivier made his way to the lobby to greet theatre goers as they were leaving, signing autographs for any and all who asked. Robinson and his wife waited through the line and the two men greeted each other as old friends, peers in the ways in which they could hold an audience’s hopes and dreams in the palms of their hands.  Robinson introduced his wife to the actor and held out a program for an autograph. They shook hands again and parted with a promise to see each other again.

Laurence Olivier continued to use his time in Montréal to work within the confines of Hamlet to find a presentation of the play that would meet both his standards and provide  cinema-goers with an accurate representation of the tragedy. In 1948, he directed and starred in his adaption, winning multiple awards and setting the benchmark for cinematic works of the Bard.

The Montréal Royals, led by Jackie Robinson, continued their strong play through the remainder of the season, ultimately winning the title. According to legend, Robinson was chased down the streets by thousands of fans, one writer noting that it may have been the first time that a black man was chased by so many white men with love, not hate, in their  hearts. Robinson would join the Brooklyn Dodgers the following season, breaking the color barrier and becoming one of the greatest players of all time.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, has had many exhibits and displays celebrating the life and career of Jackie Robinson. But it is in another museum, a thousand miles away in the outskirts of Kansas City, that a curious and little remarked item has been on display since 1971. In the Negro League Museum, there is humble tribute to the player, his glove, cleats, newspaper clippings and photographs from the stops he made in his career, including  Montréal. In the glass cabinet, alongside his Royals jersey and contract, is a four-page theatre program, dated July 24th, 1946, for a performance of Hamlet. Written across the width of the front page is a simple dedication: “To Jack, continued success and perseverance as I will be the loudest to cheer you. Larry.”


TODD MACEWEN has a background in journalism and communications, and recently moved into the world of fiction.

Copyright © 2018 by Todd MacEwen. All rights reserved.

‘Concert’ by Christopher W. Dix

Non-Fiction, Short Stories

Phil Dix RAF pic 1 for MW story

Flight Sergeant Phil Dix – Author’s Copyright


Phil Dix stood alone on the deck of the ship. Dressed in his flying gear, big fur-lined boots and a pilot’s helmet, he looked quite strange. The inevitable cigarette was in his mouth.

He looked at the wide grey sea churning into whiteness on the tops of the waves, and heard the cry of gulls and the roar of the ship’s engines. Nearby vessels ploughed their way through as well, and the long grey shape of a destroyer guarded them in the distance. Twenty-four hours ago they were in Iceland – safe. Now, they were heading for Murmansk with food and supplies. Avoiding the German U-boats was hair-raising because they could be hit at any time, almost without warning. He had made the crossing many times before, but he never pretended that he was not frightened. None of them did. A ship like his was a sitting duck, or perhaps a very slow-moving duck.

SS Manela, Pic 2 Flying Boat Base ship for MW Story

SS Manela dockside – Merchant Navy Association Copyright


His hands were cold even though he had gloves on, and ice coated the ships’ railings and exposed metalwork. Life was uncomfortable and rations meagre. Hot American chocolate drinks were about the only thing you could get, made with hot water; milk which was strictly rationed. Everyone longed for mealtimes, even though what you got was virtually inedible. At least being below with your mates cheered you up and made you feel warm for a bit. On a long journey like this, boredom was inevitable, so everyone had a strict schedule of work to carry out: cleaning, organising, and lots of physical tasks. One of the worst tasks was being on watch. The huge Polish binoculars were difficult to focus and use, especially when someone else had been using them all day, and keeping the condensation away was a joke.

Sometimes mines would be spotted, and if they were well away from all the ships, the sharpshooters would take pot-shots at them. Because of the roll and keeling of the ship, very few were ever hit and it wasted ammunition, but a crowd always gathered to watch anyway. If they came close to the ship, the experienced sailors were lowered on huge sheets of webbing to shove them away with long wooden poles. The worst scenario would be being attacked whilst this was underway.

Everything on the ship was primitive: the hammocks, the meals, the toilets, and the mess-rooms. Anything that was remotely interesting had been removed long ago. They were on a bare-bones ship with only their cargo and themselves to lose. Milk powder and clothes were going on this journey, and occasionally the captain agreed to some milk powder being broken open and mixed with boiling water as a treat. It tasted foul, and although they drank it rather than nothing, they pitied the recipients away in far off Russia.

Day after day the routine went on, and sleep was the only relief. Sometimes you could get a book from the ship’s library, but they were old and pretty dull. No letters ever came to the ship. You had to get those at Reykjavik, and of course no-one could not speak Russian or Icelandic. On their days off, they went to the local cinema or to an outdoor hot swimming pool, which was no good, if like himyou couldn’t swim anyway.

There were many Americans on this trip. Consultants in various skilled jobs going to lend their expertise, and if one of them got to you, they never stopped talking even when you were trying to work.

US and GB Officers and Troops possibly on Board SS Manela pic. 3 for MW Story

British Naval Officers with American Personnel, thought to be on the SS Manela – Key Publishing Copyright


One day, a Senior British Warrant Officer called him in to a makeshift office below decks and asked if he knew anyone who was musical or could sing. When he said he could sing himself, he was told to find a pianist or other instrumentalists and to put on a show for the Americans, who were bored. He protested that he was also bored.

“Yes, but these chaps are our guests. It will be a break from all this ice snow and tedium…am I wrong?”

“No, sir.”

“Right, get on with it. Concert at 22.00 hours tomorrow, in the main mess-hall.” And that was that.

He searched the ranks for musicians and instruments. He found a juggler, a harmonica player, a chap who did magic tricks that no one thought were especially magical, and a George Formby look-alike who could not sing or play anything. Not much of a collection. There was no piano, not even a guitar. He found a room for them all to practice in and watched painfully as they went through their stuff. It was awful.  The Americans, who loved their dancing and singing, would neither be amused or entertained. Still, it was better than nothing at all. He would have to introduce the lot himself. He could inflict his dry and sarcastic Yorkshire wit on them, but he doubted they would make any sense of it.

Feeling fairly desolate, he planned the order of appearance, leaving himself till last. The harmonica-player was inappropriate to accompany him, and so he would have to sing acapella. He felt slightly nervous, not knowing how so many weary non-sailors would react to what they had to offer. He put up the notice for the event and went through the routine of the day, in which there were no major incidents.

At last it came to the appointed hour, and when the small band of entertainers entered the mess hall it was packed tight full of Americans, most smoking, and many already fairly merry on the meagre supply of watered down Icelandic spirits that had been passed around. The Englishmen had kept well away. He estimated maybe sixty Yanks were there.

First was the Magician. They barely reacted. No one knew George Formby, so he lead-ballooned. Then the harmonica player tried several of his best renditions including a couple of famous cowboy songs, and he hoped at least they might hum or sing along, but they were all from the East Coast cities and cowboys meant little to them. It was going like a real disaster, and he felt it was irretrievable. No one clapped. Mostly they talked or shouted at each other, getting visibly sillier and more careless, some even started little entertainments for themselves or played cards in small groups of their own.

He strode at last on to the small stage they had erected in the middle of the mess hall. He was not a tall man, but in his best RAF clothes he looked smart, handsome and purposeful. Standing there with the light shining on him he used his deep, rich voice to talk to them, and they began to quieten. He hoped they had appreciated what they had tried to do to cheer them up, even if it seemed paltry by their standards, and now he was going to sing for them, unaccompanied.

After waiting for silence, he introduced the song:

“This song means a lot to me. As a boy I lived through the Depression in England, and I know how much your country suffered too. It’s called ‘Buddy, can you spare a dime?’”

Off he went into that song.

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there, right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it’s done
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it’s done
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee, we looked swell
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don’t you remember? They called me ‘Al’
It was ‘Al’ all the time
Why don’t you remember? I’m your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, ah, gee, we looked swell
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Oh, say, don’t you remember? They called me ‘Al’
It was ‘Al’ all the time
Say, don’t you remember? I’m your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

He put all the feeling he could into it, and as it progressed he realised how quiet they had gone. The final notes echoed in the hall and there was complete silence. Some men were looking down at the floor. Then, slowly, they began to applaud until all were on their feet, stamping and cheering, whistling. Chords had been touched deep inside these men. They begged him for more songs, and so he obliged, knowing the lyrics and the tunes by heart. He performed one in which he whistled quite a lot, and that seemed to go particularly well. Despite the smoky atmosphere, his throat lasted, and as he finished, they begged him for the first song again. After the second rendition, there was more wild cheering and he was surrounded by men shaking his hands, hugging him, men with eyes full of tears, hearts in their mouths or on their sleeves. It felt good to be so appreciated in those cold and dark days.

His Senior Officer came to see him late that night as he prepared to go on watch.

“Well done,” the Officer said.  “I’m told it went like clockwork, and they’re all much happier now. Do the same on the way back if we have them with us. I’ve got a feeling we’ll lose them in Murmansk though.”

There was no concert on the way back, but his supply of American cigarettes had significantly increased, and wherever he went for the rest of the journey there were smiles, handshakes and back-slapping, which baffled the English sailors and airmen around him. It was a moment to treasure in a bleak existence, a moment to pass on to your children he thought, as once again he stood alone on the bleak deck watching the swirling dark grey sea with the stifling storm clouds above him, scanning the horizon with its promise of endless cold, rain, and danger.

Phil Dix in full Pilot's RAF gear Pic 4 for MW Story

Phil Dix on board SS Manela in full pilot uniform – Author’s Copyright


CHRISTOPHER W. DIX, after obtaining his BA degree, was first a journalist in South Wales. He later became a teacher, then a high school principal, and finally, a Secular Celebrant, before stopping work at age 65. He is now 71.

Copyright © 2018 by Christopher W. Dix. All rights reserved.