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Have you read this week's epistle from Jules?

Episode 153

Ask Not for Whom the Phone Rings

It would be unfair to imply that only the Cruellas and Malificents and Cartiers of forensic life sleep late on non-tournament Sundays. Unlike the adults, who manage to wake up at their normal early morning times, their internal barometers firmly set for diurnal recurrence, the forensicians -- adolescents deeply set in their nocturnal instincts -- saw the logs of a different lumberjack. For those students who attended the Algren over the weekend, the Sunday clock is hovering around that 3 p.m. mark before there is too much cognizant movement of the brainwaves. Even the Maru sisters, models of conscientious study habits, put in extra sack time riding through to the midafternoon. The stereotyped seriousness of the Asian student may have its roots not only in cultures that prize diligence but in the commitment of the more recently immigrated to succeed in their newly adopted land, but for the Marus, the natural pull of being teenagers, and teenagers in America to boot, is an even stronger force.

     They are awakened by the telephone ringing in the room they share. It is Jasmine's arm that stretches out to pick up the receiver. "Fruthmthllkll," she mutters.


     Her eyes shoot open. She thinks she recognizes the voice. She didn't think he'd ever call her up again.

     "This is Binko. Is this Camellia?"

     Binko? Camellia?


     "It's for you," Jasmine says, tossing the phone on her sister's bed.


     "Camellia? Hi. It's Binko."

     "Hi there."

     "Did I wake you up."

     "No. I was just sleeping."

     "I didn't mean to wake you up."

     "What time is it?"

     "I don't know. After three."

     "That's late. I've got to get up and do some homework."

     "I told you I wanted to talk to you."

     "I know."

     "I'd like to get to know you."


     "Why? Why not? I saw you at the Algren, and I guess I've seen you before, too. You're a novice, I'm a novice. We're both going to be in this debate thing for a while, so we might as well be in it together."

     "You mean you want to date?"

     "Date? Well, I wouldn't call it date."

     "What would you call it?"

     "I don't know. Just seeing you, talking to you, getting to know you."

     She thinks about it. There is no question in her mind that there was something attractive about Jon Marcellus, something cute about his silly nickname, something real that draws her to him.

     "Are you going to the Bede?" he asks her.

     "I'm not going anywhere anymore," she replies. "Our team is over. Disbanded. Finished."

     "Oh, yeah. That's right. I heard about that. It's really true?"

     "It's really true."

     "That's too bad. Well, maybe we could meet somewhere else, maybe. How about the mall later today?"

     "I have too much homework to do."

     "How about during the week?"

     She thinks. "Maybe. Although my parents don't like me going out during the week."

     "I'd like to see you again."

     "I'd like to see you too."

     "Maybe I'll call you like tomorrow."

     "Yes. That sounds good."

     "Okay. I'll do that then. Great. Goodbye."



     "Hello?" Jasmine is doing math problems when the phone rings.


     Jasmine rolls her eyes. "It's for you again." She holds out the telephone.

     Camellia is lying on her bed reading The Great Gatsby, strongly albeit alternately identifying with Daisy and with Nick. She takes the phone. "Hello?"



     "It's Tom Abelard. From Quilty."

     "Tom. Hello." She looks over at her sister, who is mouthing the word Abelard. Camellia nods, and Jasmine shakes her head, returning to her math book.

     "I told you I might call today. How are you doing?"


     "You had a good tournament yesterday."

     "Yeah. I guess so."

     "You know, I've been debating a long time. I could help you if you want."

     "Help me?"

     "You know, work on blocks, go over topic strategies, that kind of thing."

     "You're a good debater?"

     "I'm already COC qualified. The first time I went there I was a sophomore."

     "You must be good."

     "I've got my own way of doing things, but the judges like it. But the judges seem to like you to. I'd be happy to go over some pointers if you'd like."

     'I don't think I'm going to be debating anymore, Tom. Our team broke up."

     "Broke up?"

     "No more money."

     "Oh. Right. I think I did hear something about that. Well, we could still get together. What do you say?"

     "I've got homework to do today."

     "Maybe some time during the week?"

     "I can't really go out on school nights. My parents don't like that."

     "The hell with them. You're old enough to do what you want."

     "I don't think so. They certainly don't think so."

     "I can't see you next weekend because I'm going down to the Bede. I guess you won't be going if your team is breaking up."

     "I guess not."

     "You don't ever get into the town of Quilty for anything, do you?"

     "No. Do you ever get into Nighten?"

     "Can't say as I do."

     "Then I guess we won't be seeing much of each other."

     "I wouldn't guess that, lover. I'll give you a call when I get back next week. And I'll email you. How about that?"


     "Good. I'll see you then."





     This time Jasmine doesn't even bother answering it. The phone rings four or five times before Camellia puts down Gatsby, reaches over and picks it up.


     "Hello. This is John Melvish. May I please speak to Camellia."

     Camellia pauses. Binko is sort of cute, and very sincere, and Abelard is very cute, and not particularly sincere, and Melvish is… Melvish.

     "She's not here now. Can I take a message?"

     Jasmine sharply turns toward her sister, thinking the call might be for her, but Camellia shakes her head. "Can you have her call me back, please?"

     "Sure. What's the number?"

     He tells her.

     "And the name again?"

     "Melvish. John Melvish."

     "I'll tell her as soon as she gets in. Goodbye."

     She hangs up.

     "Busy day on the telephone," Jasmine says to her.

     "Guys I met yesterday," Camellia responds.

     "You work fast."

     "Since it was our last debate, it was then or never. But it's not like I did anything. They just started appearing all of a sudden."

     "I don't know about that Binko guy, but I do know Abelard. He's a senior, and he's on every girl that comes along, and what I don't understand is that half of them are on him back."

     "He is kind of cute."

     "His nickname is Animal Magnetism."


     Jasmine nods. "Not to his face, though. He wants to go out with you?"

     "That's what he said."

     "And you put him off?"

     "For a while. He's going to the Bede this weekend."

     "They hate it when you make them work for it. He's not going to call back again."

     "He said he was going to email me."

     "Bet he doesn't."

     "Bet he does."

     "And what about Binko?"

     "He said he'd call during the week."

     "My money's on him. I gather you're not letting Melvish join the thundering herd."

     "No I'm not. And it's not a thundering herd. I think you're just jealous."

     "Of Animal Magnetism? I don't think so."

     "Not of him, maybe, but because you don't have anyone of your own, and I do."

     "I could have someone if I wanted."

     "Then why don't you?"

     "Because I don't want to."

     "Why don't you want to?"

     Jasmine turns back to her homework. "As soon as I find out, I'll let you know," she mutters.


Will Camellia ever go out with Binko?

Will Camellia ever succumb to Animal Magnetism?

Will Camellia ever return Melvish's telephone call?

Will anyone ever call Jasmine?

Will Madonna adopt Eminem to provide him with the mother he always wanted?

Drink more ginger ale when you read our next episode: "Sarcasm in the Kitchen, or, The Irony Chef"

Go to the next episode due Oct 11, 2000.