Note: The author was challenged at last year’s summer fiction party to create a story written entirely in the style of the 140-character Tweets found on the popular social networking site, twitter.com. Accordingly, "Ro & Julie: A Tweet Modern Romance" is a playlet based on “Romeo and Juliet” composed entirely of mock Twitter postings.
Setting: Verona High School, Veneto, California
The Characters in This Family Feud:
Ro17: Roland Montague
JulieXO: Julie Capulet
merQTo: Mercutio Montague, Ro’s twin brother
TybALT: Tybalt Capulet, Julie’s nasty cousin
TheMan: High School Principal Escarole
Mr.M: Mr. Montague, English teacher
NurseC: Ms. Capulet, school nurse
The Montague and Capulet families are forever making scenes . . .
SCENE 1: THURSDAY MORNING
TheMan Hurling insults at each other AGAIN, Capulets & Montagues? A plague on all your lockers! Detention, today. BE THERE!
Ro17 All Monties have #detention!
merQTo @Ro17 But I’ll miss #dramaclub! Come on, @TheMan! We’re doing Shakespeare! :- (
JulieXO OMG! All Caps have #detention? Tisn’t fair! I wasn’t there! (Does anyone care?)
TybALT @JulieXO Blast!!! There goes #fencingteam practice!!! @merQTo, you’re to blame for this!
merQTo @tybALT Oh so glib, dear Tyb, but you *know* that’s a fib! ;- )
SCENE 2: THURSDAY AFTERNOON
TybALT Detention — what a waste of my valuable time. Am I rehabilitated yet? . . .
Ro17 @merQTo Who’s the goddess-like Capulet with the golden hair, the Malibu Barbie complexion, the Pepsodent smile, the eyes like stars? . . .
merQTo @Ro17 That’s *Julie*. (Ooo! SOMEbody’s in love-Love-LOVE!)
Ro17 @merQTo I never really cared til now! I’ve got to meet her soon — and how!
JulieXO @TybALT I pray thee, who is that marvelous Montague with the puppy dog eyes? . . .
TybALT @JulieXO That dog’s backside? *Rollie*?! O my guts, O my spleen, O my — bleechhhh! 8- C | #IHateMontagues
[Ro17 is now following JulieXO’s tweets on Twitter.]
[JulieXO is now following Ro17’s tweets on Twitter.]
SCENE 3: THURSDAY NIGHT
JulieXO @Ro17 Well. I’m home in bed. Are you in bed? . . .
Ro17 @JulieXO Yep, I’m home in bed too. Guess you could say we’re in bed together! LOL
Ro17 @JulieXO Uh, Julie?
Ro17 @JulieXO Juuuuulie?
JulieXO @Ro17 O Ro, let’s talk about . . . #love!
Ro17 @JulieXO Oh –– uh, . . .
JulieXO @Ro17 Yes, yes?
[Twitter Error! Something is technically wrong. Please try again later.]
Ro17 @JulieXO Parting is such a sorrow . . . and here it is, already tomorrow!
JulieXO @Ro17 *yawn* (sleepy) You say goodnight first. : )
Ro17 @JulieXO No, you say it.
JulieXO @Ro17 No, U say it!
Ro17 @JulieXO No, U — OK. G’nite, Julie.
JulieXO @Ro17 Nighty-night, Ro.
SCENE 4: FRIDAY MORNING
Ro17 R + J = love. #Math finally makes sense! :- D
JulieXO Ro is my beau — let everyone know! | #ILoveMontagues
* * *
TheMan Votes are in, people: Good judgment notwithstanding, the King and Queen, rulers of this Saturday’s Junior Prom, are . . .
TheMan Roland Montague and Julie Capulet! (Yeesh!)
* * *
merQTo Ro and Julie, King and Queen, O glorious day! | #JuniorProm
TybALT Ro with Julie? It’s obscene — I’ll make him pay! | #JuniorProm
SCENE 5: FRIDAY LUNCHTIME
TybALT Well, well, well: it’s Roland the Lover! Is it true that red is the color of love?
Ro17 @TybALT Uh, yeah. So what?
TybALT @Ro17 I offer you a rare conceit: wear your heart where all can see’t!
Ro17 @TybALT Huh?
merQTo @TybALT Now, now, now, Tyb. Let’s turn that frown upside down! | #peace
TybALT @merQTo Butt out, "Cutie"! @Ro17, I squirt a big red heart on your shirt with ketchup!!! Ha ha ha haaaaa!!! | #war
merQTo @Ro17, you deflected his arm! My #SpongeBobRules T-shirt and genuine Squidward tie are RUINED!!! I HATE you!!! >:- #
TheMan Roland Montague, you are hereby suspended, effective immediately!
TheMan No Junior Prom for you, Mr. Montague.
Ro17 @TheMan But I didn’t DO anything!
merQTo RT @TheMan No Junior Prom for you, Mr. Montague.
TybALT RT @merQTo RT @TheMan No Junior Prom for you, Mr. Montague.
JulieXO RT @TheMan, via merQTo & TybALT No Junior Prom for you, Mr. Montague.
TheMan Enough with the retweeting already! Noses back to the grindstone, people.
SCENE 6: FRIDAY AFTERNOON
NurseC @JulieXO Remind me again, O my lovesick daughter, why we can’t just . . . um, *talk*?
JulieXO @NurseC B/c it’s, like, the 21st century now, Mom. ‘Kay? Hey, are those sleeping pills?
NurseC @JulieXO Never you mind about those, missy. You’re here why? . . .
JulieXO @NurseC Could I have an Advil, please? My head hurts.
NurseC @JulieXO Your head . . . or your heart?
JulieXO @NurseC Now you’re just being embarrassing. thanxgottagobye!
SCENE 7: SATURDAY EVENING
TheMan Where’s Mercutio Montague, our substitute Prom King?!
merQTo Help! Tybalt locked me in the janitor’s closet! I’m Ro’s bro, the "king pro tem"! Free me, free me . . . (sob) | #LifeStinks
* * *
Ro17 Home alone and banished from the prom; nothing to eat, nothing on TV, PC has a virus . . . (sob) | #LifeStinks
* * *
TheMan And where’s Julie Capulet, our Prom Queen? Come ON, people!
JulieXO @Ro17 If you can’t go, then I can’t make it. I swiped a Lunesta, and now I take it. Goodnight, sweet Ro. (sob) | #LifeStinks
O what a story
of ruin and woe
and his JulieXO.
EPILOGUE: SATURDAY EVENING
TheMan Please give a big Verona High cheer for our NEW King and Queen of the Junior Prom!
TheMan He’s a Montague, she’s a Capulet, and they’re both available RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW — that’s very important, people!
TheMan I give you — Mr. M., English teacher extraordinaire, and Verona’s own Florence Nightingale, Nurse C.!
* * *
NurseC @MrM Hmmm, I’m a single mom, you’re a single dad . . .
MrM @NurseC We’re dancing cheek to cheek (as it were), the envy / embarrassment of all we survey . . .
NurseC @MrM High school was never this good the first time around! LOL!
MrM @NurseC This might just be the start of something #beautiful! :- D
TheMan Maybe now we’ll finally have some peace between the Montagues and Capulets. Yeesh!
Bill Waters is a senior copywriter for Films for the Humanities & Sciences in Hamilton and lives in Pennington with his wonderful wife Nancy and their three amazing cats. You can find him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Bill312, where he posts his haiku. "I apologize," says Waters, “for any sense of inaccessibility due to the conventions of Twitter. I’m hopeful that Shakespeare’s timeless story of love and loss, retold over the centuries in every conceivable manner, will once again prove its adaptability — Twitter-speak and all.”