Meet Saphia, a young bell hooks fanatic trying desperately to build a good life in New York City. Constantly immersed in the latest idea she has discovered while reading hooks, Saphia is determined to figure out how to apply these liberatory ideals to her own life. But the one thing she doesn’t account for is a little surprise encouragement from the legend herself.
Click here to learn more about this new series from Edge studios, and follow @npquarterly and @offthehookshorts on social to see episodes of “Off the Hook” as they are released.
(Flashback to episode four.)
SAPHIA: So I guess this means I don’t have to worry. I can just chill.
BELL HOOKS: Hello, Saphia. I’m afraid it’s not that simple. Keep reading.
(Flashback scene swirls and fades into a swirling cosmos. Saphia and bell hooks float around a cosmic background, both represented by their cartoon versions.)
SAPHIA: Whoa . . . where am I?
BELL HOOKS: Here.
SAPHIA: Where’s here?
BELL HOOKS: Yes, dear. I’m here.
SAPHIA: WHERE?! Who are you?!
BELL HOOKS: You know who I am.
SAPHIA: Absolutely impossible. Nope, nuh-uh. I’m outta here.
(Saphia floats to the right-hand edge of the screen, only to reappear again on the left-hand edge.)
SAPHIA: What’s wrong with this place?!
BELL HOOKS: Nothing. It’s HERE. It’s the only place you can be. Here.
SAPHIA: I’m gonna be honest, miss hooks—
BELL HOOKS:—bell. Call me bell.
SAPHIA: . . . bell. This is all . . . a little too much for me.
BELL HOOKS: Really? Huh. How disappointing. I thought you were ready.
SAPHIA: Ready for what?
BELL HOOKS: To integrate. All you’ve learned.
SAPHIA: Integrate? How?
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
BELL HOOKS: Well that’s where I come in. It’s not easy, taking what you’ve learned and trying to live your life by those principles. Many people don’t even try. But you . . . you tried.
SAPHIA: Tried? I haven’t stopped trying.
BELL HOOKS: Haven’t you? You’re not a gentrifier anymore, at least according to you, so you “don’t have to worry,” right? You can just . . . “chill”?
SAPHIA: . . . I didn’t really mean that. I’ll keep trying, I will.
(beat. Silence from bell hooks.)
SAPHIA: I’ll keep trying to . . . live more in line with my values, I guess? Question the complacency of modern life? Your books are a good guide.
BELL HOOKS: Thank you. I really hope you will. Because you’re still only at the beginning. There’s so much yet to come. So much left to do.
(bell hooks disappears.)
SAPHIA: Hello? Hello?!!! What does that mean?! bell?? What do I do now?
SAPHIA: Damn. What a classic adventure plot. What a fairy godmother trope.
SAPHIA: And here I am, the protagonist, made acutely aware that I cannot escape my destiny.
(“My Destiny” by Alton McClain & Destiny plays. Fade to outro.)