Play 13

2013-08-21

Title: Conversation #13

Author: Peter Wood

Draft date: 13-08-15

Contact: peterwood2@gmail.com

In the dark. Sounds of distant, very distant, explosions punctuate the play, along with a low, nearly inaudible hum of machinery.

G

I once watched. Watched. Watch. Ed. Time, tick tick tick. Time, tock tock tock. Watching and watch. What is a watch but watching time and watching: timing.

Dim light reveals a person in rags sitting crosslegged in an abandoned and decrepit building. The figure may move about and build something from the remnants of the past. They may also not move a muscle. It will depend on the ghosts.

G

The old patterns they stay stuck. In. Grained. The grains all gone, all dead. The water . . . disappeared. You and me. We are dead. We just don’t know it. I saw the patterns. Or they saw me. Unsawed me. Un. Saw. Ed. You think. Or maybe maybe I unsaw it. Saw it not. Not saw saw saw.

Pause.

G

I watched. The last. Whale. In the world. Die. Do you know what that means.

H, an exceedingly misshapen figure, perhaps not entirely human, emerges from the dark.

H

A time to sow. A time to reap.

G

Screw you. No. No. No. Do you know what it means to see the last whale in the world die. What it means to me? What it meant. What it. What.

H

Shhh. I know.

They share some tenderness. But do not entirely trust one another.

H

But it was a long time ago now. Nothing to be done. Only thing to be done now is the occasional trap for the occasional critter for the occasional dinner and the occasional prayer. I won’t let you die.

G

Why not?

H

Selfishness.

G

Cruelty.

H

A little of both. Would you like the last of the last dinner?

G

Not hungry.

H

A drink?

G

Not thirsty?

H

A screw?

G

Not clean.

H

I don’t care.

G

I do.

Long pause.

G

Please.

H

No.

G

How long? Has the sun died yet? Has the earth boiled away? Have the stars wandered so far from each other that all is blackness?

H

I don’t think so. I’ll check.

H goes to a window, rubs grime from it. Looks out.

H

No. None of those things have come to pass.

G

Pity.

H

It could be worse.

G

How?

H

You could be alive.

Pause.

H

Dinner?

G

Not hungry.

H

Drink?

G

Not thirsty.

H

Screw.

G

Not clean. Not clean. Not horny. Not lonely. Not not. Not nothing. Not empty. Full. Full of death and the long years. I need nothing.

H

Then . . .

G

Yes?

H

Why are you still here?

G

You.

H

Really. No. I promise. I’ve told you time and time again. I don’t keep you here. You are free to go whenever you like.

G

You would say that.

Long pause.

H

Granted. But that is not why I do.

G

I don’t believe you.

H

I know. That is neither my fault nor my concern. I offer you food, I know, not hungry, and drink, I know not thirsty, and my body, I know, not clean not shaped not accessible not attractive. Fundamentally and thoroughly not. I know. The offers all stand and will be repeated.

G

Why?

H

I have nothing else.

Long pause.

G

But the patterns. You . . . me. Nothing but patterns and no no free will no nothing no no and no. We feel, we think, but no. It’s all biochemical patterns set, set. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. I watched. Watch. Ed.

H

I’m here.

G

No. You aren’t. Not really.

H

Yes. Really. Solidly.

H jumps up and down or hits a surface with head or palm, or otherwise attempts to demonstrate solidity.

G

All a dream.

H

No. None a dream. Dreaming what’s got us here and dead and burned eyes and blackened tongues and swollen bellies. Dreaming. Feh.

H spits. G cries.

H

Shhh. Shhh.

H attempts to touch G, G shrinks away and hisses.

H

Fine. I’m off to check traps. Will you be here when I come back?

G

You know.

H

Really, I don’t.

G

Yes.

H exits.

Lights fade.

G

I don’t have anyplace else.

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