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True Detective: Season Two or “Truth and Love…” in Anil’s Ghost
Sean Dillon

Near the end of Michael Ondaatje’s novel Anil’s Ghost, Anil recalls a character by the name of Gamini musing about the nature of the endings of American and English stories. She recalls him saying:
“The American or the Englishman gets on a plane and leaves. That’s it. The camera leaves with him. He looks out of the window at Mombassa or Vietnam or Jakarta, someplace now he can look at through the clouds. The tired hero. A couple of words to the girl beside him. He’s going home” (Ondaatje, 285-286).
Though it is not directly stated, it is implied that the hero of these “western stories” returns home with a sense of truth and understanding of these areas. In this story however, the “western” hero, the titular Anil, is shunted out of the narrative entirely without even being shown returning home. Given this, one is led to ask, just how important is the truth to the narrative of Anil’s Ghost? In the perspective of this paper, the truth is a very powerful and dangerous concept, but by the end of the novel, it becomes clear that the focus is more on the people the truth affects.
Before we begin to analyze the novel itself, let’s explore what exactly “truth” is as a concept. As a word, truth refers to things that are accurate to facts and reality. However, I think there’s a better usage of the word within the narrative. Consider a moment within the narrative focusing on a minor character with a major impact on the narrative: the disappearance of Sirissa, Ananda’s wife and one of the ghosts who haunt the narrative. Once upon a time, she worked at a school as a janitor and had, from her perspective at least, a relatively good life. And then everything changed. She was going to the school when she saw something up above the hill: two severed heads of students on spikes. The event horrifies her, and yet she keeps moving forward into the horror, as she feels the presence of those responsible for this act behind her. But there are only more of the severed heads. She is never heard from again (Ondaatje, 174-175). Now, while it is possible that she is still alive (after all, she only feels their presence and the text does say that her “Mind capable of nothing” (Ondaatje, 175), so it is plausible that she merely joined the ever growing ranks of the homeless), the far more likely turn of events is that those who killed all these students silenced her. But what was behind her as she fled for her life? Simply the war torn land Sirissa has lived in. No doubt in this war, as in many wars of power, one of the sides wished to make this horror that Sirissa witnessed the aftermath of look like it was done by the other side. And as the horror of that morning seeped into Sirissa’s mind, they silenced her. Another body without a name on an ever-growing large pile of nameless corpses. And thus, we come to the meaning of truth: it is a hidden thing that those in power wish to remain hidden.
To help me analyze this concept of truth within Anil’s Ghost, I shall be using three articles. The first is Antoinette Burton’s “Archive of Bones: Anil's Ghost and the Ends of History”. In this article, Burton argues that Ondaatje’s novel is an exploration of history, “…not just in terms of history defined as the time of the past. Like the dead – those bodies which bring Anil to Sri Lanka and obsess the other major characters in the novel–history is a ‘half-revealed form’ whose truths are as elusive as they are politically necessary” (Burton, 40). The quote refers to a more political understanding of the history and one that is not fully formed because of its political nature. Both of these aspects will be instrumental in my analysis of the novel.
The second article used for this analysis is “‘Perceiving [...] in One's Own Body’ the Violence of History, Politics and Writing: Anil's Ghost and Witness Writing” by Milena Marinkova. In this article, Marinkova views Anil’s Ghost as an example of witness writing, a form of writing wherein the novel rejects the simplistic narrative of history in favor of a more holistic view of the situation “whereby unwitnessed stories and unacknowledged witnesses are recognized and validated” (Marinkova, 107). Through the usage of “unwitnessed” narratives, I shall be able to analyze the truth being hidden. In addition to that, there is an entire section devoted to exploring the concept of truth within the article, which shall be instrumental.
Finally, there is the article by Teresa Derrickson called “Will The ‘Un-Truth’ Set You Free? A Critical Look At Global Human Rights Discourse In Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost”. In this article, Derrickson argues that, contrary to the apolitical critiques the novel has received (Derrickson, 131), it is in reality a politicization of the seemingly apolitical nature of human rights organizations such as the UN. Contrary to their clean image, these international humanitarian organizations are forced to make uneasy and unsavory compromises to help those they can. The article highlights how commonplace the atrocities performed by those in power are to the point where the Sri Lankan people have become used to the horrors around them (Derrickson, 138-140). The Derrickson article will further help in my exploration of the truth. In addition to that, it also highlighted an aspect of the original text that I had not considered in my initial read through of the novel.
Given these articles, let us look at Anil’s Ghost itself. The central truth of the novel is the identity of the four corpses: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, and Sailor (“…an evocation the famous 1975 John Le Carre ́ thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy” and, in turn, the detective genre (Burton, 44) which is typically about detectives searching for hard truths and either having to live with the consequences or dying at the end because of them while still getting the truth out into the world), with a particular focus on the identity of Sailor. As Anil puts it “To him a name would name the rest” (Ondaatje, 56) and in turn uncover the truth behind their death. To help in her investigation, among countless other people, is a former teacher of Sarath (Anil’s partner) named Palipana. Together, Anil and Palipana work to examine the corpse of Sailor. During their examination, Anil and Palipana share a small disagreement over the nature of the truth, with Palipana arguing for the fluidity of truth, citing that those in power caused trouble even in the times of kings of old and “Even then there was nothing to believe in with certainty”, to which Anil counters with her view of “ ‘The truth shall set you free.’ I believe that” which Palipana responds with “Most of the time in our world, truth is just opinion” (Ondaatje, 102). On the one hand, Anil argues that the act of telling truths is important because she believes they can free those who are oppressed. On the other, Palipana argues that it’s pointless to tell truths because those in power control what truths are heard and seen by the public.
The Burton article claims that, as the novel goes on, Palipana’s views of the truth end up being validated as the hard evidence found by Anil and Sarath ends up disappearing due to those in power not liking where said evidence was going (Burton, 46-48). The Marinkova article seemingly agrees with the Burton one, as she highlights a section of Anil’s Ghost wherein Sarath and his brother Gamini argue about the futility of going up against the government with Sarath arguing that there must be justice for the innocents and Gamini arguing that they’re doomed because the truth is out there, and yet no one has done anything about it except sit on their high horse and talk about things like “freedom” and “the right to live” to the point where they no longer have any meaning (Ondaatje, 133; Marinkova, 118).
And yet, despite this, the characters still press on. Even the Marinkova article points out that Gamini and Sarath still try to help Anil in her quest for the Truth (Marinkova, 118) (plus, it should be noted that Palipana is blind, which is sometimes used in fiction to be a metaphor for a character that is unable to see the truth before them). But at the same time, at least one of the characters is keenly aware of the implications of the truth: Sarath. Derrickson highlights this when she analyzes a segment from the novel. In this segment, Sarath is thinking about the futility of Anil’s quest for the truth. He compares the truth to “…a flame against a sleeping lake of petrol. Sarath had seen truth broken into suitable pieces and used by the foreign press alongside irrelevant photographs”, which would lead “…to new vengeance and slaughter… As an archeologist Sarath believed in truth as a principle. That is, he would have given his life for the truth if the truth were of any use” (Ondaatje, 156-157). In short, Sarath believes that the truth will lead to more harm than good and is thus useless.
On first glance (and outside of the context of what is to come in the novel), this seems to agree with the worldview presented by his teacher. Even the Derrickson article claims it to be:
“…a careless gesture, a gesture possibly as negligent as the over-sensationalized stories produced by ‘‘flippant’’ journalists on the other side of the world. Her crusade, like theirs, appears to involve little thought as to the costs involved, and therefore runs the risk of being seen as disingenuous in its nod toward justice.” (Derrickson, 145)
Thus Sarath is forced to cover up the truth. When Anil and Sarath discover the identity of Sailor (Ruwan Kumara (Ondaatje, 269)) and his status as a government undesirable, Anil naturally wants to make a report. She wants to reveal the truth to the world. Sarath, knowing the dangers of the truth, takes the body of Sailor away from her. He then proceeds to make comments during Anil’s hearing that muddy her claims of government responsibility from pointing out that the body she does have could have been from hundreds of years ago to Sarath patronizing Anil about the fact that she “lost” the body she had a better case with, thereby humiliating Anil to highlight how she isn’t a threat (Ondaatje, 271-276).
And yet, he does not attempt to silence Anil for her words, far from it. For Sarath realizes that it’s pointless to make the case to the government who committed the act, he also knows that the truth is more likely to get out in an environment that isn’t Sri Lanka. And so Sarath provides Anil with the body of Sailor as well as the tape recorder with most of the information that would help recreate the report Sarath destroyed to save her life (Ondaatje, 283-284). Thus, though it is not seen within the novel, Anil escapes Sri Lanka but not without cost. For it is true what Sarath said before: he would die for a truth he believed would be of any use. For at the end of the novel, his corpse was found with six other bodies (Ondaatje, 287-290).
And yet, the novel doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end with Anil revealing the truth to the world. Nor does the novel end with the discovery of Sarath’s corpse by his brother, Gamini. It doesn’t even end with the death of President Katugala (a truth that slipped across the city within an hour (Ondaatje, 295)) who no doubt was responsible for the death of Sailor as well as countless others. To understand why the novel ends where it does, we must go back to a previous part of the novel; specifically, the aforementioned scene highlighted by the Derrickson article (on pages 138 to 140, though the analysis she gives is not relevant to this article), which follows thusly:
Shortly after Anil and Sarath meet Ananda, Sarath makes an offhand comment about Ananda, which peaks Anil’s interest. Part of Sarath’s explanation is thus:
“We have seen so many heads stuck on poles here, these last few years. It was at its worst a couple years ago. You’d see them in the early mornings, somebody’s night work, before the families heard about them and came and removed them and took them home. Wrapping them in their shirts or just cradling them. Someone’s son. These were blows to the heart. There was only one thing worse. That was when a family member simply disappeared and there was no sighting or evidence of his existence or his death” (Ondaatje, 184)
Note in particular what Sarath highlights here. He doesn’t highlight the political nature of the killings, nor of the brutality of the killings save within a curt mention of what happened. Rather, he focuses upon the fact that they were members of a community. That the dead was someone’s son and the horrible ache of said people being erased by the powers that be from all records that could be erased. The pain of not knowing who died. In short, Sarath focuses not on how they died or why they died but on who died.
This focus on the closeness of the people in the story is found throughout the narrative. From Anil being citizened by the friendship of Ananda and Sarath within their small group (Ondaatje, 200) to Sarath thinking to himself that Anil referred to herself as being part of those afflicted by the government’s mass killings (Ondaatje, 272) to Gamini describing Sarath after his death not in terms of his fine detective work but rather as:
“…someone who in his sarong would stroll into the garden or onto the verandah with his tea and newspaper. Sarath had always sidestepped violence because of his character, as if there had never been a war within him” (Ondaatje, 288-289).
Which, of course, explains why the novel ends with Ananda and his village rebuilding the Buddha after it had been destroyed by the cruel reality we find ourselves within. Because the story is not about finding out the truth and stopping the cruelty of the world. The world’s too complex to do that. Instead, it’s about the people who have to live with the truth; those who uncover it, those who ignore it, those who try to live with it, and those who die because of it. And more than just being about people, it’s about being with people who care about each other. Because Sarath died, not because he believed in the truth: he died because he believed Anil could make a difference within the situation of Sri Lanka.
In conclusion, the concept of truth within the context of Anil’s Ghost is, while a powerful and dangerous concept, not the focus of the narrative, but rather the characters within the narrative. Which is not the case made by the articles used in this paper. While their arguments were instrumental in uncovering what the truth is as a concept as well as helped shape a few sections, the articles viewed truth as the be all and end all of the novel. But given a closer look, one uncovers the truth of the matter is that the personal is just as important as the political.

“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.”
-Václav Havel

Works Cited

Burton, Antoinette. "Archive of Bones: Anil's Ghost and the Ends of History." The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 38.1 (2003): 39-56. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.
Derrickson, Teresa. "Will The ‘Un-Truth’ Set You Free? A Critical Look At Global Human Rights Discourse In Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost." Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory 15.2 (2004): 131-52. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.
Marinkova, Milena. ""Perceiving [...] in One's Own Body" the Violence of History, Politics and Writing: Anil's Ghost and Witness Writing." The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 44.3 (2009): 107-25. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.
Ondaatje, Michael. Anil's Ghost. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. Print.
Vale, Paul. "Vaclav Havel Dead: Quotes From The Man Who 'Lived In Truth'" The Huffington Post UK. AOL (UK) Limited, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2015.
You Can’t Go Home Again: The Death of Ikemefuna and the Lost Self
Sean Dillon

In the seventh chapter of the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, on pages 58-61, Ikemefuna is killed. The scene evokes many ideas, from the implications of this being a punishment in which the punished was not directly involved in the crime to the masculinity of the man who dealt the killing blow. But, in the end, the idea that this passage best highlights is the lost self and how it relates to the concept of family and the past.
Before getting into the scene itself, it is important to know what the lost self is. The concept is what happens when an internal aspect of a person is no longer there after a major event in their life. This can range from a loved one leaving (be it due to death or other reasons), being forced to flee from a place one called home, or being betrayed by someone close to you. This event causes a change within a person that affects their very being.
The scene opens with the men of the Umuofia clan coming to collect Ikemefuna for his execution. The motivation for said execution was because Ikemefuma’s father murdered a woman of the clan and it was initially decreed that Ikemefuma would be given to the clan as repentance for this heinous act (Achebe, 11-12). Three years later, it was decreed by the Oracle, a well-regarded figure within the clan, that Ikemefuna would be put to death (Achebe, 57). As Ikemefuna is being led out of the village to his death, there is a sense that everyone was aware of what was happening within that moment (the narration claims that “Even the very little children seemed to know” (Achebe, 58), implying that this death is one that has been expected by the tribe for a while (the narration even cheekily claims “A deathly silence descended on Okonkwo’s compound” (Achebe, 58))). Everyone that is, except for two people.
The first of whom is Nwoye, Ikemefuna’s “brother”. For the past three years, they grew up together in the same household and when it came time for the death to arrive, Nwoye ran to his mother and tearfully told her the lie his father told Ikemefuna. The lie that he could go home again (Achebe, 57). Although it is not directly shown within the text, it is here that Nwoye is informed of Ikemefuna’s death. And as the doomed young man leaves to meet his fate, “…Nwoye in his mother’s hut and tears stood in his eyes” (Achebe, 58). While not as major a loss of self as the other examples within this scene, it is by no means unimportant. For it is here that Nwoye loses an aspect of himself, highlighted at the end of the chapter wherein he does not react as he did before, with tears and outward sadness, but rather with inward sadness. The narrator even directly states that, “…something seemed to give way inside him…” (Achebe, 61).
The other person unaware of what was about to happen in this scene was Ikemefuna himself. Much like Nwoye, Ikemefuna believes that his is going to go home after three years of being with the Umuofia. When he first hears the news of his departure, Ikemefuna’s thoughts immediately go to those of the Ikemefuna who was lost due to the forced relocation. He can barely even remember the house he lived in when he way younger (Achebe, 57). These thoughts persist as he walks with the men of the Umuofia clan out of the village. The first thoughts the reader is made privy to are those of the nature of Ikemefuna’s father. In these thoughts, he claims that, “He had never been fond of his real father, and at the end of three years he had become very distant indeed” (Achebe, 59). Instead, the young man views the man who cared for him over those three years as more of his father than his biological one. This highlights an aspect of Ikemefuna lost due to the move. When he was initially moved from his home those three years ago, there appears to be no ill will towards his father within his thoughts (Achebe, 15). And yet, here Ikemefuna views the man who cared for him for the past three years as a superior father to his own, who raised him for 15. It is possible that this is the memory of Ikemefuma playing trick upon him, but more likely, when shown an alternative to those 15 years, he genuinely preferred the self expected of him by his adopted home.
But then his thoughts turn to his mother and baby sister. Initially, he thinks of them with joy, wondering if he would recognize his baby sister, how would his mother react to his return, and, more pressingly, is his mother still alive. All of these thoughts within Ikemefuna’s head dance around what is perhaps the most obvious question one would think about when returning home from a long trip: “will they recognize me?” It is, of course, natural to think this, one is not the same person they would have been if situations were different. The Ikemefuna who lived with his mother and sister for three years is not the same Ikemefuna who is about to die, who is in turn not the same Ikemefuna of three years ago. Time and circumstances change us all, and sometime we do not recognize ourselves in the mirror.
Although it is never stated directly within the text, it is clear that Ikemefuna is thinking about this question of his self. It fills him with dread akin to that he felt when he initially heard of his moving away from his family (Achebe, 57-58). Despite the narration’s claims that he is aware of his fate (which, poignantly, he is not), these feelings come from an unconscious fear of losing everything he knows and thus losing himself. Look at how he views his old home as “faint and distant”, and now he has to go back to that place, now unknown to him. And so, as Ikemefuma walked with the men of the Umuofia clan, he felt uneasy, unsure of what is about to happen, and yet, not afraid of this change. This is mainly due to the man who cared for him for the past three years being nearby, which comforted the doomed youth. And so Ikemefuma’s thoughts turn to other things, like the health of his mother. To dissuade his fears, the young man recalls a game he would play wherein he would sing a song to himself and whichever foot he would step on when the song ended would determine whether or not something would happen. As he performed this little game of his, “Ikemefuna felt like a child once more” (Achebe, 60). In other words, Ikemefuna was beginning to feel like his lost self once more. Maybe not completely like his old self, for things can never return to the way they were, but perhaps an aspect of it. A facsimile. And perhaps that’s enough. We can never recreate the past, but we can still remember it. And so long as we have our memories, so long as we are alive, we can never truly be lost.
His game is interrupted when one of the members of the Umuofia clan clears his throat. Which brings us nicely to another self lost within this scene: that of the clansmen who kill Ikemefuna. Throughout the scene, save for one man, every single member of the clan who went off to kill Ikemefuna is not named. They are not given distinguishing features such as “the man with a black eye” or “the man with a scar”. At most, they are given identifications by the actions they perform within the scene (“The man who had whispered…” “…the man who had cleared his throat…” (Achebe, 59; 61)), but none of these tell us anything about who these men are. In short, the men of the Umuofia clan who kill Ikemefuna have no self of identity. For they have deliberately lost it in order to be part of the murderous mob. For it’s easier to kill someone to whom you have no relation.
This is perhaps highlighted best by the sole man of the clan who retained his name throughout the march: Okonkwo, the man who raised Ikemefuma. Initially, as the killing began, “Okonkwo looked away” (Achebe, 61). But when Ikemefuna cried, “My father, they have killed me” (Achebe, 61), he immediately rushes to deal the killing blow to the boy he felt was akin to a son (Achebe, 28). In short, Okonkwo chooses to lose an aspect of his own self (the one that felt empathy towards the boy he knew from the beginning was going to die) because “He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe, 61).  It should be noted that once Okonkwo deals the killing blow, he is not referred to directly by name for the rest of the chapter.
But perhaps the most poignant self lost is the literal one; for the scene ends with the death of Ikemefuma. Ikemefuna died, and can never come back. And in his death, he never returned home to “reclaim” his lost self. And even if he were able to go back home, it wouldn’t be his home. His home was with the Umuofia clan; with Okonkwo and Nwoye and all the other people he grew to care for in those three years. As he is being murdered, the self he was reclaiming dissipates back into the self he was with the Umuofia (“My father, they have killed me” (Achebe, 61)). And then his “father” kills him. They knew Ikemefuna was going to die from the beginning, and they let him think he had a self with them.  But the fact is he was never part of the Umuofia clan.

Works Cited
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.
For the Shy and Cynical
By Sean Dillon

The Players:
Jane: A Housewife (32)
Mary: A Neighbor (30)
Susan: A Daughter (16)
Frank: A Corpse (38)

Scene 1
We open on a murder. On the subject of the stage itself, one fourth of it (on stage right) is of the kitchen of the house, with a sink, a counter, a knife holder missing a knife, and a decently sized fridge, and is located on stage left. The other three quarters is devoted to a family room with a medium sized couch, a closet, a fireplace with a painting above it, and window. The painting above the fireplace has the characters Jane, Frank, and Susan in it. In the painting, Frank has a cold look of disdain on his face while both Susan and Jane have forced smiles on theirs. Frank has a hand on Susan’s shoulder. To the left of the painting, there is a window. Through it, we see Mary witnessing the murder. In between the window and the kitchen, there is a closet door. There is a door on stage left leading to the outside world. In the family room, Frank stands with his back towards the audience. Immediately, he falls on his face, dead. Above his body, stands Jane. She is holding a knife. After a second, she drops the knife in horror and then steps back to breathe.

Jane: Oh god.

Quickly, Jane composes herself. First, she opens the trap door in the center of the stage. Next, she drags the corpse into the closet and proceeds to shut it. Once she has hidden the body, Jane breathes a sigh of relief. As she does so, a spotlight shines on the knife she dropped earlier. Jane heads towards the sink where she washes up. She grabs a nearby cloth to dry herself off. As she does so, she notices the knife and quickly goes to grab it (at this time, the spotlight turns off). Once Jane notices the knife, Mary disappears from the window. Jane quickly wipes off the blood on the floor and then proceeds to head to the sink. As she is about to wash the blood off the knife, there is a knock at the door. A look of panic comes onto her face.

Scene 2
Jane freezes in place. Actress Jane enters from stage left. She is calm and relaxed. She acts as if nothing of note has happened recently. As Jane speaks to Susan, Actress Jane mimes the act of speaking. There is a knock at the door.

Jane: (To audience) Given the time, it was probably Susan. School usually ended at around that time. She is the person I care most for in this world. I would do anything for her. In this instance, I just opened the door and said,

Jane: “Come in.”

Enter Susan, wearing a backpack.

Jane: “Oh, hello Susan. How was your day?”

Susan: Uh, you know. Same old, same old.

Jane: “Oh is that so? And nothing happened between you and that Jack boy?”

Susan: What? No. No, no, no. Nothing happened between us.

Jane: “Come now Susan, we both know you’re a terrible liar.”

Susan: Nothing happened between us mom, ok!

Jane: “Fine, fine. It’s not business, you’ll tell me when you want to.”

Susan breathes a sigh of relief. She then begins to take off her backpack and starts unpacking it of her school supplies.

Jane: “Oh, by the way, Dad called.”

Susan freezes.

Jane: (To the audience) If I were her, I’d have run by now. (To Susan) “He said that he’s going to be coming home next week. Said he has a big surprise for you when he gets back home. Something about a new toy, he said you would know what he means.”

Beat.

Jane: “Susan, are you ok?”

She is feeling rather uncomfortable, but is trying to hide it from her mom. She is not doing a good job.

Susan: Fine, I’m doing just fine mom. Nothing to worry about. Just uh… I just realized that I have a quiz due next week and-

Jane: “Next week? Next week’s Spring Break.”

Susan: Uh, yeah. Yeah! And um, I have to go upstairs to talk about my trip, so bye.

Susan tries to exit stage left, but her mother stops her.

Jane: “Now hold on a second. You’ve spent the past month chewing my ear about how you and the girls are “Gonna party down in Malibu like we’re legal!” And now you think there’s still going to be school that week? In fact, you’ve been acting strangely for a while now. Sleeping in, missing the bus, I’ve even gotten emails from your teachers telling me you’ve been skipping classes with forged permission letters with your “father’s signature” on them. Are… are you doing drugs?”

Susan: What? No I-

Actress Jane covers her mouth.

Jane: “Oh god, you are.”

Susan: No, no it’s not like tha-

Jane: “Oh god, where did I go wrong. This is all my fault.”

Actress Jane crumples down on the couch. Susan sits next to her.

Susan: No mom, it’s not like that. I’m not doing drugs. I haven’t even touched a beer.

Jane: “Then what is going on with you?”

Susan: I… I can’t tell you.

Jane: “Why not?”

Susan: I just can’t.

Beat.

Jane: “Fine. (sigh) Fine. You’re not going to Malibu next week, and we are going to talk about this when your father gets home.”

Susan: NO PLEASE! PLEASE DON’T!

Susan grabs Actress Jane by her shirt. Susan is beginning to slur her words due to the tears she is crying.

Susan: PLEASE MOM, ANYTHING BUT THAT! I’M BEGGING YOU DON’T DO THAT! PLEASE! Please! (whisper) please!

Susan’s words quickly turn into incoherent sobs as Actress Jane holds her daughter trying to comfort her in her arms.

Jane: “There, there, it’s all right. Just breathe. Just breathe.”

Susan soon begins to stop crying.

Jane: “Now Susan, I want you to tell me the truth.”

Beat.

Susan: ok.

Jane asks this question with the tone of someone who already knows the answer to it.

Jane: “What’s going on?” But by then, I’d already known the answer.

Black out.

Scene 3

The lights turn back on; Actress Jane and Susan are no longer on stage. Jane is in the kitchen, holding a bloody knife. She is about to wash it when there’s a knock at the door. Jane freezes. There is another knock at the door. Jane quickly turns in the direction of the door.

Jane: Wh- who is it?

Mary (Off Stage): It’s Mary. Do you have a moment to talk?

Jane: Uh… Just. Just give me uh a second.

Jane is about to answer the door when she remembers that she’s holding a bloody knife. She quickly heads back towards the sink.

Jane: I just need to wash up.

Mary (Off Stage): Take all the time you need.

Jane plops the knife into the sink and begins washing it. She then grabs a towel and begins to dry off her hands as she heads towards the door. Jane opens the door to let Mary enter.

Mary: Well hello Jane.

Jane: Mary, how um how have things been?

Mary: Oh! Um, you know, same old same old. Trying to find a job in this market is a real pain in the ass. How’s Susan doing?

Jane: Great, Great! I just got a postcard from her saying she’s having a blast in Malibu.

Mary: That’s nice.

Jane: Yeah… say, don’t you usually just knock on the window if you want to talk about something?

Mary: Uh… yeah. Yeah. I just thought that, I don’t usually come into your house and I ah… I figured that it’d be nice to change things up every now and then.

Jane: Ah, and it wasn’t because you wanted to steal one of my drinks.

Mary: What! No! No. Besides, you don’t get any of the good stuff.

Jane: Now what’s that supposed to mean?

Mary: It means you always go for the cheap stuff that tastes terrible. Like you stole it off of a street corner on a hot summer day or something.

Jane: Well (small laugh) Well I’m sorry I prefer something I can actually drink to your “fancy dancy” drinks.

Mary: Yeah (haha) you wish you could drink that stuff. The drinks you get tastes like (aheheheh) it tastes rotten cheese at best. At worst (ahaha) at worst, it tastes like a dead body.

Jane: Well uh… Your drinks are… are…

Mary: Take your time; you don’t want to break that small little brain of yours.

Jane: Well, at least my brain doesn’t jut out like someone I could mention.

Mary: (mock hurt) I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that you would say such a thing.  And yet, not surprised considering you really couldn’t come up with anything better on your own.

Jane: (mock anger) Oh YEAH. Well, I’ll show you! I’ll… I’ll… You smell like a wet dog!

Jane and Mary look at each other with “intense anger” before bursting into a long series of laughs before needing to catch their breath.

Jane: Ah…Were we always like this?

Mary: How (heh) how do you mean?

Jane: Were we always so… so comfortable around one another that we could say such things?

Mary: I think so… do you remember how we first met?

As they talk, they begin to move closer and closer to one another on the couch. They speak with an air of nostalgia.

Jane: I think so. It was, what, two-

Mary: Five years ago.

Jane: Right, right. Susan was still in middle school. I think she had a field trip that week to go into the city. She wouldn’t shut up about it when she returned home. And Frank…

Beat.

Jane (curtly): He was away.

Mary: I think you were in the garden that day.

Jane: Ah yes, my failed attempt at gardening. I think I killed more plants than I actually grew.

Mary (slyly): Are you actually good at anything?

Jane: …I can sing really well.

Jane vocalizes to the tune of “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

Jane: So I was in the garden, killing some plants, when you walk up to me. You were wearing an amazingly blue shirt that shined in the sunlight and some really short jeans.

Mary: (To Jane) Ugh, those old things. I don’t even know what I was thinking when I bought those things. (To the audience) I still have them. I could never pull them off when I wore them. They only showed off how fat I was. I am. Jane could pull them off. Maybe I should give them to her. I’m just picturing Jane wearing them right now. I wish I could tell her the truth. I wish I couldn’t see. Life is strange.

Jane: (To the audience) I liked them. Mary looked so good I could eat her up. I wish I had a pair of them. I once dreamt that Mary took them off and gave the to me as a birthday present. And then we flew off into the sky with Susan, away from all this. And for once in our lives, we were happy. We were us. We were free. We were also cockroaches. Dreams are weird. (To Mary) And that gorgeously orange sun silhouetted you. And then you said,

Mary: “Hey there, cutie pie.” And then you looked up with that adorable smile of yours and said,

Jane: “I don’t see any pie round here. Maybe you can help me find some.”

Jane has her hand out towards Mary, which she holds tenderly.

Mary: “Sure thing luv.”

Actress Mary helps Actress Jane up.

Jane: “I’m Jane.”

Mary: “Mary”

Jane: “You’re new to this neighborhood, aren’t you?”

Mary: “Just moved in yesterday. Maybe you can show me around town?”

Jane: “I’d love that.”

Jane and Mary lean in, about to kiss each other.

Jane: I’d really love that.

The Phone rings once and the two quickly separate from one another. Jane is frozen throughout the monologue. Mary stands up and begins to pace on the stage.

Mary: (Dejected and to the audience) And then the phone rang. Frank wanted Jane to know that he was going to be home early, and that he wanted something or other. I didn’t talk to her for a whole month until some social gathering with terrible food. And we became the best of friends ever since… I sometimes dream of what would have happened if the phone hadn’t rung. I imagine we would be on grand adventures, no secrets between us: just the two of us against the world.

Beat

Mary: But dreams don’t always come true. Sometimes the world makes us hurt each other. Sometimes… what we believe makes us do things we don’t want.

Beat

Mary: Oh god. I’m going to have to call the police, aren’t I?

Mary sits back down.

Scene 4

There is an awkward silence as Jane and Mary sit on the couch.

Jane: So… do you want anything to drink?

Mary: Yeah, I’ll um. I’ll have a Coke.

Jane stands up and heads towards the fridge.

Jane: So, you said you wanted to talk about something?

Mary: Yeah, uh… I wanted to talk about Frank.

Jane freezes. The spotlight turns on, aimed at the closet.

Jane: F- Frank? Whu… Why do you want to talk about him?

Mary: Well, I heard he was coming back today, and I thought I could talk to you guys about what happened at that party last month.

Jane: Well uh he ah he, he hasn’t come back yet.

As Mary talks, Jane sits down and passes Mary a drink. She is sitting much closer to Mary than before. The spotlight also turns off.

Mary (bitterly knowing the truth hiding behind a smile): Oh, I didn’t know that. A shame.

Jane: Whu- why’s that?

Mary: Well… (sigh) he made me feel uncomfortable. Like I was a stranger in my own body.

Jane (bluntly): He gets like that when he’s drunk.

Mary: I thought he WAS sober?

Jane: No, no. He was quite drunk.

Mary: Huh. I guess you’re right. My memory sometimes feels like it’s full of holes. It’s all so vivid.

Jane: “Vague”.

Mary: What?

Jane: The word you’re thinking of, it’s vague. Vivid means you remember it well.

Mary: Well look at you, smarty-pants, do you memorize dictionary passages or what?

Enter Actress Jane and Actress Mary from stage left. Whenever they are on stage, they mime the actions described by Jane and Mary. Currently, they are talking to one another while sitting on an invisible couch just slightly to the right of the actual couch.

Jane: Only when I’m bored and lonely. I also practice my French. You have to do something to stay sane. (pause) Anyways, I remember that party well. It wasn’t that formal of a party, or even that big. It was only you, me, Susan, the Williams, and Frank.

Mary: I thought the Petersons where there as well.

Jane: No, no. You’re thinking of last year’s Christmas party. You know, the one with the turkey.

Mary covers her eyes with one hand.

Mary: Oh god, that one. Hahah.

Jane: Yeah, that one. Where was I?

Actress Jane and Actress Mary freeze.

Mary: You were talking about the party from last month.

Jane: Ah yes, that one. So the two of us were sitting on this couch talking about something or other.

Actress Jane and Actress Mary unfreeze and begin to talk in parallel to their counterparts (when something is spoken in quotation marks, that is a line Actress Jane/Actress Mary speak based on which character is talking).

Mary: “And that’s why, despite getting a medical license from Harvard, I never want to be a doctor.”

Jane: “Yeah, the world is kind of a terrible place to live in. You’d think they’d know what they’re doing most of the time.”

Mary: “If you want to get paid for looking like you’re helping people, you become a doctor. If you want to actually help people, you become a nurse.”

Jane: “They should pay you guys more.”

Mary: “They should, but they won’t. The people in charge of paying medical professionals want to have more money in their pockets. Nurses tend to charge more because more terrible shit happens to us when treating patients. A shame.”

Enter Frank from stage right. He remains in the kitchen until Jane gives him his cue. He is holding three bottles of beer in his hand. He is sober.

Jane (bitterly): And then Frank joined us.

Frank sits in between Actress Jane and Actress Mary. He only interacts with Actress Jane and Actress Mary. As the conversation progresses, Actress Jane’s body language goes from being uncomfortable around Frank to furious. Actress Mary slowly becomes more and more uncomfortable around Frank.

Frank: And how are my two favorite ladies doin?

Jane: “Oh, you know, just talking.”

Frank: Talkin huh. Talkin bout girl stuff?

Jane: “Yes… girl stuff.”

Frank: Suppose that’s fair. What with you two bein girls and all. What kind o stuff is girl stuff anyways?

Mary: “Oh, you know, stuff like-“

Frank makes a snoring sound.

Frank: That’s boring and you should feel bad for thinking bout it. Either of you two ladies wan a drink.

Jane: “No thank you.”

Mary: “No thanks.”

Frank: Ah c’mon Mary, I hear it’s good for the libido.

Mary: “Wha- What!?!”

Frank: Ah’ve seen the way you look at me. You want to FUCK me, don’t ya?

As Mary “talks”, Actress Mary tries to get as far away from him as possible (while staying on the couch).

Mary: “N- No! NO! I don’t like you in that- NO! NO! I DON’T want to have sex with YOU!”

Frank: Eh. Suit yourself luv. I always wanted to have a threesome, but you can’t win ‘em all, now can yah? Say, have either of you two seen Susan?

Jane (through gritted teeth): “I THINK she’s up stairs showing the Williams around the house.”

Frank: Thank you darlin. Be back in a bit.

Frank kisses Actress Jane, which makes her even more uncomfortable, before leaving towards the kitchen. When he is in the kitchen, as Actress Jane looks in his direction and Actress Mary looks away, Jane says her next line.

Jane (to the audience): I will murder you one day.

Actress Jane and Actress Mary exit.

Scene 5

Jane and Mary are sitting close together on the couch.

Jane: In short, yes he was an ass.

The two briefly laugh.

Mary (mocking concern): Did he really propose the three of us should have sex?

Jane (lying): Yeah, but he’s usually a nice guy when he’s sober.

Mary: Hahaha, as if I’d ever have sex with him.

Jane: Heheh. What about me, huh? You wouldn’t want to have sex with me either.

Mary: Well, no.

Jane looks dejected at this response.

Mary: Well, I uh… what I mean is uh… you’re a married woman and-

Jane briefly kisses Mary on the lips. There is a brief pause where Jane looks like she was being too forward. But then Mary passionately kisses Jane back. Eventually the kiss melts into a hug where only Mary is looking at the audience.

Mary: What about Frank?

Jane: Don’t worry; I’ve taken CARE of him.

Mary’s face begins to express emotions of disgust, horror, and (most of all) sadness. The two separate from the hug.

Jane: Now I have to make a few phone calls. I’ll be right back before you can say “Je ai tué mon mari”.

Jane exits in the direction of the kitchen. Mary stands up and looks out the window and lets out a small sigh.

Scene 6

Mary is staring out of the window. She turns around and faces the audience.

Mary: You all saw what I saw, didn’t you?

Mary begins to pace.

Mary: I mean, it’s obvious right? It’s obvious why she did it. Why she killed him.

Pause.

Mary: Sorry, perhaps you didn’t know that I knew? I mean, when there’s a murder on the stage, you’re not going to look at the background of the event.

Pause.

Mary: I mean, SOME of you might have seen me, but I’m pretty sure most of you were focused on the…

Pause.

Mary: All right, from the top.

Mary moves to the window.

Mary: It was a normal day, a day like any other. I was going for a bit of a jog, and I figured “hey, why not say hello to my good old friend Jane, and maybe work up the courage to shout “I LOVE YOU”, run away together, and live happily ever after”. If it WERE a normal day, I wouldn’t have had the NERVE. I’m too much of a coward.

As Mary talks, she moves to the area in front of the closet.

Mary: And so I went over to the house, as I usually do. And that’s when I saw it. She had already put the knife through him when I arrived. She was the only thing keeping him up. And when she pulled the knife out…

Mary claps her hands together.

Mary: Head first, right on the ground! I was startled when I saw it happen. I didn’t want to believe it was true. That she would LIE to me like that. That… that he hadn’t returned. That he was still alive, and would be divorced like I thought would happen. That she would actually tell me she did it in FRENCH!

Mary stomps her foot at the word “French”

Mary: FRENCH! As if she didn’t know I spoke the language fluently! As if I was some sort of bimbo for her to laugh at as she pulled my feelings like a puppeteer pulls his slave!

Mary curls herself into a ball on the couch.

Mary: I should have called the cops.

Frank: Then why didn’t you?

Frank remains off stage throughout this bit. He is inside the closet. When he talks, Mary leaps off the couch and looks towards the closet.

Frank: I mean, even before you entered the house today, SURELY you MUST have known that she wanted to FUCK you.

Mary moves towards the closet.

Mary: I… I wanted to believe it was more than THAT.

Frank: And now you KNOW better. I bet she doesn’t even love you.

Mary: Shut up.

Frank: I bet she’s just into you because you wear all those… REVEALING clothing and it gets her so hot and bothered.

Mary: Shut. UP.

Frank: I bet she’s not EVEN on the phone.

Mary: SHUT UP.

Frank: I bet she’s LAUGHING about this DUMB BITCH downstairs who thinks she WOVES.

Mary: SHUT UP!

Frank: I mean, that’s what I would DO.

Mary starts pounding on the closet door.

Mary: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT! UP! SHE IS NOTHING LIKE YOU! NOTHING!

Frank: You’re right. I never KILLED someone.

Mary stops pounding. Beat.

Frank: Now. Let’s be honest for once in our lives. What’s the worst thing I have done? What have I done to deserve being MURDERED?

Pause. A spotlight hits the portrait of the family, specifically the part with Frank and Susan.

Frank: Did I drown puppies?

Pause.

Frank: Did I wipe out an entire species?

Pause.

Frank: Did I even piss on my neighbor’s lawn?

Pause.

Frank: No. All I did was marry a woman who was in love with someone else and would do ANYTHING to be with them. Hell, the worst thing I’ve done is hit on someone. And not even to start an affair. It was to have some more INTERESTING sex out of a chauvinistic entitlement over other women.

The spotlight turns off. Mary heads to the window where she looks outside.

Frank: Now, the thing you’ve got to ask yourself is this: Is being in love with someone a good enough reason to murder an “innocent man”? Sure. I was an ass. But does that mean I DESERVE to die.

Mary sighs. As she heads towards the door to leave, Jane enters from the kitchen. Mary is a shell of her former self.

Jane: Wh- Where are you going?

Pause.

Mary: I think we both know what’s inside of that closet.

Pause.

Jane: So…

Mary: I saw. And I know why you did it.

Jane: You… do?

Mary: Of COURSE I know why you did it, it’s so obvious.

Jane: Well, that’s a relief. For a minute there, I thought I was going to have to explain it all to you-

Mary: I mean with you hitting on me and all, I should have known this would happen.

Jane: Wait, hitting on you?

Mary: But I have to say, I’m sorry. It’s not a good enough reason to cover it up.

Jane: What?

Mary: Love isn’t good enough. Not for THIS.

Jane: Wait a minute, what are you saying.

Mary: I mean, you could have at least trusted me and not DANGLED the truth in front of my face like I was a baby. You could have at LEAST not said it in FRENCH.

Jane: Wait, you speak French?

Mary: Of- Of COURSE I speak French!

Pause. Mary begins to leave.

Mary: I’m going to go out that door.

Jane: No wait.

Mary: And I’m going to call the police, and tell them everything.

Jane: You don’t understand what’s going on.

Mary: I understand enough.

Jane tries to keep Mary from leaving, but Mary pushes her down to the floor.

Mary: Goodbye Jane.

Mary is just about to exit the house.

Jane: I didn’t kill him for you!

Beat. Mary turns around towards Jane.

Mary: What?

Jane: I didn’t kill him for you.

Mary walks over to Jane and helps her up. They then go to sit at the couch. Jane talks as they walk.

Jane: There were so many nights when I would lay wide-awake thinking, “I am going to kill this man”. So many times where I just wanted to… to ELOPE with you and Susan and live happily ever after.

Mary puts her hand on Jane’s lap.

Jane: But I couldn’t. I was too afraid. Afraid of him. Afraid of who I’d become after I killed him. Afraid they would take away Susan. Most of all, I was afraid of you. I was afraid you wouldn’t love me for doing it. And so, I couldn’t kill him.

Pause.

Mary: So what changed?

Jane and Mary are sitting on the couch looking at one another. Mary has her hand on Jane’s leg. Jane gets up from the couch and heads for the window. Mary follows. They talk while they walk.

Jane: It was about a week ago. I was home, cleaning up the place when I heard a knock at the door. Given the time, it was probably Susan. School usually ended at around that time. She’s the person I care for most in this world. I would do anything for her.

Pause.

Jane: She came in and we talked. Simple stuff, “how was the day” and all that. Then I said something that put a chill down her spine. It wasn’t anything earthshattering, I think I just told her Frank was coming home soon.

Pause.

Jane opens the window.

Jane: And then she started acting weird, all jittery and panicked. At first, I thought she was into some drugs. Looking back, I wish it were drugs.

Jane pulls out a carton of cigarettes from her pocket. She offers one to Mary, but she declines. Jane pulls one out and tries to light it, unsuccessfully. She gives up and walks back to the couch with Mary. They sit down.

Jane: Naturally, as a concerned mother, I confronted her over it, and eventually, she told me everything…

The lights go out. A spotlight shines on the couch to find Susan has replaced Mary on the couch.

Susan: It started about a year or two ago. You were out buying food. It was just the two of us. He was kind and gentle, at first. Like a father should be. We were sitting right here, on this couch. And we were talking. He was smiling at me, which I suppose should have been a sign.

Jane: A sign of what?

Susan: He started tickling me. It was funny at first; you know how I am when I get tickled. He started with my shoulders. And then he went down to my belly. And then he went lower still. Next thing I knew…

Jane: If it hurts, you don’t say anymore. I think I know what happened.

Susan: But I do. Next thing I knew, he went and tickled my pants off. That’s when I started getting scared. But I couldn’t stop laughing. I tried to fight, but he punched me right in the face. It left a nasty black eye. And then he ripped off my underwear and… and… and…

Susan breaks down into tears, her mother holds her until she lets it all out.

Susan: When he was finished, he looked me right in the eye and said “If you ever tell your mother about our time together, you’ll be the one responsible for destroying our family. She will despise you for this. What, do you think she could ever love a whore like you? Now as for my silence, heh heh heh, well, I think we’ll be doing this again very soon. Besides, I can tell from the look in your eye that you enjoyed it as much as I did, maybe even more.” And we did. It went on for years. Whenever you weren’t looking. Whenever he thought he could get away with it.

Pause.

Susan: I was so happy when he left for that business trip. That was the happiest month I’ve had in a while. And now…

Jane hugs her daughter.

Jane: Don’t worry Susie I’ll fix this. I promise.

The spotlight turns off. The lights turn back on with Mary back on the couch where she once was.

Jane: I should have known this would happen. I was so young when we first met, when we started dating. I should have known he would do… it was so obvious, you know. It was staring me right in the face and I just ignored it. No, not ignored it. Missed it. I missed it! And my daughter paid for my negligence.

Pause.

Jane: When he came home, I confronted the man. I believed my daughter; I mean, who would lie about something like that. But I wanted him to say it. I was calm and smooth when he came into the house, or at least as much as I could have been with all the anger building up inside of me. At first, I tried to ask him indirectly, I wanted to be so clever when I caught him in a lie. So I brought up the toy he had for Susan. He deflected the question.

Jane and Mary walk over to the closet. Jane tries again to light a cigarette, this time successful.

Jane: I tried other, subtle methods, of getting him to say what he had done, but those where of no avail. Finally, I just outright said, “I know what you’re doing to Susan.”

Pause.

Jane: At first, he tried to deny it, saying that she was lying to get something out of him, that he would never be unfaithful to me. But he was always a terrible liar. When he accepted that aspect of himself, he was surprisingly calm, even when I had a knife to him. I don’t remember when I grabbed the knife. Maybe I always had it on me.

Pause.

Jane: He wasn’t just calm. He was smiling. Almost as if… as if he was going to laugh. I was furious. Somehow even more so than when I found out about what he was doing. I asked him what he found to be SO funny, and do you know what he said? “Well, I always wanted a threesome.” And then I stabbed him in his black heart.

Beat.

Jane: So what are you going to do now Mary?

Scene 7

But before she can answer that question, Susan enters from the doorway on stage right. Jane and Mary immediately look towards Susan as she enters the home.

Susan: Is it true? Is he dead?

Jane simply opens the closet door and Frank’s dead body tumbles out. Susan turns away from the body and her mother goes to comfort her.

Mary goes to sit on the couch.

Jane: Mary, are you ok? You’ve been awfully quiet.

Susan joins Mary on the couch. Eventually, Jane joins them as well.

Jane: I mean; it would have been so much easier if Susan were on drugs.

Jane tries to laugh, but can’t.

Jane: Oh please, just say something.

Mary: I think… I think I’ll take that cigarette.

Jane hands Mary the carton and the lighter. She pulls one out of the box and lights the cigarette on her first try. Susan tries to nonverbally comfort her.

Jane: It’s been a long day.

Pause.

Jane: What are you thinking about?

Mary does not reply. She just smokes her cigarette and looks into the distance. Eventually, she gets up and goes to the window, where she flicks out her cigarette. She closes the window and goes to the kitchen to wash up. Once done, Mary sits on the floor in front of the sink, looking at the floor. Jane tries to walk up to Mary, but can’t find the courage to do so. Susan exits stage left.

Jane: Please, just say something.

Mary looks up at Jane.

Mary: There’s a forest in the backyard of the house. Did you know that?

Jane: Yeah, yeah I knew that.

Mary: I think I have a name for it.

Jane: What?

Mary: “Je t’aime”.

The curtains fall.

10/4/15-11/19/15
For the Shy and Cynical
One of two one act plays written for my playwriting course.
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Better than None
A Play By Sean Dillon

Before the lights turn on, a snap is heard.

The lights turn on to a stage divided into three sections. Of the three sections, the middle is the largest. On stage left is a moveable door and on stage right is a moveable wall roughly the size and shape of the door. Each portion of the stage remains in darkness unless there is a living character in that section. Whenever a character is in the left or right section, they will move their movable door/wall closer to center stage. Center stage is a small apartment with one room, no windows, and one door. For the purposes of the play, the only thing required is a rectangular table in the center of the stage with a chair behind it and a fork and knife on it. On that chair is the corpse of a ten year old boy. The ten year old is dressed in a collard shirt and is wearing khakis. Behind the body is Jack, a man dressed in T-Shirt and boxer shorts and is wearing them as if he’d put them on haphazardly. He is very pleased with himself at the moment having just snapped the little boy’s neck.

Jack: That’ll teach yah for havin’ a smart mouth.

Jack’s cell phone begins to ring to the tune of “Kiss With a Fist” by Florence + The Machine. The lights turn on stage right to reveal another man, Bob, waiting on the other end of the line. Jack answers the phone. Whenever Jack is on the phone, he paces.

Jack: Hel- (Clears throat) Hello?

Bob: Jack, it’s me. Bob.

Jack: Well, how’s it going Bob?

Bob: It’s going swimmingly is how it’s going Jack. How’s the kid doin’?

Jack looks at the dead body.

Jack: Oh, ah, he’s… he’s-

Bob: ‘Cause the family came back to us.

Jack: Oh… they, they did?

Bob: Yeah, they says they’re gonna meet with us in an hour.

Jack: Oh, that’s great. Real great.

Bob: Yeah, twenty big ones in the can.

Jack: Yeah… twenty. Big ones.

Bob: Just make sure the kid’s all right before I get there in an hour. K?

Jack: K.

Jack hangs up the phone and the lights go out on stage right.

Jack: Well. Fuck.

Jack goes to the wall. When his tirade of “Fucks” begins, he starts hitting the wall.

Jack: (Small chuckle) Fuck! Fuck! Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck! FUCK! FUCK FUCKING FUCK OF FUCKS! FUCK ME! Oh fuck me! One job. You had one job Jack. (To the corpse) And you fucked it up. You FUCKED IT UP YOU FUCKING MORON! He’s gonna kill me for this. I’m fucked.

Jack starts to head for the door.

Jack: Just gotta leave. No one knows he’s dead, it’ll give you a head start if you leave no-

The lights turn on stage left as the landlord knocks at the door. He is wearing jeans and a white undershirt stained with beer and other liquids.

Landlord: C’mon Jack, you knew this day was comin’, now let me in.

Jack (whisper): Shit!

The landlord keeps knocking. Jack scrambles around the apartment, looking for something.

Jack: Uhh… you can’t come in right now.

Landlord: Oh yeah, and why not?

Jack: Because I… because… I’m naked. I’m completely naked in here and I don’t want you to see my balls.

Landlord: Then put on some fucking pants! Look, one way or another, I’m getting what’s mine. And I don’t care if I see what sorry excuse you have for a dick to get it.

Jack: Uh… I… I…

Landlord: You said you’d have it by today. And now it is today. So pay up!

Jack quickly checks the pockets of the dead body and is surprised to find a wallet inside, brimming with cash. He takes five of the countless bills out before heading to the door, which he opens ajar and locked.

Jack: Here you are. Five hundred. Right on time.

The landlord takes the money from Jack’s hands. He counts it.

Landlord: Well, I’m surprised Jack. You paid the rent on time for once. The way you were acting, I thought you didn’t have it at all.

Jack: Yeah, well. I told you, I wasn’t wearing anything.

Landlord: Yeah, that you did. Say, who’s that?

The landlord points towards the body. Jack turns his head to look at the table.

Jack: Who’s who?

Landlord: The little guy, at the table.

Jack: Him? Oh! Him! He’s uhm… he’s my nephew.

Landlord: Your… nephew?

Jack: Yeah, Yeah! My nephew.

Landlord: Huh. Funny. Never knew you had family.

Jack: Yeah, well. Sometimes people just pop out of nowhere and… you know.

Landlord: Yeah, I suppose. I mean. He looks a bit too… rich to be related to you.

Jack: Well…

Landlord: I bet he paid for the rent himself.

The landlord laughs at his own joke. Jack tries to as well, but can’t make it convincing.

Landlord: You know, I think I might have seen him before. You know, on television or something. Mind if I come in to get an autograph?

Jack: What! No! No, no, no. He wore himself out last night and has been sleeping for a while now.

Landlord: Oh, all right. It’s funny you know.

Jack: What?

Landlord: Well, it’s mighty strange you walking around naked when a minor is present.

Jack: Uh…

Landlord: Now, don’t get your panties into a twist. I won’t tell anyone. Besides, not even the worst thing done on your floor.

The landlord leaves in a cruel laugh and the lights on stage left turn off.

Jack: Well you’ve done it now Jack. You have done it now. Not only do you have a dead body on your hands that ain’t worth shit, but now your landlord knows he’s here and is probably gonna blackmail ya for bein a… FUCK! How can it get any worse?

Jack’s phone begins to ring. The lights on stage right turn on to reveal a woman wearing sunglasses and a plain yellow dress, Anna, waiting for Jack to pick up.

Jack: Well, when it rains, it pisses.

Jack takes a deep breath before answering the phone.

Jack: Hello?

Anna: Jack? It’s Anna. Listen we’ve gotta talk.

Jack: Can it wait? I’m in the middle of something.

Anna: It’s important.

Jack: Sigh. Fine, what is it?

Anna: I just got a call from a woman named Lucy a few minutes ago and she said-

Jack freezes at the mention of the name “Lucy”.

Jack: Sorry, di- did you say “Lucy”?

Anna: Yes, and she said that the two of you were having an affair with each other. Now I want to know the truth.

Jack: The t-truth? Well, you see… It’s obvious what the truth is.

Anna: It is?

Jack: Well, of course it is my little Nyotaimori. Obviously she’s lying to you. I mean, I don’t have to tell you what you clearly already know. I mean, did you honestly believe that I would do something like that?

Anna: Well no, but-

Jack: But nothing. Now don’t you worry your little pretty head about it, it’s nothing.

Anna: …So who’s Lucy?

Jack: Wh- what do you mean?

Anna: Well, it’s just that you seemed to recognize her when I said her name, so she must be someone you know.

Jack: Ah, well, er, you see… she’s-

Lucy knocks at the door. She is dressed in a stunning black dress worn only in noir movies.

Lucy: Jack, I know you’re in there.

Jack: I’ll… I’ll call you back.

Anna: No, don’t you hang up on-

The lights go out on stage right. Jack sits down on the floor, leaning against the door.

Jack: Leave me alone Lucy. This is too theatrical even for your bullshit.

Lucy: Now, is that anyway to talk to your-

Jack: I don’t care what you were, just leave. Leave me and my wife be. If there is anything of the Lucy I knew left inside your cunt of a heart, you’ll let us be.

Lucy: She’s still here. And she’s better off without you.

Jack: I did nothing wrong. You were the one who went all crazy bitch on me.

Lucy: Oh, is that so? Is that how you remember it?

Jack: That’s what happened.

Lucy: Well then, I’m sure you wont mind me telling Anna what happened between us.

Jack: Now there you go being a crazy again. She uh, she doesn’t need to know about that.

As Lucy talks, Jack heads to the table and picks up the knife.

Lucy: Why? I mean if it was just me becoming a crazy bitch, then you have nothing to hide.

Jack: …Fine, I’ll open the door for you.

Lucy: If it’s all the same to you, I’ll stay outside.

Lucy calls Anna. The lights above stage right turn on, showing Anna picking up the phone. Jack is pacing back and forth, fuming.

Anna: Hello?

Lucy: Hi Anna, it’s Lucy. Now, don’t hang up!

Anna: I wasn’t going to. I want to know what the hell is going, and if that means I have to hear it from the harlot who’s killing my marriage, then so be it.

Lucy: Now that’s the thing. See, I think you misunderstood what I told you on the phone last night. I wasn’t having an affair with him. You were.

Beat.

Anna: Wh- what?

Lucy: You see I’m his wife.

Jack (muttering to self):  You were until you became a crazy bitch.

Lucy: Or at least I was. For a few years at least. And then one day he disappeared.

Jack (to self): Yeah, because you couldn’t handle who I am.

Lucy: At first, I was distraught. I was heartbroken, miserable, and all those other emotions you’re supposed to feel when somebody you love leaves you.

Jack (to self): I bet you were. One of the few things you did right in life.

Lucy: And then, one day, I thought about him really hard and I realized something. He never loved me. He just wanted something I wasn’t. Something I could never be.

Jack (to self): A loving wife.

Lucy: A doll he could dress up and use however he wanted. And when he didn’t get his way… you know what he’s like when he gets mad.

Anna takes off her sunglasses, revealing a black eye.

Lucy: Even the smallest thing would make him mad. But I don’t think I have to tell you that.

Jack (to self): She has to know her place.

Anna: I- I had to know my place.

Lucy: Really, for what? What did you do that was not your “place” to do? Make a small laugh? Burn his sandwich? Breathe at the wrong moment?

Anna: I- I- I-

Jack puts down the knife and dials Anna’s number.

Lucy: It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do. What matters is what he did to you.

Jack: Pick up.

Anna: Why do you care? It sounds like your experience with him was as bad as mine.

Lucy: Now that’s true. Truth is I wouldn’t have cared the least if he never returned to my life. I have a good life. He could have died in a ditch for all I cared. And then one day, when I was looking at one of my bank accounts, I noticed some of the cash was missing.

Jack: Pick up you stupid cow.

Lucy: Naturally, I hired someone to look into the matter and it turned out that my missing husband was using our shared account to pay for an apartment I never knew he had. Further investigation revealed your situation and I just couldn’t let him do what he did to me to someone else ever again. And so I called you.

Jack: WHY WON’T YOU PICK UP THE PHONE YOU STUPID BITCH!

Anna: Was that him?

Lucy: Yes. I’m outside the apartment he’s paying for with my money.

Anna: What if he tries to kill you?

Jack: I’M GONNA KILL YOU!

Jack reaches for the knife.

Lucy (to both Anna and Jack): Don’t worry, if he tries to kill me, the PI I hired will call the police and he won’t be able to hurt you ever again.

Jack: Fuck!

Jack slams his fist on the table.

Lucy: Listen, I know this is a lot to take in.

Anna: …Yeah…

Lucy: I can come over if you want.

Anna pulls out a straight razor from her pocket and looks at it longingly.

Anna: No, no. It’s fine. Take care of yourself Lucy. I’ll take care of my own.

The lights go out stage right.

Lucy: Shit. I know that tone.

Lucy calls someone else. Lucy starts to run off stage.

Lucy: Jake, it’s Lucy. I think the Anna woman is gonna kill hers-

Lights go out stage left.

Jack: Sigh. Women, you know. They all become crazy bitches sooner or later if you don’t teach them their place. I mean it’s not my fault they end up like that. Still, at least that solves the Anna problem. Now I just have to deal with this fucking corpse.

The lights turn on stage left as the landlord knocks again.

Landlord: Jack? Jack, it’s your landlord. I just realized something. I know where I saw the kid before.

Jack grabs the knife and heads to the door, hiding it behind his back. He heads for the door and opens it ajar and locked.

Jack: Re- really, where?

Landlord: Well, I was watching the television when I saw this woman run down the stairs. I was going to say hello to her, but she brushed me off. “What a bitch,” I thought.

Jack (to self): If it was her, then yes. She is a bitch.

Landlord: What was that?

Jack: Mh? No- n- nothing. Nothing at all. What does this have to do with my cousin?

Landlord: Well… well I was watching her leave, and then it suddenly hit me.

Pause. Jack motions the landlord to continue his thought.

Jack: Well…

Landlord: The kid in your room looks exactly like that kid who went missing a few days back. You know, the rich one. What was his name? You know right, the news won’t shut up about him.

Jack: I uh, I don’t have a TV.

Landlord: Well, he looks just like him.

Jack: I don’t know what you’re tall- talking about.

Landlord: Well, my point is if that’s the kid, then we might get rich off of him.

Jack: W- we?

Landlord: Yeah, the family is swimming in the stuff, so why not get some cash off of him.

Jack: Well I uh, I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the same kid.

Landlord: You sure? Maybe I could come in and-

Jack: I’m sure! I’m sure. Be- besides, he doesn’t even look like him.

Landlord: And how would you know that?

Jack: W- what?

Landlord: You just said you have no idea who he is, on account of you not having a TV. So how do you know what he looks like?

Jack: Well, you see ah… I-

Landlord: You can quit treating me like an idiot; I know he’s in there.

Jack: Wh- What!?!?

Landlord: You aren’t as good a liar as you think. You were too sloppy in your lies.

Jack: What the hell are you talking ab- bout?

Landlord: Let’s see, to start with, your clothes are too neat to be put on in the slapdash you tried to sell me on, you never pay the rent on time and when you do it’s never in cash, you aren’t the kind of fellow with the predilection towards the younger gentlemen, and you said he was your cousin.

Jack: Ye- yeah, so?

Landlord: Well, earlier you said he was your nephew.

Jack (to self): Shit-staining fuckballs of fucking cuntweasles!

Landlord: Now this can go one of two ways. One is I call the police and they take you and my meal ticket away. Option two, and the one I prefer, you let me in, I take the kid off your hands, and I get all of the money. Sound good?

Pause. Jack closes the door, and then unlocks it before opening it again.

Landlord: Smart move.

The landlord walks into the room and towards the corpse. Jack locks the door and then shadows his landlord. The lights turn off stage left.

Landlord: Now this sort of operation, I never saw you as the kind to do it. How did you get the little brat anyways?

Jack: Worked for his family as a gardener for a year or two. We got on pretty well, like a pair of thieves. I convinced him to run away with me. I told him it would be a little joke between us against his parents.

Landlord: And it worked?

Jack: Course it worked. Kids like him love to torture people. Especially those they feel wronged them. Something we shared, you know?

Landlord: Yeah, yeah, save me your sob story. Now c’mon kid, we’re leaving.

The landlord tries to shake the kid awake.

Landlord: I said, “We’re leaving”.

The corpse does not respond. The landlord checks his pulse.

Landlord: This kid’s dead.

Jack: Yes.

Jack stabs the landlord in the back.

Jack: Yes he is.

The landlord falls to his knees.

Landlord: You stupid-

Jack: No. I AM NOT

Jack continues to stab his landlord. Over and over and over and over again.

Jack: STUPID! I AM NOT WEAK! I AM NOT IMPOTENT! I AM NOT SUBMISSIVE! I AM BLAMELESS! I AM YOUR BETTER! I! AM! A! MAN!

Jacks speech devolves into incoherent yells as he keeps stabbing and stabbing and stabbing and stabbing his landlord. Eventually he stops. And when he does, he pulls out his phone and calls Anna. The lights on stage right turn on, showing Lucy consoling Anna. We do not hear their dialogue. The phone rings once.

Jack: Pick up.

Anna goes to pick up the phone, but Lucy stops her. The phone rings a second time.

Jack: Pick up.

Anna’s body language is one of someone feeling a righteous anger whereas Lucy’s is one of someone who has been through righteous anger and knows that it doesn’t always help. The phone rings a third time.

Jack: Please pick up.

Lucy lets Anna do what she will. Anna decides to let the message go right to voice mail.

Automated Voice Message (off stage): This is an automated voice message. The number you have dialed, “5” “5” “5” “1” “1” “2” “3” “6” “3” “1”, is not available. At the tone, please record a message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up or press 1 for more options.

A tone is heard. Anna and Lucy listen to the message.

Jack: Hello Anna, it’s me. Listen, I know what she’s trying to tell you. I know what she’s doing. She’s done this before and she will do it again. This woman you’re with. She’s crazy. She thinks we’re still married. I, I divorced her years ago. She’s not well. She went to a loony bin for a few years and I… I couldn’t be with her. She was nuts, raving about how I was responsible for everything wrong with her life when I did nothing wrong.

Pause.

Jack: I know you don’t want to believe what she’s saying, so don’t. It’s all lies. It’s clear to everyone that it’s lies. Only an idiot would believe her lies, and I know you’re not stupid. No one, and I mean no one my little Nyotaimori, as beautiful as you could be that stupid.

Pause.

Jack: Look, I know you’re mad, so be mad at her. Fight her influence. Fight her lies. Get out of there. Better yet, I’ll come and save you from her.

Anna heads for the phone and picks it up.

Jack: Anna? I-

Anna: Fuck. You.

Anna hangs up the phone. The lights go out on stage right. At this point in the play, there should be barely enough room for Jack to walk around in the center of the stage. Probably enough room for him to walk around the table and that’s it. Jack thinks Anna hasn’t hung up on him and talks into the phone.

Jack: Yeah? Well fuck you to, you fucking whore! I hope you both get fucked by that pi bastard and kill yourselves! You know what, don’t! The “good life” you think you have, HA! That’s nothing but a fantasy! YOUR LIVES ARE MISERABLE WITHOUT ME! I GIVE YOU SOLLACE! I PROVIDE YOU HOPE, JOY, AND LOVE! I AM THE BEST FUCKING SEX YOU HAVE EVER HAD IN YOUR ENTIRE LIVES AND YOU’LL COME CRAWLING BACK TO ME WHEN YOU REALISE THAT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THERE FOR YOU! YOU LOVE ME! WHO WOULDN’T LOVE ME, I’M ME! I’M THE BEST FUCKING HUMAN WHO EVER LIVED AND IT IS A FUCKING PRIVLEDGE TO BE TAUGHT HOW TO BE A WOMAN BY ME! AND YOU KNOW IT! EVEN WHEN YOU PRETEND TO SCREAM “NO! PLEASE, STOP! YOU’RE HURTING ME! PLEASE! NO! NO!” I CAN SEE IN YOUR EYES THAT YOU LOVE EVERY SECOND I HIT YOU! EVERY HOUR I FUCK YOU! But I guess, I guess you can’t fix something that’s as broken and crazy as you two bitches are. Ah well, no matter. There are countless women out there- real women- who know what it means to be a woman. Who knows when to be silent and when to speak. I don’t ask for perfection, far from it. But you just can’t accept that sometimes you need to be roughed up to know your place. Every woman needs that once in a while. Or they end up like you. So enjoy your “GOOD” life. I’ll be enjoying my brilliant li-

Bob knocks at the door.

Bob: Jack, open up. It’s time.

Jack hangs up the phone.

Jack (to self): Fuck.

Jack takes a deep breath. Bob knocks on the door.

Jack: I- I’m coming, I’m coming. But I’ve gotta warn you-

Jack opens the door to let Bob in.

Bob: What the fuck happened?

Jack: Uhm… yeah… that.

Bob: What the fuck did you do?

Jack: Funny story, you see-

Bob: No.

Jack: What?

Bob: No, this is not a funny story. This is the exact opposite of a funny story. We have a dead kid on our hands. How do you see this as a funny story?

Jack: Well, it’s just a figure of speech.

Bob enters the room, causing the lights to go off stage left.

Bob: I don’t care if it’s a figure of speech or not, it’s not funny.

Jack: Ok. Ok. Jeez.

Bob: Now, I want you to tell me exactly. What. Happened. Here?

Jack: Well, you see ah… this guy, right here.

Jack points at the landlord’s corpse.

Jack: He is… well was, my landlord. Now this morning he came inside to get the rent, as he is wont to do. Naturally he saw the kid.

Bob: You didn’t try to hide him?

Jack: Where? Inside my secret hiding place?

Bob: I mean, somewhere that couldn’t be linked to you or me, like a hotel or something.

Pause.

Jack: Well, I didn’t think of that, ok. Be- besides, a kid this big going missing must be on national news.

Bob: I suppose…

Jack: Right. I’m right. Of course I’m right. I did nothing wrong. Anyways, he saw the kid. At first, the bastard didn’t recognize the boy; I passed him off as my nephew.

Bob: Isn’t your sister dead?

Jack: The landlord didn’t know that. So he thinks he’s my nephew and thinks nothing of it. Then a few hours later, he comes back. He’s figured out who the kid was and then tried to take him.

Bob: I’m still not seeing how the kid died.

Jack: Yes, well… the uh, the moron tried to knock him out. You know like in the movies where the hero puts the baddies in a chokehold until they pass out. But I walked in at the wrong time, and he turns to see me and accidentally… accidentally…

Bob snaps his fingers.

Jack: Yeah. That. And then I had to f- fight him off with only a knife. I stabbed him and stabbed him… and then you showed up… I did nothing wrong. It’s not my fault.

Bob: I could hear you shouting from downstairs.

Jack: Yeah, I do tend to shout when I’m angry… I should never have left the kid alone where someone like him could show up. But aside from that, I did nothing wrong.

Bob: Unbelievable…

Jack: Yeah, it’s kind of nuts when you stop and-

Bob: No, I mean do you honestly think I’d believe that tripe?

Jack: What? W- what are you saying?

Bob: I’m saying you’re full of shit. You killed the little kid didn’t you?

Jack: I don’t have the sl- li- i- ightest idea what the fuck you think is going on but I di- didn’t fucking-

Bob pulls out a gun.

Bob: Didn’t you!

Jack: No, no I did not kill the fucking kid. If I killed the kid, then you would kill me. Now wh- why wou- would I r- r- risk something like that?

Bob: Because you’re stupid. You think you can talk your way out of anything when the fact of the matter is you can’t. And so you spin this stupid lie to cover up your own failures. I bet you even believe none of this was your fault.

Jack: I am not STUPID!

Jack lunges at Bob with the knife, but Bob shoots him in the leg. Jack falls, crashing into the table.

Jack: GAH! FUCKING BALLS OF FUCKING DICKS!

Bob: See, Stupid. Anger only makes you stupider. Now tell me the truth: did you kill the kid?

Jack: YES YOU FUCKING LUMOX-

Bob shoots Jack in the other leg.

Bob: Next question. Does anyone else know about the dead kid?

Jack: JUS… JUST MY EX WIFE!

Bob: Which one?

Jack: LU- LU- LUCY!

Bob: …eh, No she doesn’t.

Jack: IT’S TRUE, I SWEAR TO-

Bob shoots Jack in gut.

Bob: Besides, if she did know, she would have told me before I even got her. Lady has a flare for the dramatic. I suppose that’s what I liked about her... No one else knows, do they?

Jack: …NO!

Bob: Good to know. Now where are the keys?

Jack: OUTSIDE UNDER THE MAT.

Bob: Hmm… alrighty then.

Bob puts the gun down next to Jack and starts to leave.

Bob: If you know what’s good for you, you won’t fire that gun.

Jack snatches the gun and fires. The gun clicks as he pulls the trigger.

Bob: See. If you didn’t fire, I’d have called an ambulance.

Jack: PLEase, caLL me AN AmBuLanCE!

Pause.

Bob: You’re an ambulance.

Jack’s screams of pain become pleadingly incoherent. Bob leaves the room via the door. The light turns on stage left as Bob looks underneath the mat to find a key there.

Bob (to self): Huh. So he wasn’t lying.

Bob locks the door and Jacks screams become inaudible to the audience. At this point the center area should be the smallest part of the stage, fitting only the table and the three bodies within. A woman, Lola, walks up to the room. As the two talk, the light in the center begins to burn out until there is no more light in there.

Lola: Excuse me but, is this your room?

Bob: Uh, no. No it’s not. Used to be a friend of mine’s though.

Lola: Oh, what happened to him? Is he dead or something?

Bob: Oh no, he’s not dead. We’re just no longer friends anymore. We had an argument over money. Why did you want to go into the room?

Lola: Well, they was a lot of noise coming from the room. Sounded like they had the TV on too loud. I tried to talk to the Landlord about it, but I couldn’t find him anywhere.

Bob: Well near as I can tell, it sounds like someone came before you, as it isn’t as loud as before.

Lola: I guess not. Sounded like a rather violent and cruel movie.

Bob: Not your cup of tea?

Lola: No, yours?

Bob: God no. Those movies always make me feel unclean after watching them.

Lola: I know it’s like we’re watching a snuff film or something.

Bob: And that’s not even getting into the characters.

Lola: Yeah, they’re all assholes.

Bob: And not even interesting ones. They just want to be mean and cruel to everyone around them.

Lola: That’s pretty much most of the assholes I’ve known in my life in a nutshell.

Bob: Yeah, real life tends to be less creative than fiction.

Lola: Preaching to the choir…

Bob: Oh, um, Bob.

Bob reaches out to shake Lola’s hand, which she accepts.

Lola: Lola. Yeah, life tends to be a bit crap in terms of creativity.

Bob: And yet… there are moments when it gets brilliant.

Lola: I guess. I mean, nature does have its charm.

Bob: As do other things, like animals, planets, stars-

Lola: People?

Bob: On occasion, I suppose. We tend to revel in the mud of banal cruelty rather than rise up and touch the stars of the infinite beauty.

Lola: Is that a quote from somewhere?

Bob: Probably, though I can’t remember where I heard it.

Lola: Sounds like it’s from a science fiction story. Like when the hero faces off against the alien gods testing him and they view humans as a savage race.

Bob: Eh, that’s honestly not my taste in Sci-Fi. I like stories about the people in the Sci-Fi world over just reveling in the science.

Lola: I suppose, those stories are a bit too pulpy for my tastes. And not even the fun pulp that goes full camp like Flash Gordon.

Bob: I loved that movie as a kid.

Lola: So did I.

Pause.

Lola: Say, I hear that they’re playing it at the Majestic next week as part of some “Bring Back the 80’s” event. You want to come with?

Bob: I don’t know; I’d hate to impose on you.

Lola: What? No, no, no. It wouldn’t be any problem. Besides, I’d feel a bit wierded out going to see a movie there all by myself.

Bob: Why?

Lola: Well, I used to date the person who runs the theater and we didn’t end on good terms.

Bob: What happened?

Lola: I don’t want to talk about it.

Bob: Fair enough, not my business less you want it to be.

Lola: Thanks.

Pause.

Bob: Do you want to get some coffee and talk about other movies?

Lola: Sure, but don’t you have to see that not-friend of yours?

Bob: Nah, I don’t think he’s in there anymore.

Lola: I think I know the guy who lived in there.

Bob: Really?

Lola: Yeah, bit of a creeper, I could have sworn I saw him follow my neighbor into the bathroom last week.

Bob: What happened?

Lola: I don’t know, but there were a lot of screams. Haven’t seen him since.

Bob: The neighbor or…

Lola: Both. But the strangest part was when I went to the bathroom again it was clean. As if it had never been dirty before.

Bob: That doesn’t sound like my friend.

Lola: Oh?

Bob: Yeah, guy was a slob. He’d never clean anything in his life. And when he tried to, it always became messier than before he tried to clean it.

Lola: Sounds like you don’t care for the guy.

Bob: Well it’s not like that, it’s just…

Lola: Bit too close to the break up?

Bob: The way you say it makes it sound like we were in a relationship.

Lola: Well, I suppose a friendship is a form of relationship. They both require giving an aspect of yourself to another person. It’s just a question of how much.

Bob: Now that sounds like it’s from a book.

Lola: Only the one that exists in my head. If only I could make it… sensible.

Bob: How do you mean?

Lola: Well, I’ve got most of it written out, all the character beats work, and the plot makes sense.

Bob: But…

Lola: But it’s the ending.

Bob: Don’t know where it’s going?

Lola: Quite the opposite actually, I know where it’s going and how they got there. I just don’t know where to stop. Whenever I get to a point where it could stop, I just… it just doesn’t feel right, you know?

Bob: Yeah, endings are rough.

Lola: Tell me about it. Right now, I’m afraid it’s going to be 1/3rd ending with it going on and on until it gets so far away from the original narrative and starts talking about the nature of endings.

Bob: Well, to be fair, the nature of endings is quite interesting, for instance-

Lola: Stop, or I’m gonna hit you with my shoe.

Bob: But you’re wearing slippers.

Lola: And?
Pause

Lola: (Sigh) Besides, that’s not even the difficult part. The hard part is trying to get rid of the presence of Frank.

Bob: Frank?

Lola: My main antagonist. I wrote this hateful, mean, cruel character. The kind of dull asshole that would appear in the movies they were watching.

Lola points to the door.

Lola: But even after the goodies defeated him, his presence is still in there. Like a candle that wont go out.

The lights in the center stage start to flicker, but remains on.

Bob: Well, my best recommendation would be to just do whatever he diametrically apposes. Reject his worldview and all that. Works wonders for most stories.

Lola: So, make the ending a postmodernist romance?

Bob: Yeah, pretty much.

Lola: I suppose that might work. Thanks Bob.

The lights go out in center stage.

Bob: Not a problem Lola. It was good talking to you.

Lola: Nice talking to you to.

They shake hands. And then they begin to walk off stage.

Bob: Say, this might be presumptuous and all, but could I have your phone number? For the movie.

Lola: Ah, yes, right: (italics are sung) Savior of the Universe. Sure it’s-

The lights go out, the play ends.

12/1/15-12/8/15
Better than None
One of two one act plays I had to write for my playwriting course.
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deathchrist2000
sean j. dillon
Artist | Student | Literature
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:icona-b-elle:
A-B-elle Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heya Sean! Thank ya for that fav!
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Entropician Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2016  Professional General Artist
it's a lot of time from your last fav, but I can't forget that face in the profile panel ahah, thanks for the fav!^^
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LitheKay Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2016  New Deviant Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the favorite! I appreciate it.
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SmudgeThistle Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist
Thank you very much for the favourite on my drawing of the Fourth Doctor, "There's No Point In Being Grown Up"! :D
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HarlequiNQB Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for the new faves :)
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Shono Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Professional General Artist
Catty Clan Girls by Shono  

Just like what WarAngel said: Thanks for the faves!


If you enjoy my comics, you can read the latest issue at shadowsofoblivion.com

If you’re not interested, that’s cool too, I really appreciate the faves and the support!


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SmudgeThistle Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2016  Hobbyist
Thank you very much for the favourite on my drawing of Matt and Foggy! :D
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Nocturius Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016  Student General Artist
Thanks for the fav and happy new year!^^
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splaty Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave! :wave:
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splaty Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for yet another fave my friend, your interest is apreciated! :wave:
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Mad42Sam Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2015   Digital Artist
Thank you for the fav :tardgrinn: 
Hell Bent by Mad42Sam
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migascar Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav
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Barbarian-J Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Glad you liked that pastel of Greebo, Sean. 
Thanks for the fav ... ;)
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SmudgeThistle Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2015  Hobbyist
Thank you very much for the favourite on my Batman art! :D
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Megadji Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey thanks for the favourite :)
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eoinflannery Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2015  Student Filmographer
Thanks for the favourite :)
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ChalkTwins Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for the :+fav:! :D
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:iconsplaty:
splaty Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave! :wave:
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:iconnocturius:
Nocturius Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanks for the fav! ... again wink rasp 
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:iconnocturius:
Nocturius Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanks for the fav!/Merci pour le fav!
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:iconmadwit:
Madwit Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you for the Llama...an important part of life 
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:iconharlequinqb:
HarlequiNQB Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, as always, for all the faves :)
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:iconsplaty:
splaty Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave! :wave:
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:iconsmudgethistle:
SmudgeThistle Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Hobbyist
Thank you very much for the favourite on "Just Harry"! :D
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:iconka-ren:
Ka-ren Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015
Thank you for the fav )
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