TwentySomethings- A Play
Though this website is primarily for blogging and essay writing, I also thought I’d post my full-length play. Please feel free to read it and share it, but please do not produce it without permission or replicate it without attribution. If you wish to contact me, please comment and leave your email below. Thanks.
A video recording was made of its original cast performance at the London School of Economics (LSE) in March 2013.
Read a review of the LSE production of TwentySomethings!
By Luca Winer
Note: Anobaith is in every scene, even those in which she doesn’t talk, lingering in the background as waiter, janitor, office worker etc, or simply leaning on the wall watching. But she is there!
Jamie Cullum’s ‘Twenty-something’ plays between scenes when appropriate.
A woman is on stage in the dark, sitting on a straight stool. No lights are on, and the audience can’t see her, except maybe a silhouette.
Anobaith (pronounced ano-by-ith): You really can straighten out your life when there are no distractions. Just you in a pitch black room, no way out, nothing but you and your thoughts and the dark. After just a few hours you begin to talk out loud to yourself, reassuring display of humanity in a hole. After a day, these thoughts become practical: intricate plots of escape, imagining noises of rescue. The second day crawls, and there is no timepiece to distract you.
On the third day you start to talk and whisper fevered secrets to yourself, dirty little wishings you don’t want anyone, least of all yourself, to know. And yet out they flow, the floodgates of your mind screaming out all the twisty, nasty bits. You are your own Pandora. You learn the nature of all the white slimy things that live inside you.
Fourth day; you reach enlightenment. You are a god. Fifth; you realize that you understand nothing, you are less than human. Sixth day; you begin to imagine your own shadow, praying for Plato’s cave, silhouettes on a cave wall, some glimmer of meaning beyond your own failing sense of self. Seventh; you are the universe, you are the size of the world and of nothing both. Is the body truly needed to house the soul? Eighth day. Ninth.
It is the tenth day; and you begin to laugh.
Fade to black slowly, then an office lunchroom. There are two main visible tables. Anobaith is serving the food in the back, or perhaps clearing the trash; she is in every scene to some small capacity. The closer table has a one bored looking 20 something year old (Jeremy), eating fries, another guy (Daemon) and then a woman (Cathy). The other table in the front of the stage has two women (Brin and Andrea) of approximately the same ages, middling 20s.
Daemon: What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup? Anyone can roast beef!
Brin: The recent telecomm mergers, they won’t amount to anything… that would flout section seven of the Clayton Act pretty severely, and this country hasn’t gone that far right wing.
Jeremy: I don’t get it.
Cathy: Ew. I do.
Jeremy: None of your jokes are funny. Except that one about that Rabbi who walked into the bar with wait, was it a priest? .. no, a nun. A rabbi and nun walk into a bar, no wait, wrong joke…
Cathy: Please just don’t.
Daemon: My jokes, the thing that first attracted you to me…
Cathy: In your dreams, techie-boy.
Andrea: And that’s when Shara found Justine and the techie boy (you know, the strapping Russian dude? Right, him) in the photocopier room! And corporate wonders why this office is losing profit? My own friend flouting the unspoken office rule:
Brin: Never date people you work with. Ever.
Andrea: No… she didn’t invite me! Justine knew I had a thing for the Russian dude for months and months and months!
Brin: You don’t even know his name.
Andrea: It’s hard to pronounce.
Brin: He has been here about four weeks. And isn’t going to last much longer if he continues with this rather disreputable behavior.
Andrea: Ignoring the rules of a 9 to 5. 9 to 5…. Hm, that sounds like it could be an interesting sexual position. Who is the 9? And more importantly what is the 5?
Brin: Have you ever considered the possibility that your sex obsession is unhealthy?
Andrea: Have you ever considered the possibility that your sex repression is unhealthy?
Brin: (pause, dour) Eat your French fries.
Daemon: Now consider those fries that you are messily devouring, J. Each one of those helpless, defenseless fries could have families, brothers and sisters. They could be crying out, right now, don’t eat me, large and fat one!!! And here you are, masticating away, up and down on poor Bobby Fry and his girlfriend Janie Fry. (Jeremy stops, and then more blatantly chews on the French fries) My God! Think of the children!
Cathy: You’re such a little kid. Cm’ere you.
Daemon: A very, very corrupted little kid at best… (They kiss)
Jeremy: Well, what do you know? I’m out of fries. I’ll be right back…
Cathy: Jeremy, don’t go (Daemon begins to kiss her palms, she giggles slightly) We are done! Done, Daemon… cut it out right now! Please don’t go.
Jeremy: I still need more fries.
Cathy: Have some of mine.
Daemon: A grease offering! (Cathy shoots him a look)
Jeremy: K. It’s just that… I mean working here is a great opportunity, and I don’t want to mess up my chances, you know? … and I am not supposed to be here anyway, I have work to do- I mean, aren’t you worried about not fixing your client’s website right now Daemon? And you Cathy, how does it look when you leave 15 minutes early to eat lunch here with us-
Daemon: Its lunch, even Wall Street big wigs eat lunch. We are just average Joes, drinking a cup of joe… (groans from both people at the table) Anyway!Say, isn’t your boss a woman?
Jeremy: Yeah… what’s that got to do with anything?
Daemon: Well, If you get into trouble, you can just turn on the ol’ charm right. Eh? Eh? Give her some of that Jeremy hotness.
Jeremy: Don’t mock me.
Daemon: You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re… tall.
Jeremy: Great. Tall.
Daemon: Besides, you’re ‘sensitive’, right, Cathy, isn’t he? Girls dig that stuff.
Cathy: Absolutely. Jeremy, trust me, you have that geeky sort of cuteness most girls love. You know the type, the ones who say they go for guys in glasses…. You’re a-dork-able.
Andrea: Ooooh, who’s that? Do you know him?
Daemon: A woman is pointing at you Jeremy. See? I told you.
Jeremy and Cathy: Who?
Andrea: Him, right behind you, wearing the blue shirt… is he that new young CEO everyone is fussing about?
Daemon: Her, the one right behind you, wearing the blue shirt.…
Brin: Him? No, goodness no, he is my new temp! What is he doing here, he is supposed to be totaling up the costs for the Mcgraw case! Don’t tell me they gave me another irresponsible slacker!
Jeremy: Her? I don’t know her. Wow.
Andrea: He’s pretty hot.
Jeremy: She was looking at me?
Daemon: Oh yeah.
Jeremy: She kinda looks like Lebreau, you know from Final Fantasy…
Daemon: Jeremy, you’re nerding out on me again.
Brin: Andrea, has anyone ever told you that you are incorrigible?
Andrea: You have mentioned it before, once or twice… a day. And we all know my mother thinks I am a lost cause. She claims to have stopped trying to find a nice doctor from a good family years ago.
Brin: Well, you can look elsewhere. This one works here, and is therefore off limits. But if he doesn’t finish the McGraw case soon that may no longer be true…
Andrea: All I said is that he is sort of cute. Chill, girl.
Jeremy: Wow, what do you kno… Shit!
Andrea: Okay, fine, I’ll stop. But you think he is irresponsible? A bad boy?
Brin: No actually. He seemed a better and more boring temp than most, but now he is here when I explicitly told him to finish the stats before lunch. (glares in his general direction)
Andrea: He’s not your minion and you aren’t his evil overlord. Even temps need to eat.
Jeremy: She’s my boss! The one sitting next to her! Damn it, and she looks mad! I’d better go, I am supposed to be doing this report… aw shit!
Andrea: What’s his name?
Daemon: What’s her name?
Brin: It starts with a ‘J’ I think. He’s only been working here about two weeks.
Jeremy: (gathering stuff frantically, dropping lots trying to leave) Ms. Summers, Brin Summers…
Andrea: And to think, I usually go for innocents in glasses…
Brin: And there he goes- nice boy, bad temp, sans glasses, going, going… gone. I suppose he saw me and fled the scene of his crime.
Andrea: You were doing that… glare of yours.
Brin: This one? (glares in the same distinct way, Andrea shivers)
Andrea: Yeah, that one.
Brin: I’m good.
Daemon: Well, at least now I can help you finish your fries.
Cathy: What ever happened to thinking of the children? Oh, finish them yourself. I have to go too.
Daemon: Our first lunch together in two weeks! We hardly ever see each other anymore.
Cathy: One of us has to plan for our future…
Daemon: “Our future.” Jesus, you sound like a 50s ad for roasting pans. Buy this stainless steel, this painless steal! Invest in tomorrow… today.
Cathy: Coming from the man who had to borrow my saucepan last week because yours ‘broke.’ You don’t even own a saucepan. What would you do without me?
Daemon: Eat TV dinners and drink cheap beer. What a life.
Cathy: Let’s do dinner this Friday. I could use a break then. Oh, and call your mother. She called my home number again in an effort to reach you. It won’t kill you to talk to her for five minutes.
Daemon: It might… She started telling me how she is categorizing her books on tape based on height…. on height!!!
Cathy: I’m going now…
Daemon: But sweetie…
Cathy: Don’t you dare try to seduce me into getting your way again, Daemon.
Daemon: (turning on the seduction) Why not, Cathy?
Cathy: Because it works.
Daemon: I could make it worth your while…
Cathy: Don’t I know it. But… no.Dinner. I was saying that I will see you on Friday for dinner.
Daemon: Right m’lady! Seven?
Cathy: Seven it is. Come swing by and pick me up. Love you, Daemon. (Air kiss and starts to leave)
Daemon: Love you too, babe. Seven a’clock! (she is gone)
Brin: And there another one goes. They are dropping like flies, aren’t they?
Andrea: Not nice, girl.
Daemon: You think life is tough as a fry, pal? You have no idea what it is like to juggle the demands of both a job and a girl. All you have to worry about is ketchup. (bites down on French fry, to decapitate it)
Brin: Look how he is eating those French fries!
Andrea: A mini guillotine. Cute.
Brin: Cute? We should call security. We have a toddler on the loose in the cafeteria.
Andrea: Do you know what your problem is, Brin?
Brin: Only one? I am doing better than usual.
Andrea: You don’t respect anyone as your equal. So what if he eats his French fries creatively! They are his fries! You don’t even know him and you assume the worse!
Brin: I know he has mustard on his shirt.
Andrea: We are going to begin step one of treatment. Right now. Come on.
Brin: What are you doing?!?
Andrea: Making you actually meet this person before you judge him wrongly.
Brin: Absolutely not! You do not go up and introduce yourself to random strangers!
Andrea: You glared at the nerdy one and scared him off. I haven’t corrupted someone new in months. This is just like senior year at university all over again. And like at all those parties I dragged you to then, you are going to make chit chat to this one and play my wing woman whether you like it or not.
Brin: You might remember how well that worked in college….
Andrea: Brett was nothing to write home about, but we had a good time… he taught me how to knit mittens and bake baklava.
Brin: He was gay. He wanted to get to ‘know’ that dancer friend of yours a bit better… what was his name?
Andrea: Paul. And Brett was an aberration. Remember Tim?
Brin: Pothead. Complete loser. He rode a unicycle.
Andrea: What’s wrong with unicycles?
Brin: Besides the obvious?
Brin: The cooler than thou hipster who didn’t know his Kant well enough to out argue a six year old.
Andrea: Aw, I thought he was fun. French love poetry and me sealing my letters to him in red wax. What about Sheldon?
Brin: You mean the one who told you his mother wanted him to marry a nice Catholic girl so he broke up with you? The one that did this on your 21st birthday?That Sheldon?
Andrea: Oh right. I forgot about that. It’s amazing what one can block out with crazy amounts of booze.
Brin: Right. So, as to not set you up with yet another dismal failure…
Andrea: Oh no, you don’t get out of this that easily! You have to learn to be less judgmental!
Brin: There is just so much in this world to judge…. (Andrea steers her over to Daemon, who at first is startled and wipes ketchup away from his shirt and then smiles cockily at them)
Daemon: Laaadiiess… to what do I owe the pleasure?
Brin: (filthy look towards Andrea)
Andrea: I’m Andrea, I work in marketing. And, as part of my job, I like to keep up to date on all the new hires here. So I figured I’d come over and say hi. Hi. I wanted to meet your friend too, but he seemed to run off pretty quickly…
Daemon: Yeah, that Jeremy there, he’s one busy dude. I’m Daemon. (he winks at her).
Andrea: Jeremy… nice name. Anyway, I gotta run, but Brin will sit with you and give you a nice welcome, won’t you Brin? (she pushes Brin at Daemon with a ‘troll him for information’ look, and leaves. Slowly.)
Daemon: I’ve actually been working here for several months now….
Brin: Quite. Well, this has been fun, but-
Daemon: Hey, sit down. We haven’t even exchanged pleasantries yet. I’m Daemon Myers… This is where you say your name.
Brin: Brin Summers. (She takes out a bottle of Purell and disinfects the hand that just touched Daemon’s)
Daemon: See? That wasn’t so hard.
Brin: I am sorry, Andrea, she gets these crazy ideas…
Daemon: Want a fry?
Brin: No thank you.
Daemon: It’s Sprite.
Brin: I’ll pass.
Daemon: What about-
Brin: I just ate, and so I do not need anything, thank you!
Daemon: Well, if you are sure… So, what’s zup?
Brin: You have got to be kidding me. Nobody over 15 greets with “what’s up?”
Daemon: ZUP. Not up, it is “what zup!” Then you can add “dawg” or “bro” depending on your personal style. Me, I like it plain and simple, no icing, if you know what I mean.
Brin: No, I don’t know what you mean.
Daemon: So…. are you going?
Brin: Going where?
Daemon: To the official office party next Friday at that tapas bar. Very official. Very tapas.
Brin: I wasn’t planning on attending actually.
Daemon: Delicious Spanish sounding foods….
Brin: I only eat out English.
Daemon: I am home grown Londoner….
Daemon: There is also an open bar….
Brin: I don’t usually drink.
Daemon: I see you as a gin and tonic girl.
Brin: I don’t drink.
Daemon: You come, you don’t drink. Totally fine. Instead you can enjoy feeling superior as you watch others drink and make fools of themselves. It is the intellectual’s favorite pastime.
Brin: I don’t feel superior to others because I don’t drink!
Daemon: But you do feel superior to others most of the time for other reasons.
Brin:) No. I.. um… I… Idiot! (Stalks off, confused and angry)
Daemon: God, do I have a gift! I can inspire the muse in anyone!Though I prefer it when people call me ‘plebe.’(looks at fries) Well, can’t let these go to waste. Must be bold! To boldly go where no man… Good morning. Could I interest you in a save the whales foundation? You see, for every French fry sold, a very worthy person named Daemon Myers gets one pound closer to paying his rent. French fry anyone…. Anyone? Oh here I go again, eating the merchandise.
Scene 2: Office Chair Ballet
There is an office chair on stage right, with Anobaith as a worker drone, on it. She is working, when suddenly, Daemon launches himself from off stage right to propel himself and chair across the stage in a moment of glee. They go off stage left. Then Daemon and the chair emerge again, this time with Daemon sitting in the chair like he is meditating. The chair goes off stage to reemerge again with Daemon on his stomach on the chair. Off stage. He reemerges riding the chair backwards. Off stage, then a crashing noise is heard, and again the chair emerges, this time sans rider to rest center stage. Daemon emerges.
Daemon: Chair 3, Daemon 0. Jesus, and Cathy complains I don’t exercise enough. (He notices Anobaith staring) What? Like you never played with your swively chair. I am just man enough to do it in public. (Anobaith ostensibly goes back to work at her desk). Time for emails, I suppose. Or maybe some more Sudoku? … Hmm… alright hurry up- 67 emails! I ignore them for a few hours and this is what happens. Delete. Delete. Oh, save, I love Phil’s chain emails… what’s he like? What are they like? Oh yeah… Delete… hang, on what’s this? Mr. Myers, it has come to our attention… inappropriate voice mail message… lack of proper decorum… blatant disregard… meeting on Monday to discuss future at the firm… aw shit. C’mon, lady, just because I suggested you don’t look good in pantsuits, there is no need to-
Jeremy: (entering from stage right) Hey, Daemon! Ready to go?
Daemon: Jeremy, when haven’t I been ready to quit this place? Just let me send one quick little email first. I’ll be ready in a second.
Jeremy: Okay. Take your time. I guess I could work for five minutes longer…
Daemon: Just take a break for five minutes or so. It won’t kill you. It’s Friday for god’s sake.
Daemon: I’m working here! Do not disturb.
Andrea and Brin enter.
Andrea: So how did it end?
Brin: Oh you know, the usual. I told her she was a rather idiotic mother, she said some pretty unforgivable things back. So much for our reconciliation.
Andrea: You don’t need her anyway.
BrinI know, I know… it’s just… when I was little, she was always the one that took care of me. Dad was too busy travelling the world, you know? Going to Paris. Stuff like that. I owe her…
Andrea: Nothing. Would it make your feel better to play whose mother is worse? I totally will win. For instance: my mother exorcised me last time we were together. By pouring coconut milk over my head and chanting. She thought that because I like white boys and work in marketing, I was possessed by the devil.
Brin: Did it work?
Andrea: I am currently demon-free. But seriously, beat that story. It took two showers for my hair to stop being sticky and smelling like dessert.
Brin: I do suddenly feel better… And after all, as my therapist reminded me, the divorce was almost 15 years ago now, mom’s last break down ages ago… I don’t care about her enough for her to hurt me anymore. (she coughs heavily, Andrea roots through her bag for a tissue)
Andrea: I know you, like, always have a cold but this is ridiculous! That cough of yours has gotten worse and worse. Go to NHS. Get a flu shot or something. (finds tissue and gives to Brin)
Brin: I’m fine, I’m fine.
Andrea: No wonder you’ve always been crazy for the hand sanitizer. Oh look, cute temp alert. What was his name again… oh, hey, Jeremy!
Jeremy startles, sees Brin, blanches. Tries to look busy.
Jeremy: Uh, hi, um, I was just… getting some IT help from Daem- Mr. Myers here. I’ll be back at my desk in a second.
Andrea: Relax. It’s Friday. It’s almost five. My name is Andrea Lee.
Jeremy: Um, Pleased to meet you. I am Jeremy Veers.
Andrea: Well, Mr. Veers, you are never going to last here if you stress out so much. You should find ways to relax. Right, Brin?
Brin: (sighs) I suppose so. (Andrea nudges her further) You actually accomplished a lot today so try not to worry so much. But keep it up, otherwise I’ll request to have you fired.
Jeremy: Um, well, thank you, Ms. Summers. That means a lot to me.
Brin: Good. (Daemon comes out of his cubicle) Alright, Andrea, I’ll leave you before you make me your enabler again.
Andrea: You’re not going to forgive me for that, will you?
Brin: See you on Monday. (she leaves)
Daemon: Oh no, don’t tell me she left on my account. What a way to hurt a guy’s feelings. (he kisses her hand) Very pleased to more formally make your acquaintance.
Jeremy: Don’t you have a dinner with your girlfriend tonight, Daemon?
Daemon: You don’t have any plans tonight, do you Jer?
Andrea: Really, nothing to do tonight?
Jeremy: I mean, no, I have lots to do, I always… yeah.
Andrea: That’s awesome! I mean, well, I don’t usually do this, but I am watching an old favorite tonight: Casablanca. You know, the romantic one, with Bogart, Bergman (funny voice, imitating), Peter Lorre… If you want, you could come watch it with me.
Daemon: Right up your alley, Jeremy. He is always trying to bore me with old movies.
Jeremy: I don’t know…
Andrea: I make a mean buttered popcorn, and I have at least one or two cold beers in the fridge… somewhere…
Jeremy: Uh… wow, I mean, I love Casablanca, and beer, and uh, popcorn is usually quite… nice.
Daemon: Every time she gets on that plane with Laslo at the end, he sobs like a little girl.
Andrea: Great! Here’s my number. I’ll probably want to start it at about 9:30 or so. See you around, Jeremy. Bye Daemon. (she leaves)
Jeremy: Why must you always flirt with any girl that might possibly be showing any interest in me whatsoever?
Daemon: She needs to know how much better she could be doing.
Jeremy: Now she thinks I am a nerd who never has weekend plans and watches boring movies and cries.
Daemon: Jeremy, you do watch boring movies and cry. She would be correct in assuming that.
Jeremy: Cheers. Let’s just go. I wouldn’t want you to keep Cathy waiting.
Daemon: Right. Cathy. Let’s go. (they leave, Anobaith leaves her cubicle as if she is leaving for the weekend too, and shoves the set offstage)
(There is a dinner table with Cathy and Daemon sitting down. They clearly just finished dinner.)
Daemon: That was delicious. I can see why you wanted to come here.
Cathy: Best chicken tikka masala outside of India.
Daemon: Are you trying to ‘butter me up’ for something?
Cathy: Scout’s honor, I not am trying to pull a fast one.
Daemon: But maybe a quickie? If I am real good?
Cathy: Daemon! I have something kind of important to tell you.
Daemon: You’re really, really late. I mean, really late. When I told you to think of the children earlier this week that was a joke, you know that right?
Cathy: No, no babies. Yet.
Daemon: Let’s hear it then, love. I am thinking it includes chocolate sauce and mood music.
Daemon: Sorry. Sorry. Continue.
Cathy: Well… you know how I have been working at the museum for about a year and a half now? Well, that equals quite a lot of money in the end. More than I needed for rent or anything. So, instead of spending it all, I saved it. A lot of it, actually. Enough that, I would like to find a place of my own. Buy a small house. With you. Live together. I can afford it. It just makes no sense to continue paying rent- that is money down the drain, and we spend so much time at each other’s places anyway I just thought it made sense to move in together. What do you say?
Daemon: How much did you save? Is this really possible?
Cathy: 15,314 pounds.
Daemon: (Pause. Silence.) That’s a lot.
Cathy: I didn’t get the car I wanted, didn’t take the vacations… But you are worth it! Aren’t you thrilled?
Cathy: I already found an estate agent. I want you to meet her. Her name is Linda, and she seems really great. She’s already sent me three emails about possible places we could check out. There is a cute little number with blue trim – two bedrooms – we could make one of them an office. I checked my credit history and yours…
Cathy: And you have credit issues. But your mom approves.
Daemon: You called my mom?
Cathy: Well you once said to me that you wanted to move in and live with me-
Daemon: I did?
Cathy: -and we have been dating for two years now. I just think it is time to start, I don’t know, taking the next step.
Cathy: Honey? Seriously, are you okay? I know this is a big change.
Daemon: Yeah. A big change.
Cathy: But you like change.
Daemon: I do?
Cathy: I am the boring, stable one in the relationship. You, you thrive on change. Change is an adventure. What is living with someone you love if not an adventure?
Daemon: All changes were not created equal.
Cathy: I know. I don’t want to rush you. I just… well, when you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want to start now, that’s all. But I can wait a bit, if you don’t feel the same way.
Daemon: Let’s talk about this later, okay? It was a rough day at work.
Cathy: Alright, I won’t say another word about it till you feel ready.
Daemon: Um, okay. Right. Great.
Cathy: I just want you to know that I love you so much. Like in that children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are? “I’ll eat you up I love you so…” (she kisses him on the cheek)
Daemon: But Daemon said, “No.”… Alright, Cathy, let’s hit the road. Attack of the Body Snatchers won’t watch itself. Waiter? Here, keep the change. All the change.
(Anobaith begins clearing the table as Daemon and Cathy leave. The scene clears away, and then Jeremy is seen outside, breathing into his hands, clearly waiting for something.
Anobaith comes outside, flicks out a cigarette, and starts smoking. She is not dressed for the weather, and is in just shirt sleeves. Brin comes out, looks wildly upset, but trying to repress it, as she talks on a cell phone.
Brin: No, I’m on my way, now. Yes, tonight! I need to know for sure. I need to see it myself. I mean, how can you be sure… you said that it wasn’t too serious… (Jeremy comes out onto the stage as well, also on the phone, not really noticing her. Brin sees him, and instantly composes herself)
Brin: I am sorry, but you will just have to stay late tonight. I will be there in fifteen minutes. (she clicks off her cell phone, nods towards Jeremy who awkwardly waves back, and rapidly walks off the other side of the stage. Jeremy continues to stand at the side of the building and talks on his own phone).
Jeremy: I know, I wish you didn’t have to work late too… maybe I could swing by la… oh. No, totally, I understand, duty calls. Well, maybe sometime later this week then. Sounds good. Have fun… um, see you soon? Bye. (he hangs up the phone).Smooth, Jeremy. Have fun staying overtime and looking at bloody pie charts… way too cold for March. I wish the cab would hurry up.
Anobaith: (Loudly without moving or looking at JEREMY) Hey, bet you a pound the next car that comes around is blue.
Anobaith: The next car that passes. It is going to be a blue Toyota.
Anobaith: Always next time to get it wrong, huh?
Jeremy: Uh, I guess.
Anobaith: I am always right when I guess car colors. It’s a talent I have. (Silence, Jeremy has silent debate on whether to introduce himself). Yep.
Jeremy: Jeremy Veers, by the way. Just thought I should I introduce myself. (he does so and shakes Anobaith’s hand, stands a little closer to him)
Anobaith: Yes, I know you. Who doesn’t?
Jeremy: You know who I am? Wow. I didn’t think anyone knew my name.
Anobaith: Course they do.
Jeremy: Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, what’s your name?
Anobaith: I’m Anobaith.
Anobaith: Close enough.
Anobaith: Just Anobaith.
Anobaith: I’m Welsh.
Jeremy: Even Welsh people have last names…
Anobaith: I am not important enough to get a last name. I do work in the mailroom though. When you can’t find me, that’s where I will be. You can always identify me by my profession.
Jeremy: Well, I work sorta as a secretary here though they call it “administrative intern.” Filing papers, answering phones, easy research, that sort of thing. It’s considered temp work, but I am hoping to get a regular position here and….
Anobaith: Did you know I existed before the start of our conversation?
Jeremy: What? Um, well, no, not exactly. I knew there must be a delivery-person. Um, Sorry?
Anobaith: You can’t technically prove that I existed before you saw me. Or that I actually exist now. You can only know that you exist, can never be sure about anyone else.
Anobaith: Don’t feel bad, that is always what happens to bit players. They are listed in small scrawl on some sheet of paper somewhere that no one truly sees. It does vindicate my theory though.
Jeremy: What theory?
Anobaith: Some people tend to be invisible. Or at least hard to see.
Jeremy: I can see you now.
Anobaith: The cigarette is fake. I have asthma. (Tosses it.) I can’t even be defined by the epithet of “Smoker.”
Jeremy: How people see you seems to be very important to you.
Anobaith: Random person 22 in the white shirt.
Jeremy: You’re not wearing a white shirt….
Anobaith: Quiet, I hear a car. Bet you a pound it is silver?
Jeremy: Okay. (they wait, stare at audience, as they represent the car. Follow it with their eyes, it is silver, Jeremy silently pays up).
Anobaith: You shouldn’t have bet. That was silver, Nissan Sentra, three years ago in make, limited edition because of a design flaw. High roll-over rates. Have you ever heard of someone having a talent like mine? Just to know car colors and occasionally dealer. Cause I know- it isn’t a guess when I call them out.
Jeremy: Uh, there are palm reader ladies and such. I guess they don’t read hubcaps though.
Anobaith: It doesn’t work on trucks though. I get those wrong. Ever heard of that power?
Anobaith: See? Everyone has something special going for them. Mine just happens to be stupid enough to involve Volvos. I have a kinda personal question to ask to you. May I?
Jeremy: I guess. I just might not answer, that’s all.
Anobaith: Have you ever imagined yourself as a dead person? Lying there, in a coffin, your little feet tucked in, your little wrists crossed over your chest, your nails and hair growing when the rest of you had stopped?
Jeremy: That’s bloody morbid.
Anobaith: You are avoiding the question.
Jeremy: No, I can’t say that I have. But here let’s…
Anobaith: There I would lie, thinking of nothing forever. Nothing is one infinite concept, forever the other. Between the two of them, I would be set to think and be nothing for the rest of my life.
Jeremy: You don’t need to, I mean…
Anobaith: You’ve heard of Sigmund Freud?
Jeremy: I want to sleep with my mom, and a cigar is sometimes just a cigar, that sort of thing.
Anobaith: Freud started with sex, Eros, sure, but got to the meat of it all later, with Thanatos. The desire to self-destruct, return to inorganic state from which they came…. And you claim you have never imagined yourself as a corpse.
Jeremy: I haven’t.
Anobaith: Basic psychology says you have.
Jeremy: I haven’t!
Anobaith: No need to get defensive. When was the last time you took a taxi?
Jeremy: This morning. I stayed over at a, um, a ‘friend’s’ house and I missed my bus. Why?
Anobaith: This morning, when you rode in the mini-cab, did you ask the cabby his name?
Anobaith: Did you interact with the cabdriver besides telling him where to go, and to pay the fare?
Jeremy: (Pause). Don’t remember.
Anobaith: (continues as if Jeremy never interrupted) I bet you didn’t. You didn’t do anything besides direct and pay. In even talking about him, we are using his profession “cabby,” cause that is our only way of identifying him from anyone else. And it isn’t your job to give a damn about a random person you met for only an instant. And still… he could die tomorrow in a car crash, you wouldn’t know. I could… no. I couldn’t…. But still… (pats Jeremy clumsily on his arm) I like you, Jer. I am glad we had this talk.
Jeremy: Uh, where are you going?
Anobaith: Back inside to the mailroom. Your taxi is almost here. So, I have to go back to the mailroom.
Jeremy: Annabeth? Are you alright? I mean, a second ago…
Anobaith: Fine, fine. Don’t you worry about me. You don’t even know my last name. You can go guilt free.
Jeremy: Right. It was just a chance encounter.
Anobaith: Fate, serendipity, irony, wyrd, luck, destiny. Bye. (she leaves slowly shoulders hunched)
Jeremy: Don’t do anything stupid! Next time, I will take the cabby out to lunch! God damn it. I just had a great night with this girl I think I might be falling for, my boss told me I should apply for the paralegal position here… and then you come along and selfishly impose yourself upon a stranger. Go ahead, kill yourself. Death instinct, indeed. It’s called stupidity!
Taxi! Taxi? Boy, am I glad you’re finally here. (He goes off stage, you then hear mumbling then) “So, have any kids?”
The night of the office party. A bar, and a table. All the characters except Cathy are on the stage, loud music is blaring. They try to talk over the music. Brin is at the bar, drinking shots, in a slick red dress, Andrea next to her, looking slightly worried, even while looking for Jeremy. Daemon is talking to Jeremy on the other side of the stage, and Anobaith is the bartender.
Brin: This is the best office party I have ever been to!
Andrea: Brin! What is that, your fifth?
Brin: Doesn’t matter. Stop telling me what to do.
Andrea: Slow down. Eat something.
Brin: No! I am tired of that. No, must grab life by the balls!
Andrea: You said ‘balls.’ Is this the rapture?
Brin: I wanna dance! C’mon! Brin pulls Andrea to the dance floor closer to Daemon and Jeremy. The girls start dancing.
Daemon: I am going to go get another one- you want anything?
Jeremy: No, I am good, considering I have to drive us home tonight… can you believe this place? The Corinthian columns alone, do you think that they are Grecian or Persian in design?
Daemon: Dude, you’re nerding out on me again. More beer for both of us it is! (he goes to the bar to get some booze from Anobaith. Jeremy sees Andrea dancing with Brin, and joins them)
Andrea: Well, look at you. And who said white boys can’t dance?
Jeremy: You have no idea. Get a few drinks into me, and I am Michael Jackson. My mother has a video of me when I was eight, busting out his moves in a jumpsuit.
Andrea: You were an eight year old drunk? That explains everything.
Brin: I’m going to get another one. Be back soon. (she wobbles over to the bar where Daemon is still, apparently chatting to the bar tender. Andrea watches her go and then exchanges a significant look with Jeremy.)
Andrea: Want another drink?
Andrea: Want to go home together?
Andrea: You are so cute when you blush. Oh shoot, Brin, I shouldn’t leave her. Maybe, you know, you could drop her off home before coming with me. I don’t know what’s got into her tonight.
They both cross over to the bar to their respective friends, who have apparently been talking a little to each other at the bar. Jeremy pulls Daemon aside as Andrea tries to stop Brin from drinking anymore.
Jeremy: Listen, man. I am thinking of bouncing pretty soon. You ready to go?
Daemon: Nah. I don’t want to hurry home. It’s my first and last office shindig! I want to party! Drink! Carouse!
Jeremy: If you are sure… wait a second, what do you mean it is your last office party here? There is another one next month…
Daemon: Promise not to tell Cathy…
Jeremy: Tell her what?
Daemon: They fired me Monday. I have till the end of the month.
Jeremy: That sucks, man. I’m sorry.
Daemon: No biggie. I am a techie-god. I’ll find a new job. Just don’t tell Cathy.
Jeremy: Uh, sure. I won’t. You’ll tell her soon though, right?
Daemon: Of course. Just not tonight. Tonight, I drink!
Jeremy: You sure you are going to be alright?
Daemon: Sure, I’m sure. Get out of here.
Jeremy: (torn, but clearly wanting to be with Andrea ) Okay. See you then. Tomorrow?
Daemon: Yeah, sure, whatever man.
Andrea: Brin refuses to come, she wants to stay longer. I should stay with her. Looks like it isn’t going to happen tonight…
Jeremy: Hold on a sec, Daemon doesn’t want to go yet either. He could get Brin home. He is dependable.
Andrea: (gives him a look)
Jeremy: Okay, you’re right. He isn’t dependable, but he can call her mini-cab, get her to her apartment. He got me home on more than one occasion when I was a bit pissed.
Andrea: I don’t like to leave her…
Jeremy: Seriously, he owes me. I can even ask him to take the cab with her, escort her to her place, turn her key, and then go home himself. He would do it. She would be perfectly safe.
Andrea: Okay… I guess if she’s fine with that. And Daemon is too, of course… I’ll go ask Brin… God this feels like Freshers all over again. (once more she crosses to Brin and ‘talks’ to her silently in the background)
Jeremy: Daemon, I need you to do me a favor… take Brin Summers home when she wants to leave.
Jeremy: Because Andrea and I want to leave and go home.
Daemon: Ah. Well. Congrats, dude. Go get laid. Leave me here with your frigid boss…
Jeremy: Will you do it?
Daemon: Of course. Bros before hos.
Jeremy: Thanks, Daemon. Be careful, Andrea says she is quite drunk…
Daemon: Yeah, yeah. You kids go have fun. I’ll take care of the drunk girl and then go home to Cathy. Good times.
Andrea: (crosses over from Brin to Jeremy) C’mon. Thanks, Daemon!
(Jeremy and Andrea leave, Brin continues to drink. Then she impulsively grabs Daemon and starts dancing with him, the music gets louder, huge bass beat. The music speeds up faster and faster until it is a blur of sound and then cuts out. The lights, like a strobe light, go out for a second, and then back on, the music gets louder and louder until finally with a crescendo of disharmony, the noise is gone, and the lights slowly come up. Laughter.
Daemon: The party is truly over. They’re breaking down the goddamn bar. (Anobaith, once bartender, plays janitor)
Brin: Don’t you ever wonder why everyone loathes one another?
Daemon: Babe, we need to skedaddle.
Brin: We never actually say what were thinking. The weather. Nice dress. How are the kids? I don’t care about kids! Why do I ask? I should just say whatever comes to my mind. You’re fat, you’re a bore, and I’m outta here. (Pause, and crafty drunk smile). I have a secret sentence I can say that makes everyone want to listen to me and pay attention. The sentence is even true… can you guess what it is?
Daemon: ‘I’ve gone commando?’
Brin: Ha! You are soooo wrong. Guess again. (She almost falls over)
Brin: Thank you. You are a nice for a fake gentleman I guess.
Daemon: Never pretended to be a gentleman. Never have, never will.(Silence for a beat. He helps her up again). Babe…. (she looks at him) Um, I mean, Brin. Everyone fakes a little to get by, that is the way it works, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. Who knows, secret sentence aside, maybe some of the people you think are faking interest are actually sincere. Not me, but somebody, eh?
Brin: Not true. There is no such thing as sincerity these days. You aren’t really happy. It is an illusion, a facade for your fellow men. You are miserable.
Daemon: You saw right through me, babe. I am going to cry in a corner right now and reevaluate my life.
Brin: You are making fun of me.
Daemon: It’s just that I am most seriously thrilled with my life. And I am just as lovable, svelte and utterly hilarious as I appear as well.
Brin: (Calmly, maybe singsong) I don’t believe you.
Daemon: You don’t say?
Brin: I do say, I say… say, what’s your name, again? I know it, I know it, I do, I just am forgetting it this moment somehow.
Daemon: Daemon. We have met before tonight; you don’t like me much.
Brin: I like you now.
Daemon: Babe, hate to break it to you, but you seemed to think I was… what’s the word? Annoying.
Brin I must have been faking then. See?
Daemon: You think you know a person.
Brin: I know! But you never do! You can’t! You just can’t. Trust me, I don’t like myself this way either, my shell hitting your shell, instead of our souls touching. It’s exhausting. But it is safe. I always do play it safe. (Pause) But for some reason, right now, I don’t feel scared-
Daemon: Because you’re so boozed up you’re flammable…
Brin: — Tomorrow, I will go and see where that road goes. I’ll just ride and ride. Tomorrow I will wake up in a strange hotel and feel mysterious and wear scarves. But you know what? Tomorrow is the fakest faker of them all, it hurts you the most because tomorrow never actually comes. People delude themselves, and then, as they are dying, I think they realize in a moment of pure agony: what am I going to do tomorrow? There is no tomorrow… Well, I am not going to let my tombstone read: “Girl Who Lived Vicariously Through Romantic Comedies Starring Sandra Bullock.” I will… get a tattoo that misspells ‘Mother.’ And then get in a fist-fight with the first person who points that out to me.
Daemon: I’ve always wanted to try eating a spider. What?
Brin: Shoplift from Harrods. And then say ‘I’m prettier from the right” when they take my mug shot.
Daemon: We get this baby carriage, and put a large plastic doll in it, you know one of the fancy ones that makes real baby noises. Then we put cherry bombs in that sucker, one with a long fuse, and watch what happens from the park bench when it all goes up in flame!
Brin: Laugh manically as stay-at-home moms scream and run for cover.
Daemon: Smoke some crack with a celebrity or two.
Brin: Storm the parliament building and moon the prime minister!
Daemon: Prank Phone calls to each other’s brokers.
Brin: You probably don’t have a broker.
Daemon: Prank phone calls to each other’s last sexual partner.
Brin: You probably do have one of those.
Daemon: Not just one, no.
Brin: One you love?
Daemon: Depends on my mood.
Brin: I love you. I think.
Daemon: That’s the Jager talking. Or the vodka. Or that shit wine. How much did you even have?
Brin: Nah, it’s love at second sight. I loooove you. I love your laugh. Want it in francais? Je t’adore. (She kisses him, he stands in shock.)
Daemon: Don’t do this, love.
Brin: Okay, so I don’t really love you. I just thought it sounded better than ‘I want you.’ (He tries to pull away) It’s okay, you don’t have to lie to me like you have to lie to everyone else.
Daemon: Brin… I can’t do this, Cathy is waiting, and I just can’t.
Brin: Don’t you realize how rare this is? This acceptance? I don’t want to change who you are… (she tries to kiss him again)
Daemon: What if I need changing….
Brin: I just need you for this one moment, give me this one moment of freedom from myself and my stupid life… (she kisses him again, more aggressively this time, he reluctantly starts kissing her back)
Daemon: I shouldn’t do this. I am not drunk enough to do this…
Brin: You kissed me back.
Daemon: I shouldn’t… (what he was going to say gets lost as she aggressively kisses him again) I… Cathy… ah…. (he can’t help himself, he surrenders to the kiss and they clutch each other) Brin… You’re a fun drunk, Brin.
Brin: (She grabs her purse and begins to teeter to the door. She pauses, waiting for him, still center stage) You coming?
Daemon: Never pretended to be a gentleman… ah what the hell.
(He joins her and they leave. Anobaith then, for the first time, comes to center stage and totally expressionless, looks out after the direction they went.
The lights darken slowly around him as finishes clearing the stage of the past scene. Pieces of clothing, his shirt, her red dress, perhaps a shoe lands on the stage and are softly lit. Anobaith leans on a corner of the stage as Brin reenters, in a male bathrobe and mussed up hair, a smile on her lips. She picks up the articles of clothing throughout the following soliloquy)
Brin: I have never hunted for undies in someone else’s bathrobe before. For that matter, I have never slept with someone I didn’t know the middle name of. Or about five hundred other trivial details that don’t reveal anything about their character whatsoever but somehow I still felt that I needed before sleeping with them in good conscious. Ahh. A shoe. My shoe? Not my shoe… another woman’s shoe… a girlfriend’s shoe. Ah. Oh dear. I am the other woman… I don’t even remember exactly what happened. I remember the drinking. I must have still been drunk. (Pauses, smiling, remembering). Fuck. I guess I do remember it, all of it. Or at least enough to be guilty.
What’s her… right, Cathy. Would she understand if I said, ‘Cathy, I deliberately had sex with your boyfriend cause I needed to feel something?’ But try to see- I was so intoxicated with living and feeling before it’s too late that I did something unforgivable, something that I knew was wrong even as I did it, like eating that huge slice of chocolate cake because you are watching your weight. Unavoidable sin, unavoidable regret.
But you know what? I don’t regret it. The only thing I regret is never having cause for regret. You have years and years, Cathy, to fuck up and fall in love and rinse and repeat. I don’t. I never actually did. So I have to pretend, I have to improvise. I have to steal. So I am sorry, Cathy. I am sorry that your boyfriend cheated on you. But I can’t be sorry that I slept with him. (she finishes collecting her outfit) I am going to go change. (Exeunt Brin, carrying clothes. Cathy’s shoe stands in the center of the stage.)
It is a small living room, with couch. Cathy is standing, pacing. Jeremy is sitting on the couch, head in his hands. They are clearly waiting for something, or someone. Cathy breaks the silence.
Cathy: One last time Jeremy. What he say to you when you left?
Jeremy: That he would be along in a little bit, but he wasn’t ready to leave yet. I swear Cathy, I wouldn’t have left him if I knew he was going to pull a disappearing act afterwards.
Cathy: But you were his ride, right? Why didn’t you wait for him?!?
Jeremy: I told you Cathy. I left with… a friend. And when I asked Daemon he said he didn’t want to go yet, that he would call a taxi….
Cathy: What friend did you leave with, Jeremy? Huh? You don’t have any friends besides me and Daemon… I am sorry, I can’t believe I just said that, of course you have friends, I’m just so angry… he didn’t come home, he is not picking up his mobile, I went by his apartment but no one came to the door when I knocked… I should have gone with you guys to the party, I just really wanted to finish this book I was reading, I get so little time these days for books like I used to read… I didn’t know this would happen… (Starts crying. Jeremy, alarmed, not realizing before quite how bad she was feeling jumps up from the couch and approaches her).
Jeremy: Ohhh! Cathy… it’s going to be okay, I don’t think you have to worry or anything. He probably just drank a little too much and is sleeping it off, okay? I am sure he will be here soon… you’ll feel better once you get some food in you. How about I order a pizza? Would that help? I’m going to order a pizza. That will help. (Goes to phone. You hear him mutter about an extra large veggie, while Cathy tries to compose herself.)
Cathy: When I knocked and he didn’t answer earlier today, I went into the apartment. I have a key, you know, I just almost never have to use it, usually someone is in… but he wasn’t there, and neither was Jason or Mike so I went into his room to check to see if he was sleeping… he wasn’t… but there I saw… I saw… evidence that someone else had been… last night (starts crying again).
Jeremy: (in total shock) Oh my God, you think that… that is crazy, Daemon wouldn’t…
Cathy: You don’t think Daemon has it in him to cheat on me. (Jeremy doesn’t respond to this, he can’t)
Jeremy: He talks about you all the time…
Cathy: If he loves me why was there a used condom on his floor?
Cathy: Don’t defend him! You always defend him! No, I am sorry, I am so sorry, don’t go… I am not angry at you, just at Daemon, but you are here and he isn’t. Oh God, I am not used to this, I never get angry, I never feel sad, what is this, make it all go away… (she collapses on the couch)
Jeremy: It’s okay… I know you almost never get angry. So, I am just going to give you a second to calm down, get back to normal, and I will give him a call myself.
Cathy: No!! Just… hold me for a sec… please? (After a pause, Jeremy moves to the couch and wraps his arms around her, rocks her slightly and smoothes her hair, muttering shhshh).
Cathy: I don’t think I ever told you this before, Jer, but I had a huge crush on you before I met Daemon… must have been about three years ago now… I only went to that party of Jason’s because my roommate at the time told me you would be there… isn’t it funny how life works? If I hadn’t liked you I wouldn’t have met and dated Daemon…
Jeremy: I didn’t know. Attract a good looking girl like you to lose her to my best friend… well, wouldn’t be the first time. I never imagined you could, you know, feel the same way, I mean… you know, it all turns out for the best in the end. After all, if we dated, we wouldn’t be such good friends now. And I wouldn’t be here to comfort you.
Cathy: Oh Jeremy. Someday you will find someone worthy of you.
Jeremy: Actually, Cathy, I, um… well, you’re….That must be the pizza; that was fast. (He gets up and goes to the ‘door’, opens it and Daemon steps on stage)
Daemon: Cathy, I need to… oh, Jeremy. I didn’t know you were here.
Jeremy: Cathy invited me over for dinner when you didn’t call her back. We ordered a pizza… but I should get going, in case you two need to talk about… something.
Daemon: Jeremy, no need to leave man, you are too skinny to skip a meal. Stay to eat the pizzas you ordered.
Cathy: Yes, Jeremy, stay. Why don’t you go to the kitchen and start making a salad. I will join you in a little bit.
Jeremy: Really, Cathy?
Cathy: Yes. I want you here. (Jeremy retreats to the kitchen, refusing to look at Daemon)
Daemon: (forced laugh) What was that all about? Jeremy hitting on you again? I told you Cathy, that boy is irrepressible…
Cathy: Why Daemon? Why did you do it?
Daemon: Do what?
Cathy: Don’t try to bullshit me Daemon. I am tired of it.
Daemon: If this is about not coming to your place last night, I have a perfectly rational explanation…
Cathy: A perfectly rational explanation of why there was a condom on the floor of your apartment. I don’t think such an explanation exists.
Daemon: You have no right to snoop in my apartment.
Cathy: Tell me it was Mike’s or something? Tell me I am wrong?
Daemon: No Cathy, you are right. You’re always right.
Cathy: Why Daemon? Why did you cheat on me? Why? WHY!!?!?
Daemon: Why do you think fucking think, Cathy, huh? Are you really so blind?
Cathy: (clearly unused to swearing, but furious) What? You… ass!
Daemon: A nice piece of ass. That’s me.
Cathy: We need to talk about this!
Daemon: This isn’t an issue of “you snore” or “I hate your mother”: it’s not going to go away by ‘talking’ about it.
Cathy: You slept with someone else, Daemon! Who is she? Who is this slut?
Daemon: No one you know.
Cathy: You owe me!! You owe me an explanation! Tell me who you slept with!
Daemon: Kate Middleton?
Cathy: This is not a joke.
Daemon: (steely and- slowly) Kim Kardassian.
Cathy: You… you … bastard… you… how long? How long? A fling? One night stand? Affair? How long have you been fucking her and lying to me about it?
Daemon: (starts counting on fingers, gets to two ‘middle fingers.’ Cathy gasps.) Guess we aren’t going to settle into that mom and dad and kids and dog sitcom quite yet.
Cathy: You… you… wanted it too. You want to take the next step. You said…
Daemon: No regrets, babe. No regrets.
Cathy: You could have told me how you felt, you could have…
Daemon: You would have just started crying, like you are now…
Cathy: (almost collapsing) You… love me… you did…
Daemon: Not enough, apparently.
(Cathy is just crying now during this, sobbing “How could you? I love you”that sort of thing on the floor. At this point, Jeremy comes back in, no longer able to ignore what is happening in the living room.
Jeremy: (quietly but with a strength that he has not demonstrated up to now) Piss off, Daemon. Just leave.
Daemon: But we’re having so much fun. It gets even better-so this baby seal walks into a club… (Cathy sobs harder).
Jeremy: Piss off!
Daemon: This is really none of your god-damn business.
Jeremy: Really Daemon? Cleaning up your messes is none of my business? I have been doing it for years… the nice friend the girls point to as evidence that you can’t be a complete twat. Enough is enough.
(Jeremy is in between Cathy and Daemon, and he puts his hand on Daemon’s arm to try to push him out the door. Daemon shoves him away, Jeremy explodes and tackles Daemon, pushing him closer to the door. They fall down, and a small scuffle ensues, Daemon is winning but then Jeremy punches Daemon hard across the face. Shocked, he stops fighting, touches his face gingerly and looks at Jeremy.
Daemon: You hit me. You actually hit me.
Jeremy: Just get out. I can’t be your friend right now. You aren’t worth it.
Daemon: Fuck the pair of you!
Jeremy has already turned away and gone to Cathy. Daemon holds his jaw, and stalks off. As he leaves, he passes Anobaith who comes in with a pizza. Cathy and Jeremy ignore her as Jeremy comforts Cathy.
Anobaith snaps her fingers and Jeremy and Cathy stop mid-action, frozen in space. Anobaith snaps one last time and Daemon enters and stands in a spot light in the middle of the stage. Slowly, Jeremy walks off stage, but Cathy reaches for him. Her spotlight goes out and so does she. When Cathy and Jeremy are gone, Anobaith comes up to him and puts a hand on his shoulder.
Anobaith: Despite what you think, you are not even close.
Anobaith: You aren’t in despair yet. You aren’t even close. Things would have to get a whole lot worse.
Daemon: Please… whoever you are… leave me alone…
Anobaith: Despair is losing humanity.
Daemon: Who the fuck are you?
Anobaith: I have no name.
Anobaith: The right question is: what are you?
Daemon: What are you then?
Anobaith: I am your demon, Despair, Daemon.
Daemon: You looking for change or something, love? (rummages through pocket)
Anobaith: If you embrace me, I can save you from the darkness of facing reality.
Daemon: Seriously, love, you aren’t my type. Go embrace someone else.
Anobaith: (reaches over to daemon) Daemon, Daemon…
Daemon: Back off the fuck off- I don’t need someone claiming to be despair chatting me up.
Anobaith: Something. Not someone.
Anobaith: Come now Daemon, we both know your life isn’t so bad that you actually are going to change anything… seven or eight shots of liquor or a joint, a porno flick or two, and you’ll feel right as rain.
Daemon: You don’t know me. If you did, you would know my life is pretty fucking bad right now!
Anobaith: Daemon, I am in the woman who pours your water at restaurants, the desk clerk waving you into the building….
Daemon: Yeah, you are also Heath Effing Ledger and Kurt Cobain and that annoying singer Robyn and Princess Die-Ana and Amy Winehouse. The British Queens of the past and of the future, and don’t forget my ex-girl friend and my ex-best buddy. But, no thanks, I don’t want to feel despair, who would? No offense, love-
Anobaith: -none taken-
Daemon: I don’t try to feel shitty, I just do, okay? I can’t help it, life sucks. (he pouts)
Anobaith: I am the manifestation of your insanity-
Daemon: -that clears up a few things-
Anobaith: And I am offering you a little advice. Laugh.
Anobaith: You are used to laughing at the world. Laugh.
Daemon: Despair is laughter? How fucked up is that….
Anobaith: Perhaps a chuckle, a snort? A small chortle will even do, if you are as close to despair as you pretend.
Daemon: I don’t feel like laughing…
Anobaith: What happened to seeing the humor in everything? You always laugh at the world.
Daemon: Laughter is for- chimps.
Anobaith: So why not use that shallow defense mechanism now? It’s easy- like this. (creepy laughter)
Daemon: Stop doing that! It’s creepy, you’re creepy! (Anobaith keeps on laughing). Fine! You win! I’m not close to despair! Happy now?
Anobaith: I am despair, Daemon. I don’t do ‘happy’. I do hopeless. I do ultimate futility: THOSE are my repertoire.
Daemon: Well, fine. I’m not ultimately futile, whatever the fuck that means. I’m not ultimately anything. Can you leave now?
Anobaith: I’ll leave. I will always be close, watching, but I will leave you alone, if that is what you want. But parting words of advice-
Daemon: Think you’ve said enough, love.
Anobaith: -You aren’t going to change. So… don’t bother trying.
Daemon: So I really fucking appreciate your fucking advice, I can’t tell you. Bye.
Anobaith: Good-bye. Here’s my card. Call me only when you actually are close to despairing next time, don’t waste my time until that happens.
Daemon: There’s no number on this card.
Anobaith: You would never have called it anyway. (Anobaith vanishes into the deepness of upstage).
Daemon: So I went to the zoo the other day. There was only one animal in it, yeah, a dog. It was a shitzu. (Pause for laughter like a standup comedian) Shit. Even, I’m not laughing at that. Fuck it. Cathy and Jeremy can’t be mad at me forever. They don’t have it in them. (he walks off stage. Anobaith comes back into spotlight and looks where Daemon just left stage.)
Anobaith: He doesn’t understand. But he will.
(Off stage a revving car noise is heard, and then a crash of brakes, a crunch of collision, a short scream and sirens, a police officer’s voice is heard, saying “Ma’am? Are you alright? Sir?” and then “We need an ambulance!”)
Anobaith: A Nissan Sentra, discontinued because of a design flaw. High rollover rate, a very dangerous car to drive. It was silver.
(The characters come on stage; they stand in a semi circle, Anobaith in the center, in front of coffin. She then lifts her head, embodying a preacher).
Anobaith: Sometimes in life, tragedy occurs. “Why? Why him? Why now, when we have barely met, barely begun to share a life with each other? I have no balm for this type of sorrow.I cannot tell you why Jeremy Veers was destined to die in a car crash a week ago. I cannot tell you why a car flipped the highway median and killed the young man driving home from work with his girlfriend. I cannot tell you why his girlfriend and the other man were only bruised while Jeremy was killed upon impact. There is no why, no reason beyond luck, fate, wyrd, destiny. I can only tell you that he wouldn’t want us to fall into despair. Jeremy would want us to rejoice in his memory. Amen.
All except Daemon: Amen.
(Anobaith puts down the Bible and then picks up a shovel: she is now the grave filler. She begins to slowly pantomime shoveling dirt upon the grave, she does so for the rest of the scene.)
Cathy: Oh God. Oh God…
Daemon: God had nothing to do with it.
Cathy: Jeremy… (she continues to cry).
Daemon: Oh Cathy….
Cathy: I feel as if I am drowning. Like there will never be enough air again.
Daemon: I know.
Cathy: Oh God… God, my God…
Daemon: Cathy, let’s go. This isn’t doing you any good. Let me take you home.
Cathy: Just hold me please.
Daemon: Okay. I’ll hold you. (He does so, she continues to cry. After a few more moments he begins to lead her away, still holding her and she lets herself be led offstage. Andrea continues to stand there.)
Andrea: I can’t believe he gone.
Brin: He’s dead. At age twenty-four. I’m twenty-five.
Andrea: How am I ever supposed to be whole again after something like this? Something this horrible? I don’t know what to do….
Brin: Live. Be in the moment. And know that this too shall pass.
Andrea: Fuck that. I can’t… I don’t know how. You… I don’t cry. I can’t cry. Crying is unacceptable. Hugging is unacceptable. Saying I love you is unacceptable. So saying goodbye should be easy.
Brin: You aren’t a teenager anymore, having to hide your emotions in front of your parents. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to feel. (almost a realization for herself too) And I am allowed to hug. (Grabs Andrea and pulls her close)
Andrea: I was in that car, I should be dead.
Brin: Andrea, you aren’t supposed to be dead.
Andrea: I’ve been given so much in my life and I give back nothing. It’s like…I have a reverse King-Midas touch. I have been given gold, yet everything I touch turns into… what he is now.
Brin: Oh, honey, it isn’t your fault he is dead.
Andrea: Isn’t it? He’s ash and dust, and I’m still here.
Brin: Let me take you home.
Andrea: You go.
Brin: I shouldn’t leave you alone….
Andrea: Please. (Brin leaves, Andrea stays standing there, alone on the stage except for Anobaith, leaning on his spade. She begins to slowly cry. After a few moments…)
Andrea: You were supposed to be a quick, fun, fuck. We were supposed to use each other like paper coffee cups and then throw each other away. I wasn’t supposed to actually like you. And you weren’t supposed to die. You inconsiderate bastard. (She breaks down into tears and Brin escorts her offstage).
Anobaith then comes to downstage, and sits down, dangling her feet over the edge. It looks like she is waiting for someone. Sure enough, Daemon enters and comes up behind Anobaith.
Anobaith: (without turning to look at Daemon, just keeps dangling his feet) Despite what you may think, you aren’t there yet.
Daemon: I know.
Anobaith: Much closer though. Close enough to begin to understand.
Daemon: What are you? I mean really?
Anobaith: I am your demon, Daemon.
Daemon: Is that why he had to die? So I would understand? Is that why you killed my best friend?
Anobaith: He isn’t supposed to die at all. He is supposed to live.
Daemon: You knew this was going to happen from the beginning! The life I led before, I was lost but I was happy…… that is your point, isn’t it? God damn it, he didn’t have to die for you to prove a point!
Anobaith: I have my small part to play much as everyone here. I am no grand orchestrator of man. That is God’s job, and I am no God. (Long pause as Anobaith waits for Daemon to speak) My job is a necessary one.
Daemon: Is that it?
Anobaith: What am I?
Daemon: (Pauses for a second and the words come out in a tide of complete understanding)The seductive voice whispering for us to curl up and stop fighting. The product of sorrow that has festered. The fear of being worthless, the fear of being unable to do good without doing evil. You are the people who have been swallowed. I finally get it.
Anobaith: He died, so you could live…..
Daemon: Don’t you dare talk about Jeremy!
Anobaith: Believe or not, Daemon, I grieve for him too, in my way…
Daemon: Bring him back to life. I get it, I learned my lesson, I am the fucking reformed Scrooge of this Christmas Carol. Bring him back.
Anobaith: Andrea… she hurts now, but this death has made her realize that she can’t pretend hedonism is the solution to pain… Cathy… cut irrevocably from the picture perfect 50s picket fence life she constructed for herself now must once again question and grow, no longer be old before being young. Brin… well, she knew, even before. I suppose I can’t help her.
Daemon: I understand. No really, I do. We are all twenty somethings, adrift in this world, cast out from university with no fucking clue on how to really manage anything. Some of us drink too much, some of live for sensation, some of us hide from reality by living behind grand ideas and philosophical platitudes. We dance and grind at clubs to skim the edge off of our terror at being young and having too much potential without knowing what to do with it. We are afraid that if we stopped and thought critically about ourselves we would scream or freeze or explode. It’s normal to be this scared and this stupid at this age. You don’t need to kill one of us as a wake-up call to the others. Bring him back.
Anobaith: Before Jeremy’s death, you thought you were lost because you have no job and your friends were angry at you. It was only with his passing that you realized those concerns were petty and you could be and do so much more…
Daemon: So what if it was petty? Life is petty! Guess what? It’s damn better than the alternative! It still has meaning, those little things in life. And caring about them is important, apathy is worse than misplaced passion. Bring him back.
Anobaith: You can’t live life to the fullest if you are happy. Sadness engenders greatness. Creativity springs from pain.
Daemon: I would rather be happy, than be great.
Anobaith: I believe you.
Daemon: Bring him back.
Anobaith: (whispered) What am I?
Daemon: I’m not playing that game anymore. You are alone.
(Daemon stares at Anobaith for a moment and then walks away. Anobaith is left alone, at the center, a small strange smile on her face.)
Anobaith: So many definitions. And yet he forgot the most important one of them all: I am also endless. Oh yes, I too mourn death. Jeremy Veers. He did talk to that cabby, that day in the cold. He asked about his children. Was he motivated by goodness or by guilt? Does it matter? Happiness or meaning as the ultimate good?
Anobaith snaps her fingers again, and the car crash noise is heard again. And then silence. Anobaith bows her head for a long moment, and then her head snaps up with no emotion, he pushes the coffin off the stage, and then a moment later, from the same spot, she wheels Jeremy onstage on a gurney, clearly hurt but alive.Anobaith now wears a nurse’s scrubs.
Jeremy lies there, lightly asleep, when Andrea comes in. Anobaith, acting as nurse still, checks Jeremy’s vitals. Andrea walks on stage and looks for a place to sit near Jeremy’s bed. Anobaith silently brings her a chair.
Andrea: Thank you. (Anobaith nods and retreats to the background of the scene. Andrea sits down and takes up Jeremy’s hand)
Andrea: Honey? Are you asleep? Jeremy!!!
Jeremy: Huh? Andrea! God, I’m so glad to see you, they told me you were okay but wouldn’t let me leave the room to find you…
Andrea: I’m glad to see you too. The doctors weren’t sure right after the crash whether you were going to make it. That Nissan pretty much crushed your side of the car. When they pulled you out… I thought you were dead.
Jeremy: But you didn’t get hurt at all, right?
Andrea: No, the driver and I didn’t experience anything worse than mild concussions. Weird huh?
Jeremy: Fate, I guess.
Andrea: The doctor told me on my way in that you are going to be totally okay in a couple of weeks. You know, maybe a manly scar or two, but that’s it.
Jeremy: Manly scars?
Andrea: Yeah, you know, you can start to rock the whole Inigo Montoya look.
Jeremy: Does that mean I have to pretend to be Spanish?
Andrea: Nah, it just means that you have to be really skillful with your sword.
Jeremy: That’s terrible. You are becoming worse than Daemon.
Andrea: Worse than Daemon!? Anyway….
Andrea: Good news; you were unconscious when the decision was made, but I have it on the best authority that…. you got the promotion!!! Congratulations, you are an official paralegal. We are now colleagues.
Jeremy: What? Wow… that’s wonderful!!!
Andrea: The best part is…
Jeremy: I get a shiny new office with a nameplate? I always wanted one of those…
Andrea: No… the best part is… Brin is no longer your boss.
Jeremy: That’s actually the best news I’ve heard all day.
Andrea: I know.
Jeremy: I mean, don’t get me wrong, I respect her. Except for the whole sleeping with my best friend and breaking his girlfriend’s heart thing… that pretty much made it hard to have a working relationship with her.
Andrea: Honey, that was all Daemon’s fault. Brin was drunk, he took advantage of her, and he was the one who was dating someone and shouldn’t have been sleeping around. Brin had no obligations to that girl, Daemon did.
Jeremy: That girl? That girl? That’s Cathy you’re talking about. My best friend, a real person, someone who is completely heartbroken because Brin… Look, I’m not saying Daemon was not acting like a complete twat, because obviously, he was. But Brin could have said no…should have said no!
Andrea: (an awkward silence) This doesn’t have to come between us, does it? The idiotic behavior of our friends?
Jeremy: No. No, you’re right, it doesn’t.
Andrea: I’m just glad you are alive.
Brin comes in, looking uncomfortable.
Brin: Um, knock knock?
Jeremy and Andrea: Who’s there?
Jeremy and Andrea: Brin Who?
Brin: Brin Summers, of course. Who else would it be? (she looks around confused as Andrea and Jeremy laugh.)
Brin: I just wanted to give you this. (She thrusts a get well card to Jeremy).
Jeremy: Um, thanks.
Brin: It says ‘Get well soon.’
Jeremy: I see that.
Brin: So. Get well soon.
Jeremy: Sure. I’ll do that.
Brin: You’d better. Andrea, do you have a moment? I need to talk to you about something.
Jeremy: Actually, you both should probably go. Daemon promised to stop by later, and I should rest up for THAT visit.
Andrea: I’ll stop by again tomorrow.
Jeremy: I’d like that.
Andrea: (she bends down to kiss him, he winces slightly in pain as she hits his cheek) Bye! Oops, sorry! C’mon, Brin.
Brin and Andrea walk to center stage, Jeremy stays on stage with Anobaith as his nurse, but the lighting is down on that part of the stage.
Brin: I’m leaving.
Brin: I just got the tickets last night. To Paris tomorrow, and then from there, who knows. I have some places I want to see. Paris is at the top of that list.
Andrea: Brin, are you sure you’re alright? I mean, Daemon is a bastard for not telling you he was dating someone else, don’t let him completely screw with your head.
Brin: I knew he had a girlfriend before I slept with him. I needed to. I am …well, I might not see you again.
Andrea: WHAT?!? Why?
Brin: I have… it’s just a feeling I have.
Andrea: Don’t you dare say shit like that, you have to come back! I love you!
Brin: I can’t wait any longer.
Andrea: So you are definitely doing this then?
Brin: Yes. But I’ll keep in contact. I’ll miss you, Andrea.
Andrea: Oh. Yeah.
Brin: Are you okay?
Andrea: Sure. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s just…
Andrea: I can’t believe I’m saying this… but, I mean, you are my only female friend. I can work the whole guy angle, but a friend who stays with me when there is no sex involved… that doesn’t happen with me. You’ve been my friend since college…. you keep me grounded. I try to do something really stupid, you talk me out of it with that brittle disapproving way of yours.
Brin: Yin to yang? You’re kidding.
Andrea: Yeah, we’re a team. A sexy superwomen duo of awesomeness. What if when you go to Paris, you find yourself over there and don’t need me anymore? Huh? What if you learn to be crazy all on your own?
Brin: This is me we are talking about, after all.
Andrea: You see? That was almost a self deprecating joke! You’re already changing! Say…. I’ve got an idea! I’ll come too!
Andrea: I’ll come to Paris with you. I’m sure I could get a ticket… we could re-discover ourselves together! You are only young once!
Brin: You’d do that for me? You’d be there for me?
Andrea: Of course! Haven’t you been listening to a word I said?
Brin: Andrea… what about Jeremy?
Andrea: What about him?
Brin: You are just going to up and leave him? Just when you started dating? When he is recovering from a massive car crash and is in a hospital?
Andrea: That’s a bitchy move, isn’t it?
Brin: As my therapist would say, “To put it mildly.”
Andrea: What can I say? I am happily amoral.
Brin: You’re being flippant.
Andrea: As always. But… but… what if… what if there is more to life than fucking men?
Brin: Really deep.
Andrea: But what if there is more than that? I need to find out. And what’s a better way of doing that than by going on a chicks before dicks trip to Paris?
Brin: Andrea… just as I need to go do something big like fly to Paris, you need to do something small. Like stay with one guy and try to actually make the relationship work on a deep level before dumping him for someone else.
Andrea: That’s no fun.
Andrea: How’d you get so deep all of a sudden?
Brin: I’m going to die in about three months.
Andrea: Ha ha. No, really?
Brin: I got completely wasted at an office party, slept with a stranger I despise, and survived.
Andrea: That’s what I thought. I’ll make sure to write that one down as wisdom for future generations.
Brin: Do you want lunch or should I say goodbye here in the hospital lobby and leave you to work on your stand up routine?
Andrea: Let’s make a deal. I’ll buy you lunch today, and you get me skanky black lingerie in Paris. I expect lace. I’m a medium, but I like to pretend I’m a small.
Brin: Going totally celibate with this whole “sex isn’t the point of life” realization aren’t you?
Andrea: I like pretty French underwear. I’ll only use their power as a force for good.
Brin: It’s a deal. (They leave the stage).
(The lights come back on Jeremy and Cathy is there, sitting by his bedside, holding hands.)
Cathy: I’m just glad you’re okay. I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost you too.
Jeremy: Cathy… does that mean that you don’t think you and Daemon will patch it up? I mean, I am not encouraging you to make a decision either way, I just want what’s best for you.
Cathy: Oh Jeremy, there you go again, worrying about me when you are in a hospital having survived a car crash. I should be worrying about you. Not only do you look like you’ve been run over by a truck-
Jeremy: A car actually-
Cathy: -you look too skinny.
Jeremy: You always say that.
Cathy: It’s always true.
Jeremy: I just wish I knew what I could do to make you happy.
Cathy: Happy… marrying Daemon, having kids, lots of kids, and a house, and the family dog. Going to church on Sundays and dancing on Fridays and owning a house and being with someone for so long that you know their habits better than they know them themselves. And I know that is wrong, and boring and stable, and anti-feminist and all that and I don’t care. That’s what I wanted. And I can’t have that now. Do you know what the worst part is?
Jeremy: What’s the worst part?
Cathy: I want to be able to hate him. But I can’t, I love him too much to hate him, I don’t know how to hate him. I am just a weak, pathetic little girl who is in love with an even more pathetic boy. And I would take him back. I want to be able to pretend I wouldn’t, but I would. That’s the worst part.
Jeremy: Oh Cathy, your inability to hate is not something you should want to change. It’s one of the things I love about you…
Cathy: It just would have made it worth it, you know?
Jeremy: Worth it?
Cathy: Losing… well, don’t you remember the casual intellectualism of being in school?
Cathy: Those conversations we had. About moral absolutism. Whether there can ever be pure altruism. Remember that one? Or when you explained to me how mathematics is really just poetry, bounded poetry, the kind with iambic pentameter and rhyme? You said you ‘saw sonnets in fractals, couplets in the golden ratio… and what was the last one?
Jeremy: ‘Villanelles in the Fibonacci sequence.’ (Cathy says the last part with him as she remembers)
Cathy: Yes, that was it. We truly used our minds then, Jeremy. I miss that. After university ended, I thought: This is it. This is what becoming an adult entails. Throw off Jane Austin and Gustav Klimt. Embrace producing over absorbing, efficacy over art. The only solace to losing all that poetry and philosophy was the thought… of building something. A home. A life. Growing old with someone. Daemon was supposed to be part of that adult life. I gave everything up for him, everything I had. And it wasn’t enough, apparently. I feel so trapped. Like I am stuck in a dark room with no windows, no door. No way out.
Jeremy: (Pause) You could get a Masters or a PhD or something. Then you wouldn’t have to face the real world for a while longer. I mean, if you get a PhD, you are safe from the real world forever. You majored in art history with a focus on Viennese religious iconography. Go back and write on that more.
Cathy: I’m astonished you remember what I majored in. Daemon never remembers.
Jeremy: What do you think about my idea?
Cathy: More school?
Jeremy: You were always good at school.
Cathy: You know, maybe that is a good idea. I saved up money for a house, after all. Guess that’s not going to happen anymore, is it? Might as well spend it on books and tuition instead.
Jeremy: Better than spending it on prostitutes and weed, I guess.
Cathy: I would never smoke weed!
Jeremy: Oh yeah, like the prostitutes are a likely possibility.
Cathy: Oh Jeremy. Thank you. I’ll think about your suggestion, I will, truly, it’s just that I don’t want to be here when Daemon arrives, and you said he’d be here around four, so….
Jeremy: It’s going to be alright.
Cathy: I know that. It will be… eventually. Bye, Jeremy. I’ll come by and see you again tomorrow. Feel better.
Jeremy: Cathy? (reaches for her) I’ll always love you, you know.
Cathy: Bless you. (kisses him on forehead)
Cathy starts to leave, as she does so Daemon comes in.
Cathy: Daemon. (She leaves walking the long way across the stage, as all of the others have done.)
Daemon: Hey man.
Daemon: So… I, um, came by to apologize for being such a dick earlier when you were there at Cathy’s. I mean, not that it really matters, considering you just survived a car crash… but you know. I’m sorry.
Jeremy: Yeah, I’m sorry I hit you.
Daemon: No, it’s cool, man, it’s totally cool.
Jeremy: It hurt my hand.
Jeremy: You apologized to Cathy yet?
Daemon: Yeah… but it isn’t enough. We had a long talk, over the phone. I don’t think she really wants to get back with me? She basically didn’t say much.
Jeremy: Good for her. You don’t deserve her.
Daemon: I apologized to Brin, too, don’t know why I bothered…. Did you know she is going to Paris? That’s a bit unexpected….
Daemon: Well… I got a new job, doing tech work for an estate firm, that one Cathy told me about actually…. I’m going to, like, start trying to have a career and shit.
Daemon: I had a terrible nightmare that night you got in the crash. I dreamed you died, and I went to your funeral, and had to bargain with this devil chick to try to save you and in the end she refused to save your life basically telling me it built character to suffer. I woke up cause the phone was ringing; Cathy called me to tell me about your accident. How fucked up is that, having that nightmare and then you actually being hurt?
Jeremy: Pretty fucked up.
Daemon: Yeah. I’m glad you’re not dead.
Jeremy: There we can agree.
Daemon: Well… I guess I should be going then…
Jeremy: No, wait. Daemon… you’re a complete twat, but you’re my best friend.
Daemon: Don’t get all emotional on me.
Jeremy: And as said best friend, I want you to go to my place right now, and grab my Wii. I kinda feel like destroying someone at Super Smash, and you are pretty shit.
Daemon: It’s a deal. I won’t even go easy on you cause of your weakened state. That’s true friendship.
Jeremy: Well, what are you waiting for? Get out of here.
Daemon: God, this is how boys become men. You are no longer such a pushover now. I’m not sure I like it.
Jeremy: Chop chop.
Daemon: I’m gone.
Jeremy: And Daemon? Do everyone a favor and stop talking so bloody much.
Daemon: Now you are asking for miracles to happen.
Daemon leaves. Anobaith comes up to Jeremy, no longer the nurse who has been in the background of the last few scenes, but as Anobaith. The cigarette is back in the mouth, though as if she suddenly saw a no smoking sign, she puts it back in her pocket.
Jeremy: Annabeth! Wow, I didn’t expect to see you here.
Anobaith: You were never supposed to die. You were born healthy.
Jeremy: Um, I’m glad to see you too.
Anobaith: I have a question for you. Will you answer it?
Jeremy: It’s not about one of your creepy specialties again is it? I’m just not up for another coffin, forever never, kind of conversation right now. I don’t feel like tackling anything more difficult than taking a nap.
Anobaith: Death only features peripherally.
Jeremy: (sighs) I supposed that’s the best I can expect. What is it?
Anobaith: If you were to have died last week in that car crash, looking back at your life… would you rather your life to have been mostly happy or meaningful?
Jeremy: Both of course. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Anobaith: You can only pick one.
Jeremy: What kind of primary school rule is that? Pick one….
Anobaith: Pick one.
Jeremy: I’d rather be happy.
Anobaith: Really? That’s what you’d choose?
Anobaith: You wouldn’t rather choose… say, tragic yet noble despair and importance over happiness and insignificance?
Jeremy: Are you kidding?
Anobaith: I didn’t expect that answer. Not from you.
Anobaith: It’s good you didn’t die.
Jeremy: Yeah, I think so too.
Anobaith: The car that hit you, do you know what color and make it was?
Jeremy: What? Oh, yeah, sure… it was green. A green Nissan Sentra.
Anobaith: What? You’re sure? Not silver?
Jeremy: Nope, it was a fast, green car.
Anobaith: (an expression of wild and unbridled joy on her face) Green…. green!
Jeremy: Uh, Annabeth, you okay? Your face is doing strange things.
Anobaith I’m fine. I’m good. Green… (chuckles).
Jeremy: Somehow you make even laughter scary.
Anobaith: That’s how it should be. Thanks, Jeremy. I’m glad we had this talk. I’ll be leaving now.
Jeremy: Uh, okay. See you around?
Anobaith: Don’t count on it. Because, you see, some things can change, after all.
Jeremy: Of course. If this near death experience proved anything is that everything can change in a split second. I’m trying not to think about that too closely, actually. Scary stuff.
Anobaith: Yes. But important stuff.
Anobaith: Goodbye, Jeremy Veers.
Jeremy: Goodbye, Annabeth… Annabeth.
Anobaith leaves the room, Jeremy is pulled offstage as Daemon enters from stage right, he is talking into his cell phone and carrying the video game console and the controllers, he is attempting to balance all this technology and mostly succeeding.
Daemon: Yeah. I had forgotten that story about Uncle Hayword. No, I promise I won’t tell… really, The Godfather? No, I am not going to go rent it, I don’t care if it is the number one favorite at the home… Mom… please, I don’t need… yeah, yeah, Mom, I got another job you don’t have to worry so much… yeah. Unhuh……… I love you too. I’ll try to call more often, but I gotta go now, Jeremy and I (you remember Jeremy, right?)… yeah, yeah, that’s the one, God, I’d forgotten that story…. he and I are going to go play a game… ew, no, Mom, not strip poker, I don’t know where you get your ideas from… yes, Mom, I’m okay. Everything’s fine… Life’s good, you know?
Daemon leaves the stage, cell phone still up to his head as Brin enters, and is at an airport gate, over the loud speaker flight numbers are read. Brin has a suitcase. Anobaith comes up and sits next to her. She has no suitcase.
Loud Speaker: Flight 348 to Paris, departing from gate E7, has been delayed.
Anobaith: Is this seat taken?
Brin: No, go right ahead. I’m not waiting for anyone.
Anobaith: Where are you going?
Brin: Paris, France.
Anobaith: Mind if I travel with you a while?
Brin: You have a ticket to Paris too?
Anobaith: I’m at this gate with you, aren’t I?
Brin: I’m Brin.
Anobaith: My name is… well, I had a friend once who called me Annabeth.
Brin: Pleased to meet you. (Pause, as if making pleasant conversation) I’m not going to Paris for very long. I have an incurable disease, you know. I was born with it.
Anobaith: I see.
Brin: Life expectancy is up these days, they tell me. I could live until my late thirties! But here I am at twenty five, and I am going to die.
Brin: Everyone knows they are going to die at some point, but somehow that fact has seems a bit more real when there is a schedule of decline.
Anobaith: Some things can change, you know, maybe…
Brin: Don’t you dare finish that sentence.
Brin: I am on a list, but I refuse to get my hopes up. What idiot would give not one, but two healthy lungs to a girl like me? No, I am reconciled to this.
Anobaith: You have embraced death?
Brin: No, I’m just tired of being scared. Do I dare to eat that peach and all that.
Anobaith: So, the plane ticket?
Brin: I have so much to do. I want to experience the world. See the Eiffel Tower, feel completely out of my element. Be with strange French men in a strange French land. You know, the usual.
Anobaith: Sounds lonely.
Brin: Nobody knows, my best friend doesn’t know. I can’t tell her, she wouldn’t understand, she couldn’t handle it, she is just as lost as me. I have to protect her. And I can’t stand pity anyway.
Anobaith: I don’t pity you.
Brin: I know, you’re a stranger. That’s why I can tell you.
Anobaith: I’m alone too. I help people and then they don’t need me anymore.
Brin: You a therapist or something?
Anobaith: Or something.
Brin: Good. I hate therapists almost as much as I hate doctors.
Anobaith: Mind if I travel with you a while?
Brin: As you like, I guess.
Anobaith: I could help you too. Ease the journey.
Anobaith: Simply consider me an old friend by your side. Embrace me, I could save you from the darkness. You would not have to think about or fear death any longer. You would never have to be alone. All you have to do is laugh.
Brin: Laughter solves all problems, huh? Laughter cures all ills… I suppose I could laugh at that.
Anobaith: Just let me in… just let me connect… no more worries, no more responsibility, nothing but us… we could be lost together. (Despair kisses Brin softly on the lips.)
Brin: I can’t. I need to be present, fully present in the here and now. I can’t give in. I can’t stop living. I can’t afford to be lost.
Anobaith: But it is easier… safer.
Brin: Yes. It is. But that’s not enough, not anymore.
Anobaith: Stay with me. Please.
Brin: I have to be strong. I want to think about life in its complexities. I have to stay myself. The most interesting, brave people died alone. There is something noble in that, I hope.
Anobaith: I just want to help you. Let me help you.
Brin: There is one thing…
Anobaith: Name it.
Brin: There is meaning in this suffering, right? I gain something precious from all this loss… I know life is unfair, but karma has to exist. I am good because I am tragic. That’s the way it works? Please, tell me that’s the way it works… please tell me that there is a point to living beyond preparing for dying…
Anobaith: You are so much more than the way you die, Brin.
Brin: I just want my life to have meant something
Anobaith: Your life has meaning if you believe it does.
Brin: I am afraid of being forgotten. I want to be remembered.
Anobaith: And I will remember you. You will be as eternal as I am.
Brin: I want to have been loved.
Anobaith: You have always been loved.
Brin: If that’s all true… I guess that’s enough then. If I can truly believe, then dying won’t be so bad… I won’t give into despair. I am going to live until the day I don’t.
Anobaith: Just in case… I’ll be close. I can hold you gently if you need me when you go.
Brin: Thank you. But I think I’m going to be alright, now.
Anobaith: Goodbye. (Anobaith leaves to the corner of the stage. The lights fade to dark except a spotlight on Brin, paralleling the original spotlight on Anobaith at the beginning of the show.)
Brin: Goodbye… no wait! Mind staying with me? Just until my plane boards.
Anobaith: Of course I don’t mind.
Brin: Just until I leave.
Anobaith: Whatever you want.
Brin: Then I can be alone again.
Loud Speaker: Flight 348 to Paris, departing from gate E7, is now boarding.
(The women look at each other and neither one moves. The light winks out and there is nothing but the dark of the stage.)
End of Play- Take bows, you earned them.