excerpt from yet another play of mine

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It's been a while since I posted one of these... so here goes...

(The stage is dark. Music: Ertha Kitt’s “Cest si Bon”. The song slows to a halt and blends into Gyuto Monks chanting. We hear a voice in the darkness.)

JACK: When I was nine years old...I was convinced I was an alien from another planet. My people had come here on an expedition to discover the secret of peace they heard existed here...but something went wrong.... and instead of landing....our spaceship crashed. As luck would have it, I was the only survivor.

(A match is struck, a candle is lit illuminating Jack’s face.)

When I first arrived the creatures of this planet had no shape or form whatsoever. It was a habit they had given up a long time ago. Somewhere in their evolution they had come to the conclusion that shape and form was meaningless...and frankly a little inconvenient. For one, when they did have shape and form...they kept bumping into each other. Initially the occasional bump here and there... was fine...even fun. But as time went on and life moved faster...things got treacherous. And as we all know... the faster you go the harder you bump. So before long, there were mass collisions...leaving piles of injured shapes strewn all over the place. It was horrible. That’s when they decided the survival of the species depended on...nothingness ....a consolidated nothingness...with no exceptions. So a collective decision was reached... they transformed themselves into nothing and lived in harmony ...happy in their own nothingness. This state of Nothingness they shortly realized, was the secret to peace. Since there was nothing here... and they were nothing themselves... there really was nothing to fight over or disagree with ...or bump into.

(The lights come up and we see Jack in bed. It is obvious that he is an artist. His ‘studio’ apartment is almost set up like a gallery with draped pictures on easels around his bed. There is a phone/answering machine stage-right. Stage-left a pile of paintings, sketchings, portfolios and a stereo. Down front a tripod with a videocamera and a small TV as a monitor.)

But then I came along and threw a wrench into the works. After all, I did come in the shape and form of a human baby. Sure, they tried to ignore me at first... But I guess a little pink gurgling bundle of joy that kept messing itself was just too tough to ignore. So, once again these creatures had to reach a collective consensus. After much deliberation, the determination was made to recreate everything just the way it was on my planet... my shape, my form, my lifestyle....every detail. They even went so far as to recreate the problems from my planet...most of which stemmed from disagreements over shape, and form, and lifestyle in the first place. They figured this new existence of shape and form would only last for the duration of my lifetime... and once that was over, right after my funeral, things would go back to the way it was before... back to the serenity of nothingness again. So earth, as we know it, was not really earth, but an exact facsimile of my planet.

This momentous decision on the part of these creatures stemmed I guess mostly from their own great sense of hospitality... they didn’t want me to feel left out or different. After all, they had the ability take on shape and form...and I...I didn’t even have the ability to wipe my own butt at the time. When I was nine I was convinced this was true.

Looking back on that, I am now convinced that when I was nine...I was a dork. Well, Joe said so when I told him my theory. His exact words were...

(as Joe.)
“You are bloody idiot, Jack. Who the hell do you think you are?”

(as Little Jack)
“I swear...I’m from another planet, Joe! ”

(as Joe.)
“And they created all this just for you! These shapeless creatures went through all the trouble to create the entire bleeding world...just for you. My, my, we have a rather high and mighty opinion of ourselves, don’t we Jack?”

(as Little Jack)
“No I don’t! And keep it down or they’ll hear you!”

(as Joe)
“You’re bonkers! Total bleedin bonkers, you are! Only a dork would actually think up something as stupid as that!”

(as Little Jack)
“But its not stupid, Joe! Its not! And for God sakes, keep it down!”

(as Joe)
“Oh go stuff yourself, Jack!”

(as himself again.)
O.K., you’re asking yourself... now if I believed it all to be true...why would I even risk sharing something like this with Joe? Well, Joe was my invisible friend. I had one of those too when I was a kid. So, I felt safe telling him. But Joe was not just any invisible friend...no siree...Joe was a large Mexican leprechaun with a very bad English accent. Sort of a cross between Zorro and James Mason trapped in the body of Burl Ives. Here (Picking up a caricature of Joe.) This is Joe. I was 12 when I did that.

(as Joe)
“Face the world, Jack. Its not all as bloody bad as you want to believe it is. And if it was... what do you have to bleedin lose anyway?”

(as himself)
That was Joe. He always said that. I liked Joe inspite of it. We did everything together....well, almost everything. Something about a large Mexican leprechaun in the bathroom was a little intimidating. However, unlike most invisible friends, Joe always kept me on the straight and narrow...always kept me honest. I haven’t seen him since I was 18. He disappeared the morning I plucked up the guts to ask Karen Keen out. Gosh, Karen! That’s right! Yeah! I could squeeze her in. (Going across the room towards a stack of drawings.) She’s around here somewhere. (There is a definite limp in Jack’s walk. He stops.) If you are wondering about that...Polio.... No big deal. I was one and a half when it happened. (Gets to the stack of drawings.) Karen Keen...Karen Keen...

(The phone rings.)

(Phone rings again.)
You know, call screening is one of man’s greatest inventions.

(Phone rings again.)
It provides the license to be rude without apology.

(Phone rings.)
A technological marvel invented solely for the perpetuation of anti-social behavior!

ANSWERING MACHINE: Hi. This is Jack. I really wish I was here in person to get your call... but unfortunately I’m not. So, please leave a message.

JACK: The perfect crime, isn’t it?


Excerpt from "Turn Up The Torment" copyright 1994 Marcel Nunis

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