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The Candidate

The Candidate

Scene is two men, one man, the Speechwriter is in his 20s and one man, The Candidate is in his 70s sitting across from each other in comfortable chairs.

S: Okay sir I’m glad we could sit down and prepare your speech.

TC: Me too.

S: How do you want to start?

TC:  I want to start with the truth, you and I can work together to make it acceptable for the people.  Sound good?

S: Sure, I can work with that.

TC: Okay let’s get started.

(He stands up, pauses and farts, with no reaction.)

I really don’t give a shit about people; I see them as merely a means to get me what I want.

S: (Starts a recording on his phone and begins writing) Ok got it.

TC: Ok.

You can convince people of anything especially when using religion or fear. People have a need to idolize a father figure because they feel he will take care of them and has their best interest at heart

S: Ok.

I got here by fucking everyone over and especially those who disagreed with me.  People see they have to agree with me, or I will humiliate and do them maximum harm.  They get in line fast to keep their place in my depraved organization.

S: Ok.

They say I truly am corrupt and often don’t pay the people who work for me, except for my family and especially my luscious daughter. I launder money for the mob and don’t have to provide my income or tax returns.  Foreign banks have my back and so do my well-armed supporters! 

S: Ok.

TC: I really don’t care about people other than the ones who support me.  Don’t call me a narcissist when one third of the population gives me the support that I obviously deserve.  How could so many support someone who only cares for himself?  They like me because I’m selfish and make them feel better about themselves and their own selfishness.

S: Ok.

TC: The good thing about having fanatical followers is they believe every lie you tell them.  In fact, the more lies you tell the better.  My assault on the truth is intentional, it’s my political secret sauce.  When there really is a truth about me that doesn’t serve my interests I call it fake.

S: Ok.

TC: The fanatic needs to feel like he knows something that you don’t.  Why do you think there are so many conspiracy theorists that follow me?  The beautiful thing is that you can feed them more conspiracy theories and they believe it.

S: Ok.

TC: You have to love my looks; they are unique with a special color and a special hair-top. It looks distinguished and makes me stand out as someone you can remember.  I’m also a great salesman, I can make anything that happens better with a few words and distract you from the bad stuff by changing the subject, it works every time.

S: Ok

I recognize politics for what it is and do whatever it takes to win, no matter how much I have to lie and attack my opponents.  My agenda is only about me, really, me, just me.  I say everything in a way that makes me more interesting, makes me more impressive.  I know how to say things with the right tone to make it sound impressive.  I know what presidential sounds like. Presidential sounds like yesteryear.

S: Ok.  Let me work on this, can you give me until tomorrow?

TC: I will give you until tonight.

S: Ok.

End of Scene.

Scene 2

That evening.  Same place.

S:  Here is what I have.  (Speechwriter hands The Candidate a few pages).

TC:  Ok here goes:

A truthful word unlike the typical;

To admit my regard for humankind,

And reckon them to a means to an end

That supports my designs, who needs a friend?

Can always use flimflam to convince them.

(Pause.)

Pick godly a subject for artifice.

Fear the other is special a device,

Play the father, so safely they feel

Always he provides the next mortal meal.

He reminds us human heart is his prize.

(Pause.)

My ascent is easy to demonstrate.

I ruin each person who disagrees

And accept only those propitiates.

And those who continue to choose debate,

Instead of accord with the potentate,

Learn quick everyman I humiliate.

Maximum harm is the aim by decree

Joining the line to rank and colligate

No matter how depraved the constellate.

(Pause.)

But depraved is a badge worn with honor

My blinded who choose their oblivion

As compensation for a follower,

Never forget those close and my daughter.

The money is cleaned for Ivan even.

Some stays with me and without a receipt,

A Hun banker’s friend am I and Stephen.

My train and generals serve two masters,

And hope they converge before the last term.

(Pause.)

A concern for people is limited

To only those who are so riveted

By a boor thriving on their division.

No sign of egomania or creep

Just mollycoddle me -make my oozes seep

On angel doves following like sheep.

Faults feel better when I am the villain

Natures cult law leads to occision.

(Pause.)

Fanatics as followers an asset,

Consumers of lies like a toady pet.

The size of portion served fits how they feed.

And truth is a game that people play,

It works best in a country in decay.

Truth meets my lies it must be a mistake,

The response is simple -just call it fake.

The external world is all mine you see,

Pinocchio has got nothing on me.

(Pause.)

My fanbase thinks they have the inside scoop,

A something you don’t know and smells of poop,

A secret, a clan or a coterie

Only thing that matters they follow me.

A supply and demand I feed the beast

Their ranks receive comfort from me their priest.

(Pause.)

The good looks I have and the handsomeness

A unique and special color my skin

The bird’s nest on top that wind makes a mess.

But protrudes it must my trademark akin

It reminds you that there is the jig pitchman.

The device, the ruse, the sleight, the smoke screen,

A distraction from my real rotten scheme.

(Pause.)

An idea of politics clear to me

One must say or do whatever it takes

Every tool available you see

To lie or cheat or steal or kill a key

All to win the presidency for me.

Then ask my agenda further you see

About me, about me, about me, weeeeeeeeee!

The way a word can be spoken a frink

Makes interesting, impressive a stink

Use the right tone pull an oink from a mink.

Who knows my intention under the shell

Turn to long words, old idioms, Orwell

Make presidential sounds I say too wistful

Just “like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

To be continued

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The Interview

The Interview

By Matthew Guthrie

“ We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane. ”

— Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

CHARACTERS

Man:  Mid 30s

Interviewer: Mid 30s

Woman: Late 20s

Native: Mid 30s

Ghost ∞

SETTING

An office.  There is a desk and two chairs.

(SCENE : The INTERVIEWER walks in to the office with a file in his hand.  He sits down at the chair on the right.  He opens the file and takes out two pieces of paper.  He closes the file.  He begins to read the two pieces of paper.  After he has spent some time on the second page, there is a knock on the door.)

INTERVIEWER

Yes.

(There is a pause and after a few moments there is another knock on the door.)

YES! Come in.

(It is the MAN.  He pokes his head in between the door and the door jamb.)

MAN

Is this where my interview is?

INTERVIEWER

Probably.  What is your name?

MAN

It is probably not that important right now.

(The INTERVIEWER looks at the first page)

INTERVIEWER

How will I know you are you?

(The MAN steps quickly into the room, walks over to the desk , leans over and looks at the pages.)

MAN

That’s me…on paper anyway.

INTERVIEWER

Have a seat.

MAN

Okay.

(The MAN sits down.  The INTERVIEWER and the MAN look at each other for a few moments.)

Thank you for inviting me here today.

INTERVIEWER

You’re welcome.  I am hoping that we can have an above-board conversation.

MAN

Is that how we are going to start this?

INTERVIEWER

How do you mean?

MAN

You could have said “My Pleasure” or “Thank you” but you said “You’re welcome.”

            (Pause.)

And then you said something else.

(Pause.)

But I forgot…it must not have made an impression on me.

INTERVIEWER

And?  Your point…

MAN

Do you think that you are doing me a favor?  Or, do you think that this is not an equal arrangement?

INTERVIEWER

I think that we are offering a position for the right candidate.  If you don’t want the position you don’t have to interview.  That really isn’t the way you want to start an interview.

MAN

Back to my question do you think this is an equal arrangement?

INTERVIEWER

Candidly?

MAN

Of course.

INTERVIEWER

Probably not.

MAN

Why do you say that?

INTERVIEWER

Because we are offering the job and as a result that we have the upper hand.

MAN

Well.  You do have to get someone to do the job.

(There is a pause.)

INTERVIEWER

That’s right.

MAN

You have to be certain you have found the right person?

INTERVIEWER

That’s right.

(The INTERVIEWER looks down at the pages he is holding.)

Do you want to get started?  My admin had us slated for Noon.

MAN

Go ahead.

            (The MAN sits back relaxed in his chair.)

INTERVIEWER

What’s your availability?

MAN

What does that mean?

INTERVIEWER

When can you start?  It says here you have been out of work for over a year.

MAN

That’s right.

INTERVIEWER

Why so long?

MAN

A year is long?

INTERVIEWER

How do you make a living?

MAN

What are you asking me?

INTERVIEWER

How do you live with no work for a year?

MAN

Probably the same as you.

INTERVIEWER

Did you choose to not work for a year?

MAN

That’s right.

(There is a pause.)

I’ll share with you that the last job I did took care of me pretty well.

INTERVIEWER

What was it exactly?

MAN

It’s hard to explain.

INTERVIEWER

Try me.

(The MAN stands up and walks around thinking.  Finally he stops and makes a pose like he is a Fashion model.)

MAN

You’ve walked by a magazine stand before right?  Looked at the covers?  Always the same people right?  What’s in those magazines?  What kind of impression do they leave? 

            (Pause.)

Same thing here.  I walked in; you immediately had an impression of me from what I looked like?  What was it?  Did you think you wanted to give me a job based on what I looked like?

INTERVIEWER

Are you talking about a beauty contest?

MAN

If that’s what you call it, yes.  What do I look like?  Do I look like the kind of a person you would want to give a job too?

INTERVIEWER

Honestly?

MAN

Yes, of course.

INTERVIEWER

Yes you do.  You look like you fit the part.

MAN

How do I sound so far?

INTERVIEWER

What do you mean?

MAN

Have I said everything right?

INTERVIEWER

So far?

MAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

You’ve said everything right so far.

MAN

Ok, well, then you will find this interesting.

(The is a loud knocking on a door and then enter the WOMAN.  She carries a leather portfolio.  She reaches into it as she walks toward the two men and pulls out a few legal size pieces of paper.  She is dressed smartly, but scholarly, like a teacher.)

WOMAN

Hello!

INTERVIEWER

Sorry but we are having a meeting here and reserved the room.  Maybe you are looking for someone else?

WOMAN

I’m here for the teaching position?

INTERVIEWER

We are not looking to hire any teachers.

WOMAN

How do you know that?

INTERVIEWER

Because I’m the one who hires.

WOMAN

Well what are you looking to hire?

INTERVIEWER

Tell you what, how about you look into something else, like modeling, or acting, get your head shots taken?  You look like you would do well in entertainment.

            (The WOMAN leaves abruptly.)

Apologize for that interruption.  Where were we?

MAN

She was not a problem.

            (Pause.)

People have these discussions, and, would it surprise you if I told you that it is all based on what sounds right?  I mean, we could have an entire discussion based in leveraging the situation.  For example, you could tell me that your company fires people 6 months after they hire them based on if they fit in or not.  I could then say, well, do you think that I will fit in?  You would say, “yes, I think so.”  I would say how about for 12 months?  You could say anything to this like “probably or, I don’t know”.  The result of all this is nothing, it establishes nothing.  You might or might not know why you even said that in the first place.

INTERVIEWER

Said what?

MAN

That your company fires people after 6 months.

INTERVIEWER

Ok.

MAN

So does it?

INTERVIEWER

Does what?  My company fire people after 6 months?  Yes, it does.

MAN

Ok, good to know.

INTERVIEWER

We also give promotions in 6 months.

MAN

A promotion is confirmation of your mental illness

INTERVIEWER

We’re not here to make friends.

MAN

Thank goodness for that.

            (Pause.)

How did your company do last year?

INTERVIEWER

What do you mean?

MAN

You know what I mean.  On paper.

INTERVIEWER

We had a banner year.

            (Pace changes.  MAN responds immediately.)

MAN

You had a banner year!  Big bucks!?

INTERVIEWER

That’s right.

            (Pace returns to previous.)

That’s why we are here.

INTERVIEWER

Do you know why we are here?

MAN

I know why we are here. 

            (Pause.)

Do you know why I am here?

INTERVIEWER

I think so.  Why don’t you tell me why you are here?

            (Pause.)

In your words.

MAN

I’m banking that you’re going to know this.  You’ll find out on your own.  It may take you a lifetime or you may find out sooner than that.  You may find out next year for all I know.  But sooner is better I would say. 

INTERVIEWER

Why don’t you just tell me?

MAN

Then the interview would be over.  Is that you want?

INTERVIEWER

Eventually.  But sooner is probably better like you say.

MAN

So what else do we have to cover?

INTERVIEWER

Can we go over your resume?

MAN

Sure, but it is not going to tell you what you want to know.

INTERVIEWER

Well, let’s go over it anyway.

            (Reads the paper.)

It says here that you belong to the Huntsman Club?

MAN

That’s right.

INTERVIEWER

We have several employees here who belong to the Huntsman Club.

MAN

You should get rid of them, they will only do you harm. 

INTERVIEWER

Well, why did you put this on your resume if the people are so awful?

MAN

Because I belong there.

INTERVIEWER

Please elaborate.

MAN

            (MAN leans forward.)

Happy to. The club requires certain characteristics, these are what makes me a good member: I am mentally alert; I am able to draw solid conclusions based on my conversation; I can demonstrate a high degree of intellectual depth in my conversation; I have used good judgment and common sense and planning my life; I havestrong problem solving capabilities; I respond well to stress and pressure.  I have strong decision-making capabilities and effectively take action.

INTERVIEWER

What is so awful about any of that?

MAN

            (Leaning back in his chair.)

Have you ever been attacked by a blackbird?

INTERVIEWER

How do you mean?

MAN

Have you ever been attacked?

INTERVIEWER

No.  What do you mean by a blackbird?

MAN

There was a banker who lived in my neighborhood.  He had stones gates to his driveway entrance.  This blackbird used to perch on the entrance.  Was never sure if it was his bird, someone else’s or what it was doing there.  It began attacking anyone who got near it, the mailman, delivery people, women and children walking by.  Finally I had enough and walked over and murdered it.  I didn’t shoot it; I caught it in a net, slammed it to the pavement then stomped on it until it was nothing but birdbrains, blood and feathers.

            (Pause.)

I still have the net.

INTERVIEWER

Well, that’s an interesting story but I think we may be getting off track here.

MAN

It’s not a story, it’s true.

INTERVIEWER

Ok.  How about we get back to your resume.

MAN

Sure.

INTERVIEWER

So you belong to the Huntsman club. It looks like 9 or, 10 years.

MAN

That’s right.  Amazing club, do you know it?

INTERVIEWER

A little.  I have had dinner there.

MAN

So you’re not a member?

INTERVIEWER

No.  We did do a background check on it once.

MAN

Really?  What did you find?

INTERVIEWER

They have an unusual membership.  Many people who operate out of society’s, shall we say…rules.  They even have several criminals in their ranks.

MAN

How do you know that?

INTERVIEWER

Well, I knew that before the background check.

MAN

Do you want to share with me who they are and what they did?

INTERVIEWER

Well, there is a lot there.

MAN

That’s ok, I have time.

INTERVIEWER

There are several people who spent time in prison.  There are several suspected conspirators against the foundations of our society.

MAN

Foundations of our society?  Sounds like Feudalism in the Middle Ages of Britian.

INTERVIEWER

That’s not what I’m talking about.

MAN

Do you know what you are talking about?

(There is a knock at the door.  The WOMAN enters wearing attractive clothes and walks with confidence.)

WOMAN

I’m looking for a role in entertainment.

INTERVIEWER

Again, Miss, you have the wrong room.

WOMAN

Didn’t you say earlier that you are hiring someone in entertainment?

INTERVIEWER

No, I said that might be a good place for you to look.  We are definitely not hiring anyone in entertainment.

WOMAN

What are you hiring for?

INTERVIEWER

Nothing that fits you.

WOMAN

Are you sure?

INTERVIEWER

Sure.

WOMAN

So you can’t tell me what roles you are looking to fill?

INTERVIEWER

Well are not hiring but it seems you are heading in the right direction.  Have you considered a career in modeling?

WOMAN

What do you mean?

INTERVIEWER

Modeling clothes.  Maybe you should consider another change of clothes, get your portfolio together and maybe you can get work having your photos taken for swimsuits or something?

MAN

Have you heard about the Huntsman club?  We are always looking for members?

WOMAN

Yes and ok!  Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.

            (The WOMAN leaves quickly not answering.)

INTERVIEWER

We are getting off track.  You’re here to see if you are right for the job.

MAN

I am right for the job.  What will it take for you to know it?

INTERVIEWER

One thing we will need is references.

MAN

I’m happy to provide you references.  In fact I can have them come in soon if you like.

INTERVIEWER

We can call them.

MAN

Wouldn’t it be better if you could speak to them directly?

            (INTERVIEWER looks at his watch.)

INTERVIEWER

I should remind you that this is an interview between us.

MAN

Of course.  I was offering you the option to meet people from my club.  It sounded like you have questions about them and I wanted to give you the opportunity to meet members from my team.

INTERVIEWER

We’re just interviewing you.

MAN

When you say “we’re” you mean your company, you and other people from your company.

INTERVIEWER

That’s correct.

MAN

Your team so to speak?

INTERVIEWER

That’s correct.

MAN

Thought it would be good if your team could meet my team?

INTERVIEWER

We are only interviewing you.

MAN

Ok.  You’ll meet them eventually anyway.

INTERVIEWER

That would be great.  So let’s move on shall we?

MAN

I’ll extend the invitation.

            (Pause.)

You’re going to meet them one way or another, figure it would be a courtesy, to you.

            (Pause.  INTERVIEWER shuffles his papers, disapproves and acts unsettled.)

Did I upset you?

INTERVIEWER

I’m not interested in meeting members of your club at this point.

MAN

That is a very open ended thing to say don’t you think?

INTERVIEWER

We like to keep our options always open.

MAN

Just not meeting my friends?

INTERVIEWER

Not at this point.

MAN

Not at this point.

INTERVIEWER

Correct.

MAN

What would happen if they showed up?

INTERVIEWER

Why would they do that?

MAN

Like to keep options open.

(Pause.)

At this point.

INTERVIEWER

This is going nowhere.

MAN

You’d be surprised but it is. 

INTERVIEWER

I don’t see it.

MAN

You can’t.  No one can.  But it is a physical fact that this is going forward.

            (Pause.)

And you must wonder how long you can last?

INTERVIEWER

(Laughs.)

There is no end in sight.

MAN

None that you can see.

INTERVIEWER

What are you getting at?

MAN

Do you represent a money machine or a faith machine?

INTERVIEWER

There is no difference.

MAN

And that’s it?

INTERVIEWER

That’s it.

MAN

And you’re considering me to be part of this?

INTERVIEWER

That’s why you’re here.  I mean your intention was to interview with us and join us?  This is still your intention correct?

MAN

Well, we haven’t concluded anything at this point.

INTERVIEWER

If you haven’t concluded anything why are you here? I thought this is something that we are doing together? 

MAN

You shouldn’t have that impression.  This is never something that we would do together.  There is nothing you can do about that.  The more you talk the more you say nothing.

            (Pause.)

Can you tell me about you and your company’s belief system?

INTERVIEWER

I…we think that our employees can believe whatever they like; we have no requirements for this.

MAN

That can’t be true.  You probably have many worshippers within your confines.  You probably have quite a hold on them?  They probably don’t even know it.

INTERVIEWER

Our employees come here because this is what they do, nobody makes them come here.

MAN

Every day except weekends.

INTERVIEWER

Sometime even then!  Come on, this is their livelihood.  In fact they have had a banner year!  What else would you propose?

MAN

I am not here to propose anything, that’s the last thing that I want to do.  I’m here to solve your problems, not make proposals.  That’s not why we are here. 

            (Pause.)

I didn’t get an answer on my question about your belief system.

INTERVIEWER

It’s really not up for discussion.

MAN

I really think you should meet my friends from the club.  Just one or two?  It would give you an unmistakable impression.

(Knock at the door and in comes the WOMAN wearing only undergarments.  She walks and strikes a pose like a runway model.)

WOMAN

What do you think?

INTERVIEWER

We didn’t expect you to come back here.  It was a suggestion.  We don’t need swimsuit models here.

WOMAN

It’s lingerie.

MAN

I really would like to invite you to the Huntsman club.  Here is my card.

            (MAN hands the WOMAN a business card.  She takes it and looks at it.)

WOMAN

Thank you.

INTERVIEWER

You should leave now.  This is no place for you.

WOMAN

Well you are hiring right?

INTERVIEWER

Not for you, we have gone over this.

WOMAN

What are you hiring for, just tell me.

INTERVIEWER

The only thing I can tell you is that it has something to do with our military relationships.

WOMAN

Ok.  Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.

INTERVIEWER

No, wait! 

            (Yelling!)

Please do not come back!

            (The WOMAN leaves quickly not answering.)

MAN

I really do think she would fit in at the club.  How about I bring someone in?

INTERVIEWER

Again, thank you for the offer but this is between us I think.  Don’t you think we should proceed?

MAN

Well, sure, but, they will definitely have an impact on you and your business whether you see them or not.

INTERVIEWER

We have a team here already; we are considering you as a member of the team.

MAN

Thanks for that.  Then what?

INTERVIEWER

After we interview, you and me, I make recommendations to the team.

MAN

What recommendations are you going to make?

INTERVIEWER

I don’t know yet.

MAN

You don’t know…yet?  You really don’t know?

(Pause)

How could you not know? 

(Pause)

I know.

INTERVIEWER

At this juncture, I don’t know.  After you interview with me, and I make recommendations, if it goes well we get buy-in from the team.

MAN

What are you talking about!?  What did you say?

INTERVIEWER

After you interview with me, and I make recommendations, if it goes well we get buy-in from the team.

            (Pause.  MAN stands up.)

MAN

I heard you!  What does that mean?

INTERVIEWER

What?

MAN

Buy in.  What are you buying? 

INTERVIEWER

It’s a phrase.

MAN

What’s it mean?

INTERVIEWER

Are you not familiar with the language?

MAN

I’m familiar with it.

            (The door to the room opens.  The INTERVIEWER looks up and over at it.  The

              MAN does not move.)

It might be a good idea that you don’t use that language.

            (Pause.)

Not in this interview anyway.

INTERVIEWER

I don’t understand.

MAN

You have been using that language since the beginning of the interview.  Then you went and said “buy-in”.  Nothing is getting bought here.

INTERVIEWER

It’s only a term.

MAN

Have you ever been convicted?

INTERVIEWER

Of what?

MAN

Of anything?

INTERVIEWER

Not that I can share.

MAN

Accused of anything?

INTERVIEWER

Many things.

MAN

Like?

INTERVIEWER

Like?

MAN

Fraud?

            (Pause.  INTERVIEWER looks up at the MAN.)

INTERVIEWER

Well, yes.

            (Pause and the INTERVIEWER looks down.)

MAN

How about manslaughter?

(Pause and the INTERVIEWER looks up again and fixes into a stare with the      MAN.)

INTERVIEWER

Yes.

MAN

Do I want to work at a company like that?

INTERVIEWER

That’s why you’re here right?  There are many reasons why you’re considering this.  Security is big one.  It’s possible that we could be here forever.  That’s the attraction.  We offer our employees lifetime employment.  We can actually last longer than the employees.  You must find that attractive, you must be thinking about that?

Who knows, you could become a major player?

MAN

Maybe.

            (Pause.)

Suppose I was to join, would let people from the club come in?

INTERVIEWER

If they interviewed.

MAN

No, I mean just visit.

INTERVIEWER

We could do that.

            (Pause.)

Hopefully they won’t be daunted by our history with fraud and manslaughter.

MAN

Actually, they probably already know about all that.

INTERVIEWER

Is there something you want to share?  Something you or your friends know that I don’t.  We do like to keep it all above board.

MAN

You said that before.

INTERVIEWER

It’s for everyone involved.  For you to be brought onboard we need alignment on personnel from the get-go.  We’re team-building here.

            (Pause.)

MAN

You said it again.  I think you are beginning to not know what you are talking about.

INTERVIEWER

What?

MAN

Team.  You said team.  When you say that it makes me sick to my stomach.  I want to puke.  If you have to say “team” the reality is it isn’t a team.  You’re saying it as a reminder that you better get in line or your ass is in trouble.  For those who disagree with anything the “team” is doing they are identified as being negative or are not aligned with the “team.”  I read once when a manager said “we are happy to have him on the team” a week later the manager’s manager told him to “terminate” the former “team” member.

            (Sings, robotically.)

Terminate the team member! Terminate the team member! Terminate the team member! Terminate the team member! Terminate! Terminate! Terminate! Terminate the team member! Terminate the team member! Terminate the team member!

LOVE THAT!

            (Pause.)

So, as you can see…you’re suspect.

            (Pause.)

Are you a team member?

INTERVIEWER

Yes.

MAN

When did you realize this?

INTERVIEWER

I have always been a team player.

MAN

I’m getting that.

(Pause.)

You realize the team will be the end of you?

INTERVIEWER

You have references don’t you?  Former employers?

MAN

I have references, but they aren’t former employers, well, not mine anyway.

(Pause.)

Do you want to hear them?

INTERVIEWER

You can submit them in writing.

MAN

No, they are not my references.  Here is one:  Charles Ponzi White Star Lines RJ Reynolds.

(Pause.)

INTERVIEWER

That’s one?

MAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

That’s a long name.

MAN

And that was the abbreviated version.

INTERVIEWER

So where were we?

MAN

We were beginning to realize that you don’t know what you are talking about.

INTERVIEWER

A billion people would disagree with you.

MAN

That is the number nowadays?

            (Pause.  MAN stands and speaks, as if in a trance.)

Before I came here today a few of my friends asked me many questions about what was going to happen here.  I didn’t really know what to tell them, I just knew that I would probably meet someone like you.  It is a big universe you know, and a lot of time has passed and many worlds have existed here, on the earth.

            (Pause.  There is a deep drum beat.  It beats slow.  MAN still in a trance.)

There is light.

            (Pause.)

The land is moving.  The water is moving and is separating the land. The mountains are rising and are separating the land.  The land is separating the water.

            (Pause.)

There are living things.

(The MAN and the INTERVIEWER freeze.  Enter the NATIVE, who is dressed in many forms, dirt, rock and water spill off. The NATIVE is also holding a torch.  The NATIVE takes several steps forward, then several steps back, bows on one knee, makes an action of respect and humility.)

NATIVE

Life is here.  But for an instant, it is a fire spark that disappears.

MAN

Nothing can change that.  But this is what the world has given, and we should take it, freely.

NATIVE

The world is life and time.

            (Pause.)

Our entire way of life will change—but it will never die, because it is of the spirit. It is a truth, and truth cannot die.[i]

(The NATIVE holds the flame high, takes several steps back and forth, offers an action of respect and humility.  The NATIVE exits slowly during MUSIC:  Native American Indian Remembrance (War Song)[ii]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByL0AMdkRqs

(MUSIC ends.)

(The two men unfreeze. The MAN takes his seat and sits down and faces the INTERVIEWER as before.  They are not aware of what just transpired with the NATIVE.)

INTERVIEWER

So if we were to bring you on board, when would you be able to start?

MAN

When are you ready for a change?

INTERVIEWER

So you see yourself as a change agent?

MAN

That sounds about right.

            (Pause.)

How much longer is this interview?

            (The INTERVIEWER takes up a page from the file and studies it.)

INTERVIEWER

We have to cover the rules of employment.

  1. Once you join the company you cannot join another company.
  2. You can be terminated at any time and you can terminate yourself anytime.

2a. No one is held liable in such circumstances.

  1.  You are not allowed to have feelings and if you succumb to this weakness you will not show them or mention them.  People do this all the time but we highly discourage this.
  2. Anything you do is owned by the company.
  3. We highly encourage religious belief.
  4. We have a code of ethics that you should become familiar with but stealing is the best form of a compliment.
  5. Know that the company has been convicted of fraud and you should not be.
  6. Know that the company has been convicted of manslaughter and you should not be.
  7. Know that the company has many people who are certified insane and you should not be.
  8. The company should, for all intent and purposes, outlive you.

(The INTERVIEWER stops and puts the page down.)

All agreeable?

MAN

Is that it?

INTERVIEWER

Yes.

MAN

Sounds agreeable.

            (Pause.)

Though I have a few questions.

INTERVIEWER

Go ahead.

MAN

Maybe you can advise on how to deal with the following?

INTERVIEWER

Go ahead.

MAN

Once at a headquarters where I was operating.  Note that this was a company that made pressure products that required a sterile environment with a vacuum function to remove any excess waste or by-product.  Several of the managers, after a period of several years developed a condition that was akin to their brains being sucked out of their skulls through their ears.

            (Pause.)

What would you have me do in these circumstances?

INTERVIEWER

Did you take preventive measures?

MAN

Like?

INTERVIEWER

Did you provide them earplugs?

MAN

This was discouraged as they would not be able to hear.

INTERVIEWER

That makes sense; you probably did the right thing.

            (Pause.)

What else?  What happened to these managers?

MAN

Most of them lost their brains and could no longer fulfill their duties on the job.  We formed a pool that would support them.  Another pool was formed to hold the lost brain matter for further study in treating the condition.

            (Pause.)

Have you encountered anything like this here?

INTERVIEWER

If that were true or not, I would not be able to share this information with you until you joined us at the company.

(The MAN stands up and walks behind the INTERVIEWER.  The   INTERVIEWER is uncomfortable with this and moves to see what the MAN is doing.)

MAN

It’s okay, hold still for a second.

(The MAN reaches gently for the INTERVIEWER’S head and turns it so that he can look into the INTERVIEWER’S ear.)

It appears that you may have a problem here.

INTERVIEWER

What are you talking about!?

MAN

Well, you have lost some use of your brain.

(INTERVIEWER pulls away and stands for the first time facing the MAN.  The MAN laughs as the INTERVIEWER pulls away.)

INTERVIEWER

That’s not funny and I don’t appreciate what you are suggesting.

MAN

You can’t help but notice the tell-tale signs like the red marks and plastic particles in your ear well.  You have either been itching this is your sleep or have had a doctor look at it recently.

INTERVIEWER

The doctor checked out fine.

MAN

So you did go to the doctor?

INTERVIEWER

Every six months.

MAN

Has anyone else from your company been checked for this loss of brain condition?

INTERVIEWER

You know I am not allowed to share that.

MAN

I want to know what I’m getting in to.  This sort of thing is rampant and something has to be done about it.  I’d rather have it fixed before I were to join you.  In fact, maybe that is where we start; I could as a consultant and fix this problem as a first project?

            (Pause.)

So do you want to do it this way?

INTERVIEWER

I don’t think so.

MAN

Things are changing around you.  You must feel it?

INTERVIEWER

Feelings are discouraged here.

MAN

It was just a phrase, a use of words.  So what would you like to do…have me focus on?

INTERVIEWER

We have to stay focused on the work.  We have much to discover, manufacture and sell.

MAN

OK, but there is one thing I need you to do.

INTERVIEWER

What is that?

MAN

I need your help in solving a few things.

INTERVIEWER

Like what?

MAN

Need your resources to travel the speed of light.

INTERVIEWER

That is way out of our realm.

MAN

On the contrary, you are the only ones who can do it.

INTERVIEWER

What else?

MAN

Enable the world population to feed themselves.

INTERVIEWER

That is way out of our realm.

MAN

On the contrary, you are the only ones who can do it.

INTERVIEWER

What else?

MAN

Sustain our resources infinitely.

INTERVIEWER

That is way out of our realm.

MAN

On the contrary, you are the only ones who can do it.

INTERVIEWER

What else?

MAN

Make humans capable of living forever.

INTERVIEWER

That is way out of our realm.

MAN

On the contrary, you are the only ones who can do it.

INTERVIEWER

What else?

MAN

Discover what happens to humans after they die.

INTERVIEWER

We already know that.

MAN

No you don’t.  You only know when you’re dead.

(VOICEOVER of GHOST.)

GHOST

How…

            How do you…

                                    How do you plan…

                                                            How do you plan to leave…

How do you plan to leave your body…

What…

            What kind…

                                    What kind of a death…

What kind of death will it be…

MAN

We will know our universe entirely.  We will understand what life is entirely.  You know?

            (Pause.)

Have to apologize, sorry to say that if you have a loss of brain condition there is a chance time is running out and these problems will never be solved. 

            (Pause.)

I would like this to be my project for you as a consultant.

(Knock at the door.  WOMAN enters dressed in camouflage, camouflage makeup and is carrying a high powered rifle.  The INTERVIEWER crosses his legs.)

And I would like her to be my assistant!

WOMAN

I work alone.

INTERVIEWER

WE ARE NOT HIRING YOU!

WOMAN

I am not looking for a job.  Want nothing …from you.

INTERVIEWER

Please leave.

            (The WOMAN does not move and only clutches her rifle.)

Please leave or I will have you removed.

MAN

You did say you were looking for something in the way of a military relationship?

INTERVIEWER

This is not what I was talking about.

MAN

She looks pretty military to me.

INTERVIEWER

Are you leaving?

(The WOMAN smiles, turns slowly, as if she was on a modeling runway and walks past them and exits.)

MAN

What do you think?

INTERVIEWER

I think she has the juice.

MAN

What?

INTERVIEWER

Just an expression we have around here.

MAN

Well it sounded like you didn’t want her?

INTERVIEWER

We really don’t like guns here at our company offices. 

MAN

So you can make them just don’t bring them to work sort of thing?

(Pause.  The two men sit casually staring at each other.  The MAN gives the INTERVIEWER a nod.  The INTERVIEWER gives the MAN a nod.)

            (Another pause.)

Another company I was operating in made a chemical compound that was an additive to food products that enhanced the taste.  Unfortunately we found that once people started consuming the products they had an inability to stop gaining weight.  Have you had that sort of a problem here?

INTERVIEWER

I heard about that but we don’t own any food products or additives here.

MAN

You look as though you may have consumed them though?

INTERVIEWER

I don’t know.

MAN

That would be unfortunate.

            (Pause)

I mean your head would shrink form loss of brain and your body would fatten like a beach ball.

            (Pause.)

You have to be concerned about that no?

INTERVIEWER

That’s enough.

MAN

Have you looked in a mirror lately?  You said you went to the doctor.  Did they notice if you had put on any weight while they were checking your ears?

INTERVIEWER

I did put on a few pounds.

MAN

See!  You may be in trouble man!

INTERVIEWER

Don’t say that.

MAN

Ok.  But we should stay alert and pay attention to how your products affect you.

INTERVIEWER

I thought I made clear that we don’t make food products here?

MAN

Yes.

            (Pause)

What do you make here?

INTERVIEWER

Not important to this interview.  We’ll tell you what we make at just the right time.

            (Pause.  INTERVIEWER uncrosses his legs and crosses them the other way.)

We have the people who research what are the right audiences for those who would be the best buyers of our products.  They plan on getting the buyers to take some action.  Then once they are taking an action they plan on how to get the buyers to continue buying by studying their behavior.  Through the Media, you know, the Media, they use repetition to increase consumption of the products.  The man who runs the organization is Mr. Wipo.

MAN

I’ve heard of him.

INTERVIEWER

Yes.  He is well known.

MAN

So that is what it takes.  How are you going to get the word out about what is happening here?

INTERVIEWER

I don’t understand?

MAN

People must know what is happening here, between you and me.

INTERVIEWER

I don’t think so.

MAN

I’m sure of it.

            (MAN looks out at the audience.)

In fact I’m positive.

            (Pause.)

We probably don’t have to worry about them.

(The MAN turns back and faces the INTERVIEWER.  Enter the NATIVE.  The MAN and the INTERVIEWER freeze.)

NATIVE

The noise of passing feet
On the prairie.
They are playing a game
As they come,
These men.[iii]

            (The NATIVE exits looking back as he says his last two words.)

            (The two men unfreeze.)

Something has changed about you.

INTERVIEWER

What?

MAN

About the way you are conducting this interview.  It seemed like when we first started you were in control.  It doesn’t seem like that anymore.

INTERVIEWER

I don’t know what you mean about control.  I still do decide if we are going to hire you or not.

MAN

I think we are passed that.

INTERVIEWER

You don’t want to work here.

MAN

I don’t think that is what this is about.  This is about you and your future.

            (Pause.)

You’re changing right before my eyes.

            (Pause.)

Have you thought a prayer?

INTERVIEWER

This is something we don’t discourage.  We covered this already at the beginning of the interview.

MAN

I don’t think we talked about how you pray.

INTERVIEWER

This is something that is not up for discussion here.

MAN

Not even if you were losing your brains, your head was shrinking and your body was blowing up like a grapefruit?

(INTERVIEWER shakes his head.  The WOMAN enters dressed the same as before, in camouflage, carrying her rifle.  The INTERVIEWER uncrosses his legs.)

Hey!  I knew you would come back.  You guys are always around when we need you.  I mean I like to change things but you, you, really like to change things.

WOMAN

What’s going on here.

INTERVIEWER

GET OUT!

MAN

You can stay.

WOMAN

            (Takes a long look at the INTERVIEWER.)

What’s wrong with him?

INTERVIEWER

What are you talking about?

MAN

I told you!  Your brains are running out of your head.

(The INTERVIEWER starts to get up.  The WOMAN raises her rifle and points it at him.)

INTERVIEWER

What do you think you’re doing?  You can’t point that at me.

MAN

You can point it at him.

WOMAN

            (She is looking down her rifle at the INTERVIEWER.)

That is some real sick stuff.  You see his body?

            (The INTERVIEWER feels his body and his head.)

We have to stop it.

MAN

I think you better pray now.

INTERVIEWER

This is outrageous.  What are you doing!

MAN

Better pray.

(The WOMAN gets closer to the INTERVIEWER and aims her rifle at point blank range.)

I think you should pray.  Your company would want you to.

INTERVIEWER

I won’t do it!  I can’t do it!

MAN

Not even with a gun pointed at your head?

INTERVIEWER

It is not in the manual.

            (The WOMAN appears that she is going to fire her rifle.)

WOMAN

He is dissolving.  There soon will be nothing there.

            (Pause.)

(They freeze.)

(MUSIC: Shawnee Sioux War Dance[iv] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoSz-9JkavI )

(MUSIC fades.)

            (Lights fade on them to black.)

            (GHOST VOICEOVER:  Sound of a deep breath through the nose.)

GHOST

The odor of death

I discern the odor of death

In front of my body.[v]

            (GHOST VOICEOVER:  Sound of a deep breath through the nose.)

THE PLAY ENDS


[i] “Our entire way of life will change—but it will never die, because it is of the spirit. It is a truth, and truth cannot die.” —White Wolf, Crow

[ii]  Native American Indian Remembrance (War Song) (Music)

[iii] Chippewaw War Song

[iv] Shawnee Sioux War Dance (Music)

[v]  Chippewaw Death Song

Categories
Uncategorized

The Solitaire Psychic

The Solitaire Psychic

Music prior to scene is On the Road Again by Canned Heat

Characters:

LEOPARD LOUISE

MABLE CHURCH

LEXINGTON CONCORD

They are all similar in age, with LEOPARD LOUISE being the eldest.

Scene 1:

The stage is divided into two sides. Left is a patio reclining chaise lounge with a small table and a deck chair, there is an ash tray on the small table.  Right is a road sign so worn down it is indistinguishable. Vegetation sporadically growing back and foreground.

MABLE and LEXINGTON walk on left wearing hiking clothes and backpacks.  They walk wearily on and up to the sign, stop, look around, stare at each other, and remove their backpacks and lean them against the sign.  They sit down and lean against the backpacks.

LOUISE walks on right in a pool robe carrying a beach bag and a radio recorder.  She stops at the chaise, puts her bag down on the ground next to the table, and places the radio on the table.  She turns it on, we only hear muted voices of a random radio channel.  Lights fade out on her side.

Mable:  I’m dead.

Lexington:  That was a long walk.

Mable:  How far would you say?

Lexington: At least 15 miles.

Mable: I can’t feel my legs.

Lexington: Want me to rub them back to life for you?

Mable: No, that’s ok.  Do you know where you are going?

Lexington:  Yes, it’s a motel, I have it marked on the map.

Mable: Good.

Lexington: How much farther can you go?

Mable: Long as you can.

Lexington:  I can go a long time.

Mable: Ok.  Just keep track.

Lexington:  I will.  (Pulls out a small notebook and pen and writes.)  I’ve been keeping accounts of everything, mileage, food, water, money.

Mable:  Any other accounts?

Lexington: My conversations with you, the meaning of what you say, or what it means to me.

Mable:  I think that’s nice.  Why do you do that?

Lexington:  Seems like it is more real when I write it down.  Also, I’m afraid I’ll forget.  I’ve looked back on things I wrote in the past, and even though I remembered them when I read them, I forgot about them.  The more time goes by the more I want to keep an accounting.  Don’t you want to remember stuff?

(Mable tries to stand up and lays back down against her backpack.)

Mable: I’m dead.

Lexington: (Takes a large, thick book our of his pack, sits back down, opens it and begins reading.)  Obie.  Noun, one of a group of awards given annually, beginning in 1956, by New York City’s The Village Voice newspaper for achievement in the off-Broadway theater.  Origin of Obie: pronunciation of OB, abbreviation of off Broadway.  (Continues looking at the book.)

Mable: Reading the dictionary again? 

Lexington: Yes.

Mable: Why again?

Lexington:  Accounting words used for language.  Want to learn them all.  Doing it in alphabetical order. No words, no communication.

Mable:  Oh, that’s right.

Lexington:  Mhm.

Mable: Mhm.

Lexington:  obiter dictum

Mable: Hm?

Lexington:  obiter dictum, noun, plural.  An incidental or passing remark, opinion, etc.  In Law. an incidental or supplementary opinion by a judge in deciding a case, upon a matter not essential to the decision, and therefore not binding as precedent.

Mable: Hm.

Lexington: (Puts the dictionary away and takes a small map out of his pack and looks at it.) Think you can go a bit further?  There is a motel not far away.

Mable: I’m good.

Lexington: You can meet all sorts of people at Motels.

Mable:  That’s good.

Lexington: Ok let’s saddle up.  (Lexington gets up and puts on his backpack, looks at Mable still leaning against hers.)  You coming?

Mable:  Yes.  Go ahead, I’ll catch up.

Lexington:  You sure?

Mable: Yes.

Lexington:  Ok. (He hesitates then walks off.)

(Mable sits for a few moments, gets herself up.  She looks at her backpack, then walks off without putting it on.) (Lights stage left fade.)

End of Scene

Scene 2

(Lights fade in stage right.  Louise is lying on her chaise facing the house.  She has sunglasses on and is smoking a cigarette.  She looks toward us though we don’t know if she is looking at us or not because she is wearing sunglasses.  After a minute lights fade out.)

Scene 3

(Lights fade in left.  Lexington walks on, he is looking at the dictionary again, he stops and looks up and around.)

Lexington:  Ob, Ob, Obituary.  Obituary, noun, plural o·bit·u·ar·ies, a notice of the death of a person, often with a biographical sketch, as in a newspaper. Adjective of, relating to, or recording a death or deaths.  (Pause.)  Wow, a way of accounting for death, perfect. 

(Mable enters, not wearing her backpack.)

Mable: Accounting for death?

Lexington:  Obituary.

Mable: Oh, that’s right, you’re on the O’s.   There is no accounting for death.

Lexington:  Obituaries.

Mable:  Yeah but after the fact.  Nothing about them have to do with preparation or the circumstances of death.  You can’t even think about your own death for more than 39 seconds.

(Lexington digs in his backpack.)

No one really wants to think about death anymore. 

Lexington: (Stops, looks up) What an odd thing to say. No one ever wanted to think about death.

Mable:  Don’t want to define it.  There is no construct for it.   (Pause.)  What are you doing?

Lexington:  Looking for my stopwatch.  Hey, where is your backpack?

Mable: I didn’t need it.  I’m almost there.

Lexington:  You sure about that?

Mable:  Yeah.

Lexington:  Ok.  (Goes back to digging in his backpack.)

Mable:  It is not preparing for death; it is preparing for life.  Everything is sacred, everything should be respected as sacred.  Many know this, and they know that death is a natural occurrence within life.  Many fear death but death should be accepted. 

Lexington: (He finds the stopwatch.)  Yes!  (He looks up at Mable, then to stopwatch, then to the audience, he sits transfixed, then starts the watch.)

Mable: Death is not a defeat.  Some think the circumstances of death may change the death, but this isn’t true.  Some think that people must have committed some kind of offense and they are deserving of death, this isn’t true either.

(While Mable speaks, separately Louise moves from her relaxed position to sitting up and reaches for a cigarette and lights it.  Lights fade in right.  She takes a couple of drags and puffs out the smoke.  She reaches for her bag and pulls out a deck of playing cards in a box.  She pulls the cards out of the box and begins to shuffle them; each shuffle makes a loud noise.)

Mable:  We are spirits, we are having a human experience.  The human experience is a cloak that we wear and take off.

Lexington: (Comes out of his transfixion and stops the stopwatch.) Oh man, only 17 seconds and I couldn’t think about my death anymore!  How did you know about the 39 seconds?

Mable:  I just know about stuff like that.  I study death.

(Louise starts to deal the cards on her little table, creating seven rows of cards for a game of solitaire.)

Mable:  Every spirit lives, every human life ends alone. 

Lexington:  I’m going to try again.  (He resets the stopwatch and starts it again.  Looking out at the audience transfixed.)

Mable:  Keep trying, you’re not going to be able to do it.

(Louise has fully dealt the solitaire layout and begins the dealing from the leftover stockpile three cards at a time.)

Mable: If you really want to think about your death you would be better off thinking about your life, thinking about the people in your life, they are also spirits wearing the human experience, your spirits are connected and will always be connected.

(Louise plays and moves different combinations of cards on the table, she continues cycling the cards. Lights fade slightly.)

Mable:  The number of spirits is infinite; the connections and combinations of spirits are infinite.  All spirits are connected, and all humans are connected.  Because we are here, we spirits are connected to the land. 

(Lexington becomes physically agitated, shaking, his eyes open wide.)

The physical place where we walk is all there is for us, the space we inhabit is always changing.

(Lexington presses the stopwatch off and gasps.)

Leington:  Ohhhhahhhhugh.  (Looks at the stopwatch.)  Damn!  35 seconds!  Almost made it.

Mable:  You’re not going to be able to do it.

Lexington:  I know I can.

Mable:  Well, it’s getting late in the day.

Lexington:  Let’s get going.  I can do it on the way.

Mable: Do you know where you are going?

Lexington:  I already said yes.  It’s a motel (pulls the map out and points at a spot) here.

Mable: (Looks at the map.)  I know places like this.

(Lexington puts his backpack on.  Looks at Mable who is standing ready to go.  He walks by her and heads off left.)

Lexington: You coming?

(Mable follows him off left.  Lights fade out.)

(Light fade in entirely on Louise who finishes playing solitaire.)

Louise:  Huh, I won.

(She puts all the cards together in a neat deck and puts them in the box.  She takes out a cigarette, lights it and puffs.  She looks over at the radio and picks it up.  She studies it and set it down.  Thinks for a few moments.)

Louise:  What should I talk about that no one talks about?  I don’t have any addictions.  Not really.  Nothing harmful at least.  What did I say before?  (She presses play.)

Recorder:  I don’t have any addictions.  (Louise takes a drag of the cigarette.) So, there’s nothing to talk about there.  I haven’t killed anyone, or purposely hurt anyone.  I have dreams but not as many as before.  I’m very happy, oh this is stupid…(There is a pause and nothing else is heard from the recorder.)

Louise:  I’m very happy.  (Laughs.)  I think I just said that for the recording.  It’s not that I’m not happy, it’s just not a sustainable state of being, unless you’re an idiot of some sort or another.  The thing is that no one is paying that much attention to others when they are thinking about themselves. 

(Pause.  Louise takes a drag of the cigarette. Louise thinks for a moment and presses record and speaks into the recorder.)

You have to ask others to know and then you need to listen to what they say and how they say it.  It takes an extra moment and you have to listen.  Most people ask how you are but don’t really listen to your answer.  A lot can be understood in that answer.

(Pause.)

How are you?

(Pause.)

Fine.

(Pause. In different iterations.)

How are you?

(Pause.)

Fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine, how are you?

(Pause.)

I’m fine, how are you?

(Pause.  Louis stops recording, switches off the recorder.)

I’m fine.

(Pause.)

I’m fine.

(Enter right Lexington and Mable soon after onto Louise’s side of the set. Louise has her back to them and continues.  Louise takes a drag of the nearly finished cigarette. Lexington and Mable stop and look at Louise, they think she is talking to someone.)

I’m fine.

(Long pause.)

How are you?

Lexington and Mable: I’m fine. How are you?

(Louise turns around quickly.)

Louise:  How long have you been standing there?

Lexington: Just a moment.

Mable: Not long at all.

(Louise puts out the cigarette in the ash tray vehemently as she looks at them.)

Lexington: Who were you talking to?

Louise: Nobody, was making a recording.

Lexington:  I do that.  But in a notebook. 

Mable: He accounts.

Lexington: Yep.  Have been going through the dictionary too, beginning to end.  We’ve been walking a long time.

Mable: I’m dead.

Louise: (Takes a cigarette out of her pack and lights it. Looks long at Mable.)  You two together.

Mable: Traveling together.

Louise: That’s it?

Mable and Lexington: Yes.

Lexington: How about you?

Louise: I’m always here. 

Mable: I see you have cards.

Louise: Playing cards.  I play solitaire and I’m a psychic.

Lexington: The solitaire psychic.

Mable: You use the playing cards to tell fortunes.

Louise: Now you know I don’t do that; you can’t tell fortunes with playing cards.

Lexington: How do you do it then?

Louise: (Flicks her ash into the ashtray.)  With cigarette ashes.

Lexington:  Really?  Does it work?

Louise:  Ask her.

Lexington: Mable do you know, know…

Louise: Louise.

Mable: It’s possible.  I’m not certain that I remember you.

Louise: We travel in the same circles, I’m certain I remember you. (Looks at Lexington,)

And what’s your name?

Lexington: Lexington.

Louise:  Nice to meet you…Lexington.  How are you?

Lexington: Fine.

(Pause.)

Louise: That’s good to hear.

Lexington: That’s what you were doing when we walked in. What were you talking about, or recording before we came in?

Louise:  I was talking about people.  Knowledge and self-knowledge. Interest in others, paying attention to others, knowing what others think you think of them or what they think of you.  I was talking about greetings and how earnest people are when they ask, “How are you?”

Mable:  How are you?

Louise: (Takes a drag of her cigarette.) I’m fine.

(Pause.)

Sorry if I don’t ask how you are, I already know.

Mable: I imagine you do.

Lexington: (Wanting to diffuse the tension.)  Would you read the ashes for me?

Louise: Sure.

Lexington:  Great!  That’s great!

Louise:  But we will have to be alone when I do it. 

Lexington: Mable you want to check in?

Mable: I’ll leave you two to it.

Lexington: Thank you.

(Mable walks off right.  Looks back a moment and exits. Louise puts out her cigarette.)

Louise: She’s already checked out.

(Pause.)

Louise: So you’re ready?

Lexington: Yes.

Louise: Have a seat.  (Lexington sits down in the chair on the other side of the table. Louise lights up another cigarette.)  What do you think this is about?  What do you know about psychics?

Lexington: (Goes into his backpack and pulls out his dictionary.) (Reads.) 1. Relating to or denoting faculties or phenomena that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws, especially involving telepathy or clairvoyance. “psychic powers” 2. relating to the soul or mind.

Louise: You had to go into a dictionary for that?  Here, a little bit of number 1 and more of number 2.

Lexington:  It’s more exact with the dictionary.  But I would have said it’s someone who looks and speaks about things differently than most people.

Louise: That’s pretty good.  But I look more at the spirits that are around us, around you.  The dictionary gives you the words that describe something, I give you the order that they should go, I give you the real case of what’s happening around you. 

Lexington: Funny that you say real.  This doesn’t seem real.

Louise: I know.  You know how people will act and say things and use words that are not really what is happening, not what you can see, and you know better. 

Lexington: Yes, I know what you mean.

Louise: The way they use words is done for convincing themselves of something they need to protect.   

Lexington: Yeah.

Louise: And none of this is important.  (Takes a drag of the cigarette.) What’s important is my Psychic Eyes and what they can see.  I’m going to tell you what is around you and what words you should really listen to.

Lexington: Ok.

Louise: (Puts the cigarette out in the ash tray. Looks at the ash tray carefully, moves it around a bit.  Looks up at Lexington.)  Now that makes sense.

Lexington:  What?

Louise: You don’t know where you are dear.

Lexington:  What?

Louise: And you don’t know about her. (Motions off to where Mable exited.)  Your mind wanders to her and back, you think: what if? We both know it’s true and there is nothing bad about that.  Only you don’t know about her, but I will tell you when we get there.

Lexington: We have been traveling together for a while now.

Louise: I know you think that.  Let’s talk about your life, (she studies the cigarette ashes) or better your existence. 

Lexington: Wow.

Louise: Here is the thought process: What if you weren’t here?

Lexington: But I am here.

Louise: Yes, but it’s like a test, you think you are here because you know you are not not here. Think about that moment, like in a dream, when you are passing from sleep to awake, from dream to consciousness, think about that moment when you are passing between each state.

Lexington: Ok, I’ve got it.

Louise: That, that, is where you are actually.

Lexington: What does that mean?  Should I change something?

Louise:  Nothing to change, just a state of being to be aware of.  It is a different perspective; it might change the choices you make or maybe how you make them.

Lexington: What kind of choices?

Louise: What you spend time doing, what work you do, what you do that you enjoy, what you do for entertainment.  (Pause.) It’s all entertainment really.

Lexington: It’s all entertainment.

(Pause.)

Louise:  Pretty much.  (Pause.  Examines cigarette ashes.) There are a few aspects that are kind of interesting.

Lexington: Like?

Louise: You have a very interesting destiny.  Something that you’re going to do.

(Mable enters slowly and stops at the edge of the light.  Lexington notices but stays engaged with Louise.)

Lexington: What?

Louise: You’re going to discover what happens to people when they die.

(Mable comes forward into the light. Lexington takes notice.)

Lexington: You’re back.

Louise: Not really.

Mable: How is Lexington going to know what happens to people when they die?

Louise: You know.  I know and why don’t you tell Lexington who you are?

Mable:  I have.  Or I told him about spirits and human life.

Louise:  But you didn’t tell him about you.

Lexington: What is it Mable?

Mable: I don’t want to admit it.  I don’t want to scare him.

Louise: Of course you don’t dear and you don’t have to. 

Lexington: I actually do have a way, a method to understanding.  An experiment that Mable gave me the idea for.  Mable said that you can’t think about your own death for more than 39 seconds. (Lexington goes for his backpack and takes out the stopwatch.  He holds the watch up and starts it. He stands looking out.)

Louise: You probably don’t want him to get past 39 seconds?

Mable: He can’t.

Louise: (Looking at Mable.) You are only on one side of the equation, the side of death and spirits.  Lexington is on the side of life and the in between.  He already has this world’s definitions, perceptions and an understanding of how to create an understanding, a testimony for the living.   (Looks at the ashes.)  When I look at the ashes, I can see it, his life and then his discovery will make sense.   It’s science, physical science, it will lead him to the answers. We are able to understand the stars, the earth is round, cure disease, measure the speed of light, why wouldn’t there be a way of describing what happens to us at death.  It might be good for you.

Mable:  How’s that?

Louise: He might be able to give you more definition, more of an explanation of where you are, what you are in.

Mable: But I don’t need that, I’m fine the way things are?

(Lexington’s eyes get bigger; he seems to struggle.)

Louise:  Are you sure?

(Mable backs out of the light.  The lights flicker.)

Mable: I’m fine.

(Lexington sways back and forth, moving with each second that passes.)

Mable: I’m fine.

Lexington:  Yes!

(Mable vanishes, the lights go out, she is no longer there.  The lights go up, Lexington and Louise are in the same position as when Mable vanished. Pause.  Lights out.)

The End

Categories
Uncategorized

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋