I was lying in the road, and I remember thinking that she was dead — knowing she was dead.
She wasn't dead yet, but I'd seen her face. Her jaw was full of broken glass. I thought it was shattered bone, but the passenger’s window was rolled halfway down --
— halfway up, halfway down, and her jaw hit it. I don't know why so much glass was blown inwards — where's the physics in that?
She hits the window, and it's everywhere. Across the car, I had glass in my hair, my arm...everywhere.
I saw her face, and I thought that was it. Fresh out of high school and that was it. Steam was billowing from the radiator, but there was a kind of quiet. The sun was shining. There was no darkness to obscure the red, no rain to wash it away.
Somehow I'd gotten out of the car, because I was looking in through the passenger side window — where the window used to be — and someone told me to lie down, so I did.
One & Other
One sits with three red and blue rectangular blocks lined up in front of him. He flips the blocks end over end, right to left. He is working. Flick, flick, flick. Flick, flick, flick. Other sits nearby, idle.
Other: I could hold you…
(One glares at Other.)
Or you could hold me.
One: I told you there’s no point. It’ll be over soon.
Other: I don’t think you should focus on the end so much. I think the part before the end is more important.
One: You’re wrong. It’s the part after the end that matters—or should matter.
Other: What comes after? I thought the end was just the end.
One: Let’s not talk about it.
Other: But this is important. You know things I don’t.
One: I don’t know that much.
Other: But it’s still more.
One: There’s nothing I can tell you that will make any difference. Nothing that will change what is.
Other: Is the end coming soon?
One: Not for a while yet.
Other: I was dreaming.
(One stops working.)
Other: Before. When it was dark.
One: When was it dark?
Other: This morning? Yesterday?
One: You weren’t dreaming.
Other: I did. I was--
One: What did you dream about?
Other: I don’t remember exactly...
One: Then how can you be sure you were dreaming?
Other: There were butterflies. Where else would I see butterflies?
I understand a lot of things.
One: No, you don’t. Not really.
Other: I understand work. It’s not all moving things and building, there’s knocking down and blowing up. Some things need knocking down and blowing up.
One: I can’t change for you.
Other: But the end’s not coming yet. So, there’s time. I’ll sit quietly and let you work and maybe you’ll change later.
One: Will you stop it! Stop asking. Stop wanting. Don’t you dare sit there holding out hope for the future.
Jericho in the Morning Light
The Crossroads (Scene 5)
(An alley way. Offstage there is the creak and clang of a heavy door with bleed through of music from the club. Jericho enters. Need follows.)
Need: Hey! Wait up! You say you’re looking for Ecstasy? I can tell you where she is.
Jericho: Where is she?
Need: Nah. Nah. Give me fifty and I’ll tell you.
Jericho: Tell me what? When did you see her?
Need: The other night.
Jericho: Who did she leave with?
Need: Nobody... Somebody. It doesn’t matter.
Jericho: Did you talk to her?
Need: Give and I’ll tell you. Come on. You paid Grudge. You can pay me.
Jericho: I don’t have fifty.
Need: Sure you do.
I’m just after money she owes me. That’s all I’m after. The way she looked yesterday, I don’t think she’s coming back.
Jericho: What does she owe you for?
Need: She just does. She owes me.
Jericho: You don’t know anything.
Need: Hey, I know. Don’t say I don’t know. You’re not in my head. I’m telling you, I
know where she lives. I can take you to her place.
Jericho: You don’t even know me.
Need: I know you’re after either one thing or the other. I don’t care. You want Ecstasy.
I’ll take you to her door, but you have to pay.
You know she’s worth it.
Jericho (cold): I’ve got nothing for you.
(Jericho turns to leave.)
Need: I bet you think she’s the one. That power she has, the way she can make you feel like you’re bathed in light, like you’re the center of everything.... In the morning, you wake up next to a different girl. It doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself it’s not for keeps. There’s no way to brace yourself for the morning after when she’s sitting across from you eating a slice of toast and you can tell, you’ve had your pity-fuck and that’s all you’re going to get. She’s already looking for that next experience and that next experience isn’t you. One of these days she’s going to run out of things to experience and then--
Jericho: You get nothing.
(Jericho starts to leave. Need draws a knife, grabs Jericho, swings him around and stabs him in the side. Jericho drops to the ground.)
Need: She can take you so so high...but the crash is the hardest you’ll ever know.
(Need lifts Jericho’s wallet.)
You should’ve just given me the fifty.
malleus, incus, stapes
(A woman kneels in a box of light. An empty rectangle is marked on the ground before her—its edges defined by sticks. She has a brush in hand and is at work, clearing the earth from invisible objects.)
It's a form of archaeology. A story uncovered gently, piece by piece, with a soft brush — though sometimes these things start with a back hoe. A back hoe to open the earth, get you down to where it counts...then it’s trowel and brush and everything in pieces. Ancient fragments. Seeds, shell, bone.
(She reaches into the box before her. Her fingers mark where a woman’s skull is emerging from the earth.)
A woman’s skull. Not science-store plastic, but bone. The jaw holds teeth. The teeth hold fillings. The skull held a mind. The auditory meatus holds three bones – malleus, incus, stapes – hammer, anvil, stirrup. Give the skull a shake and you can hear them rattle. The faint rattle of three fine bones, trapped yet free, the flesh that held them gone.
It's not getting any clearer, is it?
I'm sorry, but sometimes that's the way it is. Sometimes you find that the earth has all but swallowed what you're looking for...all that's left is a darker patch of soil, a stain where something used to be, or a void with a certain shape….
"This tremor love is"
Petr is waiting. Boy enters, flush.
Boy: Sorry, I’m late.
Petr: It is no bother. I was just setting up.
(Petr makes himself busy. Boy undresses.)
Boy: How was your trip?
Petr: Too much business. And it rained! When you go to Los Angeles, it should not rain. Also, my sister’s cooking is very bad. I forget this every time. How I forget, I don’t know, but I always forget until I am there and then the vegetables...like mush.
How was your week?
Boy: Good. Very good.
Petr: I’m glad. It shows in you, your good mood. Perhaps I should let you choose the pose today. Go ahead.
(Boy tries one pose, then another, then settles. Petr looks at the pose Boy has chosen and pauses, something at the edge of memory.)
That is a classic position.
Boy: Should I try another?
Petr: No. The classics are classics for good reason. Lower your chin a fraction. Good. We begin.
Boy: You didn’t tell me you taught at the university.
Petr: Years ago. Too long ago to matter.
Boy: And you studied at The Sorbonne.
Petr: Miriam is a gossip.
Boy: I asked.
Petr: Why would you do that?
Boy: I was curious.
Petr: You can ask me these things, if you are curious.
Boy: She lent me a book.
(Petr puts down his charcoal.)
Petr: I am to guess which book she lent you.
Boy: Your work, it’s very impressive.
Petr: She has no business doing this— lending you books.
(Petr looks at the drawing before him, then at Boy.)
This is a pose you have seen! What did I tell you? I have no love of the past.
(Petr tears the page he’s been working on.)
Get up. Get up!
Trust Miriam! What to do. What to do with this.
I am going to have a cup of tea. You will sit here as I pay you to sit here. I will have tea and then we will start again. There is work to be done.
Boy: It’s just a book. This isn’t such a big deal.
Petr: Do not tell me what is a big deal.
What I have arranged in L.A. is a big deal. A deal that requires I work without distraction, without you pretending to be someone you are not.
Boy: I... I just chose a position. I didn’t realize--
Petr: That is a problem.
Boy: It won’t be.
Petr: Books. And you a student. So young, I suppose you believe in books.
An image says what an image says.
Do not let anyone give you a collection of words for their meaning. Do not think you can learn anything from a few paragraphs on a page.
(Boy reaches for his clothes.)
Boy: I should go.
Petr: You will not!
(Boy looks at Petr. He starts to dress. He is leaving.)
Clearly, clearly I have...over-reacted. Wait. We can both have tea. Let’s have tea and clear our heads.
(Boy sits in the work area. Petr prepares the tea. Boy looks to where he was posed and sees the past image he brought into the studio.)
Boy: I’m sorry.
Petr: You should not apologize.
Boy: I realize which painting--
Petr: Please, don’t.
When I met Aede, it was autumn. We were both young. We were both far from home, though our travels had just begun. She had a form that light touched with the most immense love. It was through her I discovered what I was to be.
(Petr serves the tea.)
Boy: I’m sorry.
Petr: This cannot become personal. What was cannot be a part of what is. This is not a matter for discussion. Not for me.
The drawings. We have the beginning of something. I do not want to lose this.
Boy: Neither do I.
(Boy sips his tea.)
Petr: You will give Miriam her book back. I know why she keeps it. I understand. I understand the world is full of books and you can read anything you want, but I will ask you not to. Will you do that for me?