–A work in progress from Facebook notes…

ONE SUNDAY

MORNING

ONE SON

IS GONE

Jesus I wouldn’t bother

He belongs to me now

–Wilco

CAST OF CHARACTERS

The Master of Ceremonies

Mylar Bursmooch                   the grandfather

Electra von Turnipseed            the grandmother

Carter Sexton                     the father

Mary Jane Smiley                  the mother

Vandever Ossip                    the son

Rosemarie Thomas                  the wife

 

SCENE ONE

The audience is seated you look over their heads to the stage a red curtain lights shining up from the stage the only illumination a hush of voices and no applause as the MC walks on from the left he doesn’t look dressed for the occasion though it’s winter outside as glimpses of the overcoats in the audience reveal he’s wearing a royal blue t-shirt maybe without the Hanes tag and a pair of navy blue Dockers shorts Teva sandals on his feet and he holds a Premium e-cigarette (slightly enhanced) in his hand. Stopping short of mid-stage he turns to face the audience. You see the blue glow from the tip of the electronic cigarette. And then his eyes.

MC:

You are inside a computer. Not the classical kind with its ever smaller microprocessors which according to Moore’s law will run out of room. No, no tiny circuits filled with resistors and capacitors super-cooled metals all those little switches going on and off giving us our zeroes and ones I’m talking about something which once seemed speculative science fiction because imagine if instead of just zeroes and ones each little bit of information could be both zero and one at the same time and everything in between. No, instead of your motherboards you have a vacuum. A vacuum where you are just a single atom being disturbed. And the funny thing, to the observer, they can know your value without even looking…

With that the MC exits stage right and the red curtain opens. The lights dim to reveal a large movie screen. At first you hear voices overlapping from the audience, but then the movie begins. The music…

FADE IN

EXT. CARBONDALE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CAMPUS—DAY

(Verschränkung in the sub-title)

The MC stands by the power plant and though there’s no snow on the ground you can tell it’s winter because the trees are naked and the air has that silence which spells cold the only noise a rhythmic hum coming from the power plant and he’s shivering in slightly sagging Wrangler blue jeans the same t-shirt but now a gray thermal underneath Brahma boots from Wal-Mart he should be wearing a coat but instead he stands shivering shoulders hunched one hand shoved down deep in his pocket the other still holding the e-cigarette but now it glows red.

Then in quick flashes you see the image of a cat. She has beautiful markings she lays sprawled on a hardwood floor stretched on her side with her head up and turned to you the eyes caught in the light. Then in the same flash you see her with her head down mouth open tongue out and her eyes are closed. These images flash repeatedly for a moment. Then you see as the MC turns to look behind him.

MC

The American theatre is dead. The stage is visceral and people don’t want something visceral anymore… it’s always been about an identity—those who set the stage those who act the ones who write the musical accompaniment the ones who go see and talk about it after—and it’s dead because too many people are choosing it as an identity now and I won’t go into the reasons why and so even the timeless pieces become performances with characters made of stone where we admire the divisive allusiveness the thrifty references which make it cool and how obscure can we get calling erudite to show the disconnect from the mainstream and then of course it gets lost in our timelines our endless self-affirmations and if we once identified with it we identify with it no more because of course we’re still searching for something authentic… So no I can’t stand with you on the stage for then I would be visceral and you don’t want that.

INT. CAMPUS CAFETARIA KITCHEN—LATE AFTERNOON

Mylar Bursmooch is washing dishes. The pots and pans are done you can see them stacked neatly to dry and now he’s working on the plates the cups the saucers he’s wearing a white apron but it doesn’t look white anymore the water jets out from the faucet spraying everywhere as the dishes are cleaned underneath the apron his white button-down is rolled up to the elbows and the black slacks and sneakers have that residue of kitchen grease so thoroughly embedded in the fabric as to not even have to be smelled. He’s got his head down as workers come and go attentive but not really present to the routine of moving dish from sink to sink. A busboy comes in with a pile of plates.

BUSBOY

Boss wants the garbage taken out.

MYLAR

Dumpster’s full.

BUSBOY

Don’t care. I’m just supposed to have the trash cans empty.

Mylar has never looked up from his work. He lifts a dish and lets the soapy suds drip from it before spraying water everywhere.

EXT. CAMPUS CAFETARIA REAR DUMPSTERS—SUNSET

Mylar stands with trash bags in both hands looking at an overflowing dumpster. Brahms Waltz in A Flat begins. You see him sling the first trash bag to the top of the heap then the second and just as he does you see a cat poke her head around from the other side of the garbage. For a moment Mylar stops to look at the cat as if she personifies a parent giving him a guilty look. He smiles and gives her the finger.

Now you see him walking a path through a small patch of wooded area leading from the campus to his boardinghouse. The music still plays. You see him walking and the cat following behind. He’s wearing a long black wool coat now and you focus on his face as he stops walking. It looks like he’s forgotten something. He turns you can see his breath and he sees the cat. She’s sits in the path with her tail curled about her her markings not very distinct just swaths of gray and black but in the fading sunlight the shadows make her fur have a moonlight sheen. She opens her mouth as if to speak but only her whiskers bristle. When he walks to her she backs away and as he backs up she walks towards him. Mylar shoves his hands deep in his pockets shrugs turns around and continues walking. Now the cat decides to pounce. She quickly darts the distance between them and claws his calf.

MYLAR

(bending down his hands flying out of his pockets)

You little bitch!

The cat retreats her ears back. Then she hunches and stretches putting her ass in the air meowing loud. Mylar keeps walking the cat following and so it goes until he reaches his door the music ending. She stops at his doorstep and looks up at him once again her mouth open but only her whiskers bristling. Mylar stands in his doorway and looks down at the cat.

MYLAR

Oh go throw some water on it!

Then he closes the door.

FADE OUT

The movie screen lifts and the stage lights come on and behind the screen as it lifts you see stage center a king-size brass bed then you see the rest of the furniture the bed is definitely a woman’s in its comforters but the room is a man’s nothing on the walls a fold-out table and chairs and there are no bed rails the mattress and box springs rest on the floor of the stage the brass headboard not attached but leaning between the wall and the bed there’s a record player in the corner the turntable is going an album of Cole Porter songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald. In bed are Mylar Bursmooch and Electra von Turnipseed. They are naked but there are blankets between them. You can see he’s trying to diddle her but she’s having none of it and laughing.

MYLAR:

Wasn’t it the Bard who said man, proud man… most ignorant of what he’s most assured?

ELECTRA:

Wasn’t it Saint Paul who said blessed is the single man for he can count it a happiness?

MYLAR:

Now come my dear lady if you know so much New Testament what was it Paul’s thorn his thorn in the flesh?

ELECTRA:

Is it hard to figure out?

He decides to get out of the bed walking naked to the vanity mirror in the corner angled in such a way and as he remains turned from the audience not even the reflection reveals anything but his bare ass face out to the stage. He runs a hand through his hair and clenches his buttocks. The turntable is still going but the last song on the record ends and the needle lifts and returns to its station. He begins to speak to his reflection. 

MYLAR:

The hardest lesson I’ve learned is God’s grace is often what we deserve. You’re left with a choice a choice to either become self-sustaining or to reproduce and pass your knowledge to the next generation what is timeless your treasure and where your treasure is there will your heart be also… The way I see it a man’s got two choices: he can work or be a bum. A woman’s got two choices too: she can work or she can have a man take care of her and spread her legs… guess there are other options for both a man and a woman and how they wanna work together for a man more underground and for a woman, well, she could just find a schmuck or go to daddy… so, it is what it is but not what it can be and you should hear about this kid I met in the library today he was telling me about this thing some machine he called it a computer something about vacuum tubes or cathode ray tubes or something I don’t know but it was really interesting some company called IBM he said they even do games…

He turns from the mirror scratching himself and almost as if their movements are connected Electra moves to cover herself even more upon the bed she even acts likes she’s going to speak for a moment then she buries her head in the pillows. Mylar walks to the center of the stage the look on his face one of satisfaction his ministrations ended he even passes the fingers under his nose smiling whether to the smell or the animalistic indulgence the audience has to judge and then placing his hands on his hips he begins his soliloquy.

MYLAR:

Funny the most profound thing you hear remains whispers to the source because you don’t really strive to reach a goal you strive for an identity which you think can reach it so maybe it’s not I think therefore I am it’s I want and so do you… I guess it’s a strange and wonderful and horrible fact that our civilized world would not exist without children strange how forgiveness which doesn’t seem sincere is seen as… Ha… naked desperation and as I get older I tend to scoff at people who offer me tests and I really don’t like being put in the position to compete against others so always ask this when seeking the approval of high marks—who’s holding the hoop you have to jump through and why do they get to hold it… Ah well, when you think you haven’t said enough you probably shouldn’t have said anything at all. People don’t really like you they like what you reflect which they can like about themselves and that’s pretty much true everywhere. Someday my body will grow weak and this is a strength my mind must face just as some women just know you better than you know yourself and if you find one you can’t get rid of them if you tried.

He turns to look at the woman in the bed, but she remains with her head buried. He shrugs and turns back and continues.

MYLAR:

Greatness is not maintaining some image of perfection far from it it’s stepping back and watching your influence on others that’s why it’s funny if someone deserves it they do it to themselves better than you me or anybody because we enable what we take a stand against and someone could be helping you and you don’t even know it but some people seem to never know it’s about handing it over only to give it back that’s why you give a fuck when you’re young so you don’t have to give a fuck when you’re older because the masters make the rules tis true to benefit themselves and if their sight is not short term the rest of the rules are about feeling good about the other rules and throughout my life I was hesitant to identify with anything until I learned the trick to identify with everything because the horror is nothing has intrinsic value your life my life your death my death—these things have no value other than what we assign to them and this gives us our guilt our justice our meaning until something comes along we don’t know how to assign a value and the best practice of this the best practice of humility is assuming the other person is as intelligent as you and to an extreme it makes you gullible so it’s funny all this role-playing I’ll be good because you are bad I’ll be bad because you are good and maybe we should be mindful that someone bad gives us the opportunity to be good while someone good tempts us to be bad either way the balance has to be maintained between the measured and the measurer so really it’s about positioning yourself… Some people take their life for granted and not as a matter of faith and they are the ones who never smile solacing themselves in esoteric knowledge because they “believe” the truth is sad that life is a tragic burden of freedom and responsibility even in chaos their one comfort I guess in all the insufferable hubris they think they know something no one else knows or at least their man enough to face it and boy they sure have faith in that badge of honor… You live your life on faith whether you like it or not and faith really is so much more easy but quite impossible for some not because there’s something they can’t get around in their heads as it is admitting your weaknesses and opening your heart for even in the extremist form of empiricism in all the subtle rules of the game we learn as we go along it’s awful big of us to make ourselves the standard by which we measure our reality and maybe happiness is just a matter of what I said before it’s a matter of where you position yourself in the consensus and maybe the measure of humanity is what we imagine to entertain ourselves with and as you get older you wonder if hell would really hurt because it counts on the penitent’s horror and as you get older you realize nothing really makes you feel alone and things just don’t bother you as much including your body falling apart in fact I imagine heaven would just make me really uncomfortable all that damn singing all the time but hell I guess our very breath brings praise so what are you gonna do… Anyway, generalization is all well and good but one thing I’ve learned in telling you all this is the truth in context and yes it’s about getting to the basic essence of it all but even archetypes show their strength in the subtle specifics of an example it tends to sear the brain more than what we all know and imitate as a matter of cliché without substance…

He turns to the woman in bed then faces the audience nods and almost strolling without a care in the world he walks back to the record player.

MYLAR:

I’m taking requests…

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