ACT TWO

No one is on stage. The red curtains remained closed. Then a static trippy white noise begins distorted clarifying into the sound of a train on the rails the rhythmic click of the wheels on the tracks like you’re hearing it go through town waiting in your car at the crossing the horn sounds it blows and as the harsh bell fades it blows again and just that for a minute the sound of a train going by then the white noise again as the sound is distended distorted making it dark you’d imagine this train going by in the dark but then as the sound dies out you hear children’s laughter first isolated and acoustic then louder echoing and it’s followed by the sound of running water water going over rocks in a small stream the sound of natural waters living waters soft and soothing like its aura of electrons can heal you you can feel the energy coming off it and then in the distance a lonesome howl the howl of a wolf the sound echoes and fades then the long howl again and through it the Master of Ceremonies speaks without being present on the stage.

MC:

And the cat is dead. She was alive but we looked and because we looked she is dead. She was murdered killed by our very observation because do you remember her her fascination with water the way she would reach out with her paw to touch your face looking at you with eyes almost a solid black only a tinged yellow-orange on the fringe like her eyes had been eclipsed by the moon the sandy texture of her tongue when she licked your nose purring and mewing softly you remember that and it happened you can’t change that because it already happened all you can do is look at it a different way and so now see her dead the last mournful mew she made and then three huffs as the lungs filled with blood the blood leaking from the mouth and anus the mouth open the still small sharp teeth of a kitten the tongue now hanging to the side and the eyes are open but they aren’t seeing she is no longer observing her death the hind legs move for a moment like a last instinct of fear to run away but it’s too late the body goes totally limp and she defecates as the bowels loosen—do you see it? What image do you have of her now—is she alive or dead? Do you see her as alive or dead? And what if by looking at her one way you cause the other? I am not there and yet you hear me. And the wolf is not there nor the train neither the running water. But you hear them you observe them in your mind. And the cat—well, judged in one situation she’s alive if we just go back and you can do that you can go back in time and what you see in one interval sways the opinion of another and then really it’s a matter of intervals which aren’t random at all arbitrary we set them up many of them derived from nature what’s natural to our days and nights our weeks months years and then it’s a matter of what you see in that interval and some things repeat they repeat many times and other things the breadth the span of it can’t be covered in any interval we try to make and you must go backwards to know where it began where the other thing ends because all things in essence travel backwards but death why death—we put a finality to it…

The curtain opens and the screen lowers. You no longer hear the howl of the wolf but the sound of the running water continues mixed with the rumble of thunder the beginning of rain.

FADE IN

EXT. LOW-INCOME HOUSING COMPLEX—DAY

You see a dumpster. It’s a different dumpster than before this one not so full at least not yet it’s blue and rusted in spots and half the lid is down. Then the camera backs away the dumpster receding and then you turn the corner of a brick building with window units cut into the walls evenly from door to door but varying in size and shape some well insulated others with wooden boards and two-by-fours nailed around the units haphazardly to cover the gaps the doors too mostly painted white but some in better shape than others the windows blackened with blankets. You see two men sitting in white plastic lawn chairs outside one of the doors. They’re drinking beer. The older man has his shirt off skinny about the arms and chest and just the slight paunch of a beer belly. The younger man wears a baggy t-shirt and shorts and high-top sneakers with the shoelaces untied.

OLD MAN

They should have kept her away from Shadrach. I tell you what that old dog will about fuck anything…

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