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About the Author
Alister Flik grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home in the Midwest with a healthy variety of crazy available to her, and her middle child syndrome hardly affects her at all anymore. At 18, she moved to the West Coast, got a tattoo, and now lives happily as a quirky theist amidst the Portland heathens she so dearly loves. Her idols are Joan of Arc (crazy or not), Flannery O'Connor, and Daria. Her favorite superhero is the perfect superhuman combination of Joan of Arc, Flannery O'Connor, and Daria dressed in a cape, armor, boots, and armed with wit and a pen. She is currently looking for someone to illustrate this into a comic book.
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The Disease
So, this is not a short story...it was, but someone suggested I turn it into a play. So here is the result. It's pretty long...

SCENE 1

Stage right is a high school hallway. Lockers forming a wall facing the audience covered with flyers and the like. In front of the lockers sits a student desk and one or two chairs. This row of lockers ends at a fake wall dividing the stage, not in half, with more space allotted to the "hallway" setting. Stage left, the other side of the wall, is a counselor's office. It is cramped and cluttered with papers and personal items. There is a full bookshelf at one end and the counselor's desk is angled, facing the audience with a "client" chair in front of it. There is another chair in a back corner. The door to this office is located in the fake wall. The counselor is sitting at her desk facing the client chair, where Leah sits silently.

COUNSELOR

Leaning forward with her elbows on her desk, and her hands folded in front of her.

Hello, Leah. My name is Sandy Wexler, but you may call me Sandy.

LEAH

Um, thanks.

COUNSELOR
Smiles big at Leah for a moment.
I know that high school can be a rough time for most people, so I think it's very wise that you're coming to meet with me. Especially after…Sees that Leah tenses and is uncomfortable. Well, I just think it's very important that you know that I am here for you whenever you need me to be.

Leah nods, not making eye contact. There is a silence while the counselor stares at Leah, who awkwardly avoids looking at her.

Leah, it's these years that you need to focus on your future. High school is a very important stepping block to the rest of your life. Most students who understand this work to try and keep attuned to what will help them. Changing her tone. Several of your teachers have mentioned...

The counselor's voice fades out, though she is still speaking, and a spotlight hits Leah. Leah begins speaking her inner monologue as she looks above the counselor's head.

LEAH

I wonder what created that black blob in the corner above her desk.

Part of the counselor's speech is heard here.

COUNSELOR

If you don't plan something soon, this could lead to failure…

Her voice fades out again, but she keeps speaking.

LEAH

No really, what is that black, oozy substance? It ought to be tested or something. I could be the first person to discover this thing. I wonder what lab I could call to have it tested. Pause. Perhaps it's an intelligent life form! Here's the headline, In unison with a man's professional voice played subtly in the background: "Girl Discovers Talking Mold." Man's voice ends. Pause. Unfortunately, no one can hear it above the school counselor's blather. She smiles. And so it grows. Steadily swallowing the office, the school…the students…All because nobody would listen to the little blob try and communicate.

The counselor's voice is heard, though the words are not clear. Leah looks startled and turns her attention back to the counselor, as this happens, the normal lighting returns.

COUNSELOR

I asked, what do you want to do after high school…career wise?

LEAH

Well, I was thinking of becoming a chef…but then I realized I hate to cook. So, my next ambition was to be a veterinarian…

COUNSELOR
Interrupting.
That sounds like a good choice. What college…

LEAH
Continuing as though not interrupted.
But then I remembered that I'm allergic to most animals. So, that plan fell through.

Leah looks at the counselor to see her reaction. The counselor is not amused.

Okay…To be honest, my only current aspiration is to discover the secrets of the black blob in the corner of your office. Pointing. Speaking as though concerned for the counselor. I'm sure it's watching your every move and preparing for an unholy black fungus war. Pause. Not to say that I think your office isn't clean…I'm sorry… A recording of the counselor saying, "you may call me Sandy"…Sandy… I didn't mean to…

COUNSELOR

Have you been listening, Leah? What are you going to do? I understand that with…what happened to your friend, Ruth…

LEAH
Jumping from her chair.
NO! Gaining control of herself. You don't understand.

COUNSELOR
Taken aback. The counselor stands.
Leah, what is wrong…

LEAH
Picking up her backpack.
With me?!

Leah heads for the door.

COUNSELOR

Leah…

Leah stops suddenly before exiting. She is facing the door, with the counselor standing behind her. She closes her eyes and appears in pain.
LEAH

I'm sorry. I just…haven't been feeling well.

She exits. A moment where the counselor stands alone in her office, mouth open. Then blackout. End scene.

SCENE 2

Dita is standing in the middle of the hall, looking around her. Examining the flyers on the lockers. The counselor is at her desk stage left. The focus is not on her, so the light in her office is dim. Leah enters from stage right, headed toward the counselor's office. She looks tired and carries her backpack. Dita turns and notices her.

DITA
Excited, blurts out.
Hey! Draws back. Calmer, but nervous. H-hey, Leah. H-how are you?

LEAH
Surprised at first, but then returns to looking tired.
Dita. Hey. I'm…fine. Just…have a standing appointment. Gestures toward the office. Counselor's voice saying, "Sandy Wexler." Pause. How are you?

DITA

Good. How are you? Embarrassed, realizing she repeated the question.
Leah smiles and laughs a little. Dita, seeing her response, smiles and laughs back awkwardly.


LEAH

I…um…haven't seen you around...Pointedly. Especially in Mrs. North's room.

DITA
Looking away.
Well, I've…um…I've been there.

LEAH
Angry. Still looking at Dita.
Yeah.

DITA

Yeah.

LEAH
Looking away.
Yeah.
Silence.
DITA

Look. I know how things…but with what happened. I hoped we could talk a little more before this came up. I…I wanted to catch up with you a bit. I guess, not. Looks at Leah and waits for a reaction. It's just too much to always be thinking about it, you know? Pause. No reaction from Leah. With you…the way you're acting. I mean, everybody can tell…I know you've heard what people…

LEAH

What? The gossip? The rumors? How could I miss them?! She quotes rumors, growing angrier with each one. A recording of teens whispering the same rumors is played quietly in the background until Leah breaks down. "Manic depressive." "I can't imagine." "Just awful." "Her friend called her." "More than just friends." "He said she was drunk." "They say she saw the car hit when she…" Breaks down. Enraged. Eyes closed. She tenses and tightens her grip on her backpack. After a moment. She loosens her grip. She stops herself from crying and looks at the floor. She continues quietly. The next day…The next day, I heard you laughing. Quietly, the sound of Dita's laugh is played for a moment. Two desks behind me. Not at the desk left of me. Nobody…swallows. And says almost breathless. Nobody in the desk to my right. Angry but still quiet. And you want…everybody expects…

DITA

Leah...I…I'm sorry. I just…I'm not you. I don't want to make this harder than it has to be.

LEAH
Laughs bitterly.
Yeah. Yeah. I'm making it hard. Hard for you. Hard for everyone. A pause, then softly. I'm sorry.

The light in the counselor's office grows brighter. She looks at her watch while Dita and Leah talk. Both Dita and Leah are silent now. Not looking at each other. Leah looks up. She looks at Dita then down at the floor. She rubs her shoe over a spot on the floor.

DITA
Looking at Leah's foot.
There's…the floor's cracked there. Leah looks up at Dita. Dita is encouraged.
The linoleum squares. Remember how she called them "perverse and unnatural?"

Leah closes her eyes. Ruth's voice is played quietly saying, "perverse and unnatural." Dita looks down at the floor, disheartened by Leah's silence.

Look, what do you want me to do? Okay? I miss you. I miss who you were. It's like, I lost two friends. That's why I couldn't…I can't do this like you. Do you…will you ever stop with this…no. I'm sorry. Looks around as if afraid someone will see her. I just wanted you to understand. I'm not you.
Leah says nothing, and refuses to look at Dita.
The counselor stands up from her desk and walks to the door.
Silence.


DITA

Fine. I'll…see you later, Sleepy"

LEAH
Interrupting as Dita begins to say "Sleepy."
DON'T….call me that.

Dita and Leah stare at each other in silence briefly. Dita breaks first.

DITA

Right. Fine. Later.

She turns and exits stage right.

COUNSELOR

Leah.

Leah doesn't turn immediately. She looks at the floor. Then she picks up her backpack and turns to enter the office. The counselor clears the way for her and goes to sit at her desk, making sure Leah takes a seat. Leah throws herself into the chair.

COUNSELOR

Leah, if I may ask…Sleepy?

LEAH

She used to call me…because my name means…She pauses abruptly, clearly still upset. Never mind. Look, can we just move on to the rest of this?

COUNSELOR
Nodding.
And what is, "the rest of this?"

LEAH

Audible sigh. Mocking the counselor. As a recording of the counselor is played in unison.

"Well, Leah, how's school?" Fine. "How are things with your family?" Fine. "How are you feeling?" Fine, freakin' fine, fantastically fine.

COUNSELOR

Do you know the acronym for FINE? Leah groans. Apparently you do. Then you know that I don't believe you are "fine." You have been acting…differently. Do you feel different?

LEAH

Has it taken you all the past meetings to get this far? The fact that I'm required to see you didn't tip you off? I must be one tough egg to crack. Or was it my cracks that got me sent here in the first place? Is that what's "different" about me?

COUNSELOR

What I mean is, you and I have discussed how you've been struggling with some school related activities.

LEAH
Smirking at "related activities"
Those being?

COUNSELOR

Well…

LEAH

School?

COUNSELOR

More than one of your teachers has reported your despondency during classes, and your overall lack of interest. Especially with your peers.

Leah is silent while the Counselor waits for a response.

Can you tell me about that? More silence.
What about what happened today…in your homeroom. Mr. Hawkin mentioned you left the room abruptly…Voice fades out. Spotlight on Leah.

LEAH
Inner monologue.
Freakin' homeroom. What's the point of that? Just time for all the little bits of conversation to float around the room, The indistinguishable sound of teens conversing. Like mindless insects…dive-bombing me. Mosquitoes…A buzzing sound joined with the teen-talk. Yeah, that seems right. Mosquito conversations. The buzzing gets louder and the teen-talk fades out. Buzzing louder and louder until I can't keep it out anymore, and I hear Mr. Spiky-Hair behind me: All background noise stops. Mimicking. "And I was like, 'I'm not Matt,' and I pushed her, and she was like, 'What's your deal?! Don't push me!' and she was all mad and stuff." Back to herself. My stomach cramped...Pause. Sees the Counselor looking at her. Oh, shit. She's looking at me. I have no clue what she just said…

There is a knock at the door. Leah looks relieved. Leah turns to the door and the counselor stands.

COUNSELOR

Excuse me for just a moment, please.

Counselor walks to answer the door. It is Dita.

DITA
To the counselor.
Hi…I was just…Looks past counselor at Leah. Speaks to Leah. I didn't want to end things like we did. Can I t-talk to you, Leah?

Leah opens her mouth to respond, but is interrupted by the counselor.

COUNSELOR

I think that's a great idea. It will be good for the two of you to talk. Why don't you come in and sit down, Dita. As an afterthought. Are you comfortable with this, Leah?

Leah does not look at either of them and sits in silence. After a moment, the counselor gestures Dita into the room, and pulls the chair from the corner of the office next to Leah's. The counselor returns to sit at her desk, and Dita hesitantly sits next to Leah. Leah looks at her only from the side.

COUNSELOR

Well, Dita. I think it is very responsible of you to come here to patch things up with Leah.

Leah shifts in her chair. She is now facing the opposite direction from Dita.

DITA
Dita is very nervous, and obviously uncomfortable.
Yeah, well…I…Thanks. To Leah. I just, I know I upset you and…Just look at me…please.
Leah slowly shifts back to facing the counselor, only looking at Dita from the side.
Leah, look…I know you think I've done…you think I'm doing something wrong here…

LEAH

Wrong? What could you be doing wrong? You just walked into a private counseling session and…

COUNSELOR

LEAH. Be kind enough to listen to what Dita has to say. I invited her in here, and it must be difficult for her, too, you know. Leah is silent. Please, continue, Dita.

DITA

Well, I know you think…No. Maybe I don't know. You, you look at me like, like I've done something bad or evil or…like I'm the villain…like it's my fault Ruth…

LEAH

STOP IT. You think THAT'S the problem here? That there's obviously something so wrong with me that the only reason I could POSSIBLY be upset is…is that I blame you for…for something…impossible…that you couldn't have…Pause. That is not what's wrong here.

COUNSELOR

But you are angry with Dita?

LEAH

I don't…A recording of the counselor's voice "very responsible of you." …I don't even know.

DITA
Dita's voice reveals her own anger.
Well, you sound pretty angry. If it isn't that…you blame me. Then why? Why do you treat me like this? The looks you give me? Our…how you acted in the hallway today? What is it?

LEAH

How I treat you? How…How can I treat you like ANYTHING if you won't ever be seen with me? You ditched me as soon as the rest of the school labeled me the leper.

The counselor furrows her brow and makes a "hhhmmm" noise.

DITA
Defensive, but looks a little guilty.
Wha…If you had to deal with…I don't want my life to end here, Leah…

Leah tries to interrupt, but Dita talks over her.

You may not think that's what you're doing…but if I were to act the way you do…the way people talk…if I were to…to run from classes for no reason…just bolt! It…it's crazy!

COUNSELOR

Leah, this is a common occurrence?

DITA

Ha! Everyday! Everyone talks about it. You'd think the teachers would start stopping her, but they must be too afraid of her or something, so they just let her skip.

LEAH

I don't skip. And I don't "run from class" all the time. I just…The buzzing sound is played as Leah looks away from the counselor and Dita. Buzzing stops. I get sick.

DITA

Well, whatever…Pause. More sympathetic. I'm…sorry. But I just don't want to have that follow me around school. I don't want to be the…Looks at Leah. The weird girl. Leah looks down, angry. Sorry…I mean I came here to apologize for…but that didn't really work out. I am sorry…but I'm not going to fall apart like you. I just wish you wouldn't hate me for it. I mean, it's not like I've forgotten her…

LEAH

Of course not! You're fine with the memories of her. Who wouldn't be fine with the memories? Remember how happy she was? Remember the time she said this? Remember her laugh? But don't bring reality into it. Remember how she died? Voice cracking. Remember how she's gone and we won't hear her laugh again?
Dita starts crying and looks down.

COUNSELOR

Leah, Dita has suffered the same loss. Leah looks away again. But she's still living her life. She's not letting it change her, hurt her future, hurt her friends. She's…

LEAH
In tears.
ENOUGH! I don't need to be that! I can't be that! Enough.

There is a moment of silence. The counselor looks at Leah. Leah glares through tears at the counselor. Dita stands and runs from the room. Leah drops her head into her hands. Black out. End scene.

SCENE 3

Leah, Ruth, and Dita sit in the hallway. Each has an ice cream cone. Throughout the scene they slowly eat the ice cream. Leah and Dita are in chairs, Ruth sits on a desk, she is very animated and telling a story while the other two listen intently, laughing constantly, and smiling when they aren't laughing. Ruth makes the appropriate pauses in her story for their laughter.

RUTH

He and his box-of-wine-drunk buddies then proceeded to launch baked potatoes over the balcony and onto the unsuspecting couples on the dance floor. I had to end it quickly before he asked me to dance and I ended up tripping over one of the boy's potato missiles, so I simply stood to leave. Seeing his prized cow about to mosey away, my date hastily offered to walk me home with a drunkenly obvious wink to his charming companions. He spat twice on the walk back to my house, and once it was upwind of me. He kept apologizing all the way back to my house, though, I'm certain he didn't know what he had to feel sorry about. Then, when we reached my door I was utterly astonished to discover that he felt he deserved a goodnight kiss. Sure enough, as I looked in his direction I noticed his face coming at me, full speed ahead. I quickly tilted my head upward and he ended up sucking on my chin. She is finished with her story, and inhales in preparation for the moral. And that, dear children, Pause for dramatic effect, looking each listener in the eye. Is why you should never date a football player.

Leah and Dita are having trouble calming their laughter. When the giggles die down, Dita looks at Ruth who has dropped ice cream on her shirt.

DITA

You spilled some. She starts laughing again.

RUTH
Looks down at the spot on her shirt.
It makes me look rather sexy, doesn't it?

LEAH
Laughing.
It doesn't.

RUTH
Looking up, her eyes narrow on Leah.
Your turn.
Leah looks reluctant.

DITA

Oh, yes! Your turn. Tell us a bad dating story.

LEAH

Okay, okay. Well, um, I don't know. I've never really had good luck with any of my dates.

RUTH

Why do you think that is, Sleepy?

LEAH

Come on, I told you not to call me that. It makes me sound like one of Snow White's dwarves.

RUTH

Look, my little dwarf, I didn't name you, so don't go acting all grumpy on me, or your name may have to change.

DITA
To Leah.
Well, hey, yeah. I always thought your name meant "sleepy."

RUTH

It does, it does. She's getting upset because she doesn't like the "low to the earth" sound of "sleepy." This pretentious little dwarf would prefer to be called "Tired," or "Weary." But we can't have our dwarves putting on airs. It's uncharacteristically unbecoming.

LEAH

All right, you Disney devils, just forget it. Call me what you want, but remember…I know where your homeroom is.

RUTH

Oh, the power…but I think I'll stick with sleepy.

DITA
Nodding.
Me too. Now tell us a story, Sleepy!

LEAH
Rolling her eyes.
Fine. Thinking. Hmmm. You know, I once opened one of those chain emails, and it told me that if I wouldn't resend it in 97 seconds to 273 other people, I would have a terrible love life until my death and I would be haunted by the ghost of Nicholas Cage's career. Well, I considered this, and being smart, I knew Nick never had a career. Feeling like I had called the email's bluff, I didn't resend it. Still, something must've gone wrong. I have the sneaking suspicion that this could be my dating problem. It's not my fault, really. Apparently, I won't have a successful date until after I'm dead, or until Nick makes a good movie.

RUTH

Or becomes a plumber.

DITA

Dita has been laughing since the end of Leah's story. But then suddenly stops.

Wait…that doesn't make sense.

Both Ruth and Leah burst out laughing, and Dita, unsure why, smiles and then slowly starts to join them. All three are now in hysterics. A cell phone rings. Annoying song. Leah answers her phone.

LEAH

Hel…

She is interrupted by Ruth's voice from the phone. Ruth's voice is panicked and gasping. This is a recording of Ruth's voice, Ruth on stage is still laughing with Dita.

RECORDED RUTH'S VOICE

Leah, it hit me! I was…just walking. Gasps. Oh, God! Crying. Leah, my legs are crushed! I can't breathe! Help me! Breaks down into unintelligible sobs.
Leah looks at the Ruth next to her in shock, Leah's ice cream cone drops out of her hand onto the floor. Ruth on stage is still laughing with Dita, but a red bloodstain is spreading over her stomach.


DITA
Between giggles. To Ruth.
You spilled some.

Ruth opens her mouth to speak, but loses it and bursts out laughing again, as she does, she spits blood.
LEAH
Horrified, she leans away from Ruth and falls out of her chair.
Oh, God!

The lights go out on everything, but a spotlight remains on Leah, now lying on the floor. She sits up quickly.
Oh, God!
The spotlight goes out. End scene.

Scene: Counselor's after Dream

Leah and the counselor sit in their usual spots in the counselor's cramped office. They are both silent. The counselor keeps her eyes on Leah, while Leah stares pointedly at the bookshelf to the counselor's left. The silence continues for an awkward amount of time. Leah fidgets. More silence. Leah coughs. More silence. The counselor looks down and starts to adjust some papers on her cluttered desk. When Leah speaks, the counselor looks up, startled.

LEAH
Angry with herself for speaking, but fed up with the silence.
I had…I had a dream with…She stops talking abruptly, unable to finish.
The counselor waits patiently to hear more. When she realizes Leah does not intend to say more, she speaks.


COUNSELOR

Dreams can often times have messages for us in the context of….

LEAH

Please…Can we not talk about this. It's…Leah rolls her eyes and stops speaking. She returns to glaring at the bookcase.

COUNSELOR

What would you like to talk about? Pause. Leah, sometimes in life, when we are faced with monumental challenges…the things that alter our souls and make us feel different…it's important to remember, we are just like everybody else…Take for example…
The counselor's voice fades out. Spotlight on Leah.

LEAH

Reading from the bookshelf. Awkwardly pronouncing some of the author's names.
Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg, Get Out of Your Own way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior. Self verses Self. Dramatically. The stand off. Let's see…Your Power Within! Self Confidence through Hypnosis. Creepy. What's that? She squints and leans a little forward a few words of the counselor's speech break through like "Struggle," and "Classic." Then her voice fades out again. Leah speaks, in revulsion. Shape Fitness!? Walk 2: '70's Hits?! Now that's just wrong. She scoots away from the shelf a little in her chair. I feel uncomfortable even being in the same room with that. Quickly moving on…Ah, here it is, the one for me, The Last Self-Help Book You Will Ever Need. Well, Gloria Arenson, I'd be more likely to believe you if your book were not surrounded by the world's largest military formation of Self-Help Text. What's your book called anyway…Shifting closer to the shelf again to read it better. Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing. She becomes angry. Well, is that all there is to it? Really? Five Simple Steps. Then healing happens? Then I stop hurting people? Pause. Leah looks at the counselor. I can just see her, walking to 70's hits, solving problems, five steps at a time. A disco song plays in the background. Marching around school, heart pumping to some ABBA song, looking at students and labeling them; disco finger pointing: In unison with a recording of the counselor: Maladjusted. Slacker…Without counselor's voice: what's another one?…I don't know. With Counselor again. Oedipus complex. Counselor's voice ends. Disco song still playing. Label, label. She's thinking, I can help. Legs lifting high to her 70's hits. Song ends as Leah shouts: Careful! Don't step on a crack and trip. But you gotta' keep following cracks to each new prospect: New students. The old ones gone. Year after year… She stops abruptly. She calms, staring at the counselor's desk. Begins to see the counselor differently. It's better than thinking, "I can't help." Better than knowing you're stuck and just…falling apart. Dita's voice saying "I don't want my life to end here." Her thoughts slow down. If she…if she thinks, I can help…she thinks she's getting somewhere… Counselor's recorded voice saying quietly, "I'm here for you."…Year after year…Trying…Five Steps…Simple.
Normal lighting.

COUNSELOR

…to state it simply. Pause. What do you think? She opens her mouth to speak again, obviously not expecting a response.

LEAH

Responding more to herself, still staring blankly at the counselor's desk.

I think the cracks are just now revealing themselves to me.

COUNSELOR

Counselor looks at Leah directly and nods.
What are you feeling right now, Leah?

LEAH

Leah looks up toward the counselor, she looks like she's in pain for a moment, but her face relaxes. The counselor is surprised by this attention. Leah asks with a mild curiosity.

Do you know what the name, Leah, means?

COUNSELOR

Would you like to…to tell me?

LEAH

Yes. Pause. Ruth's voice saying, "My little dwarf." Leah looks back at the desk, with a calm but sad expression, almost dazed. She looks back at the counselor, changed expression. Smiling, acting, speaking slowly. Thank you for helping me. I feel like I'm coming to the end of a cycle now. The counselor tries to say something, but Leah forces a laugh and jokes. Like a…hamster that fell out of his little wheel. I'm better…I'm feeling better. Thank you.

COUNSELOR

But…well, I'm glad to hear that, Leah, but…what you've been through…I just hope…

LEAH

Smiling. I'm sure it was only a phase. Just a…hormonal teenager. I'm not really angry. You know that, right? Maybe Thinking…um…I was just scared…of…you…But you made things simpler. You're good at that. I know I'm…that I'm not different. Ruth's voice saying "we can't have our dwarves putting on airs." No need to put on airs if we're all the same, right?

COUNSELOR

That's…that's right. We are the same. You don't have to feel alone.

LEAH

Thanks. I don't. Forces a laugh. How could I? Smiles. I can see that you're here, with me. Thanks, but I think I'll go, now. I have a big test coming up in Biology. She stands, picking up her bag and looking away from the counselor, as she does she grimaces and we hear Dita's voice saying "I'm not going to fall apart like you." The counselor follows Leah, slightly confused but allowing it. Leah forces another smile. I'll mention all your help to my parents. She stops just before the door and turns to face the counselor. Thank you for trying.

COUNSELOR

Leah…

Leah exits through to door, we can't see her. The counselor stands confused, momentarily, staring at the door. She shakes her head and smiles. She sits down at her desk and begins filling out some paperwork, smiling to herself. She stops suddenly, pen frozen in her hand above a paper. She looks out at the audience, a worried look on her face. Black out. End scene.

FINAL SCENE

Leah walks down the hallway from the counselor's toward stage right. She stops walking suddenly, grabbing her stomach in pain. She drops her bag and cries out, punching the locker with her free hand. She leans against the lockers and slides down to sit on the floor. She is silent for a moment as she grimaces. The pain appears to pass. She sniffs and looks up and around. There is no one in the hallway. She looks at the door to the counselor's office and stares for a moment. She looks down at the floor beside her and puts a hand on it. Ruth's voice is barely audible but quietly says, "Hey, there, Sleepy." Leah pulls her hand back, but still stares at the floor.

LEAH

I used to wonder why the school would choose yellow floors. We would joke. Dita, Ruth, and Leah all laughing in the background. We would joke about how they wanted everything to be the color of vomit so that when students got sick on the floor, they wouldn't have to worry about stains. Kinda gross. But the more I think about it, I think the stains are the problem. I bet the linoleum used to be white. Uniformly white tiles. But over the years, thousands of feet plodded over them, making tiny cracks in the linoleum. Endless seas of feet, carrying waves of dirt to slide seamlessly into those cracks, like it's supposed to be there; filling in the spaces. Faint sound of a bell rings in the background. The bell rings, Faint sound of kids switching classes, walking through the hall mixed with sounds of the ocean. Chattering students and seagulls. It is played quietly, but it is a chaos of sounds. New tides come through. Sound fades out. And pretty soon the white floor was beaten into a yellow sludge path. Unnaturally yellow. Sound of Ruth's laugh. Uniformly stained. You'd think they could just get new tiles, make things look nice so everyone's happy. So that nobody feels stuck with the stains, and people feel like things are better. But that's the thing about cycles; there can't be progress. Pause. When it comes down to it, it's better not to know why the tiles are yellow.

Leah looks at the hand she had on the floor. She wipes it off.

Too bad they'll always be the same.

She grabs her bag and pushes herself up against the lockers. She steps away and faces the counselor's door. She freezes. She drops to her knees, facing the lockers and gags with her back to the audience. The sound of kids switching classes comes back and grows louder and louder. Silence and black out.


"I do not think, therefore I am a mustache."
-Sartre *Nausea*
 
Francis Meyrick

Um. A lot of work you put into that one.

It's easy to follow. Very readable. I did some acting back at Uni. Technically, some of this would be quite challenging to achieve on a real stage.
By no means impossible, but not easy.

I think the best way I can express it is this way:
You have woven different mediums of expression together here. Some of it I saw acted out on a real stage. Some of it I thought was best in the actual text format. And some of it was kaleidoscopic, more something I saw as if I was watching a short movie, with the special effects possible on the screen.

As before, you have the flair for the dramatic. And a sensitivity, both in the artistic medium and in terms of your observations of the world.

Um. I would encourage you to write more of this. Go slowly though. If you had in mind a real stage, with a real audience, then you probably need to be careful that you don't lose that audience. What is easy to follow when you are reading text, is a little harder to follow when you are looking at actors. Then again, real actors can convey emotional intensity to a far better level than the purely written medium.

I'm interested in writing, photos to support that writing, music to support the theme, audio (Evoca) and I have done ONE YouTube video so far. I think, same as you, I'm experimenting with more than just the written medium. It's VERY interesting, but requires planning!

Also, remember that the majority of people are content to live more superficial lives. You delve into areas of great emotional intensity. That's not everybody's cup of tea. But that is what REAL life is all about, and many of us choose to explore the under currents of life, the emotional cesspool if you like. I don't know if you have looked at any of the chapters in "Jeremy's War". What I tried to do there, is delve deep into the emotional and spiritual depths, but balance it out with humor. The light sets off the dark. The cheerful measures the depressed.

TOO dark, TOO introspective, TOO intense can drag work (and the writer) down. It's a juggling act. I struggle with that myself. I've seen some horrible stuff in life. But, right in the middle of that, we were also cracking jokes.

Sorry, I wander. Back to your piece. It's a good, good attempt. More.

Smile





We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 07:46:25

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