Director: Tom Hunter, Actor: Petr Favazza
Two young people, a boy and a girl, in their late teens are huddled together at the edge of the stage. The boy has his arm around the girl and she is leaning into his shoulder. The lights on the stage area are off. There is only a soft light illuminating the two. We can tell that it is a cold evening, maybe in the fall, because they are wearing heavier clothing. He is wearing a wool hat pulled down at an angle over his head and part of his face. His hair uncombed, is sticking out from under it. His appearance is sloppy nonchalance in the style of the time: very loose jeans, t-shirt, an army surplus jacket, messed up running shoes. She is wearing a pea coat and scarf, wool cap.
The boy is talking:
The way I see it, tonight is like some goddam miracle. Funny thing is, until tonight, I thought I was an atheist. Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t believe in God, especially the old boy with the white hair an all, you know, man made in his image. Right there you have a credibility gap with the wise and all knowing stuff. The All Mighty Omnipotent had the power to choose a better-looking vessel. A tiger comes to mind as a better choice, or even a walrus. Think about it…
Probably the one exception to that rule is my little brother, Aiden. He’s way cool, and smart for a six year old, even though his mother is some trophy blonde who’s not really blonde. I can tell he’s smart because he really can get a joke. Like I call him One Dan for short - which the Blonde does not appreciate at all. When I explained it to him, he got it an all. I’d teach him all sorts of SAT words from the test handbook my Dad made me study. The first word I gave him was enigma. I told him it was like a mystery or magic, like the magic that allows his Buzz Light Year doll to talk to Woody an all. He’s crazy about that movie Toy Story. It’s a good enough movie. I really enjoyed it, but I think it’s too violent for little kids. When I was little my favorite show was the Muppets, especially Gonzo with the spoon on the nose trick. Anyway, when Aiden said it, it came out “enicmac.” That really killed me. Course he was only five at the time. The kid is really great.
When he turned six I was studying for the achievements, so I added the word ubiquitous. Like, I explained to him, “One Dan, seems like everyone has a tattoo these days. It’s ubiquitous.” My dad practically had a cardiac over that. We had this shouting match about my tattoo, which, I admit, was a really painful stupid thing I did to piss him off. The laser surgery to remove it was even worse. I had to be stoic as hell.
After that I gave Aiden the word conundrum. He said “condomdrum.” Sorry, it’s a little rude; but, it really was hilarious. You’ve got to meet him.
There is a long pause. The two readjust their positions. They continue to snuggle.
Do you know this kid’s book called Zoom? Aiden has it. The illustrations are really cool. Like on one page there’s this picture of the pyramids during, like, King Tut’s time, thousands of year’s ago, and there’s tons and tons of tiny details, hieroglyphics, stuff like that, that’s really fun to look at. So then, you turn the page and it zooms out, so now you see one of the pyramids on a dollar bill that’s in the hand of some guy who’s paying for a postcard of Florida; so then you turn the page and you zoom in to a tropical lagoon where there are all these flamingos.
That’s how I see us now. So like if we could zoom out into space we could see the whole planet silently traveling through the universe. And there we are, just tiny little points on Earth. You know those maps they have in airline magazines that they have in the seat pocket right along with the barf bag? Those maps that have dots that show all the cities and there are thousands and thousands of lines crisscrossing on the page showing the different routes around the world. Like us tonight our travel lines went all over the map and met here at this spot.
So I can see when my parents broke up. My travel line went clear over to the left of the page, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where I lived with my mother, and this Jock. No kidding, that’s his name. He’s some iron man forest ranger. They hooked up over the Internet.
I could tell my mother was conflicted an all. I felt sorry for her. I really did. Trying to restart a career that stalled when she put my dad through law school, having me. Falling for that dumb bastard. That’s when I broke my hand, punching the wall.
Then my line ricochets back to the east coast to live with my father in Westchester, New York. His idea of parenting was to try and remake me into his Ivy League image. Plus he could see that I was messing up his honeymoon with the bimbo. Finally, he has the bright idea to put me in boarding school. I really feel sorry for that bastard. I was actually glad to be sent away. Most of the poor jerks there were like me, divorced.
So I did go to college an all. My parents duked it out choosing my major. Mom wanted me to go into environmental studies. Dad wanted me to go into pre-law. I flunked out just in time for Thanksgiving.
That year, I’ll never forget this, it was so great; my roommate, this guy Dave Miller and I, packed his Forman Grill and my microwave oven and drove to Florida. We stayed in the Ocean View Motel and cooked a twelve-pound turkey, five packages of instant mashed potatoes with gravy. We ate like kings. No kidding. You would’ve loved it.
There is another long pause as the couple rearranges their positions.
But here’s the important part. Finally, I figure it out, what I want. It was like staring me in the face the whole time, but I didn’t see it. You know, I had to be ready, go through all that shit and stuff. I decide I’m going to be a cartoonist. I used to make all these drawings for Aiden an all. He loved it.
Then I got this great idea from this really cool book written by some Indian guy where the protagonist, this kid named Saleem or something, could share thoughts, like telecommunicate, with all these other kids. So this kid Saleem wanted all the kids to form a gang that would use their telepathy powers for some important cause, for the cause of good or something. Course it didn’t work out in the book, but then I thought I’d make up a comic strip for Aiden. So I invented this nerdy, little kid with a huge head and glasses, he’s always getting picked on because he’s so wimpy looking, but he has this secret power to read minds, not even his parents know about it. His dog Lick is his sidekick; he can read Lick’s thoughts too, but Lick’s thoughts are mostly smells, but even so he call smell danger which is really helpful when they get into a jam like the time they had to neutralize the duplicitous femme fatale Voratia who had this really strong perfume that acted like a narcotic that would knock out any poor unsuspecting jerk, so she could suck his blood. Anyway, they’re like some human canine dynamic duo. So he has these super hero adventures that save people from evil hackers, and stalkers. Stuff like that. It’s really fun. Aiden is always asking for the latest installments of The Big Head.
Course my parents ganged up on me when I told them my plans; they said that I needed a “vocation” not an “avocation.” But, when I got accepted an all, they backed down and said that they’d might support “this crazy artist thing.” They were probably worried that I’d become some dope smoking vagabond wandering around with the Forman Grill forever. Course they were the ones who did all the dope in college.
So then my line heads off in another direction. And your line travels all over and stops here too. We’re both here. We’re both in the same city; we both know the same friends; we even go to the same parties, but we still don’t collide metaphorically speaking…until tonight.
If we zoom in from our satellite view, we can see the continental United States, then we see the city skyline and the river, the party, the dancing, then two people, sitting together. You and me.
There is another long pause. The young man takes his hand out of his pocket. Takes her hand out of her mitten and puts both their hands in his pocket.
I may not believe in God, but I do believe in holy randomness. Think about it. It’s a goddam enigma.
There is a short pause. She answers.