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Reaming: A Play by Alex Tamaki

Reaming: A Play by Alex Tamaki

Drama, Vol. 5.4, Dec. 2011

Cast of Characters
JULIAN: The dreamer
SILVER: A ghost
MAN 1
MAN 2
SEVERAL OTHER ACTORS: to move back and forth, on and off stage, assisting the MEN in cleaning up the mess, when called for.

SCENE
Nowhere.

 

I.

Darkness. Before lights rise, we hear the dim and scratchy recording of a voice:

JULIAN (voice)
. . . You never knew how little I had thought it meant. To ride with you, whatever that it was. But that won’t cut it now. I understand. It isn’t good enough. The truth of it was that I would ride with you whenever you would let me, and I could always convince myself to come. I’d run away, I know. It’s in the wall. It’s heartless. Sometimes I think those horseshoes still lie heavy on my feet. I was afraid I might forget. You never knew how little I had thought it meant . . .

The sound is distorted and very faint, almost incomprehensible.

Silence.

Lights rise to reveal the stage, littered by a mess of overturned chairs, a table, papers, coats, a blanket, pairs of shoes, a shopping bag, dishes, cups, silverware, a small radio, boots, jackets, toys, books, an old-fashioned alarm clock, etc. There is a turtle on the stage. A battered ‘stop ahead’ street sign is hanging sideways or upside down. A riding saddle and helmet lie in the back. There is a door, stage right. JULIAN lies half-sitting in the midst of the mess, sprawled out like a marionette with its strings cut. Numerous OTHER ACTORS are moving things back and forth in the mess, rearranging things with boxes as if they are stagehands preparing for a show. The lights fall to black again, suddenly―almost before the scene can be fully taken in. There is a pause. Darkness. Lights rise again and flash on and off in pairs several times, in medium-quick succession, while the scene itself continues: the mess is still there, as is the marionette JULIAN, and the OTHER ACTORS continue moving things around throughout. The flashing lights cease and fall to black. Silence. Lights flash twice quickly and then fall to black again. The OTHER ACTORS are gone. Lights flash on. JULIAN starts awake.

JULIAN.
Silver!
Pause.
It is almost as if he is again asleep, but his eyes remain open. He wakes. Looks around. Sneezes.

JULIAN.
Oh. Well, I don’t feel very good at all. This is such a mess. Can I―
He struggles to stand, testing himself, then wanders slowly around the stage.

JULIAN.
I can’t even . . . remember. What?
Pause. No response. He is scared.

JULIAN.
Okay, Julian, come on. What do you remember . . . Was the . . ? Oh, I have a headache. What was the point?
He sneezes.
Come on, wake up! Wake up!
(Suddenly)
No, wait, where is . . . Silver, where . . ?
He looks for her.
Two MEN come in through the door. Julian watches them. They begin to clear up the mess.

MAN 2.
No, no, you’re right. They could have told us before.

MAN 1.
At the very least.

MAN 2.
I mean, look at this.
JULIAN sneezes.

MAN 2.
It’s a mess. Some people.
He lifts the turtle, warily. Takes it offstage through the door.

MAN 1.
(Picking through the trash)
They don’t even.

JULIAN.
Excuse me?
MAN 2 walks back through the door.

MAN 1.
And really. Not letting us know. To keep us in the dark.

MAN 2.
We do have this mess, though.

JULIAN.
Hello?

MAN 1.
Listen, what I’m saying is . . .

MAN 2.
What . . . ?

MAN 1.
There wasn’t any warning.

MAN 2.
None! Didn’t tell us when. That’s what I’m―

MAN 1.
Exactly.

MAN 2.
It’s not like anyone knows, though. I mean, not when they’re going to die.

JULIAN.
What?

MAN 1.
They can’t just tell us, is what I mean. In advance.

MAN 2.
No, you’re right. But then. We still have to clean. That’s what I’m saying.

JULIAN.
Can you hear me?

MAN 1.
No, no―it’s that we’re here and we have to clean up the mess.

MAN 2.
That’s what I said―

MAN 1.
No, you don’t understand. We have to.

JULIAN.
Where are we?

MAN 2.
―We have to.

MAN 1.
We’re meant to.

MAN 2.
But it’s their mess.

MAN 1.
Right.

MAN 2.
So what does it mean?

MAN 1.
Trough, it’s all just the clutter, anyway.
Beat.
They continue to clean. JULIAN cannot touch them.

MAN 2.
So, we’re fixing it.

MAN 1.
It’s just the mess. It’s a clutter.

JULIAN.
(Suddenly panicked, remembering)
Hey. Hey hey hey stop it!
He tries to stop the MEN, but is somehow blocked. He can’t get close to them and falls back down. They do not notice anything.

JULIAN.
Those are mine!

MAN 1.
This is ridiculous.

MAN 2.
What is?

MAN 1.
There’s not even a broom! It’s deplorable!
JULIAN sneezes.

MAN 2.
It is.

MAN 1.
We can’t be expected to work under these conditions!

MAN 2.
No, we shouldn’t.

MAN 1.
There’s nothing!

MAN 2.
Well, we’ve got all these boxes . . .

MAN 1.
No. We need a broom.

MAN 2.
Oh, you always need a broom.

MAN 1.
Come on.

MAN 2.
Why?

MAN 1.
To clean this up. We need a broom.

MAN 2.
No. Let’s just pick it up.

MAN 1.
What!

MAN 2.
Well, come on, then.

MAN 1.
Do you give the orders here? Or me?

MAN 2.
But, we do have―

MAN 1.
So I say we need to get a broom. This mess.

MAN 2.
But―

MAN 1.
Nothing! We need a broom.
He begins to leave, followed, reluctantly, by MAN 2.

MAN 2.
But what about the boxes?
They are gone. Silence. Julian looks around. He doesn’t understand. He is small.

JULIAN.
It’s very quiet.
(Suddenly:)
What?
(No response.)
Oh.
He searches for something. Thinking is painful.

JULIAN.
What was I . . . ?
He sneezes.

JULIAN.
Feels like it’s a dream. It’s . . . something . . . I can’t remember—What?
Pause.

JULIAN.
Hello?
No one is there.
He does not like this place.

JULIAN.
What does it mean to die? I wonder.
He looks for something. He stops and lifts the riding harness.

JULIAN.
Oh, what am I looking for?
Silence. The MEN come back in through the door, carrying some bags, a broom, and a dustbin. They resume their work.

MAN 2.
All right, all right!
JULIAN watches as they work.

MAN 1.
Really, why can’t they clean up their own mess before they go?
JULIAN sneezes.

MAN 2.
Don’t ask me! I mean, who are we, to be picking up their broken pieces?

MAN 1.
Yes! That’s exactly who we are.

MAN 2.
What?

MAN 1.
We’re nothing. We’re here, that’s all. Only that.

MAN 2.
Well, I choose to believe there’s something more.

Suddenly:

JULIAN.
Silver!
Pause.
The MEN continue to work, putting things in bags, sweeping up.
JULIAN sits and appears to be in conversation with someone who is not there.
The MEN continue to clean.

JULIAN.
Silver, what do you mean?
Pause. No one is there. JULIAN continues talking.

JULIAN.
I loved you.
Pause.
How― I didn’t mean for this . . !
Pause.
I know. What is it? Silver?
Pause.
I couldn’t―No, I had to!
Pause. The MEN fight over something in the mess. JULIAN continues to talk to someone who isn’t there.

JULIAN.
Julian, you shouldn’t have come.
Pause.
Because now we’re both gone.

The MEN continue bickering in the background.

JULIAN.
But, we’re here, though. We are!
Pause. Suddenly:
What? Hello?
Pause.
Silver, how’d we get here? I don’t, I don’t feel quite whole.
Pause. He sinks back down.

MAN 1.
It’s all we have to do, though. To be alive.

MAN 2.
We’re not alive.

MAN 1.
No. It is what it is, though.

MAN 2.
Well.

JULIAN.
I don’t know how . . . You were sick. What are you? I need to find―something . . .
Pause.
I need to find something.
He is still, as if dead. MAN 2 Picks up some papers and looks at them.

MAN 2.
He really liked horses. That’s interesting.

MAN 1.
What are you talking about?

MAN 2.
Really. Look. These are all about his horse.
He is looking at a pile of old photographs, papers, etc., all to do with JULIAN’s horse.

MAN 1.
Hey, stop that. Get on with it.

MAN 2.
I’m only curious.

MAN 1.
It’s not about the horse.

MAN 2.
It isn’t?

MAN 1.
No. No, it’s her. Look at it. That’s all it is.
One of the papers. SILVER.

MAN 2.
Oh. Well, I guess it’s him too, then, isn’t it.

MAN 1.
Would you get back to work? We have to finish this.

MAN 2.
Right. Yeah. Well then.
They work.
Do you like the impressionists? You know, Monet? Cezanne?

MAN 1.
No. Keep working.

MAN 2.
(Looking at another object in the mess)
Ohh. Tonalism. That’s right.

MAN 1.
Will you just pay attention to what you’re doing for once?

MAN 2.
It’s just a few little strokes.

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
Just a few quick dabs of paint, a little color, and you know exactly what they’re trying to say.
Pause.

MAN 1.
What was that all about?

MAN 2.
Well, I don’t know. It’s instructional.

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
It’s important.

MAN 1.
Oh, wonderful. I’m married to a didact.

MAN 2.
It is interesting. The music. What?

MAN 1.
Keep working.
They work.

MAN 2.
Don’t you like them?

MAN 1.
No, I don’t like them.

MAN 2.
Any?

MAN 1.
I don’t like anything! Keep working.

MAN 2.
Well just because it’s our job doesn’t mean―

MAN 1 knocks him on the head. Their voices fade to silence, though they continue to clean while they work. It is as if they have simply faded to the background, out of earshot.

JULIAN, now oblivious to them, rises and begins to wander around the mess, looking at things. He holds the riding harness, gently. It is quiet for some time. They clean.

Everything is mute, held back from the audience. A sense of being deaf. JULIAN looks at the harness.

Eventually, MAN 2 picks up the radio. Radio static blares, very loud. It screams out at them, and all three flinch. It is deafening. Perhaps the radio falls onto the table. JULIAN watches, stunned. There is a panicked hesitation, pause. MAN 1 moves toward MAN 2 and they fight over the radio while the static continues. MAN 1 takes the radio from MAN 2 and throws it to the floor with much violence. He strikes at it with a broom, until it is completely destroyed and the static silent.

MAN 1.
Fucking trough!
Julian is frozen, staring at the wreck.
Pause.

MAN 2.
Why’d you do that.

MAN 1.
Agh!

MAN 2.
Those are their things. You shouldn’t do that.

MAN 1.
Listen―!

MAN 2.
We’re not supposed to do that. These were their things. It’s important.

MAN 1.
You turned it on!

MAN 2.
. . . I’m sorry.

MAN 1.
Right. Sorry. Just one more useless bit of trash I have to clean.
He begins to work again. MAN 2 stops him.

MAN 2.
It’s not useless. I think there’s something important here, going on. Why’d you do that?

MAN 1.
What.

MAN 2.
With that thing. Why’d you get so angry? You’re always telling me it’s nothing and we’re just here and that’s it so just shut up and clean so then we can go away. You know, it’s like you’re denying something.

MAN 1.
No it’s not.

MAN 2.
It is.

MAN 1.
No.

MAN 2.
Yes it is. It’s like pretending it’s not there.

MAN 1.
What’s not there?

MAN 2.
Pretending we’re not here. That we aren’t―

MAN 1.
No, we are!

MAN 2.
We’re―

MAN 1.
We ARE! That’s IT, the end, we work and GO AWAY!

MAN 2.
But don’t you want to―

MAN 1.
NO!

MAN 2.
But we don’t even know―

MAN 1.
No, we don’t!

MAN 2.
But―

MAN 1.
Just stop it! Why do you think you need to know, anyway?

MAN 2.
Why don’t you care?

MAN 1.
These people! It’s never―

MAN 2.
People.

MAN 1.
They can never clean anything up.

MAN 2.
Well, I know.

MAN 1.
Not one single thing.

MAN 2.
But that’s how it works.

MAN 1.
No, look at this! You’d think they’d try, at least! To fix some of their own crummy affairs before they go and do that!

MAN 2.
Well, I don’t know.

MAN 1.
It’s one thing if you die all of a sudden―

MAN 2.
Yes.

MAN 1.
But when you choose to do it yourself . . .

MAN 2.
I don’t think everyone’s in their right, rational mind when they do that though.

MAN 1.
That doesn’t matter.

MAN 2.
It does.

MAN 1.
I just want them to put their lives back in order.

MAN 2.
Really!

MAN 1.
Just a little bit, just try a single, tiny little bit.

MAN 2.
I see.

MAN 1.
That’s all.

MAN 2.
I see.

MAN 1.
And then there’d be so much less of this silt for me to go through on their way out.
Beat.

MAN 2.
Well. You sound pretty upset about all this, then.
They stare at each other.

MAN 1.
Trough!
He exists through the door.

MAN 2.
You know, someday you will have to come back up! It’s inevitable! You can’t stay so grouchy forever, you know!
Pause.
. . . Or don’t you even want that to happen?
Slowly, he follows MAN 1 out the door.

The action has affected JULIAN much more than it logically seems it should have. No one knows exactly why. He kneels in the middle of the rubbish, picking up the pieces of his life, in tears or very nearly. He is unreasonably protective, possessive of the objects. He goes over to the riding helmet and holds it, tight.

It should not leave his grasp.

JULIAN.
Oh, what have I done?
Lights fade to black.
Silence.

Eventually:

SILVER.
(Voice)
Julian.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
Silver. Where are you?

SILVER.
(Voice)
Julian . . .

JULIAN.
(Voice)
Where are you? I can’t see . . .

SILVER.
(Voice)
Why are you here?

JULIAN.
(Voice)
I remembered you. Where are you?

SILVER.
(Voice)
Julian.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
I can’t hear you, what is it?

SILVER.
(Voice)
Why have you come?

JULIAN.
(Voice)
I wanted to help you.

SILVER.
(Voice)
Please . . .

JULIAN.
(Voice)
Silver―!

SILVER.
(Voice)
You shouldn’t have come.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
Why did you go? Why did you have to go like that?
(Pause.)
Silver, I fell. I was looking for you. You were sick . . .

SILVER.
(Voice)
No.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
I remember. I was riding Sienna and I fell.

SILVER.
(Voice)
That was a long time ago, Julian. We were children.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
That was how we met. Do you remember?

SILVER.
(Voice)
It was.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
I had to find you. I was thinking about it all the time.

SILVER.
(voice)
Julian, what did you do?

JULIAN.
(Voice)
The horses . . .

SILVER.
(Voice)
How did you do it?

JULIAN.
(Voice)
It was in the woods. Outside the barn.

SILVER.
(Voice)
What about your family, Julian?

JULIAN.
(Voice)
There is no family.

SILVER.
(Voice)
You could have found someone.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
No. I tried riding again. You always said I should. I tried. I couldn’t . . .

SILVER.
Voice)
Please.

JULIAN.
(Voice)
. . . Where are you? Silver where are you?
Long Silence. Eventually: sound of the door opening.

MAN 1.
(Voice)
Oh what is this!
Pause.
MAN 1 stumbles in the dark.

MAN 2.
(Voice)
Come over here, then.

MAN 1.
(Voice)
What? What is going on?
Sound of the door slamming closed.
Lights rise.

MAN 2 is looking through something on the table.

MAN 1 is by the door, and JULIAN is sitting in the corner.

MAN 2.
So.
They look at each other.

MAN 2.
In a better mood now, are we?

MAN 1.
What in the bloody―

MAN 2.
Listen.

MAN 1.
What are you doing in here?

MAN 2.
I’m teaching you a lesson.

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
I am teaching you a lesson.

MAN 1.
Oh, not this. This is ridiculous. You’re not.

MAN 2.
I am. Now listen to this.

MAN 1.
Troughing―

MAN 2.
Listen to this. His name.

MAN 1.
Listen, you

MAN 2.
His name.

MAN 1.
I’m talking to you!

MAN 2.
His name was Julian.
Pause.

JULIAN looks up.

Much of the following can be simultaneous. Order is not necessarily fixed.

JULIAN.
There was nothing.

MAN 1.
Why’d you do that.

JULIAN.
I know. No, I know and I’m lost and I couldn’t find it. I fell, and you fell away too with everything and then, you, you died. You were there, I don’t know how it happened.

MAN 2.
Still, it’s all the same though.

JULIAN.
It’s all mixed up inside my head.

MAN 1.
Oh what am I supposed to―

JULIAN.
I can’t remember.

MAN 2.
Supposed to listen.

MAN 1.
Oh, listen. Great. Wonderful. I’m here to listen.

JULIAN.
You were there, Silver, you were there and then you got sick too, and when died I could hear you laughing still―

MAN 2.
He didn’t know how to deal with it.

MAN 1.
What’s that?

JULIAN.
But there wasn’t anything.

MAN 2.
When his wife died. She was in the hospital.

JULIAN.
It was everywhere.

MAN 2.
He couldn’t find his way back.

JULIAN.
Then . . . there was the barn.

MAN 1.
He’s dead!

JULIAN.
The stables.

MAN 2.
Yes, he is dead.

MAN 1.
Are you finished yet?

JULIAN.
And I could see it!

MAN 2.
Well, do you remember―

JULIAN.
There wasn’t anything.

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
Well . . .

MAN 1.
Listen to this. It’s sod.

MAN 2.
Wait, there was another one.

MAN 1.
There was another one. What was another one?

MAN 2.
That girl in the picture. With the horse. Don’t you remember?

MAN 1.
There are always other ones. I’m not responsible for that.

MAN 2.
No, it was important to him. There was someone else.

MAN 1.
Yes. I’m telling you there is always someone else!

MAN 2.
There is. I remember now.

MAN 1.
Listen, it’s always the same.

JULIAN.
When I fell it took so long for you to find me, on the grass.

MAN 2.
It is, isn’t it?

MAN 1.
They get heartsick and they die. Or they kill themselves.

JULIAN.
You were still waiting for me. Near the fence.

MAN 2.
But what does that mean? Come on, what are we supposed to do with it?

JULIAN.
I could see the shoes.

MAN 1.
We’re not supposed to do anything! We’re supposed to clean!

MAN 2.
No? Well, what are we?

MAN 1.
Stop it.

JULIAN.
The horseshoes.

MAN 2.
What are we?

MAN 1.
Stop it!

MAN 2.
Why don’t you want to know?

MAN 1.
We’re nothing! Nothing.

JULIAN.
They were hanging there. Somehow you had tied them up.

MAN 2.
That’s it.

JULIAN.
I can remember.

MAN 2.
We aren’t anything without them. We don’t exist.

MAN 1.
Listen, you are breaking things here!

MAN 2.
But, to understand them, maybe, if we understand . . .

JULIAN.
Would it hurt to say I’m sorry?

MAN 1.
We aren’t meant to understand.

MAN 2.
Have you told me that before?

MAN 1.
What? What did I say?

MAN 2
I feel as though you’ve said this all before. I can’t remember.

MAN 1.
Lunacy.
Pause.
The three of them, all trying to figure out what to do.

MAN 1.
So, when did they die, then?

JULIAN.
Maybe I am sorry.

MAN 1.
These other ones?

MAN 2.
Well, just before.

MAN 1.
He did it for them?

MAN 2.
For them?

JULIAN.
Maybe.

MAN 1.
The others. For love.

JULIAN.
I didn’t do it . . .

MAN 2.
Oh. He goes to a pile in the mess.

MAN 1.
Will you just stop reading his―

JULIAN.
I just, couldn’t―

MAN 2.
Did he do it for them?

JULIAN.
It was―

MAN 1.
This is ridiculous!

MAN 1.
Just stop!

MAN 2.
I can’t do that.

MAN 1.
Why do you want to understand? How could this be something that we would ever understand?

MAN 2.
Well it could.

MAN 1.
You’re delusional. We can’t.

JULIAN.
No―

MAN 1.
It’s ridiculous. To think that―

MAN 2.
I just want to know what happened.

MAN 1.
It was selfish.

JULIAN.
I had to.

MAN 2.
But why is it selfish?

MAN 1.
It just is. Stop thinking about this!

JULIAN.
That’s all. I wanted to tell you―

MAN 2.
I have to!

MAN 1.
You are so infuriating―

MAN 2.
I can’t make you think!

MAN 1.
Just talking and talking . . .

MAN 2.
But nothing ever happens for them! Not now, anyway.

MAN 1.
At least you understand that much. He was running.

JULIAN.
It’s not like that―

MAN 2.
Well.

MAN 1.
And now he can’t turn back. From this. And we can’t either.

MAN 2.
No.
Pause. They clean.

MAN 2.
But still, I do feel sorry.

MAN 1.
Oh what a trough!

MAN 2.
Have a heart.

JULIAN.
(Sobs)

MAN 1.
It’s all these kids.

MAN 2.
Come on now.

MAN 1.
They just make such a mess.

MAN 2.
Yes, and then they go, and they go, and they come to us, that’s all. I know.

MAN 1.
They don’t come to us! We’re not supposed to―all right, is he here? Do you see him, now, here?

MAN 2.
Well . . .
(They look around. They do not see Julian.)

MAN 2
I suppose not.

MAN 1.
We just have to clean it up. That’s all it is. It’s sod. It’s hateful, rotting sod. But that is what it is. We’re worms, you know.

MAN 2.
But, still, it is a pity.

MAN 1.
Will you stop that?

MAN 2.
Julian. It is a pity.

MAN 1.
Come on!

MAN 2.
I would feel sorry for him though.

MAN 1.
No, you wouldn’t.

MAN 2.
I would. It’s sad. I would.

MAN 1.
You would not. Now let’s go.

MAN 2.
(Looking around)
I don’t want . . .

MAN 1.
We’re not supposed to be here now.

MAN 2.
But

MAN 1.
Let’s go.

MAN 2.
But I would feel sorry.

MAN 1.
No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t feel a thing. Now let’s go.
Beat.
They leave.

JULIAN.
I remember . . .

He walks around the rubbish. Silence. The random objects are important. They are evidence of his life. They are, all, his life. He remembers things. Eventually JULIAN sits again in the midst of the mess, lies down slowly, and goes to sleep. Silence. Lights fade to black. Very long pause in the darkness―long enough for the audience to begin to get uncomfortable. Lights rise to spot on JULIAN. The rest is dark. He is sitting in the mess, looking out.

JULIAN.
You know, I saw an old man die once, too. He was crossing the street and he had a heart attack. It’s funny. He was just crossing the road, and then, then there he was. Lying down. There was a little soot on his beard. He was so peaceful. He looked like a child. He was just lying in the middle of the road. People rushed in from all over to see what happened, to see if they could help. There wasn’t any pain on his face. His eyes were closed. I would’ve guessed that he was happy. Maybe he was happy. Maybe he was finished with his life. It was done. He’d finished his life and there wasn’t any more. So he just gave out. It was like he was lying down to go to sleep. He didn’t give anything up.

Pause.

I wonder what it is, about faces, though. When he lay there, somebody came up and bent over him to move a bit of hair out of his face. It was like it was. It was the only thing out of place on his whole body. Including the soot. She just brushed his hair to the side. So we could see. She had such delicate hands. Moving it away. Gently. And then we could see his face. And it was important. We could really see his face. You know? If he was alive, if he was alive that’d be when he’d get up and end the part. Raise the curtains, and give us all a smile and thank us for the show, and then we’d applaud.

Pause.

Life. It was so important to see his face. I don’t know why. If I was alive, I would . . .

Pause.

I wonder if it’s daytime now, out there. Or night.

Long silence.
Lights have come up again, very slowly, throughout his monologue.
Eventually he stirs. He begins to look around through the mess again.

JULIAN.
Silver.

He looks through the mess. Suddenly angry. Arguing with someone who isn’t there. We are compelled by his actions, perhaps more than his words. His presence. The anger. The searching. The audience may grow uncomfortable with the silences. They are intentional.

JULIAN.
What is all this?
Fuck, what is this! Silver!
Do you remember Sienna? Sienna. I can’t believe it. This is― I know what you’re going to ask. Why I did it. Why I fucking would have killed myself.
I don’t know!
I don’t remember. What are you going to do about that?
What is this, Silver, did we kill you? Why?
How did you die? Why can’t I remember?
God, how did you die. And what the fuck is all this shit? This stupid―
Silver, there’s these people. They keep coming and taking all this―!
Why is this so important?
(He looks for something, the riding helmet still held tight in his grasp.)
They’re taking my life away!
(Pause. He crawls.)
No, no no no it has to go, Julian.
Don’t tell me that! This is all there’s left!
You’re taking my fucking life! You know that? Its mine! It’s all this shit, it’s what it is! It’s all I have, okay?
Are you listening to me? Gepetto are you fucking there?
You’re just pulling me around and I can’t even―figure out what the hell this is supposed to be!
Is this my life? Is this what you’ve left for me of my own fucking life? This shit? Where are you? After you got sick and we fucking killed you, you’re just gonna―
Where are you? Where are you?
Where―am I gonna go? Why did you have to do that to me? You can’t just pull the plug It’s not―it isn’t reasonable! You have to―
You have to let me out of here!
(Turns)
Gepetto I can’t do this you have to let me go. I have to save this. I have to find― I have to find out how to get out of this. You have to let me out. This stuff isn’t me. It’s not I can’t they’re taking my things. I can’t.
Gepetto, you have to stop them they’re taking my things. You have to―

Beat.

Gepetto you’re taking my life!

Long silence. Eventually:

It’s amazing, the things you forget.
Pause.
He is remembering.
What? Is that what you’re trying to tell me? Memory? I remember! Okay? Jenny Wells! Second grade, I stole her notebook because she pushed me in the mud. Is that what you want, Gepetto? She kissed me in fucking high school! Is that what you want? They haven’t taken that away yet, I’ll give it to you. Here, take it!

In the dark background upstage, two CHILDREN run past, chasing each other. Two OTHER ACTORS enter opposite the CHILDREN, look idly on as they pass. The OTHER ACTORS place a bag on stage. They exit as JULIAN says, “my best friend Luce . . .”

JULIAN.
Come on! Are you even there? I can―okay, my best friend Luce broke his ankle one time! We were coming back from the store and a piece of the, you know . . . the railing came loose and he fell! What else do you want from me? Then in high school he said he could get me the answers for a test. I’m telling you that! I almost did, Gepetto! But then, but then I said no and I took it anyway!
I got a fucking “A”! Is that what you want? It was history, Gepetto!

Pause.
JULIAN is in pain.

JULIAN.
I can’t fucking remember! Gepetto, they’re― Silver got sick, Gepetto, she got sick and after so long . . . she was so sick and it hurt me to even look at her, there, it actually hurt―and you know what, no, you know what, it wasn’t only that, it was this thing―this thing, and they threw it at me, and she threw it at me―and you know―you know what it was, Gepetto, you know what they called it―assisted suicide, Gepetto! What the fuck! How dare they! How dare they call it that!
It was just like my own fucking horse, Gepetto! We had to put her down! You know that! It was just like my own fucking―and how do you think I was going to react?
What’d they expect me to fucking do? What do you expect me to fucking do, Gepetto? Gepetto!
(Silence.)
God.
(Silence.)
Silver?
No response. Long silence.
Eventually:
. . . when I was seven I got a turtle and we named it Mollie. Sienna was seven when I fell. God. That was so long ago.

Long silence. Lights fall. Then, in the dark: Sounds of something smashing, a shattering of glass. The lack of visual in the darkness should add to the sense of things taken away. Nothing is given for free.

Voices in the dark:

SILVER.
Julian!

JULIAN.
Damn it Silver―!

SILVER.
Look what you’re doing!

JULIAN.
We’re not going to kill her!

SILVER.
We’re not killing her, Julian, it’s . . . she’s sick.

JULIAN.
I can’t believe I’m hearing this.

SILVER.
Listen.

JULIAN.
Fuck this.

SILVER.
Just listen to me! The vets said―

JULIAN.
Like I fucking care!

SILVER.
This is serious! Sienna’s EPM isn’t going to―

JULIAN.
You used to love her, Silver!

SILVER.
Didn’t you hear what they said? She’s walking into fucking trees! You want to see her doing that?

JULIAN.
That’s not―! I’m not going to talk to you about this any more. God. I can’t do this with you right now.

SILVER.
Of course love her, Julian. But she can’t even walk any more.

JULIAN.
I know that, fuck!

SILVER.
Julian.

JULIAN.
It’s not like I don’t care!

SILVER.
Then why don’t you want to do this.

JULIAN.
You’re not making any fucking sense! You love her so much and that means you have to kill her? What kind of sick logic is that?

SILVER.
I don’t want to kill her, Julian! God, were you even listening to what I said? Sienna’s―

JULIAN.
This is fucking ridiculous.

SILVER.
You’re being unreasonable! If somebody―okay, look, if I was sick like that, what would you do? Would you want me to go around suffering like that? Or would you want to help?

JULIAN.
This isn’t helping! I can’t let her go like that―

SILVER.
She’s going to die anyway . . . !

JULIAN.
What, like that justifies us killing her? What the fuck!

SILVER.
No―will you just listen to me . . .

JULIAN.
This is disgusting.

SILVER.
Julian. If you were going to die, no matter what, would you want to do it painfully, and slowly, or would you want to go in peace?

JULIAN.
That’s not the same!

SILVER.
What are you afraid of?

JULIAN.
I’m not afraid of anything. What are you talking about? I’m the one who’s―

SILVER.
How old is she, Julian? How old? I know you want to pretend but you need to face this.

JULIAN.
I’m the one who has to make the choice―

SILVER.
Yeah, and you’re afraid! Ever since you fell you’ve been so afraid―

JULIAN.
It’s not about that! Silver, listen to me, we can’t do this.

SILVER.
She’s sick, Julian.

JULIAN.
I know . . .

SILVER.
God, it’s okay. It’s okay! It’s hard, I know.

JULIAN.
I can’t.

SILVER.
Julian, let it go. Think about it. If it was us . . .

JULIAN.
No, what? No, you let it go! We’re not going to―

SILVER.
I am letting it go, Julian! That’s what this is!

JULIAN.
I want to give her a life.

SILVER.
No, it’s not a life, Julian. It’s a death. Just, slower. It’s going to hurt her more, that way. You’ve got to let her go.

JULIAN.
No.
Pause.
. . . I am letting her go.

SILVER.
Julian, you’re not. You think you are, but you’re not.

JULIAN.
We are not doing this now.

SILVER.
Julian―

JULIAN.
Sienna’s not that sick! If you kill her now, then you’re just.

SILVER.
She’s getting worse, Julian.

JULIAN.
This isn’t―

SILVER.
What? This isn’t what?

JULIAN.
Damn it, I’m not going to― I’m not . . .

SILVER.
You’re running away. It’s as simple as that. You are running away.

JULIAN.
No . . .

SILVER.
She’s old, Julian, that’s all it is. She’s getting sick, and you know she’s not going to get any better.

JULIAN.
Fuck, I can’t.
Pause.
. . . I’m sorry. I know you love her.

SILVER.
Then you understand why we have to put her down.

JULIAN.
No, listen, if you euthanize Sienna now, it won’t change anything! Don’t you understand? Killing Sienna won’t fix anything!

SILVER.
Julian, you’re hiding. This isn’t about Sienna and you know it. Think about if it was us.

JULIAN.
How can you be so heartless? She’s not a repository for your own neuroses―

SILVER.
That doesn’t make any sense.

JULIAN.
What?

SILVER.
It needs to be done.

JULIAN.
No.

SILVER.
You’re trying to avoid it. You need to deal with this. Somewhere you know that we have to―

JULIAN.
What do you think I’m doing? You’re not―

SILVER.
Look, you’re just so fixated on this . . .

JULIAN.
No I’m not.

SILVER.
It’s an obsession with you! You can’t let go of it!

JULIAN.
I can’t let go of what.

SILVER.
The past! That’s what it is! You and Sienna in the past. You don’t want to forget it. God, I mean, you’re afraid that because you fell, you’re―

JULIAN.
No.

SILVER.
You’re afraid to let her go. You want to keep that perfect past the way it was. You don’t want it to change. You don’t want to risk it, you don’t want to―

JULIAN.
What does this have to do with anything?

SILVER.
You’re afraid of giving her up.

JULIAN.
What are you talking about.

SILVER.
Things change! Fuck, I love you, Julian. And I love Sienna. It’s hard. It’s hard for me too.

JULIAN.
This isn’t working.

SILVER.
I’m terrified. I don’t want to do it. But I know we have to.

JULIAN.
You don’t understand―

SILVER.
No, I think I do. You just don’t want to face it.

JULIAN.
Fuck, she’s already―

SILVER.
Think about her, Julian! Okay? I know you don’t want to do it, but right now it’s more important.

JULIAN.
Silver.

SILVER.
If we let her live for now, she’ll just keep getting worse. But then she’s still going to die. We have to face that. I know you feel like we can deal with it but we can’t. It doesn’t matter anymore. And it doesn’t mean that what you had will go away. Even if no one remembers it, it still won’t go away.

JULIAN.
I just can’t let that happen. She’s miserable. She wants to run.

SILVER.
I know.

JULIAN.
I can’t do it.

SILVER.
I know. But you have to. You have to.

JULIAN.
. . . No.

SILVER.
And that’s beautiful, too.
Pause.

SILVER.
It’ll be even more beautiful because you had it once and now it’ll be gone.

JULIAN.
Silver . . .

SILVER.
It’s passing on now, Julian. Just take a look and you’ll see.
Silence.

II

As lights rise, we hear another recording of JULIAN’s voice, It is distorted, very faint, like the sound of an old record, scratched. We can almost hear:

JULIAN.
Sienna, you never knew how little I had thought it meant. To ride with you, whatever it was. Now I wonder about the things I would never know. Because in all the questions and all the little curiosities spun lying in a child’s mind, I wanted nothing but to ride. The truth of it was that I went with you across the fields whenever you would let me, whenever I was able to convince myself to come. But in the promise of it I began to feel secure, began to nail those rusty horseshoes to my feet. They were chains, I know. I only wanted you to be with me alone. I never was ashamed of the selfishness in that. Instead, I hid the shoes. It wasn’t hard. But even now I still remember how the weight of them pressed heavy on my hands. I still remember how the rolling of the sky cut off, the feeling of what it was to hit the ground. I remember every instant of the day I fell. It was immense, the distance of it, the very earth a spinning wall to knock me down. You didn’t stop. Thankfully, you didn’t stop when I slipped down to meet the wall, and in my bones I still remember how you echoed in the dirt. You couldn’t stop. You couldn’t see a thing. There was a smell of grass, the soft and uncut grass, and weeds. You couldn’t see a thing.

Lights rise. JULIAN is alone.
He looks around and eventually notices a single book that has been left standing on the now-upright table.
He picks it up and looks in it.

JULIAN.
Nothing.

He looks around at the remaining mess. He sees the door and tries to open it. He can touch the door, but it does not open for him. He struggles to open it. The door does not budge. He struggles. He falls to the floor with a cry, sobs.
Lights, flickering.
JULIAN is alone, away from the door.
He is a marionette again.
Silence.

JULIAN.
Silver . . .
Pause.
Silver . . .
No response. He sees the boxes.
God.
The MEN walk through the door, talking.
Julian is mute. Exhausted.

JULIAN.
No, don’t . . .
He is powerless to do anything as the MEN resume their work, still talking as they go.
The mess has largely been cleared by now. There are only a few things left, the clock and riding gear among them.

JULIAN.
Stop . . .
JULIAN tries feebly to stop them. Cannot.

MAN 2 is speaking. He says:

MAN 2.
Friends would never do that, though.

MAN 1.
Who’s got a friend?

MAN 2.
Oh. Well. You.

MAN 1.
Me? Who?

MAN 2.
. . . Me.

MAN 1.
Oh, sod! Who else?

MAN 2.
I don’t know.

MAN 1.
Exactly. There are no friends.

MAN 2.
Well, I disagree.

MAN 1.
We aren’t real.

MAN 2.
We can be, if we try.

MAN 1.
Regardless, even if there were, they’d have left us long before now.
Pause. They clean.

MAN 2.
But, real friends wouldn’t do that.

MAN 1.
Real? You tell me, who would stick with us, huh? Cleaning things up like this?

MAN 2.
. . . Fine.

MAN 1.
Look at this. We’re stripping other people’s lives. That’s what it is. It’s trash but that’s what it is.

MAN 2.
I know.

MAN 1.
It is.

MAN 2.
But we don’t have to.

MAN 1.
Yes, we do.

MAN 2.
. . . Well. Yes.

MAN 1.
It’s all just a game. Don’t you see that? Just a boring, repetitive game. Sod!

MAN 2.
But it’s what we do.

MAN 1.
Right.

MAN 2.
It’s what we are.

MAN 1.
Right.

MAN 2.
So . . .

MAN 1.
So no friend would ever stay with us because we’re clearing Julian’s things.

MAN 2.
Julian’s?

MAN 1.
Yes, Julian’s. Or don’t you remember?

MAN 2.
I was the one who told you―

MAN 1.
Are you still feeling sorry for him, now?

MAN 2.
Are you so sure that you don’t? Feel sorry for him? Do you even care about him?

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
Do you care about anything? Don’t you feel sorry?

JULIAN.
Wait.

MAN 1.
For what.

JULIAN.
What are you talking about?

MAN 1.
Just shut it. We don’t have time for this.

JULIAN.
You’re stealing my life away―what the hell? The MEN, oblivious, continue to work. Listen to me! Stop that, listen to me! What the fuck!

The following should overlap quite a bit. Their lines need not stay strictly to the script, but rather, capture the general impression:

MAN 2.
(To MAN 1)
Hey, listen. Do you know what―

JULIAN.
Listen to me!

MAN 1.
(To MAN 2)
Be quiet!

MAN 2.
(To MAN 1)
Yeah, yeah, be quiet, yeah.

MAN 1.
What?

JULIAN.
Hey! I’m talking!

MAN 2.
Just be quiet. It’s noisy.

JULIAN.
I’m―

MAN 1.
I wasn’t talking.

MAN 2.
I know, but . . ?

MAN 1.
What.

JULIAN.
Hey! Shut up!

MAN 2.
Neither was I. What?

JULIAN.
Stop it!

MAN 1.
What? Just be quiet.

JULIAN.
Hey!

MAN 2.
Exactly, yes. Quiet. You.

MAN 1.
No, you.

JULIAN.
Stop it!

MAN 2.
What?

JULIAN.
Stop it!

MAN 2.
What?

JULIAN.
STOP PLAYING ALL THESE GAMES WITH ME YOU LITTLE IMPS!
Pause.
They all fall silent, for a moment.

MAN 1.
What did you say?

MAN 2.
I’m too tired for this. Just be quiet. It’s too noisy in here.

MAN 1.
You want it quiet.

MAN 2.
Yes.
Pause.
It is quiet.

MAN 1.
Well. Yes.

MAN 2.
. . . Yes.
They begin to leave.
JULIAN tries to stop them.

JULIAN.
Stop. Stop, stop it, STOP!
As the MEN are about to leave, JULIAN lunges forward and throws the riding helmet aside in order to grab MAN 1, who spins around with a shriek and then stands frozen, staring at JULIAN’s face.
The helmet lands somewhere downstage.
Pause.
MAN 2, by the door, still cannot see JULIAN at all.

MAN 2.
Ahm. What, my dear, are you doing now?

MAN 1.
(Staring at JULIAN)
I’m . . .

MAN 2.
Yes?

MAN 1.
. . . Do you see . . .

MAN 2.
What?

MAN 1.
. . . Julian.

MAN 2.
What?

MAN 1.
I thought that.

JULIAN.
You can see me?

MAN 1.
I can . . .

MAN 2.
Are you feeling all right?

MAN 1.
I’m . . .

JULIAN.
You can see me. I . . . I touched you.

MAN 1.
Why.

MAN 2.
Oh, goodness.
(He looks at them but cannot see JULIAN.)
What is it now?
MAN 1 doesn’t know.

JULIAN.
What is it?

MAN 1.
I don’t know how to think about the things I’ve just begun to say.

MAN 2.
What?

MAN 1.
I don’t know . . .

MAN 2.
Well. I do believe we had to go.

MAN 1.
This isn’t possible . . .

MAN 2.
What isn’t?

JULIAN.
Why couldn’t you see me before?

MAN 1.
I don’t know.

MAN 2.
Oh, well look―It’s quite simple. We work in here, and then sometimes we go. And then we come back. It’s how it works . . .

MAN 1.
No . . .

JULIAN.
What’s going on?

MAN 1.
My arm . . .

MAN 2.
No, um, my arm. Or whatever. But that’s just really, really how it is. That’s just how it is.

MAN 1.
No . . . I’m . . .

MAN 2.
Actually, yes, I am afraid it is.
Pause.
MAN 1 is still staring at JULIAN.

Ahm. Not to worry, we will be back . . .

JULIAN.
He can’t see me because . . . I haven’t touched him.

MAN 1.
No . . . he can’t . . .

MAN 2.
Who can’t?

JULIAN.
But you come and you’re taking everything away.

MAN 1.
Yes. All of it.

MAN 2.
All of what now?

JULIAN.
But it’s me.

MAN 1.
We have to . . .

MAN 2.
Oh, good, you’re back on track. Yes, we have to.
Anxiety. He paces back and forth.

JULIAN.
But when I’m gone . . .

MAN 2.
(Deciding)
Yes. Yes indeed we have to go.

MAN 1.
When you’re gone.

JULIAN.
There won’t be anything.

MAN 1.
Nothing.

MAN 2.
Come on.
He edges closer, uncertain. It is confusing.

JULIAN.
My memories . . .

MAN 1.
Nothing.

JULIAN
This hurts.

MAN 2.
What’s nothing?

JULIAN.
I have to go. I have to go. I have to leave before everything is gone.

MAN 2.
What?

JULIAN.
I might still be left . . .

MAN 1.
No, Julian, you have to let it go.
JULIAN looks at the discarded helmet on the floor.

MAN 2.
Okay now, what is going on? You―

JULIAN.
I can’t . . .

MAN 1.
You have to.
JULIAN looks at the helmet.

JULIAN.
Silver.

MAN 1.
Yes, Silver.

MAN 2.
Who?

JULIAN.
She might still be left.

MAN 2.
Who?

MAN 1.
. . . No.

JULIAN.
And I might still be left and I’ll remember . . .

MAN 1.
What’s important is that you remember her now. That is what’s important.

MAN 2.
Now, look―

MAN 1.
But it will pass away. Julian, that is important, too.

JULIAN.
No . . .

MAN 2.
Hello?

JULIAN.
If I get out of here, I can―if something . . .

MAN 1.
You need to let it go. Or you’ll never get out.

MAN 2.
Hello . . ?

JULIAN.
I don’t want to.

MAN 1.
You must.

JULIAN.
I . . . know. I can’t think.
Pause.

MAN 2.
Okay, you’ve played this game quite, quite long enough, and now we need to go.
He begins to walk toward MAN 1.

JULIAN.
I need to . . .

MAN 1.
Yes.

MAN 2.
Ah, yes! Of course!
He stops. Waits.

JULIAN.
It meant something once.

MAN 1
It did.

JULIAN.
I can’t just leave . . .
MAN 2 is anxious to leave.

MAN 1.
You can.

JULIAN.
No . . .

MAN 2.
That’s it, we’re going.
He pulls MAN 1 away from JULIAN and the spell is broken. They begin to exit through the door.
JULIAN watches them go.

JULIAN.
What if I forget . . .
Lights suddenly go out.

MAN 2.
(Voice)
What?
Sounds of the MEN struggling.

Voices:

MAN 1.
(Voice)
No, stop that, I need to go―

MAN 2.
(Voice)
What! What is this?
We hear them stumbling around in the dark.

MAN 2.
Of all the arbitrary―

MAN 1.
I can’t―

MAN 2.
What?
Lights come back on. The MEN are standing center stage.
JULIAN sits, stage left. It is confusing.
Pause.

MAN 2.
Always late.

MAN 1.
We’re just wandering around―

MAN 2.
Fine. Fine. We’ll stay. Are you happy now?

MAN 1.
(Pointing to JULIAN)
Look at that!

MAN 2.
What?

MAN 1.
That!

MAN 2.
What?
JULIAN tries to approach.

MAN 1.
That . . .
MAN 2 still cannot see JULIAN.

MAN 2.
Oh, how do you do it.

MAN 1.
. . . It’s Julian. What?

MAN 2.
One minute you’re troughing this and sodding that and I can’t get my ears out of the way before you’ve―

MAN 1.
What.

MAN 2.
Gone off yelling about something, I don’t know! Oh and complain and complain and talk talk talk talk and then now you’re―

MAN 1.
What am I?

MAN 2.
. . . Off. Yes. Just off. Distracted.

MAN 1.
(Still staring at JULIAN)
No, I . . . I am.
MAN 2 pulls him away.

MAN 2.
Yes.

MAN 1.
So, are we . . .

MAN 2.
Yes?

MAN 1.
Are we working now?

MAN 2.
Bravo.
They work.

MAN 2.
Hey, look at this.

JULIAN.
It feels like I’m―

MAN 2.
It’s a photograph.

MAN 1.
What, now?

MAN 2.
He’s riding on his horse again. He’s written something . . .
(He reads the back of the photo. MAN 1 has stopped.)
It’s a letter.

JULIAN.
I don’t have any legs!
(Looks at his legs)
Maybe I never had, before.

MAN 1.
(To JULIAN)
What . . . ?
(To MAN 2)
What are you reading?

MAN 2.
. . . Quiet.

JULIAN.
(To MAN 1)
You. Wait, you. You can still see me, can’t you?
He rises.
MAN 1 pretends he cannot.
MAN 2 is still engrossed in the photo.

JULIAN.
You can, don’t―
Pause.

MAN 1.
. . . No . . .

JULIAN.
How do you use the door?

MAN 1.
We come when we’re called.

JULIAN.
What’s that mean?

MAN 1.
It means that when we’re meant to come we come, and when we’re meant to go we go.

JULIAN.
You don’t have any choice?

MAN 1.
No. Neither of us.

MAN 2.
(Still reading)
. . . she was sick. Lou Gehrig’s.

JULIAN.
You’re like a puppet . . .

MAN 1.
Yes.

JULIAN.
Like me.

MAN 1.
No. You’re something more.

JULIAN.
Who pulls the strings?

MAN 1.
There are no strings.

JULIAN.
Then how can―

MAN 1.
We’re all lost in here, Julian.

JULIAN.
But you can come and go.

MAN 1.
Yes.

JULIAN.
But―there’s no strings.

MAN 1.
None.

JULIAN.
It doesn’t make any sense.

MAN 1.
No, it doesn’t.

JULIAN.
But you have to know how―

MAN 1.
It’s not a matter of strings here, Julian. You are as you are and we are . . . as we are. You can let us move away.

JULIAN.
That’s―

MAN 1.
That’s it. There’s no puppet master here, Julian, there aren’t any strings.

JULIAN.
Isn’t there anybody?

MAN 1.
Nothing.

JULIAN.
Who calls you?

MAN 1.
You have to give us up. Things have a place and a purpose.

JULIAN.
What do you mean?

MAN 1.
It’s the way they are. You have to give us up.

JULIAN.
Don’t―just, who calls you?

MAN 1.
Let it go.

JULIAN.
I fucking need to know!

MAN 1.
I can’t help you, Julian.

JULIAN.
Please . . !

MAN 1.
I’m sorry.

MAN 2.
(Suddenly)
Listen to this.
(Clears his throat.)

MAN 1.
What?

MAN 2.
Listen.

JULIAN.
Do you have dreams?

MAN 1.
(Does not know what to say)
. . . No.

JULIAN.
You don’t have anything?

MAN 1.
No.
Pause.
But, I dream . . . that I could be you.
Eventually, Julian sits.

MAN 2.
(Reading.)
As he reads, JULIAN begins to speak the words as well, and by the end, MAN 2 has fallen silent.
You never knew how little I had thought it meant. But now I need a stone. I need a stepping stone to get across. Silver, you were the better of us. It’s sitting there and waiting. It’s blocking something from me. To get across. I have to reach out and take it with my hand. It’s where the ladder is.
There isn’t anything that we can do but meet what we’re afraid of, inside the things we love. In the people that we love. I don’t know why I slipped and fell, but I was waiting. I was waiting for my bones to crack onto the dirt, I was thirsty for it.

JULIAN.
I’m writing this to tell you some things you’d never know. I’m writing this so I might be able to remember why I couldn’t hold onto the reins. I still remember the broken willow slanted in the air beside you, and it felt heavier than stone. I’m writing this to tell you how things might have been. I could only find a wall, and those rusty shoes, and you died. I’m writing this to let you know you’ve helped me pry them off.
Pause.
You chose it, and now I am. Goodbye.
Silence.

MAN 2.
We aren’t people, you know. We can’t change things. We’re only here to help them.

MAN 1.
We have to help them.

MAN 2.
Julian.

MAN 1.
Yes.
They have finished cleaning up. There is nothing left.
The helmet is the last to go.

MAN 2.
Well. I suppose that was fast, after all.

MAN 1.
Yes, it was.
They look at each other. They leave.
The door is closed behind them.
Silence.

JULIAN.
Puppets . . .
He looks at the door. Rises to approach it. Suddenly:

JULIAN.
NO!
He cannot get close to the door. He is afraid of it. He is fighting something.

JULIAN.
No, I’ve done what you asked! I’ve gotten rid of everything. Gepetto! They’re fucking gone! It’s all gone! What else do you want?
I’m dead! I’m a ghost and I won’t come back! I’ll admit that now! None of it will ever come back! That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?
It’s over! Let me out! I don’t have anything left, Gepetto, let me out!
Please! Let me out! I can’t do this! I can’t do this. Everybody’s telling me to let it go. It’s all gone anyway so I can’t even― Silver― I’m afraid.
I’m afraid! Okay? I’m afraid of this! I did it! I was running away! Silver was gone and I didn’t know what to do! I just―!
I had to keep it! I has to hold onto it so I couldn’t . . .
It’s gonna go away! It’s gonna go away! I can’t! No!
No . . . he has to . . !
He has to do this he has to do this he has to do this. I can’t. I can’t I can’t! It hurts.
I DON’T NEED THIS ANYMORE!
I’m going to I’m going away! I’m going―
He runs up to the door with a yell. Pounds on it, desperately.

JULIAN.
(Shouts, against the door)
Gepetto! Listen to me!
Listen to me, I’m through with this! I’m through!
I don’t need it anymore! You’re not going to have it, Gepetto! You’re not!
I’m giving it up! It’s mine! Everything! It’s all mine! I’m giving everything away!
She died―Silver died without me, Gepetto! That’s gone now!
I didn’t go! I couldn’t―! But now it’s gone! Gepetto, it’s gone!
JULIAN continues to shriek and yell. We hear the name, “Gepetto.” Lights slowly begin to lower, flickering subtly, sometime during JULIAN’s last shouts. It does not matter exactly what he says.
Eventually his voice too falls away, and is replaced by the frantic sounds of something smashing against the door.
There are more shouts.
JULIAN is hurling himself at the door, hitting it with his hands and feet and trying to force it open.
At length, and amidst all his cries, we hear:

SILVER.
(Voice)
Julian? Julian!
After hearing SILVER’s voice, JULIAN shrieks again.

The lights flicker once, very fast but with a final intensity, and then remain on, as:
The door itself crashes open, extremely loud.
Long and sudden silence.
An eternity.
JULIAN stares at the door, out of breath.
Lights swiftly fall to black.
Very long silence.

END

On Engagement by Bryan Shawn Wang

Drawn from Water: A One-Act Play by Rosebud Ben-Oni

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