Play: At the party

Written earlier this year for the 24 hour play festival during Shakespear In the Port. About a 20 minute run time.

AT THE PARTY
Daniel is an Actuary, a bit of an introvert and awkward with girls.

ABLE is his introverted legitimate self.
CAIN The extroverted persona he’s creating.
CLAIRE, who is somewhat uncomfortable at this party
Scene opens at a party in some kind of nightclub. CAIN and ABLE are on one side of the stage. Claire is at the opposite end. Cain and Able stand talking to one another, whilst surreptitiously watching Claire.
ABLE
Oh my god, it’s carry on my wayward son. I fucking love this song.

CAIN
No we don’t. We do not love this song. We cannot dance. Do not dance. We need to approach the target and ASK her to dance, we cannot dance on our own.

ABLE
But this is my JAM.

CAIN
Please don’t say that out loud to her. Able. Don’t do it. I can tell you’re thinking of it don’t bloody…

Cain and Able dance at the same time, very very badly. In sync, singing CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SOOOON, THEY’LL BE PEACE WHEN YOU ARE DONE. LAY YOUR WEARY HEAD TO REEEST DONT YOU CRY NO MOOORE BA BA BA BAAAAM BA BA BAAAM BOOOM (please youtube ‘carry on my wayward son’ for reference)

CAIN
JESUS CHRIST I THINK SHE’S LOOKING AT US.

They both stop abruptly. Able puts his head in his hands.

ABLE
Oh my god, why didn’t you stop us.

CAIN
It’s okay. Stay cool bromeo. I got this. Arms wide, like you own the space. Shows the HB that you’re comfortable and stuff
puts arms out wide
Back straight
caricature of a straight back.
Now smile!
Ridiculous smile.

Able hides behind him, peering out at CLAIRE.

CLAIRE looks bored.

CAIN
Oh man, she has such a great ass.

ABLE
I bet she can sing. She looks like she can sing.

CAIN
Can’t sing with something in her MOUTH. HEYO!

Able leaves him hanging.

CAIN
Come on man. Give me some confidence.

Able gives him a weak high five.

Claire mimes as if she is then approached by someone, who makes her laugh awkwardly. He briefly grabs her hand then leaves. When he does her mask of exhuberance collapses and she returns to looking bored and uncomfortable.

ABLE
Oh fuck, Lance just started talking to her. Oh em gee she just laughed. Fuck. FUCK! It’s over man. We never should have looked at her. I bet they are going to go have sex soon.

CAIN
Wait. Look, he’s leaving, he…oh shit.

ABLE
What happened?

CAIN
Nothing man.

ABLE
YOU CAN’T HIDE STUFF FROM ME MAN. SHIT. He just touched her hand. He fucking dragged his fingers across her FUCKING PALMS. Fuck.

CAIN
But he’s walking away, see? He’s walking away. Okay. It’s all good. Maybe they are just friends. Maybe she…FRIENDZONED HIM. Okay. Look, I got this. I’m going to go do it. I’M GOING TO GO DO IT.

ABLE
singing the lines of the Pokemon theme song
You sure? You got this? Just remember man. I wanna be…

CAIN
THE VERY BEST.

Both
THAT NO ONE EVER WASSSSS!

Cain approaches whilst continuing to sing

CAIN
To catch them is my real test…to train them is my…

ABLE
SHUT UP!!! Christ. Use the opener. Use the opener. Use the opener.

Cain approaches Claire.

CAIN
Hey. How you doin? (said like Joey from the classic sitcom Friends)

CLAIRE
SORRY WHAT?

CAIN
I SAID HI. DID YOU SEE THOSE TWO GIRLS FIGHTING OUTSIDE?

CLAIRE
No.

CAIN
It was CRAZY, they were like, FIGHTING. Really hard.

CLAIRE
(sarcastically)
Oh really? It’s funny how you saw that considering you never went outside. You were just over there, leering at me, and…dancing? Was that even dancing? You looked like you were having a seizure.

CAIN
But the girls, outside, they are fighting…were…fighting…uh…

CLAIRE
Oh I quite doubt that. You’ve read all of this in ‘The Game’ didn’t you? Some kind of sad little pick up artist attempt? It’s an ‘opener’ right? A way of getting a conversation going with a random girl? This whole thing you are doing is such a bad act, you and your creepy fedora. Now Lance, over there, he doesn’t need to pretend to be a man. Unlike you. I bet you have a tiny DICK. I bet you still like POKEMON!

They all rewind themselves back to their original positions, like rewinding a casette tape. Walking backwards etc.

ABLE
And that’s what will happen if you say that.

CAIN
Really? Jesus Christ that was truly awful. Okay, okay, but what if instead, you know, I just be all confident, and maybe I’m just gotta be more, hrmm, you know. If I roll up my sleeves and just…

Cain walks forward

CAIN
Hey there.

CLAIRE
Umm. Hello!
meekly lifts up hand and waves

CAIN
So I couldn’t help but notice you were here. At this party. It’s the 21st century. No need to mess around, because going down, is like taking a shower. You dee tee eff?

CLAIRE
Dee Tee Eff?

CAIN
You know what I mean. How about we skip all the bullshit and get out of here, you and me. And I know I’m kind of short and I got no abs, and I may have not had sex in like, well, years. But like…wanna fuck anyway?

Claire slaps him.

They rewind back again.

ABLE
Maybe I should just be myself. Be honest. Yeah.

(a beat)

If its meant to work out then, I mean if it’s going to be more than just sex, if we’re meant to be together, if we can be together then I should start by being honest. If I tell her the truth, then she likes me or she doesn’t, what’s the big deal? I don’t know her that well, we’ve only talked twice before, directly. Maybe she remembers.

Able approaches her. He stands there, and she pauses, then notices him.

ABLE:
Clearly nervous
Hi.

CLAIRE
Hey there. It’s crazy right?

CAIN
Runs over to Interjects
NO MY NAME IS DANIEL!

ABLE
SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Shoves Cain away, Claire is unfazed

ABLE
What, this? The party?

CLAIRE
Well, what else?

Able stops. He looks around, then up and out, then to the audience. He sighs, as if psyching himself up to confess something. Then he confesses:

ABLE
How about all of this.
He motions wildly to everything, including the audience
We are in a room, filled with people, I mean this place looks…well…crowded, and all these people are moving. Even when they sit perfectly still they…are…moving. We are literally spinning through space- right now, you and me, and everyone here. We’re spinning.

He says it and looks at her woefully, like he’s worried she will not understand.

CLAIRE
Pirouetting through space.

ABLE
Pirouetting!
He lights up
Yeah, I like that. We’re pirouetting through space…hurtling around at like a million kilometers per second. Around a star, that’s being pushed, pulled and shoved, all over the place, by all the other bodies, and in the end around something else, in the center of the galaxy: a black hole. A super massive black hole to be exact. A rip in time and space, like a cosmic sinkhole. We’re circling the drain I suppose.

CLAIRE
And yet here we are. You and me.

ABLE
Separated by time and space.

A beat, and another confession

ABLE
You know I was thinking of talking to you for ages, but I didn’t because I was scared.

CLAIRE
Half-joking
And are you so easily scared?

ABLE
Oh yeah, I’m scared of loads of things, things that don’t even make any goddamn sense.

CLAIRE
I’m scared of spiders. And snakes I suppose.

ABLE
See, now that’s a good fear, those fears makes sense. Spiders are fucking poisonous, black widows, man, a single bite from one of those bastards and you’re dead. For millions of years snakes and spiders have been killing us and the only ones that were left were the ones who ran like hell. Who became scared of them. Spiders and snakes makes sense. But me, I’m scared of people. Which is the opposite, because it’s people that well…I mean…people…mating…that’s kind of the whole of life right there and I’m scared of…no…I’m uh…scared of people’s thoughts, the ones I can’t even hear but sometimes I think I can.

CLAIRE
Wait…you think you can hear people’s thoughts?

CAIN
ABORT. ABORT. EJECT MAVERICK, FUCKING EJECT.

ABLE
Able yells over his shoulder at Cain
NO.

CLAIRE
Like you are afraid that people are judging you? Of course they are judging you though, aren’t they? You judged me the moment you saw me, without knowing a thing about me you judged me, took one look and formed a consensus. I could tell you people aren’t judging you, but that’s not really true. I could tell you it doesn’t effect how they treat you, but it does. But most of the time they are more obsessed with thinking about themselves, stuck inside their own heads, they haven’t got any space for you left in them. Most of the time. You shouldn’t be scared of me though.

Claire freezes. Cain steps in.

CAIN
You need to stop Able. This is going to be Martha all over again, okay? You didn’t establish rapport and escalate. There is no attraction, you’re coming across as sad and pathetic.

ABLE
You totally get me, this is great. We’re going to be great.

Cain and Claire freeze. Able approaches the stage and narrates, like he’s telling a story to the audience.

ABLE
Then she asks me what my favorite movie is. I ask her what her favorite childrens TV show is. I am awkward but that’s okay because she is bored, and I talk about what I’d normally do on a night like this, which is watch Cosmos, (the Carl Sagan one first), and I make a joke about watching porn afterwards!

(Laughs awkwardly to himself)

She asks me what I do and I tell her I’m an actuary, and she makes a bad joke about how that’s ‘actuary quite interesting’ and I tell her that was awful and we both laugh. We leave seperately but I get her number so she can come play board games with some friends of mine at a cafe next week. She comes and we all have a good time, and afterwards me and her go get frozen yoghurt. We stay up till 2 am chatting at the pier and when we say goodbye it takes ages. I look at her profile photo before I go to sleep. We talk on Facebook, whatsapp, SMS, even phone each other at first, then start to skype instead because its cheap- we meet often, she tells me who she really is. She unloads secrets she’s never told anyone else, afraid they make her ugly, but they’re are the best parts of her- she undresses her soul to me for months until I crack and tell her, awkwardly, that I like her, maybe even love her. She freezes and says.

CAIN AND ABLE
I only think of you as a friend.

They rewind back to before

CAIN
Dude, that was really fucking sad. You got to focus on the real. There is a chain of sentences, that said, will make her take off her clothes and let us touch her. Look, let’s try together, how about both of us?

ABLE
It’s too risky. You go again man, remembering Martha was awful.

CAIN
No worries man. Remember, we haven’t even been out in ages. At least we are trying. This is progress. I’m going to go up to her again. All I need is the perfect line. Like…OH yeah. Yeah. I got it.

ABLE
Wait, what are you going to say?

CAIN
I lost my teddy bear. Will you sleep with me?

ABLE
Jesus.

CAIN
OH OH. How about: Was your dad a terrorist? Cuz baby, you da bomb.

ABLE
Nope.

CAIN
HEY ARE YOU A PARKING TICKET, CUZ YOU GOT FINE WRITTEN ALL OVER YOU.

They are so engrossed with talking to one another that they don’t even notice when Claire walks nearer to them and sits down on a chair, her back facing them. She hangs around near the stage and pretends to be smiling gregariously at the audience- the other people at the party. Cain and Able continue with one another, miming or otherwise. Meanwhile Cain mimes telling able more shitty lines, and Able continues to be disgusted and rejects them.

CLAIRE
Claire is addressing the room, like other people are interacting with her.

Motioning with a drink in her hand:

No thanks, I’m good. Yeah I’m fine, no, go dance! Shooing motions. She slumps forward.

Cain and Able freeze. Claire gets up and flips the chair, then yells, addressing the audience.

CLAIRE
GODAMMIT! We couldn’t even stop, and stand, and say fucking HI? We had to go PAST him. I wanted to say Hi, how hard can it be? It’s one stupid syllable. Hi, hello, salut, yo ho, howdy, yo, sup, heya, hey there, fucking HOW YOU DOIN (said like Joey from the hit TV sitcom, Friends).
But of course, no, nothing. Well. At least we are closer now. Maybe he’ll talk to me. I’m definitely closer now.
She starts to look over her shoulder then freaks out and looks forward.
That wasn’t subtle AT ALL. Fuck. This place used to have mirrors. No wonder clubs have mirrors. I knew it wasn’t just good feng shui. (She gets up). These shoes hurt like hell. I hate heels, I freaking hate ’em. My feet hurt. My freakin’ purse is too small. Why am I even out here? What am I doing? This was such a bad idea. I can’t even afford to have another drink. Probably a good thing too. Can’t afford a drink, and no ones offering. Not that I’d take it, yeah, I’m not like that. I am totally not the sort of person that spent half the freaking evening putting on make up and the other half psyching myself up just to go outside. I should have stayed home and watched Doctor Who. Rewatched the Satan Pit, could have seen parts one and two. I could go now. And ignore all the texts from Emma about how ‘I don’t socialize enough’. But Daniel.
(She turns and looks at him)
Maybe he’d remember me from movie night. He said he likes board games. Maybe I could tell him…to add me on Words With Friends! Shit, If I play Words With Friends, right now, facing just the right way, maybe he’ll come over, and he’ll be like ‘hey words…and with friends!’ and I’ll be all ‘yeah, too bad i’m playing with myself.’

She realizes what she just said
Fuck my liiiife.
She buries her head in her hands.

CAIN
The problem is you are too needy man, girls can smell it on you.

CLAIRE
To the audience
People scare me. I don’t know what to do at these things.

ABLE
I’ve never actually been in a serious relationship and I’m freaking 24.

Cain and Able freeze

CLAIRE
Oh what the fuck, why not. She gets up and goes over to him I’ll go up and be like “Hey Mike, it’s me, Claire. Remember? Your Fedora is cool. Have you ever seen Doctor Who? Personally, I prefer David Tennant to Matt Smith. Do you hate parties? I hate parties, a little. Not because I hate people though. People are great. So uh, what do you do? Oh what do I do? I’m a film editor. Which is to say, I’ve worked on one film. Even though I have a film degree from NYU, yeah I came back to Hong Kong because America was too expensive and I couldn’t get a job so I live with my parents here. Yeah my uncle got me onto the set. It’s pretty much unpaid but it’s okay because it’s only for two months and I’ve already got a job lined up as a PHP programmer. Yeah so I’m not really a film editor. But I love films. Maybe one day I’ll get to edit one? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck Fuck Fuck. I should just go back and talk to Emma. I’ll give it a few more minutes. Maybe he’ll just turn up and be like HEY CLAIRE, I FUCKING LOVE DOCTOR WHO AND ALSO YOU ARE REALLY BEAUTIFUL! REALLY! I love movies too, fuck yeah you’re going for what you love, that’s great, hey, let’s dance, come over here, no really, wanna go outside instead? She hangs her head, whines. God I just want to touch his hair…
She reaches out to them. Stops.

CLAIRE
To the audience
Can we just skip to the part where I touch his hair?

She freezes. Then when the other’s start she walks back to her original position whilst they continue.

ABLE
Cain, lets go back and watch Doctor Who

CAIN
Ooooh Yeah I like me some Capaldi. WAIT. NO. We should go talk to her.

ABLE
Yeah, I’m going to go over there and tell her all about my TARDIS mug.

Cain and Able share a look with each other. They both jump and search their pockets and get out their phones having both received the same text.

CAIN
Reading off the phone
How is it going? Winky face. Is it wrong that his winky face annoys me? He’s patronising us.

ABLE
Tapping on phone as well.
I’m going to tell him we’re done. We gave it a shot, got dressed up, walked in. And look- you aren’t even slouching. At least we tried.
Cain straightens up

CAIN
Yeah but we didn’t did we. Oh now what, he sent a fucking picture. It’s some self help bullshit.

ABLE
It’s a poem I think:

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.

CAIN
Christ thats depressing. Sean’s going. Says Sarah’s about to sleep. Must be nice.

ABLE
Wistfully
Maybe he gets to be the little spoon.

CAIN
Wistfully
Maybe she wakes him up with a blowjob.

They put away their phones.

ABLE
Let’s do it together.

CAIN
Saying Hi isn’t whats important.

ABLE
What’s important is what comes after.
They look at each other. Shake hands. Then they move towards Claire’s original spot. They search around for her but can’t seem to find her.

ABLE
Well that’s that then.
He goes and picks up the jacket he left on one chair. Claire picks up her stuff too.
They walk towards and just pass each other when they freeze.

CLAIRE
Claire turns around and says to them
My name’s Claire, you don’t even know me yet. You think you do, maybe, from across a room you see me and you think you have a clue. and after you first kiss me, you’ll think you’ll know me then. And after we wake up together I’ll think I know you.

ABLE
Turns to her and says: Ill learn to make breakfast for the first, time and you’ll pretend to like it.

CAIN
I won’t have to pretend to be funny, you’ll just think I am.
They then look at each other directly. For a moment, and walk away, towards edges of the stage on opposite sides.

CAIN
At least it’s quieter outside. My ears are ringing. We don’t have to talk so loudly out here.
Cain walks off stage

ABLE
I am so tired. Maybe we will just go sleep now. I know you can, at least.
Looks around for Cain. Can’t find him.
What a waste of time that was. Just another night, and it passed so slowly. Now it’s quiet outside, and we don’t have to worry. But we’re- I’m still cold. Fuck it’s cold. I should have gone to bed. Better to be alone where it’s warm then with company outside.

CLAIRE
Sarcastically
Maybe he was too quiet as well, and didn’t talk to me. Maybe he fell in love with me at first sight and was so intimidated by my mesmerizing beauty that he didn’t even bother. (Looks across at Able). Who’s that poor bastard? Well at least I’m not the only one going home alone tonight.

They walk off in opposite directions off stage.

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My Captain

Too often and like too many others I have

suffered silently choked by your words your callous stares,
Your ‘cheer up cheer ups’ your verdicts of self indulgence
Your condemnations of angst
But no more, not for him,
For the man who made me laugh,
Made me smile,
I will not stay silent for Peter Pan.

Oh captain, my captain,
I’ll say it plainly.

Robin Williams fought every day and today he lost. There is no comfort for him, no afterlife, just robbed time, just broken hearts, today the devils win. The shadows that asphyxiated him, the black that paid no heed to success, fortune, or fame. The invisible illness, the change within his mind. They took my hero and strung a noose around his head, they dragged him, beaten and bloody to the stocks and placed the rope around his neck and gave him no chance to speak, no dignity, no solace, they only promised that life was worse than nothing, and nothing is what they offered.

So many of us will not look into that abyss, will not dare allow it to rise and up fill us, and chill us, and gape at our mortality, our fragile happiness, that is why you call us weak, self-indulgent, liars and losers because the alternative is horror. Yes I will bend and buckle and break, I will kneel my head, avert my eyes, hold my stuttering tongue, will allow the heat to suffuse my face and your words to echo on my bed, and the tears to leak from my face, I will let you tell me I am not enough, but I will not let you tell that

To him.

To Robin Williams.

My first Peter Pan, you cocked that mobile phone before I knew what lawyers were. Stood bewildered among children, you were like the adults who crushed me till, you flew, you fucking CROWED, saw bright balls of goo where no food was threw it around never in my life have I seen a meal that looked as tasty as that.

You remembered how to fly again, bangarang my friend. The pan arises, the hook sinks. I saw hook at least ten times and love it still.

So you look Peter Pan in the eye and tell him he isn’t ill.

I never had a friend like him. Never had anyone who could be there all the time, who could take it. Who could stay the night, it was too much, day after day when I didn’t recover, hour after hour whilst I still cried. He never had a friend like me.

They taught him between jabs, between trips to the bar, between white lines and whilst he cried the demons taught him what matters, that people lie, that old men think they know what’s important, what life is made of; money, exams, rules and regulations, what to wear and say and do and when lest you become different. Robin took all that darkness and within it he found hope. Maybe he couldn’t be happy himself but he’d be damned if he did not try to make you laugh instead.

So when Robin whispered the dead men’s words and said, Carpe Diem, he knew you had to seize the day because those days when you can, they won’t come all that often, and when they do when you beat back those snarling fucking demons you gotta leap up, gotta make them all laugh, and all those lines you wrote in tears you’ll unleash them on the rest. The despair in their eyes inside their heads, the depressed we can see them, can smell the enemy on you, and Robin fought like Peter Pan, his sword, his sword was laughter, he was a knight, a bright white ball of happiness man that man burned away your misery because he knew, he knew, how bad those days could get.

Oh captain, my captain,

Carpe diem.

I will not say rest In peace because you did not die at peace, you were killed, you were murdered and me and mine will not rest either. Will not pretend we did not lose a brother in arms, a friend, will not bow our heads in shame, will raise our fists, not our glasses, will do the best we can; we’ll make ’em laugh, we’ll make ’em sing, we’ll dance our dances, write our plays, we’ll swing with the best of them, we’ll take it on the chin and get back up, one more time, one more time, again and again Robin. I promise you I’ll write a bit harder, I’ll try a bit harder, I’ll get up one more time more because I cannot let the demons know they’ve won. They don’t get to win, not anymore.

Carpe Diem.

The father on screen. You made Will Hunting love. Made him feel human, because despair and loneliness can make one kind, makes one brave, makes one bold enough to stand and speak and laugh and joke because those that live in darkness, know the value of the light and the secret to create it. You said it’s not your fault till I believed because it isn’t our faults dear friends. We lost one of the best today. So I will not say:

Raise a glass,
Rest in peace,
I will not claim
It is now easy,
Bow your heads,
Mourn and walk away.

No.

That is not our way. It never has been. We do not move on. We do not forget. And maybe we will never be whole, never be healed, never know peace and too many of us will die too early in this war we fight, we fight every day so to all the ignorant, selfish rest, to all the others too afraid to face someone else’s suffering, that do not accept what this is like, that do not know how daily despair tastes, to them I say laugh on, laugh on, laugh at our jokes that is what we do, but to you my brothers and sisters, captains and comrades, you know who you are, you that forget you are legion, today or tomorrow or right now you are surrounded but to you I say in my hero’s name:

Fight on, fight on, fight a  bit harder for him.

The demons do not get to win.

Show them what we are made of. Put on your red noses. Throw on the clown shoes. Hell forged, battle born, our smiles are scimitars, our bright eyes shields. Sing your soul out. Cut out pieces of you. Fling your pain upon the canvas, take the shadows and make balloon animals out of them. Dance to wake the light, burn brighter, to make up for the star we’ve lost today. Fight on, fight on, for the fallen, the fallen, for our

Captain, our captain,

Carpe Diem

Do not let him die in vain.

Third Eye Part 3: Winding corridors.

The vague smell of of plastic and disinfectant forced the reality of the situation through my nose. I angled my body towards the front entrance, all about to leave, with only one foot to anchor me to the waiting area. A lone seated woman shot me with a questioning frown. I retreated to the cork board whilst I figured it all out. The notices had, on glossy paper, depressingly optimistic newsletters and information booklets so I blurred my eyes and focused on the noises behind me instead. A quick scan of the waiting room, over my shoulder, confirmed that she wasn’t here, in the waiting area, though she probably was here, in the hospital, and if she was here then her child was here, and if she had a child then the odds were that she was married.

 
The intermittent sound of the opening, closing, sliding door of the front entrance marked, with gusts and noise the slow passing of the seconds in which I tried to figure out what the hell it was that made me look for something different doay, at why I couldn’t have just done what a boring, skeptical person might have, but of course, why would I? Routine is so much worse. These glossy brochures reeked of routine.
 
Another warm gust preluded the voice of a squawking girl who said: “They’re all dead and they’re gonna fall down!” Followed by a shush from her invisible mother. I traced their path from the sound of her shushes. They paused somewhere behind me. The child said: “Mommy look at the lost man.” and I felt the A.C tickle my neck. She didn’t shush her. That silent stamp of approval lent a profound weight to the girl’s observation. “Mommy, why does he look so lost?” I detached from the board and sat on a couch. Waiting seemed the expected thing to do. The child stared right at me. I could feel her eyes through my peripherals. Her mother tapped on her smartphone with one hand, the other tethered to the child.
 
I stared down at the carpet. Squeezed my hands together. The carpet began at the sliding door and ended on the clacking tiles of the hopsital proper, where people perpetually speed walked in my peripheral vision. The carpet contained a gold threaded design. I tried to follow that thread, lost it in it’s incorrigible circles that looped and twisted all over the floor. Then someone’s phone, some child’s app perhaps, croaked “Baa baa.” And it said “black sheep” and I said “Balith.” Then in my head: Barrbalith. Then the thread seemed to glow. I unfocused my eyes and watched how it began near my feet. Shuffled my soles till the tip of my toes touched the furtive beginnings of that treaded on thread. The patterns coalesced. They led all the way to tiny feet that mostly hovered above the carpet, that were always accompanied by adults whose feet were planted on the fabric, their bodies linked, by hands or arms or with heads on shoulders. I sat back slowly till I could see all of it, the whole waiting room. The people moving at the edges were as natural and uninteruptive as the rhythmic movements of a clock’s hands. 
 
I felt their eyes. The children’s eyes prodding my chest. I did not stare back. One by one their legs stopped shaking, they put down their phones and distractions, toys and books and just stared in stillness at me whilst their parents continued, individually oblivious. A child voice said “green shell, sea shell, and don’t ring the bell.”
 
Another followed afterwards: “left and right and left and right again.”
 
And then a third said “she carried it in her right, good speed.”
 
And I whispered “Godspeed, thank you.” And got up. Walked towards the hospital with its maze of corridors and took the first left. I walked at a slow pace as there was a tuneless melody in my head that I kept time to. Towards me jangled a rolling gurney, a tiny female nurse behind leaning into the gurney to push it. The man on it locked eyes with me as he passed and I felt a billowing sadness, absolute conviction that he was going to die soon, but still, I did not break stride. I took the first right. Approached two double doors and pushed through. On the other side was a bright eyed woman wearing a white coat, she looked at me and opened her mouth and I nodded at her with as much command as I could muster, gesturing the clip board towards her without pause and heard no questions over my back. At the end of the corridor branched, left and right, and in the middle another damn cork board, covered in the same too bright brochures. Close enough to it, it seemed identical to the previous board, with the brochures in the same places, covered with the same tacks, angled in the same directions. In one corner however, was an empty space, with a green tack and a scrap of ripped paper impaled by it. I checked to see no one was watching. I sidled next to the shelf that lay underneath the board. In the space between it and the wall I could see, jutting out, the corner of a brochure. Another check to make sure I was alone, then I kneeled and tried to pull it out. Too far in. Too heavy to move. I used the clipboard to dig it towards me instead, froze unfinished when I heard the sudden, hurried footseps. I held still. If I turn it’s over, I just know it, the same way I did as a kid, whenever I was caught in the middle of doing something I shouldn’t have, just hold still and it’s as if they can’t see you. The footsteps went on past. 
 
What the hell am I doing?
 
Shame. Embarrassment.
 
I fished out the brochure. Brushed the dust off it with the edge of my clipboard. It was for the cancer ward, the whole thing colored blue. On the walls I foung a strip that lead towards the lift, and the number for the ward. I went in, clutching the info. Exited onto a corridor with a desk, behind which was no one. I’m not entirely sure what to do. At this point it was best to probably ask whether that woman had come this way. Something resembling faith told me it was worth a try. I thought to yell, but it didn’t seem appropriate, so I waited for a few minutes. No one came, and I could detect the faintest of background coughs, muffled sounds from other doors. I noticed the bell on the desk, just like the kind you see in movies on hotel front desks. My hand was right over the tip when I stopped. Don’t ring the bell. I left it. But why not? Why shouldn’t I? Because it would disturb people right? Because I might be heard.
 
I walked back towards a corner and just watched. Eventually I heard a rolling trolley. It stopped right at the branching point of a corridor so that I could see a snap shot of it. It went right so I followed. Till a door opened on my left and something pulled my arm roughly, into a pitch black room. 
 
She said: “Later on when you don’t believe me try to remember how I knew you were right outside this door, at exactly that moment, when there is no way for me to look outside.” Then with her free hand she handed me a bag of ice for the burgeoning bruise on my head. 

Third eye (Part 1)

“I’m an urban shaman.” He said, nodding a thin, pocked head. A truck must have passed above us, over the highway, as his metal trolley shook from the cresting roar, dislodging some pigeons that burst over our heads and out into the city. 

 
He lifted the rickety folding table, placed it on the uneven concrete between us. I put my clipboarded questionaire on it, and waited- I hoped he would say more things. Shaman or not, I was caught in his spell. With translucent hands he placed on the table, a large, flat bowl, marred with ash and scars. Inside he placed, in the flat of it, a circular piece of cardboard, full of indented spaces at regular intervals. The faded imprint of a company logo was riddled with the indentations, obscuring the original brand, leaving only “fragile” and “this way up” still legible. 
 
He turned and ducked into multicolored shipping bags, up and down like a bird. The hissing ceased when he froze to say, over his shoulder: “I learned to read the signs. In order to read the signs you have to learn to let go, you have to train till you have the soft eyes. I had to learn to listen to my insides.” The hissing would resume, and he would withdraw in turns, a clay elephant with a broken trunk, three pencils with their outer paint stripped away, an apple wrapped in cellophane, and a white box, with a rounded top black markered with an X and I. 
 
He scratched at the cellophane with black nails, till he found a way in. Tore into the apple like a wolf. He would stop chewing, cheeks bunched with apple pieces, to speak. His mouth full, somehow deepened his voice, imbuing him with gravitas, despite the way his consonants warped: “You sheem like you have shum here, lookying for something. You are lost. That much is clear.” His gesturing hand gathered up the underpass, the unlit trash cans, the other homeless people, the slashes of light that flanked us, the rumbling highway above, the city, the obscured, sky; the whole time he kept staring at me, the apple unchewed, rotting by imperceptible degrees in his hand. “You hash a good ear. I can tell. Yer a listener, what they shuh call an empath. An empath.” 
 
Empath. He said it louder. Or it echoed in my head. I do not know.
 
He resumed chewing. The question tumbled out of my mouth: “Are you crazy?” 
 
The chewing stopped. “Batshit nuts doritos off the top? Wigga wamma woohoo? What do you think?” He rolled his eyes with such unaffected condescension that my face got hot. I waited for him to finish the apple whilst I tried to read the upside down questions on my discarded clipboard. When he finished he began to unscrew the plastic box; “Used to be cold cream. My daughter would eat the stuff. Never tried it myself.” He must have been at least fifty, maybe less. Hard living aged most. Inside he took the bundle of marbles into his hand, and threw them in a mad musical clatter, into the bowl, all the while he said: “Harummmm.” And the m’s stretched, and stopped, all at once,when the marbles came to rest- many on the edges of the cardboard, a few on it, in the indentations. The marbles shook gently, as another truck passed somewhere above us. “A moment.” He went back into a purple bag, came up with a pair of glasses, that he licked, then wiped, on his too small scarf.
 
His head drooped over the bowl.
 
“Ahhh. Your name begins with a letter. Am I right? Yes. And you were once a young boy. Indeed. Oh, tch tch tch, this is terrible- you will die someday, and your heart will be broken. Again? Yes. Also, if you go to the hospital today you will be forced to kill somebody, and if you do it you will never learn how to use your third eye properly.” He looked up, two fingers aimed at my forehead, impossible tears edging his enlarged eyes. “If you kill this woman, you will put out your own eye, unable to stand the pain. It will be a terrible loss. There are few empaths in the city.” 
 
I stood up, staggered away, tripped, fell. I have never been so scared. I do not know why. Other vagabonds turned to look, the crazy man, he got up, swift, grabbing a bag: “Wait son, I have something that can help, something cheap. Even something free: Blackjack won’t bring you home!” I needed my clipboard. He took it without me saying anything and frisbeed the thing, which I failed to catch, so that it landed on my foot. He yelled: “I don’t even need money for it!” I took the damn clipboard and walked away. The spell had broken, I must have been hypnotized, or something. “I can’t prove I’m anything special!” He yelled. I felt embarrassed now, for him as well. I said, under my breath
 
“I suppose I should have picked a number between one and a hundred.”
 
And I heard him yell: “SIXTY TWO!”
 
Which stopped me. I had not thought of a number. I looked at the clipboard, the only answers filled were ‘name’: “Tom O’ Bedlam.” And ‘profession’: “Invisible.” I tore out the paper, hesitated then scrunched it into my pocket. I went to the nearest bustop and waited. The first bus to arrive was the number 62. The destination said: “ST LOR CHLD HOSPITAL”
 
I went back and Tom handed me a plastic bag in exchange for the melting snickers bar in my pocket. Once on the bus I saw it contained a large, dirty, prescription pill bottle, the label scratched illegible. It rattled. I clenched my fist, felt like a fool, and remembered that the children’s hospital had a bus terminal, and there I could catch the twenty-one to the central homeless shelter. Ought to finish my quota that way. Or I could go home, lie down, and wait till the fear passed. 
Casually popping open the top of the bottle, I felt that plastic satisfaction as the lid came off. A couple of metal oblongs inside, smooth, oily when I dug for them with a finger tip. I rolled one up to the edge of the lid, could see the golden sheen. I’d never touched or even seen in real life, a bullet before. 
 
I covered the bottle with two shaking hands, clenching the medicine inside a sweat soaked fist.

20th post: Get Rich or Die Gaming 2: Rock Bottom

Alright so in lieu of my regular crap i’m instead going to “pimp my shit”.

So, there is this computer game. It’s called Get Rich or Die Gaming. I co-wrote it (yeah, i’m going to call it that) with Angus Cheng of Baller Industries fame. At the moment i’m working on the script for the jaw droppinglly profound sequel.

I like to think of Get Rich Or Die Gaming 2: Rock Bottom as my magnum opus. When i die, I want it to be my legacy. If i die. The game follows the exploits of Wilson Cooper as he attempts to escape from prison and achieve his lifelong dream of becoming filthy rich.

Here is some of the fantastically well written dialogue from the upcoming game. Also, it is all symbolic.

Wilson Cooper has just escaped from prison, and is now on the streets, attempting to find shelter. Inside a cheap motel:

(W- Wilson, MMM: Musty Motel Manager)

W: Hi, i was wondering if i could get a room.

MMM: (Heavy russion/sketchy accent) Oh Ho! Oh hoho hallo friend!

W: Aww HI there!

MMM: What you looking for my friend? Are you coming here to see the Dirty Queen?

W: What? Umm.

MMM: The dirty queen is very busy today. Many people have come to rip her stockings. We are running out of nylon. Perhaps instead you would like to go rat hunting?

W: What hunting?

MMM: Oh ho! oh ho ho ho! My friend what treat you have now bought in store. This place, it is famous, across entire siberia, for rat hunt. Biggest, juiciest, fastest rats live in all secret places. Top hunter get top prize.

W: Whats the prize?

MMM: It is specially harvested bubonic plague virus. VERY GOOD. Sell for much money on black market. Also you get hat. All girls love hats.

W: I just want a place to sleep.

MMM: OH ho! A new customer. Ok, tonight sleep. But maybe, maybe tomorrow you do more things yes? Maybe tomorrow, you help kill man for me yes? Or maybe, tomorrow you sleep, but you do not dream, maybe tomorrow you sleep like baby in van. What is budget?

W: Oh…well….mister. Here’s the thing. I just got out of prison, and i really want to reintegrate with society, so i don’t have any money yet. But, please, if you let me stay here, i will work, or i can pay you later.

MMM: Ok, your budget is less than 0 yes?

W: I guess.

MMM: Can you pay instead by card? Even stolen card is ok.

W: I haven’t got any card.

MMM: How about Cheque? It bouncing, no problem, this place is how you say, front for human slave trafficking anyway.

W: Hmm i haven’t got a chequebook.

MMM: No problem, since you have no money, no card, no cheque, we still take other currency. You can sell organ, or put down deposit of finger. Normally we ask pinky finger, but you, you I like, you remind me of father that left when i was crawling. For you, one toe.

W: Uhh.

MMM: Or instead, we take the drugs. Any drugs. CocoButtox, Spism, Jack Daniel’s Dad, Whatever. Or gold, do you have gold?

W: I dont have anything except the clothes on my back and lint in my pocket.

MMM: Let me see this lint.

W: Here.

MMM: This is very bad lint, this is cheap lint. What you think this is huh? You think we in siberia? Get out before i rape you.

***

Tell all your friends, GROD2: Rock bottom, sequel to:

http://xblaratings.com/component/content/article/54-action-a-adventure/3198-get-rich-or-die-gaming

From the review by OptimumPrime:

It’s not your average adventure game. You don’t grind, and you’re not addicted because of a repetitive forumla. It’s more substance than game and if you have a sense of humour, it’s pretty fucking hilarious.

***

TILL THEN COUNT THE SECONDS TILL THE RELEASE OF THE GREATEST ADVENTURE GAME SINCE Grim Fandango/Sam and Max/Longest Journey.

And it will probably only be three fucking dollars and i need to make rent.

THREE DOLLARS FOR INFINITE FUN EQUALS INFINITE VALUE.

(Maybe i’ll post a short story later)

16th post: Owl Day- Guest Poem

Today it is Owl Day and as is traditional there shall be a guest poem in dedication to our feathered friends.


Owlaxtion

Owls awry, scrawl fear in your eye
Dark shapes on the canvas of night
This here; the image of fright

The sing song of a wing wrong!
Owls. Hoot hoot. Owls are hirsute.
Owls. Shoot shoot; your life is moot.

Beaks a’ nipping, talons claw,
Your mortality exposed as flaw.
None escapes the owls gaze,
All is gone in crimson haze.
Strigiformes, thy name is terror,
Running is but another error.
With vision, speed and wit,
The prey’s fate is all but writ.

Owls! Fear is thy name.

Owls! They are the silent watchers.
They keep the vigil, they balance the fates.

By James Munschnooschnoo