April is moving in next Friday. Thus, I've been busy making space at the house. Throwing away stuff, removing clutter, organizing the garage, the office, the bedroom. While doing so, I've stumbled across some old scripts I've written. Notebooks upon notebooks of ideas and bits of dialogue. Some of my old stuff isn't too terrible. Good intentions, so-so on the execution.
Two seconds before I started writing comics, I wrote a short play performed at UTA. Due to time constraints, I had about two weeks to come up with the whole thing from beginning to end. It was an interesting first step into my new identity as "writer." Anyways, I found the script today, and read through it. Yeesh. This thing needed at least two or three re-writes. However, not surprisingly, the final scene was the most solid-ish. Here it is. Unedited for your scrutiny. Do not expect any more plays from me.
Basic set-up: The normally eloquent student philosopher WILL is going to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. However, the gas fumes render him completely nutty and unable to light a match. Chinese food delivery girl ASHLEY comes to stop him, maybe.
ACT II, SCENE 3
Stage lights rise. The scene takes up where we left off in Scene 2. Will is drenched in gasoline. Ashley stands behind him -- conflicted. Will progressively gets more and more "out of it," as the gas fumes affect him.
WILL (not looking at Ashley). Are you here to stop me or to watch?
ASHLEY. I don't know.
WILL. If you don't know, then I sure as hell don't know.
ASHLEY. So this is it.
WILL. I was thinking about doing this alone. It saves me the stress of trying to have "last words."
ASHLEY. Do you have any last words?
WILL (not really listening). I'm getting lightheaded from the fumes.
ASHLEY. Those your last words?
WILL. No, I got different last words and you can't hear them, because it ruins the moment to tell you before the fact.
ASHLEY. I guess so.
(Long awkward pause.)
WILL. Don't feel guilty. That whole "I could've said or done something to stop him." You know my mind has been made up.
ASHLEY. You can't tell me to not be affected by your decisions. You do this, I will feel responsible for not stopping you.
WILL. Then I'm sorry for including you.
ASHLEY. Why me? And not because I'm a stranger. You knew me. Why me?
WILL. I thought you'd understand.
ASHLEY. What do you mean?
WILL. I don't know anymore, but this is not your fault.
ASHLEY. I know it's not my fault, but I will feel guilty.
WILL. Well, that's awfully-- (long pause) Oh man--
ASHLEY. Are you okay?
WILL. Just fuckin' peachy. I'm covered in gasoline with a box of matches. What do you think? (pause) What was I talking about?
ASHLEY (prompting him). "Don't feel guilty."
WILL. Exactly! I chose this nine months ago. My decision. Not yours.
ASHLEY. I can't stop you.
WILL. Well, that's awfully (pause) something.
ASHLEY. You know, you can't do this.
WILL. Where are my matches?
ASHLEY. You're holding them.
WILL. Shit. I'm messed up. (Opens the match box upside down. Matches fall out.) Oh shit. (Begins trying to put the matches back in the box... unsuccessfully.)
ASHLEY. Need some help?
WILL. Yeah, do you have a lighter?
WILL. Does God?
(Ashley goes to help put the matches back.)
"Per molestias eruditio." It's Latin.
ASHLEY. What's it mean?
WILL. I forgot. My last words -- I forgot what it means. "Per molestias eruditio." (pause) What am I doing? (Will breaks down.) It -- hurts -- so -- much. I'm just -- I'm just -- I'm just scared of what happens next. You know -- after we're done preparing to live our life. (pause) I don't know what to do, where to go, who to be.
ASHLEY (comforting). I know.
WILL. I don't want to settle for -- (Can't think of what to say next) I don't want to -- (Still out of it) I don't feel too good.
(Will can barely stay vertical. He's swaying. Ashley moves closer to him and holds him lovingly like a mother.)
What are you doing?
ASHLEY. It's okay. (Catches a whiff of the gasoline) Ooo, that cologne. Let me guess... regular unleaded, Texaco.
WILL. No, it's super unleaded. Hell-- if you're going to go -- don't be cheap about it. (pause) I'm sorry about your mother.
ASHLEY. I am too.
WILL. Can't set myself on fire if you're holding me.
ASHLEY. I guess you'll have to wait.
WILL. How long?
ASHLEY. It might be awhile. I don't have anywhere I need to be.
(Music cue #6. As in the beginning, a home video montage is projected onto the back wall of the set. Slowly, very slowly, fade to black. The home videos continue until the end of the song.)