indescribable (& It Needs A Little Work/The Unfinished Play)

Spring Break Leisure Reading Progress Report:

I saved Fight Club for last, because I know it's probably going to make me angry.

Here's an outfit so nondescript that I'm glad I can attach it to something of (arguably) more substance.

Sweater: uncle's. Polo shirt you can barely see: American Eagle, brother's. Tights: generic. Boots: Steven by Steve Madden. Ring: Rapunzelsgold. Shorts: secondhand from Christine.

Since it's Saturday, a script.

I wrote this when I was 16. It was performed , and I was the director (and it looked pretty cool, if I do say so myself, even though the play dragged on and on and on and on during the actual performance).

This is really tiring to read, and I can't believe my theater group let me keep the title for this, even in the press releases.

It Needs A Little Work/The Unfinished Play

[Note: Cast each actor for one or two parts as follows: GIRL 1, EUGENE/DEATH, LESLIE/OLD WOMAN, GAGGLE-ER #1/GIRL 2, GAGGLE-ER #2, GAGGLE-ER #3, NARRATOR/GABRIEL, MIME/PIZZA GUY.]

[EDIT: I'm not sure if the original casting note above actually works for the finished version of the script (especially for the sequence at the end), because casting got shifted around a lot to accommodate our theater group's gender ratios, but whatever.]

(All actors are onstage posed to begin their next scene. As each scene ends, actors go to the next position and pose until that scene starts. Spotlight on GIRL 1.)

GIRL 1: (to audience) So I asked my friends to write a play. The first one was like, I can't write. And the second one was like, I have nothing to write about. And the third one was like, But all my plays end in all the characters having a massive orgy! So I told myself, hey, maybe if I write enough and rant enough I'll come up with a monologue. Uhuh.

(addressing self, not audience)

(to a sort of rhythm) And I've lost all inspiration and it's time for me to write. Like I have some fancy rhythm and elusive quality. I have nothing to say. There's a beat. It's going. Inside of my head. I'm writing. To it. Stop.

(stop rhythm and freeze; pause; unfreeze; next part is as if she has split personalities)
Okay. I woke up this morning and thought about Alex before my thoughts turned to Michael and why on earth he wore the same shirt two days in a row and if perhaps he had two of the same t-shirt, which I hope to God is true otherwise he just wore the same shirt two days in a row and that's like what on earth is he doing. Augh. I need something to write about. Alex, get out of my head. Okay. Think Michael thoughts. Think shopping thoughts. Think homework thoughts.

Girl, go back to your homework. I can't! I have to write. There's something on my chest that I need to get rid of, but I don't know what it is yet. Um, boobs? No, dammit. Stop talking to yourself, you idiot. Nobody's listening. I'm listening. You're nobody. Alex has a crooked smile. Alex has a crooked smile and it is cute. It always starts on the left. Brutal honesty! Brutal honesty works for everything! Otherwise, a huge lie works too. Communication is key! Stop slouching! Don't judge people before you get to know them! Just because you don't like someone doesn't mean he has to change for you! If you want something, make sure you can have it!

(Spotlight off GIRL 1.)

(Simultaneously, spotlight on EUGENE, a geeky kid with parted hair, thick glasses, and a short-sleeved dress shirt - an old school geek. He is sitting and reading a thick book. Spotlight on LESLIE, who is clad in a miniskirt, tank top, and flip flops. A gaggle of similarly-dressed girls stands off to the side, gossiping and egging LESLIE on.)

LESLIE: (seductively, into EUGENE's ear) If you want something, make sure you can have it.

EUGENE: (flustered) Oh. Oh! Uh. Hi. Hi, Leslie. (pushes glasses up nose)

LESLIE: What're you reading?

EUGENE: Oh, it's just - uh - just some - uh - a biography of N-Nikola Tesla.

LESLIE: That sounds really interesting.

EUGENE: Oh! Oh yeah. Tesla made this kind of transformer that -

LESLIE: What are you doing Friday night?

EUGENE: (yelps) What?

LESLIE: Are you busy this Friday, Eugene?

EUGENE: Uh. Uh. Well I was planning to reconfigure my -

LESLIE: I think that can wait. Don't you?


LESLIE: So pick me up at eight, okay?

EUGENE: What?!

LESLIE: Bye, Eugene. Don't be late.

(Follow-spot LESLIE ras she eturns to the gaggle of girls. Fade spotlight off EUGENE.)

EUGENE: B-Bye, Leslie.

GAGGLE-ER #1: What a pushover!

LESLIE: Poor kid didn't even have a chance.

GAGGLE-ER #2: So, how much do you think you can get out of him?

LESLIE: At least two weeks. So dinner every night times fourteen, plus at least two movies, a necklace, flowers, and chocolate.

GAGGLE-ER #3: So that's at least, like - like, a lot of money.

GAGGLE-ER #1: More than that last guy.

GAGGLE-ER #3: You mean that kid with the cube with the stickers?

LESLIE: It's called a Rubik's cube. And yes, it is more.

GAGGLE-ER #1: Woah, Leslie. You actually know what it's called? Keep that up and people are gonna start thinking you like dating geeks if you keep paying attention to them like that.

GAGGLE-ER #3: Yeah! And you don't like geeks, right?

LESLIE: Of course not! Don't be ridiculous!

(Scene freezes. Spotlight off GAGGLE-ERS #1, 2, and 3. LESLIE steps out under a lone spotlight.)

LESLIE: (addressing audience) Of course I have to tell them that. Life's just hard like that sometimes. But it wasn't always like this.

(clasps hands to breast and stares off into the distance)
I was in love once. I fell in love with a member of the AV Club. His name was... Alvin. It was like we were meant to be together. We both loved cotton candy, swinging in the park, and each other. He took me to the zoo and the amusement park and the ice cream parlor and the grocery store. Alvin made me so happy,

(shaking herself out of her reverie)
but I couldn't be with him. It just doesn't work that way. I'm too popular. What would people say if they knew? An AV member? With me? So now I've resorted to this. It hurts them - the geeks - but believe me. It hurts me more. I did love him, you know. Once a long time ago...

(Fade spotlight off LESLIE.)

(Fade in spotlight for NARRATOR and spotlight for MIME. NARRATOR narrates as MIME pantomimes. The unitalicized words for the MIME's part are written in only for the sake of clarity; the MIME says and does only what is in italics.)

NARRATOR: Once a long time ago, a girl was born. Her name was Emily. She grew up, made herself up, got knocked up, threw up, and decided to have an abortion. But she chickened out and instead gave birth to a baby and left the baby on the doorstep of a rich old lady's house. The rich old lady was named Emmaline. She liked to play bridge and dance the fandango. (A fandango plays and fades out, as does the spotlight.)

MIME: Once (holds up one finger) a long (make a motion as if stretching taffy between both hands) time ago (taps second and third fingers of one hand on the wrist of the other hand, like tapping a wristwatch), a girl (makes hourglass shape with hands) was born (thumbs and index fingers form an O over head; lower hands and widen the O until the head has passed through the O; say, "Pop!" at the same time). Her name was Emily (lie on ground and assume fetal position). She grew up (slowly stand back up as if growing), made herself up (pretend to powder nose), got knocked up (mime a pregnant belly), threw up (pantomime violent vomiting), and decided to have an abortion (crudely make a grab between legs as if pulling something out; throw the imaginary thing on the floor and stomp on it while giving an inhuman cry). But she chickened out (flap chicken wings) and instead gave birth (crudely make a grab between legs as if pulling something out while making crying sounds like a baby) to a baby (cradle "baby" in arms) and left the baby on the doorstep (deposit "baby" on ground and pretend to knock on a door; make knocking sounds) of a rich old lady's house (go to the other side of the "door" and pretend to sip tea while holding pinky in the air). The rich old lady (pose) was named Emmaline (make an imaginary banner between hands by putting one over the other and then spreading them apart). She liked to play bridge (do the bridge or inverted bridge) and dance the fandango (dance the fandango as the music plays; fade spotlight and music).

(Fade in two stationary spotlights on OLD WOMAN and MAN. An old woman is doddering around at a bus stop. A man in his thirties approaches, to wait for the bus. They stand in the silence of strangers - not uncomfortably but not companionably. Suddenly the ring of a cell phone shatters the silence. The ringtone is the same fandango tune from the previous scene. They continue to stand there as the ring tone plays. It stops ringing but replays almost immediately once it has ended. MAN coughs lightly. OLD WOMAN continues doddering. MAN coughs more loudly. OLD WOMAN continues doddering. Throughout the following exchange, the ringtone repeats over and over.)

MAN: Excuse me, ma'am.

(OLD WOMAN dodders.)

MAN: (more loudly) Ma'am.

(No response.)

MAN: Ma'am!

(OLD WOMAN is taken aback.)

OLD WOMAN: (loudly; continue at this volume) Why, hello there.

MAN: Ma'am, is that your phone ringing?

OLD WOMAN: What was that?

MAN: (more loudly; continue at this volume) Is that your phone ringing, ma'am?

OLD WOMAN: Ringing? What ringing?

MAN: The phone ringing.

OLD WOMAN: Phone? Is my telephone ringing? My, boy, you must have a good ear if you can hear my telephone from here.

MAN: (back to normal volume) The sound's coming from right here, ma'am...

OLD WOMAN: What was that?

MAN: (more loudly; continue at this volume) Is that (points to phone) your phone ringing?

OLD WOMAN: My telephone is in my house, boy. You must be hearing things.

MAN: Ma'am, there's a cell phone ringing, and I was wondering if it was yours.

OLD WOMAN: My telephone is at home. Maybe you ought to have a lie-down, boy. You don't look so good. They feed you enough?

MAN: (resignedly) Yes, ma'am.

OLD WOMAN: That's just it with parents these days. Growing boys need meat on their bones. Ah, what's the world come to?

(Spotlights off.)

(Simultaneously, spotlight on GIRL 2.)

GIRL 2: What's the world come to when you can't get a decent pizza?

(GIRL 2 dials phone. Spotlight on PIZZA GUY. PIZZA GUY picks up.)

PIZZA GUY: Hi, this is Pizza Heaven. How can I help you?

GIRL 2: Um, can I get an extra-large?

PIZZA GUY: Sure. What toppings would you like?

GIRL 2: Um... I have this coupon here.

PIZZA GUY: All right. What deal is it for?

GIRL 2: Well it says I can have two toppings for $13.99.

PIZZA GUY: That's right. What would you like?

GIRL 2: I'd like sausages and happiness.

PIZZA GUY: Sure thing. Sausages and I didn't catch that last one.

GIRL 2: Sausages and happiness.

PIZZA GUY: Excuse me, please, what was that again?

GIRL 2: Sausages and happiness.

PIZZA GUY: Uh, I'm sorry, miss, but we don't offer that here.

GIRL 2: You don't offer what?

PIZZA GUY: H...Happiness. That's not a topping, miss. Would you like something else with those sausages?

GIRL 2: You don't offer happiness? You don't offer happiness? What kind of excuse for a food establishment are you?

PIZZA GUY: I'm sorry, miss. It's not on our menu.

GIRL 2: Does happiness need to be on your menu? Isn't it a given?

PIZZA GUY: Miss, please -

GIRL 2: You can't buy happiness, is that it?

PIZZA GUY: Is this some kind of prank?

GIRL 2: Well whoever said it was right.

PIZZA GUY: Miss, I'm going to have to -

GIRL 2: Take your stupid pizza and your stupid sausages! I'll keep my happiness!

(Spotlights off.)

(Simultaneously, one spotlight on GABRIEL and one on DEATH.)

GABRIEL: I'll keep my happiness, but you can have my life.

DEATH: M'kay, riddle me this, sweetie, did our entire conversation totally just go over your head? I don't want your life, m'kay?

GABRIEL: Just take it! I don't need it. As long as I die knowing she's happy, my life hasn't been a waste.

DEATH: You little eager beaver! All right. Since you don't seem to comprehend, maybe we should take it slow.

GABRIEL: There's nothing to comprehend. I want to die.

DEATH: Okay, little Gabriel. It's not your time, see. I don't take your life yet. Right now, all I take is the memory of your first trip to Vegas, the muscle definition in your thighs, and your sex drive.


DEATH: Mmhm. You'll find out soon enough that you don't really need that.

GABRIEL: Why don't you just kill me now?

DEATH: Honey, it ain't that simple. There's laws, you know.


DEATH: Of course. All's fair in love and war.

GABRIEL: ...What?

DEATH: The point is, you can't die now, and I won't let you.

GABRIEL: So I'm the man that death doesn't want. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

DEATH: Oh, Gabe, Gabe, Gabe. It ain't over yet, babe.

GABRIEL: Of course it isn't. If you won't even take my life when I'm offering it to you, how can it be over?

DEATH: I mean, sweetcakes, that you can't want to die just because your dearly beloved eloped with your best friend.

GABRIEL: But it was the day of our wedding!

DEATH: And life goes on. There's other fish in the sea.

GABRIEL: But none like her.

DEATH: But none like her.

GABRIEL: So what's the point in living?

DEATH: Honey, you can't give up now.

GABRIEL: Death is providing counsel against suicide. How ironic.

DEATH: Life's funny like that.

GABRIEL: Don't you mean Death's funny?

DEATH: No. I'm not funny at all. I'm like boo-hoo. But life's funny sometimes.

(Fade spotlights out.)

(Gradually flood the stage with light. All actors are onstage, frozen. GIRL 1 is speaking to the audience. Each time an actor speaks, he becomes animated, and each time he finishes, he freezes again.)

GIRL 1: Life's funny sometimes. You try your hardest to make things work, but at some point, you realize it won't. And that's when you give up. You stop fighting. You stop fighting and you sit back and -

NARRATOR/GABRIEL: Though the narrator does acknowledge -

GAGGLE-ER #2: N S-squared divided by four times the tangent of -

MIME/PIZZA GUY: The cinematography in the sequel -

GIRL 1: You stop fighting -

GAGGLE-ER #3: Uses a metaphor in lines fourteen to sixteen to emphasize the -

EUGENE/DEATH: From the 1830s to the early 1840s -

GIRL 1: You stop fighting -

GAGGLE-ER #2: One four one five nine two six five three five eight nine seven nine three two three eight four six -

GIRL 1: You stop fighting -

LESLIE/OLD WOMAN: Once more, with feeling!

EUGENE/DEATH: Six point six seven times ten to the negative eleven

GAGGLE-ER #3: But unlike a predicate adjective, a subjective complement -

GIRL 1: You stop -

GAGGLE-ER #1/GIRL 2: In five hundred words or fewer, describe your -

GIRL 1: Stop -

MIME/PIZZA GUY: Peristalsis occurs in the esophagus as well as -

GAGGLE-ER #2: Keep your feet shoulders' width apart -

LESLIE/OLD WOMAN: C six H twelve O six

GIRL 1: Stop fighting -

NARRATOR/GABRIEL: Considered a blemish on the Carter administration -

GIRL 1: You stop fighting and sit back -

GAGGLE-ER #3: A life-changing event or experience -

GIRL 1: And enjoy the view.

(All actors except GIRL 1 collapse on the floor. GIRL 1 smiles. Fade out.)
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