All of my emails from my phone have a note on them that says they came "via paper airplane" because I think that's funny.
Below is a picture of my project list for 2013-14. I'm sure other people's lists are fuller, better planned out, and are full of correct spellings. But this one is mine and I think it represents me and the things I like, the people I love, the art I want to do, and the stories I want to tell. I'm not ready to talk about all these projects, but I will as the days go on.
Goals for this next year:
- Submit more
- Second guess myself less
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Death by Stabby Stab
(Phyllis, a delightful looking woman in her forties in a flower dress and perfectly quaffed hair, sits across from Flora who would be Phyllis’s mirror image except that she is disheveled, bloody, and tied to a chair. She does, however, seem to be in good spirits.)
Flora Well, if this isn’t a pickle.
Phyllis You’ve got that right sister.
(They both laugh.)
Flora What time is it, by the way?
Phyllis You know, it wouldn’t be torture if there wasn’t a little time depravation now would it?
(They both laugh.)
Flora I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind clarifying a few things for me.
Phyllis Well, I don’t know…
Flora Think of it as a last wish, unless you aren’t going to kill me. I suppose I shouldn’t assume.
Phyllis When you assume you make an ass out of me and “u”.
(They both laugh.)
Flora Dear, I think we’ve reached the point where we can generally say that they might not be a return, am I correct?
Phyllis I suppose I should give you some false hope, but I just like you so darn much.
Flora I appreciate that.
Phyllis So, why not. Go ahead. I’ll give you five questions and I’ll answer each one as truthfully and honestly as I can. Firstly: It’s a quarter after two. You have four questions left.
Flora I hate to be a bother, but you didn’t really answer the question. I mean, how am I supposed to know if it’s AM or PM?
Phyllis Oh dear. You’re right. Well, it’s AM. Three more to go.
Flora Not to nit-pick, but I think you could have made that one a freebie.
Phyllis I could have, but I didn’t.
Flora How did you get into this business?
Phyllis Are you interested in applying?
Flora Oh, no, but that’s sweet of you to ask. I just wonder because what little we’ve spoken to each other I can tell that you and I share some darn nice qualities. It seems a little odd that while I applied myself as a homemaker and a volunteer and a singer in the church choir, you’ve become quite the career woman.
Phyllis You know, I hate to be rude, but I’m sensing a little judgment there.
Flora Oh, no. I didn’t mean that. I mean my path is surely no better or worse than any other. Why if I had had my way ten years ago I probably would have been an art teacher, but things being the way they were it was just easier for me to stay home. It was surprising to find that I liked being a mom very much. No. I just mean that you and I are so seminar that it seems strange we didn’t move along more similar trajectories.
Phyllis Well, let’s see here. Where to begin? I suppose I could start off with my childhood and a particular fondness I had for eviscerating animals. At first I thought they would all be little clockworks, running around ticking and clicking. I thought I’d find little gears that I could adjust and toggle to make the little thing go faster or slower. Turns out they are much more interesting on the inside then that. I had found a rusty scalpel on the side of the road one day. Thinking back on that day makes me a little teary eyed. I was so young. That little object became my imaginary friend. I call him Stabby Stab. Isn’t that silly? My two year old daughter has a blanket she calls Blankety. Children. So adorable. Anyway, so Stabby Stab and I would go on grand adventures through the forests and people’s backyards. Pets were the best. Less work to catch. That isn’t my job now, by the way. I don’t catch anyone. I’m brought it after they’ve been caught. Anyway, it turned out if I wasn’t careful with Stabby Stab; I would kill them too quickly to find out anything interesting. Of course, that’s not something you can put on your resume! So during high school I started working at the local dinner in my hometown to earn my keep at the foster home. George and Mabel were very good to me in their way, but that didn’t mean I got a free ride. Anyway, that’s where I met CIA agent Tennison and we just hit it off right away. Turned out I fit the profile! I traveled the world. I saw the most amazing things. And I got to put my tinkering skills to use. Turns out humans aren’t much different than squirrels, of course this time I was doing it for God and Country. I ascended the ranks pretty quickly and I’ve been near the top of the Research team ever since. That’s what we call it. Couldn’t have a “Torture Team” on the payroll could we? Anyway, it’s been a wonderful ride. Not many people get to do what they love in life. It’s earned me my houses, a beautiful family, friends I adore, and the chance to see the world. I’ve been told more than a few time that when God made me, he broke the mold. Or, at least, he should have. No matter. We’ll correct that little mistake won’t we? Well, that leaves two more!
Flora How did you find me?
Phyllis Flora. Come on there. That’s an easy one. I already told you I worked for the CIA.
Flora No, I mean, what put it in your head to even look.?
Phyllis Well, that’s a much better question.
Flora I’m sorry for being confusing.
Phyllis Oh no, not at all. I should have taken that as your meaning. I’m sorry for being a little snide.
Flora Not at all. You know, I’ve been in these restraints for I don’t know how long, so my mind isn’t working the way it normally does.
Phyllis I wish I could do something about that, but you know how it is. Any who, I suppose we should keep going. The thing is, Flora. When you work for the government there are some weird things you have to put up with. Sexual harassment courses, for example. But the weirdest was a new law that says after you kill so many people you have to go on leave. So, here I am, on forced paid leave. I’ve never taken a vacation in my life. I just don’t know how to do it. So I figured I would do some studying up and hone my skills a little bit. So I thought I should look for the parents that abandoned me as a child. I figured they wouldn’t be likely to just come right out and tell me why they left me, but I could…make them. What a disappointment it was to find out they were dead already; though it was an equally large shock to find out that I had a twin sister. A twin sister they loved. And kept.
Phyllis I’m sure you can see the pieces all coming together now. Do you have one more question dear?
Flora I suppose it might be wiser if I saved it.
Phyllis This isn’t Arabia and I don’t have 1000 and one nights.
Flora I always wanted a sister.
Phyllis You always had one.
Flora But I didn’t know it.
Phyllis And now you do. Flora. Do you have a question or are you ready to continue?
Flora I know why you want me dead. I think I can understand that. What I don’t know is why you want to hurt me so much.
Phyllis You and I are so similar. When I walked into your house a few days ago it was like walking into my own. The same cookbooks on the shelves, the same Restoration Hardware furniture. Our husbands are even about the same coloring. Our children could be siblings. I always knew I was going to kill you, Flora, on principle. And the fact that you understand that makes me love you just a little bit. And I don’t want to hurt you, I really don’t. Why I bet we’d make a great little duet team on church on Sundays. But I’ve always been curious what makes people tick, and pain is such a great measuring tool. Oh Flora, by looking at you, really looking at you, I get to see inside myself a little bit.
Flora Well, I hadn’t thought of it that way.
Phyllis You know what? You didn’t really ask me a question. It was more of a statement, wasn’t it?
Flora Well what do you know. It sure was.
Phyllis Tell you what, go ahead. Ask another.
Flora Well gee, I think I’ve gotten about as much out of you as I need to know. I think I understand the futility of my situation pretty thoroughly right now.
Phyllis Is that what you were doing? Trying to gage your own power?
Flora I sure was.
Phyllis Well, I’ll be darned. You are good too. Well done. But, in the end, I have experience on my side.
Flora If we were going head to head at trivia night down at Pete’s Bar I think I would have shown you a thing or two.
(They both laugh.)
Phyllis Well, I guess we’ll just have to take that on faith.
Flora Oh, I do have one question.
Phyllis What’s that?
Flora How will you kill me, in the end?
Phyllis You know what’s funny? I’ve saved this little guy since those first days. I carry him with me where ever I go, but I only use him for special occasions.
Flora Mr. Stabby Stab?
Phyllis No need to be formal. He’s just Stabby Stab.
Flora Can we go ahead and get on with it? I think I’m starting to get some strength back and I’d rather I didn’t.
Phyllis You know what, that sounds like a fine idea.
(End of Play.)
Monday, August 19, 2013
Death by Death
(Mike Death, cloaked in his black cloak with his face obscured, sits in a break room drinking coffee and playing on his phone. Cory Death enters dressed the same. He pours himself some coffee and sits across from Mike.)
Cory Hey Mike, what’s up?
Mike Not much. Busy day. How are you?
Cory Good, good. I’m just banging through my caseload, you know? Feels good to get all the shit off my desk.
Mike Sounds nice. I’m totally stalled on the Texas high school thing.
Cory Dude, you gotta just do it man! This is a big break for you. You gotta show the big man what you’ve got.
Mike I know.
Cory You know he gave you that one to test you, right?
Mike Do you think so?
Cory Dude! They are totally grooming you for bigger things!
Mike Shit, really? Oh man. I wish you hadn’t told me that.
Mike I just don’t think I can handle the pressure.
Cory You are taking this way to seriously, dude. Look, walk me through the case. I’ll help you out.
Mike Ok. So there’s this Texas football team. Seven of them need to go. Now, it’s up to me if I take’em all at once or if they go one by one. Tragedy either way, right?
Cory Right. Totally.
Mike But the big man, he doesn’t want a blood bath. He wants something quiet. Something that maybe will be the stuff of urban legends.
Cory Do able with one, maybe two, but seven? In this day and age? What is he thinking?
Mike I know right? I mean, I know he’s been doing death for a long time, but he is so old fashioned. If I, let’s say, kill them all one by one on the same road at the same time of night all under unusual circumstances then maybe MAYBE there will be a rumer or something running around, but in no time flat Buzzfeed will have an article debunking the rumors, there will be a website devoted to their families, and on and on. It’s just not like it was in the sixties and the seventies. I mean in the nineties I could get legitimately cool and spooky deaths going –
Cory You were a legend at it!
Mike Right? But now it’s all different. If the boss doesn’t catch up to the digital age we’re all sunk.
Cory Hey, you just gotta show him how it’s done man. Take his ideas and twist them to fit your style and the needs of the time. I know you can do it.
Mike But if I mess this up –
Cory You won’t. trust me man. You’ve got this.
Mike Thanks Cory. You’re the best. And I bet you’ll be managing this whole death floor in no time.
Cory Hey man! I’m just trying to help you out.
(Mike Death exits. Sheila Death enters.)
Sheila Hey Cory.
Cory Hey Sheila.
Sheila Are you going to the big party on Friday?
Cory Totally! I’m bringing my famous crab cakes.
Sheila Those are totally deadly! I eat too many last time.
Cory Are you bringing your boyfriend?
Sheila God! Don’t remind me about that asshole.
Cory Did you break up?
Sheila No. As if. He should be so lucky. No, we’re on a break. I’m going to hit on Tony from pet deaths to make him jealous.
Cory Tony? Pet deaths? Sheila, no one could be jealous of Tony and no one could be jealous of anyone from pet deaths.
Sheila Yeah, but Tony’s so nice and harmless. Not to mention, I heard he’s a secret lady killer.
Cory Tony? No way. Tell you what, hit on Barkley from Auto Deaths. He’s creative, funny, spontaneous and he’s got a sense of adventure. And he’s good looking.
Sheila Barkley? Well, ok. If you say so. Thanks Cory! See you at the party!
(Sheila exits. Danielle enters.)
Danielle Hey Cory, what are you doing? Hiding out in here?
Cory No, just drinking my coffee.
Danielle I feel like hiding. Dirk is prowling the halls.
Cory Dirk’s not so bad.
Danielle His breath is.
Danielle He comes up behind me and he breaths heavily and waits for me to say hello. Then he says: “Hi Danielle. I’ve still got a case of the Monday’s…careful…you might catch it…”
Cory You know, if you feel like he’s harassing you, you can do something about it.
Danielle No, it’s not that. He’s just annoying.
Cory Are you sure?
Danielle I am.
Cory Then I think you should just tell him. If you let Dirk irritate you it’s just going to build up until you say something you don’t mean.
Danielle Thanks Cory, you’re the best.
Cory Any time.
(Danielle exits. Cory sits back and drinks his coffee. Death enters.)
Cory Yeah. I’m Cory. Hey! Nice suit. Is it custom?
Death It is.
Cory I totally got mine off the rack.
Death It looks well on you.
Cory Thanks. So, I don’t think I’ve seen you around. Are you new here?
Death No. I’m very old.
Cory Ah. That’s what it’s like working for a big company, isn’t it? What floor do you work on?
Death Right now I’m working here.
Cory Sweet. I always wanted to be a floater, but I don’t mind being here on diseases.
Death How is work going?
Cory Great. There was an uptick a while a go, but I’m almost all caught up.
Death Do you specialize?
Cory Small pox.
Death Yes. Yes I thought so.
Cory You’ve been watching me?
Death I have.
Cory Am I up for a promotion?
Death Of a kind.
Cory Ah crap.
Death I’m sorry Cory.
Cory But I’m just starting to do well.
Death You’ve always done well.
Cory But, I’m not finished yet.
Death You are.
Cory No, I’ve still got some folders on my desk.
Death We’re going to suspend those cases and hand them off to other departments.
Cory No, one more. The doctor in the lab in Russia.
Death If I give you one more, it’ll be one more after that and another after that. Where will it end?
Cory What about all my friends?
Death They will miss you, but they will be all right without you.
Cory I’m not ready.
Death Is anyone ever ready? Really?
Cory How do I die?
Death Does it matter?
Cory It’s my business.
Death You slipped and fell on a wet spot right after Danielle left.
Cory What happens after?
Death Danielle heard you fall and she comes back for you.
Cory No, I mean IN the after.
Death You’ll be there soon, in the after.
Cory I know, but, I want to know.
Death Come close.
(Death whispers in Cory’s ear.)
End of play.
Death by Baby
(Dorie and Gwen sit at a kitchen table drinking tea and talking.)
Dorie They are just so beautiful.
Gwen I know and I love them, they are the best.
Dorie Are you ok?
Gwen I’m really really tired.
Dorie Well, you do have triplets.
Gwen It’s not the babies. I always thought it would be the babies, but it’s everyone else. It’s the people. The old bags who walk up to the stroller when they are sleeping and say “oh, can’t I just see them?” It’s the people in the grocery store “Oh, you’ve got your hands full!” It’s the people who keep saying to me “Oh, they all look just the same, how do you tell them apart?” Oh and then there’s the people who want to know if I’m breast feeding…who the fuck knew that was such a goddamned loaded question. There is no right answer, by the way. If you ever find yourself with a baby in your arms and someone asks that question, just punch them in the face and run. I feel the same about all the people who ask if they are natural. I feel like I should wear a t-shirt that says “not your fucking business.” And everyone has an anecdote or a horror story or advice. I fucking hate all the un-fucking-solicited advice. If I hear “Sleep when the baby sleeps” one more time I’m going to fucking kill someone with a newnew.
Dorie What’s a “newnew”?
Gwen It’s what my mom calls a pacifier. I don’t know why.
Dorie My mom called it a “passie”.
Gwen I know. Everyone calls it a passie. Passie makes sense. But I can’t get it out of my head. She was over here for a week. I swore I would call everything by its proper name. But this is a “newnew” this is a “wovie” this is a “baba” and this is a “ruffers”. Oh, and she is “gammie”.
Dorie What are you?
Dorie Not mommy or mamma or –
Gwen I know, right? But even Peter is saying it. Oh, and he gets to be “dada”, but I am “Wennie”.
Dorie Ok, but the triplets are only three months, it’s not like they even know what any of it is. And you can just tell you mom –
Gwen I know, I know.
(Peter enters with a happy baby in his hands. He carries the baby to Gwen. The baby stretches out his hands to her and giggles happily. Gwen takes him.)
Peter Where’s Wennie? Where’s Wennie? Here’s Wennie! Here she is!!!!
Gwen What’s wrong?
Peter Nothing, he’s fine. He was just awake and I didn’t want him waking up the other two.
Gwen I’ve got another hour with Dorie. Can’t you –
Peter I know, I’m sorry, but I need a nap.
Gwen Dorie is here –
Dorie I can go if –
Gwen That’s not what I mean. I need you here.
Peter I have work –
Gwen Fine. Give me the note pad.
Peter Oh crap –
Peter I didn’t write anything down.
Peter I know, I know. I’m just so tired.
Gwen You’re so tired?
Peter Can we not play this game right now?
Dorie I should just go.
Gwen Please stay, I need to talk to an adult.
Peter Nice Wennie.
Gwen For the love of god stop calling me that!
Peter I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
(He starts exiting.)
Peter I think the other two will be asleep for at least an hour. One isn’t so bad, right?
Gwen When will I get to sleep?
Peter Gwen, please. I’m so tired.
Gwen Ok, ok. Go. I’m sorry.
(Peter exits. The baby giggles.)
Dorie Is everything ok?
Gwen We just need some sleep. All of us.
Dorie Maybe I should go, I think I’m in the way.
Gwen No, you aren’t, really.
Dorie I am. I can tell. Don’t worry about it. I love you. I’ll go.
Gwen No, please. Look. He’s happy!
(The baby starts crying.)
Dorie I’m going to go.
(Dorie leaves. The baby stops crying and starts giggling again.)
Gwen You evil little thing. You did that on purpose.
Baby I said: Yup.
Gwen I’m going crazy.
Baby Look, Wennie, maybe you are going crazy. Maybe you aren’t. It’s hard to say right now. But, let’s you and I talk like adults, ok?
Gwen This is weird.
Baby I’m not going to lie, I think it’s all a little freaky-deaky myself, but none-the-less, you and I have some important business we need to discus. Got it?
Gwen Go it.
Baby First of all, I got a list of demands that myself and the others have put together. No more twinkle twinkle music box. We don’t like wearing the same outfits. The nipples on those fancy new bottles taste weird. Every now and again we want to get dada in the eye when he’s changing our diapers. Carl wants a puppy like that one kid in the sandbox had. Jenny wants to go to the beach more. I want more cheerios in my diet. Once our list of demands has been met, we will allow the two of you a good solid six hours of sleep on the weekdays and seven hours on the weekend with naps on holidays. Got it?
Gwen Do you mean it?
Baby Hey, I don’t open my mouth unless I mean it, all right? I’m not just flapping my gums to hear myself talk. Can I continue?
Gwen We all want more Beatles and Talking Heads, less baby Mozart. That shit’s dumb. And whatever weird uncle bought us all the Oakland A’s stuff can take it all back. We’re Giant’s fans all the way.
Gwen I know, right! But I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Baby We’re loyal to the Giants, ma, sorry.
Gwen But your Uncle Charlie loves you.
Baby We love him too. Really. He’s got a funny mustache and his eye brows to that thing we love.
(Gwen raises and drops her eyebrows very quickly. The baby laughs loudly.)
Baby You are so good at that Wennie! Do it again!
Baby Ok, ok. That’s great, but I don’t want to be distracted any more. Now, we would like to come to an agreement a few things in the future. These are negotiable, but it would be best to think about it before you say no. We’ve still got the power here. So far we’ve just given you a taste of what we can do sleep wise.
Baby Carl doesn’t want to go to college.
Baby He wants to travel for a little bit, maybe get married too early and then he wants to live in a van and make leather jewelry.
Gwen Oh god no.
Baby I know, right! It gets worse. Jenny will go to college, but she wants to drop out half way through to move to New York to become an actress.
Baby Don’t worry, she’ll go back to school and get a degree in graphic design.
Gwen That doesn’t make me feel any better.
Baby Then you’ll love this: I want to be a republican.
Gwen Come on!
Baby Hey, these are negotiable, but it’s our opening bid.
Gwen You’re breaking my heart you know that?
Baby Hey, Wennie, I love you but this parenting stuff was never meant to be easy.
Gwen If you become a republican it’ll kill your father.
Baby He’ll get over it.
Gwen Having kids is like having your heart walking around outside of you. I heard that from a friend, but it’s so true. These things you are telling me scare me so bad.
Baby That’s just the stuff we know we want, who even knows about the stuff we’ll figure out we want later.
Gwen Will you still be a republican if I do this?
(She raises and lowers her eyebrows. Baby can’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh.)
Baby Ah, Wennie, I love you.
Gwen Do you think you could call me mommy?
Baby We’ll talk about it.
(End of play.)