Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prose/Play Experiment: In Bed & The Streetlight (one vignette begets another...)

In Bed

[Int: A small, dark bedroom. The walls are covered with posters. Clothes sit on the floor in not so organized piles. A nightstand with a bottle of Jack Daniels is in view. Camera pulls out to a couple sleeping in bed, (both) early to mid-twenties slightly unkempt. The woman (Amy; sleek figure, black hair)  is jolted awake in a panic].

Amy: "Babe I had that dream again.”

Narration: I awoke from the special kind of haze that chasing three Ambien with a lukewarm tallboy of Steel Reserve will induce.

Unnamed Man: “What happened? Did you wake up before he you know…?”

Amy: “I don’t know. He was standing over me. There was a knife or something and…"

Narration: There were tears in her eyes.

Unnamed Man: “It’s okay. You’re safe now.”

Narration: I could feel her heart racing as I pulled her closer. It wasn’t the constant thump that speed produced or the nervous flutters of love and wanting. It was a steady beat of a hellish fear. A fear that killed her a little bit at a time. It was something I hated not only for what it did to her but because I would never know its taste. To be in love and a million miles away at the same time was equal parts frustrating and terrifying.

Unnamed Man: (after some hesitation). "It was only a dream."

Amy: “Do you have any Morphine?”

Unnamed Man: “I don’t know. Maybe. Why?”

Amy: “I need some. Or whatever…I just need something. I can’t feel like this anymore. I just can’t.”

Narration: The woman that spit in some wannabe gang-banger’s face and threatened to kill him and his entire family not more than two days ago. Now looks at me with such a deep, desperate sadness. It seems impossible but it’s not (my goddess, falling from grace into mortal fear). It’s happening. I fumble around until I (weakly) grip our stash box and drop two reasons to live into her hand. She introduces both of them to the bottom side of my student ID and is sound sleep within twenty minutes… sometimes, even the strongest people fall down

[The scene fades out as the Unnamed Man turns away from Amy and closes his eyes. We see a quick sequence of surreal images before the screen goes black]

The Streetlight 

[Int: The same unnamed man, stands outside of an apartment complex smoking a cigarette. He is approached by a skinny mixed-race male with greasy hair and torn clothes (Jo Jo). He itches himself and jerks his head while walking up to the streetlight. He continues to do this as he speaks to the unnamed man.]

Jo Jo: “Hey man, your girl’s alright. Easy on the eyes ya feel me. She trick?”

Unnamed Man: “Absolutely fucking not!”

Narration:  I said, balling up my fist around the knife I kept in my coat pocket. (Sometimes it’s all too much. The whole life with a drug problem thing. Sometimes the mask can’t help but fracture. It’s those tiny cracks that make it harder and harder to hide in its double edged embrace)

Narration cont: It was cold. Amy had sold just enough of Ricky’s product (some bastardized version of the same thing I’d scored the night I met her. The street kids were calling it Snow Leopard now), to pick up a fresh assortment of multi colored friends and lovers. She had to now that I was out of work. As much as I hated it the burden now fell on her a realization which made me hate myself a little more than usual. Her score would last a couple days between the two of us but it wasn’t enough. We lived exclusively on borrowed time with the sole hope of delaying sobriety. Which made me fearful for the both of us. Though at the time, fear still felt better than the drug-free feeling of being burned alive.

Jo Jo: “What about you?”

Unnamed Man: “What?”

Jo Jo: “I didn’t stutter baby. Jo Jo like everything. Jo Jo give you the best head you ever had. And you got a decent pair a lips yourself.” 

Narration: His tongue flicked out in a single sickening motion… it was the first time in a long time I’d felt the urge to vomit without any chemical assistance.

Unnamed Man: “Fuck off man. Take your shit somewhere else…I mean no disrespect to the whole queer thing...or whatever the hell you are, to each their own but c’mon! Go three blocks down. Plenty of other people there who’d be more than happy to suck you off.”

Jo Jo: “Hahaha. Other people,” Jo Jo said brushing his absurdly unkempt hair to the side. 

Narration: His yellowed teeth illuminated by the glow of the fading streetlight.”

Jo Jo: “Give it some time honey… Jo Jo be seein you round that corner one’a these days.”

Narration: He winked, flashed a peace sign and walked away into the night. Disappearing like the moths swarming around the dying streetlight.

Amy: “What was all that about?” Amy asked. She stood in the doorway but didn’t come outside. She knew better. Each night brought more and more starving wolves ever closer to our doorstep. Paranoia with or without drugs was completely justified.

Unnamed Man: “Nothing. Fucking Jo Jo going on about one of his conspiracy theories.”

Amy: “Oh lovely. Dude is beyond fried I swear that’s what too much acid will do. You should come in. It’s cold and who knows what else will walk by.”

Unnamed Man: “Yeah sure thing. Just gonna finish smoking.”

Narration: Never in my life had I felt so lost, teetering between the streetlight and the doorway. Wherever it was, it was somewhere. Somewhere I never thought I’d find myself.

(Notes: These semi-autobiographical stories were originally written as "flash fiction" pieces. I liked the tone(s) they portrayed and decided to revive them by introducing some pseudo-screenplay elements).

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