Scene: 1. a woman, 2. a man. Both sitting on a blanket in a field near midnight. They use a camping lantern for light. Mid-June. Other than their speech, only the susurrus of insects is heard.
- (Said slowly, in a low, raspy voice for effect, face close to 2.) Misanthropic…is my middle name. (Change to regular speech, moves away from 2.) God puts his trousers on, one leg at a time. One leg a time. He’s been distracted being naked, missing his trousers.
- Can’t God invent new trousers to fit himself? I thought your middle name was Vera.
- One, you mean “is.” Two, I don‘t think so. We must decide the fashion first.
- I’m trying to imagine it… (7 second pause)
- Well, I believe God is aloof.
- If nakedness is what you mean, then he is aloof. But like us, he wishes to be clad.
- You mean acknowledged.
- Taken seriously, yes. And clad.
- Presently, I assume.
2 How else would you assume? Assume a monkey may be trained to play chords.
- I’d rather be naked than the cause of myself and you, or him. Because of all else and whatnot. Ideas, I mean.
- Maybe he’s off finding himself…
- I’d like to meet someone in a grove, of trees, you know? Pears or apples…or just trees. Have you ever been in a grove?
- I’ve been on a lea. Is that what you mean?
- Lea? No. I mean among trees. Among trees. Among. Amongst. (Spreads arms outward and brings arms in to indicate inclusiveness.)
- Leas have trees.
- Are they tan?
- The trees?
- Yes, the trees. Are they tan?
- Like a woman?
- Are they tan? The trees–are they tan?
- No. The trees are gray. Withered.
- Like a person? Withered and gray?
- I guess. Yes. Like a person.
- That’s so sad. I wished the trees to be tanned.
- We are not healthy. See a person hale but they are not hale.
- And, we care not for grammar.
- Speak for yourself. But, yes, you’re most likely right.
- Our grammar is not hale.
- Our hailed grammar is not right. Nor is it hale, for that matter. Like you said.
- Our grammar is not ours.
- Like God, our hailed grammar is not of our minding. (taps forehead) Of our minding.
- Tanned trees or not, I will not let God expect my grammar. But he may inspect my grammar.
- You mean grammar treed God who dwells atop, beneath, within, and of your tan.
- No. No. (five second pause) No. I’m alone here.
- You have your tan–I suppose I’m alone with you.
- I am alone with myself and with you. It’s simple to be alone with you.
- You are too complicated to be alone alone. By yourself I mean.
- That is the only way.
- I mean the way a forest stands.
- I mean the way a human despises forests, sleeping trees.
- I know what you mean. You hate being alone alone.
- No. I love being alone alone. I love it.
- You love hating being around us. Amongst us. (Spreads arms outward and brings arms in to indicate inclusiveness.)
- No, just amongst folks. I said folks. Don’t you understand how one may cringe beneath noise and meaningless language? Empty rhetoric as they say?
- So we’re moving further apart. But not expanding.
- Our language is separating us, yes. But I don’t hate you.
- I don’t hate you either.
- I feel as though I’ve failed you. I mean, I don’t want you not to succeed.
- The more you speak, the less I understand you. And as much as it makes me want to cry, this is probably as common as falling asleep.
- If it could just be as simple as a cricket in the grass…I don’t fall asleep.
- I feel sorry for you.
- I’m sorry for me, too.
- I hope you sleep well tonight. Good night. Sleep well.
(pause for 30 seconds)
- God has created sleep and so mocks me. I have nothing to offer or trade. I’ve no bartering levy.
- Levy? Crazy talk, that. (5 second pause) You have dreams to corrupt us.
- I do not have dreams to corrupt me.
- When you sleep you are alone. And bereft of self, without consciousness. You know, last night in your sleep you screamed “The sunlight bleeds!” Thrashing, stabbing me. Scary stuff. You almost woke me up.
- (Staring off into distance) Evening time I monitor the perimeter of the yard for stray tracks, silver-eyed reflections, shadows beneath the apple trees. I have a lantern strapped to my forehead. I am not alone here or there. Being in nature.
- All things without me so without you. Sleep well.
- The sky could not be more beautiful. Here. Here is my outspread hand before these stars.
(2. is asleep. 1. is sitting and gazing at the night sky in wonder, arm outstretched. 15 second pause. Susurrus of crickets. Sound of distant jet moves across the sky, fades. 15 second pause. Fade to black.)