May 28, 2007

The Jump - a new very short play from Brendon


Setting: The jump door of a small ariplane.

(Lights up, we hear the motor of a small plane and the wind rushing by. Gus and Neville stand at the open door in skydiving gear.)

Gus: (talking loudly over the sound) Okay. This is it. Ready?

Neville: (looking down) Ummm... it's really far down, isn't it?

G: Yep! Ready?

N: You know... uhhh... no. No. I'm not ready.

G: C'mon! It's time; we've been over all the issues. You've done the training. This is the time.

N: I know that, Gus. I'm... uhh... I'm...

G: What? You're what?

N: I'm just not good at this sort of thing.

G: You've never done it before! How do you know if you're good at it or not if you've never done it before?

N: I'm just not. I know. I'm just not good at... you know... things.

G: You'll be fine. You've never skydived before; so you're nervous. That's part of the thrill.

N: Yeah, but, I always seem to find some way to bungle even the most obvious task.

G: Listen. You jump. You pull the cord. You fall. You land.

N: I know that, Gus, but it just seems like so many things could go wrong.

G: Nonsense, man. Nothing's going to go wrong. It's a perfect day for it. Your chute's been checked by three different experts. It will open; you'll land safely. I guarantee it.

N: Yeah, but that's not what I worry about. I usually screw up in ways that people don't even think about.

G: Like what?

N: Well, what if I miss the ground?

G: What!?

N: It's possible.

G: No, it's not. You jump, you land. Boom!

N: Could you not say "boom" when talking about landing?

G: Sorry. You'll hit the ground, Neville. It's very big.

N: Maybe, but what about birds?

G: What about them?

N: What if I run into them on the way down?

G: They will definitely do all they can to get out of your way, Neville. They don't want to get hit by you any more than you want to get hit by them. You're much bigger and more dangerous.

N: Not if it's like a whole flock of birds.

G: With what? Knives or something? Roving gangs of swallows, hovering around, waiting to stab the next sucker who drops by?

N: I just mean they might be bigger as a group.

G: Trust me: you have nothing to fear from the birds. Most of the really bad ones have already been arrested.

N: Well, what if I get stuck on a cloud then?

G: Neville, you're stalling. You just have to do it. You have to swallow the fear and jump.

N: I'm telling you. Something always goes wrong. I'm not meant for new experiences.

G: Then why did you sign up and take the course?

N: I thought... I thought, if I tried something truly life-threatening, it would force me to either succeed or die.

G: Jeez, Neville, most people just do it for the thrill.

N: Sorry. For me, for all the ways that I mess up, this has become much more than just a thrill. This is my existential proof. I will either be a success, or I will be dead. It forces the issue. There's no middle ground.

G: (pause) Oh... kay...

N: And you're right, Gus, you are completely right. I just have to do it.

G: Yeah. Yeah! Alright! That's it! Then go!

(Neville steps forward, slight pause, and jumps. He immediately ascends about six feet off the ground, and stops.)

G: What the...?! No! That's.... uhhhh....

(Gus stammers in disbelief, as Neville merely stays suspended, hanging limply and dejectedly)

N: (sighs mightily) Ah, shit.

(lights out)


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