November 14, 2006

A Play A Day #215



Setting: An official desk, an official room, and an official.

(Lights up, Pierre sits in a comfortable chair at his large desk, there is nothing on it, in walks Seriere, a moussy woman of about 30, she stares at her feet and approaches the chair on the other side of Pierre, a much smaller, cheaper chair)

Pierre: (standing) Hello, hello! Welcome to the Department of Feelings!

Seriere: (quiet) Hi.

P: And you are?

S: Bad.

P: Oh, we'll get to that. I meant: what is your name?

S: Seriere.

P: Pardon?

S: Seriere.

P: Seriere?

S: Yes.

P: Beautiful name. Rhymes with mine.

S: Oh.

P: (pause, smiling) Pierre. Rhymes with my name, which is Pierre.

S: Oh.

P: Seriere, why have you come here today, you mentioned that you were "bad". What does that mean, to you?

S: Ummm... bad...

P: Okay, and how are you experiencing that "bad". What does it feel like?

S: Real........ bad.

P: Okay. (sits back down, leans back, puts feet up on desk, motions for Seriere to sit, she does so) Why don't we start with a different question? Sound good?

S: Okay.

P: Why are you feeling bad?

S: My parents died.

P: Great, now we're getting somewhere.

S: Okay.

P: Are you sure they're dead?

S: What?

P: Well, did you check?

S: Check?

P: Did you see the bodies?

S: Of my parents?

P: Yes.

S: Yes.

P: And how did they look?

S: What?

P: Were they actually dead?

S: Yes!

P: Definitely not breathing?

S: Of course not.

P: Skin all waxy and stiff?

S: No!

P: Ohhh, that's strange... should be waxy and stiff.

S: It was... they were burned horribly... (some tears)

P: So the skin was more black and flakey?

S: Yes...

P: Smell bad?

S: (shock, tears) uuunnhhh...

P: Human flesh does stink quite a bit / after being roasted on a spit... Just a little poem I made up.

S: That's horrible!

P: Hey, it was made up on the spit... spot, rather... roasted on a spit, made up on the spot... Got those confused.

S: What's wrong with you?

P: Nothing. We are trying to discern what's wrong with you.

S: No, you're not; you're being very insensitive.

P: I am trying to help you look on the bright side!

S: How?!

P: Well, maybe you're parents didn't die, after all. I'm trying to show you that it's a possibility. It's important to think positively about such things. Not let it make you feel (makes air quotes) "bad", as you like to say.

S: My parents are dead! They died in a tragic car accident. Their small Honda flipped and rolled in the median of the interstate, puncturing the gas tank and killing them in a horrible conflagration. They are dead!

P: (long pause) And you think moping about it is going to make you feel better?

S: No, I just...

P: You're looking at this thing all wrong. Why don't you turn your negatives into positives?

S: What negatives?!

P: Ohh... why not say they died in an awesome car accident? "Tragic" is just too... tragic a word, don't you think?

S: This isn't what I...

P: And what's all this "horrible conflagration" business? You make fire seem like a bad thing which only compounds your bad feelings about the situation. Let's reimagine the burning of the car and your parents as... a "cozy crackling of flames". That's so much better.

S: You're horrible! You have no understanding of the pain you are putting me through right now!

P: Ahhh, but I know my methods work.

S: No! You're not even real, are you? This is some kind of sick joke.

P: We just have to find a way of reframing the situation which has led to your feeling bad, and then you will feel good. That's how it works.

S: No, you are supposed to listen and care and...

P: How about this? Your parents never loved you anyway.

S: What!!?

P: Sure, it's a great thing for you that they're gone! Now you can be free to live your life as you want to, not as some desperate attempt to please your formerly-living parents.

S: You... are... the ... I loved my parents, deeply!

P: But they were awful people who never cared for you in the slightest?

S: They loved me!

P: Hmmm... The old parents-never-loved-me bit... that's not working for you either, is it?

S: No! They loved me every day of their lives!

P: Aahh! That's it! I see the path: They obviously don't love you any more.

S: Yes, they do!

P: Did, but they abandoned you when they died. They were cold and horrible and should have known how much it would hurt you if they took their love away so selfishly by dying in such a fabulous accident.

S: (gets up quickly, exiting) Why!? Why!? Why!?

P: (long pause, sits back down, leans back, puts his feet up on his desk again, to no one in particular) You know, if you're not willing to look at the bright side, then don't come to the Deputy Secretary for Optimism Affairs. (pause) If you ask me, I'd have to say that went very well. (lights start fading, pulls out a small car from his desk, pushes it around his desk, flips it and makes quiet crashing and screaming sounds, then mimics pained voices) We don't love you any more... ahhhh... we hate you... aren't the flames pretty, dear? Yes, yes, they are.

(lights out)


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