I Q U
Setting: A bare stage.
(Lights up, Max and Nika, in shorts and t-shirts, are walking all across the stage throughout the whole show, ocassionally stopping and changing direction entirely, play would work best on a very large stage. Max usually walks ahead of Nika.)
Max: So, I was thinking about how smart I am, like, how mind-bogglingly brilliant.
M: You do realize this?
N: That you're smart?
M: Way beyond smart, Nika. Way, way beyond.
N: I mean, yeah, I guess I know that you're smart, Max.
M: When I was 10, I tested as having the IQ of an adult.
M: Meaning, my IQ was, and remains, around 200.
N: That's... yeah, that's high?
M: You better believe it, Nika. A 200 IQ means that you are nearing seven deviations from the mean.
M: Average IQ is 100, one standard deviation is accepted as fifteen points, so 190 is six standard deviations, 205 would be seven from the mean.
M: That, of the human population, I am smarter than nearly everyone else.
M: There are maybe ten people in the world, statistically, who could have a higher IQ.
N: Out of that many people?
M: Yes, out of everyone.
N: Not really fair though, is it?
M: There isn't a need for fair or unfair, it just is.
N: I mean, what's the big deal being smarter than babies and old senile people?
M: It's a percentage.
N: Not to mention the mentally handicapped and the clinically insane or otherwise-incapacitated people.
M: It's fair, really.
N: Would you go around bragging that you just beat some guy on an intelligence test, oh, and, by the way, he was in a coma at the time?
M: That's not what the numbers mean.
N: What do they mean, Max?
M: They're a sign of how smart I am. If you take out the babies and the comas then I'm probably smarter than all but nine people in the world.
N: But, Max, aren't there other ways to measure someone's intelligence than the test you took?
M: I'm still taking tests.
N: And these tests you take, they are the sole interpreters of how smart someone is?
M: I... well, no.
N: So how do you know that you are really as smart as you claim?
M: I take the test once a month, and my psychologist scores it for me.
M: And I still score around two hundred every time.
N: Maybe you're just good at taking these tests; you've obviously had a lot of practice.
M: No. The test is different each time.
N: But what it measures is the same.
M: Yeah, it measures IQ. It seems that would be the rational thing to do: take an IQ test to measure IQ.
N: Right, but what is IQ?
M: It is your mental age divided by your chronological, your actual, age, then multiplied by one hundred.
N: So, you're twenty-nine, that means that you're as smart as a fifty-eight year old?
M: That's the standard definition, but there are tests and formulas for adults.
N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?
M: I like to keep track.
N: Like on a chart?
M: No.... well...
N: You have a chart of your IQ over time?
M: Sort of.
N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?
M: It helps me feel better about my place in the world... like a contest.
N: Okay, so you win, Max. You win, and no one is paying attention.
M: Well, no... but...
N: (stops him) Max. I came here today to drive to the state park with you, not listen to your claims on the title of smartest person in the world...
M: I'm not the smartest, there are...
N: I don't care where you rank, Max, but I wanted to go to the park, walk the trails, sit down, have a little picnic, relax... with you. I was hoping to get you out of the house, hoping you would get some exercise, hoping you would stop talking about your brain.
M: I don't talk about my brain.
(Nika just stares him down)
M: I don't... not all the time.
N: Max, you're smart, yes, you're a genius, maybe a super-genius of some sort. You are also socially awkward, can't hold a job for more than a year, lack in physical grace, and still live above your parents' garage...
M: Well, I...
N: You have the mental abilities, sure... but you're also kind and gentle and completely lost inside your own head. (Pause) I wanted to go to the park and pull you out of your head, maybe help you into your heart. You're in mine. I love you, Max. I'm in love with you.
M: I thought...
N: That I was just your friend. I know, but I stopped being your friend a year ago. It's hard to be your friend, Max. But I couldn't stop visiting, couldn't stop thinking about you, and then one day, I knew I wasn't your friend anymore.
N: I needed something more, way beyond friendship, Max.
M: You love me?
N: For no known reason, I love you.
M: Oh... I... ummm... I wasn't expecting this.
N: Expecting it would have changed nothing.
(Max just stares)
N: Max, maybe, in the whole world, there are nine others ahead of you, but half of them are women, and I've given up searching for the other four and a half men.
M: Yeah, four and a half... like four or five...
N: Max, I want to go to the park. You want to drive. Can we finish finding your keys now?
M: (pause) Oh! Yeah... the butter.
M: I put them in the butter dish, so I never forget them.
N: Of course.
M: Nika, I have to clean the keys, there was actual butter in the dish this time.
N: Max? Use hot water, okay?
N: Just trust me.
(He exits, Nika chuckles, sighs, and slowly exits as the lights fade)