[hokoran, inhaler and high priest of padora, lays unresponsive and dying on an altar covered in fresh white linens. ulryaeus stands behind the altar, and in front of him is a packed amphitheater full of padorans and civilians alike. ulryaeus speaks with grave solemnity.]
my name is ulryaeus, exhaler of the north, bringer of peace to the nearly dead. i am here in the breeze of padora’s breath to release the breath from high priest hokoran, inhaler and beacon of light and justice for our people. i have known hokoran for many decades now, many days providing for our sects, many nights arguing philosophy and theology of our goddess. hokoran’s voice was free from pain, free from suffering, as he believed all suffering in this world was merely a tool toward greater enlightenment. for that he is the utmost exhaler in my opinion, but he refused to agree, stating that his enlightenment was directed toward the greater good and the preservation of mankind, and that to await padora’s final exhalation was to find pessimism in a world which required none. in him i found the balance between our faiths, and the true representation of padora–as a divine source of inspiration, and as a living force which feeds us all, no matter if she is breathing in, or breathing out. in her breath we are alive, and in her breath we should choose to live.
it is with a heavy, heavy heart that i remove the breathe from my long time friend and compatriot. hokoran’s duty to padora will be hard to fill. peace be with you brother, and may your own breath mingle with padora’s winds for all eternity.
[ulryaeus raises a dagger and slides it into hokoran’s heart. the amphitheater breaks out in traditional songs of mourning.]
i am very conscious of your body language, trevor. i see you hunched over like that, brooding, like “the thinker” except you’re leaning sexily against a wall. cigarette dangling from your lip. trying to damn hard to make me want you. you give off this aura of mystery, like you’re some kind of enigma, but we all know, especially when we go to bed with you, or when we go to dinner with you, or even five minutes alone at a bar–we know who you really are; a nervous, anxious wreck of a man desperately clinging on to some semblance of humanity. it’s tremendously obvious, and it’s almost funny how dead-set you are on trying to hide it. it’s like trying to hide the stench of body odor with dab of water to the armpits. your energy permeates you, it infuses you, it anchors every aspect of your being to the earth. and we see it. we all see it. we watch you wallow in it while you attempt to give off this concept that you’re okay. well, you’re not, trevor. none of us are. so drop the bullshit and just talk to me.
did anyone see that meteor in the sky last night? god it was huge! and so bright, it nearly lit up the sky like daylight for a second there. amazing. what do you think it means? i’m not, you know, into astrology or any of that, but a meteor is a special sighting. it’s gotta mean something. maybe it means i’m finally going to get that raise i’ve always wanted. maybe the light from the meteor entered mr. perkins’ eyes and showed him just how good of an employee i am. maybe at any moment he will walk into my office and say, “sally, you are the best employee we have. here’s a 10% raise.” yeah, that’s gotta be it. this is the cosmos telling me my time is now, that i have opportunities to chase and grasp, that i have people to find and use for my own success. that sounds awful but it must be true! it must be. i have to go, i need to get back to my desk so that mr. perkins will find me and give me a huge raise. i’m sorry i implied you were worse employees than me! bye!
what do you do when you’re checking out a lady’s fine ass titties or fine ass booty and she catches you? huh? i don’t know i’m asking you. the other day i was walking down olive st and i see this young lady walking my way. low cut shirt, booty shorts, the whole deal. damn she was good looking, but i’m a man of today, you dig, i’m a man who respects a woman when she’s walking down the street. i ain’t gonna mess with no lady on her way. so i let her pass, but i’m wearing sunglasses, see, so she can’t see me looking. she don’t know, i mean i think she don’t know. so she walks by and i’m staring at her tits. my god they were amazing. she wasn’t wearing a bra, even, i mean look i’m a modern man but when a lady walks by without a bra you gotta look, just once at least. you gotta! it’s like an instinctual thing, man, you just gotta do it. you don’t have to stare, or catcall her or whatnot, but man, you gotta appreciate a lady’s fine ass titties.
so but here’s the thing: i turned around. i looked back. i wanted to check out her ass. and oh man it was so fine, it was finer than a handful of sand, boy. but she looked back too, and she saw me look, and she got this look on her face like, “shame on you,” and i said it before but i’m a modern man. i’m a feminist. i think women are great but you can’t fault me for wanting to check out a nice booty. so she caught me and i felt bad. i apologized and she just said “mmhmm” and walked on. and i felt bad! but see i’m a modern man so i can’t just chase after her and explain, “well let me tell you why i’m not such a bad guy.” i can’t do that. all i can do is walk on and feel bad until i stop feeling bad. and obviously i’m telling you this two days later. so i still feel bad.
(slowly stirring beef stroganoff in a pot on the stove throughout the monologue.)
beef stroganoff. hear me out, gil. i’ve got beef stroganoff on the stove and i’ve got a hankering for beef stoganoff. and this … beast you put inside my womb really, really wants me to eat beef stroganoff. so we’re making that. but since i don’t know shit about beef stroganoff–hell, i don’t think i’ve even eaten it before–i had to go to walmart and buy chef boyardee. i had to. you come in here with that “i’m a foodie” swagger and i saw your nose crinkle when you smelled what was cooking in the pot. i get it. you hate it. you’re probably upset that i bought 20 cans of the stuff. call it an impulse buy because of this abomination slowly expanding in my stomach. this is their fault. (to womb in babyspeak) isn’t it? isn’t it your fault? yes it is, yes it is! (normal voice) a week ago it was toilet paper. gil i was taking a piss and i had the toilet paper in my hand and some god damn wiring in my brain broke, just broke right there, and i had to eat it. i had to eat the toilet paper. and i couldn’t just shove it in my mouth, no, it was a meal. i tore little pieces off and let them dissolve on my tongue. i had to taste it.
did you know that since women have two X chromosomes, if one has a defect it reduces the severity of the defect in general? meanwhile guys have XY so if their X chromosome fails, they’re a fucking wreck. this is the tradeoff to having a kid, gil. you have more of a chance to go crazy because of your genetics, but women, we always go nuts when we’re pregnant. my mom drank a bottle of bleach, three months along with allen, because she was thirsty. my neighbor’s mom would eat the stuffing out of a couch cushion when she was pregnant, and she had three kids. each time, couch cushion. couldn’t help it.
long story short: stop giving me the stinkeye and let me eat this fucking stroganoff.
when you’re set to be a failure, i mean, what else is there? it’s like that indian caste system business. people are born into their lives. here in america we like to say you can be whatever you want, but i don’t think that’s true. i think you’re stuck with what you’ve got. maybe that’s limiting. maybe that keeps you from achieving greatness. but it’s freedom, man. that’s what freedom is. knowing exactly who you are and what you’re here for. then you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to “figure shit out,” shit like that. you just know. you’re a carpenter. you’re a laborer. you cut hair for a living, you … drink beer. that ain’t failure. that’s life. everyone’s gotta be a drone so somebody can be the queen.
problem solving is a lot like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. you got two people: people who squeeze from the middle, and people who squeeze from the end. when you first get a tube of toothpaste, both concepts make sense–you squeeze it one way, you squeeze it another way, and either way you’re getting toothpaste. for some people this is all they need. but others, people like me, we gotta squeeze from the end, because here’s the important part: after a while, you start running out of toothpaste. so halfway through the tube you realize now you have to start pushing from the end to get all that toothpaste that got pushed to the back when you started. meanwhile, i’ve been squeezing from the end the whole time, so i never have to go back. this is my point, for problem solving: squeeze from the end. solve the problems early on, so they don’t pop up toward the end of your toothpaste tube. you get me? because if you spend all your time squeezing from the middle, you’re gonna run into problems that could have been solved from the get go. like right now. like tonight. you squeezed from the middle, and now you’re gonna pay for it, you understand? i’m forcing you to the end of the tube, and i’m gonna roll you up with it. welcome to the rest of your life: problem solving.
how many people here are dead?
it’s an honest question. dead inside.
yeah yeah you’re all alive, you got a heartbeat,
but in mid day on the weekend
you’re staring out at the sunshine
from your dark, listless bedroom,
staring at computer screens or paper pads
waiting for inspiration to strike.
where is it? where is it?
you’re trawling the depths of your heart,
ripping your emotional muscle fibers,
growing the thick, dense muscle
needed to support your weighty state of mind.
how many of you are dead?
head lolling along your neckline,
twisting verbiage in your mind,
waiting for that next big thing?
you read that stephen king book.
you know writing takes practice,
you know things take practice,
and months later in your dead-end job
your corner store groceries
your pale wispy skin
your permanent scowl
somehow you realize with pained regret
that you don’t want the practice,
you want the end result.
you want the writing botox.
the injection is clean and quick.
you get what you want: a facade of success,
the flat painted to look like rome
when you’re in a black box theater in boise, idaho.
you’re all dead. we’re all dead.
we’re searching for life and we’re already dead.
acting’s all a farce. it’s fake. it’s fundamentally fake. hell i know some actors that when they go on stage, when they talk to you, they look at your forehead, like in the center of your forehead, just so they won’t look you in the eyes. why? why do that? the whole point of acting is to make this tremendous connection, something palpable to the audience … but it’s all fake. it’s high-brow pretending. and some people can’t do it, they can’t fake it like that and still look you in the eyes. but i’m good at it. i’m damn good at it. i can stare down any son of a bitch i’m with on stage. it’s the only thing that makes me feel anything anymore, really. i do it onstage, i do it off stage. i did it with ex wives and with good friends. that hard, calculated stare, the one that burrows into your soul. i’m damn good at that. so good that it drove people away. it was too much. too harsh. i guess that’s my vice, ted. you drink, i alienate people. that’s why i can’t look at you, not really. cause you know what i’m about. you know what’s going on in these eyes.
i’m drunk. again. mom. pick up the phone because i need a ride, i’m out, who, i, i don’t know where the fuck i am, it’s like a field, just a big empty field and i woke up and my leg is bleeding. i should call an ambulance but i forgot the number. call an ambulance. pick up the phone. call them. i think, i’m pretty sure i lost a lot of blood, maybe all of it. maybe i’m dead and i’m calling you from the afterlife. i … hope i’m not drunk for eternity though. or maybe the afterlife is perpetual drunkenness. nah. i’m alive. i’m just beat up in a field. what happened? hold on ma i gotta check the camera… (uses camera on phone to look at self) yeah look my face is fine, it’s just my leg. (into phone) yeah i’m just a wreck, mom. that’s it. i’m just a fuckup like always. but, ah, for real though there’s a lot of blood. so if you could come get me, or call the police, i mean, the ambulance, that would be great. okay, bye. (hangs up. looks around the darkness for an exceptionally long amount of time.)