A long time ago in a county far, far away…
I grew up in a semi-rural county up in what I consider the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Others may disagree. When I was a little person, it was much more rural than it is now. Now it has stoplights, a bowling/movie theater combo, a City Market, and other such fares. Despite these new developments, though, it can still be pretty disconnected from the outside sometimes.
A handful of interconnected small towns make up the mountainous twilight landscape, with twinkles of oddly placed lights winking at you at night. The occasional teenagers roam the streets late at night, and when they look up, they can see all the stars. My brother’s girlfriend at one time described it as a wonderful home, but I’m apt to describe it as a nice place to visit.
In what I think should be the town seat, there is an omnipresent subtle undercurrent of mystery and wonder emanating from the surrounding scenery. Up there, you are surrounded by mountains. You can peer into the backyards of your neighbors as the landscape rises around you. The faraway forests dotting the majestic mountains were always a launching pad for my own imaginary travels. At times, in the winter or at dusk, you could picture yourself in the middle of a fantasy opera, about to fight the hidden dragon.
I lived there from when I landed in this timeline until twenty-one years, with a brief sojourn to Boulder to try attending the University of Colorado. I went back and lived there again with my parents in my childhood home at the approximate age of twenty-seven (a decade ago). The point of this is that I am not just a Colorado native but a bonafide small-town native.
I never moved to or from anywhere when I was growing up. The city always seemed like this big magical place full of possibilities and wonder. Yet it appeared to endlessly produce jaded teenagers with bad attitudes whose parents moved somewhere quiet. Because there was very little “to do” in the county in many respects, many individuals fell prey to alcohol, drugs, and other inane pastimes. Not me, though.
It’s odd looking back on all of it. Now that I’ve made the city my home (having lived in various locations over the past sixteen years, including Westminster/Arvada/Denver, Lafayette, and now Fort Collins), I have gained a slightly different perspective on what transpired in my youth. It also helps you gain a new perspective when you literally piece your whole identity and will to live back together from crippling anxiety and depression.
I took many things for granted when I was developing into an adult. I took my father for granted a lot in many ways, oftentimes not realizing the severity of his struggles (however self-made). Sometimes it was because I was just simply too intense and focused to realize what was really going on, and sometimes it was because I just couldn’t have known any better.
I took for granted things I thought would always last forever, even though I had to know logically that they would not. I took for granted all the little things about life that automatically happened: the support, friendship, community, sense of life, and other ephemeral things you only think about when they’re gone. I took the sounds of my father’s boots on the grocery store floor for granted, my older brother’s social lives that I could be on the edges of, my mother’s jam-filled Christmas cookies, or even the fact that I had a pseudo-personality cult of my own. The reality of everything’s extreme temporality never hit me until I was an adult.
One of the biggest things I took for granted was myself. When I was in sixth grade, I wore the same jacket to school every day, all the time. This lasted until I graduated high school. Seriously. Except it was even worse in high school, where I donned a smelly black canvas duster that looked like a school shooter trenchcoat if you remember those days. When I stood in line at the movie theater for the midnight showing of The Matrix II, everybody thought I’d dressed up for the event. That was how I normally looked. It wasn’t good.
Why did I do that? It was a security blanket. Where I lived, sixth grade was the first time you had an influx of totally new students from all the separate elementary schools. I was faced with suddenly only knowing a third of the student body well. On top of that, there were several things at school that were difficult for me. This included the fact everyone in Gym Class had to get naked and shower in the locker room. This was only required of sixth-graders; seventh and eighth graders did not have to do this, thank god. To say that I was subtly traumatized, not just by the locker room but by everything, was an understatement, and I didn’t fare so well.
Throughout middle school, I was bombarded, like many other students, with negative social pressure ranging from my legs and chest being made fun of in the locker room (bow legs and “chicken chest” whatever that means), that I wore tight jeans because I was gay (they were just hand-me-downs), suggestions that I had sex with my 4-H animals, that I was satanic because of the books I read, that on a school trip I had sex with some homeless guy (that was mind-boggling), the suggestion that the cystic acne on my chin was from giving blow jobs to the all-around impression I was a weak little inadequate poofta.
And it was always strangely guys putting me down in front of girls. The girls would usually chastise the boy, and I’d usually sit there putting on a show of contempt. I realize looking back on it now that it’s possible they were trying to put me down because my intelligence and amiable nature posed a threat. But, is it any wonder a mind such as mine, which meticulously processes every little detail that comes to it and remembers just about EVERYTHING forever, had a security blanket?
Somewhere between eighth grade and ninth grade (high school), I changed, though this process was more gradual than writing makes it seem. I believe what set it off was a combination of a couple of things. My “best friend” at the time was KH, as we’ll call him. In eighth grade, I re-met CM, my now adopted brother. I say re-met because I knew him in elementary, but he moved away. When he came back, he approached me one time in the gym we became very close friends. For the first time, here was someone athletic, a bit from the “other side of the tracks,” and seemed to more easily “fit in” that didn’t make fun of me but wanted to be my friend.
Another thing that happened was I realized that I needed to figure out some way to combat the negative social pressure I was facing. I knew I couldn’t survive in a fight because I’m terrible at physical fighting. So, I needed to figure out how to use my mind and my words. With the help of hormones, probably, and some resolve, I built myself up and fostered an incredible amount of self-confidence. I was almost indomitable.
At one point, I got stuck in a group project. After hemming and hawing about, it became clear my group partners expected me to do all the work because they thought I just “had to get an A.” I informed them that they made a grave mistake: I could survive and live with an F. They couldn’t because their grades sucked, so they needed me to agree to do the work, not the other way around. In my sometimes hazy memory (this was twenty-one years ago), this was about where it started.
One time some asshole tried to tell me how he had “street smarts” (in a small town?) and that smart people like me were totally lost when it came to doing normal things. We didn’t know how to work hard, having never had to engage in hard labor (he had no idea where I came from, obviously), and couldn’t figure out common sense things like toasters. I just looked at him when he was done and said, “Do you feel better now that you’ve stood on my shoulders to prove to yourself you don’t need me? What a big man!” or something to that effect.
One time someone saw all the red marks on my essay and said, “I thought you were smart?”
I replied, “I guess I’m not.” I was fully dedicated to being me; screw everything else. I finally had nothing to prove to anyone.
However, the crown jewel was when I decided to embrace my furry self, before people even knew what furries were, and started wearing a homemade tail to school every day. I even wore it during gym class. My parents didn’t know.
It wasn’t until Mr. Loftsgard, the biology teacher, asked my mother at a PTA meeting how she liked my new tail that anyone at home had any idea. Now, you’d think, with my background, I must’ve really had a hard time, got bullied, beat up, the works. But what actually happened was much more incredible.
When I look back at myself now, it’s incredible to me that I was even anywhere where I was. In contrast to everything around me, it’s as if I was always out of place. It was almost like I was from the future or something.
Around freshman/sophomore year of high school, I turned to CM while walking around at lunch and told him that I had this idea. I was really really into making computer games at the time and wanted to make my own game development creativity group. We had just gotten the internet in our own homes with 56k modems, and I thought we could do it online. I’d call it “The Asheerian Order” because, you know, obviously. I asked if he’d like to join me in trying to build this community.
He posited back that maybe it just be a group devoted to creativity in general, and he wanted to rename it if he was going to help lead it. So we named it “The Clasheerian Order” as a combination of both our names and TCO (as we came to know it) was born. I quickly got to work building a website for it at Geocities, and soon, we were live and online.
In the beginning, the organization existed solely online. We’d go into Yahoo chat rooms (when that was a thing) and recruit people into our “cult” of creativity. All was well and good, and it was just our little thing. Then, even though we’d had some local success before this, a seemingly innocuous event set off even more: I gave a new girl named AS a cookie from my lunchbox. We quickly became awkward friends, and she (coming from the city and concert circuits) was fascinated by the idea of our group. So fascinated, in fact, she titled me, her, and CM “We The Three” and began pushing for local involvement in the group (to the point that I gave her a clipboard and sign-up sheets.)
The group grew locally, and I quickly found myself the de facto leader (with CM) of a high school clique. But, there was something different and special about this clique. It was open so that anyone could join, and because of that, many individuals who also had a difficult time socially joined. It became a 50-60 member group of loosely connected misfits and “rejects.” I loved it and welcomed everyone for the most part with open arms. Because of this, my confidence, my “intimidating intelligence’ (as someone once put it), and my bizarre popularity, nobody really made fun of my tail to my face. I was actually told it was cool once. In fact, it went on to be featured in the Homecoming Skits.
Part of the group’s appeal (which had no adult supervision, no chaperones, no official title at school, it was just us) was that it offered something that wasn’t available in the county. It offered a place where you could dream and be creative, write, and be artsy; where you were encouraged to be odd and unconventional. This was in stark contrast to the pitiful non-existent drama department and oodles of sports at the school. This was something living and exciting, beyond just a community library or some conventional historical society. And we were trying to do things online that wouldn’t be fully realized by other people for quite some time.
At one point, TCO had its own newsletter (Peristaltic Monthly, yeah, I know), which ran about seven or eight issues. People submitted their work, and it was printed up in full color and sold for a quarter. We had a couple of ads, even, from local businesses. Remember, it’s just us in the mid-nineties; no adults are doing this for us. I recorded a CD where I read a bunch of my writing, while another friend DK recorded a musical album. KBH filmed various videos and dreamed of working in film. There was a lot of creativity. Amidst all this, I wrote a play.
It was titled, On Being Different.
Now, I wrote this play as an angsty, somewhat clueless teenager who thought he could be a bit edgy. It was inspired by works such as Search For Signs of Intelligent Life and other pieces in drama class. Suffice it to say; it’s really bad. At one point, when it was published online at the age of twenty-three, a group of internet trolls got a hold of it and tore it up figuratively. They thought I had no idea how bad it was. No, I know how bad it is. It’s, at times, hilariously bad.
But at the same time, it’s gold. If you can slog through the artificial text and pretentious bucking of conventions, there’s a little gem there. There’s a spark that honestly was much better done by Agnes Angst from the aforementioned play; I just turned it into an entire play. There’s a little kernel of that desperate beautiful plea for life and beauty that it’s in good art, and to this day, I haven’t quite ever reproduced it. I sold copies at school for like $5-7 with my autograph on them. I wonder if anyone still has any of those?
In fact, my brother CM decided to use it in his drama class at RMCAD at one time. I drove down there, and we actually put on a scene of it (the park bench scene) in front of the class. Of course, we were criticized, cause you know… it’s unbelievably bad, but it was fun.
I’ve decided this week that it’s been too long for something like On Being Different not to be published on the internet. It’s raised its beautifully ugly head a couple of times (once on furdev.com, once on asherwolf.com/gmork7.com), but until now, it’s been entirely lost. In fact, there are two versions of the play: the original condensed version and an extended version. After looking through what’s about to follow, I believe that this copy is the original condensed version. That’s right; there are longer versions of this abomination somewhere.
I must preface with a content warning.
This play contains insensitive and offensive portrayals, suicide, and teenage angst. I apologize for the offensive material now (particularly the sister character), twenty years later, but I feel it’s best to publish it in its original form. If I were to have written this now, I would have written it differently and without them. With that proper background, I now present you a snapshot of a troubled angsty teen and the bathroom writings of his soul:
On Being Different
© 2001 Asher
In Association With The Clasheerian Order www.geocities.com/gmork7/
(The scene opens up on a teenage boy sitting fully clothed on a toilet writing in a hard back personal journal or something. An appropriate color of light is on the boy, who is to the right or left of the main part of the stage, blue maybe. The boy is continually writing and remains so for the rest of the play unless otherwise noted.)
NARRATOR – Sometimes I’ve thought about suicide, but only in a certain sense. A lot of people probably think of suicide like this, it’s just they rarely talk about it. It’s like a dream, where the experience lies only within you.
I think of what would happen to everybody else if I actually did it. I think of the tears that would be shed, by my mother, my brothers, my father, my family. They would say, “He was such a nice handsome young man.” I know my mother would believe I’d gone to heaven, and that when she died she’d see me again in all my glory. Every year she missed, she could finally live like she deserved. In heaven time doesn’t matter anymore, and I could be any age, just grow up right in front of her eyes like I was supposed to. In heaven I could be any shape I wanted, and in heaven my most eternal friend in their fullest form wouldn’t be lost. Heaven is the fullest potential.
That’s what they’d say, “He had so much potential.” And they’d be right. Every moment I wasn’t alive for as long as was determined sometime in the future, or before I was born, would be a moment wasted. They would be a screaming crime against life itself. Every moment would be a tear and every note of music heard would be my voice shining through for all to hear. My soul would live on but my body would not. And that’s just not right, for without this shell my soul would be stuck here eternally. I’d be in one state, and eventually I’d only be a slightly powerful memory, evoking the saddest emotions there are. Like a character in a book, I’d become unreal. That’s not right because I am real, and the only thing I want to be is real, so it wouldn’t be right if I wasn’t.
They’d ask, “Why did he do it?” and I don’t know if they’d actually want to know. The hardest thing, or the most intriguing, about suicide is that no one knows why for sure. I don’t know in absoluteness if that’s true, no one I’ve known has committed suicide. But I imagine what it would be like, for that’s all I have to go on, my imaginings. Besides my mother that’s all I’ve ever had to go on.
Why would I do it? I don’t know exactly, but that’s the short way out. I do know but it seems like it’s always too hard to express, which is only part of the problem. I seem to live in my own world, but I don’t know where that is. It’s not like I, or any of us, were handed a map. Sometimes I wonder why I’m here specifically, and you know how that goes. It’s mostly a rhetorical question, I mean how can someone truly answer it? Here, I have an idea…
(Scene fades in, there’s a clean cut man who’s smoking, and a nice looking woman reading a newspaper on a bus stop bench)
NARRATOR – Observe a man and a woman on a bus stop bench. Why are they there? Obviously it’s to meet a bus. Now why are they specifically there, together? Maybe the man was a high school track star whose life ended when he reached the peak of 20, so now he’s in a dead beat job he wasn’t built for, he’s cheating on his fiancée and he’s getting on the bus to meet her discreetly at the next Quiznos. Maybe she’s an unknown, you know somebody nobody knows yet, who has fantasies about raping little children with top of the line educational toys meant to teach about phonetics, and maybe she’s applying for the next open day care position but she has to take the bus downtown for an interview. She’ll be known someday, I can feel it, except instead of a dashing tall prince, it’ll be a four year old boy with black hair who needs glasses. Maybe that’s the man to the right, perhaps he’s really that boy, suffering through a hard life of non-acceptance because of that harrowing experience he had when he was four with his day care provider. He grew up to desire little children too, mostly because he became sexually active at the age of nine, and at the age of thirteen announced his homosexuality when his mother caught him boinking the new kid in the basement. Maybe because of his intuitive feminine nature he’s planning to drop his successful systems programming job, become a woman, and do crack with his twelve year old daughter whom he conceived in a back alley with a hermaphrodite the size of Wisconsin.
And maybe, the woman to the left, who’s calmly reading her newspaper, is a social service agent. Completely unaware of the crime ring of child pornography this is all going to become she bids the man, possibly her future killer, a good day and in her mind forgives him for having that nasty habit of smoking. (Note: actors in scene do not move from where they are seated.) For all people should be forgiven no matter how heinous their being is. She’ll be getting on the bus to go to her final destination: removing a child from a very poor family situation, where the parents of the child drink, fight, and continually prioritize their children’s needs last, decide their both homosexual and pimp their oldest on the street where she can start cashing in on 80 year old millionaires stocks and bonds. These people abused by society on their turf don’t have any reason to take responsibility for this child they gave birth to and gladly hand over it over to the social service agent because in their delusion, that’s what the T.V. told them to do! The righteous law abiding and government wielding social service agent will then place this child in a foster home, which turns out to be no better than where it came from. The child’s feelings, and soul will, by general rule and habit be completely ignored, and only its actions will be judged in this completely alien environment. The child will be overactive as determined by the foster mother of 7, because the child requires too much attention. Its classmates will scorn it because they can’t understand it, and it annoys them out of existence. The child will be prescribed Ritalin because society has a longer attention span than it does during classroom time disregarding the fact that this bright and beautiful child reads Anne Rice novels as a part time hobby and someday wants to write like Stephen King. But now that its perception has been honed to the task and reality at hand, it’ll become too concrete in middle school and start to believe fantasy is reality out of sheer boredom. And in this last attempt to regain its sanity it’ll be labeled schizophrenic, and be dropped in an institution for disturbed youth where it’ll write really long sentences about crack whores that have absolutely no meaning just like it will believe society has made it. But I think I got off the point. I’m jumping ahead of myself here. Give me a moment to think…
WOMAN ON BENCH – Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?
MAN – No, I’m sorry I’m all out. An old lady whom I helped cross the street borrowed my last bunch. I expect it back Tuesday. I do have a nice Purple Poupon however.
WOMAN – No, that just won’t do. Gray Poupon is required, my doctor prescribed it last week.
MAN – That’s an interesting diagnosis. Let me tell you a secret. I’ve heard that Yellow acts just like Gray, and it’s cheaper too!
WOMAN – Don’t try to win me over with your Yellow, dealer. I know what that shit is, it’s addictive, turns your hair gray, gives you yellow stomach, gangrene in the feet, makes you shake on withdrawal, delusional, bolemic, and makes your teeth fall out.
MAN – No, no, those are just rumors made up by the man to keep you down, buying company Gray Poupon. Yellow is actually healthy for you!
WOMAN – Don’t pull one over me, I must be strong for I was born to be Queen!
NARRATOR – I was born to be King. Do you see why I and a lot of other people don’t feel a part of this world. We’ve jettisoned ourselves out to some stratosphere in Bohemia. We’re rebels without a cause, blind to a lot of things. But there is no we, just me, for that’s all I’ve known. The support others can offer is to simply reaffirm my existence. Only those who’ve known me for a long time can do it. But that’s not the point.
MAN AND WOMAN ON BENCH – Well, what is the point!? (Both get up and leave)
NARRATOR – The point… the point is that almost every homosexual teenager out there today lives in fear that either they will be discovered or that they won’t live tomorrow. They become martyrs in their own mind for a populous that’s too scary, too controversial, to handle. They’re in your face and blame everything on the god given characteristic they possess, rather than shut up and enjoy it. Did you know…
(Scene opens up with a man near a pay telephone. The telephone rings, the man looks around and then picks it up.)
MAN – Hello?… Who is this?… God? You mean to tell me I’m talking to… What’s wrong God, you sound sick… You want me to do a woman, sow my seeds, and start a family in your name?… No, that’s not it… What is that God?… You want me to hate my neighbor?… You want me to judge his character in your name, in the name of Christ?… but… but, God you don’t… understand me! Stop talking God, stop blabbing in my ear your nonsense. It’s your judgmental incoherent ramblings that have corrupted my world, my character. (Drops phone) Cleanse me Universe of this dogmacentric deity who’d rather condemn me to a blazing hell than have me help poor disabled children to read. I admit it God! When I read to that old lady it wasn’t in your name and you weren’t in my heart. When I inspired that young man to live an honest life, freed those slaves, stopped world hunger through the latest advances in technology made by my great-grandfather, whom I also cared for until his last words because I truly love him, it wasn’t in your name, you weren’t in my heart! My grandfather’s last words were “Be true to thine self.” and you know what God? The truth is your a selfish child who contradicts his own rules of generosity and thus by Aristotle should blink out of existence! The truth is it was my name all along, and it will be my name I’ll be screaming in hell! You know if I were you God, I’d be way less judgmental and I’d totally remove the love relationship thing – that was your biggest mistake. Now, stop calling me and go talk to yourself through somebody else. Infidels, sheesh!
NARRATOR – Meet Todd. (It should be obvious that the narrator is talking about the man still in the scene) Todd is an average young man, a sophomore in college learning the basics of kinesthetic. What Todd doesn’t realize is that he is a simply a made-up character in a play, and that his very existence and world are at the mercy of a black pen moving in quick little lethal strokes across a thin sheet of paper bound in a little black book. But Todd has to go now, he’s late for a meeting I just made up for him.
TODD – Oh, I just remembered I have an important meeting with Professor Cornelius! Now, what was I talking about? Hm, I can’t seem to remember, oh well… (runs offstage)
NARRATOR – Everyday I hear limiters, as sure as the Earth is a rotating speck of dust in the universe. They say, they can’t. They say there’s no reason to focus on consequences, just your relationship with the Almighty. They announce their queer, they defend their straightness, and old men with crooked fences lend shotguns to school children who promise to be good for Christmas. Everyday it’s the same…
(Scene opens up on four teenagers wearing letter jackets)
JOCK 1 – You know what sucks in this world?
JOCK 2 – Vacuum cleaners?
JOCK 3 – No, stupid people.
JOCK 4 – What do you mean?
JOCK 1 – I mean those people who are underdeveloped in some way or another, like socially or mentally.
JOCK 2 – What about them sucks?
JOCK 3 – They annoy the hell out of me. I don’t have enough tolerance in my bones to not let them get to me because I didn’t drink enough calcium when I was little.
JOCK 4 – And I have absolutely no willpower to resist poking them and prodding them in some fashion only to have them either break down on me or go ballistic. Now what I thought was fun and funny simply pisses me off.
JOCK 1 – And since society causes all my problems I don’t have to take any responsibility what so ever for my actions, even though I knew this would happen, so its society’s fault if I lash back out unfairly at this stupid annoying person only furthering their alienation and their drive to mail letter bombs to random people later in life.
JOCK 2 – And don’t forget shooting their classmates in a frenzy of blood and media glory. You know ho they compete for nightline headcounts.
(Little girl enters from side slowly)
GIRLS VOICE – Brudder!
JOCK 3 – Did you hear something?
JOCK 4 – No, did you?
JOCK 1 – Uh, no, of course not.
JOCK 2 – You’re acting a little strange.
APPROACHING GIRL – Brudder! Where are woo? (She’s dragging one foot or something strange like that)
JOCK 3 – Hey check out that dweeb, she’s one of the worst, she really gets on my nerves with her endless chatter that no one really cares about.
JOCK 4 – She looks oddly familiar
JOCK 1 – Yeah, she reminds me of someone else.
GIRL – (Walks up to group) There woo are! Mom says dat woo ‘ave to geet home wif me!
JOCK 2 – (Looks around nervously) Um, all right sis’, did you walk here all by yourself?
JOCK 3 – Oh my god, this can’t be true!
JOCK 4 – I know what you mean, this is simply appalling.
JOCK 1 – I admit it, she’s my sister. But you guys don’t understand, she’s special.
JOCK 2 – Yes, she’s very special. And so are you, I can’t believe we’ve been hanging out with you. You’re from… from…
JOCK 3 – Retard stock!
JOCK 4 – (Shudders) It might be best if you went with your sister now, and…
JOCK 1 – …never come back.
JOCK 2 – But she’s your sister!
JOCK 3 – No, she’s your sister remember!
JOCK 4 – Hold on guys, she’s my sister.
JOCK 1 – Then get out of our sight you lilly wissed excuse for a prep, and don’t try to cheer me up with a double mocha latté bought from a beautiful mermaid.
JOCK 2 – What the hell are you going on about? He can still be our friend, even if his sister is highly annoying, and ugly, and stupid, and special, and retarded, and full of stuff nobody cares about…
(While this is going on the girl starts becoming very frustrated until she’s very agitated when right here she suddenly pulls out some kind of gun and starts firing aimlessly into the group.)
GIRL – Take dat woo ducking geezers! Cheese and rice, ducking geezers make me-self sick to me stoemak. I’ll take woo down wif me if I ‘ave do. (Stops firing, all the jocks are dead. She puts the guns down at her side and then looks down at the ground, the entire scene freezes and fades out to red then black)
NARRATOR – I write and write and write but I don’t seem to have any substantial meaning yet. Did you know that one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is an excessive amount of writing with no meaning. Not to point that out to you guys, who’ve been dutifully sitting there soaking in whatever I have to offer. Perhaps you are starting to understand what I’m getting at, starting to comprehend my world, starting to delve into the rabbit hole. Come with me Alice, you can leave your twinkies behind for tea time, just come with me Alice and together we shall go down this dark and dank rabbit hole to a world filled with twisted truths of little girls eating mushrooms who grow bigger and bigger until they’re going to burst. Ah, my sweet, here’s one now.
(A teenage girl enters from the side and into a bedroom scene)
NARRATOR – Meet July, and no she’s not related to Todd, but we’ll see about that. July has a very special friend, whom she’s looking for right now…
(The bedroom is neatly adorned and is very traditional. There is a chest in front of the bed, the bed is discreet with light pink pillows and perfectly white bedsheets. There is a window and outside the window all we can see is sky. There is also a door to a closet that is unopened.)
JULY – Axel? (Moves around the room as if she was looking for something small, picks up various objects as if it would be under them.) Axel, where are you? You know you’re too good at these hiding games… (Pauses a moment) If I were Axel, where would I hide? (Quickly darts to look under the bed) Nope not there… Hmm… (Stands back up and walks towards the chest) I wonder if he is in… here! (Lifts the chest open, all of a sudden out pops Axel. Axel is half human, half wolf. His top half is human, and his bottom half is like a Halloween costume of a walking and talking wolf complete with tail (which is animated preferably). The fur on this part of his body is either black or brown.)
AXEL – Aha! (Springs out of the chest like a genie might)
JULY – (Frightened a little) There you are! Why do you do that to me Axel?
AXEL – Cause it’s fun, what else is there for me to do anyways? (Looks down)
JULY – You know I have to go to school Axel, I have no control over that. And isn’t that what you’re always saying, don’t worry about that which you have no control over?
AXEL – Yes, that’s what I say. (Continues looking down) You wouldn’t imagine the amount of time I have all by myself around here! I’m half way through your Narnia collection, and I just started that three days ago! I agree they’re fascinating books, by such a fascinating author, have you seen the A&E Biography on C. S. Lewis? It was great, but oh yeah, sorry YOU were at SCHOOL!
JULY – (Almost in tears) What do you want me to do Axel? What do you want me to do, just drop my studies for somebody that nobody else can see? Then you can kiss little Julia here goodbye, cause she’ll be carted off to a freakin’ mental hospital! I have to go to school Axel, that’s just the way it is, isn’t that just the way it is?
AXEL – (Complete change in attitude) I’m sorry Jewel, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry. (She’s in tears now) I’m so sorry…
NARRATOR – And that my friends is Axel. Axel is a very special person, and what July doesn’t realize is that Axel is not a figment of her imagination, but rather something very different…
(The scene has already changed, July is sleeping in her bed, Axel on the chest. Axel sits up and looks at July)
AXEL – I wonder… I wonder…
NARRATOR – I wonder about the peach trees that we used to drive by every day, the peaches were ripe but we could never eat one…
AXEL – I wonder about your hair and how you keep it like that every day…
NARRATOR – I wonder why you said hello to me in the first place, with your bright blue eyes…
AXEL – I wonder about the world, and the streets, and the sounds people make at night, and what morning is like halfway across the globe…
NARRATOR – Without you there I’m sure it would be boring, every day I walk into classrooms and I’m never seen, I’m completely invisible, my body a robot…
AXEL – and completely lifeless, I wonder how you do it? You are so weak July I worry about you every day! Your…
NARRATOR – (Without missing a beat) spirit is strong but your mind…
AXEL – (Fluidly) is not.
NARRATOR AND AXEL – I wonder every day, if it has to be this way
AXEL – Of mundane lives doing mundane things,
NARRATOR – But when they look back they think they live like kings,
AXEL AND NARRATOR – And only those who think about it realize,
NARRATOR – That maybe it’s all a disguise.
AXEL – Of course they can’t completely believe,
TOGETHER – That what they say is what they weave,
AXEL – And if they want something different,
NARRATOR – All they really had to do was ask,
TOGETHER – But they would start an ascent,
NARRATOR – And at the top they could bask,
AXEL – In the glory of never making it where,
TOGETHER – Everyone else did.
(Axel lays back down to go to sleep, scene fades)
NARRATOR – July goes to Providence High in Broomfield, she’s an average student with several average characteristics, except for one. July’s not very well liked, at all. She’s been labeled various number of names, and her treatment… well, take a look for yourself.
(Scene fades in, it’s in front of a school, there’s people walking around, occasionally bumping into July, each time with a ‘Watch it!’ or ‘Look where you’re going’ and one ‘Who do you think you are?’)
JULY – Every day I walk these halls I feel like an outsider looking in. Every day I wonder if it has to be this way, of mundane lives doing mundane things… And then I come to my senses, and realize, slowly but surely, that yes, every day must be like this. Every single day, day after day, the mundane must make their mundane movements like the robots they are and again I feel like I’m from the outside looking in. It makes me wonder who else is on the outside and who’s in the inside? It’s like a war everyday, those on the outside warring with those on the inside. I heard that that one student dropped out because of repeated beatings by those seniors because they suspected he was… it doesn’t really matter does it? Every day is black, blackest to the core, every day is annoying, and reminds me of my meager existence as a speck of dust on a speck of dust, my destiny to be finally munched up by a dustmite. I never smile, but no one ever notices. The counselor recommended me to the school psychologist because I told her I thought everyone here was a toad, and I was afraid to touch their slimy warts. The psychologist will take away my friend though, he’ll take away the only friend I have, and so I’m never going to see him, he’ll make me get diarrhea and crap my brains out until I can’t think anymore and I’m simply his to mold. By god I want, I want… I don’t know what I want anymore…
GIRL IN HALL – (Perfectly loud to the audience, but appears to be whispering to her companion) They say that she’s slipping every day, becoming more withdrawn. She’s a looney toon there I tell you, did you know I caught her one time toilet papering the girls bathroom. Now why would you toilet paper your own gender’s bathroom? There wasn’t any more toilet paper for the rest of the day, and let me tell you it was a pain in the patoot, literally!
OTHER GIRL – Don’t be so hard on her, perhaps she’s just suffering from some kind of double-layered freudian syndrome where she wants to kill her mother and bear her father’s children?
FIRST GIRL – You mean she’s not? (They both laugh and move on)
JULY – I wish I was bearing my father’s children, it would at least give me an excuse to get out of here. I’d name it Vlad, and it would be my blood sucking vampire child for all eternity. It’d be the brat prince of all time, and I would be the blood sucking Queen. I’d spare no lives, and offer no immortality. I’d rape and bear the children of Cain and Judas, and then I would spew forth the demonetric children who would go forth and pillage the unrighteous!
NARRATOR – Nobody understands me! Nobody understands me! Nobody understands me! (Flailing his arms, he finally gets up off the toilet, paces back and forth twice, then sits back down) Freeze!
(The entire scene absolutely freezes, nobody moves a muscle)
(The narrator gets up from the toilet and walks into the scene, stands and observes for a second.)
NARRATOR – When did my courage leave me (He walks over to July and takes her books from her hands, and tosses them in front of the scene, they go everywhere) Trapped with loathing and despair? (He punches Julia in the stomach, in pretend of course, she reacts enough to bend over) Did I close my eyes, and lose it? (He pulls out her glasses and steps on them, then faces the audience) Or was it simply never there? (Slowly walks over to the toilet and then sits down with his notebook and writing utensil. Looks back at the audience) What is forgiven is usually well remembered. Unfreeze!
(July doubles over onto the ground groaning unexplainably, a small crowd surround her. Very distinctly you can hear her irk out)
JULY – My life is just one big dress rehearsal without a director. (Scene fades)
SOME VOICE – Bad things just seem to happen to good people.
NARRATOR – Ah, here is our friend Todd! He wants to do good in the world, what an ambitious young man. Remember how Todd is a sophomore in College? Did you know Todd is also a virgin? That’s right ladies and gentleman he’s waiting for that special someone. Now here’s another question to ponder, do you know how many middle school teenagers that would astonish because of their own alleged experience?
(Todd enters onto a scene with no background)
TODD – I’m a proud proud proud young man, and I know know know that I can go go go anywhere I want want want. There are an infinite number of degrees on a compass and I could take any one I wanted, but which one to take is the problem. There is not enough time for too many directions, but of course there’s never enough time for anything, even this thought. Oops, I just stopped thinking about it, damn!
NARRATOR – Todd all of a sudden has a strange flashback.
TODD – I seem to be having some uncontrollable flashback to my childhood, I guess I should follow it out until its end.
(Three teenagers wearing letter jackets walk in)
JOCK 1 – Hey, Todd, how did you do on your history test?
TODD – I got an F unfortunately.
JOCK 2 – Whoah, I thought you were supposed to be smart.
(Scene freezes, Todd walks forward)
TODD – I am supposed to be smart, but they can’t see past the role they have stuck me in. You know everybody fails at something once in a while, you know that right? I guess I’m just supposed to go home and study all night long and then get here and get excellent grades but have absolutely no social life. I’m also not supposed to have any strange thoughts, or go out at night, or do anything a normal human might do because I’m super intellectual man. I bet you they’ll even ask…
(Scene unfreezes, JOCK 3 walks forward)
JOCK 3 – So you’re going to do my homework right?
TODD – No, whatever gave you that idea?
JOCK 1 – I thought you were smart!
TODD – Well, maybe I’m not!
JOCK 2 – Why won’t you do my homework?
(Scene freezes, Todd steps forward again, everybody else steps backwards)
TODD – I thought they’d ask me this. Apparently they’re just so important in their existence that they believe everybody must help them be who they are. It’s a good thing these guys like me, otherwise they could want to beat me up for not doing their homework, so I have somewhat of a solution…
(Scene unfreezes, JOCK 3 walks up to Todd)
TODD – Why should I?
JOCK 3 – Because I’m your friend, and, um, you’re smart, and, yeah
TODD – Fine, tell you what, I’ll do your homework, but you have to pay me. The rates are 10 to 50 dollars per word for essays and 100 dollars for every other answer. The service charge is also 1000 dollars. (Leans over to audience) These sound like reasonable prices for my time and morality don’t you think?
JOCK 2 – Fine, be that way, I just won’t be your friend
TODD – I’m really effected.
JOCK 1 – Don’t you want to be like your brother Todd?
NARRATOR – Todd’s brother was the school’s wrestling champ, and he set the record for pull ups at a whopping 523! Todd’s brother was also extremely smart, won a prestigious scholarship, and was the class’ valedictorian. The only thing about Todd’s brother was that barely anybody understood his graduation speech except for Todd and one teacher, everybody else got more silly notions of roles in their head. As you can see that’s a lot for a younger brother to follow, but Todd is different…
TODD – Not really.
JOCK 2 – Why? I thought you wanted to be just like your brother.
TODD – Well, if I was my brother who would I be then? I’d be him, not me. And I kind of want to be me. So, no, I don’t want to be just like my brother.
JOCK 3 – Okay…
TODD – Albeit my brother has some very good, no extremely good qualities that I think anybody could strive for, but I think I’ll tackle each quality in my own way and just go about life like I’m supposed to: as me.
(A woman walks on stage)
WOMAN – You’re intelligent Todd, and I like you a lot, could you help my son become more accustomed to this environment? He doesn’t have a lot of friends and I don’t know if it’s healthy for him to just sit at home all day long playing video games.
TODD – Sure I suppose I’ll do it, there’s no harm in that.
(Another boy walks on stage, the jocks take a backseat in the scene. This boy is wearing a normal jacket and has blonde hair)
BOY – Could you help me pass Health so that I can graduate? I haven’t really studied all year long and my brain has trouble discerning two things apart from each other. I do know most of the sexual organs though, and while we study every time there’s an allusion to them I’ll giggle like a little school girl.
TODD – Sounds complicated but I think I can do it, maybe…
(Another guy walks on stage, he’s really tall with short brown hair)
JACK – Todd!
NARRATOR – Meet Jack, Todd’s lifelong best friend. They are inseparable, and together they have cofounded an organization they call The Lost Interpreters Society of Completely Mundane Anachronistic Reinterpretations. They have been trying to spread this organization around to anybody interested in it, and have so far gotten many of their friends to be in it, it’s fun but it can take a lot of time sometimes.
TODD – Jack!
JACK – Remember that you have a dentist appointment on Saturday, and that this Friday you have to update the LISCMAR website member directory to reflect our twenty new members.
TODD – Twenty?
JACK – Yeah, it’s amazing how time and members fly.
BOY – So when can we get together to study so I can pas this thing and graduate?
TODD – Um, I’m not sure, I’ll have to consult my scheduler: my mom.
(Todd’s mother walks in)
TODD – There she is, hey Mom, do you think I…
TODD’S MOTHER – You have to go to your piano lesson Todd, come on hurry up!
TODD – Oh yeah, I completely forgot!
TODD’s MOTHER – You have to prepare all of your songs for Guild. How many do you have memorized?
TODD – 2 so far.
TODD’s MOTHER – Good, that means you only have 16 more to go, and you have three months to do it Todd.
TODD – Well, I better buckle down then.
JOCK 1 – You know you should help me with my homework!
WOMAN – And my son, when are you going to see my son?
JACK – Speaking of him, he’s a member of LISCMAR, you should update the member’s directory as soon as you get home so that you don’t have to do it tomorrow.
BOY – I need to graduate Todd! I’ll even pay you for your time.
TODD – But I have homework…
TODD’S MOTHER – Which you are not going to stay up late doing on Sunday evening this weekend either, you have a 4-H meeting this Monday, and a Junior Leadership meeting this Tuesday, then one more day and you’re back off to your piano lesson, so you should practice when you get home.
TODD – Oh my god…
(Everyone in the scene starts chanting except for Todd kind of like a mesmerized mob)
MOB – You have to go to school four days a week, and with homework make it all day long.
TODD – I know! (Becoming increasingly agitated)
MOB – You promised to help me Todd, you said you’d help us Todd.
TODD – I know! I know!
MOB – We love you Todd, we want you to be with us forever Todd.
TODD – I have too many interests.
MOB – (More violently now) Help us Todd! You said you’d help us Todd! Your teeth need a bridge Todd, and your piano is going to go down the tubes if you don’t practice Todd. Give us all your time Todd, you gave us all your time, now perform!
TODD – I’m a robot, a robot! Leave me alone!
MOB – You can heal my brain Todd! When people are around you they get smarter, heal my intellectual wounds Todd! Help me escape Todd! I need to escape my life and enter yours…
TODD – (Screams up at the heavens, the mob slowly retreats away. Todd looks down at the floor) You ever wish you could just stop in this play of life and say to the director, ‘Line Please?’
NARRATOR – Did you know I played the piano? I’ve practiced for the last ten years so that I can play pretty well. I like to make up my own songs and then not write them down. I can’t write them down actually, so I’m waiting until there’s some way I can. Anyways, I can play for you if you wish, and I know you wish it.
(A piano is rolled out by two black robed figures, you can’t see their faces. The narrator gets off the toilet and sits down at the piano, pretends to crack his knuckles and then proceeds to play a beautiful slow waltz. The scene fades in, there’s July dancing with Axel in a formal ballroom dance style. There’s Todd dancing with Jack the same way. The four Jocks are dancing together. The boy from the last scene and the woman are dancing together. Todd’s Mother is dancing alone. This goes on for a moment, then the narrator gets up from the piano while the piano music is still playing. He walks over and starts dancing with Todd’s Mother. Then the retarded little sister walks onto the scene.)
RETARDED SISTER – Here I am, all alone. Nobody will dance with me because I’m ugly, stupid, and wifout a brain. Maybe if I got caught in a tornado I could get the Wizard to give me a brain.
(Everybody starts dancing around the sister)
RETARDED SISTER – The Wizard knows all duh secrets ta gittin’ people the traits they dizeer.
(They are forming some form of a tornado, this continues until the Jocks break up and start to lift the girl out of the crowd and above it into the air)
RETARDED SISTER – I can feel it! I can feel my heart becoming one wif dee almighty! I can see Oz, I can see it.
(They keep lifting her higher until she’s standing above everyone else)
RETARDED SISTER – I am a retarded sister, but I know love when I see it. I am a retarded sister, but I know life when I live it. I am a retarded sister, but I know pain when I feel it. I am a retarded sister and I know the devine when I become it.
(They begin to turn her around. A figure wearing a blood red cloak with a black design on it walks out. You can’t see it’s face.)
RETARDED SISTER – I can feel it! I can feel it Michael, and Gabriel, they want to kiss me, they want to caress me, they want to take care of me! I can feel all those people poking and prodding me, I can feel their tongues inside of my brain, I can feel their eyes inside my clothes. I can feel the world becoming meaningless, I can feel myself becoming all powerful. I’m touching the universe’s hand (Raises her hand as if to touch something) I’m dying!
(A figure wearing a forest green cloak with a blue design walks out on to the stage. You can’t see it’s face either. Both robed figures pull out wands of some kind and start waving them around in a strange dance)
ROBED FIGURES – Lasu lick li-wi natas! Lasu lick li-wi natas! Lasu lick li-wi natas! Snomed lufrewop eye-m tnesonni eht fo doolb eht pear! Snomed lufrewop eye-m tnesonni eht fo doolb eht pear!
(The retarded sister screams and then falls back into the crowd, being caught by the jocks of course. They set her down while everyone is dispersing, she’s just laying there. The narrator stops playing no matter where he is in the song, gets up and returns to the toilet. The robed figures shake each other’s hand and then exit back where they came from.)
NARRATOR – Oh, my retarded sister. (Spotlight on retarded sister laying lifeless on the ground) Twisting corridor, paths awry, of things I know of, I have a clueless eye, but when of course I think of you. I twist around in convulsive ways (Retarded sister should twitch a little bit, like a semi-pithed frog) Twitchin’, stitchin’, I want to hold you, in my hand, but I’m afraid I’d stifle what you’d say. Of course I always think of you, but then I put a gun, to my head.
(Scene fades, slowly church music is heard, and the scene fades back in on a funeral. The casket is missing however, and the retarded sister is just laying down out in the open with her arms crossed over her chest. Everybody in the last scene, including the two robed figures who are seated in the back, is attending the funeral. The narrator gets up from the toilet, and walks up to the pulpit to give the eulogy as a priest. He’s handed various objects, like a necklace with a cross on it and so on in order to look more priestly)
NARRATOR – I am not Reverend Albert and this is a wonderfully happy day. Today we sleep on the life of a grown up man, whose life was saved by a being free from the goodness of super intelligence. Oh don’t wait one more minute, you all can understand me with trouble right?
ATTENDANTS – Yes, perfectly.
NARRATOR – Well, then, that’s not wonderful at all. This will simply have to work. Difference of god grand the to homage pay to gathered have we gentleman and ladies today. Difference upmost of was girl little this and, different are I and you. Mediocrity of world this in today lives happy live to able are we that difference this of because is it. Place boring very a be would it same the all were we if. Fists your sometimes and, thoughts your with different are that those torture to continue you do, then why so? You to normal be everything must why, weird is think you what accept not you do then why? Shooter school teenage aspiring this of death the for responsible each not are you if me tell and today girl little this to happened has what look, me scare people normal. Tomorrow until adjourned is court so, gentleman and ladies today say to have I all that’s. Night good!
(Everybody gets up and leaves, scene fades)
OTHERWORLDLY VOICE (possibly over the speaker system with a deepening effect done) – And now it’s Halloween! On Halloween all the people you normally trust become strange and untrustable, they change their shape to some strange otherworldly phantom, and they entertain ideas of killing everyone they know. Teenagers dream about killing the school principal, employees dream about killing their bosses, and little girls dream about killing the local beauty queen. To curb this irrational desire, they dress up in strange costumes and force others to give candy to them, and then call it all in the name of good fun. Some people combat Halloween by declaring it’s a ritual of Satan, but what I think is even scarier is that it isn’t a ritual of Satan, but of the human spirit itself. Personally, I love it.
(Scene fades in. Narrator is back in his place, the piano is gone. July and Axel walk onto the scene. There is a back drop of a some kind of shack and a full moon.)
JULY – Halloween is one of the coolest holidays ever invented.
AXEL – I know, everybody dresses up and suddenly, I don’t look so weird anymore.
JULY – (Laughs) You never looked weird Axel, at least not to me, and that’s all that matters.
AXEL – (Puts his hands in pockets that weren’t seen before, then looks at the sky and around) So what do you want to do on this special night of terror?
JULY – We can go to the seven-eleven.
AXEL – Okay
JULY – Axel, I’ve been meaning to ask you, where are you from?
AXEL – Well, I’m from a lot of places, but do you mean where was I born?
JULY – Yeah, were you born?
AXEL – I was born in Oklahoma State Hospital. I used to be human if you’d believe it.
JULY – What do you mean?
AXEL – Well, I was born in Oklahoma State Hospital to a very loving mother and father. I remember when I first was brought to my mother after I had come out and had been cleaned off. You should have seen her face, it was the most beautiful and radiant face I’d ever seen. Her eyes were almost to tears in joy when she said, “My baby boy, I love you.” My father was ecstatic, you could see it in his eyes as he held me for the first time. I looked at his face and I could see the summer days we’d be playing catch together. I could see the school projects we’d complete together, and I could see the anguish I would probably cause him as a rebellious teenager.
JULY – So what happened, how did you become, well, this?
AXEL – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I was lying in my crib one night and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I tried to cry but nothing came out. It was very scary, my vision started to go, and then vision lost meaning. I felt this unbelievable pain in my chest, it wanted air so bad and I couldn’t breathe! All of a sudden it felt like something exploded in my brain and I saw this bright white light. I was scared of this light though, and I fought going towards it. It was sucking me in and I was grasping on to anything just so I could stay. I didn’t want to leave my mother and my father. And then the light ceased and everything stopped. I didn’t feel anything anymore, not even my own body. It was pitch black and I was floating. It was like that for a very long time, and then all of a sudden my eyes opened and I was a little child with the bottom half of me like this. I discovered nobody could see me, and that I didn’t have to eat anything, and so I wondered around for a long time. I don’t know what age I am because I never counted. I kind of got to this age and have been stuck here ever since.
JULY – (Silent for a moment) Wow, I never knew Axel, that’s so sad.
AXEL – (Shrugs his shoulders) Well, you get used to it, it’s not like I can go back and change anything, SIDS just happens, nobody knows why.
JULY – So I’m the first one who could see you?
AXEL – Actually there was a little boy named Albert. But he forgot who I was after a while. He didn’t want me around anymore, he simply found new friends and moved on. Now that was sad, I cried for a long time. I think I followed him around for a while after that, just to be around him. I think he became a reverend or something. Eventually it just became impossible to understand him and so I left. I wandered around for a long time, it was very lonely. Nobody could see me, I could do anything I wanted and nobody cared. I saw a lot of people do a lot of things, I saw good things and I saw some really bad things. I was powerless to effect any of them however, I couldn’t talk to anyone. But then one day, I met a little girl who waved at me, I was so astonished that I couldn’t move for a minute, but then I realized I shouldn’t lose this little girl. I followed her home, and there I discovered that she could see me. You know the rest of the story…
JULY – I most certainly do. You know what Axel?
AXEL – What?
JULY – I love you. I wouldn’t give you up as a friend for anything. You are the best person I know.
(Axel looks at July, the scene freezes and then fades)
NARRATOR – And time goes on, and on and on. Dark cloud proceeding: weekin, weekout. I can’t wait until the 22nd, the musical procession. The anticipation, the Beast of the Forlorn. Masked, shadowed in the realm of memorization. 20 pages memorized. Donning the mental cup, drinking and sensing the smell like a child. I don’t understand, emotional intensities and electromagnetism. Creative function gone awry. High sticking means 30 second penalty. Whack across the shins and I’m down on my knees praying to the mysterious scar, and pulling off the alien marks on my foot. Back up again, 4 day weekend, weekin, weekout. Mashed potato CD mix on a rewritable piece of toast with black jam and raspberry tea. Enigmatic personality conflicts, everything is in the background, drowned out by my own deafness. Horses in fields shoveling snow to get to salty water. I think of the brambles and digital roses flying across voices on the highway telephone lines at the speed of light and electro-optics. Is he right, could his fantasy be real? The ghosts in the relationship between machine and man, tool and monkey? Will the neophyte disrupt my soul with information overload as I jackin, jackout, or is it all just a dream, a reflection in the rhythmic beats of sunday morning coffee? Should I start a revolution, harking to the brick filled treetops the inconsistencies and the fleeting truths of man? Or should I watch the dark cloud proceeding, a gift from the sky. Is the ghost of the gift controlling me, or am I controlling the gift? Flunk and fail, two classes. The world would crumble without me, devoid of the presence of my inner self in the cosmic play. What is it for, to exist? To be requires action, and action requires knowledge so thus ignorance is not bliss, it’s decay. Stagnating of the four elements calling every telephone in the world trying to prove it’s power. And me quoting from sources unseen, which should remain that way. Electronic beeping dragons within an abyss where the entrance only stays in place when you’re at a full run. Where am I now? The present, the past, the future all converge at the moment point and pervade forever into a concept of All That Is. Who do I speak of, the earth gods, of words of wisdom within orange books. Lumanians, living in Pyrenées caves confirm the future predictions of the past. The world is best seen through a window. Reality is best seen in the mirror. The mirror of toothpaste and hasty dreaming, of cursed words of jello molds. Jiggling in innocence of the probably future yet to come. Our concepts of development are limited but words can’t express what to come. Perhaps sound can, off the lines of a picture, resonating within the Lumanians heads, the heads of plugged energy of anti-violence nature. Overshadowing instead of foreshadowing. A new subject to expand through electro-shock therapy until it sporadically moves to the foreground. When it says, “Trok” we proclaim it life, artificially intelligence. If I could access the internet with my brain I could win all the knowledge bowl alphabet soup questions. I speak, or write, long inkingly because time moves forward, and not in any other direction. Ring, ring, the telephone again, wocket in my pocket? Prank call. C’est la vie.
(Silence for a moment)
(Scene fades in, Todd and Jack walking)
TODD – So you see, the The Lost Interpreters Society of Completely Mundane Anachronistic Reinterpretations needs to start having local meetings, it will strengthen the membership, plus there’s some stuff we can talk about.
JACK – You know, if we can help someone become a better person, we’ve really accomplished our mission. I mean, if The Lost Interpreters Society of Completely Mundane Anachronistic Reinterpretations can prevent something like a school shooting or a suicide, we may not be famous but we’ll be powerful.
TODD – I totally agree. We’re on a ride into the brightest future we could create for ourselves Jack. The future is going to be great, even if we don’t become rich and famous we can at least always be striving to accomplish our goals. As long as we’re striving I’ll be happy.
JACK – We’ll be striving my friend, we’ll be striving. The Lost Interpreters Society of Completely Mundane Anachronistic Reinterpretations will be awesome with you working on it, I just know it.
TODD – We need a building though, of course we’re not big enough to be in a building yet. But if we were…
(A building lobby fades into view, the backdrop changes or something, Jack and Todd open a door to the building)
TODD – It would be a lot like this.
RECEPTIONIST – Can I help you sirs?
JACK – We’d like to go up to see our future.
RECEPTIONIST – That would be floor n-th.
TODD – Sorry, floor ninth?
RECEPTIONIST – No, the n-th floor.
JACK – But that’s so n. I mean what does that mean lady? The floors go on forever?
RECEPTIONIST – Let me check… um, yes that’s correct.
TODD – So which floor is it?
RECEPTIONIST – It’s the n-th floor.
TODD – We’re not getting anywhere, no where.
JACK – Just calm down, I’m sure we can figure something out. How do we know we’ve reached the n-th floor ma’am?
RECEPTIONIST – Well, n is equal to the positive retractive force of the universe combined with the Fauxtenberg constant of complexity times the multiples of three plus y. Y is equal to pi times the radius squared of the earth, plus infinity times z. And lastly z is the exact square root of 2 plus the derivative of this entire matrix contained in this here table. (Hands Jack a huge piece of paper full of numbers).
JACK – Oh, my, well, we’ll be working on this for quite a while.
TODD – Isn’t this world wonderful? Everyone is so unique, even if they don’t know it, or don’t want to think it. There is a lot of potential in this world to overcome challenges of the self, even if people don’t grasp it or don’t want to. This world is a very good place, it’s what inhabits it that affects it in either direction.
JACK – Yes, everyone’s future is bright, they just don’t think it is. The world is our oyster, and only those who really want to can take the pearl. You and I Todd, we’re going to have that pearl.
TODD – Excellent. The universe is ours Jack, and we will be worthy of it.
TODD’S MOTHER – I’m just afraid, that’s all dear. His outbursts of random violence are disturbing me. His personality has changed, I don’t know what to do, the doctor is recommending a pre frontal lobotomy…
OTHERWORLDLY VOICE – And now it’s Christmas! Everybody loves Christmas, except for the Jehovah Witnesses who don’t celebrate this very fine holiday. This is the holiday where everybody can experience the joy of giving, and every child can experience the joy of getting. They’ll learn about giving when they grow older, but to a five year old who wants the Tonka Truck Emergency Search and Rescue Set it’s all about getting. They say that this is an inherent characteristic in human nature, to be greedy. What most people don’t figure out is the difference between greedy and selfish. You’re greedy if you steal other people’s stuff and believe that everything in the world must be yours. You’re selfish if you live for yourself and not for others, that is the true definition of selfishness. It means you don’t give out your respect, love, devotion, and help freely because you don’t feel some obligation to help the world become a better place, but only the obligation to make yourself a better person. Your happiness is supreme, but your integrity is even higher. Without your moral integrity intact then you can’t really be selfish, if I understand it right. Alas, I don’t read. If I read the morning newspapers maybe this would be right, but I’m just an otherworldly voice. Anyways, on to Christmas, the best time of the year!
NARRATOR – It’s Christmas Eve, and there appears to be trouble in more than one house on the block…
(Scene fades in, there’s two bedrooms cross sectioned. Todd’s bedroom is on the left, and Julia’s bedroom is on the right. There’s one bed in Todd’s bedroom, and he has all sorts of posters for movies pinned up on his wall. There’s one lamp in each room, by the bed. Todd is sitting on the bed, and Jack is standing somewhere. Axel and Julia are both sitting on their bed.)
JULY – It’s Christmas Eve Axel. Did you know the suicide rate almost double during Christmas?
AXEL – No, I didn’t. Where did that come from?
JULY – Axel I’ve been meaning to ask you something.
TODD – Jack, I’ve been meaning to tell you something.
JACK – What is it Todd?
AXEL – What is it July?
JULY – You know, you’re the only friend I have, and I don’t think I’m going to be going out with a lot of people in the future. I love you a lot Axel, I mean I really love you. I don’t care if you can’t be seen by others, I don’t care if our future is highly questionable…
TODD – You know, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and I don’t think I’ll ever find a better friend than you. The reason is because.. well…
AXEL – What are you asking July?
JACK – We have a lot in common, and we’ve gone through a lot together.
TODD – Yeah, and, well, this is hard…
JULY – Will you marry me? I mean, will you go to bed with me? I mean, I want you Axel, right now more than I’ve wanted anything else in the world.
JACK – Well, spit it out.
AXEL – Julia! You’re asking the impossible.
TODD – Jack, for the last year I’ve been thinking, and I realized that I love you more than I love my own mother. I don’t know what our future would look like, I don’t know the logistics of anything. Jack, will you marry me?
JULY – Why is it impossible Axel, why do you not want to give? I’ve seen it in your eyes Axel, I can see it when you’ve been looking at me thinking I was asleep (Axel acts surprised) You love me too Axel, as much as I love you. Why can’t we share that love?
JACK – No, Todd, I won’t marry you. And don’t even think about asking me to bed with you. This is an impossibility Todd. I’m your friend Todd, and as your friend I want it to stay that way, you know that’s the best thing to do. Get off this foolishness please.
AXEL – We can’t share our love like that Julia because I don’t have a winky! Look! (Runs hand over his crotch area, as if searching for a winky) I have no sex organs Julia, I don’t even have an asshole. I told you I don’t eat, so I don’t piss or crap either. Maybe you can experience our love, but I’ll never experience it Julia and I don’t want to do that. You know this is the best choice.
TODD – I’ve been getting off on this foolishness for the last six months Jack. You don’t feel anything like what I feel Jack? You’re one of them aren’t you?
JULY – Is it the best choice Axel? Is it the best choice to accept what God gave you? Your patience and tolerance drive me insane! Your life affirming message is starting to smell like bull, I can’t stand it anymore! (Get’s up from the bed) To hell with you Axel!
JACK – One of who? You’re starting to scare me Todd. Who are you talking about?
AXEL – JULIA! That’s not what I meant, what are you doing? Don’t do this Julia, you’ll only lose yourself, I don’t want you to lose yourself.
JULIA – It’s my consciousness, I’ll do whatever the hell I want with it! (Runs near the closet)
TODD – Them, they, you know THEM. They always keep me down, they always poke and prod at me, they permeate my consciousness everyday. They take me over, they hate me and I hate them. I want to kill them all, I want to, I want to… I don’t know what I want!
(Suddenly Todd’s room completely blanks out. The closet door in Julia’s room opens and a bunch of black arms reach out of it. There’s moaning, the hands are reaching for Julia)
AXEL – Don’t do it Julia, please come back to me! Together I’m sure we can rig up a winky!
JULIA – Get away from me! (Is backing up near the black hands) You don’t want to you coward! That’s right, you’re nothing but an invisible coward. I want my mommy! (Arms grab a hold of her and suck her into the closet, she screams.)
(Scene immediately blanks out, faint music can be heard, it’s steadily but very slowly gaining volume. An appropriate piece might be a selection out of Into the Void by Trent Reznor on his album The Fragile)
(Red lights start to slowly illuminate a cross sectioned closet in the middle of the stage. The light on the Narrator slowly dims away. Soon you can see Julia in the closet acting strangely. She’s writhing, reaching for invisible things above her head and itching herself as if her skin was crawling. Then black hands can be seen poking through the walls of the closet, clambering at her body, pulling her hair and various other things.)
JULIA’S FATHER’S VOICE – Julia, I’m your father, you simply must stop this behavior at once, you’re scaring your mother.
JULIA’S MOTHER’S VOICE – You need help Julia, help I can’t give you. You’ll get that help at the hospital, please just go with Doctor Albert, he’ll take care of you just right.
AXEL’S VOICE – I won’t let you fall apart Julia.
JULIA’S FATHER’S VOICE – What the hell are you doing Julia? Stop it, stop that this instance (A smack is heard)
JULIA IN THE CLOSET – (Lets out a wail and starts crying, screaming sporadically)
JULIA’S MOTHER’S VOICE – Don’t be so hard on her dear, you know she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Julia, are you all right? Can you hear me Julia? Oh my god…
DOCTOR’S VOICE – Julia has been prone to strange attacks where she completely leaves reality. She becomes unresponsive, even to pain caused to her body. I’ve notice Julia writing in a journal. I looked at the journal one day and realized she was writing completely meaningless sentences, just putting random words on paper. Julia seems like a common case of Schizophrenia, the only thing I can prescribe for her at this moment is further treatment at the hospital.
HANDS – They say your shizophrenic Julia, as schizo as a whore. (Begin a round with that)
AXEL – (Rushing to the front of the closet, standing before it.) Julia, I won’t let you fall apart!
JULY IN CLOSET – Where is everybody? (She’s immediately echoed quite profusely by her own voice, joining the group of hands still chanting)
AXEL – (Pretends to bang on door of closet) JULY! I won’t let you fall apart! Not if it’s the last thing I do, don’t fall apart July!
JULY – (Begins to simply scream, all sound stops except for her scream. The scene fades out, and then her scream stops)
NARRATOR – They say that Schizophrenia affects people in strange ways. They even say that perhaps the fellow Schizo can perceive things in reality that other’s can’t perceive because of their own self-delusions. Because they are too blind to the world around them to become a Schizo themselves.
(Scene opens up onto the school hall scene again. July is standing in the middle of it again.)
NARRATOR – Shut the door July, but I wish you would slam it. Talk things over Julia but I wish you would yell. Be perfectly normal and sanitary Julia but I wish you would be perverse, or possibly ignorant, as I already am. (Julia reveals a hand gun from behind her left leg in her hand, she’s slowly lifting it to her head.) Reassure me, Julia, caress me, Julia, but I wish you would reject me, at least once. (Julia has it to her head now, other students have noticed and are backing up and forming a half circle around her.)
JULIA – You don’t think I’ll do it do you?
NARRATOR – Let me fly away Julia… (A bang is heard, then Julia drops to the ground lifeless) but I wish you would hold on to me a little longer.
(Scene fades out, strings are heard, something like Pachelbel’s Canon)
OTHERWORLDLY VOICE – It’s New Years! New Years is the time when everybody says they’ll change but then they don’t. It’s a time of broken promises made in half drunken frenzies, and it’s another time when the human spirit feels uplifted for no reason what so ever. I just love New Year’s, with all the corny TV movie specials, especially It’s a Wonderful Life. That one’s my favorite.
(Scene fades in, it’s Julia’s funeral, Axel is there. His fur is completely white.)
AXEL – It is the seed, the primordial ooze of consciousness, of purpose, expanding and contracting. (He turns away from the body laying there, missing a casket) Lost in a sea of experience, drive in all directions at once for five hours and you can’t miss it, lest be understood periods of Peristaltism. Ghost in dead shells, lumber around in broad daylight unable to see, for what? (Raises his arms, walks across stage) To run around in circles, in fear of finding an end. Leaves at dusk, trips to far away exciting lands, the answer to all your problems, can be solved by one phone call, which can tell you where the key is to the Castle of the Queen Fairy. (Looks down in sadness) Whose a lupine, howling at the moon, every night, beckoning to a seed of youth, a seed of confusion, a seed of unfounded solidarity, that it forces to take a direction. (Looks straight at audience) But to where? (Faces the casket again.) Julia, I have failed you. I don’t want to fail another person again.
(Scene fades. Scene fades back in as soon as it can, the backdrop is now a field of flowers, Axel and Todd enter.)
TODD – Who are you?
AXEL – You can see me?
TODD – Of course I can see you.
AXEL – Who are you?
TODD – I’m Todd.
AXEL – Then I’m Axel.
TODD – What brings you here Axel?
AXEL – I needed a place to think, a place to be in the right.
TODD – Well, you’ve come to the right place, Axel. This is my special place, I come here to understand life and to just relax and be myself.
AXEL – You aren’t yourself any other time?
TODD – Well, I am, but I’m not. I try to be myself, but here I don’t have to try to be anything, I just am.
AXEL – I want to just be. That would be beautiful, to just be.
TODD – Look at that cloud, it just is. Look at that flower, it just is. Together, we can be just us.
AXEL – No, I’m never going to be just me again, too much has happened and it’s getting harder to believe.
TODD – Then I suppose we’re all lost forever…
NARRATOR – Maybe you understand me better now? Perhaps I am finally understood? The lack of supportive triangles, bridges fall apart, obviously. Beats of rhythmic water and strawberry daiquiris dipped in peanut-chocolate tacos. The low rumbling foreboding violin of ominous death. (Todd walks in from the left of the stage, carrying a handgun. He stops at the left of the stage and turns to face the audience, his arms at his side, his head down.) Like I’ve said, the world would fall without me. Am I really that digital statue in imaginary cemeteries? Or just a soundbyte in the large scheme of things? Live-stream me off a server at 4 in the morning, and you can hear my compressed sample but you have to purchase the whole tale. Well, at least until it’s pirated on the high seas, where a million people put up a soul every day for the taking. (Axel walks in from the left of the stage, carrying a handgun. He stops at the center of the stage and turns to facade the audience, his arms at his side, his head down.) They stop and unload their guns. Rules minimalist I say, so many rules of style I guffaw and harrumph at. Really just mostly cures and cast hexes on myself. Don’t walk across dead people’s graves it’s a forbidding violation, ah the pleasures of sitting on the fiddling dead. The throes of the dance floor, the glimpses of the vampiric seductress. The letting loose of human instinct and going with a higher being in motion. Shadowing the future the past it is but a pasture, a vortex of raspberry bushes and reverseness one can travel through. My pen but a highly constructed fleeting thought. I start sentences without really knowing how to end them. We do it everyday. Six year olds shooting six year olds, the made up scene materialized by a fleeting thought. Straight out of a dramatic movie of gun control. When will we realize it is us who creates the scene, as an outlet for our ‘necessary grief’? Black roses rotating around homosexual werewolves, Rondo in the background, fall of cabbages. Am I making sense? (Narrator gets up from his toilet, holding a handgun, and walks to the right of the stage. He keeps his arms to his side, and his head forward, looking at the audience, preferably right at some people in the front row.) Me, personally, I don’t need a gun, all I need is my thumb. I mean that’s all it takes to destroy a little innocent bug, so what kind of barbaric society do we live in where people can have deadly thumbs and spoons? Smells in our head, tangible and tactile thoughts thrown across spiderwebs of intentions. Intrigue is dead, everything is a scandal. Am I core or surface? It’s the song, the soundbyte, the 1’s and 0’s of ancient legendary heroes of yore that make art beautiful, draws upon one’s own mechanized emotions. So you know they’re coming? Oh, now I get it, ‘incestuous ancestrals’. (All three of them synchronized start lifting their guns to their head, Todd’s and Axel’s faces slowly facing the audience.) This is a play on words. Individualism is eternal, like the ghosts I see from the corners of my eye spy with my little eye something that says I’m pushing it! Isn’t it great when you can make fun of yourself in your own play: no character, no plot, just one-sided conversation. If only you knew what I was thinking right now, but in effect you already do. This is dually meaningless. (A gunshot is heard, they all topple over lifeless.)
BODILESS NARRATOR (SAME VOICE) – Sometimes I’ve thought about suicide, but only in a certain sense. A lot of people probably think of suicide like this, it’s just they rarely talk about it. It’s like a dream, where the experience lies only within you.
I think of what would happen to everybody else if I actually did it. I think of the tears that would be shed, by my mother, my brothers, my father, my family. They would say, “He was such a nice handsome young man.” I know my mother would believe I’d gone to heaven, and that when she died she’d see me again in all my glory. Every year she missed, she could finally live like she deserved. In heaven time doesn’t matter anymore, and I could be any age, just grow up right in front of her eyes like I was supposed to. In heaven I could be any shape I wanted, and in heaven my most eternal friend in their fullest form wouldn’t be lost. Heaven is the fullest potential.
That’s what they’d say, “He had so much potential.” And they’d be right. Every moment I wasn’t alive for as long as was determined sometime in the future, or before I was born, would be a moment wasted. They would be a screaming crime against life itself. Every moment would be a tear and every note of music heard would be my voice shining through for all to hear.
(Curtain closes, then reopens with the lights completely on. Everybody except the narrator walks out and takes a bow like tradition. Axel, Todd and the Narrator never move. If flowers are given to anybody, say Julia, they should be black and red. The curtain closes)
So there you have it. The original condensed version of On Being Different exactly how it was written (flaws and all). To give some of this even more context, I made my first suicide attempt attending College within a year of publishing this oddness. I was subsequently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. You have just had a glimpse into the psyche of a Borderline. As my sister-in-law once said, “Once was enough.”
The Clasheerian Order got so big that we even secured our own domain name, clasheerian.com. It is now owned by someone else after I let it go in 2012. When I attempted suicide, I posted a graphic on this site proclaiming I was dead with the last line from this very play below it. Needless to say, it spread throughout my high school like wildfire, with people for about twenty-four hours thinking I had really died. You could say that was the beginning of the end.
TCO managed to exist beyond that, though, for a while, but not for too long. Eventually, I became quite paranoid of my partners in crime, KH, and CM (who were roommates in Denver at the time), though I did have a few reasons to be. Things between me, AS, and CM also went to shit as well. I ceased communications with AS about sixteen years ago.
I got so fed up with everything, although I was partly to blame, that I eventually told CM that I would head up TCO without him and do whatever the hell I want. This was a big deal. He went on to found RealInspired with an individual who helped him build TCO’s website. Of course, that also didn’t pan out for very long either. TCO became TCX for a short time and then disappeared into complete oblivion.
I didn’t talk to CM for a long time, being essentially estranged. However, all of that is super old news. CM got married, and I ended up walking my mother down the aisle at his wedding in place of my deceased father. That was nice.
It’s really bizarre when I look back on all of it. At times it all seems so far away. Me, floating out of my body in my dorm room into the hate-filled walls, the cavernous Engineering Building, my humiliation is all so far away… and yet still inside me. It boggles my mind how so many good and bad situations came about because I decided to execute a single idea diligently. I pulled off, to a degree, one single idea of mine, and it bloomed and then exploded, sending shrapnel everywhere. It’s kind of amazing.
Twenty-plus years later, I’m astonished that any of it happened at all. I wasn’t in a city; I didn’t have a large population to pique interest, I had absolutely no social media, yet I amassed about 45-50 people. I created a movement, albeit microscopic, in a place you wouldn’t imagine simply because I acted on an idea. I look back on all the joys, fun, and terrible anger and arguments because I followed an idea.
And that’s the story of The Clasheerian Order and the disaster that was On Being Different. The sweat and tears, the sadness and the joy, the frustration, and the pain, the mental illness, it’s all there in one incredibly ugly-beautiful boom that lasted a couple of years. I still have many, many more files and will likely slowly publish them in edited archive form in the future. For instance, I have almost all the issues of Peristaltic Monthly.
Stuck in a mundane, quiet mountain town, I dreamed that I could reach different worlds. I traveled so far in my imagination and tried so very, very hard. Eventually, I laid an egg that was beautiful and fun but eventually exploded, embedding shrapnel in all of us. And this was all because I wasn’t satisfied with what was around me and had an idea.
One idea of mine turned into all of that.