Nathan Birkinshaw

The writer lacks direction

Aleatico

Man alone measures time… and, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.

ACT 1

Two men sit on stools, tied together, back to back. One of the men is wearing a ripped kahki shirt and has a make shift blind fold tied around his eyes. The other is topless, his blindfold hangs loosely around his neck. Both show signs of physical discomfort.

There are no stage lights. There is a sound of dripping water.

S;      Whats the time?

P;      Sunday

S;      that’s isn’t a time

P;      I can’t see my watch

S;      I thought your blindfold came off?

P;      No, did yours?

S;      No…

          (Pause)

         I can see my shoes, just

P;      just? I thought you were blindfolded still?

          (Pause)

          what time do you think it is

S;      I’m not sure

P;      no way of telling I suppose

S;      no

P;      how long now?

S;      well last time I slept was just before we ate and I think that was yesterday at some point

P;      what did we have?

S;      I think it was slop, offal perhaps

P;      I could murder a nice bit of gammon

S;      they won’t give us gammon

P;       Who wouldn’t?

S;        Them out there

P;      and eggs and chips

S;      At times Petey…

P;      Peter.   

S;     Sorry, Peter.

P;     Yes?

S;       It’s very impressive quite how English you can be

P;      Thank you.

S;      It wasn’t a compliment

P;    I see.

       (Pause)

       You know Samuel?

S;    Sam.

P;    You know Sam, in the ten years we’ve known each other, you haven’t once paid me a compliment.

S;    We haven’t know each other for 10 years

P;    Yes we have. Haven’t we?

S;    Think so…. Have we known each other for 10 years?

P;    I asked you first.

S;    Did you?

P;    I think so.

(Pause)

P;    So, what’s for dinner do you reckon?

S;      Probably just order a pizza in, you know, treat us

P;      Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

S;      Highest indication of intelligence. Do me a favour, Petey, shut up for a bit. I’ve got one hell of a headache, plus I think these ropes have started cutting off the circulation to my left arm.

(Pause)

P;      (Sighs) Eye spy….

S;      Christ, don’t

P;      with my little eye….

S;      Please, stop

P;      something beginning with…

S;      I think they want us to kill each other.

P;      why would you say that?

S;     Well, they keep us locked up in here for however long it’s been, feed us slop

P;    Or offal

 S;   Or offal. Only untie us systematically to defecate in a fucking bucket. Which may I add is aided in no small part by the slop…

P;    Or offal

 S;   Or offal.

There’s a massive part of me that believes they want us to get free, kill each other and that would prove that we’re just as hostile as they are which in turn makes us one of them and they will take us in as their own.

P;      Like they’re lost son?

S;      something like that

(Pause)

P;      do you think you could kill me?

S;      if it came down to it

P;      your life or mine

S;      I think we came to the conclusion that your older than me, so you’d have to die first.

P;      we did not come to that conclusion, when did we agree on this?

S;      Just now, in my head

P;      what, as we were speaking?

S;      yes.

(Pause)

P;      Well, I think I could kill you. No question.

S;      you wouldn’t get the chance

P;      how come?

S;      I’m jewish

P;      that doesn’t make a difference, and you’re not jewish your welsh

S;       And….

P;       And what?

S;      wales are one of the lost tribe of Israel. Everyone knows that.

P;      lets stop speaking.

S;      Done.

(long pause)

P;      It’ll be better tomorrow you know.

S;     That, in your infinite wisdom, is the sum total of your input?

P;     It’ll be better tomorrow

S;    Petey, terribly sorry to piss on one’s parade. But we’ve been locked up here now for… (Pauses to think)  Well, a long time now and I’m not entirely convinced that them out there give a shit whether we live or die. I mean, do I need to remind you of the systematic defecation?

P;    Please, spare me.

(Pause)

P;   You’re wrong you know.

S;    Excuse me?

P;    About them out there not giving a shit about whether we live or die in here.

S;    Oh yeah, and how did you figure that one out?

P;    People don’t just lock other people up for no reason. They must want something.

S;    The grape?

P;    No…. Possibly.

S;    You know Petey.

P;    Peter.

S;   There are plenty of things in life that happen for no reason at all. Natural disasters, disease, car accidents.

P;  The popularity of Pierce Morgan.

S;   Peter, I’m being serious.

P;   I know Sam, that’s what I’m worried about

Both men fall into silence, reflecting on their previous musings

S;   So. What to do now?

(Pause)

P;   Eye spy…

S;  Petey….

P;  With my little eye

S;   Right, that is it!

Sam starts to struggle and pull at his ropes

P;   Samuel, for fuck sake, I was only joking. Gallows humour! Stop!

S;   Piss off

He continues to struggle

P;  You’re going to break the stool, stop!

As Peter says this, Sam’s stool breaks causing both men to fall awkwardly on the floor.

The sound of a heavy prison door opens.

Both men are bathed in a bright light where a large silhouette of a man stands and barks something in a strange foreign language.

The door slams shut and the men return to darkness.

(Pause)

P;  Fucking idiot

S;  Sorry. I get claustrophobic.

Both men lye on the dank floor in awkward silence

P;  (Sighs) Well, he could have at least helped us up.

S;  Not within his remit I guess

P;  No. I guess not

S;  Yeah, Guess not

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