Nobody in this Story Is a Cannibal

Gary Sowder
Nobody in this Story Is a Cannibal

“Sometimes, we’d just stall for a while. We never wanted to stop talking, but, we’d sometimes run out of things to say. We’d fill our conversations with padding, useless shit. Always keeping our eyes on the clocks, and then the minute it changed from 11:59 to 12 it was over.”

(No props will be used except the two chairs, everything else must be mimed)

 

Two guys (mid to late 20s) sit on chairs, an equal distance apart. They both talk directly to the audience and they never look at one another.

 

ADAM

We’d stay up all night, talking. On our phones. We’d just wait until midnight came. That was our signal. Midnight meant that we had to power down and go to sleep.

 

JAMES

Sometimes, we’d just stall for a while. We never wanted to stop talking, but, we’d sometimes run out of things to say. We’d fill our conversations with padding, useless shit. Always keeping our eyes on the clocks, and then the minute it changed from 11:59 to 12 it was over. At midnight we’d stop talking, and that’d be it. We’d stay up for hours, waiting, dreading, midnight.

 

Adam and James pick up their chairs and place them at the bottom of center stage, Adam exits stage right. James sits down in one of the chairs, as if there’s a table in front of him.

Adam walks through the door, as if not to disturb anyone. He goes to the fridge and grabs a pitcher of water. Adam appears not to notice James.

JAMES

You want dinner?.

 

Adam does not respond.

 

JAMES

It’s sitting there. In the oven, I mean. It’s black and crusty now. Want it?

 

Adam still does not respond.

 

 

JAMES

The timer went off, but I ignored it. I finally pulled the lasagna out of the oven when the fire alarm started screaming. The batteries are on the counter over there.

 

ADAM

James. What’s this about?

 

JAMES

What’s this about? Maybe the fact that you’ve been gone, for a few hours.

 

ADAM

So?

 

JAMES

Do you know how long I was sitting here?

 

ADAM

What?

 

JAMES

Do you know how long I was sitting here?

 

ADAM

I don’t know, a few hours.

 

JAMES

Five. I have been sitting at this fucking table for five hours.

 

ADAM

So?

 

JAMES

I’ve been here since seven, when you said you’d be home, when you’re always home. I just kept sitting here thinking, that you were gonna be home at any minute. Do you know what happened, Adam? Do you?

 

ADAM

I never showed up.

 

JAMES

Yeah, you never did.

 

ADAM

So, I’m here now.

 

James and Adam break out of character and reset the chairs back to their original positions.

 

JAMES

The first time I knew he liked me we were sitting on his couch, playing Mortal Kombat and he just reached for my thigh. But, it wasn’t like that, it was less about sex and more about touch. There wasn’t anything erotic about it, it was more about wanting to just be near someone. To share their energy. It was, it was pretty sweet. He was always so weird, so unintentionally awkward, seeing him like this. Seeing Adam vulnerable, watching him put his feelings out there, it was, it was something.

 

ADAM

There’s a weird sense of emotion that runs through you when you just go with your gut. When you feel this urge rise up inside you, and you ask yourself “is it worth it?” Then all the possible outcomes start racing through your head at ridiculously fast speeds. It’s a great feeling to just, you know, do something that you actually wanna do. Not having to run every thought by your inner critic for approval. Just doing something for the hell of it.

 

Adam and James put the chairs back in the apartment setting.

 

JAMES

It doesn’t fucking matter that you’re here now.

 

ADAM

Stop freaking out, man.

 

JAMES

Don’t call me “man.” We’re not having a conversation, we aren’t two bros talking about their days, we’re not supposed to be friends right now.

 

 

ADAM

God, you always do this, you put people into little boxes, you organize us, you, you just try and fit everything into a tiny little compartment so everything can go your way. Do you want to know something? Do you?

 

JAMES

What?

 

ADAM

Right now, we aren’t supposed to be anything. We are having a conversation. And we are friends, alright. You’re so stupid sometimes, you try and make everything work in your fucked up favor and it’s never going to work. So stop it, stop saying what we can and can’t be, stop directing everything I say or do or think about doing because it’s stupid. You’re stupid. (pause) I’m going to bed.

 

JAMES

Fine, leave. Go to bed, see if I care. You know what I’m gonna do I’m going to take all of the food in the fridge and stuff it into the oven, then I’ll tape it shut and crank up everything as high as it can go then the building can fill with smoke and then everyone can asphyxiate.

 

ADAM

Fine. Kill us all, see if I care.

 

JAMES

I will.

 

ADAM

Good.

 

JAMES

I’m gonna do it.

 

 

ADAM

No, you’re not going to do it. You’re just saying stupid shit to get me to feel bad for you, to understand your pain. Well you know what, I don’t give a fuck.

 

 

JAMES

C’mon, this isn’t us. Why don’t we go into the bedroom, and I’ll let you do anything to me. Or. On me.

 

 

ADAM

Do you know how sex with you feels? It’s disgusting. It makes me feel disgusting. It’s awful, and it’s gross, and it feels like punishment. I hate it, I hate everything about it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

 

Chairs return to side-by-side positions

 

ADAM

The first time we had sex, it was awkward, it was weird. There was so much we didn’t know about each other’s bodies. Constantly asking if the other felt ‘OK’

 

JAMES

There was tension. And fear. But also passion and care. A weird concoction of different emotions. A balance of acids and bleach. Cancelling each other out, the bad and the good. The hate and the love, everything. It was something like, lightning in a bottle. Never could happen again. It was perfect.

 

ADAM

The second time, we were more adjusted to, well, everything. That’s the thing about sex, it isn’t romantic, or loving. It’s everything. It can be beautiful and passionate, but also disgusting and awful. I guess that’s what makes sex so cool.

 

Back to apartment.

 

JAMES

You hate it?

 

ADAM

Yes, I hate it.

 

JAMES

Alright.

 

ADAM

Sorry. I am. You know that I..that I care about you.

 

JAMES

But you don’t love me, right

 

ADAM

When did I ever say I didn’t love you?

 

JAMES

Right then, when you stuttered.

 

ADAM

I was thinking.

 

JAMES

You weren’t thinking.

 

ADAM

Fine, I wasn’t thinking.

 

Pause.

 

JAMES

You think I’m dumb.

 

ADAM

I don’t think you’re dumb.

 

 

JAMES

Yeah you do.

 

ADAM

I don’t.

 

JAMES

Yes, you do you’v-

 

ADAM

I think you’re very smart.

 

JAMES

You always thought that I-

 

ADAM

I don’t think that you’re dumb.

 

JAMES

That I was an idiot, and that I wasn’t-

 

ADAM

Shut up. Stop talking, please, just shut up.

 

Chairs move back to side by side positions.

 

JAMES

I wanted red hair in high school, like, I really wanted red hair. But Adam told me that I’d look like an idiot, what’s the point, I basically am a idiot.

 

ADAM

He bought this weird hair dye off of Amazon, and a bleaching kit too. I swear he looked insane. Then he started getting tattoos. What he called art ruined his body, it made his skin ugly.

 

 

JAMES

I was told that changing my hair was unnatural, that I would be gawked at and nobody would ever take me seriously. No one ever asked me how I’d feel, how having exciting hair would make me feel. They were trying to protect me, that’s what they said, that they wanted to protect me from what. I didn’t care if anyone leered at me while I walked down the streets. I didn’t mind if people called me freak, I was a freak, I am a freak.

 

ADAM

We were walking down the street, holding hands, and this old lady just stared at James. I knew it was because of his hair, that stupid fucking dye job.

 

JAMES (Looking directly at Adam)

Maybe it’s because we’re gay, Adam. Did you ever think of that?

 

ADAM (In response to James)

You looked like a fucking retard.

 

JAMES

Did you ever stop and think about how happy I was with my hair. How it made me feel beautiful.

 

ADAM

You didn’t look beautiful, you’re beautiful when you don’t have some weird chemicals in your hair or ink shoved in your body.

 

JAMES

But I felt beautiful, I feel beautiful. I don’t care what you think about what I’ve chosen to do to my body and-

 

ADAM
Stop it. James you have got to understand-

 

James gets out of his chair

 

JAMES

Stop it, stop doing that, please. I hate it when you talk to me like I’m fucking five. I’m not five, so stop treating me like I’m a child because I’m not a goddam child.

 

ADAM

You’re right. You’re not a child. But you-

 

JAMES

There’s always a fucking but. Why can’t you just admit that I was right, just once.

 

Neither of them say anything, for a very long time.

 

JAMES

Just tell me. (pause) Why you were out until midnight.

 

Adam says nothing.

 

JAMES

Please?

 

ADAM

I was in the park.

 

JAMES

The park?

 

 

ADAM

Thinking. Sometimes, late at night, I go into the park and I lay on the grass and I just think. I look at the sky, I look at the stars. I just think.

 

James picks up a chair and sits down.

 

JAMES
Do you think I’m an idiot?

 

ADAM

What?

 

JAMES

Do you think that I’m an idiot, because you think that I’m going to believe that you go into the fucking park to think for hours on end. That you lay on the grass, in the dark and-

 

ADAM

Shut up! Just shut up, please. God.

 

JAMES

No. Listen to me.

 

ADAM

No. Just listen to me. Please.

 

JAMES

Just tell me where you went.

 

ADAM

I was in the park.

 

JAMES

No you weren’t.

 

ADAM

Fine. I wasn’t laying in the grass. I wasn’t looking at the stars. I wasn’t even in the park. I was out.

JAMES

Where?

 

ADAM

Just out.

 

JAMES

Just fucking tell me.

 

ADAM

Why do you care?

 

JAMES

I just wanna know.

 

ADAM

Why?

 

JAMES

Because I want us to work out.

 

ADAM

That’s it, you just want everything to be fine and dandy again. (Pause) Just face it, it’s never going to be okay again. This is it.

Adam walks towards the door.

 

JAMES

Where are you going now?

 

ADAM

Out.

Adam opens the door.

JAMES

Where?

 

ADAM

Just out.

Adam shuts the door.

 

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