copyright © 2004 Todd Ristau

Listening To The Voices #2

Todd Ristau June 23rd, 2004

Lights up as a man enters the stage slowly, tentatively. He looks around and then looks up at the light booth. He speaks in that direction.

VOICE #1: Are you there? Can you hear me?

VOICE #2: I’m here.

VOICE #1: I need your help.

VOICE #2: You always do. What can I do for you this time? Girls? Drugs? Money.

VOICE #1: No, advice.

VOICE #2: Advice, that’s a new one.

VOICE #1: Are you going to help me or mock me?

VOICE #2: Can’t I do both?

VOICE #1: I’m in real trouble. I don’t have anyone else to turn to.

VOICE #2: Why is it that I’m never the first person you turn to, I’m always the last.

VOICE #1: I don’t like owing you anything.

VOICE #2: You’re already into me for a hell of a lot.

VOICE #1: Alright, I don’t want to add to what I owe you.

VOICE #2: Why? I don’t charge interest, I just expect to be paid back.

VOICE #1: I know. It’s good of you. You could really screw me if you wanted to.

VOICE #2: So why do you only come to me when you’re desperate? I might be more helpful if you came to me first, like you thought I was important.

VOICE #1: Don’t put it like that.

VOICE #2: How else should I put it?

VOICE #1: I...feel...guilty asking for help.

VOICE #2: Ok, that makes more sense. See, the truth doesn’t hurt that much, does it?

VOICE #1: I need your advice on something. Something big.

VOICE #2: Sure, anything you want. I’m all ears.

VOICE #1: I need a goal.

VOICE #2: What the fuck are you talking about?

VOICE #1: I’m just, like, floating, like I’m in an ocean and i can’t even swim. I don’t even know if I want to swim.

VOICE #2: Sounds awful.

VOICE #1: It never bothered me before.

VOICE #2: Why is it bothering you now?

VOICE #1: Because I never thought of it before.

VOICE #2: What made you think of it now?

VOICE #1: I was watching a movie, and everybody knew exactly what they wanted, had a plan to get what they wanted, knew what was keeping them from getting what they wanted...I got nothing like that. I don’t know what I want, never planned how to get anything--

VOICE #2: You plan how to get paid, and get laid, don’t you?

VOICE #1: That’s not the same thing.

VOICE #2: You want something more long term?

VOICE #1: I want something that when I get it the credits can roll. You know? I want a goal that when I get it I can die and know that I lived. That it was interesting to somebody.

VOICE #2: Living isn’t interesting to you?

VOICE #1: I’m not interesting to me. I’m a lump of shit.

VOICE #2: (sighs) How am I supposed to help you with this? Money, broads, a gun, this I can do, but a goal, that seems like its something you gotta do all on your own.

VOICE #1: I thought you loved me.

VOICE #2: Love you? Jesus, I don’t even like you.

VOICE #1: So why have you been helping with all that other stuff?

VOICE #2: It was fun.

VOICE #1: Fun?

VOICE #2: Sure, I like to watch.

VOICE #1: But, I thought...I thought you were...

VOICE #2: You thought I was somebody else. Shit happens. You gotta be careful what you ask for, pally, but you gotta be a lot more careful who you ask for it from. You know?

VOICE #1: But...

VOICE #2: It’s not like you ever even used my name, or his name, if you like. You always just look up and ask for whatever you want whenever you want it.

VOICE #1: And you give it.

VOICE #2: That’s right. I do. And do you know why?

VOICE #1: Why?

VOICE #2: Because, I have a goal.

Man looks suddenly nervous as lights fade to black.


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