Blesok no. 96, May-June, 2014
Prose


Scheherezade (black comedy in 1001 minutes)

Srđan Janićijević


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

UNCLE
YOUNGSTER
THE GIRL

(MINUTE 0001)

A dirty basement with two doors, one of which is shelter-like, made of metal. It is filled with high-tech equipment (computers, LCD monitors etc.) unbecoming of the place. Enter YOUNGSTER and UNCLE. They are carrying a rolled-up carpet. They seem a bit panicked.

UNCLE
Drop it here.

YOUNGSTER
Here!?

UNCLE
Just for a while.

YOUNGSTER
Our equipment is here!

UNCLE
Open the door.

YOUNGSTER
Why me?

UNCLE
You’ve got the key.

YOUNGSTER
I don’t have it. You took it.

UNCLE
Who is it that found this place?

YOUNGSTER
Did I find it?

UNCLE
My hands are getting heavy! Just drop it! Let’s find the keys.

YOUNGSTER
If you drop the carpet I’ll… Don’t mess around!

UNCLE
Check your pockets.

YOUNGSTER
You check them! I’m certain.

UNCLE
Don’t yell!

YOUNGSTER
Don’t pressure me! Check! ONE HANDED!

Using his left hand Uncle checks his left pocket, while holding the carpet with his right. The carpet seems heavier than it should be. He repeats the procedure with his other hand and pocket.

UNCLE
I don’t have them. You check.

YOUNGSTER
(Shaking his hips)
Do you hear any jingling?

UNCLE
(Looks around paranoicaly)
What jingling?! Why jingling?!

YOUNGSTER
The keys! If I had them, they would jingle.

UNCLE
Stop jingling. I don’t have them, either. Check again.

YOUNGSTER
Don’t yell at me. I don’t respond well to pressure.

Youngster repeats the same procedure with his hands and pockets. Still nothing.

UNCLE
Wait a second… How did we get in?

Youngster turns toward the door through which they entered.

YOUNGSTER
They’re hanging on the door.

UNCLE
Go get them/

YOUNGSTER
Hold.

Youngster leaves the carpet in the hands of Uncle.

UNCLE
I can’t hold it by myself.

YOUNGSTER
Don’t you drop the carpet!
(He goes to the door, takes the keys out, and starts waving them.)
You were supposed to lock the door.

UNCLE
Come help me! I’m about to drop it. Hurry.

YOUNGSTER
(in a paranoid manner)
Wait a second… Why didn’t you lock it?

UNCLE
How could I lock it?! You had the key! The door is open! Can’t you see?!

YOUNGSTER
That’s bad. Your plan sucks! Now, hold on to the carpet because this is starting to make me crazy!

Unable to hold it any longer, Uncle drops the carpet. Silence. The situation brings out nervous ticks on Youngsters face.

UNCLE
Take it easy, relax. Everything is under control. Don’t panic. Here, I’m holding it, it won’t roll out.

YOUNGSTER
You know what’s driving me crazy? The fact that you treat me like I’m crazy.

UNCLE
It can happen to anyone.

YOUNGSTER
Anyone!? Does anyone rent a basement? Does anyone fill his basement with this kind of equipment? Does anyone get in debt over his head to buy this equipment?
(Points at carpet)
Does anyone carry this to the same basement? Does anyone has the same goal as the two of us? What are we doing here, Uncle?

UNCLE
We have a mission. I told you that.

YOUNGSTER
Who told me?!

UNCLE
I told you.

YOUNGSTER
So I’m not only crazy? I’m also dumb, huh?

UNCLE
Take it easy. You’re neither dumb, nor crazy. Relax. It was your idea. It was your plan.

YOUNGSTER
(Pause)
I would’ve never come up with such a stupid plan.

UNCLE
Stupid!?

YOUNGSTER
Exactly! All of it… The keys, the carpet… (Looks around)
And how the fuck did you find this place?

UNCLE
Why? What’s wrong with it?

YOUNGSTER
It’s kinda dump. Smells musty. It’s gonna ruin the equipment, and we’re in debt over our heads.

UNCLE
It’s a basement, like any other. What should it smell like? A french perfume?!

YOUNGSTER
I don’t know. It’s kinda dark. If it only had a window or something…

UNCLE
What?! So everyone can see what we’re doing in here?!

YOUNGSTER
Don’t get upset, I was only pointing out. It’s ideal for this work, just not pleasant to work in.

UNCLE
Aren’t you a delicate one.

YOUNGSTER
You really know how to insult me!

UNCLE
OK, I’m just saying… What’s wrong with this place? I wouldn’t even mind staying here.

YOUNGSTER
What do you mean by “staying here”?

UNCLE
For some time… while this lasts. I would even move in here.

YOUNGSTER
(Suspiciously)
Why am I not familiar with this part of the plan?

UNCLE
Surprise!

YOUNGSTER
I hate surprises! Even the pleasant ones! My friends threw a surprise party for my birthday once. All had gathered… Lots of presents, nice ones. But the guy standing closest to me… He’s still limping on one leg. Surprise? Here’s your surprise!
(Pause)
I don’t handle well situations like that. This is not what we planned. What’s this supposed to mean, Uncle?

UNCLE
This is supposed to mean that… I’m going to stand guard.

YOUNGSTER
Wait, wait, wait. Then, why did we choose a place like this?
(Points at the big metal door)
There’s no need for a guard. This place can withstand a nuclear attack! Why the fuck would you have to stand guard. You’re messing with my head.
You’re not telling me everything. Level with me, or I promise this is going to become your most unpleasant day, ever!

UNCLE
This already is my most unpleasant day, ever. (Suddenly starts to sob)

YOUNGSTER
And I’m supposed to be the delicate one? You’re weeping, and I haven’t even touched you.
(Grabs him)
Uncle, if you don’t level with me, you’re gonna start hurting for real.

UNCLE
It hurts!

YOUNGSTER
No, it doesn’t. But it will, soon!

UNCLE
Stop, Youngster. I have no place to go. I can’t go back home! My old lady threw me away.

YOUNGSTER
(Releasing him)
What are you saying?! “Threw you away” how exactly?

UNCLE
(Weeping)
… from home.

YOUNGSTER
You broke up? Again?

UNCLE
You… You… You’re fucking with me?

YOUNGSTER
Sorry. How should I know? What happened?

UNCLE
Nothing. She came home… Late.

YOUNGSTER
Wait a minute. Very late?

UNCLE
Late enough!

YOUNGSTER
Did you asked her where she had been.

UNCLE
I asked her: “Where you’ve been till now?”

YOUNGSTER
What do you mean? I’ve been here with you this whole time!

UNCLE
Not you! Her.

YOUNGSTER
How should I know where she’s been?

UNCLE
And how would you know where she’s been?!

YOUNGSTER
Calm down. Easy now.
(Pause, Uncle bursts into crying)
OK. OK. It’ll be alright. You’ll see.

UNCLE
It will not be alright, Youngster. It will not! Do you know what she said?

YOUNGSTER
I don’t! You’re crying.

UNCLE
You’d be crying, too! She said: You know I love you very much/

YOUNGSTER
Fuck! I’d be crying, too.
(Pause)
It’s that bad, ha?

UNCLE
(Whining)
I asked her: Is there somebody else?

YOUNGSTER
No! No way!
(Pause)
I’m certain there’s nobody else. No way. She’s a nice little housewife type.
(Pause)
So what did she say?

UNCLE
She said: I’m fed up of your jealousy! I can’t stand it anymore. You’re suffocating me! I can’t breath anymore.
(Crying)

YOUNGSTER
It’s the same old song again, huh?

UNCLE
And she said: That’s why I want you to leave!

YOUNGSTER
Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. You’re always pushing people too much. That’s how you are – you’re pusher. I’m telling you, you’ve got to change something. You put everybody under a lot of pressure – you pressure me, you pressure her. You’re a pressurer.

UNCLE
I’m pressuring everybody? I’m a pressurer?

YOUNGSTER
You see? There you go again.

UNCLE
Well… I promised her that I’ll change. I even got down on my knees, and begged her to forgive me.

YOUNGSTER
You should be treating her like a princess. She’s a true housemaker.

UNCLE
She hugged me, and confessed.

YOUNGSTER
Confessed what?! She’s lying!

UNCLE
No, she’s not! There’s someone else!

YOUNGSTER
No, there’s not! She’s a lying bitch.

UNCLE
Yes, there is. She’s not lying.

YOUNGSTER
And did she say who it is?

Uncle bursts into tears.

YOUNGSTER
Cry it out, you’ll feel better. You’ve gotta calm down, get a grip on yourself. I know this is not exactly the best of times. You gotta be strong. Have courage. You and I have a mission. You could stay at my place but maybe it wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.

UNCLE
I know, I know. We shouldn’t be seen together. That’s why I’ll be staying here.

YOUNGSTER
Yes…
(Pause)
No! So you can stand guard.
(Pause)




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