Sunday, April 30, 2006

Save as draft

Nina: Argo, you look depressed. Did Walmarto get to you?

Argo: You know, sometimes I think, the last great change to the human experience was the telephone. I mean, cars and planes let you get places faster, but it's just a quantitative thing. You get to a place sooner, but you could have walked there if you wanted.

Bellboy: What about computers? Or the internet? People love that stuff.

Nina: Not this again.

Argo: Yeah, but they didn't add anything new. People could already read and write. People already could do math and science. Now they can do it a lot faster, and without wasting paper. So what?

Bellboy: So what's so great about the telephone? People could already talk to eachother, right? What's so new about that?

Argo: Because now they could talk to eachother and not have to be in the same place. It was like, suddenly, you could be anywhere you wanted to be, or at least your intellect could be there, and you could interact with any other person in the world who also had a phone. That's not quantitative, it's qualitative. That's new.

Bellboy: No it's not, it's just like shouting across the yard. Have you heard of yodeling?

Argo: Right, I thought of that. So I decided I was wrong. It's not the telephone that was the last great thing people came up with.

Bellboy: So what is it then?

Argo: I thought, maybe it's reading and writing. That way, you could communicate with the dead if you wanted, or at least hear what they had to say; and it's kind of like the telephone, where you can talk to someone who's not there, and have them talk back. So really, the telephone is just a high speed postal service.

Bellboy: I have a feeling you didn't settle there either.

Argo: Right. Reading and writing is just like talking. Replacing a human being with a sheet of paper is neat, but it's just a bigger delay, a coagulation of soundwaves. A person speaks, and maybe he's heard a few milliseconds later. Or maybe no one's listening. A person writes, and maybe he's read a few years later. Or maybe no one's reading. Writing is to paper as speaking is to air. So I went back further, and thought, maybe it was like in 2001, where the monkey picks up the rock and hits the other monkey with it. Maybe it was the first time one guy realized he didn't need fists or fangs, he could just take a sharp rock and do his buddy in. That was a big advance, right?

Nina: That was a dumb movie.

Bellboy: But just a quantitative advance on fists and fangs, right. One weapon is as good as any other, just faster or sharper or heavier. So did you come to any conclusions?

Argo: I almost decided that there was nothing new, nothing that people had done in all their existence that made them different from all the other monkeys and the other rats. But, then I realized I had forgotten about global isochrony! Surely, that's something new! That's people doing something they've never done before!

Bellboy: But?

Argo: People had kept time since sundials, and before. Waking up and killing something and going to sleep is a sort of keeping time. What's so special about everyone keeping the same time? Why is that different from one person keeping his own time?

(Long silence)

(Ms Sandy enters)

Ms Sandy: Argo, kitchen. Now.

(Ms Sandy leaves)

Argo: Tonight, I am going to set this place on fire.

Bellboy: That will be something new.

Nina: I'll say.

(Argo leaves)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Emblem. Emblem emblem emblem.

Dr Walmarto: I have a problem.

Argo: What is it, Doc?

Dr Walmarto: Often, I-

(Nina enters)

Argo: Go on, Doc, what's the problem?

Nina: Walmarto has a problem? What's wrong, Doc?

Dr Walmarto: See, often I am unable to-

(Bellboy enters)

Bellboy: Man! That guy won't stop talking! When is this thing going to be over?

Nina: Shush! Walmarto's telling us his problem!

Bellboy: Is it about his father? Doc, you don't have to do this.

Argo: And why not?

Bellboy: Because you and Nina will laugh at him, that's why.

Nina: Will not! How can you say that?

Argo: I think you undervalue our respective capacities for empathy, Bellboy. I am an excellent listener, and Nina can be very perceptive. Combined, we will make this very worthwhile.

Nina: Right, now Doc, what's going on?

Dr Walmarto: Often, too often, I am unable to discriminate between Tracey Chapman and Dan Fogelberg. They peaked twenty years apart, are of different gender, and of different racial makeup, and yet-

Argo: That's pretty lame, Doc.

Nina: Yeah, that's a pathetic problem. I wouldn't tell people about it.

Argo: You suck, Doc.

(Argo leaves)

Nina: Anyway, Bellboy, the speaker stops at eleven, that's what Ms Sandy said. Then they're giving out awards, then it's all over.

Bellboy: That really is a silly problem Doc. I wouldn't let it bother you.

Dr Walmarto: My father always told me he wanted-

Nina: Doc, we're not falling for it. It's eleven, Bellboy, you should get ready for the escapees.

(Nina leaves)

Dr Walmarto: He always told me he wanted to go to Sweden, to see the ice foxes.

Bellboy: Are there ice foxes in Sweden?

Dr Walmarto: They're lovely! Beautiful white fur, like a snowy flame enveloping a puppydog. They eat only snow, and they never, ever urinate.

Bellboy: O, eleven comes! And I, trapped, with Walmarto, sigh to Great Heaven.

Dr Walmarto: Sad, it's so sad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"what have i here, but i have two brass screws
on my desk, but though i type and drink
from this cup of coke from mcdonalds, still
i wonder," i wondered.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Head on a string

Argo: Where is the cheese?

(Nina enters)

Argo: Where is the cheese? The cheese I put right here, just a minute ago?

Italio: Non so.

Argo: Italio, what did you do with the cheese? We have a full platter of GCSs on order, and you're hiding the cheese?

Nina: Argo, we have to get the food out before the invocation at ten. Ms Sandy is going crazy!

Argo: I know, I know! Italio! What's your problem?

Italio: Non sono buono, Argo. Ho un dolore della stomache.

Argo: Speak English, Italio! Where is the cheese? Where is the cheese, man!

Nina: This isn't working.

Italio: I know.

Argo: Oh, here it is. The cheese.

Nina: My god.

(Nina leaves)

Italio: Have you ever had the thought that people just sort of float around, like those trains that crawl up the sides of mountains, except that the body is like the train-

Argo: You mean a cable car?

Italio: That's it, a cable car.

Argo: So what's the cable, then? The brain?

Italio: Sort of. I mean, I guess I was thinking that the cable is the wanting to do things in the future that we all have. Or that we all sort of have. If you stop wanting to do things in the future, the car falls down the mountain, and that's the end of it.

Argo: Are you depressed, Italio?

Italio: Someone told me this story the other day, about a guy who breaks a really important promise, then has to kill himself. And everyone understands.

Argo: Nina! Nina!

Italio: So now, I walk around, and everyone I see is like a floating head, with legs and arms just sort of dangling underneath, and the head just drags them all around, on some invisible cable that's always extending off to the future somewhere.

(Nina enters)

Nina: What is it? Señora Plankton almost spilled her coffee when you yelled out like that!

Argo: Talk to Italio, he's talking about killing himself.

Italio: Not exactly, Argo. You see, Nina-

Argo: Biscuits.

Nina: What?

Italio: I wasn't talking about killing myself, Nina. I was just telling Argo about this idea I had.

Nina: I had a dream last night, Italio. I dreamed that you were telling me a boring story, and that you had just told it to Argo.

Argo: Ha!

Italio: That's strange.

Nina: It just went on, and on, and on. And Señora Saladmaker was screaming for coffee and carrotcake, and you just kept on talking.

Italio: What was I talking about?

Nina: It was something about how people are just like those cars that drive around in grooves in the ground, and-

Argo: The Tin Lizzies!

Nina: I don't think that's it.

Italio: You know, I was just telling Argo about something very similar. You see, I had suggested that people were just like-

(Nina leaves)

Argo: Italio, where is the butter?

Italio: Who's there?

Argo: I don't have time for this.

(Ms Sandy enters)

Ms Sandy: Boys! Where are those sandwiches? It's ten o' clock, and the invocation has started! Which of you is going to apologize to Sñr Pluto for this foul up?

Italio: Maybe that's not it at all. Maybe we're all just like balloons, but we're tied to the ground because we can't get out of our shoes. Maybe when my watch says 'Italio, it's 5 o' clock, it's time to go home', it's actually saying, 'Italio, you fool, don't go home! Go to Mexico and get in a fight with a Guatemalan! Go down the street and buy a bottle of strawberry milk and drink it and cry, and cry, and cry, because it's the last strawberry milk you'll ever have! Live, Italio! Live!'

Ms Sandy: But watches don't say such things. They rule us like the cowards we are, they don't free us to drink milk and go to Chiapas. Sandwiches, boys, sandwiches!

Argo: I don't wear a watch.