A Play About Nothing and Love
Nothingness is more terrifying than death. We’d rather be small than not at all, rather go on than cease. This is a short play about two imaginary people talking while existence erodes away. In retrospect, it’s a little Never-ending Story in that sense, but more incoherent and metaphorical. Enjoy.
Schizophrenia, in Shades of Peyote
NARRATOR: As we descend upon Imaginary Paul and Imaginary Lily, we notice the
desert has surrounded them, and is demanding their surrender. Little did the desert realize
that it, itself, was in far too much trouble to be chasing after Imaginary people.
The desert, like most things, was a sad member of the club “reality,” which had been a
very popular club until the about 1960s, when folks started needing it less and less. Turns
out, the club owner owed the landlord and was in deep with the sharks from making bad
bets on philosophical contradictions. With the fading appeal of “reality” and property
taxes to pay, the owner jumped ship one night in a beat-up Ford Galaxy and was never
heard from again. The debts were called in, and Imaginary Paul and Imaginary Lily, with
the desert around them, were soon to consumed by the shrinking edge of everything,
closing in from all sides.
Neither of the un-real duo noticed when the part of reality that allows one to speak
plainly and without metaphor was swallowed into nil and lost forever. They were far too
focused on the woes of poor Imaginary Paul, who didn’t know if he should a certain,
troublesome someone, and was agonizing over it.
So, they discussed the pros and cons, not knowing that the girl in question had ceased to
be mere minutes before, when her town fell into nowhere.
IMAGINARY LILY: This girl is the disregard of a clumsy power. November lists the
reasons why December can’t be trusted.
IMAGINARY PAUL: She says certain somethings, racked with promises, bitter as dust.
IMAGINARY LILY: Ah. “I love you,” with tongue in cheek.
IMAGINEARY PAUL: In so many ways, I believe her.
IMAGINARY LILY: Yet here she is, shade under which you’ll wilt slowly.
IMAGINARY PAUL: But all of a sudden the sun’s the worse, and no petals to spare.
NARRATOR: Only now does the desert notice an itch on its back. Forgetting the non-
literal conversation, it leaves to investigate its stinging fringes.
IMAGINARY LILY: You’re a celestial butterfly. Who else would you prize to waste
IMAGINARY PAUL: Well, a waste with thorns. A tragedy with a hat on. Not a broken
IMAGINARY LILY: Moments of grace. They shoot fire across the brim of every old
woman’s wine glass, give glancing blows to god. Sham of shame, only emptiness.
NARRATOR: Imaginary Lily didn’t know that at that very moment, emptiness is what
the desert found gnawing away its periphery. It screamed in a panic, “Squaaaaaaa!”
which no one ever came to know was the desert’s battle cry.
IMAGINARY PAUL: A buffoon for moments remembered for eons is still someone
else’s putty. A world without water is countered somewhere by oceans of seas.
IMAGINARY LILY: (scoffing) You’ve swam and choked enough on green eyes. Choked
beneath bent blood-vessels and seeped salt so deep to trudge silt down windy tunnels till
the capture of Chronos.
IMAGINARY PAUL: (defensively) And enough word inflation to make typists charge by
the verb. Thusly: a mirror of ghosts yet to die by the spice of your own brew.
IMAGINARY LILY: Don’t negate the thickness of flares. Better to be a Christ than a
IMAGINARY PAUL: (annoyed) A feather-pillow in a coffin under piss-yellow dirt.
What a nice evening suit, worn far below the remnants of better-destined epitaphs. Your
grandiose conception of the potential supernova is, I’m afraid, a non-sequitur.
IMAGINARY LILY shifts, uncomfortably.
IMAGINARY PAUL: You speak enveloped in the dauntless shadow of undisputed
truths, uncontested, intentionally respected with silence. Unwilling or unaware of the
graciousness of a lie meant sincerely.
NARRATOR: Now the desert had begun to battle. Sweat broke out on its brow when the
sword melted into his foe, and the sands turned glass, then to unframed horizon. It’d
never encountered such a dangerous nothing.
IMAGINARY LILY: A lusty muse, then?
IMAGINARY PAUL: An effort of intention based on the bottom of Babel that still
stands, and always should.
IMAGINARY LILY: Men fall so a man can rise. Would you really pluralize your
singularity after such infamous disconnect?
IMAGINARY PAUL: I would, at least, lock safe the flowers I’ve gathered in darkness
and fingered in fits fit for forsaken angels.
NARRATOR: Now the desert has relented. Frayed down to a useless tract of sand and
rock, it was now no more than the small space surrounding two oblivious back-talkers.
There was no appeal, no last chance to make rent and the lullabies had been sung. It let
itself erode, defeated, into the void.
IMAGINARY LILY: More blankets when nature is ice.
IMAGINARY PAUL: More ticks on the abacus that make the making anything.
IMAGINARY LILY: Only because math is alone on the chalkboard.
IMAGINARY PAUL: And I’m alone to find poetry? Prometheus for an ungrateful
future? He who popes the virtue of solitary ascension?
IMAGINARY LILY: I preach possibilities. I spout dignities born in heights. Fighters
who fight in fear of falling make crater tourist attractions.
NARRATOR: The sun is dying now. So too is the wind. The air is pulling into the nearby
outskirts and cold settles for a moment, before the end of moments.
IMAGINARY PAUL: Fear has its reasons.
IMAGINARY LILY: So do you.
IMAGINARY PAUL: I’m still lost.
IMAGINARY LILY: I know. You just want her to be lost with you.
IMAGINARY PAUL: Yes.
IMAGINARY LILY: When did it get dark?
IMAGINARY PAUL: Are you cold too?
IMAGINARY LILY: Wait. Where did everything g—
NARRATOR: Thus perished Imaginary Lily, Imaginary Paul, the desert, and everything.
I think I speak for all of us when I say, ‘It was just a matter of time,’ and, ‘good