aiting for the Unknown
An empty room. A computer workstation. Evening.
Guillespigon, sitting in front of the computer, is trying to type. He places both hands above the keyboard. He gives up, exhausted, and his hands drop into his lap. After resting for a time, he raises his hands again, only to drop them as before.
Guillespigon:(giving up again)Nothing to be done.
Vladirkimir:Im beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life Ive tried to ignore the obvious, saying, Vladirkimir, be reasonable, you havent yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle.(Turning to Guillespigon) So there you are again. Here we are again.
Guillespigon: Am I? Are we?
Vladirkimir: Cant you tell?
Guillespigon: No. Not really. Ive been so tired lately.
Vladirkimir: No sleep?
Guillespigon: None. I work 40 hours a week staring at a computer screen, then come here to stare some more. I try to sleep . . . but . . . until it ends . . .
Vladirkimir: Until what ends?
Guillespigon: You know.
Vladirkimir: No. I dont know.
Guillespigon: You knew yesterday.
Vladirkimir: Was I here yesterday?
Guillespigon: Of course you were! Dont you remember?
Vladirkimir: Not exactly . . .
Guillespigon: Whats wrong with you? No wonder it never ends!
Vladirkimir: What? What never ends?
Guillespigon: I give up. Truly, there is nothing to be done. Were doomed.
Vladirkimir: Im sorry. Please dont be angry. I . . . I . . . I admit Ive been suffering from blackouts lately. . .
Guillespigon: (severely) Bookers?
Vladirkimir: (sheepishly) Yes.
Guillespigon: (shaking his head) Marijuana?
Vladirkimir: (softly) Yes.
Vladirkimir: (even more softly) Yes.
Guillespigon: LSD? Jamesons? Cocaine? Champagne? Ecstacy? Honkers? Heroin? Cough syrup?
Vladirkimir does not speak.
Guillespigon: (angrily) Dirdir!
Vladirkimir: (almost too soft to hear) I . . . I . . .
Vladirkimir: (after a long pause) Well, I . . . (resigned) yes . . . that sounds right.
Guillespigon: What sounds right?
Vladirkimir: Your list. I dont think theres anything left to add . . . oh, Extra Strength Tylenol towards the end of the evening . . .
Guillespigon: (nearly shrieking in fury) What? Are you saying you consumed them all at once!?
Vladirkimir: Well, no, I mean I might have washed down some of the shrooms with Honkers but otherwise . . . you know, one thing led to another and . . .
Pointedly, Guillespigon stares at Vladirkimir, and does not speak.
Vladirkimir: Im sorry.
Guillespigon continues staring, obviously angry and disappointed.
Vladirkimir: (pitifully) Please, Guiwi, dont be like that. Ill do better. I promise. Just tell me what has to be done.
Guillespigon: (coldly) Why? So you can forget everything again?
Vladirkimir: Forget what? Tell me, Guiwi, please. What is this it that needs to end?
Guillespigon: (after an extremely long pause, during which half the audience leaves the theatre, and a sigh) The Unknown. It is the Unknown.
Vladirkimir: Dont tease me, Guiwi, Ive already admitted I dont know . . .
Guillespigon: (completely frustrated and redfaced) THE Unknown, you moron! Our hypertext for the millenium! Has your brain completely evaporated?
Vladirkimir: Ooooooooooh. Right. (Another extremely long pause, during which the rest of the audience exits, then timidly) Are we still working on that?
Guillespigon: (with withering sarcasm) Yes, though that presumes you ever worked on it in the first place. (Under his breath) Slacker.
Vladirkimir: I heard that!
Guillespigon: Deny it if you can. (Hissing) S-s-s-s-s-s-s-slacker!
He slumps, vanquished.
Vladirkimir: Guiwi? (No response.) Guiwi? Im sorry. That was probably a bit harsh.
Vladirkimir: Definitely. Forgive me?
Guillespigon: Oh, all right. (Pause. Peers into the now empty auditorium.) It appears we are alone. You wouldnt happen to have any pot left from your Bacchinalian excesses?
Vladirkimir: I think so. Let me check.
Vladirkimir begins searching his pockets. From the seemingly limitless depths he removes several empty liquor bottles and beer cans, candy wrappers, bongs, notebooks, pens and pencils, roach clips, lighters, newspapers, books of poetry, floppy disks, pipes, rolling papers, printer cartridges, TV remotes, cats (which run squawling into the night), light bulbs, keys, crumpled dollar bills, loose change, playing cards, a bowler hat, and finally, about three dozen film canisters. Vladirkimir begins opening the canisters one by one.
Vladirkimir: Aha! (Having found what he was looking for, Vladirkimir loads a bowl and hands it Guillespigon.) Here you go.
Guillespigon: Thank you.
He rummages through Vladirkimirs pile, finds a lighter, and is about to smoke when he is startled by a loud shout.
Scottzo: (offstage) ASSIGNMENTS!
Guillespigon: (wearily) Oh no. Not again.
Scottzo: (offstage) ASSIGNMENTS!
Vladirkimir: (frightened) What was that?
Guillespigon: Dont tell me youve forgotten this, too? Though, on the other hand, I can see why you might want to . . . Id repress such memories if I could . . .
Vladirkimir: What? Whats going on?
Guillespigon: Patience, my lapsed-synapsed friend, youll see.
Enter Scottzo, bellowing.
Scottzo carries a laptop in one hand and with his other hand he holds a taut rope that is tied to something offstage.
Scottzo: (grandiloquently) Greetings fellow travellers through the Unknown! It is I, your benevolent friend and collaborator, hub and circumference, foundation stone and roof tile, webmaster and web-equal, alpha male and omega point, a hunk of burning funk with extra horsepower in my trunk, hypertexted and oversexed, underappreciated, underfunded and under the influence, pioneer fictioneer, here, there, everywhere, expansive, expensive, impressive, aggressive, nimble, humble, known to grumble, sometimes stumble, always upright, never uptight, beer-drinker, cig-smoker, big thinker, weed-toker, coffee-swigger, hair-trigger, riprapping, zipzapping, lipflapping, toetapping, prone to be stoned, zoned on a bone, feverish as a dervish, devilish as a wish, seer of visions, typer of fissions, a tight ball of fusion, wrapped in seclusion, owner of Maestro, patron of bistros, guide to writers, snide to blighters, lover of Brown and Coovers town, champion of electronic lit, defender of the chronic hit, born naked, living sacred, ascendent, transplendent, freeing blind minds from painful confinements with timely rhymely gainful assignments (to which I, Scottzo, will add any needed refinements)(sees Guillespigon with bowl and lighter in hand) For me? But of course. (Grabs bowl and lighter from Guillespigon, sucks down the entire thing in one lung-busting hit, then tosses empty bowl and lighter aside.)
Guillespigon: Youre welcome.
Scottzo: Ah, bosom buddy Guildenstern! So good to see you again . . .
Scottzo: . . . to share a soulful bowl with your winsome, skinsome self, to breathe deep the restorative herbal combustibles . . . uh, what did you say?
Guillespigon: Guillespigon. My name is Guillespigon, not Guildenstern.
Scottzo: Uh, right, whatever. So, how goes it noble Guilden-, uh, Quillpen-, uh Killescargot?
Guillespigon: (exasperated) Guill-es-pi-gon. And its not.
Scottzo: Whats not?
Guillespigon: Oh my God, not you, too!
Scottzo: Now, nowno blasphemy! Theres only one God, and though I realize theres a definite resemblence, I shouldnt be placed in His category just yet.
Guillespigon: (muttering) Good fucking Lord, can no one rid me of this idiocy?
Scottzo: I heard that and now I am forced to scold you: you should be ashamed! Commenting on a deitys sex life like that, tsk tsk tsk. On the other hand, what a marvelous spontaneous rhyme: rid me / idiocy. I love it! I used to be a poet, you know, gave it up for fiction, but occasionally I return to the genre and allow it to bask in my reflected glory. I must save that rhyme. Hold that pose, while I turn on my laptop.
Scottzo begins fiddling with his computer, though clearly he is having some difficulties. Vladirkimir edges closer to Guillespigon.
Vladirkimir: (softly, so as not to disturb Scottzo) He seems vaguely familiar. Is he part of the Unknown project?
Guillespigon: He used to be. Lately, though, hes been spending most of his time asking wealthy people to give him money for things that dont exist yet.
Vladirkimir: What kind of things?
Guillespigon: Id rather not get into it.
Vladirkimir: Gwiwi, have you noticed the rope?
Soon after Scottzos entrance, the ropes angle relative to the stage has been changing, as though whatever it is attached to had begun climbing up to an unseen catwalk above the stage and then begun moving towards the center. By the time Scottzo drops his end to work with his computer the rope hangs perfectly perpendicular behind him.
Guillespigon: Thats Scottzos dog writer, Franky. . .
Vladirkimir: Oh, I love dogs. (reflects a moment) I didnt know they could be taught to write.
Guillespigon: Hes not a dog, you nimrod. He writes about dogs.
Vladirkimir: Oh. (Pause.) Whys he on a leash, then?
Guillespigon: Im not sure exactly, but there have been rumors of a Krass-Mueller Connection.
Vladirkimir: A what?
Guillespigon: Forget it.
Vladirkimir: Have you ever seen him?
Vladirkimir: No, Franky.
Guillespigon: Its been a long time. Occasionally, I wonder if I shall ever see him again.
Vladirkimir: So youd like to?
Guillespigon: Yes. For one thing, hes a real babe magnet.
Vladirkimir: Women like dogs. Particularly the small cute ones. And puppies.
Guillespigon starts to reply, thinks better of it; instead, he retrieves the bowl and lighter, finds the proper canister, loads the bowl, and is about to smoke when . . . Scottzo closes his laptop, sees what Guillespigon is about to do and . . .
Scottzo: (loudly) Ah, the refreshing rigors of writing, the exuberant exhiliration of ex nihilo extraction! For me? But of course. (Grabs the bowl and lighter from Guillespigon, fills his lungs, and, again, tosses the lighter and empty bowl aside.) So, Killjoyboy, what do you think of your new assignments?
Guillespigon: I dont know because . . .
Scottzo: Because theyre for the Unknown!!! (laughs loud and long) Get it? Dont know / Unknown? (continues laughing, then very seriously) You know, sometimes I really dont understand why Im not extremely rich . . . ah well. In any case, as you were saying, Woebegone . . .
Guillespigon: (through gritted teeth) As I was saying, I dont know what to think about the new assignments because I HAVEnt SEEN THEM YET. YOU HAVEnt GIVEN THEM TO ME WHICH MAKES IT RATHER DIFFICULT TO HAVE AN OPINION.
Scottzo: Whoa, there, Quohogonwondaland, youre saying you havent seen the new assignments?
Scottzo: Well, why didnt you just say so? (Searches for and finds the rope which he yanks violently while yelling) Franky! Franky! Where are those assignments? Cough'em up, you fleabag!
After a brief pause, a several sheets of paper flutter down from above.
Scottzo: There you go, Guildedlilybonbon. Wish I could stay and chew the fat, hit the mat, quaff a brew, and stir the stew, but Im way behind schedule and have people to meet, e-mail to answer, schmoozing, boozing, bruising, cruising, etc. etc. etc. and other complicated things you simply could not possibly understand. So get to work and Ill see you again . . . sometime.
Exit Scottzo, rope in hand. A long, long silence during which the author of this section falls asleep.
Vladirkimir: Well, that was . . . interesting.
Guillespigon: May you live in interesting times.
Vladirkimir: Should we look at the new assignments?
Guillespigon: (obviously discouraged, disgusted, dismayed, depressed) Be my guest.
Guillespigon: When else?
Guillespigon: If you wish.
Vladirkimir: Tomorrow then. Tomorrow it will end.
Guillespigon: If you say so.
Vladirkimir: Shall we smoke?
Guillespigon: (with a sigh) Sure. There should be something left.
Vladirkimir: Ill check.
Guillespigon: Thank you.