Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Broken Funeral, Of Sorts: A play in four acts. Act 2, Scene 3.

Daniel, recovered from the disease, now stands sickly in the parlor near the fireplace. Mortel is reading a novel. Perhaps by Jane Austen. We join them mid-scene. Daniel has clearly interrupted Mortel's reading session. 

Daniel: I once owned a watch that in addition to telling time would tell me how happy I was. 

Mortel: That is a strange feature. How did it work?

Daniel: I don't know. I didn't make it. It didn't work properly though. 

Mortel: You were swindled? Someone told you a normal, everyday watch possessed this near supernatural feature?

Daniel: No, it had the feature. It was three hours off. I didn't know this at first, but one afternoon my dog was hit by a car and I was terrified by the fact that it still told me I was happy. 

Mortel: Did it cause you to question yourself? 

Daniel: Explain. 

Mortel: I mean, did you maybe trust the machine over your own feelings? Think that you truly were happy but somehow unaware of it at a deeper level. 

Daniel: Yes, I suppose that did occur to me at the time. 

Mortel: Tragic. 

Daniel: Thank you. It was. 

Mortel: What happened to the watch? 

Daniel: I gave it away as a gift years ago. I forget to who. A cousin of a friend of a friend. That kind of thing. I didn't explain that feature. They likely think it is a broken second hand or something of the sort. 

Mortel: What must the watchmaker think - to have such a unique work, lost, forgotten?

Daniel: I don't follow. 

Mortel: How can you not?

Daniel: Your train of thought. 

Mortel: I've never liked that metaphor: thought railroaded. Set in place. 

Daniel: May I ask you a question? 

Mortel: I'm terrified of revealing my own ignorance. 

Daniel: That's not what this concerns. 

Mortel: All questions are ultimately about ignorance. 

Daniel: Or knowledge, if you'd like. 

Mortel: They are never what I like. The question mark symbol frightens me like a child is frightened of the threat of a monster under his bed or in his closet. 

Daniel: You ask questions well enough.

Mortel: To relieve me of my own ignorance. 

Daniel: That is not what this is about. 

Mortel: All questions directed at me are attempts to find my ignorance. To find a chink in my armor. 

Daniel: What armor?

Mortel: That is a question!

Daniel: Human interactions occasionally necessitate questions being asked. 

Mortel: If I wrote Genesis it would not be a snake in the garden of Eden that betrays Adam and Eve but the question mark. 

Daniel: The snake could be shaped like a question mark. And they eat from the tree of knowledge. One could argue that the snake represents inquiry. 

Mortel: Had I been St. Augustine, this would be the interpretation of Christianity spread across the world. 

Daniel: Perhaps it is. 

Mortel: Perhaps. I have not read the bible. Not since childhood, at least. 

Daniel: That is the chink in your armor?

Mortel begins to shiver. The light in the fireplace dims. The curtain closes. End of Act 2.