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The Flying Toothpick
by Marcus Del Greco
(Lights up on RICHARD and JUDITH, researchers dressed professionally (possibly as "doctors"), setting up a video camera in a small room. They have clipboards, a computer, and other related stuff at their disposal.)
RICHARD: When is Ms. Tessier expected?
JUDITH: Any time now.
RICHARD: And the receiver?
JUDITH: Out in the waiting area. What, do you think I'm a poor organizer?
RICHARD: No, I'm just out of it today. Look at this list of Suggestors I made up this morning. "Flapjack Butterfly." "UFO Barbecue."
JUDITH: "Flying Toothpick."
RICHARD: You see what I mean. They'll work though, for what we need, I guess we're ready for him, aren't we?
JUDITH: I'll call him in.
(she goes to door)
JUDITH: Matthew, you can come in now.
(enter MATTHEW, a young college student, dressed casually)
RICHARD: Hi, Matthew. Richard LaCrosse, Associate Professor of Parapsychology.
MATTHEW: Good to meet you. (they shake)
JUDITH: Now Matthew, we're expecting our psychic test subject here shortly. The two of you will be in the same room, but we don't want you to exchange words before the session. (She prepares CD or cassette player) So if you'll just close your eyes, we'll play you some relaxing music while you wait.
MATTHEW: Okay. (he shuts eyes. Some ambient techno selection comes through the speakers.)
MS. TESSIER (from waiting area): Hello!
RICHARD: Ms. Tessier?
MS. TESSIER: That's me!
RICHARD: If you could just wait there a moment, we'll be right out, alright?
MS. TESSIER (cheerful): Don't keep me waiting!
JUDITH: Matthew, we'll begin the session in just a couple minutes okay?
(MATTHEW nods head, RICHARD and JUDITH exit to waiting area)
RICHARD: Hello, MS. Tessier. Richard LaCrosse, Associate Professor of Parapsychology. (they shake)
MS. TESSIER: I spoke to you on the phone!
RICHARD: That's right. And this is-
JUDITH: Judith Weisner, same as him. (they shake)
MS. TESSIER: So whose mind am I reading today?
RICHARD: Well, actually we were hoping to zero in on projection abilities today. You will attempt to broadcast an image or a thought to a human receiver.
MS. TESSIER: I can do that.
JUDITH: We'll soon see. We've compiled a short list of nouns in common usage with what we call "unusual adjective modifiers." They're never quite contradictory, but the two words will often make a slightly odd pair which would eliminate the possibility of coincidence in a reading.
RICHARD: You can look at the list, actually.
MS. TESSIER: "Crimson Tornado?" Some of these are difficult.
RICHARD: I see no reason why you can't choose what image you would prefer to project.
MS. TESSIER: "Flying Toothpick!" Oh, I love it. Let me do that one.
JUDITH: Good enough. Let's go ahead and get started. Remember: you aren't to speak at all during the session. That's very important.
(the three enter the session room)
RICHARD (to MS. TESSIER): You sit here, and begin to concentrate on the two words you are projecting. use any method you are comfortable with, just no speaking. Matthew here-
JUDITH: Still with us, Matthew?
MATTHEW (zoned): Oh, yeah...
RICHARD: Matthew here will stop listening to music in a moment, and begin to concentrate on any thoughts he might feel are coming to him. Matthew, we can tell you now that Ms. Tessier will attempt to communicate two words to you: one noun, and one adjective modifier. An example of this would be "The Anxious Onion." we will ask you questions about your visions during the session, trying not to lead you, and record your thoughts throughout. Do you understand?
RICHARD: Okay. Now Judith will start the videotape-
JUDITH: Way ahead of you.
RICHARD: Alright then. This is all very scientific, you see..
MS. TESSIER: Of course.
RICHARD: So we'll now proceed to lower the stimulatory music and move into phase one: a minute of silence to "connect up," or whatever.
JUDITH: That's right. Begin... now.
(RICHARD and JUDITH stand together, cautiously excited and checking their watches. After only about twenty seconds the suspense gets to them.)
RICHARD: And that'll about do it
JUDITH: I think so. Let's get down to brass tacks.
MATTHEW: Brass tacks! I'm thinking of brass tacks!
RICHARD: Good, Matthew. That's what we're looking for: a noun and an adjective modifier.
JUDITH: But you are encouraged to describe your thoughts in any terms you like during this questioning. Ms. Tessier, continue to concentrate on what you intend to project. Matthew, do you see anything in your mind's eye right now?
MATTHEW: I'm not sure.
RICHARD: That's okay. Take it slow. Allow it to come naturally.
MATTHEW (after a few moments): Alright. Maybe I see something.
JUDITH: Is this a person or an object?
MATTHEW: An object. Definitely an object.
RICHARD: What is this object made of, Matthew?
MATTHEW: Hmmm. I don't know.
RICHARD: Is it smooth, or rough?
JUDITH: Does it have a color?
MATTHEW: I think- I think it might be smooth.
RICHARD: Smooth. Okay.
MATTHEW: Yes, it's smooth. Not rough, like wood
JUDITH: Don't go too fast with this, Matthew. Be patient, very patient, so you don't read anything wrong.
MS. TESSIER (blowing up): I can't do this! I can't do this, with this camera running, and this computer over here. Too many electrical devices in the room! I can never do it with stuff -on" all over the place!
JUDITH: But Ms. Tessier, we have to have a complete record of the session...
MS. TESSIER: Can't you just run a tape recorder or something. That could handle, but all this-
RICHARD: Okay, okay. we can shut them off. But you have to try extra hard for us, Ms. Tessier.
JUDITH: He's right. Your help means a lot to us.
MS. TESSIER: Just shut these things off. (they hustle about doing it)
JUDITH: So we're ready to continue?
MS. TESSIER: I guess so.
MATTHEW: I'm ready.
RICHARD: Close youy eyes again, Matthew.
JUDITH: Ms. Tessier, try again to project the image to Matthew.
RICHARD (to MATTHEW): Just feel those thoughts coming at you.
JUDITH: is the object you see in motion at all, Matthew?
MATTHEW: I- I don't think so.
RICHARD: Not moving at all?
MATTHEW: No. Perfectly still.
JUDITH: Let's concentrate on other aspects. what shape is the object?
MATTHEW: It's round.
RICHARD: Round? Perfectly round, or elongated, perhaps?
MATTHEW: No, it's just round. Like a ball, maybe.
JUDITH: And is it still smooth, Matthew? Or has it changed?
MATTHEW: Oh, it's smooth.
JUDITH: Are you positive about that?
MATTHEW: Yes. Smooth.
RICHARD (frustrated by now): What about the color?
MATTHEW: That's hard to tell.
JUDITH: Are you seeing green, or orange, or a light tan color maybe?
MATTHEW: Not brown. It's... metallic. Shiny, I think.
MS. TESSIER: This is ridiculous! He has to open his eyes. There's so much in the eyes; they are the windows of souls!
RICHARD: But Ms. Tessier, we designed the experiment so that no visual signals could be transmitted from you to the receiver.
MS. TESSIER: There are things in the eyes that we do not yet understand.
JUDITH: We can appreciate that, Ms. Tessier, but that's not what we're testing for here.
RICHARD: The people who've provided grant money for our research will only accept results taken under certain conditions. The receiver not seeing the psychic is one of them. They'd never buy an eyes-open experiment.
JUDITH: Please, Ms. Tessier, try harder! We stand to lose our funding.
MS. TESSIER: You know what? I don't think I care about your funding. Call the Psychic Hotline if you want someone to do this bullshit for you.
RICHARD: Ms. Tessier!
MS. TESSIER: Don't "MS. Tessier" me. Flying Toothpick, my ass. Good luck with your "experiment."
(she exits, and a silence follows)
JUDITH: Now what are we going to do?
RICHARD: Who knows. Those last results came about as close to a flying toothpick as I've been coming to astral projection. Not very,
MATTHEW: I don't mean to be rude, but ... do I still get paid?
JUDITH: Yeah, sure. Here you go. (hands him money) You'll be the last person to enjoy this grant money.
RICHARD: Not the last. I put five hundred of mine into a CD.
JUDITH: Good thinking.
MATTHEW: Hey, where's the bathroom?
RICHARD: Over there, to the right
MATTHEW (somewhat concerned as he exits to bathroom): I think my gums are bleeding.
(MATTHEW is off, and the two researchers exchange a look as the lights go down)
Marcus Del Greco has been writing for the page, stage, and record since 1992. He founded mindmined.com in 1998 and continues as editor and developer of this domain and a small network of other creative websites. He lives in Alton, New Hampshire.
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