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illustration by Jessica Del Greco Danger Pillows
by Scott O. Moore

Introduction

THEATERWEEK: Have you used the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale ("The Red Shoes") itself as a source? It presents a horrifying, brutal lesson about the price of vanity.

MARSHA NORMAN: When I first read it, that's what I thought the message was. Here's a warning to little girls: Don't want anything more than what you're given by birth or status.

THEATERWEEK: It's also about decorum, isn't it? If you must have the red slippers, at least don't wear them in church.

MARSHA NORMAN: Yes. Don't wear them in church. Don't flaunt your desire, because we don't want you to have it and we don't want to have to deal with it. We will punish you for having it. Is that a tale that needed to be told over and over throughout history? Does this explain the universal, lasting quality of this story? How we punish girls? On the one hand, you say "Yes," and then you hope that there's maybe some other reason why this tale has lasted. (Carol Rosen, "The Battle for *The Red Shoes*," TheaterWeek, Dec. 6, 1993.)

I doubt if ever the history of the world, or the experience of past ages, could show a larger amount of insanity than that of the present day. (John Hawkes, "On The Increase Of Insanity," 1857.)

CHARACTERS
Melody/Laurel, early twenties
Katie, early twenties
Cramer, thirties
Cohen, thirties
Courtney, thirties
Werner, late fifties
Roland, thirties-fifties
Mrs. Wormwood, of indeterminate age

Act One, Prologue

(Setting: a bar, somewhere in the tropics.  Set is quite minimal: a bar unit,
three tables with chairs, no walls, suggestion perhaps of a ceiling fan,
jungle sounds and ebullient light calypso music at the top of the show.  The
lights rise on a strange and wonderful tableau.  MELODY, a young woman in her
twenties, stands in front of C table.  COHEN and COURTNEY, a dapper couple of
carousing sophisticates, sit at SR table, each holding drinks and smiling
broadly at each other.  At SL table sit WERNER, a former television executive,
and ROLAND, a calm older man with no distinctive features.  MRS. WORMWOOD, a
rather extravagant woman of indeterminate age, is behind the bar, polishing,
smiling.  The stage is bright and tropical, and the freeze has a very
sophisticated, humorous feel to it.

The music fades to silence, and MELODY takes a step forward to speak.)

        MELODY
In the final days before the end of the world, I find myself alone on an island
somewhere in the Pacific.  It is only a matter of time before this little
island, and all of its desperately naive inhabitants, are consumed by the
hysteria.  I have much work to do.  It is the work I was born to do.  Let the
melodrama speak for itself -- listen closely, for I have found quite a spark
nestled deep inside of it, waiting for a breath of life to spread its flame,
a breath that will sound as though a room full of people like you and I gasped
together in sorrow and wonder.  And within this story we know all too well, I
have found myself compelled.  I give you every bit of thanks within me.  I
could not have done the things I will do without you.

(Suddenly the freeze explodes into a motion, as a lovely and energetic tropical
tune comes up.  MELODY raises her arms and holds them high during the next.
COHEN bursts into laughter, MRS. WORMWOOD improvises a harmony.  We catch
WERNER in the process of arguing with ROLAND.)

        WERNER
I've analyzed the situation from a number of different angles, Roland, all of
them very compelling, intriguing, pertinent angles -- I mean, very very
attractive angles, really -- and I have determined, and I say this with the
utmost conviction and sincerity, that this nonsense about the end of the world
is absolutely nothing at all for us to worry about.

        COHEN
Look, Courtney... Courtney... Courtney!  Look, if I could just have your
attention for a few minutes, I mean, I know you're very preoccupied and all,
what with the... bruises and everything, but... I just, uh, I just thought I
should clear up a few things about the situation.  For your benefit.  For
*your* benefit.  For your *benefit*.  Do you understand?  Am I just speaking
into the air here?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (bringing drinks to WERNER and ROLAND)
Yes, dear, one way to look at it is that while it certainly might look and
feel like the end of the world out there, especially to those directly
participating in the riots and the mayhem and the generally disturbing level of
anarchy, destruction, and callous disregard for the societal structures that
have, in the past, managed to *keep* us from rioting and destroying things and
people and so on -- *nonetheless*, no one has been able to turn up any
objective, scientific proof that this situation is, in fact, the end of the
world, and not just a really bad day for everyone or some such.

        WERNER
        (growing excited)
Yes yes, I mean, one wonders, doesn't one, what elements specifically were the
ones holding everyone back all those years, you know, who or what was, was
stopping us all from panicking and rioting and killing each other, et cetera,
all the detritus, you know, of a, of a fairly disturbed situation, you figure,
this undercurrent of... of "Jesus fucking Christ!", why, I bet that's been
bubbling underneath the surface ever since humankind first realized that we
were all pretty much *jerks*!

        COHEN
It seems as though I'm not getting through to you, on so many levels.  It seems
as though I've tried nearly everything I could think of to get through to you,
to just plain get through, you know, to you, and I'll be honest, it doesn't
hurt me more than it hurts you, so what's the deal?  Just level with me here.
I'm a man and I can take it.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
No one can *prove* that the mayhem out there is anything more than simple
cosmetic surgery on the same old same old.

        WERNER
Yes yes!  The end of the world isn't a point in space, surely.  It's a process.
Really, the end of the world has been in progress ever since the beginning of
the world.  So... semantically, maybe, you could call this the end of the
world, but don't you think that's a bit of a stretch?

        COHEN
I think it's an emergency.

        COURTNEY
        (emphatically)
It's not an emergency!

        COHEN
I think it is!

        COURTNEY
This is not an emergency.

        COHEN
If it's not an emergency, what would you call it then?

        COURTNEY
Cohen, darling, really, this is all just a diversion from television, wouldn't
you agree?

        ROLAND
I must point out, of course, that I once saw a mongoose walk a tightrope in its
lingerie.  It was, to my mind, something else to see.

(MELODY snaps her fingers twice; the rest of the stage freezes, and lights
shift to a small pink pool of light on her.  A child's musicbox melody rises
softly, absolutely friendly yet so incredibly small, and MELODY slowly lowers
her arms and begins to speak again.)

        MELODY
        (fondly reminiscent)
No one was ever sure why the world had to end.  It was absolutely inexplicable,
the way childhood friends might suddenly turn to hate you as the years go by.
(riot sounds fade in slowly as counterpoint to the music box)  The end of the
world was an inferno on earth, the dissolution of every boundary, the
disintegration of every restraint.  And the brilliant, explosive release of so
many years upon years of human hatred overflowed into the world as so many
breathtaking flashes of red, and violence, and despair.

(Now lights slowly begin to rise again on the others.)

        MELODY
In the final days before the end of the world, I found myself alone on an
island somewhere in the Pacific.  For the fury that was sweeping the earth had
not yet reached this place, this haven for the wealthy and the clever.  Here
the respected ways of western civilization remained as defiant testament.
While the end of the world raged on around them, these my future friends spared
tears alone at night, but otherwise all was well.

        COHEN
        (grandly)
You're right, my dear.  There's no emergency at all, at all, and all is
wonderfully well!

        MELODY
        (a bit sadly)
I've so much I wish I could have said to you, my friends, from this quiet
resting place outside the story, but soon the melodrama will carry me away.
In those horrible days of my youth, oh how I longed for the melodrama to
consume me, waited for the days when I would realize my highest purpose, feel
my deepest flames, revel in poignant and powerful fire.  And now that that time
is here, I must confess, I too will shed some tears the next time I'm alone.
(smiles almost mischievously)  But when the world is coming to an end, there's
not much difference between sorrow and joy, and my tears, she said, could be
my closest friends.  (pause)  And now--

(With a sudden grand sweep of her arms, lights up full, tropical music
resumes.)

        MELODY
Ladies and gentlemen!

        COURTNEY
People of the world!

        WERNER
Friends, Romans, countrymen!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Children of all ages!

        MELODY
I hope you enjoy your stay on the island...

        COHEN
That's easily said!

        MELODY
        (grimly)
...and save your questions til the end.

(A freeze; the music stops.)

        MELODY
        (awesomely frightened)
You'll know it is time to turn the page when you hear Melody scream like this.

(She opens her mouth and screams, but no sound comes out.  Lights fade to
black.)

Act One, Scene One

(The tropical music from before comes up, but this time on a transistor
radio onstage, so that the sound is tinny and cold.  When the lights rise,
they are not so warm as before, so that the bar now has a much dingier feel
than before.  MELODY is now seated at C table, her suitcase on the floor next
to her.  COHEN and COURTNEY are gone.  MRS. WORMWOOD is preparing drinks for
WERNER and ROLAND.)

        WERNER
        (resigned)
It had to happen eventually.  I mean, I certainly knew all along that this time
would come, and yet... I simply couldn't resist.

        ROLAND
        (without inflection)
You couldn't resist.

        WERNER
No, I couldn't.  She was -- and still is, of course -- such a very attractive,
beautiful, sensitive girl.  She's attentive, responds well to all my needs,
she's demure, yet playful, she's honest, but not intrusively so, and you know,
her eyes are open, I mean, she really knows about the world.  And yet...

        ROLAND
And yet?

        WERNER
Well... there's no getting around the fact that that's what I'm paying her for!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (arriving with drinks)
I hope I'm not interrupting, gentlemen.

        WERNER
Ah, our booze is here!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Booze!  Booze!

        ROLAND
I'm a fan of booze myself.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Nothing like a good drunken stupor when the world is coming to an end!

        WERNER
        (solemn, loud pronouncement)
Booze is for people with no meaning in their lives.

        ROLAND
That sounds like a toast.

(The two clink glasses and drink.)

        WERNER
        (takes long sip of his drink)
No, Mrs. Wormwood, of course you're not interrupting.  Lovely party last night,
by the way.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Why, thank you, Werner, that's sweet of you to say.

        ROLAND
Werner's having problems with his love life, it seems.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
What's the matter, Werner, can't afford one anymore?  (laughs loudly and
somewhat inappropriately)

        WERNER
That's the point I was trying to make!  You see, she's all the things I've ever
wanted in a girl, and yet, it's a sort of hollow satisfaction knowing that she
herself is under no obligation to have any actual feelings about me.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (heading back to the bar)
You're in quite a smelly pickle then, aren't you.

        WERNER
I most certainly am.  I was thinking perhaps that someone else might do the
trick for me, but of course, she's the only whore on the island, so...

        ROLAND
When do you plan to tell her the news?

        WERNER
        (glances at his watch)
I was supposed to meet her a half hour ago, but... (suddenly inspired)  Look,
Roland, why don't you come with me when I go to tell her?  You can lend moral
support.

        ROLAND
I have no morals, Werner.

        WERNER
Good, you can support mine.  I suggest we finish our drinks.

(As they pause to savor the drinks, COHEN and COURTNEY enter, carousing a bit
of course.)

        COHEN
Well, hello, Mrs. Wormwood!  I'll bet you're glad to see us again!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Cohen!  Courtney!  My friends!

        COURTNEY
Hi, Mrs. Wormwood.

        COHEN
I'll bet you're glad to see us again!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I'm so glad to see you again!

        COHEN
We'll take that table over there, and I'd like a bottle of wine and whatever
cheap drugs you have handy.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Why, what kind of drugs, Cohen?

        COHEN
Well, you know, Mrs. Wormwood, sometimes I like those drugs that make me wake
up and see reality the way it really is, and sometimes I like those drugs that
give me strength and inspiration, and sometimes I even like those drugs that
drown me in what's divine... but tonight, I just want the drugs that make me
PAR-TAY!

(He and MRS. WORMWOOD share a ridiculously loud and long laugh about this.
COHEN moves to the bar while COURTNEY sits at SR table.)

        COHEN
So, how are you, Mrs. Wormwood?  How's business?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Good, my friend, incredibly good.

        COHEN
I'll *bet* business is good, a bar like this, in times like these, I'll bet
business is positively booming.  Lovely party last night, by the way.

        COURTNEY
        (calling to COHEN)
Get us some food, why don't you.

        COHEN
Listen to her, so imperious these days.

        COURTNEY
I think food's a good idea.

        COHEN
        (snaps)
Shut the fuck up, would you?

        COURTNEY
Just get us some fucking food, why don't you.

        COHEN
        (to MRS. WORMWOOD)
All right, just get us some food and something to drink, okay, Mrs. Wormwood?

        COURTNEY
And get us something to drink.

        COHEN
Please shut the fuck up, Courtney.

        COURTNEY
Like a martini, okay, Cohen?  Get me a martini.  And some food.

        COHEN
        (smiling to MRS. WORMWOOD)
I swear, when the end of the world finally hits this island, she's the first on
my list.

(He makes throat-cutting gesture, and they both laugh knowingly.  WERNER has
seen COHEN and now comes to meet him C, behind MELODY's table.)

        WERNER
Cohen!

        COHEN
Werner!

        WERNER
It's fucking great to see you!

        COHEN
It's fucking great to see you too!

        WERNER
        (a horrible, goofy kind of kidding)
Still beating your wife, old boy?

        COHEN
        (grandly)
Same as it ever was, my man, same as it ever was!

        MELODY
        (to the audience)
That's Cohen, a wealthy debutante, inherited his father's electronics fortune,
moved to the island about a year ago with his wife, Courtney, third generation
rich out of Virginia.  They hate each other.  Cohen's notorious for
brutalizing his wife.  Courtney's said to enjoy asphyxiating small animals.
Werner' used to be in television.  He's also personally tortured, raped,
maimed, and killed some two hundred and twenty-three prepubsecents across the
globe.

        WERNER
        (absentmindedly)
I used to be in television.

        MELODY
And Mrs. Wormwood, wealthy widower and local honorary matriarch, loves
providing this service for the islanders.  Mrs. Wormwood used to be a serial
killer.  Now she only kills occasionally.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (smiles brightly, shrugs)
It pays the bills!

        WERNER
I'm sorry I have to go so soon, Cohen, but--

        COHEN
        (finally noticing MELODY alone)
Now who do you suppose that is?  I don't believe I've ever seen her before.  I
thought I knew all the residents.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Maybe she's another one of those imported prostitutes someone got tired of.

        WERNER
Now that just wasn't polite.

        COHEN
        (taken in)
No, she hasn't the look of a prostitute about her... she looks... why, I'd
swear she looks almost... holy...

(The lights have dimmed subtly and smoothly, an aura envelops MELODY, a soft
entrancing angelic choir is heard deep in the background; the music and the
lights fade slowly, returning us to normal.)

        COHEN
Then again, that just might be a trick of the light.

        WERNER
Roland, are you ready?  Let's go.

        COHEN
Mrs. Wormwood, send a drink over to her table for me, would you?  I've gotta
get back to Courtney.

(COHEN moves to his seat.  WERNER exits.  ROLAND is a few steps behind.  He
stops in the doorway just before leaving, looks around slowly, and then
speaks.)

        ROLAND
        (without inflection)
There seems to be a titmouse in the closet.  (pause)  But I won't tell if you
won't.

(He exits.  Fade to black.)

Act One, Scene Two

(In the darkness, riot sounds emerge.  Much screaming, many explosions and
gunshots, as though quite a distance away from us.  Spot up on CRAMER, an
impressive figure in a sleek, futuristic military uniform.  He addresses
audience as if speaking for a camera.)

        CRAMER
Eliminate the troublemakers, and it goes without saying you eliminate the
trouble.  I'm not trying to sound ominous, merely pragmatic.  We will kill all
the troublemakers now, and if it turns out it *is* the end of the world, it
won't matter anyway, and if it *isn't* the end of the world, then those people
had no business causing trouble in the first place!  And besides all that, we
just don't like those people, do you see?  Certainly you need to trust that the
people *we* like are naturally going to be people who are good for this planet,
and people we don't like... I mean, it goes without saying that people we don't
like simply don't need to be here!  And anyway, I don't believe it would be so
easy to kill all of them if they were actually any good for the planet!  So.
I haven't seen any signs of trouble here on the island, but this outpost is
fully prepared in the event the end of the world decides to light here.  You
can count on the Ministry for Global Defense!  We'll be easy to recognize.
We're the ones in the uniforms who can always get what we want no matter
what...

(Fade to black.)

Act One, Scene Three

(Dim lights up on a small, quiet park.  KATIE sits alone on a small bench,
in ragged dress, poorly made up with hollow features.  WERNER enters from
behind her, can't bring himself to approach her.  At long last, against his
better judgment, he speaks.)

        WERNER
Katie.

        KATIE
        (looks up, almost hopeful)
Werner... what time is it?

        WERNER
My apologies for being late, Katie.

        KATIE
Don't apologize, Werner.  I was glad to wait.  I had time to think.  (long
pause)  Where have you been?  It was difficult to wait, you know.

        WERNER
I... I didn't know how to face you.

        KATIE
        (slight pause)
Something's wrong?

        WERNER
I'm... really, I'm beside myself, Katie.  With guilt, shame... horror at what
I've done to you, how I've manipulated you.

        KATIE
        (another pause)
Have I... displeased you?

        WERNER
It was wonderful the way we came together... back there, in the world... you
have to admit, it was romantic for a while.

        KATIE
Failed to satisfy you in some way?

        WERNER
Let me explain, Katie.

(Long pause.)

        KATIE
All right.

        WERNER
I... I simply... I no longer find the same joy I once found in our affair.  The
sweet, lilting pleasure of holding you in my arms has slowly slipped away.

        KATIE
It really is a wonderful dusk.  Not too warm, not too cool...

        WERNER
And... hell, I may as well be honest with you, it's because I'm paying you to
be with me.  Not because I can't afford it, that's not at all the problem...

        KATIE
And the clouds are so beautiful in the vanishing sun, delicate, wispy...

        WERNER
        (fighting to gain her attention)
It's just... look, you will always be suspect with me, that's all.  And it's
entirely my fault, of course, I'm the one doing the paying, but... I will
always have to doubt that you were ever as sincere as you seemed... because of
the money involved, which was vital to your survival.  Are you following my
logic here?

        KATIE
Maybe we'll have a nice, lovely rain shower later in the evening.

        WERNER
        (disconcerted by her ignoring him)
I would offer to fly you back, but... the end of the world makes that a less
than palatable option, you realize.  I can... give you a small pittance to
keep you settled until you find a job, or... another regular customer... for
all I really know about you, you may already have several, but that's...
beside the point.

        KATIE
My mother used to tell me that when it rained, that meant the angels were
crying.  I couldn't imagine why an angel, in heaven, would ever need to cry.

        WERNER
        (nearly furious)
Look... I'm terribly sorry.  At least... you're here, away from all the
trouble.  Safe.  At least you're safe.

(Long pause.)

        KATIE
But I have no one.

(Pause.)

        WERNER
Well... I mean, surely someone as attractive as you can... find friends
*somewhere* on the island.  I'll bet you'll recieve... lots of attention, now
that I'm no longer in the picture.  (pause)  As I think about it, in fact, why
don't we just forget that small pittance I was talking about.  You need to...
learn *well* not to... rely on people like me anymore.  (pause)  I... trust you
will... remain *discrete* about... all of this.

        KATIE
All of this.

        WERNER
Yes.

(Pause.)

        KATIE
Go, Werner.

        WERNER
Goodbye, dearest Katie.

(ROLAND enters next to WERNER.)

        WERNER
Thanks for your support, Roland.  I have *got* to get out of here.  (he exits
hurriedly)

(ROLAND makes his way to the bench, sits opposite KATIE.  They do not look at
each other.  Pause.)

        ROLAND
If you need someone to talk to, about anything at all, I'm right here.

        KATIE
Werner was very late, you know.

        ROLAND
Very late indeed.

        KATIE
And now I'm late for my next appointment.

        ROLAND
Your next appointment is going to be angry, isn't he.

        KATIE
Yes, and he's... not so generous as Werner was.  I thought... however... that
it was worth the risk, in order to spend this time with Werner.  I would wait,
I thought to myself, it was worth the wait, it was worth what is to come when I
arrive late for my next appointment.  (pause)  Waiting for Werner has proven to
be disastrous.

        ROLAND
You were in love with Werner?

        KATIE
Let's just say you need to lay your head next to someone every now and again.

(Long pause.)

        KATIE
I don't know how to be frightened for this.

(Long pause.)

        ROLAND
Well, all of that was fairly meaningless to me.  If you ever need me again,
I'll be chasing the dwarves out of the cellar.  Good day.

(He goes.  Piano music up, the same melody as the music box in the first
scene.  KATIE stands, begins to sing, but no sound comes out.  She stops
singing.  The music fades.  She sits back down.  Fade to black.)
 

Act One, Scene Four

(Lights up on the bar.  COHEN and COURTNEY are now seated at MELODY's table,
on either side of her.)

        COHEN
Yes, sir, this end of the world thing is driving everyone crazy.  People don't
want to be nice anymore, no sir.  It's a good thing you made it here, Melody.
It just isn't safe out there anymore.

        COURTNEY
Where are you from, Melody?

        MELODY
        (with a straight face)
Oh, I'm from all over the place, really.

(Pause; then she smiles, and they laugh uncomfortably.)

        COHEN
All over the place.  I like that.

        MELODY
Why, thank you.

        COHEN
How'd you find out about the island?  Who brought you here?

        MELODY
Hard to say, really.  Seems like it was... *destiny*... that brought me here.

(Another pause; and then they laugh again.)

        COHEN
Of course, of course.  Nothing straightforward like a plane or some such.
(giggling)  That's rich.

        COURTNEY
And how do you plan to occupy your time while you're here, Melody?  Will you be
attending all the parties, like the rest of us?

        MELODY
Actually... I plan to save the world while I'm here.  (pause)  If you can
believe that.

(Long pause; then they burst out into near hysterics.)

        COHEN
Oh, goodness, Melody, that's completely outrageous!

        COURTNEY
You'd almost say it makes no sense.

        COHEN
Courtney, for Christ's sake, don't be rude.

        COURTNEY
I'm only saying...

        MELODY
Well, I must admit, I've sort of gotten *attached* to the world.

        COHEN
It sounds like it!

        COURTNEY
But really, I don't understand.  What's the gimmick?  What's the real joke?

        COHEN
Courtney, I would hate to lose my temper right here in this bar.

        MELODY
I would hate that too.

        COURTNEY
Not so bad.

(During the next section, the three of them, led slowly and seductively by
MELODY, will begin to dance in front of the tables.)

        MELODY
        (leaning forward, as if suddenly imparting something pivotal)
Let me tell you something, Cohen, Courtney... I will say this plainly, but you
must listen plainly as well, or you are never going to hear me.  I have a fire
inside, a kind of fire that soon will spread, and it is wondrous oh so
wondrous, captivating beyond belief.  It's a fire like any other fire, so
fascinating to watch, providing Life its only solace when the blackest days
emerge.

        COHEN
Pardon me?

        COURTNEY
Where did you get this fire?

        MELODY
It was given to me in a vision, a vision of peace, a vision of harmony,
a vision of shimmering, transcendent harmony.

        COHEN
A vision...

        MELODY
The aliens gave me this vision.  Aliens from another dimension, wanting
desperately to achieve contact with us, wanting desperately to spread their
fire to us, before it was too late.  They succeeded, my friends, they
succeeded... (smiles beautifully)  I can see already it has spread to you.

        COURTNEY
But what about--

        MELODY
Without the fire, you closed your eyes, as I did, and saw things of
unspeakable beauty and hatred and disease and lust.  Those things were things
that made you crazy.  (the dance becomes more dangerous here)  If you ever
watched the television, took a look around this world, saw the horror and the
depravity and the sickening, senseless violence, the frightening ignorance, you
can see it if you look, they don't call it the end of the world for nothing,
and if you ever watched too long, you'd know you were crazy.  You'd know you
were crazy.

        COURTNEY
I have always wondered if I was crazy.

        MELODY
And then--

        COHEN
This fire--

        MELODY
--feels *good*!

        COURTNEY
It *does*...

        MELODY
It will take me some time to explain, and my words will soon escape me, so you
will have to pay attention to my *body language*... (and she spins in an
amazing fashion)  Spin with me, my friends, and do it slowly, fan the fire with
care or you will lose it, and pay attention, pay attention, and you will feel
what purity means.  Now sing!

(COHEN and COURTNEY break into singing, strange and wonderful, pure
vocalizations of sheer emotion with no interpretation attached.  As they
begin -- still dancing all the while -- the music is horribly dissonant, and
COHEN turns to COURTNEY, still singing, in disgust, anger, and she in turn
falters suddenly, until -- MELODY joins the song, and steers their voices to
each other, joins them in the mix, and we hear drumming though there are no
drums and soon we will hear voices that are not on the stage joining
mysteriously and magically in the song.)

        MELODY
        (exclaiming, pure joy)
To think they would have called us crazy *then*, back when we had no choice but
to bear the violence from them!  Think what they'd call us *now*!  They'll call
us crazier still, but so it goes!  If the crazy call *us* crazy, we know full
well who's right!  Now please, my friends, you've given me so much, and I need
so much to give you everything I have and everything I am, in this way will our
fire blaze, in this way will we write the happy ending for our planet...

        COHEN
        (laughing)
That's crazy.

        MELODY
        (smiles)
Yes, it's crazy.

(The dance is starting to subside, ever so subtly.)

        COHEN
Do you have a place to stay while you're on the island?

        MELODY
No, I... sort of came here on the spur of the moment.

        COURTNEY
You're welcome to stay with us.

        MELODY
We're going to bring some drugs, the kind the crazy people always called
dangerous.

        COHEN
        (grins)
I know just which drugs you mean.

(A laugh breaks out quickly, then:)

        MELODY
One last question before our beautiful work begins in earnest.

        COURTNEY
Yes?  What is it?

        MELODY
Do you feel at home here?  Here on this island, away from all the trouble?

(Long pause.)

        COURTNEY
I've never felt at home anywhere in my entire life.

(MELODY holds out her hands.)

        MELODY
Take my hands.

(COURTNEY and COHEN each take one of her hands.)

        MELODY
I do believe it's time to change all that.

(Slowly, they begin to smile, and slowly, they begin to hum, low, soft, yet
powerful.  Fade to black.)

Act One, Scene Five

(Lights up on CRAMER, behind a desk, reading.  MRS. WORMWOOD sits in a small
chair next to the desk, is chatting amiably as lights come up.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
In short, although the general level of depravity on the island seems to be
slightly on the increase... still a bit of domestic violence here and there,
drug use on the up and up, strange sexual misbehavior... at least, it looks
strange on the camera angles *we* get... nonetheless, the end of the world
itself doesn't seem to have spread this far yet, and I see no indications that
it will.  The world might be coming to an end, but this island will most likely
remain an island.  (pause)  Oh, and a strange woman named Melody has arrived on
the island from America.

        CRAMER
        (looks up slowly)
How did she get here?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Pardon?

        CRAMER
        (slowly, condescending)
How... did she... get here?  No planes landed, no boats pulled in...

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (riposte)
Well, I am many things, my dear Cramer, but one thing I am not is this woman's
travel agent.

        CRAMER
Is she attractive?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (pause)
Pardon?

        CRAMER
This is not a difficult question, I assure you.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Don't assure me of anything, Cramer, I feel all slithery inside when you do.

        CRAMER
Is she attractive?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
She... seems your type.  If that's what you're wanting me to say.

        CRAMER
She does.  Well.  Keep an eye on her then.  Start a file.  Pictures.  I want
pictures.  (pause)  Lovely party last night, by the way.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Why, thank you, Cramer, that's so wonderful of you to say.

        CRAMER
You've had a great many wonderful parties lately, in fact.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
They've been quite a bit of fun, haven't they?  And yet...

        CRAMER
Problem with our fun, Mrs. Wormwood?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
It's just... the same old same old... We need a spark, a little Life in our
parties, and we just can't seem to pull it off.  Every night it's the same old
islanders, the same old booze, the same old party, and it's beginning to get
quite... deadly.  What do you suggest we do?  This is starting to feel
potentially... disastrous.

(Long, studied pause.)

        CRAMER
        (slightly inspired; drolly)
You could try a *costume* party.

(Long pause.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Well, I guess I'd better stock up on tights.  (cheerily)  It's been a
pleasure seeing you, Cramer.  Til next time...

(She rises quickly and blows out of the room.  CRAMER returns to reading.
After a pause, KATIE enters.  She stands in the doorway, nearly paralyzed with
fear.  CRAMER notices her, stands slowly.  He lights a candle on his desk,
stares at it for a long moment, then speaks.)

        CRAMER
Well.  Aren't you a little late?

(Long pause.)

        KATIE
Yes.

        CRAMER
Yes.  (pause)  I ask for an hour of your time once a week, Katie.  I
compensate quite well as per the going rate, and... and this is the
disservice you pay me in return.  Yes?

        KATIE
        (pause)
Yes.

        CRAMER
        (laughs softly, speaks very slowly, comes around the desk to speak to
        her)
You know, I had in fact planned something quite romantic for us today, thinking
to myself how wonderfully well you'd served these many days with me.  It was to
have been not a reward... but I would dare say... a gift.  You would have liked
that, I know, you don't get many gifts, would you have liked that?

        KATIE
Yes.

        CRAMER
I thought you might.  And now, instead, I shall have to treat you... quite
horribly.  There's just no getting around it.  There's just no getting around
it.  Just when I prepare to give you something, some small part of me that I
wasn't using, you remind me that I'm... only paying you anyway, and if you
can't even get that right, surely you can see, you don't deserve a gift.
Instead, as I have said, I shall have to treat you... really rather horribly.
Yes?

        KATIE
        (pause)
Yes.

        CRAMER
Do you understand... I have no real desire to do this, or to do, frankly, any
of the things I find myself doing these days... and treating you horribly, as
I am about to do, with obscene brutality, inflicting utter agony and
humiliation upon you... this will bring me only the slightest of pleasures,
do you understand?  Say yes.

        KATIE
Yes.

        CRAMER
Yes.  And I won't be paying you for it either.  Does this sound...
acceptable to you, Katie, or need I be more... persuasive?

        KATIE
        (pause, softly)
That sounds acceptable.

        CRAMER
Good.  (he has moved to directly behind he rnow; she is paralyzed.  He
produces a very large, distinctive golden knife.)  I won't ask you to remove
your clothes.  I believe I can remove them with this.  I don't intend to kill
you.  I may someday desire your simple body once again.  But perhaps, just
perhaps... I might like to try your body without so much of its blood...

        KATIE
        (near whisper)
Oh...

        CRAMER
Close your eyes.  I know the sight of blood is hard for you.

(Fade to black.)

Act One, Scene Six

(Lights up on the park.  MELODY and COURTNEY enter together, sit on the bench.)

        MELODY
This is a beautiful island.  Thank you for showing me around.

        COURTNEY
We have to meet Cohen at the bar soon.

        MELODY
Yes.

        COURTNEY
It's still a bit of a distance.  We shouldn't rest here long.

        MELODY
Just long enough.

        COURTNEY
I'm not sure I know what that means.

        MELODY
        (wistful)
What an absolutely beautiful island.  Absolutely idyllic.  So many flowers,
such delightfully cool breezes, and it always seems as though there's music in
the air.  (laughs a bit)  That was an extremely silly thing to say, I know.

        COURTNEY
I don't hear music.

        MELODY
        (smiles)
Are you listening for it?

        COURTNEY
        (abruptly)
I don't want to pursue this particular metaphor, if that's all right with you.

        MELODY
        (pause)
Yes, as I said, it was a silly thing to say.  My apologies.  (pause)  Am I
making you uncomfortable?

        COURTNEY
        (carefully)
We shouldn't rest here long.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
        (precisely)
You and Cohen seem to make a wonderful couple.

        COURTNEY
        (almost cold)
Now *that* was an extremely silly thing to say.

(They look each other directly in the face.)

        MELODY
Yes, I believe it was.  That seems to be a habit of mine.

        COURTNEY
        (managing a smile)
It's the thought that counts.

        MELODY
        (smiling as well)
It's still a short distance.  We'd better get moving.

        COURTNEY
        (looking up at the sky)
Why don't you tell me some other silly things?

        MELODY
My mother used to tell me that the clouds were pillows for the angels.

        COURTNEY
Cohen and I make a wonderful couple.

        MELODY
And I always used to wonder if that wasn't somehow dangerous, if the younger
angels who hadn't yet learned to fly wouldn't fall right through their pillows
and plummet to the earth.

        COURTNEY
And our spirits are tied together in a wonderfully bittersweet way.

        MELODY
Only an angel can sleep on a cloud, next to God, between the earth and outer
space.

        COURTNEY
But I'm afraid that I don't have the strength to survive him.  And anyway, it
could be worse.  Reality is creative.  Inventive.  Innovative.  When physical
means to beat a person are no longer available, reality can find ethereal ways
to beat a person.  Beat a person's spirit.  Beat a person's insides.  Beat a
person's gall and spleen, beat a person's kidneys and lungs, beat a person's
heart.  My heart's an abused muscle.  My muscles ache, this is amusing, from
the strain of standing in this reality, the gravity here is something else.
(pause)  Someday it will all be too much for me.  And the worst part is that
after I'm gone, he'll finally See, and then it will be too much for him as
well.  (pause)  It feels like I'm already falling through the clouds.  And
there's just no time to sleep on the way down.

        MELODY
        (offers her hand)
Then we'd better get moving.  We have much work to do before we hit the earth.

(COURTNEY takes her hand, and they rise to leave.  Fade to black.)

Act One, Scene Seven

(Lights up on the bar.  WERNER and ROLAND sit at C table.  WERNER is visibly
upset.)

        WERNER
        (with some derision)
I mean, good God, Roland, she looked as though she'd been struck by a bus.  I
think she took the news rather poorly, wouldn't you say?

        ROLAND
Perhaps a little.

        WERNER
I mean, I swear, she literally looked as though a bus had just come along and
slammed right into her.  I think that's an unreasonable reaction, considering
what I was actually paying her.

        ROLAND
Bus fare, really.

        WERNER
Exactly!  I mean, for heaven's sake, she honest to God looked as though a
large, many-tonned vehicle carrying thirty or forty passengers had just come
along at top speed and collided directly with the poor girl!  Talk about
melodramatic!

        ROLAND
You said a mouthful there.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (arriving with drinks)
Here you are, gentlemen, I hope I'm not interrupting.

        WERNER
        (grabbing his drink)
Good God, no, I need to medicate myself like there's no tomorrow! (he slams
his drink)  Booze!  Booze!

        ROLAND
I'm a fan of booze myself.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Nothing like a good drunken stupor when you've just run over a poor young girl
with a bus!

        WERNER
        (solemn, loud pronouncement)
Booze is for people with no women in their lives!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Now Werner, that's hardly fair.  What about your good friend Mrs. Wormwood?

        WERNER
Oh, you hardly count, Mrs. Wormwood, why, you're just like one of us.

        ROLAND
That sounds like a toast.

(The two clink glasses, ROLAND drinks, WERNER realizes he's empty.)

        WERNER
Bring out the bottle, would you, Mrs. Wormwood?  I'm in no condition to remain
conscious.

(As MRS. WORMWOOD heads back to the bar, COHEN enters.)

        COHEN
Why, hello, Mrs. Wormwood, I'll bet you're glad to see me again!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Cohen, my friend, it's been an entire couple of hours!  It's so good to see you
again!

        COHEN
I'm glad to see you again, Mrs. Wormwood!

        WERNER
Cohen!

        COHEN
Hello, Werner, I'll bet you're glad to see me again!

        WERNER
It's so good to see you again!

        COHEN
Roland, how's the pro bowling tour?

        ROLAND
I've never bowled before in my life.

        COHEN
Right, well, the end of the world sure gets in everybody's way, doesn't it?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Werner, tell Cohen about what you did today with the bus.  It'll help us all
forget how empty and meaningless our lives are.  (laughs loudly for no
apparent reason)

        COHEN
Actually, I've got some news for you.  You remember that strange girl, brand
new to the island, she's from America, absolutely amazing?

        WERNER
But Cohen, what about Courtney?

        COHEN
        (laughs)
No, Werner, it isn't like that at all!  Her name is Melody, and she's with
Courtney right now, in fact.  You're never going to believe what we're up to!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
It's nothing sexual, you say?

        COHEN
That's what I say.

        WERNER
Does it have to do with crime?  Are you going on a killing spree?

        COHEN
You know that's not my style, Werner.

(Pause.)

        ROLAND
        (without inflection)
Are you starting a religion?

        COHEN
Why... why, yes, Roland, yes.  Yes, we are!  We're starting a new religion!
(pause)  How did you know?

        ROLAND
        (shrugs)
Lucky guess, I suppose.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
A new religion, Cohen?  That sounds simply entrancing.  What do you believe in
this religion?

        COHEN
        (can hardly contain himself)
That's the best part.  (pause, then dramatically)  We believe that aliens will
come and save humanity from the end of the world.  (pause)  Well, how would
you like to join?

(Pause.)

        WERNER
        (uncomfortably)
Is there a... right answer to that question, Cohen?

(MELODY and COURTNEY enter.)

        COHEN
Courtney, there you are.  I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to
show up.

        COURTNEY
Of course I was going to show up.

        COHEN
Yes, well, I was beginning to wonder.  I was really beginning to wonder.

        MELODY
Why don't you introduce me to your friends, Cohen?

        COHEN
Ah, yes!  I'm so sorry.  This is Werner.  He used to be in television.  He's
also personally tortured, raped, maimed, and killed some two hundred and
twenty-three prepubescents across the globe.

        WERNER
        (taking MELODY's hand)
I used to be in television.

        COHEN
And this is Mrs. Wormwood, wealthy widow and local honorary matriarch.  This
bar is her gift to the islanders.

        MELODY
        (shakes her hand)
I'm Melody.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Charmed, I'm sure.

        COHEN
Mrs. Wormwood used to be a serial killer.  Now she only kills occasionally.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Only on holidays!  (laughs loudly for no apparent reason)

        COHEN
And this is Roland.  He's a professional bowler.

        MELODY
A bowler, you say!  What was your average?

        ROLAND
I've never bowled before in my life.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
You know, I've just had a wonderful idea.  We should throw a welcome to the
island party for you, Melody!

        WERNER
Mrs. Wormwood, that's an absolutely smashing idea!  That'll give me reason to
stay sloshed the rest of the entire evening!

        MELODY
Mrs. Wormwood, I'd be honored and pleased by a welcome party.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
It's settled then.  Be here at precisely eight o'clock, and dress casually but
not sloppy, all right, everyone?

        COHEN
Well, I swear, things are really looking up around here, aren't they?  It feels
like a permanent good mood has settled in around here.  Hard to believe it's
the end of the world everywhere else, isn't it?

(KATIE enters, stands in doorway.  Her clothes are soaked in blood; thoroughly
bloody bandages are wrapped around her forehead, her wrists, her throat.)

        KATIE
        (softly)
Werner.

(The room falls silent.  All eyes are on KATIE.)

        WERNER
        (thoroughly abashed)
My... my God, Katie... what are you doing here?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (pats WERNER's shoulder, taking a step toward KATIE)
Excuse me, miss.  This is a quality establishment.

        WERNER
        (to ROLAND)
Am I drunk, or did Katie just walk in?

        ROLAND
Evidently the bus wasn't moving fast enough.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
What I mean is, you certainly can't come in here, not dressed like that.

        MELODY
Mrs. Wormwood--

        WERNER
What's it going to take, a Sherman tank?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Well, don't just stand there, dear.  I have customers.

        MELODY
Mrs. Wormwood, it might be appropriate--

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Melody, you're new here, and I'm afraid you don't understand the level of
civility we've come to enjoy here.  I'm not without compassion, you
understand, but I simply won't tolerate--

        WERNER
        (rising suddenly)
I'll handle it, Mrs. Wormwood.  (he crosses to KATIE, tries to speak so the
others can't hear)  I thought I told you we weren't going to see each other
any longer.  What in the hell are you doing here?

        KATIE
        (slowly)
My landlord says you've stopped paying rent on my flat.

(Pause.)

        WERNER
        (agitated)
So?

        KATIE
I have no place to live now.

        WERNER
        (nearly exploding)
You've embarrassed me in front of my friends simply to tell me that you're not
just a whore, but a *homeless* whore at that?  You filthy, putrescent sack of
*slime*, I swear to all that's holy that if I ever lay eyes on you again, I
will have you eviscerated.  I will pluck out your eyes and force them down your
throat.  I will gouge out your nipples with a shrimp fork, and I will rip open
your stomach with a weedeater.  I will destroy your knees and elbows with a
giant hammer, and I will perform surgery on your heart with battery acid.
What I mean to say is, *never* dare to approach me again, *never*, or the
consequences will be so unbelievably dire that Dante himself could never have
imagined them.  Never.  You might just as well bury yourself in a hole and
suffocate.  (he turns to everyone else, smiles brightly)  See you at the
party!  (exits)

        ROLAND
        (rises)
I'd better make sure he doesn't ruin my Jell-O molds.  (exits after WERNER)

(An awkward silence ensues.  MELODY, COHEN, COURTNEY, and MRS. WORMWOOD all
stare at KATIE, who stands motionless.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I'm not going to say this again--

        MELODY
        (nearly pleading)
Mrs. Wormwood, she may need help.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
And I am not one to help her.  (pause)  But as you are my guest... (she goes
behind the bar)

        MELODY
        (turns toward KATIE again)
Courtney, Cohen, please leave me.  I'll meet you at the party.

        COHEN + COURTNEY
        (in eerie unison)
All right, Melody.

(COHEN and COURTNEY exit.  Another awkward silence ensues, as MELODY and KATIE
stare at each other from across the room.)

        MELODY
Would you like a drink?

(Long pause.)

        KATIE
Yes.

        MELODY
What would you like?

(Pause.)

        KATIE
Anything.

        MELODY
Mrs. Wormwood, would you please get us each a drink?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (pause)
Of course, Melody.  What would you like?

        MELODY
        (slight pause, smiles)
Anything.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
Would you like to sit?  (motions toward C table)

(Pause.)

        KATIE
Yes.

(Pause.  Then KATIE moves to the table, and she and MELODY sit opposite each
other.  Light slowly begin to dim on the rest of the room.  MRS. WORMWOOD
brings them drinks.  She stares at KATIE intensely, communicating as much
disgust as possible, and then exits briskly.)

        MELODY
Your name is Katie?

        KATIE
Yes.

        MELODY
I'm Melody.

        KATIE
        (pause)
I'm pleased to meet you, Melody.

        MELODY
I'm new to the island, of course.  I... haven't many friends.

        KATIE
I see.

        MELODY
        (pause)
So... I'm pleased to meet you as well.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
You... you seem to have been injured.  (pause)  Does it hurt?

        KATIE
        (pause)
Is that a trick question?

        MELODY
No, I... (smiles slightly)  No.

        KATIE
What brings you to the island?

        MELODY
Do you really want to know?

        KATIE
Yes.

        MELODY
        (pause, smiles)
I had a vision of this island.  I... (laughs, self-conscious)  What brought
you to the island?

        KATIE
Werner.  (pause)  He's tired of me now.

        MELODY
Was he... I mean, do you have... well, are you able to support yourself?

        KATIE
        (pause)
I have no place to live.

        MELODY
I'll bet you could stay with me for a while.  I'm staying with Courtney and
Cohen, but I'm positive they wouldn't mind.  (pause)  I'd love the company.
If you'd like.

        KATIE
That's a generous offer.

        MELODY
They made a generous offer to me, giving me a place to stay.  I'm simply
extending the kindness.

        KATIE
That's not so simple.

        MELODY
        (smiles)
Of course not.  Kindness is incredibly difficult these days, isn't it?  What
with the end of the world and all...

        KATIE
What really brought you to this island?

        MELODY
        (pause)
I'm not sure I know what you mean.

        KATIE
Reasons.

        MELODY
Motives?  Ulterior or otherwise?  Is that what you mean?

        KATIE
I'm curious, that's all.

        MELODY
Curious...

        KATIE
It doesn't much matter, I suppose...

        MELODY
Oh, yes, it certainly matters...

        KATIE
Why you came here...

        MELODY
It matters why I came here.  I could be anybody, you know.

        KATIE
You could be anyone.

        MELODY
Of course... I'm not.  I'm Melody.

        KATIE
        (pause)
I'm pleased to meet you, Melody.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
How were you hurt so badly?

        KATIE
        (pause)
What was your vision?

        MELODY
        (smiles; sincerely)
I closed my eyes, and I could see what peace looked like.

        KATIE
That's pretty ridiculous.

        MELODY
Of course it is.  At times I thought my vision must have been a delusion, that
I had to be crazy to have seen what I saw.

(Pause.)

        KATIE
And you weren't?

        MELODY
How were you hurt so badly?

        KATIE
You're not crazy, are you.

        MELODY
I'm not crazy.  I'm human still, have fears and longings, apprehensions, secret
thoughts... but I'm not crazy.  The vision was immense.  I was given
instructions.  (reaches out across the table)

        KATIE
        (rising suddenly)
I have to go.

        MELODY
        (leaps up)
No--

        KATIE
I don't--

        MELODY
You were hurt.  I don't need to know how.  But I won't hurt you.  It's the end
of the world out there, but here... here it's altogether safe.

        KATIE
No--

        MELODY
        (emphatic)
Altogether safe.  If you stay, you will be safe.  (pause, she moves in front
of the table)  These are historic times, magical times, times that call for
desperate measures, desperate and unusual measures, times that call for
ridiculous pretensions and unbelievable risks, times that call for intricate
metaphors and brash exposures, times that call for powerful proofs and
breathtaking leaps of faith.  So.  Take my hands.  (she offers her hands to
KATIE)  You are *here* now, and this is what *here* would like to ask of you.
Whatever it means to you, however you envision it, whatever twists and turns or
simple nods and breaths of acceptance, *take my hands*.

(After a moment's hesitation, KATIE does take MELODY's hands, and MELODY leads
her DC.  We begin to hear drumming in the background, accompanied by the
rhythmic, mysterious sound of voices breathing.)

        MELODY
We are lodged deep within the melodrama, and yet, we can't deny the compelling
nature of the melodrama's effects on us, the singsong irony of knowing at once
how ridiculous and theatrical the situation is, and yet how important and
dangerous it is as well.  The vision, the aliens, they gave me the instructions
but not the power.  The power comes from Us.

        KATIE
        (overwhelmed)
Melody...

        MELODY
You know full well how much the story hurts...

        KATIE
        (overlapping)
Melody, please...

        MELODY
It will have hurt us both by the time it is complete, but we can accept this
as necessary...

        KATIE
        (overlapping, she is choked with tears)
No...

        MELODY
...as what the plot requires, as what the melodrama demands, if we must
sacrifice ourselves -- if we must *sacrifice ourselves*, we will!  We won't
mind the pain so much *because*, in the back of our minds, we have--

        KATIE
--each other--

        MELODY
If you wish to leave this story--

        KATIE
        (overlapping)
No...

        MELODY
        (overlapping)
--I will understand, and so the story will go for you and I, *but* -- *if* you
wish, just possibly, for something other than that--

        KATIE
Yes!

(MELODY kneels, and KATIE kneels facing her.)

        MELODY
        (solemnly)
I am something else now.  *We* are something else now.  Let this knowledge
inform us both as we proceed to what will have been... the conclusion.  (words
spilling out)  I have so much to say to you, now that you and I are some
beautiful kind of we, certainly I assume too much of you, but still there's no
denying that I can always act as though my acting is as though I'm not
denying, and you can always kiss me if you like...

(A sudden pause.  KATIE takes MELODY's right hand, and covers her palm with
slow, sensual kisses.  MELODY takes KATIE's right hand, and does the same.
Then, KATIE takes MELODY's left hand and kisses it; MELODY then takes KATIE's
left hand, and kisses it.  They eye each other for a long time.  MELODY takes
KATIE's hand, and presses it to KATIE's chest.)

        MELODY
What do you feel?

        KATIE
        (pause)
Heat.

        MELODY
        (shakes her head)
*Fire*.

(Pause.)

        MELODY
I... have a party to go to tonight.

        KATIE
I know.

        MELODY
Can I see you when it's over?

        KATIE
Yes.

        MELODY
Where will you be?

        KATIE
I'll find you when you need me, don't worry.

        MELODY
        (pause)
All right.  (smiles)  Goodbye, Katie.

        KATIE
Goodbye, Melody.

(MELODY stands and exits, leaving KATIE alone C in a pool of light.  After a
pause, KATIE suddenly looks up toward the light.  She slowly raises her arms,
closes her eyes.  A bizarre, atonal choir fades in slowly.  KATIE arches her
back in what appears to be a burst of severe pain throughout her body, but
then, a quick laugh escapes her, and as the choir already fades, she opens her
eyes, and tears the bandages from her wrists, her throat, her forehead.  She
rubs the unmarked sin in wonder and amazement, cries and laughs.  Fade to
black.)

Act One, Scene Eight

(Lights up on the party, in the bar.  MRS. WORMWOOD, ROLAND, WERNER, COURTNEY,
COHEN, and MELODY are all present, all with drinks, all having a grand time.)

        WERNER
        (in mid joke)
And so the duck says, "Put away that stapler!"

(In an eerie, choreographed synchrony, they all laugh together, in precise
unison.)

        WERNER
        (all smiles)
Eh?  Eh?  Didn't I tell you that was good?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
You sure told us all right!

        COHEN
That was good.

        WERNER
I told you, didn't I?  I told you.

        COURTNEY
You sure told us!

        ROLAND
You told us.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I can't believe how you told us!  Just like you were going to -- and then you
went ahead and told us!

        COURTNEY
That *is* hard to believe.

        COHEN
And yet -- there it is!

        WERNER
        (thoroughly pleased)
There it is indeed.

        MELODY
Werner, I'm very impressed.  You sure know how to keep your wits about you when
the world is coming to an end.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (offering a tray of fresh drinks)
Would anyone care for a drink?

        WERNER
Booze!  Booze!

        ROLAND
I'm a fan of booze myself.

        COHEN
Nothing like a good drunken stupor when the world is coming to an end!

        WERNER
        (solemn, loud pronouncement)
Booze is for peole with no meaning in their lives.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
That sounds like a toast!

(They all cheer, clink glasses, and drink.)

        MELODY
So, Mrs. Wormwood, tell us about your days of serial killing.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Oh, Melody, I swear, those were the days.  The trick was to follow some juicy
young morsel home from a bar or a grocery store or some such, find the lonely
little fillies who live all by their lonesomes, scope out the place for alarms
or pesky neighbors or what not, and then, my special treat was to only kill on
a full moon, except of course, when I was busy during the full moon, in which
case anything goes, ha! -- but, my implement of choice was a big black machete
with a label on the blade that said "Caution -- Handle With Care," and the
technique I preferred most was to simply insert the very tip of the blade
underneath the skin and then make an incision down the length of the body, very
smooth, very precise, so that I'd have the pleasure of seeing a small red
stream of blood develop rapidly into a gushing river, replete with tributaries,
followed by a veritable tsunami of blood, a volcanic eruption of organs and
various sundry squishy parts that suddenly found themselves liberated from the
constraints of the skin--

        WERNER
And did you find, for a time, before the final transcendent death burst of
endorphins overtook the hapless victim, numbing them into a horrifying
existential grave, that the internal organs could be teased and tormented
with exceptional, I should say, finesse, or perhaps a kind of terpsichorean
vigor, producing screams and ridiculously eerie facial expressions on the
victim that were capable of brining you to the very pinnacle of orgasmic
release?  Not sexually, of course, but psychically, spiritually...?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (pause, smiles)
I can say I've had that experience, yes.

        COURTNEY
My own experience has been limited to animals, of course, but the effect is
nonetheless strikingly similar.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Well, dear, you simply *must* graduate to *human* victims!  That is, if your
adorable husband doesn't someday bludgeon you to death before you get the
chance.

        COHEN
        (brightly)
Yes, well, I love my darling Courtney a great deal, but one thing I love even
more is beating her to a senseless bloody pulp once or twice a week.

(In an eerie choreographed synchrony, everyone laughs merrily in unison.)

        COHEN
        (suddenly somber)
Of course... those days are all behind me now... now that Melody has come into
our lives.

(All eyes turn to MELODY.)

        MELODY
        (smiles)
I have... special talents.

(There is a knock at the door.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Goodness, I wonder who that could be.  Roland, would you mind getting the door
for me?

        ROLAND
I've never bowled before in my life.

(ROLAND opens the door.  CRAMER enters, now dressed in some kind of formal
wear.)

        CRAMER
Good evening.  I... hope I'm not disturbing anything.

(The room reorganizes slightly: COHEN subtly positions himself between CRAMER
and MELODY, WERNER and COURTNEY both edge a few feet further away, while MRS.
WORMWOOD steps toward CRAMER to welcome him.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Well, hello there, Cramer!  It's about time you arrived!

        CRAMER
        (graciously shaking her hand)
I'm glad I didn't wear a costume.  What's the occasion?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
We're having a welcome party for a very special guest.

        CRAMER
        (moving fluidly through the room, acquires a drink)
Yes, yes, I understand we have a visitor here to the island.  I'd better
acquaint myself right away, offer the best of the island's hospitality, et
cetera, et cetera.  Ah... (arriving at MELODY)  You must be Melody.

        COHEN
        (moving in)
Uh, yes, allow me to introduce you, Cramer.  This is Melody.  She's from
America, and she's staying with Courtney and I.  Melody, this is Cramer.  He's
the commandant of the local Ministry for Global Defense outpost.

        CRAMER
        (takes MELODY's hand, kisses it)
On behalf of the entire island and myself, welcome, Melody.

        MELODY
Why, thank you.

        CRAMER
And look at you, already surrounded by such distinguished company.

        MELODY
Yes, I've been made to feel quite at home.

        CRAMER
        (taking MELODY by the arm, leading her DS)
What brings you to the island, Melody?  Especially at a time like this, what
with the end of the world and all...

        MELODY
        (smiles)
What if I told you that was a matter of... personal business?

        CRAMER
        (chuckles softly)
Come now, Melody, surely it's apparent there's no such thing as purely personal
business on this island.

        MELODY
Oh?

        CRAMER
Your personal business *is* my business.  Look at your friends' reactions to
me.  The Ministry for Global Defense is not a popular organization.

        MELODY
Yes, well, it sounds quite intriguing to me.  What does your organization do?

        CRAMER
It's our mission to hunt down those responsible for bringing about the end of
the world, and exterminate them, before someone else gets a chance to do it,
before they get a chance to do it themselves.

        MELODY
        (pause)
For what reason?

        CRAMER
        (smiles)
Revenge.  (softer, so that only she can hear)  Allow me to be frank with you,
Melody.  I don't know how you got onto this island, nor do I understand why
you came here, but I do know that I find the whole thing incredibly suspicious,
the way you've managed to instantly surround yourselves with fawning
sycophants.  These gullible, rich debutantes were just waiting for a powerful,
magnetic personality to herd them like sheep from pardigm to paradigm.  Let me
assure you, Melody, it would not be wise to get comfortable on this island,
for I will not hesitate to destroy you should you cause the slightest trouble.
Hell, Melody, I may destroy you anyway, just to stay in practice.  It isn't
too often you get to topple a two-faced demagogue on her way up.  Am I making
myself clear?

        MELODY
        (slowly, smiling, staring him down)
Perfectly clear.  You're so amazingly frightened that I have to laugh -- on
the inside, of course, so as not to embarrass you.

        CRAMER
It is people like you who destroyed civilization as we know it--

        MELODY
--and who will *restore* civilization--

        CRAMER
--or destroy what's left!

        COHEN
Melody's not going to destroy anything!

        WERNER
I think you're being a little hard on the girl, Cramer.

        COURTNEY
Melody's an inspiration!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Civilization will destroy itself without any help from Melody, I assure you!

        COURTNEY
You simply have to *want* inspiration, Cramer!

        COHEN
Melody's going to save the world!

        WERNER
You have to admit, Cramer, she's got a certain charisma!

        COURTNEY
Don't let us threaten you, Cramer -- we're here to *save* you!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Just let us go about our business, Cramer -- we won't hurt anyone!

        ROLAND
I'm telling you, this rabbit fetus tastes delicious!

(Awkward pause.)

        CRAMER
        (to MELODY)
You may have won over these mindless irritants, my dear, but you will find I
am a much harder nut to crack.

        MELODY
You don't frighten me as much as I seem to frighten you.

        CRAMER
That's very foolish of you.

        MELODY
Of course.  But I'm *right*.  And that makes all the difference.

(Pause.)

        CRAMER
I see I've failed to communicate with you here this evening, Melody.  But don't
worry.  I will find a more effective way of making myself... clear.  (to the
others)  And with that, I'll take my leave.  Lovely party, Mrs. Wormwood, as
always.

(He exits.)

        COHEN
        (nearly exploding)
That filthy, disgusting bastard!

        COURTNEY
Cohen, stop--

        COHEN
How dare he insinuate that what we're doing here, saving the world, is
anything less than pure and humanitarian?  I could kill the fucking bastard!

        COURTNEY
Cohen, this is not the way--

        COHEN
Shut the fuck up, would you, Courtney?

        WERNER
I think Cohen's right.  Cramer has really gone too far this time.  All we've
done is gathered to welcome a truly charming, wonderful girl to the island--

        COHEN
And he thinks he can walk all over her!  In front of all of us!  As if our
opinions have no weight!

        ROLAND
I myself have no opinions.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Nothing like a dangerous confrontation with a paranoid villain when the world
is coming to an end!

        WERNER
        (solemn, loud pronouncement)
Paranoia is for people with no meaning in their lives!

        COHEN
We need to find a way to get rid of that bastard.

        COURTNEY
No, we need to show him what we're all about, fight fire with fire, annihilate
his resistance by demonstrating the depth of our sincerity!

        COHEN
But we have nothing to show him, we have only Melody!

        MELODY
Isn't that enough?

(Sudden silence.  MELODY has climbed on top of the bar unit.  Lights begin to
shift to a much weirder atmosphere.)

        WERNER
Excuse me, but what the hell is happening?

        MELODY
        (rousing)
I'll tell you what's happening, Werner.  I'll tell you all why you're here.
You're here because of a vision, a vision of harmony, a vision of shimmering,
transcendent harmony.  I've been given a vision!  I have seen so many things!
Tell me what I have seen!  I said, *tell me what I have seen*!

        COURTNEY + COHEN
Aliens will come and save humanity from the end of the world!

        MELODY
        (shouting)
And how will they know to come here?

        COURTNEY + COHEN
We will call them here!

        MELODY
I've been given a vision!  I've been given instructions!  Cohen, start passing
out the drugs.

(COHEN begins giving pills to everyone.)

        MELODY
        (rapidly)
It would be thoroughly sublime if by this story's end you thought you
empathized with me, you thought you might have insight, understanding, caring
and compassion, if only I could make the right impression, the one that lingers
past the radiant flash and settles down inside your soul, loneliness is a
chilling whisper that needs as many words as possible to keep it company,
follow me and while confusion clouds all possible issues, all other
connections, we at least will have made this agreement, this pact--

        COHEN
The sacrament is ready!

        WERNER
Sacrament?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (gleeful)
Sounds entirely entrancing.

        MELODY
Here is my story, then.  In my vision, I saw the aliens, transcendent and
benevolent, wise and beautiful, exalted beyond measure!  And I need you, the
power of your love and trust and commitment, to set up a transmitting station,
so that we can send them our pleas for help, and call them here to Earth!  Do
you want to experience their benevolence?  Do you want to experience their
wisdom?

        COURTNEY + COHEN
Yes, we want to experience their benevolence!

        WERNER + MRS. WORMWOOD
Yes, we want to experience their wisdom!

        MELODY
We will create a sacred space, a sacred transmitting station, a beacon of
glistening order in a world of terrifying chaos, we will tune to the exact
frequency of obscentiy that the aliens call language--

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
Obscenity!

        ALL
Obscenity!

        MELODY
Obscenity to us, truly alien, for how can we call them "aliens" without
pointing to that which is most abhorrent, most unusual, most desperately weird?
Foul, putrescent street drugs will be our sacrament, blind, insidious impulses
will be our litany -- are you ready to follow me into the most sacred
dimensions of horror and blistering beauty?

        OTHERS
We're ready to follow you!  We will follow you anywhere!

        MELODY
All we need now is-- (suddenly stops) is... Katie.

(Silence; action comes to a dead stop.  Then, the door opens, and KATIE
enters.)

        KATIE
        (softly)
Hi.  Have I missed anything?

        MELODY
        (smiles in wonder)
Katie... you're here.

        KATIE
I told you I'd find you when you needed me.

(A joyous cheer rises up.  KATIE rushes to MELODY, they embrace as a circle
begins to form CS.  The circle is actually a semicircle, as close to the
audience as possible.  MELODY and KATIE join the circle at the center.  COHEN
hands KATIE her pills.)

        MELODY
You are here now, and this is what here would like to ask of you.  Take the
sacrament now.  And prepare yourselves for the onslaught.

(Slowly each of them swallows the pills.)

        MELODY
Take my hands.

(They all join hands.)

        MELODY
I am something else now.  *We* are something else now.

        OTHERS
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        MELODY
We are *something else*, we are something other than what we are.

        OTHERS
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        MELODY
This space defines us, gives us the lives we presume to claim.

        COURTNEY
Prepare to receive--

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Prepare to receive--

        ALL
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        MELODY
Life that slips sideways into the present tense!  Life that begs us to pay
attention!

        OTHERS
We are not alone here!

        MELODY
To pay attention to details and flashes!  To focus what you are on what *we*
are!

        OTHERS
We are not alone here!

        MELODY
To live with all your heart no matter what the situation hands us!  To
sacrifice ourselves, to sacrifice *ourselves*, to *sacrifice ourselves*!

        OTHERS
We are not here for very long!

        COURTNEY
Can you feel it?

        WERNER
Those drugs work fast!

        MELODY
The opening phase will be one of disorientation.  The following phase will be
one of ecstasy.  The final phase will be one of transcendence.

        OTHERS
Seamless communication!

        COHEN
Such a strange taste...

        ROLAND
I've never bowled before in my life.

        MELODY
The first phase is about to begin.  Prepare yourselves--

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I swear, this is absolutely entrancing!

        COURTNEY
When does the insanity start?

        KATIE
It's already started, it's already started!

        COHEN + MRS. WORMWOOD
        (rising vocally)
We are not alone here, we are not alone here!

        ALL
        (rising further)
Prepare to receive transmissions, prepare to receive--

(One single, loud gunshot from behind them stops them all abruptly.  In the
background, we see CRAMER, once again in uniform, holding a weapon.)

        CRAMER
        (quietly)
Prepare to receive damnation.

(Another gunshot, and COURTNEY bucks violently and collapses, dead.  CRAMER
strides forward, grabs MELODY by the hair, forces her to her knees; she cries
out in sudden, unexpected terror.  The others scream at first, then move
slowly, as if swimming in quicksand, chanting "prepare to receive" mindlessly
over and over.  KATIE slowly crawls behind the bar in slow motion.)

        CRAMER
You incredible bitch!  You incredible, arrogant bitch!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU
ARE?

(He fires again; ROLAND collapses, dead.)

        CRAMER
        (yanking her head viciously)
You're going to wish you'd never seen this island!  You're going to wish you'd
never had that vision!  You're going to wish you'd just fucking killed yourself
when you had the chance!  (slaps her, punches her)

        MELODY
No...

        CRAMER
*Yes*!

(Another gunshot; WERNER collapses, dead.)

        MELODY
        (through the pain)
You are making a horrible mistake!

        CRAMER
I will not let you destroy this island!

        MELODY
Don't do this!  You can still save yourself!

        CRAMER
I will not let you destroy the world!

        MELODY
I can save you!

        CRAMER
Who do you think you are?  Answer me!  Who do you think you are?

(Another gunshot; MRS. WORMWOOD collapses, dead.)

        MELODY
        (screams in horrof)
NO!

        CRAMER
Answer me!  Who do you think you are?  Who do you think you are? WHO DO YOU
THINK YOU ARE?

(Another gunshot; COHEN collapses, dead.)

        MELODY
        (mustering an unbelievable amount of resistance)
*I AM WHO I AM*...

        CRAMER
You are nothing, woman, you are absolutely nothing, do you understand me?  You
are absolutely nothing!  And before I'm through with you, you are going to be
EVEN LESS!

(Sudden blackout.  Long silence.  Then a dim light comes up on the corpses;
MELODY and CRAMER are gone.  Slowly, KATIE rises from behind the bar.  She
looks around, absolutely shell shocked.  Then, slowly, she makes her way out of
the room.  Fade to black.)


Act Two, Scene One

(As lights dim, we begin to hear riot sounds once again, somewhere in the
distance.  On top of the riot sounds, in the darkness, we hear the alienating
bursts of static of a radio dial not finding a signal; then, suddenly, a
terrified voice is heard over the radio.)

        VOICE
--fucking Christ, I mean, they don't look human anymore!  People are, they're
just, I mean, they're wearing their insides on the outside, it's a fucking
wonder I made it here alive... (starts to laugh hysterically) And the really
fucked up thing is I killed I don't know how many people just to get up here,
and I just fucking *know* there's no one listening!  There's no one fucking
listening!  It's the end of the world, and there's *no one fucking listening*!
(more laughter)

(Radio and riot sounds fade slowly, are replaced by tranquil jungle sounds, as
lights rise on the bar.  At SR table sit WERNER and ROLAND; MRS. WORMWOOD is
behind the bar.)

        WERNER
You know, I have to admit, I've become a little restless lately when I think
about the good old days of wandering the globe and having my share of innocent
victims to slaughter.  I mean, there's so little to occupy our time here!  And
on an island with such a pitifully small population, a killing spree would
basically amount to poor sportsmanship.  I tell you, the boredom almost makes
me wish the end of the world would hurry up and spread here.  (pause)  Now
here's a thought.  How do you suppose, when the end of the world finally does
spread to the island, we'll know that it's arrived?  What do you suppose the
signals will be?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
There's an old American proverb that I think goes a long way toward answering
your question: "When the sky is filled with blackest clouds, and the air itself
is murky, black, and devoid of light... (dramatic pause)  ...it'll be pretty
dark."

        WERNER
        (nods wisely)
As always, Mrs. Wormwood, you've managed to illuminate the situation perfectly.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (enthusiastic and proud)
Yes, well, I like to think I'm good for more than just serial killing and the
occasional party.

(COHEN and COURTNEY enter.)

        COHEN
        (shouting to MRS. WORMWOOD)
Well, hello, Mrs. Wormwood!  I'll bet you're glad to see us again!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Cohen!  Courtney!  My friends!

        COURTNEY
Hi, Mrs. Wormwood.

        COHEN
I'll bet you're glad to see us again!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I'm so glad to see you again!

        COURTNEY
Get us some food, why don't you.

        COHEN
Listen to her, so imperious these days.

        COURTNEY
I think food's a good idea.

(COHEN backhands her violently; she crumples quickly to the floor.)

        COHEN
        (as he hits her)
Shut the fuck up, would you?

        COURTNEY
        (rises quickly to her knees, defiant, face covered with blood)
Just get us some fucking food, why don't you.

        COHEN
        (giving in, to MRS. WORMWOOD)
All right, just get us some food and something to drink, okay, Mrs. Wormwood?

        COURTNEY
And get us something to drink.

        COHEN
Please shut the fuck up, Courtney.

        COURTNEY
Like a martini, okay, Cohen?  Get me a martini.  And some food.

(COHEN lashes out with a sickening, powerful kick to her stomach, leaving her
in a heap near SR table.)

        COHEN
        (smiling to MRS. WORMWOOD)
I swear, when the end of the world finally hits this island, she's the first on
my list.

(He makes knowing throat-cutting gesture, they both laugh knowingly.  COHEN
moves to SL table, while COURTNEY struggles into a chair at SR table.)

        WERNER
        (rises, shakes COHEN's hand)
Cohen!

        COHEN
Hello, Werner, I'll bet you're glad to see me again!

        WERNER
It's so good to see you again!  Still beating your wife, I see!

        COHEN
Yes, well, what the hell else is there to do on this island?  Start a
religion?  (they laugh uproariously)  Roland, how's the pro bowling tour?

        ROLAND
I'd like to take this moment to point something out, if I may.

(Awkward pause.)

        WERNER
Why, certainly, Roland, go right ahead.

        COHEN
Yes, Roland, what is it?

(Slight pause.)

        ROLAND
I've never bowled before in my life.

(Pause.)

        COHEN
        (ignoring this revelation)
Actually, I've got some news for you all.  Do you all remember hearing about
that new girl on the island, the one everybody around here was falling in love
with, the one who arrived here from America in order to perform some kind of
bizarre, alien-calling ritual?

        WERNER
I *think* I remember her... charismatic, magnetic personality?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Intense devotion to a vision of peace and harmony?

        COHEN
Yes, that's the one.  Her name was Melody.  (conspiratorially)  Apparently
there was some kind of welcome to the island party last night in her honor, a
number of very important islanders were there...

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Very important islanders?

        WERNER
Who in the world--

        COHEN
Their names aren't being released, but apparently they were very important
indeed.  And apparently... (glances about furtively, then speaks in a slightly
hushed voice) ...apparently, an unknown band of terrorists crashed the party.

        WERNER
My God!  What is this island coming to?

        COURTNEY
I think I'll pass out from the pain.  (she passes out in her chair; her head
hits the table comically)

        COHEN
Apparently, every one of those important islanders was brutally murdered, and
as for the girl herself... her body wasn't found among the corpses.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Do you suppose she somehow escaped?

        COHEN
Quite the contrary.  I suppose whoever those terrorists are, they've taken her
away somewhere.  They may very well have something quite diabolical in mind,
but no one's heard a word from them.  (pause)  This may very well be the end of
the world after all.

(LAUREL enters.  She is played by the same person who plays MELODY.  LAUREL's
hair is much longer than MELODY's, her clothes are darker, less flashy.  She is
much more grim than MELODY.  COHEN, WERNER, MRS. WORMWOOD, and ROLAND are
transfixed.  A long, awkward pause ensues.)

        LAUREL
I'm looking for my identical twin sister, Melody.  (pause)  Have any of you
seen her?  (pause)  She would have looked a lot like me.

(Fade to black.)

Act Two, Scene Two

(In the darkness, riot sounds resume.  Spot up on CRAMER, in uniform,
addressing the audience as if speaking for a camera.)

        CRAMER
Arrogance will not be tolerated!  That's how you can tell a troublemaker, of
course.  Everything's going along perfectly well, civilization, there it is,
it's happening, society's happening, and then some arrogant troublemaker
decides to stir things up.  You have to wonder what imbues these troublemakers
with such a bloated sense of self that they feel they can simply throw away all
the conventions that thousands of years of humanity have managed to develop.
These troublemakers think they have an edge on the rest of us, think they have
some special understanding, think they've got the wisdom to tell the rest of us
exactly how wrong we've been all these years.  Arrogant, power-hungry fools!
Luckily, as long as the Ministry for Global Defense remains fully operational,
you have nothing at all to fear.  We will protect you from these arrogant,
power-hungry troublemakers.  We will protect you from the end of the world.  We
will protect you from *yourselves*.  And I can assure you with all my heart
that you will have no need to be protected from *us*...

(Fade to black.)

Act Two, Scene Three

(Lights up on the bar.  At SR table, COURTNEY remains passed out.  At C
table, LAUREL sits alone.  ROLAND remains at SL table.  COHEN is pacing back
and forth behind LAUREL.  WERNER sits at SR end of bar; MRS. WORMWOOD remains
behind the bar.)

        LAUREL
Don't be silly.  I said I was Melody's sister.

        COHEN
You said that, yes, but how do we know you aren't really Melody in some kind of
disguise?

        LAUREL
What possible motivation could I have for such a trick?

        WERNER
        (adding his two bits)
You know, they say that Melody girl was starting some kind of religious cult.

        COHEN
Exactly.  And what does every good religious cult need?  A martyred prophet.

        LAUREL
Or perhaps just a powerful vision.

        COHEN
        (nearly exploding with frustration)
Powerful vision?  Gimme a break.  Religions form around *people*.  Nobody on
this earth can tell "vision" from *hallucination*.  But *people*... I must
admit, this is a very daring move.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Why are you so concerned about this girl, Cohen?

        COHEN
Why?  Am I the only one who sees the danger here?

        ROLAND
I don't see any danger.

        LAUREL
Is this how you islanders treat all your visitors?  Only hours on the island,
and already I'm being insulted for no apparent reason by the locals.

        COHEN
That's easy for you to say.  You religious types are dangerous!

        WERNER
Really, Cohen, don't you think you ought to get to know her a bit before you
start accusing her of... of...

        COHEN
Of bringing about the end of the world?

        WERNER
Well, what would be wrong with that?  I tell you, I'm *bored*...

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (mischievously)
Buy her a drink, Cohen.  Get to know her a bit.

        LAUREL
I wouldn't mind a glass of wine, actually.

        COHEN
Are you crazy?  These religious types are dangerous!  We'd start off having a
drink, and pretty soon she'd have me believing there's meaning in the world,
and God knows I don't want that!

        LAUREL
I think it's ridiculous for a man like you to worry about being brainwashed.
Anyone who has the intellectual fortitude to beat his wife into a bloody,
senseless stupor can certainly stand up to a potential religious maniac.
 

(COHEN freezes.)

        COHEN
Uh, Mrs. Wormwood, could you get this young lady a glass of wine?

(COHEN moves to LAUREL's table, doesn't sit.)

        COHEN
How did you... I mean, is it obvious?

        COURTNEY
        (stirring at her table)
Melody...

        WERNER
        (to MRS. WORMWOOD)
What do you suppose will happen if she *is* a religious maniac?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
She won't have trouble finding gullible disciples around here, that's for sure.

        LAUREL
Yes, it's obvious.  There's blood on your knuckles.

(COHEN notices the blood, instinctively tries to hide it.)

        LAUREL
Do you enjoy the violence?

        COHEN
I enjoy it as much as anything else.

        LAUREL
Does she enjoy it?

        COHEN
Who gives a fuck?

        LAUREL
You've got a point.

        COHEN
People around here do a lot worse.

        LAUREL
They torture and kill people, I'll bet.

        COHEN
They'd even call it fun.

        LAUREL
It *is* the end of the world, I suppose.  (pause)  Sit down.  (he does)  My
name is Laurel.

        COHEN
That's a pretty name.

        LAUREL
I agree.

        COHEN
And you're Melody's twin sister?

        LAUREL
Yes.

        COHEN
What... brings you to the island?  Especially at a time like this, what with
the... end of the world and all...

(MRS. WORMWOOD arrives with glasses of wine for them.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Here you are, my dear.  A courtesy of the gentleman here.  (she goes)

        LAUREL
Shall we have a toast?

(They raise their respective glasses.)

        LAUREL
To all the people in the world who will die unnaturally during the time it
takes us to drink this toast.

(Very hesitantly, COHEN clinks glasses with LAUREL's, and they drink.)

        COURTNEY
        (moaning a bit)
Cohen... Where's Cohen?

        WERNER
        (to MRS. WORMWOOD)
Cohen's not going to like it if Courtney interrupts his little discussion.  Do
you suppose I should keep her quiet?

        COHEN
        (slightly shaken)
You're dangerous.  You really are dangerous.

        LAUREL
        (leaning in to him)
I am here to find my sister Melody.  I don't suppose you know what's happened
to her?

        COHEN
No, I don't.  And I don't think I'd tell you if I did.

        COURTNEY
        (a little louder)
Cohen!  Where's Cohen?

        WERNER
That's it, then.  I'll be right back.  (heads to SR table)

        LAUREL
        (smiles grimly)
She made quite an impression, I imagine.

        COHEN
And why do you suppose she came here?

        LAUREL
        (smiles again)
To impress.

        COURTNEY
        (loudly)
I want Cohen!

        WERNER
        (sitting down next to her)
There there, Courtney, let's keep our voices down, all right?

        COURTNEY
Tell me where Cohen is.

        WERNER
He's busy with another woman.

        COURTNEY
        (rises, begins to shout)
Where the fuck--

(WERNER rises, punches COURTNEY across the face; she collapses, out cold.
WERNER heads back to the bar.)

        LAUREL
Just be honest with me.  Do you know what's happened to Melody?

        WERNER
        (to a smiling MRS. WORMWOOD)
That was a bit harsh, I know, but it's what Cohen would have done.

        COHEN
No.  She seems to have mysteriously vanished.  Now you be honest with me.  Why
did you and Melody decide to invade this island?

        LAUREL
Who cares?  Who cares if we perform a ritual?  Who cares if we start a
religion?  You certainly have nothing to fear, you can see right through us, of
course.  Too smart, too brutal, too selfish to fall for that good old-fashioned
peace and harmony rap, I suppose--

        COHEN
Oh, you really are too fucking much, you know that?

        LAUREL
        (rising)
Why the violence?

        COHEN
Why do you care?

        LAUREL
        (to the others)
What was the most compelling thing about killing other human beings?

        COHEN
You leave them out of this--

        MRS. WORMWOOD
You have a very confrontational manner, Missy.

        LAUREL
You've felt that, haven't you, the absolute power over another human being,
you can hold it in your hand the way you hold a knife or a rope, the power to
absolutely annihilate another human being and torture them horribly along the
way, you've felt the strength and the wonder of facing the most horrible and
vile of all human acts with a smile on your face, you've consumed pleasure at
the bowl of another's terror, and once you've danced with the dying soul of
another human being, I can tell, I can just tell, that the tranquil, easy,
mediocre life on this island can't possibly be enough for you any longer--

        COHEN
And I suppose you have something to offer us instead.

        LAUREL
The same power that destroys a human life can save a human life.  (long pause)
This is all about power, nothing else.  If we start a religion, it's not
because of any supernatural vision -- hell, it's the end of the world, who
knows what's supernatural and what isn't?  No, if we start a religion, it's
because power... is exhilarating.  And saving people is easier than killing
people, it's as simple as that.

(Long pause.)

        COHEN
        (softly)
And what do we have to do to save all these people?

        LAUREL
        (smiles)
Would you believe... we have to call the aliens?

(Pause.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (slowly)
I imagine, then, we'll need to have... a welcome to the island party for you,
Laurel.

        LAUREL
        (tightly relieved)
Yes.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
And Cohen, you'll need to bring the drugs.  We'll want to get the ritual right
this time.

        COHEN
        (rises, stares around in disbelief; to LAUREL)
You're still dangerous, I mean, that's apparent.  But I'll go along, for now.
And it has nothing to do with you, or even your adorable ideas about saving
people.  It's all about me.  I want things.

        LAUREL
I don't mind.

        COHEN
We'll see.  (he exits)

        ROLAND
        (finishes his drink, rises to leave; as he passes LAUREL)
I myself have no opinions.

        LAUREL
        (moved)
And what's that like?  To have no opinions?

        ROLAND
I don't know.  I have no opinion on the subject.  I'll be seeing you.  (exits)

(The stage is silent for a moment.  As LAUREL returns to her seat, KATIE
enters, still wearing the clothes she had on at the end of Act One; she is a
disheveled mess.  There is a long, long moment as KATIE stares at LAUREL, and
eventually LAUREL notices KATIE, and returns the stare.)

        KATIE
        (softly)
Melody.

(WERNER notices KATIE, leaps to intercept.)

        WERNER
I'll handle this.  (to KATIE)  I thought I told you we weren't going to see
each other any longer.  What in the hell are you doing here, Katie?

        KATIE
I heard someone had spotted Melody here...

        WERNER
You filthy, putrescent sack of slime, I swore to all that's holy that if I ever
laid eyes on you again, I would have you eviscerated, I would--

        LAUREL
Werner.

        WERNER
        (turns)
Yes?

        LAUREL
We're in the business of saving people now, remember?

        WERNER
        (pause)
That's right.  (pause, smiles)  Yes, that *is* an interesting feeling, isn't
it.  See you at the party!  (he exits)

(Pause.)

        KATIE
        (to MRS. WORMWOOD)
Can I come in?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (the epitome of disdain)
Try not to bleed on anything.  (she exits)

(Pause.  Then KATIE moves to the table and sits opposite LAUREL.  KATIE is
amazed by the sight of "Melody."  Lights slowly begin to dim on the rest of the
stage.)

        LAUREL
Your name is Katie?

        KATIE
No.

        LAUREL
It is so.  I'm Laurel.

(Long, uncomfortable pause.)

        LAUREL
Why are you staring at me like that?

        KATIE
If you *are* her twin sister, you must have come to the island for the same
reason she did.  To perform the ritual.  To call the aliens.  To save the
world.

        LAUREL
Did she try to perform the ritual without me?

        KATIE
You're not as pure as she was, I can feel that already.

        LAUREL
We can't all be charming as Melody.

        KATIE
Melody had fire...

        LAUREL
Some people have to work hard to build a fire.  To tend it.  And if they
aren't careful, they end up fighting that fire.  She was always so naive.
Couldn't imagine she'd have enemies.

        KATIE
You are... you are dangerous, to all of us.

        LAUREL
You don't even know me.  Keep it to yourself.  You had such high hopes for
Melody, and she failed you.  Learn from her mistakes.

        KATIE
Melody was pure...

        LAUREL
        (angry)
My vision is as pure.  We share the same vision.  It was given to us in the
same dream, by the very same aliens.  No matter if our methods are different --
our vision is the same.

        KATIE
Who will you destroy to achieve that vision?

        LAUREL
Melody didn't even notice who she destroyed.  (spiteful)  Melody believed that
she was the holy vessel of the message.  But it is we who *build* the vessel.
I can teach them how, but I am no more important than the next.  The vision is
all-important.

        KATIE
At the expense of the people...

        LAUREL
Yes.  Until the vision is achieved.  Melody sacrificed herself for this vision.
You will do the same.  You'll follow me, because Melody wanted this ritual
performed, and I can do it.  And the vision remains pure.  Keep your
suspicions of me to yourself.  It is hard enough to do this work, without your
childish fears in my way.  All I need from you is your spirit.  You can have
the rest.

        KATIE
        (rises, faces out, speaks listlessly to the audience)
Such sweeping sadness wells up inside your stomach, concentrates itself for a
blistering moment as if announcing itself with the most dismal and desperate of
trumpet calls, then slowly spreads like a shimmering infection throughout your
bloodstream, rings like a bell that never should have been rung, and when the
sadness sets in, all the colors are slightly wrong and the shapes are somehow
not what they were, and part of what makes this sadness so sad is that it can't
be isolated or pinpointed or addressed, and thus can't be consoled, and your
medicine's no good and your favorite song just won't do the trick, this kind of
sadness points toward not just loss of happiness but loss of sanity, sadness
fights for itself like a lonely abandoned housecat fighting for its life
against a pack of hungry dogs and winning.  Whereas happiness is its happiest
when the reasons are crystal clear and plain as day, sadness is its saddest
when its causes reasons twists excuses are hidden murky lost and buried deep
within a cave that can't ever be entered deep enough.  Sadness doesn't know
what to do next.  (pause)  Katie doesn't know what to do next.  (pause)
Sadness is the sweet and horrible sound of all the street lamps going dim the
moment after you've passed them.  Sadness is the tender and frightening shock
of all the street lamps going dim the moment *before* you pass them.  Sadness
is the quickening, harrowing glow of the one street lamp above your head as all
the other street lamps before and after slip away into darkness.  Sadness is
compelling and addictive.  I am very sad these days.  Soon I will probably be
crazy.

(Slowly, she sits back down, faces LAUREL.)

        KATIE
The Ministry for Global Defense has Melody.  She's a political prisoner.  You
will want to speak to a man named Cramer.  You will need to be very careful.

        LAUREL
        (rises)
Thank you, Katie.  (pause)  I'll see you at the party?  (KATIE nods)  All
right.  Goodbye, Katie.

        KATIE
Goodbye, Laurel.

(LAUREL exits, leaving KATIE alone C in a pool of light.  COURTNEY begins to
stir nearby.)

        COURTNEY
Melody... is that you?

        KATIE
        (sadly, tired)
Yes, Courtney, I'm here.

        COURTNEY
Would you stay with me?  I believe I'm going to die this time?

        KATIE
        (moving to her, taking her to the floor CS)
You're not going to die, Courtney.  (bitterly)  We're in the *business* of
*saving* people now.

        COURTNEY
Where did all this blood come from?

        KATIE
From you.  It is your sacrifice.

        COURTNEY
I'm sick of sacrifice.

        KATIE
Then it seems we still have much work to do.

        COURTNEY
I'm sick of work.  I just need to lie here.

        KATIE
No... no... we should stop your husband from killing you.

        COURTNEY
Have you noticed how... some of the men on this island... don't seem to like
us much?

        KATIE
I hate to think what will happen when the end of the world finally arrives.

        COURTNEY
You're so peaceful, after all that's happened to you.

        KATIE
        (nearly crying)
I can't ease your loneliness, but I can stop your tears.

(A white light slowly begins to shine on them from above.  A bizarre, atonal
choir comes up in the background.)

        KATIE
This was Melody's vision, given to us.  And it only depends on how much we
*believe*... it only depends on how much we believe...

(As the lights fade, the choir intensifies, we hear heavy breathing and
drumming in the mix, and deep deep in the mix a woman's voice begins to laugh.
This moment lasts a long time in the darkness.)

Act Two, Scene Four

(Lights up on SR; MRS. WORMWOOD and ROLAND are shopping.  MRS. WORMWOOD has a
shopping basket, and mimes taking items off a shelf.  She is visibly angry.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
There's something I don't understand about all of this.

        ROLAND
There's a lot I don't understand about all of this.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
That's not what I meant.  What I don't understand is why they came here, to
this island.  I mean, they had a whole world full of yahoos to choose from,
and this island is a pretty out of the way island, as far as islands go, so
why'd they choose here?  Why'd they choose us?

        ROLAND
Is there someone else they should've chosen instead?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (exessively aggravated)
I don't know, Roland, what goes on in the mind of a spiritual demagogue?  How
does one look around, point one's finger, and say, "You, you're going to be the
chosen people."  Why those people instead of these other people?  Why, you
could drive yourself crazy wondering what the admission requirements are for
the chosen people, Roland.

        ROLAND
I guess we're lucky they chose us.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I wouldn't say lucky.  I'm getting a little tired of these women sweeping in
and getting all the attention, but I suppose any excuse to have a party is a
good enough reason to tolerate them.  Do you suppose a demagogue would eat
mangoes?

(Crossfade to SL, where COURTNEY and WERNER are arguing.  COURTNEY is cleaned
up, looks immaculate, healthy, and enthusiastic.)

        WERNER
        (shaking his head)
I don't understand this at all.

        COURTNEY
What's not to understand?

        WERNER
        (irritated)
Since when do you go around championing prostitutes?

        COURTNEY
It doesn't matter that she's a prostitute.

        WERNER
And I don't understand why she has to be there tonight.

        COURTNEY
You don't have to like her, Werner.

        WERNER
I *don't* like her.  I don't *trust* her.  She's always so damned quiet, so
damned reclusive, so damned secretive--

        COURTNEY
She was frightened of you, Werner.

        WERNER
        (genuinely upset)
Why was she frightened of me?  Why was she so frightened of me all along?

        COURTNEY
        (smoothly)
She was frightened that you were going to do exactly what you ended up doing
to her.

(Long pause.)

        WERNER
Oh.

        COURTNEY
Don't worry, Werner.  I'm sure she'll be understanding.

        WERNER
I'm sure she will too, and that's another thing I don't understand...

(Crossfade to CS, where KATIE sits on a park bench.  WERNER slowly walks into
the light.  There is a great pause, then:)

        WERNER
It seems I... owe you an apology.

        KATIE
Yes.

        WERNER
I was... callous and heartless.

        KATIE
Yes.

        WERNER
And I... somehow I want to make it up to you.  I don't... this is very awkward.

        KATIE
Did Courtney send you?

        WERNER
Yes.  (rapidly)  But I wanted to talk to you, Katie, wanted to find a way, but
I'm... well.  I understand back in the real world, we never would have spoken
again, but... but here on this island, we have so little choice, and... and
so little time... it is the end of the world out there, you know...

        KATIE
        (turns to him, smiles)
These are magical times, Werner.  Can you feel it?

        WERNER
Just looking at you...

        KATIE
Times that call for intricate metaphors and brash exposures...

        WERNER
...I feel like a child again.

        KATIE
And while we can never again be what we once were... we can always be something
else.

        WERNER
Something else?

        KATIE
Something other than what we are.

(Pause.)

        WERNER
It feels as though a great cloud has suddenly lifted.  It was never this easy
in the real world.

        KATIE
Thank God we escaped the real world.  (pause)  I'm glad you're here, Werner.

        WERNER
So am I.

        KATIE
Now... I need you to do something very important for me.

(Crossfade to SR, WERNER and COHEN.)

        WERNER
It really is unseemly, Cohen, not at all dignified.  Important islanders like
you and I need to behave with a bit more dignity.

        COHEN
What's gotten into you, Werner?

        WERNER
It's common sense, that's all, Cohen.  People look up to you, admire you, and
while it may be the end of the world out *there*, it's still dignified and
civilized *here*.

        COHEN
I was abusing her long before the end of the world got started.

        WERNER
Trust me, Cohen, I'm familiar with the impulse.  Remember, I personally
tortured, raped, maimed and killed some two hundred and twenty-three
prepubescents across the globe.  But this is different.  Courtney is someone
you love.

        COHEN
Who says you can't abuse someone you love?

        WERNER
She doesn't like it, Cohen.

        COHEN
        (pause)
I thought... you mean... well, that changes everything, I guess.

        WERNER
See how easy that was?  (smiles brightly)  It feels like it's raining easy
answers around here these days, doesn't it?

(Crossfade to park bench, where COURTNEY is now seated.  COHEN enters, sits.
They don't look at each other.)

        COHEN
I'm sorry.

        COURTNEY
        (long pause, she chuckles finally)
That's okay.

        COHEN
I thought... I don't know, I mean... well, the end of the world sure gets in
everybody's way, doesn't it?  (pause)  No.  Not the end of the world.  It
was... my... impulses, and... I indulged, when... I shouldn't have.

(Long pause.)

        COURTNEY
        (nearly numb)
I wish this was a dream.  A hallucination.  But it isn't.  It's reality.  This
is where people are beaten, most especially me.  Not so bad.  At least I'm not
starving to death like some people.  (pause)  Once upon a time, you know, back
when we first met, and everything was beautiful... you could almost imagine us,
the idyllic couple, two children falling in love, all the stereotypes, you
could, you could picture us walking through a little garden, next to a stream,
saying silly things to each other, silly things that meant the world... what's
gotten into you?

        COHEN
There's something very contagious in the air these days, in the world these
days.

        COURTNEY
It's not just these days, Cohen.

        COHEN
I didn't always want this.

        COURTNEY
        (finally growing angry)
Of *course* not.  You had to be taught.  You had to be trained.

        COHEN
It's not the end of the world to blame, I know.  It's me.

        COURTNEY
I have no desire to fix the blame, Cohen.  But as long as we're on the
subject, let's not rule out the possibility that every man you ever came into
contact with as you were growing up deserves the blame, and every woman you
ever came into contact with deserves it just as well.  But you're right, you
deserve it most of all.

        COHEN
I do.

        COURTNEY
Don't agree with me.  Stay the same.  I wouldn't know what to do with you
otherwise.

        COHEN
I need you to know, Courtney, I need you to know now, that all this time, I
was, I was horrible, and foolish, and wrong, and I'd almost say evil if I gave
myself that much credit, and I need you to know--

        COURTNEY
Cohen, listen to me.

(He falls silent.)

        COURTNEY
Don't ever do it again?

        COHEN
No.  No.  No.

        COURTNEY
Take my hands.

(He does.  They look at each other intently.)

        COURTNEY
I forgive you.  Just this once.  I forgive you.

(Long pause.)

        COHEN
Feels like it's raining easy answers around here.

        COURTNEY
All the best things happen when it rains.

(Crossfade to SL, where ROLAND stands alone.)

        ROLAND
It should come as no surprise that I've never bowled before in my life.  Often,
I've looked back on my life and wondered if I might have attained some greater
level of satisfaction in my life had I experienced bowling.  I have come to no
conclusion on the matter.  Of course, there are no bowling alleys around here.

(Fade to black.)

Act Two, Scene Five

(In the blackout, an ominous kind of seduction theme plays for a few bars;
after a few moments, the theme hits a scratch and repeats.  Eventually, lights
up on CRAMER at his desk.  His candle is lit.  LAUREL enters, stands in the
doorway.)

        LAUREL
Are you Cramer?  (long pause)  You must be Cramer.

        CRAMER
        (without inflection)
Have we met?  You look incredibly familiar.

        LAUREL
I imagine.

        CRAMER
I can't place the face, of course.

        LAUREL
Of course.

        CRAMER
Occupational hazard, I suppose.  I... see a lot of people.

        LAUREL
Do you see them in your sleep?

        CRAMER
Excuse me?

        LAUREL
        (brazenly, she comes into the room, toward him)
When you sleep... do those people float past your field of vision?  Do they
ever complain about how you've treated them?  Do they ever even slightly prick
your conscience or do you always manage to change the channel?

(Pause.)

        CRAMER
        (not quite bemused)
You're a very forward little girl, aren't you.  Tell me, what brings you to
the island?  (pause)  To *my* island.

        LAUREL
I'm looking for my identical twin sister, Melody.  Have you seen her?

        CRAMER
Identical twin sister?

        LAUREL
Yes.

        CRAMER
I see.  (laughs slightly)  I... imagine she'd look a lot like you.

        LAUREL
Have you seen her?

        CRAMER
And the name was Melody?

        LAUREL
        (slowly)
Yes, her name is Melody.

        CRAMER
Tell me, perhaps it will help me remember her, why would this Melody have come
to the island?  Did she have friends here?

        LAUREL
We have friends everywhere.

        CRAMER
And can I talk to these friends?

        LAUREL
No.

        CRAMER
Why not?

        LAUREL
You seem to have had them all killed last night.

(Long pause.)

        CRAMER
Well, it seems someone's been spreading nasty rumors again.

        LAUREL
So you didn't have them killed?

        CRAMER
Of course not.  (pause)  I killed them myself.  (pause)  Sit down.  Let me see
if I have a file on this Melody girl.

        LAUREL
Is there some special reason you need to play games with me?

        CRAMER
        (looks up)
There are ways to do certain things.  With dignity, do you understand?
Manners.

        LAUREL
Do I have bad manners?

        CRAMER
        (smiles)
In some parts of the world, your manners might get you into trouble.

        LAUREL
And is that what happened to Melody?  Did her manners offend?  What exactly is
the punishment for bad manners on this island, Mr. Cramer?  Could I see the
regulations?

        CRAMER
        (precisely)
It's just Cramer.  (pause)  And I'm beginning to grow rather tired of you,
Melody's sister.  (rises)  Duty precludes me from revealing any confidential
information about the inhabitants of this island, or about their... friends.
You understand, I take my job very seriously.

        LAUREL
        (slowly)
I take my job seriously as well.

        CRAMER
And what exactly is your job, Melody's sister?

        LAUREL
Saving the world.

(After a beat, CRAMER begins to laugh.)

        CRAMER
You know, you said that with such a straight face, I almost believed you.
(vicious)  Now get out.

        LAUREL
I think you'd better tell me where Melody is.

        CRAMER
Or what?  You'll religion me to death?  You really make me quite sick, do you
know that?

        LAUREL
I could say the same about you.

        CRAMER
I wouldn't *dare* say the same about me, not if I were you, not while standing
on this island.  (pause)  Who do you think you are?  Who do you think you are
that you can just casually "save the world"?

        LAUREL
It's not who I am, it's what I've seen, what I believe.

        CRAMER
As if the world was even interested in being saved by the likes of you.  Let
me tell you something.  It's deluded fanatics like you who *caused* the end of
the world, it certainly won't be fanatics like you who put it back together.

        LAUREL
You have a great deal of integrity.

        CRAMER
Fuck you.

        LAUREL
        (without irony)
I find that very attractive.

(Furiously and quickly, CRAMER pulls his gun and aims it at her.  Just as
quickly, she pulls a gun as well and aims it at him.)

        LAUREL
So... are we going to kill each other, or are we going to get down to business?

        CRAMER
And what's business?

        LAUREL
        (smiles)
Whatever I say it is.

        CRAMER
Your sister never would have resorted to this.

        LAUREL
        (laughs lightly)
And look what's happened to her.  Except, I can't, because you've done
something to her, something hideous most likely.

        CRAMER
Duty is duty.

        LAUREL
Oh, I realize that.

        CRAMER
And you're much better at lying to people than she is.  You tell them what they
want to hear, you tell them whatever it takes, and tonight at that party you're
going to tell them the biggest lie of them all, how can you possibly expect me
not to intervene?

        LAUREL
We *will* call the aliens, Cramer, that much is assured.

        CRAMER
        (viciously)
I don't give a fuck about your aliens, Melody's sister, it's those people I
care about.  If you ever tried to lie to me like that, I'd shoot you in the
face.

        LAUREL
        (slowly drops her weapon)
They don't want to see the truth, Cramer, because the truth doesn't move them.
They expect you to dress the truth up for them, parade the truth out, complete
with hooks and riffs and attractive lingerie, they aren't convinced by the
truth anymore because in order to survive, they have had to develop deeply
ingrained mechanisms for *ignoring* the truth, since, not coincidentally, the
truth is often *fatal* to the unprepared.  And I have truths, Mr. Cramer, that
I believe keep me alive.  I did not invent these truths.  These truths came and
got me, found me where I had been hiding, and told me what had to be done.  A
truth that can keep me alive can perhaps keep another alive.  In fact, ha ha,
I'm convinced.  (she drops her gun to the ground, and it clatters like a
plastic gun)  It seems my gun doesn't work.  I guess you'll just have to kill
me.  The way, perhaps, you killed my sister?

(We now hear drums and voices very slowly creeping into the scene.  Only
LAUREL seems to hear the sounds.  She begins to sway ever so slightly, and a
part of her stops paying attention to CRAMER.)

        CRAMER
        (slowly lowers his weapon)
You may as well give up on your sister.

        LAUREL
Perhaps.

        CRAMER
Duty is duty.

        LAUREL
I realize that.

        CRAMER
As for you... you're a different kind of threat.

        LAUREL
My time is limited.

        CRAMER
I have an entire island full of people to protect.  And they don't seem to
have any awareness of what's happening in the world, what's happening to them,
what's happening right here, right now.  They barely remember the world they
came from, only the diseased parts seem to linger.  And if you destroy a
handful of them, another identical handful rushes in to take their place.  They
are interchangeable, and they are cancerous.

        LAUREL
And yet, they still are human.  (she throws her hands up into the air and
begins laughing)  If I were a PERFECT cult leader, with a TRUE commitment to
the aliens, I'd bring my island friends up here and we'd all tear you apart
with our teeth, but I can't, Cramer, because I don't believe in violence, and
anyway, you and me, we're different sides of the same coin, so SPEND IT while
you got the chance, you know what I mean?

        CRAMER
I don't want you to dance in my office.

        LAUREL
        (laughs hysterically at that, begins swaying even more violently, in
        sharp contrast to how smoothly MELODY moved)
You're just like me, really, except you've got politics instead of the spirit,
but that's okay, it's all just fire in the end.  You can fire a weapon, can't
you, Cramer?

        CRAMER
        (shakes his head, perturbed)
How did you get here?  Why did you choose this island?

        LAUREL
        (she picks up his candle and hands it to him)
What you have to do, Cramer, is KILL ALL THE PEOPLE YOU'RE TRYING TO PROTECT!
After all, they're just like cattle, incapable of thinking for themselves!
Their brains are really just tumors now, they'll hardly feel it, Cramer!  Can
you feel it?  Can you feel like anything?  I feel like DANCING!

(She leaps onto the desk, startling CRAMER so much that he drops back into his
chair, drops his gun.  Suddenly, LAUREL is dancing for CRAMER's benefit, simply
because she can, and this provokes another wild, impassioned laugh.  CRAMER
shakes his head, tries not to look.)

        LAUREL
        (standing and shouting)
All of civilization is hurtling toward its final destination, an endpoint fixed
in time!  Why are you trying to stop us?  We don't need heroes with guns
anymore, Cramer, we need a raging forest fire to come along and burn away the
dead stuff!

        CRAMER
        (screaming)
I'M NOT DEAD YET!

        LAUREL
        (she drops to her knees, leans over as far as possible to face him)
If I start you on fire, are you gonna burn?  That's what I wanna know.  I know
you can *take* Life, but how much can you give, Mr. Cramer?  How much can you
give?

        CRAMER
I don't... I don't know what...

(She blows out his candle.)

        LAUREL
I can take too, of course.

(LAUREL suddenly becomes a total seductress, writhing about on the desk and
reaching out to him, deliberately playing every feminine card at her disposal,
luring him closer to her.)

        LAUREL
I'll tell you something, Mr. Cramer, I wouldn't mind indulging myself... before
the sky comes crashing down.  We're only human, after all, we've got fears and
longings, apprehensions, secret thoughts.  (laughs deliciously)  Shall I just
lie here, Mr. Cramer, or would you prefer me to teach you a few things?  It's
hard to dance with fire at first, I know, but everybody's gotta deal with the
end of the world in whatever fashion available.

(Slowly, CRAMER stands.  LAUREL comes to her knees on the desk, so that she
rises above him.  She lowers her head to his and they lock in a violent kiss.
Far SR, COURTNEY appears in a pool of light, screaming and laughing with joy,
facing the audience.  Her light fades.  The kiss continues.  CRAMER climbs up
onto the desk, lowering LAUREL to her back, and their movements become quite
animalistic.  Far SL, COHEN appears, growling viciously and howling loudly.
His light fades, and LAUREL pushes CRAMER off, sits up suddenly, and laughs
maniacally in his face.  As she laughs a light comes up SR, in which stands
MRS. WORMWOOD, who laughs hysterically for no apparent reason.  Her light
fades, and LAUREL yanks CRAMER down to her again, and their embrace becomes
more passionate, and desperate, and sexually explosive.  A light comes up SL on
WERNER, who screams violently at the top of his lungs as CRAMER and LAUREL
begin moving up and down.  As WERNER's light fades, it becomes apparent that
CRAMER is beginning to shake LAUREL up and down, approaching extreme anger,
nearing a boiling point of extreme proportions, and then, suddenly, CRAMER
rises up above her, his hand high in the air, and in his hand is the golden
knife with which he tortured KATIE in Act One.  As he holds it there above her,
the drumming and vocal sound effects abruptly come to an end.  CRAMER and
LAUREL are almost frozen, looking at each other.  Slowly, CRAMER's hand comes
down.  He hands the knife to her.)

        LAUREL
        (quietly)
Don't interrupt the party tonight.  Let us have our ritual.  If the ritual
succeeds, you won't need to kill us all.  It will annihilate every one of us.
I ask you this one favor.  Is that fair?

        CRAMER
Why would that be fair?

        LAUREL
        (as close to pure hatred as she has ever been)
You did get my sister, after all.

(Very slow fade to black.)

Act Two, Scene Six

(Jungle sounds in the darkness, along with a very low, very soft, almost
imperceptible tone that rises slowly until the end of the act.  We take some
time in the blackout, moving smoothly through the shift, giving us time to
look forward.  Lines begin in the darkness; lights fade up very slowly on the
bar.  Tables and chairs have been pulled aside, and COHEN, COURTNEY, KATIE,
LAUREL, ROLAND, MRS. WORMWOOD, and WERNER sit on the floor in a half circle.

Whereas the previous run through the ritual was boisterous, defiant, and
rousing, this time the mood is sacred and solemn, almost entrancing as the
ritual begins.  LAUREL begins the ritual with intense dignity and concentra-
tion.  The effect is thoroughly eerie.)

        LAUREL
You are here because of a vision, a vision of peace, a vision of harmony, a
vision of shimmering, transcendent harmony.  I've been given a vision.  I have
seen so many things.  Tell me what I have seen.

        ALL OTHERS
Aliens will come and save humanity from the end of the world.

        LAUREL
And how will they know to come here?

        OTHERS
We will call them here.

        LAUREL
I've been given a vision.  I've been given instructions.  Cohen, deliver the
sacrament.

(COHEN begins giving pills to everyone.)

        LAUREL
        (rapidly)
What's in the air is in the air, and answers rain like singsong whispers onto
faces seared by desperation.  Tonight we consecrate the vision, forge a vessel
so unspeakably beautiful that only the purest of intentions can taste its
wisdom.  Tonight, we offer ourselves, with Hope, to save the dying many.
Tonight, the impossible *becomes*.  Sing praise to the fire inside of you and
all around you, the spirit of Hope, the flames of Life.

        COHEN
The sacrament is ready.

        LAUREL
Tonight we will create a sacred space, a sacred transmitting station, a beacon
of glistening order in a world of terrifying chaos.  We will tune to the exact
frequency of obscenity that the aliens call language, for how can we call them
aliens without pointing to that which is most abhorrent, most unusual, most
desperately weird?  Four, putrescent street drugs will be our sacrament, and
blind insidious impulses will be our litany.  Are you ready to travel into
the most sacred dimensions of horror and blistering beauty?

        OTHERS
We are ready to travel.  We will travel anywhere.

        LAUREL
You are here now, and this is what here would like to ask of you.  We will
sacrifice ourselves.  We will sacrifice ourselves.  We will sacrifice
ourselves.  Take the sacrament now.  And steel yourselves for the onslaught.

(Slowly, each of them swallows the pills.)

        LAUREL
Take my hands.

(They all join hands.  The pace begins to intensify.)

        LAUREL
I am something else now.  *We* are something else now.

        OTHERS
Prepare to receive transmissions.

        LAUREL
We are *something else*, we are something other than what we are.

        OTHERS
Prepare to receive transmissions.

        LAUREL
This space defines us, gives us the lives we presume to claim.

        KATIE
Prepare to receive--

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Prepare to receive--

        ALL
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        LAUREL
Life that slips sideways into the present tense.  Life that begs us to pay
attention!

        OTHERS
We are not alone here!

        LAUREL
To pay attention to details and flashes!  To focus what you are on what *we*
are!

        OTHERS
We are not alone here!

        LAUREL
To live with all your heart no matter what the situation hands us!  To
sacrifice yourselves!  To sacrifice yourselves!  To sacrifice ourselves!

        OTHERS
We are not here for very long!

        COURTNEY
Can you feel it?

        WERNER + MRS. WORMWOOD
Those drugs work fast!

        LAUREL
        (rapidly)
The opening phase will be one of disorientation.  The following phase will be
one of ecstasy.  The final phase will be one of transcendence.

        OTHERS
Seamless communication!

        LAUREL
The first phase is about to begin.  Prepare yourselves!

        KATIE
It's already started, it's already started!

        COHEN + MRS. WORMWOOD
        (rising vocally)
We are not alone here, we are not alone here!

        ALL
        (rising further)
Prepare to receive transmissions, *prepare to receive transmissions*!

(Sudden silence.  Wind in the background, along with still rising low musical
tone.  LAUREL's eyes are now closed.  The scene begins to move very slowly now,
as if the characters' thought processes are mired in quicksand.)

        WERNER
        (after a long pause, uncomfortable)
Well, goodness... now what?

(Pause.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
The first phase is disorientation... what do you suppose that means?

        WERNER
I'm actually feeling a little sick to my stomach.

        COHEN
Such a strange taste...

(Pause.)

        WERNER
This, uh... this transmitting station...

(Long pause.  COURTNEY begins to laugh.  Then, she stops.)

        WERNER
        (restless)
Does anyone feel like... it's getting hot in here?

(Pause.)

        COHEN
You know, we were doing really well there for a while.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Yes, and then everything suddenly...

(Pause.)

        ROLAND
Suddenly what?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (lashing out)
I don't know everything, Roland!  Why are you always attacking me?  Why do you
never let up?  Some days, Roland, I swear...

(Long pause.  COURTNEY suddenly points at something that isn't there, and
begins to laugh outrageously.  KATIE joins in.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
You know, it's getting very hard to see all of a sudden.

        WERNER
Yes, there are...

        KATIE + COURTNEY
Multi-colored swirls...

        MRS. WORMWOOD
They're everywhere.

(Pause.)

        WERNER
You know... it's the end of the world out there.

        COHEN
        (highly exaggerated)
Well, *I* think that it's the end of the world in *here*!  (he laughs loudly,
then stops)

        LAUREL
        (opens her eyes)
I'm feeling... restless

(KATIE + COURTNEY look to each other, giggle.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (matter-of-factly)
I guess I... I guess I feel a very deep connection to all of you.

        LAUREL
I think I'm going to dance for a while.

(She gets up, finds a space in the back of the room, and begins to sway
softly to herself.  The music she's dancing to fades in and out of the scene
randomly.)

        WERNER
You know, sometimes I worry about the end of the world...

        ROLAND
And why is that?

        WERNER
        (bursts into tears)
I don't know, I don't know...

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (moves to WERNER)
There there...

        COURTNEY
You know, Katie... (they laugh, try to stop)  I'm very glad you're here
tonight... (they laugh a little more)  I mean, this would probably be very
weird if you weren't here... (they laugh even more)

        LAUREL
Could somebody sing something for me?

(COHEN begins crawling away from the circle, toward the audience.)

        COHEN
I'm a nice guy, down deep, I mean, really... excuse me... (he sits down and
begins chewing on his arm)

(Silence.  Then, a wave of chattering gibberish -- "speaking in tongues" --
passes rapidly from WERNER to MRS. WORMWOOD to ROLAND to KATIE to COURTNEY.
Then, silence.)

        ROLAND
        (stands)
Why am I the only one who smells the impending disaster?  Why has my tongue
been cut out and fed to small children, so that there's no time like the
present, and we can't see that everything is?  It's you on the other side
where nothing is but what it was somewhere else, only here, different, as
before, depending on where you sit and how much they charge for cable.  Plastic
is the wave of the future, except when the future is made of particles.  That's
the way the cookie bounces.

(COURTNEY and KATIE applaud.  ROLAND wanders off toward the back of the stage,
somewhere near LAUREL, and begins to dance as well.)

        WERNER
I once imagined hell to be a lot like the end of the world.

(COURTNEY and KATIE applaud again.  WERNER begins to cry again, then begins to
laugh.)

        COHEN
Courtney!

        COURTNEY
Yes?

        COHEN
Do you love me?

        COURTNEY
        (pause)
Of course!

        COHEN
        (to audience)
Eh?  Eh?  See what I mean?

(He begins to laugh, then resumes chewing on his arm.)

        LAUREL
Keep singing!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I have a secret I need to tell you all.

        COURTNEY
Tell us!

        KATIE
Tell us!

        WERNER
Tell us!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (with a knowing style)
The penguins are not gregarious.

(KATIE, COURTNEY, and WERNER ad lib along the lines of "I knew it," "of
course," etc.  ROLAND and LAUREL meet suddenly, and a disco song fades in.
They engage in a brief series of disco moves.  Music fades, and they split.)

        COHEN
        (jumps up, begins raving)
You're all a bunch of fuckers, that's what you are!  A bunch of fuckers!
What a complete bunch of fuckers!

(COURTNEY slaps KATIE across the face.  KATIE begins to laugh.)

        WERNER
        (turns to MRS. WORMWOOD)
You know, Mrs. Wormwood, I've never quite noticed you... as a woman before.

        COHEN
        (chants gleefully, beginning to circle around the perimeter of the
        stage)
You're all a bunch of fuckers, you're all a bunch of fuckers...

        WERNER
Why... you're actually quite an attractive woman, Mrs. Wormwood.  You're not
really one of us old boys at all.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I have always enjoyed my comaraderie with old boys, Werner.  It would be a
shame to spoil that now.

        WERNER
You never know, Mrs. Wormwood.  I bet we'd make a delicious pair.

(COURTNEY slaps KATIE again, they both continue to laugh.)

        ROLAND
        (meeting LAUREL again)
Actually, I do have one opinion.  Only one opinion in the whole entire world.
Would you like to hear it?

        LAUREL
No, keep it to your fucking self.  (they split apart, begin dancing
masturbatory dances)

(Amidst huge peals of laughter, COURTNEY slaps KATIE again.  KATIE reels.)

        WERNER
Aren't you attracted to me, Mrs. Wormwood?  Am I not exactly the dashing type
you've always wanted in your arms late late at night?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (panicked, she begins to shout)
Werner, please!  You can't!  You mustn't!  You must not seduce me this way!
Please, Werner, leave me be, it'll be better off for all of us in the long run!

        COHEN
Hey, Courtney!

        COURTNEY
What do you want, Cohen?

        COHEN
I want a stack of two-year-old babies on a spike!

        COURTNEY
Didja try the supermarket?  (they laugh hysterically)

(COURTNEY slaps KATIE again.  This time, KATIE comes up bleeding, still
laughing like crazy.)

        WERNER
I don't understand, Mrs. Wormwood!  We could be so good together!  You're just
the person I've always wanted!  Don't spurn me now, when we're so close to
passion!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Werner, please--

        WERNER
Come to me, Mrs. Wormwood, and let's make all our fantasies come true!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I can't be with you, Werner!  I can't be with anyone!

        WERNER
And why not?

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Because I have no vagina!

(She yanks up her skirt, to reveal an absolutely smooth, doll-like torso.  Just
as rapidly, she lowers her skirt again.)

        WERNER
Well, good fucking Lord, I'll bet we can do something about that!

(He leaps to his feet, starts looking around.  Meanwhile, COURTNEY slaps
KATIE again, and this is the punchline of a wonderful joke which they can't
stop laughing about.)

        WERNER
Did you all see that?  Mrs. Wormwood has no vagina!

        COHEN
Well, good fucking Lord, I'll bet we can do something about that!

        COURTNEY
I always knew there was something a little funny about her!

(She slaps KATIE again; KATIE spits out a mouthful of blood.)

        LAUREL
        (calling everyone's attention)
Actually, I've got an idea.

(She produces CRAMER's knife, holds it high.  A spotlight comes up on her, and
a chorus of angels, and then, back to previous.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Where did you get *that* beauty?

        LAUREL
An old lover gave it to me!

        COHEN
He must have been a generous lover!

        WERNER
        (taking one of MRS. WORMWOOD's arms)
Someone give me a hand over here.

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Well, for goodness' sake, it's not like I've *needed* a vagina.  As long as
they *think* you've got one...

        COHEN
        (rushes to take MRS. WORMWOOD's other arm)
There is such a strange taste in my mouth!

        COURTNEY
Come on, Katie, let's get it on the fun!

(She slaps KATIE so hard that KATIE does not immediately sit back up.)

        LAUREL
        (with much enthusiasm)
Prepare the vagina-to-be!

(COHEN and WERNER help lower MRS. WORMWOOD to the ground.  They lay her out
with her head facing the audience and her legs spread apart.  She does not
resist.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (as they place her on the ground)
Be careful, that *tickles*!

        LAUREL
        (mocking the solemn tone of the first part of the ritual)
I said, prepare the vagina-to-be!

(General laughter.)

        COHEN + WERNER
The vagina-to-be is ready!

(Huge laugh; the two high five.)

        COURTNEY
        (yanks KATIE up by her hair)
Get the fuck up, Katie, you're going to miss everything!

        LAUREL
        (mocking even further)
I now consecrate the sacred vagina-making instrument!

        MRS. WORMWOOD
        (thoroughly excited)
Oh, this is *rich*!  You know, I have always wanted one of these!

(LAUREL kneels in between MRS. WORMWOOD's spread legs.)

        COURTNEY
Fine, Katie, have it your way.  (she releases KATIE, who collapses in a heap)

        WERNER
This is so much better than television!

        LAUREL
        (like a stand-up comedian)
I'd just like to say that it's a damn shame my beautiful sister Melody couldn't
be here this evening.  Melody would have made the perfect sacrifice right about
now.  I mean, that was Melody's gig, that was Melody's shtick.  But since
Melody can't be here, we may as well sacrifice someone else in her place.  (to
MRS. WORMWOOD, grinning viciously)  And as for you, you FILTHY PIG, enjoying
all the privileges of a wealthy older woman who spent her LIFE following THEIR
rules, you DESERVE this, especially since you're NEVER going to know what to
DO with it!

(Cheers, applause)

        LAUREL
Prepare to receive!

        COHEN + WERNER
Prepare to receive!

        COURTNEY + LAUREL
Prepare to receive!

        COHEN, WERNER + COURTNEY
Prepare to receive!

        LAUREL
Prepare to receive a vagina!

(She plunges the knife under MRS. WORMWOOD's skirt.  A joyous cheer arises
from the onlookers, and the cheering and loud laughter continue throughout the
next several lines.  LAUREL removes the knife; the knife, her hand and forearm
are absolutely drenched in blood.  She holds up the knife like a trophy, to the
boisterous adulation of the others.  WERNER moves to LAUREL's side.)

        WERNER
May I have the honors?

        LAUREL
By all means!

(WERNER lowers his head underneath MRS. WORMWOOD's skirt; cheering intensifies.
Moments later, WERNER rises, covered in blood.)

        WERNER
Now that tastes sweet!

        COURTNEY
Let me try!

(COURTNEY scrambles underneath MRS. WORMWOOD's skirt, while LAUREL calmly licks
the knife clean.  ROLAND climbs up on top of the bar in the background, and
begins dancing a little softshoe.  COURTNEY comes up practically drenched in
blood, smearing it all over herself.  COHEN desends, while WERNER and COURTNEY
begin dancing lasciviously, shouting, and laughing quite loud.  He comes up
amazed.)

        COHEN
Now that's the best fucking drug I ever had!

(COHEN and WERNER lift a dazed MRS. WORMWOOD to her feet.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I never imagined I could feel like this!  It's like the entire world has
suddenly wrenched into focus!  It's like a series of veils has suddenly
vanished, it's like my eyes have finally been opened!  (turns to COURTNEY,
takes her hands)  I see now things I never saw before, things I was always so
afraid of, now I know where you get your strength, now I know how you survive!
Now I know what you look forward to when you go to sleep at night!  THEY had it
THEIR way since the dawn of time, and they never thought to question it because
they could always see how lucky they were that they weren't US, but WE, only
WE spend our lives in perpetual VIOLATION, and thus only WE can see
TRANSCENDENCE, feel it every day as we slip and slide through TRAPS of THEIR
DEVISING!  Good fucking God, drinks are ON THE HOUSE!

(A huge cheer rises up.  They are all soaked in blood, and soon everyone is
dancing in as bizarre pattern about the stage, chanting and shouting their
favorite lines from the play.  Then, the lights begin to flicker and do
strange things, and the following sequence of lines is shouted above the
continual general mayhem.)

        COHEN + MRS. WORMWOOD
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        LAUREL
It feels like we're two steps to the left!

        ROLAND
Has anybody seen my shrimp fork?

        COURTNEY + WERNER
We are not alone her!

        COHEN, MRS. WORMWOOD, + LAUREL
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        COURTNEY
The window of opportunity is short!

        ROLAND
And my goddamn weedeater, I lost that too!

        COURTNEY, WERNER, + LAUREL
We repeat, the window of opportunity is short!

        ALL
Prepare to receive transmissions!

        LAUREL
Aliens!

        COHEN
Aliens?  Where?

        LAUREL + COURTNEY
Aliens *everywhere*!  (they hold on to the word "everywhere," let it fall
slowly)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
There are aliens...

        WERNER
Aliens...

        ALL
Aliens all *around* us!

        LAUREL
Aliens *inside* of us!

        COURTNEY
At least we're two steps to the left!

(LAUREL falls to her knees, begins writhing and moaning in place.)

        ROLAND
Transmissions--

        WERNER
They're sending, they're sending--

        COHEN
Directly into our brains!

        COURTNEY + MRS. WORMWOOD
They're becoming, becoming!  (they fall to their knees, writhing and moaning
in place)

        ROLAND, WERNER, + COHEN
You are receiving transmissions!  We repeat, you are receiving transmissions!
Prepare to receive our presence!

(They fall, rising and moaning as well.  At first, the moaning is independent
and gibberish.  Then, suddenly, all six of them moan in unison, a moan that
starts low, swoops high, and then low again.  Then, another swooping moan; at
the high-point, they suddenly break into a six-part atonal chord which they
hold for several seconds.  Then, back to gibberish, a gibberish that intensi-
fies, gets louder and louder, writhing harder and harder, and then, suddenly,
all six of them in unison:)

        ALL
        (slowly)
Why... have you called us here?

(Long silence.)

        ALL
Why... have you called us here?

(Long pause.)

        ALL
        (screaming)
WHY HAVE YOU CALLED US HERE?

(We hear a *loud* gunshot, though no one is there to fire it.  COURTNEY bucks
violently and collapses; all six of them burst out into writhing and gibbering
again; after a few moments of writhing, COURTNEY is dead.  In somewhat rapid
succession, five more shots are heard, and soon all five are dead.  Before the
last of the gibberish has died out, we hear the following as voiceover.)

        ALL
        (voiceover, grotesque voices)
Why have you called us here?

(Then, long, long silence.  After an uncomfortably long period of time, KATIE
stirs, sits up, looks around, absolutely shell-shocked.  Then, slowly, she
makes her way out of the room.)

End of Act Two

Act Three, Scene One

(In the darkness, riot sounds now rise slowly and remain in place.  We sit in
darkness and listen to the riots for a while: the random piercing screams that
occasionally surface above the other noise, occasional bursts of automatic
weapon fire, etc.  Riots remain as the lights come up on a small, stark cell,
dimly lit.  A torture contraption -- some kind of rack, with straps, pointed
edges -- is C, and MELODY hangs from the thing, unconscious.  Her clothes are
hanging from her body in literal tatters, and her body is a morass of dried
blood and strange wounds.  This image -- MELODY unconscious, riots in the
immediate background -- hangs with us slightly longer than it should, and then,
CRAMER enters.  He carries a half empty bottle of liquor, and has clearly been
drinking heavily.  CRAMER sets his liquor down; takes out his gun, sets that on
the table as well.  He begins addressing MELODY.)

        CRAMER
Aren't you awake yet?  For fuck's sake, Melody, it's the end of the world out
there, and you're going to miss it.  (slaps her absent-mindedly, looks for a
response)  You're no goddamn fun when you're like this.  What a ridiculous
fucking time to slip into a coma.  (expansively)  I gotta be honest with you,
Melody, I have really enjoyed our relationship.  I want to thank you for
visiting my island.  You have provided me with a great deal of excitement.  And
I mean that in every sense of the word.  What a thing for you to do, to come
all the way to this island, in the middle of the end of the goddamn world.  You
got some head on your shoulders.  (slaps her again)  Listen to me when I'm
giving you compliments!  I mean, you are really something else, do you know
that?  I've never seen anybody like you before.  You even got *me* roped in!
You are a real wonder, Melody, a real wonder!

(He sits down heavily on the stool, takes a drink.  Long pause.)

        CRAMER
What I was afraid of, Melody -- and I'm not ashamed to admit that it was fear
-- what I was afraid of was that you were a symbol of something... that your
coming here *meant* something.  I know, I know, it's ridiculous for people like
you and I to worry about meaning, but... (small laugh)  I've come to believe in
so many things these days.  The end of the world can give you a real strange
kind of strength, you now?  (pause)  Right now, I feel like I'm a character in
a zombie movie.  And for some unexplained reason, the rest of the world is
turning into zombies, and, and, if they get to me, I'll turn into one too, and
God knows that would be a fate worse than death.  (grabs gun to use as a visual
aid)  And the only thing you can do is shoot those fucking things in the head
until you just plain run out of ammo.  They aren't human any more, even if they
used to be.  They aren't human, and so it's okay to shoot those fuckers in the
head over and over again.  (jumps up, he begins to preach)  But that logic is
fucking *evil*, isn't it, Melody!  How many times in human history has somebody
said, "That person can't *possibly* be human, and so I can go ahead and *kill*
that person"?  That logic is dangerous, vicious and evil.  Maybe it's fun to be
a flesh-eating zombie.  Who the fuck knows?  It's a moot point, I guess, faulty
analogy, never mind... (sits back down, takes a long drink, a long pause)  I
thought you were a symbol of something.  I thought that your coming here
signaled that the end of the world had finally spread to this island.  Like it
was some kind of plague that you could spread to us, and soon, we would all
take leave of our senses and begin attacking each other, just like...
everywhere else.  (a flash of fury)  And I have worked *so fucking hard* to
protect these people!  I kept this island *safe* from all of that!  I placed
*my body* between the people of this island and the end of the world!  They may
never have liked my methods for doing so, but I was always respected, because
mine was a position of *absolute good*, Melody, I was *saving their lives* by
ritually enforcing *order* and *decorum* and *culture*, Melody!  And when you
came here and started, started *sucking* these people into some grandiose
"vision" of "world fucking peace," you imperiled *every one* of their lives!
And all you had to offer them was hope, the ridiculous, outlandish hope that
*aliens* would hear your voice, that *aliens* would step in and fix everything
for us, that *aliens* would come down like the Lord Almighty and save our
miserable souls!  And it is *my job* to *save these people* from ridiculous
bullshit like *that*!  (long pause)  How was I supposed to know... the aliens
were real?  (pause)  I guess it *is* the end of the world after all, huh.

(He sits down again on the stool, takes a drink.  MELODY looks up slowly, can
barely open her eyes.  It is unclear whether or not she has heard anything
CRAMER said.  She speaks slowly as well; it is painful for her to muster
words.)

        MELODY
Why... do you... torture me?

        CRAMER
        (without looking at her)
No one would believe we maintained *any* power if we didn't torture the
occasional political prisoner.  The official line is, people know I can save
them, and people know what has to happen to people who get in my way.  To
enforce absolute good, extreme measures must be taken.  (sudden, vicious rage)
I TORTURE YOU BECAUSE I FUCKING LIKE IT!  I TORTURE YOU BECAUSE YOU FUCKING
DESERVE IT!  WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?  (assaulting her with words)
I didn't start my life with the desire to torture and kill, Melody.  I had to
be *taught*.  I had to be *trained*.  I had to acquire the *taste* for
*punishing* those who were morally *inferior* to me.  I NEVER KILLED ANYONE WHO
DIDN'T DESERVE IT!  (terribly cynical)  I'm pretty easy to figure out, Melody.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
        (as biting as possible)
Under ordinary circumstances... I would find your... *integrity*... very
attractive.

        CRAMER
        (slowly, saying the obvious)
I don't suppose it will surprise you to learn... that your sister found me
equally attractive.

        MELODY
        (not quite surprised)
My sister...

        CRAMER
She was...

        MELODY
Did she *seduce* you?  (laughs derisively, softly)

        CRAMER
She came to the island, and *I* had a vision... I saw one after another of you,
coming to the island, each with a different name, a different style... it...
it became clear to me that...

        MELODY
The end of the world was *here*.

        CRAMER
Had probably even started here.

        MELODY
The secret here is delusion.

        CRAMER
I had no choice.

        MELODY
We can convince ourselves of anything.

        CRAMER
She was my one mistake.

        MELODY
Self-fulfilling prophecy.  We can convince ourselves of anything.

        CRAMER
        (small laugh)
And of course, she's dead now, Melody.

(Slight pause.)

        MELODY
Dead...

        CRAMER
        (nearly exploding)
Well, what did you expect?  Listen to that noise out there, Melody!  Half the
island is rioting out of sheer, aboslute terror, and the other half... the
other half is possessed!

        MELODY
The aliens...

        CRAMER
The aliens are *here* now, Melody, and you and your sister were *wrong*!  The
aliens *hate* us!  They have, they have, *inhabited* half the people on this
island, these aliens of yours, they are getting to know human beings from the
*inside*, so that they can finish us off that much easier.  They are the final
chapter in the ridiculous saga of the planet Earth, and I couldn't protect
*anyone*, *no one*, the whole human race is doomed, and instead of watching it
happen from the peaceful haven of this island, the peaceful haven of this
island is where it all *starts*!

        MELODY
        (shaken)
That's not what they told us...

        CRAMER
These aliens manipulated you so well, and now we're entirely doomed.  There's
not a damn thing anyone can do.  We're helpless.  I look around at the
situation, and my hands are tied.  I no longer have any power over anyone on
this island.  Except you, Melody.  I have *complete* control over *you*.  And
you are at the top of my list of people who deserve the most insane, cruel
punishment I can devise.  I told you all of this so that your death can be as
horrible as your sister's.  I saw the bodies, you know, after that little
ritual they performed, and it seemed as though they'd been pulled inside out
and pulverized, organ by organ, that's how wonderful these aliens of yours
really are.  Ideally, you know, I would punish *them*, but I hardly have the
power to say *hello* to them, so you're going to have to do.

(He has been preparing to strike her; her next line is a desperate defense.)

        MELODY
        (calculated, yet terrified)
How are you going to kill me?

(CRAMER freezes.)

        MELODY
        (continuing, with mounting horror)
You should do it as painfully as possible, you know.  I should experience as
much exquisite torture as physically possible, you should find a way to torture
every last nerve individually, why, I guess you'd better start with some kind
of sexual torture, some kind of horrible abuse of my sexual self, and then
you'd best move on to a really psychological kind of torture that degrades and
destroys my human identity, and then I guess you'd better save the actual
torture and destruction of my body for last, working your way outside in until
at long long last I literally scream for your mercy, and that's when you should
torture me the most, until I slide into death so horribly that the whole world
feels a great justice has been done, and I guess if you can't do all of *that*,
you'd better not waste your time, because you wouldn't want to be known as a
complete failure at handing out justice, now would you...

        CRAMER
        (raging)
Lucky for you, Melody, I *can* do all of that!

        MELODY
        (screaming)
Then you'd better do it quick, Cramer, before the sky comes crashing down!

        CRAMER
I'll tear you apart with my teeth, you incredible bitch!

        MELODY
        (egging him on)
I've never been so terrified in all my life!

(CRAMER begins tearing off his uniform.)

        CRAMER
You're going to wish you'd never seen this island!

        MELODY
I've been given a vision!

        CRAMER
You're going to wish you'd never had that vision!

        MELODY
I have seen so many things!

        CRAMER
You're going to wish you'd just fucking killed yourself when you had the
chance!  (punches her, yanks a handful of the fabric away from her, finishes
tearing his own clothes off, still screaming)  You are absolutely fucking
nothing!

        MELODY
        (crying out in confusion, despair)
You are *here* now...

        CRAMER
You are absolutely fucking nothing, do you understand me?

        MELODY
...and *this* is what here would like to ask of you...

        CRAMER
And before I'm through with you, you are going to be--

(Huge burst of red light smashes into the scene, accompanied by an awesome
rise of compelling voices.  CRAMER screams in terror as several cloaked, hooded
figures appear from nowhere and begin swirling about him.  A vicious wind blows
through the room as the figure in the center suddenly raises its arms, and we
see the gleaming, golden ceremonial knife from the previous two acts in one of
its hands.  CRAMER and MELODY both scream; CRAMER is frozen, nude, before the
figure, who swoops down and covers him in its robes -- and then CRAMER's
bloodied body is literally spit out, gruesomely eviscerated, and left in a
crumpled pile just outside the light.  The noises and the music and the other
figures all fade away, and we are left with soft riot noises in the background
as before.  The remaining figure drops the knife, slowly approaches MELODY, who
is filled with such fear that all she can do is cry softly.  The figure removes
its hood, and we see that it is KATIE.)

        KATIE
Melody... it's me... it's only me...

(She sets about releasing MELODY from the torture contraption; it's a long
process.  MELODY's crying continues at a soft even rate, until KATIE releases
the last leather strap and MELODY collapses forward into KATIE's arms, at which
point her crying intensifies into a fury.  KATIE lowers MELODY slowly to the
ground, cradles her protectively; they sit together for a long, long moment,
and MELODY's tears fade slowly as KATIE speaks.)

        KATIE
I've... missed you a great deal, because... I was able to love you so easily,
and that... that was unusual, you see, this is... this is obvious when you say
it out loud, but... I wasn't, you know, I wasn't able... to do most things
easily... love people... how do you love someone easily?  I thought, I mean,
that should be such a difficult thing, loving someone should be so incredibly
difficult, and challenging, and heart-wrenching, or else... it doesn't...
*mean* anything.  It turns out, though... you don't get much time to practice
saving the world.

        MELODY
What happened to my sister?

        KATIE
She performed the ritual.  She called the aliens.

        MELODY
And the aliens are here now?

        KATIE
Yes.  (pause)  And they don't seem to like us.

        MELODY
        (heavily)
She didn't greet them properly.

        KATIE
It happened very quickly.  Things spun out of control.

        MELODY
And now, they are all dead, except for us.  (struggles to rise to her feet;
stares at CRAMER's body for a long moment)  And you are capable of killing.

        KATIE
You have to finish what you started, Melody.  I couldn't let anything prevent
you from doing that.

        MELODY
You don't have to explain.

        KATIE
        (rapidly, afraid)
I mean, you can talk to them, can't you, Melody?  Make them understand what's
happened to us?  Let them know where they are, where *we* are?  Yes, yes, yes,
of *course* it's the end of the world -- the world wasn't working!  It was
killing itself!  It was cancerous, it was poisoned... that world is over.
*That's* how deep the sickness was.  And now that the aliens are here, we can
create a new world in its place, and, and, there's nothing idealistic about it
at all, it's real, it's pragmatic, it's happening, and all we have to do is
communicate!  Don't you think the world is ready to listen?

        MELODY
We've sacrificed all we can.  (laughs bitterly)  They'll either listen, or it
truly *will* be the end.

(She offers a hand to KATIE, helps her stand.)

        MELODY
Can I ask you one last thing, Katie?

(KATIE nods.)

        MELODY
Be careful how you kill.  (pause)  Do you understand?  (KATIE nods again.)
Good.  Now... take me to the aliens.

Act Three, Scene Two

(A crossfade occurs into the bar; every effort should be taken to achieve a
highly stylized, cinematic feel to this scene change.  Where the mechanics of
the change are obvious, careful synchronization of movement among stage hands
and actors is required.  The torture contraption and the body of CRAMER are
spirited away; MELODY and KATIE find themselves standing in the center of the
bar.  The other actors glide into their places and assume a freeze: COHEN and
COURTNEY set together at the SL table, MRS. WORMWOOD and WERNER sit together
at the SR table, and ROLAND sits on a stool one down from the R end of the
bar.  All of them are frozen in poses of heightened sophistication, and great
big smiles are frozen on their faces.  An old, fifties-style rock song comes
up in the background, but the lyrics on the record are sung in some kind of
gibberish.  Riot noises remain low in the background.)

        KATIE
Here they are.

        MELODY
        (naively)
They look... just like us.

        KATIE
They're on the inside.

(COHEN and WERNER's heads turn in perfect synchrony to view MELODY and KATIE.
Their exaggerated smiles reamin in place as they speak in perfect unison.)

        COHEN + WERNER
Welcome, friends.

(Long pause.)

        MELODY
        (to KATIE)
They called us friends.

        KATIE
I don't believe they understand our language very well.

        COHEN + WERNER
        (amiably)
Admittedly, the syntax is a shimmering pool.  Your sentences are like
towering transmitters.  Your grammar is like...

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
        (heads turning together)
Angel food.

        MELODY
        (moving slowly among them)
Do you recognize me?  Do you know who I am?

(The aliens seem not to notice her specifically, but address her as though all
humanity was present with her.  All movements of aliens throughout the scene
are carefully synchronized; no one moves unless in synchrony with someone
else.)

        COHEN + WERNER
Trying to understand... trying to *inter*stand... the human kind has been
quite a challenge.

        ROLAND, MRS. WORMWOOD, + COURTNEY
*Quite* a challenge.

        ALL ALIENS
Ha ha ha!

        COHEN + WERNER
That strange tickling...

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
That horrible itching...

        ALL ALIENS
Why, it's enough to drive you screaming from the memepool!

        MELODY
My name is Melody.  (pause)  Don't any of you recognize me?

(Rapid, waves of dialogue:)

        COHEN + WERNER
Prisms and

                COHEN, WERNER, + ROLAND
        prisms and

                        ALL ALIENS
                prisms of sickness

        ROLAND + COURTNEY
Sickness!

        MRS. WORMWOOD + WERNER
Sickness

        COHEN + ROLAND
Disease...

        WERNER + COURTNEY
Sickness...

        MRS. WORMWOOD + ROLAND
Disease...

        COHEN + WERNER
Why, it's enough to drive you

        ALL ALIENS
screaming from the memepool!

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
And who would've guessed--

        COHEN + WERNER
This is our favorite part!

        ALL ALIENS
Ha ha ha!

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
And who would've guessed that such sickness

        COHEN + WERNER
A virus, really

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
might raise its voice to speak!

        MELODY
        (to KATIE)
Do you feel what I feel?

        KATIE
A creeping kind of horror.

        MELODY
Yes.

        KATIE
What should we do?

(Another tumbling wave of dialogue; perhaps they begin to move, like
animatronic robots, still smiling, stiff, synchronized movements.)

        COHEN + WERNER
The ethics are tricky, of course.

        COURTNEY, MRS. WORMWOOD, + ROLAND
Please listen twice as hard!

        MELODY
        (pleading)
You must remember, all the times we spoke, in visions...

        COHEN + COURTNEY
We hear your cries, such vigor, such despair

        ALL ALIENS
and we understand

        COHEN + COURTNEY
nothing of what you do

        MRS. WORMWOOD + WERNER
for we are

        ALL ALIENS
aliens

        MRS. WORMWOOD + WERNER
and thus, removed, foreign

        ALIENS
and thus

        MRS. WORMWOOD + WERNER
in fear.

        COHEN, COURTNEY, + ROLAND
We cannot allow you to survive.

        MRS. WORMWOOD, WERNER, + ROLAND
We do not even understand these very words we speak

        COHEN + COURTNEY
perfunctory

        ALL ALIENS
machinery

        COHEN + COURTNEY
of flesh so much divine.

        ROLAND, WERNER, + MRS. WORMWOOD
We cannot allow you to survive

        COHEN + COURTNEY
for what if we *did* understand... and were afraid?

        MELODY
What are you talking about?  This is a chance for joy!

        COHEN + WERNER
The metaphor of

        ALL ALIENS
us

        COHEN + WERNER
only stretches so far into your world.

        COURTNEY + MRS. WORMWOOD
We cannot allow you to survive

        COHEN + WERNER
for this

        ALL ALIENS
SICKNESS

        COHEN, COURTNEY, + MRS. WORMWOOD
cannot be cured, and this

        ALL ALIENS
SICKNESS

        COHEN + WERNER
must

        ALL ALIENS
NEVER SPREAD!

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
We will set into motion

        ALL ALIENS
the final

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
We will set into motion

        ALL ALIENS
The final

        COHEN + WERNER
The metaphor of

        COHEN, WERNER, + ROLAND
flesh so much divine

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
We will set into motion

        ALL ALIENS
the final ripping terror

        COURTNEY + COHEN
so that one of our races at least can live in peace.

        MELODY
You must listen to me!  There's a reason I called you here!

        COURTNEY + MRS. WORMWOOD
We regret that we were not able to experience each other's

        ROLAND, COHEN, + WERNER
pleasure

        COURTNEY + MRS. WORMWOOD
but your regular peaceful brain states proved to be

        ALL ALIENS
a sickness

        COHEN + WERNER
and so

        MELODY
Please, wait!

        COHEN + WERNER
the ripping begins.

(A huge low rumbling begins to be heard.)

        ALL ALIENS
Farewell, beautiful humans!

        MRS. WORMWOOD + COURTNEY
Sickness!

        ALL ALIENS
Dissipate into a cloud of hope!

(They all freeze where they are, and the rumbling grows a little louder, the
lights start to shake a little...)

        MELODY
        (horribly shaken)
They didn't even *try* to communicate, they didn't even *want* to communicate,
and now they're destroying us even faster than we can destroy each other.
Katie, this is it, do you realize what this means?  Do you realize what they've
done?  (frantically, grasping)  Katie, do you realize what they've given us?  I
mean, they plan to destroy us, they've admitted that much, they've given us a
common *enemy*, someone to fight who isn't ourselves... (approaches KATIE
excitedly, KATIE shakes her head violently, but MELODY doesn't seem to notice)
They've been here all along, the aliens have always been here, manipulating,
maneuvering, inducing one crisis after another until the human situation was so
desperate, so horrible, listen to me, Katie, you have to listen to me, and now
they appear, and they are the most horrible threat we can possibly imagine, and
we *have* to join together, it's a matter of *survival*, Katie, we can all take
hands, we'll start with just you and me, we had the power to call them here and
we have the power to *fight* them here--

        KATIE
No...

        MELODY
Yes, it's beautiful, the aliens offer themselves as the ultimate sacrifice, we
destroy them and collectively we realize what a tragic and beautiful thing has
happened, and then the human race lives in peace, just like they said, one of
our races at least can live in peace--

        KATIE
We mustn't *fight*.

        MELODY
Katie, we *have* to fight in order to survive!

        KATIE
This isn't some self-defense, this is delusion...

        MELODY
        (suddenly furious)
Don't tell me it's delusion, Katie, my vision has always been pure and right,
all along, you just have to *believe*, if we don't kill them now--

        KATIE
Then at least we won't have to kill ourselves!

        MELODY
Katie, you're making me incredibly angry!

        KATIE
You've become dangerous to yourself.  Can't you feel it?

        MELODY
Dangerous?  This isn't a comic book, Katie, this isn't some kind of desperate
fairy tale where the bad and the good are so easily crystallized.

(As she continues speaking, she raises her arms high, and the ALIEN bodies
suddenly rise up, in synchrony, slowly, mirroring her pose, and yet, writhing
in agony, as though she has taken control of them.)

        MELODY
        (ranting, out of control)
Do you understand the extent of my power?  Do you understand the extent of my
vision?  Do you realize how many countless lives will be saved, how many
countless lives will look to me in wondrous gratitude and glistening praise?
Because I *saved* them, taught them *love*, because once you attain this kind
of power, you do not simply act on behalf of the good, you *define* good, and I
say that it is good to destroy the aliens before they destroy us!  (she makes a
sharp, sweeping gesture with her left hand, and COHEN and COURTNEY collapse to
their knees)  I will kill them to save the human race!  (another gesture, and
ROLAND collapses)  I will kill them because humans deserve to be saved!
(another gesture, MRS. WORMWOOD and WERNER collapse)  I will kill out of love,
I will kill because I'm right, I will kill because I can, I will kill because
this killing is Joy!  (raises her arms again, slowly yanking the ALIENS to
their feet again)  And if you get in the way of my saving the human race, I
will KILL YOU TOO!  You are nothing, Katie, absolutely nothing--

        KATIE
Goodbye, Melody.

        MELODY
And I, I AM WHO I--

(KATIE lunges with the golden knife, plunges it into MELODY's chest.  Slowly,
MELODY drops to the ground, face frozen in shock, and KATIE falls with her,
filled with tears.  A moment of silence.  Then, the heads of the ALIENS turn,
the smiles evaporate.)

        ALIENS
Did you see that?

(KATIE looks up slowly.)

        KATIE
This... is how much... we loved you.  This is how much we sacrificed.  Now...
finish us off quick, before the sadness tears us apart.

        ALIENS
        (slowly, softly)
What we have done... cannot be undone... but you can enjoy what you have left
to you... and our people will revere your memories for all eternity.  Farewell,
beautiful humans.  Dissipate into a cloud of hope.  Farewell.

(Slowly, one at a time, the 'alien' bodies collapse.  Then, one at a time, they
revive as their former identities, see MELODY dead, realize, remember what has
happened.  A long, long pause.  The rumbling is still growing.)

        KATIE
        (smiling through her tears)
You can see the end of the world from here.  The way the sky is awash with
impossible colors.  Tidal waves starting to rise.  We've got quite a good view,
here on the island, away from all the trouble.

(Rumbling grows, lights begin to flash a little more.  One at a time, the
others move to KATIE, arrive in a tragic, posed sort of stage picture around
KATIE, who holds MELODY in her lap.  The feeling is one of bittersweet
happiness: the end is here, but they are all together, and aware, after an
incredible journey.)

        WERNER
Hard to believe... the whole thing even happened.  And yet... there we were.

(Long pause.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
I wonder what it's going to feel like... when the earth literally opens up
beneath us...

(Long pause)

        COURTNEY
I must say... it's quite beautiful... not many people get to face the end of
the world with their closest friends.

(General murmur of agreement.)

        MRS. WORMWOOD
Let's get some wine, we can celebrate the end with a touch of class.

(Gentle laughter.  MRS. WORMWOOD and ROLAND head to the bar, grab a few bottles
and glasses.  We see COURTNEY and COHEN look to each other, take hands, and
WERNER's hand moves to KATIE's shoulder.  MRS. WORMWOOD and ROLAND return, take
their time passing out the glasses and pouring the wine.)

        COURTNEY
We should have a toast.

        WERNER
Yes, a toast would be wonderful right about now.

        ROLAND
        (raising his glass)
Here's a toast, then.

        (They raise their glasses.)

        ROLAND
To Melody and Laurel, and the price they paid.

(Glasses clink, small silence)

        COHEN
        (after a pause)
This is... this is a happy ending, isn't it?  I mean... bittersweet in so many
ways, but... but happy nonetheless?

        KATIE
Yes... yes... it's an incredibly happy ending... just like she promised us...
so beautiful... so glorious... (laughing and crying at the same time)  And all
we had to do was believe.  All we had to do was believe.  Believe in the end of
the world.  Believe in what's already happening.  (pause)  I'm beginning to
feel quite blue.  (pause)  Please... take my hands...

(As the lights flash and fade, and the rumbling increases in volume and
intensity, the group takes hands, faces forward resolutely.  Slow, colorful
fade to black.

The rumbling and the noise now reach an almost unbearable level.  Mixed in with
this noise are horrible, unearthly screams, intensely frightening and ugly
swashes of music that rip and roar from one end of the theatre to the other.
Perhaps flashes of lines from the play emerge and subside in the mix, along
with sounds of violence, sounds of the earth crying out in agony, louder and
louder and louder still, more and more intensely, over at least two to three
minutes, building steadily and becoming ever more intensely horrible, until
suddenly--

All sound stops.  A quick silence.  And then--

A pool of flame magically appears center stage, piercing the darkness,
accompanied by a soft, deep, gentle hum of unseen voices.  This final image
remains as the lights slowly rise, and the audience finds its way out.)


Scott O. Moore: "The curious story of the figure known as Scotto is worth further exploration. While on the surface, he seems to have fit the mold of the angst-ridden artist of the time, it is apparent that on another level entirely, the man was quite likely insane. He claimed, at various points in his life, that he was in contact with extraterrestrial beings who predicted the end of human civilization, that the Voices in his head were actual entities and not a product of too many psychedelics, that punctuation marks as a group were an organized faction out to subvert reality, that the characters in his fiction had achieved sentience by way of his writing about them (and were not at all pleased with the situation), that the 'willing suspension of disbelief' alluded to in theatre aesthetics was not simply a metaphor but an actual phase transition in spacetime, that the so-called 'memetic attractor' at the heart of the mystic organization known as Leri was 'alive and pulsing,' and most notably, that the attractor which eventually yanked Leri into the Dreamtime and off the planet had reverse engineered Leri's escape, retroactively, by exerting an influence backwards in time. In light of these maniacal ramblings, it is a wonder Scott O. Moore was never struck by a car while crossing the street."

--from the journals of Dr. Nicholas Solitude, circa 2023 (via the Dreamtime)


Email: scotto@braverock.com
Website: http://www.scotto.org/


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