Read Personae Online

Authors: Sergio De La Pava

Tags: #Fiction, #General

Personae (8 page)

BOOK: Personae
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LUDWIG: Yes we were heavily invested in it but like all human activity it came to an abrupt and violent end.

 

CLARISSA: And you found out what?

 

LUDWIG: We found nothing
out
but did find a lot that’s in.

 

CLARISSA: In?

 

LUDWIG: Yes. At first we were inspired.

 

NESTOR: Intensely.

 

LUDWIG: Then incredibly, maybe inevitably, we were incited…

 

NESTOR: Inexorably.

 

LUDWIG: . . . into the inescapable conclusion that inherent to our current incarceration is a certain indefatigable incoherence that intriguingly incorporates insufficient…

 

CLARISSA: Stop! You discovered what exactly?

 

LUDWIG: Nothing.

 

ADAM: Incarceration?

 

NESTOR: A profound epistemological failure.

 

ADAM: Incarceration?

 

CLARISSA: Doesn’t sound like much of an investigation.

 

ADAM: Incarceration?!

 

LUDWIG: You okay Adam?

 

ADAM: Why would you refer to this as an incarceration?

 

LUDWIG: What would you call it?

 

ADAM: I call it… completely… voluntary… presence?

 

NESTOR: I agree.

 

ADAM: (
hopeful
) You agree that’s what it is right?

 

NESTOR: Oh God no. I agree you call it that. And that’s the important thing of course.

 

ADAM: No. That’s not the important thing at all! What’s important is what it actually
is
. Who cares what I call it?

 

LUDWIG: He has a point.

 

ADAM: See?

 

LUDWIG: I was referring to Nestor.

 

ADAM: Goodness.

 

(
puts
his
face
in
his
hands
)

 

CLARISSA: Can’t believe you’re still pushing that nonsense Nestor.

 

LUDWIG: He’s only nominally pushing it. Nominalism.

 

CLARISSA: Well I nominate Nestor for chief investigator of our predicament.

 

LUDWIG: I agree.

 

NESTOR: I disagree.

 

ADAM: I abstain.

 

CLARISSA: Of course the primary prerequisite for that position is the swearing of an ironclad, take-no-prisoners, vow of silence.

 

ADAM: Prisoners?

 

CLARISSA: Meaning we’ve collectively heard the last of Nestor and can safely proceed, without distraction, to a deeper understanding of this place and our role in it.

 

LUDWIG: Yes, it’s a role!

 

NESTOR: But…

 

ALL: (
immediately
reminding
him
of
his
vow
and
silencing
him
with
extreme
prejudice)

 

Epp!

 

LUDWIG: A role! Don’t you see?

 

CLARISSA: Yes, we have to roll with it. You’re right Lud.

 

LUDWIG: Not saying that life is a certain way and we have to roll with it. Saying that what we call life is in fact
a
role
. One we’re compelled to play despite our distaste for the part solely out of a vague sense of loyalty to an outdated concept that dictates the show must go on.

 

ADAM: I don’t understand.

 

LUDWIG: Explain it to him Clarissa.

 

CLARISSA: I will.

 

LUDWIG: Nestor and I now take our leave of you three and when we return we return armed with nothing less than a beautifully symmetrical and synergistically symbiotic explanation that will produce primarily anger at our failure to spot its blatant obviousness.

 

(
Ludwig
and
Nestor
leave,
Nestor
sticking
to
the
vow
of
silence
taken
on
his
behalf.
Clarissa
and
Adam
remain
seated
near
each
other
and
apart
from
Charles.
)

 

ADAM: You’re going to explain now?

 

CLARISSA: Explain what?

 

ADAM: If I knew wouldn’t need you to explain would I?

 

CLARISSA: Now you’re catching on, well done Adam.

 

ADAM: Where are we?

 

CLARISSA: Ah you guys are all the same. Where are we boo hoo.

 

ADAM: Ludwig asked you to explain what he meant by that whole we’re reluctantly playing a role thing and you said you would.

 

CLARISSA: I can explain.

 

ADAM: Good! Please do. What did he mean by roles?

 

CLARISSA: Oh no, I meant that I could explain why I told him I would explain.

 

ADAM: Oh god.

 

CLARISSA: You said it.

 

ADAM: Fine, explain that at least.

 

CLARISSA: Huh?

 

ADAM: Why did you say you would explain when you had no intention of doing so?

 

CLARISSA: Well I’d explain but it’s highly complicated and you wouldn’t understand in a million years.

 

ADAM: Try me.

 

CLARISSA: I lied. Tell me Adam what’s the long and short of it? Do you feel you’ve been here an extended or brief time?

 

ADAM: I…

 

CLARISSA: See? That’s the problem, at least part of it. Another part is the sense you have that endemic to your presence here is an expectation that you will perform.

 

ADAM: How did you…

 

CLARISSA: And it’s a mistaken impression on your part but it also pains me to inform you that your performance to this point has been anemic so you’re not really living up to this expectation that doesn’t even exist and surely you see how problematic that is.

 

(
Pause
during
which
it
appears
Adam
is
considering
Clarissa’s
statement
but
in
reality
is
just
the
kind
of
silence
that
often
emerges
when
two
people
who’ve
been
part
of
a
group
suddenly
find
themselves
alone
with
little
basis
for
speech.)

 

ADAM: So… where you from?

 

CLARISSA: How would I know?

 

(
silence
)

 

ADAM: I’m from… (
can’t
remember
)

 

CLARISSA: Never been.

 

(
silence
)

 

ADAM: You’re right after all.

 

CLARISSA: Told you.

 

ADAM: All of you, right as rain. The
where
in
where
are
we
truly doesn’t matter it’s the how that counts. That’s why we ask
how
are you on first encounter, the where is mere backdrop. I sometimes feel like a base animal where the only thing that matters is the immediate state of my senses. Hungry, full. Empty, sated.

 

CLARISSA: Deluded, alert.

 

ADAM: Pain, pleasure.

 

CLARISSA: So, Adam, are you pained or pleased?

 

ADAM: That’s just it, as usual fully neither.

 

CLARISSA: And yet time doesn’t wait for you to decide.

 

ADAM: No.

 

CLARISSA: It flows with merciless acceleration.

 

ADAM: But maybe let it is what I’m saying. I’m not in pain, physical or otherwise. Truth is this place is quite comfortable.

 

(
Adam
looks
around
in
satisfaction
as
Clarissa
shakes
her
head
no
until
his
eyes
land
on
Charles
and
he
quickly
averts
them.
)

 

CLARISSA: Humans adapt, and that’s not a compliment. Unlike my older siblings I was born into beauty. An elegantly constructed home in the shade of one of those trees that seems to argue for the existence of God. As a child I was prone to behaving childlike and would earnestly say things like
I
will
never
live
anywhere
else
.

 

But the tree grew sick and began to die, slowly. A century of prosperous life would have to ebb to an end in our presence. First one limb removed then another and now the house is too much in the sun to be warm and we notice that its owners don’t smile in each other’s presence and everyone’s secluded in their own being, shedding limbs to protect the core.

 

That was the root of it, I remain sure of it to this day. Because the tree, like all that lives and grows, did die, and nothing grew thereafter. In the end you grind up the stump and move away. A compartment shaded only by power lines. The girlish words have been emptied and you realize you’ll live wherever the world damn well places you. That’s where I’m from.

BOOK: Personae
4.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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