Code Red
a dramatic revue by
Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller
developed through improvisations with
The Independent Eye’s Genesis Ensemble
© 2003 by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller. All rights reserved.
For production information, contact WordWorkers, 800-357-6016 or E-mail.
Act One
Irregular three-quarter seating of audience. House music. Center stage, a drum.
House music fades. Cast moves into audience area.
Woman comes center stage, takes the drum, sits, pauses.
Woman begins slow drum rhythm. All begin whispering: What code are we in? Evidence of it. Concern about it. No movement.
Sharp beat. Silence. All shift. Drum begins again. Vehement whispering, no movement.
Sharp beat. Silence. All shift. Drum begins again. Vociferous, full-voiced rant, waving arms.
Sharp beat. Silence. Slow motion to stasis. They speak, flat tone, with a gap between each line.
JACQ: What are we now, Code Orange?
BOB: Code Yellow.
ERIN: It was Code Yellow, then it went to Code Orange.
KEN: Orange is the norm.
ELAINE: Is it safe to have sex?
ELI: I’m colorblind.
ELIZ: When do we get to Code Red?
CB: That’s when it’s really serious.
DUNC: It’s really serious right now.
JACQ: What’s safe is Code Black. That’s really safe.
ELI: I read where they were proposing chartreuse, mauve, lavender, cinnamon. That was funny.
BOB: Lotta clowns out there.
KEN: So what are we now?
ALL: Waiting.
Pause. Drum begins. All exit, whispering.
Stand-by Shaman
People exchange greetings. Dave with coffee cup.
DAVE: You know if there’s any coffee?
SUE: Should be. Listen, Dave, Stella can’t be here tonight, so we’re kinda stuck for some help. Could you help us out?
DAVE: Sure.
SUE: I don’t like to throw stuff at you. This is your first time on the Zoning Board.
DAVE: Yeh, well I think people should take responsibility, and I like to help the community...
SUE: Well, Stella was going to do the shamanic journey.
DAVE: Shamanic journey? Isn’t this the meeting of the Zoning Board?
SUE: Well we like to get centered. Like Congress starts with a prayer, but Robin is Unitarian, so she suggested a shamanic journey, which is more bipartisan. I mean the way things are going in the world, everybody’s just totally overwhelmed, and angry and afraid, and we need to tap into some kind of special energy if we’re going to deal effectively with permits and variances.
DAVE: I never led a shamanic journey. I mean I did a workshop once on business communications...
SUE: Same thing. It’s like a business trip. Here’s an outline. Just kinda take us down a hole, and talk about the scenery, and we come to a crossroads, that stuff, then we find our power animal and get back to the meeting. Try to keep it under ten minutes.
DAVE: Ten minutes?
SUE: Well the old-time shamans took all night, but they didn’t have babysitters. Just follow the script. Ok, so I think the Zoning Board is all laid out.
Dave comes into another space, people lying flat on floor.
DAVE: Ok. Well. Hi there.
Ad lib. He consults the text.
So just, yeh, ok, relax. Ok. So let your body relax, deep into relaxation, every joint and limb goes limp. And now I’d like to invite you to breathe. And get ready to experience an alternating reality ... alternative reality. Now you find an opening, a hole in the ground, or a hollow log, and that takes you down into the earth—
ROBIN: How about a cave?
DAVE: Cave’s great.
MIKE: How about the subway?
DAVE: Whatever.
MIKE: I don’t have a day pass.
DAVE: Imagine somebody gives you a day pass. And you’re going down into the earth, dark and juicy, experience your sensuality, and down deeper, and there’s a crossroads...
ROBIN: In the cave?
MIKE: I’m on the subway.
DAVE: Well it seems like a crossroads. There’s some smoke, so you can’t really tell, but now you come to a clearing—
MIKE: It’s a subway stop.
ROBIN: It’s a big chamber in the cave with prehistoric cave paintings of mastodons and a man with a large penis.
DAVE: Great. And standing there by a blazing fire is your power animal. And it’s standing strong and proud. Try to see it. What do you see?
MIKE: A panhandler.
DAVE: Next to the panhandler?
SUE: A grizzly bear.
JERRY: An eagle.
ROBIN: A gray timber wolf with a large penis.
MIKE: A chicken. All I get is a chicken?
DAVE: Well, everything has a meaning. Ok, so grab your power animal—
SUE: Dave, could you speed it up a little, cause we have to approve the minutes?
DAVE: Nice variety in the power animals. Ok, so now you’re coming back, and your power animal is walking beside you, strong and proud—
MIKE: under breath A chicken?
DAVE: And now you’re breathing again, you’re coming back into waking awareness, and I think somebody brought some pizza, only you’re bringing the power you’ve found in the spirit world, back into the daily world where people are suffering and dying, and the media is full of lies, but you are bringing this power—
They are transforming into beasts.
And the economy is collapsing from corruption and greed, and nobody’s job is secure, but you are bringing this power, and coming back to war and terrorism and permits, conditional permits, variances for structures and additions and road rage but you are bringing the power into the real world of ...
They turn to attack him in slow motion.
... if you want to come back now and find yourself waking up, returning to reality, open your eyes, one two three ... cause the Young Republicans are meeting here at four o’clock...
They claw and rip him to pieces. He continues methodical speech.
... coming back to a world of compassion, letting go of the ego and return of the divine feminine and if you feel your power animal is picking up the vibes of the dominant paradigm and getting a little unruly, why just try to let go...
Stops. He is dead, spread flat on the floor. Pause. The participants regain equilibrium.
JERRY: It was neat.
MIKE: It really was. I got a lot out of it.
ROBIN: I think we kinda shifted the paradigm.
SUE: So what’s on the agenda? The shopping mall?
ROBIN: Well I think we can handle it, thanks to Dave.
SUE: Oh Dave, yes, thanks.
They look at him.
Pause. They transform back into their animal beings, start moving toward us. Tableau.
Drums. Several set scene for next piece. Woman speaks to us.
KYM: Yes, there are bad vibes in the astral plane. But the positive side is, don’t you feel, that 9/11 was a wake-up call. It brought us into dialogue. Not always comfortable. But the beginning of something. People really listening to each other...
Erin & Jacqueline in vehement simultaneous argument: You never listen... Abrupt cut-off.
And going a lot deeper, the basic life issues...
Eli & Duncan in vehement simultaneous argument: Oscar winners... Abrupt cut-off.
People from all walks of life, in dialogue...
All in simultaneous argument across space: The biggest problem today... They converge in center. Abrupt cut-off.
It’s a wake-up call.
They split rapidly, leaving the next scene in place.
Kill the Johnsons
End of dinner.
WALT: That was a wonderful casserole. What was in that?
PATTY: Oh, leftovers. Buncha stuff.
WALT: Oh Patty, baby, it was great. Boy, sometimes I just realize how much there is to be thankful for. Just amazing.
PATTY: It is, Walt. House, good jobs, great kids.
WALT: And each other—
PATTY: We’ve got our health, I mean that in itself—
WALT: Spiritual values—
PATTY: And our neighbors, it’s the friendliest—
Walt sighs.
WALT: I was just thinking...
PATTY: Oh, right, you need to take out the garbage.
WALT: No, that’s not... Hey, never mind, let’s not get heavy, let’s just enjoy stuff!
PATTY: Pie for dessert. Apple pie?
WALT: That’s great.
PATTY: What? ... Something’s on your mind.
WALT: No big deal.
PATTY: Hon, why don’t you just out with it, and whatever, and then we’ll enjoy our apple pie.
WALT: Well, it’s just—
PATTY: It’s no big deal—
WALT: Ok. All right. So ... We might have to kill the Johnsons.
PATTY: Uh ... What?
WALT: There’s just a number of things.
PATTY: In the sense of ...
WALT: Things that I’ve noticed, and I haven’t really said anything, but it just starts adding up, and I think well let’s not open a can of worms, and we’re busy, the lawn and the roof and refinancing, but there’s never a convenient time ...
PATTY: Wow, I had this strange thing where I thought what I heard you say was we better kill the Johnsons.
WALT: Before it’s too late. Could you give me a refill?
Pouring wine.
Thanks. I know this is pretty abrupt. I mean when they just had us over to dinner on Sunday. But that was kind of the capper. Dick is such a gun nut.
PATTY: When he showed you his antique pistols? Weren’t they a Christmas present?
WALT: Who the hell gives somebody a set of single-shot dueling pistols? He says, “For the historical value.” Oh come on!
PATTY: Hon, you’ve got a .45, a shotgun, a 9 millimeter, an automatic assault rifle—
WALT: For defense. There are crazy people out there. You heard him. His little joke.
PATTY: It was a joke.
WALT: “In the event of a neighborly disagreement, Walt.” He was smiling when he said it.
PATTY: Well it was a joke. We all laughed.
WALT: Sure, to gain time. What about the fence?
PATTY: Their privacy fence?
WALT: Their privacy fence.
PATTY: They asked us about it before they put it up. And you said, sure, good fences make good neighbors.
WALT: It blots out their whole back yard.
PATTY: Well, that’s privacy.
WALT: What are they doing back there?
PATTY: I don’t know. Sunbathing?
WALT: Sunbathing! Why does it have to be totally opaque?
PATTY: So you can’t see them sunbathing. Walt, is this a joke?
WALT: That couple in Portland? They thought it was a joke. They woke up dead.
WALT: Did you see their kids, little kids four and six, out on the porch over there, playing with GI Joe and these action figures—
PATTY: I gave Sally those when we cleared out the kids’ old toy-box. Those were ours.
WALT: Yeh, but we’re responsible people. We teach our kids right from wrong. We don’t build privacy fences and arm ourselves to the teeth and lay plots to kill people—except if we’re provoked.
PATTY: There’s no way I can believe that—
WALT: What about your rose bush, Patty?
PATTY: Well, Sally just—
WALT: Just backed right over that sucker. Yeh, I know, “It was a mistake.” But that’s what they do: see how far they can go, how much they can get away with. It’s exactly what Hitler did.
PATTY: Walt, no! They’re our friends. They’re really sweet people. They’re a little younger than we are, and their kids are kinda noisy and Sally dresses kind of funny sometimes. But this is ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous!
Changed tone.
Why would they want to hurt us?
WALT: Envy.
PATTY: Envy of what? Our credit cards bills?
WALT: Our whole way of life. Just the fact that we’re superior. Some people can’t stand that. You know, people with an inferiority complex just can’t stand the fact they’re inferior. It makes’em fanatic.
PATTY: Fanatic?
WALT: Well, vegetarian. We’re over to dinner, they cook us this little meat dish and kinda chuckle about how at least it doesn’t have steroids and carcinogens, and joke about your big fat butt, or your nice “round figure” as Sally put it, but she’s talking about your big fat butt, you know damn well she is, and these people, these animal rights activists, and eco-terrorists, they’re fanatics, they’ll kill you as soon as look at you. And Sally gives me this little wink.
PATTY: Wink?
WALT: Wink. I’d call it a wink. Wink. Definite wink.
PATTY: Wink ...
Breath intake.
Well ... This affects the whole neighborhood. We should talk to the Murrays, and the Blairs—
WALT: And you know what they’re going to say. Call the police. And the police, they’ll just say we’re paranoid. And we’d really like that property as investment income. And we have to wait till they come roaring in with chainsaws and there’s blood all over the bathtub and we scream out the children’s names—Heather! Josh!—and there’s this terrible silence.
PATTY: So ... if we did something ... wouldn’t that be ... like ... illegal?
WALT: Self-defense. Pre-emptive. It’s like a ... vaccination.
PATTY: For the sake of the children.
WALT: And the investment income. College education, that stuff.
PATTY: So ... my God ... how do people do these things? Just go and do it?
WALT: We have to consider the options. I mean, Patty, this is not something that is making me happy about it.
PATTY: Well God knows we’ve got the firepower. How about just ... Boom!
WALT: Look, we’re civilized. We’re not like those butchers we’re living next door to. We don’t want a mess.
PATTY: So...
WALT: How bout our kids?
PATTY: Our kids?
WALT: Heather and Josh. Heather baby-sits over there. Josh could come over, like to keep his sister company. It wouldn’t look suspicious. Dick and Sally come home: bing, bing.
PATTY: Our kids go bing bing?
WALT: Lots of people’s kids go bing bing. Look, it’s for their college education as well as for their lifestyle. I am taking full responsibility for this, so they can do just a little of the grunt work. It’ll be very surgical.
PATTY: Bing bing. Bing. Bing. Bing bing bing bing.
WALT: Hey. How bout that apple pie?
(Dream Story)
Group converges on stage. Begins toning. Three emerge, holding tight to each other, speaking to us.
ELI: I had this dream. It was a peace march. Not here, but like in Omaha, kind of a subtropical Omaha. And there were cops along the street, and helicopters, but it was really festive, because the news was that the President went on national television and admitted he was totally wrong and that he had masterminded 9/11, and he started to take off his clothes—
BOB: And I turned it off just before he showed his private parts, thank you Jesus. And we were out in the sun, blue sky—
ELI: Everybody was dancing and just laughing hysterically—
BOB: And the cops all eating cotton candy—
JACQ: Getting stickier and stickier, and nobody could find water anywhere. People started to get mean. You could hear birds—
ELI: Above the helicopters, hovering, waiting for meat in the streets below.
JACQ: Dull thuds, like explosions under water—
BOB: Why did I find this surprising?
ELI: It was a peace march.
JACQ: And we got to Civic Center, we were all so very old.
ELI: It was a peace march.
JACQ: With candles, and the sun went black.
BOB: And the birds began to fall.
Group disperses slowly.
Big Mama’s Baby
When I was little, they said in school that when white people came, the Indians thought they were gods. And I read some story where people were born from a volcano. And then I learned all the wonderful things white people did, and then I learned all the horrible things white people did—and it’s all been very confusing.
At one side, BIG MAMA sits, elevated: a volcano. At the other, a farm couple, sitting down to dinner.
WOMAN: Good work today?
MAN: Good work. Put in the beans. You?
WIFE: Baby was good. Brown goat was a handful.
MAN: I saw a cloud, looked like a big butt.
WIFE: Better be mine.
They laugh.
MAN: Big Mama’s making noises.
WIFE: Well she does.
MAN: Felt the ground move. Smoke up on the rim. She’s gonna erupt.
WIFE: Last time she blew, your granddad was a little boy.
MAN: They talk about the white gods?
WIFE: Who does?
MAN: Old people. White gods come out of the volcano.
WIFE: You’re nuts. You and your big butts.
MAN: If she’s gonna do it, I wish she’d do it.
WIFE: Don’t rush Big Mama. Take her a chicken. We can spare it.
Drums. BIG MAMA begins to sing a birth song, in a rhythm of labor.
MAN: Listen to that.
WIFE: Like singing.
MAN: What the story says. Every curse from Big Mama, there comes a blessing. It’s way past time for the blessing.
WIFE: Big butt in the clouds, that’s your blessing.
Sudden acceleration of drums. Loud sounds of labor.
MAN: Here she goes. Get the kids.
WIFE: What about the goats?
MAN: Forget the goats.
MAMA: Help!
WIFE: She’s calling for help. She’s in labor.
MAN: She doesn’t need help to fry our ass.
MAMA: Help!
WIFE: It’s coming. The blessing.
He starts to escape. WIFE holds him, forces him to follow her. BIG MAMA is in labor. Drums change rhythm. MAN and WOMAN walk slowly toward BIG MAMA, as if through ash, smoke, and wind.
MAN: This is one big mistake.
WIFE: She’s giving birth. To the blessing.
MAN: Celebrate from a distance.
WIFE: Here. Take hold her hand.
MAN: It’s hot!
MAMA: Hand!
They grasp her hands, assist in the labor.
WIFE: It’s coming. Now push!
BIG MAMA gives birth to BABY. Drum stops. He snuggles against her, she cradles him.
WIFE: It’s white.
MAN: White baby. It’s the blessing. The stories? White babies that fly and do wonderful things—
WIFE: So beautiful...
MAMA: Beautiful.
MAN: Beautiful, Big Mama.
WIFE: Thank you, Big Mama, for this blessing. This beautiful white baby—
MAN: What’s its name?
MAMA: Name.
WIFE: What’s the baby’s name?
MAMA: Billy.
MAN: Nice name.
MAMA: Jane.
MAN: Well which is it?
MAMA: Yevgeny. Kristin. Winthrop. Butch.
WIFE: He’ll have lots of brothers and sisters.
Baby cries.
He’s hungry. He wants milk.
MAMA: Milk! Milk!
WIFE: Go milk the goat.
MAN hurries down the mountain and milks the goat. BABY cries. Meanwhile:
Oh Mama, Big Mama, thank you for this blessing. May the baby bring healing and happiness, may we work and play together in joy—
BABY howls.
MAMA: Milk!
MAN: returning Here’s milk.
BABY drinks from the bucket. Finishes. Baby talk:
BABY: Das good.
MAN: He talks already. Amazing. playfully Hey. Say something.
BABY: Meat. Hungry. Want meat.
MAN: He talks!
MAMA: Meat!
MAN: Meat? We don’t have meat. All we got’s the goats—
MAMA: Meat!!!
WIFE: Kill a goat.
MAN: We need the goats—
WIFE: Kill a goat!
MAN: I’ll kill a goat.
He hurries down the mountain and kills a goat. The baby cries. Meanwhile:
WIFE: Big Mama, we love you. We’re poor, but our kids can play with your baby, and baby-sit, and love him so much—
Baby howls.
MAMA: Meat!
MAN: returning Here’s meat.
Baby gobbles the meat. Baby talk:
BABY: Das good.
MAN: He’s a big one.
BABY: You betcha. Mama’s big too. I love you, Mama.
MAMA: Love...
BABY: I’m gonna do good things, Mama. I’m gonna run faster than— What are those?
WIFE: Deer.
BABY: Faster than deer. I’m gonna fly higher than— What’s that?
WIFE: An eagle.
BABY: Eagle. I’m gonna be bigger and stronger and smarter than— Who you?
MAN: Just human beings.
BABY: Than human beings! Cause I’m big and I’m strong and I’m fast and I’m white! looks at his skin I’m white! Ahh! What’s the matter with me! I’m all white! I’m gonna die! I need meat!
MAMA: Meat!
MAN goes, as before. WIFE tries to comfort BABY, who continues crying:
WIFE: It’s ok, honey. You’re beautiful and you’re smart. You’re the beautiful white baby.
BABY: I love Mama.
MAMA: Love.
BABY: I’m smart, Mama. I can spell cat. I can do two plus two. I can do m.c. squared. I can sing.
He sings several bars of The Halleluia Chorus as the couple continues working.
I can do books.
He recites the beginning of “To be or not to be...” MAN returns with meat.
MAN: Here’s all we got.
BABY: They don’t love me, Mama! I need more!
MAMA: More!
BABY: I don’t want goat meat, I want Macdonalds. I want a Big Mac, and fries, and a giant Coke, I want a Happy Meal!
WIFE: We don’t have that stuff.
BABY: Because you’re dumb. Make food for me then you’ll get some too! Get a job! Go to work!
MAN: We work hard!
BABY: Make stuff I need! I need shirts. And running shoes. And computers. A whole buncha computers. Work!
MAMA: Work!
MAN: Ok ok! to Woman Work!
They start doing assembly line work. BABY curls up by BIG MAMA, whimpering.
BABY: They don’t love me. They hate me. I’m watching’em. I got long-distance eyes.
MAN: Was he born that way?
WIFE: Got dropped on his head.
BABY: I know you hate me. Just remember if I wasn’t creating jobs you wouldn’t have anything! Love me or I’ll kill you. I can kill better than anybody. This is boring. Entertain me. Make me laugh.
They start into a comic dance duet.
That’s stupid. Do something beautiful. I want beautiful stuff.
They begin a Martha Graham ballet.
That’s sissy stuff. I want sports. Super-sports. War!
They go into a slow-motion prizefight, continuing.
I’m too hungry. I’m too fat. I’m hungry and I’m fat. I need exercise. Somebody help me exercise.
MAN and WIFE work his limbs.
What’s the matter with me? I should be happy. I’ve got running shoes. I’ve got freedom. I am so fucking awesome! ... I’m such a disgusting person.
MAN and WIFE collapse in exhaustion. BIG MAMA embraces BABY as he continues. Everything slows.
MAMA: Love...
BABY: They don’t love me, I tried to do good things for’em but they’re too dumb.
MAMA: Love...
BABY: I’m cold. No more oil. I want a nuclear-powered hot tub. Can we still burn whales?
The couple go back into a slow-motion assembly line, very legato, low-key.
BABY: The sun’s too bright. I’m having bad dreams, Mama. I can’t close my eyes. Turn off my eyes! I’m so hungry. I’m scared...
MAN: How you doing?
WIFE: Could be better.
BABY: Scared of Mama.
MAMA: Love...
BABY: Scared of dying... loving... being...
Big Mama begins singing a death song. Low percussion.
Stop it! I know what’s going on here! Try to put one over on me! You don’t know what I can do. The megatonnage, what’s in the stockpiles, plutonium, neurotoxins, every man and woman and little shitting baby on the planet! Come on, Big Mama, let’s get a grip!
He turns, starts to strangle Big Mama. She hesitates, as he strains madly to strangle her, then quickly breaks his neck. Silence.
MAMA: Quiet. Nice. I forgot.
Man and Woman look, then move home.
MAN: Was that the blessing?
WIFE: I liked when he sang.
They sing a phrase of The Halleluia Chorus.
MAN: So. Need to get up early.
WIFE: Lot of stuff to sort out.
MAN: We got time.
All come forward, announce a break.
Act Two
Music. Voices, taped. As they continue, the actors come onto stage, stand still, listening.
KEN: I was in the water, it was big long beach, and all of a sudden I saw that big wave, huge, like a skyscraper, and I tried to go back to the shore and I couldn’t, I was being drawn out by a big wave.
DUNC: I dreamed I woke up and I looked out my window and a nuclear bomb exploded.
JACQ: I dreamed I was on a swing and I couldn’t get off.
KYM: I dreamed I had dinner with George Bush, and I was telling him all this stuff that he needed to do to fix the planet and he kinda nodded at me and he just kept eating, and he ate everything on his plate, he ate everything on my plate—
ELAINE: —and I looked at him and screamed, and Ken said what are you screaming about?
ELIZ: I dreamed I gave birth to a hairball.
BOB: In the dream, the walls of the dining room of my family’s house are filled with crawling things.
ELI: I dreamed of a steady string of verbal abuse from someone I love.
KYM: I dreamt that my husband fell out of love with me.
ERIN: I dreamed that no one recognized me.
SARA: I dreamed I was found out.
DUNC: I dreamed the car ran over my head.
JACQ: I dreamed that somebody had murdered my son and had put him in the freezer...
RANDY: I dreamt the kids had died in a crash.
ELIZ: I dreamed I get there and it’s too late.
KEN: I dreamt of a spider, a large white spider, climbing up the sheet towards my head.
DAVE: Nightmares, they don’t have to be true.
ELAINE: I dreamt I was lost, lost, and I could smell something but I couldn’t tell what it was.
ELIZ: I dreamed I was going very fast down the freeway in a car but the wheels kept shrinking and eventually my butt was scraping the ground and I didn’t like it.
ELI: I dreamed I have to run on all fours as fast as possible.
ELAINE: I dreamt I was trapped, I was trapped in a long long tunnel, and the more I ran toward the exit the longer the tunnel got.
ERIN: I dreamed I wasn’t allowed out of America.
ERIN: I dreamed I couldn’t wake up.
SARA: I dreamed I die alone.
ELI: I dreamed about trains again and again and again.
ELIZ: I dreamed I was a dog.
The Shelter
Two people sit, faced front, waiting.
KEN: So how’s it going? Getting any offers?
KYM: Not real well. How about you.
KEN: Ah the usual. Sending out resumes. It’s never been this bad.
KYM: I used to read science fiction. There was this story where machines did all the work. Nobody had to work. They left out the part where nobody got paid.
KEN: I almost had something yesterday. Wasn’t quite what I wanted, but hey, whatever. I think I pushed too hard.
KYM: You have to be like, well, I could take it or leave it. You can’t act like you’re desperate.
KEN: Take it or leave it? C’mon, what’s gonna happen if I don’t get a job?
KYM: No big deal. You die. Then your problems are over.
KEN: Here we go again.
Parents and a small girl enter behind them. They relate to the people as if they were dogs in an animal shelter.
DAD: All right now, honey, here we are. Now you get to choose the one you want, it’s entirely your choice. We gotta make it kinda quick, cause there’s ten minutes on the meter. But before you choose—
MOM: This is an important choice—
DAD: Very important choice. It’s like a baby, almost, and there are lots of little babies in this world that nobody wants—
MOM: And that’s really sad—
DAD: That’s really sad. But this is how you learn to make choices that are just like life—
MOM: They are life—
DAD: They are life, ok ok. And so remember—
DAD: Remember you have to feed her, and give her water—
DAD: And clean up her poopie papers—
MOM: All her poopie papers—
DAD: All the things we did for you.
MAN: to WOMAN I know these types. They treat you like a dog.
MOM: And honey, you’re doing a really good deed. These are poor little things that nobody wants. There’s millions and millions and millions of poor little things that nobody wants, and they’re all so sad.
GIRL: How many can I have?
MOM: Just one.
KYM: to KEN It’s me or you.
DAD: So here we are, honey, now pick one out, cause we gotta go. Any one you want. This is a nice one. Hello.
KYM: Hi.
DAD: You like this one?
GIRL: Yeh.
DAD: Now why are you here?
KYM: I’ve been out of work for three weeks.
DAD: Haven’t you had any offers?
KYM: I’m over-qualified.
DAD: Well if you’re that good, why did you get let go?
KYM: You tell me.
MOM: That’s a pretty negative attitude.
GIRL: She looks sad.
KYM: I’m pregnant.
MOM: Hon, look over here. This one looks happy.
DAD: You’d a lot rather have a happy one. How you doing?
MAN: Well I’m looking for the right opportunity. I’ve had a couple of offers, but they weren’t quite—
DAD: Do you dig?
MAN: If you want me to.
MOM: You like to play?
MAN: If you want me to.
DAD: Do you smell people’s butts?
MAN: If you want me to. Listen, I am incredibly nice. I don’t lick my private parts because that’s not nice but I’ll lick your private parts if you want cause I really do not want to die.
DAD: He’s perfect. Honey, isn’t he great?
GIRL: Well could I have’em both? Because if I’m happy I could be with the happy dog but then if I’m sad I could be with the sad dog.
DAD: No, our house isn’t big enough, honey. If we took every little creature that was hungry and wanted a home, there’d be millions and billions. There wouldn’t be room for us. Because dogs are just like people. There’s too many of them. And some are good and some are bad, so we’ve got to take the good ones and leave the bad ones here. That’s the way it is in the world.
KYM: You bastard.
GIRL: You said I could choose.
DAD: Well that’s right. But the meter’s running out. So you’d better choose the right one, and choose fast.
MOM: Sid, give her a minute. Let her think.
DAD: Ok. Think.
Girl looks from one to the other.
KYM: I shoulda simplified my resume.
KEN: You should tell’em you hunt. They like that military stuff.
GIRL: What happens to the other one?
MOM: Somebody else will take it—
DAD: Or else the pound will take care of it.
MOM: Sid—
GIRL: How?
DAD: The ones that nobody wants, that aren’t nice, they get put to sleep.
GIRL: Like I go to sleep?
MOM: Sidney—
DAD: No, they don’t get up in the morning. Now hon, the car’s in a tow-away zone, so—
GIRL: Are they dead?
MOM: Honey, they’re not like people. They don’t feel things. They’re dead but they don’t know they’re dead.
GIRL: Then her babies die too.
MOM: to DAD Look what you started.
DAD: Honey, you like pizza, right? Now if you and a friend order pizza, that’s really fun. But then somebody else shows up, say that little fat girl, what’s her name, and she’s not really your friend but you don’t want her to feel bad, so you give her a piece. And then ten kids show up, they’re not from our neighborhood, they’re rowdy, and you don’t get one damn piece of your own pizza. So whatta you do about that, little Miss Smarty Pants?!
GIRL: Order more pizza?
MAN: Good idea.
MOM: Honey, life is sacred, and it’s beautiful how you love all God’s creatures. But you know, every little baby has a right to be born, but just because you’re born doesn’t mean you deserve to live.
DAD: Listen to your mom. Don’t think about that other one. We’re going to save a life. Otherwise they both die.
Ad lib from dogs. Tumult.
GIRL: It’s not fair!!!
DAD: Goddamn it, life is not fair! You better learn that right now. Life is crappy, life is horrible, and we always told you the world was a wonderful place, but it’s not! We lied!
Silence. GIRL climbs into the cage.
MOM: Honey...
DAD: Hon, come out of there.
MOM: Come out of there. It’s dirty there.
DAD: This is not helping at all, Melody. This is just telling me that you’re not old enough to take this responsibility—
MOM: You come out of there right now!
DAD: I’m surprised at you, Melody. I’m very very surprised.
MOM: We’re going to get a ticket, we’re going to be towed—
DAD: And you don’t care. You just want to make a statement.
MOM: We’re going now, Melody. Are you coming?
DAD: This will teach you a lesson. We’re going.
MOM: You’ll see what happens to bad little girls.
DAD: This hurts you more than it hurts us.
MOM: Bad little girls who don’t love Mommy and Daddy.
DAD: This will be a lesson.
MAN: You need some cheering up? I do tricks.
MOM: to DAD Could we take the happy dog?
DAD: We’ll take the happy dog. Melody, we’re taking the happy dog. The happy dog will make us happy, after the bad little girl has made us sad. Come on, happy dog.
KEN: to KYM Goddamn, I scored! None of this minimum wage crap, I bet they feed me right off the table. God bless the American Way!
MOM: Sidney, we can’t...
DAD: No, honey, we love you...
Ad lib, both parents frantic with rage and grief, crying out to her. Then suddenly they stop: total control.
MOM: But we have to. If she gets away with this...
DAD: It’ll send the wrong message.
MAN: Hey, so, when do I start?
MOM: Melody, honey...
DAD: Dolores, she has to learn a lesson. She has to face the real world. If she can’t do that, she’ll be much happier dead.
MOM nearly breaks down, then recovers.
MOM: Melody, some day you’re going to understand.
DAD: Actually, they put them down on Fridays.
They go out.
KEN: Hey, you made me an offer. I got witnesses.
He drops his head into his hands. The others huddle together.
KYM: So many decisions, so few choices.
(Get Rid/Hold On)
Music. Voices, taped. As they continue, the actors come onto stage, stand still, listening.
ELAINE: Get rid of all those clothes in the closet, I’ve been looking at them for years. And just take’em out and get rid of’em now.
KEN: Get rid of the clutter all over my kitchen.
JACQ: Get rid of that nattering voice.
ELI: Get rid of all the background noise.
KEN: Hold onto the rope.
BOB: Hold on to tightly to the oar.
DAVE: Hold on to joy.
ELIZ: Get rid of me. Hold on to me.
ELAINE: Get rid of fear.
DAVE: Get rid of war.
ELI: Get rid of I told you so.
DAVE: Hold onto our friends.
DUNC: Get rid of those photographs.
ELIZ: Get rid of telemarketing.
RANDY: Get rid of pain.
ELAINE: Get rid of all those horrible memories.
ERIN: Hold on to humor.
KYM: Hold onto both breasts.
RANDY: I want to hold onto both breasts.
ELI: Hold on to the steering wheel.
ELIZ: Get rid of me. Hold on to me.
BOB: Get rid of the blinders.
KEN: Get rid of snails.
RANDY: Get rid of my boss.
KYM: Get rid of overpaid fat cat corporate masters.
ELIZ: Get rid of five pounds.
ELI: Hold on to your hair.
ERIN: Hold on to your hats.
ELIZ: Hold on to your hopes.
BOB: Hold on to your head.
ERIN: Hold on to the planet, it’s spinning out of control.
ELIZ: Save those seeds.
NARRATOR: This is the time of alternate realities. Ways of looking at the world that make you crazy. One of a series.
MAN: I got a letter. It said official. Which is hard to tell because they try to make things look official, like your house is being foreclosed, and they just wanted to let you know, but in fact they’ve just designed an envelope that looks desperately like the federal government.
But this was official. Notification of prizes.
It was a contest I’d entered, I’d just put a thing in a box at the shopping mall, because you could win a vacation to Hawaii. And I’d always kinda wanted to go to Hawaii, I hated the stereotype, like they put flowers around your neck and play ukeleles. But there was something kinda magical, maybe. I had a friend who talked about Maui, and the volcanoes, and the gods...
And the second prize was a Walkman, and I thought I could use a Walkman, blow music into my head when I’m trying not to think.
And it said you have won.
I thought oh come on, but I read it, looking for the catch, like conditional upon my purchasing Florida real estate, and I even read the small print, those large black microbes in attack formation.
I won. I actually won.
I called the number I was supposed to call, and actually a human being answered and said, indeed, hello, congratulations, yes, and all you have to do is go to such and such a travel agent, and they will make the arrangements, an all expense paid week in Hawaii, anywhere you want to go. You don’t just have to go to a hotel in Waikiki, anything you want.
I could go to Maui? You could go to Maui.
So I said thanks. I’d never won a prize before.
So I go to the travel agency, and there’s a nice, kinda middle-aged blond woman sitting there, I give her my confirmation number, and congratulations, where would you like to go, and I said I would like to go to Maui.
She said fine, very good, and gets on the keyboard, what kind of hotel, would you like a car, so on...
And finally she said ok, I’ll print out your electronic tickets and reservations. So she prints it out, gives it to me, says well enjoy your stay in Omaha.
Have a nice vacation.
Funny, I thought you said enjoy your stay in Omaha.
She said, be sure to visit the Stockyards.
And I looked at my ticket, it said Omaha Nebraska.
I said, excuse me, you know this is kind of an alternate reality or something. You were booking me to Maui and for some reason it printed out Omaha.
And she said, Omaha is undiscovered.
I said well I’m sure it is but— She said, I get that question a lot. I hadn’t asked her a— She said, Why not give it a whirl? I said, See, this says Hawaii but all the tickets say Omaha. Doesn’t that strike you as kind of inconsistent? Nothing surprises me, she said.
So we go on like this for a while. She tells me lots of Nebraskans go to Hawaii, or Arizona if they’ve got emphysema. I—Maybe she’s saying that the absence of Nebraskans from Omaha kinda sucks the rest of us into the vacuum. And we kinda chat, she’s been in this job a couple of years, and she’s divorced, and her son was arrested for stealing a parking meter. And then she says, I think you’ll really like Omaha. So we’re back to that.
By this time I’d come to the conclusion that she’s serious. Maybe some hidden agenda to save the company money. Maybe she’s had like a stroke and she’s trying to do her job but she only remembers how to book people to Omaha, and people get off the plane and wonder where the palm trees are.
Or that multinational that’s located in Omaha, wants to get people there for experiments. Or there’s something in Hawaii they don’t want us to know about, like special camps. Because conspiracy theories are only ways of trying to create a coherent reality among disparate facts.
I lean over and I say, you know, let’s put it this way. What I really want to do, I want to go to Maui. I think Omaha is fine, I have no doubt that the Comfort Inn on West 72th is an unforgettable experience, but I’ll work up to that. Right now I think I just want to go to Maui, because there’s something magical, the volcanoes, the way people live, is what I’ve heard, and could you book me to Maui, or if you can’t could I talk to your supervisor.
She said, My supervisor’s on vacation. Yes. Hawaii.
So we went around and around and we weren’t getting very far and I started to think about screaming to kinda make my point. And she looks at me and raises her finger, like to a little boy, and she says, Have you ever had the experience that someone who seems perfectly normal and very polite, college education, that sort of thing, is really insane?
And I said I believe that I have.
Then she said, these were the words: Omaha is the Heartland, and in this time of madness, we must return to the heart.
Omaha is really quite nice. I went yesterday to the Henry Doorly Zoo. This afternoon I’m taking a tour out to the air force base and Boys Town, which is a very famous orphanage. There’s a good steak house, I don’t eat beef but it’s nice to know it’s there. And there’s quite a lot of crime and racial tension, so you don’t feel like you’re in some hick town.
And in some ways I’m disappointed but ... maybe this is the right thing. For me. Right now.
Because Maui is a dream, and in this time, she said, of madness, should we not perhaps rein in our dreams, and keep them unfulfilled and pure? Is this a time for self-indulgence?
There is an Omaha in every American’s heart. We’ve won the contest. We have to go there.
(I Want)
The ensemble moves slowly across the stage. Recorded voices.
ERIN: I want to know what freedom feels like.
KYM: I want my dog to smell good.
ERIN: I want to know the smell of peace.
KYM: I want my cat to stop leaving me presents.
ERIN: I want to hear the wind rustling through the trees.
DUNCAN: I want to touch a hundred oily women.
BOB: I want bread dough in my hands.
ELAINE: I want to be an oily woman.
KYM: I want to believe there’s tomorrow.
JACQ: I want to see what my granddaughter will look like with hair.
BOB: I want the hammer to hit the nail every time.
ELI: I want to see an autopsy.
ELIZ: I want to revamp my butt.
JACQ: I want to bury my nose in the armpit of someone I love.
ELI: I want to hear music in the subway.
ELIZ: I want to be able to whistle loud through my teeth.
JACQ: I want my back to be stroked.
BOB: I want broken things to come back together.
SARA: I want to hear the Gobi Desert sands shifing again.
ELI: I want to touch a wooly dog.
SARA: I want to taste a tomato.
They disappear.
Two women bring paper coffee cups to table in coffee shop, sit.
CEIL: I drink so much coffee. I gotta run but it’s so great to see you.
KATIE: Yeh, surprise. What, about three months?
CEIL: Six. Hey, did that apartment work out?
KATIE: Nope, I’m still transient. How bout the world of unemployment?
CEIL: Well I just had a temp job and they sent us to the wrong place and they said wear a suit and nobody there was wearing a suit— What else is new?
KATIE: Did you hear what Bush said?
CEIL: Stop right there. That’s a four-letter word.
Man approaches:
JERRY: Have we met?
KATIE: Jerry!
CEIL: Hey, Jerry.
JERRY: What are you doing here?
CEIL: Caffeine. What else?
JERRY: Am I interrupting—
CEIL: No no, actually we just ran into each other.
KATIE: How long has it been?
JERRY: Since we all got laid off, I guess.
CEIL: That was October, I was finishing up my divorce, and laid off, and looking for an apartment, and I am now just ending a relationship and looking for a job and an apartment...
KATIE: Everybody’s going in circles. I paid $300 for this workshop on Finding Your Right Livelihood. Maybe I could present workshops! You know, some Chinese spiritual practice that involves locking yourself in the bathroom and crying for hours.
CEIL: Anything for a sense of direction.
JERRY: Direction! I’m still trying to sell my soul to a major corporation, or Adolf Hitler, I don’t care—
KATIE: Adolf Hitler is hiring.
CEIL: Don’t give me politics! to Jerry So what’s happening with you?
JERRY: Moving. And job-searching. showing newspaper And the Personals.
CEIL: The Personals!?
JERRY: So I’m desperate! Hey, did you see that article in the Chronicle? The zoo is going crazy, because the penguins, they’ve got like fifty penguins, and they just hey put in three new penguins from some other zoo, and they started migrating. But they’re in the pool, so they’re just swimming around in circles. For weeks. I mean talk about sense of direction. Just around and around and around...
KATIE: And around...
CEIL: And around...
Gesture, transforming into swimming. They become penguins, swimming with determination.
JERRY: What are we doing?
CEIL: Migrating.
JERRY: Where?
CEIL: We’ll find out.
JERRY: We never migrated before. These new guys start swimming, and everybody jumps in. What’s so special about these new guys?
CEIL: Cute butts.
Exasperated response from Jerry.
Well they were making little noises. Like “Yi! Yi!” They sounded scared. Like they know something we don’t.
KATIE: What’s to be scared? We’re in San Francisco, we live in the zoo, the gawkers gawk. It’s a living.
JERRY: Yeh, but you listen to the gawkers. It’s a mean world out there. Everybody getting killed. You could be dead and not even know it.
KATIE: This is the zoo.
JERRY: They talk about the terrorists.
CEIL: What’s a terrorist?
KATIE: Tourist. Like a traveler.
JERRY: So there’s nothing to be scared of?
KATIE: Course not.
JERRY: Then why don’t you stop?
KATIE: I can’t.
They swim, all struggling with exhaustion.
JERRY: Doesn’t that palm tree look familiar? I’ve seen it before. Like every five minutes.
CEIL: That’s ridiculous. Trees don’t move.
JERRY: So how long are we giving this?
CEIL: What do you have that’s so much better to do? It’s not a matter of scared. It’s having a purpose in life.
JERRY: I had a purpose. I stood around, and ate fish, and fucked.
KATIE: And so you just start swimming and go on and on and on?
JERRY: Well everybody’s doing it.
CEIL: You can’t stop progress.
Expert appears.
EXPERT: Welcome to The Penguins Channel. All penguins, all the time. Young penguins disperse and may wander thousands of miles. They often return to where they were hatched to molt and breed.
JERRY: Never mind the molting, let’s get to the breeding.
CEIL: I wonder how much farther?
KATIE: To where?
CEIL: I don’t know.
JERRY: Hey, funny story. Penguin goes on a long trip. Swims a long way.
JERRY: That’s the story. Another one. There’s an old penguin on an iceberg. Can’t see anything. He waddles around to the other side. Can’t see anything there.
CEIL: That’s a good one.
JERRY: There’s a penguin comes into a bar—
KATIE: And eats a fish.
JERRY: You didn’t have to tell the punch line.
They swim.
EXPERT: Some penguins build no nests. males stand upright with an egg on the tops of their feet covered by a loose fold of skin.
CEIL: Who’s on my egg?
JERRY: I was on the egg. But I gotta swim.
CEIL: Somebody’s gotta stand with the egg.
JERRY: Stand with your own egg.
CEIL: That’s the man’s job.
JERRY: But I’m not the man. Randy’s the daddy. He had all the fun.
CEIL: Just warm it up a little.
JERRY: I’d get left behind.
KATIE: If you notice, this is not the ocean. This is our pool. There’s a half dozen eggs lying there. Damned monkeys, they’re laughing their asses off.
JERRY: They’ll laugh at anything. They’d laugh if the Pope choked on a bagel.
CEIL: What’s a pope?
JERRY: I don’t know. Some gawker said I looked like the Pope.
CEIL: What’s a bagel?
KATIE: It’s a dog.
CEIL: She thinks she’s so smart.
KATIE: Well I don’t screw every stud who offers me a sardine to suck.
EXPERT: Most penguin species are monogamous.
CEIL: Shut up and swim.
Silence. They swim.
CEIL: I wish somebody would stand with my egg. I already named it. Kimberly.
JERRY: Look, we’ve all gotta make sacrifices.
CEIL: Somebody warm up my egg! That’s Kimberly! She’ll start to stink!
JERRY: Just swim.
They swim.
CEIL: She’s right. We’re not getting any younger. Is that the same tree?
KATIE: Use your eyes.
EXPERT: Eye color varies. Some have brown eyes. Rockhopper penguins have red eyes. Yellow-eyed penguins have yellow eyes.
KATIE: What if we all just stopped and got out?
JERRY: Easier said than done.
KATIE: Let’s do it.
CEIL: It’s too scary.
KATIE: Just stop. Right now. All together. Stop starving ourselves and dying of heart attacks and sacrificing our children to this insane rat-race—
CEIL: Kimberly...
KATIE: I’m gonna stop.
JERRY: Just when we’re getting somewhere?
KATIE: Right now!
She stops, suddenly recedes upstage, then paddles vehemently to catch up.
Ok! Right! So friendship doesn’t mean a thing! You’d go swimming off and leave me.
JERRY: It’s survival of the fittest. That’s the law.
They swim.
You know, maybe there’s something bigger here. It’s not just we’re scared to death. Maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s freedom.
CEIL: My egg...
JERRY: Like, we’re gonna be free. Cause what kind of a life is it, behind a fence, and the monkeys, and the gawkers. They’ll watch anything. They watch me taking a crap. “Look Henry, he’s taking a crap.”
KATIE: They probably don’t even crap, they just watch.
JERRY: Eat out of a smelly fish bucket. How long has it been since we had cuttlefish? Smelt! Alla time, herring and smelt!
CEIL: I remember cuttlefish...
JERRY: This might be historic. The first time we’ve swam for freedom. Sure, round and round, but the world is round, and so we swim around. Because we are free birds, and we are making our swim to freedom.
KATIE: We are swimming in circles, we are starving, and that egg is history.
JERRY: You think too much. Go with it. There’s fifty-three of us in here. We can’t all be nuts. It’s freedom. It’s going home. It’s having something to believe in. And if we just swim harder—
CEIL: Harder—
JERRY: And we’re spinning and spinning faster, we create this vortex, this waterspout rising up, over the elephants and the zoo and the fucking monkeys, and the gawkers yell out, They’re flying! The penguins are flying!
Gradually their arms extend out into broad wings, and they are flying. Ad lib.
EXPERT: No penguins fly.
The illusion collapses. They swim.
JERRY: I’m gettting pretty tired.
KATIE: Kinda shallow here.
KATIE: Smells like rotten eggs.
CEIL: Kimberly...
JERRY: Hey, what’s—
CEIL: I think—
JERRY: Oh Jesus—
KATIE: They’re draining the pool.
Sudden acceleration, panic.
JERRY: Swim for it! We’ll make it!
CEIL: Everything’s down the drain!
KATIE: Don’t leave me!
JERRY: You’ll catch up! We gotta get there before—
CEIL: The water’s gone.
They are stopped.
KATIE: Well, they had to drain it. It was getting fragrant.
JERRY: How far did we get?
KATIE: That’s all relative.
CEIL: What’s relative?
JERRY: Like an uncle.
CEIL: So what about our purpose in life, and freedom, and flying, all that?
JERRY: Let’s check out the fish bucket.
They become human.
CEIL: So hey, it was great seeing you guys.
Ad lib.
JERRY: Yeh, we gotta take some time outa the rat-race and just get together for dinner or something. Sit around and hatch the revolution. Any revolution, I don’t care.
CEIL: Yeh, well I gotta see another apartment.
JERRY: So give me a call. Hey, we could check out the penguins, if they’re still at it.
KATIE: I wouldn’t be surprised.
They waddle off in different directions.
Ensemble, sitting and standing, open newspapers. They begin to read from them, in a whisper. One by one, people look up from the newspaper, speak to us.
ELI: I dreamed I had a very good job on the astral plane.
KEN: I dreamed coming right off the cliff, and I was walking and walking and walking, and then the cliff, walking walking just on air, white clouds underneath me...
JACQ: I dreamed of large marshmallows, just bouncing from marshmallow to marshmallow.
ELIZ: I dreamed that all the bad things that happened were just dreams.
KYM: I dreamt about being with my dog and my dog turning into this person that looked a lot like my dog, and I was very attracted to him.
ELAINE: I dreamed I was at work and the day wouldn’t end and then I realized I could walk through the walls and nobody realized it but me.
JACQ: I dreamed I was sitting on a toilet in the middle of a field.
BOB: I dreamed that I discovered the secret of slow motion.
ERIN: I dreamed that things were finally happening.
DUNC: I dreamed I sniffed an orange gas inside a rusty barrel. It was an initiation into a clown cult.
ELI: I dreamed that I knew what was going to happen, and it didn’t.
During the next sequence, they cut paper dolls out of the newspaper. They open out the strings of dolls. Recorded voices:
ELAINE: Remember your first day at school and you didn’t want to let go of your mother’s hand.
KEN: Remember standing on the top rail of a fence.
ELAINE: Remember when you learned to ride your bike all by yourself without the training wheels.
KYM: Remember losing your virginity.
DAVE: Remember crossing the street by yourself for the first time.
KEN: Remember the hail coming down.
DUNCAN: Remember feeling weak and keeping going.
ELAINE: Remember the first time you got birth control, that little round box that made it safe.
DAVE: Remember the first time you saw a naked person.
KYM: Remember when dad left and mom was so bummed out, you never thought she’d smile again.
ELIZ: Remember the first time you had a pet die.
ERIN: Remember the first funeral you attended.
DUNCAN: Remember the first time you almost died and you laughed.
ELI: Remember that thing that never happened.
They halt, speak to us.
ELIZ: And the first time you touched skin that wasn’t the same color as yours.
And when you dreamed that you peed and woke up and found you had.
And when your knee was bloody and full of gravel.
And the first time you saw the skin grow back.
KYM: Remember swimming where you can’t see the bottom.
And camping out in the backyard in you tent the first time and wondering what those noises were outside your tent in the dark.
And the first time you came.
ELI: And the first time you actually sat behind the wheel in a car and felt it move out into traffic with your hands on the wheel.
JACQ: And being at the Greyhound bus station in San Diego after six weeks in Mexico and being totally broke and having a woman come up to you and say God told me to come here and give 20 dollars to someone today, and it’s you.
They link the dolls into long strings, begin a slow dance. Recorded voices continue. They speak some words or phrases simultaneously with the voices.
BOB: Remember snow clumped on your sweater.
ELIZ: Remember singing at the top of your lungs.
DUNCAN: Remember how the sun on your body feels better than all words.
ELAINE: Remember that first kiss.
DUNCAN: Remember getting giggles and water flying out your nose.
ELAINE: Remember first time you heard the words I love you.
ELIZ: Remember how it felt.
DUNCAN: Remember how it smelled.
ERIN: Remember where you left your keys.
ELI: Remember all your old phone numbers.
JACQ: Remember your newborn child looking into your eyes.
ELIZ: Remember the smell of crayolas.
DUNCAN: Remember when everything was new.
The ensemble echoes the final line, then silence.