Computer nerd

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A rare attempt at a stage play for one of my theater classes. CW: sexual assault

Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Scene One

 

Lights up on a typical college dorm, two twin

beds pushed against opposite sides of room,

one bed unmade and occupied (DSR), the other

made and vacant (USR).  The desk that sits

closest to us is filled with various scraps –

pens, crumbled papers – but what is most

intriguing snakes along the width of the desk,

reminiscent of a more sophisticated camp craft -

painted bulbs of different-sized glass strung

together with twine. We can see spaces

between the paint splotches where the

warm orange light of the overhead desk

hits the faces of the bulbs. Our characters

both sit on the unmade bed, both in their

underwear.

 

LILLY

(Drawing her arms toward her chest and leaning in towards BEN)

So, are we going to have sex or…?

 

BEN

(Avoiding her gaze)

What? Oh no, definitely not.

 

LILLY

Oh! I just thought – wait, really?

 

BEN

(Still not looking at her)

Sex? No, we are not having that.

 

LILLY

Wait – can I ask why? I mean, I know we don’t have to if you don’t want, I just thought – well I just thought – (shaking her head) I mean, we came back here and started making out and you took off my clothes…I just thought – well I’m cute, right?

 

(BEN does not answer this. We can hear the vague ticking of hands on a clock. The lights shift to a deeper orange, illuminating the bulbs more brightly.)

 

LILLY cont.

(Whispering)

Are you a virgin? I mean, it’s ok if you are –

 

BEN

(Interrupting)

Do you know what the fourth dimension is?

 

LILLY

What? Oh –

 

BEN

It’s time. The fourth dimension is time. Well, it’s the convergence of time and space on a single continuum. Think about it – (going over to his desk and picking up various pens and pencils) everything in this room is three-dimensional, we can see it, we can touch it, but we can’t describe objects beyond their physical characteristics – unless we begin to interact with them on another dimension. Time, and space – we live in a motionless world without this fourth dimension. Every action needs a set time and place to occur. For example, we needed to both know the time tonight – 9:30 – and the place – 1426 Howell Street – to have anything occur between us. Time and space are what move other dimensions forward, what move us forward, and unfortunately for us, the two of us together are going to stop embarking within the fourth dimension quite shortly. You will go back to your life, inhabiting your own convergence of time and space, and I will go back to mine.

 

(Beat. LILLY draws her cardigan over her shoulders, and BEN wrings his hands. The ticking clock gets louder).

 

LILLY

(Smiling)

How do you know all this? I thought you were a computer nerd.


BEN

(Unsmiling)

I am a computer science major yes, but I study many other things – physics, calculus, the solar system – everything that makes up our world, everything that makes us what we are right now in exact time and space. It’s fascinating, really. And what do you study?

 

 (LILLY walks over to BEN’S desk, still in just a cardigan and panties. She approaches the colored bulbs)

 

LILLY

(Absentmindedly)

Oh me? English – I study English lit. Don’t really get all this science stuff. (Fingering the bulbs) Whoa, is this a model of the solar system? (Turning to BEN) You made this?

BEN

Please don’t touch; they’re made of glass.

 

LILLY

(Still tracing their outlines)

These are really neat! What is this – acrylic paint? I love the way the light touches them, it’s almost like stars passing through their atmospheres.

 

BEN

They are to-size models. I attached the bulbs with twine so that if you’re really careful with them, you can twist the twine and bulbs will spin each on their individual orbits, because I looped twine within each bulb as well as between the bulbs so that the bulbs can rotate both around the sun and on their own orbital paths. (Sees LILLY moving to twist the twine) Don’t touch them! They really should only be operated by those who know the inner mechanism – so really they should only be operated by me.

 

LILLY

(Backing away)

I’m really sorry! I was just interested. You’re really smart.

 

BEN

(Still unsmiling)

Well, I have a lot of time to read since I have large gaps during the day when everyone else is having sex.

 

LILLY

It’s nice to connect to someone sometimes.

 

BEN

No. It’s really not. I prefer to be alone.

 

LILLY

Then why did you kiss me? Why did you bring me back to your room?

 

BEN

Mostly to get you to stop talking so much. I just don’t like making pointless conversation. We’ll each tell each other a few facts about ourselves – where we’re from, what we study, how many years older my brother is, the name of the play you’re in –, drink a little more while awkwardly avoiding glances, and then we’ll forget about each other in a few months because it doesn’t matter. I don’t even know where you’re from anymore.

 

LILLY

Ohio – but that’s not the point. Sure, most people you talk with you won’t remember, but isn’t meaningless conversation worthwhile if there’s even a slight chance you may meet someone that you’ll actually build something special with?

 

BEN

Are you building something special with me?

 

LILLY

Haven’t you ever had a girlfriend?

 

BEN

Jesus, you sound like my mother.

 

LILLY

Well, have you?

 

BEN

Do you want to be my girlfriend?

 

LILLY

What? No – I mean, I’m just trying to get to know you.

 

BEN

I’m a computer nerd.

 

LILLY

I think you’re more than that.

 

BEN

You can tell all that from the random stuff on my desk? Because I paint glass bulbs when I’m bored and like to talk about things that are different from what you talk about? Is that it? I’m different, so I must be special, so I must be worth getting to know. I’m a spectacle, I’m something you can mention to your friends years from now as the nerd you slept with one night, as the weirdo, as the freak. And then I’ll go back to my life and you’ll go back to yours. We might as well just skip the awkwardness in between.

 

LILLY

Why are you like this?

 

BEN

I guess I’m just not like you.

 

LILLY

Don’t you want a friend?

 

BEN

I’m fine as is. I have a lot of reading to do.

 

LILLY

All right, well I guess I’ll get going.

(LILLY searches for her jeans, which are lying on the floor. She steps into them quickly, and then walks towards the door, but pauses before exiting)

 

LILLY (cont.)

You know, I really do like talking to you. Not to prove that I can like someone different or something like that. I just genuinely like hearing the things you have to say.

 

BEN

(Shrugging, still not looking up from the bed)

You can find most of what I have to say in a book.

 

LILLY

I’d rather hear them from you. (Beat). All right, well – (she reaches for the door knob).

 

BEN

I’m not a virgin, you know.

 

LILLY

Oh. Okay, then.

 

BEN

(For the first time BEN looks up towards the door to meet LILLY’S eyes)

Yeah. My neighbor. She helped my mom out with gardening stuff when I was younger, but…she’d come around sometimes when I’d get home from school before anyone else was home. I was fourteen, she was much older –

 

(The sound of glass shattering. As LILLY moves away from the door to go towards BEN, she knocks into his solar system model, Jupiter and Saturn bursting into pieces. LILLY claps a hand to her mouth, BEN does not move. LILLY bends down to pick up the shards).

 

LILLY

Oh Ben! I’m so sorry – for everything.

 

(BEN gets up from the bed and bends down beside her to help her).

 

BEN

No really – it’s okay. 


© Copyright 2017 Melissa F. All rights reserved.

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