Touch A Star

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A one-act play I wrote in a fiction class a few years ago.



What will Lazarus learn about us?

Submitted: July 17, 2018

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Submitted: July 17, 2018

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Touch A Star

A Play In One Act

 

By

Impulsively Penned

 

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

LAZARUS JANKOWSKIA man in his early thirties

HEELALHunter in the spirit realm, age unknown

 

 

ACT I

Scene i

SETTING:

We are drenched in black in purgatory between earth and the heavens, aware only of a light in the far distance: a car tipped on its side. The scene is frozen like a picture, a snapshot in time. Pillows of smoke erupt from the hood alongside red flames. People, who appear no larger than pinheads, surround the vehicle with hoses in hand. Silence is the only thing that accompanies the darkness and neither are comforting. A pressurized humming radiates from the ground and crescendos into a buzzing.

AT RISE:

LAZARUS lays on his right side in the faint glove of immobile flames. On closer inspection, we see red and oozing wounds underneath his left eye and his right wrist is bent backwards beneath his right thigh. His shirt with the large buttons is singed a caramel color and one of his shoes is gone, his sock also caramelized. His skin is darkened by dirt and soot.

 

HEELAL is revealed to the left as the humming ceases. He stands in the darkness, with only a faint orange hue from the flames across the right side of his body. He wears a black top hat with white lace pattern around the rim. Stones of magnificent colors dangle around his neck and a black Duster-like coat covers his powdery skin. His eyes glow a harrowing neon green and his mouth stretches further into his cheeks than the average human. 

LAZARUS

(gasps deeply once, then twice and rolls on his back. He screams.)

 

My back! My neck! Christ almighty Jesus in Heaven--my wrist!

HEELAL

Here, here, I'll fix it. Sit still you, you'll be fine!

 

(HEELAL kneels and struggles with LAZARUS.)

Stop squirming!

(HEELAL and LAZARUS slap each other back and forth. HEELAL grips LAZARUS' wrist and snaps it into place. LAZARUS yanks away his arm.)

LAZARUS

Get away from me! What the--who the hell are you? Where am I?

 

(LAZARUS glances to his left. HEELAL stands.)

 

Is . . . Is that my car? Hey, is that my car?

HEELAL

(tips hat and bows slightly.)

They call me the hunter; Heelal if you will. And this is my domain. Lovely, yes?

 

LAZARUS

Domain? Hunter? That's my car-it's on fire!

HEELAL

You're quite observant. Most people I meet don't like to stare the physicality of their death in the face.

LAZARUS

(hyperventilates. His burned hands caress his body with vigor.)

 

My what? Who are you? Stop playing with me! I'm not dead, look! Look at my body!

HEELAL

Look at your car. Say goodbye to that body, it's worthless now--you, however, are not.

LAZARUS

(rises, disorientated.)

Stop all this! What do you mean? I'm dead? I'm really . . .dead?

HEELAL

Your death depends entirely on your choice in the next sixty seconds: heaven, hell, or the Spirit Land?

LAZARUS

Spirit what? I--oh, no, no, no. You're the devil, aren't you? You're here to trick me. Tell me you'll take me to the pearly gates then abandon me in Hell. I know your game, Satan!

 

(LAZARUS forms a cross with his arms.)

 

In the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost, I cast thee from my presence demon! I cast thee away! Leave me!

HEELAL

You're lucky no one else is witnessing this. This will be our little secr-

LAZARUS

Silence demon!

HEELAL

Stop this foolishness now, I-

LAZARUS

I said silence! Let God breathe mercy on your soul! Let . . . Take thine . . . Jesus Christ compels you!

HEELAL

(Slaps apart LAZARUS' arms.)

Three choices! Choose or I choose for you.

LAZARUS

You're not Satan?

HEELAL

If I were Satan, I would have damned you a long time ago.

LAZARUS

Well . . . I can't make a choice. What are the differences between the three?

HEELAL

Heaven is in the clouds, Hell is in the Earth's core, the rest of us are in the stars. Make this quick, will you?

 

(HEELAL taps his wrist.)

Time has none of itself to give for this nonsense.

LAZARUS

(stares at flaming car. He twists the wrist HEELAL healed.)

 

God will just send me to Hell anyway, after what I've done. Alright Mister Hunter, I choose your world.

FADE TO BLACK.

END OF SCENE.

 

ACT I

SCENE 2

SETTING:

White mist folds along an unseen foundation. To the right, the silver gate of the spirit land shimmers. Darkness, impenetrable, prevails over the milky luminescence of the mist. In the distance stars glint and twinkle.

 

AT RISE:

Some people, faceless, wander in and out into the blackness beyond the gate. Children, also faceless and noiseless, skip around in routine circles like a script. ENTER: LAZARUS and HEELAL through the gate.

 

LAZARUS

Why do they call you the hunter?

HEELAL

I hear the songs that play and the vibrations that shake me, so I go hunting. I find people like you whose physical journey has ended and whose spiritual one can begin.

LAZARUS

(scoops mist with his

hand.)

 

What's with the faceless people?

 

(LAZARUS flinches at a faceless child who reaches for him. HEELAL pats the child's head. Other children gather behind HEELAL.)

HEELAL

You too will grow tired of your body, Laz--can I call you that? I'll call you Laz. We'll teach you to shed it soon enough. We're all in costume for you.

LAZARUS

For me? Am I royalty here?

 

HEELAL

Sure, you're royalty.

 

(LAZARUS grins. HEELAL smacks the back of LAZARUS' head.)

 

No you're not royalty. We take this form for new-comers. We've found it to be non-discriminatory, even for the . . .other worldly kind.

LAZARUS

Other worldly--like, aliens?

HEELAL

If that's the term you prefer. They certainly prefer much worse for you human lot.

LAZARUS

Aliens talk about us behind our backs? What do they say, huh? Tell me what they say.

HEELAL

Nothing worse than what you all say about each other.

LAZARUS

Those sneaky bastards.

 

(HEELAL and LAZARUS pass the children and a mahogany table rises through the mist. Two chairs emerge from the darkness. Both sit.)

 

So, aren't you going to judge me or something? Hold up my sins, chastise me, then tie me to a wall of fire for eternity? Or do you still think you aren't Satan?

HEELAL

What's one man's sin is another man's gospel.

LAZARUS

Uh-huh, Uh-huh, words of wisdom, wonderful. Bravo! Encore, Encore

(He claps loudly.)

Cut the act, you snake. None of this is real--none of this bullshit is real. I'm in some kind of dream, a dissociation. I've gone mad, haven't I?

HEELAL

Perhaps you have.

LAZARUS

(rakes his fingers through his hair then yanks violently on it.)

Perhaps I have--listen to you! This is nonsense! I . . . Does anything exist? If this is reality, was Earth reality? Huh wise guy? Can two realities exist or does one end and another begin or does another end so nothing begins so everything is bullshit?

HEELAL

We don't cater to absolutes here. You'll soon rid yourself of that-

(he pulls his eyes up and down LAZARUS)

 -excess weight, and things will make sense.

LAZARUS

No, no. No cryptic "a bowl is most useful when it is empty" bull--

HEELAL

Am I Satan or Laozi?

LAZARUS

(chuckles)

None of this is real. This is a nightmare. What would be the point of this place? There is no point to it. It's nothingness.

HEELAL

We're the breezes in the sky, the fusion in the stars, the vacuum of space. You need something to sooth your throat.

 

(from a compartment in the middle of the table, two steaming cups rise.)

 

Care for something to wet those chaps?

LAZARUS

See, the perfect trick. If I drink that, I'll be banished from this place, won't I? It's forbidden fruit.

HEELAL

It's not fruit, it's-

 

LAZARUS

(slaps the cup from the table into the mist. A brief sound of glass shattering echoes. The echoes play backwards and a new cup rises intact on the table.)

 

What kind of voodoo is this?

HEELAL

We are in everything; the stars, the planets, the gases, the atoms. You destroy that cup, you destroy yourself, your past, your present, and your future.

LAZARUS

I'm a human being--you hear me? A human being, not a cup!

HEELAL

Time is a spectrum, Laz, and so is what you call existence. Your Earth scientists and their linear theories- they're all so cute. Out of all the species I hunt, Earthlings are among my favorite.

LAZARUS

Shut it. Let me see Hell. Let me see Heaven and Hell.

HEELAL

As you wish.

 

(The table retracts into the floor.)

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

(A purple tint glows in the far right around two black circular holes. One is labeled HELL. The other is labeled HEAVEN. LAZARUS sticks his head in HELL, then HEAVEN. He pulls back.)

LAZARUS

I don't understand. I--there's nothing. It's blackness. How can there be nothing? You gave me two options that don't exist, you snake!

HEELAL

We've been here always. Heaven came with the dawn of humankind. Hell came with the dawn of humankind's guilt.

LAZARUS

Where would I have gone, huh? Would you have tossed my lifeless body into the void? Gather all your faceless freaks in a circle and say fuck this guy, he has a wife and two kids, but fuck 'em!

HEELAL

(smiles.)

You know the moments you walk down the street or in the hall of your house and feel like someone's watching you? That is where they go. We let them choose their Heaven or their Hell and let them wander their planet searching for us hunters once more, to retract their decision. But we never hear their songs. Their songs are dull and void compared to the songs of fresh souls such as yourself.

LAZARUS

You're worse than the fine print on a legal document.

HEELAL

Hey, I must do this for eternity. I should make it fun somehow.

LAZARUS

So, assuming this is all real and you're not Satan, this . . . This means I'm stuck here. I'm stuck here with you. I . . . Can't you take me back? Back to earth, I mean.

HEELAL

If I could, I would have already. You don't laugh at my jokes and the ones you tell are horrible.

LAZARUS

Just do it! Just snap your fingers or whistle or something! I have a wife, a family, a job that pays an actual salary!

HEELAL

How much did you love your wife?

LAZARUS

That's a stupid question. More than anything in this world.

HEELAL

And your children?

LAZARUS

They're my angels.

HEELAL

Your career?

LAZARUS

I was on my way to my dream.

HEELAL

We know. We know everything.

LAZARUS

(with fists balled)

What did you ask me for then?

HEELAL

So you can remember what was and see what is. The longer you resist, the more time you'll spend alone. We'll all rid these temporary forms and you'll be left an outcast.

LAZARUS

(chokes on his words)

I don't care, I want out! I need to hold my kids, my wife, I-

 

HEELAL

It's been a month's time on Earth. Your body has been buried. Your family is grieving. I can't return you.

LAZARUS

(takes hold of HEELAL's Duster)

Listen you shifty, green-eyed, witchcraft, voodoo, fairy-tale ass snake in the grass, if you don't get me back down to Earth before I count to five, you won't live to hunt another night.

HEELAL

I wasn't aware I was alive.

LAZARUS

You must be! This is a joke! I . . . I know it is! You're talking to me, look, I can do this! Look!

(he shakes HEELAL)

HEELAL

(with his lips sealed, his voice still echoes.)

And I can do this. Are we talking or thinking?

LAZARUS

(releases the Duster abruptly and clutches his head. Echoing voices crescendo.)

 

Get out of there! Stop! Quit it!

 

(The crescendo of voices cease abruptly. LAZARUS slowly removes his hands from his head)

HEELAL

They're gone now. Those are all our voices. We're here with you. Always.

LAZARUS

This is real . . . Isn't it?

HEELAL

I can't tell you what's real. I can only tell you this moment exists. Would you care for a chair?

(from the mist rises a chair)

LAZARUS

(sits, hunched over)

Am I ever going to, you know, be able to raise things out of the mist too?

HEELAL

You can do what you please. You just haven't realized it yet.

LAZARUS

And . . . And if you're all dressed in costume, what's your . . . Our . . . True form?

HEELAL

You aren't ready. You proved you weren't ready. You couldn't handle our voices.

LAZARUS

That's all we are? Voices?

HEELAL

Voices are the thoughts of the universe and-

LAZARUS

-And let me guess: we're the universe.

HEELAL

We are the universe.

LAZARUS

Of course you'd say some loony toon, Confucius shit like that. And . . .and I'll never see them again? My family: I'll never see them again?

HEELAL

It's been a year on Earth already. Your wife's song gets louder with each passing day; you may see her sooner than you'd like.

LAZARUS

(teeth clenched)

Don't tease me! Teach me how to do what you do! I want to know! I want to hear my kids voices and their songs and . . . And see my wife and tell her all the things I meant to tell her, I . . . Oh, what's the use. You're no help. Your voodoo only works on chairs and tables for Christ's sake.

 

(HEELAL raises another chair beside LAZARUS)

HEELAL

(sits)

I came to your song for a reason, Laz. Mostly because it sounded of elephant wails and piglet screeches and trumpets. But also because I knew you'd be of some assistance.

LAZARUS

What are you going on about now, hunter?

HEELAL

There are things among us even the most experienced hunter speaks nothing of. There are songs we hear that have no explanation, no source, other than that of the darkness. We are familiar with the darkness, but not the darkness that sings.

LAZARUS

What's the big deal? We're all dead.

HEELAL

Songs are the sign of creation, the pinch of salt in the stew--humans eat stew, right? We're aware of all creation songs that sing through us. We don't recognize this song from the dark.

LAZARUS

I'm missing your point and my significance to all of this. Do you have a cigarette? Can we smoke around here?

HEELAL

(hands LAZARUS a lit cigarette from his sleeve)

Whatever creation is happening is not of us. And we're everything and always have been.

LAZARUS

(blows smoke into mist.)

So you're saying your ego has been taking a beating because something exists outside of you? That's real rich, you know that? Once again, I'm failing to see my part in this.

HEELAL

Your song reminded me of theirs. You could be of great help to us. You could attract them, speak with them--

LAZARUS

Oh no, no, you're not using me as no bait. I'm not a worm and you're not a fisherman. You're a hunter. Go hunt them.

HEELAL

They're very stealthy, hiding within the confines of the darkest matter. If you aide us, you're aiding yourself.

LAZARUS

I haven't cared to aid myself in years.

HEELAL

It's been a year and a half on Earth. Your wife's cancer has metastasized. When I hear her song, I will beat the others to her. I will tell her you are here. Only . . . Only if you help us.

LAZARUS

If I make a deal with you, are you going be a snake and lie to my wife?

HEELAL

I have no reason to lie. Lies and truths mean nothing here. Everything is and always will-

LAZARUS

Alright, save the speech. I'll do your dirty work for you. Just tell me what I need to do.

BLACKOUT

END OF ACT I

 


© Copyright 2019 A.D. Ware. All rights reserved.

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