Who Said That

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Are you talking to yourself when you talk to yourself? Maybe not! One man's problems with an inner voice.

Submitted: February 07, 2015

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Submitted: February 07, 2015

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The Setting: A front room in an upscale apartment.

 

A man is pacing and talking on the phone.

 

Jim, the voice on the phone:

“Look Bill, we gave you a big advance and you were going to deliver another great story. What you sent isn’t half as good as your last book. In fact, I doubt that it would cover the cost of printing!”

 

Bill: “Come on Jim, it’s a good story. I used the same style as last time. What don’t you like about it?”

 

Jim: “It is boring, Bill. The imagery is bland and the characters might as well be zombies. There is little emotion and bland humor. It just doesn’t POP the way it should. 

What happened to you, writers block? “Death of a Near Star” was fabulous! This, “A Star Called Phoenix” never gets out of the ashes.”

 

Bill: “What do you want me to do Jim, rewrite the whole damn book?”

 

 

Jim: “Yes, rewrite it if that is what it is going to take to make it come alive. I’m sure as hell not printing this! 

 

 

Moment of silence:

 

 

Jim: Look Bill, just call me when you have something better. OK?”

 

(Click!)

 

 

Bill thinking: “Call me when you have something better. Shit, if I had something better I would have used it!

Death of a Near Star just rolled out of me, it was as if I was being dictated to.”

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “You were.”

 

 Bill: “Who said that? Is someone there? Hello.”

 

 Voice in Bill’s head: “You can hear me?”

 

Bill: “There it goes again, Hello!”

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “He can hear me! He shouldn’t be able to hear me!”

 

Bill: “Who’s saying that? Show yourself!”

 

Bill thinking: “No, not in the hall, and, not in the closet.

Ah, the bathroom! No, not hear either.

Come out; come out, wherever you are!”

 

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “I can hear what your thinking and I can’t come out!

 

Bill thinking: “Oh God, I’m hearing voices!”

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “Not voices, just my voice, one voice.

And the reason you can’t see me is because, Mr. host, I’m in here and not out there.”

 

Bill: “In where?”

Voice in Bill’s head: “Inside your body, in your brain.”

 

Bill: “Nooo, no, no, I don’t think so! This can’t be happening!”

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “Look, I’m not supposed to do this but you can already hear me, so I can’t see what harm some added explanation could do. After all, you must be some sort of special case or you wouldn’t be able to hear me at all.

Look, just do us both a favor and go over to the mirror for a moment. I want to show you something.”

 

Bill: “Why?”

 

Voice in Bill’s head: “Damn it; just go over to the damn mirror!”

Bill: “O.K., O.K., I’m at the mirror. Now what?”

(“God, I can’t believe I’m doing this, talking to myself in the mirror!”)

Voice in Bill’s head: “Now turn out the light. Go on, turn out the light.”

Bill: "Do this, do that, for a crazy guy my voices are very, --- “Oh shit!”

Voice in Bill’s head: “Well, what do you think?”

Bill: “What the hell is that?”

Voice in Bill’s head: “It’s me, with my spiritual light on.

I’m one of your roomies, otherwise known as a resident spirit. That should not to be confused with evil spirits, devils, demons, etc,.”

Bill: “You mean, like, in the Bible. Those things Jesus cast out of people? Are your one of those?”

Voice in Bill’s head: “Yes and no, not exactly.

Most spirits are like most people but there are always some bad apples in a bunch.

It is quite likely that some of those encounters were demon possessions, very rare cases, about one in a million.

Then there are cases of over population, like in the case of the one called Legion. Remember, the crazy guy that had a whole lot of spirits in him? He went around terrorizing people and hurting himself, etc.

It’s like this, when too many conflicting spirits inhabit one host, well, it can get ugly.

In general, we spirits are a pretty passive lot. We try to stay out of sight and attempt to fit in. 

HA, HA, HA, get it? Fit in!”

Bill: “Yes, I get it, very funny.

 

Bill continues: "Do you know what I really think Glow-Boy? I think that I’ve just snapped and you’re a schizophrenic delusion.

Tell you what, you wait here and I'll go find a doctor, some pills, and a padded room.”

Voice in Bill’s head: “Look Bill, just hear me out. OK?

I think I can get you out of this jam about the book. If that book problem was fixed then we could return to a normal life; such as it was.

What have you got to lose? You're the writer with the unpublished book.”

Bill: “Hmmm, alright, you’ve got ten minutes and then I'm going to find a doctor with a prescription pad.”

Voice in Bill’s head: “First of all, my name is Ted, not Glow-Boy. 

Second, you are going to need some background information on spirits so you will know what is going on inside and outside your house.”

 

Bill: “O.K. Ted, so who is going to be my teacher? And, by the way, I do not own a house.”

 

Ted: “I'll teach you what you need to get by and your first lesson is about that house.

People are like dwellings, some are like flats, just one room, no extras, no visiting spirits.

Other people are like duplexes, triplexes, and apartment buildings. Different amounts of rooms depending on the spiritual size of each building. Still, others are like whole complexes of buildings and rooms.

For instance, I might be looking for some accommodations to fit my needs; a dwelling that I would feel comfortable in. And if I’m patient I’ll find someone, somewhere, that will have exactly what I need.

The number of rooms you have does not decide greatness, or the amount of success you will achieve on this earth.

However, the path your life follows can depend on acquiring spirits of a like mind to your own aspirations. They can be helpful and the right combination can produce people of great accomplishments, or they can produce some very sad souls.”

“Any questions?”

Bill: “Yes, what is the deal with no extra rooms and a bunch of rooms?”

Ted: “All I can tell you is it depends on some internal need of the host that is unknown to even the spirits.

At present, you have two rooms, but you may gain or lose a room as your life passes by. In any case, you are the host and you have two rooms; I have the one with the view. 

Ha, Ha, the room with a view! Get it?"

 

(Bill makes a groaning sound.)

 

Ted: "O.K., so it wasn’t that funny.

Anyway, under certain conditions spirits can jump from one body to another. However, a spirit can only jump when there is a room empty, each room can only hold one spirit at a time, no more.

Also, spirits can see each other, just as you saw me in the mirror; yet, in much clearer detail and in any lighting conditions.

When a spirit sees a vacant room in another host, they check for compatibility; at least they are supposed to. If they are not content where they are then they may do the jump without checking first.”

Bill: “What about me, what happens to my spirit with all this jumping going on?”

Ted: “Your spirit stays where it is until this body dies. 

Now pay attention, some spirits are never content, they move from one host to another, like a bee moves from flower to flower.

But there are safeguards in place and those spirits may end up stuck in a body that they don’t care to be in. They may have to stay there for years and that usually teaches them a lesson.

Others, like myself, are very happy with the body they’re in. Take you and me for example, your spirit and myself are like two peas in a pod. If not for those confounded jumpers, everything would have been fine.”

Bill: “What jumper?

Ted: “You had someone in your other room for a few years and he liked alcohol. The more often you drank the more he liked it. Then, after college, you started backing away from the party life.

Well, that sure cramped his stile and after a few years he just couldn’t take it any more; he decided to jump.

Remember Peggy, the bartender? Well, that’s where he went and he was real happy for awhile!

She's in AA now.”

Bill: “Hold on! How do you know what they are doing? I haven't seen Peggy in a year, maybe two. So how is it that you know anything about any of them? Have you got a cell phone in there?

I got it; you’re connected to SOL, Spirits On Line! Right? Or, or maybe DSL, Direct Spirit Links. (Snicker, snort, laugh, laugh.).”

Ted: “Are you finished?

 

Bill: “I guess so, snicker.”

 

Ted: “We are able to talk to other spirits around us, but unlike you people, we gather and process information very quickly.

I can have a conversation with another spirit in about two of your seconds. That same amount of words would take you about an hour to say. It varies a bit; depending on how many spirits I am conversing with at the same time.

Our language is so fast that all people hear is yawning.”

Bill: “Hold on, Teddy, you mean…”

Ted: “Yes! Didn’t you ever wondered why one-person yawns, then another, and another. Before you know it every person in earshot is yawning. That is how we exchange information and keep up with who is doing what, where and when.

Bill: “No way!”

Ted: “Yes way! Now, where was I? --- Oh yes.

You were left with an empty room after the drinker left, so in jumped the writer.

She was some nineteenth century writer in her first body. I hear she wrote a series of drama type romance novels that were a big hit in her day.

Anyway, I guess she did some jumping around before she happened upon your predecessor, which was a textbook writer for the Air Force.

Maybe she thought she would see the world, get to visit faraway places. Maybe meet new and exciting people and gather ideas for her future novels.

Instead, she sat in a ten by twelve office cubicle for forty hours a week.

She was so bored with that body she jumped at the first chance she got. As soon as she saw your empty room, boom, she was in there.

Being a radio announcer, she must have thought that you would repeat exactly what she told you to.

Boy did she have you pegged! You followed right along with her every thought.

Still, I have to admit that it did make a very good book, so you must have had some writing skills to begin with.

Oh, that's another thing that you should know, Spirit can't influence a host unless the host has some interest in what the spirit wants to do.

 

Ted continues: "Speaking of interests, you had a great job in radio before the best seller. What happened, why give up the day job?

I never understood why you had to quit your position with the radio station, you know, as soon as the book was published.

Did you think that you were on your way to the top?

 

Bill: “At the time, Yes!”

 

Ted: “Well, she apparently didn’t think you were two book material.”

 

Bill: “What do you mean, what did I do?”

 

Ted: “Some spirits feel that they must reside where status lives. You know, like some people do? They like influence and power connected to the houses they stay in.

She must have felt that you were, well, not up to her standards. At least, that is what I’ve heard.

I heard about the jump she made out of you, it was at your book signing in New York City.

Remember the young woman with the bodyguard? She is a senator’s daughter and she comes from one of those old money families.

Guess what, I hear that young lady has a new book coming out and the publisher will be releasing it this fall. She has named it, A Shadow In The Senate and I hear it's going to be the first of a trilogy.” 

Bill: “You mean I had no writing ability, at all?”

Ted: “No, not none at all. You can write a decent story, but I’m afraid it is not the type of material publishers are looking for.

But there again, that may be the only reason that writer was able to jump into you in the first place. It might have been because you still harbored a past desire to be a writer, maybe a childhood fantasy.

And there is the key, desire. The spirits that are most likely to occupy your rooms are the spirits that you may have lured in; for the most part, unknowingly.”

Bill: “Wait a minute! You mean if I desire to do something, or if I have a special fondness for something, then I may be luring a spirit into any empty room that I might have.

Let’s say that I love chocolate. Does that mean I’m going to get a spirit with a sweet tooth?”

Ted: “Yes, kind of, but it works more like this.

Everyone likes some kind of sweets, but if you have a sweet-toothed spirit living in your house then that spirit may start giving you suggestions. Eat this; try that, just one more ice cream bar.

That kind of spirit uses guilt, frustrations, anything to push the person into eating more sweets. So it’s not long before that person is over-weight.

 But, like I said, if you take what the spirit likes away, if you refuse to give them what they want, then they will find somewhere else to live.

Much like your drinking spirit did. He couldn’t live without the booze. So he left and you haven’t had the desire to overindulge since.”

Bill: “What about you, Theodore? What do you like?

Come to think about it; are you responsible for the Rocky Road ice cream binges, and what about the avocados in the salads? I never liked avocados when I was younger!”

Ted: “Hold on, the ice cream was not my doing! It could be that the visiting writer was venting her frustrations, seeking comfort food. Who knows?

 There are times when your own tastes change as you get older. You know, you try new things, things that you wouldn't try as a kid, whatever.

And yes, I am the reason for the avocados. I love avocado sandwiches too, on white bread, just Mayo and a little salt.” 

Bill: “Will you shut up about the avocados and just answer the question? What’s the deal, why do you think that we're so compatible?”

Ted: “I was in radio when I was in my first body and I did some really good variety shows and even a few soaps.

That’s what attracted me to you. You have a great speaking voice, lots of range for different characters, and you were already doing radio.

I thought that we could work together, be a team, and possibly branch out.

I hoped, maybe, we could do our own show some day. With your voice and wit and my flair for drama, I thought that we could go places.

I thought we might even have a shot at doing animated films, maybe write for some studios. That would be fun!

I just thought we could work well together Bill, that’s all. It was great when the drinker left, but then the writer jumped in and fouled things up even more; sigh”

Bill: “Well, let’s not get all down in the dumps about this, maybe we can work something out. You say that you were in radio? Would I have heard any of the shows that you did?”

Ted: “Let’s see, hum, ever listened to the original, “War of the Worlds?”

Bill: “Woo! Your voice was in that?”

Ted: “Not a voice, voices! Yes indeed, I wrote some of the dialog changes, too! Some of my best work was in that special. Oh, and I did a couple of voices for Burns and Allen radio and one for the Amos and Andy Radio show.

But all that is just water under the bridge. Now is now, and what we need to do is to find you a writer and fix your book.

Are you with me Bill?”

Bill: “I guess so. Ah, what the hell, let’s go for it!”

Ted: “First we need to get you to a place where the spirits of writers are abundant, and I do believe I know just the place.

Get your car keys Bill and drive us to 7732 Mulberry Street; it’s over by the old town center. I lived there for a short time, many years ago.”

 

(Time passing)

 

Ted: “Well, here we are.” 

 

Bill: “A rest home? What kind of writers are we going to find in a rest home?”

Ted: “Very old ones. This is an assisted living home for theatrical people.

Now listen-up, all you need to do is think, "I want to be a writer; I want to be a writer." And hopefully everything else will take care of itself.

Come on, walk in and out of every room and don’t stop thinking about being a writer.”

Bill: “What if someone asks me what I’m doing here?”

Ted: “Just tell them you’re looking for a long lost uncle, anything, it doesn’t matter.”

Bill: “O.K. here we go.” 

“I want to be a writer, I want to be a writer, I want to ...”

 

Ted: “O.K., you can stop now.

That woman in room 113, her spirit made the jump. Amazing, there was only one spirit in her, only one extra room. 

Oh well, let’s go home.”

 

(Time passing)

 

 

Bill: “O.K. we’re home. What’ll we do now?”

Ted: “Bring up your book on the computer and show your new resident spirit what you've written. See if she suggests any changes.”

Bill: “I thought you spirits were good at communicating. Why don’t you just ask her? 

Ted: “I can’t, a spirit can’t communicate directly with any spirit living in the same body. It’s a safeguard thing. It works, well, almost perfectly.”

Bill: “What do you mean, almost perfectly, Ted?”

Ted: “You can hear me, but you shouldn’t be able to. There must be some sort of unusual connection between your spirit and mine, or something is just haywire. But now, the cat is out of the bag and that might turn out to be a good thing in the long run.”

Bill: “Is there any other problems that I might want to know about. You know, regarding these little glitches in the system?”

Ted: “Well, you know there are those people with the multiple personalities; not that that is the right diagnosis. They are multiple spirits that can communicate directly with each other.

If there is more than a couple of the spirits the host can become quite confused as to who is talking to who.

So confusing, in fact, that one of the spirits may have to take over for the host, just so the host can get some rest.

 

 

Bill: “Hold it! I think that’s more than I wanted to know! Just don’t tell me anymore! OK? 

Ted: “Alright, take it easy. It’s not like it is going to happen to you or anything. It’s like one in a million, and besides, you only have two rooms.” 

 

Ted Continues: "Look, just bring up the book and see if you get any ideas about changing it.”

 

Bill: “Alright.” 

 

“Oh, --- what a good idea!”

“Now, that’s funny, really funny.”

“I love it, more, more!”

“Those silly kids, ha, ha, ha!”

“This is so good, I mean so good.”

 

***

“There, I called the publisher and faxed the revised story.”

Ted: “Well, is the book any better?”

Bill: “The revised story is the best I’ve ever read. It is going to be huge. I mean huge!

She kept the basic structure and characters, but she went in a whole new direction with the story.

She even changed the name. It’s not titled, A Star Called Phoenix anymore. Now it’s titled, A Bar Called Phoenix. It’s a romantic comedy and it is just great! This book could easily be a movie.

I’ll tell you something for sure. Whoever this writer is, well, they sure know comedy.” 

 

An unknown voice: “Who are you talking to?”

 

Bill: “Ted, that doesn’t sound like your voice?”

An unknown voice, again: “Who’s Ted? --- This is Susan.”

Bill: “Oh shit, you mean I can hear you?

Susan: “Yes, I guess you can Bill. How is that possible?”

Bill: “I’m not quite sure Susan, but I can hear you load and clear. I’d say it’s safe to assume that you can hear me too?”

Susan: “Oh yes, very well.”

 

Bill: “You haven’t heard anyone else in there, have you?”

Susan: “No, should I?”

Bill: “Oh God no! I mean, no, that’s very good to know. 

Say, that was a great story you just wrote. You are one great writer.”

Susan: “I’m not a writer, Bill.”

Bill: “Well, you could have fooled me, you did a great job on that story of mine.

Besides, if you aren’t a writer why did you make the jump to me?”

 

Susan: “Oh, you know about jumping?

 

Bill: "Sure."

 

Susan: "Hmm, oh well.

To answer your question, Bill, the woman’s heart stopped. You know, the woman in room 113? Her heart stopped just as you turned to leave the room. I had to get out right then or who knows what would have happened to me.”

Bill: “It seems that you made that jump just in the nick of time and now we have a book finished. It’s a winning situation all around.”

 

Bill continues: “You can hang around here until you find someone that does what you like to do. Whatever that is?”

 

Susan: “Oh, I love anything to do with comedy.

I was one of a handful of women comedians, back in the old days. You know, when I had my own body.

I had to write my own skits for Vaudeville and for the Radio City Comedy Hour. Back then, most of the comedians had to come up with their own material. 

I haven’t had a chance to use much of my material for years.

The lady in room 113 was a circus clown and I used to give her ideas for sight gags and other skits. She and I were a good fit for a while, that is, until she had to retire. 

  As for your book, a lot of the comedy routines I came up with in vaudeville went into that book of yours.

It is your book, you know, I just used what you had and added things. Your basic story line and characters lent themselves to humor nicely.”

 

Bill: “Well, whatever you think you did sure changed that book into something worth reading. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Are you sure you don’t want to be a writer's comedy adviser?”

Susan: “Thanks, but I don’t really want to be a book writer; it’s too laborious. I like writing comedy skits and things like that.

What I really love is being part of bringing it all together, seeing and hearing the performances that I’ve helped to create; that is what made my life worth living.

So, Bill, you can see why I don’t think I’ll be much help with any future books.

Radio is what I’ve always wanted to do and comedy is my passion. I love just being a part of it.”

 

Ted: “Hmmm, radio?

Well, maybe Susan has found the right room after all,”

Susan: “Did you say something Bill?”

Bill: “No Susan, I'm afraid that wasn't me.”

“Ted!”

 

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

01-2002 … Rew. 2015


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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