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© 1993






Set: A boat (see diagram). Some yellow leaves on the "water" surface. No horizon to speak of. Cast: Rower 1, Rower 2 (either two men or two women).


         (Both rowing continuously and furiously; beads of sweat on faces; shirt armpits soaked.)

Rower 2: I am thirsty.

         (After 18-20 sec, louder.)

Rower 2: I am thirsty. Can one drink this water?

Rower 1: Yes and no. But we can't stop. He is catching up. [She, if two women are the rowers.]

Rower 2: He is not!

Rower 1: He is.

Rower 2: I can't even see him.

Rower 1: That is the point.

         (Both increase tempo.)

Rower 2: I am thirsty.

Rower 1: You are not doing your part.

Rower 2: I ache all over.

Rower 1: He will catch us...

Rower 2: It hurts.

Rower 1: ...and take us there.

Rower 2: There? (frightened) No!

Rower 1: Where do you think if not there?

Rower 2: I can't see him.

Rower 1: 1 do.

Rower 2: Does he...

Rower 1: I see parts of him.

Rower 2: (frightened) Tentacles?

Rower 1: Extremities. (After 9-10 sec.) And I smell his breath.

         (Both increase tempo; more sweat visible.)

Rower 2: Let's stop for a moment.

Rower 1: We should not.

Rower 2: (Leans over, right hand momentarily outside of boat.) Just a sip of water?

Rower 1: You should not.

Rower 2: (Does not drink, resumes rowing with both hands on oar.) Is it bad?

Rower 1: It will make you worse.

Rower 2: It's not healthy?

Rower 1: It is not and it is.

Rower 2: In what sense?

Rower 1: His sense.

Rower 2: I don't see him.

Rower 1: He is catching up.

         (Both further increase the tempo of rowing.)

Rower 2: I can't do it much more.

Rower 1: Do what?

Rower 2: (loud) This!

Rower 1: You are not even doing it. Not properly.

Rower 2: We've been doing it for...

Rower 1: It is your choice.

Rower 2: Would you throw me over?

Rower 1: You have not earned it. To quench thirst. And sink.

Rower 2: You win keep me on...

Rower 1: In...

Rower 2: ...the boat?

Rower 1: ...my view. (After 1 1-12 sec, yells) Faster!

         (They both increase the tempo. More sweat and panting.)

Rower 2: But why...

Rower 1: ...don't you see him?

Rower 2: Y...

Rower 1: Because he is too close.

Rower 2: (After 4 sec.) I'm bleeding!

Rower 1: Where?

Rower 2: My palms!

Rower 1: Good.

Rower 2: Good?!

Rower 1: An ancient sign. (After 4 sec.) Of him.

Rower 2: (Yells.) Of him?!

Rower 1: (Nods head, grunts.)

Rower 2: (Screams.) Answer me!

Rower 1: (Calmly.) He is catching up.

Rower 2: He's not! And...

Rower 1: (Calmly.) ...to hell with me?

Rower 2: Yes.

Rower 1: With me. (After 2 sec.) Faster you.

Rower 2: (Sarcastically.) ...humanoid?

Rower 1: You said ...noid?

Rower 2: Noid. (They row faster.)

Rower 1: How dare you?

Rower 2: I am thirsty and...

Rower 1: ...bleeding.

Rower 2: I must...

Rower 1: ...drink your blood.

Rower 2: (Plaintively.) Without stopping...

Rower 1: ...the oars. How dare you?

Rower 2: Defi...

Rower 1: Define... (After 2-3 sec.) ...yourself.

Rower 2: You bast...the blisters are openi...

Rower 1: They should. (They increase the rate.)

Rower 2: (In great pain, screaming, but rowing as fast as Rower 1, as he has done throughout.)

Rower 1: Seep? (After 8-1 0 sec.) Ooze?

Rower 2: (Screaming.) I'll read Moby Di...

Rower 1: ...but ooze. (Pause.) Faster! (Pause.) And bleed.

         [Suddenly, Rower 1 jumps out of the boat to his right and stands on the water surface, calmly watching Rower 2. Since Rower 2 obliviously keeps on rowing (2-3 more strokes), the boat spins anti-clockwise 1 and 1 /2 times and stops. Rower 2 is now facing the audience. He is bewildered, utterly exhausted, bleeding from the palms. At this point. Rower 1 carries out an action, or a brief set of actions, which somehow communicates that he is probably god, devil, or death (the director may choose) and that all along he has been inducing Rower 2 toward his redemption, salvation, eternal suffering, or the cold, colorless pit of no-more.]

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