A light bulb

I wrote this back in November of last year when I decided to begin on this journey.

[(c) Lyf Stolte 2013]

A lone light bulb hangs, naked and vulnerable, from an exposed wire. It’s not on. A door creaks open and two men appear in the darkness. They look around, and then break out in peals of laughter.

MAN 1

I can’t believe he didn’t see us.

MAN 2

That was a bloody miracle that was.

MAN 1

You think it’s safe yet though?

MAN 2

It could be. I dunno though. We should just chill for a moment to be sure.

The men stand there not quite sure what to do with themselves. They notice the light bulb.

MAN 1

Huh.

MAN 2

Whaddya make of that?

MAN 1

Well, it’s a light innit.

MAN 2

Yeah, I can see that. But why’s do you s’pose it’s off?

MAN 1

Well, I don’t know if I’d tempt fate tryin’ to turn it on. Look at that wire. It’s all frayed ‘n shit.

MAN 2

But it’s so bloody dark in ‘ere. Let’s find the switch.

MAN 1

You have to be kiddin’ me. You miss what I just said? That wire looks as if it’ll throw spark all over this room you try anything. Just leave it. We’ll be going soon enough.

MAN 2

Fine.

The men move around the room in the darkness, getting a sense of the space. It’s a smaller room. One window facing outside, the door they came in through, and one switch. There is a light breeze coming in through the window. MAN 2 goes over to the window and breathes in the fresh air, as though it is life itself.

MAN 2

Ahhhhh. That is sumthin’ innit? How through all of this one can still find a way to appreciate the li’l things in life like a fresh breeze.

MAN 1

How long do you think we have?

MAN 2

(still taking in the fresh breeze)

Now that I have this, I don’t rightly care.

MAN 1

But we should get back before too long. I mean I’m pretty sure he’s left by now. The coast should be clear.

(pause)

Hey, can you see anything through there?

MAN 2

(snapping to attention)

What? Oh, sorry. Um, yeah. I can. I can’t see nuthin’.

MAN 1

You mean there’s no one and nothing out there to be wary of, or do you mean you can’t see anything.

MAN 2

I —

MAN 1

I don’t mean that in an Abbott and Costello kind of way. So let me be a little extra clear: Is there any danger to us out there that you can see?

MAN 2

(looks through the window very intently)

Um….nope. Nothin’ out there but the wind, and the moon.

MAN 1

Well then. I do believe we should vacate these premises forthwith.

MAN 2

What’s with you talkin’ all fancy like?

MAN 1

Whaddya mean? I’m talkin’ like a normal fella. Yer the one who talks below his station. Now, let’s be off.

MAN 2

Why you gotta talk down on me like that?

MAN 1

(sees where this is going)

I’m sorry my friend. I didn’t mean to disparage you. I mean, I didn’t mean to insult you. Sometimes I just like to use words and phrases that I don’t normally get to use. That’s all. And you talk just fine for what we do. You speak very much to the point and that is an endearing trait.

MAN 2

…Thank you.

There is a sudden noise in the room. The sound of stone scraping on stone. The men look at each other and then around the room. They investigate each wall, each corner, and then they go over those spots again and again. Nothing. There is nothing that they can see that could have made that sound. MAN 2 looks out the window again while MAN 1 pats his pockets, finds what he’s looking for, takes it out, flips through it’s pages and then reads to himself, outloud, but inaudibly. Those watching know that he is saying, or chanting, something but they don’t know what that is.

MAN 2

(looks at his partner)

Really? Ya think that’s neccessary? The room is bloody empty. We checked it twice. We didn’t even know we were gonna jog in here so no one could have beaten us to it. The walls are solid.

MAN 1 is still chanting. He makes a slight movement with his hands and the light flickers almost imperceptibly. Both men stop and stare at the now dead light. MAN 1 quickly puts his item away, takes his hat off and pulls a match from the brim. He strikes it and blows it out. He lets the smoke hover in the air, takes a fist full of it, puts the fistful of smoke into his hat and puts it back on his head. MAN 2 looks at him nervously and does the same. Both men, once the ritual is completed, leave the room.

Silence. The light flickers but stays off. Then it flickers again. Still nothing. It flickers a third time and a man stands up. The light stays on. It’s dim but there. A man in a hat walks up to the light, looks up into it, and then, as if that is his window of fresh air, breathes deeply and sighs contentedly. Then he too walks off stage towards the two men.

* FIN *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *