Lysander: your name, dear?
woman: what does it matter. you take one look at me and see a blob. and that's just it. a blob with no outward emotion, no arms, legs, and precious hands. i prefer you see me as a human, not a specific human.
Lysander: absolutely. it just makes things easier. but when are great things easy anyway?
woman: you are a product of your society and your environment and your parents. even you can concede this. huh. everyone picks up basic psychology along the way. i'm fat. too fat for my own good.
Lysander: see that diploma above my head? i leave it there uncased in glass as a constant reminder..........of it always hanging above my head...
woman: waiting to strangle you
Lysander: i'd prefer it to drop and get it over with. i'd prefer the glass shards over anything this title concedes to me. Bachelor of Science, BS, unfortunate and yet quite apt.
woman: above all else you must be human. that is gone today.
Lysander: yes. it's one of those things. once it goes, it goes fast. like a legendary athlete's prowess. it fades and before you know it it's a memory outdistancing your running. like Jim Rome. there was a time five years ago i literally couldn't survive without his daily sports snark. now that he moved channels and the cable got too expensive, thanks President, i'm struggling to remember Rome's face save for that goatee. but you don't want to hear me prattle on, do you?
woman: yes. it calms me.
Lysander: oh. um. thought you were gonna say no. everyone leaps at the opportunity to talk about themselves. mama told me i had the unique capacity of putting anyone i conversed with to sleep. helped out in the war. the thing is, i'm addressing you strictly from a medical professional's standpoint, such as that is, and such as that title exists anymore. it's not healthy to be this obese.
woman: but that's not the issue! it never was. you know that.
Lysander: i know. kindness. in short supply. as the oil becomes plentiful other resources compensate. negatively. we've treated our mother so poorly there will be a reckoning. and it is now.
woman: i never knew my mother. why i eat.
Lysander: oh yeah? i was talking about Mother earth but please continue, i've run out of stories and i don't have a winning personality to carry the day. need to learn more jokes from the monks. but i did gain their compassion.
woman: it's too long to get into. too complicated. it's always too complex. and that leads to a complex.
Lysander: and keeps me in business. until Bump gets elected.
woman: suffice it to say. the point being. look, i was right about you. you are right. and in the right. and i love you. you're the only person who has ever shown me kindness. ever gotten inside me.
Lysander: i'm not like that!
woman: i almost laughed. thank you. is the hour up?
Lysander: sure. i love short hours. get paid in full either way.
woman: oh i'm not leaving.
Lysander: please don't kill me.
woman: i'm staying here forever. in our short time i consider you my father. figure. there's nothing out there for me. why should i leave here? to get bullied until i mercifully end myself? till all the fat is sucked out of my body? my body the trap. why has bullying suddenly become a thing again now? it was dormant for much of the '90s. nothing out there but loneliness.
Lysander: grunge united us all for a while. outcasts "R" us. then the internet happened and separated us for good. ah, yes, Emma Thompson. what a wonderful actress. greatest British thespian of all time. shame she got usurped by that other Emma. everyone gets old. alright. but do me a deal. you have to get the food. come on, smile, endorphins and all that. i see you. i see you smile.
woman: *smirk under her breath*
Hartwin is scrollin'.
Hartwin: what's on the old gram today?
underground interviewer: savior if i may. we're up against it.
Hartwin: *still looking down at his phone* that's for sure. hey i'm no Penye. sorry. such a damned distraction.
underground interviewer: i'm running out of battery.
Hartwin: what was i gonna say? i forgot. damn. hate when that happens. my mind loses revenue each time. what's more important, something on instagram or something i generate? oh yes, wait, yes, something i saw on instagram, i want that story of the snow rescue on the top trends. we need more inspo. not room inspo, human inspo. we have to take back our race. Harfi, you can hack in and do that, right? cool. CUL8R. wow, first time i used this thing as an actual phone.
undergrounder: how bout dat LeBron?
Hartwin: who? great story. and notice he had to do it in the hardest way possible. it was never gonna be easy. for it simply isn't what it is if it's simple. we gravitate toward complicatedness. it's almost as if we strive for it. it makes that first juicy bite of that ball all the sweeter. basketballs are large oranges, right?
undergrounder: tru, tru. i mean that's not true, but
Hartwin: i wish i were a CNN cameraguy. i would point my lens to the good, heartfelt, neighbor-helping-neighbor stories. and bankrupt the network within a year. then i'd turn my attention to blogs. and hopefully all blogs would be eradicated soon. enough with the typing. more fists, less fingers.
Hartwin: lust for something. more. oh yeah, before i forget: the greatest thing you can do for the cause is............stay alive. once you're dead, nobody cares what you think. or what you ever thought.
Bernie returns to the Senate for a long-overdue vote to a rousing standing ovation.
Bernie: *waving dispassionately* thank you thank you. but it's not over yet. one more debate. and i'm really gonna ream her!
the applause dies down.
Senate: what's the point?
*awkward pause that turns into a long time*
Bernie: how do you vote again? you push a button or something? i'm not good with buttons. whatever, it doesn't matter. i'll see myself out. oh, can someone here pay my towing fee? it's just 27 dollars.
Senate: what have you wrought, old man? a republic? you've started another 27 Club.
Bernie: nah, you can't keep that. you can keep that. always bet on yutes. you have to. you have to cultivate young people, they have no ideals, they have idealism. it wasn't a waste. i accomplished what i set out to do. i recaptured my youth.
it's Bump's day off. Bump is having a hearing near the barracks and takes this opportunity to cause some mischief. not a crowd, a hearing. he gingerly tiptoes with his purple crayon up to the Gundam at the entrance of the forum and begins to write YOU SUCK on the Gundam chestplate. a horn honks.
Lieu opens up the Gundam automatic hatch and sticks his bedhead head and bedraggled eyes out.
Lieu: man i was sleeping. you know what a commodity that is? richer than gold. you come here without an army? you're stupid i'll give you that.
Lieu sticks a cassette in the
DASHBOARD, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
Lieu: this really jazzes me up. now that i'm awake. i might as well do something. love that opening rolling snare drumline.
Bump: ugh, turn that drivel off. or at least lower. got run into the ground during the Finals. much like the Warriors. i'm the real warrior. majesty tragedy? lies lies all lies!!! more like your majesty tragedy. soon.
the headlights come on on the Gundam's head and the car alarm blares, scaring the shit out of Bump. the Gundam leaves its moor station on the cut-off stone pillar, cuts its line, and rushes into a couple of yard globes before charging full steam ahead at Bump. Bump is comically chased all around the yard.
Bump: damn you, blood, you'll pay for this.
Lieu: i swear i'm not controlling this, oldhead. tech has a mind of its own. heehee. this is making my wounds heal up real quick. whoo! i know that's right. hey i wanted to sleep. man, never noticed how green the front yard is. exquisite emerald. Wimbledon lawns.
Bump bumps into Hartwin. for the first time.
Bump: don't tell me your name, you're just another grunt. i'll leave. you don't need to cuff me. what's the cable for?
Hartwin: hello there, name's Hartwin. can't shake your hand right now. my hands are always full. like my mom. gonna go train. this? slackline. slack life, you know how it is.
Bump: all this running gave me a limp. bye bye baeless.
Lysander: *on the phone* excuse me. no, not you. your cat jumps on top of your bed and on top of your head and looks out the window? even though your window is all the way draped? he looks through the draped window as if it were a pane of clear glass? he doesn't see that it's screened? well don't we all.........................oh, and never waste an opportunity to pet your cat. if he's standing there all bewildered and looking at you by the bedroom door, go over and pet your cat's head. instead of brushing your teeth.
Bump returns to charge his phone on the Gundam's leg.
Lieu: having fun on your day off?
Bump: hardy har har har. i'm missing something important on instagram to do this.
Lysander: good evening, Madchen. i used good evening in a sentence. how are you?
Madchen: hello! who dat?
Lysander: dunno. don't mind my new daughter. she's my permanent resident. it's not what you think. you'll have to squeeze in there......yeap....that's right......there, all comfy and against the wall. you deserve better.
Madchen: what else is new. you always say that.
Lysander: oh we had some hotwings and potato wedges at the meat station. tell me about your latest dream.
Madchen: it's Game 7 and i'm up in the stands, in the way back. nobody sees me. they could step on me like a bug i'm so insignificant. i can barely make out what's going on. the lights are hazy and the home crowd is incredulous. in the dimmed din below but i hear the faintest final horn sound off. it's over. LeBron has done it. it's an historic comeback. the refs are slapping LeBron's fives. not without controversy but that's always the case with BronBron. funny how history erases all the details and leaves only the wins. Curry serves everyone in the stands toothpicked chicken samples and thanks the fans for the entire season. the entire season which was a waste. oh that chicken tastes so good! it tastes like chicken but it's been ages since someone cooked for me. that Curry is cute! too cute. like he was too cute with his unnecessary around-the-back passes. this one's gonna sting with the heat of a thousand suns. they let it get away cos they were tired. sleep is so important. that's what happens when you mess with history. LeBron is at the center of the court. he takes off his shirt. all brimming with sweat and barrel-chested and bald. he raises his sword, which is a selfie stick, in victory. he caused this to happen, no one else did. he made Kyrie insane. the one thing the enemy can't plan for is will. there he is, Cleveland Conqueror, Legend of The Land, Returning Hero, like Naruto and the Leaf Village. he wrote the final chapter with his stroke. i glance at the scoreboard, it's stuck on 89 all, frozen in shock at how close this game is. each team is in slow motion. LeBron turns around, fakes, jooks, jives, goes forward only to step back to the 3-point line, Curry's usual shot, to rub it in his face. to answer the instagram critics. and the pundits. and the writers. he can write better. LeBron turns around to go forward. he lifts his shot up. as the buzzer sounds, as it beats into time, it's a swish. nuttin' the net. 92-89. that's how it went down, right?
Lysander: sure. that sounds good. brilliant. you should be a blogger. oh, i don't know how the game went, i haven't looked at my phone today.
Madchen: at the interview, the undergrounder asks LeBron if he would do anything for the team. he of course answers yes. anything.
LeBron: i'd even sub myself out. to coach.
Hartwin is lying down on a long slack line connected between two pink mountains. the purple sky blends into blue, deepening its hue. the wind is stiff but steady. his eyes are closed, half-meditating but mostly sleeping. JUST THEN a pair of hands blocks his view and starts him.
Hartwin: mom?! shit, i almost reflected.
Madchen: peekaboo. peaksaboo. session ran long, sorry. how are you, honey? how's my Hart. what are you doing lying down hanging by a thread? shouldn't you be training upright?
Hartwin: well you are, too. it takes more balance to maintain this position than to walk across. wave to Harfi on the way other end of the line there.
Madchen: i picked up a few tricks. i did fall head over heels, literally, for a helicopter pilot, remember?
Hartwin: actually no, my father died the very same moment you were having me.
Madchen: right. in the war. but at least he died actually on the battlefield and not from some freak accident preparing for the battlefield. for a cause he believed in. it was different then. i was younger. you were his kid but you are my kin. i mean i actually gave birth to you. *waves* hi, Harfi! between you and me i can't see her. come on home for supper, i've made your favorite, spaghetti and meatballs.
Hartwin: i'm on duty, mom. and that barracks food is top-notch. i haven't had spaghetti in ages.
Madchen: i knew it! they're starving you over there! some sort of sick program they have you on! you deserve better. they won't miss you all the way out here.
Hartwin: they see everything. but they don't know everything. yet. that's our advantage. i hope. loook at this place. magnificent. unspoilt natural beauty. we have to enjoy this before it's all gone. we have to soak up this tranquility, store it in our pores so we can come back to it and recharge when we're depleted. muscle memory's important but sense memory is all.................*non-awkward pause*...................and it will be all gone. sooner than anyone can imagine. nation-states are breaking apart. unaligning. dividing. looking for the exit. it's everyman for himself. emphasis on man. the knock-on effect will be more walls. what's so good about independence? it's lonely.
Hartwin is chugging a large bottle of coconut punch and chowing down on a potato tornado. as he tries for his latest swig, his mouth moves awkwardly and the skewer of his potato tornado cuts into the slack line! snapping it instantaneously. enough time for Madchen to turn her head and clearly see Harfi on the other end with an O face and the palms of Harfi's hands on her puffy red cheeks. no last chew. but potential for another crunch. mother and son plummet.
quickly Hartwin instincts. he wraps himself into a ball all around his mother, with his fist grabs the highest point he can on the falling line, Tarzan yells, and swings for dear life in a duo to the other side. safely landing on a jutting cliff below over there.
Madchen: phewwwwwwwwwwww!!! whoo! are you okay, honey?! thank god for your training! this is my kind of vine.
Hartwin: not my training. my love of films.
this causes a slight disturbance in the atmosphere but soon the surrounding silence settles, the mountain brooks babble, the trees rustle, Harfi laughs, the frog and toad whir, and the cotton candy clouds wisp in a circle before returning to their original shape.