December 2015 - Comments Off

Alex BG

Azure

   CHARACTERS

CARMEN    Woman in her late twenties/early thirties. A stay-at-home mother with two children and big dreams. Cares about her children and thinks they are of a new generation. She is not going to lie to make them feel better.

MIGUEL   Carmen’s husband. He takes pride in his life and the way his family lives. Considers himself a realist and secretly loves to win. He would never do anything he felt was against his children’s best wishes.

 

SETTING

 A living room (stage right) connected to a kitchen (stage left). The living room is complete with a couch, desktop computer (with printer), and tan carpet. The couch faces the audience in the center of the room while the computer and printer sit stage right with the swivel chair to accompany them. Everything is modern, sleek, and organized. There is presumably a large screen TV where the audience is. The entrance to the house is located on the wall opposite to the audience, stage right. The kitchen is a neat collage of blindingly white tiles. On the counter is a fridge, a microwave, a toaster oven, and various kitchen tools that a family of four would own. This is where the stove and sink are located. There is an island counter in the middle of the room, providing a square walkway for the family to roam. The cabinets are all a fine azure color. From the kitchen there is a doorway to the rest of the house.

 Azure

 (Everything is dark until the computer screen abruptly provides a white light. MIGUEL is sitting at the computer. His face is illuminated as he scrolls down with the mouse. He puts his head in his hands. The rest of the light slowly fades in from the windows and indoor lighting. A key is heard in the door. MIGUEL nearly jumps out of his chair then begins frantically clicking, closing whatever windows he had open on the computer. The doorknob turns as MIGUEL sprints into the kitchen. CARMEN enters. The swivel chair by the computer is still spinning slightly. She stares at the chair and, quietly as she can, takes an umbrella as her weapon.)

 

 

CARMEN

Hello?!

(a pause)

Is anyone here?!

 MIGUEL

Oh, yes! I am!

 CARMEN

            (lowers the umbrella and walks into the kitchen)

My god, Miguel. I could have hit you or something! I thought you’d be at work by now.

 MIGUEL

Yeah.

(CARMEN begins to take items out of her purse and place them on the counter. MIGUEL    is staring at the island counter blankly.)

 CARMEN

You know that moment you see in movies where a character is walking into some hallway that they know is dangerous and they have to choose something to defend themselves. The character always chooses something dumb like a lamp or a pan and I think “What a horrible choice! This is your life you’re protecting! Unless the danger is a cat that’s not going to be very helpful!” I was in that same situation just now and I chose the umbrella. That’s pretty useful, right?

 MIGUEL

Maybe. You’ve seen more movies than me.

 CARMEN

            (walking into the living room and looking around)

Lets see… a letter opener… a shoe… I really think the umbrella was the right call. Do you think that says anything about me?

MIGUEL

You’re in a good mood today.

CARMEN

It’s a good day. I dropped the kids off, grabbed an iced chai latte on the way home, and upon knowing that there may be a stranger in my house I made a reasonable choice. An umbrella… just like that Batman villain that Donnie loves so much. What’s that one’s name again?

(a pause)

MIGUEL

I think I’m sick.

CARMEN

(rushing back into the kitchen)

Oh no! Sick how?

MIGUEL

Sick to my stomach.

CARMEN

Really? I feel fine. We all ate the same food last night. Was anyone at work sick? Maybe you got a bug.

MIGUEL

I don’t think so.

CARMEN

Well why are you just standing there? C’mon. Sit down. Come with me.

(She puts her arm over MIGUEL’s shoulder. She directs him to the couch facing the audience. He sits still as she tosses several blankets over him and walks into the kitchen again. MIGUEL is unfazed.)

You sit tight. Watch some TV. I’ll make tea.

(She puts water on to boil. MIGUEL does not touch the remote.)

What kind of tea do you want?!

MIGUEL

Black.

CARMEN

Are you sure your stomach can handle it?

MIGUEL

Sure.

(CARMEN comes back into the living room and sits next to MIGUEL. She looks at him. He looks down. She picks up the remote and hands it to him.)

CARMEN

Here.

MIGUEL

(looking at her for the first time)

Oh. Right.

(MIGUEL turns on the TV, which the audience can only hear the audio of. CARMEN leans her head on MIGUEL as he flips through the channels.)

TV

“…with only four easy payments, plus shipping, plus—“

“…people who have tried Protenza agree. Start living the life you deserve to live. Start living Protenz—“

“…I’m not leaving you here! Not like this!” “You have to! It has to end now! End it now! If you don’t, nothing will ever—”

“…schools across the country have now banned the site, leading to hundreds of protests across the country. Protestors believe Azure is an art form but the board of education is sticking to their—“

“…going to take someone's eye out. Besides, you're saying it wrong. It's LeviOsa, not LeviosAR!”

CARMEN

Ooh! Keep it here. I haven’t seen it in so long!

(MIGUEL turns off the TV.)

Hey! I said I wanted to watch that!

MIGUEL

Carmen! FX only plays movies that are relevant to other popular trends and rides the wave!

CARMEN

Who cares? It’s been a while since…

MIGUEL

I am not watching fucking Harry Potter! I would rather die than watch god damn Harry Potter right now!

CARMEN

(indignant)

Sorry for the suggestion, I guess.

(a pause)

Miguel, are you okay? I don’t want to put you on the spot, but are you really sick? You’re not yourself.

MIGUEL

And who are you?

CARMEN

Excuse me?

MIGUEL

Are you really just Carmen? No one else?

CARMEN

Who else would I be?

MIGUEL

That’s what I was asking you.

(a pause)

CARMEN

(with new intensity)

What were you looking at on the computer?

MIGUEL

I wanted to check the traffic before I left for work. I usually check the traffic on NEWS22.com but before I could even get to the traffic page a headline catches my eye. “Azure Fans Protest Board of Education’s Quick Decision.” Azure? What could that be? So I clicked on it and read the entire thing. Then I went to Azure.com.

CARMEN

Why would you go on a fan fiction site, Miguel?

MIGUEL

So you know what it is.

CARMEN

Yes, I know what it is. Why were you reading it?

MIGUEL

I don’t know. I guess I was curious. It was on the trending list… But you’re right! It’s all trash.

CARMEN

Trash?

MIGUEL

Complete trash.

(The teapot begins to whistle slightly. CARMEN stands and begins towards the kitchen.)

CARMEN

Why are you so rude today?

MIGUEL

Because you’re Azure.

(CARMEN stops in her tracks. She takes a deep breath, then continues towards the teapot. She takes the teapot off the stove. MIGUEL walks to the computer and sits on the swivel chair. He opens a page.)

MIGUEL

“Azure’s work has become my life’s passion. She blends erotic stories and direct conversation with aspects of our favorite characters, finding an erotic connection to them that we never knew was there. It is a bizarre mix of passion, understanding, and conversational truth, resulting in an entirely new literary genre. Azure is an inspiration to us all!”

(spinning around to face the kitchen)

I’m sorry I’m not as easily seduced!

CARMEN

How did you find out?

MIGUEL

I told you. I went to the site. It’s a nice bright blue, by the way. I was looking at all the places I could go on the site, all labeled with buttons, but one button didn’t look like the rest. It didn’t seem like it should be there. It said “edit.” I was sure there was some sort of misunderstanding on my part. Maybe the site was a sort of forum for fans? Maybe they were allowed to write and edit their own strange fan fictions? No. I tried to find some way to explain the “edit” button, but I could not. I had to click on it.

CARMEN

Did you change something on the site?!

MIGUEL

Yes. I had to make sure it was you.

CARMEN

(coming into the living room)

What did you change?!

MIGUEL

It doesn’t matter.

CARMEN

It absolutely matters! Tell me what you changed!

MIGUEL

Why?!

CARMEN

Because I have created a new genre!

MIGUEL

You can’t be serious! The only people reading these are immature teenage girls and anyone else who is curious enough to look for a second. You’re can’t be proud of this!

CARMEN

Why not?! You may not be aware, but I worked on this for three years! There is a theory to it! Hundreds of other writers agree that this is the future of literature. This is a turning point!

MIGUEL

Or your twenty seconds of fame.

CARMEN

I don’t care what you think. You haven’t read any of it.

MIGUEL

I read enough.

CARMEN

Like what?

MIGUEL

Harry fucking Potter! I read that one.

CARMEN

That was one of my first.

MIGUEL

I don’t think I’ll ever watch that movie again. Wingardium Libido-sa?! It’s horny nonsense!

CARMEN

You know nothing about literature. It’s constantly changing. For a long time respectable literature was only textbooks and information. Novels were the fan fiction! Narrators were unusual! And stupid, small-minded men like you are still getting in the way of forward movement!

MIGUEL

Oh?! Then tell me, what are you doing that is new?! What about you work is different than all the other bullshit fan fiction out there?!

CARMEN

I break the fourth wall in my fan fiction.

MIGUEL

Excuse me?

CARMEN

You didn’t read the whole story did you?

MIGUEL

I didn’t make it through.

CARMEN

(CARMEN sits at the computer and pulls up the story.)

“Hermione looked up at him with passion in her eyes. Harry pulled her closer, elevating her lips to the same level as his…”

MIGUEL

Please stop.

CARMEN

“…Harry tilted Hermione’s head slightly to the right and gently whispered, ‘Wanna try something different?’ Hermione was feeling his intentions below…”

MIGUEL

Oh god. No! Stop!

CARMEN

“‘Yes please,’ she whispered back. Harry took something out of his pocket: a parchment. ‘Hermione,’ said Harry, ‘would you like to read my erotica?’”

MIGUEL

Really?!

CARMEN

“…Yes, that’s right, erotica. For this story is erotica and as an erotica writer I will not ignore the usefulness of my genre. It would be undeniably contradictory if my own characters could not get off on the very work they are a part of. If you would rather look at pictures and videos you may, but the writers of this degraded genre cannot deny it’s vast importance to their own sexuality. Erotica is just as much for its writer as its reader and as such it would be unfair of me to be dishonest about how I am turned on. I must treat my reader with the same respect that I treat myself. I am tired of erotica writers coming up with gruesome, lustful acts when they themselves do not partake in those acts and have no understanding of them. Just like any good authors we should write what we understand. Anything less would be a betrayal to the readers that adore them. Too long has the premise of erotica made people think of shame and the weakness of the female sex. Erotica is for men, too. The idea that through pictures and only through pictures can someone ruin a perfectly good pair of underwear is unreasonable and simplistic. People will masturbate however they please. If my characters had launched into each other and made love, or watched a film, it would encourage the idea that I myself am executing a pointless action by writing what I write, and I refuse to buy into such a hypocritical mindset.”

MIGUEL

People get off after a wall of opinion like that?

CARMEN

My work is not about finding something you can orgasm to. It is about using those feelings—that intensity of lust— to enhance the experience of literature. This is about art, Miguel. This is my art.

MIGUEL

You can’t be serious. For ten years now we’ve been married, happily I might add, and then I learn about something like this. I mean, we have kids, Carmen. We have kids to look after and I don’t know if this is good for them.

CARMEN

This is good for the world. Art is good for the world. I’d like to think that my own husband is supportive of how I express myself, right.

MIGUEL

I just… It’s so hard to express how… How could you possibly keep this from me for so long?

CARMEN

Because, Miguel, I always knew you were just another member of society. Every day you go to work and I stay at home and clean or take care of the kids. You make money, provide for the house, and you like it that way. You’re very traditional but my life is too traditional. My day is always the same. Sometimes I see a movie. But three years ago I got bored. I went on the internet and found something extraordinary. Hundreds of people writing stories about Harry Potter and Twilight and The Simpsons and Breaking Bad and House M.D. and all of these people understood their own dark attractions to the characters. They had a good enough grasp on the characters that these movies and shows have created in their minds that they could put them in new exciting situations they had seen nothing like before.

(stroking the cabinets with her hands)

There was an honesty to it I had never felt before. I knew I had to be honest, too if I wanted the world to change, so I became anonymous and honest through art. I bought new paint for these cabinets that day. Azure is what they called it at Lowes. Bright beautiful blue. It’s very sensual, don’t you think?

MIGUEL

I… I can’t believe it. You think this is beautiful? Maybe some people read your stories because they think it really is art but you would not have gotten this much attention if it weren’t for the fact that your stories are controversial! It is today’s issue and tomorrow’s joke! In fact I almost thought your stupid story was a comedy with all that direct address shit you pulled, which by the way only works in a comedy! Comedy is ridiculous and based in honesty so it makes sense if the narrator breaks the rules for the sake of being honest. The comedic author goes out of his way to gain that right and you think you can just throw something like that in any sort of story despite how off-putting it is?! And, by the way, when you do break the fourth wall in that impromptu lecture who is the narrator?! You or J.K Rowling? Because those are her characters you’re taking and throwing anywhere you please to mean whatever you want! It is a gruesome act. Please, PLEASE, stop acting like this is beautiful because the fact of the matter is that when people are honest it gets ugly.

CARMEN

Art can sometimes be ugly.

(pause)

What did you change?

MIGUEL

The color.

CARMEN

What?

MIGUEL

I made your site a deep dark blue. What did you think I had done? Released you name?

CARMEN

Actually, that’s what I was hoping for. Now that you know I don’t really care who knows. You’ve helped me realize that no one will read my stories if I am anonymous. I have to be direct. I have to stand up for what I believe in.

MIGUEL

No. You can’t be serious. Our kids…

CARMEN

…will be proud of their mother. I will start a new age of literature! I will break this absurd society!

MIGUEL

Your Harry Potter story. It wasn’t the only one I read.

CARMEN

Oh yeah? What else did you read?

MIGUEL

The Batman story. There’s no way you couldn’t remember the name of the Penguin. Not after all that detail on the functions of his vibrating umbrella!

(CARMEN laughs)

It’s not funny. You’re no comedian! I don’t even know you anymore. Did I ever know you?

CARMEN

(as she sits down on the couch)

I was just trying to fit in when I was a part of your society, but you know what they say. Out with the old and in with the new. You belong in the old and I belong in the new.

(She smiles and turns on the TV)

TV

“This just in: the board of education has announced that they are allowing Azure.com in high schools. This decision comes after the Board of Education’s office received over one million letters from citizens insisting that Azure is art.”

CARMEN

Over one million. About time.

MIGUEL

(walking to living room exit)

Fine. Out with the old.

(MIGUEL exits, defeated. Blackout.)

 

THE END.

Published by: in Issue 1: Fall 2015, Prose, Volume 72

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