White Plastic Mask
The way I see it, very few people realize it the day that their story starts.
As for me, my story began with six scenes from the Halloween of my Freshman year:
Exposition: in the style of Shakespeare
Cue scene one. Set pieces? A table, three chairs, and two plates of breakfast. What was the breakfast? Doesn’t matter; throw in some interchangeable meats, a couple greens, and cut out some colored construction paper bits and sprinkle that over top for flavor. The cafeteria food was alway shit anyways.
Populate two of the chairs with actors. Actor number one, that’s me, Mark. Number two is my roommate, David. We’re both chem, but I’ll be the only one who finishes the degree. David switches majors halfway through sophomore year, switches to Journalism. Doesn’t matter–could’ve switched to Archeology, still would’ve gotten out of this hellish major. Power to him.
I’m hungover. He’s hungover. It’s Saturday morning, it’s no small wonder that we’re both awake by ten, much less already in the cafeteria. Did I mention the food is shit? Not exactly incentive to get out of bed in the mornings.
David asks me what we’re doing today.
[David] : What are we doing today? Oh, and my name is David.
He says this.
I tell him we’re getting costumes.
[Mark] : We’re getting costumes. Do you know what you’re going to be? Also, my name is Mark.
[David] : *answers.*
It doesn’t matter what he says, just end the scene.
What did we learn from scene one? Don’t bother answering, I’ll tell you: My name is Mark and later today we’re going to get costumes. Skip to scene three, I’m tired of this bullshit exercise.
The time is midday-ish and we’re in a mall. For set pieces, let’s say a couple extras, a bench, two store fronts and a moose waving in one of the store front windows. I want to make sure the audience is paying attention, you know? Rattle ‘em a little, ya feel me?
Right, so, same actors from scene one and…. Action!
[David] : Let’s check out this store. Pointing at the store front featuring the waving moose*.
*Insert stage directions: it’s critical that this moose is waving the entire scene. It’s essential to the art.
Now I call David an idiot,
[Mark] : Do you even know what you want to be tonight?
David agrees that he is, indeed, a fool,
[David] : UuUhuh, Do you? » Director’s note, for actor two, the « UuUhuh » is delivered at a low baritone pitch. Keep in mind, you are replying as a fool would.
Knowing, as I do, that fools will often forget that they are indeed fools even moments after you call them as such, I reiterate myself,
[Mark] : For the hundredth time, yes, I’m going as Heisenberg. From Breaking Bad. How do you keep forgetting that?
And I’m bored. Go ahead and end scene. Cue set change and prep for scene… fuck, I guess we’ll do four. Prep for scene four, it’s necessary for scene five or something. Goddamn, this is beat af.
Here we go. Scene four. We are now inside the store so just paint the background to look like a store. Do it as cheaply rendered as possible, because this is one of those seasonal Halloween stores and they all look like a pumpkin ejaculated over a 7/11. Same actors, same everything, just cue the damn scene. Actually, strike that, replace David with a marionette holding a piece of paper with a smiley face on it. We’re working with a budget here, why bother paying for voice work and make-up. Cue scene four.
Actor one and marionette meet at center stage. I say to the marionette,
[Mark] : David, have you found your costume yet?
Just shake the marionette around. That’ll look like he’s answering.
[Mark] : What do you mean you don’t have a costume yet? We’ve been here for [insert increment of time], I’ve already found my costume, pick something out and let’s go.
Continue shaking marionette. I literally can’t even remember what he actually said anymore,
[Mark] : Well, what do you have in your hand? That looks like a mask. A white plastic one. Just buy that and let’s go.
Shake marionette. You know what? Just drop the marionette on the ground. Dim lights, end scene, and have actor one kick the marionette into the audience. Keep ‘em sharp, that’s what I always say.
What are we at? Scene five? Jesus Christ—at least we’re almost done.
The setting is my dorm room, but you know what, you can just use a giant cardboard cut out of a penis for the background. That’ll do just fine. I’m dressed as Heisenberg, and for David, take one of those blow-up sex dolls and set it on a wooden chair. Get a hairy one. I don’t know if they make hairy ones, but get a real hairy one. It’ll be ironic, because neither of us can grow dick for facial hair. Tape a white plastic mask to his hand and we’ll go ahead and cue scene. Go!
[Mark] : Hey, David, I’m talking to the sex doll now, You ready to go, buddy? Got your mask on?
He does not. Let’s have a techie behind the chair moving David’s little sex doll limbs around. Also, let’s go ahead and put an upside-down strap-on on his face. Yeah, like a BDSM Squidward costume. Or Pinocchio’s wet dream. Perfect.
[Mark] : You don’t have your mask on, do you, little guy? Says I, sitting down next to my phallic friend. Insert stage directions: let’s have penis-nose look at the mask with as much of a thoughtful expression as one Cronenberg sex-doll can muster.
Now David’s got some dialogue here, so we’ll just represent that with a cardboard cut-out speech cloud, held up behind his head by a techie.
[Speech bubble 1] : Hey, Mark, what does this mask look like to you.
[Mark] : It looks like a white plastic mask, you fuckboy, now put it on.
[Speech bubble two] : I think it looks like it’s sad. Like it’s done something it regrets.
I’m not even joking, he actually said that one. Like, what the hell, am I right? Way out of left field with that speech bubble, David.
[Mark] : That’s just weird, let’s go, buddy.
End scene five.
Scene sex, or six, or—you know what, yeah, scene sex. Just two actors fucking on stage. One of them is wearing the mask, and it’s fucking the other one in the ass and that’s the show, good night and I hope you got your money’s worth.
I set my pen down and looked at the script. My psychologist said to fill out two pages, front and back. She said, “feel free, Mark, to go over that if you want. Use as much space as you feel like you need—I don’t want to limit you in your expression of yourself.”
But my story is real simple. I wrote double spaced, all capitals, and it still only took up one and a half pages, front and back. Yeah, this story’s pretty damn easy. I studied chemistry. I couldn’t take it. I went crazy. I stabbed my friend with a knife.