If It’s Any Constellation

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Setting:  Perhaps a garden picnic table, or a bench near the lake at the business park, maybe in the kitchen with its nice windows, or even walking on a nature path? All of these perhaps?

Characters:

Spacesuit Man  Featureless man, in a bulky suit, isolated.

Dancing Bear  Large bear, heavy, cumbersome, magical, dances to a celestial beat, relatively immobile despite his proclivity to dance.

Dragon Fly  Airily light, translucent, skittering and scattering, floating along on the breeze, with a reflective quality that captures and transforms the light.

Snake   Long though not pointless, seemingly omnipresent, scheming and self-centered, with only his desires in mind.

Wife   A sweet lady out to sea in the vastness of the night sky.

Scene 1

At Rise(A bright sunny morning and a man is working in an enclosed patio garden with lots of flowers and statuary. Ostensibly, he is in the middle of getting ready for work, though his shirt is undone, he’s wearing dress pants and shoes, and has clippers in his hand. He is cutting flowers for his wife when a Snake surprises him laying before him in his garden as though it is his customary pose and place.  The snake seems to think he is a cat?)

Spacesuit Man                                  Damn a snake! How in the name of Kalamazoo did this creature sneak get in here, a snake in my garden? That fence I fear, is not paying its rent again. Wait right there you slimy creature you.

Snake                                                Kind sir, on this fine morning, isn’t it a fine morning? I beg you please, I have news, please stop and think? That’s what I’m here for. I hear you very well, it’s true. A fine morning too?

Spacesuit Man                                  (Eyebrows rise, eyes bug out, as he stammers.) Yes, yes, of course, fine morning. And what is this the sunrise brings? A snake is talking, wants to tell me things?

Do that again I dare you. Speak to me. Prove I’m not at the zoo. Yes, I dare you really I do, speak again or else this shovel is sharp and ready to aim for your head and chop.

Snake                                                Ok, rather than take the point you make, what instead if I pontificate? How’s that my friend, and why the flowers in your hand?

Spacesuit Man                               (Shuddering) Again, you speak? First you are here, in a place not your own, and then you claim to bring me word, forgive me this is all absurd

Snake                                                And it’s Friday too. You know what that means. Yes sir. You absolutely do.

Spacesuit Man                                  What is this nonsense, of course I know it’s Friday, today I pay the rent, tonight maybe we catch a show.  Of course, the stars will have to wait as this will leave me spent. What is any of this to do with you? This shovel is plenty sharp and I will use it too.

Snake                                                With me, nothing, it has nothing to do with me, but have you spoken with your wife? (Smiles knowingly.)

Spacesuit Man                                  Me. You’re asking me. You, a snake, are asking my wife’s husband, me, if I have spoken with she, she would be my wife. Now say your last words, then let me remove that fork curled in your mouth.

Snake                                                 I am only here for you. My only concern is you. You see I sense your wife is unhappy, that would be with you.  She walks and walks and walks, and then she walks still more. When you arrive home from work, where is she then? She’s walking, sir? Most days now, she is returning, but who knows? Times change.

Spacesuit Man                                 (Angry.) For your information, and I think I’ve made this clear, my wife’s husband is me. Just me. You see anyone else? You’re not even here, I mean this moment. (He clenches and shakes the shovel.) I will not even see you, though there will be two.

(He shakes the shovel again, demonstrating the two pieces he threatens to make of the snake.)

Nor will I remember. Just a figment of my groggy early morning mind. Like a falling star, except annoying like a star could never be. You just show up, with some fancy hiss. Who taught you manners?

Snake                                                Now now, remember it’s Friday, let’s speak of your plans, the reason I lay before you in your garden this morning. Just to remind you kindly, your wife she is leaving, if slowly, and one day, sooner than later, she may be gone. The reason for my garden wriggle is not a riddle. So why do you act surprised?

 (Spacesuit Man jumps back, almost like he has been bitten. He knows it is true and his shock conceals anger.)

Spacesuit Man                                  Get out, get out, leave my garden before I make flowers of you. It’s a slow process as I’m sure you know.

Snake                                                (Recoiling, retreating.) Don’t decapitate the messenger. My tongue will still bite with or without your strike. My truth might be untrue, except the evidence sleeps with you. Or she used to, does she still at this moment too?

 (Flies into a rage, picks the shovel up high over his head preparing to strike.)

Spacesuit Man                                  Get out you serpent beast, you lie like a forked tongue. Why do I listen to you? Damn snake, where are you slippery beast?

Show yourself. Coward.

(Throws the shovel down in a fit. Snake has vanished, leaving Spacesuit Man vexed as he exits the garden and enters the kitchen, repressing his rage into a dark and worried affect. His brow is furrowed. He is in a fit of emotion resulting from the message of the Snake, but what can it mean, can it even be real?

His wife has entered the kitchen almost simultaneously. Wearily, disinterestedly, far from ready to engage with the world, even or especially with her husband it seems?)

Spacesuit Man —                              (Timidly, fawning.) Good morning honey. Here’s some flowers from the garden. (He stuffs them in a jar, no time for water.) I’m in a bit of a rush. I must have overslept. (He is struggling to tuck his shirt in, tie his tie, grab his coffee and escape out the door.) Did you sleep well?

Wife —                                               (Yawning, not noticing her husband until he speaks, not bothering to even turn and look as he does.) What? Oh, yes, I guess I did dear. I did in fact. Had the most amazing dream. Something about a magical creature, like a snake but it talked?

Spacesuit Man —                              (Horrified, he chokes out a response.) You, you can tell me all about it tonight. When I get home, we’ll talk? (His startled voice pauses for a response that does not come.) Oh well, gotta run. Bye. (Blows her a kiss.)

(She does not look at him as he backs out the door, clearly perplexed. She does not respond as he departs. She pours a cup of coffee, and she sighs, bored, depressed, confused. What day is it? Then half-heartedly as he is almost out of earshot.)

Wife                                                Don’t forget, is it Friday? We have the movies, if you still want to? Breakfast at Tiffany’s? (Her voice trails off, fades away for lack of energy.)

 (Scene ends as she gets up to add water to the flowers her husband has placed in the jar, not seeming to notice the flowers themselves.)

Scene 2

At Rise:  (Drifting along peacefully in thought Spacesuit Man finds himself wondering, ‘did I sleep?’ Gradually he opens his eyes, reluctantly retreating from his imagined nap; first he notices the stars, his jaw drops, he wonders, ‘in the daytime?’; he spies a sphere so magical he feels weightless; then he recalls his wife and his face grows heavy, his eyes obscured by tears; at last, his field of view narrows to his surroundings and he sees nothing, feels nothing even resting on a bench in a park across from his office. Last night’s dinner has left his tummy still upset.)

Spacesuit Man:                                  (to himself) What was that green gazpacho in the tube last night? Seems it’s left my tummy sour? Astronaut food? Or is it the gravity, perhaps I am just missing my weight. How I miss a decent burrito.  Space! The future is still not here it seems. Speaking of here? What’s that?

(Thud)

Ouch who’s there? What was that? Hello?

(Thuds have a beat. They stop.)

Oh, it’s you, Mr. Bear. Should have known it was you, always leaning on me with your heavy paws, like a ballast, can you ever let go of me with your claws? What do you want this time, seems your only virtue is to rhyme?

Dancing Bear:                                   Oh, you know me, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything, I’m just here for the ride. I saw you were napping. And you take me everywhere. Speaking of which, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere?

Spacesuit Man:                                  Oh Bear, you don’t even care. You show up and don’t even ask how I am?

Dancing Bear:                                   Ok, how are you? But before we forget, don’t we have some place to be? That meeting this afternoon, are you ready? It’s Friday too. Will you have to work late?  You know me, I’m just here to help, give you a push, help you with your load.

Spacesuit Man:                                  Help me? Is that what you call it? You ARE my load! You lean on me, load me up, remind me, tag along, and you care not a whit about me, you’re just along for the ride, you let me carry you everywhere, you don’t ask, you don’t help, you don’t say thanks, you just worry me along. Fine Dancing Bear you are. You are not what I was promised.

Dancing Bear:                                   Complaining, complaining, complaining, I don’t see anybody listening? And …. you’re not getting anywhere, either. See?

Spacesuit Man:                                  Thanks for asking, NOT.  I don’t feel well? Something I ate last night? You ever had green gazpacho?

Dancing Bear:                                   Don’t talk food with me, you know I have more than enough to keep me sated. I worry about your work? That’s a worry? Or your family? How are they? Plenty of worry there I would guess? Your wife, are you guys arguing, the light going low? Happens a lot. You’re not my only case. Or maybe you’re catching a cold? Sounds like your throat is scratchy? Lots going around.

Spacesuit Man:                                  Shhh, will you give me some peace. Here I drift along, minding my own business, trying to think about nothing, or at least happy thoughts, and then along you come, just like every other time I’m trying to find my mind and you remind of each and everything thing that clogs it, with you it’s all I find. Fine Friend. You call yourself a dancing bear?

Dancing Bear:                                   Friend? Hey I dance cuz I got no worries, just here to remind you of yours, ha.

(Buzzing. Suddenly Dancing Bear is in a panic. Seems he feels he’s being attacked by an ever so slight, if beautiful and persistent creature.)

Hey, get outta here, quit buzzing around me, you know I hate dragons, dragon flies are close enough. Go buzz around someone your own size.

(Swats his paws at nothing. Ambles away, attempting agility and speed.)

Spacesuit Man:                                  Thanks for that.

(He is speaking to an orange and violet colored, fluttering, shimmering magic. It is a Dragon Fly, naturally.)

You have the touch. Nothing I can say will make the bear go away, until along you come and the world turns right side up!

Dragon Fly:                                       Right side wrong side I don’t know anything but the blind side when I take the wind for a ride, close my eyes and here I am. I think I have something for you, but surely I cannot know whatever it might be?

Spacesuit Man:                                  Past experience tells me I should stop and think. You see my tummy is on the blink. What was it my wife said to me,

(Beat, remembering.)

Oh, Breakfast At Tiffany’s? Is that tonight on Friday too? Why, yes it is. Thank you, Dragon Fly, but oh, whatever will I do? Will she even go?

Dragon Fly:                                       (Thoughtfully, somberly. Obliquely.) Breakfast is important, nectar makes the day.

Spacesuit Man:                                  Profound, I am found! I’m riding on the wings of a dragon, even if it is a fly. Fly is good. Perhaps some lemon water, and then a date with the wife, oh, and did you say Audrey Hepburn? Oh, Dragon Fly, you take Dancing Bear’s worries far away, I have no need for them today as NPR has paid our way, to see Audrey with my wife in a cinematic play.

Dragon Fly:                                       Your carriage awaits.

Spacesuit Man:                                  Thank you, I think we will walk, though if you could, please, please would you stalk? My Dancing Bear far into the wood? Take my worries too, he left them with me, as is his way, return them to bear, kindly please? He’s powerless with you, your wings my worries now! How light they weigh.

(Scene ends with Dragon Fly buzzing away.)

Scene 3

At Rise: (Later that evening, Spacesuit Man walking home after the movie with his Wife, stepping lightly.)

Darling, you know what my favorite line is? No wait, my favorite is that her name is Holly Golightly, that’s my favorite. My all time, all time favorite. But when she says, Audrey I mean, it’s Holly says it in the movie, you know what I mean, it makes me dizzy, that “Reading dreams. That’s what started her walking down the road. Every day she’d walk a little further: a mile, and come home. Two miles, and come home. One day she just kept on.”

(Beat)

It makes me feel almost like I could float away with that line. Somehow I feel lighter, dreaming, (beat) with you.

(After a few moments, getting no response, he adds, without judgment.)

And honey?  I don’t think green gazpacho agrees with me.

Wife —                                               (Sigh turns to a yawn) Yes dear, so you said.

(Scene ends.)

Scene 4

At Rise:  (Later that night, a creature, half toad, half snake, with scales and a most beguiling baritone voice, it’s the snake, is aroused by the warmth of the fire in the garden as Wife has lit the flame and now rests beneath the stars warming herself by the embers.)

Snake —                                              The fire’s warm, thank you for that.

Wife ––                                                I can’t sleep. That dream again, so real. Am I dreaming? Or is my mind gone wild? What am I thinking? This cannot be, what do I see?

Is that a snake? Is that a snake in our garden, got over the wall? Is that a snake I am talking to, tell me you are not, nooooo, please don’t even talk.

(She gradually recovers from her recoiled stance and leans lightly in to inspect.) 

What even are you, a serpent? Here am I your rendezvous, my mind’s in complete disturbance. Where is my mind?

Snake —                                              Thank you again for the fire, my dear. Whatever it is that is in your mind, it’s fine I’m sure. Such a clear night. You can see forever, and beyond. The stars help you unwind? Find companionship with your mind? It will be fine. As the stars are above, so is your mind fine, my love.

Wife –                                                 (Calming, still astonished and curious, but first.)My love’, bite your tongue, I am a lady. And you are a snake you know, with the head of a toad, with the eyes of a _____.

(She stops short, as his eyes take her breath away.) Oh my! I don’t want to say, I shouldn’t say really. But your eyes, they’re so…. really? Yes, that’s the long and the short of it. It’s true.

You are a snake no doubt, no matter what I do. It’s settled. (Pause.)

Also, serpent beast, I am most certainly, not “your love! (Harrumph.)

Snake –                                               A figure of speech my dear. But fine, have it your way. I can be many things. And please I am a snake, you must call me Snake, all my (beat) friends do?

All in time. You were saying you don’t know where your mind is. You don’t know what is in your mind, these thoughts and dreams?

Wife –                                                 Yes, surely I am mad. And lest there be any doubt, I am telling this talking to a snake, to a serpent coiled at my feet.  I don’t belong here, I cannot be of this time, in this place,

(Her lip trembles and the next words erupt in a sob.)

or with this damn husband.

Snake —                                              Now, now, my dear. He seems nice enough (catches himself), I mean all husbands have their rough edges. Some hide them behind a wall, almost like they’re wearing a helmet too, so it would seem?

Wife —                                                Oh, I don’t know, he’s really a decent man. I just can’t get through to him. It’s like he’s somewhere else. No matter where I be he’s not there. All the time? Is that normal?

We’re alike enough, we used to love doing things together. He would talk to me. I would listen. But now, I don’t know what’s happened, but either he quit talking or I quit listening, and now there’s no light. I need more light.

The stars you say? You keep mentioning the stars? (Suspiciously.) Did my husband send you?

Snake –                                               I can swear on my life, no he did not. I am quite certain of that. I don’t think he even likes snakes. (Adding quickly.) Least that’s the word on the ground.

Wife –                                                 Because, all my husband thinks about, all he can talk about is space, he’s obsessed with the stars. How far away they are. How magical they are? How they sparkle? The patterns they make? Most of all how they came to be? Who made them? He’s crazy about the stars! More facts than stars it seems.

Snake —                                              Don’t you like the stars?

Wife —                                                Sure, but I don’t study them. I just like the calm, the quiet like tonight? It’s beautiful, like a dream but it’s real. All these stars looking at us, look at them. I’d like to live somewhere where there is no light, so we could just see the Milky Way, even be the Milky Way?

Snake —                                              Well why don’t you?

Wife –                                                 Why don’t I what?

Snake –                                               Live somewhere where the skies are dark and the stars are bright?

Wife –                                                 Remember my husband? He wouldn’t want to move. We’ve lived here, well it seems like forever. It is forever.

Snake –                                               He casts a long shadow. Maybe move, or nudge him that way? Nudge him your way. To the light?

Wife —                                                Well I am trying. (Sheepishly.) Can you keep a secret?

Snake –                                               How’s that?

Wife —                                                Well, it’s been a long time coming. But I don’t make his favorite meals anymore. I quit helping with his clothes, his taste is awful. Sometimes I’m not even home when he comes home from work. I used to meet him at the door.

It’s on purpose I suppose. Though I don’t mean it. I just don’t feel it. We’ve lost our purpose I fear. That’s what scares me most, is we’re lost.

(Crying gently.)

I have tried everything. But he just keeps loving me and it hurts. It’s too much. I hate it he loves me so much. (Dabs her eyes.)

Snake —                                              SSSSSSSSSSS, it’s going to be ok. He seems very understanding?

Wife —                                                Oh, he is. Truly he is. But he’s so old. I thought he would stay younger, like me. But the older I get, the older he gets. Or the other way around. I don’t care, I just want it to stop?

Snake —                                              Well, at least he loves you.

Wife —                                                That just makes it harder on me though. When someone loves you too much, your loving them back starts to feel like an obligation, like a job even. I tell you, I’m crazy. Here I am, alone in the dark of night, searching for a sign,

(Sobs)

and talking to a snake? I rest my case, I am crazy, see?

Snake –                                               You’re not crazy to me. I see all kinds from my lie. You may have lost your paddle? But it’s allowed, to seek your own life?

Wife –                                                 Thank you for saying that, my – bewitched — serpent. Strange, to call you a dear? Those eyes though.

But about my derangement, another prong to my argument?

I put arsenic in his soup! Again! Tonight! That’s the third time this week. Before the movie even. The worst. Me. I am the worst.

Snake –                                               I mentioned a nudge, not a sledge? We were speaking of a wee nudge, not poison. Remind me, which one of us is the snake?

Ok, I am sorry, it’s reflex, my bite. But you took me by surprise, and snakes don’t like surprises, I’m afraid it’s true.

Wife —                                                I know, I know but I’m out of my mind. I just want to be alone? This was just last night. I’m mad.

Snake —                                              You don’t really want him to die though? Do you?

Wife —                                                How else can I be free? Oh, it’s no use. He’s immune to my frailty. He complained of an upset stomach on the way home from the show, then he retired early to bed. Just an ordinary day in our marriage. At least now?

Leaves me to sit up late watching the stars.

(Gasp)

Oh, look, a falling star. Did you see it?

Snake —                                              Yes, I surely did. Things could be worse? Did you make a wish?

Wife —                                                Yes. I always do. I always make the same wish.

Snake –                                               May I ask? What is your wish?

Wife —                                                I think I’ve told you quite enough.

(Beat)

Snake –                                               What if told I told you I can grant wishes. Why I asked, not to be creepy.

Wife —                                                You do? How do you do that? Like I’m going to believe you. You’re a snake.

Snake —                                              So you’re convinced?

Wife —                                                You got me, I knew before the words came out of my mouth.

Snake —                                              Well, do you want to be a star? Be known through all the world.

Wife —                                                No, how can I wish to be a star? I cannot even dream right. All I get are snakes? Sorry. I just want to be free, unencumbered, twirling and dancing, making people happy. Yes, if I could put just a little light in people’s lives, just a little happiness that would make me glad. So very glad.

Snake —                                              Would you like to live forever? Beyond all imagination, from before we remember to long after we are forgotten. You would live, your light could shine, all that time through all the world. No poverty of days for you. I could give you endless days. Would you like that?

Wife –                                                 It sounds nice enough, but my Mother taught me, “anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Too good to be true.”

Snake —                                              She was wise, to be sure. I have special powers though, only for you if you choose? Think about it. We can talk tomorrow maybe?

Wife —                                                (sarcastically) Sure tomorrow? I don’t even believe we are talking today, but yeah sure, tomorrow we can too. Again. I don’t believe I am saying this right now?

(She considers his offer, she is tempted.)

I usually walk in the morning. And if I were to hear a snake talk to me while I walk? Ok, I’ll listen. Until then, I am either crazy or dreaming. Leave it at that, say good night.

(She wants to believe.)

Promise me though, do not return here, to our garden please. Never, I insist. It’s too dangerous, if my husband sees you, I don’t know what he would do. He does not like creatures in the garden. Certainly not snakes.

Snake —                                              Fair enough. Don’t worry about me though. We shall see what tomorrow brings, and the falling stars.

(Scene ends with a dark night, the stars, and one falling.)

Scene 5

At Rise: (The next morning. In the kitchen.)

Spacesuit Man —                               Good morning honey. Coffee’s on. The flowers from yesterday look better than fresh? Nice to sleep in? Did you sleep well?

Wife —                                                (Sweetly.) Yes dear. I did in fact. Had the most amazing dream. Something about a magical creature? a snake, maybe a serpent, but it talked?

Spacesuit Man —                               (Bemused.) How odd? Two nights in row. Could be an omen, probably is. Maybe I should shave?

Wasn’t the movie, no couldn’t be that. Not Tiffany’s?

You never mentioned, was your stomach upset too? That can affect dreams? No? Then I am going to shave. Back in a bit.

(Blows her a kiss. She tries a kiss back. He leaves. She sighs, puzzled; worried and intrigued, both?)

Wife –                                                 (Talking to herself) Well, let’s take a walk, see what we see?

(As she leaves the house, a dragonfly buzzes through the yard, and follows her down the block. She walks, unaware of her companion close behind. She continues talking to herself, not noticing the buzzing.)

What can I do? He doesn’t even know me? We’ve tried to talk, but it’s either work, or the garden or those darn stars. And what was that about shaving? He never shaves. He hardly has a beard?

Work all day, head in the stars all night.

At least he likes movies. We can start there. What old movie should we see next? 

(She smirks.)

Maybe Alien? (chuckling) A fantasy about serpents, and being lost in space, hmmm.

Dragon Fly –                                      Yes, the Alien, he would like that. He would.

(The idea gives her energy. There’s also a buzzing. She stops abruptly, puzzled, looks around, sees nothing.)

Wife —                                                I really must be losing it? Last night, a dream about a snake, oh my. This morning voices? Did I spill some arsenic?

Dragon Fly —                                     No you did not. It’s true though, less arsenic the better.

Wife –                                                 (Shrieks) Whatever is that voice, that sound. Who’s there? Is it in my mind?

(Dragon fly lands on her shoulder.)

Dragon Fly —                                     He does love you, he’s just confused. You are confused, he is confused. Stars are crossed sometimes. He cares for you, and you don’t really want to hurt him. Else he’d be dead already. You just want to be yourself. He would like that too, I’m sure.

Wife —                                                Who are you, and how you talk?

Dragon Fly —                                     How do you dream?

Wife —                                                What do you mean?

Dragon Fly —                                     You talked in your dream with a, well there’s no slinking away from the truth, that snake you were talking to last night?

Wife —                                                Are you spying on me?

Dragon Fly —                                     No. Never. You’ve heard of grape vines? And the new one? Going viral? We even have dark matter. Nature keeps up with the buzz.

(Hesitating, attempting to grok yet another new phenomenon, all in a day? But with good cheer.)

Wife —                                                Ok then, what did we say? What did we talk about?

Dragon Fly —                                     He promised he could make you a star? He promised you life beyond mortal life, a supernatural life, immortality even. But did he mention the price?

Oh, one other thing my lady, you seemed taken by his eyes?

Wife –                                                 (Gasp) It was not a dream? I thought it must be. A dream.

I hoped it was a dream, really I did.

At least I think I did. Do I know what I want?

Dragon Fly –                                      Matters not if it was a dream, fact is was the Snake. And for some reason, he has chosen you. He would hiss if I called you his victim. Even I hate to bring bad news, yet I fear this is just what you are.

(Snake enters.)

Snake —                                              SSSSSSSSSSSS. Yes, I would hiss, and I will keep hissing. Leave this lady alone, stop poisoning her ears. We had a wonderful conversation about life, and death, and dreams, under the stars. We saw a star falling.

Enough with your victim talk, you’re a dragonfly, what could you know of the dark, the night?

You’re nothing to me, or to anyone. Just a hollow piece of cellophane from the past spinning randomly hither and yon for a few brief minutes. And then you die. Ha. Leave us be.

Dragon Fly —                                     Perhaps you protest too much? Yet, you are a slippery creature, no doubt. A clever snake, imagine that. Aren’t they all. My friend, I urge you beware this creature wriggling into your life has no honest intentions, I swear.

Snake –                                               There you sit, in her ear and you whisper. How can I defend myself, with you in her hair. Come down here, make your case to me fair.

Dragon Fly –                                      That does not seem safe, I’m staying up here just in case.

Snake –                                               How you talk? Fair enough, what’s your business with the Mrs., my friend?

 (Embarrassed to be publicly reminded of her evening talk in the garden.)

Wife –                                                 ‘Friend?’, I trust there is the comma there, hard between Mrs. and friend I mean? I think it matters you know. Your hisses last night? Did they really happen?

Dragon Fly –                                      My lady, I’m sure he means me.

(Looks at snake)

I’m your friend now am I? I’m the one won’t trust you enough to sit close? To be near you on the ground, lower than I’ve ever been, where one flies with such beautiful wings would never be found.

Snake –                                               Well my friend to be, (oily salesman twirling his moustache affect), then humor me please ask if the lady’s seen a falling star last night, perhaps from her garden while “dreaming” of a snake. Said snake, whether dreaming or scheming, recalls exactly that. Such a sight!

(Embarrassed, oblique and coy.)

Wife —                                                A falling star, well there are falling stars all the time. And for the record I saw the star, not you.

(Her confession goes unremarked.)

Snake –                                               Seldom is night the time for me to be gazing, too cold when I need warm not freezing. Last night the fire in the garden, it waked me. Imagine that, a falling star, a fire in the garden and the lady claims she was not there? Too bad. She was very nice. I recall talking with her about a falling star. It was paradise. I cannot forget. Even if she wants. You see, no one talks to me, least of all the ladies. Something about a worm and an apple, a story embellished from long, long ago. Somehow it took?

Dragon Fly –                                      How sweet you talk, it all sounds very nice, too bad my wings fly neither in flame nor night.

Snake –                                               I wish you would come down here with me, on my level? I make no promises, but if the lady can trust me, surely you with the wing, could do a rethinking?

(Weakening at Snake’s persuasion, Dragon Fly weakens as his pride pushes him forward.)

Dragon Fly –                                      Well, I still trust my lady over you, but you seem nice enough. If you say you were there, I have no quarrel or care. Perhaps I’ll fly down closer, there on the ground. Just for a moment, I’m nervous by nature.

(Masterfully, Snake coils his excitement, concealing his true motive.)

Snake –                                               Nature, you say. Yes, nature is what we are talking about.

(Looks at Wife. Wife looks at Dragon Fly. Dragon Fly nervously skitters.)

Wife –                                                 Ok, I may remember now. I thought I had dreamed, even this morning I mentioned to my husband, how real it all seemed?

(Dragon Fly flutters lower to rest on the rock by the snake. Snake is nonchalant which Wife attempts to mirror.)

You say you were there, it’s true I don’t really care.

Snake –                                               It is all well, I remember what I choose, and today I will not forget. I choose you.

(Snake strikes and takes and eats the Dragon Fly in a single bite.)

Wife —                                                (Screams and shouts.) How could you? You monster. I trusted you, we trusted you. How could you?

Snake —                                              Nature my dear, we all have a nature, it’s a not a bug, it’s a feature. Yum, (licks his lips) a very fine tasty creature!

(Scene ends with Wife running away, presumably home.)

Scene 6

At Rise:  (Back home in the garden, Spacesuit Man has remained slumped in the dumps, stomach churning, ruminating over his Wife and her talk of this Snake, what could it mean? He is seated on a bench in the garden when his Wife comes running hysterically.)

Wife                                                    (Through sobs) Oh my darling I am so foolish, I made a mistake and made friends with a snake. I don’t know what to do, he ate my friend Dragon Fly, swallowed him whole. Oh, what will I do, there’s nothing for me. We must go, before he finds us here.

Spacesuit Man                                   Slow down my dear, nothing to fear, no snake is here, though what I hear has me in a grip so strong, I cannot break it away? A snake you say? Not Dragon Fly too, make it stop! My dear when I sleep are there things that I talk? I know these creatures from your walk?

Wife                                                    The snake? The ugly serpent. You too?  Wait does he speak? Your Dragon Fly does the same for you? I am a fool, my mind and his, now deceived. He’s dead, I weep.

Spacesuit Man                                   Yes dear, please come here. I will hold you close, that he may not encroach. This snake last night, the same snake if I’m right? He came to me, made me promise not disclose his warning, his message broke my heart, that we might come apart? Claimed your want of something else, felt it take away my pulse. Why I now, sit here alone and pine for you, last night Snake left me very sad and blue.

(Their embrace, a loving hug lasts a few moments, longer, stronger and more genuine than any caress they have shared in a long time. Wife is still sobbing quietly, when a voice familiar to Spacesuit Man is heard.)

Dancing Bear                                     For the first in a very long time in my life I ask your forgiveness I’ve eavesdropped on you and your wife. Say no more I know these creatures. The Dragon Fly may not be my friend. Still, he deserves better, such an ignominious end?

He meant well as a bug you could trust, though for me it was mostly disgust. Still Snake when he speaks is only hunting that which he seeks – the gift of your lives, which I fear he will have. If he survives!

Wife                                                    Oh no, it is my fault. I wanted to walk, to find him again, so beguiling his talk.

Spacesuit Man                                   No honey, it’s not you, it’s me. I could have killed him yet he talked me down from my whim, yes beguiling he is dear, if we listen again we may disappear. Whatever shall we do?

Dancing Bear                                     Not to worry, either you two, time is on our side. The Snake’s talk is filled with pride. Yet, he is stuck on the ground, at night he makes not a sound. Meanwhile it seems you two have been found?

Spacesuit Man                                   Spare us the riddle. It’s true, my tummy’s made peace with its furies, still you know all our worries, do something hurry, he knows this garden he’s heard all our stories. Right now he’s conniving. We stand and fiddle.

Dancing Bear                                     First allow me to share. Snake and I have been in this state, mortal foes,  longer than either of us care, though my time may have come, if this be my fate to which I succumb. It is my fare.

Trust me now please. And hurry, he may arrive here as we speak. For your garden has no place for keys. Here is my plan if he seeks you out first, pick up the shovel sir keep it in hand. And you my Mrs., my pleasure to meet. Where is this arsenic of which you speak?

(Wife, feigning innocence, smiles sweetly at Spacesuit Man’s evident surprise.)

If we wait patiently perhaps you Ma’am might make him a drink, appeal with your charms to light his desires, offer your cup before he can think.

Wife                                                    Dear Bear, you have me confused, inside and out, what makes you think I can overcome my own doubt. If he senses our scheme his forked tongue may end in my scream.

Dancing Bear                                     This is your chance, just get him to drink, it’s over in a blink, and (Bear winks) you’ll wake from your trance.

Spacesuit Man                                   My darling dear, and you too Mr. Bear, if she is to carry all of the weight, what about me? Am I not her first mate?

 (Wife smiles affectionately at the Spacesuit Man’s chivalry. Bear shrugs and smiles with another wink.)

Dancing Bear                                     Each of us play a part. The potion won’t harm him, it will just steal his smart, make him slow so your shovel can take him apart?

Spacesuit Man, Wife                         (Blurting concurrently) Kill him outright? 

Dancing Bear                                     Listen to you both, first you are scared for your life, yet my plan you do loath, this is your chance to be man and wife.

(Spacesuit Man and Wife, squeeze each other’s hands, with a mix of excitement and fear, and seem to find a rekindling of their feelings for each other?)

Spacesuit Man                                   Are you reverting to form my almost friend? The weight of my worries has never been your concern. It’s the same today, except you have a plan, one that involves nothing of you? Just us as your pawns?

Dancing Bear                                     Now, now, don’t worry or doubt. Like it or not we are in this together. Snake will not die, he might sleep, he might be in two pieces, but I will not lie. My magic alone is all that can vanquish the snake, trust me on this and make no mistake.

(Further nervous, affectionate glances between Wife and Spacesuit Man.)

Spacesuit Man                                   (To Bear) I will follow your lead. (To Wife) Do you agree? (she nods) Anything at all you might need?

(Wife nods cautiously her assent to proceed.)

Wife                                                    Somehow this plan should begin with me. Says my mind which was lost, now tells me agree!?

Dancing Bear                                     Alrighty then to our places my friends, daylight is waiting to find how this ends.

(Spacesuit Man retrieves the shovel and hides in a corner of the garden. Wife goes in the house to mix a pitcher of lemonade. Dancing Bear disappears.

In the quiet that remains, Snake enters as Wife returns to garden with the lemonade and several glasses.)

Snake                                                 Hello there my friend. We did not get to say our goodbyes yesterday in the end.

(Wife is startled at his sudden appearance and almost drops the platter, causing a rattle and commotion before she recovers.)

Wife                                                    Dare you speak of goodbye, did you goodbye to Dragon Fly?

Snake                                                 Nature gets what nature wants, no sense in nattering on with your taunts. The bug’s buzzing annoyed, though my palate enjoyed, surely a pleasant contrast, to  your green gazpacho repast?

(Wife frowns guiltily. Looks down.)

Planning a party are we?

Wife                                                   (Recovering.) Just a few friends, which I don’t need to remind, would not include you, least anymore.

Snake                                                 Remember your dreams, of finding your light? What happened my lady, your plight?

Wife                                                    Leave me be, can’t you see, this drink’s for a party.

Unless you are thirsty?

Snake                                                 Well I normally wouldn’t go for a treat, but from you the offer is very sweet. Of course, I would love one if you could please place the glass low on the ground?

(Wife fills the glass, places it on the ground keeping her distance from the snake. Her hands are shaking.)

 My dear why so nervous?  It’s just me at your service.

(Pauses to wait for her to pour herself a glass.) After you my dear, and thanks for your offer.

(Wife pours a glass for herself, shrugging her shoulders to Snake in answer to his thanks. She lifts the glass in a toast and pretends to take a drink. Snake takes a tentative sip, and then sips the glass down and smacks his lips.)

Wife                                                    Snake is thirsty? Drink up, will you have more?

Snake                                                 No, I’ll wait for you, it’s only polite. When are your friends coming by?

Wife                                                    After you are gone I pray?

(Snake hisses, and begins to coil and spasm violently.)

Wife                                                    Whatever is wrong, are you mad? You won’t stay long.

Snake                                                 What, what is in this glass? False sweets from one I called my friend? Tell me how to make this pass before you meet your end.

(Snake, moves awkwardly, and slowly. He acts drunk, and seems in pain as he slithers in the direction of Wife. She backs up nervously. Spacesuit Man emerges from the shadows behind Snake with the shovel raised over his head before striking Snake violently. And missing.)

Snake                                                 Hssssssss. I should have known, you’d laid a trap for me, tempt me from my throne, you two a conspiracy.

(There is a skirmish as Spacesuit Man attempts to strike Snake again, missing again. Wife jumps away as Bear enters.)

Dancing Bear                                     Snake stop your crawl right there evil enemy, go away, leave my friends with me. How about I help you? (bending down to snatch Snake’s tail) How about I throw you far from view?

(Bear seizes Snake by the tail and spins him round his head accelerating before releasing, sending the snake flying off far in the distance out of view. Bear collapses on the ground, while Wife and Spacesuit Man watch Snake’s humble launch. Before they can worry Snake might come back, they notice Bear in pain on the ground. He is ruefully rubbing his paw. Snake bit Dancing Bear before he did disappear!)

Spacesuit Man                                   Bear, my Bear are you ok?

Wife                                                    Oh Bear, I hardly know you. Now you’ve saved me, you saved us! Oh Bear you must pull through.

Dancing Bear                                     Do not worry about me, either of you. My skills are declining it’s true. Though this day’s been coming since the first breath I drew. It’s getting late, and the dark is my cue.

Wife                                                    You cannot leave us two? My husband and me, if he will still have me, you’ve saved us from more than that evil creature. You’ve saved us from ourselves, our cleverness not our best feature?

(Spacesuit man gazes longingly at Wife as she speaks. He is in a fog though, even as the twilight surrounds them.)

Spacesuit Man                                   What is it you could mean? ‘this day’s been coming’ and ‘it’s time for me to go’, if it’s true we must part, hear us keen? No, we will save you! It is our thanks for the “we” you’ve helped us renew.

Dancing Bear                                     My special friends, I have known few like you. I’ll miss you it is true. I’ll be watching above over all, and all the time over.  My place is chosen, preserved for me. Watch the night sky, each evening you’ll see.

(Wife and Spacesuit Man exchange puzzled, fraught looks.)

Here I am but a bear, a lonely mischief, most misunderstood. Soon I’ll be stars, showing the way. I go above, (pointing) there in the night. To find and share light.

Wife                                                    If my husband forbears let me speak truly to you of this light? It’s what I search, a chimera to me. I’ve been weak, your embrace made it clear. Let me see.

(Hesitates, then proceeds anxiously, earnestly.) Let me go with you! Closer to the light I seek. Thank you husband. Your understanding and giving me leave has given me life.

Spacesuit Man                                   I hear you clearly, see you brightly in the garden glowing, as if you’re the stars. This your wish? To be free? If this is my gift verily, it is only reflecting the happiness you give me? I am happy. Very happy indeed.

(Pauses, thoughtfully, lovingly.)

I do not understand all we contemplate, here in our garden we thought perfect, even now where this serpent met fate. What of Snake, Dancing Bear?

Dancing Bear                                     Snake is of the Earth, as far as you see? All his domain, his destiny to walk without legs, to fly without wings, to writhe through life unending, here Snake remains.

Spacesuit Man                                   And you will go to a place promised from the start, the stars you say?

Dancing Bear                                     It is true. I am of the stars, to the stars I return. You will call me Big Bear. Has been my training, to be Ursa Major watching over all time, all creation, all life that will be, now and forever this light, the light I will be. May it be true.

(Wife and Spacesuit Man exchange fascinated looks mixed with desire and intrigue, and fear too. Spacesuit Man frowns, thoughtfully.)

Spacesuit Man                                   So you are going away, leave me to stay? My Wife, she too is leaving, seems I should be grieving?

Might you indulge me a thought, my wish I submit is to be your escort? Dragon Fly is gone, sadly it’s true. No one left but creepy Snake, (beat) and me?

My garden will be fine alone, all my seeds sown. Let me come too, with Big Bear and, (beat) and who or what light will be Wife?

(Wife has been listening excitedly and now glows, eagerly, interestedly.)

Dancing Bear                                     Not for me to say. If I might suggest, perhaps a light could show true north? She might contain the Pole Star, she could be Little Bear to me, Dancing Bear turned Big Bear, names Little Bear? My dear, together we might change the night. Could you shine to that? (Looking at Wife.) Just a thought.          

Wife                                                    Is it a quiet light? You call it true north? A fancy on earth, the light of a star, is what I long for, my fortune is found. I cannot conceal myself. I vow to you both, my light will never hide. And always will guide all the earthbound.

As my husband forbears, thank you my dear, allow me to speak for his part. Seems his curiosity and ken for things I cannot understand make him a seeker too, a hunter of sorts, is there a light like that?

Dancing Bear                                     It can be settled as you wish, a hunter he shall be. Spacesuit Man, seems you’ve prepared for this role, as a long time goal? We shall call you Orion. Together we three shall be. Even more you will see, illuminating night and all life by our light.

Come with me, both of you now. Time is short, evening is here.

(Spacesuit Man, looks at Wife, then at Dancing Bear, considers them both back and forth, with a sense of fear and awe, and also, destiny?) 

Spacesuit Man                                  Dancing Bear how many times I asked? I should have known you’d carry my worries at last.

And my dear, my dear. Your search now walked to its end you won’t come back.

For me my garden bides me tend unawares my time at an end becomes our friend. (Smiles.)

(To the stars.) You read our dreams of words we dared not speak, to search your skies at night like the Romans and the Greek. You knew our minds, found the words here in our hearts. That we might be together, go with you among the stars, where always the love we make, the light will know it’s ours.

 (Final scene ends with Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Orion constellations circling overhead, and crickets, cicadas, coyotes howling in the darkness of the night.)

                                                            The End

Post Script

To Whom It May Concern

Before our leave we take,
A final star if you please
To put your mind at ease
I’ll tell you what became of Snake.

It’s true I threw Snake far from view,
How far is far enough for right?
I wish I could tell you ‘tis true,
Our Earth is now safe from blight.

But spy deep in the farthest southern sky
Look for stars like scorpion’s tail?
He’s his stinger now I’ll tell you why
It’s where I sent dead Snake to sail.

Our earth and garden here remain
For us to cherish night and day
While the starlight holds our anchor chain
Temptation’s never far away.

Always light, Sincerely,

Dancing Bear

The End.

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