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Descent Part 1
by Stephen Clark
Lola: *walks up the garden path*
Lola: *climbs the front steps*
Lola: *rings the doorbell*
Geraldine: *opens the door*
Lola: Hello -- my name is Lola, I'm here to see Warren. Is he in?
Geraldine: Yes, I think so. Are you his case-worker or something?
Lola: No, I'm his friend.
Geraldine: *surprised* well, come on in. Warren's in his bedroom I think. It's right through here. *calls out* HEY WARREN! SOMEONE TO SEE YOU!
Lola: *walks up to Warren's bedroom door and knocks on it*
Warren: *grunts from inside*
Lola: *opens the door*
Lola: *too loud* Hey Warren! How's it going! What's up?
Warren: *quiet* nothin' much.
Lola: *still too loud* Whatcha been doin'?
Warren: *quiet* just hanging out.
Lola: *loud* Cool! Hey, what say we get outta here and go out for a night on the town? We could go someplace nice, have a few drinks, see a band, maybe catch a movie, have a dance, party on down, y'know what I'm sayin'?
Geraldine: *looks on curiously*
Warren: *hesitantly* Uhhh -- I'm really not in the mood tonight.
Lola: Well what sort of mood are you in?
Lola: Well that's why you need to go out! Don't worry, we could go and see a really depressing shoegazy band and you could stand at the front and wave your arms like this *waves her arms in a parody of depression* and express your depression like that. Come on!
Warren: *remains silent*
Lola: You know why you're depressed? Because you spend too much time in this place. You stay here and isolate yourself. That's why you need to go out for one night an' have fun. So whaddya say?
Warren: -- -- well all right then.
Lola: Good! So like, you get ready, and pack your bag and all that, and I'll wait here. O.K.?
Warren: *closes bedroom door*
Lola: *goes into kitchen*
Lola: *avoids looking at Geraldine*
Geraldine: So how did you meet Warren?
Lola: Oh we met in psychiatric hospital. Yep. And we've kept in contact since then.
Geraldine: I'm surprised he HAS any friends. He, like, never goes out. He's never mentioned you. How long has it been? Seven months? Eight months? Since he left the hospital?
Lola: Yeah I've been friends with him all that time. I'm surprised he never mentioned me. *not really surprised* We've been out together several times.
Geraldine: Have you been out with him before while he's been living here?
Lola: No. I've been here before though. I've come over to see him, talk to him and that.
Geraldine: Hm. *pause* So you were a patient in psychiatric hospital?
Geraldine: So what do you do now?
Lola: Oh I do nothing much -- I'm on a pension -- I just sit around and bludge all day. Similar to Warren, except he's looking for work. Warren is so cool. Me 'n him have so much in common. We're both interested in the art -- and the computers -- and we like the same sorts of music, and that.
Geraldine: Well that's nice. I'm glad he has a friend. He hasn't been talking to me much lately.
Lola: *frowning a little* hmmmmm
Geraldine: What are you planning for tonight?
Lola: Well, I was thinking maybe we could could go to the corner hotel and have a few drinks and see a band, and whatever else I can persuade him to do -- I haven't really planned it.
Geraldine: How late are you gonna be staying out?
Lola: Oh, pretty late, I don't know.
Geraldine: How much are you going to drink?
Lola: I dunno, whatever. But don't worry, we won't be driving anywhere --
Warren: *comes out carrying his bag*
Lola: Oh here he is. Well, nice meeting you Geraldine, and we'll be off. Carn Warren -- *follows Warren slowly through the hallway* let's blow this pop-stand -- let's get outta here *opening the front door* let's paint the town red and party like there's no tomorrow --
Warren: *trembles as he walks*
Lola: Have you got your i.d.?
Lola: *closes the front door*
Lola: You know, I've never met your sister before. Surprising that you never told her about me. *walks*
Warren: Well *pause* it never came up. *walks*
Lola: Well that's understandable. *pause for 30 seconds* So what have you been doing? Besides hanging out I mean. You musta been doing something. What did you do yesterday? Name one thing that you did yesterday.
Warren: *racking his brain* well, in the morning I went in to Heidi's office to muck around on her computer. Trying to learn the graphics programs.
Lola: Are you making much progress with that?
Warren: I've been reading the instruction manuals and trying to do the tutorials, but it's hard to know exactly what I'm supposed to do to get experience with it.
Lola: Yeah that's a problem. *long pause* But what do you need experience for?
Warren: Well it's like, maybe if I become expert with these programs, I could apply for jobs. In the pre-press area.
Lola: Man, you don't have a hope of doing that. You should just enjoy yourself while you have access to a computer. The mucking around is good with Photoshop -- you can make some beautiful stuff.
Warren: What do you mean I don't have a hope of doing that?
Lola: Of getting a job? Maaan, the employers aren't gonna believe you when you tell them you've mastered computer-graphics programs just by reading the manuals and mucking around. They'd want to see some proof -- like a course certificate.
Warren: You're saying I should just give up then?
Lola: Give up what?
Warren: Trying to learn them.
Lola: Naaah, it's good to learn computer graphics programs. You should be learning them just for yourself -- make some cool stuff. It's art, y'know. And that's what you're good at. *pause for ten seconds*
Warren: Do you remember I told you that Heidi was considering taking me on as a trainee?
Lola: Yeah. *pause for five seconds* So what happened with that?
Warren: It fell through. Heidi decided to merge her business with another business, and the other business already has a couple of trainees so they don't need anymore trainees, so...
Lola: *apathetic* Yeah. It seems like a pity, but personally I don't think you would've been happy in a traineeship like that.
Warren: I guess. But it would've been better than nothing.
Lola: But it wouldn't have been better than a regular course, right? I mean, you said to me last time that you'd probably prefer doing a TAFE course than become Heidi's trainee.
Warren: Yeah. But as it is I can't do either.
Lola: Well -- cheer up. 'Cause if the TAFE people don't want you, then maybe it wasn't meant to be. It opens your options, in a way -- maybe something even better will come along that you would have missed out on if you'd got into one of the courses.
Warren: *quietly annoyed* yeah, right. *long pause* where exactly are we headed to?
Lola: Tonight? Well I don't wanna plan this night too much, just take it as it comes, spontaneous-like, but to start with we're walking to the station.
Warren: *looks at the ground*
Lola: So how are you. Really though.
Warren: I'm fine.
Lola: *pause for eight seconds* But you're depressed, right?
Lola: *pause for nine seconds* Are you still looking for work?
Lola: Doesn't it strike you that it's all a waste of time and effort?
Warren: What do you mean? The job searching?
Warren: Well what else am I supposed to do?
Lola: I don't know -- you should be having more fun. Like tonight, we're going to have fun. You and me. What's the time? 8pm. The night is young. You know what we should do?
Lola: We should hang out someplace. No, we should go to the corner hotel in Richmond. Or maybe the HiFi Bar. It depends. Emporium are playing at the HiFi Bar, and Fearloop are playing at the corner. I was thinking if you were in the mood, we could go to see Emporium, but otherwise, Fearloop, y'know what I'm sayin'?
Warren: I don't really care.
Lola: That's the spirit! You don't have to make a decision -- we can go to both. Or neither. 'Cause we don't plan ahead -- we just take life as it comes, right?
(silence for two minutes)
Lola: What's it like living in Brighton?
Warren: It's the same.
Lola: *pause for five seconds* Is that good?
Lola: Is it Geraldine? Are you sick of being around her?
Warren: Not exactly. I mean she can be annoying sometimes with her music and all, but the main problem is that she's not doing much to help me. Like she said she would.
Lola: Oh, come on.
Lola: Are you talking about the line-drawing thing? The way she said she'd be able to help you get work doing line drawings for her friend's business? I warned you about that, didn't I?
Warren: Actually I heard her talking on the phone yesterday to someone and she said that maybe SHE'D be helping out at her friend's business -- doing the same sort of stuff that she promised I'D be doing. 'Cause she needs the extra money now. And I'm thinking, if she can get work for herself, now, then why couldn't she have got work for me, before?
Lola: Well maybe she CAN'T get work for herself now. Let's not jump to conclusions. And why does she need the extra money now, anyway? Did she lose her secretary job?
Warren: No but she's planning an overseas holiday in the near future. She's saving up for that.
Lola: Where's she going?
Warren: To Malta. To join her ex-boyfriend who is already over there.
Lola: Her ex-boyfriend?
Lola: Her EX boyfriend?
Warren: Yeah well they're still good friends. But I don't know how she could even think of spending so much money on a holiday when she's so strapped for cash already as it is. She's got a lot of debts.
Lola: She's still in debt to you, isn't she? Is that what this is about?
Warren: It just seems like such a waste. Like flushing money down the toilet.
Lola: Well *careful pause* if it's so important to her, then you can't really regard it as wasteful. I mean, if you were to spend a bunch of money on electronic music equipment, then that wouldn't be a waste, would it?
Warren: No. But a holiday is different. It doesn't last.
Lola: But the memories last. It's not that different. And it's important to her, in the same way.
Warren: *thinking it over in a new light* I guess.
Lola: *pause for ten seconds* What about Heidi? Is she annoying to be around?
Warren: Oh no. I wouldn't call her annoying. I think of her as kind of authority figure around the house. Whenever I do something wrong and she corrects me, I feel, like, really inferior. I'm often afraid of annoying her. But that's one of the reasons I don't like living in that house.
Lola: Maaaan, you wouldn't have wanted that traineeship position. You'd be like her lackey -- she'd be giving you orders all the time. And her friends would be telling you what to do as well. The money's not very good for a traineeship, anyway -- it's less than the pension, when you start off.
Warren: The pension?
Warren: I didn't get the pension.
Lola: *stops walking* WHAT?
Warren: *stops* I didn't get the pension.
Lola: *just stares at him*
Warren: What? You look like I've just told you something like the end of the world or something.
Lola: I -- I -- but why didn't you get it? You were eligible for it!
Warren: Apparently I wasn't.
Lola: *slams her palm against her forehead*
Warren: Seems to me you were just assuming I'd get it.
Lola: Those IDIOTS! How could they deny you a pension? Can't they see you're disabled enough?
Warren: Why have we stopped walking? Are we still going to the station?
Lola: Yes, but... hang on -- I think we should stop somewhere along the way. See that pub over there? Let's go in there and talk a while.
Warren: But we can talk out here!
Lola: I'd rather go in there. I want to order a drink. *starts walking*
Warren: Well, O.K. *follows her*
Lola: *keeps silent as she approaches the pub*
Warren: *wonders if this is one of those rough dangerous pubs*
Lola: *hopes Warren will have a drink with her*
Warren: *follows Lola into the pub -- it's a quiet time -- there are many empty tables and chairs*
Lola: *heads for a table over in the corner*
Warren: *sits down*
Lola: Do you want a drink?
Warren: No thanks.
Lola: *close to his ear* Aah, come on! I'll get you some wine! The nice stuff! Just one drink!
Warren: *shakes his head*
Lola: I'll pay for it! I'll go over and order it, and I'll pay him the money! O.K.?
Warren: Yeah all right then.
Lola: *goes over the the bar*
Warren: *waits for a minute or two, trying not to make eye contact with anyone*
Lola: *comes back with two glasses of white wine* Here we are! This one's yours -- *sits down and takes a sip*
Warren: *looks at his wine-glass as if trying to make sense of it*
Lola: Go on! Drink it! We can't stay here long -- *sips* Maaan, I can't believe those idiots didn't grant you a pension -- they don't know WHAT they're doing.
Warren: Ah come on, I never really thought I had a chance. It was a long shot.
Lola: *making believe she's already drunk* No it wasn't, babe -- you almost got it -- I just know that somehow. *sips* It makes sense for you to have a pension -- the system should recognise that.
Warren: *sips* Why?
Lola: Because -- *sips* the system should pay -- for keeping you alive. You are an asset to society -- and society should pay -- for the privelege -- of having you in its midst.
Warren: *smiles and shakes his head*
Lola: *sips* You've been feeling down lately, right?
Warren: Yes. *takes a sip*
Lola: It's society's fault. You wouldn't be feeling so low if you'd got the pension. *sips* You should get back at them.
Warren: What are you talking about?
Lola: I don't know. Don't pay heed -- I'm just drunk.
Warren: No you aren't. *sips*
Lola: Well I feel like I should be. *sips* When are you going to buy yourself a computer?
Warren: I don't know. Probably never.
Lola: *looks into his wandering eyes, looking for clues* What are you planning, then? Do you have any plans for the future?
Warren: *sips* I'm planning to get a job.
Lola: But *sips* but what else? What if you can't get one?
Warren: Then nothing, I guess.
Lola: *pauses for six seconds, thinking that her drink tastes really bad* How long can you go on like this?
Warren: *sips* I don't know.
Lola: Are you contemplating suicide?
Lola: *pauses for five seconds* Seriously?
Warren: *avoids her gaze* I'm thinking about it
Lola: *sips* Are you planning it?
Warren: *pauses for eight seconds* No. Not planning it.
Lola: That was a heckuva long hesitation there, before you said that.
Warren: *sips* so?
Lola: So O.K., then so you're going to go on living?
Lola: *pauses for twenty seconds, sipping a bit more wine*
Warren: *thinks the suicidal line of questioning is over*
Lola: *leans closer to him* Warren -- I -- just want you to know --
Lola: I'd like you to think that you can tell me things that you wouldn't tell other people -- like Geraldine, and your parents, and your psychologist -- because -- if you were to tell me that you're planning to kill yourself -- I wouldn't turn you in to the authorities, you know -- I wouldn't tell Geraldine -- I wouldn't tell your parents -- or your psychologist, I wouldn't tell anyone. Even if it meant the difference between you living and you dying, I still wouldn't tell anyone.
Warren: *takes a big sip*
Lola: It would be our little secret. So really, though, are you planning it?
Warren: *pause for five seconds*
Warren: Yes, I am.
Lola: *pauses for six seconds*
Warren: *feels like a weight has been taken off him*
Lola: When are you going to do it?
Warren: A week from now. The sixteenth.
Lola: *feels a tightening around her eye muscles* And how are you going to do it?
Warren: Electrocution. Paper clip in a power-point, in my room.
Lola: *sips* Thankyou for telling me. I won't tell anyone, that's a promise.
Warren: *sips* good then.
Lola: But I'll be sorry to see you go.
Warren: *feels guilty*
Lola: *sips* I mean, it's like, you're a really special person and I'll be losing a good friend --
Warren: *feels guilty and annoyed*
Lola: Are you sure you aren't making a big mistake?
Warren: *puts down his glass* You're trying to talk me out of it, aren't you?
Lola: *waves her hands* No, oh no --
Warren: Yes you are -- you're trying to talk me out of it just like my psychologist would. You're like an authority figure now.
Lola: No, no, I'm not one of them -- I'm on your side --
Warren: *gets up from the table* I don't think there's any point in continuing this date -- you're going to be lecturing me about this for the rest of the night. *starts to leave*
Lola: *gets up* Wait a minute! You haven't finished your drink! Just stay here for a few minutes longer!
Lola: I won't lecture you -- I won't even talk about it if you don't want me to. *sits down and beckons him*
Warren: *sits down and wraps his hand around the glass*
Lola: Just relax, babe. I wouldn't try to talk you out of it -- it would be hypocritical of me because I know that I'll probably end up the same way. *sips* What I'm afraid of is that you won't enjoy your last few nights on earth -- that you'll spend them alone in your bedroom and die alone in there. You ought to be out having a good time, living it up in your last days -- spending your money -- you could be partying like there's no tomorrow -- I used that expression jokingly as we left the house, but for you there really IS no tomorrow, or at least no next week, so you could be living that expression for real. Have you ever gotten drunk?
Lola: Have you ever HAD a drink, before today?
Warren: *sips* Yes. But never more than one.
Lola: Well tonight I'll buy you a few drinks, you can see what it's like, you'll enjoy it, you'll have a good time. As it should be.
Warren: O.K. then.
Lola: *sips* Geraldine wants you to have fun, but she'd never advise you to go out and get wasted. She'd be afraid that it would be bad advice, and she'd be afraid of putting you in any sort of danger, but sometimes you've just gotta take a few risks to come out on top. You'll be dead in a week so you've got nothing to lose, right?
Lola: *sips* I've almost finished my drink. Drink faster, I'm eager to get out there. *sips* Y'know, now that you've explained to me the depths of your sadness, I really think Fearloop is the band we should go and see. Have you ever heard of Fearloop?
Warren: *gulps* I've never heard their music.
Lola: Well I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Warren: What sort of music do they play? Are they slow?
Lola: *sips* Slow? Maaan, they're the slowest! It's so slow it can hardly even be called music! I mean these guys -- *sips* -- when these guys get up on stage, it's like the whole place goes dead! It's like they're standing there in a coma, eyes closed, moving their hands sort of like, like *makes strumming gesture in a slow zombie-like imitation* -- maybe one note every eight seconds on average -- and they totally send the crowd to sleep -- maaaan, we'll be seeing a lot of sleeping headbangers tonight. All over the joint.
Warren: *smiles* I can't wait to see them.
Lola: The sleeping headbangers? Oh, the band! Yeah, you'll love 'em, man they've got abolutely no talent.
Warren: *empties his glass* Well, you've talked me into it. It's Fearloop tonight.
Lola: *takes last sip and gets up* You've finished? Good! Lets get outta here -- we're gonna have one last fling tonight -- we're gonna have a good time before the end -- we'll catch the train to Richmond and whatever -- we're gonna get wrecked and party till dawn let's go
Warren: *gets up, suppressing smile*