Stories

Paper Thin

The scene opens with a lone tree stump center stage. The tree stump is 3 meters wide in diameter. Upon the tree stump is a girl in large sized grey colored shirt for her petite body and worn overalls. She sits on the stump cross-legged holding a piece of paper and looking intently at it. Jesca is the girl on the stump. A moment later an other girl enters in stage left walking aimlessly, this girl is Susanna. Susanna is dressed in a long, washed out, black maxi.  She sees Jesca on the stump buried in her paper and decides to go up to her and sits beside her.

Susanna: What is that?

Jesca: A page.

Susanna: Why’re you looking at it?

Jesca: It was lying here.

Susanna: Is that why?

Jesca: Why what?

Susanna: Why you’re looking at it?

Jesca: Looking at what?

Susanna: The page.

Jesca: (Pedantically) It’s a letter.

Susanna: To you?

Jesca: Maybe.

Susanna: Maybe?

Jesca: Maybe it’s from me.

Susanna: Wouldn’t you know?

Jesca: Who knows anything these days?

Susanna: Well the farmer knows where to get the best fruits, he sells them at a dollar twenty-five a piece.

Jesca: Sells what?

Susanna: I don’t know, apples I suppose.

Jesca: Who knows? (looking down at her knees) Does he know about this stump? I heard it was an apple tree.

Susanna: I heard that too. It slithered into my ear the rumor.

Jesca: Rumor?

Susanna: Yeah, that after chewing on Genesis the Pastor got struck by monomania and in a radical fit started chopping the tree only to have it fall on top of him crushing him.

Jesca: Is that true?

Susanna: Well I did see Preacher Tom yesterday so maybe someone from the North?

Jesca: Who knows (sigh)

Susanna: What does the letter say?

Jesca: (looking back at the paper) I’m trying to decipher it.

Susanna: Decipher? Didn’t you say you wrote it?

Jesca: I thought so too, but the letters are dancing and I have two left feet, look! (Extending her legs out as Susanna looks at them)

Susanna: (unsure) I guess so.

Jesca: No, look carefully.

Susanna: I am!

Jesca: You see a giant stepped on that end cutting off the bulk of the toe and a bee stung me on the other side and it has been swollen ever since.

Susanna: (squinting as she looks intently) Oh I see it now!

They sit in silence for a few moments.

Jesca: Can you dance?

Susanna: If you’ve ale beside you?

Jesca: Could we find some?

Susanna: We could.

Jesca: Couldn’t we? (silence) Should we find some? (looking at Susanna)

Susanna: We should! (nodding while looking at Jesca)

Jesca: Shouldn’t we? (nodding along with Susanna as they look at each other)

A moment of silence, they turn their attention back at the audience and Jesca places the piece of paper on her lap face down.

Susanna: (breaking the silence) I have an ailing brother.

Jesca: Is that so?

Susanna: Well, no. He’s more like a mouse.

Jesca: A mouse?

Susanna: Yes. No! More like a hen.

Jesca: A hen?

Susanna: Yes! A hen. (clucking like a hen)

Jesca: (laughing) What happened to it?

Susanna: (somber) I ate him.

Jesca: (shocked) The hen?

Susanna: No. My brother.

Jesca: Oh. (silence) How old was he?

Susanna: I don’t know.

Jesca: (Rhetorically) Who knows anything these days? (shaking her head)

Susanna: May I try reading the letter? (Hand extending out)

Jesca: (pulls away defensively) No! It’s a secret!

Susanna: Secret?

Jesca: Yes! He entrusted me with it.

Susanna: He?

Jesca: (looking around cautiously before whispering) The one who left the map.

Susanna: Map?

Jesca: (frantically covers her mouth, looks around. Exasperated, she points down at the paper roughly, wrinkling it in the process) THIS! (hissing)

Susanna: (furrowing her brows and moving Jesca’s hand from her mouth causing Jesca to look around anxiously for any one who would be eaves dropping) First page, then letter now a map! (angrily) Do you even know what it is?

Jesca: (stops her frantic movements and looks at Susanna offended with her right hand upon her chest. defensively) Of course I know! It’s for The Prophet and I am The Prophet (she declares)

Susanna: (her anger dissipates, now intrigued) You are The Prophet?

Jesca: Of course! (in a haughty manner) That’s why I am on this stump, waiting for it to grow.

Susanna: Is the secret in the tree?

Jesca: Who knows.

Susanna: (agreeably) Who knows anything these days. (She hesitates) If you are The Prophet then what am I?

Jesca: (without hesitation) My staff!

Susanna: Staff?

Jesca: Indeed.

Susanna: But I am not made of wood.

Jesca: Indeed (looking down and scratching her chin. she looks at Susanna analyzing her) and you are not of the same shade. Maybe you are my enemy. (eyes widening) The Antichrist! (Looks down at the paper she has now rolled up into a scroll) And I have to keep this scroll from you.

Susanna: Scroll?

Jesca: Hah! I knew it! You always wanted this (holding up the scroll) as long as I have Him by my side you shall never win demon. (leaping up onto the stump she hits Susanna on the head repeatedly Susanna repeatedly swats the paper away. Finally she tries to grab it to pull it away from Jesca) I asked for your evil scheme but you will not reveal. Of this I am a witness, Antichrist!

Susanna: What’s that? (Jesca stops hitting her upon hearing the question and looks at her) Antichrist?

Jesca: (Calmly) I don’t know.

She sits down besides Susanna. Both peer out to the audience lost somewhere in distant thought. The paper is now wrinkled and ripped in both their hands as they sit on the stump looking out at the audience.

Both: Who knows anything these days?


Daily Prompt Paper

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