Cabinet

man ray.png
A white room. Like burnished ivory, like karmic burden.
Cut to a close-up on the back of a shaved head and neck. Several scars are visible on the back of the head.
Cut to a medium distance shot, in which the head and neck are in the foreground, and in the background, a body, visible only from the chest down.
Shirtless, thin build, cocoa-skinned, wearing tight electric blue leather pants.
The Body shuttles back and forth, back and forth, an interrogator on a horizontal pulley.
When the Body begins to question the Head, the camera goes in and out of focus, eventually settling on soft focus.
Body’s voice is soft, valium-inflected.
BODY
Did you do it a lot?
HEAD
We didn’t do it. He did it. He.
BODY
So it was done to you?
HEAD
Yes.
BODY
(to someone off-screen)
Make note of that.
Sound of typewriter keys clacking.
BODY
How did it begin?
HEAD
I don’t remember.
BODY
When did it happen?
HEAD
You mean time of day and stuff?
BODY
Yes.
HEAD
I don’t remember.
(Silence)
BODY exits.
Returns with a banana. Peels it. Eats it in several bites. We still don’t see above the BODY’S chest.
BODY
But it did happen, right?
HEAD
Yes. I can tell how you how it ended.
BODY
Go ahead. If you’d like.
HEAD
Right after I turned twelve he asked me if I wanted it to stop. He said I was getting older and it was probably a good idea if we stopped. If I wanted to. That was exactly how he put it.
BODY
And what did you say?
HEAD
I said—Okay—though I didn’t really know what I was saying okay to.
BODY
What do you mean?
HEAD
I wasn’t sure what we were talking about.
Shot grows fuzzy, roar of static. The sound of other voices, like overlapping frequencies on a CB. Picture eventually clears.
BODY
You didn’t know?
HEAD
When I thought about what he said, I felt like I was sticking my head in a black hole.
BODY
So you didn’t know?
HEAD
I don’t fucking know what I knew, I told you that I felt like my head was in a black hole, isn’t that enough?
BODY
(to offscreen person)
Please make note of the black hole.
Sound of typewriter keys clacking.
BODY takes a photo from his pocket, holds it up.
BODY
Is this him?
HEAD
No. It’s someone who looks like him.
BODY
What do you mean, someone who looks like him?
HEAD
I mean one day I saw a man on the street who looked like him and I snapped photo because I thought that one day, maybe, I don’t know, maybe one day it would be useful.
BODY
The photo?
HEAD
The photo, yes.
BODY
Useful as in . . . evidence?
HEAD
Yea, maybe.
BODY
You do understand that the evidence is inadmissible?
HEAD
Inadmissible?
BODY
We can’t use it. It’s not the same man. It’s someone who, in your own words, is someone who looks like him.
(Silence)
HEAD
Can I have a cigarette?
BODY
There’s no smoking in here.
(Silence)
BODY exits. Returns with a yellow balloon. Words and numbers are written in black marker on the balloon.
BODY
We found this balloon. It’s yours, right?
(Silence)
BODY (Cont.)
Written on it is a phone number, address, and the message—
HEAD
Help Me. Yes, it’s mine.
BODY
You know that we’re here because of this balloon?
HEAD
No we’re not.
BODY
We’re not?
HEAD
No.
BODY
Then why are we here?
HEAD
(slightly maniacal titter)
We’re here because, where else would we be?
(Silence)
BODY
When he said to you, we can stop if you’d like, how did that make you feel?
HEAD
How did that make you feel?
BODY
I wasn’t there.
HEAD
Oh yea.
(beat)
It made me feel . . . I didn’t know what he was talking about.
BODY
Pretend that you did.
(Silence)
BODY
I said—
HEAD
I was fucking pissed, okay? That he said we could stop. We.
Fuzz and static and overlapping frequencies return. Clears up.
BODY
Because you weren’t part of it?
HEAD
Because I wasn’t part of it, right.
BODY
Because you were somewhere else.
HEAD
I was somewhere else, yes.
BODY
(to offscreen person)
Please make note of that . . . she was somewhere else.
Sound of typewriter keys clacking.
HEAD
But what I said to him was—Okay.
BODY
Okay meaning you didn’t want it to continue?
HEAD
Yes.
BODY
And so it stopped?
HEAD
It stopped. Yes. It had been in my life before and then it wasn’t in my life. Like it had never happened at all.
BODY
How did that make you feel?
(Silence)
BODY
(to offscreen person)
Please make note of her silence at . . . 6:47 into the tape.
HEAD
Please do not make note of my silence.
BODY
But you didn’t say anything.
HEAD
Fuck you. There, I said something.
(Silence)
BODY
Would you like your photo and balloon back?
HEAD
No. Keep ‘em.
(beat)
Is that it?
BODY
For now, yes.
Static and fuzz and overlapping frequencies. This time the shot dissolves into a blur which then clarifies into a close-up on a mannequin’s face.
The mannequin has no hair, and her head and neck are resting on a red pillow, with red sheets on the bed.
Lingering close-up as we see a tear stream down the corner of the mannequin’s eye.
1950s-style pop tune begins playing.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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