14 - other side

ANGIE:
I don’t know why I agreed to end this.

It feels wrong, like—almost—I don’t know. It feels immoral to just talk about what’s happening and not—not do anything. I mean. We’ve done things, we’ve—we’ve—

[sigh]

People are dead. Not us, not—anyone I’m still close to, uh, in the present moment. But people are dead. I’ve—I went out to get coffee this morning and I saw five bodies—not what killed them, but—five bodies. Some from here, some from the other place. And we’re getting used to it, just—a few weeks into this, and I’m used to it.

One of them taught music at Corelli when I was a kid. I dunno why she’s dead, like—she—

She influenced me so much, and, uh.

Shit.

So. Anyway. I decided, uh, fuck coffee, I’m gonna try and do something. I’m gonna stop the apocalypse. And if you’re hearing me, uh, I guess that I succeeded. Or that I’m dead. But if I failed and I lived, I’ll record a different thing with, uh, something more concrete. Doing it live seemed a bit more badass. So. Cool! You decide which happened; choose your own damn adventure. Also, side-note, those books were absolutely the best, do they make them for college students? Please say yes or, if not, start making them, please.

So. Anyway. I’m in town hall right now. It’s empty, save for a conference room—my dad was on town council, when I was a kid, I know my way around here.

It was—orbs of light that allow transport. I was talking to Robin about her new obsession, all of this—well. We know. Weird occult shit—and she mentioned that light was, uh, powerful. Not evil or good or whatever, she said, uh, don’t be reductive, Angie, haven’t you ever read a book, which proves that, hey, being into the occult and having your wife go missing doesn’t mean a person’s changed completely, huh?

But. Anyway. I’m looking for orbs of light, and I’m listening for static, because those are our two big clues, right? Because, uh. Well. None of us can—

Obviously, Elaine is on the other side.

[beat]

Wait, no, that implies she’s dead. No. She’s—she’s alive, Other Teresa made sure we knew that, but, uh. She’s in that other place. You know, uh.

It’s just—we’re in this whole place of—

There’s no right thing to do, and I hate it! I hate how it went from fun-monster-of-the-week style stuff to feeling like I have to save the universe. And I—I guess that’s where Elaine went wrong, trying to save the universe, but, uh, if we can’t do that, what can we do?

My hands keep shaking. I’m not sure why. I guess—I’m nervous, that’s why, Obvi, but—I’m not normally so shaky. I’m a pretty stable person. Physically, I mean. Not—like, stable’s a tricky word, but that’s not the subject of this paragraph, even.

I just—I’m scared.

Hot take, maybe lukewarm take, but it’s cathartic to say that out loud, that whole I’m scared. I don’t think I’ve said that since sophomore year of high school. I didn’t say it when I should have said it, back when I, uh. Left That One School, but I’m saying it now, and I mean it. I’m scared.

This place is so empty. I don’t know how to deal with it. I can’t stand—I can’t stand quiet, I gotta talk or else I feel like I’m dead. Is that melodramatic? Probably. But that’s me, so. At least I’m self-aware, right? At least, at least, at least.

It’s just—

Okay, so.

I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared. That’ll drown out the silence in a jiff, yeah? Yeah. It will. I tried to be, like, the ultimate epitome of punk rock for years, and here I am, just saying that I’m afraid, and! It feels fine. Love it. Unironically and wholly, I love it.

Oh!

I just saw someone walk by. I couldn’t hear footsteps, couldn’t see a shadow, but it certainly was someone, so that’s noteworthy! That’s—the meeting’s adjourned, or whatever, and. Well. Neat!

No one else has come out of the meeting yet. Just this one person. Woman, forties, tall, thin, pale, uh. Pencil skirt, suit jacket, high heels, you get the gist. Overly tight bun that’s giving me a secondhand headache, like it’s stretching her hair off of her skull. You know the type.

Okay, I’ll be back soon.

[static]

[whispered]

Okay, cool, so, uh. I did get noticed, and I am in a waiting room right now, waiting to be yelled at by a villain, which, in concept, rad, in execution, terrifying and I really might die, so, hey. I’m kind of living my worst life right now. And until now, I thought I was living my middlest life, so, uh, it’s kind of a bummer to realize that I’m a few tiers below that, I guess. Should I try and be jokey, right now? It feels inappropriate—it’s like laughing at a funeral, I guess, kinda normal but weird and frowned upon nonetheless.

It’s not my worst coping mechanism. I’ve done far worse in bad situations. One time I had an anxiety attack at Hershey Park and I just, uh. Stole one of those big-ass carnival game bears, plus the rings from said carnival game, and then I darted back to the car and just left. It was probably the most I ever ran, which, uh, is kinda sad. More than kinda. Very.

Please don’t rat me out to the theme park cops. I was, like, thirteen. They, uh. I haven’t returned to any theme parks since; I skipped a Glee trip in high school because I was afraid.

[a door creaks open]

Oop! Time to die, folks. See y’all on the other side for real this time. Or—

Okay. Here’s what we’re gonna do.

Oh, it’s—it’s my MP3 player. It’s—it’s in my bag, okay?

Hello, ma’am, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

[And we hear a new voice–well. Voices. One layered over the other, but with the same words. Clearly, something is Wrong, but, uh, who knows?]

WOMAN:
Who are you? Why are you here?

ANGIE:
Well, uh. My name is Angie, I’m—I’m a student at the university, a student activist, actually. And a musician. I have, uh two albums out, if you—no, you’re, you’re shaking your head, I get it. I just wanted to talk to whoever’s in charge, and I’m assuming that that’s you?

WOMAN:
I’m sure you can guess.

ANGIE:
Oh, wow, so—you’re his daughter, I’m assuming? Wow, I’m—I’m honored, ma’am, that’s very impressive. Well, uh, me and my friends, we’ve been—we’ve been concerned about the events of these last few weeks, uh. Can I call you Andrea? I heard from Mae, your, uh.

WOMAN:
Of course you heard from her. She’s my niece. She’s no knowledge of the situation at hand. You know how young people are. Sure, I’m young people myself, but. Hardly.

ANGIE:
She’s your—unimportant. I heard from your niece, I guess, that, uh. You don’t intend to hurt any of us, but you genuinely have been, and my friend Elaine is missing, now, and her wife’s really worried, so—

WOMAN:
I don’t care about your nonsense. You—leave me. Now. You have no right to be in here, and I do not take well to special guest stars.

ANGIE:
Yes, yeah, I get you, I got you, uh. Okay, so, I think I’m just gonna, uh. Hit the road, right, like—um. Can you maybe not banish people to the shadow realm, or whatever? Because, uh. Well. That’s sort of. A bit off, morally speaking. Also, uh—do you guys not have Yu-Gi-Oh over there? Or, like, 4kids? Okay, whatever, you just—

WOMAN:
Are you making jokes right now, ma’am? You clearly don’t understand the gravity of the situation, do you?

ANGIE:
I joke to cope, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be—to be informal, or anything, I promise, I—I’m just afraid that you’re gonna kill me, maybe, kind of? So, uh. Please chill out.

WOMAN:
Leave. Now. Or there’ll be hell to pay. I’m certain you’re aware of this much.

ANGIE:
I mean—what are you?

Shit!

[click]

Okay. Okay, I’m back. I’m—I’m okay, I’m back, he, uh. Threw me out. I dunno if it caught any of that, but for lack of maybe being killed and murdered, I’m gonna assume yes, for now, so, uh. Cool. We’re all on the same page, hopefully. And if not, uh, I might not share out of fear of being killed and or murdered.

Okay, so. I think that my arm’s broken? But I’m also very much in shock. Y’know? So. Not really sure how to handle this situation. Does Uber still work? There’s only like, two drivers in town right now, but, uh. I don’t think I can bike back to campus.

So.

[beat]

No, no service.

Damn. Uh. So. I’m in the hall of town hall, trying not to panic, and there’s something in the corner of my eye that I just can’t place. How wild is that, folks? It’s pretty goddamn wild. No need for you to answer, I got you. I got my handle on that one. Can assure you, one hundred percent, that it is pretty goddamn wild right now.

Okay, so, uh. I’m gonna get up, and I’m gonna go. Gonna go back to my dorm, gonna take a nap, and, uh. Pray that this is all a dream. Like I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. You know how it is, right?

Hah. I’m—Uh.

Wow, that’s—

That’s one of the light things, isn’t it.

It’s coming towards me, it’s, uh. Like it’s beaconing me, almost, I wanna walk toward it and touch it, it—it’s doing the walking, though, it’s almost—almost human, but not quite. What a thing it is, huh?

I feel like I—

Look. Teresa survived it. Why can’t I? She’s definitely a little tougher than me, I’ll admit, but. I’m punk rock. And I can admit that I’m scared. Those two things combined mean that nothing can go wrong, right?

And, look, other than you guys—it’s not like folks’ll miss me. And you can still ask Other Teresa about how I’m doing, and—and I’m not gonna die! I’m gonna come back, I promise you, it’ll—I’ll fix everything, and then we can all be happy again, and the world will stop ending, and I won’t have to embarrass myself in front of Anderson Cooper ever again.

That’s a fun line, isn’t it? I’m just—I’m gonna keep recording. Gonna see how long this lasts. Uh.

Okay, let me text Teresa real quick, uh.

My recorder might be in city hall. Period. Not sure. Period. Please pick it up. Period. Be back soon. Period.

I love you. Period.

Heart emoji. Heart emoji. Heart emoji.

Send.

Okay. So, uh. Let’s see if this thing can survive dimensional travel! By this thing, I mean my body and my recorder, thanks. I’m all about entendres. You know me. Okay.

Once more into the breach, I guess. Is that the phrase?

[long static]

Okay. So. Here, uh. Here I am. I’m—I’m okay, I’m alive. And this thing is still on. And I didn’t lose any audi—

OW!

I just tried to dab. My arm is definitely, uh. Super, super broken. Because I’m a dumbass. Oh my God, why did I dab—

The room is empty. It’s—it’s the same room I was just in, but it’s got some different paintings on the walls, a different pattern of tile on the ground. A chandelier, instead of ceiling lights, which, admittedly, is super rad. Very daring choice, aesthetically speaking. And the room is empty. It’s just—completely and totally desolate. Acoustics aren’t so bad aloud, I dunno about recorded, but. It sounds nice to talk. Like—it’s different than it was a moment ago.

I’m sitting on a bench. It’s—cold. To the touch. Got cushions, uh—black ones. Which, again, commitment to an aesthetic. I respect it. Very high school production of the Addams Family, but, hey, it’s commitment.

Uh, shit. Shit.

I’m—the light is gone, which means that I have to find another way out, which means that I have to find a different way out, once all this is over. That should’ve been obvious, but, uh, I was looking out for some kind of good luck. I’m not lucky, usually.

I’m, uh. Here. I’m sitting on this bench, and I’m in another universe.

[laughs]

Holy shit, I’m in another universe. Oh my God, now—Okay, imagine when Teresa put it all together, when she got over here for the first time—she probably kicked her legs in the air like a little kid, so excited and—she’s so great when she’s excited, I—

Oh my God, what if I—what if I can’t see her again—

Oh my God, I made a mistake. I fucked up.

WOMAN:
Hello, Miss Thompson. Imagine seeing you here. Can I see what’s in your hand?