3x05 - prom night!

AJ:

Hey, everyone. So. Let’s set the scene—I’m in my room. It’s Tuesday, May 29, Graduation is on Friday, and tonight is ~Prom Night~, over at the Athena.  And, uh, it’s AJ. Obviously. I’m still here. And, uh. I’m—home. No rented tux, no date, no planned afterparties. I might drop by Charlotte’s, or she and Mae might drop by here. We’re probably going to underage drink, or whatever kids do these days. But that’s not an afterparty. That’s an unhealthy coping mechanism for the end of the world. Which is to say. She’ll probably come here, because we know she’s herself.

 

I didn’t buy a prom ticket, because I didn’t want to go, so. I’m recording this instead. That’s an equally bad way to spend the night, but. Hey, at least this does something.

 

I—I don’t mean to be an ass about it. I wanna be having fun right now, but it doesn’t feel right to, uh. Y’know. Get wild while the ocean doesn’t work and the sky is the wrong color and there’s a cult out to possess all of us and Angie is still gone. And other people. But I—I miss her! Y’know? It’s good to actively annoy someone while recording these. And Since she’s gone—

 

Okay, whatever. Here’s the promise. We won’t let anybody interrupt this monologue. None of you seem to be able to have twenty minutes you can fill up by yourselves anymore. And I do blame Angie for this. You run into the Big Bad and let her interfere with our audio journals, and then people start getting lazy about it. We used to have privacy.

 

Anyway. I’m following the snapchats from prom pretty closely and I’m, uh, pretty sure that a pro-Corielli other place spirit ghost thing, uh possessed the DJ and just started playing, uh, fifties and sixties music—My Girl has been on loop for seven plays, with occasional static disruptions. It’s bass boosted, with, uh. Charlotte says, a few different lyrics?

 

So I’m pretty glad I didn’t go.

 

I’m working on my supplemental essays, while I type this. The current prompt is Do You Really Think You Have The Drive To Study Film Production, which I think I do? I wrote, uh,

 

You’ve read my fact sheet. I have the drive to make it through the apocalypse, so, uh, admit me.

 

This is to assume that I make it through, obviously, but if I get into college, I’ll have done it, so. Uh. There’s that.

 

[phone notif]

 

I just got a text from, uh, Mae, i didn’t think you were here?

 

I’m not, so, uh—

 

I guess my double finally showed up? Wonder what his deal is. That’s cool. I’m not gonna interfere, just—

 

[phone notif]

 

sorry meant to text annie — i know you’re not here! sorry 4 confusion we will be at your place later. Heart emoji, heart emoji, cat with heart eyes, cat with heart eyes.

 

Okay, so—no double. That’s cool, that’s—better, I think. I don’t wanna talk to my double, I just—

 

Look, if the apocalypse weren’t happening, and if prom weren’t happening, and we skipped two years ahead, and I’m in—New York, or L.A. or Chicago or—Evanston, I guess—and everything is. Over. I just—

 

I hate that I sound like a 2007 fake-pop-punk band, but—I want out of here. It’s beautiful. I’m lucky to be here in a place that’s so lush and—demographically left-leaning while still being small, I suppose—but I can’t stand being here for any longer. Just—it’s not the apocalypse that caused this, I don’t think, because—I’ve never wanted to stay anywhere. I hated Germantown, I hated Bethesda, I hated Point of Rocks, and now—I don’t hate it here, which is a start, but it’s not enough. I want something bigger, and—

 

[sigh]

 

Maybe I don’t know what I want—I don’t. I act like I’m sure of it, and—

 

[There’s a crash—thunderous. Violent. Audible screaming, music, etcetera. AJ speaks over it after it begins, giving it a few beats, first]

 

[awkward]

 

So what was I saying, again? Uh?

 

I know I said no special guests but, uh. I’m gonna call Charlotte. Make sure she’s okay. I—if she doesn’t pick up, then I fulfilled my promise and I’m not a hypocrite, and if she does pick up, then, sure, I’m a hypocrite, but we know that she’s safe, that she’s okay, and—look, we kind of need to watch each others’ backs, now? So. It’s kind of important that we

 

[beat]

 

Pick up, pick up, pick up—

 

[and, on the phone, we have CHARLOTTE]

 

CHARLOTTE:

(out of breath, on the phone)

AJ? Are you—are you okay? No guy in your bedroom trying to kill you?

 

AJ:

Guy in my—I mean—yeah, I’m fine, dumbass, are you? There’s someone trying to kill you, specifically, or—what the hell?

 

CHARLOTTE:

You’re—what, an eighth of a mile from the venue? Because—Yeah, there’s—Hanging up!

 

[Beep.]

 

[Beat.]

 

[We hear two sets of footsteps, and then, a door opening]

 

AJ:

[panicked]

What the fuck is going on?

 

MAE:

[terrified, but almost humored]

Are you recording right now?

 

AJ:

Maybe I am, look, I just—what the fuck is going on?

 

CHARLOTTE:

[she’s smiling, in a scared way. you can tell]

Just got the shovel talk? But, uh, supernaturally so. It wasn’t fun. Her dad’s a real piece of work, y’know, like—

[she raises her voice, tries to sound peppy]

Hi everybody! It’s Charlotte! I’m not underage drunk or high! I’m just really scared of my girlfriend’s dad who’s evil and trying to kill me! Please understand that any seeming emotion in my voice is because of that—

 

AJ:

Dude, they’re not gonna fucking criticize you, like—Mae. You know your dad. What did he do?

 

MAE:

[INCOHERENT WHISPERING]

 

AJ:

Speak up, Mae, like—

 

MAE:

He—he found me. Threatened to, uh—

[she’s about to cry]

Threatened to bring me back, and put me back where I belonged, in the—

 

CHARLOTTE:

[tender]

Babe, you don’t—he threatened to “reeducate her.” Whatever that means. So, very dystopian. And then—he saw me. Thinks I’m why she quote-unquote betrayed the family. Which is—

[aaaand we’re back to normal]

Sooooo fucking stupid, it’s like when Anne’s friend’s mom said I’m the reason Anne’s friend is gay, like—number one, that’s not how it works, number two—

 

AJ:

Look, I’m interested, but you need to calm down. Both of you gotta go tell my dad that you’re here, and, uh, safe, and—also that I’m safe, too, go get food and shit—he’s downstairs.

 

MAE:

AJ, I’m—I’m not sure we’re safe if I’m here. It’s—it’s dangerous, it’s—

 

[There’s a beat, palpable, nervous tension]

 

AJ:

Elaine’s taking me out of town next week. I’m touring American and we’re gonna go to Pride, and—it’ll be okay, and we’ll be out of here—you’re coming with us. Like it or not. Okay?

 

MAE:

Do you have off work?

 

CHARLOTTE:

[almost genuine]

Where’s my invitation?

 

AJ:

[teasing]

You left it when you forgot to sign up for your college tours!

 

CHARLOTTE:

Wow, you’re being a huge dick to somebody who was just threatened with murder, real big of you, real fuckin’ chivalrous, real—

 

AJ:

Chivalry’s a gender norm, motherfucker, I defy it. Fuck chivalry. You’re coming too. Elaine said anyone could tag along. Road trip. You know.

 

MAE:

Okay, so, uh, this—this is really—cute, but, uh. We were almost murdered, so—AJ, I’ll get back to you re: getting out of here, but, uh. I’m gonna go get some granola.

 

CHARLOTTE:

[already leaving, distant]

See you in five, asshole!

 

[the door closes. they EXIT.]

 

AJ:

So. Sorry for the guest stars. Audacity keeps crashing, so I’m not editing this, so I did break a promise, here, but. Look, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this is getting personal. Not that it wasn’t personal when Angie left, or when Teresa and Elaine got taken, or—But the seven of us are clearly targets. Only three of us haven’t been threatened directly, yet. Or—well, no, we’ve all been threatened. We got that fucking email, shit—

 

I sound like fucking Benji, when I say this, but—

 

There’s gotta be a reason that it’s the seven of us. I it’s—Mae’s subconscious predicting the future, or whatever corny shit, but—it’s gotta be more than just—than found family. This isn’t fucking ABC’s LOST. This is our reality. Our weird, post-apocalyptic—is it post- or mid- as a prefix? I dunno—it’s our weird sci-fi reality, but it’s reality nonetheless, and that means—well, scientifically—and I’m no scientist, again, I’m a—I’m a film student, look, but bonds with others aren’t predestined. That’s some corny bullshit, and we all know it. Realism to some degree is—important. We need to be reasonable, about—

 

[sighs]

 

Or maybe it is fate and I’m just deeply uncomfortable with emotions. It might be that. I’d give it a ratio of, like 70-30 bullshit-to-i’m-uncomofortable. Maybe 60-40. Who cares! Not me! I don’t care! I—do I want a more reasonable explanation as to why my last year has been so goddamned weird? Maybe! Maybe I do, maybe I—

 

Look. I just don’t know how to do this anymore. And I’m—I’m excited for the road trip. I’m excited to leave the apocalypse—we have the paperwork filled out and everything; it’s a very clerical apocalypse and to go to—like, home. I guess. I haven’t been back to DC since I was twelve, actually, shit. It’ll be—nice, I think.

 

Elaine has to go to her high school reunion. She feels guilty about not going, because she wants to see some people. They will think she’s dead if she’s not there, because some Millennials still use Facebook, I guess? I thought they killed it. But they didn’t! Because Elaine still uses it. But also, as we all know, Elaine is low-key a soccer mom in a Millennial body. She really did tell me she was packing orange slices for the drive. She bought out the minimart’s orange slice supply, all for the sake of road food. She’s insane and I love her.

 

And maybe bonds are predestined, because without New Years, I wouldn’t have met her when I did. It’s—we met her on New Years. We don’t ever talk about that, because things just—fast-forwarded from there, but—we met Elaine on New Years. She doesn’t know who we were before, and she still—well. She knew Robin beforehand, and Benji, but they don’t count. I’m talking about my age demo, here. Gen Z forever, or—what are people calling us now? 1998-2002 years? Do generational labels matter?

 

I don’t think they do.

 

Okay. I’m signing off, for now. I, uh. I wish all of you well. I’ll be stuck in a car with a few of you soon, which’ll be wild, so, uh, I hope you’re doing well for that. I have a playlist ready and it’s gonna be terrible. So, so terrible. I am talking multiple songs with a pan flute terrible.

 

Good luck!