3x06 - out of town

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ELAINE:

(ambient sounds--early morning, outside, in dc. recorded

near american university in june 2018.)

(she’s a bit sleepy--she’s had a lot of restless nights, of  

late, and she’s up early so she can have some alone time.)

Hey. First moment alone--which is to say, totally alone, nobody else and no sign of other me--in a few days, no thanks to you--not you, Robin. As we know, she’s tending to the forts back home. The rest of you, uh. Well, the rest of you decided to tag along on this road trip, which isn’t even a road trip, it was a--look, whatever, I’m not mad. I’m taking a walk, it’s four A.M. in DC,  I’m feeling good, feeling refreshed.

It’s weird to be in, uh. The outside world. Because—look, we got a huge discount on hotel rooms because of where we’re from, so I’m not complaining, but—people are talking about this town that, back when I first heard of it, I would have sworn Robin made up. It’s weird, because—I’m from a bigger city, right? So, uh, Violet beach has gone from, uh. How do I phrase this—sudden significance, y’know? Fantastical obscurity to terrifying reality. Is that too prosey? I try to steer away from it. I’m trying to steer away from it. But it’s four A.M. on a Sunday and nothing’s open yet, and there’s still confetti on the ground from the festival yesterday getting stuck to my shoes, and—

You can forgive me for being overdramatic, is what I mean, right?

So. Reports on the outside world. Even if all but one of our team is in the outside world, I still think it’s important to, uh. To check in. To verify the reality we’re in, at present.

So. Facts.

D.C. still scares me, even after I lived here from, uh. Shit, fourteen to twenty-three. Nine—yeah, nine years, cuz it’s even-odd which makes—you know.

I’m gonna—I’m gonna put on some music. Create ambience, you know?

[a soft r&bish song, ONLY U by NANDI]

It’s a tiny city, as far as cities go. Most of what DC is is suburbs, and those aren’t even DC, that’s Maryland, that’s Virginia. But it still seems so endless when you’re in it. It’s a swamp, but you don’t feel it until it’s the middle of July and you have heat stroke with no warning.

Sometimes, you see Ted Cruz, which is never fun, but it happens, and it’s noteworthy, because it’s a near-universal experience.

But my point is that--it’s so completely different than where we are. Violet Beach is DC’s opposite--all compact, all Maryland, it’s hot when it’s hot and you know it immediately, and, until recently, you never saw anybody. It’s a place where the slightest bit of a attention makes you noteworthy. Even in the middle of the apocalypse, people approached me and asked me about some of the grassroots anti-gun stuff I worked on in March. It’s--

Strange. I like it. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I do; I wanted to stay here in the city, when Robin got the house, but—it was a nice house, and it was gonna be ours, right, like—we wouldn’t have to worry about rent or pet policies or anything, so, however reluctantly, I moved away, and—uh. I somehow started to like it. Even as the world ended, I still felt important, still felt like I mattered, in your—your tiny little town of shitty hipsters and mysteries. It’s—

(she sighs, and she takes a seat on a bench. there’s a long

beat—she’s thinking and she’s lost the thought, all at

once.)

Time is passing normally, here. I don’t know why I’m surprised.  I keep looking at my phone, to see if something’s wrong, but it’s not. No texts, because it’s four in the morning. No emails, except for a makeup coupon for a store I haven’t been to in two years. No broken clocks, no broken time, no anything. And I don’t like it. I’m—

I need to be doing something, but I don’t know what. If I’m not constantly preoccupied in thought, I’m not anything at all. I talk a lot because I—because I need to hear something, or else I just lose everything. Silence is stressful. Sleeping is stressful. Being alone is—nightmarish.

I don’t think that a few of you know that I was disowned. It’s not just for the, uh, gay thing, and I don’t think it’s—you know. Legal disownment, because it happened when I was twenty-two, but if I show my face near them, y’know, they’re not gonna be too happy. I—if I didn’t have Robin, or, uh—that’s about when I met Neha—Benji’s mother, you all know her—I don’t think I would’ve made it very far after, you know? I don’t think I could’ve—

I’m losing my train of thought. Using the coffee machine in the hotel would’ve cost me extra, and Charlotte stole my last Red Bull to—you know what. I know I’m the adult in this situation, but I’m not going to question it, because I’m the cool mom friend. I’m not even a mom friend. I’m the aunt friend. Here to encourage deviant behavior and also never stop showing you photos of my cat. I’ve seen TV, that’s what aunts stereotypically do, right?

Oh! Big news that I’m too nervous to break in public! I got hired on the mayoral campaign for next year! Mayor Hart’s facing, uh. Tough competition due to both her youth and inexperience as well as letting the apocalypse happen, but that’s not her fault. She’s done some really cool shit in office over the last three years—decriminalization, uh—increased minimum wage. And since I have experience in field work and, uh—yeah. I got that email last night. It’s very exciting. I’m gonna have to keep doing freelance recaps, because the pay is total garbage, but—and don’t tell Mayor Hart that, I don’t want to be fired—but it’s a job in my field and it’s for a candidate I actually believe in, which is—rare. It’s really, really rare.

This is all to assume that the apocalypse is over by next year. Clearly.

[phone buzzes a few times]

My phone is buzzing, which means—it means that one of you assholes is up, fuck me.

Or—

[pause music]

Holy shit. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, I don’t—I don’t mean to swear that much, but holy shit.

I mean, you all know what’s going on, clearly, because this is to all of us, also—who changed the group name to the lyrics to the Space Jam song, it’s not—it’s not funny. It’s overplayed, and it wasn’t that bad of a movie, and--

Okay, sorry, off track, but. Angie’s back. And she’s clearly confused—

back from boston for the summer!!!!!!!!, with, uh. eighteen exclamation points, which is—strange. Her double—other Teresa confirmed that other Angie types differently than Angie proper, and this is Angie proper’s style to a t. So—especially because other Angie isn’t malevolent, we know that—

Okay, new text: t since when do you room with remy washington? they’re on the couch--it’s noon, too, why are they asleep?

I’m not going to--I don’t think I can respond. I--

I can’t record anymore. I know this is shorter than--shorter than usual, but it’s too early to process this in real-time. Way--way too early.

Okay. Goodbye.

Bee HylandComment