Thursday, September 29, 2011

12 Minutes Max

Short story

“We should write our own piece,” I said, “we could perform it.”

“I know, I've been thinking about that. I could just do my solo performance piece.” Ciera whispered back.

We were staring at a faded pink recliner and a nightstand. We were in the black box theater ready to see a series of 12 minute performances. I looked at Ciera, she had her program in her hand resting just under her nose. I didn't like the idea of being cut out of the performance. I wanted credit too. “How about we just record us for 12 minutes, and use that as material. We're hilarious.”

“Yeah, but then only you and I would want to watch it.”

“Doesn't matter, we could talk about all sorts of stuff. Just be loud and rude,” an epiphany hit, “we could just sit on-stage and watch the audience and yell at them.”

“I don't think people like to get yelled at.”

“You know what I mean, we could be ourselves now. In this audience.”

Ciera warmed to the idea slowly, “we could comment on all the hipsters in the audience.”

“Yeah, like that one,” a hipster walked by. There is nearly no way to describe one after a point. A stylish facial hair arrangement, something plaid and vaguely lumberjack-esque, the scent of stale cigarettes, thick horn-rimmed glasses, and hair styled so that it was clear he just didn't care.

“But that gets old. And most people in the Northwest are hipsters. You can't escape it. We moved here.”

“These seats are so uncomfortable,” I had moved on, “my back feels like I've been in a car wreck.”

“You have.”

“Yeah, but this feels like I'm pregnant too. Look, my feet are swollen,” I pulled my feet out of my shoes, they were worn and needed imminent replacement.

“Put those away. Your feet stink.”

“No, your feet stink. They stink worse than dreadlocks.”

“Shut up. Did you see the guy sitting behind us?”

“Yeah so? I don't know him.”

“I do, he's the artistic director for the theater.”

“Oh...is that important?”

“Yeah. Anyways, we don't say anything too interesting.”

I thought about it for a moment, “we could be like Chekhov, we could be sublimely human. Comment on the human condition through subtle dialogue and shifts in our body language.”

Ciera tilted her head slightly, still staring at the recliner, “maybe...but it would have to be good. It couldn't be cynical or slapstick.”

“You mean I couldn't write it,” I made my voice sound offended.

“No...I just mean...”

“That's exactly what you mean,” I shifted in my seat, rearranged my legs and flipped through the program. “This is going to be good. I'm excited for this show.”

“Are you being nice now?” Ciera looked at me and lifted an eyebrow.

“Yeah...will you entertain my ideas?” I shot back at her.

“I guess you aren't better. Just sit and watch this show. People put a lot of work in. See if you get any ideas from that.” Ciera turned and stared at the stage. People bustled around us, trying to find seats.

“You don't think I'm being nice? At least I'm not a covers hog.” I was trying to get a playful rise out of Ciera. She wasn't biting.

“We've been over this, you are the cover hog. You mess up the bed and you ruin the nice work I do making the bed and doing the laundry for the sheets. I swear you would let the sheets go for months if I didn't wash them.” She was right, I had before in college but I wouldn't tell her.

I conceded and sank into my seat, a little, “I guess,” Ciera turned and stared at the set, “the new sheets you put on are nice. It's like if you went muppet hunting and skinned it and made a blanket out of it.”

“That was a little graphic. I just say it's like sleeping in a muppet,” Ciera watched me as I twisted and stretched my back cracking it loudly, “see, you aren't subtle. We couldn't do a 12 minute piece if we tried.”