I have been posting a series of dream stories on another blog, but since I started this blog as an experiment in including all my explorations in all my worlds, inside and outside of me. I feel that I should just bring it all together into this space, still fragmented me but all in one place. I just tend to forget about the dream story when it is off to the side. It is me as much as anything else is me. This is all me, but still not all of me. I haven’t located all the floating pieces in the currents, eddies and backwater fringes, but I am keeping a sharp eye out as I drift along.
I am interested possible realities and the worlds that we humans make in our heads. I have been putting my thoughts down in words since I learned how to write, but now I am trying to take the time to do this for more than just my own thinking process, though I hope that comes through as well. I want to create worlds and concepts which others can inhabit and maybe find something of interest or inspiration. I have, for a long while, been too busy being a father, husband, preschool teacher, and balancing these occupations to use words to explore my thoughts and imagination. I will just start paddling and see where the current and my mental muscles will take me. I will try to make my boat big enough to carry whoever wants to come with me.
The place I live in now is a workshop room. I sleep on a pad under a large wooden work table in the center of the room. I have not always lived here. Since I came to this city I have lived in many places with many different people. No one ever says my name here. I am who I am and everyone is aware of that.
The light here is different as if it were squeezed from a tube labeled halo and spread evenly over everything. The shadows are places I cannot see and may or may not be holes in the world. They are the places I cannot imagine yet.
I cannot say what year it was or how long ago I came to live here among the dreamers, but it has been most of my life. The city is endless. There is an ocean, and stars that shine whenever they are useful. I am wandering around picking the things I can tell you for words do not work well here. They avoid meanings and scurry away into corners. They have to be rooted out with a broom and swept into piles.
Today my friend Dudley came to see me. He was tinkering with the bright white clock radio I found and repaired.
“I only want something I can dance to,” He said in frustration. He is from the islands where dancing is the important thing. “All I can get is this Mozart crap, and you can’t dance to Mozart.”
My radio only plays Mozart and fills my room with such sweet despair, sometimes I have to go out and breathe.
As Dudley continued fussing with the radio, I looked out of the window, which was the window that used to be in my grandparents house. I could see the lawn and suburban street from a town where my father grew up. There were two small boys trying light firecrackers. I pointed them out to Dudley, who put down the radio in disgust, and looked out absently.
“Oh yes! Those boys is always trying to set the world on fire.”
I am going to see if I can make my radio play something Dudley can dance to. He is lonely and far from home where dancing is what people do. I have not seen much dancing here. There are games and painting. People build things and play music, but I don’t remember much dancing. I am not sure how I will make it work maybe if those boys will give me a couple of firecrackers. That might do the trick.
Miro in the Well (a Bach Fugue?)
A couple of days ago, I was walking next to my young friend, Miro. We were crossing a large field of dry grass. I looked at the line of distant mountains on the horizon just over some low tangled trees. When I looked back to where Miro should have been. He wasn’t. I looked down and saw the top of his white sailor’s hat about 20 feet down a cement tube that was a foot wider than Miro. He was sinking into the water at the bottom.
“Try to slow yourself down,” I shouted.
He stuck out his arms and slowed himself to a stop just as the water came up to his chin.
Luckily, a group of people passed through the field a few moments later, and one of them was able to find a rope. We pulled Miro out. By that time his mother was there to take him home, and I went on my way alone. As I walked away something about the well in the field with a boy and a rope made me think of Johann Sebastian Bach and his music. Maybe something like this happened to him. In his time Germany must have been full of wells.
Miranda and the Bull
A tan bull with large curved horns on a head the size of the front of a VW bug greeted me as I entered through the back gate. I had to move quickly to avoid an unfortunate goring incident. I spotted Miranda on the porch. She is 4 years old and often impossible to understand. She was putting some coins into one of the many vending machines lined up against the wall on the back porch of a crumbling pile of a California Victorian mansion. I scrambled up next to her. An old man and young woman moved busily around the porch. Without speaking I picked up Miranda and headed down the stairs. No bull in sight. But as my foot left the last step, I saw his swiftly moving bulk out of the corner of my eye. I could feel and hear the rumbling earthquake of his hooves on the hard patchy lawn. I headed for the gate at the front along the side of the decaying house that resembled a rambling mountain of boards. Meanwhile the shambling mountain of cow came thundering from behind. He was gaining fast. So I did a quick 180 and lost him for a second or two. We got back to the porch. Miranda had this quizzical look on her face, but seemed to be unconcerned about the bull, that had come up the steps onto the porch after us. I jumped down, grabbed Miranda and got us to the gate. I looked back and saw no sign of big and beefy. I pulled on the gate, but it would only open about 2 feet. I had no idea if I could fit through.
I put Miranda down and said, “Go!”
She looked up at me and pointed back, “Izzat what you are tho Thkared of?”
The bull was charging toward me down the narrow strip of yard.
I froze as the thunder filled my being. Miranda gently pulled me out by my hand and closed the gate. There was crashing crunch and the gate gave a little but held. As we hurried away, the bull pulled the impaled the gate off of its hinges, and was frantically bashing about.
Miranda rolled her eyes and shook her head at both me and the bull. I took her hand, and we walked away past the firecracker boys huddled around something they were trying to blow up. I hoped it was not something I cared about.
Walk on the Wild Side
“Where am I going? It can only be the end of the world.” Arthur Rimbaud
Sometimes I get the urge to walk out on the wild edges of the city. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times. I packed a bag with dark bread, white cheese and a bottle of the Night Bee’s wine (nobody makes wine like the Night Bee). And I walked over the arch of Train street bridge, down the long hill past the low sprawling houses that spread further and further apart. Trees and meadows took the place of houses, and the road was replaced by a path that dwindled into a track winding through the woodlands. After a while I found myself in Dim Bone Hollow underneath a blue sky. The wind was shepherding a few stray clouds. All was damp and sparkling. I sat down in the meadow in the center of the hollow amongst the bright winter wildflowers, and took alternating bites of the coarse dark bread and smooth cool cheese. I decided to save the wine for later.
As I got up to go I noticed that the afternoon was fading into twilight, and as I had a few miles yet to go, I picked up my pace a bit. The hollow narrowed down to a ravine where I had to pick my way along the muddy stream bank among the boulders and brush in the deepening shadows.
Once I had to stop and remain still as some hornshadows tromped through the dense forest on the ridge at the top of the canyon. There are two beasts that a hiker has to look out for around here, big cats and hornshadows. The big cats are silent and drop from above so there is not much a person can do to avoid them, but the hornshadows are tall and heavy and make a great deal of noise as they move. They also give off a pungent odor so generally it is easy to know when they are about. Hornshadows are not vicious or even ravenous creatures, but they are curious, clumbsy and immensely strong. At times they can even be playful which makes them even more dangerous to smaller more frail creatures like me. I don’t really think they like to eat people, but I wouldn’t want to test that theory. Besides to avoid them, all you have to do is not be noticed by them which is usually as simple as standing still behind something. Which I did for about 5 minutes as they bumbled past just out of sight..
The shadows deepened. I knew I must be moving along, and that was easier now that there was more space now between the creek and the canyon walls which gradually smoothed into hills. Then I started to hear some raucous sounds and splashing up ahead and cautiously peered over the edge of a small waterfall to see a party of five hornshadows frolicking about in a pool with some kind of freshly killed large animal. They are about ten feet high, black or very dark blue with enormous heads and shoulders from which antlers protrude randomly. They have long arms that end in broad handlike paws with long nails. Their legs are long and their feet broad and short. Hornshadows generally move about on two legs, but will use all four for moving quickly. I watched them knock each other about and rip chunks out of the carcass until the water was dark and rusty in the gloom. Finally they dragged their meal off into the woods, bellowing and grunting as they went. Cautiously, I made my way down to the pool carefully picking my way through the bloody mud.
About a half mile further down I came to the path that leads past the owl wood into the park and back into the city. I was glad to see the well-tended path as the light had almost completely faded. I could hear the gentle voice of night calling as I passed the owl wood. On the other side of the path, the glow from the floating lantern globes in wading pool lit the down turned faces of children fishing with their hands for the brightly colored minnows that swarm in intricate patterns in the clear water. People say the pool is shaped like Texas. To me it is shaped like an uprooted tree stump with a upside down mountain clinging to its roots.
An Evening at Dudley’s
I exited the park and crossed the old wooden bridge over Meadow Creek, which was now a respectable size, to Banfree’s Island, a neighborhood of many songs and languages. Dudley’s neighborhood. It is a place of bright colors and tin roofs, a meander maze of winding streets crowded with people of all colors and costumes. I am never surprised any more by what I see here.
I always get lost for a while on my way to Dudley’s and this day was no exception, but finally I arrived at the right door. As I prepared to knock, I caught the scent of sweet vegetables and sticky rice. I was glad that I had saved the wine.
“Ah, my old friend!” Dudley exclaimed as he opened the door. “What are you doin’ in this part of the city at this time of night?”
I am always a little awed by Dudley’s voice when I first hear it.
“I brought some wine for the meal,” I finally said as a gentle smile spread on his broad face.
“Really? How thoughtful,” he laughed. “And it so happens I made enough for two. I was feeling hungry when I started cooking.”
We walked through the dim living room into the light filled kitchen. The first thing I noticed was the white clock radio I had fixed for him. It was playing Mozart.
“I thought I fixed that thing?” I said as I went over to check it out.
“Oh, you did, my friend! But I like the Mozart in evening when I am winding down. Now that you are here we will play the island music to liven the mood a little.”
Dudley moved past me and turned the dial. The radio emitted some fuzz, crackle and whine finally settling on a clanky, sliding groove in calypso time.
After dinner, we listened to Mozart while Dudley put the finishing touches on the dog he was crocheting. It was difficult work as the dog was becoming active and playful. Its wooden bead eyes vibrated as it panted. After a long struggle, he finally let the dog go. It raced about the room silently on its padded feet sniffing and exploring.
“You’ve gotten quite good at those,” I commented admiring its rust-colored fringe and nicely rounded shape.
“I find the cats much more challenging. I can never get the body right,” Dudley mused. “Dogs are more comical and amusing. Cats must have dignity. I have not mastered that yet.”
When I woke in the morning Dudley was already out. The dog was still padding about full of curiosity. I was very careful not to let it escape on my way out.
The Best Place to Rest
I went by the old mansion. There was a sign on the gate “BEWARE THE BULL”. I peeked over the fence and there he was placidly chewing grass. Miranda was draped over his back asleep, her delicate pale arms hanging down over the barrel curve of his massive ribs.
“Well, they’re getting along pretty well now,” I chuckled.
I still did not want to test the bull’s good nature. So I headed home. Morris the minah bird was on my porch repeating some lines from Rimbaud in French. I knew they were lines from Rimbaud because that is the only poet he knows by heart.
“Hello Morris,” I said as I opened my door.
“Hello to you too,” he croaked as he flew over my shoulder into my dim workshop room. “And where have you been so long away, so long away.”
“I took a walk in the wild and then to Dudley’s for the night.”
“Oh! Dudley eh?” Morris made a little throaty chortle as he perched on the standing elephant head lamp. I pulled the trunk and the tusks glowed whitely.
“I haven’t seen you for a while, Morris. Where have you been hiding yourself.”
“I flew out to the old highway by the sea. By the way Leela says hi or high, I am not sure which.”
“Either one will do. Are you hungry or just looking for a safe place to rest.”
“I can always find a bit of seed or a few tasty grubs, but yours is the best place to rest. I always say that. Always.” Morris finished with a shrill squawk and settled his head down between his shoulders so that his bright yellow ear patch looked like a sun setting over a black hill.
“We can talk more later.” I said as I went to my work bench to see what I could get busy with. I thought of Leela. There was that time when I was working up in the valley just over the ridge from her place on the ocean highway. There were dogs everywhere. I was replanting the forest on the ridge. Back then I could fly, too, and I flew over the hilly ground dropping seed and cones on the barren green mat. I wanted to ask Morris how the forest was growing. It had been a while so maybe there were trees and undergrowth.
I thought about a time I came into to her tiny house when she had put in the new white tile even in the bedroom. It was all pretty much one room broken into two where the floor just slanted up all of a sudden, and you were in the bedroom. They were large rooms but that was the whole place. Bright yellow kitchen: Pink plushy bedroom which was mostly bed. She was almost always in the bed reading when I came in. She would put her book down, and we would talk about my work and what she was reading and so many other things. I don’t really remember how this all got started or how we met, but there we were in that little house on the coast talking into the night about anything that came into our heads. I wonder why I left that job and the ocean. I just can’t seem to think of any good reasons why I am not still there. Oh, well things change in subtle ways. We shift to other paths that lead us into other places and other friends. I will have some questions for Morris when he wakes up.
I was moving about in the workshop taking apart one thing and putting together another when Morris squawked loudly, awakening from an uneasy dream. Dreaming isn’t ever very easy in this city. It is more like waking up.
“Bad dream?” I queried.
“The worst! The worst!” Morris screeched.
“All right, all right, just tell me about it.”
“Flying, I was over the tangle forest,” He started nervously, little word noises in the back of his throat. “It turned brown like a wave starting at one side, so fast all the way across. All dead! All brown.”
He ended with a sad whistle.
“That is disturbing.” I patted his black head and gave him a peanut I found on the floor. He took it in his claw and peeled away the shell delicately with his beak.
“I remember replanting the edge of that forest. That’s when I met Leela. Green Tom showed me how it could be done.”
A chain of memories fell like dominoes in a row that led back to the moment I met Green Tom. I was living in an abandoned factory on the western border of the city at the edge of the tangle forest. The factory was a mangled ruin full of old machinery. It was a maze of chutes, broken stairs, and ladders to nowhere. It was a perfect place for me at the time as I was working on a flying machine powered by thought and intentions. There were parts just lying around. The ceiling and walls were good enough in some places, the places I worked and lived in, to keep the water and wind at bay. I just hooked up my little generator for light and small machinery and worked away in solitude. No one could visit me there because I was the only one who knew the safe paths through.
One day I heard a muffled pounding a short distance from where I was harvesting some valuable pieces of metal for the wing frame. I climbed through a small tunnel of twisted machinery just in time to see a door burst open on the floor above. The stair was out and a chute had fallen in its place just one step inside the door.
“Don’t take a step,” I shouted up, ” Or it will be a long one.”
I could see the lumpy silhouette, roughly person shaped with odd angularities, and vines tangled all round the edges.
“What do you want?” I yelled up again, and the form above rustled.
“I wanted to speak with someone about the forest,” he spoke in deep, penetrating groan like trees in windstorm.
“Stay there I will come up to you,” I shouted again, figuring the best path through the metal maze of the factory.
When I finally navigated my way out and around to the uphill side of the factory, I was surprised to find no one there. There was a strange tangle of ivy leaning against the corrugated sheet metal wall.
“Alo, my name is Tompowjur Boa. Some as call me Green Tom.”
I found his face among the vines and told him my name. He told me that he wandered into the city from the forest to find someone to help him replant the part of the forest that had disappeared into the city. The ancient giant part of the wood dreamers took away to build houses and monuments and games. I told him what I was working on. He thought that would be useful.
He stayed at the edge of the forest near the factory for a while (He could not live with me indoors), and I would visit him every day. He taught me how to plant, and what to plant, and how to sing to the birds and creatures to let them know what I was doing. All that was necessary in the process of making the forest grow where it used to be.
When I finished my flying machine, I went and applied for the replanting job and got it. It wasn’t hard with all that Green Tom taught me. And so I went and worked and met Leela. Morris was living most of the time with Leela then and would recite poetry in the evenings for us. He knew many poets then, but now has lost interest in all but Rimbaud.
“Where did you just go?” Morris said around a beak full of peanut.
“I was just thinking about when I met Green Tom.”
“Green Tom!” He screeched. “I just saw him on my way here. Moping about the high ponds.”
“Really, Did you speak with him.”
“No, Never talk to him anymore.” Morris chortled. “He’s a bit slow for my taste. Much too stiff and rattly.”
“Well, I guess he takes a bit of getting used too,” I said as I went back to work. “Just like some birds I know.”
Andre Bursts In
There came a lively rapping at the door of my little workshop home. Morris the Minah who had been dozing making sleepy little gurgling squawks as he perched on the elephant’s head lamp in the corner, woke with loud raspy whistle.
“It’s just the door,” I said as I got up from my work and crossed the room.
I opened the door and blinked at the light. I had been doing some small detail work, and my eyes were not yet ready for the big sun filled day outside. When my eyes came into focus, there stood Andre, an interesting awkward man, sharp and bright yet dark and brooding at the same time. I never know how to approach him, but he is always full of life and ideas. I was glad to see him.
“You have to come with me!” He burst past me into my room working hard to contain his excitement gesturing largely with his arms and hands. “I have found the most fascinating shop, and it is right around the corner from here.”
“Well I’m almost finished with the work I am doing,” I said rearranging my mental day as I spoke. “You could have a cup of tea and talk with Morris for a few minutes while I finish this up. Then I could go with you.”
He looked around, a little embarrassed at not noticing my other guest. “Oh, Hello you old squawker,” he shouted cheerily when he finally located Morris on the lamp. “How’s your Rimbaud these days?”
“Passable, but I am starting to forget some of the more obscure parts. Getting a bit long in the beak, you know.”
“It’s been a long time. Where have you been hiding?”
“I’ve been here and there and just about everywhere since I saw you last.”
” Well I suspect that is the case. I have been right here in this city trying to figure out how to make a living and keep the demons at bay.”
They talked and I worked as Andre made tea. Their conversation was like a story about two friends who spend years trying to find each other and then realize they have very little in common.
“I’m finally done with that,” I said as I finished the last touches on the small piece I was engraving. “And not a bad job either. If I do say so myself, which I do.”
Andre put down his tea and came to look over my shoulder. “Very nice indeed,” he agreed a little too loudly. Andre is always very generous and enthusiastic when he wants to show me one of his discoveries.
Professor Trol’s Emporium
Andre led Morris and I through the maze of narrow streets, hedge-lined paths, and alleyways bordered by wooden warehouses, crumbling cottages and shadowy shops filled with mysterious and incongruous items. Finally we reached a narrow alley with a dark channel running down a slimy trench in the middle with plank bridges every so often. The wooden backs of warehouses like fences on either side. Odors of spices and melancholy emanated from the water, not entirely unpleasant, but chaotic as if the vapors were bright strands tied in complex knots. At the end of the alley was plain looking building, square and bright mauve with a large, sign written with bold circus letters hanging from a pole that stuck out vertically from the eaves.
Professor Eberhard Trol’s
Emporium of Temptations and Curiosities
Medicines to Cure Any Ailment (including those of the spirit)
Scents, and Sundries
To Enlighten, Enliven, and Invigorate
And under it hanging from a chain a smaller sign:
The Amazing Hall of Illusions
Witness Demonstrations of Magic and Art
Marionette and Bunraku Dramas Presented Daily
under another one of similar size:
Pay a Visit to the Mystical Menagerie
Astounding Beasts Collected at Great Risk
From Distant Lands.
Andre pointed and smiled. Morris whistled. I stopped and stared. How had I missed this alley and that sign so close to my home. Andre had always been good at finding the strange little corners of the city.
“Have you been in yet?” I asked.
“No, I saw it and knew I would want to have company. “
“Well, let’s go see!” screeched the bird who had landed on the sign pole and was turning his head to the side and hanging down to read the words. He swooped down onto my shoulder. “Personally I don’t go in for menageries. They usually contain predators, and I would just rather not see any big claws and hungry jaws, awk!.”
“Spoken like the little quivering pile of feathers you are, Morris,” Andre said with a big grin on his shining face. “You have to admit, the place looks fascinating!”
I shrugged and gave Morris what I thought was an encouraging “What’s the worse that could happen” look.
He rolled his eyes and gurgled disapproval in the back of his throat as we followed Andre through the door.
My eyes had to adjust to the dimness of the interior from the splendor of the bright day. We were in a large room filled with shelves and display cases crowded with bottles, jars, bags and bins of all shapes and sizes. Wooden and metal machinery and tools hung from the walls and suspended from the ceiling. On one wall hung framed photos and drawings of people, creatures and objects with no obvious connections to each other except that they were all places, people and things unfamiliar to me. There was a door covered by a black curtain in the middle of this wall above a sign:
to the menagerie.
I turned at the sound of voices. Andre, who had moved to the other side of the room was conversing with a thin short man with a heavy black beard wearing a long burgundy jacket. His dark hair was corkscrew curly sprouting out at all angles from his large round head. As I approached I could see he had large golden eyes like a wolf and large white teeth which flashed when he talked. His voice was soft but penetrating, but somehow I could not catch the words of their conversation even though I could hear both voices clearly.
Andre turned away from the professor and walked toward me beaming with anticipation.
“The professor says another show is starting in 10 minutes. We can look around in here and go to the menagerie after.”
“I’ve gotta say, this is some find,” I replied gazing around at the machines and tools hanging from the ceiling and walls. “I could spend a couple of hours in this room.”
Morris gargled and made a little creaking sound. “I think I will just wait outside. This place gives me the creeps, creeps,” he said in a throaty whisper. “I need some sunlight to sweep this gloom out of my head.”
“Very well, old friend,” I said nodding and walking toward the door. “We will see you back at the workshop.”
He fluttered from my shoulder as soon as I opened the door, and without a good-bye flew off into a day that seemed impossibly bright after the gloom of the emporium.
After I said good-bye to Morris, I browsed around the shelves. On a shelf of dusty aged tomes, I picked a volume embossed with cartographic lines and symbols. “Geographies of Death” was printed in raised gold letters. I skimmed through it and made a mental note of where I put it down. It was too heavy to carry with me.
On the next aisle was a shelf of large jars with ventilated lids. On the top shelf was a jar labeled “narcissus beetles”, in it were some medium sized insects with shiny silver shells. black lines shifted on their into patterns of different human faces as they moved. Next to these were glass cases filled with fluttering butterflies and moths. One large case contained deep blue moths with a stark white pattern of a grinning human skull in the center of each wing. This was labeled “Death’s Head Moths.”
Andre was busy with his own investigations and came over several times to show me his discoveries. There was still so much more to see when a bell rang signaling the seating of the next show.
The Journey to the Depths
A sign stood on a tripod slanted a little out from the wall just inside the curtain covered doorway that led to the theater.
Monkey’s adventures in the worlds beyond life
Beyond this was a hallway that was dark except for spotlights in the glass display window cases along the walls on both sides in which a wide variety of puppets were posed. There were Indonesian shadow puppets, intricately carved and painted Bunraku heads along with many costumes and other props. In one case, Marionettes hung, some crudely carved mannequin figures and others with life like limbs and faces that had many knobs and buttons on the control wands. There were flat figures, woven in colorful radiating patterns, with hinged joints controlled by strings and rods. These were labeled Tumbellon Dreamtime Figures. There was a complete bestiary of hand and rod puppets with many human characters as well placed on wooden dowels, 10 rows of 10 dowels on steps starting with small ones at the top down to large ones that lay on the floor and looked as if they would need several puppeteers to manage them. Hanging down from the ceiling in the center of hallway were three massive puppets. One was a marionette dragon in flight 20 feet long that would need at least 5 operators. The next was a costume puppet of a cloud being that needed three operators two inside and one on the outside. The last was mechanical spider, 10 feet across, creeping around on a network of strands suspended from the ceiling and didn’t seem to need an operator. I could hear the soft clicking and whirring of flywheels and gears as it moved.
Andre and I walked silently shaking our heads at the fantastic array of artificial life displayed. In one case a mighty warrior in samurai armor stood next to a beautiful maiden dressed in a silk kimono in the middle of a solemn dance. The puppets looked as if they were uncomfortable holding their poses for so long, and would relax into silent sigh of relief when we looked away. We stood mesmerized in front of this case for a long moment. Finally when the sound of a gong rattled down the hall. Andre pulled my sleeve and pointed to the open doorway a little way ahead.
“We better go, or we’ll miss the beginning,” Andre said trembling slightly with anticipation.
“If the show is anything like this, I don’t want to miss any of it.”
Andre was already through the door before I finished my sentence.
Setting The Stage/Act I
As we made our way through the last few steps into the theater some other people entered the door down the hall. We entered the theater at the back looking down the curved levels of seats that narrowed as it came up to the large dimly lit stage.
“Let’s sit down in front,” Andre said moving toward the center aisle. ” I want to see and hear everything!”
Other people were entering through another door. They looked as if they stepped out of the 1600’s, leggings and puffy jackets. By the time we sat the theater was beginning to fill up with an odd assortment of people seemingly from many different times and places.
The stage has two large tree like structures in center with four shielded spaces among the branches two, one on top of the other, on either side of the trunks. Above the stage are structures to hold 3 marionettes and their puppeteers. On the right side of the stage is a cloth panel with a light behind it. On the left a gamelan orchestra. The middle of the stage is open space with a large flat stone in the middle, big enough to hold 5 people.
People shuffled around looking for their seats and conversations drifted about the theater in a mumbling background tide with a few quiet laughs and exclamations. Finally the house lights came down and the stage lighting focused on the flat round stone in the center. The audience settled into silence.
A flat round stone in the center of the stage.
A small platform lowers from the ceiling onto the middle with Monkey, on his knees hunched over, head down. He has bright golden fur and is wearing a crimson jacket and sky blue pants. In his hand is a black rod about 3ft long.
the music is soft, slow, meditative in the background throughout the scene.
Announcer: And the gods banished Monkey to the cave once more to sleep and dream encased in stone. The water crept through rock and crevice dripping and over the eons melted the stone covering and slowly wakened the sleeping Monkey.
Monkey stretches and yawns, rises slowly and staggers about the flat stone, falls to the floor and searches about on his hands and knees as if blind.
Monkey(voice echoing slightly): Where am I? What is this dark place? How have I come here?
A bat glides down and lands next to him and is just outside the small circle of light and accompanied by a fluttering musical interlude.
Bat: Then you are awake from the stone dream? Finally I can fly and report to heaven that Monkey has risen.
Monkey: Wait! You have been attending me here? How did I come here and where is this abyss?
Bat: I am but a watcher and reporter. I cannot tell, but that my family has watched through a thousand thousand generations anticipating this moment when one of us would fly to heaven to tell of your awakening. I know of no how or where, suffice to say that you are deep under a mountain and placed here by the gods. beyond that, I cannot say, for I do not know more.
Monkey: What will these gods do when you tell them that I am awake?
Bat: I cannot say. The ways of gods are not known to me. I am a bat from a long line of bats who have watched over you in the darkness.
Monkey: Will you show me the way out into the world above?
Bat: I must fly now to give my report. That is all I know. I cannot say what will follow. As I said before, I am only a small creature of the dark and know only the journey I must take and message I must bear.
Monkey: Then take me with you. For I am not a creature of the dark and do not wish to remain in this place.
Bat: You have no wings. How can you follow? You cannot navigate in the blind darkness.
Monkey: I have hands that can feel the way.
Bat: Then feel your way up. I must use swifter route. I am sorry for your discomfort, but I have a task to do that was set in ancient times and must not be delayed. Good luck to you for I think you will need it to reach the lands of light above. Move upward when you can and avoid going down and you should eventually come out of this darkness. Farewell!
The bat exits fluttering upwards. The music rises with the bat then fades with the lighting into darkness.
Announcer: Monkey felt his way up and ever upward. How long he climbed, he could not tell for nothing in the darkness changed except the rocks he climbed and they measured time in a different way than creatures of flesh.
Monkey moves about making climbing motions, slipping and falling a few times, but giving the impression of slow upward progress.
The music matches his climbing song. It is not cheerful or complaining just matter of fact and guileless.
Monkey (singing as he moves):
Here in the darkness I climb alone,
Up through the mountain rocks and bone.
I know not night or day.
Only my fingers to show me the way.
I believe in the light.
From deep within, I recall,
the mighty rise to life,
and from that peak,
the deep and stony fall.
A centipede appears on the installation next to monkey’s hand and bites him.
Monkey shrieks and falls to the stage.
Centipede: That is not a flavor I am familiar with.
Monkey: Maybe because you don’t get many monkeys down here.
Centipede: Oh by my sinuous segments! It is the stone monkey. How goes your journey sir?
Monkey: Dark and solitary, most arduous indeed.
Centipede: Sorry about the bight. But I must try to eat what I can find to make my bellies tight.
Monkey: Is it poison? I feel my hand throbbing.
Centipede: Not very, unless you are much smaller than you sound.
Monkey: You are also blind in this darkness?
Centipede: In the absence of light everyone is blind.
Monkey: What is your usual prey?
Centipede: Small and furry like your hand, hard and furry many legs, hard and juicy very small this is sweetest of all.
Monkey: I do not seem to be hungry. Except for the light and open space, that I long for.
Centipede: I have never tasted light, though I must say the very thought of it makes me shiver.
Monkey: Will you climb with me a ways and keep me company. I will teach you a song or two.
Centipede: I am not a singer, but a stinger. I will go with you a ways and listen to your songs. It is not often I find anyone who shares my company for long.
As soon as the centipedes voice stops, monkey begins to climb up the branches of the structure where the centipede perches. The tree begins to rise up out of the floor carrying the characters toward the ceiling where a square of light appears in the dark directly above them. By the time monkey gets to the top of the tree, he is able to climb through the square of light. He pulls himself up and disappears from view.
Centipede: This is where I stop for I see light at the top.
Monkey (poking his head back down through the square): Why let a little illumination stop your ascent? You should really lighten up anyway. besides I thought you were blind.
Centipede (shivering): It is true my eyes don’t see, but I know when light is touching me. I feel a prickle on my shell. When in the hard light I don’t feel well. In soft shadows I will hunt and dwell.
Monkey: I have had enough darkness for a while. Happy hunting, Mr. manylegs. I hope I never make it back here, but stranger things happen.
Monkey’s head disappears upward and the centipede fades into the darkness.
An Audience in Search of a Play