Minutes in Seconds (A Very Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #19

(An attempt to write a play in only ten minutes, without planning ahead, starting as soon as I finish this stage direction explaining the premise.)

(The sounds of a city street.)

(A PEDESTRIAN standing alone, looking at a cellphone.)

(The PEDESTRIAN walks forward when the sound of the lights change.)

(The sounds of screams.)

(The light turns to a strobe light.)

PEDESTRIAN
What?
The sound of screams makes my heart drop.
I know something’s wrong before I see what’s wrong.
I look up.

(The PEDESTRIAN looks up. The lights stop flashing for a second, and the PEDESTRIAN makes a very confused face.)

(The lights resume strobing/otherwise suggesting slow motion.)

PEDESTRIAN
Oh my god.
I think I experience five different thoughts simultaneously.
Like, you’d have to slow down time to ridiculous quantum levels to perceive the succession of thinking that happens in my brain.
That and my heart strangling itself.
One is I think of Brian, and Jen, and Mom, all waiting just two blocks away, and if they’re going to miss me.
Two is if I could reach that poor kid over there in time.
Three is if I should have given up so soon. It’s possible I make it out of this.
Four is I don’t regret not eating that bacon. Yes I know they say life is short and you’ll probably regret not eating the good stuff but hey I actually felt better about it on the whole walk here then I would have felt good in that moment of yummy bacony flavor. So what if the healthiness won’t last me so long?
Five is, holy shit, who brought the movies to life?
And there’s actually a sixth, a really stupid one: hey, maybe if I make it out of this alive, I can get to be the one who goes on camera, like, afterwards, when the news crews show up, and say, “I saw them, the one was like some sort of Rock-Man and he seemed to be the good guy and the other one was like some sort of Fire Snake and he seemed to be the bad guy.”
I should probably think of better names.

(The lights resume normal speed. The PEDESTRIAN ducks and there is a groaning sound and a shadow gathers overhead.)

(Lights resume slow motion speed.)

PEDESTRIAN
In the last moment before the decision has to happen I realize with total clarity how each direction will go. I can dive ahead across the street and probably just end up with a broken leg, and maybe Rock-Man will come see me as I get carried into the ambulance and feel real bad and maybe I’ll help inspire his quest for justice.
Or I can dive left and jump on that poor kid. I’m not such a big barrier, though. The kid will probably still be hurt. But the kid will almost definitely survive because that glass-
And I don’t know how I realize this so, like, perfectly-
I mean I’m not the Clairvoyant One superhero or anything-
But anyways-
I realize that pane will shard and whoever is on top over there will get stabbed to death. It can be me, or the kid.
I think, that can’t be right.
Kids don’t die in superhero movies.
I think through all the alternate solutions in the last millisecond: me being crazy, drug trip, science experiment gone bad, terrorist attack disguised as movie set, whatever. It doesn’t matter if it’s real or not. Who I get to be after this is defined by which of those two choices I make.

(Dramatic music chord.)

PEDESTRIAN
You know what? I’ve made my decision.

(The lights speed up. The PEDESTRIAN dives forward, seems to be hurt in the leg, falls down, but is still alive.)

PEDESTRIAN
I wanted that bacon after all.

(End of play.)

writing time: 10 minutes

(Get it? It took me ten minutes to write only seconds of stage time? And it also reflects the action of the play? GET IT?)

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One comment

  1. […] having NO IDEA what to write and just starting with a guy on a pile of money being sad about it 19) Minutes in Seconds –  someone has a moment to make a decision on a dangerous city street Came from having NO IDEA […]

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