by Megan Lohne
Setting: Ada’s bedroom, a small town in Ohio where wheat still grows
Character: ADA, 14 and three quarters
ADA stands in her room talking to her pet snake Montgomery. She holds index cards efficiently and with purpose.
Before we had people—we had microbes. Monty, are you listening to me?
(ADA picks up the python and places him on a stool where he rests.)
That’s better. Now pay attention. I’m going to win this year, not like last year with stupid Dipsy Jenkins winning with her explanation on how oranges are electric. Moron.
(She clears her throat with panache and holds the cards out further for erudite emphasis.)
Before we had people—we had microbes. Little particles that clung to the bottom of the ocean and wouldn’t let go. And then, billions of years went by and those microbes became animals that then became people. And—here we are. All of us. People. Hanging out. Waiting to die.
But don’t worry, dear people of the tenth grade science fair. I may be young for my year but I know the answer to mortality. We don’t have to be afraid anymore. I have developed a state of the art “live forever serum.”
(She pulls a picture dramatically from a folder and holds it in front of her snakes face.)
It is called a photograph. They say a picture will steal your soul. Well, let it. It’s much safer there than it is in the ground. See, I think we’ve got it all wrong. I have a theory. Go with me on this. Or don’t—well at least listen. Ok. Ok. S—I think that people live in the moment of the picture forever and that is the story, morning glory. Seriously.
(She holds the picture up and points at a young man around her age smiling and holding out his hands ironically in a shrug.)
Subject A. Now he has impeccable hands, strong, clear lines. Long lifeline. I regard palmistry as a hobby both interesting and informative.
Can you see it? His date of death was March 3rd, 2010 but he still speaks to me when I am sleeping. He has come from beyond the grave to let me know this very piece of knowledge. Why? Ladies and gentleman of the science fair? Why? Because he was my brother and he feels that he owes me an explanation for dying. For jumping off the broken barn down by the rock quarry seemingly because that rat Dipsy Jenkins broke his heart. I remember when he was leaving the house—he was crying. I haven’t seen him cry since he was twelve, like a switch was turned off for his emotions. He said nothing mattered. He had been so quiet. He hugged me. Neil never hugged me except he touched my shoulder on Christmas to say “thank you.”
(She pauses. She might cry, but instead wanders distantly toward her snake Monty and pets him like a dog or cat. )
We live inside our photographs. As Einstein once said, “energy can’t die, it just transforms.” I think. Forever. I need to fill in some holes but I feel like I have an airtight thesis.
Do you think I’ll win Monty? Do you think?
copyright © 2010 Megan Lohne. All rights reserved. ___________________________________________
Megan Lohne’s plays include Willoughby, Oh Momma, Purge Partners, Ophelia & Lucy, The Eden Project, and The Life’s Goodbye. Her plays have been stage-read and/or produced at The American Globe Theatre’s Fifteen Minute Play Festival, The Creative Place Theatre, The Chernuchin Theatre, The Algonquin Theatre’s One-Act Play Festival, The Sargent Theater, The Emerging Artists Theater One-Woman Standing Festival, and The Little Bird Productions Mix Tape One Act Series. She holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from The New School For Drama. She was a member of the 2007 Young Writers’ Programme at The Royal Court Theatre and is a member of The Dramatists Guild.