Brightness Falls Part III: Concerto
Before we plunge in, let’s specify a couple of parameters: As in things we don’t want and stuff we don’t like— Please, No hippies Or New Age Mystics Or UFO-junkies Looking for signs of reptilian alien life Out There,
Concerto (For and Angel, His Computing Consciousness,
Two Lovers & a Cello In A Supermarket)
HIS COMPUTING CONSCIOUSNESS
NIKA , A young woman
PHIL, her boyfriend
The stage is dark; a spotlight grows on the ANGEL who stands in the foreground to the extreme left of the stage.
In the day I was created
So was my function: a specific ordinance.
However, not unlike the rest of Creation, my mind sought to mimic it’s Creator
I aspired to my own agency
At the extreme diagonal opposite end of the ANGEL, another spotlight grows on his COMPUTING CONSCIOUSNESS, (henceforth known as CC). She is seated on a raised platform as if to supervise all within her domain.
My fascination is not to do with creating in my own image: I do not crave offspringProcreation in itself is temptingThe ability to exist in time and its decayAnd all the pleasure that is the material plane—
There is an injunction
This I am told I must not transgress
Interspecies relationships now prohibited, thus
Angels and mortals are now off limits to each other.
At the risk of mortality
A descent to that level
Will corrupt me
A fire emerging from the midst of me
into reservations of darkest gloom
Begin the sequence
So there is, and also
Ways around it
Let it begin:
There is an injunctionThere is an injunction
There is an injunction
At the risk of mortality
There is an injunction
There is an injunction
The ANGEL seats himself and CC stands. As she begins to reel off data in binary code, her entire body assumes a stance as though she were scanning for something, not unlike someone operating with virtual reality type headsets and data-gloves. She creates whole cartographies with her body.
Before we plunge in, let’s specify a couple of parameters:
As in things we don’t want
and stuff we don’t like—
Or New Age Mystics
Looking for signs of reptilian alien life
crop circles in the here and now
No clerics or monks or nuns, seeking their sainthood, nor assassins
Stuffed on hash, seeking paradise and the dream of dark eyed virgins,
Nor peasants up in the mountains
Seeking Immaculate Virgins
soon-to-be desecrated virgins
offered up to horned and horny goat gods
Keep away from the Wiccan crew, chanting sufis, whirling dervishes,
Pilgrims on the Ganges
Pilgrims at Lourdes
Pilgrims eating turkey, spreading small pox
Stigmata is tedious, satanism crude,
And most certainly avoid the power hungry Hermeticists
After all, who wants to be encased in magic circles or bottled up in slavery
As a genie?
I crave someone with that peculiar sequence, that unique code that can straddle me
over the edge—
That whiff of uncertainty
That head rush of danger—
You are only a computing consciousness you know,
Not an actual conscience—
Therein lies your limitation.
Find me a lunatic,
A fringe perv—
one involved in her lunacy for the sheer hell of it
An old friend
And a frequent friend
Is Nika— open?
|CC:The purpose of this maneuverIs to interface with the material realmIt is not the purpose of this maneuver to indulge completely in Time and DecayIf you play with fireyou run the risk of being burned,So also, dip into the Sea of TImeand so drown in decay,and certain corruption,The sequence begins
Scanning the circle of earth, it’s geomagnetic grid
Scanning morphogenetic lines for resonance
Scanning earth time
Scanning earth space
The earth grid lights up
to our touch
algorithms coursing through it’s amplified circuitry—
and resonance detected
Please specify your parameters—
That narrows the field considerably.
And into your destruction.
And your impending doom.
I am not aware that one is distinct from the other.
That would be Nika.
And perhaps your nemesis—
CC performs her arcane scan movements, the screen behind flips and changes grids, the data becomes a glowing cascade of hypnotic binary code—
|ANGEL:In that case,What are we waiting for?Engage—||CC:She’s at the supermarket.You’re in luck.|
The lights come up on NIKA and her boyfriend PHIL as they stroll through the center aisle of the supermarket, shopping cart in tow. CC alternates between spewing out strings of code and doubling as the supermarket PA system all through their conversations—
Check out today’s special on Starkist Tuna, on sale in aisle 8—which you’re walking through incidentally—
|NIKA:Why the fuss? It’s simple, invite her for dinner and it can double as a studio visit. It’s more chilled out when you have someone in your home as a guest. It ‘s all the difference in the world—NIKA:Here we go— melodrama,
Funny you should put it that way
We should keep it sleek and bloody—a steak and salad sort of deal. I know for a fact that she eats meat—
What do you mean ‘no’?
(She says this absently, as a can on the shelf seems to pique her interest.)
|PHIL:What fuss Nika? Has it occurred to you that we’re talking about my career and all of a sudden, miraculously, it’ become all about you—
It’s always about what Nika wants, isn’t it? You think you’re going to wow her with your culinary skills and then she’ll be curious about what you do and then you start yakking about bar codes and next thing you’re showing her your portfolio…
Then the moment of female solidarity: you become this potentially brilliant woman artist held back because her jerk boyfriend is in the way—
It’s not happening.
No means I am not going merrily merrily down the road to fiasco. So, no. So find some other curator to wow with your Cinderella act.
Are you listening to me at all?
Anything I’m saying?
Pick up today’s special,
you know the one,
you know the one one one
NIKA stares intensely at the bandwidth of barcode, she is transfixed.
|PHIL:Put that thing down! (grabs the can from her)What is wrong with you!|
NIKA turns round, a glaze has come over her and she stares right through PHIL. Next, spasms and tremors follow as if she were about to enter the throes of an orgiastic climax. PHIL seizes and shakes her. She gasps for air and stops quaking.
|NIKA:So I got a bit distracted—NIKA:
It was nothing—
You don’t want her over. You’re planning to sleep with her, aren’t you—
You think if you sleep with her she’ll be grateful and rescue you, maybe even give you a career—
We all house our own unique sequence, our own divinely appointed number—
DNA sequences, feather patterns, thumbprints, retinal codes—
a pure unmistakable essence,
a naked configuration
grafted from a fragile balance of the periodic table—
it’s what makes you hot,
Figure out your own sequence
and the universe switches
into an erotic playground
every other code accessible
every other thing or person,
if you like,
heating up to your touch
every other sequence
locking into that exponential
we call sexual attraction—
The occult efficiency of one secret arousing another and the formerly unknown universe unfolds—
Should I? You’re the guy with the out-of-control girlfriend who jerks off to barcode. Must be embarrassing Phil— the only thing you could possibly advocate is medication. If that doesn’t work, you think I’ll end up in the mental ward—
Or like your mother?
|PHIL:Jesus Christ Nika!PHIL:Distracted!
Distracted is that what you call that? You’re going back on medication—
You have a condition—
You can’t go on like this, hearing binary code everywhere and the mysteries of the universe popping out of barcodes—
It’s okay to deal with the mundane every now and then, after all you do live on this planet—
It’s sheer stupidity to live in the fantasy world like you do—and now you’ve worked it up into a chemical imbalance— well confuckin-gratulations to you! You’ve outdone yourself now, ecstatic seizures induced by a tuna can? Brilliant!
Fucking shut up Nika— you can’t even function in the day to day world —you’re tripped up by little lines and numbers that any factory in the goddamn universe can belch out. The worst thing is that you’ve brought this malaise on yourself—you actually enjoy it!
Nika are you listening to me at all?
You would be so lucky— sorry the mental ward is only for people with coverage, people like you end up on the street— rummaging through recycling bins running out of barcode sequences that turn you on. So what happens when you run out of charm Nika? No one even understands what’s wrong with you, at least if you were an alcoholic or a pill-popper—
|A cellist appears on a platform opposite CC (at the other edge of the screen) and begins to play in measured statements as NIKA speaks
They fall still and silent. In the background CC rattles off today’s special bargains at the supermarket
|CC:Calling smart shoppers everywhere!Get your shopsmart membership card today and get discounts on all your favorite brand names, you know the ones you know the ones the ones the one one one—00001100000?CC:000010011?000110001
Detecting breach in subject
Check out today’s international section of brie in the dairy section, at special bargain prices—
Do you hear that?
They’re having a special on brie in the dairy section—
So go pick up the cheese Phil—
I need a moment alone.
|PHIL:Why did you say that?
He leaves and turns into the next aisle
NIKA fingers the items on the shelf, but mostly listens to the supermarket PA system. She starts to suss out the binary code and mouth the sequences. As she does this she also begins to mirror the movements of CC. The ANGEL perks up at this and soon he too slightly traces their upper body gestures from his seated position. The CELLO becomes active as well
The ANGEL begins to experience an ecstatic rapture. He writhes and moans with pleasure in his seat
|CELLO: short and measured
Rapid ecstatic bursts
|The ensemble of the ANGEL, CC, NIKA and the CELLO begin to climax in a synchronized sequence of rapid ecstatic bursts of breaths and strings and numbers. Suddenly the CELLO starts to wail like an alarm and CC tenses—|
I don’t want to—
Should I tremble at the pronouncement of my own destruction?
This so-called corruption,
So pleasurable, so base
|CC:System error detected 000110System error detected 000110You must disengage 001110You are tipping over the edgeCC:
You have been compromised
You must cease and desist
Cease and desist
Cease and desist
In that case prepare for descent—
|NIKA and ANGEL are both writhing in tandem with each other. She slumps to the floor, breathing ecstatically—|
|His voice trails off as CC creates a wingspan of movement that plunges them both into darkness.NIKA remains on the floor of the aisle, still writhing in seizure. PHIL returns and finds her there; he drops his groceries and kneels beside her. He puts his cell phone in her mouth to prevent her from biting down on her tongue. Then he cradles her and rocks her back and forth. All this while the CELLO emits a low sonorous wail.|
|PHIL:What sort of life is this Nika?Sometimes I wish you would die, not for my sake ,But for yours.Your mind is clearly not on things of this earth,How long am I supposed to put up with this?|
|He continues to rock her, finally she opens her eyes, looks up at him and shuts them again.|
|NIKA:What did you put in my mouth?
My cell phone. It was the only thing I could think of, you didn’t want a mouth full of brie—
|Silence. PHIL starts to cry, she tries to touch his face but he turns away.|
|NIKA:I know it’s a bit too much to takeAll the time. Every dayI know you’re going to leave me Phil—
But you think of it constantly—
I never said that.
It’s very hard to be with you Nika—
|They fall silent once more, PHIL still cradling her in his arms. The CELLO continues to play through this.|
|NIKA:You know the myth about the dragon’s descent?They are pure fire and ether to begin with, but to complete the cycle of their evolution they must become matter and then transcend it to ultimately become something eternal and incombustible. So they find themselves strangely and inexplicably drawn to the material realm and suddenly trapped here.Often they forget themselves, the purpose of the descent. Then they find themselves corrupted, given to hoarding treasures and pleasures— (she looks up to find him listening intently—)
Every now and then you feel trapped and then something reminds you, jolts some purpose some secret code of existence—
I knew someone once—
So brilliant, so far ahead of the curve. further ahead than anyone else in the vicinity:
No one could reach her
|They fall silent once more. Only the CELLO left to comment.|
And so no one could save her in the end.But perhaps she didn’t want that.
|NIKA:I think watercress is good with lamb, maybe a raspberry vinaigrette?|
|NIKA gets up, PHIL realizes that the moment is over. He gets up too. The CELLO ceases.|
|NIKA:That’s the next aisle isn’t it?
We should do coffee and desert up on the roof. What do you think— fresh strawberries with lemon juice and sugar for dessert? Fresh whipped cream—we should stop by the Farmer’s Market—
And the liquor store—remember that dessert wine that Stefan brought over the other time—
That’ll work I think—
|They recede into the darkness, NIKA making dinner plans, PHIL in laconic assent. FINIS|