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Scene 9: On the Beach

[Scene opens up to Neil and Al sitting in the lawn chairs drinking kool-aid. They are on the beach.]

NEIL Ahhh, yes. This beach was one of our better inventions.

AL I'll drink to that.

[A beach ball flies across the stage. Boy enters, wearing swimming trunks and floaties, obviously looking for ball.]

NEIL Ahh.

BOY Hey, Mister, did you see where my ball went?

AL [pause] Amazing.

NEIL See? What did I tell you? Almost exactly like us.

AL Okay, okay, you were... right. But I gotta admit, at the time I had no idea what Lou meant when he said he needed more stars for "mood lighting."

NEIL He said that!?! [laughs] I told you. The only difference is they apparently don't know how to dress themselves.

BOY [confused and fidgeting] Hey, mister, have you seen my beach ball or not?

AL It's right over there. [to Neil] Now, as we were discussing...

BOY Thanks!! Hey, you old guys wanna play? We can play kick the ball or something. It's really cool, you have to kick the ball around.

NEIL Kid? You ever hear of giant lizards that ruled the earth once?

BOY Oh, yeah! Dinosaurs! Boy, they were great!

NEIL Uh huh. [leans closer] Ever wonder how they all got killed?

AL Let's put it this way. How'd you like a meteor to land on your head? [to Neil as Boy runs to get his ball and exit] See, I don't get it. Sure, maybe Lou changed them, but why are some of them so smart and some of them so stupid?

[Lou enters, carrying a sackful of books slung over his shoulder. He blocks the Boy's attempt to exit and offers a book to him.]

LOU Korans! Get your Korans here! Original word of God, only 99 cents! Talmuds! Books of Mormon! Tao Te Ching! Eggshell #1!! Original Dead Sea Scrolls on special! Dianetics, over 1 million copies sold!! Drawing Down the Moon! Hitchhiker's Guide! Darwin's Origin of the Species! Here, little boy, you want one?

BOY Ummm... I dunno. Mommy told me not to accept propaganda from strangers. She says... she says if I ever read any of that stuff I'm gonna go to Hell.

LOU Ahh, pfpfpfttt, Hell. What a boring place. She's right, you'd rather be anywhere but Hell. I avoid it myself, except when I have to collect rent. Now here, take the book.

BOY I don't want it!! I don't wanna think, I'll be damned!

LOU Nooooo, just dumb. Come on, just a nice little text on quantum mechanics? [tempts him] It's Feynman's Lecture Number Threeeeeee...

[Boy exits screaming]

LOU Get your Korans! Richard Bachman! Origin of the Species! [pause] Neil! Al!

NEIL Lou!

AL Wow!

NEIL Haven't seen you in ... months!

AL Yeah, not since you got transferred. So, how's it going?

LOU Ohh. You know. I was just distributing a little info. Want a couple of texts on Qabbalism?

AL Thanks, I already know most of that.

LOU Sure, okay. You know, it's really hard making people think nowadays. They're so into the "Official Version" of how things happened. They have no idea how it really went.

NEIL [uncomfortable pause] Well, it's nice seeing you. Here, we still have the Kool-Aid. [offers him some]

LOU Wow. Good deal. Anyway, what's up with you two?

AL Oh. Neil and I are currently completing our Universal tour.

NEIL We call it the "God Knows Where " tour.

LOU Sounds... neat. I'll come see one of your shows some time.

AL Actually, you'll be able to see a nova in just a while.

NEIL Yeah, we expect a pretty high plutonium count from this one. Should make for a nice effect.

LOU Yeah, um, that's great. [pause] Listen, guys, doesn't any of the stuff around here strike you as being pretty nice?

AL [after exchanging glance with Neil] Whaddya mean? First, we don't get the chickens right, then we do get the chickens right, then we find out that in the long run chickens almost don't matter. They only show up on one planet, and they're self-sustaining only as long as everything goes right. What's their purpose? Well, in the present they're not free, they're grown, just to feed the naked apes. What's the whole "meaning" of the chicken AND the egg? Apparently, it's just to confuse the naked apes. They keep trying to figure out which one came first. Sure, we got paid, but as far as I can tell the whole reason this universe was created has been botched. Completely.

LOU No!! You two don't get it at all! You haven't been listening, you're just sitting on your asses taking a vacation while you plot your next big ka-boom. Yippee. Meanwhile, you've missed the whole point. It doesn't matter how or why we created the universe. The way we created it means that now it's out of our hands. [pause] We can hand out books or blow things up, but uncertainty and free-will have made mincemeat of our original intentions. [pause] And don't talk to me about how much time I spend on humans, God does it too. I've caught him at it lotsa times. At least he knows what they represent. And don't tell me how I try to corrupt them. I've heard it all. You know most of them think I'm the symbol of ultimate evil? Then they turn around and kill or poison half the life I helped create. It's mindless. [pause] Which is what I'm doing right now. These people are raised to only believe one way. If I can just make them think, really think, they stand a chance of reaching their full potential. What they think of me doesn't matter, so long as they never forget to keep learning.

NEIL You're loopy. You know that? You really are crazy. You helped make a universe full of mortal life, and then you gave some of them not only our form, but a portion of our intellect. You're treating them like they can really think. [disgusted] You're treating them like they're us!

LOU [infuriated] Wrong!! They are us!! [pause, then softly] And however long it takes, I intend to make sure they figure that out.

[Neil takes up his sack and exits, hawking his wares.]

NEIL So.

AL Yeah.

NEIL That was Lou.

AL Yeah.

NEIL He's crazy, you know. These apes aren't like us. They're mortal. He's damned them already by letting them be smart. Now they all know they're going to die. A truly sentient creature that knew it was going to die would go crazy.

AL Do you think they really think about all that?

NEIL I don't know. They have a lot of things to distract them. For instance, we did give them Kool-Aid.

AL Yeah, I guess so.

NEIL So... what are you doing next Saturday?

AL [pause] I'm not sure.

NEIL Wanna do a supernova?

AL Sure. Why not?

NEIL Cool.

AL Yeah.

[Black-Out. End of play.]