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Lights up on a WOMAN sitting on the floor in a stark room. Her knees are pulled into her body and she looks not at, but beyond, a MAN who lies near to her, motionless on the floor with his back to her.
They are both in boxer-like shorts and white T-shirts. Except for the light of two dull spots, they are otherwise surrounded by shadows.
The MAN wakes with a start, physically overwhelmed. He doesn't see the woman at first. He takes in his surroundings. When he gains what bearings he has, he turns and sees the WOMAN. He is frightened.
MAN Who are you?
WOMAN Take it easy.
MAN Where am I?
He stands up quickly and blacks out.
WOMAN Quiet. Don't move so fast.
She stands to stop him from falling.
MAN Where am I?
WOMAN Easy. You'll fall over. Just sit down and get it together. It's the effects of the drugs.
She helps him back to the ground.
WOMAN That's what I figure.
He grabs his crotch and looks around, assessing things.
MAN We were drugged?
WOMAN I can't be certain.
MAN Do I know you?
WOMAN I don't know. Do you know me?
MAN I can't say.
WOMAN We must.
MAN Where the heck are we?
His sudden movement has made him nauseas.
How does it feel?
MAN Like a marching band is walking through my chest. And like an... an elephant shat in my mouth. Like a... cottony, dry, gritty taste and pain all over my body.
She laughs at this.
WOMAN That's one way to say it.
MAN How long does it last?
WOMAN Not too long. But I wasn't jumping up and moving around like you. I just sat here.
MAN Doing what?
MAN About what?
WOMAN Asking the same stupid questions as you.
WOMAN And I waited for you to wake up.
MAN I'm in a fog.
MAN Where are my pants?
WOMAN I don't know.
MAN Where are yours?
WOMAN I don't know that either.
MAN How long have you been sitting here?
WOMAN I'm not sure.
MAN Do you know anything?
WOMAN Better part of an hour?
MAN Just like that. Sitting there. Watching me and thinking.
WOMAN Pretty much, that's right.
MAN Did you try to find a way out of here?
MAN You didn't move?
WOMAN Something told me not to.
MAN Like what?
WOMAN Something... I don't know, a knowing.
MAN Oh boy.
MAN Well what are you waiting for, let's try to get out of here!
He stands, staggers, moves toward the shadows.
WOMAN I don't think you should be moving so quickly.
MAN Thanks for the concern but -
He is stopped by an invisible barrier at the edge of the shadow.
WOMAN What is it?
MAN That's strange.
He tries again.
I can't move.
WOMAN I told you not to move so fast.
MAN No no no no no. Not paralysis. I can move. See?
He shows her he can move.
I can't move.
WOMAN It must be some type of sedative.
MAN I can't move beyond this point. Come here. There's a barrier or something.
He walks in the opposite direction toward the opposing shadows and is stopped at the fringe of light. She walks slowly toward him, puts out her hand and feels the invisible force.
WOMAN What's going on?
MAN I don't know. Where are we?
WOMAN I told you already I don't know! Stop asking me that!
MAN Ok ok ok. Just let me think.
WOMAN Yes. Think.
MAN Well, what do you remember?
WOMAN About what?
MAN About anything? I don't know. How we got here? Where this is? [To self] I... I don't remember anything.
WOMAN Me either. But -
MAN But what?
WOMAN I know you.
MAN You do?
WOMAN Yes. I do. Somehow I know that I know you because when I woke up, just like you, startled and afraid and my whole body was racked with pain like yours was. Your arm was around me, and I felt...
MAN What? Come on - what did you feel?
MAN You did?
WOMAN Yes. I wouldn't feel like that if I didn't know who you are.
This comforts him. He reaches out his hand, an impulse to touch her. She evades it, stepping away from him.
We were lovers.
WOMAN Yes. We were lovers.
WOMAN No. Before.
At her assurance, the THUD of a sound is heard and the circle of light they find themselves in expands. A FIRST OBJECT is revealed.
What was that?
MAN I'm not sure. Hello?
They wait for a response. The MAN reaches out his hand tentatively to where he had been blocked from moving further and his hand surpasses the invisible boundary line.
Did you see that?
WOMAN See what?
MAN I can move past it. Look.
He walks forward and isn't stopped.
He keeps walking but is stopped again at the edge of the shadow. He looks at the WOMAN and marches to the opposite fringe. He is stopped at the new shadow line.
She tries, going to first one, then another point along the circumference of the shadow. She is stopped but it is then she notices the object on the floor.
WOMAN What's this?
MAN We're trapped, that's what this is.
WOMAN No, look. There's something here, in a cloth bag.
She walks over, picks it up.
MAN What are you doing?
WOMAN Seeing what it is.
MAN You don't know where it came from.
MAN Doesn't it concern you that it just appeared? Not here one moment, then...here?
WOMAN Seems to be a trend in this place. Well?
She hands the bag to him. After some thought he takes it. He puts the bag onto the floor, opens the draw strings and pulls out a gas mask.
I hate the sight of those things.
MAN They always remind me of -
MAN The whole city. One moment it was here.
WOMAN And then it was just...
WOMAN Think we're in a bunker?
MAN Could be.
WOMAN Another nuke?
MAN If we are, we're far enough away. We obviously had enough time to get here.
WOMAN But then where is everyone else? Our clothes?
MAN Food, water -
WOMAN No, this isn't a bunker. It's more like a prison
MAN A jail cell.
WOMAN But why? And for what?
MAN [Moving to the outskirt of shadows, yelling] Hey. Can anybody hear us? We demand to speak to our lawyers!
WOMAN We have lawyers?
MAN Well if we don't, we should.
The WOMAN puts on the mask and presses it against the contours of her face, adjusts the straps.
What are you doing?
WOMAN Trying it on.
MAN Take it off!
MAN What are you doing?
WOMAN I'm trying the mask on. What if they gas us?
MAN What if who gases us?
WOMAN Well there's a reason this mask was left on the floor.
MAN Then take it off!
MAN So you live and I die?
He moves to take the mask off. She straight-arms him. He stops.
WOMAN Settle down! I just want to see if it works.
She rips it off her head, astonished.
Can't I do that?
MAN There's only one mask.
WOMAN I see that. That's why we need to know if the seal works.
MAN So it works, and you get to use it?
WOMAN How chivalrous of you to offer. I use it. You use it. We can pass it between us on full lungs of good air, if each of us takes a turn with it, if the gas in the room isn't harmful and can't be absorbed through our skin. Didn't you attend any of the free disaster workshops offered on every street corner after the first bomb went off?
MAN Sorry. It was just...
WOMAN Can I?
She slips on the mask and adjusts the straps. She squeezes the nozzle and blows air out in two quick exhalations. She puts her hand on the filter and sucks air in.
WOMAN It's good. A good vacuum. It'll work.
MAN You sure?
She pulls the mask off.
WOMAN Geez, you didn't learn anything from Paris, did you?
MAN Just to stop trusting people, and fend for myself. Pas de tout.
WOMAN I had a husband like you once.
WOMAN I don't know. I mean, I could have. Those words just sorta popped out of my mouth.
MAN But look, we're remembering things, without trying.
WOMAN Like what?
MAN Like your husband. What was his name?
WOMAN I don't know if there was a husband. It was just something to say.
He grabs her hand.
MAN Easy -
WOMAN Don't touch me.
MAN Look. You can tell, you wore a ring. You were married.
WOMAN Or I just wore a ring.
MAN Good point.
WOMAN I mean, where are my clothes? My things? We don't know anything about anything? This is a bad dream I can't wake up from.
MAN Paris. We remember Paris! We both did, when we saw the mask.
WOMAN That's true.
MAN Ok. Let's just focus on that. What do you remember about it?
WOMAN I don't know... that it was bad.
WOMAN It was... all over the news.
MAN Every day
WOMAN On every feed. It was every headline on every paper. You couldn't escape the horror of it. The images they kept playing over and over. I couldn't stand it, but I couldn't turn away from it.
MAN Me too.
WOMAN The complete absence of blood.
MAN What did you say?
WOMAN There was no blood! No trace of the carnage. No bodies. At ground zero everything was just - gone. Like every one and everything had been blown through the earth.
MAN Blown or incinerated.
WOMAN And for awhile, no one could say exactly how it happened or why or even what it was, but we all knew.
MAN A suitcase nuke.
WOMAN We just didn't know where the first one would go off.
MAN I remember thanking God.
MAN Yes. That it wasn't us. It was a terrible, selfish prayer, but I meant it. I thought we would be hit first - I was sure of it. No one really hates the French. We all pretend we do but we know they - the terrorists - all hate us.
Those first few days, after the bomb. Do you remember that?
WOMAN Sort of.
MAN I mean real terror. A line of fear, like - what - like a line of rebar forced through the skull, through my brain and into my heart... out the abdomen, just impaling - I don't know, disemboweling - and sticking me to the ground.
WOMAN I don't want to remember this! Of all things this.
MAN I was frozen in fear. Couldn't go to work for more than a month - didn't even call the boss - because every briefcase had a bomb. Everyone around me could be a terrorist.
And if it went off on the subway or in the street or a block away in some high rise you couldn't duck for cover or be shielded from the blow, you'd just [beat] incinerate.
I don't want to incinerate.
WOMAN I was pregnant.
When the bomb went off, I was pregnant and I thought -
MAN How can we bring a child into this world?
There is a THUD of a sound and the circle of light they find themselves expands again. A SECOND OBJECT can be seen in the new circumference of light, but neither of them see it yet.
They stare at each other, long. He breaks from her gaze first.
MAN The lights again. Did you notice that?
He walks around the space.
There's more room. See? The space we're in... it's... expanding somehow. Systematically?
WOMAN What did you say?
MAN The room, it's getting bigger.
WOMAN I know that. I mean - what did you say just then?
MAN Feel around. Maybe there's a way outa here.
They circle the space. He more intently than her. Her mind is pushing against a door of significant memory that she can't quite open. He kicks a SMALL OBJECT on the floor accidentally. It rolls across the room. He watches it. She doesn't notice.
WOMAN No, but...
WOMAN It's like I'm starting to see.
MAN See what?
He walks to the object while she thinks. She suddenly grabs her temples in pain.
WOMAN Through the fog... through my - in my memory. In my mind.
MAN You are? That’s good.
He picks the OBJECT up. She turns and looks at him, pointing. He hides the OBJECT behind his back instinctively.
WOMAN Like when you were speaking just then.
WOMAN Yes, about Paris.
MAN Oh that. I didn't mean it.
MAN No. I didn't want any of those people to die. I wasn't happy about it.
WOMAN No. Not that. What you said about the baby.
MAN What baby?
WOMAN Mine. When I told you I was pregnant.
MAN What are you talking about?
WOMAN When I said - when... when I remembered that I was pregnant when the bomb, when it went off in Paris, you said -
MAN I don't even know what I said.
WOMAN Just then, before the lights got brighter! You said, "How can we bring a child into this world?"
MAN What does it matter? I just said it. Like you or anyone says anything.
WOMAN But I've heard those words before. I know I have.
MAN Everyone has. It's a shit world. Anyone whose ever brought a baby into it has probably said those exact same words.
WOMAN But I've heard you say those words before.
MAN No that’s... that's impossible. You're memory's all wonky.
She touches her hand to her head.
WOMAN Well, I can't disagree with that. I don't like it, though.
MAN Me either.
WOMAN I don't like it!
He holds out the object in his hand.
WOMAN What is it?
MAN I don't know. I found it, just now, with the lights. Kicked it across the floor.
She reaches to hold it, but he steps out of the way so she can't.
In your haze you've been confusing me for someone else, you know.
WOMAN You should see what's there.
MAN I will.
WOMAN Well, what are you waiting for?
MAN I'm just thinking things through.
WOMAN What's there to think about? How it got here?
MAN Not how. When. The mask came with the lights.
WOMAN And that loud sound. It frightened me, both times.
MAN Do you think they fell?
WOMAN From where?
MAN I don't know, the sky?
WOMAN We're in a room.
MAN Are we for sure?
They both look up, wince at the lights.
WOMAN That's too small - too light to make that kind of sound from falling.
MAN True. But you're right. This came with the sound. And with the lights. So did the mask.
WOMAN So what does that mean?
MAN I don't know. But at least we're starting to know something. We're collecting things.
WOMAN A gas mask and -
MAN and facts. To explain these phenomena.
MAN This... space.
WOMAN You think we're out in space?
MAN Outer space? No! We're just here.
WOMAN You're sounding all funny about it.
MAN Well this is a funny business we're caught up in.
WOMAN I'll say. You know what's really funny?
WOMAN You not opening that. What are you waiting for?
He slowly opens the box.
MAN It's a necklace.
WOMAN Let's see.
He pulls out a silver chain and holds it up.
MAN Wait, it's a locket. A heart-shaped locket.
At seeing it she instinctively clutches her neck. She steps away, turning her back to him to think.
WOMAN Don't open it yet.
WOMAN Just don't. Just wait. I gotta think. It’s familiar.
He examines it closely.
MAN Hmm. This is strange. It looks like the clamp on the back is missing. Yeah. Look here. There's a link of chain on each side that's broken. There's no clasp. You couldn't wear it if you wanted to.
WOMAN I think I know what's inside.
MAN You do? How?
WOMAN A photograph.
MAN Well, that's a given.
WOMAN What I mean is, that I think I know what's in there, so I should tell you before you open it, because if I'm right, then... well... that's significant, see? It means that my memory - our memories - are coming back.
MAN So, who is it then? Who's on the photo in here?
WOMAN I don't know his name. But it'll be a.. a brown-eyed boy. About six years old.
MAN That's it?
WOMAN I can almost see his face. If I - if I close my eyes.
MAN So, can I open it now?
He opens it.
MAN You're wrong.
WOMAN Who is it then?
MAN No one. It's empty.
WOMAN Empty? But -
She takes it from his hand.
MAN Nothing's there. So, I guess you could've been right. Maybe someone took out the boy's photo.
She offers it back to him.
No, you keep it.
She takes the box it came with and puts the locket back inside, snapping the lid shut. With the snap, she looks startled at the man, who has gone over to the gas mask and picked it up.
He looks at her and in the same moment there is more light and a loud THUD.
He is startled by the sound and light and her intense gaze and starts to look around the room at the space.
She walks over to him with purpose.
That's your name. David.
MAN No it's not.
WOMAN But it is! It just came to me, like a... like a lightening bolt. Striking me in the dark. Boom. Just like these lights. You're David.
MAN That's not my name.
WOMAN Then what is it?
MAN I don't know, but -
WOMAN If you don't know what your name is how can you be so sure what it isn't?
MAN I'd know if it was. When you said it, I'd know that.
WOMAN But the lights.
MAN What about the lights?
WOMAN The sound. Yes. Don't you see? With the sound. With the lights! There's more space, too.
He feels around the illuminated space.
MAN You're right. I mean... about the space. It's bigger. Ah!
He shakes his head, then grabs it in pain.
MAN My head! Ow!
WOMAN A fog?
MAN A bloody painful one. I can
WOMAN almost remember?
MAN It's like it's on the edge of my mind about to fall right into the place that makes things make sense. Feel that.
MAN Touch me. My forehead. My arm. It's like when I touch my body it feels bigger than it actually is. Can you feel that too?
WOMAN Not really
MAN And... and - close your eyes!
MAN When I close my eyes I can see myself and see this room as bigger than they are. What the heck is going on?
WOMAN David, calm down!
MAN My name is not David!
Lights and THUD. They both are completely still when they hear it.
From where they stand, they both survey the room. He stops when he sees her staring at something. He follows her gaze. There are TWO OBJECTS on the floor.
They both look back at each other. Slowly they walk to the centre of the space to the new objects. They each stand over one of them, pick them up. He holds an envelope. She holds a leather bound picture frame that opens like a book.
MAN Ladies first.
She slowly opens the book and when she sees the photo she drops it immediately in shock.
Frantic, she takes a few steps back.
What's come over you?
He picks up the case.
When she sees him reaching over to pick it up she quickly grabs it and takes it to the edge of the light.
MAN What's gotten over you?
WOMAN Leave me alone!
MAN Easy. What was in that?
WOMAN None of our business!
MAN Is it now.
WOMAN Leave me alone. Can't you see it's disturbed me? That it's pained me? Just leave it alone!
He steps to the other side of the space, away from her.
MAN I can't see what would disturb you so much. But I see that it's triggered you. Some sort of bad memory?
He steps toward her excitedly. She defensively clutches the object and hides it from her.
It's a good sign, though, isn’t it? Even if it's painful. Yes, don't you see. Your memory is coming back. No pain, no gain...
He looks at the envelope in his hand. Opening it, he takes out a photograph, when he sees it he drops to his knees.
It's the boy.
He has brown hair and brown eyes, just like you said.
He touches the photograph tenderly.
He looks over to the woman and holds the photograph to her, a gesture that transforms her countenance. She is pulled to him and to the photograph as if by a tractor beam.
WOMAN Your son?
WOMAN How do you know?
MAN I just do.
WOMAN Where is he?
MAN I don't know.
WOMAN What do you know?
MAN That I love him. Nothing more. What about you?
WOMAN I don't know anything either.
MAN This isn't the look of a woman who doesn't know anything. You know something!
WOMAN I don't.
MAN What is it?
WOMAN [Screaming] I want out of here! Let me out of here!
He walks over to her and hauls her by the arm.
MAN Do you know something about my David?
WOMAN [To the darkness] Why are you keeping us here?
MAN What do you know?
WOMAN [To the darkness] Let us out!
She shields herself from him, afraid. He lets her go.
MAN [Shouting beyond the room] I need to see my son! I need to know he's alright!
He clutches his head in pain.
Something terrible has happened. [To her] Hasn't it?
WOMAN I think so.
MAN [Shouting to the darkness] What happened to David?
I have a son. And his name is David.
MAN Yes. Is. Why would you ask such a thing?
WOMAN Think about where we are. If a bomb went off out there -
MAN Shut up!
WOMAN If a bomb went off out there and we're in here, alone -
MAN No, shut up! We don't know what happened.
She shrugs her shoulders.
I sure don't. What are you hiding from me - there - what are you hiding there that makes you so sure?
WOMAN A bitter memory. That's all. Trust me, okay?
MAN How do I know if I can? If I should?
WOMAN Trust me.
Listen. We need to try to remember other things. You're right. We're starting to piece things together. But there's not really a pattern, is there, to our remembering?
MAN I don't know how we go about doing it.
WOMAN What did you do... for work... before you woke up here. Before the first nuke, the one we can remember, in Paris?
MAN I don't know.
WOMAN Come on. Think about it.
MAN I told you I can't remember anything.
WOMAN You already described some of it.
MAN I did? When?
WOMAN Before - you said you rode the subway or something.
MAN What does that matter?
WOMAN It matters a lot. I want to know who I'm in this God-forsaken cell with. Remembering what we did can help us tell what kind of...
WOMAN What kind of person... what kind of people we are.
MAN How do I remember?
WOMAN Think about your routine. About what you did everyday, on the way to work. Think about the subway.
He closes his eyes. He takes a deep breath. He opens his eyes again after awhile.
MAN This is stupid.
WOMAN Just try!
MAN I did
MAN And what? Now I'm supposed to know my job title and the name of my employer?
WOMAN I'm not expecting that. Didn't you see anything, in your memory?
MAN Just a number.
WOMAN What number?
MAN A red number... an alarm clock! 5-5-5. AM.... that's when I woke up. In the mornings.
WOMAN To go to work?
MAN To get ready for work. 5:55. I'd set the alarm for 6:00 a.m., actually, but I always woke up five minutes before. Because I hate the sound of my alarm clock. It's that Neeah neeeeah neeah neeah -
WOMAN Ok! I got it. Why wouldn't you just buy a new one... with a different sound?
MAN I don't know.
WOMAN So you had a pretty standard routine, it sounds like.
MAN I guess.
WOMAN Up early every morning.
WOMAN So you woke up... then what’d you do?
MAN I ate breakfast.
WOMAN Okay, then...
MAN Then the three S's.
WOMAN The three S's?
MAN Shit, shower and shave.
MAN Then the subway.
WOMAN So 4 S’s.
MAN I guess so
WOMAN Do you remember what station you got on, or off?
He closes his eyes again.
MAN No. I just see a few random pictures in my mind.
WOMAN What are they?
MAN Boy you’re relentless!
MAN The man with the newsstand who I bought a paper from in the mornings between trains. He wore a wool hat and was missing a molar that I could see when he smiled after I paid
WOMAN That’s good. What else?
MAN The glass sky rise where I think I worked. Yeah, it must be. Reflective blue glass. And... and the courtyard below with two large birch trees.
WOMAN What city?
MAN I don’t know.
WOMAN Well, we’re getting somewhere. Anything else?
He closes his eyes again.
MAN Huh. A beautiful brown alligator skin briefcase. The softest leather. I loved the feel of that in my hands.
WOMAN You were a lawyer.
MAN Criminal law
WOMAN District attorney's office
MAN The briefcase was a gift from my mother when I passed the bar.
He opens his eyes, smiling delight.
How did you know I practiced law?
WOMAN The memory came to me too. I remember that briefcase.
MAN You do?
WOMAN There was a silk pocket, sewn into the inside of it, in one of the compartments, where you kept a white slip of paper
MAN That I pulled from a fortune cookie
WOMAN At one of your favourite Chinese places near Central Park. You're not superstitious
MAN I’m not?
WOMAN but you kept it.
MAN I did?
MAN How do you know?
WOMAN I just know.
MAN What did the fortune say?
WOMAN What does it matter what it said? I don't know. Maybe it should've said you'd find yourself with no memory, locked up in a strange cave at the end of the world with the woman you proposed to on the same night you cracked open that fortune cookie.
She’s surprised at the revelation.
He tries to absorb this information. As they stand in silence a HISSING SOUND can be heard. A mist starts to appear from the darkness and fill the space.
WOMAN Get the mask!
They both run for it. He gets to it first, grabs it. She looks at him, afraid. He hands it to her.
MAN You use it first. If I don't make it -
She grabs it, fumbles with it to get it on quickly. He takes an enormous breath. She steps toward the shadows, away from him.
He walks to the photo of David, picks it up and hugs it to his chest. He moves through the space, waving the mist with one hand and feeling for her. When he finds her, she mimes moving the mask and giving it to him.
She signals again but he grabs her hands instead and pulls her arms around his body into an embrace.
WOMAN What are you doing?
At the end of his breath, unable to hold it any more, he inhales deeply.
MAN It's better you live!
He starts to cough. She moves to help him. He pushes her away and falls to the ground on his hands and knees. The smoke starts to dissipate. They both wait for him to die.
WOMAN Nothing's happening.
MAN Sorry to disappoint you.
WOMAN Are you alright? Do you feel anything?
MAN Like an idiot - a light-headed one - for holding my breath so long.
WOMAN Burning in the lungs?
WOMAN Pain... in your abdomen or chest?
WOMAN Open your mouth.
He does, obediently. She looks him over, in his mouth, eyes, ears. She pulls off the mask.
MAN What are you doing?
WOMAN Well, you're fine. Why shouldn't I be?
She grabs her throat and screams.
MAN What what what what?
She stops screaming. Starts laughing.
MAN That's not funny.
WOMAN A little humour at the end of the world. You should've seen the look on your face.
MAN Ha ha.
WOMAN It's colder in here.
MAN What happened?
WOMAN I don't know, but the temperature sure dropped.
MAN I can see that.
He looks at her chest. She folds her arm over her breasts.
WOMAN I'm freezing.
MAN Come here.
He hugs her to himself and starts to rub her arms, her back.
MAN There you go Honey.
She steps out of his embrace.
MAN Isn't that what I call you?
WOMAN Not anymore.
MAN No? How do you know that?
WOMAN Because I don't like it.
MAN You’re my wife.
There is a THUD and another OBJECT drops from the roof, suspended on a wire.
Here we go. They're playing with us.
MAN Who is?
WOMAN If it wasn't gas, what was it?
MAN I don't know.
WOMAN It was a test. The people keeping us here are starting to play games with us now that we're starting to remember things. We're like mice in their trap.
MAN What is it this time?
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