Smashing Those Rose-Colored Glasses
The peeling soles of Laurel's Justin ropers slapped the ground; staccato pings that turned every pedestrian into an audience for her flight, as her noodley legs carried her down Pico as fast as they could. A neon sign peddling tropical fish seemed to denote a safe haven. We have fish in Texas. she thought. Ours have predictable sexual habits and are not known to murder. Deductive reasoning concludes California fish are similar. Laurel dialed up Joan as fast as she could, probably the fourth time she had called her since getting on the Metro across town, demanding to know where the fuck is this fucking place.
45 minutes ago Laurel was standing at Expo & Vermont, in the "USC bubble", comfortably encased in the patriarchal cocoon, waiting to catch a bus to the theatre venue. She had just eaten dinner (approx. half a cheese pizza with some Ranch, for flavor- she hadn't eaten all day), with a mix of friends and acquaintances in the college cafeteria, and on her way out she slipped a cafeteria knife into the pocket of her oversized flannel. You know Laurel, "just bein' prepared." The university higher-ups had warned students about straying too far from their square mile of safety.
Armed thus, Laurel skimmed over her lines in the script & practiced them aloud at the bus stop until the 745 rolled up, at a punctual 30 minutes afters its scheduled arrival time. Since Laurel's only line in the play naturally involved her having a melodramatic orgasm while reciting Greek stanzas, she diverted her time elsewhere once she boarded. She opted to listen to Bob Dylan through headphones and liken herself to a proud tradition of artists, who, she fancied, must have ridden many buses in many cities, alone with the instruments of their trade, be it their script or their guitar.
The 745 could be likened to a comfortable if crowded womb, which she was expelled from at the corner of Pico & Western. She pulled her beanie down firmly over her pixie cut to heighten its androgynous effect, which she thought made her look "tough" and "less desirable to rape". You know Laurel, "just bein' street smart." (This trick actually works really well- she still uses it on the subways. She's often mistaken for a skinny-jeans-wearing boy). She marched down Western with adrenaline-fueled briskness, keeping an eye on every other soul in the streets.
As she approached the next street corner, she saw some kind of amorphous lump that seemed to be trudging back and forth on the sidewalk and occassionally into the street, like some kind of Aimless Trash Monster clothed in cardboard and beer cans. It seemed to be making groaning noises. As she got closer, it seemed to have concentrated its efforts on the pile of trash next to it, and was making grunting noises.
She finds this next part incredibly difficult to write, even still. She recognized the monster as a man who was attempting to have sexual relations with a pile of trash on the street. She supposed he really had stopped identifying with the dignity of the human race; her original reading of him as a trash monster was probably as accurate as anything. It completely broke her heart. She was in love with her own rose-colored vision of humanity, and this sight broke her heart and stole her innocence.
At the time though, these feelings registered as a sort of Molotov cocktail of static that the homeless man unwittingly threw at her, and it exploded in her brain leaving nothing but fuzzy empty rubble and the need to flee. Her cafeteria knife couldn't protect her from the worst. The fish shop was her bomb shelter from cultural paradigm destruction. Rainbow colored animals: appropriate for teaching the alphabet, reassuring in a crisis.
Laurel Practices her Orgasms
Laurel finally gets in the hang of showing up to rehearsals, which involve making moaning noises in the midst of a crumbling faux-villa, where unwashed sweatpants droop over crusty couches whose cotton guts have ceased to be contained by their textile skins, and empty cans of Monster and Coors Light litter the peeling floor tiles like the aftermath of a symposia that was sourced not from the fruit of Mediterranean vines but from the local AM / PM.
unnnnnnhhhh. ahhhh. oooohhhhhhhH!
Laurel blushes. Lacy is making Laurel do this over and again, while Joan smacks her bubblegum on a couch.
Have you ever even done this before?
Geez. Lacy. Yes. Gawwdd.
Try it again, louder.
MMM.. AHHHHHHH. UNNNNNHHHH, OHHHH!!
At this point Laurel is basically writhing like a drunken cobra and shouting. Is she supposed to be a Bacchian nymph or is she getting fucked by one of those giant squid monsters from a Japanese wood-block porn? I mean come on.
Okay Lacy I think I get the point. Can we work on a different scene?
None of our actors are here. It's like pulling teeth to get these guys to show up to a rehearsal, and we opened up the building for two hours to do a full-dress. I don't know what everyone's problem is.
Joan shrugs her shoulders in vague agreement, while flicking through her text messages. Joan's boyfriend is out in Venice right now and is supposed to be picking up vegetable oil to pour into the engine of Joan's 'eco-friendly' veg-oil-powered station wagon, the chariot that is going to bear them home later, so they're stuck at the theatre anyway. Lacy is a fairly impassioned theatre graduate student who's work is likely going to be one of the last productions at the Bacchus, which is now crumbling from a combination of misuse, lack of funding, and general disinterest in experimental theatre in Los Angeles. (If it's not Avatar, Indiana Jones, or Star Wars, what are you doing out here sweetheart- try booking a run at some feminist blackbox theatre in Brooklyn).
Laurel drops out of that scene of sadness. The play is never produced. In fact, the Bacchus may have closed that year.