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This is one classic, tragic story about two utter morons. Two middle-aged colleagues, solid and stable, responsible and smart, family people. Who are a little bored. And who are already getting old. And who have been sitting together in the office for a long, long time. She sits in front of him. He sits behind her. Somewhat diagonally. As it usually happens when you’ve been working at the same place for ten years, you’re constantly bored. And when you’re bored, all kinds of things cross your mind. Inside your mind, all kinds of wonderful things happen, while on the outside there are only files, a stapler and an odd bee or two. It’s as if you simultaneously endure in two parallel worlds.

It’s entirely up to you whether there going to be two or four actors acting out those worlds in your mind. But I like to imagine them as four completely separate individuals, in two separate spaces. Or joined together, oh, hell, I don’t know. Use your imagination. And yes—for purely practical reasons, in order to keep track more easily, we’ll name the inner people Hehe and Sheshe.

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YEAR: 2015.

NUMBER OF MALE CHARACTERS: 1 ili 2

NUMBER OF FEMALE CHARACTERS: 1 ili 2

TRANSLATED BY:  Tomislav Kuzmanović

COPYRIGHT: All rights reserved.

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Characters

He—outer world
She—outer world
She(she)—inner world
He(he)—inner world


This is one classic, tragic story about two utter morons. Two middle-aged colleagues, solid and stable, responsible and smart, family people. Who are a little bored. And who are already getting old. And who have been sitting together in the office for a long, long time. She sits in front of him. He sits behind her. Somewhat diagonally. As it usually happens when you’ve been working at the same place for ten years, you’re constantly bored. And when you’re bored, all kinds of things cross your mind. Inside your mind, all kinds of wonderful things happen, while on the outside there are only files, a stapler and an odd bee or two. It’s as if you simultaneously endure in two parallel worlds.

It’s entirely up to you whether there going to be two or four actors acting out those worlds in your mind. But I like to imagine them as four completely separate individuals, in two separate spaces. Or joined together, oh, hell, I don’t know. Use your imagination. And yes—for purely practical reasons, in order to keep track more easily, we’ll name the inner people Hehe and Sheshe.

Hehe:       It’s about your hair. About the way it drops on your shoulder, which is exposed, yet it isn’t. It’s about that piece of bare skin, which is showing, as if by accident. And we know it’s no accident. You and I know it isn’t.

Sheshe:   It’s about you looking at my shoulder, about your gaze, which I don’t see, but I feel it or I think I feel it or I hope I feel it or I imagine I feel it.

Hehe:       It’s about that movement, that slow movement. Fuck, like in a movie. Does she know what she’s doing? Is this by accident or on purpose? Is it for me? Does this mean she’s thinking about me?

Sheshe:   Is he looking? Is he looking at me? Why don’t I feel his gaze? I should feel the warmth, the heat. Why can’t I feel his burning eyes?


He:           What are you doing? Are you touching yourself?

She:          You’re an idiot.

He:           So what are you doing?

She:          What am I doing?! I’m reading.

He:           Are you aware of what you are doing?

She:          Oh, cut the crap.


Hehe:       She’s blushing. She’s embarrassed. She knew what she was doing.

Sheshe:   Crap, crap, what was I doing exactly? Who knows what it looks like? I’m exaggerating. Really.

He:           I like it when she blushes. She does it for me. She’s thinking about me.

Sheshe:   But he was looking. He was looking after all.


He:           Hey.

She:          What?

He:           Have you got a stapler?

She:          I have.

He:           Lend it to me.

She:          Here you go.

He:           Thanks.


Sheshe:   But he’s got his own stapler. I saw it yesterday. Jesus, this is like back in high school.


He:           Here you go.

She:          Thanks.

He:           You’re welcome.


They are silent. They are working.


Sheshe:   And so now what, we’re just going to be quiet, just like that?


She:          Listen.

He:           Huh?

She:          Can I have your stapler?

He:           Here you go.

She:          Thanks, I’ve got my own.

He:           So why do you need mine?!

She:          I don’t, I don’t. (She starts laughing.)

He:           Uh-huh! I see. Well, you know, I couldn’t find mine before. But, there, you can have it now. Want it?

She:          Thanks anyway.


Hehe:       Thanks for what. I haven’t given it to you, but I’d like to, oh, how I’d like to.

She:          What?

He:           Nothing, nothing.


She:          Listen, tell me, have you figured out that file from yesterday?

He:           Which one?

She:          The one from the meeting.

He:           Yes.

She:          Explain me one thing.

He:           What?


She approaches him. As cool as a cucumber. From fear. So that he doesn’t notice her heart is pounding. But this, of course, is not going to stop her to come close to him. Very close. Unnecessarily close.


She:          Look, here, on this page it says one thing, and on this one another.

He:           Where?

She:          Here. Look, here it says this, and here something completely different.

He:           I see.

She:          What do you see?

He:           That’s not the same thing at all, it’s two different things.

She:          Huh.

He:           See…


Sheshe:   I see, I see you. And do you see me? He flinched. Am I too close? I’m sweating, maybe I stink. I better step back.

Hehe:       Why has she stepped back? Maybe my breath stinks.


He:           Have you got a chewing gum?

She:          No, sorry.

He:           Ah, it’s ok. Listen, I’m gonna email you the reference and it’ll show you everything.

She:          Uh-huh. Ok. Thanks.


Sheshe:   He blew me off, just like that. Just so I get away from him. Crap.

Hehe:       I’ve got to get some chewing gum.


Sheshe:   I’m bored. And when I’m bored, I get horny. It starts somewhere here, in the nape of my neck, and then it slowly travels down my spine, it advances slowly, but unstoppably until it reaches the bottom. The source. And then nothing matters anymore—except for one thing—is he looking at me? Is he looking at me now? If I look back and see he’s looking at me, that means I’ve got him.

He’s not looking.

Crap.


Ok. I’ll count to 30. If I turn around and see he’s looking at me that mean’s I’ve got him but he’s pretending I don’t.

He’s not looking.

Crap.

Ok.


I’ll count to 60. If he’s NOT looking by then…

Hehe:       It’s like some impulse suddenly passes through her body. And her spine comes alive somehow, it becomes soft, curvy and warm. Sometimes it seems as if she turns into a snake.

Sheshe:   Oh, fuck, he’s looking. Now was the time when he was supposed—no to be looking!

Hehe:       Fuck, she saw me. What do you think, can she read my mind? Can you see that in someone’s eyes?

Besides, why does she keep turning around so often? Don’t tell me she’s checking on me to see if I’m looking. Let’s see how many times she’ll turn around in the next five minutes. Just for fun.

Sheshe:   Ok. This is what we’ll do. I’ll time five minutes. If he calls my name in the next five minutes, then he’s crazy about me.

Hehe:       She hasn’t turned once. Ah, this is nuts. I’ve got a job to do, I’m busy. I don’t have time to stare at that curvy spine of hers. Besides, she’s got big ears. And she’s not that good-looking either.

Sheshe:   He hasn’t called my name. What an idiot! Ah, I’ve got to work, I don’t have time to count minutes. Besides, he’s not that good-looking.

Hehe:       Her lips aren’t anything special either. Not pretty. And her nose is crooked. Ah, shit, did she really have to put her legs on the desk?

Sheshe:   Screw him. I don’t care about him, at all. Besides, why should I count to thirty? Is that even appropriate for someone who’s forty?

Hehe:       Is that for me? Her legs on the desk? And who gave her the right to come to work in such short pants? It’s really tacky.

I wonder—what do her knees taste like?

Sheshe:   This connection between boring files and libido is unbelievable. Maybe I could patent some of my documents as an aphrodisiac?

Hehe:       She’s touching herself again. God, what’s wrong with that woman?

Sheshe:   He’s not looking at me, again. I don’t care, I’m gonna get myself a cup of coffee.

Hehe:       Where is she going?

Sheshe:   Should I invite him? No. You know, why not, we’re friends, we’ve had coffee together hundreds of times.


She:          I’m gonna get a cup of coffee. Do you want one?

He:           Sure, can you get me a latte?


Sheshe:   What a jerk!


She:          I thought, why don’t you come downstairs with me?

He:           I have a meeting.

She:          I see. So, one caffe latte? Is that it?

He:           Yeah, that’s it.


Sheshe:   A jerk!


She comes back. He’s sitting at his computer with headphones on his ears. He’s in a meeting. A phone meeting. She puts the coffee on his desk.


She:          There you are.

He:           Thank you so much. (He says and offers her the nicest smile he can muster.)


Sheshe:   He’s really got a nice smile. That’s what I like best about him, perhaps, that smile. Or the way he looks at me. Maybe it’s his eyes? What the fuck is happening to me, I’ve known that man for ten years. Where did this come from?

It’s because of that conversation from the other day. When I heard him talk to Marko about that Jelena from the third floor. A real fox, everyone’s got a thing for her. And then he said that she wasn’t anything special, that there are many much more interesting women, for example—me. Since I’ve come back from maternity leave, there’s a glow about me, that’s what he said.

True—he mentioned other girls too…

Hehe: I’m into her. I wonder if she wonders if I like her?

He:           Yes, yes, sorry, what did you say, I haven’t heard this last thing. The connection’s poor. Aha, about the calculation. Well, yes…


Sheshe:   Those conference calls all the time. He’s always on the phone. I can’t talk to him, ever. If only I had a mirror, to see if he’s looking at me. I’m going to bring a mirror tomorrow. Ah, what the fuck is happening to me? What mirror?! I’m married, for fuck’s sake. He too. A mirror, what the fuck is up with that? I’m bored, that’s what it is, nothing more. I have to start reading these files, because I won’t make it on time. If I don’t read this in half an hour, I’m screwed.


At that moment.

He:           Wanna grab a lunch?

She:          Sure!


Hehe:       There she goes with her legs again.

Sheshe:   Uh, I’m losing it again. Focus, focus, focus.


In his mind, Hehe approaches Sheshe’s legs on the desk and slowly, very slowly, very gently, carefully and smoothly moves his hand along the lower part of her legs, from her thighs to her feet, and back. Should we even say that it’s summer, and that the pants she wears are a bit too short for the job she’s doing.

She:          Listen.

Sheshe startles.

He:           Oh-oh!

She:          What?

He:           Nothing, nothing. What’s up?

She:          I need a stapler.

He:           You’ve got your own.

She:          Don’t you have mine?

He:           No.


Sheshe:   What a jerk!


He:           Do you ever wash your feet?

She:          Excuse me!?

He:           Your feet are all black.

She:          Ah, that, you know, I forget myself and I walk to the printer barefoot… Like I’m at the beach… I’ve really loosened up.

He:           It seems to me you’ve loosened up a bit too much.


The massage of her nape has turned into playing with her hair. Her long, heavy, seductive hair.

He:           You don’t have a comb at home, do you?

She:          What?!

He:           You keep combing your hair with your hands.

She:          Quit staring at me!

He:           I’m not staring at you, I just see things.

She:          Do your job and leave me alone.


Sheshe:   Don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone…


Sheshe:   He’s left me alone.


Hehe:       What is happening to me? Why am I so horny? It’s like I’ve never seen a woman’s legs. My wife’s got better legs than her. Or close to hers. Maybe a little worse, but not by much.

Sheshe:   I’m bored, I guess. That’s what it is. Nevertheless—it’s strange. How can a friend suddenly become an object of desire? I mean, I’ve always thought he’s handsome, but still… Because this is lust, right?! Nothing more. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be talking about being horny all the time. I’d be talking about how good a man he is, or how funny he is, how he always makes me laugh. And it’s true—he does make me laugh. Often.

Hehe:       It’s normal. It’s normal that men immediately think of sex when they see a woman’s naked legs. It’s the way we are. We, men. And if they have a problem with that, well, they should stop putting their legs up on the desks.

Sheshe:   And why now? Why now, after ten years? Is it only because of what he told Marko?! Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe it’s the mid-life crisis.

Hehe:       Why now? Because I dreamt of you last night. We went on a field trip. With people from the company, I guess, I don’t remember it well. I only know you wore these same shorts, and that we were sitting at the table and you sat in my lap, and I asked you—Are you ticklish?

She: What?

He:           Are you ticklish?

She:          What kind of a question is that?

He:           It’s just a question. I want to know.

She:          Please, stop bothering me, I have to focus.

He:           I’m bothering you?

She:          Yes, with your stupid questions.

He:           Do you really have to be so crude all the time?

She:          Sorry, but you keep asking questions, and I can’t focus, I don’t get anything done.

He:           Well, okay, it’s just one question, every hour or so.

She:          It’s not what I meant.

He:           And what did you mean?

She:          It’s your presence that bothers me, it doesn’t let me focus.


Sheshe:   There, I’ve said it.

Hehe:       Jesus fucking Christ, what now? Has she just said out loud what I think she’s said? Why do women always have to say things out loud?


He:           What do you mean?


Sheshe:   Is he screwing with me, or he really doesn’t get it?


She:          I mean—you’re so annoying that your very presence bothers me.

A beat.

He:           Ah—I understand.


Sheshe:   You understand? Do you really understand? Then why don’t you say anything? Why don’t you say something if you understand? Because you have no interest in me. You’ve never had any interest in me. Of course, we’ve known each other for ten years, and if you liked me, something would’ve happened already. How can I be so stupid, I imagined all this.


He:           See, I don’t find you annoying. I think you’re an awesome girl. A great friend.

She A great friend…

He:           Yes. And I’m sorry, if I’m annoying to you.


Sheshe:   He got it. He understood everything and blew me off. So embarrassing. I haven’t felt like this since high school. Jesus, to embarrass yourself like this, and at my age. Besides, it’s better this way, it’s better I did it. Now at least I know where we stand, now I can focus on my job. I can stop with all those ideas.

A pause.

Shame is great, shame is cool. It’s exactly the slap in the face I needed.

A pause.

Terrible. If my husband saw me, I’d sink through the floor with shame. I’m sure he’d be less pissed off if I cheated on him, instead of embarrassing myself like this in front of some second-class jerk. Throwing myself at his feet… like some horny slut. Forgive me, forgive me, my dearest husband, please forgive me for shaming you like this…


She:          And I’m a lady, I’m a madam to you. Not some girl.

He:           Well, excuse me, madam, if I’m annoying you.


Sheshe:   Oh, come on, quit bullshitting. Just shut up. Shut up and be gone.


She:          Ah, don’t worry, I was just kidding.


He:           It’s a nice morning, isn’t’ it?

She:          Beautiful.

He:           Are you ok?

She:          I’m great.


Sheshe:   I would’ve been better if I hadn’t had to look at you ever again. Or if, for example, I could blow your head up with my mind. Like in that movie. And then when the police would show up, I’d pretend I’m in shock. “I… I… I don’t know—he was just sitting here—and then, suddenly—BAM!”

He:           Want me to grab you a coffee?

She:          No, thanks.


Sheshe:   Go fuck yourself, you and your pity.


Hehe:       Maybe I should’ve told her. She seems sad. But told her what? That I loved her? That couldn’t be further from the truth. She’s got good legs, that’s all. Everyone would want those legs. It’s normal. It’s what men do. Why does she put them on the desk if she doesn’t want me to look at them? But, she wants me to look at them and that’s the problem. I have a wife. A woman I love. The mother of my children. Maybe she doesn’t have such good legs, but what’s love got to do with legs? None whatsoever.

Sheshe:   I’m not going to wear shorts, ever again.

Hehe:       But, she’s pretty all sunken and serious and sad. Maybe I should get her a soda.


He:           How about a soda?

She:          No, thanks.


Sheshe:   Go fuck yourself, you and your pity.


He:           Hey, can I have your stapler? Mine’s broken.

She:          Here.

He:           Roberto’s coming tomorrow.

She:          Baldini?

He:           Yes. We’re having dinner later in the evening. Wanna come with us?

She:          I can’t do it tomorrow.

He:           We had a great time in Rome. Remember?

She:          Ah, it wasn’t much. I don’t like Rome all that much.

He:           Sure, when you got drunk at that dinner.

She:          Don’t bring it up, please.


Hehe:       Is she mad at me? Why would she be mad? I haven’t done anything wrong. I saved us. Imagine if I told her: I like you too? What would happen then? Imagine, please imagine, if she knew I liked her, back then, on that business trip. She wore that red dress. She was so beautiful. Luckily, there were other people with us, because I got so close. She stood in front of me. Her back toward me, just like now. He back naked and she laughed and at one moment she picked up her hair, as if inviting me to kiss her shoulder, her back, her neck. And she glanced at me and she smiled, even though she thought I didn’t love her, even though I lied to her. And that’s when I told her:

Hehe: “You do know what I think of you.”

I admitted it to her. But it wasn’t exactly clear, that’s true. “You do know what I think of you.” There’s a number of ways to take this.

Sheshe:   That’s when it dawned on me, that’s when I knew it—like—I think you’re cool, but I’m not attracted to you. But we’re cool, right?

Hehe:       That’s how you understood this, why?

Sheshe:   Well, how else? Otherwise, why would you say I’m “a great friend”? Because you find me ugly?

Hehe:       You’re not… Besides, why do you keep interrupting me? I’ve been talking about that business trip.

Sheshe:   During which nothing happened.

Hehe:       Well, yes. And if I’d said something? If I’d said something more direct?

Sheshe:   I don’t know. I don’t know what would’ve happened. But why do you assume, why do you think that I would immediately give myself to you? Prostrate myself before you and part my legs and cry: “Take me, take me, oh, take me!”

Hehe:       Wouldn’t you?


She:          You didn’t give me back my stapler.

He:           Oh, I’m sorry.


He:           Listen.

She:          What? The stapler again? Here you go.

He:           Thanks. I promise, I’ll get a new one tomorrow.


Hehe:       She’s mad at me. And for nothing. I’ll buy the damn stapler. It’s not my fault. I haven’t done anything. I saved us.


He:           Wanna grab a coffee?

She:          No, thanks. I’m busy.


Sheshe:   After everything that happened, isn’t it enough that I must sit next to you. Don’t make me socialize with you too. We went on a business trip. And nothing. I mean, I knew you didn’t like me, you’d made it clear. Back then. That time. But I though, maybe—if you see mi in that red dress. I was hopeful. I don’t know why that was even important to me, I stopped liking you. I guess I just hate losing. But—I lost yet again. And now what? I don’t feel like having coffee with you. And go buy yourself a fucking stapler.

Hehe:       She stopped wearing those shorts. She never wears them anymore.


She:          Where is my stapler?

He:           On your desk.

She:          On my desk?! Where?

He:           (Leaving.) There, under that piece of paper.

She:          (Reads.) “Thank you for the stapler. I’m sorry if you were looking for it and couldn’t find it. I owe you a cup of coffee. XOXO, your neighbor.”

XOXO?! What’s up with that?!

He:           Here, it’s coffee. It’s for you.

She:          Thank you, you didn’t have to. I mean, if it’s because of the stapler.

He:           It’s not. It’s because of the smile.

She:          What smile?

He:           This one. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you smile.

She:          Idiot! I’d laugh, out loud even, if you were funny. But what can you do, when you’re boring.

He:           What can you do…


Hehe:       (Finds the stapler on his desk. Reads.)

“Happy birthday, my dear

friend.

Please accept this small token of appreciation to help you in your further work (or lack thereof).

XOXO, your neighbor.

P.S. I stole it from the company’s supply office, so don’t brag about it too much.”


A small token of appreciation! I like it.

Except—I don’t want a stapler, I’d rather have some other token. A bit more concrete.

She:          Happy birthday, neighbor!

He:           You stole it from the supply office?

She:          It’s worth more this way. I risked my life for you.


Hehe:       She risked her life for me! That’s a good sign. And she’s wearing shorts. That’s an even better sign.

Sheshe:   Is he watching? I don’t care, I won’t turn around. Unless I, for example, drop something.

He’s watching! He’s watching!

Hehe:       She’s turning around again. But her legs. They’re not on the desk. That’s what I miss.

Sheshe:   I like it when he watches me. Maybe that’s what I like best?

My reflection in his eyes.

Hehe:       Come on already, put your legs up.

Sheshe:   Ah, who fucking cares, I’ll put my legs on the desk. Let him watch. He’s got something to see.

Hehe:       There, finally. Now I’m at peace.

Sheshe:   He’s restless. Ha-ha.


Sheshe:   Wait a minute. What’s this? What nonsense is this? Why now, why so sudden? He pretended he didn’t have a clue, why was that? I just don’t get any of this.

Hehe:       Why now? And I was doing so well. I had control. Where does this need come from, the need to tease, to poke the beast until it wakes up, grows angry, mad, and destroys everything around it. Why do I have to ruin my life? Because of those fucking legs? Because it’s just about legs, nothing more, isn’t it?

Sheshe:   It has nothing to do with love. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be naïve. He’s always loved you, but before he could’ve, like, controlled himself and now he just can’t? Yeah, right. No, it’s just that you, stupid, stopped running after him and he misses the attention. He misses being taunted. He misses the excitement. If you’d asked him now—What’s this about?—he would’ve played stupid. You think he wouldn’t?

Hehe:       Why now? I was doing well. A month. Or is it two already? How long has it passed? I was doing so well.


Sheshe:   Why now? He dreamt of me last night. We were at this team-building trip. At some river. Waterfalls and rapids and whatnot. We were lying in the grass. It was noon. The heat was unbearable. I wore that red swimming suit of mine, with pads, it makes my breasts look spectacular. We were lying next to each other. Sweat was dripping. Water was roaring. Sun was burning. Bees were buzzing. And we were burning lying side by side. We dared not move. The grass between us stood still. We watched a bee perform salto mortale above us. And then he said:

Hehe:       Hell. This is hell.

Sheshe:   But it’s so nice to burn.

Hehe:       Let’s have a swim.

Sheshe:   Will you do a jackknife for me?

Hehe:       I’ll do a triple somersault.

Sheshe:   And he did, he dove off the bank, a triple somersault. And I did a jackknife. That’s how I know it was a dream, because I can’t do a jackknife. And I know that it was his dream, because if it’d been mine, I would’ve remembered it.

Hehe:       And she came out of the water. So beautiful, like in that commercial. And she said: Catch me if you can!

Sheshe:   The water carried me away. And he jumped, all handsome, like Tarzan. To save me. Because, for God’s sake, I could’ve drowned. Those rapids were no joke.

Hehe:       At one moment she disappeared. And I really got scared. Maybe she drowned. Those rapids were no joke.

Sheshe:   I waited at a small nook, under the vines.

Hehe:       She waited in the Blue Lagoon.

Sheshe:   All suntanned, cornbraids in my hair, I looked like Bo Derek.

Hehe:       And she said:

Sheshe:   Wake up. Wake up. It’s your turn to take the kids to school.


She:          What’s up with you? You seem tired.

He:           I didn’t sleep well. It was my turn to take the kids to school.

She:          Wanna grab a coffee?

He:           Sure.


Hehe:       Maybe we shouldn’t sleep at all. Then we wouldn’t dream those stupid dreams.

Sheshe:   It wouldn’t help me. I dream awake. When I’m bored, when I have to read some stupid files.

Hehe:       Where are you going?

Sheshe:   To have a swim.

Hehe:       Again? Where are we now?

Sheshe:   On a business trip. It’s summer.

Hehe:       It’s always summer.

Sheshe:   If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to swim at night.

Hehe:       I didn’t bring my swimsuit.

Sheshe:   Me neither.

Hehe:       I forgot the condoms too.

Sheshe:   It doesn’t matter, this is just a dream.


He:           Wanna go grab lunch?

She:          Sure!


Hehe:       Here’s the towel.

Sheshe:   You took a towel with you?!

Hehe:       Wel, it’s just a dream.


He:           Can you help me with this file?

She:          Sure.

He:           So, will you?

She:          I will. Come here.

He:           Where?

She:          Here. (She points to the exact spot where he should stand. Close. Very close. Unnecessarily close.)

He:           Here?

She:          What’s the problem?

He:           This. (He points at the file.)

She:          This?


He is standing above her and staring at her cleavage, she is supposedly reading the file, while, in fact, she is straining the hairs on her neck to feel whether he is staring at her cleavage. You could cut the silence with a knife. You can hear the fly buzzing, but it’s not a fly, it’s a bee. Just like at that team-building trip. What a coincidence.


He:           Is that a bee?

She:          It is.

He:           What a coincidence.


They are both looking at the bee flying around and they dare not move an inch. Sweat is dripping from their bodies. The bee is performing its salto mortale.


She:          It’s hot.

He:           Hot like hell.


Hehe:       I’m thirsty, and this drop of sweat running down your neck seems so inviting. As if it could quench my thirst. Do you think it would be too much if I licked you, just a little, suddenly, out of the blue…


Sheshe:   Your breath on my neck. You are so close to me. Yet so far. An inch between us is too far. Come closer. Come, don’t be afraid.


She:          It’s so hard to focus.

He:           My thoughts keep wandering.


Hehe:       I should tie them down. With a rope or a chain. Nail them to my brain. No, balls, balls should be nailed. Or I should sever my spine somewhere under my navel. Stop the evil from surging forward. It would be better to wash the brain out. With hydrochloric acid.


Sheshe:   You’re being overdramatic.

Hehe:       I can’t take it anymore. It’s too much.

Sheshe:   It’s hot. It’s too much for everyone.

Hehe:       My whole womb is on fire.

Sheshe:   You just need to cool down. Let’s have a swim.


Hehe:       Where are we now?

Sheshe:   The Maldives.

Hehe:       We don’t have a branch in the Maldives.

Sheshe:   We do now.

Hehe:       If we had a branch in the Maldives, I would have to take my wife.

Sheshe:   Tell your wife to fuck off. She can come some other time.

Hehe:       I can’t tell my wife to fuck off. I don’t want to tell my wife to fuck off. I love my wife.

Sheshe:   I love my husband too, but I don’t take him around with me. He doesn’t take me either.

Hehe:       My wife would take me with her. She loves me.

Sheshe:   You want to say my husband doesn’t love me?

Hehe:       I can’t do this. I don’t want this. It’s too much.

Sheshe:   Let’s have a swim, come. It’s just a swim. You just have to dive. Hop!

Hehe:       I can’t dive. I’m afraid.

Sheshe:   And the triple somersault?

Hehe:       That was just a dream.

Sheshe:   All of this is just a dream.

Hehe:       Your dream.

Sheshe:   What do you mean?

Hehe:       If I’d had dreamed it, I would’ve remembered.


He is still staring at her cleavage.


She:          And the AC broke, today of all days.

He:           The AC wouldn’t have helped.


Sheshe:   You’re right, neither the AC nor the swim.

Hehe:       Nothing can help. Only hydrochloride acid. About half a pint of it. Bottoms up—in one go.

Sheshe:   What if we travelled to space? It’s cold there. Maybe it would be better there. Put your helmet on.

Hehe:       Where are we going now?

Sheshe:   To Mars. We’re opening a branch on Mars.

Hehe:       In space, true, it’s not hot.

Sheshe:   Not in the least.

Hehe:       And it takes a while to get to Mars.

Sheshe:   Years.

Hehe:       You can’t expect two people…

Sheshe:   Alone in space…

Hehe:       To restrain themselves.

Sheshe:   It’s a special situation.

Hehe:       It’s not subject to standard laws.

Sheshe:   It’s not subject to standard laws.

Hehe:       I’d like to fuck you in zero gravity. I’d really love to do that.


She:          Let’s go!

He startles.

He:           Where?

She:          To grab a soda. I’m thirsty.

He:           You go. I can’t. Too much work.


He goes back to his desk.

Sheshe:   You mean, go alone? I can’t go to Mars alone.


A beat.

Sheshe:   You’re right. It’s so stupid. Mars?! God?! Have I gone completely crazy? I’m married. I love my husband. I’m just hot. I’m bored.

Hehe:       It’s the monotony. Boredom. It’s normal that people sometimes want to fly to Mars. But it’s impossible. It is not possible. If you fly to Mars, you’ll never come back.

Sheshe:   It takes years to travel to Mars.

Hehe:       If you go there, you’ll never see your family again.

Sheshe:   Do you care about me?

Hehe:       You know I do.


A pause.

He:           I would never cheat on my wife.

She:          Excuse me?

He:           I’m just reading about the Company CEO. He’s my friend, back from high school. They caught him with his secretary and he had to resign.

She:          Why did he have to resign? What has that to do with anything?

He:           I know his wife too. A wonderful person. I really don’t know why he did it.

She:          Why he did it?! Because he can. Because he’s the CEO.

He:           I would never cheat on my wife.

She:          You’ve said that already.

He:           I really mean it. I love her.

She:          I seriously doubt that your friend cheating has anything to do with love.

He:           But he hurt his wife. It’s a public thing now. Everyone knows.

She:          So if they didn’t know, it would be okay?

He:           It wouldn’t. That’s why I would never cheat on my wife. I would know.

She:          And you think I’d hurt my husband on purpose?

He:           That’s not what I’ve said.

She:          And what if you fall in love?

He:           I can fall in love. It can happen to anyone. But that’s not love.

She:          Has it happened to you now?

He:           What?

She:          Why are you telling me all this? Why are you looking at me and signing your notes with Xs and Os? Has it happened to you? Are you in love?

He:           Do I have to tell you everything? Can’t you see?

She:          I can. And what are we going to do?

He:           Nothing.

She:          Wait until it passes?

He:           And what would you want to do?

She:          Nothing, just like you, of course. But it’s silly to pretend nothing is going on.

He:           I’m not pretending. I just don’t want anything.

She:          You don’t want anything.


Sheshe:   Why are you so categorical? Don’t you ever ask yourself, it is possible…

Hehe:       It’s not…

Sheshe:   …to love two persons?

Hehe:       A man has to choose.

Sheshe:   The heart is not a drawer. A pigeonhole. So when you say—

Hehe:       …there’s room in it for just one person.

Sheshe:   Everyone can have their place.

Hehe:       There’s just one home.

Sheshe:   We could have some summer home? Like a weekend house.

Hehe:       There’s just one home.

Sheshe:   Say, on Mars. So when we get tired of our families, or when it gets hot—we fly to Mars.

Hehe:       Mars is unattainable.

Sheshe:   We can sit on the deck, drink lemonade and, I don’t know, play poker.

Hehe:       Play poker?! What are you talking about?

Sheshe:   And the view! Beautiful sand gardens.

Hehe:       There’s no life on Mars.

Sheshe:   We would just drop by, from time to time.

Hehe:       There’s no way back from Mars.

Sheshe:   On Saturdays, or first weekend every month.

Hehe:       It’s unrealistic.

Sheshe:   I’d bring lemonade and sandwiches. And the cards would be waiting for us there. At the deck.

Hehe:       We don’t need playing cards to strip.

Sheshe:   Maybe, if we travelled at the speed of light, we could be back by Sunday.

Hehe:       Even if we travelled at the speed of light, that Sunday, in Earth time, would happen a hundred years later.

Sheshe:   Nonsense. It’s just a technical problem. You just need to bend the space-time continuum a bit.

Hehe:       That’s crazy.

Sheshe:   If you really cared, you’d find a solution.


Hehe:       That’s crazy.

That’s crazy.

That’s crazy.

That’s crazy.

I don’t want to look for a solution. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to think about you. You’re too much… Too much for me. When I start thinking about you, I can’t stop.

When I start thinking about you, I feel I’m betraying her. My wife. That woman who almost died because of me. She lost three liters of blood giving birth to my daughter. Do you even now how much blood a person can lose without dying? Neither did I until that day. I was so scared, back there, in the hospital, I remember the blue chairs and the water stain in the waiting room’s corner. It rained that day, and there was a leak in the roof. I went to complain. How can there be a leak in the roof?! Where babies are born. Where women are dying. There can’t be a leak in the roof. It just can’t. I went to complain. What kind of a person would I be, had I not complained? What kind of a person would I be if I betrayed…


She:          You were saying?

He:           Huh?!

She:          Sorry, you were saying something? I haven’t caught it.

He:           No, no, nothing. I haven’t said anything.

She:          I must be losing it, I hear your voice in my head, ha-ha.

He:           Ha-ha…


Sheshe:   The fact that we’re not going to cheat on our Husband and Wife doesn’t mean anything. We can spend time together, right? We can travel.

Imagine what it’d be like to use a stapler in zero gravity.

(Sheshe shows him what it would be like if the stapler floated around a spaceship.)

Oooh, I feel like I’m floating. Oooooh…

Hehe:       Watch out, the stapler!

Sheshe:   I can’t catch it, help me!


Sheshe pretends she is a flying stapler. Hehe tries to catch the stapler in zero gravity. Both of them pretend they are floating.

Sheshe:   Watch out, we’re landing. Gravity’s kicking in.


Bam. They fall one on top of another.

Hehe:       I’ve caught it!

Sheshe:   You’ve caught me.


They stare into each other’s eyes.

Sheshe:   You went to Mars with me after all.

Hehe:       No, I didn’t.

Sheshe:   You didn’t?

Hehe:       It was just a dream.

Sheshe:   Whose dream?

Hehe:       Yours. I don’t dream such nonsense.

Silence.

She:          So now what? Are we just going to be quiet?

He:           I’m not being quiet, I’m working.

She:          But you’re not talking.

He:           I can’t talk and work.

She:          I can’t work if we don’t talk.

He:           About what? What’s the point of talking?


Hehe:       Can’t you understand, you crazy woman, that this will only make matters worse? What can we say to each other? That we love each other? That this is love? That we’re going to leave our husbands and wives and go live on Mars?

Sheshe:   No, we’re not going to live there. We’re just going to drop by, every once in a while. To play some poker.


She:          Well, we can, for example, talk about why now, why it took you so long to tell me all this?

He:           To tell you what?

She:          To admit.

He:           Because now is when you asked me.

She:          And before? When I told you I couldn’t focus because of you? Why didn’t you tell me then?

He:           You didn’t ask me.

She:          But you knew what I wanted to say?

He:           Of course.

She:          And you didn’t say anything.

He:           No.

She:          And it’s clear you don’t want to talk about it now either.

He:           Right.


Silence.

She:          And it’s okay with you to just sit here? Right next to me?

He:           Obviously.

She:          You don’t feel the heat?

He:           I do.


Sheshe:   You don’t feel the heat that’s so overpowering, so overwhelming, so overmastering, that’s crushing, crunching, that’s splitting us open, slitting us apart, that’s shredding us to pieces?! Don’t you feel it?

Hehe:       I do.


She:          Can’t we at least drink lemonade together?

He:           No.

She:          And what should we do?

He:           Nothing. We’ll wait.

She:          Wait for what?

He:           Until we get over it.

She:          And what if never get over it?

He:           We will.


Sheshe:   He’s not looking at me.

He’s over it.

When will I be over it?

Why am I not over it?

Hehe:       I’ll be over it. I will.

Sheshe:   He’s not looking at me.

He’s over it.

When will I be over it?

Why am I not over it?

Hehe:       I’ll be over it.

Sheshe:   He’s not looking.

He’s over it.

When will I be over it?

Why am I not over it?

Hehe:       I’ll be over it.


Sheshe:   He’s not looking at me. He’s not looking at me. He’s not looking at me, he’s not looking at me anymore.

Sheshe approaches Hehe, stops in front of him and stares into his eyes. She is desperately searching for her reflection in his eyes.

Sheshe:   I’m gone! Where am I?! Where am I?!


He:           You’ve got new pants?


Sheshe:   So now you see me, huh? I can’t believe how shallow you are.

Hehe:       You’ve put your legs on the desk?! What do you want to accomplish by that? Crazy woman. Still, nice legs.


She:          Yeah, except that they seem a little short.

He:           They seem all right to me.


Sheshe:   Of course they seem all right to you, you horny jerk.

Hehe:       Of course they’re too short, you stupid slut. Didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t cheat on my wife.

Sheshe:   Who asked you to cheat on your wife? Huh? Who even offered you anything, you idiot.

Hehe:       Why are you wearing those pants, you slut?

Sheshe:   Because you don’t want to talk to me anymore. Because you don’t want to grab a coffee anymore. Because you don’t look at me anymore, you don’t call, you don’t borrow my stapler. It was my birthday yesterday. You moron. And you didn’t even want to get a glass of lemonade.

A pause.

She:          Do you still have that card I gave you for your birthday? That little note? It was nice.

He:           I do.

She:          Do you ever read it?

He:           Why would I read it?! Do you read your old birthday cards?

She:          It’s not a birthday card.

He:           What is it then?

She:          Don’t play stupid. Do you ever read that note?

He:           No. I don’t know where it is.

She:          So how do you know you still have it?

He:           Well, I don’t. Maybe I don’t have it anymore.

She:          Give it back to me if you find it.

He:           Why?

She:          To remind me I’m not getting anything for my birthday.

He:           It’s your birthday?

She:          It doesn’t matter.


Hehe:       I didn’t know it was your birthday. I would’ve bought you something. A pack of staples at least. You’re mad at me. I didn’t know it was you birthday. Don’t be mad at me. I saved us. Imagine if we had lunch together all the time. Imagine if we drank lemonade. Imagine what it could turn into. Imagine if we admitted what this really was…

Sheshe:   Yes, it was my birthday. Yesterday! You’re a moron. You don’t even know when my birthday is. And you don’t give a fuck, do you?! You’re over it. And so you just don’t care anymore. You don’t think about me. You don’t have time for me. You don’t have time. You don’t have time to tell me something nice, to tell me anything really. Did you think it would just sort itself out, on it own, if you say—nothing. If you say—I’m not going to cheat on my wife? Can you really forget everything in a second? All those dreams? Can you really control yourself? Because I can’t. I dream awake, of waterfalls and the Maldives and spaceships and bees and lemonade. Gallons and gallons of lemonade. Because I’m still burning. It’s as if I’ve lost control over my spaceship and now I’m flying towards the Sun. I feel like flying straight into the Sun and there’s nothing I can do.

Hehe:       You’re burning? You think I’m not? You think this isn’t hard for me? It is, but I’m in control. The other day, when a bee got stuck in your hair. And you screamed and ran around in a panic. When I calmed you down, took the bee out, when I held your head in my hands. I barely managed to control myself. I barely managed to stop myself from squashing that wonderful little head of yours. To crush your skull with my bare hands and turn it into a bloody mush.

But I didn’t do it. I can control myself.

Sheshe:   I can’t, I just can’t. I flew too close to the Sun and got screwed. The Sun’s gravity got a hold of me and it won’t let me go. I’ve lost control over my spaceship. I’ve lost all control. I’ll burn! Save me! Ground control, save me! The Lost to ground control! Ground control, can you hear me?

Hehe:       This is ground control. We hear you. We hear you, but we can’t help you. We hear you, but we don’t want to help you. We’ve got our own problems. We’re sorry. You’re flying straight into the Sun and there’s nothing we can do to save you.

Sheshe:   Ground control! Ground control, please respond! Help! Ground control! My circuit’s dead!

Hehe:       You’re too close to the Sun. Too much static. Your circuit’s dead!

Sheshe:   Ground control! Ground control! (Her voice dies out.)

Hehe:       Silence.


He:           So, that’s what it’s going to be? Silence?

She:          Silence.

He:           That’s cruel.

She:          That’s necessary.

He:           I’ll go deaf.

She:          I can’t go on like this anymore. I’m sorry. This is just too much for me.

He:           But I’m not doing anything.

She:          And you’re doing too little. I can’t work, I can’t sleep, I can’t breathe, I can’t live like this. As if everything is all right, yet it isn’t. We say hi to each other, but we don’t talk. We smile at each other, but we never laugh. If only we could talk, drink some lemonade.

He:           Why are you mad? I’ve told you everything. I don’t want to cheat on my wife.

She:          All I wanted was to drink lemonade.

He:           It’s the same.

She:          How is it the same? For God’s sake, how is that the same?! Why am I a slut if I want to drink one fucking glass of lemonade? If I want to play cards?

He:           We can’t play cards at work.

She:          So now what, we’re just going to sit like this?

He:           Yes.

She:          It this heat?!

He:           But it’s winter. It’s snowing.

She:          I’m boiling. Melting.

He:           I’m okay.

She:          You’re okay.

He:           Yes. Completely.

She:          And you don’t want to say anything else to me?

He:           And what can I say to you?


She doesn’t say anything.

He:           Silence.


Silence. Long, long silence.

Sheshe:   It’s quiet.

It’s cold.

Hehe:       It’s winter.

Sheshe:   Winter on Mars is horrible.

Hehe:       It’s not much better on Earth.

Sheshe:   At least it snows on Earth.

Hehe:       It’s white.

Sheshe:   It snowed that day too. You should’ve said something, back then.

Hehe:       What could I have said?

Sheshe:   You could’ve, for example, said:

If this is the end, if we’re never going to talk again, I’m going to die, I’m going to die right here in this snow, my heart is going to jump out of my chest on its own, and it’s going to explode, here, right in front of you, and everything is going to be red, you and your new jacket and the snow, oh, how red the snow is going to be, and I’m going to fall down to the ground, right here, where I’m standing, and all of my veins are going to bleed, but slowly, because I will no longer have heart, and you are going to look into my eyes, open wide, the blaming eyes, and I, I’m going to forgive you after all, and you’re going to stand there, terrified, covered in blood, your beautiful face covered in blood, a scream frozen in your soul, and then it’s going to start snowing, slowly, quietly, and everything is going to be beautiful and romantic, and pathetic, and over the top, and the sirens are going to echo in the distance, the sirens of an ambulance coming to get me, but around us it’s going to be quiet, and it’s going to snow, gently, slowly, white on white, and white on red, and red and white and the silence, and finally, for the first time, you’re going to look into my eyes in earnest, and those eyes are going to talk about love, about endless, timeless love, and I’m going to die on your hands, and you’re going to cry, voiceless, screaming on the inside, and you won’t be able to do anything, and you’ ll know it’s your fault, you’ll know it’s all your fault.


There, that’s what you could’ve said, for example. That.


And not—What do you want me to say?


That’s what I want you to say. That’s what I fucking want you to do. To fall dead right here, in front of me, with your heart yanked out of your chest, so that everything is red and white and horrible and beautiful and that it is my fault. That it is all my fault.


That’s what I want you to say. That’s what I want you to do. That’s the least you can do. The least.

Hehe:       You’ve gone completely crazy.

Sheshe:   I’ve gone completely crazy.


Silence. Long, long silence.

She:          Can I have your stapler? Mine’s broken.

He:           Here you go.

She:          Thanks.

He:           Wanna grab a coffee?

She:          I can’t.

He:           Maybe later.

She:          Later. I’m busy now.

He:           Wanna cookie?

She:          No, thanks.

He:           See how nice it is now that we’re talking again.

She:          Yes.

He:           It’s wonderful.

She:          Wonderful.

He:           Neither too warm. Nor too cold.

She:          Just right.


She:          Look, a bee again.

He kills the bee with the stapler.

He:           There, it won’t bother us anymore.

She:          It’s really wonderful, now that we’re talking again.

He:           Wonderful.

A pause.

It’s a shame we’re not going to sit together anymore. Stupid reorganization.

She:          It really is a shame.

He:           But, I’ll give you a call sometimes. So we can grab a cup of coffee.

She:          You will?

He:           I will. You know I will.

She gives him a look that’s at the same time filled with hope and anger and despair, she opens her mouth to say something, but then she gives up. He collects his stuff into a box and leaves. Hehe follows him, but then pauses.


Hehe:       I died on that day.

Sheshe:   Oh, I would so love it if you said that to me.

Hehe:       Well, I’m saying it right now. I died back there, in that snow.

Sheshe:   No, you didn’t.

Hehe:       How do you know?

Sheshe:   I was there.

Hehe:       I died, I just pretended to be alive.

Sheshe:   You said—I’m okay.

Hehe:       I lied.

Sheshe:   You’re lying now.

Hehe:       No, I’m not.

Sheshe:   Leave me alone. You’re not real. You’re not really He.

Hehe:       Look at me.

Sheshe:   Leave me alone. You’re just a figment of my imagination, and I’ve gone completely crazy. I’m hallucinating again. I’m imagining bees again, and waterfalls and lemonade and Mars. There, you just have to say you’ll call me and I’m talking to you again. I hear what I want to hear.

Hehe:       Look, you’re still here. In my eyes.

Sheshe:   That’s just a reflection in your visor.

Hehe:       I’ll take my helmet off.

Sheshe:   You won’t be able to breathe.

Hehe:       You’ll be able to look into my eyes.

Sheshe:   You’ll suffocate.

Hehe:       I’ll be able to kiss you.

Sheshe:   There’s no oxygen on Mars.

Hehe:       We’ll finally be able to kiss.

Sheshe:   We’ll suffocate, both of us. We’ll die.

Hehe:       It’s okay.

It doesn’t matter.

This is just a dream.


THE END



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