The Fieldstone Review

Chrysalis

HAWLIS, midthirties-early forties. RYAN, 18. Should be delivered as monologues.

HAWLIS:

I couldn't believe it, the stones on this kid. He just bashes into my room, looks at me like to say 'you'll do'.
Not that guys aren't, uh, forceful round here. I mean you gotta meet the muster of the ape at the cash-window, just to get buzzed in, and pass the trolls and freaks, just to get to the rooms. Can't be shy. But he was just so damn, well, gunnin'. I mean it's no place for manners. Just a place of business to get done what you gotta do. And this kid's like, 'let's get to it'.
I like that. He don't want my name, or (laughs) my number.
Like I wanna see him or sumthin. Phht.
But it's a bit more than that maybe. I'm curious, I mean when they're so young, he looks bout twenny, they're not like that. I should jus' let it go. But no, stupid me, too late now. I just had to ask him, what got the fire goin'?
Well, who knew? Jeeezus.

RYAN:

They were moving around and saying things too loud—trying to get me out of my room. It's hot-tub night. Dad couldn't stop getting up from dinner and checking things, the temperature, the chlorine. Like it's rocket science. And Robbie's got Dwayne over from school. Dwayne's had the same jacket, three winters in a row now—you can tell his mom's trash. He puts up with Robbie's whining—probably for the pork chops and the pool and the hot-tub.
He seems ok. He's got about twice the size of Robbie this last year. He doesn't shave yet though—so he's got that fungus-sy shit on his face.
I've seen the other hair growing though... Mom's fuckin' do-gooder charity won't get him way out here much longer, hot-tub and pork-chops be damned.
Dad's beena total pain in the ass just cause Dwayne's over. Like we're some Christian family that does shit together?
Least it's better than him trying to make me listen to his lame lps. I donno what he's trying to do to me with that.
But at least that's not as bad as the 'Man' thing. With his musclehead buds Cory and Pete, from his building site. Like having a beer in the truck with them before some lame-ass hockey game's gonna make me... I dunno, cut my hair, wear a jean jacket?
I should do that but sew a swastika on it. Just look at him and say 'What?'
I mean isn't that where stuff like that leads to?

Fuck he's even got Robbie onto his schtick now.
'We're pouring the pop now, you want coke or fanta?' and
'If you don't come down, I'm gonna get the whirlpool seat' ...
I wish I had a brother I could hit. The fucking little gimp.
I can't slam my door any louder or turn up tunes enough to give me some distance. I'd turn out the light but when the ape sees it dark under my door that gives him an excuse to stomp in and ask some totally transparent stupidity.
I know now why Scroope sits in his basement doing hot-knives every night, getting stupider but at least getting away from it. He's even farther out. Two school buses every morning, and no car to borrow at night. No escape at all. Fours months til the end of semestre and I'm so outta here.

Now they've even got Tracker into it. Christ he's 14 years old, just leave him alone. But no, Robbie's retard-giddy-fun-fun-fun crap gets him excited and he circles, barking, down below my door. But even Tracker figures it's fake by the time he's at the stairs, and gives a last huff, pissed he hobbled up for nothing. And Robbie hops over and fake consoles him, like it's my fault he got up for nothing.
Peckerhead.

Finally they're into the back, changing. And then out. Just a couple of thuds from outside. Thank Christ.
Headphones.
Marilyn Manson cd.
Pillow.
Fuck yas.

(long pause)

I'm on the bed. The cd's stopped. Dark. Tracker's having a fit. I'm gonna kill Robbie one day if he doesn't stop harassing that dog, I don't give a shit that he's a gimp. I open my eyes, and my light's out. Out in the hall too. Just what I fuckin' need.

'Hey get the dog!'
Nothing, just the dog wailing.

'Will somebody please take care of the goddamn dog!'
Tracker's yowling even louder.

'Tracker, shut-up!'

Down the stairs, to the light-switch and everything's out. Shit.
I can hear Tracker still freaking, and see the back door's open a bit.

'Tracker, get the fuck in here, you stupid mutt.'
But he's pulling on something. I'm gonna break Robbie's good leg if he tied him up. He's not gonna bolt. Christ, all he wants is his cushion in the kitchen.
The door's moving a bit. And I can see a power-cord going out onto the deck.
Where the fuck is everyone.
'Tracker, get in here! Now!'
He just yowls some more.
I get to the door and it's just black as shit out. Tracker freaks huge as I step out. He's like caught up in the power-cord. I can see that from the snow reflecting. And the cord's pulling.
And I grab it… where it's wrapped up in his fur.
and find the other end,
coming off him
and it goes over towards the tub.
And I can just see the … shapes
(very quickly)
So I yank it.
And yank it so friggin' hard the dog drops.
And I'm pulling it as hard as I can and Tracker's freaking and lifting up and twirling and hurting and falling and I get it so tight and it's worked into his fur and I'm feeling all around untying him and he wants to bite me and so I pull the other end coming offa him… hand over hand and it's straight into the tub and it's stuck.
I pull it so hard I hear the splash and out comes fucking Robbie's stupid ghetto-blaster.
(slowly)
And I can see the shapes.
Of them.
And then everything slows down.
I can see it all. Exactly.

Mom's face down, only the back of her head above the surface. And she's so fat... there's no chance.

Dad's leaning back, one of his arms pulled back by the cord. Two hundred twenty foreman pounds. No way.

Robbie's under, all the way. I know 'cause that's his corner and there's nothing there.

And Dwayne's lying with only his thighs and his lower legs in. Like he saw it all, a second before. Tried to get out.

I see it all just as it happened. Robbie had to hear that stupid cd the billionth time, 'cause it's cool for him even though I told him it was fucking lame.
Tracker. Had to get him riled. Why couldn't he just...

And I know I got to choose. Mom and Robbie are already gone.
So it's Dad or Dwayne.
But I gotta nine-one-one. But... no power.
Dad's cell. Front pocket. His pants. In the back.
OK. What now?
Tilt the head back.
Clear the airway—
Cub-scout lessons come racing back.
Brains without oxygen for four and a half minutes... turn to soup.
Pictures. Diagrams. Brent Garvin's snotty nose from swim lessons.

And I've got the phone in my hand. But I'm on the deck. The numbers are in but it's hours before it answers. I pull Dad's head back. I take a breath. Slow and even. But it's… something's wrong. The air won't go in. I can't get his neck, his tube, his pipe, it's kinked.

And the seconds are ticking.
I gotta choose.
And I see Dwayne lying there—Dad's old Hawaiian shorts on him.
And the phone lady's talking to me like I'm retarded. Don't they have a fucking map?
I choose.
I go over and pull back Dwayne's neck. I'm yelling at the phone between breaths.
'You try to stay calm you stunned cunt!'
And I breathe warm air into his pork-chop mouth.
I forgot the chest rises and, for a billionth of a sec, it's like I cured him.
But then it sags again. That's when it gets bad.
I start saying things, sort of. 'It's not my fault' and 'I can't help them all' and 'I'm just one guy' and 'The driveway's not ploughed.'
I don't even hear the phone lady anymore.

And all I can think is what it's gonna look like when somebody gets a light on.
and I see my stupid relatives from Winnipeg not being able to talk to me,
and stupid Uncle Fred trying to take over the house,
and people trying to make me move. Some apartment, or worse, in with them.

I breathe into him again. I see the dark corner of the tub. I've got to get Robbie above the surface, I don't know why. Some death etiquette.
So I breathe into Dwayne real quick like four times and then push real hard on his heart and get up.
Over to the dark corner, and I put my arm down under and there's his leg. The gimped one. I'm gonna pull him up by it, but you don't do that. We never spoke, or touched, or looked at his gimpy leg.
I feel up to his hips and pull on his shorts. But he's stuck.
It's Mom. Heaped on him. I'm up to my shoulders on the edge and just... fuck it.

Fuck it all. I get in, and step on... his shoulder maybe, and bubbles of death fart up to the surface. I grab and pull. Mom slides forward and under. Fuck. I finally get him to the edge and flop him over, like a broken robot, all joints and hinges.

But I can feel Dwayne's chest emptying.
All the way from over here.
And there's chlorine in my eye now. I crawl over Robbie and grope, feel my way back to Dwayne. He feels cold.

(pause)

I guess that's when they got there, but I never heard sirens. They said I was still CPRing when they arrived. Cunt-lady on the phone said I wasn't following her.
But the rescue guys. They were ok. They took over on Dwayne.

They took me to a hospital for some dumb-fuck reason. But I got outta there.
And then I'm in the cop shop. Questions. But they're all so stupid. And asking me if I want co-co, hamburgers? Like I'm hungry, stunned fucks.
All I can think about is that stupid dog.
And then some idiot detective says my whole family's gone.

I mean, how stupid…? I was there!
It hits me then.
And I know what I gotta do.

(pause)

(very calmly)
I go in the front. Through the main hall into the garage. The power's back on.
Thanks guys.
I get Dad's aluminium baseball bat down from the shelves. I go into the kitchen and there he is, the dumb-fuck, on his cushion. Guess he came back, when the rescue guys were still here. He's looking bad.
Remembers.
I'll raise the bat up, I'll aim just for the head. Right there. And in one quick thunk, he'll be done. It's what he deserves. What needs to be done. And then I'll…and then…I'll carry him out back and put him in the pines. And that'll be the end of it.
It's what's gotta be.
'You ready, you fucker? Huh? Huh!'
And he lifts his eyes, they look sore. And I raise the bat.
And I think of everything I've ever thought. Where I am and who I am. All the things that are, and all the things that just became history. Everything is so tight like time is frozen up like granite.
The bat's cool in my hands.

And Tracker puts his head on his paws.
Lets out this little whimper.

And then something lets go.
Inside.
Me.
And this long breath comes out.

I put down the bat.
I pet his head.
He moans, like guilt, like redemption. He has no idea.

I grab their clothes from out of the back. I go upstairs. I take Dad's car keys out and I put their clothes in each person's room. I shower. I close Robbie's door and Mom and Dad's door. I close the sewing room door. I close the family room door. I close the back and the French doors on the living room and dining room and the rec room. I take out a scoop of food and fill Tracker's bowls. I turn out the lights. I'm leaving and the phone rings.
I know I'm not answering. But the machine...
It's Dwayne's mom from the hospital. Blubbering and trash–I knew it. Thanking me for saving him. Spewing on some gibberish about always 'being there' for me.
I shut the door.
Dad's truck always starts warm. I know where I'm going. What I'm gonna do. There's five of them downtown. In the city. Saunas, baths. I know where they are.
That was an hour and a half ago. And now I'm here.

HAWLIS:

Shit. I wouldn't give a damn normal-like. I don't wanna talk. Not to...
But, for some reason I'm soakin' up ev'ry word, watching the bugs go round inside his head. Why he's tellin' me? I must look like some dumbass muscle-head. I mean I know I gots the meat on my bones that they like, causa the gym, but I'm practically droolin' from all the whisky it takes.
But he ain't even lookin' at me, just through me while he's spillin' it all.

(pause)

I mean, he ain't even got a towel on yet, or a locker. He's just smushed up small, there, at the end of the mattress. You can tell it's real hard for him, just tryin' to talk. Words are comin' out like they're pulled with fishhooks. Slow, and wrestled with.

And for some, weird reason I want to go over and touch him... not like you're thinkin'. I don't do that.
I think I wanna touch him with my eyes, on his head, or his hair, maybe on those wide cheekbones.
You know like, for someone, who needs it.
Not like I'm one of them. Fuck no. Parades and shit.
But like a person. Hell, I don't even know if he's one of them. He seems just normal, but like, fucked up.
But I mean hey. You would be wouldn't ya?
So I wanna try. To, you know. Make him... feel ok. Ya know?

And lookin' at him, I'm thinkin' I see two kids. One this, like Goliath of will, and the other, this... lamb. This knowing lamb, that sees the blade on the stone, but lies beside it anyway.
I'm thinkin' I'm runnin' this show, hey, it's my room, but allova sudden I'm not so sure.
This kid knows what it is he's here for, who he is, what he wants.

I got tons of questions but he stands up and he's totally Goliath now. Like a, I donno, a statue, standing over the bed. I mean I'm twice his size, but still, you had to see him movin'.

He takes his clothes off like a man shedding his skin.
He knows what's he's doing, and for the first time, I got no idea what I'm in for.
I never had this. This is two... men. And his will, his will is so... I can't take it on. Must be what it's like when...

And what can I do? He's done sumthin to me. I can't stop the... pieces from falling in place. And he's gonna touch me and really, like, feel me. I mean in here. (touches his head)
And me him.
And here he comes.

He's naked and ready, and he bends down to me and moves my shoulders aside, moves me up and around behind. He says it's gonna hurt and he wants it to. He starts to put a safe on me and I just... take it from there.
But he grabs my hand and pulls my look into his eyes and tells me.

RYAN:

Like you've never done before, like your life depends on it. You're gonna fuck me into someone else now; someone completely new.