[An elementary school gymnasium. Pink hearts and red balloons are festooned everywhere. Occasional bubbles float in the air. Frank is sitting alone on a wooden barstool at a table covered in flowers.]
Frank. Pleasure meeting you; I’m Frank.
#1: Hi Frank.
Frank: And your name is?
#1: Do you really think we have the time for this?
Frank: Well, maybe not.
#1: I don’t think so. We have such little of it.
Frank: Of what?
#1: This and that.
Frank: That and this?
#1: In a way, yes. Look. Look. There it goes.
Frank: I think I missed it.
#1: What a thing to miss. It was beautiful.
Frank: What did it look like?
#1: Well it went quickly.
Frank: Yes but its features?
Frank: Go on.
#1: Don’t pressure me. There’s not enough time to be stressed.
Frank: Oh. I forgot how few seconds were left.
#1: It’s okay. I remember this one time I forgot and you see it’s a long story but it’s an important one to tell, I think, and I was young back then, much younger than I was now. I was still me of course and there was still all those little things to fill your day with and it was snowing and you should have seen it and my dad started a fire – how old was he then; I guess it doesn’t matter now – and I was in my room looking out my window and there was this man. A regular man, I reckon, but what man isn’t regular? And there was this car and it puffed-puffed all the way to him but it didn’t stop and it was going faster and faster and it was snowing and snowing and well, you see, it’s a long story so I forget what happened next.
Frank: Well thank you for trying to remem… [A voice screeches Next!] anditwasanicetimeknowingyouandthatmanandthatsnowandiwishwehadmore.
[A shuffle. Frank checks his wrist as though a watch were on it. #2 sits]
Frank: Pleasure to meet you; I’m Frank.
#2: That’s original.
Frank: What is?
#2: That typical, run of the mill introduction.
#2: Where’s the fire? The excitement?
Frank: I’m just trying to be …
#2: Don’t give me excuses, Frank. Before you know it you’ll be an old fart farting old smells and all you’ll have are your excuses.
Frank: I mean we just met.
#2: And yet I’ve known you my entire life.
Frank: You only know my name.
#2: Your name? Bullshit. I’ve met you every place I’ve ever been to. You’re the girl with a shaven head on the bus. You’re the child who sits in a pillow fortress. You’re everyone’s dreams, ideals, idiosyncrasies, failings, successes, happiness and sadness bundled into a small, little person. You’re Frank – sure – but you’re also me and everyone else here.
Frank: Don’t you think…
#2: Yes I do, and right now I’m doing that for the both of us.
#2: Oh is all you have after everything?
#2: I could’ve guessed that would be it.
Frank: What does that mean?
#2: Nothing. [Pause] Everything.
Frank: That’s a lot.
Frank: Mind if I start off with a little then?
#2: You started five minutes ago, Frank.
Frank: True but I haven’t even gotten your name and there are things I’m supposed to ask before, well, you know.
#2: Good initiative. Frank, you’re learning.
Frank: I’m not sure about that.
#2: That’s the first sign you are.
Frank: I’m confused now.
#2: Another great indicator.
Frank: Well… the questions?
#2: Is that a question?
#2: That too?
Frank: Not sure.
[The voice screeches Next!] #2: Bye Frank.
Frank: So soon?
#2: Good question.
[A shuffle. Another person sits down.]
Frank: Pleasure to meet you; I’m Frank.
#3: That’s a nice name.
Frank: Thanks, though I had no choice in the matter.
#3: How can you be sure?
Frank: I was only a baby when I was given it.
#3: But babies are named, aren’t they?
#3: And some babies are named before they are born?
#3: And those that are are not a baby but a name?
Frank: I guess.
#3: So maybe you were that name before you were you.
#3: And maybe you named yourself.
#3: You existed beyond you.
#3: Yes – as a being beyond existence, beyond being. You were conceived before conception, before your birth, before now, before everything and anything.
#3: But if that is so…
#3: It means that you are also an ending.
Frank: I don’t understand.
#3: Your name ends, yes?
#3: And it began before you.
#3: So it will end the same way.
Frank: What will end?
#3: Yes, that too.
[Frank shrugs. He takes a drink of water.]
#3: There. You see. You did it.
Frank: I was thirsty.
#3: And yet – poof.
Frank: But it was only water.
#3: As all things only are eventually.
Frank: Well aren’t you thirsty?
#3: Not now.
Frank: And when you are?
#3: I’ll drink.
Frank: So it will end with you too?
#3: No, Frank, there you are wrong.
#3: Because I’m not Frank.
Frank: Speaking of, who are you?
[#3 takes a long drink of water. The play ends.]