Home / Issue 33 / Radio Reality

Radio Reality

By Aaran Leviton and Anna Evtushenko

Characters

ABBEY: a woman in her 20's

KELLY: her childhood friend

RADIO: a male voice

 

A dingy interior, indeterminate time of day. ABBEY relaxes on an old couch. She is smoking pot. On an end table, a radio. ABBEY is very interested in what it has to say.

 

RADIO

More than three hundred people are missing in what appears to be a man-made mudslide in Central America.

 

ABBEY

Yeah. Right.

 

RADIO

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe reports the death of the last spotted tiger, making the species extinct.

 

ABBEY

You don't say, man. Shit.

 

RADIO

And at home, auto union workers protest switching to electric cars. How’s that gonna turn out?

 

ABBEY

I don't know. Tell me!

 

RADIO

Climate change might be a hoax, but what if it’s not?... You like this, don't you, Abbey?

 

ABBEY

Oh yeah. OH YEAH.

 

RADIO

Feel in tune with the world?

 

ABBEY

Oh, yeah!

 

RADIO

Great, well, it's been a lot today. Let's chill a bit with our jazz selection.

 

Music starts playing. ABBEY is mesmerized by it. A knock on the door. ABBEY doesn't move. Another knock. ABBEY sits up slowly. Another knock. ABBEY looks up, daydreaming.

 

RADIO

Hide the joint, please.

 

ABBEY puts the vape in her pocket. The door opens and KELLY enters.

 

KELLY

Jesus, how many times do I have to knock? Ugh, the smell... If I were you I'd lock this. Though maybe then I'd never see you.

 

ABBEY

What?

 

KELLY

"What?" Hi, hello? It's your best friend here, Kelly? Paging Abbey? You haven't texted me in a minute?

 

KELLY coughs from the smoke.

 

Hate this shit.

 

ABBEY

Right, sorry. I thought we'd meet here, like we always do.

 

KELLY

Yeah, it seems like that's all we ever do these days. Nice music. I guess. Can you turn it down?

 

ABBEY looks at KELLY, then reluctantly turns the music down.

 

KELLY

Anyway, how do you feel?

 

ABBEY

I'm in pain.

 

KELLY

Still?

 

ABBEY touches her shoulders.

 

ABBEY

Yeah, yeah.

 

KELLY

Really?

 

ABBEY

Yes. And I need help. And rest. Like the doctor said.

 

KELLY

Like Johnson said? That was two months ago!

 

ABBEY

I'm in pain, dude.

 

KELLY

I get it. Maybe. Well, I'm here to help.

 

KELLY sits down and starts massaging ABBEY's shoulders.

 

But when are you going to go back to work?

 

ABBEY

Thanks. Ah, that feels good. Not quite what I was hoping for but...

 

KELLY

Don't think about that.

 

ABBEY

Fine.

 

KELLY

So, work?

 

ABBEY

Oh yeah... I've been thinking about it -

 

KELLY

Yeah?

 

ABBEY

And I don't think I'm gonna go back.

 

KELLY

(stops massage) What?

 

ABBEY

You know, there's more out there than just this.

 

KELLY

Yes, there are more people than just me. And most of those people have jobs.

 

ABBEY

No, I mean outside of this town, out in the world.

 

KELLY

Out in the world... there are people who have jobs. Outside of this town, there are other towns where people have jobs. This a nation of towns where people have jobs. That's all there is… and that's all there ever was or ever will be.

 

ABBEY

You know, Carl Sagan said the Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.

 

KELLY stares at ABBEY.

 

KELLY

Um, I'm trying to talk about practical things here...

 

ABBEY

Wanna listen to some news? It's not just jobs. Sometimes it's no jobs! And more... the Wall. A fucking wall, Kel! This radio, dude, the clarity it's giving me...

 

KELLY

What? No! Abbey, come on. You're saying the radio is your source of "clarity"? Do you even know how they find stuff to say? How they twist their… narrative - or whatever?

 

ABBEY

Sorta...

 

KELLY

They say whatever will set the public reeling. Whatever sets your brain on fire. Just so you keep listening, and so you're afraid.

 

RADIO

Don't listen to her.

 

ABBEY looks at the radio.

 

KELLY

You gotta get on your feet, Abs. You think I wanna work in that shitty hospital, giving out pills to addicts who have nothing better to do? Of course I don't, but I gotta do it cause I wanna live.

 

ABBEY

You wanna live... Like this, really?

 

KELLY

Like something. I went to college so I could at least hope for something!

 

ABBEY

Community college.

 

KELLY

Which is all I could hope for! If I work hard I can go to Atlanta, Coca-Cola World and all that shit. Why the hell not? It's better than stoning!

 

ABBEY

I'm in pain.

 

KELLY

I'm not talking... yeah, I guess you're in pain.

 

ABBEY

Look, we're not living.

 

KELLY

"We're not living." What is living then? I mean, what did you expect? When we were in middle school you wanted to be a fucking McDonalds chef! They don't even have chefs!

 

ABBEY

And you wanted to travel. Things change.

 

KELLY

I still do.

 

ABBEY

Yeah, to fucking Atlanta? You can't even imagine anything bigger!

 

KELLY

I can imagine it, it's just not very useful.

 

ABBEY

Alright. Whatever. Thanks for the massage... but did you bring the real deal?

 

KELLY

Seeing how energetic in arguing you are, I don't think you're in that much pain. Can I set you up to see Johnson again?

 

ABBEY

No, Kelly! I'm dying!

 

ABBEY lies on the couch and closes her eyes, playing dead. KELLY laughs.

 

And Johnson doesn't know shit.

 

KELLY

You know I hate that ass - I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't feel like it was necessary. And Abbey... if you don't get a job you won't be able to live - exist. Like, buy food. Or even pay for electricity for this thing, the "music". Music to your silly little ears.

 

ABBEY

It's more than just that.

 

KELLY

Really?

 

RADIO

(mocking) Really?

She doesn't understand what you're going through, Abbey.

 

ABBEY

No, she doesn't.

 

KELLY

What?

 

ABBEY

Shh.

 

RADIO

You're in pain. And you're sick of the douches who know how to live, who admit you after an accident and then harass you.

 

ABBEY

No kidding.

 

KELLY

Dude, what's?

 

ABBEY

Shh, shh!

 

RADIO

In fact, she's prolly banging him, and will milk your payments herself! All those X-rays, visits, fucking papers, do they really cost that much?

 

ABBEY

I don't know...

 

KELLY

Abbey...

 

RADIO

She has no life and yet she's telling you how to live yours. What does she know at all?

 

ABBEY looks at KELLY.

 

You gotta show her. What reality is, what I am, what is out there...

 

ABBEY now leans close to the radio. KELLY notices it and grabs it.

 

ABBEY

Hey!

 

ABBEY turns the radio back on. It plays jazz music.

 

KELLY

Man, what's going on here???

 

ABBEY turns the radio off.

 

ABBEY

I... don't know. I haven't been well. I need my medication... did you bring it?

 

KELLY

...Yes, I did. But I... I'm not gonna give it to you, Abbey. They're suspecting something. And you... are being weird!

 

Beat.

 

ABBEY

Okay. Fair enough.

 

ABBEY sits on the couch.

 

Well, thanks for stopping by.

 

KELLY

Abbey...

 

KELLY approaches ABBEY.

 

ABBEY

You're my best friend, you know - I can't believe you'd do this to me.

 

KELLY

I'm sorry, Abs...

 

KELLY comes closer. ABBEY gets the pills out of KELLY's pocket and gets away.

 

HEY!!

 

ABBEY opens the container, while avoiding KELLY.

 

ABBEY

Mmm... (she takes one) Mmmmmmmmm....

 

KELLY

Stop it!

 

ABBEY looks at KELLY.

 

ABBEY

Want some?

 

KELLY

What? No!

 

ABBEY chases KELLY down around the room. KELLY stumbles on the couch and falls on it backwards. She freezes. ABBEY sits next to her and touches her face. She gets a pill out and offers it to KELLY.

 

ABBEY

It's okay.

 

KELLY takes the pill. ABBEY takes the joint out and lights it. She offers it to KELLY.

 

ABBEY

Here...

 

KELLY takes the joint.

 

Chill a little, it's all good.

 

KELLY smokes. She coughs. Then, her limbs relax. She smiles.

 

Let's listen to the radio.

 

KELLY pushes the button, the radio fires up. Lights go down slowly and ABBEY and KELLY pass the joint around, as we hear

 

RADIO

Ah, well, here we are, all together. Abbey, Kelly, and yours truly The Radio Show Host. Abbey has recently been in a car accident. She hit a fence, no biggie. The news reported it. The radio... TV. I'm kidding, of course we didn't. Because that didn't matter. She didn't matter, her "job" at Walmart and all. And Kelly, Abbey's childhood friend turned drug dealer "to help," to do something meaningful other than saving up for a bottle of Coke, will she be on the news when her supervisor finds out? Will he assault her again? How did she even manage to be so brave for her friend when shit was going down like this? We here at WTFR have no clue. Just bringing you the latest and greatest!

 

In other news, a giant comet is coming our way...

 

END.