Imagine I’m an awkward 20-something man, kind of hip – but not a hipster – maybe I look like I’m in a band – and that the readers following me are like characters from a Louis CK skit: a shy and awkward teenager who transforms into her characters as she reads; a fashionable, attractive but standoffish 40-something woman and another 20-something, a dude — my brother and writing partner, in fact.
Imagine that none of us, except for myself and my brother, have anything in common other than that we are here, but that as we tell our stories, common elements begin to appear and slowly, our characters start seeing each other, across their stories, and begin to communicate.
Throw in post- apocalyptic scenarios, aliens and essays on the fate of women and what it means to be a great, and you have Low Self-Esteem Reading Room.
The Apples are Already Gone
— SCENE 3 —
A pale child wanders in grass: tall grass, almost as tall as the child. Her dog bounds ahead of her. The dog’s head appears, then disappears, appears, then disappears, while the child’s head: a ghostly sphere is constant.
It’s end of summer.
The girl runs her hands through the grass as the wind blows her hair around her face.
The blades of grass turn over, revealing lighter undersides. You can locate gusts of wind in the field by watching the colour of the grass. Shhhhhhhhhh — chchchchchchchhhh — shhhhhhhhhh — if you’re far from the field, you hear “shhhhhhh”; if you’re in it, you hear “chchchchch”: the grains shifting.
The field becomes an ocean, white capped, across which the girl walks. “Jesus – he’s always with me. God is always with me,” she thinks. “God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one.”
“ I can never be alone. Never!”
Such a beautiful little girl! If you saw her, you’d want to take her home. You’d want to feed her, hug her, protect her. You’d want to remove the sadness from her eyes and make them sparkle the way they did when she was telling you that ridiculous story. You’d delight in her growth.
“ I will never be alone. I will never be lonely.” This thought comforts her.
She has no plans to do bad things. She has no plans to murder her dog or set her father’s barns on fire.
The apples are already gone. The ones left on the ground are rotted, small, misshapen.
She looks for her dog.
“ Yip! Yip! Yip!” she hears.
— END SCENE 3 —
ADD SOME MORE READING NIGHT READERS HERE
(Rework, and add some more reading night readers. There’s not enough.)
More Reading Night Readers
A man walks up to the stage. He’s wearing a ripped grey t-shirt that has a palm tree and the word “Aloha” on the front, in yellow, and black jeans with a what looks like a smear of white paint on the leg. His face is unshaven, though he doesn’t have a beard yet and his short, straight hair hangs over his eyes. He motions to the host. Excuse me, the host addresses the crowd, before bending down to talk to the man.
The two whisper. The host looks annoyed, then holds his pointer finger up to the man in a wait-a-sec gesture. The host returns to the microphone.
My brother would like to read if you’d be kind enough to have him. Did I mention that we’re working on the Naomi stories together? Would you like to hear his part of our collaboration?
Sure, says someone in the audience. Someone else starts clapping and others join in.
All right, Stuart, says Kyle, looking at the man, come on up!
Stuart climbs on stage, adjusts the microphone and clicks on his ipad. He reads:
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