Major Depression Loves General Anxiety
Major Depression Loves General Anxiety
A mental love story
by Jeremiah Liend
General Anxiety: A commanding general in The War.
Major Depression: Their subordinate.
Interior, Brain (War Room), Night.
[At start General Anxiety and Major Depression pore over battle maps. It mostly comes down to looking at the screen. After a long time, the general looks off stage.]
General. I don’t know about you, Major, but I could certainly use a cup of coffee.
Major. That would be delightful.
[The General yells off stage.]
General. Two coffees, please!
General. It will be along.
General. Everyone is so busy.
Major. Well, what do you make of it?
General. I hate war. If we do our jobs, no one will ever have to fight in another war ever again.
Major. Then we would be out of work.
General. I can always get work, dancing.
Major. I don’t want to go back to working on cars.
General. Sounds awful. I could teach you to dance.
Major. Or I could repair your car.
General. We will own an electric, in this fantasy escape device.
Major. What about the battle?
General. Ah yes. The battle at hand.
Major. The very one.
General. We’ll assemble the nukes at dawn. Explain the master battle plan and any situational intelligence. Everyone will load their guns and say their useless prayers. Then we’ll shoot and explode each other until one side is dead or surrenders. If we are even able to hear a surrender, over the Godsawful noise of vaporizing ordinance. Then we triage, evacuate, and rest.
Major. That sounds really great. I wish I would have written that down.
General. You should be able to remember it.
Major. You forget that it’s all a fight.
General. Go on.
Major. Oh, just the whole thing, you know? It’s a constant fight against whatever. The day to day. The ability to breathe. The lingering cancer. The fight to get out, then the fight to get back in, and fight everyone and everything along the way. All the things. Individual versus self, nature, and others all at once in a big fat clusterfucking dogpile.
General. Vivid, Major. Vivid.
Major. What are we doing here?
General. We’re winning, Major. We’re doing our call of duty.
Major. Grinding for the grist mill.
General. Those video games aren’t selling themselves, Major.
Major. But General, don’t those games cause violence?
Major. Oh, General. I love you very deeply, you know?
[The General is embarrassed.]
Major. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I thought you knew?
[The General smiles.]
General. I knew, Major. But.
General. We would be court marshaled.
Major. Of course.
General. If it isn’t us?
Major. It’s someone less competent and sexy.
Major. So here we are. To kill all these poor people for oil.
Major. Our freedom to consume oil.
General. There we go.
Major. But can’t we just run away?
General. We would be shot. I should shoot you! For saying that!
Major. I double dog dare you to shoot me for treason.
General. You double dog dare me to extra judicially execute you for treason?
Major. That’s what I said, you terrible slut.
General. I do not like that word.
Major. I use it ironically.
General. Perhaps appropriately? If talking about you. You dirty hussy.
Major. How are your flaming herpes?
General. How is your prolonged gonorrhea?
Major. It hurts.
General. With flaming herpes, it is the same.
Major. If only they wouldn’t force us to share VD with strangers.
General. No one forced you to share VD, Major.
Major. YOU did!
General. Oh my gosh you’re right. I had entirely forgotten about that.
Major. Peeing is a deadly game.
General. As is war.
Major. On the count of three, let’s say our favorite eating iced-cream in the rain song.
General. That’s dumb. I’m not going to do that.
Major. Why don’t you like fun?
General. You know why.
Major. I suppose I do.
General. Do you really love me?
General. How do I know you’re not just trying to joke about something, the night before we are more than likely going to die in nuclear fire?
Major. Look at this.
[The Major produces a List.]
General. “Major Depression Loves General Anxiety”.
General. A snappy name for a play (maybe) but what does it mean?
Major. This is the thing that gets me through the day. Writing that down, when you’re not looking.
General. It’s sweet, but I feel like you should be working.
Major. I don’t like to work.
General. That’s obvious. This place is a mess!
Major. Christ on Credit Cancellation, I wish there was an intermission.
General. No intermission.
Major. No. Let’s get through this battle plan, and lie down on the floor, and take off our pants and go to sleep thinking about death.
General. Why would we take our pants off?
Major. To be comfortable.
General. It’s cold.
General. I’m cold, yes.
Major. You don’t have to take your pants off then, it’s OK with me.
General. I don’t want to spend my last hours alive porking all over these maps.
Major. That’s not what this is.
General. That’s not going to happen.
General. Good. Let’s just relax then. Jesus Jumping Jeeps, where is that coffee?
Major. I feel like it should really be here.
General. It’s like our Godot.
Major. Our what?
General. Our Godot.
Major. I don’t know what word.
General. Sometimes pronounced Godot?
Major. What is that?
General. It’s in a very famous play.
Major. I don’t like theater.
General. No one does. That’s not the point.
Major. So how is the coffee like a play I don’t like?
General. Well, the entire piece is driven by the waiting for a character that never arrives.
Major. Sounds boring.
General. Well, everything can be boring if you’re stupid enough.
Major. Your words are like fists.
General. Your fists are like pudding.
Major. How are we ever going to get out of here?
General. There is no way out.
Major. Maybe we could kill ourselves?
General. Please. Enough of that.
Major. No no. I have some pistols.
General. I have some pistols, too. We’re commanders in the army.
Major. But do you have any cantaloupes?
General. I have the cantaloupes, if you have the pistols.
Major. Then we are at an impasse.
General. What must it be like, shooting yourself through the brain to death?
Major. Probably not great.
General. Could be a lot worse.
Major. Oh sure. Many in the developing world poison themselves with insecticides.
General. I heard that on NPR.
Major. Fuck you.
General. I know. I’m that person.
Major. Let’s put a pin in some kind of murder suicide and talk about dinner.
General. We’re never getting dinner; look at how long this simple order for coffee is taking.
Major. This is how Rome collapsed. Soldiers stopped bringing their superiors coffee and then the Goths and Vandals sacked the place. Wasn’t even hard.
General. I wish I would have been alive, and rich, and beautiful in Rome.
Major. That’s a lot of things to be.
General. Well, life wasn’t so great if you were a certain kind of person, so if you want to do time travel wishes you want to be really clear about it. In case your memoirs get turned into a TV movie.
Major. You amuse me.
General. Do you remember how we met?
Major. I was sucking dick on the corner, for dollars.
General. I remember those days.
Major. Sucking dicks for dollars to launder in candy and soda vending machines.
General. Thank heavens for the age of the wet nap.
Major. There isn’t a wet nap made big enough, for all that dick, candy, and soda.
General. I could kiss you now, straight on your true lips.
Major. Let’s run away!
General. We’d both be shot for treason.
Major. So what!? Let them! Better to be dead, than to live through this tight hour and twenty minute farce!?
General. Where is the coffee?
[General yells off.]
General. WHERE IS THAT COFFEE!?
Major. Please don’t yell, it gives me anxiety.
General. You don’t GET anxiety. You have it, or you don’t.
Major. I can have it and get it.
General. The hell you can.
Major. I can do anything I want. I’m a Major.
General. Is that the rule, now?
Major. I will make it so.
General. We’re all going to die, aren’t we?
Major. No one gets out alive.
General. I mean soon.
Major. So do I.
General. Such wanton havoc, when we could just as well send robots in to do the job.
Major. But, think of the killbots.
Major. The digestor bots.
Major. The maid bots.
Major. The dusting bots.
General. Separate from the cleaning ones.
Major. The accountant bots.
Major. The sex bots.
Major. The porn bots.
Major. The SPAM bots.
General. I love Spam.
Major. The code, not the meat.
General. OH! Oh no. No.
Major. It’s all one hot steaming mess, and I don’t want a part of any of it.
General. And yet here we are, duty bound to command and lead our people to victory.
Major. And yet here we are. Completely out of coffee, or any sort of intermission.
General. Have you ever thought about running away?
Major. I think I’ve suggested it. At least a couple times.
General. Right, but what about just doing it?
Major. Running away?
Major. Flight? Rather than fight?
Major. Yeah, I’ve thought about it.
Major. We should do it.
General. Just run?
Major. Carjack the nearest person and flee.
General. Couldn’t we just take your car?
Major. No way. My car sucks.
General. I guess you’re right. How many pistols did you say you had?
General. Well, the problem is that we can’t get out of here, without coffee.
Major. We’ll fall asleep at the wheel.
General. My blood sugar is shot all to hell.
Major. Well, then what? What are we supposed to do?
General. Our jobs, I suppose?
Major. At this hour?
General. I mean, that’s why we’re being paid combat pay.
Major. We are?
Major. How much is that.
General. 1% after taxes.
Major. Well. Frankly I can’t blame the soldiers for not wanting to be in combat.
General. But they do!
Major. They DO!?
General. Yes! I was talking with a private, just today, who said he loved his job.
Major. Private who?
General. What is our first phase of attack?
Major. An aggressive social media strike.
General. What is the angle of attack?
General. You don’t .com the hastag. Don’t talk down to me like some boomer fossil.
Major. I’m sorry. The social media attack is set. Our porn, ad, and SMAM bots will attack at 00.00.01 hundred hours.
General. Do we expect casualties?
Major. Among the bots, certainly. Operational losses within parameters.
General. And phase 2?
Major. We level the opposition with overlapping waves of airborne, field fired, nuclear, and orbital ordinance.
General. An orbital bombardment!?
Major. Yes, we’ve been granted special permission from President for Life Trump to use the XB-69 for orbital bombardment. It was a research probe that was going to seed life on Venus. But. We’re going to blow something up with it, instead.
General. And then what?
Major. Well, they will retaliate, of course.
Major. Well, there’s the social media. Then there’s the chance of friendly fire.
General. Oh Sweet Jumping Jesus Jehosephat! What if we hit OURSELVES with the research probe!?
Major. Well, then we get liquefied, General. Liquefied at 7 times the speed of sound.
General. Yikes! I better brush my teeth!
[The General begins to brush their teeth.]
Major. Do you have any floss?
General. I don’t share floss.
Major. Because of the flaming herpes?
General. No, because of the lingering gingivitis.
General. I will thank you to keep to your own oral health, thank you.
General. Stop, please.
Major. Ick ta fee.
General. What is that?
Major. Swedish, maybe?
General. Sounds Minnesotan.
Major. Can’t it be both?
General. You awful slut.
Major. I do not like that word I DO NOT LIKE THAT WORD!!!
General. Why… you slut!?
Major. I do not like slut shaming.
General. Then why are you calling them sluts, you crass whore?
Major. Please. Please, just accept my constructive criticism.
General. What if we are never able to truly achieve our greatest desires?
Major. So what? Isn’t that everyone?
General. It isn’t supposed to be. I don’t even know what society is doing, any longer.
Major. Surviving, General. We’re all just surviving out here.
General. Until tomorrow.
Major. Let’s not be too grim. Or dark. Or grimdark.
General. What is that?
Major. I’m not going to explain it again. Not now. Not like this. Grindark. Lol.
General. COFFEE! COFFEE BOY!? WHERE ARE YOU, LAD!?
Major. Quiet. Quiet out there. Maybe they’ve all deserted?
General. I’ve never felt so tired. In all these years of nights and days spent awake until dawn and awake until dawn again. I’ve tried cocaine, but it is a boring way to get stuffy compared to the endorphin ride of commanding millions to their deaths. Millions, Major. Millions I have murdered with my military might. Hundreds of thousands with direct impact attacks, and millions more from the disease and famine caused by these massive attacks. I think about those I’ve killed and how I… WE… how we have done it, and I can’t help but wonder if the Gods have forgotten about us. Or… or that they are all really dead. Made up Mumbo Jumbo to keep us from murder raping one another for sport or clicks. The clicks fund the murders, you see? Through taxes.
Major. Everything meaningful is funded through taxes.
General. You might be right.
Major. I’m going to carve something into this table, with my knife.
Major. You’ll see.
General. I don’t like this table, anyhow.
Major. Good then. Keep a look out, for Private Latecoffee.
[Major Depression begins carving into the table.]
General. I’m just so damned scared.
Major. Yes, yes, me too old boy.
General. What is that phrase? Old boy?
Major. It’s actually a film.
General. Well what the hell does it mean, you know? How can one be an old boy?
Major. Maybe you’re a boy who was pressed into a militia as a child, and forced to kill, torture, and rape people under the direction of some psychotic warlord? Then, I would suggest, that despite your young age that you would have lived the span of many lives and then be an old boy.
General. Well, that’s an awful hypothetical.
Major. That’s our world. That’s what we allow to happen.
General. But isn’t that why we’re here?
Major. Oh no. This isn’t going to help or stop that.
General. Then what will?
Major. Stop making bullets?
General. But I like bullets.
Major. Well, there’s our problem.
General. No, my problem is that I’m so damned scared.
Major. Well, what, specifically are you scared of?
General. Well, everything, you know. We’ve got some nuclear weapons trained at us. There’s that.
Major. I’ve always feared dying in a Nuclear Holocaust.
General. Sure. That’s really going to suck.
Major. Or a global pandemic.
General. Jeez. Jeez oh Pete.
Major. I’m so tired.
General. I’m tired, too.
Major. That coffee would sure help.
General. It sure would.
Major. How do you do it, General?
General. What’s that?
Major. Get out of bed in the morning?
General. One foot at a time.
Major. It’s all anyone can ever do.
General. Do you imagine the rest of our lives will be like this? Terse absurdist dialogue in the vein of Beckett and Stoppard but too long and incredibly boring?
Major. No. No I won’t allow it.
General. What can we do to stop it?
Major. We can monologue.
General. About what?
Major. Anything we like. Vaginas. The Spring. How it’s impossible to find parking down town.
General. But why?
Major. Well, you can explore a lot more theme and emotion if you try to build a lattice of ideas, instead of merely filling pages with back and forth.
General. But I love back and forth.
Major. If we’re going to do it, we should try to title things. Here, I’ll start. “Living With General Anxiety”.
General. I like it!
Major. No interruptions!
General. Sorry. SORRY!
Major. My life is a collection of a million lost threads, blowing in the wind. I can see them trailing back to my youth, contacting those around and beyond, begging for help as I tried to carve out a better world using art and science to spread knowledge, love, and peace. But it was not to be. No one returned the call. No one responded to the message. In absence of sociopathic follow ups, nothing can be done to forward the ultimate plan to fruition. So what then? If you can’t make a living promoting life? Well, you get money killing people in creative and expensive ways. There’s a multi trillion dollar industry in preparing the apocalypse. And here we are, the eventualities to that failed design. It would have been better not to know any of this, perhaps? Perhaps it would have been better to remain a simple artist, smelling my own farts into the late afternoon and beyond? No uniform, though. A definitive lack of snappy uniforms. Think of those threads out there, blowing in the wind of time. Think of that awful professor who never returned my email regarding credits for the greatest play ever written up until that point. Consider the showboat contact at parks and recreation. Wonder at how so very many competent people have largely managed to ignore me entirely for almost their whole lives. I just don’t understand the human mind. Or, I do, but I don’t know how it’s broken exactly. We’re given these minds that allow us to see the past, right? It can take us back to our pasts and this was probably developed as a survival mechanism, initially. Memory: Don’t go near that predator. Don’t sit in the sun too long. Don’t touch that hot stove. These memories protect us from harm by reminding us of the dangers, but at some point we hijacked the system. We used our memories for non-survival related things. How a warm hand feels in our own. The touch of soft hair. The smell of someone as they hold us close. Perhaps that is survival related, as well? Not as a primary function, but as an incentive. But also those memories can kill us. They can trap us. They can break us. A memory can tear you down, if you let it. Not realizing that this past doesn’t exist. It is so far away that we could never reach it in a million years. The only place it exists is as an electrical signal in our broken hijacked brains. Why is it so hard to get help? Why does it have to be so expensive, and inaccessible, and humiliating to get help for our broken minds? We were never meant to be this stimulated. This afraid. Our ancestors didn’t have to contend with the existential dread of nuclear annihilation. This is a fear created by us, for us, to break our wills and smother our spirits. Like an old lady in her bathtub. Not thrashing or striking out as one would do, but gently inhaling the warm, perfumed waters. Aware that her time is at an end and that there are far worse means of timecraft extraction. There was one time I considered telling a therapist everything, but it’s like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. How to explain the things inside? How to open myself up and show the tarnished pieces of my past? How to expose my innards to the light of day and unpack them like so many vacation clothes? No. Struggle with the demons in silence. This is the way of our people. To stoically desensitize ourselves to the impossibly tragic. To accept that we all end up dead in a box underground some day, or coarse ash.
General. You’re the boringest person I’ve ever known.
Major. Thank you!
General. You’re welcome.
General. I feel better after that monologue.
Major. Do you think they’ll do it in high school speech competitions?
General. No. I think it’s too specific. Too many words. Too boring.
Major. You find a lot of stuff boring.
General. For a long time we lived in the city and we couldn’t see the stars. Too much light pollution and you could just barely make out a constellation or two. But commissions ended and orders changed and we moved into the woods and we saw stars again. Stars like the ones I remembered from my childhood. I remember the memories of my childhood with a sort of golden filter. The glitter of age as they all fade away like sandcastles in a storm. But the stars had changed since I started looking as a child, there were all of these satellites. These streaks of constant light, maintaining their orbit far above it all. Not the magic of a falling star. Not even the brief but wondrous life of a lightning bug. Space trash. Space trash broadcasting Skinemax pay-per-view to the last sad people who owned satellite dishes. I remember the first time I saw a Starlink chain. The sense that I was seeing something simultaneously miraculous and terrifying. A billionaire had purchased the sky and put his space trash in an orderly line. I spoke to friends who screamed at the skies. Cried. Were deeply disturbed. To know that the heavens could be so easily purchased. There are ideas like: Internet for All, and Climate Change Hardened Crops, and Renewable Energy, and they are all great ideas that eventually get corrupted by capitalism and self interest. The Internet for All is Internet for Some and those Some are actually a very elite group of very few. Climate Change Hardened Crops are actually Roundup Ready Crops and poison you with glysophate. Renewable Energy comes in the form of a 20 megawatt dam that destroys 10,000 acres of rainforest, displacing several indigenous tribes in the process. This is the world in which we live and it is made of shit and hair. We are space shit, woven into the dreams of people. And anyone who tells you any different is selling you something. But yes. I do find a lot of stuff boring. But not you. Except in this context.
Major. You’re my special friend.
General. I love you deeply, you know?
Major. I know.
General. It’s just sometimes I start to think about all of the things I have to do, and all the things I’ve failed to do, and all the failure in the inevitable future, and it all presses down on me like a load of stones. Stone by stone my heart slows but doesn’t stop and I wonder, how much sorrow and fear can a person feel? Is it infinite? Can a person be frightened and sad forever and never actually die from it?
Major. A person can live with anything, as long as they don’t die from it.
General. You are a font of wisdom and grace.
Major. You are a paragon of virtue and excellence.
General. I wish we had the time to go on vacation together.
Major. Wouldn’t that be fun?
General. I’d take you out to the lake, and we would fish, and jet ski, and BBQ, and get pleasantly drunk by the fire before sleeping as we breath in the clear night air.
Major. And then we could go to my place in the city and do LSD laser tag.
General. We have such fun ideas.
Major. I have so much vacation time.
General. I’m too afraid to take time off. I’m afraid the wheels will come off the bus.
Major. I don’t take time off because they make it too hard to ask.
General. It’s designed that way.
Major. Can I ask you something?
General. Of course.
Major. Do you think they are ever going to bring the coffee?
General. It’s more than likely that the whole brigade has deserted to do something entertaining before launch.
Major. It’s no way to fight a war.
General. If you could fight in any battle knowing you would survive which would it be?
Major. Hiroshima. You?
General. Wait. Everyone DID survive Hiroshima.
Major. I mean for Japan. I would fight for Japan and survive.
General. And how would you accomplish that?
Major. Well, it’s a fantasy so I’m going with a giant robot.
General. If you could fight in any battle knowing you would survive, you would fight in Hiroshima for Japan with a giant robot?
General. Could you briefly describe it?
Major. Well, the key is to intercept before deployment. So I would likely transform into jet mode, if the giant robot is capable of that, and close distance. The crew of the Enola Gay would of course not be prepared for this, and they would yell things to one another. Surprised. Then if I was a jet capable robot I would transform at the last moment into robot mode and pull out a close combat weapon, and as long as we’re here let’s make it a laser sword, and I would say something about the nature of war (hopefully profound) and then cut the craft cleanly in two. Fat Man would roll out (or was it Little Boy) and I would fastball it right into the sun. Right at the motherfucking sun.
[The General coughs into their arm.]
Major. Excuse you. Thank you. The crew of the Enola Gay would bail out and survive and I would land and explain that nuclear warfare was not only a war crime but also the nexus of a snowballing intergeneration and epigenetic trauma. Tibbets would take off his flight cap and apologize to the mayor before Toshitoshi would swiftly decapitate him with one brilliant iado stroke, the lone victim of the event. The crew would mourn the loss, but accept it as necessary to prevent further insanity. Then I dunno. Theme music. Kiss the dolphin. Credits. You?
General. There’s a lot to unpack there.
Major. Let’s not. You go. You don’t ask a question like that without having a well thought out answer. If you could fight in any battle knowing you would survive?
General. It would be this one.
[They have a forced laugh.]
Major. Big laugh. For reals though?
General. I would fight at Gethsemane and save Jesus Christ.
Major. I don’t think I’d call that a battle?
General. There were two swords. Someone got their ear cut off.
Major. And what would you do with Jesus?
General. I’m not sure. Probably a ransom.
Major. What, ransom God?
General. Lots of game theory to be had if you get your hands on God’s kid.
Major. Quiet! They’ll hear you!?
General. I guess there’s always a time for firsts.
Major. How much time do we have?
General. Not long now. Everyone gets up so early.
Major. If you could be any Power Ranger who would you be?
General. I don’t know who they are.
Major. Just say a color.
Major. The Tope Ranger. Of course.
General. I’m so tired.
Major. I’m tired too.
General. I feel like I could sleep for a week.
Major. I feel like I could sleep for six.
General. Let’s not make this a competition.
Major. Do you remember COVID?
General. What the hell do you mean, of course I remember COVID.
Major. It’s unique in that for the next 100 years most of the planet will remember. Then they will forget and it will all happen again.
General. Hope not. I got COVID.
Major. Oh yes?
General. Oh yes. It was awful. Couldn’t taste anything for a month. Nothing fun about drowning in your own fluids.
Major. It was such an opportunity to come together to fight a common enemy. To reconfigure our defense structures to provide safety and comfort instead of shock and awe. For us to finally begin the process of turning swords into plowshares. But.
General. We totally shit the bed.
Major. All over it.
General. A field of uneven brown and darker brown.
Major. I remember being so angry, scared, and tired all the time. Contained. Helpless. Only able to access the world through screens. I came to hate screens that year. Resent them forever. I remember growing to hate words. Seeing the world through words that made me angry and fearful and sad. I kept thinking, we spent a few trillion dollars blowing up poor people on two continents based on the idea that you could develop biological weapons inside a mobile storage container trailer, but we actually didn’t spend a dime of that money preparing for a global pandemic. Biological weapon or biological anomaly, we were in no way prepared. We spent that money on hover jets and laser weapons. Rail guns and voice to skull. Jesus Christ on Crackers, what the fuck are we doing here?
General. Our jobs. We’re here to do our jobs.
Major. But I just don’t know why anymore? I don’t know why we should do any of it? Why finish the mission? Why complete the novel no one is going to read? Why write the play no one is going to go to? What is the function of these meaningless masturbations? If we are to masturbate, let it be quietly and alone, wasting as little time and energy as possible. This rampant nonsense will never do. It is but farting within a great storm. Breathing death upon the land and sea. How much longer? Until the coffee?
General. It will never come.
Major. Because there is no one outside?
General. No one alive. Someone has to be observed to be alive.
Major. I can’t help but observe you in all your awful glory.
General. Zounds, Major. God’s hooks. What are we doing here indeed? I hate to agree with you.
Major. I hate your awful face.
General. I hate your stinking guts.
Major. I hate your broken teeth.
General. I hate your smelly feet.
Major. I hate your tiny dick.
General. I hate your flapping anus.
Major. I hate your aching mangina.
General. I hate your herpes lips.
Major. I hate your zitty nose.
General. I hate your chapped hands.
Major. I hate your fat gut.
General. I already said gut.
Major. You said “guts” not your fat belly. Fat gut belly fatty fat.
General. I hate your stupid words.
Major. I hate your waxy ears.
General. I hate your swampy breath.
Major. I hate your chainsaw snore.
General. I hate your constant whining.
Major. I hate the way you burn the toast.
General. I hate the way you brew the coffee.
Major. I hate the way you clean your belly button and eat it.
General. I hate the way you talk about politics all the time.
Major. I hate the way you hate.
General. I hate the way you hate my hate.
Major. I hate the way you hate the hate you should so obviously hate.
General. I hate your job.
Major. I hate it too.
General. So why don’t you quit?
Major. You’ll shoot me for treason in the face of the enemy.
General. And you’ll shoot me in the face for the same, on the count of 3.
Major. Let’s not do this. Let’s not murder suicide again.
General. What the fuck do you mean “again”?
Major. I hate it when you swear.
General. I hate it when you complain about my swearing.
Major. I hate when you yell.
General. I hate when you can’t hear me.
Major. I hate that we have to die.
General. I hate that we have to kill.
Major. I hate that I can’t eat pies for every meal.
General. I hate that you can’t go to the movies anymore.
Major. Because of cost?
General. Because the industry is in free fall.
Major. I hate meta analysis.
General. I hate the term meta.
Major. I hate it too.
General. I hate that no one reads anymore.
Major. I hate that you still read.
General. I hate that no one makes anything of lasting value.
Major. Like what?
General. Oh, whatever you know. Pottery. Lamps. Novels. Plays.
General. I don’t want to destroy the entire world anymore.
Major. I wish we could stop.
General. But think of the alternative!?
Major. Chaos. Utter chaos.
General. If we weren’t here to order tactical nuclear strikes that will cripple the Chinese ability to produce tennis shoes… what else would we be doing?
Major. What would you like to be doing?
General. Nothing, honestly. I fucking hate tennis shoes.
Major. That’s probably why they gave you this mission.
General. That’s probably why I volunteered us you mean.
Major. I guess I do.
General. I only want to fire these nuclear weapons once and then never again. But if we were to do so again, how long will it take us to reload?
Major. One hour.
Major. As a drum.
General. It’s awful being so good at our jobs.
Major. You know what I was thinking the other day?
Major. Well I’m going to tell you again. There is this scientist and he believes that all of Earth is one giant organism.
General. You told me this already, it’s super boring.
Major. Shut up and let me finish.
General. No you shut up I don’t want to hear it.
Major. But this scientist, maybe what he doesn’t understand is that we have to become the most powerful creatures on the Earth in order to protect us from aliens or whatever. Like if ETs land some day, and we show up and nuke them, then we are like the T-cells of our planetary immune system right? Who else is going to nuke the ETs? Whales? No. Deer? You think the deer are going to get their shit together enough to nuke the ETs? And don’t even get me started on the Extra Dimensionals.
General. Are you on drugs?
Major. Let me be completely honest with you. Just this once. In the early 70s I participated in some of the MK Ultra 2.0 trials and probably shouldn’t have taken that much LSD. It sometimes does negative things. Like I once heard crickets for three years. Sometimes the music will distort like a record being slowed down, but it is merely my perception of time. Other times I can see the fabric of reality as a vibrant tapestry of interwoven eventualities.
General. I think you should consider therapy.
Major. I think we all should.
General. I hope that’s the message people take away from all of this.
Major. What people?
General. Whoever. Whoever ends up reading this bullshit transcript.
Major. Like the pilots saying goodbye to their families on the black box.
General. Exactly like that.
Major. Have you ever listened to those recordings?
General. I have listened to all of those recordings.
Major. Wow, that seems almost impossible
General. Well I did it.
Major. Did you know there was a man who reviewed all available footage of the people leaping from the towers on 9/11 looking for his wife and eventually did?
General. I don’t need to hear that shit.
Major. Well. What do YOU want to talk about?
General. Nice things. Can’t we talk about nice things? For once?
Major. Sure. I saw a puppy licking a butterfly on the way in. Really made my day. Took a picture with my phone.
General. For reals?
Major. No, you moron.
General. I hate how you tease.
Major. I hate how you can’t stand a fair fight.
General. I hate how long it takes to get coffee at this place.
Major. I hate plays with no meaning.
General. I hate novels without structure.
Major. Then you’d hate Naked Lunch.
General. I hate being naked.
Major. I think I heard a rooster.
General. That’s impossible. We had the roosters gassed.
Major. To death?
General. With nitrous.
Major. We have nitrous gas?
Major. We could have been suiciding this whole time.
General. I mean. We have guns.
Major. Messy. Messy messy messy. I don’t want my granny to have to think about that.
General. Your granny is alive?
Major. I call her every night AH FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!
General. You forgot to call your grandma?
Major. No, I forgot it’s tax day.
General. Tax day?
General. Fuck, I forgot too.
Major. How do you file?
General. I have a guy we’ve used for years. Maybe he has everything we need.
Major. Yeah. You’d think we’d remember this.
General. Maybe that’s what they will call this.
General. Today I mean. This.
Major. The Tennis Shoe Holocaust?
General. Oh, that’s good. I was thinking The Tax Day Massacre.
Major. Wow. Both really great holidays.
General. Yeah. Who do you think will play us, in the movie?
Major. Didn’t you say Hollywood was in freefall three pages ago?
General. Did I?
Major. Maybe it was just a soft stroke.
General. Tax day. Shit.
Major. You think the global thermonuclear war will render tax filing moot?
General. Well that would be at least one positive I guess?
Major. It’s nice we have this time, to work it all out. Before the screaming and radiation.
General. Why did we have to develop thermonuclear weapons anyhow?
General. Well. I don’t know if we can pin it all on them. But I’ll allow it for the sake of argument.
Major. I don’t want to die.
General. I don’t want to live.
Major. I don’t want to live without you.
General. I don’t want to die without being you.
Major. I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
General. You won’t be.
Major. How do you know?
General. I know how it all ends.
Major. How does it end?
General. We all get out alive.
[If they could kiss they would, but they can’t. So they salute. The General takes out his pistol and cocks it.]
General. Let’s get that coffee.