School Bus, by Erin Rollman

(written for a genderqueer performer) When I was in junior high, I lived only a block and a half away from school. It took minutes to get there, cut even shorter if I ducked through a hole in the fence and walked right across the small field next to the school building. But every morning I would leave home far earlier than necessary and walk 15 or so blocks in the opposite direction to catch a big yellow school bus. It seems silly to say now, but I did it in an attempt to be normal. I know, I know, but hear me out:

So many kids rode the bus. So many kids complained about riding the bus. It was a part of junior high culture and I was missing out because of the location location location of my home. I mean, I’m sure the proximity to a school is part of the reason my parents got the place. But, each morning I walked in the wrong direction in order to complain about my subsequent bus ride. And each afternoon I rushed out of the building in time to jump on the bus – unable to participate in this after school activity or that one, sometimes dashing out mid-conversation with an “ugh, bus”.

Needless to say, this did not make me ‘normal’. All it did was make my life more difficult. Of course, this should come as no surprise. Normal things – a nerve-wracking phrase, despite or maybe because of its lack of meaning – normal things are always wildly difficult. Isn’t it the case that you never feel more outside of yourself than when you are doing something you think you are supposed to do? Doing normal things is like playing a massive life-encompassing game of follow-the-leader when nobody knows who the leader is – their just sure it isn’t them.


Here are some other phrases I find nerve-wracking, only some of which have meaning:
fiscal responsibility
hang in there
life choice
truly humbling experience
crystal clear
not an exit
identifies as
and criss cross applesauce … Well, that one’s not nerve-wracking if you really just want me to sit down cross-legged. But if it comes with the assumption that I will be squirm-free and attentive, we might have a problem.


It actually gives me a little thrill that my young attempt to be normal was, in fact, very, very not normal. I don’t often ride buses at all these days. I sure as hell won’t walk out of my way to hop on an unnecessary one…

I mean that both literally and metaphorically, in case that wasn’t crystal clear.

More info: Erin Rollman is an all-around theatrical badass and incredible human. Learn more about Erin’s theatrical work at

Candy Heart, by Woodzick

WRENN (they/them, AFAB).

I’m writing this because I’m on the plane and the guy next to me is watching a documentary about Hitler and I honestly don’t know his intentions behind watching it. So, in case I die while on or getting off this flight, I wanted you to read this. I don’t know if I would be able to say any of this in person.

I get that you’re a gay guy. And I guess the thing is that on the inside I’ve always felt like I was a gay guy, too. Gay men are always the people I have been attracted to the most. The ones who break my heart the most. The “oh, if I were straight, I’d totally date you, but I’m not straight, and so….”

I am painfully aware that my outside doesn’t always match my inside, and I don’t know if it ever will in that way. I like the me I’ve become, not a man and definitely not a woman, but instead something that is both and neither at the same time.

The thing is, my heart is on the inside and my heart thinks it could be, would really like to try being with your heart and, I know, I know have the tendency to be naive and idealistic, but on some, basic, human level, isn’t that the only thing that should matter?

So here I am, in front of you, asking you if you think you could be with someone like me. Or try?

I hate being vulnerable and I hate that I keep trying at this and people either hook up with me and tell me it was a mistake or they tell me I’m a mistake and they just don’t think they could ever picture themselves being with someone like me.

I think my heart can only survive so many more of these conversations.

It takes a lot for me to be saying this to you. And, sincerely, I’m not trying to force a certain answer. I just wanted you to know that—this is not something I share lightly. It’s not something I do often.

But I’m doing it because I think you might just be worth it and it’s OK if you’re not. And it’s OK if you don’t think of me that way.

But it’s really rare that I feel this way about somebody, so I just had to try.

Azul, from Gender of Attraction by Chris Rivera

Azul. Maybe that’s true, but for dating? I don’t want someone in love with half of me. So if I went out and found myself a gay boy, half the time he wouldn’t want me. Or he would think I was playing dress up. And if I meet guys while looking like I did last night, they want a woman. Mitch… the guy from last night… Mitch, he probably wants a cis woman. I made him leave so he didn’t see me once the makeup started to wear off. He wanted to stay, but… he was respectful about it. God you’re right. I’m never gonna see him again. (Rosa: You might! You never know) You know, There are sometimes I wonder if I actually would transition. I wonder if I’m not genderfluid, if I’m just a woman. I wonder if I’m just scared because I’m afraid no one will ever love me again. Or… Rosa, seriously, I don’t know a single trans woman who hasn’t been in a seriously abusive relationship. These guys… I feel like there are more and more people who are okay with people being trans, and gender nonconforming, they are okay with the fact that we exist. But people are disgusted by men who love us. There are guys who will watch trans women in porn, but the few brave enough to date a trans woman are so shunned, and questioned. So many become closeted about their relationships and self-hating, and guess who it usually gets taken out on. So many more trans women than cis women are killed by their partner. In the first two months of this year, six trans women were murdered. I just… sorry, that was a really long- winded way to say it’s not easier for me. And a lot of other people have it harder than me.

Azul. This was really shitty and messed up of us…of me. And you should be mad. And the only defense I have…is just another reason we shouldn’t be together. I really like you. But I can’t trust you. And that is my fault, not yours. It feels great when we are together, but then I think about things and freak out. I worry part of you is fetishizing me and you are something of a tranny chaser, and I worry that if we really tried to seriously date that you’ll eventually want to be with a cis woman and have the whole kids-and-suburban-life thing. I worry that you don’t understand me, or that you’ll always be ashamed with me, that people will shame you and question you like they have me. But I can’t walk away from who I am, and you can walk away from me. I worry I will lose my heart to you and I’ll end up crushed. I worry that I have already started to, and that is crazy, I know I have known you for like three days and I’m acting this neurotic. And that is completely unfair drama that no one should be dating. You shouldn’t date me. I’m quite obviously a mess. And… you should just run before my mess becomes contagious.

Context: Gender of Attraction is a romantic comedy that puts the spotlight on genderqueer and trans relationships. Azul, a gender non-conforming drag performer meets straight identifying Mitch. They fall for each other, but Azul worries the relationship progressing is impossible. Azul speaks to their best friend Rosa about their fears after hooking up with Mitch. Those fears are later confessed to Mitch in the final scene of the play, after Rosa and Azul have put Mitch through an uncomfortable “test” to see if his intentions are good.

For more information on playwright go to

on Azul’s pronouns, I will give you their own words on the matter.

“And… my personal feelings about pronouns… towards me is… if I’m obviously presenting as a woman, say “she”. If I’m obviously presenting male, use “he” unless you’re gay and being sassy. If I’m presenting somewhere in between… use whatever. They, he, she. But that’s just me.”


Julie-Anne Reyes, from Nolita, by Nina Ki

Julie-Anne Reyes. Fourteen. Filipinx.

JULIE-ANNE. I first met her in the line for the bathroom, at a party. Isn’t that weird? I tend to meet a lot of people in the bathroom line, though. I always talk to them and stuff– I mean, you’re waiting around together, right…?? Just something to kill time. Nolita always said that was weird, but I thought it was fun. …That was her name. Nolita.


It was one of those things that were so charming about her. Nolita wasn’t her real name, in case you were wondering. She didn’t really tell anybody her “birth” name, not even me. She chose Nolita after that book about the nymphomaniac and the child molester, who wrote that again? Vlad– Vladimoor– I don’t know. Some Russian guy. Anyway, she put “no” in there just to change it up. She liked that kind of thing. Changing it up. It was one of the things I admired most about her. She did it to me too, you know– she changed me up. I mean, I’m there one second, you know, completely into guys (I think), and then the next– I don’t know. I’m having dates and stuff. Like ice cream. Getting ice cream, I mean, Nolita liked this one place called Moo’s.


Moo’s Ice Cream. Funny name. But Nolita liked it. Ice cream wasn’t even that good, and there weren’t that many flavors– only Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate. But she liked that the old lady who ran it was a “halfie,” I mean, she said half Chinese half white, like her, and mostly she liked the name. She just– I don’t know. She liked it. And she made me like it, too. She changed me.


If I could compare the whole experience– the whole experience of being around her, I mean, I would liken it to a natural disaster. She was a natural disaster. Like a hurricane, or a tsunami. Or, no, an earthquake. Yeah. An earthquake. She made the ground shake under me, made everything collapse and fall down so I have to build everything back up. But she was my natural disaster… or she used to be.


She kissed me first, you know. For the record. Right outside of Moo’s, one day. Fucking rocked my world. I don’t even think she was gay before that. She just wanted to do it, so she did. She was that kind of person, you know. Nolita. I loved it, loved her, you know, but sometimes it drove me crazy. Really crazy, like she made me feel so– shook up inside. You know? …She broke up with me yesterday. Just said, I’m sorry, Honeybun. She called me that. Honeybun, like the pastry thing. Now every time I walk by a bakery I want to cry. But she said, it’s not working out anymore and she’s got to go do her thing. Just like that. One day it’s working, the next day it’s not. Fucking changing it up.


I’m sad, ateh. I’m really sad. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. It’s the first time I ever really loved someone, you know? And a girl? Does that like– mean I’m gay? Even if Nolita’s not around, anymore? What the hell does that even mean? Do I go look for boys or girls, now? Both? Neither? But I shouldn’t even say that. The only person I want, is her. I mean, really. That’s all I really want, to go hold her hand and maybe kiss sometimes, or even go to that stupid place. Moo’s. What a stupid name. What do you do, ateh? What do you do after that, when they’re gone? After they change you up, and go? Do you know? Can you tell me?

More information: ms.ninaki (at) gmail (dot) com


ADULTING WITH YOU, by Ayla Sullivan

WADE. Honey, listen, I know I haven’t been the most, like, available person to you these past few months. My depression naps aren’t even naps anymore, they’re just me pretending that sleeping for sixteen hours at a time is something I can get away with; the neighbors keep threatening to call social services because they think we’re neglecting a screaming baby every time I have, like, a gentle, I mean really mild, panic attack when the dishwasher makes the, you know, the (inhuman screeching buzz no dishwasher would ever make) sound; and you know I see you give me those pity eyes, which I know you don’t mean to look like that and I’m not saying I don’t appreciate you being so supportive because you are my purpose and my muse and all that shit, which is to say I think you would be really proud of me today.

For one, I took a shower. I know. It’s basic, but I took a shower at 9 AM. Which you know means I naturally woke up at 8 and grumbled to the stillness of our apartment about existence and, like, if anything I do even matters and if I can mentally prepare myself for Jeff to call me his “Golden Girl of espresso sales” no matter how many fucking times I tell him to stop calling me something so patronizing and gross and when I got out of the shower and I saw myself I didn’t disassociate and wish I saw something better. I just saw me and I saw someone who lives somewhere they are loved and where the shower water is the perfect temperature.

And then, Babe, I listened to three podcasts today. Different ones! On the way to work, on the way home, fucking just casually when I was walking around Target. Yeah, I fucking went to Target today too. I looked in—not just the dollar section—I went to the motherload. I went to every home and bath decoration section because I was thinking about us. And thinking like how great it would be if I could get us those gold terrarium things with the succulents and like antlers for some reason because every nice catalogue home has those gold antlers for some reason and, and, and, what I really want to say is that I’m like a real fucking person because of you. Like, holy shit, you’ve got me…domesticated.

More information: aylaxc.sullivan (at) gmail (dot) com


Shay, from Current, by Samantha Vakiener

SHAY. I liked tracking your story.  You were so… (Can’t describe it.) but ultimately endearing.  I got like a high from listening to you.  Like, I meant so much— No, something I created meant so much to someone.  And that made being a fish, wearing a stupid costume for a stupid fish fry restaurant, mean something.  A reason to stick around.  After it hadn’t meant something for so long.  I would listen to you.  And listen to you.  And listen to you.  I would have kept on listening to you.  Because… I thought I was helping you.  And then that one day you… you asked who was in the suit.  And I wanted to take off the head and talk to you.  Finally talk to you.  To someone.  Have a conversation.  But I was scared.  And it turns out I had every right to be.  It’s just been days, but.. The things you’ve said to me.  The things you’ve done.  You wish you had never asked.  Because you don’t want to know me.  No matter what you say.  What’s appropriate at this stage of acquaintanceship is “What’s your favorite color?”  “What kind of music do you like?”  Not “What are you?”  Not “Will you heal me?”  That’s too much to put on a person you just met.

Context: From the full-length CURRENT.  Monologue occurs during the final scene.

More information:


Cat, from Laced, by Sam Mueller

Cat, yelling from the stage.

Holy hell, there are so many of you!
We’ve got no microphone tonight so I’m gonna need you to shut up!

            Cat waits.

Everyone have their glasses?
Raise them to the
and gentlemen
and the actually interesting people here

Some mornings I wake up
and I feel caught in the middle
feel the she, her, hers, and the he, him, his
waging a war in my gut
telling my they and them and theirs that they must choose
that the middle is just muck

But some mornings I wake up
and it doesn’t feel like the middle at all.
It’s something else entirely
It feels like slipping into warm flannel
and sipping chai while it rains
some days, fiercer
like slipping feet into
unbroken platform heels
clusters of muscles in my feet controlling plantar flexion
feeling the downward pointing feet pulling at muscles all the way up my leg
sometimes it feels like work, but
it takes work to become

On my clearest mornings,
They and them and theirs is a root
It grounds me
as both she and he
and neither she and he
both and neither

I don’t know where that leaves me.
I don’t want to make a mockery of the women who
Slip feet into soles and find it fuel for their woman-ness
Truth be told
I can be jealous of them
It’s simple for them
A feeling of being elevated
They find themselves powerful
Heels were made to be unisex
Ninth fucking century
Persian men wore heels into battle on horseback
A symbol of wealth
Of manliness
And I realized slipping feet into shoes
Was me preparing for the battle of being
It’s the last thing I do before stepping on stage
It roots me to my goddamn people
Like if I had the means to trace up my family tree
Could I find a member of the Persian cavalry that shares my name?
That maybe also felt between
and outside?

I tattooed a Persian Cedar tree on my thigh the day before I turned 21.
I held hands with myself
Clutched my own body for the two hours it took for the needle to leave all of the ink beneath my skin.
Dipping in and out faster than hummingbird wings
Watched as my artist poured their heart into my flesh
And I asked how long they’d been tattooing.
They looked young but they said twenty years.
And I said I couldn’t imagine doing anything for twenty years.
And they winked when they said
It roots me.
And we laughed at the irony of tattooing a tree as roots
And I studied the hard edges of their face
The shadows of a red beard creeping in
as they smiled and said
the art of creating,
it makes me feel so feminine, you know?
I just don’t see why I can’t be male and female
And neither male nor female at the same time, you know?
and I said
I know
Because I did
And they said
The light in me recognizes the light in you
Like a beacon,
like a lighthouse
The fresh ink in my thigh leaving a dull throbbing reminder
a steady pulse of knowing
It didn’t matter what I looked like to anyone else
I could claim my femme
And I could claim my masc
They could exist together
And I could be complete

I only have one other tattoo
I went back to the same artist five years later
And they said
I was wondering what happened to you.
It’s so good to know you’re still
And they put three words beneath my tree
It says
Burn, Gender, Burn

So I kept painting my face
Covered up my brows
I glittered my lips
I extended my lashes so far
Past the clouds
and past the stars
and out of Florida
out of fucking Florida
and back in time
I wanted to butterfly kiss
and Sylvia
and Christopher Street
and the femmes who came before me
the ones who spoke Spanish at home with their mothers
and yelled English to the cops on the streets
I want to séance with their ghosts
and thank them for the air I breathed
deeper and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper

            Cat gasps.

I need to ask them why it is

Context: A flashback to the night prior at around 3 am as Cat (they/them/theirs) is on stage delivering a monologue in full drag.

More information: samanthadmueller (at) gmail (dot) com

Steps 2, 3, 5 & 8, from 12, by M. Keala Miles, Jr.


Come to believe that only a power greater than ourselves will restore us to sanity


ADDICT. So we had this county fair when I was really young. I didn’t even really like the rides. I liked to play the games. I like to try to win prizes. It’s a thrill, you know, to try to WIN something.

ECHOES: win…win…win…win…win

ADDICT: I like to WIN. No, I LOVE to WIN.

My favorite game was the basket toss. You have to put the right amount of backspin and throw the softball at just the right arc to get it to stay in the basket. I figured it out pretty quick. I got so many oversized stuffed animals from that game.

My dad started to go crazy because I had too many bags of prizes stacked up in the garage.
He said I had to choose which ones I wanted to keep. I couldn’t do it; so he picked three bags at random and gave the rest to charity.

I cried for nine days.

When I got older, I finally started to go on the rides.

And I was terrified at first: Roller coasters look so dangerous.

And then you get off the ride and you feel like, it almost feels like you won the prize. Like “I conquered this huge metal monster!” I…fucking WIN!

THAT stuck with me.

That thrill, for WINNING.

As you get older you keep finding ways to win. It’s a continuous discovery. You take risks every day and you win every day. What will get me downtown faster? The trolley or a cab? Should I eat Thai or Italian? Can I push for one more mile on this run? Do I negotiate a promotion?

Some risks, some WINs are bigger than others.

When I was 25, my boyfriend took me to Vegas. It was my first time…it would definitely not be my last.

Fucking roulette. I fucking love roulette. Just that tick…tick…tick…tick………tick………tick…

It’s like a song you don’t want to end.

Then it’s over.

Just like that.

I close my eyes and hear that tick…tick…tick…tick…tick. Tick. Tick. Over and over. The reward is never worth the risk. How much money have I thrown down at that table? Year after year.

I still need that thrill. I just wish it would last longer. I just wish I knew how to make that feeling last forever.

But that feeling can’t last forever, right? But I don’t know how to walk away.

That’s why I am here.



Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood THEM.


When my dad died I was 13, and my mom suddenly became this completely different person. She seemed to have even more life…

It’s crazy. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand that your parents had a life before you were born. Like you just feel like you are the center of their universe, you know; I mean, you ARE the center of the universe.
But I didn’t have a dad, anymore. I felt like I was going crazy. And I was like, where’s my MOM? Why isn’t she here? And it was almost like he lost his life and she found it and was making sure to suck out every last moment of joy from whatever he left behind.

And I blamed her for sucking the life out of him and I blamed her for letting him beat the shit out of me and I blamed her for turning her back on me and then in the middle of a cocaine weekend I found myself on my knees in a gas station bathroom sucking some stranger’s cock for blow…

I mean, I guess that’s what they call a moment of clarity?

He looked down at me and said, “You don’t have to do this.”

I got up off the floor. He put his pants back on, gave me enough for a couple bumps and he left, quietly.

I just stood there in a row of sinks and mirrors.

And I’d like to say that was the last time, but it wasn’t.

I can’t trust myself. So I came here looking for trust. For faith in something other than myself.

You tell me I have to trust God. Fuck God.

God took my dad before I was even old enough to understand how important having a dad is. God is the one that put me in that room with my first rail. God’s the one that let him touch me.

I deserve better. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve a God that cares. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve to be happy. (ECHO repeats)



Admission to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Everything means something.

The box of Christmas cards and photos from your childhood.

I still have every report card from Kindergarten through 12th grade. All of my awards and ribbons and trophies.

They are all important.

The pen your boyfriend used to write you that note…

The note…?

I can’t FIND it!!!

The piece of pipe that burst during the blizzard of ’98; you had to replace it—with your uncle…who you never see, but happened to be stuck in town that week because of the storm.

It’s funny, sometimes how things work out.

The bag of stuffed animals you kept because they are all plush toys you got from family vacations to Disneyland. Eight years-worth of plushies. My favorite was Donald Duck. I know a lot of people probably like Mickey or Goofy better, but I was always a Donald Duck fan.

I always thought it was kind of weird that Huey, Dewey, and Louie had an Uncle Donald and an Uncle Scrooge but not mom or dad. What happened to their parents?

It always bothered me that nobody ever talks about their parents.

It also bothered me that none of them wore pants. Mickey wears pants. Goofy wears pants. Jiminy Fucking Cricket wears pants.

Is it cuz they’re ducks? But we never see them in the water!!!

Anyway, I had Donald and his three nephews and I got a new one every time we would go to Disneyland. But I also have Roger Rabbit and Dumbo and Mickey and Minnie both.

Some people, they don’t understand. They don’t understand how much everything means. Each thing. Each. Little. Thing.

Everything means something.

It must be in that box…where is that box?

And, I don’t know, its strange, to me, I guess, that here I am, in here, and they don’t understand; like, they don’t see, you know, like they don’t treasure things. Little things.

The way I do.

And I guess what I’m having the most trouble with is that I really don’t understand why it is considered unhealthy to think this way?

To treasure all the little things. And want to remember all the little things.

This was my mother’s wedding ring.

This is all I have of her.

Now that she’s gone. I feel abandoned.

I feel empty.

When I’m not collecting, I feel empty.

So I go out every day to find more things to collect. It doesn’t matter what they are.

But it should matter, because one day I came home and, I couldn’t even open the door. This is out of control.

I just want to come home. But I don’t know how. And I need help.



Made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends.


The hoarder returns. It has been at least three months since we last saw them.

It started with little things. Little things that had a story to tell. And it felt good to be a part of those stories. It was usually things that people left behind. I rescued them: discarded, forgotten things. Fuck that; I helped those stories along. I contributed.

I love that I got to be a part of history.

And now that is what they are: discarded and forgotten. History.

They are all gone.

But I guess when you live like this—with these kinds of things engulfing your life—it is easy to overlook how easy it could be to see it all go up in flames.

Because that’s what they did.

Two weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and my house was on fire. Like, at first, I thought maybe I was dreaming.   And then I could feel it, but it still felt like a dream too; you know how when you are half asleep and you hear a song or you smell something cooking and it gets incorporated into your dream?

It was like that…but then, eventually I realize that in my dream it smelled like something was burning. And I woke up to find the fire had made its way to my bedroom door. When I realized what was happening I quickly jumped out the window and I broke my ankle.

As I sat in the yard, wrapped in the quilt my grandmother crocheted when I was born, I realized that all those little things were gonna burn in that house. They were gonna burn and I couldn’t do anything about it.

When the smoke cleared and we start to go through the rubble it suddenly dawns on me that I almost gave my life for this disease. It turns out that I had left a stack of old newspapers and magazines next to a space heater in one of the bedrooms. I don’t remember even having a space heater; it certainly wasn’t on! But apparently it shorted out and that sparked enough of a fire.

By the time the fire department came the entire back bedroom was completely destroyed and it had made its way to my room. That’s where the firefighters stopped it; most of my bedroom was destroyed too. The bed didn’t melt down completely but it is definitely beyond salvage. They managed to spare half of the closet and the nightstand by the window.

That’s where I keep my son’s fetal death certificate. Somehow that tiny corner of the room was spared.

And I don’t know how to deal with that.

Context: SYNOPSIS: The title is taken from the common 12-step addiction recovery program philosophy, with each of the 12 scenes representing one of the steps. There are 6 addicts (to be played by 3 actors of any gender, race, or adult age), though there are more than 6 characters.

The “Echo” references are “chorus” parts during the prologue and intermission in which the three players embody the voices of temptation. You may ignore them, of course, for the purposes of a monologue.

 “12” received its world premiere at the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival. The three players were: James P. Darvas, Devi Noel, and Rhiannon McAfee. It was directed by Mark Stephan; presented at the 10th Ave Arts Center, Forum Theatre.

More information: Please refer all questions or requests for the full play to:

Lethe, by Alan Olejniczak


LETHE enters and pauses to survey the audience. The spirit walks among them and speaks directly.

LETHE. Forgetting is the primordial divinity – the venerable ancestor to remembrance. The essence of memory is not remembering, but forgetting. The forgetfulness of which, one must drink in order to live – in order to be reborn. Forgetting is choice, you know: a blessing, really.


I remember this shade that made her death’s journey through Hades. She came to the River Styx and paid the ferryman to carry her across to be reborn. Charon invited her to drink from my waters, which would remove all memory of her previous life. “Oh”, she asked, “Will I forget all my failures?” Charon replied, “Yes, as well as your victories.”… “Will I forget how I suffered?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you celebrated.” Finally, the shade asked, “Will I forget how I’ve been lonely?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you’ve been loved.”


The shade drank from my river, forgetting her former life and climbed into the boat. Most always do. It seems you all are better at remembering sorrow and regret than life’s fleeting moments of joy… Although not all make this journey, you know. There are those that wander the banks and never take the risk. Fear always holds one back and the apathetic are most often left behind.


In the Kingdom of the Dead, I’m Lethe. While my father is best forgotten, my mother, Eris, is not one to be ignored. She is the goddess of discord and strife – admittedly a difficult woman to love. Sadly, my mother is really only remembered for two things: Starting the Trojan War and birthing eight miserable children – toil, starvation, pain, murder, lawlessness, genocide, lies and ruination… It’s hard to get attention in a family like that.


Where was I?…Oh yes. Not ALL drink from my river, you know. Some believe that it is important to remember the mistakes of one’s past lives so that one will be wiser in the next. While I’ve met many smart people in Hades, I’ve only encountered a few that were truly wise. While I understand, you must have memory to gain knowledge, I have to wonder: is the knowledge that memory brings, the knowledge that is best forgotten? While it’s certainly a noble endeavor to remember everything, does this really make you any wiser? The mundane becomes as important as the monumental. Let’s face it, not all things are important.


Still, there are things you are determined to remember: important things, wonderful and terrible things. There was this soldier – I forget his name. Anyway, he died in battle and his body lay in the sun for a week before they could collect the dead. This soldier made his journey and came upon the ferryman. When he was offered to drink from my river, he declined – “Oh no!” I want to remember my life: the good with the bad. This is life, after all!” The soldier drank from Mnemosyne – the waters of remembrance. Of course, he could not stay in Hades, or cross over – and was sent back. He woke on his own pyre moments before they were to set it ablaze. Everyone wanted to learn the great mystery – what lay beyond. He told them the truth: “No one escaped suffering and there was no reward for goodness. The virtuous are punished the same as the corrupted.” They burned him alive. No one was prepared to hear the truth of that.


I say this without judgment, given my family history, but what’s wrong with people? You all have this strange mix of self-loathing and a spectacular sense of your own superiority. It’s an on-going joke with the gods – although they can be just as ridiculous… Still you insist on destroying yourselves. And war! Such horror and waste. Oh sure! There’s blame and remorse, but a generation later all seem determined to start again. I guess there is always someone else to fear – or hate… I know what you’re thinking. It’s about forgetting the past and being doomed to repeat it. It’s not that! It’s about ignorance and denial and that’s not the same as forgetting… To your credit, you have your peace rallies and memorials. But still I wonder why you all commit such atrocities at all.


If there is danger of always remembering, what is gained from forgetting or ignoring the unspeakable suffering of others? Empathy is always nice, but what do you do with it if you don’t take action?… Forgetting is healing. Forgetting is hopeful. Forgetting is how you’re able to connect to your humanity, to find hope and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to. Why else would you bring children into the world, love them, nurture them – only to have them bear the senselessness of it all. Why create art when most is forgotten or destroyed? Forgetting your savage-selves is what it takes to live on. It how you’re able to still connect to your humanity: to find hope – and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to?


So there it is…

(Prepares to exit)

We will meet again, you know. It’s true. Living and dying are all part of it, and trust me, immortality is not anything you want… But that’s a whole other story. Until then.



Context: Originally developed for the 2016 The San Francisco Olympians Festival

Re-Written for The Artist of Albatross Reach, 2017

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Celia, from The Adventure of the Comic Con Caper, by Jonathan Alexandratos

CELIA. (to their friend) I told you you should have come as Watson! How can I be Sherlock without a Watson? Pokemon is lame! Misty is lame! Misty from Pokemon is lame! She’s so 1996. She’s over. We’re done with Misty. Watson is forever. Watson is life. Watson’s a doctor! How is that not cool? Whatever, I’m going to call you Watson, anyway – this is an emergency.

Watson! We have a mystery. There was only one super-rare, Con exclusive Mycroft Holmes action figure at this convention, and now the dealer has reported it stolen. I’d very much like us to recover this action figure, as the dealer will surely be so grateful for its return, that he’ll sell it to us at a steep discount, which will be perfectly within range of all the money I could save. And I want that toy, Watson. I want. That toy.

Our only clue is that the thief wore Deadpool cosplay, which, while normally conspicuous, here, allows our enemy to blend in with the 352 other Deadpools that are currently forming a Conga line around this convention center. I hate Deadpool cosplayers.

But! We mustn’t treat that as anything more than a distraction. Sifting through the pile of Deadpools is exactly what our culprit wants us to do. No, this person is a criminal first, geek never. Whoever it is will want to move that action figure as soon as possible. To Craigslist!

(on their phone) Look at this – “One convention exclusive doll for pick-up only at the convention center.” $500! Only a thief would sell Mycroft at such an offensively low price.

(Watson says something we don’t hear, Holmes replies to her) “It’s not a doll”!? Watson, I’m surprised by your eagerness to let a trivial thing like the gendering of a toy get in the way of our work. Yes, Holmes calls Mycroft “the queerest of men” in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, but he no doubt is using the time’s definition of “queer,” as opposed to how I use it to describe gender non-conformity. And so what if the criminal used the term “doll”? It is a piece of plastic, albeit a really cool piece of plastic, and possesses no awareness of gender, nor does it teach one anything about…

Wait a second! (typing away on their phone) Watson, perhaps the term “doll” isn’t Mycroft’s, but his captor’s! It could be that the thief used the term “doll” in the hopes of attracting a female buyer, as the term “doll” has historically been used to market toys to women and girls. Our foe most likely assumes a woman will be less aware of the fandom and therefore more unlikely to bat an eye at stolen goods – ugh, screw that patriarchal, misogynistic nonsense! How dare you offend my fandom, Mysterious Malcontent!

We’re taking ‘em down, and I think I know the perfect person to do it. Misty, you showed up to the right Con after all. Your red wig, your exposed midriff, your strangely impractical suspenders – that toy robber won’t be able to resist you! You’re going in. I’ve already contacted the Craigslist Criminal to ask for a meeting place to purchase the item, and – GASP! I have a response. “Courtyard, by the falafel truck.” That’s…right over there! And look! Overcoat! Dark glasses! That’s obviously the person who absconded with little plastic Mycroft!

Misty, we don’t want to spook ‘em. Calmly approach, and, at just the right moment, I’ll swarm with Con security. Do it for Mycroft! Go go go!

She does. CELIA watches for a moment, growing more concerned by the second. Then:

What? Why are you coming back so quickly? Aha…It was just a Neo cosplayer, huh? Well The Matrix was a really good movie. I’m glad someone’s keeping it alive. Guess I uh. Made one fatal mistake, eh? I mean, I of all people should’ve known – you don’t make outfit-based assumptions anywhere, but especially at a Nerd Con.

Oh hey check it out – security just tackled Deadpool. And there’s the figure… Wow that was…bafflingly straightforward. Hmm. I kinda…I kinda can’t believe you went out there. You could’ve been in real danger, and all for an action figure that only I really cared about? You. You’re real shiny.

Hey uh Misty – thanks for going along with my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plan. Thanks for going along with a lot of my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plans. I don’t think I appreciated that until right now, as I watch ten cops haul off a pretty roughed-up Deadpool-Slash-Petty-Criminal.

Look, I saved up a bunch of money to try to haggle for that action figure, but, now that I think about it, I’ve got enough Holmes in my life. What I don’t have that much of is Pokemon. Maybe you could teach me the ins and outs? Maybe you could teach me over dinner? Tonight? Which I could pay for? As a thank you? Maybe you could choose me? Pikachu? It’s Pikachu, right? I’d maybe be your Pikachu?

Context: Celia, dressed as Sherlock Holmes at a Comic Con, tries to solve a mystery, and ends up solving something way bigger.

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