end of play/7 (9)

(This is a hard one, because it's an intensive therapy session with just him and the dog, but she's also there, hiding in the bookshelf, disguising herself as books, but we don't let on that we notice that she's there because it might spook her.)

HE: This is hard because it's so intense.

DOG: I am an intense dogtor, so it would have to be.  Please, go on.

HE: I feel like I can tell you anything, dog.

DOG: You can, you certainly can.  Your secrets are safe with me.

HE: But at the same time, I know that I really can't tell you everything, I mean, I will, but it's not safe, because you'll tell people.

DOG: I promise I won't.

HE: I believe you, except I really don't, because everything I've told you before has been spilled out of your mouth anytime anyone asks.

DOG:  That's not true, and if it is, there are good reasons.

HE: But this time it's different.

DOG: Absolutely.

HE: Because this time I feel like you won't tell because it's all too secret and true and I'm sure you won't tell.

DOG: You're smart.  You learn from the past like no one I've ever met before.  I had a patient once who was told by African priests that he shouldn't get involved with indecisive women, and he did get involved.  Over and over.

HE: That was me.

DOG: Oh, that's right.

HE: But I'm sure I had good reasons.  I mean, maybe that's what I was looking for.

DOG: I doubt that, but go on, I won't judge you, even if you do keep doing the same stupid things over and over like a goddam fool.

HE: Well, this time, it begins with this morning.  I was watching the Office. 

DOG: I fucking love that show.

HE: This was the one where Jim is missing Pam, because she's attending body modification school in another city, and he thinks she'll come back, but not soon, but some time, but he's starting to think she'll never come back.  So he's sad, so he locks himself in his room and shaves off all his hair, and becomes a performance artist, and he's starting to wish he still had hair, and wore shirts with collars, so he could have a normal life, and buy his parents' house for her, but he can't, because he's a performance artist, and by the time we get to the end of the first half, he's already thinking of new categories of gender, because he's still, like, you know, he likes women, but not the ones who like to live in houses, and so he's thinking maybe there's a category for that.

DOG: I doubt that gender has anything to do with housing.

HE: Well, it's just a tv show.

DOG: I doubt that tv ever influenced gender, it only reflects it, and what's important here is that you saw a little hint of yourself in this Pam.

HE: Jim.  I'm Jim.  I'm not Pam.

DOG: Sure you're not.

HE: Oh, now I'm confused.

DOG: Analysis is confusing.  Tell me, where is this Jim, or as you say, Pam, in all of this?

HE: That's the thing.  He thinks she's forgotten about him, but she hasn't.

DOG: How does he know?

HE: Because she tells him she hasn't.

DOG: I see no conflict here, and I'm bored out of my skull, you're not unhealthy at all, you just watch too much tv.

HE: But they don't speak, not like people talking, you know, not like that.  She can't speak to him.

DOG: Why?

HE: Because there's someone else.

DOG: Oh, hot damn, I'm not bored, yes?

HE: She's with this someone else, so that every time they do communicate, they have to do it by going under water, and they meet under water, and sometimes they don't meet, but they've left messages, messages on the ocean floor for each other. 
(By now the DOG is crying his eyes out because this is the saddest story he's ever heard.  Or she's ever heard.  We haven't defined the dog yet.  There are lots of things that the dog could be, and he or she are just some of them.)

DOG: What kinds of messages?

HE: There's a "like" button on the bottom of the ocean, and they hit that "like" button.

DOG: That's all?  I liked the British version much better.

HE: Sometime, well, let's say every day, he leaves her these complicated notes, hoping she's going to see them, and she does, and it goes on like that.

DOG: I see nothing wrong with that, unless it goes on for months.

(HE can't talk because he's crying.  DOG understands and starts crying, too.  They cry together for an impossibly long time, and it's the kind of crying that would need a drink at the end of it, only HE doesn't drink because it makes him want to die in a short amount of time, and that's even sadder, but suddenly DOG gets an idea.)

DOG: I'm going to try something, where I'll get a replica of her, and you talk to the replica as if it were her, and we'll see how that goes. 

(This is very sneaky, because DOG grabs SHE from the bookcase and she sits in front of HE as if she were a replica.  And maybe she is, because no one is what they pretend to be, except sometimes we get close when we pretend with just the right amount of panache.)

HE: I wish I had shirts with collars, and I wish I could buy my parents' house for you.  But it's a problem, because there is lots and lots of room, there are lots of people who could live in it, but you can't bring him.

DOG: (talking for her, this is getting a little strange.)  And her?  Would you bring her, too?

HE: There is no her right now.  I broke it off after I saw you because I understood that I was still looking for you.  But buying a house takes time, and in that time, there will be another her, or two, I'm sure, but I don't think I'd invite her, unless I fell in love with her, and if that happens then I don't think I'd even want a house, because she would be from somewhere else, and I would probably end up going with her to the somewhere else where we would practice our art together in some somewhere else, and all of this would just fall to pieces.  It's a house made of feathers, and it would blow away, and I suppose that's what I have to do, and I'll probably be okay, but I don't know what that means for us, because I wasn't looking for her, I was looking for you, and I found you, and I knew it as soon as I found you, and I don't think you believed me, because if you did, you would have stayed, or maybe you would have run away, and maybe you did believe me, then, because you did what you thought you were supposed to do, and I guess we'll both be okay, but I'll always know I was looking for you, and I don't know what it would feel like to live like that for very long, except I have, already, so I'm confused, because I thought this was how it was supposed to go.  You look for someone and you find them and then the story starts.  But if it turns out that you're not looking for me, then the story has to end there, because there's nothing more to the story if that's all it is.  And if that's all it is, then I just have to clean myself with herbs and move on, if that's all it is, and I guess I'm on the verge of deciding that that's all it is, because that's all I see anymore.

(But it's not even up to him, because the DOG has already cleaned him while he was talking, and that's all it is, and she is silent through the whole thing because the DOG is talking for her, and we know that's unfair, but that's how the DOG works, it's not a nice DOG, really, and can't keep secrets.)

(Next scene: HE is with a different SHE, in a nothouse, and he's thinking about the other SHE the whole time, and SHE is thinking about HE, and it's sad like that for at least a hundred years, in which time all the new gender categories have been recognized and the world is a much better place than the one we live in now.  And everyone has shaved their head, of course, and wears terribly interesting boots.  Who knew this would be such a utopian play?) 

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