December 2022

Let's Get Out of California

Altenir Silva

the searching

When Marlon went to Loren's house, he didn't know she was on the beach. He wanted to explain what had happened after they made love. However, when he arrived there, he discovered the door was open, and the place appeared to be empty. He entered quietly, step by step, hoping to find out something about her.

Marlon knew that Loren didn't like it when people crossed the frontier of her intimacy. But he would do this for himself. Anyway, his curiosity was much more substantial than his indifference. And after rummaging through the rooms, Marlon went into the kitchen, where he saw something weird: a woman in an apron in front of an old-fashioned stove. She smiled at him. Marlon's eyes scanned the
kitchen, and the place seemed to belong to the past, as if Loren had redecorated all that in two days. It's impossible. Two days ago, he was in this house, and the kitchen was the same as it had been since he had met her in that pub.

the meeting

That night, nothing happened; Marlon and Loren just had a few drinks and an invitation to go to her house. There they went to talk about movies from the '70s, like Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, Lumet, Nichols, Fosse, and George Lucas. Since then, they have had a relationship, first as lovers, and now as friends.

Marlon looked deeply at that woman wearing an apron, and suddenly a disturbing thought came into his head. He had already seen her but could not remember where. But when she went to him and said, "Good morning," all these wonders were gone, but new ones came up.

This woman is Loren's grandmother, Erica Darbo, a movie actress who did some cheap movies in the '60s. She had abandoned her career to take care of her family. The problem here is that she looked young but had already died thirty years ago. Marlon, completely unhinged did nothing but babble, "Who are you?"

The woman smiled again. "Erica. Erica Darbo. Nice to meet you..." In addition to that, she went on, "Excuse me, do I know you?"

"How's it possible? You're too young. And you're dead, by the way," Marlon said, utterly stunned.

At this moment, Marlon thought that he was in a bad dream, but looking at his watch, he remembered what had taken him to Loren's house. Then, he asked, "Where's Loren?" Erica promptly responded, "She went to the beach!"

the acting-out

Marlon stepped out of the kitchen quickly. When he got to the living room, another surprise: the place was old-fashioned, like the kitchen. He cried out, "What the hell is going on?" Then, he went away from there.

On the street, it's the same thing. Everything seemed to be in the past. There's no doubt he was trapped somewhere in the past. How did this happen? Nothing made sense.

"What sort of nonsense is this?" Dr. Frame asks.

"I don't know." Marlon replies to his shrink while looking at the Harvard Degree hanging on the wall. Then Marlon went on, "My life may not make sense, but all of Kerouac's ideas have to."

"Do you like him?" Dr. Frame asks.

Marlon thinks about it and says, "Yes! Of course... I know every word that he wrote. I mean all the words chosen by him to get a sentence."

"Is Kerouac enough for you?" Dr. Frame goads.

"I think so..." Marlon replies.

The psychologist thinks about that. Then Marlon says, "I want to understand my fixation on him."

Dr. Frame says confidently, "It's normal! Sometimes, we love to love famous people." Marlon is silent for a few minutes.

The doc gets up. "We're done!" Marlon keeps his silence. Then, he grabs his gun and fires three shots into the doctor's chest.

"What are you doing?" Loren says to Marlon as he's lying on the kitchen floor of her house. In his memory, the blood coming out from Dr. Frame's chest.

"Why? Why?" Loren continues.

"What?" Marlon replies a little dizzy, without understanding anything.

Loren, full of fury, yells at him. "You killed me on the beach!".

"I didn't. I swear… I just wanted to save your life..." Marlon says.

"You're a liar! You did all that shit to hurt me," Loren shouts. As she leaves, she says, "Congratulations, Marlon!"

Marlon starts spitting out the poison he had taken minutes earlier, but it's too late, and everything goes dark.

On a small radio above the kitchen cabinet, the broadcaster's excited voice says:
"Good morning, everyone!
Welcome back to another sunny day in Los Angeles, California..."


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Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter working in mass media and communications, including Cinema, Theater, Television and the Web. His texts and scripts - both fiction and reality-based - have been presented , produced and performed in the US, the UK, and Brazil.
For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2022 Altenir Silva
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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