You’re going to be a star. Yes, you, darling. Everyone loves you. Well, not everyone. You wouldn’t be a star if you didn’t have your haters. That’s just how it works. But you’re going to be famous. Never forget.
He was giving himself a pep talk in front of the mirror like he does every morning but today he didn’t recognize the person he was looking at. The man in the mirror reached out and grabbed him, to choke him, but he punched him back. He was trying to kill me, the man thought, because I’m more beautiful and famous than him. He wanted to be the star. But no, that’s me. I’m the goddamn star. Never forget, he told the man, with his hands around his neck, I’m the star.
But soon they grew tired of fighting and were out of breath. They settled down and had a long chat and bandaged each other up. They decided to move in together because the rent in their neighborhood was crazy. More importantly, they decided to collaborate artistically.
He was working on this brilliant one-man show about a man who falls in love with a chair. It’s not just any old chair, this chair is special. It’s made of a beautiful wood and it’s sleek and beautiful. And he falls for it because he spends most of his time in the apartment and sits on the chair everyday and develops intense feelings for the chair.
The feelings, he find out, are mutual. The chair is not dead wood but a living, breathing thing and also has feelings for the man. The relationship grows and grows and finally it’s consummated. It’s going to be a tricky part of the play, that staging, but they decided they can make it work. We have to make it believable, they say. This isn’t a comedy or anything. This is real life.
They were going to call the play The Chair and it was just going to be a very simple set design. Just the man and the chair. But it’s a tragedy. The chair leaves him for another man. You didn’t think it would have a happy ending did you? The chair leaves him for his next door neighbor, a real meathead who sometimes comes over and sits on the chair. And when the chair leaves it breaks the man’s heart. He takes some pills, he drinks a lot of whiskey, he’s crying out for help.
He’s never felt so devastated. But he realizes he’s been neglecting the couch this whole time. He has this couch that is quite nice and he feels like he notices the couch for the first time. And he’s falling for the couch, but he wants to take things slow because of what happened with the chair. But at the end of the play it’s pretty clear he and the couch are going to be together.
That’s the story?
You wanted a story and that’s all I could come up with.
Are you high? I’m going into surgery and that’s the story you tell me before I go under, before I might die, a story about a man who gets into a fight with his reflection in his mirror and then has sex with a chair.
You’re not going to die, don’t say that.
As I slip into the great nothing, I’ll be picturing a man having sex with a chair. Every time I get a glimpse inside your brain, it’s terrifying, it’s absolutely terrifying. How do you live with that brain?
It’s not easy sometimes. I feel like early in the morning, your brain is still in a dream state so that everything comes out more like a dream.
How are you supposed to drive me home?
Really, go get some coffee while I’m under will you, just to be safe. Promise me you’ll get some coffee and don’t put any whiskey in it. If this is our last conversation I’m going to be so mad.
You’ll be dead, what do you care? You’ll be nothing, floating out into the universe.
I hope I’m reincarnated. Can you be reincarnated back in time? I’d like to be in Ziegfeld Follies.
I don’t think it works that way. I think it’s the other way.
Fine, I’ll go the other way.
Who do you want to be?
The only rich person I know well killed himself.
Jesus, this conversation is depressing.
What do you want? Lies?
Yeah, lie to me. Always lie to a person going into surgery. That’s just the way it’s done, that’s the only decent thing to do. Tell me some good lies. Tell me what happens when we die.
Our spirit floats up into space and then we just get to live our fantasies. So you’ll go back in time to the Ziegfeld follies and do your whole gay 1920s thing, but for Christians they get to go to a heaven-like atmosphere and pretend to be with God and be all happy, and for atheists they just get really pleasant thoughts and feelings of love and happiness, if that’s what they want. If they were shitty people and angry all the time they just get anger and exist in their anger. Buddhists get Buddha, Muslims get Mohammad, and their seventy-two virgins—
I want seventy-two virgins—
Fine, you’ll get them. And other religions get what their religion promises, but it’s all in their minds really, their spirits are just floating around in the universe, bouncing off each other, until the universe is destroyed completely and we all finally go back to nothing.
You’re not a happy person are you? I asked you to lie for me. To give me some happy thoughts.
I’m not good at that.
I can see that. I can see that very well. A lot of things have become clear this morning. You have a demented mind. I’m going to die. I’m going to float in the universe until it’s destroyed. Everything is clear now, everything makes sense. So many happy thoughts before I die. Thank you. Thank you so much.