Body ⇄ Soul; A short play

This is my first short play, it’s kinda long at 2.4k words for a wordpress post, but if you aren’t put off by the length, I hope you guys can read it! I wanna see how good the response is for a ridiculously long story, if it’s good I might vary my flash fiction content 🙂 But don’t worry, short 150 flash fic will still be the main writing style.

—A play about two omniscient and omnipotent personas who sit at a bar and debate whether a man should take revenge on a mob boss—

In the foggy jazzbar, linoleum lights hang above the two egos.  Each had a drink in their hand and sat beside each other at their customary oak table – A ritual of sorts when times like these were presented. Beneath and above, there was nothing. They sat in the middle of the vastness of the mind, a place that eludes even the greatest modern science. Arth took a puff of his cigar, whilst Val quickly fell in love with the music. It was Body and Soul… (read the rest of the play with the music playing 🙂

Philosophers might have had a better clue than neurologists. Nietzsche smartly theorized, in his amateur youth, that opposing forces of Id and ego defined a man…The free and wild spirit against the product of societal norms. Greek literature offered insights on Appollonia and Dionysus, as it often projected them as crucially dependant on the other for nature’s balance, yet, trying to oust each other out. Music depicted the same imagery-the crescendo and diminuendo of a ballad symbolized such a shifting dichotomy. It was like a war between gods of two natures, with blood shed akin to the lasting definitions of man and his internal psyche.

 

Val-That was a whole lot of jibber-jabber nonsense right there. Who gives a damn about Appollo or Appollonia, what, they siblings or something. Nobody gives a shit. What’s up with Dionysus and his fancy-ass name. Helloo, pretentious much? What they do anyway? Sit around with a bunch of nymphs,sexy cypress trees, oh don’t forget the babies YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE BABIES, bunch of them probably in the middle of breastfeeding….oooh convenient lakes by the side…oo oo what about that one eyed ogre in the background and some angels shooting arrows.  Know what? Just fuckin throw in a snake to symbolize the devil and some random crack in the heavens; An oversized hand of God reaching out to say, “What’s up guys. How’s everyone doing.”

Arthen– ‘Hahaha, those renaissance paintings. Boy oh boy, look how stupid they look. They don’t have a clue what’s going on. They romanticize the whole thing to make it all look so deep and nobody knows the real shit that goes down here. Am I right?

Val -‘Uh huh. Appollonia’s probably sleeping somewhere, tired of all the shit that humans make up about her. She’s like Hey, GTFO, leave me and my friends aloonee. I dont wanna be involved in no greek tragedy man, keep that tragedy shit to yoself bitc*

Val– ‘I’m sifting through history ,look what I found hehe…’

Arthen– ‘Damn right. Hahahaha…anyway, jokes aside, we got a real moral issue to deal with.Shit, we’re running out of time’

With that, Val knew that jokes-time were over. She can be quite the foul-mouted joker, but when the time called for it, she was all about business. The stakes were unusually huge this time and the tone became one of a grave nature. The jokes that preceded became almost non-existent. Val’s smile reclined to a solemn stare. As she finished the drink, she set the glass down softly. But her eyes spoke only of rage.

Val– ‘I’d kill that man. He isn’t worth anybody’s time and effort, he’s caused far too much hurt to still be alive.’

Arthen– ‘Seriously. That isn’t going to work.’

Val– ‘He deserves to die. In fact, I’ll add that dying is letting him off easy. So let me have my way this time Arth.’

Arthen– ‘Nah. It’s when its most tempting to kill someone…that we don’t. Because we’re better than that. It makes us who we are.’

Val– ‘Don’t gimme that “define who you are bull”. You’re my pal and all, but this shit ain’t right. Let him go for a second, just for a fucking second, and you bet he’ll be gone. Next day the paper reads GIRL RAPED. MAN MURDERED. Banish the scum of the earth and be at ease.’

Arthen– ‘It doesn’t work that way. You think you’re being just but you’re stooping as low as they are. I can’t let you drive Dan into the depths of something even we can’t control.

Val-‘You make it sound as if he’s gonna change, I’m starting to question if he’s really gonna change after he makes this decision. Have you wondered if what we do matter at all?’

Arthen-‘What do you mean? Of course it does, we’re the omniscient moral personas. We’re essentially Dan’s moral compass personified. The difference is that I’m the ‘angel’ of idealism whereas you’re the ‘angel’ of realism.’

Val-‘Isn’t it a paradox then, that I’m the one who acts on impulse…whereas you’re the more logical one?…Idealism isn’t logical.’

Arthen-‘But I’m idealistic about the world, I’m idealistic about what the world should be, so I have to think logically, because it’s easy to just do something…that impulse has been easily shaped by societal values…sadly society’s values have eroded. So if it makes any sense at all, I’m logical idealism. You know, I thought you always knew, after all, you’re just as omniscient and omnipotent as I am, and just as immortal.’

Val-‘I mean yeah, but I don’t know, I always feel like what we do…are we…kind of God? We give little voices to people, hoping we can shape them to do something…I can’t help but think we’re harming more than we help sometimes. And let’s just take your idealism thing to a religious perspective…God wants the world to have that idealism right, the moral idealism where hate is gone and love and altruism and all the good things exist. If that’s the case, why do exist? If I didn’t exist, the world would be a better place.’

Arthen-‘You make yourself seem like the devil. This whole thing is makeing my head hurt a little, but if I can offer any reason for your existence……I’d say that you’re here to keep me grounded. I can’t possibly exist without you because in sometimes moral situations aren’t so black and white, and the decisions I make can be blinded by my idealism…just as your decisions can be blinded by your realism.’

Val-‘Oh come on, I know you’re gonna quote the hypothetical. You mean like the train dilemma, where you’d opt for moral inaction and deference, by letting the train go head on and crash into 5 people because you’re the one who doesn’t believe in taking things into your own hands…whereas I would change directions and kill the 2 on the other track?…

Arthen-‘Yup. As much as comic strips and movies have depicted good and evil as literallly good and evil, it’s much more than that. Even you and I aren’t good or evil, we are who we are, and we’re neither of them. We gotta make the tough calls and you’re just as important as I am…and remember, we can only influence but we do not dictate. Whatever the…’

Val-‘…person does is entirely up to them.Right? Okay, you’ve made me feel better about myself. You know, nobody explained my existence, I was just like *poof*, and the first thing I saw was you reading Alice In Wonderland. Then Tale of Two Cities. Then you just magically summoned Dostoevskiy’s Crime and Punishment…I was like the heeeelll, you can just magically make books appear and then read them in what 2 seconds?’

Arthen-‘I would be pretty lonely without you I must admit.’

Val-‘I think you might be right.’

Arthen gave a perplexed look. Val wasn’t referring to his previous statement, she was talking about the situation at hand. 

Val-‘Look he’s about to strike that man.’

Arthen-‘Dan is a good man. But he’s protecting his girl in the wrong way if he kills that fucker.’

Val-‘Even you admit he’s a fucker. Nobody can be a god in this world. That fucker is a fucking ring leader prostituting innocent women, his unrepentant ass is never gonna learn. Look what he did to Dan’s girl, look what he’s done to other people. Luckily she didn’t die, but she was tortured like some dog. So I say screw that asshat.’

11-03-25-08-37_0_13009254541080p_la_noire_hd_wallpaper_2.jpg

Arthen-‘He should leave him be.’

Val-‘No, even you’re not convinced with yourself. You want Dan to call the cops? They got nothin on that jackass. They can’t put him behind bars nor trial him. You know it.’

Arthen-‘But Dan won’t find peace with himself. He thinks he will by avenging his girl, but he won’t’

Val-‘I know, but…argh…what do you want a man like himself to do? He’s gone through some hell, he’s not a God! He can’t just say, I’m gonna find a solution that resolves everything. This is his fate unfortunately! Think about it, he’d be helping many others too.’

After some moments which must have lasted a lifetime

Arthen-‘You know what, we’re not Gods. We can’t offer any insight into his situation that would help him, I think we should sit out on this one. Let him decide his own path.’

Val-‘I want to whack that man so hard, but you’re right. I’m not Dan. And we can’t do this for him. This is beyond us.’

.

.

You motherfucker. You don’t deserve to live.  You’re injured now, and I managed to get you alone, so it’ll be a perfect chance to finish you. But I will let you live. Everything in my body is telling me to kill you, I wanna see your blood spill. I am in control now you bitch. I own you. Nobody’s dictating my actions, no fairies whispering by my ear, and no angels by my side. I am in control of myself, and that means your fate rests entirely in my hands. You hear that? Time to wake up.

.

After some tense moments…

.

Arthen-‘Nice work pal. That was fuc**** genius.’

Val -‘ Oh cut the censoring. Nobody’s gonna judge you, well except me haha.’

Arthen-‘I still don’t understand the whole plan though.’

Val-‘Well, it’s hard when the only person you know doesn’t appreciate what you just did. But its k. Here’s what happened- I manipulated the whole thing. Wait to be fair, he acted it out. I merely fed a thought. I spoke to that jackass. I killed his morale, I tore him down, I made him feel weak…paranoid…I know I’m not supposed to, but it was the only way. I know we had an agreement, I’m sorry, but I had to help Dan. And you’re right, we don’t help by offering a moral stance, while Dan has to take all the shit…all the responsibility for some fucked up situation. Either choice would break him. It would fill him with regret either way- Spare the asshole and live with the fact that he’s gonna hurt so many others, before he kills you the next day for threatening him. Kill him? Dan will live without peace for the rest of his life…behind bars possibly. So I intervened directly. I had to.

Val-‘So instead, I spoke to the devil’s incarnate himself. I told him that ‘I’ decided his fate. Of course, I had one of the waitresses sedate him. Then, I spoke to him for the longest time in his mind. And when he awoke, he was so paranoid that he went out of the bar in hysterics, and confessed his crimes. When the police came, I drugged the rest of his cronies so it’ll only be him vs the police. That motherf put up a real fight I must say…even in sedated mode, one his bullets came real close but I diverted it, so it only grazed the arm of an officer and the leg of another. In any case, there was more than enough to put him behind bars. The cronies quickly dropped him off by confessing everything.’

Arthen-‘Yup. I knew you made the whole thing about Dan wanting to strike the man. It was you who wanted to strike him right? You just projected the image as Dan. And I let you follow through because I agreed. I thought it was a good plan. I might have come up with something like that on a rare day, but I doubt I would have followed through. We’re not supposed to intervene, but hey, Dan’s at peace, so I can’t say we did the wrong thing…but what about the jerk’s moral compass? Didn’t they block you or something?’

Val-‘Nope, I only found two black stones in his heart. And you know that means his moral angels are dead. Sad isn’t it. See? It’s still ultimately up to the person’s own will, sometimes not even angels can salvage a corrupt soul.’

Val-‘If people can’t be Gods in the world, then we have to.’

Arthen-‘But how did you influence to such a degree? If we could, we’d have ended wars by now.’

Val-‘Dan was involved silly. Remember, we have a say if it affects Dan enough. We’re HIS moral lines aren’t we? We’re cool-ass omnipotent beings too, but we can only operate within Dan’s sphere. And I’m not gonna let some fucker destroy my Dan…we’ve existed ever since he was a child! I love him okay! And nobody hurts my boy!’

Arthen-‘Wow I didn’t know we could speak to other people if it affected our guy enough……Yeah, I love Dan too, sad that he doesn’t know we exist.’

They refilled their glasses with new drinks, Arthen had the Sangria while Val made herself a Mai Tai.

Val-‘Oh I’m sure he will eventually, maybe when he dies, he’ll float up to the space we’re in and we all can have a little get-together. Now wouldn’t that be fun 😉 ‘

 

How did you guys find this? It’s a little on the long side, I hope you weren’t bored by it. I drew inspiration from a Batman:The brave and the bold animated episose called Chill Of The Night, where two transcendant and omnipotent characters Phantom Stranger and Spectre wager whether Batman would take revenge on Joe Chill, the guy who murdered his parents. The picture with the guy and hammer was taken from Tom Haugomat and Bruno Mangyoku for the blog LES COPAINS CINÉ for their tribute to the movie Drive. The last pic was a wallpaper for the game L.A Noire.

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