[EXT? INT? – SOMEWHERE]
See the boy in centre stage, illuminated and ghastly, pale back arching up towards the sky. Count the knobs and curls of the spine. Count the fine hairs on his arms and legs.
[ENTER FROM STAGE REAR – THE DESERT]
See a man draped in black, dripping in midnight satin, emerge. See his broad brimmed hat, his gloved hands, his hidden face. The Desert opens his mouth and lets out a stream of bright television static. It’s unintelligible, but also completely understandable.
“Who are you?”
See the boy. He thought, after all of it, he’d be a different person. He thought that by falling apart he would emerge as something better.
He sat hunched over his own knees, a mottled, papery and fragile human lump. With each careful brush of fingertip against skin, more came off until he sat amongst small mountains of forgotten skin, the fallout from a recent brush with the sun.
The skin underneath was not new and clean like he had wanted, but pink and violent. An eruption of pain and dryness. He’d gone through a wasteland seeking to find himself, but ended up as part of it.
He fell forward, letting legs come out from underneath him. Laying with chest against the cool grey floor, he admitted “there are no fresh starts… I couldn’t find one out there.”
“Well”, The Desert asked, “at least tell me where you are?”
[EXIT STAGE REAR – THE DESERT]
This is a SA Writers Centre project that will take place on the traditional lands of a number of Aboriginal nations in South Australia. We acknowledge Aboriginal people’s ongoing relationship and spiritual connection with the land, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
Operation Electric Forever, was created during the SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence program during 2016.