Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 19, 2010
Part 5: A Conversation

Scene: Interior. An office. There is a desk. There is one chair in front of the desk. I am at the desk.

There is a knock at the door.

Me: "Come in."

A man walks in carrying a manila envelope. He is dressed casually and has a confident manner about him. He also bears a remarkable resemblance to Christopher Walken. He is humming to himself.

Me: "Mr. Hurt?"
Mr. Hurt: "Yes."
Me: "Like the actor? John Hurt."
Mr. Hurt: "Yes. Like the actor."
Me: "I guess you get a lot of people coming up to you saying 'I'm not an animal...I'm not an animal'..."
Mr. Hurt: "No. Not really."
Me: "Jokes about aliens exploding out of your chest?"
Mr. Hurt: "Sorry. But no."

His demeanor remains calm. He smiles but it is forced and looks almost unnatural on his lean face.

Me: "So I guess that if I told you that you look like-"
Mr. Hurt: "Christopher Walken. Yes. I have heard that before."
Me: "And if I said 'Sounds like you need more-"
Mr. Hurt: "Cowbell? Yes. I've heard that once or twice. Very funny. Yes."
Me:" Well, don't I just feel like an asshole."
Mr. Hurt: "No. No. Really It's fine."
Me: "Alright. Then please...have a seat."

The tall man pulls the chair away from the desk and sits. He has the grace of a dancer and his movements are purposeful.

Me: "Comfy?"
Mr. Hurt: "As comfortable as I can be."
Me: "Can I get you some coffee? Tea?'
Mr. Hurt: "No. I'm good. Thanks for asking though."
Me: "Ready to get started then?"
Mr. Hurt: "No time like the present."
Me: "Excellent. So. I am slightly embarrassed to ask, but it seems I have forgotten why you are here."
Mr. Hurt: "Pain."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Mr. Hurt: "Pain."
Me: "I'm sorry. Did you say-"
Mr. Hurt: "Pain. As in discomfort...upset."
Me: "Yeah. I understand the word. I just don't understand why you're here. With-"
Mr. Hurt: "You? I am here with you because someone filled out a work order."
Me: "Somebody filled out a work order. Who-"
Mr. Hurt: "That really is irrelevant."
Me: "Perhaps to you."
Mr. Hurt: "Trust me."
Me: "Trust you? I don't even know you."
Mr. Hurt: "Actually we have worked together before. Many times in fact."
Me: "I don't remember."
Mr. Hurt: "Most people choose to forget me after we've spent time together."
Me: "Most people? So you've worked with others?"
Mr. Hurt: "Oh yes. I have years of experience. And as for references, I have far too many to name. Let me just say this. Those who have worked with me don't generally like to remember the experience. Oh sure, there are those who think that having dealt with me has made them stronger, but when it comes right down to it, if pushed, even those die hards wouldn't want to spend another minute with me."

Me: "Well okay then. I guess will have to take your word then."
Mr. Hurt: "You can trust me. When it comes to pain, there is no one better."
Me: "What if I said that I've changed my mind and would like you to leave now?"
Mr. Hurt: "Actually, it doesn't work that way."
Me: "Pardon me?"
Mr. Hurt: "It's not about what you want. It doesn't work that way."
Me: "I'm the one behind the desk. You're the one in front of the desk. I invited you in. And the guy behind the desk always gets to decide when the guy in front of the desk has to leave."
Mr. Hurt: "Unfortunately, inviting me in was your first mistake."
Me: "What the Hell does that mean?"
Mr. Hurt: "You invited me in. Even offered me coffee or tea."
Me: "I invited you in? What? Are you some sort of vampire?"
The man laughs "No. I'm not a vampire. I'm just a professional and I'm very good at what I do."
Me: "Well it seems you have me at a loss. WHAT exactly is it that you do?"
Mr. Hurt: "I bring discomfort."
Me: "Even more reason, then, why I would ask you to leave. Don't you think?"
Mr. Hurt: "Sorry. You can ask...beg...scream and curse me with all your can even pray if you feel so inclined, but I'm not going anywhere."
Me: "How long-"
Mr. Hurt: "For as long as they let me. Until-"
Me: "They?"
Mr. Hurt: "The doctors you're seeing. When they do what they're supposed to do, that is when I will leave."
Me: "And I-"
Mr. Hurt: "Have no say in the matter."
Me: "Stop interrupting me. It's really-"
Mr. Hurt: "Annoying? Yes I imagine it is. Can't help myself, I'm afraid. Hazard of the job."
Me: "I'm very confused."
Mr. Hurt: "It's quite simple, really. You have a problem. You have a problem and I'm here as sort of a freelance contractor."
Me: "Freelance contractor? How very 'James Bond' of you."
Mr. Hurt: "James Bond? I kinda like that."
Me: "I'm glad you approve. where do we go from here."
Mr. Hurt: "Where we go from here is that I get to work."
Me: "And?"
Mr. Hurt: "And unfortunately life begins to suck for you."
Me: "And I-"
Mr. Hurt: "Just sit back and relax. Well, you know what I mean. Just sit back and let me do my work. The more you struggle-the harder I work and the more things will be more unpleasant for you."
Me: "Christ that's annoying."
Mr. Hurt: "How much it's going to hurt?'
Me: "NO! You interrupting me! It's really annoying."
Mr. Hurt: "And only the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid. So.." He leans forward, unbuttoning his shirt sleeve and slowly rolling the crisp white shirt sleeves up his forearm "What say you? Ready to begin?"
Me: "No."
Mr. Hurt: "Unfortuna-"
Me: "I'd like to ask you a few more questions."
Mr. Hurt: "Really. There's no point in trying to-"
Me: "I think I have a right. Umm...Do I have a right?"
Mr. Hurt: "No. In fact you don't."
Me: "How about a game of paper-rock-scissors?"
Mr. Hurt: "Pleease."
Me: "Scrabble?"
Mr. Hurt: "Let's be men about this, shall we?"
Me: "I have no say in this at all?'
Mr. Hurt: "None whatsoever. And stalling is only going to prolong things."
Me: "So what happens next?'
Mr. Hurt: "Well, basically, life as you know it is gonna stop."
Me: "Well that sucks."
Mr. Hurt: "Yeah. I think I've already said that."
Me: "How does it start? I mean to say...what happens next?'
Mr. Hurt: Opens manila folder and reads for a second or two "Your head."
Me: "Shit. My head? Really?"
Mr. Hurt: "It will start in your head and then it will move down to the base of your skull and settle in the neck...Looks into folder once more "Discs C-3 and C-4 to be exact."
Me: "To be exact? Shit. Seems like you've got this whole thing worked out."
Mr. Hurt: Closing folder and placing neatly on his lap "It pays to be organized."
Me: "I'm happy for you. The guys in the Anal Retentive Over Achievers Club must be thrilled with you. About my head?"
Mr. Hurt: "It will start as a small concentrated pain behind your left eye."
Me: "Doesn't sound too bad."
Mr. Hurt: "I did say start. The pain behind your eye will worsen and soon you will begin to suffer from horrendous headaches."
Me: "Horrendous? Wow. You don't waste any time do you? Couldn't we work our way up slowly to horrendous? Like maybe a mild headache. And why did it have to be the head anyway? Why couldn't it-"
Mr. Hurt: "be a toe? A hangnail maybe? Or an ingrown toenail? Is that what you have in mind?"
Me: "Sure. I mean why-"
Mr. Hurt: "The work order is very specific. You are to suffer from headaches and then severe neck pain."
Me: "You know, your use of words like horrendous and severe are starting to-"
Mr. Hurt: "I can't help it. If you-"
Me: "Damn that is really starting to piss me off."
Mr. Hurt: "Yeah. I know."
Me: "You're beginning to give me a headache."
Mr. Hurt: "That is the idea."
Me: "Couldn't you just kick me in the balls and be done with it?'
Mr. Hurt: "I'm afraid it's not that easy. The work order is very specific. And 'balls' is certainly not mentioned. I could kick you in that area if you'd like....just for the Hell-of-it."
Me: "Just for the Hell of it? You really are a bastard aren't you?"
Mr. Hurt: "I guess I am. He laughs How's your head now, by the way?'
Me: "It feels like someone is rooting around behind my eye with a dental pick."
Mr. Hurt: "I can assure you things are going to get worse."
Me: "Well that's good to know.
Mr. Hurt: "Anything else you would like to know?'
Me: "Is this going to kill me?"
Mr. Hurt: "Sorry. That information is classified. Need-To Know Only Status. I'm sure you understand."
Me: "Actually I don't. We're not talking about plans for a nuclear missile or The President's pin number. We're talking about my head-which at the moment feels as if a rhinoceros is kicking it. If anyone needs to know if what I am experiencing right now is going to progress to the point where it kills me, I would think it's me."
Mr. Hurt: "Let me just say...there will be times when you are going to wish you were dead."
Me: "The pain is going to get that bad?"
Mr. Hurt: "Did you see Titanic?"
Me: "Yes."
Mr. Hurt: "Remember the scene where the ship has upended and Jack and Rose are hanging onto the railing and that guy falls, hits the propeller, bounces off it, and then slams into the freezing cold ocean below?'
Me: "Man. You really got a hard on for Titanic, don't you?"
Mr. Hurt: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well, when you first walked in you were humming that Celine Dion know..the theme song from the movie-"

Mr. hurt: "My Heart Will Go On."
Me: Yes. SEE! There you go again. Then you mentioned the tip of the iceberg earlier. Now you're talking about that scene with that propeller and you described it so well, like you've seen the movie-"
Mr. Hurt: "A time or two? Yeah. So? I've seen-"
Me: "Damnit! Stop interrupting me! I just want to know what your obsession with Titanic is?'
Mr. Hurt: "It's a great movie. It won 11 OSCARS, for Pete's Sake! And-hang on. You're stalling."
Me: "I am not. I'm curious. I hardly know about anything about you. Except that you really like Titanic."
Mr. Hurt: "Cameron is a great director. And the movie was so moving and-"
Me: "You're pouting. You're actually pouting."
Mr. Hurt: "I most certainly am not."
Me: "You are. You're pouting. See. There. You're little bottom lip is out. And it is sort of quivering."
Mr. Hurt: "My bottom lip isn't-I am not-AS I was saying...I am not pouting."
Me: "Okay. If you say so. So what about the scene with the guy slamming into the propeller? Are you saying I'm going to feel like I slammed into a propeller?'
Mr. Hurt: "Pretty close."
Me: "You paint a very lovely picture. Very descriptive."
Mr. Hurt: "It's my job."
Me: "Well you're very good at it because right now I feel like my head is in a vice and-"
Mr. Hurt: "Like that guy in Casino. Remember? Joe Pesci has this wise guy's head in a vice and is tightening it and tightening it and-"
Me: "Saw it. Got it. Head in a vice. Tighter and tighter. Eyeballs pop out. Wait a minute. Are you telling me that my eyeballs are going to pop out?"
Mr. Hurt: "I think it's safe to assume that won't happen."
Me: "Is that what it says in your folder there?'
Mr. Hurt: "No. It's just a gut instinct."
Me: "What else does your instinct tell you?"
Mr. Hurt: "Once's-"
Me: "Classified. Yeah. I got it. Is there anything you can tell me?'
Mr. Hurt: "You're going to bounce around between doctors for a while....until they figure out what is wrong with you."
Me: "Doctors is good."
Mr. Hurt: "Not really. You don't have insurance remember? The doctor's you are going to be seeing are the kind of doctors people with no insurance see."
Me: "Bad doctors?"
Mr. Hurt: "The good news is that they are going to give you prescriptions for your pain."
Me: "The good news? What's the bad news?"
Mr. Hurt: "I wouldn't let these guys diagnose a dead cat."
Me: "That's reassuring. Lucky me. The hits keep on coming, don't they? Say. You wouldn't have any aspirin on you would you?'
Mr. Hurt: "Sorry. To be honest with you though, aspirin won't begin to touch the headaches you're going to have. Nothing over the counter will. No. Sadly you're going to need several prescriptions just to get through the day."
Me: "I changed my mind."
Mr. Hurt: "What's that you say?'
Me: "My nuts. Go ahead. Give me a kick. Go on. Anything to take my my mind."

Mr. Hurt begins to stand up

Mr. Hurt: "I'm going to kick you in the nuts."
Me: "THE HELL YOU ARE!" Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?'
Mr. Hurt: "Don't really get a lot of sarcasm in my line of work."
Me: "Well. That was sarcasm. No man in his right mind would invite someone to kick him in the nuts."
Mr. Hurt: "I can assume then that you've never watched an episode of Jackass?"
Me: "Okay. Besides Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pontius and the rest of those masochists, no man would ever invite someone to kick him in his man-jigglies."
Mr. Hurt: "Thanks for clearing that up. But if you change your mind. I'm here for you."
Me: "Lucky me. Thanks so much. I'll keep that in mind. Ummm....Hey listen. You mentioned my neck earlier. And some discs-"
Mr. Hurt: "Yes I did. Discs C3 and C4...although Discs C5 and C6 are mentioned but that pain will seem mild compared to what is going to happen up above."
Me: "Am I going to be paralyzed?"
Mr. Hurt: "Safe to"
Me: "Am I going to have a tumor or something."
His lips purse before he speaks "Can't really say."
Me: "You're lying."
Mr. Hurt: "I am most certainly not."
Me: "Bullshit! You made a face right before you spoke."
Mr. Hurt: "I did not."
Me: "I'm going to have a tumor? SERIOUSLY?"
Mr. Hurt: "I never said that. You did."
Me: "It makes sense though. The horrible headaches. The disc problems. It's a tumor. And of course if it's a tumor that means that-"
Mr. Hurt: "You're crazy. And you are letting your imagination take over."
Me: "Maybe it's the HEADACHE! Maybe it's the pain! Maybe it's the tumor! Maybe I've acquired some of telepathy like a character in a Stephen King novel."
Mr. hurt: "That's just stupid. You don't have telepathy."
Me: Laughing "I knew you were going to say that!"
Mr. Hurt: "This is just silly. You don't have telepathy."
Me: "But do I have a tumor?"
Mr. Hurt: "And if I say 'yes'?"
Me: "God. I don't know. I could tell my doctors."
Mr. Hurt: "Good luck. You'll be lucky if they can spell tumor."
Me: "You're an asshole. You know that, right?'
Mr. Hurt: "If I wanted a job where people were going to like me, I would have opened a free puppy and ice cream cone store."
Me: "My head is killing me. And my neck is starting to hurt."
Mr. Hurt: "As expected-" He looks at watch "And right on time, I might add."
Me: "Don't gloat. I hate people who gloat."
Mr. Hurt: "I'm not gloating. I'm stating a fact."
Me: "You really are a cold hearted sonofabitch aren't you?'
Mr. Hurt: "If calling me names makes you feel better, than by all means. But if you think you're going to hurt my feelings I assure you...I've worked with better. I've heard it all. Regardless, you're stuck with me for a while. So you might as well get used to it."
Me: "How could anybody get used to you?"
Mr. Hurt: "I guess it depends on the person. There are some who actually people who like me. They enjoy my presence."
Me: "And they would be freaks."
Mr. Hurt: "Freaks is such a harsh word. They're just different and have different tastes."
Me: "I'm not one of them. I don't want you here. I'm not enjoying this conversation."
Mr. Hurt: "I hoped you would have realized by now that this is not about what you want."
Me: "Titanic sucked you know. It was too long and too sappy. And it was nothing like how it really happened."
Mr. Hurt: "Excuse me? You wouldn't know anything about it. You wouldn't have any idea of the great lengths Mr. Cameron went through-to assure authenticity. Did you know they used the blueprints from the real Titanic? Every inch of that ship in the movie was an exact duplicate. Mr. Cameron spent years-It won 11 OSCARS!"
Me: "It still sucked. L.A. Confidential was up for Best Picture the same year and was a much better film. The only people seeing Titanic-and the only reason it made so much money-was because the same 13 year old girls were seeing it over and over again-"
Mr. Hurt: "OYMHGOD! You so don't know what you are talking about. First off I saw that movie 11 times. And I'm no 13 year old girl. And secondly-"
Me: "You saw Titanic eleven times? Loser. "
Mr. Hurt: "Excuse me?"
Me: "You're a loser. Do you have any idea how much of a loser that makes you? I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you are a l-o-s-e-r."
Mr. Hurt: "I don't-"
Me: "Let me educate you on something, Mr. Hurt. The only movies people see eleven times are the Star Wars movies. Those movies are the movies people see over and over again. And dress up in costumes and bring in props and-hang on. You didn't dress up to see Titanic did you because that would take you so beyond loser it's not funny."
Mr. Hurt: "NO. I did not dress up to see-"
Me: "You sure you didn't dress up like Captain Smith...or Cal...or...oh my God. Jack. Please tell me that you didn't dress up like Jack to see Titanic eleven times?"
Mr. Hurt: "Of course not. That's just ridiculous! We are talking about Titanic here, not The Rocky Horror Picture Show, sir."
Me: "Suddenly you don't seem as intimidating Mr. Hurt."
Mr. Hurt: "I assure you. I'm very intimidating. I wouldn't be so smug if I were you. And it certainly won't serve you well to make me mad."
Me: "Why? You gonna turn into the Incredible Hulk? Or The Incredible LOSER?"
Mr. Hurt: "You've got quite the attitude."
Me: "Attitude? Did you expect me to just bend over and take it?'
Mr. Hurt: "You'd be surprised by how many people do."
Me: "I'm a fighter. I don't plan on-"
Mr. Hurt: "Excellent. I love a challenge. It makes it interesting."
Me: "I'm going to beat you."
Mr. Hurt: "That's the spirit!"
Me: "I can take you."
Me: "I mean...If I can't take someone who has seen Titanic eleven times..."
Mr. Hurt: "I don't like you."
Me: "I don't care."
Mr. Hurt: "I'm going to make things very bad for you."
Me: "Bring it on. Give me your best shot."
Mr. Hurt: "I intend to."
Me: "Did you know Cameron's first movie was Piranha II: The Spawing?"
Mr. Hurt: "I hate you."
Me: "Right back at you."

End Scene.

1 comment:

  1. That dialog gave me a headache. So many subtleties, so many themes, so many diversionary thoughts. Pain is a necessary part of life, to warn us of things that have gone wrong inside our bodies in the same way that a warning light on the dashboard lets us know that it's time to take the car into the shop. Even though the shop will charge you an arm and a leg to fix the car, generally they'll be able to bring the car to a useful, safe state again (generally). There is some doubt concerning doctors, though, since they are still only 'practicing'.