Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 27
Winter, 2018

New Works

Rachel Joseph

A Tiny Play

A woman. She walks into a world onstage. She enters from the wings and sits in a white wooden chair placed center. The lights flicker then rise. She stands. She tries to leave. Voices shout at her to stay put. She tries to leave. Voices shout at her that this isn't a Samuel Beckett play. She decides to stay and meditate. She puts on a Buddha face or what she imagines Buddha to be. Even when she does this she cannot be sure that she is destined for Nirvana. She is not. So she listens to Nirvana instead.

She begins to sing along but instead hums because of copyright infringement issues. So, she hums and a man enters with another woman. They start making out in front of the woman. They say—"want to join in?" The woman says, "I ought to say yes, I ought to but I won't. I'll say no instead." They leave.

Then floats in another woman with violet eyes like Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth Taylor says, "I love you." "But I'm not a lesbian," says the woman. So, she is distressed. Is she or isn't she? "She's not. I'm sorry," she says. "I'm just not." "No problem," says the woman and she swims far, far away.

She sits and sits and eventually says, "I'm hungry." Nothing appears. No food. "I'm hungry," she says louder—and a chef appears with a table set for two with steaming and delicious hot food plated before her.

A man enters. "So I hear you aren't gay." And she says, "That's true." And then they eat steamingly delicious hot food. "Mmmm," she says, "Yum," he says. "Is that quail? How divine just divine". The chef wheels away the food before they are done eating. "Clearing out the mess—you can't have a mess," says the man. "But my food," says she. And they kiss. He says, "You smell like quail." She says, "They eat outside my window. I put out a quail block this spring." "Mmmmm," he's says, "that's not interesting at all." She screams: "Then stop and go!" He leaves.

She pulls down a window from the sky. "I'll look through this," she says. "I'll stay still and look at this."

Suddenly gunfire erupts bodies fall from the sky and hang all discombobulated. Oh no. Oh no. "So this is grief," she says. "This is grief." She cries and wanders up to each body; they are, of course, the people she has encountered on her journey. She asks: "Oh, what happened, what happened?" One mutters. "I was shot." Another. "I died."

And then she decides to crawl up the window that, of course, turns into a tree. Then she climbs up, up, up to the fly space and disappears. Lights fade. But wait—a woman.

She walks into a world onstage.

Rachel Joseph's short stories and plays have appeared in literary journals ranging from North American Review to Kenyon Review Online. She was a finalist for the 2017 Arts & Letters Drama Prize and a finalist for the 2017 Hudson Prize. She is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Trinity University.