THE DEEP SIX

Suddenly, as if instantaneously, KELSEY jumps up, ready to run or fight or both. KELSEY’s voice fills the air with a delirious, groggy, echo. Rain patters slowly against the deck above.

Where’s the fire!?

There is no response. A steady ocean current can be heard pounding against the hull of the ship. Thunder echoes in the distance & the rain remains steady. The ship lurches slightly in the current.

Ugh, my brain is broken.

There is no response outside of a slight rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag & the thrashing of waves against the ship outside.

You shut your mouth. I could’ve used the bag to break my fall you know… ugh, if I lost another tooth, I’m having turtle stew tonight.

There is no response. The ocean current beats heavier still & the ship aches with each strike. KELSEY is still in quite a bit of pain, stretching & rubbing.

Okay, you’re right, that’s too far, I’m sorry… but toothless is not a good look for me.

There is no response outside of a slight rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag. KELSEY lets out a dry cough of a laugh that echoes in the wet bowels of the ship. KELSEY keeps coughing from laughter, lungs clearly not ready for such excitement yet.

You never know, potential paramours could show up at any time.

There is no response. KELSEY snorts. The ocean current beats heavily & the rain continues to fall as the ship gives an ominous lurch.

You wish! Unless it’s another turtle, I think I have a better shot than you do.

With a booming crash of wave against ship, the entire hull breaks open & large swaths of water flood in. The ship cracks like thunder though no lightning flashes. KELSEY grunts & is thrown off balance but remains upright, resigned to do what needs to be done. The ship lays sideways on the shoreline, already half flooded with water & taking on more by the second.

Crap.

KELSEY splashes to an opening in the hull of the ship where water now floods in

Okay, so we either swim out or climb out but we have like, 30 seconds to decide.

There is no response outside a vigorous rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag.

Well of course, that’s your plan! 

KELSEY reaches into the bag & pulls out TURTLE & tosses them gently through the opening in the hull with a soft plop, as the waves crash over the ship. KELSEY yells out after TURTLE.

You know I don’t like swimming!

A particularly large wave crashes over the ship & it lurches with a loud crack.

I’m seriously going to kill that turtle.

KELSEY’s bag is zippered shut with a determined force. KELSEY speaks, muttering, breathing heavy, preparing to act.

You’ve got this. Okay? You can do this. You hear me? You stupid, stupid, idiot… you understand? You’ve got this.

KELSEY barrels forward, huge splashes in each lunge, & jumps headfirst through the opening of the hull, pushing back agains a rush of waves. The rain continues to fall, consistent & non-threatening against the roar of the ocean. 

FIVE FOLD

There’s a small, slow footstep & a floorboard creaks ominously. A calm ocean breeze blows but the waves are still. A large, dilapidated boat can be heard quivering slightly at the water’s edge. KELSEY is breathing heavily & speaks carefully through gritted teeth, trying to maintain composure.

Will you stop struggling?

There is out no response outside of a slight rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag. KELSEY’s breathing steadies. KELSEY speaks carefully & tightly, cautious of any mistake.

We need to be careful. 

The ship groans ominously, caught in a large gust of wind. KELSEY’s words are slow, as are the steps across the ship, both pointed & purposeful.

One false move & we fall like forty-feet into who knows what… is that what you want?

There is no response. KELSEY’s nearly made it across the deck & while still cautious, KELSEY replies to Turtle with a lighter mood, sensing success.

That’s what I thought… & I left the zipper open so I don’t know what you’re complaining about, I’m the one doing all the work again. You’re just along for the ride.

There is no response outside of a slight rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag.

I know you didn’t want to come, but you did want the fish guts at the bottom of my bag & I wanted the company, so I think it’s a fair exchange.

There is no response. The ship rocks slightly & KELSEY opens a drawer in a room at center deck, stifling the desire to exclaim in celebration.

Yes! I knew it!

KELSEY pulls out a host of physical files & folders in the drawer, ruffling pages to get to the intended goal.

I know they’ve got to be here somewhere…

KELSEY drops the files with aplomb & they hit the table with a smack.

Paperclips! 

KELSEY kisses the paperclips dramatically.

To think these might have gone extinct!

There is no response outside of a slight rustling coming from KELSEY’s bag.

I’ve explained it to you at least twenty times now, all we need are two store batteries, rubber bands, & steel for a charge. We’re going to need some of this paper too so might as well grab it now.

KELSEY stuffs paper & a box of paperclips into the bag. KELSEY swings the bag over a shoulder & turns, tepidly. A floorboard creaks — & another, & another — as the slow passage back across the length of the deck begins. The ship rocks steadily.

& you said this was a fool’s errand…

Creak.

I told you I’d seen a desk last time we raided the ship…

Creak.

Desks have paper…

Creak.

…& paper have clips.

A renewed gust of ocean breeze blows & the ship shifts suddenly, dangerously. KELSEY stops abruptly.

Don’t… move.

There is no response. Then suddenly, the ship shifts heavily & the floorboards shatter with a thunderous crack. KELSEY falls but doesn’t yell & grunts on impact, knocked unconscious.

FOUR FLUSH

KELSEY exhales her last laugh & takes another slow drag of the cigarette.

You have to admit now, this qualifies as adventure, even you can’t be so cynical, this is a big deal.

There is no response.

I can’t with you… Does this look like it fell from some supply ship? Does this look like an official product to you!? Where’s the box? Where’s the rest of them?

KELSEY sighs, resigned.

This was sent here. 

KELSEY takes a final drag on the cigarette & puts it out on bark nearby.

This wasn’t some random act.

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. 

We’ll see who’s right in the end!

KELSEY looks imploringly as TURTLE slithers away in the sand.

You’re still going to help me though, right!?

KELSEY slams a fist into the sand & blows a raspberry, muttering.

Some friend you are.

The ocean breeze gusts pleasantly & the fire crackles softly. There is no more storm. KELSEY speaks alone.

I wish the weather would make up its mind. Changes as quick as my mood.

There is a single, soft crack of thunder.

Oh, very funny. Everyone’s a comedian tonight, but I’m the corny one, I see how it is.

KELSEY reaches down & grabs the plastic bag & the cell phone, separately, & looks at them contemplatively. KELSEY has no idea what’s going on but is strangely confident this is the moment everything changes & the reality once accepted as final comes into question. KELSEY speaks closely.

We’ll see how funny it is when I figure out how to get this on… 

KELSEY exhales, scared.

…& figure out what it means.

A large, close crack of thunder booms & a heavy spat of rain begins to fall, pattering against the tarps, rapping its agreement.

DOWN THREE SHEETS

KELSEY groans in frustration, kicks sand into the fire & the flames crackle their similar displeasure.

…it’s dead… it’s… dead… the phone is dead…

The winds gust in earnest again, as the patter of the rain dies out entirely. The ocean roar never ceases, only lulling calmly. KELSEY on the other hand is not calm.

This doesn’t make any sense!

There is no response.

Don’t you think I know that!? But if I really am alone then how did this get here!? Why did this get here!? Completely wrapped in plastic? How would you explain that? Like it was factory wrapped or something!? That doesn’t strike you as odd!?

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. 

Oh, so I’m imagining things again, am I? That was one time & I was super dehydrated, but this? This right here is real. It’s real! …it’s just …dead.

There is no response. KELSEY collapses back into the sand & rummages through a bag for something to take the edge off. KELSEY palm packs a box of cigarettes, removing one slowly & lighting it in the still burning fire. KELSEY takes a long drag & exhales dejectedly.

As dead as we are.

There is no response.

Oh, don’t look at me like that… 

There is no response. The ocean waves & the crackling fire are all that can be heard. KELSEY continues.

I know they’re bad for me, but do I look like I’m in a position to give a rats-ass? Once they’re gone you’ll have nothing to nag me about anymore & then you’ll be sorry…

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. 

Well yeah, but I’m not some mechanical wizard! Building a shelter is not like building a battery…

There is no response. The fire crackles boldly as a rustling tarp blows behind KELSEY.

That’s your reasoning? “Nothing better to do?” Why don’t I try constructina rocket then, right? That’d get me off the island too! Surely nothing lost in terms of my time & my sanity, right?

There is no response. KELSEY chokes out a laugh that was clearly unwanted but unavoidable.

Okay, well, yeah, touché…

KELSEY continues smoking the cigarette slowly, the wind calm & the ocean steady.

What can I say? You’re a good listener.

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. 

I can’t make any promises, but yes, I’ll try…

KELSEY continues smoking the cigarette slowly, the wind calm & the ocean steady. KELSEY grins before speaking again, ready to tease.

Maybe I can conduct some electricity with a lightning strike & that shell of yours… 

KELSEY cackles.

I don’t think that’d work anyway so you’re safe, but worth it to see that look on your face.

KELSEY exhales her last laugh & takes another slow drag of the cigarette.

TWO LONELY

KELSEY splashes back out & up the dunes of the island toward the shelter, dropping the traps hard in the sand, panting heavily.

That… would have sucked… really bad…

KELSEY collapses into the sand, as the flames lick the air. There is slight movement in the sand.

Don’t look at me like that, I did too need that nap earlier! & stop telling me how to manage my time… if you’re not less judge-y, I might stop sharing my fish with you…

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. KELSEY snorts & fish fall to the ground in clumps.

That’s what I thought.

KELSEY throws the empty trap in the sand, leans over with a grunt & grabs another; emptying the contents on top of the previous mound of fish.

Hey, why do fish hate going to court? …because they’re always found gill-ty!

Fish fall to the ground in clumps.

Oh come on, that was a good one! 

KELSEY pauses, unable to help what’s coming.

I couldn’t miss the oppor-tuna-ty!

There is no response. KELSEY nearly snorts with laughter, doubling over with heaves of, clearly exaggerated, vigor. After far longer than warranted, KELSEY drops to a deadpan.

Whatever, I’m hysterical.

As the final fish fall, there’s a large thud, the sound of plastic, & clearly not a fish falls onto the mound.

Whoa… what the heck is that!?

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. 

I don’t suppose you could pick it up first, could you?

KELSEY crouches down, muttering.

Opposable thumbs bailing you out as always.

KELSEY picks up an object wrapped in a plastic bag

That’s so… weird… it’s like, sealed, completely…

KELSEY tears open the plastic cautiously.

It’s a phone! Holy crap… it’s a phone! Legitimately, a phone! This is it! This is it, we’re saved!

The storm outside has plateaued into a calm patter against the tarp with the occasional burst of wind; a relative calm compared to just moments earlier.

ONE TO ADVENTURE

There’s a pair of feet shuffling in the sand. Tree branches are rustling & twigs are snapping. The crash of waves is a slow, pulse in the distance. A soft ocean breeze blows calm, but threatening. KELSEY turns to a companion, scolding.

You can help, you know… 

There’s no response as the night continues to hum. The unmistakable scrape of rock on metal, trying to catch a spark. A fire is being built. KELSEY lets out a mirthless, cough of a laugh.

Of course, of course this would happen tonight, god-damnit… can you please do something?

There is no response. The night hums loudly as the wind picks up speed. A single crack of thunder reverberates in the distance. The scrape of rock on metal intensifies. KELSEY is breathing heavily.

Come on

The soft patter of rain on tarp. 

Almost…

A spark catches fire & sizzles on bark, a familiar flicker of flame coats the wood. KELSEY exhales a deep sigh of relief & falls back onto the sand; spent but exhilarated. KELSEY breathes heavily, & smiles, chest heaving, staring up at the underside of the tarp.

Just… in time…

An especially large wave crashes on the shore. The rains intensity heightens, as does the fire burning closely. KELSEY’s breathing steadies.

No thanks to you, as usual… 

There is no response.

Look, I know you’re still mad, but they’re traps, that’s what they do, they trap. I can’t help it, & it’s not like you won’t get any food out of the deal either, so I don’t know why you’re complaining.

There is no response. The storm is in full stride, rapping harshly on the tarp. The fire has a few pieces of bark added to it & it flares happily. KELSEY exhales & smiles; cheeky, snarky, as if teasing a partner.

Turtles, I swear.

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. Almost a slither. KELSEY laughs again, this time genuine & bright.

I thought that’d get a rise out of you. So predictable. Of course I’m joking. Yes, yes, opposable thumbs, I’ve heard this all before! At least get some new material.

KELSEY rummages through a bag, opens a plastic bottle & takes a large swig of liquid, gulping it down happily. KELSEY falls back hard onto the sand in pleasant exhaustion.

I can’t say I enjoyed that …but it’s about the most excitement we get around here so I’ll take it.

KELSEY rummages through a bag again.

What do you mean?

There is no response. KELSEY palm packs a box of cigarettes, removing one slowly & placing it between parted lips & continues to speak.

I’m more than content, thank you very much, I’m just saying…

KELSEY shrugs, placing the cigarettes back in the bag & holds the liberated stick up to the flames where it instantly ignites. KELSEY rests back, takes several drags, exhaling out slowly in the moonlight. The ocean pulses. KELSEY finishes the sentence simply.

I don’t mind a bit of adventure.

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. KELSEY laughs heartily.

You’re right, very pathetic, but on a scale of one to adventure, that was at least, like, a nine. I can’t help what passes for adventure around here. Not everything can be Legend of Zelda…

There is no response.

You never played Legend of Zelda!? 

KELSEY almost chokes, completely incredulous, & goes on excitedly.

You’d love it, it’s basically a game of puzzles & strategy, but in a world where you have to weather the elements & fend for yourself against monsters & all sorts of unknown obstacles, it’s the best ever, seriously. 

KELSEY takes a long, contemplative drag on the cigarette & exhales slowly.

I wonder if that’s why I’m so good at surviving out here…

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. KELSEY realizes the accusation & responds bitingly.

& what is that supposed to mean!?

There is no response.

I’ve got the shelter up, fire’s going, as many blankets as I’ve ever had, about to dig in… to…

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. The storm is raging & hearty gusts of wind are whipping the tarp. KELSEY realizes the mistake with a shock, cursing in frustration.

The food! Damnit, you couldn’t of said something earlier!?

KELSEY runs through the storm toward the waters edge.

SHELLED CREATURES

Silence.

Can you see me?

An ocean wave crashes calmly in the distance & the air is relatively still. There is a calming breeze that pulses ever slightly, building slowly. KELSEY is laying in the sand holding a fragment of glass just larger than a small coconut, examining it curiously.

The real me?

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand. Almost a slither.

Can you really though?

There is no response. The island sounds drift steadily in harmony, while KELSEY & TURTLE continue to talk near the lapping waves, enjoying some time in the sun. The clouds are dark in the distance & KELSEY senses the storm.

Because I can’t.

KELSEY throws the mirror in the sand & begins to prepare the fish traps, feet smacking in the shallow end with increased frustration.

I mean I can but... not in a way that feels seen.

The ocean breaks close & KELSEY fixes the ropes to the traps with fervor, enunciating each motion. Through tying these knots, KELSEY speaks as though reminiscing about something long forgotten.

Always abstract.

Another knot.

Always... changing.

Another knot.

Sometimes, I wish I could be static... 

Another knot.

Still.

Another knot.

But then I realize…

The last trap hits moist sand with a smack that jolts a few nearby birds into the air. KELSEY grins almost maniacally; triumphant.

I am the ocean! If the sea can push & pull & never break apart, always grow stronger, then so will I!

There is no response. KELSEY becomes defensive.

Yes, I know.

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand.

You think it’s ever easy being me? 

There is no response.

Even if I am on a deserted island…

There is no response outside of a minor, slight movement in the sand.

You don’t count…

KELSEY scoffs at TURTLE’s indignation & a slight movement in the sand begins moving further & further away.

Oh come on, you know I don’t mean it that way. 

There is no response outside of an even fainter, slight movement in the sand moving further away still. A single crack of thunder claps in the distance.

Turtle! 

There is no response. KELSEY leans forward to call out, half amused, half abandoned.

Turtle, come back! 

There is no response & the movement in the distance has subsided. KELSEY leans in further to let out a yell across the beach.

I’ll let you have some fish! 

There is no response. KELSEY collapses to the sand with a thud.

…stupid turtle.

Another thunder clap.