Flow Hum Lifeboat | A Short Play for You


Low heat hum all over. Thick flow in the background.

Lola
What are you staring at?

Tempe
I thought this streetlight would turn on by now. It’s getting dark.

Lola
Must be too much flame round it.

Tempe
Fire isn’t electricity.

Pause.

Lola
Are you hot?

Tempe
Cozy.

Lola
Cozy?

Tempe
Yes. In the flow, am I right?

Lola
Huh. I am burning up like I done something wrong.

Tempe
I saw the last thing you did. Wanting to survive is not wrong. Not at all.

Lola
How do you know it will work?

Tempe
What is ever certain?

Lola
Haha. Not surviving.

Tempe
Yes, in the long haul. I suppose you are on to something.

Lola
You should stop staring.

Tempe
I’m not staring at you.

Lola
You look like a moth.

Tempe
I look like a person.

Lola
Sure not acting like one. Should we be worried?

Tempe
Always.

Lola
What good does that even do? Saying that?

Tempe
We’re safe.

Lola
For now.

Tempe
And that is a blessing.

Lola
And what good is for now when that now is not for good? Huh?

Tempe
Fine. I won’t wait for the streetlight. Let me show you this.

Lola
What are you doing?

Tempe
What if I shift over to the side? You think that will flip this truck over?

Lola
Flip it over?!

Tempe
Yeah? I’m a pretty big fella, maybe I can tilt us straight into the flow/

Lola
/No don’t do that! We’ll melt right up!

Tempe
Lets hear what’s left of that suspension creak/

Lola
/Tempe, no you don’t!

The creak of a semi truck shifting below them.

Tempe
Oh now you pull me back to center.

Lola
Back to center. Please.

Pause.

Tempe
I didn’t mean to scare you to prove it. But for now’s good enough.

Pause.

Tempe
What are you staring at?

Lola
That building there.

Tempe
What’s left of it. By the docks?

Lola
Yes. I was off to the mainland today.

Tempe
Huh. Of all days.

Lola
Now I’m stuck on top of a semi as a lifeboat in the middle of this lava river.

Tempe
You say it like you made the wrong move.

Lola
There’s no one left, Tempe.

Tempe
You don’t know that.

Lola
What if no one’s around to find us?

Tempe
They’ll find us.

Lola
How will they see us in the dark?

Tempe
Trust me, I’m hard to avoid. Look at me, I’m the size of a small sedan!

Lola
Oh stop it!

Tempe
It’s okay. I know what I am.

Pause.

Lola
I should be dead.

Tempe
But you’re not.

Lola
I felt the rushing behind me.

Tempe
And the flood made its way to us like mad wind through all manner of narrow alleys and as many wide vacancies it could will itself into. It came for us.

Lola
I ran like prey from beast and howled and shoved my way through/

Tempe
/and you became the flood.

Lola
And when I knew I couldn’t outrun it, I took your hand and climbed up on your semitruck and didn’t look behind me again. But I heard those I shoved out of the way, being swallowed by fire. Screaming swallowed up good. Their good, too. All of it. Into soft nothing. Into the flow. The grease between colors on a palette of swirling paint.

Tempe
But you’re here.

Lola
I am burning up.

Tempe
It’s hard to breathe. Still.

Lola
But you’re right. We’re here. For now.

Tempe
For now.

The streetlight turns on.

Lola
There it is.

The low hum of lava all around.

End of Play.