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Excerpt from Exposure pg2

Cary Lochtenberg

 

Max turns, steps towards Indi, half-glaring, half-staring.

Max: So you were eavesdropping on my thoughts?

Indi: To the contrary. You were talking out loud. Throwing those thoughts of yours out into this still night air for anyone to hear. Max watches her, with intensity. Indi takes a step away, visibly perturbed by his closeness. He continues to stare, drawing deeply on his cigarette.

Max: Okay then...Now it's my turn...I was wondering...this afternoon, what were you reading? You seemed gripped.

Indi, barely disguising the fact that she's become quite uneasy and distracted, hesitates before speaking.

Indi: Oh, it was nothing... Nothing really.

Max playful: Really? Nothing? Come on Indi...why the intrigue? You know you're going to have to tell me. Once my interest's been roused...I'm relentless.

Indi: If you really must know, I wasn't reading. I was writing. Well maybe what you saw was me reading my writing but... Anyway...I was writing something I remembered. That's all. Can we leave it there?

Max: Are you kidding? "Leave it there"! Not possible. Tell me...What then? What were you remembering?

Indi: You're not going to give up are you?

Max: Bingo...You said it.

There's a long pause. She briefly closes her eyes, and raises her eyebrows.

Indi: Oh all right... I was writing about something from a long, long time ago...Something about the old tale of The Scorpion and The Frog. Something about the part of it not being in my nature. I'm sure you know it. Hold on, let me rephrase that...I'm sure...You remember don't you?

Max visibly uncomfortable: Remember? Remember what?

Indi: Oh, come on, Max. You asked me what I was doing...I gave you an honest answer, but still you want to play dodge. You always have been The Artful Dodger, haven't you? So good at games. The thing is, it's me you're talking to...

Max: Hold on a minute.

Indi: Here we go. Smoke and mirrors. The textbook according to Max. You know, the thing is, after all these years I'd have thought you might have been able to get past all that.

Max sarcastically: Get past all what?

Indi: All that extraordinary...All that fantastic pretending you're so incredibly good at.

Max: Pr—

Indi:—Yes, that's what I said, pretending. Maybe that's what triggered it. Being on this trip, and seeing you. Being reminded...watching you in action. How would Jack put it? Yes...He'd say, "I've seen this movie before." Maybe that's what dredged up that old story. That, and the heat...and the sea. A momentary, tense silence between the two. Look. It's been a long day. Let's just...Why don't we just move on from this. She offers him her hand, which he doesn't take. Truce?

Max agitated: Move on! Truce! Are you mad? How can you suggest a truce?

Indi impatient: Easily. I just did. So, come on...It's our last night on board. Jack and Belinda'll be up any minute.

Max: So?

Indi: I'm not in the least bit concerned about Jack...Jack of all people. He wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to hear us having this conversation... Not so Belinda! And you know that. She'd be very confused...and frankly it wouldn't be fair to her. She couldn't possibly wrap her head around this...Long pause. By the way, I've been wanting to ask...how's it going? You seem happy enough. Are you?

Max incredulous: How could...Why in the world would you ask me something like that? Now?

Indi sharply: Because I know you.

Max nervously sarcastic: Oh, give...me...a...break. You mean you think you do.

Indi: No Max...I know I do... And so, for that matter, do you.

Max letting down his guard momentarily: I just wish you hadn't gone and brought up The Scorpion and The Frog. He finishes his drink, and pours himself another.

Indi: Yes, I understand but you did ask... Look if that's what set you off, and it obviously is, can't we just...

Max: Just what?

Indi: Can't we just...Think of it this way. It's like the phosphorescence. Let's choose to remember that story for what it meant...for what it was in the end.

Max: And what was it? What was it for you...in the end. Staring into the distance.

Indi: Information Max. Information.

After a fifteen-year career in the art world, Cary Lochtenberg has embarked on a second career as a writer. She has written a novel, and a collection of traveler's tales. Exposure is her first play. She would like to thank Han, Jan, and Noel.

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