“Certain Unexplainable Events” by Cody Daigle

Four actors. Four areas. The actors are aware of each other, but they do not interact (until the very end). They speak to us.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I don’t know if you think about life, like, in any kind of… real way. You know, like, really thinking about it. You know, like, how getting up in the morning is, on one hand, this totally nothing sort of thing. But on the other, it’s like… the most dangerous thing you can do. You know?

A silence.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT (cont.)
The night it happened, my mom and I had this fight. It was completely stupid. You know. She was upset because we’d made this agreement, apparently. (I don’t remember this. Like, I seriously don’t recall this conversation we supposedly had.) This agreement that Wednesdays were going to be “family nights” – like anyone actually has those anymore, you know? – and we were going to like eat dinner together and sit in the living room and watch a movie or something, talk to each other and completely ignore the fact that we all have individual lives, you know? Or whatever.

So this was really important to do on Wednesdays, apparently. And this conversation where she told me this – this conversation I don’t remember having. At. All. – this conversation included a mention that we were starting to do this last Wednesday.

And last Wednesday I wasn’t home.

I was with Michael.

So my mom and I were having this fight. And I was like, “I don’t remember talking to you.” And she was like, “You willfully ignore things I say.” And I was like, “No. I just don’t remember us having this conversation.” And she was like, “You were wearing your maroon top.” As if that is going to somehow make me remember this conversation. And I’m like, “What maroon top?” And she was like, “Now you’re just being belligerent.” And I feel like I went to bed in this world I understood and woke up in some other place entirely, with this woman who thinks I’d wear maroon.

So I’m trying to explain to my mom that I’m not being belligerent, that I’m really not remembering that we’d talked about family night, and my iPhone lights up, and it makes the little text noise, and I just check it, you know? Like, no big deal. I got a text. I’ll check it. And it was Michael. And my mom is like, offended that I checked my phone in the middle of her yelling at me, as if I’d somehow broken some kind of rule of good manners, and she’s like, “Who is it?’ And I really don’t want to answer, because you know, she’s already mad, and mentioning Michael is just going to get her more mad, and I’d like to not get lectured for another half hour, so I say, “Grace. It was Grace.” And she stares at me for a second, and goes, “It was Michael, wasn’t it?” And I was like, in my head, “OH MY GOD! If you weren’t going to believe me, why did you ask me?” But I say, “No, it was Grace. She had a question about our civics homework.” And she goes, “You had civics homework you haven’t done yet?” And I’m thinking, “OH MY GOD. SHOOT ME NOW. PLEASE. JUST PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
Anything the human mind can imagine must therefore exist somewhere in the universe. Aristotle.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I think it was a Greek philosopher. Not the exact wording. But that’s the idea. I think it was Aristotle.

We always talked a lot about that. You know, we were kinda like obsessed with the thought that anything we could imagine – anything, from like the weirdest little mutation at the cellular level to these epic, like, universes that are completely unlike the one we inhabit – anything we could imagine was real someplace.

Like. Okay. Close your eyes. Right now. And imagine the weirdest combination of animals you could. Like okay, imagine a snake crossed with a buffalo crossed with a pterodactyl. And the whole thing’s green. No. Orange.

Okay. You imagined it. So…

Somewhere in the universe, that big orange thing you just saw in your head is flying around or doing whatever it does.

I mean. That’s the theory. The general idea, maybe not a theory. But like, that’s cool. You know? I tell Michael all the time, it’s cool because maybe we’re not just imagining things that already exist. Maybe our imagining it conjures it into existence. So like, somewhere, some creature or God or whatever imagined us, and poof! There we are, and we’re sitting here in my bedroom imagining worlds into existence somewhere else. Like, poof! There they are.

It was a cool thought, and he’d bring it up a lot, yeah. But I always thought it was just because it was this cool thing we’d thought about together. You know?

I didn’t think he was. Serious or anything.

So I was watching this documentary on Netflix about these Japanese dolphin killers in this cove or whatever, and it was awesome. Like, sad, but awesome. And I get this text from Michael. And it was like 9:30 and I was thinking, “you know, uh, little late to be wanting to do something.” Because my dad had like, put a moratorium on me being out of the house after 9. There was this, like, serial car tire slasher situation going on. Remember? And he was concerned it would “escalate.” Like, how? How does tire slashing “escalate?”

Off track. Michael texts me, and he’s like, “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.”

And I’m like, “Okay then, good for you doing it, whatever it is,” and I text him back saying, “Can’t. Curfew. What ‘it’ are you doing?”

And I wait for a couple minutes, and I don’t hear anything from him. So I think he’s probably drunk or something. Michael’s not a teenage alcoholic or anything, but you know, when his parents are out of town he gets into the whiskey. So I texted Sarah and said, “You should check on Michael. He seems weird.”

And I went back to watching my documentary. It was cool. They wanted to get this footage of the dolphin killing going on in this secret cove, so they smuggled these cameras into the area disguised as rocks an they even hired divers to secretly dive in this cove and put microphones in the water and all this. You know it’s like, “yo, I get that you want to make a movie and all that, but my God, that’s like… dedication.”

THE ONE IN HER CAR
He didn’t dump me.

He didn’t.

It was a completely mutual thing. He was just being really weird all the time. And I was trying not to get another disappointing score on the ACT. And he would just come over to my house with all these drawings of things. These like totally weird drawings of wormholes or whatever. And he’d say things like,” I want to go through one.” And he’d shove this drawing in my face of this little stick figure with glasses (Michael wears glasses) getting sucked up into this tornado-looking thing that branches off into this drawing on another page he’d hold up beside it that connected our street to like… I don’t know… Saturn or something. And he’d look at me like I was supposed to agree with him or tell him I thought it was cool. And I was always like, “Michael… stop watching Syfy.”

I just wanted him to be serious, you know. We were graduating in two months and he’d only taken the ACT once. And he got a 23. Which isn’t bad. But it’s not good. And I would ask him, “What colleges are you applying to?” And he’d go, “I haven’t.” Like, yeah. He hadn’t applied to anywhere. Not even like the technical college. Nothing. He was just… not being serious. And I never thought I’d marry the guy, but you know, he’d have to come over and have dinner with me and my parents and he’d be kind of embarrassing. My dad’s like, you know, serious business, and Michael’s all, “ Oh you want to see my picture of a tear in the fabric of the universe?” And I’d get this look from my dad, like totally, “WTF?”

So I told him how I was feeling and he said if I wanted to break up he’d understand. And I said, “Do you want to break up?” And he said, “I guess.” So… it was mutual. Okay? He didn’t dump me. We just…

Stopped.

So it’s technically not weird that I was sitting in my car across the street from his house. I live on that street, too. And I was taking the ACT the next day, and I was kind of nervous, and I just wanted to… I don’t know… talk to him. Because even thought he was weird and all, he was still like… someone who made me feel better. Less… worried.

But I was scared, you know. I didn’t want to look like some pathetic ex-girlfriend and I’d heard he’d gone out on a date with Sarah Ollerman last Wednesday, and if he was seeing her, I didn’t want to look like I was trying to break them up. I mean, I don’t like Sarah or anything, but I’m not a… you know, I’m not that.

And then I get this text message from Michael. Like, how freaky is that? “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.” And I’m sitting there thinking, “okay does he see me sitting out here in my car?” And I’m kind of freaking out, and then I get another text message from him, and it’s like, “Hey. Sorry. Last one wasn’t meant for you.”

And I just sort of sit there for a bit, waiting for another one. You know, like maybe he’s going to ask me how I’m doing. Because we hadn’t really spoken or seen each other or even like, commented on each other’s Facebook stuff since we broke up. And I thought… I don’t know. Maybe he’d want to know how I am.

I waited.

He didn’t send another text message.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
So, I finally settled all that crap about family night with my mom and I get to my phone and I see that Eric has texted me, too.

I read Michael’s: “Tonight. 10:30. I’m doing it.”

I read Eric’s: “You should check on Michael. He seems weird.”

And it’s strange, because I don’t really know how I knew, but the second I read Eric’s text message I knew exactly what Michael was going to do at 10:30. And honestly, it seems completely crazy that my mind would go there right away, as if that was the only obvious answer to the question, but it did.

And it freaked me out.

So, I texted Eric back and said, “Has he called you?”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
Sarah texts me back and asks if he’s called me. I text her back and say, “No. But you should call him.”

It’s not that I don’t like her. I do. But I don’t see why they’re together. You know, I sort of understood why he was with Becca, because she has her life together and all that. But this girl… I don’t know. She just seems…

Like you know when two people are just enough alike that they make the worst parts of how they’re alike worse? Yeah, that’s this girl and Michael.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I texted Michael. “Call me.” I waited. Nothing.

I called Michael. He didn’t answer. I called him again. He didn’t answer.

I called Eric.

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
I let it ring.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I called Michael again and this time I left a message. “Hey. It’s me. Call me. I… you’re not doing the thing we talked about on Wednesday, are you?

Nothing for a few minutes. Then a text message from Michael: “Yes.”

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I guess I just fell asleep. I wasn’t really sitting there building up the courage to talk to him anymore. I just… didn’t want to go home. So I guess I just dozed off or something, and I guess, I don’t know, forty-five minutes go by and all of a sudden I wake up – not from anything, just wake up all of a sudden – and there’s Michael standing outside my car, looking at me.

I totally freaked out. I mean, like, I screamed and I jumped, and my heart was pounding. (Because like you seriously don’t want to wake up in your car in the middle of the street in the middle of the evening with some person standing outside your driver’s side window.) And he just stands there with this little smirk on his face. And I am horrified. Totally embarrassed. And he motions for me to roll down my window. And I do. And he says, “Can you drive me somewhere?”

He had his backpack, and I was like, “I’m not driving you to Sarah Ollerman’s house, if that’s where you need to go, because that would be really rude of you to ask.” And he says, ‘No, that’s not where I’m going. She’s meeting me someplace.” And I’m like, “Oh so you want me to drive you to meet your new girlfriend, now? Is that what we’re doing?” And he’s like, “I’m not going to meet her. She’ll just be there, I think. And you’re the one sitting outside my house in your car.”

Ouch.

So, I ask him, “What are you doing anyway?” And he gets this really weird look on his face. “If I tell you, you won’t drive me.” And I’m like, “Okay, well honestly Michael, that makes me not want to drive you wherever your going either.” And he’s like, “It’s nothing bad. You just won’t believe in it.”

Believe in it?

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
So it’s like 10 o’clock, and I think my parents are in bed, or at least they’re in their room upstairs so they won’t be a problem. And I sneak out and head toward Michael’s house.

On the way, I text Eric: “If he comes to your house, make sure you don’t let him leave.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
Sarah texts me this totally weird dramatic text, and I’m like, “Oh God. Now I’m going to be stuck in the middle of some ridiculous crap with Michael and this new girl.” I mean, Becca was uptight and whatever, but she wasn’t drama, you know?

I didn’t text Sarah back.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
So I tell Michael, “No, I’m not bringing you wherever you’re going. And you know what, you could have like, asked how I was when you texted me earlier. Like, cared about how I was doing. I have the ACT tomorrow. You know? Like, I’m really nervous and you just want me to drive you someplace? And…”

And he walked off. Like. I’m not kidding. Just, in the middle of my sentence, he just… walked off.

Who does that?

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
It was like, 10:15 and I got to Michael’s house and Becca is sitting in her car across the street, crying. Which is totally weird because she’s his ex-girlfriend and everything. And she looks up and we make eye contact and there’s this second or whatever, and then she starts crying harder.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Like, seriously? Okay, so fine, universe. You want to make me feel completely miserable? Fine. You win. This girl shows up and sees me across the street from my ex-boyfriend’s house. Crying. Thank you, universe. Thank. You.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I go over to her.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
She comes over to me. Great…

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
“Can you drive me someplace?”

THE ONE IN THE CAR
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
“Michael’s in trouble.”

THE ONE IN THE CAR
This girl is like… the kind of girl you’re pretty sure isn’t a virgin anymore. And you’re pretty sure she hasn’t been one in like… a while. And she’s always telling people these ridiculous stories about her life, you know, like she supposedly has this awful home life, but her dad’s like a pastor and her mom teaches first grade and they live in this beautiful house. I mean… beautiful. And she acts like she grew up on the means streets of somewhere, you know.

But like, when she said to me that Michael was in trouble… I’ve never believed this girl in my whole life and right then, I was like, “Oh man. Michael’s in trouble.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
So I don’t hear anything for a while. And it’s like, 10:20. So, I text Michael again: “Yo. Whassup?” And within twenty seconds, he calls me.

MICHAEL
“You there yet?”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
“Where?”

MICHAEL
“You know where.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
“Uh… no, dude, I don’t.”

MICHAEL
“That’s too bad. I won’t get to say goodbye.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
“Oh yeah? Where you going?”

MICHAEL
“In person anyway. I’d rather it in person. Bye, Eric.”

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
And he just hung up. That was it.

I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
The drive was awkward.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Ohmygod. So awkward.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
We didn’t talk.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
She only said anything when she was giving directions.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
“Left on Blue Dock.”

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I wanted to ask her.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Please don’t ask. Please don’t ask.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I didn’t.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
“When you get to the gas station on Plymouth take a right.”

Michael moves downstage center. He takes his backpack off, sets it on the ground. From it he produces a binder overflowing with drawings – the drawings Becca spoke of earlier.

He also produces a flashlight. He studies the drawings on the ground.

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
I feel kind of stupid, because I should have figured it out right then. But you know… I didn’t. Like, I didn’t…

Had we talked about it? Yeah. Of course we did. We talked about it. But like we also talked about the possibilities of time travel as they related to how we’d make sure that Mr. Porotoli wouldn’t decide to be a teacher so he wouldn’t be teaching us English so he wouldn’t bore us to death. I mean, it was never serious or anything. Never. For me anyway. It’s like, we’d watch “Dr. Who” or whatever crap they were playing on SyFy and we’d talk about weird crap and it was just… how we were friends.

Like…

It was never something we meant for real.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
So there’s this old parking tower downtown that’s about to get torn down. They’re going to replace it with a office tower or something because they built a bigger parking tower in another part of downtown. But whatever. That’s where she drives me to. This old parking tower. And this is like… not the good section of downtown either. This is the part of town people left to move to other parts.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I got out of the car and looked up to the top level and saw a flashlight.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I didn’t see any light up there

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
So I ran…

THE ONE IN THE CAR
So she just took off…

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Up the stairs…

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I wasn’t running after her. Are you kidding?

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Hurry hurry hurry hurry

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I locked the doors. This was a bad section of town.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I got to the roof and there he was, across the tower, sitting on the ground with all of his drawings all around him.

He looked up and saw me.

Michael looks up and sees Sarah. This is the first time two characters in the play actually speak to each other.

MICHAEL
You came.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Michael…

MICHAEL
I’m going through one.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Let’s go home.

MICHAEL
I’ve been working on this for months. Remember I showed you last week.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Michael…

MICHAEL
I’ve done all this math I didn’t even think I could do and I read everything I could find on the Internet, and I’ve found one. I’m going through it. Tonight. It’s going to be open soon.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Then like all of a sudden there was this like.. rumble of thunder.

MICHAEL
See? It’s coming.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
I want you to come home with me.

MICHAEL
Not tonight, Sarah. When I get back.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
I checked the weather on my phone real fast. There wasn’t supposed to be rain or anything.

Thunder rumbles. Michael stands, goes to Sarah.

MICHAEL
I won’t be gone long. They open all the time. I’ll be back.

He kisses her. Then he turns and with breakneck speed runs into the darkness at the back of the theater.

Sarah spins to us and tells us what she sees.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
All of a sudden, he’s sprinting across the roof of the parking tower, and I’m yelling after him, “Michael! Michael! Stop!” But he doesn’t stop. He just keeps going until he reaches the other end of the tower. And it’s weird, because I don’t ever remember him being so agile like this, he took one big jump up on the railing – the big cement railing that was the edge of the tower – and he stood on it for a second, then with a laugh he just… jumped. Off into space.

And I screamed. I just… screamed. You know. What else could you do in that moment? But I’m screaming and I’m waiting to see him fall…

But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t fall. He hangs there in the air, like someone’s got him on a string or something. And he dangles there and he starts to turn a little, like someone was spinning the string he’s hanging from, and he turns and he catches my eye as his head turns to face me and I hear him yelling from across the tower:

MICHAEL (in the darkness, we do not see him)
See? I told you!

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
And then all of a sudden there was a pop and a flash and he was gone. Just…

Gone.

A long silence. The three of them soak this in.

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
So, like we never talk about what happened.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Would you want to talk about it?

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
We see each other and school and stuff. And even through all the memorials and the funeral and whatever, we didn’t talk to each other.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Would you? I don’t even want to think about it.

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
I don’t feel guilty.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Who does that?

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
I mean, I couldn’t really know what he was planning to do.

THE ONE IN THE CAR
Who invites his friends to watch him jump off a parking tower?

THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GO
When he told me he wanted to find some way out of this place, I thought it was just… you know… talk.

Sarah moves to the binder and the drawings. She sits with them.

THE ONE WHO SAW IT
Anything you can imagine must exist somewhere in the universe.

So this is what I imagine.

I imagine him hanging in the air, suspended by some thread I cannot see. I imagine him spinning to see me. I imagine the pop and the flash of light. I imagine him disappearing into the drawings he left on the ground.

I imagine him somewhere other than where he is.

If I imagine it, it must exist, right?

Right?

We hear the echo of Michael’s laughter, faint.

END OF PLAY.


Cody Daigle is a playwright and actor living in south Louisiana. His plays have been seen Off Off Broadway (Providence, A Home Across the Ocean) and regionally (Guernica, William and Judith, Grand Pre). He’s a member of the Dramatists Guild and a company playwright of MTWorks in NYC. His upcoming projects include a newly-commissioned stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Wolves in the Wall.”

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