Denial, Acceptance, and Dogs (A Short Play)
I opened my laptop, wondering about what to write that day. It was after a party the night before; nothing too crazy, just dinner and a few friends. I’d tucked my laptop out of the way, and now that the dust had cleared I was gearing up to get back to work.
I turned it on, and now there’s a big black smudge in the corner, with hairline cracks snaking down the left side of the screen. It is with supreme irony that in full screen mode, I now cannot click the button on Word to save my words of woe.
This is something I’ve never experienced with a laptop before now. Phones, of course. Those things are so fragile that they’d shatter if you told them you prefer a landline. I lived with a cracked phone for two years. Bits of the screen were missing altogether before I eventually got a new one. This however, is a different creature entirely. The Big Black Blob (referred to as BBB from hereon out) lingers in the corner, not unlike one of the guests at the party last night. It taunts me, obscures just enough of the screen to be noticeable, but not enough to be unbearable. I am torn between stoic acceptance and reluctant replacement, because whilst I could live like this, I shouldn’t have to for the price of £30. I could just as easily replace it, but that’s so inconvenient. I have other things I need to do which take priority over this! I’m teaching a kid how to read and write tomorrow, but now whilst I’m with him all I’ll be thinking is ‘who the hell broke my laptop?!’
If it gets any bigger I feel like parts of the screen will start to fall out. Sometimes, I feel like this format isn’t the best way to describe my frustration. In fact, I think I’ll make a short play about the whole experience in the form of an internal dialogue. That couldn’t have sounded less natural could it?
Act 1, Scene 1
Interior. A boy sits in his Living Room, typing a sarcastic script in lieu of anything more creative. His mind flits between other things, more important things, but he knows he must write about a cracked screen.
Alex: (sighs) OK Alex let’s do this.
Alex begins to write. His dog is breathing loudly on the floor beside his feet.
Zoom into Alex’s mind. Interior. Two figures, one dressed in black and one dressed in white, are sat around a table. A cracked laptop is placed between the two of them. They eye it with the same careful examination, before locking gazes. The black figure leans back in his chair and speaks first.
Black: So, he’s called it BBB, has he? Reminds me of Star Wars.
White: To be fair, with the amount of plasma leaking out, this paragraph’s starting to look a lot like an opening text scroll.
Black: You look like an opening text scroll.
White: Well there’s no need for that attitude.
Black: There is too, and you know it. We’re the personifications of acceptance and denial remember?
White: Yes of course I remember. I just don’t see why you have to be so curt with me. We’re here for a reason alright? Alex didn’t just conjure us out of nothing to fill a quota.
Black: Sounds like denial to me.
A pause in the conversation whilst Black and White high five each other.
White: OK seriously though let’s get down to business. What do we think about this laptop?
Black: Personally, I think it’s fucked. If he doesn’t finish this article sharpish he’s not gonna be able to see any of it, let alone write anything else. Let’s just crap something out now and fix it in post.
White: No no, that’s a terrible idea. What if it ends up unsalvageable? He’d have to rewrite the whole thing again and probably make it more professional-sounding.
Black: God forbid.
White: God forbid. I think it’s bearable for now if he just writes his stuff on the right side instead. It’s not ideal, but it does mean he can see the stock-image background of a woman running along a beach.
Black: Where is she running to?
White: A better future, my friend. A better future. One with better screen integrity.
Black: One with better stock image backgrounds.
White: Like a dog.
Black: Oh yeah I love dogs! Retriever?
White: No, it’s got to be sheepdog. Border Collies are the sweetest things ever. They’re so full of energy, they’re intelligent, and they have the kindest faces ever.
Black: Yeah but a Golden Retriever can hold an egg in its mouth without breaking it. A sheepdog can do, what…?
White: Herd sheep.
Black: Yeah herd sheep.
White: I don’t know I think if I had two dogs and one brought me a herd of sheep and the other a wet egg, I’d say the first dog was much more valuable.
Black: From a practical perspective sure. But then you could say a stick has more practical uses than a dog so why not pick that.
White: Because a stick can’t carry an egg in its mouth.
Black: Or herd sheep. Not on its own at least. Would have to be carried by something.
White: Like a dog.
Black: Yeah like a Retriever.
White: How could it, it’s already holding an egg.
Black: Maybe it’s in an egg and spoon race.
White: Now you’re just being ridiculous.
A short pause. Black picks a speck of hair off his shirt whilst White stares off into the middle distance, before snapping back to the room.
Black: Sorry, what were we talking about?
White: Cracked screens.
Black: Oh yeah, of course. I don’t know just bear with it for now I guess, I don’t really care anymore.
White: Yeah fair enough.
The broken laptop is replaced with a crate of Kopparbergs
White: Right let’s get shit-faced.
Black: Nice one.
Black and White clink their bottles, before fading out of the scene. Zoom out on Alex face-down on the desk with an empty bottle of Kopparberg in his hand. He is surrounded by other empty bottles and cans of varying levels of emptiness, reflecting the progressive emptiness inside himself.
Thank you for enjoying my short play about the woes of a cracked screen. Please look forward to its exciting sequel ‘The Unfortunate Circumstance of Dropped Jam on a Carpeted Floor.’