Signal

In this short drama/comedy/thriller…MICHAEL lets his best friend TASHA into his apartment to show her a demonstration on hearing voices from his headphones and computer set up.

Tasha: Are you okay?  What is is you want to show me?  You’re making me so nervous.

Michael: Okay, so I have everything set up over here.  If you just sit down, you will start to hear things.

(Tasha sits down cautiously)

Shhh.  Just listen, listen to the headphone speak.  (beat) You hear that?

Tasha: No…hold on.  (listening)

Michael: Listen, listen…(beat) You See?

Tasha: I don’t hear anything.

Michael: You gotta listen…just listen hard…

(Michael looks at her)

Tasha: I’m sorry, Michael, I don’t hear anything.

Michael: There is a static of a man’s voice coming out.  An older man.  I’ve tried a recorder but it doesn’t pick up the frequency, so I write what the person is saying by hand.

Tasha: Yeah but, I don’t hear anything coming out from the headphones.

Michael: Look, at first I thought it was one of those advertisements on a website and the sounds were coming out from my headphones, which were plugged in. So I closed off all the websites right, made myself some coffee, came back and I still heard these voices coming through.  I put the headphones to my ears and I was starting to decipher what was being said.  For the past two days I’ve written down pages and pages full of dictation.  Shit is coming from like the 1940’s during the war…further back to the Renaissance Period and even further back, I swear, I got stuff from the Greeks and everything…

Tasha: So now you’re talking to Aristotle?

Michael: Tasha, Tasha, please, I know, I know I sounds crazy, I still think I’m crazy but I have pages full of shit that makes sense.  It’s like I can overhear people talking through time!

Tasha: Are you able to talk back?

Michael: I’ve tried, I’ve tried but it’s just a one way frequency.  I’ve heard all sort of shit…the most mundane things like people shopping with coins, just coins, gold coins during the Roman Empire, buying chickens and shit!

Tasha: You’re freaking me out.

Michael: I’ll calm down but I don’t know who else to talk to about this that will believe me even halfway.  Just believe me halfway is all I ask of you.  Could you do that for me?

Tasha: I do believe you halfway cause your my best friend and I love you but the other half thinks you need psychiatric help.  Have you been out?

Michael: I haven’t left my house since.  Took off work…I had to, this stuff is insane.

(pause.)

I’m going back to work tomorrow, okay?  I haven’t completely lost it.  But I needed to be sure that I was hearing things not from my head.

Tasha: Yes but, when you just let it play, supposedly, I didn’t hear anything at all and you did.  Do you realize that, Michael?

Michael: Maybe our ears are on a different wave length or something.

Tasha: Right.  Right…okay, now you’re really concerning me.  You are starting to sound like you are kidding yourself into believing this—

Michael: Not at all!  Read this stuff.  Read it.  I have accents and sentence syntax that I could never even imagine.

Tasha: Than how do you know if it’s Ancient Greece or the Roman Empire or whatever, how can you tell if—

Michael: Because I’ve researched it.

Tasha: How?

Michael: I don’t know.  Movies.  Books.  YouTube.

Tasha:  Listen, even I’ve crossed paths with period type stuff to get an idea of the people in our past.

Michael: So?

Tasha: So, in other words, I can make shit up.

Michael: You’re saying I’m making this whole thing up?

Tasha: I think you are under the impression that you actually believe there is a strong chance that you may be imagining yourself into the possibility of maybe hearing something.

Michael:  Hmmm.

Tasha: Are you fucking with me?

Michael: No!

Tasha: If you’re fucking with me, I’ll be pissed because I’m worried.

Michael: No, please, don’t get upset.  I’m fine…I haven’t lost it.  I just, I hear conversations…it’s like eavesdropping.

Tasha: Eavesdropping on random people from all different centuries?

Michael:  …Yes…

Tasha: Maybe you computer is hacked and someone’s messing with you or something is wrong with your computer altogether.

Michael: I’ll tell you what…I’ll get my computer checked out.  But maybe this is a special computer…I’m a little nervous to have it looked at, if it breaks the signal—

Tasha: Michael!  Enough.  There is no signal.  Get your computer checked and get back to reality.  Have it checked out if it’s hacked or if programs are running on the backend of it without you being aware.  Bring it back here and we will test it out together.

Michael: What if the signal is gone completely?

Tasha: Then it is gone completely.

Michael: I don’t want to do it.

Tasha: Hey, for me, can you do this for me, please?  …For me…

Michael: For you but if I lose the signal I’m going to really be beyond myself with you…it might break up our friendship.

Tasha: Are you kidding me right now?  Don’t make me hit you.

Michael: Okay, but I’ll be deeply depressed. Like, next level depression type shit.  Medication and liquor and—

Tasha: Michael!

Michael: Okay.  You get my point.

Tasha: Pack this bitch up now and let’s bring it to the computer store.  We won’t mention that you are hearing voices.

Michael: Wait!  I just thought of this, what if it’s not the computer…what if it’s the headphones?!  Or what if the two need one another in order for this whole history thing to happen?

Tasha: Look, we will bring the headphones too and say they need checking, act like there is a loose wire or something.  We’ll come up with an excuse but either way this has to happen.  Get me?

Joseph Arnone

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