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IV

January 30, 2012

(Assignment URL: http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/my-dinner-with-toska/)

SETTING–A blog. The Internet. 2012 A.D. The writer has never written a script before and is not particularly interested in film, but once spent an afternoon reading the script of “Pulp Fiction” for fun. Self-deprecating, existentially ambiguous introduction out of the way, we cut to-

SETTING–Ext. A classy jazz bar, Ebisu, night time. The camera zooms in on a window where two young men in the prime of their life sit at a table drinking scotch. One, a virile dirty blonde(ME) in his mid early 20s is drumming his fingers on the desk, shaking his leg, and trying to feign legitimate interest in the wood-grain pattern of the table. This is because the other man, a baby-faced lad(TOSKA) with slick black hair, is making things awkward by repeatedly sighing, holding his chin in his hands, and gazing forlornly out the window. As the silence is broken, so is the plane of the wall by the camera, and we find ourselves inside, where “Autumn Leaves” is playing in the background.

ME. (coughs) So, according to your Wikipedia page, you’re an island west of Radøy in Hordaland county, Norway. A road was completed to you in 1989. (He looks for some signs of life from his landmass-to-human shapeshifting friend. There is none, so he goes on with another throat-clearing) About 40 people live on you. I looked you up mainly because I would be afraid you were a reference to some pop culture thing that I didn’t know about, and I was afraid of looking like an idiot. (He folds his arms and sits back in his chair in a stately manner. The ball is in Toska’s court now.)

TOSKA. (broken from his reverie, he looks at Me with muted outrage in his eyes, but they quickly return to their dull, baleful gaze.) What are you talking about? We’ve been friends for years. You asked me to come here. And now you look at me with that smile like a shark’s, that intolerable glas wen, and accuse me of being a Scandinavian island! (his voice rises dramatically at the end a la Winston Churchill) You’ve got some nerve.

ME. (continues to sit in his chair, position and facial expression un-changing, as if he is attempting to make his witty retort extra devastating by tempering it with a long wait. But it soon becomes apparent he has no idea what to say.) ……………..I wasn’t smiling.

TOSKA. (dismissively waves his hand, looking away from Me in disugst) It doesn’t matter. I need someone right now and you’re all I have. This ineffable pain and longing deep within me is unbearable. I cannot even remember what it was once like to feel joy. What it was like to enjoy the warm human touch, or to watch the gumusservi flicker about on a remote Anatolian lake.

ME. (leans forward and punctuates his words by pointing his hands at Toska, palms facing down, his face grave) Look, I should be up front with you about something. I know you’re not paying me, but my therapist license was revoked after I apparently misunderstood some of Freud’s psychosexual theories, some might say rather badly. So I don’t really feel comfortable doing this-

TOSKA. I don’t need a therapist, I need a friend. Can’t you see that? Who is really qualified to be a therapist anyway? Who can really say they understand the human mind? It’s quite worthy of making one pana p’o, as my Polynesian brothers and sisters might say.

ME. (silently resigns that he will pretend he knows what that means) Well, you know what they say. Better to let everyone think you are a pana p’o, than to open one’s mouth and erase all doubt. (he quietly realizes that by Toska’s contextual clues, that words is a verb. He frowns.)

TOSKA. (raises a brow at the odd turn of phrase) Um…yes. Anyway. I can see this isn’t going anywhere. (He stands to leave) My trip to Tokyo to see you was reminiscent of one experiencing the pangs of iktsuarpok, as I constantly checked and re-checked the arrival time of each plane and train which would bring me here. But I can see things have changed, and I have wasted my time. Good evening.

ME. (also stands, spreading his arms wide for a theoretical conciliatory embrace, he says in a sing-song voice) Toskaaaaaa. Take it easy, man. Look, I’ll be honest with you. You used a lot of foreign words tonight, and I don’t know what they mean. That doesn’t happen often. I’m actually quite smart. When my mom watches the news and wants to know where Syria is, who does she call? Me. And I look it up and tell her. You’ve bested me, friend. Is that not consolation enough? Does that not ease your sorrow? All I want is for us to sit down and resume our drinks like this never happened. Besides, I arranged for us to meet some girls later, and if I go by myself, I have to pay for them both. So come on. Have a seat.

TOSKA. (his face is cold and uncaring) As much as it pains to me to say this, that is impossible. It must be quite the douleur exquise for you. As I said, good evening. (He turns on his heel and leaves. Me sighs and sits back down. Everyone else in the bar looks briefly at him with some sympathy, clearly a couple that has just broken up. Always aware, Me quickly pulls out his phone.) YEP….SO GLAD I GOT ALL THESE EMAILS………..FROM GIRLS. (Everyone shakes their head in disgust. The camera pans out into the street, then onto the Tokyo skyline, then out to an exploding quasar full of symbolic meaning).

-END.

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4 Comments
  1. This is amazing Commodore! Thanks for another fun read.

    I want to see this as a film or comic book or an animated GIF.

    Only suggestion/request would be to drop a URL to the original assignment in the text (near the top of your post).

  2. The URL’s in there now, my lawyers are negotiating about the film.

  3. I can’t wait to see the movie! Who would you cast for the leads?

    Brilliant writing, brilliant.

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