As I’ve mentioned before, I had decided to make an over-the-top plan to woo my Italian Boss. The result is my on-going mission to reach Amalfi from London by bike, which is a plan so needlessly elaborate that it is a sure success no matter how you look at it.

But, even I’ll admit, maybe something doesn’t work out. Maybe I fail to cycle, maybe I get stuck in France, maybe the whole thing takes too long and she forgets I exist.

No worries, trembling reader. I’ve predicted all of these outcomes, and accommodated for them accordingly in my scheme.

You see, in my moment of enlightenment, I conceived more than just a few spare plans on how to get the girl! Always make back up plans, friends. Always make so many backup plans that pretty much every conceivable chain of events is one of your back up plans. The key to modern strategy is victory through overwhelming firepower.

Consider a chess-board. Facing off your opponent is not a simple matter of launching an attack. It is making sure every move your opponent makes is an attack, from you. If you’re doing it right, even your defence is just a means of chipping away at your opponent’s numbers, or tempting them to over-extend, leaving the king exposed.

Indeed. Isabel. There is no ‘win or loss’ for my quest. There is my victory, or there is my delayed victory. All else is irrelevant.

In case of emergency. If all fails with Amalfi, then I initiate side-plan number 1:

Nate Inomi becomes a simple working man at any ol’ London theatre. Expected resistance to entering low-level job in theatre? Minimal. Catering will do, so long as I’m in a theatre. I fill out my C.Vs with lies. Whatever. I make a Photoshopped letter saying I make the best tea in the nation. Signed: Government. I have a certificate in being some sort of genius but only specifically when I’m on at a theatre. Signed: Science. Trust me, when you learn Photoshop well enough, you can ‘prove’ just about anything. My French library cards have all been earned with my fake proof of address. Who thought me to use Photoshop so well?

My muozfffhu’in Italian Boss! Yes, story coming back into itself, et cetera.

So next I utilise an old book cliché. The underdog. The natural genius. The Janitor is the Hero. Classic. Breakfast Club did it. Good Will Hunting. The unsolvable maths problem is solved by the cleaner.

Since this exists as a cliché, anything to its likeness in the real world is immediately believed to be story-like, and inspirational. Therefore, the cleaner doesn’t have to solve the unsolvable. Just do something similar… Just finish the Sudoku the boss is stuck on, and click, people recognise the cliché and assume they’ve just entered a story.

Accept this fact: everyone thinks the world is a story. Humanity will play out their lives to be more like the fake lives of characters. My proof? Below.

‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’.

Like I said, I don’t need to solve the unsolvable. I need to write a script. Make it look like I’m writing while I should be at work. Theatre boss turns the corner and sees me writing, and not working.

‘You there, mop-man! Get back to work!’

I scurry off with some meek apology. The boss gives a ‘sheesh’, and look! I’ve left some junk around! What a cleaner I am! What is this junk-ish collection of paper sheets anyway?

Boss picks it up, sees the title page…

Mosquito Sex is a Beautiful Act of God… If you’re a Fucking Maniac

by

Nate Inomi

Well maybe a different title. But whatever. I like that title. I was going to use it on the blog. Technically I have just now. Somehow the combination between the words ‘mosquito’ and ‘sex’ reminds me of the lyrics of the song, What if God was One of Us?. ‘Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on a bus, tryin’ to make his way home’… I wonder if what I’m trying to say with that makes any sense to anyone?

Anyway, next morning… I bring the non-Italian theatre boss some coffee while she’s in the middle of slapping some actors. I reach out with the coffee, and the boss, who I’ve just now named Julia McMacinboss, calls out to me as I walk away. ‘Hey you, kid!’. With a wave of her hand she dismisses the others around her, and I point to myself, as in giving a silent, ‘who, me?’.

‘You’ve got some talent, kid’, she says. ‘But can ya do it again?’

Fuckin’ bamn. I’ve got it.

I write the next script: it’s about a train crash in the snow.

If you’re in a city large enough to have a metro, take note of who’s on-board next time you find the train relatively quiet. Just a handful of people is ideal, maybe five or six. Judge them by appearance, and stereotype them, then think of some situation where they’re forced to interact with one another. Ask: who teams up? Who becomes foes? Who overcomes their initial hatred and grows loving, or the reverse, et cetera. Now’s the important part. When you reach the third act, you flip everything upside down by spitting the stereotypes you’ve established back at the reader. Think of one extra trait to each of the characters which is only revealed for all of them in the third act. I.e, tell the reader everything is how it seems, then slap the reader for having believed you.

((What’s a third act? Fuck knows. The piece where everything grows miserable and/or hectic. You know the piece I’m talking about.))

Now, this is basically the script I give Macinboss, but there’s one important aspect: One of the characters doesn’t speak.

So in my script the scenario which forces the characters to interact is, like I said, a train crashes in the snow. Probably in an isolated area, and there’s a blizzard or something so the characters can’t be sure they’ll be rescued in time. You have whatever cast… Grumpy old lady, cocky man-man thinks he’s boss, pessimist proclaiming death will come, & a friendly girl says everything’ll be okay. It ends with them all discovering a new colour or something and the stage goes black so you don’t know if you’re rescued and whether or not they can share their discovery, or whatever. Doesn’t matter. Like I said, there’s one, only one, important aspect. One of the characters. Doesn’t speak.

That. Character. Is. Me.

The play’s in production, it’s opening night, everyone’s nervous… The actor for Silent Guy hasn’t shown up yet! Oh no, someone’s strangled him with a telephone cord! (but nobody knows that yet). We need a stand in!

I step forward…

‘I’ll do it.’

But of course.

This is only half of the plan.

Because earlier that day, Isabel has received a text on her phone. ‘Hey’, it reads, ‘I know things have been strange. I want to conclude this, blah-blah-blah… Just, come with me to this one play, and that’s all I’ll ever ask of you.’

Yes, indeed. To reach my goal, it’s all I’ll ever need to ask her.

She’s there in the audience, the stage is black. She’s looking around, checking her phone. Where is he?! I can’t believe he brought me here, and now I’m alone!..

A noise comes behind her. The doors are closing. Nate’s not coming.

She puts away her phone. Doors are closed now. She crosses her arms and leans back in the chair.

This play’d better be fuckin’ good.

The lights in the theatre fade, and the crowd goes silent… The room goes silent. The fucking world goes silent. A light awakens the stage.

And there I am.

On the stage. I’m sitting, just like her.

And the play goes on, the characters interact. Two of them even have a dialogue where they sit across from me and question why I could be there, travelling with them on the train. Why I haven’t said a word.

Occasionally, I glance at my watch, and I look around.

Like I’m waiting for someone.

The play continues, and intermission comes. Now here’s the thing about the silent character. The play’s intermission has everyone leave, except him. No, he stays. He gets up – and he walks around – and he’s always looking around him. Waiting for someone.

He sits back down, play continues, shit goes down and the play comes to its end. The stage fades to the same black that holds the night outside. Things quiet down in the theatre as everyone makes their way out.

But Isabel? Isabel is always the last to leave. She has the patience to wait out the crowds. Always.

She steps out, and straight across from the door, there I am, leaning against the wall. Looking straight at her.

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

One of us answers to the silence:

‘You came’.

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