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Descent Part 2
by Stephen Clark
Warren: *sits on the floor of the corner hotel in Richmond, alone in the crowd. He has just finished listening to Fearloop's performance, during which he finished his third drink of the night.*
Lola: *searches for Warren amongst the crowd.*
Lola: *puts her wine-glass down*
Lola: *makes her way through the bodies in semi-darkness*
Lola: *calls out* Hey Warren!
Warren: *looks around*
Warren: *stands up*
Lola: *arriving at Warren* Hey, how's it going man? You've finished your drink?
Warren: Yeah.
Lola: How was Fearloop? Weren't they great?
Warren: *nods emphatically*
Lola: Such an intense feeling -- such emotion -- I saw you moving your arms near the front -- you had quite a dance going there.
Warren: Oh yeah. Hey -- I'm not sure I want to stick around here to see Swelter.
Lola: Yeah I'm not a big Swelter fan myself.
Warren: You didn't tell me that Fearloop was just playing support to Swelter.
Lola: It's a bit strange -- the two bands are so unlike eachother, it's surprising that they'd both be playing on the same night. Let's get out of here, man -- let's get out on the street and then we'll decide what we're going to do next.
Lola: *starts edging her way through the crowd towards the exit*
Warren: *follows*
Lola: *steps outside*
Warren: *follows*
Lola: *takes a deep breath*
Warren: <----- glad to be out in the fresh air
Lola: Man, that band Fearloop -- they're just so good.
Warren: So...
Lola: Do you think you'd buy their CD, if they had one?
Warren: Yeah, I think I would.
Lola: Well, just wait around, and they'll bring one out, no doubt about it.
Warren: Are we going to start walking to the station?
Lola: Yeah let's go to the station. *walks* but we're not going home yet, are we?
Warren: *walks* Aren't we? I thought we were.
Lola: Naaah, don't go home, this night isn't over yet -- I mean, look at the time, it's only half-past eleven. *points her head at him* I bet, if we catch a train or a tram to the city we can arrive in time to catch Emporium at the Hi-fi bar. And it would be so cool, we could have extra fun listening to Emporium, and now that you're drunk you could really appreciate them -- you think?
Warren: I don't know -- I mean, Emporium -- it doesn't really fit with the theme of tonight's outing, does it?
Lola: And the theme is?
Warren: Depression.
Lola: Maaaaan, that's not the theme. I mean, how are you feeling right now? You feeling good?
Warren: Yeah.
Lola: I can tell you are. You're smiling more. Fearloop made you feel better, right?
Warren: Yeah! That and the alcahol.
Lola: So let's make the best of it. And go see Emporium. Is all this better feeling helping to change your mind about suicide?
Warren: No.
Lola: *frustrated* but why not? Isn't it opening doors for you, showing you what fun is all about?
Warren: I have my heart set on suicide. I'm not going to change my mind just because of this one night out, because I KNOW -- I KNOW that tomorrow it's back to boring old life, nothing will have changed permanently, and I'll probably have a hangover.
Lola: *shakes her head helplessly*
Lola: *looks up at the sky*
Lola: *calls out in despair* Maaaaaaaaaaaan, how did your life come to THIS? It sucks so bad. What have they done to you? They've sucked the life out of you.
Warren: Who's THEY?
Lola: Geraldine. But no, not just her, the whole freakin' system, man.
Warren: Geraldine was trying to help me.
Lola: It just seems like you have so much going for you -- you're smart -- you're talented -- you're creative -- you could go sooooooooo far -- and somehow it all stops next week -- a dead end -- or like a rose stem with its head cut off, or something -- it's so stupid -- I'm not saying YOU'RE stupid, but I just don't get this situation. It doesn't make sense.
Warren: It makes perfect sense to me.
Lola: How?
Warren: Look, when I came out of psychiatric hospital, I thought I'd be able to find happiness. They promised it to me. They said everything was so much better on the outside. So that's what I was expecting. But when I eventually got out, I found that it was all rubbish. They failed to deliver, Lola. I'm not saying I was expecting them all to start throwing happiness at me, saying "here's some happiness, free of charge", but the point is they didn't even tell me how to GET happiness or where to start looking.
Lola: But you can't expect --
Warren: I mean, it's not like I didn't try, right? I applied for the courses, I applied for jobs, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity, but I can't keep going like this. Y'know? I'm at the end of my tether.
Lola: Well so am I, Warren. I don't know what to do. Actually, forget the train -- here comes a tram. It's going to the city. Quick, let's run!
Warren: *runs with Lola to the nearest tram-stop*
Lola: *puffs*
Warren: Are you sure this is the one?
Lola: *staggers drunkenly* yes -- *waves her hand at tram* We'll get there on time -- the hi-fi bar -- Emporium --
Warren: Something to look forward to.
Lola: *boards tram* You'll enjoy it, Warren. You say you don't know how to have fun, but whenever we go to see a band, you always enjoy it. Even if you always split from me and go off by yourself, I can see you enjoying it. You're not really depressed.
Warren: *sits down on tram seat* Of course I'm depressed.
Lola: No you're not. Believe me, I've suffered from serious depression, clinical depression, and you just don't fit the -- the -- diagnosis.
Warren: Well I've just got mild depression.
Lola: Maybe sometimes. But mild depression isn't enough to get you into this suicidal frame of mind, usually.
Warren: So you're saying I'm suicidal without being depressed?
Lola: Yes.
Warren: I think I agree with you -- and -- AND I think this just goes some way to prove my point that these suicidal tendencies aren't wrong -- they aren't a mental illness, like depression -- they're correct. My life really is irreversibly bad, and there's really nothing I can do about it, so suicide is the correct option.
Lola: No. No, Warren, no. It IS a mental illness. You HAVE a mental illness.
Warren: And what's that?
Lola: It's -- it's the love of death. You always think of death as a good thing rather than a bad thing.
Warren: Yes. Well that's the way I see it now.
Lola: *leans over to him* I put it to you -- that you'd always be suicidal even if you succeed at everything you do. Even if you succeed at getting a job or getting into a course, you'd still be suicidal. Isn't that right?
Warren: I can't possibly answer that.
Lola: Can you think -- of ONE thing about your life that you'd like to change and that would pull you away from suicide?
Warren: If I had a whole lot of money.
Lola: Money? Naah, man you don't need money. What would you do with it?
Warren: I could buy a computer and some electronic music equipment and spend my time making electronic music -- that's what I really wanna do.
Lola: Oh that's right. But do you really think that would bring you happiness? Permanently?
Warren: I think it would.
Lola: But you don't know. You have this idealized vision of electronic music-making, but maybe after a few months you would get sick of it and it would be one of those things where you'd like to get stuck into it but you just don't have the motivation.
Warren: Maybe. I can't say, one way or the other, and neither can you.
Lola: What about courses? Supposing you were to somehow get into a course tomorrow, would that pull you away from suicide?
Warren: Depends how hard the work is.
Lola: Suppose it's really hard. Like year 12 hard.
Warren: *pause* then I probably wouldn't last the year.
Lola: *pauses for thought* You -- you don't really know what would take you away from suicide.
Warren: Well that's the problem isn't it.
Lola: I don't think happiness would take you away from suicide. Not permanently. Permanent happiness equals temporary solution.
Warren: Why do you say that?
Lola: Because you get bored with happiness. You were happy for a while in psychiatric hospital, but you soon got bored with it -- your situation didn't change, just your mood. I think the only reason you moved out of your parents house was because you were bored with it -- you've never been able to explain exactly what you don't like about living there.
Warren: *looks out the window*
Lola: The only thing that's prevented you from committing suicide so far is constant novelty. Your life keeps changing and there's always new changes on the horizon. Except now, that horizon is so far distant that you can't bear to wait around for it, because everything is just too boring. All you need, to pull you away from suicide, is novelty. Doesn't matter whether it's good or bad -- if something changes, it'll prolong your life.
Warren: *pause for ten seconds* Well I'm not convinced.
Lola: Just find some way to change things, and that will be your answer.
Warren: I'm not convinced. It sounds like you're assuming an awful lot of things about me -- your words aren't based on any kind of evidence.
Lola: I know you. I've read some of the letters you write to your psychologist. And I've talked to you...
Warren: But you don't KNOW what would happen if I got a job or a course or whatever. You don't KNOW that I'd still be suicidal. I don't know that myself, so how can you?
Lola: I just know.
Warren: *pause for ten seconds, shaking his head* Lola, there's something very strange about you -- I can't put my finger on it, but there's something not quite right.
Lola: *looks nervous* what?
Warren: The way we met in psychiatric hospital -- the way you came up to me and started asking questions -- somehow you knew exactly what questions to ask -- you knew what I WANTED you to ask -- and you got to know me faster than anyone else ever has.
Lola: *smiles* hey, man, we think on the same wavelength, you and me. We're just very compatible. I could sense it from the start, the way we were -- the same, somehow.
Warren: But not really. Because whenever we meet, you never want to discuss your own life. It's always about me.
Lola: You never ask me about my life.
Warren: But still, it's strange that you should take such an interest in what's going on in my life, and I hardly know anything about YOU.
Lola: You know about me. You know that I'm on the pension, and I live on my own in Fitzroy, and that I suffer from depression sometimes -- what more is there to know?
Warren: There's ALWAYS more. But you never want to talk about yourself -- you always steer it back 'round to me. So what is it that you're hiding?
Lola: I'm not hiding anything. You know what I do -- I'm on the pension, I -- I've told you about my family and what they do -- what else do you want to know? Ask me any question and I'll answer.
Warren: I don't know what questions to ask. You know I don't.
Lola: *triumphant silence*
Warren: I guess I shouldn't be accusing you of hiding stuff -- I mean, you've done so much for me, like tonight, paying for the drinks and the admission price and all that --
Lola: Hey man, your happiness is my reward. You need it. Are we nearly there? We're up to the arts centre now...
Warren: I don't even know where this place is.
Lola: We should get off soon.
Warren: You've been so good to me -- I'm glad you took me out tonight -- I wouldn't want to die without first getting drunk like this.
Lola: *laughs* hey, you've only had three glasses of wine. You've gotta get some more alcahol into you before you can call yourself drunk. Let's not set any limits.
Warren: Well, just make sure you've got enough money left for the taxi home.
Lola: I've got plenty of money. I'm rollin' in the dough. Let's get off here.
Part 3