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Descent Part 3
by Stephen Clark
Warren: *does a spin*
Warren: *picks up his drink*
Warren: *takes a sip but spills some*
Lola: *comes over*
Lola: *slurred* Hey Warren ma man, how's it going? You look really sober.
Warren: *slurred* Sober? Me? Haa!
Lola: I saw you dancing though. Hey, you're a party animal.
Warren: Yeah that's right. *takes a sip*
Lola: That's what I like about you, Warren. You know how to have fun. *pause* Even when you're at death's door, you know how to have fun. Ay yo! How about that Emporium, man? They rocked the house!
Warren: They sure did.
Lola: That was a cool show.
Warren: I had so much fun. Even more than the Fearloop show. I don't know if that means Emporium are a better band, or if I'm just more drunk now.
Lola: Naaaaaah, Emporium aren't a better band, they're just more mainstream, they got more mass appeal. That's why they know how to rock the crowd. But they're good, ay? Hey... *raises her glass* here's to Emporium!
Warren: *clink* *sips* Here's to alcahol and feeling good.
Lola: *clink* *sips* Here's to a long and happy life.
Warren: *sips* A short and happy life.
Lola: Whatever. *clink*
Warren: I'm partying till I drop.
Lola: Hey, what say we get outta here? Ev'ryone else is leaving, there's nothing much more to see.
Warren: But I'm not finished my drink yet!
Lola: *takes a gulp* Well hey, slam it down ya. You've been taking little sips of it -- take it in big gulps like it's medicine.
Warren: *gulps*
Lola: Hey Warren I just wantcha ta know that I support you on that suicide thing. I'm O.K. with it. I wasn't at first, but if you want to end your life, well, who am I to interfere? It's your life -- you just do what you want.
Warren: *gulps* Thanks Lola it means a lot *empties the glass into his mouth* O.K. I'm finished my drink Woh! I'm just so drunk.
Lola: I can hardly see. *puts down her glass* C'mon lets go!
Warren: *follows her towards the exit* are we gonna take a taxi home?
Lola: *passes through the exit* Home? Aw come on, let's not go home yet.
Warren: *looks at his watch* it's almost 2am.
Lola: *steps onto Swanston Street* that's early, man. You know what would be cool? If we take a walk. Like, along Southbank -- beside the Yarra -- just you and me -- with the stars and the moonlight -- a nice, quiet, romantic stroll, there and back, then we call the taxi. Whaddya say?
Warren: O.K.
Lola: *starts walking* Oh, man, I'm so drunk.
Warren: Are you serious, what you said about being in support of me killing myself?
Lola: Yeah. You go ahead.
Warren: That's really weird. No one's ever been in support of that before.
Lola: Y'know I was thinking, I might do it with you. My life isn't worth much.
Warren: You mean like a suicide pact?
Lola: Yeah! We could do it together.
Warren: Well... why do you wanna do it?
Lola: The depression thing -- it's getting me down, I can't stand it anymore. It just never ends.
Warren: Oh, yeah.
Lola: How did you say you were going to do it, again?
Warren: I was gonna stick a little wire into the power point and electrocute myself that way. At night, y'know, when no one would find me.
Lola: Oh, that would never work.
Warren: Yes it would. No one comes into my room -- they'd just assume I was sleeping in. They wouldn't find out about it until the next evening, probably.
Lola: Well I never heard of anyone doing it like that. Not successfully, anyway. I mean, there's so much that can go wrong. And it's not very suitable for doing as a suicide pact. I mean, if we do it simultaneously then we each only get half the current, or the voltage, or whatever.
Warren: Well what would you suggest?
Lola: If we're really serious about it, we jump off something really high. Like a bridge.
Warren: A bridge? No way, man. I tried that last time and it didn't work. The bridge, remember? I tried it three years ago. I just broke both my ankles. There's no way I'm gonna try something that failed the last time.
Lola: Yeah but that's because you went feet first. Anyway it doesn't have to be a bridge. It just -- it just -- wait a minute, I'm getting an idea. There's a place -- in William Street -- where there's a gym and there's a stairwell next to it -- it's like a spiral stairway and there's a big gap in the middle of it -- it goes up for like six storeys and when I saw it I thought 'Hey, a suicidal person could jump off that'. It's about twice as high as the bridge, at least.
Warren: What's at the bottom of it?
Lola: Hard concrete. Maybe vinyl covered, I don't know. Point is, hardly anyone uses this stairwell -- it's open to the public but mostly people use the lift -- so it'd be nice and private, no one would try to stop us, people wouldn't stand around and gawk at our bodies afterwards, except the police and the professional body-movers and that, and there would be no disturbance to the traffic. Whaddya think of that?
Warren: I don't know. I've kinda got this whole electrocution thing planned out. I don't even know where this place is that you're talking about.
Lola: It's in William Street -- just a few blocks that way *points to the west* I can't remember exactly where it is, but I'd know it if I saw it. Come on, I'll show you. Let's take a detour.
Warren: What???
Lola: Come on, we've got time. I'll show you this place and you'll see that it's better. You'll want to jump off it. I'm just trying to save you from another embarrassing failed attempt. *turns a corner*
Warren: *follows her* But what about Southbank? Is this place even open at night?
Lola: Yeah -- I'm pretty sure -- I mean it doesn't have a door, just an entrance -- we can see, anyway -- we can go to Southbank afterwards. We've got all night.
Warren: O.K.
Lola: *pause* Maybe I won't do it with you. I mean, maybe I made that decision too quickly -- I am drunk, after all, and my --
Warren: Shhhhh. *points subtly at a group of homeless people in an alcove*
Lola: *passes by homeless people silently*
Warren: *glances at them*
Lola: Do you think they're asleep?
Warren: I don't know.
Lola: Man, it's probably dangerous to be out on the streets this late. You never know who we might run into.
Warren: I'm not afraid of them.
Lola: Yeah, you've got that dutch courage! *laughs*
Warren: They're just homeless people. Y'know, sometimes I wish I was like them. Homeless. I know that's a crazy thing to wish for, but --
Lola: Go on. Elaborate. Tell me why.
Warren: It just seems like they're free. I mean, here I am, trapped in a situation in a house that I don't want to be in -- I wish I could just escape from it all and become an aimless drifting wanderer.
Lola: *pause* Escape from what?
Warren: From job searching -- from Geraldine and her -- authority -- from normal life.
Lola: *spends a moment in reflective contemplation* Warren, sometimes I don't understand you at all.
Warren: Well, I know homelessness would only bring me bigger problems --
Lola: No, I mean -- the job searching stuff -- you say you want to escape from it -- but all you need to do -- is just stop searching for a job! You can just -- stop, anytime.
Warren: But I need to search for a job, in order to keep getting the dole.
Lola: Yeah, but -- all you need to do, with the dole form, is write down two jobs that you've applied for -- all you need to DO -- is select two jobs that you'd have no chance of getting, apply for them -- and that would satisfy the DSS, but instead what you do is go through the employment section with a fine tooth comb every week, finding every job that you might possibly have a chance of getting, and applying for them all! You put extra effort into it -- you go to so much trouble with your applications, and it's all so unnecessary!
Warren: I can't just stop looking for a job.
Lola: Why not?
Warren: Because I need to feel like I'm going somewhere. I need to feel like things might possibly change, so that I'll get out of this rut that I'm in.
Lola: *silence*
Warren: But now I know that things aren't going to change, so that's why I'm killing myself.
Lola: I just think -- that if you didn't spend so much time on job-searching -- then you'd have more time to spend on having fun, and then maybe you wouldn't be so sad and suicidal.
Warren: *shakes his head* Having fun costs money. If I had a job I'd have more money, and thus more fun. 'Cause like, my idea of fun is to muck around with a computer -- doing the electronic music and that. And I can't afford to buy that equipment.
Lola: Hmmm. But if you had a job then you wouldn't have time to do that musical stuff.
Warren: Well -- there you are! It's a no win situation.
Lola: But -- but -- there are other ways you could fix your life up. Like, you said you want to escape from the house, and from Geraldine, right?
Warren: Yeah.
Lola: So all you have to do -- is move out! Find your own place, get a little flat, a bed-sitter, move into that.
Warren: I can't move now. I signed the lease, along with Geraldine and Heidi, and it goes for a year. They're relying on me to pay the rent. If I don't stay there and pay my share of the rent, then they can't afford to live there.
Lola: But they could get someone else to replace you. Have you thought of that?
Warren: Someone? Who?
Lola: They could advertise in the paper. The share accommodation section. And people would apply. Yes?
Warren: But -- but -- I wouldn't want to put them through all that.
Lola: All what?
Warren: All that hassle.
Lola: They'd rather go through all that hassle than see you dead.
Warren: *shakes his head* I don't think I could face Geraldine -- telling her I want to move out -- there wouldn't be a good reason -- telling her I don't want to live with her anymore -- I -- I wouldn't be able to explain why.
Lola: Oh come on, it's easy. You just say to her, 'Geraldine, I don't want to live here anymore, I'm going to start looking for a new place to live -- so you'd better find a replacement house-mate pretty fast -- 'cause I won't be here long.'
Warren: But she'd want to know WHY.
Lola: Well you just tell her you need to be alone for a while, you don't like living with people.
Warren: *pause for five seconds*
Lola: Then you get the real-estate section.
Warren: *stares at the footpath*
Lola: You pick out a nice place, maybe eighty or ninety a week, it's more than what you're paying now, but you can afford it, right? How much dole money are you getting?
Warren: *stares at the footpath*
Lola: Warren?
Warren: *stares at the footpath*
Lola: Warren, you're not answering me! Are you thinking it over?
Warren: Yes, and I don't like where this is going.
Lola: Whaddya mean?
Warren: *stares at the footpath*
Lola: Warren? Speak to me, babe.
Warren: A few minutes ago you were saying you support my suicide, saying it's O.K., saying maybe you'll do it with me --
Lola: Yeah --
Warren: And now you're trying to talk me out of it.
Lola: Well --
Warren: You are, aren't you?
Lola: Not really, I mean, it's still your decision -- I'm just --
Warren: No, listen, you're saying I should move out of my house, and that would take more than a week to organise, in itself. And once I get to this other place, you're saying that I'd be so happy that I wouldn't be suicidal anymore and I'd put the whole idea aside!
Lola: Well, you could still commit suicide afterwards, if you feel like the new place isn't good enough.
Warren: Now I see the devious trick that you're playing.
Lola: What? No, I just --
Warren: Once I get to this new place, and I decide it's not good enough, you'd just find one more thing about my life that I'd have to change, and that would put my suicide off even longer.
Lola: But it's your choice! I'm not saying you HAVE to do this stuff -- I'm just saying it's stupid to commit suicide when happiness is within your grasp -- you're looking for it in the wrong places -- you put so much effort into job searching -- if you could just -- re-channel that energy into finding better accommodation, you might find -- you might find --
Warren: That life is really worth living?
Lola: Yeah. I mean, what am I supposed to say? I'm sorry, Warren, but I can't support this suicide when you haven't explored all the options yet.
Warren: *points at her* you -- and Geraldine -- and my psychologist -- and my parents -- are all trying to trick me into postponing suicide for longer. Exploring the options takes time. More time in which to feel miserable. I'm going to commit suicide in a week -- nothing's going to change that -- not this time. No matter what trick you throw at me. I've fallen for Geraldine's tricks in the past -- they're just another way to make my life stretch on and on, postponing the suicide again and again --
Lola: *sighs*
Warren: Dangling the carrot in front of my face and never letting me eat it. I'm sick of living.
Lola: I'm not trying to trick you into anything. ALL I'M SAYING -- is that you COULD move out of that house if you wanted to. If you want to go ahead and commit suicide, then fine. Do it. But don't tell me it's because of the house or because of your living situation. You need a better excuse than that.
Warren: *pause* It's not that easy.
Lola: What? Finding an excuse?
Warren: No, I mean the money side of things. Renting a place of my own would cost more money than what I'm paying now, right? The rent I'm paying now is LESS. So -- if I were to move into a place by myself -- my savings would increase a lot, lot slower -- and my dream of one day owning a computer music workstation -- would be that much more distant.
Lola: *realising* aaaah. So it's the money.
Warren: Yes.
Lola: You'd be saving less.
Warren: Yes.
Lola: I guess we're back to square on then. Not enough money, means not enough reason to live.
Warren: That's right.
Lola: If you had a pension you'd be O.K.
Warren: Maybe.
Lola: Those idiots -- I'd like to slap them.
Warren: Hmmm.
Lola: They've killed you.
Part 4