The Nap (Act ii)
General Martinez has lost his way. And his marbles.
A play about getting lost in two acts.
(Find Act i here)
Same layout as Act i. Lighting is different to show the passage of time. The remaining soldiers are all dead. BOX has an arrow through his foot and can’t move. GENERAL MARTINEZ is still sleeping. Sprawled ridiculously.
Lieut. MERCURY: Well this is a disaster.
Lieut. BOX: We’ve really tried everything.
Lieut. MERCURY: Maybe his incubation is over. It’s been so long. Maybe the idea is hatched! Do you think we could wake him up?
Lieut. BOX: You do it. I have a fucking arrow through my foot. How am I supposed to move?
Lieut. MERCURY: OK. (Walks over to the GENERAL. Shakes his shoulder softly.) My General.
(GENERAL flails. Grunts. Rolls over. Goes back to sleep.)
(MERCURY walks back to BOX.) That didn’t work. (Pause.)
Lieut. MERCURY: I wonder if we’ll die next, now that all of the imbeciles are dead.
Lieut. BOX: All of the imbeciles except for the sly bastard that wandered off.
Lieut. MERCURY: I forgot about him. Wonder what happened to him. (Pause.) But Box, (Pause.) do you think we’ll die now? You know, now that there’s no one else for them to hit.
Lieut. BOX: We already discussed this. I said: “We won’t die. That won’t make sense.” Remember?
Lieut. MERCURY: I know but they got pretty close by hitting you in the foot.
Lieut. BOX: Close, but not quite there. I’m still alive, see? There’s a huge difference between being dead and being alive.
Lieut. MERCURY: But Box, I’m not so sure anymore. Listen to me. There’s nobody else for the arrows to hit besides you, me and the General. It is inevitable.
Lieut. BOX: Don’t talk like that Mercury. You sound like a coward.
(A frivolous, generic musical tune with a drum beat. Getting louder. Enter SOLDIER 8, followed by 4 musicians. Musicians play for a little while longer on stage. Music stops.)
Lieut. BOX: Well, look who’s back. Told you he wouldn’t get far without us. (Mercury is silent.) And who are these oddballs?
SOLDIER 8: It took a while, but I finally found them. You should really try taking a walk sometime, Clears your mind. You’ll get to see the rest of the place too. It’s fascinating around here. There’s also something strange about this particular spot. (Looks at the dead bodies.)
Lieut. BOX: Where did you go?
SOLDIER 8: Everywhere.
Lieut. BOX: I see. Everywhere.
SOLDIER 8: I just kept walking. All the way around. This place is one big circle.
Lieut. BOX: One big circle, eh?
SOLDIER 8: Yes. Anyway, everything is in place now that they (pointing at the musicians.) are here in the presence of the General.
Lieut. BOX: Why the hell did you come back here if this spot is so strange? Will you tell me that?
SOLDIER 8: I had to.
Lieut. BOX: What do you mean you had to?
SOLDIER 8: I told you, this place is just one big circle. My coming back was inevitable. In any case, I brought them here. (Pause. GENERAL snores, fidgets and grunts ferociously.)
Lieut. MERCURY: We need to do something. I don’t want to be around here for much longer.
Lieut. BOX: Who are these assholes?
SOLDIER 8: You don’t need to worry about them. They are supposed to be here. You are the ones out of place. (Looks around at the dead bodies.) Things have really gotten out of hand here.
Lieut. BOX: Can you believe this imbecile, Mercury? (MERCURY says nothing.) Lieutenant Mercury? Do you have nothing to say about this?
Lieut. MERCURY: Why are they here? They are just going to get in the way of things.
SOLDIER 8: This is where they are supposed to be right now.
Lieut. BOX: Mercury, will you please slap the insolent bitch?
(Mercury does nothing.)
SOLDIER 8: You’ll see why they need to be here. Soon. Very soon in fact. (Pause.) In fact, really soon. (Pause.) In fact…(Pause.) Right about…(Pause.) Now. (Makes a subtle gesture vaguely like an orchestra conductor and slowly steps back. The musicians encircle the GENERAL and begin to play a sad, haunting tune. They play for about 45 seconds. The GENERAL flails violently. Grunts. Wakes up. Look around. Music stops.)
Lieut. MERCURY: (Rushes over.) My General!
Lieut. BOX: (Arms in the air.) He is awake!
Lieut. MERCURY: My General! Did you figure it out?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: What are you talking about?
Lieut. MERCURY: The incubation. Remember?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Who are you?
Lieut. MERCURY: It is me. Lieutenant Mercury. How do we get out of here? We were told this place was just one big circle. Is that true?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: What? Look I don’t know you. Back off a bit, will you?
Lieut. MERCURY: My General?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: You obviously have me confused with someone else.
Lieut. BOX: We haven’t. We are sure it’s you.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Who?
Lieut. BOX: Your name is General Javier Martinez. Earlier, you decided to incubate your memories of this place so you took a nap. Remember? Did you figure out how to get out of here?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: General Javier Martinez… General Javier… Sorry, doesn’t ring a bell. You guys seem totally lost. (Pause. To MERCURY, pointing at BOX.) Is he with you?
Lieut. MERCURY: Yes! That is Lieutenant Box! Do you not remember?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Don’t be silly. You can only remember things that you once knew. (Turns to the musicians.) I’m glad to see you four though. I thought you wouldn’t make it. How did you know where to come? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. I’m just glad you’re here now. (Pause.) I’ve been waiting a while for them. These guys are terrific.
Lieut. MERCURY: Could you please tell us about your nap?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: That was a long nap. And what dreams!
Lieut. BOX: Yes, the dreams. Please tell me what you dreamt.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Why do you care about my dreams?
Lieut. MERCURY: Did your dreams bring back any memories? Please tell me.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Well. If you insist.
Lieut. BOX: We do.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: In the dream, I was surrounded by people who just did whatever I told them to do. It was really quite amusing at first. I would say ‘Carry my things’ and they would carry my things. ‘Wash my clothes!’ and they would wash my clothes. ‘Fetch me grapes!’ and they would fetch me grapes. Anyway, you get the idea. I started walking round and round in circles; I had no clue where I was going. (Pause.) Of course, everyone just followed me anyway. (Pause.) Well, all of a sudden, the people around me started dying one by one. Everything happened so quickly. It was like one minute they were there, talking to me and then: Kaput. They were totally gone. Vanished, if you will.
Lieut. MERCURY: But surely…
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Please don’t interrupt. You love to talk, don’t you? Mercury, is it? Please keep it zipped if you don’t mind. So as I was saying, these people kept dying. And there was a dreadful noise. It was faint, but it sounded like a cross between a siren and a scream. I wanted to help them but I couldn’t move. I was frozen. Everyone was just waiting, expecting me to do something. People around staring in expectation. I couldn’t do anything though. I just watched. Like I said: I was frozen.
Lieut. BOX: Frozen?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: More like asleep now that I think about it. Sleep paralysis. Have you ever had sleep paralysis? Where you are completely aware of your surroundings but can’t move? (Pause.) Anyhow, that was only a dream. It’s a big relief things like that don’t happen in real life.
Lieut. BOX: Did you ever get out of that place?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Does that hurt? By the way.
Lieut. BOX: Does what hurt?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: The arrow. rough your foot. Looks terribly uncomfortable.
Lieut. BOX: It did for a while but not anymore. The dream.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Looks really inconvenient, though. I take it then you’ll be sticking around?
Lieut. BOX: Please, back to the dream. Did you ever get out of that place?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: OK, OK. I was just getting to that. (Pause.) I did manage to get out. Everyone else who was still alive came with me.
Lieut. BOX: How did you get out?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: There were gigantic mangrove trees all around. And there was the edge of the ocean: a long white strip of sand. The water was so clear I watched the starfishes move across the rocks. I remember watching them for a while. Then we made rafts using the wood and just floated away.
Lieut. BOX: Where did you go?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: That’s where the dream ended.
Lieut. MERCURY: That’s it?
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Yes.
Lieut. BOX: That can’t be all. Please tell me you remember.
GENERAL MARTINEZ: Remember what? That was it. I told you. Now, gentlemen, that I’ve indulged you. I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are or why you’re so interested in me but I have other things to do. I am obviously not the person you are looking for. If you don’t mind, I’ve been waiting a while for this. (Pause.) You’re welcome to sit back and enjoy this with me. In fact, I highly recommend it. (Pause.) You’ll stay? Good. (To BOX.) We’ll you don’t really have a choice. (Laughs.) Don’t worry, though. is will be fun. You’ll be glad. These guys are terrific, you won’t regret this. (Pause. Politely, to the musicians.) Please, whenever you are ready. (The musicians play another tune. Preferably in a minor key.)