A Bird Picking at my Brain - Michael Barbosa

A Bird Picking at My brain: A One-Act Play

Michael Barbosa

CHARACTERS

This play is dedicated to one of the most influential 6 year olds I’ve ever met, A kid full of imagination and energy, however still a kid with little hope in his future. My little friend’s father battled a crack-cocaine addiction for 20 years, and finally won, but his successful victory will never remove the harm and scars he has left on his son.

Narrator: Let me introduce you toMason. Mason is a rising sophomore at Baker University located in Bakersville, CA. Baker University is steadily improving on its academic integrity, but its Catholic tradition seems to hold back the likes of Mason. In an attempt to find himself, Mason begins experimenting with hallucinogens, but he only finds himself venturing down the dangerous streets of Compton, CA. Here Mason enters a broken down factory and continues to the back of the factory where he finds a secret door. Upon opening the door and venturing inside, he finds himself part of an unknown parallel universe. The door is now gone and Mason must find a way out of this world.

Simon and Says are two characters who play a major part in serving as both the physical and spiritual tour guides in this new world. They dress alike in jester clothes and often embrace Mason. Even though they come off as crazy they seem to have a deeper connection to Mason than he initially knows. Mason serves as the Ego while Simon and Says fluxuate between being the Id and Super-Ego. These two characters play many tricks on Mason and if he plans on escaping this lavish world, Mason must separate what they deem as truth and reality, or forever remain stuck in this alter universe.

General Fran Qua and Random Dan are the other figments of Michael’s imagination. General Fran Qua has become an angry individual upon losing his love Lo Mismo. The world that Random Dan and Fran Qua have known to love is slowly fading around them. Random Dan lost his vision, and has grown to accept it, but his friends lack the ability to control of emotions of Fran Qua may lead to his downfall. Follow the magic and see what happens next.

SETTING

Narrator: An unknown parallel universe around noonish on a Saturday morning. Simon and Says are preparing to hop on the phantom bus. They notice a stranger and quickly befriend him. Unable to formulate concrete words, because he is in shock, Mason is quick to join the strangers on an extravagant adventure after being awoken. Here is the encounter between supernatural and natural.

Side of Bus has #1 on it to represent (Scene 1)

When the Narrator speaks, he speaks slowly and in a poetic tone of voice. Action begins in the back on the auditorium before moving onto center stage.

General Fran Qua: ALL ABOARD!

Simon: Wakey, Wakey.

Did you find it yet?

… or is it that you just don’t get it?

Wait, sorry have we met?

Sometimes my mind (emphasis and stretches out the wanders) wandersand I forget.

You looked lonely…

… So, I thought why not?

(Simon and Says are looking through Mason’s hair.)

SAYS: Hey, did you find it yet?

Or is it that you just don’t get it?

Wait, sorry have we met,

Sometimes my mind (Emphasis and stretches out the wonders.) wondersand I forget.

You looked lonely, so I thought why not?

General Henry Fran Qua: (Over the loud speakers.) Buckle up! We will now be proceeding into the Realm of Unlimited Further Imagination, please ensure all hands and items are properly tucked away for your stay. And please restrain from feeding the animals.

(Bus begins traveling towards center stage, going down the aisle.)

Simon: (Talking to Mason.) What kid you doesn’t talk?

Says: Tell me you can at least walk.

(Puts hands on chin and begins to stroke his wildly untamed beard.)

Simon: Okay, I bet you’re wondering what here is,

So here it is.

(Puts hands on wildly untamed hair.)

(Beat.)

Well it’s creativity,

Says: A far cry from simplicity….

(Begins gesturing with hands.)

Simon: Once you enter, it begins in the mind as lucid inception,

Then it’ll start creeping up all of our spines —finally reaching our souls as divinity.

(Beat.)

Says: But as it rises from its incubation…

Simon: …slowly percolating, from deep within…

Says: …the layers and depths of futile deception don’t fight it…

Simon: …as it is manifest destiny.

Says: (Read with a great excitement.) A thought pondered from very high in the sky!

Simon: Now entangled deep within our minds!

Says: And as it settles in its final location,

Simon: Just know that this is something only you and I can truly understand.

Says: He won’t get that you idiot;

Here listen kid… there’s some rules ya hear?

Therefore, don’t you dare.

Simon: For one.

Says: Never entertain a jester’s jubilant jawing ways,

Or you’ll find yourself entrapped deep within his melodic maze.

Simon: Oh no.

Says: Why is it that you are unfazed in this daze?

Is it because you fail to see what you have done wrong?

This is a game I’ve been playing with you all along.

Now to listen to my tale and solve it without fail,

Simon: …or forever remain in this elaborate metaphorical jail.

(Beat.)

What’s orange and blue?

Says: A perfect hue correctly correlating on cue

Simon: Do you know who?

Says: Or is it that you are still searching for more clues?

General Henry Fran Qua: (Over the loud speakers.) Next stop… (Beat.) Random Dan’s Auditorium, YeeeeeHawwwww!

Says: Ahh yes Random Dan’s Auditorium.

That is where The Zen Master keeps an eye over the adolescent.

Simon: But not even. He can slow the chase for the ultimate suppressant!

Says: Don’t be timid or shy…

Simon: …little guy.

Says: Questions must be circulating throughout his cerebellum.

Simon: And fear must hover in the lower parts of his mind like Medusa’s venom.

Says: Medusa didn’t have venom, idiot.

Simon: Rewind.

Says: Tis not the time, are you outta your mind.

Simon: Well aren’t you ever so kind.

Says: Hush, and discuss the stuff.

(Beat.)

Simon: Random Dan is a schizophrenic…

Says: …but is ever so authentic.

Narrator: Simon, Says and Mason dismount from the bus and follow their tour guide General Henry Fran Qua into what is an unknown parallel universe for Mason. Still in shock, Mason finds himself desperately looking for the words necessary to combat the feelings flowing through him during this new experience

A half rabbit, half man runs across stage holding a sign painted Scene #2

The curtains are opened thus revealing Random Dan’s Auditorium. Simon and Says appear and the three characters proceed to enter the auditorium.

Random Dan: Welcome colleagues.

(To Mason) I feel as though in your heart you’re rather intrigued.

Simon: He’s ever so shy Master.

Says: This has all the makings for a disaster.

Random Dan: Do you know what it is that you are looking for my child?

Or is it that you still don’t get it, yet?

Mason: Who are you?

Explanations are overdue.

Narrator: Mason is shocked that he is using rhymes.

Mason: Did I just rhyme, or is that I’m losing my mind?

Random Dan: Questions are not for me.

Simon: Don’t you see?

Says: He is all that is aspired to be. Random Dan is blind…

Simon: …but he is ever so kind…

Says: …in this land of the metaphorically blind,

The one-eyed man serves as king.

Simon: (With a deeper emphasis.) Rewind!

(Characters begin prancing and dancing with a great excitement.)

Says: (Sterner.) Random Dan is blind!

Simon: (Calmer.) But he is ever so kind

Says: In this land of the metaphorically blind,

The one-eyed man serves as king.

Random Dan: Do you know why it is that you are here?

(Random Dan rubs his hands together, a light appears, and Childhood Mason’s voice begins escaping and echoing from his hands.)

Childhood Mason: “I wanna hit line drives for you daddy…”

(Voice fades out.)

Random Dan: The root of all that is your fear is in the realm of elaborate thought,

Because it’s simply something you have not and will master not.

And that in itself my Child is the ultimate recipe for disaster.

Mason: Hardly amused, I am confused.

Random Dan: I knew your father Mason. He was a man of bad decision. Drugs altered his vision…

Mason: Stop, traveling there you cannot.

Random Dan: Am I pouring salt in your wounds?

First, Hear my tears and all of their tunes

As he fell from Sanity’s Towers,

Do you ever think?

Simon: Liberation needs a leader,

Says: And the Gods have chosen you Mason.

Mason: Liberation from what?

Random Dan: Our war isn’t one fought physically.

It’s fought mentally.

I ask you Mason, have you ever been physically tested,

Then mentally molested?

And is the truth too much for your ears to invest in?

Don’t you see life of sin…

Is one you’ll never win.

Simon: (Sarcastic.) Not a worry,

Says: (Sarcastic.) Every warrior will reach a “metaphorical euphoria”

Simon and Says: Friends and enemies are all the same.

Random Dan: On that day,

Snow will begin falling from the sky

Like ash from a post apocalyptic sky

Simon: Your father’s dead Mason he won’t return.

Says: When is it that you will learn?

Random Dan: WE are different people…

Simon: …different aspirations…

Says: …yet we are not very different….

Simon, Says and Random Dan together: You and I…

Random Dan: Here’s a riddle for you to fiddle with.

Simon: Two men…

Says: …standing on the wrong side of the tracks…

Simon: …to catch the wrong train…

Says: ...the sign reads, “Train Approaching.”

Simon: One man dies shortly after…

Says: …the other, well he’s on his way to Pennsylvania…

Random Dan: …do you understand concept...

…that time goes on Mason. However, it is now time for rest my child.

The war is tomorrow.

Unicorn walks across center stage with Scene #3 painted on body

Narrator: Simon and Says are in a playful mood. Let’s see what happens.

Simon:

A squirrel stole my nut… (He looks high and low.)

My body reacts…

As the nut is set back.

Shades of lavender.... (Moving his head in a circular motion and begins dancing.)

… Ah yes, I’m a little lad, who loves nuts a tad, but I am not so bad.

Says: (Looking high and low.)Squirrels are lurking on the course,

Drop em' by unleashing gravitational force

I do less and know more

Stupid Pest,

Control this mess,

Pass this test,

Life!

Now give me my nuts Simon. (Pulls his bag of nuts away from Simon and a chase ensues. They chase each other around Mason, but then suddenly stop.)

Mason: Dad, can you hear me up there?

I only ask because some times it feels like you don’t care.

Is it a lonely walk into an unknown parallel universe?

Is it normal to ponder whether life’s a gift or curse?

Faded,

Jaded,

Hardly elated.

Left questioning how this could get any worse?

Morbid thoughts pondering to the top of my craniums dome,

Fluttering around like butterflies with no home.

(Beat.)

Sprouting from the cracks, lacking common sense

What’s the chase without any suspense?

No more words echo through my temporal.

So how can I be a hero, if I can’t even be an individual?

Metaphorically, I’m lost,

Therefore, I must now ride into the darkness with General Henry Fran Qua.

Simon: Are you still broken? (Tilts head to the side.)

Says: Still unspoken?

Mason: Jesus Christ, you are a bunch of Jabberwockies

Says: Take a leap of faith…

Simon: …allow us to explain how our world came to be…

Says: …it’s not all that you have come to see.

Simon: General Fran Qua and Random Dan were once valiant soldiers of the Vadicant.

Says: One they entered the labyrinth all was changed.

Simon: Lo Mismo, General Fran Qua’s long lost love.

Says: Random Dan’s Beloved Eyes…

Simon: …both gone…

Says: …bad decisions.

Simon: Indeed now Fran Qua spends night and day…

Says: …searching for the wife of his Chalet.

Narrator: Don’t be frightened. The stage will grow dark. You will see just the heads of our players. Then a strong light will appear on Fran Qua in the front.

Fran Qua: The sun creeps in

Quietly past your velvet lips of sin,

Settling upon your lust.

Flowing through each other

Intertwined in the mind

You are – one of a kind.

(Looking towards the heavens.) We are one,

We are all,

Soon to be the same.

(Looking to the ground.)

You are my never-ending, loving- flower slowly blossoming.

Releasing whispers of sweet nothings.

Echoing sounds of afternoon’s delight.

Whatever this is, it’s right.

Sweet dreams. Good night.

Until we meet again my love.

(Fran Qua leaves stage and light is now refocused back onto Simon, Says and Mason.)

Simon: Indeed a sad day, it twas.

Says: The voice of Reason is dead.

Simon: That is why we are in the battle.

Simon: As the honey seeps into my eyes…

Says: …they burn with a yearning to see all that…

Simon: …they cannot see…

Says: …Sin…

Simon: …the Devil’s daughter…

Says: …disguises herself in pretty little black tights…

Simon: …disconnecting us from the then, when, how and me.

Says: All faith and reason is now dead.

Simon: You were once confused and blinded by the lack of lights.

Says: You shall now see that there is nothing Sacred about this red.

Simon: Lyrical poems serve as the photographical negative nudes to our moods.

Says: But honey seeps out of the hive…

Simon: …camouflaging distorted dreams of those fighting to stay alive.

Narrator: Now it seems in order to redeem his friends’ lost dreams Mason must be all they need him to be.

A leprechaun with Scene #4 on her hat walks across stage

Narrator speaks in front of audience while stage items are moved around for new scene.

Narrator: As the story goes, our hero takes a leap of faith and joins his new friends in the battle. Truly, a coming of age tale, Mason faces a rather difficult decision: Choose whether to stay and live in this strange world forever or forever expunge himself from this alter-universe never to return.

The characters are gathered together in what’s left of Random Dan’s auditorium, which has now been destroyed because of the war.

Mason: Hemmingway, Fitzgerald even Locke…

Simon: …were all searching for the ideal world…

Says: …but fathom this and let it be told…

Simon: …they searched high and low…

Says: …but hit a turbulence flow…

Simon: …and now, that world they look for is in the unknown.

Random Dan: Tell me my child,

Who is the voice of reason?

Do they come and go with the season?

Is he the healers of your lesions?

Simon: Just call this the dawn of all that is reason…

Says: …it sprouted from the cracks, lacking common sense

Simon: …my mind’s stuck in a class of pleasure and joy…

Says: …but failure holds the daily lesson.

Random Dan: Magic is all we've ever known.

Simon: Making it easy to miss fairy tales occurring in the unknown.

Says: You don’t have to be high to look in the sky.

Simon: And know that much of it is left unknown and alone.

Says: Disconnected.

Simon: From the then…

Says: …when…

Simon: …how…

Says: …and we…

…so as you encounter puff…

Simon: … and your magical friends…

Says: …ponder upon cotton clouds…

Simon: …wondering…

Says: …hoping…

Random Dan: …that the sky will open with its hues of purple and orange once again…

Says: …on a beautiful autumn day.

Random Dan: My emotions too, were once laid at the bottom of an empty pit.

But only you can find them once again Mason.

Simon: This world is ascetically pleasing to the eye…

Says: …however, snakes slither deep within the rye…

Random Dan: …signal the goodbyes…

Simon: …but friendship never dies.

Random Dan: Now that you have been physically tested…

Simon: (Giggling.) …and mentally molested…

Random Dan: (Serious.)…go back to your world and ask if truth too much for their ears to invest in?

And remember, a life of sin, is one they’ll never win.

Simon: The lesson…?

Says: …well it’s a simple one:

Simon: As the great lyricist Eminem once said,

Says: “ See children, drugs are bad…

Simon: …And if you don't believe me, ask ya dad,

Says: …and if you don't believe him, ask ya mom.”

Mason: A bird is picking at my brain,

A cancer is the center of my pain.

I’m playing this game with a bunch of fishes.

Genie at the bottom so I swim towards my wishes.

White widow, liquid crystal display

The Northern Lights pave the way.

Right or wrong, it’s only a decision.

Left or right, it’s indecision

Igniting the movement, with the vision.

Questions circulating throughout my cerebellum.

Fear hovers in the background like Medusa’s venom.

Yes, it’s true the Zen Master does keep an eye over the adolescent,

Not even he can slow the chase for the ultimate suppressant.

Good-bye my friends.

Random Dan, Simon, and Says: Good-bye Mason.

(Lights slowly fade to leave stage in darkness. Only the Narrator remains.)

Narrator: My friends, this is the end of our play.