afternoon gaslight special

chiles and cilantro 01

[Two rooms, one containing Palinode, the other Schmutzie. Palinode’s finger touches buttons, Schmutzie’s phone rings. Satellites and towers gurgle at each other.]

Schmutzie: Hello?

Palinode: Hello.

Schmutzie: You know something, I knew you were going to call.

Palinode: You did?

Schmutzie: I looked at the phone and knew that it was about to ring, and that you’d be on the other end.

Palinode: Here’s a question. What was the gap in time between your conviction that I’d call and my actual call? Was it seconds? A split second?

Schmutzie: I know, you’re going to tell me that my brain is mixing up the order of events.

Palinode: Your consciousness glitched and reassembled events in the wrong sequence. You covered the logical gap by concocting a metaphysical experience. You have no control over reality.

Schmutzie: I’m not making a big spiritual thing out of the moment. I just think we have other ways of knowing and connecting. Especially after eleven years of marriage.

Palinode: Eleven years?

Schmutzie: Yup.

Palinode: Look, I’m going to level with you. We’re not married. I have no idea who you are. We’ve never even spoken before. My friend just handed me a slip of paper with a phone number on it.

Schmutzie: Really.

Palinode: You are absolutely crazy.

Schmutzie: You promised to cook supper tonight.

Palinode: And I was totally insane to promise that.