1.1 The Outside
written by Eli Barraza
directed & produced by Mischa Stanton
[[SFX: Phone buzz. Breathing, stirring under bedcovers.]]
PERI: Five more minutes.
[[SFX: Phone buzzes. Stirring from sheets and a yawn.]]
PERI: Hm, I thought I turned off the…
[[SFX: Picks up phone.]]
PERI: Come on, I just replaced this charger, why are you dead? Stupid sketchy online store.
[[SFX: Hesperia gets out of bed and walks out of the room.]]
PERI: Last time I order from you stupid people even though it was on a discount...
[[SFX: Footsteps descending the stairs. Hesperia opens a cabinet, sighs, slings down a box of cereal. Opens another, puts out a bowl. Grabs a spoon from a drawer. Pours the cereal. Hums. Opens the fridge. Stops.]]
PERI: The stupid fridge light too? Wait.
[[SFX: Picks up milk carton.]]
[[SFX: Picks up other items from the fridge.]]
PERI: If this is another blackout...
[[SFX: Walks over to the microwave. Opens it then bangs it closed.]]
PERI: You’re kidding. ‘Yes Hesperia, we appliances are joking about not working. It must be April Fools day. Ha ha ha ha ha.
[[SFX: Walks over to her laptop. Opens it. Types away a moment then stops. Pushes the power button. Pushes it again.]]
PERI: And the laptop is now just an expensive piece of metal and plastic. Okay. Okay okay. Um, uh, Monday. Second Monday of the month. Grocery day so Jordan the grocery guy will be here soon so he’ll know what’s going on. And maybe while he helps take out the trash, the power will turn back on again. Okay. Cool. Just. Wait until then. I can do that.
[[SFX: Flips through a book. Loudly sighs. Taps fingers. Closes book.]]
PERI: I have no sense of time. It’s been a while though, right?
[[SFX: Gets up from chair and walks over to the front door.]]
PERI: I’m gonna open the door and Jordan’s gonna be walking up the path and he’s gonna have milk and eggs. He’ll say hello. I’ll nod. And he’ll ask how I’m doing like always and I will smile and then he’ll say that there’s been a blackout but they’re working on it and--
[[SFX: Opens door.]]
[[SFX: Closes door. Opens it again. Shuts it. Breathes in and out rapidly.]]
PERI: Not real. That’s not real. I-
[[SFX: Footsteps head to the window. Yanks open the curtains.]]
PERI: The cliffs aren’t there. The ocean isn’t there.
[[SFX: Runs up the first set of stairs. Runs to the bathroom window. Opens the curtains. Runs up another set of stairs. Strides across and opens the curtains. Coughs at the dust.]]
PERI: This isn’t happening, this can’t be happening. ‘But what if it is, Peri.’ Oh my gosh, stop pretending to be the curtains. I’m either hallucinating or that, that dust bowl outside is real.
[[SFX: Takes a deep breath. Approaches the last set of stairs.]]
PERI: One more window to check, just one more window. Ha, but I can’t go up there. Not sure if Ace would be cool with me going into his room. Though he isn’t here, is he. Maybe I could just go straight through it to get up to the light room? Yeah, no lingering, just up to the lightroom to check the surroundings. I could do that.
[[SFX: She pauses.]]
PERI: I can’t do this.
[[SFX: She heads back down the stairs.]]
PERI: Where does fog come from when you’re in a desolate wasteland? It’s like the night brought a blanket of grey.
[[SFX: Hesperia rummages through a cabinet. She removes a candle and a match. She lights the candle and sings.]]
PERI: I have a little light to fight against the night from me it get its might.’ Happy I found you, Guillermo. No electricity means no lamps when the sun goes down. Or vanishes in fog as the case may be. ‘You should probably look for the old camping lights when there’s daylight’ Maybe I won’t need to, Mo. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow like Alice waking from a dream. But didn’t she keep going back to Wonderland? Oh be quiet or I’ll blow you out, s-stupid…. candle.
[[SFX: Hesperia opens the cupboard, grabs cereal and a bowl, pours the cereal. ]]
[[SFX: She opens the garbage can to throw out the box.]]
PERI: Oh gosh.
[[SFX: The trash can closes and she opens the fridge.]]
PERI: OH GOSH.
[[SFX: She clears her throat and takes a deep breath.]]
PERI: Candle on the counter. Mo. The blackout wasn’t a dream, oh no. Oh no no no no no.
[[SFX: She approaches the window and opens the curtains. She lets out a small gasp as the sounds of animals and bugs sound.]]
PERI: It’s a jungle out there. Mo, there’s a jungle and AHHHH oohhhhh my heart attack that’s the biggest butterfly I have ever seen.
[[SFX: She shuts the curtains.]]
PERI: Oh wow look at that, it’s bed time already? Time to hide under the covers and ignore the world outside? Yep, sounds about right. The time for bed is arbitrary when you have no clocks and right after waking up is the perfect time for bed I think. Mhm.
PERI: Is it more sad to have stale crackers for breakfast or nothing at all?
[[SFX: Hesperia closes the cupboard and walks to the window.]]
PERI: Day six. And the fog burns off to reveal....
[[SFX: She opens the window. Birds tweet, bugs chirp.]]
PERI: Hills. And tall grass. The breeze almost makes it look like the ocean back home. But it’s not an undulating blue with the black dots of ships on the water. Instead it’s all a desaturated brown with pockets of green bushes. Think I could throw out the garbage here, Mo? I mean, it’s not exactly great for the environment but I am going to throw up from the smell pretty soon.
[[SFX: She waits.]]
PERI: I am going to take your silence as a disapproving yes.
[[SFX: She opens the trash can and ties it all together. She breathes through her mouth and carries the bag to the door. She stops.]]
PERI: Alright. Moment of truth. Gonna open the door and take out the trash. Take out the trash. C’mon Peri, take out the trash. Take out. The Trash. Take out the trash, take out the trash and don’t think about the grass. Take out the trash. Take out the trash. Take out the trash and forget about the hills.
[[SFX: She opens the door.]]
PERI: Ha heh. Okay, on the count of three, toss it just straight out. No need to take a step outside. You have a fairly decent sense of balance, you’re not going to tumble out. On the count of three.
[[SFX: She picks up the trash bag and swings it back and forth.]]
PERI: One. Two. Three!!
[[SFX: The bag lands a few feet away with a squishy thud.]]
PERI: Oh my gosh, I did it. Oh my gosh. I-I-I took out the trash. Or as near to taking out the trash as I’ve done in years. Score! High five, Peri.
[[SFX: She gives herself a high five. A shout from the distance.]]
SAWYER: Oy! You!
PERI: Oh no.
[[SFX: The voice nears.]]
SAWYER: Did you just toss your trash out into this field?
[[SFX: She shuts the door.]]
SAWYER: Shy are we? Well that’s nothin’ to be ashamed of. Saw your lighthouse from a ways off and figured I’d be neighborly and stop by.
[[SFX: Hesperia locks the door.]]
SAWYER: My apologies, didn’t mean to cause a scare. Just wanted to let you know that there’s a trash bin a ways off where you could properly get rid of that stuff.
[[SFX: Hesperia locks the second lock.]]
SAWYER: Well alright then. You ever feel like comin’ out, I’m just over that hill. I can show ya where the bin is and make ya some hot cocoa or tea. No coffee as I’m not fond of the hard stuff. Anyway, hope ya stop by neighbor.
[[SFX: Hesperia lets out a sigh of relief.]]
SAWYER: Apologies, forgot ta tell ya my name.
[[SFX: Hesperia gasps.]]
SAWYER: Sawyer. Just Sawyer. Used ta be Justice Sawyer.
[[SFX: Sawyer laughs.]]
SAWYER: Anyway, I’ll take your bag on my way for ya. Hope ta meet ya face ta face!
[[SFX: Peri sniffs back tears.]]
PERI: That was a disaster. They sounded perfectly nice to me. But they interrupted what I was doing, Mo! You already took out the trash, Peri, what’s the big deal? The big DEAL is that I don’t know where I am I don’t know who they are and I am, I am hanging by thread right now. And you think I should have spoken to them. They don’t teach Stranger Danger for nothing.
[[SFX: She lets out a sigh.]]
PERI: I’m sorry. I’m handling this all wrong. I mean, I don’t think anyone would know what to do if their home started to show up every which way every day but… at least they probably know how to take out the trash, right? And how to talk to people. How to ask for help.
[[SFX: She takes a breath.]]
PERI: Mo, tomorrow I am going to take a step outside. And then the day after I’m going to take two steps. And then three. And then who knows, maybe I’ll even smile at someone and say hello. And then I’ll get groceries myself for once. If I end up somewhere with a grocery store. I really do need to figure out this whole food thing. But, I’ll be okay. I think I can do that. I think I can be okay.
The Far Meridian.
Created and written by Eli Barraza, directed and produced by Mischa Stanton.
Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri, and Julian Mundy as Sawyer. Music by The Album Leaf.
For more information and links to support the show, go to TheFarMeridian.com, or find us on social media @TheFarMeridian.
Episode two is live in your feed right now. Until then, may you always find your way.