written by Eli Barraza
directed & produced by Mischa Stanton
[[SFX: Waves crash against the cliffs. Peri and Ruth clamber onto the the balcony surrounding the lightroom. They stand at the railing, the sleepy sounds of summer permeating the air.]]
RUTH: You sure your brother is cool with us going through his room to get up here?
PERI: So long as we don’t snoop. And even if he wasn’t look at that sunset. Worth getting in trouble?
[[SFX: They laugh then quiet, taking in deep breaths of the fresh air.]]
RUTH: Oh my darlin’ oh my darlin’ oh my darlin Clementine. You are lost now gone forever dreadful sorry Clementine.
PERI: That’s a sad song.
RUTH: It’s a satire. The singer makes fun of Clementine and then after she dies, hooks up with her sister.
RUTH: Yeah, no one ever pays attention to the rest of the verses.
PERI: Well. It’s still pretty.
RUTH: You mean you like it because it’s easy to sing.
PERI: Yeah, well some of us don’t get featured in the Winter Choir Show.
RUTH: You’ve got your violin.
PERI: That’s not the same as just… making music from your own body.
[[SFX: They laugh softly.]]
PERI: Are you gonna do the choir when you get there?
RUTH: I don’t know, allegedly first year physics majors practically suffer mental breakdowns from the course load alone. And I heard that--
PERI: Professor Heinlen is a total beast, avoid those classes at all costs. Dude, I helped you make that pro/con spreadsheet.
RUTH: I wanna take it so badly! I feel like if I can do that, I can do anything.
PERI: Just... don’t get burnt out okay?
RUTH: Never. You know, you could… always go. Next semester. It’d be way easier if we could cheer each other on.
PERI: I’ve got my online courses.
RUTH: You know that’s not the same.
[[SFX: Peri sigh.]]
PERI: Trust me, if I were a turtle with my home on my back, I’d be there in half a heartbeat.
RUTH: C’mon, in the grand cosmic scheme of things, the whole Earth is your home! Zooming through space at 67 thousand miles per hour!
PERI: Sounds more like a racecar than a home.
[[SFX: They laugh.]]
RUTH: You are... impossible.
[[SFX: Peri hums ‘Clementine’.]]
PERI: Mo, where are we? We’re at home. I know that but I mean, where is home? I look out and there’s nothing but the fog… where is it? Are we in a place? A non-place?
[[SFX: Mo does not respond.]]
PERI: How am I gonna explain this to that guy when I don’t even know myself? I think we really messed up this time. You were the one who dragged him in, not me. Alright, thanks for the camaraderie, Mo.
[[SFX: Peri fiddles with the drawers. Footsteps slowly down the stairs. Hesperia spins around as Benny makes his way down, leaning heavily on the railing.]]
PERI: Oh gosh! You’re awake. Here, let me grab you a chair.
[[SFX: She rushes towards a wooden chair, scraping it across the wooden floor to him. He stops on the stairs.]]
PERI: There, a seat. You’re probably still feeling woozy.
[[SFX: Nobody moves.]]
PERI: I don’t bite, I swear. Except for my food. I bite my food and then I chew it and swallow. Not that you’re food, that’s gross. I do have food, real food. If you’re feeling up to it?
BENNY: Who are you.
PERI: Oh, um. Hesperia but I prefer Peri most of the time. People only call me Hesperia when they’re mad at me.
BENNY: Nice to meet you… Hesperia. Kidnap people often?
PERI: Oh, oh gosh. That’s not… I mean I didn’t mean to… would you like to sit down, you still don’t look good.
[[SFX: Benny slowly moves to the chair and sits.]]
PERI: I see you found the clothes I laid out. Those are my old jeans, happy they fit you. I mean, I’ve been having to use belts lately. Anyway, um, food? Yeah, you want some food?
BENNY: Where am I.
PERI: That’s a complicated question.
BENNY: How did I get here.
PERI: Food poisoning I think? I mean, not that the food poisoning transported you here. That was me. It was hard, we almost fell over a lot. You were all sweaty and ashy looking after eating that gross sandwich, I think it was the sandwich that did it. You were really sick and without anyone else around to help I figured the best option to make sure you didn’t... You know, die, would be to set you up in my bathroom and wait it out. It wasn’t kidnapping, I swear. At least, not kidnapping on purpose. Mild kidnapping. Friendly kidnapping? Well-intentioned kidnapping.
[[SFX: Benny does not respond.]]
PERI: You want some water? You’re probably really dehydrated.
[[SFX: Peri grabs two glasses from a cupboard and fills them up from the sink tap. She puts one on the table and inches it towards him. She gulps from her own glass.]]
PERI: See? Perfectly safe to drink.
[[SFX: He slowly picks up his glass and takes a few sips.]]
PERI: So… do you have a name?
PERI: Can I know what it is?
BENNY: I’d like to leave now.
[[SFX: He pushes himself off his seat and walks towards the door.]]
PERI: I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
BENNY: I would like. To leave. Now.
PERI: I’m sure you would and I fully support you going on your merry way but it’s not safe out there. And I’m not just saying that, it really isn’t safe. And I swear it’s not like that movie with the blizzard and the writer and the lady who ends up putting the board between his feet with the sledgehammer and oh my god why am I bringing up hobbling right now, that is not helping my case, what I’m trying to say is that you can’t leave because we’re not anywhere you can leave to. I think.
BENNY: That made no sense.
PERI: You were just in a desert, yeah? Have you ever seen fog in a desert?
PERI: Right, that’s because we’re not in that desert anymore. I’ve been popping up all over the place lately and the fog comes in during the evening and then all of a sudden I’m someplace new the next morning and I’m really sorry that I pulled you into this but it’s not safe to go out there until we’re at the next spot. Once the fog burns off, I swear you can go.
BENNY: You are actually certifiable.
PERI: I mean, I can’t stop you but it’s a really bad--
[[SFX: Benny opens the door and an enormous wave crashes by, pouring seawater into the room.]]
PERI: Oh my gosh, close the door, close the door.
[[SFX: They both slam the door shut. Waves continue to crash outside.]]
BENNY: What the hell was that.
PERI: That was proof that I’m right. We’ve arrived someplace else.
[[SFX: She rushes to the window.]]
PERI: Holy smokes, those are the biggest waves I’ve ever--
[[SFX: Another enormous wave crashes against the lighthouse, cracking a window.]]
PERI: That doesn't sound good.
BENNY: Do you have a hammer and nails?
BENNY: Do you have. A hammer. And nails.
PERI: Um, I think so, I did an inventory a while ago.
[[SFX: She runs to a cabinet and returns with a box of nails and a hammer.]]
PERI: Your voice carries a lot of authority.
[[SFX: More waves.]]
PERI: Holy mole.
BENNY: Do you have any wood?
PERI: What? Just lying around?
[[SFX: Another wave crashes over the lighthouse, the window cracks further.]]
PERI: I have these wooden chairs.
BENNY: They’ll do. Mind if I break them?
PERI: If it will stop the water from coming in then I do not mind in the slightest.
[[SFX: He picks up a chair and hits against the wall. He picks up pieces and nails them quickly to the window.]]
BENNY: That might hold it.
[[SFX: Another huge wave. The glass breaks and water makes its way in.]]
BENNY: We should go upstairs. Grab any food that won’t do well in water.
PERI: Uh huh!
[[SFX: Benny and Hesperia sit in Ace’s room, the waves a quieter from the highest room in the lighthouse.]]
BENNY: Looks a bit dated.
BENNY: The room.
PERI: Oh, yeah. It’s, um, my brother’s. He… hasn’t been around.
BENNY: Big deal you’re in here, huh.
PERI: Yeah, kind of.
BENNY: I’m Benny, by the way.
BENNY: Benny. Short for Benicio but only my mom calls me that when she’s mad.
PERI: Nice to know your name, Benny.
BENNY: You’re a lot quieter now.
PERI: Hm? Oh. Yeah. I’m tired. Staying up all night only to see the ocean flooding the house kind of takes a lot out of a person. Sorry, again, about accidentally kidnapping you. I thought you were gonna die.
BENNY: I’d say that’s understandable but I think understanding any part of this… whole… thing is kind of beyond me.
PERI: This is one of the worst places I’ve been so far.
BENNY: How long?
BENNY: How-how long have you been… travelling like this?
PERI: I don’t really know. I kind of lost track.
BENNY: Don’t you ever just wanna… I don’t know. Leave? I get that this is your house but--
PERI: This conversation is getting very personal and I’d like to stop it now.
PERI: It’s okay. I get overwhelmed sometimes.
BENNY: That why you talk to that candle?
PERI: Oh gosh you heard that? Jeez, that’s embarrassing. [pause] His name is Mo.
BENNY: We can just sit for a while, if you like. I’m still pretty beat from the whole being sick and then boarding up windows.
PERI: Okay. And, thank you. For that. I know you thought I kidnapped you and everything so when you just leapt into action… thanks.
BENNY: You’re welcome.
PERI: Alright, moment of truth.
[[SFX: She opens the door.]]
PERI: I guess that’s a nope.
BENNY: Shut the door, snow is getting inside.
PERI: I haven’t been to a snowy place in a while. That’s cool. Literally. Ha. Sorry.
[[SFX: She shuts the door.]]
BENNY: And you have no phone.
PERI: There’s no power. To be honest, I’m shocked I have water and have decided not to question where it comes from.
PERI: I’m going to start cleaning up this mess. You can hang out in my room if you like. I’ve got some books ‘n comics.
BENNY: Nah, I’ll… I’ll help you too.
PERI: Oh. Cool. Thanks.
[[SFX: The door opens.]]
PERI: Look, wilderness. Wander around for a while. Find a town. Call home. You can leave!
BENNY: Walking into a random forest without gear or any idea of where this forest is? That’s prime horror movie no-no.
PERI: You’re a surveyor! Survey the land, figure it out. Didn’t you want to go home?
BENNY: We’re still not done fixing the downstairs. Let’s wait until tomorrow. See if we get a nice suburb or something.
[[SFX: The door shuts.]]
[[SFX: Hesperia opens the door.]]
PERI: That is a row of cornfields which means there might be a farmer around. You might actually find civilization
BENNY: Or a bunch of creepy children.
PERI: You’re a horror movie person aren’t you?
BENNY: I’d watch them with my mom when I was a kid.
PERI: Okay. Well. this might be your best shot of getting home. Who knows where we’ll end up next.
BENNY: It’s fine, I’ll take my chances. We can finish cleaning up the kitchen today.
[[SFX: She closes the door.]]
PERI: This may come off rude and to be honest, this is very awkward for me to point out but… you are eating all of my food.
PERI: Yeah. Which was why I figured now might be a good time for you to leave before we end up in the arctic or something.
BENNY: What if…
PERI: What if what.
BENNY: What if I... stayed? I mean, I could help you find food a-and fix up the other busted things. Looks like the lamp up top doesn’t work anymore.
PERI: I thought you wanted to go home.
BENNY: I thought I did too but… I live in this tiny apartment, right? The stove has only two out of four functioning burners. I wanted to be surveyor to see cool places and instead I got stuck in an endless stretch of desert.
PERI: So... you want to use me to see the world.
BENNY: No! Sort of, um, I mean I’d help out, whatever you need. You don’t like it, I’ll leave.
[[SFX: Peri lets out her breath.]]
PERI: I’m looking for my brother.
BENNY: What was that?
PERI: I’m looking for my brother. That’s why I haven’t permanently ditched the lighthouse. If you help me with that, you can stay as long as you like.
PERI: And there’s someone else. I think she might be looking for me? So we have to keep an eye out for her as well.
BENNY: Okay. Okay, I can do that. Presuming you have photos of these people we’re looking for.
BENNY: Shall we get back to work?
The Far Meridian
Created and written by Eli Barraza, directed and produced by Mischa Stanton.
Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri, Danielle Shemaiah as Ruth, and Jose Donado as Benny. 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.
We’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, may you always find your way.