Ice-Scrapers and Lightsabers: A True Story


ERIC is sitting in a warm chair, dressed in black, watching YouTube.  His shoes are off.  He is comfortable.  Hearing someone fiddling with the door, he looks up from his laptop.  

Enter SCOTTY.  He has just come in from the snow.  The hem of his pants is damp.  He is panting for breath and carrying a winter coat, a scarf, a Cairn sweatshirt, a diabetic briefcase, and a plastic lightsaber.  He is only wearing a gray t-shirt. His eyes are wild, his face flushed, his hair curled from now-evaporated sweat.

SCOTTY: You’re gonna want to hear this.

ERIC: (bemused) Yeah, it…looks like you’ve been on an adventure.

SCOTTY: I was. (still panting, sets down his items one-by-one, trying to collect his thoughts)  I was.

ERIC: Let’s hear it.

SCOTTY: So, as you know, I parked my minivan on campus last night.

ERIC: Your, uh, Mercury…

SCOTTY: …Mercury Villager Mini-Van Sport ™.  1999.  Yes.

ERIC: Hot ride.

SCOTTY: Right.  So today I walked up to campus for lunch.  I only took my medicine and my lightsaber.

ERIC: Why?

SCOTTY: I need to take insulin to eat.  Diabetes, remember?

ERIC: No, why the lightsaber?

SCOTTY: Oh, I figured there would be snow on my van and I don’t have a shovel. Better than using my arm.

ERIC: Gotcha.

SCOTTY: Turns out there wasn’t any snow on it, but there was a considerable wall between the back of the van and the road behind it.

ERIC: Where was this?

SCOTTY: Behind Stillman, to the far right of the dumpster.

ERIC: Okay.

SCOTTY: Adam, thank God, is also out there, and he has shovels.

ERIC: Adam…

SCOTTY: Tennis Adam?

ERIC: Oh THAT guy.

SCOTTY: Super nice. Once he’s done with his car, we start working on mine.  In a couple of minutes, we’ve made a nice, wide path behind the van.  So I get in and begin to back out.

ERIC: Right…

SCOTTY: (pacing about the room) It goes for a bit and then, suddenly, stops.  A bit frustrated, Adam and I resume our shoveling, scraping away some of the more base-level snow around the tires.

ERIC: How long is this story?

SCOTTY: But the car will not move.  The tires continue to spin.  We shovel more, this time bringing out our ice scrapers, chipping any frozen bits we can off the ground.  When  I try to move the car, I smell burning rubber from my front-right tire.

ERIC: What the…?

SCOTTY: AND STILL IT WILL NOT MOVE.  Adam and I return to our knees with a new determination, pulling off our outermost layers to ward off heat exhaustion as we kneel in the snow, hacking at the solid ice with the strength and precision of ancient artisans, banging down on the ice with our shovels like those first ancestors of man.  Asphalt flew up with ice in our fervor, as we nearly broke through to what seems like the earth’s mantle with our four- and seven-dollar ice scrapers.

ERIC: No lightsaber?

SCOTTY: What? No, I put that in the van.

ERIC: (disappointed) Aww…

SCOTTY: We spent half an hour or more shoveling, scraping, driving, and pushing.  Our arms and lungs grew tired, but we cracked jokes to keep our spirits up, refusing to quit til the van had at last been freed.

ERIC: And…?

SCOTTY: We eventually got it out of the parking space, but couldn’t drive it any further.  So I got in my van and…called my parents.

ERIC: Ooh.  Rough.

SCOTTY: But then, as I’m talking to my Mom I glance down at the dashboard, and…

ERIC: The parking brake was on.

SCOTTY: Yeah. (beat) Wait…yeah.  How did you know?

ERIC: I guessed pretty early on.

SCOTTY: (deflated) Well.  That’s my story.  That’s it.

ERIC: What’s the moral?

SCOTTY: That, in college, you can go from feeling like a man to a boy really quickly.

ERIC: Nice.  Want some tea?

SCOTTY: (collapsing on the couch) Please.

Prose Fiction · scripts

Paint No Rest for the Wicked



X: I think I downloaded a virus.

Y: A virus?

X: (affronted) Yeah, I mean, not on I don’t go looking for these things.

Y: What were you looking for?

X: The old Microsoft Paint.

Y: For…

X: Nostalgia. Back in middle school I had a computer with no internet connection – for homework. So I became the master of Paint. I learned all the tricks. (beat) But this version’s too flashy.

Y: (beat) Wait, we’re talking about MS Paint?

X: Yeah, look at this new garbage. (motions to computer) See, I liked the garishness of the old Paint, the kind on Windows XP. The brush strokes didn’t fade or blend like this.

Y: (non-committal) Uh-huh.

X: So you could make these bold, solid, ugly lines. And, as long as you closed your strokes correctly, you could fill the shapes with any garish, bright color you wanted. Complete fill. No fuzz or matting on the edges.

Y: I’m not sure I…

X: Gosh, I had so much fun. Painting edits of my friends’ photos. They were so cartoony, but I loved using the eyedropper and pencil tools to blend in microscopic patches of colors, pixel by pixel sometimes. The clicking got tedious, but I was drawn to it, this idea that with enough patience I could construct the Mona Lisa. It felt like I was interacting with the smallest possible unit of art.

Y: (beat) Don’t you…have a paper to finish tonight?

X: I’m waiting for a page to load in another window.

Y: Dang. That’s a slow connection.

X: Yeah, I think it’s from the virus.