[ The scene starts with another monologue by Cassandra, she walks around the audience, gazing just past them, making observations of the imagined scenery around them just above their heads. ]
Cassandra. The air is sweet outside. I love it when the city smells like Cheerios. I love it, the buildings are so unique and historic, and yet the place is constantly evolving. The Post Office is now a campus. The Statler now houses a ritzy club.
[ reaches out to the bar by the audience ]
Cassandra. The rail station is an anachronism, still painted like a carnival ride. But this isn’t some passing attraction. I take the rail every day, the busses too! And they’re always cutting the budget at the NFTA. I’ll take it as long as I can. It doesn’t take much debate to escape the wintry wind. Sure is sweet, but the air is cold.
[ she stands and rocks back and forth, mimicking the rhythm of the train ride ]
Cassandra. The straight line is the quickest way… to miss all the wonder in the world! From work downtown to the campus up north, when that smell is gone, the romance is lost.
[ stops rocking, and walks again through the crowd ]
Cassandra. There isn’t a chance. Not a chance in the world I got off in the same city. The air here is incomplete. Still, cold, but holding none of that whole grain goodness. The industry is gone. Well, the walk to class is something I look forward to. I spy with my little eye…
With so much space between the wings and the library, the head of student affairs zip codes away from the students, I wonder if this wounded bird can fly?
In Europe they’d call this post-industrial; the Mediterranean, ancient history.
And always the sun, diffused tertiary spotlight. First the cell phone, then the street light, and after the clouds, the sun. Instead of being guided by it, we look down from it and are stunned by its phantom limb still center frame. A faded iris.
IRIS, Integrated Risk Information System, information given by the Environmental Protection Agency to warn of adverse effects of various substances found in the environment. I retained something from Environmental Studies class!
Rainbow! god, I wish. Oil.
[ a stranger in her path, just a man in black, standing there, she has been muttering to herself and he’s just walked on stage and just stood in her way, looking sideways off too the audience ]
X. God, I’m not.
[ Cassandra walks up to him ]
Cassandra. Excuse me.
Cassandra. I didn’t mean that, to be mean. I’m sorry. You’re just in my way.
X. [ laughing ] More like a pirate who’s found something. If he stands still, after a life of quests, and kneels down, the treasure chest falls from the sky. And opens!
Cassandra. X marks the spot!
X. [ smiling, obviously enjoying this exchange ] Yes!
[ Cassandra starts again, walking X keeps in stride ]
Cassandra. Nice day, isn’t it?
X. These buildings. They were crumbling. A river of blood flowed through the city streets. The robes of death washed over the city and took every last soul. I was a soldier then. And I ran for my life! I found a dying gentleman who held a golden scroll. He lay wounded, in horizontal cruciform. Facing death, I raced for him. Touched the scroll…
[ Cassandra stops walking and looks at X with bemused bewilderment ]
X. [ just ahead of Cassandra ] …and then I woke up! I wonder what that scroll said?
Cassandra. I wonder!
X. I’m actually off to Europe, to study political science. I just stopped by to see the campus for one last time.
Cassandra. You go here? How come I haven’t seen you before?
X. Oh, I don’t go here, just visiting. I love this place.
Cassandra. I love Europe. I’ve never gone, though.
X. It’s a shame, the Euro-zone is the thing that’s really crumbling. Out of the treaties and lessons learned, the major advances of the second world war, we are seeing the collapse of their economies. It’s fascinating really.
Cassandra. Well good luck! You seem to know a lot already. I hope that never happens here!
X. [ looks at her and smiles ]
“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.”
– William Blake
Cassandra. That’s beautiful.
X. That’s why I’m going. Germany got it right, never print more money just to deal with debt. And then they blew it and joined the Eurozone!
Cassandra. What school do you go to?
X. School? Oh, the school of hard knocks I guess. I study through reflection. Action, response, and reflection. I’m an activist, not a student. Although I suppose we’re all learning. [ abruptly ] Say, what’s your name?
X. It was nice to meet you! Take care! [ hurries off, going from somewhat aloof and with an otherworldly calm, off in a blitz with arms and legs striding in a power walk ]
[ thinks to herself, a spot light reveals Grandma in TV-trance stage left, and Jimmy getting arrested against a brick wall, red and blue cop lights flashing, shouting “red and blue!” stage right ]
Cassandra. I’m going to Europe! ESLA here I come!
[ with the lights out: end scene ]