Prince of nada
Prince of promises

"I'm With the Band" - a short play

Fortune Teller
Scene: Felicity the Fortune-Teller's parlor on a dark and stormy night.
Time: January 2, 2005.

Lights up to reveal MICHAEL, a hapless but earnest college professor, entering the parlor. FELICITY sits at her table, gazing at a mysterious crystal ball.

FELICITY: Sit down, Michael.
MICHAEL: Thanks. (He sits) Wait, how do you know my name?
FELICITY: I have powers you cannot understand.
MICHAEL: Oh. I see.
FELICITY: No, you don't.
MICHAEL: I don't?
FELICITY: I am the seer. You are the seeker. You see nothing. I see all.
MICHAEL: Um...okay.

(FELICITY sits in silence staring at the crystal ball)

MICHAEL: you need me to pay in advance, or-
FELICITY: Why are you here?
MICHAEL: Why am I?...well, that's actually a very funny...see, my wife gave me this sort of joke gift for Christmas. She thought it would be hilarious if-
FELICITY: What do you seek?
MICHAEL: What do I seek?
FELICITY: What brings you to this place?
MICHAEL: Oh. Well, my wife actually dropped me off. She's parked just right around the-
FELICITY: You are lost. You have come here to find something you have never possessed. You seek that which eludes you.
FELICITY: I will guide you to that place, if you wish.
MICHAEL: You will?
FELICITY: If you wish.
MICHAEL: Will that cost extra?
FELICITY: Gaze into my eyes. Gaze deeply. Do not look away.
MICHAEL: Alright.

(FELICITY gazes intently at MICHAEL for two seconds)

FELICITY: Ah! I have it!
MICHAEL: (after a beat) That's it? That's all it took?
FELICITY: You are an open book. What you seek is written for all to see.
MICHAEL: Wow. Pretty short book, huh? Should I be disappointed by that?
FELICITY: The object of your yearning is abundantly clear. Even a fool could see it.
MICHAEL: Is that so? Hm. But you're still going to charge me, right?
FELICITY: I will tell you what you seek, and I will tell you how to find what you seek.
MICHAEL: Ah! So it's a value-added thing you're doing.
FELICITY: You wish to be cool.
MICHAEL: (after a beat) Huh?
FELICITY: Your desire is to feel and to be seen as cool.
FELICITY: That is what you seek.
MICHAEL: (ponders this for a moment, then) You know, I think you're right.
FELICITY: Of course I am.
MICHAEL: How about that? I want to be cool. Yeah. I do. I really do.
FELICITY: Would you like to know how? Are you prepared to discover your journey? Shall I show you the road to cool?
MICHAEL: Bring it!
FELICITY: Then gaze into the crystal ball!

(Suddenly, she waves her hands over the ball and begins swaying in her chair, emoting and chanting incomprehensibly for a few seconds. Just as suddenly, she stops.)

FELICITY: And there it is! I see all.
MICHAEL: Man, you're one fast fortune-teller.
FELICITY: I see a guitar.
MICHAEL: A guitar?
FELICITY: A plastic toy guitar.
MICHAEL: (after a beat) I don't get it.
FELICITY: You will attach a strap to this guitar, and you will sling it over your shoulder.
MICHAEL: Oh, I see! This is, like, a memory from my past. Because when I was 10, for my birthday I got a-
FELICITY: I do not traffic with the past. I see only the future.
FELICITY: In the future you will play with this plastic guitar for hours on end. It will produce no music of its own, only a stream of rather annoying clicks.
MICHAEL: Clicks?
FELICITY: You will play with this toy until it breaks, and your anxiety over this loss will cause you to purchase another plastic guitar and pay extra for overnight shipping. Such will be your attachment to this toy.
MICHAEL: Overnight shipping.
FELICITY: The toy will consume nearly all your free time. You will think about the toy when you are away from it. The toy will make your fingers ache.
MICHAEL: Oh my god! An adult playing with toys. I'm headed for a brain injury!
FELICITY: No injury. What's more, your wife will demand a plastic guitar of her own. Soon you will both play together for hours on end.
MICHAEL: Okay, now I know this is way off because my wife would never do that in a million years.
FELICITY: And as you grow in skill, you will begin to think of yourself as cool.
MICHAEL: How's that?
FELICITY: My crystal ball tells me you will hear music - great classic rock tunes - and you will believe, truly believe, that you are playing that music on your toy guitar. And you will feel, truly feel, that you are cool. A hero of the guitar.
MICHAEL: Me? A Guitar Hero?!
FELICITY: Perhaps. Hard to say. My ball is cloudy on nomenclature.
MICHAEL: That would be amazing.
FELICITY: And the cool will extend beyond a feeling inside you. It will grow to be shared by friends with their own toy guitars. They will observe you playing your guitar, flawlessly shredding on Expert.
MICHAEL: "Shredding on Expert?"
FELICITY: I can only describe what I see, not what it means. These friends will watch you play, and they will envy your skills. You will add virtuoso flourishes to entertain them: Pete Townshend windmills-
MICHAEL: Pete Townshend!
FELICITY: Needless facial grimaces and head bangs to make easy passages seem difficult-
MICHAEL: Angus Young!
FELICITY: Turning away from the screen without missing a beat-
MICHAEL: The screen? What screen?
FELICITY: Like I said...
FELICITY: And your teenage son will be driven to surpass you.
MICHAEL: Ugh. Of course he will.
FELICITY: Developing a method for playing the plastic guitar with his feet. On Expert. An act which will transcend anything you will ever be be capable of.
MICHAEL: Dammit!
FELICITY: Thus exceeding your skills, if not your coolness.
MICHAEL: Well, I mean, playing a guitar with your feet is impressive, but can we call it "cool?" Doubtful.
FELICITY: He will not surpass your coolness. You will always be cooler.
MICHAEL: Good. (after a beat) You're saying that just to make me feel good, aren't you?
FELICITY: Once again, the ball is cloudy.
FELICITY: Finally, one day, you will reject the heroic guitar.
MICHAEL: Really? Why?
FELICITY: You will put it aside for a Rock Band.
MICHAEL: A Rock Band??!!! Are you serious??!!! I will join a Rock Band??!!
FELICITY: The crystal ball does not lie.
MICHAEL: With a singer and a bassist and a drummer and everything?!!
MICHAEL: Oh my god!! I feel cool already! Turn it up to 11!! Oh, man, I've gotta update my wardrobe.
FELICITY: And the singer, it turns out, will be...
MICHAEL: Yes? Yes? Annie Lennox? Beyoncé? One of the Pussycat Dolls?!!
FELICITY: Your wife.
FELICITY: Yes. Your wife.
MICHAEL: How can that be?
FELICITY: The crystal ball-
MICHAEL: -Never lies. Got it. (beat) Wait a minute.
MICHAEL: Plastic guitar again, right?
FELICITY: (she checks crystal ball) Indeed.
MICHAEL: Dammit!! ... But will I still be cool?
FELICITY: Certainly. Even more so than before. You can be a drummer.
MICHAEL: (after a moment's reflection) Rock on!