The conversation room is unusually brightly lit. The lights on the chandelier blaze like the tungsten halogen lights in a theater. They primarily light up the half of the room that includes the fireplace, in front of which there are two leather chairs with very high backs, facing each other. There is a fire in the fireplace, but it is a gas fire with fake logs.
In the corner of the room to the left (East) of the fireplace, near one of the doors to the porch, is a skeleton hanging on a rolling stand, as one might expect to find in an anatomy lab.
In the other, not-so-brightly-lit half of the room, positioned somewhat to the West side and facing the fireplace, is an over-sized director’s chair of wood and black fabric. On the back of the chair, printed in large white letters, is “Das Es.” The Id, as English translators have rendered it. The figure sitting in the chair is played by Kathy Bates. We will call her “the director” here. She is holding a large coffee cup, and seems relaxed, though the look on her face is difficult to read. She waits.
I (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in all-pink sweats and argyle socks) am sitting in the chair near the fireplace that is facing toward the skeleton. Bruce (Waits) is sitting in the other chair facing me, his Bible in its usual place in his lap.
The director suddenly leans forward and shouts. “ACTION!!”
Bruce, who has been idly scratching at something on the upper leg of his blue jeans, looks up at me. “This…” [thumb jerk over shoulder] “…is my skeleton, and this room is its closet. Or so it has been droned to me.”
I nod. No other response seems called for yet.
“What I’ve come up with so far is that this has to do with the way in which we still carry our childhood with us.”
I now speak quickly enough that it seems less than voluntary. “We? Us? Did you not say that it is your skeleton?”
He snorts. “You know damn well that the ways in which we are individuated here are…” He rolls his eyes toward the ceiling, searching for the words. “…highly problematic, to say the least.”
“Of course I know that. In that sense, all of this is about us, naturally. But the way the narrative has unfolded so far, it has been identified as your skeleton. It hardly seems out of place to wonder why.”
His brow furrows. “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. It has something to do with the fact that I hold this,…” [briefly brandishes Bible] “…that it is my role to hold it, to hold on to it, one might say.”
I nod again. “So the fact that you hold it, that you have been ‘Bible Guy,’ is somehow tightly connected to the character of our childhood memories. Memories of…” I hesitate for a while, and he waits patiently. “…of loneliness, of isolation, of alienation?”
“Yes. And of forgottenness, I think.”
“Yes, forgottenness. That’s what our ‘Significant Other’ suggested quite a while ago.”
He pulls the Bible to himself in an embrace. “The boy talked to me as if it made no difference, as if I was just as alienated once I was a Christian, but kidding myself that things were different after that.”
I lean forward for my earnest reply. “If he claimed that, it is simply false. Things were indeed different after that.”
He returns my earnest look with the haunted eyes. “Aren’t you the one who is always railing against ‘all or nothing’ thinking? This can’t be all or nothing, can it? Wasn’t the boy just using a different version of the ‘I am you, you are me’ formula? If he was just claiming that I am, in some sense, also still him, then I think he was right.”
“But if that is so, then in another sense you are not still him.”
He mulls that over for a few moments. “So… the difference between us is bound up with at least two things: one is [holding out Bible] Jesus, and the other is the way in which the investment of authority somehow leans upon a belonging, an acceptance, a recognition.” He is silent for at least half a minute, then raises an eyebrow. “The two are related, and the relationship has something to do with incarnation.”
(Yes, he did just speak in bold and italics at the same time.)
I nod in agreement. I think he’s got it.
He glances around. “So, does this mean we are done with this room?”
I sit back. “I would guess not.” I sigh. “But we shall see.”
“CUT!!! Print it!”
I said I was going to call her “the director,” and then I basically forgot about her until she shouted again.