“So, I’m just here to observe?” I probably sound slightly irritated, though I do not intend to.
I’m played by Martha Stewart, and I’m sitting in an old-looking overstuffed chair in one corner of a square room, about twelve feet across. There is a smallish table in the center of the room, made of some kind of hardwood, but no other furniture. The room is lit by two florescent fixtures suspended from the ceiling, each with two tubes. One of the tubes is flickering periodically in that way that sits just on the inner edge of the annoying.
Bruce is standing up, but sort of leaning against the wall on the other side of the table from me. He has his Bible open, and looks up from it when I address him. “I think so. My sense from what It said is that there’s something that I have to help her do.”
As if on cue (which it is, since the blogger sort of decides what happens when), the door on one side of the room opens, and a tall thin man enters. He is wearing a suit, and carrying a briefcase. His jet black hair is styled so that much of it stands up, almost spiked but still consistent with a professional demeanor. His eyes seem quite large. At first I take this to be the effect of the glasses he is wearing, but it soon becomes evident that his eyes simply are large. The suit and briefcase both look expensive.
It follows the tall man into the room. A very strange and very striking casting change: It is played today by a significantly overweight version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Same body type and size as Kathy Bates, and the hair is shoulder-length, but it is definitely Gordon-Levitt. He is wearing some sort of plain gray jumpsuit. It is not at all obvious whether the jumpsuit has any zipper, buttons, or other devices to facilitate putting it on and taking it off. It’s just one piece, and looks as if it somehow had been made on his body.
The tall man walks briskly around the table and stands at the other side of it, facing the door. It, moving more slowly, walks up to the near side of the table, facing the lawyer. Sure, that’s who he looks like. Her lawyer. (Excuse me, I mean his lawyer.)
The door is closed now, even though I don’t remember anyone closing it.
Bruce closes his Bible and moves to the closest side of the table, between the other two. He sets the Bible on the table, puts his hands behind his back, and looks at the lawyer.
“You are the spokesperson, then?”
Everyone in the room, and probably even the reader, knows that he will speak in a crisp, officious manner. “Yes, sir. Everyone is thinking of me as the lawyer, so that will do, though what we are doing here is not really a legal matter.” He places the briefcase flat on the table, opens it, and places several items from inside onto the table’s surface:
- the shard
- a small coil of wire
- a pair of thin-nosed pliers
- a cordless drill (I think at first that it’s a small gun, but then I see the drill bit)
The lawyer closes the briefcase and sets it on the floor beside the table.
It coughs gently, looks down and shifts his weight a bit, obviously uneasy.
The lawyer stands straight again, and looks at Bruce. “My client is requesting a favor from you, sir. He would like you to hang this shard on a tree for him.”
Bruce’s expression does not change. “Hang it on a tree?”
“Yes, sir. Like a Christmas ornament. In order to do this, a hanging wire must be affixed to the shard. This will require drilling a hole in the shard.”
Bruce looks down at the items on the table, and then back at the lawyer. “Why am I the one being asked to do this.”
“Because of the way in which you can appreciate the hanging of something on a tree.”
Bruce’s eyes seem to darken a bit. “Like crucifixion.”
Bruce looks over at It, who is still looking down at the table in front of him. “You want me to do this?” No answer.
The lawyer speaks again. “I am the voice today, sir.”
Bruce’s gaze returns to him. “Why?”
“I believe that you will see why in due course.”
Bruce looks at me with his haunted eyes. My grip on the arms of my chair tighten, but I say nothing.
After a moment, Bruce looks at the lawyer again. His voice is softer. “OK, tell me what I need to do.”
“A hole must be drilled in the shard, as I said. If you wish, I can attach the wire after you have finished, or you can do it yourself. But he wishes that you drill the hole, and that you then hang it on a tree.”
“Do you have a Christmas tree this year?”
Bruce glances at It again. “Yes, I do.”
“On your own tree would be most appropriate.”
Bruce’s face has tightened. He looks down at the shard, and mutters those last two words. “Most appropriate.”
The lawyer does not answer, content to wait for further response.
Bruce gently picks up the cordless drill, hefts it a bit, and then tests its trigger. The whine is very high-pitched, like a dentist’s drill. Of course. He moves the shard directly in front of him on the table.
Bruce looks at the lawyer again, eyebrows up.
“Once you begin drilling, it would be best if you do not pause.”
He stares at the lawyer for a moment, then his eyebrows lower a bit. He turns and stares for several seconds at It, then looks back at the lawyer. “I bet I know why.”
“I think that you probably do, sir.”
Bruce glances at me again, then turns to It.
“You’re absolutely sure you want me to do this?”
It does not move, but the lawyer answers. “Absolutely sure. Yes, sir.”
Bruce looks back down at the shard, and carefully places the fingers of his left hand on it to steady it. He moves the drill carefully into a position about a third of the way between the sharp point and the center of the shard, and pulls the trigger. The whine of the drill winds up to its top pitch.
I don’t need to watch the shard to know when the bit penetrates. It grimaces and opens his mouth to scream. There is no sound, of course, but he screams nonetheless. He doubles over in immense pain, and collapses onto the floor. As the drill continues to whine, a blood stain appears at his crotch and begins to spread.
I glance at Bruce. He is now ignoring It, and resolutely performing his task.
When I’m able to look back down at It, he is still writhing, but his eyes are open, and he seems to be smiling up at the ceiling.