Fear and Nothing A play by Elizabeth
SCENE. A park at dusk. ARI and DANIELLE, two best friends, are sitting on the bench. Church bells chime in the distance. DANIELLE. So the snakes? ARI. Nothing. DANIELLE. And the pitbulls and the spiders? ARI. Nothing. DANIELLE. And you watched how many Japanese horror films? ARI. Every single one I could find on Netflix. And some of the German ones? DANIELLE. Wow. ARI. I know… DANIELLE. Ari… this is ridiculous. Have you tried having Ben ask you to marry him? ARI. Yup. Didn’t work. We’ve only been dating three weeks, and I think I actually said yes. DANIELLE. So it doesn’t scare you? ARI. Nope. DANIELLE. Not at all? ARI. Nope. DANIELLE. Nothing? ARI. Nothing? DANIELLE. I don’t really know what to say. ARI. This is just so new to me. I… it’s like I’m not afraid of anything. DANIELLE. You know… I think I’ve heard of this before. (She takes out her smartphone.) ARI. What are you doing, Danielle? DANIELLE. I’m trying to figure something out. Just… just give me a minute. (She looks at her smartphone.)
ARI. I mean, unless my health is in active danger, I don’t think this is going to be a problem. You know, even if it was, I don’t think it would actually scare me. It’s kind of nice, really. I have a lot of student loan debt, and the country is going to shit with the tea party politics, and all, and I skipped my period this week, and my mom may have cancer, and I can’t afford to eat anyting but Ramen noodles for the rest of the week, and I’m behind on rent and car payments, and sometimes I hate my boss and wonder if I’m really going to be stuck in this dead end job for the rest of my life, and wonder if I’m going to die alone but… god dammit, I’m not actually scared! I’m very calm. It’s nice. I have a lot of things to worry about, to stress about, but really… I just don’t… it doesn’t bother me. I’m not afraid of it. DANIELLE. I’m sorry, Ari. Did you say something? ARI. What? No… DANIELLE. Here it is! Urbach–Wiethe disease. It’s a neurological disorder thingy… it can prevent people from feeling fear. ARI. Really? DANIELLE. Yup. Says it right here on Wikipedia. ARI. Neurological, huh? DANIELLE. Don’t worry… ARI. I’m not. DANIELLE. Prognosis is good. It’s not actually life threatening. It’s just kind of… something to do with your amygdala, or something… huh. Interesting. ARI. Is there a cure? DANIELLE. No. There isn’t. Oh gosh, Ari… how do you feel? ARI. It’s just one more thing, isn’t it? Well, should we go to dinner? DANIELLE. Do you want to talk about it? ARI. Not really. DANIELLE. But Ari. ARI. I’m fine, sweetie. Really. I am. I won’t even give it a second though. Where do you want to go to dinner? DANIELLE. I can’t believe you’re actually not worried about this. ARI. I guess that is the nature of the disease.
DANIELLE. That’s just it, Ari. You have a disease! A disease! It’s not something that’ll just go away. This is kind of a big deal. ARI. I just don’t think it is… there’s not a cure and it won’t kill me. So why should I worry. DANIELLE. I would have at least thought that you would care! I don’t really… (She begins to cry softly.) ARI. Why are you crying? DANIELLE. I’m just so worried about you. I’m so afraid for you! ARI. You shouldn’t be. (Danielle sobs and stands up to go.) Where are you going? DANIELLE. I just… I can’t be around you right now. ARI. What about dinner? DANIELLE. I’m sorry… (Danielle leaves. Ari is in a huff, and we can hear a choir begin to sing at the nearby church. Ari smiles, and sways a little to the music. JACKSON enters, wearing all black, looking very menacing. He comes up close to Ari, behind her, and speaks.) JACKSON. Don’t move… do exactly what I say and nobody gets hurt. ARI. Hello? JACKSON. Don’t turn around! I have a gun. ARI. You have a gun. JACKSON. Don’t move! (Ari turns around.) I said don’t move. ARI. Hi. JACKSON. Don’t look at me! ARI. Why not? JACKSON. Because I’m… I’m… ARI. Mugging me? JACKSON. Yes! I’m mugging you! ARI. Is this your first time mugging someone? JACKSON. Just give me your wallet. ARI. Where’s your gun?
JACKSON. In my pocket! ARI. Let me see it. JACKSON. I’ll point it at you. ARI. Let me see it! JACKSON. Just give me your wallet and you won’t get hurt. ARI. I don’t think you have a gun. JACKSON. Look, lady I don’t want to hurt you. ARI. You don’t really scare me. JACKSON. What? ARI. I don’t really get afraid of things easily. I apparently can’t feel fear. JACKSON. Shit… you’re kidding? ARI. Sorry. JACKSON. I don’t believe that. ARI. What’s your name? JACKSON. Huh? ARI. What’s your name? I want to know your name. JACKSON. I’m not going to tell you my name. ARI. Why not? JACKSON. Because I’m mugging you! ARI. I still haven’t seen a gun. JACKSON. Lady, you’re wearing me thin! ARI. Just turn around and go home. (The church choir is more audible now.) JACKSON. Lady, give me your wallet. ARI. No thank you. JACKSON. Now! ARI. I’m not particularly interested… JACKSON. Fuck it, lady…
ARI. Especially if you don’t actually have a gun. (The church choir is even more audible.) Listen to that… JACKSON. Just give it to me! ARI. Isn’t that beautiful. A church choir. (Jackson pulls out a gun, and points it at her face.) JACKSON. Make no mistake that I will shoot you in the head. I will shoot you. ARI. (Coolly.) If you're going to kill me, you're going to have to go through my God's angels first. (Long pause. Jackson looks at her in disbelief, and lowers his gun.) JACKSON. You’re crazy, lady. (He exits, not quite sure what has happened. Ari smiles, and unshaken, calmly walks offstage as well.) END OF PLAY