Zeno’s Paradox And Other Problems

by robhayeswritesplays

A kitchen.

Kevin is sat rigid in a chair. He stares at a large glass of water on the table before him.

Seb enters and puts the kettle on. He fetches a mug.

SEB Want a drink?

KEVIN I’m so thirsty.

Seb turns.

SEB Hah?

KEVIN I am so thirsty.

Seb observes the scene.

SEB There’s a glass of water directly in front of you.

Kevin whimpers.

SEB Are you okay? Kev?

KEVIN I can’t move.

SEB Are you. What have you hurt yourself? What’s wrong?

KEVIN No.

SEB Did you pull a hernia?

KEVIN I didn’t pull a hernia.

SEB So what is it? What’s wrong?

KEVIN I can’t move.

SEB Do you need me to call someone, or.

KEVIN I’m fine. I’m not hurt.

SEB So. What’s up?

KEVIN I’m so thirsty and I can’t move.

SEB If you’re thirsty just drink the water. Are you sure you’re okay? Dude.

KEVIN If I drink the water I’ll have to reach out and take it.

SEB Yeah that’s usually. How it works.

KEVIN So I’ll have to move my arm over to the glass on the table.

SEB Are you high?

KEVIN To move it all the way over there I’ll first have to move it half way there.

Beat.

KEVIN Right?

SEB Well yeah. That’s.

KEVIN Okay. Now. To move it half way there I’ll have to first move it half way to half way there.

SEB I. I’m sorry. Kev I have no idea what.

KEVIN I’ll first have to arrive at a point that’s half way between where my hand rests now and where it’ll be half way towards the glass. Is there something that isn’t clear about that?

SEB No. I mean technically it all makes.

KEVIN Good. Thank you. But to move it a quarter of the way there, I’ll first have to move it half of that distance.

SEB Oh Jesus.

KEVIN An eighth of the way there.

SEB Is this some kind of joke? Are trying to waste my time for some reason?

KEVIN And before that I’ll have to move it a sixteenth of the way there and before that a thirty-second and before that a sixty-forth.

SEB Look at me. What the hell are you talking about?

KEVIN And on and on and on into infinity. There are infinity points in space I’ll have to hit in between here and that glass of water. And infinity movements I’ll have to make to hit those points.

SEB O. Kay.

KEVIN Don’t you see?

SEB See what?

KEVIN How the hell am I supposed to make infinity movements?! That’s impossible! It’ll take an infinite amount of time!

SEB No it takes like two seconds.

KEVIN YOU’RE NOT GETTING IT.

SEB Okay okay. Just. Chill out. Fuck.

KEVIN No human being can ever perform infinity movements no matter how small, or hit infinity points in space no matter how close together. Because it’s infinite. That’s the point. It’ll go on forever.

SEB I think there may be some holes in your logic.

KEVIN And I don’t want to spend eternity reaching for a glass of water.

SEB No one does. But that’s not what’ll happen.

KEVIN I’ve just proved that it will Seb. With science!

SEB Well how about I bring the water over to you.

Seb reaches for the glass of water.

KEVIN DON’T TOUCH IT! DO NOT TOUCH IT! This is my problem, understand? It’s my problem.

Seb backs away.

Pause.

SEB Just pick up the glass, man. It’s just a glass. 

Seb notices that Kevin is crying.

SEB Are you okay? Hey is everything. Are you.

Beat.

Seb sits down at the table. He looks at the glass of water.

SEB Do you want to tell me what’s up?

KEVIN I looked at the snowflakes today.

SEB The snowflakes?

KEVIN Uh huh.

SEB It’s not snowing.

KEVIN No the snowflakes. The big. The giant ones.

SEB The giant snowflakes.

KEVIN Some guy. Some scientist. Took pictures of these snowflakes. But they’re like really close up. Like 50 times. 100 times magnified or something. So they look.

SEB Giant. Right. Giant snowflakes. So, what. They look cool? I bet they look cool.

Kevin cries again.

KEVIN It’s scary Seb.

SEB Scary?

KEVIN It’s terrifying.

SEB Why. What’s. What’s so scary about the snowflakes?

KEVIN There’s. Temples.

SEB Temples? On snowflakes.

KEVIN Aquaducts. Gorges. Laylines. Frescoes. Arches. Ridges. Tessellation. Patterns. Beautiful intricate patterns. Pillars. Promontories. Fucking cities on these. Tiny cities on these miniscule little.

SEB Wow.

KEVIN And they say it’s nature? Fucking nature?!

SEB It is nature man. It’s a beautiful thing.

KEVIN Some of them have stars on them. Like the way people draw them. With the five.

SEB Five points yeah.

KEVIN Yeah with the five points all evenly spaced.

SEB That’s pretty cool.

KEVIN How the fuck would nature know how human beings draw stars Sebastian? How could nature possibly know that?

SEB Okay. I get it. And that’s made you scared of snowflakes.

KEVIN And the way they’re built. They’re structured so they can like. Take their own weight. And not collapse in on themselves. But then they just drop anyway. Just fall and.

Beat.

KEVIN I just wanna know. Who makes them? Who or what is engineering these snowflakes that are so specifically designed and so exquisitely executed. And every single one completely unique. And then letting them just fall to the ground and disappear. Completely unnoticed. By anyone.

SEB Yeah I don’t. I don’t know.

KEVIN Because there is a hand at work. And that hand is witty and intelligent. And has an eye for beauty. And is a master of every science and art. To be able to create these little. But it’s a hand that’s hell bent on futility. And destruction. Creating a perfect little system then. Throwing it down into chaos.

Beat.

SEB Well. Maybe it’s a message.

KEVIN What kind of message?

SEB Like one of those enjoy the ride kinds of message. Like you fall. And you die. And the whole time you’re not really in control of anything. But when you’re falling. It’s fun, and you get to see some awesome things along the way. And also you’re this crazily constructed perfect ecosystem with some incredible design touches. It won’t last forever, and maybe no one’ll notice. But that’s what you are whilst you exist. That’s a pretty fucking sweet thing to be.

KEVIN You think. You think that’s what the hand is saying?

SEB It’s like the glass of water. You spend your entire existence reaching for a single glass of water. That’s all you’ll ever do, because it takes infinity to do it. And maybe you won’t even make it. But if you can be cool with that. And just, you know, enjoy reaching for the water whilst it’s going on. Then it’s not all so bad.

KEVIN I. I never. No that’s a good. I suppose it kind of.

SEB Why don’t you go grab the water Kev? Then maybe we can go outside for a while. Get some fresh air. Here I’ll even help you.

Seb moves the glass to the edge of the table.

SEB There, I just saved you half an eternity.

Beat.

SEB Why don’t you grab the glass Kev? Have a drink. Then we’ll go outside.

Beat. Kevin his breathing heavily.

SEB Have a drink Kev.

KEVIN nods. He takes a deep breath.

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