A Cyclic Choice – Act I

A vinyl record playing modern greaser rock starts a song. As it plays we see the apartment. A desk littered with books full of highlights and red ink sits along the wall opposite the record player. A couch that looked like it was pulled from a dumpster sits in front of a similarly dilapidated TV.

The record starts skipping. And continues to skip. And continues to skip.
Off screen, Kaden flushes a toilet and comes out into the room with a cigarette in his mouth, looking like he just woke up.

With a grunt of irritation, he nudges the record needle and the song gets back on track.
Kaden sits at his desk and places the cigarette on an ashtray. Before him is an ancient laptop, its screen open to what looks like a novel in progress.

He picks up a half-full whiskey glass already on the table and takes a sip. As he leans forward he begins to write, gaining momentum as he goes, the song from the record keeping time with his creative rhythm.

A cell phone vibrates, loud over the music, but he ignores it. His fingers strike the keys with gaining intensity, but his concentration breaks when the phone buzzes again. The record starts skipping again.

For fuck’s sake.

He fishes the phone out from under a pile of papers and books. It is an old-fashioned flip phone, which he answers without looking at the caller.

Yeah? Mike. Shit, man, I thought I was scheduled for tonight.

Kaden takes a folding knife off the table and begins to pick his fingernails with it.

Damn. Sorry, man. Look, I can get there in twenty…No, really, Mike. I can get there, just give me…Aw, come on, man, don’t be a dick.

He lowers the phone.

Shouldn’t have called him a dick.

He tosses the phone on the filthy desk then shoots the rest of the booze. He listens to the record skipping endlessly.


Kaden enters the mail center. Scratched and dinged silver boxes with unit numbers line the walls. Kaden goes to his own box and opens it. He removes two envelopes and thumbs through them. He pauses and looks at the envelope for a long moment.
Kaden takes a breath and opens the envelope. With delicacy, he removes the paper and reads for a few moments before he crumbles up the paper.

Ignorant fucks!

He tosses the paper into a large trashcan.

Bad news?

Kaden looks over to see Leonard, an older gentleman of about fifty dressed in a smart suit. He crosses the mail center, his keys jingling in palsied hands. Kaden drops his eyes to the second letter, a folded, loose piece of paper.

It just keeps coming, you know.

What’s that?

Life. Sometimes it just grabs you by the balls and squeezes until you cave.

It does that from time to time.

All the time for me. It’s an endless cycle of slaps to the face. Forever spinning me about.

Cycles can be broken.

Kaden opens the letter and gives it a quick read before tossing it into the trashcan.

And my rent’s late.

Leonard takes out his mail.

What is it you do?

I’m a writer.

Really? Anything I would know?

No. And with rejections filling my mailbox, I doubt anytime soon.

Kaden gives a quick nod to Leonard.

See ya.

You make much as a writer?

Kaden chuckles.

Would I live here if I did?

Leonard thumbs through his mail without looking up.

Well, if you need some money to tie you over, let me know. I’m just down at the end of the hall.

Kaden looks at Leonard, snorts a laugh, then leaves. Leonard looks up where Kaden stood and smiles.

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