Sam's Little Larks

by Sam Van Wetter | 1/14/16 9:13pm

SAM and SAM TOO are solving a mystery. This is part one of several.

SAM: I found it.

SAM TOO: Found what?

SAM: That piece of paper I was looking for.

TOO: When?

SAM: Today.

TOO: You lost it today?

SAM: I was looking for it today.

TOO: When today?

SAM: I found thatpiece of paper I was looking for.

TOO: When?

SAM: Today.

TOO: You lost it today?

SAM: I was looking for it today.

TOO: When today?

SAM: Throughout.

TOO: Throughout today?

SAM: Throughout the last three years.

TOO: You found an important piece of paper?

SAM: Found is the wrong term.

TOO: You just told me you found it.

SAM: I located it.

TOO: So you know where it is?

SAM: I reconstructed it.

TOO: Like legos?

SAM: Like a memory.

TOO: What memory?

SAM: Freshman fall.

TOO: All of it?

SAM: The end of it.

TOO: What about it?

SAM: Do you remember where I left my bike?

TOO: Did you get flat tires?

SAM: No.

TOO: You can’t bike right now.

SAM: Okay?

TOO: It’s snowing.

SAM: I know.

TOO: So you don’t need your bike. You can’t use it anyway.

SAM: But that’s not why I need it. A different bike.

TOO: What bike?

SAM: Freshman fall bike.

TOO: Are we reconstructing? What about the thing you found?

SAM: We’re getting there.

TOO: To the receipt?

SAM: Not a receipt.

TOO: The piece of paper?

SAM: In a sense.

TOO: But we’re getting there?

SAM: Eventually.

TOO: Reconstruct me.

A flashback dances before their eyes. They watch their freshman fall selves, baby-faced and self-motivated.

SAM: Remember that class I took? It was the one on primates in Victorian novels? I checked, they don’t offer it anymore. It was one of those classes that was a layup until the department realized it was a layup and they thought about making it harder but decided to just stop offering it instead. It met like once a week and had a different professor every couple of classes and it seemed like they never really talked to each other about what they were teaching. It was an auspicious introduction to Dartmouth or to college in general, I guess. I had no idea what was going on. We would have these quizzes. One week, we had to title pictures of Jane Eyre represented as various monkeys and then the next week we were writing, like, critical theory discussions of colonialism in Dickens. And then the final was a self-directed movement and light show.

(AM moves, apelike, through fog and lasers.) Anyways, I didn’t quite have myself together, you know, like I didn’t charge my computer before I went to class and then would realize I didn’t have a pencil, either. And I was knitting, remember that sweater I never finished? So I would just sit and knit during lectures and, like, I thought it was pretty chill. There are some really cool connections between the industrial revolution and chimpanzee group practices.

TOO (the memory quickly dissipating): I’m losing the thread.

SAM: Sorry, sorry. (The memory reappears. SAM is sitting in a darkened room. A Skype chat window is projected onto the white board.) One class we Skyped with this lady, she was incredible. She talked about how monkeys think about the sky. Anyways, she kept mentioning this author who wrote this poetry, weird poetry Like word collages But she said this thing about him that I wrote down, actually put down my knitting needles to write down because I liked it so much. It seemed to be everything about what we’re missing, what we don’t have compared to, well, anything. She said, or she said he said, or one of them said, and she reiterated something like…

There is a long pause. SAM seems to be thinking or, perhaps, hemorrhaging.

SAM: “That complete a lack.” That’s what she said, what I wrote down. “That complete a lack.”

TOO: You have no idea who this woman was.

SAM: I wrote it down.

TOO: So it’s in your notes? From freshman year?

SAM: Exactly.

TOO: And your notes are…?

SAM: (The memory reconstructs.)The bike I had was one of those bikes with a big basket in the front and the back so I just kept all my school stuff in there. And I remember I taped a ziplock to the bottom of one of them for important stuff, like stuff I didn’t want to lose or get wet. And I put those notes in there, because they were important or felt important. And so they’re probably still there.

TOO: In the bike’s basket?

SAM: Well, taped underneath it.

TOO: And the basket is where?

SAM: On the bike.

TOO: Which is?

SAM: I was hoping you might remember.

TOO: You think it’s still out there?

SAM: I’m positive.

TOO stands abruptly.

TOO: Well, let’s find it.

SAM: I don’t know where it is.

TOO: Reconstruct.

SAM: I’ve tried.

TOO: Well, we better act fast.

SAM: Why?

TOO: It’s snowing.

SAM: And?

TOO: The plows will come. The snow piles will grow. Buried will be all abandoned bikes.

SAM: This will be impossible. It’s been years. If I haven’t found it, how would I this term? So much time has passed.

TOO: This term is different.

SAM: How?

TOO: This winter, we won’t leave it as “that complete a lack.” Come on, let’s go find your bike.

To be continued.

SAM: Throughout.

TOO: Throughout today?

SAM: Throughout the last three years.

TOO: Three years?

SAM: Three and a bit.

TOO: You found an important piece of paper?

SAM: Found is the wrong term.

TOO: You just told me you found it.

SAM: I located it.

TOO: So you know where it is?

SAM: I reconstructed it.

TOO: Like legos?

SAM: Like a memory.

TOO: What memory?

SAM: Freshman fall.

TOO: All of it?

SAM: The end of it.

TOO: What about it?

SAM: Do you remember where I left my bike?

TOO: Did you get flat tires?

SAM: No.

TOO: You can’t bike right now.

SAM: Okay?

TOO: It’s snowing.

SAM: I know.

TOO: So you don’t need your bike. You can’t use it anyway.

SAM: I need it.

TOO: You can’t bike right now.

SAM: But that’s not why I need it. A different bike.

TOO: What bike?

SAM: Freshman fall bike.

TOO: Are we reconstructing? What about the thing you found?

SAM: We’re getting there.

TOO: To the receipt?

SAM: Not a receipt.

TOO: The piece of paper?

SAM: In a sense.

TOO: But we’re getting there?

SAM: Eventually.

TOO: Okay.

SAM: Okay?

TOO: Reconstruct me.

A flashback dances before their eyes. They watch their freshman fall selves, baby-faced and self-motivated. SAM narrates.

SAM: Remember that class I took? It was the one on primates in Victorian novels? I checked, they don’t offer it any more. It was one of those classes that was a layup until the department realized it was a layup and they thought about making it harder but decided to just stop offering it instead. It met like once a week and had a different professor every couple of classes and it seemed like they never really talked to each other about what they were teaching. It was an auspicious introduction to Dartmouth or to college in general, I guess. I had no idea what was going on. We would have these quizzes. One week, we had to title pictures of Jane Eyre represented as various monkeys and then the next week we were writing, like, critical theory discussions of colonialism in Dickens. And then the final was a self-directed movement and light show.

In their memory view, SAM moves, apelike, through fog and lasers.

Anyways, I didn’t quite have myself together, you know, like I didn’t charge my computer before I went to class and then would realize I didn’t have a pencil, either. And I was knitting, remember that sweater I never finished? So I would just sit and knit during lectures and, like, I thought it was pretty chill. There are some really cool connections between the industrial revolution and chimpanzee group practices.

TOO (the memory quickly dissipating): I’m losing the thread.

SAM: Sorry, sorry. (The memory reappears. SAM is sitting in a darkened room. A Skype chat window is projected onto the white board.) One class we Skyped with this lady, she was incredible. She talked about how monkeys think about the sky. She was a little rambly but really fun to listen to. Anyways, she kept mentioning this author who wrote this poetry, weird poetry, I don’t know what kind. Like word collages. I don’t remember, she was a little rambly. But she said this thing about him that I wrote down, actually put down my knitting needles to write down because I liked it so much. It seemed to be everything about what we’re missing, what we don’t have compared to, well, anything. She said, or she said he said, or one of them said, and she reiterated something like…

There is a long pause. SAM seems to be thinking or, perhaps, hemorrhaging.

SAM: “That complete a lack.” That’s what she said, what I wrote down. “That complete a lack.”

TOO: You have no idea who this woman was.

SAM: I wrote it down.

TOO: So it’s in your notes? From freshman year?

SAM: Exactly.

TOO: And your notes are…?

SAM: Reconstruct!

The memory reconstructs.

The bike I had was one of those bikes with a big basket in the front and the back so I just kept all my school stuff in there. And I remember I taped a ziplock to the bottom of one of them for important stuff, like stuff I didn’t want to lose or get wet. And I put those notes in there, because they were important or felt important. And so they’re probably still there.

TOO: In the bike’s basket?

SAM: Well, taped underneath it.

TOO: And the basket is where?

SAM: On the bike.

TOO: Which is?

SAM: I was hoping you might remember.

TOO: You think it’s still out there?

SAM: I’m positive.

TOO stands abruptly.

TOO: Well, let’s find it.

SAM: I don’t know where it is.

TOO: Reconstruct.

SAM: I’ve tried.

TOO: Well, we better act fast.

SAM: Why?

TOO: It’s snowing.

SAM: And?

TOO: The plows will come. The snow piles will grow. Buried will be all abandoned bikes.

SAM: This will be impossible. It’s been years. If I haven’t found it, how would I this term? So much time has passed.

TOO: This term is different.

SAM: How?

TOO: This winter, we won’t leave it as “that complete a lack.” Come on, let’s go find your bike.

To be continued.