The End? – Pierson High School
by Gabrielle Gardiner
Pierson High School – Residency Program
Setting: It is 8:15pm on December 20, 2012, hours before the world is supposed to end according to the Ancient Long Count Mayan calendar. The place is an area right near a freight elevator in the back of a nice hotel where the annual high school Winter Formal is being held. Elevator is center-stage. Sixteen year old high school student, ANDRE, is leaning against a wooden beam in the area listening to his ipod, looking bored. Frenzied girl the same age who is decked out in party attire, ISABELLE, rushes in stage left with her arms overflowing with boxes of decorations and supplies. She does not notice ANDRE. She’s talking to herself/to the audience, exasperated.
ISABELLE: (Walking towards elevator) Jeez, you’d think a nice 5 star hotel like this would at least have a working elevator! I mean, I understand with the storm and everything, but this is just ridiculous! They’re expecting me to ride on this thing as a back-up?? (Looks at the freight elevator skeptically.) (With annoyance.) Doesn’t look very promising! I mean, obviously I can’t be picky now… I’m already late and everyone’s counting on me—I just have to get up there— and asap!! (Right near the elevator about to press the button, right near the wooden beam where ANDRE is.) For God’s sake this is the biggest night of my life— ahh! (ISABELLE sees ANDRE and freaks out.)
ANDRE: (Taking off his earphones, surprised at her yelp.) Whoa, you need a hand?
ISABELLE: (Looking at him judgmentally, then says condescendingly/defiantly.) No, I’m perfectly fine thank you very much— I don’t need your help. Who are you anyway??
ANDRE: Andre… and you must be… Isabelle?
ISABELLE: Yeah… how’d you know??
ANDRE: Well, we’re in almost all the same classes…
ISABELLE: Oh… (taking a second look at him) huh, I guess you do look kind of familiar… wait, then what are you doing down here?? (Saying it condescendingly, like “duh!”) You know, the ballroom is upstairs…
ANDRE: (Shakes his head, says passively.) Yeah… I know… I guess I should go up now, too.
ISABELLE: (Looking down at her watch.) Crap, it’s almost 8:20… can you push that button?? You might not be in a rush, but I have to get up there now. I’ve been counting down the days until tonight— this dance is huge for me! And plus, the theme is just amazing—“The End of the World Formal”… (Sighing happily.) … you know, because the “end of the world” is supposed to be tonight—well, I mean, the world’s not really going to end, it’s just been exaggerated by the media. But anyways—point is it’s supposed to be the best night of my life, and so much is going wrong already!!
(ANDRE looks at her like she’s crazy.)
ISABELLE: Oh, forget it! I guess I shouldn’t expect someone like you to understand.
ANDRE: (Shrugs, rolls his eyes at how dramatic she is being.)
(The elevator dings, the doors “open”, ISABELLE and ANDRE walk in. ISABELLE puts down the stuff.)
ANDRE: Third floor, right?
(ANDRE presses button. Everything is normal until the lights flash and the elevator makes a weird sound. Then lights flash back on.)
ISABELLE: Oh my God, oh my God what just happened?!!
ANDRE: Uhh, I don’t know… but it doesn’t sound good…
ISABELLE: Are we still moving??
ANDRE: Doesn’t look like it…
ISABELLE: (Frantically.) Oh no— oh no, no, no, no, no this can’t be happening… we’re stuck!! I knew I shouldn’t have trusted this elevator! Quick, do something!! I have to get out of here! I have to get to the dance!!!
ANDRE: Whoa, calm down… it’s gonna be ok… we just have to call someone… (Takes out his phone and starts dialing.)
ISABELLE: Ok, ok you’re right… we’ll be fine, I mean, these things happen all the time, right? We just have to call (Trying to convince herself that’s it’s going to be ok, she takes out her own phone, and tries calling.)
ANDRE: (Concerned, but stays composed.) Huh… no reception…. probably because of the storm…
ISABELLE: (Looking down at her phone with disbelief.) No reception?!? You’ve got to be kidding me!!
ANDRE: (Looking around elevator) Doesn’t look like there’s any emergency call button either…
ISABELLE: (Panicking.) Oh, come on, there has to be something!!! We can’t give up that easily! (Starts banging on walls and shouting for help.)
ANDRE: Hey, stop, you’re only gonna make things worse. No one will be able to hear us from down here. There’s really no point in panicking, we’re just gonna have to wait here until someone figures out that the elevator’s broken, and they fix things up, ok?
ISABELLE: But- but- but- what about the dance!!! I just can’t miss it! Now everything is ruined!! And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse… (Despairing.)
ANDRE: Relax; we’ll get out of here eventually.
ISABELLE: Don’t you tell me to relax! We could be stuck in here for hours!!
ANDRE: And we probably will be.
ISABELLE: And that doesn’t bother you??
ANDRE: Well, I mean, there’s really nothing I would be able to do about it anyway. So why stress over it? Kind of like this whole end of the world thing that the ancient Mayans predicted… if it ends, it ends— we can’t do anything to stop it.
ISABELLE: (Rolls eyes.) Oh puh-lease, you actually believe in that stuff? Everyone knows that it’s just a hoax.
ANDRE: Well, you’d be surprised at how much evidence there is that proves that at least something is going to happen tonight. It could be doomsday… or a new beginning. I guess it just depends if you’re the kind of person who sees the glass half full or half empty.
ISABELLE: How about there’s no glass at all?
ANDRE: (Chuckling.) Suit yourself.
ISABELLE: But seriously, why should I waste my time thinking about it? I have better things to worry about right now—like how much longer I’m gonna be trapped in here—and how everyone is going to wonder why I never showed up to the dance—and how all my friends will be talking about how awesome it was when I missed it all. (Pouting, ticked off.)
ANDRE: Yeah, yeah, but besides all that, isn’t it kind of interesting to wonder… if you knew the world was going to end… would you die feeling proud of the way you lived your life? Or would you wish you could go back, have a second chance…
(ISABELLE gives him a look, and ignores his question.)
ANDRE: Hey, I’m just throwing it out there— after all, who knows?
ISABELLE: Look, I don’t even know why we’re still having this conversation.
ANDRE: Does there have to be a reason?
(Slightly annoyed, ISABELLE turns away, and starts thinking about the world possibly ending. Time passes and they don’t talk. The clock tick-tocks. There is slight tension in the air, you can see it in their body language. Then eventually ISABELLE resumes conversation.)
ISABELLE: You know, it really is a weird concept—to think if it was all going to disappear…. forever. If our lives were really going to end…
ANDRE: (Smirking.) So you were thinking about it.
ISABELLE: Well yeah… now that you mentioned it, it’s kind of hard not to. I mean, to think that the human race could be wiped out completely… that our world could be left in ruins…
ANDRE: Yeah, but I wouldn’t get too pessimistic…
ISABELLE: (Ignoring his comment.) I- I would never get to have a car, or graduate high school, or go to college, or have a good career, or get married… I’d never have a future!! (Seriously upset.) I wouldn’t even be able to check out the special edition New Year’s issue of Teen Vogue…
(ANDRE realizes that ISABELLE is 100% serious and tries not to laugh about how she went from one extreme to the other.)
ANDRE: Well yeah, I mean no matter how you slice it, it would seriously suck but—
ISABELLE: (Cutting him off.) Maybe if I had known ahead of time I would have… listened to my mom yesterday… and I’d say sorry to my little sister and…. take time to give my grandma a call. I would actually be a better person— not be so— so self-centered…
(ANDRE doesn’t have an immediate response; he is slightly surprised at how much Isabelle is opening up all of a sudden.)
ISABELLE: (Having an epiphany.) I mean, I barely even spend time thinking about others anymore… I’m too caught up in my own freakin’ life— God, who have I become??
ANDRE: (Trying to be nice.) Hey, maybe you’re being a little too hard on yourself—
ISABELLE: Oh, come on don’t even pretend that you don’t agree. I’ve been lying to myself all along—and it’s just too hard to keep up this façade, when I know in my heart that this isn’t the kind of person I want to be…
ISABELLE: (Shaking head, in complete humiliation.) Did I really just say all of that out loud?
ANDRE: (Understanding.) Look, it’s ok… I know how you feel.
ANDRE: Well, it’s just that… I can relate to what you’re saying… I know what it’s like to pretend you’re something you’re not to try to impress someone. But in the end you’re only fooling yourself.
ISABELLE: I can’t believe this. I barely know you, and I feel like you understand where I’m coming from… jeez, if I ever said all of that to one of my friends… they would think I was psycho or something.
ANDRE: (Sarcastically.) Wow, some friends you must have.
ISABELLE: (Choosing to ignore his comment.) But seriously, there’s something about you—I don’t know, you’re just so different from anyone I’ve met before.
ISABELLE: Really, you might not realize it but… you always seem to know the right thing to say.
ANDRE: (Slightly embarrassed, shrugs and says non-chalantly.) Well, I try.
ISABELLE: (Smiles.) You know, I was really wrong about you.
ISABELLE: Well, it was just… I didn’t know who you really were… and I mean, I kind of just assumed…
ANDRE: That all the rumors were true? That I was the loser “new kid” who came from a messed up family and was a complete loner? Yeah, I figured.
ISABELLE: (Surprised by him saying that, feels bad.) No, no, no, not at all, I—
ANDRE: (Not angry.) You don’t have to try to cover it up, or anything. I know what people say behind my back, and it’s really ok. Trust me, I have plenty of friends and cousins back in California… that’s enough for me.
ISABELLE: Hey, that’s not the way to be. Sure, there’s always gonna be some people who are jerks, but then there’s also gonna be just as many who are really friendly once you get to know them. I mean, did you even give anyone a chance?
ANDRE: Well, no one ever really gave me a chance.
ISABELLE: Oh, don’t play that card, it’ll get you nowhere. This Friday you can go out with me and my friends, and I’ll introduce you to a few of the guys.
ANDRE: You really don’t have to do that—
ISABELLE: No, please— don’t worry about it, I owe you. You see, after what you said, it’s weird— it’s like I feel like a new person— like I have this fresh perspective, and it just feels so good. Because I realize now that I was just so swallowed up in my own world that… I guess I just lost sight of what was really important. And thanks to you, I finally feel like I’m on the right track again—on my way back to my old self, the person I really want to be. (Gives ANDRE a meaningful glance.)
ANDRE: (Genuinely happy… and slightly surprised at how open she’s being.) Wow… well, I’m glad… (Joking, trying to lighten things up.) Too bad there’s only, like, two minutes left before the end of the world.
ISABELLE: (Glancing at watch) Oh my God, you’re right! I was so wrapped up thinking about everything else I lost track of time… and for a second I almost forgot…
ANDRE: Yeah, well I don’t know about you, but I’m not too worried about the world really ending. (Smiling.) But I’m starting to think that all that stuff about new beginnings is becoming more and more true.
ISABELLE: Hahaha… I have a feeling you might just be right.
ANDRE: So, there’s only one more minute…
(Both are paused, staring at their watches.)
ISABELLE: (A little bit nervous) Yeah, more like thirty seconds now…
ANDRE: Fifteen seconds…
ISABELLE: Three… (Winces as she considers the world possibly exploding or something.)
ANDRE: Two. (Completely composed, relaxed.)
ISABELLE: One! (Freaking out—she closes her eyes and reaches for ANDRE’s hand, and he takes it.)
(Suddenly the lights go out. There’s another weird sound and shaking. Then all is pitch black and silent. The lights flicker… and go out again. Finally they turn back on, full force. Everything is exactly the same.)
ISABELLE: (On the ground because of the jolt, slowly gets up.) Oh my God, Andre, you ok??
ANDRE: (Also on the floor, getting up, brushing off.) Yeah, yeah… how ‘bout you?
ISABELLE: I’m fine… but that nearly gave me a heart attack! For a second I really thought—
HOTEL EMPLOYEE: (Interrupting ISABELLE.) Whoever is in there, hang tight!! The mechanic is almost done fixing the problem— and you’ll be out of there in no time!
ISABELLE and ANDRE (at the same time): Alright!! Ok!!
ISABELLE: Oh my God, finally!! I was starting to get a little worried that they’d never save us.
ANDRE: Yeah… same.
ISABELLE: (Smiling.) Oh and before I forget, let me add my number… (They exchange cell phones and add each other’s numbers.)
ANDRE: Sure. (Smiling.)
(The elevator makes a ding as the “doors” re-open. They both step out with relief. ISABELLE’s arms are once again overflowing with the decorations as she takes them out.)
ANDRE: (As he takes the boxes of decorations from her and puts them neatly on the ground.) Here, let me take those outside for you.
ISABELLE: (Smiling.) Thanks.
(Both exit together, stage left.)