Theatre of Ted
The following piece was presented at the first Theatre of Ted on October 20, 1990.
written and performed by Chris Hainsworth

American Icarus

Focus. Focus. Icarus. What? For some reason the name enters my mind. Coherency returns. The cold glass of my window provides little comfort from the god awful heat of the room. It's too hot to sleep. Besides, my bed is a little crowded at the moment. I wish I could remember her name. More for my sake than hers. Not more than an hour ago we had been in the throws of passion and now I couldn't remember her name on a bet. It's scary how typical that is becoming. I vaguely remember her mentioning it at the party, but it was loud and I was already pretty drunk at the time. Couldn't make it out. Lara? Lana? Laura? Something with an L I'm sure. Her purse lies on the floor. I could easily open it and check, I suppose. But, then again, do I really want to know? I mean, what's the point? I doubt we'll be doing more talking, anyway.

I should have taken her to her room. I don't know what the Hell I was thinking. Obviously I wasn't. Now I run the risk of her showing up at my door anytime she gets the whim. God, I hate that. Jesus, I had too much. Funny, at the time I didn't feel like I had enough. Perspective is a fickle bitch, ain't she? Even now, I can't quite shake the haze. Purple haze, in my brain ... Focus. Focus. Icarus. There it is again. Sleep. That's what I need. I can already feel the headache stockpiling behind my eyes. If it wasn't so hot. I might as well be in the tropics. The heat from her body only makes things worse. Looks as if my only option is to suffer though it. I heard it builds character.

Can't shake the buzz. How much? Was all of it tonight? After a while, it all seems to blend together. I think I puked. I remember supressing the urge for a while. I remember her kissing me. Couldn't breathe. Had to get out of there. They say it's easy to block the memory of becoming physically ill. They say it is so traumatic on the body your mind just kicks in and takes over. But for some reason the memory is the first thing that cuts through my cloud. The wrenching. The feeling of the throat closing. Just wishing it was over. Air. The taste. Oh, God the taste. Some one urinating, "Tastes better going down, huh." I smile with the vomit still running from my chin. The fact that I don't attack him shows I still have some control. Pop a breath mint. Get some air. Climb back into the saddle. The horse threw me. -Time to get back on. Few drinks and I was fine. Stupid. Pay in the morning. But tomorrow is another day. Frankly, Scarlett I don't give a damn. Focus.

Thank god, at least she looks attractive. But then again, I'm drunk and standing in the dark. The morning has a cruel way of shattering illusion. That's another reason for going back to their places. At least I can pull up my pants and leave before I see what they really look like. Lord knows, I've brought home some beasts in the past. You would think I would have learned by now. I just can't help myself. I need it. The feeling of a woman's flesh in my hands or against my mouth is so powerful. More powerful than the alcohol running with my blood. The alcohol is more accessible however.

It also lasts longer. I can't make the feeling last. The desire is always there but the feeling goes once I've explored it fully in that person. I can't get all I need. So I let go. I walk away. Slip into the night satisfied but still empty, telling myself how futile it was but still always coming back. Not to the woman, just to the desire. It's like looking for something in a glass box. You can see just by looking at the box that it is empty but you open it anyway. And then for some stupid reason you feel disappointed when the box turns out to be as empty as you knew it would be. Stupid. I have a collection of my glass boxes. I add another to the stack. I'm just waiting for them to fall and shatter. Stupid.

Animals are smarter that humans. Because they are more easily conditioned. Enough negative reinforcement and they know to stop doing something. Or they improvise a new way of doing something. Humans on the other hand keep stumbling along, pain after pain, hoping foolishly and going about things in the wrong way. Unlike the animals we are to stupid to change. Our free will makes us stupid. It dooms us to a life of pain. Explain cigarette smokers. They know it's killing them but they don't give it up.

I think of the lab monkey's. The one's they test the drugs that we've declared war on. They hold these monkey's down and inject them day after day until they are addicted to the stuff. Somehow I don't think these monkey's are volunteers. I doubt they go, "Hey, guys? We need some help testing a theory so we are going to inject you with this stuff that is highly addictive and potentially lethal until you can't live with out it and see how you react. Okay?" Because the monkey's have no interest in that kind of shit. If they really want to study those things, then go down into any city and take a peek. How many monkeys are addicted to drugs outside of laboratories? Not a whole hell of a lot, I'll bet.

If it weren't for people, there wouldn't be any monkey addicts. We are inflicting upon them what we chose to do to ourselves voluntarily. We are making monkeys with monkeys on there backs!

We have to be the only species on that planet that is stupid enough to take all of the progress from the past century and use it to create things to hinder ourselves. So much time is spent fighting the addictions that we created that we can not focus on important things like cancer research. When we declare war on drugs, we declare war upon the core of humanity. Because that is the problem stems from.

Icarus. Why is that running through my head? We talked about him in my English class. And I realized how much we had in common. At times like these when I stand in the dark in a drunken haze the similarities be come clear. In a demented, warped kind of way. Icarus on wings of feathers and wax, flew from the labyrinth where he was imprisoned to freedom, to be drawn in by the beauty of the sun. But he discovered that beauty can burn when he flew to close and the heat melted away his beautiful wings and he plummeted to his death, crashing against the rocks and slipping into the icy waters, never to be seen again. Shit happens.

The discussion was on a poem based on a painting. In the poem and the painting both, no one noticed this tragic chain of events. Tragic. Icarus was a Greek tragedy. I, on the other hand, am an American normality. I am so typical, I might as well be a clone. Joe College #4293, at your service. I'm not even a drop of piss in a barrel. Yet I feel that somehow makes it more tragic. Or more pathetic. Sometimes it's so hard to distinguish the difference.

Like Icarus, I to try to fly from my labyrnth on wings I've constructed. But my wings are not the soft gull feathers that he used. Mine are hard and cold. Sharp razors that cut into my flesh with every move I make. But the joy of flying almost makes it worth it. My wings are my alcohol and my women. My labyrinth is my life. I escape from a prison into a trap. I also am drawn to a sun and like Icarus, it is a beautiful lie. It's the seduction of the easiness. It's so easy. And it sucks you in. And the beauty fades. And the truth grabs you by the throat. And you burn. God, how you burn. And I feel my wings melt away, pulling my sanity with it. And I stand naked and have to face where I am. But I refuse.

I know the destination that I am coming to but I don't change the path I'm on. I can not help but stare at the false beauty. I know that is grotesque but I also know how appealing it is. With every drink I take and every woman I take to my bed, I feel myself getting closer. Soon I won't be able to maintain the flight. And I'll fall. I see the rocks in my mind. I can imagine the coldness of the water but sometimes I feel as if my imagination doesn't do it justice. With all of this, I still can't look away. Mamma always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but mamma, that's where the fun is. A lot of people don't like Bruce Springsteen, but that doesn't stop him from being an insightful son of a bitch.

Just say no. Thanks, Nancy, I'll take it under consideration. Just say no. Sounds easy enough. No. See how easy that was. Of course I could say I'm the Pope and that doesn't mean it's the truth. Can I turn away from this vicious circle I got myself into? Am I so much a slave to it that I'll let it destroy me with out putting up some effort to stop it? Am I that much of a victim to my own nature that I'm doomed to destruction? I know the only hope I have is me. And that scares me the most. Because like Icarus, no one is aware of this tragic chain of events. Except me.

"Joey, come back to bed." The voice startles me and I smack my head against the glass. She laughs. I turn and look at this nameless glass box lying in my bed and I can see the sun burning in her eyes so brilliantly. "And bring me on of those." At first I have no concept of what she is talking about. And then I look at my hand and see the beer I am holding. When did I open this? It is almost gone but still cold.

I look at her sitting there. Naked. She makes no move to cover herself. She is proud of her body. And well she should be. She knows it's her source of power. It's overpowering. I think of the easiness again. How easy it would be. To slip back into her flesh, lose myself, and not care. To give in to my addiction. To use this girl to try to satisfy something I already know I can't. To continue the circle. I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round. Oh, how I love to watch them roll. "Well?" She smiles. Do I really want to lose myself when what I really need to find out what it is I am really looking for. Do I go to her? Of course I do.

Because I'm weak. Because I'm drunk. Because it's to late for philosophy. Because I'm stupid.