SCENE TWO (DRAFT): after a monologue during which MELISSA, now dead, relays the last moments of her life through the bodies of her perpetrators, we meet VAN and RACHEL together, and begin to form the shape of their relationship. The location is undisclosed but should remain postdramatic, with a wheelie-bin at the back and centre of the stage. This is from the 'in progress' first draft of Flotsam: my playwriting process involves firstly solidifying the dramatic elements (character, voice, dramaturgy etc.), then feeding the play's politics through the second draft and onwards. A "//" indicates a cross-over with the following line.     

                        VAN and RACHEL are in their home together. VAN is on her laptop.

RACHEL          Hey –

VAN                 “Hey?”

RACHEL          Bored.

VAN                 Yeah. Me too.

RACHEL          Bored.

                        What’re you doing?

VAN                 I am…

                        …talking to you…

                        // Actually.

RACHEL          Online.  

                        What’re you doing online.

VAN                 Shit, what’re you, my mum?

                        a pause.  

                        Okay.

                        Look. 

                        So I figured I’d have to tell you sooner or later, and no time like the present, right?

                        She just got in contact with me a couple days ago, and I…

                        I’m talking to my ex.

RACHEL          Melanie.

VAN                 She prefers Mel, actually.

RACHEL          Does she?

VAN                 Yeah, we’re thinking we’re gonna meet up later, down Central or something. Grab a couple chai lattes and, like. Shoot the                              shit.

                        [starting to break.] It’s been a while, y’know? Catch up on old, sexy times.

RACHEL          You dickhead!

VAN                 Oh, come on. If I was gonna cheat, I’d be smart enough to not do it literally right in front of you.

RACHEL          Yeah, alright.

                        a pause.

                        So.

                        I had this dream last night.

VAN                 Yeah, I could tell.

RACHEL          You could, could you?

VAN                 You are so. Loud. When you dream. Like… when you see a golden retriever on the ground, right, and it starts kicking and                                snorting and snarling, ‘cos it’s in a dream, yeah? But it’s asleep. It can't possibly understand it’s being inconsiderate to those                          around it.

RACHEL          You’re calling me a dog?

VAN                 Yeah. But hey, you’re cute like a golden retriever. About as hairy as one, too.

RACHEL          Aw. Thanks.

VAN                 Didn’t say it was a bad thing. So, you had a dream, and…?

RACHEL          And… you keep distracting me. Shut up.

VAN                 I’m… sorry?

RACHEL          Should be.

                        Okay. Um. Well, I dreamt about you, for one. Back when we were in high school.

VAN                 Ooh, like a sexy boarding-school romance?

RACHEL          We were in Philosophy class, and Ms. Symes was there. Only it wasn’t Ms. Symes, or, it was, but it was Ms. Symes played by                           Jodie Foster. Anyway, she was straight out of some sexy boarding-school romance, and she was practically salivating all over                         the fact she was teaching at an all-girls school and wearing this totally inappropriate French Maid’s outfit, which for whatever                         reason didn’t seem weird?

                        Like, she’d just gotten up that morning and decided “well, guess this is what I’m gonna wear to I shape young minds today,”                           and that was that. Outfit sorted.

VAN                 You had Jodie Foster in fetish gear and you didn’t take advantage? Weak.

RACHEL          No, it wasn’t like that – like, I didn’t want to and neither did you. She was teaching us all about “The Gay Science” – [VAN                               snorts] – yeah, yeah, real funny. Real subtle, too. But she just… taught. Like, that was the whole dream.

                        We just went to class and learnt some stuff.

VAN                That is genuinely disappointing.

RACHEL          Maybe that was the magical part of the dream. That we actually learnt something.

VAN                 The combination of how much noise you made last night and that lead up then were for… what? Turns out you can                                            remember more stuff from high school than you thought you could?

RACHEL          Well, I guess I remembered more than I thought I did? I never really paid that much attention, but it’s wormed its way in                                    somehow, ‘cos I woke up with all these little Nietzsches dancing round my head this morning.

VAN                 Thrilling.

                        a beat.

RACHEL          You’re in a mood.

VAN                 No. No, I am not “in a mood.” You’re just a storytelling cock-tease, is what you are. Setting up false expectations left, right                                and centre.

RACHEL          Sorry to disappoint you.

VAN                 I don’t think you are.

RACHEL          Nah, I’m not. You’re right.

                        “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way? It doesn’t exist.”  

VAN                 QuotesFrenzy.Com, forward slash Nietzsche?

RACHEL          Well, yeah. I Googled him after that dream. I dunno, that one sort of stuck with me.

VAN                 [reading from her screen.] Says here he died in the year 1900 from undiagnosed syphilis. Sorry to break it to you, but your                             boy’s hardly a hero for the ages.

RACHEL          Sorry?

VAN                 They thought he’d just gone crazy, but after he died, they found his brain was all eaten up by from syphilis. Syphilis and                                  mercury poisoning, because in those days the things they used as cures for diseases actually just made things worse.

                        Oh, gross, there’s photos.

RACHEL          Let me see.

VAN                 Not of him, sicko, just some other poor sap.

RACHEL          Y’know, I think I remember this, from class.

VAN                 Lucky you.

RACHEL          I think they thought he caught it from a whorehouse, as you’d prob’ly expect.

VAN                 Well, sure. Not like there was much in the way of protection back then.

RACHEL          But, like… not from a prostitute. It’s theorised he got it from a piano stool.

                        pause. VAN bursts out laughing.

RACHEL          No, like, he didn’t want to fuck any of them; he just made friends with them, and also liked to play the piano, and it was just                             this thing that… [VAN continues laughing.]

                        Fine. Fuck you, whatever.

VAN                 No. No… no, I’m sorry. I’ll stop.

                        she gets herself under control.

                        I’ll stop. I’ll stop, see?

                        Sorry.

RACHEL          I just think... to want companionship so fucking badly that it literally kills you?

                       That’s just sad. It’s just so fucking sad.