ANOUSH talks to DIET COKE

DIET COKE. There’s nothing wrong with me.

ANOUSH. I didn’t say anything was wrong with you, but you’re not looking your usual self.

DIET COKE. I’m worthless.

ANOUSH. Huh?

DIET COKE. WORTHLESS.

ANOUSH. That’s not what all your girlfriends say.

DIET COKE. They’re not my girlfriends – just a bunch of angry women who need a quick fix.

ANOUSH. Sorry I was just tyring to be humorous. Didn’t mean to make lite of the situa–

DIET COKE. Angry big women who roll their eyes whenever I’m not around. Like, I’m supposed to be offered everywhere they go.

ANOUSH. But it’s not your —

DIET COKE. It’s either THEM or it’s the anxious male artist types.

ANOUSH. I don’t think it’s so extreme like that.

DIET COKE. Oh it is. I may as well go to room temperature and preserve the dead forever.

ANOUSH. Now you sound like your mother.

::No one says anything for 15 seconds:::

DIET COKE. I don’t wanna talk about her.

ANOUSH. Well, I think we should.

DIET COKE. Why should we talk about someone who’s so obsessed with appearance?

ANOUSH. She–

DIET COKE. Who goes around telling people *I* have no value?

ANOUSH. But —

DIET COKE. Who gets on my case for spending so much time in the can.

ANOUSH. She probably just wants you to be healthier.

DIET COKE. I SAID. I don’t wanna talk about her.

ANOUSH. Is that why you shortened your last name?

DIET COKE. One of the reasons. Also, you GOTTA shorten your last name if you wanna make it in the industry.

ANOUSH. You think so, huh?

DIET COKE. Yep. The longer your last name, the worse it is.

ANOUSH. That’s not true.

DIET COKE. Was for me. I had a hyphen and everything. Freaking trainwreck.

ANOUSH. Your mom kept her whole name and she’s pretty classic, right?

DIET COKE. Eh, but she’s been around since the 50s. She’s had time to find herself.

ANOUSH. She was even green when she first started out.

DIET COKE. LOOK! Don’t act like you know the woman, ok? Cause you don’t.

ANOUSH. She’s really good at marketing herself and how to sell herself. Also, she might be the person who could help you get out there, once your sugar levels are at healthy levels again.

DIET COKE. Excuse me, we’re talking about the woman who whores off Santa for three months outta the year and gives away tickets to Six Flags on top of all the usual stuff she does.

ANOUSH. Excuse me, you do the same thing.

DIET COKE. I HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS!

ANOUSH. Stop yelling at me – I’m not yelling at you.

:::No one says anything for 15 seconds:::

ANOUSH. Ever think of just helping others? Like community service, working with children or something?

DIET COKE. I’m not allowed around kids. I mean, understandably.

ANOUSH. It’s just important to learn how to give back a little.

DIET COKE. Sounds like something my father would say.

ANOUSH. What’s he up to these days?

DIET COKE. The usual. Being a pretentious caffeine free hypocrite.

ANOUSH. Hey-hey-hey.

DIET COKE. What. SOOO New Age. At the end of the day you gotta ask yourself – What’s the point? Either BE cola or DON’T be cola – finished.

ANOUSH. I guess I–

DIET COKE. Just admit you’re Ginger Ale and move on with your life. I–

ANOUSH. No, finish your thought.

DIET COKE. He just HAS to be different all the time. Sometimes I think he SERIOUSLY needs to be reshelved, but that’s not a nice thing to say. Sorry, sorry I shouldn’t think like that. I don’t know, I worry that people laugh at him.

ANOUSH. Sounds like you kinda like being a cola. Like you’re ok with who you are.

DIET COKE. Sometimes. I mean the whole thing makes sense to me. I just don’t wanna be so red and loud and make noise every time I’m opened.

ANOUSH. You don’t have to.

DIET COKE. Good. ‘cause I’m not.

ANOUSH. Just don’t get so worked up all the time over every little thing. You overprocess things to the extreme and it’s unhealthy.

DIET COKE. It’s how I was brought up.

ANOUSH. Keep reminding yourself that you’re not them.

DIET COKE. I’m not them.

ANOUSH. Good. And I wanna see you use your whole name once in a while.

DIET COKE. I’ll think about it. I’ll start with bottles and see how I feel from there.

ANOUSH. And it’s ok to feel flat once in a while – not every day can be a party.

DIET COKE. I feel like if I make peace with that, I’ll stop wasting so much time thinking about Jack and the Captain.

ANOUSH. Jack and the Captain are always going to be Jack and the Captain whether you’re there or not. They’re never gonna change. And they find you adorable ‘cause you have no baggage.

DIET COKE. I KNOW that. I KNOW this already.

ANOUSH. Can I say something else?

DIET COKE. What. Is it good or bad? I can’t sit and listen to what ELSE I’m doing wrong.

ANOUSH. Something I’ve noticed since I met you. You have this way of making other people feel good about themselves. A kind of security.

DIET COKE. Really?

ANOUSH. Yes. I don’t just give empty compliments.

DIET COKE. Thanks. I kinda pretty much know who I am.

ANOUSH. It’s a strength.

DIET COKE. And I also feel like it’s helped me stay away from the Mentos scene.

ANOUSH. Oh, I know.

DIET COKE. ‘Cause it’s REALLY not as glamorous as they make it look on TV. It’s kind of pathetic, actually.

THE END.

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