[In 2005, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival presented a project I created called Emophiliacs. It was a collection of teen-themed monologues interspersed with live music performed by a Bay Area rock band named Inverness.
The piece that kicked off the evening was titled "Backseat Confessional," and it is posted here, followed by an audio clip of the Inverness song that complements the monologue. The monologue (spoken by "Boy 1") and the song are great individually, of course, but, when put back to back, they soar.]
The backseat of this car smells like shit.
It's a Honda/Toyota/Ford/Other—I don't know. It's not that the car is damaged beyond recognition—it's just that I'm not like other guys. You know the type. The kind that blows a load in his pants whenever a sleek sports car speeds by, its tires grinding against the pavement with look-at-me-fuck-you fury.
I don't get off on automobiles, I don't shoplift Car and Driver magazine from the grocery store, I don't know the difference between 4 cylinders, V-8 engines, front-wheel drive. To me, cars are things you get in to go from one stupid place to another. Stupid school to stupid work to stupid mall to stupid friend's house.
Everyone in here is either Drunk/High/Other. I'm "other." I'm bored. And I can't believe I'm here. But I have nowhere else to be.
It's a year/two years/three years until graduation—I've lost count. A year/two years/three years before I can leave this stupid town.
Another Friday night in an endless series of Friday nights. I should be home moping. But it's better to mope in front of my friends. At least they say, "Stop your fucking moping!" Which actually makes me feel like I'm alive. The recognition. The acknowledgement by someone else that they can see me in my Cathedral of Man Pain. Yes, at least they can see me. In the backseat. Where it smells like shit.
Another Friday night. Dennis behind the wheel, Randy in the passenger seat, Jack sitting next to me. Or is it Carl behind the wheel, Frank in the passenger seat, Mark sitting next to me? Or maybe it's Adam, Tom, and Nick—I don't know. They all blend into each other after ninth grade, tenth grade, eleventh grade.
Dennis/Carl/Adam has a nose for mischief. Tonight, he's a human tracking system for traffic cones. He seeks, he finds. Traffic cone after traffic cone. He slows down and Randy/Frank/Tom opens the passenger door, grabs the cones, throws them at me and Jack/Mark/Nick. We're up to our waists in these orange traffic cones. But cones are only the beginning.
There's a few rolls of toilet paper crammed into the glove compartment. When Randy/Frank/Tom opens it, the rolls pop out like prank snakes from a prank can of nuts. We stop, we get out, we tee-pee the house of our geometry teacher, a man's whose trapezoid- and rhombus-filled life is probably even more sad than ours. Long strands of toilet paper hang from the branches like tears. But toilet paper is only the beginning.
There's the matter of the backseat. Where it smells like shit. Because there is shit in the backseat.
Earlier tonight, we all took dumps in four separate brown paper bags. They somehow convinced me to do it too, and I just fell into groupthink because I'm falling all the time. We spend the rest of our evening driving to the houses of our exes and lighting the bags on fire on their front porches.
Dennis/Carl/Adam, Randy/Frank/Tom, and Jack/Mark/Nick, they laugh. For them, it's the most ingenious practical joke in the world and the sweetest revenge. For me, it's not.
These are my friends:
I hate them. I love them. I hate them. I love them.
My name is John.
My name is Richard.
My name is Gary.
I'm blending into everyone else after eleventh grade, twelfth grade, and until the end of time.
And I hate myself. And I love myself. And I hate myself. And I lo—
The brown paper bags are no longer in the backseat.
But you know what?
It still smells like shit.