EPILOGUE – REFLECTION
[Nigel turns a corner, showing mild surprise – he isn’t where he thought he was going. He lowers his specs lightly and looks around, seeing he is in what looks like a waiting room. There are two chairs, and a table with some boring-looking magazines. Nigel reaches down and picks one up, flipping through it. The pages are all blank. Frowning, he looks at the cover. That’s blank too.]
Nigel: Oh well at least they only use ink for stuff worth reading, nowadays.
[Behind him, another Nigel turns the corner. This is the Old Nigel, before he saw the porn video, looking very different from his older self. Nigel looks at the back cover, which says quite clearly: BEHIND YOU! Nigel mmms, trying to divine the meaning of it. Old Nigel’s expression turns furious.]
Old Nigel: Son – of – a – BITCH!
[Nigel turns round, surprised, only to tackled by Old Nigel and knocked to the ground. Old Nigel starts to pummel his future self’s face, but isn’t doing much damage. Nigel looks more annoyed that hurt.]
Nigel: Do I know you?
[Old Nigel grabs Nigel’s head and slams it against the floor repeatedly.]
Nigel: A simple “yes/no” would do me!
[Nigel manages to curl back a leg and kick Old Nigel off him. Old Nigel crashes into the seats, but is unhurt. Nigel sits up, none the worse for wear.]
Nigel: God, I hate children. Unless you’re a midget.
[Old Nigel looks dejected.]
Old Nigel: I’m not a midget. I’m...
Nigel: Ah, so I do know you! [thoughtful] Mind you, I’m not likely to forget someone who seems to think “Hello” means “Try to beat the living shit out of someone”, am I? Now, where have I seen you before? [Old Nigel is about to speak] No, don’t tell me. Your countenance is familiar, boy.
Old Nigel: ‘Countenance’? Who says ‘countenance’ is real life?!
Nigel: I do, you miserable little troglodyte! The Big N has the entire English language at his beck and call – huh, see what I did there? I bet you’re in remedial classes. You do remind me of someone... Oh. Of course.
Old Nigel: You recognize me then?
Nigel: Of course. It’s Nathan!
Old Nigel: “Nathan”?
Nigel: Blame your parents, little guy, I do not get involved.
Old Nigel: I’m not Nathan.
Nigel: [not sorry at all] Oh well, oops. My bad.
Old Nigel: Take a good look, you jerk. You think you’d recognize it, given how much you lust after mirrors, you egocentric loser.
Old Nigel: Yeah. Don’t I remind you of your own reflection?
Nigel: [shrugs] Kind of.
Old Nigel: Isn’t that a clue?
Nigel: Ah, of course. [smiles] Nope, nothing springs to mind.
Old Nigel: I’m YOU, you stupid bastard!
Nigel: No, you’re not, but it’s good to aspire to my greatness...
Old Nigel: I’m you! Nigel! Aged nine and ten sixteenths!
Nigel: My god. Fractions! I used to be really good at them!
Old Nigel: BECAUSE I’M YOU!
Nigel: [snorts] Get real. [slightly uncertain] Get... real. [losing it] WHY AREN’T YOU GETTING REAL!!!
Old Nigel: [heavy sigh] My god, you’re such a spastic.
Nigel: I thought I was you? You saying you’re a spastic as well?
Old Nigel: No, and you’re not me. I’m you, but you’re not me.
Nigel: Oh, very philosophical. I warn you, buster, if the lyrics to “I am the Walrus” are used in this conversation, it will immediately end. With infanticide. Capice?
Old Nigel: I’m who you should be. Before you sold out.
Nigel: Me? You! Rubbish. How could any part of my life be as diseased as you? An acne-ridden little squirt, whose loins have yet to feel the force of gravity, who attacks people on first sight. If you were really me, not only would you be less disgusting physically, you’d be pleasant company. Why would me, myself and I not get on?
Old Nigel: Because you’re a self-absorbed dickhead.
Nigel: Opinion is divided on the subject. And your opinion, kid, ain’t worth squat.
Old Nigel: “Squat”? Do you actually think about what you say, or just belch up stuff from American TV?
Nigel: At least I can make sense instead of this Zen bullshit about you being me and me not being you.
[Nigel strides off, but quickly realizes there’s nowhere to go.]
Nigel: How did I get here anyway?
Old Nigel: You were born.
Nigel: Oh, very helpful, little boy. Would you like to find out what “compound fracture” means?
Old Nigel: You don’t remember being me then? The stabbing?
Nigel: Stabbing? I didn’t stab anyone. [smirks] Not with a knife, anyway. Hang on. [blinks] A penknife. Jason. That intellectual vacuum... he stabbed me! Thank God that father could afford the surgery to get rid of the scar, oh, how I’d hate being imperfect. Not that I’m often threatened with it, you understand.
Old Nigel: All come rushing back, has it?
Nigel: Kind of.
Old Nigel: And what did the Big N do when you got a knife in your gut?
Old Nigel: How did it make you feel?
Nigel: Well, it was painful, obviously.
Old Nigel: Was it?
Nigel: I assume it was.
Old Nigel: You... assume.
Nigel: Even I would be hard-pressed to find a rusty blade chipping my ribs a happy-fun-time feeling.
Old Nigel: You don’t remember, do you?
Nigel: Well, it was traumatic. I blocked it out. Of course, it was the talk of the school. So of course you’d know about it, Nathan. You were probably just out in Kindie, watching the important people accidentally get skewered by their peers.
Old Nigel: And what did you do in Kindie, Nigel?
Nigel: I... well... I don’t remember. It wasn’t memorable.
Old Nigel: You don’t remember, dumbo, because you never went to Kindie!
Nigel: Ah, of course! Yes. I was too good for those losers, I skipped a year...
Old Nigel: And what was Year One like?
[Nigel opens his mouth to speak, but stops.]
Nigel: Not much different.
Old Nigel: And what about Year Five?
Nigel: Oh, I remember Year Five all right. Easily. Like it was yesterday.
Old Nigel: Year Four?
Nigel: ...it wasn’t up to much. Not as much as Year Five.
Old Nigel: Are you in denial or just plain stupid?
Nigel: I don’t have to put up with this, you know. I’ve studied Ninjitsu, you know – and not just watching Ninja Turtle episodes. I might not be able to break into a gangland cocaine lab, but I can break half the bones in your body and leave no trace of violence!
Old Nigel: Go on then.
Nigel: Oh no, little boy. You don’t get quick and easy. You get the nasty.
[Nigel holds up his thumbs.]
Nigel: You see these? These can do UNTOLD carnage.
Old Nigel: Only if you jab your thumbnail into my earlobe and twist.
Nigel: Exactly, which is... how in the name of Slartibartfast did you know that?
Old Nigel: Benny taught me.
Nigel: Why would a divine goddess like Bernice Yang have anything to do with a squirt like you?
Old Nigel: Do I need to write this down? I’m YOU.
Nigel: So you keep saying. You haven’t come up with any kind of proof, though, huh?
Old Nigel: Can you prove who YOU are?
Nigel: I need no proof. The adoration of the masses is all the evidence I need.
Old Nigel: Since you can’t remember anything before 1996?
Nigel: My dear Nathan, anything that occurred before... um... what happened in 96?
Old Nigel: I dunno, the Spice Girls?
Nigel: Yes. And the Macarena. Anything prior is prehistoric, not worth knowing.
Old Nigel: You don’t remember anything before then because you didn’t exist then.
Nigel: Yes I did. There are photos.
Old Nigel: No there aren’t.
Nigel: School photos.
Old Nigel: Of the Big N? Of you, with your rayband sunglasses and poofy dreadlocks?
Nigel: ...maybe not. It’s a bit cloudy for some reason, but...
Old Nigel: But nothing, you asshole! You didn’t exist before 1996! I did!
Nigel: Who cares about you? Oh, just forget it. I’m not interested in this conversation and I’m definitely not interested in you.
Old Nigel: It’s been seven long bloody years, Nigel Verkoff. And you never thought to think once – not once – that you couldn’t remember anything before 1996? That, at the end of the day, you’re only seven years old? No wonder you act like a spoiled brat.
Nigel: No. Please. Do go on. You might even get to a point.
Old Nigel: The point is in 1996, I was Nigel Yang. And then you were.
Nigel: What? I took over from you?
Old Nigel: Yeah.
Nigel: But I don’t remember.
Old Nigel: You replaced me when you were born.
Old Nigel: It’s true!
Nigel: What, I’m somehow you... what? Regenerated? What happened? Did you get stabbed, die and suddenly transform into a far more agreeable, clever, well-adjusted and sexy person?
Old Nigel: No. I watched the video.
Nigel: Oh. The video.
Old Nigel: Yeah, you remember that well enough, don’t you?
Nigel: Dude. You don’t forget stuff like that.
Old Nigel: And that was what you remember. The first thing you remember. That’s when you were born, and you took over from me.
Nigel: Take over? What, was it a palace coup? You resigned! You gave up!
[Old Nigel doesn’t reply.]
Nigel: Yeah, think about that for a while! If you’re so bloody brilliant, how the hell did you allow me to get into the driving seat, huh? Not that I believe any of this prime-grade Australian bull you’ve been feeding me. Where exactly did I come from, huh? Am I some kind of, I dunno, Valeyard? Made out of all the cool badass horny evil inside your puny frame? Did the government brainwash you and give you a sleeper personality? Come on then, Arthur McCarthur! Explain that!
Old Nigel: He’s the little fat kid from Hey Dad.
Nigel: No, explain how I suddenly took over your wasted excuse for a brain! You can’t, can you?
Old Nigel: Not in words small enough for you to understand.
Nigel: Why are we having this conversation then?
Old Nigel: Because I have had to suffer watching YOU screw up MY life ever since that day!
Nigel: Screw up? Screw up? What, exactly, did I do to screw up your life?
Old Nigel: You’re a sell-out! A phony! You lie and cheat and steal, nothing matters to you except sex and chocolate! You never had a friend you didn’t use, and you’ve jammed your head so far up your own arse you haven’t even noticed that they’ve all run away and left you?
Nigel: Hey, I am not self-absorbed.
Old Nigel: You’re talking to your nine-year-old self.
Nigel: Not of my own free will. You dragged me here.
Old Nigel: I only managed that because YOU hit critical mass! You’re so in love with yourself you’ve lost any kind of grip on reality. Your ego is demanding its own dressing room for Christ’s sake! It’s been months since school ended and what you done? Got drunk, tried and failed to screw YOUR OWN SISTER...
Old Nigel: Details! She’s my sister, man!
Nigel: Believe me, I intend to take VERY good care of her.
Old Nigel: She. Has. A. Boyfriend!
Nigel: Who is nothing compared to me!
Old Nigel: You’re insane! You’ve finally lost the plot, you madman.
Nigel: I didn’t hear you complaining while I became famous and popular. I achieved more in a month than YOU managed in five whole years at that school. What great works did I prevent you from achieving? Walking up and down in the green, feeling sorry for yourself and being lonely? If anyone has a grudge, buster, it’s me – nine whole years of my life... your life... whatever... I’ve been robbed from. If you just lost your soul or whatever the hell it was earlier, I could have achieved...
Old Nigel: Achieved... what? What exactly have you achieved?
Nigel: Your infantile mind wouldn’t understand.
Old Nigel: You’re squatting in your sister’s flat, rent free, trying to have sex with her. You’ve got no friends, your family have all but abandoned you, your qualifications are laughable, you’ve got a deadend job at Happy Flappy Burgers and not a single one of your Happiness Patrol have given you a second thought! You’re homeless, forsaken, betrayed and alone!
Nigel: I’m happy.
Old Nigel: No you’re not. You’re just a moron. That’s why you’ve burrowed into your own ego, so you don’t realize how truly pathetic and boring your life has really become. You took the fast ride to nowhere, Nigel Verkoff. End of the line.
Nigel: Maybe, Nathan, maybe...
Old Nigel: And stop pretending to forget my name! No one buys it!
Nigel: The point is, you spineless little tadpole, that I’ve enjoyed my life so far. More than you ever did. And if this IS the end of the line, if the good times HAVE come to an end, at least I was out there when they were on instead of hiding in the shadows being an emo tosser!
Old Nigel: That’s not an answer...
Nigel: Why are we arguing about ME taking control of things instead of YOU giving up? Is that it, huh? Oh, poor little Nigel Yang has no friends, poor little Nigel Yang is so depressed, he’ll go into the corner and cry and wish everyone had remained emotionally stunted like him since day freaking one. And when you saw that video, saw those things... which, admittedly, do justify a degree of childhood trauma... you took it to the next level. Why hang around in the playground letting all the other kids have fun when you can vanish from reality altogether? You ran away and hid, then you’ve got the front to bitch at ME for living the life YOU were too afraid to work with?
Old Nigel: You’re not sorry at all, are you?
Nigel: Hell no! I may have lived for the moment, taken my pleasure where I can, but it’s a damn sight better than some people manage. I’m not apologizing, I’m proud of my debauchery. I don’t care if this waiting room is heaven, hell or Area 51. I’m not backing down to ANYONE, unlike YOU, ya gonad! And if life turns to crap or I spend all eternity in the Underworld, I’ll laugh in their faces every time I can draw breath. I regret NOTHING, and if I had a chance to do it all again, I’d do it! No, I’d do it LONGER! With MORE laughing gas! And if that means I’m damned for the rest of my life, well, bring it on, bitch. Bring. It. On.
Old Nigel: It can’t go on, Nigel. It won’t.
Nigel: There are ups and there are downs but while my heart keeps beating I’m never giving up. Hedonistic thrill-seeker ignoring the consequences? That’s me and at least I’m honest about it. Let the rest of mankind worry about their legacies and reputations and repercussions. When the Grim Reaper comes to tango, all of them to a man will wish they’d had more fun. Well that is something I vow will never happen to me. When life leaves my perfect body, I’ll know I lived every second! Can YOU say that, Nathan?
Old Nigel: No.
Nigel: No. And that’s why... actually, you ARE me aren’t you?
Old Nigel: Yes.
Nigel: Not just some weird parallel psyche. You’re me. You’re why I do this. You’re who I am. It’s not a different personality, just... a concentration of it. You’re my regret. My shame. My humiliation... no wonder you’re so small and easy to ignore. And this is a test, my mind proving itself, showing I was right.
Old Nigel: Um, no, actually, you really ARE getting lost in your own ego...
Nigel: Keeping in character, Nigel, I like that. But we can drop the act and take down the “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT” sign off my frontal lobes. The Big N is here to stay!
Old Nigel: Nigel...
[Nigel strides towards the exit.]
Nigel: You can wait and watch my genius, little guy. I promise to make sure it’s never less than the most thrilling experience in all of human history!
Old Nigel: Come back here, you megalomaniac...
Nigel: WAKE UP, WORLD, TIME TO MEET YOUR DADDY!
[Nigel strides into the light....]