What a Mess

(ANTON and BERNARD are standing in the middle of the stage looking down at a small pile of assorted items. As the scene progresses, the pile grows larger and larger with items being thrown offstage onto the pile, or actors coming on stage to drop items in the pile)

A: Who made this mess?

B: It wasn’t me.

A: If it wasn’t me then it must have been you. But it wasn’t.

B: Then it was nobody.

A: It had to be somebody.

B: Well if it wasn’t you and it wasn’t me, it couldn’t have been anyone.

A: Then it was nobody.

B: If it was nobody, we don’t have to do anything about it.

A: Even if it was someone, it wasn’t you and it wasn’t me so we still don’t have to do anything.

B: If we don’t do anything, who will clean up the mess?

A: Nobody. That’s who caused it and that’s who will clean it up.

B: True.

(Pause)

B: Does that mean the mess will remain as it is?

A: Nobody caused it, so nobody will clean it up.

B: But nobody can’t clean.

A: Nobody can’t do anything.

B: So the mess will remain?

A: If nobody cleans it up, then it won’t.

B: But nobody won’t.

A: Then it will.

(Pause)

A: It’s getting awfully big.

B: Why won’t nobody clean it up? Didn’t anyone tell nobody it was nobody’s problem?

A: You can’t tell nobody anything.

B: You can tell somebody something.

A: But somebody didn’t make the mess. Nobody did.

B: But nobody can’t clean.

A: Nobody can’t do anything.

B: Maybe somebody should do something.

A: Fine, we’ll tell somebody to clean it up.

B: But is that fair? If nobody made the mess, nobody should clean it up.

A: The fact remains that the mess is there. Nobody made the mess, and nobody should clean it up. But nobody won’t. So we have to ask somebody to do it.

B: Because nobody can’t clean.

A: Nobody can’t do anything.

(Pause)

A: So we have to ask somebody.

B: Who?

A: Somebody.

B: Anybody?

A: No, somebody. If nobody won’t do it, somebody will have to.

B: Can anybody do it?

A: No. Somebody has to. If anybody could do it that would mean you and me could too.

B: But we’re not anybody.

A: But we’re more not somebody.

B: The mess is getting awfully big.

A: Just wait for somebody to get here. They’ll clean up the mess.

B: Shouldn’t nobody have cleaned up the mess?

A: Nobody can’t clean! Nobody can’t do anything!

B: Well, you and me aren’t cleaning up the mess.

A: At least, me isn’t.

B: Yes, you might have to. If somebody doesn’t show up. But not me.

A: Never me. Me didn’t do it, so me won’t have to clean it up.

B: But you didn’t do it either.

A: Yes, but nobody can’t clean and somebody didn’t show up, so you has to do it.

B: What about me? If you doesn’t do it, will me have to?

A: No, me shouldn’t have to. Me didn’t do it.

B: But somebody and you didn’t do it either.

A: But me didn’t do it the most.

B: Maybe everyone did it.

A: Don’t be ridiculous. Maybe you did it, and somebody did it, if nobody didn’t do it, but me didn’t. So that means everyone couldn’t have done it. Because me didn’t. And me is everyone.

B: No, everyone is everyone. Me is me.

A: No, me is everyone. And me didn’t do it.

B: If me is everyone, isn’t somebody also me and me also you?

A: Yes, but they didn’t do it either. Nobody did it.

B: Then nobody should clean it up!

A: (shouting) NOBODY CAN’T CLEAN. NOBODY CAN’T DO ANYTHING!

(At this point both ANTON and BERNARD collapse into the pile and begin floundering about in the rubbish, making an even bigger mess. Eventually they disappear from view still calling for nobody to come clean it up. Lights go out. When they come back on, the two actors are in the same position; the mess is very big now. They throw a few things in the pile before starting to talk)

A: What a big mess. Who started this mess?

B: It wasn’t me.

(Lights dim and go out; the actors can be heard still repeating the opening lines)

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