Nobody Else Sings Along



Scene Title Nobody Else Sings Along
Synopsis Some things happen for a reason. Other things happen for no reason at all.
Date February 27, 2018

Phoenix Heights

Pale morning light spills through tall mill building windows. Pigeons coo and flutter in their roosts in the exposed rafters, and floor-to-ceiling supports cast long, faint shadows across the bare concrete floor. There is a houndstooth-upholstered armchair in the middle of the warehouse floor, duct-tape holding the fabric on to the chair's frame. A plywood plank on two milk crates serves as an end table, where an oil-burning lamp sheds a tiny amount of warm light. On the floor, an old gray Sony PS-LX2 turntable sits, connected by a labyrinth of extension cords that trail all the way across the otherwise vacant living space. A single, large speaker is propped on its side, connected by taped-up wiring to the turntable.

Another long shadow crosses the room. Bare feet tread across cold concrete, pale legs covered with tiny scars in the morning light. An overly long yellow t-shirt swishes across a willowy frame. I NY across the front. Sera Lang carries a single black record with a peeled off label in one hand. She bends down and lays the record in place, carefully moving the arm down. She closes her eyes, purses her lips, and flips the record player on.

A sweet, folky melody begins to reverberate through the enormous and mostly empty mill space. Sera's lips curl up into a serene smile, and she unfolds from her crouch and raises her arms above her head as the first lyrics call out from across time.

Nobody can tell ya

Sera lowers her hands, fluttering them down in front of herself as she shifts one shoulder up, moves her weigh to the ball of one foot, loops her arms out in the air, and lets her head slowly roll from back to front in a clockwise motion.

There's only one song worth singin'

Her arms go up again, head slowly tipping back and wispy blonde hair swishing down in fine strands. She walks backwards, waving her arms up and down in front of herself as she backpedals, as though she's swimming through the air. When she comes to a stop, one pale leg is bent at the knee, weight on one foot, arms paused in place.

They may try and sell ya

One arm goes up, the other goes down, and Sera lets her head sway from side to side with her bangs swishing over her face. Her hips swing opposite of her head, arms cross at the wrists, fingers closed. She's smiling against the tears welled up in her eyes that streak glassily down her reddened cheeks.

'Cause it hangs them up to see someone like you

As the song swells into a crescendo and Mama Cass brings it in for the chorus, Sera lets her arms rise over her head and fingers spread. She crosses her legs at the ankles, opens her mouth to sing along, and then jumps into frantic motion.

But you've gotta make your own music

Arms pumping in the air, Sera hops around the apartment, bare feet scuffing and scraping across the floor. She pivots on the ball of her foot, one leg bent, then dips forward and touches the floor with one her other arm held up in the air behind herself. She swings one leg up and around, a pirouette that twists her weight and shifts her into a heavier momentum-based movement.

Sing your own special song

Sera leaps, legs scissoring in the air, lands down on one of her feet, swings the other leg out and leaps again, twisting her hips this time in such a way that she spirals through the air before landing again. Her smile is grows, in spite of the fact that her jaw is trembling and her shoulders shudder with choked back sobs. She leaps through the air again and then —

Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along

— disappears. Like a frame cut from a reel of film.

You're gonna be knowing

The warehouse space echoes with the playing record.

The loneliest kind of lonely

A pigeon flutters down from its roost, comes to waddle along on the concrete.

It may be rough goin'

It is joined by another pigeon, and then another. Until eventually the entire flock has formed a circle around where Sera once stood, cooing and fluttering their wings. Then, like a frame spliced into another reel of film —

Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do

— Sera appears mid-stride in a swishy canary yellow scarf, brick red denim jacket, brown jeans, and knee-high leather boots. She swings a plastic bag around in her hand. Then, reaching deep down inside, she throws crusts of dry bread down at her feet that the pigeons begin to fight one another for. Wings flutter, feathers ruffle, and Sera's booted strides carry her across the concrete floor as though she hadn't missed a beat of the song.

But you've gotta make your own music

When the bag is empty, Sera spins around on the toe of her boot and is clipped from the film reel of life again, this time leaving a momentary after-image in her wake.

Sing your own special song

The pigeons continue to eat, nibbling and pecking and fluttering around.

Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along

The pigeons flutter up to their roosts, one by one.

So if you cannot take my hand

Not a crumb is left behind.

And if you must be goin'

And Sera appears again, laptop bag slung over one shoulder, a lanyard is clipped to her waist with a plastic ID card showing her smiling face and the name LANG, SERA and below that RAYTECH. Sera looks up and waves to her pigeon friends, walking backwards away from the small collection of furniture, content to leave the turntables running.

I will understand

One hand in fingerless gloves lifts to wipe at her reddened puffy eyes and dry tears from her cheeks.

But you've gotta make your own music

She flickers, one foot in front of the other, skipping five to ten feet ahead at a time like a jittery framerate of a bad film projection.

Sing your own special song

Eventually she's just gone. Morning routine over.

Make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along

It's time to go to work.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License