MACY DELL. Yesterday, Mr. Colquitt knocked on our door and told my parents they were blowing up the moon. He and my dad stood on the front porch and my mom came out afterward and gave Mr. Colquitt a sweating glass of iced tea that matched hers. They watched minivans drive down the street and talked about the piece of moon that had hit the bus in California. Then they were mumbling and boring and Brendan texted me and said to come onto chat so I did.
Brendan is not cute. He is fourteen and has acne. Anyways I am sort of in love with Mr. Colquitt. Sometimes Mr. Colquitt will drape an arm around Mrs. Colquitt’s shoulders and she will lean up against him, and I will think, aww, that would be nice, in the way that you look at clouds and think about running across them barefoot and you think, aww, that would be nice.
I’m not sure what I think about them blowing up the moon.
MR. FRANCIS DELL. Ben Colquitt came over two days ago and said they’d decided that destroying the moon was the best course of action. What the hell do I know about the best course of action? All I know is that the moon is suddenly shitting pieces all over us and now you don’t know if you’re supposed to go out to work with an umbrella or a tank.
Forty-two years and I told Sara that the worst thing that’s ever happened to us as a family is this recession.
And now look, the damn sky is falling.
What the hell are we even paying NASA to do anyway?
BRENDAN COLQUITT. Recently, I’ve been doing tarot. I try to pretend that it’s because I really want to know more about my inner self and my future, but I know it’s mostly because my parents were talking about tarot and how it was an evil thing. They said the same thing about the Playstation, and that’s been fantastic, so obviously, I had to try tarot. I have been doing spreads for my future, but they aren’t really very specific. I spend a lot of time reading the book that came with the cards. I keep getting The Tower, which is confusing because it’s about things falling down that you’ve built up and please, I’m fourteen and haven’t had time to even build up my arm muscles, and Death, which is confusing because they say it’s not really about Death. So I keep reading the book. And my parents keep talking about the moon. You know what the book says about the Moon? It says that it’s the eighteenth card of the Major Arcana, and that it represents “confusion and uncertainty rooted deep in our subconscious, demanding change.” Whatever the hell that means.
I say hell because my parents say that’s evil too.
Hey, you know what’s not evil? Macy Dell. I texted her: come here i’ll tell you your future.
She texted back: my future is this bowl of cereal.
MR. BEN COLQUITT. They are going to blow up the moon tomorrow. My wife Margo is wondering if this will just make more pieces shower down on us. I am wondering, myself, what this will do to the tides and to the circardian clocks of animals and the night animals in the ocean who had moonlight to rely on. On the news, I saw a scientist say that it is going to tilt the axis of the earth. I don’t know if that’s because of the moon being gone or the effects of the explosives. Margo switched the television over to the Disney Channel before they could explain. Margo said she didn’t want to frighten the Dells’ children, who were here while Sara and Francis went shopping. Macy is too old to be frightened. She’s headed for a whore house. And Billy is four and oblivious. Margo worries too much about things that don’t matter, but I guess that’s one of her charms. Anyway, the scientist said the Earth’s axis will be changed and it will make the Earth spin faster and give us a seventeen hour day. He said that was better for business anyway, and would help with the recession.
I don’t remember voting for this guy.
MRS. SARA DELL. We watch from our backyard. The sky is a very lovely dark purple, and the moon is full above the black leaves of the oaks. From here, you can’t see anything wrong with it. It looks round and two-dimensional, a communion host. Brendan is slapping mosquitoes on Macy’s arm — I think he likes her, I think he’s a nice enough boy — and I’m sure the mosquitoes are biting me and Billy too. But I can’t really focus on that. On myself. All I can think, at this moment, is that the moon is mysterious and essential, and that four-year-old Billy on my lap will probably forget that he ever saw it in anything other than a book. It seems like a crushing loss. I feel like man was never meant to do this, to play God, crushing satellites in his fist. I wonder if the Earth will really turn like they say on the news; if we’ll feel it happening. I wonder if the tides will stop. I wonder if plants will still grow. I look up at the moon, so far, far away that we shouldn’t be able to touch it, and I wonder.
MACY DELL. For one second, the moon is dim. Like someone has turned down the brightness on a computer monitor. We have to squint to see it through the shadow.
Suddenly, for the first time since I heard the news, I realize I am very, very afraid.
I clutch Brendan’s hand, which is sweaty. I feel even more powerless than I usually do. We never said we wanted the moon blown up. We never said we wanted things to change. No one asked me. No one even asked my parents. I thought we lived in a democracy. Doesn’t that mean there should be a box you check that says, yes, change the planet’s rotation?
Everything is silent, because the play is being held thousands of miles away from its audience.
Then there is acres of dust and an empty night sky.
Author’s Note: roughly based on a dream I had a few nights ago.
image from eye of einstein.