CLOVER. (schreeching) IGGY! Iggy! Come back here, goddammit! Get the hell back here!
IGGY. Fuck off, Clover.
CLOVER. You fucking loser, Iggy, you should’ve seen his goddamn face!
IGGY. Give me a break.
CLOVER. His beautiful face!
IGGY. Oh yeah?
IGGY. You wouldn’t know beautiful if it crash-landed on your face –
CLOVER. Such an asshole –
IGGY. – and made a nest there. Started a beautiful family.
IGGY. What do you care, Clover?
CLOVER. His face is beautiful. It’s those wrinkles. And you’re completely awful to him.
IGGY. He’s awful to me.
CLOVER. No he isn’t! He hasn’t done a thing to you!
IGGY. Says you.
CLOVER. You sound like such a child. I’d never say those words to my old man.
IGGY. You’re right. You’d say something worse.
CLOVER. I’m serious Iggy, you’re really being a little bitch to him. It’s not his fault, you can’t blame him forever for the stupid problems you invent.
IGGY. Maybe I don’t blame anybody.
CLOVER. You’re infuriating.
IGGY. Clover. I’m being honest. Run along and play, I want to be alone.
CLOVER. That’s not how it works. I’m not your conscience, you can’t just dismiss me.
IGGY. (laughs) If only it were that easy.
CLOVER. I’m so mad at you I could hang you with that scarf.
IGGY. One of these days I might take you seriously –
CLOVER. Oh, now that would be the day, wouldn’t it?!
IGGY. — and file a restraining order. They’ll lock you up good and tight.
CLOVER. You think I’m the crazy person? Seriously? You think it’s me?
IGGY. You wear the perfect costume for crazy. Green and gentle Clover, who knew you could curse me up a tree? Neat little Clover, I can’t believe it.
CLOVER. Shut up, Iggy.
IGGY. Careful little Clover, who folds her laundry and recycles.
CLOVER. Shut up.
IGGY. It’s what your Grandma would say. Then faint down into a wizened old puddle and we’d have to dump her in the lake or Ginger’s water bowl. Ginger might develop a sudden, lethal taste for stewed prunes.
CLOVER. (A little bit humored, she can’t help it) You say the stupidest things.
IGGY. I learn from the best.
CLOVER. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be funny or cruel.
IGGY. What do you want me to be?
CLOVER. (hesitates) Funny.
IGGY. Yeah. You’re good at that.
CLOVER. Stop touching me. I’m really mad. I’ll never be not mad again.
IGGY. You’ll never be not mad?
IGGY. Me either.
IGGY. Your elbow is cold.
IGGY. Your elbow, it’s an icicle.
IGGY. So you’re turning into the ice queen.
CLOVER. I don’t get you, Iggy, stop rubbing my sweater, you’re going to make it all picked at –
IGGY. Soon enough, your blood will freeze and harden to the bone. The muscle will shrink together and cease to move. Next the hairs on your skin will stand up and fall off, and you’ll turn real blue. Then you’ll stab me through the heart with your frosty spear.
CLOVER. My what?
IGGY. Your elbow. Are you deaf, dear?
CLOVER. You say the stupidest things.
IGGY. You’re killing me.
CLOVER. Why are we even here, Iggy?
IGGY. Ah. The ever-relevant question.
CLOVER. I get the impression you’re just fucking with me, as usual.
IGGY. We’re all being fucked with.
CLOVER. Why are we at the lake, Iggy?
IGGY. Well, I know why I’m here, but your presence is inexplicable.
CLOVER. Why’d you run here?
IGGY. To this moment?
CLOVER. To this lake, to this goddamn lake.
IGGY. I’m surprised in you, Clover. I’d imagine even you had a softspot for the lake.
CLOVER. There’s nothing soft about it.
IGGY. That’s one of the most intelligent observations you’ve made all day.
CLOVER. (ignoring him) It scares me when it’s iced over, you know that.
IGGY. I didn’t exactly send you an invitation.
CLOVER. When everyone trampled over it on skates and socks and bicycles, I was … petrified, watching them. They could be gone in an instant. Like snapping off a light switch.
IGGY. Even light switches need a rest.
CLOVER. It could all go so easily dark.
IGGY. What can I say, Clove, that I haven’t said already, during all the seconds of all the days? What can I say about the cruelty of lakes?
CLOVER. Nothing, I guess. I expected you to say something.
IGGY. Don’t be afraid.
CLOVER. It’s like, it’s waiting. I just get this weird feeling. It just gives me the creeps.
IGGY. It won’t hurt you unless you want it to.
CLOVER. I want it. I want dying to hurt. It would be scarier if it didn’t. That’s what you’re getting at, isn’t it?
IGGY. You think too much of me, love.
CLOVER. I know.
IGGY. You’re not angry at me.
CLOVER. Yes I am.
IGGY. You’re angry at yourself for settling your expectations on me.
CLOVER. No, Iggy, I’m angry at you.
IGGY. No you’re not.
CLOVER. Yes I am. You can be better.
IGGY. We can all be better, if you think that way. Go find another project. I’m tiring. I’m tired.
CLOVER. You’re not sensitive.
IGGY. Yes I am.
CLOVER. (Pause) Yeah. I guess you are.
(They sit in silence for a minute. Clover is endlessly rubbing her arms through her thin sweater and Iggy is turning sticks on their heads in the snow.)
IGGY. Wanna hear a story, Clover?
CLOVER. Is it a long story?
IGGY. What does that matter?
CLOVER. It’s freezing , Iggy.
IGGY. Freezing the rain into snow.
CLOVER. I know how snow works, thanks. You should just tell me.
IGGY. No, it’s not a long story.
CLOVER. Not that – tell me the story.
IGGY. Alright, I will.
(Iggy closes his eyes and says nothing.)
CLOVER. What are you waiting for…?
IGGY. The temperature.
IGGY. The right temperature. This is close. When I was a kid, I fell asleep here, at the frozen bank.
CLOVER. Shit! Are you being serious right now?
IGGY. The snow was soft. The reeds broke under me, snapped around my head. The sky was grey and wide, like the backs of eyelids. Maybe that’s where the idea to sleep came from.
CLOVER. You could’ve died. You could be dead. How come you didn’t die?
IGGY. Who knows, maybe I am dead.
CLOVER. Ugh, Iggy, please.
IGGY. This is a very simple story. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I was different.
IGGY. Yes and no. I had a dream. In my dream, the image angel appeared. It gave me a seashell. It said, “There is another world roaring in the tip and edge of every living thing. My shell is the skin of every infant. God saves a teeny, tiny piece, even if you weren’t born, to remember you by. He loves you. You came from a beach. Your eternity was rolling out there in the pores settling in the upturned hourglass that doesn’t rush anyone, and there is no need for suntan lotion, nothing is going to hurt you.”
CLOVER. I didn’t know you thought that kinda stuff.
IGGY. I don’t. I told you, I dreamed it.
CLOVER. What the hell is an image angel?
IGGY. I dunno.
CLOVER. And how’d you remember all of that?
IGGY. I dunno. Perhaps that’s my problem.
CLOVER. (sighs) I suppose this is a loaded place. I remember the fort we made beneath that outcrop with Greg and Eliza.
IGGY. And Greg played it in 6 years later smoking dope and waving his lighter.
CLOVER. It was fun. You know it was. Smiling through tomato sandwiches. We were cute back then, I guess.
IGGY. …yeah. It’s funny how cuteness can sustain a person. We were living on a childhood cloud.
CLOVER. (softening) You’re still pretty cute. I mean, just a little.
IGGY. And you, you’re coming around—I rubbed a smidgeon off, on your elbow, right here, see –
CLOVER. (laughs and pulls away) Jesus! Stop touching me!
IGGY. You liked me a lot more back then.
CLOVER. You liked me a lot more.
IGGY. You were quite charming, fists do have a way with words. (Clover punches his shoulder) Ouch. You were my champion.
IGGY. Champion rock-skipper. I resented you so much, you were so good at it.
CLOVER. I still am, and you still resent me.
IGGY. These small dependencies.
CLOVER. Think I can skip one on the ice?
IGGY. No, but I think you will.
CLOVER. Huh! You’ll see.
(Clover beings searching for a stone.)
IGGY. Hey Clover?
IGGY. If you make it, I’ll give you this. (pulls a small red-wrapped box out from underneath his jacket)
CLOVER. What’s that?
IGGY. Christmas present. Skip it and I’ll give it to you early. If not, it goes back in my pocket till tree-time.
CLOVER. Aww, Iggy, you got me a gift, I want it… I’m so excited!…let me find a rock… I don’t want to break it though – the ice – it’s too perfect…
IGGY. It’s too thick. None of those rocks will make a dent.
CLOVER. Okay, here… found one, here it goes!
(Clover concentrates and flicks the rock far enough that it slides off-stage)
IGGY. Not quite as elegant as youth.
CLOVER. Jerk. Wow, it really flew, all the way out there… Hey, what is… Oh my god, look at that!
CLOVER. That! That brown thing!
CLOVER. There – there – no, there – look – god! It – it’s a bird –
IGGY. It’s a duck.
CLOVER. That’s a bird… I mean, look at it…
IGGY. Frozen into the ice.
CLOVER. Jesus Christ, it’s still alive.
IGGY. Wing is snapped. He must’ve broken it and landed here. Look, Clove, look at the gesture of its body. The bizarre way in which it’s trapped. Nature’s petrified him in that position, as if it were always on the verge of leaving. That’s how these moments are.. the rich ones, small and quick. I wish I had my camera with me…
CLOVER. What a disgusting statement.
IGGY. The water refroze around him recently. What a strange feeling it must’ve been. Dissolving? Disintegration? Betrayal?
CLOVER. Take your hand off me, I’m not some tourist on your fucking nature walk.
IGGY. Appreciate it. It’s endearing.
CLOVER. Are you nuts? This is the saddest fucking sight I have ever seen.
IGGY. Maybe I’m nuts.
CLOVER. I’m about to cry. I’m honestly going to cry.
IGGY. It’s a moving sight. I can imagine a lot of meaning into it. It feels nice.
CLOVER. Fuck you and your sick feelings!
IGGY. It’s what everyone does, Clover. I’m not strange. You’re imagining it means something sad.
CLOVER. What do we do?!
CLOVER. We have to help it somehow, even if we can’t save it – we’ve gotta –
IGGY. Why do you think that?
CLOVER. Think what?
IGGY. Think that we’re responsible for it. That we have to ‘save’ it.
CLOVER. What is wrong with you?
(Clover looks at Iggy as if she’s seeing him for the first time, but she is not surprised; there is more horror than surprise.)
IGGY. It doesn’t matter. Nature put that duck there; it’ll grow another duck inside another duck on that same place in the spring. We’re not supposed to ‘do’ anything about it.
CLOVER. That’s just horrible.
IGGY. Your reaction is media, society; not nature. Nature would let it die.
CLOVER. You’re the most insensitive person –
IGGY. I’m hypersensitive.
CLOVER. — the worst words come out of your mouth, I don’t’ understand it, no one’s done anything wrong to you –
IGGY. You can shoot it, if you really want.
CLOVER. I’m not going to shoot it, you psycho, what kind of shit thing to do is that –
IGGY. If you shoot it, it suffers less. But you take on some of that suffering instead.
CLOVER. I’m not going to shoot it. I can’t do that. You’re upsetting me, honest-to-God you are –
IGGY. Of course you won’t. What’re you always waiting for, Clover?
CLOVER. You’re so sick.
IGGY. If you’re not going to pull the trigger, then calm down and accept what’s in front of you.
CLOVER. You want me to watch it, buried alive in cold?
IGGY. No, I want you to shoot it. You don’t like power. Not your own, not nature’s.
CLOVER. (shrieks) This is all it’ll have, this is it! Iggy –! You only get one life!
IGGY. All is one.
CLOVER. I’m going to ask your dad.
IGGY. You’re under the impression my dad will trek way out here to shoot a duck? Ha. Haha. (suddenly tired-sounding) My uncle has the hunting rifles this weekend. There’s nothing to do about it.
CLOVER. I’m not going to ask him to kill it. I’m going to ask him to save it.
IGGY. Why don’t you hike on out there yourself if you love it so much, Clover? You think you love every goddamn thing but then you never lift your ass for it.
CLOVER. Why do you have to make me hate you? Why can’t you show some fucking empathy?!
(Iggy stands; Clover is already standing. Their fists are clenched and Clover is breathing hard. Iggy is angry now, too.)
IGGY. So this is about me? It’s not even about the animal? You just want me to want to save it.
CLOVER. It wants to live!
IGGY. It doesn’t know what it wants!
CLOVER. Fuck you! You want to know what’s a real drag? Even the things you lift your ass for don’t matter to you. You’re a mean person. And you’re a cold person. And really – truly, at the heart of it – I know why you want to be alone. I can see you there, I can see your curled shoulders, that tightness around your eyes. That hunch. That quiver. You decided to knot your scarf even though you weren’t cold. You want to be alone because you want to be sad. And being sad gives you an excuse to not care, and not caring gives you an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. You wanted me to follow you – you wanted me to be your audience and clap at the end at every show. That’s why you came out here. Well to hell with you, I’ll hold my applause.
IGGY. Very dramatic. Very nice, Clover. Very funny.
CLOVER. It’s not.
(Silence. They gaze at one another, knowing each others’ weaknesses. Eventually the tension in Clover collapses. She stares guiltily off-stage, towards the duck. She doesn’t meet Iggy’s eyes and her voice is strained. )
CLOVER. Hey, Iggy. Did you really mean all of that you said before?
IGGY. I don’t mean anything.
CLOVER. All I want is for you to like me.
IGGY. Who sounds like a child now?
CLOVER. Or for you to like yourself.
CLOVER. I’m going to get your dad.
(Clover exits where they entered. Iggy collapses back onto the snow. He sits for a while.)
IGGY. That’s my problem. I have a problem. You hear me out there? Do you hear me? Don’t leave this world with any foolish preconceptions. Everything is going to hurt you.
(Iggy gazes for a moment more. Then he rises and walks slowly out onto the ice, off stage. There is a long pause once he’s out of view. A large ‘crack’ and the slosh of water is heard.)
CLOVER. (shouting from a distance) He says he can’t, the ice is too thin this year, happy now? You get to watch it rot!
CLOVER. Ginger, knock it off – don’t walk on the ice! You can get a drink inside! C’mere. Ginger! Ginger, you stupid dog – come back – IGGY, CALL HER!
CLOVER. (running up, out of breath) Ginger! Iggy? … Iggy? Where’s the…? That huge hole… where’s the duck? Did you throw a rock, Iggy? You bastard, were – were you – throwing rocks at the duck… a-and my present, too… Did you throw that in there?
(shouting) Iggy, you dick!
I’ve never thrown away a thing of yours!
It’s sinking …