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C. Scott Ananian

November 13, 1996

A dark and seedy train station, in the rain. It is after midnight. Chris is sleeping on a bench. Pete and Meg, her parents, are in the men's and ladies' room. Suddenly they yell at her asking whether it has arrived yet. She tries her best to ignore them. Meg accuses Pete of doing it again. We are introduced to their dysfunctional family.

Suddenly, a light starts flashing: ``Train Approaching, Stand Back.'' The destinations sign starts whirring. Building excitement. The sign spells out, ``Sumatra.'' The train approaches, builds, and arrives. Flashing lights, we feel that the station is going to be run down by the approaching train. Frantic closing of windows to keep out the threat. Pete and Meg emerge from the restrooms to beg and plead mercy from Tobo. The door is flung open, and the furious light of the departing train reveals Will. A brief conversation on the giant rat of Sumatra reveals to Chris that Will is her prodigal brother. She is not particularly pleased; she lost her job as a toothpaste model when her employers discovered Will was a relation. In fact, she ends up revealing Will's identity to Pete and Meg out of spite, who threaten violence on the former junkie who torched their bedroom just before he fled to Indonesia eight years or days ago. They lock Will in the ticket-booth. Meg returns to her restroom. Pete dallies, which provokes his mistress to poke her head out the men's restroom door and hiss at him. Chris notices this, unfortunately, and curses her father's infidelities, loudly. Meg hears this, and emerges from the restroom to accuse and assail her husband. She attempts to drag him into the ladies' room with her but he breaks free (or she lets go) just in time and he dashes into the men's room. Meg weeps.

Meg and Pete in their rooms. Will calls to Chris from inside the ticket-booth. They discuss the meaning of the world and Will's disappointments overseas. Reference to Sumatra's giant rat (a story for which the world is not yet ready). Will discloses that he had returned for the holidays, and pleads for help of a mystic sort, without which he will die. Chris refuses. Will gets more desperate, pleads only to be released from the booth. Chris grants this, reluctantly (she still fosters some misplaced love for her brother), but then she rejects his pleas once more and he goes crazy from despair and the fear of Sumatra. He dashes in the ticket booth and flips all the switches, bangs on the destination board until it starts spelling out a destination, succeeds in invoking a train, which rumbles and shakes the space as it approaches. Will dashes to the door, is blocked by Chris, so he flings himself out the window into blinding light. The train passes and is gone. The giant rat remains.

Chris calls to her parents, to tell them of Will's death. They show no surprise or sorrow. She probes gently into Meg's possible infidelity, on a hint from Will before his death. Chris threatens entry into the ladies room. Meg forbids it. Pete becomes indignant of Meg's hypocrisy, giving him trouble over his affairs when she was fooling around behind his back. He starts to charge into Meg's room (echos of rape?) Meg tries to prevent it, is thrown back. Discovery of a connecting door between the rest rooms, and the betrayal of Pete and Meg. Destruction of the family, threat of divorce. Despair by Chris, who is terrified now of the giant rat and has no one to confide in. Pete and Meg leave for destinations unknown, and are consumed by the rat and the train. Chris is alone.

Invocation of Tobo and Java, Elvis and the ticket master's wife. Discovery of a pay-phone. Calls a church, finds a crazy preacher, who suddenly appears at the door when she hangs up the phone. It's her father, but he won't admit it. Peddles gin and cheap remedies and is exorcised by Chris. She sinks down and clutches a Bible and mumbles prayers as the lights fade.

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C. Scott Ananian