A Streetcar Named Denial

We begin in terminus res. Or is it in finis res? But what about the declensions? What the hell case is that, and why are you asking, because you don’t know Latin, anyway?

Look, we come in near the end, OK? (Christ!) 

Anyway, unbeknownst to EGO, he is about to have a bias of his potentially disconfirmed by an undesired conclusion. He opens the door expectantly.

EGO: [Eyes widen; right eyebrow rises suspiciously.] You...are not the CONCLUSION...[Confusion wrinkles brow.]...I was expecting! [Half-turns to DEFENSES; stage whispers.] This is not the conclusion I was expecting! 

DEFENSES breaks down and turns away. EGO slowly turns back to CONCLUSION; pretends to acquiesce—and then bolts toward his safe space. CONSCIENCE tries to block EGO.

CONSCIENCE: You forget something, EGO?

CONSCIENCE’s words echo in EGO’s mind.

EGO [Shakily.] Yes! Yes—I forgot something!

CONSCIENCE walks back to CONCLUSION; mutters. DEFENSES tries to break in, tearfully.

DEFENSES: What are they going to do to him? Don’t let them hurt him!

CONSCIENCE: Shhh, honey.

CONCLUSION approaches.

CONCLUSION: Hello, EGO.

CONCLUSION’s words echo in EGO’s mind.

CONSCIENCE: She says she forgot something. [Echoes.]

CONCLUSION: That’s all right. [Echoes.]

CONSCIENCE: Well, what’d you forget, EGO? [Echoes.]

CONCLUSION: It don’t matter. We can pick it up later.

CONSCIENCE: We’ll send it along with your DEFENSES.

EGO slowly turns to face CONCLUSION.

EGO [Slowly, in a low voice betraying the surging panic, promising violence.] I don’t know you. [Panic crests.] I don’t know you! I want to be left alone! Please! [EGO runs into its safe space.]

CONCLUSION: [Soothingly.] Now, EGO...

EGO flails about in its safe space. CONSCIENCE approaches.

CONSCIENCE: Now, EGO, there’s nothing here but grandiosity and old hurts bottled up. Unless it’s your narcissism you want unthreatened? [Rips narcissism off the ceiling and hands it to EGO.] You want your narcissism?

EGO finally snaps—he grabs the narcissism from CONSCIENCE and begins babbling incoherently, hysterically. CONCLUSION wraps its arms around EGO to try to control him as he basically has a grand mal seizure. (EGO can’t help but over-act a bit.) He falls to the floor as CONCLUSION armlocks him.

RAGE, which has been lurking in the background the whole time, charges CONSCIENCE and punches him.

RAGE: You did this to him, you bastard!

They tussle. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and HOSTILITY pull RAGE off of CONSCIENCE and force him to sit down.

RAGE: [Weeping; broken.] He did this to him!

CONSCIENCE: [Looking at SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and HOSTILITY.] He must be nuts.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and HOSTILITY glare at CONSCIENCE.

CONSCIENCE: What are you looking at? I never once lied to him.

CONSCIENCE walks away, back toward EGO and CONCLUSION.

CONCLUSION: These fingernails will have to be trimmed. [Turns to DENIAL who has just entered the room. He looks exactly like EGO.] Fanaticism, Doctor?

DENIAL [With authority.] Not unless necessary. [To EGO; softly.] Mr. EGO?

EGO rolls over and looks at DENIAL. Closes his eyes; DENIAL opens them. 

EGO [Whispering.]: Please!

DENIAL [To CONCLUSION.]: You won’t be necessary.

EGO: Ask him to let go of me.

DENIAL: [Soothingly.] Yes. [To CONCLUSION.] Let go.

CONCLUSION releases EGO. EGO, becalmed, gazes lovingly at DENIAL. EGO slowly reaches out his hand. DENIAL helps EGO to his feet. EGO’s eyes never leave DENIAL’s face. DENIAL, the soul of cordiality, removes his hat and extends his forearm to EGO who stands enraptured and slowly looks down at the proffered arm. He raises his eyes to DENIAL and smiles.


EGO: Whoever you are, I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.

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