a writing by Conrad Kruger van den Bergh

(A social media text-message conversation in the library auditorium in down-town Port Elizabeth, during a speech delivered by a guest speaker to about 500 people)

Conrad: Bro, this is honestly the most boring speech I’ve ever heard in my life. I honestly can’t sit here anymore. I’m getting boils on my ass. He’s been at it for 20 min straight now and he’s rambling on and on about nothing at all.

John: What’s he talking about anyway?

Conrad: I honestly don’t know. He was supposed to say something about getting more art and cultural events going down in the city, but he’s carrying on and on about Beethoven, Vivaldi etc. etc. I fail to see how all of this is important.

John: I hear you. There’s not a single person in this whole hall who knows what the hell he’s talking about. Everyone’s falling asleep.

Conrad: I’m getting out of here.

John: You can’t leave now bro. You’re a special guest. It will look bad.

Conrad: I can’t do this anymore. I need something to drink.

John: Hang on a sec. Let me send Jerry a message and ask him how long this guy still has to go.

Conrad: Who’s Jerry?

John: The fat slob behind the speaker.

Conrad: He looks half asleep too. But ok, ask him when this guy’s going to finish and tell him we can’t sit here anymore. He’s got to cut the guy short.

John: OK.

(1 min. ago)

John: Jerry says he’s only half way with the speech and still has 4 pages of speech reading to do. He can’t cut the guy short. He flew him in all the way from Cape Town.

Conrad: What! No way! We’re all going to die here.

John: I agree. It’s too much. I can’t sit here for another 30 min. I’m getting out with you.

Marge: I need to wee.

Conrad: Mazzy, where are you? I can’t see you.

Marge: I’m behind you on your right. My eyeballs are floating. Where’s the loo?

Conrad: I don’t know.

John: Mazzy, I see you. Do you see the door on your right just in front of you? Go through there and then left down the passage. It’s the last door on the right.

Marge: OK. Thanks.

Conrad: How about we get someone to fake a heart attack and cause a riot. Then we slip out. I’m serious.

John: Who do we get?

Conrad: Hang on a sec. Let me see if I can bribe the guy next to the fire exit. I’ll slip him 50 bucks and he keels over and shakes and then we run for it.

John: Sounds good. Are you talking about the guy with the grey hat?

Conrad: Yeah. That’s him. Let me try to wink him over.

(53 sec. ago)

Conrad: I can’t get the guy to look back at me. He’s also half asleep. We need to both stare at him at the same time so he feels eyes on him, and then he’ll turn around. Stare at him too.

John: OK.

Marge: There’s no loo here. Where’s the loo? I’m going to wet the floor.

John: Look for the last door on the right.

Marge: There’s no door here. It’s just a wall.

John: You missed it, go back a bit. There should be a door, but it’s not marked. It looks like a service closet.

(15 sec. ago)

Marge: OK, I see it. Thanks.

Conrad: John. He’s not looking back. He’s just falling asleep. We got to find another guy.

John: How about the old guy three chairs from your left?

Conrad: He’s already sleeping, drooling on his tie.

Marge: It’s disgusting in here. There’s no paper. There’re cockroaches in here too!

Conrad: Where?

Marge: The loo.

John: Bro, how about we set off one of the smoke alarms?

Conrad: I like it a lot. Can you see one?

(20 sec. ago)

John: One right above me, but too high. Can’t reach it. Even if I could, everyone would see me.

Conrad: Mazzy, where are you?

Marge: I’m making a wee.

Conrad: Is there a smoke detector in there?

Marge: What’s that?

Conrad: It’s a thing in the ceiling. It looks like a lightbulb, but without the bulb.

John: It’s a round metal thing. It looks like an upside down garden sprinkler.

Marge: There’re two lights in here and they got glowing bulbs.

Conrad: Look for a lightbulb without the bulb that’s not glowing.

Marge: There’s one right between the lightbulbs. It’s a round thing and there’s no bulb.

Conrad: That’s it. That’s the detector. How high is it?

Marge: About eight feet.

John: Ok, that fine. Just get under it and reach out with your lighter right under it.

Marge: I’m making a wee.

Conrad: When you’re done

(45 sec. ago)

Conrad: Mazzy, what’s going on?

Marge: I standing right below it with the lighter.

John: It’s not working. You need smoke. It’s probably the kind that works much better with smoke than heat.

Conrad: Mazzy, light a cigarette and blow some smoke onto it.

John: Yes, that will work.

Marge: There’s a sign in here that says no smoking.

John: Ignore it.

Conrad: Yes, just a light a smoke. Ignore it.

Marge: OK.

(40 sec. ago)

John: What’s happening? We don’t hear the alarm.

Marge: I’ve blown a whole cigarette on the thing.

Conrad: It’s not enough smoke. You need more. Light three smokes and drag on them the same time, and then blow it all onto it.

Marge: What, are you mad? I’m not dragging on three cigarettes at the same time.

Conrad: Please just do it because all our lives depend on it.

Marge: Yeah right. And then I get to die.

Conrad: Please just blow the smoke onto it will you.

(50 sec. ago)

Conrad: Mazzy, what’s happening?

Marge: I’m dragging on three cigarettes. The whole loo is clouded in smoke. I can’t breath in here.

John: Is the smoke going to the detector?

Marge: There’s so much smoke in here I can hardly see it anymore.

Conrad: Keep on blowing smoke onto it.

(25 sec. ago)

Conrad: There! That’s the smoke alarm. Mazzy, the alarm just went off.

John: Everyone is getting up.

Conrad: Ok, let’s go. Let’s move. Mazzy we’re going. The whole hall is evacuating.

Marge: OK.

Conrad: John, Mazzy, meet me outside in the parking lot.

John: OK.

Mazzy: OK

(2 min. ago)

Conrad: Mazzy, where are you?

Marge: I’m stuck.

Conrad: What do you mean you’re stuck?

Marge: I’m stuck in the toilet window.

Conrad: How come you’re stuck in the window?

Marge: I crawled through but my waist got stuck.

Conrad: How come? What happened to the door?

Marge: The smoke alarm went off.

Conrad: So?

Marge: I tried to get out as soon as possible.

Conrad: But, you set the alarm off.

Marge: I know, but I’m stuck now.

Conrad: What?

Marge: I’m stuck.

Conrad: John, I’m in the parking lot. Where are you?

John: I’m still outside the door.

Conrad: Can you get to Mazzy before someone sees her dangling out of the window. See if you can pull her through from the outside.

John: Mazzy, how high is the window from the street?

Mazzy: About five or six feet.

John: No problem. I’ll pull you through.

(2 min. 25 sec. ago)

Conrad: Mazzy, what going on? Where are you?

Marge: We’re coming to you. Where are you?

Conrad: John, is she through the window?

John: Yeah, I just pulled her straight and then down and she slipped through. Where are you? We’re coming to you.

Conrad: I’m not in the parking lot anymore. I’m getting a light-year’s distance between myself and the hall. I heard the speaker is looking for me and want to chat to me. Couldn’t hang around. Don’t want to talk to him. Where are you now?

John: Heading to the parking lot. We’re you going?

Conrad: To the liquor store around the corner. They close at 9. I need the hardest thing that’s banned in every single country that’s known to the United Nations.

John: I hear you. OK, well then we might as well head back to your place. We’ll see you there.

Conrad: No problem. See you in a while.

Marge: Conrad, get me a pack of cigarettes will you. I smoked all mine up in the loo.

(The library auditorium was successfully vacated and no one was harmed or injured during the evacuation procedure)

Conrad Kruger van den Bergh (Copyright, 2016)

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