Day 126: Don’t Look Down

Don’t Look Down
by
Matt Zurbo

 

This is Charlotte.
(Charlotte half way up a parking sign, clinging to it for dear life. Wide-eyed stare at the reader.)

Charlotte is scared of falling.
(Girl clinging, white-knuckled to the top of a letterbox. Looking at reader.)
“It’s true, I am!”

At first we found it funny.
(Charlotte clinging to the leg of a confused businessman. Kids laughing.)
“Don’t laugh!”

Then we just accepted her for who she is: “The girl who’s scared of falling.”
(Kids band playing in a garage. Charlotte clinging to fan on ceiling, hitting drum symbol with stick. Biting tongue with concentration. Eyes still wide with fright.)

Charlotte hung on so tight, we would sometimes wonder how she slept.
(Charlotte clinging to underside of bed, sleeping. Monsters from under the bed are standing, watching her, puzzled.)
“Zzzzzz….!”

It looked exhausting, being Charlotte!
(Other kids walking. Charlotte wrapped around a bench, reaching nervously for traffic light – her way of walking.)
“Wait for me!”

She dated Bobby for a while.
(Charlotte clinging to the shoulders and head of skate-dude Bobby.)
“It didn’t last.”

Then, one day, someone pointed out: “Hey, what way do you think she’ll fall if she lets go?”
(Two kids watching Charlotte cling to the footpath.)

Well, that got us thinking….
“Up!”
“Down, of course!”
“Left!”
“Right!”
(Kids smiling, pointing in said directions, as if a game. Kid calling “Left” is hanging onto a pole, body and legs out to the side, mimicking falling sideways.)

“I’m not letting go!”
(Charlotte clinging to a dog.)

Aw, c’m’on! Have some faith! We’ll catch you!
(Charlotte hanging onto a startled policeman.)
“Nope!”

Trust us! Maybe you’ll just float…
(Charlotte 2/3rds upside down as she clings to a bus wheel. Other kids standing, looking down at her, trying to convince her.)
“Not likely!”

Please…
(Charlotte wrapped around the soft drink machine in the school canteen.)
“Nada!”

Then, we started a chant! “Charlotte, Charlotte, CHARLOTTE!”
(Kids smiling, chanting. Charlotte, still wide-eyed, clinging to curtains above them.)

“Okay, okay…. but you better catch me!”
(Kids cheering. Charlotte deadpan.)
YAY!!!

Get in positions!
(Everybody running around, carrying ladders and nets.)

Ready…
(Everybody spread out. Two kids on ladder above her. One or two with nets ready beside her, a couple ready to catch her on the floor, etc…)

(Charlotte’s hands letting go of curtain.)

PLFTPLFTPLFTPLFT….!
(Charlotte whizzing all about the room like a balloon with a hole, trail of little clouds behind her.)

PLFTPLFTPLFTPLFT….!
(Charlotte whizzing up, through someone’s grasping arms.)

PLFTPLFTPLFTPLFT….!
(Four kids ducking as Charlotte swoops over them.)

PLFTPLFTPLFTPLFT….!
(Kids looking dumbfounded to their right. A trail of little clouds above them)

plftplftplftplft….
(Sound receding into distance. Kids still watching to the right.)

Sorry Charlotte.

 

 

The End.

 

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