ONCE UPON A LITTLE TIME…

Part 1: Screw rhyming schemes
Once upon a little time, there lived a little boy.
With a simple enough mind and a simple enough life,
Spread laughter did he, like a kindergarten toy.

But one thing not too simple, there was about Johnny
Owner was he, of a hole in his heart,
Gifted to him, by his highschool sweetheart.

(Hello, I’m the Art Director. Yes, within parentheses and in italics… that’s me. Poetry isn’t really my style. So I’ll stick to normal writing. If you’re reading this part with a sing song tune, please stop. I’ll be your eyes and ears to this story. I’ll tell you exactly what it is you must hear and describe the scene to you as best as I can. Right now, the sky is a dark grey. There is an apple tree near the timbers. An eerie silence prevails. One that would send shivers down your spine. )

Part 2: Enter Sanity
Johnny sits there quietly, pondering under the tree.
A friendly voice said to him, “Hello my name is Sanity”
For a girl given such a name, she was the craziest he’d ever seen.
Which is what got him talking to her, as she sat down, oh so keen.

(The sky now is a light hue of blue. The grey is completely gone. I can hear a distant flute that really makes me happy.)

They talked of charades, and Pictionary, and delved into classic rock too.
Of the things he liked, that she did not, there were only a countable few.
He looked inside, and then observed, that the hole in his heart didn’t heal.
Which meant she was his new true friend, and more than that, he did not feel.

(This next bit requires some imagination. The set up is the same with the apple tree near the woods. The sun moves from the left of the stage to the right. Imagine now, that the sun is sped up, showing the passing of days, something like a “fast-forward”. In this “fast-forward” Sanity appears near and disappears from Johnny’s side several times. Johnny never moves from his place under the tree. The only animation in him is a smile when Sanity comes to talk to him. Suddenly the sun comes to a halt and Sanity breaks into a song)

Part 3: Sanity’s good turn
Sanity : What makes you sad Johnny, What makes you SAD??
Johnny: It’s just this hole Sanity, It sometimes hurts bad.
(He tries to sing. All I’ll say is Kudos for trying!!)
Sanity: Turn your eyes up north Johnny, Do you see that lass?
Johnny: Only in glimpses Sanity, Shall we let this pass?
Sanity: She’s my best friend Johnny, someone you must really know.
Johnny: Is that really so Sanity, Oh gee I’m wondering why I shouldn’t say no.
Sanity: You need someone to talk to Johnny, and surely so does she.
Johnny: I still can’t see her clearly; I’ll call out to her when I’m free.

(Sanity walks away satisfied, as the white sky turns a light shade of scarlet. Johnny could hear songs from the north, of the very lass Sanity talked about. Johnny began to discover that he really liked the songs a lot.)

Part 4: Enter Lass from the North
To tell her how much he liked her songs, Johnny called out to her.
To his surprise, he heard her voice, in a reply that lacked no vigour.
They talked this way calling out to each other, of everything under the sun.
Each described their worlds to the other, till the worlds were almost one.

(The red in the sky is brighter now. You can hear the sound of a lyre. Johnny cannot see this lass. He can only hear her voice as she is far far away.)

They talked of friends and family, and even of catching fireflies.
Lots of things there were that he liked, which she did SO despise.
Complete solace did she find, in sharing her tragic tales with him.
But he couldn’t help wondering how, the heart’s hole began to slim.

Inconsiderate was he of her woes, and selfish to the core.
When he told her mere friendship wasn
’t enough, when he told her he wanted more.
Shocked she was to hear these words, she frankly explained to Johnny
“You haven’t even seen me you know. I have to leave you. I’m Sorry.”

Johnny: Answer me!!
Lass from the North : ….
Johnny: NOOOOO!! (Do you really need help imagining a yell of despair?)

Part 5: The Trip

(While he is screaming his guts out, Johnny grows a full length beard and his eyes become completely bloodshot due to lack of sleep. The scene surrounding him shifts to his home. His bedroom to be more specific. He is now standing in front of the medicine cabinet which he used long back in high school.)

Johnny: Dear God, this hole in my heart, has begun to hurt a lot,
Even deeper is the wound now, as its state begins to rot.
By my good luck, I am now stuck, with these BLOODY pills,
That I’d once used, back in high school, to cure my wretched ills.

(He opens the cabinets and looks at the bottles)

So that’s just one pill of “I deserve better than her”,
And one or two more of “I hate that bitch”.
With three to four shots of the “Anger” tonic
And five sets of… I DON’T KNOW which.

Tell you what, this isn’t working out.
I might as well, have ALL of them.
To give me a dose, an overdose,
Of the hatred, that would hence stem.

(The scene shifts. Johnny’s head feels very light. Smoke slowly fills the room as the surroundings turn to a hazy cloud. Johnny is in complete bliss and enjoying every moment of this hatred induced trip. He flies like a cherubic angel, not bothered by events passed, unfazed by current happenings and unconcerned of the near as well as the distant future. They say all good things must come to an end. The same holds true here. Things start to turn ugly when a lightning flash rips through the cloud. It brings him down to earth, back to his room. He begins to clutch his chest. When the pain becomes unbearable, he drops to the floor. The room starts to shrink around him and he begins to yell. He suddenly sees a void on the floor which exerts a force of attraction. He is sucked into the void, and is almost fully in. The only thing that prevents him from being pulled in completely is his grip on the cot. He gives in to the force and lets go. Suddenly a hand reaches out to him and he hears a familiar voice say…)

“Johnny you fool, what have you done to yourself?”


Part 6: The healing

(The scene shifts to a hospital. Sanity is the doctor… Don’t look too surprised. This is fiction.

Anything can happen. Where was I…? Yes, Sanity is the doctor. There are several other people dressed in white. They must to be the nurses. Johnny is lying down on the bed, the usual hospital equipment hooked to different parts of his body.)


Sanity : Administer a syringe of “She wasn’t ready for this”,
Along with a bottle of “Common sense” drips,
Run a thorough scan from tip to toe,
To see if he suffers from an inflated ego.

Oh Good, Johnny you’re finally coming through,
Johnny my boy, I’ve been worried sick about you,
What were you thinking, taking that damn trip,
Talked to me you could’ve, ‘fore you did flip.

How did she wrong , for you to hate,
For she was a wreck, and you did frustrate,
Lose not to hatred, Lose not to Shame,
Learn you must Johnny, to be considerate again.

Johnny: Sanity my dear, I don’t know what to say,
For friends like you, one can only pray,
Never mind me, I’ll put up a fight,
In due course of time, I will be alright.

(Sanity only smiles as she sees that Johnny is trying to put on a brave face. The scene shifts from the hospital back to the apple tree in the woods where Johnny sits alone under the tree. The sky is heavily overcast. Johnny sits there as he comes to accept what happened. As the clouds in his mind clear up, so do ones up above. It takes him a while, but the day finally comes when he is at peace with himself. The sky is now clear, but with not so pleasant a hue of blue.)

Part 7: Re-enter Lass from the North
So back was Johnny to sitting under the tree, pondering on one thing or the other,
When to his surprise, he heard her voice, which did now lack some vigour,
They talked on some topics interesting, but unlike before, not everything,
She spoke of few things regarding herself, and on him she did no enquiring.

(The scene changes. The background is pitch black emptiness and Johnny is in the centre of it. There is an elevator next to him, which is surrounded by cloudy trails. Almost as though it passed through a cloud and dragged a piece of the cloud along with it. )

Regardless of the lack of enthusiasm, Johnny said “Woo hoo”,
He entered the lift and told the operator, “Level Nine will do”,
Somewhere between cloud three and cloud four, the lift came to a grinding halt,
The operator turned and said to Johnny, “I’m Reason, let’s find out where you’re at fault”

Part 8: Reasoning with Reason
Reason: Tell me now Johnny, where are you off to?
Johnny: To cloud number nine, just like I told you.
Reason: What makes you happy, if I may so ask?
Johnny: She’s talking to me again, in glory I’ll bask.
Reason: Let me ask you Johnny, are things the very same?
Johnny: Ummm.. duller they are now. Wonder what to blame?
Reason: Johnny my boy, grow up and be a man,
She’s being nice to you, try to understand.
Don’t make the same mistake, that you made before,
By jumping to conclusions, and turning your heart sore.

(The lift now starts moving downwards, back to earth.)

Johnny: Sense I do see, in what you’re telling me,
So with a heavy heart, I have to agree,
Wary I must be, not to follow the same trend
My faults I’ll rectify, and be a good friend.

(The lift touches down reaching the lowest level. The doors open and Johnny finally gets his feet on the ground.)

So Johnny reconciles himself with reality,
And reflects upon the Lass and Sanity,
As two people who make him smile in strife,
Hopes he does, to know them for life.
The End??

Nishad: Did that make you happy, or was that depressing,
Well ladies and gentlemen, that wasn’t an ending.
Johnny’s story continues, as of this very moment,
So someday I’ll come back, back to this stage,
To tell Johnny’s story, to the very last page.

-Nishad Musthafa