Hugh – So, how did it go?
Jared – How did what go?
Hugh – The play. Hold on a sec, will ya? The coffee’s ready at the counter-thing.
Jared – (Nods once, casts eyes down, stews for no goddamn reason)
Hugh – I don’t know which is which. What did you get?
Jared – Just a black coffee.
Hugh – Huh. Well, they definitely didn’t give us one of those. I’ve got two frothy milk things. (Yells, over his shoulder) Hey man, yo? (Hugh holds both cups of coffee up in the air).
Barista – Sorry ma’am, just a moment. Yes? Sir?
Hugh – What are these?
Barista – Lattes. You asked for two lattes.
Hugh – I don’t think I did.
Barista – (Gives Hugh a look and turns back to assist the woman at the counter).
Jared – Can you, can you just… sit down, man.
Hugh – Fine. You want me to go up and get your coffee?
Jared – No, no. I’ll just drink this, it’s fine. Just stop making a scene.
Hugh – (Shrugs) Here.
Jared – Thank you.
Hugh – So, you gonna tell me about the play?
Jared – Just drop it.
Hugh – What? Didn’t go well?
Jared – You know it didn’t go well. (Opens coffee and frowns into the milky cup) You would’ve had an even better idea if you’d come.
Hugh – Let’s not pull that shit. I told you I was working and you said you understood. Don’t be all flip-floppy on me just cause your dreams are crumbling like cheese.
Jared – Uncalled for. On both of our parts. What the hell does that even mean?
Hugh – Had a cobb salad the other day. Lotta blue cheese on it, all crumbly on the top. You had one of those?
Jared – No.
Hugh – You should. You should treat yourself. Good shit. So, what happened? Nobody show up?
Jared – Aside from Mary, a couple of people from work and my brother, there were like two other couples and a handful of other folks. Maybe like, 15 people there tops?
Hugh – How big is the theatre?
Jared – It holds four hundred.
Hugh – How many people were at the last one?
Jared – Just a few more than that.
Hugh – People like it?
Jared – It’s hard to tell if people liked it when most of them know you. Not exactly an unbiased sample of the population.
Hugh – Any reviews?
Jared – No, the paper stopped sending someone after the last two bombed. I don’t even think the independent papers cover theatre anymore. They stopped doing book reviews a while ago and most of it is pandering to…
Hugh – (Snaps) Us laddies!
Jared – Huh?
Hugh – I asked the coffee guy what he could get for a couple of laddies. He must’ve been confused and tuned out the rest of the order. Probably gets bad reception on that mustache….
Jared – Can we talk about something else? How’s Trish?
Hugh – I saw a spider the other day that reminded me of you.
Jared – So she’s not doing well?
Hugh – She and I have decided to pursue other opportunities.
Jared – Oh, man, I’m sorry. I didn’t know things weren’t going well.
Hugh – I know you didn’t know. You’ve been busy. Like the spider.
Jared – What spider?
Hugh – One of those jumping ones. You seen them? They look a bit like a zebra, but way smaller and less horsey?
Jared – (Shrugs) Sure, I’ve seen them. Why would a spider remind you of me?
Hugh – So, I’m waiting for my bus the other day, and you know how at the bus stop they have those stone garbage cans? Big heavy things, all pebbly?
Jared – Yeah.
Hugh – Well, while I’m waiting, this spider comes along and he starts spinning a web. But he’s doing it wrong.
Jared – Wrong?
Hugh – Yeah, he’s not making a web over the opening of the trash can, over that slot, right? He’s spinning his web across the top of the garbage can. Flat on the surface.
Jared – So? Something might still land there and get caught.
Hugh – Yeah, but the chances seem pretty slim. Plus, how is he going to wrap up his dinner? The whole thing seemed like a big mess. I’m watching this guy going round and round with his thread, making the shape right, but doing it in the wrong spot. First I’m thinking, “Can a spider be retarded?”
Jared – And this is still something that reminded you of me? Thanks a bunch.
Hugh – No, simmer down. That was the first thing I though, because I’m kind of a dick sometimes.
Jared – No argument there.
Hugh – Let’s not forget who bought you that coffee.
Jared – (Holds coffee up as if to toast, mockingly).
Hugh – The second thing I’m wondering, is whether or not the spider had a mentor. Like, did no other spider show this little guy how to make a web? Where are his parents in all of this?
Jared – I thought it was instinct or something. They just know how to build a web.
Hugh – I’m just sharing my thought process.
Jared – Right.
Hugh – While I’m wondering about his tootle age…
Jared – Tutelage.
Hugh – That’s what I said. While I’m wondering about that, I’m looking down on the web and it’s looking real sharp. It looks textbook, right? If you look up a picture of a spider’s web on the internet, you get this web that I’m watching this spider build, but build in the wrong spot.
Jared – How does this relate to me?
Hugh – You are both doing the same thing, you and the spider.
Jared – I’m building a shitty web?
Hugh – I don’t know, but you’re definitely not building it in the right spot. You want to be a playwright, right?
Jared – I am a playwright. I want to be a successful one.
Hugh – Exactly. That’s what I’m talking about. You and this spider, you’re both trying to build something beautiful and captivating. Something that’s going to put food on your table.
Jared – So you’re saying that I am a good playwright, but I’m not playing to the right audience?
Hugh – Again, I don’t know how shitty your web is. But I do know, that if you want to see whether or not you are any good at it, you have to stop putting on shows in a small theatre in a town of two-thousand people who just aren’t that into theatre. You’re not going to change the town, right? Definitely not if you aren’t writing for the audience you’re stuck with.
Jared – So, I’m Spiderman?
Hugh – If you’re Spiderman, you go to New York, not where there are no buildings over two-storeys tall. You’re more like shitty-Spiderman.
Jared – That’s a terrible name.
Hugh – Then do something about it and quit moping around every time you fail after knowing you were never going to succeed in the first place.
Jared – Cheers. (Jared raises his glass to toast, this time with a little less sarcasm in the gesture.)