THE BLOG
06/20/2011 11:04 am ET Updated Aug 20, 2011

"A Weekend With the MTA," By Samuel Beckett

(A and B stand on a train platform. A inspects a map. B wears a nice suit and holds a briefcase.)

A: Excuse me.

B: Yes?

A: Will this train let me off here? At this stop? (He shows B a map)

B: Ha.

A: Pardon?

B: Ha, I said.

A: But--

B: Your question. It is absurd.

A: What of my question?

B: It's the weekend, don't you know?

A: Yes, I know.

B: The trains. They will not go where you expect.

A: I am confused.

B: As well you should be.

A: I am just trying to get to my stop. And the map says that this very train should stop there.

B: Oh, your map. Your perfect little map!

A: Yes, my map. My map.

B: Maps, on the weekend, they are useless. (B tosses A's map to the ground) You might as well throw it out.

A: But... I purchased it at a store.

B: Good for you.

A: So you are saying there is no way -- no way at all -- for me to arrive at my destination?

B: It is the weekend, and this line is running on a different line.

A: Sorry?

B: THIS LINE. ON A DIFFERENT LINE.

A: I heard you.

B: There is a way for you to get there, but it will be arduous. And it will be convoluted.

A: Tell me.

B: If you want to get to your stop, you'll need to take the blue line. That's running on the orange. The orange is running on the blue. You'll need to go further along the orange, further than you assumed you should, then switch to the blue. The blue is not running. South, anyway. It's not running south. But it's running over the orange. However, the red is running south, and yes! You can pick up the red as soon as the orange becomes a shuttle.

A: A shuttle?

B: Yes, one of the trains becomes a shuttle. That means the train will make a louder sound when it stops, like it's letting out a particularly difficult bolt of steam. Those are called shuttles. When it makes that sound, it's a shuttle.

A: So I switch to the shuttle, and it will take me where I need to go?

B: No, that train will only go halfway. Then it will go backwards.

A: No. God, no.

B: Yes, that's right! Backwards. It will go backwards along the same line, right back the way you came.

(A starts to cry)

Tears? No tears. Let me mop them up for you with your map.

(B uses A's map to mop up his tears)

A: Why Is nothing running as it should be?

B: I can't answer this. Why don't you ask him?

(C, a man in train conductor clothes and a neon orange vest, walks by on the
platform)

A: Excuse me, do you work for the trains?

C: (mumbles incoherently, as if underwater)

A: I'm sorry?

C: Your personal belongings... (mumbling)... If you see a suspicious package... (mumbling)

A: Please, no. No!

C: For F train service... (mumbling)... transfer at the... (mumbling)... USE ALL AVAILABLE DOORS PLEASE.

B: (laughing) You see? Don't you see?

C: THERE IS ANOTHER TRAIN DIRECTLY BEHIND THIS ONE.

A: How do you live with yourselves? How do you wake up in the morning, knowing how difficult you have made my life?

"Camptown Races" begins to play on the loudspeaker. C and B start to dance together. A watches them. He watches for the train. It doesn't come.

It doesn't come.

It never comes.

BLACKOUT