A city apartment. A child.
Samuel Beckett, sitting on a low stool, is staring out of the window. He holds his head in both hands, sighing. He gets up, stretches, blinks, sits again.
In the centre of the room is an overturned German pickelhaube from the first World War, its spike stuck into the floor. Astride the helmet sits a baby, plump, ugly, and naked; its face looks like an admixture of Fatty Arbuckle, Jean-Paul Sartre, and an overfed dog.
BECKETT: (sighing) It will go in.
BABY: (bouncing slightly on the improvised potty) Will it go in?
BECKETT: It will come out.
BABY: It may stay where it is.
BECKETT: Everything descending.
BABY: (straining) I have my work.
BECKETT: Is it so far back?
BABY: (looks inquisitively) Not so far.
BECKETT: Has it stopped?
BABY: Will it come out?
BECKETT: I can see the end.
BABY: (looks between its legs) I cannot.
BECKETT: (gets up from stool, raps on the window and shakes his fist) Would it be?
BABY: It is of no consequence.
BECKETT: It will be in there soon.
BABY: (cups his hand to his ear) I hear nothing.
BECKETT: Do I imagine movement?
BABY: (shrugs) No movement.
BECKETT: (wincing) Shall I tell you how?
BABY: Too soon. Too soon.
BECKETT: (opens his hands) I could. Myself.
BABY: It doesn't seem possible.
BECKETT: If it is to move. If it is. It will.
BABY: (looks between its legs) It may.
BECKETT: (gets up from stool, raps on the window and shakes his fist) And if it does?
BABY: It will be out.
BECKETT: And not in.
BABY: (straining) Not in.
BECKETT: Of course.
BABY: It is not. (Pause.) It is not. (Pause.) It is. (Pause.) It is. (Pause.) It. (Pause.) Is.
BECKETT: Is? (Pause.) It? (Pause.) Is it? (Pause.) Is it? (Pause.) Is it not? (Pause.) Is it not?
BABY? (smugly) All done.
BECKETT: (resignedly) All done.
Steve Finbow writes out of London, England. He has taught at the University of Liverpool, and worked for the poet Allen Ginsberg and for the artist Richard Long. He has recently discovered the novels of Georges Simenon and has only another 397 left to read. Some of his work can be found on eyeshot and 3AM.