Simon Buckley

Turritosis dornhii 2017



The following are a series of dialogues between SB1 and SB2. Although some contain what appear to be stage directions, the sketches have been specifically constructed to be apprehended in written language. There is not much direct information provided about SB1 and SB2. It is revealed through stage direction and some of their own chatter that they are apparently two distinct physical (human) forms, both of which seem to be male. Sometimes they seem to be speaking from the same unified consciousness, and at other times they seem completely unable (or unwilling) to understand each other at all. The open (but unconfirmed) inference is that ‘SB’ denotes the author’s initials. The sketches exist as autonomous works, capable of operating in isolation, however the ordering that they appear in here does provide what I believe to be a balanced journey. 




SB1: Why such reluctance? If you had only followed the parables, you yourself would have become a parable, and with that ridden yourself of all your daily cares!  

  SB2: I bet that is also a parable. 

  SB1: You win. 

  SB2: But unfortunately only in parable. 

  SB1: No! In reality! In parable you are lost. 



The Packet 

SB1 has an empty packet of Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps on his left hand. He makes a fuss of taking the pink packet out of his back pocket, carefully unfolding it and slowly putting it on his hand prior to SB2 delivering his first line. His whole procedure takes longer than is necessary, and is in some way designed to make SB1 wait. After his final line, he takes the packet off with great care, re-folds it, and puts it back in his pocket. 


SB2: Have you been eating crisps? 

SB1: No.  

SB2: [Gesturing with his head towards the packet] What’s with the hand then? 

SB1:  [Looks down at the packet covered hand that lies flat on his left thigh] That’s not a hand. 

SB2: You know what I mean. 

SB1: Yes you are being mean. 

SB2: Well how did it get there? 

SB1: [In the style of a lying child grasping at straws] I think it’s always been like that. 

SB2: It wasn’t like that before was it. 

  SB1: Was it not? 

SB2: No. 

SB1: Oh right. 




 SB1: Remarkable isn’t it? 

 SB2: Weakness? 

 SB1: [Acknowledging that he has answered correctly with a slow nod of the head] It is our  

greatest unifying influence, if one may dare, the very ground on which we live. 

 SB2: [Whispered with haste] What of the defect? 

 SB1: The fundamental defect? 

 SB2: The one that will undermine not just our consciences, but, what is far worse, our feet. 

 SB1: It is done 



The Tower 

SB1: If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without ascending it, the work would have been permitted. 

SB2: I want to dig a subterranean passage. Some progress must be made after all. My station up there was much too high.  

SB1: We are digging the pit of Babel. To the truth! To the truth we will delve! 




SB1: Do you know what it felt like when I hit rock bottom? 

SB2: Rocks?  

SB1: It felt like I was constantly being hose-piped down by a gaping arsehole violently shitting out whatever the opposite of hope is.  

SB2: Pebble dashed hopes. 

SB1: Nature is a cunt. 

SB2: And that’s why Attenborough is so vital.  



A, B, C 

SB1: In my case one can imagine three circles: an inner-most one, A, then B, then C.  

SB2: The core A explains to B why he must torment and mistrust himself,  

         why he must renounce, why he must not live. 

SB1: To C, the active man, no explanations are given, he is merely ordered about by B. 

SB2: C must act under the severe and terrible pressure of B, more in fear than in understanding. 

SB1: He trusts, he believes, that A explains everything to B.  

SB2: And that B understood everything correctly. 

SB1: We know don’t we. Yes. We know. 



Alex 2 

SB1: Alex works for Adidas doesn’t he? 

SB2: He does 

SB1: Do you remember him in September 1997? 

SB2: I do.  

SB1: The way he walked about the field, looking for the snails to stamp on. 

SB2: He stamped them out. 

SB1: Well no, not really.  

SB2: Oh? Are they’re back again?  

SB1: So I hear. [Makes a sharp intake of breath, and shakes his head slowly] 



Crooked Jelly 

SB2: Did you that the Turritopsis dohrnii are biologically immortal? [Looks expectantly for an appreciation of this demonstration of knowledge] Yeah, it’s through a pretty basic process of cellular transdifferentiation they revert to the polpy stage, forming a new polpy colony.  

SB1: Polyp? 

SB2: Yes, plopy. 

SB1: [Long pause] Is that freedom then? 

SB2: Well it’s not exactly necessary. 

SB1: Is it that if less is more, then just think how much more more would be? 

[SB2 nods in thoughtful approval] 

SB1: There’s the crooked beauty. [Laughs heartily]. 




SB1: It is conceivable that Alexander the Great, in spite of the martial successes of his early days, in spite of the excellent army that he had trained… 

SB2: [Interrupting, as if joining in with a well-known and well-liked rhyming verse] In spite of the power he felt within him to change the world… 

SB1: He might have remained standing on the bank of Helm’s Deep and never crossed it! But not out of fear… 

[SB2 shakes head in violent approval] 

SB1: Not out of indecision… 

SB2: Nor an infirmity of will! 

SB1 & SB2: But because of the mere weight of his own body!