[podcast play for two voices]
Sally: Hey there!
Tom: Hey! I haven’t heard from you in a while.
Sally: So, so busy! I’m really sorry I fell off the face of the earth there. You know how it is.
Tom: Yeah. I was wondering about you …
Sally: Wonder no more!
Tom: So how you been?
Sally: [sighing] Oh, you don’t even want to know. One thing after the other …
Tom: That’s how things happen. In sequence like that.
Sally: [laughing] Tell me about it!
Tom: It’s been crazy here too.
Sally: I bet. God, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. But, look, I really have to ask a favor.
Tom: Sure, no problem. Whatever.
Sally: I can’t explain why or anything, but I need you to do something for me.
Tom: You know I will. What is it?
Sally: It’s going to sound weird, but trust me, okay?
Tom: When have I not?
Sally: [laughing again, this time a little forced] True, true! I guess I know who to call, huh?
Tom: I should hope.
Sally: Yeah …
Sally: Okay, I won’t keep beating around the bush. It’s just that I need you to … well, bascially, I need you to set yourself on fire.
Tom: … uh …
Sally: I know, I know! I totally wouldn’t ask if there were any other way. I swear I wouldn’t! But this is the only thing left. Please?
Tom: Set myself on fire?
Sally: Just for a little while.
Tom: My whole self?
Sally: Well, yeah. But not like a total self-immolation or anything. I mean, that’s just crazy …
Tom: And this is what?
Sally: [sighing wistfully] A favor for me?
Tom: Well …
Sally: I swear I won’t ask you for anything else for the whole rest of the year! I swear I won’t. But I really need you to do this, okay? You’re the only one I can trust.
Tom: I … guess. I guess I can do it. For you.
Sally: [clapping] Yay! You are the best!
Tom: Hold on a sec.
Sally: Sure, of course.
[Liquid splashes unevenly to the floor. A match strikes.]
Tom: [tortured, anguished screams as flames crackle]
Sally: Oh, not now, not now! I meant later!
Tom: [voice quavering in pain] Not … now?
Sally: No, sorry I wasn’t clear. I meant tonight. Can you do it again tonight?