Jail. The incarcerated philosopher and Johnny enjoy a bottle of wine in their jail cell. The philosopher sits on the bed and Johnny sits on the cement floor. Johnny finishes telling a story.
Johnny: …that’s what she said.
The philosopher laughs long and hard.
Johnny: Those “That’s what she said” jokes don’t get old, do they?
Philosopher: No, they give fruitfully of their abundance.
Johnny: That’s what she said!
The philosopher laughs even longer and harder. He finally calms himself.
Johnny: So, serious question for you…
Philosopher: Oh, great; I love the serious ones.
Johnny: Well, it isn’t existential: I just wonder if you mind if I stay here with you?
Philosopher: What do you mean?
Johnny: I am free to leave jail when I want.
Philosopher: You mean that you are no longer being held against your will?
Johnny: That is correct; I could have left yesterday, but I was enjoying our talk and then it was late and I just thought I’d order food and wine and here we are…
Philosopher: You are free to leave, but instead you are staying in jail with me?
Philosopher: Do you have a fever?
Johnny: I was excited to leave, but I realized a deeper truth, which is this: fuck society.
Philosopher: Ah, I see.
Johnny: I don’t want anything to do with society. How many people proverbially stabbed me in the back because of my divorce? Collectively, they destroyed my life for no reason – out of ignorance and disrespect for a total stranger, those bitches.
Philosopher: May I suggest figuratively instead of proverbially?
Johnny: The mot juste; thanks.
Philosopher: So, given the state of society today and the fact that humanity is herded about like cattle, you would prefer to stay here with me where it is safe, dry, and full of interesting conversations?
Johnny: Well, yes, but I was also thinking to bring in the film crew and film us sitting here for days talking about everything that we talk about – specifically with the aim to discuss how we can rebuild society.
Philosopher: A film crew?
Johnny: Yes, they will film us as we discuss the collapse of society and how to build back better.
Philosopher: Build back better?
Johnny: That’s what she said?
Philosopher: No, no, that’s leaving me cold this time, Johnny.
Johnny: I understand my motives might be confusing: I admit, I’m confused myself: I want to stay, but I want to go.
Philosopher: Go where?
Johnny: To engage society. Are not humans social creatures? Am I not a human and therefore a social creature? Do we not long to run with the herd even though that herd sometimes runs off a cliff? I miss people; I do. So I was thinking: I will engage society on my own terms. I will use film to create artwork out of this jail cell.
Philosopher: I see.
Johnny: If you agree, my agent will write up a contract for us and we can begin kicking around ideas together.
Philosopher: I’ll have to think about it.
Johnny: Well, here’s to many long and interesting conversations.
He raises his glass.
Philosopher: The main trouble, as I see it, is that you can’t build back better until AFTER a complete collapse. There is nothing to discuss right now; we must wait until the collapse and then we can discuss how to rebuild.
Johnny: Surely we can discuss something?
Philosopher: My point is that whatever the merits of the piece of legislation called Build Back Better, no king will heal his land by throwing a lot of money at his problems when throwing a lot of money at problems IS the problem that has led to the collapse of his society. When none of us has any obligation to our neighbor, we increasingly look to a federal program for support, but the government is a business, so none of us can obtain the aid we need. Sure, we can be made money out of, but that’s not what we need: we need aid. And no government program will aid us.
Johnny: This is just the kind of discussion I want to have. With mood lighting, of course.
Philosopher: There isn’t any point to have it until after the collapse.
Johnny: But we are already having it!
Philosopher: Not really.
Johnny: Yes, really.