(Dusk sets on the glowing horizon. Nela approaches the bench. She sees that there is no one around and turns around, searching for him. Toto, runs in excitedly from the other side).
TOTO: Nela, Julia is not back yet!
NELA: (Clearly relieved) Toto, I was afraid I wouldn’t find you.
TOTO:(Still excited, stares in all directions). I had to come. This little misfortune will drive us all mad at home. (To Nela) Mama is taking tranquilizes. Her pressure is up, she screams all day, my friends try to calm her down, and we are all looking for Julia.
NELA: How can I help you Toto? Come, let’s look together. We can start here…
TOTO: (Turns his head nervously) I c… can’t anymore. I am worn out from looking.
(He collapses on the bench).
NELA: You are drenched in sweat.
(She takes a handkerchief from her pocket and wipes him).
TOTO: (Looks at her, and is enjoying it). I am dead. H..here, a little on the n..neck.
NELA: (Vigorously wiping his neck) Toto, are you sure that the bi.. The poodle is here?
NELA: How do you know?
TOTO: F..first of all, she always runs here. P..plus, I know why she ran away.
(Points discretely with his head. She looks at him. She doesn’t understand)
TOTO: For s..sex!
NELA: Are you sure?
TOTO: I’ve c..caught her in the act! (He bites his lips in embarrassment and shame). Mama doesn’t know anything.
(She looks at him in disbelief)
TOTO: I.. I’ll tell you something, Nela. J..just promise me you won’t tell anyone.
NELA: I promise, Toto.
TOTO:(With pain visible on his face). J..Julie is a whore! A poodle prostitute. I have no peace at home because of the dogs. All mongrels come and look for her.
NELA: C’mon Toto, how is that possible?
TOTO: It’s p..possible. From d… disappointment. She used to have a steady one. Even though he was a mutt … a half setter. But, he left her! She used to wail all day long. Then one d..day, at the height of her d… despair…
NELA: (Looks at him without blinking an eye)
TOTO: … a Scottish shepherd from the neighborhood mounted her. She’s been bawding ever since.
(Nela doesn’t say a word, just sits on the bench).
(The sun sets. The stage sinks into darkness)
NELA: She’ll never come back.
TOTO: She always comes back… I m..mean…before running away again… the little w..whore.
NELA: Don’t say that Toto. I don’t like those ugly words.
TOTO: I d..don’t either, Nela.
NELA: You live alone, Toto?
TOTO: A..alone, but with a lot of p..people.
NELA: What do you mean?
TOTO: My m..mother gives p..piano lessons. She is blind and she is at home all day. S..she used to be a piano t..teacher. She’s r..retired now.
NELA: Do you play the piano, Toto?
TOTO: The l..lute.
NELA: The lute. That’s a very old instrument.
TOTO: A r..remnant from a previous life!
NELA: (Smiles and looks at him affectionately). There is no previous life, Toto. Nor a next one. Just the one we have. Last night, you saved my life.
TOTO: (Shakes his head decisively). N..not me, Nela. That’s the way it was w..written.
NELA: I don’t believe in things like that, Toto. We all write our own lives. Just like screenwriters write their dramas. (Suddenly remembers). Look what I made for you.
(Pulls out a doll from her bag, Toto’s double).
TOTO:(Delightedly) H..hey, this is m..me! To-to, To-to …
NELA: It’s for luck, Toto. (Stands up). I didn’t know how else to thank you. Remember me sometimes. Good-bye, Toto.
TOTO: (Jumps up in great excitement) W..wait… w..where are you going Nela!
NELA: Home. To try to make something out of myself. I don’t want to end the nights on this bench either. You know, Toto, maybe I’ll start working. I want to do a show. Maybe things are as you said. Maybe everything is written for us before hand.
TOTO: E… excellent, Nela, that’s the way to go!
(She covers her face with her hand and start to weep. Toto leaves his double on the bench and runs to her).
TOTO: W..what is it now!
NELA: (Through the tears). I am so unhappy, Toto!
(Slowly and gently hugs her; she surrenders to the hug, remaining the
way she is).
(The moon changes its light once more. Everything is tinted in the previous silvery light)
TOTO: It’s only natural Nela. You are fighting to break the circle, and that gives you courage. You have to break the cocoon. Even the caterpillar suffers pain to become a butterfly. You have to hatch your own fortune, Nela.
NELA: You talk funny, Toto.
TOTO: We all talk funny, Nela. That’s why most people don’t understand each other.
(Darkness sets, as if their embrace lasts a long time. A silver moon appears on the sky above the bench. Their silhouettes are in the semi oval light of the moon).
NELA: Toto, I understand you.
TOTO: I understand you too, Nela.
NELA: To reach happiness, you must suffer…
TOTO: Naturally. It’s all a circle. Chakra. In your previous life you were happy. Have you heard of methaphsihosis, reincarnation and palingenesis?
NELA: What does that mean, Toto?
TOTO: Immortality, Nela. We have all been born, and we will all be born again. We all have previous lives. You used to be happy and you will be happy again.
NELA: In my next life?
TOTO: Maybe in this one too, no one knows. It is all one circle. You are up, then you’re down… Except that no one knows what up or what down is.
NELA: I am down now. I am certainly not up.
TOTO: It’s a circle. Everything is the same. Everything looses meaning in the turning of the wheel. The greatest of happiness might spring up from misfortune. The Chakra moves ceaselessly.
NELA: (Smiles) Can you tell me what I was in that life?
TOTO: (Remarkably convincing). A princess, a beauty, then a queen.
NELA: And you?
TOTO: Me? A clown or a fool, I still can not judge for certain. Maybe both, I have to see. In any case, I was a loner. That’s why I have so many friends now.
NELA: See? Where would you see that?
TOTO: In the moon, Nela. In the appearance of the full moon you can see your previous personality. Like in a magic mirror.
NELA: And when will the moon be full?
NELA: Another night in the park. I am tired, Toto.
TOTO: It’s the moon. Tomorrow is a full moon. That’s very fatiguing.. Go now, Nela, go and rest.
(Nela leaves. Toto looks at her as she leaves)
TOTO: What were you in your previous life? A puppet, my little one. You too, have always been a mere puppet on a string.
(Takes the rope from his pocket and flings it over the lamp post. Takes the loop in his hand and looks at it. He puts it around his neck, and ties the other end of the rope around his hand. Then he starts pulling the end of the rope with his other hand – in rhythm, moving the head and the hand with the rope. Like a puppet on a string. One-two-three, one-two-three… A ray of light falls on his double, revealing a shrejking expression.)