photo by Joe Mazza and Brave Lux

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Death Drive

Part of 31 Plays in 31 Days.                        
            Death Drive
            By Jacob Juntunen
All right. The whole truth, then. You know what Freud calls the death drive? It’s always been real strong in me. Whenever I’m driving on those two-lane country roads at night, and headlights are coming towards me, I just want to swerve into the left hand lane, just, be done with it all. That’s the first part of the truth.
Ten years ago, I started seeing a psychiatrist because I was scaring myself. But I guess you know that. I guess you’ve already talked to her under that “threat to myself or others” clause. I never got rid of the impulses altogether, that’s true, but they became less loud, more manageable. I didn’t like to get too close to the edge of subway tracks when I was on business trips, and I tried to avoid those country lanes at night, but it was okay, whatever she told you.
So what was I doing out on 550 at midnight? I just wanted pizza. The only place that was still open was Avalanche, out on State Street. So I had to leave the farm and drive out there. If it wasn’t for that stupid pizza and the death drive, he’d still be alive.
But if you look at the skid marks, you’ll see he swerved into my lane. It was intentional. I could see my headlights reflecting in his eyes, like a cat’s, right through the windshield. He looked… determined. I understood it. There’s no way I could have stopped with the fifty-five miles per hour speed limit. Not with him coming at me head on. If it wasn’t for the Volvo, I’m sure I’d be in the graveyard next to him.
My impulses from the past might make it look suspicious, and it’s a big coincidence, I’ll grant you that, your honor, but it was his death drive, not mine, on the road that night. I’m innocent. And that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Jacob is head of playwriting at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. 
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