Five Short Plays About Hope: 2
CONTAINS: Fanfic, Spoilers for Season Seven of the Greatest Television Series of All Time.
A variation on a theme, this one. The answer to the question ‘What would you do to stop Hitler,’ tends to be the glib one of ‘Go shoot him.’ Is that the answer? It begs another question, one I ask myself in times of deep distress:
WHAT WOULD BUFFY DO?
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We are in an alley-way. It’s dark.
BUFFY, petite woman in her 30s, tired, enters from one end of the alley. She’s wearing yoga clothing with a backpack and a knee-length coat. We can hear the chanting sounds of a political rally or parade in the distance. As BUFFY draws nearer to the sound she twists her wrist slightly and a four-inch wooden stake drops from her sleeve into her hand.
Behind her, by a dumpster, appears GILES, a late middle-aged English man with glasses and a three-piece suit.
BUFFY stops without turning around.
BUFFY: I can hear you.
BUFFY: You’re not really here.
GILES: Well that makes no sense.
BUFFY: (Still not turning round.) It makes complete sense. I hear you in my mind but you are not really here. Because you’re dead.
GILES: You know better than anyone that being dead doesn’t mean I’m not here. You hang out with dead people all the time.
BUFFY: Un-dead people. And I don’t see that much of Spike at the moment. Trying to cut down on blood suckers in my life. (Beat.) You’re different.
GILES: In what way?
BUFFY: Because you’re properly dead. Rotting in a British cemetery. You’re not walking the earth, you’re just hanging around in my brain. I’m making you hang around in my brain.
GILES: And why would you do that?
BUFFY: Because sometimes I get a yearning for good British manners?
BUFFY: Because part of my brain is trying to tell the rest of me something.
GILES: And what are you trying to tell yourself this time?
BUFFY: (Turning.) I don’t know, Giles, what am I telling myself?
GILES: You could be telling yourself that what you are about to do is not the answer.
BUFFY: Yes, that’s why I know you’re not real. Because the real Giles taught me how to use this thing (flourishes the stake) and that I am the chosen one – chosen to use Mr Pointy here to make the world a better place.
GILES: I also taught you to use your brain. And you far exceeded me. You changed the whole game. Not one slayer any more, but hundreds.
BUFFY: But I’m the original one. It’s on me. It’s always been on me. To save the world. And that’s what I’m going to do.
GILES: Like this? Maybe there are some problems you can’t solve with Mr Pointy in a dark alley.
BUFFY: I’m not going to do it in an alley. Three minutes, his car will come past, he’ll be waving with that ridiculous grin of his. A couple of summersaults and a quick staking and it will all be over.
GILES: But he’s not a vampire.
BUFFY: Isn’t he? Doesn’t he suck the life blood out of everything that’s good in my world?
GILES: Clever word play won’t make this right. He’s not a vampire.
BUFFY: But I’m sure a stake to the hurt will kill him anyway.
GILES: And won’t his security team then kill you? There’ll be a lot of guns out there.
BUFFY: I expected they will.
GILES: And what about little baby Joyce?
BUFFY: She’s why I’m doing this, Giles! I’ve stopped hellmouths from opening and spewing forth evil, but he opens his hell mouth and all the evil that’s been hiding in men’s hearts across this country come pouring out, all the dark, petty hatreds they’ve been hiding for decades come bumbling up. Everyone who’s a little bit different, different colour, different language, different chromosomes, suddenly has to run and hide. If I let him win, then what was it all for? What did I save the world for? No, this way is better. I might not be around to see it but little Joyce will grow up in a better world, Xander and Dawn and Willow will raise her right.
GILES: And what will she know of her mother? What she sees on Fox Documentaries? The woman who killed a President with a pointy piece of wood? And will she learn the same lesson, that there’s nothing that she can’t solve with some four inches of sharpened birch and some kick-boxing sessions? Is that how you want her to live her life?
BUFFY: Then what do you want me to do Giles? You were my Watcher, guide me!
GILES: You already know.
BUFFY: No I don’t! Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, preparing to go all Lee Harvey Oswald.
GILES: You did it before. You shared your power.
BUFFY: I can’t make any more Slayers. That was a one-time deal!
GILES: No, but you can lead. You can inspire. You can empower. You can still be the Chosen one. But you’ll need to fight a different kind of war. In a different kind of way.
BUFFY: (Looking at Mr Pointy.) But this is all I know.
GILES: There was a time when you didn’t even know that. But you learnt.
BUFFY: You taught me. You’re not here any more.
GILES: There’s no manual any more, Buffy. You have to teach yourself. And you’ll fail. And you’ll pick yourself up, and learn to let others help you, and you’ll stand with them, and you’ll march, and you’ll save the world, again.
BUFFY: I’m scared.
GILES: I know. We all are.
GILES melts into the shadow.
BUFFY throws the stake down. And slowly walks back into the alley.