Notes: Okay, this is technically a monologue (that's why we have stage directions). Just Marla, talking about her relationship with Tyler, from her point of view. Rated R for some foul language and mature content.
Disclaimer: No, I do not own Fight Club, or any of the characters in it, they would be owned by Chuck Palahniuk.
(The scene opens with Marla Singer sitting alone onstage and smoking a cigarette)
People ask me if I know Tyler Durden. I tell them that I did. But really, I don't think that anyone knew Tyler. Not all of him. When I first met him, he was Cornelius.
(Pauses, the lights go up)
I am sitting in the basement of First Methodist, the bowel cancer support group, and he is there. Cornelius. The same guy is Sherman in the bone disease group. But he doesn't notice me. He doesn't see me until testicular cancer at Trinity Episcopal. There on those ugly plaid sofas, with the smell of musty church and stale coffee around me, he glares. Surrounded by other men who are crying their eyes out because they lost their balls, he glares. Faker, he says with his eyes. I'm surprised that it took him until now to figure this out.
Rupert, says his name tag. Rupert with that haunted, far away look in his eyes. Rupert glaring at me as if he's never seen me before in his life. Faker. No shit, Rupert. Why do you think that I came to this group? Normally I'm not so crazy that I would pretend to have testicular cancer.
Then again, you never know.
He glares at me through the rest of cancer, and then sits beside me in our parasitic brain dysfunction group, Above and Beyond. This could be interesting. During the Catch-Up Rap, someone announces that Chloe has died. And Joe, or whatever the hell his name is, just sits here and glares at me. During guided meditation I watch him, watch the little muscle in his cheek twitch in irritation.
The meditation ends, and we all stand up and get ready for hug time. It's therapeutic physical contact, and Joe grabs me hard enough to hurt. Get out, get out, he says. He doesn't have any more right to be here than I do. He isn't dying either any more than I am. Fine, he says, we can split the week.
No, I want it all. I want to be here with him glaring at me, with these dying people all around us. It makes me feel alive. He tells me, he needs this. He's been coming here for two years.
Two years? He has this barren, desperate look in his eyes, maybe he really does need this. Okay, okay, you can have testicular cancer.
This is how I met Tyler Durden.
The next time I talked to Tyler was I was lying on my bed and staring at my bottle of Xanax. Xanax are for reducing anxiety and inducing sleep. If you take too many, you just fall asleep and never wake up. I was depressed.
Tyler calls me and asks me if I'm going to Melanoma. We have this system worked out where he can call me if he wants to go to a group to see if I'm planning to go. Suddenly I don't want to die if it's going to be like this. Not alone. Not in this cheap room at the Regent Hotel that reeks of sickness and death. I've taken too many Xanax, I tell him. This isn't a for-real suicide thing, it's more of a cry-for-help thing. If he wants to see me die, he should hurry up and get over here.
No thanks, he says. He'd rather go to Melanoma.
I call him a few hours later. That bottle of Xanax is looking at me, looking like a vacation. So I call Tyler, and suddenly he's a whole different person. This is it, I say, the death experience. Frantically, he asks me where I live, tells me to hold on until he can get there, and then hangs up. I think that this is just Tyler's way of getting me off of the phone.
But it isn't. He comes to the Regent, with two black eyes and stitches in his forehead. We hear the sirens of police cars outside the hotel. He's called the police, and we have to get away. On the way down the stairs, we pass paramedics with tanks of oxygen.
As they race past I yell to them, the girl in 8G used to be a lovely charming girl, but the girl is a monster bitch monster. She is infectious human waste! Tyler doesn't add anything, but grabs my wrist and pulls me down to the lobby. On the way to wherever we're going, I tell him that he has to keep me up all night. If I fall asleep, I'll die. I ask him what his name is. He pauses, and then says Tyler. Tyler Durden.
The next morning Tyler looks at me like he doesn't know how I got there. He yells at me to get out of his house. But that night, he made me love him. We had sex about ten times, but it wasn't just that. We made love. He told me that he loved me. I told him that I wanted to get pregnant and have his abortion.
That's how Tyler and I became lovers. I never did take any of those Xanax.
Somehow, life with Tyler falls into a routine. We're either screwing or he's ignoring me. When we're doing it, we call each other human butt wipe. We are the crap of the world, and we embrace it. He tells me that I can't be saved until I fall all the way to the bottom. Like Jesus did with his crucifixion thing. When we're not doing it, he's pretending I'm not in his house. Pretending that I'm not alive. He doesn't even look at me unless he's telling me to get the hell out.
One morning, I'm sitting in the kitchen and burning holes into my arm with my cigarette. I am the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. I embrace my own festering diseased corruption. Tyler's ignoring me. I twist the cigarette into the soft skin on the inside of my arm. Burn, witch, burn.
Tyler comes down and actually looks at me. The flake kind of lye, he says, as he wipes at the rusty spots on my arm and wedges my high heels onto my feet. When I'm with Tyler, I sometimes feel more alone than when I'm by myself. So I start talking.
The condom is the glass slipper of our generation, I say. Can't we talk when we're not screwing?
He says nothing, and words keep tumbling out of my mouth. He just looks at me. I can't win with him, I really can't. So I leave.
I come back with the lye. He has his back to me, cooking something on the stove. Talk to me, don't ignore me!
Go, he says, just go, just get out. He asks, don't you have a big enough chunk of my life yet? He looks at me, and suddenly I am the dead cockroach sitting in the kitchen sink. How can he love me one moment and hate me the next? We need to talk, I say. He glares, and I leave again.
From there, things start to get weird. Well, weirder.
I had a boyfriend once who hated to sleep, he had terrible nightmares. He used to take wake-up pills by putting them up his butt, that way he could take six of them at once without getting sick. I dated another guy who liked to wear my clothes. We used to dress him up like a woman. Another guy I dated wanted me to fake a lesbian scene with his blow-up doll.
Now I'm with Tyler. I must be more messed-up than I thought.
I stored my mother's collagen in his freezer, and he made my lip injection into soap. He sounded sorry about it too. It wasn't me, he said, it was Tyler. Tyler made my mother into soap.
I have to talk to him. I want to kill him. I tell him that he owes me, the suck-ass bastard, and he comes over. I ask him to feel for a lump in my breast. He does, and he talks to me while doing it. He tells me stories to make me forget about breast cancer. Well he'd better be nice to me after making my mother into soap.
He's beaten-up all the time now. His nose is always broken, his face is a mask of bruises and scabs and scars. Sometimes, I can't even touch him he's beat-up so bad.
Weird things start happening, vandalism, assault, arson. Payphones filled with vanilla pudding. I get this cold feeling that Tyler's responsible. He's never around, and won't speak to me at all when he is. The first rule is that you don't ask questions, he says.
One day there's a guy standing on Tyler's front porch. Three days later, he's inside the house, and there are two more guys on the porch in his place. The next thing I know, his house is full of men, and he's never there. They have the intelligence of space monkeys. Of robots. Each one does his specific job, and no more. They won't talk to me except to rattle off rules. Don't ask questions, they say.
His house is a machine full of monkeys. They make soap sixteen hours a day. They shave their heads and burn off their fingerprints with lye. Tyler phones me, and I tell him that his house reeks like burnt hair from so many heads being shaved. He sounds surprised, as if he doesn't know.
One day he phones me and asks if he's ever had sex with me. Christ! That piece of shit! That crazy insomniac bastard. I could kill him. He loves me, he ignores me. I scream at him. He saves my life, then he cooks my mother into soap.
I saved your life? He asks.
You saved my life.
Tyler saved your life, he says.
Yes, you saved my life.
He sounds like he's just been punched in the gut. What's my name? He asks.
Tyler Durden. Tyler Butt-Wipe-for-Brains Durden. Tyler, with the house teeming with his little rats making soap. I tell him to get his ass back here before his little trolls make soap out of me, too.
Then he hangs up.
The next time I see him, he tells me that he's not Tyler Durden. We're sitting in a gaudy orange booth at Denny's, with coffee rings on the table and sticky floors. And he tells me that he's not Tyler Durden. When I fall asleep, he says, I don't really sleep. No, he doesn't sleep. When I fall asleep, he says, I become Tyler Durden. He expects me to believe this?
You have to keep me awake, he says. And if I fall asleep, you have to keep track of where I go, what I do.
He's insane. Barking mad. Gone off the deep end. I must be too, I agree to help him. I try to keep him awake, I tell him stories of my other crazy boyfriends. I follow him to the Pressman Hotel, to one of those murder mystery parties that the rich people go to. And I see him shoot a man.
I see Tyler, straight-faced, shoot a man while his wife watches and thinks that it's just a game. His wife said that the fake blood was too real. She begged him to stop being dead. And then she screamed.
Suddenly, this isn't just a joke anymore. I saw Tyler kill a man.
Tyler phones me and tells me to meet him at the bowel cancer group tonight. We are in the basement of First Methodist, and Tyler is playing innocent. I can't believe him any more.
You ever touch me again and you're dead, I say.
I didn't kill anybody, he says. I'm not Tyler Durden.
Why should I believe any of this?
He says, because I think I like you.
Not love? I ask.
No. Not love. Like.
Suddenly I realize he's not Tyler Durden. Where are you going? I ask him.
To take care of Tyler.
I'm in a soap opera. Tyler's just run out, and all of the bowel cancers are staring. Cue dramatic music. I follow him, of course. I see him go into a bar; the support group people and I wait outside. This is the most fun they have had in years.
By the time they drag Tyler's body out, he looks like a corpse. His face is nothing but burger. Still breathing, though. The bowel cancers found the address book in my purse, and they're on their cell phones.
When we catch up with Tyler again, he's standing on the rooftop of the Parker-Morris Building with a gun in his mouth. The bowel cancers are there, and the tuberculosis patients, the brain parasites and the melanoma people, we are wheeling and limping and walking towards him, telling him to stop.
Wait, someone says.
We can help you.
I'm not killing myself, he yells, I'm killing Tyler.
It's not love or anything, I shout, but I think I like you, too.
You like Tyler, he shouts back.
No, I like you. I know the difference.
Then he pulled the trigger.
And that's it. I guess I knew Tyler Durden as well as anyone could know him. Although you probably shouldn't believe me. I'm almost as crazy as he was.
(Walks off stage)