Tagger by Robert Register

 

[Tagger walks on board train car at South Station and takes a seat next to a woman]

Woman: What is that god awful smell?

Tagger: Sorry. Guess I spilled some thinner. I'll put my pack over there in that empty seat.
[long silence]

Tagger: Pretty exciting, huh?

Woman: You mean the chase?

Tagger: Yeah.

Woman: I could have done without it.

Tagger: Not every day you get to see a running gun battle through the street in front of South Station.

Woman: I wasn't expecting to have to be on the street in front of South Station. When will they ever stop repairing those rails?

Tagger: Ahhh yes! The unexpected! Sudden change! Right when you least expect it! Boom! Out of the blue!

Woman: Don't I know you from somewhere?

Tagger: From another life, I suppose?

Woman: No. No. I know you. You've grown a beard. Buddy! Oh, Buddy! It's you!

[woman hugs Tagger's neck]

Tagger: Remember Hellcat Swamp?

Woman: Oh, Buddy. Plum Island! It WAS from another life.

[they kiss]

Tagger: I remember every detail. You've changed your taste in fashion.

Woman: I guess the "goth" said a lot about where I was going.

Tagger: The night I met you at the Thirsty Whale, you were heading six feet under.

[long pause]

Woman: Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport brought up some bad memories.

Tagger: And some good ones too. Remember the next morning on the boardwalk on Plum Island. We were entering Hellcat Swamp and you told me about her.

Woman: Sally?

Tagger: Yeah, Sally: your imaginary friend from childhood.

Woman: And you sang me your song.

Tagger: [singing to the tune of "Further Along"] Is it high on the mountains or down in the  lime sinks. Is my life for the highway? Will it go in a dream? Will a man come and save me or must I go under? But will my mind answer with the words I desire?

[woman joins in singing] Life answers no questions that come from outside it. Life will never tell us what come further along so lay down sweet Sally and love your poor body cause a light in the tunnel might burn your sweet smile.

[woman singing alone] I'll run like a shorebird who's looking for footsteps. I'll hide in his sandpath and shield from the wind. I'll live between high tides. I'll love gulf's green waters but will my mind answer with the words I desire.

Tagger [singing] I'll live as the days come and die when my time comes. I'll love those who touch me. I'll keep what I earn. I'll ask all the questions and not expect comment. I'll live like the old ones and die like a child."

[singing together] Life answers no questions that come from outside it. Life will never tell us what comes further along so lay down sweet Sally and love your poor body cause a light in the tunnel might burn your sweet smile.

Tagger: You still love Sally don't you.

[long pause]

Woman: Yes, Buddy.

Tagger: Then help me love her now.

[Tagger takes off his hooded sweatshirt, puts it over both of their laps and they kiss. They stroke each other to orgasm. The train stops. Tagger puts on his sweatshirt, picks up his backpack, throws the woman a kiss and walks off the train]