Synopsis: In the lost part of Mesa, Arizona there are “Thirteen Souls in a circle” in a room, but one is left to tell the story. Each soul has their opportunity to express their belief, orientation, lifestyle, or race. They tackle certain issues and use factual evidence such as history, famous quotes, and statistics to boost their argument. This is an experiment to test the bounds of morality through each conversation and the reality of the situation they all find themselves in after signs of pure evil is suspected. Will they work together and overthrow the evil in their presence or will their beliefs keep them separated?
Here is a snippet (Chapter 4):
Dillian: Should I go out there and go get him?
Instructor: [Shaking his head] It’s fine.
[Selena smiled at Burn, while he sunk in an askew position, motionless, wondering where Logan went. She had a nice medium cut; brown hair. She took the initiative to speak, eagerly grabbing the invisible mic without the instructor’s permission. Her voice was loud and spunky, which harmonized with her head movement. Her flamboyant personality embodied the rich red roses that filled her long dark skirt. She wore a medium sized dark gray V-neck shirt with black heels to go along with it.]
Selena: [Monologue] My name is Selena. You may already know this, but I’m beautiful. I’m 5’5, 23 years old, and reside in Alabama. I was born and raised in Tampa. I’m Colombian and as you may already know, I’m an activist for women’s rights. So yes, I’m a feminist* and you can also call me a liberalist*. Also, I support gay rights and the black lives matter movement*. I currently hold meetings with fellow feminists to implement innovative ways to open the minds of the people and bring change. I just want everyone to have equal rights. [Looks at Michelle] First off, I would like to commend Michelle for what she said earlier. I support you 100%. Okay, let’s begin. All I’m asking is that we keep women and men on the same playing field. Things have changed, since women were allowed rights. Women are more likely to earn bachelor degrees than men, but how is it that men still earn more money than women? Women have increasingly populated male occupations, so why is it difficult to get the same pay as men? Let’s just reward the women for their diligence. Another thing is that we need to change the system because the system is key for all this change to take place. The system is still stuck in the past; it needs some updating because women have evolved into engineers, lawyers, businesspersons, and public figures. Sex discrimination needs to stop. Again, I’m not strictly talking about change the system for women, but also for gays, Transgenders, Black people, and prostitutes. So if you agree, then tell me. Also, if you have any ideas to increase our chances to change the system, let me know. If you disagree, then let’s argue.
[She sat back down and waited.]
Michelle: I agree of course and thank you for supporting me. I didn’t even know that women earned more degrees than men, and it’s funny that we’re still considered inferior.
Selena: [Exclaims] I know, right.
Samantha: I agree with the point that they should receive the same amount of money as men or maybe more since we earn more degrees than men.
Samuel: I agree with equal rights towards black lives matter.
Selena: [Raises her eyebrow] What about towards gays and prostitutes and women?
Samuel: Okay and for the women, since they do earn more degrees than men do. They should be rewarded. I think everyone is a feminist to a certain degree today because unlike other places around the world, we encourage women to be strong. Days like Mother’s day* and Women’s day* empowers women, so if you live in the United States, you have to have some sort of feminism in you, I believe.
Samantha: I agree. Other regions like Korea, India, and so on don’t appreciate women like the United States does. At the same time, some things need to be done to keep it equal between both genders.
Selena: [To Samuel] I know you don’t agree with the lifestyle of prostitution. Can I make the same assumption that you don’t agree with homosexuality?
Samuel: I’ll make my opinion when Florence or Jeremy gets the chance to speak.
Jeremy: [Vehement] I’m not gay.
Samuel: [Respectfully apologizes] My bad. I let my judgment get the best of me.
[Selena discerned Florence’s attitude towards Samuel, who was on his right, and gave him a friendly nudge. Florence long transparent scathing look abated, showing reverence for Selena.]
Florence: I agree with you, Selena. [Harshly] People like Burn and Samuel only care about their rights and not the others. They’re not open to change because they’re afraid, but that’s what makes everyone unique in their own right. We all can’t live the same lifestyle and love the same things.
Burn: [Defensive] I didn’t even say anything.
Florence: I know, but you don’t respect homosexuality as a lifestyle.
Samuel: [Angrily confronts Florence] So, we can’t have an opinion or a belief? America is trying their best to force people to be cool with homosexuality, but I’m not letting it happen in my life and that makes me the bad guy because I don’t agree and feel that it is wrong. Please, stop being the victim. They have accepted homosexuals more willingly than black people. Y’all can protest and walk the streets, being belligerent in some cases, and still receive sympathy. But when a black guy protests by sitting peacefully during the national anthem, he is acting unjust. Death threats are sent his way and the media scorns him. C’mon, stop trying to be the victim. It’s pathetic.
[Burn, Darious, and Kachina nodded their head in agreement, admiring those words.]
Florence: Don’t make this into a black thing, but since you made that point, I’ll take it and use it to my advantage. [Thinks for a while] You say America has been forcing the people to accept gays, so now you know how gays feel because since the beginning of time, the world has enforced the heterosexual lifestyle, and those that didn’t comply or didn’t have the same feelings were shunned or executed. I don’t get why you feel that it is wrong that people have feelings towards something they can’t change.
[The conversation reached its climax; the perilous argument was unavoidable between the two. The other’s eyes probed each other’s faces, while they waited for the instructor to speak. The instructor was lost, lingering in his own thoughts, not hearing the curse words released into the atmosphere. No one had enough fortitude to speak up, while the bickering proliferated. Selena made eye contact with Debra, who was on the right of Samuel. Selena hinted that they had to do something before the inevitable happened. Selena rubbed the back of Florence, while Debra grabbed Samuel by the hand. For that moment, stillness from words allowed the others to feel comfortable again.]
Florence: [Continues to dispute] And nobody’s being the victim. I just want to know what’s wrong with homosexuals for them to be hated so much.
Samuel: I talk to homosexuals and they respect my opinion. You just need to respect mine as well as everyone else’s opinion.
[The instructor broke his trance and chuckled fiendishly. He inserted himself to go forward with the disagreements.]
Instructor: Who disagrees?
Darious: I have a question.
Selena: What is it?
Darious: Since we’re talking about equal rights between men and women. Can we talk about the court system because I’m sick and tired of my homies getting played by the court system? The court system favors the women more than the men. I had a homeboy that was with a chick and she took everything, but his car. I also believe the reason women won’t be paid at the same rate as men is because of that. Y’all have so much leeway through the court system, and that is another way for you guys to get money.
Dillian: That last point is interesting.
Selena: That last part doesn’t make any sense, and that’s your so-called homeboy fault; he should have made her agree to a Prenup*.
[Darious stayed silent.]
Burn: [Helps out Darious] If one is thinking about a Prenup before marriage, then he might as well not get married. A Prenup suggests that you don’t believe in the other and that he or she is going to leave soon.
Selena: No, not always the case. There are people that get a Prenup and they really love one another, but they realize that they are humans and humans have a tendency of messing things up, so they sign the contract that says what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.
Burn: [Disappointed] Wow, I guess no one wants to fight for their marriage anymore.
[Selena shrugged her shoulders.]
Dillian: I disagree with you blaming the system. But let’s stay on equal rights between men and women. I think Samuel and Darious will agree with this. The court systems do favor the women over the men. Let’s talk about rape. Rape is a horrible crime and I’m in no way trying to disrespect rape victims, but rape accusations are not always true. False rape accusations have more negative effects on men than women do, and I’m wondering how that is? A man accused of rape has to stop work because his employer won’t allow him to work during a sensitive case like that. He will have to go to court, spend money on lawyers, and waste time in general. Finally, when he is proven innocent, he can go home as if nothing happened. [Pauses] I wish that were the case, but he can’t. His reputation is damaged and he is perceived differently, even though he is innocent. But the woman on the other hand, goes home with no hit to her record or reputation. She should be punished for some sort of fraud to validate his innocence. If you talk about equal rights, then let’s write that wrong between men and women. We all know when a woman gets a divorce with a man with no Prenup, especially if they have children, 80% to 90% of the time that man is going to lose a significant portion of what he has or what they had. [Pauses] So let’s change the legal court system when it comes to false accusations of rape and make it fair. Women should be punished for that, just has men are punished for divorce, in most cases.
Samuel: [Piggybacking off Dillian’s point] You’re right, I do agree with the whole false rape accusation example. Let me speak as a black man. I don’t care what nobody says; black men are the target of false rape accusations more than any other men. People like Derrick Rose* recently and Darryl Hunt*, who was in jail for 20 years for it, survived but it ruined their image. This is one of the many things a black man has to deal with because of his perception. Again, all men deal with it, but not to the extent of black men. These women should be punished for that.
Selena: Okay, I respect that, I believe that women that do that should be punished, [Scorns Dillian] but that statistic of 80% is not true. Don’t make up stuff to boost your agreement.
Samuel: The judge should be like this: “Before we go into this investigation, if he is proven innocent, there will be severe repercussions. A hefty fine, prison, or relinquishing something that he wants in your possession.”
Burn: One more thing. To continue with equal rights between men and women, society paints this picture of only women taking care of the children, showing us single mothers on a regular basis, but I’m here wondering about single fathers. Does society know that there is such a thing as a single father raising children? Since there is this talk about equal rights between genders, do you believe that single fathers should get child support?
Dillian: Good point.
Selena: [Long pause] Yes, I’m open to it.
Darious: So no more chivalry*, right?
Samantha: Are you serious? You don’t want to be a gentleman because a woman’s ambition?
Darious: No, it should be a 50/50 thing now, that’s all, since women want to be as equal as men.
Selena: Okay, let’s talk about Rape Culture* since rape was brought to the forefront. Rape is a serious matter and I know some ladies try to use that as leeway, but most of the time, the claim is true. We live in a society that says we respect women and women are just as good as men, but on several occasions we lack any proof of that.
Samuel: Yeah, true, but we’re not as bad as other countries. America is one of the most influential countries that epitomize women being worthy and capable of doing anything a man can do.
Selena: Stop comparing, just look at America and ask yourself if women are as close as men as you think?
Samuel: Okay, I can’t disagree with you, but I can’t help but to compare to other countries. America is the standard.
Selena: Hypocritical standard, you mean. [Brief pause] Explain this: A 50 year-old man rapes a 14-year-old girl in Yellowstone, Montana, and is sentenced to only 30 days. How in the world is he only getting a month of punishment? And, oh yeah, she killed herself after. Please, explain that?
[Kachina, Florence, Burn, Jeremy, and Darious were appalled.]
Samuel: [Mumbling] I can’t explain it.
Dillian: Going back to the system, why do you continue to blame the system for what is supposed to be your personal agenda or responsibility?
Selena: Rape is a part of the system. Why not stick to it and find a solution before moving on?
Dillian: [Pressured] It’s tough to come up with a solution now. We can discuss it another time. I asked you a question pertaining to your speech.
Selena: Okay, repeat it.
Dillian: Why do you continue to blame the system for what is suppose to be your personal agenda or responsibility?
Selena: Really, that’s a bullshit question. So, you’re telling me that a group can change the United States without any help from the government?
Dillian: No, I’m telling you that the government has done enough already for a person with different orientations and beliefs, and now it’s getting ridiculous. Individual liberty has been given, but the government is going a bit too far. An example is them discussing the possibility of letting men that identify themselves as women to enter a women’s bathroom. [Pauses] That is crazy. Now, I believe that we need to limit the government’s power and let sanity be sanity.
Burn: [Tapping Selena on the shoulder.] How do you feel about Abortion?
Selena: Well, I’m not opposed to it. If you feel like you don’t want to have the child, then don’t have it. I rather the woman be happy than miserable.
Burn: But that’s depriving one from existing, that’s murder.
Michelle: [Aiding Selena] It’s not murder, it’s not in the physical yet.
Burn: [To Michelle] Really? It’s alive inside of you, just because you do not see it in the natural doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. When a woman is pregnant, at first, one doesn’t notice, but then after a few months the belly grows large. Growth is a part of life, it means life, and life is living, so if that’s the case, then that means the baby inside of you is alive because the dead can’t grow. [Solemnly] So don’t be stupid.
Dillian: Well said, [Frustration] I’m disgusted by that weak attempt to defend abortion by both of you. It’s murder like Burn said, and you use that physical excuse as a scapegoat like everyone else. I’m pro-life because I cherish human beings. Killing an infant before he or she has a chance to live is a crime. People like you are stupid because you are the same people that speak for the LGBT community and women’s rights, but you don’t cherish a baby’s life. Essentially, you’re speaking in paradox. It’s either you support people or you don’t. Do you not know that the people you are defending once were an infant in a womb? Do you remember that you were an infant in a womb? How would you feel if you were aborted? I believe that if you believe in abortion, then you don’t believe in civilization.
[Burn nods his head in the direction of Dillian.]
Selena: [Professes] It’s the woman’s body at the end of the day. She should do what she pleases with it.
Burn: [Concedes] Okay, okay, but why do they get to the point of abortion? [Realizing his question is incomplete] Okay, let me rephrase that. We all know the consequences of having sex, right? So, why in the world would you get an abortion when you know what you getting yourself into?
Selena: Oh my gosh. [Complains] Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and yes, condoms pop or the birth control doesn’t fulfill its duty, but we have a chance to fix that wrong with abortion. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. It’s okay. There are young teenage girls that have children that can’t go to school anymore or they are not completely focused on it because they had a child too early and wasn’t prepared. They’re not financially stabled to start a family. Now, these girls are working multiple jobs with nothing but a high school diploma or worse, nothing at all. Essentially, most of those teenage girls’ lives are ruined unless they get lucky, but abortion ensures them a second chance.
Burn: But again, they knew what they were getting themselves into. They knew that the guy putting on the condom was only 85 to 99% effective, but they still went along and did it, so that’s their fault. Also, I firmly believe in that phrase that says, “You learn from your mistakes” because I guarantee that if they erase that wrong by aborting the baby, then they are going to find themselves in the same situation over and over. [Pauses] I know this girl that had three abortions before the age of 21. She still hasn’t learned, and all I know is this, the only 100% way to not have a child is not to have sex.
Michelle: What about rape resulting in the woman getting pregnant because of it?
Dillian: Put it up for adoption. Do not kill that innocent child that did no wrong.
Selena: [Screeching] THE HELL! So, you expect me to go nine months carrying a child that I wasn’t suppose to have because I was raped? Are you FUCKING serious?
Dillian: [Standing by his conviction] Yes, I do.
Selena: [Sarcasm] WOW, You men are amazing. [Passionate] You don’t understand the pain a woman endures when she is ready to give birth to a child she wants to have. Rape is nonconsensual sex, something that the woman didn’t want to happen to her, so she is entitled to have an abortion because clearly she wasn’t ready to have a child. By going through with the pregnancy, the rape culture essentially wins the battle. Another victim that doesn’t get the justice she deserves. Rape is demonized sex. To overlook the look of terror on the woman’s face, cancel out her screaming and fighting, and cap it all off by taking her innocence and her integrity is just pure evil. [Sarcastic laugh to Dillian] But that’s not good enough humiliation for you, so you tell her to go through with the pregnancy. If she doesn’t agree with it, you turn the tables and label her the victimizer because you will call her a murderer if she aborts the baby she didn’t want to have in the first place. [To everyone] This is the world we live in.
Kachina: [Claps] Wow, you guys have to admit that, that point is legit. I never thought about it like that. That’s the only time I would agree with abortion.
Samantha: Yeah, I agree with that. That scenario, of a woman being raped is hard to overlook. I think abortion should be legal in that case alone, only for that. I also agree with Burn’s argument about if you don’t want a child prematurely, then don’t have sex, that’s the safest bet.
Selena: Thank you, Kachina and Samantha. [She looks to Burn] Burn, you have to admit that rape that causes a child has to be aborted?
[Burn eluded the question for a while. He had a mercurial temperament and his eyes wafted beneath eye level, the ground was his new fascination.]
Burn: [Softly] My God doesn’t kill the innocent. I have to go with Dillian on this one because at the end of the day those babies are innocent.
[Selena sucked her teeth and took her sight away from him.]
Michelle: But statistics show that most children inherit their mother and father’s tendencies. That kid can grow up to be evil like his rapist father.
Dillian: Listen to yourself. How do you know that child is going to be evil? Already jumping to conclusions. I want equality, so let’s make things equal. I’m speaking for babies, since they don’t even have a chance to get out of the womb. We’re talking and debating on whether we should have transgender bathrooms, but at the same time killing babies. This doesn’t make sense to me. [Takes a deep breath] Baby lives matter.
[Dillian’s temper exceeded its breaking point. He had a headache. He closed his eyes, while Selena and Michelle grinned at one another.]
Michelle: I still disagree.
Selena: Me too.
Florence: [To Dillian] Okay! How do you feel about Transgender people getting their own bathroom?
Selena: And what about women’s rights?
Dillian: I’m open to Transgender’s bathrooms. I just don’t want women in men’s bathrooms and men in women’s bathrooms. And to your question, Selena, I say that women should be on the same level as men because who can argue that, especially knowing the statistics you mentioned earlier. However at the same time as they move on the same level as men and yearning to be men, the court system needs to change to a leveling playing field concerning false rape and child support. This is what you people want, so let’s make it happen.
Darious: [Cheers] NO more divorcing for a money grab.
Selena: We don’t want to be men. We just want to be equal.
Darious: Are you sure? Because you seem jealous.
Dillian: I agree with Darious because you come off as extreme.
Selena: I’m not extreme. There are women much worse. [Joking] And, what should I be jealous about? Women are better than men because we have a heart that cares. Most men are selfish and unfaithful. You want the statistics. You’re just misogynistic* and don’t even know it. Men believe that they are the superior gender because of the little stick they have between their legs. [Brief pause to smile] But with all due respect, women are just as valuable. I can make the case that we are more valuable than men. Look at the little things that we do that amount to so much. The things that we had to overcome supersedes anything you, men ever had to overcome. We couldn’t do nothing or be nothing. Back then, all we were were a beck and call* for our husbands or men in general that saw us as satisfaction tools. In the middle Ages, women were not allowed to read. Men were behind it and they still are treating women like this. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive — that’s a fucking law, man. We still see injustice towards women every day.
Darious: I know for a fact you’re not married. No man would ever put up with alla this.
[Dillian, May, and Samuel laughed.]
Selena: [Confident] I have a boyfriend, thank you very much, and he loves my views.
Darious: [Lightheartedly] Stop lying. You just didn’t tell him about your views, yet. You’re afraid that he will leave you, and I don’t blame him.
[Dillian and Samuel continued to laugh.]
Jeremy: Shut up.
Darious: [Serious] Nigga, you don’t tell me to shut up. We can throw outside.
[Burn prevented it from letting get any further.]