By Kip Jones
(In his best presentational voice)
Okay. Ready for our regular meeting.
Using Zoom today.
Everybody ready and willing?
(laughs to himself)
Hello? You there?
Can you hear me?
I’M HERE! CAN YOU SEE ME?
My screen just went dark. Are you still there?
(beat) Oh, never mind.
There you all are!
Is the whole team assembled?
There should be about 12 of us, but I am only seeing
five of you.
Yeah. You have to have your photo turned on …
Is it working now? I wore a tie for this!
Sorry I’m late. I have brought the little one
along. She’s colicky.
Oh, that’s always a difficult time.
Turn your camera on, Bev! I can’t see the baby.
We have a lot to get through this morning.
Could we get started?
I was going to ask if I could bring at least one
of the kids. We’re home schooling them.
Yes. I have been working on numeracy
with mine already today.
Could you all turn your cameras on?
We can’t see you.
Oh. I haven’t really dressed yet.
I thought this was more like texting.
What are you wearing, Tom?
Well, PJ bottoms and a T shirt.
Oh. And slippers.
As I said, the agenda is quite full.
Is that your kitchen, Hal?
We were thinking of those kinds of cabinets.
They look good in glossy white.
What did you use for backsplashes?
Another time, perhaps?
Dick, are you in an office?
Yeah, it’s my home office. I built it under the stairs.
Mostly to have a place away from the kids.
Yes, I can hear them in the background.
Screaming, are they?
Yes. It’s part of a game I think. (beat)
Oh, fuck! The dog just bolted in!
What kind is it? It looks like a Lab?
It’s a mix. Lab and Collie I think.
Sorry for saying ‘fuck’.
No need for apologies, but could we get on?
Hello, everybody! Can you see me?
Sorry I’m late. I finally booked a food delivery.
And they just came.
You look shattered, Elenore.
Yes, mostly. It’s just getting used to all of this.
I get a bit teary at times.
Yes. Seems never to end.
And we are the lucky ones.
Working at home and still getting full pay.
You say that. I’m not so sure.
The anxiety level is miles high.
Well, maybe if you washed and dressed, Tom.
Thanks boss. I’ll take that on board.
Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound harsh.
It’s hard times for all of us.
We’ve written a short paper about
maintaining our mental health.
Should I circulate it again?
(muttering and unclear voices)
I’ve just realised how many
books are on the shelves behind you, Tom!
Yes, running out of room!
Have you read them all? (beat)
Or are they just for show?
Okay, gang! That’s about enough
chit chat. Shall we make a start?
The clock is ticking and we have a lot
to cover today.
(more mumbling, then)
ON SCREEN: We are sorry but your allotted free time on
Zoom has expired. If you would like to pay for more time
and continue, please click “continue’ at the top of the page.
Are we still on?
What do I do now?
I can’t see any of you?
My screen has gone black!
Your voice is fading!
Hello, Hal? Do you read me?