SB: Hey, Sarah. I gotta run to the grocery store. I need some cake mix. And probably oven mitts. You want anything?

SS: [regular voice, someone anxious] Oh. Ummmm. I do, I do! I need, uhhhh... some... ummm.

SB: Well, think quick. They close early tonight.

SS: [strong stage actor's voice, British accent] Time. Always at our heels. It shadows our thoughts and haunts our waking hours.

SB: Huh?

SS: When we turn, is it not grim, implacable death we see, riding us?

SB: Are you talking about the oven mitts?

SS: Death, urging us to make minutes into things we would never make them otherwise!

SB: [understanding] Ohhhh my GOD, Sarah. You're doing it again!

SS: Huh? What?

SB: That melodramatic thing! You'd stopped for so long, but now you're doing it again!

SS: What? What in the world are you talking about?

SB: [imitating theater voice] "Ohhhh time, heels, death, minutes..." God, it's such a pain in the--

SS: Is not some measure of pain always our burden, our constant companion as we explore the shape of our lives, Michelle?

SB: There. You did it again!

SS: I did not!

SB: You certainly did!

SS: [regular voice] UGH! It's because you're pressuring me! The doctor said it happens when I'm stressed! He called it an "actor's tic."

SB: What doctor?

SS: It's a tic! I get dramatic when I'm flustered!

SB: You're kidding me.

SS: These gaudy jokes, how they dazzle and distract us from our folly! Hollow laughter, ringing in empty rooms--

SB: [impatient, all business, trying to cut through the nonsense] Do you need milk?

SS: O farmer! Call in your good cattle, those docile beasts--!

SB: [clenched teeth] Coffee? Toothpaste? Shampoo?

SS: Shimmering tresses, falling up, into the sky, see how they entwine the stars!

SB: [takes deep breath, calms her voice as much as possible, fake casual and steady] Sarah. Please. Okay? No pressure, all right? I'm just...I'm saying, Heyyyyy Sarah, I was thinking about going to the store... [catching herself] tomorrow, or maybe next week... and can you think of anything I should get while I'm finally there, eventually?

SS: [breathes deep, grateful for the change in tone] Okay, yeah, [breathes] I need... paper...

SB: [hint of urgency] Paper...??

SS: [hint of stress] Paper...

SB: [rising impatience] Paper...nTowels?

SS: [theatrical voice rises] Paperrr...

SB: [losing her composure] PAPERRR...plates?

SS: [full theatrical voice] Paper of the toilet.

SB: Toilet paper! Just say toilet paper.

SS: Paper of the toilet.

SB: [clenched teeth] Toilet. Paper.

SS: Please don't be mad at me!

SB: [mustering all her restraint] Sarah. Do you want to go to the store with me?

SS: Oh god, yes! I'm so sorry. Yes, please. I want to come along.

SB: Okay. But can you drive, at least? Your car has more room.

SS: Do we not carry within us many roads? Fine thoroughfares, secret footpaths, highways of our souls...

SB: [SFX: Grabs car keys] Okay. Right. My car. Fine. Let's go.

SS: [happy, normal again] Oh, okay, if you think that's better.