Song: “Breathing Underwater” by Mertric from Synthetica
AQUAMAN enters his underwater kingdom whistling, a trail of clothes drifting in the water behind him—suit jacket, pants, tie—as he is once again dressed in his familiar orange and green outfit. He does not see that off to his right lying on a “couch” of coral is TEMPEST.
TEMPEST (accusatory, sitting up and crossing his arms)
How was your date, “Dad”?
AQUAMAN (a bit surprised but attempting to be friendly)
Surprising, actually. Very unconventional girl. But thanks for asking, Garth.
Oh, no problem, “Dad”. I’m “thrilled” you are finally moving on for Mera. “Great” for you.
Look, there’s no need for sarcasm. I’m just as—
TEMPEST (getting his back up a bit)
Who’s being sarcastic? I was just saying how “thrilled” I am at how “great” you are feeling after your divorce, “Dad”.
AQUAMAN (annoyed, then softening)
Garth, you really don’t have to say Dad like that. It’s a very hurtful tone.
Well…whatever! You’re not even my real dad.
No, that’s true. I do still care for you though. And I am proud of you like a father would be of a son. But you know you don’t have to call me Dad if it mak—.
Oh great, so now you don’t even want to be my dad anymore?!
What? No, no! I’m just saying if you don’t feel comfortable with it, I would never presume to—
Surrrrrrrrre you wouldn’t.
TEMPEST (whispered aside)
AQUAMAN (now angry)
Now hold on what damn second. I am still King, your father or not, and I will see you respect that mantel, if not the man!
Great guppies, AquaDad! I didn’t make you mad, did I?
AQUAMAN grabs TEMPEST by his costume and pushing him against the closest wall, face tight with anger. A moment later, however, his face falls, he lets go and begins to walk away.
AQUAMAN (to mostly himself)
Must remember the family therapy. Count to ten, remind self it isn’t personal, do not seek a violent solution.
AQUAMAN (turning back to TEMPEST while breathing out deeply)
Now, what is going on here Garth? What has you this upset?
Oh, I don’t know…maybe it’s that I’m like WAY cooler than you. I can do everything you do and I have magic. MAGIC! But nobody’s even talked about me in a year. Not Roy. Not Mera. Not Dick. Hell, I don’t even know where Wally is.
Meanwhile you’re all single and living it up…I’m sure sexing all sorts of fine ladies.
TEMPEST (adopting a falsetto tone)
Oh yes, Kind of the Sea. Give it to me, give it to me. I should’ve know that you, given your name, would get me so we—
AQUAMAN holds up his hand to stop TEMPEST’s imitation. A smirk is briefly visible on his lips.
What I did or did not do with my date—who was the classiest of women, I assure you—this evening is not your concern.
TEMPEST (face dropping)
Oh man! I was just giving you the business, but….Suffering Sea Slugs! You totally did have sex tonight! This is the worst!
I seem to remember you once stealing my girlfriend.
You dated one of the assholes of the sea?
No, no. Not a dolpin, The Dolphin.
She was a woman. Blonde.
Oh? Oh! Right. Yes. Did that still happen?
AQUAMAN (shrugging in confusion)
I confess I’m not truly sure.
Well, I really hope so. Cuz I stole the heck out of her. Right under your nose. We had a baby and—oh god! I have a son?!?!?! How did I forget that?
When I left the house today you were an infant. Continuity is a weird thing.
TEMPEST (flopping back on the coral)
This sucks. I’m barely here. I don’t remember anything about me, pretty much, and no one else seems to. My friends don’t call or email or anything. Nobody gives a damn.
AQUAMAN (trying to awkwardly comfort TEMPEST with a hand on his shoulder)
TEMPEST (looking up with glassy eyes)
Did I mention that I’m like you plus magic?
AQUAMAN nods and apologetically shrugs.
And that mostly everybody agrees you suck? Because….they just do?
Yes, I’ve heard.
And yet, still…I’m sitting on this coral like a sucker and you have a new girlfriend?
AQUAMAN (in a commiserating tone)
It seems so.
AQUAMAN (walking to a treasure chest on the opposite side of the room)
Yes. I’m sorry. But the good news is you are an adult at the moment.
TEMPEST (self pitying)
What’s so good about that?
AQUAMAN (opening the chest and grabbing two bottles as they float up)
TEMPEST (catches the bottle and is about to open it)
Wait…how can we drink underwater.
We are water breathing men who live in a world where the people we care about blink in and out of existence without a moment’s notice, where we have a hand one day, a harpoon the next, where we ourselves may be dead today, alive tomorrow, and a baby next week. Sometimes, Garth, we just have to accept that things are this way, not think so damn much about it and have a drink.
TEMPEST shrugs and opens his bottle with AQUAMAN close behind. They both take a long sip and stand in silence for a few moments. TEMPEST eventually holds his bottle aloft and begins a toast.
To an ever shifting unreliable timeline. May it show the occasional bit of mercy.
AQUAMAN (clinking his bottle against his ward’s)
And to manatees, nature’s coolest creature.
Yes! To manatees, quiet badasses of the sea.
The two knock bottles again, sit on the coral and take another long drink.