There’s Nothing I Know to Do

Compilation video




Written and performed by Cindy Fernanda Flores, December 2023 at the Actor’s Studio at Northeastern University.

Players and co-creators: Alayt Abraham Issak, Angelique C Dina, James Coxx III, Ala Ebrahimi, Wynn Graves, Sydney Purdue, and Skye/Ziyu Wang. Directed by Sylke Rene Meyer.

Two Channel video (composite)




There is Nothing I Know to Do

Script by Cindy Fernanda Flores


This is a story I have been grappling with since before I was born. Something about unpreventable disasters and guilt and blame and shame and forgiveness. I have tried to frame it in various ways. The beginning I seem to have and the end I seem to have, but when I take a bite out of the sandwich, my teeth knock against each other.

“In 15 minutes we will all be dead” 

I know how I want this to begin…in 15 minutes we will all be dead and how I want it to end… a catastrophe strikes my poor unsuspecting scientists. But in the middle, I must incorporate some failures.

I put James and Wynn in the car together. Some disastrous pairing and an innocence I am jealous of. I too wish I didn’t know the end was coming. I want to drive them off. Maybe off a cliff. Then there would be no more guessing and politeness and looking the other way when the phone buzzes. James thinks he’s so slick. But you have a tell, you know. Someone else is making you laugh. It is so obvious.

 “You must want to be disciplined.”

Everything equals disaster, including this speech. I don’t know how to put this all together because there is no together. I have the scientists working on my projects separately. This network in isolation. A catastrophe will strike my poor unsuspecting scientists.

How shall I continue this story when it is my birthday? I want my scientists to sing me happy birthday. I will take a nap and maybe an idea will come to me. This preventable disaster. Arrogant and controlling. I think I will start over.

After the video group singing happy birthday

 “In the future everybody will be dead for 15 minutes.”

When I was older, I was creating my best work. I am anxious to get there. A long road illuminated only by headlights. I am tired of creating some frivolous thing knowing a disaster will come and take us.

A few years ago, I created this. I put Ala and Sydney in the car. I want them to fight. I want them to grow so far apart there is no chance of understanding each other. I want them to be so hurt they wish the other were dead and they wish it were reality.

But here I am just taking from dusty manuscripts here and calling it my own. I don’t really mean it.

This is Alayt. Not known as innocent or guilty, so I can’t decide if I want to save her or not. I don’t know her well enough to pretend that I care about this experiment. In the future I will know what to do with her. I put the scientists in the experiments, and they all come out fine, singing me a happy birthday yet again. I don’t want to have a birthday. I don’t want to go to sleep. I want to figure out this story and then I can rest. There is a force greater than me. Perhaps I am also a scientist being put to experiment. I will figure it out in the next round.

In 15 minutes we will all be dead. Of that I am certain this time.

I put James and Wynn in the car. Some nasty argument about “I never liked your work. No one has. They put up with you because you make them money. But I know the truth.” Better than to keep them arguing about some trivial authorship, I want to run them into the center divider. One less problem for me. But hang on a moment, maybe we will find some truth. “You’re taking from some dusty manuscripts and calling it your own. Sometimes it is so obvious that I think you must want to be caught. You must want to be disciplined. You think you’re so slick. But I know. I know that you are worthless. I’d rather jump out of this car than spend another second pretending.”

“Be my guest”

Now this cliff situation. I can’t decide if she deserves this. I have Alayt at the top of the cliff thinking,

“Neither of us saw it coming, It just happened. One joke leads to a laughter, but I see now that you will never leave her and I will never ask you to. I don’t see a solution that isn’t at the bottom of this cliff. I’m just not laughing anymore.”

I look at my Alayt like a Jolene, who probably didn’t feel great either, but no one has compassion for someone like that.

Maybe the cliff is more about inevitable boredom in young adult life. She is thinking,

“At the bottom of this cliff is more boredom. I guess it’s something to do.”  (plunge)

I am bored myself of this very notion. I’ve so run out.

Perhaps I will save her and release her and let her do her own thing. But I can’t. She must die anyway. Just to get her out of the way.

Now I must find a way to kill all the others. The easiest and least messy would be a carbon monoxide leak. Something none of us would suspect. This is what I don’t know, but the end will come to us in another story.

Once upon a time there was a princess living on Memory Hill. Scientists would come and study her. There was something deeply wrong. She would cry and cry when she looked at her subjects crashing into each other. Sad, sweet and tender.

The scientists would take her hair and swab her cheek and put all of these things in test tubes. She had to trust them because they were born into a scientific world.

One night, she coughed up a butterfly. The scientists examined this. They did MRI’s and a series of questions

“Do you feel nervous at night?”

“What is your relationship to mirrors?”

“Have you eaten an apple recently?”

On her 29th birthday, she walked off a cliff. The test results came in. She had an iron deficiency.

It was a dark and stormy night in Memory Hill City. Two teenagers were driving up to Makeout cliff. The only place in town where the midnight moon shows herself like a burlesque dancer every night. The storm made it all more alluring.  Sound here

Falling asleep at the wheel, losing control of the car, they were visited by her. Beauty beyond compare in a dazzling white dress, she leads them to their demise. Breathless and still thinking of the make out moon.

I remember thinking, “this is a bad idea,” and doing it anyway.

I got in the car, all warm and trying my hardest to sober up. Thinking about the call she just gave me. “If you come to Memory Cliff, I will leave him.” Like a sailor I heard the call over and over. There is nothing I want more. I drive to a certain death and feel my bladder press against me. I remember thinking, “I can pull over quickly.” Some warm feeling.

I remember thinking, “This is a bad idea,” and doing it anyway. I went up the cliff all cold and trying my hardest to smile. Thinking about calling. “If you come to Memory Cliff, I will leave him” Like a siren, calling over and over. There is nothing more I want. I walk closer to the edge and sit. I feel the cold wind against my legs all dangling over. I remember thinking, “It must feel so cool at the bottom.”

It wasn’t on purpose. These things just happen. Totally out of control.

The woman in the room wants to believe she has a good heart but it is selfish. She wants to believe she can save the people in the room. She is haunted by memories both real and ancient of disasters she could not prevent. She only wants to save the people because she thinks it is the right thing to do.

Each year on her birthday she has this dream of being on a cliff, overlooking the water and hearing the waves crash. She knows something terrible is headed toward the hill the way animals run for higher ground when a tsunami is about to hit. The water recedes deep into the ocean for a few moments of calm suspense. If she saves them, then she can be forgiven. If she puts on a big enough show, then they can know she is a good person with a good selfless heart and they will love her in a way that matters.