Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it Superman? No – it‘s Empath Man!!
Here is an extract from the pilot script of Empath Man – The Movie – Care of Matt Harvey.
Warehouse Interior. Two armed robbers are getting away with wads of cash from a bank job. Empath Man strolls in as they stuff the money into a duffel bag.
Empath Man: Hi guys, looks like fun. Guess you must need the money pretty bad. I’ve been there. I know where you’re coming from.
1st Robber: Oh no, it’s Empath Man. Don’t let him disarm you with his self-deprecating charm and non-judgemental acceptance of who you are.
Empath Man: I guess you must have felt quite an emptiness inside to need to fill it with bundles of cash. It’s as if that duffel bag is your crumpled, deprived heart and this is an honest but confused attempt to meet its needs. I respect that. I find it moving.
2nd Robber: Damn you Empath Man. I don‘t want to talk about this shit right now.
1st Robber: Don‘t let him get to you. Shoot him if you have to.
Empath Man: Yes, if you need to shoot me, then I guess you need to shoot me. I feel very open and accepting of who you are and what you do.
1st Robber: Shoot him.
2nd Robber: I can‘t.
1st Robber: Can‘t or won‘t?
2nd Robber: Part of me wants to shoot him. Another part of me just wants to relax and hang out with the guy and bask in the easy warmth of his personality. The mixture of serenity and sheer ordinariness is so compelling.
1st Robber: Shit. Give me the gun. I‘ll shoot him myself.
Empath Man: Whatever you need to do, you know, that‘s okay. Trust yourself. Who else can you trust? Who else have you ever been able to trust?
1st Robber: Goddamn it. I‘m filling up!
2nd Robber: What‘s he doing to you 1st Robber? What‘s happening?
1st Robber: I don‘t know. It‘s this talk of trust. It‘s bringing up long-buried feelings.
2nd Robber: Long-buried what?
1st Robber: Feelings.
2nd Robber: Shit. You‘ve got to fight it.
1st Robber: I‘m trying. It‘s just¦.. They‘ve been buried so long beneath encrusted layers of anger and cynicism, wrapped around in bravado and self-medication, it‘s kind of a big thing for me.
2nd Robber: Leave him alone, Empath Man. You seem like a nice guy and he doesn‘t deserve this.
Empath Man: What feelings are coming up, 1st Robber? It‘s just me and your partner in crime here. You can tell us.
1st Robber: Feelings of hurt, sadness, loss, betrayal, and, oh God, no!!
Empath Man: What is it, 1st Robber? We both want to hear it.
1st Robber: A kind of self- loathing, a sense of shame, allied with a yearning of almost spiritual intensity.
2nd Robber: Hey, 1st Robber. Don‘t go spiritually intense on me now. I‘m feeling pretty shaky as it is. Don‘t! Oh God! It‘s the Police.
Screech of tyres. Slam of doors. Pounding of meaty feet.
Empath Man: Hello Officers. 1st and 2nd Robbers here were just opening up to some feelings about crime and the causes of crime. I‘m sure they‘ll be more than willing to carry on down at the station.
Police Officer: Come on then, 1st and 2nd Robbers. And stop snivelling, or we‘ll really give you something to cry about down at the cells.
Empath Man: Hmmmm. We all feel the desire to brutally punish others in order to bolster our own diminished sense of personal power.
Police Officer: That‘s enough, Empath Man. I‘ve got to hand it to you. Another job well done, but I don‘t like your methods. They‘re effective, but they‘re sick.
Empath Man: I understand, Officer, what it is to be both disgusted and threatened by emotional intensity and authentic intimacy. I too have insecurities gnawing at me like ravenous rats devouring the living tissue of self-worth. But thanks for the feedback. I‘ll take it on board – even though it may corrode my soul on the acid of early rejection by a parent or carer. But hey, I‘m sensing you‘d know about that!
Empath Man wasn‘t always Empath Man. He took part in a drugs trial that went horribly wrong. It was for an anti-pessimism drug, called Optiagra, for middle-aged men who find it difficult to get their hopes up¦ (Recorded at The Wondermentalist Cabaret, Totnes, January 2008)
Matt Harvey is a Poet, writer, broadcaster and Wondermentalist – www.wondermentalist.com – Author of kids’ book ‘Shopping With Dad’, out now with Barefoot Books. Enemy of all that’s difficult and upsetting. Creator/channel of Empath Man, Totnes United Kingdom.