by Charles C. Cole
JB MCKENNEY: Mid-40s. Soon to remarry, but needs to let go of the past first.
UNCLE DONALD: Similar age. Socially awkward. Brother to JB’s late wife
MARNIE: 20s, JB’s daughter, DONALD’s niece
MINKA: 20s, future bride, vaguely eastern European, vamped, smarter than she acts.
OFFICER: Amusement park uniformed staff.
Scene: Night, a quiet corner of a local amusement park, near a fence.
JB, DONALD, MARNIE, MINKA enter, MARNIE leading with a small plush animal, while MINKA has a huge similar plush animal. A bench and trash barrel stand downstage.
DONALD (Trying hard to impress MINKA): So, after the third time on the ride, the kid, who’s only four years old, turns to his father and says, “Daddy, I love this ride; it tickles my penis.”
MINKA doesn’t “get it” but smiles and shrugs, trying to react appropriately.
JB (Focused, faux solemn): This is where it happened. I remember it like it was yesterday.
DONALD (Continuing a prior conversation): You sure it was here? It’s been a long time.
JB (Scowls): Yep, right here (approaching the exact spot where MARNIE stands). Nineteen eighty- (Coughs the remaining number into his hand as he considers how old he really is.): That’s the spot where I lost my virginity.
MARNIE: That’s nice. Please don’t tell me I am the proud product of hot summer air, alcohol, and the “magic” of Fun Town.
JB: No, you were much later. Your mother was not that kind of girl. And it wasn’t the magic of Fun Town for you, no, it was the magic of in-vitro fertilization.
MARNIE: Dad, why are we here?
JB (Hugging MARNIE and indicating MINKA): To give you and Minka a chance to bond.
MARNIE: What happened to good old-fashioned “girls’ night”?
MINKA: No more. Count me out. I see my share crazy strip clubs.
MARNIE: That’s Ladies’ Night.
JB (Moving on quickly): Think of this as “girls’ night” plus two. You hardly know each other. We didn’t want it to be awkward.
DONALD: Your “high school quarterback” father is taking us on a kind of tour, revisiting the past so he can let go of the “old” before he embraces the “new.”
MINKA: And that would be me.
JB: Every lovely inch of you, my sweet bride-to-be.
DONALD: Lucky bastard. For the record, JB’d never have found you if I hadn’t been checking out “The Luscious Ladies of Buxombourg.” I mean, if I hadn’t convinced him to try online dating.
MARNIE: Uncle Donald, we know all about your “online dating,” thank you very much.
JB (Again, moving on): I’ve made lots of memories here.
MINKA: I prefer make new ones.
DONALD (Suggestively): I can help make memories.
MARNIE: Uncle Donald!
DONALD And that’s why I brought (teasing Marnie, pulls out two PBRs): these.
MARNIE: Beer? You brought beer?
DONALD: Not just any beer. The sacred beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
DONALD/JB (Chanting): PBR! PBR! PBR!
MARNIE: Should you be doing that here? They’re gonna throw us out.
DONALD (Proudly, to JB): Wouldn’t be the first time. Right, pardner?
JB (They open the beers, as if pre-planned, and pour them into a trash barrel, humming something indistinct.): It’s a farewell ritual. We saw it on some televised biker gang funeral. Don’t judge.
MINKA: Is okay. Is part of plan.
MARNIE: You’re in on this?
MINKA: I want your father to have bachelor party. He say, “I been down that road.” So we make new road. (Looking around, joking) And, look, no traffic.
OFFICER (Entering): Okay, gentlemen, what do we have here?
MARNIE: Apparently, a bachelor party, though nobody bothered to tell me.
DONALD: Officer, it’s not what you think. Feel free to smell our breath. Breaths? (Exhaling demonstrably) We poured it all out. Absolutely, no consuming of alcohol here.
MARNIE: It’s true.
OFFICER: Which doesn’t explain why you brought it. (To MINKA, suggestively) Aren’t you the pretty one?
JB: Hey, now. There’s no call for that. We’ll leave peacefully. We’ve done what we came for.
OFFICER: Have you now? I don’t think so.
DONALD: Is there something wrong?
OFFICER: You tell me. Two old guys and two pretty young ladies.
MARNIE: I’m his daughter.
MINKA: I’m his fiancée.
OFFICER: You don’t say. (Noticing) So where’s the ring?
MINKA: Oh, poop! I take off for work. I am massage therapist and, with the rubbing and the oil, is a goopy job.
OFFICER: A massage therapist, you say?
JB: I don’t really like your tone.
OFFICER: It’s all right, I’m just yanking your chain, one of the perks of the job. That and the tool belt. I’m “in on it.” (Revealing an urn in a rucksack. To MINKA) I suppose you’ll be wanting this back.
MINKA: I drop off Shirley’s ashes here earlier today. I thought we spread by fence.
MARNIE/DONALD/JB: Excuse me!/Wow!/You what?
MINKA: It help you let go. So you can start over — with me. Is no big deal. (Reassuring) She not going anywhere — until we’re ready. (Explaining) So there wouldn’t be accident, I Superglued.
Perhaps due to shock or her accent, they don’t seem to “get it.”
MINKA (Over-enunciating): Su-per-gl-ued.
DONALD: Talk about a woman of action.
MINKA: Was I... too ambitious? I thought: to be safe, I mean.
DONALD: Honey, Noah was ambitious. You are Machiavellian.
MINKA (Genuinely): This is good?
MARNIE: A bachelor party where you spread the late wife’s ashes. (To JB) Where did you find her?
MINKA (Defensively): I want make night memorable. We don’t have spread ALL ashes, just enough to make a statement, small statement.
DONALD chuckles. After a moment, JB joins him.
JB: I’m thinking they do things differently where you come from.
MINKA: I am making effort here.
JB (Convincing himself): She did like this place. Insisted we come every summer.
MARNIE (Not a happy memory): Believe me, I remember.
MINKA: We don’t have to use all of it, all of her.
MARNIE: Am I the only sane one here?
MINKA (To JB): For me.
DONALD: I think sis would get a kick out of it, so long as it’s only enough to make a statement.
MARNIE: I hate you all, but I’m not leaving, because I want to make sure this is done right, respectfully.
DONALD and JB share a shrug: “as close to respectful as we can get, given the circumstances.”
OFFICER (Taking the urn from MINKA): If you’re sure, I’ve got all sorts of tools...
JB shrugs reluctant approval.
OFFICER (Tries unsuccessfully to open the urn.): Superglue, huh?
MINKA (Proud that he “gets” it!): Superglue! Yes, that’s it!
OFFICER (Thinking): I’ve got a corkscrew I took off a couple of teenagers.
MARNIE (To the urn): Hang in there, Mom.
OFFICER (Puts the urn on the ground and tries prying it open.): I’m not getting anywhere with this one.
JB (Lightly): Reminds me of our first date.
OFFICER (Defeated): I’m afraid I, ah, gouged it. Sorry.
MARNIE (Grabbing it, suppressing sobbing.): Let me take it, please.
MINKA (Realizing the mood): I think we should call off.
MARNIE: The sprinkling of Mom or the wedding?
MINKA: The... What do you call it when you release something back in wild?
MINKA (Shocked): Really?
JB (Taking the urn): My late wife, ladies and gentlemen, a woman who needs no reintroduction. (They’re all shocked.) It’s a joke. It’d be funnier if I was younger.
MARNIE: Can we go home now?
JB: Good idea. (All except MINKA start to EXIT.) Hey, Donald, go long! (DONALD dashes off-stage when JB tosses the urn.)
MARNIE: Dad, stop! Uncle Donald, no! Oh my God!
Dust drifts over the stage.
OFFICER (Racing off): We can scoop it back up. I’ve got all sorts of tools.
MINKA (Alone): So long, Shirley. You fly heaven now. I take care things down here.
Copyright © 2016 by Charles C. Cole