What We Do Together
by Charles C. Cole
Table of Contents|
parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
ESTHER KINGSLEY: early-50s, single mom, senior center administrator
DEEGAN KINGSLEY: a 15-year old boy, social outcast, ESTHER’s son
TRINA: DEEGAN’s slightly older occasional companion.
SID BARON: Early 80s, a gentleman, possible mentor for DEEGAN
NORM “STORMIN’ NORMAN” CONVERY: Late 70s, rough around the edges
PRINCIPAL SANFORD: The voice of trying-too-hard authority
THE FEDEX MAN: A metaphor
OFFICER FRIENDLY: The cold, silent hand of crowd control
“The Stupid World”
Scene 7: Week Two, Thursday, Mid-day
Deserted beach. DEEGAN sits in an outdoor collapsible chaise longue while TRINA massages his shoulders.
TRINA: How’s that?
DEEGAN: Only the best thing that’s happened to me in, like, my whole life.
TRINA: Was the stupid world mean to my man?
DEEGAN: Were you there?
TRINA: You told me to go.
DEEGAN: I know what I said, Trina.
TRINA: So, yes, I was there.
DEEGAN: And you were recording?
TRINA: Not the whole time. When they started running and screaming, I figured I better get out before the police showed up.
DEEGAN: What did you see?
TRINA: You flirting with some blonde girl in black yoga pants.
DEEGAN: After that.
TRINA: Nothing for a while. I’d just gotten off the night shift; I was fried, absolutely crispy. But I said I’d help capture the event. I started recording, then I nodded off until right before the screaming started.
TRINA: Deegan! It’s not.
DEEGAN: Did you catch them handcuffing me?
TRINA: I don’t think so. You can check the video. It’s at my place.
DEEGAN: Did you see me toss the thing?
TRINA: Yeah. So did the principal. It was like he was looking for you. Out of all those kids. You dash down the aisle, and his head just swivels like a barn owl so that he’s looking right at you.
DEEGAN: You think someone told him?
TRINA: Nobody knew! I think it was his party and he was ready to deal with anybody who tried to crash it.
DEEGAN: I wish I was more sorry.
TRINA: You were pretty freaked out.
DEEGAN: What’s that supposed to mean?
TRINA: I just don’t think you expected everybody to react that way. They made such a big deal out of a little smoke.
DEEGAN: Guess I surprised them.
TRINA: So are you expelled?
DEEGAN: I don’t know. I don’t think so. But I gotta finish the week with Mom, that’s for sure.
TRINA: If you ever get tired of living with your Mom . . .
DEEGAN: She’s all right, I guess, for now. A little judgmental. She totally ticked me off yesterday like you wouldn’t believe.
TRINA: I still haven’t met her.
DEEGAN: Jesus, Trina, this is not a good time! Let’s get this week over and I’ll have you by the house.
DEEGAN: If I’m not in jail, yeah, really.
TRINA: Do you want me to erase the video?
DEEGAN: What the hell kind of question is that? No!
TRINA: I’m just saying: it’s not pretty.
DEEGAN: Don’t do anything to it! Hold onto it for now. Take me home. I’m done.
TRINA: Are you sure?
DEEGAN: I keep seeing Principal Sanford’s bug-eyed face, thank you very much.
TRINA: You don’t think he’d hit you, do you?
DEEGAN: I guess we’ll find out. I’ll make sure my mom’s in between us next time we meet.
TRINA: (Noticing movement offstage.) Deegan, there’s some guy watching us.
DEEGAN: Seriously? A cop?
TRINA: Maybe. He’s coming over.
DEEGAN: I’ll handle it. Get the stuff in the car. I’ll bring the chair. If it looks like something’s going down, go home. I don’t want you pulled into this. It never occurred to me they’d have me under surveillance. What do they think I’m gonna do, plan something bigger for the next time?
TRINA: Should I videotape it?
DEEGAN: I don’t know. Maybe. But from the car. If you’ve got any open beer in the back seat, get rid of it. And pass me a breath mint.
TINA: Why? Are you gonna kiss ‘em? (Passing him a mint.)
DEEGAN: Shut up.
TINA: I won’t be far. (Kisses him, grabs the stuff, then EXITS.)
SID: (Entering. Exhausted, using a functional metal cane.) Deegan.
DEEGAN: Sid? What the hell? I thought you were a cop. Granted, an old cop who didn’t move so well, but still. How’d you find me?
SID: It’s a small town.
DEEGAN: You look like hell, dude. What are you doing out here?
SID: Was that your girlfriend?
DEEGAN: We don’t use terms like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” If you haven’t guessed, I’m not that traditional, but more or less, yeah.
SID: What’s her name?
SID: You should bring her by.
DEEGAN: Sure. Tomorrow. How’s that sound? You still gonna be alive?
SID: Let’s take one day at a time.
DEEGAN: You know, I’ve never been to your room. Bucket list item.
SID: It’s just like Elaine’s but with a different number on the door. Nothing special. Nothing stashed under the bed if you’re wondering.
DEEGAN: I had that coming.
SID: (Noticing.) Is she waiting for you or running from me?
DEEGAN: I don’t want her pulled into my crap, you know? So we’ve been keeping things on the down-low. Glad you’re not a cop.
SID: Do you think I could sit?
DEEGAN: Sure. Sure.
SID: (Trying to sit, with difficulty.) It’s a long way down.
DEEGAN: (Helping.) I gotchya. I gotchya. Don’t tell Trina but, compared to her, you’re as light as a feather.
SID: I feel heavier than a bank safe. Gravity isn’t gentle on my kind.
DEEGAN: (Pulling out his e-cigarette.) So, why are you here, Sid? What couldn’t wait until I came back?
SID: Are you coming back?
DEEGAN: I know, I know, if I don’t, no testimonial.
SID: Deegan, it’s not about the testimonial; it’s about making the right choices.
DEEGAN: Does that got be an all-or-nothing thing? I’m serious. I’m trying here. You know I am.
DEEGAN: I thought Mom was on my side until yesterday. That was hard to take. I just needed to not be around her for a day. Is that against the rules?
SID: I want you to come back with me. Show her you’re committed.
DEEGAN: There’s that word again! I had that word. That’s an old, married person’s word.
SID: What would you call it?
DEEGAN: “Interested.” I’m interested in doing what my mom and the principal want.
SID: That attitude won’t get you back in school.
DEEGAN: But it’s honest. I’m not scamming anybody. For me, it’s commitment with a lower case “c”.
SID: Fine. I’ll take you on your terms. I should have done that from the beginning, but we never had a lot of time, so I thought I could somehow force-feed you the good stuff.
DEEGAN: You mean: “the Holy Jell-O of Gethsemane!”
SID: I deserve that.
TRINA: (From Off-stage.) Deegan! You coming?
DEEGAN: The old lady’s waiting. Can we continue this later? (Waving in TRINA’s direction. Putting his e-cigarette away.)
SID: I’d like that. What about this afternoon?
DEEGAN: Sure. Why not? I don’t have a car and Trina’s gotta take off for work soon, but I’ll see what I can do.
SID: I hear the buses in town are very high-tech, very luxurious.
DEEGAN: Sid, no offense, but I’ll bet when you were my age, you thought watches were very high-tech, very luxurious.
SID: Will I see you this afternoon?
DEEGAN: I’ll race you there. Now, I kind of need my chair back, unless you still need to rest up. In which case, I’d say shove it under a bush somewhere and I’ll come back for it later.
SID: Help an old man to his feet.
DEEGAN: (He does.) Is this the part where I’m supposed to offer you a ride? It’s just that it’s not my car and she doesn’t know you and doesn’t know how to act around old people.
SID: I can find my way.
DEEGAN: You made it here, right? That’s gotta mean something. Just do the opposite, just click your heals and wake up in Charlotte-by-the-sea.
SID: Take your chair and go. I’ll see you there.
DEEGAN: For what it’s worth, Sid, I’m impressed. If I was you and you were me, I would have written me off a long time ago.
SID: If it takes my last breath, Deegan, . . .
DEEGAN: On that note, hold onto your breath because I think you’re gonna need it. I’ll see you back at the ranch. (EXITS.)
SID watches DEEGAN take the chair and leave. Fade to black.
Scene 8: Week Two, Thursday, Late Afternoon
The rec room. NORMAN ENTERS, pushing SID, who is very tired.
NORMAN: See, what did I tell you? No wayward teenager.
SID: I thought I heard his voice.
NORMAN: From what you told me, why would he come back?
SID: Because he needs to. That’s the arrangement we made.
NORMAN: And then life happened.
SID: You had something to do with that.
NORMAN: It was in my hand. Next thing I knew: it was lit. He practically made it happen even if he didn’t light the thing himself.
SID: Did I ever tell you I only have 17% of my heart in full working order?
NORMAN: That’s all right; I read somewhere you’re only 17% as active at your age.
SID: It’s always been plenty until now.
NORMAN: Dude, you could have died out there. Riding a city bus? Think of the germs on the handrail!
SID: I had to. (So tired.) Did she ask about me?
NORMAN: She never came down. Someone said she was on the phone all day dealing with yesterday’s mess. I guess there’s a lot of paperwork when the fire engine shows up at your front door. I wouldn’t want to be her.
SID: Do they think he did it?
NORMAN: (Shrugs.) Beats me. Probably; it’s his M.O. She left early, and I don’t think it was to buy me a basketball hoop. Probably looking for him. Where do juvenile delinquents hang out nowadays?
SID: Where did they hang out in your day?
NORMAN: There was an abandoned shoe factory on Bleeker, but they knocked that place down years ago.
SID: He’s not coming back. We were so close.
NORMAN: I’m sorry, Sid. I know you had plans: reading, writing, ballroom dancing.
SID: Norm, why do you have to be down on everyone and everything?
NORMAN: I don’t know. To make the rest of you look good, I guess.
SID: Well, quit making me look good. Can you do that?
NORMAN: I guess, sure.
SID: God, I feel tired.
NORMAN: You stayed up all night worrying, didn’t you?
SID: That’s not it.
NORMAN: Instead of Deegan, Mrs. Kingsley should have set you up with me. Maybe you could have civilized me.
SID: What makes you think she didn’t? (Catching his breath.) I don’t feel like myself.
NORMAN: Would that be the teen-aged caddy, the non-traditional bouncer, or the always-entertaining Jell-O Man?
SID: Am I crazy to want to make a difference?
NORMAN: You’re asking me? What do you want me say? Nobody ever gave me a break and I turned out okay. Maybe a little bitter. And there certainly were some dark years I wish I could take back, but I can’t. When you’re filling out the job application and they ask if you’ve ever done time, just says no. Nobody ever looks.
SID: If something happens to me, and he comes back -
NORMAN: I am not a teacher. And nothing’s going to happen to you.
SID: There’s a letter on my bureau.
NORMAN: If it’s a will, I don’t want any of your crap, unless you’ve got a vintage Playboy collection in your dresser.
SID: It’s for the boy. Just give it to him.
NORMAN: Shut up already. Who’s bringing who down? You gave it a shot. Good for you.
SID: I gave it a shot.
NORMAN: I got it! I know what it is! Your old-man metabolism: you’re low on Jell-O. I’ll fix you right up. I’ve got some squirreled away in my sock drawer for emergencies like this. We are going to give you the bright-green chemical boost you need. Don’t go anywhere, you hear me? (EXITS.)
SID: (Exhausted.) Wait! Norm, I think I hear the Fed-Ex truck. I’m not kidding. Pretty late for a delivery. (Realization.) Call the front desk. Not today! Not today! Oh darn! (He’s still.)
Scene 9: Week Two, Thursday, Early Evening
A uniformed FEDEX courier walks across the stage. He EXITS.
Copyright © 2016 by Charles C. Cole