Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Letter to Tom DeLonge

Dear Tom DeLonge,

First let me begin by saying that I have always defended you whenever some self-righteous hipster asshole knocks on Blink182; truth be told, if you're between the ages of 18 and 25 and you DON'T own a copy of either "Enema of the State," or "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket," then you probably never, ever had friends growing up. Yes, I realize that now it's uncool, and most self-respecting 18-to-25-year-olds have outgrown it, but still: it was a significant part of most of our adolescent lives.
I had the misfortune of seeing your new band, Angels and Airwaves, this past week and feel like the few happy memories I have of adolescence have been brutally raped and slaughtered. No longer will I be able to look back on those days spent in Andrew's attic bedroom, rocking out to "Dammit" and playing Dreamcast after school. No, Tom DeLonge, your latest attempt at "Blin182-does-'Disintegration'" is an abomination. Did you really need all of the ridiculous strobe lights trained on the audience, flashing wildly to cover up your mistakes? And why the fuck were you prancing around the stage twirling glow sticks during one of the few moments of darkness when my eyes finally had a break? I'm all about performance art when done with a purpose, but extending your arms and hanging them in crucifixion position, or mounting green laser light goggles for 8 bars and looking frantically around the auditorium for the lone sorry sap that actually gives a shit about what you're doing, is hardly art; it's masturbation.
To be honest, I kind of miss the days when you were all about masturbation, and were damn proud of it. Now I suffer from horrible visuals of your beer-bellied, pushing-40, black-nail-painted self running around naked like in the video for "What's My Age Again?" in my head, and every time I think about it I throw up in my mouth. At least you accepted the fact that you can't even play guitar, but to make up for it you spent most of the set frolicking across the stage and posing like that creepy old guy that goes to the same karaoke bar every goddamn week and sings shitty 80s ballads way too over-dramatically, hoping desperately that someone will "discover" him (or like me when I'm singing Meat Loaf...which is intentionally meant to be ironic...really...)
When Blink182 broke up 4 years ago (why do I remember that?), it was as if they had died for the collective sins of everyone who had been a teenager in the early '00s. Do us all a favor and lose the fucking martyr complex; I'd like to salvage at least one happy memory of ignorant, innocent, adolescent bliss.

Sincerely,
"Dude Ranch" was better

PS Robert Smith called. He wants his shtick back.

PPS My pupils still aren't dilating properly and I'm sending you the optometry bill, asshole.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Carey always had a sharp ear--her mother was an opera singer-turned-voice instructor who raised her girl to always stay in tune with the sounds of places and words and the world around her. As she grew older, she found comfort in the lingering baritone reverb of a man's voice, and the sultry sounds of thoughts sneaking past pursed lips and hanging softly in the air, leaving a trail of audible bread crumbs behind. Even her own mezzo-alto echo could glide with the weight of a hummingbird's song.
It was the complete absence of an echo, however, that made Ben's adverse reaction to her news so shocking. The cavernous boom of his refusal was hardly a tickle in Carey's mind compared to the sight of him catching her words in mid-air and crushing them in his hand, letting the syllables sift lie sand through his clenched fingers. There was nothing more haunting to her than the absence of sound; nothing more isolating than the feeling of still, silent air on her skin. Carey felt asthmatic; without the vibrations of soundwaves and frequencies, the air tasted thin and dead. She looked down and saw every plosive and sibilant shattered like glass fall and sprinkle the ground. That was when she knew that she never taste the resonant tones of Ben's sweet voice again.

Spirit Weak

Mrs. Bartleby was never one for mystical events, and when rumors spread of the spiritual wildfire that had consumed the other parishes in the region, her skepticism held fast and strong. That's not to say that she never had faith--she had plenty to go around--but she simply found those wild spiritual gifts and fits of holy enlightenment to be somewhat absurd and exaggerated.
Imagine the look of surprise on the parishioners' faces on that Sunday morning  when Mrs. Bartleby stood up after writhing like a dying snake on the floor of the pew. She nonchalantly patted off the gathered dust from her best blue dress, trying hard not to acknowledge that mere moments earlier, her heart had become a fault line, casting wild tremors through her body. Mrs. Bartleby simply wiped the spilled silva from her chin, pulled her dress back down, and neatened her hair. 
When she finally surveyed the scene, hoping no one noticed her, she was greeted by a sea of wide, frozen, lemur eyes, all aimed unflinchingly towards her. She stammered for a moment before turning back to face the altar and lifting her face up ever so slightly. Sensing the collective eyes  still trained her, she waited a moment before announcing, "I had a bad cough this week. That must have been the last of it."
Satisfied with her response, the parishioners looked away, and Father Bailey continued on with the mass as if nothing had happened.
"At this time--especially in such a sensitive and tumultuous climate," he boomed through the house PA, "it is important to ask yourselves: who would Jesus vote for, if he were able? Now, I cannot answer this query for you, but I should not have to remind you all that the Lord is with us everyday, and we need only to open our hearts and listen and we will find the answers and the guidance that we need to make such difficult decisions in even more difficult times..."
When the congregation rose shortly thereafter, Mrs. Bartleby excused herself, hiding in the shuffle, and slipped away to the bathroom to fix her hair.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Here's Your Future

SETTING:
A dimly-lit public house, where everything is made of whiskey-stained wood. The bar is an island or penninsula, with patrons on at least three sides and racks of upside-down glassware overhead.

PAGE 1

1/1 WIDE-NARRATOR’S POV
The narrator brings a glass of beer down from his mouth towards the bartop; his face is not seen, though his speech indicates that he’s a bit drun. The bartender is cleaning glasses. Seated on a different side of the bar from Cain is ADAM NG, an Asian male, about 26 years old. A Grad student at MIT, Adam is wearing a striped sweater or possibly a polo and looks like he’s been here for a while, drowning himself in a glass. The rest of the bar is populated by regulars/townies and a group of Adam’s peers, all wrapped up in celebration. A “Congratulations” banner hangs across the ceiling over a large booth.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
So this is then.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Now. Whatever.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
This is...what’d you call this?

1/2 MEDIUM CLOSE
The bartender looks up at the narrator with a baffled, incredulous expression tinged with a slight hint of annoyance. He is still cleaning glasses.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Despite a few changes in its archaic aesthetic, it’s really not much different when I’m from.

BARTENDER
Guinness.

1/3 CLOSE
The Narrator holds the glass up to his eye, observing its deep opaqueness and creamy head. For the most part, the glass obscures his face.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
People don’t change. Not really, anyway.

BARTENDER
Where’d you say you were from again?

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
There’s a comforting consistency in the way that people interact, no matter when or where you go.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Where?

1/4
Close on Adam Ng, moping, completely oblivious that he is the focal point. Cain and the Bartender continue their conversation in the background, unnoticed. The Narrator’s face is still somewhat obscured and/or lacking in detail.

NARRATOR
Around. I guess.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Gulp

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Guinness. Huh. Wish they still made this stuff. Don’t know why they’d ever stop.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Adam Ng might be the smartest guy in his class, though he’s far from the top.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
By the fall of his sophomore year, he was the TA for a seminar class in Nonlinear Optics.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Now?

1/5 CLOSE
Adam sits up drowsily and tries to get the bartender’s attention for another drink. JAE, one of Adam’s peers, comes up behind him. Jae is much more hip and fashionable than Adam.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Supersymmetry.

JAE
C’mon, man. Hang out with us over here for a while. What, are you gonna spend the whole damn night hunched on a bar stool?

PAGE 2

2/1 MEDIUM WIDE-TWO SHOT
Jae helps Adam off his stool and drags him begrudgingly to join the rest of the group beneath the “Congratulations!” sign.

JAE
Hey--I’ll even buy you a drink. You deserve it, after all. Hey, sound good? Hey! Adam?

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
They’re celebrating the culmination of a directed study project that they’ve been working on for over a year now. Adam actually came up with the idea while he was still an undergrad.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Together, they organized the First Annual Time Traveler’s Convention.

2/2 SAME ANGLE
Jae and Adam look up or squint or shield their eyes as a blinding light from outside bursts through the windows and consumes the inside of the bar.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
They advertised the event by slipping invitations into time capsules, library books, and anything else they think of, in hopes that they might be found by the technologically savvy denizens of a future time.

2/3 SAME ANGLE
The bright light subsides; Adam and Jae look on as their pupils adjust to the sudden change.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Everything went smoothly and according to plan--there were lecturers from across the globe, bikini-clad models wearing fake Vulcan ears, and all the best food that the early aughts could offer--but there was still something missing. There was one minor detail that went overlooked:

2/4
The bottom half of the page reveals a man in futuristic garments entering the bar, with parking lot flood lights spilling in behind him; this is CAIN. His clothes should be fashionable, functional, and realistic as far as futuristic garments are concerned, but they should also be somewhat on-the-nose and stereotypical: an aluminum-looking jumpsuit with racing stripes the side, etc. It should be clear that he is from the future, or at least that he’s supposed to be; if one were to cast doubt on him because of his attire, it would be a valid argument.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
There were no time travelers.

CAIN
Uh, hey.

CAIN (SMALL) (CONT’D)
Am I late?

CAIN (SMALLER) (CONT’D)
Dammit.

PAGE 3

3/1 CLOSE
The Narrator takes another drink from his glass.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Right on time.

3/2 SAME ANGLE
The Narrator wipes his mouth after putting the glass down.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Well, relatively speaking.

JAE (O.S.)
Can I help you?

3/3 MEDIUM TWO-SHOT
Jae approaches Cain, offering help; Adam is nearby, disgruntled and clearly not amused by the stunt. Cain wears something on his wrist that is blinking wildly.

CAIN
Yeah. I came for the time travelers’ convention?

CAIN (CONT’D)
(Wow, this is embarrassing)

JAE
Sorry, man. That ended a few hours ago.

3/4 MEDIUM
Cain recoils in frustration and looks to the device on his wrist. Jae is curious and looks on, trying to help, but Adam throws his hands up, completely over the whole thing.

CAIN
Dammit!

JAE
Did you travel far, or...?

CAIN
Yeah. Right.

CAIN (CONT’D)
It’s this stupid thing. Never works how or when I want it to.

ADAM (SMALL)
I can’t believe this.

JAE
What is that thing?

PAGE 4

4/1 CLOSE
The Narrator looks at his own wrist, which sports a device that is remarkably similar to Cain’s. It, too, is blinking and beeping frantically.

CAIN (O.S.)
It’s a Tachyon Compression Gauge

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
You are such an idiot.

CAIN (O.S.)
When it works, at least.

CAIN (O.S.) (CONT’D)
It’s supposed to read and monitor stringent and derivative particles in divergent timelines . Or something like that, I don’t know.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Now or then. Doesn’t matter.

4/2 MEDIUM CLOSE
Cain hits the device on his wrist, hoping it will work.

CAIN
Stupid thing...!

CAIN (CONT’D)
Work, dammit!

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
It’s our fault. It’s our fault that it’s flipping out. It’s our fault that it’s out of control.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
The NavDeck onboard is picking up my presence in the room and the Aparadox meter is trying to warn you:

4/3 MEDIUM
Cain sits down at the bar, a few seats away from Adam. He is frustrated and disappointed with his failure. Jae follows him in attempt to inquire more, though he remains standing. The Narrator sits across the bar from Cain, and manages to obscure his face once more. The Bartender is also present, making drinks or cleaning glasses, etc.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
We are dangerously close to a potentially disastrous breach of the space/time continuum.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Don’t you get it? We could end it all, right now, right here!

JAE
So you’re a...time traveler?

ADAM (SMALL)
Oh, give it up.

JAE
But you’re--correct me if I’m wrong--but you’re not on time. Is that what you’re trying to say?

4/4 MEDIUM-BARTENDER’S POV
The Bartender looks away from Cain, rolling his eyes as he continues about his work. Cain, Adam, and Jae are visible in the background, continuing their exchange.

CAIN
...

CAIN (CONT’D)
It’s not an exact science, you know.

CAIN (CONT’D)
In the grander scheme of things--of history--a day is the equivalent of a second in our own lives.

4/5 SAME ANGLE
The Bartender looks at the Narrator is an intensely curious expression; the gears in his mind are clearly hard at work. Meanwhile, in the background, Cain takes notice of Adam Ng.

CAIN
But yeah. My name’s Cain. I’m a time traveler, who apparently can’t get anywhere on time.

CAIN (SMALL) (CONT’D)
Laugh it up.

CAIN (CONT’D)
...

CAIN (CONT’D)
Hey, aren’t you Adam Ng?

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Oh no. Please don’t.

4/6 SAME
The Bartender quickly turns his head to look at Cain; he’s made the connection between the two of them. Cain, meanwhile, addresses Adam..

ADAM
I’m Adam.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Please don’t say anything. Please. The structural integrity of space/time depends on it. Please don’t acknowledge us.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Although...

PAGE 5

5/1 MEDIUM TWO-SHOT
Adam turns around on his bar stool to talk to Cain. In the background, the bartender continues his sequence of curious looks exchanged between Cain and the Narrator. The Narrator raises his glass, asking for another drink, in an attempt to distract him.

CAIN
You’re him? You’re Adam Ng!

ADAM
...

ADAM (CONT’D)
Yeah. Listen. I get what you’re doing. And I appreciate it, guys. Really. But it’s cool, you know?

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
The last time that I lived through this, the bartender must have noticed the exact same thing. And yet, he didn’t do a thing about it.

5/2 MEDIUM CLOSE
Adam sits front and center, making exaggerated and dramatic motions with his hands as he tries to discard the obvious truth of the situation.

ADAM
You hired some guy to show up and pretend he’s from the future, which will, in turn, make me feel better about today’s event.

ADAM (CONT’D)
At least that’s what you’re going for.

ADAM (CONT’D)
And I get it. I do. But it’s totally unnecessary.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
This whole scene has played out, exactly as it’s going to.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
For reality’s sake, I don’t want to change it. And even if I did--would I really have a choice?

5/3 MEDIUM
The Bartender fills up drinks for the gathering of Adam, Jae, and Cain.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Could I jump up right now and yell, ‘It’s true! We’re from the future, see?’

ADAM
It’s not the end of the world, Jae. You know, we get credit for the conference, and in the meantime, we keep working on it in the lab.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Am I paralyzed by the fear of breaking down existence? Or am I paralyzed by pre-destination, by the fact that this is already written?

ADAM
And someday, somewhere down the line, it’ll go from purely theoretical to actual research, with practical application.

CAIN
No!

5/4 MEDIUM WIDE-NARRATOR’S POV
The Narrator perks up as the scene across the bar gets heated. Cain tries to explain his point, but Jae won’t have it.

JAE
I swear to you, I’ve never seen this guy-

CAIN
Adam. You’re the one. Don’t you get it? Everything I’ve read--everything I’ve learned about time travel, it all starts with you! It all starts with now. With today.

CAIN (CONT’D)
Edison. Franklin. Ng. That’s like, the trinity of science in my time!

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
It’s a strange sensation: you know the endgame, and yet you just can’t help but watch as each move plays itself out, exactly as imagined.

5/5 MEDIUM
Cain gets up from his seat and bar and walks away towards the door, throwing his hand up in disbelief, defeat, and irritation. Adam and Jae look on in shock

CAIN
You know what? Forget it.

CAIN (CONT’D)
I’ll just recalibrate and try again.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Wow.

CAIN
And you know what? I don’t even care if it creates another divergent time stream. I really don’t.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
How come no one told me I was such a prick?

PAGE 6

6/1 SAME ANGLE
Adam and Jae look on as Cain exits the bar; the same blinding light from before consumes the panel.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Was a prick?

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
Ah, who am I kidding.

6/2 SAME ANGLE
Adam and Jae look at each other in disbelief.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Not too long ago, that was who I am, and I suppose it still is.

6/3 CLOSE
The Narrator puts his glass down on the bar.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Loose time.

6/4 WIDE-OVER-THE-SHOULDER--NARRATOR’S POV
The Narrator rises from the bar stool as he observes Adam and Jae.

NARRATOR (CAPTION)
Things aren’t as specific as they were before. History leaves some wiggle room now.

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
But only some.

6/5 MEDIUM
The Narrator approaches Adam and Jae with his hand extended for a shake. For the first time, we see his face clearly--it is Cain, with a five o’clock shadow and slightly messier or longer hair, wearing an outfit salvaged together from Goodwill over his jumpsuit.

NARRATOR
Hi, excuse me, um--I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but, well--

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
I’d like to talk to you about time travel.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
I think we’ve met before, in some form or another. My name is Cain.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
I was born in 2137, and this is my Tachyon Compression Gauge...

NARRATOR (CAPTION) (CONT’D)
So here’s your future.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Beginning of the Fall

Anna brought the telescope down from her eye, observing the tumbling autumn landscape outside through the thin glass veil of bedroom window instead. One hand grasped nervously for the sill at the bottom, while the other reached for the lock above and deliberated; she unlocked the window with her top hand, but couldn’t bring herself to lift it up. Anna recoiled in fear and fell amongst the junkyard of books that filled her bedroom: thesauruses, dictionaries, and collections of all the classics, like Shakespeare, Milton, Marlowe, Hawthorne, Dickens. A pile of pages like feathers, torn from volumes of Dickinson and Plath, cushioned her fall as she grabbed for her telescope and brought again to her eye, spying on the world outside of her room.
Anna hated the fall.
She felt that its name was indicative of its disposition—death, decay, and collapse, the end of the things. As Rome had fallen, so does Mother Nature and the world outside that Anna loves so well. She found comfort in the cyclical quality of life, knowing that, after being covered in a white quilt of serenity for months, the vibrant colors that she loved so much would return to her life, new and fresh and good. She refused to leave her room during these months, for fear that she, too, would wilt and crumble in that chilling autumn breeze that tears each leaf from its stem and sounds it crashing to the hard, cold ground below. Gone was the sensual, seductive show of skin, replaced instead with chapped fingers and lips and necks hidden under scarves. Purples and pinks and blues and greens become shades of grey and all the squirrels and birds run far, far away.
She threw away the telescope once more and bounded for her bed, fumbling to fit her glasses on her nose, as she pulled out her diary and tried to capture all the colorful words that she could before the day was done and the summer gone for good. She knew that she should be outside, enjoying these last hours of summer as they transitioned into fall, but she was afraid of being caught in the change herself, so she opted instead to capture all the thoughts and images she could and horde them in her notebook.
And then the doorbell rang.
Like a squirrel hearing giant footsteps approaching, breaking twigs as they march, Anna perked her head up, extending her neck longer than she thought she could, and looked around. The doorbell sounded again. Cautiously, she put her notebook down and placed her pen in the fold of the spine between the pages and went to the door. She looked first through the small peephole, which reminded her of the telescope from which she watched the world whither, but she saw no one. She turned the deadbolt and opened the door as far as the chain would allow and saw a sliver of a child in a brown dress. But Anna looked beyond this and saw the pigments of fire—oranges, reds, yellows—sprinkled sparsely throughout the sea of green that surrounded her home. For a moment, Anna felt warmed and comforted by this sight, but almost immediately thereafter found herself overcome once again by the fear of that fire spreading, killing each bract and blade and signaling the End.
“Would you like to support Troop 621 and buy some cookies, ma’am?” asked the girl outside, with the sweet, curious naivety that only a child can provide. With a gentle smile of relief, Anna undid the chain lock and welcomed the young girl’s sale as she realized that perhaps the gentle wind that shook her hair would quell the fire, which in turn might give her solace in the coming chill.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Night Rainbows

When Mother asks him where he’s been, he’ll tell her
he was busy stealing lightning from a lightning bug.

His fingers will fidget, fumbling anxiously, trying
to keep the light from escaping and she will tell him that
it’s not nice to steal. In turn, he will try to retract
his response or explain, while the colors refract
ff his palm and just lay waiting restless under glass,

anticipating the innocent removal of his hand,
the magician's great reveal that allows them to escape (although
no one expects it, colors can be quite clever and conniving, too).

With disappointment, Mom will look at him—no words
are necessary with that glare the way she does it—
and he’ll try and try to verbalize the sheer divine
splendor of the epic arc of pigment, spilling every shade
and every hue of every color ever known, that had sprung
up from the same creek where he had once held court. But
he knows she’ll never listen, so he’ll just let the colors go
before he even gets home and then tell her
he was busy stealing lightning from a lightning bug
and let it go.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Company Bow

A sundial, sitting at the edge of a skirt, is feeding
on decay from proscenium walls. The crumble of
its majesty is Grecian in its tragedy, but hardly
as memorable as the long forgotten luster
of the golden laurel leaves that adorn the faƧade.

The space below is filled with rows
of wine-stained lips, each frozen in
a petrified reach to kiss the sky
and hide its eyes from the dying
desolation that they themselves
once wreaked upon the stage.

If only these mouths were open, they could taste
the stuffy air staled by every clapping palm,
every whistle, every pleading whisper, and every
last recited line whose echoes fill the space—
they are always trying desperately to escape
but only can reverberate off of
floorboards drenched with rain
and tears, cleverly constructed
arches that have failed to do their job,
and of course, the final curtain.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Starboard Port

EXT. GRASSY FIELD - AFTERNOON
A cool autumn day in an open field, the grass blowing slightly in the wind. The soft babble of a distant creek might be heard. In the middle of the field towards upstage right sits a small Arc, with the loading ramp opened down to the ground. The boat is lavish in its design and decor, but still traditional-almost archaic or biblical-in appearance. Excess wood parts and scraps, along with various tools and a small stool, and strewn about-it is a workshop frozen in the middle of a project.

KATIE and JOSH are both in their mid-20s. Katie’s quirkiness and spunk is immediately apparent in her appearance--somewhat hippy, somewhat hip, somewhat punk, her hair is short, and she wears wild colors and designs and though she is dressed more for spring than the fall, it doesn’t seem to bother her. Josh is much more conservative by comparison--he is attractive, though somewhat generic, and dressed casually, with a hoodie or light jacket.
Katie and Josh enter from the right.

KATIE
(motioning towards the boat)
Well. Here it is. What do you think?

JOSH
It’s very...flamboyant.

Katie gives Josh an incredulous look.

KATIE
...flamboyant?

JOSH
Well, no, I mean, like-

KATIE
What, you think my boat is gay? You think it’s gonna flick its fucking wrist in your direction, what the fuck does that even mean, flamboyant? It’s a fucking boat!
(beat)
God, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t-that was out of line, I’m sorry.

JOSH
No, it’s okay, really-

KATIE
No, I-I really need to work on-that, you know-

JOSH
Seriously, it’s okay. Maybe you’re right, maybe flamboyant’s not the right word. It’s more...I don’t know...eccentric?
(Katie gives him a look again)
Cute?
(Katie continues to stare silently)
Idiosyncratic? Non-sequitur even! It’s just very...you.

KATIE
So you’re saying I look like a fucking boat.
(Josh has no response to this)
I’m kidding. This time. Mostly.

JOSH
Oh...
(beat)
Well, either way, very Noah-an.

KATIE
See, now you’re just making shit up.

JOSH
No! It’s-I guess-Noah-esque would be the appropriate-

KATIE
Josh, just say whatever it is that you’re trying to say.

JOSH
It’s very...Noah, like the arc guy. You know, two-by-two, animals and all that. I don’t know how to quantify the cultural whatever academia crap name of the appropriate art historical period relevance whatever.

KATIE
I think it’s just called “BCE.” Like, “Before Common Era”?

JOSH
Oh. Really?

KATIE
Really.

JOSH
I thought that was “Before Christ”?

KATIE
No. You left out the “E.”

JOSH
Huhn.
(beat)
“Before Christ Everything?” You know, like everything that happened before-

KATIE
Uh-uh.

JOSH
“Before Christ’s Era,” there we go!

KATIE
Nope. Although, “Biblical” would suffice. Are you saying it looks like a zoo?

Katie and Josh both turn to look at the boat in this new light.

JOSH
Yeah.

KATIE
Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re kinda right.
(she sits down on the ramp or the stool, leaving Josh standing alone)
Not really big enough for that many animals though. I could get a puppy though. Ooh, or a snake! Or maybe-

JOSH
A parrot?

KATIE
Yeah, a parrot! That’d be cool. Keep me company. Though I guess that in the end it’s just like talking to yourself.

JOSH
Or you could bring another person along. That’d be nice.

KATIE
Yeah maybe. But what if you get sick of each other? Sure, there’s physically room enough, but once you’re out there on the water, man. You’re stuck with each other for the long haul. Keel haul, man.

JOSH
What does that-?
(Katie shrugs and diverts her attention the boat)
Yeah...
(beat)
Um, Katie? If you don’t mind my asking-what do you plan on doing with this thing, with this arc?

KATIE
What do you mean? I’m gonna ride it. Or drive it. Or whatever verb you do with a boat.

JOSH
Yeah, but...how?

KATIE
How? I don’t know, how do you drive a boat? I’ll be the captain, or the navigator, or...or fucking first mate or whatever.

JOSH
Well normally, I think you’d steer it, or I guess drive, but you can’t-

KATIE
Hey-Chicks can be mates, mate!

JOSH
I’m not saying you can’t be a mate! Let me finish a sentence for once! God! I’m saying...you built a boat in the middle of a field without any way to get it to the water.
(beat)

KATIE
Dude, there’s a creek right over there-

JOSH
But you can’t take a boat this size on a-on a little creek!

KATIE
Okay, so I won’t take it on the creek. I didn’t realize you were so sensitive about water preservation.

JOSH
Katie, listen.
(staccato, punctuated)
You can’t use a boat without water. That’s the whole point of a boat. You do realize this, yes?

KATIE
Man, whatever. I don’t even know why I brought you here in the first place. I’ve spent like six fucking months working on this thing and I thought it’d be cool to share, you know? I thought you’d appreciate it or something. I didn’t think you’d be popping my balloons all over the place.

JOSH
Popping your whatnow?

KATIE
My balloons, you know. Like, little thought balloons, like in cartoons when somebody’s thinking, or daydreaming, they got the detached little dots and they’re all poofy around the edges and then someone else-someone like you-comes along with a little needle a little something and then, bam! Popped. You popped the balloon.

JOSH
I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Katie turns away angrily. Josh quickly realizes that his response was not the correct one

JOSH
Look, I’m sorry if that’s what it seems like, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. Honest. I just wanted to know how you were going to take the boat out on the water-I don’t care if it’s with a dog or a cat or person or a-or a unicorn-take the boat out on the water and do whatever it is you want to do out there, if you’re currently landlocked without any major body of water for hundreds of miles.
(Katie starts to respond but he cuts her off)
And creeks don’t count.
(She starts again)
And neither do bathtubs. Or kitchen sinks, or any other witty little retort I’m sure that you’ll come up with.

KATIE
There’s water all around us.

JOSH
Forget it!

KATIE
No, think about it. Human beings are made up of like two-thirds water. The Earth is seventy percent water. Or maybe those facts are switched, I don’t know. But either way, that’s a lot of fucking water.

JOSH
So you’re going to ride people, is that what you’re going to do?

KATIE
Man, why do you gotta do that? That’s the kind of attitude that keeps these kind of things from ever being truly fucking realized. Who’s to say that I can’t take this boat through a meadow, or through a pasture, dirt, and find my way to the sea? Huh?

JOSH
Well, physicists, ecologists, rational human-

KATIE
Most of this shit is made up of water. Boats travel in water. Okay, sure, it’ll be a little slow for the first leg of the journey-I get that. Earth’s not as fluid as water. But it’s more than halfway there, don’t you get it?

JOSH
Okay, Katie. Fine. Whatever.

KATIE
Listen, I appreciate the bravado sentiment, but I’m not gonna need someone to save my life this time. It’s totally sweet and all, but man, you gotta get over that.

JOSH
Get over it?

KATIE
It was one fucking time! Obviously, you know, I’m glad you were there to pull me out, but Jesus Christ, that was like three years ago, man. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned how to swim since then

JOSH
Yeah but Katie, I just think-

KATIE
Think what, that I’m a lousy swimmer? Hello! That’s what the boat’s for! Don’t chastise me because I almost drowned in that shit-infested eye-burning chlorinated cess of a pool you call a...pool. It was one time, you know? Whatever. I don’t need you there to-

JOSH
Look, for the last time, I’m sorry I kissed you, alright?
(beat)
There. I said it. Sorry. We’ve been through this already. I probably shouldn’t have done it, you’re right, okay, but at the time it seemed...heroic. Romantic. Chivalrous, I don’t now. But it’s happened. It’s done. Whatever. I thought we’d moved on. This has nothing to do with us or with the flood you’re apparently waiting for.

Silence. Katie refuses to look at him.

JOSH
Or the flood that’s apparently arrived.

He finally tries to leave when:

KATIE
You know, there was a time I thought you’d make a great first mate.
(beat)
Thought you’d look cute with a little bandana tied around your head-goofy cute, you know, like you do-and you’d always be scrambling around to tie some knots or tighten ropes and shout out crazy words like “bow” and “aft,” and maybe-just maybe-every now and then a little “starboard port.”

JOSH
But then?

KATIE
I don’t know. You went all “Old-Man-And-The-Sea” on me. Jumped ship.

JOSH
I think you’re uh, you’re mixing your metaphors there. Again.

Katie goes back to the boat and touches it, examining her handiwork with nostalgia and morose self-importance. Josh watches her for a moment, but ultimately shakes his head and walks away. Katie does not pay any attention to his departure and continues to check the boat for leaks and holes.

KATIE
She doesn’t look like much. Got a little wear and tear about her. But she’ll fly true. Nothing a little love can’t keep afloat.

Katie walks up the ramp into the boat as the lights fade.

END

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Clouds Over Fields Of May (Third Draft)

Note: The roles of the Priest, Waiter, members of the Clergy, and Bar Mitzvah guests should all be double cast as the director sees fit with Daniel, Sean, Grams, Debbie, and Brian. An additional actor may also be used to fill the roles (especially in terms of aging).

SCENE 1
Scene opens in complete darkness

PRIEST
Receive this burning light, and keep thy Baptism so as to be without blame: keep the commandments of God, that when the Lord shall come to the nuptials, thou mayest meet Him together with all the Saints in the heavenly court, and mayest have eternal life and live for ever and ever.

MAN AND WOMAN
Amen.

ALL
Amen.

Brian and Connor stand as the lights come up. They are in a Church pew, with plenty of people in the rows around them. The Priest stands in the opposite corner of the stage with a Man and a Woman, holding a child wrapped in white linens. There should be an aspersorium on stage, or something to represent one. They prepare for the Catholic ritual of Baptism.

PRIEST
(singing)
Through Him, with Him, in Him. In the unity of the Holy Spirit. All glory and honor is Yours, almighty Father. Forever and ever.

The Congregation kneels in prayer. The Priest continues conducting silently in the background while the following dialogue takes place; at this point in the mass, he should be preparing for Communion. Connor and Brian attempt to keep their voices down so as not to disrupt the Mass.

CONNOR
I really wish they’d let you know ahead of time when they’re going to have a Baptism in the middle of Mass.

BRIAN
While normally I’m compelled to disagree with you by default, they did have nine months prior notice to plan.

CONNOR
And furthermore-who Baptizes on a Saturday? The afternoon Mass is specifically designed for those of us who don’t want to put up with this kind of thing. How often does this even happen?

BRIAN
Can’t be that uncommon. In my church, we call your kind “breeders.” It’s what you do.

CONNOR
Luck of the Irish.

CONGREGATION MEMBER
Shh!

CONNOR
Sorry.

The Congregation rises. Connor and Brian follow automatically.

ALL
Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil.

ALL
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and forever.

PRIEST
The Peace of the Lord be with you always.

ALL
And also with you.

PRIEST
Let us offer each other a sign of peace.

The members of the Congregation all take turns shaking hands.

BRIAN
I thought you liked the little toddlers, Connor. What’s got you so bothered?

CONNOR
I don’t dislike kids, I just like to know when I’m goin’ to Mass that I’ll be there for an hour, tops.

BRIAN
Really, what’s another fifteen minutes gonna do?

CONNOR
Normally, it’s not a big deal, but...I said I’d go to Sarah’s little cousin’s Bar...bar...

BRIAN
You want to skip church to go drinkin’? Spoken like a true Catholic.

CONNOR
Bar Mitzvah.

ALL
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

The Congregation rises and forms into a line to take Communion. Brian and Connor continue talking in single file line as the approach the Priest.

BRIAN
So you’re skippin’ Church for a Jewish rager?

CONNOR
Free Manishewitz.

BRIAN
Ah. The things we do for love. Why don’t you bring her to Mass with ya then? If they let a homo through the doors without bursting into flames, I’m sure a Jew would okay. Well, actually...

One at a time, Brian and Connor take Communion. They circle around,following the Congregation, and return to the pew to kneel and pray. Once their prayers are complete:

CONNOR
And on that note, I’ve always been wonderin’-how did ya break to Grams ya liked men?

BRIAN
It’s a funny story, really. The old woman was more nervous than I was about it. Ya know what she said?
(in a Brogue)
‘Oh God, I thought you were gonna tell me you were a Protestant.’

The Congregation moves to a sitting position from the kneeling one.

CONNOR
Bull shit.

BRIAN
Swearing in church, that’ll score you some points.

CONNOR
She really reacted like that?

BRIAN
She did. It’s a strange thing about her-she doesn’t care much what you do, as long as you’re a Catholic and you still go to Church.

CONNOR
As long as you’re a Catholic, huh?

BRIAN
Why, what’s on your mind? You thinkin’ about giving the other team a try?

The Congregation rises.

PRIEST
The Lord be with you.

BRIAN
I’m sure Sarah’d love that. ‘Oh, by the way...’

ALL
And also with you.

CONNOR
I think I’m askin’ Sarah to marry me tonight.

PRIEST
May almighty God bless you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

ALL
Amen.

BRIAN
Amen!

PRIEST
The celebration has ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

ALL
Thanks be to God.

BRIAN
Guess I’m not the only Black Sheep in house then.

Church concessional hymn begins.

BRIAN
You’ll be fine, kid. Just don’t have too much of that mana-whosit crap before you do it. Grams’ll kill ya if ya turn your back on whiskey for wine.

CONNOR
Thanks. I’m gonna duck out. Avoid the rush in the parking lot.

BRIAN
Hell is fleets of soccer vans.

CONNOR
Yeah. I’ll see ya?

BRIAN
Good luck. Oh, and if you can me that three hundred bucks you owe soon, I’d appreciate it.

CONNOR
Yeah, yeah. You’ll get your cash.

SARAH
Connor? There you are!

Sarah enters as the lights changes, indicating a flashback. Connor sees her, and leaves the pew to join up with her, as the rest of the church service disperses. The Church Concessional hymn reaches a plagal cadence and changes to a minor key (it will eventually become “Hava Nagila” without a break). The church and congregation transform into the setting and guests of a Bar Mitzvah

SARAH
You know, for a second, I thought you stood me up!

CONNOR
Yeah, sorry. I was held up at Mass.

SARAH
Church on a Saturday? You sure you’re not a Jew?
(they kiss)
How are you?

CONNOR
I’m fine. I was just gettin’ nervous. There was a Baptism, it pushed the service back a bit. But I’m here now!

Hand in hand, they move to join the celebration.

SARAH
So you’re saying you’re late because your priest was drowning babies.

CONNOR
It’s not like he dunks the thing and holds it under water! He just blesses ‘em. And if he did let ‘em swim, he’d at least have floaties.

SARAH
(laughing)
I’m sure.

CONNOR
Besides, it’s better’n takin’ a knife to his pecker while the family cheers him on.

SARAH
...’pecker’?

CONNOR
Well, I wouldn’t feel right calling it a ‘dick’ when he’s only two weeks old. That’s just crass.

SARAH
You’re a strange man.

CONNOR
I’ve been told as much.

SARAH
So guess what?

CONNOR
What?

SARAH
Guess...

CONNOR
Okay...haircut?

SARAH
No. Come on, seriously.

CONNOR
No? Um...your Dad finally remember my name?

SARAH
No! You, sir, are looking at the new assistant editor for Night Style magazine.

CONNOR
Oh. Ya got it? Sarah, that’s..that’s great! When did you find out?

SARAH
Yesterday, at the end of the day. It won’t be official until next week, so they haven’t really given me much in terms of my pay and stuff-but still!

Debbie enters.

CONNOR
But still, it’s somethin’, yeah? You’ll be makin’ a hell of a lot more than me now.

SARAH
Don’t knock yourself, Irish. Think of it this way-I can be your sugar mama.

DEBBIE
Connor. Nice of you to join us.

CONNOR
Hello, Mrs. Cantor.

DEBBIE
For the last time, call me Debbie. You know, I noticed that you weren’t at temple this morning for the ceremony-just showing up for the party, I see?

SARAH
Mom, if I recall, you weren’t at temple either. I think you were out shopping?

DEBBIE
I’m just repeating what your father told me.

SARAH
Thanks, mom.

DEBBIE
Speaking of which, have you seen Jacob yet? You know he’s here. He’s over there talking with the DJ right now, but I’m sure he’d be alright with a little interruption.

CONNOR
...Jacob? Who-?

DEBBIE
Sarah’s college sweetheart. Her first love.

SARAH
We dated freshman year. Very, very briefly.

CONNOR
Oh. That guy. What’s he doing here?

DEBBIE
The whole synagogue’s invited. They always are. Besides, Sarah, I think maybe he came to see you. Maybe you two can catch up a bit. Did you hear about his new job? He’s got some big corporate executive suit thing going with Time Warner...accounts manager something or other. It’s really impressive, he must be pulling in at least six digits...

SARAH
I’m sure.

DEBBIE
Well? Are you gonna go talk to him?

SARAH
Maybe later, Mom. Connor and I were talking. I’m trying to entertain my guest and all that.

DEBBIE
Alright, alright. I’ll leave you two alone. Not that you can afford much privacy with all this noise, but still.

SARAH
Thanks,mom.

CONNOR
Bye Mrs. Uh, Debbie.

DEBBIE
Oh, and we’re taking some pictures a little later with the family, so don’t stray too far. I’ll come find you when it’s time.
(beat)
And go talk to Jacob! I’m sure he’d love to see you!

SARAH
Bye, mom.

Debbie leaves to join a ring of people that is forming away from Connor and Sarah; by now, the music should have fully transitioned into “Hava Nagila.”

SARAH
Isn’t she pleasant?

CONNOR
She can be.

SARAH
Care to dance?

CONNOR
I’m not so sure I know how to-

SARAH
Come on, let’s join in.

CONNOR
Normally, I’ve had a bit to drink before I do this.

SARAH
All you have to do is clap, Connor. Besides-

CONNOR
I’m not havin’ your crap wine.

Grams enters as Sarah exits to join in the “Hava Nagila” off stage; Connor follows her but does not exit. Music fades. Lights change drastically to indicate a flashback.

GRAMS
Get back here, boy.

CONNOR
(about 13 years old)
Yes, ma’am?

GRAMS
Connor, I’ve a word with ya.

CONNOR
(swallowing hard)
What is it?

GRAMS
It’s laundry day, you know.

CONNOR
Yes, ma’am.

GRAMS
And I was goin’ through the clothin’ when I found your zip-up here. Care to give it bit of a whiff?
She hands the sweatshirt to him, and he smells it. Without a word, he looks at her, and shrinks; not his body per se, but his essence and posture.

GRAMS
Ya care to tell me why it reaks o’ cigarettes and smoke?
(beat)
Well? Do ya?

CONNOR
No, ma’am.

GRAMS
No? Well I’ll not be havin’ it in my house, ya understand? Those little sticks’ll kill ya, they will. They stink your breathe, and yellow up your skin. Is that what ya want? Hm?

CONNOR
No, ma’am.

Brian enters

BRIAN
(at 16 years old)
What’s all the fuss?

GRAMS
That’s not your business.

BRIAN
(noticing the sweatshirt)
Ah, there it is. Sorry, Connor, I meant to tell ya that I borrowed your hoodie on Friday night.

GRAMS
Oh? Is that so?

Brian and Connor exchange a telling look.

BRIAN
Yeah, I, uh, left mine in my locker on accident. I was gonna wash it for him but I forgot-when you’re in a small club, people smokin’ everywhere, the smell just kinda sticks.

Grams looks back and forth suspiciously between the two.

GRAMS
Alright. Yer off the hook.

Grams smacks Connor on the upper arm and points her finger at him to get his
attention; Connor rubs his arm.

But don’t you forget what I was sayin’ about the cigarettes. If ya even think about tryin’ it, it won’t be tolerated. Remember that.

CONNOR
Yes, ma’am.

GRAMS
(kisses him on the cheek)
Alright then, run off. And don’t get yourself in too much trouble with your friends.

Connor looks at Brian and silently thanks him with his eyes. Brian gives him a walk as Connor walks away, still rubbing his arm. Brian and Grams exit. Lights shift again to indicate the present

CONNOR
Jesus Christ, that’s a heavy woman.

SARAH
That’s my aunt you’re talking about.

CONNOR
Is it now?

SARAH
Just be lucky you caught her after her diet.

CONNOR
I don’t really think I caught her at all. Ah, is this somethin’ you always do?

SARAH
More or less. It’s a celebration.

CONNOR
In my experience, you only lift a chair when you’ve been drinkin’ for a fight.

SARAH
Well apparently we’re prone to much less violence than you.

CONNOR
My shoulder begs to differ.

DEBBIE
(shouting from across stage)
Sarah! Come on! We’re having our pictures taken!

SARAH
(shouting)
Be right there, Mom!
(to Connor)
I’ll be back in a few. Try not to hurt yourself while I’m gone.

CONNOR
It’s a bit too late for that one.

SARAH
Then I guess you’ll have to drink the pain away

Sarah kisses Connor and goes to join her family elsewhere on the stage.

CONNOR
(calling after her)
I’m not drinkin’ your crap wine!

Connor stands alone by the food and drink for a bit, nursing his arm and feeling out of place while the celebration buzzes around him. At one point, he looks to the spread of Manishewitz and decides to try a shot; his opinion doesn’t change. After snacking on a few more finger foods, Daniel joins him.

DANIEL
Glad you could make it, Connor.

CONNOR
(swallowing)
Evenin’, Mr. Cantor.

DANIEL
How’s Tommy doing?

CONNOR
Tommy?

DANIEL
The mayor! How’s the mayor doing? You give him my regards?

CONNOR
I-ah, well, like I told ya, Danny, I don’t really-Yeah. He sends his best.

DANIEL
Good. That’s good.

CONNOR
Yep.
(beat)

DANIEL
How’s that arm doing?

CONNOR
Hurts a bit. I usually try to drink beyond the point of feelin’ before carryin’ chairs around with people in ‘em.

DANIEL
My nephew’s a pretty good sized kid now-a-days.

CONNOR
He’s not the least of it.
(awkward beat)

DANIEL
So how’s work? How’s the mayor?

CONNOR
He’s fine. It’s busy, you know, keepin’ up with all the campaign coverage and, uh-

DANIEL
You tell Tommy I said hi? Did I ask you that already?

CONNOR
You did, sir, and I, uh, I told him. I told you that I told him.

Sarah leaves her family, goes outside to have a cigarette

DANIEL
Right, right. Forgetful sometimes, you know. That’s good though. Real good.
(beat)
Hey, have you met Jacob yet? You two could talk, make some business connections or something. He’s got some friends over at City Hall, too. I bet you’ve got a lot in common. Well, besides my daughter.

CONNOR
No, actually, we, uh, we haven’t met yet, I’ve just been told about him. A lot.
(painfully awkward beat)
Anyways, I’ve gotta go find Sarah now.

DANIEL
Alright. I think she’s back out in the lobby taking photographs. It’s been nice talking with you!

CONNOR
Yeah. I’ll see you around.

Connor leaves to find Sarah, as Daniel tries a few more hors d’ouevres. He finds her having a smoke by herself.

CONNOR
What’s, the family drivin’ ya nuts?

SARAH
You know that old superstition that every time you have your picture taken, it steals a little tiny piece of your soul? I think it’s true. At least it would explain the family gathering.

CONNOR
You say that like it’s some wild ritual-like the mating habits of ostriches-the family gathering.

SARAH
I think that about sums it up.
(She laughs softly and takes a drag)
How about you? Been meeting all the cousins and whatnot?

CONNOR
Ran into your father by the finger foods.

SARAH
Oh? And how was that?

CONNOR
Riveting might be the best way to put it.

Sarah laughs and takes another drag.

CONNOR
Mind if I-have a drag?

SARAH
You sure? It’s a lousy habit.

CONNOR
Yeah, I’m sure.

Connor fumbles with the cigarette in his hand and takes a drag.

CONNOR
I only really smoke when I’m-

SARAH
You seem nervous.

CONNOR
-drunk or nervous.

SARAH
What’s on your mind? I told you not to have too much Kosher wine.

CONNOR
Hah. That’s hardly it.
(beat. Connor takes a drag and coughs)

SARAH
(taking the cigarette back)
Alright, cough it up.

CONNOR
I think I just did.
(beat. Sarah stares at him impatiently)
Alright, alright. I’ve just got somethin’ I wanted to show ya, that’s all.

SARAH
Well?

CONNOR
Hold your horses, woman, Jesus.

Connor rummages through his pocket.

SARAH
Aren’t you not supposed to use the Lord in vain?

CONNOR
Yeah, well, there’s a lot of things we’re not supposed to do.

Connor pulls a Claddagh Ring out.

CONNOR
Here it is.

SARAH
(shocked)
...Connor? Is that-what are you-

CONNOR
It’s a Claddagh Ring, Sarah. Not one of those twenty-five cent ones, either. My Grandfather bought it for my Grams in Galway, ‘fore they crossed over.

SARAH
What are-what are you trying to say?

CONNOR
It depends on how ya wear it. See, on your right hand, it tells if you’re single, or datin’ someone. Depends where the heart points.

SARAH
And on the left?

CONNOR
When the heart’s pointin’ outwards, it...means the person’s engaged.
(beat)
So, uh, yeah. Go ahead. Try it on-if you’d like.

Glowing, smiling, Sarah slips the ring onto our left ring finger, heart pointing out, and raises her hand in front of her to look at it.

CONNOR
Well? What do ya think?

Lights change to indicate the present. Connor exits. Sarah is now at work, playing with an outward pointing Claddagh ring on her right hand. Brian enters; she does not hear him.

BRIAN
I always thought I’d be the first to give that ring away.

Sarah turns around startled; she might be seated in an office chair at her desk, in which case she would spin around to face him.

SARAH
Brian! Hi! Sorry, I didn’t hear you, I was drifting off-

BRIAN
Granted, Grams probably wouldn’t give it to me. Though, we are in Massachusetts, so if the opportunity did arise...

SARAH
Well, looks like you missed your chance.

BRIAN
I gotta say though, I’m surprised he actually went through it. I mean, I’m glad, of course, but I’m impressed. The kid finally grew some balls.

Sarah rolls her eyes and turns away from him for a moment.

SARAH
Anyway, what have you got for me?

BRIAN
Remember that place over on Columbus we were looking to write about? Head cook called back, wants to set up a time for someone to come in and try everything out.

SARAH
Finally. Yeah, um, can you send me an e-mail reminding me?

BRIAN
Yeah, sure, that’s fine.

SARAH
Awesome, thanks.

BRIAN
Ya know--I think I’ve got to take a little credit for it. I mean, I did set you two up in the first place.

SARAH
(laughs)
Yeah. Who’d have thought it would come to this?

BRIAN
Not me, anyway. It all started as a last-ditch attempt to get the poor kid laid.

Sarah knows Brian’s joking, as she plays along, feigning anger.

SARAH
Thanks, you big jerk.

BRIAN
No problem. I’m gonna head back over to my cute little cubicle. Not all of us get the kind of small shared office amenities that you do.

SARAH
Bye, Brian.

Brian exits as Sarah turns back to her desk. The telephone rings, and she picks it up.

SARAH
Hello?

Lights shift to indicate a flashback

DEBBIE
(offstage)
Sarah! Sarah...

SARAH
(about age 16)
Ugh, I gotta go. I’ll call you when I get home. Bye.
(Sarah hangs the phone up)
(yelling, to Debbie)
What, mom?

Debbie enters.

DEBBIE
Sarah, honey, what are you doing?

SARAH
I’m getting ready, what does it look like?

DEBBIE
Getting ready? Getting ready for what, dear, where are you going?

SARAH
Out. I’m going out, it’s Friday, mom. That’s what you do on a Friday.

DEBBIE
Well who are you going out with?

SARAH
Mom...

DEBBIE
I’m just asking! I’m a concerned mother, you just got your license, I want to make sure you’re safe. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.

SARAH
(reluctantly)
I’m just...going out to see a movie, with this guy from one of my classes.

DEBBIE
A boy?

SARAH
Yes, mother.

DEBBIE
Tell me about him.

SARAH
I’m trying to get ready, mom.

DEBBIE
How old Is he? Is he older? Is he a senior? Tell me about him.

SARAH
Goodbye, mom.

DEBBIE
Is he Jewish?

BLACK OUT.
Connor begins playing “On Raglan Road” on guitar.

LIGHTS FADE IN

SCENE 2
Lights up as Connor begins to sing while still playing. He sits on a chair in the kitchen of his dad’s house.

CONNOR
(singing)
On Raglan Road of an autumn day
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might one day rue
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way
And said let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day

On Grafton Street in November
We tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worth of passion's pledge
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay
Oh I loved too much and by such by such
Is happiness thrown away

I gave her gifts of the mind
I gave her the secret signs
Known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint I did not stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there
And her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May

Sean, Connor’s father, enters.

SEAN
(also singing)
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should
A creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay
He'll lose his wings at the dawn of day
(speaking)
Should’ve stuck widh it. You’ve a great voice, I always said it.

Connor puts the guitar down.

CONNOR
Never had the patience.

SEAN
Never had the discipline.

CONNOR
Are ya still goin’ to the craic?

SEAN
When I’ve the time.

CONNOR
Where ya been, Dad? I came over last night for dinner like always, and nobody’s home. I waited around a while before I went home, and I been callin’ all night and day. Neither you nor Grams is pickin’ up the phone, and when I show up with a key the place is empty and-

SEAN
When was the last time ya put in such an effort to see your old man, huh?

CONNOR
Well, this is important.

SEAN
I’m sure it is. Come on, let’s hear what you’ve got.

CONNOR
Da, where’s Grams? I know ya never let her leave the house alone, and she’s been gone at least as long as I’ve been here.

Slowly, Sean takes a seat beside Connor.

SEAN
I just came back from the hospital, lad.
(beat. Connor stares, silent)
Yer grandmother had a heart attack yesterday.

CONNOR
What?

SEAN
She’s stabilized; they’ve got her on machines and all, but-

CONNOR
Why didn’t you call me?

SEAN
Because I was trying to tend to the woman, Connor. I was trying to make sure everyt’in’ was alright wit’ ‘er.

CONNOR
But it is.

SEAN
Aye. For now.

CONNOR
You could have called me earlier.

SEAN
Well I’m tellin’ ya now. I didn’t want to worry ya.

CONNOR
Does Brian know?

SEAN
No, Brian doesn’t know. Not yet, anyway.
(Silence; Connor takes it in.)
So what’d ya want to tell me? Better not be any bad news in it.

CONNOR
Well, I can’t tell ya now. It just sounds selfish.

SEAN
Connor, ya ought ta tell me what ya need. I’m not in a mood for screwin’ around.

CONNOR
(reluctantly)
I was gonna see if I could borrow some money. Bills are pilin’ up and all. But it seems we got more pressin’ issues now.

SEAN
Borrowin’ money? That’s all you’re worryin’ about?

CONNOR
Well, I-

SEAN
It’s not a problem, Connor. Honest.

CONNOR
Thanks, Da.
(beat)
There is one more thing I gotta tell ya.

SEAN
Oh? What’s that?

CONNOR
(Nervous, fidgeting. He lets out a heavy sigh before he says:)
We called the engagement off. Sarah and I. It started comin’ to a head a few weeks back. We’d been tryin’ to figure it all out, but...yeah.
(beat)
Looks like we’re not gettin’ married, Da. Not anymore.

Lights dim on Connor and Sean and come up on Sarah, Debbie and Daniel, elsewhere on the stage. Lights should indicate a flashback

DANIEL
Have you talked to him about it yet?

DEBBIE
Did you think it out a little bit?

SARAH
Sorry if I thought you’d be excited for me.

DANIEL
Darling, we are-

DEBBIE
We are?

DANIEL
I’m excited for you.

DEBBIE
Daniel, that’s enough. So you haven’t had a talk with him at all about converting? Jacob wouldn’t have to convert...

SARAH
No, Mom, I haven’t. I’m not marrying Jacob, and I’m sorry, but that conversation was not my top priority at the time.

DEBBIE
What was your priority then?

DANIEL
Debbie, please...

SARAH
Why’s this so important to you? You never go to temple, Mom. You don’t recall a word of Hebrew-

DEBBIE
He’s a goyem.

SARAH
That’s Yiddish.

DEBBIE
Shagitz.
(Sarah glares at Debbie)
Whatever.

SARAH
You don’t even keep Kosher.

DEBBIE
Neither do you!

SARAH
That’s my point! What difference does it make if he’s Jewish or not?

Lights come up on a different part of the stage, where Connor stands in a hospital room in the present; Grams lays resting in a hospital bed. Sean stands nearby.

DANIEL
It’s...cultural, sweetheart-

CONNOR
How are ya, Grams?

DEBBIE
It’s insulting.

GRAMS
(difficulty speaking)
Connor? Go mbeannaĆ­ Dia is Muire duit.

DEBBIE
Other people don’t understand us, darling.

CONNOR
Grams, ya know I don’t speak-

SARAH
Why? What makes us any different?

SEAN
It’s Connor, ma. It’s your grandson.

GRAMS
Connor, my boy, I’m so glad ya came.

DANIEL
There’s history, Sarah. Oppression, people know about, but-

SEAN
She’s not been so responsive.

DANIEL
-Perseverance is something not everyone understands.

GRAMS
Come closer, let me see ya, with those smilin’ Irish eyes o’ yer grandfat’er.

CONNOR
Missed you at dinner last night, Grams.

DEBBIE
Family is family, sweetie. We’re not saying you can never...

GRAMS
Ay, if only they’d let me cook for meself. The food here’ll kill me if me heart don’t get it first.

DEBBIE
We just...would rather that you marry a Jew.

GRAMS
A lonely heart can kill ya, Connor. I’m just lucky that mine took a while for it. D’ya understan’ what I’m sayin’?

DANIEL
Or that he...become a Jew.

CONNOR
I think so.

GRAMS
I just want to make sure that you’re happy, boy.

SARAH
I can never make you happy, can I?

Sarah exits; lights fade out on Debbie and Daniel.

GRAMS
So ya better hurry up widh it, ‘cause I’ll be wantin’ to see me great-grandkids ‘fore I die.
(she shows signs of struggling)
From the looks of it, that somethin’s comin’ sooner ‘en later.

CONNOR
Don’t say that, Grams.

GRAMS
Ah, sometimes ya got to face the truth of it.

CONNOR
The doctors said you’re stabilized...

GRAMS
Aye, but somethin’ else’ll come, I’m sure of it. I just want to know I got a legacy a’ somethin’, ‘sall. Thar’s a tradition in the family thats ya gotta keep alive. Yer brother sure as hell ain’t keepin’ the family on ‘imself.

CONNOR
At least he tries.

GRAMS
I bet he does. And I’m sure th’Lord knows it, but sometimes it ain’t enough. How’s your girl, eh? The pretty Jewish widh the dark hair. Ya treat’in’ ‘er well, I hope? ‘N she’s doin’ the same fer you?

CONNOR
Actually, uh...

(Sean places his hand on Connor’s shoulder and looks at him intently)

CONNOR
Yeah. She’s fine. Everything’s great.

GRAMS
Ah. Good to hear it. T’ese old ears could use a little somet’in’ upbeat. And how’s the job? What good ya gonna be to a to a girl widh nothin’ ta offer ‘er?

CONNOR
It’s goin’. I’ve been savin’ money. Or tryin’ to, anyway. It’s hard work, ya now? But I’m in line for a promotion, I think. Well, eventually, and...

SEAN
Connor’s doin’ alright fer ‘imself, ma. Don’t ya worry ‘bout ‘im. He’ll find a girl. He’ll do ya right.

GRAMS
That’s a boy. Always knowin’ how to make an old woman proud.

CONNOR
I love you, grandma.

GRAMS
I love you, too, boy. Now let yer Grams get her rest, aye? ‘Tis been a long, long day, it has.

CONNOR
Sure.

Connor kisses her on the forehead. Lights shift to indicate a flashback

BRIAN
Connor, quit dickin’ around, or you’re gonna be late!

CONNOR
Hold yer horses!
(to Grams)
Wish me luck.

GRAMS
Just don’t be thinkin’ too much about it. You’ll be fine. And don’t get too carried away, if ya get the meanin’. Now have a good night.
(yelling, to Brian)
And Brian? Watch yer blasted tongue! I don’t want to hear no words like that from you again.

BRIAN
Grams, I’m twenty-

GRAMS
Brian.

CONNOR
G’night, Grams.

GRAMS
Good night, boy.

BRIAN
Ya need a ride?

CONNOR
I can drive myself, thanks.

BRIAN
Hey, big brother’s just lookin’ out for ya.

CONNOR
I think you’ve done enough.

Connor walks downstage and encounters Sarah, sitting at a table. He takes a seat in the empty chair across from her.

SARAH
Late for the first date. Brian didn’t warn you about my wrath for the tardy?

CONNOR
Actually, that’s just why I’m late. He wouldn’t shut up about it. You’d think he’s sabotagin’ me.


SARAH
What! He hasn’t got a bad thought in his body!

CONNOR
You’re not his baby brother.

SARAH
That’s true. I’m pretty sure I’m not equipped to be anybody’s brother.

CONNOR
Ha. What about you? Have ya any brothers or sisters for yourself?

SARAH
Me? No way. I’m too much of a Daddy’s girl to possibly have a sibling.

CONNOR
Thanks for the warning.

SARAH
Hey, at least I’m being honest. It’s only fair, I mean, I figured Brian never told you what he really got you into it.

Waiter comes by and fills their glasses with water.

CONNOR
He’s got a tendency to skip the details like that.

SARAH
So your brother tells me that you work for the mayor.

CONNOR
Eh, not directly. I work in the press office, so I guess I just write about him, more than anything else.

SARAH
You’re a writer?

CONNOR
Journalist, yeah.

SARAH
Me too.

CONNOR
A journalist?

SARAH
A writer. Well, kind of a journalist I guess.

CONNOR
Make up your mind, darlin’. You can’t be both. Got to be one, or th’ other.

SARAH
(laughing)
Why can’t you be both?

CONNOR
A writer is a charmin’ alcoholic. A journalist is just a nosey asshole.
(beat)
Suppose I shoulda been a writer...

The Waiter comes by again.

WAITER
Have you decided what you’d like?

SARAH
Yeah, umm...I’ll have the-lobster ravioli?

WAITER
Okay, and yourself, sir?

CONNOR
Ah...haven’t really looked...hold on...umm...guess I’ll take...can I just get a burger?
(beat. Blank stare from the waiter)
I’ll have the steak.

WAITER
How would you like it?

CONNOR
Bloody as ya got it?

WAITER
Medium, alright.

CONNOR
Oh, and a-bottle of cabarnet?
WAITER

Sure. I’ll be right back with it.

He exits.

SARAH
Liquor me up on the first date, huh?

CONNOR
I think I’m doin’ you the favor, really.

SARAH
Oh? And how’s that?

CONNOR
I really don’t know, I just thought it’d be a good response.

SARAH
Look at you with the jokes.

CONNOR
I try. Every now and then, I succeed, too.
SARAH
Well, so far you’re doing alright.
(beat as they share a moment)
Will you excuse me? I’m just going to hit the ladies room for a moment.

CONNOR
I thought you traveled in packs for that?

SARAH
No, this time I actually have to pee.

CONNOR
Oh. Well, don’t let me keep ya then.

SARAH
I won’t.

Sarah smiles flirtatiously and exits to the bathroom. Connor is left alone for a moment, clearly giddy. Lights change to signal the end of flashback.
Connor sits at a table in the hospital food court, thinking about Grams’s condition, when he sees Sarah enter.

CONNOR
Sarah? Sarah! Hey! Sarah!

SARAH
...Connor? Hi.

CONNOR
It’s, uh...how are you? I haven’t spoken to you in a bit.

SARAH
Yeah.

CONNOR
So uh, what’s up? What’s new? Anything, ya know, exciting going on with ya, or...

SARAH
I’m in a hospital food court on a high holy day, so I can’t eat anything, and, well, I’m in a hospital which usually that indicates that something’s wrong with someone

CONNOR
Did you want anything to eat?

SARAH
I’m fasting.

CONNOR
Right. Forty days and all that.

SARAH
No. Just one.

Connor and Sarah both start speaking at the same time. They stop themselves, look at each other, and laugh.

CONNOR
Go ahead.

SARAH
Thanks. Uh, what are you doing here?

CONNOR
Here? Well, Au Bon Pain has some really good bagels...

SARAH
I mean at the hospital. It’s always the jokes with you.

CONNOR
Not always. Usually they’re just nervous quips.
(he swallows. Beat.)
But um, yeah. My Grams is here.

SARAH
Grams? Is she alright?

CONNOR
Well, like ya said, it’s a hospital, so...no, I guess she’s not. I mean, she might be eventually, but...

SARAH
What happened?

CONNOR
She-she had a heart attack yesterday.

SARAH
The poor woman, how is she?

CONNOR
She’s stabilized for now. She’s stubborn, ya know. She won’t let God take her if she doesn’t want to go.

SARAH
I’m so sorry to hear that. I know how important she is to all you guys. But she’s a survivor. She spent how many years in a house full of males from the Kierney clan?

CONNOR
(smiling at her)
Yeah.
(beat)

SARAH
I should-

CONNOR
What brings you to these chipper grounds?

SARAH
My cousin-you remember Jacob, right?

CONNOR
The rich guy that ya dated back in college?

SARAH
No, my cousin.

CONNOR
Cousin. Right. You guys were cousins?

SARAH
Remember? You came with me to...to his bar mitzvah...

CONNOR
Oh. Right.

SARAH
Yeah. He, uh, he got hit by a car while he was riding his bike and it broke his leg.

CONNOR
Is he alright?

SARAH
Well again, it’s a hospital, and his leg’s broken, but all things considered, I think he’ll be fine.

CONNOR
That’s good.
(beat)
Did you want a bagel, or a coffee or somethin’...

SARAH
More than you can imagine. But like I said, I have to fast today.

CONNOR
Right, right. Sorry. I was just thinkin’ maybe you’d want to sit and, I don’t know, talk or whatever. Just for a little bit.

SARAH
I’d love to, Connor, but Jacob’s going to be here any minute now to pick me up, so I should probably go meet him out front.

CONNOR
Jacob your cousin? With the broken leg?

SARAH
No, the other one. You remember Jacob, right?

CONNOR
Oh. Right. That guy.

SARAH
Yeah. He’s, um, he’s taking me with him to some company party or whatever tonight. Open bar and fancy dress, I don’t even know. I might just use the evening as a writing opportunity. Maybe I can get a good article out of it.

CONNOR
Are you guys datin’ now or somethin’?

SARAH
Us? No. No, we’re not, though my mother would love it if we were. Sometimes I think she wants to marry him.

CONNOR
So you’re not? With him, that is.

SARAH
Sure, he’s handsome...rich...successful...and entirely not my type, as we learned all those years ago. Not to say that I don’t like handsome guys, or successful-

CONNOR
It’s alright. How’s that new job goin’, anyway? I realize it’s not that new anymore, but still.

SARAH
It’s great, but like I said, I’ve really got to go. Maybe-maybe we talk soon? Or get a drink or whatever.

CONNOR
Yeah. Absolutely. I’d like that.

SARAH
Me too. Bye Connor.

CONNOR
Have fun tonight.

SARAH
Thanks.
(beat)

Lights dim; Connor exits. Sarah is now outside of Grams’s hospital room. Sean is beside an unconscious Grams, holding her hand. Sarah peers in. There is a slow, steady pulse sounding quietly in the background from a heart monitor. The pulse continues to slow down as the scene goes on, but in small increments it is hardly noticed.

SARAH
Hello?

SEAN
Sarah, hi!
(he rises to greet her)
How are ya, darlin’?

SARAH
I’m fine, Mr. Kierney. How-how are you doing?

SEAN
For you, darlin’, it’s just Sean. You were close to enough to family ta me fer it to count. Right now I’m just spendin’ some time with me muther. Hate to say, but she’s kinda better company like this. It’s not often that ya find the old woman keepin’ quiet so long.
(Sean gets visibly choked up)
Sorry. I don’t often lose it like this. She’d never have it, anyway. She can’t likely hear it, but, if she does wake up, she’ll give me hell.

SARAH
I’m...I’m sorry. I saw Connor downstairs and he just told me-

SEAN
Nothin’ to be sorry for. She’s damn ancient anyway. Not that it makes it good or nothin’, but...you know. It happens, I guess.
(beat; Sean looks down at his mother)
Thanks for swingin’ by. Means a lot.

SARAH
Really, it’s nothing. It’s the least I can do. Even though I guess we’re not...family or whatever, but I still, I--

SEAN
Darlin’, you don’t have to be family to have a heart. And I s’pose it works the other way, too.
(A shy smile slips across Sarah’s face)
Ya know she always liked ya. Always askin’ for ya, askin’ Connor how his pretty little Jew girl’s doin’.

SARAH
Did she-did she always say that? Jew girl?

SEAN
Well her memory wasn’t-isn’t-always on point. Little forgetful on the names front.

SARAH
I see.

SEAN
Somethin’ troublin’ ya?

SARAH
No, no. Nothing. Just...touched, that’s all.

Brian enters with a wrapped sandwich.

BRIAN
Brought your lunch, da. They were all out of Swiss, so I said to use American, if it’s all the same to you.
(notices Sarah)
Hey. Sarah. Didn’t realize you were out of the office today, too. Helluva place for a lunch break, huh? You should really try the apple sauce. Ooh, or the rubberized chicken. I hear it’s to, uh...yeah.

SEAN
Thanks, Brian. American’s fine.

BRIAN
Anything new?

SEAN
Nah. She’s still sleepin’. Hardly made a sound all day.

BRIAN
Doctors say anything?

SEAN
Nothin’. She’s...they got nothin’.

BRIAN
You get that manuscript this morning?

SARAH
Manuscript?

BRIAN
Yeah, the review for that new winery over on Perkins Street.

SARAH
Oh. No, I haven’t been in at all today.

BRIAN
What, now that you’ve got a fancy new office, you don’t have to show up for work anymore?

SARAH
It’s a holiday.

BRIAN
I know. I was kidding.

SARAH
Right. Sorry, I’m kind of out of it. I haven’t eaten much today, and just-sorry.

SEAN
(motioning with his sandwich)
You want a bite? It’s got American instead o’ Swiss but, it’s better’n nothin’.

SARAH
No, it’s fine. I’m actually supposed to fast for the day. Or at least until sundown.

SEAN
Right. Starvin’ and wanderin’ and all that crap. But know that when a flower’s catchin’ fire and havin’ conversation, it might be time to have a bite.

SARAH
As far as I’m aware, you guys believe that still yourself.

SEAN
I don’t know what to believe anymore.
(pause)

BRIAN
I should get back to work before my lunch break is up. I’ll see tomorrow, Sarah?

SARAH
Yeah. See you tomorrow.

BRIAN
Bye, da. Grams.

SEAN
Bye son.

Brian exits. Sean turns to tend to his mother, while Sarah stands waiting in the doorway, uncomfortable. Silence. Then:

SARAH
I, um, I have a-
SEAN
Don’t be feelin' like ya have to fill the silence. Your presence is sayin’ enough.
(beat)
Look, I don’t know much o’ the details that went down between ya, I’ve got at least an inkling of it.

SARAH
You do?

SEAN
Like I said, it’s just an inkling. The rest of it’s a man’s intuition. After fifty years, ya start to catch on. Ya start to understan’. ‘Specially livin’ wit’ a woman like this for most o’ that time. She drills it right in so ya won’t forget it.

SARAH
I’m not sure I understand.

SEAN
My fat’er spent his life hatin’ everyone who called ‘imself a Protestant, for no udder reason than he t’ought he was supposed ta. He never let it go. He had this sayin’ though, old Irish sayin’. ‘Death is facin’ the old, and behind the young.’ I used ta t’ink it meant that old folks knew when they were dyin’, they expected it, but it sneaks up and surprises the youth.

SARAH
But now?

SEAN
Now I t’ink it means to say the youth can put the past behind ‘em. The older generations are all tied to history, to t’ings past, to all the death before ‘em. But you kids got an option not to tie yerselves down to that. Not to let the past tell ya where yer goin’. Death’s behind ya, ‘cause ya get to look forwards, in ways that we can’t.

Silence.

SARAH
That sounds great. But I’m not sure it works that well in practice. We get raised to look ahead, and we do, but something’s always looking over our shoulders. And we look back.

Silence.

Thank you, Sean. Da.

SEAN
Eh, it’s nothin’. Or it’s too little, too late anywhow. I’m glad ya came by. If she’s awake at all, I’m sure she’d say the same.

Sarah and Sean embrace, and Sarah leaves the room. Sean turns back to tend to his mother. He kneels beside her bed and holds her hand. After a moment, the pulse of the heart monitor flatlines, and suddenly grows in volume. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 3
Lights change to indicate a flashback, as the flatline buzz formerly of Grams’s heart monitor continues ringing, and the sound becomes that of the oven buzzer.
Connor, Brian, Sarah, Daniel, and Debbie enter, taking seats around a table together. Grams gets up and says:

GRAMS
Eh, shaddap! I’ll be right back widh t’e food.

SEAN
Here Grams, let me give ya a hand.

GRAMS
I’ll be fine.
(yelling to the buzzer)
Shaddap!

Grams and Sean exit.

DANIEL
So, Connor. Sarah tells me you work for the mayor.

CONNOR
Not directly. I, eh, I work at City Hall, in the press office. I work more for the city than the mayor.

DANIEL
I see. Well, if you get the chance to talk to him, tell the mayor that I am 200% behind him on cutting those education extracurriculars out of the budget. Obviously, I don’t have any kids in public schools-we sent Sarah to private school anyway-so I don’t want my taxes getting higher, if it won’t help me out at all. And even so, shouldn’t they be getting enough out their education as is? I thought that was the point of all this No-Child-Left-Behind raising standards campaign going on. So anyway, if you see Tom, let him know he has my support. Do you call him Tom? Tommy?

CONNOR
I don’t really call him-
(Sarah elbows Connor)
He goes by Tip.

DANIEL
Tip? Like Tip O’Neil? That’s great.

BRIAN
And Mrs. Cantor, what is it you do again?

DEBBIE
I’m a receptionist over at the Burkle Academy. It’s one of those new scientific magnet schools they’re putting up for kids..

CONNOR
I hear they’re puttin’ magnet schools all over the place now.

Sean and Grams re-enter with food.

SEAN
Brian, could ya gather all the soup bowls and put ‘em in the sink?

BRIAN
Yes, sir.

Brian stands and collects bowls, exiting when his hands are full to get rid of them, and then returning. The dishes are passed around the table.

CONNOR
Well, Grams, what’ve we got?

SEAN
Ma made corned beef and cabbage

GRAMS
Also made bangers and mash, t’ough if ya don’t want bangers, I only put’em in half. Oh, and t’ere’s some black and white puddin’ if ya’d like.

DANIEL
Bangers?

CONNOR
Sausage.

DANIEL
Oh. Deb, is it too early for pudding? What can I say, I like dessert. Chocolate and vanilla, you said?

CONNOR
Actually, it’s just more links.

DEBBIE
We’re kosher.

SARAH
Mom...

SEAN
Pardon?

DANIEL
We can’t eat sausage.

DEBBIE
It’s our religion.

SARAH
You can still eat corned beef. And just don’t take any-bangers widh yer mash.

CONNOR
I’m assumin’ that cabbage is alright, too.

GRAMS
Somet’in’ the matter? Is my cookin’ not good for the guests?

SARAH
It’s fine, Mrs. Kierney. Grams. My mom’s just picky.

DEBBIE
Sarah, that’s enough. You’re cooking’s just fine, Mrs.-

SARAH
Kierney.

DEBBIE
My husband’s just a little picky about his food.

Daniel looks up from the meal he’s enjoying.

SEAN
I never understood why God make bacon if he wouldn’t let ya eat it.
(beat)
Just makin’ a joke. Sorry. Shall we say grace?

Everyone joins hands around the table. Daniel and Debbie are clearly uncomfortable.

Brian? Would ya do the honors?

BRIAN
Dear Lord. Thank you for the food before us. Thank you for all the growing things we can eat. And thank you for family, and for making us your children. Amen.

ALL
Amen.

(beat)

Everyone begins eating, except Debbie who reluctantly picks at her food, trying little bits at a time.

DEBBIE
I brought latkes. Brian put them in the kitchen for me.

DANIEL
Sweetie, that’s not a meal. Have you tried this beef? It’s delicious.

Debbie forces a smile and tries the beef, chewing reluctantly but clearly enjoying it deep inside.

DEBBIE
Do you have any wine? Some red wine would go great with this.

SEAN
Ma?

Grams smiles and gets up from the table.

DEBBIE
Oh, she shouldn’t get up. Have a seat, grandma. You already did all the cooking.

GRAMS
But I dinnae bring the wine.

She goes out.

BRIAN
Don’t worry about it. She’s a little stubborn.

SEAN
Brian, that’s your grandmother.
(to Debbie)
She can be stubborn, though. We let her go about her business ‘stead of gettin’ in her way. Hell hath no fury like a woman’s wrath.

Daniel chuckles at his, until Debbie’s stare shuts him up.

Grams re-enters with a bottle of meade.

DEBBIE
Oh...did you have anything red? Like a, uh, um, a sh-, sh....

SARAH
Shiraz?

DEBBIE
Shiraz? Zinfandel? What else...

GRAMS
Afraid not. Just a bottle o’ meade I’ve had fer...oh, some years now. The wine’s supposed to bring ya luck in love. On the weddin’ night, the bride’s parents give the newly weds enough to last until the next new moon. That’s yer honeymoon, for ya. Now I know t’at it’s a bit early-I know t’ey ain’t married just yet, but it’s a toast to the engagement, and the luck of it workin’ out. At this rate, I might not be around for the weddin’.

BRIAN
Don’t say that, Grams, you’re in great health-

GRAMS
T’ere’d be a weddin’ much sooner if ya’d only taken to the women, young man.

SEAN
Let’s just have a toast, then. To tradition-or breakin’ it-and to love.

A glass is poured for everyone, and they toast.

DANIEL
Shalom.

GRAMS
Slainte.

Black out.

SCENE 4
“Amazing Grace” instrumental playing.

Lights up. Sarah sits alone in a chair in the Kierney’s kitchen. After a moment, Connor enters; he is surprised to see her.

CONNOR
Sarah! What-what are you...?

SARAH
Hi, Connor.

CONNOR
Hi, um...how did you get in?

SARAH
Forgot I still had a spare key.
(she raises the key to show him)

CONNOR
Oh.
(beat)
So what are you doin’ here exactly?

SARAH
Sitting Shiva.

CONNOR
You’re sittin’ what? Sittin’ down? What-

SARAH
Shiva, Connor. It’s-how the Jewish people mourn. We...just sit. For 7 days, while people come to visit and pay their respects and all.

CONNOR
I see. Normally, we just get tanked, and we hope that no one gets into a fight.
(beat)
How long you been here so far?

SARAH
About 20 minutes.

CONNOR
Sounds like you still got a ways to go.
(he crosses across the stage to exit)

SARAH
Connor, wait.
(he stops, but does not turn around)
I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I was tied up in some things at work and by the time I would have gotten there I would probably interrupted something-what with my impeccable timing and all-so I thought-
(beat)
I thought that I would come here, I thought-that I could sit Shiva or do something for you or something relevant or som...yeah.

CONNOR
Yeah.
(beat)
Well, it’s a good thing I stopped home between then. Wouldn’t want to leave you sittin’ here alone for a day and have me stumble in tomorrow night pissed on whiskey.
(beat)
Thanks, though.

SARAH
You’re welcome.
(beat)
Listen, Connor...could you quit being so damn stubborn all the time, and just turn and look at me for a moment?

Surprised by this, Connor turns around.

CONNOR
Well? What? What have you got to say?

SARAH
What I have to say is that I still care about you, Connor. More than I like to admit to myself sometimes, but I know how important she was to you, so I figured that this was the least I could do. I know what family means to you. Means to me...
(beat)

CONNOR
Is that all?

SARAH
Why do you do that? Why do you always feel like you have to martyr yourself? The only real difference between us is that you already had someone to do that for you, but then, here you are, still carrying that weight around on your shoulders like its your responsibility. You know, like you have to support a family alone, or you have to convert to keep me happy. But you know what, Connor? I don’t care. And I never did. And even if I did, I’d be there, carrying that cross with you, by your side, the whole damn time. That’s what love is, Connor. That’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s two against the world, instead of just one. When are you going to realize that?

CONNOR
Probably about the time I lose the two most important women in my life.
(beat)
Which, coincidentally, is right about now.

Silence.

CONNOR
I should-I should get goin’, I should get back to the wake. I should just change and I-

SARAH
Connor--

Connor grabs Sarah and passionately kisses her. Afterwards, he looks at her pleadingly.

CONNOR
Will ya come with me, Sarah? Will ya? I’m so sorry, about all of this. Sometimes it just takes somethin’ awful to open your eyes. Christ, I already buried one woman today. I’m not about to bury this, too. Well? What do ya say?

Connor offers his hand to Sarah. She smiles, nods, and takes his hand in hers. They move to exit.

CONNOR
Ya know she always liked you. Always askin’ about that pretty Jewish girl I had. She said your dark hair was like clouds over fields of May.

SARAH
What is that supposed mean?

CONNOR
To be honest, I’m not really sure. I think its just its one of those things that’s beautiful enough that you don’t ask questions.

BLACK OUT.

END.