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Old 05-19-2006, 05:05 AM
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[Note: I was commissioned to write this script for a fund-raiser for a local community organization called Community Living, which facilitates in-community living arrangements for partially mentally disabled folk. I was asked to write the male lead for a man who had acted before with some success, although he could not read and would have to learn the lines from a tape recorder. With that in mind, I had to keep his lines to a minimum. Other parameters were that he was (still is) about six feet tall, and his fellow-actor was a woman possinbly late forties-ish. The production was workshopped a couple of times by the director, but never received a useful dramaturgical input. It was shelved in early stages of production when the leading lady's mother suffered an accident, and it proved impossible for the organization to find a replacement for her. I offer it up for slice and dice.]

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Cast
(in order of appearance)
Sandra MacNeil, 45
David MacNeil, 48


Sandra MacNeilís one bedroom apartment. The present.

Notes:
Sandraís boyfriend is Henry. Her girlfriend is Marilyn.
Davidís social worker is Alan Baxter.





Scene 1

(SANDRAís apartment. The room is a combination living room and kitchen. Everything in the place looks pretty beat up or hand-me-down. Magazines everywhere. A pull out couch. Clutter. SANDRA is talking on the phone.)

SANDRA:
Honey, no. Honestly. I would never ó No. What makes you think ó Look ó Listen to me for a minute, Honey.
(Beat.)
My, how you go on. All I said was I wanted to go somewhere special. For my birthday.
(Beat.)
Yes, it is. Tomorrow.
(Beat.)
Look: it doesnít matter. Just ó can we go out, just the two of us?
(Beat.)
I donít know. You decide. Not McDonaldís. Some place with tablecloths. I know, but canít we just this once ó Iíll pay half if you canít afford it. But what happened to the money I ó ? Honey, I was just asking.
(Beat.)
Thatís all right. Iíll use the money I set aside for my hair appointment; Iíll just do it myself.
(Beat.)
Well, yes: I said, Silly, that I want it to be special.
(Beat.)
Well, maybe you could put on that suit you wore to Marybethís wedding.
(Beat.)
No, look: honestly ó no, Iím not. Iím not mad. No. Really. Thatís perfectly all right. I love you.
(Beat.)
I know. Yes.
(Beat.)
Hon? Hon?
(Beat.)
Can you come over tonight?
(Beat.)
Well, after the game?
(Beat.)
Oh. Okay. No. No. Listen: Iím a big girl. But ó listen: tomorrow. What time?
(Beat.)
Make it seven? Well, I have to get ready after work. I want to have a nice bubble bath, and do my hair ó you know.
(Beat.)
I want to look nice for you, Honey.
(Beat.)
Oh, youíre just saying that.
(Pleased.)
Youíre awful. Okay. Seven oíclock tomorrow night.
(Looks around the room.)
Here.
(Beat.)
No, you donít have to. No. I mean it. Just you; thatís all I want.
(Beat.)
Thatís nice. Okay. Love you. íBye.
(Hangs up the phone. SANDRA sighs, and starts tidying. Finally:)
Youíd think, just one night a week ó Donít get pushy, Sandra. Why are men always the ones to get the whole oaf, and weíre left hoping for crumbs? Crumbs from crumbs.
(Phone rings. SANDRA answers it.)
Hello? Marilyn. What can I do you for?
(Beat.)
Nope. Sorry, Iím going out for dinner tomorrow evening with my old man. He insisted. Swept me off my feet.
(Beat.)
Itís surprise.
(Beat.)
Havenít a clue. He just told me to dress up and be ready at seven, mind you.
(Beat.)
I did not. He sent these flowers over: a dozen long-stemmed roses. They smell divine.
(Beat.)
Right here: in my hands.
(There are no roses.)
And you didnít even think heíd remember. Oops ó call on the other line. Must be my sweetie calling back. Iíll call you ó yes. Okay. ĎBye.
(Presses link key on phone. Sweetly:)
Hello?
(Impatiently:)
This is she. Yes?
(Beat.)
Yes.
(Beat.)
What? Sudden? Youíre sorry for the sudden ó
(Beat.)
Well, why canít he go to another group home?
(Beat.)
Thatís not my problem.
(Beat.)
But ó I have no room here. How am I expected to ó
(Beat.)
What? Iím his sister. Donít you have that on a form or something? Listen: I work; I pay taxes ó
(Beat.)
I donít care if the government ó
(Beat.)
Youíll just have to find somewhere else.
(Beat.)
Donít take that tone with me; I pay your salary, Mister.
(Beat.)
Yes.
(Beat.)
No, he canít come here.
(Beat.)
When? Tomorrow afternoon? Well you just canít; thereíll be no one here. Some of us have to work for a living, you know.
(Beat.)
About five-thirty. But Iím going out. Itís my birthday. No, I canít; I just canít. Heíll have to go somewhere else.
(Hangs up.)
The nerve! How do they think I can look after a full-grown man who canít look after himself?
(SANDRA sighs, looks around for something to distract herself, idly thumbs through an open magazine. Suddenly stops and throws the magazine.)
Magazines! Why did I ever ó ? Why is everything such a trap? Itís all like a prison Iím sentenced to for life. Maybe Iím dead and this is hell.
(Pause. Phone rings again. SANDRA answers.)
Hello? Marilyn. Nothing. No.
(Suddenly.)
Oh. Youíll never guess what just happened.
(Beat.)
More flowers? No. Nothing like that. Somebody phoned from that group home my brother has lived in for so long, and ó theyíre closing it, and ó
(Beat.)
Oh, yes; I have a brother. Do I have a brother.
(Beat.)
Well, believe me, Marilyn, you donít want to meet him. Heíd scare you in a dark alley. You know that character in the movie Frankenstein?
(Beat.)
No, no: that guyís assistant: Igor. Well, thatís him. Yeah, with the ó
(Beat.)
Forty-eight. Can you believe it? All those years. Oh, Christmas, his birthday, sometimes. But heís such a chore.
(Beat.)
Oh, government cutbacks or something. But thatís not the ó no. The thing is, they expected me to take him. Me. Well, I told them to take him someplace else. And that was that. So. Why are you calling?
(Beat.)
Oh, no. Donít worry. Heís not coming here. Anyway, you called me. At least I think you did. Sometimes I canít tell.
(Giggles.)
No. No. Really? Not ó Well, just ó Listen: ó listen: I wouldnít go out with him if ó
(Beat.)
I have some advice for you. No, listen: you canít be that desperate. No, no. Listen ó All right.
(Beat.)
No, Iíd compare going out with Charlie Henderson to putting my head in boiling water and keeping it there for the entire date.
(Beat.)
Heís just awful; he ó Just a minute. Thereís a call on the other line. Itís probably my sweetie. Stay on, and Iíll tell you. Just hold the line. Be right back.
(Pushes the link button. Sweetly:)
Hello?
(Business-like:)
This is she.
(Beat.)
I told you I canít. But I havenít room. Tomorrow is impossible.
(Beat.)
No, I donít want him to sleep in the street. But canít you ó
(Beat. Losing steam.)
Yes. Yes. But only for a day or ó
(Beat.)
Yes. Goodbye.
(Hangs up.)
Shit.
(Sits, listlessly. Pause. The phone rings five times, but SANDRA does not answer it.)

END Scene 1

Scene 2


(Same The next day, 5:30 pm. The phone rings four times. SANDRA enters, carrying a huge framed print wrapped in paper. The phone continues to ring, as she tries to deal with the package and her keys and her coat, which is falling off. Finally, she gets to the phone and answers it.)
Hello?
(Beat.)
Already? I just got home; I havenít had a chance to ó yes; Iíll be here. I want you to know, though that this ó He hung up.
(SANDRA replaces the receiver, then hangs up her coat as she continues.)
Well, this canít last long. I just wonít do it. If they think they can sponge off that creep on me, theyíve got another think coming. This is my home, not the governmentís, not theirs; certainly not his. If he has to live on the street, itís their fault, not mine. I have rights, too, let me tell you. ó Iím talking to myself.
(SANDRA stops talking. She finally gets herself a glass of water and sits at the kitchen table, to have sip.)
Another step down into hell. Why me? Why me? Why me?
(There is a soft knock at the door. SANDRA looks at the door, as if to determine whether there was indeed a knock. Nothing happens; she ignores whatever it was, and continues sipping her water. Finally, she hears another soft sound, perhaps the sound of a suitcase being put against the door.)
What the heck?
(SANDRA goes to the door, listens.)
Oh, for God sakes.
(She unlocks the door, opens it, revealing DAVID, holding a bouquet of flowers behind his back, standing timidly on the other side of his suitcase, which was against the door. DAVID is hunched and spastic; his hands are twisted; he walks with a lurch. DAVID smiles apologetically. He forgets the location of the suitcase and trips over it, falling into SANDRAís arms. The bouquet goes flying.)
Get offa me!

DAVID:
Iím sorry, Shanra.
(DAVID cannot pronounce ďSandraĒ.)

SANDRA:
That was fast. Were you outside waiting in the car?

DAVID:
Almost. Alan called from his mobile phone. These flowers are to thank you for letting me stay with you for while. And to wish you happy birthday.

SANDRA:
(Closing and locking the door.)
You remembered my birthday, did you? Thatís one thing you always had: a memory like a steel trap.
(Beat.)
Put your things in the corner.

DAVID:
(He does.)
This is a nice place. Donít worry about me, Shanra: I can just sleep on the floor.

SANDRA:
Youíll be sleeping on the roll-out. But donít count on it for too long. I barely have room for myself as you can see. Thereís the TV. I canít afford cable, so thereís just a few channels, mostly French. Anyway, Iím going out tonight, and I have to get ready. Can you make supper for yourself?

DAVID:
Iíll make some peanut butter sandwiches. Do you want one?

SANDRA:
Put your stuff in the corner for now. Stay out of my things. And donít make a mess.
(SANDRA exits to the bedroom.)

DAVID:
(Looks for peanut butter sandwich makings. He carries each item carefully to the table. The butter is two trips: one from the counter, one from the fridge.)
Bread.
(Beat.)
Butterís almost gone. Have to put out some.
(Beat.)
Milk.
(Beat.)
Plate.
(Beat.)
Knife.
(Beat.)
Glass. Now. Whereís the peanut butter? Come out, come out, wherever you are. The mighty hunter stalks the elusive peanut butter. Is it hiding in the cupboard? No. Has it taken shelter for the night in the grocery bag? No. Maybe itís loitering behind the dish rack. No. Here, peanut butter; here peanut butter. Come out, come out, wherever you are. Behold: ó nothing.
(Goes to the bedroom door.)
Shanra? Shanra?

SANDRA(O.S.):
Yes?

DAVID:
Can you tell me where the peanut butter is?

SANDRA(O.S.):
The what?

DAVID:
(Carefully.)
Pea-nut bu-tter

SANDRA(O.S.):
Oh. In the fridge.

DAVID:
Thank you. In the fridge. Whatever turns your crank.
(Opens the fridge.)
Ah.
(Labouriously makes a peanut butter sandwich, talking occasionally to SANDRA as he makes it.)
Do you like lots of butter? Itís going on in chunks.
(Beat.)
I hope you like ventilated sandwiches, because this butterís making me tear holes in it. Oh, boy.
(Aside.)
Sheís not going to like this. Oh boy.

SANDRA(O.S.):
Whatís that?

DAVID:
You want milk?

SANDRA(O.S.):
What?

DAVID:
You want milk?

SANDRA:
(Looking in through the door. SANDRA is partly changed; her makeup is partly applied; her hair is in a state of semi-readiness.)
David, I canít get ready if you keep interrupting me. Do what you can, and Iíll help you when Iím ready.
(Exit.)

DAVID:
Sorry.
(Pours two glasses of milk as he speaks to himself:)
Itís a good thing youíre my sister; or Iíd think you didnít like me. Ha ha. But youíre just being charming in your own special way.
(Looks around at the clutter as he works.)
Same old Sis. Never put anything away if you can find a temporary spot for it. I guess I can tidy this place when Iím done.
(Finishes the second sandwich.)
I can put laundry here, and magazines there. Magazines. Boy. Lots of magazines. Newspapers can go there, and this is a good spot for small odds and ends. Dishes to be washed there on the counter. Weíll have this place ship shape in no time.
(Holds up a pair of ski boots.)
Winter sport equipment, second floor.
(Holds up a sports bra.)
Summer sports equipment, fourth floor.
(Hold up a half-empty bottle of tequila.)
Religious equipment, top floor.
(Holds up a black lacy something.)
Basement. Going down.

SANDRA:
(Enter quickly, still pinning hair.)
I hope you can ó whatís this? My God, David: I give you a simple task: make yourself a sandwich, and youíve got a mess here thatís going to take hours to ó what are you doing with my underwear? I knew this wasnít going to work. David, Iím your sister, for crying out loud. You canít play with my underwear. Creep.

DAVID:
Iím not ó I was putting it ó

SANDRA:
Just be quiet. Iíll let you stay here tonight, but tomorrow, youíre out of here. Now, I have to get ready for my date. And donít touch my damn underwear.
(Exit.)

DAVID:
But I wasnít playing with it ó
(DAVID sits, places his head in his hands.)
I was hoping, just hoping ó
(Pause.)
(DAVID resumes tidying, being careful not to handle any intimate items of apparel any longer than necessary. He makes good progress, and is clearing dishes, ready to wash them, when SANDRA emerges once again, this time, all ready for her date.)

SANDRA:
What are you doing?
(DAVID drops a dish, which shatters on the floor.)
What have you done? I only have so many plates. Oh, that was part of a matched set. David. Leave it. I donít have time to clean up after you; youíve already made me late. Just leave it, be careful not to walk in it, and Iíll clean it up when I get back. Watch TV or something. Tomorrow, you go. I donít care where; just go. Oh, ó
(Under her breath:)
One more step into hell.
(Exit.)

DAVID:
(Stands looking at the closed door. Then he looks at the broken dish.)
Oh boy.

END Scene 2


Scene 3


(A Dream. Same setting. But it is all cleaned up. SANDRAís keys are on the table. DAVID sits comfortably, reading a book. In the distance we hear a knocking on the door. We hear SANDRAís voice, also in the distance, saying ďOpen up.Ē (See also O.S. cues through the scene. These are on tape.) Knocking continues through the scene until SANDRAís second entrance. The knocking seems to take on a musical rhythm. DAVID and SANDRA move to it as though it were a dance.)
(The action begins as SANDRA arrives from her date, giggling at the door.)

SANDRA:
(To her boyfriend, not visible outside the door.)
No, you canít come in; youíll wake him. Iíll introduce you two another time. Better still, Iíll have him cook you a meal. Heís a gourmet chef. Didnít you know that? He studied in Paris and London. Heís cooked for the Queen and the President on Air Force One. Yes. Sorry. Ta-ta.
(Closes the door, gives DAVID a quick kiss on the forehead.)
Oh, youíre up. How was your evening, dear Brother? I hope you werenít bored.

DAVID:
Far from it. I had a quiet evening, for once. It was a great idea coming here for a holiday. No phone calls. Just peace and quiet. I had time to read these wonderful magazines. Itís been so long since I had the leisure to sit and read. I only wish I didnít have to leave so soon. This is my home already.

SANDRA(O.S.):
Wake up.

SANDRA:
You just stay as long as you like; my home is your home.

DAVID:
I know: mi casa ó

SANDRA:
ó es su casa.
(They both laugh.)

SANDRA(O.S.):
Answer the damn door.

DAVID:
How was your date with Henry?

SANDRA:
Wonderful. We joined Mary and Bob for cracked king crab at Romoniís, then, on to the Casino for a spot of Roulette. The ó oh, youíll never guess this part:
(Holds out her third finger, left hand, revealing ring with a very large diamond.)

SANDRA(O.S.):
I know youíre in there.

DAVID:
Wow! He finally popped the question. What did you say?

SANDRA:
I said yes.

DAVID:
Iím so happy for you. Lucky girl. Lucky girl. Lucky girl.
(DAVID lies down on the couch. As he does so, SANDRA dances off.)

SANDRA:
He asked; I said yes. I said yes. I said yes.
(Exit.)

DAVID:
Lucky girl. Lucky girl. Lucky girl.
(Falls asleep. Then wakes suddenly as SANDRAís voice O.S. gets louder and the knocking becomes very loud.)

SANDRA(O.S.):
Answer the door. Are you deaf?
(DAVID wakes up, disoriented, hears SANDRA at the door.)
David, open the door. Iím locked out.
(DAVID unlocks the door and opens it. SANDRA enters. She holds a cloth over her eye. She is in a terrible mood.)
Canít you do a simple thing like answer the door? I was knocking forever.
(Sees her key on the table.)
Thereís my damn key.

DAVID:
Hi. I had the strangest dream. How was your date?

SANDRA:
(Goes quickly through to her bedroom. On the way she says:)
Itís all your fault.
(Exit.)

DAVID:
Oh, boy.


END Scene 3
Scene 4


(Next morning. DAVID lies, ostensibly asleep on the couch. He wears pajamas. Off, in SANDRAís bedroom, a clock radio starts blaring a news broadcast. Before we can tune in to it, it is punched off. Soon, SANDRA enters, a mess, in a flannel nightgown and rollers, pulling a heavy dressing gown over her nightgown. She has a little shiner. She has forgotten DAVID is there. She starts a kettle and gets out the makings of instant coffee. She turns on the news softly, so we can hardly hear it. She turns and sees DAVID.)

SANDRA:
(She reaches for a weapon and grabs a hand mixer.)
Donít move. Iím armed. Iím calling the police.

DAVID:
(Disoriented at first, then coming to his senses.)
Shanra?

SANDRA:
Oh. You scared the hell out of me. What are you doing here?

DAVID:
I came yesterday. Remember?

SANDRA:
Oh, my God. Henry! I have to call Henry.
(Dials.)
Come on. Wake up. Wake up.
(Beat.)
Hello? Honey? Itís me. Hi. I was beginning to think Iíd missed you. How are you this morning?
(Beat.)
Listen ó I know that.
(Beat.)
Seven thirty.
(Beat.)
Yes, I know, Honey. Listen, Honey, Iím really sorry about last night. You were totally right, and I was totally wrong. It doesnít matter about the money. I just wanted you to know before you go to work. I ó
(Beat.)
Yes. Well, heíll be leaving as soon as ó
(Beat.)
I want you too, Honey.
(Beat.)
As soon as heís gone.
(Beat.)
Uh-huh.
(Beat.)
Me, too.
(Beat.)
Yup. íBye.
(Beat.)
Soon.
(Beat.)
íBye.
(Hangs up. Looks at DAVID, angrily. Rises, full of resolve.)
Youíre leaving right after breakfast. So have some cereal, or whatever you eat; then, itís out.

DAVID:
Shanra ó

SANDRA:
Stop calling me that; my name is Sandra. San-dra.

DAVID:
You need help.

SANDRA:
Say it; say ďSandraĒ.

DAVID:
You need help.

SANDRA:
You canít, can you?

DAVID:
I can help you.

SANDRA:
You? You can help me? This is crazy; youíre leaving.

DAVID:
Please Shanra, listen to me: you need my help.
(Beat.)
Iím your only living relative; Iím family.
(Beat.)
Family. Doesnít that mean anything to you? When mother died, she asked us to look after each other.

SANDRA:
This is stupid.

DAVID:
She was really asking you to look after me; but I think you need more help from me than you think ó

SANDRA:
This is so stupid. You have to ó

DAVID:
Shanra, you need me.

SANDRA:
I need you?

DAVID:
You do.

SANDRA:
Why do I need you?

DAVID:
Your eye ó
(SANDRA moves away from his intense look.)
Well, you need a cleaner, for one thing.

SANDRA:
I just havenít had time ó

DAVID:
I know how. I can keep this place clean and tidy. I can help you with your other problems, too.

SANDRA:
Now I know youíre crazy.

DAVID:
This boyfriend ó whatís his name?

SANDRA:
Itís not any of your business.
(Beat.)
Henry.

DAVID:
Henry. Will he help you? Will he look after you? Or is he just a grown up kid who spends all his time playing and making you unhappy? I can help you be happy, in spite of Henry.

SANDRA:
That was the wrong thing to say.

DAVID:
Maybe it was, but itís the truth.

SANDRA:
Truth? What do you know about truth? you spend your whole life in a ó a place for freaks. A ó why donít you join the circus where you belong? The twisted man.

DAVID:
Join the circus. A lot you know: my life is a circus. So is yours. And Henry has the whip.

SANDRA:
David: I want you to leave.

DAVID:
I know that already.

SANDRA:
Youíre not going to leave. Listen: I can call the police and have you removed for trespassing.

DAVID:
No, you canít: I hold the deed on this place.

SANDRA:
Youíre the landlord? How ó ?

DAVID:
Mother loved you, but she knew you might not always keep up your end of the bargain, so she gave me a lever.

SANDRA:
What? I thought she trusted me. I thought ó

DAVID:
She did ó to a point. I was hoping I wouldnít have to do this.
(DAVID digs a copy of the deed out of his bag and hands it to SANDRA, who looks at it, bewildered.)
She loved you, Shanra. But she loved me, too. Shanra, letís not fight. Letís try to get along.

SANDRA:
But ó she didnít trust me. Why didnít she trust me?

DAVID:
Maybe she thought youíd forget that Iím your brother.

SANDRA:
This is so disappointing.

DAVID:
Iím going to make you a promise: if youíll give me a chance, and let me stay here until I can get another place, Iíll sign half the deed over to you.

SANDRA:
But it will be too late then.

DAVID:
Too late? Henry. What kind of deadline has he given you?

SANDRA:
You wouldnít understand.

DAVID:
Try me.

SANDRA:
He lost his job. He had to move. I promised him he ó He ó he said you have to go.

DAVID:
But heís never even met me. Oh, but you told him ó

SANDRA:
Donít you see? You have to go.
DAVID:
You donít get it, do you? I canít. This is my home, now. Youíre my sister. You ó this place ó itís all I have ó there isnít anywhere else.

SANDRA:
But itís my home: mother said ó hey: she gave me a lease. I have a lease.
(Triumphantly.)
With a lease, the landlord can only come in with my permission. Hah.

DAVID:
She gave you a lease. So she didnít trust me, either. Thatís kind of funny. No, thatís really kind of funny. Can I see it?

SANDRA:
No. You have to go.

DAVID:
I guess so. But canít I see it?

SANDRA:
No.

DAVID:
Why not?

SANDRA:
You have to go now.

DAVID:
Let me see it.

SANDRA:
Get out.

DAVID:
There is no lease.

SANDRA:
Yes there is. Now, get out.

DAVID:
Let me see it. Iím not leaving until I see it.

SANDRA:
Oh.
(Rummages in a drawer.)
Here. Here it is. Are you satisfied? Now go.

DAVID:
Let me read it.

SANDRA:
No, you just said you wanted to see it; youíve seen it. Now, go.

DAVID:
(Holds out his hand for the lease.)
Let me read it. Iíll tell Henry about Sammy Harris.

SANDRA:
Sammy Harris? You wouldnít.

DAVID:
Oh, yes, I would.

SANDRA:
Here, dammit. Damn steel trap memory.

DAVID:
(Reads.)
Party of the first part . . . . uhuh ó indefinite period . . . . Special provisions.

SANDRA:
(Suddenly.)
Okay, youíve seen it.
(Grabs the lease.)
Why donít we compromise? Iíll let you stay until, say, five oíclock ó thatíll give you time to find another place.


DAVID:
Five oíclock? Wait a minute. Why are you all of a sudden getting compromisy? Whatís in that lease? What are the special provisions?

SANDRA:
(Shoving the lease down the front of her clothes.)
So. I have to get ready for work. You all right for breakfast?

DAVID:
Sure Iím all right for breakfast. Whatís in the special provisions?

SANDRA:
Nothing you need to know.
(Exiting to her bedroom.)
Making some coffee? Iíll have a cup.

DAVID:
Whatís in that ó Thereís got to be ó
(Phone rings.)
ó a clause protecting me. Want me to get it?

SANDRA:
(Enters quickly.)
No.
(Answers phone.)
Hello?
(DAVID heads for SANDRAís room. Exit.)
Hi, Honey.
(Beat.)
By five.
(Beat.)
My bedís been so cold and empty.
(Beat.)
Of course I do.
(DAVID emerges reading the lease.)
Honey. Honey.
(Beat.)
Sure.
(Sees DAVID with the lease.)
Just a minute, Honey. Hey. Put that back.

DAVID:
Oh, no. Special provisions. ďThis lease is granted, provided that in case of emergency, the lessee will provide shelter to her brother, David MacNeil, for as long as he should require.Ē Hah. Hah.

SANDRA:
Honey? Iíll call you back.

END Scene 4
Scene 5


(Same. That afternoon. DAVID sits reading. A gentle Mozart piece plays in the background. There is a knock at the door. DAVID stops reading, looks towards the door. Still holding his book, he rises and starts towards the door. The door handle turns. The door handle shakes. The knocking starts again, louder and stronger this time. DAVID decides to be cautious, and stops, as the knocking continues, louder than before. DAVID quietly places a chair against the door, the back propped under the knob.)

LOUD MALE VOICE(O.S.):
I know youíre in there. Iím warning you. Get out, or Iíll bust this door down and put you out. Freak. Iím warning you. Get out. Today. Iíll be back tonight at eight; and if youíre not gone, youíre going out on your head.
(One more knock at the door.)
Hear me? Eight oíclock.
(Pause. The Mozart is still playing. DAVID stands, looking at the door.)
Eight oíclock, Freak; eight oíclock.
(DAVID stands still. There is another bash at the door, then footsteps receding. DAVID still looks at the door. Pause. DAVID turns and goes back to his chair. The Mozart is still playing softly. DAVID sits in the chair, composes himself, with his book on his lap. He takes deep breaths. He calms down. He finally picks up his book, and is about to resume reading, when the phone rings. He shrieks and his book goes up into the air. He takes a breath and answers the phone.)

DAVID:
Hello?
(Beat.)
Alan?
(Beat.)
Yes. Well, I had to use the deed, as you thought; but Iím here to stay, it looks like. Iím having some trouble with the boyfriend. He was just here yelling at me through the door.
(Beat.)
No, I sure didnít. Well, if he breaks it down, I guess Iíll just have to scare him off by letting him think heís killed me.
(Beat.)
Yeah.
(Beat.)
Oh, I think his bark is worse than his bite; although he doesnít seem to mind hitting my sister.
(Beat.)
Maybe I will, but Iíll talk to her before I do; sheíd have to press the charges ó wouldnít she?
(Beat.)
Uhuh. How are the other guys making out?
(Beat.)
Aw, poor Martin. I knew that would be a tough one. Iíd put him up here, but I have my sister to look after. You know how it is. Yeah.
(Beat.)
Oh, Iím sure sheíll be all right after I straighten things out for her a bit; sheíd just doesnít know her limitations. Once she understands herself better, sheíll adjust, Iím sure.
(Beat.)
Yeah, nice talking to you, too.

END Scene 5


Scene 6

(Same. Later the same day. DAVIDís bag is unpacked; his things are arranged prominently around the room. DAVID is finishing the dishes.)

SANDRA:
(Enters rapidly and collapses into a chair.)
What did I do to deserve this?

DAVID:
Hi, Shanra. Iím fine. How was your day?

SANDRA:
My day was a stinking, rotten mess, thanks to you and that lease your mother inflicted on me.
(Dials the phone.)

DAVID:
She was your mother, too. So, Henryís still giving you a hard time, eh?

SANDRA:
Henryís giving me a hard time? That isnít half of it. They wouldnít give me time off work to go over and see him, and my supervisor called me into her office to lecture me for half the morning about how that was a business phone and it wasnít to be used for personal calls.
(Hangs up.)
Still no answer. Then she smiles all sugary like and says we understand each other she hopes, and sheís glad we had this little talk. Little talk. I could have gone to Henryís, talked the whole thing out and still been further ahead in my work. When I left, there were twelve messages from Henry in my mail cubicle. I try calling him from a pay phone on the way home, and he isnít in. And now I have this huge backlog of work and they wonít let me work overtime to at least get something out of this stupid, stupid situation and I canít talk to Henry, and itís all your stupid fault.
(Phone rings. Answers angrily.)
Hello.
(Warms up.)
Marilyn. You wonít believe what a day I had.
(Beat.)
Yes, but listen ó
(Beat.)
He did? But listen ó
(Beat.)
Marilyn. But ó She hung up. Ooooh!
(Dials the phone.)
Now her line is busy ó or is it his? Whose frigginí phone did I dial anyway?
(Dials the phone. Waits while it rings. Hangs up.)
Still no answer. Where is he? Ooooh! Iím going crazy on the way to hell. And itís all your stupid, stupid, stupid fault. I wish I were dead. I wish you were dead. Oh!
(Exit.)
(DAVID looks towards her. He sighs.)

DAVID:
And I thought I had problems.


END Scene 6.


Scene 7


(Later. DAVID sits. The phone rings.)

SANDRA:
(Emerges frantically from the bedroom, answers the phone.)
Henry?
(Disappointment.)
Marilyn.
(Beat.)
No, I didnít.
(Beat.)
Are you sure? Maybe it wasnít ó
(Beat.)
Oh.
(Beat.)
Well, thanks. I ó
(Beat.)
No, heís still ó
(Beat.)
Marilyn, you wouldnít ó
(Beat.)
Okay. Thanks. íBye.
(Hangs up. Sits, dejected. Starts to weep.)
How could he? How could he?
(Looks at DAVID.)
Donít you say it. Donít you say a word. I donít want you to say a single word.
(Pause.)
He said he loved me. He was so ó
(Beat.)
Heís a mean man, a very mean man.
(The phone rings.)
I canít ó I just canít.

DAVID:
(Answers.)
Hello? Yes. Can I take a message?
(SANDRA mimes to DAVID: ďis it Henry?Ē DAVID mimes back: ďNo.Ē Then asks SANDRA:)
Did you buy a some magazine subscriptions in support of something called Children Against Drugs?

SANDRA:
Not again. Wonít they leave me alone?

DAVID:
Did you?
(SANDRA regretfully nods her head. DAVID to the phone:)
You must have the wrong number.
(Beat. Then, incredulous:)
What?
(To SANDRA:)
He says you owe a hundred and twenty-nine dollars and one cent.
(To phone.)
Thatís ridiculous. Whoíd pay a hundred and twenty-nine dollars for a magazine?
(Beat. To SANDRA:)
He says you missed a payment and the contract says if you miss a payment, you have to pay the whole thing. Is that legal?
(SANDRA sighs. Beat.)
Tell you what: keep your magazines; we donít want them.
(Beat.)
And keep your attitude; we donít want that, either.
(Hangs up.)
Itís just a scam. The nerve of some crooks. The nerve! Magazines?

SANDRA:
Oh, it all happened a couple of months ago: this guy got me on the phone and just talked forever. I guess I told him yes just to get rid of him.

DAVID:
You didnít. Well, itís a verbal contract over the phone. Never mind; you donít have to pay.

SANDRA:
I donít? Are you sure?

DAVID:
Itís a scam. Youíre a victim. They canít get personal; they canít get nasty; they canít harass you. If they phone again, hang up. Donít talk to them.

SANDRA:
Just hang up?

DAVID:
Just hang up. Here.
(Hands SANDRA the phone.)
Itís for you.

SANDRA:
What? Oh.

DAVID:
(Mimicking a phone solicitor.)
Is this Shanra MacNeil?

SANDRA:
Yes?

DAVID:
This is the Crappy Credit Agency calling.

SANDRA:
Oh?

DAVID:
No, no, Shanra. What do you do?

SANDRA:
Oh. Hang ó
(Hangs up the phone. Beat.)
That was easy.

DAVID:
Okay?

SANDRA:
Itís been a nightmare in hell: that guyís been phoning me for a month. Threatening to take me to court, credit bureau ó the whole pressure thing. I donít know why I agreed to take those magazines. I just wanted to get him off the line. Now thereís this hassle. So I just hang up?

DAVID:
Right.

SANDRA:
Okay.
(Phone rings. SANDRA looks at it, then cautiously answers.)
Hello?
(She hangs up.)
Hah! It was him. Look: Iím shaking. Ha ha. I just hung up on him.

DAVID:
Good.

SANDRA:
(Phone rings again. SANDRA hesitates, looks at the phone, then more confidently answers it.)
Hello?
(Listens, becoming agitated. DAVID gestures, encouraging her to hang up. SANDRA hangs up, shocked.)
He swore at me.

DAVID:
What did he say?

SANDRA:
He said, ďDonít you ever hang up on me again, you bitch.Ē

DAVID:
Now heís done it.
(Phone rings again. DAVID answers.)
Hello.
(Beat.)
You swore at my sister. That is verbal abuse. I am telling you not to call here again. If you do, I will call the police and have you charged.
(Hangs up.)
That ought to slow his ass.

SANDRA:
Is that true?

DAVID:
Itís true.

SANDRA:
Wow. Not bad.

DAVID:
Not bad for a freak.

SANDRA:
Not bad for a freak.

END Scene 7 Scene 8


(Same. Later the same day. Evening. SANDRA is on the phone. DAVID is off.)

SANDRA:
Answer. Please, please answer.
(Beat. Big sigh. SANDRA wait while the phone keeps ringing. Suddenly, she perks up.)
Incoming call.
(Beat.)
Should I ó ?
(Expectantly presses the link button.)
Hello?
(Beat.)
Marilyn. I canít talk now. Iím expecting a call from Henry.
(Beat.)
Yes, I do; but I just canít think right now. I wonít even know what youíre saying. No. It was all a misunderstanding. Yeah. He was just out with a bunch of them because they were ó celebrating her birthday.
(Beat.)
Yeah. Well, I couldnít because my brother ó
(Beat.)
Well, he doesnít have anywhere else. I couldnít ó well, you know: family; what can I say? Yeah. Yep: blood is thicker than ó ha. Listen, sweets, I really do have to ó yeah, Iíll let you know. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. íBye.
(Hangs up.)
Nosey bitch. Yeah, Iíll tell you the intimate details of my non-existent sex life. Right.
(Dials.)
Come on; come on.
(Beat.)
Aw, Henry ó where are you? If youíre out with that ó bitch, Iíll kill you. Iíll kill her.
(Perks up, as Henry answers.)
Iíll ó hello, Henry. Iíve been ó
(Beat.)
No, heís ó
(Beat.)
Well, I canít; he has this deed, and thereís a clause in my lease that ó itís all complicated. I ó
(Beat.)
No, Honey, Iím not saying you couldnít understand it, itís just that ó Henry, did you go out last night after I left?
(Beat.)
Well, no, I ó itís just that Marilyn said ó
(Beat.)
No, Honey; I understand that; itís just that ó
(Beat.)
No, Honey, I know youíre free to go out if you want. Itís just that I thought we had an understanding that ó
(Beat.)
I know.
(Beat.)
I know.
(Beat.)
Yes.
(Beat.)
Yes.
(Beat.)
Yes.
(Beat.)
Iím sorry, Honey.
(Beat.)
No. No, Honey, I understand that; itís just that it was my birthday, and I ó
(Beat.)
I know that, Honey ó I just wanted it to be for us. Just for us.
(Beat.)
No, I didnít mind. Really. No, they were a lot of fun; I just thought that ó well, you spent all of it on rounds . That was my next weekís grocery money and I thought they could have ó
(Beat.)
Well, I know theyíre your friends, but ó
(Beat.)
I know, Honey: yes, it does look bad if you canít ó
(Beat.)
Youíll get a job, honey. But where are you going to stay?
(Beat.)
But sheís ó Youíre going to ó
(Beat.)
No. I just donít think itís a good idea.
(Beat.)
Of course I trust you.
(Beat.)
I do.
(Beat.)
No, itís just that if you stay with her, you might ó
(Beat.)
No, Iím just saying that sheís ó
(Beat.)
No, Iím saying I wish you wouldnít.
(Beat.)
I donít know where.
(Beat.)
I donít want you to. Please donít.
(Beat.)
No, Iím just trying to ó
(Beat.)
Iím not yelling at you; Iím being very calm.
(Beat.)
Couldnít you stay with Jerry or Michael?
(Beat.)
Well, for one thing, theyíre guys.
(Beat.)
Please donít yell, Honey.
(Beat.)
No, I ó Donít yell at me; I didnít do anything. You are yelling. Who is that? I can hear ó itís her. Youíre with her. Television? You ó you bastard! That is her; Iíd recognize that stupid laugh anywhere. You ó Go to hell.
(Looks at the phone, the light dawning, hangs up.)
Just hang up. Right. That feels better. That really feels better.
(Beat.)
What have I done?

DAVID:
(Enter.)
Hi. Thereís a ó whatís wrong?
(The phone rings. SANDRA makes no move to answer it.)
Want me to get it?
(SANDRA shakes her head ďno.Ē They both look at the phone as it continues ringing. Finally, DAVID picks up the receiver and replaces it. SANDRA giggles nervously. The phone starts to ring again. They let it ring.)

END Scene 8 Scene 9


(Same. Later. SANDRA and DAVID sit. SANDRA is anxious and weepy.)

SANDRA:
Damn allergies ó or Iím getting a cold; I never can tell.

DAVID:
Depends on the type of snot you have. If itís green ó

SANDRA:
David, I donít really want to ó

DAVID:
Well, I was just saying that thereís a difference between what your nose does for a cold or an allergy.
(Beat.)
You did the right thing. Youíre better off without him.
(Beat.)
Iím sorry. Itís all my fault; Iíll find someplace else. Iíll get out of your life and ó

SANDRA:
No. You were right: this is your home.
(Pause.)
I know itís not your fault; I know that. If he were really in love with me, a little change of plans ó a little delay ó wouldnít matter to him. Heíd understand. I know Iíll never see any of that money again; I know that. Iím such a fool where men are concerned ó real fall-girl. So naÔve. I believe anything. Anything. I just do. I guess the desperation shows; they just see it and know. Itís like a road map to the stupid woman. You know, David, when I was a little girl, I always thought Iíd marry a wonderful man, have a half-dozen children, and live happily ever after in a big house with a white picket fence. Look at this. There isnít even a fence. Just a little patch of weeds outside that ó Iím sorry. What would you like for supper?
(Heavy knocking at the door. They look at each other. SANDRA moves as if to go to the door. DAVID gestures for her to stop.)

MALE VOICE(O.S.):
Open the door. I know youíre in there.
(Beat.)
Sandra.
(Knocking.)
Answer the door.
(Beat.)
Open up, you bitch!
(Knocking.)
Itís that freak brother put you up to it, isnít it? Youíd never have the guts to do this on your own.
(Knocking.)
Open up, or Iíll break it down.
(Beat.)
Sandra? Sometimes you make me mad. I donít mean to get mad, but you just seem to ask for it, you know?
(Beat)
Cherry pot?

SANDRA:
(Melting, starting to head for the door.)
Henry?
(DAVID cuts her off. Makes a hang up gesture.)
Henry, I ó I canít do this any more.
(Beat.)
Itís over.

MALE VOICE(O.S.):
Over? Iíll tell you when itís over. Promises were made; you owe me.

SANDRA:
(Looking to DAVID for moral support.)
Henry, you have to go now. And donít come back.

MALE VOICE(O.S.):
Listen: you owe me.

SANDRA:
No, you owe me ó just go! Get out of here! Get out! Get out!

MALE VOICE(O.S.):
(Pounding on the door.)
Iíll break it down; youíll be sorry.

DAVID:
(Goes to the door, hands SANDRA his glasses. Opens the door. Looks directly out, then down where the head of a short, angry man would be.)
Yes?
(Watches Henry make a hasty retreat. Smiles. Closes the door, reaches to SANDRA for his glasses.)
He left in a hurry.

SANDRA:
That was a very brave, foolish thing to do.

DAVID:
Itís the only thing I could do: youíre my sister, and this is our home.

SANDRA:
Yes it is. Our home.

DAVID:
He was so short. You like short guys? I know this guy, Tommy ó now, heís short. Heís really short. Heís about four feet tall. I could set you up ó I mean down.

SANDRA:
Listen, I can find my own dates.

DAVID:
Thatís good, ícause Tommyís really particular.

SANDRA:
You donít think Iím good enough? Watch it, or youíll be out of here, too.

DAVID:
Donít kick me out too soon: you need my help to put up the Christmas tree.

SANDRA:
Please donít tell me youíre one of those people who gets all ready months ahead.

DAVID:
Months ahead? Itís almost Christmas now. Have you got my present yet?

SANDRA:
Your present? What did you get me?

DAVID:
Nothing.
(Beat.)
Salt and a lump of coal.

SANDRA:
What did you get me? You brat! Iím telling.

DAVID:
I dare you.

END

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Last edited by riverwriter; 05-19-2006 at 03:21 PM.. Reason: repairing copy and paste anomolies
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Old 05-19-2006, 11:59 AM
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What's with the ‒‒? What does it mean?
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:24 PM
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In common usage, the dash has two distinct functions: one is to be used as the reverse of the colon; the other is to be used to indicate strong parentheses or interruption.

In the first case, these two sentences are equivalent:

I bought two oranges: one large, the other small.
One orange was large, the other small — I bought two.

In the second case, two examples will serve:

I could hardly — ow! What did you do that for?
I thought that you would — well, I was hoping, sort of — lend me fifty bucks.

Okay?
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by riverwriter
In common usage, the dash has two distinct functions ...
The dash is displaying as a box-like symbol in your post. I think this happens when you copy-paste text from certain word processors.
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:09 PM
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Hm. Even in your post it came up as a dash on my browser. I'll do a seach and replace to change the box to a "ó" and repost as an edit. After supper; I'm cooking tonight.

Done. That was a weird situation. Glad we were able to sort it out.
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:52 PM
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I really liked this script. It made me smile and the dynamics between the brother and sister were fantastic! Kept me hooked the whole way through! Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece!
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Old 09-30-2006, 05:06 PM
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Just a point of note. As a fellow scriptwriter, I've learnt one thing - no one likes watching a prolonged one-sided conversation. The main resaon being that people don't like guessing what the conversation is about and not knowing if they're right. Short one-sided conversations are fine. You must remember people's attention spans are short when it comes to phone conversations.

SANDRA:
No. You were right: this is your home.
(Pause.)
I know it’s not your fault; I know that. If he were really in love with me, a little change of plans — a little delay — wouldn’t matter to him. He’d understand. I know I’ll never see any of that money again; I know that. I’m such a fool where men are concerned — real fall-girl. So naÔve. I believe anything. Anything. I just do. I guess the desperation shows; they just see it and know. It’s like a road map to the stupid woman. You know, David, when I was a little girl, I always thought I’d marry a wonderful man, have a half-dozen children, and live happily ever after in a big house with a white picket fence. Look at this. There isn’t even a fence. Just a little patch of weeds outside that — I’m sorry. What would you like for supper?
I don't know about you but no matter how hard I try, I'm going to have a lot of trouble remember all these lines in one chunk. A script writer must always keep the actor's ability in mind. Writing a great big chunk like this may look good on paper but unless the actor is trainined in monologue, you'd be hard pressed trying to get them to remember the whole lot.

I hope that helps.
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:05 PM
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Kimba:
You make a good point; however, draw to your attention the note I posted at the top of the script, in which I indicated the unusual circumstances of the commission, which required that the female have the preponderance of the lines. The male actor for whom I wrote the part had considerable semi-professional stage experience, through the kindness of the artistic director of a local professional company, but the actor in question was severely handicapped with a speech impediment, and the inability to read: he had to learn his lines from a tape recorder, and these had to be limited in quantity, as he could only remember so many. The director knew that we had a problem with exactly the point you are making: they had to give the audience lots to make up for the huge number of virtual monologues in the script. An interesting problem from many angles, don't you think? I imagine that if I ever attempt to ressurrect this script (for a fringe performance, possibly), I will write it with a lot more for the male to say, since presumably I would not be accomodating a disabled actor.
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:13 PM
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Point taken. For what it's worth, I work in the disability sector [I'm a nurse] so I'm well aware of the issues you have raised.

I would like to point out however, that just because one actor has a speech impediment, the script shouldn't have to be written so that the female takes the weight of the play. It makes the play very unbalanced.

Please note that I'm not putting you down. I tend to look at a structure of a play to see if it'll work with an audience. You can still write a script to accomodate a disabled actor but you need to be careful that it doesn't lessen the role of the character in the process and take the attention away from him/her and give it to someone else.

If you need help balancing a script, feel free to PM me.
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Old 10-01-2006, 03:25 PM
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I would be very pleased to see your recommendations for balancing this script. Note, however, that I am not considering working on this piece at present, or in the near future, as I am in the heat of writing another script which has its own dramaturgical deadlines. I certainly would welcome any general comments you would like to make; anything more would be wasted on me at this point, although others in this group might be interested in the discussion. That was my main objective in posting "Home" in the first place.
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:26 PM
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That's fine. I was just pointing out the finer details of the script and to bring your attention to it for future scripts.

Oh, and I mentioned balancing a script, not just the "Home" one. So my offer still stands.
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