Disenchanted: A My Chemical Musical

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A script with no genre. A romance with no love. Disenchanted covers the death of innocence, the tragedy of change, and the beauty of redemption through the use of various musical numbers. Disenchanted is a musical script written with songs by the popular rock band: My Chemical Romance. All song lyrics remain the work and property of the band in question. The character, plot, and script all belong to I. Wilson

Submitted: May 06, 2017

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Content

Submitted: May 06, 2017

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Dedicated to the Pius Players,

Trent Framke,

and Todd Power

 

 

 

Disenchanted:

A “My Chemical Musical”

 

 

Script

Isaac Wilson

Original Music

“My Chemical Romance”

Cover Art and Logo

Laura Konz

Arrangements

Brian Nguyen and Adam Zastrow

 

 

 

 

 

CAST:

CURTIS JOY – our hero

JANE KHELL – the florist

CLAIRE JOY – the young sister of our hero

DARREN CAPULA – our hero’s best friend

HELENA JOY – our hero’s grandmother

MARCUS JOY – his alcoholic, veteran brother

HARRIET JOY – his estranged mother

MARIE JOY – his fearful aunt

MR. KILLIAN WESLEY – a pompous, robust property owner

MR. KHELL – father of the florist

MRS. CAPULA – Darren’s mother

JENNIFER/AID – a Nurse

NURSE SELLINGS – a Nurse

TEENAGER – a teenager

DOCTOR JOHNNY ANDERTRAM – Helena’s doctor.

GERALD – the florist’s ex-lover

NICOLE – a ghost

Plus an ENSEMBLE of townspeople, hospital patients, and skeletons.

 

Musical Numbers:

 

#1 (Overture) – The End. …Full Company

 

ACT I

#2 - Na Na Na…Full Company

#4 - I Don’t Love You…Jane

#5 – When I was a Young Boy…Curtis

#7 – Cancer…Helena

#9 – Sleep…Darren, Claire

#11 – Mama…Marcus, Harriet, Ensemble

#15 – House of Wolves…Curtis, Darren, Ensemble

#16 – Famous Last Words…Helena, Ensemble

 

INTERMISSION

 

ACT II

#17 – Teenagers…Curtis, Ensemble

#19 – Helena (So Long & Goodnight) …Curtis

#23 – The Sharpest Lives…Curtis

#24 – Bulletproof Heart…Helena, Ensemble

#26 – Disenchanted…Curtis, Claire, Darren

#27 – This is How I Disappear and I’m Not Okay…Curtis, Nicole

#29 – Welcome to the Black Parade…Curtis, Claire, Ensemble

 

#30 (Curtain Call) – Dead! …Full Company  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT ONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 (Overture) – The End.

 

(Ensemble) (Offstage) Now come one come all to this tragic affair
Wipe off that makeup, what's in is despair
So throw on the black dress, mix in with the lot
You might wake up and notice you're someone you're not

(Townspeople begin to trickle onstage.) If you look in the mirror and don't like what you see
You can find out firsthand what it's like to be me
So gather 'round piggies and kiss this goodbye
I'd encourage your smiles I'll expect you won't cry

Another contusion, my funeral jag
Here's my resignation, I'll serve it in drag
You've got front row seats to the penitence ball
When I grow up I want to be nothing at all! 

I said yeah, yeah! 
I said yeah, yeah!

C'mon C'mon C'mon I said
(Save me!) Get me the hell out of here
(Save me!) Too young to die and my dear
(You can't!) If you can hear me just walk away and
(Take me!)

Curtis(Voice Over) Look alive, sunshine!
One-oh-nine in the sky
But the pigs won't quit
You're here with me: Doctor Death-Defy
I'll be your surgeon, your proctor, your helicopter
Pumpin' out the slaughter-matic sounds
To keep you live
A system failure for the masses
Anti-matter for the master-plan
Louder than God's revolver
And twice as shiny
This one's for all you rock and rollers
All you crash queens and motor babies
Listen up!

 

 

Scene One

(Lights come up on a small strip of businesses. It is early afternoon, and customers are bustling here and there, some carrying flowers from Khell and Daughters’ Floral Shop and others lining up outside of a darkened bookstore.)

(Enter CURTIS JOY, a suave young man in a tweed jacket. He is carrying a box of books into the bookstore.)

Curtis – Ladies and gents, “The Joyful Bookstand” will be opening in just a short while. I assume you saw my ad in the paper about the earlybird discount, and I assure you that deal is still in place. Just give me a hot moment, alright?

(From around the corner enters DARREN CAPULA, not quite as good-looking as his friend, but bursting with energy.)

Darren(Covertly, to Curtis) Curtis fuckin’ Joy! Glad to see you around you bastard. I heard you were back in town but you never rang me up to tell me you were opening your own bookstore here.

Curtis – Why, if it isn’t Darren Capula! You know, it totally skipped my mind that you still lived in these parts. I thought for sure by time I was back home you’d have left this place in the dust.

Darren – Yeah, ever ambitious but I struck it big locally. Don’t you ever get my letters?

Curtis – Of course, because everyone still writes letters these days. I’ve been moving here and there lately, didn’t have a spare moment to check the mail.

Darren – Fair enough. I’ll tell you, Curtis, I have it made here, that’s for certain. I moseyed down to law school for a few semesters, made it out alive, and now I’m serving up justice here there and everywhere in this sleepy town. Every Jim, Joe, and Jerry has called on my services lately.

Curtis – Is that so?

Darren – You betcha, pal. If you’re ever in need of legal assistance, you know who to call…I sure as hell bet you’d—

Curtis – Uhhh…Mr. Capula, I’d like to remind you that those days are long before me. I’ve had to sober up since high school. Maybe it’s different for you, but I have responsibility now.

Darren(Laughing) Like what, your up-and-coming business?

Curtis – Yes…but moreover, my family. You hear that my mother’s kicked out the two other kids?

Darren – Like hell she would!

Curtis – A few weeks ago, actually! Luckily I’d already gotten this deal lined up but she went off her rocker again – screaming and yelling about Marcus and his old habits. Poor Claire got caught up in the whole mess, and she’s been entrusted to my grandmother’s care now.

Darren – So how does that rope you into this whole mess?

Curtis – You know damn well why. Helena pretty much raised me after my father died. It was me and Claire against the world, and I’m not just going to leave anything to chance. I don’t want the kid to turn out like me.

Darren – Yes, I’d sure hope not, opening bookstores and spreading sin throughout the good name of this town. Still, Mr. Tweed and blazer, I think you’re underselling yourself here.

#2 – Na Na Na

Curtis – What are you getting at?

Darren – You remember our more dangerous days, don’t you? Back when we couldn’t remember many of those big nights, evenings out in the woods like wild men? Back when we were always saying the future is bulletproof! The aftermath is secondary. It’s time to do it loud and do it now and do it loud! Khell-Joys, make some noise…

(Darren) Drugs, gimme drugs, gimme drugs
I don't need it, but I'll sell what you got
Take the cash and I'll keep it
Eight legs to the wall
(Ensemble) Hit the gas, kill them all
(Darren) And we crawl, and we crawl, and we crawl
(Ensemble) You be my detonator
(Darren) Love, gimme love, gimme love
I don't need it, but I'll take what I want from your heart
And I'll keep it in a bag, in a box
Put an X on the floor
(Ensemble) Gimme more, gimme more, gimme more
(Darren) Shut up and sing it with me
(Ensemble) (na, na, na...)
(Curtis) From mall security
To every enemy
We're on your property
Standing in V formation
(Ensemble) (na, na, na...)
(Curtis) Let's blow an artery
Eat plastic surgery
Keep your apology
Give us more detonation
(Ensemble) (More! Gimme more! Gimme more!)
(Darren) Oh, let me tell you 'bout the sad man
Shut up and let me see your jazz hands
Remember when you were a madman
Thought you was Batman
And hit the party with a gas can
Kiss me you animal
(Ensemble) (na, na, na...)
(Darren) You run the company
Fuck like a Kennedy
I think we'd rather be
Burning your information
(Ensemble) (na, na, na...)
(Curtis) Let's blow an artery
Eat plastic surgery
Keep your apology
Give us more detonation
(Darren) And right here
Right now
All the way in Battery City
The little children
Raise their open filthy palms
Like tiny daggers up to heaven
And all the juvee halls
And the Ritalin rats
Ask angels made from neon
And fucking garbage
Scream out, "What will save us?"
And the sky opened up

(Enter HELENA, a classy seventy-five year old woman and CLAIRE JOY, a seventeen-year-old girl with an air of innocence and ambition.)
 

(Curtis) Everybody wants to change the world
Everybody wants to change the world
But no one, no one wants to die
Wanna try, wanna try, wanna try
(Ensemble) Wanna try, wanna try, now
(Darren) I'll be your detonator
(na, na, na...)
(Curtis) Make no apology
It's death or victory
On my authority
Crash and burn
Young and loaded
(Darren) Drop like a bullet shell
Dress like a sleeper cell
I'd rather go to hell
(Ensemble) Than be in purgatory
(Curtis) Cut my hair
(Ensemble) Gag and bore me
(Darren) Pull this pin
(Curtis)Let this world explode

Helena ­– Good to see you again, Mr. Capula. You look well.

Claire – Hi, Curtis.

Curtis – Grandma! Claire! You both swinging by for the grand opening?

Helena – You know your sister, we never could keep her away from excitement for too long. I thought we’d come later once the line had died down but she was adamant. She simply had to be there for “the moment.”

Darren – If you’ll all excuse me, I believe I have a meeting that was scheduled to start just when you arrived. (Tipping his hat) Ms. Helena…Miss Claire.

(Exeunt DARREN.)

Curtis – You’re both just in time then, I was about to open the doors. It’s nearly half past two, right?

Claire – Yes, I made sure of it.

Curtis – Wonderful. If you’ll just step inside then…

(Enter MR. KILLIAN WESLEY, a burly and pompous business man in a pinstripe suit. He marches through the crowd and faces CURTIS with a blood-red face, fuming with anger.)

Mr. Wesley – Mr. Joy, a word if I may?

Curtis – Ah—yes—Mr. Wesley, I was just about to open the doors. See, this is my grandmother, Helena and—

Mr. Wesley – Mutual I’m sure. Mr. Joy, are you quite aware that this line forming outside of your place of business is impeding on the livelihood and commerce of the surrounding tradesman?

Curtis – I, well I figured that, by time—

Mr. Wesley – Nothing of it, Mr. Joy. You’re skating on thin ice here and you have been since the beginning of this whole rigmarole. Why, just ten minutes ago that florist was calling me up and beseeching I run you out of business this very second.

Curtis – I understand your concerns, and well, frankly I’m naturally in, uh, agreement but may I…remark?

Mr. Wesley – Only if that expedites this burdensome riffraff.

Curtis – Yes…well I don’t see how talking out here will help us along much.

Mr. Wesley – (grabbing Curtis by the shoulder) Listen, punk, you’re nothing but a teenager with too much snark for one strip mall and I sure as hell doubt you’ll find another so willing to submit to your circumstances. You ought to be grateful for the heart wrenching generosity I’ve portrayed—absolutely!

Curtis – Of course, of course. I sincerely sorry—I mean apologize—for causing any trouble. We’ll be on our way now…with your permission. Yes.

Mr. Wesley – Good riddance and good afternoon to you, Mr. Joy.

(Exit MR. WESLEY.)

Claire – What a piece of work, right Curtis?

Curtis – Ah, pay him no mind, it’s that florist that’ll have my neck long before Mr. Wesley lays a hand on my property.

Helena – Oh we ought to get along then like you said, Curt. Respect others even if they don’t respect you.

Curtis – Right…(to the crowd) Everybody! “The Joyful Bookstand” is now open for business! First one hundred customers get the price of your entire purchase slashed right down the middle!

(The CROWD filters into the bookstore along with CURTIS, HELENA, and CLAIRE. LIGHTS dim on the bookstore.)

FADE TO BLACK

#3 (PLAYOFF) – Na Na Na

 

Scene Two

(Time: Immediately following. LIGHTS come up on another business just down the strip of buildings. A sign reading “Khell and Daughters’ Floral Shop” is clearly visible as JANE KHELL, a young woman, bright and motivated, walks out of the front doors.)

Jane(To herself) Just another good-for-nothing businessman ready to run us out of business.

(Enter from the floral shop MR. JAMIE KHELL, an older man with a limp carrying a bucket of fresh roses.)

Jane – Can you believe this? Mr. Wesley must be up in arms about that bookstore!

Khell – You did call him.

Jane – Yes, I sure did! Nothing frustrates me more than people without respect for each other. Goodness gracious.

Khell – I know, Jane.

Jane – Dad?

Khell – Yes, Jane?

Jane – Has Gerald been around at all today?

Khell – I thought you said you wanted nothing to do with him.

Jane – I did say that, but that doesn’t answer my question. Has he come to the store while I’ve been out?

Khell – Does it make any difference?

Jane – Dad, yes it does—

Khell – You know Jane, I worry about you sometimes. These trivial matters really shouldn’t trouble you when there are more important things to worry about.

Jane – That’s my life and my future you’re talking about! Besides, there are just some things I really don’t understand about how we ended and I only wish I had the opportunity to…talk.

Khell – If I recall, you were the one who broke his heart.

Jane – Yes, I know that! But something is off.

Khell – Huh, it’s almost like you stopped dating or something.

Jane – You are seriously no help at all.

Khell – How about you tell me what you want to tell him. For closure.

Jane – For closure?

Khell – Give it a try.

#4 - I Don’t Love You

 

 

(Jane) Well, when you go

Don't ever think I'll make you try to stay

And maybe when you get back

I'll be off to find another way

And after all this time that you still owe

You're still a good-for-nothing I don't know

So take your gloves and get out

Better get out

While you can

When you go

Would you even turn to say

"I don't love you

Like I did

Yesterday"?

Sometimes I cry so hard from pleading

So sick and tired of all the needless beating

But baby, when they knock you

Down and out

Is where you oughta stay

And after all the blood that you still owe

Another dollar's just another blow

So fix your eyes and get up

Better get up

While you can

Whoa, whoa, whoa

When you go

Would you even turn to say

"I don't love you

Like I did

Yesterday"?

Well, come on, come on

When you go

Would you have the guts to say

"I don't love you

Like I loved you

Yesterday"?

I don't love you

Like I loved you

Yesterday

I don't love you

Like I loved you

Yesterday

 

Khell – Well put. How do you expect him to respond?

Jane – After that, I don’t really know if I want him to say a thing. In fact, I doubt I’ll even say anything to him. I think I just needed to put that out there, let it rattle around in space for a while. I don’t need anyone to hear it, but the words deserved to…to be.

Khell – Good because I doubt he’d a’ listened to you anyway.

(Enter MARIE, a thirty-six-year-old woman, stylish but in a hurry.)

Marie – The Joys set up around here?

Jane – If by “Joy” you mean that sleazy bookstore clerk, he’s just down a few stores.

Marie – Oh, thank you!

Jane – What business you have with him? Trying to cause more chaos for the rest of us storeowners?

Marie – He’s my nephew—haven’t seen him in nearly a year and I just got into town. I’ve missed the opening, haven’t I?

Jane – Yes, but only barely. He kept his doors closed long enough to draw a line as long as the Mississippi River.

Marie – Glad to hear it!

(MARIE hustles down to the bookstore with JANE in heated pursuit, trying to find sharp words where there are none.)

Jane – You know he barely got this store started, right?

Marie(Still walking) I don’t doubt that, he’s a busy kid.

Jane – Oh, then you know how Mr. Wesley—our fine property manager—cut him a deal like none other… (Going ignored) Like none other, I tell you!

 Marie – Sounds like a nice man.

(They reach the Joyful Bookstand. JANE opens her mouth to speak but MARIE turns to her.)

Marie – Listen, whatever you’re about to say doesn’t mean a thing to me because frankly, my dear nephew has spent the better half of a decade getting his life put together after his father’s tragic death, his mother’s estrangement, and his own crippling addiction. If the worst he’s done is drawn a crowd for his business ventures, then I laugh at your concept of “evil” young lady. Maybe spend a minute talking to the man before you spiral him through the gates of hell.

Jane – Well, I…I never even—

Marie – I know, honey.

(MARIE exits into the bookstore and after a moment of hesitation, JANE does the same. Only KHELL is left onstage as a stumbling, disheveled thirty-year-old wanders onstage.)

Khell – Long night, son?

Stranger(with a slur) Ain’t no night to me, sir.

Khell – Lord Almighty, are you intoxicated, friend?

Stranger – You just shut your yapper, ya’ old-timer.

Khell – I sincerely apologize, I don’t want to be a thorn in your side. Believe it or not, I too used to find myself in a very similar way to you.

Stranger – Save it for the epitaph, buckaroo.

(As they converse, a crowd begins to draw, gravitating from the various shops.)

Khell – What you doing in these parts anyway?

Stranger – Lookin’.

Khell – For?

Stranger – For Mr. None of your damn business.

Khell – This building here’s my property and I have every right to call the authorities on account of your state.

Stranger – Go ahead then, I ain’t stoppin’ you.

(Enter CURTIS, CLAIRE, and HELENA.)

Khell – These days, there’s not much to do about folks like you, and if you aren’t going to give me room to talk to here, then I sure as hell am going to call up the—

Claire – Marcus!

Curtis – Holy Hell!

(MARCUS, the drunkard, shakes off his anger and flashes a grimy smile towards his siblings.)

Marcus – If it ain’t my two kiddos. How ya’ doing?

Helena – Marcus get yourself inside the bookstore.

Marcus – What, why? Because this nice modern gentleman is giving me a hard time. Why, we’s a just messin’ around together like…pals…or you know, the like?

(JANE enters from the bookstore, sizing up the situation from afar.)

Helena – I can’t say for certain that he’s pulling your leg, Marcus. Please, go inside.

Khell – You know this man, Mr. Joy?

Curtis – Yes…this is Marcus, my older brother.

Marcus – I’m tickled.

Curtis – Marcus, how about we catch up a little. I’m sure there’s a lot to talk about.

Marcus – Sure is a nice day out here though.

Curtis – We’ll get you all changed and freshened up and then we can go out for a walk alright?

Jane – You sure are lucky we aren’t calling Mr. Wesley on you!

Curtis – You sure are lucky I have the decency to mind my own business.

Khell – Now, we don’t want any trouble here—

Jane – Yes! No! We do want trouble, if it means getting this hoodlum out of the area.

Marcus(Dazed and oblivious) Who’s hoodlum?

Curtis – Grandma, get him inside. Claire, you go too. I’ll handle these folks.

(Exeunt HELENA who tries to grab MARCUS before he makes a quick escape on his own. CLAIRE follows her into the bookstore.)

Curtis – Alright, be frank with me. What’s the deal?

Jane – The deal is since your business came to town we’ve been suffering! All your construction equipment, shipments of books and rowdy music are driving paying customers off. That’s what the deal is!

Curtis – Mr. Wesley is quite fond of reminding me of your situation, and I’ve done my best to accommodate. Cut me some slack, will you?

(Without a word, KHELL exits.)

Jane – Sure, that’s a-okay.

Curtis – Do you just not like me personally, hm? Is it the way I dress or look or smell or something? I don’t ever cross five feet in front of you for fear of your “righteous wrath.”

Jane – Word spreads easily, especially after one has been away for such a long time.

Curtis – The hell do you mean…word?

Jane – Oh, you probably barely remember me, do you? The name is Jane Khell, if you haven’t caught onto that yet, and you may recognize me from high school…but then again I would be surprised if you remember anything from high school.

Curtis – Did…we?

Jane – Ah! No no no! Nothing of the sort. I barely knew you but I knew everything about you. They called you Dr. Death Defy, remember? You’d go to those ragers, shoot your body full of every toxic chemical in the known universe and scream with excitement over nearly killing yourself.

Curtis – Hey, I was an entirely different person back then. I hope you at least recognize that.

Jane – Don’t even pretend to know me. I want nothing to do with you and your debauchery. I don’t want you on the same planet as me, let alone the same strip mall as my business! Khell and Daughters’ Floral Shop is a very professional, esteemed company and—

Curtis – Shut up a second. Before you go and declare me the spawn of Satan, perhaps you should grant me two minutes of defense. Two minutes isn’t too much to ask for.

Jane – Whatever your circumstances are, I can promise you they don’t matter to me in the slightest.

Curtis – Our circumstances are the reason we’ve reached where we are. You must know of the universal truth, right?

Jane – There’s plenty to keep track of.

Curtis – But this one is the only reason for living and if you should forget it—for one moment—you forget the nature of your humanity.

Jane – I don’t want to hear it! And frankly, I do not care. Keep to your own devices and steer clear of my establishment or get out of town.

Curtis – If you’d just give me two minutes.

Jane – I’ve given you more than that already!

Curtis – Then give me a moment.

Jane – Fine…but no universal truths. Just let me know who you are and where you’re going.

 

 

#5 – When I was a Young Boy

 

(Curtis) When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
He said, "Son, when you grow up
Would you be the savior of the broken
The beaten and the damned?"

He said, "Will you defeat them
Your demons, and all the non-believers
The plans that they have made?"
"Because one day I'll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the black parade."

 

Jane – I met a woman on my way to chew you out who said she was your aunt. Your father dead or something?

Curtis – Yep. Dead. Deader than the long-dead definition of death.

Jane – So because your father died when you were…what? Ten?

Curtis – High school—horrible car crash at the start of freshman year. Contrary to popular belief I wasn’t always Dr. Death Defy.

Jane – In other words, you started as an average Joe and went off the deep end after—

Curtis – Yeah.

Jane – So since your father died when you were a freshman, you feel justified in your behavior? In becoming Dr. Death Defy, a raving partygoer with ragged red hair and more alcohol in his system than blood?

Curtis – It’s not that simple.

Jane – No actually I think it is. I think you lost your father, said “to hell with it all” and neglected your responsibility as a human being. And now that you are forced with no other option but to turn your life around, you feel…vindicated…justified in every wrongdoing because you are a different person now.

Curtis – It is nothing like that. I know what I’ve done, the people I’ve manipulated, the drugs I’ve abused, and the reputation I’ve left. You don’t think I’m not still making up for that to this day? It will take me over hundred lifetimes to reconcile those demons.

Jane – Totally get it, yeah, because good people—who have been good, wholesome folks their whole lives—they don’t have that heart wrenching backstory. They just have their bland, basic, GREAT lives to take pleasure in.

Curtis – Harsh.

Jane – Mr. Joy. I’ve worked my whole life to be the person I am now and I have taken zero breaks in between. You have been on vacation for years and I will not grant you the peace of mind to be content in yourself until you know what it is to be a regular, average, good man.

Curtis – I don’t doubt you’re a great person, Miss Khell.

Jane – You sure as hell better not.

(JANE exits in a flash and CURTIS retires to the bookstore.)

BLACKOUT

#6 (PLAYOFF) – Teenagers

 

 

Scene Three

(Time: A week or so later. CURTIS and CLAIRE sit in the Joyful Bookstand together after closing. CLAIRE is reading a book diligently while CURTIS reviews his financial reports. The lights are very dim and the night outside is clearly visible.)

Claire – Trepidation?

Curtis – Pertains to fear.

Claire – Hm. (A Pause) I really don’t like this book.

Curtis – Then why are you still reading it?

Claire – Because grandma says it’s a good book, and she’s never been wrong in her life.

Curtis – No argument there.

(There is a short silence in which CURTIS and CLAIRE both tend to their business. Finally, CLAIRE turns to CURTIS.)

Claire – Hey Curtis?

Curtis – Yes, Claire?

Claire – Grandma is really happy you’re back in town. She missed you a lot.

Curtis – I missed the both of you dearly. I’m sorry to hear mom threw you and Marcus out.

Claire – Yep. He came home drunk a few too many times and she took it out on both of us. Grandma brought me in, you know, and she tried to convince Marcus to stay with us until he was back on his feet but he never comes around very often.

Curtis – I was pretty shocked that he made an appearance the other day. Have you or grandma seen him since then?

Claire – Sometimes I think I catch sight of him stumbling around outside, but he always seems to steer clear of us.

Curtis – Can’t say I’m surprised.

Claire – When mom threw you out, didn’t you go right to grandma? (CURTIS nods.) …I guess I just don’t understand why Marcus didn’t do the same.

Curtis – When dad was alive, we would go over to grandma’s house nearly every weekend. Marcus hated it—she never wanted him to join the army. They eventually got in a fight over it one night. I was too young to understand why Marcus didn’t like her, and I suppose I still don’t.

Claire – I think I know how you feel.

Curtis – Don’t you make the same decisions I did, little lady.

(There is a knock at the door.)

Claire – I’ll get it!

Curtis – Hold up, we don’t know who it is.

Claire – Seriously, I’m not twelve.

(CURTIS goes to the door closely followed by his sister. He peeks through the peephole and opens it up to JANE.)

Curtis – We’re close—oh, it’s you.

Jane – Good evening, Mr. Joy. I hope I’m not intruding on anything.

Curtis – No, we’re just doing drugs and pillaging the town.

Jane – Well, I believe that man…your brother, I think…accidently knocked on my door instead of yours and he was in too big of a rush to come by here.

Curtis – Marcus? What, is he drunk?

Jane – No, actually, he was as sober as me. He asked me to deliver this note to you.

(She hands him the note.)

Curtis – …What on earth could Marcus be so caught up with that he couldn’t spare two seconds to walk a few extra feet?

(CURTIS begins to read the note aloud.)

Curtis – “Curt….sorry if I missed you.” Yes, accidently… “Please come to the Clerk Hospital as soon as you can. Helena is having some health issues. M.”

Claire – Oh my God.

Jane – I think I should probably get going, I don’t have any place in this.

Curtis – No, no, I get it. Thank you, Miss Khell. I’m sorry you got caught up in the riffraff over here.

Jane – I…Goodnight.

(Exeunt JANE.)

Curtis – Don’t worry, Claire. Grandma has always had some breathing issues, she probably just fell faint with something and—

Claire – God, Curtis, what if it’s not just that! I mean if Marcus actually bothered to tell you, don’t you think this is something serious?

Curtis – All I’m fucking saying is we should keep calm and keep our heads level! I’ve never been in a situation where freaking the hell out has solved anything.

Claire – Whatever, I want to go see her.

Curtis – Alright, alright, let me find my keys.

BLACKOUT

 

 

Scene Four

(Time: Immediately following. CURTIS, CLAIRE, and MARCUS surround a hospital bed where the ill HELENA lies.)

Helena – Turn away…

Curtis – Grandma, please don’t be this way.

Helena – No, Curt my boy, I need you to.

 

#7 – Cancer

(Helena) Turn away
If you could get me a drink
Of water 'cause my lips are chapped and faded
Call your aunt Marie
Help her gather all my things
And bury me in all my favorite colors
My sisters and my brothers
Still
I will not kiss you
'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you
Now turn away
'Cause I'm awful just to see
'Cause all my hair's abandoned all my body
Oh, my agony
Know that I will never hurry
Baby, I'm just soggy from the chemo
But counting down the days to go
It just ain't living
And I just hope you know
That if you say

(Claire) (if you say)
Goodbye today

(Claire) (goodbye today)
I'd ask you to be true (cause I'd ask you to be true)
'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you
'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you

 

Marcus – Marie’s in town?

Helena – Yes…she came for Curtis’s opening.

Claire – You would know if you’d make any effort to be in our lives!

Curtis – Claire…

Claire – Right…sorry…

Marcus – I’ll go make the call.

(Exeunt MARCUS.)

Helena – You two need to watch out for your brother. I’ve done my best over the years but it’s going to…depend on you soon.

Curtis(A long pause.) How long have you known?

Helena – Since before you came home.

Curtis – Since…okay. And you decided to keep this from everyone?

Helena – Well…

Curtis – Yeah, that’s fine. All my life I’ve been spit on and shoved to agree and lied to, so why shouldn’t my own grandmother deceive me too?

Helena – You had a lot on your mind already, opening your bookstore and getting everything back in order. I didn’t want to burden you with anything else.

Curtis – Then I assume you were just going to wait until you died then? So that you never had to actually face your family?

Helena – I thought I would have more time…I thought I would just know when it was right to have that conversation but—

Curtis – Now you’re lying in bed half-alive and riddled with regret.

Helena – I made my decisions to protect you! I’ve started chemo, I’ve done everything I can to keep living but it’s progressing too rapidly. They never expected this.

Curtis – Just another bullshit excuse from somebody I trusted. Excuse me.

(Exeunt CURTIS.)

Helena – You didn’t tell him.

Claire – No.

Helena – I thought you would.

Claire – Curtis is sick, grandma, just as sick in the head as you are in the body. If he felt betrayed by you I don’t want to imagine how he would feel if he knew that I knew and that I kept it from him as well.

Helena – You’re wise beyond your years, Clairebell.

Claire – You should’ve seen him after the bookstore opened. I think he’s finally on the verge of turning back to the light for good.

Helena – It’s been such a long time coming. I always had faith that someday, somehow he would figure it out but…I just hope I can see him when he gets there.

Claire(Holding back tears) You stop that! I know you’ll make it through, in fact you’re probably the only thing that’s tethering him to this world. If you’re gone…oh God…I might lose him too.

Helena – That’s entirely untrue, Claire.

Claire – Sure.

Helena – Listen to me. Honey, your brother cares about only a few things in this world. My influence only goes so far and I won’t be able to keep shaping him forever, but once I’m gone he’ll only have one thing.

Claire – What, his bookstore or his “good” friend, Darren?

Helena – You.

Claire – I am a seventeen year old girl. I’m only in high school and I barely know who I am at this point. How am I supposed to help him?

Helena – By letting him help you.

Claire – Great, because all he needs is more responsibility he can’t handle.

Helena – You are more a woman than most females my age, and we all know that you’re capable of fending for yourself out there. But, your brother needs you, he needs something or someone to keep him grounded. Even if that responsibility is just an illusion.

Claire – You know how he hates deception.

Helena – Sometimes, we have to make ourselves into people we’re not to save the ones we love. Curtis loves you more than life itself, and if you feel the same way about your brother, you’ll have to be the one to save him.

(A knock.)

Claire – I’ll see who it is.

(CLAIRE goes to the door and looks baffled, opening it only slightly.)

Claire – Yes?

Jane – You’re Curtis’s little sister, correct?

Claire – You betcha.

Jane – Do you have a moment?

(CLAIRE and HELENA share a glance and CLAIRE nods, leaving the room.)

Jane – I’m Jane Khell. I work down the street from your brother.

Claire – I know.

Jane – Then you probably know that I haven’t exactly gotten along with Curtis since he set up shop.

Claire – I’m well aware.

Jane – I’m sorry that we’ve all gotten off on the wrong foot with your family. To be honest, I just came here to apologize for how I’ve acted.

Claire – …Why?

Jane – Uh, after I got that letter from the drunkard about your grandmother—that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?—Well after I delivered it, and I’m not saying I read it but—

Claire – Get to the point.

Jane – Hey! I’m trying to be courteous here. Anyway, after I gave Curtis the note I felt just terrible. I’m sure he’s had a rough go of it, and maybe I shouldn’t have been so harsh on him for who he was in the past.

Claire – You think so.

Jane – And, being the inconspicuous person I am, I sort of followed you out to the hospital.

Claire – Did you now?

Jane – Seriously, what I’m saying is…I should’ve given your brother a break, and I don’t mind him all that much. I would like to apologize. That’s all.

(She turns to leave.)

Claire – So why are you apologizing to me?

Jane – Curtis wasn’t here.

Claire – No, you specifically asked for me when you came to the door and Curtis just left. In fact, you probably saw him on the way down the hall.

Jane(incredulous) Why, I—

Claire – Be a bigger person and stop playing games, go talk to my brother or drop it. I’m not going to apologize for you.

(CLAIRE exits back into the room to be with HELENA. JANE remains alone in the hallway.)

Jane – I’ve done nothing wrong! Why am I apologizing?

(Enter DARREN carrying balloons and flowers.)

Darren – Howdy. You seen Curtis?

Jane – No! Who?

Darren – Yah, you have.

(He goes to enter the room, but is stopped.)

Jane – How do you know Curtis?

Darren – Best friend since gradeschool. Say, you’re that little Khell girl ain’t yah? You’re Frankie’s sister!

Jane – How do you know Frankie?

Darren – Fooled around with her a couple times in high school. Good day to you, Miss Jane!

Jane – Wait!

Darren – Oh-ho, you still want to talk to me? Even after all I’ve done to and with your sister? Talk to me, girl.

Jane – You’re Darren Capula! I do remember you, yes, and I’m certainly not happy about…whatever happened in high school…but I am a grown, mature individual and I wish to…talk.

Darren – Damn.

Jane – Um…how are you?

Darren – Swell. What do you want from me?

Jane – I’m good too, thanks for asking. I need to know where I can find your friend right now.

Darren – I have lots of friends, which one are you looking for.

Jane – Please just answer me.

Darren – If I know one thing about Curtis it’s that when he’s upset, he goes on benders. You can probably find him out at the old sandlot back by Clerk High School. If he’s getting drunk elsewhere, sorry, can’t help you girl.

(He turns to leave again.)

Jane – Will you show me where?

Darren – Damn, girlie, didn’t know you had such an interest in my friend. Ain’t you the girl who’s trying to get him kicked out of his property? Well, if that’s what this is about I’ll have you know that I graduated laws school and I have every legal mean and connection necessary to keep that bookstore standing and—

Jane – No! It’s…not about that, okay? I must speak with him immediately and if he’s not there, I don’t know where else to look. But you might know, right?

Darren(Hesitantly) I told yah I wouldn’t help yah if he ain’t there but…what the hell, just let me deliver these balloons quick like.

(DARREN crosses into the room.)

BLACKOUT

#8 (PLAYOFF) – Cancer

 

Scene Five

(Time: Immediately following. CURTIS sits alone by the edge of the sandlot and flicks lit matches onto the field. In front of him is a can of beer, unopened. JANE and DARREN enter, JANE in a rush but DARREN unhurried.)

Jane – Curtis!

Curtis – I’ll be damned. What are you doing here? And…Darren? The hell is going on.

Darren – Hell if I know, buddy. This here floozy decided she had a change of heart about you and your white bread business, and she asked me to help hunt you down.

Curtis – And you agreed to it? She probably just wants to chew my ear!

Jane – No, I don’t, I promise! I spoke to your sister just before I came and she told me that I should apologize to you for my actions.

Curtis – You talked to my sister?

Jane – Did I say…

Curtis – How? How did you even get ahold of her?

Jane – Well, uh, I—

Darren – Curtis, a moment please?

(CURTIS and DARREN pull aside.)

Darren – Mayhaps I don’t always give the best advice but I think you should give her the benefit of the doubt.

Curtis – Give her? Heck no. She wouldn’t let me speak three words in my defense earlier, why should I give her a chance?

Darren – Hey, hey, hey, I’m good at reading people you know. You don’t mean to tell me that you’d be willing to give up a good prospect here over a petty grudge, do you?

Curtis – Oh it’s always prospects and outlooks for you, Darren, but I’m past that…and you should be too!

Darren – Shhh…Mr. Joy, may I remind you of who you are?

Curtis – Was.

Darren – Whatever! Dr. Death Defy needs someone, man. Hell you’ve never been alone in your life, Curtis, why should you be alone now? Especially after all that’s happened to you over the past few years…

Curtis – That is precisely the reason why I put it all behind me. That life grew drab and I must set a good example for Claire. God forbid she turns out anything like me.

Darren – Then she should be lucky! You have a lot going for you. You have an education, a business, plus devilishly good looks.

Curtis – Stop. Seriously, Darren, is now really the time? I’m not going to fling myself at any woman who comes my way just because I don’t want to be alone. You’re right, I’ve never been alone and I’m still not alone. I have my family.

Darren(Under his breath) Some family…

Curtis – Regardless, I do see your point here, but not the way you want me to.

Darren – What does that mean?

Curtis – It means I’m going to…be the bigger person. Do the right thing and all of that hunky-dory disillusionment.

 Darren – I’ll pretend like I understood that. Go on, talk to her then.

(They return to JANE.)

Jane – Well…?

Curtis – Shoot. What do you want to tell me? What are you just dying to say?

Jane – Mr. Jo—

Curtis – Nuh-uh. No formalities. Curtis.

Jane – Okay. Curtis. First off, I’m sorry I lost the self-awareness of unobtrusiveness.

Curtis – Noted on all accounts.

Jane – Secondly, I realize that I may have treated you with a little too much malice since you moved back. Shoehorning my way into your bookstore like that was…

Curtis – Inconceivably rude?

Jane – Sure, that. All in all, you are definitely a different person than you were in high school. For starters, your hair isn’t the color of a strawberry anymore…it’s also shorter…and you don’t smell like alcohol.

Curtis – Wowie you are off to a great start. Carry on.

Jane – People change, and while I’ve never been a ragamuffin myself, it is totally unfair of me to judge you as so, especially when it is explicitly clear that you are indeed transforming into a better human being. With morals and ethics opposed to…to…

Curtis – Dr. Death Defy?

Jane – Didn’t want to say it. Bottom line is, I am sorry and I hope we can get on better terms from this point forward.

Curtis – I appreciate your apology as awkwardly standard as it was. Jane, I have plenty of other things to worry about and I certainly don’t have a moment to spare for your fretful chaos, but something tells me that if I don’t give in now you’re just going to keep at it one way or another until I succumb.

Jane – So bygones?

Curtis – Promise you won’t try to run me out of town or stalk my family and you got yourself a deal.

Jane – Deal.

(Suddenly, there is a clamor behind the group and CLAIRE enters from over the sandlot fence.)

Curtis – It’s a family reunion.

Claire – I couldn’t help myself.

Darren – Howdy, Miss Claire.

Claire – Hello Mr. Capula.

Jane – Nice to see you again so soon.

Claire – Great job mustering up a little courage, Miss Khell. I must say, I’m impressed.

Jane – Thank you, it truly did come from my heart.

(CURTIS laughs.)

Curtis – Great, well this has become splendidly awkward. Claire you ought’a get home, it’s way late and tonight was stimulating enough without this whole rigmarole. Jane, if you would walk with me, I’d love to finish up this conversation in private.

Darren – Oh, Claire, I’ll see you back. Don’t worry Curtis, she’s with me.

Curtis – Thanks Darren.

(CURTIS and JANE venture down the road as DARREN begins to walk with CLAIRE. Once the other two are out of sight, he pulls out a cigarette and lights it.)

Claire – Shall we?

Darren – There’s no rush, is there?

Claire – I do have school tomorrow…have you forgotten that I’m technically not an independent yet?

Darren – My sincere apologies, mademoiselle, I shudder at the thought of you missing out on your priceless education.

Claire – Or I suppose I could just walk by myself. I did walk here alone.

Darren – But it’s later now, you don’t know who might be lurking in the dark.

Claire – God, you know, you are such a skeeze. I haven’t a clue what Curtis sees in you.

Darren – Want to find out?

(DARREN moves in.)

Claire – Honey you best not cross me today.

Darren – Relax, I’m just taking a load off. I got no obligations, no deadlines, no responsibilities for the entirety of tomorrow and you better believe I’m gonna savor it.

Claire – Just leave me be.

Darren – A’ight, but why not chat a bit as we walk? After all, you don’t know me!

Claire – I’ve practically grown up with you.

Darren – Yes! And when’s the last time we ever had a chance to catch up?

Claire – Never.

Darren – See, I’ve had some trouble sleeping lately.

Claire – That’s unfortunate.

Darren – I keep on waking up every night…maybe it’s insomnia, I don’t know. Or care. But recently, I think it might be because of all the women and money and drugs I have at my beck and call…but recently, I’ve snapped out of slumber in an instant. Like a flash. I get these tremors—that’s what they’re called, right?

 

#9 – Sleep

 

(Darren) ...Like last night, they are not like tremors, they are worse than tremors,
they are these terrors. And it's like, it feels like as if somebody
was gripping my throat and squeezing and...
Some say, now suffer all the children
And walk away a savior,
Or a madman and polluted
From gutter institutions.
Don't you breathe for me,
Undeserving of your sympathy,
Cause there ain't no way that I'm sorry for what I did.
And through it all
How could you cry for me?
Cause I don't feel bad about it.

(­CLAIRE shies away from DARREN as he approaches her again, this time with more deliberation.)
 

So shut your eyes,
Kiss me goodbye,
And sleep.
Just sleep.
The hardest part is letting go of your dreams.
A drink for the horror that I'm in,
For the good guys, and the bad guys,
For the monsters that I've been.
Three cheers for tyranny,
Unapologetic apathy,
Cause there ain't no way that I'm coming back again.
And through it all
How could you cry for me?
Cause I don't feel bad about it.
So shut your eyes, 
Kiss me goodbye,
And sleep.
Just sleep.
The hardest part's the awful things that I've seen.
"...Sometimes I see flames. And sometimes 
I see people that I love dying and... it's always..."
Just sleep.
Just sleep.
Just sleep.
Just sleep.
Just sleep.
Just sleep.
(Claire) Wake up!
"And I can't... I can't ever wake up."

 

(By the end of the number, CLAIRE and DARREN are intimately close to each other. CLAIRE is clearly uncomfortable and DARREN knows it, but doesn’t care.)

Darren – You’ve grown a lot, kiddo.

Claire – Yep…

Darren – You’re a real woman now.

(CLAIRE does not respond and stares off into space until suddenly, like a flash of light, something clicks into her head. She hurriedly kisses DARREN, smiles, and runs off into the night.)

Darren(To himself) Can’t say I expected that.

(As DARREN walks off alone, JANE and CURTIS return to sight on their way back to town.)

Curtis – Okay, I’m curious. How did you manage to talk to Claire?

Jane – Promise me you won’t pop a gasket?

Curtis – Eh, I’ve popped enough caskets tonight.

Jane – I…uh…read that letter your brother delivered to me before I gave it to you and I couldn’t help but succumb to my own self-doubt and guilt. Like I said, I’ve fitted my life to match a certain mold—a flawless cookie-cutter scenario—and I know you’ve never been a fan of molds yourself, so I was a bit narrow-minded when I heard you were moving in. But, the thought of loss and death is…well completely foreign to me. I’ve never lost anyone, in fact, I can’t even think of anyone who’s died before so naturally, I couldn’t bring myself to empathize with your father’s death. God, that was so cold of me.

Curtis – Easy there, I don’t dangle grudges over people’s heads.

Jane – Ever consider it?

Curtis – What? Being petty?

Jane – No—sorry, not that. Life without people you love…you’ve experienced it before, sure, but with your grandmother now, it’s like you’re all alone.

Curtis – Thanks, that’s all I can ever think about.

Jane – Why is it so hard to say the right thing?

Curtis – You and I come from very different backgrounds, Miss Khell. Even in a small town like this, we have vast discrepancies that block any proficient communication. You’ve never had a hard day in your life—and I mean that honestly, and there’s nothing wrong with it—it’s just the way things happened. But I’ve fought and struggled through every day for the past decade, and I would never wish that life upon my worst enemy, even for the sake of understanding. Stronger men than I have fallen to a life of misery.

Jane – Perspective is important, I suppose. Mind if I ask you a personal question?

Curtis – Isn’t this conversation already pretty personal?

Jane – Right. Well…what’s going to happen to your sister, if your grandmother…passes?

Curtis – Same that happened to me I bet. My mother will exert her dominance over the family again, Claire will go off the deep end and do everything in her power to spite the woman until she can’t bear her own daughter anymore and she ends up moving in with someone she loves and trusts…

Jane – So you?

Curtis – Except unlike me, Helena was a good role model and positive influence. I doubt I can provide the same for Claire.

Jane – You believe that people can change, don’t you?

Curtis – Obviously.

Jane – You’re a prime example of change, Curtis. Have some faith that you’ve changed enough to take care of her.

Curtis – I can change into a better man for a day, but I’m always afraid that maybe that’s not…who I am, you know? Maybe in a month, or a year, or a day I’ll wake up covered in needle-marks with no memory of the night before, hair red and long—back where I started.

Jane – Give yourself more credit. At least you’re making an effort and your doubt is enough to prove that you care.

Curtis – Some things just won’t change the universal truth, though.

Jane – Back to that again, huh? Let me hear it.

Curtis – Alright. Everything in this world happens for a reason and brings you to where you are today, the peak of your existence, no matter what your circumstance is. But the sad, secret truth is…nothing matters. The world will continue without you. The only way that everything that happens means anything at all is if you change your perspective. La Vie En Rose. See it with a rose lens and carry on.

Jane – I don’t quite understand—

Curtis – I know. You have to make your own magic because this world will rip that spark of enchantment from your life if you don’t defend it. Find the magic, the beauty, in everything and let your life be enchanted.

Jane – Doesn’t that get tedious?

Curtis – Only if you allow it to. You heard me say that nothing matters much to me, but if you—if I—want anything to hold any meaning or keep me anchored, the only security is the illusion and internal world I create for myself.

Jane – Reality has so much more to offer than…a fairytale though.

Curtis – That, my dear florist, depends on where you come from. I’ve fought long and hard to keep from losing my spark, and sometimes I can see those empires crumbling before my eyes. Like tonight, with Helena. A whole castle was stormed.

Jane – Aren’t you afraid of holding people on pedestals? What if they let you down?

Curtis – Same old, same old. What I really fear is disenchantment.

Jane – What?

Curtis – You know, disenchantment. Disillusionment…I don’t want to become disenchanted. Once a man reaches that point, he’s as good as dead.

Jane – I’m not trying to…be rude…I just have a really difficult time putting you together in my head.

Curtis – As do I. Disenchantment…as I see it…is the point at which your story ends and drudgery begins. It’s when your life becomes empty, when you lose meaning, when your words carry no weight and when the world is just as bleak as your heart. Plenty of people suffer this tragedy every year, and I’ve yet to meet a person who’s recovered from it because if you don’t keep the magic and the fullness of life close to your heart, it’ll be whisked away in a fleeting moment and you’ll be left with nothing but a sad song and fallen heroes.

Jane – Hm…

Curtis – Hey, if I’m so wrong how can you listen to me all night long?

Jane – I don’t think you’re wrong, but I’ve just never thought about…disenchantment…much before.

Curtis – Good. That means you’re perfectly wrapped up in the magic and beauty of your own life. You’re as tethered as you need to be. For someone like me though, I have to desperately cling to my hooks.

Jane – So tell me, Mr. Joy…what keeps you in this world?

Curtis – First, it was my father, but after he died I only had Helena. Once Claire was old enough, it became her. Just those two, I suppose. And I guess the bookstore is my own artificial tether.

Jane – Then hold tight, my friend.

(They reach the BOOKSTORE and FLOWER SHOP.)

Curtis – Here we are.

Jane – Thank you Curtis—for hearing me out and sparing me a second chance.

Curtis – Don’t mention it. Goodnight now.

(CURTIS exits into the shop while JANE sits alone outside of her store. Moments later, KHELL enters.)

Khell – Did I see you walking with Mr. Joy?

Jane – Yes…he’s not as rough and tumble as I thought.

Khell – Thought so.

Jane – Thought what?

Khell – Thought you’d change your mind about him one day or another.

FADE TO BLACK

#10 (PLAYOFF) – Fake Your Death

 

 

Scene Six

(MARCUS sits in the bookstore, watching people pass by. He has a notepad and a pen before him at a table, and he appears to be hungover. Now, it is clear that one of his arms is a fake arm that he lost in the war. He thoughtfully begins to write and CURTIS stares at him from behind the counter.)

Curtis – Hey, Marcus, so I’ve been thumbing through your application files and I think everything should be in order…I just need to get your forms sent in for evaluation.

Marcus – ‘Aye, thank you kid. Will the employee approval shit be a hassle?

Curtis – Mmm…there may be a slight delay on account of your…misdemeanors…but at that point, it’s more up to the storeowner, which lucky for you just happens to be me.

Marcus – I really can’t begin to thank you for this, Curt, you’re really helpin’ me get back on my feet. Now if I could just write this goddam letter…

Curtis – You don’t have to be gentle. She’s nearly damned you to hell more times than I can count.

Marcus – Yeah, yeah, but I gotta be delicate, man. I need to find the right words…I ain’t ever been good at that.

Curtis – How about…how about you write down the first few things that come into your mind.

Marcus –Ok…Dear mother…uhm…mom…mama…

 

#11 – Mama

 

(Marcus) Mama, we all go to hell.
Mama, we all go to hell.
I'm writing this letter and wishing you well,
Mama, we all go to hell.
Oh, well, now,
Mama, we're all gonna die.
Mama, we're all gonna die.
Stop asking me questions, I'd hate to see you cry,
Mama, we're all gonna die.
(Ensemble) And when we go don't blame us, yeah.
We'll let the fire just bathe us, yeah.
You made us, oh, so famous.
We'll never let you go.
And when you go don't return to me my love.

(Marcus) Mama, we're all full of lies.
Mama, we're meant for the flies.
And right now they're building a coffin your size,
Mama, we're all full of lies.
Well, Mother, what the war did to my legs and to my tongue,
You should've raised a baby girl,
I should've been a better son.
If you could coddle the infection
They can amputate at once.
You should've been,
I could have been a better son.
(Ensemble) And when we go don't blame us, yeah.
We'll let the fire just bathe us, yeah.
You made us, oh, so famous.
We'll never let you go.
She said, "You ain't no son of mine
For what you've done. They're gonna find
A place for you
And just you mind your manners when you go.
And when you go, don't return to me, my love."
That's right.
(Marcus) Mama, we all go to hell.
Mama, we all go to hell.
It's really quite pleasant
Except for the smell,
Mama, we all go to hell.
2 - 3 – 4

(The door slams open and in walks HARRIET JOY, the fifty-four-year-old mother of the Joy children. She makes a beeline for MARCUS who is startled, and CURTIS sinks down behind the counter.)


(Ensemble) Mama! Mama! Mama! Oh!
Mama! Mama! Mama! Ma...
(Harriet) And if you would call me your sweetheart,
I'd maybe then sing you a song
(Marcus) But there's shit that I've done with this fuck of a gun,
You would cry out your eyes all along.
(Ensemble) We're damned after all.
Through fortune and flame we fall.
And if you can stay then I'll show you the way,
To return from the ashes you call.
We all carry on (We all carry on)
When our brothers in arms are gone (When our brothers in arms are gone)
So raise your glass high
For tomorrow we die,
(Marcus) And return from the ashes you call.

(MARCUS is now close to his mother, seething with rage and bitterness. CURTIS remains out of sight, but peeks above the countertop to watch the confrontation ensue. HARRIET is sobbing at both the sight of her son and his spiteful words.)

Marcus – What in God’s name are you doing here?

Harriet – I’ve come to visit your grandmother. Is that too much to ask? And I’d sure like to have my children with me as we keep her company in her last days.

(CURTIS struggles to contain himself behind the counter.)

Marcus – I’m sure you’re the absolute last heathen Helena would want to see before her death. You dragged her son away from her until he died and ruined all of her grandchildren. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if she prevented you from attending her funeral in her will!

Harriet – My little Marcus, is that any way to treat your mother?

Marcus – You’re less a mother than I am a brother.

Harriet – Speaking of brothers, where is yours? I’m sure ole Curtis would be happy to greet his mama.

Marcus – Ever consider that everyone in this family hates you? Especially Curtis?

Harriet – I have given Curtis everything! He’s been a thousand times more grateful than your sorry…

(Now consumed by anger, CURTIS rises.)

Curtis – Mother! Shut up or leave!

Harriet – Why I can’t believe—

Curtis – Is this any way to treat your children? Popping in whenever you want and acting like you love us unconditionally? You banished Claire and Marcus just like you banished me a few years ago…

Harriet – I NEVER banished any child of mine! You are all welcome in OUR home, you simply CHOSE to leave.

Curtis – Really, is that it then, huh? Well my foot is going down and you are hereby unwelcome in this establishment and banished from my bookstore.

Harriet – A simple hello would suffice.

Curtis – Oh and one more thing—don’t you go near Helena.

Harriet – I am family and I have every right to visit my mother-in-law.

(MARIE enters the bookstore, again flustered and hurried.)

Marie – Hello boys, I saw your mother heading this way, you might want to watch out for her.

Marcus – Thanks for the warning.

Harriet – Marie! Thank goodness you’re here, my children are being absolutely disrespectful.

Marie – Oh, you’re already here. Erm…Harriet I think this week is just a really bad time to visit your children…they all seem to be going through quite a lot with Helena…and Curtis is doing finances this week, from what I heard…Claire is…well…

 Curtis – Don’t worry about it, Marie, we have this under control. Mother, I hope you realize that unless you’re here to apologize for what you’ve done to this family, you aren’t wanted.

Marie – Now hold on—

Harriet – Unwanted? May I remind you who helped you raise enough money to open this banana stand of a bookstore? Or who covered your incomprehensible debt after you graduated college? Or, maybe, who dealt with your intoxicated ass day after day during your high school years?

Curtis – Yes, I hardly qualify allotting me the inheritance I received from dad as “help.” The only support you’ve given us was purely physical, and even then, we went hungry because you were stingy enough to keep us from eating if we were out too late.

Harriet – My, how you’ve changed Curtis. I’ve missed you, you know? What kind of mother wouldn’t miss her child?

Marie – If I could just say one thing!

Marcus – Oh, did you miss me when I fought for our country and lost an arm? Or how about now, as I’m homeless and can barely afford my fair share of liquor?

Harriet – Marcus, you haven’t been drinking again! My my, Marcus, my my.

Marie – Please!

Curtis – Ever consider it was your nagging and scornful words about soldiers and unwillingness to help him readapt himself to civilian life that drove him to alcohol?

Marcus – I don’t have an alcohol problem, it just helps—

Marie – ENOUGH! LISTEN TO ME DAMMIT!

(They all fall silent.)

Marie – Th-thank you. Boys, you need to respect your mother…Harriet, you need to treat your children as if they are the adults that they have become…but Helena deserves to have her whole family present as she…uhm…moves on and…that family includes Claire! Where is your sister?

Curtis – I don’t know, she’s usually here by this time. I would’ve been able to worry about it a little more if this bi—

Marie – It’s nearly six o’clock. She’s been staying with her grandmother, yes? Well I just stopped by to say hello to her and she’s not there. I called the hospital—not there either…and she’s not here so maybe we should focus on what’s important…maybe, right?

Harriet – My daughter?! Unaccounted for!

Marcus – I swear to the sweet lord Jesus I will slap the living—

Curtis – Knock it off…Marie’s right and the more we bicker the less time we have to find Claire.

Marcus – I don’t see the big problem, when I was her age I was out past ten every night.

Curtis – Yes, but unlike us, Marcus, Claire has a lot left to live for. Mother, you go visit Helena if that’ll make you happy and get you off our asses. If Claire shows up, let us know.

Harriet – Thank you my dear, dear Curt.

Curtis – Marcus, you stick around the bookstore a bit…are you ready for your first bit of employee training?

Marcus – I…think so…

Curtis – Fantastic, because your job officially starts today. Welcome to the team. You keep watch over the register and tell one of us if she stumbles in. Marie, you want to stay at Helena’s place while I grab my friend Jane to help out?

Marie – Sounds dandy.

Curtis – Fantastic, then I’ll do a few sweeps of town with Jane…

(As they prepare to leave, MR. WESLEY bursts in.)

Mr. Wesley – Curtis Joy!

Curtis – God damn, what is it now, sir?

Mr. Wesley – I couldn’t help but notice that you’re expanding your work force here…and I couldn’t help but notice that your only other employee is also your brother, who has a history of addiction and loitering that paints this establishment in a negative light! What in tarnation do you think you’re lollygagging about here for? Can’t you see the bigger picture?

Curtis – My bigger picture is vastly different than yours, sir.

Mr. Wesley – Oh, are you makin’ to go out for the night, hm? And leave this…this…vagabond in charge in your absence? I hardly trust you runnin’ a business, I couldn’t possibly imagine putting a drunkard behind the counter! Mr. Joy, you filthy teenager, we will have a chat tomorrow morning.

Curtis – Whatever, that’s fine, I’ll be to your office by seven.

Mr. Wesley – Great. Wait. No…yes…what are you, just admitting submission?

Curtis – Sure! I don’t care! I have a crisis to deal with.

Mr. Wesley – Crisis? What crisis would be more pressing than ensuring the well-being of your reputable name, a name which—may I remind you—is drenched in slander? I should think not!

Curtis – Gee, I don’t know, I care about plenty of things far more than I do about how much money I make selling books and what complete strangers think about me. I’ve told you once, I’ll tell you again, I’ll be there at seven o’clock sharp but I need to leave—right now.

Mr. Wesley – You screwed-backwards phillips-flat, good for nothing teenager…

(CURTIS and the present party begin to disperse as instructed earlier, all but MR. WESLEY)

Curtis(Over his shoulder) Have a nice evening!

Mr. Wesley – I’m going to clean up your looks, Mr. Joy! By GOD I will make a citizen out of you!

(CURTIS exits and the lights go out on MR. WESLEY.)

FADE TO BLACK

#12 (PLAYOFF) – The Kids from Yesterday

 

 

Scene Seven

(Time: Later that evening. CURTIS and JANE are seen leaving the hospital in pursuit of CLAIRE, who successfully evades their attention by ducking out of sight and eventually into HELENA’s room, where she quietly reads from the same book CLAIRE was reading in the bookstore the previous night.)

Helena – Hello dear. Are you running away from your bother again?

Claire – Absolutely!

Helena – I received your message from the nurse earlier…you sounded urgent.

Claire – Not super pressing, but I have dug myself into a bit of a hole.

Helena – Oh?

Claire – I thought long and hard about what you told me last night and I believe I’ve come up with a way to kill two birds with one stone.

Helena – What birds?

Claire – The first would be the pigeon of Curtis’s current mental state and the second flies with the eagles…Darren Capula.

Helena – Girly, euphemisms don’t suit you.

Claire – Fine then, I thought you old-timers only spoke in riddles.

Helena – Only those of us who put the wagon before the horse.

Claire(Laughing) Okay, okay. So, after we left the hospital, I stalked Curtis down to the old sandlot and saw him talking with Darren and that florist, Jane Khell.

Helena – By the heavens, she’s on his case again?

Claire – Not exactly. She was apologizing to him for her…harshness…and I, logically, had to follow them around. I suppose Darren showed her the way. Anywho, they were talking and then I made an appearance and Curtis decided we all should go home…crisis averted and whatnot…and then IT happened.

Helena – No, really!?

Claire – Your sarcasm is not appreciated, I’m really proud of this! Darren started being his usual scummy self again and bragged about all of the women he gets trying to…I don’t know, impress me? Well, you bet your buttons that I impressed him! I thought hey, what would throw him off his rocker more than anything else? I know! If I kiss him square on the lips!

Helena – You…what?

Claire – Don’t get all twisted up, I know he’s almost a decade older than me, but get a load of this. Perchance Curtis catches wind of our “relationship”…according to you, Curtis feels the need to protect me, right? If you’re right about that, then he would have something to fight for and a drive to protect my innocence from a man. AND additionally, might I add, he will have something…or someone…to fight against. This “someone” just so happens to be the same person that constantly corrupts Curtis’s mind at any cost. You see the big picture now?

Helena – So by feigning a relationship with this questionable, older man, you believe that Curtis will sever his friendship with Darren and have a fighting cause? What if your plan goes haywire?

Claire – It won’t, believe me it won’t. Grandma you know how I work these things out, I’ve got it all figured and calculated from the moment this conversation ends to the day I turn thirty. In fact my reason for being here right now is to give Curtis even more the reason to worry about me.

Helena – Goodness gracious you’re torturing that boy!

Claire – “Saving” is the term I prefer.

Helena – This is all fair and well but you need to take in account some other variables. Marie is here to watch over you kids and, passive as she is, she may immerse herself one day or another.

Claire – Shoot, I completely forgot about Marie. Where’s she staying?

Helena – Right now? The Clerk Hotel. Next week she moves into my house though so she can keep closer reins on you.

Claire – No offense to Marie, but she isn’t the…disciplinarian type.

Helena – Dear, not at all, but she has it in her somewhere, just like your father did.

Claire – Put in a good word with her for me, okay?

Helena – She may not see things your way, Claire, she’s very much a straightforward and innocent woman. Not much older or mature than Marcus, either. You’ll have to do your plottin’ around her.

Claire(Sigh) It wouldn’t hurt, anyway. I better be on my way, I need to ease Curtis’s nerves before it gets too dark.

Helena – Do you have an alibi?

Claire – What do you think?

Helena – Dear this may backfire.

Claire – Actually, it won’t. I’ve arranged to talk with Darren for a few minutes before I go home. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if a certain brother of mine happened upon us.

Helena – Look out for yourself, sweetie.

Claire – Don’t you worry about me, I’ve been able to handle myself from the moment I popped out of the womb and I’ll keep my fightin’ words till the day I pop into the ground.

Helena – Youth is such a fleeting thing, Clairebell, but you must still exercise caution.

Claire – Who, me? Grandma, I told you! I’ve got my life all figured out, and this is only a short chapter of it.

Helena – Well then I can’t say much else but may death never stop you.

BLACKOUT

#13 (PLAYOFF) – Boy Division

 

 

Scene Eight

(Time: Late into the night. CURTIS waits on the front porch of the CAPULAS, brooding over where his sister may have gone to. After some contemplation, CURTIS saunters over to the door and knocks on it. MRS. CAPULA opens the door.)

Mrs. Capula – OH! Curtis! I’m…surprised to see you here!

Curtis – Howdy do, Mrs. Capula! I’m looking for either your son or my sister…have you happened to see either of them recently?

Mrs. Capula – My son? Well, Darren hasn’t been around since last week…you didn’t check his house?

Curtis – Yeah, of course I checked there…and I’ll check again too…but I thought maybe he was here for dinner or something.

Mrs. Capula – Sorry lad! I wish I could be of more help to you! You mentioned your sister?

Curtis – Ah-ah! Yes! Darren walked her home last night, apparently, but I haven’t seen her since then.

Mrs. Capula – Uh…tell me, Curtis, where’ve you been staying since you got back to town?

Curtis – I have my own little place—a nice townhome not far from my bookstore—but I don’t see how that’s—

Mrs. Capula – Don’t mean to be pryin’ now, but there’s been some rumblings about your mother evicting your older brother and your little sister. Shouldn’t she be staying with you then?

Curtis – Well, the rumblings are true. Marcus is trying to get back on his feet and I just let him move in with me under the condition he stays sober, but Claire has been taking up with our grandmother.

Mrs. Capula – Then why don’t you ask Helena?

Curtis – I…did…but she wouldn’t have known either.

Mrs. Capula ­– Oh? Why?

Curtis – Helena is…out of town…

Mrs. Capula – Where’s she gone to?

Curtis – To visit…some relatives…

Mrs. Capula – That’s quite interesting because I thought I saw your aunt Marie the other day at the mall!

Curtis – You…you did! She is here, yes, watching Claire while Helena is out. But she wasn’t home when Claire got back so she wouldn’t have any way of telling whether Claire returned.

Mrs. Capula – I see. I’m afraid I’m not of much help then.

Curtis – No worries…I’ll see if I can manage to get a hold of Darren one way or another.

Mrs. Capula – If you happen to find him, send him our way, alright? We’d love to have dinner with the two of you sometime this week, if you’re not too busy.

Curtis – Yeah. Yep, that sounds great.

Mrs. Capula – Goodnight now Curtis.

Curtis – Goodnight, Mrs. Capula.

Mrs. Capula ­– Oh, and Curtis?

Curtis – Yeah?

Mrs. Capula – Don’t you stay out too late, alrighty?

Curtis – You betcha.

(MRS. CAPULA closes the door and CURTIS slowly withdraws, heading down the street alone. JANE approaches from afar.)

Jane – Helloo? Curtis, that you?

Curtis – Oh, hey Jane.

Jane – Any luck with the Capulas?

Curtis – None at all and if I wasn’t losing my shit before, I’m going off the deep end now. Something awful could’ve happened to both of them.

Jane – Okay, I’m going to try to ease your nerves…do you trust Darren?

Curtis – Trust him? Most definitely. Sure, he’s made some dumb mistakes and continues to do so, but I know the kind of person he really is and those old habits don’t define him.

Jane – That’s a solid start. Keep that footing—have faith that your friend delivered your sister safely home. At the very least you can take comfort knowing that Darren did nothing to hurt Claire, and if anything, some other travesty may have struck them.

Curtis – Christ almighty, Jane, do you have any idea how to comfort people without crossing the line?

Jane – What, all I meant by that was—

Curtis – Never mind, we have too much ground to cover before we start bickering.

Jane – Right. What’s our next plan of action?

Curtis – I know this one is a long shot, but what if we just do a quick sweep of downtown? Maybe one of them wound up there and they could help us find the other.

Jane – No offense, Curtis, but why do we need to find Darren? I mean—don’t get me wrong, he’s a…nice…fellow—but if we find Claire, do we really need to search for Darren? He’s a grown man.

Curtis – Darren and I have pledged to watch out for each other since we were kids, and he’s an extremely accessible person. I’ve never encountered this much trouble trying to get in contact with him.

Jane – So you’re just…being a good friend? Is that what friends are good for? It’s like helicopter parenting.

Curtis – Maybe a tad bit, but he’s saved my skin numerous times so I intend to repay the favor…listen, Jane, are you in or not?

Jane – I never said I wasn’t, I only want to speed this along for Claire’s sake.

Curtis – Swell, then let’s stop talking and actually fucking do something.

Jane – Curtis! Language!

Curtis – Hell, Jane, my grandmother is dying, my brother is a crippling drunkard and my sister is missing, I’m entitled to a few fucks every now and then.

Jane – Please don’t use that language around me, okay? I’ve grown up in a very…delicate…family and I could never stand that word.

Curtis – I find the fuck word to be very cathartic.

Jane – Stop, Curtis.

Curtis- (Laughing) Okay, okay! Andale!

FADE TO BLACK

#14 (PLAYOFF) – Kill All Your Friends

 

 

Scene Nine

(Time: Immediately following. DARREN and CLAIRE sit on a bench downtown. CLAIRE is constantly checking her watch while acting flirtatious with DARREN who is still surprised about her behavior, but relishes it at the same time.)

Claire – Oh my God, Darren, you are a font of wisdom, you know that?

Darren – Hey, you ask, I tell it like it is! I’ve been ‘round the block a few times, Miss Joy, and I got experience for days. For example…(he clears his throat) look up there, at that bell tower.

Claire – Okay, what about it?

Darren – That, my dear Claire, offers the most splendid view in the entire town.

(CLAIRE scoffs.)

Darren – What, don’t believe me? How’s about we check it out? I’ll wager anything on it.

Claire – Anything, huh? All on account of what I personally feel about the view?

Darren – Yes ma’am!

Claire – Bet on your cigarettes.

Darren – My…

Claire – Your cigarettes. No, I’m not going to smoke them, but put your money on your smoking habits.

Darren – Are you implying that—

Claire – Yes. If I don’t absolutely love the view as much as you claim I will, then you forfeit your right to smoke cigarettes.

Darren – I’d sooner die!

Claire – If you keep smoking at the rate you do, you’ll get your wish. (DARREN is hesitant still, and avoids eye contact.) Come on! You want to prove to me that you’re as omniscient as you claim, then make an honest bet!

Darren – Say, what do I gain by winning anyway?

Claire(Flirtatiously) I don’t know…you’ll just have to find out.

Darren – Kid, I’m a money up front sort of jokester. What am I in store for?

Claire – I’m a conniving son of a gun and that’s not how I play.

Darren – Shit, I like your style. Shake on it—and at least vow that my reward is bountiful.

Claire – Aye aye.

(The pair beelines towards the bell tower where DARREN encounters a locked door.)

Darren – Well that’s just lucky, ain’t it?

Claire – You’re telling me that you—Darren freaking Capula—don’t have a way to unlock a flimsy little door?

Darren – Before you go accusing me of any a’ that, consider the consequences that—

Claire – Consequences, huh? Do you have the reputation of a legitimate lawyer to uphold, or do you have a bet to win?

Darren – Bend my arm next time, will yah? Fine—I can get that door open, but under the condition that you up your ante.

Claire – Fair enough.

Darren – Fantastic. One moment…

(DARREN inspects the lock briefly and takes a few kicks at the door. It is wooden, and bends at the touch. Holding firmly on the door frame, he slams his body against it until the locked knob gives in and the door swings open.)

Darren – Brute force ignorance.

Claire – If you applied yourself like that every day maybe you’d have some better prospects, huh?

Darren – My prospects are fine and dandy, thank you very much. I’m the most practiced lawyer in these parts, and you should know—

Claire – Yada yada, whatever, let’s go see this view.

(The two disappear from view as they climb the ladder inside and reappear at the top of the tower.)

Darren – If you look out past the horizon—right over that way, you see? Squint your eyes and you’ll catch a nice, bright glimmer. Got it?

Claire – Yeah I think I…kind of a blue-ish orange?

Darren – That’s the one.

Claire – Mhm. What is it?

Darren – Only the greatest casino and bar known on this side of paradise. I’ll take yah there sometime this week, if it ain’t no trouble by you.

Claire – Now Darren, you know how Curtis might get…

Darren – Curtis’ll abide how I tell him, he always has.

Claire – Are you so sure about that? I think he has more of a backbone now.

Darren – Eh, but that’ll revert. Honey you may be his sister but ain’t nobody out there who knows him like I do.

Claire – Hm.

Darren – So…penny for your thoughts.

Claire – You certainly aren’t wrong that it’s beautiful. But is it really the most beautiful view I’ll ever see?

Darren – Depends on how long you’ll live, kid.

Claire – Can I get a rain check? I haven’t made up my mind about it…

Darren – C’mon, you gotta stick to your word or what good are yah?

Claire – How can you prove it one way or another, anyhow?

Darren – I’m damn good at readin’ people.

(They draw closer to each other.)

Claire – And what do you read from me right now, Mr. Capula?

Darren – I reckon that the view isn’t the best thing you’ve ever seen…and hell it may not be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen either.

Claire – I thought you were so convicted!

Darren – Was…but in this light, with the neon shimmering over the horizon, I think I found something a lil’ prettier…

(The bend in towards each other when suddenly CURTIS and JANE enter below and interrupt them.)

Curtis – Darren fucking Capula, you backstabbing, twisted maniac of a friend! Get the hell away from my sister!

Darren – Hey hey hey, Curtis, relax we’s a just spendin’ some time watchin’ over the—

Curtis – Shut up! Shut the fuck up, Darren! I know the type of scum you are and if you both don’t get down here right now I’ll…I’ll…

Jane – I’ll personally come up there!

Curtis – Jane.

Claire – Curtis it’s okay, I’m really fine, I promise!

Curtis – I thought better of you sis. I didn’t think you lacked the explicit judgment I did at your age…

Darren – For real, my dear friend, your sister is a woman now and she has the right to her own, calculated decisions! I don’t see what the big fuss is.

Curtis – Calculated? Fuss?

 

 

 

#15 – House of Wolves

 

(Curtis) I know a thing about contrition
Because I got enough to say
And I'll be grantin' your permission
'Cause you haven't got a prayer

I said, hey hallelujah
Well come on, sing the praise
Let the spirit come on through ya
We got innocence today

Well I think I'm gonna burn in hell
Everybody burn the house down
She says well, what I wanna say
(Darren) Tell me I'm an angel

Take this to my grave
Tell me I'm a bad man
Kick me like a slave
Tell me I'm an angel
Take this to my grave

(Ensemble) S-I-N, S-I-N, S-I-N, S-I-N
S-I-N, S-I-N, S-I-N, S-I-N

(Curtis) Well a ring around the ambulance
Like I never gave a care
I said, choir boys surround you
It's a compliment, I swear

And I said, ashes to ashes, we all fall down
I wanna hear you sing the praise
I said, ashes to ashes, we all fall down
We got innocence for days

Well I think I'm gonna burn in hell
Everybody burn the outside
And says, ha, what I wanna say
(Darren) Tell me I'm an angel

Take this to my grave
Tell me I'm a bad man
Kick me like a stray
Tell me I'm an angel
Take this to my grave

(DARREN descends from the bell tower to confront CURTIS.)

(Curtis) You better run like the devil,
'Cause they're never gonna leave you alone

You better hide em in the alley
'Cause they're never gonna find you a home

And as the blood runs down the walls
You see me creepin' up these halls
I've been a bad motherfucker
(Darren) Tell your sister I'm another
Go, go, go

(Curtis) And I say, what I wanna say
(Darren) Tell me I'm an angel
Take this to my grave
Tell me I'm a bad man
Kick me like a stray
Tell me I'm an angel
Take this to my grave

Tell me I'm a bad, bad, bad, bad man
Tell me I'm a bad, bad, bad, bad man
Tell me I'm a bad, bad, bad, bad man
Tell me I'm a bad, bad, bad, bad man

(Curtis) So get up
So get out

(Ensemble) S-I-N
S-I-N

Darren – After all I’ve done for you, buddy, this is how you return the favor.

Curtis – Yeah…after all you’ve done to help in the past this is how I help you back. I never want to see your face around my sister again.

Darren – Alright, fine, but if you expect to keep your residency there with the bookstore you got a storm a’ brewin’, mister, and you can’t hope for much else! You know I’m the only thing keepin’ that Wesley from kickin’ you out on the streets like a wet dog.

Curtis – See if I care!

(DARREN leaves.)

Curtis – Claire, get down here.

Claire – No, Curtis, you come up. You’ve got to see this.

Curtis – Now is not the time.

Jane – Curtis…

Curtis – What do you want from me?

Jane – She’s your sister. You tracked her down to protect her, right? Not to patronize or accuse her?

Curtis – Look who’s talking.

Jane – Don’t start yapping at me too, Curtis. I mean it. I’ve stuck with you through this whole gosh dang expedition and I am owed respect.

Claire – Come on, Curtis! Please…

(CURTIS contemplates silently and ascends to CLAIRE.)

Claire – Darren wasn’t wrong. This view is spectacular…I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Curtis – And he brought you up here to what? Try and seduce you? You’re seventeen years old, Clairebell, he’s twenty-six!

Claire – I know. I’m sorry. I just…suffered a moment of weakness, I suppose. (CURTIS glowers at her.) What? You think I’m any different than you or Marcus? You think that really, in this damned to hell family, that there’s one outlier who can avoid the hand of corruption and sin? Well if there is, I’d sure like to meet them because I am just as human as you are and I am just as apt to make the same mistakes.

Curtis – Claire…let me tell you a story.

Claire – Okay.

Curtis – When I was seventeen, I had a cut and dry opportunity to spin the direction of my tragic life around. I was starting senior year, dating…uhm…Regina, I believe, and couldn’t keep track of the days of the week because I was so inebriated. It’s a wonder I even made it to senior year. But about halfway through the year, I went out into the country with this friend of mine—Nicole Hope. My girlfriend and I were having a bit of a spat at the time and…well, I’m sure you could imagine what my intent was with Nicole. We got drunk just off Cemetery Drive, smoked whatever we had on hand on the way to the cornfields, and as we sat there watching the sunset together—blazed out of our minds—it was as if every star in the sky aligned. I saw a path laid out before me, and call me crazy, but I saw a graveyard out there above the horizon, and it’s like she was reading my mind. She turns to me and says…well, she says, “This place is not for you.” Like somehow, she knew what I was seeing, and knew that if I didn’t do something soon—and very soon—than I was going to end up there, in that grave. And I laughed. I didn’t consider my mortality, or my future, but I laughed and mocked her comment, stumbling a few feet back and lighting up another joint. If I had only thought for a moment—hey, maybe this girl is right, maybe I have a chance to avoid my inevitable demise—perhaps I could’ve come around sooner. And then again, maybe we were going to do what we did that night regardless, and she would never forgive me for pressuring her into…well, you see, Claire, there are moments like these when you look out into the horizon and see a fated, secure future, and sometimes we aren’t ready to face that future, just as I was unwilling to believe in mine. But I can tell you that the choices you make now are…tremendously crucial. And what you do today…or tomorrow…could save your life, or someone else’s.

Claire – Nicole…wasn’t she the girl who—

Curtis – Yep…the girl who disappeared…

Claire – Did she—?

Curtis – They never found out. But I think you know the answer.

Claire – Curtis I’m…so sorry…sometimes this life doesn’t connect with me. It doesn’t feel super real.

Curtis – I know the feeling, kiddo. I know it. Now, let’s get you back to Helena’s house. Marie is waiting for you.

FADE TO BLACK

 

 

Scene Ten

(Time: Concurrently. HELENA wanders the hall of the hospital weakly, scanning the expanse of the darkened corridor with fear but determination. An AID finds her and offers her a hand.)

Aid – Mrs. Joy, you don’t seem to be doing so well. Are you lost? It’s nearly one in the morning!

Helena – I…wanted to go look out at the stars.

Aid – I bet you can see them perfectly from your room.

Helena – No, not well enough. The stars aren’t the same whenever you look at them.

Aid – Sure, stars are born and die pretty constantly and we never see the stars as they are—

Helena – Sh-shh…the stars are always as we see them because we live our own truths, and those truths are born and die with the cycle of each star out there.

Aid – I—Mrs. Joy, is now really the time to have a conversation like this? You have a round of chemotherapy in the morning and your mind and body should be well rested before you head in. You need your strength.

Helena – What’s your name?

Aid – My name?

Helena – Sure, girl, what’s your name? I’ve been calling you nurse for far too long.

Aid – My name is Jennifer.

Helena – And you shall hereby call me Helena. Our family isn’t too committed to the formalities, if you haven’t noticed yet.

Jennifer – Okay…erm…Helena, I would love to chat with you more tomorrow night during my next shift, but I’m afraid you really must return to bed now.

Helena – Jennifer, I can’t handle it anymore. This…frail, old body of mine can’t possibly endure another day of those godforsaken chemicals. I opt out of therapy.

Jennifer – Mrs. Joy—I mean—Helena! What about your family?

Helena – My family will manage just fine…I’m a seventy-five-year-old woman and I’ve lived a full life up unto this point. I can’t continue to live my family’s lives for them. I cannot and will not.

(Several other patients and hospital staff members, upon hearing the noise, clamber into the hallway to observe.)

Jennifer – You’re fatigued and exhausted, I know, I know how it is with cancer patients, but you may be even more drained on account of the time. Maybe you should think this through over a steady night of rest?

Helena – I have thought it over, and I’ve been contemplating on it since I started the damn thing. Please, honor an old widow’s request and don’t force me to go tomorrow. Please.

Jennifer – Are you afraid?

 

#16 – Famous Last Words

 

(Helena) Now I know
That I can't make you stay
But where's your heart?
But where's your heart?
But where's your...
And I know
There's nothing I can say
To change that part
To change that part
To change...
So many
Bright lights, they cast a shadow
But can I speak?
Well is it hard understanding
I'm incomplete
A life that's so demanding
I get so weak
A love that's so demanding
I can't speak
(Ensemble) I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
(Helena) Can you see
My eyes are shining bright
'Cause I'm out here
On the other side
Of a jet black hotel mirror
And I'm so weak
Is it hard understanding
I'm incomplete
A love that's so demanding
I get weak
(Ensemble) I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

(Patients) These bright lights have always blinded me
These bright lights have always blinded me
I say
(Helena) I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead

(Ensemble)(How can I see, I see you lying)

(Helena) 'Cause I see you lying next to me
(Ensemble) (How can I see, I see you lying)

(Helena) With words I thought I'd never speak
(Ensemble) (How can I see, I see you lying)

(Helena) Awake and unafraid
(Ensemble) (How can I see, I see you lying)

 (Helena) Asleep or dead
(Ensemble) 'Cause I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead
'Cause I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

(HELENA collapses, writhing in pain and moans.)

Jennifer – Oh God, okay, honey, stick with me here, we’re going to get you a doctor. Ah…somebody, anybody—(She catches sight of a young nurse) Mr. Sellings! Page Doctor Andertram!

Sellings – Yes ma’am. What’s the problem?

Jennifer – Rapid progression is my best guess. Andertram will be able to pick it out better.

Sellings – How much time does she have?

Jennifer – With cases like this? God, nobody can say, but they rarely last longer than a week! To think she was worried about stopping chemo…

Sellings – Damn…

Jennifer – Well? What are you doing, shooting the breeze with me? Go find the doctor!

(MR. SELLINGS complies and exits.)

Jennifer – Don’t worry, Helena, keep holding on. You’ve got some life left in there, I know it! (She notices the window near them.) Helena! Look—look at the stars. They’re different now, yes? Remember them from only the last time you looked out there? Totally different sky now.

Helena – Thank you…dearie…Jennifer?

Jennifer – Yes? What is it?

Helena – I…have a request of you…something to tell you.

Jennifer – Save your energy.

Helena – Energy…doesn’t matter…my clock has run out. I must tell you something before the bell tolls.

Jennifer – Sure, honey, anything at all.

 

BLACKOUT

END OF ACT ONE


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT TWO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scene One

(Time: Morning of the next day, 7:30 AM to be exact. CURTIS looks rugged, exhausted, and defeated as he sets up shop for the day and converses in hushed tones with MARCUS who is poorly organizing the book displays.)

Curtis – Shit, man, I can’t believe she kept this from us too! Stopping chemo? That’s inconceivable! And anyway, how far along is she? Doctor Andertram said she collapsed last night and hasn’t been totally conscious since.

Marcus – Aye, but Gran’s always been this way, Curt. You know she’s nearly as secretive as you are, but she always ‘as her reasons.

Curtis – Untrue. Besides, I would always tell my family about things like…well, cancer for fuck’s sake. I’d even let mom know as soon as I could.

Marcus – Really? You mean that?

Curtis – Probably…I mean, she lost her husband and if she was going to lose her son too…what, she’s still a human being. She still has intellect and emotion and…well…maybe not so much on the emotion part…

Marcus – Curtis if that raging, pompous, cold sore of a property owner came walking in those doors this second and shot me down in front of God and everyone, I would beg you in my final moments to never let our sorry excuse for a mother find out. You could…I don’t know, hire an actor or something…not that she’d know the difference anyway.

Curtis – Hah, as if actors were so eas—oh. Oh no.

Marcus – Oh no what, can’t make a livin’ out of the grand theatre like you always dreamed of, little brother?

Curtis – Zip it and nick it, I have majorly fucked up. Majorly.

Marcus – Say what?

Curtis – What time is it?

Marcus – Time, well we open in about—

Curtis – No you lazy ass-loafer, what the fuck time is it?

Marcus – Geez, it’s seven thirty-three.

Curtis – I have to run. Hold down the fort.

(CURTIS beelines for the door.)

Marcus – Curtis, you can’t run off whenever you’re losin’ an argument yah petty—

Curtis – Later, Marcus, I am thirty-three minutes late for a meeting that could seal my fate!

Marcus – A meeting? With who?

Curtis – That cold sore of a property owner you mentioned, except in this scenario, I’m the one getting mowed down.

Marcus – Ah…any last words?

Curtis – I don’t even like to read and I don’t know why I opened a bookstore.

(CURTIS dashes from the building and collides headfirst into MR. WESLEY who was on his way in to the bookstore.)

Curtis – Sir! Good morning! I was wrapped up in a bit of my personal, family matters…nothing pertaining to my employee, I assure you…but my grandmother, she’s very ill and…

Mr. Wesley – Excuses, excuses, excuses, you slimy teenager. All I have ever heard uttered from those crusty lips of yours are excuses. I’m going to have to teach you a lesson if you aren’t willing to take matters into your own hands. You ‘ave one chance…ONE…to prove to me that this bookstore means anything to you and that our business dealio can remain in place….

Curtis­ – Yes, yes Mr. Wesley, anything.

Mr. Wesley – Fire him. Fire him this instant while I watch your miserable, forlorn hide weep over the whole ordeal, or you are evicted.

Curtis – I…

(CURTIS looks frantically from MR. WESLEY to the bookstore. During his panic attack, he catches the eye of a rebellious looking teenager, heading in their direction. Suddenly, it is clear to him.)

Curtis – Hey, you! Yeah—son, come over here. You see this man here?

Teenager – Sure.

Curtis – Do you know what people like him are going to do to you?

Teenager – What?

 

#17 – Teenagers

 

(Curtis) (To the teenager) They're gonna clean up your looks

With all the lies in the books

To make a citizen out of you

Because they sleep with a gun

And keep an eye on you, son

So they can watch all the things you do

(To MR. WESLEY, who is livid.) Because the drugs never work

They're gonna give you a smirk

Cause they got methods of keeping you clean

They're gonna rip up your heads

Your aspirations to

shreds

Another cog in the murder machine

(Ensemble) They said "all teenagers scare the living shit out of me

They could care less as long as someone'll bleed"

So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose

Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

(Curtis) (To another teenager) The boys and girls in the clique

The awful names that they stick

You're never gonna fit in much, kid

But if you're troubled and hurt

(Approaching MR. WESLEY and pretending to reach for a concealed weapon.) What you got under your shirt

Will make them pay for the things that they did

(Ensemble) They said "all teenagers scare the living shit out of me

They could care less as long as someone'll bleed"

So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose

Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

Oh, yeah!

Mr. Wesley – By God, Curtis Joy, you get your personal artifacts out of my building this instant or I’ll—

Curtis – Or you’ll what, unleash your wrath on me? Please, if you think the rage under your skin is anything compared to mine, then you are in for a treat.

Mr. Wesley – And what is that supposed to mean?

Curtis – You said it yourself—street rats like me shouldn’t be out in force. Lucky for you, I’m retired, but I’m willing to come out of retirement—just for you, sweetie!

Mr. Wesley – CURTIS!

Curtis – Ah ah ah! Nope! Take it away, friends!

 

(Ensemble) They said "all teenagers scare the living shit out of me

They could care less as long as someone'll bleed"

So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose

Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

(Curtis) All together now!

(Ensemble) "Teenagers scare the living shit out of me

They could care less as long as someone'll bleed"

So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose

Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

 

(MR. WESLEY, red as an apple, storms into the bookstore and knocks over arrangements of literature as JANE enters from the side. Her mouth is agape over what she just watched unfold.)

 

(Ensemble) They said "all teenagers scare the living shit out of me

They could care less as long as someone'll bleed"

So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose

Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

Jane – Uhm, what do you think you’re doing?

Curtis – Having a backbone and asserting myself for once.

Jane – Are you aware that you may have just thrown away the greatest opportunity of your life? This bookstore is your livelihood! How can you just…scrap it like nothing!

Curtis – Same reason I ever do anything, my friend, because if I spend another god damn day in that bookstore I would become disenchanted in a flash.

Jane – Life is not about…fantasies, Curtis. I know we had this conversation already and you might…believe whatever this ideology is but…Curtis! Come on! Think with your head.

Curtis – Opposed to what? My heart? My soul? Hell no! If the world is going to batter and defeat me, it’s only under my terms, my decree, and there is nobody—nobody—who can take that control away from me.

Jane – How are you planning on making money, then, hm? Or raising your sister, tending to your grandmother and brother? You can’t all live with your aunt!

Curtis – Jane, please take all of your preconceived notions and throw them away for two minutes.

Jane – You and your “two minutes.”

Curtis – Yes—I’m alone now. I have no future, no plan, no footing, but…Jane…it feels so damn good. Try it out every now and then.

Jane – Focus, Curtis fo—

(CURTIS springs a surprise, passionate kiss on JANE who is more shocked than affectionate towards it.)

Curtis – Try it out!

Jane – What the hell…

Curtis – Jane if you don’t live a little bit and take risks how do you expect to get anywhere?

Jane – Not by kissing random strangers, that’s for sure.

Curtis – I wasn’t aware that we were just “strangers.”

Jane – We…barely know each other…are you attempting to reconcile with me by…kissing me?

Curtis – No. Wait. Actually, yes I am. Did it work?

Jane – Did it work? I am appalled that—

(CURTIS kisses her again, but this time she pulls away quicker.)

Jane – My father is just down the block, I could scream and he’d come running and whoop you to the heavens and back.

Curtis – Quiet down, give the magic a chance to work. What fantasy do you desire, Miss Khell? Do you want to be powerful, rich, and comfortable? Is your dream life based around the lasting impact you can make? Are you thirsty for love? Whatever it is…let it soak in…let it sit with you. Find your enchantment, Jane. Don’t succumb to the illusion of reality.

(JANE becomes enthralled in his rambling, quieting her temper to a light annoyance. An edge of admiration creeps into her voice.)

Jane – You sound like a madman.

Curtis – Is it so wrong if I am?

Jane – I don’t know, is it?

Curtis – I’m a madman with a cause, Jane, so doesn’t that make me just as lucid as you or anyone else in this town?

Jane – The lives of these people are all stable and secure…they’re happy lives…you haven’t had a chance to know their stories so you can’t judge them either.

Curtis – Then what right do they have to judge me?

Jane – N-none at all…

(This time, they both lean in for the kiss. It is long and sincere, but nervous on JANE’s behalf. Once they retreat, MARCUS is storming after MR. WESLEY who has finished wreaking havoc on the bookstore.)

Marcus – And stay out, you chub-ridden man child!

Wesley – I’ll be back before you are, that’s for sure you peg-legged protein freak!

(Exit MR. WESLEY.)

Marcus – Curtis, he just—oh, I’m sorry, am I interrupting some tender love scene?

Curtis –Yes sir, but that’s a-okay. I’m assuming he just delivered the news to you?

Marcus – If by “deliver” you mean by swingin’ his fists at every bookstand in the building, yessirree.

Curtis – I wonder if he realizes that by trashing the place it’ll only make it harder on us to pack up and leave.

Marcus – Men like that don’t realize much at all.

Curtis – Say—both of you—how’d you like to go visit Helena? We may not have much time left with her and I was planning on visiting her after we closed today but…if she’s deteriorating so quickly we should…move on past her dishonesty.

Marcus – I’m in if you are, kid.

Curtis – Jane?

Jane - …eh…sure, why not?

Curtis – Fantastic, it’s settled then. Hey, let’s stop by your store and pick up flowers for her. Maybe she’ll even be awake when we arrive.

(As they exit, DARREN sneaks around the corner.)

Darren – Heh, lookee here. Didn’t I tell him? I told him just that, didn’t I, and look what happened—not even a whole day later!

(CLAIRE turns the corner, following him subtly.)

Claire – Hey! Darren! It’s not the best idea to just meander all willy-nilly, Curtis isn’t far.

Darren – Huh? What’s he gonna do, ground you?

Claire – Or tell Marie.

Darren – Oh boy, what a predicament. And how would you suggest we remedy this turmoil?

Claire – By going elsewhere.

Darren – Right as usual, my friend! How’s the Clerk Bistro sound to you on this fine, sunny afternoon?

Claire – Delightful, actually!

(They turn to leave. DARREN exits as CLAIRE glances over her shoulder to the hurricane of a bookstore.)

Claire – God, I’m sorry Curtis. I should’ve known.

(Enter MARIE who catches CLAIRE before she can exit. They share an awkward moment while DARREN remains offstage.)

Marie – It looks like a tornado hit the place.

Claire – Mr. Wesley evicted Curtis.

Marie – Gracious, no! Are you kidding?

Claire – Unfortunately. I overheard them talking—Curtis was supposed to meet with him this morning but he forgot about the meeting because of me—I mean—because of Helena.

Marie – And he didn’t loosen up on the kid at all?

Claire – Nope, he told him to either fire Marcus or get to steppin’.

Marie – Shucks, well where is Curt headed now?

Claire – He went to the Khell shop to buy some flowers for Helena. Marcus and Jane were with him.

Marie – So those two are getting along now? It’s like every time I take a moment to myself the whole story changes!

Claire – More than getting along, from the looks of it.

Marie – Whatever floats hi—wait a minute, I have a bone to pick with you, Claire. I almost forgot that was the reason I came here in the first place.

Claire – Why, what, with me?

(DARREN creeps back onto stage, watching but staying out of view.)

Marie – Affirmative, Clairebell, we looked upways and sideways for you around town yesterday and came up empty-handed! Do you have any idea the amount of stress and pressure that puts on your family?

Claire – I…(Noticing DARREN) I have my reasons…and it’s not to encumber yo—

Marie – Okay okay okay! I’m not great at confrontation, but um, Claire, I’m your aunt and technically your guardian so…I’m going to ask that you head home for the rest of today.

Claire – Marie!

Marie – No buts or Marie’s about it.

Claire – But I…I…(swallowing her pride) I love him!

Marie – You love…who?

Claire – Darren Capula! (She runs to him) Darren Capula is the love of my life!

Marie – Darren Capula? You mean the same Darren Capula who drove his car into the quarry just because he felt like it?

Darren – That was Curtis.

Marie – Oh, sorry. Nevermind! I don’t care who it was, you probably told him to do it!

Darren – Sure, go ahead and blame me, I’m not Doctor Death Defy, if you want to screech and cry at anyun’ you better chase after your nephew. He’s havin’ a bit of a temperament episode.

Marie – Is he okay?

Darren – I dunno, ma’am, maybe you should go check!

Marie – Okay! (She turns to leave, then catches herself.) Hah! You thought you’d played me well, didn’t you? Unlucky for you, I’ve learned quite a bit and I can…handle myself now. I think.

Darren – Christ, leave it alone. We’s a just enjoying ourselves, alright auntie Marie? Curtis doesn’t mind.

Marie – He does and he told me! He told me to look out for you in particular.

Darren – Did he now? Looks like big brother has become “big brother.”

Marie – Claire, leave this man at once and go home.

Claire – Ok—No!

Marie – What was that, young woman?

Claire – I said no!

Claire – I am old enough and mature enough to make my own decisions. What is with everyone telling me I’m too naïve to call the shots? I’m my own person.

Marie – Yes you are, honey…y-your own person, not naïve…uh, but I’m in charge of you!

Claire – Prove it, then. Take charge—take the reins, woman! Stop hiding behind yourself. You can’t expect me to obey if you cower over your own commands.

Marie – Enough! Since my brother died, I’ve had to constantly mend and assist this family while everyone else only wants to chip away at it. No offense…No! Offense to everyone! I can’t take this disrespect and disregard anymore! Claire, if you don’t listen to me, can you think of what the alternative might be? Your mother! Would you like me to call her, huh? Not that I would. But show me some respect, and show your brother some respect too! He is worried sick, and when you apply that sort of…tension…to him, he cracks.

Claire – You think so? Because I’m fairly confident that he’ll come around if he has more reason to.

Marie – Are you voluntarily putting him through hell?

Claire(Quickly) No of course not. Come on Darren.

Marie – Yeah, come on Darren, we’ll see you some other day. Claire, you’re coming home—right now!

Darren – May I voice my own opinion, m’lady?

Marie(Sighing) Ehhh….fine, I don’t want to be rude.

Darren – This may come as a shocker to the both a’ yah, but I’m not generally a happy person.

Claire – Darren…

Darren – Sh, it’s fine, Claire. I’ve struggled to mend the pieces of shattered dreams all my life. Even with this great gig I got goin’ for me now, it still ain’t nothin’ compared to…a real, genuine life. Claire, I didn’t think it possible, but you’re beginning to put those pieces back together. I didn’t think a woman could do such a thing.

Claire – I…am?

Darren – Yep. You’re more a force a’ change to me than anythin’ else I’ve ever turned to.

Claire – That’s good, right?

Darren – Why, sure. And Marie, if you take this wonderful lady away from me, you’re killin’ me—figuratively.

Marie – Sorry, but I don’t think it’ll kill her to part from you.

Darren – Maybe it will. I am good at reading people.

Claire – Marie…it’s fine. Let’s go home now.

Darren – Come on! Claire! Fight back, I know yah got the nerve! Don’t let our spark of passion die!

Claire – I’m sorry…I think I’ve gone too far.

Darren – Not at all…oh…I getcha, I getcha. Well, I s’pose this is “goodbye,” my dearie. I hope I “don’t” see you again.

(He exits.)

Marie – Is it just me, or is there something else going on here?

Claire – I have no clue what he’s talking about.

Marie – Uhm…I thought you hated Darren? I’ve never heard you speak well of him…ever…

Claire – I do hate him. I hate him more than anyone on this good green earth.

Marie – Wha—but you just said that you loved him.

Claire – I did, and that’s what Curtis needs to believe, and Darren needs to believe.

Marie – Honey, what are you doing?

Claire – I’m giving Curtis a reason to stay on the bright side. You think I enjoy putting my dear brother through hell? No! I want him to never go back to hell again, but he has to go through the rest of it first.

Marie – I can’t vouch for this plan. Playing a man’s heart—especially someone like Darren—is dangerous.

Claire – Forgive me for not knowing any better, but I’ve never dated anyone in my life. I’m just doing what I assume real people do.

Marie – You are a real person.

Claire – Are you so sure? I’ve never felt like I am.

Marie – Why?

Claire(She laughs like a maniac) Why? Why? Why, because of this fucking family, that’s why, Marie! Because if nobody babysits Marcus, he’ll run away and get drunk and probably end up dead in a ditch! If nobody supports and helps Curtis, then he’ll fall off the deep end. Because I’m an orphan, and because everyone in this god damn family is insane besides me, and when I should matter, I don’t…unless I’m making “poor life choices,” then—God forbid! Claire’s going to end up just like the rest of the Joy children! She’s going to get pregnant, turn lesbian, and start drinking. I don’t have friends and I barely have a family, Marie. This is the life I live! So give this poor little orphan girl a fighting chance. Give her a cause. Let me save the only person in this world who actually loves me.

Marie – Sweetie…we all love you.

Claire – This? This isn’t love. What Darren feels—that isn’t love, that’s use. What I’m doing for Curtis is love. Love is sacrifice, not convenience. Maybe if you learned that a little earlier you’d have a family of your own by now.

Marie – How dare you!

Claire – How dare I!? How grand! You know what, Marie? I’m not coming home and I probably never will. I’m going to go hunt down my make-believe boyfriend and destroy his heart. After that, maybe I’ll join the circus and get out of this town once and for all.

Marie – Wait! Claire!

(CLAIRE is gone.)

Marie – Nonono, not good. I’d better tell Curtis before it’s too late.

 

BLACKOUT

#18 (PLAYOFF) – Planetary – GO!

 

 

Scene Two

(CURTIS, JANE, MARCUS, and HARRIET surround HELENA who is rapidly fading in the hospital. DOCTOR JOHNNY ANDERTRAM enters the room with JENNIFER and NURSE SELLINGS.)

Andertram – Are you the Joy family?

Harriet ­– Oh, doctor, of course we are, of course! My poor, poor mother-in-law…oh my heart.

Andertram – Uh…yes. Okay, well, Helena has been in and out of consciousness since she fainted last night. I know this is hard to hear, but you need to start accounting for what happens next.

Curtis – Seriously, just say it. She’s on her way out, isn’t she?

Andertram – It’s a delicate situation. This could pull either way, Mr. Joy, and we can’t call it early. Are you all religious?

Marcus – Fuck, no.

Andertram – Ahem…right…well, are you planning to have a funeral?

Harriet – A funeral? Such a dirty word! But yes, we will be having a ceremony for her, I assure. I promise you boys. Your mother has this covered, all you need to do is be present. Your presence is her present.

Curtis(Under his breath) I hate you so fucking much.

Andertram – I sense there’s some tension here. We have some news pertaining to your grandmother’s final wishes, but if you’d like some time to yourselves, we can give you space.

Curtis – No, enlighten us, please.

Andertram – Miss Jennifer?

Jennifer – Right. Last night, around one in the morning, I caught your grandmother sneaking down the hallway.

Curtis – What? Why would she be out that late?

Jennifer – She wanted to look at the stars.

Curtis – The stars…Helena loves the night sky…

Jennifer – That’s when she asked us to pull her from chemotherapy and cease all treatments. She told me she couldn’t live your lives for you anymore.

Marcus – Shit, that’s heavy.

Jennifer – Once she fell, Nurse Sellings and I carried her back to her room. It was very clear that even with continued chemo, the cancer had been progressing too quickly for any…solid…recovery. But, before long, she woke up and started talking to us.

Harriet – What did she say? What?

Sellings – She said to find…Claire? Yeah, Claire…that Claire would know what she wanted for your family.

Curtis – Claire…anything else?

Sellings – She also wanted us to tell you that if she never got a chance to say it…she wanted to say…

Andertram – “So long. And goodnight.”

(The electrocardiogram begins to beep rapidly.)

Curtis – So long…and goodnight…(to HELENA) There’s nothing I can say. I’m sure you can hear me—you always have.

Harriet – Curtis, let her rest.

Curtis(Ignoring his mother) Helena, you’ve taught me everything I’ve ever known. You’ve taught me how to love and how to be loved. Generosity and…oh my God…oh…

 

#19 – Helena (So Long and Goodnight)

 

(Curtis) Long ago
Just like the hearse, you die to get in again
We are so far from you
Burning on just like a match you strike to incinerate
The lives of everyone you know
And what's the worst you take
From every heart you break
And like the blade you stain
Well, I've been holding on tonight
What's the worst that I can say?
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
Came a time
When every star fall brought you to tears again
We are the very hurt you sold
And what's the worst you take
From every heart you break

And like the blade you stain
Well, I've been holding on tonight
What's the worst that I can say?
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
And if you carry on this way
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
Can you hear me?
Are you near me?
Can we pretend
To leave and then
We'll meet again
When both our cars collide.
What's the worst that I can say?
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
And if you carry on this way
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight

 

(The electrocardiogram beeps steadily until it returns to a slower pace.)

Curtis(Through gritted teeth.) Goodnight, grandmother. We’re right here with you.

Jane – Are you okay, Curtis?

Curtis – The fuck do you think? I’m not okay.

(JANE withdraws slowly.)

Marcus – Mother, I think we should give Curtis some time alone with her.

Harriet – I…(sobs) You have my approval, Curtis, okay. You say goodnight to your dear granny. She loves you and she’s proud of you, but I know we can move on. We’ll get through this together. We are family.

(HARRIET, JANE, and MARCUS exit with the rest of the hospital staff.)

Curtis – Helena…I will carry on. (She begins to stir.) I can’t say that I’m…happy? Happy that you told Claire she was the hope for this family and not me? But I understand—hey—I get it. (Pause) Actually…I’m glad you chose Claire…This life is not a dress rehearsal; this moment will be gone soon—and as much as I’m not prepared to admit it, you will be too. But I must carry on, even when you’re dead and gone. I’m still here, and I have to keep living. It’s time to be alive.

Helena – It’s…about time.

Curtis – Helena, go back to sleep.

Helena – Why, you want me dead so soon?

Curtis – No, but you shouldn’t waste your time with me. Don’t overexert. Just rest.

Helena – I ain’t never rested before, and I’m never plannin’ on it. All these doctors actin’ like I’m on my way out, and the rest a’ you too.

Curtis – I’m sorry, that’s what they told us!

Helena – I know, sweetie. It’s surreal to hear it, especially when they’re referring to me. Curtis, listen close okay?

Curtis – What?

Helena – You need to find Claire. You care about her, right?

Curtis – Yes, more than life itself.

Helena – Good. She cares about you, too—maybe a little more than she should. She has a unique, special type of self-sacrificial love for you, Curtis, and she’s putting herself on the line. If you love her like she believes you do, you need to go find her—right now.

Curtis – But I thought the nurse said that you told Claire she was the hope for this family?

Helena – Goodness, I would never put that amount of pressure on anyone! I told the Nurse to have you speak with Claire because she’s in heaps of trouble right now. Gracious, that got lost in translation.

Curtis – In trouble? What do you mean?

Helena – That, I’m afraid, is for Claire to tell you. But you sure need to hurry or she may give up on you!

Curtis – Thanks, grandma. Rest up, okay? We still need you alive.

Helena – I’d enjoy not dying as well.

(CURTIS kisses HELENA on the forehead and exits the room, where only JANE remains.)

Curtis – I’m ready to leave.

Jane – Oh, are you?

Curtis – Don’t be cross. Don’t you fucking dare. Helena is my entire life.

Jane – Don’t throw a tantrum.

Curtis – Oh, yeah, okay, don’t cry over the woman who raised me. No, don’t judge me. Don’t even try. You have no place.

Jane – I don’t need this.

Curtis – Yeah? Neither do I! I thought you were different—I thought that out of all those people who pretend to be human beings, maybe you would come around to living. But you’re just as scrupulously two-faced as the rest of the world.

Jane – If that’s how you feel, I’ll go.

Curtis – Then what are you waiting for? You’re not helping your case. I should’ve known things would end up this way.

Jane – What’s your problem, Curtis? One minute you’re kissing me, the next you’re rebuking me like some backwater preacher!

Curtis – I preach the truth then! Jane, I’m sorry if I’ve been harsh, but you’re really pissing me…I…(he breaks down) God damn. God damn, Jane, I need someone to help me. I need you.

Jane – Curtis…

Curtis – Helena’s still breathing but…God, it won’t be long and I’ll only have you and Claire. I need you to keep me intact. I’m weak on my own.

Jane – Need is such a powerful word…Curtis, let’s find Claire. You are a strong man and only the feeble refuse to ask for help. If we talk to Claire, that will help you, right?

Curtis – I…think so…can you do me a favor?

Jane – Anything.

Curtis – If we come across my mother…or my brother…please just…don’t even look in their direction. Pretend they doesn’t exist. On other days, I could put on a mask and be the support they need but, I can’t let them see me like this. Never again.

Jane – That’s too—okay. As you wish.

Curtis – You’d understand…maybe…if you grew up with them. They’re going to try and control me and Claire again, I know it. My mother, she…she just puts herself at the center of attention, shakes threats at us and ruins our lives and Marcus…well...I’m sure you can imagine what Marcus does.

Jane – Alright, Curtis. I’ll do whatever you need. Easy—just, take it easy.

 

BLACKOUT

#20 (PLAYOFF) – I’m Not Okay (I Promise)

 

Scene Three

(Time: Immediately following. CURTIS and JANE hurry down the street in pursuit of MARIE who they crash into not far from the hospital.)

Marie – O—oh, hello, Curtis! I didn’t expect to see you so soon. But, please, wait a minute, I was just about to go check if you were at the hospital. I’ve been looking for you.

Curtis – Shit, Marie…Ermh…I have something to tell you.

Marie – As do I.

Curtis – Oh no, so you’ve heard, then?

Marie – About Claire?

Curtis – Claire? No, what happened to Claire? I was talking about Helena.

Marie – Hel—what about my mother?

Curtis – Damn. Well…Marie, she stopped chemo and…God I’m glad you weren’t there. The place felt like an oven. My mother was grilling us and…the doctor had no tact at all—none—but, Helena is awake right now—last I saw her anyway. I don’t think anyone expects her to have much longer, and I’m sure she’d love to see you one last time.

Marie – Are you implying that—(Sobbing) My God, please no! Why does no one tell me anything? This is so soon—they promised she had at least another month! They promised.

Curtis – Marie, nobody can predict these things…

Marie – This is too soon. I’m not ready, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready…I need to go see her, I’m sorry Curtis! We’ll catch up later.

(MARIE exits into the hospital.)

Curtis(Calling after her.) Marie, wait! What happened to Claire?

Jane – Hey, I’m sure it was nothing. Maybe Marie caught her and Darren together.

Curtis – That’s not nothing.

Jane – Better than anything else, Curtis. Lean back, relax—well, that can’t be easy for you right now but, uhm, take your mind off the whole hassle and worry about yourself.

Curtis – Who cares about me? I sure never have.

Jane – I care about you, and you asked me to help you so this is me…helping…you. As your self-appointed mentor, I advise you to meditate on the person you are right now.

Curtis – No. I don’t tussle with that yoga nonsense.

Jane – Fine, neither do I. I was just hoping maybe it would distract you.

Curtis – Jane, what I need right now is not distractions. If you can’t tell, I’m a very focused, straightforward type of chap and when people shove their…fabrications…down my throat, I shrivel like a vampire in sunlight.

Jane – Live like that and you’ll have a stroke by forty.

Curtis – Pfft, that’s if liver disease doesn’t kill me first.

Jane – Should we really be talking about…death…right now?

Curtis – Why not? Is there ever a better time? (She is speechless.) Distractions ruin people. I delved into distractions to cope with my father’s death and look where it got me. Obviously my grandmother doesn’t think much of me either because she trusts Claire’s decisions more than she trusts mine.

Jane – She’s not…

Curtis – Yes, certainly not wrong in the slightest. Claire is more of an adult than I am, and I’m a twenty-six-year-old man straight out a’ business school.

Jane – What about her whole “thing” with Darren?

Curtis – Please, even when Claire is being stupid she’s more cautious than I am. It’s probably all “calculated” in her mind already. Kid has brains and guts.

Jane – You sell yourself too short, Curtis. In this brief time that we’ve been friends, I’ve already come to super appreciate your courageousness.

Curtis – Call it whatever you like, but I’m never going to amount to anything.

Jane – You’re making my job extremely difficult, you know that?

Curtis – Some people aren’t meant to rise to the occasion. Some people aren’t supposed to be remembered. I’ve come too far and made too many mistakes already, and I would hang in shame if anyone ever thought of me as anything more than what I am.

Jane – And, in your…may I note…ever-so slightly flawed opinion of yourself, who do you think you are?

Curtis – Darren’s right. I’m the one and only Doctor Death Defy. That will never change.

Jane – Curtis.

Curtis – Come on, let’s go find my sister.

(Before they can exit, enter GERALD who is briskly walking in their direction.)

Gerald – You!

Curtis – Me!

Jane – Gerald?!

Curtis – Pleased to meet you, stranger. You come to witness my existential crisis?

Gerald – I’ve come to reclaim what’s rightfully mine.

Curtis – What, did I dig up your buried treasure or something? I’ve never seen you before in my life.

Jane – Curtis, this is Gerald…my ex-boyfriend.

Gerald – So quick to call me an ex, huh? We’ve only be separated for a few days, Jane. Are a few days enough for you to forget about me?

Jane – No, I haven’t forgotten about you, Gerald, I only wish I could’ve—

Gerald – Moved on faster? Left me sooner? You hussy, you adulterous heathen! I loved you and you’ve already found a new fling.

Jane – Curtis is not just a fling, and if you don’t mind, he’s on the verge of losing his grandmother. Take a page from my book and learn a lesson about being inconsiderate, yah prick.

Gerald(To Curtis) Buddy. (He snaps his fingers aggressively) You believe this woman? Do you?

Curtis – I’m not sure you’re shining yourself in the best light right now, pal.

Gerald – Don’t trust her. She’s got an exterior of gold but once you get to that core, you see what’s really down there. Don’t be fooled by words of affirmation, Mr. Brightside, because this bitch’ll destroy your world if you let her.

Jane – Stop it Gerald, just stop it! What did I ever do to wrong you, huh? I was as dutiful as any girlfriend ever could be. I even gave you a discount on flowers!

Gerald – Which I only bought for you!

Jane – Oh.

Curtis – Look…Gerry…

Gerald – It’s Gerald.

Curtis – Josephat, whatever, I’m currently in hot pursuit of a seventeen-year-old girl who is trying to date an older man at her own expense, so I don’t have time to chat about flowers. As much as I’d love to.

Gerald – Fine! But don’t say I didn’t warn you. She gets in your skin, man, and she digs around in there—finds what you believe in—and then reminds you that she’s the one who’s right, and that you’re an ass for thinking anything different.

Curtis – Good golly am I nervous. Jane, we’d better watch out.

Gerald – To hell with you both!

(He turns, but stops.)

Gerald – Did you say…seventeen-year-old girl?

Curtis – What, you want a piece of my sister too? You didn’t strike me as a man who’s into underage girls.

Gerald – Be that way and I won’t tell you what I saw.

Curtis – You saw something? In this brief passing, on the way to stalk your ex-girlfriend, you happened to witness something relevant to my personal woes? Bull.

Gerald – No, I swear! I swear by my spite for Jane Khell!

Curtis – That’s quite a burdensome deity to swear by, champ. What did you see?

Gerald – I saw my lawyer hangin’ around some lassie in the Clerk park. I would’ve thought she was his daughter if they hadn’t been canoodling.

Curtis – The—what!?

Gerald – Catch you on the peace side, “friends.” Watch out for her sting, bud.

(He leaves.)

FADE TO BLACK

#21 (PLAYOFF) – I Don’t Love you

 

 

Scene Four

(Time: Concurrent. DARREN and CLAIRE sit in the Clerk park together. His arm is around her, and she is close up against his side—however, her face expresses extreme discomfort during the intervals when he’s not looking at her.)

Darren – Comfy?

Claire(Smiling lightly) Never felt better.

Darren – You got anythin’ else goin’ on this evenin’?

Claire – Nothing at all—my time is yours.

Darren – Spectacular, Claire, spectacular! You in the mood for some gamblin’?

Claire – You still want to take me to that Casino over the horizon?

Darren – Sure I do! And, if you’re serious in sayin’ that our dearly departed Curtis is out of the picture, I shouldn’t see why not!

Claire – Don’t you have to be of a certain age to go into places like that?

Darren – Not when yah got connections, kid, and I’m the best connection in this half of the county. But we’ll wait ‘till the sun goes down. Real players don’t go out until at least nine.

Claire – Darren…before we go, I need to ask you about something.

Darren – I’m an open book for you.

Claire – Did you…mean what you said earlier around Marie?

Darren – Don’t believe me, huh? S’pose I carry a bit of a reputation wherever I go. You ain’t like the other bimbos I’ve been with, Claire, you’re special.

Claire – How can I be so sure you don’t say that to the rest of them? For all I know, after I go home tonight, you’ll probably end up with another—woman.

Darren – Those are slanderin’ words, missy. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a firm, accountable mister but one thing remains true no matter what for me.

Claire – What would that be?

Darren – I don’t lie to my girls.

Claire – Heh. Sure you don’t.

Darren – Still can’t bring yourself to trust me? I see. Well, whatever garbage Curtis is feedin’ you is merely a device to pin us against each other. Hm. Say, I got an idea.

Claire(Falsely optimistic.) I like the sound of that…

Darren – Before we go head-to-head in a pissin’ match at each other, allow me to prove it.

Claire – Prove what?

Darren – Let me show you that I mean it—that I love you.

Claire – Uhm….okay, that sounds…(trying to conceal her discomfort) Go ahead!

Darren – In case you were nervous, I ain’t after you for revenge against Cutis. Hell, the fact that you’re his sister don’t mean squat to me. Like I said, I’ve had some trouble sleeping lately, and I think you might be the cure. I can be the remedy for your anxiousness too.

Claire – I’m perfectly fine, Darren, this week has been…difficult. But I swear, I’m not typically this…

Darren – Vulnerable? I getcha. Is it Curtis, your grandma, or e’rythin’ else?

Claire – It’s…me.

Darren – For real now?

Claire – No, I won’t bother you with the details. My family really enjoys subjecting me to their collective expectations and I’m afraid I’ll crack.

Darren – Sweets, I got the cure for that.

Claire – You can solve all of my lifelong familial problems?

Darren – Nada, but I know of a solution for how you’re feelin’ about the ordeal.

Claire – I’m not touching any liquor.

Darren – Shit no, kid. Alcohol is fun but I ain’t about to drown you in my own habits. I offer somethin’ better—a sweet release—(He tightens his grip on her and begins to kiss her neck.)

Claire – Darren I’m not entirely comfortable wi—

Darren(Continuing through kisses) Sh…it’s fine, Claire, I ain’t gonna make you do anythin’ yah don’t want. Just close your eyes. Don’t take it all too seriously.

Claire – Please stop, I don’t want this.

Darren(Pausing) What? Thought you loved me.

Claire – I do but…if you love me, you’d respect my boundaries.

Darren(Continuing) Boundaries…eh? Don’t know much about those…never was a fan.

Claire – No! Cut it out, honestly.

Darren – Isn’t this what you want? You told me to prove that my feelings were genuine, and now you’re asking me to “cut it out?” What kind of bimbo are yah, huh? (She pushes him away.)

Claire – I think we’re finished here, Mr. Capula.

Darren – Not if I have anythin’ to say about the matter, Miss Joy. (He pulls her down) C’mon, stop being such a stuck up prude—you’re as dry as your brother.

Claire – Leave me be! (She draws away, but he yanks her down into his embrace while she struggles.)

Darren – Tsk tsk tsk, Clairebell, show me a little sugar, a’ight? You wouldn’t want to prove your family right, would yah?

Claire – I…I…can’t say…(She squirms before finally giving in to his arms.)

Darren(Coddling her) Ain’t nothin’ but a nice evening, Claire, ain’t nothin’ more.

Claire – Mhm…

Darren – Let’s just watch that nice gumdrop of a sun dive down beneath the hills, Claire. Look out for the neon. (He continues kissing her, but she stares blankly into space.)

Claire – I’m watching.

(DARREN makes more advances on CLAIRE.)

FADE TO BLACK

#22 (PLAYOFF) – Welcome to the Black Parade (Drumming)

 

 

Scene Five

(Time: Late into that night—JANE’s apartment. JANE lays asleep on the couch, curled up with a novel, when a knock comes at the door. She slowly wakes up and clambers to the door groggily. CURTIS stumbles in and collapses on the couch. He is completely intoxicated.)

Jane – Curtis? Wh-what are you doing here…it’s three o’clock in the morning…Were you out all night looking for Claire?

Curtis – I’eas jus’ cooooouldn’t’a real find meh…way hoame…naaaah Claiireh’s nowhere…she’sh jus’ gone.

Jane – What’s a matter with you? Are you sick?

Curtis – Naaaah’s, I’m better’n ever!

Jane – You don’t appear to—Curtis! Are you drunk?

Curtis – Nuh-uh, only ‘ad a few drinks.

Jane – Yes you are, I’ve never seen anyone so smashed. (CURTIS tries to climb up the arm of the couch) Curt…Curtis, get down. What’s gotten into you? You promised you swore off alcohol for good.

Curtis – Yeeah’s, but zshea’s just’a couldn’t stay ‘way frahm me…

Jane – Oh-ho, so you’re trying to tell me that the liquor just happened to find its way into your mouth. Lie down!

Curtis – Aoh—oahkay, Neeeekahl.

Jane – What’d you just call me?

Curtis – Whazh? Yeh’s naaaam, Nieeecole!

Jane – Curtis, look at me. Look me in the eye! Who do you think I am?

Curtis – Niiiicole, sweets. Niiiiiicole, you’ze notta seein’ the sch-emetary this time!

Jane – Cemetery? God above, how drunk are you?

Curtis – Jus’ a leel bit.

Jane – I don’t know who this “Nicole” is or what on earth you’re talking about, but this doesn’t fly. This simply does not fly! You can’t crash into my home like this…it’s a slippery path to hell, Curtis!

Curtis – Weeeell, I can!

Jane – Says who?

Curtis – Niiiiicole, I gots tah ashk yah shomethin’!

Jane – No, Curtis, no!

Curtis – Where’d yah go for shoooo loooong, Nicole? Why’d’a yah’r not tell me?

Jane – Snap out of it. I’m Jane, not Nicole.

Curtis – Jaaayhnnn? Hooooowd-y! Heeeey!

Jane – I can’t believe this.

Curtis – Jaayn! How’s you feehl about’s crashin’ here tonight, okay?

Jane – No you can’t stay here—absolutely not.

 

#23 – The Sharpest Lives

 

(Curtis) (Slurring his words) Well it rains and it pours
When you're out on your own
If I crash on the couch
Can I sleep in my clothes?
'Cause I've spent the night dancing
I'm drunk, I suppose
If it looks like I'm laughing
I'm really just asking to leave
This alone, you're in time for the show
You're the one that I need
I'm the one that you loathe
You can watch me corrode like a beast in repose
'Cause I love all the poison
Away with the boys in the band
I've really been on a bender and it shows

(He leans in to JANE who pushes him away.)
So why don't you blow me a kiss before she goes?
Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
A light to burn all the empires
So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be
In love with all of these vampires
So you can leave like the sane abandoned me
There's a place in the dark where the animals go
You can take off your skin in the cannibal glow
Juliet loves the beat and the lust it commands
Drop the dagger and lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
I've really been on a bender and it shows
So why don't you blow me a kiss before she goes?
Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
A light to burn all the empires
So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be
In love with all of these vampires
So you can leave like the sane abandoned me
Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
A light to burn all the empires
So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be
In love with all of these vampires
So you can leave like the sane abandoned me

 

Jane – We’re over, Curtis, we are over!

Curtis – You’ll be back, yah shlimy shtallion…

Jane – Do you think that this is how life works? Well, it’s not! You and your fantasies and your…disenchantment and love and family...I see now what you’re all about, Mr. Joy, and I want nothing to do with it. You’re a mess I can’t handle, and frankly, nobody else can either. Go find your sister, if you even still care about her.

(CURTIS trips and falls on his way to the door.)

Curtis – You’re a bully!

Jane – I’m a human, Doctor Death Defy, and the same can’t be said for you. (She shoves him out the door and slams it.) Damn…(She begins to cry.) What the fuck have I done?

(She cries alone for some time before a knock comes at her window.)

Jane – My window? Curtis! Go away!

Claire(Offstage) Miss Khell? It’s not Curtis, it’s—it’s Claire.

Jane – Jesus, Claire? Where have you been? (She rushes and opens up the window.)

Claire – Thank you, Jane. May I come in?

Jane – I couldn’t turn you away if I wanted to, could I?

Claire – You got that right.

(CLAIRE climbs inside.)

Claire – Have you been crying?

Jane – A wee bit.

Claire – I thought I heard some commotion on my way up…what happened?

Jane – I shouldn’t say. It’s not important.

Claire – Geez, it’s obviously important to you. (No response.) Okay, so you won’t talk about it. That’s fine.

Jane – Why are you here? Not to be rude but…it’s not even the crack of dawn yet and you’re the second person to barge into my apartment.

Claire – Why am I here? Great question. Can you tell me why?

Jane – Is this about Darren?

Claire – Kind of but…not entirely.

Jane – Your grandmother?

Claire – Same answer.

Jane – Out with it!

Claire – I don’t know, Jane, I don’t know! I have messed up, okay? I screwed the pooch big time!

Jane – You? Clairebell Joy, the savior of the Joy dynasty, has made a mistake?

Claire – Everyone is just as likely to fuck up as the next person, buuut in my case, I think I’ve crossed the point of no return.

Jane – Stop being so secretive. If you don’t tell me what you want from me, I’d like to get back to sleep, thank you very much.

Claire – Hunker down, Miss Khell. As you witnessed firsthand with my brother, Darren Capula and I have been—

Jane – Yes, “engaging” yourselves together.

Claire – It’s not that black and white. I’ll let you in on my big secret…I hate Darren Capula.

Jane – What?

Claire – I hate him. I hate him so much that I’m pretending to love him just so I can ruin his life by breaking his heart.

Jane – So all this time we’ve been searching for you…

Claire – Yeah…At first, I was trying to give Curtis a reason to hate him—and I could’ve stopped once he caught us in the bell tower—but now? Now I like playing his heart. I thoroughly enjoy crushing his dreams, and I am going to take such pleasure in the defeated look on his face once I break up with him.

Jane – Holy—well, Darren isn’t the most ethically sound person but…this is extreme.

Claire – Thanks, I’m well aware that what I’m doing is—in every sense of the word—evil. But I’ve done myself in tonight, Jane, I’ve dug myself into a bottomless pit.

Jane(Slowly) Did you have se—

Claire – No! God no, never! He tried, and he tried to make it my idea, but I shot him down until he agreed to just take me out to the Casino. Would you believe it? The Casino! He even had a fake ID readymade for me.

Jane – Credit where it’s due, that man is well supplied.

Claire – No kidding. But after he realized that I wasn’t exactly enjoying my time, he took me out past the place to stargaze. Honestly, it was pretty sweet…if it hadn’t been him, I might’ve even fallen for the guy…but something connected inside of me while we silently watched the night sky. Jane…he got violent with me earlier. He kept pulling, and tugging, and slandering me but I kept stringing him along. When I go to…cut off ties with him…I’m afraid he’s going to—

Jane – I have to stop you right there. I won’t let anything happen to you. Even if your brother is a pig like every other man I know, I’m not going to allow you to get caught up in this whirlwind of self-destruction. Stay here—Darren won’t come looking here.

Claire – That’s asking too much…

Jane – I figured that’s why you came in the first place. You never had to tell me any of this.

Claire – Thanks, Jane. I’m sorry I intruded.

Jane – It’s for your own safety. Here, you can have the couch—make yourself comfortable. We’ll chat more in the morning.

Claire – I owe you for this.

Jane – Oh, big time.

FADE TO BLACK

 

 

Scene Six

(Time: A few days later. HELENA leans upright in her bed, awake and bursting with nervousness. DOCTOR ANDERTRAM enters with JENNIFER.)

Andertram – Ms. Joy, good morning! You’re up early.

Helena – How are you today, Johnny?

Andertram – I’m well, thank you for asking. How are you? Nervous, I’m sure.

Helena – Frightfully so, and your recent comments haven’t helped to ease my nerves at all.

Andertram – We…er…apologize for that. Sometimes we get caught up in the numbers and facts so much that we forget our patients are living, breathing humans too.

Helena(Winking) Most of the time.

Andertram – We have the results of your tests from last night. Would you like to hear them?

Helena – I’ve been spendin’ all morning preparin’ myself for this moment. Tell me, spirits, what is my fate?

Andertram(Awkwardly) Heh..haha…

Jennifer – For crying out loud, I’ll read them. Ahem. Ms. Joy, we’re pleased to deliver the news that your cancer has gone into remission.

Helena(Distraught) Oh I knew it, I knew I was as dead as a doornail!

Andertram – Ma’am, you’re not—

Helena – Sweetie, sweetie, don’t worry, I understand! You can’t tell any old woman that she’s going to die, but I’m ready, yes, I’ve been ready. Maybe my family will all get along at my ceremony.

Jennifer – Remission, Helena, remission!

Helena – Yes, yes, they’ll all probably fall back to their arguments I’m sure…

Andertram – You’re cancer-free, Ms. Joy!

Helena – I’m—say that again.

Jennifer – You live to fight another day.

Helena – Oh, holy smokes!

(She springs from her bed and embraces JENNIFER.)

 

#24 – Bulletproof Heart

 

(Helena) Gravity
Don't mean too much to me
I'm who I've got to be
These pigs are after me, after you
Run away, like it was yesterday
And we could run away, if we could run away
 

(Enter ENSEMBLE of patients and doctors.)

Run away from here

(HELENA springs from her bed, full of youth and energy.)


I got a bulletproof heart
You got a hollow-point smile
Me and your runaway scars
Got a photograph dream on the getaway mile
Let's blow a hole in this town
And do our talking with a laser beam
Gunning out of this place in a bullet's embrace
Then we'll do it again


(Ensemble) How can they say?


(Helena) (Dancing with JENNIFER) "Jenny could you come back home?"
Cause everybody knows you don't
Ever wanna come back
Let me be the one to save you
 

(Ensemble) Gravity
Don't mean too much to me
I'm who I've got to be
These pigs are after me, after you
Run away, like it was yesterday
When we could run away, when we could run away
Run away from here

(Dance break.)


(Helena) I'm shooting out of this room
Because I sure don't like the company
Stop your preaching right there
Cause I really don't care
And I'll do it again
So get me out of my head
Cause it's getting kind of cramped you know
Coming ready or not
When the motor gets hot
We can do it again


(Ensemble) The papers say


(Helena) (Dancing with ANDERTRAM.) "Johnny won't you come back home?"
Cause everybody knows you don't
Want to give yourself up then tell the truth
And God will save you


(Ensemble) Gravity
Don't mean too much to me
I'm who I've got to be
These pigs are after me, after you
Run away, like it was yesterday
And we could run away, if we could run away
Run away from here


(Helena) And though I know how much you hate this
(Andertram)Are you gonna be the one to save us
(Helena)From the black and hopeless feeling?
(Jennifer) Will you mean it when the end comes reeling?

(Andertram)Hold your heart into this darkness
(Helena) Will it ever be the light to shine you out
(Jennifer) Or fail and leave you stranded?
(Helena) I ain't gonna be the one left standing
(Andertram) You ain't gonna be the one left standing
(Ensemble) We ain't gonna be the ones left standing
Gravity
Don't mean too much to me
Is this our destiny?
This world is after me, after you
Run away, like it was yesterday
And we could run away,
Run away, run away
Run away from here
Yeah

(Dance break)


(Helena) Away from here
Away from here

(HELENA regains her age and falls into ANDERTRAM’s arms. She is helped from the room in a wheelchair by ANDERTRAM and JENNIFER.)

FADE TO BLACK

#25 (PLAYOFF) – Bulletproof Heart

 

 

Scene Seven

(Time: That evening. CURTIS sits alone by the creek, while on the other side of the stage, CLAIRE leans up against a wall. JANE enters on CURTIS’s side while DARREN creeps in near CLAIRE.)

Curtis – Hello, Jane.

Jane – It’s been a few days. Finally ready to talk, huh?

Curtis – Ready as I’ll ever be. But before we start…how’s Claire?

Jane – She was home when I left. I think she’s better—and she told me that I could explain what happened now.

(Cut to the other side.)

Claire – Good evening, Mr. Capula. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me.

Darren – ‘Smatter with you, huh? Dodge me for a few days then show up like it’s nothin’?

Claire – Forgive me, Darren, but I had a lot to think about. You of all people should understand that.

Darren – Well it ain’t nothin’, dearie, it ain’t nothin’. Yah think I’m some kinda fool, huh? Ready to be at your command? Whell, I aim to prove you wrong.

Claire – Please don’t make this hard on me. It’s time I told you the truth.

(Cut to the other side.)

Curtis – Now that’s what I’m not ready to hear.

Jane – All I can say is you deserve it. Claire’s been lying to you.

Curtis – Claire? Lying to me? She would never.

Jane – Remember what your grandmother said, Curtis—Claire knows what she wants for the family.

Curtis – Mhm, well my grandmother also thought she was going to die but now she’s been relieved of her death sentence.

Jane – Life is unpredictable, Curtis, but you wouldn’t know that. You spend every day cooped up in your little bubble of enchantment. You don’t believe in the real world, and you don’t believe in people.

Curtis – You try when you don’t even see yourself as a functioning member of society.

Jane – Bottom line is, Curtis, Claire risked her purity and her innocence to date Darren for your sake.

Curtis – My sake? I forbade her from seeing him again, and she directly disobeyed me!

Jane – Did she? Stop to consider that maybe what she did was justified.

Curtis – How could that possibly be justified?

Jane – She wanted to give you something to fight for, Curtis. She was trying to save you. She thought that when you saw her with Darren, you would come to the light…you would kill Doctor Death Defy once and for all.

Curtis – She did, did she?

Jane – But she was wrong. She got in too deep. She discovered her dark side, and Darren’s been trying to find her everywhere—he’s madly in love with her, hell he was even violent with her. And where were you? Drunk in my apartment.

Curtis – Don’t pin this on me…

Jane – Can’t you see, Curtis? This is your fault! All of this is your fault…you take your notions, your insecurities and your…your problems…and you project them, for Christ’s sake! You project them onto Helena’s cancer, your mother’s negligence…you even lashed them out onto Claire. Do you have any idea what could’ve happened to her? What could still happen to her?

Curtis – How could she be so stupid?

(Cut to the other side.)

Darren – How the fuck could you be so heartless?

Claire(Crying) I only did it because I love him, Darren, I love my brother and I was afraid for him. I couldn’t lose him like I have so many other times. I’m sorry…I truly am.

Darren – Sorry? You don’t know sorry, Claire, you’ve never known sorry in your life, you bitch! YOU BITCH! (He strikes her.)

Claire – Darren, stop! I apologized, okay, I made a bad decision. I did the wrong thing…it’s so hard to know right from wrong, Darren, it’s so hard!

Darren – You weasel…you know better. You damn well know better! I’ve known you my whole life and never, NEVER, would I have imagined you were capable of such…vile…repulsive…EVIL actions. You bitch. I fucking hate you.

Claire – That’s okay…I deserve it.

(DARREN glares at her, then, slowly, looks away.)

Darren – And you’re going to get what you deserve.

(Cut to the other side.)

Jane – You deserve every bit of her “betrayal” because she never turned her back on you! She always thought of you, twenty-four-seven, and you were off chasing butterflies in your make-believe world. You have crushed her soul, Curtis. But does that even matter to you?

(Cut to the other side. DARREN is manhandling CLAIRE, trying to force her into submission.)

Claire – STOP! LET ME GO! DARREN, I’M SORRY, I’M SO SORRY!

Darren – Yeah? We’ll see how sorry you are when I’m done with you!

(They struggle for a bit longer as DARREN attempts to tug at her clothes. CLAIRE cries for help, and finally manages to push him off her. She runs.)

(Cut to the other side.)

Curtis(Wistfully) Of course…it matters to me…

 

#26 – Disenchanted

 

(Curtis) (To Jane) Well, I was there on the day
They sold the cause for the queen,
And when the lights all went out
We watched our lives on the screen.
I hate the ending myself,
But it started with an alright scene.

(Cut to the other side. CLAIRE is frantically running, looking for somewhere to hide, but DARREN is not far from her. CURTIS’s voice rings over the scene.)

It was the roar of the crowd

(CLAIRE is desperately searching for a place to take cover.)


That gave me heartache to sing.
It was a lie when they smiled
And said, "You won't feel a thing."
And as we ran from the cops
We laughed so hard it would sting

Yeah, yeah, oh

(Cut back to CURTIS.)

(Angrily, at JANE.) If I'm so wrong, so wrong, so wrong.
How can you listen all night long, night long, night long?
Now will it matter after I'm gone?
Because you never learn a goddamned thing.
You're just a sad song with nothin' to say
About a life-long wait for a hospital stay
Well, if you think that I'm wrong,
This never meant nothing to ya

(JANE gives up on CURTIS and leaves the stage. CURTIS is almost watching CLAIRE from beyond the invisible boundary between them. CLAIRE has found a place to temporarily hide from DARREN.)

(Claire) I spent my high school career
Spit on and shoved to agree
So I could watch all my heroes sell a car on TV
Bring out the old guillotine
We'll show 'em what we all mean
Yeah, yeah, oh
(To CURTIS) If I'm so wrong, so wrong, so wrong.
How can you listen all night long, night long, night long?
Now will it matter long after I'm gone?
Because you never learn a goddamned thing.

(CLAIRE finds the bell tower, but unfortunately, DARREN has found her as well.)

(Claire) You're just a sad song with nothin' to say
About a life long wait for a hospital stay
And if you think that I'm wrong,
This never meant nothin' to ya

(CLAIRE is now cornered at the top of the bell-tower. DARREN is nearly upon her.)

Darren – I have got you now, and you’re going to be grateful for it! I promise! But promises’ don’t mean nothin’ to ya, do they?

Claire – No…no…(she backs up…close against the railing. DARREN moves coolly in her direction, and CLAIRE contorts her body against the railing.)

(Without warning, the railing breaks. CLAIRE plummets.)

(DARREN stares, mouth agape, at where CLAIRE had stood.)

(Curtis) So go
Go away
Just go, run away.
But where did you run to? And where did you hide?
Go find another way
Price you pay

(DARREN collapses, stunned and emotionless.)


Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
(Claire’s voice with Curtis) You're just a sad song with nothin' to say

(DARREN descends from the bell tower.)

(HARRIET, MARCUS and MARIE pass the stage as memories in CURTIS’s mind, resonating as he sings to them.)


About a life long wait for a hospital stay
But if you think that I'm wrong,
This never meant nothin' to ya, come on
You're just a sad song with nothin' to say
About a life long wait for a hospital stay
And if you think that I'm wrong,
This never meant nothin' to ya
 

(Curtis) At all
(Darren) At all
(Curtis) At all

(As the music plays off, DARREN breaks the barrier between the two spaces and sadly, solemnly approaches CURTIS. CURTIS is warry of him at first, but once he sees the tears in DARREN’s eyes, he moves in. DARREN puts his arm around CURTIS.)

FADE TO BLACK

 

 

Scene Eight

(Time: Sometime later. HARRIET and MARCUS sit alone at a coffee shop.)

Marcus – No chance, huh?

Harriet(Sniffling) None at all, Marcus. They said she fractured her vertebrae in six different places—six! To think that she should be graduating high school next year and now she’s…she’s…she took Helena’s place.

Marcus – I know she did, ma. This life ain’t fair. I’ve known it since I stepped aboard that chopper to the afghans…this life’ll eat you up, ma.

Harriet – How could I have been so inconsiderate all these years, Marcus? Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?

Marcus – What else am I s’posed to do? We lost the one hope for our family. Fuck, that’s a hard fact to swallow, but we gotta. We gotta march on.

Harriet – They’d better get that Darren character…our little girl deserves justice.

Marcus – Ma…even Curtis vouches that he didn’t do nothin’.

Harriet – Curtis detests Darren. He said so himself.

Marcus – Right, but he doesn’t think that Capula’d be capable of murder…even on his worst day.

Harriet – Well personally, I think Curtis is too trusting of people.

Marcus – Makes a man wonder why he never trusted you.

Harriet – Don’t back-sass me, mister. In this tragic time, we must come together, not break apart. Come come, Marcus. Come come.

Marcus – He wasn’t there.

Harriet – Honey I know he wasn’t.

Marcus – What kind a’ bastard doesn’t come to his own sister’s funeral?

Harriet – Perhaps he didn’t come for the same reason that he refused to press charges on Mr. Capula.

Marcus – Huh?

Harriet – Dearie, I know your brother better than he’d care to admit…I understand him, like a mother should.

Marcus – I don’ care what the reason may ‘appen to be, Curtis is dead to me.

Harriet – He’s your brother.

Marcus – Marie should be here soon.

Harriet – Any word from that nice florist? She was just a peach!

Marcus – Yeh. She ain’t comin’. She won’t associate herself with us anymore, she says, and she don’t ever wanna see Curtis again.

Harriet – What about Helena?

Marcus – She wouldn’a answered ‘er door. I got inside, and she wasn’t in their either.

Harriet – How curious…

(MARIE enters.)

Marie – Am I late? I’m always late.

Harriet – Oh golly, Marie, oh golly. What would we have done without you? What would…what would Claire have done without you?

Marie – I—

Harriet – Don’t apologize! No apologies necessary, Marie, nothing is your fault dear…sh…nothing is your fault.

Marcus – Right…it’s all Curtis’s fault…and speakin’ of him again, the fuck is he? When’s he s’posed to be comin’?

Marie – Yeah, not to be blunt but…what’s the purpose of an intervention if the intervened doesn’t attend?

Harriet – I was very clear to Curtis not to be late—explicit, at the very least! I said to him, I said that if he’s not at the Clerk Café by four then all of us—all of us would disown him.

Marie – Can’t be more straightforward than that.

(The door chimes and JANE¸ surprisingly, enters.)

Marcus – What happened to not showin’?

Jane – Afternoon, Joy family. I have something to deliver from Curtis.

(She holds out a note.)

Harriet – Let me see that! (She swipes it.) How did he track you down? Marcus said you were through.

Jane – Actually, he didn’t search me out…I had to see him one last time.

Harriet – What a harlot. (Reading the note.) What? What does this even mean?

Marcus – What’s it read, ma?

Harriet – It just says “Disenchanted.” Only one word! What does that even mean?

Jane – More than you could ever imagine, Mrs. Joy. I’ll see you all some other time. But before I leave…I have a little advice for you.

Marie – Okay, hun.

Jane – Give Curtis one more chance. People change—

Marie – Curtis has had plenty of chances to change.

Jane – People do change…I think what Curtis failed to realize was that the only way for him to change was to allow himself to become…disenchanted. We only fear what can save us.

Marcus – So you’re askin’ us to forgive him? How could we after he damn near killed our sister?

Jane – Sure, you could go on despising him…but if you knew him like I did—in the time that I did—maybe you’d know a little better what he needed. This was the only way.

Harriet – How incredibly morbid of you, Miss Khell!

Jane – See what you want, but if you ask me, I think Curtis is better off than any of you are. Claire is gone…yes…but you have a chance now to turn the lip of your mistakes into a rescue party for the prodigal son.

Harriet – You never knew Claire, my sweetheart.

Jane – No…but I know what you did to her. All of you are responsible for her death—not just Curtis and Darren—you tried to tie her up into this perfect model child, you strapped the burden of your entire family on her back, and then you whipped her into submission. You killed Claire Joy. I killed…I killed Claire Joy.

Harriet – How can you rightfully say that to a mourning family?

Jane – It hurts to hear what matters the most. But, I see that I’m not welcome here, so I bid you adieu—once and for all.

Marie – Good riddance, Jane Khell.

Jane – Goodbye everyone.

(She exits.)

Marcus – So Curtis isn’t comin’ is what I take away from this.

Marie – What could possibly demand his attention right now?

 

FADE TO BLACK

 

 

Scene Nine

(Time: Concurrently. CURTIS is sitting alone in his townhouse, reviewing heaps of bills—some marked for utility and rent, others marked for funeral charges. He holds a paper in front of him—another bill outlining the cost of bell tower repairs due to the damage CLAIRE and DARREN have caused to it. Oddly, the words “DISENCHANTED” and “I KILLED CLAIRE JOY” are written all over it. CURTIS is vividly defeated—his hair is scraggly, he’s unshaven, wearing black dress clothes which barely hang on his body. Before him is a tray of cigarettes, many of which are only butts. No alcohol, however, is present.)

Curtis – I killed her. Simple as that…no…don’t be so stupid. It was Darren. But who decided not to press charges? Whose idea was it to let Darren walk her home? Why did you trust him so much, you idiot? God what a prissy motherfucker I am.

(There’s a knock on the door. CURTIS does not hear it—he’s too wrapped up in his own world.)

Curtis – If I had only…if it had been as simple as love. Love is hard, isn’t it? Damn, she made it look so easy. So easy, so carefree. While I was off playing cat and mouse, Claire was trying to rescue me from myself. Nobody does that. Nobody like that is real anymore anyhow.

Helena(Offstage) Curtis…please open up.

Curtis – Did she succeed though? How am I any better off now than I was when she started? Is it poetic, in a sense, to let her death be in vain? Every death has destroyed me. It’s only a matter of time, too, until the cancer comes back—yes, I suppose that’s right. The cancer. Then what?

Helena(Knocking harder) Curtis, please—I need you to let me in.

Curtis(Still, to himself, gazing expressionless at the papers on the table.) I’m not okay, thanks for asking though. This world doesn’t make sense—this jumble of cosmic proportions does not connect. I’m swirling around—out amidst a million dead stars—trying to find one to swing on but whenever I see a light…no matter how faint…it disappears. Vanished. Vanquished. Like a phantom in the summer. Like my father—like Claire—like you.

Helena(Ceasing to knock) You can’t give up. Not like this.

Curtis – And like Helena, I’m sure too. Are you still there?

(From around the corner enters NICOLE, a pretty young woman clad in a black dress and ghastly makeup.)

Nicole – Where else would I go?

Curtis – Sometimes I stop and think that you’re gone. That you’re not with me.

Nicole – Doctor Death Defy is never alone.

Curtis – Right, he’s not, but I am. I’ve been too many different people, they’re all bursting at the seams—arguing with each other, bickering, tearing away at the fabric of who I am.

Nicole – I know who you are.

Curtis(Angrier than ever) Well I don’t! I never have and everyone else on this dead planet appears to know who I am—who I was—and who I should be. But why don’t I, huh? Why do I cast myself into the pits of hell, torture myself over these…decadent people who want to ruin me? Why do I care, Nicole? Why do I care at all!?

Nicole – You don’t.

Curtis – Maybe that’s the problem then! Maybe if I cared just an ounce more…maybe you’d still be alive.

Nicole – And Claire?

Curtis(A long pause) I’m cold.

Nicole – Tell me about it.

Curtis – I don’t remember warmth. It’s been a hell of a long winter, Nicole.

Nicole – Winter never ends, love.

Curtis – Say, can I ask you a risky question?

Nicole – If you’re ready for a risky answer.

Curtis – When you…disappeared…did you—

Nicole – What do you think?

Curtis – Right. Where, though? And how?

Nicole – I’m sure you can guess that too.

Curtis – Where was it, the place that we…

Nicole – You know the answer.

Curtis – Cemetery Drive. Hm…Fitting. Fitting. But how?

Nicole – Do you really need to know that?

Curtis – Fine…why? Was it because of me?

Nicole – It’s not about you, Curtis—nothing is about you. This—this mess of a life, this horrible tragedy—has nothing to do with you. Surely you can’t be dense enough to believe you are important enough to have that ripple effect….right?

Curtis(Bursting with anger again) But did you kill yourself because I got you pregnant?!

(Silence. They stare at each other…longingly…a love story that could’ve been. A family that could have lived. A chance—a cut and dry opportunity. One prospect. Gone. Gone forever, cold and empty, a promise unfulfilled. Two—no…three lives lost.)

Nicole – I think it’s time I disappear again.

Curtis – Wait—Nicole—before you go…can you tell me how?

Nicole – The way doesn’t matter.

Curtis – No—fuck, not how you killed yourself, how you could bring yourself to it.

 

#27 – This is How I Disappear and I’m Not Okay


(Nicole) To un-explain the unforgivable,
Drain all the blood and give the kids a show.
By streetlight this dark night,
A séance down below.
There’re things that I have done, 
You never should ever know!
(Curtis) Well if you wanted honesty, that’s all you had to say.
I never want to let you down or have you go, it’s better off this way.
For all the dirty looks, the photographs your boyfriend took,
Remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor?
(Nicole) And without you is how I disappear,
And live my life alone forever now.

(Curtis) I’m not okay, I’m not okay.
(Nicole) And without you is how I disappear,

And live my life alone forever now.

(Curtis) I’m not okay, you wear me out.

 (Nicole) Who walks among the famous living dead,
Drowns all the boys and girls inside your bed.
And if you could talk to me,
Tell me if it’s so,
That all the good girls go to heaven.
Well, heaven knows

(Curtis) What will it take to show you that it’s not the life it seems?
I’ve told you time and time again you sing the words but don’t know what it means
To be a joke and look, another line without a hook
I held you close as we both shook for the last time take a good hard look!

(Nicole) That without you is how I disappear,
And live my life alone forever now.

(Curtis) I’m not okay
I’m not okay

(Nicole) And without you is how I disappear,
And live my life alone forever now.

(Curtis) I’m not okay.

You wear me out.

(Nicole) Can you hear me cry out to you?
Words I thought I’d choke on figure out.
I’m really not so with you anymore.
I’m just a ghost, 
So I can’t hurt you anymore,
So I can’t hurt you anymore.

(Curtis) Forget about the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took
You said you read me like a book, but the pages all are torn and frayed

(Curtis) I’m okay

(Nicole) (And now, you wanna see how far down I can sink?)
(Curtis) I’m okay!

(Nicole) (Let me go, fuck!
So, you can, well now so, you can)
(Curtis) I’m okay, now

(Nicole) (I’m so far away from you.)
(Curtis) I’m okay, now

(Nicole) (Well now so, you can.)

(Curtis) But you really need to listen to me
Because I’m telling you the truth
I mean this, I’m okay!
Trust Me…

(Nicole) And without you is how I disappear,
And without you is how I disappear,
Whoa whoa...
Whoa whoa... Forever, forever now!

(Curtis) (I’m not okay
I’m not okay
Well, I’m not okay
I’m not o-fucking-kay
I’m not okay
I’m not okay
Okay)

(CURTIS beholds NICOLE as the number ends, staring into the face of what could’ve been had he changed for her.)

Curtis – Are you okay?

Nicole – I’m not.

Curtis – I think it’s high time I disappear too…

(They share a kiss—a strangely dangerous one.)

Nicole – It’s purely chemical.

Curtis – I say it’s romance.

Nicole – Well, then it’s our chemical romance, love.

Curtis – I’ll be seeing you soon.

Nicole – Are you positive? (They kiss again.)

(NICOLE exits and the knocking from HELENA resumes. CURTIS is suddenly conscious of it.)

Curtis – Grandma?

Helena(Frantic) Curtis—thank God, I was so worried. Can you come here?

Curtis – Yeah I…just a moment. Uh…uh…two minutes.

(CURTIS goes to the kitchen and rummages through a cabinet, finding a capsule full of pills. He carefully reads the labels and pockets them.)

Curtis – I’ll need you later.

(CURTIS returns to the door and opens it to HELENA in a wheelchair.)

Helena – Hello—holy smokes, Curtis, you look like you’ve been hit by a train! Is that…are those cigarettes that I smell?

Curtis(Shaking) Don’t worry about it.

Helena – You had better take care of yourself, you’re falling apart before my eyes—and I’m the one who has the right to fall apart!

Curtis – I’m…okay. How did you—did you wheel yourself all the way down here?

Helena – Oh heavens no. A good friend of mine dropped me off.

Curtis – Who?

Helena – Jennifer—oh, you probably wouldn’t remember her anywho.

Curtis – Swell. Do…you want something?

Helena – I want to bring you somewhere. Is that quite alright?

Curtis – I’m actually…uh…in the middle of something right now.

Helena – Can you spare to hold off on that for an hour or so? (Aside) Or a lifetime.

Curtis – Eh… (Slowly) I’ll give it a try. Where am I taking you?

Helena – That my dear, is for me to know and you to find out. Wheel me up towards Main Street—then turn right on Cemetery Drive.

Curtis(Distraught) All the way out there?

Helena – Past there. Let’s go, kiddo.

(CURTIS turns HELENA around in her chair and they slowly make their way down the road.)

FADE TO BLACK

#28 (PLAYOFF) – I’m Not Okay (Piano)

 

 

Scene Ten

(Time: Immediately following. CURTIS pushes HELENA in her wheelchair through a cemetery. They go in silence at first, until finally HELENA has the courage to speak.)

Helena – My boy.

Curtis – Hm?

Helena – Turn left up ahead.

Curtis – But Cl—she’s not in that direction.

Helena – We need to visit someone else first.

(They turn left and come upon a grave labelled SIMON JOY.)

Curtis – I’ve been here plenty times before.

Helena – He misses you. He told me so.

Curtis – Sure he did, grandma.

Helena – Do you remember when you were eight years old? Your father brought you into the big city because you were so insistent on seeing that parade. He had a work function that day but he ditched it just to make you happy.

Curtis – I do remember that day. It was the best moment of my life—the only time I can truly recall being happy.

Helena – Can you think of what he told you as you watched the marching band?

Curtis – How could I forget?

Helena – You sure aren’t doing a good job of fulfilling his wishes, yaknow.

Curtis – It’s my fault, gran. This whole mess of a family is my fault…

Helena – And where’s that attitude going to get you, hm?

Curtis – I’ll end up here someday, just like the rest of the world.

Helena – This place is not for you.

(Her words resonate with CURTIS.)

Helena – You’ve been considering it, haven’t you?

Curtis – I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Helena – Yes you do. You’re thinking of doing the same thing that Nicole girl did.

Curtis – I’m no coward.

Helena – Would you consider her a coward?

Curtis – No…

Helena – It’s no way out, Curtis, and don’t you think about it for a moment. Claire wouldn’a wanted that for you.

Curtis – I have nothing left, grandma. I can’t even afford rent for the end of the month. No prospects, no friends…no family…

Helena – Don’t be silly, I’m still here and I’m not dead yet!

(They walk towards CLAIRE’s grave.)

Curtis – I won’t mooch off you, grandma, I’ve been a burden all my life.

Helena – Yes you have.

Curtis – Now (he stops)—did you just agree with me?

Helena – I’m agreeing because it’s true to you! Your truth matters more than mine right now. But what’re you doing to change that, hm? Why are you worse off than your mother, or Marcus?

Curtis – Because…I’m me. I’ve never been anyone. Never done anything. I’ve simply floated around in space like a virus and ruined people’s lives…or ended them.

Helena – I hope you know that my conscious isn’t clean either.

Curtis – You were on your deathbed…how…?

Helena – Right after I collapsed the first night—when Darren and Claire ran off together—she snuck into my hospital room.

Curtis – Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

Helena – I warned her—I told her to be careful with that conniving lawyer…but your sister is no less stubborn than you. I try to avoid thinking about it. I could’ve stopped it there, I could’ve called you and told you the whole scheme she concocted, but I trusted her too. I believed that my beautiful granddaughter could save the world… (A pause) We can’t help but blame ourselves, Curtis. That’s what humans do—put blame wherever they can and…and it has to be tangible, it can’t hide behind some obscure mask. We need the security of control. I know that you know how big of a lie that “power” is, but it keeps us from…

Curtis – Disenchantment.

Helena – That’s a word I haven’t heard used since your dad was around. Think of it this way. I put more pressure on Claire than anyone. I told her that she was capable of saving you. Because of my influence, and my convictions, Claire subjected herself to turmoil. She began to believe the little façade she built around Darren because both you and I were wrapped up in our own realities and we didn’t show her that she mattered anything to us. We told her what to do, and she sealed her own death. You killed her, I killed her, Darren killed her…whatever. But, believe it or not, Claire willingly chose her fate. She knew what she was in for. When she hunkered down at Jane’s apartment that could’ve been the end of this disaster, but there were too many loose ends. She sacrificed herself.

Curtis – What, did she tell you that too? The whole world is conspiring against me.

Helena – Not conspiring, dear, helping you. Claire was saving herself just as much as she was trying to save you.

Curtis – What part of falling from a bell tower was supposed to rescue her?

Helena – She was going to collapse. With me bedridden, you losing your mind, and Marcus barely lucid, she felt her world crumbling down on top of her. She needed someone, and she thought she only had you.

Curtis – She put her confidence in the wrong person.

Helena – I don’t think she did. I think you trusted Darren too much, and yourself not enough. Claire tried to make up for that where you lacked.

Curtis – And she’s dead! She’s dead—not you, not me, but Claire! How does something like this happen? How?!

Helena – Claire was innocent. She was loving, caring, and innocent. You wanted to preserve that, but you never could’ve. Even if she lived longer, she would’ve lost it eventually. This world is dark and dangerous, and it destroys. It corrupts. She chose to let Darren rob her of her purity, she wanted to suffer for something that really mattered—not some fabrication of society or some petty standard. Claire saved herself in the end…

Curtis – Will I ever understand?

Helena – Maybe not today, Curtis. Maybe not ever. But it’s important that you carry on. You’re not the hope for this family—you’re not the hope for this world, or for innocent girls anywhere—you’re the only hope for yourself.

 

#29- Welcome to the Black Parade

 

Curtis – Nothing is keeping me here anymore…

Helena – Nothing but what you want to hold onto.

Curtis – All I have is…is…memories. Claire’s memory.

Helena – Then her memory will carry on.

(They arrive at a tiny plot of dirt, unlabeled still besides a tiny plaque reading “JOY, CLAIRE.)

 

(Curtis) When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.


(SKELETONS arise from their tombs, clad in band uniforms. They circle around CLAIRE’s tomb. A few of them start drumming.)


He said, "Son when you grow up,
Would you be the savior of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"
He said "Will you defeat them,
Your demons, and all the non-believers,
The plans that they have made?"
"Because one day I'll leave you,
A phantom to lead you in the summer,
To join The Black Parade."

(The SKELETONS begin to parade.)

 

 (Skeletons) When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, "Son when you grow up,
Would you be the saviour of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"
 

(The SKELETONS begin to dance)


 

(Curtis) (Fronting the SKELETONS) Sometimes I get the feeling she's watching over me.
And other times I feel like I should go.
And through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets.
And when you're gone we want you all to know.

(Skeletons) We'll carry on,
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And in my heart I can't contain it
The anthem won't explain it.

(Helena) A world that sends you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all.
(Curtis) So paint it black and take it back
Let's shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end we hear the call

(Skeletons) To carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
(Helena) Your weary widow marches
(One more skeleton emerges, a smaller one—CLAIRE’s SKELETON—and begins to dance with CURTIS.)
(Skeletons) On and on we carry through the fears
(Curtis and Claire) Ooh oh ohhhh
(Skeletons) Disappointed faces of your peers
(Curtis and Claire) Ooh oh ohhhh
(Skeletons) Take a look at me cause I could not care at all
(Claire’s skeleton) Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won't explain or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed, I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it's who we are
(Curtis and the other Skeletons) I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
(Skeletons) I
Don't
Care!
We'll carry on
We'll carry on
(Curtis) And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
(Skeletons) We'll carry on
(Curtis) And though you're broken and defeated
(Helena) Your weary widow marches on

(Skeletons) Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part

(Curtis and Claire) (We'll carry on)

(Skeletons) Do or die, you'll never make me

(Curtis and Claire) (We'll carry on)
(Skeletons) Because the world will never take my heart

(Curtis and Claire) (We'll carry on)
(Skeletons) Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
(Curtis and Claire) (We'll carry on!)

(As the drum beats, CURTIS holds CLAIRE’s hand as she sinks back into her grave. The stage is dark. Only CURTIS remains, and with the last beat, the lights go out on him.)

 

 

 #30 (CURTAIN CALL) – Dead!

 

(A low beeping is heard, which suddenly flatlines.)

 

(Gerald) Yeah!

(Ensemble) And if your heart stops beating
I'll be here wondering
Did you get what you deserve?
The ending of your life
And if you get to heaven
I'll be here waiting, babe
Did you get what you deserve?
The end, and if your life won't wait
Then your heart can't take this

(Marie, Harriet, and Marcus) (Enter, bow) Have you heard the news that you're dead?
(Join the crowd) No one ever had much nice to say
I think they never liked you anyway
Oh, take me from the hospital bed
Wouldn't it be grand? It ain't exactly what you planned.
And wouldn't it be great if we were dead?
Oh, dead.

(Ensemble) (Dancing) Tongue-tied and, oh, so squeamish
You never fell in love
Did you get what you deserve?
The ending of your life
And if you get to heaven
I'll be here waiting, babe
Did you get what you deserve?
The end, and if your life won't wait
Then your heart can't take this

(Jane and Darren ) (Enter, bow) Have you heard the news that you're dead?
(Join the crowd) No one ever had much nice to say
I think they never liked you anyway
Oh, take me from the hospital bed
Wouldn't it be grand to take a pistol by the hand?
And wouldn't it be great if we were dead?
(Helena) (Enter, bow) And in my honest observation
During this operation
Found a complication in your heart
So long,
(Join the crowd) 'Cause now you've got

(Ensemble)(now you've got)
(Helena) Maybe just two weeks to live
Is that the most the both of you can give?
(CURTIS and CLAIRE slowly enter.)
(Curtis and Claire) One, two, one, two, three, four!

(Ensemble) La, la, la, la, la! (Dancing)
La, la, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Well come on,
La, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Oh, motherfucker,

(Marie) If life ain't just a joke (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la!)
(Harriet) Then why are we laughing? (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la, la!)
(Marcus) If life ain't just a joke (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la, la, la!)
(Darren)Then why are we laughing? (Bow)
(Jane) If life ain't just a joke (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la!)
(Helena) Then why are we laughing? (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la, la!)
(Curtis) If life ain't just a joke (Bow)

(Ensemble) (la, la, la, la, la, la, la!)
(Claire) Then why am I dead? (Bow)
(Everyone) Dead! (Bow)

BLACKOUT

SHOW’S OVER

 


© Copyright 2017 I Wilson. All rights reserved.

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