How to Get Lucky in a Homeless Shelter

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Brilliant, Charming, Outgoing... Homeless. Elijah Postlewaite needs to leave Skid Row where he's been a long-time resident. All he needs is a little luck.

Submitted: May 23, 2017

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Submitted: May 23, 2017

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ACT I

SCENE I [Morning]

A second floor studio unit. It is housed in one of the many residential hotels that are apart of transitional, permanent or missionary housing for the homeless. The only viable exit from the apartment is a door that leads to the main building hallway. A large window in the unit, perhaps could become an escape route except, there is no sign of a fire escape or rope ladder for emergencies.  The space itself is small and tends to become cluttered easily but looks as if great effort is used to keep it organized.  A single neatly made full size bed is placed against a wall and it and runs parallel to the window. The kitchen area is set against the opposite wall where there is a fridge, a sink and cabinets above and below.  There is a large walk-in closet on the wall opposite the fridge.  A small dining room table with two chairs is wedged into tight quarters between the closet and the bed. Pieces of computer parts lay on the table. Just about every inch of space is carefully utilized including the window sills which are lined with an interesting mix of books from psychology, how-to, metaphysics, literature, science, etc...  

Time: Early 2000 to present

Place: Los Angeles, California, Skid Row

At rise:  It is midday, ELIJAH is on a cordless phone. He walks around the room in a controlled way, pacing- moving through all the available floor space back and forth, over and over.  He is a good looking man and in his 40's and was even more so in his 20's. Signs that emotional and physical wear have taken a toll on him are apparent. Though handsome, he looks older than he is. Being extremely gifted and articulate, a quick learner and natural actor, he has a way of taking on the personality of others in order to make them feel comfortable. Additionally,  he appears to have a knack for computers and is extremely tech savvy, though one can assume he never fully actualized this potential based on his current status. He continues pacing and listening.

ELIJAH

What do you mean I'll just have to wait and see?  I've been waiting for years already.

(pause)

Yes, it's good that it's been approved. Finally! But why is it taking so long to...? (pause)  Fine. Yes, I don't have a choice, do I?  I understand you are not the finance department.  I have to wait then.  Yeah, yeah.  Thanks MS. CLEVELAND.

(Elijah hangs up the phone, places the phone on the table and picks up a Compact Disk. He places the CD in his player on the table and falls on the bed. A knock at the door. Elijah gets up to answer the door)

Who?

man

It's me man! Open up.

ELIJAH

Oh.(Opens the door)

The man enters. He is a tall, thin waif about 6 foot 2 inches.  His curly, brown hair is unruly. Although he is only in his thirties, he seems older. His skin appears dehydrated and wrinkled, either from lack of water or misuse and abuse of certain drugs. He wears a black washed out t-shirt and jeans.

Come on in.(He has the look of disappointment and dejection on his face that instantly communicates to his friend) 

man

(referring to the music playing) Oh, Jeru the Damaja. I ain't heard him in a minute. Yo, I thought we was gonna play chess.( Noticing Elijah's disappointment)  What's wrong? What happened now?)

ELIJAH

What's up E.Z. I just have to wait.

EZEKIEL

Wait?! on what?!

ELIJAH

Godot, nigga! What you think?

EZEKIEL

Oh the money.  You know how it is man.  Every day's a struggle. Just be happy at least it's coming.

ELIJAH

Yeah, but when?! I need that dough.

EZEKIEL

We all need it, man. Hey, you gone this long without it. what's a few more days, huh? Hey, when you going to stop using that word, "nigga?"

ELIJAH

Yeah. (Responding to Ezekiel's chastisement of his use of the word nigger) What? That is a term of endearment.  We black people have usurped the meaning of that vile distasteful slur and in its stead created a new interpretation to mean,  'brother'. (To illustrate)  My nigga-my brother. 

EZEKIEL

Then say brother. All your fancy talk ain't gonna make it mean nothing more than what it is.  Don't call me no "N" word. I'm liable to go upside your head. Seem like a Smurf word to me depending on how you use it. 

ELIJAH

Smurf word?!  Like the cartoon?

EZEKIEL

Yeah, Smurf word.  You know how the Smurfs use "smurf" for everything.  It's a "smurfy" day means, it's a happy day.  He "smurfed" me could mean he hit me or whatever.  That shit's a smurf word. 

ELIJAH

Alright Professor Linguist, gimme an example of how that's a smurf word.

EZEKIEL

Let's see, 'Yo that's my "N" word when you happy or 'you  bitch ass "N" word' when you pissed at somebody.  That second time don't mean brother.  it mean something like punk or whatever...

ELIJAH

I see.

EZEKIEL

(humming the music playing in the background) Alright, tired of analyzing. We gonna play or what? Set it up! Set it up!)

 

(Elijah walks over to and  opens the closet door and reaches to the to of the closet shelf he pull down a chess set.  It is nothing fancy.  A standard chess set with a foldable box and plastic pieces. He removes the computer parts from the table and sets them down on the floor-taking great care in setting up the board and pieces on the table. The two men arrange the chairs so they can sit properly)

I heard you whooped that boy Milton's ass the other day at chess.

ELIJAH

You know me. (The two begin playing the game.  You the only one that can actually last with me.

EZEKIEL

Yeah, I almost beat you that one time.

ELIJAH

Almost don't count ni...(Catches himself before he says the word)my brotha.

EZEKIEL

Almost said it again. That's a habit man.

ELIJAH

Yeah. I guess (lackadaisically)

EZEKIEL

What's wrong. You don't seem to be in the game today?

ELIJAH

Frustrated man.

EZEKIEL

About? About that money?

ELIJAH

Yeah. All this waiting is getting to me. Tired of being here man. I been here for 3 years already.

EZEKIEL

Could be worse.  We could be back on the streets breaking into abandoned buildings just to have somewhere to sleep at night.

ELIJAH

Hmm. I remember one night I broke into this abandoned building and I swore I dreamt about all the people that died in that building. I saw all their ghosts.

EZEKIEL

Ghosts? What kind of building was you in to be seeing spirits?

ELIJAH

(looks at him in disbelief)

Abandoned. Means  desolate, isolated and often times run down and condemned. In other words, a old ass, to'up building that no one lives in anymore and haven't for a long ass time. Why can't people have, perhaps, died there?

EZEKIEL

Point taken. But I still don't believe you seen no ghosts.

ELIJAH

Never said I saw them while awake. I was sleeping. (imitates snoring sound) Get it? Sleep. The subconscious mind is capable of detecting many things that the conscious mind cannot. Our brain waves are different when we sleep.  It's like I was meditating.

EZEKIEL

Prolonged meditation. I hear ya. Check.

ELIJAH

Exactly. Get that rookie move outta here!  Try again my man(he begins to hum the music in the background intermittently).

EZEKIEL

So what you gon' do?

ELIJAH

I don't know I was thinking I could start a business or something.

EZEKIEL

Like the many you tried to start before that.  Check.

ELIJAH

(slightly offended)First of all, at least I tried something. What you do? Smoke cavi all day?

 

EZEKIEL

Man, please. You know that I am not a crack head! Just because I am mistaken for one by dealers on the street don't make me one.

ELIJAH

That's right. Ex crackhead. (he teases and laughs) Check! 

EZEKIEL

Man please, that was one time in high school.

ELIJAH

Yeah, I know. I was there Nigga! Check.

EZEKIEL

You know I didn't even know what it was. They told me it was meth. Check.

ELIJAH

Meth? Meth?  Nigga you knew it was crack! Check.

EZEKIEL

Oh my god! There is no need for you to use that word to address me. Check!

ELIJAH

(To Ezekiel and imitating the drug dealers on the street corner)

Yo. my man. You want some cavi? Check!

EZEKIEL

I ain't no crack head. Check!  What about all that weed you smoke?

ELIJAH

Weed? Just stop! Just stop! you trying to equate weed with crack nigga?! Check!

EZEKIEL

(getting upset)

I told you stop calling me that. I ain't no ni...(he refrains) Check!

ELIJAH

Hmm, naw you just a crackhead. Check!

EZEKIEL

Damn it Jah...(increasingly angry. He moves his piece and stands up to move toward Elijah) Your move.

ELIJAH

Checkmate!

EZEKIEL

Shit!! Shit!! Shit! You did it to me again!

ELIJAH

(laughing)What can I say. Chess is a mind game.

EZEKIEL

You foul man. You wrong for that! (pushes the board away)

elijah

 

Hey, maybe you need to smoke more weed and less cavi.(continues to hum song intermittently)

EZEKIEL

(his mood calms and he begins to smile)

You got me Jah.

ELIJAH

So you retreat? 

EZEKIEL

If you relent?

elijah

So be it. (Sings song lyrics out loud along with the music) Ya' playing yaself. Ya'playing yaself.

EZEKIEL

(sighs)

 

SCENE II [Later that afternoon]

Elijah sits at the small dining table in his apartment- reading a book. A knock. Elijah rises to open the door.

Enter Ezekiel

Elijah returns to the table with his head buried in the book. The title, "Small Wallet, Small Business: The Best Business to Start with Little Capital."  Ezekiel moves toward him and places his face directly behind the book and stands there for about 30 seconds.

ELIJAH

(Irritated about Ezekiel's ploy for attention, he puts the book down in front of him on the table)What man?! What?!

EZEKIEL

I see you're reading again.

ELIJAH

(sarcastically)

Yes, I tend to do that. I like reading.

EZEKIEL

You act like I don't read. What are you reading this time?

ELIJAH

(his mood changes from irritation to excitement. He picks the book up again to show Ezekiel)

Look! (Ezekiel sits on the other chair and pulls it close to Elijah in order to look on.)  It's a book about starting a business without a lot of money. It gives ideas on what kind of business you can start.  Says here: photographer, freelance writer, dog-walker... I'm thinking of doing this one (he points to a page in the book).

EZEKIEL

Graphic Designer? Yeah, you could...you have programming skills and oth...

ELIJAH

(interrupting)

No. Man. This one!

EZEKIEL

Jewelry designer?

ELIJAH

Yeah. I see myself doing that, easily.

EZEKIEL

Hmm. I don't know.  I mean you can program why not write and sell a program or contract out your services to...?

ELIJAH

Naw, man! That's too much of a hassle and it's still like working for other people. I want to have creative control. Control of everything.

EZEKIEL

You said the same thing when we was doing music too.

ELIJAH

Well, the music didn't work out. Too many hands in the pot. You know how many times my work was stolen without any compensation or recognition?

EZEKIEL

Yeah man. I was with you too, remember? We both got robbed. I'm just saying you have talent some people would kill for. Your momma, god rest her soul, taught you to do that, right? So why not honor her memory and use it?

ELIJAH

(pensive) I don't know man. I may need more money that what I got coming to start that.

EZEKIEL

 

C'mon man! You build computers too. Look at all the junk you got in here. Ain't you almost done with (he points to a half built computer in the corner of the apartment) that one? You find spare parts for nothing all the time. Use one o' them for now.

 

ELIJAH

(even more pensive) I'll tell you what. If this thing don't work out with the jewelry, then I'll do that. Matter o' fact. We can both get into that together.  You can be like my CFO or PR person or something.)

EZEKIEL

Alright man. Alright (They shake hands)

ELIJAH

I talked to Ms. Cleveland today.  She said there was some mistake with the amount they cut, so they have to go back to Accounting.  It'll be about five days before they cut the check.  Then maybe a week before it gets to me with the postal service.

EZEKIEL

(Excited)That's excellent man! Ain't you excited?

ELIJAH

Hell yeah! At least I have a time frame now. I can get the hell outta here.

EZEKIEL

(a bit melancholy) Yeah, I'm happy for you man.)

ELIJAH

(pats Ezekiel on the back) You know you coming with me.  We been together since forever.) Hey, hey look! That money is gonna be for all that time I was waiting.  All them years they denied me.

EZEKIEL

(with disbelief) Serious?! Damn! That's gon' be hella money!

ELIJAH

Well, more money than I've seen in a long time.

EZEKIEL

She say how much?

ELIJAH

Like Five Gees.

EZEKIEL

(excitedly) Shit! We can def do something with that? We can start the biz for sure and move outta this hell. We can call it JAHRI SOFT or some shit.

ELIJAH

 

We could be as big as Apple, Oracle or even Gates! I read that a lot of those companies started small, even in basements.

ELIJAH

I'm just gon' wait and see though. In the mean time, I'm gonna call and  check out some of these  wholesale distributors for jewelry pieces. Book says you can even pick up  pieces from local craft stores, but that would cost more.

EZEKIEL

Alright man. I'm going home then.

ELIJAH

El, you ain't gon' help me check em' out.

EZEKIEL

Naw. I actually have something to do at my place. I'll catch you later though, man. Lemme know how things go. (Elijah rises to open the door to allow Ezekiel to leave)

Ezekiel Exits

Shortly after Ezekiel leaves, a  woman about 5 foot 5 inches heads moves in the hall quickly. She towards Elijah's doorway. She has jet black hair that contains some gray. She appears to be in her early fifties. The woman wears a black suit with a patterned blazer and black skirt bottom. Her shoes are flats. She holds the proverbial plastic file folder wallet complete with elastic band for closure. He recognizes her as MS. GAREN the social worker he's been seeing while on Skid Row. Elijah is never excited to see this woman because it most certainly means having to comply and show evidence of complying with whatever rules or goals that were set for him as a condition of him living in one ofapartments for transients.

ELIJAH

( (He rolls his eyes and mumbles to himeself) Aw, hell!

Ms. Garen notices him and calls to him.

ms. garen

Mr. Postlewaite! Hello! What perfect timing. (she quickens her pace to reach the doorway)

(Elijah waits for her to enter.)

Ms. Garen Enters

ELIJAH

(he closes the door behind her.)

Hey Ms. G. How are you doing? Come to see me?

MS. GAREN

Yes. You didn't forget we had an appointment today.

She enters the apartment and looks around for a space to sit and set up. Elijah points to the cluttered small table with two chairs. He moves some of the items so she can place her things down.)

I need to speak to you about your progress. Find out if you need anything.

((Elijah sits down at the table)

ELIJAH

No. No. Ms. G. I'm perfect.

MS. GAREN

(placing file wallet on the table) Found a job yet?)

ELIJAH

No not quite.

MS. GAREN

Still taking your meds? For the anxiety?

ELIJAH

Yeah, I am.

MS. GAREN

I thinks that's best for you you know. That natural remedy you choose to use  is not a cureall, you know and can get you in trouble, be careful.

ELIJAH

It's a cure all for me. But yes. I am taking my meds. Although Ms. Garen. There is nothing wrong with me you know.

ms.garen

I wish that were true, Mr. Postlewaite. You are smart. So you figure it out. Why would you be in a place like this, if something wasn't wrong with you?  A lot of the cases I have feature someone with something wrong with them.  Lost their job cause of drugs, suffering from mental illness.  Yes, I do see people here on Skid Row because of some bad luck or catastrophe that happened, but those people usually bounce back. Let's see, you've been diagnosed with (she opens up her file wallet and pulls out his file)

ELIJAH

(interrupts) I know what they say I got. I'm telling you I don't have it!

MS. GAREN

Hmm, (rifling through her paperwork)here it is. You've been diagnosed with: anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder  due to your harsh upbringing and bi-polar disorder. (like a stern school-teacher) Seems like something is wrong with you according to the doctors.  (She pauses to wait for his response) Mr. Postlewaite, I've been fighting for you to remain here for a while longer until the doctor gives you the all clear, but...I'm just going to get down to it. You don't have much longer in this place. Now, I know you're getting your SSI soon, and that will help. But you will need resources to help you find a place to live on the actual amount they will give you after that lump sum- which is (she flips the page, once more) three-hundred and thirty dollars and sixty one cents. Where in California will you live on that?

Elijah drops his head in frustration, after the sudden ephinany of Ms. Garen's words. Though he knew the reality, her vocalization may the truth even more real.

ELIJAH

Yes. I understand.

MS. GAREN

Now, there is housing that is more permanent that you can qualify for, but you may have to use your new found income to pay a portion of the rent.  It won't be rent free like this one. Their is no max time with those apartments.

ELIJAH

I would like to look into those, but...Ms. G. I am working on something that will help better my situation.

ms. garen

And what would that be Mr. Postlewaite? (she pulls out a pen and begins to write)

ELIJAH

I was thinking of starting my own thing. You know, perhaps, generate my own income.

MS. GAREN

While that sounds wonderful. I recommend you also want to look at getting some type of employment to help supplement your disabilty income while you work on "your own thing."

ELIJAH

Ms. G. honestly, I ain't trying to do that.

MS. GAREN

To do what? A job?

Elijah

(he rises to his feet) Yeah. I tried jobs. They ain't for me. You work your ass off and you get a few dollars for your trouble that don't even last 'till the end of the month. Jobs equal struggle.  I been struggling with jobs my whole life.  Don't make no difference then to struggle without 'em. 

Ms. Garen

Well, I...
 

Elijah

(interrupts) Well, I...me... I'm tired of all that broke black people bullshit! I'm trying to make something of myself. I ain't no sob story. I'm a rags to riches story in the making.  As a black woman you should understand my desire and where I'm coming from.

MS. GAREN

(offended by Elijah's last remark. She puts down her pen)

Look here, son! (She finds herself about to loose control but quickly regains her composure)  Mr. Postlewaite, I do understand. That is why I am out here everyday trying to help others.  I see you. I more than understand your plight. I use to look like you, to some degree. But here I am today. All I am trying to do is help guide you so you can make the best decision for your life and work with what you have so you can manifest your desires. Now you can take what I have to offer or you can leave it!

ELIJAH

No thanks. I'm going to do this without your charity.

MS. GAREN

(She laughs) So you know you only have about 6 months left in this place with this extension, right?

ELIJAH

I'm good. (he walks over to the door and opens it) You can leave now.

Ms. Garen


(she rises from the table and gathers her pen, file wallet and papers) Mr. Postlewaite. I hope you know what you're doing.

ELIJAH

I'll be alright.

She walks toward the doorway to exit, turns and stops

MS. GAREN

You know what? I don't believe you're even taking your medication. I will have to make a note of that. (She turns to leave).

elijah

Do what you have to do.

Exit Ms. Garen

Elijah closes the door and locks it.

Elijah walks  around the room gathering computer parts. He lays them on his table and in a short while, puts a few computer parts together to form a working one. He turns it on and sits. He types. 

ELIJAH

"Seeking angel-investor for brand new jewelry company with unusal theme."

Elijah continues to type as the curtain falls.

ACT II

Scene I [Morning: Two weeks later in Elijah's apartment. Elijah sits at the table at his computer. Ezekiel stands. The two seem to be in a cheerful mood.]

ezekiel

Damn man, I ain't see you in a minute. You been locked away in here for almost two weeks.

Elijah

I was working man. Pulling your famous all weeker,huh?

ELIJAH

Don't you mean, all nighters?

 

EZEKIEL

Nah man, with you, staying up days without sleeping.  All week-er seems appropriate.

ELIJAH

You do what you have to. I have this idea, you know? So, I gotta go with it when I have the inspiration. I think this may be it though man.

EZEKIEL

You know, Buddha says, "Follow your bliss."

elijah

(in a serious tone) That's not a Buddhist saying.

EZEKIEL

Yes. It is. I study with a Taoist Society every Wednesday.

elijah

You are mixing them up. Buddhism isn't Taoism. Buddha never said, "Follow your bliss." It was Campbell (pointing to his windowsill). I have the book right over there- The Power of Myth.

EZEKIEL

(He walks over to the windowsill, picks up the book and opens it)

ELIJAH

(Still working on his computer)

I think it's on page 120 or 140-somewhere around that area. Ezekiel  (he points)

EZEKIEL

(rifles through the book)

So you're right.  Here it is. How could I have forgotten that?  I don't know what's wrong with me, man.

Elijah

It's alright, El. We all have our off days. Plus, it's been a while since you read that. Anyway, (putting the book back) my point was that I think this will be the thing that gets me outta here.

EZEKIEL

Maybe get Ms. Garen off your back (he smiles).

Elijah

Yours too. I told that heifer off a few weeks ago. Comin' round here trying to act like I was some sort of looser just cause I fell on hard times. 

Ezekiel briefly looks over Elijah's shoulder.

EZEKIEL

Hmm.

Elijah

I ain't no loser man!

EZEKIEL

I didn't say that.

ELIJAH

But it look like you agreed with her or something.

EZEKIEL.

Naw. She be on my back too. I think all of us.  Typical black woman.

elijah

Maybe. Typical woman. Nag, nag, nag, and... (changes the subject)I put this ad out for an angel investor or whatever to jump in on my jewelry idea. It's gold man. It's going to make me really rich.

EZEKIEL

You never really told me about that fully.

elijah

( He turn around from his computer to face Ezekiel)

You ready for this?

EZEKIEL

Yeah man. Lay it on me.

Elijah

(excited and trying to build anticipation)

You sure, you ready for this?!

EZEKIEL

(playing along)

Yeah, man! I'm ready.

elijah

You sure you ready for this?!

EZEKIEL

Yes, damn it-ni... Tell already.

Elijah

Hold up. Where you just about to call me nigga?

EZEKIEL

Fucking around with you! Make me say anything. But no, I was going to say "negro."  Say it already man.

Elijah

Alright, alright here goes. The business has a theme or focus.  All the jewelry pieces... are...get this... lucky charms.

EZEKIEL

(unimpressed) That's it?!

 

Elijah

Yeah. But the pieces are all gonna be top notch, custom, hand-made, high-quality pieces.

EZEKIEL

You checked to make sure there is a market for this?

elijah

I made a few prototype pieces and put it on my My Space page. Plus, I got some interest around here, too. People in our building want to try and buy. So I figure, I'll let 'em wear one piece for about 10 days and then, they can decide of they want to buy. I mean, the quality is good. The company I buy the pieces  from does business all over the world. They sell to Tiffany and Company.

EZEKIEL

(With a frustrated sigh)

The company that used to be owned by AVON? Man please. (Pauses) Think. Just because your're popular don't mean these people can buy what you selling. These people ain't got no money, man! We on Skid Row.  (Then calmly)

Where did you get the money for the prototypes? Elijah?

ELIJAH

But I'm not just selling to people here. I said they are just to start and I used my check for this month.

EZEKIEL

(shocked) You sure that was smart? I mean, Why the hell would you do that man?!  That's all the money you have for the month- For food and everything.) I ain't got no money to loan you, Jah!

Elijah

You gotta spend money to make money, right?! You gon' let me starve?

EZEKIEL

(Elijah sighs) I don't know man. This time? Maybe. I'm going through some things myself. That was  selfish of you to do that man.

Elijah

C'mon E.Z., I told you I had this thing in my head for a while.

EZEKIEL

A while? (sits at the table and places his head in his hands)

 

You just got that book a few weeks ago. You just randomly picked one out and decided to do it.

(gets up quickly from the table and walks toward the door)

I'll see you later.

elijah

(as Ezekiel walks out he shouts) El?  El?  Common man, where you go...)

Ezekiel Exits

Alone in his apartment Elijah furiously begins, again to work at  his computer.

Curtain

Act II

Scene I

There are about seven people gathered in a room in the building. One of them is Elijah.  He is surrounded by the six or seven others who seem eager or restless, waiting to hear what Elijah has to say.  The room is a club room, business or conference room and  contains all its accouterments. A water cooler, copy machine, computers, desks and chairs.  Elijah wears a piece of large clunky jewelry around his neck. The chain is made of round pieces of hollow wood strung together and a large Jade pendant hangs in the middle of it. Next to his feet he lays a black duffle bag

elijah

(Removing the jewelry from his neck)

Ok I know, you are all wondering why I called this meeting. (holds up the piece of jewelry) This is why?

an old man around 60 with salt and pepper hair and a course way of speaking steps forward. His appearance is of someone in good health he carries himself like a man half his age.

old man

(with familiarity) What kind of bull shit is this, Jah?!

(Others mumur amongst themselves)

Elijah

Mr. Duncan, now you know me better than that.

Mr. Duncan

I don't know shit about you boy. You said there'd be free food.

Elijah

(he laughs nervously)Mr. D stop playing.  Yeah,  I have that but...)

old woman

(interrupts) ...but nothing, boy. Bring out the food!)

Elijah

(places the necklace back around his neck) If you could just gimme a second. I will.

man 2

Food first, then you talk.

Elijah

(aside to himself)

I suppose that would have been the best thing to do in the first place.

Ezekiel walks in and stands on the wall. Elijah sees him and calls him over. Ezekiel complies.

ELIJAH

(To Ezekiel)

I need your help.  I promised these people some food to attend this meeting.  I didn't really prepare, but I have some bagels upstairs, crib. Take Mr. D with you and bring 'em back.  There's seven of us so...

EZEKIEL

I can count.

ELIJAH

Alright hurry up. I'm going to tell Mr. D. He'll be right behind you.

Elijah moves near Mr. Duncan and whispers in his ear. Mr. Duncan turns and leaves. The people continue to congregate. A few moments later Mr. Duncan returns with a bag of bagels. Ezekiel following behind him.

mr. duncan

I looked at them bagels.  They seem stale.

elijah

They're not stale. They've only been in my fridge since yesterday.

mr. duncan

Like I said, stale.

(ignoring Mr. Duncan)All right.  Food is here.

(everyone quickly moves to get some)

Elijah

(to his audience) Well, maybe now I can have some of your time?

OLD WOMAN

(loudly)
Go ahead. Speak baby.

Elijah once again removes the jewelry from his neck.  He then opens his bag and pulls out three more pieces and lays them on a table in the room with his own necklace.

Elijah

This is what I called you here for. I'm starting a jewelry line and I wanted to give you all the chance to...

MR. DUNCAN

(interrupting)

Now you know we ain't got no money?

elijah

But wait, wait, hear me out. I want to give y'all a chance to try then buy.

woman

How much is this jewelry you selling?

elijah

They are all special pieces.  They each have at least one good luck charm from all over the world.

(He holds one up)

This one has alligator teeth which originates in Africa and cat's eye. These are  good for speculative activities.

mr.duncan

Speak english boy! We plain folk!

Elijah

Right. sorry. It brings good luck when you gamble.

old woman

So this would help me with my bingo?!

elijah

It's suppose to help with all kinds of gambling.

ELIJAH

(holds up another piece)

This one...

Young woman

Ooh, that one is beautiful.

(Everyone agrees) What's that one?

ELIJAH

This is a white elephant with Jade. This is good for longevity and

Duncan gives him a strange look as if to remind him to keep things simple.

I mean, it's good for long life and protection. And this last one is a bracelet with key charms and lapis lazuli stones. Keys can help you unlock things. Any areas of your life that are blocked or even open pathways.

A young man in the room finally speaks who hadn't spoken before but has been observing the way of the meeting. His build is tall and lanky. He looks to be no more than 22 years old. He wears an old jersey and jeans. His voice is deep and resounds as he speaks.

Young man

Look man. You see where we are. You know what we're going through. You're in this with us. It'd be a shame if you were playing us. Because then you'd be a part of the problem and not the solution. I've been here for as long as I can remember. My father told me me ended up here after my mom passed. That was about ten years ago. I'm 20. I wanna get outta here. What are you offering me... (he looks around) us to help do that?  Good luck charms.  Most of us would say, "What the hell?!"  But at this point. I'll take it man, because I know my pops has tried everything else. What can you do when you outta hope? You believe in anything.  So, I'll take one. My family needs some luck.

Elijah

(Elijah moves toward the young man) What's your name young brotha?  

Young man

Clarke.

elijah

Clarke?

The young man nods

Elijah

Ok Clarke. I like your passion. You've moved me.  Maybe all of us. Come and take whichever one you want.

(CLARKE moves toward Elijah and the jewelry pieces. He hovers for a moment staring)

clarke

Which one do I choose?

elijah

Whatever one you feel connected to-I suppose.

clarke

I promise, I'll pay you.

elijah

I know. You better. I know where you live.

(The young man picks up the bracelet.)

You know that bracelet is more for women?

Clarke

That's ok. I'll just keep it in my pocket.

Elijah

if you like it. I can make you one that is more for you.

Clarke

No. This 'll do.

ELIJAH

Alright.

The others in the room look on and finally two more people each pick up a piece. All three promise to pay Elijah later. Elijah agrees. The number of people begin to wane as others leave following the three's agreement.

ELIJAH

(shouts as others leave)

Thank y'all for your time. (to Ezekiel) This went well. I sold three people on my jewelry.  You wait and see. I'm gonna

 

 

 

 

 

 


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