Goodnight - a play

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two homeless men enter an abandoned church during early hours. One is young, in his late twenties, the other is much older and dying of cancer. Suddenly, upon the arrival of a mysterious woman,
these men's life's are going to drastically change. Remember, these don't always end for the better - but we all have hold on to one thing. That thing is Hope.



A darkened area of the stage. LIGHTS UP as:


Two homeless men enter. JERRY supports a clearly ailing BRIDGER. 


JERRY:Come on… easy… watch your step. There you go.


BRIDGER: Are we inside? (coughs, spluttering)


JERRY: (With some surprise) Well, yeah. (Looks around him) You said you wanted a church. Here we are.


BRIDGER: It feels cold.


JERRY:That’s ‘cos it is cold. Colder in ‘ere than out there. (Bridger squirms, holding his stomach) Is it off again?


BRIDGER: Nothing I can’t handle. Chemo makes you feel cold. But most of me hasn’t got cancer so most of me’s fine.


JERRY:Tomorrow we’ll get you to a doctor.


BRIDGER:We won’t. I’ve had it with doctors for one lifetime. You know the score. It’s terminal. End of. I’ll live with it.


JERRY:I’m still getting you a doctor.


BRIDGER: Look, this is my life, not yours. I’ll die when I please. Anybody interferes wi’ that, I’ll bloody kill ‘em.


JERRY:(Laughs) Keep that up and you’ll never go, mate. 


BRIDGER:If only. Soon enough I’ll be all done and dusted. And it’ll be over for you an’all.


JERRY:(Serious) You what?


BRIDGER:This is no life for you.


JERRY:(Looks around) I don’t know. It isn’t all that bad.


BRIDGER:Be serious. I’ve dragged you down long enough. You can still rise up. You’ll be free as a bird with me gone. 


JERRY:(Hint of aggression) Nah, forget it. Wherever this is heading, you stop right now. It’s not going to happen.


BRIDGER:It’s not going to go away either.


Jerry moves away from Bridger.


(Pleading) Don’t end up like me.

JERRY:You taught me how to survive all this. I can’t thank you enough.

BRIDGER:  You’ve kept me alive. Without you I’d be dead already. Don’t you see even a little bit of irony in that? Look, do what’s best for you and make right before it’s too late.

Jerry turns away, crouches, arms defensively over head


JERRY:(A command) Enough - no more talk!


BRIDGER:Easier said than done. I’m ready to shuffle off this mortal coil - whatever that is - and you’re trying to shut me up. Bloody great... 


JERRY:(Temper) Give over. Why don’t you get some sleep?


BRIDGER:Sleep? What’s that when it’s out? I call it lying down without getting kicked to death.


Brief silence. Both men still. HOPE appears, suddenly above and out of nowhere. She comes forward, leaning on wall. She watches the two men. 


HOPE: (Whispering) Jerry…


JERRY:(Reluctant, weary) Yeah? What is it now?


HOPE: Good to see you again. (Pause, louder) Jerry/


JERRY:/Shut up.


BRIDGER:I didn’t say anything.


HOPE: You can’t go on like this.


JERRY:Leave me be. There’s no place for you here.


BRIDGER:You all right, Jerry?


HOPE: I think there’s room for one more, is there not?’


JERRY:No. Be off wi’ yer. Leave me alone!




JERRY: What?!


BRIDGER: What the bloody hell is going on?


HOPE: We need a private chat. Tell him he needs to sleep. 


BRIDGER: Oi, Jerry!


JERRY:(A pause, considers) You’d best turn in, mate.


BRIDGER:Eh? You what?


JERRY:You look done in. Call it a day. Get what sleep you can.


BRIDGER:Sleep, with you off yer head?


JERRY:I’m not off me head. Not this time. 


BRIDGER:I can’t just/


JERRY:/I’m fine, you’re not. Piss off will you and sleep.


BRIDGER:(Sighs) I suppose. (Points) Bagsy this corner then.


JERRY:All yours mate.


Bridger moves his stuff to a corner, settles down. Quickly still. Jerry and Hope watch him.


HOPE: Poor old bloke. Can’t be easy for h/


JERRY:/What d’you want?


HOPE:Stop playing so bloody hard to reach. You know why I’m here. Cos you wanted somebody to talk to.


JERRY: (Points to Bridger) I’ve got somebody to talk to.


HOPE: Don’t kid yourself Jerry. I’ve listened to the pair of you and that’s not talking. That’s two old farts bickering.


JERRY:Sod off.


HOPE:I’m only speaking as I find.


JERRY:Why are you here?


HOPE: You know.


JERRY:Do I? Can’t remember half the stuff going on ‘ere.


HOPE: Here? As in/


JERRY:My head.


HOPE:Let me help.


JERRY:I don’t need your help.


HOPE:I dunno ‘bout that. Maybe it’ll do you good. Maybe knock some common sense into you for once.


JERRY:(Irritated) Hey, don’t come ‘aving a go at me. 


HOPE: Why not? What else is going to work? Something needs doing and I can’t do it for you.


JERRY:I know but... Not when I’m like this. Not in this state. (Pause) I do know why you’re here. Or at least think...


HOPE: Then you know what comes next?




HOPE: Well…?


JERRY:Well what?


HOPE:What are you waiting for?


JERRY:(Realisation) Now?


HOPE: Better now than never.


JERRY:I can’t.


HOPE: Why not?


JERRY:I need to think it over.


HOPE: You’ve had plenty of time to think.


JERRY:I need more time.


HOPE: It’s all gone.


JERRY:Just give me a minute.


HOPE:Don’t you think this has gone on long enough? It’s time to stop the madness and put it to rest.


JERRY:I know, I know…


HOPE:(Impatient) Well then?


JERRY:I’ll do what’s right when I feel the time is right.


HOPE:(Erupts) Oh do me a favour! When will the time be right? How long’s it been now? Almost a year? You an’ him, fannying around with sleeping bags and bits of cardboard while you have actual family waiting for you?


Jerry, agitated by Hope’s words, turning to her, violent.


JERRY: (Agitated) Shut up! Just bloody shut up! I won’t do that to him.


HOPE: How long d’you reckon he’s got, eh? Seriously. A month? Week? Few days, maybe? I don’t think very long at all, if I’m being completely honest. It did sound nasty earlier, hearing him in such pain. It isn’t right. 


JERRY: Neither is what you want. I’m not going through wi’ it.


HOPE: Why not?


JERRY: It’s murder for a start.


HOPE: But necessary.


JERRY: It’s dishonest at the very least.


HOPE: Think of it more as… answering a plea for help.


JERRY: He’s my oldest mate.


HOPE:No he’s not. I’ve known a lot longer than he has.


JERRY:All right, he’s my oldest mate after you.


HOPE: (Counting off on her fingers) Then there’s Callum, there’s Ross, Ollie, Laura/


JERRY:/All right, all right, you’ve made your point.


HOPE: And don’t friends help out those in times of need? He is your friend and he doesn’t have to die in pain. Hmn?


JERRY:Give me a sec. I need to be alone with my thoughts.


HOPE:That’s the thing, Jerry. You already are.


Bridger stirs, struggles to sit upright, wheezing badly.


JERRY: All right?

BRIDGER:(With difficulty) Near enough.

JERRY:How’d you feel?

BRIDGER:Like death warmed up. How’d you think?

JERRY:Right. Sorry.

BRIDGER:It ain't half cold.

JERRY: Can’t you sleep?

BRIDGER:  Can I hell as like. Everything hurts. And then there’s you, gabbing away.

JERRY:  Again. Sorry.


BRIDGER:Not your fault. I don’t need sympathy. (Beat) I tell you what I wouldn’t mind though. One last cigarette.




BRIDGER: C’mon. Just one.


JERRY: I’m not having you smoking.


BRIDGER: Why the bloody hell not? Could it make me any worse than I am now?


JERRY: Yes it could.


BRIDGER: Oh fuck off, you’re like an old woman you are. I’m on my way out. What’s one drag to speed it up a bit?


JERRY: Sorry, no can do. (Searches through pockets) No have got, anyway.


BRIDGER:Rotten sod. Unlucky to the very end. 


JERRY: No, you aren’t.


BRIDGER:Aren’t I? I’ve got cancer, no money, no family and nowhere to live. And now no fags.


JERRY: You’re in a church.


BRIDGER:That’s lucky?


JERRY:(A beat) What’s it like, dying?


BRIDGER: Bloody awful! I wouldn’t recommend it. Why you ask?


JERRY:I just don’t know what to be doing when… y’know…


BRIDGER: Look, don’t be getting in a state ‘bout it. I don’t expect you to hang around for it anyway, I’d worry for you/


JERRY:/I’m staying. 


BRIDGER:(Pause) Thanks mate.


He groans and doubles over in pain. Hope appears above.


JERRY: You all right?

BRIDGER: (Pain again) Christ almighty. This is no way to go.


HOPE:Jerry. (He turns – looks up at her. She directs him to his carrier bag in corner) No more excuses.


Jerry reluctantly gets up and makes his way over. He takes out blister packs of pills and a can of cider, takes them to Bridger.


BRIDGER: What you got there?


BRIDGER:There’s none left.

JERRY:What are these then? (Presses pills out of blister pack) Come on, get ‘em down you. (He supports Bridger, feeds him the pills, one after another, interspersed with gulps of cider.)

BRIDGER: How many?

JERRY:Keep going.

BRIDGER: (Weak laugh) Keep going, he says. (Pause) I didn’t give you enough credit. You are a good un’. You’ve been better than a son to me, you know that?

JERRY:I think I’m going to make a go of it.

BRIDGER:(Drowsy) Really? It won’t be easy.

JERRY:I know. I’ll give it my best shot. See how it pans out.

BRIDGER:You’ll be all right.

JERRY:I hope so. You should go to sleep now.

BRIDGER:Aye, aye, doctor! I think I’ll be off.


Long pause. Bridger relaxes and is still. Jerry gently lays his head down, moves away.


HOPE: You’ve done well.


JERRY:(Looks at Hope) Thank you.


HOPE: (Smiles) You’ll be fine, Jerry. Take care now.


She turns to go.


JERRY:Wait… (She pauses) d’you have a name?


HOPE: (Pause) It’s Hope.


JERRY:Hope? (Laugh) Should I read owt into that?


HOPE: It’s something we all need, so up to you.


JERRY:Okay. See you around then.


HOPE:See you around, Jerry.


Hope exits. Lights fade down to black.





Submitted: March 31, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Robert Price. All rights reserved.

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