Larry Slade Scene 4

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Jane and Alex finally call their father out on his BS.



Vic's apartment, twilight. 


A hint of reddish light is visible through shades that are tightly drawn. The place is an absolute mess, but you can see traces of an interesting, if wasted, life. Stacks of newspapers, tomes dedicated the study of political science, radical screeds. The great VIC THE PRICK sits in the middle of it all, surrounded by fast food containers and overflowing ashtrays. At present, the legend is hate-watching cable news, laughing and shaking his head at the same time. After a while, he hears A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. He considers answering for a moment, decides he doesn't want to, and cranks up the volume so we can hear a strident, incomprehensible (white male) voice. And yet, the knocking intensifies as the smile of a depraved Cheshire cat spreads across his face. And then we hear ALEX'S VOICE. 


Hey! Hey, Vic! Vic the Prick?!?!


(And this finally persuades him to rise and cross to a spot within an inch of the door.)


CIA! FBI! IRS! Yeah, probably IRS. 


(JANE sighs audibly, but says nothing.)


VIC: Ah...progeny!


(He walks back to his chair.)


Are you kidding me right now?


(He picks up some sort of pipe and takes a preparatory hit. He coughs violently.) 


Jesus Christ. 


VIC: One second, dear. 


(As the cough subsides, he steadies himself. He approaches the door, crosses himself.)


VIC: Crossing myself. 


ALEX: Charming. 


(He opens the door ceremonially. ALEX and JANE enter. A long pause as they take account of each other.) 


: Shall we hug?


: What do you have to drink? 


(ALEX rummages through the cupboards and then the fridge. VIC and JANE keep looking at each other, as if they really do want to hug. Something holds them back.) 


VIC: Hello, honey. 


JANE: Hi. 


(ALEX slams the fridge door, holding vodka and orange juice.)


?ALEX: I guess I'll have to drink screwdrivers. Between that and getting insulted by Dad, I really do feel like I'm back in middle school. 


VIC: You could drink it straight, like I do. 


ALEX: I'm not that desperate.


: Mmmmmm... So you just show up at my door, eh? How anachronistic of you. I almost want to compliment you for it. 


ALEX: Why don't you then? 


VIC: Well, I know why you're here. 


ALEX: Oh, do you? 


VIC: Yes, I do, and it's none of your business.


JANE: Dad, we just want to help. 


VIC: Honey, we've been through this. I don't want any tests. 


ALEX: You know what? That doesn't matter. 


VIC: Excuse me?


going to say. 


VIC: Say it. 


ALEX: It's my life, and I can kill myself if I want to. 


(VIC pauses for a moment, flabbergasted and proud.)


VIC: Yes, and...


ALEX: And if you did get the test, they'd give you the wrong diagnosis.


VIC: Yes, and...


ALEX: And if they did diagnose you right, and they said surgery, then they'd fuck that up. 


VIC: Yes, and...


ALEX: And if they didn't fuck it up, you don't want to diet and exercise anyway. 


VIC: Exactly! And so I'd waste time, money, energy—the doctor's, the nurses', the taxpayer's--


ALEX: Nice touch. 


VIC: The taxpayer's, and yours. 


ALEX: What?


VIC: If you had to come back from your precious city and wheel me into appointment after appointment, hold my hand pre-and-post op, looked lovingly into my drugged-out eyes and imagined you saw, what, love? Do you think you could go through all that and see me die anyway because I just couldn't put down that fried chicken? Because I'm never going to do that. Do you think you could do all that and not feel something?


ALEX: I don't feel anything for you. 


VIC: Or were you planning to delegate that all to your poor sister?


JANE: I'd...cook for you. 


VIC: Honey, you know I'd sneak it behind your back. 


JANE: I could move in with you. 


Do you want to retract that statement?


JANE: I could clean it up. 


ALEX: And I could call you, every single day, and nag the hell out of you. What did you eat today? Did you take your walk? Did you? Huh? And I'll know if you're lying. 


VIC: I've been ignoring the phone for decades now. 


ALEX: Would you do it if you knew it was a matter of fucking life or death? 


VIC: Don't you hear what I've been telling you? I WANT TO DIE!


) Yeah. Bullshit. I don't even think you'd unplug the phone. Wouldn't that be too...


JANE: Myopic? 


VIC: Very good. 


JANE: Thank you. 


ALEX: She doesn't need you to say that. 


) What did I do to deserve such caring daughters?


ALEX: Sometimes I don't know if you're serious or not. 


VIC: Well, of course I am! But enough of the fun and games, dears. Hannity is on in ten and, as you know, I never miss it. 


JANE: Dad, will you please just get the tests? For me. Just for me.


: I'm so sorry, baby. I can't. 


JANE: You can. 


VIC: I won't. 


(A tear falls down her cheek. She tries to blink it away. She fails.)


JANE: You will. 


VIC: I won't. 


ALEX: She's crying!


VIC: No. 


ALEX: Fuck you! 


(ALEX throws her glass at the wall. It shatters. VIC applauds. JANE sits, dissociating again. No one notices.)


Stop clapping! (He doesn't) STOP CLAPPING!


(He finally does, shrugging. He crosses to ALEX, slowly. He stops within an inch of her face, daring her to slap him. She does. He just smiles, picks up the bottle, and takes a big drink.)


VIC: You should have hit me in the head.


(ALEX grabs for the bottle, but he pulls it away.)


VIC: I told you at that absurd birthday party you threw for me four years ago—the last time I saw you, incidentally—that I would be dead in five years, and I can't do anything that might interfere with that. Hell, you know I've never been wrong, and I'm not about to start! Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe my program is on.


(He crosses to the set and flips it on. He sinks into the chair like the corpse he says he wants to be.)


ALEX: That's fine. We're not leaving. 


VIC: Suit yourself.


(He ignores them for a few long beats, an infomercial for knives playing in the background. But he can't help glancing at them from time to time, one smirking, the other slack-jawed. It gets to him.)


VIC: Goddamit! Alright, I'll see the damn doctor, but only because I can't miss this.


(JANE clutches her heart. ALEX suppresses glee.)


VIC: Touching, really. I hope you'll remember this moment, later, when you see I'm right. You can't put the toothpaste--


ALEX: Back in the damn tube, we know. Save it. I've already booked you an echo-cardiogram at Newton. It's next Thursday, 8AM. Just be there.


VIC: I wouldn't miss it. I can't wait to see the look on your face.


(She looks at the screen, gestures) programming.


VIC: And I to yours. 


Come on, Jane.


JANE: Coming. (ALEX waves her away and exits. JANE approaches her father, and she works her way up to putting her hand on his shoulder) Thank you, Dad.


) You're welcome.


(They smile at each other, timidly, as the lights go out.) 

End Scene.

Submitted: January 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Tony Chiba. All rights reserved.

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