LOVING STRANGER

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

a small 8-scene play

Scene 1

(A man is standing on a ledge. A boy approaches from behind).

MAN. Who are you?

BOY. I’m just a boy.

MAN. What are you doing here? Leave.

BOY. No, I won’t leave.

MAN. I said LEAVE!

BOY. No I won’t…

(Pause. The man sobs).

MAN. Why do you care anyways?

BOY. Because I think you’re beautiful.

MAN. What do you mean I’m beautiful? You don’t even know me–

BOY. You’re beautiful, and I love you, I love everyone.

(Pause).

MAN. You don’t mean it…

BOY. Of course I do, now move that beautiful fat ass off the ledge.

(The man laughs).

MAN. Okay, I’m gonna come down.

BOY. Then do it then.

MAN. Okay, gimme a second.

(The man comes down. Then he starts hugging and sobbing the boy).

MAN. Thanks…

BOY. For what?

MAN. For lying. I really needed that.

BOY. I wasn’t lying. I never lie. I think you’re beautiful and I love you, just like I love everyone else.

(The man looks at him with a curious gaze. He can’t understand him).

MAN. Do you exist?

BOY. What?

MAN. Are you real?

BOY. Of course I’m real. What do you think? I’m right here, aren’t I? Here, touch my clothes…

(The man touches his clothes. He is real after all).

BOY. So why were you gonna commit suicide?

(The man doesn’t hear him).

BOY. Why were you gonna commit suicide?

MAN. Oh I don’t know… I was in a pretty dark place.

BOY. But you’re fine now?

MAN. Yes… strangely I’m fine…

(The man can hardly believe it. There is a small pause).

BOY. So you wanna do something?

MAN. Do something?

BOY. Yea, do something. You know, hang out or something.

MAN. Yea okay.

(The man follows the boy out).

(END of scene 1)

Scene 2

(The man and the boy are walking side by side down the street. They look like the oddest pair. But the man seems strangely calm. He is in awe of the boy).

(They arrive at a porch of this small house. There are a few other young people there).

BOY. Hey people, this is my friend… What’s your name?

MAN. John.

BOY. This is my friend John. Make sure you treat him nice.

(The group says hi to him).

BOY. Hey John do you wanna a beer?

MAN. Uhm, sure.

(The boy exits. One man from the group extends his hand).

MAN 2. John is it. Like Jonathan?

(The man shakes it).

MAN. No just John.

(Pause).

MAN 2. So, how did you come to meet our friend Remi?

MAN. He talked me out of committing suicide.

MAN 2. What?

MAN. I was gonna kill myself, but he talked me out of it.

MAN 2. Okay…

(The boy comes back with beers).

BOY. Oh wait I forgot straws. I’ll be right back.

(The boy leaves again).

MAN 2. So what did he say?

MAN. What do you mean?

MAN 2. What did he say, to make you not kill yourself?

MAN. He told me that he loved me and that he loved everyone.

(The group laughs).

MAN 2. Yea that sounds like our Remi. That boy is strange, lemme tell you.

MAN. He certainly is…

(The boy comes back. This time he has straws).

BOY. Sorry I took so long. I couldn’t find the goddam straws.

MAN 2. Why do we need straws anyways?

BOY. Because it’s better with the straws. Now drink.

(The whole group takes a drink. The man tentatively takes a sip. This is not how he thought his afternoon would go).

(END of scene 2).

Scene 3

(The man comes home in the middle of the night. A woman is waiting for him on the couch).

WOMAN. You’re late. Where were you?

MAN. I know, I just met the strangest boy.

WOMAN. You’re late.

MAN. I know, you said that. I was just trying to explain–

WOMAN. Weren’t you at work?

MAN. Yes… I mean no. Please let me explain.

WOMAN. Okay go on.

MAN. I did go to work in the morning, but then I got fired and I came to this ledge–

WOMAN. You got fired?

MAN. Yes... I got fired and then I came to this ledge and I was gonna jump-

WOMAN. You were gonna jump?

MAN. Yes I was gonna jump. Please let me explain–

WOMAN. Okay go on.

(The man takes a deep breath).

MAN. So, I was gonna jump and then this boy came out of nowhere and he told me he loved me and everyone else and before I knew it I was down and spending the evening with his mates.

WOMAN. So you spent the evening out?

MAN. Yes I did. Did you even hear what I just said? I was gonna jump–

WOMAN. You’re 42.

MAN. Yes I’m aware of that.

WOMAN. You’re 42.

MAN. Yes, you just said that.

WOMAN. Why are you spending the evening with a couple of youngsters?

MAN. I don’t know. I guess I had a midlife crisis.

WOMAN. A midlife crisis?

MAN. Yes, a midlife crisis.

WOMAN. Why?

(The man laughs).

MAN. Oh I don’t know. Maybe because I have a batshit crazy wife and I GOT FIRED TODAY!

WOMAN. Why did you get fired?

MAN. That’s not important.

WOMAN. Why’d you get fired?

(The man sighs. He puts his hands over his head).

MAN. This boy was truly special…

WOMAN. JOHN!

MAN. Okay, okay, jeez. Because I was sleeping with another woman. There you go.

WOMAN. What?

MAN. I said I was sleeping with another woman on the job.

WOMAN. Well, if that’s all. I thought you were doing drugs or something.

(The woman leaves. She goes to bed. The man is left alone in the room in the dark. He mutters under his breath).

MAN. Crazy bitch…

(END of scene 3).

Scene 4

(Early morning. A knock on the door).

GIRL. Dad?

(The man wakes up and opens the door).

MAN. Bets? What are you doing here?

(The woman also comes down).

WOMAN. Betty?

GIRL. Dad, who’s this boy?

(The boy stands behind her).

BOY. Hey John.

MAN. Remi? What’re you doing here?

WOMAN. Who’s Remi?

GIRL. Who’s Remi?

BOY. I’m Remi. I just wanted to see your dad.

GIRL. Why does he want to see you dad?

WOMAN. Yea why does he want to see you John?

BOY. I’m right here you know.

MAN (to girl and woman). I don’t know. How should I know?

(They all turn to the boy. The boy smiles).

BOY. I just wanted to see if you wanna hang out today, you know, since you don’t have a job anymore.

GIRL. You don’t have a job?

MAN. Yes, I don’t have a job.

WOMAN. Your father has been very naughty.

MAN. Alice, please. I’ll explain later.

BOY. So you wanna hang out?

MAN. Sure let me just get my keys.

(The man goes up to his room. Woman and girl give each other a puzzled look).

GIRL. Remi, how do you know my father?

BOY. I met him yesterday.

GIRL. Where did you meet him?

BOY. On a ledge–

(The man hurriedly returns).

MAN. REMI, LET’S GO.

BOY. Now?

MAN. Yes, now. Betty, I’ll talk to you later.

(They shut the door).

GIRL. You don’t think they’re sleeping together, do you?

WOMAN. Heck if I know.

(END of scene 4).

Scene 5

(Man and boy are eating breakfast together at a restaurant).

MAN. How did you know where I live?

BOY. What do you mean? I walked home with you last night.

MAN. Oh… right.

(Pause).

BOY. Lovely family you have there. I wish you had let me stay a bit longer.

MAN. Trust me, you don’t. I don’t even know what my daughter’s doing here. She’s supposed to be at uni.

BOY. Why wouldn’t I wanna see your family?

MAN. Because they’re all bloody insane. Trust me, it’s better if you stay as far away as possible.

BOY. Well I like a bit of insane.

MAN. Not this insane.

(Pause).

BOY. You were insane yesterday.

MAN. That’s different.

BOY. No it isn’t. You were about to jump off this bloody ledge. I saved your life you know. The least you could do is introduce me to your family.

MAN. I wasn’t insane. I was just sad… and tired.

BOY. You were about to jump off this bloody ledge. In my book that counts as insane.

(The man gets angry).

MAN. Look just get off my back! I’ve had a shitty night and I’m still in my bed. So gimme a second.

BOY. Okay, okay.

(Pause. A waitress arrives).

WAITRESS. What would you like to drink sir?

MAN. Oh, just a coffee please.

WAITRESS. And you sir?

BOY. Oh nothing. I don’t like coffee.

(The waitress leaves. Another pause).

MAN. Look, I don’t know why you saved me yesterday and I’m grateful for what you did, believe me. But I don’t think I deserve it. I’m an ugly person.

BOY. Which is why you’re so beautiful.

MAN. Look you gotta stop with that shit, okay? It’s getting weird…

BOY. But it’s true.

MAN. STOP.

BOY. Okay.

(There is a small pause. The boy looks up. He smiles. The man starts smiling as well).

MAN. Well what the fuck.

BOY. What the fuck indeed.

(END of scene 5).

Scene 6

(The man comes home. It is late at night again. This time both the woman and the girl are waiting for him).

GIRL. Hello dad.

WOMAN. Hello John. Sit down. We wanna talk.

(The man looks at them both).

MAN. With pleasure.

(He sits down. There is a pause).

WOMAN. So who’s Remi?

MAN. Oh God you’re still talking about that? He’s just some boy I met.

WOMAN. Are you sleeping with him?

MAN. WHAT?

GIRL. Answer the question dad.

MAN. Of course not! How could you think that?

WOMAN. Well I don’t know John. You seem to be spending an awful lot of time with him.

MAN. That’s because he’s nice to me, unlike you. You know, he actually cares if I die or not.

GIRL. I care, dad.

MAN. I know you do sweetheart.

WOMAN. So what? You think he loves you anymore than I do? Is that it? We’ve been together for 22 years John –

MAN. Yea, and those 22 years have been the worst time of my life.

WOMAN. How could you say that? In front of your daughter?

MAN. Well, it’s the truth isn’t it?

GIRL. Dad?

MAN. What you don’t want me to tell you the truth anymore?

GIRL. Dad?

MAN. WHAT?

Girl. Why were you on a ledge yesterday?

MAN. What?

Girl. The boy this morning said he met you on a ledge yesterday.

MAN. Oh, that’s nothing.

WOMAN. Betty, your father tried to kill himself yesterday.

GIRL. WHAT?

MAN. Oh thanks a lot Alice. You’re so vindictive.

WOMAN. I thought you wanted to be honest.

(The girl starts crying).

GIRL. Why did you wanna kill yourself dad?

WOMAN. Because–

MAN. Okay that’s enough! How about I play the interviewer now, see how you guys like it. Betty, why aren’t you at university?

GIRL. Dad?

WOMAN. Lower your voice.

MAN. What do you mean ‘lower my voice’? I’m just asking her a simple question: Betty, why aren’t you at university?

GIRL. Because I flunked okay. There was this teacher that I didn’t like and I told it straight to his face.

MAN. WHAT?

GIRL. Oh, don’t freak out. He deserved it. He had no idea what he was saying.

MAN. Does that mean that you can’t return?

GIRL. Well yea, they kicked me off the course. But don’t worry dad, I’ll find a job in no time.

(The man looks around. He is incredulous).

MAN (to woman). Why aren’t you worried about this?

WOMAN. Why should I? I trust her judgement. I trust my daughter.

MAN. Well that’s all fine and dandy but I’m telling you: she’s gonna have to find a job real soon – because if she wants to stay here, someone’s gonna have to pay the bills!

GIRL: But why, you’re my parents?

(The woman sighs).

WOMAN. Betty, your father lost his job.

MAN. What, so now it’s my fault she flunked out of school?

WOMAN. I didn’t say that. I’m merely stating the facts: you have lost your job.

GIRL. Why can’t you work mama?

WOMAN. Betty, you know why I can’t work. The doctors haven’t deemed me suitable for work. But they give me a weekly payment.

MAN. Yea, enough to buy the toothpaste.

WOMAN. JOHN–

MAN. I think that what she’s trying to say to you, Betty, is that she’s too crazy to work.

WOMAN. JOHN!

MAN. She has these manic episodes–

WOMAN. Betsy, you wanna know why your father lost his job?

MAN. Alice don’t.

WOMAN. You wanna know? I was gonna keep it in but now I see no reason why I should…

MAN. Alice…

GIRL. Mama… I don’t think I want–

WOMAN. Your father has lost his job because he has been sleeping with another girl (or woman I should say) and he was caught by his boss with his dick in his hands.

MAN. ALICE!

GIRL. MAMA!

WOMAN. What? It’s the truth…–

(The man gets up. He is enraged).

MAN. That’s it, I’m leaving.

WOMAN. That’s it, RUN AWAY to your boyfriend who loves you. Or that bitch whore. And don’t forget about your actual family–!

(The door slams shut).

(Pause. The girl starts crying).

GIRL. Mama…

(The woman softens).

WOMAN. Oh honey…

(END of scene 6).

Scene 7

(The man walks to the porch. It is the middle of the night. Man 2 is sitting outside with a beer).

MAN 2. Oh hi John.

MAN. Hi Jeremy. Is Remi here?

MAN 2. Yea he’s inside. Go upstairs, second door to the left.

MAN. Thanks.

(The man enters the house. Midway through the stairs he stops and starts crying. Then he wipes his eyes and continues up).

(The boy is sitting on his bed, reading a book. The man knocks then enters).

BOY. John? What’re you doing here?

MAN. I just wanted to say bye.

BOY. What do you mean you wanna say bye. Sit down.

MAN. No, I can’t.

BOY. Okay then, stay standing up then.

MAN. I just wanted to say bye. I’m gonna go. I’m leaving tonight.

BOY. Well sit down at least.

MAN. Okay fine.

(The man sits down).

MAN. So what, you gotta a student accommodation over here?

BOY. Actually we rented out this place along with my friends.

MAN. I see…

(Pause).

BOY. So, are you gonna tell me what’s up, or do I have to wrench it out of you?

MAN. No this is serious man. I just had a big fight with Alice, and I swear: I can’t do this anymore.

(The man breaks down crying. The boy tries to comfort him).

BOY. Well, we all go through hard times. You’ll power through it; I believe in you.

MAN. No this is different. I won’t ever get out of this hole…

BOY. Well what’s the problem?

MAN. What?

BOY. What’s the problem?

MAN. Where do I start? My wife is demented and she can’t work. My daughter just flunked out of school today, great bonus, and I just got fired from my job for cheating on my demented wife.

(The boy starts laughing. The man is shocked).

MAN. Are you fucking laughing?

BOY. Yea.

MAN. Why?

BOY. Because it’s funny.

MAN. You think it’s fucking funny?!

(The man gets up to go).

BOY. No, no, wait, wait. Sit down. You know I didn’t mean it.

(The man sits down).

(There is a pause. The boy collects his thoughts).

BOY. Is that it?

MAN. What?

BOY. Is that all your problems?

MAN. Yea, that’s most of it.

(Another pause).

BOY. Well, can’t you see it’s beautiful?

MAN. Oh not this again!

(The man gets up again. He is furious).

MAN. No, I can’t see it’s beautiful. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m leaving.

(The boy holds him again).

BOY. No, wait, wait. Hold on, bear with me here.

(The man stops but does not sit down).

BOY. Look, lemme talk to your family, all of us together.

MAN. No way.

BOY. Come on. I promise I will make it better. She just needs to hear your point of view.

(The man is wary).

MAN. She will go mad. You don’t know her. She has fits of mania.

BOY. Don’t worry, I promise you I can handle her. I will convince her like I convinced you yesterday. Do you trust me?

MAN. No.

(The boy smiles. Then the man smiles).

BOY. Well, perfect then, I will come to see you guys tomorrow.

(The man walks out of the room. He is stunned again. He cannot believe he will go through with this).

(END of scene 7).

Scene 8

(The next day. The boy knocks on the door. The man opens it).

MAN. Remi.

BOY. Hey John. Is your family here?

(The woman walks past).

WOMAN. Of course we’re here. It’s our house. Now let’s get this over and done with.

MAN. Honey please. You said you would try.

WOMAN. I didn’t say I would try. I said I would show up, that’s all.

GIRL. Is that the boy who fucks my father?

MAN. BETTY!

(The boy starts laughing).

BOY. Well I think this is a perfect time to start.

(He enters the house and sits on the couch. The others join him. The girls roll their eyes).

BOY. So I understand there is a problem within your family.

WOMAN. Don’t pretend to be a shrink, you’re not.

BOY. I know.

GIRL. Problems.

BOY. Sorry?

GIRL. Problems. Plural, not singular.

BOY. Right, well I come here to ask all of you: so what?

WOMAN. This guy is a fucking joke.

MAN. Honey please, you said you would try.

WOMAN. I never said I would fucking try!

GIRL. What are you like 12 years old?

BOY. Actually I’m 24 but good guess

MAN. Alright please can everyone just cool it for a minute. Remi, what is it you’re trying to say?

BOY. Have you or anyone else in this family ever felt love for one another, either now or in the past?

WOMAN. Of course, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

BOY. Well then what’s the problem then? There’s no problem. If you love each other you’ll just suffer together.

MAN. It isn’t that simple.

WOMAN. Yea it isn’t that simple.

BOY. Why not?

MAN. Because we’ve done things to each other in the past. I’ve cheated on her and she’s done things to me… Bottom line: it isn’t that simple.

WOMAN. For once I agree with him.

BOY. Well if I’ve done anything today I’ve made you two agree. But John isn’t what you’re describing called love? Isn’t that it? Isn’t that why it’s so beautiful? Because it has a bit of suffering attached to it. Because it’s ugly, not pretty?

(The girl smiles).

GIRL. What is this boy on about?

(Everybody starts to laugh, except the woman).

WOMAN. Are we about done here?

MAN. Alicia…

BOY. I guess we are.

WOMAN. Good, now get the fuck out of my house. I don’t need some baby telling me about the ‘beauty’ of life. You have no idea what suffering is.

BOY. Okay then one more thing.

WOMAN. What?

BOY. I love you.

(The woman starts to cry. The man and the girl are shocked. They have never seen her cry. They give each other puzzled looks).

GIRL. Mamma?

MAN. Alicia?

(They start to hug the woman).

(A pause. The boy gets up and walks towards the door. The man gets up and meets him at the doorway).

MAN. Remi I…

BOY. Don’t say anything. Just go back to your wife and enjoy this moment.

(The man smiles).

MAN. What’re you gonna do now?

BOY. Well I gotta save others. You’re not the only one that need saving you know.

(Both laugh).

MAN. Remi, thank you.

BOY. For what?

(He walks off. Now the whole family has been stunned).

(END of play).


Submitted: January 27, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Theo Villepo. All rights reserved.

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