ACT ISCENE 1
A LIVING ROOM SCENE. TWO EARLY TWENTIES STUDENTS, LUCY AND BRETT, SIT ON A SOFA FACING THE AUDIENCE; A COFFEE TABLE IS POSITIONED BY THEIR FEET. CRISP PACKETS LITTER THE TABLE AND BOTTLES OF CIDER, MOST ARE EMPTY. NEXT TO THE SOFA IS AN ARMCHAIR, OCCUPIED BY A MID-FIFTIES MAN WITH GLASSES, HE STARES AT BRETT. LUCY SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE SOFA, HOLDING A GAME CONTROLLER AND BRETT IS LENT BACK BESIDE HER.
BRETT:Just double tap A. (He grabs a bottle of cider from the table and drinks.) It isn't that
LUCY:I am double tapping. See? (She holds the controller near Brett's face)
It’s just this fucking... They just won't die!
THE GAME MAKES A NOISE AND LUCY GROANS. BRETT DRINKS HIS CIDER AND LAUGHS. FATHER SCOFFS AND SHAKES HIS HEAD, BRETT GLARES AT HIM BEFORE RESUMING HIS OBSERVATION OF THE GAME.
LUCY: For GOD SAKE! I pressed the A button hundreds of-
BRETT: You died again.
LUCY: Yeah, I know. Fuck sake…
BRETT: (Sarcastic) Now, now, no need to lose it. (He gestured at the 'screen'.) You just need to press-
LUCY: A. I know. I was pressing A, but those little assholes-
BRETT: Because you need to press-
LUCY: A. Yes. A, I get it. I'm not an idiot.
BRETT:And right-trigger. (Chuckles to himself.) You need to press A and right-trigger.
LUCY:(Glares at Brett.) So when were you going to tell me that fantastic piece of helpful information?
BRETT:(His chuckle escalates to laughter.) Sorry, sorry. I just... It’s too easy to wind you up.
FATHER CHUCKLES AND LOOKS AT BRETT. HE GLOWERS AT FATHER IN RETURN AND SLOWLY TURNS BACK TO FACING THE AUDIENCE WITH A COUGH AND FIDGETS.
LUCY:Gee, thanks. (She leans back on the sofa, glaring at the t.v 'screen'.) Dick…
BRETT:Aw don't be like that. (He sets his bottle of cider on the table and then drags her into a hug.) I was only messing. I'm sorry.
LUCY:(sighs.) You're still a dick.
BRETT:(Arrogant.) I know and you still love me.
LUCY:(Grumble) Whatever, I'll get you back for this.
BRETT: Oh I know. (He releases her and reaches for his drink. Realising its empty, he sets it aside and opens a new one.)
FATHER:(Aside.) Knocking ‘em back fast ain’t he?
BRETT IGNORES FATHER AND DRINKS SEVERAL GULPS OF CIDER. FATHER WATCHES AND SLOWLY SHAKES HIS HEAD, WHILST LUCY IGNORES HIS PRESENCE.
LUCY:Here, seeing as you're an expert, you try beating these little bastards. (She tosses the controller into Brett’s lap and takes her bottle of cider from the table, sipping it.)
BRETT: Watch the expert at work. (Swigs his cider, before setting it back on the table and picking up the controller.) You may learn a thing or two.
BRETT PRESSES BUTTONS ON THE CONTROLLER AND STARTS TO GRIN. LUCY SITS BACK ON THE SOFA AND WATCHES THE 'SCREEN' AND BRETT, DRINKING HER CIDER. SLOWLY LUCY STARTS TO SMILE AND FATHER SCOWLS AT THE ‘SCREEN’.
BRETT:See? You just have to... (He leans forward and holds the controller closer to the 'screen', fingers smashing buttons.) Have to press A and right-trigger at the same time. Not so hard when you know what you're doing.
LUCY: Of course. (Rolls her eyes) Because I've played this game a grand total of once.
BRETT:Should come round more often then, shouldn't you? (Smiling smugly, he offers her the controller.) Fancy taking over? It’s a boss battle next and I know how much you love those.
LUCY:Yeah they're fan-fucking-tastic. (She drinks her cider.) You have fun with lizard-face.
THE GAME EMITS CHEERS AND BATTLE CRIES. FATHER SHAKES HIS HEAD WHILST CLEANING HIS GLASSES ON HIS SHIRT, MUMBLING UNINTELLIGABLY UNDER HIS BREATH.
BRETT:(Shrugs.) Turning down a boss battle? Something must be wrong.
LUCY:(Gestures at the table whilst looking at him.) Like you drinking seven bottles of cider in the last two hours isn't a neon-sign practically screaming something is pissing me off.
BRETT:(Pauses the game and looks at Lucy.) I can't just drink with my best-mate? I'm hurt.
LUCY: Brett, I know you can knock 'em back, but seriously... What's up?
HE STANDS AND GLARES AT FATHER, TOSSING THE CONTROLLER ONTO THE SOFA. HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH BEFORE TURNING TO ADDRESS LUCY.
I'm going outside for a cigar, gonna join me?
LUCY: I'll bring the Doritos.
ACT 1SCENE 2
A GARDEN TABLE AND FOUR CHAIRS ARE POSITIONED CENTER STAGE, A SPOTLIGHT TRAINED ON THEM. THE REST OF THE STAGE IS DARK. BRETT SITS OPPOSITE LUCY, HIS FEET PROPPED UP ON ONE OF THE CHAIRS, SMOKING A CIGAR. LUCY SITS WITH A BLANKET WRAPPED AROUND HER. FATHER SITS NEXT TO BRETT WITH THE CHAIR A DISTANCE FROM THE TABLE AND HIS ARMS FOLDED. THEIR BOTTLES OF CIDER AND PACKET OF CRISPS SIT ON THE TABLE BETWEEN THEM.
BRETT: I miss New York. They had the best cigars. (He holds the cigar up to the light and releases a puff of smoke.) Hamlets are all right, I suppose, I could smoke a pack of ten in one night. Did I tell you when I was at Ashley's flat? He had beers in and a few packs of Hamlets. Looking out over London...it was perfect.
LUCY:I remember. (Pauses.) So how is Katie? You went there over Christmas, but you haven't really spoken much about it since. (Takes a drag of his cigar.)
FATHER SNEERS AND LOOKS OUT OVER THE AUDIENCE, A DISAPPOINTED SCOWL ON HIS FACE. BRETT LOOKS AT HIM AND GRINS THROUGH A MOUTHFUL OF SMOKE.
BRETT: Luce, we haven't really talked in the last couple of months.
LUCY:I know, I'm sorry. (She opens the Doritos packet and takes a handful.) Uni's just been hectic as fuck, you know how it is.
BRETT: Try being on placement in a hospital. (He takes a drag of his cigar.) So how's, what's his name...Charles? The giant isn't pissing you about is he?
LUCY:Its okay, I guess. (She eats a crisp and looks at the darkness surrounding them.) I mean he had to go home a lot over the semester so... And he isn't a giant.
BRETT: I know. It’s because you're so tiny! (He grins and reaches over to pinch her cheek.)
LUCY: Fuck off. (She slaps his hand aside.)
BRETT:Ouch. Let’s try that again but with more fire, shall we?
FATHER:Keep her in line, son. (He winks as Brett glowers at him.)
LUCY: I dunno why I put up with you. (She reaches for her bottle of cider and drinks.) But things are all right with Charles, its...stable.
BRETT: Because he's not been at uni to shag any of the cheerleaders again. (Father makes a noise of approval and Brett blows smoke at him.)
LUCY:That was one time and that was before we were even together. (Drinks cider.) Totally doesn’t count.
BRETT:Exactly! Who knows who he's fucking whenever he goes back home.
FATHER:(Undertone) Any girl with open legs...
LUCY:(She scowls at Brett, and raises her voice slightly in anger.) Who knows who Katie is fucking whilst you're not in America? (Pauses.) Sorry, I didn’t mean that.
BRETT:No, you’re right. (Shrugs and sips his cider.) She's probably shagging this other guy on VF, he lives in New York.
LUCY:(Sighs.) I’m sorry. So what's his name?
BRETT: Javier. What kind of guy's name is that? (He takes another drag of the cigar, knocking ash onto the table.) He's nineteen and going to NYU doing some boring ass degree.
LUCY:So why is he on Vampirefreaks?
BRETT:Likes kinky shit. (Shoves a handful of Doritos into his mouth.) Katie said he's always telling her of all this BDSM crap he's doing when he isn't holed up in his room playing World of Warcraft.
LUCY:(Grabs her drink and takes a swig.) Or he's doing all this BDSM crap on World of Warcraft.
LUCY:All this bullcrap is just to wind you up, you know. (Points her bottle at him.) You should rise above it.
FATHER: (Scoffs and shifts in his seat. Address audience.) Need to show who’s boss.
BRETT:Oh, I know. I haven't had time to Skype her recently so she's throwing shit in my face. (Drinks his cider.) It’s like a week ago when I told her you're coming over for a couple of nights, she went off on one. Said how you're more attractive than her, that you're easy access and she's not. Even said I'd cheat on her with you. I mean you're pretty easy on the eyes but you're my best-mate! It’s practically incest!
LUCY:And when you tell her that she doesn't listen and goes off on one about Javier instead? (Eats a couple of crisps.)
BRETT:Not exactly. (Pause.) She’s been seeing this ex of hers.
LUCY:Another? Jesus, how many men has this girl got in line? I mean sure she has big tits but seriously?
BRETT:I know right? It’s great when I can... (He makes lewd gestures.)
LUCY: Why don't you end it with her?
FATHER NODS AND MAKES A SOUND OF APPROVAL. BRETT SHIFTS IN HIS CHAIR TO PUT HIS BACK TO FATHER IN RESPONSE.
BRETT: Only good thing in my life right now. The strip teases she does on Skype are just so...
LUCY:(Monotone.) I just threw up in my mouth a little…
BRETT:Hey, don't knock it till you try it. (He grabs another handful of crisps.)
LUCY:Strip-tease aside, she's a mind-fuck, Brett.
BRETT:Oh I know. All her little insecurities and how she goads me, its great entertainment.
LUCY:Are things really that bad?
OFF-STAGE SOUND OF A CAR DRIVING PAST FILLS THE SILENCE. BRETT TAKES A LONG DRAG OF HIS CIGAR AND FATHER STARES AT HIM. LUCY FIDDLES WITH THE LABEL ON HER CIDER BOTTLE.
BRETT:Mum's not dealing too well.
LUCY: With...you know. (She sets her bottle aside and leans forward, attentive.)
BRETT: Yeah. I mean it’s great we have some money now and a whole flat to rent out.
LUCY: And Jason? He's been staying here with her since...
BRETT: Yeah. (He stabs the cigar out on the table and snatches up his cider, downing the last of it.) And it fucking sucks because I'm still expected to go to uni and study. Study. I mean fuck sake, he's...
LUCY: You were stuck in Swansea when it happened. (She offers her cider, and Brett nods.) Have you asked if you can take leave?
BRETT: I already did to visit Katie, remember? (Has a swig of her cider and gives it back.) I doubt the university or the hospital will let me skip out of placement when I still have six weeks of it left.
FATHER REACHES OVER AND RESTS A HAND ON BRETT’S SHOULDER. BRETT SHUDDERS AND BRUSHES HIS HAND OFF.
LUCY: Surely you can talk to a lecturer; get them to ask for you. Surely they'll understand.
BRETT: Do you know what Katie said to me? Apparently she’s here for me whenever I need her. I laughed. (Pushes his chair back and starts pacing around the table.) I couldn't help myself. The girl who I'm supposed to love and trust, who is sucking some Mexican bastard's dick, whilst I try and decide whether I should hate the bastard for dying or cry because I wasn't here when he finally kicked the bucket, says she’s here for me? What a load of bollocks.
LUCY: Have you? Cried I mean.
BRETT: The first night. (He stops and grabs the back of his chair, glaring at Father who remains impassive.) I was thinking about the time he'd cook us curry when Mum was working in the evening. I was only ten but he'd slip me a couple glasses of red.
FATHER: (Smiles) Can't have a curry without red wine.
LUCY:It is okay to cry, you know.
BRETT:Yeah, for you. (Chuckles.) But crying isn't for-
FATHER: Men. I didn’t raise my boys to be soft.
LUCY: Crying isn't for you. (She nods slowly.) But it’s all part of grieving… I bet Jason cried.
BRETT:Of course he has! He's had to look after Mum whilst I'm slugging my guts out to get through med school.
FATHER: Jason's always been a weak boy…
LUCY: Yeah, Jason has been here. He’s held your mum when she's needed it and cried with her. But that doesn't mean you're not allowed to. you shouldn’t carry on like nothing's wrong when there is.
BRETT: We shouldn't even be crying over him, that's my point! (He gestures wildly at Father.) He was a bastard. A cheating, lying, weak old man who should've died a long time ago.
FATHER: (Smug.) Get it all out. Go on.
BRETT:(Undertone.) Do you know what he said to me before I left for university?
LUCY:No. (Fiddles with her blanket.) But it has something to do with being a man and not a pussy, right?
FATHER: She's a funny one. Why haven’t you shagged her already? (Grins.) I would.
BRETT:He said I'm wasting my time studying medicine. (He steps up behind Father’s chair and plants his hands on his shoulders.) That I should study something worthwhile. And do you know what the funny part is?
LUCY:No. (Shifts in her chair.)
BRETT:(laughs.) He died of lung cancer! After all this bullshit of wasting my time and in a couple of years I probably could have saved his pathetic little life.
FATHER:(Stands and faces Brett.) You’re wasting your time.
LUCY:Would you want to save him?
BRETT:Katie even asked me that before I left New York. Back then I couldn't even bring myself to care about it let alone whether I'd save him. (Wraps his hands around Father's neck.) Now I’ve had five months to think on it. Yeah…I would. Just wish he was in more pain. Like…getting hit by a bus and bleeding out before anyone could get an ambulance…or something.
LUCY: (Draws the blanket tighter around her.) Do you really mean that?
FATHER:(Grins.) Of course he does. Don't you son?
BRETT:(Releases Father's neck and slumps back into his chair.) Yes. Yes I do.
LUCY:I suppose, if I was in your position... (Pause.) I still couldn't.
BRETT:(Head resting on the back of the chair, he looks at her.) Really? If you had a dad who shagged girls behind your mum's back, battered her for fun and probably had a shit load of STDS, you'd still try to save him?
FATHER:Of course she would. (Crosses his arms and stands behind Brett’s chair.) She's a woman. They always come crawling back.
BRETT:This is why I don't cry over it. (He grabs the packet of Doritos and eats a handful.) I drink and eat wholesome Doritos ‘cause the fucker is dead.
FATHER:Celebrating my life, son? I'm touched.
LUCY:Why didn't you tell me any of this before? It’s been nearly five months since he died and it’s taken till now for you to say anything other than: by the way my dad died of lung cancer, sucks to be him.
BRETT: There wasn't much else to say. Life goes on. (Shrugs.) I had coursework to do and the money he gave in the will was enough for me to finally visit Katie. A win, win really.
FATHER: Might as well have bought yourself a whore. It would've been cheaper.
LUCY:(Looks at Brett then aside with a frown.) Did you tell her that's where the money came from?
BRETT:(laughs.) Fuck no! She probably would've asked me to buy her more shit if she knew.
LUCY:True. (Nods slowly.) How much did he leave you?
BRETT:Two grand. Mum got the flat and Jason got about one thousand. It'd be a cosy income if they fix it up.
FATHER:(Shrugs.) No use to me now that I’m dead.
LUCY:Hell, that's a lot. Are you saving it, or...?
BRETT:(Offers her the Doritos.) Where do you think the booze came from? Fuck saving it, I'm spending it on what I want.
LUCY: (Eats a crisp.) So he didn't tell you what he wanted you to do with it? Not that you'd actually listen to him anyway.
FATHER:(Slowly shakes his head.) Wasted. Wasted on a nine-hundred pound whore in New York.
BRETT: Of course. (He shrugs and finishes Lucy's cider.) The bastard wanted it for a deposit on my first house. I’m in uni, why buy a fucking house?
LUCY:At least he was thinking about your future...for once.
BRETT:Yeah. (Pause.) Fucking shame it took until his deathbed though.
LUCY:Better late than never. (Stands up and adjusts the blanket around her and forces a cheerful smile.) Shall we carry on wasting your dad's money with some takeout? I’m craving pizza.
BRETT:Sure, you know where the menus are. I’ll join you in a sec. (Gestures at stage-left.) No skimping on the artery cloggers, I expect a large Meat-Feast.
LUCY: Okay. (Walks around the table and kisses the crown of his head.) Don’t be too long.
LUCY EXITS STAGE-LEFT. SILENCE FILLS THE STAGE, FOLLOWED BY THE OPENING AND CLOSING OF A DOOR OFF STAGE. SILENCE RESUMES.
BRETT: You know, I never got to thank you. (He stands, swaying, and grabs an empty bottle.) For the shittiest shit Dad in history, you taught actually taught me something.
FATHER:And what was that?
BRETT:(Faces Father.) That bastards like you get what’s coming to them.
FATHER: You still love me son. You can't run from that.
BRETT: No. (Laughs.) I actually don’t! (Smashes bottle at Father’s feet.) Now fuck off and leave me alone!
LUCY:(Off stage.) Hey, is everything okay? Is someone trying to break in?
BRETT:No. (Turns his back on Father.) There’s nobody else out here.
FATHER STARES AT BRETT A MOMENT, TURNS, AND WALKS OFF STAGE RIGHT.
LUCY:Then stop talking to yourself and get inside! We’re killing some zombies before the pizza arrives.
BRETT:(looks around empty stage.) All right, I’m coming.
BRETT EXITS STAGE. A PAUSE. FADE OUT.
© Copyright 2016 Skylar Youth. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Fantasy
Book / Young Adult
Short Story / Fantasy
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