[The setting is present day Los Angeles, California. Jay Grande and his friend Tyler Wright are standing near lockers in a high school.]
Jay: But why does it matter if I’m interested in the things I’m interested in rather than being cliché and enjoying the things that every other soulless human being stuffed inside of this school enjoys? Why does it matter if I’m interested in things such as nature and art and things that matter more in life, rather than sports and the latest fashion trend? Sports aren’t of any importance to me. Sports can’t make me feel anything other than entertained for a small amount of time, and then it’s over and I’m bored again. But with nature, I’m never bored. It’s always there and it’s always making me feel so much more than just simply entertained for a short period of time. It’s exquisite. But, that’s not something that you and all of these mindless sardines would understand. All you care about are your material things and who won last night’s basketball game.
Tyler: All I’m saying is you’re a really good runner, and it would be sweet if you joined the track team. I didn’t mean anything by it. I can never just have a simple conversation with you, can I? Jesus, you’re such a complicated person.
Jay: I don’t like simple. What is the point in simple? Why not put thought and effort into almost everything you do? Even just a response to a suggestion or question should be detailed. Where is the fun in just simply answering a question?
Tyler: Right. I’m going home, Jay. You should too. Do you still run all the way home from here?
Jay: [laughs sarcastically] All the way? You make it sound like its hours away. It’s only 5 miles from here.
[Jay enters his home, directly into the living room wearing his school clothes and his backpack on his back, out of breath from his run home. His parents are in room arguing but abruptly stop when he enters.]
Jay: I see we’re getting along just fine today, as usual.
[Jay’s parents do not respond and just continue to argue. Jay leaves the room and enters his sister’s room]
Jay: How long have they been goin’ at it this time?
Kelly: All afternoon, as usual.
Jay: This is exactly why I need to get out of here. They are the perfect example of the corruption that is our society. They don’t appreciate anything, you know? They need a vacation or something, I swear. I need a vacation! My whole life has been spent doing nothing but going to school to get an education to make money to buy the things that people WANT me to buy; to buy the things that I don’t necessarily need. To be greedy and to be corrupted, that’s what we’re all set up for from the very beginning. I’m sick of it. I want to be on my own, out there experiencing things first hand, not sitting in a classroom learning or in a factory working or at a desk answering phones. What is that going to do for me as a person? What is that going to do to my spirit? It’s going to break it, that’s what it’s going to do. The entire world is broken.
Kelly: You’re so passionate. You’re also crazy.
Jay: If being human is crazy, I don’t want to be sane.
Kelly: [laughs and picks up a book and hands it to Jay]
Jay: How’d you like it?
Kelly: It was very inspiring. It was well written as well. Captivating even. It definitely kept my attention the entire time. It made me want to go climb a mountain.
Jay: I knew you’d like it. It’s one of my favorites. Normally I don’t like fiction, but it’s a good read. [tosses book on the bed in the corner]
Kelly: So, are you even going to wait until after graduation?
Jay: I’m trying really hard to wait until after graduation, but it’s like every day the urge grows stronger and stronger and I just need out of here. This town and place is holding me back. But, I’m trying my hardest to prolong my stay. Everything is ready to go. [laughs] I mean, there isn’t much to get ready.
Kelly: Only you would find the humor in something like this.
Jay: [opens the door to exit. Looks back at Kelly for a moment.] Love you, Kel.
[Jay exits and enters the living room again where his father is watching tv]
Jay: Tyler keeps telling me to join the track team for the spring.
Mr. Grande: I think you should do it. It’d be a great opportunity. I’m confident that a runner like you could easily get a scholarship to some college and be great. You’re an excellent runner, boy.
Jay: That isn’t what I want though. I don’t want to play sports. I already have multiple scholarships to various colleges for academics. Why would I need one for athletics? I can already go to any college I want because of my test scores. Athletics are not of interest to me. And who says I even want to go to college right away? Maybe I want to take a year or two off from school and live for once in my life. I’m not talking just be alive, I’m saying I want to LIVE. Haven’t you ever LIVED, dad?
Mr. Grande: You’re going to college. You really need to get over whatever you’ve got going on in that head of yours. I’m not going to stand around and watch you ruin your life by not continuing your education, as you should. Don’t be stupid, son.
Jay: But have you, Dad? Have you lived?
Mr. Grande: I’m alive, Jay. Obviously I’ve lived.
Jay: Pay more attention to Kelly. Take care of her. And take care of my mother.
[Mr. Grande does not respond and continues watching TV. Jay exits]
[Jay is standing outside of a cabin in the woods. He is dressed in shorts and a tank top and has a camping backpack on his back and a canteen in his hand]
Jay: I’ve never seen such beauty. This is perfect.
[Jay drops his backpack to the ground, as well as the canteen, and stands admiring the nature for a moment before picking his pack back up and entering the cabin.]
[Jay silently enters the cabin, drops his pack onto the ground just inside the door and inspects his surroundings. There is a noise coming from the back side of the cabin. Jay goes back outside to inspect.]
[A woman emerges from the pathway between the trees behind the cabin carrying a pile of wood. She looks rugged yet young and beautiful.]
Jay: Excuse me, madam. I didn’t know there was anyone occupying this old cabin. I can leave. Would you like some help with those?
Woman: No, trust me, I’ve got it. I’ve been carrying my own wood for over a year now. Please, stay. I welcome newcomers. As long as you’re not going to do me any harm, of course. But I don’t believe you appear to be such a person that could harm me. Come inside with me. Why are you back here?
Jay: Well, I was planning on living off the land back here basically. Staying in this old cabin for a while and seeing what happens; where life takes me. But I can move along and set up camp somewhere else. It’s no trouble.
Woman: You don’t have to do that guy. What is your name, anyway?
Jay: I’m Jay. Jay Grande. Pleasure to meet you, madam.
Woman: Yeah, same to you. I’m Liz. Just Liz. What makes you want to come back here and live off the land as you say?
Jay: Why not? Why would I want to be a part of that sick society that everyone is so able to conform to? I won’t conform to the rules of that society anymore. The urge to get out of it and become my own person and live simply was getting too overwhelming for me to handle. I’m sick of people telling me who to be and how to live and what’s acceptable and what’s not and what to wear and where to go. That’s not living. I want to live. I don’t want to exist. I want to live. I want to make my mark in the world in a positive way by being my own person, without conformity. I want to be me. I want to be simple, and set an example. I want solitude.
Liz: That’s deep, man. You’re a clever guy. But you’re trouble, I can tell already. That mind of yours is going to get you into a lot of trouble some day, you know that? I am the same way. That’s why I came out here. But if it’s solitude you’re looking for, you’re in the wrong place.
Jay: Do you enjoy the solitude? Have you gotten what you’re searching for?
Liz: I’ll never get what I’m searching for. You never will either. The human spirit is never fully satisfied. Not by material things, and not by simplicity. It’s hard to please us humans. But the solitude; it isn’t as good as it sounds. There are times where I just want to scream because I’m so damn lonely. Other times it’s exactly what I need. You get used to it over time, I suppose.
Jay: I can see how it’d get lonely. But I want to try it out.
Liz: You can stay here for the night and then head out tomorrow morning for wherever life may lead you. Have you eaten?
Jay: Not yet. I haven’t even thought of it yet. I’ve been too busy getting back here and making sure everything was right for my journey.
Liz: No problem. I’ve got some venison I’m going to get ready. That’s about all though, so I hope it’s enough.
Jay: It will be. I wouldn’t want to take away from everything you’ve worked for.
Liz: It’s no trouble, really. Make yourself a bed and then come join me by the fire.
© Copyright 2016 thepretender. All rights reserved.