Monday, June 11, 2007

Nameless Play Preview

Never posted anything from that play I wrote a month or so ago-- the one I couldn't name but was coming up with stinker titles for like "Days of Never." It was originally called "Feeding the Devil" and I may go back to that title. It is very conversational, which I hope doesn't mean boring.

Well, here are the first few pages. Let me know what you think.

NOTE: ". . . . " after a character's name indicates a non-verbal response or pause from that character.

The back door of Farrell’s Funeral Home. Hollis, Oklahoma. January, 1981. The back door of the funeral home opens onto a small staff parking lot. There is a broken church pew serving as a bench and a rusted metal ashtray near the door. The building is a low, modern structure built sometime after the war. It is a grey afternoon with patches of melting snow on the ground.

TED FARRELL, 30s, sits in an untidy heap on the ground to one side. He is huddled against the wall, crouched so that he can’t be seen from any of the windows. He is crying softly. He wears a conservative brown western-cut suit, western boots, and has his hair slicked down.

EVERETT, 30s bursts through the back door of the funeral home. He dressed in jeans, a rumpled western shirt over an undershirt, and a sports coat.

EVERETT. Goddamn! Goddamn. . . . Oh.

EVERETT runs his hands through his hair. He leans over gasping, as if he might be sick. He spits on the ground and kneels down, holding his stomach.

EVERETT (cont). Goddamn. Goddman. Goddamn. Ohhhhhhhhhh.

EVERETT rubs his face and stays there kneeling a moment. Then he stands and fumbles through his pockets until he finds a pack of cigarettes. He puts one in his mouth. He goes through all his pockets and can’t find a lighter.


EVERETT turns toward the door and sees TED. They stare at one another a moment.

EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .

EVERETT sighs heavily.

EVERETT. You got a light?
TED. What?
EVERETT. A light?
TED. Oh.

TED finds a lighter in his pocket. He shuffles over to EVERETT and lights his cigarette.

EVERETT. Thanks.
TED. All right then.
EVERETT. Those women.

EVERETT takes a draw on his cigarette.

TED. . . .
EVERETT. Crying in there. (Smokes again.)
TED. . . .
EVERETT. Makes it tough.
TED. . . .
EVERETT. You know what I mean?
TED. Well.
EVERETT. I get to where I cain’t breathe.
TED. Well.
EVERETT. Like my chest is caught in a vice.

EVERETT leans over and holds his stomach. He spits again.

TED. Well, then. . . .
EVERETT. If those women weren’t crying. Maybe. You know? Get through this here.
TED. Surely.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. That how you feel?
TED. Well, yes, sir. That’s how everyone feels, I expect. Just get through this here.
EVERETT. You knew her?
TED. I did.
EVERETT. Hell of a thing.
TED. Yes, sir.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. I hate places like this. Goddamned places like this.
TED. Well, I surely don’t think--
EVERETT. What’s that?
TED. Well, not that.
EVERETT. . . . ?
TED. Not goddamned is all I mean. Not places like this. No, sir.
EVERETT. I’m sorry.
TED. Well, no.
EVERETT. You religious?
TED. Yes, sir.

EVERETT spits again.

EVERETT. I’m sorry.
TED. No need.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. I’m not.
TED. Religious?
TED. Well, I’m sorry for that.
EVERETT. Fair enough.

EVERETT smokes. TED wraps himself tighter in his jacket. A train sounds in the distance. Both men look toward the sound.

EVERETT (CONT.). I hate places like this.
TED. . . .
EVERETT. Sick joke calling it a parlor. Funeral parlor. Like is was some goddamned parlor-- sorry.

TED shrugs.

EVERETT (CONT.). Like it was some welcoming place. Home. Like it was home. . . . Am I talking too much? Do you want to be private with this or do want to hear me talk?
TED. No.
EVERETT. I do that sometimes. Talk to distract myself.
TED. Go on.
EVERETT. Oughta’ be some damned funeral director in there, I tell you what. Taking care of them damned crying women. Dereliction of damned duty. I mean you pay these people. It’s not like you’re imposing on them. Shouldn’t be so goddamned empty and full of those crying women just milling about like loose hens in a yard.
TED. Privacy.
TED. For grieving. Some folk likes privacy, is all.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. Well. . . . How’d you know her?
TED. . . .
EVERETT. Went to school with her?
TED. Yes, sir.
TED. First through twelfth grade with her.
EVERETT. Did you love her or something?
TED. . . .
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. I’m sorry. . . . I’m sorry. . . .You live here? You live in this town?
TED. I do.
EVERETT. How do you stand it?
TED. It ain’t easy.
EVERETT. I bet. I grew up in a town about this size. I live out in Midland now. They got enough bars in Midland that there’s always a place to go where you’re a stranger. You know what I mean?
TED. Well.
EVERETT. Yeah. Got a country club.
TED. You a member?
EVERETT. (laughs) Oh, hell, no.
TED. . . .
EVERETT. But, I work for some of them folks. Oil-rich wildcatters. On the oil rigs.
TED. So, that’s where you know her from? Midland?
TED. What’s she like in Midland?
EVERETT. Same as she’s like around here I guess.
TED. No, I doubt that. Not in Midland.
EVERETT. She ain’t the type to be different in the city.

EVERETT’s stomach hurts again and he leans over and cradles it.

TED. Well, she was down to earth all right. She was down to earth. I bet in Midland she shown just right. That’s what I bet.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. She stayed pretty. She stayed real pretty.
EVERETT. (straightening up and taking a drag on his cigarette.) With all that damned make-up they got on her, how can you tell?
TED. You don’t like how she looks?
EVERETT. Looks like a damned street walker.
TED. No. I didn’t mean to---
EVERETT. It ain’t her.
TED. You have to put lots of make-up on. ‘Cause of the way folks skin changes when they pass on. You know?
EVERETT. You think she looks good like that? That crap on her face?
TED. I don’t know. I guess. I guess she does.
EVERETT. That ain’t her.
TED. She always had a high color. That’s what I remember.
EVERETT. She looks good with nothing on her face. She looks good . . . . She looks good with . . . . Oh, god. . .

EVERETT kneels and puts his head in his hands.

TED. . . .
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .
EVERETT. I hate this shit.
TED. Yeah.
EVERETT .Those crying women and all this shit. And them all watching you. The pettiness. Imagine if this was your whole life. This damned building and those crying women. What do they pay the poor fucks that work here? Peanuts and shit. Ain’t worth it.
TED .Yes, sir.
EVERETT .I’d go nuts. But, I guess it’s a dying town. Busiest industry hereabouts is probably the death industry. Can’t be much else to do in this fuckhole. Bet all the jobs are shit. . . . What do you do? What do you do here?
TED .I’m the undertaker. And funeral director when my uncle’s not here.
EVERETT. . . .
TED. . . .


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