November 29, 2006

A Play A Day #230

Gerbil II - The Degerbiling


Setting: Todd's back deck.

(Todd, a small, introspective, meek, fifteen year old boy sits on the planking of his back deck, Wesley, a much bigger, gregarious, physical, sixteen year old friend, comes out of Todd's house stage right, sneaks onto stage quietly, huge smile on his face. Todd is also smiling, then Wesley strikes, pulling Todd backward by the shoulders and sitting on his chest, pinning his arms down, threatening to spit in his face)

Wesley: (a pirate voice) Arrrrggh! Gimme all yer money, or I'll drown ye in mucus. (beat, then he hops off Todd, and sits next to him, Todd slowly pulls himself to a sitting position)

Todd: You shouldn't have done that, Wes.

W: Ohh, c'mon, Todd, just joking with you... I don't even have enough mucus to drown you.

T: I know that, but, it's just...

W: Your mom said you were out back here; so I just decided to sneak up on you.

T: Genius idea.

W: Thanks... so what're you doing out here.

T: Just thinking about stuff, I guess.

W: (looking around appreciatively) It's a nice deck. Good place for thinking?

T: Yeah, seems to be.

W: (pause) So what were you thinking about?

T: I don't know... life and stuff.

W: Yeah?

T: Yeah. Stuff.

W: What sort of stuff?

T: I... no.

W: What? Won't tell me?

T: No... it's just... it's personal.

W: I'll tell you something personal about myself, if you tell me what you were thinking about.

T: No...

W: C'mon. I came all the way over here...

T: You live half a block away.

W: To hang out with my friend, and he won't even tell me what he was thinking about?

T: Wes.

W: Jeez, some friend!

T: No...

W: I'd tell you.

T: Alright... fine... I'll tell you about it.

W: Finally!

T: You can't laugh!

W: Do I look like the kind of guy who laughs?

T: Alright... I was thinking about life and... (long pause)

W: Stuff?

T: No.

W: Death?

T: Yeah.

W: Great!

T: How'd you know?

W: Had to be one of those two.

T: Anyway, I was thinking about how life was very fragile, and how, you know, you could or I could just be gone one day. You know?

W: Yep.

T: Isn't that creepy?

W: Yep.

T: Then I was thinking that the same is true for animals, maybe even more true. They have to hunt, kill or be killed sort of thing, and we have hospitals and medicine and laws and stuff to protect us from dying.

W: But we still do.

T: (excited glimmer) Yeah! That's what I thought too! Wait. How'd you know that?

W: I think it's common knowledge that people still die in spite of doctors and cops.

T: Ohh... yeah. So, then I thought about how animals die a lot more frequently when people are around. They would be fine if they didn't have us killing them off, like not just with hunting and fishing, but like by poisoning the land and the water, you know, environmental reasons.

W: Right.

T: I mean, a lot of the time we kill animals without even knowing that we're doing it.

W: (pause) Ummm, Todd? Is this about Petey?

T: What?

W: It is, isn't it?

T: Well...

W: Jeez, Todd, I told you I was sorry. C'mon, you know I felt terrible about that. I can't believe that you'd bring it up again!

T: Well, you really wanted me to tell you what I was thinking about...

W: But this?

T: ... and so Petey was on my mind...

W: I didn't know you let him play on your bedroom floor...

T: ... that's all. I just wonder if there's a better way...

W: ... and you wanted that old box of comics from my garage...

T: ... for human beings to live with animals...

W: ... must've weighed fifty pounds. I carried it all the way here...

T: Without killing them all the time.

W: My arms were killing me; so I dropped it on your floor.

(long pause)

T: I know, Wes. I'm not mad about it. I just miss Petey.

W: Yeah. I really am sorry.

T: (pause) So what's yours?

W: Hmm?

T: You said you'd tell me something personal about yourself if I...

W: Right, right... okay... (with gravitas) My real first name is Wesley.

T: You dick! I already knew that!

W: Hey! I didn't say it had to be a secret, personal thing!

T: What a jerk you are!

W: Oh, c'mon, I tell you personal stuff all the time.

T: Man, I can't believe I fell for that again.

W: Anyway... is the new gerbil I bought you as good as Petey?

T: (pause) Ummm... yes...

W: What's his name?

T: Eggy.

W: Right, 'cause he's white.

T: Yeah.

W: Let's go see him.

T: (too quickly and loudly) No!

W: Whoa... ahh, c'mon, I want to play with the little guy.

T: Wes... I...

W: Then we'll go to the pool; sound good?

T: Wes...

W: It's going to be pretty hot...

T: Wes...

W: ...and I got this new underwater diving ring, makes really cool sounds...

T: Wes...

W: you can dive for it with your eyes closed!

T: Wes!!

(long pause)

T: Eggy's dead.

W: What?

T: Eggy's dead.

W: No way, we just got him yesterday!

T: Eggy's dead.

W: Are you sure?

T: Yes.

W: When did it happen?

T: Ohhh... several... minutes ago.

W: How'd it happen?

T: Ahh... (thinking quickly) It's not important.

W: No, how'd it happen this time?

T: (trying very hard to be nonchalant) It's just not a big deal... he's dead... that's it. Hey! Let's go to the pool, okay?!

W: What... but I...

T: Why don't you go get changed? I'll change, and then meet you at your place. (points offstage left toward Wes's house)

W: (a little confused, but complying) Oh... okay... you can tell me about it on the way to the pool. (exiting)

T: (standing up, calling after Wes) Sure, sure. (to himself) Should give me enough time to make up a better story than this. (Todd reaches up over his right shoulder, under his shirt, pulls a bloody piece of white fur from off his back, holds it in front of him) Wes is tough on gerbils. Oh, Eggy.

(lights fade as Todd turns and heads into his house, we see the bloody gerbil outline soaked into his white t-shirt on the back of his right shoulder)

(lights out as he exits)


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