August 19, 2006

A Play A Day #128



Setting: A deserted country road, late at night. A male scream, a loud thump, brakes squealing, another thump, car turning quickly, skidding to a halt light (a headlight) from offstage right, whirls around and lights the stage from a low angle. A car door opening, closing.

Ben: (he is contorted on the ground in agony, moving about in pained contractions which are largely involuntary) Have... no... I... done... Carrie...Carrie... uhhhhh (he continues making nonsensical grunts and throat sounds, slow contortions, not really there, he is obviously critically injured)

(Lily enters running from offstage right, she is nearly-hysterical, words are very quick, almost undecipherable)

Lily: Ohno, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, noooooo! What! No, no, no, I can't do this... I didn't do this... I hit him... my car... I hit... Paula! PAULA!! HELP!!! Help! Help! Help! Help!!! Help!!! (Lily continues ad-libs as Paula enters, Lily is not getting too close to Ben, she wants to but keeps drawing back, in panic, great fear...)

(Paula enters, also nervous, walks to Ben, pulls away. She has become much more calm, she assesses the situation, tries to be logical.)

Paula: (trying to calm down Lily who continues ad-libs underneath) O.K. Lily... you hit a man... I think he'll be alright... He'll be alright... I think... we... we should go. Lily, we should go.

Lily: WE CAN"T GO!! He's dying! Paula! Help! We can't go... we can't... your phone... get your cell phone... call 911... 911... 911, get an ambulance!

Paula: No... we have to go...

Lily: Call someone, now!!!

Ben: Carrie? Carrie?

Lily: Carry? Paula... let's carry him, put him in the car, Paula...

Paula: No! We have to go!! Now, Lily!

Lily: You're a murderer! You're crazy! He's gonna die!!

Paula: Shut up, Lily! We're not helping him by talking about dying... he can hear us... we just grazed him....

Lily: The headlight's gone, Paula! I hit him... hard, the headlight! Look! I hit him hard! Call for help!! NOW!

Paula: We can't do anything for him...

Lily: (fighting with her now) Give me your damn phone!!

Paula: NO! Knock it off! If... if he's going to die, he's going to die...

Lily: You fucking murderer! We can save him! Stop and give me your damn phone!

Ben: Help... Carrie. I'm going to be right here...

Lily: (quickly moving toward him) Hear him?!! Did you hear that!? He knows something's wrong! He's going to live... if we help him, Paula! (she kneels next to Ben's head) Give me a cloth or something! Hurry up! This will be on your head, if he... if he... (she decides that she can't say that, starts actually tending to Ben, quiet, soothing ad-libs to Ben throughout Paula's monolouge)

Paula: You were the one driving. You're the murderer. Potential murderer. Why was he out here?! Have you asked yourself that, why was he just walking along this old road? At this time of night. He's dressed in black, head-to-toe, dressed in black. I never saw him and he was on my side of the car!
He must have heard us coming for more than a mile... walking down the road, and he just keeps walking? No reaon... I'm just gonna dress up in black and walk in the middle of the road? What's wrong with this? Everything... a man in all black, quiet country road, ten miles from town, stays right on the road when a car is obviously coming along. I'd say he wants to die.
There's nothing for a man dressed like that to be doing on this road this late at night; unless it was something bad... I can almost guarantee you that it must have been.
So we call the cops, 911, whatever, they come out here, and ask us how fast you were going... then they ask us if we've been drinking tonight? What do we tell them... huh?
"No officer, I definitely did not just drink four beers at a party?" Isn't that how much you had, Lily, four beers? You're eighteen, you weigh about 120 pounds, you just drank four beers in a couple hours at a friend's house with about sixty other kids, all underage, except that creepy guy from the college.
You drink four beers... I drink the same... we get in a car and drive for a half-hour for no apparent reason... just two girls, talking... and, whoopsie, we run over a man! The cops like our story, we get handcuffed and they dispatch other squad cars to the party where most of our friends also proceed to get in shitloads of trouble... kicked off their sports teams, dropped from student council, whatever.
So what do we gain from calling the cops... a clean conscience? Maybe, a little cleaner... for you. I guess you'd be happier to have a guy maimed rather than killed. Fine. That makes you rest easier, but not me.
Now, let's look at the other side. We leave. We're a little sad for a while that this happened; then we move on. We don't talk about it. Ever. The mind forgets, Lily. That's its job. Everything it knows; it forgets.
If we leave now, then we simply let someone die. If they find out who we are, and he dies, then we killed him. Actually, then... You kiled him... I'm looking out for you.
Nothing good is going to come from this, Lily. Leave now and swallow the pain. Walk away. It was obviously his fault; you're not going to undo that by trying to save him.

Lily: (in tears, has temporarily stopped tending to Ben, and has been listening in disbelief for the last ten seconds or so, cradling his head) You... ARE SICK! CALL! NOW! NOW! NOW!! NOW!! Paula! Call, please! We have to! NOW!!

Paula: No.

Lily: Paula! We have to! You don't know anything about this guy! Maybe he's deaf, and he didn't hear the car coming!

Paula: Or see the headlights coming up from behind?

Lily: Shut up! Shut up! None of... it doesn't matter! Give me your phone! He needs help!

Paula: No, he doesn't!

Lily: You fucking monster! Give me the phone!!

Paula: NO! Let him die!

Lily: What is wrong with you! We can't let an innocent guy just die to save you from a underage drinking ticket!


Lily: The phone! Now!

Ben: (fairly loud) Help me... please... Carrie? Carrie? My head hurts, Carrie.

Lily: See...

Paula: Shut up! Just shut up, Ben! Shut up, asshole!

Lily: We can... what? Who?

Paula: (pause) His name is Ben Ellson.

Lily: You... you know him?

Paula: Yes... so do you.

Lily: No... I don't... how? What?

Paula: Do you remember when our kindergarten teacher was in that accident. Ms. Dickenson? Remember?

Lily: No... What are you talking about? Paula, he's dying!

Paula: Ben Ellson was our substitute teacher for over a month. He came in while Ms. Dickenson was recovering.

Lily: This doesn't matter? So he taught us in kindergarten, the more reason to help him! Now! C'mon, Paula, we...

Paula: If all he did was teach us; I would want to save him. (she slowly starts breaking down) But... he ... he liked little girls. He liked me...

Lily: Wha... you... ummm...

Paula: He fondled me... then he did worse... a lot worse... he would keep me in at recess, Lily... (she is crying openly)

Lily: Are you... (looking at her; then Ben for a while) You... you're not lying...

Paula: No... not... not at all...

Lily: But... I didn't know... I don't remember that at all... I...

Paula: I didn't remember it either until the nightmares started a few years ago.

Lily: That's what all your therapy...

Paula: Yes... I've remembered a lot since then... Lily... He used to keep you in at recess too...

Lily: No... I never... I mean...

Paula: You were one of his favorites...

Lily: (trying to laugh it off) No... no... I would remember all of that. I would... I remember kindergarten...

Paula: It happened... you're comforting the man who raped you, repeatedly, in kindegarten...

Lily: It's not true! You're a liar! You just don't want to get in trouble!

Paula: (grabbing her roughly) Lily! It happened... to you, to me! It happened. He did it. We cut him down. This is justice.

Lily: No! Let go of me! We need to help him!

Ben: Carrie... I'm sorry... so sorry.... I didn't know...

Paula: He's probably thinks he's talking to Carrie Heiden, she was in kindergarten with us too. Remember her?

Lily: You fucking liar! It's probably his wife, or girlfriend, or his daughter! There are tons of Carries in the world.

Ben: Just stay right there... Mr. Ellson will be right back, sweetheart...

Lily: No! None of this is true! Give me the phone! Now!

Ben: Carrie... I'm sorry... I'm sorry, Carrie. I was trying to protect you... Please, Carrie, don't cry. I'll help you.. I will...

Lily: The phone!!

Ben: Carrie... don't go... you want to help me too, right?

Paula: (standing slowly, reaching into her pocket, tosses cell phone to Lily) You want to help him? I'll be in the car. (turns and leaves)

Ben: Carrie? Carrie? Where'd you go? Mr. Ellson will find you...

Lily: (looking at phone, then Ben, long pause) I'm right here... I'm right here... Mr. Ellson... behind... (a look of shocked recollection grips her, voice goes up a bit)... the red horsey...

(lights start fading)

Ben: Lily? Is that you? You're my special friend, aren't you, Lily?

(Lily looks up, crying, she opens the cell phone, looks down at Ben, lights out, just the cell phone illuminates the scene)


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