reasons to be a controversial human being.

Plays

Excerpt from “luminous”

Scene 8.
Adam alone in the darkness.
His shirt is off and he is covered in scratches.
He lights a candle and sits on the edge of his bed.
Mr. Blackhat stands in the corner.

Mr. Blackhat
You seem worried.

Adam
I am.

Mr. Blackhat
I thought I explained it to you pretty thoroughly.

Adam
You did.

Mr. Blackhat
Then what’s the problem?

Adam
I’m scared.

Mr. Blackhat
You shouldn’t be.

Adam
Do you promise?

Mr. Blackhat
I do.

Adam
But it’s understandable right?
It’s understandable.
Things are happening.

Mr. Blackhat
I told you how beautiful its going to be, right?

Adam
Yeah.

Mr. Blackhat
And your mother?

Adam
She’s nervous too.

Mr. Blackhat
But excited?

Adam
Yes.

Mr. Blackhat
You’ll need to take care of her.

Adam
I know.

Mr. Blackhat
It’s going to be a very exciting time.

Adam
That’s what you say.

Mr. Blackhat sits down next to Adam.

Mr. Blackhat
What’s wrong?

Adam
It hurts.

Mr. Blackhat touches one of Adams large wounds. Adam winces.

Mr. Blackhat
A little pain.
That’s nothing Adam.
Oblivion is on the horizon.
You need to be ready.

Adam
I know.

Mr. Blackhat
Here
He hands Adam a small knife that resembles a dagger.


It’s going to be so beautiful.
You just have to trust me.
I can get you ready.

Adam begins to slice himself with the dagger.
Deep, slow cuts. He winces.

Mr. Blackhat
A hundred million stars.

Adam continues to cut himself.
Mr. Blackhat dabs at the blood with his monogrammed handkerchief.


It’ll be like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Adam
Do you promise?

Mr. Blackhat
I do.

Adam
A hundred million?

Mr. Blackhat
Maybe more.

Adam
And there will be a boat.
And a dock.

Mr. Blackhat
Yes.

Adam
And I’ll go there.
I’ll go to the edge and dip my feet in the water.
And I’ll look out over the expanse and see nothing but waves.
Huge ocean waves.
And it’ll smell like salmon.
And I’ll be there.

Mr. Blackhat
You will.

Adam
And I’ll toss my shoes into the water because I won’t need them anymore.
Because you don’t need shoes where I’m going.
And the air will smell like lilacs.
And the water will be cold.
Like lemonade in the summertime.
And my clothes will fit loosely.
And my scars will go away.
Do you promise?

Mr. Blackhat
I do.

Adam
And the sky will be crimson but not like blood.
Like flowers. And cotton.
And my mother will be there and she’ll say,
“Adam I am finally well”.

Mr. Blackhat dabs a bit more blood.


And she’ll take my hand in hers.
And I’ll tell her that I’m glad.
And we’ll look at the sky.
Together.

Mr. Blackhat guides Adam’s hand and makes a large cut on his bicep.

And I’ll say “can you believe it mom”
And she’ll kiss my head.
And say “No Adam I can’t. I’m so proud of you”.
And I’ll kiss her back.
And she’ll say “thank you for taking care of me”
And the sky will open up.
And I made the right decision.
And we’ll be so lucky.
Then it will smell like birthday cake.
And I won’t be lonely.
And I’ll see trick candles relighting over and over again in the clouds.
And I’ll think about how precious this moment is.
And so special.
And so happy.

Mr. Blackhat
And you’ll see a hundred million stars.

Adam
Exploding in the sky.
Like diamonds dropped from the top of the Empire State Building.

The blood runs faster down Adam’s arm. He becomes a little woozy.

Mr. Blackhat
And the smell of lilacs.

Adam
And birthday cake.

Mr. Blackhat
And crimson.

Adam
And I’ll be home.

Mr. Blackhat
Finally.

Adam
Do you promise?

Mr. Blackhat
I do.

Adam
It took such a long time to get here.

Mr. Blackhat
The hardest journeys almost always do Adam.

Adam passes out.
Mr. Blackhat lies him back on the bed and covers him with a sheet.
He takes the dagger.
He kisses Adam on the head.
He blows the candle out.
Like a birthday cake.

End of Scene.


The Harrington Center for Health and Wellness


Amelia
My mother was obsessed with sensationalism.
She drooled over Jon Benet Ramsay, the Lindberg Baby, O.J.
That’s why she loved Amelia Earhart so much.
That’s why she named me after her.
I find it hard to idolize a woman who just flew away like that.
Never came back, never wrote,
it was like she fueled up her plane and flew till she wasn’t a person anymore.
And they never found her.
I guess my name is pretty fitting.
But I don’t know how to fly a plane.
It doesn’t really matter.
I do wonder sometime what that would be like.
What it would sound like, or taste like at that moment of maximum velocity.
I’ve always wanted to say to someone “no turning back now”,
and then they look at me and say something like “who said anything about turning back”.
But Amelia Earhart was alone so I guess it really doesn’t work.

But there still had to have been a moment where good ol’ Amelia said, “okay, no turning back” and god or whoever she talked to on those long flights said “you go for it girl” or whatever old timey saying that means the same thing.

I am a strong person. I have a solid foundation that cannot be shaken.
Those who try to shake it, will fail.
I am a mountain. I am the sea.
And I cannot be tempered.

I am a whole person. I have a giving heart and a charitable mind.
Those who try to take that, will fail.
I am an eagle. I am the sea.
And I cannot be tempered.

I am a loyal person. My faith in my beliefs pours out of me like rushing lava.
Those who try to change that, will fail.
I am the chosen. I am the sea.
And I cannot be tempered.

Amelia takes a few more moments in the music. Her hands sway as if she’s conducting an orchestra.

Pastor John says that Amelia Earhart was a petulant woman who refused to obey the rules.
He said “that’s what you get for trying to be something you’re not.”
He said that she thought she was a bird.
And worse,
She thought she was a man.
It’s a wonder she was never seen again.
That’s God’s way of telling her to cool it.

I am a strong person. I have a solid foundation that cannot be shaken.
Those who try to shake it, will fail.
I am a mountain. I am the sea.
And I cannot be tempered.

Pastor John says a lot of things.
Some people say he’s the messiah.
Sometimes he denies it.
But we all know the truth.

My mother sent me a card once.
It had some bible verses on it and a little prayer card.
She wrote that she had found God and that maybe I should give it a try.
But I didn’t believe her.
My mother was a stupid woman.
Even if she found God, he wouldn’t want to find her.
Pastor John says that some people are just too stupid to understand.
I think he was talking about my mother.
Pastor John says a lot of things.

The music plays out. Amelia pulls the string of the light bulb and all of a sudden the place is illuminated. It’s a dingy apartment. Amelia walks into the bedroom and shuts the door.

End of Scene.


Can’t You Hear it Calling?

RUBE sits in his garage. He begins making hats. Each hat, to him, tells a story.

Rube

And this one-
Tight brimmed. Leather.
Feather?
No feather?
This hat is for a sailor.
So that he can wear it on leave.
Shore-leave.
Everyone needs a hat for relaxation.
His name was Andy.
And he went to war, almost willingly.
He went to war for love.
He was in love.
Love.
With a girl named Harmony.
She had mousy brown hair,
She wore librarian glasses
and she hiked her skirt up a little whenever he came around.
She loved bravery.
She loved bravery more than Andy.
War was the bravest thing he could do.
Because harmony loved bravery.
So he went.
And now.
He is going to wear this hat.
On leave.
Shore-leave.
Miles away from where she is.
Loving bravery a little more than she does Andy.

Rube sets the hat down.  He picks up another one. It’s a leather cap. With long flaps and goggles.

This one.
This one is special.
I used only previously worn leather.
Because this one will see the end of its days.
It belongs to Ede.
She was a pilot.
But she found herself without a plane.
And they took her.
Hid her in a bunker.
For many, many years.
Ede was a writer.
And I make hats.
She wrote down everything.
She wrote them down in the dirt. On the walls.
She counted her days by making lash marks on the inside
leather of her boots.
Her plane was cherry red.
And she flew higher and higher.
And she’ll use this cap.
To keep her ears warm.
Her eyes protected.
This hat can catch all of her stories
that fall.
She has to come out from her bunker
though
before I give it to her.
She has miles to go.
miles and miles to go.
This one—

Rube sets the new cap down.

Should rest.
I need to make something that can fly.
A kite.
But not just any kite, no,
a kite made of stories.
Pages and stories.
Sewn together.
Stories about flying.
And falling
And air.
And wind.

End of Scene.


Salty Nights at the Plain City Drive-In

Monologue from my play, Salty Nights at the Plain City Drive-In.

 

Scene 17

Cooper sits on the drive-in screen.
He pulls out a bag of sunflower seeds.
He flicks them off the edge with his fingers.
He leans his head back against the screen.

Snow.

While Cooper speaks policemen begin putting caution tape over the front door of the concession stand. Red and blue lights flashing. Men investigating. Hank being interviewed on the front porch. Everything in slow motion.


Cooper
There was this model.
This New York City model.
Ruslana.
Russian.
Beautiful.
They called her the Russian Rapunzel.
You know,
Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your long hair.
I read about it in the paper.

 

She jumped from a nine-story building in Manhattan.
Officially ruled a suicide.
But you know how people like to talk.
The papers kept calling her a ‘fairytale beauty’.
I thought that was super sad.
Doesn’t sound like any fairytale that I know.
Fairytales only end well after Disney gets a hold of them.
I don’t know.

I imagine it was beautiful though.
At least for those couple moments.

Not like the 9/11 jumpers.
Not like that at all.
That was…desperation….and horror…and grief.

I figure this was quiet, and peaceful, beautiful.
The Russian Rapunzel flying through Manhattan in the air.
The people looking up and seeing an angel descending on New York.
It was only when she hit the ground did she finally stop flying.
They said her hair had been cut off.
If you looked past the blood spatter and broken neck.

Rapunzel’s hair was frayed and short.
They said her murderer killed her for her hair.
What would you do with hair?
She wasn’t Samson.
Maybe she was.

 

But…some people.
I don’t know.
They want so badly to fly they’ll do anything to become more aerodynamic.
I imagine it was hard being so special. Being so young.
Being on Vogue or whatever.
I think about that sometimes.
How special the moments are between decision, action and consequence.
Like that surprise layer of strawberry jam inside your birthday cake.
How maybe without her hair she felt like she was lighter.
And once it was gone she could finally get some traction.

 

Cooper stands up and puts his feet to the edge of the ledge. He opens his arms wide.
Ready to jump.

 

How terrible it all must be.
To feel the world like that.
To see everything and feel like the only one who does.
And be celebrated for it.
To be put on the covers of magazines.

 

Her mother came to Manhattan, after.
All the way from Russia.
And she sat outside Rapunzel’s apartment door.
Listening to the sounds of Water Street.
Waiting for the person who killed the princess to show himself.

 

We never hear the story where the princess fucking kills herself.
I think we all have a threshold for tragedy.
And when the princess offs herself it’s just too much.
So we have to find a murderer, or a dragon.
Something to justify the tragedy.
No one can accept that some people just slip away.
And fall. Or jump.

 

But the princess never knows she’s in the fairytale.
If she did, everything would be different.
The prince always knows but he just can’t find the words to tell her.
Most people don’t think there can be fairytales in Ohio.
Or New York.
Or America.
That fairytales only happen in ancient English castles,
or Arabian palaces.
So the princesses never think that the story is ever about them.
And the princes are never sure there really is a dragon.

 

But people like that, princesses.
All they want is freedom.
Because everyone tells them how special they are,
but they never realize it themselves.
So they go searching.
Searching for moments to fly.
Moments when no one is watching.
Moments when it’s only them.

 

And when they find those moments.
Just like the fairytale goes,
Russian Rapunzel lets down her long hair.

 

He leans forward a bit.


And jumps.
And for a few moments, she flies.

 

Cooper leans back. He slides down the screen, defeated.
He jumps the bag of sunflower seeds over the edge for the wind to carry them.
Like Ruslana Rapunzel floating slowly to ground.


End of Scene.