Prose Header

What We Do Together

by Charles C. Cole

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

What We Do Togeher: cast of characters

ESTHER KINGSLEY: early-50s, single mom, senior center administrator
DEEGAN KINGSLEY: a 15-year old boy, social outcast, ESTHER’s son
TRINA: DEEGAN’s slightly older occasional companion.
SID BARON: Early 80s, a gentleman, possible mentor for DEEGAN
NORM “STORMIN’ NORMAN” CONVERY: Late 70s, rough around the edges
PRINCIPAL SANFORD: The voice of trying-too-hard authority
THE FEDEX MAN: A metaphor
OFFICER FRIENDLY: The cold, silent hand of crowd control

Installment 5

“The Stupid World”

Scene 7: Week Two, Thursday, Mid-day

Deserted beach. DEEGAN sits in an outdoor collapsible chaise longue while TRINA massages his shoulders.

TRINA: How’s that?

DEEGAN: Only the best thing that’s happened to me in, like, my whole life.

TRINA: Was the stupid world mean to my man?

DEEGAN: Were you there?

TRINA: You told me to go.

DEEGAN: I know what I said, Trina.

TRINA: So, yes, I was there.

DEEGAN: And you were recording?

TRINA: Not the whole time. When they started running and screaming, I figured I better get out before the police showed up.

DEEGAN: What did you see?

TRINA: You flirting with some blonde girl in black yoga pants.

DEEGAN: After that.

TRINA: Nothing for a while. I’d just gotten off the night shift; I was fried, absolutely crispy. But I said I’d help capture the event. I started recording, then I nodded off until right before the screaming started.

DEEGAN: Bullcrap.

TRINA: Deegan! It’s not.

DEEGAN: Did you catch them handcuffing me?

TRINA: I don’t think so. You can check the video. It’s at my place.

DEEGAN: Did you see me toss the thing?

TRINA: Yeah. So did the principal. It was like he was looking for you. Out of all those kids. You dash down the aisle, and his head just swivels like a barn owl so that he’s looking right at you.

DEEGAN: You think someone told him?

TRINA: Nobody knew! I think it was his party and he was ready to deal with anybody who tried to crash it.

DEEGAN: I wish I was more sorry.

TRINA: You were pretty freaked out.

DEEGAN: What’s that supposed to mean?

TRINA: I just don’t think you expected everybody to react that way. They made such a big deal out of a little smoke.

DEEGAN: Guess I surprised them.

TRINA: So are you expelled?

DEEGAN: I don’t know. I don’t think so. But I gotta finish the week with Mom, that’s for sure.

TRINA: If you ever get tired of living with your Mom . . .

DEEGAN: She’s all right, I guess, for now. A little judgmental. She totally ticked me off yesterday like you wouldn’t believe.

TRINA: I still haven’t met her.

DEEGAN: Jesus, Trina, this is not a good time! Let’s get this week over and I’ll have you by the house.

TRINA: Really?

DEEGAN: If I’m not in jail, yeah, really.

TRINA: Do you want me to erase the video?

DEEGAN: What the hell kind of question is that? No!

TRINA: I’m just saying: it’s not pretty.

DEEGAN: Don’t do anything to it! Hold onto it for now. Take me home. I’m done.

TRINA: Are you sure?

DEEGAN: I keep seeing Principal Sanford’s bug-eyed face, thank you very much.

TRINA: You don’t think he’d hit you, do you?

DEEGAN: I guess we’ll find out. I’ll make sure my mom’s in between us next time we meet.

TRINA: (Noticing movement offstage.) Deegan, there’s some guy watching us.

DEEGAN: Seriously? A cop?

TRINA: Maybe. He’s coming over.

DEEGAN: I’ll handle it. Get the stuff in the car. I’ll bring the chair. If it looks like something’s going down, go home. I don’t want you pulled into this. It never occurred to me they’d have me under surveillance. What do they think I’m gonna do, plan something bigger for the next time?

TRINA: Should I videotape it?

DEEGAN: I don’t know. Maybe. But from the car. If you’ve got any open beer in the back seat, get rid of it. And pass me a breath mint.

TINA: Why? Are you gonna kiss ‘em? (Passing him a mint.)

DEEGAN: Shut up.

TINA: I won’t be far. (Kisses him, grabs the stuff, then EXITS.)

SID: (Entering. Exhausted, using a functional metal cane.) Deegan.

DEEGAN: Sid? What the hell? I thought you were a cop. Granted, an old cop who didn’t move so well, but still. How’d you find me?

SID: It’s a small town.

DEEGAN: You look like hell, dude. What are you doing out here?

SID: Was that your girlfriend?

DEEGAN: We don’t use terms like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” If you haven’t guessed, I’m not that traditional, but more or less, yeah.

SID: What’s her name?

DEEGAN: Trina.

SID: You should bring her by.

DEEGAN: Sure. Tomorrow. How’s that sound? You still gonna be alive?

SID: Let’s take one day at a time.

DEEGAN: You know, I’ve never been to your room. Bucket list item.

SID: It’s just like Elaine’s but with a different number on the door. Nothing special. Nothing stashed under the bed if you’re wondering.

DEEGAN: I had that coming.

SID: (Noticing.) Is she waiting for you or running from me?

DEEGAN: I don’t want her pulled into my crap, you know? So we’ve been keeping things on the down-low. Glad you’re not a cop.

SID: Do you think I could sit?

DEEGAN: Sure. Sure.

SID: (Trying to sit, with difficulty.) It’s a long way down.

DEEGAN: (Helping.) I gotchya. I gotchya. Don’t tell Trina but, compared to her, you’re as light as a feather.

SID: I feel heavier than a bank safe. Gravity isn’t gentle on my kind.

DEEGAN: (Pulling out his e-cigarette.) So, why are you here, Sid? What couldn’t wait until I came back?

SID: Are you coming back?

DEEGAN: I know, I know, if I don’t, no testimonial.

SID: Deegan, it’s not about the testimonial; it’s about making the right choices.

DEEGAN: Does that got be an all-or-nothing thing? I’m serious. I’m trying here. You know I am.

SID: (Nods.)

DEEGAN: I thought Mom was on my side until yesterday. That was hard to take. I just needed to not be around her for a day. Is that against the rules?

SID: I want you to come back with me. Show her you’re committed.

DEEGAN: There’s that word again! I had that word. That’s an old, married person’s word.

SID: What would you call it?

DEEGAN: “Interested.” I’m interested in doing what my mom and the principal want.

SID: That attitude won’t get you back in school.

DEEGAN: But it’s honest. I’m not scamming anybody. For me, it’s commitment with a lower case “c”.

SID: Fine. I’ll take you on your terms. I should have done that from the beginning, but we never had a lot of time, so I thought I could somehow force-feed you the good stuff.

DEEGAN: You mean: “the Holy Jell-O of Gethsemane!”

SID: I deserve that.

TRINA: (From Off-stage.) Deegan! You coming?

DEEGAN: The old lady’s waiting. Can we continue this later? (Waving in TRINA’s direction. Putting his e-cigarette away.)

SID: I’d like that. What about this afternoon?

DEEGAN: Sure. Why not? I don’t have a car and Trina’s gotta take off for work soon, but I’ll see what I can do.

SID: I hear the buses in town are very high-tech, very luxurious.

DEEGAN: Sid, no offense, but I’ll bet when you were my age, you thought watches were very high-tech, very luxurious.

SID: Will I see you this afternoon?

DEEGAN: I’ll race you there. Now, I kind of need my chair back, unless you still need to rest up. In which case, I’d say shove it under a bush somewhere and I’ll come back for it later.

SID: Help an old man to his feet.

DEEGAN: (He does.) Is this the part where I’m supposed to offer you a ride? It’s just that it’s not my car and she doesn’t know you and doesn’t know how to act around old people.

SID: I can find my way.

DEEGAN: You made it here, right? That’s gotta mean something. Just do the opposite, just click your heals and wake up in Charlotte-by-the-sea.

SID: Take your chair and go. I’ll see you there.

DEEGAN: For what it’s worth, Sid, I’m impressed. If I was you and you were me, I would have written me off a long time ago.

SID: If it takes my last breath, Deegan, . . .

DEEGAN: On that note, hold onto your breath because I think you’re gonna need it. I’ll see you back at the ranch. (EXITS.)

SID watches DEEGAN take the chair and leave. Fade to black.

Scene 8: Week Two, Thursday, Late Afternoon

The rec room. NORMAN ENTERS, pushing SID, who is very tired.

NORMAN: See, what did I tell you? No wayward teenager.

SID: I thought I heard his voice.

NORMAN: From what you told me, why would he come back?

SID: Because he needs to. That’s the arrangement we made.

NORMAN: And then life happened.

SID: You had something to do with that.

NORMAN: It was in my hand. Next thing I knew: it was lit. He practically made it happen even if he didn’t light the thing himself.

SID: Did I ever tell you I only have 17% of my heart in full working order?

NORMAN: That’s all right; I read somewhere you’re only 17% as active at your age.

SID: It’s always been plenty until now.

NORMAN: Dude, you could have died out there. Riding a city bus? Think of the germs on the handrail!

SID: I had to. (So tired.) Did she ask about me?

NORMAN: She never came down. Someone said she was on the phone all day dealing with yesterday’s mess. I guess there’s a lot of paperwork when the fire engine shows up at your front door. I wouldn’t want to be her.

SID: Do they think he did it?

NORMAN: (Shrugs.) Beats me. Probably; it’s his M.O. She left early, and I don’t think it was to buy me a basketball hoop. Probably looking for him. Where do juvenile delinquents hang out nowadays?

SID: Where did they hang out in your day?

NORMAN: There was an abandoned shoe factory on Bleeker, but they knocked that place down years ago.

SID: He’s not coming back. We were so close.

NORMAN: I’m sorry, Sid. I know you had plans: reading, writing, ballroom dancing.

SID: Norm, why do you have to be down on everyone and everything?

NORMAN: I don’t know. To make the rest of you look good, I guess.

SID: Well, quit making me look good. Can you do that?

NORMAN: I guess, sure.

SID: God, I feel tired.

NORMAN: You stayed up all night worrying, didn’t you?

SID: That’s not it.

NORMAN: Instead of Deegan, Mrs. Kingsley should have set you up with me. Maybe you could have civilized me.

SID: What makes you think she didn’t? (Catching his breath.) I don’t feel like myself.

NORMAN: Would that be the teen-aged caddy, the non-traditional bouncer, or the always-entertaining Jell-O Man?

SID: Am I crazy to want to make a difference?

NORMAN: You’re asking me? What do you want me say? Nobody ever gave me a break and I turned out okay. Maybe a little bitter. And there certainly were some dark years I wish I could take back, but I can’t. When you’re filling out the job application and they ask if you’ve ever done time, just says no. Nobody ever looks.

SID: If something happens to me, and he comes back -

NORMAN: I am not a teacher. And nothing’s going to happen to you.

SID: There’s a letter on my bureau.

NORMAN: If it’s a will, I don’t want any of your crap, unless you’ve got a vintage Playboy collection in your dresser.

SID: It’s for the boy. Just give it to him.

NORMAN: Shut up already. Who’s bringing who down? You gave it a shot. Good for you.

SID: I gave it a shot.

NORMAN: I got it! I know what it is! Your old-man metabolism: you’re low on Jell-O. I’ll fix you right up. I’ve got some squirreled away in my sock drawer for emergencies like this. We are going to give you the bright-green chemical boost you need. Don’t go anywhere, you hear me? (EXITS.)

SID: (Exhausted.) Wait! Norm, I think I hear the Fed-Ex truck. I’m not kidding. Pretty late for a delivery. (Realization.) Call the front desk. Not today! Not today! Oh darn! (He’s still.)

Scene 9: Week Two, Thursday, Early Evening

A uniformed FEDEX courier walks across the stage. He EXITS.

Proceed to installment 6...

Copyright © 2016 by Charles C. Cole

Home Page