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Another Man’s Treasure

Another Man’s Treasure by Ben Gierhart

Ben Gierhart © 2015

About the Play

Another Man’s Treasure by Ben Gierhart is the 2016 winner of SETC’s Charles M. Getchell New Play Contest. See the Fall 2016 issue of Southern Theatre magazine to read Act One. For production information, email Ben Gierhart.

Act Two

Scene One

SETTING: GARY’s apartment.

AT RISE: GARY sits on the sofa, He wordlessly opens the photo album. One by one, each REVERIE enters carrying their respective object. First, KATHY brings the phone, sets it in place, and stands DS. Next, TOM enters with the camera. He sets it up and joins KATHY in a line. FRANKLIN enters carrying it to the kitchen. He leaves it there and joins the line. The NAMELESS GIRL enters. She’s carrying the sooty pillowcase, but she keeps it with her. She goes to the line. Finally ADDISON enters, and she is carrying a new object. It’s an old, vinyl record. She crosses to GARY and tries to hand it to him. He looks at it and shakes his head. She insists. He takes it, and as soon as he touches it, “You Won’t Forget Me” by Shirley Horn begins to play. GARY and ADDISON begin to dance slowly around the stage.

NAMELESS GIRL: Don’t stop.

GARY: Don’t stop what?

NAMELESS GIRL: Don’t stop.

GARY: What are you talking about?

KATHY: Don’t forget me.

TOM: Don’t forget me.

FRANKLIN: Don’t forget me.

NAMELESS GIRL: Don’t stop … Don’t stop.

KATHY: Don’t forget me.

TOM: Don’t forget me.

FRANKLIN: Don’t forget me.

NAMELESS GIRL: Don’t stop.

ADDISON: Don’t stop dancing.

GARY: What memory is this?

NAMELESS GIRL: This isn’t a memory.

GARY: What is it?

ADDISON: (increasing need) Don’t stop dancing.

GARY: I have to.

ADDISON: (pleading) Don’t stop dancing…

The dance becomes erratic, the steps jagged and messy.

GARY: I need to!

ADDISON: (now outright begging) Don’t stop dancing!

GARY pulls away from the dancing. The music stops abruptly.

GARY: What is this?

The REVERIES begin surrounding GARY and advancing.

NAMELESS GIRL: This isn’t a memory.

ADDISON: You stopped.

NAMELESS GIRL: This is a dream.

The REVERIES suddenly lunge at GARY and hold him in place, screaming, “Don’t forget me!” in chorus. ADDISON watches on sadly.

GARY: (trying to break free) What-let me go!

The NAMELESS GIRL takes the pillowcase and violently shoves it in GARY’s face, smothering him. Immediately, there is a blackout and GARY starts to scream. In the blackout, everyone but GARY exits. Lights up on GARY alone, screaming and writhing on the floor with the pillowcase over his face. BOB enters frantically.

BOB: (seeing GARY) Gary! Shit.

Without hesitating, BOB removes the pillowcase. GARY stops screaming, but he continues to twitch uncontrollably on the floor for a few more moments.

BOB: (helping GARY up) Easy does it. (BOB helps GARY to the couch, watching GARY solicitously.) I didn’t see you at the hub yesterday, so I came by. We’re supposed to start our route soon. What the hell happened, Gar? (indicating the pillowcase) What is this?

GARY: Memory. Bad one.

BOB sees the unlocked and opened chest. He drops the pillowcase in it.

BOB: Did you take it out of that? You told me to never let you open that.

GARY: No one was here to stop me.

BOB: Why did you do it?

GARY: Addison- She’s

BOB: What?

GARY: She’s dying, Bob.

BOB: Oh, shit, son. I’m sorry. I knew she was lying to you, but-

GARY: You knew?

BOB: Well, like I said, I didn’t know she was dy-

GARY: But you knew that she was being less than truthful.

BOB: Well, yeah. You know how it is with me. I can usually tell.

GARY: So you thought that my-my someone important to me was lying to me, and you kept it to yourself? You kept me in the dark?

BOB: Listen, Gary. I get you’re upset. Your dad… No one knows better than me. You can’t do this to yourself.

GARY: I’ve been so stupid.

BOB: What did I tell you on your first day on the job?

GARY: “You’re gonna get dirty in this job no matter what you do. You’ll get dirtier if you try not to.”

BOB: And?

GARY: “Embrace the dirt.”

BOB: That’s right. Embrace the dirt. That might be the biggest word I know, so you know it’s good advice.

GARY: (finally, a smile) What? Dirt?

BOB: And he’s back.

GARY: You remind me a lot of my dad, Bob. You’re different in a lot of ways, but you’re the same in the way that matters.

BOB: Well, I’ll take that as just about the kindest thing a man’s said to me.

GARY: I don’t know what to do.

BOB: You gotta talk to her. I know you still care about her, and despite everything I knew, she does too. You gotta.

GARY: I don’t think I have it in me.

BOB: I’ve worked with a lot of guys in the past, Gar. You’re the toughest son of a bitch I’ve met. You can do it.

GARY: (the beginning of some resolve) Okay.

BOB: I can cover the route myself. I understand. I’ve gotta go though.

GARY: Thanks, Bob.

BOB closes the chest.

BOB: Say, Gar… I saw the old, rotary phone… It’s all smashed up.

GARY: Oh, no. Bob, I’m sorry. I got mad. I wasn’t think-

BOB: (not really but trying to be) It’s okay. This chest that has all the really bad, nasty stuff. Are there any- any more items from my ma in there?

GARY: You mean Kathy Sharp?

BOB: Yeah.

GARY: Do you really want to know?

BOB: I guess not. I like to remember people a certain way. Good luck.

BOB exits. GARY crosses over to the chest. He starts to lock it, but changes his mind.

End of Scene

 

Scene Two

SETTING: Outside of ADDISON’s house.

AT RISE: ADDISON stands alone in semi-darkness holding the photo album.

ADDISON: It’s been a while since I’ve talked to you. Well, I suppose I’m not really talking to you, but you know what I mean. I’m sorry. I know that’s so small, so insignificant. I’ll never forget the look in your eyes when I hurt you. I didn’t know I could hurt anyone like that. I guess that was the scariest realization, that this crazy, intense power I have to love you can also completely devastate you. It was a lesson hard-learned. Sorry, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s been so long since I’ve talked you. Listen to me, I’m right back where I started.

ADDISON sits down next to the trash on the curb in front of her house. Lights come up. GARY enters.

ADDISON: Here to pick up the trash?

GARY: Come on, Addison.

ADDISON: I’m not being self-deprecating. It is an accurate, empirical statement. I. Am. Trash.

GARY: I’m sorry I reacted the way I did.

ADDISON: Okay. We’re both sorry. What do we do now?

GARY: (sitting with her) I don’t know. This whole relationship has been a huge leap. One where I try and build my wings on the way down…

ADDISON: (laughing) Well, that’s not very smart.

GARY: (joins her) No, it isn’t. I never said I was smart.

ADDISON: I know better.

GARY: Well, you’re the only one.

ADDISON: (a beat) No, I think you’re the only one who doesn’t. (losing the moment and getting up) No, I’m not doing this! How do you do it? You just reel me in… I am not some girl, Gary. I am not someone for you to save, to rescue. As if anyone could. I am my own person. For now, anyway. I’m not some statuesque ideal. I am flesh! I am blood! I am… flawed… So flawed.

ADDISON starts to cry. GARY wraps his arms around her, comforting her.

GARY: Did I ever tell you what I call the memories? My own little name for them? (ADDISON shakes her head.)  I call them Reveries. Daydreams. Little snapshots, respites from reality. Five years ago, my dad died. Aneurysm. My mom had passed years before, so it had just been the two of us for quite some time. I’m a loner by nature, but my power made me even more of a weirdo. I didn’t have any friends. When my dad died, I literally had no one else. I stayed cooped up in the house playing old memories over and over and… over again. My parents were rich, so I didn’t need to work or go out. So I didn’t. I didn’t live. May as well have died with him. Money ran out after a while, so I did the only job I could possibly imagine doing. Something that could afford me a few more distractions.

ADDISON: I had no idea… But Gary. I can’t rescue you either. I don’t think that’s how things work.

GARY: No, you’re right. That person I was five years ago? I’m not him anymore. I’m not the person I was yesterday. I’m not going to run and hide this time, and I think that is the first step to saving myself.

ADDISON: No running or hiding… It sounds so simple.

GARY: Deceptively so. I know.

ADDISON: Gary… I am going to die. I hear what you’re saying, but I just- I don’t want you to hold onto any false hope.

GARY: I know, and I’m not.

ADDISON: And… you’re just okay with that?

GARY: Not at all. But I refuse to miss the little bit of time we have left because I won’t accept the inevitable.

ADDISON: You’re wasting your time.

GARY: How can you say that?

ADDISON: Because I’m not just talking about me. I’ve said it before. I’m not trying to be mean, but what you’re doing. The trash collecting. It is such a waste. You could be so much more.

GARY: Like what? A scientist? A winemaker? A photographer? What’s the career du jour? I know who I am!

ADDISON: Oh, I’ve made you mad, but you know what? Good. Get mad. It’s more honest than this acceptance bullshit you’re spewing.

GARY: It’s not bullshit. You said it yourself. You are going to die. There is no escaping that fact. Even if, by some miracle, you survive this cancer again, you’re going to die sometime, right? We all have to deal with that, and that is not bullshit.

ADDISON: That’s the thing. I’m not ready to deal with that. It’s just like the first time. I’m panicking, okay? I thought if I ever faced this again, I would be, you know, calm, serene… accepting, like someone in a book or a movie. Literally all I can think about is how much I want to live.

GARY: So live.

ADDISON: Okay, but… I’m afraid of using you.

GARY: What do you mean?

ADDISON: If you can read memories of me… after I’m gone. That is proof that something of me still exists. I’ll be dead, sure, but not completely. I was thinking so selfishly. I was all in self-preservation mode, and I didn’t stop to think about how much of a toll these memories take on you. I hate what this disease is doing to me. How it’s making me think.

GARY: It’s not a toll.

ADDISON: Are you suffering from amnesia or something? Just yesterday you were screaming, and you threw a rotary phone at me. I think this might be a two-way street. These memories yearn to be remembered. I think these memories want to live.

GARY: That’s crazy.

ADDISON: You’re really saying that to me? You?

GARY: They’re not alive. They’re just…

ADDISON: Dead? They have as much power as you give them.

GARY: But not all of them… Tom Cansoli is not dead.

ADDISON: That moment is though. I’ve been studying your ability a bit since we’ve been together, touching things, fiddling with them, cleaning them, just trying to understand what exactly triggers it. I think whatever makes up a moment contains the core of us and that when it dies, it’s just as upset about it as we are when we die. You have to admit I have a fairly unique perspective on this. Let me be clear. This is not a scientific study. I’ve just been observing, trying to figure things out.

GARY: Learning by inspection.

ADDISON: Exactly. You’re keeping these moments alive, Gary, and they want more. I can’t do that to you. As big as the part of me that wants to is, I just can’t.

GARY: So what do we- what do I do?

ADDISON: Closure.

GARY: What?

ADDISON: I remember you saying once that every object usually has more than one memory associated with it, right?

GARY: Usually.

ADDISON: I think the objects are like records. And you’ve only been playing one side of the vinyl. You’ve got to listen to the whole album to finish it.

GARY: This- I don’t know, Addison. I don’t even know how to start doing what you’re suggesting. I can tell there are other memories there most of the time, but I don’t know if I can play them. It’s like superimposed images. I can tell there’s something else there, but telling what it is? Forget it.

ADDISON: Have you ever tried before?

GARY: Well, no.

ADDISON is dizzy all of a sudden and stumbles.

GARY: (catching her) You okay?

ADDISON: Oh, yeah. Just been a stressful day. But like I was saying, I think you- I think we need to try.

GARY: We?

ADDISON: That’s what I said… You still have something to show me at your apartment? Something that might lead to something else?

GARY: I guess we’ll find out, but I have to ask… How does this help you?

ADDISON: It doesn’t. And that’s exactly why I need to do it.

End of Scene

 

Scene Three

SETTING: GARY’s apartment, everything still in disarray.

AT RISE: The REVERIES are all present and standing at various points on stage. They are frozen in place. GARY enters carrying the photo album. We are in a memory.

GARY: Goodbye. Most people save that for the end, but I thought I’d get that over with now. It’s always the toughest thing to say, so why not do it when you have the most courage? Never helps to put things off for later. Loving you has been the most challenging experience ever, but it’s also been the most rewarding. I told you before. I called the memories Reveries, but you- you were something else. You were a Dream. Full, complete. You were no distraction. You were so real, and now, you’re over. Just like a man can’t live without sleep and dreams, I could never have lived without you. (GARY is now at the last page of the photo album.)Looks like we’re here. Just one more page. Goodbye.

GARY steps out of the memory, pocketing the photo album. ADDISON enters. The REVERIES are still in position. Neither GARY nor ADDISON can see them. For now.

ADDISON: As messy as it all looks, I can’t help but feel a little deja vu.

GARY: Yeah.

ADDISON crosses over to the chest. She notices that it is unlocked.

ADDISON: Gary, what’s in here. Please tell me.

GARY: Lots of things… I told you. Bad things.

ADDISON opens the chest. GARY reaches to stop her, but changes his mind.

ADDISON: There’s one in particular though isn’t there? (ADDISON begins rummaging throughout the chest bringing out various objects that we’ve never seen before. She watches GARY’s face closely while doing so, and when she gets to the pillowcase, she sees on it what she was looking for.) Bingo.

GARY: That’s the worst one.

ADDISON: Show it to me.

GARY: No, you don’t know what you’re asking.

ADDISON: (still holding onto the pillowcase) Well, let’s start with something else then. (crossing to the broken camera) Maybe this will be good? It might be easier to start with a memory of someone who is still alive.

GARY: Do you know what you’re talking about at all?

ADDISON: Nope.

GARY: Encouraging.

ADDISON: Just try it, but before we get started, I want to give you this. (ADDISON hands GARY the photo album.) I don’t know what’s going to happen. I had it last, but it should be with you. If I remember correctly, each page has a memory imprinted on it, but the last one… Promise me you’ll only touch it if you think- if you think I’m gone.

GARY: You don’t want to find closure for those memories?

ADDISON: What do you think I’m doing?

GARY nods and pockets it.

GARY: I promise.

GARY joins ADDISON next to the camera and picks it up. TOM begins to speak from where he’s standing.

TOM: God, this cake. What is this? Strawberry?

ADDISON: We’ve heard this part before. Dig deeper.

GARY frowns and tries again. There is a look of deeper and deeper concentration as TOM begins.

TOM: Strawberry? Strawberry? Straw- Duality. Now, that’s a big word.

ADDISON: You did it!

TOM: It’s today’s word on my Word-A-Day calendar. How’s that for self-improvement? Now, I don’t think anyone would call me a sentimental guy, but I couldn’t help it. Maybe it’s the word, maybe it’s knowing what today means for you. I know today is the day you and Jen finally signed the papers, and for some reason, I felt like I just needed to film another video. It felt right you know, like bookends on a shelf. Bet you thought I didn’t know what those were. Took me a while to find this camera too. I’ve got a much nicer one now. You better appreciate the effort here, buddy. I’m not here to tell you where things went wrong. Hell if I know really. When I made the first video, I was doing it to celebrate this huge moment in your life. I mean, that’s great and everything, but how fucking shitty is it if I’m not here to help you when you’re down too? You’re my best friend. You were before. You still are. No mistakes will ever change that for me. I’m here for the good times and the bad. I think we should own the mistakes and failures just as much as we do the good stuff. Just an opinion. Now, you’ve got two tapes that you’ll never watch. That’s okay I guess. I’d much rather this be out there somewhere. Who knows? Maybe some complete stranger will watch it in like a hundred years or something using some kind of crazyass technology that is beyond us cavemen. Or you know, you could just press play. Hmmm… duality. I’m here for you, man. That’s all I have to say.

There is a momentary blackout, during which the REVERIE playing TOM exits. When the lights come back up, we discover that all the REVERIES have changed places. The NAMELESS GIRL is closer to GARY and ADDISON than before.

NAMELESS GIRL: (despondent) Don’t stop.

ADDISON: Gary, who is that?

NAMELESS GIRL: Don’t.

GARY: You can see her?

NAMELESS GIRL: Stop.

ADDISON nods without looking away from the NAMELESS GIRL.

GARY: It’s her. The memory from the pillowcase. I-I don’t know what’s happening. You shouldn’t be able to see her.

NAMELESS GIRL: (angry) You stopped!

ADDISON: We need to move on to another memory, Gary. She- This girl- What happened to her?

NAMELESS GIRL: It’s not fair!

The NAMELESS GIRL lunges for GARY and ADDISON, but GARY quickly manages to grab the rotary phone. He concentrates. The NAMELESS GIRL becomes still and silent.

KATHY: People can change their mind on things, silly.

ADDISON: Who was that girl, Gary?

GARY: I don’t know her name. She died in a fire. Freak accident. She was so young… I think you were right. I think she’s mad. I think she’s mad she got snuffed out so soon.

KATHY: People can change their mind on things.

ADDISON: Wait… there was a fire in my house before I moved in. A death too. It’s how I got it for so cheap, even after all the repairs. (She looks down at the pillowcase still in her hands.) She died in my house, Gary.

KATHY: Silly.

ADDISON: Oh, I know this one. This is the one that Bob likes so much, right?

GARY: This is Kathy Sharp. She lived on Reading too, only it was a long time ago. She’s Bob’s mom. Concentrate…

GARY concentrates and a new memory begins.

KATHY: Don’t cry sweetie. Mommy’s just going to grab the phone and take it in with us, okay? (KATHY grabs the rotary phone out of GARY’s hands and sits with it at the door to GARY’s apartment/her bedroom. She presses her weight against the door.) Now just go to sleep, honey. (Someone starts to bang on the door. Hard. KATHY presses more weight against it.) You’re not coming in, James! You know I can’t let you in when you’re like this!

The NAMELESS GIRL begins to stir.

NAMELESS GIRL: Let him in!

KATHY: (struggling) No! You can’t come in, James! Sleep it off!

NAMELESS GIRL: Do it!

Beating reaches a climax.

KATHY: Is this how you want your son to remember you? You’ll make him just like you!

Beating stops. The person at the door leaves.

KATHY: Go to sleep, honey. Daddy will feel better in the morning.

There is another momentary blackout, during which the REVERIE playing KATHY exits. Lights up and things have shifted again. FRANKLIN is closer, but the NAMELESS GIRL is also now right behind ADDISON.

ADDISON: That was horrible…

NAMELESS GIRL: She should’ve done it. A boy needs his father…

The NAMELESS GIRL lunges for ADDISON again. GARY pulls her to safety just in time. They are now near the toaster. GARY grabs it. The NAMELESS GIRL becomes quiet, but she is visibly struggling.

FRANKLIN: And if you’re really stuck, I’ll always be here to help you out.

GARY: She does not like you.

ADDISON: In a way, I kind of don’t blame her. Who is this?

GARY: My dad.

FRANKLIN: And if you’re really stuck, I’ll always be here to help you out.

ADDISON: Oh, God, Gary… How many times have you heard that?

GARY: …More than twice. Okay… Concentrate… (FRANKLIN grabs the toaster from GARY’s hands and moves to the kitchen. He plugs it in. He puts bread in it, presses it down, and waits at the table expectantly. When the bread comes up, FRANKLIN unexpectedly goes limp, and his head smacks down on the table. He is dead.) Dad! Wake up, Dad!

ADDISON: Gary, what are you doing?

GARY: (running over to FRANKLIN) Dad! Please don’t be dead. Please please please please.

ADDISON: Your dad’s already dead, Gary! I’m sorry… but… It’s just a memory! Come back!

NAMELESS GIRL: (breaking free) Yeah, your dad’s dead, Gary!

GARY: Dad… please…

NAMELESS GIRL: (truly frenzied) Please? PLEASE? PLEASE!

The NAMELESS GIRL goes for GARY, but ADDISON stops her.

ADDISON: You’re not touching him.

ADDISON and the NAMELESS GIRL begin to fight. It ends with both tugging against the other on the pillowcase. During the fight, GARY snaps out of it, and without thinking, he touches the pillowcase too. There is another momentary blackout, during which FRANKLIN exits. Lights up, but the stage is now cast in the same fire effect used at the end of Act I. GARY, ADDISON, and NAMELESS GIRL are all writhing on the floor in agony.

ADDISON: Oh, God, Gary… it hurts…

NAMELESS GIRL: It hurts… It hurts…

GARY begins to slowly crawl to ADDISON, holding her when he reaches her.

GARY: Come on. We’ll ride it out. Together.

NAMELESS GIRL: (softer) It hurts… It burns…

The NAMELESS GIRL begins to have a coughing fit. After a few moments, it finally subsides. She is dead. Lights just on ADDISON and GARY. The sound of a heartbeat monitor can be heard.

ADDISON: I’m alone.

GARY: What? No, you’re not. I’m right here.

ADDISON: Why didn’t I tell anyone I was sick? I’m so alone…

GARY: You did tell someone this time, Addison. I’m right here.

ADDISON: So. Alone… Gary?

GARY: Yes! That’s right!

ADDISON: Gary.

GARY: Right here.

ADDISON: Let’s fill that photo album with memories.

GARY: We already did.

ADDISON: Good…

The heartbeat monitor indicates that ADDISON’s heart has stopped. Lights shift, brighter than they’ve ever been before. The REVERIES enter and carry ADDISON offstage after they each wave goodbye to GARY.

GARY: Flash.

End of Scene

 

Scene Four

SETTING: GARY’s apartment.

AT RISE: Everything is set exactly as it was at the top of the show. All the objects are in their proper places. GARY is at his desk, holding the photo album. There’s a knock on the door.

GARY: Come in.

BOB enters.

BOB: Hey. (GARY looks at BOB closely.) What? You’re looking at me funny.

GARY: Nothing. I just never realized how real you were before.

BOB: Okay. I’m going to chalk that one up to just coming from that funeral.

GARY: Yeah, that was a weird thing to say. Even for me. True though.

BOB: (just noticing GARY’s attire) You’re dressed for work. You wear that to the service?

GARY: This? Oh, yeah. Got some looks, but it was the only thing that felt right.

Silence.

BOB: I’m real sorry, Gar. I know you feel responsible, but-

GARY: I took her body to the hospital… afterwards. Doctor told me that she’d had the worst case he’d ever seen. That she should’ve been dead months ago. Around the time that she met me actually. I did the math. I know it’s selfish, but I like to think that I’m the reason she held on a little longer.

BOB: It’s not selfish, Gar, and I suspect you’re right. No bullshit.

GARY: You know, that funeral was really weird. I guess they all are in a way. I didn’t know a single person there besides, you know, the deceased. And I should’ve, right? I mean how fucking hard would it have been to have played some of her memories for a change? Learn more about her family, about her problems? So I stayed and listened to everyone tell stories about her. I mean, that’s the least I could do. Bob, that girl was so smart. So funny. Did you know that? I didn’t, not really. These people whom I’d never met, and otherwise wouldn’t have, knew her better than I did, even if I had taken the time… That eulogy though. So weak. That man knew her less than I did, which is really saying something. But I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t cry once because it was the most impersonal thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. Seemed to do the trick for everyone else though. Came back here, (indicating the photo album) and gave her a proper eulogy. Well, a better one at least.

BOB: Come here.

GARY stands up and comes closer.

GARY: What Bob? What are you going to say? What is there to say?

BOB: Sometimes there ain’t nothing.

BOB wraps GARY in a big, bear hug, and GARY finally cries. This goes on for as long as it needs to.

GARY: Thanks, Bob. I- wow – I needed that.

BOB: (BOB pulls a toy train car out of his pocket) Meant to tell you earlier, before all the mushy stuff. I found it on the route that morning I covered for ya. I don’t know why, but I felt like you needed it.

GARY: I love trains, Bob. I’d forgotten, but I was just thinking about it… How did you know?

BOB: Lucky guess.

GARY: I don’t think I believe in that. “Time away from loved ones is always a long train ride.”

BOB: What’s that?

GARY: Just something that my dad used to say.

BOB: You read anything off of it?

GARY: (pocketing the train) Yeah, there’s something there, but I don’t need to know. I’ll make something else of it. More interesting, don’t you think?

BOB: Couldn’t agree more. So… what are you gonna do with the rest of the stuff? There’s a lot.

GARY: I’m gonna put it in that chest and bury it somewhere. If it’s good enough for Addison, should be good enough for the Reveries. All of them except for… (grabs the rotary phone) this one. The memory is all gone. Wiped clean from that night, but it still should be yours.

BOB: I don’t know what to say.

GARY: Sometimes there ain’t nothing.

BOB: Hey, no teasing now! Thank you.

GARY: You’re welcome. Well, I’m gonna change. I’ve got one last thing to do.

GARY goes offstage to change out of his uniform. He re-enters whenever he’s finished, delivering any lines he needs to from offstage. He keeps the boots that BOB gave him.

BOB: Enjoy your day off. You deserve it.

GARY: Actually, I’m thinking about seeing what my options are out there. I’ve saved up a little money. I’ll figure it out.

BOB: Leaving the route? I don’t know what to say.

GARY: Yeah. Turns out, I don’t need this job anymore. You, of course, are welcome here. Any time.

BOB: I better be. Kept the boots I see.

GARY: Well, I’ve got a lot of dirt to embrace. Later, Bob. Make yourself at home. (GARY goes for the door but comes back.) One last thing. (GARY gives BOB another quick hug.) This may seem out of nowhere to you, but I need to say it: You are nothing like your dad. Nothing.

BOB: Well, I –

GARY: Make yourself at home.

GARY exits.

BOB: (a beat) Atta boy.

End of Scene

 

Scene Five

SETTING: A dark stage.

AT RISE: GARY stands alone, holding the photo album for the last time.

GARY: Okay. The last page. Here goes.

GARY flips the photo album to the last page and touches it. ADDISON enters carrying the sign to 494 Reading Ave. After setting it, she takes her spot next to GARY.

ADDISON: If you’re reading this, you’ve probably figured it out by now. As soon as I knew what was happening, I wanted to leave you a lasting good-bye, something only for you. I had no idea if it would work, but I had to try. I left all these messages for you. I must’ve looked like a crazy person. Standing alone in my room, talking to emptiness, clutching an empty photo album. I felt like a crazy person. It was far from empty though. I’m sorry things turned out this way. I’m sorry we didn’t have more time. I want you to make lots of new memories. You can think of me every once in a while. Every accidentally lewd joke you make. Every vanilla wafer you eat. Even when you finally drink that tempranillo we never shared. I’m going to put some music on. A personal favorite. It’s kind of mopey, but I can’t think of a better song. (ADDISON pantomimes putting a record on. Shirley Horn’s “You Won’t Forget Me” begins to play again.) I don’t know if you’ll be able to read this again when it’s over. I may sound like I have this all figured out, but I don’t, okay? So I want to try one last thing. Place your hands, palms down, over mine. Get them as close to mine as you can without touching.

GARY does so.

ADDISON: Can you feel anything..? I think… This is crazy. I think I can.

GARY: Yes. Yes, I can.

(The two stand there like this silently. Then Gary shuts the photo album.)

GARY: The End.

BLACKOUT

END OF PLAY

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