This is the first three acts of a play I'm writing. Please read and give feedback
|Will I Wake Tomorrow From This Nightmare
Center stage is two prep tables, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the audience, about ten feet apart. On them are the hastily abandoned components of a dish, a butcher’s knife, a few scattered utensils, and a mixing bowl with batter inside. A busboy cart filled with dishes is behind the first table. Stage right is doors leading to the front of the house. Each door has circular windows looking out onto the restaurant. Stage left is a door leading to the back alley that’s jammed shut. Lights up on a group of people clustered in front of the prep tables. Isaac and Tony sit in the aisle between the tables with their backs to stage right. Isaac sits in half turned to the door, looking over the table off right. Tony sits curled with his head in his hands, sobbing. Sitting across from them are Frank and Marie Ann. Marie Ann is trying to get close to Frank and he keeps shaking her off. On the other side of the stage left table sits Danny, in a posture that reflects a mix of disbelief and annoyance. Off stage right, sounds of gunfire and Greek shouting can be .
Danny: Shut up, (Tony keeps sobbing) Shut up, (Sobbing) FUCKING SHUT UP! God, it’s hard enough to understand what the hell is going on here without your incessant baby crying.
Isaac: Hey give him a break, he…
Danny: If you say he’s been through a lot I will find a knife and cut your balls off. He’s been through exactly what the rest of us have been through. We’re all the same here.
Marie Ann: Let’s all just calm down.
Danny: Calm down? Clam down? Like hell calm down! We are trapped in a kitchen while goons with ski masks and machine guns screaming in some strange language, who could be fucking AL Qaeda for all we know, massacre anyone in sight.
Marie Ann: Geek, not Arabic. They’re not AL Qaeda.
Danny: Well that makes everything ok then doesn’t it? I’m sure they’ll be much more willing to put down their guns now that we know they’re not terrorists.
Marie Ann: I never said that they weren’t terrorists; I just said they were Greek.
Danny: Well that’s great, now we know so much about them. Gimmie a fucking break. Better yet, get me a cigarette, I skipped my smoke break.
Frank: Fuck off asshole.
Isaac: Hey shut up. Look, fighting isn’t gonna get us anywhere. We just need to cool it and figure a way out of here. Back door?
Danny: Jammed, has been for months. Cheap ass owner of the place couldn’t be bothered to fix it, the bastard.
Isaac: Is there any other way out of here.
Danny: Sure, through the restaurant. (Burst of exceptionally loud gunfire) Who’s first?
Frank: Where’s the kitchen staff, couldn’t they help us try and get the back door open?
Danny: When the shooting started they all ran out to the front. Trying to be helpful I guess, for all the good that did.
Isaac: Then we’re gonna have to try it ourselves. Hey man, (shakes Tony) come one. We need every available person.
(Isaac begins moving towards the back door, motioning for the others to follow. Marie Ann starts to move)
Frank: (To Marie Ann) Sit.
Isaac: Every available person.
Frank: She’s no help. She can barely lift a sack of groceries. She’s weak, useless.
Isaac: Look, the only way that this is gonna work is if we use every available person. (To Marie Ann) Come on.
Frank: (To Marie Ann) Sit. (Glares at Isaac) I say she can’t so she can’t. End of story.
Marie Ann: It’s alright. I think I rolled my ankle getting back here. Really I wouldn’t be much help, really.
Frank: You see, what did I tell you? Useless.
(The four men steady themselves against the door)
Isaac: Ready? On three, one…two…three!
(With a mighty heave the men throw everything they’ve got at the door to no avail. It remains steadfastly jammed.)
Danny: Told you.
Frank: Well maybe if this baby here would actually push and not let the rest of us do all the goddamn work it might open.
Isaac: He did his part, we all did. Danny’s right, the door’s not budging.
Danny: How the hell do you know my name?
Isaac: Nametag genius. Danny Frances, dishwasher.
Frank: Kitchen staff? But you said all them ran out to the front. How the hell did you escape?
Danny: If you must know I ran out with them. Was helping people out through a shattered window when I was forced to take cover and escape back into the kitchen.
(Gunfire. Everyone takes cover. Shouting from the gunmen)
Tony: Oh god, oh god, oh god please don’t let me die.
Danny: God if you’re gonna take someone, take him. Please, save us from listening to his sniveling.
Isaac: Goddamn it shut the fuck up! He has as much right to live as the rest of us.
Marie Ann: Stop fighting! Please, I can’t take it. Please, please just stop. (Tense silence as the two men look at each other. Finally Danny gives a shrug and backs down) I can speak Greek. (Everyone looks at her with astonishment) I used to vacation there as a little girl, daddy made sure we were able to speak with the locals. I can understand what they’re saying.
Frank: Stop bragging Marie Ann. You’re nothing but a stupid girl who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, right?
Marie Ann: Right Frank, you’re right. It was a silly suggestion.
Isaac: No, no it was a great suggestion. Can you understand them?
Marie Ann: I can pick out some words; I can’t hear them very well.
Danny: What’ve they been saying?
Marie Ann: Something like “this is what you’ve done to us” or something like that. I’m not sure.
Danny: Oh god I need a smoke.
Isaac: Is there any way you can figure out what else they’re saying?
Marie Ann: If I get closer to the door maybe.
Isaac: Could you hide behind the busboy cart?
Marie Ann: I think so.
(Isaac and Marie Ann make their way over to the cart. They then push it so it’s about half way to the doors. Marie Ann couches down behind it and strains to listen to the gunmen as Isaac returns to the safety of the aisle)
Frank: Hey man, I’m sorry about my wife. She’s a pretty girl but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. There’s no way in hell she’s smart enough to order off a Greek menu, let alone speak it.
Isaac: All the same it may be our best bet to getting out of here.
Frank: Then we’re fucking screwed. What’s your name?
Isaac: Isaac, Isaac Logan. Yourself?
Frank: Frank Delrose, the wife’s name is Marie Ann.
Isaac: How long the two of you been married?
Frank: Twenty something years. After a while it stops being important.
Isaac: But she’s still your wife.
Frank: So what? Two years or twenty two years, it doesn’t really matter so long as she gets dinner right and remembers how you like things done.
Isaac: Is that all she is to you?
Danny: I’m not gonna lie, that’s pretty fucking screwed up man.
Frank: Shut up, how dare you tell me how to run my marriage? She’s my wife, my property.
Isaac: She’s not a dog! She’s a living, breathing person.
Tony: How could you say such a thing about her?
Frank: Shut up you big baby. (Frank slaps Tony, Tony responds by decking Frank in the jaw which sends him to the ground splayed out. It’s a fantastic sucker punch)
Tony: Oh my god! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!
Frank: You fucking little piece of shit! You fucking broke one of my teeth!
Danny: Good, maybe that means you’ll shut up.
Tony: It was a reflex, an honest to god reflex. I’m so sorry.
Frank: I’m gonna fucking kill you!
Isaac: You touch him and I’ll throw you to those Greek crazies who shoot anything that moves.
Marie Ann: I hear sirens. The police are here! (There are unanimous cries of “Thank God” and “Finally”) The gunmen are saying something. They’re saying they have hostages.
Isaac: What else?
Marie Ann: The police are shouting something now. It’s hard to make out but it has to be good right?
Isaac: Right. See you guys, everything is gonna be fine.
Lights change to indicate the passage of time. It is now several hours later and the situation has not improved. Frank is asleep against the table, hand still to his jaw. Tony is eating something from one of the tables, Isaac is pacing, Marie Ann is sitting against the busboy cart, and Danny hasn’t moved.
Danny: Someone please gimme a fucking smoke. God I’m going to go into withdrawal over here!
Tony: Why haven’t the police done anything? What’s going on?
Marie Ann: They’ve been too quiet for me to hear.
Isaac: I’m sure this is normal; they’re just sweating these guys out. Any minute now things are going to change and the police are gonna come save us. (Sit down, notices that Frank’s fast asleep) My god, how the hell can he sleep at a time like this?
Marie Ann: He could sleep through an earthquake. He probably won’t wake up for a few hours.
Danny: Great, we could use a little peace and quiet back here without another MMA fight.
Tony: I told you it was an accident. It was a reflex, he hit me first.
Danny: Whatever. All I care about right now is a fucking smoke.
(Lights go down on the rest of the group with a spotlight on Danny. Marie Ann moves over to him)
Marie Ann: Here, (Produces a box of cigarettes) to make up for the break you missed.
(Gives one to him then takes one for herself)
Danny: Thanks. Got a light?
Marie Ann: (Produces a box of matches. Proceeds to light hers then Danny’s.) I'm supposed to have quit, but I figured that one right now couldn't hurt.
Danny: Whose idea was it to quit? Your husbands?
Marie Ann: And if it was? Besides it's a filthy habit. Each one of these is twelve minutes off your life.
Danny: Considering the circumstances dying of lung cancer is the least of our problems. (Pause) Can I ask a personal question? (Silence from Marie Ann) Why do you let him push you around like that? Why don't you leave him?
Marie Ann: He's my husband, I'm his wife. Without him I'm nothing, I have no skills, no family, no friends, just him and him alone.
Danny: Sounds lonely, he doesn't seem like a guy who shows affection easily.
Marie Ann: He loves me, I know he does. And I love him, I trust him. He knows what's best for me.
Danny: Funny way of showing it. I bet when the shooting started he tried to save his own ass and left you high and dry.
Marie Ann: (Barely audible) He's been coming home later and later. It's nothing, he wouldn't do that.
Danny: He's got a penis, which means he could.
Marie Ann: No, he loves me.
Danny: But he loves himself more doesn't he? Look, I know guys like him. I was guys like him. Love'em and leave'em. Don't think twice.
Marie Ann: You're wrong, you don't know anything.
Danny: Maybe not, but maybe I'm right and you know I'm right. (Silence) So why don't you leave?
Marie Ann: I have nowhere to go; I have no skills and no one to go to.
Danny: Come on, what about your parents?
Marie Ann: I haven't spoken to my mother since my wedding day. Frank said that they disagreed with our choice to marry and it was better just to cut them out. He said that they would probably be thankful they never had to see me again.
Danny: Got another smoke?
Marie Ann: I used to dream of being a dancer. I used to be good. But Frank made me stop, said I was too old, too plain. Besides, I'm not brave enough to get up in front of people.
Danny: Well I don't know about that. That stunt you pulled earlier took some balls.
Marie Ann: What stunt?
Danny: You putting yourself in harm’s way to try and let us know what's going on. I'm pretty certain no one else in this room would have had the guts to do it.
Marie Ann: You think so?
Danny: Yeah I do. (Pause) What else did the gunmen say?
Marie Ann: What do you mean?
Danny: I’m not stupid Marie Ann, there was more shouting after you said they announced they had hostages.
Marie Ann: I didn’t hear them.
Danny: Your face says otherwise.
Marie Ann: You have to promise me that you won’t tell the others.
Danny: Scouts honour.
Marie Ann: They said that if the police did anything they didn’t like, that they would start shooting hostages.
Danny: Holy shit.
Marie Ann: I’m so scared.
Danny: Me too. (Puts his arm around her) I think if you aren’t scared at this point, you have no feelings.
Marie Ann: You really should get your arm off me, I’m a married woman. (She shifts but makes no attempt to move his arm off her)
Danny: I don’t think I’d go that far. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with it. We’re simply two people sitting together, sharing a smoke, and one of us thought the other was getting cold so he did the gentlemanly thing and put his arm around her to keep her warm. Besides, who else was going to do it? Your husband?
Marie Ann: No.
Danny: Exactly. Now, how bought you take that box of smokes back out and we cut twelve more minutes off our lives?
Marie Ann: Sounds good to me.
Danny: (Lights the cigarette and takes a drag) Here's to having the balls to do what others won't.
(Lights go down on the two of them smoking and a light comes up on Isaac and Tony)
Tony: How long have we been in here?
Isaac: Ten minutes, two hours, a thousand years. Time seems suspended in here.
Tony: I don't want to die.
Isaac: Stop talking like that. No one's going to die. I'm sure the police are specially trained for situations like this.
Tony: But they've just been sitting out there for hours!
Isaac: They're waiting for the right time. They know what they're doing.
Tony: Do you think they even know we're back here? The police I mean.
Isaac: Marie Ann said the gunmen announced they had hostages. I'm pretty sure everyone else in the restaurant is dead.
Tony: But how can we be sure? How do we know she didn't screw up the translation? What if they don't know we're back here and they just start shooting?
Isaac: We don't, but we have to take a leap of faith that they know we're here. It's all we've got. What's your name son?
Isaac: Tony what?
Tony: It doesn't matter.
Isaac: Well I'd still like to know. Tony "my last name doesn't matter" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
Tony: Tony Smith from Shreveport, Louisiana
Isaac: Well that's better. What do you do for a living Tony Smith from Shreveport, Louisiana?
Tony: Why do you want to know?
Isaac: I just feel like talking, it's a helluva lot better than the alternative. Besides, when this mess is over I want to take my kid somewhere and Shreveport sounds as good a place as any.
Tony: You've got kids?
Isaac: A daughter. Now come on, what do you do?
Tony: I don't live in Shreveport, I'm only from there.
Isaac: Question's still the same.
Tony: I don't have a job. (There's an awkward silence that lasts for several seconds. Neither is really sure what to say next.) You married?
Tony: Wife and daughter. Sounds like a sweat gig.
Isaac: The best. I couldn't imagine life without them. You?
Tony: Married? No, but I have a daughter. She lives with her mom back in Shreveport.
Isaac: You ever see her?
Tony: I can barely support myself, forget about child care. I haven’t seen her in over three years. (Pause) What kind of father am I who can’t even scrape together enough to see his kid? I’m such a goddamn failure.
Isaac: I’m sure that’s not true, that was one helluva punch you gave Frank earlier.
Tony: I used to box in high school, after a while that sort of thing just becomes instinctive.
Isaac: You ever box professionally?
Tony: I never made it that far. Junior year I got drunk at a party and me and this girl ended up fucking each other like animals on the living room couch. Nine months later I was a daddy and my boxing dreams went on the back shelf. You know the reason I came into the restaurant at all was because I had twenty bucks left to my name and I wanted to get a decent meal? After I was done I was going to go over to the Amtrak station and throw myself in front of a moving train. They wouldn’t be able to tell if it was suicide or not, so they’ll go back and forth for a while then they’ll give up and say it was an accident to save time so what little insurance I have will then be paid out to my daughter. But now I’ve realized that I don’t want to die. I want to see her again and be some kind of a dad to her. I want to live, oh god I want to live. (Pause) Isaac?
Tony: They’re not coming are they?
Isaac: I don’t know man, I don’t know.
Several hours later, still nothing. Most of the hostages are asleep with the exception of Tony, who is lying on top of the stage right table, and Danny who still sits with one arm draped over Marie Ann. It is now close to midnight and it is dark in the restaurant kitchen, the only lights are the flashing lights of the police cars through the windows in the kitchen doors.
Tony: "Do you not know me? I will tell you then:
I am he that conquers all the sons of men,
No pitch of honour from my dart is free,
My name is Death! Have you not heard of me?"
"Yes; I have heard of thee, time after time;
But, being in the glory of my prime,
I did not think you would have come so soon;
Why must my morning sun go down at noon?"
Danny: That was nice, yours?
Tony: I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to wake you.
Danny: Don’t sweat it; I’ve been awake for hours. Thinking, you know? (Gets up from beside Marie Ann and hops up onto the other table)
Tony: Yeah. It’s not mine; it’s from a poem called “Death and a Lady” by Lesley Burns. Last December when my heat got turned off, I went looking for a place to get warm and I ended up in this little bookshop on Avenue H. The owner said I could stay so long as I bought something so I picked the cheapest book I could find, a collection of poems for nineteen cents. I must’ve read that little book six or seven dozen times.
Danny: Seriously? You don’t strike me as the kind of person who’d be into that.
Tony: I wasn’t till it was a matter of heat or not. I figured I might as well read what I bought. Danny?
Tony: Why did you lie about saving those people? You were in here before the rest of us.
Danny: Shit man, I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t like what actually happened so I made up something that sounded better.
Tony: What did happen?
Danny: What do you think? I froze ok? When the gunshots started and everyone ran out of the kitchen, I fucking froze. Then I dropped to the ground and hid like a fucking coward.
Tony: It’s not like it was stupid. To go out there would have been suicide.
Danny: All the rest of them went out and were heroes.
Tony: All the rest of them are dead. (Silence. Tony gets up and goes to the kitchen doors. He peaks through the windows) Hey, hey there’s someone out there!
Danny: It’s a body.
Tony: No it’s alive, she’s alive! Hey, HEY! Isaac, wake up Isaac, someone’s alive out there.
(The rest of the hostages slowly wake as Tony goes around shaking them. He’s ecstatic at the idea someone else might be alive in the restaurant besides the five of them and the gunmen.)
Frank: What the hell are you screaming about? Jesus it’s the middle of the fucking night.
Danny: He says he sees someone alive out there. Some girl.
Isaac: No shit? You sure she’s not one of the gunmen?
Marie Ann: There weren’t any female voices earlier.
Isaac: How’s she look?
Tony: She looks hurt, hurt real badly. I don’t think the gunmen realize she’s still alive.
Frank: How do you know she’s still alive?
Tony: She waved at me, she’s alive. We’ve got to help her; we’ve got to go get her.
Isaac: Are you fucking out of you goddamn mind? That’s basically suicide by gunman. They’ll shoot you dead for certain.
Tony: Not if they don’t see me. I can be in and back with her in a couple of seconds. I’ve got to do this. (To Isaac) What if she was your wife or daughter? Wouldn’t you want someone to try and help her?
Isaac: If you’re going then so am I.
Tony: No, I have a better chance of not being seen if I go alone. (He walks to the door and stares out at the woman.) Here goes.
(For a few seconds it sounds like Tony may have actually done it. Suddenly a barrage of machine gun fire rips through the restaurant. The glass in one of the windows in the door shatters and people take cover, Frank and Isaac in the centre aisle while Danny shields Marie Ann behind the far left table. One of the doors opens as Tony drags Tina into the kitchen. The gunfire abates as the door closes.)
Isaac: Oh god.
Tony: Help us!
Danny: Where’s she hit?
(Scene should continue through this dialogue. Everyone including Frank rush over to help. Danny grabs a bottle of vodka and a rag from under the prep table)
Danny: Here, use this, it’ll kill any bacteria.
Marie Ann: Christ that’s a lot of blood.
Frank: Is she conscious?
Isaac: Barely. Miss, Miss, can you hear me? (Tina groans and tries to form words but can’t seem to. She instead motions to her nametag.) What? Nametag, Tina Genoese. You know her?
Danny: I’ve seen her once or twice; I think she’s a waitress. Holy fuck.
(Tina moans and passes out)
Frank: Congratulations you idiot, you just risked all our lives to save a corpse.
Tony: Fucking shut up. Help me get her into a sitting position.
(Tony, Isaac, Marie Ann, and Danny drag Tina over to one of the prep tables and sit her up against it, facing the audience.)
Marie Ann: Here, give me those. (She takes the bottle of alcohol and the rag from Danny and starts tending to Tina’s wounds.) It looks like she was shot a couple times. It looks bad.
(Tony tries to stand but only makes it about halfway up before he falls, clutching his side. Isaac pulls his hands away, they’re covered in blood and a dark red patch begins appearing on Tony’s side.)
Isaac: Holy shit man, Tony you’re bleeding. Fuck Tony you’ve been shot. Gimmie some of that.
(Grabs the vodka and rag from Marie Ann. He takes a swig before putting some more on the rag and tending to Tony.)
Tony: I can’t even feel it. It can’t be that bad if I can’t feel it right? (Isaac presses the vodka soaked rag to Tony’s wound. Tony intern screams out in pain.) AGGGGHHH! Fucking shit! What the fuck was that?
Isaac: Vodka, it’s the strongest alcohol we’ve got. Now hold still, this is supposed to help kill bacteria.
Tony: It hurts like a mother fucker is what it does. Good and holy shit.
(Shouting in Greek)
Danny: What are they saying?
Marie Ann: As a show of good faith, they say that they’ll release one hostage to the police.
Frank: It’s about fucking time.
Marie Ann: We’ve got twenty minutes to decide which one of us leaves.
Tony: It has to be her, she needs it the most.
Danny: We don’t even know if she’ll live for twenty minutes.
Isaac: Tony it has to be you, you need help.
Tony: No! We have to try and save her.
Isaac: (To Marie Ann.) Can’t you ask them if we can release anyone who’s wounded?
Marie Ann: Έχουμε αρκετές τραυματίες, μπορούμε να τους απελευθερώσει όλους?*~ (Shouting in Greek) They said only one, no exceptions.
Tony: Then it has to be Tina.
Frank: Fuck Tina! Fuck the rest of you. There is no way in fucking hell that I’m going to spend another fucking instant in here if I can help it. While you pussies play hospital for the rejects, I’m leaving.
Isaac: Like hell you are!
Danny: The only way you’re leaving here before the two of them, or the rest of us for that matter is feet first.
Marie Ann: (Grabs Franks arm.) Frank please, calm down.
Frank: Shut up you bitch! (Frank violently back hands Marie Ann knocking her to the ground. He then proceeds to give her a hard kick to the stomach.) Don’t you ever touch me again; you’re nothing but a stupid whore! (Turns to face the rest of the group, who have all watched this in a stunned silence.) Now, if the rest of you will move out of my way.
Danny: (After several seconds of stunned silence.) Get out. Get the fuck out.
Frank: Finally someone with reason. Get up Marie Ann and tell them a hostage is coming out.
Danny: For all I’m concerned you can take you’re fucking chances. Let them shoot your sorry ass if they feel so inclined. I don’t care who you are; nothing gives you the right to treat anyone that way.
Frank: What the fuck do you know? You’re a nobody and will always be a nobody.
Danny: Maybe, but I’d rather be a nobody then a bottom feeder. Get out, and when all this is over, I swear to god I’ll do everything I can to make it so you never get even a glimpse of her ever again.
Frank: She’s my wife; I’ll see her whenever I feel like it.
Danny: No, you lost that privilege the moment you hit her. I don’t know how you got her to marry you but she deserves a whole helluva lot better than scum like you. I’ll fight you, I’ve got some money. I’ll ruin you if you ever lay a hand on her again. Now go.
(Frank exits. The group listens but there’s no shooting.)
Isaac: Pity, I was really hoping they’d shoot his ass. (Danny tries to get close to Marie Ann, who is sobbing on the floor. But when he touches he shoulder she screams and pulls away.)
Danny: Marie Ann, it’s ok, it’s me, Danny.
Isaac: Leave her for now lad; the best thing for her right now is to be alone. Come on, you can help me care for these two.
(Isaac kneels next to Tony and Tina and begins to clean and dress the wounds as best he can. Danny instead rummages around under one of the tables before pulling out an open bottle of wine. He then takes it and walks over to the back door where he proceeds to sit and drink.)
Tony: Will she be ok?
Isaac: Hard to say, it looks like she was shot a few times.
Tony: Not her, Marie Ann. Is she gonna be ok?
Isaac: I don’t know. The man she loves just abandoned her, making it pretty clear he’d rather save his ass then hers. That’s gotta be a petty massive shock to the system.
Tony: (Motioning to Danny.) What about him?
(Isaac only sighs and shakes his head before returning to Tony’s wounds.)
Isaac: Here, drink some of this. (He offers Tony the bottle of vodka which Tony happily accepts, taking one or two long drinks.)
Tony: This stuff sure takes the edge off the pain. (Takes another long drink.) You know it’s funny, even when I was completely down and out I never once thought about drinking away my sorrows. The fear of repeating junior year made sure of that. But you know what? This stuff’s not so bad. Maybe I’ll become an alcoholic. (Begins to drink until the bottle is almost empty.)
Isaac: Well you’re not gonna start here. This is the only think we’ve got to clean your wounds and after you two I need to see if Marie Ann needs any help.
Tony: My god, do you think that any of us will wake tomorrow from this nightmare?
Isaac: God I hope so.
Tony: “When tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not there to see.
If the sun should rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry, the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we never got to say.”
Danny: You and your goddamn book of poetry.
(*Phonetic translation- Échoume arketés trav̱matíes, boroúme na tous apelef̱theró̱sei ólous)
(~Literal Translation- We have several wounded, we can release them all?)
Please note that this isn't finished. Please leave some constructive coments. Thanks!