Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those Damn Coyotes: Act One, Scene 1

The third and final piece done for my creative writing course, the opening scene of a play.  I used to write short, one act plays quite often in high school but have since fallen out of the practice.  Doing this piece was quite eye-opening and I learned a lot about the medium much like I did during the writing of my screenplay.  Enjoy.



SCENE: A pale-colored living room.  The front door stands stage right.  The entryway to the kitchen is out stage left.  A third door stands upstage center, MARTIN’S room.  Next to it, upstage left, hangs a large painted portrait of a calico cat with a dark mask of fur covering both eyes.  Shelves of books and decorative knick-knacks line the walls.  A new looking, brown leather couch covered in throw pillows sits center stage.  A long, glass-topped coffee table sits in front of it.   A window upstage right reveals the dark night outside.

MARTIN sits on couch, grips pillow.  Doorbell rings.

MARTIN
Thank god.
(stands and walks to front door)
Let’s get this done with.

Opens door, ROBERTO enters.  MARTIN hugs ROBERTO.

MARTIN
Thank you!  I know, I know.  It’s weird to ask you here so late, asking you at all.

ROBERTO
Hey look, you call and I come running, that’s how it works.

MARTIN
Look, Rob, this is going to sound weird but I have a really big favor to ask.  Don’t even bother taking your shoes off.  Won’t take long.

ROBERTO
What’s up? 

MARTIN
It’s Bandit.

ROBERTO
Bandit?

A long, high-pitched howl is, followed by several short barks and several shorter howls.  The two stop and listen.

ROBERTO
What the hell?  You got wolves?


MARTIN
No, coyotes.  We’ve had a problem with them for years.

ROBERTO
Sounds like they’re having a party.

MARTIN
They tend to get like that on warm nights.

ROBERTO
I bet that’s what I saw running across the way.  Looked like wild dogs.

MARTIN
Roberto, please, pay attention.  I need your help.  It’s about my mother’s cat.

MARTIN points at painting.

ROBERTO
What about it?

MARTIN
He uh…had an accident.

ROBERTO
What kind of accident.

MARTIN
Remember, you promised you’d help.

ROBERTO
Is your face bleeding?

ROBERTO touches MARTIN’S forehead.

MARTIN
Still? 
(touches the spot, muttering)
Goddamnit.

ROBERTO
Where is it?

MARTIN
In my room.  On the bed.  I tried.  Really I tried. 


ROBERTO
How’d it happen?

MARTIN
I don’t know.  Some sort of stroke?  Some sort of cat stroke most likely.  Bandit was old.

ROBERTO
And that scratch?

MARTIN
He was on my bed when he started to spasm.  I tried to help.  Tried to keep him still but he was flailing everywhere, claws and fur all in my face.  Please, just get him out of there, I can’t let my mother come home and see him lying limp and flat.

ROBERTO
You lucky I love you.  Okay, alright, how do you want this done?

MARTIN
There’s a box.  A big shoebox.  Right inside the door, on the floor.  It should be big enough.  I tried, I really did. I almost threw up.  I had my hands on it.  I had its fur gripped in my hands and I couldn’t move.  Started gagging, dry heaving.  was thinking about it being dead.  A dead thing in my hands, on my bed, in my room.  I don’t want to sleep tonight.  I want it gone, put in a box, somewhere clean-looking then put in the ground where I don’t have to think about it.

ROBERTO
Calm down, be calm.  I’ll take care of it.  Sit down.  Just relax.  I’ll get it done.

ROBERTO kisses MARTIN on the lips. ROBERTO exits through door upstage.  MARTIN sits.

MARTIN
She loves, loved, that cat.  Loved it like a furry son.  Oh god.  She won’t take this well.  Can’t wait for this night to be over.


ROBERTO enters, carrying shoebox.

ROBERTO
You weren’t kidding, nasty.  I don’t know what went down in there, but there’s still a whole lot of mess.  Piss, shit, throw-up everywhere.  Fucked up.  I hope he died quick.

MARTIN
Seemed like it took forever but probably only a couple of seconds.

MARTIN stands.

MARTIN
Thank you, you have no idea how much this has been hanging over my head.

ROBERTO
Well, there you go, you can let it hang wherever you want now.

ROBERTO shoves the box into MARTIN’S hands.  MARTIN takes hands away, letting the box fall.

MARTIN
What are you doing?

ROBERTO
You said put it in a box.  You said all you needed was for it to be in a box, nice and clean, and then you’d be good.

MARTIN
I know I said that but I need it gone.  So take it, I need it gone.  Now.

ROBERTO
I’m not the one to take it.  You said you needed a favor and I did it.  I picked up that cold, dead little cat with dead open eyes and placed him in there all nice and neat.

MARTIN
Baby, please.  All I’m asking is that you take it in your truck.  Drop it off far from here. In a dumpster, an empty lot, by the side of the road.  I know you know some good places.

ROBERTO
So because where I live ain’t as clean as here?  Because it’s plenty dirty, right. Trash strewn everywhere,  so it’s okay to just drop your dead cat off anywhere on my block.  It’ll blend right in, right?  Blend in perfectly with all those brown people, maybe somebody might even make a meal outta your dead cat, how nice, is that your thinkin’?

MARTIN
Don’t make this about that, it’s not even.  Why does it always have to be about that?

ROBERTO

Why is it that the first time you let me come over to your mother’s nice and perfect house in your nice and perfect little neighborhood, is when you got some dead cat you need me to get rid of.


MARTIN
It’s not me.  It’s her.  The way she is.

ROBERTO
I wouldn’t know, I never get a chance to meet her.  You just assume the worst, don’t you?

ROBERTO begins to exit out front door.

MARTIN
No, wait.

He picks up box.

MARTIN
I can do it myself.  Sorry.  My mother probably won’t be home until morning.  She’s out drinking.  Don’t leave.  We can sit and talk, watch a movie.  I’ll put the box away and we won’t think about it.  Really.

ROBERTO
So now I’m good enough?  I’m worthy of taking my shoes off and kicking back?

MARTIN
Rob, don’t be difficult.

ROBERTO
Me?   You’re the one.  The one who invites me over just to pick up your dead cat, like I’m some sort of garbage man.  I’m trying to be nice about it.  I don’t want to push.  You told me how it is with your mother, that she’s a bit uptight, old school. Fine.  That’s cool.  Push me out the door.  Get rid of me too.  See if I come back.

The doorbell rings three times followed by loud knocking.

WOMAN’S VOICE
(muffled)
Martin, Martin?  Open the door?  I lost my key.

MARTIN
Oh god, she’s home.  Oh god!

MARTIN exits to kitchen with box. He enters empty-handed, then exits into door upstage. He enters again with sheets and blankets in his arms.  Again he exits stage left. The ringing doorbell and knocking continues. KELLY occasionally calls out his name.  MARTIN reappears, takes a deep breath, and opens the front door, allowing KELLY to enter.

KELLY
About time.  You hear those damn coyotes?  Could’ve been eaten alive!  Were you having a bowel movement?

MARTIN
Mom, I’d like you to meet –

KELLY
(notices ROBERTO)
Oh, well hel-lo papi.

KELLY puts an arm over ROBERTO’s shoulder.  She embraces him. 

MARTIN
Mother…this is Roberto…

KELLY
Hello, Roberto.  To what do I owe the appearance of such a fine, young, strapping Latin man in my house?  Is it my birthday?

She laughs, slaps ROBERTO on the chest.

MARTIN
No. Roberto is my boyfriend.

ROBERTO pulls away from embrace.  Extends a hand to KELLY.

KELLY
Oh! 

KELLY hugs ROBERTO, feeling him up.

KELLY
So good to meet you!  Martin never brings his lovers home. So glad to know he has good taste!

ROBERTO
Lovers?  How many?

MARTIN
Mother…

KELLY
Hush.  Teasing you, Roberto knows.

ROBERTO
You told me there were two other guys.  Nothing heavy. 

MARTIN
She’s trying to start trouble.  It doesn’t help that she’s drunk.

KELLY
I am not.  A little flushed, yes, but not bad.  I drove from Ruby’s, how bad could I be?

MARTIN
Why are you back?

KELLY
Bad night. Bad vibes. One too many beer-bellied businessmen taking peaks down my shirt.

ROBERTO
Should I go?

KELLY
No! You must stay.

She puts hands against ROBERTO’S chest.

KELLY
You’re over 18, right?

MARTIN
Of course he is, mother.

KELLY
Really?  Really!  That’s fantastic!  That means you can have a drink with me.  Let’s all have one, make it a party. 

KELLY moves to the kitchen.

KELLY
Tequila’s your drink, right?

KELLY stops in front of Martin’s room. She sniffs the air.

KELLY
I don’t know how many times I’ve told you.  Clean Bandit’s litter box every day.  Goddamn, the house stinks.  And where is my baby.  Bandit baby!  Mama’s home!

KELLY makes kissy sounds.  MARTIN leads KELLY to the couch.

MARTIN
He’s sleeping, I’m sure.

KELLY
I want to see him, wake him up.  Bring him to his mommy.


MARTIN
You need to get some sleep.  You can see him in the morning.  Rob has to get going.

MARTIN lays KELLY down on the couch.

MARTIN
Maybe we can all have dinner together?

KELLY
That’d be so fun, so fun.  Tomorrow night?  That would be excellent…I can do Cornish hens, cute little Cornish hens.

KELLY falls asleep.

ROBERTO
Sounds great.  Real great. Tomorrow?

MARTIN
Say at seven?

ROBERTO slowly and quietly exits through front door.  MARTIN stands over KELLY. Lights fade.


END SCENE