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James, The Gun, and The Consequences
James London, a tall, brown-haired man, young, mild faced with a big smile, an accountant at a law firm, recently deceased
Lucy London, his wife, small, blond and pretty in a mild, easy way, a writer
Bryan Jeffries, James’ best childhood friend, 23, an illustrator, heavy drinker
Sarah Kent-London, James’ mother, small and round, a grandmotherly figure, devoutly religious
Mike London, James’ father, a tall, round man, gruff and unemotional, a prior army general
Lights up on one corner of the stage. Lucy kneels on the edge of the stage. Behind her is a living room scene, small, as in an apartment. White walls, curtains over unopened windows, sofa and small table. Lucy wears a black dress, hair in a bun.
Lucy (Sadly, looking upwards, hands clasped as though in prayer): James? Can you hear me, James? Oh, I hope you can, because I’ve so much to tell you and so much more to apologize for. I never meant to hurt you, James. What I did with Bryan was nothing, I promise. Nothing more than a slip of judgment, a mouth and a body loosened by Budweiser and some other cheap beer, I can’t remember which. And, you weren’t here, James, and…and Bryan was, you know? Bryan was here, and I was here, and it just seemed logical at the time but it wasn’t, James! It wasn’t any more logical than our marriage, or than that dumb job you took at the law firm so that I could stay home and write, even though you never wanted to work in an office…it wasn’t any more logical than the gun.
Lights up in the other corner of the stage. Bryan half-stands, half-leans against a table covered in empty bottles. A vase stands in the middle. Dead flowers. Backdrop of basic room, a bit grimy, sketches and paintings on the walls. Bryan wears a slightly yellowed white tee shirt beneath a black jacket, dark jeans, boots.
Bryan (Absolutely drunk, slurring, dead in the eyes): Hey, man, I wassatcher funeral today. Sounds nuts, dussnit? I wassatcher funeral. Saw Lucy atcher funeral. She was sad, man, real sad. She really loved you, man. ‘An I’m real sorry I was the one to ruin it feryou. Real, real sorry, man. ‘An I’m not sogood at talking so I’m glad they di’n as’ me to read atcher funeral, but if I’d had to, I woulda said what a good man y’were, James. ‘An how much I wish I coulda been like you.
Lights up center stage. A bedroom scene. Very homey. Light blue, frilly bedspread on large bed. Red Persian rug, dressers, curtains etc. Sarah sits on the edge of the bed, legs swinging like a child’s. Her hair is in rollers. She wears an old-fashioned, light pink nightgown. Mike lies on the bed across from her, on top of the blanket. He wears a pair of faded blue and green pinstripe pajama bottoms, a white tank top. He is unshaven, disheveled, white haired.
Sarah: …the power and the glory, for ever and ever, amen. (a pause, long and heavy). Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. Oh, James. Why? Oh dear, James, oh dear. (another pause). James? Remember the time, when you were five and it was the night before kindergarten, and you had nightmares? You came in here crying and my heart near broke but I yelled at you for waking me up and told you to go back to your room? I’m so, so sorry, James. I’m sorry for fighting with you over your music, even though rock music is sinful. I’m sorry for that Prom when you came home drunk and I told you that you were no son of mine. I’m sorry that I didn’t come to your wedding, James. So very sorry. It’s true, you weren’t married in a church, and true, you married outside the church, in fact you married outside any religion, but Lucy is a good girl anyway. James, she’s carrying your baby. A little girl, she said. She’s going to name it Jamie, after you, and Sarah, after me. Jamie Sarah London. It’s a beautiful, beautiful name. I just wish you were here. I wish I could have seen you one last time.
Mike sits up as Sarah lies down, stands, methodically and jerkily as though in a trance, walks to the mirror in the semi-darkness, stares at his unshaven face.
Mike: He looked like me. Smaller, though, a bit darker, that’s to account for Sarah’s side, I suppose, but like me in the face. Poor guy. (Chuckles ruefully, single tear). It’s like I’ve lost a part of me. It’s like, when I smashed my knee and couldn’t play football anymore, I though that was loss. But now I see. And I would give up both my knees, I would never touch a football again if it meant having him back. He wouldn’t want to come back, I understand that. He’s gone wherever people go after, Sarah say’s it’s Heaven but I don’t know. Can he even hear me? James? I know we parted on bad terms because of your mother, but I miss you. So much, every day. It’s like a part of my heart has been crushed and is sitting at the bottom of my gut, slowly decomposing. Pretty soon it’s gonna be gone, James. Gone. GONE, DAMMIT! GONE, JAMES, AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU’RE HURTING ME, JAMES. YOU’RE SO GODDAM STUPID SOMETIMES, YOU’RE SO STUPID! YOU NEAR KILLED YOUR MOTHER WHEN YOU KILLED YOURSELF, KID. DO YOU KNOW THAT? YOU NEAR KILLED HER. NOT TO MENTION YOUR WIFE AND…and me, dammit. (Smashes mirror in a fit of rage. Shards fall everywhere. Sarah sits up sharply and looks at her husband, who is doubled over and sobbing, blood on his hand. She stands, goes to him, puts her arm around his shoulder. Lights down.)