Today’s two scenes are a lot darker than most other stuff I’ve written before. The prompt was:
Write a play that moves backward in time.
I decided to use a play idea that I’d been working on a long time ago, but had never really written into a full script. So today I’ve written the scene just after the climax of the play, and the scene that contains the big climax. I could have kept writing and written the one before, but it’s late, I’m tired, and this is enough for one day!
Here’s my script:
Night. Aidan (19) is sitting at the kitchen table, slight blood splatters all over his clothes. He shakes. Abbey (30) looms over him, absolutely furious.
ABBEY: You’re a fucking idiot! Look at you. You had everything ahead of you, every fucking thing just thrown at your feet. What were you thinking?!! What were you actually thinking?!
AIDAN: I thought you wanted -…
ABBEY: No, you didn’t. You knew exactly what I wanted.
The sound of Gemma crying from the next room.
ABBEY: She’s not crying over him, you know. She’s probably crying for you. Because you fucked it all up. Jesus, Aidan.
AIDAN: I don’t know… Oh God, my parents…
ABBEY: Yes, your parents will find out. And the neighbours. And every one of your friends, and every one you have ever known. Your kindergarten teacher will find out you did this. That is how fucking stupid you are.
Police sirens are heard, and a red light flashes through the windows.
ABBEY: You know I wanted to do it.
The lounge room. Earlier.
Christine (60ish) and Gemma (40s) sit on either end of a couch.
Aidan lounges in an armchair, while Chandani (mid 20s) perches on another chair. Abbey stands by the mantelpiece.
They are wearing the remnants of their costumes, although some parts have been removed or become squished up by now.
The only sound is the radio playing – a top 40 station playing upbeat pop and dance. Gemma tries to smile at everyone, to ease the tension, but it’s not working.
A toilet flushes, and David – 30s – enters. He’s not really in a costume, he just looks like he came straight from work. He plonks down right between Gemma and Christine, squishing them.
DAVID: God, that was a big piss. Must have sounded like an elephant trunk just… you know… shooting lots of water out.
He laughs. Chandani stands up and gathers her things.
CHANDANI: Sorry, I have to go. I have to… um.
DAVID: Gotta go pray, do you? Parents give you a curfew – strict parents?
CHANDANI: Gemma, Happy Birthday, thank you so much for inviting me. You made a really lovely dinner.
GEMMA: Oh, no problem, sweets. It was great to see you again.
ABBEY: It’s ok, Chandani, everything’s fine.
CHANDANI: I really, really can’t stay.
ABBEY: I get it.
Abbey hugs Chandani. Chandani holds Abbey’s hands and looks into her face, studying her, urging her to be careful.
ABBEY: It’s fine.
DAVID: Ohh, get a room, ladies! Actually, no, don’t, just do it here! Aye? Do it, like, here on the coffee table. Hurh hurh hurh.
DAVID: (yelling out to her) See you Monday!
CHRISTINE: It is getting a bit late, isn’t it?
AIDAN: Let’s play a game.
AIDAN: Yeah, someone must know a game we could play.
DAVID: Strip poker! Nah, that wouldn’t work, the only one with the good tits just left.
Gemma’s face falls.
DAVID: ‘S a joke!
Gemma walks out, trying to hide her face.
DAVID: Seriously, babe, that was a joke. Urgh, God, this is meant to be a party. Lighten up, people, you’re acting like it’s a bloody, I don’t know. What’s that thing called after people are buried?
AIDAN: A wake.
DAVID: No, not like you’ve been asleep. Dead, buried, after the funeral.
Abbey exits to go check on Gemma.
DAVID: Fuck, they’re dropping like flies.
CHRISTINE: I need to get home.
DAVID: Didn’t you say you were divorced?
AIDAN: She has cats.
CHRISTINE: Thank you, Aidan.
AIDAN: let’s play a game where we all go around and say something really nice about Gemma –
DAVID: Ugh, like some faggy kumbayah singalong.
AIDAN: Because it’s her birthday, and we should tell her that we love her.
DAVID: She’s not even here –
AIDAN: Yes, David, obviously when she comes back. Obviously when she’s back we’ll tell her those things so she can actually hear them.
CHRISTINE: I think it’s a lovely way to end the night.
DAVID: Christ, that’s a bit of pressure.
AIDAN: Just tell her why you love her. You do love her, right?
Gemma and Abbey return. Gemma is sniffly, but is now smiling, trying to keep her dignity. Abbey stalks behind, looking furious.
AIDAN: Well, you can go last, so you’ve got time to think about it.
ABBEY: Go last with what?
AIDAN: Telling Gemma why we love her.
GEMMA: Oh, what? No!
AIDAN: And I’m going first. (He stands and holds up his drink) This is a toast to Gemma. Happy Birthday, you beautiful golden mermaid. You have always been so kind to me, always full of hugs, always ready to smile and make everything in the world seem like rainbows. I can’t understand how you continue to smile, continue to see the good in everything and everyone, no matter what’s going on. You are radiant. I hope you see that. I hope you look in the mirror and see your fucking radiance shining out all over the world.
GEMMA:Aidan, you’re such a sweetie.
DAVID: Orright! Geez, I’m just here.
CHRISTINE: I’ll try to follow that. Gemma. I have only known you a few months, since I was dragged into this crazy little group by the infamous Miss Abbey. What a whirlwind. I feel… extremely lucky to have met you. Aidan is correct; you are so optimistic, so positive. And I think that one often associates optimism with naivete, but you’re not. Not at all. There’s something about you that is so at peace, so wise, that you have surpassed all the problems of the world and have decided to only see the good.
GEMMA: Oh, not always!
CHRISTINE: No, probably not all the time. But you are strong and kind.
And you deserve a better relationship.
A slight tense beat.
GEMMA: Um, maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore.
DAVID: You talking about me?
DAVID: Who the fuck you think you are, you old bitch?
GEMMA: David, it’s my birthday.
DAVID: This dried up old cunt. You don’t know shit.
CHRISTINE: I’m going to go.
DAVID: What, she deserves better than me? I’m raking in five figures, you see my BMW out there?
CHRISTINE: Thanks for the party, Gemma.
DAVID: No, you sit your fat arse down. I’m not done. When I say you can go, you go.
ABBEY: Shut up, David.
DAVID: You watch it, Abbey, or you’re next.
ABBEY: Oooh, watch out everyone.
He slaps Abbey across the head. Not hard enough to do too much damage, but shocking enough that everyone jumps.
Aidan stands up and leaves the room.
DAVID: You know what, it’s my fucking turn. My turn for the game.
ABBEY: No, it’s not.
DAVID: You want another backhander?
ABBEY: Go on.
DAVID: You’re not even worth it.
ABBEY: It’s my turn!
ABBEY: It was my go. Gemma, you know I –
DAVID: I was talking!
ABBEY: I love you because you took me in when my Mum didn’t want me, but –
DAVID: I WAS TALKING!
ABBEY: But this man is the worst piece of shit on Earth –
DAVID: IT’S MY TURN!
ABBEY: And if you won’t leave him, then –
DAVID: SHUT UP!
ABBEY: Fine! Go. Tell her how much you love her.
DAVID: It’s MY TURN. For fuck’s sake, I’m just meant to put up with this, am I Gemma? I’m meant to stand here and let these bitches tell me I’m a piece of dog shit, and then tell you how wonderful you are? You’re a coward, Gem. You let these fucking crazies walk all over you, tell you to quit, to give up, and now they’re telling you to quit us.
Look, you’re hot and everything when you’re up on stage, under those lights, but the reality is you aren’t getting younger and you don’t really have your pick, do you?
You’re getting older, so maybe it’s time to get wiser. Work out who’s really looking out for you, who really wants to protect you, and stick with that.
You surround yourself with pathetic people, that’s what you become.
ABBEY: You’re such an arsehole.
Aidan re-enters, staying in the doorway.
DAVID: (to Abbey) And the day you quit I just went and jizzed all over your desk and headset because I was so fucking happy that I wouldn’t have to work with you ever again. You are seriously the most worthless –
Aidan pulls out the gun and fires.