Just a snippet of something I have been working on. It’s a work in progress. The idea came to me in playwriting class and I have been working on several scenes since.
Written by: Chrisnelle Young
Setting: Living room of a house. There is a couch RC and a coffee table DC with a chair to the left of it at DLC. There is a bookshelf in the background and a rolling bar. Nick is sitting on the couch, turned slightly away from Jen. Jen is standing LC facing Nick.
Nick: You don’t have to try to make me feel guilty.
Jen: I’m not.
Nick: I already feel guilty.
Jen: I told you, I’m not not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m upset…but… I don’t know.
I’m just trying to understand.
Nick: (Finally turns to her) That’s it. You can’t understand. (Gets up X to bar and starts messing around and such) You’ll never be able to understand.
Jen: (X DLC and sits in chair) I know I can’t really understand. I’ve never been to war.
Nick: No shit.
Jen: I want to try though.
Jen: (interrupting) To understand! From what I’ve read…
Nick: (getting angry) YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND! (beat)
What you’ve read? That’s how you try? From what you read about… hell…God knows who. Probably someone who doesn’t know shit. REALLY? (X down to DC by coffee table sets drink on table)
Jen: Well…you know what I mean. I can’t put myself into your shoes. I can’t really know. But I can empathize. I can try to get a better understanding if you just let me in. Share a little.
You’ve changed so much. We can all see it. You’re not the same Nick. (BEAT) You used to be so happy. It’s gone. I want to help bring that back.
Nick: It can never be brought back.The fact that you say that. That’s why you will never understand. (beat)
And you know what?
You don’t want to know.
Jen: But. I. Do…(gets interrupted)
Nick: (interrupts Jen) No. you. don’t. You don’t want to know of all the crazy shit I had to do. You want to “bring back” the old me. He’s gone. I left him there in Iraq. The things I’ve seen. What I went through. What I did. It changes a person. (beat) I’m changed.
(X and sits back down on couch, takes a drink)
Jen: Everyone was asking where you were.
Nick: (sarcastic laugh/snicker/rolls eyes) What did you tell them?
Jen: Nothing…really. I mean… I just said I didn’t know where you were. You were supposed to be there. (beat) Actually I got a call from the priest, and I made up some lie that you were sick…or something. I lied to him. Straight up. And you know what? He caught me. He said, “that’s funny, I saw your brother outside the church after.” (Shakes head) I straight up lied to the priest.
Nick: You know what. Fuck him. Who cares.
Jen: I do! I lied to a priest.
Nick: Well, maybe you shouldn’t have lied.
Jen: Well, maybe you should have come inside the church instead of hanging around outside. Then I wouldn’t have had to lie.
Nick: Come inside?
Jen: Yes. Inside Nick. With everyone else.
Nick: Jesus Jen. You don’t get it.
Jen: It can’t be that hard. Just pretend. Act like a normal person.
Nick: Pretend? (laughs)
Ok…you want to know? You want to know why I didn’t come inside? I didn’t want set foot inside that church. (reasoning) I was about to. I thought I could do it. But once I was there… DAMN. (Finally gets up, X right and around to behind the couch and X L towards Jen)
Jen: Just tell me, Nick. (reaching towards him)
Nick: (pullin away, draws in) As kids we were taught “Thou shall not kill.” One of the ten commandments. Right?
Jen: Yeah? And…I’m not understanding…
Nick: Shit. I don’t even know why I didn’t set foot inside there. But all I know is that it wasn’t right. I’m not right.
Jen: There’s nothing wrong with you. You just have to adjust. Go back to living your normal life.
Nick: It can’t be like before.
Jen: You’re not in Iraq anymore.
Nick: I’m not ready to. And I’m sorry I said I would be the godfather. I’m sorry I missed his baptism. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t be that. I can’t be a figure to look up to. Especially after what happened.
Jen: What happened Nick?
Nick: We were on this mission. Some small town in Iraq. Up ahead I see this kid and…I guess his father walk out. You know. Nothing of it. Except…then… as we got closer the father started acting funny. Something we learned in training. Watch for the signs. You are also taught these fuckers are sneaky. Don’t trust them. Then the kid started coming toward us. Trying to get us to slow down. A kid. They used their god damn kids. The kid turns and looks toward his dad. His dad has something in his hands. It’s all so blurry, so confusing… But I realize at that point his dad is gonna kill us. The kid realizes that we are gonna kill him. Tries to get me to stop. Starts to cry, tears running down his eyes. I’ve got my boys to protect. We need to make it through this mission. I did what I had to do. I shot him.
Jen: (confused and shocked) You shot who?
Nick: The kid’s dad.
Jen: Oh my gosh, Nick…
Nick: And this kid is just crying, looking at me. I can still see his face. The sadness. I had to do it. Right? I mean, damn.
Crazy thing is, I almost shot the kid too.
Thanks for taking the time to read. This is my work. Please do not steal. 11/18/2015