Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Week 49, Day 338 - "American Guitar Hero"

“American Guitar Hero”

Written by Joe Janes

12/22/09

338 of 365

Cast:

Dean, 12

Bruce, 50s

Kelly, 30s

(Lights up on Kelly sitting at a dinner table paying the bills. Dean enters. He is an awkward little boy with a “Hello Kitty” book bag. He gives his mom a kiss on the cheek.)

DEAN

Hi, Mom.

KELLY

Hey, Dean. How was school, today?

DEAN

It was all right.

KELLY

Getting better?

DEAN

Yeah, I guess.

KELLY

Enough with these bills. I’ll go get dinner started for us.

(She starts to exits.)

DEAN

Hey, Mom. You know you said I could invite a friend over after school some time?

KELLY (excited)

Yes. Did you make a friend?

DEAN

Yeah. Can I invite him in to play Guitar Hero?

KELLY

Sure! Sure, bring him in. I’ll get you some snacks and juice boxes. I knew things would work out.

(She exits. Dean opens the front door.)

DEAN

Hey, Bruce. I told you she would say okay.

(Bruce enters. He is a homeless vet in his 50s with a makeshift cardboard sign that says “Help A Homeless Vet.” He walks with a noticeable limp.)

BRUCE

Okay, kid. As long as it’s cool. I don’t want to cause any trouble. Got any food?

DEAN

Mom’s getting us some snacks.

BRUCE

Good. Good. Snacks are good. Nice place you got here.

DEAN (setting up Guitar Hero)

Thanks. Mom doesn’t like it. It’s smaller than our old place. Do you like Guitar Hero? You wanna play? I only have one guitar, but you can play it.

(Dean hands Bruce the guitar.)

BRUCE

An axe. Get ready for some thunder. Uh, there’s something wrong with your guitar here.

DEAN

No, no. It’s right. You hit the right colored button when you see it on the screen.

(A Fleetwood Mac song starts to play, something like “Go Your Own Way.” Bruce tries and messes it up. He hands it back to the kid.)

BRUCE

I don’t think I like this game.

DEAN

You just need more practice. I’ve played it a lot.

(Dean shows him and does really well.)

BRUCE

You’ve played that thing a lot.

DEAN

Yeah. I don’t have any friends.

BRUCE

You know, for all the time you put in to learnt to play that thing, you could have learnt to play a guitar. A real one.

(Kelly enters.)

KELLY

Dean, I have grape juice box and an apple. Which one does your friend- Who the fuck are you?

DEAN

Mom! Language!

BRUCE

Ma’am, it’s cool.

KELLY

It is not cool. Get the hell out of my house.

DEAN

Mom!

BRUCE

The boy invited me in. I don’t mean any harm. He said it was okay.

DEAN

He’s my friend.

KELLY

No, he’s not. When you said you brought home a friend, I thought you meant a classmate. Someone your age. He’s some homeless man. He doesn’t belong here.

BRUCE

I’ll be on my way-

DEAN

Can’t he stay, Mom? Please. We were playing.

KELLY

Playing what?

DEAN

Guitar Hero.

BRUCE

I was losing.

KELLY

You need to leave before I call the police.

BRUCE

No need. No need. Like I said, the kid invited me. I thought it was cool.

KELLY (seeing the sign)

Are you really a vet?

BRUCE

Yes, ma’am. Served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Back when it in vogue.

KELLY

Oh.

DEAN

My dad was in Iraq. He’s a hero.

BRUCE

Oh. That’s great. Where is he now?

KELLY

He’s not coming home.

BRUCE

I see. (Pause) Hey, look. I’ll get out of your hair, here. But, since you were willing to part with one of those juice boxes any way, do you mind?

KELLY

Oh, sure. Uh, grape or apple?

BRUCE

Grape sounds just about right.

(She hands it to him.)

KELLY

How on earth did you meet my son?

BRUCE

Oh, some kids were bugging him. I told them to skedaddle.

KELLY

Oh, Dean. You were being picked on, again.

DEAN

Yeah. They were playing keep away with my book bag.

KELLY

I’m going to call that principal, again.

DEAN

No, Mom. Please don’t do that.

BRUCE

If I may, Ma’am. I think you’ll greatly reduce little Dean’s potential of getting picked upon if you just get him a different bag.

KELLY

But he loves kitty cats.

BRUCE

Sure. Who don’t? But a boy at his age at school, that makes him a big target for bullies. I’d get him something a little more manly.

DEAN

Puppy dogs?

BRUCE

Don’t you like G.I. Joe or something like that?

DEAN

My mom and I don’t like violence.

BRUCE

Hey, what do I know? (He opens the door and gets ready to leave.) Tell you what, though. I’m always at the corner near the McDonald’s where all the kids walk by afterschool. I’ll keep an eye out for Dean. Make sure he gets home, okay.

KELLY

Thanks, Bruce.

BRUCE

Be a good soldier, like your dad, Dean. (He salutes Dean who salutes him back in a very effeminate way. Bruce shakes his head.) The next time someone plays keep away with that book bag, let ‘em keep it. That’ll show ‘em. (He exits.)

DEAN

Don’t you think he’d make a good friend, Mom?

KELLY

He makes a good person to know. How about that? Now, let’s see if we can get that smell out of the living room.

DEAN

Yay, Febreez!

(Dean runs off. Kelly looks concerned. Blackout.)

3 comments:

Aly said...

I like this one a lot... all but the ending. Not sure why, it just seemed kind of cliche for the mom to want to get the homeless person smell out and all. Everything else felt very genuine. I could be wrong, will see what others thought about the ending.

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Chris Othic said...

I really liked this one. Very solid. Some of the moments rang a little false for me (like Kelly's reaction when she walked in on Dean and Bruce), but I thought it was funny and poignant at times. This is the kind of scene that I think would be stellar with a little rewrite, just to massage some of the moments. It's the kind of scene I wish I had written!

Love the line about "you could've learned to play a real guitar by now."