Written by Joe Janes
10 of 365
(Lights up on Jason’s small apartment. Dressed in his modest business casual from work, he is carefully walking a hot bowl of tomato soup from the kitchen to a small table in the living room. He sets the bowl down and begins to eat. He sips away, slowly, spoonful after spoonful. All he is doing is quietly eating his soup. Offstage, from another apartment, we hear loud modern female country music start playing. Jason looks perturbed, but continues eating. Suddenly, the music stops cold.)
KEVIN (off)Goddammit, Renee, I was listening to that!
RENEE (off)Turn it the fuck down, Kevin! You’ll wake the baby!
KEVIN (off)I’ll listen to it however the fuck loud I want. (Music comes back on. Goes back off. Comes back on. Goes back off. We hear a slap. Jason looks shaken.) Oh, what, a big baby. Whatcha gonna do? Call the police? Oh, that’s right, you can’t. Your fuckin’ phone’s been turned off.
(Jason gets up and slowly walks towards the wall where the yelling is coming from.)
RENEE (off)You bastard! I may not have a phone, but we’ve got neighbors who have phones. Plenty of them!
KEVIN (off)Oh, that’s a great fuckin’ idea. Let’s get the neighbors to call the police. (He starts pounding on the wall.) Hey! Neighbor! Hey, Buddy! Getting an earful? Call the fucking police. Do it, buddy! Do it! Do me a favor and call the fucking police!
JASON (meekly)Uh…num, no, thank you.
KEVIN (off)What? Speak the fuck up! I can’t hear you?
JASONNo, thank you!
KEVIN (off, laughing)See that, Renee. He don’t want to call the police. He’s got better things to do. Don’t you, Neighbor!
JASON (more to himself)I have soup.
RENEE (off)Fuck you, Kevin. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I’m getting the fuck out of here. I’m taking the baby and I’m leaving.
KEVIN (off)Fine, get the fuck out of here! See if I care.
RENEE (off)Fine, fuckface.
(She slams the door.)
KEVIN (off)Tell your bitch queen mom I said hi and to go fuck herself, too!
(Jason still stands looking startled. We hear her foot steps go down the hall until she knocks on Jason’s apartment door on the opposite side of the stage. Jason moves towards the door, but is frozen. She knocks a few times until…)
RENEE (off)Hello? …I know you are in there…I can see you through the peephole…
JASONWho is it?
RENEE (off)Let me in, please. I’m your neighbor. I need to use your phone….Please…
JASON (opens door)Hi.
RENEE (entering)Thank, God. Thank you. Whew! I’m sorry you had to hear all that.
Oh, you know. Couples have their little spats.
(The female country music starts blaring, again.)
RENEEWow, that’s fucking loud. Excuse me, I mean, that’s effing loud. I’m Renee.
RENEEHi, Jason. Nice to be out of asshole central. I mean, a-hole central.
JASONShouldn’t you have a baby with you?
(She quickly exits and runs back to her apartment. Jason stands still in his apartment, listening. The music cuts off.)
KEVIN (off)Well, well, well, lookie whose come crawling’ back. You broke a record, that time!
RENEE (off)Cram it, Kevin! I just came to get the baby!
KEVIN (off)Maybe the baby don’t want to go!
RENEE (off)The baby wants to go. Our baby can’t stand you. Our baby thinks you’re an asshole, asshole!
(She slams the door.)
(Music starts up, again. Renee makes her way back in to Jason’s apartment carrying one of those car seat/carriers with the baby inside.)
RENEEIt’s okay, Travis. Mommy’s here and Jason’s here. Everything’s going to be fine, now.
JASONThe phone’s in the kitchen.
JASONAren’t you going to call the police?
RENEEOh, heck, no. Be more trouble than it’s worth. Kevin needs his job.
JASONBut he hit you.
RENEEHe what? Kevin? Kevin didn’t hit me.
JASONBut I heard it. Loud and clear. A big slap
RENEEI hit Kevin. And then he went and threw a hissy fit. His bark’s way worse than his bite.
(The music stops abruptly, again.)
KEVIN (off)Hey, neighbor. Hey! Sorry about the yelling! Hey, you there? You hear me?
JASONYes! I hear you.
KEVIN (off)I said I was sorry about all the yelling. Me and the missus, you know. We just go at it sometimes. Don’t mean nothing. We love each other; we just don’t seem to like each other very much. You know? I said, you know?
JASONYeah, I know. Sure.
KEVIN (off)My name’s Kevin… What’s your name?
KEVIN (off)Any way, Jason. It’s nice to meet you. You sound like a good man. Just wanted to say I’m sorry to be bothering you. My gal, she’s special. I’ll love her till the day I die.
KEVIN (off)Renee? What the fuck are you doing over there? (Kevin slams the door and run/stomps over to Jason’s apartment while yelling at Renee and bursts in. He and Renee get in to an unintelligible nose-to-nose shouting match with the baby being held between them. Jason grabs his bowl of soup and makes his way out the door. The yelling continues until we hear the female country music start up again. Kevin and Renee stop yelling for a second, look around, and then start yelling at each other, again. Lights fade.)
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