Written by Joe Janes
93 of 365
(Lights up on Donny pacing around a small motel room. He wears his coat. The only semblance of luggage is an overstuffed garbage bag. He has a gun in his hand. There’s a knock at the door. Donny walks over to it and listens. There’s another knock.)
JOEY (off and also whispering)Yeah?
(Donny quickly open unlatches the door and pulls Joey in. He checks the hall to make sure no one else is out there. Satisfied, he shuts and locks the door.)
JOEYNice motel. Do the cockroaches turn down the bed at night?
DONNYNo. But the rats leave a dropping on the pillow every morning.
JOEYSo, what was so important you couldn’t tell me over the phone?
DONNYYou can’t tell anyone. You hear me?
JOEYJesus, did you rob a bank? Who’d you kill?
JOEYYou didn’t do a very good job. Want me to take a whack at it?
DONNYLook. I need you. I want you to join me.
JOEYSit down. Your pacing is making me all nervous.
DONNYI’m too worked up.
JOEYSit down and tell me what the heck is going on.
DONNYI’m going off the grid.
JOEYOh. OH. I’m sorry. I see. How long have you been on “the grid”?
DONNYI don’t know. Birth, maybe. When I was twelve and I got my social security number. I don’t know when it started.
JOEYWell, don’t you worry. Big brother will take care of you.
DONNYThat’s exactly what I don’t want. That’s why I’m going off the grid. I don’t want to have anything to do with Big Brother.
JOEYBut…I’m your big brother. And I know a thing or two about this. I used to have a problem with nasal decongestants.
DONNYI’m talking about the puppet masters. The people who put me on the grid and want to keep me there.
JOEYThis grid… do you snort it?
DONNYYou’re so wrapped up in it, you don’t even see it. The grid is the, uh, I don’t know what the grid is. I’m going off the radar.
JOEYHow many different drugs you taking?
DONNYNo, man. I’m going underground. I’m unplugging from the “world” as we know it. I tore up my social security card. I cashed out all my bank accounts. I cancelled all my utilities. I walked away from the house. I threw away most everything I own. All I have left is what’s in that garbage bag. As of this point, Donny Loomis, patsy of the government, no longer exists.
JOEYYou’re going to be homeless?
DONNYJust the opposite. The world will be my home. Wherever I am, is my home. Home is no longer the address on my shredded driver’s license.
JOEYHow will you eat?
DONNYYou kidding me? This country throws away more food than all the third world countries in the world combined consume. You want dinner? I got dinner. There’s a garbage bin in the alley between the motel and Fried Foods and Sundries. (He opens his garbage bag and pulls out a smaller paper bag.) I got pizza crusts, half a can of RC, a bag of perfectly good, albeit cracked, taco shells, some hot sauce packets, some deodorant samples.
JOEYJesus, Donny. I don’t know what to make of this. What the hell happened? You lose your job or something? Give me a deodorant sample.
(He does. Joey uses it.)
DONNYI woke up. And I suggest you do the same. They’ve got your hooks in you and you don’t even realize it. It’s dragging you down and you don’t even realize it. You’re a frog and you’re boiling.
JOEYDon’t call me a boiling frog. I don’t think that’s very nice.
DONNYI’m just saying, one day I’m sitting at my desk, paying bill after bill after bill and for what? Is that what the rest of my life is going to be about. Rolling a boulder up a god dam hill until I croak and it rolls over me on its way back down? No way. No more. I’m tired of being just a tiny ass cog in the machine. A machine that doesn’t care if I’m happy. It just wants me to be docile. It wants me to drink and watch TV and barely make ends meet. Keeping me miserable keeps the fat cats fat. No more. I quit everything. Fuck you government. Fuck you world. (He opens the door) You hear me? I said fuck you, world!
(Far offstage we hear “Fuck you, too, asshole!” Donny closes the door.)
DONNY (continuing)You’ve got to join me, Joey. They’re out to get you, man. This is a revolt. This is what they don’t want any of us to do. Get rid of everything.
JOEYWow. I don’t think I can get rid of my stuff. I just bought a new couch. I love that couch.
DONNYThey want you to love that couch. They want you to sit on your ass all day at work and all night at home. That way you don’t make any trouble.
JOEYWho’s this “they” you keep talking about?
DONNYYou know, they. Undisclosed location "they." Wire-tapping they. Bailouts and bonuses "they." They’re everywhere. But strip yourself of all the things they use to ID you, they can’t find you. You become invisible to them. I may no longer be Donny Loomis, but I’ll tell you what I am. A man.
(Joey stands up and hugs Donny)
JOEYI’ll do it! I’m jumping off the grid!
DONNYI’m proud of you.
(“Dancing Queen” by ABBA is heard. Joey takes his cell phone out of his pocket.)
JOEYOh, that’s me. I don’t recognize that number? Hello?
(Donny grabs the phone and begins to smash it on the floor with the butt of his handgun.)
DONNYI told you not to bring your phone! These things have GPS trackers in them. You idiot!
JOEYHey! I still have free minutes left!
(Outside, loud fire truck sirens are heard coming toward the motel. The two stop to listen. A helicopter is heard.)
JOEYWhat do we do now, Donny? What do we do?
DONNYI guess we see what’s on TV.
(They sit on the floor. Donny grabs a nearby remote and turns on the motel room TV. We hear the theme song to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Donny extends his arm and keeps the gun pointed at the door as they enjoy the wacky comedy antics of a young Will Smith. Sirens and helicopters get louder. Lights fade.)