Written by Joe Janes
123 of 365
(Lights up on Ned, in his underwear, making Jiffy Pop popcorn on the stove. Clancy, dressed, stands nearby watching, an odd mix of curiosity and concern on his young face.)
NEDWhat’s the matter, Clancy? Haven’t you ever had Jiffy Pop popcorn before?
NEDUsed to have it all the time when I was a kid. Good stuff. Have a seat. This shouldn’t take too long.
CLANCYThere’s no place to sit.
NEDSure there is.
CLANCYYou don’t have any furniture.
NEDSure I do. Here. Grab this. (He does) Just keep shaking it.
(Ned opens up the door to the balcony and brings in a cheap lawn chair.)
CLANCYWhy don’t you use the microwave for popcorn?
NEDBecause I don’t have a microwave.
NEDMom has a lot of things that I used to have. Here, pardner. A chair. Have a seat. Let dad do the cooking. (Ned resumes shaking the Jiffy Pop as Clancy sits in the lawn chair.) How’d you like sleeping out on the balcony last night? Just like camping, right?
CLANCYI had trouble getting to sleep because of the smell from the dumpsters. And when I did, the garbage truck woke me up.
NEDSorry about that. Shouldn’t be a problem, tonight. They only come once a week, you know. Here we go! Popcorn.
(Ned turns over a milk crate and sets the Jiffy Pop on it. Ned crouches as they both eat it.)
NED (continuing)Good stuff, ain’t it?
CLANCY (shrugs)Mom usually makes pancakes for breakfast.
NEDYou’re not at your mom’s. You’re at your dad’s. And here at Case de Ned, we eat like men. And men eat popcorn for breakfast. Want to be a man, don’t you, Ned?
CLANCYYes. I guess. I don’t know. Why’s your place so small?
NEDBecause I like it that way. It’s like living in a hotel.
CLANCYHotels have furniture.
NEDIt’s like camping out in a hotel room. And I can put my clothes anywhere I want. Look, here are my pants, right where I left them. (He puts on his pants, peels off the popsicle wrapper stuck to the leg.)
CLANCYWhat are we going to do, today?
NEDThe question is what do you want to do, today?
CLANCYCan we go see the polar bears at the zoo?
NED (checks his wallet)Gosh, Clancy, I don’t know. It’s a Saturday. The zoo’s going to be really crowded.
CLANCYCan we go see a movie?
NEDMovie? You can do that whenever you want, can’t you? It’s our first full day together in a long time and I’ve got this rad new studio apartment.
CLANCYGot any games?
NEDGames? Hell, yes, I’ve got games. I have… Tetris on my cell phone. (He pulls his phone out of his pants and hands it to Clancy.) There you go. Now, we’re having fun. What are you doing?
CLANCYCalling mom to come get me.
NED (Taking the phone back)Hey, hey, now, Clancy. What would you want to do that for? This is a weekend just for us boys. Men.
CLANCYI guess I thought you’d just have more stuff. And things to do. I missed you, Dad, but this place makes me feel sad.
NEDLookie, here, Clancy. I hear you. I missed you, too. Every minute of every day. I wanted this weekend to be special. You’re my boy and I don’t like you seeing your old man living like this. But, the truth is, this is just where I’m at, right now. I remember when I was a kid, I used to think my parents had it all handled. If they needed or wanted anything, they just opened up their wallet or purse and made stuff happen. Life doesn’t work that way. I still have the same bills I had when I lived with you and your mom AND I have this place. But I’m only making the same salary at work. I’m pretty stretched. I’m doing my best and it will get better. You’ll see. Next time you come, bet you I have a couch. Maybe one that even folds out into a bed big enough for two.
(Clancy gives his dad a hug.)
CLANCYCan we at least go get a real breakfast?
CLANCYMom gave me twenty bucks.
NEDSure, let’s go.