Written by Joe Janes
165 of 365
Larry Worthington, late 70s
Vanessa Bomblatt, 30s
Security Guard, 30s
(Lights up on Larry sitting in a chair. He is an older man. He is dressed in a loose fitting suit. He holds a beat up brief case on his lap. Vanessa sits at a nearby desk looking over papers. Off to the side near a door is a bank security guard. She occasionally glances at him, he notices and raises his eyebrows. She goes back to looking at the papers.)
VANESSAHow can I say this?
LARRYI can help you there, Miss Bomblatt. You can just say “yes.” Hand me a check and I’ll be on my way.
VANESSAI wish it were that simple.
LARRYI have never asked for a loan my entire life.
VANESSAActually, you have, you just have never been granted one.
LARRYThat’s what I meant. You could be my first.
LARRYCall me, Larry. Everybody calls me Larry. You say Mr. Worthington and I think you’re talking to my dad. And he’s dead.
VANESSALarry, banks tend to give people loans when they’re reasonably certain the person will be able to pay them back. You have nothing to secure the loan.
LARRYI have my word. And we could shake on it.
VANESSAFine with me, but I’m afraid the bank would want something more. Don’t you have any collateral you could put against ten thousand dollars?
LARRYI have the money in my checking account.
VANESSA (reading another paper)Which is currently negative three dollars and forty-eight cents.
LARRYOh. The government must have deposited my monthly check.
VANESSAYou rent your room. You have no furniture or automobile. Don’t you own anything of value?
LARRYI have books. Hardcover books. Real nice. Quite a collection. (He opens his briefcase and takes out a book.) Like this one.
VANESSAI see. (Looks it over). This is a library book.
LARRYTold you they were nice.
VANESSAAnd they belong to the library.
LARRYTechnically, maybe. But I’ve had them a long time. There’s got to be a point where I’ve had them so long they’re mine. Some statue of limitations.
VANESSAI wouldn’t know. Isn’t there some friend or relative-?
LARRYPlease, Miss Bomblatt. Vanessa. May I call you Vanessa?
LARRYI really need this money, Vanessa. As you can see, I’ve been around quite awhile. Longer than most of my friends and family. There’s no one for me to turn to.
VANESSARun it by me in more detail. You need the money to build a marker.
LARRYTo build a monument.
VANESSAA monument. Commemorating what?
LARRYThat is correct.
VANESSAMost people who have had monuments built honoring themselves, Larry, didn’t build it themselves. Other people did. To honor them for their contributions to society.
LARRYThere must be some people who did.
VANESSAPerhaps, but I’ll wager they were stinking rich enough to pay for it out of their own pocket.
LARRYWell, like you said, I don’t own anything of value. I couldn’t afford a monument made out of Cheetohs.
VANESSAYou don’t have anything of material value. You seem like a decent man. You have a nice smile.
LARRYAnd that will be gone when I die. (She looks at him concerned.) Whenever that is.
VANESSAI’m sorry, Larry. I just can’t help you. Hey, what about a gravestone? When you pass on, let your gravestone be your monument.
LARRY (Standing)Who the hell visits graveyards? I sure don’t. And I don’t know anyone who’d be swinging by my pile of dirt. I never married. I don’t have any kids. I just wanted a little monument. A simple statue of me to put in a park somewhere. Something to tell people I was here. That in all the history of time, I was here, on this spot, for a little while. And you know what I’d have written on the base of that statue?
LARRY (waving)Hi. Just something to say, “Hi, I was here.” And “hey, you’re here now. And you’re taking a moment to read this and know that I was once alive. Like you. Aren’t we something?” (Waves) Hi.
VANESSA (touched, but…)I’m sorry, Larry.
(He gathers his things and heads towards the door. The security guard opens it for him. He exits. Lights shift and we hear the screeching of tires. Larry drops his briefcase and holds up one hand. The security guard steps forward and addresses the audience.)
SECURITY GUARDLarry stepped out into the street not noticing the quickly setting asphalt he stepped in or the cement truck heading his way careening out of control. He got the monument he wanted. And every morning as Vanessa Bomblatt comes in to work, she stops by and she says, “Hi.” (He starts to walk away and then comes back) Five years from now, this bank branch will close due to financial turmoil caused by Vanessa’s excessive embezzling siphoning off retirement funds. She’s sent to prison where she is shived while working in the prison library. This building is bought by a real estate developer who bulldozes the whole block and flattens everything, even Larry. Larry’s still waving, up through a sewage grate into an abandoned half-finished hip-eco-overpriced-condo project. (He walks away and comes back). Oh, I quit my job as a security guard to devote my life to my passion, playing the jazz lute. I tour the world and am the highest paid jazz lute player ever. I make as much as I made working here. See? Happy ending. Until I died in a plane crash over a swamp. (He shrugs. Blackout.)