LUNA PARK

It's 1975.  It's the middle of the night in the middle of the summer.  The lights reveal a small apartment in a housing project, Luna Park, in Coney Island.  The apartment is furnished in the lower-middle-class Jewish style.  An out-of-place, goldish-yellowish, ugly print couch (protected by plastic slipcovers) dominates the living room.  In a small kitchen off to left, we find David, a young man of about 20, at the refrigerator.  He pours himself a glass of milk and sits at the Formica-covered table in the small dinette.  We hear the toilet flush from offstage and Murray, (an overweight man of about 60), enters the room.  He sees David at the table and joins him.

MURRAY

What're you doin up so late?

DAVID

Can't sleep.

MURRAY

Cause of what I said?

DAVID

No.

MURRAY

Why then?

DAVID

Just can't.

MURRAY

You gotta get up early tomorrow and get the paper.

DAVID

I know.

MURRAY

How're you gonna be able to do that?  It's three o'clock already.

DAVID

I'm just not gonna go to sleep.

MURRAY

You're gonna go without sleep?

DAVID

Yeah.

MURRAY

What's the matter with you?

DAVID

Nothin.

MURRAY

You can tell me.  I wanna help you.

DAVID

You can't help me.

MURRAY

Why not?

DAVID

It's too late.

MURRAY

Waddaya talkin about?  It's too late.  You're talkin' like a nut!  I'm gonna hafta have ya put away!

DAVID

Look.  I just got a lot on my mind.  That's all.  It's nothin.  Really.  I'm just tryin to sort things out.

MURRAY

Why dontcha try and sort things out doin somethin useful like bringin in some income?  You have too much free time.  Maybe if ya was workin you wouldn't have the time to worry about nonsense.

DAVID

How do you know it's nonsense?

MURRAY

I'm your father.  You think I don't know what you're goin through?  I know.  I wanna help you.  When I had troubles, I worked hard and got em outa my system.  That's what I've been tryin' to tell ya.  Why do ya hafta live like this?  Let me talk to Zemsky.  I can get you in.  You'll make good money.  Ya won't hafta worry about anything.

DAVID

I don't wanna work in the Post Office.

MURRAY

Why not?

DAVID

I just don't.

MURRAY

Ya think you're too good for the P.O.?

DAVID

No.

MURRAY

Cause you're not.

DAVID

I know.

MURRAY

Then why?

DAVID

I can't say.

MURRAY

Tell me.

DAVID

I can't!

MURRAY

Why?

DAVID

I don't wanna hurt your feelings.

MURRAY

You can't hurt my feelings.  I love you.  You're my son.  Now, tell me, why can't you work in the Post Office?

(Pause.)

DAVID

I don't wanna end up like you.

(Silence, then—)

MURRAY

I don't blame you.

DAVID

You don't?

MURRAY

No.  I'm only thinkin about what's best for you.  There are other jobs in the world.  Lots of things you can be.  You can always work for the Transit Authority.  You like trains.  When you were a little moron, ya always looked out the window at the trainyard.  Maybe ya wanna be a motorman or something?  Lotsa benefits.  Then there's the Sanitation Department.  Those guys really got it easy.  Lotsa opportunities for a moron like yourself.

 

DAVID

I'm gonna get the paper tomorrow morning.  Make some calls.  Go into the city.

MURRAY

Early.  All the good jobs'll be taken.  Don't forget, you got about an hours ride.

DAVID

I'm gonna try get some sleep.

MURRAY

Go down to Centre Street and tell 'em ya wanna take the Test.

DAVID

Okay Dad, goodnight!

MURRAY

Feelin' better!  Ya see!  A little talk with ya old man and you're ready to get crackin!

DAVID

Yeah.

MURRAY

What else is botherin ya?

DAVID

Nothin.

MURRAY

C'mon!  Talk to ya old man!  I can help ya!  Just gimme the chance!

DAVID

It's nothin, really.

 

MURRAY

I know you weren't sittin here at three in the morning because you don't have a job!  Ya haven't worked in months!  What is it?  A girl?

DAVID

No.  Look, I'm gonna go—

MURRAY

That's what it is, isn't it?  I know I'm right.  You can talk to me.  What's goin on?  How're things goin with the wop?

DAVID

Don’t call her that!

MURRAY

Why not?

DAVID

I like her.

MURRAY

You like her.  Ya moron ya, dontcha think she calls you Jew bastard behind your back?

DAVID

No.

MURRAY

What about her family?

DAVID

I don't know, look—

MURRAY

She got grandparents?

DAVID

Yeah. Dad, I really wanna—

MURRAY

Well, lemme tell ya somethin.  They may be nice to your face.  Wanna know all about the holidays and tell ya how much they like matzo balls and all that shit, but behind your back you're always a Jew.  You may forget about it, but they won't let you forget about it.  You may think you belong, but don't believe it.  Wait till you have a fight.  You'll see.

DAVID

I gotta—

MURRAY

You're better off with a Jewish girl, ya moron.  Why dontcha go out with a Jewish girl?

DAVID

I don't know.  Look, I'm tired—

MURRAY

I know why.

DAVID

Why?

MURRAY

You think they're all like your old lady, but you're wrong.  Your old lady's poisoned your mind against Jewish girls.  It makes sense that would happen.  It's only normal, your mother bein the way she is, but not all Jewish girls are like your mother.  Find yourself a Jewish girl, believe me, you'll be better off.

End of Excerpt

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