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OLD WOUNDS


Lights up on Harry’s face.  He talks to us.
 

HARRY

I knew that it was wrong.  Yet, I looked that doctor square in the face and said “go ahead.”  Inside, I felt something snap.  Didn’t know what, but I knew it wasn’t good, but there was no turning back.  I said “go ahead” and everything changed.

(Lights up on a team of masked surgeons surrounding a patient. They are preparing to make their first cut.  Not far away, a goat observes.)

And soon, I didn’t know where I was or what I was.

(Harry rises from his bed with some ease.  If possible, he could actually float.)

At times, I thought I was flying; weightless.  It was as if I was a balloon that floated to the top of the room and made its home in a corner; hovering between the shelves of equipment, the ceiling and the wall.  I found myself watching them work. It was strange to be able to watch the surgeon cutting me open, but I didn’t feel a thing.  God, they were good!  Such precision!  Not a wasted move!  I just sat down and watched the show.  Sat down?  How could I sit?  There was nothing to sit on.  I crouched into a fetal position.  And for a moment, I forgot why I was there.  Then I saw me.  I didn’t like the way I looked; ugly and pasty; a lifeless piece of white, bloody meat.  I imagined myself roasted with carrots, potatoes and onions all around me, sopping-up my natural juices— and my stupid relatives feasting on me.

(We hear the sounds of a noisy family dinner; people talking at once.  At first, softly, but soon grows in volume.  The goat disappears.  The lights come up on the family dinner.  Or, a spot can be used for each character as they speak.)

My nephew, Andrew, with my drumstick in his mouth, making a pig of himself— blood, grease and small pieces of my dark meat and crispy skin on his face.  Everyone thinks he’s so cute and they cheer him on, applauding him for every stupid little thing he does.  Eating, being the biggest crowd-pleaser of all!

JERRY

Look at him go!  Kid sure can eat!  Takes after his old man!

(We hear the sounds of laughter, (not unlike those of a 60’s sitcom), throughout the following.)
 

HARRY

And my sister-in-law, Liz, chewing on thin slices of my breast meat, complaining how dry it is!
 

LIZ

(A short grunt, then—)

Overcooked.
 

ANDREW

It’s great, Ma!  I like the gravy!

(Andrew slurps a little gravy and continues to eat.)

 

HARRY

And my asshole brother-in-law, tossing my roasted testicles in the air and popping them in his mouth like Cracker Jacks!

(Jerry tosses a testicle in his mouth.  He chews and swallows it and laughs uproariously.  Lights out on them.)

Idiots!  All of ‘em!  Stuffing their stupid faces with old meat, fat, sugar and salt!  ME!  God, I hate them!  It surprises me how much.  I never intended to become a hateful person, but there it is.  Even the little ones, who I have no business hating yet, they’re horrible, too!  Their greedy little faces, they want everything and everyone!  We’re all there, just for the taking!  Maybe this is what getting older is about?  After a while, you hate the world and what it’s become… what you’ve become… and soon… it’s time to leave it.

(Lights out.  We hear the exaggerated sounds of a hospital, various beeps and hums, etc.  We might hear “The Sound is Fading” by Leah Hicks-Manning and Robbie Robertson. The lights change and reveal Harry strapped to a bed that in another time might have been “The Rack.”  It’s propped up to a 45 degree angle for some unknown reason.  His friend from childhood, Bennett, is visiting.  Harry’s staring upwards.  We catch him in the midst of counting the ceiling tiles.)

BENNETT

How are you feeling today?

HARRY

As best as I could under the circumstances.

BENNETT

That’s good.

HARRY

Yeah.  It’s great.

BENNETT

Did you get in touch with Sue?

HARRY

No.  When was I supposed to do that?  I’ve been lying in this bed.  I can’t move.  How could I possibly—

BENNETT

I don’t know.  I just thought, maybe… I dunno—

HARRY

What?  That I was a telepath?  I could just contact—

BENNETT

No.  I know you’re not a telepath.

(A short beat.) 

HARRY

And what is your concern whether I talk to Sue or not?  You know we’re on the outs.

BENNETT

I was just making conversation.

HARRY

You’re fulla shit.

(Bennett grimaces.)

What are you doing?

BENNETT

Nothing.

HARRY

Why are you making that face?

BENNETT

I’m not.

HARRY

Are you trying to read my mind again?

BENNETT

No.

(A very short beat.)

Yes.

HARRY

I can always tell, you know.

BENNETT

How?

HARRY

I can feel you in there.  Banging around.

BENNETT

It’s that obvious?

HARRY

Yes.

BENNETT

What do I sound like? 

HARRY

Thumping.  A loud, annoying thump.  And your antennas twirl.  You should’ve worn your hat.  The gray skin, I can handle.  The antennas, not so much.

BENNETT

(A short beat.)

You know, I always liked Sue.

HARRY

I know you did.

BENNETT

She's very attractive.

HARRY

Yes, that she is.  Why would you bring that up now?

BENNETT

We’re talking about Sue.

HARRY

No.  You’re talking about Sue.  I’m just laying here minding my own business.

BENNETT

Sorry.

(Short pause.)

Lying here —minding my own business.

HARRY

What?

BENNETT

You said “laying here” minding—

HARRY

Shut up.

(A beat.)

Would you mind moving?

BENNETT

What?

HARRY

Your chair.  I feel as if you’re right on top of me.

BENNETT

Where do you want me to move?

HARRY

Over there.

BENNETT

Where?

HARRY

By the window.

BENNETT

Your Earth sun drains my—

HARRY

The window.

(Bennett picks up his chair and sets it down by the window.  He sits.)

BENNETT

How’s this?

HARRY

Now you’re blocking the light.

(Bennett moves his chair away from the window and sets it down a few feet away.)

BENNETT

How about here?

HARRY

No.  Move a little to the left.

(He does.)

That’s better.

(Harry breathes.)

I’m not as sick of you as I was two minutes ago.

(Pause.)

Such a beautiful day.  Bright sun.  Nice breeze.

(Harry sees something out the window and fixates on it.  A beat.)

BENNETT

What are you looking at?

HARRY

The leaves.

BENNETT

Why? 

HARRY

They’re dancing.

(We might hear music, (such as Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz), faintly, then growing in volume.  Harry giggles and hums along with the music.)

They are so cute!  Don’t you think they’re cute?

(Silence.)

Don’t you think they’re cute?

BENNETT

The leaves?

(A short silence.)

HARRY

So young.  That big one really likes that little one.

(Harry continues to hum and watch.  He smiles, then turns despondent.)

I hope they make it.

(A beat.  Smiling, continuing to enjoy the music.  Silence, then—)

I love The Dance.  Sue’s a good dancer, you know.  She danced professionally.

BENNETT

I know.

HARRY

Did you ever dance with her?

BENNETT

Never had the pleasure.

HARRY

She doesn’t kid around.  She really puts you through it.  Dips and twirls.  You find yourself dipping her and twirling her even if you’ve never dipped and twirled before.  What I wouldn’t give to dance with her again.

BENNETT

You will.

HARRY

I don’t think so.

(The music fades, then stops.  A short beat.)

Dance?  I’d be happy to take a walk with her.  Hold her hand.  A simple walk on a beautiful day…  I guess I’ll be missing a whole bunch of beautiful days.

BENNETT

You know what?  Instead of lying in this bed and feeling sorry for yourself you should be thankful.  Some people aren’t as fortunate as you.  They don’t get to have operations and a bed with straps.  They’re just left to die in pain on the street. 

HARRY

The fact that some people are worse off than me, doesn’t make my situation any better.

BENNETT

Why can’t you ever see the bright side of anything?

HARRY

The misfortune of others isn’t a bright side.

End of Excerpt