Part Two: Alone on a Bridge

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By George F. Walker

George F. Walker is one of Canada’s most prolific and popular playwrights. Since beginning his theatre career in the early 1970s, Walker has written more than 30 plays and has created screenplays for several award-winning Canadian television series. Part Kafka, part Lewis Carroll, Walker’s distinctive, gritty, fast-paced tragicomedies illuminate and satirize the selfishness, greed, and aggression of contemporary urban culture.

(In Part One, we meet Stacey alone and struggling in the big city with her kids, Raven a social worker who confronts Rudy, the corrupt cop who killed her brother, and Kyle, one of Raven’s clients who also happens to be Rudy’s son. Kyle meets Stacey on the street and offers to help her after Stacey’s kids are kidnapped by her parents.  Read Part One here.)

JOEL AND RAVEN ARE GETTING DRESSED

RAVEN

I guess you’re liking this a lot

JOEL

What?

RAVEN

Getting me in your bed. Getting inside me like you always wanted

JOEL

It was good.

RAVEN

It was okay

JOEL

It was excellent, girl.

RAVEN

It’ll do me for now.

JOEL

Until you get with a woman. You still into that?

RAVEN

Yeah.

JOEL

So why are you here

RAVEN

I wanted to give you something.

JOEL

You what?

RAVEN

I need you to do a thing. So I gave you a thing for it in advance

JOEL

Yeah? And now you’re actually telling me that. That’s fucked up, Rave.

RAVEN

We’re friends. Friends are honest with each other.

JOEL

Not that honest. That kind of honest is not necessary.

RAVEN

Come on. You thought this was what? The beginning of something? If it was gonna begin, it would have

begun a long time ago.

JOEL

Unless you were just waiting for me to get my shit together. And now that I’m about to get my degree…

RAVEN

In two years.

JOEL

Two years is half way.

RAVEN

Half way leaves a long way to go. You’re still officially a fuck up until then. You’ve been outta that gang only a year.

JOEL

A gang I was never in, Not really. Not officially.

RAVEN

And now you’re out all together

JOEL

Right. I mean we sometimes catch up.

RAVEN

Catch up. What’s that like? You tell them how your economics course is going. They tell you who they killed recently.

JOEL

What’s that thing you want from me?

RAVEN

It’s like that thing I just said.

JOEL

What thing?

RAVEN

I want them to kill someone for me. What’s that look? You gotta get them to do it. I’m serious.

JOEL

The hell…

RAVEN

Hey. I just made a dream come true for you

JOEL

Come on…

RAVEN

You’ll ask them. I know you will.

JOEL

Yeah?

RAVEN

If you want me in your bed again. (off his look) It’s a cop I want dead The one who shot Lucas.

JOEL

That detective? So this is revenge

RAVEN

Justice

JOEL

Sounds more like revenge.

RAVEN

He’s a dangerous man.

JOEL

There are a lot of dangerous men out there.

RAVEN

Yeah and we’ll get to them all eventually.

He is just looking at her.

LIGHTS ON STACEY.

KYLE IS WATCHING HER CLOSELY

STACEY

You never gonna sleep? I said just once that I felt like killing myself, and you haven’t taken your eyes off me ever since. Some of those pills you have in your pockets must be uppers. Kyle. Your name is Kyle, right.

KYLE

Right.

STACEY

So where are we?

KYLE

In the park

STACEY

The same park?

KYLE

Yeah..

STACEY

Well whatever. You should fuck off. Killing myself is gonna be hard enough without having you around trying to save me.

KYLE

I just wanna know why you want to do it?

STACEY

I don’t wanna talk about why. It’d be all about my kids and how I’ve decided I have to do it soon and get it over with. So by the time they’re like 5 and 6 they’ve forgotten about me. I don’t want them to ever think about me from then on.

She walks away from him. Looks at us

STACEY (CONT’D)

I don’t wish I’d never had them or anything like that. I just wish I could have been better. Stronger. And mostly smarter. Smart enough to know their father would quit on us. And not have let him drag us to this city where I don’t know anyone. Not a single person I could ask for anything. Not even to look after the kids while I went out to beg for enough money to buy some milk and cereal at least. Bu mostly I wish I knew how damaged I am. That I should have gotten help.

Kyle is there beside her.

STACEY (CONT’D)

Oh you’re back. Have any luck at the track

KYLE

What?

STACEY

Not any of my business, eh

KYLE

What’s wrong with you?

STACEY

You’ve asked me that one too many times, Jamie.

KYLE

Who the fuck is Jamie?

STACEY

Great. You’ve forgotten your own name

(MORE)

KYLE

Seriously. What’s your fucking problem?

STACEY

Seriously. Okay. Well for one thing, your oldest son is actually your brother. Do you wanna let that

sink in for awhile?

And Jamie is there now.

JAMIE

My son is what?

STACEY

Your father raped me.

JAMIE

Fuck you! I don’t have to listen to this shit.

And Jamie walks away

Kyle just looks at her. She returns to bench. Kyle joins her.

KYLE

Who’s Jamie?

STACEY

My husband. I told you about him when I was drugged, right.

KYLE

No you–

STACEY

Go to sleep, Kyle. I won’t be killing myself in this fucking park. I want my body to disappear. Not get taken away in a bag. Then have my parents called and letting them arrange for my funeral in that piss little country church I’ve hated the sight of all my life.

JOEL AND RAVEN

RAVEN

Tell them I can give them the cop’s address.

RAVEN (CONT’D)

They can take him out at home then get clear with everything they can lay their hands on. You know, the spoils of war. Are you thinking about it?

JOEL

No.

RAVEN

Sure you are.

RAVEN (CONT’D)

(to US)

He’s thinking it through for sure. Because he wants me again. And maybe again after that. And that’s okay because I love him. I’ve loved him since kindergarten. Even when he was gang banging I loved him. Not like he wanted. Not like he wants now. But getting with men again is enough incentive for him to ask Carlos and his dirtbag friends to put that monster down for me… He’s gonna say something now.

JOEL

I liked Lucas. He shouldn’t have died like that. I don’t have to ask no one. I’ll do that killing myself.

RAVEN

What?

JOEL

I was never in that dumbass gang. I was just their shooter. Still am on occasion. And I’ve got like a retainer. It’s a good gig. And there’d be no degree without it. What? You think I’m financing my education with my job at fucking Burger King? I love you. But you’ve really never been that connected to reality.

Joel starts to shake

BLACKOUT

SOUND OF A SCUFFLE. A GUN SHOT

JOEL and RUDY

Rudy is roughed up. Joel is nervous, but holding a gun.

RUDY

A thief woulda just run.

JOEL

This is about that kid you killed on the bus.

RUDY

Yeah? Okay so you’re not just an asshole. You’ve got a purpose.

JOEL

Yeah I’ve got a purpose.

RUDY

I’ve got a son. He needs me in his life.

JOEL

Maybe he needs you outta his life.

RUDY

You don’t know where my gun is, do you.

JOEL

You dropped it when we were fighting.

RUDY

You sure about that? Rudy has the gun in a hand behind his back. He swiftly shows it, points it at Joel, and fires. Joel falls.

RUDY (CONT’D)

And another young black man is killed by the reckless action of a racist cop. At least they can’t say I hunted this one down. Caught him hiding in my own house. Ah shit…my shoulder.

(to US)

He fucking shot me.

(smiles)

That’s gonna turn out well for me though.

(MORE)

STACEY AND KYLE

Kyle is watching her sleep

KYLE

I’ve gotta do better for her. She needs me to help get her kids back. It’s gonna take all my energy and concentration, but that will be good for me. I can’t keep doing the shit I do. So far the only thing that’s stopped me from going too far is how upset it would make my mum.

STACEY

(eyes open)

You’re talking to yourself.

KYLE

Oh…

STACEY

She’s dead right. Your mum?

KYLE

Yeah.

STACEY

How?

KYLE

Killed herself.

STACEY

How?

KYLE

Why? You think it might give you a suggestion? She cut her own throat. You think you’re up to that?

STACEY

Probably not.

KYLE

She did it that way to fuck up my dad. I was away at camp, so she knew there was no way I’d be finding her.

STACEY

You’re still worried about upsetting her.

STACEY (CONT’D)

You think she’s watching you from heaven or something?

KYLE

If she is she can see what she did to me. I was only 12, and she left me alone with my dad.

STACEY

Your dad’s no good?

KYLE

Maybe you can meet him sometime and decide for yourself. You hungry? I’ve got enough cash left to buy us another good breakfast. One good meal a day is all you need to keep going.

STACEY

Going where?

KYLE

I’ve got a friend with a garden shed. He lives in the suburbs

STACEY

The suburbs. So we’re kinda moving up.

KYLE

It’s only temporary. We’re gonna be on the move until I’m sure my dad’s stopped looking for me.

STACEY

Then what?

KYLE

We can settle down.

STACEY

Settle down. Jesus, man. Whatya think’s going on between us here.

KYLE

Well we found each other. That’s how great love stories begin.

STACEY

Jesus… Great love stories. We just met.

(MORE)

KYLE

Well we had to meet sometime.

STACEY

What’s wrong with you.

KYLE

Nothing all these pills can’t fix. Look if you’re not gonna sleep, let’s go have an early breakfast.

STACEY

And talk, right. You’re gonna wanna talk.

KYLE

I have to. You know, so I don’t think. I get upset if I think too much

STACEY

About what?

KYLE

Oh. Nothing you have to worry about. I’d never hurt you.

STACEY

You sure about that?

KYLE

Pretty sure. I mean yeah.

STACEY

Okay.

KYLE

No. Really.

STACEY

I said okay!

She turns to us

STACEY (CONT’D)

So what is it with this guy. He wants to help me. Save me. Or if he gets “upset”’ maybe just murder me. I guess I should tell him if does it that way he should do it while I’m asleep. And then get rid of my body so there’s no kind of funeral to put my children through. I think he’d understand that.

STACEY (CONT’D)

Follow my wishes about that. I mean basically he seems like a nice person. Just a nice person with some very serious problems. Like a lot of people out here.

KYLE

Where’s Pigpen.

STACEY

Inside my jacket.

KYLE

She loves it in there.

STACEY

It’s where she feels the safest.

KYLE

Why’d you call her that? Pigpen.

STACEY

She likes to roll around in mud. Will you take care of her when I’m gone.

KYLE

You’re not going anywhere.

STACEY

Please answer my question.

KYLE

No. I’ll take care of her, but I’m not answering your question.

STACEY

Kyle. Do you think what you just said make any sense?

KYLE

I think I got my point across.

Rudy is drunk and alone

RUDY

Daddy’s home! You hear me?! I’m home, and guess what? I killed another Black man. Yeah. But I might be completely fucked this time!! And it’s just not fair!! You hear me?! Not fucking fair!

Lights on Stacey.

STACEY

We didn’t have any soap.

Kyle is returning with some take out

STACEY (CONT’D)

Just remembering. I was alone with the kids. Assistance had covered the rent but everything else they gave went for food. And shoes. Not new. But we got some decent ones from the Sally Ann.

KYLE

But you didn’t have any soap

STACEY

No

KYLE

Not any kind of soap

STACEY

No. Not for washing ourselves or doing dishes. Or for clothes. And we couldn’t get any until the next cheque

KYLE

So what’d you do?

STACEY

Just rinsed things out.

KYLE

Everything? What about the kids?

STACEY

They got rinsed too. But then they started to look like their clothes…

KYLE

Still dirty.

STACEY

And kind of smudgy. Like all I was doing with the rinsing was moving the dirt around. But they didn’t complain. They never complained about anything.

KYLE

You can cry if you want.

STACEY

Yeah. That’s what I’m doing.

KYLE

I’m just saying it doesn’t bother me.

STACEY

Well even if it did–

KYLE

So the rinsing thing. How long did that go on?

STACEY

Until I saw other mothers in the park looking at them. Their faces, their dirty clothes. And then looking at me like I was shit. Not just a shitty mother. Pure shit. And that was just too goddamn much. I mean I couldn’t tell them it was only because we didn’t have any soap. Because who in this fucking country doesn’t have any soap.

KYLE

But what could you do, right

STACEY

I could do what I did. I stole some. Went into a store, used my children as diversions and walked out with two bars of Ivory.

KYLE

That’s all?

STACEY

It covered our needs. Dove soap is multi purpose.

KYLE

You said Ivory.

STACEY

Right…

KYLE

Hey. What are you doing. You’re fucking crying again.

STACEY

Oh it’s bothering you now, is it?

KYLE

I think you should stop thinking about the past so much. Just maybe let some of it go.

STACEY

Like you do.

KYLE

Yeah I used to feel like shit all the time.

STACEY

But now you’ve got your magic pills and everything is just fine.

KYLE

Yeah I gotta make sure I don’t take too many because–

STACEY

They could kill you. Okay let’s do this then. Take all your pills out. We’ll divide them, and then both of us can check out.

KYLE

We’re not gonna do that just because you remembered feeling like shit.

STACEY

I was shit!

KYLE

No you weren’t

STACEY

Yes I fucking was!

KYLE

Hey. Do you want me want me to find Pigpen and give her a bath? I could go grab her and…

STACEY

You try that and she’ll mess you up. Promise.

Lights on Raven and Rudy

RAVEN

Are you drunk?

RUDY

I’ve had a few, Maybe you haven’t heard. I had to kill another Black man.

RAVEN

And that’s upset you.

RUDY

Fucking right it has. You think taking a human life isn’t fucking upsetting?

RAVEN

What are you doing here, Rudy.

RUDY

I need your help. My son has a girlfriend all of a sudden.

RAVEN

And that’s a problem for you. Is she Black?

RUDY

Look don’t fuck around with me okay. He’s still not fit to be around people, and she doesn’t look too stable herself. I need you to intervene.

RAVEN

Fuck off.

RUDY

He listens to you. Come on. You owe me. You tried to have me killed, for chrissake.

RAVEN

(to herself)

Don’t saying anything.

RUDY

Well aren’t you going to deny it?

RAVEN

(to herself)

Don’t deny it.

RUDY

That was no robber. He was in there hiding. Waiting for me.

RAVEN

Waiting to kill you.

RUDY

He had a gun.

RAVEN

Really. But he’s the one who’s dead

RUDY

He hesitated. I’m not sure he really wanted to do it.

RAVEN

Okay. But you think I sent him? Rudy takes out Joel’s phone. Hands it to her.

RUDY

You’re all over his phone. Photos. Emails. Texts.

RAVEN

Anything with me asking him to kill you?

RUDY

There’s enough of a connection to make a case

RAVEN

So you’ll be doing that? Making a … case?

RUDY

Fuck no. I need your help with my son. I want you to break them up. They’re living in my house now. Get over there and do it anyway have to. Tell her he killed all his pets. All the neighbours’ pets You do that and we’re square.

RAVEN

You’re insane. Evil as shit.

RUDY

Hey who tried to have who killed?

RAVEN

Get away from me! Now! Get. Away!

RUDY

(to Us)

I had nothin’ more to say anyway.

But she’s rattled.

He leaves

RAVEN

(to Us)

Fucker. He’s gotta die!

RUDY

She’s pretty much unhinged.

RAVEN

Jesus. He’s gotta get fucking burned to death.

RUDY

She’s gonna be useful in a lotta ways.

RAVEN

Ah shit. I got Joel killed.

RUDY

They were close. I could tell from the photos on her phone. She sent him to put me out of action, and now I’ve got her.

RAVEN

Why didn’t he keep the phone. Probably copied everything.

RUDY

Anytime I need her. Like now with my idiot son and that pitiful girl of his. Then later with her gang connections.

RAVEN

Joel. Oh fuck…

RUDY

I’m gonna know stuff about all that filth.

RAVEN

Ohh Sweet Jesus Christ! He’s just gotta die.

RUDY

All in good time

STACEY WITH LEGS CROSSED

Sitting

In the sun

For a moment of rest

Before the things that happen

Too often to happy little girls

Who are noticed

And wanted

And trapped

And changed

Happened to me

And then kept happening

In worse and worse ways

I will help kill someone for his money

So I can leave this soulless place

To kill again

A man who I can still smell on me

And then

My own father

Who never listened to me

Or knew me

Look him in the face.

Never flinch

Tell him what his friend

Did to me.

Make him hear that.

Just scream and make him

And then do whatever I need

To get my children back

Whatever

Just do it

And then be with them again

And maybe happy again

At least about that

Totally about that

STACEY

(to Us)

Everything I’m about to do might seem too much, too drastic, too thoughtless. To people who never lived in a shiny empty city without actually living. With not enough money to go anywhere. Or even eat!! Or DO anything, talk to anyone. Besides a welfare officer. A social worker. And once, some man who stopped me from stepping in front of a speeding bus. Maybe accidentally. I’m not sure. Because I wasn’t really aware, not totally, of anything. Anything I was doing. Nice older man saved a life that a selfish ignorant man and then his son…Destroyed. Ask how someone could let their children be stolen. Fuck no. There are no explanations for that. None. Except I’m not who I was. Nowhere near who I was after I was trapped in that barn. Had my clothes ripped off. Not really. Not nearly. You don’t come back from that. Not in one whole piece. Give me points for surviving. But don’t think I’m not changed. And in this story, wherever I go, I won’t go silently. Not still lost and not still alone. I won’t leave this soulless city with nowhere to go or nothing to make right. I’ve got a purpose. I just remembered. An ugly reckoning to get to. So leave me now, leave this story right fucking now.  Drift away to better thoughts. If you think it might become too much to hear about or think about or ever forget. That I should just quit. Because I’ve decided not to not give up.To fight back with all I’ve got. And I’m ready.  Yeah give me the fucking axe. I won’t need to practice how to use it. The man who attacked me, who raped me is still alive and still unpunished. And that’s just not right.

KYLE AND RAVEN

STACEY IS APPROACHING

RAVEN

Hey. Good to see you.

STACEY

You too.

KYLE

You know each other?

STACEY

She brought me food.

KYLE

You took her food?

RAVEN

I do that sometimes.

KYLE

Why?

RAVEN

Because I’m a human being?

KYLE

No really

STACEY

I think she means what she just said.

RAVEN

You look better.

STACEY

I washed my hair.

RAVEN

Yeah but I meant-

STACEY

I had a bath too. I ate. I brushed my teeth.

RAVEN

All good. And how are your kids?

KYLE

Her parents stole them.

STACEY

My mother was worried about them. And my father wanted to punish me.

RAVEN

They got a court’s permission?

STACEY

My father thinks he has permission for anything he does.

KYLE

(to Stacey)

He gets it from God. Right?

STACEY

Yeah. He asked God. God said sure. Load em up and get the hell outta here.

KYLE

So that’s what they did.

STACEY

But I made up my mind just a day or two ago that we’re gonna get them back.

RAVEN

How?

STACEY

I’m going back to school. We figure it’ll look like a good first step to a normal life.

KYLE

She wants to be a veterinary technician.

RAVEN

Okay. And what do you want, Kyle?

KYLE

I wanna help her become a veterinary technician.

STACEY

It’s something you can study at community college.

RAVEN

And what about the money.

KYLE

We’ll get it from my father.

RAVEN

Your father thinks you’re dumb and dangerous. And that Stacey here isn’t going to last the winter.

STACEY

He meant we’ll steal it from him.

KYLE

He’s got money stashed all over the house.

RAVEN

What? The asshole doesn’t trust banks?

KYLE

The asshole has been on the take for years. It’s money from all that.

RAVEN

And you’re going to take it.

KYLE

As much as I can find.

RAVEN

Right. But here’s the thing. First you’re gonna have to kill him.

KYLE

I told you she’d have good ideas.

STACEY

(to Raven)

How? I mean you already tried that, right.

(off her look)

I heard him on his phone talking to one of his cop buddies about it. He says he plans to use you.

KYLE

To infiltrate some black gangs.

STACEY

So that’s where I got the idea. Why not get you to infiltrate them for us.

RAVEN

To get them to kill him for you. What a great idea.

STACEY

Yeah.

RAVEN

Maybe we can get them to burn him alive. No that might be hard to pull off without attracting attention. You know, I just want him dead. Let’s just get them to do it any way that’s convenient.

Raven walks away

RAVEN (CONT’D)

(to Us)

Those young people are beautiful in lot of ways. Damaged but beautiful. And the way they think. Obviously I like some of that too. Kyle is grunting

Lights on Kyle kneeling over Stacey. Shaking her.

STACEY

No stop! Stop! I can’t breathe. Stop. You’re killing me. Someone help!!!

KYLE

Wake up!

STACEY

Get him to stop!

KYLE

Wake up!

STACEY

What?

KYLE

You’re okay. Just wake up

The next bit very quickly, manically

Ohhh. Yeah. Okay… yeah…

What was going on?

When

In your dream

In my dream. Yeah. I couldn’t breathe. He was trying to kill

me.

Who was

Ah. You? Yeah. It was you,

No. No way. I told you I’d never hurt you.

I guess I didn’t believe you. Or why would I Yeah

you were fighting

Fighting

Yeah you were fighting really hard

Fighting you

Not me

No it was you

Yeah but not really

It seemed real. You’re strong

It wasn’t me!

It seemed like you

Okay but you know what else it seemed like.

What

You wanted to live.

I couldn’t breathe

That means you wanted to

STACEY

What

KYLE

Live

STACEY

In my dream

KYLE

Or maybe just really. We have to think about that

STACEY

We?

KYLE

Yeah. Both of us. You’re gonna need me to help you think straight.

STACEY

You’re a junkie

KYLE

No I’m just heavily medicated. It’s okay I’ve got it under control

STACEY

Not in my dream you didn’t. And it seemed pretty fucking real.

KYLE

And what about you fighting back. That sounded real. So…

STACEY

So… what?

KYLE

Maybe you want to live. And also maybe, even if deep down I want to, I can’t kill you.

STACEY

Even if you want to?

KYLE

Yeah…

STACEY

Okay. You have to tell me exactly what’s wrong with you. Why all the drugs? What are they actually for.

KYLE

For my feelings…

STACEY

About wanting to kill me

KYLE

You or, you know

STACEY

Your father.

KYLE

Yeah or…

STACEY

Anyone.

KYLE

Yeah. I guess. Some of the drugs are prescribed. The others I just steal

STACEY

Why?

KYLE

To see if they work better than the ones that maybe don’t

KYLE (CONT’D)

I steal them. I mean I do some research first.

STACEY

(to Us))

And then we talked and talked and talked. It was our first real conversation. We learned stuff about each other. I learned that he has a condition which makes him struggle to obey all authority. Teachers. Parents. The cops. Even crossing guards. And sometimes it gets so bad he assaults people. But now Raven is there

STACEY (CONT’D)

He assaulted a crossing guard?

RAVEN

He just pushed him. But the guy was like eighty something, so he fell and broke his arm. That put him in Juvie. Juvie is a … And now Rudy

RUDY

A jail for under aged offenders. They should have kept him there a while longer.

KYLE

But they let me out after three months. And I started to get my shit together

RUDY

By taking random drugs.

KYLE

They’re working.

RUDY

Meaning what? You haven’t attacked any crossing guards lately?

RAVEN

(to Rudy)

I thought you’d be dead by now.

RUDY

I am. But it took awhile.

Vic is approaching

RAVEN

That gang you wanted to do it was put out of business. By another gang who my “partner” here worked for.

RUDY

He was following me. Some fucking partner

VIC

Things got messy, and I shot him. It was an accident.

RUDY

And he’s gonna stick to that story like shit sticks to–

(MORE)

VIC

A crooked cop. Not me. Him. I was just who they appointed to be the agent of his due justice. Joel is there now.

RUDY

Appointed by who? Appointed my ass!

JOEL

I don’t care who appointed him. I’m just glad the evil prick is dead.

STACEY

Who’s he?

RAVEN

My friend.

STACEY

Right. He got you killed

RAVEN

Yeah.

STACEY

And that was my fault.

RAVEN

No.

STACEY

Then why’s he in my head.

RAVEN

Because he’s in my head?

STACEY

Jesus. I need all you people to go away.

KYLE

Okay. But not me though. I’m here forever

STACEY

No. You have to go too. And not come back. You scare me. I know that for sure now.

(to US)

STACEY (CONT’D)

Okay he’s not sneaking out to the track and putting our last forty bucks on a sure winner who’s never won. A guy who kept talking about how it all could change if he left me and his children and got to Vegas with a big enough stake to do some damage. Damage. Right!. Idiot! But he might want to kill me without even asking so…

LIGHTS OUT ON STACEY

 

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