Part One: 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.

George F. Walker’s new play, Alone on the Bridge, follows Stacey, an abandoned teenage mother of two, Rudy, a crooked cop, Raven, a social worker, and Kyle, Rudy’s troubled son as they converge in the big city, their stories becoming inextricably intertwined as they search for justice, redemption and just a little peace.

STACEY ALL ALONE

I knew a man

My father knew

He lived nearby

Went to a church

Nearby

And a bar

In town where

He went most nights

And left most mornings

Staggering to his truck

To sleep it off

To forget who he was

Which was nothing

Not inside.

Not where it mattered

He had a good guy charm

For the other guys

But people who knew

Knew

He wasn’t to be trusted

Let alone liked

Just a drunk

Worse than most

With a failed farm

Still failing

And a failed marriage

And wife in hiding

And a son

Who feared him

And his son.

Had a friend

A girl

Who just dropped by

Where’s Jamie

In the barn

Doing what

She should’ve asked

But didn’t and

So failure of a man would show her

But that was wrong

It sounded wrong

But instead of running

Running away fast

She went there

Into the barn

And got raped

Don’t tell your dad

Don’t tell the church

Don’t tell the town

Don’t tell my son

Don’t tell him please

He cried

He begged

Don’t tell my son

So sorry

But someone did. Someone had to.

And the son cried too Not for the girl

For himself For the shame

The father’s son

 

PEGGY ALL ALONE

PEGGY

My daughter’s gone. Gone with her two young children and her useless husband. A neighbour saw them on the side of a road. Hitchhiking.

Hitchhiking with two small children. That’s crazy. After some family quarrel. Some harsh words. Some threats. Sure no one likes to hear that. Hear those accusations she was throwing around. Sure there was anger about that. But to just yank those young children away from their home. And to go where? This is so wrong. There’s gotta be something badly wrong with her.

Something about how her mind’s working isn’t right.

RUDY ALL ALONE

RUDY

It was late. On my way home after a really shitty day. Interviewed 4 liars. One after the other giving me nothing but bullshit. And I treated everyone of them with respect. Honest to Christ. I never once raised my voice. I just explained why we needed to get whoever did those crimes off the street. I mean these kids being killed weren’t much more than babies. And neither were these guys. White. Black. Asian. All just staring at me maintaining that fucking stupid code. Okay it’s what keeps you alive. But it’s also what keeps you locked in that dumb fucking life. They all know who we’re after. How about doing something positive for once. Yeah okay, I was carrying all that in my head when I turned the corner and saw that bus. Uniforms everywhere. Weapons out. A perimeter set up to block traffic, and inside that bus there’s just this one guy, holding a weapon of some kind, a few terrified passengers and the bus driver. So I get out of my car. Not to do anything. Just to help out if I can. I show a uniform my I.D. And move closer to the bus to take in the situation a bit better. And then right there at the open door to the bus I see the problem right away. There’s two young uniforms with weapons out pretty much begging the guy in the bus to drop the thing he has in his hand. I can’t see clearly what it is. The only thing I can see clearly is how fucked up the young uniforms are.

Both of them dripping sweat. Their voices like a couple of scared nine year olds. Barely in control of themselves. Which I was just about to tell them when the guy in the bus turns and starts towards the passengers huddled at the back. One of which was a young woman with a child on her lap. So I unholster and enter the bus. And yell at the guy to fucking stop. He does.

Then he turns and starts back towards me. And yeah, he’s carrying a knife. A large knife which I tell him to drop. I tell him real clearly to drop the knife and get down on his knees. But he just keeps coming. He never stops. And when he’s about five feet away, I shoot him. I don’t shoot to wound. I shoot to kill like I was trained to. So that’s why he’s lying dead on the floor of the bus, AND that’s the first time I take in that he’s Black. I mean the first time it registered. Before that I was just dealing with the situation. What he was holding and that he was a threat to the hostages. Not what he looked like. Not even how I have sometimes dealt with people who look like that in the past. Which wasn’t always great I’ll admit. And for sure I didn’t take in if the poor bastard was mentally all there or not. They tried to make a connection between what happened on that bus and some of my past… encounters with Blacks. Most of them from nearly ten years ago.

Those accusations were mostly bullshit. But I took counselling, and I learned. And even if I sometimes did or do have racial thoughts, that doesn’t make me a racist. And it doesn’t have anything to do with what that black guy did to get himself killed. It’s complicated. I’ll admit that. My thinking about the whole situation with Blacks is really fucking complicated. I mean because I’m a cop. And cops see things. Anyway like I said, those gang bangers I was interviewing weren’t all Black. And the ones that were got treated the same as the Asian and White guys did. And that’s with total respect. Even though they’re low life hoods who do nothing with their lives except cause harm.

That’s just a fact that has nothing to do with that guy on the bus needing to be put down.

LIGHT ON RAVEN

RAVEN

Don’t listen to a fucking word that shit stained monster says. He “took counselling” He “learned” What a load of evil brain damaged crap. He was looking to kill. His situation with Blacks is complicated? Fuck that. He pulls the trigger, we die. That’s how fucking complicated it is. I know this prick, all right.

I’ve seen him up close. Looked into his sick killer eyes. He tries to hide his hatred. But get up close, he smells of it. He’s washed in it.

(she looks around)

What the fuck is he doing in this story anyway? He doesn’t deserve the space.

LIGHTS ON PEGGY

PEGGY

People are getting murdered down in that city. I don’t know why. Not really. People say it’s all about crime. Like that’s enough of an explanation. I think everything is just too much down there. Too many people. Too many things going wrong for them. Nothing much being offered to poor people. Way too much for people who have money. I’m not expert, but how can that be good. You read the news and it’s scary. Terrifying really. People out of their minds everywhere.

People who should be in hospitals. My daughter and my grandkids are living in that city. I can hardly believe it. She finds it preferable to life on a farm. That’s gotta be some kind of joke, right. You hear of any people getting killed around here?

LIGHT ON STACEY

STACEY

People do. Jamie’s brother got beaten up pretty bad.

PEGGY

Yeah. But he lived. He wasn’t shot.

STACEY

Dad will be home pretty soon. Don’t you need to have his supper on the table.

PEGGY

He’ll wait awhile

STACEY

The hell he will.

PEGGY

He will. He’s a lot more forgiving about those things now.

STACEY

Forgiving. Jesus Christ. Listen to yourself.

PEGGY

You have to let go of all this stuff you’ve go in your head about your father

STACEY

You mean forget

PEGGY

What’s to forget. He didn’t do anything.

STACEY

I gotta go.

PEGGY

I mean he didn’t do what–

STACEY

Right.

PEGGY

She does

But he didn’t. You talk like he was the one who–

STACEY

I’m hanging up, Mum

PEGGY

She’s only 18 and she’s got two kids. Had the first one when she was 15. Still won’t tell me who the father is. And then she met her jerk of a husband. Had his kid when she’d just turned 17. Birth control never crossed their minds. Nothing much did. Like how to support their children. Then one day the dumb ass comes up with a thousand dollars, we still don’t know how, and hauls them all down to the city to do we don’t know what. They could all be starving to death or in some danger I can’t even imagine. I was worried they were homeless until she called to ask for rent money. I mean those are my grandchildren for godake.

And she and that twerp have got them living way too close to disaster. Kevin’s advice was we should just let them sink or swim. His only child. His grandkids. We should just let nature deal with them. Like they were sheep that just wandered off somewhere. Sink or swim. Leave it up to the Lord. He started talking like that soon after we bought the farm and now he’s 100% country boy. Bible quotes and everything. If he keeps it up. I’m going to kill him in his sleep (shouting off) Kevin! I’m serious! We’ve got to do something about our grandchildren!!

Kevin enters

KEVIN

You can’t harvest what you haven’t planted.

PEGGY

See what I mean?

(to Kevin)

Just get the keys to the pickup. We’re going after them.

KEVIN

But don’t ya think we outta–

PEGGY

Get the fucking keys!

LIGHTS ON RAVEN AND KYLE

RAVEN

Your father is a messed up guy. Even when he’s trying to sound reasonable, he comes across as a man with too many issues to be a cop. When we were talking about you, he kept referencing my colour. Like me being Black had anything to do with my effectiveness as your counsellor. When I mentioned that I was worried that your behaviour might lead you to a life behind bars, he asked me if I was related to anyone in prison. And when I just looked at him in response, he said something like “Just wondering if you could give my boy some advice on how to survive if he winds up in prison” I think you were seven at the time. And I was just bringing up the statistics on untreated defiance disorders. But I guess that was his excuse to ask how many of my relatives were incarcerated. He killed that guy on the bus without having to. And a lot of people think they knew each other from some past encounter that made your dad want to either get even or shut him up about something.

KYLE

Makes sense. He never lets go of a grudge. He can be a real prick that way.

RAVEN

He’s a lot more than that. Your dad’s a racist cop with a troubling past. A troubling mind. And a dangerous way of doing his job.

KYLE

Yeah. And I think he mighta killed my mother.

RAVEN

You kidding?

KYLE

No.

LIGHTS MOVE TO JOEL AS RAVEN APPROACHES

JOEL

So here’s the latest possibly dangerous shit in my fucking awkward dangerous shitty life. It was late last night. And I’m walking up a dark street. Which woulda been fine except, here’s the shit. There’s a white girl walking in the same direction on the opposite sidewalk. And there’s no one else around, and I can tell right off that I’m making her nervous, I think my best thing would be to just fall to the fucking ground and play dead.

Because even though I haven’t done or said, that don’t matter. I’m here. Walking across from her. And that’s enough.

RAVEN

Could be. That’s for sure.

JOEL

We came out of buildings across from each other at the same time. Exactly. And I shoulda done the smart thing and gone back in or stopped to light a smoke. But I thought if I just took off real fast she’d see I wasn’t a threat and that usually works. So I did that. But this time, this young woman took off just as fast as I did, and fuck me, what was I supposed to do then. It started to feel like a trap or something.

RAVEN

Like a set up you mean. That happens.

JOEL

Really?

RAVEN

Everything happens. I mean it could in a situation like that.

JOEL

Right. I mean I could have slowed down and fallen behind, but that might look like I was intending to follow her.

RAVEN

It probably would, yeah

JOEL

Or I could have really picked it up but at the speed we were already moving, I’d be almost running if I did that. And what the fuck would that mean to her? And then I had that thought. The one I always have. I’ll just yell over to her. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m a good guy. I’m half way to a degree, and I have a decent part time job.” But I didn’t. I never do. Mostly because I feel like an idiot even thinking it.

RAVEN

Just hearing it come out of your mouth is bad enough. You didn’t owe that bitch any kind of explanation.

JOEL

Right. But I felt like I did. And I felt like it because I don’t fucking know what I’m really feeling like sometimes. Then I got it together a little. I asked myself why I’m even worried about her. Or about what she thinks. And the answer makes me just feel weak.

RAVEN

Weak inside your blackness.

JOEL

What. Yeah. And what’s funny is that we’re now just a few steps away from our situation changing in a very fucking big way.

Because we’re really close to reaching the very well lit main street where everything’s gonna change, and she can just chill, and I can start worrying about getting to my apartment several blocks away without being stopped or even killed. And we do. And she does.

She even turns to me and smiles. I smile back. And for a moment it just seems like the end of a very short fucked up date. She walks a few feet to the late night bus stop. I take a deep breath and start my journey home. Something which has me doing one of the most dangerous things a young dude like me can ever do. Especially late at night. Walking peacefully. Walking without stumbling or stopping to mug someone or loot some store. But still walking. Walking while being Black. And as I catch my reflection in a store window, I think WAY TOO BLACK. And just knowing, just feeling it, that somewhere along those several blocks, a cop car is going to pull up beside me and an officer of the law is gonna step out and ask me how I’m doing and where I’m going, and want to see my identification. And from that point on, no matter how polite I am or how cooperative I am, I will never be sure how that encounter is going to end.

Raven hugs him, then leaves

LIGHTS MOVE TO STACEY

STACEY

I think I’m gonna start crying. I’m… gasping a little for air and that’s how it usually starts. But not in front of the kids, okay.

Better to be out on the street and let it just pour out of me, so they don’t see. They’re okay on the couch. Yeah they’ve got that stupid puzzle they’ve already put together maybe two dozen times.

They’re okay. They haven’t eaten much today. Some noodles. But they’ll have something soon. A lady’s coming. She’s coming to give us some food and I’m really glad about that for the kids. But it’s not good for me. No no. I’m so embarrassed and ashamed I don’t know if I can even meet her to take the food. I’m so ashamed it hurts. It actually hurts, and yeah here come the fucking tears. Fast now.

Get outta here for chrissake! “Guys. Just stay put for a couple of minutes okay. Mummy’s just going to meet the nice lady” That’s what I said. And then I’m at the door and out in the hallway and up the stairs to ground level and out the door. And then…

Lights on Peggy

PEGGY

(just imagining)

She howls in pain. She bends over, the tears flow, and she collapses on to the ground. Struggling to breathe. And then she stops, so she can breathe better. Wipes her face with the bottom of her T-shirt.

Gets up. Oh my darling girl.

STACEY

Okay. Okay. And now I just wait for the nice lady from the Facebook group to bring me and my two little children some food. So we can eat enough to get some sleep. So we don’t starve to death. She’s coming to a part of the city that might make her nervous. Coming to our crappy little building. But she’s not going inside. Not into our dark wet basement apartment. No way can I survive her seeing that. Seeing almost no furniture. Seeing the filthy walls. Seeing my kids with the dark circles under their eyes. Seeing our life. The life I’m sick of apologizing for. The life I can’t figure a way out of. Welfare can’t get us all on a bus and back to our little town.

Welfare can pay the rent. Barely. But the rest is up to me . Just me. Only me. Not their father. If he’s even alive. Haven’t seen him for weeks. Not since he deposited us in our little rat hole and went out to look for work. At least that’s what he said. But he was really just fucking off. Because our situation just made him too sad to be around, I guess. Poor guy. Poor weak baby. She’s here. Nice car. She gets out. Waves. Grabs some bags and comes over. I stand up to meet her. She hands me the bags. I thank her.

Then she asks…

RAVEN

Are you going to be all right?

STACEY

I don’t know. Maybe not.

RAVEN

My card is in one of those bags. Call me if you need anything else.

STACEY

Then hugged me. Said some nice words I can’t remember. But her voice was kind. Sad but kind.

LIGHT JUST ON RAVEN

RAVEN

Anyone get a picture of that? A really young woman, maybe not even 20 and way too tired to be healthy, is accepting a bag of groceries from a Black woman who’s both healthy and neatly dressed. And who showed up on this dreary street and stopped in front of this ratty apartment house, in a 2 year old Accord. This isn’t a photo for some kind of spread on society’s ebb and flow. This is just a glimpse of our lives. Hers in that sad looking building. Mine with the shiny dark blue Accord. On a mission of mercy because Facebook told me it was my turn. Just two minutes of my time. Just a few words exchanged. And a hug.

Which might have made her feel even worse that she already did. Even more ashamed. And then she heads back inside to God knows what kind of miserable future, while I go back to my nice car. And my much better life. I have a job, a condo and some of the hope I thought as a kid I’d never get. Hope for a lot of things. But right now a real specific hope for justice. Because I’m off to meet someone a part of me just wants to destroy. Someone who hurt me. And my family. In a big way. Probably in a way that can’t ever be fixed. This is the cop who killed my brother. My half brother. My very ill half brother. One of the real unknowables in my life who I hadn’t seen since he was put in a mental hospital when he was 17. And just recently saw again in a casket at his funeral. What a shitty day that was. Everyone crying. I think mostly out of guilt about how we abandoned him when he got too sick and unpredictable to be around.

RUDY COMES ON. WATCHES HER FROM A DISTANCE

RAVEN (CONT’D)

The cop thinks we’re meeting to talk about his son who is 17 now and might actually be on his way to his own psych ward or somewhere worse. The kid has a major defiance disorder and the cop is looking for some advice from an expert. And that would be me. I’m the expert.

And to be honest, I think the kid is fucked. Lots of reasons for that which are mostly just guesses. But for sure it doesn’t help that his father is a dangerous man with a gun. So we’ll talk for awhile about his kid who I actually like, and then I might just spring it on him. “By the way, that was my brother you killed several weeks back. You remember, right. Shot him in the heart. Just one shot. No discussion. No real attempt to get him to drop that knife.

Just a command that he was probably too out of it to even understand.

Then the shot. So immediately deadly. Fuck! And then I’ll just let him take it in.

RUDY

How is this going to work. I mean Jesus. She’s my kid’s case worker. She gets through to his messed up brain like no one else can. He loves her. He needs her. So I better make her understand that I had no choice. I saw it in his eyes. I knew he was just about come at me with that fucking knife. I Her fucking brother? Okay. I better make her understand.

RAVEN

Yeah he better. Because if he doesn’t, I’m already working out another way this could go. Someone I know, who I’ve known since I was a kid and who loved and worshipped me and still does, is willing to do something to get this racist piece of shit out of my mind. And out his fucked up kid’s life. Forever.

Fast. A quick approach and then just one shot. In the heart. For sure the heart. And then I’ll be over it. Maybe.

RUDY

There was no other way that could have gone

RAVEN

So you say.

RUDY

It’s the fucking truth.

RAVEN STEPS BACK TO TAKE HIM IN

RUDY (CONT’D)

My son’s gone.

RAVEN

Gone?

RUDY

Yeah gone. Just fucked off in the middle of the night. Took my bank card too.

RAVEN

Does he have the code

RUDY

If he didn’t have the fucking code why would I bring it up. What did you say to him?

(off her look)

I know you saw him yesterday. So what did you say to him?

RAVEN

Excuse me. I need to…

RUDY

Where you going. Hey?

She’s on her own now.

RAVEN

I just needed to clear my head. Get away from him and his fucking… his goddamn… Man he’s big. Forgot how big he was. He came into my office to talk about his son and he basically took up the whole room.

Mostly with attitude. Inside the head stuff. Inside he’s even bigger. He’s like a mountain of cold hard shit. And it’s the shit that fills the room. Big shot shit. Gotta be the badge he’s had since he was in his twenties. He’s let the badge take him over. Don’t know why. Don’t care why. I look at him. And I just want him to fucking die. Yeah but first he’s got something to say and I have to listen. But first me. He has to listen to me!

She takes a breath and returns to him

RAVEN (CONT’D)

Yes. I saw your son yesterday. The school called me. Kyle was out of control. Like he used to get when he was younger. But a lot worse. He destroyed a classroom.

RUDY

Destroyed? What? Turned over a few desks

RAVEN

Tables. They don’t have desks. They have…

RUDY

And that’s it? He just–

RAVEN

And then he threatened to kick all his teacher’s teeth out. Which scared the rest of the kids in his class.

RUDY

How much?

RAVEN

Shitless. It scared them shitless.

RUDY

Yeah but did he actually hurt–

RAVEN

Okay shut up.

RUDY

What?

RAVEN

Shut up. No he didn’t actually hurt anyone. They all escaped whatever else he had planned.

RUDY

Which was probably nothing. He just likes to scare people sometimes.

RAVEN

Yeah and after he pulled that off, he just sat down and waited.

RUDY

For what?

RAVEN

For someone to make him accountable.

RUDY

You.

RAVEN

Yeah. The school called me, like I fucking said.

RUDY

They should have called me.

RAVEN

(turns to us)

Yeah I wonder why they didn’t do that. It was me who was called. It was me who came. Like I always did. Went into the classroom. Took in the carnage. Looked at Kyle sitting on the floor and said nothing. And neither did he. For a long time.

The stubborn little prick. I mean the troubled teen. The fragile young man. The potential serial killer. The poor kid who’d lost his mother in a really scary way. So really I knew it was up to me to break the ice. The impasse. The fucking silence.

Light on Kyle sitting on the floor. Legs crossed.

RAVEN (CONT’D)

You probably should start to clean this up.

KYLE

Why?

RAVEN

Well someone has to do it.

KYLE

Why? Didn’t you hear me? I asked you why.

RAVEN

(to Us)

And really all I wanted to say to him at that point was fuck off.

But I knew we had a whole scene we had to play out about how mad he was at everyone and how I wasn’t helping him anymore. Plus school was bullshit and the world is fucked and he misses his mother.

Okay…

She turns back to Rudy.

RAVEN (CONT’D)

He misses his mother.

RUDY

And what the fuck am I supposed to do about that?!

RAVEN

Nothing. Don’t do anymore than you already have.

RUDY

What?!

RAVEN

You look bigger. Have you gotten bigger in the last few minutes?

RUDY

Are you on something?

RAVEN

No. That would be against the law. And you might be forced to kill me

RUDY

Jesus Christ. What is it? Coke?

RAVEN

(to US)

Fucking idiot. If it was anything it would be meth. No I was just distracted by feelings of overwhelming failure. And I was starting to get scared. I mean here he was. The killer cop. And he’s not showing me anything except frustration and growing anger. It’s okay. I know how to play this.

First thing is not to cry. Don’t fucking cry in front of this monster. Because really what’s going on here is a scene from a tv show. He’s the overbearing cop and I’m the twitchy skank he’s brought in for questioning. He looks at my breasts. And smiles his fake smile

RUDY

You ready to talk seriously now?

RAVEN

Am I under arrest? (to US)  Or no. I couldn’t have actually said that. Because he’s still just talking about his son and saying…

RUDY

He wouldn’t just leave on his own. He’s not that motivated. So I’ve been wondering …

RAVEN

(to US)

He’s going back to his son disappearing? No I wanna go forward

(to Rudy)

Why’d you kill my brother?

Okay I actually said that one. I know for sure because he’s standing over me feet now. All 7 ft 8 inches of him and …

RUDY

What did you say?

RAVEN

That young Black Man, the kid on the bus. He was my half… he was my brother. Did you really need to kill him because I think he was just…

RUDY

I’m outta here.

He starts off.

He’s gone.

RAVEN

He’s leaving. He was scared and … He’s actually leaving… Leaving.

Stop!! About your son? I think you could have just talked to him. And maybe shown a little understanding. But when have you ever done that even to him, you creep! You fucked up… deranged…!!!

RAVEN (CONT’D)

…piece of shit!!

RUDY AND VIC his new South Asian partner

RUDY

That was just bullshit. I knew where she was going with that crap. I’ve heard it all before. Even read about it. That I was hunting the kid down for some reason.

VIC

You weren’t?

(off Rudy’s look)

I mean that was the word. That you had a history. And he had something on you.

RUDY

The garbage that people let contaminate their minds. Fuck them. And fuck her.

VIC

So you didn’t know him.

RUDY

Yeah I knew him. Had him in on a ‘meets the description’ But we brought in a witness. It wasn’t him, and we let him go. With an apology, okay. A very sincere fucking apology.

VIC

And when you got on the bus you didn’t recognize him?

RUDY

No. What is this? An interrogation.

VIC

Just curious.

RUDY

The fuck…

VIC

No really.

RUDY

Okay. Yeah. I recognized him being on that bus. Yeah. And that’s why I went in. I thought maybe I could talk him down. I mean maybe he’d recognize me too, and remember how good I’d treated him.

VIC

All this is new, Rudy. It’s not what you told–

RUDY

This is partner to partner. I mean we’re new together but still-

VIC

Yeah sure, partner to partner.

RUDY

Anyway. He did recognize me, I think. But he didn’t look even a little happy about seeing me again. Plus that fucking knife was huge.

VIC

It was a kitchen knife wasn’t it?

RUDY

A carving knife. And I wasn’t up to letting him put it in my gut.

VIC

So you shot him.

RUDY

I lifted my weapon, told him to stop and when he didn’t…

VIC

You shot him. And now this social worker is–

RUDY

He was her half brother. And she wants to make it into something it wasn’t. That hearing cleared me. If she was a right thinking person and not just a minority on a mission, she’d be focusing on my son.

VIC

You mean professionally.

RUDY

Well how else could I mean it? You think she’s banging him?

VIC

Who?

RUDY

My son. You think that?

VIC

I don’t think anything. I was just–

RUDY

It’d be a lot better for him if she was. But she’s way out of his league. Kid can barely manage to get dressed on his bad days.

She’s his case worker. She knows him. Knows what he’s capable of.

VIC

Which is?

RUDY

Well that’s the concern, isn’t it. So really she should just do her job. I’m an innocent man. I was just doing MY job. So yeah. Just get her head out of her beautiful black ass and in the game. Her brother or half brother or whoever the fuck he was, is fucking dead. And he was bound to get that way sooner than later anyway. I mean just because of the way he acted. Just that. Not because of anything else. Especially not the thing you’re fucking thinking!

VIC

Calm down, okay.

RUDY

You’re here to keep an eye on me, aren’t you.

VIC

I’m here to do my job.

RUDY

Right. And part of that job is to make sure I don’t go all militia or something on the Black community.

VIC

I’d do that with anyone I was working with.

RUDY

Yeah? Well that was a joke man. Just a fucking joke!

VIC

Calm down.

STACEY ON HER OWN

STACEY

My parents stole my kids. Drove 2 hours to get here because they got “word” we weren’t doing so good.

Word from my disappeared husband’s family I guess. Not saying anything about that though. The way he just ran away leaving us with almost nothing to eat. Not a fucking word about that coward. They just got here, took one look at our shitty apartment, scooped the kids up and put them in their pickup. But they didn’t want me. No change there.

They wouldn’t even take the cat. You gotta take the cat I told them. It’s the kids’ cat! Take the fucking cat, okay!!! But my mum just ignored me and my father told me to stop screaming. Jesus. You’re stealing my kids and I’m not even allowed to fucking get upset!? So I hit the bastard. I rocked him really hard, but he just stood there and looked at me. Then he smiled, gave me a good shove and I fell. It was just like the old days. Then my mum told me to hug the kids goodbye. So I did, but it didn’t stop them crying. And it made me start. I stopped screaming and started crying and I cried a long time after they were gone too. A long time. Then I just stopped.

Stopped crying and maybe stopped giving a shit too.

Light on Peggy

PEGGY

Did I take your kids away to keep them safe. Or did I do it to punish you like you’re insinuating. I thought you were okay, you know. I mean as a kid. Right up until you got pregnant the first time by one of the local greasers and you wouldn’t give me his name. So I can’t run him over or do any of the other gross things he deserves to happen to him. Can’t even get child support. So that decision was as bad as getting with him in the first place. Which like I said was not what I expected from a straight A student with maybe a great future in front of her. So you what? Just got horny and stupid at the same time. Yeah the kids are better off with me. But you needed to be taught a lesson too.

Light on Stacey

STACEY

She put all that in a text

PEGGY

Which is why I got you the friggin phone in the first place. So we could share our thoughts.

STACEY

What you did is gonna wind up killing me. My children are all I’ve got.

PEGGY

So come home and be with them

STACEY

I can’t

PEGGY

Why not. And then nothing. She just goes silent.

Stacey has walked away Kevin enters

KEVIN

Whatya up to?

PEGGY

I was texting with our daughter

KEVIN

How is she?

PEGGY

She wants to kill herself.

KEVIN

Take her own life? Oh no. She can’t do that. The Lord Giveth. And Only He can taketh away

PEGGY

And that’s what the Bible sayeth, is it?

He leaves.

KEVIN

You bet. And be careful with the sarcasm. I can only take so much.

PEGGY

Yeah. That was a threat. I’m walking a fine line here. This religious connection could just snap and then, well we’d have the old Kevin to deal with again

LIGHTS ON STACEY, putting on a cardigan

STACEY

My only warm sweater. Just need to grab the cat, my sleeping bag, and I’m outta here.

PEGGY

Yeah she just left. No one knows where she is. Or even what she’s thinking.

Peggy walks off.

STACEY

(yelling after her) No one ever knew!!

LIGHTS ON A PARK BENCH

STACEY (CONT’D)

Last night I slept on this park bench.

Woke up enough to fuck some kid for 20 bucks. Took a couple of pills he gave me and woke up this morning with him basically standing guard over me.

AND KYLE IS JUST WATCHING HER

STACEY (CONT’D)

Where’s my cat?

KYLE

In that bush.

STACEY

Is he okay?

KYLE

Are you okay?

STACEY

Not sure. What’d you give me.

KYLE

Something to get you to sleep.

STACEY

So you could maybe fuck me again?

KYLE

While you were asleep? No way. You should say you’re sorry.

STACEY

For what?

KYLE

For saying that. It hurt my feelings.

STACEY

(looks at him) How old are you?

KYLE

Almost 18

STACEY

You look older.

KYLE

I’ve had a hard life

STACEY

Is that a joke?

KYLE

No. Why’d you ask that?

STACEY

The way you said it. What’s in that bag you’re holding?

KYLE

I bought us both tooth brushes and a bar of soap. You wanna get something to eat? We can clean up a bit in the restaurant’s bathroom, have a nice breakfast and then talk a little.

STACEY

Talk about what?

KYLE

What we’re gonna do. I think we need to find a better place to stay.

STACEY

We?

KYLE

Yeah.

STACEY

(to herself)

So I guess I’m married again.

KYLE

Got any ideas how we’re gonna get your kids back?

STACEY

I told you about that?

KYLE

You told me a lot. Until the pills got hold of you, we talked for hours.

STACEY

Yeah just like newlyweds do.

KYLE

We need to get some breakfast.

STACEY

I cant leave without Pigpen. My cat?

KYLE

Oh yeah. I’ll find him. But they won’t let him in the restaurant

STACEY

I’ll put him under my sweater They won’t even know he’s there. What’s your name?

KYLE

I told you.

STACEY

Tell me again.

KYLE

Kyle.

STACEY

Okay. And I’m—

KYLE

You’re Amber. I know.

STACEY

Amber? I’m not fucking Amber. I’m Stacey.

KYLE

Well last night you were Amber. Doesn’t matter though. Let’s hurry. I’m starving.

STACEY

You got money to pay for this?

KYLE

Yeah not everyone runs away from home without scrounging some cash first. I mean that’d be just fucking stupid.

STACEY

I didn’t run away. I just left.

KYLE

(leaving) Same thing.

STACEY

Not really. Not even close to being the same thing.

(TO US)

But I’m thinking now. Not where’s the best place to sleep, but where’s the best place to kill yourself. And when’s the best time to do it. On an empty stomach? When you’re high? After a good night’s sleep? Because maybe fuck all this. Newlywed or not.

She hesitates then starts slowly after KYLE

 

Part Two of Alone on A Bridge Coming Soon!

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