Yesterday, Starring A Woman Named California Red by Joseph Robinson - HTML preview

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RED. May I rip your heart out you son-of-a-bitch?

SAMMY. Okay, relax, I’m leaving. I’m sorry about your…this. Your troubles.

RED. Yeah?

SAMMY. Yeah. (Beat.) Would you like the day off?

RED. No, not now. (Beat.) Okay?

SAMMY. Yeah, okay. (Beat.) I think, all things considered, you're taking this really well. RED. (She's about to lose it.) Well, fuck, I didn't do it. Shit, I didn't do it. (She begins to lose it.) I didn't do it. I did not do it. I did not. I didn't. I mean, maybe it had something to do with me teasing him when were kids, but fuck get over it you stupid bitch - him not me - because I didn't do it. I didn't. I just didn't do it. I just didn't. ... Did I? ... I mean ever since we reconciled in college we've been best friends. Right, so, I didn't do it. I didn't. I didn't care for his choice of women, but hell I'm family, I may be vocal. Come on: Carla was a gold digger, Susan was a cheating whore, and Lena West was practically retarded. I could be vocal. It's my right. Right?

SAMMY. Right.

RED. Shut up - I'm having a rhetorical breakdown - I mean conversation! I'm having a conversation! I'm having a conversation with myself! I mean - I mean - I mean - I didn't do it. I - I - I - Sam...tell me that I didn't do it. I, I need to speak to, Peter. I need to speak to my husband.

He knows me. He knows where I was in 1997. He'll believe me I swear.

SAMMY. Red! Stop! (Silence.) Try to be calm. Please. This will be okay. This all will be okay. Deep breaths and a little time to relax will fix everything. Okay? (Beat.) RED. What just happened?

SAMMY. It seemed like a panic attack. Are you alright?

RED. Yeah.

SAMMY. Good. (Beat.)

RED. I thought you were leaving.

SAMMY. Oh, right. I was, that is, until you flipped your shit, Woman.

RED. Fuck. I'm sorry.

SAMMY. I get it - not it - but I get it.

RED. I know.

SAMMY. Anyway, I should be on my way, California. (Beat.) Bye, Red.

RED. Bye, Sam. (Sammy exits. Beat. Red drops her head onto her desk making a loud thud. Beat.) Ouch. (A couple beats pass then her office phone rings. She keeps her head down and reaches for the phone. She picks it up, and keeping her head down to speak, answers.) Hello, this is, California. (Beat.) Hi, Peter. (Beat.) What now? (Beat.) You have to be kidding me. (Beat.) You’re lying. (Beat.) You’re right, I’m sorry, why would you lie about this. I’m just… I don’t feel good. It’s all of this. I’m so sorry. I will be in contact, okay? (Beat.) I love you. Okay. Bye. (She hangs up the phone. Beat. She throws a heart broken, angry, disgusted - but concealed - so as to not be heard by anyone outside of her office - tantrum. After a couple beats she stops.) I. Hate. My. Life.

Lights fade to black.

SCENE FOUR:

More and More and More and More, A Press Conference, Starring, California Red Lights up. California Red is at a lectern giving a press conference.

RED. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, my name is, California Red, and I denounce and abhor everything that my brother did three days ago. There is no argument in favor for him, not even some secret thought that I will exhale on my deathbed justifying this event. I need to say, because I feel this, and this is true: I am truly sorry for the death and trouble that he brought onto you. The sadness, the hatred, he put into your hearts, the sickness that you were forced to witness I hate and I am truly sorry. Three days ago should have never happened. I hope it never happens again. If we are to gather anything from this, let it be how we hate and condemn this behavior as a species. I was notified yesterday that my brother was involved in even more great wrongdoing.

Not only did he kill forty people but they found in his home three missing teenage… (Speechless.) Teenage… You know what? Fuck him (Beat.) Blackout.

SCENE FIVE:

Messages

Lights up. Red is sitting on the couch (feet and all) reading through messages on her cell phone from her brother. A couple beats pass. Pete enters with a glass of red wine that he hands to her. Red immediately drinks the entire glass.

PETE. Wow. (Red hands him the empty glass, which he takes and puts down. Beat. Red belches.) Wow. Also, ew.

RED. Mhm.

PETE. What are you doing?

RED. Reading through my messages.

PETE. All from, George?

RED. Yeah.

PETE. Does he say anything really out there?

RED. No. (Beat.) Did you really hate yesterday's press conference?

PETE. Of course I did. You can’t say things like that on TV.

RED. It's not my fault no one's seven second delay box was broken. The world is against me.

PETE. Even still.

RED. I was just upset. I sort of...blacked out.

PETE. Okay...I...Look, Red, we need to talk about this all.

RED. M.

PETE. Red, do you understand how much I love you? Truly? (Red hands Pete her cell phone.) What? (She gestures for him to take it. He does.) Read? (She gestures for him to do so. He reads. Beat. She gets up and walks into the kitchen and pours him a glass of red wine. She returns with it and hands it to him. Pete takes the glass of wine and drinks. Red sits close to him and they cuddle as he continues to read. A couple beats pass. This is their safety position.) God he was so nice.

RED. I know.

PETE. I hate this.

RED. I understand. (Beat. Pete puts the phone down and kisses her head. Beat. She begins to cry.)

PETE. Let it out. (Red cries for a few beats, then there is a knock at the front door that grabs them both. Red wipes her tears away.) RED. I’ll get it.

PETE. Let me.

RED. No. I’ll get it.

PETE. Okay. (Beat. She doesn’t move. A couple more beats pass.) PETE. When?

RED. Hm?

PETE. Did you mean, “I” as in "me?" RED. (Duh.) Yeah - you get the door.

PETE. Cute, lady. (Pete goes to answer the door.) RED. Pete?

PETE. Yes?

RED. If you tell anyone I was crying, I'll lie and tell them you're gay.

PETE. (Sarcastic.) Thanks, babe. You know what? I always had a thing for unnecessary conversations. (He opens the door. It’s Micky.) MICKY. Hi, Pete.

PETE. Hi, Micky, come in.

MICKY. Sure. (While entering.) Want to finish my coffee?

PETE. No. Ask, Red, though.

MICKY. Fine. Hey, i'm really starting to love this new habit of mine. coffee just may be man's best friend.

PETE. Funny.

MICKY. Right, aren't I a peach?

RED. Hi, Micky.

MICKY. Hi, Red. Would you like to finish my coffee?

RED. Is it old?

MICKY. It’s fresh.

RED. Yeah. (Micky hands her the coffee and she drinks.) MICKY. Were you crying?

PETE. And I said nothing.

RED. But you just did, Homo.

PETE. Watch it.

RED. (Responding to Micky.) And yes, I was crying.

MICKY. May I apologize for him?

RED. For, George?

MICKY. Yes.

RED. Because you know he’s sorry?

MICKY. You’re right.

RED. And if you do, ever, apologize for him, ever, know this: you will never be welcome here.

MICKY. Fine.

RED. After Pete and I beat your ass.

MICKY. You know, sometimes I wish you were a man.

RED. Why?

MICKY. So I could beat your ass.

RED. You're sexist.

MICKY. How?

RED. Would you like to rephrase you comment — because if I can go to war — I can fight a man.

PETE. (Drinking his wine.) Mick, she will beat your ass.

RED. Micky, have you ever fought a woman?

MICKY. No.

RED. Why?

MICKY. Because it would be too easy.

PETE. (About the trouble Micky is inviting.) Oh shit.

RED. You're totally lying about never being beat up by a woman. Look at you, you friggin' bottom. I bet she crushed you. Fuck you, Micky. You little boy. You. Little. Boy.

MICKY. Side note: If I had a dollar for every time I heard “fuck you, Micky” in the last three days —

RED. Who cares? What do you want?

MICKY. (Under his breath; inaudible.) Cunt.

RED. What?

MICKY. I called you a cunt. But not because you are, but because that's all you are.

RED. If I had a dollar for every time someone called me a named under their breath in last week

-

MICKY. You'd be rich.

PETE. Alright guys, we can start a fight club or we could order a pizza.

MICKY AND RED. Pizza.

PETE. Thank. God. (Pete begins to exit to order a pizza.) RED. (As Pete is exiting.) You're getting fat by the way. PETE. (Exiting.) It's a good thing you're easy. (Micky laughs.) RED. Seriously, Micky, what do you want?

MICKY. To know that you’re okay. (Beat.) Are you?

RED. I am. It's just, he wasn’t like that. He wasn’t a murderer-rapist.

MICKY. I know.

BOTH. Or he always was.

MICKY. This whole thing is causing too much conflict in me. I just don't know who I am anymore.

RED. How's that?

MICKY. I keep looking in the mirror and saying, "What do you know!? Nothing! You know nothing! You don't know people - you don't know you! Nothing! This is what your brother did to me, and for that, I hate him. I hate your brother.

RED. I understand.

MICKY. The worst part is, your brother, George, was the best employee I ever had. One of the nicest people I've ever met.

RED. Did he show signs?

MICKY. Of what he did?

RED. Yeah. Was he odd?

MICKY. No. Just normal and cool and awesome. He was lovable.

RED. Oh.

MICKY. You know, who knows what was going through that man's head? There's a strong part of me that wants only to hate everything about him.

RED. (Me too.) But we can't.

MICKY. Right. We can’t hate everything about him when we don’t know everything that was going on. Let those days ago be what they were and move on. He's seriously deleted from my vocab' list though.

RED. Seriously, before all of this happened, I’m telling you, those times when we needed a laugh or an elevated heart-beat he was there and he was good. Always. He wasn't perfect, but he was still good. He was meaningful.

MICKY. Two days ago sucked.

RED. What do you think he’d say about all of this? MICKY. He’d probably say, “What was he thinking?” RED. Yeah.

MICKY. (After Red’s line he is really upset by George’s actions.) What a bitch, though. He's just a piece of sh — (There is a knock at the door. Pete enters.) PETE. (Referring to the knock at the door.) Pizza.

MICKY. That was fast.

PETE. They are known for their quick delivery. It's the Jimmy John's of pizza.

MICKY. What's the place called?

PETE. Johnny Jim's.

MICKY. Oh, I've heard of that place!

PETE. They're great.

RED. Is the door bell broken?

PETE. I don't know. I'll check it later. (He opens the door.) Hello. LIONEL. Hi, Pizza. (Pete notices it’s, Lionel, a friend of the family.) PETE. Lionel?

LIONEL. Surprise!

PETE. Come in, dude. (Lionel enters and Pete closes the door.) RED. (She is very happy to see him.) Lionel!

LIONEL. Hi, California.

RED. What are you doing here?

LIONEL. I just bought the pizza restaurant you apparently order from, and that's a total rip-off of Jimmy John's. And since I was in town, I just had to stop by. By the way, that’ll be $18.95.

PETE. By the way? It should be free now, Friend.

LIONEL. My ass, Pete. And don't forget to tip.

PETE. Oh I'll give you a tip.

RED. So, life in general is good for you?

LIONEL. Not necessarily. I bought this pizza place so my software company would have another source of income. We're actually not okay at the moment.

PETE. I'm sorry to hear it.

LIONEL. Me too.

MICKY. Hi, Lionel.

LIONEL. Hi, Micky. What took you so long? Just like my look?

MICKY. Oh, shut up and welcome home. LIONEL. Thanks, buddy. Where is George? (Beat.) PETE. You haven’t heard?

LIONEL. What?

RED. Mr. Software developer doesn't watch the news?

LIONEL. What happened?

PETE. He snapped and killed forty people, then himself.

LIONEL. What?

PETE. Yeah.

LIONEL. That’s not a funny joke, Pete.

RED. It’s not a joke.

LIONEL. (To Red.) Red, come on, what is this?

RED. It’s true. (Beat.)

MICKY. This doesn’t mean he was suddenly evil one day. He was, maybe, sick.

LIONEL. God. (Beat.) He just messaged me five days ago.

RED. What did he say?

LIONEL. He sent me a song. RED. What?

LIONEL. “Fox On the Run.” PETE. By, Sweet?

LIONEL. Yeah.

RED. Play it.

LIONEL. Yeah. (He pulls out his cell phone and plays the song and all listen in silence. Red cuts the song short.) RED. Everyone get out.

PETE. C’mon, Red.

RED. You too. Go, get beer or something — just get out, all of you. Now.

PETE. Fine. (Lionel, Micky, and Pete grab their things and make for the front door. Pete goes to give Red a kiss on the cheek but she stops him.) RED. Don’t kiss me, get out.

PETE. Fine. (The men exit. Beat. She sits on the couch in silence. In anger she takes the wine glass and throws it against the wall. It shatters. Silence. She cries.) Lights fade to black.

SCENE SIX:

PETE GIVES A SPEECH

Lights up. Pete is in front of an AA Group.

PETE. Before I begin, I would like to be honest about why I am with you all, today, this evening, in Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm not an alcoholic...not to my knowledge...but I was walking past and saw your sign, and I thought to myself, "well, I do have some things that I would like to share, to get something off my chest." Maybe to avoid becoming one. Because I do like alcohol. I like it a lot. Maybe I sound a little selfish, but I really need a moment. I know that we do not know one another, but we all know something: we know that life is important. Why else would we be here? Even if we do not know one another, we have a shared experience in this...life that we live side by side. (Beat.) My name is, Peter Red, and I am here to communicate an idea about responsibility: We are, all of us, responsible for ourselves, but we, at times, forget, or maybe we really don't know, that ourself is in no way void of others. I recall driver's education class, in high school, when my instructor told my class that we must "drive for others, not only ourselves." We must live for the true "ourself," which is us and others. That's our responsibility. For example, the day we marry our wife, or husband, we marry their world. It's never just you two. The single person dies. (Beat.) My brother-in-law is the man who killed all of those people in that office building and -

AA MEMBER. What the fuck?

PETE. I know. He did what he did, and it hurts; a lot of people were hurt - and not just the immediate victims, the people who he killed - but also those who have been effected by his actions.We should take from this the fact that we are responsible to more than ourselves; we are responsible for, or to, others as well. To drive my point home, when you feel like taking a drink, as a friend told me, "play the tape back..." You know what could happen if you do take that drink. Really bad things. Even if you feel that it's too much to be responsible for others in that context think about this: maybe you deserve a better life. I don't know you and you already mean so much to me. Thats all. Thank you and God bless.

Lights fade to black.

SCENE SEVEN:

Breakfast

Lights up. Red and Pete are sitting at their breakfast table eating. He is telling her about the statements he made at the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting the night before.

RED. So, last night, instead of hanging out with the guys — PETE. They were there —

RED. Okay, so you all went to AA, and you're not alcoholics — not to my knowledge —

PETE. Not to mine either —

RED. Not to our knowledge — and you gave a motivational speech?

PETE. That was a perfect team summary.

RED. (After a beat.) And then what happened?

PETE. And then we went to the bar and had a few drinks.

RED. (Beat.) Great. (Beat.) PETE. What?

RED. Nothing, you're free to do such things. I get it too.

PETE. Yeah. (They eat.)

RED. Did you make any friends at AA?

PETE. Define friends.

RED. Okay: friends.

PETE. Define the word with the word and you'll only get nowhere.

RED. Did they go to the bar too?

PETE. You know, I don't really remember. (Beat.) Are you accusing me of being an enabler? I'm not an enabler if that's your point.

RED. What am I getting at?

PETE. I don't know. This all seemed innocent.

RED. It seems wrong that you used the death of those people to stand out in a crowd. I didn't think you were selfish. Maybe practical, but never disgustingly selfish. But if that makes you feel good, go on, keep taking advantage of people.

PETE. That wasn't the point.

RED. It's too bad that I wasn't there; then I wouldn't be missing the point.

PETE. You're the one who said go.

RED. I said leave the house, not go find broken souls and take advantage of them.

PETE. You should take the day off and do a character analysis, because where ever you are in your head right now, will not be allowed in this house. Ever.

RED. Yeah? And you are?

PETE. Someone. Something. Certainly not a punching bag.

RED. You really don't get what just took place these last few days, do you?

PETE. What's happening here? Who are you?

RED. Hurt! I'm crushed! I'm crushed and you go out with your pals and motivate other people while your wife is imploding.

PETE. Number one: Those are your pals also. Number two: You said go, and I respected your space enough to do so. Do you really believe I want to be anywhere but by your side? Number three: think really hard about this moment; this is unacceptable.

RED. You shouldn't have gone. Next time fight to stay.

PETE. Oh, please, Red, if you're changing change, but I didn't sign-up to be anything other than who I am! I signed up to be me! We're a team, lady. Did George kill us too? As if! I'm going to keep living. You should give it a shot. I hate the image or idea of you dying, but that's some delusion of mine, because I'm sure you did. (Beat.) What do you feel guilty or something? Huh?

Do you feel guilty, California Red?

RED. (She breaks down into tears.) Yes! I know I played a role in this! I just know it!

PETE. Red, come on. How?

RED. I don't know, I just did! I did! I know I did!

PETE. You are not guilty. You didn't do anything wrong, and no one could have seen this coming. No one. And if someone out there did see it coming and did nothing, it's their guilt. You were a good sister. Just as you're a good friend and wife.

RED. Then why do I feel this way? I have this feeling that we're all guilty somehow.

PETE. Because you're powerless. (Beat.) We all are. Take comfort in that if you could have done something to prevent any of this you would have. When I was in school, I took a course called, Living in Balance. Guilt was a huge component. California, some people feel guilty because they may have had opportunities to say or do something, but they allowed it to pass, or they see issues in the world and they don't stand up and advocate solutions...they just call their best friends and say "how bad" for three hours and move on. Guilt can be very nasty. But I know for a fact that that if you could have done something to prevent this all from happening, you would have. RED. It’s just wacky how you can know someone for years and they’re okay, seemingly, and next thing you know, you’re giving some press conference and having to say things like, “My brother is a murderer...” I hate it. I hate it so much. (Silence.) I didn't sign up for this. I didn't sign up for this life.

PETE. Some times things are so well out of our reach it's a nightmare. It doesn't mean we're useless or guilty, it means we're not a deity that could. I remember the first interview I had with the firm that I now work for: My boss asked me, "What is you greatest weakness?" Do you remember that? I said, "My greatest weakness is that I'm not, God. When I'm powerless, I just am, but I handle that reality well." California, that's one of the questions from events like this:

"What is our greatest weakness?" The answer is simple: "We're not, God." But you know what? He's there for us. While there isn't a "Bring Your God To Work Day," mine is always with me. I'm not trying to say all of this as if you and I don't share the same God, because we do, but it's clear you forget him. Try not too. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, because that's just an awful image, but even though we can't change the past, we can live a ridiculously awesome future if we pick ourselves up and go forward. All we need to do is be honest and good and when we can't we need to fight to be honest and good. In doing so our future will be good to us. Red, never forget that I am on your side. I am on your team. Don't push me away. Sometimes it's clear to me that you're all God has given me to have, so, I care to have you. I — (She kisses him.) RED. I'm sorry about how I treated you. Peter, you're my best friend and do not want to lose you.

PETE. So don't. (He kisses her forehead.)

RED. Pete, I'm still afraid of what this all could mean.

PETE. Me too, but all is well...(Trying to make feel batter.) Because I know karate. (Laughter breaks through her tears.)

RED. You really do know how to make me feel better. I'm actually a little jealous.

PETE. You bring the best out of me. You know? You complete me, California. I'm a real person when I'm with you. (They kiss.) RED. Peter?

PETE. Yes?

RED. I'm glad you didn't end at karate. (He laughs. They kiss.) PETE. Me too. (They kiss.)

Lights fade to black.

END OF ACT ONE