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DETAINED By d.s.Levy

based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens


ACT I Scene 1 - Prologue (Dark stage. Spotlight on center. EDDIE enters.) EDDIE (to audience) Marley had graduated, to begin with. Jake Marley, eighth grader supreme, was gone. He ruled this school! There wasn’t nobody who wasn’t afraid of him and there wasn’t a teacher who’d tell him "No". I heard there’s still a few seventh graders who cry when they hear his name. (beat) Guess you could have called him my hero. Ever since he left, I’ve kind of taken over. But, you know, some things aren’t quite what they seem. Trust me. It took something pretty amazing for me to learn that. To learn that what we might think is right, is wrong; that what we know to be true, is false; that how we act isn’t maybe exactly how we should act. Don’t worry, it’ll make sense. Listen, we don’t have time to start all the way at the beginning with me being born and everything but we can go back a few days at least. School’s about to let out for winter break. (School bell rings.) EDDIE (cont’d) See? (STUDENTS enter, talking excitedly.) EDDIE (cont’d) I gotta get ready for my entrance. Sit tight and I’ll see you at the end. (Spotlight down. EDDIE exits.) (ROBERT, ANTHONY, LILLY, and JACKSON enter together.) ANTHONY I’ve decided that there is nothing worse than Algebra. LILY What about English? ANTHONY Nope. I been talking English good forever but Math is just terrible. Whoever created Math should be hung up in a closet somewhere by his toenails and never let out. (CONTINUED)


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2.

LILY Gross! ROBERT You can’t really do that. ANTHONY Oh yeah? Why? ROBERT Well, because no one really "created" Math. It just kinda exists. If anything, I guess you could travel back in time and punish the ancient Egyptians! (ROBERT laughs at his "joke." The others stare at him until he notices. He stops laughing and tries to explain.) ROBERT (cont’d) See, ’cause the ancient Egyptians were one of the first groups to really put Math down as a set of rules and...never mind. JACKSON You’re a weird guy, Robert, you know that? ROBERT That’s what you keep telling me. JACKSON But you’re OK, too. ROBERT Thanks. LILY So what are you guys going to do for break? JACKSON Anthony and me are going to Mammoth. ANTHONY Yeah, I’m going to attempt to teach this guy how to snowboard! LILY (to ANTHONY) Aren’t you the one who broke his collarbone last winter? ANTHONY That was totally not my fault! That guy pushed me!

(CONTINUED)


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3.

LILY That "guy" was a four-year-old and you were on the bunny slope. ANTHONY (sullen) She was big for her age. (The others laugh.) LILY (to ROBERT) What about you, Robert? Big plans? ROBERT Well, no...I have to help my mom. JACKSON How’s she doing? ROBERT Not great. The doctors still don’t really know what’s wrong. LILY Is she going to be ok? (ROBERT shakes his head; emotional. LILY gives him a hug.) LILY (cont’d) You let us know if there’s anything we can do, OK? JACKSON AND ANTHONY Yeah. ROBERT Thanks, guys. I just think she needs some rest. I’m going to do the chores and help with the cooking and stuff. Help watch my baby sister, things like that. Don’t worry, though. I’ll be fine. (The others look at him.) ROBERT Really. (EDDIE enters.) LILY Oh no. Look.

(CONTINUED)


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4.

JACKSON Great. Everyone’s favorite loser. (EDDIE walks over to a group of younger kids who are looking at a comic book. and starts talking to them. EDDIE Hey twerps. Whatcha got there? (He takes the comic book. The kids start to whine and beg for it back but EDDIE holds it above their heads.) KID 1 C’mon, Eddie! Give it back! EDDIE Oh, you want this back? KID 2 Yeah! EDDIE Say "pretty please!" KID 1 AND KID 2 Pretty please! (EDDIE rips it in half, laughing. He tosses it at the KIDS.) EDDIE There you go. KID 1 Hey! What did you do that for? EDDIE You never said you wanted it back in one piece! You gotta learn to be more specific, kid! KID 2 We’re telling! EDDIE Like I care! Now scram! (The KIDS pick up the pieces and run off stage to get the principal.)

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5.

JACKSON What a creep. ANTHONY And I bet he wonders why he doesn’t have any friends. (EDDIE sees them and walks over.) EDDIE Hey, dorks. Enjoying your little geek pow-wow? LILY What do you want, Eddie? EDDIE Nothing much. Maybe for you guys to start being cool or something but I guess that’s too much to hope for. JACKSON C’mon, Eddie. Take off. EDDIE (advancing on JACKSON) What did you say, punk? JACKSON Nothing. (JACKSON backs down.) EDDIE That’s what I thought. (EDDIE notices ROBERT who is thinking about his mom, oblivious to what’s going on.) EDDIE (cont’d) (malicious) Hey, Bobby. (ROBERT looks up and finally notices EDDIE. He looks scared.) ROBERT Oh, hi Eddie. EDDIE (sincere) How’s your mom doing? Heard she’s real sick. (The others look surprised at EDDIE’S sudden sensitivity. ROBERT takes a moment to answer.)

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6.

ROBERT Sh-She’s not doing so hot. I was just telling the others that I’m going to stay home and kind of take care of her over the break. EDDIE I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. ROBERT Why not? EDDIE Well, if I had to look at you every day, I’d probably get sick too! (EDDIE laughs while the others start to grumble in ROBERT’S defense.) ROBERT Eddie, that’s not why she-EDDIE Heck, that’s probably why your dad left. Couldn’t stand the site of you! (EDDIE laughs harder. ROBERT looks close to tears. The others comfort him and face down EDDIE.) LILY You’re a real jerk, you know that? JACKSON Man, so not cool. EDDIE You guys wouldn’t know cool if it punched you in the face. ANTHONY At least we know not to pick on someone. What’s your problem anyway? EDDIE My problem? My only problem is nerds like you stinking up the school. (ROBERT walks up to EDDIE.) ROBERT Just leave us alone, OK? We didn’t do anything to you.

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7. (EDDIE looks thoughtful for a moment as if he’s really considering ROBERT’S advice. After a beat or two, he turns and pushes ROBERT backwards into the others who catch him, nearly falling themselves. JACKSON and ANTHONY advance on EDDIE and they all prepare to get into a fight.)

PRINCIPAL (off stage) Hey! What’s going on here? (PRINCIPAL enters.) EDDIE These guys were about to beat me up! (JACKSON and ANTHONY start to protest but the PRINCIPAL stops them.) PRINCIPAL That’s not how it looked from over there. Eddie, stay. The rest of you, go home and I’ll see you in two weeks. (EDDIE starts to protest while the others thank the PRINCIPAL and exit.) EDDIE But they started it! PRINCIPAL Stop, Eddie. I’m not an idiot. EDDIE (under his breath) Could have fooled me. PRINCIPAL Wow, it’s like you want detention. EDDIE Ooh, detention. I’m so scared. Dude, you can’t do anything to me. School’s out. I’m on vacation. PRINCIPAL You know what’s really funny, Eddie? EDDIE What? PRINCIPAL It’s funny that you actually believe that. Guess what? You just earned yourself an hour scraping gum off the bottom of desks. C’mon.

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8.

EDDIE But that’s not fair! PRINCIPAL And you think the way you treat Robert and the other students around here is fair? I don’t think you know what that word means. C’mon, that gum won’t scrape itself. (They exit, EDDIE continuing to protest.) (Lights out.) END SCENE Scene 2 - A Visit from Marley (LIGHTS UP on CLASSROOM. DESKS are arranged in rows. A TEACHER’S DESK is placed upstage near a BLACKBOARD that reads "Detention Today.") (EDDIE and PRINCIPAL enter.) EDDIE My mom’s gonna sue you! PRINCIPAL I already spoke to your mom on the phone. (PRINCIPAL hands EDDIE a SCRAPER.) PRINCIPAL (cont’d) Here you go. I expect each and every one of the desks in this room to be gum free. Any questions? EDDIE Yeah, don’t I get a phone call? PRINCIPAL You aren’t in prison, Eddie... (beat) Yet. (PRINCIPAL slams the door. EDDIE looks at the SCRAPER for a moment and then throws it across the room.) EDDIE (yelling) This isn’t fair!

(CONTINUED)


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9.

MARLEY (from under the teacher’s desk) That’s what I used to say. EDDIE Who’s there? (MARLEY stands up, a SCRAPER very much like the one EDDIE threw in his hand.) EDDIE (cont’d) Jake? Jake Marley? What are you doing here? MARLEY Let’s call it community service, OK? EDDIE But shouldn’t you be at the high school? MARLEY Believe me, it’s nice to take a break from that place. A guy can only get thrown in the garbage so many times before he needs a vacation. EDDIE What do you mean? You rule the school, right? (MARLEY laughs.) MARLEY Are you kidding me? I’m nothing special up there, kid. I’m just another Freshman. The Seniors rule the school and I can tell you one thing: they don’t like bullies very much! (MARLEY laughs again and walks to a desk. He bends down and scrapes at the desk.) EDDIE What are you doing that for? MARLEY Because you ain’t gonna have time to do it and you’ll want it done by the time you get back. EDDIE What are you talking about? Back from where? I’ve got detention, Jake. We both know you’re familiar with that word! (MARLEY shoots EDDIE a dirty look.)

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10.

MARLEY Don’t push me, Eddie. I’m trying to help you here. EDDIE I think I’m capable of scraping gum by myself. Besides, I wasn’t going to do it. What’s the principal gonna do? MARLEY You’d be surprised what a principal can do. And like I said, it doesn’t matter if you were going to do it. It has to be done or what they’re going to show you won’t matter. EDDIE (shouting) What are you talking about? (MARLEY stands up and brushes himself off. He says his next lines with some importance.) MARLEY You will be haunted by three spirits. EDDIE Oookaaay. MARLEY No seriously. Three spirits. You can expect the first one after you hear three knocks, each louder than the first. EDDIE Three spirits? Right. You know, I think I’ll pass. (MARLEY rushes toward EDDIE and shoves him up against the wall.) MARLEY Don’t you get it, Eddie? Without their help you’ll wind up like me! Do you really want that? EDDIE Of course I do! You ruled this school! And I’m badder than you ever were! Don’t blame me if you can’t hack it in high school. MARLEY You don’t get it! (drops EDDIE) I’m nothing in high school! I’m a little fish and the upperclassmen are the sharks. It doesn’t matter how cool, how bad, you think you are here. You wouldn’t last a day up there without friends.

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11.

EDDIE Who needs friends when everyone’s afraid of you? MARLEY That’s just it, kid. No one is afraid of me anymore. I’m pathetic. And you’ll be the same unless you listen to them. EDDIE Who? These spirit things? Do you know how crazy that sounds? MARLEY Yes I do. And I also wish I’d had the chance you’re getting. Listen, you either listen to them or you don’t. I don’t really care. I just thought I’d try to help you get a second chance. (MARLEY walks back to the teacher’s desk.) MARLEY (cont’d) I won’t be here when you get back but the desks will be scraped clean. The rest is up to you. (MARLEY ducks down behind the desk again.) (EDDIE walks to the desk and looks under it. MARLEY is gone.) EDDIE Marley? Where in the heck did he go? Weird. END SCENE SCENE 3 - The Past (A KNOCK at the classroom door.) (EDDIE, startled, spins around. He immediately tries to find the SCRAPER he threw earlier.) EDDIE Where is that thing? (A second KNOCK, louder.) EDDIE (cont’d) (scared) Two knocks. No way! Marley said there would be three knocks, each one louder. This can’t be happening. (The third KNOCK, so loud it echoes throughout the theater.) (CONTINUED)


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12.

(EDDIE holds his breathe, afraid to breathe. He waits and nothing happens.) EDDIE (cont’d) (exhaling) See, Eddie? There’s no such thing as spir-(The DOOR blows inward, slamming against the wall or falling from the top and landing on the floor.) (Dru enters.) DRU You know, you could have opened the door for me! Seriously rude. (EDDIE backs up against the far wall.) (Dru pulls out an INDEX CARD.) DRU (cont’d) You Eddie? EDDIE Wh-who are y-y-you? DRU Well that’s hardly fair! I asked you first! But I understand. The first time you see one of us, it’s a little jarring. I’m the Spirit of Detentions That Were. But you can call me Dru. EDDIE D-D-Dru? DRU Ooh, there’s an echo in here. Now, can I assume you’re Eddie then? C’mon, we only have a little bit of time to do this. EDDIE Yeah. I’m Eddie. Time for what? DRU Ah, you’ll see. Don’t want to ruin the ending, do we? (Dru puts away her INDEX CARD.) DRU (cont’d) Alrighty then. Let’s go.

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13.

EDDIE Where are we going? DRU To see how you got here. EDDIE I’m here cuz a bunch of geeks got me in trouble. DRU That might be true, or it might be you’re little version of events but that’s not what we’re going to go see. We’re going to go back a little further than this afternoon. EDDIE Huh? DRU Don’t worry, sparky. You’ll catch on. C’mon. (Dru exits. EDDIE doesn’t follow. DRU returns.) DRU (cont’d) Alright, seriously? Do I have to do everything for you? (Dru walks over to EDDIE and starts to move his legs for him.) EDDIE I can walk! DRU Prove it. (She pulls EDDIE toward the door and he finally follows her.) (CURTAIN closes. LIGHTS on DOWNSTAGE.) PARTY GOERS (O.S.) (MANY VOICES) Happy birthday, Eddie! (YOUNG EDDIE enters, carrying DOLLS.) YOUNG EDDIE Wow, my very own Ken and Barbie. (to the dolls) Now, you two are married, just like my mommy and daddy. Got it? But you’re new married so you don’t fight yet, OK? You don’t yell at each other. Deal? (as Barbie) I agree. I don’t want to fight with you, Ken. (CONTINUED)


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14.

(as Ken) And I don’t want to fight with you, either, Barbie. (as himself) Perfect. You two are going to be much happier than my family. Now kiss on it. (YOUNG EDDIE moves the dolls closer to each other and makes them kiss. While EDDIE and Dru are talking, he continues to play with the dolls.) (EDDIE and Dru enter.) EDDIE Where are we? It’s so dark! DRU The past often is. We forget the brightness of the lives we lead. Especially when those lives aren’t very bright to begin with. EDDIE Huh? DRU Nothing. Just being deep. Didn’t mean to confuse you. EDDIE Hey! I can be dee-(EDDIE notices YOUNG EDDIE.) EDDIE (cont’d) Is that? (EDDIE walks closer to YOUNG EDDIE.) EDDIE (cont’d) It is! That’s...that’s me! Dru, we’re in the Past! DRU (sarcastic) Wow, nothing gets by you does it? EDDIE But this is impossible! I mean, this was at least five years ago! DRU Six. This is your eighth birthday. Do you remember this day? (EDDIE is suddenly sad.)

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15.

EDDIE Yeah, I remember it. That was the last birthday my mom and dad were still married to each other. They got divorced a couple months later and my dad moved out. You know, he didn’t even say goodbye. It was also the birthday my brother and sister came home to visit from middle school. (to Dru) They were always getting into trouble and so my dad sent them to a boarding school. Four boarding schools, actually. DRU Was this the last time you saw them? EDDIE No. There were a few more birthdays with them there but this was the worst. Please, spirit, I don’t want to see this. It hurts too much. DRU As much as it hurt Robert when you made fun of his mom being sick? EDDIE It...it’s not the same thing. DRU Sure. Keep telling yourself that, Eddie. Now watch this. It’ll do you some good. (FRANK and RILEY enter. They notice YOUNG EDDIE and walk past EDDIE and DRU without noticing them.) FRANK Look at this, Riley. Our little brother is playing with his dolls again. RILEY Are you surprised? What do you expect from a wimp? (They advance on YOUNG EDDIE and rip the dolls out of his hands.) YOUNG EDDIE Hey! Give ’em back! (EDDIE walks forward.) EDDIE Yeah, give ’em back!

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16.

(DRU puts a hand on EDDIE’S shoulder.) DRU They can’t hear you, Eddie. This has already happened. None of us can take back the moments we’ve already lived. (EDDIE allows himself to be pulled back into the shadows upstage.) YOUNG EDDIE Give me back my toys, Frank! Riley, c’mon! RILEY Oh, I’m sorry! You want these toys back? YOUNG EDDIE Yeah! RILEY You hear that, Frank? He wants these toys back. FRANK Wait, these toys? (to EDDIE) You really want ’em back? Say "pretty please." YOUNG EDDIE Pretty please! (FRANK and RILEY each take a doll and rip its head off. They throw the dolls down in front of YOUNG EDDIE.) YOUNG EDDIE Why’d you do that for? FRANK You said you wanted ’em back. RILEY You just forgot to tell us you wanted ’em in one piece. Gotta learn to be more specific, bro. (FRANK and RILEY laugh as they exit.) YOUNG EDDIE It’s not fair! It’s just not fair. (YOUNG EDDIE clutches the dolls close to him and cries quietly while EDDIE and DRU deliver their next lines.)

(CONTINUED)


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17.

DRU (to EDDIE) You seem to say that a lot. EDDIE Well, can you blame me? What did I ever do to those guys? Can you tell me that, spirit? What did I ever do to them? You know, I should have beaten them up. I should have fought back. DRU Maybe. But would that have really solved anything? EDDIE Sure it would! Cuz once I beat ’em up, they’d have to respect me. They’d be afraid of me and then they’d do what I say. DRU Interesting theory. Where have I heard that before? (YOUNG EDDIE stands up and walks across the stage. MARLEY enters but he’s dressed differently now. He’s back in middle school.) EDDIE That’s Jake. DRU Is this the first time you met him? EDDIE No. But it’s the first time he really paid any attention to me. DRU It was that important to you, was it? EDDIE Of course. Jake was the only person who ever treated me like I mattered. He was the only guy who didn’t make fun of me for being short, or quiet, or...or whatever. Plus, he taught me a lot! DRU Like what? EDDIE Like how to survive in middle school. MARLEY (to YOUNG EDDIE) Always remember, Eddie. You have to make people respect you, even if it means beating them up once in a while. (MORE) (CONTINUED)


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18.

MARLEY (cont’d) Once they’re afraid of you, they’ll respect you for sure. OK? So let’s review: what’s rule number one? YOUNG EDDIE Never cry in front of anyone cuz then they’ll think you’re weak. MARLEY And rule number two? EDDIE I remember this one! (EDDIE steps forward and joins YOUNG EDDIE. Dru exits.) YOUNG EDDIE Always pick on someone smaller than you.

EDDIE Always pick on someone smaller than you.

MARLEY Right, and why is that? YOUNG EDDIE Because they can’t defend themselves.

EDDIE Because they can’t defend themselves.

MARLEY (cont’d) Right. You remember those rules and you’ll be all set. Got it? YOUNG EDDIE Got it, Jake. MARLEY You’ll rule this school one day, Eddie. Just wait. (MARLEY and YOUNG EDDIE exit.) EDDIE I remember that day! We went and made fun of a bunch of fourth graders until they ran home to their mommies. (soberly) One of those kids was Jake’s sister. (softer) I remember that Jake laughed and I remember he even sounded like my brother Frank. It scared me but Jake bought me a smoothie later and I forgot about it. The next day, it was my turn to make fun of the little kids and I did it. I didn’t even hesitate. Dru! Why didn’t I hesitate? (CONTINUED)


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19.

(EDDIE looks around for Dru and notices she’s gone.) Scene 4 - The Present EDDIE Dru! Where are you? Fine, leave me! Don’t you think I know what you’re doing? I get it, OK? You want me to feel bad so I’m not a bully anymore. Well it’s not gonna work! I like being a bully. I like it! No one messes with me and everyone respects me! DANDI (O.S.) Sure about that? EDDIE Dru? Is that you? DANDI (O.S.) Nope. EDDIE Are you the second spirit? (DANDI enters.) DANDI Ding, ding, ding! You win the prize for noticing the obvious. Everyone in this room probably figured that out miles before you did but that’s OK because you don’t win bonus points for outwitting the audience! EDDIE What are you talking about? DANDI The people in the audience, duh. (EDDIE walks to the edge of the stage and looks out. He can’t see the audience.) EDDIE All I see is darkness. DANDI That’s because you aren’t living in the now, dude. That’s my gig. I’m the spirit of Detentions that are! EDDIE What does that have to do with an audience?

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20.

DANDI Hmmm...looks like you aren’t really living in the moment. You might be stuck in the past. This could be tricky. OK, I’ll try to explain. When you live in the moment, you start to notice that our whole lives-EDDIE Aren’t you dead? DANDI (beat) As I was saying, if you live in the moment, you’ll start to notice that our whole existence is one big drama being performed in front of an audience we can never really see. (EDDIE looks further into the darkness.) EDDIE So you’re saying we’re always being watched? DANDI Precisely. EDDIE That’s really creepy. DANDI Not at all! It’s kind of comforting if you think about it. It means we always have someone watching our back! It’s like this guy said once: All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. (EDDIE gives up looking.) EDDIE Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about, "dude." There’s no one there. DANDI Suit yourself. Name’s Dandi, by the way. EDDIE Eddie. DANDI Yeah. I know. EDDIE Right. Well, what are you supposed to show me? Are you going to show me how I got detention? Because I already know that! That Robert guy totally got me in trouble!

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21.

DANDI (sarcastic) Whew, well if you know that then my job is done! EDDIE Really? That was easy! DANDI No, not really! It’s called sarcasm. Look it up. (to audience) Are they kidding me with this kid? (to EDDIE) OK, Eddie. Let’s get started. We’ve got a couple stops to make and your detention is almost over. Follow me please. (DANDI starts to exit until he notices EDDIE isn’t following.) DANDI (cont’d) (speaking slowly) Are...you...coming? EDDIE Why should I? You said it yourself. My detention is almost over. Why can’t I just sit here and wait it out? DANDI There’s no reason you can’t. But I’d advise against it. EDDIE Oh? Why’s that? DANDI Because the universe as you know it would cease to exist and everything you ever knew would get sucked down into a giant vortex of darkness and despair. EDDIE Really? DANDI Sure, why not? EDDIE I’m not sure if you’re joking or not. DANDI Neither am I but is it worth the risk? (EDDIE thinks about this for a moment before answering.)

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22.

EDDIE Probably not. (stands up) Alright, fine. I’ll go with you. Where are we going? DANDI (mischevious) Oh, you’ll see. (They exit.) (Curtain opens on ROBERT’S room. JACKSON, LILY, and ANTHONY are there. The four of them are talking quietly as EDDIE and DANDI enter.) EDDIE Where are we--? (notices the others) Oh. This is Robert’s house? DANDI Can’t get anything by you, can we? Now, shush up. I want to hear what they’re saying. (EDDIE and DANDI retreat to a corner.) ROBERT Thanks for coming over guys. JACKSON No problem, man. What are friends for? ROBERT It’s just. I mean, she was fine one minute and then, pow! She wouldn’t wake up. EDDIE Is he talking about his mom? DANDI Way to go, Captain Obvious. Now shush! LILY Have you heard anything? ROBERT No. My aunt met us at the hospital after the ambulance dropped us off in the emergency room. They rushed my mom to one of those intense...interestive... LILY Intensive?

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23.

ROBERT Yeah. Into one of those intensive care rooms and they said I couldn’t visit her. I wanted to stay in the hospital but my aunt insisted I wasn’t doing any good there. I think she just wanted me away from the sounds and the sick people so I wouldn’t have to worry. But I’m still gonna worry, you know? I mean, she’s my mom! She’s my mom and I can’t make her better. She isn’t supposed to be sick! She’s my mom! (ROBERT is yelling the last few lines and breaks down crying. LILY goes over and comforts him.) EDDIE Wow. DANDI I know, what a cry baby, huh? EDDIE What? Oh, right. I mean, yeah. Yeah, what a wimp. (beat) Is his mom going to be OK? DANDI Don’t ask me. I’m just the spirit of what is, not what will be. EDDIE But, I mean, she’s gonna be OK, right? Mom’s aren’t supposed to just die. Heck, Robert’s dad already left. If his mom died, it wouldn’t be fair. DANDI It’s not up to me. (While they’re speaking, ROBERT has composed himself.) ROBERT Hey, do you think Eddie’s done with his detention yet? ANTHONY Why do you care about that loser? EDDIE Yeah, why does he care about me? ROBERT I told you guys. I refuse to treat Eddie the way he treats us! We don’t know what caused him to be the way he is.

(CONTINUED)


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24.

LILY I vote that he’s a mutant freak. ANTHONY Seriously, Robert. He picks on you more than anyone else. How can you sit there and say he’s just misunderstood? ROBERT I think he is. JACKSON Why? ROBERT Because I can’t believe that someone like him is just born bad. There has to be a reason. And there has to be some kind of hope for the guy. I have to believe he’s got a chance at being better than he is. EDDIE (to DANDI) What’s with this kid? Is he crazy? DANDI Not everyone sees the world the way you do, Eddie. Some people actually have a little trust in humanity. Some people are even willing to give someone like you a second chance. EDDIE That’s-DANDI (mocking) Not fair? EDDIE No. That’s...amazing. (EDDIE says the last line with sincere amazement.) LILY Fine, Robert. We’ll give Eddie a second chance if he asks for one but we’re not going out of our way to be nice to him. We’re not stupid! ROBERT Thanks. I don’t know why but it’s important to me. (JACKSON and ANTHONY are talking to the side.)

(CONTINUED)


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25.

JACKSON You say it. ANTHONY No way. You! JACKSON Say. It. ANTHONY Fine. (to ROBERT) Robert, I don’t want to be a jerk or anything but...well...being nice to Eddie isn’t going to magically make your mom feel better. (ROBERT looks surprised and sad. LILY gasps and looks at the other boys reproachfully.) LILY Not cool, guys. ROBERT No, it’s fine. And you’re right. It’s not like I think Eddie has any control over how my mom feels but...well, don’t they say nice things happen to nice people? ANTHONY Well, yeah, but that’s just a saying. ROBERT And what if it’s true? It’s not worth the risk. Being nice won’t kill me and it won’t hurt you guys either. In fact... (ROBERT grabs cans of soda.) ROBERT I propose a toast-ANTHONY (aside to ANTHONY) You can’t toast someone with sodas. LILY (smacks ANTHONY) Shhh. ROBERT A toast to Eddie! May he get a second chance at being a nicer guy! (The others raise their cans.)

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

26.

ANTHONY, LILY, AND JACKSON To Eddie. (The lights fade on the scene as ROBERT, ANTHONY, LILY, and JACKSON freeze. EDDIE and DANDI walk downstage as the curtain closes behind them.) EDDIE I just don’t get it. DANDI What don’t you get? EDDIE I’m mean to that guy all the time. DANDI Yeah.. EDDIE Well, how can he still want to be nice to me? DANDI Yeah...I don’t know. EDDIE Well, then what good are you? DANDI I’m kidding! Sheesh, lighten up. Alright, let me see if I can explain. Do you like salsa? EDDIE What? Like chips and salsa, you mean? DANDI Right. What happens when you eat a lot of salsa? EDDIE It burns my mouth. DANDI But you eat it anyway. EDDIE Well, sure. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean the salsa tastes bad. DANDI Exactly. Just because you don’t make Robert feel very good doesn’t mean he has to lose all faith in you.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

27.

EDDIE That might be the worst example I’ve every heard. DANDI Yeah, not my best work. But try to get what I’m saying. It’s hard for you to understand someone like Robert because you stopped being a good person a long time ago. (EDDIE thinks about this for a moment.) EDDIE I don’t want to see anything else, spirit. Take me back. DANDI Afraid I can’t do that. I want to show you something else. EDDIE Fine. Just make it quick. DANDI You’re gonna like this. (Three STUDENTS enter.) STUDENT 1 Did you see what he was wearing today? STUDENT 2 Oh man, it was too classic. You think he even knows how stupid he looks? STUDENT 3 No way. There is just no way. If he knew how stupid he looked there is no way he’d go out of the house dressed like that. (The STUDENTS laugh.) EDDIE Who are they talking about? DANDI Who do you think? (EDDIE looks at the students. He double-takes back to DANDI.) EDDIE Are you serious?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

28.

DANDI Listen. STUDENT 1 Someone told me he wound up in detention for trying to get into a fight! STUDENT 2 I heard he messed with some kids right in front of the principal. STUDENT 3 Why are we even talking about him? STUDENT 1 AND STUDENT 2 Because it’s funny? STUDENT 3 (beat) Yeah, it really is. He’s such a loser. STUDENT 2 Completely! STUDENT 1 Totally! (They laugh as they exit.) (EDDIE turns to DANDI.) EDDIE What...was that?! DANDI That is what people say about you when you’re not around. EDDIE That’s...no way! They wouldn’t dare! They know I’d beat them up. DANDI Maybe but when the people you bully get together with their friends, they’re a lot more confident. They’re not so afraid of you. Are you telling me you’d take on all three of those kids? EDDIE (hesitant) Well...yeah! I can take them all. And I’m no loser! I’m a winner!

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

29.

DANDI You are a sad, sad little boy, you know that? EDDIE OK, fine. What about those kids from earlier? There were two of them and I didn’t see them being too confident. DANDI You mean the kids who were three years younger than you? Yeah, you’re real tough. EDDIE Whatever. So what’s the point? That people don’t like me? I don’t care. DANDI Sure about that? EDDIE (without confidence) Yeah? DANDI OK...well, I guess there’s nothing I can do then. See ya. (DANDI starts to exit.) EDDIE What am I supposed to do now? DANDI Not up to me. Take it easy, Eddie. And good luck. (DANDI exits.) Scene 5 - The Future (EDDIE is alone on stage. Fog starts to creep across the stage.) EDDIE Fine! Whatever. I don’t need you! I don’t need anyone! (EDDIE notices the fog rolling in.) EDDIE Great. Now it’s getting cold. Only one more spirit, though. How bad can it be?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

30.

(Out of the fog, MOROS enters. MOROS walks up behind EDDIE and stands there until EDDIE notices. When he finally notices, he’s startled and backs away.) EDDIE Are you the spirit of Detentions Yet to Come? (MOROS nods.) EDDIE (cont’d) OK, fine. Where are we going? (MOROS just stands there.) EDDIE (cont’d) The future, right? What’s that like? (MOROS continues to stand there.) EDDIE (cont’d) Do you say anything, spirit? (MOROS shakes its head.) EDDIE (cont’d) Oookaay. What are you going to show me then? I bet I’m big time now. Let’s see, when is it? (When EDDIE asks this, MOROS motions and the curtains open. We see the classroom again only this time the board reads "Congratulations Graduates!") EDDIE (cont’d) Wait, are you telling me it’s graduation day from high school? Are you serious!? This is awesome! I bet I’m the coolest kid on campus! (MOROS shakes its head but EDDIE doesn’t notice.) EDDIE (cont’d) You hear that? People are coming! (ROBERT, JACKSON, LILY and ANTHONY enter. They look different now. They are a bit older, more mature. ROBERT looks especially tired.) EDDIE (cont’d) Hey, it’s Robert. Man, he does not look good! (to ROBERT) Robert! Robert, it’s me Eddie. Check it out man!

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

31. (MOROS comes up behind EDDIE and puts its hand on his shoulder. EDDIE looks back. MOROS shakes his head.)

EDDIE (cont’d) Oh, right. They can’t hear me or see me. I get it. (MOROS pulls EDDIE back into the shadows.) ROBERT I can’t believe high school is officially over with. Just doesn’t seem like four years. It all went by so fast! ANTHONY Tell me about it. I can still remember middle school like it was yesterday. Weird, huh? JACKSON Not really. Guys, it wasn’t really that long ago, you know. ROBERT Seems like another lifetime. LILY Robert, I’m really sorry your mom wasn’t able to see you graduate. ROBERT Thanks. It’s still really strange that she’s gone. (EDDIE walks foward.) EDDIE (to MOROS) Wait a second. What’s he saying? ROBERT She tried to hold on as long as she could but I guess it was too much for her. EDDIE (to ROBERT) She died? Your mom...died?! (to MOROS) No. That isn’t fair. (MOROS tries to pull him back.) EDDIE (cont’d) (to ROBERT) No! It isn’t right. You don’t deserve this!

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

32.

ROBERT I believe she was watching me today, though. And my dad came so that counts for something, right? JACKSON Definitely. EDDIE That’s not good enough! LILY And I know your mom was proud of you. ROBERT Thanks. C’mon. I want to get to that party. My mom wouldn’t want me to be depressed today. Coming? (The others are enthusiastic about the party and exit.) EDDIE This has to be a joke! (to MOROS) You’re telling me that a nice kid like Robert, who never hurt anyone, loses his mom? If that’s true, what the heck happens to people who aren’t so nice? (MOROS points its finger at EDDIE.) EDDIE (cont’d) (soft) Right. Like me. (MOROS turns and points into the wings. MARLEY enters. He looks dirty and disheveled. He’s homeless.) EDDIE (cont’d) Jake! What happened to him? (MARLEY walks downstage center and sits. He rocks a bit. EDDIE joins him.) EDDIE (cont’d) Oh, Jake. I’m sorry. This shouldn’t have happened to you. You were the only guy who ever cared about me. This is too much. (MARLEY looks at EDDIE.) MARLEY It’s what I deserve.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

33.

EDDIE You can hear me?! MARLEY Of course I can hear you! You’re standing less than a foot away from me! EDDIE But, this is the future. I’m not supposed to be able to talk to you. MARLEY Who told you that? (EDDIE turns and points to MOROS.) MARLEY (cont’d) I doubt he told you anything. That’s Moros. The thing never talks. I don’t even know if it’s human. (MARLEY stands.) EDDIE But why can you hear me? How can you even see...that thing? MARLEY Who knows? Maybe because this is the future and none of it’s been written yet. Maybe the rules get loose. Does it matter? EDDIE I guess not. Except Robert and the others couldn’t hear me. (MOROS nods its head.) MARLEY The old pile of sheets is right. They could hear you just fine. EDDIE Really? MARLEY Yep. They just chose not to see or hear you. You were dead to them a long time ago. EDDIE Dead to them...?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

34.

MARLEY Yep. As far as they’re concerned, you don’t even exist. Happened to me years ago. Right after I dropped out of school. People just stopped noticing me. They stopped seeing me. I became invisible and then it got harder and harder to find food. It got harder to find people who would hire me. It’s gotten harder to get through the days. EDDIE But...but... MARLEY What? I know: Jake was king of middle school. Jake was the most feared eighth grader; the most respected! Think again, Eddie. If life is a game, I lost. You know what that makes me? A loser. EDDIE You aren’t a loser! Not to me! You made it your business to be a winner! MARLEY Humankind should have been my business! Kindness, charity, mercy were all my business! I should have cared more about those around me instead of making fun of them; instead of making them cry! I should have learned. And now there’s you, just like me. A loser. You’re lost Eddie but you can still find your way. (MARLEY gets up and starts to exit.) EDDIE Where are you going? MARLEY It doesn’t matter. When you’ve lost the privilege of being a part of the world around you, one place is very much like another. Good luck, kid. Good luck. (MARLEY exits.) (EDDIE approaches MOROS.) EDDIE Was he right, Moros? Was Jake right? Am I a loser in the future? Do people choose not to see me anymore? Do I become a ghost? (There is a long pause. Finally, MOROS nods.) (EDDIE takes this in. He stands center stage and tries to hold back his fear but it eventually overwhelms him. He collapses to his knees.) (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

35.

EDDIE (cont’d) No! I can’t live like that! I can’t be ignored again. I can’t be a nobody. I can’t spend the rest of my life being invisible. There has to be something you can do, spirit. (MOROS shakes its head.) (EDDIE clutches MOROS’s robes.) EDDIE (cont’d) Please, spirit. Tell me. Who has the power to change my future? (MOROS raises its arms and beckons forth all the characters from the play. Each character from the play enters, holding various mirrors. DRU and DANDI stand to either side of MOROS. They hold the largest mirrors.) EDDIE (cont’d) I don’t understand. All I see is me. (MOROS nods.) EDDIE (cont’d) No! It’s not true! This has to be some kind of joke! I can’t just change who I am. (MOROS turns its back.) EDDIE (cont’d) Dru? Dandi? Help me. I don’t understand. (DRU and DANDI turn their backs.) (EDDIE begins to appeal to each of the characters. As he speaks to them, they say their line and turn their backs on him.) EDDIE (cont’d) (to KID 1 and KID 2) I’m sorry, OK? I’ll be nicer to you. KID 1 Too late, Eddie. KID 2 There are no second chances. (They turn their backs.)

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

36.

EDDIE (to STUDENT 1, 2 and 3) You. You can see me. I know you can. I can’t do this alone. STUDENT 1 You chose to be alone. STUDENT 2 Your actions have doomed you. STUDENT 3 You’re dead to us. (They turn their backs.) EDDIE (to LILY, JACKSON and ANTHONY) I won’t pick on you. I’ll be nice. LILY What do we care? You’re weak. You’re nothing. JACKSON You have no power over us. ANTHONY Face it, you never did. (They turn their backs.) EDDIE (to PRINCIPAL and MARLEY) I’ll do anything. PRINCIPAL It won’t be enough. MARLEY I tried. You failed. (They turn their backs.) EDDIE (to FRANK and RILEY) What about you two? FRANK Look at this Riley! Our little brother wants our help. RILEY He wants our help? (to EDDIE) (MORE) (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

37.

RILEY (cont’d) That’s a joke, right? EDDIE No. I...I don’t have anyone else. FRANK Say pretty please. RILEY Yeah, say pretty please, Eddie, and maybe we’ll help you. (EDDIE thinks for a moment but finally shakes his head.) EDDIE No. I don’t know what I’m going to do and I don’t know if I can change enough but I know that you two are half the problem! I don’t want your help. RILEY Suit yourself, kid. We didn’t want to help you anyway. FRANK Not like it matters. You’re hopeless, bro. You’ll never change. You’ll always be a loser. (They turn their backs.) EDDIE I don’t want to be a loser. (to ROBERT) Robert! You’ll give me a second chance, won’t you? You believed in me. Please, believe in me now. (There is a pause while ROBERT visibly struggles with what he wants to do and what he must do to help EDDIE.) ROBERT What would you do with a second chance, Eddie? EDDIE I’d...I’d learn to change. ROBERT And what if people won’t listen. What if they don’t believe you? EDDIE I’ll find a way. What else can I do?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

38.

ROBERT You’re the only one who knows the answer to that. There was a time, you know, when I would have tried to help you. I’m sorry. I can’t help you now. (Slowly, ROBERT turns his back on EDDIE.) (All of the characters exit, except for EDDIE. The three spirits are last.) (EDDIE turns to the audience and falls to his knees. He’s lost in his own desperation.) EDDIE It wasn’t enough time, spirits! It wasn’t enough time. (The lights fade.) EDDIE (cont’d) I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just need more time. END SCENE Scene 6 - Redemption (The lights come up and we are back in the classroom. EDDIE is asleep at a desk.) (PRINCIPAL enters.) PRINCIPAL Eddie! Wake up. (EDDIE groans and lifts his head. He looks at the PRINCIPAL.) EDDIE Wh--what...where am I? PRINCIPAL Detention, Eddie. Great, probably forgot to scrape the gum off the desks too. EDDIE When is it? PRINCIPAL What? EDDIE I mean, what time is it?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

39.

PRINCIPAL It’s after four. Your detention is served. That is, IF you did what I told you to do. (PRINCIPAL bends down and inspects the desks. They are, thanks to Marley, clean.) PRINCIPAL (cont’d) Hmph. What do you know. I guess you’re free to go. EDDIE (no hearing PRINCIPAL) You said it was after four?! That means I haven’t missed it! It’s not too late! PRINCIPAL What are you talking about? Haven’t missed what? (EDDIE doesn’t hear the PRINCIPAL at first. He’s grabbing his backpack and heading for the door.) EDDIE There’s time. I haven’t missed any of it! (The PRINCIPAL stops EDDIE.) PRINCIPAL Haven’t. Missed. What? EDDIE My second chance, sir. I still have a second chance! (EDDIE exits as the CURTAIN CLOSES.) (LIGHTS UP as STUDENT 1, STUDENT 2, and STUDENT 3 enter.) (EDDIE enters, running. He sees the others and runs up to them.) EDDIE (cont’d) It’s you! Do you see me? (STUDENT 1 and STUDENT 2 hide behind STUDENT 3.) STUDENT 3 What do you want? EDDIE You do see me!

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

40.

STUDENT 3 Of course we see you. You’re yelling in my face. Leave us alone, OK? We don’t want any trouble. EDDIE I know. Listen, I need your help. STUDENT 2 Fat chance! STUDENT 1 Like we’d help you! EDDIE Please! Listen, I know I don’t deserve it. I know I’ve been a jerk but I need some help to change, OK? The spirits have given me another chance! STUDENT 3 Oookaayy. (to others) Cuckoo! EDDIE I’m not crazy. Listen, all I need you to do is... (EDDIE leans in and whispers to the others.) STUDENT 3 I guess we can do that. STUDENT 2 It’s not a bad idea actually. I heared about that kid. STUDENT 1 And I can run and get a couple comic books. That’s not a bid deal. Why do you need ’em? EDDIE I just need them to fix a mistake. Hurry, please! I don’t know how much time I have. (The students exit, still a little weary. KID 1 and KID 2 enter from the opposite side of the stage. They see EDDIE and start to exit the way they came. EDDIE sees them and runs over to them. He pretends to bully them.) EDDIE (cont’d) And where do you think you two are going?

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

41.

KID 1 Leave us alone! KID 2 Yeah, we didn’t do anything to you! EDDIE You know what? KID 1 AND KID 2 What?! (EDDIE softens and kneels down in front of the kids.) EDDIE You’re right. KID 1 AND KID 2 Um...huh? EDDIE I was wrong to pick on you earlier and I’m sorry. Please accept my apology. I won’t ever bully you again, OK? KID 1 Y-you promise? EDDIE I promise KID 2 Pinky swear? EDDIE Pinky swear. (He links pinky fingers with each of the kids.) (STUDENT 1 runs back on stage, a BAG of COMIC BOOKS in his hand.) EDDIE (cont’d) (to STUDENT 1) Did you get them? STUDENT 1 Yep. Here you go. EDDIE Thank you so much! OK, I’ll meet you at the house.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

42.

STUDENT 1 Sounds good. (STUDENT 1 exits.) EDDIE Alright, kids, listen. I’m really sorry about destroying your comic books earlier. I hope this makes up for it. (He hands the BAG to the kids. They reach in and pull out new COMIC BOOKS.) KID 1 Wow! Thanks! KID 2 Yeah. These are great! EDDIE I’m glad you like ’em. Listen, you two want to help me with something? KID 1 AND KID 2 Sure! EDDIE Great. C’mon. (They exit.) Scene 7 - Robert’s House (STUDENT 1, STUDENT 2, and STUDENT 3 enter. They are quickly joined by EDDIE, KID 1, and KID 2.) (They are at Robert’s house. EDDIE walks up to the door and knocks. He tells the others to be quiet.) (ROBERT opens the door.) ROBERT What are you doing here, Eddie? EDDIE Hey Robert. Um...listen. About earlier. ROBERT You know what, Eddie? (ROBERT pushes EDDIE back and comes out of the house. He quietly closes the door behind him.)

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

43.

ROBERT (cont’d) I don’t want you here, OK? I’m sick of you picking on me and I’m sick of you being mean to my friends. I’ve gotta take care of my mom, OK? She’s sick and she has enough to worry about without you adding to it. I really hope you find something to make you happy but I...I just can’t help you, OK? EDDIE You’re right. ROBERT What? EDDIE You’re right, Robert. About everything. And I’m sorry. ROBERT What’s the catch? EDDIE No catch. No joke. No tricks. I’m sorry. (takes a deep breath) I know I don’t deserve your friendship and I might not really even deserve a second chance after the things I’ve done but I want to try. I don’t want to be a loser. And I want to help. ROBERT Help? EDDIE With your mom. I know she needs rest but you can’t take care of the house by yourself. So I brought some help. (EDDIE motions to the others. They run forward to help.) EDDIE (cont’d) Robert, anything you need, you let me know and I’ll do my best to help. I can’t do much but maybe it’ll be enough. ROBERT You got them all to help you? EDDIE Well, yeah. But trust me, it’s not for me. STUDENT 3 Got that right.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

44.

STUDENT 1 (to STUDENT 3) C’mon, give the guy a chance. STUDENT 3 Fine. (to ROBERT) What can we do? ROBERT Well, I was cleaning the house. I guess you could help with that. STUDENT 2 Got it! (They all run into the house, leaving EDDIE and ROBERT outside alone.) ROBERT (towards inside) You have to be quiet though! My mom is sleeping! EDDIE Well, guess that’s that. Good luck, Robert. I hope your mom feels better. I really do. (EDDIE starts to exit.) ROBERT Hey! (EDDIE turns around.) EDDIE Yeah? ROBERT That’s it? EDDIE What do you mean? ROBERT You aren’t going to help? EDDIE I didn’t think you’d want me in your house. ROBERT I think the guy who cares enough to get a bunch of kids from school to come help me deserves a second chance. Don’t you? (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

45.

(EDDIE smiles and walks back to the house.) EDDIE I hope so. (beat) By the way, I’m really sorry about what I said about your dad leaving because of you. That was a real jerk thing to say. ROBERT Apology accepted. EDDIE Cool. You know, my dad left when I was little too. Guess we have something in common. ROBERT Guess so. Come on. I’ll let you mop. EDDIE (sarcastic) Gee. Thanks. (They enter the house as the lights start to dim. Before they can dim all the way, EDDIE comes back out and addresses the audience.) EDDIE (cont’d) I almost forgot about you guys! Dandi was right, you know. If you take the time to live in the present--if you try to make each moment count for something--if you aren’t selfish and cruel and mean, you really do start to get a sense that we’re all players on a stage. But that’s not the best part. You see, every day can be a second chance and you can grab hold of that chance and be someone better. You can do something good...especially for someone else. (EDDIE looks back at the house to make sure the coast is clear.) EDDIE (cont’d) You know, I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you this but Robert’s mom is going to be OK. The doctors will call it a miracle. I think it’s just because she finally gets to rest a bit. Or maybe Robert’s right. Maybe good things really do happen to good people. (EDDIE smiles at the audience.) EDDIE (cont’d) I plan to find out.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

46.

(EDDIE runs back into the house.) (LIGHTS DOWN.) END PLAY


DETAINED