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rabbit and rudy or, how to tell a sunrise to fuck off a semi-autobiographical exploration by karyn louise warren-gregory illustrations by skye murie

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for my mother and father, for being perfect in their imperfections, & for my sister, for being everything else.

& a very special thanks to kelley kipperman, skye murie, erik olsen, vipassana greene, maggie scott, talya kingston & djola branner. 2


people: RABBIT: 14. older sister of rudy. daughter of pepper and red. protective. loving. badass. precocious. capable. independent. RUDY: 7. younger sister of rabbit. daughter of pepper and red. tiny. caring. precious. confused. hilarious. curious. beautiful. PEPPER: 45. mother of rabbit and rudy. ex-wife of red. amazing. strong. beautiful. caring. loving. hilarious. elusive. RED: 43. father of rabbit and rudy. ex-husband of pepper. beyond. above. special. ephemeral. dangerous. sensitive. grand. place: never too far, but enough to feel a million miles away. time: in the distant past. where you find tears that you aren’t sure are happy or sad. the space where nostalgia goes to die.

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“All true feeling is in reality untranslatable. To express it is to betray it… This is why true beauty never strikes us directly. The setting sun is beautiful because of all it makes us lose.” —Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double ACT ONE 1

pepper, rabbit, and rudy are just finishing dinner listening to some joni mitchell “chelsea morning” comes on causing everyone to get a little silly… pepper starts singing as rabbit and rudy laugh along with her PEPPER: (in a painfully high falsetto) “Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I heard Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words It came a-reeling up like Christmas bells, and rapping up like pipes and drums Oh, won't you stay We'll put on the day And we'll wear it 'till the night comes”

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pepper takes rabbit’s hand and starts dancing her around the kitchen rudy gets up and starts bobbing along with them rabbit and rudy don’t really know the words, but sort of mush their mouths along with the melody they all dance around for a while until pepper sort of collapses in laughter at rudy doing her best joni mitchell impression they all laugh and start to gather the dishes into the sink pepper sings, softer now, as she starts to clean up rabbit and rudy leave to get ready for bed 2

pepper goes over to wash the dishes joni still playing softly in the background the phone rings, and she puts down the dish she’s working on, wipes her hands on her jeans, and picks up PEPPER: Hello? Oh hi Mom, how are you? Is everything OK? Oh… Oh…..

she begins breathing heavily, her face drops . . .

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rabbit is waiting for rudy to finish brushing her teeth from outside of the bathroom door. RABBIT: (calling to rudy inside of the bathroom) Are you using my toothbrush again? RUDY: (mouth full of toothpaste) No. RABBIT: Do you think it’s weird that we have the same toothbrush? RUDY: No. RABBIT: What? Why not? RUDY: Because it’s easy to tell them apart. RABBIT: Really? RUDY: Yeah, yours has the toothpaste all over it.

pause RABBIT: Will you hurry up in there? RUDY: OK.

rudy finishes up in the bathroom, comes back into the kitchen in her pj’s to get a glass of water, but when she sees pepper looking sad, she hangs back and quietly listens in PEPPER: (very softly, deflated almost) OK. Is there anything you need me to do? I can’t believe it… I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Thank you. I’m so sorry. How am I supposed to tell the kids? 7


Thank you for taking care of all of this. I can’t believe he’s… Mom… I’m so sorry. I’ll see you in a week, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Thank you. I love you too.

she hangs up she stands at the phone for a moment as rudy silently watches PEPPER: Is this really it?

then, pepper walks to her room and as soon as she turns to walk away, rudy runs off 4

we’re in rabbit and rudy’s room rabbit sleeps on a loft and rudy sleeps beneath her in a teeny bed rabbit is asleep on her bed rudy comes running into the room RUDY: bits. bits. bits. bits. bits. BITS. BITS. BIIIIIIITS. RABBBBBBIT!

rabbit finally wakes up with a jolt RABBIT: WHAT? What’s going on? RUDY: I don’t wanna sleep alone.

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pause RABBIT: OK. RUDY: Can I come sleep with you? RABBIT: Sure, come here roots. RUDY: Thank you. RABBIT: Sure.

rudy climbs the ladder and climbs into bed with rabbit rabbit opens the cover for rudy, and she tucks right in 5

pepper walks into rabbit and rudy’s room she gently wakes rabbit and rudy up by sitting next to them on the bed RABBIT: Hi Mom. PEPPER: Hi babies. I’m sorry to wake you up, but I have something to tell you. I know that Daddy hasn’t been here for a while… but, you’re going to be seeing him even less now.

pause RABBIT: What you do mean? Why? PEPPER: I know this is confusing right now, but once you’re older you’ll both understand. Daddy is gone, and this time he’s not coming back. RUDY: What? But, I don’t want him to go. Can’t I tell him that before he leaves? Maybe he won’t leave? Please. PEPPER: He’s been lost for a lot longer than you think… RABBIT: Mom, what are you saying? Dad’s gone? Where did he go?

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RUDY: It’s OK, I bet we’ll be able to find him. Rabbit and I are pretty terrific at finding things. Like all of those socks in the couch, and those gold doubloons in the backyard, also that binky that you thought we were never going to find again.

rudy takes out dusty, cracked binky from her pocket RUDY: Do you want it? It turns out I don’t need it anymore, but it still makes me feel better to carry it around. I thought you were gonna be mad at me, that’s why I didn’t tell you. I’m sorry.

pepper takes the binky she looks at it in her hand she gives it back to rudy RUDY: I’m sorry, I knew you were gonna be mad.

pepper hugs rudy PEPPER: No, I’m not mad. You know that I love you both. Too much. And, I don’t want him to go either, but he said that it’s his time to leave, and he doesn’t think it will be good for him to be here anymore. I sort of agree, because you both know that things with Dad have been really, really hard. RABBIT: I know, but that doesn’t mean we want him to leave. Does he think that we want him to leave? PEPPER: No, no, not at all. Things are tough for him too, and he doesn’t feel like he can stay here with us anymore. He has been messed up for a long time… RABBIT: Where did he go though? Where is he going? Did he already leave? PEPPER: Yeah, he… left already. When Grandma called to tell me, she said that a friend of his went to his room and only found a letter that he wrote saying goodbye, he’s been gone for days. RABBIT: Oh…

rudy looks around nervously

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PEPPER: It’s going to be hard for all of us, I know. But, I honestly think that it will be better for us this way. He made you two very sad. He’s made us all really sad for a really long time now. No matter how much we love him, we can’t change that. We can’t be sad anymore. RUDY: I don’t want to be sad forever, it’s really exhausting. It sucks. PEPPER: I know. But, it will get easier. RUDY: OK.

pause RABBIT: I want to go back to sleep. RUDY: Me too. PEPPER: Of course. Love you… RABBIT: Love you too. RUDY: Love you too, Mommy.

pepper exits rabbit and rudy’s room she takes a deep breath and stands there for a moment, not sure what to do with herself. 6

back inside rabbit and rudy’s room, rabbit turns to rudy, rudy is trying to sleep. RABBIT: Roots. Roots. Roots. Roots. Roots. ROOTS. ROOOOOOTS. RUDY! RUDY: I’m tired Rabbit, lemme sleep. RABBIT: We don’t have time. We’re going to find Dad. RUDY: What? RABBIT: Like you said Rudy, we’re really good at finding things, and Dad is lost. So, fuck it, let’s go out and find him! 12


RUDY: Hey, don’t let Mom hear you cussing. RABBIT: Sorry. It’s just, there’s no time to waste, we have to get out of here. RUDY: What? We can’t leave Mom, she’s sad and she needs us. RABBIT: That’s exactly why we’re leaving. She’s sad and the only thing that will make her happy is if we bring Dad back to stay with us forever. RUDY: I guess that makes sense. RABBIT: Great. So, let’s get out of here. RUDY: We need to pack though. We needs supplies and stuff. RABBIT: Well, check it out.

rabbit pulls two small duffle bags out from underneath the bed RUDY: What? Why do you have these? RABBIT: My social studies teacher tells us that you can never be too prepared. At any moment things can change, and right now, they certainly are. These are go bags. I keep them ready for us in case anything happens, and I figured this would be a great time to use them. We have the sleeping bags from Grammy and the Space Jam tent that I got for Christmas; we'll be set for weeks if we need to. I heard mom talking to grandma when she called, and I knew something bad was up. And then I found the chain to Dad’s cross on Mom’s dresser this morning. He’s leaving us clues! We need to go and follow them. RUDY: Well…I need to be back next week for my play. RABBIT: Sorry, of course. I was just saying, just in case. I don't think it will take us more than a couple days to find him. I bet he’s not far, he loves us and he wouldn’t ever want to be very far away from us. RUDY: OK. RABBIT: Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

rabbit and rudy put on their packs and sneak out of rabbit’s room

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pepper has returned to the kitchen, trying to finish cleaning up dinner she does dishes while “urge for going” plays pepper sings along softly PEPPER: “I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town It hovered in a frozen sky then it gobbled summer down When the sun turns traitor cold and all the trees are shivering in a naked row.”

rabbit and rudy walk away from the house, rabbit leading rudy is looking all around her, nervous to be leaving home with such a secret rabbit is singing to ease the tension and try to encourage rudy to be excited RABBIT: (in a painfully high falsetto) “I get the urge for going But I never seem to go I get the urge for going When the meadow grass is turning brown Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in.” RUDY: Can you not sing that song? I’m scared. Where are we going? RABBIT: Don’t worry, OK? I told you, we’re going to find Dad. RUDY: OK, but WHERE are we going to find Dad? RABBIT: If I knew, we wouldn’t be looking for him, now would we? RUDY: Ugh… RABBIT: OK, I’ll sing something else. RUDY: Thanks. 14


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pause RABBIT: (stumbling through, making it up as she goes) “FRESH YOUNG REBELS WITHOUT A… CAUSE RUDY: Hey, Rabbit? RABBIT: (going along with it) “HEY RUDY NOW… SHOW US YOUR… PAWS”

rabbit turns to rudy, mouth twisted in an impossible grin, fingers curled into her palm, making her hands look like little paws rabbit is more than pleased with her new chant rudy tries to keep a staid expression, but can’t help but laugh at rabbit’s persistence RUDY: Alright, that was a good one. RABBIT: I think we could take this show on the road! RUDY: Not that good… RABBIT: Oh, come on. You love it.

rudy smiles sheepishly 8

meanwhile, pepper continues washing dishes PEPPER: “I had me a man in summertime He had summer-colored skin And not another girl in town My darling's heart could win But when the leaves fell on the ground 16


Bully winds came around Pushed them face down in the snow He got the urge for going And I had to let him go”

pepper slips and drops a plate on the ground, shattering it PEPPER: Shit.

joni sings on… “He got the urge for going When the meadow grass was turning brown Summertime was falling down and winter was closing in.”

pepper braces herself before looking down at the mess 9

rabbit and rudy are now bouncing around chanting R + R: FRESH YOUNG REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE! RUDY: HEY RABBIT! RABBIT: HEY RUDY! R + R: NOW SHOW EM YOUR PAWS! R + R: FRESH YOUNG REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE! RUDY: HEY RABBIT! RABBIT: HEY RUDY! R + R: NOW SHOW EM YOUR PAWS!

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pepper is still cleaning up the plate from the kitchen floor “But she's got the urge for going So I guess she'll have to go She gets the urge for going When the meadow grass is turning brown All her empire's falling down And winter's closing in. And I get the urge for going When the meadow grass is turning brown And summertime is falling down.”

pepper drops the rest of the plate, falls to the ground, and puts her head in her hands PEPPER: Fuck, fuck, fuck.

she sits there for a while biting her knuckle to prevent tears “river” begins to play “It's coming on Christmas, They're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer And singing songs of joy and peace, Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here, Stays pretty green. 18


I'm gonna make a lot of money And and then I'm gonna quit this crazy scene. Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. I wish I had a river so long, I would teach my feet to fly. Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. I made my baby cry.” 11

on the road, rabbit is walking briskly in front of rudy who, loosing some of her steam now, is walking far behind RUDY: (calling to rabbit) We’ve been walking forever. RABBIT: (calling back to rudy) You’re such a baby. RUDY: I’ve never walked this far from home before. RABBIT: So? RUDY: So, I can’t do it. RABBIT: What do you mean? You never walk anywhere, how do you know that you can’t do it?

rudy blows a raspberry at rabbit RABBIT: Oh, come on. RUDY: You come on!

they continue on for a bit rudy huffing and puffing about the distance RABBIT: Mind over matter roots. 19


RUDY: Huh? RABBIT: MIND OVER MATTER! RUDY: Yeah, I heard you… RABBIT: It means it’s your brain that’s making it hard for you to walk. It’s all in your mind. RUDY: My mind is making my feet hurt? RABBIT: I mean, literally yes. But, that’s not what I’m saying. RUDY: Then, what are you saying? RABBIT: If you think positively, you’ll feel positively. RUDY: Oh. RABBIT: It’s true! Negative thoughts and expectations are evil. They haunt your thoughts and they ruin your life.

rudy blows another raspberry at rabbit RABBIT: It’s just like my 10th birthday party. RUDY: Oh yeah? RABBIT: Yeah. RUDY: How is that? RABBIT: Well, I was so excited because Mom and Dad let me have a party at the ice rink. RUDY: I remember. RABBIT: I had never been before, but I had been dreaming about it for so long. I was going to get onto that ice and… I was gonna twirl and jump and I was going to be beautiful. I had my skater skirt and the white skates and everything. But, I took one step onto the ice, and slipped. I cried and cried and cried. I looked at everyone else at the rink skating around, and I couldn’t even… I wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t want to do it if I wasn’t perfect. But, it didn’t take me long to realize that I let my negative thoughts and ridiculous expectations ruin things. I made a fool out of myself. And, I vowed from then on, that I refuse to think negatively, if I can help it. And I’ve been happier ever since.

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So, you’re tired now? That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you haven’t done it before. So, believe in your ability, and you can make it to wherever you want to go.

pause RUDY: I thought you looked beautiful that day. Even falling, I thought you were perfect.

rabbit stops and turns to look back to rudy rudy catches up to rabbit and looks up at her rabbit takes out some nuts from her pack she offers them to rudy rabbit looks to rudy softly RABBIT: Don’t leave me, OK? RUDY: I won’t.

rudy blows a raspberry at rabbit rabbit laughs and turns as she continues on her way 12 “It's coming on Christmas, They're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer And singing songs of joy and peace, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

pepper gets up from the floor and begins picking up the pieces of the plate 13

rabbit and rudy walk on. 21


but, it is getting late, and they’re beginning to realize just how long they’re going to be able to get away with this. rabbit suddenly stops and rudy, not looking up from the trail, bumps into her, dropping her flashlight. RABBIT: We can probably set up camp now.

rudy bends down to pick up her flashlight RUDY: What? Wait. What about the positive thinking? I was just getting a stride going . . . RABBIT: Yeah, but this is a nice little clearing, and I don’t know how many more of these we’re going to come across. RUDY: Alright, fine. I mean I was getting tired, but I didn’t want to say anything. I thought you were gonna get mad at me. RABBIT: You were getting tired? RUDY: Oh boy . . . RABBIT: Listen, this is the perfect camp and we can take a little rest here before continuing on. RUDY: Alright bits.

rabbit and rudy set their bags down and begin to set up RABBIT: We’re making great time, and I have a feeling we’re getting close. RUDY: What makes you say that? RABBIT: There’s just something about this clearing.

rabbit looks up and takes a deep, brisk breath rudy rolls her eyes RUDY: Well, alrighty then.

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rabbit goes back to setting up the tent, popping the pre-set dowels into one another she finishes the tent quickly, proudly jumping inside to take in all of her work meanwhile, rudy sets up some folding camp chairs and mini lamps just outside the tent RABBIT: (popping her head out of the tent) See? We’re already done! Making great time. RUDY: Yeah, I guess you’re right. RABBIT: Come in and see.

rudy enters the tent, and then . . . RUDY: Ow . . . RABBIT: What? RUDY: I think I stepped on something . . . RABBIT: What? I made sure this was clear before I set the tent down . . . RUDY: Well, it’s dark. You probably missed something. RABBIT: That’s impossible. RUDY: Well, I didn’t step on nothing! RABBIT: Alright, out of the tent. RUDY: Here we go . . .

rabbit goes around to the side of the tent and lifts it up, she flashes her light in a furious sweep and then stops abruptly she slowly bends down to have a closer look RUDY: Told you.

rabbit’s jaw drops as she brings the item close to her face, it’s red’s cross. RUDY: What? What is it? 23


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This is just for you, OK? Don’t show anyone. RABBIT: Nothing. RUDY: WHAT? What is—

rudy looks to what rabbit has found, rabbit quickly puts it in her pocket RABBIT: It’s nothing

pause RUDY: OK . . . RABBIT: We’re so fucking close. RUDY: Hey! RABBIT: What? RUDY: No f-bombs. RABBIT: Oh, come on.

rabbit places the cross in her pocket rudy nervously walks back to where the chairs are set up RUDY: I’m not really tired, I think I’m gonna read for a bit before going to bed. RABBIT: Great idea there roots. 14

pepper continues to pick up the pieces of the shattered plate, methodically and carefully finding each shard and placing it in a bag as she does this, “a case of you” begins to play, 25


“I remember that time you told me you said "Love is touching souls" Surely you touched mine 'Cause part of you pours out of me In these lines from time to time Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine You taste so bitter and so sweet Oh I could drink a case of you darling And I would still be on my feet I would still be on my feet I met a woman She had a mouth like yours She knew your life She knew your devils and your deeds And she said "Go to him, stay with him if you can But be prepared to bleed" Oh but you are in my blood You're my holy wine You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet Oh, I could drink a case of you darling Still I'd be on my feet I would still be on my feet�

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rabbit and rudy are sitting in the makeshift camp that they have created comprised of a small tent just big enough to hold their sleeping bags trees line their site and provide a protective halo around them rudy is reading Mister Dog by the bluish light of a flashlight while rabbit is sitting next to her reading The Great Gatsby by the yellow glow of small kerosene lamp RABBIT: Aren’t you a little old to be reading that? RUDY: No. RABBIT: I used to read that to you when you were a baby. RUDY: I know. RABBIT: Haven’t you memorized it by now? RUDY: Yeah. RABBIT: Don’t you want to read something else? RUDY: No. RABBIT: Why? RUDY: I mean… I know all the words. But, that doesn’t mean that they mean the same thing to me every time I read it. RABBIT: What? What do you mean? RUDY: Well, when you first read this book to me, I didn’t understand what the words meant. RABBIT: You were a baby, you knew like three words. RUDY: Yeah, so I didn’t know what the words meant, but they sounded familiar. And that was nice. And you kept reading it to me. Eventually, I understood what the words meant, and that was cool. So, the story is about a dog who belonged to himself. He took care of himself, he lived on his own, he did everything by himself. And one day he found a little boy just like him, a little boy who belonged to himself. RABBIT: Crispin’s Crispian… so?

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RUDY: Right. I mean, I’m around people all the time. You are too. Crispin and that little boy are all alone all the time, and that was kind of scary. But, they found each other and lived together, so it wasn’t too scary. RABBIT: OK… RUDY: But, they still belonged to themselves. RABBIT: Yeah… RUDY: So, I understand what that means now. It’s not just about Crispin and the boy, it’s about how people can have friends and be around people and love, but still belong to themselves. And, I guess now that’s what I think about when I read it. You and I are out here together, but we still belong to ourselves, and that’s cool.

pause RUDY: Does that make sense?

pause RABBIT: Yeah. It really does. 16

back in the kitchen, joni croons on, getting towards the end of her greatest hits we’re already on “blue”… “Blue songs are like tattoos You know I've been to sea before Crown and anchor me Or let me sail away Hey Blue, here is a song for you” 28


pepper puts the leftovers into the fridge, she grabs a broom, and begins to sweep up the last bit of debris from the kitchen floor. “Ink on a pin Underneath the skin An empty space to fill in Well there're so many sinking now You've got to keep thinking You can make it thru these waves Acid, booze, and ass

she begins to slow her sweeping, suddenly changing her mind about these lyrics then speeds up, getting progressively more harried with her movements Needles, guns, and grass Lots of laughs lots of laughs Everybody's saying that hell's the hippest way to go

she sweeps the bits into the dustpan, chucks the lot of it in the trash takes off her rubber gloves and lays them on the edge of the sink. Well I don't think so But I'm gonna take a look around it though Blue I love…”

pepper runs to the music and slams it off, she takes the cassette out of the boombox, 29


PEPPER: (staring at the cassette) I’ve had enough of this bullshit.

she tears the tape out of the cassette, ribbon going everywhere. she pulls and pulls and pulls until all that remains is the disemboweled shell of the cassette. she throws the cassette on the ground and smashes it. she stands tall, takes a breath in and smiles PEPPER: Romanticize this Joni.

she calmly puts the gloves back on and takes out the broom for one last sweep she neatly collects the spoils of her conquest, and throws it all into the trash. 17

just as the sun begins to turn red, orange, and gold rabbit gets up and walks far enough away from rudy that she can’t hear her she goes towards the sun she screams there is a silence for a bit afterwards rudy looks up from her reading RUDY: Bits . . . RABBIT: (winded) Yeah? RUDY: What are you doing? 30


RABBIT: What? RUDY: You were just screaming at the sky. RABBIT: Oh, yeah. RUDY: Why were you screaming at the sky? RABBIT: I dunno. I just felt like it I guess. RUDY: Why? RABBIT: I don’t know. RUDY: Why? RABBIT: I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! RUDY: Hey . . . RABBIT: Sorry, I’m trying. It’s hard for me to not cuss. I like to cuss Rudy. RUDY: Well try not to like it O.K.? RABBIT: O.K. I’m sorry. RUDY: Why are you mad at the sky? RABBIT: It’s hard to explain. It's just something I do. RUDY: What? RABBIT: Scream. RUDY: At the sky? RABBIT: Yeah. Sometimes I scream at the sky when the sun is rising. OK? RUDY: OK . . . RABBIT: Sometimes, I just like to tell the sunrise to (pause) fudge off. RUDY: But, why do you like to tell the sunrise to fudge off? RABBIT: I don’t know . . . (she ponders this for a moment looking into and beyond the sky, thinking

for a moment that she herself is not too sure. then, she find it) Because . . . it’s fleeting . . . It exists as a contrast to the hideous nature of our fucking existence on this planet. And then, it leaves us standing there, at the edge of ourselves, waiting to somehow capture it. In a picture, or a painting, or even a memory. But, you can’t. You just fucking—freaking can’t. You just freakin’ can’t. (pause) It reminds me of how anything in this world that’s worth saving, is impossible to hold on to . . . RUDY: (furrows her brow, but something in her understands) OK . . . (a big smile slowly envelops her face) 31


Can you teach me?

rabbit looks to rudy, a bit stunned she smiles RABBIT: Of course I can. Get over here.

rudy runs over to rabbit RUDY: OK. What do I do? RABBIT: Well, there’s really not much to it. I mean you just look at the sunrise and you say, you say, you say HEY! YOU! YOU REALLY SUCK! I HATE YOU!

rabbit looks around, dissatisfied This is sort of hard to do without cussing . . . RUDY: Well, it sounds good to me.

they stand there for a moment rabbit motions for rudy to begin rudy opens her mouth to try, but can’t seem to be able to scream RABBIT: come on Rudy. Just make stuff up. Like how YOU WISH YOU COULD RIP OUT IT’S EYELASHES or I HOPE YOU GET SAND IN YOUR EYE AND IT STRATCHES YOUR CORNEA.

rabbit seems increasing satisfied with this new vocabulary RABBIT: Yanno, it’s sort of better without cussing. More room for improvisation.

rudy opens her mouth to scream again, nothing comes out

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RABBIT: Come on!

nothing and nothing and still nothing RUDY: I don’t know if I can do this . . . RABBIT: Of course you can, don’t be silly roots. You got this.

rudy tries one more time and then . . . RUDY: No, I don’t. I can’t. RABBIT: What? RUDY: I’m not a rebel. RABBIT: WHAT? RUDY: I’m not. RABBIT: WHO TOLD YOU THAT? RUDY: I don’t know. RABBIT: You tell me this second who said that to you I’M GONNA RIP THEIR EYEBALLS OUT OF THEIR HEADS. RUDY: No one had to tell me, I already know. RABBIT: How can you say that Rudy? RUDY: I’m not like you. I can never be like you. RABBIT: That’s bullshit. RUDY: HEY! Listen. LISTEN TO ME. I can’t be like you. I can’t just pretend like it’s easy for me to curse or scream or punch a wall or yell at a sunrise or run away into the woods. It’s not easy for me bits. It’s almost impossible. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to . . .

while rudy is searching for the words, rabbit looks increasingly deflated

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RABBIT: You mean, you . . . you didn’t want to run away with me? RUDY: No, no. I mean, I don’t know.

rabbit walks away from rudy for a moment, and then turns to her RABBIT: Rudy, it’s not easy for me. It’s never, ever easy for me. Sometimes being myself is the hardest thing I can do. But, I do it. I keep screaming and kicking and fighting and telling everyone, even the fucking sunrise I don’t fucking care, to fuck off, because it makes me feel stronger knowing that I’ve done something that wasn’t easy for me. RUDY: Really? RABBIT: Really . . . RUDY: Oh . . . RABBIT: And the way that you were just so honest with me about how you were scared, that was so brave Rudy. That was totally badass. RUDY: Really? RABBIT: Really, Really . . . Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not a rebel Rudy. If they ever do, I’ll kill them. And if for some reason I’m not there, you just raise your bite-sized middle finger in the air and tell them all to fudge off. You don’t owe them anything and you never will.

rudy takes this in fighting back the well of complicated and bitter love that is drowning her she slowly turns to the sky raises her middle finger in the air and screams . . . RUDY: FUDGE OFF!

rabbit looks to her, stunned rudy grins sheepishly 34


rabbit wastes no time . . . RABBIT: YEAH! FUDGERS! I’LL GNAW AT YOUR HEELS UNTIL THEY BLEED! RUDY: YEAH! I’LL UH . . . UH . . . FUDGE OFF!

rabbit looks to rudy proudly RABBIT: YEAH!!!

rabbit reaches to hold rudy’s hand as they both continue to scream into the sunrise ACT II 1

pepper is now scrubbing the floor, desperately trying to do things to distract herself. she finishes her last wipe and plops the brush into the bucket she looks up and sees that it is now light outside PEPPER: Oh my god, what time is it?

she looks at her watch PEPPER: Jesus. Why now?

she looks down for a moment, PEPPER: I need to lay down.

goes to put away the bucket, then walks to bed. 35


36


2

it is now very early morning. tired from lack of sleep and excessive excitement, rabbit and rudy have fallen asleep while reading. rabbit’s book is resting on her chest, while rudy’s book is in her hand, dangling at the end of her arm her hand falls further down and she rustles in her chair. slowly, something begins to slip out of rudy’s book. it is a small envelope, and on it in black ink reads, “the two the two”. Rudy, wake up she gets up with a jolt she then looks to rabbit, who is deep asleep, then looks to the ground to find the envelope, darting her head as she picks it up. she carefully runs her fingers all along the edges, before ripping it open. she then slowly unfolds the letter, then looks around again. she begins to read . . . 3

pepper shuffles the kitchen in a nighty and slippers, 37


rubbing her eyes, full of grumbles. she goes into the fridge, takes out a tupperware of leftovers and a fork, sits at the table, and begins eating the cold pasta straight from the container. after the first couple of bites, she looks down at her fork. PEPPER: Even I’m not sad enough for this shit.

she gets up, puts the leftovers back into the fridge, closes the fridge door and turns to see something on the formerly empty table. she slowly approaches the item to find it’s a cigarette. PEPPER: What?

she picks up the cigarette and looks around her for it’s possible origins she then smiles as she nods her head and looks up. PEPPER: Thank you.

she places the cigarette carefully in the side of her crinkled smile, walks over to the stove, lights a burner, and bends down with her cigarette to meet the flame. she takes a puff and releases on a deep exhale. PEPPER: Is this really it? 38


Wait… 4

rudy is still reading her letter, frozen in place, with her mouth slightly agape. rabbit begins to rustle awake, causing rudy to panic. she quickly and carefully places the letter back into the envelope and then back into the book. RABBIT: What are you doing awake? We have a long day ahead of us, you better nap while you can. You’re gonna need it.

rudy sits quietly rabbit sits up RABBIT: What’s wrong?

rudy sits quietly RABBIT: What? What is it?

rudy bites her lower lip, looking at and through the book in her lap. she begins to tear up. RABBIT: Rudy, what’s wrong? What’s going on?

39


rudy looks to rabbit RUDY: I can’t do this anymore. RABBIT: What do you mean? RUDY: I can’t do this. RABBIT: We’ve barely even started, we haven’t even really tried yet. RUDY: We’re not going to find him. RABBIT: What do you mean? RUDY: We’re not going to find Dad. RABBIT: Why? Why are you being so weird right now? RUDY: I overheard Mom on the phone with Grandma before she told us about Dad leaving.

rabbit is silent rudy looks away RUDY: Dad is dead.

rabbit is silent rudy looks to rabbit 5

pepper takes her last puff, goes over to the sink, and runs the water on the butt until the flame is out. she places the soggy filter back on the table, takes out a candle from the drawer and lights it to mask the smell. but, when she turns back towards the table, the butt is gone. she doesn't bother to look around, she just blows out the candle and looks up . . . 40


PEPPER: Well, that was nice of you Red. 6 RABBIT: What do you mean he’s dead? That’s impossible. I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. RUDY: Come on Rabbit, you knew that’s not what Mom meant. RABBIT: I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. RUDY: Yes you do. RABBIT: No I don’t. RUDY: Yes. You. Do. RABBIT: NO. I. DON’T. RUDY: YES YOU DO. RABBIT: NO I FUCKING DON’T. BECAUSE THAT THING YOU STEPPED ON UNDER THE TENT WAS HIS CROSS, OK? HE’S FUCKING HERE AND I’M GOING TO FIND HIM WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.

rabbit begins to walk away rudy comes after her RUDY: HA! I knew I stepped on something. RABBIT: Yeah, that’s right. I lied. RUDY: Why did you want to keep that from me? RABBIT: I don’t know. RUDY: Great answer. RABBIT: I know it is. RUDY: You didn’t find anything under there but a rock. A rock that I stepped on. RABBIT: Oh yeah? You want to see it? RUDY: I would love to. RABBIT: Oh yeah? 41


RUDY: Yeah. RABBIT: Fine.

rabbit, smug grin reaching ear to ear, reaches deep into her pocket. her face drops as she slowly reveals that there is nothing in her pocket. RABBIT: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This can’t be possible. I saw it.

rabbit looks to the sky RABBIT: I’m sorry, OK? RUDY: It’s OK. RABBIT: No, not you. And, It’s not FUCKING OK Rudy.

rabbit franticly empties all of her pockets. RUDY: I believe you. RABBIT: No, it was right fucking here. IT WAS RIGHT FUCKING HERE.

she continues to tear at her clothes. RUDY: I believe you, I believe you. Stop it. RABBIT: Now you believe me? RUDY: I always believed you.

rabbit stops looking. RABBIT: What the do you mean you always believed me? RUDY: We don’t have to look for Dad because he’s been here the whole time. RABBIT: OK, you are really freaking me out now. 42


RUDY: He’s been watching us this whole time. RABBIT: What? Come on Rudy. You have got to be kidding me. He’s been watching us the whole time? Can you save it for bible study you fucking freak? RUDY: You know I hate baby dolls. I’m never going back to bible study. I hate bible study.

rudy shivers at the thought RABBIT: OK, OK. RUDY: I don’t mean he’s in heaven. I don’t believe in heaven. But, I do believe that people can stay with you.

rabbit rolls her eyes. RUDY: You don’t have to believe me, but I know that you’ve been hearing him too, and feeling his presence. I have a letter that he wrote to me telling me just that. That, yes, he was going to be leaving, but that he would be with us all the time. I found it while you were asleep. RABBIT: You found something too? RUDY: You heard me. RABBIT: I know I heard you, now show me. RUDY: Fine. It slipped out of my book when I woke up. RABBIT: Alright, let’s see it.

rudy goes over to her book and flips through the pages. she flips over the book and shakes it. nothing comes out. she then looks up. RABBIT: That’s what I thought. That’s what I fucking thought. RUDY: Can you stop cursing? RABBIT: No. I can’t stop FUCKING CURSING because I FUCKING WANT TO. FUUUUUUUCK. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. 43


RUDY: STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. RABBIT: SHIT PISS CUNT FUCKER FUCKBALLS BALLS BALLS. RUDY: FUCKING STOP IT. RABBIT: HA!

rabbit looks to rudy rudy covers her mouth and turns bright red. RABBIT: Now, tell me that didn’t feel good.

rudy slowly uncovers her mouth and smiles. RUDY: Wow. 7

pepper sits at the table in silence, tapping her foot nervously and looking at the phone. after a more than pregnant pause, pepper goes to the phone and dials. PEPPER: Mom? I love you. (disingenuously) Yeah, everything’s fine. I just wanted to tell you that I love you. I’m sorry I woke you. I know it’s early. You can go back to bed now. Goodnight, Mom.

44


pepper hangs up the phone, sits back at the table, and puts her head down. 8 RABBIT: Did Mom ever tell you about Nanny and the horse? RUDY: No. What about Nanny and the horse? RABBIT: Well, Nanny never really talks about her feelings, yanno? RUDY: Not really, no. RABBIT: Well, she doesn’t. It’s really hard for her. RUDY: OK. RABBIT: Well, when Nanny was little and living in New York City, she saw something really sad. She was in the middle of town, and a horse got loose from the buggy, and it was going wild. It was running up and down the street and police and cars and all of these people were trying to chase it. And, it went into the middle of traffic, and a car hit it. And it got hurt. And then a policeman went up, and put it out of its misery. And she saw the whole thing. She was just a little girl. And she saw the whole thing. Mom doesn’t think she ever recovered from that. RUDY: I don’t think I am either, Jesus. RABBIT: I know it’s sad, but I tell you this now, because I’m scared. I don’t want us to end up like that. I don’t want our traumas to haunt us for the rest of our lives. RUDY: I don’t think that’s going to happen. RABBIT: Really? RUDY: Yeah. We’re really good at a lot of things, and talking about our feelings is most of them. RABBIT: (laughing) True. RUDY: Can we go home now? RABBIT: Of course we can. RUDY: I miss Mom. RABBIT: Me too, let’s pack up and get out of here.

rabbit and rudy rush to begin packing up, 45


now excited to go back home. 9

pepper brings her head up her eyes are red and heavy with contemplation she gets up from the table and goes to where the boom box is. she opens a drawer to reveal a mess of cassette tapes and CD’s. she wildly shuffles through them. all of a sudden she stops, slowly raising her hand to reveal a worn tape with only chips of paint where the album information once lay. PEPPER: There you are. 10

rabbit and rudy are now walking, packs on their backs. rabbit leads, rudy trails. RABBIT: Come on Rudy, I want to get home. RUDY: I’m too tired. I can’t do this. RABBIT: What did I say about that? RUDY: Fuck mind over matter Rabbit, I’m tired.

rabbit stops dead in her tracks, causing rudy to smash into her yet again.

46


RABBIT: I respect that. RUDY: Really? RABBIT: Yeah, get on my back. RUDY: Really?? RABBIT: Yeah, fudge it.

rudy hops on rabbit’s back, and they begin their return home. RABBIT: If you’re gonna get a free ride, you’re gonna have to sing me something. RUDY: Do I have to? RABBIT: Do you want to walk?

rudy looks up, scared RABBIT: That’s what I thought. Now sing. RUDY: OK . . . 11

pepper places the cassette in the player and presses play RUDY: OH, DARLIN! PEPPER: That’s what I’m talkin’ about. RABBIT AND RUDY: PLEASE BELIEVE ME. RABBIT, RUDY, AND PEPPER: I’LL NEVER DO YOU NO HARM.

pepper begins to dance around the kitchen

47


48


BELIEVE ME WHEN I TELL YOU RUDY: OOOOOOO! RABBIT, RUDY, AND PEPPER: I'll never do you no harm Oh! Darling, if you leave me I'll never make it alone Believe me when I thank you, ooo Don't ever leave me alone When you told me You didn't need me anymore Well you know I nearly broke down and cried When you told me You didn't need me anymore Well you know I nearly broke down and died

as rabbit and rudy approach the window that they snuck out of, they begin to lower their singing, saving all of the emotional energy for their faces Oh! Darling, if you leave me I'll never make it alone Believe me when I tell you I'll never do you no harm Believe me darling

after rabbit and rudy sneak back in, they quickly stash their bags and hop into bed still singing all the while

49


When you told me You didn't need me anymore Well you know I nearly broke down and cried

pepper dances wildly, until she is carried towards rabbit and rudy’s room as she approaches the door, they hear her singing and look to each other and start to match her volume When you told me You didn't need me anymore Well you know I nearly broke down and died

pepper can now hear them singing along, and she busts through the door . . . OH DARLING! PLEASE BELIEVE ME! I’LL NEVER LET YOU DOWN! OH BELIVE ME DARLING! BELIEVE ME WHEN I TELL YOU, OOOH! I’LL NEVER DO YOU NO HAAAAARM!!

they all bust out laughing PEPPER: You two are up early. I hope I didn’t wake you. RABBIT AND RUDY: NO. PEPPER: (skeptically) Well, OK then.

rabbit and rudy smile at her PEPPER: You guys want some breakfast? 50


RUDY: I wanna sleep. RABBIT: Yeah, I’m tired. PEPPER: Oh thank God, I really didn’t want to cook and I’m fucking exhausted. RABBIT: Hey! PEPPER: Sorry, I’m exhausted. RUDY: Come, sleep with us. RABBIT: Please? PEPPER: I would love to.

pepper climbs the ladder, and gets into bed with rabbit and rudy. she kisses both of them on the head. PEPPER: I love you both so much, you know that? RUDY: Yeah. PEPPER: OK, good.

pepper, rabbit, and rudy close their eyes and finally sleep. 11

pepper opens her eyes PEPPER: (softly, as to not wake rabbit and rudy) Is this really it?

Pepper? PEPPER: Red?

You know better than anyone, it never ends right. But, it will be better than you ever imagined that it would.

51


These aren’t just any kids. We’ve produced a couple of good ones. As they grow up, you’ll find that all of this pain will be replaced with the greatest euphoria that you’ve ever experienced. You’ll have a couple of those smiles that creep up on your face, the ones that that you can’t take off, no matter how sad you might have been before, the kind that come back to you when you’re not even sure that you know what the hell they are anymore. pepper closes her eyes and smiles You can’t have hope without despair. Utopia is not sustainable— it’s a fleeting thought that you can’t have without the knowledge that it’s finite and— No one has the answers, OK? I know that for sure now. So, just be patient for once in your life. Take a breath. pepper takes a deep breath I love you. END OF PLAY

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53


Rabbit and Rudy, or How to Tell a Sunrise to Fuck Off