Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lena Beckenstein: National Gold Medalist and Winner of the Creativity and Citizenship Award

Congratulations Lena Beckenstein, 16, (left, answering a question about her writing process at Barnes & Noble) for winning a 2010 National Gold Medal and The Scholastic Awards' Creativity and Citizenship Award for her script, "Threads," ( along with multiple regional keys for her short story, memoir, poetry, and script)! Her script is now being reviewed, and considered by the National Constitution Center for their Creativity and Citizenship Award. Please help her celebrate her success by reading her script:


Threads: A Play In One Act
By Lena Beckenstein, 16

Dee is fifteen. She speaks as if words are weapons and is constantly accusing. Her voice has incredible power and she does a lot with volume. Her breaks from her persona seem intrusively personal, but also very calculated. Her hair is bleached to almost white but her dark roots are heavy around her part. She has an eyebrow piercing and a nose piercing.

Molly is fifteen. She speaks slowly, loving that people are listening, and talks in a way that she thinks will interest others. She has very clear enunciation, which should sound slightly ridiculous when matched with what she's saying. Does not have a Valley Girl voice (her voice should be low-pitched), though has Valley Girl syntax. Her hair is orange and in two braids, which fall in front of her shoulders.

Petra is fifteen and very, very frustrated. She has a strong sense of [in]justice. Seemingly on the offensive but really trying to defend herself. Sometimes ends sentences with her voice going down instead of up (opposite of an up-talker). She never wears make-up and her hair is natural and left down.

Scene 1

In general, the three girls will each be on a different bed. When one is on a stool in the middle of the stage monologuing, the other two are frozen on their individual beds. All monologues are given sitting on the stool. After every monologue, the speaker goes back to her bed and freezes and the next ones takes center stage.

The stage is fully lit for the first scene. With each scene, lights on the stage dim eventually to black and a spotlight become increasingly bright on the speakers. The entire back wall is an imposing DO NOT DISTURB sign.

Dee's bed is made with black sheets. Dee is wearing a cut-off David Bowie shirt and jeans that have a hole in one knee (not by design). She wears heavy make-up, bracelets and necklaces, and her nose and eyebrow and ear piercings are in. She is barefoot.

Molly's bed has pink and orange sheets with happy flowers on them. A fat ratty teddy bear is on the bed. She is wearing pink sweatpants that say JUICY on the a** and a white shirt that's clearly meant to accentuate her breasts. She wears a little too much make-up in an attempt to be pretty.

Petra's bed has turquoise sheets. She wears a reasonably well-fitted grey t-shirt over jeans. She wears no make-up. She has no jewelry on except tiny fake diamond studs in her ears. She is striking.

The girls enter. Dee confidently goes straight to the stool while Molly and Petra go to their beds. Molly lies on her stomach with her head facing Dee and her head resting on her palms. Petra sits straight up and cross-legged and watches Dee.

DEE

At the risk of sounding like a pretentious b****, I've figured out the world. (Sardonically sweet) You're laughing at me. (Cutting, demanding) Stop it. (Rapidly) When I was in the sixth grade, I gave a presentation on the duty of American citizens in the world at large. But by the end of the presentation, every single kid in my class was laughing when I said 'duty.' It wasn't that funny at the beginning of class, but my sixth grade boyfriend told his future homecoming date to laugh and she told her soon to be ex best friend and then it kind of spread, like marshmallow fluff or Susan Creeton's legs at junior prom. (Galvanized) But my theory. I've never technically told anyone all of this, because I have a remarkable sense for boredom and it always tingles by the time I get to the parallels to Sisyphus and--(on the end of same breath) oh god you've already judged me. I mean, I am so not big on that whole 'don't judge me' thing, because the only people that say that are utterly snarky and get what they deserve. But I mean on some sort of deeper level. (honestly) I just--I know that look. You're all like, what is with this b****. You think I've got this collegiate intellect and the attitude of a ten-year-old middle child. Well, you're wrong, because I babysit a ten-year-old middle child and his attitude is nothing like mine. (really meaning it, almost asking) Trust me.

Dee goes to her bed and sits, legs spread to the sides. She watches Molly. Molly flounces to the stool.

MOLLY

(milks the time before starting, but doesn't drag out the sentence) I want to f*** Ben Stevens. Shocking, scandalous, sordid, I know. But I do. And I will. I'm flirtatious, willing, and a 34 C. He's tall, blonde, and only a year older then me which, btdubbs [bee tee dubs], is full-on legal in the state of New York. Also, my bestie Janie told me that he hasn't gotten any in over a year. Any. Like not even first base. And Ben Stevens? He's a dude. So really, my job shouldn't be that difficult. Yeah, I got competition. Everyone has wanted in Ben Stevens' pants since before we even knew what 'in Ben Stevens' pants' meant. But that doesn't even matter because I have a total advantage over everyone. (pause then grin) I'm shameless. Legit. When everyone else is giggling at the grinders during (air quotes) 'rec nights'--our school thinks that calling it a 'dance' will promote unprotected sex--I am out there on the floor, sticking my a** in some guy's crotch. Seriously, it's just grinding. Some of the most respectable people ever have ground. It was probably how half our parents met--on the dance floor in decades past, touching each other up to terrible techno. The good life. Point is, I've ground with the homecoming king. Scoring with Ben Stevens should be beyond a piece of cake.

Molly gives the audience a last flirtatious look and flounces back to her bed, where she freezes in a modified hurdler's stretch and watches Petra. Petra walks purposefully to the stool.

PETRA

(after a pause, straight but with feeling) My global history teacher is an appalling malicious ignorant down-low moronic condescending c***. (more like just talking) Ugh. I'm not even a little allowed to say that. For one, he's my teacher. For two, he goes to my church. For three, last time I dropped the c-bomb I was grounded for like a month. (starting to get righteous) But f*** it, right? He is. God, it's so weird. I've seen him every Sunday for my entire life--shook his hand, wished him peace, prayed in the same pew--and then I get to school and I meet him and it's like wait what? You're a d*****bag? And trust me, I am not exaggerating. He is a total. F***ing. D*****. Let's put it this way: first day of school, right? We walk in and he wants to know who we want to vote for. Most of us say Obama because hell, we're sixteen and we want Danny Lu's sister out of Iraq and Sarah Palin is one creepy-a** b****. Anyway, he has the gall to look us right in the eye--well he didn't look at me, probably 'cause of the church thing, but Danny he says he was looking right at him--and said, (spitting the words) "You're all brainwashed sheep. Each and every one of you." (words in quotes said mockingly) Later, he claimed that he was 'kidding' and that we're too 'serious' and should 'calm down'--ugh, that one really pisses me off--but no, he was dead straight. He's so...God. And it only gets worse.

Petra goes to her bed and sits, one leg curled up and one hanging off the bed, and watches Dee.

Scene 2

Dee walks to the stool and sits. Her posture is magnificent.

DEE

(getting progressively scarier) Nothing happens when you die. That's pretty much the basis of my entire theory. Nothing. Did you get that? Nothing. Just think about that for a minute. I mean, what if you got hit by a bus on your way out of here. Not one of those wimpy TV bus crashes but really (hits this line) jammed, guts squished to the window, face splattered on those f***ing wheels. (more quietly) And then you died. (starts a slow rise in power, volume, and fearful desperation) Not right then, but after a few hours of pain that made you really wish you'd just gone because you felt your lung puncture with the side of that OMFG [oh em eff gee] ad campaign and you know that you have nothing no chance but they're trying, the paramedics, they are pumping you full of fresh fake air and you want to say stop I'm dead but you can't because you're not, you're just waiting and then there is the ambulance and it flashes and you moan and then the coma, you alone with your thoughts, lining up regrets like little clay pigeons, and then there is nothing. (quiet, breaking) Nothing. Zip zilch zero you are dead. Even that sentence is wrong because there is no you anymore. 'You' is gone. Never ever again will there be anything vaguely like what you were. Your sweetness, your nightmares, what goes on in the most buxom parts of your cerebrum--never. Gone. Gone. (pause) Heh. I scared you, didn't I?

Dee walks back to her bed, heels clacking, and lays down on her bed, flat, head on the pillow facing the ceiling, legs straight out, arms palm down next to her. Molly gets up and dances over to the stool, doing a little spin on the way.

MOLLY

(hold up one finger on one hand and makes a zero with the other as she says the numbers) Molly one, nonbelievers zero. B****es, you can suck it, because I totally got Ben Stevens' number. It happened like we were in a movie or in a dream or in Disneyland. Technically we were in chorus, but all of those other things are fantastic metaphors. Just ask my English teacher. Anyway, Ben Stevens and I were standing on the back riser because we are both like six feet tall. Well, he's like six feet tall and so is my bffl [biffle] Janie so she and me switched places. (appreciatively and confidently) She knows how much this means to me. It wasn't even awkward because her booty call Richard was on my row anyway and they wanted to play footsies during the Hallelujah chorus. So Ben Stevens and I were just kind of standing in the back, bored out of our minds because we are both up-and-coming stars in the music department and way above the thirds of Hallelujah and I was like you know what? I ran the mile in gym yesterday and my knees hurt like a mofo. I'm sitting the heck down. (smiles) It only took like six minutes for the chorus teacher to start yelling at the sopranos because it's true what they say, sopranos can't read and god bless them for that because--(pause, then screeches) Ben Stevens noticed me! He saw me sitting and raised his eyebrows like good idea! and then? He sat down too. So I was like fourteen inches away from Ben Stevens. Oh man.

Molly gets up and skips back to her bed. She jumps onto her bed and lands cross-legged. She watched Petra, who stands up and walks (verging on shuffles) to the stool.

PETRA

I have this file in my favorites called SMITH. It's all the s*** I have to Google to prove that he's legally insane. Take today. In class, he said that our Secretary of Defense called him a terrorist. According to him, she said that all right-wing conservatives are terrorists and if we know nothing about Smith, we know that he was like cookie-cuttered from the WASPy dough of the GOP. For Jesus Christ's sake, he liked Bush. Not even my Republican friend liked Bush. Last week he was all like, (mocking) "Bush gave us tax cuts! I got a check for six hundred dollars in the mail after he took office! Six hundred! But no one talks about that now, do they?" (impassioned and indignant) Uh, no, Smith, we talk about the wars now. Like we care about those f***ing tax cuts when hundreds of thousands are f***ing dying. And Smith's just up there, gloating, preaching that Bush already did what Obama says he's gonna do and we're all too f***ing blind with f***ing hero worship to f***ing see it. Oh, f*** him! (questionably sardonic) Even better, damn him. God damn him to some circle of hell reserved for ignorance and intolerance, and damn him quickly, because his class is some sort of precollege purgatory and it is killing me. Oh, and the terrorism thing? I Googled it. Defense didn't say right-wing conservatives. They said right-wing extremists. (looking down, quietly) Christ.

Petra gets off the stool and walks with her head down to her bed, where she flops down and lays on her stomach, chin on the bed watching Dee.

Scene 3

Dee gets up, totally refreshed and back to herself, in control, and walks to the stool.

DEE

My mother once told me that you shouldn't lose your virginity, you should give it to someone. I told her to grow up. I lost mine to a friend of a friend on a playground in Rockland. His name was Gerald and he smelled like pepper. We met at a sweet sixteen, hooked up on the dance floor, and skipped. The party was gaudied up in boas and glitter, anyway. Who does that? So we walked to the nearest dark place and f***ed. No biggie. (as if debating) I mean, it's all part of my theory: namely, that sex in and of itself isn't important and that the stigma attached to it is residual Puritanism and isn't based in the actualities of fornication. Translated: sex isn't that exciting. Get over it. It's like they say on that awkward BBC dramedy: "Power is the most important force in the universe. Second is sex. So, sex plus power equals fun." I mean, they almost got it, but they failed to make the final most obvious connection. (sighs) Do I really have to explain this? Sex makes you powerful. It's controlling someone else--what they can do, what they can feel, what they can have. Knowing that you have total authority. That even dichotomously what you say--(rising in volume) yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, YES, NO--can force them to do whatever the f*** you want. People don't get it. Sex is power.

Dee gets up and goes to her bed. She sits cross-legged on top of her pillow and watches Molly. Molly walks up to the stool slowly, smiling.

MOLLY

(Savoring the upcoming reveal) And then. Let's see. Mr. Beckman balled out the tenors, the footballers dissed on our resident gay, and I stole Ben Stevens' phone. I stole Ben Stevens' phone. (understanding/ elation begins) It must have fallen when he flopped off the risers guffawing holy s***! I stole Ben Stevens' phone! It was like...like that dude in that book in our summer homework. (imitating a jovial man's voice) ''Twasn't I, good sir, my hand snatched that book of its own accord!'. This is whack. I just... took it. I wanted it, and I took it. That just does not happen. I am like the poster girl of feminine empowerment right now. People are gonna be like, (enthusiastic) 'Oh my god! See that Molly chick? She stole Ben Stevens' phone! Uh huh, I know. You tap that, girl!' I'm gonna be...mildly recognized. Like Janie Durkin who got suspended for pot or Danny Lu whose sister died. There's gonna be like a secret society. A covenant of people who know what I did. Small, but sacred. Wild, but weary. Pristine, but powerful. (freshly excited) God, the frosh are gonna hate me! They are all so in love with him and they're going to be so f***ing jealous. Oh for f***'s sake, I'm so f***ing jealous! I mean, who does things like that? That takes balls. (a little surprised) Which I, apparently, have. (pleased) I have balls. F*** yeah.

Molly walks back to her bed head held high, shoulders thrown back. She cross-legged at the very foot of her bed, and watches Petra. Petra gets up and shuffles towards the stool, giving it kind of a loathing look combined with resignation.

PETRA

I went to church on Sunday. (resigned yet biting) Surprised? Me, a liberal pinko NBC-watching humanist commie, in church, that censoring gay-bashing anti-feminist den of abstinence. (pause, serious) I hate that. That--perception. That somehow, church is--I don't know. Whatever. (getting back to acidic) Anyway, Smith was there. In the f***ing pew in front of me. He was so into it. We did Matthew seven twelve and he was all amen and hallelujah. (caustic) Oooo, do unto others! Yeah! Let's do unto them them by telling them how to run their own f***ing governments! (slight pause, then shakes head) He had his eyes closed the whole time. Like he was listening. Really f***ing listening. He...he actually swayed. I mean, it was embarrassing. Falling from side to side like some sort of drunken panhandler. His wife kept glancing up to the ceiling, all 'please make it stop,' but it didn't notice. He was too busy with the inside of his lids. I bet he thought he saw God. That's so him. Thinking he sees God. Like he's special. Like God, with all these possibilities, instead C.S. Lewis or Mary Lou Retton or Bono, would choose Benjamin Smith, tenth grade teacher, champion of prejudice and inequality. It's just ridiculous. As if. I mean... (pause, then strong) F*** him.

Petra gets off the stool and walks rapidly to her bed, where she flops down, face into the pillow, feet straight out behind her.

Scene 4

Dee walks to the stool confidently, almost arrogantly.

DEE

You know in high school English when they tell you every other word is symbolic and all male protagonists are Jesus Christ? Well, I've been forced to adopt their attitude for so long that it's seeped out into my real life. (condescendingly) That's my life outside of school. Anyway, I see symbols everywhere. I mean, if it rains, I'm in a bad mood. I'm the pathetic fallacy walking. So when those Somalian pirates got shot up, I thought, well, lookee here. World politics on a boat. I mean, what's the rest of the world see? Big bad America shooting up these p**** pirates. (slightly deflated) They'd never even killed anyone. Yeah, they had the guns pointed, but that doesn't mean they were gonna use them. It's like what Neeson says in Schindler's List. "Power is when we have every justification to kill, but we don't." (balance shifting to more real, less putting on a show) Not that the pirates were justified, but--they weren't gonna kill that captain. They just weren't. They had (pause) the ultimate in power. (slower, indignant) Just sitting there, gun to stranger's head, all the cards on their side. That's the type of power you have to try to f*** up. They didn't, either. F*** it up. If no one gave that command--(military, yelled, emphasized) "Go, f***in' shoot 'em, f***in' get 'em, f***in' kill 'em"--they'd be exactly as they were before. Powerful. Mighty. Righteous. (wanting it to) The world doesn't work like that, does it.

Almost confused, Dee walks quickly back to her bed, where she sits with her back to the stool, arms wrapped around her knees. Molly gets up and walks slowly to the stool, dragging her feet.

MOLLY

(shaky, broken) So. Ben Stevens talked to me. Awesome, huh? Awesome. (pause, raw) He... he yelled at me. Like I was ten and naughty. He yelled that I'm a freak and that I'm deranged and that I'll never have anyone. He yelled it and he meant it. I... He... I was wearing my favorite shirt. Argyle. Shows off my boobs. It's my lucky shirt, I just thought that... I cried. Not there, of course. Duh. At home. Under the covers. Hugging my teddy. I'm too big for that, but... (pause, switches tracks, straightforward) He f***ing hurt me. What gave him that right? Who went up to him and said, oh hey Ben Stevens. Today you can hurt people. You can't just do that, can't just go around making peoples' lives s***. It's wrong. Doesn't he know that? Doesn't he know that people can get hurt? (more importantly) Doesn't he care? (heavy breath) All I wanted to do is to get to know him. That's it. That's all. And for that, for trying to know another human being, what do I get? What do I get? I get tossed overboard, thrown to the lions, left for the bears. (pause, then, for the first time, with power) How dare he? I'm gonna make a law. Hurting people--a criminal charge. I'll be a new type of lawyer. The laws that people really need--my specialty. No hurting people, no screaming, no being mean. Then... then everything will be okay again.

Molly gets off the stool and, gasping for ragged breath, curls into a ball in the middle of her bed. Petra walks to the stool, shoulders slumped.



PETRA

Five bucks if you can guess who made an a** of himself today with a blatant act of bigotry. (raises eyebrows) Shocker. (pause) I'm just never ready. I always plan on preparing, steeling myself for a good helping of horror, but every time. Every f***in' time. It's like having to lose your virginity whenever you have sex. Today, I said that outlawing gay marriage is wrong because that makes marriage separate but equal. And Smith? He said separate but equal is a-okay. (pause) What the f***. When I said Brown versus Board, he said the Court couldn't be trusted because they once supported slavery. When I said all men are created equal, he said the Constitution didn't say and should also have the same marriage laws. When I said bigotry he said will of the people. (loudly, and rising in passion) F***! I just can't win! He uses these arguments that are based on these assumptions that are either fallacious or wrong or idiotic and he expects me to just take it, to agree, to kneel down and submit, and then--(hissing quietly)--and then--he smiles. He f***ing smiles. Like he's the nicest guy in the world, Mr. f***ing Rogers, Abie f***ing Lincoln, and I hate it. I hate it. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it. And you know what else? (afraid of it, but still going) I hate him. F*** it. F*** it, I do. I hate him as I have never hated anyone and I hate that I hate and I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate (scream).

Petra freezes, except face, then jumps up, runs to her bed, and goes into the fetal position.

Scene 5

Dee walks to the stool, flips her hair, and sits down.

DEE

The world works like it does because that is how the world works. Meta? Very. True? Completely. Though that's not to say that everything happens for a reason, because that is the most f***ed up rationalization I have ever had the misfortune to sneer at. It, like its equally idiotic counterpart of 'no regrets,' is only used to justify behavior that will end in a cesspool of hangovers and apologies. (with emphasis) The world continues to work because it can. It's only successful because it leaves room for random movement, people and particles bumping into each other just because they couldn't not, twenty dollar bills being rescued from the sidewalk, spaceships blowing up before they leave the ground. The world, I'm saying, is nothing. And so are we. So when the world does s***, it is not to us, or for us, or because of us, but in spite of us, because it does not care. People who need to find meaning? I pity them. They're looking for answers from old men in the sky when the answer is staring them right in the face. Mothers, philosophers, bankers and crack dealers, all searching for this... this secret, this revelation that will take them home, make them whole, set them free, and the answer--well it's right there.

Dee smiles, stands up, and goes back to her bed, where she sits up, knees resting over the foot board. Molly rises and walks plainly to the stool.

MOLLY

I'm fine. Obviously. For goodness god's sake, I am fifteen.. I'm just curious is all. How on earth did Ben Stevens know that I took his cellular? It's not like I broadcasted it. Oh, I'm not saying that I didn't want to, but honestly, who's that dumb? The only person I told was Janie, and she wouldn't spill. We're besties. That's like blood brothers but without the risk of HIV. (a little defensively) Anyway, Janie loves me. And she's not like Ben Stevens. She knows the law. She respects the law. She friggin' co-wrote the law. (coming to a realization that is was Janie who told the whole time) It's just... I would say my brother blogged about my diary again, but I've been keeping the key on my necklace. And I made a very specific pact with myself about Ben Stevens and facebook, so the only status that even sort of referenced him just said WIN. And I never, ever send a text to the wrong person, not after the Susan Creeton horror. If this was, like, last year, I'd suspect foul play and a Toys 'R' Us spy kit. But I'm eons above that now. There are just so many logical explanations, though, there--(pause, looks away, then looks back and, with a new tone) Look, people believe stuff. They believe in stuff. They believe in a lot of stuff, and that's okay, because they need to. Stuff is what keeps people going. And there's nothing wrong with that. So... you believe in whatever you need to. And so will I.

Molly gets up off the stool, and goes to her bed, where she sits cross-legged in the middle of her bed, staring off the side of the stage. Petra walks to her stool in total shock, almost afraid to speak. Her movements are tentative.

PETRA

(weakly) Benjamin Smith is dead. Something burst in his heart while he was watching TV. His wife left to get him his dinner and when she came back, he was on the floor, and there was blood in his ear. I didn't know what to do. I went down by the river--to pick flowers, you know. I didn't. Didn't pick the flowers. I was too... I feel like. Like. Like, God. I feel like s***. (long pause, shift) S***. I feel fine. I keep telling myself that it hasn't hit yet, that it'll actually be really really horrible, but--I don't believe that. I hated him. I hated him. And now he's dead, and... and everything is the same. Except that now I don't shake when I go to history. And I don't go to sleep with my fists clenched. This is wrong. I know--trust me, I know--that I'm not the perfect Christian. I cuss and I lie and once I almost had sex, but I never thought that those things made me bad. But somewhere something went wrong, because he's dead, and I'm fine. That's not how it's supposed to work. I was the one that hated, not him. He said horrible things about a lot of people, but he didn't know any better. He was just uninformed. But the things I thought about him--I knew exactly what I was doing, thinking, feeling, and how wrong it was, but I couldn't stop it. I couldn't. It was just there, inside of me, and I let it be. If I tried harder--if I tried just a little bit harder--then... then... then maybe, things would be... different.

Petra, still shocked, goes to her bed. She sits clinically on the side, her back perfectly straight, her feet off the edge of the bed towards the wall.

Scene 6

Dee stands up and walks to the stool with the air of one who's making a presentation at a d├ębutante affair.

DEE

So. Here it is. Moment of truth. The revelation of the Great Answer. Are you ready? (shakes head) Are you ready. Who am I kidding? No one's ever ready. Not to hear the thesis of my theory, the single connective thread that drags everything into one, that makes this impenetrably true. No one's ready to hear this. No one wants to. Not your teachers, not your boyfriend, not your mother. Because they don't want to have to deal with it. They don't want to have to know. 'Cause when they know, they can't pawn things off on ignorance. And who wants that? (smiles) Brace yourself. (pauses, then throws back head and screams to the ceiling) NOTHING MATTERS! (smiles, for the first time enjoying herself) That felt good, didn't it? I can only do that because it's true. It doesn't matter what you think of me. For Jesus God's sake, it doesn't matter what you think of anything. We're not here for a reason. We're here and that's it, and we have to get over that, because us disbelieving isn't going to change anything. (slight pause) You don't know how to handle that little revelation. You're sitting there, mouths all slack and brains ajar, wondering how the f*** you are going to deal. Here, let me give you a hand: you're going to live. Live, and live the f*** up. Say whatever the f*** you want; say whatever the f*** you mean. Cut off all your hair. Burn your parents' old vinyls. Make a pass at the German exchange student. Because you know what? You can.

Dee grins, gets off the stool, and tucks herself in. Molly walks up to the stool, still plainly, but with her shoulders thrown back.

MOLLY

I went over to Janie's house yesterday. We just chilled in her room. We hadn't done that in like eternity. (honestly) It was nice. It was really nice. She told me all about this wild amazing party she was at last weekend and how she kissed this boy that she'd crushed on all middle school and how she wants to get to know Danny Lu. Like, Biblically. Janie's so great and goofy. We can spend hours talking about the wackiest things, like how her kitten looks just like Petra Wilson when it's wet or how to know if your drug dealer's flirting with you. We can just sit together, you know? We don't have to be giggling or gossiping or chitchatting. We're that tight. When there's something that needs to get out, we don't even need to say it. Sometimes we just look each other in the eye and kind of nod and smile and I know that she knows exactly what I mean and who I am and it's just... perfect. (pause, casual) We didn't talk about Ben Stevens. It's like that quote we had to analyze from that book we're doing in English: "What's done is done." My analysis was like, when something happens, you deal with it, and then when it's done happening, you move on. Because if you don't... then you get stuck. And if you're stuck, you're unhappy. And if you're unhappy... well, where's the fun in that?

Molly smiles, gets off of the stool, and goes to her bed, where she tucks herself in. Petra stands up and walks to the stool, not overtly strong, but showing no signs of weakness.

PETRA

Hi, Mr. Smith. Your funeral was today. I went. (smiles honestly, though not widely) I cried. I cried for you. (not as a joke, but without anger) You motherf***ing c***. I was sitting in the first row--it was reserved for your family, your dad and your sister and your nephews and your wife, but I sat in the final seat and no one had the heart to tell me to go away--and I was staring at the preacher, and I was wondering. (with a little bit of the Petra we see mainly at the beginning) What the f*** is he going to say? Because you were many things, Mr. Smith, but none of them were ones I'd want said at a funeral. I think that if he had said that you were a wonderful person, or that you were full of love, or that you served the Lord, I would have gotten up and screamed, just screamed in the middle of your funeral service, because it would have been a lie, and I would have known it. But--that's not how it happened. Because the preacher didn't say any of those things. (with the gravity of comprehension) The preacher said that you loved God. He said that you loved God with all your heart and soul, and everything you did was an effort to please Him. He said that every time he looked in your eyes, he saw God's light, because you cared so damn much, Mr. Smith, you cared so damn much about everything you did. And that's when I cried. (with utter honesty and, for the first time, dignity) Because Mr. Smith, it's a goddamn shame that you're dead.

Petra, head held high with honesty, walks back to her bed and tucks herself in. Soft lights rise on all the girls, asleep in their separate beds, breathing peacefully, eyes closed. Then, blackout.

2 comments:

courtneywrites said...

Congratulations, Lena!!! xoxo

Yael said...

Hi Lena- I don't know you, but I'm one of Rebecca's former students and I check the blog periodically. I just wanted to say that oh my gosh, that was wonderful :) really unique structure, great characterization, very relatable but intriguing. Great job, and keep writing!