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A Play





Setting: A well to do house in Massachusetts.  The furnishings are elegant and tasteful.  There is a built-in swimming pool (unseen) in the back yard maybe some doors leading to it maybe not depending on whichever you choose.

Time: Present. Summer leading into Fall.

At rise: Jay, 50s, is slightly wet standing in a towel and John is standing in his clothes in the living room.

Jay: What are you doing here?

John: I was about to ask you the same question.

Jay: I live here.

John: And swim here?

Jay: There is a built-in pool out back.  I would hate for it to go to waste.

John: Do you think it’s proper at this time of day to be running around in a bathing suit?

Jay: Who says I’m wearing a bathing suit?

John: Jay, really? You aren’t–

Jay: Skinny dipping?  Well I’m not skinny, John, but I am dipping.

John: What would do the neighbors think?

Jay: They think there goes that fat man running around naked in Mom’s yard swimming in Mom’s pool.  The neighbors don’t give a shit, John.  That’s why Mom has a border of trees around the pool.  Nobody can see in and if they can fuck em.

John: There’s no reason to take that attitude.

Jay: What are you doing here, John?  What do you care?

John: I care because it isn’t right and anyway I can’t talk to you knowing you are standing there in only a towel.  Go put something on.

Jay: Like a sweater?

John: What?

Jay: Don’t you remember that when we said we were cold Mom would tell us to put on a sweater?

John: And then when we were wearing a sweater she would tell us to take if off because it made her feel hot.

(They laugh lightly at the memory.)

Jay: So what are you doing here?

John: Jay, please, put–

Jay: Okay.  Sure.  I’ll be back in a minute. (He exits.)

(John crosses to the bar and pours a drink. He stops, looks at the glass and then pours himself a little more.  Jay enters wearing cut off shorts and a shirt and looks at John.)

John: What?

Jay: Nothing.

John: Oh, I get it.  You think it’s too early for a drink.

Jay:  You wanna get drunk this early go ahead.

John: Who said anything about getting drunk?  I just like to have a little nip that’s all.

Jay: Whatever.

John: There’s no reason to get judgmental.

Jay: I’m not getting judgmental.  I really don’t give a shit.  Really.  Drink all the booze that’s left and when that’s gone that’s it.

John: You don’t–

Jay: No.

John: Not a drop–

Jay: No.

John: Come on–

Jay: No.

John: Well you used–

Jay: Yes.

John: Quite a bit–

Jay: Yes.

John: If I remember correctly.

Jay: Yes you remember correctly but with my stomach issues and IBS–

John: IB what?

Jay: Irritable bowel syndrome.

John: Oh, please, let’s not discuss that.  Just say that you don’t drink anymore and people will understand.  You don’t need to go into the reason why.

Jay: You didn’t understand.

John: Yes, well–I forgot how beautiful it is here.  I can see why you want to stay.

Jay: Yeah I like having a roof over my head.  I’m a madcap I am.

John: Well this is some roof.

Jay: What the fuck’s that supposed to mean?

John: It’s Mother’s roof and Father’s roof but it’s not your roof.

Jay: What the fuck are you talking about?

john: Could you kindly refrain from saying fuck all the time.  It’s very disconcerting.

Jay: Sure. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!

John: You’re acting childish.  (Pours another drink.) I came here to talk to you.  To make you see reason.  You know why I’m here.

Jay: No I really don’t.

John: You must have gotten the letter.

Jay: I threw it away.

John: What do you mean you threw it away?  It’s a letter from my lawyer.

Jay: That’s why I threw it away well not really I mean I threw it away because it was from a lawyer but now that I know it was from your lawyer I’m glad I threw it away.  I wasn’t glad about it until told me it was yours so thanks.

John: Jay, the letter clearly stated that you must vacate the premises.  Mother is gone and we all must accept that and move on.

Jay: You love euphemisms, don’t you?  Mother is gone and we must move on.  Where did Mom go?  To Cincinnati, Ohio, Nebraska?  And move on.  Do you mean emotionally or do you mean physically?  Or do you mean both emotionally and physically?  What is it you mean, John?  What are you trying say?  No I’ll say it for you.  Mom is dead and you want me to move out of this house so you can sell it.  Where I go and how I go you don’t care just as long as I do go.  I don’t want to be disconcerting, John, but FUCK YOU!

John: Look, I’d hate for this to become a legal situation–

Jay: It already is.  You sent me a letter from your lawyer or did you just conveniently forget what you said two minutes ago?  Your eyeballs must be brown cuz you’re full of shit.

John: Are you done?  Are you all done with your dramatics?  I’m well aware that Mother is no longer with us and how I choose to phrase things is my right.  I am not more full of shit as you like to say that you are.  You have no right to still be in this house and you know it.  Mother left us six months ago and Claire and I thought you would move out.

Jay: Why would I do that?

John: You don’t own it.  It’s still in Mother’s name.

Jay: So I’ve been paying the bills on it so I figured I’d stay.

John: Stay? Indefinitely?

Jay: Why not?  You don’t need it and what the hell are you doing getting Claire’s opinion?  I thought you two weren’t together anymore?

John: Who told you that?

Jay: I heard it, that’s all.

John: Cindy.  You’ve been talking to Cindy.  She told you.

Jay: Of course I’ve been talking to Cindy.  Hello. She’s our sister, isn’t she?

John: She’s your sister.  Not mine.  She’s yours. (Jay looks confused.) She was always more your sister than mine anyway.  I can’t think of the last time I spoke to Cindy or the last time I saw her.

Jay: I don’t know when you last spoke to her but I remember the last time you saw her.  It was at Mom’s eightieth birthday party and Claire said something that she shouldn’t have and Cindy picked up that big bowl of potato salad and dumped it on Claire’s head.  Good ole Cindy.

John: I’m glad you were amused by that.

Jay: It was hysterical.  (Acting it out of Cindy taking the bowl and dumping it on Claire’s head.) Pow! Classic!

John: You never liked Claire.

Jay: That’s not true.  I liked her at the beginning.  I mean you liked her, loved her, so I liked her but–

John: But what?

Jay: She’s not easy to like.  For one thing she’s Episcopalian.

John: What’s that got to do with the price of beans?

Jay: Well we’re Catholic maybe being an Episcopalian makes one colder.  That’s it.  She’s cold.

John: So all Catholics are warm and fuzzy?

Jay: I didn’t say that.

John: That’s what you’re implying.  All Catholics are warm and fuzzy and Episcopalians are cold.  That’s what you said.

Jay: I didn’t say that about Catholics I just meant that–

John: You meant what? What?

Jay: She’s a bitch okay?

John: How dare you disrespect my wife like that?  The woman has given me two wonderful children.  The woman who I built my life with.  Who was there when I graduated from law school.  Who was there when I received my diploma from Harvard–

Jay: Honorary.

John: What?

Jay: It’s an honorary diploma.  You didn’t graduate from Harvard, John.

John: Neither did you.

Jay: Well I don’t go around telling people I did.  Vote for John Sweeney for Mayor.  A graduate of Harvard University.

John: It never said I graduated from Harvard.  It says I receive a degree from Harvard so–

Jay: So people assume you graduated from there but you didn’t.

John: Did you ever get an honorary degree?

Jay: No but you did from Harvard. Honorary.

John: I don’t know how we got started on all of this.

Jay: I told the truth.  I said you wife is a bitch.

John: I don’t understand you, Jay, I really don’t.  Claire is a fine, upstanding woman who I have had the pleasure of being married to over twenty-five years.  You can’t say that about you and Dotty.

Jay: What did you say?

John: You can’t say you and Dotty were happily married for over twenty-five years.  You can’t say that.

Jay: Dotty died, John.  You know that my wife died.  We were married for twenty years and she died in my arms.

John: I know that–

Jay: Do you?  Do you know that?  I don’t think you do because if you do and you said what you said then you’re a bigger prick than I ever thought you were and believe me, John, I’ve often thought you are one big fucking prick!

John: If this is how you are going to behave then there’s no reason to continue this conversation.

Jay: I’m up for that.  Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

John: Is that what they teach at Catholic Mass these days? I’m staying.

Jay: What do you mean you’re staying?

John: I know you didn’t receive an Honorary degree from Harvard but you do understand English, don’t you?  I’m staying.  If you have every right to stay in the house we grew up in so do I.  It’s large enough.  We shouldn’t get in each other’s way.

Jay: You can’t stay here.  You live with Claire.

John: No Cindy was quite right when she told you Claire and I have separated.  After twenty-six years together Claire and I are giving each other a break.  We’re not officially separated and I would hate for that to get around but with Cindy’s penchant for gossip I’m certain it already has.  So be it.

Jay: Go live in one of your other houses.  You have a chalet in New Hampshire.

John: Sold it.

Jay: You’re house on the Cape.

John: Renting it.

Jay: The house you live in with Claire.

John: Claire lives there.

Jay: You’re telling me you’re homeless?  I mean you’re loaded.  Go buy something.

John: It’s not a good time to buy right now and, besides, Mother’s house isn’t sold and there isn’t any reason why I can’t live here too, is there?

Jay: Yeah there is.

John: What?

Jay: I hate your fucking guts.

John: Now, Jay, I know we’ve had our differences in the past but remember we are family, brothers.  We are twins.

Jay: So what do you expect me to say?

John: (Pouring more booze in his glass.  He then puts the bottle down and lifts the glass and in a salute): Welcome home.



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