Per Joshua James's One Scene New Play challenge, here is a scene from my As-Yet-Untitled-And-Unfinished-Superhero-Play-Based-Very-Loosely-Off-Watchmen. It’s actually two scenes meshed together as one, and it’s pretty long, but at any rate, here it is.
Karen's apartment, Washington Heights, New York. There's almost no furniture, mostly boxes. KAREN, in her late-30s, is wrapping up plates in newspapers and putting them in a box and on the phone. She looks mildly exasperated.
KAREN: Yes, mom. (Sighs.) Look, I don't want you worrying about this, okay? I'm...I didn't say that. I didn't say that. I do appreciate it, but...mom! I'm not going to go, okay? I don't have time for it. And you need to...you need to ask me about this first, okay? Oh, stop it! (Guy enters. She waves to him and gestures she'll be off the phone soon.) Don't be giving me that you know that's not true but you can't just assume that I'm constantly open whenever you find something, okay? You know, look. Uh...my friend's here, I gotta go. We'll talk about this later, okay? Fine. All right. 'Bye. (Hangs up.) Jesus Christ!
KAREN: You made it!
GUY: I did. Was that your mom?
KAREN: It was.
GUY: (Smiles, already knowing the answer.) How is Mrs. Fisher? (Karen makes a dismissive, "Don't' worry about it," gesture. Guy looks around.) You're really doing it.
KAREN: I really am.
GUY: You'll be back.
KAREN: No, probably not.
GUY: How long have you been living here?
KAREN: Twelve years.
KAREN: A third of my life.
KAREN: Time to move on.
GUY: How does it feel?
KAREN: Feels fine.
GUY: She lied casually.
KAREN: No, really, I'm...I've been here way too long.
GUY: You think?
KAREN: Should have moved out a long time ago.
GUY: Well, I'm going to miss you.
KAREN: Oh, we can get all mushy tomorrow when I actually leave.
KAREN: You still have access to a car?
GUY: In the garage getting charged up as we speak.
KAREN: Okay, good.
GUY: (Sees picture on top of an open box. Looks at it.) What is this?
KAREN: (Sees it. Laughs nervously.) Oh. That. Heh. Yeah. That was one of my old...arch foes.
KAREN: Well, sort of. Though...not really. He just...heh...uh...he liked to dress up in a costume and break into buildings just so he could get beat up.
GUY: You're kidding.
KAREN: No. Took me a while to figure out what was going on. I thought, "Hey, he's breathing kind of funny. He having an asthma attack?"
GUY: (Laughs.) Oh...ha...wow...
KAREN: When I retired he sent me that.
GUY: Huh. You keep some weird company, Tigress...
KAREN: Oh, don't call me that.
GUY: Sorry. Couldn't resist.
KAREN: (Pause.) Well...?
GUY: Well, what?
KAREN: Did you...?
GUY: (Sighs.) I did.
GUY: And...never again.
KAREN: (Nods.) Probably for the best.
KAREN: Now...don't be too hard on yourself. It's not easy.
GUY: I mean, I kept reminding myself that I wasn't going to get hurt. I couldn't get hurt. But my knees still started shaking, anyway. I thought I was going to fa
KAREN: Did you?
GUY: Sort of. I mean...not really, no. (Pause.) It does hurt, you know. Hurts like a motherfucker.
KAREN: I bet.
GUY: I mean, no broken bones, not even a cut, but...feels like being hit in the chest with a brick.
KAREN: You actually got shot.
GUY: Scary as all hell, too.
KAREN: It is.
GUY: Well, never again.
KAREN: At least you tried.
GUY: Yeah. Guess so.
KAREN: And I mean...the Senate's going to add further restrictions on vigilantism, anyway. It's almost completely illegal.
GUY: I know. They'll probably outlaw Kevril soon.
KAREN: They're planning on it. It's already illegal in some states.
GUY: Yeah. Well, guess it was fun for you while it lasted.
KAREN: Was it? (Pause.)
GUY: (Pause.) The TV still hooked up?
KAREN: Yeah. I thought you'd be coming over and would have a fit if it weren't.
GUY: Thank you.
KAREN: What time is it?
KAREN: Turn to the news. (Guy turns on the TV.)
WOMAN'S VOICE: ...At the OsirisTech press conference CEO Jeffrey Michaels announced that Saudi Arabian media company InvestCorp has bought a 40% stake in OsirisTech. Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Saud bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz joined Michaels at the podium today as the announcement was made.
JEFF'S VOICE: The idea that these two nations can no longer work together in a global community is a thing of the past, as is the notion that we can only work together for the trading of obsolete fossil fuels. This is a great business opportunity and I am proud and excited to be a part of this historic event.
WOMAN'S VOICE: This marks the first joint endeavor between a U.S. and a Saudi Arabian company since 1991. Minister Abdul Aziz said at the conference that Saudi Arabia has spent the past several years shifting its economic focus from oil to media companies, and is delighted to be working with OsirisTech. A reception for OsirisTech and InvestCorp employees was held after the conference at the Windows on the World restaurant.
GUY: You know what's weird?
GUY: I kinda miss gas stations.
GUY: I don't know. Always associated gas stations with growing up, for some reason. I guess when I learned to drive. I thought it was really cool.
KAREN: I don't miss them at all.
GUY: I guess so. But I kinda do. A little.
KAREN: Huh. (Pause.) Don't know why he wants to do business with the Sauds.
GUY: He wants to make money.
KAREN: Yeah, but he's already got money.
GUY: Well, he wants more.
KAREN: Yeah. So, what do you want for dinner?
GUY: (Shrugs.) Whatever you want. It's fine with me.
KAREN: Okay, I'll figure something out. (Goes through kitchen.)
WOMAN'S VOICE: ...In addition to visiting very enthusiastic kids at P.S. 114 in Brooklyn to talk about the dangers of drug use, Overman visited the White House today to talk with the President about their options with what to do for New Orleans...
GUY: Overman's on TV.
KAREN: Oh, yeah?
GUY: You ever meet him?
KAREN: What's that?
GUY: Overman. You ever meet him?
KAREN: Uhhh...sort of. Yeah. Once. Back in the '90s.
KAREN: Yeah. There was this...India Relief benefit. At one of those press junkets.
GUY: What's he like? (She doesn't answer.)
(Lights change but no break in scene. Karen and Guy exit. TOM SHANLEY, a.k.a. "Overman," enters. He is dressed in very fashionable "business casual" attire, is completely bald and has blank white eyes. He comes downstage and sits down in a chair placed centerstage. An INTERVIEWER enters.)
INTERVIEWER: Hi, hi, sorry I'm late.
(The Interviewer extends his hand to Tom, who looks at it with curiosity. Then remembers, right. You shake it. He shakes the interviewer's hand. Note: Tom is what you'd call a...let's be kind..."cold fish," For reasons we'll find out later. He's not the warmest - or relaxed - person you've met, offers almost no facial expression and seems to have no sense of humor. Despite his heroic status, he almost always manages to creep out whomever he's with.)
TOM: It's fine.
INT: It's nice to meet you. I'm Jim.
INT: Now, okay. Uh...you need anything? Coffee? Water?
TOM: I'm fine, thank you.
INT: Okay, great. Here's your mic. (Hands it to Tom, who puts it on his shirt. Interviewer puts on his.) Let's just test the levels. Speak at regular volume.
TOM: What would you like me to say?
INT: Just say anything. We just need to get the levels down. Keep talking.
TOM: Although I'm not unused to interviews, I don't believe I've done one like this before.
INT: Oh, you'll do fine. Let's face it. These are pretty softball questions...
TOM: That's what I mean.
INT: Well, you just...uh...be yourself. I guess. Or...just do the best you can. We'll edit it to make you look good. Don't worry.
TOM: I'm not worried. You wanted me to keep speaking. That was the only thing I could think of to say.
INT: Oh. Well, heh...okay, then. That...did the trick then. So, I guess we'll start rolling.
INT: (In "We're On Camera" voice.) I'm speaking here with a man who needs no introduction. Sometimes referred to as "The Man of Miracles," more commonly known as Overman, born Tom Shanley. Now, Overman. Or do you prefer Tom? Or Mr. Shanley?
TOM: Whatever you're comfortable with. I have no preference.
INT: Okay, right. So...Overman...? (Tom doesn't react.) You're here with us today because of the recent famine that's plaguing India. Can you tell us what India Relief is all about?
TOM: It's a fundraiser established to ship approximately 40 million tons of food over to India due to the region's recent famine in order to prevent millions of deaths. A long-standing drought that's affected 80% of the country has decimated the nation's crop output and subsequently caused its economy to collapse.
INT: That's awful.
INT: What got you involved with this?
TOM: I've been asked by the President to participate.
INT: Yes, at the charity ball.
INT: You'll actually be surrounded by several other crimefighters, correct?
TOM: That's what I've been told.
INT: Have you met any of them before?
TOM: I don't believe so, no. But then again, they usually wear masks.
INT: (Laughs abruptly. Realizes Tom wasn't trying to be funny. Gets a grip on himself.) Ha. Heh. Uh...yes, right. Heh. Well...are you looking forward to meeting the rest of your crimefighting fraternity?
INT: Well, yes.
TOM: I don't know these people. Perhaps it will be nice to meet some. I don't know how much in common I'll have with them.
INT: Right. Well...changing gears, congratulations on your handling of the situation in Waco.
TOM: Thank you.
INT: If you hadn't intervened, that could have ended up disastrously.
TOM: That's what reports say.
INT: Were you at all scared?
TOM: For myself? No.
INT: Well, that's not surprising. You are indestructible.
TOM: I don't know about that, but I can withstand a lot.
INT: Right. But were you scared you weren't going to get the job done?
TOM: Fear is an abstract concept. I wanted to succeed rather than fail, and knew that failure was a possibility.
INT: Okay. Well, last question: is there anything you'd like to tell the people watching this back home in the U.S.?
TOM: Don't break the law. We're closer than you think.
INT: And...okay, we're out. Thanks, thanks, that was great.
TOM: I hope you got what you were looking for.
INT: Uh...sure. Yeah, we can piece something together. (Extends his hand again. This time Tom's a bit quicker to accept it.) Now, who do we got next...okay, Tigress. If you see her out there, can you send her in?
TOM: I don't know who that is.
INT: Oh. Well, she's dressed up like a Tiger. Should be easy to spot.
TOM: Okay. (Tom stands and walks away, Interviewer exits.)
(Karen, dressed in her Tigress outfit, enters. She sees Tom.)
KAREN: Oh my God, hi!
KAREN: It's you. I mean...it's really you!
TOM: Who might you be?
KAREN: Oh, sorry. I'm Tigress. It's an honor to meet you.
TOM: It's nice to meet you, Tigress. I recognize the name from the news.
KAREN: Oh wow, really? Well, okay. You can call me Karen. My real name's Karen Fisher.
TOM: I'm Tom. Tom Shanley.
KAREN: This is such a trip! I mean, I got frisked pretty thoroughly coming in here. Those military people are real hardasses. You go through the same thing?
TOM: Not anymore. They know me pretty well.
KAREN: Wow. Cool. You know, my mom's gonna freak about me getting to meet you. I can't believe we'll be working together on this.
TOM: There isn't much required of us, as far as I know. From what I understand, this is mostly an opportunity for photos.
KAREN: Yes, well, still. I'm sorry to gush, but I'm really nervous.
TOM: I'm sorry to hear that. You shouldn't be.
KAREN: So...the papers are starting to say that you can fly. Is that true?
TOM: No. News reports have greatly exaggerated my abilities.
KAREN: Oh. But you can still deflect bullets and, like, disarm tanks by head-butting them, right?
TOM: I suppose so, yes.
KAREN: Wow. (Pause.) So, are you going to go to the meet-and-greet downstairs tonight? I hear Ramses will be there, and The Peacekeeper...
TOM: I've met Ramses. He's an interesting person.
KAREN: Really? They say he's the world's smartest man.
TOM: I wouldn't know anything about that, Karen.
KAREN: Oh. Well, I hope to see you tonight at the-
TOM: -I should probably warn you, Karen, that I won't be able to have sexual intercourse with you.
TOM: The Pentagon has reason to believe that my sperm could be toxic to normal people.
TOM: It was a pleasure meeting you, Karen Fisher. I think they're expecting you inside for the interview. Will you excuse me? (Exits.)
KAREN: ...oh sure, of course... (Looks sort of stunned, confused. Lights change back as Karen removes her hood/mask. She's back in her apartment with Guy.) He's...he's intense. Or was. I met him just the one time over ten years ago.
GUY: Hey, you brought out the suit!
KAREN: What? (Looks down.) Uh, yes. I guess so.
GUY: Gotta say, it still looks hot on you.
KAREN: Thanks. Uh, are you fine with us just ordering from Tikka To Go?
GUY: Yeah, that's fine.
KAREN: Okay, I'll call them.
© 2006 James Comtois