A One-Act Play by
Edward Crosby Wells
CAROLYN JENKS AGENCY
Cambridge, MA and NYC
© COPYRIGHT 2001, 2011 EDWARD CROSBY WELLS
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EDWARD CROSBY WELLS (Playwright) has had scores of plays produced from coast to coast in the U.S. and in Canada, Scotland, England., Spain and Australia. He is the winner of no less than half a dozen international playwriting awards including the Spotlight On Best Play Award for Excellence in Off-Off Broadway Theatre for three consecutive years. His work is published by Greyridge Press, Meriwether Publishing Ltd., Production Scripts, Smith & Kraus, Inc., Samuel French, Inc. and his essay, "On the Art of Playwriting," was published in the November 2008 issue of The Loop. He is a member of the Dramatists' Guild of America.
LEAVING TAMPA was developed at Circle Repertory Company in NYC and was later produced by Spotlight On Productions and opened at Raw Space, 529 West 42nd St., New York City on February 28, 2001 with the following cast and crew:
ROY - Robert C. Boston, Jr.
MARC - Richard Brundage
WAYNE - Doc Fletcher
Directed by Frank Calo
3M, Minimal Set, One-Act, 45 Minutes.
This play examines gay self-hate, abusive relations, the role of the gay male in relationship to his father and in relationship to Christianity. Roy, bitter about childhood abuse by his father, sits with his lover in an airport restaurant on their way home from Roy's father's funeral. At another table sits the ghost of the father, whom only Roy can see. The dialogue between Roy and his lover overlaps with that of his father—building to an unexpected and emotional climax.
THE CHARACTERS are ROY and MARC, a gay couple in their thirties. And WAYNE, Roy's father, a ghost.
THE ACTION of the play takes place in an airline terminal restaurant in Tampa, Florida.
THE SETTING can be as simple as two tables covered with tablecloths with accompanying chairs. One table is center stage and the other is downstage left or right. There is the SOUND of soft music in the background as well as the din of restaurant sounds. Every-so-often, some kind of airline arrival and departure information is heard over the terminal speakers.
THE TIME is around noon, the present.
ROY and MARC sit opposite each other at the center stage table eating their lunch. Every so often, MARC will busy himself by writing something on a yellow legal pad. There is a carafe of wine on the table and only one wineglass -- it is MARC's. Next to the table or on an empty chair is some hand luggage belonging to ROY and MARC. Facing the audience, WAYNE sits by himself at a downstage table. WAYNE can be seen and heard only by ROY.
MARC: (Looks up from writing something on his yellow legal pad.) You're not eating.
ROY: I'm not hungry. (After a pause.) I mean, he lay there in that hospital for six months dying and not a word. Not one stinking word.
MARC: Maybe, he didn't want to worry you.
ROY: He loved to worry me.
MARC: That's absurd.
WAYNE: And it isn't the truth.
ROY: (To himself.) Isn't it?
WAYNE: I tried very hard to show you love, monkey.
ROY: (Ibid.) That's a laugh.
MARC: No, Roy. I really think he didn't want to worry you.
ROY: When did he ever show me anything other than contempt?
MARC: I'm sure there must have been a time. . . .
ROY: Are you? Why? What do you know that I don't?
MARC: People. I know people.
ROY: And I don't? I'm a playwright, remember? Besides, you didn't know him. You didn't know a thing about him.
MARC: Only what you've told me.
ROY: And that's supposed to mean something? What I've told you? He was an overbearing bully. He hated us and he deserted us. A long-distance truck driver in love with the road.
MARC: I know nobody's all bad.
ROY: Do you? Then, please illuminate me with that brilliant legal mind of yours.
MARC: Please. I don't want to argue. (Drinks some wine.)
ROY: Nobody's arguing. Nobody's threatening. I just want to know what makes you think you know so much.
MARC: I never said I thought I knew so much. Forget it.
ROY: No. I'm not going to forget it. I want to know.
MARC: I don't have an answer for you, Roy.
ROY: Well, you seem to have an answer for everything else.
MARC: That's not true.
ROY: I'm a liar now? Is that it? Are you calling me a liar?
MARC: I'm not calling you anything. Would you please just stop it? I just don't want to argue.
ROY: Nobody's arguing. There are people that way you know.
MARC: What way?
ROY: Rotten. Evil. Worthless.
MARC: Not completely.
ROY: Yes. Completely. Some people are just born rotten and he was one of them.
MARC: No. I don't believe that.
ROY: Have another glass of wine. That'll make a believer out of you. It always does, doesn't it?
MARC: What is this all about?
ROY: What would you like it to be about?
MARC: Over. I'd like it to be over.
ROY: Us? Is that what you'd like to be over, huh?
MARC: It's not about us. It's about you. Your interminable anger and hostility. And I'd like it to be over.
ROY: Right. Sure. What else would you like? Your own winery?
MARC: Stop it! You stop that right now? I'm not your father and I won't be the brunt of your anger against him. It's unfair and you have no right.
ROY: He was born rotten and worthless . . . and he died rotten and worthless.
MARC: You know differently. Nobody's born that way.
MARC: No. Life. Circumstances. They turn a person.
ROY: Simpleminded. You're so fucking simpleminded. He hated me!
MARC: I'm sorry. (Nervously, drinks more wine.)
WAYNE: I wrote. For years I sent you letters.
ROY: I'm not listening.
WAYNE: I poured my heart out to you.
ROY: Can't hear you.
WAYNE: You never answered one of them. Never answered me.
ROY: Never read a one.
MARC: But I don't think he hated you. He never really knew you.
ROY: How could he? Deserted us when I was eleven. We had to go on welfare. Do you know what it's like on the public dole?
MARC: I can imagine.
ROY: No, you can't. You can't imagine. It was a small town. Everybody knew. Some felt pity. Some felt contempt. Some probably just laughed their fucking heads off.
MARC: I understand.
ROY: Bullshit. My clothes were secondhand. Some of the kids recognized them as discards their parents had donated to the Salvation Army. I had to wear a girl's overcoat one whole winter, for God's sake!
MARC & WAYNE: I'm sorry.
ROY: Nobody's sorry.
WAYNE: I had to leave. I had no choice.
ROY: You had a choice. You had a choice all right. But you were just an irresponsible sonofabitch! . . in love with the road. (To MARC.) He deserted us and it drove my mother crazy.
MARC: So you've said.
WAYNE: She was crazy long before I ever left that house.
ROY: No! That was your doing. You gave her nothing to live for.
WAYNE: I gave her you.
ROY: Obviously, I wasn't enough.
MARC: I'm sure it was difficult for you.
WAYNE: She tried several times. Tried to kill me . . . herself. And you. Let's not forget that. The sleeping pills, the gas stove, the knives. . . .
ROY: She's dead and you killed her.
WAYNE: I'm not responsible.
ROY: You got that right.
WAYNE: She did it to herself. She took the pills and killed herself. You're not going to pin that one on me, monkey.
MARC: (Looking up from his plate.) Eat something, Roy.
ROY: I told you I'm not hungry! And stop calling me monkey!
MARC: Monkey? What are you talking about?
MARC: Monkey. You said to stop calling you monkey.
ROY: Wayne. He used to call me monkey. . . .Did I ever tell you who I was named after?
MARC: No. Who?
ROY: Roy Rogers.
MARC: You're kidding. . . .
WAYNE: We could've named you after Dale Evans. That's a boy's name too, you know.
MARC: Well, look at the bright side. He could have named you after Dale Evans.
ROY: That seems to be everybody's opinion.
MARC: Eat something, cowboy.
ROY: Why must you keep harping on a thing? If I were hungry I'd eat! Stop acting like a faggot!
MARC: I'm sorry, but I am a faggot.
WAYNE: What a shit you've become.
MARC: I don't mean to harp. It's just that . . . well, you know the stuff they'll serve us on the plane. You'll be starved by the time we get back to Denver.
ROY: How do you know what I'll be?
MARC: I know you, Roy.
ROY: You know shit!
MARC: I know you're upset. You have a perfect right to be. I understand. Tomorrow you'll see things differently.
ROY: You think so?
MARC: Yes, I do.
ROY: I don't.
MARC: Well, you've got to do something to help yourself feel better. You're just upset now. You're upset about the funeral and you're upset about the play.
ROY: Oh, I was waiting to see just how long it would be before you brought that up. You have no empathy. My feelings are of little consequence to you, I'm sure. They slaughtered me, Marc, and you don't give a shit.
MARC: That's not true.
ROY: No? Look what they did to me! There's no way I deserved that kind of venom.
MARC: No, you didn't deserve it. Your play is good and it was a fine production. That was just one critic, Roy. Just one.
ROY: That's all it takes.
MARC: One man's opinion. The other notices were pretty good.
ROY: "Scrap the whole first act." You call that good? The public humiliation. . . .How can I ever write another play?
MARC: Oh, give me a break. That's the nature of the business. If you really feel that way, maybe you should think about doing something else.
ROY: You fucking sonofabitch! I'm not good enough, am I?
MARC: Roy, I never said that. You can't expect everybody to love everything you do. Nobody's perfect, you know.
ROY: Nobody but you, right?
MARC: Why can't you learn to listen? Why can't you just feel when others are trying to say something for your own good? (Drinks some wine.)
ROY: When I hear something profound I'll let you know.
MARC: Do that.
ROY: The years . . . the years of love I poured into that play.
WAYNE: Love? You're a funny man. Excuse me while I bust a gut, while you. Love. You don't know the meaning of the word, monkey.
ROY: Re-writing . . . over and over . . . time and time again.
MARC: Why don't you put some of those feelings -- that anger -- into your writing? Give it to one of your characters. Look at it. See it for what it is.
WAYNE: Because it would probably scare the tar out of him. Maybe even help him pass for something human.
MARC: Think about it.
ROY: Sure, sure. I'll think about it.
MARC: Good. (Resumes writing.)
ROY: I'm a human being. I'm doing the best I can. I've got feelings. . .pain.
WAYNE: Right . . . and when you're pricked you bleed. . . .
ROY: God, how I hate you. I hate everything about you.
WAYNE: Including your self?
WAYNE: Could've fooled me.
MARC: Why don't you write a play about us . . . and your relationship with your father?
ROY: Well, that'll be the shortest play ever written.
MARC: So? Make it a one-act. It'll help you work through some of this, this. . . .
ROY: This what?
MARC: I don't know. These negative feelings that seem to be getting in your way, crippling you.
ROY: Right. I'm sure that's just what the world is waiting for; a play about a dead child-abuser and a couple of psychologically crippled faggots. Or, do you think we're only emotionally crippled?
MARC: Speak for yourself. . . .If it's honest and true, I'm sure you'll make it great.
ROY: It'd be like looking at a bloody accident. They'd hate it and me for writing it.
MARC: People are more forgiving than you give them credit for. (Nibbles on salad. After a pause.) I love fresh tomatoes.
MARC: Try the tomato. Fresh, I think. Not hothouse. Well, maybe. But certainly not gas ripened.
ROY: For God's sake, Marc, what are you on about?
MARC: I heard somewhere they pick the tomatoes green and just before they go to market they're exposed to a gas which ripens them.
ROY: A gas? What kind of gas?
MARC: I don't know.
ROY: Where did you hear that?
MARC: I don't remember.
ROY: Then, you're not sure?
MARC: No. Not for certain. I seem to remember hearing it though.
ROY: What a piece of work! That's called disinformation, Marc. Disinformation.
MARC: I'm just not sure, that's all. Jesus, Roy. Sometimes you're like the Spanish Inquisition.
MARC: Taste your tomato. It's wonderful. Organic, I bet.
ROY: How would you know a thing like that?
MARC: I said, I'd bet. The taste. Natural things just taste better. You know the difference without anybody telling you. When I was a kid I used to go out into the garden and pick them fresh. Big beefsteak tomatoes. Pop loved his beefsteak tomatoes. Big as two fists. God, they were good. You know something?
MARC: When was the last time you saw a big beefsteak tomato?
ROY: I don't remember.
MARC: Me either. Maybe they don't grow them much anymore. I wonder why?
ROY: No market, maybe.
MARC: Maybe. (Drinks some wine. Returns to legal pad.)
WAYNE: That's a swell mate you got there, monkey.
ROY: Swell mate? He's my lover!
WAYNE: Lover? Odd. One would think he was your whipping boy.
ROY: Just butt out, all right?
WAYNE: Sure, kid. Whatever you say.
ROY: I've been waiting a long time for you to die.
WAYNE: Have you? I trust I made it worth your while.
ROY: I couldn't wait till you were dead.
WAYNE: Here I am. Dead. Disappointed?
ROY: I wanted to spit on your corpse.
WAYNE: You've been watching too many old movies, monkey.
ROY: I had it all worked out in my mind. I'd walk into the funeral parlor. All eyes would be on me as I'd walk down the aisle toward your coffin. I'd stand over your body, sneer and spit. I'd run it over and over in my mind and it felt better each time I did.
WAYNE: What an image! Is that from some old Bette Davis movie?
ROY: What would you know about movies? I don't recall you ever taking me to one.
WAYNE: I was on the road, monkey. I'm sorry you feel short-changed.
ROY: Go to hell!
WAYNE: How do you know I'm not there already?
ROY: I didn't. . .
WAYNE: Of course you didn't. The thought of me frying is too much even for you, isn't it?
ROY: I meant. . .
WAYNE: Of course you did. So what happened?
ROY: About what?
WAYNE: You didn't sneer and spit. Why didn't you? Lost your nerve?
ROY: I played it out in my mind so many times there just wasn't any joy left in it any longer.
WAYNE: Sorry. I seem to disappoint you at every turn.
MARC: The service was very nice.
MARC: The service. . .it was very nice.
ROY: Was it?
MARC: I thought so.
ROY: Nobody was there. Didn't he have any friends?
MARC: If he was the way you say he was. . . .
ROY: I don't know how he was, Marc. Not in the end. Not anywhere near the end. The last time I saw him he was younger than I am now. I'm older than the memory of my father. Why did he just up and leave us like that?
MARC: Well, if he was the way you say he was. . . .(Returns to legal pad.)
WAYNE: I told you. I didn't have a choice.
ROY: Tell me again.
WAYNE: There was no other way. There was no reasoning with your mother . . . and that crazy church. Just like there's no reasoning with you.
ROY: There's no reason.
WAYNE: Things didn't work out. That's all.
ROY: You didn't try.
WAYNE: All I ever did was try.
ROY: I don't believe you.
WAYNE: Is that what her folks told you?
ROY: I got eyes. Nobody needed to tell me anything.
WAYNE: You were a kid. Eyes lie when you're a kid.
ROY: Not mine.
ROY: I know you.
WAYNE: They poisoned you against me. That whole clan really did a number, monkey. They filled you with their poison and that's why you hate me, the world, and yourself.
ROY: I don't hate myself!
WAYNE: Of course you do. You hate yourself for being queer.
ROY: You don't say that word! I can say that word! But you don't say that word!
WAYNE: Sure, kid. Anything you say. . .but, it don't change the fact that you're one sad and bitter, self-loathing . . . homosexual. You hate yourself, all right.
ROY: Bullshit! I don't hate myself! For being queer or for anything else—I don't hate myself!
MARC: What did you say?
ROY: I said, I don't hate myself.
MARC: Oh, I think you do.
MARC: Between the Catholic Church and your father, how could you not? Only, you should be over it by now. You need to get over it, Roy.
ROY: Is that your expert opinion?
MARC: Many children who are abused grow up to be abusive adults. I see it in the courts all the time. Fathers abuse their sons and the sons grow up to abuse their sons . . . or spouses. But, the church is the worst abuser of all . . . especially toward homosexuals. The church abuses us with threats of eternal damnation and hatred toward whom it is we really are.
ROY: Good God! Pontificate, why don't you!
MARC: Most homosexuals have turbulent or short-lived relationships, a high rate of suicide; and are, most generally, an unhappy minority. Yes, I think you hate yourself.
ROY: Thank you for the analysis.
MARC: Don't mention it. I think religion is the granddaddy of all father figures. And when the father turns against you, you turn against yourself.
ROY: What in hell are you raving about?
MARC: Nothing. I was just thinking out loud . . . about relationships . . . churches and fathers . . . fathers and sons . . . sons and lovers.
WAYNE: This homosexual stuff you're into . . . it's not all about sex, is it?
ROY: Stuff? I'm into?
WAYNE: You know what I mean. It's not all about sex.
ROY: Of course not! It's about relationships.
MARC: Relationships . . . they're so difficult to fathom. Much less, to make work. A trucker alone with himself on the road for weeks on end . . . no wonder he didn't have any friends.
WAYNE: He really loves you, doesn't he?
ROY: Of course he really loves me. But then, that's a concept for which you have no real knowledge, isn't it?
WAYNE: I'm dead. It's over. No hard feelings.
ROY: Oh, there are hard feelings. There are plenty of hard feelings, Wayne.
WAYNE: Since when did you start calling me Wayne?
ROY: What do you expect me to call you? Dad?
WAYNE: You used to. You used to call me Daddy. Remember?
ROY: You used to beat the crap out of me . . . the few times a year you did come around. Remember?
WAYNE: I remember. She had lists. The minute I'd walk in the door, your mother would hand me a list of grievances against you: The monkey did this, the monkey did that . . . and then she'd add them all up and that determined how many licks you'd get. Sometimes, six months worth of grievances. Would she lift a hand to discipline or punish you? Oh, no . . . she made sure that it was me who did it.
ROY: You seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
WAYNE: Now that you mention it, I believe I did.
ROY: How can you admit such a thing!?
WAYNE: I'm dead. You want me to lie?
MARC: (Looking up from his salad.) No. I suppose not.
MARC: I said if he was the way he was it's no wonder he didn't have any friends. How awful it must have been for you.
ROY: About as awful as it gets.
WAYNE: Do I hear violins?
ROY: Tied up. Beat up. Locked up. Talk about child abuse!
WAYNE: Me too.
WAYNE: You think you were the only kid on the block? You don't know what abuse is, my little monkey boy.
MARC: Sexual abuse?
ROY: You mean, did he fuck me? No. No such luck.
WAYNE: Watch your filthy mouth, monkey!
ROY: Just your everyday, generic child abuse.
WAYNE: I don't want to hear this! What kind of disgusting talk is this!?
ROY: He'd come home from after months on the road to God knows where . . . and he'd strut . . . strut around the house like some fabulous bird of paradise, naked. Oh, God! How I wanted to reach out and touch him.
WAYNE: Have you no respect for me at all?
MARC: Sometimes I'd imagine Jesus and all the apostles in one big, sweaty pile having the orgy of orgies. Now that's a religious experience, I'll tell you that.
ROY: Disgusting. Have you no respect?
MARC: It made me feel close to God. It helped make a lonely childhood less lonely. It made me happy, all right?
ROY: I know I never knew a single day of happiness.
WAYNE: Why? I'm not responsible for your happiness. But if it will make you feel better, neither did I.
ROY: Not my fault.
WAYNE: Mine. All mine. My lack of happiness, my fault.
ROY: And mine. You robbed me of mine.
WAYNE: No. You robbed yourself. I won't take the blame.
MARC: Mother used to put lit cigarettes out on my arm . . . for no reason. She just didn't like any of my answers . . . my attitude . . . my truth. Once, she nearly split my skull with a coke bottle. She asked me if there was anyone else in the world who could possibly love me more than she. I told her that I didn't know, but I said that I hoped there was. And then she nearly killed me. All behind us now. History. Water under the bridge, as they say.
ROY: No. It's here. Now. Staring me in the face.
MARC: Now she runs around in her slip whenever I go over to visit. What does she think she is doing, anyway?
ROY: Some twisted homage to Electra, no doubt.
WAYNE: I was a goddamned kid and I was hurting and I didn't know any better. I would've liked to have lived in the same house for more than six months . . . take Sunday drives in a new forest green Buick. I would have liked a typical family . . . a wife who wasn't a crazy religious fanatic . . . a son who showed me just the slightest amount of affection, of respect. I would have liked it all! But that's not the way it was.
ROY: You knew better and you blew it. You just blew us off and took off in high gear! The long-distance truck driver . . . in love with the road. Or was it just long distance?
WAYNE: The road was my life, goddamnit!
ROY: I needed an example.
WAYNE: Give your old man a break. I didn't do to you nothin' that wasn't done to me. Nothin'! I'm sorry. I've paid. All right?
ROY: Save your breath.
WAYNE: For what? I'm dead.
ROY: I'm glad.
MARC: (Looking up.) What?
ROY: I said that I was glad.
MARC: About what?
ROY: Wayne's death.
MARC: Words, Roy. You don't mean that.
ROY: Why didn't he call me? Why didn't he let me know he was dying. He just wanted to hurt me . . . haunt me . . . leave me with guilt.
WAYNE: It wasn't a conspiracy. I thought I was doing the best thing all around.
WAYNE: You never answered my letters. Finally, I gave up and thought you'd come looking for me when you were ready. I thought maybe then we'd talk.
ROY: Too late. It's just too late.
MARC: Too late for what?
ROY: Some kind of reconciliation with my father.
MARC: Make the reconciliation in your mind. Sometimes that's all one can do. Sometimes that's all there is.
ROY: Yeah, well, what do you know?
MARC: According to you, not much. I'll keep quiet and work on this.
ROY: Do that. . . .What exactly are you scribbling away on?
MARC: The neighbor's deposition. According to her, until she heard him killing his parents, the boy was a model child.
ROY: Right. That's what they all say on the evening news. He was so sweet and well-mannered, the perfect boy next door; that is, until he butchered his parents in the dead of night, right?
MARC: More or less, yes.
ROY: And what chance do you have defending him? He's guilty, for Christ's sake! Why are you even bothering with a trial?
MARC: Because this is America, sweetheart. They kept him locked in the basement for the entire summer. They tortured and starved him . . . made him eat his own excrement.
ROY: Christ! Why?
MARC: To cure him, I suppose. Rid him of evil demons. He told them he was a homosexual and they just couldn't handle it. So, they proceeded to administer their own kind of demented, black medicine. After three months of torture, he broke free one night and murdered them with a large screwdriver . . . sharp enough to penetrate, but blunt enough to be messy.
MARC: My point, exactly.
ROY: No wonder you drink so much.
MARC: Look, if I have a little more wine than you feel is socially acceptable, maybe it's because I have a little more on my mind than just myself! Do you understand what I'm telling you?
WAYNE: Like father, like son.
ROY: And fuck you, too!
MARC: One day I'd like to go just fifteen minutes without an argument.
ROY: Would you now? And I suppose that you're going to tell me next that it's my fault. I'm the cause of all the ill in the world, right?
MARC: For pity's sake, Roy, why do you do this?
MARC: Make life miserable for yourself and everybody around you.
WAYNE: Abuse. Listen to yourself, monkey. You treat him like shit. I guess the term "lover" with your kind is a misnomer. Like father, like son.
ROY: Will you stop saying that!
MARC: Saying what, Roy?
ROY: You make me sound like some kind of monster or something!
MARC: Sometimes that's exactly how you behave.
ROY: Then, why do you continue living with me?
MARC: Good question. I find I've been asking myself that same question, lately.
ROY: Really? And what answer do you come up with?
MARC: That maybe I am immune. That maybe all those cigarettes burns . . . the scars . . . the coke bottle to the skull—maybe I've become immune. And the wine . . . that helps, too.
ROY: What in hell do you want from me, huh? What can you possibly expect?
MARC: Reason. I expect you to be reasonable.
ROY: When am I not?
MARC: Just sometimes.
WAYNE: Right now.
MARC: Come on, Roy. Eat something.
WAYNE: He doesn't want to eat. He wants to be unreasonable.
ROY: I'm not unreasonable!
MARC: I said sometimes. Just sometimes. Please. You know how irritable you get when you don't eat. It has something to do with the chemical balance in the brain.
WAYNE: Always making excuses for you, isn't he?
ROY: What are you talking about?
MARC: Nutrition. A balanced diet. Maybe, you're not getting enough iron . . . or, something.
ROY: I get iron! I get iron and zinc and potassium and fucking riboflavin. . . .
MARC: Please . . . the waiter. . . .
ROY: Fuck the waiter!
MARC: I just thought. . . .
ROY: I know what you thought!
MARC: I'm sorry. (He withdraws to his salad and/or to his writing.)
WAYNE: What a piece of work you turned out to be. You have so much venom inside you. That can't be all mine.
ROY: Where did you go all those months?
WAYNE: Away. Just away.
ROY: You just left us to starve. You never sent us a penny. What did you do with all your money?
WAYNE: There were women. There was gambling.
ROY: Jesus Christ! Just like that! Without blinking an eyelash you tell me things like that!
WAYNE: I already told you, monkey boy, I'm dead. What's the point of lying now? But, before you go pointing fingers, you better take a good hard look at yourself.
ROY: I've seen myself.
WAYNE: I don't think so.
ROY: I've looked and I've seen and it's a hell of a lot better than anything that you've got to show.
WAYNE: That's it, monkey boy! Take the easy way out.
ROY: Like you did when you walked out on us?
WAYNE: I wanted to end it peacefully. But, there was no peace to be had. What with her being Catholic and all.
ROY: And all?
WAYNE: Fanatic. You can blame that priest for that. You always enjoyed his company better than your old man's. What was his name?
ROY: Father John.
WAYNE: Father John, that's right. He sure had your mother fooled, but not me. He never fooled me for a minute.
ROY: He treated me like a son.
WAYNE: He wanted you in his lap! Bouncing up and down! The pervert!
ROY: You don't know what you're talking about!
WAYNE: There's nothing worse than a converted Catholic!
MARC: (Looking up.) What religion was your father?
ROY: He didn't have any as far as I know. Mother converted to Catholicism when I was four. . . .
WAYNE: And made a sissy out of you.
ROY: But, he remained an atheist.
WAYNE: She was a fanatic . . . not a Catholic! And for your information, monkey, I've never been an atheist.
ROY: Then, what are you?
WAYNE: I'm your father, goddamnit!
MARC: Same as you, Roy. Somewhere between Earth and Humanistic Christianity, I suppose.
WAYNE: And I believe in God. My god. Not yours. Not your mother's. Not the Pope's. Mine. Get it, monkey?
ROY: I get it all right. I get it. And I am not your monkey!
MARC: What's that?
ROY: Just before he was about to punish me for something or. . .
WAYNE: . . .teach you a lesson you won't soon forget.
ROY: . . .or, "teach me a lesson I won't soon forget," he'd start calling me monkey. Well, he can't touch me now.
WAYNE: (Rises, crosses behind ROY and puts his hands on ROY's shoulders.) Can't I?
ROY: (Shivers.) He's dead.
MARC: It's all over now. He can't touch you anymore.
ROY: He's dead. My father is dead.
MARC: We'd better be going if we're to make that plane.
ROY: Don't push me, all right?
MARC: I don't mean to push you.
ROY: You push me! You're always pushing me!
MARC: I'm sorry.
ROY: Is that all you can ever say?
MARC: What would you have me say?
ROY: Can't you fight back? You're a lawyer, for God's sake! I've seen you in action. Why are you always such a wimp around me?
MARC: Because I love you. . .and I'm afraid of you.
WAYNE: Like father, like son.
ROY: That's really not what I wanted to hear.
MARC: I'm sure it wasn't.
ROY: Why don't you just leave me alone!
MARC: Is that what you really want?
WAYNE: Is it, monkey?
ROY: I don't know!
WAYNE: Be a man for once in your life, monkey boy.
ROY: Leave me alone.
WAYNE: Take life into your own hands. Feel it pounding in your veins.
ROY: Stop it!
WAYNE: Life's so short. Shorter than you imagine, monkey boy.
ROY: I'm afraid. . . .
MARC: We've discussed this before. If you really think we'd be better off apart . . . let's do it.
WAYNE: You know you don't mean to hurt him.
MARC: I know you don't mean to hurt me.
WAYNE: But, you do.
MARC: But, you do.
WAYNE: Feel your life. Grab it.
MARC: The pain you cause is just too much for me, sometimes.
WAYNE: Touch it. Touch him.
ROY: I'm afraid. . . .
MARC: I know he treated you and your mother like shit.
WAYNE: Touch him. Touch life.
MARC: But, it's over. Finished. For God's sake, Roy, let it go.
WAYNE: Break the pattern, monkey. Break the pattern.
ROY: You set the pattern!
WAYNE: It was set long before me. I never began to do to you what they did to me.
ROY: You expect me to feel sorry?
WAYNE: I expect you to feel life! Don't be responsible for another's tears!
MARC: Break the chains.
WAYNE: You want someone to blame? Here I am . . . your daddy. But, nothing's going to change until you break the cycle.
ROY: Don't you understand? I'm afraid.
WAYNE: Of what?
ROY: Of ending up like you!
WAYNE: There are worse things.
ROY: I'm afraid of ending up old -- nothing but old -- and derelict, telling anybody who will listen what I could have been. . . .
MARC: Please, Roy. Please. . . .
WAYNE: You're about to commit one of the greatest crimes of all, monkey.
ROY: . . .I could have been . . . happy. . . .
WAYNE: You are about to make another human being cry. Believe me, that's a tough one to forgive. . . .Remember why you called me here? (Putting pressure on ROY's shoulders.)
ROY: You're hurting me.
MARC: I never wanted to hurt you, Roy. But, most of what you feel, you do to yourself.
ROY: I never called you here. I came to your funeral because I'm your son. For Christ's sake! Why didn't you let me know you were dying?
WAYNE: What good would it have done?
ROY: There was so much I wanted to say to you.
WAYNE: (Crosses back to his table.) Then, say it. Say it, monkey. Say it. (He sits.)
ROY: I can't. You're dead. You're dead.
MARC: Roy, are you going to be all right?
ROY: Yes. No. I don't know. . . .
MARC: I think we'd better leave.
ROY: In a minute.
WAYNE: Say it.
MARC: The plane. . . .
ROY: To who? You're dead, you sonofabitch! You're dead.
MARC: We don't want to miss the plane.
WAYNE: To your lover, monkey boy. Say it.
ROY: I can't.
WAYNE: Cat got your tongue?
ROY: No. . . .We won't miss the plane.
WAYNE: You sure are a tough nut to crack!
ROY: My father is dead.
WAYNE: You're all alone, now. Got no one but yourself . . . and your mate, if you're lucky. Do you feel lucky, boy?
ROY: (Trying to hold back the tears.) He's dead. He's really dead.
MARC: I know. I know.
WAYNE: Come on, monkey. Feel it. Feel it, boy. Feel it. It's your life. It's all yours . . . and only yours. It's in your own hands, son.
ROY: I . . . I. . . .
WAYNE: Say it!
ROY: Am I really so abusive?
MARC: Is the Pope a heretic?
ROY: I don't mean to be.
MARC: I know that. I'm sure the Pope doesn't, either.
ROY: I just get crazy, you know?
MARC: I know.
ROY: Crazy . . . like my father used to get with my mother and me.
MARC: I know.
ROY: It's like he's inside me sometimes . . . acting out all his hostility.
MARC: He's dead now. Maybe . . . maybe, you can let him go.
ROY: I wanted to tell him I understood him. I wanted to tell him that I've walked in his shoes. I wanted to tell him that I understand. I wanted to tell him so much. Now, he'll never know. Never.
MARC: I'm sure he already knows all you had to tell him, Roy.
WAYNE: I do, son. I do.
ROY: I'll try, Marc. I'll really try. I want us to make it. I don't want to lose you. I really don't want this to end . . . us to end.
MARC: Nor do I. . . .Ready?
ROY: Yes. I'm ready. Now.
MARC and ROY rise and walk upstage toward exit. They stop for a moment and then ROY turns around and comes back to the table. He reaches into his pocket and takes out a couple dollars and lays them down on the table for a tip.
ROY (Continues. To WAYNE.) I'll try.
WAYNE: I know you will. (ROY turns to leave. After a pause.) Hey! (ROY turns back) That's a good beginning.
ROY: Yes. Yes it is. . . .Thank you. . . .Dad.
THEY embrace and kiss fully on the mouth.
WAYNE: Goodbye. . . .Son.
ROY picks up the hand luggage, turns and crosses to MARC. They exit as LIGHTING slowly begins to dim.