(DAN walks onto the stage holding his head. He looks perplexed and approaches LOIS who just entered from the other side.)
Josh! Josh! Joshua Andrew Stall where are you?
You should be back. They didn’t take me, why you?
(DAN approaches and they start speaking at the same time)
Have you seen a boy about your height?
Do you know what place this is?
It’s a waiting room. We’re here waiting to be called for our ride.
What ride? What waiting room?
The waiting room of limbo.
Everyone in here has been waiting to see what train they will take.
(point stage left)
The train going up which is the one we all want.
(point stage right)
Or the train going down. I know, no one here wants that. Have you seen my son?
(DAN looks shocked at her answer, shakes his head “no” and they part)
(Enter GREGORY and NATASHA and they embrace)
Where is Juliet? I thought she was with you.
I cant remember. I think she was, but we got separated at the party.
(faraway look on her face)
I remember my head felt funny after something pinched me. Kind of like I was falling and rising at the same time.
(GREGORY touches her shoulder and she jumps)
Then I was outside here.
(LOIS and DAN sit in chairs)
What did you say your son looked like?
I mean, maybe I did see him and I just didn’t know it. You know, since I don’t know what he looks like.
He is about your height and has blond hair.
(anxiously lean into DAN)
He’s wearing a red and white checked shirt and tan slacks. He had brown shoes on.
(DAN shakes his head “no” and LOIS looks around the room sadly. DAN stands and begins to pace the floor. He walks over to one of the walls and taps on it to see if it is hollow. He sighs in frustration and resumes his walk with his hands in his pockets.)
(NATASHA and GREGORY sit and GREGORY taps his foot impatiently. NATASHA looks at him as though something about this situation is wrong. She has a bad feeling she cannot define or shake. GREGORY exits. She stands and wraps her arms around herself like she is suddenly cold and walks around while watching for her friend.)
Robert James Lawson.
(looks at clipboard, shrugs and exits.)
(DAN begins to pace the floor again. As he paces his agitation increases until he finally can no longer stand it and sits down next to LOIS).
What did you say we are waiting on? It feels like we have been here for a long time. How long do you think we will be here?
I told you, this is limbo.
(look around puzzled)
Actually, I’m not sure why I’m still here. My son was taken out and yet I’m still here.
(stand and start pacing)
Josh seemed like he was about to pass out and so we sat down. Then the ESCORT called him. I walked him over to the door. The ESCORT took his arm and went to walk through the door. I thought we were both going, but the ESCORT blocked my way and said I wasn’t ready yet. So I sat down again and watched a lot of people come here
And go through there
(indicate door stage left)
And I’m still waiting. I thought we would go together and that they would bring him back here and they would call us together. But they haven’t and I’m so scared.
All I know is that I hope the teenager who hit us gets what he deserves.
(DAN walks away from LOIS and holds his head again).
Ouch! I can’t believe this is happening. I was at Chloe’s party.
She looked great and had great munchies. I had beer spilled on my shirt, party foul, but that was ok because Chloe promised to save me a dance. So I just brushed off the beer and we danced.
(does a little dance move)
The DJ was slammin’ and everything was off the wall! But why can’t I remember?
Wait, that’s right! I had a few beers. They weren’t much, I’ve drunk more than that at carnivals and the beach party I went to.
(rub head more and notice blood on hand this time)
I also tried a screwdriver, but there isn’t much alcohol in that. Then, ouch!
(grab head in pain, more blood on hands)
Then Chloe said I should let Brandon drive me home since he didn’t drink anything. But I was walking fine and I even got to my car ok so said no thanks and took my keys back from her. I don’t think she was happy about that, but I didn’t want to leave my car there. My dad would have freaked. So I drove, but something happened.
(pacing and wringing hands)
My foot wouldn’t listen.
I thought I was moving it faster than I actually was. I hit the break as I slid through the intersection. I though I would be okay.
(LOIS shakes her head and puts her hand over her mouth)
Columbia and Whitman has red light runners all the time.
(falls like he walked into a brick wall)
That guy. The one I saw on the ground in front of my car, I remember wanting to see him and make sure he was ok. Someone was screaming and I thought I could help, but somebody pulled me away and I woke up here. I think there was a woman too.
(Notices LOIS, walks over and puts his hands on her shoulders. NATASHA watched this transpire and looks horrified. The lighting has changed so the entire cast has darker eyes and paler skin).
Stupid jerk! He should have just let his friend drive him home. What kind of idiot gets behind the wheel of a car after partying, anyway?
(looking around for friend)
This was my first time, but Juliet said she’d done Heroin before. She said it was a blast and I wanted to have fun with my best friend on the Saturday before prom.
(NATASHA jumps to her feet as she watches the ESCORT enter and realizes it is her best friend’s dead father. She slumps against the wall and puts her arms around her head.)
(NATASHA talks out loud to herself as she is lead off stage.)
I only tried it once. Really, only once.
(Notices tie and tracks on her right arm. Yelling)
I only tried it once!
(The ESCORT leads her to the door. As she exit’s the EXCORT turns back around consulting the clipboard)
Columbia and Whitman
(LOIS and DAN look at the door)
Our lives were cut short because you took those keys back. I’ll never see my son get married or have a grandchild of my own. But what I find saddest of all, is you.
(point to DAN and shake head)
You won’t be able to tell anyone else to hand over their keys or take a cab.
(Turn to exit)
It’s young people like you who need to be the voice of your generation, but now it’s too late. Because you were blinded by arrogance and the need to fit in. You have one drink and potentially change the lives of so many people.
(Exit. DAN slumps to the floor on his knees and looks straight ahead. GREGORY re-enters and holds out his hand to JULIET who has entered from the other side of the stage. JULIET reaches for his hand and tied around her arm is a necktie with noticeable tracks below it. They exit arm in arm)
(JOSHUA enters and touches DAN’s shoulder)
Mom said she met the guy who hit us.
We’re leaving. I’d like to sit next to you on the ride.
(Pause and turn to exit)
If you want.
(same waiting room in limbo. It is still dark as FERN enters)
(stumbling and confused)
Chloe? Chloe, this isn’t funny. Come on guys turn the lights on. I think I banged into something. I feel strange. I think I should call my….
(silence as lights brighten to reveal waiting room. FERN sits and is joined by JANE who warms to FERN and reveals her own story immediately)
(warm and inviting at first then bitter as she begins to talk about herself)
Hey there. Mind if I sit next to you?
(sit at FERN’S shrug)
My name is Jane. I, uh, thought maybe I’d keep you company seeing as we’re both waiting and all.
So, do you remember anything?
(questioning look from FERN but no answer)
I do. I remember every damn detail as if I’m still there in my kitchen. I grabbed the last chip and walked into my kitchen to get another bag. I couldn’t believe how fast things went. I mean, I didn’t know so many people would come to a house warming party. It was my first house and I was so psyched about it. I even bought some joints and pills for the occasion.
(Pause. Look at FERN and nod)
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and believe me, everyone makes that mistake. I look like the straight-laced girl next door but even the girl next door has skeletons in her closet.
(Stand and walk to address the audience)
Can you believe I’m an addict? I bet when they found me, my parent’s couldn’t believe it either. I don’t tell them everything.
I didn’t think you were straight-laced.
I actually thought you were going to try to sell me something. I mean, have you been given the use of a mirror or anything? You should see yourself.
(Stand and walk around chairs to other side of the stage looking at door. Reach out as though to knock.)
(taking out compact. Scream just as FERN reaches to knock)
What the hell! I look like someone took all my muscle and just left skin and bones.
How the hell long have I been here?
Where exactly is here?
Yeah, right, like you haven’t figured it out yet. This is limbo you moron.
(wave arms around)
This is the place between worlds when the good guys and the bad guys fight over the new dead and our “after-lives” are decided.
Do you want to know how I died? I took some ecstasy. I had been on it for over a damn year and the last time, at my own house-warming party, it killed me. Ironic huh? I mean, I took the crap for over a year and I was fine. Then just as my life was getting good, bam!
(throw compact to the floor)
(back up and wrap arms around waist)
I don’t know what happened to me. I done even know how I got here from Chloe’s party.
(lift arms to face and notice bruises on arms for the first time)
I do remember sitting down on Chloe’s bed and waiting for Rob to bring me a drink, but after that I can’t remember a thing.
(she touches the bruises on her arms and winces in pain. She lifts the hem of her skirt to reveal more bruises and some dried blood).
Let me paint you a picture of how I think things went down at this high school party. You walked into this friend’s house expecting to have a good time. Your boyfriend was there, and all of your school friends, so you let your guard down and started to unwind. You accepted some drinks without question. Because hey, their your friends right? They wouldn’t hurt you. In fact the thought never even crossed your mind. Then, as the night got later you started to tease your boyfriend, but you didn’t know it. Maybe you sat a certain way or looked at him in a way that he took wrong.
(FERN looks scared and covers her ears trying to block out the sound of JANE’s voice)
He tried to kiss you and you let him but he wanted more and you said no. He got angry, pushed you away and left the room. He said he needed to cool off so you wouldn’t follow him.
(grab FERN’S arms roughly away from her head)
When he finally came back, he had a drink for you and apologized for being such a jerk earlier. He even smiled and kissed the top of your head while giving you a hug. You thought everything was ok so you drank what he gave you.
The next thing you knew you were groggy and tried to stand but couldn’t and so your ever so sweet boyfriend helped you to lay down.
(FERN is crying hard and yelling for her to stop. JANE indicates door on “hole“)
And then you walked through that hole. Sound familiar.
Jane Lawson and Fern Wentworth.
(Both girls exit and JIM enters with a hole in his shirt that is evident to everyone but him)
Yeah, come on Kev. Great joke but seriously this is the sickest thing you have ever pulled.
(walk over to GUY #1 and laughingly taps him on the shoulder)
Uh, so where’s Kev? Is he going to jump out from behind one of those doors and shout “Gotcha” or what?
(JIM is shocked to see the ghostly appearance of GUY #1 as he turns. He excuses himself and reaches into his front pocket for a cell phone. Frantically pats the rest of his pockets.)
Great, great joke Kevin. I’m laughing see.
Now, cuh, come on.
(clear throat nervously)
I, uh, I’ll admit it. You got me. Kev?
Bet you think this is the best thing that could ever happen to you, huh?
I was here first so I better get called first. I can’t believe I let this happen. This place only existed in the morbid stories my parent’s told me as a kid. You know, the kind that aren’t true but are told to keep you in line?
I know what you mean, I think.
(lean toward GUY #1)
Is this, you know, hell?
Yeah, this is hell. See that chair, it’s really a serpent.
(Lunge at JIM on ‘serpent’)
Give me a break, man. This is limbo.
(walk away shaking head. JIM reaches down to rub a sore spot on his hip and notices the hole in his shirt)
(gunshot is heard only by JIM and he hits the floor. Line to GUY #1)
What was that? Some sort of car backfire or something?
How could you not know the damn gun was loaded? That hole in your shirt wasn’t chewed there by a dog.
Kev said it was fine. He took all the bullets out.
I trusted him.
I trusted him!
(Actors all enter again and recite following poem, broken into equal parts with the last two lines spoken by all).
The Real Deal
Christy was dead
her friends watched her die.
One night at a Rave
they had all gotten high.
Christy was an athlete
she loved to run track.
She won every meet
and then there came crack!
She started experimenting,
as some her age do.
First came the hyperventilating
then the days she would rue.
She started missing practice.
Started falling behind.
Every meet was a real race
instead of a fun time.
Everything she had done before
she liked to be good at.
One night she did more,
and then she had Matt.
She’ll never again dress him
wash his hair or clean his mouth.
She traded that on a whim
for one “fun” night out.
It’s not a game.
Life is for real.
Drugs are just lame,
Check out Christy’s raw deal.
Think about Christy.
Or the other kid that you knew.
The next time that you decide
To try and sniff glue.
Bet Christy would change that aspect right now.
She’d trade anything not to be six feet underground.
I think this would hold my interest more if I didn't know initially that the characters were all in Limbo, a supernatural setting. That information should come to the audience at about the same time that the characters grasp it, which is what would build the tension. For me, the resolution and the general tone is too simple and moralistic.