Gi60 UK is up this weekend at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax, and my piece “Possible Opening Lines” opens the show. Hoo ha. Here’s my piece from last week’s show in Brooklyn.
Scene: ISAAC – middle-aged – speaks to the audience, off to the side of the stage.
King Kwik was the greatest store on Earth. It had everything you could possibly need: comics, candy, pizza, 25 cent airplanes, a big spy mirror, and, of course, Icees. But more than anything, King Kwik had Margaret.
Lights come up on MARGARET, 60, thin, white-haired, chipper, behind a counter. She speaks to an unseen child.
Is that candy? Oh, that’s a lot of candy.
Margaret was dependable and not at all complicated. At exactly 3:05 p.m. hundreds of kids would race the two blocks from school to see who could be first to victimize Margaret.
A horde of kids, including IZZY and TIM (both 11), come onstage and huddle around the counter, shoving food and items at Margaret and yelling orders at Margaret.
Heat my pizza, Margaret! Icee! Icee! I want change! Stop pushing! Take out my pizza! Icee! I dropped a quarter! Where’s the bathroom? He hit me, Margaret. I want change! Heat my pizza!
Okay! Settle down! Settle down, honey!
She liked the girls best. Called them “honey.”
She spots a boy in the corner.
You! Over there! I saw that! Out for a month! I know you, now! Out for a month!
That was her punishment for delinquents. No King Kwik for a month.
TIM, a tough kid in a white t-shirt, grabs something, sticks it under his shirt and bumps Izzy. He starts to exits.
You! Alright! I saw that! Empty your pockets!
Tim turns, angry and defensive.
I din’t do nothin’!
Oh yes you did. I saw you in the spy mirror.
DID NOT! DIN’T DO NOTHIN’!
…Oh! Out! And don’t come back for a month!
Aw, bite me, ya’ bitch! I’ll come back tomorrow!
The kids are stunned. Tim storms out. Margaret is shocked, hurt. Tears well up in her eyes and she turns and covers her face with her apron. All the kids leave but Izzy. He watches her, compassionately, and approaches the counter.
C’n I have an Icee?
Margaret shaking, makes the Icee.
Are you okay?
Margaret nods. She hands him the Icee. He pays, starts to leave.
Those Pop-tarts are eighty-five cents.
Izzy stops, frozen. He backs up, sheepishly, puts the pop-tarts and change on the counter.
And I’m sorry, but you can’t come in for a month.
Izzy runs off, head hung low.
(calling after him)
Don’t forget your Pop-tarts!
But they’d only have a bitter taste.
A girl comes in, puts a piece of candy on the counter. Izzy, off to the side, presses his face to the glass, watching – a sad criminal.
Thirty cents, honey.