Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Sum of All Fears

So, just for fun, here's one of the scenes that was cut from Pieces of Whitey (not by me) for the reading that I was most sad to see go. (Hmm. What do you need to know? Fred is a white guy who has just moved to Roxbury, a black neighborhood in Boston. In this play, characters wearing black shirts are racially black). This comes on page 75 of a 99 page play.


(Fred enters, walking his dog--which should be one of those invisible dog on a wire kind of things. Fred’s Brain, a woman all in white, walks right behind Fred, as close as possible, step for step. Her costume can be labeled in big red letters: “Fred’s Brain.”)

Man, I’m beat. How can we have so many boxes? Couldn’t we collect something lighter than books or manuscripts? Jesus, I feel like I’m eighty years old.

Good dog. Nice to be out with the dog. Nice night. Safe neighborhood. This is a safe neighborhood. Isn’t it? How do I know? What does that mean, safe? I never wondered about how safe my neighborhood was before moving here. Now that I live near black people I suddenly wonder how safe I am? It’s quiet, people mind their own business.

(A NEIGHBOR, in “black” shirt, carrying a shopping bag, enters and walks across the stage.)



(Neighbor exits.)

Relax. She seems nice enough. A neighbor. Harmless. Harmless? What’s she going to do, stab me? Shout at me to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD YOU WHITE GENTRIFYING SCUM! I don’t think so. Probably wonders why I look so nervous.

(He walks past two guys in “black” shirts. They’re standing around talking, smoking, one of them talking on a cell phone.)

Hi. How you going?

That would be “How’s it going?” Nimrod. Or “How are you doing?” Think first, then speak. Jesus, could you clench your fist a little tighter? Like those baggy pants? Think that bulge in the pocket is a gun? Are they my new neighbors? Are they going to hang out and smoke on the stoop every night? And that’s not cigarettes they’re smoking. Oh, sure, white kids never smoke pot. Maybe they’re just getting ready to go out. Out to raise some hell. I’m a racist pig. Yes, my wallet is still in my pocket.

(The two men fall into step behind Fred.)

FRED’S BRAIN (cont’d)
Christ, they are not following me. They are not... Okay, they are following me. How fast can I run? Keep the leash or drop the leash? Think I could take one of them if they catch me? I’ve got my pocket knife. Oh, good, corkscrew them to death. If they ask for my wallet, do I just give it, or do I preserve some sense of honor and say, show me the weapon? Once it’s out someone’s gonna want to use it. They’re just kids, they aren’t interested in me. Stop looking over my shoulder. Oh, good dog. That’s it. Yes, now is a good time to take a dump. Yes. Good dog. No one robs you while your dog is taking a dump, do they?

(The two guys walk past Fred and exit. Fred takes out a plastic bag and picks up after his dog.)

Good dog.

Okay, that’s enough walking for tonight. Dog needs walking every night. Every night, Fred... Welcome to the neighborhood.

(Fred and his Brain exit. End of scene.)

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