…this about wraps up Act Two

 

CARTER:

(with a faraway look like he’s seeing across the street)

Not many ambulances go by.  They’re still working on Commander’s Drive the main entrance to the VA is down to one lane.  And that intersection at Russell and Main–they need a left turn signal there.  Gotta wait for the light to change… I have five years to achieve what my father achieved.  He always nudged me towards the civil service.  I could take the IT job on dayshift.  Get bumped up to GS-11.  Work a couple a years go to meetings with my day planner.  Join the golf league on Monday nights.  All the bigwigs play the director manages it.  I was a good golfer in high school.  They’d want to know what department I work in who I work for…  Thing is I was groomed for that from the day I got out of college.  My father made full Colonel in seventeen years.  He stayed that rank for another thirteen because it takes congress to approve your promotion to a one star.  He didn’t want to go to the parties.  The politics of management.  Neither do I…  What are you thinking about?

MARY JANE:

Oh… I was just thinking about your beer cans.  How I took a skewer to your tires once how I could do it again by poking holes in the top of your cans so they go flat so every time you open one you don’t hear a: Kush… but a: Puh…

CARTER:

Ya I’m sure you’d like that just as much as you’d like to eat my wax.

You see Mary Jane tense. Her hands open by her sides.  Carter changes the cartridge to his e-cigarette.  One is blue the other is silver.  He takes a puff as you see a police officer enter the Casey’s.

MARY JANE:

So do you want to hear my story?

CARTER :

(distracted)

Sure…

Mary Jane hears children’s laughter. Her attention is caught in finding where it comes from.  She doesn’t see the old man coming in the door address Carter.  He’s wearing an overcoat for summer.  And he’s holding a cane he doesn’t seem to be using.

OLD MAN:

(pointing with his cane to a camera on the corner top of the storefront)

Nothing is edited.  It is all dictated by the Holy Ghost…

MARY JANE:

Well you saw that cop pull up.  The other day I was at Ferne Clyffe with the girls.  We were just having a picnic.  I brought some lunch meat and some bread.  Well this young cop pulls up.  In an unmarked cruiser.  I saw him but he didn’t see me.  I saw him chug a Red Bull and light a cigarette.  Then he got out and looked at my car started looking in the windows.  When he saw me he came over.  Asked me if I saw who was in the vehicle.  I played along and played dumb.  He told me there was a big drug bust not long ago in the park.  Finally I told him the car was mine and I was used to having it profiled.  His mouth just kinda hung open.  Then when the kids came up because they were running around playing he asks me if I have any drugs or alcohol…  I just ignored him after that.  After he kept telling me it was a nice car.  Then this truck pulls up that doesn’t see us doesn’t know there’s an unmarked police car.  The man in the driver’s seat pops open a tall boy.  The cop immediately stomps over there and demands the man to get out of the car.  He does and he’s a mountain standing over him and he’s so caught up in having the man explain why he has an open alcohol container he doesn’t see his girlfriend put out a joint in her beer and drop it out the passenger window.  But I did.  From the angle where I was sitting at the picnic table with the girls he couldn’t see me.  He was too caught up trying to arrest the big man.  So I casually walked over to her side of the truck picked up the can walked it over to the creek and tossed it in.  She never said a word but she thanked me with her eyes…  The man was arrested of course.  The cop called for backup.  But she got to drive home.  Maybe I saved her from not seeing her kids that night…  The cop searched the car and saw the can in the creek.  He tried to weed it out with a stick.  Fuckin’ douche.  Now that you got me that car the hassle I had at the DMV trying to get the registration for the license plates I’m starting to hate cops.

You hear Carter’s phone beep in his pocket.  He pulls it out to read a text message.  It draws his attention away as a woman with two girls comes out of the Casey’s.  The girls look about to hit their tweens and they’re wearing matching summer dresses.  One of the girls drops a red hair band and Mary Jane bends to pick it up.  She hands it to the mother.

MOTHER:

You look like someone I used to know.  Someone in high school.  She used to date a boy who went out to Los Angeles to write for “The Walking Dead”.  He was a strange boy.  Didn’t respond to things like most folks.  Last I heard he killed himself.  Even though he and some other writers were supposed to be recognized at the Academy Awards.  Didn’t respond well to success I guess.  Plus he was out in LA.  Not with his friends.  You need your friends…

The mother quickly does the little one’s hair and walks off the stage with her children her arms around their shoulders. Carter puts his phone away.

MARY JANE:

Who was it?

CARTER:

It was just some text from a spice company Aroma on Demand.  I get them all the time.  I never respond.  But this one said reply: Stop.  So I replied: Stop…

Everything freezes.  Carter and Mary Jane stand still.  The people entering and leaving the gas station stop where they’re at.  For a moment you don’t hear the sound of cars you hear crickets again.   Then the voice of the MC over microphone.

MC:

And what you do when the power goes out?  When all the clocks blink 12:00?  Well if you’re anything like me you check your phone hopeful of the battery because it’s tied to the network and they know what time it is–right?  But see like any CPU there’s system time and there’s process time.  It’s like little hash marks ticking away starting an epoch categorized by when files are created and modified.  And then really what does that rely on?  Depending on the dates how you measure the leap years it’s really quite proleptic.  Converting from the Julian to the Gregorian.  But in a system these things must be done and you my friend are in a system.  Age doesn’t matter when you get relativistic.  I can be older than you and look younger and things happen so they can happen again because there’s some things that even time can’t escape.  Time will take care of itself best leave it alone because when you tell a story you choose a beginning but that might not be where it starts and you tell an ending but that not might be when it’s over…

Life begins again and everyone moves.  It’s as if nothing happened.  Like when your computer freezes for a moment.  Mary Jane and Carter just stand by as the doors open and close and in fact Mary Jane uses her phone as a watch.

MARY JANE:

You think it’s ready?

CARTER:

I don’t know.

MARY JANE:

Don’t think just because you’re getting them a pizza they’ll forgive you.

CARTER:

I know… but what was I supposed to do?  She ran out.  It was the neighbor’s dog.  She shouldn’t have got too close to him.  He’s on a chain.

MARY JANE:

You should buy him some beer for mowing your lawn.  He’d appreciate that.  He’s a drinker like you.

CARTER:

I’ve only talked to him twice since moving in.  And that was over a year ago even if it was just moving across the street…  You know his brother used to be the sheriff.  He’s been in the jail museum here in town.  I asked him about Charlie Birger.  He knew all about Charlie Birger.

MARY JANE:

I just hate to see a cat get hurt.  It works on my emotions and emotions are based on beliefs.  Sometimes I find myself finding facts to fit the emotions and other times I find emotions to fit the facts.

CARTER:

Well we could kiss…

At first they are like two brothers trying to hug he’s apprehensive and hesitant then forceful while she merely watches and then finally gives in. The cop comes out while they are embraced.

COP:

Get a room.

Seeing this as apropos for going inside Carter and Mary Jane walk to the door. He holds the door for an old couple and waits on her to enter.

MARY JANE:

You think it’s done?

CARTER:

I hope so.  But you only know if you check.

MARY JANE:

Ya… that’s what stinks about it…

The curtains close to end Act Two.

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