EXT. HOUSE ON BENTLEY—NIGHT

There are no longer church services in the evening at Cornerstone. Mary Jane sits on the back stoop of her apartment smoking a joint from weed Carter had given her girl scout cookies was the strain he said strong outdoor from Humboldt County. She hits on it lightly but it burns well not going out.

The stars seem shining far away tonight. The moon not quite full but illuminating the little yard the occupants of the apartment complex shared a high fence separating it from the more suburban lawns on the opposite street of houses some small trees lining the fence and a few bushes unkempt blocked a foot worn path to a creek that ran mostly dry she had to watch the girls from playing in it in the spring because of the snakes migrating and she’s reminded looking at her watch that tonight we spring forward winter wasn’t coming winter was over and soon she would be starting a job. You know this because she’s talking to herself.

Out of the shadows she sees his familiar limp. When something ends there’s emptiness whether it’s a relationship or a story in a book, she says to herself looking down at the bible in red leather beside her, it’s the same either way because you don’t want it to end good or bad and the more time invested the harder it is but it teaches you everything must end if you can ever get your head around how it began and from it you glean your character.

MARY JANE

Well, stick with the devil you know…

He’s an old black tom with yellow eyes. His gait comes at an angle because of a bad hip. He approaches cautiously and sniffs her fingers.

MARY JANE

It is funny that lovers tarnish the golden rule the most. You’re the last cat left standing. What number do you make it now? You aren’t meant to be read even if this is. Nobody reads you, do they? For you could be hiding a hack behind the ninety minute rule. You never really know what you’re downloading. Even with a virus scan. Technology thrives on encryption. And yet here you are, at my back door… Probably with fleas.

His head tilts as she scratches behind his ears. He put his forelegs on the first step and leans his body towards her.

MARY JANE

Did you remember to vote? It’s an election year you know… Why do I get the feeling you’re using me? It’s okay at least you’re obvious. I have nobody to blame but myself. I guess we all use each other’s loneliness.

He steps down and rolls on his back. She laughs and reaches down to rub his belly.

MARY JANE

Now don’t play dead. I’m sure you have a lot to do. Always in the moment. And it may just be a play of shadows on a wall it may be fleeting one moment up the other moment down the angle the spin changing each time you look at it… but it’s living, you know? Go. Go live. Go be a man…

The cat turns over. He looks up at her for a moment then jumps to his feet shaking himself from head to tail like a wave was moving through his body. His tail jerks up and he limps away disappearing back into the shadows. Mary Jane smiles. Her eyes look unfocused for a moment, distant. Then you see what she focuses on. One of the small trees near the fence, a sapling really, a dogwood. And it’s beginning to bloom.

FADE OUT

The curtains close to end Act Three

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