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There are three large logs that GARRETT arranges in a semi-circle around the campfire. At UR, there is a tent that GARRETT has pitched. A large cooler sits on the downstage side of the tent, full of beer and some wine. A stack of firewood sits at L of the semi-circle. There is a trail at DL, where most of the characters will enter. Behind the campfire and tent there is a raised bluff. Small pines are interspersed around the edge of the campsite, the entrance at DL, and at the base of the bluff. As the act opens, WIL GARRETT emerges from the tent. He secures the flaps and inspects to make sure that all the stakes are firmly in the ground. All the while, a melancholy flute melody plays in the background. This is “CLAUDIA’S THEME.” GARRETT positions the large logs around the campfire in a semi-circle and makes one final check of the area and goes to the cooler as the music fades and the lights make a distinctive shift to some surreal hue that signals CLAUDIA’S presence. The lights shift and the music fades as CLAUDIA enters the stage from DL. CLAUDIA is wearing a low-cut blouse, a flowing skirt, and sandals. GARRETT doesn’t notice her at first. CLAUDIA I remember the first time you pitched a tent for me. GARRETT Claudia. I wasn’t expecting you so soon. CLAUDIA You know me. Always early. I like what you’ve done with the place, Wil. All for me? GARRETT Always. This log has your name on it. Please, make yourself at home. CLAUDIA sits on the log at L of the campfire. CLAUDIA How much time do we have? GARRETT That’s a strange question for you to be asking. CLAUDIA I just didn’t know if I had you to myself for the whole night or not. If you remember, the last time we did this we were rudely interrupted. GARRETT (laughs) The last time we did this we were in a college dorm room!
2 CLAUDIA And you were a virgin. Well, at least for part of the evening. GARRETT All good things must come to an end. CLAUDIA You were surprisingly sweet. All things considered. GARRETT How can you say that? CLAUDIA What do you want me to say? GARRETT The truth. We agreed you would be nothing but honest with me. CLAUDIA Wil, honey, I don’t want to hurt you. You’ve got enough on your plate as it. GARRETT And you’re the only thing that’s helping me keep it together. I don’t want to have to ask you to leave, but I will if you don’t play it straight with me. CLAUDIA You’re the boss. GARRETT pokes at the fire to keep himself occupied. He doesn’t know how to navigate the moment. So, they’re all coming? GARRETT I think so. I didn’t get confirmations, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t. It’s been twelve years. CLAUDIA I can think of a reason. I wonder how much they’ve changed? Or haven’t. Do you think people still call Vince Dellicata…… GARRETT VD? I can’t believe you remember that! CLAUDIA How could I forget? It grossed me out every time that Tara called him that. Seriously, his own girlfriend! GARRETT Nicknames are a hard thing to shake sometimes. Take Jason Vermillion, for example.
3 CLAUDIA You don’t have to tell me. I dated Saint Fermentus. My parents wanted to adopt him. GARRETT Makes sense. Whose parents wouldn’t want their daughter to marry a future doctor? CLAUDIA They didn’t want me to marry him. They just thought he was a sweet, goofy kid and that he’d make a good brother. GARRETT I hate that I never got to meet them. Your parents. CLAUDIA They would’ve liked you. GARRETT It’s good to see you, Claudia. I’d missed your face so much. You’re the only girl I ever knew who could make me feel at peace and like a bundle of nerves all at once. CLAUDIA Little old me? Don’t you dare try to sweet-talk me, Wil Garrett! GARRETT I’m serious! I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t thought about you. CLAUDIA I believe that’s called guilt. But thanks. GARRETT Do you think we would’ve had a shot? If things had turned out differently? CLAUDIA Maybe. But we’ll never know. I personally blame Cameron for that. GARRETT Cameron. He’s the wild card in all of this. VD and Jason will come tonight. No questions asked. But Cameron was always really good about cutting ties. CLAUDIA Don’t underestimate the power of the human ego. Cameron always felt he was destined for greatness. If he achieved half of what he set out to, he’ll come for the simple pleasure of rubbing it in. GARRETT Maybe. CLAUDIA What’re you thinking about?
4 GARRETT As if you didn’t know. CLAUDIA True. I probably know every thought that passes through your brain. GARRETT There’s a challenge. CLAUDIA Stop it! I couldn’t be any prouder of what you’ve achieved. GARRETT And I’d give it all up for a chance to kiss you for the first time again. CLAUDIA You haven’t changed a bit, Wil. You’re still the sweetest man I ever knew. GARRETT No, you’re the one who hasn’t changed. You should probably make yourself scarce. They’ll be arriving soon. CLAUDIA As if that made any difference. GARRETT It does to me. I won’t be able to concentrate if you’re here. CLAUDIA Alright, alright. I’ll play nice. For now. A voice is heard from off L. VD shouts, “Garrett!” GARRETT Here goes nothing. CLAUDIA I’ll be here if you need me. CLAUDIA exits DR and the lights return to normal as Vince Dellicata, VD, enters from the DL trail. VD is wearing some old shorts, hiking boots with socks that extend past his calves, a T-shirt with some witty catch-phrase on the front, and has a small pack on his back. VD Joltin’ Jesus on a fuckin’ crutch! Wil Garrett, you ole sonuvabitch! How ya doin’? GARRETT Vince Dellicata! Geez, is that really you? Man, you look great!
5 They hug. VD What kinda welcome is that? I hike my ass all the way up here, and you don’t even greet me with somethin’ to quench my thirst? GARRETT My apologies, VD. I should’ve smelled your feet five miles back and had cocktails waiting. Go ahead and put your pack down. Want some wine? VD You know better than to ask me a question like that. Since when did you know me to drink pansy-ass wine? Don’t you got somethin’ fit for a man? GARRETT Sure. And as soon as Cameron gets here, I’ll give him a beer. VD Have I ever told you how funny you are? GARRETT No. VD There’s a reason for that. You ain’t funny. Now beer me already. GARRETT (laughs) Here, catch. (tosses VD beer) Have a seat. I’m sure the others will be here soon enough. VD Others? Who else is comin’? Besides the General. GARRETT Just the four of us. You, Cameron, Jason, and me. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know who’s going to show. I didn’t hear from anyone before I got here. And this place is outside my coverage area. VD Yeah, I lost my signal when I left the main road. What is this place? GARRETT No place special. Just some land I bought. VD Just some land you bought? I don’t even own my home yet, and you got a hundred acres here. GARRETT Fifteen.
6 VD Excuse me. Fifteen acres. (Laughs) Damn, it’s good to see you, Garrett. GARRETT Right back at ya, VD. I think it’s going to be a good night. So, I have to know. Did you ever graduate from college? VD Of course I did. I graduated with high honors. GARRETT Get outta here! You’re so full of it. Hell, I just graduated cum laude. High honors my ass. VD I was high, and it was an honor to graduate. I saw your spread in the National Geographic. My wife is a regular subscriber. Looks like you’re a man of the world now. GARRETT I wouldn’t go that far. I’m just doing what I love. So, how is Tara? VD Tara? GARRETT Your wife? VD Fuck, Garrett, I hadn’t been with Tara since you and the General graduated. You should know that. GARRETT Right. I’m sorry, man. I thought you guys were the real deal. VD It happens. You move on. What about you? Ever get married? CLAUDIA appears under light at the top of the bluff. CLAUDIA Trust me. I won’t hurt you. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. GARRETT Nope. Never married. Thought I would spare humanity the prospect of my producing any offspring. Noise from off Left. CAMERON shouts, “Olly olly oxen free!” Ah, I think we have another arrival. Cameron? Saint Fermentus? We’re over here!
7 VD Oh, shit! Saint Fermentus. I’d forgot all about that. GARRETT It sounded like the General. I’ll go ahead and get him a beer. CAMERON BISHOP enters from the trail at DL. CAMERON could be a model for L.L. Bean. He is dressed in khaki cargo pants, a plaid, button-down shirt, sleeves rolled meticulously halfway up his arm, hiking boots, and has a pack that he most likely purchased that week. CAMERON Gentlemen, I have arrived. Let the games commence! GARRETT VD, who the hell is this? I invited Cameron Bishop. That’s Eddie Bauer. VD Eddie-fuckin’-Bauer’s bustin’ up on our party. (They laugh) CAMERON Is it too much for me to ask that you refrain from the verbal antics at least until I have a chance to put this pack down? VD You can ask. But we ain’t makin’ any promises. GARRETT Throw your pack down and join us by the fire. I’ve got rancid, foreign beer for you. Just the way you like it. CAMERON put his pack behind the log at L of the fire and shakes hands and hugs VD and GARRETT. GARRETT hand him the beer. CAMERON It’s great to see you guys! Okay, report. What have I missed? GARRETT Easy, General. You haven’t missed much. VD hasn’t been here much longer than you. VD We might as well wait for Saint Fermentus to get here so we don’t have to hear the same damn stories a hundred times. GARRETT Speaking of Jason, how is he? CAMERON Gosh, Garrett. I haven’t spoken with him in years. And Jason, well… I’m very busy these days.
8 VD Oh yeah? I’d say by your duds you must be doin’ pretty well for yourself. So, General, did you become the financial wizard we all expected you to be? CAMERON Guilty as charged. Actually… GARRETT You can wait for Saint Fermentus to go into greater detail. What about the other aspects of your life? Are you married? Are there any little Bishops running around the house? CAMERON I did marry. And I have the most beautiful daughter a father could ask for. She’s taking gymnastics right now, so she doesn’t really run around the house. She does somersaults. VD My ole lady’s been buggin’ me for children for five years now! I told her if she was itchin’ to change diapers, she could change mine anytime. GARRETT I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never have an erection again. Ever. Thanks, VD. VD Don’t mention it. GARRETT If Saint Fermentus doesn’t get here soon, we’re going to have to start the festivities without him. Or should I call him Dr. Fermentus, General? CAMERON I wouldn’t know, Garrett. He’ll be here, though. Probably had to stop for cocktails on the way in. They laugh. JASON shouts from off L, “I heard that!” JASON VERMILLION enters from DL trail. JASON is slovenly dressed. He wears wrinkled shorts, old tennis shoes and socks, a plain white T-shirt, a button-down plaid shirt fully open, and carries a duffel bag that clinks when he walks. He drops duffel bag and salutes CAMERON. JASON Private Vermillion, reporting for duty, General. CAMERON At ease, soldier. At ease. VD Saint Fermentus! What took you so long? JASON I had to stop for cocktails on the way here.
9 They laugh as JASON joins the group. He puts his pack behind the log on the right side of GARRETT. They all shake hands and hug. JASON sits beside GARRETT. GARRETT Saint Fermentus, would you like me to get you a drink? From the clinking, I would say you brought your own, but I don’t want to be a bad host. JASON I’ll pass, Garrett. I knew that all you would bring tonight is wine and beer for these ruffians. And you gotta remember that I have standards. But thanks for the hospitality. JASON swings his duffel bag around from behind him, unzips and pulls out a liter of cheap whiskey. He then zips the bag and returns it to its place behind the log. VD Damn, Jason. Why’re you drinkin’ rot-gut whiskey? I would think on a doctor’s salary, you could afford the good stuff. JASON It’s my gut to rot, VD. And I’m not a doctor. GARRETT Not a doctor? What happened? JASON Eh, later. We’ll get to it. GARRETT Fair enough. Damn, the gang’s all here. I really don’t know what to say. Just looking around this fire and seeing your faces after all these years makes me feel so incredibly blessed. We’ve got quite a night ahead of us, and I think you’ll agree with me when I say it’s going to be one for the books. CAMERON I thought you said you didn’t know what to say. Now the least I ever heard Garrett say in his life was probably when we first got paired up as roommates. It was my freshman year, and my roommate from the fall semester had to pull out because he had knocked up his girlfriend. GARRETT Just think. If he had pulled out in the first place, none of this would have happened. JASON VD, he said, “pull out.” VD Cool. CAMERON Cousin, promise me you won’t pass out before I finish the story.
10 JASON Not even a possibility, General. My tolerance has gotten a lot higher since college. VD (shaking empty bottle) Hey, Garrett, mind if I help myself? GARRETT It’s a community cooler. Drink all you want. CAMERON So, anyway, I was looking forward to having a private room without having to pay for it when that bastard in housing, “Bitchy Ritchie” told me that I was going to have to take a roommate, unless I wanted to be charged for a private room or serve as an R.A. GARRETT And then the Angel of the Lord appeared to the General, saying, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. For today, in Wharton Hall, I deliver you a roommate, anointed by the Lord Himself. And he shall be called Wil, though for some reason or other, people will insist upon calling him by his last name, which is Garrett.” CAMERON Angel, what angel? If anyone was anointed, it was me. If you will recall, it was I who got you involved on campus. You might have remained a wallflower if not for me. GARRETT Translation: he suckered me into joining his fraternity. CAMERON And you loved it! VD I’ll never forget meetin’ you, Garrett. You were so shocked when you found out why I went to college. JASON Hey, I need to drain the vein. Where ya want me to go? GARRETT You can go in the woods, back there by the bluff, or you can piss yourself. Take your pick. JASON The bluff it is. JASON crosses upstage to the bluff to answer the call of nature. GARRETT I just couldn’t believe that all you wanted a degree for was so you could go back home and work for your family. And it didn’t even matter what your degree was in!
11 VD I thought a journalism major would be fun. So what if my family runs a textile company? Anyways, I’m just sittin’ in class one day mindin’ my own business when this guy comes up to me and asks me if I wanna help out with the school paper. “Who the fuck do I look like to you?” I says. “Ted Koppel?” GARRETT And I said, “If Ted Koppel is a greasy wop, then sure, you guys could be twins. Now do you want to help out or not?” VD I didn’t know if I should kick his ass or buy him a drink. So I just laughed and went along with him. CAMERON You were always a bit of a shock to my system, Vince. But when I heard, what was her name…uh, Sally Rancini, yeah! When I heard Sally call you VD for the first time, I almost wet my pants I was laughing so hard. JASON returns from the bluff. Everything come out alright? JASON Sir, yes, sir. VD I honestly thought I’d be able to shake that nickname when I went to college. Sally only called me that because I got it on with her cousin, and I wouldn’t give her the time of day. So she starts callin’ me VD cause she says I’d sleep with anything that walks. Which is true. Except her. JASON I’d heard plenty of stories about VD from Garrett and the General, but I didn’t even meet you until you and Tara went on that double date with me and Claudia Shelton. Man, that was a fuckin’ trip. JASON takes a pull off his bottle of whiskey. CLAUDIA emerges from DR as lights shift. GARRETT is unaware of the others’ discomfort. CLAUDIA Saint Fermentus? I love Jason to death, but I’ll never feel the way with him that I do with you, Wil. I trust you. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. GARRETT notices discomfort. GARRETT You better pace yourself there, Jason. You always were a lightweight when we were in college. JASON Times have changed, Garrett.
12 GARRETT I don’t know if the rest of you knew this, but I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol till my junior year. Cameron couldn’t get me to drink. VD couldn’t get me to drink. Hell, I don’t even think that St. Peter could’ve gotten me to drink, and that’s saying a lot since I was raised Catholic. So Cameron comes to me one Saturday night and says, “Garrett, you have to do me a favor. My cousin is coming to stay with me tonight, and I already made plans. Can you hang out with him?” CAMERON I’m sorry. I had an extremely important tutorial session with Courtney Allen. VD Courtney Allen?! You ole sonuvabitch! Don’t tell me you got with Courtney Allen. CAMERON That’s General sonuvabitch to you. And no, I didn’t. I just helped Courtney pass all of her business classes in exchange for oral pleasures. JASON I’m honored to know that I’m such a high priority in your life. GARRETT So being the accommodating roomie that I was, I told the General to go get his jollies, and I would hang out with his cousin. And I’ll be damned if the bastard didn’t get me plastered! JASON And Saint Fermentus was born! CLAUDIA appears at DL as lights shift. CLAUDIA I’ve had too much, Wil. I’ll see you tomorrow. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. VD Man, those were the days. How long’s it been? CAMERON Too long. GARRETT Yeah. Too long. Hey, guys. I’ve got a surprise for you. JASON I love surprises. VD What is it?
13 GARRETT You’ll have to wait and see. General, permission to requisition surprise? CAMERON Permission granted. It’s your party. GARRETT I’ll be right back. GARRETT disappears into the tent. Makes some noise. CAMERON I don’t think I like the sound of that. Want another beer, Vince? VD Thanks. CAMERON crosses to cooler and tries to sneak a peek in the tent. GARRETT Step away from the tent! I repeat. Step away from the tent! CAMERON Okay, okay! CAMERON hands VD a beer and sits on the log. GARRETT emerges from the tent with an old laundry bag. GARRETT Tada! JASON Oh, Garrett, you shouldn’t have. CAMERON How exactly is this supposed to surprise us? GARRETT Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten, buddy. VD Forgotten what? How to do our laundry? GARRETT Picture it. Wharton Hall, 1997. It’s a Friday night, and as usual, we’re getting ready to go to a party at the house. There are going to be an abundance of gorgeous gals there, and we have already had way too much to drink. So I stumble to my closet and pull out my old laundry bag, which does not have any laundry in it at all. It holds something far more interesting……
14 Recognition filters through the faces of JASON, VD, and CAMERON. JASON No. CAMERON Tell me you didn’t bring the hats, Garrett. For the love of God, tell me you didn’t bring them. GARRETT Alright. I didn’t bring the hats. VD That’s a fuckin’ relief. I never thought we’d live that night down. CAMERON I blame myself. I should’ve never let you play the leader that night. GARRETT It wasn’t that bad. We had a good time. JASON It was kinda fun. CAMERON I guess. But you didn’t bring the hats, right? GARRETT Of course I didn’t bring the hats. I brought the helmets. General groans from CAMERON, VD, and JASON as GARRETT passes out their Viking helmets. Oh, stop your bellyaching. We’re Vikings. CAMERON I seem to remember us sounding more like pirates. VD These ain’t the same helmets we wore in college, are they? GARRETT No, no. Those got thrown away when I graduated. I picked these up on the way here. JASON That was a night. Remember running from campus security? CAMERON How could I forget? I was picking gravel out of my ass for days from hiding under the football bleachers.
15 JASON That’s right! You had to wear one of those ass donuts! GARRETT The donut. I forgot about the donut! VD Oh, I remember the donut. CAMERON I know you remember it, Vince. You flew the donut at half-staff on the flagpole in the campus quad. VD They announced a tuition increase. I wanted the administration to know where it was hittin’ the common man. JASON Your family paid your tuition. VD You’re not helpin’ me. CAMERON Do we really have to do this, Garrett? GARRETT Look at it this way, General. We’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s no possible way you could be embarrassed tonight. You can even keep your clothes on. CAMERON Promise? GARRETT On my life. (In a very bad pirate voice) I now call to order the second meeting of the Mighty Vikings of the Poonhammer. Master Viking Wil Garrettson presiding. Commence roll call, Master Fermentus! JASON Answer in the affirmative when your name is called. Master Skin-flute the Uncircumcised? VD I be here, Master Fermentus! JASON Master Bishop the Sanctimonious? CAMERON I be here, Master Fermentus! And it’s Master Bishop the Circumcised, dumbass.
16 JASON Same difference. Master Viking Garrettson the Virginal? GARRETT I be here, Master Fermentus! JASON All accounted for, Master Viking Garrettson. You may proceed. GARRETT I now open the floor to old business. Any old business? VD I am pleased to report that the bake sale for the Syphilitic Sisters of Upsilon Gamma was a success. The whores can be vaccinated now. CAMERON What the hell is he talking about? GARRETT Go along with it. Good news, Master Skin-flute! Good news. VD I am sad to report, though, that because it has been twelve years since the bake sale, the majority of those sisters have suffered a fate of sterility, insanity, and death. GARRETT Motion to close old business? JASON Motion raised, Master Viking! GARRETT All in favor? JASON/VD/CAMERON Yo ho, Master Viking! GARRETT Motion passes. We now be opening the floor to new business. Any new business? CAMERON I move we be usin’ the syphilis money from the bake sale to secure some fresh poon for the Mighty Vikings of the Poonhammer. GARRETT I open the floor to discussion.
17 VD Be there any age restrictions on the aforementioned poon, Master Bishop the Circumcised? CAMERON Older than a score, Master Skin-flute, but nigh none older than ye mother! JASON Huh? CAMERON Drink your whiskey, Master Fermentus. I move for an immediate vote! GARRETT We be havin’ a motion on the floor for the procurement of savory poon. All in favor? JASON/VD/CAMERON Yo ho, Master Viking! GARRETT Motion passes. And now we move on to the sacred ceremonial dance of the Mighty Vikings of the Poonhammer to close the meeting. CAMERON takes off his helmet and abandons pirate dialect. CAMERON Hell no, Garrett. I am not doing the Viking dance. Next thing you know you’ll have us streaking through the woods like we did on campus. GARRETT Now that’s just ridiculous. VD Nope. That’s pretty much how it all went down. We got trashed, had our Viking meeting, got naked and streaked across campus in our helmets. JASON And the General got an ass full of gravel. CAMERON Thank you, cousin. JASON Just wanted to make sure we covered all the bases. GARRETT Alright. Meeting is adjourned. But you don’t know what you’re missing. VD I think I remember why we ain’t seen each other in twelve years. That pansy-ass Viking dance.
18 JASON I didn’t think it was all that bad. CAMERON Says the man who probably won’t remember this conversation in the morning. JASON General, my mind is like a steel trap. CAMERON Cousin, your mind is like a mousetrap. GARRETT Am I missing something here? CAMERON No, nothing at all, buddy. I could use another beer, though. If you don’t mind. GARRETT Not at all. VD? More beer? VD You don’t have to ask me twice. GARRETT goes to the cooler to refresh his wine and grab beer for VD and CAMERON. GARRETT General. VD. Beer is on the way. Jason, are you sure I can’t get you something? JASON No thanks, Garrett. Nothing but sour mash for me. GARRETT hands CAMERON and VD beer and takes his seat. GARRETT You know, I have to confess I’m pretty impressed you guys were able to jump back into Viking mode so quickly. JASON Like ridin’ a bike. VD Or a woman. CAMERON I bet you practiced the Viking dance before we got here. GARRETT What are you talking about? Of course I didn’t.
19 CAMERON Not even a little? GARRETT I’m not that anal-retentive. CAMERON Uh huh. Vince, remember this? B-U-L-L… VD/JASON S-H-I-T… CAMERON/JASON/VD Bullshit! Bullshit! So say we! Huh! Laughter. GARRETT Alright, so maybe I practiced a little! Or a lot. Maybe I added a new section. CAMERON Told you. GARRETT Thanks, guys. There’s a special place in hell for all of you. CAMERON Speak for yourself. Say, Garrett, when are you going to bring out the munchies? GARRETT I brought beer for you. What’re you expecting? Hors d’oeuvres? CAMERON You cannot drink beer without something to eat. Tortilla chips at the very least. JASON Yeah. Tortilla chips bring out the flavor in the beer. CAMERON You don’t drink beer. JASON Okay. Tortilla chips bring out the flavor in the whiskey. VD Cedar chips would bring out the flavor in the whiskey you drink. General’s got a point, Garrett. Bring on the munchies.
20 GARRETT Stop your whining. (Crosses to tent) I expected something like this would happen. It’s not like I asked you guys to stay the night. GARRETT pulls a couple of bags of chips from the tent and tosses them at VD and CAMERON. CAMERON Yeah. What was with that invitation? We’re free to leave at midnight? VD At the rate we’re goin’, we’re not gonna be able to walk by midnight. JASON Speak for yourself. GARRETT To be brutally honest, I gave you guys the option to leave at midnight because I wasn’t sure that our reunion would go as well as it has so far. VD It’s early. There could still be bloodshed. JASON I wouldn’t mind staying here all night. I can pass out anywhere. Bars. Seedy motels. Sunday Mass. CAMERON Drunk tanks. JASON Who told? I’ll probably say this a hundred times tonight, but it feels good to be with you guys again. Just like old times. VD Here’s to old times. CAMERON To old times. ALL To old times! VD Looks like it’s time to drain the lizard. Garrett? General? Can I get you somethin’ on my way back? CAMERON A catheter would be nice. Hey, do you guys remember when we had that pissing contest off the roof of Wharton Hall?
21 GARRETT Sure. We pissed on the security guard. CAMERON The accidental golden shower. JASON Let’s all take a whiz. Off the bluff. VD Yeah! I got a title to defend. CAMERON And what title would that be? Limpest linguine? VD Ha, ha. Very funny, mother fucker. Um, General mother fucker. GARRETT I don’t know. It’s a long fall from the top. And I’m not going down after one of you if you take a dive. CAMERON I forgot you were afraid of heights. VD We’ll hold your hand if you want, Garrett. JASON I’ve got something you can hold. GARRETT That won’t be necessary. VD Then let’s get this show on the road. I’m gonna piss myself. VD, JASON, GARRETT and CAMERON cross up to the bluff. They climb the ramps to the top of the bluff and take urinating stances. JASON Okay, on the count of three. ALL One……two……three! VD And they’re off. Whoa, Saint Fermentus, slow down! This is a stamina sport.
22 JASON Nothing wrong with me taking an early lead. CAMERON Vince, there’s no reasoning with him. Saint Fermentus is the patron saint of lushes. Not longevity. GARRETT Um, speaking of longevity, General, I think your pony just finished the race. Laughter. CAMERON Thanks, Garrett. You’re a true friend. CAMERON shakes, zips, and descends the bluff and gets a beer from the cooler as he crosses to the fire. VD Must run in the family, General. Saint Fermentus, you’re through. JASON That’s okay. I was getting thirsty anyway. JASON returns to the fire and tosses on another log. JASON Pass the tortilla chips, General. GARRETT Well, VD, it looks like it’s just you and me. VD I can go all night, Garrett. GARRETT and VD take defensive stances. GARRETT finishes. GARRETT Oh, damn. VD And still champion! GARRETT That’s great, VD. You’re full of piss. VD Among other things.
23 VD and GARRETT start to descend bluff. GARRETT gets a little light-headed and starts to fall. VD catches him. CAMERON Garrett! VD Easy there, buddy. I got ya. VD helps GARRETT back to his seat at the fire. JASON Are you alright, man? GARRETT I’m fine, guys. Really. The height must’ve gotten to me more than I expected. That’s all. CAMERON Right. Vince, give Garrett a refill on his wine. Looks like he could use it. VD Sure thing, General. VD goes back to cooler to refresh GARRETT’S wine. Brings it back to him. GARRETT Thanks, VD. Now stop crowding me. I’m alright. CAMERON You look like hell. Pale. Clammy. If Jason still had a mind for medicine, I’d have him look you over. JASON Why are you giving me such a hard time? CAMERON Who’s giving you a hard time? I was merely pointing out that you’d abandoned your life’s ambition. JASON Fuck you. At least I haven’t abandoned the family. CAMERON No. You just mooch off them. VD Hey, cut it out. I didn’t come here tonight to watch you guys bitch and moan. And what about Garrett? GARRETT What about me? Jesus, I’m fine. But VD’s got a point. If you want to bring any issues to the
24 GARRETT (CON’T) group, we discuss it calmly. And if you can’t do that, then you can follow the trail back to your cars. Are we clear on that point? Guys, are we clear? JASON Yeah, we’re clear. GARRETT General? CAMERON Yes, sir. I’ll keep my thoughts to myself. Sorry, Jason. JASON Don’t worry about it. It’s whiskey under the bridge. GARRETT Fantastic. Well, what’s next, guys? I think we’ve relived most of the glory days. VD We’re just warmin’ up. Right, General? CAMERON Don’t ask me. It’s Garrett’s party. I’m just along for the ride. GARRETT Is there something on your mind, buddy? CAMERON This is all so nice and cozy. And out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to see you all, but what’re we doing here tonight, Garrett? Why now? GARRETT Why not now? Can’t a guy get sentimental for the old days? CAMERON Be sentimental then. Don’t let me stop you. Hell, my wife’s telling me all the time I should be more sentimental. Let me soak it up. Maybe I’ll learn a thing or two. CLAUDIA is lit atop the bluff. CLAUDIA You won’t be able to buy your way out of this one. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. GARRETT No. Just leave. I don’t have the energy to deal with you tonight.
25 CAMERON What’s the matter, Garrett? Did I hurt your feelings? Spoil your little reunion with the gang? JASON What’s wrong with you, man? Why do you have to be such an asshole? VD Let up, General. Take a time out. CAMERON Maybe you’re right, Vince. It’s been a blast so far. Why should it end now? Nothing’s changed, has it, Garrett? We’re still friends? GARRETT Of course, General. Nothing’s changed. CAMERON Glad to hear it. You know, I think I will take that time out. I left my sleeping bag in the car. I’ll just hike on down to the clearing and be back in a jiffy. Looks like we’ve got a long night ahead of us. CAMERON exits off DL trail. JASON Sorry, Garrett. I don’t know what’s gotten into my cousin. VD It’s been twelve years. We’d be crazy to think there wouldn’t be a bump in the road. GARRETT You’re right about that, VD. I overreacted. It was just as much my fault as it was Cameron’s. Do me a favor, guys. Why don’t you catch up with the General and make sure there are no hard feelings. I would feel a lot better knowing that. VD Sure thing, Garrett. I left my sleeping bag in the car, too. Now’s as good a time as any to get it. Come on, Saint Fermentus. Let’s take a field trip. JASON I was just getting comfortable. GARRETT I’ll keep an eye on your whiskey, buddy. JASON Okay. Don’t drink it all. I only brought two bottles. GARRETT I’ll try to restrain myself.
26 VD and JASON exit off the DL trail in pursuit of CAMERON. Lights shift to signal CLAUDIA’s entrance as she emerges from DR tree-line. CLAUDIA That was a close one. GARRETT You’re telling me. CLAUDIA Are you sure you’re going to be able to handle this? GARRETT I promise. It was a momentary lapse. CLAUDIA What about Cameron? GARRETT I know. I let him get the best of me. It won’t happen again. CLAUDIA No, I think you played it just right. Vince and Jason are coming around. But Cameron’s expecting something. GARRETT That’s why I sent the guys after him. He doesn’t need to be alone right now. CLAUDIA I never understood why Vince and Jason followed Cameron so blindly. GARRETT Money talks. It was Cameron’s solution for everything. I didn’t even see it coming the night he bought them off. He had me fooled, too. Lights change. CLAUDIA moves offstage as GARRETT moves to the Center log. It will serve as his bed in this scene. Music plays in background. GARRETT can do subtle mime to create surroundings. We are in his dorm room in the fall of his senior year. GARRETT is packing as JASON and CAMERON appear at DL which serves as GARRETT’S door. Gobos can be used to give appearance of dorm room. VD Hey, Garrett, it’s VD and Saint Fermentus! Let us in. GARRETT It’s open. VD and JASON enter. They should have a different air about them, particularly JASON who at this point has not taken to drinking so seriously or abandoned his dreams.
27 GARRETT (CON’T) What’s the plan for tonight? Saint Fermentus, are you going to introduce us to some new, exotic spirit this weekend? JASON I should. I aced all my mid-terms. But I’m kinda enjoying the clean life. You almost packed for the break? GARRETT Almost. It couldn’t come sooner. I just got off the phone with my mother, and she wanted me to remind you guys that you’re invited to our Thanksgiving dinner if you can’t make it back to your families. VD That’s real decent of her, Garrett. Your mother wouldn’t happen to be divorced, would she? GARRETT No, VD. She’s happily married. Besides, you’d have a pretty tough time romancing my mother after I chopped off your balls. VD Understood. I’m spendin’ Thanksgiving with Tara and her family anyways. JASON No kidding? She’s not afraid for you to meet her parents? VD Very funny, mother fucker. You’re a comedian. You should take your act on the road. I’ll be your agent. JASON If I ever leave the medical field, you’ll be the first to know. GARRETT Where’s the General? VD We ran into him on our way up. He said he had to run back to his room and print somethin’ off. JASON Probably porn. GARRETT Right. Cause we all know how addicted he is to porn. JASON It’s more prevalent among the male college demographic than you’d think. GARRETT I’ll take your word for it. So, VD. Thanksgiving with Tara. That’s serious.
28 VD It’s turkey, Garrett. It’s not like I’m poppin’ the question. Yet. JASON Yet? GARRETT Back up there, buddy! Are you thinking about it? VD Maybe. GARRETT Wipe that smug grin off your face and come clean, you ole sonuvabitch. VD I’ve got a good feelin’ about Tara. I just wanna wait and see how the rest of the year goes. I was thinkin’ if we don’t kill each other before the end of the spring semester, I might pop the question after graduation. JASON No way! But you’re just a sophomore. VD It’ll be a long engagement. And it doesn’t matter what year I am. When you know, you know. GARRETT Amen, my friend. Wait till the General hears about this! CAMERON appears in the DL area. The “door” is open. CAMERON Wait till the General hears about what? VD Nothin’. We were just talkin’ about our plans for the break. CAMERON Sounds exciting. GARRETT Don’t linger in the doorway, General. Come in. I think there’s probably still some beer in the fridge if you’re thirsty. CAMERON Gentlemen, we don’t have time for beer tonight. GARRETT Saint Fermentus, you should take your cousin’s temperature. I don’t think he’s well.
29 JASON Bend over, General. CAMERON Cute. It’s funny because you’re going to be a doctor. JASON I thought it was funny because I was going to stick the thermometer up your butt. VD This got anything to do with what you went to print off in your room? JASON I told you it was porn. GARRETT Jason, enough with the porn! Why so mysterious, General? CAMERON I’m not being mysterious. I just got to thinking. We only have a couple days of classes next week before the Thanksgiving break, and I thought maybe we could take an extended weekend. VD You mean cut class on Monday and Tuesday? CAMERON I would never put it into words, Vince. You know me better than that. JASON I don’t have any tests next week. GARRETT Come to think of it, neither do I. But I can’t afford to go on a trip. I haven’t been able to work offcampus this semester. CAMERON That’s where I come in. GARRETT What? You’re going to pay for it? You don’t understand, Cameron. I can’t afford to pay you back, either. CAMERON I wouldn’t ask you to, Garrett. And it’s General, thank you very much. GARRETT (laughing) Saint Fermentus, talk some sense into your cousin.
30 JASON I gave up on that battle years ago. VD At least hear the man out. CAMERON Thank you, Vince. I knew you’d be reasonable. Here, just look at what I’ve printed off. CAMERON hands papers to GARRETT. GARRETT New Orleans? CAMERON Keep reading. GARRETT (flipping pages) Hotel St. Marie on the French Quarter? CAMERON Keep reading. GARRETT (flipping pages) No you didn’t. VD What? JASON What did he do? What did he do? GARRETT How did you know? CAMERON How could I not know? You listen to their damn music all the time. VD What music? JASON Please tell me we’re not going to the symphony. CAMERON No, cousin, we’re not going to the symphony.
31 GARRETT Let me get this straight. We’re going to New Orleans, staying in a first class hotel in the French Quarter, and going to see the Satyrs in concert? CAMERON Something like that. VD You lost me at Satyrs. GARRETT They’re a band, VD. My favorite band. But the concert is tomorrow. CAMERON Which is why you need to get off your ass and pack a bag. All of you. We leave in twenty for the airport. VD You’re shittin’ me. CAMERON No. The tickets are booked, the hotel is expecting us. It’s all been taken care of. JASON How much do me and VD owe you? CAMERON Nothing. Now hurry up. Go back to your room and get packed. My car’s out back. We’ll meet there in fifteen. JASON Bourbon Street, here I come. In case I don’t get the chance to tell you again, I love you, cousin. CAMERON Will you get out of here! JASON exits. VD General, I can pay for my part, ya know. I don’t like owin’ people. CAMERON It’s not about the money. It’s a gift, Vince. VD That’s just a fancy way of sayin’ I owe you. We’ll settle up sooner or later. CAMERON Whatever you say, buddy.
32 VD exits. GARRETT It’s too much, Cameron. CAMERON Garrett. GARRETT Seriously. I know you’re not hurting for money. But I’ve never wanted you to think that’s what I value you for. It’s not. CAMERON I know. And that’s why I can do this for you. Because I know you would never expect it from me or ask it of me. You’ve been my best friend for the last three years. Let me do this for you. GARRETT Alright. CAMERON Okay. That’s what I like to hear! Do you need a hand packing? GARRETT I’ve got it. Thanks. CAMERON The clock’s ticking, buddy. We’ll be in the car. CAMERON exits. Lights change to signal CLAUDIA’S entrance from DR. We are back in the present. GARRETT That weekend changed everything. From then on, whatever Cameron said was law. CLAUDIA You’re stronger than Cameron. GARRETT I hope you’re right. Noise is heard off Left. You should go. CLAUDIA I know. CLAUDIA disappears off Right. GARRETT returns to his place on the log and sips on his wine as JASON, VD, and CAMERON enter from DL with sleeping bags.
33 JASON The cavalry has returned! Whatever that means. VD We brought our sleepin’ bags. Now all we need to do is braid each other’s hair, practice French kissin’, and it’ll be a real slumber party. GARRETT You’re not my type, VD. VD Keep on drinkin’. You’ll change your mind. VD and JASON set their sleeping bags down near the tent and busy themselves as GARRETT and CAMERON talk. GARRETT General. CAMERON Garrett. GARRETT I’m sorry. CAMERON No, I’m sorry. I’ve had one hell of a week at work, and I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. I was ready for a fight, so I picked one. GARRETT I didn’t help matters any. I had expectations for tonight, and the first time things went south, I showed my ass. CAMERON I don’t want to lose another twelve years with you guys over some petty squabble. Let’s just forget it. Can you do that? Can we start over? GARRETT I’d like that. GARRETT and CAMERON shake hands. JASON I like it when Mommy and Daddy make up. VD You’re a real dumbass, ya know that?
34 JASON Is it alright if we come back to the fire, General? VD here’s been trying to talk me into making time with him in the tent. GARRETT My tent is a sex-free zone, gentlemen. Save it for your ladies. CAMERON Come on back. And bring another round of drinks. VD and JASON return to the fire, VD with beer in tow for him and CAMERON. GARRETT I think we’re ready for another toast. General, would you care to do the honors? CAMERON You’re the reason we’re all here tonight. I think you should do it. GARRETT Alright then. (Pause) I always thought that the four of us together had the potential to do wonderful things. We all came from different places, different walks of life, with different destinations in mind. And even though we have been separated by years, I still think that potential remains. So tonight I want to propose a toast to the infinite possibilities that this night represents. JASON/VD/CAMERON To infinite possibilities! They drink. GARRETT VD and I talked briefly when he got here about what he’s doing, but we should start over. Who wants to go first? CAMERON Get the ball rolling, Garrett. We’ll be thinking of ways to one-up you. GARRETT I don’t doubt it. When I graduated, all I wanted to do was find a job and start doing what I did best. Photography. After a six-month internship with the Washington Post, I had several interviews and received a number of offers. But after a lot of deliberation, I opted to go with USA Today. At the time I was incredibly ambitious, and there were opportunities for advancement if you had the teeth for it. So I immersed myself in any assignment that was thrown at me, and at first it was fairly typical. Political coverage, military conflicts, legislative battles, stuff like that. I even did some specials online. I made a great living and was able to buy a really nice home. I even did the occasional freelance work. Later I published some books of my photography. In fact, that probably made the purchase of this land possible. Well, that and the lottery.
35 VD You’re shittin’ me! You won the lottery? JASON How much did you win? CAMERON Cousin, a little discretion. Ballpark, Garrett. GARRETT Because that’s much more discreet. I guess I won a little more than enough to cover all my debts and set my affairs in order. VD So you quit your job? GARRETT Oh, no. The lottery came much later. I was with USA Today for a long while. I covered a lot of hot topics. Gays in the military. Iraq. Abortion. You name it. I was there. CAMERON It sounds like you had it made. What happened? GARRETT Something was missing. I had an amazing career and a home and everything I thought I had ever wanted. But it felt empty. JASON What did you do? GARRETT Nothing at first. Then, about five years ago, it hit me. JASON What? GARRETT The epiphany. Of all the photographs I shot professionally and in college, the work that was most rewarding to me were the pieces that were rooted in nature, in wildlife, in everyday people. You guys remember the exhibit I did for my thesis project in senior seminar. CAMERON Of course. Simple. Gritty. But beautiful. GARRETT Exactly. And I realized that I had spent seven years using my talents on wasteful, destructive pieces. I wanted something beautiful for my life. So I left USA Today. I decided it was time to use my abilities for something meaningful, something worthwhile.
36 VD Yeah. I was tellin’ Garrett when I got here that my wife saw his pictures in the National Geographic. It was a nice spread. JASON (starting to feel the whiskey) You work for National Geographic? Cool! Hey, do you ever get to take pictures of those naked chicks from the Zulu Tribes in Zimbabwe? CAMERON Jason……nevermind. GARRETT Most of my work is more wildlife oriented these days. But I do have a collection on African tribes. I’ll send you copies of the naked chicks, Saint Fermentus. You could put a calendar together. VD I can see it now. “Snatches from South Africa.” JASON That’s what I’m talking about. VD You guys know what I was plannin’ on doin’ after graduation. I went to work for my family. CAMERON You actually graduated? VD Damn! Garrett asked me the same thing. Yeah I graduated. Barely. But that’s okay. All my parents wanted me to get a degree for was so the family could put me straight into management. I married my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been livin’ large for about eight years now. JASON High school sweetheart? There was only one? VD Well, hell yeah. That was before I became the male whore you all know and love. GARRETT Sounds impressive. What does your wife do? VD Leah? Not much of anything. Well, let me take that back. She’s a homemaker. And she’d like to make a home, only I ain’t ready for children yet.
37 CAMERON You don’t know what you’re missing. I wouldn’t trade my Carolyn for the world. The first time she said, “Daddy,” it was all over. VD I’ll have to take your word for it. So anyways, I work a lot of hours at the textile plant, and by the time I get in, I’m too worn out for much of anything. I can’t tell you the last time I got it on with Leah. GARRETT Vince Dellicata too tired for sex? JASON Garrett, let me take this one. Vince Dellicata too tired for sex? That would be like me being too tired for……what was the question? VD I’ve calmed down since college. On my days off, I play golf with my uncles. I gotta get in good with them, or I won’t have a job when they cash in their chips. GARRETT Really. I would have assumed you’d glide on up to the top. VD You’d be wrong. My pop told me a while back that f I didn’t schmooze my uncles, I might as well get out of the business now. Pop’s just a third-owner. His word only goes so far. CAMERON Vince, if you’re not investing now, you ought to let me make some money for you. With the economy like it is, the last thing you want is to be left flat on your ass with nothing to show for it. VD You could do that? CAMERON It’s all I do. And don’t pay any attention to the doom and gloom the media is circulating about the market right now. There are numbers of viable stocks, and investing is about the long term anyway. VD Thanks, General. That’s real decent of you. CAMERON Don’t mention it. VD crosses to cooler. VD General? Garrett? Want somethin’?
38 CAMERON I am a bit parched. GARRETT I’ll get some more wine in a second. JASON General, tell us about your life. It sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. VD returns. Hands CAMERON beer. CAMERON No more than anyone else does, cousin. I’m doing well for myself. And I’m very happy. After college, I went straight onto grad school to get my MBA, which is where I met my beautiful wife Erin. She was a law student, and I think we knew instantly that we would spend the rest of our lives together. Then I got a job with an investment brokerage as a financial advisor. I couldn’t ask for a better life. Erin and I found the perfect church, and we’re in a young couples group. We’ve even found time to work with the youth on Sunday nights. And Carolyn has been the greatest blessing of my life. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think we may have another one on the way. I found a pregnancy test in the garbage when I was taking out the trash the other day. JASON Sure it’s not Carolyn’s? Girls are getting in trouble younger and younger these days. CAMERON Oh, lord, I don’t even want to think about the day when that is a possibility. GARRETT (crossing to cooler) Another baby. That’s wonderful, General. I really am happy for you. You’ve accomplished everything you set out to, haven’t you? CAMERON I suppose you could say I have. Erin is the real superstar, though. She runs the house, takes care of Carolyn and even found time to open her own practice. I don’t know what I did to deserve her. CLAUDIA is lit from the bluff. CLAUDIA Don’t make excuses for him, Wil. You’re better than that. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. GARRETT returns to the fire. GARRETT So, Jason, that leaves you. What have you been doing with yourself these past twelve years? JASON Besides drinking?
39 GARRETT Yes, Saint Fermentus. And don’t think we’re not having a discussion about that later. You never drank like this in college. What happened? JASON What can I say? Twelve years is a long time. I graduated a few years after you and the General. Hell, I was the youngest of the group. VD even got out before I did. VD Hear that? I finished in four years. GARRETT You finished. Period. That alone is cause for celebration. JASON As I was saying, I was all set to go to med school when I realized that being a doctor was the last thing I wanted. All the long hours. And…I didn’t want to be surrounded by death. CAMERON It’s probably for the best. They don’t allow pickled practitioners. VD Lay off, General. JASON Thank you, VD. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. I had a degree in biology and chemistry. I made an amazing score on the MCAT, but I didn’t want to become a doctor or teach. Or do research. So a friend of mine got me a job at a rental car lot at home. VD How’s it treatin’ ya? JASON Not bad. I wasn’t planning on staying with it more than a year or two, but they promote from within. Before I knew it, I was managing the place. GARRETT That’s great. So you’re happy? Seeing anyone? JASON Oh yeah. Things couldn’t be better. Business is good. And the women? I have my own pad, so I can bring a different girl home every night if I want. I like the single life. But I guess you can identify, huh, Garrett? GARRETT Well, my travels keep me from dating. But you know me. I never did date much. Lights up on CLAUDIA who emerges from behind the tent.
40 CLAUDIA Take a deep breath. Look at me. I’m not going anywhere. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. CAMERON How’s the family, Jason? You’ve established the fact that I don’t make it home often. JASON The family’s okay. Of course, my folks never change. They think I’m worthless but allow me to mooch off them, as you so aptly put it. Grandma is in a rest home now, driving them crazy. It’s great. I was there last week, and she talked to me like I was Aunt Doris. Oh, and your dad still lives with Lydia. GARRETT You never cared too much for Lydia, right? CAMERON It’s not that I didn’t like her. I just didn’t think she was good enough for my dad. It doesn’t matter anymore. She’s brought him down to her level. VD Man, Jason, it sounds like you got it made. I wouldn’t mind bein’ a bachelor again. JASON I thought you said you were too tired for much else besides work. VD If I had a different woman every night, I would find the energy. JASON I’m surprised you don’t like married life more. You and Tara… VD I didn’t marry Tara, did I, Jason? JASON Sorry. VD Forget about it. CAMERON I think we’re all caught up now. What’s next? Weenie roast? S’mores? Hour of power? Maybe we should do the Viking dance after all. VD Don’t even think about it. Man, this is the life. We oughta come up here more often. Make it an annual event.
41 JASON Yeah, I’d like that. CAMERON Sounds good to me. I probably need to slow down more. This week has been a prime example. A person can get caught up in the rat race so much that he forgets what’s important in life. Ever think of building a lodge on the land, Garrett? Lights up on CLAUDIA who is back up in the bluff. CLAUDIA I think it’s time. GARRETT Are you sure? CAMERON Oh, definitely. A lodge would only increase the value of the land. CLAUDIA If you don’t do it now, you never will. GARRETT I’m afraid. CAMERON I know a lodge is a big investment. But if you’ve spent all the money you won from the lottery, you could probably mortgage the land to build. VD This would be a nice place to get away from everything. JASON Leave the families at home. Just the men here. CAMERON I don’t know about that, cousin. Erin has a lot of attractive, single friends. Maybe she could bring a date up here for you. JASON On second thought…… VD Could she bring one for me, too? Just kiddin’. I think. CLAUDIA I’ll be here for you. Tell them.
42 GARRETT Alright. For you. CAMERON Great! Garrett, I think you’re making the right decision, but you need to do it for yourself, not the rest of us. GARRETT Sorry, General. I wasn’t talking about the lodge. Guys, there’s something I should probably tell you. About why I asked you here. CAMERON Stop. There’s no need for it. I know I gave you a hard time about that earlier, but we don’t have to rehash it. The important thing is that you got us here. GARRETT Well, I’m glad you made it. CLAUDIA nods to GARRETT. CAMERON I wouldn’t have missed it. And if I can help it, I’ll be here every year. I forgot what wonderful friends you are to me. Even you, Jason. JASON I knew you loved me. Don’t fight it. VD Ya know, I told Leah I’d probably see her late tonight. I didn’t think it was gonna be that much fun. It’s gonna bake her noodle when I tell her we’re gonna be doin’ this every year! CAMERON Maybe we should have it be just the men for a year or two. After that, we could start bringing our families up here. Let the women do their thing while we gallivant around. JASON Can’t say that I’ve ever gallivanted. VD Keep drinkin’, Saint Fermentus. We’ll teach you. Man, this is just what I needed. CAMERON I know. Erin and Carolyn will fall in love with this place. GARRETT I wouldn’t tell them just yet, guys.
43 CLAUDIA starts to make her way down from the bluff. By the end of the first act she should be standing behind GARRETT, perhaps with her hands on his shoulders in support as he delivers his last line. VD Why not? JASON Tired of us already? GARRETT Not on your life. But it has everything to do with what I need to tell you. CAMERON If it’s a matter of money, don’t sweat it. You know I’ve got plenty. I’ll be more than happy to pay for the reunion next year. GARRETT This isn’t about money. JASON But if you’re looking to give out money, I would be more than willing to accept. CAMERON I’ll keep that in mind, cousin. Garrett, what is it? VD You know we never kept secrets from each other in the past. What’s goin’ on? GARRETT It’s the reason why I invited you here. I needed to see you guys again. I needed to know that you’re well and that you’re happy. It’s just that…I’m dying.
Blackout. End of Act One.
44 ACT TWO Lights rise on GARRETT, CAMERON, JASON and VD where they were at the end of ACT ONE. As in the first act, when CLAUDIA is onstage the surreal lighting mix should be used. CAMERON What is this? Some kind of joke? You’re pulling our legs. GARRETT I’m serious, General. I’m really dying. VD What happened? GARRETT It was five years ago. I went in for a routine physical when I started working for National Geographic. I thought it was just going to be one of those where they make you turn your head and cough and take a piss test to rule out any illegal drugs. But they did blood work, and something turned up. So I went back for more tests, X-rays, the whole works, just to rule everything out. Sure enough, they found it. JASON What? What did they find? GARRETT The tumor. I have cancer. CAMERON But you look great. And you’ve obviously been living with it for five years. GARRETT I have. It was one hell of a fight. I thought the magazine would drop me as soon as they found out, my being a new employee and all. But they stood by me and after more chemo than I care to mention, the cancer went into remission. JASON What kind of cancer do you have? GARRETT The tumor is in my brain. It’s inoperable, so radiation was really the only logical course of treatment. And I’ve been in remission for almost four years. VD But not anymore. GARRETT Nope. I went back to the doctors about six month ago after I won the lottery. I just wasn’t feeling myself.
45 CAMERON Your spell earlier, when you almost took a fall coming down the bluff, is that related? GARRETT It is. I had a similar episode before I went for the check-up. That’s when I found out the tumor was growing again and that another round of radiation would only prolong the inevitable. I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. CLAUDIA is lit from the bluff. CAMERON I’m so sorry, Garrett. CLAUDIA Sorry won’t cut it, Cameron. I hope you enjoyed your graduation. Cause you can kiss your future goodbye! Lights dim on CLAUDIA. JASON Have you experienced any side effects? GARRETT Side effects? JASON You know, hallucinations? Nausea? Impaired speech? I was going to be a doctor. I still remember some of the pre-med I took. GARRETT Right. Side effects. No. Nothing substantial. VD Shit, Garrett. We’ve been talkin’ about next year, the future, and you don’t even know if you’ll make it that long. GARRETT I have a pretty good idea I won’t. I’ve already lasted longer than my doctors expected. But I wanted to make sure that this night happened. You guys are important to me. Your lives are important to me. I just knew that I couldn’t leave this world at peace if I didn’t know how you’d turned out. And you’re great. It makes it easier…to go knowing that you guys are alright. JASON I’m not alright. VD What’re you talkin’ about. You’ve got it made!
46 JASON I don’t have it made. I’ve got nothing. VD You’re a free man. Running your own show. I would kill to have that life! JASON I don’t have any of that! I’m not the manager of a rental car lot. I wash cars when I show up to the shithole, which is usually four days a week because the other three I’m either passed out or drunk. My boss hasn’t fired me yet because he’s friends with my dad and knows what it would do to him. GARRETT Oh, Jason… JASON Don’t say it, Garrett. I’m a piece of shit. I know. GARRETT No, you’re not. That’s what makes it so horrible. CAMERON You’re just not living up to your potential. You aced your MCAT’s. Why don’t you try and apply to med school? It’s not too late. JASON Bullshit. CAMERON I know I give you a hard time, Jason, but I’m being serious. You never had to crack a book in college. I’m sure any medical school in the country would welcome you with open arms the GPA and test scores you have. VD Listen to the General. It’s never too late to start over, man! Think about Garrett. He doesn’t have a chance, but you could help people. People like him. JASON Just shut up! I never took the fucking MCAT! Hell, the only reason I made it through college was because I never had to work for it. I stayed drunk most of the time after…after you guys left. GARRETT But why? Just tell us why? So what if you have a drinking problem. You can get help for it. JASON I don’t want help, Garrett! This bottle gives me piece of mind. I can sleep because of this. You sons-ofbitches walked out on me! Garrett, you and the General graduated. VD didn’t say a single fucking word to me after my freshman year. I had no one! And I had to live in Wharton Hall…which was a constant
47 JASON (CON’T) reminder of everything that was great and horrible about the year we spent together. But every night I closed my eyes I kept on having the same damn dream. Well, I don’t have that dream anymore. Thanks to this. CAMERON It was all lies? Your mediocre success was nothing but a sham? That’s pitiful. JASON You’re in luck, General. I’m getting the hell out of here. I don’t want your pity or your judgment. Thanks, Garrett. It’s been a real hoot. JASON stumbles off SL into the woods with his bottle. GARRETT Jason, what’re you doing? Get back here! (GARRETT rises to follow JASON but sinks back to his seated position.) VD, see if you can find Jason before he gets himself killed. VD Sure thing, Garrett. You alright? GARRETT I’ll be fine. Just go. VD I’ll be right back. Keep my beer cold. VD exits SL into the woods to find JASON. CAMERON Having another one of your dizzy spells? GARRETT I never was able to put anything past you, General. Don’t worry. They don’t last long. Do me a favor and give VD a hand with Jason, okay? CAMERON You shouldn’t have pushed him like that. What good does it do anyone? GARRETT I was trying to help him. Cameron, please. CAMERON I don’t think you should be alone right now. GARRETT Which one of us has lived with cancer for five years? I have. Go and help your cousin. I’ll be here when you get back.
48 CAMERON You’re the boss. Don’t say I never did anything for you. GARRETT You’re a prince among men, General. Now get the hell outta here. CAMERON exits SL into the woods, as the lighting changes to indicate another flashback sequence. Music plays in the background as GARRETT rises and begins to make the “bed” at log Center. CLAUDIA emerges from DR which is the bathroom. She checks to make sure that her clothes are on right before making her presence known. It is the spring semester, and GARRETT has graduated. The following is a flashback of GARRETT’S last night with CLAUDIA. CLAUDIA Hi. GARRETT Hi. (Sits on bed) I was starting to wonder if you had fallen in. CLAUDIA I just wanted to freshen up. And look through your cabinets. It was very boring. GARRETT Sorry to disappoint you. I packed all the elicit items before graduation. I have to be out of here first thing in the morning. CLAUDIA Now you’re just depressing me. GARRETT Come here. CLAUDIA saunters over to GARRETT. He pulls her down to the bed with him. Kisses her. Thank you. For tonight. CLAUDIA Thank you. (Kisses him) It was fun. GARRETT Well, it was something. You’ll have to forgive the newbie. CLAUDIA I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was an honor to deflower you, sir. GARRETT kisses CLAUDIA.
49 GARRETT I thought I would feel different. After. CLAUDIA And you don’t? Careful, Mister. I offend easily. GARRETT No, no. I don’t mean that. It was lovely. I just thought something would happen. Inside. A change or something. CLAUDIA You’ve watched too many movies. GARRETT I have sisters. Lots of chick flicks. CLAUDIA I see. Remind me to thank them. CLAUDIA kisses GARRETT. GARRETT You know, I almost didn’t ask you out. CLAUDIA Now you tell me. GARRETT Well, you and Jason dated, and I didn’t want it to be awkward. The kid is like a brother to me. CLAUDIA I was with Jason for all of a minute. And I never let it get that far. GARRETT He’s not a bad guy. I think he still has feelings for you. CLAUDIA He’s very sweet. But, Saint Fermentus? I love Jason to death, but I’ll never feel the way with him that I do with you, Wil. I trust you. GARRETT Not enough to introduce me to your parents. CLAUDIA Very soon. I promise. And they’ll love you. GARRETT I just hate that it’s all starting now, when I’m leaving. This past month has been wonderful, but I don’t know what’s going to happen next.
50 CLAUDIA Take a deep breath. Look at me. I’m not going anywhere. GARRETT You say that now, but you don’t know what’s ahead for you. You could meet someone next year, and I’ll be off in Washington at an internship. CLAUDIA Let’s cross that bridge when we get there. Now shut it, and enjoy your after-glow. GARRETT Yes, ma’am. (Kisses her) Hey, you hungry? Want to get something to eat or… CLAUDIA Or? GARRETT Well, I don’t have to be out of here till the morning… CLAUDIA What are you proposing, Wil Garrett? GARRETT Nothing. I just thought if you didn’t want to go out we could always… CLAUDIA Have a go at round two, maybe? GARRETT I wouldn’t say no. CLAUDIA Hmm. I need pizza. Let’s grab a deep dish from Fratello’s, and we’ll take it back to my place. I’ve got a bottle of wine there I should drink before I move out. We can share it. GARRETT Are you trying to get me drunk so you can have your way with me? CLAUDIA Only if you’re lucky. GARRETT What about Tara? CLAUDIA Damn, you’re right. She’s keeping the room for summer term. I know. She can stay the night with Vince.
51 GARRETT I like the way you think. Let’s go. Music fades as GARRETT and CLAUDIA start to exit SL “door” when they are met by JASON, VD and CAMERON. VD has a brown, paper bag with booze in it. CAMERON Going somewhere? GARRETT Yes, General. Claudia and I were going to grab a bite to eat. What’re you guys doing? JASON You can’t go. You just graduated, Garrett. We have to give you a proper send-off. Hi, Claudia. CLAUDIA Hi, Jason. JASON You’re looking beautiful as always. CLAUDIA Thank you, Jason. VD Knock it off, Saint Fermentus. We ain’t got all night. I gotta meet up with Tara later. CAMERON Alright, let’s get this party started, gentlemen. JASON and VD move into the “room” and position themselves on logs that serve as chairs. GARRETT Have fun, guys. And don’t trash my room. CLAUDIA Vince, I think Tara is going to need to stay with you tonight. VD Your wish is my orgasm. GARRETT Hey, VD, is tonight the night? VD Maybe.
52 GARRETT That’s great, man. You’ll have to tell me about it. In the morning. Goodnight, guys. CAMERON Whoa, whoa, whoa! We just got here. Stay and have a drink. GARRETT I’m kinda on a date, General. Besides, we’re dying of hunger. I couldn’t promise how long we would last if we stayed. But hey, you’re welcome to use my room. Just don’t destroy it. VD Boo! You can’t chump out on us. We haven’t even gotten started. CAMERON Permission denied, soldier. JASON Claudia, tell Garrett you want to stay. CLAUDIA One drink couldn’t hurt. CAMERON Listen to the lady, Garrett. I’ll tell you what. We’ll make it a nightcap. You’ll be out of here in plenty of time to eat and cuddle. Deal? GARRETT Just so we’re clear, I want you to know you’re all going to hell for this. CAMERON Excellent. Grab a seat. I’ve been dying to spend some time with the woman who has been monopolizing your time for the last month. CLAUDIA You certainly know how to make a girl feel special. GARRETT What’s the poison tonight, VD? VD I thought we’d take a page outta Saint Fermentus’ playbook and drink a little whiskey. VD pulls a handle of bourbon out of the brown, paper bag he brought in with him. He also pulls some cups out of the bag. GARRETT Hell no. You guys know I’m a lightweight when it comes to liquor.
53 CLAUDIA Don’t worry, baby. I’ll take care of you. GARRETT Promise? JASON I just want to thank you all for seeing the light in your choice of beverage for the night. Bourbon is a much under-appreciated spirit, and while my courtship with her has only begun, I hope by the end of the evening, you will find in Lady Bourbon the same sweet mistress I have come to cherish. CAMERON Someone pour me a drink. Jason must’ve pre-gamed. I need to catch up. JASON Don’t hate me because I’m eloquent. VD starts pouring drinks for everyone and passes them around. CLAUDIA Wow, guys. I feel like I’ve gained admission into your secret club. JASON General, can we initiate her? GARRETT I got rid of the helmets, Saint Fermentus. CLAUDIA Helmets? CAMERON Don’t ask. Bad form, Private Vermillion. Permission denied. CLAUDIA No fair! I want to join the club. VD Take my word for it, Claudia. You really don’t. Now let’s drink already. The night ain’t gettin’ any younger. CLAUDIA Oh! Oh! Can I propose a toast? I’ve always wanted to do that. GARRETT I don’t see why not. General? CAMERON The floor is yours, Claudia.
54 CLAUDIA Thank you, Cameron. Or should I call you General? Speaking of which, why do they call you General? CAMERON Everyone has nicknames in the fraternity. I was pledge educator for three years, and I don’t mind saying that I ran a tight operation, so they called me General. JASON To his face. VD I’m not hearing a toast yet. GARRETT Deep dish, Claudia. Deep dish. CLAUDIA Right. The toast. I’d like to propose a toast to four of the nicest guys on campus. ALL Here, here! CLAUDIA And to Cameron and Wil, as they venture out into the big, bad world. I know you’re both going to knock it on its ass. Cheers! ALL Cheers! They all down their bourbon with mixed reactions. GARRETT VD, what the hell is this shit? VD It’s not shit. It’s Old Grand Dad. GARRETT My mistake. JASON Don’t worry. It grows on you. CAMERON I hope so. Vince, another round. GARRETT I think that’s our cue to leave.
55 CLAUDIA Agreed. CLAUDIA and GARRETT rise to leave. CAMERON Not so fast. A game first. GARRETT Come on, General. You said a nightcap. We’ve capped the night. CAMERON Are we keeping you from something, buddy? GARRETT No. Nothing at all. Buddy. JASON It won’t kill you to play one game. VD We’ll make it an easy one. GARRETT Aren’t you supposed to meet up with Tara? Have a little talk about the future? CAMERON Vince? Something you want to share with the rest of us? VD No, General. Garrett is just lookin’ for an escape route. CLAUDIA One game might be fun. We can sleep in tomorrow. GARRETT When you put it like that, how can I refuse? Alright, General. One game. Don’t make me regret this. JASON Great. Claudia, come sit by me. I need to ask you something. CLAUDIA sits by JASON and GARRETT returns to his seat. CLAUDIA What’s on your mind? JASON I don’t want to put any pressure on you, so just know you’ve got the whole summer to think it over. But I was wondering how you would feel about being my lab partner next fall for anatomy and physiology?
56 JASON (CON’T) (Gesturing to his body) I know it might be daunting for you to be paired with such a fine specimen, but I am willing to put myself out there in the name of science. CLAUDIA (laughing) Jason, you are such a dork! JASON I’ll take that as a maybe. VD Christ on a cracker, let’s pick a game already! GARRETT I’m kinda enjoying the comedy stylings of Saint Fermentus. General? CAMERON Normally, I would suggest we play Hour of Power, but since Garrett and Vince are so anxious to leave us, why don’t we play a round or two of “I Never”? CLAUDIA Oh, I love that game! VD Sounds like the lady has made up her mind. Everyone fill your cups. (Passes bottle of bourbon around group) I think we all know the rules. Every time someone says somethin’ and you’ve done it before, you have to take a drink. For example, if Claudia says, “I never had mashed potatoes before,” I’d have to take a drink because I have had mashed potatoes. I live for mashed potatoes. And sweet love. CAMERON Round one. I’ll keep it simple. I’ve never skipped class. They all laugh and take a drink. CLAUDIA I’ll go next. I’ve never streaked across campus. VD, CAMERON, JASON, and GARRETT drink. Laughter. Did I miss something? JASON I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it? CLAUDIA I must’ve gone home that weekend.
57 JASON It was epic. Okay, my turn. I’ve never kissed a girl. Everybody drinks. GARRETT Claudia, you’ve kissed a girl? CLAUDIA It was on a dare. And I was curious. VD Garrett, I think we all just fell in love with your girl a little. Okay, so I never been in the room while two people were havin’ sex. GARRETT, JASON, and CLAUDIA drink. CLAUDIA Thanks for brining that one up. One night when Vince was staying the night with Tara, I woke up and heard them goin’ at it. VD But just think about how many times we had sex without you knowin’. GARRETT I’m not just speaking for Claudia when I say please spare us all from that mental image. VD I get no complaints from Tara. CAMERON She probably saves the complaints for her therapist. Laughter. VD flips off CAMERON. GARRETT Hmm…I’ve never been to class drunk. Everybody drinks. CAMERON Hey, Garrett, remember jogging class with Coach Daniels the morning after that hunch punch party junior year? He had us run a 5K, and you ralphed in the bushes by the administration building. GARRETT Don’t remind me, General. The President came out and asked me if I needed him to finish the run for me.
58 VD Before we move onto round two, I’m callin’ a social drink. Bottoms up, bitches! (They drink) That was directed towards the men in the room, Claudia. No offense. CLAUDIA None taken, bitch. JASON Man, I’m going to miss this. What the hell are me and VD gonna do next year when you and the General are off doing your thing? I think it’s safe to say I’ll be drinking a lot less. CAMERON Have a pledge buy your liquor. GARRETT Bad form, General. You know, you could hold interviews to replace us. CLAUDIA Then I am officially submitting my application. Pass the Grand Dad. VD passes the bourbon to CLAUDIA. VD Sorry, Claudia. We can’t compromise the integrity of the Mighty Vikings of the Poonhammer with female members. Unless they’re lesbians. Then we’re all on the same page. GARRETT Watch out, VD. She’ll call the ACLU on your ass. CLAUDIA He’s right. Equal opportunity. I can wear a Viking helmet and streak across campus same as the rest of you. GARRETT I thought you went home that weekend. CLAUDIA I might have watched from my dorm room. CAMERON And so the truth comes out! I call round two to order. Fill your cups. I’ll start. I’ve never been arrested. VD and CLAUDIA drink. JASON Claudia, you got arrested? Spill it. We want details. CLAUDIA Not on your life.
59 GARRETT Hmm. I think I should go out and buy us some handcuffs. CLAUDIA Don’t bother. I have some in my room. GARRETT Check, please. CAMERON Sit down, soldier. We have to finish this round. GARRETT Aw, come on, General! She’s got handcuffs! VD Good things come to those who wait, Garrett. And I just want to say “fuck you all” for not being surprised that I been arrested. CLAUDIA My turn! My turn! Okay, I’ve never…I’ve never…played I never. Everybody drinks. JASON Lame! Beautiful, but lame. I’ve never tried an illegal drug. GARRETT, VD, and JASON drink. VD Holy shit! The virgin has tried drugs? GARRETT In my defense, I was drunk. CAMERON Uh, Vince? B-U-L-L… VD S-H-I-T… CAMERON/VD/JASON Bullshit! Bullshit! So say we! Huh! GARRETT Alright, alright! I did it to impress a girl. CLAUDIA A girl? What was her name?
60 GARRETT Heather Love. I was home for Christmas break the first semester of my freshman year and met her at a party. She was really hot and offered me a hit of acid. I didn’t want to look like a spazz. Let’s just say it was…memorable. VD Well, I’m impressed. Alright. I’ve never had sex with Wil Garrett. CLAUDIA drinks without thinking. JASON is wounded. Ha! Saint Fermentus, you and the General owe me twenty bucks. I told you Garrett and Claudia have gotten it on by now. JASON She’s right here! GARRETT Thank you, Jason. CAMERON My cousin is just being gallant for the lady. Seems like Garrett succeeded where he failed. CLAUDIA Excuse me? CAMERON Come on, Claudia. I don’t want to be the one to point out the elephant in the room, but you have to know my cousin’s still crazy about you. JASON No, I’m not! Claudia, I’m not. GARRETT Cameron, don’t be an ass. He’s your family. (To CLAUDIA) Let’s go. VD Garrett, give the General a break. It’s the bourbon talking. CLAUDIA We don’t have to go. I’m a big girl. CAMERON I have apparently overstepped the bounds of decorum. Jason. Claudia. I was inappropriate. CLAUDIA If that was an apology, I’ll accept it. JASON The General doesn’t apologize.
61 CLAUDIA I see. Well, we’ll just have to work on that, won’t we? GARRETT You sure you want to stay? CLAUDIA Yes. But it’s going to cost you, General. And you won’t be able to buy your way out of this one. CAMERON I’m listening. CLAUDIA (smiling) I’m gonna need some more Grand Dad. I’m empty. VD That’s more like it! I think we could all use another round. VD passes the bourbon around the group for refills. CAMERON It just occurred to me that I don’t know you very well, Claudia. We should remedy that before you and Garrett shove off for the evening. Tell us about yourself. What do you hope to achieve at this fine institution of learning? CLAUDIA So, I’m being interviewed now. Fair enough. I’m a pre-vet major. That’s how I met Jason. We had some of the same classes together. JASON She’s a genius…which is why you should be my lab partner for A&P next fall. CLAUDIA You’re the genius. The professors love Jason, even when he ditches class. He still aces all the exams. VD Pisses you off, right? It does me. The sonuvabitch has a photographic memory. GARRETT Claudia’s being modest. She’s logged close to a thousand hours with a local vet this year. Tell them where you’re going this summer. CLAUDIA I’m going to Africa for a summer intensive on animal sciences. CAMERON Sounds exciting. You and Jason have my respect. Science has never made any sense to me. Courtney Allen is the only reason I survived biology this year.
62 CLAUDIA I know. CAMERON What? CLAUDIA Nothing. You were saying? CAMERON Oh, I was just saying that Courtney’s been my savior this year. She’s the only person I know who can make single-cell mitosis sexy. CLAUDIA Really. CAMERON I don’t mean to be crass, but you want to be one of the guys, so why not? We just had an arrangement. I helped her with her business classes. She helped me with biology…and other things. GARRETT General. CLAUDIA Don’t, Wil. I can take care of myself. CAMERON What’s the big deal? Courtney didn’t complain. CLAUDIA Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe Courtney went along with your arrangement because you mean something to her? CAMERON What’re you talking about? We were just helping each other out and having some fun. Some girls are just like that. CLAUDIA Like what? CAMERON Easy. CLAUDIA So you’re saying Courtney’s easy. GARRETT General. Drop it.
63 JASON Claudia, maybe you and Garrett should go. CLAUDIA No. I want to hear what your General has to say about Courtney. Do you think she’s easy? CAMERON What if she is? People do things in college that don’t mean anything. Courtney is a nice girl and all, but I could never actually be with her in a relationship. CLAUDIA Why the hell not? CAMERON What’s it to you? CLAUDIA She’s my cousin, Cameron. That’s what it is to me. CAMERON Well then, you need to tell your cousin to keep her mouth and legs closed. This is a small campus. Word gets around. GARRETT Cameron! What the hell? VD Man, not cool! Whatta ya gotta go and kill the party for? CLAUDIA I’ll tell you why, Vince. Your General thinks he’s better than everybody else. He can whore himself around all he wants. But the people that put themselves out for him are nothing more than trash that he can toss off when he’s through. CAMERON Who the hell do you think you are? You don’t know me. CLAUDIA I think I do. It’s a shame these guys don’t. GARRETT Cameron, apologize to Claudia. CAMERON The hell I will! I… CLAUDIA The General doesn’t apologize! Look, I’ve had too much, Wil. I’ll see you tomorrow.
64 GARRETT Let me walk you back. He’s just being an ass. CLAUDIA Don’t make excuses for him. You’re better than that. CLAUDIA starts to exit. CAMERON I’m not finished with you yet! Don’t walk away from me. VD Cool down, General. Claudia, why don’t I walk back with you? I was supposed to meet up with Tara later anyways. CAMERON Sit down, Vince. You’re not going anywhere. GARRETT Claudia! Wait a minute. I’ll go with you. CLAUDIA No. I want to be alone tonight. I’ll call you tomorrow. CLAUDIA starts to move towards the “door.” CAMERON I don’t think he’s ready for you to leave yet. CAMERON reaches out and stops CLAUDIA from leaving. CLAUDIA Get your hands off me! JASON Cameron, stop it! CAMERON I think you need to keep a tighter leash on your girl, Garrett. If she’s anything like her cousin, she’s a biter. CLAUDIA Fuck you, Cameron! CLAUDIA shoves CAMERON. CAMERON Watch it, you little bitch!
65 CAMERON backhands CLAUDIA. Spits in her face. GARRETT Cameron! What the hell are you doing? Stunned silence. CAMERON I…I don’t know what to say…Claudia. Garrett. I’m sorry. I… CLAUDIA Now you’re sorry? Well, sorry won’t cut it, Cameron. I hope you enjoyed your graduation. Cause you can kiss your future goodbye! CAMERON Are you threatening me? CLAUDIA I don’t make threats, Cameron. You assaulted me. All I have to do now is press charges, asshole. CAMERON You dirty little… CAMERON raises his hand to strike her again. GARRETT comes in between them. GARRETT Stop! Guys, cool down! Claudia, let’s go. We’ll get some air and figure out what to do. CLAUDIA I’ve made up my mind, Garrett. You can come with me, but it doesn’t change anything. CAMERON You’re not going to press charges. CLAUDIA Really? And who’s going to stop me? CAMERON knocks GARRETT to the ground and goes after CLAUDIA. VD Cameron, stop it! JASON Cameron, no! CAMERON and CLAUDIA struggle. She tries to make it to the door and he flings her back into the room. CLAUDIA tries once more to break to the door and CAMERON backhands her again. CLAUDIA loses her balance, falls, and hits her head on one of
66 the logs that served as a “chair” and lies on the floor unconscious. GARRETT crawls to CLAUDIA’s body. GARRETT Claudia? Claudia? Wake up. Wake up. Please wake up. CAMERON Vince. Jason. VD and JASON just stare at GARRETT and CLAUDIA. Vince! Jason! VD Yeah… JASON Huh? CAMERON Go get my car. Pull it up to the back of the dorm. We have to get her to the hospital. GARRETT Baby…? JASON Is she…? CAMERON Go! VD and JASON exit SL out of the “room.” GARRETT I think she’s….I think she’s…. GARRETT starts to exit past CAMERON to go get help. CAMERON No. We don’t have much time. You and I are going to have a talk. CAMERON backs GARRETT up to the log he was on before the flashback sequence as the lights dim around them, which should allow CLAUDIA to exit unseen. GARRETT I don’t have anything to say to you. I thought I knew you. Claudia was right. Claudia was right about you! CAMERON forces GARRETT onto the log as the lights return to normal.
67 CAMERON Garrett? Are you alright, buddy? Garrett! Do we need to get you to a hospital? GARRETT Get your hands off me! CAMERON Whoa! Whoa! I’m just trying to help you, man. We found Jason. GARRETT Jason? (Slowly becoming aware)…Jason. That’s…good. Where was he? CAMERON He was about halfway to his car. We talked him into coming back. Vince is with him. VD and JASON enter from SL. VD Saint Fermentus got all the sand out of his vagina. Let’s party! JASON I’m not so drunk I can’t kick your ass. VD I love you, too, man. I’ll make room for you in my sleeping bag later. GARRETT Thanks for coming back, Jason. It means a lot. JASON I’m sorry, Garrett. I didn’t mean to ruin the night for everyone. CAMERON It’s not ruined. You’re being too hard on yourself. JASON I don’t know what I was being. GARRETT You were being honest. That’s all we can expect from each other. You’ve got problems. You’re human. Welcome to the club. VD Garrett’s right. So what if you got problems? We all do. God knows my life ain’t perfect. JASON What do you mean?
68 VD You don’t want to hear my bullshit. GARRETT Let us make that decision. VD Okay. You’re not gonna like it. Especially you, General. No offense, but you’re kinda judgmental. CAMERON In the spirit of the evening, I’ll keep my mouth shut. VD Things aren’t so good between me and Leah. They’re about as bad as they can get. GARRETT How so? VD Leah thinks I’ve been workin’ a lot of overtime. To get in good with my uncles. Truth is I’ve been… JASON Out with another woman? VD Women. GARRETT How many? VD A lot. It doesn’t mean anything to me. But that’s the problem. Neither does Leah. CAMERON Why don’t you just leave her? VD I don’t wanna hurt her. She really loves me. I mean really loves me. More than I deserve. It’s why I’ve stuck it out at the family business so long. I wanted to be able to give her a comfortable life, like that would make up for all the things that were missing in our marriage. But one night, about two years ago, I was leavin’ work and started drivin’ home. I got to our street and just kept goin’. I just drove. Ended up downtown. Picked a bar and found a table where I could be alone. Off in the corner somewhere. So this girl comes in with her friend and sits at the bar. She notices me. Gets her drink from the bartender and walks over to my table. Asks if she can join me. Now this girl is hot, and I had no idea why the hell a girl like that would give me the time of day. But we sat there and just talked. Had a few drinks. It got late, and I knew Leah had to be wonderin’ where I was, so I tried to excuse myself. She asked me to come home with her. So I did. And I’ve gone out every week since just lookin’ for someone to go home with. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But I keep goin’.
69 GARRETT Leah doesn’t suspect? VD If she does, she ain’t lettin’ on. JASON I can’t believe you’ve been able to keep this up for two years. VD I thought it would make me feel somethin’. Anything would be better than nothin’. GARRETT I’m sorry, VD. I really am. But you can’t keep this up. VD I thought about maybe givin’ in and havin’ that baby with Leah. That way she’d have somethin’ of her own. Then it wouldn’t matter what I did. CAMERON Oh God. VD What? CAMERON Nothing. VD No, General. You obviously got somethin’ on your mind. I knew you would. Weigh in, by all means. CAMERON Where do I start? Are you listening to yourself? Woe is me, I’m unhappy in my marriage, so I have to go out and fuck everything that walks. It’s disgusting. You took a vow before God. It’s like you’re spitting in Leah’s face every time you go to bed with another woman. I can’t say that I’m surprised, though. VD Fuck you, Cameron. CAMERON Huh, no more General? Pity. I thought I’d hold onto the title longer. GARRETT Keep it civil, guys. CAMERON He asked. I told him. There’s nothing I can say that is going to make him feel better about what he’s doing.
70 GARRETT Fine. VD, he’s right. We can’t make you feel good about what you’re doing because you know it’s wrong. But if we can get to why you’re doing this, then maybe you can stop. CAMERON You’re a photographer, Garrett. Not a therapist. GARRETT And you’re a narcissistic asshole. But we’re talking about VD right now, so shut up. VD You know why I’m doin’ this, Garrett. GARRETT I think I do. JASON Let it out, man. You’ll feel better. CAMERON Sure. Then we can sing, “Cum Bah Ya,” and have a circle jerk. GARRETT No, we really can’t, buddy. I left my pitch pipe and lube at home. You know something? You’re a pompous sonuvabitch, Cameron, and you’re starting to piss me off. But for the sake of the evening, can we all step back long enough to have a drink? I sure as hell could use one. Will you have a beer, Cameron? VD? VD Yeah. CAMERON Why not. GARRETT gets up to get beer out of the cooler and refill his wine. VD Sorry, Cameron. About earlier. CAMERON No. Garrett’s right. I’m an asshole. JASON I believe the man said narcissistic asshole. Lights rise on CLAUDIA on bluff. GARRETT freezes. CLAUDIA Not much longer.
71 GARRETT That’s what I’m afraid of. Lights dim on CLAUDIA. CAMERON Earth to Garrett. What’re you afraid of? GARRETT I’m afraid you bastards are going to polish off this cooler before midnight. GARRETT brings beer to VD and CAMERON. VD Sounds like a challenge to me. CAMERON I think you’re right. You up for it? VD I may pay for it in the mornin’, but I’m willin’ to take that chance. GARRETT rejoins the group with more wine. JASON nurses his whiskey. GARRETT For what it’s worth, Cameron, I’m sorry I blew up at you. I just thought if I could do something to help, it would make everything worthwhile. I guess I thought I had more time with you guys…that we would all grow old together. JASON We can still sing “Cum Bah Ya” if it’ll make you feel any better. VD Okay. But I’m drawin’ the line at the circle jerk. CAMERON Garrett, I appreciate what you’re trying to do here. I really do. And I understand that you want to put everything in order before you move on, but some things can’t be fixed. GARRETT Some things should never have been broken. VD, it’s Tara, isn’t it? She’s the reason you’ve been looking for something outside your marriage. CAMERON I could’ve gone the rest of the night without going down this road. GARRETT And what would you recommend, Cameron?
72 CAMERON We shouldn’t make Vince talk about his past if he doesn’t want to. GARRETT Yeah, you’d like that. VD, is it Tara? VD You had no right. None of you. To make me give her up. I never felt like that about any girl before Tara! CAMERON That’s rich. The male whore gets sentimental over his college sweetheart. VD Climb off your fuckin’ high-horse already! You don’t get it! There was nobody before Tara. I was all talk! Leah, Carly, Allison, Vanessa, Mary Beth, Shannon, all of them! I was never with anyone before Tara. I never loved anybody before Tara! CAMERON You’re kidding, right? VD I bought a goddamn ring, you mother fucker! I was going to propose that night. That night! But you made me promise. You made me promise, and I will never forgive you for that. CAMERON Are you happy, Garrett? GARRETT Why would I be happy? CAMERON We had a deal! VD Fuck your deal. Look at me. I had to go to Tara’s room the next mornin’ and lie to her. I had to lie to her about why I didn’t meet up with her the night before. I had to break her heart and make her hate me. With the goddamn ring in my pocket burnin’ a hole in my thigh! She was my forever. Do you understand me?! She was my forever! CAMERON I don’t have to listen to this. CAMERON starts to rise as if to leave. VD shoves him down. VD Sit down, General! You’re gonna listen to every fuckin’ word we have to say.
73 CAMERON I didn’t come here for this! Spare me your pity party. You got dealt bad hands. Make your peace with it and move on, but don’t expect me to hold your hands and cry with you. GARRETT Believe me, Cameron, I would never expect anything resembling human emotion from you. CAMERON Why are you doing this? Why now? JASON Ha ha. Why? Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Why?! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Are you kidding me?! CAMERON Jason, what’s gotten into you? JASON You don’t know. CAMERON Know what? JASON I loved her, too, you sonuvabitch, and you took her. You took her from Garrett. You took her from me. And you took her from the world. CAMERON No. JASON Yes. CAMERON No. We’re not doing this. We had a deal. GARRETT Jesus Christ, Cameron! Did you really think it wouldn’t come up? Say it, Jason. The dream you drink away every night. What is it? JASON Claudia. Claudia. It’s always Claudia. CAMERON It was an accident! GARRETT No, you piece of shit. Claudia’s death was not an accident. What happened in the room may have been an accident. Claudia falling and hitting her head on a chair may have been an accident. But she revived in the car, and you suffocated her. That was not an accident!
74 CAMERON What do you want from me? GARRETT Take some responsibility for your actions! For once in your life. Don’t you feel any regret? Your cousin’s a mess. VD is hollowed out inside. And I’m living on borrowed time. What about you? Isn’t there anything you want to say to us? Silence. CAMERON No. JASON No? CAMERON No. VD No? CAMERON No. No! NO! What do you want me to say? That my life since college has been a drudgery? It hasn’t! That my soul is being eaten away from the inside from a guilt that I dare not name? It isn’t! I don’t even know why I came here. My life is damn-near perfect, and I sure as hell didn’t need to see you again to be reminded of it. Maybe I thought you all would’ve been man enough to cut the dead weight and make the most of the life I salvaged for you. Because if I hadn’t done what I did, none of us would be here right now. Silence. Lights rise on CLAUDIA. GARRETT leaves his place at the fire and begins to pace. CLAUDIA Take a deep breath. Look at me. I’m not going anywhere. GARRETT I’m tired. I can’t do this. CAMERON Garrett, are you alright? CLAUDIA You still care about me, don’t you, Wil? GARRETT Yes.
75 JASON Come back to the fire. I know tonight hasn’t turned out the way you wanted, but it’s almost midnight. CLAUDIA Help me. VD I don’t know what to do. I know I’ve messed up. GARRETT I want to help you. CAMERON Let it go, man. You can’t save everyone. CLAUDIA I can’t breathe. JASON I don’t know how to let it go. GARRETT I’m sorry. VD Don’t worry about us. We’ll work it out the best we can. CLAUDIA I won’t tell anyone. I promise. GARRETT It’s too late. CAMERON Too late for what? Lights dim on CLAUDIA. GARRETT Huh? (Recognition of Cameron’s question) It’s too late to fix the past. You’re absolutely right, Cameron. I suppose we have been carrying dead weight for the last twelve years, and while I can’t expect you to understand it, I just hoped that you would be able to make some sort of apology, for whatever it’s worth, out here, away from the world, where it would matter to no one else but the four of us. CAMERON You know I can’t do that. I did what I had to do. GARRETT I know that now. But I had to try. To hope.
76 JASON What now? Is that it? Where do we go from here? VD I think I could use some shut-eye. I’ve got an early mornin’. CAMERON Good idea, Vince. Sleep sounds good. Then tomorrow we’ll go our separate ways. And let’s never do this again, Garrett. GARRETT I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that. CAMERON Well, that was morbid. I didn’t mean… GARRETT I know. Silence. The four men nurse their drinks absorbed in their thoughts. VD starts to get up to prepare his sleeping bag. Cameron, will you accept a peace offering? CAMERON What kind of peace offering? GARRETT If I remember correctly, before we graduated you had started to dabble in wine. I didn’t know if you still did, or if you and Erin are strictly beer people. CAMERON Are you kidding me? Erin has us a membership to the Wine of the Month Club. What did you have in mind? GARRETT I’ll be right back. VD. Jason. Don’t go to sleep just yet. GARRETT disappears into the tent. VD puts his sleeping bag away. CAMERON Guys. I think he’s in bad shape. Garrett. JASON He’s probably just drunk. And we’ve been through a lot tonight. CAMERON You didn’t see him earlier. Garrett was off-balance. Disoriented. I just don’t think any of us are in any condition to drive Garrett to a hospital tonight if he takes a bad turn.
77 VD Well, let him show you his peace offerin’. We’ll put him to bed after and get him some help first thing in the mornin’. GARRETT emerges from the tent with a bottle of wine and two cups. GARRETT Sorry it took so long. I’ve had it breathing most of the evening. I think it’s ready, though. JASON What is it? GARRETT A memento from Africa. I was there a couple of months ago on a photo shoot and picked this up. I wanted to save it for a special occasion. And I can’t think of a more special occasion than this. VD Wine. You shouldn’t have. GARRETT Thanks for the enthusiastic response. I know you and Jason aren’t wine drinkers, so I’ll spare you the ordeal of trying something I’m certain you’ll hate. Besides, it leaves more for Cameron and me. CAMERON I think I’m going to like this peace offering. What’s our poison? GARRETT Pinotage. And you’re going to love it. JASON Pinotage? Sounds like camouflage for your penis. CAMERON Really? That’s the best you could come up with? Garrett, please pour the wine before Jason tries to give us a visual demonstration. GARRETT pours wine for himself and CAMERON while JASON fills his cup with whiskey and VD grabs another beer. GARRETT Don’t drink just yet. It’s been a long night, and I want to apologize for any bumps we’ve experienced GARRETT (CON’T) along the way. I don’t always agree with Cameron, but I think he’s right this time. It’s not my place to try and fix any of you. VD For what it’s worth, I appreciate that you wanted to try and help us.
78 JASON Me, too. I wish we could do something for you. GARRETT Guys, the fact that you showed up was gift enough. And with that, I’d like to propose a toast. To the four of us and to a friendship that has defined my life and will usher me into the next one. Cheers! JASON/VD/CAMERON Cheers! GARRETT and CAMERON down their wine as JASON and VD take a solid pull off their respective beverages. CAMERON This is amazing, Garrett. A very unique wine. I wish I had taken my time with it. GARRETT There’s more left. CAMERON I won’t say no. GARRETT tops CAMERON’s cup off. Thank you, sir. We should argue more often if this is the standard peace offering. GARRETT I’m glad you like it so much. CAMERON Vince. Jason. Are you sure you don’t want to try some? It’ll change your life. VD I’ll take your word for it. JASON Yeah, whiskey and peno-flage aren’t my idea of a party. CAMERON Suit yourself. (Sniffing cup) That’s one hell of a bouquet. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s earthy, a little smoky. The right amount of bite with a smooth finish. But there’s something else there. GARRETT It’s something, isn’t it? GARRETT refills his cup, emptying the bottle. CAMERON I’ll have to pick up a case of it for Erin and me when I get home.
79 GARRETT I don’t think you’ll be able to find another bottle like this one. CAMERON Don’t tell me it’s a designer wine! That must’ve cost you a fortune. GARRETT It’s a one-of-a-kind. But I wanted to spare no expense for tonight. After all, I can’t take it with me, right? JASON (affecting pretentious air) You know, Vince, I find this whiskey to be both complex and repulsive. VD You don’t say. Well, my beer is so pedestrian that I would probably be better off drinkin’ my own piss. GARRETT At least things are back to normal. Jason and VD have found their sense of humor. CAMERON starts to get a little loopy. He tries to down the last of his wine, but the cup slips out of his hands and spills on him. He is slurred. GARRETT downs his wine. CAMERON Shit. I spilled my wine. Sorry, Garrett. GARRETT What was that, buddy? CAMERON I said I spilled my wine. Sorry. VD Saint Fermentus, I think your cousin is trashed. JASON These are the moments in life to savor. CAMERON I’m not trashed, cousin. (Tries to stand and falls back down) I’m…trashed. They laugh. GARRETT Just relax. I’m sure VD and Jason will help you get into your body bag. Did I say body bag? I meant sleeping bag. (Laughs) You think you can stay awake long enough for one, final surprise, Cameron? CAMERON Make it quick. I’m sleepy. And my legs are numb.
80 GARRETT disappears into the tent. JASON Wow, you are gone. VD I wish I’d brought a sharpie. We could draw penises on his face when he passes out. GARRETT sticks his head out of the tent. GARRETT Be nice, guys! Hey, Cameron, you ever hear of “atropa belladonna”? GARRETT pulls body bag out of tent. CAMERON No. What is it? GARRETT It’s an herb with very poisonous berries. In Italian and Greek, “atropa belladonna” roughly translates to mean, “Do not betray a beautiful lady.” And in Africa, it’s called Deadly Nightshade. I thought it would be the perfect complement to the Pinotage. VD and JASON see the body bag. VD Garrett, what is that? GARRETT It’s exactly what you think it is, Vince. CAMERON What have you done, Garrett? JASON How did it get here? But we left it…we left it… GARRETT We left it here. We left her here. Down in the ravine off the bluff back there. CAMERON What have you done, Garrett? GARRETT lugs the body bag down by the fire so CAMERON can see it. GARRETT Surprise! Say hello to our guest of honor, Cameron.
81 CAMERON No…Garrett…no…. GARRETT I was worried you might realize where we were when you got here. I mean, it was dark then, and you were puking your guts out, but still…how could a person forget where he disposed of his first murder, right? CAMERON That’s not her. VD Is it? JASON It is. GARRETT Of course it is! I dug her up myself. (Silence) Atropa belladonna…”Do not betray a beautiful lady.” What do you think that means? CAMERON Poison……the wine….how could you…..you bastard…..why? GARRETT I told Claudia you were the wild card. I didn’t even know if you would show tonight, but she knew you would. VD Garrett, you’re talkin’ crazy. CAMERON Claudia’s dead, Garrett. She’s dead. GARRETT I better take a load off. Stuff’s hitting me harder than I thought it would. CAMERON What did you do?! JASON Garrett, you poisoned him? And yourself? But… CAMERON Why aren’t you……you had wine……why aren’t you? GARRETT Sparkling cider. I knew that none of you would want to drink any of my wine. I wanted to be the last one standing if it came to that.
82 CAMERON Why are you doing this to me? GARRETT I didn’t want to. I was hoping against all odds that when we got together, I would see something. Something different that wasn’t there twelve years ago. But you’re just the same. No worse. Because if given the opportunity, I think you’d do it all over again. JASON Don’t do this, Garrett. We need to get you two to a hospital! GARRETT Uh uh. Don’t start now, Jason. I need you and Vince to keep a cool head while I deal with Cameron. You owe me that. CAMERON Who the hell….do you think you are? GARRETT You killed her, Cameron! CAMERON She was gonna……ruin me. GARRETT Jesus, Cameron. We were all drunk! Claudia just wanted to bring you down a peg! Worst case scenario, you might’ve gotten probation, but it wouldn’t have ruined your precious future. Claudia never had a chance. Never had a chance! You took it from her…in the most vile way. You would’ve bounced back. You always do. CAMERON I couldn’t risk it…not for some little bitch… GARRETT grabs body bag and staggers to his feet. VD Whoa, pal. What’re you doing? GARRETT I’m putting her back. GARRETT begins to ascend the bluff with the body bag in tow. He is starting to feel the effects of the atropa belladonna. GARRETT Claudia was dead on about you, Cameron. Even now when you’re fighting to hang on to a life you don’t deserve, you can’t realize that what you did was wrong. If you ask me, Claudia wasn’t the only one who died that night. You killed a little piece of each of us. Vince. Jason. Me. You don’t even get that what
83 GARRETT (CON’T) happened that night changed us forever. You robbed us of our futures to save your own. I know I can’t get Claudia back. But I can give Vince and Jason their lives back. GARRETT pushes the body bag off into the ravine and makes way back to the fire. CAMERON You think you’re so noble……killing me and yourself when you’re dying from cancer. GARRETT Guess what, buddy? I don’t have cancer. I never did. I just needed you to believe I did long enough for me to determine whether or not you were worth keeping on this earth. VD and JASON react to this revelation. CAMERON You’re……crazy….Carolyn……Erin….what happens to them? GARRETT They have a life now. Free from your influence. Thank God for small miracles. CAMERON begins to wheeze. CAMERON I……can’t…breathe. GARRETT Now you know how Claudia felt. CAMERON Go to hell. GARRETT I’m sure I will. Save me a seat, buddy. CAMERON I….I… CAMERON loses consciousness and dies. JASON Is he dead? GARRETT Guys, listen to me. VD You don’t have cancer? You’re not dyin’?
84 GARRETT Guys, listen to me. JASON You didn’t have to do this. GARRETT Listen to me, goddammit! JASON What’s wrong? GARRETT My chest is tightening up. I need you to do something for me. VD Of course, buddy. GARRETT You’re going to have to dump my body and Cameron’s over the bluff…into the ravine. Break the camp. Get rid of everything. Just in case anybody comes looking. JASON How are we supposed to do that? GARRETT I don’t care how……just get rid of everything. My car……Cameron’s….the equipment…..everything that can trace you or it to this place. VD Do we look like we’re capable of that kind of efficiency? GARRETT (laughs) I have faith in you……one more thing. JASON Yeah, man? GARRETT In my trunk……there’s money for you……to start over. VD We can’t take your money. Can we? GARRETT It’s safe…there’s nothing to keep you from having the life you should have had. Either of you.
85 JASON Garrett…I can’t do it. GARRETT You will….you… GARRETT loses consciousness and dies. JASON and VD rise and wander through the camp trying assess the job ahead. VD We’d better get started. VD and JASON haul GARRETT’S body up to the bluff and drop it off into the ravine. They come back down to get CAMERON’S body as “CLAUDIA’S THEME” begins to play. CLAUDIA enters from DR and briefly surveys VD and JASON’S work before she ascends the bluff. CLAUDIA kneels and reaches her hand over into the ravine as GARRETT reaches out to her. She helps him up and to his feet. They stand before each other for a moment, holding hands, and then embrace. CLAUDIA leads GARRETT down the bluff and they exit off DR as JASON and VD carry CAMERON’S body up to the bluff and dump his body.
Blackout. End of Act Two.
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