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19: Story

by Joseph Frost

a play written for The 31 Plays in 31 Days Project

Draft August 19, 2013

Attic Scripts, 2013 4550 Normandy Dr Jackson, MS 39206

A small room, white walls and a small wooden door. Practically covering the walls is uneven hand writing, organized in columns. A short man in worn peasant-like clothing, KEN, is standing on a simple ladder, and is writing, continuing the story on the wall. Another man, LANSING, is taller and more collected, perhaps wearing a suit. He has a digital camera and a recorder. He stands staring blankly at the walls. Ken stops writing for a moment and looks back at the writing behind him. KEN A story nothing as important as a story a story can change a heart change a soul change the world it was a story that ripped me away from what had been my life and dropped me into the middle of the world but a world with less color and less life than I had ever noticed a story with such sweet sensation that the world without it was pale with sick and death (he stops writing for a moment) And so (he continues)

To restore the health of my world I sought the story again until it was again completed And again And again (MORE)

2. KEN (CONT'D) (he stops writing) until the question remained how how to preserve that sensation of being within the story of being within the story Ken continues to write. BELL, another well-dressed man, enters carefully through the door. Wow. BELL

LANSING It doesnt disappoint, does it. Does not. Not yet. Get em so we can go. Were in a rush? BELL You get some pictures. LANSING BELL LANSING

BELL Were not going to stay here all day. The guides itching to get back to the villa. Something about crickets tonight. Cricket. Whatever. I dont want to rush. The sport. LANSING BELL LANSING

BELL Take your time, just hurry up. Lansing stands back as far as he can and tries to get a wide-shot picture. The camera flashes.

3. Ken notices something. writing. Lightning a storm comes KEN He stops

a storm wind and water with fire and fear (he hops down from the ladder and goes to the window) (Lansing snaps more photos) In the distance the clouds grow angry and wake the gods of vengeance jealous that their story stolen from the fireside maybe set on record definitive and not allowed to grow and change evolve as they do as they grow as they change Lansing snaps another picture. Ken stares out the window into the distance. Any idea what this is? BELL

LANSING Handwriting on the wall. What the story is. BELL

LANSING Guy wrote on a wall, I think. BELL The story he wrote on the wall. No clue. You cant read it? LANSING BELL

4. LANSING No. Its not a dialect I recognize. Some of the words look similar to markings Ive seen in caves not too far from here. But I dont know what theyd be doing in a shack like this, built long after the cave dwellers who wrote that stuff. Weird. Exactly. BELL LANSING Lansing takes another picture. It comes this way he is angered with fire the story the story must be Ken rushes back to the ladder. hurredly continues to write. He KEN

Bell moves closer to where the ladder is. You get this over here? What? BELL LANSING

BELL This part. Where is gets all crooked. Its changed. Its even pretty much throughout, then right here. See? It changes. Changes the changes in the gods angered then pacified then amorous then furious and we we as men built below and we abject KEN


5. and subject to fickle whims the story the story must be told must be told Lansing takes a picture. That is something. LANSING KEN (CONT'D)

BELL I wish I knew what it said. LANSING That word looks a lot like... umm... crush? heavy object. A rock or something. Pulverize? Like that. BELL LANSING Like I said. Its similar. Like with a

(beat) I dont know if thats right. Yeah. BELL

(beat) You get what you need? What? We have to go. LANSING BELL

LANSING We came all the way here, and this is all the time I get? BELL The guy wants to see a cricket game. Match. Who cares, man. LANSING BELL Take your pics.

We gotta run.

Lansing starts taking many pictures. Ken hurries faster. continues. Shakes his hand,

6. KEN

Once it is written once it is saved then then the gods the gods become the gods become known the gods of tall tales told by the fire side become the gods of the story told the same from day to day from parent to child and they will be and they will be

Lansing snaps even more photos. Ken grabs his pained hand, he shakes it out and tries to keep writing, but he is clearly in pain. Photos. BELL You take enough pictures we can print them out when we get home, make this place over again in your study. Maybe I will. LANSING

(beat) I have that second guest room I never use. Ken steps down from the ladder. BELL I wonder why he stopped. Who knows. LANSING Story was over, I guess. Bell places his fingers on the writing, as if hes reading it by braille. The. Butler. Did. It. BELL He laughs. Lansing smiles, reluctantly.

7. Lansing takes a picture of Bell at the wall. LANSING That better not be what it is. Ken has fallen back into the far corner of the room. Finished I hope it is finished enough KEN

finished enough that the gods have changed all by a story a story a story Ken slumps slightly, exhausted. dead. He is

BELL You got what you need now? Dudes cricket match is gonna start. I think I do. LANSING They start toward the door. LANSING (CONTD) Cant imagine what would be this important to write this way. Let me out. BELL Let me out. Let me out. (laughs) LANSING

Shut up. Im hungry.

Lets go.

BELL Lansing and Bell exit. A moment. Thunder rolls and the sound of rain. Lights down

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