Aliens and NPCs
A Short Play
The characters in the play should be taken quite seriously, and the first scene is quite important. When playing one of the characters, you should keep in mind the first scene. The first scene takes place before winter break, and when they speak in short monologues, they speak their mind to the audience. Although, Steve’s character needs to be entirely different in all scenes but 1, 11, and the end of 13. The actor may even want to think of Steve in his robotic-like way as his original character. Steve in his robotic-like manner must never change in feelings.
(Lights up on an ice-cream parlor upstage left. There is a table, and a bench left center stage. There is a small platform downstage right. A group of three friends talking at an ice-cream bar. One of them, Ben, is wearing an employees uniform, and is on break. Steve and Jenny are sitting on a bench, and Ben is sitting on the table.)
Jenny: Hey, where are you guys going for winter break?
Ben: No where.
Jenny: That means we can stay together for the whole break.
Ben, laughing lightly and putting his face near Jenny’s: I’d like that.
Steve: Oh save it for when you’re alone. I’m going to Bermuda.
Ben: You are such a kill-joy!
Jenny: Bermuda? In the winter? That’s cool.
Steve: My foster parents demanded it. It was terribly annoying.
Ben: Sooo over-rated. We were going to beat the Portal 3 demo my uncle gave me.
Steve: Okay. Now I’m seriously pissed. I wanna play it!!! My god, I loved Portal.
Ben: Same, but the second was over-rated, since we already learned the cake was a lie.
Steve: Damn cake.
Jenny: You guys bore me with your useless video games.
Steve: They are not useless, and they not video games.
Ben: They are a sport!
(Ben and Steve preform a Bro-hug.)
Steve: Damn right.
Jenny: My god! You two will destroy the world some day.
Ben: I can only wish. Then I’ll make you the queen of hell.
Jenny: That doesn’t sound like a good thing.
Steve: It will be.
(Steve and Ben make ominous ghost like sounds.)
Jenny (Ben and Steve pause, as if frozen in time, the next said monologue is what is in Jenny’s mind): This one is Ben, and that one’s Steve. They’ve been best friends forever. Best friends. They are inseparable! In-frickin-seperable! How did I get into the equation? Steve left for two months during the fourth grade. I started dating Ben then. We haven’t broken up or argued or…much after that. Like…. after the elementary school days we started going on dates and kissing, and in high school, we did stuff normal high school couples do, but other than that, we’ve been good friends, one no different from the other. I think of Steve exactly like Ben, but I’m not dating him. They are so similar, except for their looks, you could swear they were twins. I guess I should say something about myself….Well, I’m like any other high school girl. I’m on a diet. I love those vampire romance novels. I love shopping. I love parties. Shorts that go to your knees should be considered capris. I love horoscopes. I spend way to much time on social networking sites than healthy. Why am I not the most popular girl in the story? Ben and Steve. They and their geeky-ness held me back. If I ever said it aloud, they would stand up for each other, but we’ve always known. I could be a real captain-of-the-cheer-squad if it were not for them. But, I’ve grown up with them. I love both of them so much. I don’t care if they hold me back, I would rather be a geek than not have both of them.
Ben: Bermuda, huh? Man, it’ll be the first time we were apart since the fourth grade.
Steve: I think we weren’t in the same class last year.
Ben: We had the same Math class.
Steve: You failed that year, right?
Ben: Me—failed math? You’ve gotta be kidding. It musta been you.
Steve: Now you’re insane!
Jenny: Both of you failed because you talked so much.
Ben: Never mention that again. It must never be spoken of.
Steve: I’ll never get into college.
Ben: I failed lunch that year too!
Steve: And gym!
Ben and Steve: My god, the memories!
Jenny: It was the fourth grade, my little freaks. No one is going to care.
Ben: Ivy League Universities, Ivy League Universities!
(Suddenly, Ben and Steve’s faked anger goes away and they start cracking up.)
Jenny: You two are evil!
Ben: Love you too, Jenny. Love you too.
Jenny: Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with you two.
Steve: You cannot get enough of our amazing geeky improv, we are here all week.
Ben: We should charge.
Steve: We should.
Jenny: Oh, get over yourselves.
Steve, to the audience:Yeah, the two of them are amazing aren’t they? I swear, they could argue for days. They could also giggle at each other and half kiss like they’re in a stupid fake romance novel for years. It’s painful. I mean, have you ever tried having your two only friends dating? It’s like, you don’t exist. That’s why I always try to cut into their conversations, and keep Ben. See, Ben was my friend since forever; forever forever. Like way back in cavemen times. I can imagine me and him as cavemen: “Ben Ogg, look at this. It’s a circle, but it spins.” “That’s a stupid idea, Steve Ogg, and it will never sell.” “Oh well.” I mean, it could so happen. And PS. Everyone knows in caveman times, everyone’s last name was Ogg. I was on the Neanderthals’ side, though. I guess Ben and I have always had a natural born talent for always thinking the same thing. It’s kinda perfect. I don’t have that with Jens though. I just don’t have it. She’s amazing, the only friend that I have of the female sex, and life wouldn’t be the same without her, but we just don’t mix. I could never measure up to Ben by her standards. She thinks I think too fast, and she can’t keep up with me, in which I find quite pointless and stupid. (Turns around, and returns to scene, then turns back, and he remembers on more thing to say. ) Oh yeah. If Ben were to leave for some odd reason, like, he gets abducted by a strange video game character and gets carried away into a fictional world, Jens and I might never speak to each other again. If Jens were to leave, it would be like it always has been. The way I liked it. And, if I left, well, they would get along just fine.
Ben: Get over ourselves? Meaning, physically jumping over each other? Okay, Steve, you get into the smallest position you can.
(Steve shrinks down into a small ball, and Ben backs up, acting as if he will jump over Steve. Jenny interrupts their destructive game.)
Jenny: Oh, you two stop it. I already know how literal you can take things.
Steve, to Ben: Shall we act on that?
Jenny: I can hear you, you know.
Ben and Steve: Who?
Ben: They’re…odd together aren’t they? Likein all those famous romances where the strongly important point is forgotten, that the girl is already involved. It happens in practically every love story. Romeo and Juliet. Tristan and Isolde. I don’t wanna be that guys that’s, like, keeping them apart….It’s strange. Jenny and I are dating. Like, whatever that means in high school terms. I like her. Like, like like her. She’s the only 3D girl I feel alright speaking to. If you couldn’t figure it out, I’m the perfect match for a 2D poster, like all the other amazing nerds such as me out there, but nerds that aren’t that smart. So, on this forum I was on, we had a long convo about this. A nerd is a socially awkward, extremely smart individual. A geek is a socially awkward, not that smart individual. A dork is a mildly socially awkward stupid individual. I would be put in the geek genre or that, I’m no Einstein. Steve is a geek, but also like preppy. Oh yeah, a preppy is a popular and smart individual. Oh, dammit, I forgot! I’m not supposed to use the word individual. That would mean it would not count siamese twins! I’m sure, somewhere out there, there is a dorky pair of siamese twins! Oh, if you wanted to know, Jenny is straight out adorkable. You know, a dork, but in the most adorable way possible? She’s just so…I dunno. I could go on and on. I’ll stop before I get to Grand Theft Auto. I could go on for years and years about that.
Jenny: …Okay. I give up. I got nothing. Both of your stunning wits have beaten me from all of my comebacks. Now just stop! I wanted to plan some day we could all talk over break.
Steve: I dunno if Bermuda has internet. Does the Bermuda triangle mess up the internet?
Ben: The Bermuda triangle is in Bermuda?
Steve: Yeah. It is.
Ben: Oh. My. Assassins’ Creed. I’ve always wanted to go the Bermuda triangle!! Take me with you!
Steve, medieval, old-timey, comical: Oh, Benjamin, do not worry, I shall return as fast as I can, so I may be back by your side.
Ben: No, the Triangle will kill you!
Jenny: The evil triangle!
Steve: Ahhh! The gruesome three sided shape of wrathhhhhhh.
(Lights slowly fade on them laughing, making large hand movements, and enjoying each other’s company.)
(Ben and Jenny are sitting on the platform.)
Jenny: Hey, what’s up?
Ben: Nothing much. The homework has been really easy lately. Also, lunch was so lonely today.
Jenny: I’m sorry! I had a club meeting!
Ben: Suuure. I had to eat all alone in a corner and it was sad and depressing. I blame you!
Jenny: Where was Steve?
Ben: I thought he was in Geography club with you.
Jenny: Yeah, but I thought he skipped.
Ben: He was sick this past week, maybe he’s still out.
Jenny: He’s been sick?
Ben: Wow…you didn’t notice him being sick for the past week?
Jenny: I’m bad at noticing stuff like this! It’s our first week back from winter break, give me some slack.
Ben: Yeah, I suppose he may just be fed up with sports and stuff.
Jenny: Just like him.
Ben: Well, wanna get some ice cream?
Jenny: Are you kidding? It’s freezing out.
Jenny: Of course.
(Ben and Jenny cross to the ice-cream parlor.)
Jenny, looking at the sign: You wanna split a Banana Split?
Ben: Yeah, but remember…
Jenny: No nuts. You’re allergic, I know. Don’t make me jealous of it.
Ben: That’s nothing to be jealous of, Jens.
Jenny: I told you not to call me that!
Ben: Steve does.
Jenny: That’s different.
Ben: Oh, is it?
(An awkward silence develops. They, unknowing of what to do next, shuffle over to the table and sit in chairs.)
Ben: You know, I can sorta understand why he went missing.
Jenny: Don’t say that.
Ben: Fine then, I can sorta understand why he isn’t here.
Ben: The two of us all, well, you know, in love, and him on the outside. It would be like…if Athos and Aramis got together or something. Then Porthos would be all alone.
Jenny: Okay, I dunno what you are thinking and, I’m pretty sure none of the musketeers are gay, but then wouldn’t Porthos have D’Artagnan?
Ben: Yeah. But, I wonder who Steve’s D’Artagnan is.
Jenny: I can’t image Steve dating anyone. It’d be sad.
Ben, offended on Steve’s behalf: Why?
Jenny: Not that. He’d ignore us. And like, then we couldn’t be the Terrible Threesome, but the Dynamic Duo, and I never liked the word dynamic.
Ben: That’s a terrible reason to not want him dating.
Jenny: Fine. Still, it would be tragic for him to get a girlfriend.
Ben, pouting: You sound like you’ve got a crush on him. You always do.
Jenny: Haha. I do not.
Ben, angrily: Yes, you do. You’re always letting him treat you differently from the way I do. God, it’s so annoying. If you like him so much, why did you agree to date me.
Jenny: Ben~ny, let’s not do this now. Not here. Calm down.
Ben: Jenny, I think we should run away.
Jenny: Ben, you’ve wanted to do that since we got together.
Ben: It’s always been my greatest dream to pick the one girl I can truly love in life, then buy a cheap car, I don’t care how nice it is, and drive somewhere better. Maybe Canada. No, that may be even more boring than here, if that’s possible. I know. The city, the one over the river, the mountains, and that field. The one that’s just far enough away, that you can’t walk there. The one that’s just positioned so you can see it taunting you, but you know you can never reach it with your bare hands. You need a car and a girlfriend, then you can escape to that wonderful world of lights. I would do anything to get us to leave this town. Anything.
Jenny: Don’t say that, deary.
Ben: I would.
Jenny: What would Steve say if he heard that?
Ben: What would he care? He’s missing anyway.
Jenny: I told you not to say that! What if you jinx it, and he does go missing?
Ben: Or kidnapped? Or murdered? Or raped?
Jenny: Stop, Ben!
Ben: Or abducted by aliens?! I’m joking. Those things could never happen. Well, it could be exciting. Better than anything that ever happened in this town. It would be quite exciting to find the criminal! This town could get on a map for that.
Jenny: You’re sick.
Ben: So I’m told. (A chill goes down his spine.) It’s getting cold…My house or yours?
Jenny: Not tonight, Ben. I’ve got a test tomorrow.
Ben: Let’s skip.
Ben: C’mon Jenny…
Jenny: Okay, fine. Let’s go.
(They start walking Downstage right. Laughing, holding hands, and completely infatuated with the other.
A cell phone rings.)
Ben: Was that mine or yours?
Jenny: Mine. Oh, man, it’s from my mom, wait, this’ll just be a sec.
Ben: Alright sweetie.
Jenny: Hello? What do you need?…Wait, I can’t make out what you’re saying…Mom, slow down! Yes, yes, of course I’m alright. I’m out with Ben. What is so bad about being with Ben? I’m dating him, mom…that’s sorta expected.
(Jenny stops walking suddenly.)
Wait. WHAT? Steve’s? The lake? My god…Oh my god. Oh my god. Yes, yes, I’ll be home as soon as I can. I’m not going to run away….Ben has been with me all night. (Sobbing softly.) I’m going to explain to him what happened, and be home soon. Don’t worry, Mommy. I love you too.
Ben: What was that about.
Jenny: Apparently, Steve’s parents filed in a missing report after they found his shoe in the lake.
Ben: What? But…
Jenny: God… (Jenny looks down at her phone. She dials a number. And waits. Ben shuffles around, lost. We see Jenny push a button and then speak into the phone.) Steve…It’s me, Jens. This is going to sound stupid, but where are you? Where have you been all week? God, Steve, please don’t be dead. Steve… Call me back as soon as possible. You can’t just…leave like this. You can’t.
(Jenny slowly hangs up, and puts her phone in her pocket.)
Ben: Jenny? Do you really think he’s dead?
Jenny: He’s got to be.
Ben: No way. No way. If he was dead…he just couldn’t be. That only happens in video games and stuff.
Jenny: Is that all you talk about?! Your best friend is probably dead and thats what you think?
Ben: He’s not dead!
Jenny: He is! He is!
Ben: Don’t say that!
Jenny: He’s dead.
Ben: I told you not to say that! We don’t know! As far as we know I could’ve killed him! We don’t have enough informa-
Jenny: Yeah, that’s probably it! You killed him!
Jenny: That’s it, that’s it! You killed him! You killed your only friend since the beginning of time!
Ben: I thought you and me were friends.
Jenny: We were. You aren’t going to kill me, though.
Ben: I didn’t kill anyone! You are insane!
Jenny: You murderer.
Ben: Why don’t you go home and get a good night sleep, then we can talk about this when you are…better.
Jenny: Maybe I will!
Ben: Maybe you should!
(Jenny stomps off stage, and Ben pauses on stage, lingers so a moment, then storms off in the other direction.)
(Jenny is sitting in one of the chairs. Ben enters, wandering around.)
Ben: Jenny, is that you?
Jenny, turning away: Ben…
Ben: I don’t understand. Why are you avoiding me? We were supposed to meet days ago.
Jenny: You killed your best friend.
Ben: I’m not a murderer! I didn’t kill anyone, and I’m not planning to either. Anyway, how can you prove that he’s dead? His parents just filed the missing report. Gosh, you really know you scared the crap outta me back there?
Jenny: They found his shoe in the lake. You killed him.
Ben: Stop saying that!
Jenny, whimpering: You killed him, you bastard. You killed him. You killed him.
Ben: Shut up! I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t kill him! I’m sorry this can’t be solved as easily you wanted it to be. But, please, Jens. For Steve, calm down.
Jenny: Don’t call me that.
Jenny: Quit your job.
Jenny: I don’t want you working there.
Ben: But they give us a discount on ice-cream.
Jenny: You met Steve there all those years ago, right?
(As the lights fade, Steve crosses.)
(Both are sitting on the bench.)
Jenny: Oh, Steve, you don’t understand just how must I really missed you. You’re back! I was crying for such a long time. Ben kept joking around about you dying, it was so cruel.
Steve: Benjamin Jacobs, my best friend since the third grade. If I am not mistaken, you are currently in a romantic relationship with him.
Jenny: Oh, Steve, you sound jealous. Don’t worry, I’ll be your friend forever.
Steve: What about when you die?
Jenny: Hey, you’re older. You’ll die first.
Steve: Are you so sure of that?
Jenny: Haha, you sound just like Ben.
Steve: Benjamin Jacobs, my best friend since the—
Jenny: Hey, Steve, did you hit your head when you were gone?
Steve: My cranium has suffered no damage.
Steve: That took you 75.03472% longer than normal. For what reason?
Jenny: No reason.
Steve: Following from previous experiments, it has been concluded that exact response means the opposite, meaning that there is a reason, in which I shall be relentless to discover the reason.
Jenny: I can’t speak flawlessly, Steve.
Jenny: You’re impossible to talk to.
Jenny: I’m worried about you.
Jenny: Did you suffer amnesia?
Jenny: Damn you, Steven McSandrall.
Steve: Salutations, Jennifer Smith.
(Jenny spends a few moments just staring at Steve, then promptly leaves. Steve does not even look her way when she moves.)
(Ben is sitting around on the platform, as Steve crosses, Ben rushes to him.)
Ben: Steve, there you are!
Steve: Salutations, Benjamin Jacobs.
Ben: Did you do the Latin homework last night? We used to always do it together, but after you were missing I’ve been so lost! I was out with Jenny, and had no time to.
Steve: Affirmative, I did do the Latin. Who?
Steve: I don’t compute.
Ben: Haha, cut it out with the robot act. Please, please, please, please. Let my copy.
Ben, flipping to back of book, unnoticed by Steve: I don’t get this sentence at all.
Steve: It translates to: “The flowers are not made to produce bread, therefore af–”
Ben: We haven’t learned that yet, how do you know it?
Steve: It translates to–
Ben: Steve, that makes no sense. Answer my question.
Steve: You asked a question?
Ben: What’s wrong with you?
Steve, looking around: Who?
Steve: What me?
Ben: Steve, what is wrong with you?!
Ben: Steven McSandrall, what the hell is wrong with you?
Steve: Nothing. I am perfectly physically healthy.
Steve, in a British Accent: I am not mental.
Steve: You are making absolutely no sense, Benjamin Jacobs.
Ben: I’m the one that’s making no sense, huh?
(Ben lies behind the platform, so you cannot see him. Steve leaves.)
(Ben has just obtained a Banana Split from the ice-cream store, and sits down on the table, while Jenny sits on the chair. There is a moment as they stare at the Banana Split.)
Jenny: Ben, have you spoken to Steve?
Ben: You mean Steven McSandrall?
Jenny: You know what’s wrong with him? He’s like a robot. Or amnesiac. Or abducted by aliens.
Ben: Haha, now whose’s making bad assumptions about our friend.
Jenny: No really!
Ben: He’s a bit like an NPC. Like, he will only answer previously programmed questions. And only knows your full name.
Jenny: What’s an NPC?
Ben: Like, in a video game, the person that tells you your missions and stuff, or the enemy, or their boss. It’s normally used for MMORPGs but-
Ben: Mass-Multiplayer-Online-Roleplay-Games. Like…Dungeons & Dragons or World or Warcraft. Normally used in MMORPGs, but you can see them in any RPG-
Ben: You make it sound sexual when you say it like that!
Jenny: I don’t even have to say it in a certain way. It’s your dirty games.
Ben: So, it just reminds me of an NPC.
Jenny: Well, I like aliens better.
Jenny: Benny, do you still want to run away?
Ben: I dunno how our NPC will do without us.
Jenny: Haha! I bet our alien wouldn’t even notice.
Ben: Who knows, maybe he would. Then he would get his secret team of NPCs to punish our souls. It would suck.
Jenny: You know, before I thought you and I couldn’t survive without Steve. We were just…the perfect group. Together, I felt like we could do anything. If one left, it would be terrible.
Ben: Yeah. In was great in the good old days, right?
Jenny: Yeah. It’s not as bad as I thought, though. I feel like there’s a part of him still living inside both of us.
Ben: Now you sound like you are from a bad children’s movie. “No, we can save the princess….just believe in the power of friendship!”
Jenny: Oh, God, Ben, please. Take this seriously.
Ben: Okay, okay. I guess I sorta understand.
Ben:…that you watch way too many kids movies.
Jenny: I don’t know what I’m gonna do with you.
Ben: I know what I’m gonna do with you.
(They kiss. Lights down.)
(Steve begins to cross stage, then gets blocked off by Ben and Jenny who are blocking that path from him.)
Steve: What is going on here?
Ben: Steven McSandrall, we are having an intervention.
Steve: There are only the two of you.
Jenny: I told you he would notice.
Ben: Oh, it was worth a try.
Jenny: I guess it’s still sorta an intervention with only the two of us. Still, I should’ve gotten my mom to come.
Steve: What are you two talking about?
Jenny: Steven McSandrall, you need to understand that you are not yourself. We wanna know what happened while you were missing.
Steve: That information is confidential.
Ben: Oh, get over the act, Steve! Act like your normal self. I didn’t even think you knew what the word “confidential” meant! Now you’re acting like such a know-it-all. Why aren’t you yourself?
Steve: That makes no sense. How can I not be myself? I do not compute.
Ben: Act like you normally do! I don’t want some type of LARPer on steroids! I just want my friend back!
Steve: I do not believe that your friend was ever taken away. Besides that point, there is no trace in my database of the abbreviation L-A-R-P.
Ben taking Steve’s collar: That doesn’t matter! Steve, what the hell is wrong with you? You make no sense no matter how clear we say something. You make us use full names always. You know things we haven’t learned. I’m not letting you go until you tell me what’s going on.
Steve: I do not compute.
Ben: Tell. Me.
Steve: I do not compute.
Jenny: Ben, stop n—
Ben: Stay out of this.
(Steve punches Ben, Ben releases Steve.)
Ben: Why, you….
(Steve and Ben start fighting, while Jenny is ad-libbing telling them to stop.
Suddenly, Steve stiffens and walks away.)
Ben and Jenny: What?
(Throughout the next described time, Jenny and Ben at first at creeping behind Steve and whispering, but, realizing that he’s not going to notice them, and if he already has, is ignoring them, start walking normally and speaking regularly. Steve should be standing up very straight and walking very stiffly.)
Jenny: Where do you think he’s going?
Ben: I’ve got no idea.
Jenny: Why are we following him?
Ben: Hell if I know. Do you think our Steve, the real Steve, is dead?
Jenny:…That is the real Steve.
Ben: You read too much literature. You are over-thinking this. Steve is dead.
Jenny: Then who is front of us?
Ben: Who knows?
Jenny: It could be anyone.
Ben: No, it couldn’t. Not everyone looks like Steve.
Jenny: Maybe he’s got a twin.
Ben: That sounds correct.
Jenny: No, it doesn’t, what am I saying? Something has happened to Steve.
Jenny: Do you believe in monsters?
Jenny: I do.
Ben: They don’t exist.
Jenny: Steve has been taken over by ghouls.
Ben: That’s a completely invalid idea! Ghosts don’t exist! They were made up by humans to explain the unexplainable.
Jenny: This is the unexplainable.
Ben: I don’t understand.
Jenny: I need to do some research.
Ben: Ghosts don’t exist.
(At the past line, which was said at a normal level, Steve turns around. He smirks, and might even chuckle a bit. Ben and Jenny run in the opposite direction.)
(Jenny sits on the platform with about seven large books.)
Jenny: Werewolves…. “Under the light of the full moon, the werewolf transforms into a wolf….Their weakness is silver bullets…are not conscious when in wolf form….Romulus and Remus…Unlike other beasts, werewolves are through bloodline.” Then I don’t need to know! Zombies…. “The undead humans that shuffle around our earth, searching for human cerebral matter to consume….in their appearance, their bodies are rotten, which makes them differ in appearance….Anyone can become a zombie after death.” Steve isn’t stupid! Faeries….I don’t even need to look at that. Witches… “Witches do have the power of possession…a ritual would need to be completed by a young female that is understandably close to the possessed.” I’m the only girl that’s close enough for that to happen! Vampires…. “Undead life forms that are believed to get their powers from humans’ blood….transform into bats…can fly…Dracula…Can’t touch sunlight, are terrified of the crucifix….cannot stand garlic…Vlad the Impaler….”Ugh…this book is wrong….everyone knows vampires are sexy! …Not Steve. Oh, god, Steve…What’s happened to you? I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I cannot believe it! Steve…why the hell did you have to go and get yourself….Gotten! There was…more. More. So much more in life. So much more potential for us….I’m actually looking through mythology books to find what type of beast my best friend is! I’m terrible. I’m terrible. You’re terrible, Steve. You’re terrible. Last of all…Demons. “Any type of evil beast that may roam the earth. Not any of the previously listen, yet all of them. A beast that will truly strike fear in your heart. Unless God loves you, you are dead within seconds of meeting such a deathly beast. Do not encounter at all costs.” Oh, shit…..
(She quickly gathers the books together, and rushes offstage)
(Ben lies on the platform looking up at the sky. He reaches his arms up, trying to obtain something that is not there.)
Ben: Aliens and NPCs. Games and Real Life. Jennys and Bens. Steves and….Steven McSandralls. Fantasies and Realities. Lives and Deaths. Loves and Hatreds. Monsters and Angels. I can’t tell the difference anymore. Steve…Steven McSandrall…What’s happened? Dude, I don’t get it. It just….doesn’t work. Not at all. Like…You could be anything. You could be…a monster. You could be….an angel. You could be…an alien. You could be me. You could be Jenny. You could be…anyone. Anyone but everyone. Everyone but anyone….Ugh!(He drops his arms) I sound like an entire idiot! A madman! The village idiot in every RPG that spouts out nonsense that at some point in the story comes to be vital, but they’ve already killed him for one less mouth to feed, and you forget it by that time because no one cared! At least it means that my nonsense is meaningful. It also means that I’ll die….I always played the hero, the exceptionally handsome elf knight that battles the demons and saves the hot sorceress! If only this was just a game. An insanely advanced MMORPG. It could work out like that! I could imagine the little village boy, handing a dirtied newspaper to a high-class citizen. (He sits up suddenly, and acts the part.)“Paper, Paper, Read all about it! Elf Knight kills the enemy general and becomes king!” It would be perfect. (He rises to his feet) It would all work out. I could beat it easily….Ugh, why can’t it be that easy? Or maybe…it would be a game I just can’t get into. It’s just too hard…no, I just cannot merely fathom what is going on! Yeah, it would be that. But, that makes no sense! I can normally sense that I don’t understand it. I stop playing within minutes of starting. Does that mean my life is gonna be short? Oh, God, Steve! Where are you? Man….I don’t understand. (Ben wanders offstage, now his thought entirely in his head.)
(Ben is sitting on the platform. He should tap his foot or use some movement to show he is waiting. When Jenny enters, he rises.)
Jenny: Ben! (hugs Ben)
Jenny: Don’t call me-
Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought real long and hard about Steve.
Jenny: I did a bit of research, and finally came up with an answer: Steve is a demon.
Ben: What? A demon? I told you not to get into the occult, Jens.
Jenny: Don’t call me that. Anyway, he needs to be. He’s got to be. I used trial and error! It’s the only possible answer!
Ben: From what civilization?
Jenny: Well…I didn’t think that over….
Ben: Jenny, this is serious! We need to think this over in every way! No jumping to conclusions!
Jenny: I am not jumping to conclusions!
Ben: You think our best friend has been possessed by demons!
Jenny: It’s a valid explanation for all this that’s going on!
Ben: It’s crazy! I won’t accept that! Steve is the only guy I’ve got, Jenny! If you haven’t noticed, other than you two, I don’t have any friends I know IRL!
Jenny: You always said that we were all you needed!
Ben: Yeah, but…
Jenny: Are you doubting me, Ben? Are you doubting your girlfriend? You’ve always been whispering in my ear “You’re all I really need, Jenny.” But, now…
Ben: I took Steve for granted! I never noticed how much I needed him! But I need him!
Jenny: What about running away, Ben? Your car and your girl, Ben. I dunno if I can’t speak, but last time I checked, Steve wasn’t part of that plan!
Ben: I don’t know, Jenny! Please don’t pester me!
Jenny: Oh so now I’m pestering you? A pest am I? Maybe we should break up, then!
Ben: Oh, God, Jenny, don’t do this to me! You know I’m not good with people! I can’t loose you!
Jenny: Ben, I cannot understand you! One second you scream at me, the next minute you love me! What the hell am I supposed to do, Ben! You are just too much for me to handle!
Ben: Jenny, please don’t…
Jenny: And one more thing, Ben. If he hasn’t been possessed by demons, then what has happened?!
Ben: I can’t argue anymore. Please, Jennifer.
Jenny, suddenly nicer: Ben, don’t lose yourself. You never call be by my full name.
Ben: Shut up.
Jenny: What? Ben, what’s happened?
Ben, scared, frightened to an impossible state: Shut up!
Jenny: I take it back. Ben, I understand you never talk to people, so just calm–
Ben: SHUT UP!
(Ben crunches up into a full on fetal position, and crushes his hands over his ears. Jenny shakes him. She screams and at, finally she, in a rage of anger, gives up, and kicks him, she exits. After a few moments, Ben uncovers his ears, and looks after her. He looks down, at his hands, then dashes offstage in the other direction.)
(Enter Jenny stage right. Steve and Ben stage Left.)
Jenny: Steve! I’ve wanted to see you! I’ve wanted to talk to you!
Ben: Steve McSandrall.
Jenny: Ben, great you too!
Ben: Yeah, I’m here too. Along with Steve McSandrall.
Jenny: Oh gosh, Steve-
Ben: Steven McSandrall.
Jenny: -this may hurt a bit, so watch it bef– (Jenny throws a crucifix at Steve. Steve catches the crucifix.)
Ben: You didn’t actually think anything was going to happen, did you?
Jenny: It was worth a try.
Steve: I do not compute.
Jenny: Of course.
Ben: I think that she thought that you were a vampire, Steven McSandrall.
Steve: A beast that uses human blood as a nutrient?
Steve: I was correct in being confused?
Ben: You confusion was entirely justified.
Jenny: Ben, what happened?
Ben: Whatever do you mean?
Jenny: Ben, dude. Seriously, stop trying to act like that. It just doesn’t work.
Ben: It’s not entirely and act.
Jenny: Oh, man, I’ve lost you too?
Ben: I’m right here. And I always will be. Until the end of time.
Jenny: Steve, why aren’t you popping up in this conversation?
Ben: Yeah, Steve, what’s up?
Ben: Steven McSandrall?
Ben, happily: Mm-hmm. That good old Steven McSandrall for ya!
Ben: Well, if Ben is going to be like this, why should we not accept it? It’s the only way to keep our friendship intact. However he acts, whatever happened to him, he is still Steven McSandrall.
Jenny: Don’t give in to him, Ben!
Ben: Why? He is my best and only friend. Exit.
Jenny: ... That really hurt, Ben.
(The following scene is a dream. It should be played with entire evil intent, and the situation should be seemingly impossible.You see Jenny lying down sleeping. Ben enters along with Steve.)
Steve: Ben, isn’t this hilarious!? Jenny is falling completely into our trap!
Ben: I know! I’ve always adored that look on someone’s face when they get pranked!
Steve: Well, my buddy, this is going to be the mothership of pranks! We should get into a record book for this!
Ben: I cannot believe she is actually falling for this. It’s hilarious! Oh my gosh, she’s so gullible and stupid!
Steve: Well, I’m sure she’ll hate our guts after this!
Ben: Oh, who cares? She’s such a little slut anyway.
Steve: I know, she obviously wants both of us to do her!
Ben: That could be fun.
Steve, laughing, punching Ben’s shoulder: You are cra~azy.
Ben: So, what next?
Steve: I dunno. What would scare her? Terrify her little mind to such an extent that she’ll go insane? Maybe you could go missing and then come back in a couple of days, but all robotic-like.
Ben: Maybe she’ll think I’m an incubus.
Steve: What you? With that face? (Steve pretends to throw up)
Ben: Haha! That could go well, but I am all involved in school. You had to get off anyway for your vacation.
Steve: I think we told her that I was going to come back late. We did, didn’t we?
Ben: I’m sure we did.
Steve: Maybe she’s just too stupid to remember.
Ben: Well, that explains a lot!….But, still, for a simple practical joke, I don’t wanna get a bad grade.
Steve: What’s a bad grade for you? You scream at god when you get a ninety-nine and three-fourths.
Ben: One, I never did believe in god. And two, you would be depressed too. I would rather get a six-six than that.
(At once, the whole feeling of the dream changes. Steve should be absolutely creepy and scary.)
Steve: Ben, I’ve got a great idea. It would totally creep her out of you were dead.
Ben: What? Steve…
(Steve is stepping closer towards Ben, and Ben is backing up. Steve kills Ben, and once Ben is dead, Steve continues to stab him with the knife.)
Steve: You would be better off dead, Ben! Bwahahaha! You can just die! Then maybe Jenny will like me back! I’ll turn into the boyfriend that she always wanted! The one that’s not too much of a coward to take her away and run away from home! The one that isn’t obsessed with his best friend! The one that is good with people! The one that doesn’t pay attention to grades! The one that loves Jenny with all his heart! The perfect boyfriend! Everything you could never be! Everything you were too scared to be! The perfect boyfriend. Not you.
(Jenny screams and sits up. Lights go down on Steve and Ben. All lights down.)
(Ben is eating ice cream and sitting on the bench, or one of the chairs. Jenny enters.)
Jenny: Ben, I had a really creepy dream last night.
Ben: I love dreams. They give away so much about your personality.
Jenny: It really scared me, Ben. It was one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had.
Ben: I’m sure you’re just stressed about your French test.
Jenny: I don’t think it’s that.
Ben: Oh well. I have nightmares too. Tell me what happened in it. I once was playing something where the character had to analyze dreams, so I did some research. Maybe I can analyze yours.
Jenny: No, you would think it was stupid.
Ben: Now, Jens-
Ben: I will. Now, Jens, tell me your dream. It cannot be that stupid.
Jenny: You and Steve were talking about how you were playing a practical joke on me, and how stupid I was. Then Steve killed you.
Ben: That’s intense.
Jenny: This is serious!
Ben: That’s one problem with you, Jenny. Everything for you is too serious.
Jenny: Can I have a hug?
Ben: Ah…you said we broke up.
Jenny: No! I didn’t mean that.
Ben: Oh, come now, Jens. Everyone knows you love Steven McSandrall.
Jenny: I could never love that…that monster.
Ben: How can you call your best friend a monster?!
Jenny: That is not my best friend. Anyway, Ben, I love you.
Ben, not wanting to, but being affected by Jenny’s words: Jens. You need to understand. I’m not good at taking care of myself. Before I had the two of you. Then I only had you. Then you broke up with me. I couldn’t take that. So, I sided with Steve. I’ve talked to NPC’s in games before. It’s just like that. Simple enough.
Jenny: Ben, don’t side with him.
Ben: I love you, Jenny. But I also love Steve. We were best friends long before we met you. I’m sure that now, when you leave us, we will still be best friends.
Jenny: Ben, what lies has Steve been spouting to you?
Ben: I hear no evil.
(Jenny struggles with her feelings for a bit, then leaves. Ben continues to eat.)
(Enter Jenny, who is walking down the street. She stops by the ice cream shop, and picks up an ice-cream. When she spots Steve and Ben crossing, she sits down on the ground, invisible to them.)
Ben: Oh, back to the lake. You really like going there, right?
Ben, waving his hand in front of Steve’s face: Ugh, he’s really gone, isn’t he? Dammit! Alright, I’ll help. You know, Steve, today, Jenny told me she loved me. Crazy isn’t it? First I love her, then she loves me, and we are together, then she hates me, and I love her. Then I hate her back. Then she loves me. Seems never-ending, right? Haha! We know it’s not, right, buddy? Some day, I’ll get a good girl, and we’ll marry and all that crap. Jenny isn’t my whole life. I still got a bit ahead of me, if I’m not mistaken. Another thing about Jens, half time, I think she’s delusional! Well, with you storming off to the lake robotically, I can’t say much, but Jens got some problems. She actually convinced herself that you are possessed by a demon! Isn’t that fresh? But, you know, it’s something like that that just…annoys me about that. She’s just so…normal. So ordinary. Ordinary kids like her could never be anything dramatic in life. We’ll go farther on without her, right? Without her, we could get big. (Jenny reacts strongly to this, still remaining silent.)We could be in the movies. That’s another bit about her. Watching too many movies. Ha, I wonder what genre this would be under if it was a movie? …. Oh yeah, you’re not going to answer. Maybe…Horror? Nah, only for Jens and her over normal teenage ideas. Possibly Romance? Nah, they why would you be here? Anyway, we can’t have Jens having what she wants making it. It’s not Action, there ain’t no fighting! I hope not Drama. I hate drama movies. Remember when you and me went the the theater to make fun of “It’s Been A Long Time Since You’ve Gone”?. And the usher guy thought we were a gay couple, and tried to kick us out? Oh man, that was funny. Then you, who were on the Gay Rights Club started asking why we should be kicked out, while I tried to convince him that I was straight a line. Oh man, that was hilarious! (Laughs for a long time, then realizes he is not convincing himself.) I wonder if something like that’ll ever happen again. I doubt it. You aren’t into joking around like that, are ya? Nah, you pay attention to living! I think that’s a good way to go about life! Care about surviving, not nothing else. Here it is. The lake. Have a blast.
(Steve dives perfectly off the edge of the stage, and lies down on his back in the aisles. Ben takes his shoes off and sits with his feet hanging off the stage.)
This…you are my savior, Steven McSandrall. My saviour. Without you, I would live the same life I always have. I would grow up to be the nerd that I am today. A life of computers, ero-games, and conventions. I desire it so badly. Yet, when I really think about it, you know, way down deep, it’s pointless. I’ll be living my life in a crappy apartment loaded with empty ramen containers and pocky boxes. Nah, no geek has ever wanted that. A geek….a geek wants to go on an adventure. Hell, a geek doesn’t care if they die or not, they just wanna go on an adventure. It needs to be something special. Something outta the ordinary. I wanna be a superhero. Discover I’m a wizard. Find out my mother is half demon. Date a witch. Get bitten by a vampire. Do anything but live this goddamned life I’ve been forced to survive! It’s painful! But, then you changed, Steven McSandrall. You changed. You’ve become a cartoon character. Right out of a video game. An anime character come to life. It’s amazing! It’s mysterious, it’s deadly, and it’s what I’ve always wanted. You know, Jenny had a dream about me dying. Creepy isn’t it? After you’ve changed my life, showed me that there is hope in the supernatural, I can die a happy death. These games I play, they heighten my standards for the world. It should be something more. But it isn’t. When I really go out into the world, it’ll be bland. Nothing. Too bad for me, because everything I ever thought about the world will be a lie. (Ben stays still for a couple of moments, then slowly stand, and jumps of the stage, symbolizing jumping into the water.) Come on. Get outta there. (He then, swimming the way there, moves to Steve’s body, and grips onto his shirt. He pulls Steve’s body, but then sees that he is too heavy to pull from under the water. Ben then stands up, and ‘swims’ back to ‘shore’.) Aw, God, Steve. Making me do all the dirty work. (He takes a large breath, then ducks back under. He takes Steve limp body, and puts it on his back, trying to bring him up to surface. He realizes he is not strong enough. Steve’s weight is to much for him.)
Jenny:(seeing what is going on underwater) Ben!
(Ben does not hear her. He tries to rise up for another breath, struggling. He fights against Steve’s weight and the need to breathe. He cannot rise up. Slowly, Steve drowns.)
Jenny: Ben! Ben!! God, why can’t I swim!! (Jenny begins to take off her jacket, and jump in after them. She stops dead in her tracks as she gets to the edge of the apron.) I wonder…you two have always been what’s holding me back. You two were trying to trick me. Oh, yes, it’s obvious you’re just playing the practical joke on me. Go ahead, pop up laugh. I know the way you do it. Come up to the top and tell me that it was all a joke! Tell me, dammit! (Jenny slaps the water in anger.) You, know. Maybe it would be better if you did die. God! I’ve done everything to make you guys normal! Everything! Now you don’t even want to be normal!? Who doesn’t want to be like everybody else! Just like me for being normal! Haha. That right. You two can die for all I care. Yes! You should die. Please die! A half-witted romance from the fourth grade, oh please, it was stupid from the very beginning! Your deaths are saving me from a black-hole of misery called being an adult geek! You could’ve been perfectly normal, but you gave it up! Dammit! Oh, thank you Grim Reaper, you’ve saved me! I can live a free life now! No more geeks, no more bad boyfriends, no more bullying against me, no more practical jokes, no more abnormal! I will survive! (Jenny turns around and, chuckling, walks up stage. She chants, first counting on her fingers) No more geeks, no more bad boyfriends, no more bullying against me. (Now fully convinced in herself) No more geeks. No more bad boyfriends. No more bullying against me. No more geeks. NO MORE ABNORMAL! No more… (Jenny stops at the table. The ice cream sits alone. She realizes that the only friends she has have are not what she knows of them.) No more ice cream. (She spends one sad moment looking at the ice-cream. Then in a rage of anger, she hits it out the way. She does not look back again.
Meanwhile, Steve throws Ben off of him, and gets from the water, dragging Ben along with him. As Jenny leaves stage, he is getting out of the water. Jenny does not see him. He puts Ben by the stage, and goes over to Jenny. He looks back on Ben, then shakes an idea from his mind and runs after Jenny, who has now left.)
(He touches his lips, amazed that he could say his friends nickname. He is back as his glorious, abnormal self. As he walks after her, he get distracted by the ice-cream on the floor. He picks it up carefully, trying to scoop it up back into the cup, and stands up back up onto the table. He then rushes after Jenny and offstage.)
(The ice cream, messy, but still whole and in its container, sits on the table for a second. Lights down.)
Age 13, Grade 8,
The Dalton School