Jefferson Navicky

 

A Road That Happened to Be Broken
 

Cast of Characters

Racine:    Reggie’s wife

Reggie:    The birthday boy

Gogol:       Reggie’s friend

 

Scene
Reggie and Racine’s apartment


Time
present

 

REGGIE
   You gonna get a piece from him?
RACINE
   Naw I’m gonna switch it out, and get one from Bernard
   King.
REGGIE
   You going to Bernard? You going to the King?
RACINE
   Why not? If you going to get a piece, you might as well
   go to the King, right?
REGGIE
   Yeah, but man, it’s Bernard King you talking about.
RACINE
   Woman. "Yeah, woman." I ain’t your man.
REGGIE
   You certainly ain’t. Wo-man.
RACINE
   It’s your birthday, Reggie. Your birthday. You want
   yourself a nice, fine piece, right?
REGGIE
   I nice, fine piece. That would be nice.
RACINE
   Wouldn’t it now?
REGGIE
   A thing of power. A finely-made machine. Precision
   craftsmanship.
RACINE
   And that’s why I’m going to Bernard King.
REGGIE
   The Bernard King. Damn, the King. You’d do that for me.
   You love me like that?
RACINE
   Yeah, yeah I suppose I do.
REGGIE
   Well, shit. Welllll, shit. Who’da thunk it?
RACINE
   Don’t you go on about it. I’m getting’ your piece for
   you and that’s that. Now you just lie back here and
   relax. Go ahead, lay on down.

 

REGGIE lies down.


REGGIE
   Like this?
RACINE
   Right like that. You just relax and wait. Shit you
   could even fall asleep and when you wake up, there’s a
   good chance I’ll be back with that piece. BEAT. Now you
   just relax them little dogs.

 

RACINE shakes REGGIE’S feet.


RACINE
   And you relax those big ol’ hamhocks, those lovely
   poom-pooms.


RACINE shakes and jiggles his thighs.


RACINE
  And those monster hips of yours. Yeah you just leave’em
   be.

 

RACINE shakes his hips.


RACINE
   And by the time I’m back I’ll wake up your whole body.
REGGIE
   You will?
RACINE
   Don’t you worry about it.
REGGIE
   You tell Mr. King I said hello?
RACINE
   Sure will, sure will. Goodbye, Reggie.
REGGIE
   I love you, Racine.

 

RACINE EXITS.


RACINE (off stage)
   I know you do. Happy Birthday, Regg.


REGGIE fidgets on the floor.
Pause.


GOGOL (off stage, knocking)
   Reggie? Reggie, you in there? I saw your light on from
   the street and I thought you’d be in there.
REGGIE
   I’ma here. Come on in.

 

ENTER GOGOL.


GOGOL
   There you are.
REGGIE
   Oh yeah. I’m here alright.
GOGOL
   Yep, there you are on the floor.
REGGIE
   Sure am.
GOGOL
   Happy birthday, by the way.
REGGIE
   Thank you.
GOGOL
   Thought I’d come by to say that to you.
REGGIE
   Thanks.
GOGOL
   I don’t have any gifts for you or nothing, but I just
   wanted to stop by.
REGGIE
   Beers in the ’fridge.
GOGOL
   Ta. Ta very much. Don’t mind if I do.


GOGOL gets a beer.


GOGOL
   I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why you down there
   on the floor, looking all funny like that?
REGGIE
   I look funny?

GOGOL
   A bit.
REGGIE
   I’m relaxing.
GOGOL
   Ah.
REGGIE
   And I’m waiting for Racine to get back.
GOGOL
   Now I was wondering where she’d got off to. You two
   always so soldiered together at the hip, it’s almost
   like she’s still here. Like I can feel her.
REGGIE
   Well she ain’t.
GOGOL
   Like a phantom limb. You can feel her presence.
REGGIE
   Be nice.
GOGOL
   You know me. BEAT. Where’d Racine get off to anyhow?
REGGIE
   She went over to Bernard King’s to get me a piece, a
   piece for my birthday.
GOGOL
   You don’t say. That’s mighty nice of her. And damn, Mr.
   Bernard King, eh?
REGGIE
   The one.
GOGOL
   The one and only. I sure heard about him.
REGGIE
   Ain’t we all.
GOGOL
   But I never met him.
REGGIE
   Me neither.

GOGOL
   And you ain’t nervous, your Racine going to see Bernard
   King all by herself?
REGGIE
   Nervous, why should I be nervous?
GOGOL
   Bernard King, shit man, he’s a legend. The man can
   score. It’s a thing of beauty.
REGGIE
   Hell we all know he’s got skills. Otherwise he wouldn’t
   be Bernard King.
GOGOL
   He’s got moves. The man expends no extra energy.
   He’s Old School. Before you know it, he’s done it,
   scored again, and ain’t nothing you can do about it.
REGGIE
   What are you saying, Gogol?
GOGOL
   I’m just saying. Ber. Nard. King, man.
REGGIE
   I ain’t worried. I trust Racine. Of course I trust
   Racine.
GOGOL
   Sure.
REGGIE
   I do.
GOGOL
   Of course. I know.
REGGIE
   Bernard King.
GOGOL
   Gettin’ a piece from Bernard Muthafuckin’ King.
REGGIE
   For my birthday.
GOGOL
   Man, I’d be nervous if I was you. I would be, I can’t
   lie ’bout it.

REGGIE
   You would be, huh? He ain’t no god.
GOGOL
   He’s a god to us.
REGGIE
   A god to you.
GOGOL
   To you too, now come on.
REGGIE
   He ain’t no better.
GOGOL
   You know, all my life I try to believe stuff like that.
   Everybody equal. We’re all the same. But shit, man.
   Look around you. You happy? You got enough money, man?
   You living outside the Program?
REGGIE

   I’m doing fine.
GOGOL
   Fine. BEAT. People all my life tell me I ain’t gonna go
   anywhere, and you know what? They damn near right so
   far. I been busting my ass for thirty-nine years and
   what I got to show for it? Goodwill. Subsidies. The
   Program.
REGGIE
   Now don’t go bringing down my birthday, Gogol. I know
   all about that stuff. I’m right there with you, but I
   don’t want to go having a pity party today. I want to
   have a birthday party.
GOGOL
   You’re right. Okay. Cheers, then, buddy. BEAT. Now a
   piece, though, man, with a piece from Bernard King.
   With a piece from Bernard King! Things could change.
REGGIE
   A man can hope.
GOGOL
   He sure as hell can. BEAT. Hey if you don’t mind, I’m
   going climb on down to the floor with you.
REGGIE
   Don’t mind at all. I’m just waiting for my Racine.

GOGOL
   I’ll wait with you. You don’t mind, do you? Glad you
   ain’t worried about all this.
REGGIE
   Yeah.
GOGOL
   You know, the waiting is the hardest part.
REGGIE
   Yeah.

 

They wait.


Waiting.


ENTER RACINE, with a shiny metal case. Something
definitive has changed in her.


GOGOL and REGGIE get up.


REGGIE
   There you are.
RACINE
   Here I am. Hello, Gogol.
GOGOL
   Ms. Racine. Nice to see you.

 

RACINE puts case down.


RACINE
   There it is. I got you your birthday present.
GOGOL
   Heard you was going to get a piece from Bernard King.
RACINE
   And so I did.
REGGIE
   What was it like?
RACINE
   I don’t rightly know. He talks so little, his words
   have a peculiar force.
GOGOL
   Do they now? What he say?

RACINE
   They weren’t worn dull by constant use.
REGGIE
   No, I bet they weren’t.
GOGOL
   Come on, now, what he say?
RACINE
   Not much, really. But he took me with him. Out, way out
   into the country. Me, Mr. King and a bunch of his men.
REGGIE
   How many?
RACINE
   About a dozen. He divided us up into three sleighs and
   we all went out for a ride.
GOGOL
   Sleighs? Like the big things everybody used to pile in
   for hay rides?
RACINE
   That’s right. Soon most of his men were drunk and
   laughing and carrying on something awful, but that part
   didn’t matter so much, we were so far out in the
   country. Then all of a sudden, it got dark, like the
   sky dropped a black veil on us. The wolves are bad out
   there this winter -- we wouldn’t know it here in the
   city, but out there everyone knows. Still when we heard
   the first wolf-cry, the drivers weren’t alarmed. They
   had too much good food and drink inside them. The first
   howls were taken up and echoed with a quickening
   repetition as the wolves came together. There was no
   moon, but the starlight was clear on the snow. A black
   drove came up over the hill behind us. The wolves ran
   like streaks of shadow; they looked no bigger than
   dogs, but it seemed like there were hundreds of them.
   Something happened to the last sleigh; the driver was
   very drunk and lost control. The sleigh caught on a
   clump of trees and overturned. The fleetest of the
   wolves sprang upon them. The shrieks that followed made
   everybody sober.

 

   I was up in the first sleigh with Mr. King, who was
   driving, and two others. The last two drivers stood up
   and lashed their horses. Then the second driver, he
   lost control too. The screams of the horses were more
   terrible to hear than the cries of men. The screams
   drove the wolves harder. We were the last sleigh left.
   It was then Mr. King turned to me and said, we have to

   lighten or we won’t make it. The two other men in our
   sleigh -- they were really just boys no more than
   eighteen -- they were huddled in the back, cowering
   under a blanket. They couldn’t look anywhere but
   between their knees. It was much easier than I thought.
   I knocked one boy easily over the side of the sleigh
   and when the other stood up I threw him after the first
   one. I don’t even remember exactly how I did it, or
   what happened afterward. I don’t even know if Mr. King
   saw what happened. The first thing that I really
   noticed was a new sound that broke into the clear air,
   louder than anything I’ve ever heard before: the bell
   of the church at the outskirts of this here city. BEAT.
   That was when Mr. King gave me this case. He said it
   was mine now. I’d earned it.


RACINE opens the case.


Lights lower.


A warm red glow shines forth from the case.


Lights out.


END.

 

 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray