Cast of Characters:

ELLIOT: Mid-twenties male in khakis and an oversized sweater, wearing round, hipster, glasses. Curly hair. Fiddles with his sweater. Schizophrenic.

WILBUR: Teenage boy with a bomber jacket — something out of the ’80s instead of present day — paired with gray track pants. Longer hair that passes his jawline.

ROBBIE: Late thirties, a leather jacket hides his form, pants that are a couple inches too short and a buzz cut head of hair.

Scene:

ELLIOT’s apartment. There is a dinner table hidden under a tablecloth with three chairs, one on each end and another on the side, facing the stage front. Books and paper are scattered across the wooden surface. There’s a bookshelf sitting off to the side with books and a single bottle of pills.

Time:

Present day.

Scene 1

AT RISE:
ELLIOT emerges from upstage and sits at the dinner table, setting his bag down on the floor. A single spotlight — the only light on stage — focuses on ELLIOT.

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT gives an exaggerated sigh.)

Work sucked, once again. I don’t even know why I keep the stupid job.

(WILBUR enters from stage right, another spotlight following him, and sits down in the chair closest to his entry point, slouching in his seat.)

WILBUR
How was your day? What’s up this time, Elliot? That girl turn you down again?

ELLIOT
No, she wasn’t even at work today.

(ROBBIE enters from stage left, a spotlight following him, and sits in the chair closest to his entry point. His arms are crossed.)

ROBBIE
I keep telling you, Elliot. We need to find you a girl who will be a perfect match. You’re too good for her!

ELLIOT
Maybe she’s too good for me.

WILBUR              ROBBIE

She totally is. She is not-

(There is silence at the dinner table. ELLIOT picks up a book and flips to where the bookmark was. ELLIOT starts to silently read and the lights slightly dim.)

ELLIOT
(Under his breath.)

I don’t even think she’s my type anyways.

WILBUR
Maybe “she’s” aren’t your type, if you catch my drift.

(WILBUR gives ELLIOT an over-the-top wink.)

ROBBIE
(Groans.)

You shut your mouth. Look what you did; he’s reading. That means he wants us to shut up.

WILBUR
That’s no fun!

(WILBUR rises from the chair and walks over to ELLIOT. WILBUR grabs the book.)

Blah, blah, blah, words, words, words — how can you read this stuff? There isn’t a single picture here!

ELLIOT
(At the same time, ELLIOT tries to grab the book from WILBUR with no luck. The lights return to normal.)

Stop! Give it back Wilbur!

WILBUR
(Moves out of ELLIOT’S grabbing range and rips a page out. Then another. Then another.)

Look at that, Ellie! It’s snowing! This is the winter weather we need since you refuse to move somewhere colder for us. This is how a real story is told!

(WILBUR rips a huge chunk of pages out, tossing it up into the air and laughing. WILBUR stops ripping pages and pretends to read the book.)

“Pages flying everywhere, they fall like the snow from the heavens above.” Is that something your fancy book would say?

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT stands up and slams his hands on the table. Lights flash on. He points at WILBUR, voice stern.)

I told you to stop.

ROBBIE
Elliot, maybe you need to calm down. Wilbur just missed you today, and you know how he is in terms of showing affection. We always miss you.

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT shifts his glare to ROBBIE.)

I don’t want to hear it from you, Robbie. You don’t know how important that book was to me. It wasn’t even mine. That belonged to the library. It was public property. Now I have to pay for it — God, Wilbur. You can’t keep— you can’t keep—

WILBUR
(WILBUR frowns and rips out another page.)

Can’t keep what?

ROBBIE
(ROBBIE raises from his chair and points at WILBUR.)

Wilbur don’t start. You’ve done enough.

WILBUR
(WILBUR rips another page out of the book and crumples it. He throws the page down.)

Robbie don’t you side with him. We’re friends-

ROBBIE
Does that mean you’re not friends with Elliot?

WILBUR
Of course I’m friends with him! Don’t make me the bad guy.

ROBBIE
(ROBBIE sits again.)

I don’t have to, Wilbur. You’re doing a pretty good job at doing that yourself.

WILBUR
(WILBUR tosses the whole book into the air. It falls behind the trio.)

That isn’t my fault! I didn’t- I wasn’t made to be the bad guy. Neither of us were.

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT puts his hands on the sides of his head, over his ears. The lights on the stage dim.)

Will you two just — shut up for once?

ROBBIE
That’s what I’m trying to get him to do. Maybe if Wilbur had some sense of respect—

WILBUR
No way. Don’t you dare start with me. It’s bad enough as it is that Elliot is mad at me. I don’t need my cellmate being pissy too.

(WILBUR sits back down in his chair, arms crossed and a frown on his face. He’s pouting.)

ROBBIE
Language. There could be kids nearby. Not that anybody is more childish than you are—

WILBUR
I didn’t choose to be made like this! You don’t seem to understand that.

ROBBIE
Oh, I understand it perfectly. Neither of us got to pick out this lifestyle like we were shopping. Speaking of, we need to go out and get more food, Elliot.

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT slams his head on the table. The lights burst on as his head collides. Then they dim.)

Do you two ever shut up?

ROBBIE              WILBUR

Hopefully. Never.

ELLIOT
(ELLIOT stands up from the table.)

There is a way to get you two to finally shut up. I just want to read. It’s been a long day.

(ELLIOT walks over to a bookshelf and grabs a pill bottle.)

ROBBIE
Elliot, you better not. You remember how bad your life was before. You were miserable. It was like all the life was sucked from your body. Your mother hardly recognized you when you went back home for the winter. You were shaking so much and she was so worried about you, especially the panic attacks. Elliot, we’re a part of you, and that’s not something you can just remove.

WILBUR
(Under his breath as he stands.)

So much for the gentle approach to this.

ELLIOT
You’re just in my head, I know that. But what’s better? To have no one in my life or you two, who don’t exist at all? I don’t want to live like this, but I can’t lose you either. What if I never see you again? What if I’m different without you? What if there is no hope for me and I’m just — damned to be like this?

(ELLIOT pops the bottle open and stares at it.)

WILBUR
(WILBUR steps closer to ELLIOT with arms
outstretched. He looks nervous.)

You know that isn’t true. We’re real. Tell-uh — go and tell him, Robbie.

ROBBIE
(ROBBIE nods but remains his current distance at the table.)

Come on Elliot. You know we’re real. You know that we aren’t figments of your imagination or some voices in your head.

ELLIOT
(Shakes his head in disagreement.)
No, you aren’t.

WILBUR
Yes, we are.

ELLIOT
Stop lying to me, Wilbur. You can’t keep doing this to me. I’ve been through so much already. I’ve heard and seen too much.

ROBBIE
(Stern.)

Wilbur, stand down. You aren’t helping him.

ELLIOT
I don’t see how you’re helping either. Did you forget that Wilbur doesn’t listen to us? To me? The person who has — people living in his head. The people I try to keep quiet with no luck. I’m losing.

WILBUR
Fine. We’re not real. So what? Isn’t that something to make you stand out? Something to make you feel different and special?

ELLIOT
(Turns to face WILBUR, clenching the bottle.)

I don’t want to be different. I want to be normal. I want to go on a date with the girl at work. I want to sit alone and read quietly and not be bothered by you two. I want to be fixed.

ROBBIE
(ROBBIE begins to pick up the pages of the book that WILBUR ripped. ROBBIE holds up a stack of the destroyed pages.)

Elliot, you see these pages?
ELLIOT
(Turns away from WILBUR to face ROBBIE.)

Of the book Wilbur destroyed? Yeah. What about it? Other than it’s going to cost me money to replace—

WILBUR
(Crossing his arms.)

Please, you’re acting like this is the first book we destroyed.

ROBBIE
(Stern.)

You just love making problems, don’t you?

WILBUR
(Shrugging.)

Someone has to make the problems to move his train of thought along. Or the family dinner.

ELLIOT
That was the worst episode I’ve ever had and it was all your fault, Wilbur! You— you— I can’t believe how you acted in front of your own mother! She was crying. You threw the bread at her.

WILBUR
That’s not my mom. She didn’t have any reason to listen to you go off the way you did. You were the one throwing stuff, not me. I can’t throw anything you don’t touch.

ELLIOT
Shut up. Shut up! I don’t want to deal with you right now. Please just shut up.

ROBBIE
Wilbur, if you don’t shut up I will make sure the rest of your days here will be miserable. Do I make myself clear?

WILBUR
(He nods. WILBUR is trying to suppress a worried expression. It isn’t working.)

ROBBIE
Stop making problems. Please, we’re tired.

(ROBBIE looks back at ELLIOT who is shaking.)

So, you see how destroyed the book is. You think you’ll never be able to read again? At least not in the same way as before.

ELLIOT
The library wouldn’t even pass this off as a book. Even if you are going to fix it up in the end.

ROBBIE
But why fix it? It’s still readable. It’s still a book. You could take glue and fix it that way. But that’s still—

WILBUR
Broken?

ROBBIE
No, Wilbur. It’s the same book. But it’s a little broken. But with enough work, you can figure it out. It can be fixed. Not perfect, just fixed.

(ROBBIE puts the pages back into the book. The pages are almost falling out of the spine.)

ROBBIE
See? Nothing is wrong with it. Nothing is wrong with you. Even if we are actual figments of your ripped-up brain like the book? We sure do make a point. Now come on, let’s sit back down and finish that book. You and you alone.

(ROBBIE helps ELLIOT take the pills as WILBUR watches over the shoulder of ELLIOT. The lights go out. ROBBIE and WILBUR hide under the tablecloth. The lights flash back on and ELLIOT sighs. Sitting down and grabbing the broken book, he sifts through the pages and begins to read again. The stage lights dim until no more lights are on the stage.)

(End of Play)