The Art Behind the Army Part 2

January 24, 2010
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Alex: Really I just don’t get it!
Michael: Well, I was not tutu boy, but I did get a huge amount of grief about it from some of the guys in my living quarters. They would steal my notebook and write stupid comments and pictures all over my sketches. I really ran into trouble when the kid who slept on the bunk above me made copies of all of the pages and posted them up everywhere across the base. My father of course saw them and exploded with anger. It was like nothing I had ever seen at that point, and I had seen him get pretty mad at some of those lazy bum cadets. I can remember hearing him yelling and screaming as he walked down the hall to my quarters where I was hiding from the inevitable tirade.
Scene 2
The lights dim on the present scene and lights go up stage right. We see a simple set of a door on the left of the new set piece that leads into a room with three bunk beds across the back wall. They are all uniform looking with a dreary gray finish on the metal frames of the beds. All of the beds have white sheets and a blue blanket that are perfectly folded on their beds. A young Michael is sitting on the bottom bunk on the far right, clutching a sketchbook in his arms.
Norris is storming through the hallway (across the front edge of the stage, in front of the past scene) as he swipes up copies of his son’s sketches scattered across the floor.
Norris: Idiot, Idiot, Idiot! He is speeding down the hallway to Michael’s room. He gets to the door and bursts into the room. Immediately, Michael runs from his bed to the center of the room and stand there perfectly still, like a little toy soldier. Explain this to me. What in the world are these?
Young Michael: They are sketches form my notebook, sir.
Norris: May I see this notebook?
Young Michael: Yes, sir. He runs to his bed were his notebook is sitting and picks it up. He stays there for a second, just holding the notebook before he runs it over to his father, and with a slight bit of hesitation, hands it over. He immediately runs back to the spot he was standing before and falls back into his still stance.
Norris flips through the pages with a disgusted look on his face. He gathers all the used pages in one hand and rips them out of the notebook in one quick jerk.
Michael: As he lets out a scream of pain, he breaks his unmoving stance. It is as if there had been strings holding him erect like a marionette doll, and the strings just disappear. His body collapses, but he stays standing. No! Dad. No. No. Daddy!
Norris: Daddy!? What are you, a little girl crying over her worthless doodles? Toughen up! He throws the notebook by Michael’s feet, and Michael’s quickly picks it up, hugging it in his arms. Tears are still streaming down his face. Get some actual use out of the pages left.
Norris briskly walks out the door and down the hallway throwing the crumpled sketches away in a garbage can. Michael sits down on his bed, clutching his notebook and wiping away some tears.

Scene 3
Michael and Alex are sitting on the couch looking at some old crumpled up papers.
Michael: I grabbed them out of the garbage after he left. Flipping through the pages and handing them to Alex. They aren’t even that good, but it was all I had.
Alex: I think they are pretty amazing for an eighth grader to draw.
Michael: Yeah, I guess they are.
Alex: He might not think of your artwork as just doodles if he saw the incredible things you are doing now.
Michael: That man wouldn’t care a morsel about my art career.
Alex: Okay, even a cave man could have seen the sheer beauty of that big one you sold last week at the gallery, which, by the way, earned us some much needed cash.
Michael: I know! That was the most money I have been offered for a piece. I left a message with Jenna, who runs the gallery, but she hasn’t gotten back to me with the information about who bought it.
Alex: Whatever. Whoever they are, they love your work, and they should. Your work is phenomenal! Your father should be proud of you.
Michael: I would fully agree that he should, but you try convincing him of that.
Alex: Okay. He whips out is flip phone and opens it up.
Michael: No way. He grabs the phone and closes it.
Alex: Seriously. Why not? Even if you don’t want to talk about all this crap you guys have between you, you need to help him deal with all the technical stuff and paperwork. Besides, you never know, he may have changed.
Michael: Oh yeah, the man who believes that fighting for your country is the only honorable act one can do…
Alex: He could have seen the light! Dramatically
Michael: The only two activities he finds even fun are running laps and getting drunk!
Alex: Michael, it is possible that he could have grown up a bit and accepted that the life he wants you to live is just not going to happen.
Michael: No it isn’t!
Tensions started to build and there is a bit more anger in their tone.
Alex: Just do it. He hands him the flip phone.
Michael: I said no!
Alex: Seriously, Michael. Be the bigger person here and call your dad.
Michael: Why?! Why is it my duty to be the bigger person?
Alex: He slow it down a bit and speaks sincerely. Because you’re a good guy, Michael. What are you afraid of?
Michael: He is starting to lose it. I don’t want to be rejected, okay. Why would an honored army veteran want to accept his runaway son who is living in a cheap flat in this crazy gay mecca? He probably wants me to disappear off the face of this earth, and if he wants to keep his dignity with anyone from our base, he should!
Michael falls into Alex’s arms.
Alex: I don’t want you off the face of the earth. I want you to stay right here. Okay?
Alex just quietly holds the sobbing Michael.
The flip phone rings. Just get some sleep. Michael lays down and closes his eyes. Alex gets off the couch, walks over to the kitchen, and answers his phone.
On the left edge of the stage a spot light shines down on Jenna. She is on the phone.
Jenna: Is this…Alex?
Alex: Uh…yeah. Who’s this?
Jenna: My name is Jenna Hastings. I own the gallery where Michael was displaying his work last week.
Alex: Oh yeah. Hey, we were wondering if you found the name of the person who bought his drawing.
Jenna: Yeah. I don’t know if it was just a really weird coincidence, but it was bought by someone with the last name Norris. The address was really obscure too. It was the address of some hospital all the way out in Georgia.
Alex stands there in shock.
Maybe they are redecorating?
Alex: I’ll let Michael know. Thanks.
The lights go out on the stage except for two spots, one on Alex and one on Michael, who is sleeping on the couch. Alex still has the phone stuck to his hear in shock. After a second or two a big smile of relief spreads across his face, and he glances down at Michael. He holds the phone out in front of him and as he flips it closed, the stage goes black.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback