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Crisp

(Characters: FISHER, MALLORY, and COLE)
(Scene 1: COLE is watching a large building burn down. Firemen and an ambulance surround him, chasing chaos. COLE looks relaxed with a smirk and his arms folded. His face is obviously marked with ash and his clothes are burned to a crisp. The police assist people with white blankets around their shoulders. There is a crumbling sign with “Kingsbrook High” on it. COLE is holding a notebook and pencil when FISHER approaches him)
COLE
What a beauty, this one.
FISHER
Yeah, I saw the blue flames, Cole. (Not amused.)
(COLE makes a note in his note pad.)
COLE
And green, too. But I didn’t even use Clink’s Gasoline. I only get it on my birthday. Say, Fisher, did you-
FISHER
(turns abruptly to face COLE) No, I did not feed your unhealthy obsession! You know not to set these things on weekdays. Especially not at school!
COLE
I realize that, but burning math homework is so dreary. Setting the origin of the homework is much more intriguing. Plus makes for a great lesson.
FISHER
What have you learned today, Cole? (Serious.)
COLE
Someone’s been slipping Clink’s Gasoline into my fire.
FISHER
Incorrect response.
COLE
That a gift shouldn’t be in the form of flames.
FISHER
Who the h*ll would want- oh, this was for Mallory?
(COLE nods.)
FISHER
You know she’s gonna kill you.
COLE
She likes spontaneous presents. Plus she hates this school as much as the next person.
FISHER
Probably more than the next person, yeah, I know. But you’ve managed to utterly destroy the shirt she bought you last month.
COLE
It was the striped one. Don’t go scaring me like that.
(Very distant screams from the fire.)
FISHER
Under that ash are-
(Shakes off the blackened right sleeve of COLE’S shirt.)
Blue stripes. Should I repeat the inevitable murder of you when she finds out?
COLE
Nah, I got it. S***, this is not good. But the fire, that’ll win her over.
FISHER
Might help with the forgiveness. But dude, you’re doomed.
COLE
But it’s not just any old fire in the dumpster or setting a common gray squirrel ablaze. It’s school! Known h*llhole!
FISHER
This is why they give a tutor and a shrink out on Day One. Speaking of which, you still choking down those pills?
COLE
Occasionally. Not today though. Today I went au natural.
FISHER
Explains the lacking of the gymnasium. Side note, how’d you conjure this one up?
COLE
Special recipe, actually. Some gasoline, Duckling Matches –first edition, might I add- and incense.
FISHER
Lilac?
COLE
Lavender.
FISHER
Ah.
(Fisher takes a cigarette from his back pocket, lights it, and has a few whiffs below tossing it to the ground.)
(Characters: COLE, FISHER, and PRINCIPAL TOMPSON
(Scene 2: COLE and FISHER are sitting in an office. There is a messy desk in the middle of a small room with planted flowers and piles of papers covering the tables in the corners. COLE and FISHER sit in chairs lining the white walls. COLE is sitting with his feet up over the arm of the seat.)

FISHER
You, sir, are a psycho murder waiting to happen.
(FISHER holds a pencil, tapping it against his chest above his gray V-neck T-shirt.)
COLE
I’m already practicing my future career. Why the h*ll do I need to go to school, anyways?
FISHER
Doubt that’s going to be a pressing issue.
COLE
You thinking Juvi?
FISHER
Jail, but close enough.
COLE
But it’s all to woo a girl.
FISHER
I fail to see the romance.
COLE
You kidding? Fire is a beauty in itself. The way it dances and sways without anyone’s control. Majestic and surreal and-
(FISHER rolls his eyes, ending COLE’S speech. FISHER occasionally wipes his sweating forehead with the back of his hand.)
COLE
Fire ignited Mallory and my relationship.
FISHER
Got the memo, Cole. You crazy kids are uncannily destined for each other.
COLE
Bound by love.
FISHER
Started with matches.
COLE
It’s been two years since the Spark.
FISHER
I’m aware.
COLE
We’re in the very place we met, y’know.
FISHER
I’ve pretty much memorized the story by now.
COLE
I’m telling it anyway.
COLE
In the principal’s office, of course, where else would you find a girl like Mallory?
FISHER
An asylum.
(FISHER grabs a few loose papers from the principal’s desk and casually flips and reads through them.)
COLE
She had her matches confiscated the same day mine were. If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is. And she had set the boy’s bathroom on fire, how adorable. She thought it would get her out of trouble, you know, since it’s a boy’s-
FISHER
Bathroom, I get it, Cole. Chill with the novel writing, all right?
COLE
Do you really think she likes me?
FISHER
You two are together. I sure hope so.
COLE
But she’s never said “together.” Maybe she’s spoken the word, but never meant, like-
(PRINCIPAL TOMPSON enters from hallway with a beige folder in his hand and papers sticking out of it. He doesn’t make eye contact.)
PRINCIPAL TOMPSON
Cole Emberson, age sixteen. Managed to damage school property a whelming twenty-two times since freshman year. Twenty-six if the things you brought from home to catch on fire count.
(He pauses to look down at COLE and glance at FISHER momentarily.)
PRINCIPAL TOMPSON
What is your commentary on that?
(COLE and FISHER exchange glances.)
COLE
Personal record.

(Characters: COLE and DR. FONTANNE)
(Scene 3: A secluded office with only a lamp, a couch, and a loveseat is where COLE and DR. FONTANNE are talking. The walls are blank and dull like the bald DR. FONTANNE)
DR. FONTANNE
Word around the streets is you set another fire.
(DR. FONTANNE sneezes into a pocket-handkerchief and bends his nose back and forth into the tissue.)
COLE
Oh, you should have seen this one. I wrote all the details in my notebook, want to take a look?
DR. FONTANNE
I understand this (cough) habit of yours relieves stress for you. But it seems to be a fun experience for you. Explain?
(DR. FONTANNE sneezes once more and pulls out the same handkerchief.)
COLE
Fires are really pretty.
DR. FONTANNE
So are flowers, Cole! You need to find an alternate way to find beauty in your life.
COLE
What’s prescribed?
DR. FONTANNE
Romance. Some sort of teenage love that best fits any current pop song today. Go find someone.
COLE
I have, Doctor. I definitely have.
DR. FONTANNE
That’s fantastic! Try having a hobby in common with her. Do you know someone you both are interested in?
COLE
Well, what brought us together was our pyromania. Does burning things count, Doctor?
DR. FONTANNE
It’s not prescribed, Cole.


(Characters: COLE, FISHER, and MALLORY)
(Scene 4: COLE and FISHER are standing outside MALLORY’S apartment, room number 4A says a plaque on her door. The hallway is dead silent, which causes them to loudly whisper. COLE has a piece of loose leaf in his pants pocket and is still wearing the same shirt.)
FISHER
Stop worrying. God, how can you manage to start fire after fire without burning up a sweat?
COLE
It’s in my nature. Plus it makes me calm; this on the contrary, makes me anxious. Very, very anxious.
FISHER
Would burning something make you ring her doorbell?
(FISHER grabs a pack of matches from his pocket.)
COLE
You can’t show me those and expect me to turn them away.
(COLE all too eagerly reaches out for them with shaking hands, but FISHER pulls away. COLE lets out a tiny whimper.)
FISHER
Okay, you’re too excited. Just watch the pretty fire. We can’t set off the alarm again.
(COLE nods and FISHER looks around for something to burn. He sees the paper in COLE’S pocket, grabs it and sets it on fire.)
COLE
Better. I should really take up smoking like you. Might calm me down.
FISHER
Not a recommendation. But, you okay now? I’m putting it out.
COLE
Yes, I will ring it and she will answer and I’ll get nervous and freak out and-
FISHER
You need the ashes, too?
COLE
Probably.
(FISHER hands him the ashes, pouring them into his hand. Just at that moment, MALLORY opens the door with a surprised smile.)
MALLORY
My gosh, Cole! You got me ashes?
COLE
Hey Mallory. I burnt down the school for you.
MALLORY
Even the gym?
COLE
I started it in the locker room.
(MALLORY steps out from the apartment and hugs COLE tightly. FISHER smirks arrogantly, as he watches COLE’S ashy hands knot in her hair.)
MALLORY
You took pictures, right?
COLE
And I made you a card.
(COLE smiles brightly, but notices the vast amount of ash blanketing her blonde hair.)
COLE
Your card ended up on your head.
(MALLORY laughs.)
MALLORY
I love you with a burning passion, Cole.





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