Diana Cross's Call

March 22, 2018
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BEGIN SCENE.
A WOMAN IS SEATED AT A CABINETED METAL DESK READING A FOLDER IN THE CENTER OF A CLUTTERED OFFICE. SHE WEARS A LIGHT LEATHER JACKET WITH A BLUE SHIRT UNDERNEATH. SHE HAS DARK BLUE DENIM JEANS ON HER LEGS AND BLACK SHOES GUARDING HER FEET. HER BROWN HAIR IS DARKER THAN HER SKIN TONE AND IS PULLED INTO A BUN. SHE’S DIANA CROSS, ONE OF THE MOST TALKED AND ICONIC POLICE DETECTIVES OF THE 1980S. HER OFFICE IS A BIT UGLY CONSIDERING HER STATUS. AT THE RIGHT OF HER ARE WEBS OF LEADS AND EVIDENCE IN CASES SOLVED, CURRENT, AND EVEN COLD. TO THE LEFT OF HER, ARE METAL FILING CABINETS. A BOX OF TISSUES AND SOME NEWSPAPERS AND CLASSIC LITERATURE ARE ON TOP OF ONE. NEXT TO THEM, SLIGHTLY RAISED IS AN EMPTY COAT RACK. ABOVE THEM HANGING ON A WALL, ARE CERTIFICATES OF HER VARIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CREDENTIALS. IN BETWEEN THEM IS A CLOCK DECLARING THE FOURTH HOUR OF THE AFTERNOON OF A SLOW FRIDAY ON 1984. DIANA SITS ON A STRONG WOODEN CHAIR FLIPPING THROUGH PAGES IN A FOLDER. SHE NARROWS HER EYES AT SOME. WE, AS THE AUDIENCE DON’T SEE OR KNOW WHAT SHE READS BUT IT LOOKS TO BE UPSETTINGLY CONFUSING FOR HER. HER BACK FACES A BIG GLASS WINDOW WITH A SLIDING DOOR SHOWING SOME RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS. THE SUN, FROM THE WINDOW, PROVIDES A LIGHT SOURCE FOR THE ROOM. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK IN FRONT OF HER, TWO GUEST CHAIRS REST, BACKS TO THE DOOR. ONE’S STACKED WITH CARDBOARD BOXES WHILE THE OTHER IS FREE. MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS LAY AROUND HER DESK WHILE SOME MUGS HOLD PENS. THERE IS SOME LITTER AROUND HER OF PAPER BALLS. A SMALL TRASH CAN BY THE DOOR IS FULL OF THEM. THE DOOR, ON BOTH SIDES HAS GLASS WINDOWS COVERED BY PALE BLINDS DIANA SHUTS HER FOLDER AND LAYS IT ON THE DESK SEEMINGLY EXHAUSTED. SHE TAKES A DEEP DEEP BREATHE AND CLOSES HER EYES. IT’S NOT A MINUTE UNTIL LOUD KNOCKS AT THE DOOR SCARE HER OUT OF HER SLUMBER. SHE JUMPS IN HER SEAT BUT KEEPS CALM FAST. FINALLY, SHE LOOKS UP.

DIANA Come in!

A MAN BEARING A RUGGED POLICE OFFICER’S GARB OPENS THE DOOR WITH A HAND, ANOTHER TAKING OFF HIS CAP AND HOLDING IT AT CHEST.

MAN Detective Cross?

DIANA  Jackson!

SHE GETS UP JOYOUSLY AND GOES TO HIM IN LONG STRIDES. HE SHUTS THE DOOR AND ENTERS AWKWARDLY.

SHE REACHES HIM AND OFFERS HER OUTSTRETCHED HAND. HE SHAKES IT,

DIANA  God! How long has it been?

JACKSON Some time…

SHE HUGS HIM. JACKSON’S DISCOMFORTED.

DIANA  Mm, it has…

JACKSON SMILES AWKWARDLY BEHIND HER BACK. DIANA LETS GO AN MAKES HER WAY QUICKLY BACK TO HER CHAIR. WHEN SHE DOES, SHE STANDS BY IT. JACKSON, STAYS WHERE HE IS NERVOUSLY. SHE POINTS TO THE COAT RACK BESIDE HIM.

DIANA You can put your hat there.

SHE SITS.

JACKSON Oh yeah… 

HE TURNS AND HANGS HIS CAP. HE GIVES IT A PAT.

JACKSON Thanks.

HE WALKS TOWARD THE DESK.

DIANA No problem.

SHE MOTIONS TO THE GUEST CHAIRS

DIANA Have a seat.

OFFICER JACKSON LOOKS UPON THE CHAIRS AND WALKS TO AN EMPTY ONE. HE STOPS IN HIS TRACKS AND LOOKS DOWN ABRUPTLY: HE’S STEPPED ON A PAPER BALL.

DIANA  Sorry about the mess-

JACKSON No harm done, Diana.

HE KICKS THE BALL GENTLY ASIDE.

JACKSON So, erm…

HE TAKES A SEAT.

JACKSON what-is the plan, detective?

DIANA First…

SHE HOLDS UP A FINGER.

DIANA that is not how you start especially since you’ve barely seen me-I mean come on! It’s been a while!

SHE SMILES AS JACKSON PUTS HIS HANDS IN THE AIR SURRENDERING.

JACKSON My mistake.

DIANA And um second…

SHE LEANS FORWARD. DWIGHT MANAGES TO DO THE SAME.

DIANA I’m just dying to know about you are, right here and now?

JACKSON Oh, fine, erm, never better, you?

DIANA Better, now that um, you’re here.

HE CLEARS HIS THROAT.

JACKSON Ah, well thank you kindly.

DIANA SMILES. JACKSON CHANGES HIS COURSE.

JACKSON But I’m sure, that wasn’t the only reason you summoned me, is it?

DIANA Just one of them.

DIANA REACHES FOR THE FOLDER SHE WAS JUST READING AND PASSES IT TO JACKSON. IT’S LABELED DIANA CROSS. SUSPICIOUSLY, THOUGH, IT LOOKS AS IF IT'S BEEN PASTED UPON ANOTHER NAME. JACKSON GRABS IT AND EYES IT WITH CAUTION.

JACKSON Well, what’s this?

DIANA It’s-

HE HOLDS OUT A HAND BECKONING HER TO SILENCE.

JACKSON Bu-bu-bu! You crossed out someone’s name. Now, I don’t take or read through what doesn’t belong to me-

DIANA (arms folded across her chest; brow raised and smile curled) Your mom taught you well.

JACKSON Yes, she did. Now why did you do it, Mrs. Cross?

PAUSE.

DIANA’S FACE BECOMES STILL. SHE SAYS ALMOST WITH SILENCE:

DIANA Ms. Cross…

JACKSON OPENS UP TO SPEAK BUT NO WORDS COME OUT. HIS MOUTH OPENED AND HIS EYES WIDEN. HE BLURTS OUT:

JACKSON Oh my god, I’m sorry-

DIANA’S VOICE BREAKS.

DIANA Alright, its-

DIANA GETS UP AND WALKS FAST TO THE FILING CABINET WITH TISSUES. JACKSON TOSSES THE FOLDER ON THE TABLE AND GETS UP AND WALKS TOWARDS HER. HE STOPS AT THE END OF THE DESK. HE HEARS HER SOBBING AND BLOWING HER NOSE AS QUIETLY AS POSSIBLE.

JACKSON You want to-

HER BACK’S TO JACKSON.

DIANA Talk about it? God, no…  why?

JACKSON Erm, I think it’s just-best to, erm, talk about it before we… Was something going on between you and Reynold?

SHE POINTS BEHIND TO THE TABLE.

DIANA Just read the folder.

JACKSON THINKS.

JACKSON Yes, mam.

JACKSON WALKS BACK AND SITS. HE PICKS UP AND OPENS THE FOLDER.

JACKSON Ok…

JACKSON BEGINS TO READ AND SKIM THROUGH THE FOLDER. HE RAISES HIS EYEBROWS AT A FEW PAGES. HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND AT THE END OF ABOUT FIVE MINUTES HE’S READ WHAT HE CAN. HE CLOSES IT AND SETS IT UPON THE DESK. HE STRETCHES HIS ARMS UPON THE TABLE AND TAKES ANOTHER BREATH. HE RUBS HIS EYES AND LOOKS AT DIANA. SHE’S WALKING BACK TO THE DESK SNIFFLING WITH A SAD GLOOMY LOOK ON HER FACE.

DIANA So?

SHE SITS. JACKSON CLOSES PUSHES THE FOLDER TO HER.

JACKSON You need my help, don’t you?

DIANA You guessed right…

JACKSON Um, Diana…

DIANA Yes?

JACKSON STUTTERS.

JACKSON There is really nothing I can do to help, I-um-forgive me…

PAUSE. DIANA BECOMES STERN:

DIANA There is something you can do.

JACKSON What would that be?

DIANA POINTS TO THE DOOR.

DIANA Go to Tent City, find Gerrard, convince him-

JACKSON HOLDS HIS HANDS BECKONING HER.

JACKSON Now, now, now, now… This is something that the department needs to face. Not some, um, well-

DIANA Professionals like us…

JACKSON No, um, no, just no. The department needs to handle this- swiftly and with reasonable force. 

DIANA They-

JACKSON Heck, based on the reports these guys strike at the random-

DIANA They-

JACKSON We can’t even-

DIANA They-

JACKSON Diana-

DIANA Enough!

JACKSON SHUTS UP.

DIANA WITH BITTERNESS:

DIANA You should have read that the department does indeed know about this mess.

JACKSON And they-

DIANA And they-shut up-they have chosen to ignore it.

PAUSE. JACKSON TAKES THIS IN.

JACKSON Didn’t see that.

DIANA LOOKS AT JACKSON FIERCELY. HE’S A LITTLE FRIGHTENED.

JACKSON Well, what if it’s some type of print error.

DIANA Oh please-

JACKSON If you follow this-

SHE STANDS UP.

DIANA Oh please! I have enough to prove they’re not gonna do anything about it!

HE GETS UP AS WELL. THERE’S PAUSE BETWEEN THEM. JACKSON HAS A AFFONTED LOOK ON HIS FACE AS HE CROSSES HIS ARMS.

JACKSON That is?

DIANA SCOFFS.

DIANA Oh, of course, you didn’t read that part.

JACKSON WINCES

JACKSON Correct?

DIANA REACHES FOR THE FOLDER AND OPENS IT. SHE SKIMS THROUGH A COUPLE PAGES

DIANA Ah, here…

DIANA BEGINS TO READ A PAGE.

DIANA “A recent witness testimony from homeless citizen Gerard Duscemi is being declined. Gerard as he gave his allegations seemed to be under the influence leading to the abandoning of his account.”

JACKSON LOOKS STUNNED.

DIANA Told you.

JACKSON Yes, you did.

LONG PAUSE OF SILENCE AND THOUGHT. JACKSON BREAKS IT MANY MOMENTS LATER.

JACKSON I have to say, erm, how beautiful you are, erm, look…

BIG PAUSE. DIANA LOOKS DAZZLED.

DIANA Thank you…

JACKSON  You’re welcome.

DIANA LOOKS DOWN AT THE DESK.

JACKSON So-what is the plan detective?

DIANA’S STILL LOOKS DOWN. SHE’S LOST IN A TRAIN OF THOUGHT.

JACKSON Diana?

SHE COMES BACK.

DIANA God, Jackson…

JACKSON Yes?

DIANA BEGINS TO WALK AROUND THE DESK TO HIM. SHE BARES HER TEETH.

DIANA Jackson, you’ve just, really, made my day…

SHE REACHES HIM AND HUGS HIM HARD AND UNEXPECTEDLY. HE HAS A BAMBOOZLED LOOK ON HIS FACE WHILE HER’S IS RELAXED.

FINALLY, HE SAYS.

JACKSON You’re welcome.

THEY STAY LIKE THAT FOR A WHILE. AFTER A WHILE, SHE LETS GO. THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND SHE NODS.

DIANA Thank you…

JACKSON NODS.

SHE WALKS BACK TO HER SEAT BUT DOESN’T SIT. DIANA PUTS A HAND TO HER CHIN, THINKING. SHE LOOKS UP.

DIANA Jack?

JACKSON Yes, Diana?

DIANA Do you think that we could discuss this tomorrow?

JACKSON Hm?

DIANA Or, heck, some other time?

JACKSON THINKS.

JACKSON Yeah. Yeah, sure thing.

HE TURNS TO GO UNTIL:

DIANA Thank you, oh and-

SHE REACHES FOR THE FOLDER AND RAISES IT TO HIM.

DIANA Could you take this?

JACKSON ALMOST HESITANTLY:

JACKSON Why not?

HE GRABS IT AND WALKS TOWARD THE COAT RACK. DIANA BEGINS TO STRAIGHTEN ANY PAPERS ON HER DESK.

DIANA Thanks again…

JACKSON NODS AS HE UNHANGS HIS CAP. HE PUTS IT ON AND WALKS TO THE DOOR. HIS HAND MEETS THE KNOB WHEN HE STOPS.  HE HESITATES BUT SOON AFTER TURNS AROUND TO DIANA.

JACKSON I feel bad…

DIANA’S LOOKS UP WITH WONDER.

DIANA I’m sorry?

JACKSON No, no, I’m sorry.

DIANA Um, about?

JACKSON Mentioning your past… past… horrible relationship, uh, I don't know… I’m-I’m sorry…

DIANA Oh…

SHE LOOKS DOWN AND SHUTS HER EYES HARD WITH EMOTION. SHE LOOKS UP.

DIANA The past is the past…

JACKSON TURNS AROUND TO OPEN THE DOOR, HAND AGAIN AT KNOB. HE CAN’T COMPEL HIMSELF TO OPEN IT. HE TURNS TO FACE DIANA’S FACE CLOUDED WITH CONFUSION, HAND STILL ON KNOB.

DIANA Tell me-

JACKSON Can I take you out somewhere?

SHE DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING. HE LETS GO OF THE DOOR.

JACKSON I mean like a good, like, erm fine dining, you know…

DIANA Are you asking me-

JACKSON Asking you out on a date? Eh, not necessarily.

DIANA BLINKS WITH THE OFFER.

DIANA When and where?

JACKSON WASN’T EXPECTING THIS.

JACKSON Oh, um I was thinking, erm, god, well tonight, 8:00, at Hobb’s, you know, the steak and cuisine-

DIANA Yeah, I know.

JACKSON Could you, maybe-

SHE’S MADE UP HER MIND.

DIANA Sounds perfect, I’ll see meet you right outside.

JACKSON Where exactly?

DIANA On one of those little green benches.

JACKSON NODS.

JACKSON Gotcha.

JACKSON AND DIANA SHARE A SMILE TO EACH OTHER. JACKSON TOUCHES THE KNOB

JACKSON See you then?

SHE SMILES.

DIANA You will.

JACKSON SMILES AND OPENS THE DOOR. HE LEAVES, DOOR SHUTS, AND DIANA IS LEFT ALONE. HAPPY TEARS BEGIN TO STREAM DOWN HER FACE. SHE SITS DOWN AND PUTS HER HEAD ON THE DESK. THE CURTAINS CLOSE. UNTIL TONIGHT… 
END SCENE.






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