Did You Hear About Eli Dillons? | Teen Ink

Did You Hear About Eli Dillons?

August 31, 2013
By SarahHarmon GOLD, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
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SarahHarmon GOLD, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
11 articles 1 photo 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have learned that people will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou


Author's note: I figured that this was too long a piece to put in the scripts & plays section so ta-da! Shakespeare has his plays printed like novels so here is mine. SPOILER ALERT: Shakespeare is a MUCH better playwright.

Ms. Raine- strong, sarcastic teacher with a strong Brooklyn accent

Ben- popular teenage boy with a secret; always wears some sort of baseball cap but wears it backwards

Student1,2,3(must be female),4

Ryder- nice, smart, witty, charming, popular teenage boy who is the comic relief of every situation but can also be a shoulder to cry on if need be; Ben’s best friend

Eli Dillons- smart, preppy, slightly dorky teenage boy who tries really hard not to be too noticed

Jillian- outspoken, opinionated, intelligent, sassy teenage girl who does not like to be wrong; only flirty around her boyfriend, Ben

P.E. Teacher (must be male)

Guidance Counselor- acts more like a fellow student than an adult figure; appears emo or goth looking from shoulders up but dresses professionally (example: if a male is cast, have him dress professionally but have a mohawk and guyliner)

Teacher1,2

Colette- Jillian’s best friend; talks like a valley girl; does not leave the house without wearing something glittery or pink

Firefighter

Police Officer

News Anchor

EXTRAS: students, school faculty members, police officers, firefighters, EMS

(The curtains open on a disorderly high school classroom with a chalkboard in the front. Ben and his rowdy friends including Ryder sit in the back. Eli sits in the front. Just as the lights go on, Ms. Raine writes in capital letters on the board JANUARY ORAL PROJECTS. A few students in the back start laughing and pointing in their mouths making a se.xual reference. Ms. Raine rolls her eyes and turns back to the board, erasing ORAL to leave JANUARY PROJECTS with a big gap in between. Ben throws the paper airplane he had been making at Ms. Raine right as she turns around.)

Ms. Raine: (annoyed) Then perhaps you would like to go first Mr. Daniels.

Ben: As a matter-o-fact it would be my honor!

(Ben's buddies in the back of the class hoot and holler as he makes his way to the front of the classroom.)

Ben: Okay so yesterday my girlfriend and me were in my car, ya see.// She's going on 'an on 'bout the future and college and us and s*** and I'm just like "Babe. It's all good, babe" and "Yeah, I feel ya ba-

Student1: // (makes kissing noises.) (The other students laugh except for Eli who is combing back his gelled hair. He dresses a bit preppy.)

Ms. Raine: Please, Mr. Daniels. No one wants to hear about your personal life. Get to the point.

Student2: No, Ben! Come on! Let's hear 'bout the action!

Ms. Raine: I swear all you kids care about is se.x, se.x, and se.x! This is a semester English and Philosophy class and these introductory projects are supposed to be serious. You kids read Oedipus freshman year.

Student1: Yeah I remember Oedipus...he banged his mom, or was that Romeo?

Ryder (coughs as he says): Dumbass. (students laugh)

Ms. Raine: Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare, and is a completely different play. (moans) G-d help me...

Ben: Uh, can I-

Ms. Raine: Please. I'm begging you.

Ben: Okay so then she says...ya know, after we were done making out and s***...she says, "Ben...Benny, I wanna spend forever with you" and I says "well, forever is a long time, Babe" and it is. It's, like, forever. (he starts to sound more serious) I don't know how long forever is. Dammit, I don't think anyone does or will ever know and it sucks 'cause one day all of us will be dead and in the ground and...is that forever? Does everyone jus' walk 'round with their own G-d-given forevers and jus' be okay with that?

(Pause. Everyone is quiet.)

Ben: 'Cause I'm not sure I'm okay with my forever and I might jus' be wastin' it! I might jus' be wastin' all of you guys' forevers too and especially my girlfriend's. I'm wastin' all this time...I'm wastin' all this time interlocking our two forevers 'cause I'm nothing! I got no future or college plans so my forever's worth nothing! And there’s nothing I can do ‘bout it ‘cept sit here and try to figure out what I want and don’t want and try to guess what everyone else wants. It doesn’t seem that fair, does it? ‘Cause life’s a useless wastin' of time....(calms down, says in a sort of trance as if he is talking to himself) does time even exist?

(Pause. Silence. Everyone in the room is in disbelief.)

Ms. Raine: Um, thank you, Mr. Daniels...That was very...//insightful. I'm actually pleasantly surprised.

Eli: // Ben.

Ms. Raine: I'm sorry, Elijah. // Pardon me, Eli. Did you say something?

Eli: // Eli.

Eli: Sorry Ma'am. (Ben starts to walk back to his desk but then stops. He is still sort of dazed yet confused to why Eli wants to speak to him.) I just really want to say something real quick to um, "Mr. Daniels".

Ms. Raine: Sure, why not. I don't have a problem with that. (Sarcastic) It's not like my job is to teach you kids or anything. //Why don't we all just teach the class....

Eli: // I'm sorry just...just one second.

Eli: Ben, you are not alone. (pause) Forever is a long time, and sure as hell is it going to be an adventure. You are right though...time exists and if it does not then it's just a made-up human idea. Time and forever are in the same boat drifting down the same old river of human intellect which will disappear when forever ends anyway. And when forever ends in the year infinity, because as I said before, if time does not exist there is no point of counting years, it ends. You shouldn't worry about it now. You should be experiencing life to the fullest because even though you may feel like a useless speck in the universe I can assure you that you are not nothing to your girlfriend or to your friends or family or me....So grasp your forever while you still can because as you told your girlfriend, it is a long time and stop feeling so alone because you are certainly not because I exist too. And I am not nothing. And I still have a forever to go out and live.

Ms. Raine: Oh, wow. Why can't you all be as wonderful as Elijah, um, Eli here. Wow, just wow...

(The bell rings and the students, except for Ben and Eli, begin to scurry offstage)

Ms. Raine: (hopelessly yelling after students as they grab their book bags and leave) Wait!...stop!...Chapter 4 textbook review due Tuesday!...Wait!...We'll continue the oral storytelling projects Monday! (groans)

(Eli and Ben are left staring at each other. Ms. Raine looks at both of them before she grabs her binder and bag from her desk in the front of the classroom. She leaves and Ben follows soon after. Lights out on Eli sitting alone.)

(Lights on. The students are in Chemistry class, as obvious by chemical sets on the occasional desk. All the students are wearing safety goggles, accept Ben, who has them around his neck. Jillian walks over from her desk and sits in his lap. She is very flirty and touchy-feely.)

Jillian: (touching Ben's goggles) You should put these on, Benny. I don't want you getting hurt. You could get burned.

Ben: (acting strangely quiet.) Chill, Babe.

Jillian: Bennyyyyy, what's up with you? Is something wrong? Do you need a kiss? (Kiss.)

Ben: Naw, Babe...don't worry 'bout it.

Jillian: Look... (kiss) Benny look at me...(kiss) Something's up, //I know it... (kiss)

Ben:// Naw, Babe

Jillian: Are you playing games with me, Benny?

( Ben kisses Jillian long and hard. After, she smiles at him lovingly, but then her expression changes and she slaps him.)

Ben: What the hell was that, for!

Jillian: I know you, Benny... I know what you're trying to do. Your being slick, Benny, and lemme tell ya. You're walkin' a thin line! //Trying to distract me...who do you think I am?

Ben://Hey, hey! Alright, alright, alright!

Ben: Look, 'member when you said that you wanna spend forever with m-

Jillian: And I do, Benny, I really do.

Ben: Well, Babe...We’re jus’ in high school and I mean, forever is a long time and// I been thinking...

Jillian:// Are you trying to tell me something, Benny?! Are you breaking up with me?!

Ben: Wait, Babe. Chill. Ya see, time and forever's just floating in some, uh boat? Yeah. In some boat in, in some river of...humans...

Jillian: You're not making any sense.

Ben: Well, it made sense...before. Ya hadda be there, I guess. Well, anyway there was this whole brilliant, romantic// speech. Romantic? Did I say romantic? That's not what I-

Jillian:// Romantic?

Jillian: Wait. Are you seeing someone else, Benny?! Is that what you are trying to tell me?! You are seeing another girl!

Ben: No no no, Jillian, I'm not...

Jillian: Jillian?

Ben: I meant, Babe. Sorry...look...I jus' don't think we have any real chemistry// anymore.

Jillian:// Ha!

Ryder: Hey, Ben. Do you know if we have any English and Philosophy homework?

Jillian: Um, hello! Do you mind?! Can't you see we are having a conversation here?!

Ryder: Oh sorry, I didn't mean to-

Jillian: Shut up! Just shut up!

Ben: Jillian...um, Babe...You can't just treat people like that.

Jillian: Ha! Like you would know how to treat a person, Benny?! We are OVER!

(Jillian puts Ben's goggles on his head and snaps the goggles on his face. She is furious.)

Jillian: Be careful, Benny. I don't want you getting burned or anything...(she storms out of the classroom, pushing students out of the way as she goes)

(Lights out.)

(Lights on. On one side of the stage, Eli is in gym class with Ryder. They are dressed in gym clothes. Suggested activity during this scene is basketball or tennis. On the other side of the stage is Ben in the guidance office. When the lights go on for a room/ individual conversation, the other room is in blue light and the actors are frozen. This goes back and forth.)

(P.E. Teacher blows whistle)
Ryder: Man, do I hate having gym third period.
Eli: Honestly, it's not that bad.
Ryder: Nah, man, it's bad. It sucks.
Eli: (gets the mental image of what Ryder just said and shudders) Whatever you say...Hey, have you talked to Ben recently?


Guidance Counselor: Benjamin, I have called you down to my office to inform you that your Chemistry teacher has spoken to me. He says that you are in danger of failing this semester. Something about being distracted in class...?
Ben: Oh, I wouldn't worry 'bout that no more Ma'am.
Guidance Counselor: Let me guess, Ben. (sarcasm) You broke up with your girlfriend and now you are going to finally use those study tips I gave you.
Ben: Well, not exactly. We didn't like "break up" by definition, I think. It was more like she dumped me. But I don’t care. Like, I feel like I should care but I jus’...I jus’ don’t.
Guidance Counselor: It sounds like you need some guidance. How convenient that you just so happen to be in the guidance office, ay?

Ryder: Ben, yeah...I was just getting to that. Look, Ben is my brother from another mother, my main man, my-
Eli- Dude I get it.
Ryder: Look, he's not interested.
Eli: Wait, what?
Ryder: He's not interested in boys. // He is, like, so straight. Like, edge of paper straight.
Eli: \\ Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Eli: I'm not gay...does he...do you think I'm gay? (freaking out) Ohhhhh G-d, people think I'm gay, don't they? You guys freakin’ think I’m gay. And you all think I like Ben that way. Ohhhhh G-d.
Ryder: And there is nothing wrong with that. Hell, my Aunt's dog, Chuck- We’re pretty sure he's gay.

Ben: Look, how long is this gonna take? I have to uh, go to Study Hall. Yeah, Study Hall...I should go. (stands to leave)
Guidance Counselor: (gives knowing look) We have something else to talk about don't we, Benjamin? Here, have a sip of my tea and we'll talk. (Ben sits back down, takes a sip and spits it out when the counselor turns to fix her papers then acts like he likes it when she turns back.)
Ben: Anything to avoid studying, I guess.
Guidance Counselor: Ah, now that's the Ben I've come to know.
Ben: Alright. (pause) For a long time I've been havin’ these feelings and people kept telling me that it was a phase and I would get over it real quick. It was a physical thing. ‘Just a phase’ I would be tell’n myself, you see. But then today, today I felt the feelings again but in a different place...in my-
Guidance Counselor: Whoa. Whoa. Sorry, but I'm going to have to stop you right there, Bud. I'm not your mother or your doctor I’m your guidance counselor so please just skip those details.
Ben: In my heart. The feelings were now in my heart.// And I'm not quite sure it's a phase anymore.
Guidance Counselor:\\ Oh. Okay. Good, that's good.
Guidance Counselor: Okay, so you have a romantic attraction to....who? Not your girlfriend but someone else?

Eli: Oh man oh man oh man. What should I do?
Ryder: Wait so are you gay or not...I'm really confused right now, bro.
Eli: Ryder, I'M NOT GAY!
Ryder: So, you're bi then// if you like Ben.
Eli: // straight. Straight. I like girls.
Eli: Why do people think I'm gay?
Ryder: You really want to know?
Eli: Yup, I can take it. Spill.
Ryder: Well, for one Chuck... Damn, I just called you a dog there. Ha, you wanna know why we think Chuck’s gay?
Eli: Um, not really, Ryder. Come on. You were saying...
Ryder: It’s ‘cause he humps my-
Eli: Ryder!
Ryder: Anyway...Well for one, Eli, you wear way more than the average amount of pink than a dude should have in his wardrobe.
Eli: Pink is a sophisticated color!
Ryder: Yeah, for chicks maybe but not guys. Anyway, secondly you use words like "sophisticated". Dude, like, what straight teenage boy uses that word?
Eli: (sarcasm) Um, I don't know. Maybe, educated ones.
Ryder: Third, that whole speech you gave to Ben, whom you are obviously madly in love with, in English and Philosophy. It sounded like something out of a book, or a chick flick...either one. Gay. So gay.

(Ben is zoned out.)
Guidance Counselor: Ben, did you hear my question or would you like to me to repeat it?
Ben: Oh, sorry.
Guidance Counselor: Did you hurt her, Ben? Did you break her heart?
Ben: No, no. I didn't really get to actually talkn’ to her yet. She usually does most of the talking. And you gotta believe me, Ma'am....It's not another girl.
(long awkward pause)
Guidance Counselor: Ben, I have a pamphlet right here that may suit your needs. It's called "Coming Out of the Closet for Dummies".
Ben: Am I supposed to be offended or...
Guidance Counselor: No, no. Sorry, I had a student type up the final copy. You know Ryder Adams, right?
Ben: I don't need no pamphlet. (takes deep breath) I'm....I'm gay. There! Ha! I said it. That wasn’t that hard I guess...
Guidance Counselor: I am very proud of you, Benjamin. Not many boys your age have the confidence to come out like that. Now, let’s talk about how you are going to come out to your friends and family.
Ben: Wait, wait, wait. I have to do what?!

Eli: Ryder, that's it. I am enlisting the help of Sir Ryder, Noble Knight and Slayer of the Great Dragon.
Ryder: You are such a nerd. But I'm a knight so that's cool I guess...And I'm guessing the Great Dragon is the gay rumors?
Eli: You, my friend, would have earned a gold star if I had one.
Ryder: Okay, let's get to work. By fifth period, you will look like the straightest mofo in all the land.
Eli: And they shall call me Eli the Lady Killer!
Ryder: (sarcasm) Yeah....no.

(Lights out)

(Lights on in the classroom. The desks are lined up so they are split down the middle and are facing each other in a group debate.)

Jillian: And that, my fellow students, is why Abraham Lincoln was the best president.

Teacher1: Thank you, Jillian. You had great points. Would anyone else like to state an opposing point? (Students raise hands, a select few start calling out)

Student2: (chanting) OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!// OBAMA!// OBAMA!// OBAMA!

Student1://Kennedy!

Student3:// F.D.R.!

Student4:// George W. Bush!

Ryder: Oh my God did I just legit hear someone say George Wiener Bush was the best president?

(Ryder and Student4 start to argue their points in the background, moving their hands and arms a lot angrily, why Jillian and her friends gossip.)

Colette: So, how are things with "Bennyyyy"? (giggles)

Jillian: We broke up, Colette. I ended it.

Colette: OMG, Jillian like when did this happen?!

Jillian: Second period. (sarcasm) It was tragic, quite tragic. Oh, woe is me! (the girls laugh) He was cheating on me, the bast.ard!

Colette: You poor thing!

Jillian: I know right. Well, he’s going to be sorry... You know what I told him? I said, "Benny, be careful or you're gonna get burned" and I mean it.

Colette: Uh, ya! I mean, you are like the prettiest girl in school. Like, who was he cheating on you with?

Jillian: He never said. I bet she was ugly though. He was talking about some ‘romantic’ speech she gave to him in homeroom. That is sooo weird, like who just does that, ya know. Especially ‘cause, like, everyone in the entire universe knew we were totally perfect together.

Colette: OMG not even! He has English and Philosophy II first period, right? Because I heard// something, like, very interesting...

Jillian:// Why do we even care, Colette? He is a lying, cheating scumbag and I kinda want to pretend he doesn’t exist right now! We're history!

Colette: Hun, you like ought to know... (whole line is said with one breath) I heard from Jane who heard from Katie who like heard from Sarah who heard from Caroline who like heard Leo and Jack in the hallway like talking about how they heard Ryder say something about how the the romantic speech was not from a girl (exaggerated breath) // it was from Eli Dillon and like absolutely everyone is talking about how it was basically all about him confessing his love for Ben.

Jillian:// O. M. G.

Jillian: Holy crap! Holyyyyyyy crap! So you’re saying that I broke up with my boyfriend all because Eli Dillons is gay?!

Colette: Pretty much, princess. It’s a shame too, Eli is such a hottie. I would like so have his babies. That son-of-a-b***h is so sexy and I just want to-

Jillian: Who cares about Eli?! I BROKE UP WITH BEN . He never even cheated on me! He’s probably sitting in the Guidance office crying his eyes out because I broke up with him, g-d damn it!

(The bell rings just as Jillian says "it" and all the students are whispering ‘did you hear’ and ‘eli is gay’ and ‘eli likes ben’. As the students are going offstage, Ryder is yelling back at their whispers.)

Ryder: Eli is so not gay!- Where’d you hear that rumor, from your mom?! -Way to stereotype, guys!- He’s just a dorky, well-dressed male! -I mean, seriously, everyone thinks Leonardo DiCaprio has a nice butt!

(Lights out)

(Lights on in the math classroom as the students are in their seats. Eli walks in late with a stereotypical, exaggerated gangster swagger. He is dressed in saggy pants, sunglasses, bling, his hat backwards- he is pretty much dressed like the stereotypical thug. As he sits, relatively close to Ben, he puts his feet up on the desk in front of him. He takes out of a bag of cheese puffs from under his shirt and starts eating, chewing with his mouth open.)

Eli: (makes head nod acknowledgement to Teacher2) 'Sup Teach?

Teacher2: What a pleasure it is that you get to join us, Eli. Now do you think-

Eli: I goes by Killer, now. (Eli pronounces "Killer" like "Kill-uh")

Teacher2: Okay, "Killer". Now do you think you can answer the question on the board?

Eli: I says da answer is whateva you thinks da answer is, yo.

Teacher2: Class, let "Killer" here be an example to you all. This is what becomes of responsible young adults when they dabble in drugs or alcohol. Promise me when you all try to "find yourselves" in high school that you don't take the same route as Eli, here. Now, which of you diligent students would like to take a spin at this question?

(class continues on in background)

Ben: (whispers) Eli? You okay? You're acting real weird, man.

Eli: What 'yo talkin' bout, homie? I'm da same ladykiller who likes girls and thinks they sexy an' doesn't think of otha bros dat way as always! Hashtag B-ball is life.

Ben: Um, okay? Please tell me you're not, like, high or anything. I'm worried 'bout you, man.

Eli: High on life, yo! Hashtag YOLO!

Ben: Okay...sure. Look Eli I gots somethin' to tell ya. I-

Eli: Dude, dis 'bout dose gay rumors? Not da truth man. Do the math...I'm no homo.

Ben: Eli // did you jus' seriously say "I'm no homo". Do ya even know how that sounds?

Eli: Killer

Eli: Aw s***, man. I didn't mean it like dat // I got nothin' 'gainst the gays even doe I'm like, straight.

Ben: //Actually I'm pretty sure ya did...

Ben: There's nothin' wrong with bein' gay, Eli.

Eli: 'Course not, bro. I'm jus' tellin' ya dat I'm not.

Ben: Do ya even realize what's goin' on? You're walkin' on thin ice, man! And...and wait...what gay rumors? Is that why you're actin' like this?!

Eli: Ryder been tellin' me dat all y'all think I'm gay.

Ben: (aside) Damn it, Ryder! I swear... (back to Eli) Look, Eli. Let's take it back a few steps. First of all, no one should care if you're gay or not and second, I don't know why ya seem to think it's insultin'. If you're gay, so what? If you're straight, so what?

Eli: It...it more complicated than dat! 'Course there's nothin' wrong with bein' gay, I jus'...I jus'...

Ben: You jus' what?!

Eli: (talking like his normal self) I don't want people to stare at me in the hallways! I don't want to feel so alone when I don't have to! My life is wonderful and I just...I just...!

Ben: Well how do ya think the kids who are actually gay, feel?! How ya think they feel, Eli?! (whole class including Teacher2 is staring) To go everyday scared of stares and feeling alone when they are jus' as normal as everyone else?! Why do ya think kids like me// stay in the closet? We are so damn scared of people like you who think bein' gay is "uncool"! Don't you see, Eli?! You are so beautifully brilliant and full o' amazin', romanticized ideas 'bout life yet you are such an idiot! And to think I liked ya!// And now ya know how people like me feel yet at the same time you have no idea! And I can't jus' accept "I'm sorry Ben" because you're that guy! You are that guy who thinks dressing like a tool makes you any more "straight". Look at me! Eli, LOOK AT ME! I have not one inch of pink or rainbows or freakin' glitter on my body and I'm freak'n gay!

Eli: //Kids like you? Holy-

Eli: // Oh my gosh, Ben. I'm so sorry.

Ryder: (walking in to a silent, shocked classroom) Hey Teach, Ms. Hooper wants to know if she can borrow your- (Eli stands up to Ben who has been standing up in fury at this point, grabs his face with his hands and kisses him.The two stare at each other in shock.)

Ryder: Shoot.

(Lights out.)

(Lights on. The teachers enter one by one and sit around one long table. Some are making coffee, using the microwave, etc..)

Ms. Raine: (as Guidance Counselor is entering) Hey, Sasha. Beautiful weather we are having today, aren't we?

Guidance Counselor: Superb. I was thinking about taking my therapy group outside for our meeting after school today.

Teacher1: That idea's not half bad...maybe I'll teach my next class out in the soccer field.

P.E. Teacher: Go right ahead, we have softball as our outdoor sports option this unit.

Teacher2: (to P.E. Teacher) Fun! (to all the teachers) Are any of you taking your 7th period classes to see Dorine's drama class do their Shakespeare scenes?

Ms. Raine: I was thinking about it...you know I had a student today confuse Shakespeare's Romeo with Sophicles's Oedipus.

Teacher1: Honestly?!

P.E. Teacher: (joking) That's just great! Hmmm was it Ryder Adams or Ben Smith?

Guidance Counselor: Come on, Jeff, they're good kids.

Ms. Raine: But not as good as that Elijah, wait Eli, Dillons. He knows Romeo from Oedipus and can analyze their characters perfectly. You should have heard his intake on one of my student's oral projects for English and Philosophy. It was mesmorizing and surprising coming from such a typically quiet kid.

Guidance Counselor: Wow that sounds totally cool and all but I have never even heard of this kid.

Teacher2: Isn't the guidance counselor supposed to be familiar with all of the students?

P.E. Teacher: It's alright, Sasha, I've never heard of him either. I guess that's a good thing though...I haven't gotten any Eli Dillons in detention.

Teacher2: The kid never said anything disrespectful until today. I had him last period. He came in late and looking like a thug. // He got into an argument with another student and I almost had him thrown out.

Ms. Raine: //Really? Are we talking about the same kid?

P.E. Teacher: Oh wait. I know this story. This is the kid who came out by kissing Ben Smith!

Teacher2: Not quite. I think you heard it through the wrong grapevine.

Guidance Counselor: Kids these days are so good at spreading rumors and putting others down for being different.

Ms. Raine: Well said.//And they're also hormonal. Don't forget hormonal.

Guidance Counselor: // Thanks.

Teacher1: VERY hormonal.

P.E. Teacher: And God don't forget about stupid!// I caught Colette Mauvais smoking in the girl's bathroom// today. I told her she could keep the lighter if she promised not to do it again.

Teacher2: //Jeff!

Teacher1: //the girl's bathroom, Jeff...

Guidance: Okay so you were in the girl's bathroom AND you let a teenager keep a lighter on school property if she promised to not do it again?!

P.E. Teacher: Oh man, I messed up big time...

Ms. Raine: Jeff, it's not just the kids these days that are "stupid".

(Lights out.)

(Spotlight on Jillian sitting at the edge of stage right all alone. She is crying. All lights on stage go on as Colette enters from stage left.)

Colette: Hey, Jillian are you like okay? Can I, like, get you any-

Jillian (hysterically crying): GO AWAY! I'M FINE! CAN'T YOU SEE I'M FINE!?

Colette: (starts to cry) I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU I'M SOLVING YOUR PROBLEM! WHY'D YOU HAVE TO YELLLLLL!

Jillian: GO. A.WAY. I'M FINE!!!!

(Colette gets so scared of Jillian's screaming that she runs right into Ryder as she exits.)

Jillian: Get outta here, Ryder! Can't you see I'm drowning in my own misery?!

Ryder: (sarcasm) Damn, aren't you ever so pleasant today...

Jillian: It's not funny. My life totally sucks right now, alright... And I don't need you makin' jokes at the moment.

Ryder: (sarcasm) Aw s***. I swear I woke up this morning and said to myself, "today I'm gonna make fun of Jillian while she's crying". //It's my goal in life, really.

Jillian:// Not funny...

Jillian: Please just leave me alone! I don't want you to see me like this. I'm a hot mess.

Ryder: If it helps, I think you're more hot than a mess.

(pause. Ryder slowly walks over to Jillian who is still in hysterics and sits down next to her to comfort her.)

Ryder: Shhhhhh. Calm down. Everything's gonna be okay.

(Jillian starts to push him to go away but Ryder grabs her and just holds her as she cries.)

Ryder: Shhhhhh. It's gonna be okay. (pause) I guess you heard 'bout the kiss, didn't you? You thought you broke up with Ben all because Eli Dillons was gay and now you know that it’s actually Ben who's gay and Eli kissed him. It's sure not helping Eli's case but I mean-

Jillian: I don’t need you to retell my sob story.

Ryder: Jesus Christ, Jillian...let someone try to help you once and awhile.

Jillian: I don't need anyone else's help! I'm fine! (crying) I'm FINE!

Ryder: Shhhhh. I'm right here...

(Pause. Ryder is holding Jillian tightly as she cries.)

Jillian: (crying) Oh god, Ryder...you're, right. I'm so sorry. I know I can't be on my own all the time it's just-

Ryder: Don't worry 'bout it. I get it. No one's perfect. (sarcasm) I mean, I'm pretty close to perfect but it's still just out of my reach.

Jillian: You are just the king// of- oh sorry. You are just the knight of jokes today?

Ryder: //Knight

Ryder: They call me Sir Ryder, Noble Knight and Slayer of the Great Dragon.

Jillian: Alright Sir Ryder. Like, how did you find out ‘bout all of that stuff?

Ryder: I heard from Jane who heard from Katie who like heard from Sarah who heard from Caroline who like heard Leo and Jack in the hallway like talkin’ ‘bout what you were talkin’ ‘bout with Colette. (big exaggerated breath. The two laugh.)

Jillian: Gossip sure does travel fast, doesn't it? So, wait. Ben is gay, and Eli's not gay, but Eli kissed Ben?

Ryder: That sounds really confusing but I can assure you that Eli Dillons is the straightest mofo in all the kingdom. Ben was all angry and Eli was jus' tryn' to "calm him down" and show him that there is nothing wrong with dudes lovin' dudes. (Jillian starts to cry again.) Hey, hey, hey what's wrong now?

Jillian: I don't know...I was just thinking how this stuff, like, only happens to me... I'm going to be forever alone!

Ryder: Shhhh. Stop that! You're gonna find someone else like real quick, Jillian. You're great. (Jillian pulls out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, starting to light one.) Jillian! What the f**k are you doing!?

Jillian: Killing myself slowly. It’s like a 40 year suicide with the added benefits of Ben suffering too. I know he’ll feel bad ‘bout it ‘cause he’s Ben. I know him...or at least I used to.

Ryder: Oh my god Ben was right you are such a drama queen.

Jillian: (sarcastic) Well damn aren’t you in a pleasant mood today.

(Jillians lights cigarette, puts it to her lips. Ryder smacks it out of her hand. Right before she can get angry at him, he kisses her and she kisses him back harder.)

Jillian: O.M.G.

Ryder: You can say that again. (kisses her again. She slaps him)

Jillian: Damn it. Sorry// it was a reflex. (pause) Why'd you kiss me?

Ryder:// What the hell was that for?!

Ryder: Three things...one, just trying to "calm you down".

Jillian: (sarcasm) Ah, my knight in shining armor here to save me at last!

Ryder: Clever, m'lady...Two, you are not going to be alone. You are amazing and flawed in a million ways, Jillian. There is no reason to do something stupid like smoking. I’m not just saying that because we're still technically in school or whatever but because three, you are reallllly, really hot. (Just as he says the last point they start making out passionately again. Smoke starts to pour out from stage right.)

(Fire alarm sound is heard. Ryder and Jillian look at each other knowingly and panicked. Students are running around screaming like crazy on stage and off the stage. Lights are red.)

Student3: FIRE! EVERYBODY OUT!

Ryder: (grabbing Jillian’s hand) Come on, Princess, let’s get outta here!

(Lights out. The sound of a fire engine is loud, transitioning into the next scene.)

(Lights on. The students and faculty except Ryder and Jillian are all together sitting/standing with smoke slowly fading away. Police officers, EMS, and firefighters are walking on and off the stage with their equipment.)

P.E. Teacher: (to Ms. Raine) I'm going to go check on Dorine. She seems pretty shaken up about her auditorium being burnt to the ground.

Ms. Raine: Well, that would be the appropriate reaction, Jeff...

P.E. Teacher: True...

Ms. Raine: Try comforting her with the whole "Shakespeare's beloved Globe Theater was burnt down but was eventually rebuilt" deal.

P.E. Teacher: Good idea. Now I just have to prepare for her dramactics.

Ms. Raine: Drama teachers do tend to be a bit dramatic, Jeff...(P.E. Teacher EXITS, to students) Don't worry, students. Everything's going to be okay. The superintendent and your principal are already making calls to get you all home safely. (to firefighter) Any news yet regards to the damage?

Firefighter: Ma'am there is nothing more I can tell you that you don't already see...It's bad, Ma'am.

Ms. Raine: Thank you very much, Sir...You are doing a great service for your community.

Firefighter: Just doing my job, Ma'am.

Teacher1: (to Ms. Raine) We ought to take attendance now. (to Guidance Counselor) Sasha, would you mind taking attendance for Dorine's drama class? I'll take attendance for the softball unit of gym, my class, and the band class since Jeff and Teresa are pretty preoccupied right now.

Guidance Counselor: (to Teacher1) It would be my pleasure. (to students) Listen up! EVERLEIGH ROSE?!

Student3: Present!

(G.C. Continues to take attendance in the background)

Teacher1: Okay kids in Ms. Lark's band class! Listen for your name! ELIJAH DILLONS?!

Eli: Eli

Teacher1: Alright, Eli's here. RYDER ADAMS?! (pause) No Ry-der Ad-ams?! How about Benjamin Smith?! Ben-ja-min Smith?!

Guidance Counselor: Hey, we are missing a Jillian Henry and a Colette Mauvais. How about you guys? Are you guys good?

(Police officer walks on stage with Jillian and Ryder.)

Police Officer: (to Guidance Counselor) Were you looking for these two, Ma'am? (to all) I would like the faculty to come talk to me over here. I have some information I would like to discuss with you regarding the state of the school and information on a student that you may have thought to be missing.

(the teachers exit, leaving the students on stage. The students' lines in this scene are said in a round of acting.)

Student4: Missing? Someone's missing? (sarcasm) Oh man, Ryder, what did you do this time?

Ryder: Can it, Bush!

Eli: Guys, calm down. I bet everyone's fine. It wasn't even a big fire....

Student3: Wasn't a big fire?! The whole school's burnt down!

Student1: Ya know what? I thought I heard a police officer ask one of those ambulance people where they put the body.

Ryder: He could have meant a body of....of....of water. A body of water. Yeah.

Student1: No no I actually think he said body bag.

Ryder: Just in case?

Student1: Seriously?! Naw, man. Someone died.

Ryder: You're just paranoid. You really need to lay off the pot, man.

Eli: Oh my god, Ryder....where's Ben?!

Ryder: Shhhh stop talking like that! Everyone's fine, okay?

Student2: I bet you know something about where Ben is, Eli.// You probably killed him because you're so mixed up about your sexuality and s***.// Probably killed him 'cause if your little boyfriend's dead, people will stop talking.

Eli:// What do you mean?

Ryder:// Shut up! SHUT UP!

Ryder: Leave Eli alone! This is serious!// What if something bad really happened?!

Jillian:// Shhhhh, Ryder. Everything will be okay.

Eli: (to students) Ah gee, thanks guys. You all think I'm gay and now you think I'm a murderer.

Student3: Well, Eli....the pieces do add up. // You seem pretty guilty to me.

Eli: Really, Everleigh! You of all people?!-

Student3: Just sayn'......

Ryder: Look guys, Eli is not gay and he's definitely not a murderer.

Student4: Prove it!

Ryder: Look, Bush, if you don't shut your trap we are gonna have a problem!

Student2: We don't want to believe Eli killed Ben or tried to kill him or burnt the school down or whatever. We just want a little proof.

Eli: Is my honest word not good enough for you?!

Student1: Shut up, "Killer".

Student3: I'm sorry Eli, but we're not idiots.

Jillian: (whispering to Ryder) Don't say anything.

Ryder: (to Jillian) I have to, Jillian. I told Eli I would be there for him and I'm not about to change that. (to everyone) Okays guys look, once upon a time there was a little boy named Ryder who wanted to be a knight, right?// Deal with me here. I know it's corny but it's the truth and the truth is what I owe you....Once upon a time there was a blah blah blah we already went over that part who wanted to be a knight. All he was missing was a sword and a damsel in distress. He already had the playground as his castle but that’s not all too important. Well, anyway one day a scary dragon entered his castle and told him that he was stupid and worthless. The dragon stole his lunch money because that’s what scary dragons do- mean things. But then came the fearless ninja warrior who told the dragon to give the knight back his lunch money. The dragon actually beat up the ninja warrior but I mean that’s besides the point. After the dragon went away the ninja said to the knight, "Sir Ryder, you are anything but worthless". That ninja's name was Eli. He never talked to the knight about that day ever again, heck I'm not sure if he can even remember it. But it doesn't matter because the ninja gave the knight his sword, courage. Courage was his weapon that he learned to use and it was the very weapon that turned the dragon into a good dragon and then later his best friend. Wow that was corny...Okay, well then it took some time, but eventually, the knight used his mighty courage to save a damsel in distress. She was a beautiful princess. (winks at Jillian, she rolls her eyes) So you see, I owe Eli because he made me into the knight I am today. He is a good ninja warrior and an even better person. "Did you hear about Eli Dillions the murderer?" NO! More like, "did you hear about Eli Dillions the great guy"! Eli is no murderer! If there really is a murderer, the murderer is me!

Student1: //LOSER!

Jillian: Ryder...

Ryder: I hit a lit cigarette out of Jillian's hand! If Ben is dead...if my best friend is dead it's my fault!

(Ben tumbles out from stage right coughing and covered in ashes. He stumbles and collapses right in front of the bickering students. Ryder rushes to help him up.)

Ryder: Ben! Ben, can you hear me?! It's me, Ryder! I'm right here, Ben, I'm right here!

Ben: (struggling to catch his breath, looking at Ryder straight in the eyes) Colette. (faints)

(Lights out.)

(Lights on one side of the stage where News Anchor is covering the story of what happened at the school. Every time the News Anchor quotes a character, she mouths the words and the character's voice is heard. Example: Colette said "...". What is in quotes is said by the actor playing the character quoted.)

News Anchor: ...And welcome back folks...An entire school burnt down. Twelve Injured. Why? This was all the work of seventeen-year-old junior Colette Mauvais. Earlier today, the chief of police released an official statement, stating that the cause of the fire was a lighter in Miss Mauvais's possession when she was pulled out of the burning building by professional rescuers. A cigarette butt was too found at the scene but officers believe that it was not lit at the time of the crime so it is not crucial towards the investigation. When asked why she did it, Miss Mauvais said "it was all for my friend Jillian. We've been best friends since like kindergarten. She wanted revenge. She didn't even have to like ask. Like we're best friends so like I totally knew what I like needed to do." Revenge for what you might ask? We caught up with the girl's friend Jillian who commented, "I don't know. She's crazy." Other sources claimed that this was indeed a hate crime against a gay student who had recently come out at the school. Faculty members refused to submit comment, claiming that it was a (Guidance Counselor) "totally private matter. Leave us alone for Christ's sake." We asked some of Colette's classmates what they would like to say to Miss Mauvais in light of this incident. One student told us that he is (Ben) "glad she's locked up. Man, she woulda killed my ass." Another told us that if he were to ever again be in the presence of Miss Mauvais he would say, and I quote, (Ryder) "F**k you, b***h." And now, here's Angela with the weather...

(Lights out on the news anchor. Lights on the other side of the stage where Eli, Ben, Ryder, and Jillian are sitting together in silence.)

Jillian: I'm so sorry, Benny. About everything.

(pause)

Ben: It's okay, Jillian, it's not your fault.

Jillian: But it is my fault! I got so angry at you and I didn't even listen to you when you tried to tell me in the first place and then I got all mad at Eli over some stupid rumors and-

Ben: Jillian! I forgive you.

Jillian: But you shouldn't, Benny. Don't you see? People will look back at this day and blame Eli for having the guts to say what was on his mind which led to a chain of events that ended with the school being burnt to the ground. They won't remember me or Colette who spread the rumors, invented by every other gossip, like a wildfire, no pun intended, and ruining his life...I will never forgive myself for doing that to Eli. You shouldn't forgive me either.

(pause)

Eli: I forgive you...Jillian....

Jillian: (crying) I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, //I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry....

Eli: //Shhhhh it's okay. I forgive you, Ben forgives you...

(pause)

Jillian: I love you guys. You know that, right? (Jillian hugs each of them, smiles, and then exits.)

Ryder: So what happens now?

Eli: We go through one and a half more years of high school, we graduate, and then we forget.

Ryder: Just like that?

Eli: Just like that.

Ryder: But I don't wanna forget, man. I don't think I can. I...I love you guys.

Eli: Then don't forget, Ryder. Remember every second if you want. I'm not stopping you. It's your own piece of forever and you get to chose what you do with it. But promise me this, that you won't hold on to it so tightly that you forget to live your life.

Ben: Yeah man...go out into the world and meet exotic women and s***.

Ryder: I don't think so, man. I think I found my princess right here.

Ben: Okay, if ya say so. But Imma tell ya right now...she's a handful all right. Don't say I didn't warn ya. (Ryder hugs both of them and then exits.) So here we are, Eli...right back in the same place where all the chaos began.

Eli: Well, not the same exact place.

Ben: You know what I mean.

(pause)

Ben: You really just want to forget all of this?

Eli: Yeah.

Ben: Everything? Everyone?

Eli: Yeah. I mean, I guess I'll want to remember how it first felt walking through thise doors freshman year. Invincible... Of course, the feeling lasted all of two seconds but God was it great...I'll also want to remember my teachers, my first kiss, people like Ryder.....and you. Yeah, if I don't remember the day that I actually had not one, but multiple legitimate conversations with the Benjamin Smith and kissed the boy, there has to be something wrong with me. (they laugh)

Ben: Well, we still got one and a half more years 'til Elijah Dillons forgets four years of his life. So let them be hella fun!

Eli: Amen!

(pause)

Ben: Hey, Eli.

Eli: Yeah.

Ben: Uh, when ya know, we get another place to do school since, ya know, it's burned down...

Eli: Yeah...

Ben: You wanna, I don't know, sit with us at lunch? With me and Ryder and the boys?

Eli: Sure. I'd like that.

Ben: Good. And ya know it's not 'cause I used to ya know, like you "that way" before, right? I jus' think you're a cool guy. We could be friends...or something.

Eli: Of course, Ben. (Pause. Ben nods his head ands get up, starting to walk away.) It's because... I exist too.

Ben: (looks back and smiles) And I am not nothing.

Eli: And I still have a forever to go out and live.

(Lights out.)



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