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In the locker rooms after a soccer match, where a long bench lines the back wall, the lockers on the left wall and the exit on the right wall. Aiden, James, Rick and Shaun are the only ones left, all talking about the match. The other three are excited, whereas Aiden is sitting in the corner not interacting with as much enthusiasm. Rick, Shaun and James are all at their lockers putting gear away. James leans on the locker, facing Aiden across the room. The other two turn around and join in the largely spaced circle.
Shaun: (Laughing) Hey, Aiden, how did you get out of that tackle back then? Because it looked like you were a goner for a second there! (Glances over at Aiden, still laughing) Well?
Aiden: (Trying to laugh, not quite being able to) I don’t know. I thought I was as well. Looks like I got lucky. (Tight Smile)
Rick: (Laughing) Yeah, I’d say it was luck as well. I mean, if it wasn’t luck, what was it? It sure wasn’t skill.
Aiden throws a shoe at him and misses
Rick: (Taunting) Ooh, what was that supposed to be? You know, I think we’d better work on your aiming next practice, along with your tackling skills. (Laughing)
Aiden glares at both of them
Shaun: (Smiling) C’mon Aiden, lighten up. And besides, Rick has a point. (Pause) You are cr*p at throwing. Lucky you do soccer, not baseball, hey? (More laughing from both of them)
Rick: Yeah Aiden! (Puts on a little kid voice) Is little Aiden mad at us? Aw, poor little Aiden.
Shaun: (Standing in the middle of the room, talking like a girl) No, Rick! You are being so immature! (Flicks pretend hair) Aiden should not have to deal with your “vulgar” behaviour. (Both Shaun and Rick have a laughing fit)
James: (With a tight smile as he watches Aiden in the corner become even more withdrawn) Guys, leave him alone (glances at Aiden). Why don’t you go hit on someone else, huh?
Aiden’s eyes lock with James. Mouthing “thanks” and looking away
Shaun: (Wiping eyes) Hit on a guy? You gotta be kidding me! I am 100% straight thank you very much.
James: You know I didn’t mean it like that.
Shaun: (Ignoring James) Freaks, they are. I mean, they’re obviously messed up in the head. Almost as bad as those weaklings who see shrinks. (Laughing haughtily with Rick, looks at Aiden, sees that he’s looking at the ground, fuming) Ooh, what’s the matter? Did I offend you? (Looks at James and Rick to see if they were laughing with him)
James: (With a tight smile) Seriously guys, leave. Now. Go and have a beer or something. Just get out of our hair. (Gestures to the door)
Rick: (Turning sulkily to Shaun) Geez, you two need to learn to lighten up. We were only joking, weren’t we, Shaun? (Looks at Shaun)
Shaun: Yeah, mate, I have to agree. It was only a bit of fun. Well, if you losers don’t like fun, we may as well try and find it somewhere else. Come on Rick. (Exits stage right)
Silence, where James walks over and sits with Aiden
James: Don’t worry about them. They’re just idiots. You know how simple-minded they are. (Small smile, watching Aiden closely)
Aiden: I’m not sure I can handle much more of it, though. (Slumping down further, staring at the ground)
James: (rueful smile) You just have to stay positive.
Aiden: (Half-smile) Piece of cake. (Slowly turning serious again) Do you think we can keep it from them for long? (Looking up at James)
James: (Taking a few seconds to think) Yeah, I do, if we play our cards right. (Pause) I still think that we should just tell them and be over with it.
(Sitting, pats Aiden’s back)
Aiden: (Shaking head) You know that can’t happen. Think of how they will treat me. I mean, you saw them just then, if they’re too immature to handle a simple joke like that, what do you think they’ll do with a problem like me? Just promise me that this will stay JUST between you and me, okay?
James: Well, it’s your decision. But I promise that it’ll stay between us. It’ll be fine (sympathetic smile). Have you taken your tablets? (Silence, Aiden looks back at the ground) Aiden, have you? (More silence) You didn’t, not again?
Aiden: (quickly looking back up) I didn’t need them anymore. I thought I was getting better.
James: (Throwing up hands and standing up) Aiden, you can’t know that! They were prescribed to you for a reason!
Aiden: I felt better.
James: We’ve already talked about this. (Talking slowly) Could it be that you felt better because you were taking them? (Practically shouting) That is how they are supposed to work!
Aiden: Look. (Looking back at the floor) It just made me feel like an idiot, having to take them every day. No one else I know takes tablets!
James: That is no reason to throw them out. Besides, depression is not something to be ashamed about! (Throws up arms. Silence) Okay, look. If you promise to go back to the doctors and get another prescription, I’ll drop it. I’ll leave you alone. (Pause) but ONLY if you do that, okay? Do we have a deal? (Pause, Aiden nods) Good. Now, c’mon (gestures to the door), it’s getting late. Our parents will kill us if we’re late for our curfews again. (Exit stage right)
Aiden (monologue): How can I get him to understand it? Even with the pills, I still felt bad. Taking them. . . Taking them did no good. They were useless, and they made me feel even more like a freak. He wouldn’t understand. No one would. How can they make me feel better when all they do is alienate me? I don’t want to live my life based on pills. Is it even really a life when they control my feelings? Okay, so, they do help with the feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, and all that, but the feelings of contentment that replace it don’t belong to me. What am I supposed to do? Everybody can’t expect me to just... be happy with the way things are? Can they? (Sighs, exit stage right)
The next day, Aiden and James are in the locker rooms, getting things ready for the match that night.
James: Yeah, and my mum went psycho at me last night.
Aiden (laughing): Why? What did you do this time?
James: Nothing! Okay, well, I may have stuffed her cat in the closet again, but... (laughing)
Aiden: (Smiling) why do you hate that cat so much? I never did understand that.
James: It’s not why I hate it; it’s why the cat hates me.
Silence as they both relax. James turns serious and clears his throat.
James: So? Did you get replacement tablets?
Aiden stops smiling and looks quickly at James
James: (Stern look) We’re friends, and people look out for their mates, so don’t give me that look, okay? I said that I would leave you alone if you got more tablets. So, either tell me, show me, whatever, but I need to know if you got any more.
Aiden: (sighs) Yes, I went to the doctor this morning, he prescribed me some more. (Pulls out tablets from football bag) Here. (Throws them to James)
Just as James holds the container up to read it, Rick walks in with his football bag
Rick: Hey guys, wha – hey, what’s that? (Pointing to container)
Aiden: Nothing, it’s – nothing.
James puts the container in his own bag, looks to Aiden who discretely nods. Rick puts down the bag and stands in front of the bench
Rick: Okay... Hey, Aiden, I wanted to apologise for being an a**hole to you yesterday. Me and Shaun were out of line, so... sorry. (Walks over and mock punches Aiden’s arm)
Aiden: (clearing throat, looking down) Nah, its fine. Forget it.
Rick: Okay then, just wanted to make amends, that’s all. (Shrugs)
Aiden clears his throat and nods, clearly wanting to drop the matter.
Rick: So, anyways, what was that little container you had there? Hmm? (Walks towards James’s bag)
James: Ah, no, c’mon Rick, back off.
Rick stops and looks between Aiden and James, taken aback by the seriousness of their expressions
Rick: (smile dropping) What? What’s going on guys?
Aiden: (Quickly standing, swaying undecided what he should do. Panic rises) Look, just... drop it, okay? It’s nothing important.
Rick: Hey, man, (holding up hands, backing off) calm down, if you don’t want me to know, that’s fine.
Aiden sighs, sits with head in hands and glares at the floor
James: (walks over to Rick, facing him and whispers) look; I think you should just go, give him a bit of space.
Rick: (whispering) What about you? Does he want you here as well?
James: Yeah, I’ll be right here. (Rick raises his eyebrows) You just go and give us a bit of privacy, okay? (Gesturing towards the door)
Rick: Privacy...? (Shakes head and turns around, speaking to the both of them) Okay, guys, well, I’ll be over at the servo. (Turning around at the door, looking back) Did you guys want anything?
Both Aiden, looking at the floor and James, looking at Aiden, shake their head.
Rick: Okay, well... I’ll be back in around 10 minutes. (Looking at James for approval, seeing James nod his head slightly, turns and leaves)
James: Hey, are you alright? (Moving closer)
Aiden sighs and shakes his head, anger building
James: It’s not that bad, I mean, he apologised, and he didn’t mean to be so push-
Aiden: (standing up, shouting) I don’t care, okay! I don’t care that he didn’t mean to do it, or that he apologised! I’m just so sick of having to put up with this cr*p! I told you it’s not worth having the god d*mn tablets! (Makes a frustrated noise and paces the room)
James: Look, Aiden you need to calm down, it’s not a big deal. (Standing next to Aiden putting an arm on his shoulder)
Aiden jerks violently at his hand and resumes pacing
James: Aiden? (No answer) Aiden, you really need to calm down, okay? Have you taken any tablets today?
Aiden: (Glaring at James, no longer yelling, standing in the middle of the room) No, I only got them this morning, why would I bother taking them?
James: Aiden! Why can’t you just help yourself? I mean, if you just took the tablets, all those feelings of, of, hopelessness, and sadness, and everything that you told me about, would go away!
Aiden: I don’t want you to lecture me, and I don’t need you to tell me how to run my own life!
James: (In a kinder voice) I’m not lecturing you, okay? I mean, the things I’m saying, I’m not trying to run your life, I’m saying them because I care about you.
Aiden: If you cared about me, you would try and understand where I’m coming from! (Storms out)
James sighs and starts pulling out the clothes form Aiden’s bag and hangs them neatly on the hook inside his locker. He’s about finished as Rick walks in with three Snicker’s bars.
Rick: I knew you didn’t want anything, but I got something for you guys anyways. (Handing over the Snicker’s bar) Wasn’t that Aiden? Why did he leave? (Looking at the door)
James: (Sigh) We had a bit of a fight, that’s all. (Looks down at the ground)
Rick: (Clear’s throat) Um, look, I wanted to know... something... is, ah, there... umm, anything... umm, ah, going “on” between you and Aiden? (Looking a bit uncomfortable)
James: (Laughing uncomfortably, turning away from the door) What makes you say that?
Rick: A lot of things. I mean, not just lately, either. You guys always seemed really... close. (Shaking head, walking over) But you know that I don’t care if you are...“together”, right? Shaun may be against that kind of thing, but I honestly don’t mind. I’m okay with it.
James: Seriously? (Resigned) Fine, okay. (Sigh) We’re –
Shaun stalks in with soccer bag in hand
Shaun: (furious, slams bag down on the bench, slowly walking towards Rick) What the h*ll?! You’re telling me that we have qu**rs?! On our team?! (Glares at the both of them)
James: Look, just, calm down, will you? It’s not what you-
Shaun (yelling): Don’t give me that cr*p! (Centre Stage) I won’t stand having people like you on our team!
Rage overcomes Shaun and he launches himself at James, pinning him against the lockers. James, in turn, defends himself, which turns the fight into a wrestling match on the ground, both of them trying to get an advantage. They finally release each other and stand, Shaun next to the lockers, James standing with Rick next to the door. There is silence all around as Shaun’s eyes dart around the room
Rick: Does there have to be so much violence? I mean, can’t we just ge-
Shaun (glaring between Rick and James): He deserves whatever he ends up getting.
James: Shaun, calm down, it’s not what you think, okay?
Aiden steps into the room unnoticed, taking in the scene
Shaun: Like h*ll it’s not! Tell me that it’s not one more time-
James: (speaking quickly) Aiden has depression. We’re not together, I’ve just been helping him through it.
There is an awkward silence as Shaun takes in his words.
Aiden: What? (Looking at James) How? How could you tell them? I thought you swore not to tell anyone else!
James: God, Aiden, I’m sorry, I-
Rick: (speaking quickly) It wasn’t his fault, Aiden.
Aiden: (to James, quiet voice) But you still told him. (Turns and covers face, walks quickly out the door)
James: (yelling) Aiden, come back! I didn’t mean for it to happen! Aiden!
Shaun: (Running his hands over his face) Geez, I am so sorry, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, I (Pause) I’m sorry.
James says nothing and leaves the room
Shaun: I really didn’t know, I didn’t think...
Rick: That’s right, Shaun, you didn’t think. A**holes like you never do. I’ll see you at the match. (Exits stage right)
See Shaun rubbing his face and sitting on the bench. Blackout.