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(Main Cast – speaking roles)
Lights gradually come on. The room is small. Chairs and a table are the only furniture present. A small tape recorder is set on the table. TUCKER, JEN, CLARA, MEG, and AUBREY all sit around the table in chairs. COLLIN is pacing back and forth, seemingly annoyed. TUCKER is not looking at anyone. CLARA and AUBREY whisper quietly amongst themselves. JEN sits quietly next to MEG. A POLICE OFFICER stands still by the door, slightly hunched, neither looking nor speaking at or to any of the students.
Enter DR. FISHER. The POLICE OFFICER stands up straight.
DR. FISHER: [Smiles sadly and sits in an empty chair. This chair is on one side of the
table while the six others are on the other side. He presses a button on the tape recorder.]
Do you know why you’re here?
[Everyone looks away. COLLIN looks towards others, as if expecting them to answer. When they don’t, he grabs his chair, turns it around, and sits on it backwards.]
COLLIN: Sure we do. It’s because two of the most popular football players of the school disappeared last week. And Alex McGovern. But Alex is a freaking weirdo.
DR. FISHER: (Straight-faced) And why do you say that?
COLLIN: Are you kidding me? The kid is crazy.
DR: FISHER: Medically speaking, it was never proved that he was crazy.
TUCKER: [Sits slumped in chair, legs out and arms crossed. He is looking and speaking at the floor.] Was?
DR. FISHER: I… Let’s all just take a breath, shall we? I haven’t even properly introduced myself yet. My name’s Dr. Fisher. Fisher is fine. I’m assuming you know the main reason you’re here… I won’t go into that unless you want to. I’m just here to ask you all a few questions. If you don’t want to answer one or you feel uncomfortable, don’t worry. I won’t make you say anything you don’t want to. I just want to get to know all of you better and set things straight; maybe get some answers to unanswered questions. Does that sound alright to you?
[Enter MISS MULLINS.]
MISS MULLINS: (Flustered) Sorry I’m late. I got caught up with… um… well anyway. Did I miss anything?
DR. FISHER: Not much. I’m just briefing everyone. I’d say it’s a bit tense in here at the moment. (Addressing the students) Maybe we aren’t all perfect okay with being here?
COLLIN: (Ignoring the question) Why is Miss Mullins here?
DR. FISHER: Miss Mullins agreed to be the school employee present for this interview. The board approved of it, as she’s… younger.
MISS MULLINS: Mr. Erickson thought I might be able to better relate with you all, rather than someone like… Mrs. Henry, who’s…
MISS MULLINS: Collin.
COLLIN: Just saying…
DR. FISHER: Right then. Shall we get started?
[No response from anyone.]
I guess that’s a yes. Does anyone have any questions or concerns or just anything they want to say before I begin?
MEG: (Timidly) Why exactly are we here?
DR. FISHER: In light of… recent events… the board thought it’d be a good idea for all the seniors to be offered a one on one session with their counselor.
AUBREY: We already did that.
DR. FISHER: I know. But after discovering certain details about certain people, I was asked by the board to gain a bit more knowledge about those who went missing.
COLLIN: So that’s why we’re here. You want to pry into our lives to get to know them better. Well I’ll tell you this much; Jen, Meg, and I don’t know anything about Alex McGovern other than she’s off her freaking rocker.
[The room goes silent.]
TUCKER: (Quietly) Take that back.
COLLIN: (Appalled) Excuse me?
TUCKER: You heard me. I said ‘take it back’.
COLLIN: Why should I? Even you know she’s a nutcase.
TUCKER: That’s not what I’m talking about.
COLLIN: Pft, shut up, dude. We all know who Alex really is, okay?
TUCKER: I said ‘take it back’.
DR. FISHER: Boys. We’re not going to get anywhere with you arguing. Meg, did I answer your question.
MEG: I guess… I just don’t really get why we specifically are here. I mean, why did you have to do this interview with everyone? It’s like Collin said. He and Jen aren’t really that close to Alex.
CLARA: And Aubrey and I haven’t even talked to Daniel or Matt since like elementary school.
DR. FISHER: I understand that. I just thought that, from what little information I already do know, it’d be easier to do this with all of you here. Now Clara. You say you haven’t talked to Daniel and Matt since elementary school?
CLARA: Yeah, not really.
DR. FISHER: And why is that?
COLLIN: Dude. It’s high school. This is just how things are. Don’t question it.
DR. FISHER: Pardon me?
AUBREY: Like, there are a bunch of different… social groups. Clara and I don’t really hang out with all of them.
DR. FISHER: ‘Them’ as in?
COLLIN: Us; the popular kids. You know, the rulers of the school? Jen and Meg and I here practically rule this place. And I hope you’re on your way to finding Matt and Danny; we need them. They’re our best players.
DR. FISHER: Right… Well you know the police are doing all they can. Let’s just focus on getting a bit more information, hm? Tucker, it’s my understanding that you have a close relationship with Alex?
TUCKER: Yeah, Alex and I are best buds. We do everything together.
DR. FISHER: Had Alex been acting weird the days leading up to the disappearances?
TUCKER: Why do you ask that? Are you accusing him of something?
DR. FISHER: It’s just a standard question. I’ll be asking the same of Matt and Daniel.
TUCKER: (Skeptical) Fine. But no, not really. I mean, he was always different. But everyone is different in some way. Alex just had his own way of showing it. He didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought.
DR. FISHER: Does everyone else agree with that?
COLLIN: You’re not really going to make us sit here and talk about Alex, are you?
MISS MULLINS: Collin, you may not know much about Mr. McGovern but others here do. Just let Dr. Fisher do his job.
COLLIN: (Under his breath) Whatever.
DR. FISHER: Clara, Aubrey. You’re friends with Alex, correct?
DR. FISHER: Would you say that what Tucker’s said is true? Had Alex been acting strange in any way?
CLARA: Not a whole lot. But like Tucker said; he’s just that kind of guy. He’s quirky. His personality in general is strange. But like a good strange.
DR. FISHER: Has anything happened recently that would have changed Alex’s mood?
AUBREY: Like what?
DR. FISHER: Anything. Maybe something at home? Something at school? Friend problems, peer pressure. The risk factors for teenagers go on and on, though I’m sure you all know that.
AUBREY: Well I mean Alex had a lot going on last year. And there’s still a lot of s*** with his parents. It’s a small town, you know?
DR. FISHER: Of course. What happened last year?
[TUCKER, AUBREY, and CLARA all look at each other nervously. They glance at Collin.]
CLARA: Well, he came out.
TUCKER: At first he only told me, Aubrey, and Clara. But then eventually people would ask him stuff and he wouldn’t deny it or anything. (Angrier) So this one guy heard it from someone else who heard it from someone else or something like that and he told the whole school.
DR. FISHER: How did he go about doing that?
TUCKER: Announced it to the whole cafeteria one day. Just got up on the tables and yelled it out. Then people started posting stuff on Facebook and it was everywhere. Alex’s cousin saw a bunch of posts that Alex was tagged in so he told his mom who called Alex’s mom and then Alex’s parents found out. Like, that was it. He couldn’t do anything about it.
CLARA: Yeah. I mean, it’s one thing coming out to your friends but then suddenly the whole school knows your business? That’s crap.
AUBREY: He just wasn’t ready for it. No one here understands stuff like that. Tucker, Clara, and I tried to be there for him but he started acting different and closing up and stuff. It was weird. He was always kind of like that, wanting to be on his own, but it got to a point where he wouldn’t even look at us last year. And we’re his best friends.
DR. FISHER: I see. How were his parents when he came out?
TUCKER: Terrible. They still are. They refuse to acknowledge anything and just go on pretending like nothing ever happened.
DR. FISHER: If you don’t mind me asking, who was the boy who ousted Alex?
[The room is quiet, all eyes turn towards COLLIN.]
COLLIN: Yeah okay, it was me. It wasn’t even a big deal. Tucker’s making it out to seem like Alex’s life was ruined or something. I was probably helping the kid anyway; everyone knows there was something up with her. She’s like the dykiest person in this town. By telling everyone the truth they could just shut up about it. At least the rumors stopped.
TUCKER: (Yelling) You think you helped him?! You did ruin his life! His parents don’t look at him! He can’t even walk past a locker without you or one of the other guys shoving him into it!
COLLIN: Geez, calm down, man. We don’t shove her. We just push her around a bit; it’s all fun and games, you know. Just a joke. Nothing really harmful. I think she can handle it.
TUCKER: (Stands up, slams hand on table) And for God’s sake will you PLEASE just call him a him?!
MISS MULLINS: Boys! Settle down! Yelling isn’t going to get us anywhere. Just answer Dr. Fisher’s questions and then you can get out of here. I know you don’t want to be here and I know you’re all on edge about the disappearances but you are here to help, not make things worse. (Practically yelling now) So just be quiet and the sooner we’re done the sooner you can leave!
[TUCKER sits and COLLIN cowers. The students are quiet, staring at MISS MULLINS peculiarly.]
DR. FISHER: (Slowly) Thank you for that, Miss Mullins… (Clears throat) Ahem. Shall we move on then?
[CLARA and AUBREY nod slowly.]
DR. FISHER: Right. Collin. Why did you out Alex?
COLLIN: I told you; I’m not going to just sit here and talk about Alex. What about Danny? What about Matt? Don’t they matter? Ask Jen, she’ll tell you.
DR. FISHER: (Quietly and sweetly) Jen? Is that right? What do you know about Matt and Daniel?
DR. FISHER: Jen? I’m not going to make you talk but you would certainly be a big help if you did.
JEN: (Quietly) Matt’s my boyfriend.
DR. FISHER: Ah. I see. And how had Matt been acting the days leading up to his disappearance?
MEG: Um, I think I can answer that, if that’s alright.
DR. FISHER: Certainly.
MEG: Well Matt and Danny and Collin—sorry, Collin, I’m just trying to help here—were just being their usual selves, you know? They don’t really hurt Alex, just push him around and stuff. Alex hasn’t ever been seriously hurt or anything. Actually now that I think of it he went to the nurse one time to get ice for his head… but he just told the nurse he accidentally ran into a closed door… Anyway. Nothing out of the ordinary happened before they all went missing. Kind of just the same old, same old. I guess if anything Alex has started talking to me more often, which is kind of odd. Like we’re still friends and all but ever since we got to high school we haven’t been as close. But it’s been nice, catching up with him and what not.
DR. FISHER: Why did you two stop talking?
MEG: Um. Well, he actually told me he liked me a while ago. It must have been like eighth grade or something. And of course I didn’t hate him for that. It’s just… I don’t know. Different. It is a small town. Anything other than white and straight is kind of out there, you know? I tried not to treat him differently but—and I’ll be honest—I felt kind of weird. So we just didn’t talk as much. But I guess senior year is different. I mean, everyone’s always talking about how you reconnect with old friends, right?
COLLIN: Sure you do. But that doesn’t mean Alex, Meg. You just said it yourself—she’s different. It’s weird. She has a creepy crush on you.
COLLIN: Whatever. Can we go yet?
DR. FISHER: Ah, no. Not yet. Jen. Would you be willing to answer a few more questions? It won’t be much, I promise.
JEN: (Shakily nods her head)
DR. FISHER: What was yours and Alex’s relationship?
COLLIN: Why do you keep asking about Alex? Shouldn’t you be talking to her about Matt or something?
MISS MULLINS: Collin, please. Just let him do his job.
DR. FISHER: Thank you. So, Jen? Did you and Alex ever talk?
JEN: No, never. We’re at totally different ends of the social ladder. It’s not that I have anything against him. I mean, other than the normal stuff.
DR. FISHER: Normal stuff?
JEN: You know, just like… him being him. But that’s it. Nothing really personal ever happened between us.
DR. FISHER: Are you sure about that?
JEN: (Fidgety) Uh, yeah.
JEN: (Under her breath) Shut up, Meg.
MEG: Come on.
DR. FISHER: Is there something I should know, ladies?
JEN: It’s nothing, really.
DR. FISHER: Well not to sound accusatory, but ‘nothing’ is usually ‘something’.
JEN: Really. It’s just… Okay. Well, God, this is going to sound so pathetic. It’s really embarrassing, it really is. Meg and I used to be best friends with Alex. In elementary school. We were so close. Always having play dates and sleepovers and pool parties. It’s so weird to look back on that. I just try to forget about it.
DR. FISHER: Why? Do you ever think you could be friends again?
JEN: No. Never. We’re totally different people.
MISS MULLINS: (Quietly, to no one in particular) Different isn’t necessarily bad.
DR. FISHER: What was that, Miss Mullins?
MISS MULLINS: (Looks up, startled, as if forgetting where she is) What? Oh. Nothing. Sorry. Just talking to myself here.
CLARA: Miss Mullins, not to be rude or anything, but what are you doing here? Like you are young so I guess you can relate with us but you aren’t even saying that much. We all know that you’re Alex’s favorite teacher. (Nervous) Again, I-I don’t want to sound impolite…
MISS MULLINS: (Sighs) No, no. It’s fine. I understand. Alex did come to me to talk about personal things. I’ve always been concerned about him. He’ll tell me just enough information to worry about him then stop right where it gets… how do I word it… juicy? I’m not quite sure that does it justice. But it’s vague enough that I can’t go to a school counselor about it, yet worrisome enough that I can’t sleep at night.
AUBREY: Wait. Do you mean he wants to hurt himself or something?
MISS MULLINS: (Pinches the bride of her nose) I don’t know, Aubrey. He never actually said that. I just had a hunch. But a hunch isn’t enough for me to report him.
COLLIN: Okay hold on a second. What are we doing here? Like what are we really doing here? All we’re doing is talking about Alex. You’ve hardly talked to Jen about Matt and what about Danny? He’s my best freaking friend for crying out loud. (Louder) Why. Are. We. Here.
[The room goes silent. No one says anything for about five to seven seconds.]
DR. FISHER: Collin. What do you think we’re doing here?
COLLIN: I don’t know. But I know what we’re all avoiding. No one’s actually said it out loud. But it’s obviously the reason we’re here. So can you just cut the crap and say it already?
DR. FISHER: (Not sarcastically) Why don’t you just speak what’s on your mind, hm? We won’t interrupt; won’t judge.
COLLIN: (Angry now, stands up) Fine! Fine! You wanna know what I’m thinking about?! It’s the only thing that’s been on my mind for the past two weeks! We had a shooting, okay?
[Other students cringe.]
Stop doing that! Don’t act like it didn’t happen, because it did. It happened and three people are missing. (Addressing Fisher) And you’re sitting here questioning us about some stupid kid who doesn’t even make a blimp on my radar. People were killed. Killed! And not to mention there’s kids still in the hospital! It’s been two weeks. Two freaking weeks and all this freaking town has done is put up a banner and close school for a bit! Does that really make up for some psycho barging into our school and gunning the place down?! And you know what else? I hate this place! I absolutely hate it! You think I don’t know that I’m not getting anywhere after high school? No one does! No one leaves this place. No one here is actually good enough at football to get into college for it. I’m going to be stuck here, just like my dad and my brother and everyone else who’s ever lived here. It sucks! There’s one gas station, one grocery store, a small ass library and what?! A police station filled with people who are supposed to protect us? If that’s true then where’s my best friend? Why has he been missing for two goddamn weeks?! It’s not fair. None of this is fair! (All of a sudden drained, falls into chair) It’s just not fair.
[COLLIN slumps into his chair. He puts his hands over his face and looks as if he’s crying. JEN grabs his hand. Their fingers are not interlocked. CLARA pulls her knees up to her chest and AUBREY runs a hand through her hair. TUCKER and MEG are still and quiet. First to speak after a few seconds is MEG.]
MEG: (Tiredly) Dr. Fisher. Please. We’re all wondering it. Why are we really here?
DR. FISHER: (Looks towards MISS MULLINS and receives a tired nod. Looks towards POLICE OFFICER and receives a stiff nod. POLICE OFFICER walks off stage and comes back with an envelope. He sets it down on the table and resumes his position standing by the door.)
Alex McGovern, Matthew Evans, and Daniel Jackson were found dead last night. Their bodies were discovered on the side of Crook’s Creek. I’m not a police officer but I can tell you this. Daniel and Matt had multiple gunshot and defensive wounds. Alex McGovern had one gunshot wound and no defensive wounds.
[Students are in shock, possibly crying, etc. JEN is crying.]
MEG: (Straight-faced, monotone) What are you saying?
DR. FISHER: I’m saying that the one gunshot wound Alex did have was through his head. There was no exit wound. Alex killed himself, as well as Daniel and Matt. (Gesturing towards envelope) Alex left this note where the police discovered the bodies.
CLARA: (In a state of disbelief) You mean… Oh, God. That’s her… suicide note?
AUBREY: I think I’m going to be sick.
[TUCKER stands up aggressively, punches the table, and flips his chair.]
TUCKER: (Yelling) GOD DAMMIT, ALEX!
DR. FISHER: You were all addressed in the note. That’s why you’re here. (Opens letter, lays it on table. All the students lean over the table to read it.)
[Stage goes dark. ALEX walks on stage. A single spotlight is pointed on him. He looks out towards audience and begins to read the note by memory.]
ALEX: Dear everyone,
That seems a little too formal, doesn’t it? ‘Dear’? It’s like saying, ‘Hi. I’m about to off myself but I may as well be polite in the process.’ Doesn’t flow. But anyway. I suppose if you’re reading this then you’ve found me. I know I’m dead. I’ve been planning this for weeks. There was no way I was going to mess up. I did it. I shot people. I hurt people. I brought a gun to school and killed people.
The first person I’d like to address is Collin Spencer. I hope you realize what you’ve done. Not only to me but to your best friends. They are dead because of you. Never forget that. Those years of endless bullying have earned you what? An empty space on each of your sides where your friends are supposed to be and a guilty conscience that will gnaw at you until the end of time. That’s all I have to say to you.
Secondly. Jen. Jen Johnson. Happy, perfect, smart, pretty, Jen Johnson. We used to be best friends, do you remember that? I thought that maybe one day you’d come back to me. Thought that maybe you and me and Meg could rekindle what we had in elementary school. Guess not. I tried. But you ditched me. Everyone ditched me. And now it’s too late.
Clara and Aubrey: I’m sorry about this. I really am. I know you are going to somehow feel responsible for the whole thing, like you could have done something to stop me. But you wouldn’t have been able to. In fact, thanks to you, I made it to my senior year. I could have gone away much before that but you guys and Tucker gave me a reason to live. Thank you for not giving up on me.
Tucker. You might be the most hurt by this. You’re my best friend. I want you to know that. And you’re always going to be.
Miss Mullins, I want to thank you for always being there for me. You always knew how to make me feel slightly better and I thank you for that. It’s nice to talk to my friends but having an adult who I can look up to and respect helps. You’re the opposite of my parents. They blamed me. They got phone calls and emails from concerned parents because all of a sudden their precious son or daughter was walking the halls with a “tranny”, a “he/she”. But being transgender isn’t a bad thing. I’m a guy. That’s it. That’s all it means. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to realize. It doesn’t affect them. Why can’t I just be who I was born as?
Meg. You’re last. I love you. I know that’s blunt but it’s true. I’ve loved you since eighth grade. I’m sorry I ever told you that I liked you. I know it made you uncomfortable and I would take it back if I could. I know I could never be with you.
I know what I’ve done is going to change everything. At first I just wanted revenge. And I got it. If I had just gotten back at all those popular kids, I could have lived with myself. But I didn’t just get back at them. I killed people. And I can’t live with that. I became the very thing I’ve always hated, and I just can’t live with that hanging over me. Some of you will think I’m weak and that’s okay. I can’t tell you what to think. But to everyone out there who’s different—I believe in you. I may have not been able to survive but that doesn’t mean you can’t. So stay strong.