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Drown It Out
This is a script, not a book, so it's focus in writing was more on realistic dialogue than painting a scene as my first piece was. What inspired me? One day my friend and I were talking when this script was in its youth. The original plot was "homosexual couple who overcome the struggles of their persecution but one loses their life in an accident and the other is left remembering." It was originally a tragic memory play. However, she said something that really hit me, "The homosexual couples never get a happy ending in the stories." And she was right. So, here it is! Also note, Will and Annie's story takes place both in the present and in the past. There are moments of flashback in the night of the fight and they are signified by lighting changes. Just a side note so as not to confuse.
(Lights up on the stage set in a living room. Center stage is a couch with a side table stage right of it, with a lamp on it. A rug is on the floor downstage of it. Upstage left is a cabinet. GINA is standing near it, opening it and pulling out a bottle of wine during the next lines)
GINA. I do Sammie, I do. I do Sammie, I do.
SAM. (At the same time) You do know, if we get caught, it’ll be my head! And I’m not ready to get grounded for another month just so you can taste some liquor!
GINA. Calm down! Jesus, you’re so anxious! Look, they’re out of town for the weekend right?
SAM. Well, yeah, but…
GINA. And you have a friend who can buy you another bottle of this, right?
SAM. But Gina…
GINA. So we can drink tonight, replace the bottle, and they would never know, right?
SAM. Yeah… I guess… I just don’t like this whole kinda thing, ya know? My parents put a lot of trust in me and it just feels wrong…
GINA. We’re in the safety of your home; it’s just you and me. Nothing’s gonna happen.
SAM. What if we break something…
SAM. What if we get alcohol poisoning…
SAM. Or what if…
GINA. Sam! Calm down, will you? It’s one bottle.
(GINA sits down on the couch with the bottle)
GINA. Do you have a corkscrew anywhere?
(SAM nervously stands still)
GINA. Sam? C’mon, there’s nothing to be worried about. I’ve drunk before, and a bottle of wine will not kill you! Besides, you said you were curious, didn’t you?
SAM. Yeah… I guess so.
GINA. Good! Now, corkscrew?
(SAM goes to the table next to the couch and opens a drawer, pulling out a corkscrew. She hand’s it to GINA. GINA opens the bottle. She drinks. She passes the bottle to SAM. SAM takes it and cautiously drinks.)
SAM. That’s disgusting!
GINA. You get used to it! Here, take another!
(SAM does so.)
SAM. That’s my fill for the night.
GINA. Haha, all right! More for me!
(GINA retrieves the bottle and continues to drink throughout the next lines.)
GINA. So, PARCC’s finally over!
SAM. Took long enough. Did you actually do the questions?
GINA. Ha! No!
GINA. You did?
(GINA laughs and offers SAM another drink.)
SAM. I dunno, I just felt bad when the teachers were all, “our jobs are on the line with this test.” I didn’t want to be the reason they lost their jobs…
GINA. Oh, that’s a load of crap! Besides, if they did lose their jobs over this, something would happen. They won’t do that.
SAM. I guess.
GINA. How stupid was the actual test?
SAM. Pretty dumb. A lot of stuff was stuff that even some of my smartest college friends didn’t know when I told them about it. My friend Danny, I told you about him, right?
GINA. Your neighbor who is like a big brother to you, right?
SAM. Right. Well, he’s currently physics major and has a 3.8 GPA. I asked him one of the hardest questions, and all he could say was “what the f***?”
(The two begin laughing.)
GINA. God, educators are stupid.
SAM. What does that mean for us? What does that mean for us? What does that mean for us?
(As SAM repeats those words, the scene changes. The couch remains, as does the wine bottle, but SAM, GINA, the table, the cabinet, and the rug are all striked. WILLIAM and ANNIE enter.)
WILLIAM. (At the same time as SAM last “What does that mean for us?”) What does that mean for us?
ANNIE. What does that mean for us? It means we’re done, you self-centered bastard! Get the hell out of my apartment and get the hell out of my life!
WILLIAM. Look! It was a mistake, all right? God! You never let me speak!
ANNIE. Oh, what the hell does that mean?
WILLIAM. What does that mean? Every fight, you just go on and on and on! And when it’s my turn, if you’re not too “tired,” you never listen!
ANNIE. Oh that’s crazy…
WILLIAM. No, you just sit there and drown me out!
ANNIE. That’s absurd!
WILLIAM. And it’s not easy to always have to let you win! You don’t understand how hard it is to love someone who always has to win!
ANNIE. What the hell!
WILLIAM. But I do it because I care! Because I love you! I do it all because I love you! And it’s so exhausting! I want you to hear how much it hurts me that you don’t care about what I have to say, or how alone I feel, or how stupid I feel just talking to someone who’s not even listening! But you just…
ANNIE. Stop it!
(The room goes silent.)
WILLIAM. Look. Fighting here isn’t going to do anything for us.
(ANNIE doesn’t respond.)
WILLIAM. Look… I brought the bottle home… I can go get us some glasses, and we can sit down, have a drink, and I know we can fix this.
(ANNIE stays silent.)
WILLIAM. Anne… we can fix this.
(ANNIE sits down on the couch.)
WILLIAM. C’mon Annie.
(ANNIE nods slowly.)
WILLIAM. All right. Here, I’ll go get the glasses…
(WILLAIM exits upstage left. ANNIE stays still, staring forward. The lights change on the stage. WILLIAM enters back from downstage left, now in a different shirt, a different pair of jeans, and different shoes. ANNIE smiles over at him.)
WILLIAM. So, this is your place, huh?
ANNIE. Yup! Like it?
WILLIAM. It’s cozy! What’s back there?
(He asks this as he goes upstage, looking off the upstage left exit.)
ANNIE. A little alley kitchen. It’s nothing much, but it does what it needs to.
WILLIAM. So, there’s this little space, the kitchen…
ANNIE. The bathroom and closet over that way.
WILLIAM. The bathroom and closet over that way… where do you sleep?
ANNIE. Right there.
(She points to the couch.)
WILLIAM. Cozy. So, talk to me, why am I here?
ANNIE. What do you mean?
WILLIAM. You know. I don’t usually make it this far with the girls I date. I usually do something by now to- I dunno- scare them away!
ANNIE. Not me!
WILLIAM. What made you stay…?
(ANNIE freezes. WILLIAM exits upstage left. The lights change back to what they were and ANNIE unfreezes, continuing to sit where she was. WILLIAM enters back in, now carrying two glasses. He sits next to her and opens the wine bottle. He puts one glass on the floor and fills the glass in his hand. Handing it to her:)
WILLIAM. One for you… and…
(Pouring a glass for himself.)
WILLIAM. One for me.
(ANNIE just looks in her drink.)
WILLIAM. Can we please just talk. Anne. Annie please…
ANNIE. Why, Will?
WILLIAM. Cause I was stupid. I never wanted to hurt you like that. And I don’t want us to end like this, with your heart broken and me without a chance to make it better.
(ANNIE looks at him. She smiles.)
ANNIE. Cheers? Cheers? Cheers? Cheers?
(As ANNIE repeats these words, the cabinet is returned to the stage. The rug is returned. The side table is returned. ANNIE and WILLIAM exit as SAM and GINA reenter. They are still drinking the bottle.)
SAM. (At the same time as ANNIE’S last “cheers?”) Cheers.
(GINA takes another sip. She offers it to SAM. She denies.)
GINA. You cheered. You gotta drink after you cheer.
(SAM takes it and takes a sip.)
SAM. I still don’t get how you drink this crap.
GINA. You’ll learn to like it, I promise.
SAM. If you say so.
(SAM hands the bottle back. GINA puts it on the floor.)
GINA. What’s the matter?
SAM. What do you mean?
GINA. I dunno. You’re really quiet these days.
GINA. You used to have a lot to say at the table. These days, you just kinda keep quiet.
SAM. I’m tired. I dunno, I’m tired lately.
(SAM stays quiet.)
GINA. Sammie, what is it?
SAM. I don’t know. I just… I don’t know where I’m going Gina… I really don’t know where I’m going.
GINA. What do you mean?
SAM. In life. Like, you all have your lives figured out! You know what you want to do, you all have something you’re good at. But I have no clue what I’m going to do after high school or what I’m even good at.
GINA. Oh c’mon Sam! You are good at plenty of things!
GINA. Writing! Remember that card you wrote me for my birthday! That was beautiful!
SAM. It was nothing.
GINA. And how long did you say it took you?
SAM. I dunno.
GINA. You said, “about ten minutes!” You wrote me this beautiful poem, for my birthday, with some of the sweetest, most clever things I have ever heard, in only ten minutes!
SAM. Gina, anyone can do that!
GINA. No they can’t Sam! That’s a gift! That’s special!
SAM. So? It’s not gonna get me anywhere. What can I do with that?
GINA. Creative writing! You can write cards! You can be a journalist! There’s so much you can do with that.
(SAM stays quiet)
GINA. There’s so much you will do with that.
(The two smile at each other. SAM looks back down.)
SAM. That’s not the only thing though Gina…
GINA. Then tell me about the rest.
SAM. I can’t Gina…
SAM. Cause you won’t understand.
GINA. What’s that supposed to mean?
SAM. It’s really complicated, okay.
GINA. You can tell me.
SAM. No. I can’t!
GINA. Fine, don’t.
(They sit quietly for a moment.)
GINA. But you know you want to.
SAM. Do I now?
SAM. No Gina.
GINA. What is so bad about it?
SAM. It has to do with someone you know, okay?
GINA. You wouldn’t have brought it up if you didn’t wanna talk about it.
(SAM reaches for the bottle. GINA pulls it away.)
GINA. Sam, I know you wanna talk about it!
SAM. Okay, fine. Look… Remember back in freshman year when you met Eric Thomas and you two really started to become close friends…? And then, he asked you out and at first it was weird but eventually, you two had that amazing relationship until the end of junior year?
GINA. Yeah…? Aw Sam! Who is he!
SAM. Um… Haha, I can’t tell you.
GINA. But we tell each other everything…
SAM. You don’t know him!
GINA. Oh. Okay.
SAM. He’s really cute though. He’s got this beautifully long hair and this smile that could just! Ugh! I can’t even begin to explain it! It’s beautiful and shining, shining, shining, shining.
(The side table, rug, and cabinet are stiked. The bottle remains, sitting on the floor. SAM and GINA exit as WILLIAM and ANNIE enter and sit down on opposite sides of the bottle with glasses in their hands.)
ANNIE. (At the same time as the last “shining.”) Shining! Yeah, I remember that day.
WILLIAM. And I took you out on the rowboat and we went out onto the lake!
ANNIE. And the duck stole your coat!
WILLIAM. And I fell out of the boat trying to get it back!
ANNIE. And I had to save you from drowning…
WILLIAM. Got pulled in with me!
(The two laugh hysterically and clink glasses, drinking together.)
WILLIAM. See that?
ANNIE. Yeah. Yeah, I do.
WILLIAM. We don’t have to lose that. I never stopped loving you Anne…
ANNIE. Didn’t you?
WILLIAM. No. Throughout all of it, I never stopped loving you, Anne.
ANNIE. Will… dammit Will…
WILLIAM. I know Annie… I know….
ANNIE. No, you don’t, William!
WILLIAM. Okay, maybe I said that too fast.
ANNIE. What do you know Will? What pain like this do you know?
WILLIAM. Look, Annie, I spoke too quickly!
ANNIE. You are so inconsiderate sometimes and you don’t think about how what you’re doing can affect someone else! You think you know, you think you know! You think you understand…
WILLIAM. (At the same time) Look, Annie, calm down, please! Look, we don’t need to fight like this okay! We can talk, can we please just talk! Annie, just listen! Listen! Listen!
ANNIE. To what Will?
WILLIAM. To how sorry I am okay!
ANNIE. Sorry doesn’t fix jack s*** Will!
WILLIAM. Jesus Christ…
ANNIE. You slept with my best friend!
(There is silence. The lights change again.)
WILLIAM. Do you really mean that…?
ANNIE. Yeah, I do. Why would I say it if I didn’t?
WILLIAM. Cause, you’re a very sweet girl who is incredibly kind and generous with her compliments to her houseguests?
WILLIAM. Sorry, sorry! I’m really bad at moments.
(The two laugh.)
WILLIAM. What is it about me?
ANNIE. What do you mean?
WILLIAM. What’s so good about me?
ANNIE. You’re funny. You’re sweet. You’re handsome. You’re a lot of things Will.
WILLIAM. But there are plenty of guys just like that!
ANNIE. None of them make me feel the same as you do! There are no words for it but… there are no words for it. You make everything okay. You make everything right.
WILLIAM. Can I say something…? Something really… crazy?
ANNIE. Only if I can keep being my crazy self. Fire away!
WILLIAM. Annie… I love you.
(The lights change back.)
WILLIAM. Let’s get out of the house. We’ve been in here for a while now. C’mon, we’ll go get something to eat, or catch a movie, or…
ANNIE. Will! You can’t ignore that!
WILLIAM. You don’t need to just blurt it out like that.
ANNIE. Oh. I’m sorry! Did that hurt you in some way? Pardon me! How absolutely insensitive of me! I’m so sorry I hurt you like that!
WILLIAM. Okay Annie. I get it.
ANNIE. You get it? You get it! Yeah, you always get it! You always understand and yet you don’t do what you need to do to make things better! You say you are listening and yet you’re just hearing what you want, you Goddamned hypocrite!
(ANNIE sits down on the couch.)
WILLIAM. So, what can I do? What can I do? What can I do? What can I do?
(The rug, side table, and cabinet are returned. The wine bottle remains. WILLIAM and ANNIE exit. GINA and SAM enter.)
GINA. (At the same time as the last “What can I do?”) What can I do to coax it out of you!
SAM. Gotta keep guessing!
GINA. Ugh! C’mon why!
SAM. Cause, I’m having way too much fun with this!
GINA. I’m not!
SAM. I know!
GINA. Fine. Um… okay, are they tall?
SAM. Yeah, a little bit I guess. Like, average height.
GINA. Eye color?
SAM. Brown… but not like mud brown! Like… like chocolate. Smooth and clear.
GINA. Hm… okay… what do they do?
SAM. Oh c’mon! That’s not a guess!
GINA. Tough! You expect me to guess through a thousand and one categories of what people do? If you want me to do that, I’m gonna need another bottle.
SAM. How much is left in this one?
GINA. A decent amount.
GINA. Now, c’mon! What do they do?
SAM. It’ll give it away!
GINA. I’m sure it won’t! Just tell me.
SAM. They sing.
GINA. This still really doesn’t help me. What genre do they sing?
SAM. Soft rock.
GINA. So, an average height guy with brown eyes and hair who goes to our school, loves the color green, puppies, amusement parks, and all movies, except for romantic tragedies which he calls sappy and overrated? And he sings soft rock?
GINA. I feel like I’d get along really well with this guy.
(GINA laughs and takes a swig.)
SAM. Yeah, I’m sure you would…
GINA. Is this guy… is this guy really a guy?
(There is silence.)
GINA. What’s her favorite movie of all time?
SAM. It’s… Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…
GINA. What’s her favorite candy?
SAM. Kit Kats mixed with Reece’s Pieces, which is why it’s so hard to buy her favorite candy for her birthday…
GINA. (At the same time as the last words) buy her favorite candy for her birthday so you had to go to the city to actually buy some…
SAM. Yeah… I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.
(The table, rug, and cabinet are striked. The wine bottle remains, and ANNIE and WILLIAM reenter, with the glasses.)
ANNIE. (At the same time as the last “I love you.”) I love you too, Will, I do. And goddammit… I want to trust you again, okay? But how can you expect me to have an ounce of trust in you when you f***ed my best friend and then waited three months to tell me?
WILLIAM. Because it was a mistake and I am so willing, now, to do everything I can to make up for my stupid mistake. I won’t talk to her ever again; I’ll stay in the apartment and work from home everyday if that’s what you want; I’ll stay by your side every hour until you…
ANNIE. Do you think I give a damn? Do you really think I give a damn? You can’t fix this Will… I can’t look at you or kiss you or make love to you without knowing that those lips touched hers as well!
WILLIAM. I will do everything for you! I will treat you so much better than I did before! I’ll cook for you every night and take you out every time you want to go out! I’ll write poems and songs and draw you art! I’ll let you win every fight…
ANNIE. Why do you have to keep bringing that up?
ANNIE. How I have to win every fight?
ANNIE. First as some excuse for why you did it, then just as some thing to pull the pressure off you, and now… Why am I being made the enemy here! Why the hell are you just trying to make me feel like s*** for being upset that my boyfriend of two years cheated on me and lied to me about it for three months! Yeah, so I’m not the best sometimes and yeah I have my faults but goddammit! Is that enough reason to cheat on me? Am I really so bad that you would just replace me like that! Am I really worth that little to you?
(She breaks down. WILLIAM walks over.)
WILLIAM. No… no, it’s not like that… I love you so much. I was so stupid in the moment and the whole time you were running through my mind and I just kept on hurting knowing how much I was going to hurt you…
ANNIE. Then why didn’t you just stop!
WILLIAM. I don’t know… Because I was just so mad and so lost and you weren’t there hurting because if I had seen you there hurting, I would’ve stopped that second… you don’t understand I never wanted to hurt you like this…
ANNIE. Well you did!
WILLIAM. And now I’m going to work every minute of every day to make it up to you and make it all right and show you that I love you so much and will do anything to be allowed to call you mine. Please give me the chance to fix what I’ve broken and to dry your tears. Here, I’ll make you another drink…
(ANNIE remains quiet. WILLIAM gets up and grabs the bottle. The lights change.)
WILLIAM. Oh… s***… um… I brought this to… I dunno… you said you wanted to cook a meal for me so I thought, oh, well I should bring some wine and just… well, you already have some glasses out so maybe you already had wine! So… um… oh god…
WILLIAM. Yeah… yeah?
ANNIE. You said you love me?
WILLIAM. Did I? Are you sure! I mean, maybe that was the name of the wine, I dunno…
ANNIE. You said you love me?
WILLIAM. Yeah… yeah, I guess I did.
WILLIAM. Cause… Annie… I don’t think I’ve ever dated any girl like you. You’ve got it all figured out. And you’re out there, making the life you wanted for yourself without even having gotten a degree and oh my god the success you had. It’s not just that you’re beautiful. You have this drive… this way about you that’s just… so inspirational! And I kept on telling myself, “you just really like her.” But then, it never felt like enough and then just… I couldn’t find the word and then I did…
ANNIE. What brand is the wine?
WILLIAM. I dunno… but it was pricy… so it must be at least decent.
ANNIE. C’mon, I have glasses. Fill each one up. I’m thirsty.
WILLIAM. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.
(The rug, cabinet, and table return. WILLIAM and ANNIE exit with the glasses. The bottle remains. GINA and SAM return.)
GINA. (At the same time as the last “Okay.”) Okay.
SAM. Oh my god.
(GINA kisses SAM.)
GINA. Sammie… I… I love you too.
GINA. I mean it… I really do mean it…
GINA. Sammie… I had a long period of time where I just… you know, after Eric, I was crushed. And you know I hooked up with a lot of guys. And every one of them hurt me in the end. They would treat me like I was more than just some one-night stand and then the next morning they’d be gone. And you were always there when I just wanted to kill myself and when I just wanted to run away from it al. You were there and with you I felt safe because I knew you couldn’t hurt me and just… It’s so hard to not fall in love with someone who cares about you so much.
SAM. Oh Gina…
GINA. But I never told you cause I didn’t want to hurt you or to hurt us or to lose you or or or… I don’t know what I’m saying… I… I… I…
GINA. Yeah, Sam?
SAM. I love you.
GINA. I love you too.
(They kiss again.)
SAM. Oh my god.
SAM. You know when you’ve been wanting to kiss someone and then…
GINA. You finally get to…
SAM. And it’s nothing like you imagined but…
SAM AND GINA. Better than you could’ve ever imagined.
GINA. Yeah, I do know what you mean.
SAM. So, what now?
GINA. I don’t know. I never really planned to do this so I actually didn’t think of what would happen when I did.
SAM. Neither did I.
GINA. Still thirsty?
SAM. Yeah. Yeah, I am.
GINA. Well, unless you feel like walking all the way to your kitchen to grab some water, I think this is about your only option.
SAM. I guess so.
(SAM takes a swig and hands the bottle to GINA who also drinks.)
SAM. You’re right. It is an acquired taste.
(They share another drink.)
SAM. I’m glad you’re here.
GINA. I’m glad you’re with me… with me… with me… with me…
(The table, cabinet, and rug are striked. The bottle remains. GINA and SAM exit, and WILLIAM and ANNIE return with the glasses.)
WILLIAM. (At the same time as the “with me.”) with me, and I promise I will fix us. Okay?
ANNIE. You can’t. I know how much you want to, but you can’t…
WILLIAM. But Annie…
ANNIE. And neither can I. I want to Will… I want to so badly because you are mine… you’re my Will… You’re my other half and I’m yours… But I can’t believe any promise you make anymore. I can’t trust anything you swear. I can’t listen to you and not think it’s a lie.
WILLIAM. Annie, please…
ANNIE. No Will!
(ANNIE sits down. WILLIAM sits with her.)
WILLIAM. We’ll be okay…
ANNIE. Stop saying that! Stop!
WILLIAM. So… what? Now I just get out of your life? You’re just gonna throw away what we’ve had just like that?
ANNIE. I don’t know Will… I don’t know right now. I don’t know about what’s next for us. But I know that right now, you need to go.
WILLIAM. But Annie…
ANNIE. William… please… go.
WILLIAM. I can fix this…
(WILLIAM gets up and exits upstage right. The lights change. WILLIAM reenters. He refills both the glasses. ANNIE unfreezes as he sits next to her.)
WILLIAM. Yeah, it’s a pretty boring job, I’m not gonna lie.
ANNIE. It sounds it! Just crunching numbers all day long. I’d fall asleep.
WILLIAM. It pays the bills though, so there’s something.
ANNIE. But is it really worth it if you’re just stuck doing the same thing day after day after day when you hate every minute of it?
WILLIAM. No, no it’s not. But you see, I know I’m not gonna be stuck there forever.
ANNIE. Oh? And what makes you so sure?
WILLIAM. My plan.
ANNIE. And what would that be?
WILLIAM. Well, one day, I’m gonna make enough so I can get out of that company and be secure for at least a year. In that year, I’m gonna write it.
WILLIAM. My book. I’m gonna write my story and I’m gonna get it published and I’m gonna be more than my old job. And people will know my name and I’ll be set to keep writing for the rest of my life. Then I’ll meet a nice girl. Get a bigger apartment or maybe even a house with her. Share our lives together. And in the end, every hellish day at the office will have been worth it. Because I’ll be there and she’ll be there… I just have to make it through here first, one day at a time.
(ANNIE finishes her glass. As does WILLIAM.)
ANNIE. I love you too…
(The lights change. WILLIAM exits as they do, ANNIE freezing. When they finally transition fully WILLIAM reenters with a suitcase and a backpack. He picks up the wine bottle from the floor but puts it back and starts towards the door. He turns back.)
WILLIAM. Annie… I love you…
ANNIE. I know.
(He exits. The lights all fade out except for one on the wine bottle. Blackout.)
END OF PLAY