The Herald

Not Yet – a play

Senior Lexi Gilmore, a playwright in Creative Writing class

Senior Lexi Gilmore, a playwright in Creative Writing class

Senior Lexi Gilmore, a playwright in Creative Writing class

Lexi Gilmore

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(Set in New York City, a middle-aged man named Arthur Hawkins, is walking around the city, aimlessly. After a harsh day, he is the lowest possible low one can get. He keeps bumping into people, people are yelling for him to walk faster, or they pass him and mumble things under their breath. His suit is rather baggy, as if Arthur had lost a significant amount of weight, his tie is undone, buttons on his shirt are torn off, and his hair is a mess.) 

Arthur:(Laughing in a low, mumbly sort of laugh.)  Of course! This is exactly what would happen to me. I, of all people on this earth, of seven billion. (shouting) Seven billion! (Mumbling, again.) I am the one who feels this way. (Someone bumps into him.) Why is everything happening to me? The fight with my daughter, the piles and piles of unfinished work on my desk, and not to mention, that my wife is dead.  

( His head is in his hands and he is still walking along the crowded street, only minutes later, but feels like hours to Arthur. 

Arthur: Everyone would be much better off without me. My daughter has her husband, so I am unneeded by her. My wife, the one person that gave me everything I needed, completed me, and made me a better person is gone. She’s gone forever and I don’t know what I am going to do about it. I shouldn’t be here. (He raises his voice and strangers start to stare.)  

(Arthur is still walking aroud. His voice sounds like mumbling, but people are still giving him strange looks.) 

Arthur: All it would take is one jump, one bullet, or a bottle of pills and some vodka. I live alone now, so nobody would know if I tried. It would probably take people weeks before they noticed me gone. Only then would they realize I might’ve left. (Arthur begins to rub his hands together, feeling the friction between them. He looks down to see the blisters he has made. It was not the first time he had made these blisters.)  

Arthur: You know, I elp people. When Cheryl died, I was the one comforting people. I comforted them all and everyone assumed I was doing fine. I’m there for them. When I am gone, no one will have to worry about me, they can just continue to do what they are doing. This year has been trash, my wife died and I didn’t get any calls on my birthday this year, and the whole night I kept telling myself this would be my last birthday and next year I would spend it in the dirt. I will be six feet under, and I can’t help but wonder how the darkness will be compared to what I am already feeling. I’ve made up my mind and I’m doing it today. Nothing will stop me.  

(Arthur looks over and catches the eyes of an old man wearing rags for clothes and holding a plastic bag that looks like old, old trash.)  

Homeless man: (Worried eyes and a smile. The man talked with a lisp, since he had lost many of his teeth.) Excuse me, sir. Are you okay? Do you want to talk? I’ve been hearing you mumble for the past minute and you have said some pretty intense stuff. Are you okay?  

Arthur: (Rolling his eyes and in a harsh tone.) Yes, I am fine. Do I know you? (Arthur put his hands in his jacket pocket.) 

Homeless man: No, I don’t think so. But I don’t want ya hurtin’ yourself. Why don’t you come sit with me for a bit?  

Arthur: I’d rather not. I have somewhere I really need to be.  

Homeless man: Well, sir. Please just listen to me for a sec, uh, what’s your name? I’m Dale. (He had a subtle, southern accent, that Arthur hadn’t picked up on until now.) 

Arthur: (In a monotone voice.) Just call me Arthur.  

Dale: Arthur, I had a good friend named Arthur. (Arthur twitched when he said his name.)  He was jus’ like me, homeless an’ all. The man knew what he wanted, he worked hard for little bits of food too. You would’ve never guessed the stuff he had been through.  (Arthur mumbles, but Dale didn’t hear.) He was jus’ like a brother to me.

Arthur: (Arthur began to get uncomfortable at how personal the conversation was getting.)I really have to go.

Dale: (Ignoring what Arthur had just said, like he hadn’t even heard him.) I thought that he was doing fine, and one day he came to me all weird and bothered. I thought that he had gotten himself inta trouble or somethin’.  

Arthur: (Arthur began to get impatient at how Dale would not stop talking.) I really have somewhere to be.  

Dale: He came to me one night and said he needed my help. He had gotten himself inta trouble of some sort. Asked me if I had any kind of money. He said that he needed to run away and people were after him. It was second nature for people like us to be running away from something, but Arthur was different. He never ran away from anything. Anyway, I gave him what I had and he  

Arthur: (Interupting Dale mid-sentence.) I really need to go.  

Dale: Sorry?  

Arthur: (Arthur started fiddling with his tie and cracked his knuckles. He rubbed his hands over his face stopping at his mouth. Pulling his suit jacket back up to his ears. Sweating and looking back and forth.) I don’t care about this Arthur person, so stop talking about him.  

Dale: (Eyes glossed over with tears.) I’m sorry sir, I just wanted to say that life is precious and at any moment someone could lose a loved one. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I’m sorry.  

Arthur: (In an annoyed tone, Arthur glared at Dale.) I just have to go! You don’t know me, so don’t act like you do. Move out of my way.  

Dale: Alright, sorry sir. I hope you have a good day, Arthur. (Still has a friendly, toothless smile and mumbled the words so quietly, Arthur could barely hear him.) Please don’t do something you will regret.  

(Arthur rushed past Dale and again started to walk, aimlessly throughout the city. Arthur had tears streaming down his face and was breathing heavily.) 

Arthur: He wouldn’t stop talking. I can’t do this. That man probably did it because he felt sorry for me. Ha! That fool, I won’t be seeing him ever again. By the end of the night, I will be gone. No more worries.  

(Arthur looked over to see buses full of people and people walking past because they have their own problems to worry about. No one stopped to ask if Arthur was okay. Arthur had an ounce of guilt from how he had talked to Dale. His manic mood changed to a depressive state quite quickly.)  

Arthur: Why are you so stupid, Arthur? I hate myself. I need to get off this planet as soon as I can. I need to leave. (Arthur gets bumped into and nearly falls into the street. He sits on the ground with his feet off the curb.) 

Businessman: I am so sorry, sir. Are you okay? Did I hurt you? Do you need to sit? (He bends over to sit near Arthur. The businessman was carrying a briefcase, a cup of coffee, and his phone. He looked to be in somewhat of a rush.)  

Arthur: (Quietly) I am fine.  

Businessman: Are you sure? Do you need to see a doctor? You aren’t bleeding, are you?  

Arthur: (Arthur looked at his hands where bits of rock had been.) No, I’m fine. Thanks, though. Sorry, you don’t need to help me. It’s my fault, I wasn’t paying attention.  

Businessman: (Seeming a little nervous, like Arthur might sue him or something, he struggles to get the next few words out.) You have nothing to be sorry about, I was the one who almost killed you. Let me buy you a cup of coffee.  

Arthur: I really do have to be somewhere. Thank you for the offer. 

Businessman: No, come on. It will give me a clearer (Pausing in between the clear and er.) conscious. I insist.  
(Before Arthur could object again, the man helped him up and moved him out of the crowd and into a nearby coffee house.)  

Arthur: It’s fine, you really don’t have to do this for me, sir.  

Businessman: Yes, I do.

Arthur: Thanks, I guess.   

Businessman: Nice to meet you. (Reaches out his hand to shake Arthur’s.) I’m Carson, Carson Barkley.  

Arthur: (Arthur, doing his best to maintain a conversation, shakes Carson’s hand and orders his black coffee. The two go to sit down in a small booth.) I’m Arthur, Arthur Hawkins. How much was the coffee?  

Carson: You, my friend, owe me nothing. It gives me great pleasure to buy you a cup of joe.  

Arthur: Thank you. 

Carson: I must say, that you are giving off a worrisome vibe right now. Is everything okay? I noticed that you were talking to yourself about something. I know you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but something in me just wanted to make sure that everything was going to be okay.  

Arthur: Oh, you heard me, huh? You aren’t the first person to stop me today. Dang it! (His voice is slightly rising.)  

Carson: Oh, sorry. (He has his hands wrapped around a mug.) It’s just there is so much more to life than what people make of it. People are so scattered with work, family, money, trying to be the best, and everything else. People forget what’s important and I didn’t want you doing anything that would jeopardize your life. I don’t know your story, I just, I don’t want anything happening. No newspaper headlines of a man who jumped off a bridge, especially after I almost killed you.  

(Arthur, who was still sitting at the table began to rub his hands together as if it were rather cold in the coffee shop.) 

Arthur: You say people get wrapped up in all that, but there is nothing to live for anymore. I have nothing, I lost it all.  

Carson: Sure there is, there has to be something you are living for. Anything?  

Arthur: (Sounding more tired and helpless.) There really isn’t anything for me to do here anymore. I feel like my time is up.  

Carson: (Reaching into his coat pocket and hands Arthur his business card.) Please, take this card and I mean it when I say call me whenever you need me, okay? Please. Why don’t you stay here in with me until you feel safer with yourself?  I can’t let you walk around feeling that way.  

Arthur: (Trying to end this conversation, nods and takes the card in his hand.) Thank you, Carson. I really should get going. (He was beginning to get very scattered, almost dropped his coffee, fumbled with his jacket.) Thanks for the coffee. 

Carson: Of course, Arthur. But I would feel so much better if you would stay. I mean I can’t make you stay, but I don’t want you to hurt yourself. (Putting his hand on Arthur’s shoulder.)  

Arthur: Look, I appreciate it. I really do. But I need to go.  

Carson: Arthur, wait! 

(Not knowing what to say next, Arthur just nodded and began to walk for the door. He could hear Carson walking towards him but he didn’t care. When he got to the door there was a young schoolgirl around the age of ten coming through the door. She looked at Arthur and smiled. He noticed her schoolbag had the fish, Dory,  from the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ on it and a matching lunch-box in her hand. Her hair was in pigtails with ribbons wrapped around them; just like the way his wife used to do with their daughter when she was younger. She was wearing a school uniform and walked with a hop. She looked so pure and innocent and it reminded Arthur of when his daughter was younger. Arthur tightened his tie and began to walk, this time with a destination in mind. The bar, because even though he felt like he didn’t have a  family to help him out tonight, there was a possibility that some whiskey could help numb the pain. At least to try and get through the night, for now.)  

Arthur: I can’t do it. Not now. Not yet. (He put Carson’s card into his wallet.)  

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