Author's Note: Wrote this for my playwriting class, and actually liked it so I figured I'd stick it on here. It's not in 'play format' because I hate using that method, sorry for anyone who can't figure out what's going on or deal with my semi-formatted version.
Warnings: Athiest-pagan-satanism because Kevin's cool like that. Also much swearing, again thanks to Kevin. Disassociative Identity Disorder. Hints of heterosexuality, but nothing overt. Don't think any of that will really offend people too much, but you never know.
The stage has a cardboard box in one corner, filled with clothes. The rest is the background of a bus station, "behind the scenes". A voice comes from speakers—internal monologue—as Leigh walks across the stage, crosses to the box and begins to pull out maroon shirts, looking for one in his size. There are none.
Speakers: It's sort of funny how, when you're younger, you have this picture of how your life is going to turn out. It's usually wrong, sure, but you don't really accept that fact until the moment where it smacks you in the face—'this was not in my plan'. I think I'm having one of those moments right now.
Leigh eventually chooses a far-too-large shirt and pulls it on over his other one.
I mean, I imagined a lot of things I would do with my life. But somehow cleaning buses never got on the list.
Two other people, a man (Dave) and a woman (Ellie), walk onto the stage, having a conversation. Both are wearing the same maroon shirts and shiny silver nametags. Leigh walks over to them.
Leigh: Hi…uhm, the guy told me to get a shirt, and then someone would find me…?
Ellie: (glances at a clipboard in her hands)Are you Leigh Evans?
Leigh: Yeah, that's me…
Ellie: Then you're in the right place! We'll wait for Kevin to show up and then we'll get started! I'm Ellie and this is Dave. We're excited to have you working here with us! We don't often meet new people in this job, you know.
Dave nods hello. He stands next to Ellie but does not participate in the conversation or even seem to be listening.
Ellie: So, Leigh, have you lived in Portland long?
Leigh: Uhm, well, I was born here. But I went away to college and just moved back a month ago.
Ellie: College!How exciting. Are you happy to be back?
Leigh: Yeah. I missed Portland.
Ellie: That's nice. So…tell me Leigh. What did you major in in college?
Leigh: Uhm…Art History.
Ellie: Art History! That's nice. What's Art History about?
Leigh starts to answer, but is interrupted by a very loud voice, talking offstage.
Kevin: (on a cell phone, talking as he walks onstage) No. No! I told you—no, I don't care what the hell he said. No. It has to be bat's blood. I am not going to compromise on this! No! I am not being unreasonable, you are just failing to grasp how serious this is! You can't just go swapping ingredients. No. No. I don't care how illegal it is. Get me the damn bat's blood. Yes. Hanging up now. (he shuts the phone. Leigh is staring at him incredulously, while Ellie waves cheerfully and Dave nods his head slightly in greeting.)
Ellie: Kevin, hi! How was your weekend?
Kevin: Hey Ellie. Same old, same old. Who's the new guy?
Ellie: This is Leigh. Leigh Evans. He's going to be working with us from now on! Leigh, this is Kevin Cartman, he—
Kevin: (interrupts)Isn't Leigh a girl's name?
Leigh: It can be either. I'm a guy.
Kevin: Coulda fooled me.
Ellie: (breaks in quickly, trying to make up for the rude statement)Kevin, Leigh just graduated college. He was an Art History major, isn't that exciting?
Kevin: Art History? What the fuck kind of major is that?
Leigh: (laughs slightly, trying to diffuse the awkwardness and Kevin's hostility/rudeness) Yeah, I get that reaction a lot.
Kevin: Well, yeah, that's 'cuz it's a bullshit major! What did you do, sit around and look at pictures for four years?
Ellie: I think it's very—
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, you think it's very 'nice.' We know, Ellie. Everything's nice. (muttered, not quite under his breath) Can't wait for Christine to come back…jeezus…'nice'…
Leigh looks torn between feeling angry and insulted or just plain being confused. Ellie looks uncomfortable and Dave simply stands there.
Kevin: Are we going, or what?
Ellie: All…all right. (recovers a bit of her cheer) Leigh, dear, I forgot to give you your nametag. Here! (she hands him a silver tag that has "Hello My Name Is MARSHALL" printed on it. She notices him frown in confusion and laughs a bit.) It's just until we get one made for you, love. Dave, can you show Leigh the ropes? Kevin and I will do the 45.
Dave nods, leads Leigh offstage.
Ellie: Kevin, why were you so rude? The boy barely said a word to you! That wasn't very nice. Just because last time—
Kevin: (interrupts) Ellie, I don't want to talk about this right now. I've had a stressful day and I can't take another lecture. Now let's go. And I swear to god, I hope Christine is here tomorrow or I'm just turning around and going back home. Walks offstage, Ellie trailing after him.
Setting: once more at the bus station. Leigh is sitting in a folding chair, reading a book. Dave and Kevin enter.
Kevin: So then I said "Lady, do I look to you like I spend my time doing mystic Rituals of Healing out in grassy fields with my lesbian life-partner? Don't give me that BS about crystals of power and aligning karma chakras or whatever, just find me a guy in this place who'll actually know what he's doing." And of course that put her feminist little panties in a twist and she kicked me out.
Kevin catches sight of Leigh
It's our resident intellectual! Hey college-boy. Watcha reading?
Leigh has been trying to pretend to be absorbed in the book and not listen to the conversation. Now he holds up the cover of the book so that Kevin can read the title.
'Angels and Demons'? What, no Art History? (laughs) What would you know about angels and demons, anyways?
Leigh: It's a mystery, actually. Fiction.
Kevin: Uh-huh. Have fun with that.
Ellie/Christine enters. She is dressed differently from yesterday, more fashionably with more makeup.
Kevin: Oh, thank gods.
Christine: Kevin, someone said the oddest thing to me this morning on the Max over…oh, hello! Who are you? Are you new?
Leigh: (looks confused) …I…I'm Leigh? We…met yesterday, right?
Christine: …your name is Leigh but your nametag says Marshall? Is that some sort of joke? Anyways, whatever, it's nice to meet you! I'm Christine.
Leigh stands up to shake her hand but Christine leans over and kisses him on both cheeks instead. Leigh looks embarrassed, which Christine notes and laughs at.
Aw, you're so cute! I'll have fun getting to know you better, Leigh. She winks at him, then turns to Kevin again.
Anyways, what I was saying was I was on the Max this morning, and I was talking to this lady, right? I think it's always kind of cool to talk to people on the train, as long as they're not…you know…weird. But she looked perfectly normal, so I started up a conversation and turns out she's a journalist! Which I totally wouldn't have guessed from looking at her, she looked totally normal and all. So the conversation somehow got around to what I did, and when I said I worked for the Trimet station she got all interested. She said she was doing a story. And wanted to interview me. Isn't that weird? She even gave me her card, look!
Hands Kevin a business card. Kevin takes it, scans it, then shoves it into a pocket, frowning slightly.
Kevin: I'll hold onto this for you, babe. Come on, the 51 should be here soon—anything good on TV last night?
He hooks an arm around her waist and leads her offstage. Leigh is still looking woefully confused. Dave has been in the background of the scene the entire time, absently reading over Leigh's shoulder since the other hasn't been paying enough attention to notice. Now Leigh glances at him.
Leigh: What…what just happened?
Dave is silent. There's an awkward pause.
…do you talk?
Another pause. Dave looks conflicted. Finally he coughs slightly and replies, voice slightly croaky from disuse.
Dave: …yeah. Don't tell anyone, though.
Leigh: What? Why?
Dave: (looks uncomfortable with being asked more questions and required to speak) Cursed.
Dave: Kevin. We had a fight. Sibling stuff. So he cursed me. M' not supposed to be able to talk or hear.
Leigh: You're not supposed to…but then why are you pretending…? (a thought seems to hit him) Kevin's your brother?!?
Dave: We're twins. (Leigh looks stunned) Don't worry 'bout it…most people can't tell.
Leigh: (still staring at Dave incredulously) Well…uh…how long have you been…uh…pretending to be mute and deaf?
Dave: 'bout a month.
Leigh: A month?!
Dave: He'll get bored of it soon. He's not even pissed anymore, really.
Leigh: What did you do to make him so mad?
Dave: (shrugs and looks away, obviously not going to answer) Like I said. Sibling stuff.
Leigh: But he…why…(realizes he is incoherent and tries again) Why on earth would you go along with pretending this curse is real?
(he is interrupted by Kevin's voice from offstage)
Kevin: HEY! What the hell are you doing?!
Both turn their heads to look just as a woman in a business suit emerges from offstage. Kevin and Christine are following close behind. The woman strides to the centre of the room and stands looking around, taking everything in and looking as though she is grading it inside her head.
Kevin: Listen lady, you can't just come in here and—
Christine: No, no, Kevin, this is the woman I met before! Anne…no…Amy…no…Anita! Yes. Anita. Remember me?
Kevin: I don't care if she's Queen Elizabeth. She still can't come in here and just decide she wants a tour! What do we look like, bloody Disneyland?
Anita: (completely ignoring Kevin, goes over to Dave and Leigh) Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Anita Kain. (she shakes hands with Leigh, and Dave just nods) I'm a reporter from Willamette Weekly—you know the paper I hope?
Kevin: (snorts derisively, muttering not quite under his breath) Yeah, who doesn't? Crappiest paper in the state.
Anita: (pretends to ignore him still, but looks angry) In any case, I'm doing a human interest piece on the station, and particularly about you! I think it'll be a wonderful way to make people more aware of some of the unseen workers, the ones who keep our lives spinning but never get recognition! Don't you agree?
Leigh: (at the same time, or almost) Uh, yeah, sure…
Anita: Wonderful! Do you think you'd be willing to give me a little tour, uhm…(she glances at Leigh's name tag) Marshall?
Leigh: Uh…(glances at Kevin and Christine. Christine is looking very confused and Kevin just glowers) Yeah, sure…(Anita begins to drag him offstage) and, uh, actually, my name's Leigh…
The stage is split in half. One half is a slightly cluttered apartment. Leigh is sitting at a desk in front of a computer, with a notebook in front of him. The other half is the bus station, a different room than the one we have seen previously.
Leigh: (muttering to himself) Car Service…Salmon Camp, what the hell? Computer jobs…god damn it. (turns away from the computer, annoyed) You'd think searching 'art job options' would actually turn up useful job options, but nooo…
(glances at the notebook in front of him)
Of course, I already have a job option sitting in front of me, more or less.
(picks up the notebook and looks at it)
Such a weird offer, though…
Anita the Reporter walks to the center of the stage on the bus-station half and addresses the audience as if they were Leigh.
Anita: Leigh, thank you so much for this little tour. You and your co-workers are such fascinating people! (Leigh, still staring at the notebook, makes a face at the word 'fascinating') I just know I could write an amazing article about all of you—something to make sure your special talents and gifts are recognized, and not allowed to rot here in this little Trimet station! Especially you, Leigh. You obviously don't want to work here for the rest of your life. It's almost criminal, the way you're being wasted here!
(pause, while she makes a big point of 'letting an idea come to her')
You know what? It is a crime, and I won't stand for it! No, I simply can't accept these brilliant minds and personalities dimming with a lifetime of profitless drudgery! I will write this article, and I will make personally sure that all of you get what you deserve! You know you deserve something better, Leigh.
Leigh: (still looking at the notebook) Well, what was I supposed to say? I don't want to clean buses for the rest of my life.
Anita: (answering the unseen Leigh, who presumably said something similar) Of course! So you'll help me! Because you see, some of your co-workers don't have quite the same grasp of the situation. Of course I don't blame them—they just don't realize how much better things could be! That Kevin man…what a funny person. He seems very…colourful. But I'm afraid he shares some of the common misconceptions about journalists, which we all work so hard to dispel…of course his suspicions are not his fault, as he is simply another victim of misunderstanding and stereotyping. But you understand that, right? Of course.
Leigh: (makes a sour face) Of course.
Anita: So you'll help! Great! I'm so glad…it's not much to ask, is it? I mean, you wouldn't be doing anything too difficult…and you'd still be getting some great job experience! Much better than Trimet. I mean, it's not as though cleaning buses will get you anywhere. But journalism…well, after this little job, I can see the possibility of a position opening up for you at our paper, even! We need a new arts and entertainment writer…you sound perfect, with a little training! Thank you so much Leigh! I've got to run now, but you know where to find me! Just call that number on the card once you decide!
Leigh: …why is my life suddenly full of really, really strange people? (sighs, puts the notebook down and pulls out a business card) Can't hurt, might help…(picks up phone and calls number on the card)
Sound of phone ringing, then a female voice from the speakers
Receptionist: Willamette Weekly, Portland's News Weekly, how may I help you?
Leigh: Uh…hello, my name's Leigh Evans.A woman named Anita Kain told me to…
Receptionist: Oh yes, of course. One moment please.
(pause while Leigh waits to be transferred or whatever)
Anita: Leigh! I'm so glad you called!
Leigh: Uh, yeah, I just—
Anita: Wanted to hear about the amazing job we have for you! Of course!
Leigh: Well, yeah, but I'm not taking it yet, I just—
Anita: So just to start you out it's a basic 'sense impressions' assignment—no research or anything yet, just writing down what you see and interpreting a bit. Just for us to get a feel for how you write and where your talents fit best. That doesn't sound like too much, right?
Leigh: I….no? Wait, what?
Anita: Good, great! And of course you'll be properly compensated. Say…seventy-five dollars an entry? Of course, depending on length and content, we can always raise that. Use that notebook I gave you! Of course that lovely girl Christine and that funny Kevin should be your main interests, but I don't mind if you jot down a few off-topic things if anything happens to come up! I'll be in touch next week! Thanks so much Leigh, I'm so glad you made a good choice both for you and for your friends!
Phone is hung up. Leigh stares at it for a minute, disbelieving.
Leigh: I…what? (blinks once or twice, looking confused. Slowly replaces the phone in its cradle.) I have no idea what just happened, and I think she did it on purpose. Still…seventy-five dollars an entry…
(He is still staring at the phone when it rings again. He looks at it for a moment longer, then picks it up. This time we do not hear the voice on the other end.)
Hello…speaking…hi mom. (pause) Heh, yeah, sorry, it's just been a rough week. No, nothing in particular, just the new job and all…(pause) I know. I know, trust me, I won't stay any longer than I have to to…it's fourteen dollars an hour, mom…(pause) It's not that bad. No, seriously, I promise. I wouldn't just say that, mom. The work's not that bad. (pause) Oh, come on. Mom, there's nothing wrong with being a janitor. Not that I am. It's just until I get some money saved up! I need to eat, you know. (pause) Don't send money. Please, mom. Don't send money. I'm okay. I…(pause. glances at the notebook, looks conflicted) I've already got sort of another option lined up, okay? Yeah. Yeah, really. Uh-uh. Journalism stuff. Yeah, it's great, isn't it? Right. So, uh… (glances at the clock) Ah! Sorry mom, I need to get to work…yes, I'll be careful. You too. Love you. Bye.
Leigh hangs the phone up, grabs his work shirt and nametag and puts them on, then packs a messenger bag with some food and other random stuff (eg wallet, phone, etc). He runs a brush through his hair and is almost out the door before he pauses. He glances back at the notebook. He goes back inside, shoves the notebook into his bag, and leaves.
Dave and Kevin are already at the bus station by the time Leigh gets there, standing close together and bent over, looking at Kevin's cell phone in his hands. They both look up when Leigh enters. Dave nods a polite hello; Kevin grunts something resembling a 'hi'.
Leigh: Hi...where's Christine?
Kevin: (sarcastically. Not looking at Leigh, but at his cell phone expectantly) That's what we'd all like to know, yes. You're amazing; managed to find the root of the problem without even being here for a full minute. Must be that college education.
Leigh: (angrily) Look, what exactly is your problem with me?!
(Kevin ignores him. Leigh angrily starts to say something else, but Dave shakes his head emphatically and holds a finger to his lips. Leigh looks about to disregard his warning, but then gives up.)
(Leigh stomps over to a chair and sits down heavily. He searches in his bag for a book to read, but happens to pull out the notebook first. He glances from it to Kevin, who is now grumbling softly to himself and dialing on his cell phone, then flips the notebook open and starts to write.)
Kevin: (on the phone) Hi, can I speak to Ellie or Christine, please?
Jane, from offstage (on the phone): They're not here right now. Who is this?
Kevin: (softly, to himself) Fuck…(at normal volume again) It's Kevin. Hi Janey.
Jane: Don't think I didn't hear that, you prick! What do you want?
Kevin: I want you to get your butt to work. Obviously.
Jane: Well had it occurred to you that maybe I don't want to come to work? That maybe I don't like wasting my life at a dirty Trimet station cleaning up after people? That maybe, unlike you, I have more prospects in life? Leave me the hell alone.
Jane: DON'T CALL ME THAT!
Kevin: (winces, holds phone away from ear) Okay, okay, sorry! Jane. Jane. Calm down a bit, 'kay? It's gonna be okay.
Jane: (sounding both angry and on the verge of tears) No it's NOT! How would you know anything about it? It's fine for you to say it's going to be okay, you're not the one who has to DEAL WITH IT! Everything all wrong, and I can't remember stuff and I'm old and-and…
Kevin: (gently, even though it's clear that he's hanging on to his patience) You know that's not true, Jane. We're your friends. We all deal with it together, right?
(silence on the other end)
I'm coming over to get you, okay?
Kevin: You don't have to work today. You'll feel better with me and Dave around, though, right? And there's this new guy, Leigh. (glances at Leigh, looks as if it pains him even to say this) You'll like him. He knows all about art, and stuff.
Kevin: Okay. I'll be there in twenty minutes.
(turns to Dave, enunciates words exaggeratedly)
Going to get Janey. Wait here.
(turns to Leigh)
If you upset her I'll kick your ass and then curse you until you can't remember your name.
Leigh: (waits until Kevin is truly gone, then turns to Dave) …so, uh…what's going on now?
(Dave is silent)
…come on. I already know you can talk, and I'm really confused.
Dave: (reluctantly) For one thing, I'm not supposed to be talking right now, remember? For another, Kevin was pretty clear yesterday about not telling you anything. He said it was none of your business and you're just causing problems.
Leigh: (annoyed) Yeah, well, that's Kevin's opinion. What does he have against me anyways?
Dave: With Kevin, who can tell? For all I know, he doesn't like the colour of your hair.
Leigh: Fine. Fine. Great.
Dave: (trying not to laugh or show how amused he is by the sulky tone Leigh has) Don't worry about it.
Leigh: Easy for you to say. So, are you going to tell what the deal is with Ellie? Or Christine or Jane or whatever her name is?
(Dave frowns slightly and clams up again)
…look, I'll probably cause more problems if you don't tell me what's going on.
Dave: …I think I hear Kevin coming back…
Leigh: (glances offstage, then glares at Dave) Liar.
(Dave is silent, very obviously pretending he can't hear Leigh)
Fine, I'll guess then. Ellie has multiple personalities, doesn't she? Or bipolar disorder, or something.
Dave: Don't say it like that.
Leigh: Like what?
Dave: Like there's something wrong with her.
(Pause. Leigh looks confused.)
…look, she's not crazy, okay?
Leigh: …she's not?
Dave: (vehemently) No!
Dave: I mean…it's just…it's how she is. She's not crazy. Just don't upset her.
(There is an awkward pause.)
Kevin (from offstage): Dave! Daaaave! Oh, damn, right…Leigh, we're back!
(Kevin and Jane enter)
Jane: What's 'oh, damn, right'?
Kevin: Dave's having a small problem right now.
Jane: You cursed him again. You're such an ass, Kev. (turns to Dave) Dave, hi!
(Dave is very careful not to respond until Jane is right in front of him, at which point he smiles and waves to her.
Jane turns to Leigh, frowns slightly.)
And you're the new guy?
Leigh: Um, yeah, hey. I'm Leigh Evans.
Jane: Kevin says you know about art.
Leigh: Uh, yeah, I…I was an art history major…
Jane: That's cool, I guess. Do you know anything about painting?
Leigh: Yeah, sure, of course…
Kevin: (breaks in) The 51 Vista is in five minutes…Leigh, how about you—
Jane: (interrupts) Dave and I will do it! Come on Dave. I never see you anymore.
(grabs Dave's hand and begins to drag him offstage)
Kevin: …you know he can't hear you, right?
Jane: So? He's still better company than you are.
(Dave and Jane exit. Leigh stares after them, while Kevin glares at Leigh.)
Kevin: (to Leigh) I know that look. Don't give her that look.
Leigh: …what? What 'look'? I'm not giving anyone any look.
Kevin: She's not a zoo exhibit. So don't look at her like you're trying to study her. That's what college does, you know. Too much science. Too much lab experiments and crap…life isn't a lab experiment.
Leigh: …look, Kevin. Ever since I started here you've had some problem with me, and I'm sick of it. What is your problem? So I went to college, so what, what does that have to do with anything? You have some personal issue with it, fine, but leave me out of it. It's really pissing me off.
Kevin: You know what? My 'personal issue' is really none of your business. In fact, none of this is your business. You come in here with your college degree and your fancy little backpack, and we all know that in three weeks once you've been paid you'll be gone, off to some 'higher class' job where you won't tell any of your fancy new friends that you used to work as a janitor. I don't really care. But if you start messing things up? Yeah, then I care, because you'll be gone, you won't have to deal with the consequences when everything goes to shit because you felt like playing around. So here's your last warning: be nice to Ellie and don't burst her bubble. Stay away from Janey—she's not stable enough to deal with new people. Don't get involved with Christine or I will hex you. And leave my little brother the hell alone or I'll do worse than hex you. Do your time among the 'lower classes', get your pay, and leave.
I'm going on break.
Leigh: …but you just got back…
(Kevin exits without responding)
Dave and Leigh are sitting in the bus station again, presumably between buses. They look relaxed. It is about a week later.
Dave: Janey and I were best friends in high school. Then we moved away and I lost touch except for a few letters. Kevin met Christine when he came back home again…we both met Ellie when we started working here. It took us until we met Ellie to figure out what was going on.
Leigh: Just…coincidences? Wow.
Dave: (shrugs) Kevin says there's no such thing as coincidences.
Leigh: (slightly annoyed at the mention of Kevin) And I suppose you believe everything Kevin says.
Dave: (grins slightly) No.
Leigh: So? What, then?
Dave: You're sulky today…
Leigh: And you're cheerful. It's kind of annoying. Why?
Dave: Kevin took the curse off this morning.
Leigh: Really? He's done being mad at you? …what did you do to get him so mad, anyways?
Dave: Yeah, I told you he'd get over it. And it's not hard to piss Kevin off; you manage do it just by breathing, somehow.
Leigh: …thanks. What is his problem with me, anyways? I've never met anyone who hated me the minute he met me; it's depressing.
Dave: (looks surprised) Kevin doesn't hate you.
Leigh: What? Of course he does. He had a fit last week about me coming in and 'messing things up'…basically told me to stay away from you and Ellie—uhm, et al—and then stormed out.
Dave: Trust me, Kevin doesn't hate you. You piss him off, but Kevin only hates a select few people and you're not one of them. I'm sure.
Leigh: (skeptically) How would you know—some kind of "twin telepathy"?
Dave: …no. The people Kevin hates have…bad things happen to them.
Leigh: (looks surprised and rather worried) …really? Uhm…like what?
Dave: Well, the last guy who worked here…well, it was for his own good anyways. And he was an ass, he deserved it. (pause, while Leigh looks traumatized)
…you look like you're going to have a heart attack, Leigh. I promise, Kevin won't do anything to you. The guy before you was stupid enough to hurt Christine.
Dave: Yeah, oh. She's still not over it; Janey especially. She used to be a lot more stable. (looks at Leigh) You're doing the face again. She's not crazy or dangerous, Leigh.
Leigh: (hesitantly) Okay, so she's not crazy. But how can she have a normal life? How can you interact with her when she's a different person sometimes?
Dave: Everyone's a different person every time you see them, though …it's just a little less dramatic than with her. You're certainly different than yesterday; you look different, you're wearing different clothes, your hair is sticking up differently…
Leigh: (flattens his hair self-consciously) That's all superficial, though.
Dave: You want me to list off all the differences I can see? (counts on his fingers) Your eyes are two shades darker today, which is actually a pretty big change. You're tenser; more wrinkles and the line of your shoulders is stiff. Quicker temper—is that still superficial? Something is probably happening to cause it…but that doesn't mean you're not different.
You're acting differently than what I think of as 'normal', even if I've only known you a couple weeks. I could say, 'Leigh Evans doesn't look so tense and Leigh Evans doesn't frown like that and Leigh Evans doesn't constantly write in a little notebook….so that's not Leigh.' And I could walk around calling you Ben, or something. It'd be stupid, but the only real way you could argue against it would be to insist that you were still Leigh because you knew you were. That's really the only way to tell. So if Janey wants to be Jane one day and Christine the next, who are we to decide when she's wrong?
(Leigh shrugs, uncomfortable with such close scrutiny—especially since he has something to hide—and doesn't answer. Dave notices how uncomfortable he is and gives him an inquiring look.)
Leigh: Dunno. I feel like I'm being stalked, sort of, now.
Dave: I'm sitting right in front of you, Leigh. I'm pretty sure that that's not stalking.
Leigh: Yeah, but you were, like, analyzing me. It was creepy.
Dave: Yeah, that's what Kevin says, too. You're really easy to read, though, Leigh.
Dave: (shrugs, explaining casually) It's something I do. Kevin likes the 'mute and deaf' curse a lot because it almost never has side effects, so I spend a lot of time watching people because I can't do much else.
Leigh: Side effects? God, you…you don't actually believe in his crazy 'witchcraft' thing, do you?
Dave: Don't worry about it. Trust me, this is one subject where you're better off not even trying to make sense out of it. It's a family thing.
Dave: (slightly awkward) Anyways, the point was that I'm pretty good at figuring out how people are feeling. And something is wrong with you, and has been for the past week or so. It's none of my business…but I just wanted to let you know that I know. You know. If you needed help, or advice, or something.
Leigh: …thanks. (slight pause) I mean that. It's…nice.
Dave: (grins slightly) You sound like Ellie.
Leigh enters the bus station. Kevin is kneeling on the floor, in the middle of a chalked design: a five-pointed inscribed pentagram, inside a circle. He does not look up when Leigh enters.
Kevin: (without looking up) You're early. Your shift starts in half an hour.
Leigh: I know.What are you…(pauses, sniffs the air slightly, frowning) Is that pepper? Why is there pepper all over the floor?
Kevin: (jumps to his feet and strides over to Leigh. Angry.) You smeared the lines?! Goddamn it.
(pause while he glares at the floor and at Leigh)
You. Go sit over there out of the way before you mess anything else up.
Leigh: What? How is it my fault if you spilled pepper all over?
Kevin: …shut. Up. And go sit down. (grabs Leigh's arm and steers him forcefully to a chair) Now stop talking.
Leigh: Like hell. What are you doing? (catches sight of the petagram) Is that a…magic circle? A…a pentacle, or something? What are you doing?!
Kevin: (obviously hanging on to his patience by his fingertips) A pentagram. God! Why does no one ever get that right?
(Leigh opens his mouth to say something but Kevin cuts him off viciously.)
No. Stop talking. Just stop, for once. You have no clue what's going on here and you've already managed to fuck up my spell, so just sit still until I fix what you've damaged!
(Leigh, taken aback at the vehemence, obeys. Kevin glares at him for a moment longer, then nods and turns back to the pentagram. He studies it professionally for a moment, murmuring to himself, then kneels down and rubs out and then re-draws one line of the star.)
North by north-north-east…so, yellow...right.
(Kevin gets to his feet again and carefully pours a thin line of pepper across the doorway in place of the one Leigh smudged by walking through. Then he pockets the packet of pepper again and stands back, stretching slightly.)
(He waits. Nothing appears to be happening. He glares at the pentagram for a moment, and then informs it acidly)
Get the fuck on with it already. If you want me to recite some sort of rhyme, you're shit out of luck.
(He waits again. Again, nothing visible happens, but Kevin tenses for a moment and then relaxes with a grin.)
There we go.
(He turns to Leigh, who has been watching this with dumbfounded and incredulous fascination. He no longer seems angry at him.)
Oh, pick your jaw up, college-boy. You look dumber than you actually are, which I didn't think was possible.
Leigh: You…you just…what was that?
Kevin: (with a pseudo-patient sigh, as if it should be obvious) A spell. Genius.
Leigh: I know that! I'm not stupid, I know a spell when I see one…wait, what? What am I saying? (pauses a moment to calm down and collect himself) Okay. You. You, are insane. Seriously. Like, hallucinating, crazy-type insane.
Kevin: (glares at him defensively) Whatever.
Leigh: You are.
Kevin: (starts to respond to Leigh, but whirls around instead to yell at Dave and Ellie, who are just about to enter. Warningly, not angrily.) DON'T SMEAR THE LINES! Step over 'em!
(Ellie is just about to step on the line of pepper, and jumps backwards quickly to avoid it, almost losing her balance. Dave catches her and steadies her, then they both step over the line and into the room.)
Dave: (glancing down at the pentagram absently) Protection and privacy? Yeah, that's probably a good idea, with that reporter and all. Never know.
Kevin: Yeah, I thought so. Sorry to startle you, El.
Ellie: No no, it's quite all right…
Kevin: Okay, good. 'Cuz this idiot (points at Leigh) already smeared my lines before I even cast it, and that was bad enough. Didn't want you guys to smear it before it had time to set.
(Leigh is still looking shell-shocked. Dave glances at him and grins, while Ellie looks concerned. Kevin ignores him, choosing to bend over and begin to erase his pentagram.)
Ellie: (to Leigh) Are you all right, dear? I know it can be strange to see Kevin doing his work, but I assure you you're quite safe…probably even safer, now!
Leigh: You…you actually believe…you all…
(Dave, standing behind Ellie and Kevin, gestures wildly to stop talking and mouths a desperate 'no!'.)
…nevermind. (Dave relaxes with relief. There is a short pause.)
…we don't have a bus coming in yet, do we?
Ellie: No, not yet…I've got to go talk to the manager, though…you remember him, Leigh. He's very nice.
Leigh: Uhm. Yeah. Sure.
Ellie: Anyways, it's just a routine little check-in, to make sure things are fine and we don't need anything. I'll be back soon. Dave, I still want to finish our conversation, okay?
(Kevin looks up from rubbing at the floor, frowning slightly.)
Dave: Sure thing.
Ellie: Wonderful. Thanks Dave. (She hugs him for a moment, then exits.)
(There is a silence. Leigh has pulled out his notebook and is writing again.)
Kevin: (to Dave)…so, what were you guys talking about?
Dave: Hm? Oh, stuff. You know.
Kevin: (tense) No, I don't, actually. That's why I asked.
Dave: (frowning slightly, confused) What's wrong with you? It's not a big deal…
Kevin: (bursts out, angrily) Damnit, Dave, you know how I feel about this!
Dave: What? Oh,Kevin, not this again…
Kevin: (continues on as if Dave hadn't spoken) I don't care if they're different personalities. I thought you said you'd respect me and Christine and leave Ellie and Janey ALONE!
Dave: Kevin, we're not doing this here…
Kevin: Didn't you say that? Didn't you?
Dave: (annoyed, but hasn't lot his temper yet) I said that and I meant it! I didn't realize 'leave them alone' meant I wasn't allowed to talk to my friends!
Kevin: It means you're not allowed to hit on my girlfriend, is what it means!
Dave: KEVIN! The paranoia is getting out of hand. I'm not. I've never been interested in Christine or Ellie. And Janey and I dated in High School. High School! We broke up sophomore year!
Kevin: I know how you look at her. I know.
Dave: Kevin. Kevin, you're wrong and the paranoia has to stop. Why don't you just trust Christine and Ellie and Janey? How about instead of making me the problem you get over your own issues?
Kevin: Don't make me curse you again, David Cartman, because I swear to god I will…
Dave: (rolling his eyes, annoyed) I'd like to see you try it.
Kevin: (laughing slightly derisively) How exactly would you stop me? Psychic and Seer powers are no good if you don't train them, and you know it…
Dave: (warning) Kevin. I'm not a Seer.
Kevin: (exasperated) Yes you are! Goddamn it, when are you just going to admit it?
Dave: (actually losing his temper) Are we going to have this argument now too, then? Fine! Let's get them all out of the way at once, then! I'm not a Seer and I'm not part of our family's crazy little 'magic club' and I'm not interested in anything to DO with MAGIC! And, hey, guess what? That's why I actually get taken seriously by people other than Christine and Janey and Ellie. Because I don't go wandering around pretending to be Harry Potter!
Kevin: Yeah, because you're a fucking coward!
Dave: And you're a lunatic with no social skills and only your delusions to keep you company!
Kevin: (almost desperately) I am NOT crazy! You know I'm not, you know! I'm not…
Dave: (softening) Kevin…
Kevin: Fuck you. I'm not crazy.
Dave: I know. I know, I'm sorry. (pause) But I'm really not interested in Christine. Or Janey or Ellie, really.
Kevin: …I know. I'm not…I don't…god damn it.
Dave: …shit. (stares after Kevin for a moment, then remembers that they weren't alone and turns to Leigh, groaning) You really shouldn't have had to sit through that.
Leigh: (very, very uncomfortable.) Uhm. Sorry.
Dave: (slight smile) No, actually, that's my line. (awkward pause) Anyways, I'd be grateful if you didn't mention that to Ellie. It upsets her.
Dave: Thanks. (sits down and buries his head in his hands) Fuck. Seriously.
Leigh: …uh…is he gonna be…
Dave: He'll be fine. This happens a lot. Well, not this argument specifically…most of our fights tend to be on the same three or four issues, though. In case you were wondering, that would be the 'sibling stuff' that usually gets me cursed.
Dave: (talking more to himself than to Leigh, now) I just feel bad when I lose my temper, you know? Kevin gets pissed off so often that I know not to let what he says get to me. But I should have known better than to say that stuff. Should have known better than to say the 'crazy' thing…that's a sore spot…and it shouldn't even be…
(he stares into space for a moment, then glances at Leigh)
Oh come on, not again. Kevin isn't crazy either. Why am I always having this conversation with you?
Leigh: But…but…the whole magic thing…
Dave: Who knows, Leigh. I've given up trying to figure that part out. I know Kevin is just as sane as I am. Hell, in our family I'm the one who's considered out of touch with reality…maybe they're all just getting something I'm missing. Sure, the curses don't work on me, but, well, sometimes I swear they work on other people. Other people who wouldn't pretend. I mean, how many other people care if my brother thinks he's crazy? He would, you know, if the magic didn't work. Can you blame me for wanting to pretend it does? (silence again. After a while Dave stands) Thanks for listening. And, you know, everything. Not many people would be cool about this sort of thing. (pause)
I gotta go find my brother. (Dave exits.)
At the bus station again. Christine and Leigh are working on cleaning a bus (might be a problem for staging—how to get a 'bus' scenery without it looking fake?). Leigh is inside vacuuming, Christine is outside washing the windows.
Christine: So, you gave your two weeks notice, Leigh?
Leigh: Yeah. I have a couple options…mostly secretarial stuff, but they at least sort of pertain to my field.
Christine: Which was Art History, right? So, what are you planning on doing?
Leigh: Well, ideally, I'd like to work in a museum of some sort, part research and part acquiring new items. That takes a while to get to, though.
Christine: That's really cool, though! I mean, I never thought about people doing jobs like that. It's neat.
Leigh: Uhm, thanks.
(Leigh finishes vacuuming and begins to check the bus over for anything he might have missed. There is a pause.)
Christine: (slightly plaintively) Leigh, why don't you like me?
Leigh: (surprised) What? I like you! Why wouldn't I like you?
Christine: But you're always so uptight around me. And you do that 'uhm' thing.
Leigh: …'uhm thing'?
Christine: Yeah. Before you answer a question or whatever, you do this little 'uhm' like you kind of don't want to be talking and wish I hadn't asked. Or don't know how to respond because the question was dumb. Or something.
(pause while Leigh stares at her and she looks sheepish)
I'm being paranoid, aren't I?
Leigh: …uh (does a double-take, catching himself doing 'the uhm thing' and starts over) Yeah, just a little bit.
Christine: But you are tense around me.
Leigh: (sourly) I think you can thank Kevin for that.
Leigh: I think his exact words were 'Stay away from Christine or I'll hex you.'
Christine: (sighs exasperatedly) Oh. I'm really sorry about that, Leigh, Kevin's a great guy and really sweet but sometimes he gets really overprotective…
(Leigh finishes checking the bus and exits, hauling a bag of trash over to the side of the stage while he talks)
Christine: No, really. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it. He was just looking out for me, you know? He's like that. Kevin's great.
Leigh: …ye-ah. Uh. Anyways, I promise that I do like you, and saying 'uhm' is just a bad habit and doesn't mean I don't want to be talking to you. Okay?
Christine: (smiles) Okay.
(Christine finishes washing the windows and puts her stuff down, wiping her hands dry)
Thanks, Leigh; you're a nice guy too. A lot people wouldn't be this understanding about my…condition.
Leigh: Do you…sorry. You probably don't like talking about it.
Christine: I don't mind! Usually other people get all awkward and stuff, but I'm okay with it. What did you want to ask?
Leigh: Oh. Well, I was just wondering what it's like. How it feels, and stuff.
Christine: Well, I sort of just go to bed one night and the next time I wake up it's a couple days later. It's not, like, dramatic or anything. Sometimes we switch not at night, though, which is weirder. Then I'll be in the middle of something and there'll be this blackness welling up and then I'll open my eyes again and be in a totally different situation. It's sort of scary, sometimes.
Leigh: …wow. Uhm…does your family…
Christine: My mom is awesome; she's totally fine with it. Dad lives somewhere in Canada, and the couple of times I've visited or talked to him it sort of hasn't come up. I'm really lucky.
Leigh: …yeah, I can see.
Christine: Especially with you guys. I mean, seriously, Dave and Kevin are two in a million, and then I'm lucky enough to find someone else who doesn't mind or treat me like a freak or anything! You're awesome, Leigh. You're gonna stay in touch when you go to your next job, right?
Leigh: (looks uncomfortable)…of course.
Christine: Awesome! Okay, I gotta go…I'll see you next time, Leigh!
Leigh: Yeah, see you…
(he watches as Christine packs up her stuff and leaves, then glances at his bag with the notebook inside)
…why does my life suck so much?
(goes over to the bag and takes the notebook out, flipping through several pages filled with writing, then looks up at the audience, talking to them.)
I need to turn this in. This is more than five hundred dollars' worth. I need five hundred dollars. Badly.
...how badly, though?
(stares at the notebook a bit longer, then shoulders his bag and walks offstage)
Leigh, Dave, Kevin and Ellie are all at the bus station, on break. Leigh has a book open on his lap. Kevin is reading a newspaper. Dave is standing behind him looking over his shoulder and Ellie sitting next to him. Leigh keeps looking over at them anxiously.
Kevin: (shuts the paper emphatically) Well, it coulda been worse. It was a ton of crap, but at least now she'll leave us alone. Dumb bitch.
Ellie: I didn't think it was that bad! Parts of it were quite nice. How she talked about how no one appreciates workers like us…it's very true, you know.
Kevin: That's only because you didn't actually meet her, Ellie.
Dave: (adds quietly) At least she didn't get any personal interviews. You know, 'David Cartman, twenty-four, lives at blah blah blah and enjoys parasailing and taking pictures of landscapes.' I always thought it would be strange to see myself summed up like that in a sort of side comment to the actual story.
Kevin: …parasailing and photography?
Dave: First two hobbies I came up with.
Kevin: …fair 'nuff. El, are you going to do the 35?
Ellie: (stands) On my way! (exits)
Kevin: Dave, go help.
Dave: It's not my turn!
Kevin: Go do it anyways, until I get there.
Dave: …fine. (exits)
(Kevin looks over at Leigh, who until now has been quiet, pretending to read in the corner while listening to the conversation. Kevin stands and walks over to him. Leigh pretends to be engaged in reading.)
Kevin: How much did that cost?
Leigh: (looks up from his book) …what?
Kevin: How much did you lose on your little deal?
(Leigh stares at Kevin, looking absolutely floored.)
Come on, college-boy. I don't have all day.
Leigh: You…you knew…
Kevin: Well, yeah.Maybe I'm not college-educated like you are, but I'm not stupid…
Kevin: (snorts with a mixture of laughter and derision) The dumb bitch asked Dave the same day she asked you. Even kindly wrote it down for him, when he couldn't understand her.
(Leigh is looking stunned again. Kevin looks at him impatiently.)
So, how much did you lose?
Leigh: (puts his book away at last, and gets to his feet) …seven hundred and a job offer.
Kevin: (looks surprised) …damn.
Leigh: (shrugs, looks away) Yeah, just a bit.
Kevin: (looks almost impressed for a moment as he pulls out his wallet) I'm not sure I woulda walked away from that…
(quickly writes a check, tears it off and hands it to Leigh)
Can't do anything about the job offer, though.
Leigh: Wh-what? Don't…I don't want this!
Kevin: What are you, an idiot? Don't try to be stupid; you don't need the help.
Leigh: (glares at him) I don't. I didn't do it because…
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, you're a good noble knight in shining armor and all. I get it. It's not going to hurt my bank account, if that's what's got you so upset.
Leigh: (still glaring, but beginning to waver) I don't want it.
Kevin: Fine, as long as you take it.
Leigh: Fine. Thanks, I guess. God, you piss me off.
Kevin: Feeling's mutual. Anyways. Go stare at paintings all day, or whatever you art history people do.
(exits, passing Dave on the way out)
Dave: (to Leigh) Well, you're looking properly shell-shocked.
Leigh: You knew the whole time! Why didn't you say something?
Dave: (looks confused) …would it have helped?
Leigh: Well, I wouldn't have felt so damn guilty all the…(a realization hits him) YOU GUILT TRIPPED ME ON PURPOSE!
Dave: (grins slightly) Yeah, a bit.
Leigh: WHAT WOULD YOU DO THAT FOR?!
Dave: …I should think it'd be obvious. I really don't need my family's private business smeared around the papers, not to mention what it would do to Janey.
Leigh: (sulking) Fine. Great, fine. Were we actually friends at all, or was that another little tactic?
Dave: (amused) And you get mad when Kevin says you act like a girl. Come on, Leigh. You can act all injured if you want, but I'd rather you just let it go. You came through in the end, so it doesn't matter anyways.
Leigh: (relenting) You're such an ass. I'm sure there was a better way than guilt-tripping me.
Dave: Yeah, I get that a lot. And maybe there was, but really, it was the only one I could think of. If you'd have preferred me to go with Kevin's idea…he had lots of them, although most weren't exactly legal…or within the Geneva Convention's rules…
Leigh: (hastily) Uh, no, that's okay. I like your idea, now that you put it that way.
Dave: Yeah, that's what I thought.
(a small silence)
So anyways, good luck at your new job. Stay in touch, yeah?
Leigh: Yeah, sure…
Dave: Good. I—
(he is interrupted by Kevin's voice from offstage)
Kevin: DAVE! Get off your lazy ass and come do the 22!
Ellie: Kevin, honestly! There's no need to bellow…
Kevin: Why, is it not nice?
Ellie: Oh, you be quiet. I don't say a word about how often you curse.
Dave: …I should go break that up. See you.
Leigh: See you.
They exit opposite sides of the stage. Lights down. The End!