LAND OF NEVER NEVER

A Play in One Act by Jacqueline Larson (Gale)

Author's Note: This is a draft of the One Act I have written. It was recently submitted for Production at my University, but I am always looking to polish and looking for input, so any concrit you as readers have to offer would be deeply appreciated. Note the lyric insert at the very beginning. It's just something to set the mood for the story, as I found it relevant and interesting. I am not violating the content guidelines by including this; I did not "copy", as I clearly site the source of the material, and the year it was copyrighted. Enjoy!


To confuse the issue, I'll refer

To familiar heroes from long ago:

No matter how much Peter loved her,

What made the Pan refuse to grow

Is that the Hook brings you back.

I ain't telling you no lies.

-Blues Traveler

"Hook" © 1994


NOTES ON SETS, CHARACTERS, and COSTUMING

SETTING: A tropical island, far from civilization, thick with vegetation, rock formations, and the rumbling sounds of animals deep within. Two sets will be needed. The first set will be used for the first and final scenes, while the second will be used for the scenes in between them. Lighting will have to be worked to depict certain changes in weather and time of day. The two sets are:

1) Edge of the Forest/The Beach - the only major point is that there must be a "tree" on the set that can be moved, as it will have to be "fallen" for the final scene.

2) The Cave - for physical details, try to stick to what's mention in the dialogue.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Note: All characters have types of English accents. None, save perhaps BOY -- which is allowable, should have an American one.

Costuming Note: JAMES, SAM, and SPARKS should all have fairly modern clothing that reflects their occupations. The setting is tropical, and coming from places much further north, it should be very obvious that none of these men came dressed for the weather.

JAMES -- James Matthew Hoffman. Policeman, Scotland Yard. He's a well-kept sort of person, very orderly, but is surprisingly optimistic and cool-headed in a crisis. Certain notes to be made about costuming: Curly black or dark brown hair is a must, but (as said before) the length should reflect his occupation. Prop note: he wears a chain on his neck at all times; the pendant is a crocodile tooth.

SAM -- Samael Heath. Clergyman. Kind of a pushover, but well-meaning and always trying to be helpful in some way. He's not at all fond of unpleasantness but doesn't go out of his way to prevent things, either. Prop note: The only major thing of note in his costuming should be that he must wear spectacles.

SPARKS -- No first name ever given. Disillusioned former a Teacher/Usher at a private school. Sarcastic, generally distrusting of other people, and he hates children, suspecting them of wrongdoing just as soon as he lays eyes on them. Complains a lot, but is fairly strong and capable, seems not to be afraid of anything.

BOY -- No name given. Denizen of the island. He is selfish and persistent, and especially curious about these newcomers, going out of his way to engage them, but not always in a friendly manner. Costuming note: His costuming should slowly evolve throughout, starting out resembling JAMES as much as possible -- similar curly dark hair and manner of dress. As the play progresses to its final stage, his appearance should become more feral -- clumps of hair cut off, leaves and dirt interweaving into his clothes, etc. One should not resemble the other in any way by the very end.


SCENE 1:

(We begin in darkness. The sound of water rushing in and out can be heard first, then leaves rustling, distant animals calling. Lights come up on a beach; the edge of a 'forested area' is situated stage left. SPARKS should be lying over there just out of sight, but would be visible in the brush were he to sit up.)

JAMES: (offstage) Hello!?

(A BOY runs across the stage from stage right. He pauses and looks back with a laugh.)

JAMES: Wait! Oy, hold on! I just need someone to tell me where I am! How did I -- ?

(BOY exits stage left before he can finish, and JAMES wanders onstage from the right just a second too late. He follows the BOY's path to stage left, and gives up, out of breath. He leans against the tree.)

JAMES: Damnit! (a heavy breath)Christ, he's fast!

(JAMES' eyes move to the floor of the beach, gaze following something in the stand back toward stage right.)

JAMES: Tracks? (he edges away from the far left of the stage, but looks back once) Well that's fine -- I didn't want to talk to you anyway. (back the way he came) Please, can anybody hear me?!

SAM: (offstage) Hello? Thank God -- Yes! Yes, I can! (a pause) Where are you?

JAMES: Finally – I-I'm on the beach! (another incredulous glance about) …I guess -- Follow the sound of my voice!

(SAM enters.)

SAM: I thought I was alone. A-and I don't know how I got here.

JAMES: I suppose that means you…well, you don't happen to know where 'here' is, do you?

SAM: Not a clue. You, neither? It could be Eden, for all I know. Really is quite lovely, isn't it?

JAMES: And hot, but that's not the point. I don't know how I came to be here, either or when, for that matter. (he laughs nervously) One minute, I'm in my office doing paperwork –

SAM: Oh, it's quite the same for me – well, not the paperwork bit, heavens no. But either way, my being here makes no sense, and from your dress, I'd assume it isn't making sense for you, either. I am perhaps dreaming, I think.

JAMES: …You're probably right. I must have just fallen asleep at my desk.

(SPARKS becomes visible as he sits up in the brush.)

SPARKS: (groaning) Who's there?

JAMES: Who is that…?

SPARKS: Get back!

JAMES: Steady, there!

SPARKS: Where am I, and who the Hell are you!? What do you want? I warn you; I haven't any money!

JAMES: We're not after your money; we don't even know who you are!

SPARKS: A kidnapper would say that!

JAMES: Bloody – look, we haven't a clue who you are or where this is. I think we woke up here too. (to SAM) Right?

SAM: That is the way of it.

SPARKS: …Fine. I'll believe you for now. But one wrong move and I'll – (he wobbles as he tries to stand) nevermind; I'll likely just vomit on you as much as anything else. God, my head…

SAM: …Sir, are you all right?

SPARKS: No, I'm not all right! Likely took a spill, is all, but that doesn't explain away the spontaneous beach, now does it?

JAMES: That's a nasty bump you've got there.

SAM: Oh don't get up, sir; you might hurt yourself. Let me have a look.

SPARKS: Why? Are you a doctor?

SAM: I'm afraid not, but I do know some first aid. (cheerily) Better somebody that knows a little looks at you than a complete fool or nobody at all -- Unless we're planning for a physician to appear. This being a dream, we can plan things such as that, no? That would be wonderful luck, wouldn't it?

SPARKS: …I am suddenly brimming with confidence.

SAM: Perhaps we might have some proof that this is a dream, in any case.

SPARKS: Head hurts too much for it to be a dream. I think I'm actually here, and I was knocked about getting here. Or I'm mad. Both options sound just dandy.

JAMES: Your being mad explains very little for us. We can't feel what you're feeling, after all.

SPARKS: Let me fix that.

(He strikes each of them.)

JAMES: Oy!

SAM: Careful now!

JAMES: That was hardly necessary!

SPARKS: Congratulations. You're not dreaming.

SAM: That wasn't very nice at all, Mister –

SPARKS: Sparks will do. Not to be rude, but I don't exactly know either of you. You could still be kidnappers, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm not feeling all 'chummy' right away.

JAMES: I'd probably feel suspicious, too, if I woke up with a gash in my head.

SPARKS: …It's a gash?

SAM: (placating) He's exaggerating, I think. Please sit still. And I should have introduced myself before -- Samael Heath. Clergyman. How do you do, gentlemen?

SPARKS: You know very well how I 'do'.

JAMES: Right. Sorry. James Hoffman. Captain, Scotland Yard. Do neither of you think this is a little strange?

SPARKS: Which part? The sudden island vacation I didn't plan for, the random strangers, or the froofy introductions? What else are we missing? Did you want to sing a song now?

JAMES: You can't be that badly injured if your sense of humor is so well intact. (to SAM) And you don't seem to be phased a bit -- is it Father Heath?

SAM: No, no, Captain Hoffman. Not Father, yet. Brother Heath, actually. Well -- Brother Sam. That's what everyone calls me. And no, I suppose I don't seem bothered at all. If we are truly here, then it won't help anyone for me to panic, now will it? You don't seem to be bleeding, Mister Sparks. If you'll allow me to help you further --

SPARKS: Leave it out; I can sit by myself.

JAMES: Do you remember how that happened?

SPARKS: This? Not a clue, really. But I'm a bit more concerned with being in a strange place I've never seen before.

JAMES: Can you remember what you were doing before you got here, then?

(SPARKS appears to consider this long and hard before answering.)

SPARKS: Driving -- I think. I quit my job. Finally posted my resignation and sped out quick as I could go. Thought I'd be getting pissed in some bar, not lying on a beach with a headache.

SAM: What did you do?

SPARKS: Do? (quickly) Nothing! I didn't do anything.

JAMES: …I think he meant for a living.

SPARKS: I know what he meant. I taught history, at a miserable little boy's school north of Boston.

JAMES: Boston, eh? You don't sound American.

SPARKS: Hardly. I go where the work is, and work just happened to lie over the pond. Not like I wanted it. Didn't make it any more or less unpleasant, either; children are little beasts no matter what country they're born in. I'll bet those little skeletal things down in those less fortunate countries are just as bad.

SAM: (quietly) That's a dreadful thing to say…

SPARKS: I don't need you to tell me it's not the popular view. And spare me the contemptuous look, Hoffman. Like kids, do you? You one of those sorts of cops? Kissing babies for photo opportunities and all that?

JAMES: I think you're imagining a politician, not a policeman. And not really, either way. I don't treat anybody like they're rubbish.

SPARKS: Least of all children, I'm sure.

JAMES: Couldn't be a good father if that was the way I'd have to look at it.

SPARKS: Have you had any yet?

JAMES: No. (a beat) My wife and I are trying.

SPARKS: You'll change your mind if it doesn't strike you stupid, like having babies does most rational people.

SAM: Gentlemen, I think we could do with a change in subject. Don't want to get to rowing, do we? Remember where we are.

JAMES: Of course you're right, Sam. In the end, it's probably for the best you left your post, Mister Sparks, if that is your opinion.

SPARKS: And how. Don't suppose either of you have got anything to drink?

JAMES: Well – there's the ocean.

SPARKS: …Drinkable drink, Hoffman.

JAMES: Sorry. At any rate, I think we've got a bit more to worry about than that.

SPARKS: (mumbles) I would have preferred something a bit stronger anyway.

JAMES: If we're here, really here, then we should probably concentrate on finding food and shelter until we're found and can go home.

SAM: Do you suppose we will be found?

JAMES: Well, someone had to bring us here. You never know -- this could be some sort of resort, or something. We're just on the wrong side. I got to see a bit of it when I first woke up a few hours ago. It's huge; I know I didn't see all of it. There's probably more people. I know I saw someone else, a boy, but he ran away. That's who I was trying to catch when I found the two of you.

SPARKS: You didn't happen to find any shelter before, did you?

JAMES: Actually, yes. Found a cave and even some fresh water. It's a ways off from here, though.

SAM: That's lucky, isn't it? That would save the trouble of building a something to live under, at least. I'll help however I can.

SPARKS: Good God, Hoffman, you're practically bouncing in place.

JAMES: Am I? (he looks down at his shifting feet and chuckles sheepishly) I'm actually rather curious to see more of the island, if we're going to be here long. If I weren't so bothered by not knowing how I got here, I'm certain I would be enjoying myself. Sounds silly, but I used to dream of a place like this when I was a boy.

SPARKS: (laughs) Loathe as I am to admit it, I think I did, too.

SAM: Likewise. Perhaps all boys dream of islands.

JAMES: It makes sense, doesn't it? What you were saying about the Garden of Eden earlier? I know I haven't thought of a place like this since I was still young, after all.

SAM: Well – that really wasn't the point when I mentioned it. Man was cast out of the Garden of Eden; there were never any promises that he would find it again.

JAMES: But we didn't find it, I don't think. If we did, we'd remember.

SPARKS: (scoffs) You're saying you think it found us?

JAMES: Well, how would you put it?

SPARKS: I wouldn't. I'm doing my best not to put anything in any way. But if you're right, then point me toward an apple tree and a big invisible man shaking his finger and telling me "No touchy", because I want to go home. (a beat) For now, more work, less daydreaming, though I'm sure you were having a rare time of it, Hoffman.

JAMES: Never hurts to reminisce.

BOY: (offstage) (laughs)

SPARKS: Wait – did either of you hear that?

SAM: I don't think so, Mister Sparks. Are you quite all right?

SPARKS: A laugh. I'm sure I heard it.

JAMES: I don't think there's anyone else here, Sparks. The wind, maybe?

SPARKS: Don't know if I've ever heard wind sound like that, though.

SAM: Best not to worry on it; we've a lot to do before sundown.

SPARKS: Right. You lead the way, Hoffman. How far are we going?

JAMES: Not too far. I've been walking nonstop -- at least until I came out here. If I'm remembering correctly, it's a bit of a jaunt, though. If neither of you mind following?

SAM: Oh, I'm useless in the lead.

SPARKS: I'd rather avoid the distance but it can't be helped. I'm all right to walk. (He starts to stand, but only manages when SAM finally helps him.)

JAMES: This way, then.

(JAMES leads them into the wood and offstage, and from the opposite end, BOY peeks out before wandering onto the beach. The lights fade.)

SCENE 2:

(The lights climb up to reveal the interior of a cave, midday, with our intrepid heroes already hard at work making it a livable shelter for them. BOY crouches off to the side near the exit of the cave, concealed behind a rock as he watches them with great interest.)

JAMES: Best we try to line the fire with more stones; don't want to be burned alive in the night.

SAM: Wouldn't it be safer not to light a fire at night at all?

JAMES: Not the best of ideas, actually. For one, it'll keep wild animals away.

SPARKS: Not to mention it's already sodding frigid in here, and it's like to get worse once it gets dark.

JAMES: Consider it ancient air conditioning, Sparks. You were complaining less than an hour ago that it was too hot outside of the cave.

SPARKS: Yes, and so were the rest of you!

SAM: It doesn't seem at all fair, does it? People given to wearing tweed should never be exposed to this sort of climate, after all. But this place will do. The Good Lord saw the median to be the best of places to stand in life – extreme cold in exchange for extreme heat is no real compromise, as you said, Sparks. I was only being cautious about the fire, is all.

SPARKS: Cautious and wrong.

SAM: Yes, well -- I'm just not the most experienced with the outdoors.

SPARKS: Obviously.

JAMES: A little less fighting if you please, gentlemen? (a beat) Good luck that the floor is soil instead of stone – fairly soft and dry. It'll be easier to sleep once the time comes, and probably a sight warmer, too.

SPARKS: Think I'd rather find something else to place between myself and the dirt.

SAM: I'm inclined to agree, Captain.

JAMES: There's always dead leaves.

(SPARKS goes to gather a jumble of dead leaves that lie close to the rock where the BOY is hiding.)

SPARKS: It's something, at least. It's not exactly a feather mattress, is it? But I suppose we can't all –

(BOY peeps from behind the stone.)

BOY: Hullo!

SPARKS: WAAH!

JAMES: What in --?

BOY: (laughs)

SPARKS: The bloody hell is wrong with you, sneaking up on people like that?!

BOY: I wasn't sneaking; I was spying!

SAM: Seems Captain Hoffman was right; he did see a boy about earlier.

SPARKS: And I recognize that voice.

SAM: Oh. Do you two know each other?

BOY: Of course.

SPARKS: Know? Hardly – this is the brat that I heard laughing earlier. I told you I heard something!

BOY: (grins smartly) Amazing you hear anything with all the talking you do.

SPARKS: Oy!

JAMES: Calm down, Sparks; you're going to scare him off.

BOY: Starks?

SPARKS: It's Sparks. And that's the general idea, Hoffman.

SAM: Really, Mister Sparks, he is just a boy. Barely half your size.

SPARKS: Just don't like that he's been watching us the whole time – which neither of you two seem to care about.

BOY: Not the whole time, Starkers.

SPARKS: It's Sparks. As in bits of light, not nudity!

JAMES: Stop responding to him if it bothers you so much; you know he's doing it on purpose.

SPARKS: Of course I know! And it's –

BOY: (taunting) Cruel gentleman Starkers – still dainty in his ways of killing.

SPARKS: (lividly) Shut up, boy.

(SPARKS rounds on the BOY quickly, and he stumbles dizzily.)

JAMES: Tch, go on already! You see? You're not in any condition to go chasing kids about anyhow. Sit down before you overexert yourself!

SPARKS: (holding his head) I'm going to sit down outside, get some fresh air. (He shoots an angry glare in the direction of the BOY, who briefly returns it, before SPARKS ambles out of the cave.) I'll "daintily" ram my boot up your arse, you insolent little…

(SAM and JAMES approach the BOY.)

SAM: Gracious Lord, I don't know what makes that man so angry. You don't suppose it's that bump on the head? Should he have gone off alone?

JAMES: He's just outside.

SAM: Yes, Captain, but he's still --

BOY: Who is that?

JAMES: This? This is Sam Heath.

SAM: How do you do?

JAMES: And I'm James.

SAM: Captain -- I'll just be checking on Mister Sparks; he probably should not be by himself.

(SAM exits -- the distant mumble of voices outside can be heard. The BOY sits down on the rock he was hiding behind, looking pleased with himself.)

JAMES: (to BOY) Now, how did you get here? Are you lost? Did you wake up here, too?

BOY: No, sir.

JAMES: To which?

BOY: What witch?

JAMES: (sighs) Where are your parents?

BOY: Haven't got any.

JAMES: So you're an orphan?

BOY: Where are your parents?

JAMES: Safe at home where they should be. Can you at least tell me your name?

BOY: My name? It's a good one. The best. (He jumps up.) Do you like games? I'll show you one of my favorites!

JAMES: But –

(The BOY runs out of the cave, and JAMES stares after him.)

JAMES: Did -- (calling after) …Did you want me to follow?

(SPARKS can be heard making distinctly angry-sparks noises in no real discernable tongue. The BOY returns with two sticks in hand.)

BOY: What?

JAMES: Nevermind. What are those for?

(The BOY compares the two sticks, and after careful consideration gives JAMES the shorter one.)

BOY: Here. It's a sword.

JAMES: (smiles) Are you certain? It could be a wand, after all.

BOY: No, no no! That's not part of the game. It's a sword. Every pirate's got to have a sword.

JAMES: So I'm a pirate, now?

BOY: Aren't you? Sam-eeth calls you Captain.

JAMES: Yes, but --

BOY: (pouts) You have to play the game. It's been so long since there's been a Captain.

JAMES: (chuckles) All right. Then for now, I'm a pirate. En garde, then. (a beat) …Well, aren't you going to do it?

BOY: Would if you weren't doing it wrong. That's not how pirates talk. It's all cursing, and roaring. Don't you know anything?

JAMES: Of course I do. I'm -- just a very eloquent pirate.

BOY: You'd have to be to use words like that.

JAMES: Which is why I am.

BOY: So you admit it.

JAMES: I suppose I do. En garde?

BOY: Have at thee!

(They duel briefly – JAMES with his superior size and some understanding of footwork lands his first light blow within moments.)

BOY: Not fair, you cheated! No hitting in the back!

JAMES: I'm sorry – I thought you wanted to play this way.

BOY: It's not how you play.

JAMES: All right. I'm sorry. I won't do that anymore. But if you'd just let someone show you --

BOY: No, I'm not playing anymore!

(He throws his stick away. JAMES tucks his stick behind a rock, then sits. More angry-SPARKS noises can be heard, and SAM returns, straightening his collar and looking a little frazzled.)

JAMES: All right. No more pirates, then.

SAM: (looking back the way he came) Well, there was no call for any of that! Seems Starks – (he pauses and chuckles at himself) I mean, Sparks is well enough -- just probably in need of a nap. Or perhaps food. I'd hope there's at least some coconuts on the island somewhere. That'd be lucky, wouldn't it? Such a sweet fruit, and afterward we could make little bowls out of the husks.

JAMES: That doesn't sound like a bad idea, Sam. In a moment, we can --

(Something catches the BOY's eye, and he grabs at the necklace around James' neck, nearly yanking it off of him.)

JAMES: Easy, now!

BOY: What's this? Where'd you get it?

JAMES: Easy, I said! You'll break the chain.

BOY: But what is it?

SAM: Yes, I noticed that before as well, Captain. Is it a tooth?

JAMES: (finally escapes the boy's grasp and laughs) Yes, it's a tooth. From a crocodile; my great grandfather killed one in his youth, when he visited Africa.

SAM: Intriguing. That's quite the keepsake.

JAMES: Yes, I've been wearing it since he passed on. It's silly, but it's a reminder for me to always remember where I've come from.

BOY: A happy thought. Doesn't look all that big for a tooth.

SAM: Well, it is only a small part of a very big creature.

BOY: Doesn't matter. I can tell. I've trapped and killed bigger.

JAMES: Oh have you, now?

SAM: All by yourself?

BOY: Yup.

(In the BOY's strutting, he comes up very close to SAM in passing, who appears to shy uncomfortably away from him. SAM removes his spectacles and cleans them on his shirt, and upon realizing JAMES has seen this, he attempts to look more casual by gathering leaves to situate sleeping areas for each of them.)

SAM: (distractedly) That must have been quite a feat. Was the last one very large, then?

BOY: (beams) It would have been too big to fit in the cave. It'd just plug up the hole.

SAM: Sounds more like a dragon than a crocodile!

BOY: No, those are bigger. But they're usually too busy, kidnapping damsels and sitting on treasure to come to the island.

SAM: So how did you catch it?

BOY: (suspicious) …A net. What else do you catch things with?

SAM: No need to get defensive; I was only asking. It must have been a large net to catch such a large crocodile. Wasn't it?

BOY: Huge.

SAM: And you carried it all by yourself?

BOY: Yes.

SAM: Are you sure?

BOY: You ask a lot of questions.

SAM: (smiles indulgently) It's how one learns.

BOY: I'm not too small, if that's what you're thinking.

SAM: No, of course not. Small people do great things all the time, throughout history. Why – look at David and --

BOY: (interrupts) Don't care. Got anymore questions?

SAM: Well -- Couldn't the crocodile just bite through the net?

BOY: No.

SAM: Why?

BOY: It just couldn't.

SAM: But why?

JAMES: (laughs) Sam, don't goad him.

BOY: Yes, Sam Heath, don't goad him. Obviously too stupid to understand, anyhow. Sam-eeth.

SAM: No, that's not it at all. I just wanted to –

BOY: No. Stupid.

JAMES: Now, stop that. He just wanted you to tell your story.

BOY: He's stupid and he asks too many questions.

JAMES: But you were asking a lot of questions earlier, too.

SAM: Really, Captain Hoffman; it's all right. He's just a boy; you don't need to defend me. I'm just going to go gather some more wood for the fire. I'll just let Sparks know there's a place for him to lie down, now.

JAMES: Yes -- and I suppose I could look about for some food. (to the BOY) Do you suppose you can stay out of trouble until then? There's dinner in it for you.

BOY: (leering) Sam-eeeth. Smeeeeth…

(The lights die away.)

SCENE 3:

(Light returns to the cave, and SPARKS lays on a bed of leaves, awake, arms and legs spread out as though he simply collapsed there and has not moved. The sound of dripping water can be heard echoing throughout the cavern. The BOY climbs atop a boulder within sight of him, and glowering, SPARKS lays a hand over his own eyes.)

SPARKS: Don't you have other people to bother? Other people that aren't me? Go away.

BOY: They're out looking for things. Woods to burn, food to garner, but they'll be back.

SPARKS: Yes, and aren't you a rude little boy for not helping them.

BOY: But then there's you.

SPARKS: (glances up)What about me?

BOY: Doesn't seem right, the Captain and the Boatswain going out and doing all the work while the First Mate stays here and naps.

SPARKS: The what and the what?

BOY: Isn't everyone in the crew supposed to help?

SPARKS: Oh, right. That again. (sarcastic) Somebody has to be the lookout. Keep an eye on the Fort, you know.

BOY: But your eyes are closed. And this isn't a Fort. It's a Cave.

SPARKS: Fine. (waves him off) So I'm staying in the Cave so no one comes along and steals it.

(The BOY laughs, and SPARKS visibly shudders, as though the sound were nails on a chalkboard.)

BOY: That's better.

SPARKS: What are you on about?

BOY: You're learning. Are you beginning to remember, too?

SPARKS: Remember what?

(The BOY climbs down from the boulder and comes to crouch next to SPARKS' bed.)

BOY: About why you belong here and not in Boston.

SPARKS: (looks at him fully for a moment, then sits up) What did you say?

BOY: Boston. That was your old island, wasn't it? (he grins) Don't you remember?

(SPARKS rubs the back of his head, wincing.)

SPARKS: Yeah, now I do. Funny I wasn't thinking of it. (suspicious) And I knew you were watching us on the beach.

BOY: Sneaking.

SPARKS: Or spying. (impatient) Whatever. And why would I 'belong' in this hellhole?

BOY: You didn't belong in Boston, did you?

SPARKS: (laughs) No, I suppose I didn't, and that's why I left. Lot of good it did me, too, since I'm still losing all my valuable time looking after brats like you.

BOY: Pirates can't look after children.

SPARKS: Are we doing that again? I'm not a pirate.

BOY: Then what are you?

SPARKS: I'm -- well I was a teacher. Helped children like you -- well, other children anyway, of the non "homeless and crazy" disposition – did lessons, expanded their minds and such.

BOY: (snicker) That's not what you are. It's what you did. And that's not even true.

SPARKS: Yes, because I'm sure that you carry everything there is to know about me in that tiny cavernous skull of yours. (He lies down again, a little too hard, as he immediately hisses in pain and holds his head.) Go away.

(The BOY edges closer and looks directly down at SPARKS.)

SPARKS: You don't listen very well, do you?

BOY: I know a lot about you.

SPARKS: (sighs) If I let you tell me about it, will you shove off?

(The BOY nods, smiling.)

SPARKS: Go on, then.

BOY: You defied your boss once.

SPARKS: (dismissive) Everyone does at least once.

BOY: You wouldn't shake his hand goodbye, just ran away. You knew he could see, or he would soon, what was hiding in the dark. The bad thing you did.

(As the BOY speaks, SPARKS watches the BOY with increasing anxiety.)

BOY: Just a few souls out sick for a day so far.

SPARKS: …how do you know about that?

BOY: …so you'd be long gone once he opened the door.

SPARKS: (lowly) Shut up.

BOY: (mimicking SPARKS accent) Sped out of there quick as you could!

(SPARKS grabs at the BOY's shoulders and sits up, seething.)

SPARKS: I said shut --!

SAM: (offstage) Mister Sparks?

(SAM enters carrying firewood in his arms, and both SPARKS and the BOY look at him, frozen still in a position of imminent violence.)

SAM: (looks troubled) What are you doing?

BOY: (scoffs) Fool.

(As SPARKS reflexively releases the BOY, SAM's demeanor returns to its normal, cheerful state with hardly a blink.)

SAM: Have you been able to rest at all?

SPARKS: (eying the BOY guardedly) Not really.

SAM: Well, I'll try to get us a fire started. Just relax for now. Has Captain Hoffman not come back, yet?

SPARKS: No, you're the first.

BOY: (uninterested) Let's play a game.

SPARKS: Let's not.

SAM: Probably not best to irritate Mister Sparks unnecessarily. He's not well.

SPARKS: I didn't contract the plague, Sam; I just hit my head.

BOY: (pointedly) Smeeth.

SAM: (watches him long, trying to answer) Do you want to help me build a fire?

(SPARKS has returned to covering his eyes with an arm and trying to sleep. SAM sets the pile of wood on the ground and stretches.)

SPARKS: (mumbling) You know he'd probably leer at you a lot less if you'd actually stop letting him do it.

SAM: I don't know what you mean, Mister Sparks.

BOY: (stands) So he says.

(SAM frowns.)

SPARKS: He just talks gibberish. Ignore him.

SAM: I'm not bothered, Mister Sparks. It's quite all right. I am familiar with quite a few boys that are very much like him back in my Parish. Aren't you?

SPARKS: (quiet) Perhaps a few.

BOY: I'll help you build the fire, Mister Smeeth.

(The BOY sits on the ground very close to SAM, causing the man to retreat slightly. BOY bends diligently to his task and sets to situating the wood, seeming to be less interested in pilting them up for burning so much as arranging the loose sticks and branches into a shape.)

SAM: (chuckles) Is Sam really so hard to remember? Brother Sam?

BOY: And Father someday?

(SPARKS begins to snore quietly.)

SAM: (smiles) God willing. (He watches the BOY work with interest, leaning closer to get a better look, less put off by the close proximity now.)

BOY: (intent on his work) That's far too many names for one person.

(SAM kneels down next to him, trying to make sense of the shape he is putting together with the sticks.)

SAM: Do you think so?

BOY: There's no need for them all -- Names for before and after and in between. Wouldn't just one do?

SAM: What about Sam, then?

BOY: Sam is incomplete. (nods to himself) Mister Smeeth is a different sort.

SAM: (drawing a little nearer) And what sort is that?

BOY: (plainly) He is stupid, never leads. He doesn't have to since he won't know how to. Never gets blamed, either – even if he has been curious. People trust him when he's stupid, especially little ones. (SAM starts to show discomfort again, moving back a little.) They think he's more like them. You don't have to be the bad one when you're like that. Just take off your spectacles, polish them contrite, and it's almost like you never thought a bad thought at all.

SAM: (shaken) But – (chuckles) Now why would you think such a thing about me?

(The BOY finishes the shape he's been making and leans back, turning to fully look at SAM, a smile on his face. With the sticks he's drawn the shape of a curved blade on the ground.)

BOY: Because only guilty pirates are afraid to touch.

(The BOY stands. There is but a moment where SAM appears to shrink under his gaze. JAMES enters, carrying apples that he's bundled in his shirt.)

JAMES: Back finally! And I brought food.

(SAM immediately shifts back to his usual mood.)

SAM: Welcome back, Captain! (He starts to gather the sticks together again to start on a real fire.)

(SPARKS snorts and comes awake.)

SPARKS: (sits up) Food? What did you find?

(JAMES removes an apple from his shirt and holds it up for them to see.)

JAMES: Just what you were craving, Sparks. Want to see if it gets us home?

BOY: What kinds of apples can do that?

SPARKS: The kind God tells you not to touch.

(JAMES hands the apple to SPARKS and gives one to SAM as well. He piles the rest off to the side. SPARKS takes a crunching bite with hardly a second thought. SAM follows suit.)

SPARKS: (mouth full) Aren't you having one, James?

JAMES: Not hungry right now. Perhaps later.

SAM: It's an odd thing to ponder, thinking that this might toast a safe return to the world. The forbidden fruit led to man being cast out of his present home and paradise. If we ran on that logic, gentlemen shouldn't we have to wonder if we call this place home already?

BOY: Or you might wonder what sorts of apples you ate before.

SPARKS: When someone wants your opinion, they'll ask for it.

JAMES: Sparks, let the boy alone.

(The lights dim to nothing.)

SCENE 4:

(Light returns to the cave, later in the day, with a slightly gray haze to the light coming in from the 'outside'. A fire is lit, and the four of them are seated around it. SPARKS is doing his best to ignore the sullen and quiet BOY but keeps pointedly glaring at him as he eats.)

SPARKS: Just doesn't make sense that we all were just in one place and then woke up in another, you know? We know we're not dreaming, so maybe what? Have we got amnesia, then? All three of us?

JAMES: Possibly four.

SPARKS: Let's focus, Hoffman.

SAM: Mister Sparks does have a point. It doesn't seem natural that we could just wake up on the other side of the world, but then mass amnesia isn't quite likely either, is it?

JAMES: You both have a point. (sighs) And in the end none of our options are that likely. But if we were brought here, there should be some evidence of that, right? A boat? Wreckage, perhaps?

SAM: Yes, that would be likely. We didn't see anything of the sort like that where we found Mister Sparks, however.

SPARKS: I doubt that was the only part of the beach. Not that we were there long, but they do tend to stretch on a bit, don't they?

SAM: Should we perhaps go back and look, then? I'd be happy to, Captain.

JAMES: We'll worry about that tomorrow, Sam. There isn't much light left. I don't know. It feels strange, but I suppose I just feel like we're not going to find anything.

SPARKS: Let's not write any self-defeating prophecies, here. I know you're enjoying yourself, Hoffman, but I don't think anyone else is.

JAMES: Why do you assume, Sparks, that I'm just having a grand old time of it?

SPARKS: You've had that odd spring in your step ever since we struck out from the beach. Makes one wonder, is all I'm saying.

JAMES: …What are you suggesting, Sparks? Do you think I planned on being here? And while I was at it I decided to drug and kidnap two men and a child, all from different spots on the globe, and what? Go camping with them?

SPARKS: Would you slow down? I'm not saying anything for sure, but you did find both me and Sam. How are we to know you don't know anything?

BOY: (mutters) Mutiny.

SAM: Now, Mister Sparks, that's a horrible thing to say.

SPARKS: Will you stow it, already? You sound like a frigging governess.

SAM: That's not my intention. It's common in my calling to mediate. I'm not attempting to mother you, merely provide some voice of reason.

BOY: Stupid.

SPARKS: (ignoring him) Still adds up to the same thing, which is that you sound like a nancing poof. I was only saying –

JAMES: The less time you spend "only saying", the better off we're going to be, Sparks. There was no call for any of that.

SPARKS: No, I know. I know. But you can't expect us to be running on all cylinders in a situation like this, Hoffman. The fact that you're so calm is unsettling. I don't know if you realize this, but all of us being here and not knowing why is pretty good subtext for panicking. So why aren't you panicking? (to SAM) Or you, for that matter? And what about the boy?

JAMES: What about the b – he's sitting right here, Sparks.

SPARKS: Fine. (to BOY) Where'd you come from?

(The BOY smiles at him and chomps happily on an apple.)

SPARKS: (flatly) As if I expected him to answer me.

SAM: You weren't exactly the kindest to him earlier.

JAMES: Earlier? Did something happen.

SAM: Nothing. Not to worry, Captain.

SPARKS: I'm sure you would have approved of my tactics if I'd assumed your signature 'stare and cower then say something stupid about flowers' maneuver that pacifies him so well, Sam, but someone in this little entourage needs to act like they've got a pair.

JAMES: Sparks

BOY: Cut you soon as look at you, he would.

SPARKS: Oh get bent, brat. But my point still stands. Nobody's panicking. I'm not even panicking. I'm just an arseoff, and my head hurts, but at least I've still got enough in my head to know something isn't right, which is more than I can say for any of you.

JAMES: No, you're right. I've had some experience with the outdoors and all that, but I'll say now that I've never had so much fall into my lap at once.

SAM: What do you mean, Captain?

JAMES: Didn't you notice it too, Sam? Does it strike you as strange that we found everything we needed in one small area?

SAM: Lucky, perhaps.

JAMES: It's never this lucky. That fruit that I found? Look at them: Apples.

SAM: What does that mean?

SPARKS: I'm fairly certain those plants aren't supposed to grow in sand, much less in tropical areas. So what do you think, Hoffman?

JAMES: Remember what I said earlier? About the island finding us?

SAM: It isn't possible, Captain Hoffman.

JAMES: Nor is anything else we've come up with.

SPARKS: So the island is giving us shelter, and food, and clean water?

JAMES: And it's doing something to us, too. I don't know, but you're right, Sparks. Can't really think what it is, exactly. But I have been calm. I mean, I'm usually calm in a crisis.

SPARKS: Just not as subdued?

JAMES: Yes, that's the word I've been reaching for. Do either of you feel that way?

SAM: I suppose – but I have just wanted to be helpful, you know. I just don't think it would be to anyone's benefit if I wasn't.

(SPARKS glances pointedly at the BOY.)

SPARKS: Believe it or not, I'm actually a good deal more contained than I probably should be.

JAMES: So why would the island be doing it?

SAM: Doing what? 'Subduing' us and giving us things? I'm sorry – I don't mean to sound skeptical, Captain, but places don't have minds of their own.

SPARKS: It sounds like bullocks in a basket, but it's the best idea we've gotten yet. And if that's what we're agreeing upon, then I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not keen on waiting to see what else this place is going to do to us.

JAMES: So it's agreed that we need to leave.

BOY: This is boring.

SPARKS: Shut up.

SAM: I do not think anyone is disputing that, Captain Hoffman.

JAMES: Suppose we comb the beach and find a boat tomorrow, then. What do we want to do?

SPARKS: Get the Hell out of here, that's what. And if we can't find a boat, we should build a raft. The sooner we get out, the better.

SAM: But we have no idea where we are. We'd be on open water for heaven knows how long.

SPARKS: So we pack food and drinkable water.

SAM: If we can.

JAMES: You're not worried about drifting, Sparks?

SPARKS: Isn't it a risk you'd be willing to take? I want to go home. Sam?

SAM: (sighs) If that is what we decide, I will follow.

JAMES: Are we in agreement, then? As soon as we have a way to leave, we should go.

SPARKS: Immediately.

JAMES: Then it's settled.

(JAMES reaches over and grabs an apple. He holds it up as though to toast their decision, and he moves to take a bite.)

SPARKS: You said you have a wife waiting for you at home?

JAMES: (lowers the apple, still whole) Yes. (he smiles a little sadly) Mary. Works in the local theatre at home. Charming, wonderful girl. (he sighs) Can't wait to get back to her. Have the two of you got any family waiting? Sparks? Sam?

SAM: (smiles gently) I was an only child, I'm afraid. I miss my work; in a way, that's my family.

SPARKS: Never settled down, myself. You said you were trying for children?

JAMES: Yes.

SPARKS: Why aren't you wearing a wedding ring?

JAMES: (after a sullen quiet) I never said we were very successful so far.

(JAMES regards the apple in his hand a moment, then sets it aside. The BOY crawls over to it and picks it up.)

BOY: Your apple.

JAMES: Hm? Oh no -- I think I've lost my appetite.

BOY: You need to eat.

JAMES: Later.

BOY: No.

(The BOY hurls the apple across the cave.)

JAMES: Oy!

(The BOY proceeds to make similar work of the rest of the apples.)

BOY: Then have none!

SPARKS: What the blue bleeding Hell are you doing? Stop!

(The BOY is on his feet in a flash. He picks up a piece of fruit and throws it at SPARKS.)

BOY: Make me.

(SPARKS rises. JAMES climbs to his feet and blocks his path.)

SPARKS: Irritating little shit! I'll –

JAMES: Sparks, stop! We can find more later if we need to.

SPARKS: No, I'm not going to sit back and let that brat –

JAMES: For God's sake, Sparks, sit back down! He's a child!

SPARKS: (relenting) One I'll be happy to leave behind when we strike out, Captain.

JAMES: Ignore him.

BOY: Best you do as your Captain tells you, Starkey.

(JAMES has to grab SPARKS to keep him from lunging at BOY, who fearlessly kicks embers from the fire at him, then turns his anger on what is left of the camp around them, scattering their 'beds' in his wake. SPARKS rounds away from JAMES and starts toward the BOY again, yanking him back by the arm.)

JAMES: Sparks--!

(BOY breaks into a sudden keening wail. SPARKS is too stunned to hold onto the BOY when he lunges away from him. The BOY launches from there into a frenzy, complete with throwing, kicking, flailing and continued screeching.)

SAM: Please – please, young man, don't do that – no one is hurting you. If you'd just –

BOY: (suddenly stock still as he looks up at SAM in fury) Away from me, idiot! Inept bo'sun! Pederast! I know what you are! (He sits up, turning on all of them.) I know what all of you are! Evil Men! Pirates! (his gaze stops on SPARKS) Murderers!

JAMES: (snaps) That is enough!

BOY: And you! (voice low, almost a growl as he slowly rises) You're the worst of them. Speaking ever so sweetly, and waiting – You command the movement of their blades, you are guilty already! Captain!

(JAMES attempts to catch him, and the BOY leaps, seeming to be carried on the air up and out of the cave. JAMES, SPARKS, and SAM may only stare after in disbelief and awe.)

SPARKS: He – that boy is a monster, Hoffman!

JAMES: Just – Salvage what you can.

SPARKS: Are you touched in the head, Captain?! The boy just –

JAMES: (firm) I said 'salvage what you can'.

SPARKS: And what about you? You're not going to try to go after him, are you?

JAMES: No. I'm going to return to the beach. I'm not waiting until morning. There has to be something. Sam?

SAM: (dazed) Cap'n?

JAMES: …On second thought, you stay here. I'll try to be quick.

SPARKS: Be careful.

(JAMES tears out of the cave.)

(The lights fade.)

SCENE 5:

(The lights come up dimly upon the cave. Flashes of white light issue from stage left, followed by the distant roll of thunder. SPARKS is pacing about madly, his head apparently no longer bothering him, and SAM follows after him, mumbling in some hope of consoling him.)

SPARKS: He flew, man! He bloody well flew! You saw it. I saw it! Dear Captain's the only one that can't seem to accept it! (muttering) ...I'll kill that little brat. Him and all the others like him, nothing but trouble.

SAM: Now let's not get too hasty. Cap'n's ordered no such thing, after all.

SPARKS: Don't know what's got him so dotted lately, if it's not that boy. I said he shouldn't trust him, didn't I? And then the little blighter goes all berserker on the lot of us. Told him. I told him. And you watch him still take his side, even after he's seen what he does.

SAM: (hisses) Don't talk that way about the Cap'n. He'd never steer us wrong.

SPARKS: Not like I think he's trying to. I'm just saying it's about time he saw that little wretch for the monster he is.

JAMES: Oy! Sam! Sparks!

SAM: There you are, Cap'n!

SPARKS: Don't look at all well, sir.

SAM: What's happened?

JAMES: (between breaths) Found a ... way off the ... island.

SAM: ...What was that, Cap'n?

JAMES: I found a boat! And oars! (laughs excitedly) There's room enough for us and any food we can carry! We can go home! ...What? What is it?

SAM: Are you sure you're well, Cap'n?

JAMES: Of course, I'm fine I – Sam, you're speaking strangely.

SAM: I am? I'm sorry, Cap'n; I didn't think I was.

JAMES: And why do you keep calling me that? (chuckles nervously) ...Right, you're still shaken up by what happened. Not like I'm not. Listen, I do agree there's something wrong with him, but I don't think it'd be rightful to just leave him here. We should take him with us – Take him to somebody that can give him proper help.

SPARKS: (flatly) Told you.

SAM: You really should rest, Cap'n.

JAMES: I am fine, Sam. I'm better than fine, and I don't want to rest. I want to get off this rock before we wind up as mad as the boy is!

(A nearer clap of thunder is heard.)

JAMES: It's this place – it has to be. It makes people sick, right? Him, too. We agreed before; we have to get away, even if it means we don't know where we're going.

SPARKS: We can't brave it just now, Captain. There's a storm coming.

JAMES: Didn't we say before that it was a risk we'd be willing to take? Sparks, don't you want to go home? Sam?

SAM: I ... I think he's right, Cap'n. We should wait it out. Please don't be vexed.

JAMES: Don't you understand?! Are you both blind? We can't wait a whole night; we don't know what will happen! (a beat) ...Don't. Don't look at me like that, Sam. I wasn't going to hurt you; you know I wouldn't dream of it.

SPARKS: W-with all due respect, Captain; there's a moan on the air. That's unkindly prospects for any man who goes out on the water tonight.

JAMES: But – even you're talking strangely now! And are you stammering? Jesus Christ, Sparks, what's gotten into you? And both of you, stop looking at me like that! (a beat) ...It's happening, isn't it? It's getting to you.

SAM: Cap'n, please...

JAMES: STOP calling me that!

SAM: (cries out in fear.)

JAMES: Get ahold of yourself, man! Remember what you are! Remember where we come from! We're civilized men, and we're not going to survive if we forget that!

SAM: B-begging your pardon, Cap'n, but I-I really don't think it's about forgetting.

JAMES: Oh really? And when has a man of the cloth ever shrunken from a parishioner?

SPARKS: Well, that is an unusual way of putting it. (under his breath at SAM) What did I say to you?

SAM: (hisses) Stop, that's not the way of it, and you know it! (to JAMES) Th-There's a definite bit of ministering that comes with the duties of any boatswain.

JAMES: Boatswain? No – Sam, just because that boy said you were – God, you can't really think that, can you?

SAM: Hm? Oh, you know I'm just a simple fellow, Cap'n. What else would I think of myself?

SPARKS: Little bastard isn't going to let us leave, Captain.

JAMES: Let us?! He's a child, Sparks! He's trapped here just as much as any of us!

(The BOY laughs from offstage – his voice seems to come from every direction)

SPARKS: Said he'd be back, didn't I?

JAMES: Be still, Starkey! Sparks -- damnit, I meant Sparks. (looking around) I've found a way to go home. If you want to come with us, then come out.

BOY: But this is my home. Why should I leave?

JAMES: Surely it's not. What of your parents?

BOY: I told you I haven't any.

JAMES: And I told you that's nonsense. What manner of boy doesn't have parents?

BOY: A marvelous one.

JAMES: Marvelous -- what boy talks like that? We're going with or without you. If you want to stay here by yourself, that's your choice.

BOY: Ohhh, but I won't be by myself. Not with adventures such as these. I'm going to be very happy with you about, Captain, and simple, stupid Mister Smeeth, and angry, bloodthirsty Gentleman Staaaaarkeeeeey.

SAM: My name -- that's not my name. It's --

BOY: It's what I say it is.

SAM: Smee.

JAMES: You -- it's not the island, is it? You're part of this, aren't you? …It's not the island that's making them this way. It's you.

BOY: (voice resounding) I am the hero.

JAMES: And that makes me – us what? Your villains?

BOY: I already told you. You're the pirates.

JAMES: We're grown men.

BOY: You're murderers.

JAMES: We're your betters!

BOY: (singsong voice) Not part of the game.

JAMES: I'm not here to play your fucking games!

(SAM and SPARKS gasp audibly.)

SAM: Cap'n!

JAMES: (through his teeth) Be silent, I said! -- Now, show yourself! I've had enough of your pretendings! Show yourself or leave us be!

(The BOY appears from the back of the cave.)

BOY: Here I am. Now draw your sword.

JAMES: Boy, you know very well that I haven't got anything but that stick you made me take earlier.

BOY: Cowardly little codfish of a pirate, aren't you?

JAMES: I've been called worse. God, even for a child, you're full of yourself. Just -- listen, we're --

(The BOY draws a knife.)

SPARKS: Captain, it's probably best you arm yourself.

JAMES: With what?

(He goes to draw the stick from the place he'd tucked it earlier, and instead out comes a sword. Almost immediately he throws it down again.)

JAMES: This is...

BOY: Do you understand now?

JAMES: That's impossible. You put this here, didn't you? More of your tricks!

BOY: Heroes don't play tricks. (lunges toward him) Play the game, Pirate. Pick up your sword.

SPARKS: Captain, you'll want to do as he says. He won't hesitate to do harm to any of us.

JAMES: I told you to stop talking about him like th–

(BOY slashes at JAMES.)

JAMES: What are you doing? You could have taken my arm off with that!

BOY: And I will. Defend yourself.

JAMES: Heroes don't attack unarmed men.

BOY: When they're pirates, I can. It's a rule. Pick it up.

JAMES: No.(He backs away when the BOY lunges again.)

SAM: Oh please, Cap'n!

(JAMES finally snatches up the sword.)

JAMES: STOPcalling me that!

BOY: Fight me or be branded a coward the rest of your days!

JAMES: Are you listening to yourself?! You're just a child; I'm not going to—

BOY: A boy better than a hundred grown men!

(A struggle ensues.)

BOY:FIGHT ME! FIGHT ME OR I'LL END YOU!

(JAMES throws down his sword again.)

JAMES: I am NOT going to fight you! (a beat)I'm leaving. ...And any others that wish to join me, may.

(JAMES turns to depart. As the BOY moves, SPARKS has time enough to call out in warning.)

SPARKS: Captain!

(The BOY slices at JAMES' back, and he drops with a yell. JAMES forces the BOY off of him, knocking his knife from his hand, and they stand. BOY charges again, and JAMES catches him by the arms.)

JAMES: Enough of this! Don't you understand what you're –

BOY: It's not enough! I'll –

(JAMES yanks the boy forward and slaps him across the face, hard, then again across the other cheek.)

JAMES: (fiercely) I said stop that.

SAM: Cap'n!

BOY: (begins to cry, first subdued and humiliated. Looking about him and surrounded only by the shocked faces of men – none of whom concede this unfairness or offer him aid, his cries then break into full, anguished wails. He snatches up his blade and flees the cave.)

JAMES: (composing himself) As I said: he is a child, and sometimes, when one cannot be controlled by reason, superior might is the best option. (a beat) Now, are you coming with me, or not?

(They gape at him. JAMES shakes his head, realizing he is not going to receive an answer. He hurries from the cave. As the lighting fades to black, another CRASH of Thunder is heard, followed by the groaning topple of a tree and JAMES' cry of alarm.)

SCENE 6:

(The lights roll up over the darkened remains the beach, ravaged by storm. The tree has fallen and lies across the stage. Pinned beneath it lies JAMES, with only his head down to his shoulders and his right arm remaining free. Thunder can still be heard in the distance, growing more and more faint. The sound of rushing water is also heard.)

JAMES: Help! (JAMES struggles until he wears himself out.) Damnit! SPARKS! SAM!

(The BOY comes into view and silently crouches atop the trunk of the fallen tree, gazing down at JAMES with false pity.)

BOY: Poooor Captain. Lost his ship and his crew.

JAMES: You!

BOY: (wide smile) Me.

JAMES: …I'm stuck.

BOY: Serves you right.

JAMES: Aren't you going to do anything?

BOY: Thinking about it.

JAMES: I-If you were any sort of decent person, boy, you'd go and fetch help.

BOY: Would I?

JAMES: Damn it all, what is wrong with you?! Don't you understand you can't be this way to people?

BOY: I can do what I like.

JAMES: No, you can't! That's not how the world works!

(The BOY draws his knife again.)

BOY: Then stop me.

JAMES: God -- No. No. Put that away.

BOY: Make me put it away, Pirate.

JAMES: I am not a pirate. I've told you this.

BOY: And I say you are, so you are. That is how the world works, and it's about time

you, like everyone else, understood that. (The BOY crouches lower, brushing the flat of the blade across JAMES' cheek.)

JAMES: Get away from me --

(The BOY stops the blade at his throat and JAMES freezes. The BOY hooks it under the chain of the necklace he is wearing and with a jerk, breaks it. Maintaining the knife at his throat, he snatches up the crocodile tooth.)

JAMES: That's --

BOY: What? Yours? (He rises up on his feet and throws it offstage. The sound of it plink!ing into water can be heard.) Then it'll find its way back to you.

JAMES: …Why?

BOY: Why? (crouching again) Because pirates can't have happy thoughts. What's to stop you leaving if you've something to go back to?

JAMES: …It's just an object. I have -- I have a home in -- Oh, God…

BOY: You have all you ever needed here.

JAMES: No.

BOY: -- terror of the seas.

JAMES: I'm not!

BOY: -- Blackbeard's bo'sun.

JAMES: Stop!

BOY: -- worst of them all.

JAMES: I was kind to you! I helped you!

BOY: (bringing knife to bear again) -- and never more sinister than when he is most polite.

JAMES: Why are you doing this?!

BOY: Because it's what has to be done.

JAMES: -- Please… I just -- I just want to go home.

BOY: (laughs) Don't you get it, Captain? You are home. (He points the knife at him again.) You've always been the hardest to bring back. Now I've only to keep you here.

JAMES: Get away from me. (swipes at him.)

BOY: (brings his foot down on his elbow) Say who you are. (points the knife at his face)

JAMES: …You're mad.

BOY: We've been over this. (flicks the tip of the blade at his cheek) Say it.

JAMES: (visibly trembling) J-James -- Matthew --

BOY: No. (marks his other cheek) Do it right.

JAMES: I -- I told you, I'm not a p--

BOY: (coming down beside him, one foot still pinning his arm) You have to play the game.

JAMES: I told you, I won't!

BOY: Do you want to die?

JAMES: M-my name is James Matthew Hoffman.

BOY: (overlapping his words) Lying.

JAMES: I was schooled at Glasgow --

BOY: (still overlapping) Pirate.

JAMES: I'm a policeman --

BOY: Caaaaptaaaain…

JAMES: Stop!

BOY: (moves his knife against JAMES' prone arm) Say it right.

JAMES: N-no, what are you doing?!

BOY: I already told you. What I have to. If you won't play the game, then I'll make you.

JAMES: …Y-you don't have to do this. Please, put it away! I-I won't leave, just --

BOY: You're lying. (smiles) Be a sport, old man. Better your hand than an eye, after all. (The BOY bends toward his arm again.)

JAMES: Y-you can't do this--stop! (the light around them begins to fade) STOOOOP!

(The stage falls completely black.)

JAMES: M-MY NAME IS JAMES -- MAATHEWW…. (His screams intermingle with sobs.)

(Another object plink!ing into water is heard, something heavier than before, followed by the telltale sound of a clock-tick. The BOY's laughter pervades the darkness, and soon all that remains is the murmur of the forest.)

(End.)