Searching

A Ten-Minute Play by Nick Comunelli

Characters

JONATHON A young man searching for himself, 20

MR. HUTCH Private Investigator for Jonathon, 50

TIME

Present.

SETTING

The waiting area outside Mr. Hutch's office.

(Lights rise on the area outside Mr. Hutch's office. There are a couple of chairs. JONATHON occupies one of them. There is a door to an office on the right. On the window of the door, it reads, "Jim Hutch: Private Detective." After a moment, MR. HUTCH comes out of his office.)

MR. HUTCH

(Greeting JONATHON with a warm handshake and a smile.)

Jonathon, it's great to see you again. I'm sorry you had to wait a few minutes. I was making a couple phone calls. So how about you step into my office and we'll go over what I found for you.

(MR. HUTCH turns to go back into his office, but JONATHON remains seated. MR. HUTCH notices the look on JONATHON's face.)

Second thoughts or not, you're already down a decent chunk of change.

(JONATHON doesn't move.)

Are you worried?

JONATHON

(Talks quickly)

No. I'm not worried. Why should I be worried? There isn't something I should worry about is there? No, wait. Don't answer that.

MR. HUTCH

You seem a little excited. You can calm down in my office, while I tell you what I found.

JONATHON

Well…

MR. HUTCH

Kid, I like you. You seem to have a square head on your shoulders, but I don't have all day.

JONATHON

(Pause)

How long do you have then?

MR. HUTCH

(Looks at his watch)

I guess I can give you ten minutes or so, if you really feel like talking.

(Beat.)

It's weird. People usually pay me to talk, not to listen.

(MR. HUTCH takes a seat next to JONATHON.)

So, kid, what's on your mind?

JONATHON

I… I want to know, but then again… I'm just not…

MR. HUTCH

So far, you are using your ten minutes quite well. Please, continue.

JONATHON

I'm sorry, Mr. Hutch. I just feel that, well; I should know what you found.

MR. HUTCH

That's what you're paying me for.

JONATHON

What if I don't like it?

MR. HUTCH

Well the funny thing about news is that you don't know if it's good or bad until you find out what it is.

JONATHON

It could change everything. But then again, it just news. It doesn't mean I have to do anything…

MR. HUTCH

I'm glad you know what you're talking about. At least I think you do. Um, kid, I thought you wanted us to talk during your time with me, which is ticking away.

JONATHON

I'm sorry. It's just always kinda bothered me that I know next to nothing about my birth parents, or any of my biological family for that matter

MR. HUTCH

And that's why you asked me to look into it. And I did just that, so I'm sure you want to know what I found.

JONATHON

But, now I'm not sure if I want to know.

MR. HUTCH

Don't tell me I just wasted time finding information you don't want.

JONATHON

I won't tell you that, because I honestly don't know yet.

MR. HUTCH

(Sits and looks at JONATHON for a minute. He sees this is really bothering the boy. MR. HUTCH sighs, then)

All right. What's on your mind?

JONATHON

Learning what you've found… I thought I really wanted to know, but now…

MR. HUTCH

Well, why did you ask me to find your birth parents to begin with?

JONATHON

Well it's like there's something missing. I don't know part of what makes me, well me.

MR. HUTCH

I see.

(Pause.)

Well, if you don't want that to be missing, why don't you want to know it now?

JONATHON

Maybe… it's a part of me that I want to keep missing.

MR. HUTCH

What? Like if your parents are crazy drug addicts or something?

JONATHON

I don't know how I would take that. And I've wondered why they didn't, you know, keep me. Was it them? Or was it me?

MR. HUTCH

Kid, what's done is done. You are who you are, and finding this out isn't going to drastically change something.

JONATHON

How do you know?

MR. HUTCH

Because… Because I'm older.

JONATHON

(JONATHON thinks this answer is bullshit.)

Are you in the same position I am? Did you have to find out where you came from well after everyone else you knew?

MR. HUTCH

Well, no, but—

JONATHON

Then I don't think you quite understand what I'm going through. Maybe you can't help me like I thought you could.

(JONATON gets up from his chair and turns to leave, but MR. HUTCH grabs his arm.)

MR. HUTCH

Kid, wait, please.

(JONATHON stops but doesn't turn around.)

I may not know what it's like to be in your position, but I do remember what it's like to grow up. It's not the easiest time, is it?

JONATHON

(After a moment, JONATHON returns to his seat.)

It is a little confusing, I guess.

MR. HUTCH

Well, you're asking a private detective for life advice, so I'd guess you're more than a little confused.

JONATHON

I feel, lost sometimes.

MR. HUTCH

Well, if you're looking for a map, you're out of luck. Life doesn't really work like that.

JONATHON

I was hoping that if I knew who my birth parents were and where I came from, then maybe, it would help me figure out where I'm going.

MR. HUTCH

Kid, when are you living? Are you in the present or are you living in the past?

JONATHON

The present.

MR. HUTCH

Then you gotta get your head out of the past.

JONATHON

But isn't the present fleeting?

MR. HUTCH

That's why you have to live in it! You can't possibly enjoy the present when you're worrying about what's already happened. Why are you so worried about where you came from? Do you not like yourself right now?

JONATHON

Oh no. I like myself right now.

(Pause)

Wow, that sounded narcissistic.

MR. HUTCH

(Laughing)

It's okay, kid. I think everyone suffers from that from time to time. Hey, it's better than the opposite.

JONATHON

(Laughing too)

I guess you're right. But did you wander where you would end up and who you would be?

MR. HUTCH

Of course I did. Everyone does. We can't help it.

JONATHON

So how did you go about finding yourself?

MR. HUTCH

You keep saying, "finding yourself." You act like this is something one can go out and actively pursue.

JONATHON

You mean it's not?

(MR. HUTCH shakes his head)

When I left for college, my parents told me that college was the start of the journey to find myself. And ever since I arrived on that campus, I've scoured it, hoping to come across myself. I always hoped I wouldn't find myself in the library. I don't want to be some pour soul trapped in there.

MR. HUTCH

You're trying too hard, kid. You can't just go looking around and bump into yourself right where you thought you would.

JONATHON

Where did you find yourself?

(MR. HUTCH stops and thinks for a moment about how to respond. Then he pokes JONATHON lightly first in the head and then in the chest.)

That seems a little cliché, Mr. Hutch.

MR. HUTCH

But it's true, kid.

I'm glad you can't just walk around and bump into who you are on the street.

JONATHON

Why's that?

MR. HUTCH

Even if you had bumped into him, I don't think you would

have trusted yourself enough to know it was you.

(JONATHON gives him a puzzled look)

It's like this. You want to find yourself, right? Right. But the way you talk about it, I'm not sure you would ever be satisfied with what you found. What do you want to do with yourself?

JONATHON

Well, it would be practical—

MR. HUTCH

No, not what's practical. What do you want to do? What do you dream about doing?

JONATHON

(Sits and thinks for a moment)

I want to move to New York and learn how Broadway shows are produced and learn all the tricks and secrets.

MR. HUTCH

And what's the end goal with that?

JONATHON

That's it. I want to be a part of making a Broadway show.

MR. HUTCH

Why?

JONATHON

Because it fascinates me and I think it would be fun.

MR. HUTCH

(Stands up in triumph)

You've got it now! That's the key.

JONATHON

Fun?

MR. HUTCH

(Sits back down.)

Sort of. You have to do what you really want to do.

JONATHON

So I just do what I want?

MR. HUTCH

Come on, kid. Stay in the world of reason here. You're just bouncing one extreme to the other. You need to have

fun going through life, but that doesn't mean you just go have fun doing whatever. If you do what you love, you'll be surprised where you end up.

JONATHON

And then I'll find myself?

MR. HUTCH

No. No you won't.

JONATHON

But you said—

MR. HUTCH

Do you not remember me doing this?

(He pokes JONATHON first in the head and then in the chest, a little harder than the first time he poked JONATHON.)

You don't have to go find who you are. You came out the person you're going to be. If you do what you love, the real you will come out.

JONATHON

Oddly enough that makes sense.

MR. HUTCH

That's because it's the truth.

JONATHON

I would say I have some things I have to go home and think about, but I guess one of my problems is that I think too much.

MR. HUTCH

Thinking is okay. Remember, you can't just go do, just don't overanalyze everything. When you find the answer you're looking for, don't question it.

JONATHON

So I should trust my gut?

MR. HUTCH

In most cases, your gut knows what's happening before your brain does.

JONATHON

I bet it does. I read that what we perceive as the present is actually a little behind due to our brain having to process what it receives.

MR. HUTCH

Well I learned something today.

You know, this life stuff is easier to figure out when you have someone to go through it with you

JONATHON

My girlfriend, Anne, is helping me sort all of this out.

MR. HUTCH

Oh, so you've got yourself a lady? Well that's a big step in letting yourself come out. She didn't run off on you did she?

JONATHON

Oh no, she stayed home. I told her I needed to do this on my own.

MR. HUTCH

Well it's good that she respects your need for space on some things.

(Beat)

So do you want to step into my office, or are you good?

JONATHON

(Pause)

I don't need to know who my birth parents are right now. I am who I am, and I'm happy with that. Thank you, Mr. Hutch.

MR. HUTCH

No problem, kid. Hey, don't think this means you can forget the rest of my bill.

(He smiles at JONATHON. They shake hands. JONATHON exits. MR. HUTCH stands there for a moment. Then his cell phone goes off. He answers)

Hello? Ah yes, hello ma'am. Thank you for getting back to me, but I believe the young man answered his own question.

End of Play