THE VISIT

A Play in One Act

by

G. J. Carr

Cast of Characters

JAKE: A convict who has recently escaped from prison

WILLIAM: Jake's brother, and the manager of a local business

KATY: William's wife

ACT I: Scene One

SETTING: A living room with a doorway UR leading into a foyer and offstage connecting hallway. A doorway SL leads into the kitchen. The room is tidy, neatly decorated, in good taste. There is a sofa CS, with a large window behind it that faces the front yard.

JAKE, roughly shaven, in casual dress, is reclined in a chair with his feet up. He appears to be sleeping. A car drives up. A car door opens. JAKE stirs, looks toward the US window and stands. He goes to the window and peeks out, then sits again and waits. The car door closes. Footsteps on the walkway. Key in the lock. The front door is heard to open and close. Rustling in the foyer. Keys and cell phone being set down. Coat being hung on a wall hook. JAKE rises, goes to the foyer and greets the person who has arrived.

JAKE
You're early. I didn't expect you so soon. Well, don't just stand there, come in. Come in, come in.

(WILLIAM approaches the doorway and JAKE steps in and aside for him. WILLIAM is dressed in more formal, business attire. He peers in skeptically.)

WILLIAM
How long have you—?

JAKE
All afternoon.

WILLIAM
I didn't know you—

JAKE
We're alone. Don't worry. Come in. Sit down.

WILLIAM
I don't understand how—

JAKE
I didn't expect you until later, but I'm glad you're here. Sit down. I was falling asleep waiting.

WILLIAM
What did—?

JAKE
We'll just talk.

WILLIAM
Talk?

JAKE
I'm in no hurry.

WILLIAM
Why not?

JAKE
(laughs)
We'll just talk. As I understand it we have quite a lot to talk about.

WILLIAM
We do?

JAKE
Yes we do. Sit down.

WILLIAM
I'd rather stand.

JAKE
I'd really prefer you sit. You'd be more—

WILLIAM
I'll stand.

JAKE
You'd be more comfortable.

WILLIAM
I'm not sure I want to be comfortable.

JAKE
Sit. Sit. I insist. Really. It's not quite right that one of us sits while the other stands. It keeps us on uneven ground. One of us always looking down on the other. And since I don't want to stand, I think you should sit. Even keel. One-to-one. Sit.

(WILLIAM studies JAKE.)

WILLIAM
(cautious)
Okay.
(He sits across from JAKE.)
What do we have to talk about?

JAKE
I don't know. I thought we would just start and see where it leads us. What do you think about that? How about that?

WILLIAM
I'm not sure I have anything to say.

JAKE
I think there's a lot more to say. Don't you? If you think about it. There's a lot more.

WILLIAM
Why don't you start off by explaining—

JAKE
I realize you might want to call it off. I mean, you want to be finished.

WILLIAM
Call what off?

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
Yeah what?

JAKE
We haven't gotten along in the past.

WILLIAM
A lot more to say?

JAKE
Right.

WILLIAM
(pointedly, bitterly)
The way I remember it—

(WILLIAM stands, paces. He's clearly agitated and on the verge of saying more, but as he does JAKE responds sharply.)

JAKE
Don't be that way Willy. I want to know about you. I want to know what you've been up to. I want to get us up to speed here. Fill in where we've been, what we've done.

WILLIAM
With what?

JAKE
Let's just start general at first. Your health. It's been good? Your job maybe. How's it been going?

WILLIAM
I—Look—Okay—What if I go outside, and you go out, wherever you came in. And I'll come home—This is my home—And then you'll come to the door and knock.

JAKE
(with calmness and sadness, but strained)
You see. There you go.
(then directly)
I got another idea.

WILLIAM
That's it then.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
You know what you're after. You have some agenda.

JAKE
You've been annoyed, hostile, defensive from the moment you came in. And all I have is peaceful intentions.

WILLIAM
Like hell.

JAKE
The last time we talked ended badly and I want to approach this in a friendly manner so that we're not immediately back where we ended.

WILLIAM
You have a hell of a way of showing it.

JAKE
What did you expect?

WILLIAM
Some courtesy. Some respect.

JAKE
I haven't—

WILLIAM
What do you want?

JAKE
(after a moment)
Nothing. I'm a… I'm a bit, you know, put off by your response. It hurts me to think that. Well, things have changed between us, that's true. But maybe we can put that behind us. We were friends once. I know it's been a long time. I know you were angry. A lot has happened. But I thought, maybe, that we could get together, understand one another. I don't like the way things ended and I'm sorry about that. But you owe me a little—

WILLIAM
What do I owe you?

JAKE
A little love, a little respect, some compassion. For old times. It's not like I wasn't going through it. What could it hurt? I love you. I do. And I don't want it to be this way.

WILLIAM
(softening, but suspicious)
Why didn't you call? You must have known. Why didn't you tell anyone? You have to admit, this is a surprise.

JAKE
You wouldn't have wanted me to come.

WILLIAM
I didn't.

JAKE
See. And we wouldn't have gotten to talk.

WILLIAM
I might have met you.

JAKE
You would have? Tell me the truth. Would you have come to meet me?

WILLIAM
You didn't give me the chance.

JAKE
You wouldn't have come.

WILLIAM
How did you get in here anyway?

JAKE
It was easy.

WILLIAM
How?

(JAKE averts. Takes a moment to respond.)

JAKE
Huh? I was distracted by the view out the window. This was always such a nice neighborhood. Nice suburb. Everything is so well kept up. I never thought I would be back here. Well, I knew I would be someday. But you know what I mean. You've fixed the place up great. You've done really well.

WILLIAM
What did you do?

JAKE
It was open.

WILLIAM
With a key?

JAKE
Sure a key. I always had a key.

WILLIAM
So?

JAKE
So?

WILLIAM
You broke in.

JAKE
You didn't expect me to—

WILLIAM
(pacing, violently)
Shit Jake! Damn it! Shit! When are you going to have any sense?

JAKE
Well there's sense, and then there's sense.

WILLIAM
What the hell is that supposed to mean?

JAKE
I couldn't wait outside all day until you got home.

WILLIAM
And you expect to be welcomed with open arms like nothing ever happened? When you pull shit like this?

JAKE
(after a beat)
I don't expect you to understand.

WILLIAM
WHY SHOULD I?

JAKE
You never took the time! You still don't take the time to see the rest of it. Bury your head in your ass, and don't take the time!

WILLIAM
You broke into my house!

JAKE
Maybe I needed to! Maybe it was the right thing to do.

WILLIAM
How could it be the right thing to do? Because nobody saw you? Because it was the back and not the front? Because you love me and nothing—?

JAKE
You just don't get it.

WILLIAM
And you love me?

JAKE
Never stopped.

WILLIAM
You were bad for me. You were bad to me. Why do you think you can come back like this?

JAKE
I've been good to you.

WILLIAM
Yeah? Tell me. When? It's a wonder we get along at all.

(JAKE thinks briefly.)

JAKE
Well, my friends once said that you ate shit sandwiches, and I defended you.

WILLIAM
(fuming, angry, scoffing)
You said I didn't like bread.

JAKE
Come on. We were kids.

WILLIAM
I didn't appreciate your humor.

JAKE
It was all in fun. You're thin-skinned.

WILLIAM
You were cruel.

JAKE
I was just poking fun. It was harmless.

WILLIAM
You said you didn't want to see me again.

JAKE
That's different.

WILLIAM
And?

JAKE
That was your fault.

WILLIAM
I don't see—

JAKE
Come on. What do you think sibling rivalry is anyway? It was normal, innocent stuff. I didn't mean anything by it. Come on. And that's beside the point. I'm not cruel. You, on the other hand, are over-sensitive. That's always been your problem. You just plain take things too seriously. It was nothing. It was a long time ago. Get over it. It doesn't mean I don't love you. If anything, it means I do.

WILLIAM
(sarcastic)
Yeah, I can see that, sure. But I hate to think how you would have treated me if you hadn't loved me so much.

JAKE
Right. You see.

WILLIAM
Donkey boy.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
Donkey Boy?

JAKE
(innocently)
That wasn't me.

WILLIAM
Like hell.

JAKE
You got it wrong.

WILLIAM
(pushing his ears forward)
Remember? You came up with that.

JAKE
It was Jennings.

WILLIAM
I was around! I found out. And that was the nice version.

JAKE
Chip on his shoulder.

WILLIAM
It was bad enough I was teased in school.

JAKE
You gotta learn to—

WILLIAM
Ass ears.

JAKE
That wasn't mine

WILLIAM
That's beside the point.

JAKE
You can't blame me for all the teasing you ever got.

WILLIAM
No. But what about a little compassion? You didn't have to be so involved, now did you?

JAKE
I ran with a different crowd. We didn't have respect for anybody. You weren't singled out. You were just an available target.

WILLIAM
I'm supposed to forget that?

JAKE
Yes. It was juvenile. It was mean. Yes. But it was a long time ago.

WILLIAM
No. More than—

JAKE
You got problems bro'. Deep problems.

WILLIAM
Me?

JAKE
Yeah. Grow up for god's sake. See somebody. Work out these resentments. You have to forgive and forget. Move on. I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry for all the shit I pulled on you. But I was a kid, get it? I was a kid like you, and I was trying to work out a few things myself. Maybe I felt inadequate, and maybe it made me part of something to make fun of you with my friends, but—Shit, it was just easy at the time. There you were, and I envied you.

WILLIAM
YOU broke it off!

JAKE
I envied you and—

WILLIAM
You didn't want to have anything to do with ME! And now—

JAKE
I didn't need your damned pity!

WILLIAM
You come here—

JAKE
I didn't want your goddamned help! Who the hell are you, to tell me?

(WILLIAM paces frantically.)

WILLIAM
Can you just—? Can you—leave me alone? I have to—
(He strides toward the kitchen and steps briefly out of the room. His arms rise and flail as if he wants to tear something with his hands, gesturing.)
And there's that! You had to go break the window! Did you have to do that?

JAKE
Everything was easy for you.

(WILLIAM calms himself. Then becomes interrogatory, like a trial lawyer after the facts. JAKE is amused.)

WILLIAM
Have you called Mom and Dad yet?

JAKE
You should get counseling. I highly recommend it. You know I had a time of it. I had things to work out. Luckily I got some help. I couldn't have afforded it myself, but there was funding, you know, a new program, and I was turned onto it by a friend. Made me fit, fit to. associate, belong. It was always me against everyone else. Comparing, judging, self-belittling. And guilt. The psychologist helped me work that out. Family secrets are really bad, you know? They fester. And when you're the secret. Secrets have to come out. I can't shut myself off. I have to face people, especially the ones that I hurt the most. Only then can I heal.

WILLIAM
And that's why you're here?

JAKE
I'm sorry for what I've done. I know I've paid a price. And I'm not done paying. I'm here to make it up, work it out. You're my brother, and I love you. I want to fix what's happened between us.

WILLIAM
I see.

JAKE
Do you? I hope you do.

WILLIAM
(unconvinced)
I do.

JAKE
I need you.

WILLIAM
(Pause. Then interrogating.)
Do Mom and Dad know that—?

JAKE
I haven't called them yet.

WILLIAM
They don't know?

JAKE
I'll call on them next.

WILLIAM
I would have thought you'd stop there first.

JAKE
You know how Dad is. I wasn't sure how he would take it. You know? It's a surprise for me to be back.

WILLIAM
I should call them and break the good news.

JAKE
Bad idea.

WILLIAM
It's not right not to let them know. They'd want to see you.

JAKE
No. No, not yet. You see that I'm a bit hesitant about it. I know. I am hesitant. I'm damn scared of the idea to tell you the truth. I'm not ready yet. You though, I felt more comfortable with how you would react. I knew you wouldn't go off the deep end. Dad though, I didn't know what he would do.

WILLIAM
Why don't you give him a chance?

JAKE
I will. I will, really. I'm just not ready yet.

WILLIAM
Okay. Okay, if you're not ready, you're right. It's a bad idea.

JAKE
(Takes a beat then changes subjects.)
Let's talk about you. How you've been. What you've been up to. It looks like you're doing pretty well.

WILLIAM
I'm staying ahead. I'm doing okay.

JAKE
What do you do now?

WILLIAM
Do now? I'm plant manager.

JAKE
Great. Congratulations. Pension plan, Benefits. Great. I'm happy for you. That's wonderful.

WILLIAM
You've been taking classes I heard, in some—

JAKE
I bet you've been putting money aside steadily. You were always good at saving. You had a way with money. It always added up for you, multiplied. a regular mathematical progression of numbers. You were so good that way. So, eh, practical. Me, on the other hand, I could never hold onto a dollar. Money is worthless to me unless it's spent. And I always spent it. Remember the time I came home without my pants, remember that?

WILLIAM
I do, yeah.

JAKE
Poker.

WILLIAM
In a poker game.

JAKE
But I had a good time. I always had fun, for however long I could.

WILLIAM
You sure did.

JAKE
And we had some fun together sometimes, didn't we?

WILLIAM
(thinking, hesitant)
Yeah.

JAKE
But it paid off, didn't it? It paid off for you. Only one of us could be popular right? There's only one king in a kingdom after all. And you got your rewards. The studying paid off.

WILLIAM
It's funny how things turn out.

JAKE
But we had some good times, didn't we? Shootin' pool together? The first time you got drunk. Hopping the fence to swim in that yard. And Betsy? Remember?

WILLIAM
I see her from time to time around town. She married Ed Salazar. But you had more fun with that than I did. She only did it to get close to you.

JAKE
She ended up wanting you though.

WILLIAM
No. She ended up wanting neither.

JAKE
But we had some fun.

(JAKE winks, slaps WILLIAM playfully.)

WILLIAM
I suppose.

JAKE
You suppose? Of course we did.

WILLIAM
There were some times.

JAKE
Definitely.

WILLIA
(slow to answer)
That was so long ago.

JAKE
A lot has happened, for sure. But when we were kids, when we were little, remember? Those were the days. Remember? When the neighborhood was worth living in, when it was young.

WILLIAM
It doesn't exist anymore.

JAKE
Remember our treehouse?

WILLIAM
Yeah. I remember.

JAKE
It was great.

WILLIAM
That tree was cut down and fed into a shredder.

JAKE
Remember the rides we used to take? All over the county? Out of town into the hills. Just you and me, remember?

WILLIAM
Out to the creek.

JAKE
Built a big dam.

WILLIAM
We could swim in it. Not well, but kind of crawl along.

JAKE
We went out there every day of the summer, almost all summer long. laid in the sun.

WILLIAM
It was quiet.

JAKE
Only the sound of the grass, and birds. Like Huck Finn almost, with blades of grass hanging out our mouths.

WILLIAM
(almost nostalgic)
Laying in the sun…
(then quietly rousing to a new memory)
Until the grass became cigarettes. Or something else.

JAKE
(Beat. Reminded)
It was out there wasn't it?

WILLIAM
(staring at JAKE. Into the past.)
Yes it was. About as wild as I ever got.

JAKE
You were funny.

WILLIAM
I don't think I ever got so drunk again.

JAKE
Well, that and other things.

WILLIAM
The only real talking we ever did, we did out there.

JAKE
We were right about. What? Fifteen?

WILLIAM
There is no out of town now. The whole county. The creek is a muddy, cement aqueduct with old tires and pop cans in it. Hard to think.

JAKE
Some people, boys I mean, are born ready to be men. Some learn to mature and some don't. I never, you know, I never got beyond that. But we had fun didn't we? At one time I mean. It's not like we didn't, for awhile.

WILLIAM
We did. Preteen really. When we were ten or eleven.

JAKE
But it was cool.

WILLIAM
And you've been gone, what…?

JAKE
And to think, you're still my baby brother.

WILLIAM
(sarcastic)
Nearly twenty years. And you're still the one with the answers.

JAKE
Hey. It was my idea to build that stuff.

WILLIAM
You were smart. Maybe not school smart, but you could figure out a means and a way.

JAKE
Don't you forget it.

WILLIAM
(Beat. Into melancholy)
It's hard to think sometimes of how it used to be.

JAKE
It got trashed a little at a time. Big houses and sidewalks.

WILLIAM
What happened Jake?

JAKE
Progress. Things are never quite as good once they're improved.

WILLIAM
I never figured it out.

JAKE
Problem is, I didn't either. It took me some therapy to even begin to get it. You know, popularity ends someday. Grow up, get fat, get lazy, get stupid. The glory days end. All you got is a beer and a memory. I didn't like the prospects. But more because…

WILLIAM
What?

JAKE
I was the oldest. And I looked more like Dad than you did. You looked like Mom, you know? Dad and I were grouped. In his footsteps. The little man. He liked it that way, and I liked it. And I wanted to be like him. I tried, in my own insignificant way. But by the time I got to be a teenager, I knew I couldn't measure up. And he didn't like, you know, the things, like my grades, my looks, my life, who I was. I fell further behind that image, and further. I was a disappointment, held up to that standard. So I set my own. I chose other images to live by. Brando, Bogart, Hendrix, Morrison.

WILLIAM
Yeah, Bogart. You did Bogart really well.

JAKE
I did, didn't I?
(He does a short, playful impression of Humphrey Bogart)
I still remember, sort of. It was a long time ago. You never had to go through that. You know? Building an identity from scratch, from nothing. It's not an easy thing to do. You never lost your identity. You were never confused about who you were.

WILLIAM
All teenagers are confused. I knew at least what I didn't want to be.

JAKE
I provided enough example.

WILLIAM
(quietly)
Yeah.

JAKE
I was all the time in a stupor.

(Pause)

WILLIAM
We should call Mom and Dad.

JAKE
I will, eventually.

WILLIAM
I think they'll be glad.

JAKE
No.

WILLIAM
They should be told you're out. I think they'll be glad to see you.

JAKE
So you're married now?

WILLIAM
(embarrassed)
Yes. You noticed the ring.

JAKE
And unless you're a cross dresser now, there are an awful lot of women's clothes around.

WILLIAM
(looking in the direction of the hallway SR and rousing, as if from a sleep. )
Right. I forgot.

JAKE
It's okay. We weren't on speaking terms. And it's been awhile.

WILLIAM
You're the one who broke it off.

JAKE
We won't worry about that. It's all behind us, right? So what if you didn't even send me a notice? So what if you didn't invite your own brother? It's water under the bridge, right?

WILLIAM
You couldn't have come.

JAKE
So don't invite me.

WILLIAM
Okay, enough. You didn't want any part of the family, remember?

JAKE
So what's she like? Where'd you meet her?

WILLIAM
She was a secretary in the front office. We met during a strike threat when everybody was having meetings. We actually met by arguing with one another, and then introduced ourselves afterwards.

JAKE
That's good. 'Guess you resolved it. Is she nice?

WILLIAM
Obviously I think so,

JAKE
Going to have any children?

WILLIAM
Someday. She's always wanted them.

JAKE
And you?

WILLIAM
(momentarily distracted)
What?

JAKE
You're not so sure.

WILLIAM
I don't know much about children. It's a kind of scary prospect. I can't imagine any other woman I'd rather have them with though. So if I'm ever going to.

JAKE
This is the one. Well, that's great.

(An awkward stillness. WILLIAM jostles out of it.)

WILLIAM
Hungry? I'll get you something to eat.

JAKE
No. I had a bite when I came in.

WILLIAM
(glancing toward the kitchen SL)
Oh… Okay. And you, what are your plans?

JAKE
Go north. I had a friend who said Idaho or Montana is the place to be. Big sky. Trees. Mountains. I figured I would go check it out. Maybe do some camping.

WILLIAM
And do what? For work I mean. Do you have any plans for that yet?

JAKE
No. Guess I'll figure that out as I go.

WILLIAM
And how are you getting there?

JAKE
I'd like to drive, or take a plane maybe. Train even, but unfortunately. I'll get there though. Don't worry.

WILLIAM
I'm sure you know what you're doing.

JAKE
Hitchhiking isn't too hard. Times have changed a bit though. The police must be scaring people off of it. There are fewer rides. You meet nice people though, the nicest, most generous people. And some great conversation. I don't mind.

WILLIAM
I never could do it myself. It's hard for me to ask—be seen—you know.

JAKE
Beg?

WILLIAM
Not beg. Put yourself out there. I'm too self-conscious to hitchhike. It's a personal inhibition, like asking store clerks where something is.

JAKE
(taking offense)
You meant beg.

WILLIAM
No I didn't.

JAKE
And it is really. It is. You're asking for a favor. It's difficult for you because you were never in the place of not having. And it's something you have to get used to. It's there, and with time it becomes easier. Getting food is the hard part. You can't just find it. You have to buy it along the way.

WILLIAM
And can you?

JAKE
Can I? I have a little, enough to get me a little way.

WILLIAM
(prodding, leading)
But not all the way? And it would be nice if you could make it all the way?

JAKE
I can work. Hold up a sign. You know, like—

WILLIAM
I know.

JAKE
I could get lucky and make it one in shot.

WILLIAM
I could. I could lend you some. A hundred dollars maybe, if that will help.

JAKE
Yes that would. A little thanks. I had a little more in mind, if you could see your way.

WILLIAM
Two hundred?

JAKE
I'll need to find a place to live, get a job. Police are cutting back all the overgrowth around freeways and major roads. There are no safe places to sleep anymore.

WILLIAM
You could take a bus and get there with money left over. Buses aren't very expensive. Maybe a little more for meals along the way. I could see a little more.

JAKE
(adamant)
A bus? Have you ridden a bus? It would take me two days in a cramped seat. A friend of mine was knifed on a bus.

(Short pause)

WILLIAM
Mom and Dad would be happy to contribute something I bet. I think we could pool some money for you. I'll call them right now.

(WILLIAM steps SL)

JAKE
(abrupt)
They won't. It's not worth the call.

WILLIAM
Why?

JAKE
Dad's made it pretty clear where he stands. It's not worth it.

WILLIAM
Why didn't you tell anyone? How long ago did you get out?

JAKE
I need some money Will. I paid my dues, and I have to start over with nothing, and all I'm asking is a little help from my brother. That's all. A little help. It's not too much to ask.

WILLIAM
Why so far? Or is this a scam to get more money? There's no reason you can't set up closer.

JAKE
Too many bad memories. Besides, you know, there are people around who have reason not to want me here. And I can't blame them. I wouldn't want me around either. But I have to escape that. Make a life. Understand?

WILLIAM
How much do you want?

JAKE
A fraction of what you make in a year really. A couple, a few. Two to three thousand.

WILLIAM
(Beat. Surprise. Suspicion.)
Who's your parole officer?

JAKE
I'm in the process of getting transfer papers, you know, for up north.

WILLIAM
So you have permission to leave the state?

JAKE
Sure I do. This is all prearranged.

(WILLIAM sighs heavily, under a new strain.)

WILLIAM
What's prearranged?

JAKE
What do you mean?

WILLIAM
Just excuse me, I'm a bit confused. What exactly is prearranged?

JAKE
The trip. Visiting you. I'm glad I could—

WILLIAM
You break into my house, go through my things, eat my food. You refuse to call Mom and Dad. And you ask for a few thousand dollars so you can head up north.

JAKE
I need the money.

WILLIAM
I see that.

JAKE
You're my brother. We're blood. We grew up together. I love you. You're number one.

WILLIAM
I think you should leave.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
I'll call Mom and Dad. I'll give you some money for a motel overnight.

JAKE
I need the money Will.

WILLIAM
I'll give you a little and we'll talk about it. There are things we can do.

JAKE
You can afford it. Call it an investment. I'll be good for it.

WILLIAM
I can't give you that much.

JAKE
Five thousand is what I really need but I'm asking less.

WILLIAM
I'll think.

JAKE
Just enough cash to get started. That's all it is. Heaven knows you got enough.

WILLIAM
I still can't turn over that kind of money without making some calls.

JAKE
Sure you can. Who's the man around here?

WILLIAM
I can't.

JAKE
You owe me that much.

WILLIAM
I'll think about it.

JAKE
No.

WILLIAM
I've got to think about it.

JAKE
You can't put me off.

WILLIAM
I don't owe you anything.

JAKE
I've been cut out too long.

WILLIAM
Leave.

JAKE
I need that money. You owe me.

WILLIAM
Leave my house!
(No reaction.)
Get out Jake, now!

JAKE
Make me.

(A stand-off. WILLIAM can't tolerate it.)

WILLIAM
This is the same stuff! This is exactly the same! Why do you do this? You can't come in here and—

JAKE
Make me.

WILLIAM
I don't want to fight about this.

JAKE
Give me my money.

WILLIAM
I can't. It's not that easy.

JAKE
I'll wait then.

(WILLIAM stifles. Then tries another approach.)

WILLIAM
Please leave.

JAKE
No thank you.

(WILLIAM searches the room haphazardly. He pats his pockets. Looks toward the foyer.)

JAKE (cont'd)
Something wrong?

WILLIAM
No, nothing.

JAKE
Really?

WILLIAM
Except that you're still here.

JAKE
Make me leave.

WILLIAM
Why are you doing this?

(WILLIAM gives up his search of the room.)

JAKE
Doing what?

WILLIAM
What did you do with the phone? What did you do with it?!
(reluctant acceptance, then a new course)
Fine. Okay.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
You won't leave. So I will.

JAKE
I wouldn't try it.

WILLIAM
Then get out... Fine then.

(WILLIAM moves to exit to the foyer. JAKE moves to block him, and block him again.)

WILLIAM (cont'd)
Get out of my way!

JAKE
(taunting)
Ears like a donkey
Face like an ass
Better say uncle
Or I won't let you pass.

WILLIAM
Go to Hell!

(They scuffle. JAKE gets spun aside. JAKE reaches quickly into a hiding place and pulls out a gun.)

JAKE
I said no!

(A face-off. WILLIAM adjusts, bolsters himself.)

WILLIAM
Give me a break. What do you think you're doing?

JAKE
They didn't exactly let me out.

WILLIAM
You look ridiculous.

JAKE
So sit down.

WILLIAM
You're full of shit.

JAKE
I said sit down.

WILLIAM
For what? You always did have delusions about how much power you had over people. I might have bought it when we were younger.

JAKE
Sit back down.

WILLIAM
Make me.

(Long pause. A draw.)

JAKE
We wait.

WILLIAM
You wait by yourself. If you're here when I get back—

JAKE
For your wife to get home.

(WILLIAM thinks about this.)

WILLIAM
And?

JAKE
For the money.

WILLIAM
Well you figured wrong. She knows all about you. She's not any more likely to give you the money than I am.

JAKE
Really? You were always so good at keeping secrets. I want to meet her.

WILLIAM
Come back later. We'll settle this and you can go on your way. Five hundred dollars. No questions, no trouble. We can go to the bank right now.

JAKE
No.

WILLIAM
You're no different. Everything's got to be your way. Well life just doesn't happen that way.

JAKE
I know how much money you have.

WILLIAM
Not that damned much that's for sure. I'll get you my checkbook. I'll show you how much money I have.

JAKE
Yeah I know.

(Pause)

WILLIAM
There's no way. You're just out of luck aren't—

JAKE
Don't lie to me. It's my money and I want it back.

WILLIAM
I told you—!

JAKE
It's not all. It's not all. You think I been sitting around all day? You know you should really keep important papers locked up.

WILLIAM
I never thought—

JAKE
No, you didn't. And there's a lot more than checking. I'm only asking for a little bit.

WILLIAM
You're not asking at all!

JAKE
You'll give it to me and I'll be on my way.

WILLIAM
Like hell I am, so you better come up with an alternate—

(A door is heard to open, then close.)

JAKE
Well, well.

(He stands.)

KATY
Honey, I'm home.

JAKE
Let's invite her in.

(JAKE steps toward the US doorway.)

KATY
Honey?

WILLIAM
Katy! Get—!

(WILLIAM attempts to lunge past JAKE, but as he does, JAKE blocks him and motions threateningly with the gun.)

JAKE
(quietly)
I'll shoot you both… Let's invite her in.

WILLIAM
(reluctantly)
Invite her in.

(JAKE steps aside, stuffing the gun in his pocket as KATY appears in the doorway. She notices JAKE immediately and recoils in surprise.)

KATY
Oh!
(She glances at WILLIAM, and puts down her coat and purse.)
I didn't know we had guests.

(She peers at JAKE, and looks to WILLIAM questioningly. Then back to JAKE. WILLIAM is sullen and doesn't reply so JAKE introduces himself.)

JAKE
Hi, I'm Jake.
(He extends a hand to her. She shakes it gently. She looks at WILLIAM. And JAKE looks at WILLIAM. WILLIAM averts from them both. KATY's gaze returns to JAKE with a mix of intrigue and bewilderment, and their eyes remain fixed upon each other for a long moment.)
We go way back.

(Pause. Then she breaks it off.)

KATY
Well have a seat. Don't let me interrupt.
(She waits until he retreats to a chair across from WILLIAM and sits. She studies them then returns to the foyer.)
Don't let me interrupt. I'll just be putting a couple things away.

(KATY exits, carrying her purse, hanging up her coat, disappearing toward the bedrooms. WILLIAM and JAKE stare at each other. WILLIAM is grim while JAKE is mildly amused. They glance in her direction and sit in silence. KATY's bustle pauses. They can feel her listening for them, then the bustle continues.)

KATY
(calling)
So how do you know each other?

JAKE
(pointedly to WILLIAM)
How do we know each other?

(KATY pops into the doorway, inspects them both and waits.)

WILLIAM
Mutual acquaintances.

KATY
(She disappears and calls)
For a long time?

JAKE
Oh yes. From childhood.

KATY
(returning)
From elementary school?

JAKE
And earlier.

WILLIAM
Though we really didn't get to know each other until High School.

KATY
Why haven't I seen you before? You don't—?

JAKE
I moved out of town.

WILLIAM
A forced move.

JAKE
Business.

KATY
Passing through or moving back?

WILLIAM
Passing through.

KATY
Just visiting then?

JAKE
Friendly visit. Catching up with old acquaintances.

WILLIAM
He's in a hurry.

KATY
(to JAKE)
Much?

JAKE
Much?

KATY
Much of a hurry?

JAKE
Some business.

KATY
Not all pleasure.

JAKE
Not all pleasure.

WILLIAM
No.

KATY
(to WILLIAM)
Honey?

WILLIAM
(snapping to attention, smirking oddly)
Why don't you get us something to eat?

JAKE
I'm not hungry. Don't bother. Sit down with us.

KATY
A small snack? I'll go—

(She steps toward the kitchen.)

JAKE
No. Thank you.

KATY
(hesitant, but acquiescing)
Okay.

(She sits next to WILLIAM, and touches his hand gently. He clutches her hand softly, and squeezes, then releases and smiles a strained, overly tolerant smile.)

WILLIAM
Katy darling, I'd like you to meet Jake.

KATY
We met.

WILLIAM
My brother.

(KATY looks to both of them again as if to discern the resemblance. She squirms slightly, straightens and smiles.)

KATY
That explains it then.

JAKE
(after a moment, curiously)
What?

KATY
Why you have nothing to say to each other.

(JAKE and KATY laugh. WILLIAM ignores them and crosses his arms across his chest. She touches his thigh softly.)

KATY
(to JAKE)
So what's your business?

(JAKE glances at WILLIAM, who looks up briefly to meet the gaze, and then he turns his attention again to KATY. He is interrupted as soon as he speaks.)

JAKE
I—

WILLIAM
What's your business she asked.

(JAKE's smugness is disrupted, then he gathers himself to respond to KATY.)

JAKE
I'm in between businesses right now.

WILLIAM
His last employer didn't want to let him go.

JAKE
But I had to quit. It wasn't—

WILLIAM
(pointedly)
In fact I think they're looking to get him back.

JAKE
(equally sharp)
But I'm not going back. And Willy here is going to help me.

KATY
How so?

JAKE
I'm starting out on my own.

KATY
Launching your own? That's risky but exciting. How wonderful for you. You must be excited.

WILLIAM
And he's looking for—

JAKE
Investors.

WILLIAM
Cash.

KATY
So that's what you two were discussing when I came in?

WILLIAM
Cash.

JAKE
(regaining his sardonic glint)
A little startup capital. On the ground floor. Traveling expenses.

KATY
(digesting this and turning to WILLIAM)
And?

WILLIAM
Too risky.

KATY
(to JAKE)
William has good business sense. I don't think there's anything we can offer you.

WILLIAM
He's not taking no for an answer.

KATY
What kind of business?

JAKE
Software.

(WILLIAM chuckles derisively and mumbles a few incoherent words.)

KATY
(interpreting WILLIAM)
It is kind of risky, isn't it?

WILLIAM
Cash.

JAKE
You see it's a matter of what's owed. I'm not looking for anything that I don't deserve.

KATY
(to WILLIAM)
Owed?

(WILLIAM makes a frenzied, fluttering of his hands in desperation, and stands. JAKE reaches to his pocket.)

JAKE
Leaving?
(But WILLIAM paces between them, then takes a position with his back turned at the edge of the room. JAKE relaxes and gives his attention to KATY. )
When we were kids he used to do this too. Not very good with conflict.

WILLIAM
We could all use something to drink.

KATY
(to JAKE)
Are you thirsty? I can—

JAKE
I'm fine, thank you.

KATY
(to WILLIAM)
Help yourself dear. Nothing for me either thanks.

JAKE
Pouting was his way. We were so different growing up. I tended to flame up and be done with it. Willy would smolder. But he always had the best of everything. Always the best. Me though. It was a struggle. I always had to fight for every little bit. I don't think he appreciates that. How much I had to give up... He hasn't mentioned me before, has he?

KATY
No. Sorry. He was never one for going into much detail.

(WILLIAM rubs his face and remains averted. She looks to him then to JAKE.)

JAKE
I was hoping we were beyond that. We were never a close family.

KATY
William isn't very sociable in general.

JAKE
Blood isn't always thicker than water. When Mom and Dad practically disowned me, William sided with them. No hard feelings. They wanted me to tow the party line, you know? And I wanted to get out on my own. They all decided I was a loser because I didn't want to go to college. I don't know if you have any brothers or sisters.

KATY
I come from a very close family myself, so it was so peculiar to meet so—

JAKE
(dipping his head sadly)
Unnatural?

KATY
Right, unnatural, for a family to not talk, to not see each other. I had to push him a bit to even call your father on Christmas. And to me that's so foreign. I call my parents every weekend.

JAKE
That's great. I don't know what it is. I did my best, in my own way. But what can you do? I finally had to leave. It was when I took off on my own—

KATY
And hard to stay in touch.

JAKE
The life is a lonely one sometimes.

KATY
I'm amazed I haven't heard more about you.

JAKE
Do you have a black sheep in your family? Perhaps? Someone who went a bit crazy in their teen years? Or college?

KATY
My sister I guess. She took to smoking for awhile. Infuriated my parents.

JAKE
Maybe argued with them too much? Maybe even drank?

KATY
She'd scream at them, and storm out the door swearing. But we all laugh about it now. And she drank, privately, but I could smell it on her, despite breath mints and perfume.

JAKE
We never got past it. We don't laugh in our family. We're sullen, and withdrawn.
(JAKE looks to WILLIAM and KATY follows his gaze, then they look back at one another.)
Families. Old resentments die hard. Willy had the best of everything. But you do what you can do. I was never good in school. I struggled with school the whole time. I hated going. And there, there he was, just breezin' along.

KATY
(Taken aback, then settling)
Oh. William's always been good academically. He's a brilliant manager.

JAKE
I was compared to my Dad you see. Those expectations were bad enough.

KATY
Your father was a teacher?

JAKE
That made it worse. Willy was the favored son. The one who got the good grades. It's been a struggle for me. And now that I'm successful, all I'm asking is for what I'm owed. What's due me. What I deserve for being cut out.

WILLIAM
(quiet, and harsh)
You were never cut out.

KATY
(to WILLIAM)
What honey?

WILLIAM
Don't listen to him. It's all crap.
(To JAKE bitterly)
You were never cut out! You cut yourself out!

JAKE
(To KATY)
I doubt you can understand what it was like. To be the black sheep. The one who—To take that. Like when they say to you, when they point out—Hey man, your little brother gets A's, your Dad's a goddamned teacher, you must have been at the drinking fountain when they handed out the brains. You must be the dumb one of the family.

WILLIAM
My father worked hard with him. We all did.

JAKE
I remember, when I was really little, Dad and I were close. He took me everywhere with him. He used to carry me on his shoulders. Like in that photo. You remember that photo? Our faces together? I was always with him like that. But school, that's what really screwed me. I remember teachers literally looking at my work, stuff I'd worked really hard on, and just shaking their heads. You might as well have thrown me in the dumpster. And Dad, he just kind of lost interest, you know. There you were getting the grades, and the attention shifted.

WILLIAM
Don't listen to him.

JAKE
He didn't tell you about me because he's embarrassed of me. The whole family is. But I came through… You haven't heard about me from your in-laws either, have you?
(KATY shakes her head solemnly and looks to WILLIAM. WILLIAM is averted from her. )
There you go. There's your proof. They want to forget me.

KATY
William?

JAKE
He won't deny it. Will ya Willy? I'm only asking for what I deserve.

WILLIAM
(To KATY first, then to JAKE)
Yes we wanted to forget him. We wanted to forget all about him. But we couldn't, could we? We couldn't help him, and we couldn't forget him. Because every other day he was stealing from us, lying to us, cheating us. You think it was hard growing up with a brother like me? Do you? (to KATY) It was hard growing up with a brother like him!

JAKE
(scoffing, comically to KATY)
Hard!

WILLIAM
Not like anything could be hard on me! Maybe the compliments were for being quiet and sitting in a corner, and maybe that's what I did best. Heaven knows they had too much else to deal with to pay attention to me!

JAKE
(still scoffing)
Right. I can see that. Now I can see that. Of course they would have.

WILLIAM
(strict paternal voice)
Don't you dare speak up, or you're turning out just like your brother.
(to JAKE)
So I was the standard to live up to, huh? On my end that just made you the standard to live down.
(to KATY)
And they didn't miss a chance. It wasn't easy on me, the way he's trying to make it out to be. It was never that easy. We both had—

JAKE
I never knew that.

WILLIAM
(to KATY, imploring, sincere)
We both had problems. It was never easy.

JAKE
(derisive, scornful)
I see that. I see. I never knew you were full of so much goddamned self pity that you might really think you had it bad.
(laughs)
And you do.
(laughs)
You think you had it bad, and that's really a joke. Donkey boy with a thorn in his butt!

WILLIAM
(quietly to KATY)
He's trying to get your sympathy.
(to JAKE)
It's not going to work.
(general, to both, and himself)
He has a distorted view.

JAKE
I was hiding my pain. I was covering my pain.

WILLIAM
It's not going to work.

JAKE
Covering my pain.

WILLIAM
Lived his life in a stupor. He wasn't able even—

JAKE
Self-medicated.

WILLIAM
He didn't—

JAKE
From neglect. Abuse.

WILLIAM
He's here to rob us!

KATY
William, he only asked—

JAKE
Asking.

KATY
For an investment.

JAKE
For a little help is all.

WILLIAM
And we said no!

KATY
It's not that much to get riled up about.

JAKE
Yeah Willy. Calm down.

WILLIAM
(to KATY)
Ask him! Go ahead and ask him!

JAKE
(sadly)
This is so… familiar. So much the same thing. I've done a lot of growing. With counseling. It made me see. The patterns. How quickly we fall back into them with siblings. It's so familiar. You know, we fought like this when we were kids too. All the time. I think it's the resentment coming out. It's been a struggle for me really. I wasn't always a nice brother. I pulled some pranks. I said some things I shouldn't have. But forgiveness. You can find—maturity—balance—success. But you can't with the past. You know, but I was prepared for this.

WILLIAM
He's prepared all right. Just wait until you see how prepared—!

JAKE
Willing is better. That's why I came to family first. Willing is better. I didn't think that I would have to sell myself for a little help.

WILLIAM
(to JAKE)
Show her.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
Go ahead and show her!

JAKE
(looking to KATY for help)
I don't understand.

WILLIAM
He's got—

KATY
(sternly interrupting)
This is enough. Both of you.

JAKE
(quietly)
Willing is better.

(KATY turns on JAKE to silence him. He smirks and averts sheepishly, lifting his palms up in submission. She then turns to WILLIAM.)

KATY
And sit down.
(WILLIAM peers at her with a look of betrayal, then sighs, and flips his hands up in submission and plops himself into the chair opposite JAKE. KATY glances at both of them, then turns her attention to WILLIAM again.)
Have you eaten anything?
(She waits, but WILLIAM ignores her, with a strained patience.)
You haven't, have you?

JAKE
Just like when we were kids.

(KATY glares at JAKE, and then to WILLIAM. WILLIAM is recoiled and averted, in the futility of the moment. KATY stands between them to make certain that the ashes of the fire are completely extinguished, making sure that the silence overwhelms them both. JAKE taps the armrest. WILLIAM crosses his legs and arms and turns away from them both. A distant siren gathers in the stillness. WILLIAM looks to JAKE as it does, and the two of them lock gazes. KATY doesn't notice, and the sound dies away. She steps cautiously toward the kitchen. The sound of her footsteps are heard on the hard floor. And then stop. A silence ensues. The footsteps resume, but upon broken glass. And then silence again. JAKE takes the gun from his pocket and places it on his lap. KATY reappears in the doorway. She is very still, and pale. She peers at WILLIAM who barely glances her direction. She looks to where the phone should be, and at JAKE, and notes the gun, and pales further. She gathers herself, and strides to the couch and sits next to WILLIAM. )

WILLIAM
Meet my brother Jake.

KATY
We've met.

WILLIAM
Nice of him to—

KATY
Drop in.

WILLIAM
For a visit, don't you think?

KATY
Unannounced.
(KATY fortifies herself, and pulls herself upright in her seat. A resolve stiffens her. Then toward JAKE)
So this is my brother-in-law?
(JAKE nods, smiles. She continues quietly, sarcastically to herself:)
Welcome to the family. Quite a reception.

WILLIAM
Forced entry. Captive audience.
(He pauses, then adds insolently)
He's here to beg.
(JAKE rises in his seat and stiffens. WILLIAM doesn't pay attention. KATY puts her hand on WILLIAM.)
He's a coward.
(KATY squeezes WILLIAM as JAKE shifts the gun.)

KATY
(quickly)
So Jake. How can we help you? This venture of yours?

JAKE
I was being generous.
(to WILLIAM)
Was going to be. But maybe I shouldn't.

KATY
(pressing him)
How much?
(But JAKE is angrily distracted with WILLIAM, as is WILLIAM with JAKE, and she has to repeat herself.)
How much?

JAKE
A safe amount.

KATY
And that would be?

JAKE
I've gone through your statements. A thousand or more here. A couple thousand or more there. From your various accounts. All together, maybe $5000 from the various banks. Not enough to arouse suspicion. It's a one time deal.

KATY
That'll take time.

JAKE
I suppose you're right.

KATY
You want this when?

JAKE
I'd hate to have to tie you up for too long.

WILLIAM
(snide, sarcastic)
Literally.

KATY
You seem to have it all worked out.

WILLIAM
It's not going to happen.

KATY
The most from the savings account I imagine.

JAKE
It's convenient how you spread your money around, and have your names on everything. Less complicated that way.

(He takes out a piece of paper from his pocket and hands it to her. She looks it over.)

WILLIAM
You're not getting it.

KATY
I best be going.

JAKE
That would be nice. I am—

WILLIAM
I'm not giving you anything!
(KATY stands and steps away from them, but WILLIAM lunges for her and grabs her.)
Sit back down!

(JAKE stands with the gun ready. KATY shakes off WILLIAM's grasp, and retreats.)

KATY
It's the best—

(She can't finish the sentence, and turns to leave. WILLIAM jumps to stop her. JAKE steps to block him.)

WILLIAM
No—

(The gun blasts, and WILLIAM collapses. KATY spins, but JAKE steps between them as WILLIAM falls. WILLIAM screams, clutching his leg and rolling in agony. KATY is left facing JAKE, and her look of concern is transformed to an unwilling and angry resolve. She looks JAKE in the eye coldly. )

JAKE
Banks close you know?

(KATY remains fixed and harsh.)

WILLIAM
(squeezing his injured leg and writhing)
Son of a bitch! Son of a fuckin' bitch!

JAKE
He's fine. You see.

WILLIAM
Fuckin' goddamned bastard!

JAKE
(to KATY)
I'll take care of him.

KATY
(coldly)
I'll be quick.

JAKE
That' a girl.

(KATY glares, and peers past JAKE to WILLIAM, then spins into the hallway long enough to get her purse and coat. The front door slams. JAKE returns to WILLIAM triumphantly.)

WILLIAM
I can't believe you shot me you prick!

(JAKE dangles the gun over WILLIAM, then backs up and sits in the chair.)

JAKE
Bad habit to get into.

WILLIAM
Effin' prick! I can't believe—

JAKE
(calmly)
Better if they're willing.

WILLIAM
You shot me!

JAKE
Hydrogen Peroxide will get that out.

WILLIAM
Damn it! Get me some bandages!

JAKE
Where are your manners?

WILLIAM
I'll—
(WILLIAM stands and hobbles, and collapses.)
Asshole!

JAKE
You're only spreading it around.

WILLIAM
Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!

JAKE
(acquiescing)
I'll get them.

(JAKE disappears into the hallway. Cabinets open. Boxes clatter. WILLIAM gives up struggling. He attempts to sit up but swoons and presses his hand to his head. He slumps against the couch. JAKE returns with the gun pressed to the outside of boxes and bottles he's carrying between his hands. He drops them alongside WILLIAM and retreats toward the chair, but WILLIAM doesn't shift or acknowledge.)

JAKE (cont'd)
You're not fainting on me are you?
(WILLIAM doesn't respond. JAKE inspects him briefly, then places the gun in the chair. He takes up a roll of gauze and begins to tie it around the bloody pant leg.)
You're not fainting are you? I've never fainted a day in my life.
(WILLIAM opens his eyes and looks at the gun. JAKE notices WILLIAM's attention. JAKE finishes tying, and backs away. WILLIAM stares as JAKE picks the gun up again and sits with it in his lap.)
Not once.

WILLIAM
(offering an experiment)
Give me the gun.

JAKE
You'd aim too high.

WILLIAM
I'm not you.
(A beat, to another thought)
Mom and Dad will be surprised.

JAKE
Will they?

(JAKE is distracted by blood drying on his fingers. He rubs his hands roughly together.)

WILLIAM
You could have—

(JAKE stands suddenly and goes into the kitchen. Glass crunches underfoot. Water runs. He returns rubbing his hands with a towel and reseats himself. WILLIAM watches. JAKE is preoccupied with his hands, and then with a thought which causes him to smile and chuckle aloud to himself.)

JAKE
She's sweet. And feisty!
(laughs)
Where in the world did you find her? Did you see the look she gave me? She had a look like—
(The smile becomes distorted, almost pained.)

WILLIAM
Can you blame her?

JAKE
(solemn, pensive)
Yeah well. I know how to deal with that.

WILLIAM
Walk away.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
Haven't you—?

JAKE
(pensive, bitter)
I never walk. Other people walk.
(He rubs his hands thoroughly, in every crease and along every fingernail.)
Blood is a sticky business, isn't it?

(Pause)

WILLIAM
Why are you here?

JAKE
You know that.

WILLIAM
Why here? Why not a convenience store?

JAKE
It's better if—

WILLIAM
They're willing. But you knew I wouldn't be.

JAKE
Maybe I hoped. She's doing what you should have done. I can get out of here without anymore harm. We just wait.

WILLIAM
I don't see how—

JAKE
That look! Did you see it? Boy, if she could have reached out.
(His hands lift from his sides in a strangling motion, and his eyes narrow with a viciousness.)
If she could have—Boy, if she could have. She sure would have like—Feisty—She hates me. Doesn't she hate me?

WILLIAM
I think you have to consider what a good first impression you made.

JAKE
That's what it was.

WILLIAM
You set it up.

JAKE
Hates me.

WILLIAM
You ask too much—

JAKE
My sister-in-law. Not really related. But still, you would think—

(WILLIAM attempts to sit up, but is wrenched back down by the pain of his wound.)

WILLIAM
Damn it!
(He settles and clutches his leg.)
Shut up Jake! What do you expect from her? Shut up!

JAKE
She's sweet.

(JAKE fiddles with the gun and it becomes a presence within the scene as one or the other brother periodically ignores, manipulates, or is distracted by it. He points it at WILLIAM and twists and turns it while sighting down the barrel, feels its weight, and flips it from hand to hand. WILLIAM is at first alarmed, then relaxes.)

WILLIAM
Why Jake?

JAKE
Why? Why what?

WILLIAM
The larger why.

JAKE
You mean a capital as opposed to lower case?

WILLIAM
The larger why. The why any of it. More than Mom and Dad. More than growing up.

JAKE
You're pretty much an idiot. You know, pretty much an idiot.

WILLIAM
There's got to be more than that.

JAKE
(points gun flippantly)
You just want to feel safe.

WILLIAM
Safe?

JAKE
You want to put yourself above me.
(shakes gun)
You want to put yourself above me. You want to define me. You want to rationalize. You want to logic. You want to alphabetize, put me in order. Where I belong, you know, is it between paranoia and psychosis? Or someplace else? As long as you can place yourself clear of the fallout you don't care about the particulars. You want to know whose fault it is?

WILLIAM
I didn't say that.

JAKE
You want to lay blame.

WILLIAM
I didn't say that.

JAKE
It's yours.

(JAKE points gun as emphasis.)

WILLIAM
Mine?

JAKE
Yeah, yours.

WILLIAM
How's it my fault?

JAKE
Because you're my little brother. You should have behaved like a little brother.

WILLIAM
How could I not behave like a little brother?

JAKE
By being a selfish damned asshole! Even now. Why does it have to be me? Why can't it be you? Why couldn't you have been a little more like me? Helped me out a little bit?

WILLIAM
What could I have done?

JAKE
Come to my aid. Side with me against Dad. Stand by me. But you're too damn selfish. You went into your little world of books and puzzles and didn't care.
(observes WILLIAM, who averts)
Damn right.

WILLIAM
(after a moment)
You're missing something. I wasn't rewarded by your problems, or because. I'm not saying that it wasn't hard—

JAKE
You've never had a hard day in your life.

WILLIAM
That's because you're such an authority.

JAKE
Why shouldn't I smash a few windows? Huh? Why not? Steal a few things if I wanted them? Why not? You don't know anything. You owe me man. You owe me for all the stinking stuff you have because all your life long you were taking it from me.

(Pause)

WILLIAM
So that's what it comes down to?

JAKE
Damn right.

WILLIAM
Excuse me for being born then.

(They look at one another, and avert. JAKE gets a strange look on his face, a half-smirk, then it disappears. He looks at WILLIAM again. )

JAKE
I was happy you were born.

WILLIAM
Doesn't sound like it.

JAKE
No. When you were a baby, when we were both really little, I think I had fun. Like I said. I'm telling you the truth. I don't think you remember. It was, uh…
(He pauses long enough between words for his expression to change from one of contemplation, to one of malicious sarcasm.)
It was…

WILLIAM
What?

JAKE
Damn hard having a jackass for a brother.

WILLIAM
Yeah, I bet it was hard.

JAKE
I was just doing it to protect you.

WILLIAM
Sure. For my protection.

JAKE
If I didn't, my friends would have beat you up.

WILLIAM
To save me? I see.

JAKE
See an ugly bug you want to squash it.

WILLIAM
I embarrassed you then?

JAKE
Embarrassed? Yeah, you did. An evolution of embarrassment. Jackass, nerd, papa's boy. Like that.

WILLIAM
Mom and Dad were always bailing you out. I just tried to stay out of the way.

JAKE
Well that's your fault too. Maybe you shouldn't have.

WILLIAM
I had to be sure not to make any waves, because they didn't have time for anymore problems. You took all their attention.

JAKE
With anger.

WILLIAM
Their anger was wasted on you, so I couldn't afford to do anything wrong. Their message was: Can't you see that we have enough problems? Sit down and shut up.

JAKE
Hard on you, was it?

WILLIAM
Nobody suffered but you?

JAKE
I don't hate myself. I love myself. I know who I am. And I know who you are. And I love myself! Don't push that bullshit on me! If other people hate me, I hate them back. Even you.

WILLIAM
I don't.

JAKE
I told you I love you. Do you care? No. And that's because you're heartless. All the world is cold and heartless. They deserve what they get.

WILLIAM
No one deserves—

JAKE
Do you think you deserve to live in this house? This fine beautiful house, while other people are suffering? Do you? You think you deserve this house because you're a pompous, selfish ass. People get what they deserve! Do I get what I deserve? I only give what I get. Pompous asses like you think you can look down on me. You stole this house from me. I should burn the whole thing down with you in it!
(He shakes the gun in WILLIAM's face, and WILLIAM recoils from it. They stare at one another. JAKE calms, then becomes flippant. )
But I won't. Because I love you brother. Even if you don't love me back.

WILLIAM
Do you think I liked seeing what you were doing to yourself? When you got that—grin, I learned to stay away. That grin meant trouble. Why the hell should I stick around? I couldn't fix it. There wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. Talking to you was pointless. We grew so far apart it was like steering clear of a—I just couldn't watch it.

JAKE
I got news for you bro'. The drowning man didn't drown. I'm going to be fine.

(JAKE looks at the gun, then sets it down across the room from WILLIAM. He paces. )

WILLIAM
Every time you were arrested. You call it heartless, but what could I have done?

JAKE
You didn't even tell her about me.

WILLIAM
After you pleaded guilty—

JAKE
You should have been there! You're my brother!

WILLIAM
Maybe.

JAKE
You probably would have only embarrassed me anyway.

WILLIAM
What's the worst you could have said about me? Huh? He's got big ears? He studies too much? He's a nerd? Oh that's something terrible! But I got asked about you too.
(mimics)
Hey man, which one's your brother?
(and answering himself)
The one who can't walk a straight line, who's leaning up against a streetlight because he can't stand on his own. What's he do for a living? He takes! He's a kind of a jack of all crimes.
(to JAKE)
No, I didn't tell her about you. Having you for a brother has been—Worrying that maybe I possessed some dormant gene that would make my brain chemistry go haywire. When I look at a woman, wondering if I could do some of the damage you've done. You have no right to talk about—

JAKE
Of course you could.

WILLIAM
Could what?

JAKE
You're just like me. Of course you could. You've got two strong hands. You've got a member. You just pick yourself a prime piece of ass and—

WILLIAM
Shut up!

JAKE
Some snotty bitch who looks down her nose at you. You'll know the time because the blood will be—!

WILLIAM
Shut up!

JAKE
Why not you?! You think you're better than I am? Nobody's better. Didn't those bastards with their bulldozers tear into our neighborhood? Cut up all our trees? Pave our creek? They did it to us man. To spit on us as they passed. Remember when old man Bligh's dog bit into me?

WILLIAM
You were on his property.

JAKE
No. It was ours. What gives them the right?

WILLIAM
It's not the same thing!

JAKE
They have no right to have so much more.

WILLIAM
Nobody hurt you.

JAKE
It hurt. Sure it hurt. As surely as being kicked in the balls hurts. You don't think I know what I'm talking about? And it could have just as easily been you.
(Long pause. JAKE paces angrily, glaring occasionally at WILLIAM as he calms. WILLIAM slumps, and tries to get comfortable, but he does more squirming than relaxing. JAKE stops at the gun and picks it up, then spins it on his finger, and puts it down. He remains there and repeats this action. WILLIAM watches anxiously, but then smiles, and then laughs.)
What? What?

WILLIAM
Nothing.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
We used to do that as kids.

JAKE
Do what?

WILLIAM
(imitates with his hand)
The gunslinger routine.

JAKE
Like 'Gunsmoke'?

WILLIAM
Like 'The Rifleman'.

JAKE
With our toy guns?

WILLIAM
Yeah.

(WILLIAM laughs. JAKE peers at him. JAKE's confused, and then mildly offended expression only makes WILLIAM laugh harder. )

JAKE
It's not that funny.

WILLIAM
You're different. That's it.

JAKE
That was a long time ago, and I didn't know what was coming or going.

WILLIAM
I can see what you meant now.

(JAKE begins to speak, but something about WILLIAM distracts him and makes him suspicious.)

JAKE
You don't see crap!

WILLIAM
You're different.

JAKE
You're screwed.

WILLIAM
It's like, if you did what you see on TV. I mean, they show it to you, and it's there. You see it, but it doesn't really happen. It's not possible.

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
But it's not possible what you see. Is it?

(Short pause)

JAKE
It could have just as easily been you.

WILLIAM
I see.

JAKE
You don't see!

WILLIAM
It wasn't you.

JAKE
You're terrified.

WILLIAM
No regrets then?

JAKE
Why in hell should I have any regrets?

WILLIAM
No regrets.

JAKE
You asshole!

WILLIAM
(matter-of-fact realization)
You're innocent.

JAKE
Nobody's innocent!

WILLIAM
(derisive, conclusive)
Of course not. I can see that.

JAKE
What? You don't see any—

WILLIAM
And all I am is a paranoid, materialistic, money-grubbing, self-serving, egotistical son-of-a-bitch.

JAKE
(objecting, defending)
I paid the price and the price paid me. That's all. Get that into your head or you'll never understand. I'm not the villain you think I am. You're way off.

WILLIAM
Right. I see that now.

JAKE
Everybody in the world deserves what they get.

WILLIAM
There's no justice.

JAKE
There's no God.

WILLIAM
We're all just sinners in our own way.

JAKE
And death will come for you the same as it comes for everyone else.

WILLIAM
I understand.

JAKE
I don't see how you could.

WILLIAM
It's obvious, isn't it? Like you said, it's a matter of deserving. What you deserve, and what they don't. What you don't and they do. Us and them. Me and you. Good and bad. Right and wrong.

JAKE
You're screwed up.

WILLIAM
You don't want to be understood.

JAKE
Like you ever could.

WILLIAM
A dichotomy. A split.

JAKE
Shut up.

WILLIAM
Black is white. White is black. I am here and you are there and we are not together.

JAKE
No! Just shut the fuck up.

WILLIAM
I see everything, and what I see is nothing.

JAKE
I think you should just lay back down and we'll wait for you wife.

(Long pause)

WILLIAM
Why don't you stay for dinner?

JAKE
What?

WILLIAM
Stay for dinner.

JAKE
You don't want me to stay anymore than I want to be here.

WILLIAM
I'm not afraid of having you here. I can't be more or less.

JAKE
You're either a pigeon or a hawk.

WILLIAM
Right.

JAKE
You should have given up right away.

WILLIAM
I see that. What's five thousand dollars to me anyway? It's not as much as a brother.

JAKE
You're either a predator, or prey.

WILLIAM
And I know what I can't be. I have to admit it.

JAKE
Damn sure.

WILLIAM
You need the money and you deserve the money. I should have gotten it for you myself. You're still my brother, despite the differences. I think you've earned it.

JAKE
I have?

WILLIAM
Look what you went through to get it. Of course you earned it. And you deserve to have it.

JAKE
It's my money.

WILLIAM
And I'll be glad to see you take it.
(They stare at one another for a long moment. WILLIAM is smiling and at ease, while JAKE is mildly confused and agitated. WILLIAM breaks it off and struggles to get up.)
I would appreciate it if you would—

JAKE
Oh, yeah.

WILLIAM
Help me up.

JAKE
Where?

WILLIAM
Onto the couch would be fine.

JAKE
Right.

(They get him settled.)

WILLIAM
And maybe you could get me a towel so that I don't get any blood on it.
(JAKE snatches the towel he had been using on his hands. WILLIAM rubs his own hands, then pulls the towel under his leg. He blinks and swoons.)
Thanks. Oooh—I'm a little—That's better—Blood is a little—My butt was going to sleep down there.

JAKE
You should put your leg up.

WILLIAM
It's fine.
(JAKE helps him.)
It's fine. It's all superficial.

JAKE
That's better.

WILLIAM
Thanks. Thank you very much. That's much better. That tin over there has chocolates left over from Easter. That one over there. Why don't we have some while we wait?
(JAKE is hesitant, then responds by retrieving the tin and offering it)
I didn't have any—You take some—I didn't have much lunch.
(JAKE helps himself to the chocolate, then sets the tin next to WILLIAM)
They're really good chocolate.

(They eat in silence for a few moments.)

JAKE
What little extra money I could get in prison I spent on chocolate. That, and cigarettes.

WILLIAM
Cheesecake, salted roasted nuts, and chocolate are my big weaknesses.

JAKE
You and cheesecake. I always preferred ice cream.

WILLIAM
Mom used to get you ice cream cakes for your birthday, remember?

JAKE
Now a good mud pie, that's the best, with really thick fudge topping.

WILLIAM
And mint chocolate chip ice cream?

JAKE
Yeah. Yeah, the best.

(WILLIAM passes the tin.)

WILLIAM
Hot fudge sundaes.

JAKE
Extra everything.

WILLIAM
Whipped cream and nuts.

JAKE
And I get your cherry?

WILLIAM
I still can't stomach those things.

JAKE
My gain then.

WILLIAM
Are you sure you don't want to stay for dinner?

JAKE
Are you having hot fudge sundaes?

WILLIAM
No, but we could.

JAKE
Does Mom still bake those great apple pies?

WILLIAM
I haven't had one of those in years. I think you've had more than I did.

JAKE
I used to get them every six months in minimum security. But then I got into a little fight with a guard. He said I shook my fist at him and made a big issue of it. That got me put in the hole, then transferred.

WILLIAM
That's too bad.

JAKE
The bastard. He started yelling at us, some insults.
(The front door is heard to open.)
Anyway, you get it. He would have deserved it if we all jumped him.

(The door closes. KATY comes cautiously into the room. She surveys the scene before her. They both watch her. She spends an extra moment inspecting WILLIAM for some clue of how he is and what has been happening in her absence. Then she turns abruptly to JAKE.)

KATY
I got it.
(She hands him a bag, then seats herself next to WILLIAM. She looks at his bloody leg. She stifles her concern, takes a quick breath and faces JAKE.)
You look like two boys caught in the cookie jar.

JAKE
Want one?

KATY
No, thanks. You two eat them.

JAKE
They're good chocolate.

KATY
I know.

JAKE
They're good chocolate.

KATY
Anyway, there it is.
(She meets WILLIAM's gaze for a moment, then averts back to JAKE, nervously.)
It was a lot easier than I thought. I was very lucky. You know how some days everything just goes right. I got a parking space right away. There was no line. Even the traffic lights cooperated.

(Both of them stare at her and say nothing. Their gaze augments her nervousness. She averts, then returns it quizzically. WILLIAM responds.)

WILLIAM
It's nothing.

KATY
What have you two been talking about while I was gone?

JAKE
Catching up is all.

KATY
Good. Good.
(then to WILLIAM)
You've lost a lot of blood.
(to JAKE)
He's lost a lot of blood.

WILLIAM
I asked him to stay for dinner.

KATY
That's nice.

WILLIAM
What do you think we can have?

(KATY peers at WILLIAM, then at JAKE. WILLIAM is calm, but leading, like in a macabre dance. She recoils slightly from him and adjusts. JAKE appears expectant and vaguely malicious, taking pleasure in her confusion. And again they wait for her.)

KATY
Umm… Sure… There's spaghetti. And I'm sure I could put a salad together. Chicken in the freezer but it would take a little while to thaw. I could make something with that. We have bread to have with it. I'm open to suggestions.
(to WILLIAM)
If you have any other ideas?

WILLIAM
(to JAKE)
And?

JAKE
Well, you know, it's nice of you—

WILLIAM
Does any of that sound good?

JAKE
Both to offer.

KATY
(suddenly)
Then stay.

(JAKE and KATY lock gazes. KATY does her best to appear sincere, and JAKE searches for a crack of fear, or reluctance. It is a short battle which she neither wins nor loses, but JAKE takes pleasure in the game of it and smiles.)

JAKE
You don't want me here.

WILLIAM
He thinks—

KATY
Stay. You must be hungry. I don't get very much contact with William's family. It would be nice to hear some stories.

JAKE
But I can't.

WILLIAM
Jake has a pressing engagement up north.

KATY
Which you can't reschedule?

JAKE
Unfortunately, no. I have a lot of ground to cover.

WILLIAM
And time is apparently an issue.

JAKE
Yes, it is. Time is an issue.

KATY
Make him stay.

WILLIAM
I've never been able to make him do anything.

JAKE
And never will.
(then to KATY)
I would, under other circumstances, but no. I have to go.

(WILLIAM cleans the blood from his hands with edge of the towel he is sitting on, then checks for other blood to clean even though it is futile. The other two watch. As WILLIAM notices, they avert from him.)

KATY
Well…

WILLIAM
Fair enough.

KATY
I'll fix you a sandwich for the road then.

(She stands abruptly and steps toward the kitchen.)

JAKE
I've over-stayed more than I should have already.

KATY
It won't take long.

JAKE
No, thanks, really.

(JAKE and WILLIAM look at one another privately, then to KATY.)

WILLIAM
He can't.

JAKE
He's right.

KATY
Well then, don't forget your money.

(She picks it up from where it had been set down, but WILLIAM takes it from her and hands it to JAKE.)

JAKE
Thanks man.

KATY
You'll get used to being your own boss.

JAKE
(amused)
So I will. Good bye brother.
(They shake hands.)
I'll miss you.

WILLIAM
I'll miss you too. Thanks for coming.

JAKE
It was a pleasure.

KATY
(giving him the tin of chocolates)
At least do me the favor of taking these with you.

JAKE
Okay, I will.

WILLIAM
I don't suppose I'll hear from you for awhile?

JAKE
Not likely. I'm not going to be back this way.

(KATY crosses to JAKE and hugs him, releases.)

KATY
Take care of yourself.

JAKE
(to WILLIAM, indicating KATY)
A real treasure. Feisty.

WILLIAM
Don't I know it?

JAKE
Well thanks again, and good-bye.

(WILLIAM and JAKE go to shake hands but end up hugging instead.)

WILLIAM
Take care of yourself.

JAKE
I always do.

(They follow him halfway to the UR doorway. He exits with a wave.)

KATY
Come visit again.

(The door is heard to open and close and they cross to the US window to watch him leave. A stunned silence ensues. Relief. KATY waves.)

KATY
(strained patience and humor, sarcastically)
Send us a postcard. Don't be a stranger. Bye. Bye. Come see us at Christmas.

(Short pause. He puts his arm around her. They are both relieved.)

WILLIAM
You're amazing dear.

KATY
Not as much as you. We need to get you to the hospital.

WILLIAM
Amazing.

KATY
To the hospital.

WILLIAM
How soon will they pick him up?

KATY
He won't make it far.

WILLIAM
He saw your face.

KATY
What face?

WILLIAM
When—

KATY
How are you doing?

WILLIAM
Not too badly. All in all, not too badly.

KATY
I see. You had a nice visit then?

WILLIAM
Yeah. Pretty nice.

KATY
Any regrets about it?

WILLIAM
(thinking briefly)
He gets what he deserves.

KATY
And you?

WILLIAM
I've got what I deserve too.

KATY
I meant how's your leg silly.

WILLIAM
Despite a hot metal projectile ripping through my tender flesh and leaving a bleeding, gaping hole?

KATY
Just—

WILLIAM
Fine. I'm okay. Emotionally even. Something I dreaded is over and I think I came through it quite well, maybe even better than I went in.

KATY
Really?

WILLIAM
Really.

(They begin to exit, with WILLIAM hobbling and leaning on KATY)

KATY
Do me a favor though.

WILLIAM
Anything dear.

(Pause slightly)

KATY
Tell me about any other sociopathic criminals you have in your family. I want to know before I meet them.

WILLIAM
I promise.

(continue to exit)

KATY
And I'll promise not to bug you to get closer to your family ever again.

(They kiss in the doorway.)

WILLIAM
It's a deal.

(Exit with BLACKOUT)