Westlake High School
Instructor: Mathew Krupa
Your Final Night Alive
Your Final Night Alive
Cast of Characters
SEB: Highschool senior, boyfriend
of Jess, free spirit with
lots of charm and musical talent
JESS: Highschool senior, boyfriend
of Seb, generally reserved
except when he's with Seb,struggles
with past trauma and
self - consciousness
Two lawn chairs are set up on a hill. The time is 9:30 at night.
SEB and JESS are sitting together, waiting for the end of the world.
JESS sets time on watch and looks up.
So this is it. Everything we've worked towards will be torn to bits, every last inch of the Earth scorched into nothing. Every-every science test I ever cried over, every boy that broke my heart in one way or another - all gone.
Yup. God is a cruel son of a bitch.
(thinks for a second)
Well doesn't this disprove the whole thing?
I mean, God. Or maybe it proves that we were so shitty that God or whatever controls us just, gave up. (laughs) He was working on something else and then he checked in and was like "Oh no I gotta shut whatever they're doing down. Can't leave 'em alone for five seconds, Jesus Christ."
I think he'd probably use his son's full name. Jesus- Jesus Hector Christ.
I like Harvey better.
JESS and SEB laugh together. JESS puts his head on SEB's shoulder.
We should feel sad right now.
I feel sad. But it's- it's different. I mean, everything else I was sad about I could have technically done something about. I could have changed the situation and that's why I was sad- this, this is not us. This was not my fault in any way so I think my brain is freaking out and inventing a new emotion.
Okay, okay, top ten moments.
Of our lives?
Yea- wait, no, humanity.
Oh jeez, that's a lot of stuff. (pauses to think) I'd say- okay, does fire count?
You mean like the invention of fire?
Yes. Like the moment when humans or those human-ape hybrids banged some rocks together and set each other on fire for the first time.
Totally. On a similar note, milk.
(laughs) Just milk in general?
Well yeah, the concept of milk is very funny. Also, I ate just cheese melted on a tortilla for like three months, so it's kind of the foundation of my existence.
Both laugh together. After a second, SEB looks lovingly at JESS.
Ew, Seb, stop it.
No, you really are. Why would I lie to you now?
JESS shifts in his chair, noticeably uncomfortable and silent.
Alright, well in order to prove my new dedication to honesty, I will admit that I totally spray painted a wiener on Mr. Barton's house.
(they both laugh, JESS is less tense)
I'm serious, I felt kind of bad but not really. He hit my mailbox with his stupid ride-on lawnmower a few months ago, that's my excuse.
JESS smiles and holds his hand.
Would you have wanted kids? The whole white picket fence, dog named Sparky or some other boring name?
(clears throat) I don't know, also a weird transition.
Not that weird. Just- big picture stuff.
It's depressing though.
Lots of the world is depressing, darling. You owe it to mankind to dedicate at least part of your time left to existentialism.
Okay then. Yes. Not like, exactly the boring nuclear family you're thinking of but yes. I think everyone secretly did, at one point or another.
I don't know, I think I'd be fine without it.
Well yeah, a lot of people didn't need it, but I think deep down most people wanted it.
You would've been a great dad.
Really? Considering my dad is probably on meth right now, running into the ocean or some shit, I would have to disagree.
You're not your dad, though. I promise, you've never been like your dad. But really, I've thought about it. (he looks at him) You singing that stupid song to our kids, playing guitar for them.
(he smiles and sings softly) There's a hole in my bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza...
Yes, that one. Over and over until they fall asleep. (beat) Man, I've really fallen in love with you, it's crazy. I don't even- I mean , I really loved you.
(he kisses the top of his head) I loved you too.
Ew, I don't like that we're using past tense.
You're going to be dust in 20 minutes, I think it's grammatically sound.
JESS laughs, sadly. He looks down and wrings his hands.
(BLACKOUT) SEB exits.
You mean we.
Long pause, he looks up, confused.
Seb? (frantically looks around) Seb!?
JESS freezes for a while, then slowly sits back down, head hung.
(addressing the audience)
What does it say about a person that even in their last moments, even in everyone on Earth's last moments, he can't come to terms with such… simple things.
(starts to get choked up, shakes hands)
Okay. I'm going to do it. (looks up) God, I'm doing it, okay? Finally, I'll do it. (pauses) My mom would be disappointed. She's probably looking down at me and thinking of a million ways to phrase how pathetic I am. (beat) I never loved her. I felt bad about it for a while but I don't feel bad about it anymore; I was nothing to her and I'm still ashamed to admit that she quickly became nothing to me. (wipes tears) So. That's that one. (looks down) Round 2.
JESS turns his hands over, stares at them and laughs, bitterly.
Right now I just looked at my hands and immediately thought about how ugly they were. Right now, when I can watch the movie theater burn down, the one where I've worked for 2 years - my history teacher is literally passed out in the middle of the road, and I'm still hung up on how pronounced my knuckles are, how my veins look like disgusting little snakes. I'm sure if I could see my face I'd sob over my puffy cheeks and the skin under my chin, just like always. It's pathetic and I know it is. I-I pretend I'm above it and I moved on but I never did. I only said I did so that I didn't have to see that god awful therapist and have everyone treat me like a child. I wish I would have stuck it out, but-(beat) I guess I've never been strong.
(breathes out) Final one. (checks watch) Just enough time.
(wipes eyes, longest pause)
He's dead. He died on December 6th, almost 5 months ago. I went to his funeral and I saw him being lowered into the dirt: Seb is dead. Something inside me is so god damn weak that it would have broken my brain if I actually thought that. Like if I actually said it out loud, all my organs would have collapsed into each other. But I never did, I never believed it. And I need to believe it because it's true.
JESS puts head in hands and takes a second, crying softly.
So there. He's dead.
The watch beeps. JESS looks up, scared, and takes a deep breath.
Here we go.
Offstage, SEB sings as lights dim.
There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
My place is not itself
of metamorphosis, fathers of fathers
carve their names into the marble
and give their sons the blade;
I grow myself within the boughs
and treelawns of white collar homes
I watch pretty clean girls
dive headfirst into the cracks
of a paved sidewalk,
letting lanky Marlboro Light men
give them medicine from flowers
like Hades' outstretched pomegranate seeds
I listen to the beer cans pop under people's tires
in fast food parking lots filled with
silvery nitrous canisters
churning pretty pink nerve cells into
chewed bubblegum stuck on designer shoes
I drive through neighborhoods
where the houses touch the low-hanging
puffy clouds in Simpsons intros,
pay a million dollars to hand my kid brother
full size Snickers bars
I can leave and come back
and I promise it won't change, the grass
will be sickly neon green and the prom queen
will have a real nice car
but I will keep changing, like colors
of rust beneath the hood.
hospital bills stacked on crinkled wrappers and long receipts, debt piling up like thick roaches clinging to the walls my arms hung on drip lines like slabs of meat caught on hooks drowning in air bubbles stuck in the tangled plastic tubes please crush them before they seep into my heart and shut down half my face or don't, because i've screamed for too long to let god breath me his holy air, Mary's rising spirit but each rising of my sternum makes me want to throw up or the chemicals putting chokeholds on my white blood cells, beating their fists long after the faces are withered i will not question the poison in my veins, the apple still lodged between my molars Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name ; thy kingdom come come here and just wrap your hands around my throat and make it all buzz like static, like the broken TV in the corner of my white bed where they send patients to rot into the linen make it red , deep burgundy wine i can not drink or my stomach will feel too full his body is the flesh, the bread stuffed in my pockets for you to take the bread tastes good, warm and wet dipped in God's divinity to mop up the ruby pearls around my neck gift my soul to the gates of heaven, she is far more precious than jewels.
Cleveland is my hometown. It's on the water, which sounds really great until you realize it's on Lake Erie. I know I should be proud of my hometown and its murky water, and I promise I've tried, but Lake Erie really doesn't seem like a "Great Lake". Still, as a child, most of my summers were spent hopping over Pabst Blue Ribbon cans and trying not to slip on the mossy rocks. Mom always said if I slipped off the mossy rocks, I'd smash my head and die instantly and that would obviously be counterintuitive to having a good summer.
My mother worked during the summer, so she'd drop me and my kid brother off at a day camp. It was run through my Lutheran elementary school in a small building across the street. Every day we'd go on a different field trip like strawberry picking or swimming. For several reasons, I had decided that water was my enemy and I would rather wear a shirt that said "Jesus is My Best Friend" every single day than wear a bathing suit for 30 minutes. I was a weird kid, in the reading-books-for-fun kind of way, not the biting-other-children way. The gifted program fueled some weird juvenile superiority complex, which didn't do much but contribute to my general ongoing insufferability.
On one of our many beach trips, I was sitting on my Snoopy towel reading a book, most likely one of the Harry Potter books. I assume ADHD was responsible for my hellbent obsession with those books, but either way I read the entire series 7 different times. The camp volunteers liked to sit with me. I was what they called an "old soul", which is a fancy word for a child that speaks like an adult to make up for something, most likely undiagnosed mental illness. I'd pretend I was on Conan, my mother's favorite talk show. It was just my kind of fun. But that day, I decided to be adventurous and walk down the beach with one of my teachers, looking for sea glass. We sifted through the sand, picking out smoothed pieces of beer bottles and mason jars to fill our pockets with. I looked up and saw what in my strange child brain was the holy grail: a full fish skeleton. Unfortunately for my teacher, morbid curiosity still held higher priority to me than common sense; I plucked the bones out of the mud, disregarding the swarm of bacteria clinging to my fingers. I scrubbed them off and set them out to dry on my cute pink towel in the sun. When it was time to leave, I wrapped the treasure up and stuck it in my drawstring bag. The day went on and my two second attention span moved from the skeleton to a million other things. My mom picked us up at 6, drove us home, and made us dinner. The moment of truth came hours later, when she opened my bag to wash my towel. My poor mother opened the bag up and was immediately confronted by the smell of fish death. She looked at me, then the bag, then at me. She was waiting for an answer, I knew that for sure. I asked to keep the bones; that was not the right response.
I was weird. I knew it, my mother knew it, my teachers knew it, the other kids at school knew it. It sucked when I was getting made fun of. Or when my mom was mad at me, or when I sat alone at lunch. But I know now that it made me stronger, even if it majorly sucked. Liking dead things turned into a passion for science, writing Doctor Who fan fiction turned into a penchant for writing. So here's a message for all the playground bullies and doubtful parents: weird kids turn into cool teens, with a lot less fishy hands.