Mark Hurley

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Archive for the ‘Early Attempt Nostalgia’ Category

Infants Drink Formula (scene)

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FIrst attempt at play writing, several years ago. Not perfect by any stretch, but amusing. Published here for posterity.

Infants Drink Formula

By Mark Hurley

Characters:

Molly: A new mother in her mid-twenties.

Jose: Her boyfriend in his mid-thirties.

 

Scene opens on a living room. There is typical living room furniture for a middle class family living in an apartment, except it is all shabby and unkempt. There is also a cradle next to the couch facing the television. MOLLY enters stage left with a crying infant in her arms (this can be simulated with a doll and baby crying sound effect cues). She is clearly frustrated, her unwashed hair is a mess. The television is on, turned to Cartoon Network.

 

MOLLY

Christ on a Stick! Shut UP!

(The baby continues its tantrum)

Well, what the hell do you WANT? Are you hungry? Do you want some drugs? What is it?

(The crying does not stop. She makes to put the infant in the cradle, but the noise only gets worse.)

You are the worst doll ever! Why won’t you just sleep?

(With super-human force known only to apply to mothers, MOLLY grabs the infant by its leg and heaves it at the upstage wall. Because it is only a doll, it will lie lifeless and grotesquely configured on the floor without much coaxing. The action of the actors and the furniture should mask the doll so that no one in the audience is staring at it wondering if it is, in fact, a doll)

Christ, finally!

(MOLLY makes a play of straightening her hair, but it is clear nothing can be done for it. She settles on the couch and picks up her Redbook, and reads until JOSE walks through the door a minute or so later, stage right through the door to the outside)

 

JOSE

Yo.

MOLLY

Jesus, where have you been?

JOSE

Where’s the kid?

MOLLY

On the floor. Christ, I thought that shit box of a car finally killed you.

JOSE

I got you a lottery ticket. Why is it every time I come home there are cartoons on TV? Do you not have the brain capacity for anything more intelligent? And why is my baby on the floor?

MOLLY

We’ve been through this. It probably isn’t yours.

JOSE

Well, I wasn’t looking to patent it, Molly. I mean “my baby” as in “it came in a bundle deal with the pussy it came out of.”

MOLLY

Real sweet, hun. You mentioned a lottery ticket? Did you remember to pick up some milk for the baby?

JOSE

No. And stop feeding it milk. Infants need formula.

MOLLY

Christ. (pause) Well give it to me! (Jose hands her the scratch card) Got a quarter?

JOSE

No. I spent all my cash at the smoke shop on that ticket.

MOLLY

Yeah, and about thirty of your own I’ll bet. (Rolls her eyes and pulls a metal barrett from a seemingly arbitrary place in her nest of hair and begins to scratch furiously with it at the lottery ticket. She continues to berate JOSE while she scratches) You know, if you want to claim the kid as your own, you should take some fucking responsibility and buy some milk before you blow your entire pay check on two dollar scratch cards.

JOSE

(Looks behind couch at the baby) I’m not entirely sure that’s going to matter anymore.

MOLLY

(Ignores him) You better hope this fucking card wins so you can go back to the store and get your daughter some milk.

JOSE

(Still looking behind the couch) Babies that young drink formula, Molly. Do you know what infanticide is?

MOLLY

No. (Studies the thoroughly scratched card) Fuck, it’s a loser.

JOSE

Did you look at the code between the game pieces?

MOLLY

What?

JOSE

Between the numbers you’re supposed to match up on the card are little letters. If they spell something, then you win that amount.

MOLLY

Yeah, I think there are letter here. Does that mean I win?

JOSE

No, retard. They have to spell something. Like, if the letters say T-W-O, it means you win two dollars.

MOLLY

The letters are Y-S-L. what does that spell out.

JOSE

It spells “You Suck at the Lottery”.

MOLLY

Shit. I don’t need your sarcasm now. When that kid comes to, she’s going to want some milk.

JOSE

Stop feeding babies milk, dummy. Besides, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to have to feed her anything anymore.

MOLLY

I’M the dummy? Babies need to eat to get bigger, dummy.

JOSE

Molly, the baby is fucking dead.

MOLLY

Bullshit. I put it to sleep. It’s just sleeping.

JOSE

Maybe we should call someone…

MOLLY

(Disinterested, picks up newspaper and begins tearing coupons out of the back) Like who?

JOSE

I dunno, the police… the church?

MOLLY

Or the fire fighters, or your mommy, or the fucking Ghostbusters. Jesus, you’re such a pussy. The little bastard will wake up screaming before you know it, then YOU can explain to it why it has no milk.

JOSE

She has no milk because I’m not irresponsible enough to BUY it for her. Infants drink formula, Molly.

MOLLY

Hey! Scooby Doo is on!

JOSE

Or breast milk. Ever hear of that?

MOLLY

I read somewhere that it was bad for the baby to feed it breast milk.

JOSE

Shut up, you don’t read.

MOLLY

Fine! I saw it on Oprah.

JOSE

OK. Did Oprah mention anything about throwing infants at walls?

MOLLY

Shut up. I love this show and I’m missing it.

JOSE

I fucking hate Scooby Doo.

MOLLY

Well I love it.

JOSE

Tell me this, if Shaggy and Scooby are so goddamned afraid of everything, and the friends they travel around with pretty much LIVE to go to real life haunted houses and solve real life horror mysteries, why don’t they just tell Fred to fuck off?

MOLLY

Shhhhh…

JOSE

No seriously, its not like they can’t buy their own Scooby Snacks. It basically requires a part time job delivering pizza in the weed-mobile.

MOLLY

I don’t think someone who spends his time scratching lottery tickets at the smoke shop should criticize how other people spend their time and money.

JOSE

Yeah, well, if I were Shaggy I’d just lay it down for Fred. I’d say, (puts on his best Shaggy voice) “Zoiks, Fred. Stop fucking patronizing me with your box of treats and your convincing me to put myself in mortal danger. I’m tired of running after ghosts that are NEVER REALLY GHOSTS and never will be. Like, maybe I’m more afraid to be seen in the company of a loser in a neck-kerchief than old man Johnson in a Halloween mask.”

MOLLY

Go get the baby, its time to feed her.

JOSE

There’s nothing to feed her. And she’s dead.

MOLLY

Did you ever notice the cloud of pot smoke that’s always behind Fred and Daphne in the Mystery Machine?

JOSE

I wonder if Casey Casem knew.

MOLLY

Haha, can you imagine him doing his New Year’s countdowns after smoking a bowl or two. (Does a stoned Casey Casem impression) “This next video from Linkin Park is AWFUL. Seriously, who let these guys make music? Christ…”

JOSE

Hahahaha. God, yer funny. I’m sorry I was cross with you. I really love you.

MOLLY

I love you too sweetheart.  (They begin to make out passionately as the lights go down)

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Written by scumbagstyle

May 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

The Chrysanthemum Phenomenon

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Very first attempt at story telling in High School, with no formal training or experience. Its success was influential in my career choice early on, but it is not indicative of how I write now after 6 years college training and as much professional writing experience.

The Chrysanthemum Phenomenon

M. Hurley

A squirrel approached me the other day in a collected demeanor that made me question my usual sound masculine confidence. Its eyes never left mine, my inquisitive expression mirrored grotesquely in the solid depths of its fixed stare. The squirrel exuded such manly potency that the testosterone saturated my nostrils, singeing the sensitive hairs therein. Barely had my brain processed these new feelings of inequity when the assertive saunter of the squirrel ceased abruptly. Truly, if the rodent moved at all, the minuteness of its stirrings escaped the attention of my mortal eyes. Just as assuredly as the satisfied smirk melted from its furry face, the squirrel’s neck protruded from its shoulders in concentrated alertness, a twitch of its whiskers confirming its quiet contemplation. Without warning, its eyelids fired apart and its features contorted into a retarded version of its former self-confidence. The squirrel tucked its paw close to its chest in a sort of squirrel fist as it keeled over and squealed, “My kingdom for an acorn!” before it plummeted from its perch on the lower branches of a tree overhanging the street. Gravity was the eventual downfall of the starving squirrel.

Barophobia. My father had an acute fear of gravity. “Son,” he used to warn me, “gravity… it’s always there.” I had to agree with him: never had I experienced a reprieve from the force that was ever beneath my feet, the force that was my father’s bane. He would warn me of the dangers of gravity like any other father would insist upon the use of condoms, or filters on your camels, on which filters definitely do not belong. Some mornings I would awake to screams emanating from the bathroom due to the sheer vertical distance from my father’s eyes to the toilet, into which he was taking his morning piss. We would find him curled on the floor of the bathroom, fetal in the pool of urine covering the tiles.

            My father perished at an early age when he tripped over a kitchen chair and fell face first into a butter knife he was carrying. We buried him on a Tuesday, in a plot he had bought for himself and my mother a month-and-a-half before. For the wake I picked a single chrysanthemum and strategically placed it over his cheek by his left eye, to which the mortuary could do nothing to make it look presentable. My mother found that appropriate. She said it was because it complimented the beauty of his disposition, but secretly I believed it was because mums were my mother’s favorite flowers and because she inwardly found my father rather plain. When they closed the casket to lower it into the ground, my mother insisted they leave the chrysanthemum there. Before the final burial, she sprinkled petals of the same flower into the hole as opposed to the traditional dirt.

Long sleeves were made for wearing in the summer, if only for the sake of being contrary. As the sun fell warm upon the back of my neck, I approached the disoriented squirrel in the name of half-interested scientific curiosity. I remember thinking how stylish I must seem in my long sleeve shirt, totally contradictory to the suffocating heat of the season. It had a tribal pattern on the right sleeve and the emblem of a fashionable designer on the back. The squirrel, by this time, was regaining its senses and returning to its feet on the pavement, preparing to climb the tree once again. It never made more than a few precarious steps toward the side of the road before its skittering locomotion was interrupted by a Taurus striking its fragile body.

I had a lover once whose mind was so wrought with soap opera drama and teenage anxieties that her emotional fragility was as visible as an open sore in the middle of her forehead. She was beautiful in her timidity, with hunched shoulders, curly, pudding-brown hair, and eyes so shallow her tears leaked from the almost constantly. She always moved very quickly, whether it was performing everyday procedures or forever changing her opinion on everything, her rationale for this being that if she did not keep one up on life it would surely shatter her. She was wearing black the day she finally succumbed to the first subtle throws of insanity. She sat at my kitchen table with a mug of green tea that had Chrysanthemum petal crushed into it. She used to say the petal gave the tea an aromatic consistency that not only alleviated one’s aching senses but also enhanced the taste quality, even though I secretly believed it tasted like shit.

            She sat and she sipped and she worried aloud whether she ought to repaint the walls in her own kitchen while I stood by and made sure she had access to only blunt objects. However, the conversation took a startling turn when she changed her mind, mid-sentence, about her feelings for me. Her face took on a disturbing Alec Guinness (circa Lady Killers) expression and her voice became course with Tourette-like profanity. “You bastard!” she hollered into the silence of my otherwise empty apartment. She then proceeded to defend this bold accusation with such a well thought out presentation that I would not be surprised had she whipped out a macabre flip chart written in the emotional blood I must have spilled in the long months of abuse I’d apparently inflicted. I was blamed for everything but the knots in her hair, but by the sound of things she might have made a good argument for that as well. Her largest issue was my acquisition of her innocence. She likened her virginity to a tomato that she trusted me to love and cherish and instead I palmed it and crushed it like so many bugs caught in one of those electric can openers my grandmother used to have. Her descent was rapid from there, like everything else she did, and I could do nothing to stop the terrible bouts of dementia that were prevalent in the following years. I tell you this in monotone disconnectedness for the sake of accurate storytelling, but I can assure you her condition affected me deeply. “I would love you,” I told her, “but I can’t keep up with you.”

            I approached the now motionless squirrel sprawling awkwardly on the hot pavement. I bent a stick of wintergreen gum in half and slid it into my mouth as I began my examination. Its back was snapped in what looked like two places and its right leg lay two and half feet from the rest of its body. Tire marks were permanently carved into the squirrel’s pliable flesh, and the weight of the car had forcibly pushed half of its brain out through its open mouth. I wondered to my self what interested me so terribly about the squirrel’s malformed carcass.

When I was a child I used to daydream that I was a vulture. I would hover above an imaginary desert, flapping my immense wings and looking down on my little sister’s Barbies, which I would place on the rug in such a way that they appeared to be beautiful heroines, close to death. Sometimes I would decapitate the plastic dolls in an effort to make the callous scene more believable, and to justify my consumption of the deceased. Then, when I wasn’t in the mood for imaginative entertainment that involved me as a main character, I would have my own GI Joes enslave the naked, headless Barbies and turn them into synthetic love puppets.

            Afterward, inevitably, my uncle would chide me for playing with my sister’s dolls and invite me to involve myself in some more masculine activities, such as getting him another Molson from the refrigerator. When I returned with his beer, my uncle would teach me to say dirty words and phrases, assuring me that the adults enjoying dessert in the kitchen would find it cute to hear me saying them. Elated beyond comprehension, I would run into the kitchen, my new light up Nikes squeaking on the clean hardwood floor. I would leap with spider-mannish agility from an unoccupied chair to the tabletop, where I would tear the bouquet of chrysanthemums from their glass vase and present them ceremoniously to my grandmother. By this time, the giggles and coos from the assembled women should have cued the expected adorable display. I would clear my throat, put on my best Tom Cruise smile, and declare for the entire kitchen, “This place smells like rotten vagina!” I took the stunned silences to mean that my aunts were speechless, my mother was mute with pride, and my grandmother was quietly assessing dying happily knowing her grandson was so gosh-darned charming. Every time something like that would happen, there would be weeks where I wasn’t allowed to see my uncle.

            The grotesque daVinci lay at my feet unmoving, a broken, bleeding testament to my shattered life. I knew that the corpse of the poor squirrel would remain smeared across the width of my street for a week or more if I were to do nothing about it. I’ve seen road kill stay longer than that. I considered my options and chewed my gum. I glanced at the houses around me where my neighbors lived. I could have removed the body from the middle of the street and saved the neighborhood an eyesore and a bad summertime stench. Then I realized that not only was I too lazy, but that I had no inclination to do anything so uninteresting as providing janitorial service to the nearby residents. I looked at the dead squirrel again, and stood for a good twenty minutes, fingering the acorn in my pocket.        

Written by scumbagstyle

May 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm