NECESSARY DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A WESTSIDE STORY TYPE ARRANGEMENT BASED ON A FAMOUS RUSSIAN POEM. ANY REFERENCE TO LIVING PERSONS OR REAL EVENTS ARE PURELY COINCIDENTAL
Characters (all characters in the play are black except Jose, who is Hispanic):
Alex - strong handsome youth in his early 20ies, short hair, swift moves, bright eyes, in all scenes wears a plain white T-shirt and black sweatpants, white bulky sneakers.
Uncle Fam - a respectable retired firefighter. Big dark-skinned gentleman in his 50ies, with big muscles and some belly, сlean shaven, speaks in a low strong voice, in all scenes wears a grey Red Sox T-shirt and dark sweatpants.
Sofi, Uncle Fam's daughter, 17 years old, plump, medium height, well done haircut, dark-red-dyed hair, complicated manicure. In the first scenes wears a "Who da Queen? Me da Queen!" gray small T-shirt and yoga pants. In the party and following scenes wears long shining earrings, full makeup, a small bright pink tank top, tight blue jeans with a hole on one knee, and sneakers with shines.
Liz, Uncle Fam's younger daughter, 13 years old, small and skinny, very pretty, many short braid with little pink plastic rings on the ends, in all scenes wears a light blue T-shirt with a lot of white illegible writings on it, jeans, grey small sneakers, no makeup.
Jose, dark-skinned small frame Hispanic man about 20 years old with dark hair, in all scenes wears a dark blue polo shirt, dark jeans and a small gold earring.
Sergeant - tall light-skinned gentleman, calm and strong, shaved head, in the first scene wears army shirt and light jeans, in the party scene wears full sergeant uniform.
Jocelyn - young lady in her 20ies, about six months pregnant, wears a bright orange and white dress, a little too small for her current condition, sneakers, a bright golden clutch, shiny long earrings and many bracelets.
Z, her boyfriend - shy youth in his 20ies, in all scenes wears a neat beige polo shirt and dark sweatpants.
Megyn, tall, large, calm dark-skinned lady with shapely features in her 40ies, very short curly hair and big round earrings, dressed in light-color silky dress, seen mostly with with her mother.
Lashonda, her mother, small old lady, very neatly dressed, blind.
Shaleeka, short plump merry light-skinned lady, surrounded by her daughters, toddler in her arms, wears dark shorts and tank top.
Mimi, Zizi, Karie, Nana, Layla - Shaleeka's daughters, girls between 5 and 11 years of age, in bright T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, chattering and playing games on their phones.
Toddler, Shaleeka's youngest daughter. Loudly screams twice during the party scene.
Peps: young jumpy skinny youth or girl: wearing dreads, tight jeans and black and white "Jeep" T-shirt.
Zhivonda: tall beautiful lady in her 60ies with complicated done hair and makeup. Wears a dark red dress with many shines and a lot of golden jewelry.
Lakeisha, quiet dark-skinned lady in her 50ies, wears a tank top and a long skirt, a lot of shiny bracelets, short hair, modest makeup, always see with her husband, quiet dark-skinned man in his 60ies, wearing a yellow polo shirt and pants.
Police officer, strong serious black gentleman, wears full blue uniform and handcuffs.
Townhouse in Roxbury, rented by Uncle Fam for many years.
Two girl's bedrooms and a restroom upstairs.
Long staircase from the entrance going up with a small entrance in the front.
Living room and kitchen in the first floor, closed door to what must be Uncle Fam's room.
Separate small room right next to the stairs, with the door locked, a little chair in front of it.
Liz, quietly scratching at a door that has an inscription "Queen Sofi" done in small silver and pink shines.
Uncle Fam is coming up the stairs during that scene.
Liz: Sofi! It’s almost seven, you guys are crazy, if dad comes up now, you’re in so much trouble!
Sofi (from behind the door): Go away!
Liz: No such luck. Get his ass outa here! Dad's coming up!
Uncle Fam: Hey, what are you doing here?
Liz: Er... going to the bathroom. What does it look like?
Uncle Fam: I just smelled some pot. Why am I smelling pot in my house?
Liz: What are you looking at me for, must be from the neighbors...
Uncle Fam: Let’s see about that...
Tries opening the door to Sophia‘s room, the door is locked from inside
Liz (yelling): Dad, cut it out, what’s wrong with you? I ain’t smelling no pot! It's like 7am for real, you wake up Sofi, she’ll be so pissed...
Uncle Fam: If you don’t want to wake her up, don’t scream then.
Sofi (opens the door, sleepily): What the hell? What time is it?
Uncle Fam: Sofi, are you smoking pot in there?
Sofi: The fuck I am smoking at this hour. Did you have to wake me up? You and Liz were yelling here like you're lunatics. Can I please go back to sleep?
Uncle Fam: Who’s in that room?
Uncle Fam: I just heard some noise from your room.
Liz: That’s from downstairs. It’s that druggie again, trying to open our door. Can you go chase him off?
Sofi: Yeah, here he goes again, I hear it too...
Uncle Fam: Huh. Wait, hold on second.
(goes down the stairs)
Liz (rushes into Sofi's room and drags out Jose): You get the fuck out of here now.
Sofi: Shit, he’s coming back. Jose, go into Liz’s room, once dad goes into my room, come out like you just came in.
Jose: As you say, linda.
(quietly vanishes in Liz, room)
Liz: The hell he’s calling you Linda?
Sofi (dreamy): Cuz he’s from El Salvador, silly. Linda means “beautiful” in Spanish.
Uncle Fam (returning): There ain't no one downstairs. Sofi, who’s in you room?
Sofi: No one either. Dad, I'm sorry, are you drunk or something? First you smell pot, then you’re coming to my door at night asking me who is in my room? You wanna go check?
(opens the door)
Uncle Fam (enters): In fact, yeah, why don’t I go check...
Jose quietly comes out of Liz’s room, and stomps on the stairs. Liz gives him thumbs up.
Uncle Fam (comes out): The hell you doing here Jose?
Jose: I was just coming from the night shift, and heard you guys talking upstairs, so I thought I’d stop by and bring Sofi‘s iPhone she forgot at the counter... it must be out of power...
(gives her the phone)
Sofi (briefly hugs him): Oh, thank you thank you! I though I left it at the club!
Uncle Fam: Okay, now get going.
(goes down the stairs)
Uncle Fam: I don’t like it. I’m smelling pot, my daughters are lying to me, there’s a guy wandering my house at seven AM in the morning with some bullshit iPhone story...
Sofi: If you don't want him wandering, don't lease a room to him. He lives here, for fuck's sake!
Uncle Fam: I don’t like it, did you get me?
Liz: So, are you in love with him? Cuz you will get in so much trouble over this shit, I can't even tell you...
Sofi: Dunno. He’s kinda... He’s different. Ya know what I’m sayin?
Sofi: He's not after a piece of ass, you know. He actually said he wanted to marry me...
Liz: Come what. You like 17, he like 19 himself, who gets married at this age? Hold it, are you preggers? Omg Sofi, you preggers!
Sofi: Preggers my ass. Ask me if we fucked yet..,
Liz: What? No way. Just no way...
Sofi: I shit you not, Liz. We smoked a joint though, he told me all about El Salvador...
Liz (flabbergasted): Er... you sure he’s not gay or something?
Sofi: In his culture, he says, you have to wait until the wedding night. It’s like some damn movie, you know... like, unreal... he has a job, we could you know rent something, like have our own place...
Liz: Wait, Sofi, no, you want to marry him for real? Dad will so kill you.
Sofi: Watch me care...
Liz: Omg. You batshit crazy, you know that? Just wait until Alex gets back...
Sofi: Alex who?
Liz: Come on, seriously...
Sofi (indignantly): He’s been locked up for like three months now. It’s not like he’s my baby’s daddy or something. What does he expect? I ain’t taking no shit from him.
Liz: Alright, it’s your life. I'm just saying he in jail cuz he messed up that perv in the club for you...
Sofi: Nah. He in jail cuz they found crack on him. That other guy wasn’t even there when the cops arrived. And the bail was like 2K... nobody gets locked up for just A&B...
(footsteps on the stairs)
Liz (screams): Alex, holy shit! We were just talking about you like seriously, this moment!
Alex: Hey babe (bear hugs her). Where’s my kiss?
Sofi (struggling): Don’t touch me, I am on my ladies days. You know how I am.
Alex: Damn right I know how you are. And I haven’t had a piece of ass for three months, so...
Sofi (wrestles out of his embrace): How come they let you go? I called your lawyer, said we all could probably scramble together like $350, but that’s it, I’m between jobs again...
Alex: Jail overcrowding. They are letting all nonviolents go on a bracelet if you had a place, so I gave them aunt Zhivonda's address and phone number, ha, at least she knows who I am. So, how's it going? Someone told me your uncle kicked the bucket. Was Punch been back with my share yet - he was like everywhere, and then vanished, probably got locked up somewhere, I counldn't stand the retard... And the three from Dorchester, is it true they are messing with the Hyde park crowd now? I heard the youngest got hooked up with that chick from MS-13, is that for real? And what about the Party Sam, is that clown in town? - remember how he threw a party the other day and hid joints all over the house for people to find? Cmon, babe, tell me something... is that illegal excuse for a human being still taking up space downstairs?
Sofi (irritated): You leave Jose alone, he pays his rent! He may be illegal whatever, but he has a job and no record, unlike some of us.
Alex (laughing): Whoa, babe, are you trying to make me jealous? Cuz that’s hot...
Sofi: No, I’m just... why do you have to shit on everyone?
Alex: Babe, gimme a break, I’m tired and hungry, I just got out, how bout I don't get any shit from you until tomorrow?
Sofi: Fine. Anyway, good to see you.
Alex: That's better now.
Liz: Hey, do you want some hot pockets? I’m pretty sure we have some hot pockets in the fridge.
Uncle Fam (coming up the stairs): why am I hearing voices again? Oh, Alex, man, good to see you. I didn’t know you were out.
Alex (lowering his voice): Cheers. Yeah... thought I’d... er... stop by...
Liz: Dad, can I feed him some hot pockets?
Uncle Fam: Warm up one for me while you’re at it. I’ll be right down.
Sofi: I will join you later, I need to stop by the bathroom and all. Too early in the morning for me. Go hang with dad for now, I’ll come right down.
Alex (smiling): Yes, mam.
Goes downstairs with Uncle Fam.
Kitchen - rather clean table with multiple open boxes of cereal and containers. Microwave buzzing.
Liz takes out hot pockets and puts the plate on the table, pulls out two paper plates.
Liz: There ya go.
Uncle Fam (pulling out a six pack of beer from the fridge, with three bottles left, and opens one as he is sitting down at the table): So, how’ve you been? When did you get out?
Alex: What? Oh... Sofi is like... holy shit, man, I missed her...
Uncle Fam: So, you serious about her?
Alex: What if?
Uncle Fam (sternly): I am her father, that’s what. You getting serious about her, you quit this shit, get a job, get a place, then we’ll talk.
Alex (sneers): Get a job how? Who would want a black guy with a record and no experience?
Uncle Fam (seriously): Look here, I’m as black as you are, and I’ve been employed all my life. My wife was working two jobs all her life. I have my own place, I ain't ever been in trouble with no police, I brought up my daughters to stay out of trouble. Your mom was a good lady, yo. So why don’t you just quit messing with the wrong people? You’ve done pretty well at school, you almost graduated high school, if you just do some GED...
Alex: Yah, and then what? Join the army?
Uncle Fam: I don’t see why not...
Alex: Because army is where they fucking kill you! And if not, you bust your ass for nothing, by the time you’re back you have the joints of a sixty years olds, your girl doesn't know what you look like no more, you’re barely making minimal wage and you’re like done through, you are a ruin...
Uncle Fam: Well...
Alex (intensely): If you ask me this whole thing is messed up! Like, the system itself! you know how I got my first record? There was a fight at school, and I got beaten up. Then like in a week I was chilling with my crowd, and someone had a joint, and by the time the cop showed up I was left holding it. And it all went downhill from there. They would’ve never arrested no white kids for shit like that...
Uncle Fam: Why don’t you just shut up, and listen to me young man...
Liz (from the door): Hey dad... Sergeant is here.
Uncle Fam: Right... so that’s my cousin’s wife’s brother, he’s a Sergeant. Was in Iraq too... honorably discharged, they call it, or something like that. Nice of him to stop by, he’s new to the neighborhood. So Alex, you’ll be sitting where you are, finishing your hot pocket and minding your own business, are we clear?
(Alex stretches his legs, biting into the hot pocket. Enter Sergeant)
Uncle Fam: Nice to see you, sir. Come, have a beer with us and maybe something to go with it.
Sergeant: Thank you, why not. Don’t trouble yourself over me though.
Uncle Fam: No trouble at all. Liz, take this (gives her money), go downstairs and grab us another six pack and two pizzas.
Liz: What’s in it for me?
Uncle Fam: A movie ticket for tonight, if you behave today.
Liz (beaming): OK!
Uncle Fam: You’ve been to Iraq, I heard. So how was it?
Sergeant: Damn hot.
Uncle Fam: You’re back now for good, no. You know what you gonna to be doing? You have a place to stay? Girlfriend?
Sergeant: Yeah, I have a place. The pension is going to last for a while, so I’m looking for a job, no haste, by fall or something would be good. Firefighter, like yourself was, I was thinking to myself, or a court officer maybe, I’m not too keen to go serve in police, but hey. Whatever gets your pension rolling. That’s what I think.
Uncle Fam: Damn right.
Sergeant: Yeah. Still going about my life. But no girlfriend yet. I used to go out with this girl, she worked in the pharmacy, but we broke up when I joined the army. I figured, you can’t make a girl wait for you, no good comes out of it. One of you will end up cheating for sure.
Uncle Fam: I guess. You should probably meet my Sofi...
Alex: What the hell?
Uncle Fam: She hangs with some girls... some girls that know to tell a good working man from a guy that’s never out of jail...
Alex: Hey! Why not hook her up with the police officer directly? Have your own cop in your own house, you know, very convenient... I think every house in the neighborhood needs their own cop. And a firefighter too. In case of a fire, you know. A man with his own place, a man with a job, someone respectable. Someone you wouldn’t feel bad if you hang out with him in the evening and have some beer, yo.
Uncle Fam: When you’re my age you won’t laugh about those things anymore, Alex.
Sorry, gentlemen, restroom break.
Sergeant: I don’t think you’re wrong... was that Alex? Alex. At the end of all things, that’s what they want from you. No matter how shiny your uniform had been, at the end of all things, you need a place, and you need some money to go on...
Alex (rolling his eyes): Geez...for crying out loud...
Sofie rushes from upstairs into the kitchen.
Sofi: Jose! Omg, Jose!
Rushes, crying, and trips over, falls down crying.
Alex: Babe, shit, are you ok?
Sofi: He fell off the front stairs, I’m sure he broke his neck! Never mind me, go get him!
Sergeant: What happened? Let me check.
Alex: Here, drink this, you're all shaking...
(brings his beer to her lips)
Sofi: (pushes him aside) What the actual fuck, I said go get him, you asshole!
Liz: (entering with two pizzas and sixpack): Holy shit, what happened? Is that about Jose, cuz he’s all right, he just tripped over that step that always breaks, twisted his foot a little..
Sergeant (entering with Jose, whom he leads by allowing him to lean on his arm): Hey, did you trip and fall too? Why are you crying? Don’t worry, he’s OK, the step broke. He messed up his foot a little, otherwise the gentleman could be drafted into the army right now!
Jose: I am so sorry I freaked you out...
Sofi: Ok, ok... sorry... I'm sorry...
(Leaves the kitchen and goes up the stairs, sniffing and lumping a little)
Alex goes up after her.
Jose leaves quietly
Uncle Fam (entering): Sorry for leaving you. Did Alex get out already? Hope he wasn't rude or something. Anyway. Sarge, you’re welcome here tonight, it’s my birthday, we’re gonna have a small party for the friends’n’family’n’all. There’s a game too, I have a rather decent TV, so.
Sergeant: Sure, why not. Happy birthday, sir. I will see you tonight then.
Upstairs in the hall:
Alex (menacingly): I am asking you why you go so worked up about him? Are you hanging with him or something? Cuz you know I’ll blow his brains out, right?
Sofi (hysterically): I am on my ladies days, ok? I get worked up about every bullshit, that’s how women are! What if he broke his neck on that damn steps for real? Do we need a body in the house right now? He freaked me out, yes, I am fucking sorry!
Alex: Chill, whatever. Can we like hang in your room?
Sofi: Not now, I have an appointment to do the nails in half an hour. But you can come tonight, you know.
Alex: What’s tonight?
Sofi: You forgot about my birthday you asshole?
Alex (concerned): Oh, shit, babe, I’m sorry...
Liz: She’s messing with you.
Sofi: It’s dad‘s birthday actually. But we’re having a party, nice and proper, beer and pizza, some relatives coming over, I’m sure his new love Sergeant will be there, so you’re welcome to hang, why not.
Alex: All right then...
Sofi: You know the new iPhone is out, right?
Alex: Babe, give me a break. I got out like two hours ago, don’t even have a place to crash.
Sofi: No iPhone, no head. You know the drill.
Alex: Eh, I’ll figure something out. See you later, alligator...
(Pinches Sofi, who pushes him away, and runs down the stairs, whistling)
Jose (enters): Is he gone?
Sofi (rushes to hug him): oh my God, I was so scared! Don’t break your neck next time, I don’t want to be a widow before we even got married... (smiles through some tears)
Jose: We have to be careful, linda. I don’t think your dad likes me much.
Sofi: I’ll try, but what can I do?
Liz: You can stop freaking out like you’re on your period, can go say something nice to dad and the Sergeant, and you can stop hugging Jose in front of other people.
Sofi: All right, shut up. Jose, I will see you later. You can come in anytime, you know.
(Goes to her room)
Liz: (sings) that’s a woman in looove...
Jose: Oi, may I have a kiss?
Liz: Paws off, you creep! I ain’t cheating on my sis. Shouldn’t that kiss come from Sofi or something? What was this bullshit about waiting for the wedding night anyway?
Jose: Never mind, hermosita. I will tell you later, if you come see me in my room, mi pequeña. I can’t walk very well today, you see, or I would come to yours, if you want me to, linda.
(kisses her on the cheek and leaves)
Liz(wipes her cheek furiously): Linda yourself, idiot. It’s high time I got me a boyfriend...
Party. Guests staying and sitting in the living room, radio is turned on for music, playing a pop station. Several large pizzas, a bowl of chips and two six packs of beer are laid out on the counter in the kitchen. A pile of paper plates and napkins. Several stacks of plastic cups and a big bottle of Coca-Cola.
Alex, sitting on the sofa a little away from others, sipping beer.
Jocelyn (coming out of the kitchen with a slice of pizza in one hand and a plastic plate in the other)
Jocelyn: Huh, is that Alex over there? Alex, when did you get out?
Alex (turning): Yo, fatty, what’s up with that belly over there? Do you know who the father is?
Jocelyn (enigmatically): You know him...
Jocelyn: He’ll be right over.
Z (meekly): Howdy.
Alex (standing up): Holy shit, man! When did you get out?
Jocelyn (hugging Z with one hand and leaning on him): He wrapped up, just did the balance, got out, no probation, no strings attached. We’re staying with mom for now.
Alex: And who’s in town nowadays? Is Teeth been out yet?
Z: Dunno really...
Jocelyn (with dignity) He is not hanging with that crowd anymore now that I’m expecting. Can’t afford him getting in a mess (importantly) He has a job now. Keeps him outa trouble too...
Alex: Get out, for real? Where?
Jocelyn: Home Depot. They don’t care, as long as you're not a cashier...
Alex: A job doing what?
Z: Ya know...
Jocelyn: He is in the hardware department...
Alex: So what's Mr. Workman making nowadays? Five buckses before taxes?
Z (obviously embarassed): Kinda...
Jocelyn (fiercely): Will you get me a beer from the counter?
Alex: Another one bites the dust...
Shaleeka (enters with five noisy little girls, ages from 5 to 9, carrying a toddler)
Uncle Fam (with beer in hand): Shaleeka, hi there!
(Girls running to Jocelyn and around the room that immediately gets filled with chatter and noise).
Shaleeka: Zizi, Mimi, you get over here right now! You don't go running! You break anything in uncle Fam’s house, you get such a whooping!
Uncle Fam (good-natured): Waddayawant, kids are kids. As long as they don't break the TV...
Shaleeka: Happy birthday! Here (passes a sixpack).
Jocelyn: Eeee! Zizi, Nana, Layla, Mimi, come let me kiss you!
(girls surrounding Jocelyn, chatting)
Zizi: I got a new phone!
Mimi: Me too!
Nana: That's my old one she's got!..
Megyn (enters with her mother): Whew, it’s hot outside! Happy birthday, Fam! 's anyone here yet? Mom, careful, there’s a step there.
(hands over a six pack)
Shaleeka: Hmpf! Course no one here yet, it's just us...
Uncle Fam: Megyn! Come in! Ms. Lashonda, good to see you!
Lashonda (feebly): Hi Fam! You were always a good boy, ya know...
Megyn: Oh, Alex, you're back. Same old?
Alex (nonchalantly): I guess...
Megyn: No job yet?
Alex: Would you hire me for your TJ Max location? You're a manager, last I heard. You can hire people, right?
Megyn (hesitantly): Well, why don't you make an application? I will see what I can do. We have some kids with records, ya know...
Alex: You also have a random drug test for everyone (pauses) below managerial level, right?
Megyn (turning away): Mom, would you like to sit down?
Alex smiles to himself and sips the beer
More guests coming in, people moving around, Sofi comes down from upstairs
Megyn: Where've you been? It's your dad's birthday, you know.
Sofi ignores her, looking around in obvious search for someone. Alex waives to her but she does not notice
Peps (joining her, beer in hand): Yo, Sofi, did you see the new salon opening at the corner of Washington? Step by, worth it. I had a flyer somewhere... here goes, 10% off. One of them last, they were out of promotions this morning.
Sofi: Eh... thanks. Did you try them yourself?
Peps: Nope, going next week. Hey Z, care for a smoke?
Z: Get lost, I dunna want no trouble. Last man that had a smoke with ya ‘s still at South Bay..
Pep: What, I didn't arrest him...
Z (to Alex): Yo, stay away from that thing.
Peps: What, come on...
Enters Zhivonda, carrying a little dog under her arm
Zhivonda: My God, the traffic! I was stuck in that jam by Route 1, something else! I'm driving tonight, so no alcohol... but here is something for the table (hands over to Sofi what looks like a home-made pie) Fam, I hope you don't mind I brought Jewel with me, had no one to leave her with... and she barks so bad when I'm out!
Uncle Fam (in good humor): As long as it doesn't bite no kids or pee on the floor, we're good! Come in, come it!
Zhivonda (sitting herself in the armchair that was just vacated by Megyn's mother, who was led away; the dog initially on her lap, then jumps down and runs away): Jewel is so picky these days. Not eating her usuals. That kid over there (points at Peps) brought me some of that crumpy dogfood to try and Jewel loves it, can you believe it? Costs and arm and a leg though... I didn't even know you had a doggy yourself!
Peps (coming forward): No, but my cousin does, and I was watching it now...
Zhivonda: Is that the same cousin that got like ten years for armed robbery?
Peps (hiding behind Z): Er...
Alex: If you are talking about Perch, that was no goddam robbery, they did him in for probation violation, the whole other thing just got dropped.
Zhivonda: And you know that because...
Alex (smirking): He was my cellmate for a while in the House.
Zhivonda: You don't seem to have a problem just telling me that, young man...
Alex (calmly): Why? He's solid, always shares a smoke and all. I'll go see him once I can get him some canteen money...
Zhivonda: You know, young man, if your father had given you one good whooping when you were small...
Alex: That be high, cuz I never seen him in my life, man...
Zhivonda looks scandalized; Alex smiles to himself
Uncle Fam: All, make yourself comfortable! I put the beer up so the kids can't reach it. Where's the Sergeant?
Sergeant enters wearing full uniform.
Sergeant (loudly): Goodday everyone! Happy birthday, Mr. Famworth! (hands over a six pack)
Zhivonda (clutching her chest): Omg, are you a cop?
Sergeant: No mam. I am an army officer, discharged now.
Zhivonda: You freaked me out! I though you were a cop...
Sergeant: Police wears a different shade of blue, you see... and also army people have these
(shows the indication of rank)
Zhivonda: Not that I have to fear police, I am a data entry clerk at the RMV, you know, but....
Uncle Fam (from the living room): Sarge, you come in good time! Over here please, to the sofa. The game's about to start.
Uncle Fam, Sergeant and another gentleman retire to the sofa and turn on the TV sound. Commercials that precede the baseball match are audible
Zhivonda: Sofi, I so thought he was a cop! Did he really have to show up in uniform? Like, come on, really?
Jose (comes in with some beer and a pizza that he brings to the men that sit at the TV, and approaches Zhivonda with a small soda): Would you like some cold Coke? (hands her a bottle) I know you said you won't be drinking tonight, so when I stepped out to get more beer, I got you some...
Zhivonda: Why, thank you. Ok. And what's your name, young man?
Jose: No problem (smiling) I'm Jose, I rent a room here from Mr. Famworth, he has one downstairs. I work the night shift manager at the Tedeschi at the corner.
Zhivonda: Ho, nice. It's nice to see a working young man for a change...
Jose (sighs): I would be a location manager already, they approved me, but that's another location that needs it, and there's no public transportation there...
Zhivonda (sympathetically): No license yet?
Jose (lowering his voice): I can drive, I could pass the text, but they ask for proof of residence and some other ID, and I don't want to inconvenience Mr. Famworth to draft a lease...
Zhivonda: Oh, bullshit! Just come to my division, I already know you live here. Bring your photo though...
Jose (gasping): Mam, you are an angel, you know that? I very much will...
Zhivonda: We'll get you on the road soon enough, Mr. future manager...
Jose: I actually put out some seats at the porch, and Mrs. Lakeisha and Mrs. Megyn are there already, having a smoke.
Zhivonda (raising): Nice! Good to have some air... thank you, dear, I'll go too. That tall Sergeant freaked me out... let me tell Lakeisha how I thought he was a police officer, haha...
Alex (loudly): The fuck I just saw...
Alex: This worm Jose just tricked aunt Zhivonda into giving him a license without proper ID check...
Sofi rolls her eyes
Alex: What a smooth piece of shit... I'd tell her he's illegal, if I gave a flying fuck about either of them.
Sofi retreats into the kitchen, obviously angry, grabs a beer
Peps: You look worried.
Peps: What about him?
Sofi: No, he's just...
(waves her hand in desperation and drinks from the bottle):
Peps: Did you guys just have a fight? You okay? I heard he just got out this morning...
Sofi (angrily): And high as a kite already.
Peps: Yo, I didn't notice.
Sofi: I think he is.
Peps: Hm... lemme see...
Porch. Zhivonda and Megyn, smoking, Lakeisha and her husband sitting quietly in the corner, later Jocelyn coming out of the kitchen.
Peps (meekly): Hi.
Megyn: Well, hello.
Peps: Er... I just thought I'd tell you... Alex is like high, so be careful, he's carrying, you know.
Zhivonda: What do you mean, high?
Peps (fidgeting): I don't mean like staring high, I mean like chasing cockroaches high. Just saw him jump into the armchair, he's seeing stuff, like...
Megyn (with dignity): I believe it. The way he was talking to me... this little laugh...urgh!
Jocelyn: Oh, yeah! The way he was talking... he is so totally high!
Zhivonda: Actually, now that you said it...
Uncle Fam (coming out): Good game tonight... what are you guys talking about?
Megyn: This Alex of yours. Did you know he was high?
Uncle Fam: I haven't seen much of him, but that would not surprise me at all. At all. He was a little off in the morning, if you ask me...
Megyn: Well, that's just disrespectful!
Z: Alex ain't high...
Jocelyn: Come on, why everyone else sees it and you don't...?
Z: Well, I dunno...
Zhivonda: He was such a good boy though. I remember him, when he was small, my sister, his mom, used to leave him with me sometimes, he was chasing my previous dog, Peppers all over the house...
Megyn (with dignity): Nothing good comes out of hanging at the corner with all kinds of wrong people...
Zhivonda: He almost graduated high school...
Uncle Fam: He entered high school, you mean... that was the same school Sofi went to.
Zhivonda: No, what I mean is that he almost graduated! He went all the way through the tenth grade, when...
(Alex comes out and everyone sort of leans back)
Uncle Fam: Alex, you ok?
Alex: Yeah, I'm high.
Uncle Fam: Well... Sofi, could you bring us some... Sofi? I'm talking to you, you know!
Alex (comes up to Sofi): I'm pissed, babe.
Sofi: About what? Did the Socks lose?
Alex: Fuck the Socks sideways. I know it's bullshit, it's just... I dunno... you know that Nivea commercial when the black chick puts on the lotion and her skin becomes lighter. Like what the hell, that's so racist out of nowhere, like the whiter the better. I don't get it, how are they even allowed to air that shit? That's like offensive, like, you are three times as sexy as that bitch in the commercial, and... oof...
(Walks up to the side of the porch, looking at the street, lights a cigarette, talking over his shoulder)
'Tis something deep wrong with the society if you ask me. I mean, like why is everyone just accepting that, like no one cares? I mean...
Alex turns around and realizes that everyone had left the porch, he is alone.
Megyn (leaving) Mom, careful, the step. Gimme your hand. I am sure that Alex was high tonight. He will get in trouble, mark my words... Buy, Fam!
Zhivonda (coming out of the living room, Jose following her carrying the dog): Ok, thank you, I can take Jewel now. Nice meeting you, young man. Buy, Fam!
Uncle Fam (from the living room): Buy everyone! Thank you for coming!
(Jocelyn and Z coming out, she is leaning heavily on him)
Jocelyn: Omg, I so tired. I think I can feel the baby moving. Can you feel it?
(puts his hand on her belly)
Jocelyn: Well, anyway, was a nice evening after all.
Z: I... yeah...
(sighs, looks around sneakily to see if Alex is around)
Jocelyn: Wait, my sneaker's untied, could you?
(Z ties her sneaker's laces while she keeps talking)
Zhivonda could have offered us a ride, really! If we cannot make it to the last bus...
Z: Yeah, there is one in fifteen minutes, can you move up a bit?
Jocelyn (sternly): I am expecting! Do you think I can run? It's not easy you know!
Z: The bus stop is right there, we're ok... don't get worked up it's bad for the baby...
Jocelyn: You are right. Ok, let's go...
Alex comes out of the kitchen with a beer in hand.
Alex: Gone for good. Can't stand that crowd. Urgh, I'd rather be at South bay. Hey, Sofi?
Rap, rushing in through the door.
Rap: Uncle Fam! Happy birthday! Am I late?
Alex: Bro, it's like midnight. What do you think.
Rap: Oh, holy shit! Alex! Didn't know you were in town! The man I was looking for! Listen, we have a new business venture running, like a real thing! You have to listen to this.
Alex (stepping back): Stay away from me with your business, yo. Last time you almost got locked up...
Rap (hotly): This one is different! This is biology! Like, real science, man! We have a bunch of people in it, one is in college, he is taking biology classes and he told us all about it...
Alex: You hanging with students now? Didn't know you can read...
Rap: Lisn, yeah, I am not the brightest bulb, but these people man, they are... the shit! They're not like junkies, they only do oxy, and this new thing of theirs, I don't know the name, but it's so... Yo, come with me, try some, you will love that crowd...
Alex: Man, you're high.
Rap: Nope! I am off the H-thing, like, cold turkey! Different person now! I just smoked a bit earlier just to clear my head, cuz we had quite a night yesterday... But let me tell you all about the business plan...
(Alex rolls his eyes, passes by him and sits next to the stairs on a little chair with the obvious intent to go up to Sofi as soon as everyone is gone)
Rap: So here is the thing: you basically take the pill that's available over the counter and...
(realizes Alex left and Peps came out meanwhile and is listening)
Wait, where is Alex?
Peps: Haven't seen him. So, about the pills... your crowd is selling or what? Cuz I know a guy that could...
Rap (lost): No, none of that shit, I mean... wait... Oh, never mind, do you know if there's any beer left?
Peps: Lemme check...
Sergeant (coming out): Happy birthday again, and thank you for a nice evening!
Uncle Fam (from the living room): You are welcome back anytime, my friend.
Rap: Oh well, no beer then... hey, are you military? For real? I always wanted to draft, but I'm too weak, cannot do them push ups... are you on discharge or just stopping by? Lisn, do you wanna stop by Sonny Walker's, my people are there now, I would introduce you...
Sergeant: You should go to sleep, really. It's getting late (moves him aside and walks out)
Rap: Fine, fine. I guess you are right...
Stairs are empty. Alex stands up and looks out carefully, hears the noise and gets back into the chair.
Liz comes down the stairs, Sofi quietly gets out of her room and to the stairs during the conversation
Liz: Looks like everyone's gone. I so don't like it, but hey, love is love.
(knocks on Jose's door)
Liz: Hey, Sofi said you can come see her anytime...
Jose (from inside the room): Hermosita! Do come in!
Liz: Like hell I will.
Jose (coming out): I don't mean any bad, I know better... Listen, I could take you to movies every other night if you want, I have some money... I am not a perv, hermosita, I am not going to touch you or anything, I just like to see you smile. You have a beautiful smile, you know...
Liz: For real, I so don’t get it. Ain’t you goin to marry Sofi or something?
Jose: Of course I am. See, pequeña, I am illegal. If I marry her, I get a green card, and she gets a husband that brings home money and doesn’t get locked up that often. Fair deal, no? Doesn’t mean I like her, she’s nice rather, but she’s fat. I have my standards you know. I would quite rather marry you, but you are too young...
Sofi (screams): Your son of a bitch! You fake son of a bitch!
Jose (scared): Sofi, no, I’m sorry, you don’t get it, I mean no disrespect. Listen, I have a job, we can have our own place, an I do will marry you...
Sofi (at the top of her lungs): Yeah, for a fucking green card! Like hell I’m marrying you though! You get your fake ass out of this house now and make it so I don’t see you ever again! You liar, you fucking liar!
Jose: All right, linda, all right, I am leaving, please don’t be mad...
(sneaks back into his room)
Sofi (at the top of her lungs, gasping with hyperventilation): Don't you fucking dare... ever.. call me that!
(throws a shoe down the stairs, hitting his closed door)
Liz (dodging to the side): Oh, shit. I’m so happy right now Alex is not here...
Alex: Except he is...
Sofi and Liz: Omg!!
Alex (coming up the stairs, extremely menacing and speaking very quietly): You know I’m carrying, right? Give me one valid reason to not blow the brain out of your fucking lying head, babe...
Sofi (sobbing): No, you’re right, you’re right. You can beat me up I guess. I don’t care anymore, I guess (crying) you were gone, and he was so different! I thought I loved him for real!
Alex (grabs her throat): Well, what do you think now? Do you still love him? Because I need to know...
Enters police officer downstairs, at the same time Uncle Fam from coming out of the living room.
Liz: OK, now we’re in trouble.
Officer: Sorry, the door was open. How's everyone doing?
Uncle Fam: Officer, I do apologize. Was the music too loud? Most people already left, I'll will get that turned down now...
Officer: I know you’re not the troublemaking type, sir, just making sure the music's down... happy birthday, by the way!
(quietly to Uncle Fam)
Wasn't the music, sir, I was passign by the street and someone hailed me, said, they heard screams, and honestly so did I...
(looking up to Alex)
Why, Alex C, long time no see. You are on release, which means, you’re not supposed to be making trouble in the neighborhood. Would you mind letting this young lady go, and would you mind a quick search too?
(comes up and restrains him)
Alex (shivering): Leave me alone! The whole city is fucked up! People are just plain lying, lying everywhere!
Officer (searching him): Son, I know you’re upset, but this thing in your pocket shouldn’t really be there while you are out on parole, you know.
(pulls out a bag of crack stones)
Alex (struggling): That was for tonight, to get money to pay for your new phone, you fake bitch! Fuck you! Just fuck you!
Sofi (crying quietly)
Officer (seriously): Son, you want to shut your mouth. You just admitted to an attempt to sell. That’s two and a half years mandatory in the school zone.
Alex (fiercely): Watch me give a flying fuck... I have about the same hanging right now, might as well wrap!
Officer: You now seriously want to shut the hell up before you admit to intentional violation of probation. This way please, the carriage is waiting for you, sir.
Alex (screams): Fuck it all! Fuck the bitch, fuck her idiot father, fuck this whole city! Once I’m done with my time, I’m going to New York to stay with my cousin! None of you stupid lying false asses will never see me again!
Officer: Damn right, son, and I would be real happy to escort you all the way to Route 91, if I must. Right this way.
(Officer and Alex leave)
Uncle Fam (gravely): Now you two... my neighbors called police to my house because of your shit and this idiot boyfriend of yours. So, I guess, Sofi’s all grown-up now! So Liz, you’re grounded. No candy no cinema no nothing until the end of the year. Sofi, you have 30 days to move out and do whatever the fuck you want to do with your sorry self, and for all I care, you’re welcome to sleep with every criminal in the neighborhood.
Thank God your aunt Maria doesn’t get to see this. I couldn’t even tell you, what she would say, man, I can’t even start...