The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

52 Robert Gipe and Higher Ground Company

MATTHEW: Hey, mom. BRETTA: Hey. Talking is almost impossible, they acknowledge that somehow. MATTHEW: Not OK?

somehow. He falls, but he doesn’t stay down. He—this is almost like slow motion—gets up again, takes her glass from the table, breaks it against the edge like a bar fight weapon, and comes after her. He is slowed by the drug in him, but he is a genuine menace . BRETTA: No, Allen, no . . . it’s just me, you know me! [ She’s throwing things at him, nothing of consequence. He won’t stop coming. She gets a gun from a kitchen drawer. ] Stop! Allen! Stop! [ She’s screaming, pointing the gun. ] STOP! I MEAN IT! MATTHEW enters. MATTHEW: MOM! NO! MATTHEW is holding his mother’s arm away. And in the instant he sees the boy, ALLEN is no longer angry or menacing. He changes in a heartbeat. He looks at the broken glass in his hand and wonders where it came from. ALLEN: Somebody could get cut . . . BRETTA begins to really cry, but she is still pointing the gun. ALLEN is oblivious to it . MATTHEW: [ Taking the gun ] Mom, here, put that down. There is a long moment in which nobody moves . ALLEN: What happened to the music? Another long pause . ALLEN: I just asked what happened to the music? BRETTA takes the gun back from the boy and puts it in her purse. She packs her books and puts her arm around MATTHEW . They exit . ALLEN: What happened to the music? It was so good. Lights down on ALLEN. Lights up on BRETTA, elsewhere on stage. BRETTA: [L ooking up from studying ] I was already in school, that day of the loud music. I did need to be able to earn a living after Allen got hurt, and he did get hurt. He needed something for pain at first. Who knew that stuff was so addictive? We sure didn’t. I think maybe the doctors did. I know the drug companies knew what they were selling. OxyContin. Anyway, I already knew I needed to be able to earn a living long before Allen’s problem got so bad. I started school back then. I still had a couple of years to go after that day with the music, four years of school for a BS degree. I’m studying social services. [ Thinking back on it. ]

BRETTA shakes her head “No.” MATTHEW: I’m going outside.

BRETTA shakes her head “Yes” with the hand gesture “ok.” MATTHEW exits. BRETTA cannot study, but she tries. She crosses/ exits-by the book bag-and offstage; the music is turned down a little. She enters and returns to her study. This is almost do-able. A moment, then the music is turned back up. BRETTA: Allen, I’ve got a test tomorrow! There is no change in the volume of the music. MATTHEW enters. The music is loud, so he pantomimes: “Can I get something to eat?” BRETTA nods yes, points to snack items. MATTHEW takes whatever the food is and gestures: “M, outside again?” She agrees, and the son exits with food in hand. A long, loud moment. BRETTA: I have a test tomorrow! BRETTA exits, the music is turned off. She enters and sits again. Breathes deep for patience. Tries to go back to paying attention to books. She’s ready to cry. The music comes on very loud again. BRETTA: I need some silence! Dammit, Allen! Allen! BRETTA tries to stay there in the noise. She knows this can escalate. This is a fair description of genuine misery, and she is really angry. She exits, the music is turned off suddenly, there is a loud crash, and she drags some stereo component back into the room by its electric cord. She drops the cord and leaves the stereo component in the floor not far from the book bag. She sits again, furious. ALLEN enters , t urning into Mr. Hyde, as he comes into the doorway. He makes some noise in his movement, not words. BRETTA turns to face him . BRETTA: Allen, I have a test tomorrow. I have to study. This is important. ALLEN: You think you’re so damn smart . . . so smart, so smart. Miss Brains is gonna get her college degree and bring home the bacon cause her sorry husband is such a . . . . He grabs the book bag because it is there and slams it hard into her. She is knocked from the chair; she struggles away and up to her feet. He’s still coming. She grabs the chair and clips him, catches his legs

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