Once Upon A Week

August 2016. First semester at UT. Saw an ad on campus for something called “Once Upon a Week”, a theater project where you write, rehearse, and perform a play within one week with a group of strangers. I decided, why the hell not… and ended up having a helluva good time. I couldn’t find the shaky, grainy footage I took of the performance, but the transcript is below.

* * *

 [Scene starts with Miranda driving along a road with Beyoncé’s Formation playing. Kevin comes onto the scene right in front of Miranda, waving his hands. She hits him accidentally]

Miranda:   Oh my god!!!

[Miranda gets out of her car and comes over to Kevin, who is on the ground]

Miranda:   Are you ok?!?!

Kevin:     [Getting up] Do I look OK?! You just hit me with your stupid Honda.

Miranda:   You’re the one who ran in front of a moving vehicle. Are you insane?

Kevin:     Classic victim blaming!

Miranda:   Yeah, if the victim is an idiot!

Kevin:     You know what, I don’t think I broke more than 3 ribs, the least you can do is drive me home. It’s freaking cold out here.

[They both get inside]

Miranda:   So, what are you doing out in the middle of a blizzard?

Kevin:     I would tell you, but I have to kill you first.

Miranda:   Oh my god, what?! I’m calling the police.

Kevin:     No, no! I was just kidding. Don’t call the police, I promise I’m not dangerous… though these guns might be [Kevin flexes his arm, painfully] Ow.

Miranda:   I don’t know… Can’t say I’m used to having suicidal sarcastic hobos in my car.

Kevin:     How about this… I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’m not just a homeless person without anything to his name.

Miranda:   OK, DELUSIONAL suicidal sarcastic hobos.

Kevin:     I’m not delusional! Have you ever had a long weekend with good ol’ Ben and Jerry and neglected yourself so unapologetically you started to look like me?

Miranda:   You have a point. Yeah, there was that one time after Jake dumped me, and I wanted to pee in his shampoo bottle but –

Kevin:     That sounds creatively sadistic, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Miranda:   Woah, you’re quite rude to the person who took you in.

Kevin:     You’re not much nicer to a person you ran over.

Miranda:   Well, what do we do now, mysterious rich but strange looking man?

Kevin:     Can you just drive? I need something to drink.

Miranda:   Alright. Buckle up.

[Miranda starts to drive, puts back on Beyoncé’s formation. Miranda starts dancing to the song]

Kevin:     Where did you get those moves? The third grade?

Miranda:   How dare you make fun of the Queen Bee.

Kevin:     You still think she’s the Queen? There’s a 7-11 over there, can you please pull in?

Miranda:   Sure, but I ain’t getting inside with you.

Kevin:     Dang it, I was hoping I could seduce you with some Doritos and we could get it on in the bath –

Miranda:   Get out!

Kevin:     Roar. Fierce. I like it.

Miranda:   Get out or I’ll break three more of your sorry ribs.

[Kevin chuckles then gets out and heads towards the store]

Kevin:     So typical of her.

[Inside, David is standing at the cashier. In the car, Miranda fiddles with her phone]

Kevin:     [To David] Hey man.

[David does not respond but keeps his eyes on Kevin, who walks around, picks up some items and approaches the register.]

David:     Just these?

Kevin:     Yeah. By the way, I noticed you eyeing me while I was walking around. It’s really messed up that you did that.

David:     To be honest, we have all kinds of folks walk in here, and you didn’t exactly –

Kevin:     Look, I understand. But just for your information, I’m worth more than your whole store is.

David:     [Laughs] Yeah, ok.

Kevin:     Look out there. You see that girl sitting in the red Honda playing with her phone? [David nods] That’s the assistant I hired specifically to pick out my ties.

David:     She’s hot. You really wasted that opportunity on stupid ties.

Kevin:     You are on hell of a misogynist. Just take this, I’m thirsty.

David:     Yeah man. We all thirsty. [Kevin shakes his head, hands David a bill] Is that a… is that a Cleveland?! They stopped making those in ’69!

Kevin:     You mean a thousand-dollar bill? You peasants and your nicknames for money. So I’m guessing now you believe me?

David:     Dude… I’d quench your thirst myself if –

Kevin:     NOPE not interested, thanks. I can use your help with something else though… but you’d have to wait for your payment… I just handed you my last “Cleveland”.

David:     Yeah, anything man.

Kevin:     Honestly I’ll owe you big time. Now, I just need you to do one thing. Do you have a pen and a paper?

David:     Yeah. [David gets the supplies from under the desk]

Kevin:     Great. Call this… number… [He scribbles on the paper] Ok? Call this number about 10 minutes from now.

David:     Is that the Becky with the good hair’s number?

Kevin:     Becky is not her name, but yes.

David:     Mad props, yo. You look like you waltzed out of a garbage truck this morning, how did you get her number?

Kevin:     Just call the number ok? When she picks up, say “this is the sign.” She might start crying, don’t be alarmed, just hang up.

David:     You’re hella weird, dude. Whatever, as long as I get those sweet, sweet Clevelands.

Kevin:     Alright, I’ll send a check to this address. In the meantime, I suggest you try to be a little more of a gentleman. Bitches love gentlemen.

David:     You the man.

[Kevin walks back to the car]

Miranda:   What took you so long? I don’t wanna be out in these creepy woods for longer than I have to be.

Kevin:     You have me, I’ll protect you.

Miranda:   You’re the creepy part!

Kevin:     Alright, well here… I got you some Sour Patch Kids.

Miranda:   These are my favorite! How did you know?

Kevin:     A hunch. Let’s get going.

[They both buckle up; Miranda starts to drive]

Kevin:     I have to tell you something.

Miranda:   I swear to god, if you’re trying to come on to –

Kevin:     No, no. It’s not like that. I’m not who you think I am.

Miranda:   Then who are you?

Kevin:     Do you think you can pull over? We can’t have this conversation like this. I need to see you.

Miranda:   Ok. But just so you know, I carry.

Kevin:     I already know that.

[Miranda stops the car]

Miranda:   How could you possibly know that?

Kevin:     I told you, I’m not who you think I am. I know more about you than you think I know. I know that you were born in Kentucky to a single mother, who died when you were 19. I know you moved to New York shortly after. I know you became a wildly successful Journalist by the time you turned 23. I know that you probably don’t remember any of this since your accident.

Miranda:   [Visibly shaken] How did you…? Oh my god…

[Miranda walks out to get some air]

Kevin:     I’m so sorry… [Kevin follows her out] I always throw everything at you all at once. I never learn.

Miranda:   What do you mean always?! Are you suggesting you’ve done this to me before?

Kevin:     I’m from your future, sweetie. I’m your husband.

Miranda:   [Nervously laughing] You’ve gotta be kidding me. Are you crazy?

Kevin:     I’m not, and the proof is in a couple minutes you’ll get a phone call from me from four years from now. You just wait.

Miranda:   Get the hell away from me. You’re insane.

Kevin:     No, please! I swear, I’m not a stranger! You have to –

Miranda:   Yes you are! You need to leave right –

[Phone rings. Miranda stares at the screen, puzzled, looks at Kevin. Kevin looks to her empathetically. Miranda picks up, starts sobbing.]

Kevin:     Hey, hey… It’s alright. [Approaches her slowly] I know it’s been hard for you these last couple of years. But I promise, I’m here to help.

Miranda:   It’s just… the sour patch kids. They’re so good.

Kevin:     [Laughing] I know, I know. They’ve always had a strong impact on you emotionally, but compose yourself, woman!

Miranda:   If you’re really my husband, why don’t I know who you are?

Kevin:     I’ve known you since we were kids, but after your accident you forgot most of your past, including everyone you ever knew. But I wasn’t going to let you slip into a lonely bubble, no matter how many times I had to travel back and remind you who I am.

Miranda:   I can’t believe… all these years, I kept forgetting who you were. How could you put up with that?

Kevin:     Listen, love is not about doing what’s convenient. It isn’t about romance, either. Every time I have to meet you again, I realize how much I can’t live without you. I love you not because you’re beautiful, or smart, or because you have a hilariously adorable reaction to Sour Patch Kids… I love you because you’re all I’ve ever needed.

Miranda:   It’s the 7-11 guy that called me, isn’t it?

[The End]

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