Deathbed Confession

Slide15

31 PLAYS IN 31 DAYS: Day 2: Deathbed Confession

NATHAN sits in casual clothes, perhaps spattered with paint,
on an uncomfortable, strictly functional chair or bench outside
a hospital room doorway with clipboard or whiteboard posting.
We hear the faint periodic beep of hospital equipment, and the
occasional soft electric bell tone used to summon staff.

COURT enters, stage left, wearing a suit. NATHAN stands.

NATHAN:
Court!

COURT:
Hi, Nathan.

The two men hesitate between handshake and embrace,
but meet half-way with a handclasp and one-armed hug.

COURT:
How’s Ma?

NATHAN:
Dunno. Dr. Levitt is supposed to come by any time now with an update.

COURT inspects the wall charts, glances in the room.

COURT:
Can I see her?

NATHAN:
She’s getting some work done. They need room. The nurse should be done in a minute or so.

COURT:
Where’s Liz?

NATHAN:
She went to feed Ma’s cats.

COURT:
Cats? How many does she have now?

NATHAN:
Just the two.

COURT:
Good.

NATHAN:
Where’s Lou Ellen?

COURT:
Parking the car. Did you see what they charge by the hour? They’d better validate.

NATHAN:
You can buy a day pass. It’s cheaper.

COURT:
I’ll probably look into that.

NATHAN:
Did you come from work?

COURT:
Yeah, working late.

(Looking at NATHAN’s clothes)

What, were you painting?

NATHAN:
Cleaning. We’d just finished doing ma’s apartment. We were on the way home when she called.

COURT:
How did you know it was a stroke?

NATHAN:
Well, she was talking strange.

COURT:
What else is new.

NATHAN:
Strange for her. We turned around and called the EMT. They were putting her in the vehicle as we got there.

COURT:
Was she awake?

NATHAN:
Yeah. Lucid. Alert, even. She asked for you. That’s why I made the call.

COURT:
Do you think this is serious?

NATHAN:
Levitt thinks it may be a stroke. Her BP spiked again. They got it down now. They’re doing tests.

COURT:
A stroke. Man. That’s… Think she’ll need home care?

NATHAN:
Too early to tell.

(pause)

COURT:
So how’s it going, pal? I mean with you.

NATHAN:
Oh, about the same.

COURT:
You still teaching at that co-op thing?

NATHAN:
Not since… October. Year before last.

COURT:
That’s right!

NATHAN:
You still GM for –what was it? Benson?

COURT:
No, I left there in –gosh, was that two years ago.

NATHAN:
I don’t know.

COURT:
I’m Operations now, at a smaller company. My choice. Less overtime, less hassles. Looking to retire in just a few years. Maybe do some traveling.

(A pause before NATHAN offers:)

NATHAN:
Congratulations.

COURT:
I’m not there yet.

NATHAN:
Still.

(A pause. The hospital tone.)

COURT:
You sold any paintings lately?

NATHAN:
A couple. Had a show.

COURT:
Yeah, I got the invite. Hey, a friend of mine, business acquaintance, wants a mural on this building he’s buying. There’s money in it. Interested?

NATHAN:
Murals aren’t really my thing.

(A pause. Somewhere on the ward, an elevator dings.)

COURT:
You know, I’ve never told you this but –that pisses me off. That high-and-mighty attitude.

NATHAN:
You’re kidding me.

COURT:
No, you act like, “I’m an artist, I don’t have to lift a fucking finger.”

NATHAN:
I don’t ask you for—

COURT:
Half. I pay half of everything. But who’s Mama’s Little Darling because she always thought you were Picasso? You act like the world owes you a living, while the rest of us have to go out there and struggle, do shit, just to get by.

NATHAN:
Struggle just to—?

COURT:
I had dreams, too, you know. I had my little adolescent fantasy job.

NATHAN:
Playing baseball.

COURT:
Playing baseball. I did Pony League, recruiters, college ball, professional scouts, all of it.

COURT:
But I saw it wasn’t going to happen. Was never going to pay off.

So I did what you’re supposed to do. Be reasonable. Make sense. Grow up. And what did you do? Run off and join the freakin’ circus.

NATHAN:
I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

COURT:
With who, me or you?

(A NURSE enters, leaving the room and making and
a mark on the chart.)

NURSE:
Doctor Leavitt would like to speak to the two of you. He’s in Room B, just down the hall.

COURT:
(to his brother)
After you.

NATHAN exits. COURT glances into the room,
then addresses the NURSE.

COURT:
How is she?

NURSE:
She’s had a cerebral hemorrhage. Doctor Leavitt will speak to you about it. Room B.

(NURSE exits.)

(COURT peers into the room. LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK.)

(END OF PLAY)

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