TOO YOUNG TO
(First, in black, we hear the opening bars of Sarah McLachlan's "Possession":
Listen as the wind blows
From across the Great Divide
Voices trapped in yearning
Memories trapped in time
The night is my companion
And solitude my guide
Would I spend forever here
And not be satisfied?
Lights fade up during the last few lines to reveal a living room. This is a 2-bedroom bachelor pad, so it's not fancy - all we need are a couch, cd's and tapes piled on the floor, a stereo or boombox on an old milk crate. Off to one side is a kitchen, which serves mainly as a bar area.
As the beat kicks in on the song, the front door is unlocked and three people stumble in, all singing along to the song. The two men are DANNY and JACK; both are about 30, both are smashed, JACK a little less so than DANNY. With them is ELIZABETH, younger, seemingly as drunk as they but still maintaining a slight remove, an aura of mystery. ELIZABETH dances back and forth between the two spellbound men, a dance of dual seduction)
ALL (singing along with song):
And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I
Wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes, dear
(The song reaches an instrumental break at the end of the chorus and fades out, and DANNY flops clumsily onto the couch, pulling ELIZABETH down with him. JACK watches, laughing)
DANNY: Now, what was that line about "kiss you so hard"?
(ELIZABETH pushes away from him, teasing)
ELIZABETH: Slow down, we've got forever.
(She rises, stands to examine the room, leaving DANNY empty- handed and disappointed)
ELIZABETH: Nice place.
JACK: Yeah, right. Only the best milk crates for us.
ELIZABETH: Mind if I put on some music?
(DANNY and JACK exchange a quick look, then)
JACK: Whatever turns you on, darlin'.
(ELIZABETH bends over to look at some CD's. DANNY and JACK both eye her ass, JACK biting his knuckles. DANNY rises and moves to put his arms around her from behind)
DANNY: Why don't we just make our own music?
ELIZABETH (ignoring him): Do you guys have anything from this century?
(DANNY slumps and releases her, defeated again. JACK steps in)
JACK: You're in Danny's collection there. Check out my stuff over here.
(He leads her away, grinning back at DANNY, who flips him off. ELIZABETH looks through the discs while JACK massages her shoulders provocatively)
ELIZABETH (finds a CD, hands it to JACK): Here. This is good.
JACK (eyeing the CD in surprise): Not exactly the techno-house you were groovin' on at the club.
(He puts it on. It's somber, Dead Can Dance or Portishead)
ELIZABETH: I love all kinds of music.
JACK: Yeah, us, too.
(They start a slow, sensual, close dance. Dejected, DANNY lays out several lines of coke and snorts one. He lets the rush come on, then rises and encircles ELIZABETH from behind, so all three are dancing together.
DANNY (nodding at the coke): Hey, I've got something you might really like.
(ELIZABETH ignores the drugs to release JACK and turn solely to DANNY)
ELIZABETH: Yes, I think you do.
(JACK looks on for a second, then starts towards the kitchen)
JACK: How about something to drink?
ELIZABETH: What've you got?
(JACK makes only a pretense of scanning the shelves)
JACK: Uhhh.... (He watches the increasingly-passionate dance for a beat, then) Hey, Danny, didn't you have some Jagermeister stowed in here somewhere?
DANNY (slurred, preoccupied): 'Bove the fridge.
(JACK doesn't really look)
JACK: It's not there.
DANNY: Look again.
JACK: I can't find it.
DANNY: Fix somethin' else, then.
JACK (firmly): I think Elizabeth was doing Jag shots at the club, Danny.
(DANNY sighs and drops ELIZABETH)
DANNY: Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back.
(She smiles, he goes to join JACK in the kitchen. He pulls the bottle forth in irritation)
DANNY: What the fuck's wrong with you, man, it was right where I said -
JACK (whispering urgently): I knew where the Jagermeister was, dumbshit. I had to get you in here so we could talk.
(He glances at ELIZABETH, who dances to the music by herself)
DANNY: About what?
JACK: How you wanna do this?
DANNY: Just straight up in a glass -
JACK: I mean her, Danny, the girl!
DANNY (gets it and grins): Ohhhhh. Um, what are the options?
JACK: One at a time or both at once.
DANNY: Well... shouldn't we, like, ask her?
JACK: Are you kidding? This chick is so hot she'd do a whole football team tonight if she could get one! I mean, she hit on us, remember? She'll go whichever way we want, trust me.
DANNY: Shit... I dunno...
(Then the boys grin at each other. DANNY pulls the coke vial from a pocket and goes straight for the spoon this time)
JACK: Hey man, why don't you slow down on that shit a little? I mean, this chick ain't into it anyway.
DANNY: I haven't done that much -
JACK: Tonight, maybe, but how about for the last six months? (Beat, then) Look, Danny boy, I know you been down lately, it's been a long time since you even had a date...
DANNY: You're makin' me feel real good, pal -
JACK: All I'm sayin' is, if you want this one all to yourself, just tell me and I'll split. This bud's for you, okay?
DANNY (gratefully): Thanks, Jack. But don't leave!
(They high-five, a gesture ELIZABETH catches out of the corner of one eye... and one that just causes her to smile slightly to herself)
ELIZABETH: How long does it take to pour three drinks, boys?
JACK: Right! (He pours three glasses, then, to DANNY) You wanna just play it by ear?
DANNY: Hey, I just wanna play on her rear!
(They laugh and go back to the living room, where they hand ELIZABETH a glass, then all clink glasses and down the shots)
ELIZABETH: So, did you two decide who's on first?
(DANNY and JACK both redden and stammer)
JACK: What d'you take us for?
DANNY: Yeah, c'mon...
ELIZABETH: Let me guess: We're playing it by ear, are we?
(She sets her glass down, and gently pulls DANNY to the couch, where she starts toying with his ear)
ELIZABETH: What a strange phrase that is... playing by ear. I imagine a musician whose fingers have all been cut off, and he's still so desperate to make his music that he'll try playing with anything... his feet, his nose, his tongue (she laps once at DANNY's ear) ...even his ear. But the sad thing is, the music doesn't work any more. Because you can't really play anything by ear, can you? It would just result in a lot of... clumsy banging.
(DANNY tries to kiss her, but she deftly slides away and moves to JACK)
ELIZABETH: What about you? Aren't you a virtuoso?
(JACK takes her in his arms)
JACK: Depends on the instrument. How finely tuned it is...
ELIZABETH: I think you're strictly electric. Nothing "unplugged" about you.
(He leans down to kiss her and she lets him, but JACK pulls back sharply after a few seconds)
DANNY (giggling): What'sa matter, man, she bite you?
JACK: No, she tastes bad. I mean, like something really rotten, something - dead...
(ELIZABETH goes to cuddle up next to DANNY again)
ELIZABETH: Now do I taste bad to you, Danny?
(She kisses him, then, as she moves off his mouth, he closes his eyes in pleasure)
DANNY: Tastes pretty damn fine to me.
(She continues working on DANNY as JACK watches uncertainly, a little freaked out)
JACK: You gotta be kidding me - you don't get that?
DANNY: Maybe it was the Jagermeister.
(ELIZABETH raises her head - and fixes JACK with a fierce, icy stare that paralyzes him)
ELIZABETH: Or maybe it was you. But you'd never stop to consider that possibility, would you, Casanova?
JACK: It wasn't me!
ELIZABETH (to DANNY): What do you think, Danny? Are you ready to go farther?
DANNY: Oh yeahhhh....
ELIZABETH: I could tell.
(DANNY is seated on the couch; ELIZABETH moves behind him, kneading his shoulders, lips almost touching his ear)
ELIZABETH: Now, you just relax and let Crystal take care of everything...
JACK: Crystal? You said your name was Elizabeth...
ELIZABETH: Who do you want me to be, Danny?
JACK: What the fuck...?! I knew Crystal, you're not her!
ELIZABETH (snarling): Shut up, Jack! It's been decided. Danny's going first, and he wants me to be Crystal. Don't you... Danman?
DANNY: That's what she used to call me...
(DANNY seems spellbound, but JACK walks forward now, disturbed)
JACK: This is too weird. I don't know how you know about Crystal, since she and Danny broke up five years back... unless this is some bad joke or something she put you up to -
ELIZABETH: It's not.
JACK: Well, I don't care. Party's over.
(He's right next to her, but she's staring him down with an intensity the enchanted DANNY can't see)
DANNY: Jack, it's okay -
JACK: No it's not. You're leaving now, Elizabeth or Crystal or whatever your name is -
(He takes her arm, but can't budge her. He tries again, looks at her with the beginnings of fear)
ELIZABETH: Oh dear. Am I gonna have to hurt you, Jack?
(Before he can react, she hits him and sends him flying over the couch. JACK lands in a stunned, crumpled heap on the floor twenty feet away, shaking his head, then looking up at her in shock)
JACK: Wha... what...
ELIZABETH: This was okay as long as I was just some little "chick", right, Jack? Some little chick you big strong men could make a picnic out of, whether I wanted it or not. Well, guess what, Jack, all the little chicks are born with eyes that can see right through you, but now this one's got talons, too. It's alright, I wouldn't expect you to like it when the tables turn and suddenly you are the evening meal, but it's like they say - payback's a bitch, right? (then to DANNY) Now, Danny, tell me all about Crystal. About what went wrong.
DANNY: What went wrong...? I dunno. I still don't know. I loved her. I'd loved her since high school. We used to meet after class every day, we'd listen to music and laugh and smoke grass and talk about how we were gonna move away together and form our own band. Then we both went off to college, and...
DANNY: And she met somebody else.
ELIZABETH: Oh, Danny, that's not really what happened, is it?
JACK (dragging himself up): Leave him alone! Danny, wake up, man, Danny - !! What did you do to him?!
ELIZABETH (ignoring JACK): She didn't leave you for another man, did she?
DANNY (in tears now): No. She just left. Just decided she didn't love me any more. I don't know why. Oh god I wish I knew why, tell me why...
ELIZABETH: People just grow up sometimes, Danny. That's what Crystal did.
JACK: Shut up, goddamn you. Crystal burned out, that's what. I'm calling the cops -
(ELIZABETH smiles at JACK and puts her hands around DANNY's limp head in a very threatening manner)
ELIZABETH: And tell them what? That "the chick" you picked up in a disco is seducing your friend?
JACK: I don't know what you're doing, but it's not a seduction.
ELIZABETH: I suppose that's something you think you know a lot about, isn't it, Jack? Except in this case you're so wrong. This is the seduction of Danny's life. Except what we're going to share is so much more than just sex. Now I want you to sit quietly while I finish.
JACK: Finish what?
ELIZABETH (ignoring him, to DANNY): Tell me about when you were a child, a teenager. All the things like Crystal, the disappointments, the hurts, the dreams that failed, the faiths betrayed, the hopes broken...
JACK: Danny, NO!!
(But DANNY doesn't respond. The light on the stage slowly begins to fade to just a spot on DANNY and ELIZABETH, while JACK paces, trying to decide what to do)
DANNY: When I was six my best friend got mad at me and dropped a heavy hammer on my toes, broke three of them, didn't even apologize...
ELIZABETH: What did you learn?
DANNY: That you can't trust anyone.
ELIZABETH: How true.
(This is clearly the seduction ELIZABETH promised, as she seems to bond with DANNY in a strange exchange of energies)
DANNY: I was twelve, and my dad promised to get me a BMX racing bike for my birthday, but all I got was a model kit because he said it was all he could afford. He told me life wasn't fair, and that was the first time I ever hated him.
ELIZABETH: Ohh, that's good, Danny, let it go, let it all go...
DANNY: My mom got cancer and it took her two months to die, and at the end I went in to her hospital room to kiss her goodbye and she didn't even know who I was...
ELIZABETH: It's getting easier, isn't it? Each time, you feel a little lighter, now, a little more removed...
DANNY: There was the movie company we were gonna form - remember, Jack?
JACK: A-B Positive Films. Tell me about it, Danny, it was fun, wasn't it? We had some great times, right?
DANNY (nodding): I was gonna direct and you were gonna produce. But then you stopped because you said we were never gonna be good enough to matter. You killed the movies Jack.
JACK (frantic): No, Danny, we just didn't have enough time was all, what with me in law school and you already working at that ad firm -
DANNY: Meyer and Philips. They passed me up for promotion three times in a row, so I quit.
JACK: Yeah, but you got a better job, pal, didn't you?
DANNY: Oh yeah. I manage a fucking shipping department. I was gonna be an artist...
ELIZABETH (to JACK, almost drunken-sounding): Give it up, Jack. You can't win. (Then, to DANNY) Almost there, Danny, now don't stop, take me the rest of the way...
(During the believe speech, ELIZABETH is rapt, her eyes closed, mouth open and panting, body keeping time to the words)
DANNY: You go through life, all the little defeats, the pains, the hurts, they don't even have to be big ones but you feel them all anyway. And you wonder, Why? What's the point, if this is all it is? So you look for one thing to keep you going, because, hey, other people get through it, right? And then one day you wake up and you realize that you never found even that one thing. You wasted all those years looking and never found it, whether it was love or art or ambition. And then you realize the ultimate truth is that all those other people never found it either. You look at them in front of their t.v.'s, drinking their beers and waking up feeling tired every morning, and you realize that they were just like you once. They had dreams and hopes and ideals, too, but now they know the truth: That those things are just fantasies, they never work out, and there's no point in even trying. It's much easier to just finally accept the truth and stop trying. Just sit back and wait for the end...
JACK: No it's not, Danny. What about the good things? Your first kiss, a good movie, your favorite song...
DANNY: They don't last...
JACK: They do last -
DANNY: Remember the guy we thought would save the movies? River. Did he last? (a bitter laugh, then) Running on Empty. Yeah, right.
JACK (desperate): Danny, that was an accident. It was terrible, but an accident -
DANNY: How about our favorite song?
JACK: "Smells Like Team Spirit" -
DANNY: Was Kurt an accident, too?
JACK (horrified): No...oh no... Don't do this, Danny -
(Climax. DANNY and ELIZABETH seem to fuse for a beat, then she falls back, sated; DANNY just slumps, looking dead. JACK rises and takes a hesitant step forward)
JACK: Oh god, Danny... What did you do to him? WHAT?!!
ELIZABETH (slurring, post-coital): He's not dead.
(JACK goes to DANNY's side, sees DANNY's breathing)
JACK: What's wrong with him?
(ELIZABETH sighs and slowly starts to gather herself again)
ELIZABETH: He's much better off drained.
ELIZABETH: He was ripe, ripe with a lifetime of bitterness, so I plucked him and ate him. And he's better off now, because he's empty, no more nagging hopes or troublesome dreams.
(JACK backs away from her, very afraid now)
JACK: What are you?
ELIZABETH: I think you know. Just because I don't suck blood...
JACK: Jesus. Sweet Jesus.
ELIZABETH: Probably, but unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to find out. Now Judas, on the other hand - I did enjoy him. Too bad they left that part out of their little bible.
JACK: I'm supposed to believe you're two-thousand years old?
ELIZABETH: I don't give a fuck what you believe, Jack.
(She takes a step towards him, and he grabs the Jagermeister bottle as a weapon)
JACK: Stay away from me -
ELIZABETH (laughs): Oh Jack, really. If you were ready for me, do you think that'd work?
JACK: Ready... ?
ELIZABETH: Oh yes. You're not. Not yet. But you will be, Jack, trust me. Soon the girls won't be enough. Danny will be gone, and you never really cared about the job, and maybe you'll drink more and snort and smoke, but the gap will just never fill. Oh, believe me, the day will come when you'll beg me to take it all away from you. It'll be the greatest fucking, Jack, a real ten on your scale.
JACK: I'd rot in hell first.
ELIZABETH: Your choice. But I will be back for you. And sooner than you think.
(She kisses DANNY on the lips - to no response)
ELIZABETH: Goodbye, Danny. Au revoir, Jack.
(She exits. After a few beats, JACK gets up and walks warily to DANNY)
JACK: Danny... Danny... c'mon, man, show me you're okay, c'mon...
(DANNY moves, coming around)
DANNY: Leave me alone.
(JACK is both relieved and taken aback)
JACK: No way. No way am I leaving you alone. I'm gonna bring you back, Danny, make it okay... our song...listen, here it is...
(He rushes to the CD's, finds the one he wants, slides it in. Nirvana's "Smells Like Team Spirit" blares out)
JACK: It's our anthem, Danny, do you hear it...?
(A beat, as the song plays, JACK waits for DANNY's response, then)
DANNY (yelling): Will you turn that shit down, for godssakes?!
(On JACK's look of absolute horror, we fade lights to black)