Ah, English. It has given us Shakespeare
, and now, it has given us... Less Than Jake: A Play
. The title is of my own devising; the original manuscript bestowed upon me was untitled. This was submitted to a drama club
's student-written festival, and was sadly rejected. I decided it was too good to be shoved in some file cabinet forever. Therefore, with permission from the author, I submit it to E2 for approval
Note: In classic allegorical style, this work contains many references to various songs by Florida's favorite sons, ska band Less Than Jake. For the ska-impaired, I have hardlinked the references to their respective songs. No changes have been made to the actual text. Without further ado... LTJ:AP!
Scene 1: Rock and Roll Pizzeria.
(Lights up. Al, Doug, Jake, and Howard all sit around the table eating and talking. This is also the introduction scene where the characters introduce themselves. Costume note: Al is wearing a Less than Jake T-shirt. Everyone else is wear the shirt of a Metal band.)
Doug: So I'm looking right into the cops' eyes, right? So I finally say to him, 'YO! I just wanna go home, ok? I swear, I thought I was obeying the speed limit.
Jake: Were you?
Doug: Hello no! I was stoned outta my mind.
Al: Hey, what do you guys wanna do tonight? (freeze, except Al. Spot on him.) I'm Al Pigton. I am the only one out of my friends who actually wants to get the fuck out of this town. I swear, man. Sometimes I just wanna pick up and go. (unfreeze) You guys wanna hit Liberty City?
Doug: I dunno, man. I gotta pick up some stuff first at 9th and pine. (Freeze, spot on Doug) I'm Doug Hasteings. I never wanna leave Gainesville, and out of all my friends, I'm the crazy one. I'm always looking for ways to score some dope or break the law. (unfreeze) Howard, you seem quiet tonight. What the hell is with you tonight?
Howard: I dunno, man. I'm just bored out of my skull.
Jake: Bored? Hell man, Doug here is score us some coke from the dopeman, then get us some women. (freeze, spot on Jake.) I'm Jake Rockview, and like Doug, I never wanna leave, either. I just wanna sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. (unfreeze) Howard! let's go, we're leaving. (all get up to go. Howard sits.)
Howard: I'll be there in a minute. (freeze. spot on Howard) I'm Howard J. Reynolds. I'm a nobody, to tell the truth. These guys just accept me for who I am, take me out every night, and get me messed up. (unfreeze)
Doug: Howard! Get your ass in the car!. (black out)
Scene 2: 9th and Pine/Dopeman/History of a Boring Town. (lights up. the scene is a street corner where Frank, the dopeman is pushing drugs. Enter Al, Howard, Doug, and Jake)
Frank:(shouting to imaginary people) I get anything you want man, crack, coke, you name it. Oh, hey Doug. What's up? You need your usual 50 dollars worth tonight?
Doug: Yea man. Me and my boys are gonna drive around for a little bit while messed up.
Al: Dude, I don't wanna do that that again.
Jake: why the hell not?
Al: Cause we did it last night. God, I hate it here. I just wanna get out somehow.(Enter Jen. Al's high school crush. It's been 5 years since they last saw each other.) Jen??
Jen: yes, do I know you?
Al: Yea, it's Al Pigton. Remember?
Jen: Al? Oh Al! I was wondering what happened to you. I thought you left town.
Al: I want to. (They drift away from the other guys)
Jen: So why don't you?
Al: Where am I gonna go, huh? I have no car, no money, no nothing.
Jen: Weren't you always in the school plays? You could get a job in acting.
Al: But where will I live? And how will I get there?
Jen: Do you still hang out with Doug Hasteings?
Al: Yea, why?
Jen: Well, he has a car, right? Get him to leave with you.
Al: Are you kidding me? His mind has gone to shit. He can't get a job anywhere. Except if he sold drugs. No, bad idea.
Al: Because he'll get caught, then I'll have to bail him out.
Jen: Oh. That sucks. Well, I have to get going now. It was nice to see you. And good luck trying to get out. (exits)
Frank: Yo Al, who was that girl? You sleep with her or something?
Al: No, that was Jen. I used to be in love with her.
Howard: What happened? You two ever hook up?
Al: No, she left town before I could tell her how I felt.
Doug: Boo-hoo, man. Come on. Let's go get high.(black out)
Scene 3: How's my driving, Doug Hastings. (lights up. all 4 are in a car, Doug driving, Jake is shotgun, Al and Howard are in the back.)
Doug: where's the crowbar?
Howard: I got it. Who's house are we gonna hit?
Doug: No idea, yet.
Al: Doug, when we stop I need to talk to you for a minute, ok?
Doug: Sure. What about?
Al: didn't I just say, when we stop?
Doug: Right. I'm too stoned for this.
Jake: I hear that, man. So Al, what were you talking to that girl about?
Al: Nothing really. Old times, I guess.
Howard: what about the present?
Jake: I hate talking about the present. The past was so much better then these shitty times.
Doug: hear hear!
Al: But see, that's my problem with this town. Everyone here lives in the past, and I'm tired of it. I can't live like that. I have to get out-
Jake:(trying to interrupt) Al.
Al: I have to leave. I need to go forward in life, not stay in the back-
Al: Because there is something out there for me. For all of us. We just have to find it.
Jake:(one more try) AL!
Jake:(calmly) Phone. (everyone but Al laughs)
Al: screw you, man. It's not my fault you're a cokehead who's wasting his future on absolute crap in this stupid fucking town.
Jake:(really angry)Fuck you, man. This is what I wanna do with my life. I know I have no future. And so what? Big deal. At least I'm comfortable where I am, and I don't want change. (turns around to try to grab his neck)
Howard:(the peaceful one) hey, knock it off you two.
Doug:( not knowing what just happened) What the hell? Damnit you two. Stop that. We're here. Everybody out.
Scene 4: Liquor Store (Howard and Jake go into the store, which is offstage. Doug and Al stay back to talk about whatever Al wanted)
Doug: What'd you wanna talk to me about?
Al: I have to get out.
Doug: what do you mean?
Al: I have to leave town. I'm fed up.
Doug: So why'd you wanna talk to me about it?
Al: Because you have a car.
Doug: What are you getting at?
Al: I want you to leave with me.
Doug: Are you out of your mind, man?
Al: No. Not at all. I'm serious.
Doug: But what would I do?
Al: I dunno. Wanna be an actor with me?
Doug: Are you sure you didn't have any coke?
Al: Doug, stop kidding around. I really want you to leave with me.
Doug: Why me? You know, like, why not Jake or Howard?
Al: Because you have a car. And, I've known you since I was 5.
Doug: Yea. Remember that time you-
Al:(cuts him off) No. no talking about the past.
Doug: But it was so much fun.
Al: It was. But that was then. So will you leave with me? (enter Jake and Howard holding 40's.)
Doug: I'll think it about it. (to Jake and Howard) You guys get it?
Howard: Yea. Just like you wanted, 4 bottles of malt liquor.
Al: I'll save mine for later. But give it to me now. I'll keep it in the fridge
Doug: Me too.
Al: Doug, I'll call you later, ok?
Doug: Sure. You need a ride home?
Al: No, I got it. I'll walk home. I need the fresh air, anyway. Your car reeks.
Doug: (laughs) Ok. I'll hear from you later. (blackout)
Scene 5: Nervous in the Ally. (lights up. Al walks though and ally that has no streetlights. He hears noises and stops to looks around. Clutching his coat, he begins to walk faster. Then out jumps a mugger wearing all black and a ski mask, holding a gun)
Mugger:(calmly, but intimidating) Stop right where you are, don't make a sound, and give me your fucking wallet.
Al: But I have no money or credit card or-
Mugger: Did I stutter? Do you wanna get shot? If not, just do what I tell you to. (sees the bag Al is holding which has the bottle of malt liquor in it) Empty the bag. (Al takes out the bottle) Is that it?
Al: Yes. That's all I have.
Mugger: Goddamn liar, give me that bag? (Al tosses him the bag, mugger looks through it, finding nothing) What the hell are you doing with that bottle?
Al: I was gonna drink it later. You're not from around here, are you?
Mugger: No way in hell would I be caught living in a piss-ant town like this. Whatever. Keep the bottle. Get the hell out of my sight. (Al runs out. The mugger laughs) What a sucker. ( Mugger looks at wallet. Opens it up and finds nothing whatsoever. Screams in Als' direction) HEY! (blackout)
Scene 6: Untitled (lights up. Al is sitting on his bed. He looks over to his desk, sees the phone, picks it up, and dials. Doug enters other side of stage, holding cell phone, driving his car. Doug answers his phone)
Al: Doug. It's Al, man.
Doug: Oh hey, what's up?
Al: Are the other guys still with you?
Doug: No, they left. Why?
Al: Did you think about it?
Doug: Think about what?
Al: Leaving town with me.
Doug:(trying to tease him) Yea, I thought about it.
Al:(Anxious) And….? Are you going to?
Doug:(still teasing him) Well, I thought about for about an hour, and then I thought-
Al: Yes or no, Doug. Which is it?
Doug: Why the hell not.
Al: Thank you so much. Can you pick me up?
Doug: Wait, you wanna leave tonight?
Al: Hell yea. I can't stand it here any more.
Al: I'll tell you in the car.
Doug: Ok. I'll be there in about 2 hours, ok?
Al: Why so long?
Doug: Well, we both need to pack, right?
Al: Good point. What made you wanna leave, also?
Doug: I went home after I dropped those two off, right? So I go home and look in the mirror and see me face. I hadn't shaved in weeks, my hair was all messy, and I had a little bit of cocaine on my nose. I was so disgusted with myself, I fell down and cried. I hated myself. I wanted to change my life. I took a shower, shaved, and vowed that I would leave town with you as soon as I could, get a job, get my life on track, and stay clean and sober. The only thing I would have is alcohol, but only on special occasions.
Al: How long ago was this?
Doug: About an hour and a half.
Al: So you've just been driving around?
Doug: Yea, basically. Mostly just saying goodbye to this town. Well, I'm gonna go home now. Pack up, then get you, ok?
Al: ok. You got it. I'll be outside in about two hours, ok?
Doug: ok. Bye man.
Al: see ya. (black out)
Scene 7: Al's war (lights up. Al goes into his parents' room to say goodbye holding a duffel bag with all his stuff in it. His parents are normal parents, who love their child. They never want him to leave, but they are proud of him.)
Al: mom? Dad? You awake?
Dad:(groggy, just waking up) what is it son?
Al: I'm just saying goodbye.
Mom:(also groggy) where are you going, Al?
Al: I'm leaving town.
Mom:(up like a rocket) You're what?!?
Al: I'm leaving town. I'm going to move to Miami and become an actor with Doug.
Dad: Are you sure you wanna go with Doug? He's a drug addict.
Al: Not anymore. He's clean now.
Mom: Well, I don't approve.
Al: Why not, mom? I'm finally going to leave town and do something with my life. I thought you would be happy for me.
Dad: We are proud of you. But actors don't make it that often.
Al: Well, I don't care. This is what I wanna do, and I don't give a shit if I make it or not. It's better than doing the same thing everyday.
Mom: Watch your mouth Al.
Dad: Well, if it makes you happy-
Al: It does make me happy. I feel like going nowhere. Like I'm giving up.
Mom: Giving up on who? Us?
Al: No. Myself. I deserve much better than this. I have to leave tonight. My life is passing by, and I'm tired of missing out on it.. Maybe I'll meet someone, and start a family. I know I won't here.
Dad: Will you call every week?
Al: Sure dad. (sound or horn honking) Well, that's my ride. Wish me luck. And I love you.
Mom: we love you too.
Al: Thanks for everything. (Picks up duffel and exits)
Mom: Do you think he'll really call?
Dad: Sure he will. He's a good boy.
Mom: I'm worried.
Dad: Don't. He knows what he has to do. (blackout)
Scene 8: Malt Liquor/Finale (lights up. Al and Doug sit in the car, Doug driving, Al in shotgun. They're both happy to leave)
Doug: So what pushed you over the edge?
Al: I got mugged in an ally.
Doug: That's cool.
Al: How is that so? I have nothing now, except my cloths and this bottle.
Doug: It's cool because you lost all forms of ID, right?
Al: No, it sucks that I lost my ID.
Doug: No, it's good.
Doug: Because when we get to Miami, you can reinvent yourself. That's what I'm doing. All I have on me now is my license, in case I get pulled over.
Al: Oh my god, Doug, you're a genius.
Doug: It's good to be sober.
Al: You still got that bottle?
Doug: Yea. Why?
Al: Take it out and pull over.(he does so) I'd say this is a special occasion to drink, am I right?
Doug: I guess so. A toast. I say hello to wasted hours. Bottoms up.
Al: To better days. (They sip. Blackout. End.)