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"Life's Worth: A Ten Minute Scene" - Zack Peercy


Ari – late 20s-30s, any race, any gender

Cam – late 20s-30s, any race, any gender

Ari’s father’s apartment. Ari and Cam enter. Light spills in from the hallway.

ARI: Still smells like him.

CAM: Stale beer. I’ll grab a box.

ARI: There’s a light... somewhere. Here it is. Yeah.

Ari flips the light switch. The only thing in the apartment is a stuffed duffle bag on the ground. Ari opens the duffle and zips it back up.

CAM: So, we could bring down the furniture first... Oh. I thought there’d be more. At least a chair.

ARI: Son of a bitch.

CAM: He must have hired someone before. Are these clothes?

Cam opens the duffle, lifts a thick roll of hundreds, drops it back in and zips the duffle back up.

CAM: Wow. Son of a bitch. No clothes. Has it always looked like this?

ARI: I don’t... Maybe he hired a service? I was only ever here on Christmas afternoons and that was... It’s been awhile. Christ.

CAM: I didn’t realise truck driving paid so well. Why did I go for political science?

ARI: I can’t even. What are you saying?

CAM: Just... This is a lot. Like you see it on TV, but to be in a room with it is... It’s a lot. Usually people leave like a bond, right? Or a whatever-you-call-it.

ARI: He didn’t believe in banks. Thought they were a scam.

CAM: He was right. Those are all my ATM fees.

ARI: That’s not funny, Cam. You’re always... Gah! That’s a lot of money. What the fuck. I set myself up for clearing out an apartment today! That’s what I visualized. This is... just... aaahhhh.

CAM: I know, I know. You’re stressed. I get it. It’ll be okay. Jeez, with this money, everything’s fine. It is yours, right?

ARI: I don’t know. It’s not like I can bring this to the bank.

CAM: That’d be interesting to watch. From a distance.

ARI: Clearly, he left it for me.

CAM: Would have been nice to find it before paying for the funeral.

ARI: Yeah. God, this sucks. He sucks. Sucked.

They sit on the ground, the duffle is between them.

CAM: He was a real S.O.B. but... I mean visualize this: this is the first and last month on a new apartment. And a security deposit. And like eight years rent in advance. This could be... our apartment.

ARI: I could pay off my loans. I could get that kiln and just sculpt. I could quit the call centre and just play with clay all day.

CAM: A nice apartment too. Dishwasher. Balcony. No more shitty roommates. Just us. In a unit washer and dryer! Less centipedes!

ARI: I could travel... everywhere.

CAM: We could start our life together.

ARI: I... I don’t want it.

CAM: What? Ari, that’s ridiculous.

ARI: I’m serious. I don’t want it. It’s worthless.

CAM: Then I’ll take it.

ARI: No. No one gets it. Maybe a charity or something.

CAM: You are insane. Your dad wanted you to have this.

ARI: And I wanted to have him. Like, what the fuck even is this?

CAM: This is him saying “I love you”.

ARI: This is not what love means to me. Maybe that’s what it means to him. I wouldn’t know.

CAM: Come on, Ari! That’s a two way street. You avoided his calls all the time. You’d watch the phone ring and glare at the screen until it stopped. I basically had to drag you to the hospital to even...

ARI: You know it wasn’t until the service that I found out his middle name was Maurice? I didn’t know my dad’s middle name. I didn’t know shit about him.

CAM: I don’t know my dad’s middle name.

ARI: Yeah, but he loves you. He went to your basketball games, knew your friends.

CAM: Because I let him in and he never worked as much as your dad.

ARI: Exactly! He was always working. He’d rather drive a truck across the country than spend any holiday with me. Every graduation, birthday, and middle school trumpet solo, he was on the road somewhere. This is all he has to show for it.

CAM: This is a hell of a lot to show.

ARI: No it isn’t. I’d give this whole bag for just one stupid awkward meal at a TGI Friday’s. I’d get a plain burger and he’d get two Budweisers and call the waitress “sweetie”, but in a not-so-creepy way. He’d ask me about school, but his eyes would drift to whatever game was on the TV behind me and after he’d pay he would ask me if there’s anything else I wanted to do. And I’d say, “I don’t know” and he’d just take me home. We wouldn’t really talk on the way home, but before I got out of the car, he’d kiss me on the forehead and say “I love you”. That’s what I visualise.

CAM: That’s a nice visualization. But... it isn’t real. This bag is real. Your dad worked hard for this. He worked hard for you because he loved you. He may not have said it but he showed it, you know? It’s in the actions, not the words.

ARI: Sometimes the actions can be as hollow as the words.

Cam doesn’t respond to this. Ari looks at the duffle for a long time.

ARI: I’ll call a lawyer. See what I have to do.

CAM: Okay, that sounds reasonable. Thank you! I love you.

ARI: You too.

Cam gets up, stretches and takes the box.

CAM: We could put it in the trunk. I don’t think anyone would... Anyway, we got the day free. Want to get lunch? We could go to a pub? This stench is taking me back to Nickel Shot Thursdays in college.

Ari just stares at the bag.

CAM: Ari?

ARI: Yeah, sounds good.

CAM: You okay?

ARI: Yeah, get that box. I’ll make sure everything is really gone.

CAM: Yeah, okay. Text me if you find anything. Especially another bag.

Cam exits.

Ari, still seated, runs their hands along the floor. Ari stands, goes around the room, touching a wall, Ari takes the duffle, turns off the light.

In the spill of light from the hall, Ari takes one last look at the room.

Ari closes the door.


Zack Peercy is a legally blind playwright, screenwriter, and film director based in Chicago. He is a resident playwright at Three Brothers Theatre, where his play “THAT'S FUCKED UP” had its world premiere in May 2019. His play “KUBRICKIAN” was recently featured as part of Intrinsic Theater Company's May Play Podcast Series, available in full on Spotify. He's also recently had two short speculative fiction pieces featured on Otherworld Theater Company's Gateways Podcast. His short film “GREETINGS FROM THE MOON” is now available on Vimeo. His plays can be found on New Play Exchange and his ego can be found on social media (@zackpeercy). 

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