September 20 2012 – Earner


A small back yard in a city. Early evening. Sound of children playing at a small distance.

HAROLD, 50s, explodes out the back door of the house, in a nice suit, carrying an expensive-looking briefcase in one hand and a half-full bottle of gin in the other. He is pursued by ANTONIA, his wife. She snatches violently at him as he bursts out onto the lawn.

Well haven’t I earned it, then? I have earned it, YOU STAY AWAY.

ANTONIA stops in the doorway, imploring with her eyes.

Yes, just you keep your distance, will you, I have earned this. You just stand there, you just continue keeping your distance, why don’t you.

Throws the briefcase on the picnic table, hangs on to the bottle.

Too little too late is what this is. Go on, then make this hard, chase me out of my own house, I can adapt. I NEED to adapt. I’ve HAD to adapt. I don’t need ideal conditions. Wouldn’t know em if I met em. And you can rest assured I haven’t, my dear!

ANTONIA will not leave.

You want to stick around for it then? Or do you want to stop me? Come on, come stop me, come take it from me.

ANTONIA does not move.

I have earned this. I have worked – listen to me I have numbers for you, you like numbers, don’t you darling, you’re always keeping some running total, some score, yes pet? – SIXTY THOUSAND HOURS I’ve worked at this point, maybe the first ten thousand I was really excited about. Another couple thousand here and there. Scattered, you know, thrown in.

And home to your face most nights.

ANTONIA cries silently.

Yeah, cry. Do. Please do. I’m okay with that. Happy to see it a little. Your face most nights, I was saying, your hair your silence your comfortable sleepwear and your silence, more and more and your body less and less. Closed door in the hall.

ANTONIA has stopped crying pretty quickly, stares at him coldly.

Oh we’re done with that then? Grand.

I have earned this. I will have this. You can stay. Or you can go back in, seal yourself up. But do it now.

Do what you’re going to do now.


ANTONIA turns, goes in, shuts door.


HAROLD unscrews the gin bottle and takes four or five modest gulps. Fights a cough briefly. Screws the cap back on the bottle, places it on the picnic table next to the briefcase.

Lays his hands on the briefcase.

Unlatches and opens the briefcase.

From the briefcase he removes the component parts of a handgun and assembles them with frightening speed.

He slaps a clip into the assembled gun.

He stands, staring at the gun.

Lays the gun on the table.

Removes black gloves from briefcase. Puts them on. They squeak.

Removes a small compact mirror from the briefcase. Adjusts his hair. Meticulously. For too long. Runs his hands over his face, eyes on the mirror.

Snaps the mirror shut. Throws the mirror back in the briefcase and slams the briefcase shut.

Picks up gun. Stands with gloved hand clasped to wrist in front of him, holding gun.

Exhales slowly and closes his eyes.

This moment, forever.

Sound of children playing at a small distance.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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