October 10 2012 – Bad Neighbour

Bad Neighbour

KYLE (30s) and RON (50s) outside an apartment building. KYLE is dressed for cycling. RON is sitting on the building stoop in some weird smoking jacket thing. KYLE stares incredulously at his locked bike which has obviously been fucked with, chain off the gears, wrapped around the pedals, something like that.

KYLE
The fuck!

RON
Ooh, language!

KYLE
What? Oh. Hey.

RON
Ron. Name’s Ron.

KYLE
Right.

RON
Kyle. Three-oh-six.

KYLE
Yeah.

KYLE kneels and starts unwinding the chain, setting things to rights. Over the course of the scene, his hands get filthy.

Look at this shit.

RON (Wincing)
Oooh, you know-

KYLE
Sorry I’m just upset, I’m late for work now.

RON
Yeeeah, that’s unfortunate that had to happen. I’m in one-o-three.

KYLE (Not much interest)
Yeah?

RON
Just inside the door here.

KYLE
Yeah, you’re always out on the stoop here.

RON
That’s right.

KYLE (Off a problem with the bike)
Aw man.

RON
I live with my wife. Who you’ve seen a number of times.

KYLE
Hey you didn’t see them do this, did you?

RON
“Them”.

KYLE
Whoever did this. Did you see who it was?

RON
Well, now, Kyle, I’m not entirely sure I remember.

Beat.

KYLE
Uh…huh…

RON
Hard to say.

KYLE
It isn’t really. You did or you didn’t.

RON
It was probably just one of those random senseless acts of vandalism. You know, like you get in a city. Utterly devoid of karmic intent.

KYLE
Right. Probably.

RON
Although…

Pause.

KYLE
“Although”?

RON
If the person who did this was someone who knows you – no way of knowing that obviously – do you think you might be able to guess at why this may have happened?

Beat

To you, specifically?

Pause.

KYLE
I have work, so…get to it.

RON
Several young women in and out of here over the last year or so, Kyle. Four or five.

KYLE
You mean like…my exes?

RON
“Exes”! Yes I suppose things have slowed down a little in that department lately. Still. Pretty rapid succession there.

KYLE
Been a busy year.

RON
That might be your problem.

KYLE
Naw, that’s not their…I mean they were sweet, I didn’t…act the best but they’d never-

RON
But someone who was looking out for their interests.

Beat.

Was in the position to observe a disturbing pattern, and become concerned.

KYLE
Concerned.

RON
About a bad neighbor.

Pause.

How long have you lived here, Kyle?

KYLE
I…two years?

RON
How many times have you said hello to my wife? Or to me? I’m always right here when you come out for work. How many times, to you figure, in two years?

KYLE
Oh, listen, I’m sorry if-

RON
None. Is how many. None times. In two years.

KYLE
I’m just not a…talk-about-the-weather kinda-

RON
I’m not concerned with what you are. I’m not asking you on a date here. You too good to exchange a little unnecessary information? The function of that sort of conversation isn’t to exchange information. It’s a re-affirmation of an unspoken social contract. And to those of us who are perceptive enough to be aware of it, the non-acknowledgement of that contract is profoundly disturbing.

KYLE
Look, I’m just an introvert, okay? I’m just not a talker. I’m just quiet, I’m just not a social person.

RON
All people are social.

Pause.

How do you think it makes me feel, or my wife, to just have some twenty year old piece of shit blow by us like we were potted plants?

KYLE
I’m thirty-three.

RON
You’re how old I say you are. You’re generic. You’re a tenant. In a building full of neighbours.

KYLE
I’m late for work.

RON (Instantly pleasant again)
Oh, got it fixed there? That didn’t take so long, did it?

Pause.

I’m glad we happened to be able to have this little talk. I hope you’ll think about some of the things we discussed.

Pause.

KYLE
It’ll be a nice day for a ride? Because…the sun.

Pause.

I feel…a slight breeze.

RON (Wide smile)
You’ll get the hang of it.

Stands, puts arms out, ready for a hug

Now. You have a good day.

Long pause. RON holds the pose.

Slowly, excruciatingly reluctantly, Kyle very slowly and awkwardly comes to RON and hugs him. RON holds on for long after KYLE is don and ready to back off. Finally, RON releases him.

Now. Neighbour. You have a good day at your job.

KYLE stunned, perhaps a bit traumatized, climbs on his bike, and rides away. RON waves at him as he cycles off.

G’bye! G’bye!

As he follows KYLE’s progress, all the while waving, he turns upstage, and we see two giant greasy handprints on the back of his smoking jacket, where KYLE hugged him.

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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