JOURNEY INTO THE CAVE
[Brad and Alvin, in their twenties, buddies from birth. Brad, the wild one, disappeared a year ago; now, he’s back. Alvin, the quiet one, married with kids, works at the Toaster Paper Company. “Paper you can wipe with.”]
[Alvin’s threadbare apartment in his grandparent’s basement. Alvin’s parents died in a paper accident when he was a child. Brad, already strapping and unpredictable at the age of four, pulled Alvin to safety just before the lavatory pulp could engulf him.]
[The two have been drinking. Empty bottles of foreign origin, Popopny Regurgany, litter the worn carpet, comingling with toys that appear to be the playthings of children either challenged or missing body parts. Brad’s well-traveled backpack gapes open on a love seat, a Nepalese bong thrusting rigidly out through its zipper, at least eleven inches in length.]
Brad (pacing): Come on, man! You owe me! Remember that… I saved your life, dude!
Alvin (moaning): Ohhhh… I think the walls are moving…
Brad: Leslie. That’s your problem right there. What I should have done, I should have saved you from that bitch. She’s ten times worse than any damned runaway roll of toilet paper.
Fred (drunkenly): Ohhhh… Am I standing up? Are we there yet? What are we doing? Did we forget something…?
Brad (shaking his head and pulling out the bong): Drinks. You could never handle ’em. Even as a little kid. And yeah, we forgot something. We forgot to give you a m****r-f*****g life.
[Door opens. Leslie enters with three young children.]
Brad: Well, look who just walked in…
Leslie (surveying the room, with special attention to the bong and the empty bottles): What the hell are you doing here?
Brad: And I’m glad to see you too. You haven’t changed. Still hot. Still the bitch.
Leslie: When you disappeared, I prayed you’d stay gone. No such luck. So what are you doing here? Besides losing that bong right now, I mean. Don’t make me ask you again.
[Her color rises, but it’s not the red flush of anger, which makes the cheeks glow hot – it’s that other flush, the royal flush, which causes the hidden cheeks to encarnate like self-heating pillows.]
Brad: I’m making a proposal to my buddy, that’s what I’m doing. To my oldest friend. A proposal that you’re interrupting, by the way.
[Leslie cocks an eyebrow.]
Brad: Road trip.
[His gaze begins racking up misdemeanor points on a road trip of its own, over and around the landscape of Leslie’s curves.]
Leslie (snorting, but with her eyes running up and down Brad’s body like mice with hot feet): That ain’t gonna happen.
Brad: Come on, baby. It’s the chance of a lifetime here. Aztec gold. All we’ve got to do is go down there and grab it. But I can’t do it alone. Look at Alvin. He’s a f*****g mess. We’ve got to get him out of here, out of this apartment, out of his job, out of f*****g Fixture. We’ve got to give him something to live for, something Aztec besides Montezuma’s Revenge. We’ve got to f*****g save his life!
[Now Brad’s eyes are running like rodents, too, only more like rats than mice.]
Brad: You know I would do the same for you… Baby…
[His cellphone rings in his back pocket. He pulls it out and takes the call, turning away.]
Brad (in a low voice): Yeah. Yeah. Almost. Just me and my buddy. And maybe some baggage… Don’t worry about that, Shakespeare. Who’s going to know?
[He looks at Leslie over Alvin’s prone, sweating, twitching, hairy, pale, nerdy body, at Leslie, the three kids grouped around her trim ankles, down there in the shade cast by her high breasts way up under a tight white sweater, three little kids like toadstools growing out of the roots of her legs, which go all the way up, the two adults sliding into an eyeball-lock that causes the space between them to throb.]
Brad (into the phone): Yeah. Buddies on a road trip. That’s the plan. A little booze, a little blow, a little sharing. Yeah, especially the sharing. With a big fat climax right at the end.
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