Something On The Wall
By Vitoria Wiese
2nd ………………………………….…………………Second in command of crew
Boss……………………………………………..……………………..Leader of crew
Squeak…………………………………………..……Inexperienced crew member
Rogue……………………………………………..………….Female crew member
Minx…………………………………………………..Inexperienced crew member
Star…………………………………………..………………..2nd’s artistic persona
(Setting: An alley in a 1905 New York ghetto. Dirty brick buildings make up the street walls, with a metal fire escape rising along a building. Rusted metal trash cans sit out between center stage and stage right, along with other street junk. Crates and barrels are seen in the alley as well, with maybe a line of ragged laundry hanging up high.)
(Curtain opens. Lights come on just as the noise of kids yelling and the bangs of crashing rise up – there is a gang war taking place. A crew of kids run out from stage left and take cover behind the trash cans and crates. Squeak climbs unto fire escape.)
2nd: (Gasping and clutching his arm) Boss! I don’t think I can go no further!
Boss: What’re you talkin’ about, it’s just a scratch!
2nd: Naw, I think I’m bleedin’ out!
Boss: Let me see… There’s nothin’ wrong with you; you can barely call that blood!
Rooster: (snickers to another) Looks like ‘ol 2nd ain’t as tough as he used to be, eh?
Boss: Rooster! You watchin’ look out like you supposed to? Them Dead Hounds betta not be slinkin’ around or I’ll have ya skin!
Squeak: (above on lookout) They not here yet, Boss! Don’t worry, I’ma watchin’!
Boss: Well someone better be. Hey 2nd, I dunno what’s wrong with you, but I can’t have you limpin’ out on me right now-
2nd: (laughing, stands up) I’ma just messin’ with you, Boss! There ain’t nothin’ wrong with me! You think a little scratch could bring down ya most noble and brilliant second in command?
Boss: (grabs 2nd’s shirt) You an idiot and ya gonna get us all killed!
2nd: Take it easy, Boss, I’ma just keepin’ things light here, ya know? These gang wars can get mighty stressful on a guy, especially with this sore back I got. Ya know, carrying these pretty pearls around is a whole lotta extra weight- (pulls out an expensive looking woman’s clutch – Boss grabs them and stares in surprise)
Knuckles: You got the pearls? How’d you pull that one, 2nd?
Rogue: Course 2nd got em! He’s the best pick-pocketer there is, can even swipe em off the Dead Hounds who swiped em first!
Crew: (More cheers)
Squeak: Hey fellas, I don’t mean to ruin the mood, but I think them Dead Hounds are realizing they missin’ something!
Boss: Alright crew, we gotta get them pearls outa here. Minx, Rogue, play the skies. Rooster and Coon, get those chains goin’. 2nd, take them pearls and get lost-
2nd: Woah woah, I ain’t leavin’ you with all the fun! You’ll get skinned alive without me!
Boss: Our first priority is gettin’ those pearls out. Our second is keepin’ everyone’s skins on.
2nd: Naw Boss, I’ma stayin’. We’ll get these pearls out. But I’ma stayin’.
Boss: (pause) Why you all call me Boss if no one listens… Well what’ya all standin’ around for? Them Dead Hounds are comin’!
Crew: (all yell)
Squeak: Let’s get em!!!
Crew: (all yell and charge stage left)
(A battle is heard from off stage. Members of the crew fighting can be seen being pushed on stage momentarily. May have crew come in front of stage for quick fight. 2nd is fighting while waving the clutch around, mocking the Dead Hounds. Needs to be quick. Battle moves to other side of offstage. When get to the other side, cheering is heard. Lights on stage are dimmed to resemble nighttime. Crew enters Home Alley stage right.) (gave 30 seconds to fight – could be less)
(Setting: Home Alley is another ghetto street, but with more personalized trash lying around. Fire escape may be moved, and building angles may be changed. Stage crew will need to scene change during fight scene, or fighting crew could change scene while fighting. Focus of scene and setting is on Stage Right.)
(Crew walks in stage right, excitedly going over fight, making themselves at home in their alley, some getting ready for bed. Boss and 2nd walk to center stage left)
Boss: (drinking from a bottle) Well 2nd, the Crew liked them pearls, liked em’ a lot. They’ll be gettin’ us some good jobs after this, I’m sure of it…
2nd: (takes bottle from Boss) That’s good, cause you gonna need some trainin’ for those two newborn sissies of yours. Did you see how they handled those blades? (laughing) Like they didn’t know which was the pointy end-
Boss: They ain’t that bad!
2nd: You kiddin’? Last night I saw Squeak run away screamin’ from a stray cat!
Boss: (takes bottle back) Alright then, fine. You take em! As second in command, you in charge of gettin’ em ready.
(Squeak screams at something – maybe the boys put a dead mouse in his shirt)
Boss: (gives bottle to 2nd) Here. You gonna need this.
2nd: (laughing) Shove it, Boss. I got this! I’ll turn them recruits into the best gang fighters you’ve eva had. They won’t even scream like sissie girls once I’m through with em!
Boss: Can’t wait to see it… I owe you one, 2nd. For me bein’ the Boss, you always gettin’ us our pay day.
2nd: Naw, don’t worry bout it. You owe me a hundredfold, I know! I won’t forget. (takes a swig)
Boss: Yeah I know you won’t, but for now, give me that- (grabs drink back while 2nd swigs) (laughs) Get some shut-eye, 2nd! Gotta big day tomorrow!
(Setting: A new alley. Simple scene change, with angle of walls moved. Focus is now more on Stage Left.)
(2nd with Squeak, Minx, Rogue, stage right and peeking around the corner. Roseanne is downstage Stage Left, carrying cans of paint and preparing for something. Perhaps she is drawing on the wall.)
2nd: Well helloo, what do we have here?
Squeak: Oh! I know! It’s a lady! A mighty fine lady! (crew looks at him)
2nd: Alright Squeak, keep ya head screwed on tight. She ain’t just some mighty fine lady, she a mighty fine lady who’s gonna pass as your pickpocketin’ target. Now go in there and show me what you got. Minx, go with him.
(Squeak and Minx walk over, with 2nd and Rogue watching)
Rogue: Why we stuck with the newborns? This is embarrassin’!
2nd: Cause we the best and…(watching them) Ya right, this is completely embarrassin’.
(Squeak and Minx are pretending to fight and shove each other)
Minx: Hey, watch it!
Squeak: No you watch it!
Minx: Don’t touch me, you little- (shoves Squeak into Roseanne, Squeak picks her pocket)
Squeak: Sorry, miss! Didn’t mean ta knock ya over! We’ll just be on our way-
Roseanne: Not so fast, you two. (grabs the back of Squeak’s suspenders) I think you have something that belongs to me?
Squeak: Wow, she good.
Minx: No, you just that bad.
Roseanne: That really was a sorry attempt at stealing. I’m afraid you don’t have much of a talent.
Squeak: (excitedly) It won’t be that way for long, lady! Cause we got the best thievin’ teach on this side of the Hudson! Why don’t ya come and show her, 2nd? Show her what we’re made of!
2nd: (Stepping out, annoyed) What ya made of is a hollow head filled with stupid gas. Geesh… What you lookin’ at, lady?
Roseanne: My apologies. I’ll keep my eyes to myself if you keep your business to yourself. I have work to do and would rather not waste my time on distractions.
Rogue: (laughs) Lady, are you nuts? You out in the streets, in our ghetto! This is Bronx territory. Lady like you in a world’a trouble out here!
Roseanne: As a fellow lady, you seem to be doing just fine.
Rogue: That’s cause I know how to take care’a myself and find me my own people. Who do you got out here?
Roseanne: (mimicking at first) What I got are my brushes and my wits. And so far, they’re serving me just fine.
2nd: What do you mean, brushes? Rogue’s right, it’s dangerous on these streets. So what’s your game, lady?
Roseanne: My game is this. (Steps aside to show the wall behind her. The wall is the blank “wall” downstage in front of the audience – This wall is never actually seen because it is the wall between the crew and the audience.)
Rogue: (pause) A wall? Ya game is a wall? Well that’s stupid.
Roseanne: It’s not just a wall! It’s a mural! I’m painting a mural on the wall!
Rogue: Uh, why?
Roseanne: Because look at this place! Everything is so dreary and dismal, not an ounce of beauty anywhere. This ghetto of yours is downright depressing, and when you have such an atmosphere, people feed off of that. You see gloom and darkness, and the people feel that, and pretty soon that’s what the people actually become, too. I’m painting a mural because everyone needs beauty; everyone needs to feel uplifted and inspired. Even out here, everyone needs…(struggles to find words)
Roseanne: Yes! Everyone needs hope. And beauty gives that to people.
Rogue: (pause) Well, it’s a nice sent-i-ent, lady, but it’s still just a wall. Besides, it won’t last out here, anyway. And neither will you. There’s Dead Hounds on these streets, not just our crew. They’ll eat you up and won’t pay no mind to your beaut-i-ful wall.
Roseanne: Then maybe you can help me.
2nd: Help you? Why in the world would we do that? We ain’t no good-servin’ church-goers. These are our streets, and we rule em, and we don’t serve no one!
Roseanne: Because I know you, least of all, understand what I’m trying to do.
2nd: (snorts) What makes you think that?
Roseanne: (sighs) Fine, you’re right, I’m not well equipped to handle these streets on my own. But you boys – and girls- are. How fortunate I am to have such a noble and gallant troop come upon me, a lady who is practically a damsel –
2nd: Alright alright we get it. So…You want protection…What would we get in return?
Roseanne: My free expertise in providing your neighborhood with a source of beauty?
2nd: (in her face) The pay, lady. What’s the pay?
Roseanne: I’ll provide food during your watch hours. (they start to walk away) And a nickel – apiece – for each day you stand guard!
Squeak: Woah she loaded!
Rogue: Maybe we should just rob her clean and be done with her.
2nd: You can do that? For all my crew right here, you can pay that?
Roseanne: If I receive honest protection, then you deserve honest payment.
(pause to think)
2nd: Alright lady, we’re in. But only if you provide your side. And we only free for watchin’ from 10 till noon. Otherwise we booked.
Roseanne: Deal. (they shake) And by the way, my name is Roseanne. No need to keep calling me ‘lady’.
2nd: I make no guarantee on that one, lady.
(Now on guard duty next day. The group is lounging about while Roseanne paints.)
Rogue: (silence, then) UUUGH, this is so borin’. (pause) Seriously, is anybody else losin’ their mind?
Minx: Rogue, it’s only been half an hour.
Rogue: That’s half hour more of wasted livin’ that I could live without.
Squeak: (chuckles) Good one, livin’ that you live without.
Rogue: (stares at Squeak stupidly) Shut up.
2nd: So what is it you paintin’ anyway?
Roseanne: (Distractedly at first) Oh. Well, it will be a view of this part of the city but from far away, and as if all the dirt and grime were removed. See, these are the outlines of the buildings, and right above it there will be a beautiful sunset, and above that the light will fade into a deep night sky littered with twinkling stars.
Rogue: (snorts) This place got enough litta’; we don’t need more.
Roseanne: Everyone has a need for stars.
Rogue: I ain’t neva seen a star and I’m doin’ just fine.
Roseanne: (gasps) You’ve never seen a star? That’s ridiculous!…How many of you have never seen the stars before?
(Everyone raises their hands except 2nd)
Rogue: 2nd, you seen em?
2nd: Uh, yeah, well, I wasn’t always in this parta the city. So I seen things.
Squeak: What were they like?
2nd: (uncomfortably) Uh, well, ya know. They’re white dots in the sky. Nothin’ much to em.
Roseanne: Now that’s not true, and anyone who’s had a proper look at the stars knows it.
2nd: You callin’ me a liar?
(group becomes more alert)
Roseanne: Prove me wrong then. What are the stars like?
2nd: The stars…they…they like…Look I seen em, I just don’t know how to say it!
Roseanne: Then paint them.
Roseanne: Paint them. That’s the wonder of painting; when you can’t describe it with words, you can just…show it.
2nd: That’s stupid.
Roseanne: Well, if you can’t describe them-
2nd: (snatches the brush out of her hands) Give me that! (walks to the wall and starts painting) So, ya know, you got ya black sky…your black sky. The darkest black you eva seen. But it’s not just black out there. It’s different. It’s like a hole it’s so dark. And then if ya wait, outa this darkness you start to see these lights. They almost like a candle, but they’re pure white, total opposite of the black. And when it’s a clear night and the clouds are gone, it’s like you see the whole world in those lights –
Squeak: The whole world? But you lookin’ at the sky!
2nd: I know you lookin’ at the sky, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s like you can see everything. There’s hundreds and hundreds of these tiny little lights, and ya don’t know how but even though they so small, it’s like they swallow you up, and you could just look and look and you’d never see enough and you’d never see em all. And if you stare at just one, it’s like it’s sparkin’ at you. The big ones, they have these lines of light that reach out, and it’s like they could just pick you up and get you outa there…
(At the point when 2nd says “The darkest black you eva seen”, the lights dim to black except for a soft spotlight on 2nd. Two actors dressed in all black enter unto the fire escape. The fire escape should be directly upstage of the wall that is being painted. The two actors are the night sky, and they are flowing to soft music that matches the tone. When 2nd says “It’s like a hole it’s so dark”, the “Nights” flow together to form a hole. The moment 2nd says “outa this darkness you start to see these lights, the Nights reveal tiny pinpricks of stark white light in each hand. When 2nd says “There’s hundreds and hundreds of these tiny little lights”, have other offstage actors dressed in all black flow onstage from both sides, all with lights in their hands. They weave amongst the crew members, drawing them closer together. If possible, lights of white appear in the backdrops as well. The moment 2nd finishes speaking, the music fades out and leaves silence. The Nights have frozen with their stars high in their hands.)
(Steps back, the crew slowly gathers around)
Squeak: (awed) Wow.
Minx: That’s what they like? There’s that many of em?
2nd: More. There’s way more than you can ever get on a wall.
Squeak: I wanna see em. A whole sky like that…
(pause as they stare in silence)
2nd: Hey crew, we gettin’ paid to stare at a wall or what? Get back to lookout.
(Group slowly disbands. Nights smoothly flow offstage both sides. A single Night, called Star, remains, holding a single star, which may become a necklace and hang around Star’s neck. Star descends the fire escape and remains in the background of 2nd’s scenes, acting as a hidden piece of 2nd’s personality.)
Roseanne: 2nd, could I talk to you for a minute?
Roseanne: Have you painted before?
2nd: (pause) Course not.
Roseanne: I thought you didn’t want to be called a liar.
2nd: Look lady, you-
Roseanne: I won’t tell them. Your secret’s safe with me. But between you and me, 2nd…you’re extremely talented. I don’t know what education you’ve received, but you have a gift.
2nd: Paintin’ ain’t no gift on the streets.
Roseanne: Maybe you don’t think so, but … Listen, if you ever wanted to help me with this mural – secretly of course – I would be happy to have you.
2nd: (snorts) Don’t count on it, lady. That wasn’t parta the deal.
Roseanne: Well if you change your mind…I’ll leave my paints behind the trash bin. You know my vision. You can come by anytime and work on it.
2nd: You think you know me, but you don’t have any idea. (starts to walk away)
Roseanne: (grabs his arm) Well then, why don’t you show me?
(2nd pulls away. Roseanne looks at mural)
(Night time in Home Alley)
(Boss is talking to 2nd stage left. Other crew members are Upstage.)
Boss: I don’t much like this guard job you got. It’s too clean. That ain’t who we are.
2nd: Ah come on, Boss, I told ya, it ain’t so much a good deed as us stealin’ from the rich to give to ourselves. What more could ya want?
Boss: How’s about workin’ on the jobs we already got? The jobs for the big crew watchin’ our every move?
2nd: Yeah? And how’s about feedin’ our own crew so they have the energy to do those jobs and fight off the Dead Hounds? Look Boss, you told me to train the newborns, and I’ma still doin’ that. What betta way to practice throwin’ our blades than when the Hounds come sniffin’ the lady?
Boss: (pause) You and ya half betta not fall behind on the other jobs.
2nd: You got nothin’ to worry ‘bout, Boss. We all there, don’t you worry. Now how’s about we crash for the night; that guard job sure got me dead tired. (Boss rolls eyes)
(Boss and 2nd hunker down in their spots in the alley)
(Squeak approaches 2nd)
Squeak: Hey 2nd.
2nd: Hey what, Squeak?
Squeak: I wish I could see the stars out here.
2nd: (pause) Why you tellin’ me that? I ain’t ya ma.
Squeak: (defensively) I know that. I just meant…Forget it. (starts to walk away angrily)
2nd: Hey Squeak, wait… Don’t forget it. What’ja want to say?
Squeak: (pause) You really good at paintin’. It was like I could really see em. Maybe…maybe sometime you could paint Home Alley. Then we could always see the stars. (walks away)
2nd: (sits thinking, confused and uncertain.)
(Crew is talking quietly)
Boss: Alright, shut up now! I wanna sleep!
(quiet, lights dim more. 2nd is still sitting and thinking.)
2nd: (goes through his stuff and pulls out a thin wooden box. He is acting secretive and doesn’t want anyone to see it. He opens the box and looks inside – At this point Star taps him on the shoulder and shows him the star. Then Star motions towards the wall. 2nd follows Star to the wall. A crate is waiting Downstage by the wall. 2nd and Star stare at the wall, and after a moment Star raises up 2nd’s hand that is holding the box. 2nd carefully opens the box and pulls out a paintbrush. He seems to make a decision. He gets out the cans of paint, climbs unto the crate. The moment he begins painting, an actor dressed in flowing colored garments dances to center stage and begins dancing to music. 2nd paints as she dances, and the music grows and the painting grows. Finally the music climaxes and stops, just as the dancer freezes and 2nd stops painting, looking in awe at what he’s done. The dancer exits, and 2nd smiles at the wall and puts his paints away. The spotlight leaves 2nd and follows Star, who is center stage and smiling. Star is drawing away the spotlight from 2nd so we can transition into a new scene. (gave a minute)
(Setting: Home Alley. Focus is Downstage Stage Right.)
(Knuckles, Coon, Trip messing around, could be practicing knife throwing. After a few moments, Boss and Rooster enter stage right.)
Boss: Hey, you guys seen 2nd? We supposed to be scoutin’ our next job right now and he’s gotta be there.
Coon: Uh, naw Boss, I ain’t seen him in a while.
Knuckles: Last I saw him was this mornin’ when we were guardin’ the paintin’ lady.
Trip: She’s a fox.
Rooster: Hey Trip, you want me to ram this club down ya throat? Then shut it! She ain’t nothin’ but a job.
Boss: A job? She shouldn’t even be that. How much longa does she want my crew guardin’ her, anyway? It’s already been 3 weeks!
Knuckles: I dunno how much longa, but she’s magic, I’m tellin’ ya. We finish watchin’ her at noon and she takes off, but when we get back the next mornin’ there’s even more painted than when she left off!
Trip: Her paintin’ sure is pretty. (receives glares from Boss and Rooster) Not that I care about pretty! Pretty is stupid!
Coon: Man, you pretty stupid. The point is, Boss, the lady’s paintin’ shouldn’t take much longa. She’s somehow gettin’ double done in a day now than when she started! I’m with Knuckles, she magic or somethin’.
Boss: Gettin’ double done…She ain’t magic. (exits furiously stage right, crew, startled, follows)
(2nd and Roseanne painting at the wall)
Roseanne: Now if you stroke like this, you’ll give the buildings a shimmering effect. But you need to get the angles-
2nd: Get the angles right so it shows the sun settin’ behind everythin’. I know.
Roseanne: (chuckles) I know you know; you know everything…(pause as they paint) So…I’ve avoided asking the question out of respect for you, but-
2nd: But? So you don’t have no respect for me no more, is that it? (pause, then laughs lightly) Ah come on. (sighs) What you want, lady? I can see your cur-i-osity is too much for you.
Roseanne: (excitedly) Oh finally, thank you! Where did you come from? Where did you learn how to paint like this? What happened in your past to create this mystery mask that covers your secret previous life?
2nd: I spoke too soon. Your cur-i-osity is too much for me… What makes you think I would tell ya all that, anyway?
Roseanne: Because you’re an artist, and artists share the deepest parts of themselves.
2nd: Not quite, lady… ‘An artist has the ability to reveal that which no one can see, hear, feel, nor touch; a revelation of the heart, but a heart so secret one must be careful not to miss its beating.’
Roseanne: (surprised) You can quote Terrance Sykes?
2nd: Lady, I was taught by Terrance Sykes.
Roseanne: (freezes) (hushed) What did you say?
2nd: (sighs) You heard me.
Roseanne: Wait…Terrance Sykes was your teacher? The Terrance Sykes?… Who are you?
2nd: It’s who was I. Look, I ain’t that person no more. Yeah, Sykes taught me how to paint. But that’s not me no more. This is me now. I hated that life, and so I left it, and I hate even thinkin’ ‘bout it. So I just don’t. This place, these streets, this crew – this is me; this is who I am.
Roseanne: What about all this? What about your work? You said it yourself – you reveal your heart when you create. You’re doing that now! This is still who you are!
2nd: No it’s not. I told you, I left that life.
Roseanne: (getting frustrated) Then why is there a paint brush in your hand?… Look, I know you understand why I’m painting this mural. You said it: hope. This place needs something more, and you are able to give it to these people. Not because this alone is who you are; it’s because this (points to mural) is also who you are.
2nd: (angrily) Hey lady, you got it wrong! You think I’m here cause I like it? You think I feel some callin’ to reunite with my past and get all healed so I can paint pretty pictures and make the whole world a happy place? Well that’s not what’s happenin’ because, guess what (throws paintbrush), this world ain’t a happy place, and no amount of paint can fool anyone into thinkin’ it is!
Roseanne: (pause) You don’t believe that, not completely. You can say otherwise, but there’s one thing you’ve forgotten, 2nd.
2nd: Yeah? And what’s that?
Roseanne: I’m an artist, too. I can see what no one else can. And when I watch you paint, I see you happy. (puts paintbrush back in his hand)
(crew walks in stage right)
Rooster: Well well well, what do we have here? A couple a painters hard at work. But what’s this? There’s only supposed to be one painter!
Boss: What’s goin’ on here?
2nd: Boss, it’s not how it looks. I’ma just helpin’ the lady get done so she can get outa our lives is all. You know that’s all.
Boss: Ya right, then it’s not how it looks. Problem is…I don’t believe you.
2nd: Come on Boss, ya don’t have any reason to doubt me-
Boss: No reason to doubt ya? Are you crazy? You given me every reason to doubt ya! What are we gonna do when the big crew starts wonderin’ why we don’t have the new layout planned? And ya know, this ain’t the first time! It’s been three weeks of you not showin’ up, and I ain’t gone askin’ questions cause you my second, and I’m givin’ you ya space. But for this? You droppin’ our crew for a lady?
2nd: No Boss! It’s not-
Boss: Ya know, I don’t even want ya excuses. We neva shoulda been guardin’ that tramp. These streets are ours, and we don’t give free passage to no one! (Rooster, Knuckles, Coon, and Trip yell in agreement)
2nd: Boss, please-
Boss: You right, I am boss. So as boss of this crew, I say we do what we shoulda done weeks ago! (Grabs Roseanne by hair) We’ll make sure this one neva steps foot on our streets again!
Boss: Hold him down. (Rooster & Coon grab him)(in 2nd’s face, says quietly/dangerously) If this ain’t proof enough you gone traitor on us, then I dunno what is.
Squeak: Stop! You can’t hurt Roseanne! She not a bad lady!
Boss: (hits Squeak, Minx and Rogue go to help Squeak) You think I care if she bad or not? We ain’t the police! We a crew, and we do what we do to whoeva we want! Now…How’s about a little game? I was thinkin’…a blade throwin’ contest.
2nd: Boss, no! This isn’t who we are-
(Rooster punches 2nd in the gut)
Boss: I tell ya what, 2nd. Why don’t ya show us who you are. I’ll give ya one last chance to redeem ya’self. Who’s it gonna be? Ya crew, ya blood? Or the tramp? (Rooster and Coon throw 2nd to the ground) (Boss puts blade in 2nd’s hand) First blade’s on you.
(Knuckles and Trip are holding Roseanne against wall. She could be gagged)
(2nd holds knife and stares at Roseanne, crew starts chanting “knife her”, first slower and softer, then growing in intensity. Squeak, Minx, and Rogue aren’t chanting.)
2nd: NO! (throws knife to ground, goes over and pushes crew holding Roseanne away. They let it happen, startled.) Get away from her! Get away!
Boss: (quietly) So that’s ya choice?
2nd: Yeah, I guess it is. (pause) But I ain’t choosin’ her over the crew. I’m choosin’ somethin’ betta, somethin’ that’s right that this crew can be apart of. Look at what she’s put here (points to mural). That’s what’s good and right; a whole lot more right than runnin’ around killin’ people! Who do we think we are? We just a buncha kids. Just kids… We always thinkin’ ‘bout what’s best for us. But look at what she done… And I helped… That’s what’s best for us. That’s what’s right. And I’m tellin’ ya, it’s the best job I eva been apart of.
Boss: That’s a pretty speech…And it just proves you ain’t one of us! (pulls out knife and lunges for 2nd)
Squeak: No! (Squeak, Minx, and Rogue run forward in front of 2nd and Roseanne) If you gonna take 2nd down, ya have’ta take all of us down with him!
Rooster: Ya can’t be serious.
Rogue: (sighs) Yeah, what the Squeak said. All of us.
2nd: You may have more, Boss, but if you do this, you lose crew, too… So how’s about a deal? It’s time I take up what is owed to me. You let us live, and we’ll walk outa these streets and leave ya alone. No one loses blood. What’s more important, Boss?…Pay whatya owe.
Boss: (pause) (softly) You always were a sorry fool…It’s a debt owed. I don’t break my promises… But if I eva see ya face on these streets again, I’ll knife ya myself.
2nd: I understand.
Boss: No, (walks up to 2nd and stares him down, a little sadly. Everyone tenses) you don’t… You were a brother to me.
(Walks off stage right, his crew follows)
Squeak: Hey Roseanne, you alright?
Roseanne: Yes, I’m alright. Your face, James; he hit you pretty hard.
Squeak: Eh, it’s fine.
Rogue: James? Is that ya name, Squeak?
Squeak: (nervously) Uh, yeah. Roseanne didn’t wanna call me Squeak, so I told her a couple weeks ago…
Rogue: (pause) I like it.
Roseanne: (stands and approaches 2nd) 2nd, are you okay?
2nd: (pause) Suppose ya shouldn’t be callin’ me 2nd no more.
Rogue: Then we can call ya boss.
2nd: No. I don’t wanna be ya boss.
Minx: Then what do ya want?
(2nd shakes his head, sits down and puts his head in his hands. Roseanne walks over)
Roseanne: How about a crew that is your family that you don’t have to be the boss of. We’re here, 2nd. We choose you. (others approach)
2nd: Louis…Louis is my name. Loui, actually, is what my ma always called me.
Squeak: You had a ma?
2nd: (laughs and jokingly swats Squeak’s head) Course I had a ma; so did you!…I’ll have’ta tell ya about her someday.
Squeak: Roseanne can be our ma now!
Rogue: Uh, I don’t think so.
Roseanne: I suppose we should get out of here; we don’t want to push our luck.
(starts walking off stage)
(Star taps 2nd on the shoulder and beckons to the wall.)
2nd: Woah woah woah, lady, where you think ya goin’? (Roseanne stops and turns back quizzically) I think we owe it to these streets (picks up paintbrush) to finish this wall first.
(Roseanne smiles, walks over and picks up a paintbrush. They both turn to face the mural, raise their brushes, and bright light flashes.)