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					Á La King                                   -0-




                        Á La King
                    A Comedy in One-Act

                      By A. Zell Williams




Contact:

A. Zell Williams
azw@azellwill.com




                             -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             -1-


A La King was written as part of Santa Clara University’s New Playwrights’ Festival in the
winter of 2006 under the instruction of Brian Thorstenson. It was directed by Santina
Moran-Seaborne. The cast was be as follows:

         Maurice Fairfax…….………………………………………………….……Melvin Gaines
        Steadfast Edmonds…………………………………………………………Joshua Crosson
          Becky Collins…….…………………………………………………………...Laura Brown
         Kingston Givens……………………………………………………………Chad Eschman

Setting
The immaculately polished condo of Becky Collins in Washington, D.C.

Time
The dead of next winter.

                                       A Few Notes…

       “/” Signifies the start of the next line.

       (Life) Denotes a non-verbal moment of activity. They need not be pauses, but
        points of objective clarity.

       (Motion) Denotes a point where an objective has drastically changed.




                                            -AZW-
Á La King                                                             -2-




            “...Just because a record has a groove
                 Don’t make it in the Groove.”


                                             -   - Stevie Wonder; Sir Duke




                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                              -3-


                                         Scene I

                                             An upscale condominium in Washington,
                                             D.C. The décor is as contemporary as one
                                             can achieve without venturing forward in
                                             time. A lush sofa is arranged with a coffee
                                             table before it. A dining table is placed with
                                             three chairs. There is a window that shows
                                             us the snow-encrusted capital. There are
                                             three ways off: a doorway to the kitchen,
                                             another to the hallway where a bathroom
                                             and bedroom can be found, and a front
                                             door that leads to the hall of the apartment
                                             building.

                                             This final door opens as MAURICE FAIRFAX,
                                             a doorman of fifty-eight, enters carrying
                                             some small canvas collages and one larger
                                             oil painting-collage mix. He is followed by
                                             STEADFAST EDMONDS, a Black artist, 31.
                                             STEADFAST is bundled up, carries two
                                             grocery bags, a backpack, and a shoulder
                                             bag. They each begin to unload themselves.

                                       MAURICE
…And I keep tellin’ her, “The more you hate him, the more she’s gonna wanna see him.”

                                         STEADFAST
That’s just how my sister was. I had to kick a guy’s ass once for stepping out of line. My
grandmother and I come home. We’d been out shopping for school clothes, made this
winter feel like a holiday in Hot-lanta, and we come home to find this shiftless thug
walking around the kitchen with his shirt off and Aretha in a bathrobe. Grandma Eddy
about hit the roof.

                                         MAURICE
You see? That’s just what I said to Maxine. Let the baby make her own choices. Let me
chase the bad one’s out, but let her bring them home. Otherwise, there’s no telling
what she’s liable to drag back next.

                                       STEADFAST
For real.

                                          MAURICE
The girl went out once with a boy come to pick her up on a motorcycle. A motorcycle!
In November! Street’s about as slick as Rick and he comes to take my youngest baby on
one of them Yamahas? I sent him packin’ right quick. Then you had the one before
that. Come on up to my house blastin’ some kinda’ steel grindin’ music, then wanna
honk the horn five or six times like his picking up a bed set out the back of a warehouse.


                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                              -4-


I’m tellin’ you, I don’t know where she finds ‘em. If it hadn’t had been for the last one,
Max and I would have stop lettin’ her out the house all together. Now the last one I like.
I hope she keep this one a while. He pulls up the curb. He got his music loud, but that’s
how they all doin’ it nowadays. They figure if it ain’t sayin’ somethin’ it may as well say
it loud. Now I know the routine. They come, she asks for money, she leaves. So I call
up to baby girl and tell her he’s here. Before I know it, my doorbell was ringin’. Guess
what?

                                       STEADFAST
What he do?

                                          MAURICE
He actually got up out the car and came to the door! Now baby girl’s terrified by this.
Every time one of her friends come around, she like ‘em to think she’s an orphan. So
she comes rumblin’ down the stairs screamin’, “I got it! I got it!” Practically knocks me
out the way, and opens the door. Now they could have been gone by then. They could
have just up and left. But he doesn’t. He steps up in my house. I can’t remember the
last time a boy actually set a foot in my house. He says hello Mister Fairfax and puts out
his hand. I couldn’t believe it. I almost forgot what that meant, I was so shocked. He
actually shook the hand of the man that made the girl. Why is that so hard today? To
just go up and shake a man’s hand.

                                       STEADFAST
You got me, Mister Fairfax.

                                         MAURICE
He’s like you, Mister Edmonds. He knows how to treat somebody. Put a hand to a
hand. That boy had a good grip on him, too. Small hands, but firm. These fella’s
slappin’ each other don’t know how to hold on to a good hand shake. What can a man
do if he can’t even shake a hand? That’s why I got to run so many off. So few have been
taught. I know you taught that fella’ in your Grandma’s house, huh? Got what he
deserved.

                                       STEADFAST
Yeah, a wife, a kid and a mortgage.

                                             The men share a laugh. STEADFAST pulls
                                             out some money to give to MAURICE.


                                      MAURICE
Hey, you hang on to that, Mister Edmonds.

                                     STEADFAST
Come on now. This might be the last time / I get to…




                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            -5-


                                      MAURICE
Just remember me when you got that “Picasso Status.” Besides – and keep this
between you and me – I like you more anyway.

                                            Life.

                                            STEADFAST takes one of the smaller
                                            canvases and gives it to MAURICE.

                                      STEADFAST
Here.

                                         MAURICE
Naw, now I said you ain’t got to / give me…

                                       STEADFAST
I know. I want to. Besides, I’ve got enough of them. She might be glad I didn’t have so
many to give.

                                            Life.

                                            MAURICE takes the painting.

                                       MAURICE
You keep your head up, you hear? The things you do. I believe you got somethin’ to
give the world. I’m proud to say I opened doors for you.

                                       STEADFAST
You did more then that, Mister Fairfax.

                                       MAURICE
Really? Like what?

                                      STEADFAST
What you think you’re doing now?

                                            Life.

                                      MAURICE
You just keep your head up. No matter what happens. And even if you aren’t living
here, you can come by and talk when you like. You gonna be all right.

                                            Life.

                                         STEADFAST
I’m getting along. I got my art again, right?




                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                -6-


                            MAURICE
Damn right.

                               MAURICE and STEADFAST shake hands.
                               STEADFAST walks MAURICE to the door.


                            MAURICE
Catch you on the way out.

                               MAURICE exits. STEADFAST solemnly closes
                               the door behind him.

                               Life.

                               Life.

                               In a quiet voice, he begins to murmur the
                               Chicken Dance. It grows and grows as he
                               removes a travel easel, a hammer, and
                               some nails from his bags. He sets up his
                               large canvas. It appears to be a post-
                               modern (kind of) crab. He tacks up places
                               around the apartment for the smaller
                               canvases. By now the song has been
                               combined with a dance. He goes to his
                               grocery bags and pulls out two Cornish
                               game hens. He bowls them into the
                               kitchen. He picks up his bags and dances
                               the path made by the birds.

                            Scene II

                               Later that evening.

                               The room has taken a very alluring
                               appearance. The path from the front door
                               to the sofa is marked with jasmine petals.
                               The large painting has now been covered
                               with a cloth. The table wears three place
                               settings. A candle is lit in the center. From
                               the front door enters BECKY COLLINS, an
                               attractive white lawyer. She is obviously
                               tired. However the surprise has landed
                               pleasantly. She drops her briefcase, takes
                               off her shoes and begins to unwind as she
                               observes the changes.



                             -AZW-
Á La King                                                                              -7-


                                           BECKY
I’m screwing your Goddamn brains out, do you hear me?
         (Life.)
You would not believe the day I had today. The congresswoman has been getting flack
from back home about the fucking MLK Way bullshit. Jesus Christ. The city council
votes for the damn thing and you’d think that would be the end of it. No, no. That
would make sense. So they choose to change Brookside Road, but the village idiots say
that they don’t want it on Brookside Road. City council asks why, and they say, “I didn’t
buy this house to be on Martin Luther King Way.” Plus the Black constituents says
Brookside’s too White so they move it to G.W. Carver Street and guess what? The
NAACP! The N Double-fucking-ACP is against it now! They want to know why it is every
time a Black person gets a street named after them, it’s in the ghetto. Where the hell
do they think the black people are?! How did you know about the jasmine.
         (Motion)
Caroline was in session all day so I had to field the questions. I tell you, if she doesn’t
run for the senate next term, I walk. I fucking walk.
         (Motion)
This is good. Is this the guy you were talking about?
         (Life)
You were right. He does seem like the next big thing. You should let me introduce him
to my guy at the National.
         (Life)
Whatever that is, it smells / great.

                                             STEADFAST enters.

                                        STEADFAST
It’s a new recipe.

                                             BECKY screams.

                                         BECKY
What the hell are you doing here, Steadfast? How did you get in here?

                                        STEADFAST
I have a key.

                                          BECKY
I changed the lock.

                                             Life.

                                        STEADFAST
You have a vent.

                                          BECKY
Get out of here. What did you break?



                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             -8-


                                       STEADFAST
What did I break?

                                         BECKY
To get in. You must have broken in.

                                       STEADFAST
Mister Fairfax let me in.

                                             Life.

                                         BECKY
Who?

                                    STEADFAST
Mister Fairfax. The Doorman. For God sake, we lived here for four years and you don’t
even know the Doorman’s name.

                                         BECKY
He’s the doorman.

                                    STEADFAST
Exactly. You pass him everyday. How can you not know his name?

                                           BECKY
I pass a lot of buildings too. I don’t know everyone of them.

                                       STEADFAST
Figures.

                                        BECKY
Don’t turn this into something about me. You broke into my apartment.

                                             Life.

                                         STEADFAST
Listen and listen well; I – me – the person in the room who is not you- did not – NOT –
break into anywhere. I was let in with a key.

                                        BECKY
By a doorman who’s about to be fired. Just letting anyone in.

                                       STEADFAST
I’m not anyone. I lived here.

                                           BECKY
And I live here, Steadfast. This is my apartment now. I pay the rent. All the rent, and
my stuff is here.


                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            -9-



                                     STEADFAST
Stuff. That’s what makes up your world. New and less new / stuff.

                                        BECKY
Look…I just want you to leave okay? I don’t want to fight / you –

                                       STEADFAST
I don’t want to fight you / either.

                                         BECKY
But you have to go.

                                             Life.

                                    STEADFAST
Don’t you even want to know why I’m here?

                                         BECKY
Goddammit!

                                       STEADFAST
What?!

                                         BECKY
That was the first damn question I asked you.

                                       STEADFAST
What was?

                                          BECKY
What you’re doing here! It was the first thing / I asked you!

                                       STEADFAST
No it wasn’t, / you –

                                          BECKY
Yes it was! I saw you standing right there and yelled what the hell are you doing here!

                                      STEADFAST
Your first question was…it was…hear…something…voice…screw…THAT’S IT! “I’m
screwing your brains out, do you hear me?”

                                         BECKY
You know that wasn’t to you.

                                       STEADFAST
Talking to yourself, huh? Does she like it rough?


                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                           - 10 -



                                         BECKY
You know I thought –

                                       STEADFAST
Of course I do!

                                             Life.

                                         STEADFAST
Look, all right? I’m not trying to…to anything. I’m…just…I want to say goodbye like this.
I lied to Maurice. I told him that I wanted to make this romantic dinner –

                                         BECKY
You don’t cook.

                                       STEADFAST
That’s why I said want! He thinks I’m up here trying to win you back. I’m not. I just
wanted to end this on my terms.

                                         BECKY
Your / terms.

                                      STEADFAST
BETTER – terms. Okay? You don’t have to promise me a thing. Just have a meal with
me. One last re-hash. In fact – you eat this with me, I’ll never come back.

                                             Life.

                                         BECKY
Kingston’s coming soon.

                                       STEADFAST
No he isn’t. Check your machine. He’s working on a deal for a client at the MoMA in
New York. It’s taking longer then he thought. He said he tried your cell and you didn’t
answer. I even made enough for him. But I guess we’ll cage him up some for later.

                                             Life.

                                             Life.

                                         BECKY
Okay.

                                       STEADFAST
Great, this –




                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            - 11 -


                                           BECKY
One meal. One.

                                        STEADFAST
I hear you.

                                           BECKY
Uno. Ichi desu.

                                         STEADFAST
Okay. It’s almost ready. I’ll bring it out. Why don’t you relax?

                                             STEADFAST exits into the kitchen.

                                          BECKY
It’s my home, Steadfast. I don’t have to be told to relax.

                                      STEADFAST (O.S.)
Since when, Babe?

                                           BECKY
Yeah, well what does that tell you?

                                      STEADFAST (O.S.)
You’re unsettled.

                                          BECKY
Well it has been my experience that too many people are willing to settle. They tell
themselves this point in time is as good as it’ll ever get and they just sink. They become
a Goddamn tree. No good to anyone.

                                             STEADFAST enters with a bottle of wine and
                                             two glasses.

                                      STEADFAST
Some might call that getting comfortable.

                                           BECKY
Others would say it’s stagnation.

                                      STEADFAST
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is accept the given circumstances.

                                         BECKY
There are no given circumstances. Just the one’s we make with our own hands. Isn’t it
interesting how comfort and impetus rarely coexist?




                                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            - 12 -


                                       STEADFAST
You don’t say?

                                          BECKY
That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to get Caroline to realize. She is primed for a
senate run. It’s the best time. Her poll numbers are great, the incumbents have been in
a rut, and as soon as the East Bay Speed Train appropriation passes, mupha!

                                       STEADFAST
You think a train will mean that much to them? They all ready have a train out of the
East Bay. Has been for years. I never had a problem with that one. Why would another
one matter?

                                         BECKY
You see? That’s where you’re missing it. You see the train. To you it’s just a way there
and back. Do you know what I see? I see twenty tons of steel put together by six
hundred of California’s finest and most voting prone blue collars. They’re clocking forty
hours per week plus ten to twenty hours of overtime putting no less then fifteen
percent of additional income into six hundred middle-class households.

                                       STEADFAST
That’s quite a site.

                                             STEADFAST exits into the kitchen.

                                             BECKY
That’s a nose distance. There is seventy-three point eight miles of track designed by
thirty of this country’s brightest civil engineers and conducted by no less then one
hundred and fifty individuals on any given day. All of this getting seventeen thousand
workers from Stockton to San Francisco and every city, town, and province on the way
in no more then sixty-three minutes making it not only possible, but economically
sensible for another one-hundred, fifty thousand Californians to live in the Central
Valley while working in the Bay. This means efficiency. This means employment. It
means money and guess what it takes?

                                             STEADFAST enters with two plates whose
                                             main entrée is fried fowl.

                                       STEADFAST
Money.

                                          BECKY
Which, out of a Republican House, is – literally – like getting blood from a stone and we
are about to do it. That’s what the train means. But trying to get Caroline to see that is
like knock down a fucking Redwood.

                                             Life.



                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             - 13 -


                                      STEADFAST
Good. So now that you’ve relaxed, let’s eat.

                                             BECKY
      (examining the plate)
You made this?

                                     STEADFAST
Yup. And I didn’t even touch the Foreman.

                                                 Life.

                                             BECKY
You made it yourself?

                                          STEADFAST
Well I didn’t actually lay the bird, but all the kitchen stuff I did.

                                           BECKY
This was very nice of you, Steadfast, but –

                                        STEADFAST
I promise you it’s all edible. I came over early and even practiced on a couple of Cornish
Hens to make sure I got this one right. I called my grandmother to / get this recipe –

                                        BECKY
Wait, wait. This is Grandma Edmond’s fried chicken?

                                         STEADFAST
Even better. It’s her fried fowl. It’s something she only does for very, very special
occasions. Weddings, anniversaries, funerals. I guess having it on one out of three ain’t
bad.

                                             BECKY
Look, if you’ve come here to make me –

                                          STEADFAST
Eat!

                                                 LIFE.

                                        STEADFAST
You’re right. You’re right. I’m sorry. One last meal and no fighting. How quickly I
forget. It won’t happen again. But please, eat. You look a little peckish.

                                                 Life.

                                                 BECKY sits t the meal.


                                             -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            - 14 -



                                             Motion.

                                          BECKY
I had to skip lunch.

                                        STEADFAST
So what’s new?

                                          BECKY
Thank you. I tried to tell Caroline we need to start interviewing. Tom is not going to
pass up Georgetown and it’s ridiculous to expect me to be her Chief and her scheduler.

                                      STEADFAST
Do we really have to talk about work now?

                                             Life.

                                          BECKY
Yes, of course. It was never one of your favorite subjects.

                                        STEADFAST
Actually, work is great.

                                          BECKY
Really?

                                        STEADFAST
Yes. It’s been fantastic.

                                           BECKY
I’m glad to hear it. Did they like your designs?

                                        STEADFAST
Designs?

                                          BECKY
Did they like your new D.C. drawings?

                                      STEADFAST
Oh please. I got fired three weeks ago.

                                          BECKY
Why?

                                       STEADFAST
Because they were evil fascist who tried to crush my first amendment right to free
speech.


                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                          - 15 -



                                         BECKY
It was the Library of Congress!

                                     STEADFAST
And they should know better then to try and quash an American citizen’s God given
right to expression.

                                        BECKY
You drew coloring books of presidents for first graders.

                                      STEADFAST
Exactly! And they were trying to censor not only myself, but the children.

                                         BECKY
Because no body wants to give a child a coloring book of “Early Executives and their
Slave Mistresses.”

                                       STEADFAST
Someone who respected truth would.

                                         BECKY
It’s the Library of Congress!

                                       STEADFAST
You mean the Congress of Liars.

                                         BECKY
I got you that job as a favor.

                                       STEADFAST
I’ve thanked you enough.

                                      BECKY
What about me, Steadfast? Did you ever think of how this makes me look?

                                      STEADFAST
        (angrily)
Of course I did. I sat down one morning and took a…

                                             Life.

                                       STEADFAST
Good Lord. Were we always like this?

                                      BECKY
Not always. Sometimes. More latter than before.



                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                          - 16 -


                                     STEADFAST
At home?

                                       BECKY
Home?

                                     STEADFAST
Back west. Home.

                                       BECKY
Never west. Not then. Then we were –

                                     STEADFAST
Rooted.

                                       BECKY
Feckless.

                                          Life.

                                          Motion.

                                     STEADFAST
Why?

                                       BECKY
What?

                                     STEADFAST
Why didn’t we go back?

                                       BECKY
Back to Stockton?

                                     STEADFAST
Yes.

                                       BECKY
Oh…God, Steady…no.

                                     STEADFAST
What? Was it really that bad?

                                       BECKY
That’s not it.

                                      STEADFAST
Okay. Well then, help me out. Isn’t that what people are supposed to want to do?


                                       -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            - 17 -



                                          BECKY
No. Not at all.

                                      STEADFAST
Raise the kids back in their hometown. Just like they were raised.

                                          BECKY
What kids, Steadfast?

                                        STEADFAST
It is a metaphor and you / know it.

                                            BECKY
No, no, no. That’s it. That’s just it. Everything for you is a metaphor. A dream.
Something that isn’t there. You spend so much time thinking about what could be you
ignore what is. Or even worse, you don’t see what isn’t. You used to show it in your
painting. I loved that. I loved that in you for so long. Why did you think I wanted you
to move out here with me, huh? I could have done it alone but I took you along to
dream for me. And maybe if you handled the dreaming, I’d take of the living. That’s
why I loved your art. Every time I looked at it, it was like I made it without even knowing
I could. Then you got so caught up in the life you wanted, you even stopped making
things for the life we had. You stopped.

                                           STEADFAST
I gave life to our life. I just took a break.

                                          BECKY
From what?

                                     STEADFAST
You can’t expect me to just…create constantly. I needed muses.

                                          BECKY
You never did before.

                                        STEADFAST
Yes I / did.

                                           BECKY
In college it just came out. Came out all over. In everything you did.

                                     STEADFAST
It was what they gave me. Just because a canvas has some paint doesn’t make it a
painting. What am I supposed to do without them?




                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                        - 18 -


                                        BECKY
Do something! Anything! Don’t just stop. You stopped, Steadfast. You just sank into
wherever you were. I got you the best agent in the business, introduced you to people
at the National, the MoMA, New York, Chicago, and you gave up on me. I tried to give
you everything I thought would help you.

                                      STEADFAST
You just took what I made.

                                     BECKY
Because you made something. You didn’t just –

                                      STEADFAST
And what does he make?

                                           LIFE.

                                        BECKY
Opportunity.

                                           Life.

                                           Life.

                                           STEADFAST rises.

                                      STEADFAST
That he does.

                                           Motion.

                                           STEADFAST takes the plates into the
                                           kitchen.

                                        BECKY
But the art’s back now.

                                   STEADFAST (O.S.)
How’s the bird?

                                           BECKY
It was actually pretty satisfying. Give Grandma Eddy my regards.

                                   STEADFAST (O.S.)
I meant Sir Duke.




                                        -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             - 19 -


                                           BECKY
         (re: the painting)
This is pretty good. Who?

                                              STEADFAST enters.

                                        STEADFAST
Do you like it?

                                           BECKY
I do. It’s unlike your normal work. It’s so fresh. It’s like an…abstract king crab.

                                        STEADFAST
It’s a post-modern collage.

                                           BECKY
Like what kids do?

                                         STEADFAST
 The collage is the most legitimate art form of the twenty-first century. You take
hundreds of completely different images, ideas, styles, flavors to speak to a unifying
theme. You ask me the collage is the only true way to craft American art but you didn’t
answer my question. How was the bird?

                                         BECKY
What are you talking about? I said it was great.

                                        STEADFAST
Sir Duke.

                                           BECKY
Wha – you mean Sergeant Pepper?

                                        STEADFAST
His name was Sir Duke.

                                           BECKY
It was Sergeant Pepper.

                                       STEADFAST
It was a gift from my family. His name was Sir Duke.

                                        BECKY
Well, when I bought it the Beatles themed cage and the John Lennon coversheet It’s
name was Sergeant Pepper.




                                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                            - 20 -


                                      STEADFAST
Yes, but you never spent time with him. I taught him how to speak. He almost knew all
of Innervision.

                                           BECKY
Oh yeah, I just bought It’s food and treats.

                                        STEADFAST
You stole him!

                                          BECKY
What does it matter? It’s gone now!

                                        STEADFAST
No he isn’t.

                                            BECKY
I gave it to the pet store we got its food from.

                                     STEADFAST
I know. Who do you think they called when they couldn’t sell him?

                                       BECKY
Well there you go. Maybe you can get him / back.

                                        STEADFAST
But you like the painting?

                                        BECKY
Yeah. I told you that. What is wrong with / you?

                                         STEADFAST
Because it spoke to me. Swooped into my mind one day. The day I realized that I’ve
never actually seen my muses. I have no idea what they’ve looked like. When I was in
high school, I drew to get out all of my anger. Anything I couldn’t say but felt went onto
pages and sheets and walls.
        (re: smaller canvas)
You see this one? I call it ‘A Dream Demurred.’ It’s my homage to my earlier, more
improvised period. Before all the training. The classes. Before anyone could tell me
what was and wasn’t right.

                                          BECKY
I’m happy for you. But I think that –

                                        STEADFAST
You aren’t listening. This is important to us.




                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                               - 21 -


                                           BECKY
There is no more us. You / should go.

                                         STEADFAST
I know! That’s exactly why it’s so important.
        (re: another small)
This one’s called ‘Kind of Blue.’ It’s my reflection on education’s filtering of my creative
process. When I got into school, I was told that I was great except this, or I was
phenomenal besides that. Nothing I did seemed to please anyone, until I meet you. It
all changed with you. I got to something outside of myself. My pieces, my work
seemed to mean more because you liked it.

                                           BECKY
It was your work.

                                         STEADFAST
Ah, but if only. If only it was anything of mine. But I didn’t even think about the work. I
didn’t care. Not about what I wanted to say. Not about what the instructors, my
classmates…anyone but you. I used to think that you were my muse. That you were my
love and my rage and my story.

                                           BECKY
Good. Now you know better.

                                        STEADFAST
Of course.

                                          BECKY
Thank you for dinner, Steady. It’s time for you / to go.

                                        STEADFAST
How is the bird?

                                           BECKY
The wha – I told you I sold / him.

                                        STEADFAST
I meant the dinner.

                                              Life.

                                           BECKY
Are you seriously drunk already?

                                       STEADFAST
One might say. You can’t see a muse. It is impossible. Muses are like sound. They’re
light. They don’t matter by themselves. A muse can never be something you see, if
they were they’d be the art. You see, I thought you made my work. In college, I wanted


                                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             - 22 -


        (con’t)
to be with you. My work brought you around. I wanted to be with you in a way that I
couldn’t speak. Couldn’t say. I could only create. All my stuff was physical want.

                                              STEADFAST pulls out fowl bones from one
                                              of his pockets. He begins to paint the large
                                              collage with them.

                                          BECKY
What are you doing?

                                        STEADFAST
It’s a new technique. Do you like it? It’s called / musing.

                                       BECKY
You can’t paint here. Come on, we agreed. One meal and then gone.

                                       STEADFAST
I call this one ‘The Messenger: Post-Parcel.’ Musing is the uninhibited creation of art.
But what makes this different from other, more accepted forms is that there is no
waiting. A muse is an experience. No time can pass between the muse coming into me
and the work. What I put here tonight will stay forever because that is the purest form
of the / muse’s message.

                                          BECKY
I don’t care! Okay? Now get out!

                                        STEADFAST
Care is all about perspective.

                                          BECKY
Great, now –

                                        STEADFAST
You see, I’ve painted it this way because that’s how my world has been. However, your
world....

                                              STEADFAST turns that painting over. The
                                              large, post-modern crab now has the
                                              appearance of a headless bird.

Do you care now?

                                          BECKY
Even less.

                                              There is a knock on the door.



                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                      - 23 -


                                          BECKY
Oh, shit. It’s Kingston.

                                   MAURICE (O.S.)
Excuse me, Miss Collins. Mister Edmonds. It’s Mister Fairfax.

                                          BECKY
Oh thank God.

                                             BECKY goes and opens the door. MAURICE
                                             enters.

                                        MAURICE
Miss –

                                          BECKY
Markus, good. I’m glad you’re here.

                                       STEADFAST
Maurice.

                                          BECKY
Maurice! I meant that. Maurice. I work with a…you know what, never mind. I would
like it if you’d please help Mister Edmonds gather his things and escort him out.

                                        MAURICE
Yes, Miss, but…

                                   STEADFAST
You see, Maurice? No good deed, huh?

                                        MAURICE
I’m sorry, Mister…

                                      BECKY
This was no good deed! This was an ambush!

                                        MAURICE
You all might –

                                      STEADFAST
I cooked! I created! I gave you a muse!

                                          BECKY
You broke in and burned a chicken!

                                         STEADFAST
I did not break in and I didn’t here you complaining at the table!


                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                               - 24 -



                                          MAURICE
Y’all –

                                           BECKY
That’s only because I’m nice!

                                         STEADFAST
Nice people don’t eat their pets!

                                          MAURICE
Mister Givens is on his way up.

                                         STEADFAST
          (to MAURICE)
What?

                                          MAURICE
          (to STEADFAST)
What?

                                           BECKY
       (to STEADFAST)
What did you say?

                                          MAURICE
         (to BECKY)
I said he is coming up.

                                           BECKY
Not that!
        (to STEADFAST)
You. What did you say?

                                         STEADFAST
       (to MAURICE)
Where is he now?

                                           BECKY
Hey!

                                          MAURICE
He’s parking his car. I put service signs on the elevators so he’ll have to take the stairs.

                                           BECKY
Hey!!




                                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                          - 25 -


                                     STEADFAST
No, let him up. I want him here. He deserves his share!

                                        BECKY
HEY!!!

                                           LIFE.

                                        BECKY
What the hell is going on?!?!

                                      MAURICE
Mister Givens –

                                        BECKY
Shut up!

                                      STEADFAST
There’s the diplomatic spirit!

                                        BECKY
What did you feed me?

                                      STEADFAST
I made ‘Muse á la Sir Duke!’

                                           LIFE.

                                        BECKY
Oh my God…oh my God!

                                           BECKY runs off to the bathroom.

                                        MAURICE
Did everything go all right, Mister Edmonds?

                                           The sound of violent purging is heard
                                           offstage.

                                      STEADFAST
Great night. Best in weeks.

                                           The sound of even more violent purging is
                                           heard offstage.

                                      STEADFAST
Better then I could have dreamed.



                                        -AZW-
Á La King                                                                          - 26 -


                                            KINGSTON, a well dressed, good looking
                                            white man of 37, enters from the front
                                            door. He is slightly winded.

                                      KINGSTON
God forsaken lift –
        (Noticing the men)
Steadfast…

                                    STEADFAST
King-Ston-Giv-ens! Just the man! Come on in! I made you something!

                                      KINGSTON
What are you doing here?

                                      STEADFAST
Seems to be question of the night.

                                            BECKY enters.

                                         BECKY
        (to STEADFAST)
You!

                STEADFAST                                     MAURICE
Yes, babe?                                   Yes, babe?

                                            They glance at each other.

                                      KINGSTON
Are you all right, sweethearts?

                                         BECKY
No! No, I’m not all right!

                                      KINGSTON
Becks, did he hurt you?

                                            STEADFAST burps.

                                      STEADFAST
       (to his stomach)
Wow, settle down Good Sir!

                                        KINGSTON
I will not settle. You have obviously come here out of some sort of debased jealousy –




                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                             - 27 -


                                        STEADFAST
Jealousy?

                                        KINGSTON
And I understand.

                                        STEADFAST
        (re: to BECKY)
Kingston, you couldn’t begin to understand what we’re feeling. Can’t you feel it, Becky?

                                          BECKY
Nausea? Yes, very much.

                                           STEADFAST
Oh, come on. You were never very in touch with your spiritual side, but even you gotta
feel it, girl. You can feel it all over. You’ve got a muse in you now. We can share it. You
made it, but we share it. It can’t be seen anymore, except through us.

                                             Life.

                                        KINGSTON
          (seeing the wine bottle)
I get it, he’s drunk.

                                          BECKY
He’s not drunk. He’s out of his mind.

                                             MAURICE starts for the door.

                                          MAURICE
I can see that you all are in the middle –

                                        KINGSTON
Hold it right there, Mister…doorman.

                                        STEADFAST
Nice.

                                       KINGSTON
I’d like you to escort Mister Edmonds out of the building.

                                         BECKY
Forget escorting! I want this man arrested!

                                        MAURICE
Pardon, Miss?




                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                              - 28 -


                                           BECKY
You heard me! Arrest him!

                                         MAURICE
I can’t do that. I’m not the police.

                                           BECKY
Then call them!

                                        STEADFAST
And what for?

                                           BECKY
What for?! For…for…attempted murder!

                                     STEADFAST
Attempted – I may not be the best cook, but good luck trying to prove that.

                                        KINGSTON
What in the world did he do to you?

                                           BECKY
He…he…
        (weeping)
He fried Sergeant Pepper!!!

                                        KINGSTON
He what?

                                         BECKY
He broke in, killed Sergeant Pepper, and…served him to me…

                                        KINGSTON
What? The parrot?

                                       STEADFAST
He was an African Gray and I did not break in!

                                         MAURICE
Is that true, Mister Edmonds?

                                         STEADFAST
Not exactly. It went kill first then came in. The fact of the matter is I just cooked him.
We all made him.

                                           BECKY
You crazy bastard! You served me pet!



                                           -AZW-
Á La King                                                                           - 29 -


                                         STEADFAST
It was a parting gift to you! I – musified the bird. You can’t see your muses. You have
to experience them. Now you can practically taste the inspiration.

                                       KINGSTON
Good lord, man! Have you gone mad?

                                         BECKY
He’s a deranged, twisted psychopath!

                                        STEADFAST
Twisted? Twisted? I’ll tell you what’s twisted. Dragging a stupid boy all the way across
the country and taking everything from him. He gives you everything he has. He loses
his art, his family, his home, and what does his taker give him in return? A message that
she’s been fucking his agent from a Goddamn bird!!

                                         BECKY
Don’t you dare play the victim.

                                       STEADFAST
         (imitating a parrot)
“I love you, Kingston. Cawl!” “Fuck me harder, Kingston, Cawl!!” “Lick it, Kingston! Lick
it, Cawl!!!” What pet store did you expect to sell that!?

                                        BECKY
We had been over for months. You just weren’t strong enough to end it. You thought
we should have just moved back home and spent our lives talking about how good it
used to be. You didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to be something.

                                            STEADFAST throws a paint-covered fowl
                                            bone at the canvas. KINGSTON starts to
                                            examine the works.

                                       STEADFAST
Oh, you’re something all right.

                                          BECKY
Fine. Fine, you want to make me the bad guy? Fine, I’m the bitch. But at least I did
something. I didn’t just give up on everything.

                                        STEADFAST
I never gave up! Until today. I can’t even see you anymore.
          (referring to the painting)
It’s finished.

                                         BECKY
Phenomenal. Now get out.



                                         -AZW-
Á La King                                                                              - 30 -


                                        STEADFAST
I was never here.

                                              STEADFAST begins to gather his things.

                                          BECKY
If you ever come back here –

                                        STEADFAST
It would be pointless.

                                        KINGSTON
Oh my lord…

                                          BECKY
What is it, hon?

                                        KINGSTON
It’s…it’s…
         (to STEADFAST)
You did this?

                                        STEADFAST
What?

                                        KINGSTON
This? This is you?

                                       STEADFAST
Yeah, it’s mine. Now get the hell out of my –

                                        KINGSTON
I want it.

                                          BECKY
What are you talking / about?

                                        KINGSTON
I want all that you’ve got.

                                          BECKY
What are you saying, Kingston?

                                         KINGSTON
Collages!!! They’re the biggest thing going now. It’s all curators want in there galleries.
It’s…I want it. Give it to me and I can have it touring in four to six weeks. Tops.

                                              Life.


                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                     - 31 -



                                             Life.

                                        STEADFAST
You’re fucking my girlfriend, right?

                                        KINGSTON
You can have her.

                                          BECKY
What!?!

                                        STEADFAST
She’s yours now.

                                        KINGSTON
        (to STEADFAST)
I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. She means nothing. Trust me.

                                          BECKY
Meant nothing?

                                        STEADFAST
Trust you?

                                        KINGSTON
Have I ever let you down?

                                        STEADFAST
You’re fucking my girlfriend!

                                          BECKY
       (to KINGSTON)
Not anymore.

                                      KINGSTON
        (to STEADFAST)
Before all that. When you were creating. When you had a voice. Who was there
pushing you? Getting you into places? The work is nothing without an audience. Who
gave you that?

                                            Life.

                                        STEADFAST
I don’t believe this.

                                       KINGSTON
Believe it. This is what the people want. Let’s give it to them.


                                          -AZW-
Á La King                                                                          - 32 -



                                                Life.

                                          STEADFAST
Mister Fairfax?

                                                Life.

                                   MAURICE
Doors open when and how they do. You just got to know when to close ‘em.

                                                STEADFAST shakes MAURICE’s hand.

                                     STEADFAST
        (to KINGSTON, not shaking hands)
Deal.

                                       KINGSTON
Excellent! Come let’s discuss this. You drink?

                                          STEADFAST
Not with you.

                                          KINGSTON
Great! I respect that.

                                                KINGSTON and STEADFAST begin to gather
                                                the art.

                                          KINGSTON
        (to BECKY)
I’m so sorry things didn’t work out.

                                             BECKY
But –

                                          KINGSTON
You’re a great person. Really.

                                             BECKY
Are you seriously –

                                            KINGSTON
It’s just…this isn’t what I need. Still friends, right Beck’s?
          (to STEADFAST)
So did you really eat that God-awful parrot?




                                             -AZW-
Á La King                                                                         - 33 -


                                       STEADFAST
African Gray.

                                       KINGSTON
Awesome. The paper’s’ll love it.

                                            KINGSTON and STEADFAST exit leaving
                                            MAURICE and BECKY.

                                            Life.

                                         BECKY
What the hell was that?

                                         MAURICE
Sorry, Miss. I just get the doors. Catch you on the way out.

                                            MAURICE exits.

                                       BLACKOUT




                                         -AZW-

				
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