I Did the Best I Could

April 2006.  Virgina Tech.  We are in the dorm where the Virgina Tech killer lives.  (He has yet to go on his shooting rampage.) The room has a lived-in effect with various items scattered about.  A little bit of spilled soap powder by the desk.  Two empty coke cans on the window sill.  I am calling him "Mike" in this piece to be delicate. He is alone in the room with no roommate.  He is seated at his computer  when he hears a knock at the door.  Remember he has committed no murder as yet.  It is Bret Somers, the comedienne, and famous guest star of the 1970's game show, "Match Game," hosted by Gene Rayburn.

Mike (VT killer) opens the door.  5:45 p.m.

Bret:  Why, hello.  You live next to my granddaughter.  I hope you don't mind my knocking.  Are you busy?  I'm Bret Somers.

Mike:  Hello, Bret.  (taken aback)  I was typing. 

Bret: Can I come in?

Mike:  Wait a minute, miss, I don't even know you.

Bret:  Sure, you do.  My granddaughter, Kathy, lives next door to you in 215.  Haven't you two met?  Got acquainted?  Talked?  Been to classes together?  When I went to college back in the 40's, people spoke to one another.

Mike:  Kathy? (thinking, trying to remember)  I'm sure I've seen her.  Tall, thin girl with long brown hair?

Bret:  Right, that's her.  Then you haven't spoken,  I take it.

Mike:  That's right.

Bret:  I hope I haven't bothered you.  I guess you've already come back from dinner.  I put a note on her door that I'd be waiting with you.  Is that alright?

Mike: (even more surprised)  No, it's not alright.  I was working on an essay, a final paper.  But OK, if you're related to one of the girls next door, you can come in.  You're expecting her to come back in a few minutes, right?

Bret:  That's right.  I wouldn't want to disturb you while you were working.  Just a few minutes.  I don't get out like I used to.  Kathy is my youngest granddaughter and I've been wanting to surprise her with a visit.  She was happy to see me.  She's on her way back from the University Center.  She shouldn't be long.  I told her I wanted to look around the campus anyway.  She's due back.  Don't worry.

Mike:  What's Kathy majoring in?

Bret:  Political Science.  She loves it.  We have a lot of friends and family in politics.  I'd love to see her find a career in local or state government.  Who knows, mybe someday a job in the White House?  She likes Virginia, too.

Mike:  Oh, that's good.  A potential famous person right near me.  You never know.  I'm so frustrated I want to kill.

Bret:  Oh, Christ, don't say that. You should feel tremendous hope.  Do you know I starred for years on a popular game show with Gene Rayburn, called Match Game?  I loved it.  I was so pleased to see all the hopeful contestants each day trying to win.  We gave a lot of prizes away.  I'm always thinking about the future and good things to come.  You sound so glum.

Mike:  I have no game show, lady.  What, are you kidding?  Go get some Burger King and wait there, if you don't like it.

Bret:  No, as soon as Kathy sees that note, she's going to knock and retrieve me here.  Mike, sweetie, what I'm trying to say is, you're here, in college, studying, make the best of it.  Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.  Perk yourself up.  You're a young fellow.  Show some promise.  What if your parents heard you talking like that?  Have you no goals?

Mike:  I have goals.  But this junk isn't going to work out.  Every piece of writing I submit gets rejected.

Bret:  Oh, an aspiring writer.  Don't give up, hon.  You must have academic goals with a career in mind first.  Your writing will always be there. Think logically.  You must.

Mike:  Shut up!  Come on, always be there. I'm Korean.  This is also a damn racist society.  Nobody wants to help me.  People are out to finish me up.  Or "off."  I'm tired of this waiting game.  I wanted some action.  I have a lot of talent.  Four clever plays about families in a troubled society--which I worked hard on--were all rejected with nothing more than a superficial note from the editor.  My parents can't help me.  They're working class.  They don't understand publication.

Bret:  (Startled by his agitated tone, glancing at the door)  You need to lower your expectations, then.  If you're so smart, you know success can take time.  How about your girlfriend?  What does she say? 

Mike:  That bitch left me two weeks ago.  She said I wasn't good enough for her.  Right after I told her I was in love with her.

Bret:  There are plenty of fish in the sea.  You'll find another.

Mike:  Get out of here with your platitudes.  They don't help. 

Bret:  You're thinking too dejected and rejected.  That's not the right spirit for a college dorm.  Show some school spirit.

Mike:  I criticize women like you in my plays.  You're a person I don't like.

Bret:  I'm sorry to hear that.  My granddaughter likes me just fine.  So do the rest of my family.  I'm a nice person.

Mike:  I want to kill.  I'm tired of people annoying me and upsetting me.  I need revenge.  I get revenge.  For putting me down.  For squashing my integrity.

Bret:  This is too hard for me.  (Hears a knock at the door.  Mike opens the door.  It is Kathy.)  Hello, dear.  I was just chatting with Mike, your neighbor.

Kathy:  Oh, OK.  Hi. 

Bret:  Very nice meeting you, Mike.  Good luck with your studies.

They leave and enter Kathy's dorm room.

Bret:  He sounds somewhat disturbed, dear.

Kathy:  I know, grandma.  We've spoken to the Resident Assistant, but she only says that he's very withdrawn and too shy.  He will not hurt anybody.  So, me and Ella don't worry about him.  Just take it all with a grain of salt.  I wouldn't listen to a word he says.

Bret:  I hope you're right because I would decide whether some action needs to be taken to remove him.  I'd be afraid.

Kathy:  We've already checked that.


GlennMcCrary   GlennMcCrary wrote
on 8/12/2009 11:30:36 PM
Interesting read.

1 act
writing frederic
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Rating: 7.0/10

I haven't worked in fantasy as yet. This is a go at it with my ususal preoccupations.
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