The Park

An excerpt

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An empty well-kept park, late at night. It’s cold enough to see your breath.

Elizabeth is huddled underneath a tree.

Elizabeth:
Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are . . . 

It’s friggin’ cold out here. I wish I had my other mitts. The blue ones. I’d look a lot tougher with the blue ones. Johnny wears blue mitts and he never gets beat up. Ever. I wish I was more like him. He never lets anything show. Not like me. Stupid girl. I cry too much. Laugh too loud. (Beat) Look at that . . . All the clouds are gone. The moon is just up there . . . for me only. I wonder if tears can freeze like raindrops. I wish I was up there with the stars. They don’t look lonely, they have each other. And stars are made of fire, so no one can touch them, hurt them. Leave me alone! Don’t touch me! Anybody! (Beat) The wind feels good. Cold. Icy cold on hot cheeks. I like it here in the dark, where no one can see me. Hear me. I look like a shadow. Except for these stupid mitts! Why! Why did I pick the brightest mitts in the house to wear? My stupid mom . . . she’s always trying to tart me up.

John, a handsome, well dressed man in his early 30s, enters.

John:
Hey there. You didn’t get wet in the rain. (Beat) I can tell because your mitts are dry. What’s your name?

Elizabeth says nothing.

John:
I’m John.

Elizabeth:
My brother’s name is John. Well, Johnny.

John:
It’s a good name.

John sees Elizabeth staring up at the stars. They look up at the sky together for a moment.

John:
You know why the sun and moon can never be in the same place? Because the sun is so hot, it would melt the moon. Because, you know, the moon is made of ice . . . 

Elizabeth:
That’s not true. Are you stupid?

John laughs a little.

John:
Ahmm . . . You wanna smoke? I’m in love with these smokes! I have them specially imported from Argentina.

Elizabeth:
Oh. Does smoking make you a grown up?

John:
Yea. I suppose it does. Adults only.

Elizabeth:
I don’t ever want to be an adult. All they do is –

There is a loud rumble in the distance. It almost sounds like a man shouting.

Elizabeth:
(Rattled) I heard if you’re a grown up, nobody can hurt you.

John:
I don’t know if that’s true.

Elizabeth:
I want one. Gimmie, gimmie a cigarette! (Beat) My name’s Elizabeth.

John gives her a cigarette.

Elizabeth:
It’s freezing.

John:
What are you doing out here kid?

Elizabeth:
Teach me what to do with this thing. Ah come on, don’t be a prude. Hey Juan!

John:
What did you call me?

Elizabeth:
Come on, I’m just teasing. Argentina cigarettes . . . ?

John:
Ah, sure, right. Hold it up. No, in your mouth. Good. Now ummm . . . it’s windy so . . . 

John cups Elizabeth’s hand to shield the cigarette.

John:
How old are you?

Elizabeth:
Practically fourteen.

John:
Look, you should probably be getting home to your parents.

Elizabeth:
Sick of me already?

John:
Pretty girls like you should not be out this late.

Elizabeth:
You think I’m pretty?

John:
Fuck, kid. Just go! Shoo.