Updated: Oct 2, 2018
Aaron, 22 years old. Mr. Wong, 50 year old Asian man. Mrs. Channing, 40 year old psychologist
Kendra, 46 year old African American woman. Crazy, Assortment of any crazy character of any sort.
This play takes place in an empty office in which the desk and three chairs are easily moved. There is a door upstage. The desk doubles as a hospital gurney and a table. The chairs move around to become a couch. The window panel is large and equally as versatile to suit the actor's chosen actions. such as a glass wall or an average window.
AARON (acting out his experiences on the desk) A smell of musk and frustration filled the hallway here. The odor of a dentist office embellished only by that of a slaughter house caressed my face as the paramedics on each side of my “bed-on-wheels” held the straps. The leather straps went from one side of my bed to the other. One on my chest and the other by my knees. I instantly realized I wasn't going into just any hospital. It was a psych ward. I could tell, last thing I remember was being at home studying pre- med biology and then seeing myself do... well, doing things.. I need to get out of here, I have finals next week. If I miss these I have to restart the entire year. I need to get out of here, quick!
Ironically, the ambulance ride was pleasant. Josh, the paramedic next to me attempted idle conversation as if I wasn't strapped into the bed in a vehicle of suffering. I shrugged it off, it was of no concern to me. We reached the end of the hallway. My straps were released. On my peripheral vision I saw some odd characters walking around like zombies in tattered remains of what used to be clothing or in hospital robes. Neither gave a welcoming feeling. They were behind a what I assumed to be a bullet-proof plastic clear wall, just past a fortified cubicle with many people in scrubs moving around and filling paperwork. At the time I did not know I would be behind the second wall of glass. Then I was shoved into a tiny cubicle.
(looking around) No doubt this used to be a broom closet quickly recycled into a paper storage room of a bureaucratic system. A small Asian man walked in. He was probably younger than he looked. I don't belong here. I'm another teenager when existential issues. This is all a mistake. I should be out of here within hours.
Aaron checks his back pocket.
Oh thank you baby Jesus, they let me keep my cigarettes.
Enter Mr. Wong.
He had a sense of hurry. The type that you see in the park with people speed walking, with nowhere to go.
Mr. Wong slams a stack of papers on the table.
I saw only one word. Like a needle in a haystack of words, I saw “voluntary”. As if that trick would work...again.I was being baker-acted. There was no voluntary substance in this melting pot of crazy.
A woman in a robe walks in with a newspaper. WOMAN My dog told me to bring this to you.Two men in scrubs run in and grab her as she kicks and screams.
AARON (To audience) I never saw that one again. MR WONG Please accept my apology for that.
AARON (To audience) I did not accept. (To Mr. Wong)This place in insane. I may be experiencing some mild delirium but I'm just going through a phase. I do not belong here. This is a waste of time! Pointless! Bullshit!
Aaron signs the papers in front of him.
(Back to audience) After signing the paper, I was surprised to be immediately shown to my room. It was a psych ward, the room could not be any more like a hospital room. The type of beds that can elevate and such. I always enjoyed that, as morbid as it might seem. But I knew this couldn't last long, it just couldn't.
Aaron has a small panic attack. He shakes then shrugs it off.
Off-white walls, eh? Perhaps, the slight gray that imbued it was spiritual and only in my head. Perhaps, a lot was in my head. Perhaps, I belong here.
Aaron takes his little toothbrush and shampoo bottle that was placed neatly in the middle of the bed into the bathroom. We hear a scream and Aaron pokes his head out of the bathroom.
Someone apparently isn't taking the news as well as me.
Ms. Channing walks in with a clipboard and a pen. She is dressed one a skirt-suit. Aaron walks out and sits on the bed opposite of her on the seat. There is a small pause before she asks her first question
MRS.CHANNING Hello, Aaron. I'm going to be your psychologist.
AARON I'm not suicidal. I do not intend to cause harm to myself or others. I have finals this week and I need to get out of here. I am scared to be even close to those people you see outside.
MRS.CHANNING Do you hear voices? (pause)
AARON I try to. (mockingly) Would make life far less lonely, wouldn't it? They
(To audience) We both knew this was not a joking manner. Sometimes I did hear voices, but it was my voice. I argue with myself, not knowing which voice I actually am. I shrug myself off and continue what I was doing.
(To Ms. Channing) I'm hearing yours right now.
(To audience) I was angry, how dare they. How dare they make me tell them the truth. Truth has always been a missing variable in the experiment I call conversation.
MS.CHANNING Do you have thoughts of suicide?
AARON (To audience) I knew her chart said I had just swallowed a bunch of Draino.
(To Ms. Channing) Sometimes, only for a moment. But after it's usually too late.
(To audience) This continued for another hour until I was finally allowed to roam the halls of my new prison. The door to exit my room was heavy, bolted and half a foot thick. I roamed around. The eyes of the people in the main room were unsettling. Some were looking me up and down, others were looking themselves up and down, and others were looking someone that wasn't there up and down. I have hit rock bottom before. I have been there, were the weary roam looking for the high that never comes. But I always come equipped with a shovel. I have no rock bottom, only more ground to dig. Deeper, deeper, darker, and darker.
I entered the glass room. (Pointing to where these items would theoretically be in this room) One television set, one game of checkers. That was the extent of activities we would face for days and days. I found myself looking for a way out.
(He continues inspecting the room) It doesn't matter. My mother will come to pick me up within minutes. I just know it.
KENDRA Yo, white boy!
AARON (To audience) I squirmed. A fifty year old colored woman, four gold teeth, dressed like the typical MALE rapper. I thought the stabbing would commence.
KENDRA Ya got a cigarette? We have a cigarette break in an hour.
AARON (To audience) Holy crap. I need my cigarettes, and more often than every two hours.
(To Kendra) Yes, of course ma'am.
(To audience) Let me make some allies. I have a feeling this might become a game of strategic war planning. In the world of crazy. Kendra is that girl you hear about in afternoon specials, but with a twist. Her father was a drunk with an extraordinary knack for beating offspring. When her father would cheat on her mother he would lock her in the closet, she would hear the affair out loud. The moans and groans.
Kendra shifts, Aaron is startled then continues...
By the age of twelve she was already doing smack. At fifteen she left her house, living from the couch of one friend to the other. Hustling money on the streets to get her next fix. You know the homeless who attempt to wash your windshield with a newspaper to try and get some change while you are on a stoplight? That was Kendra. That was her life. That was her past, present, and most probably her future.
KENDRA You know you belong here right?
AARON What makes you say that?
KENDRA First, I've never done smack. Second, who the hell have you been talking to? Aaron stares at the audience, lights fade to black.