Ricky-Jay Meets Pain

by Neal Adelman

Honorable Mention – Flash 405, August 2017: “Blue”
Stageplay


Flash405-RickyJayMeetsPain-NealAdelman

 

SETTING
The corrugated metal roof of any mobile home in greater Appalachia.

 

Lights up on:

Uncle Don-Don, late 40s, wears a white under shirt, jeans, and faded tattoos.

Ricky-Jay, his nephew, late teens, still waiting on his last growth spurt, wears a t-shirt and athletic shorts.

They look down at the ground, then to each other, and then, somewhere beyond.

RICKY-JAY
I mean: isn’t there an easier way to get you your drugs than me jumping off the roof of my dad’s trailer, Uncle Don-Don?

UNCLE DON-DON
And just what do you mean by ‘drugs’ Ricky-Jay?

RICKY-JAY
I—well, your pain pills—oxy, percocet, endocet, demorall—

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, allow me to explain something to you nephew: pain pills are not drugs and you’re actually doing them a disservice by—

RICKY-JAY
I mean: they get you high—and you’re always, slurring your words and walking into cars and—

UNCLE DON-DON
But you see: pain pills are medicines, Ricky-Jay, and they were discovered by people much smarter than you and I and in laboratories with sciences and people with stethoscopes—

RICKY-JAY
And you’re in pain?

UNCLE DON-DON
Yes. I am. Very much.

RICKY-JAY
Cause you don’t really look like—

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, there’s a thousand different kinds of pain, Ricky-Jay.

RICKY-JAY
Cause this is at least twenty feet up and I’d break a tibia—

UNCLE DON-DON
And you’re only thirteen so you probably only know about forty-eight out of those thousand pains and so I accept and understand your hesitation, but I also feel obligated, as your uncle, to explain to you some of the pain that life has in store for people like us, people like you and me, okay?

RICKY-JAY
Uncle Don-Don, you know I’m tough, but I need my tibia and—

UNCLE DON-DON
Imagine, if you will Ricky-Jay, never graduating high school.

RICKY-JAY
Well, sure. No problem. I mean: fuck high school, right?

UNCLE DON-DON
Great, now imagine getting any of the jobs you believe might be available to you after having not graduated high school, such as, but not limited to: head fry cook at McDonald’s, cashier at the Wa-Wa, mechanic at Powers Chevy-GMC or: miner.

RICKY-JAY
Well, I’d be a miner, easy.

UNCLE DON-DON
And that’d be an excellent choice, nephew of mine.

RICKY-JAY
Like you, like Dad, like grand-dad—

UNCLE DON-DON
But, really, it doesn’t matter cause whatever job you get is gonna be a disappointment, whether it’s working underneath the earth or standing behind a register, no matter where you go, you’ll be surrounded by any number of farting assholes.

RICKY-JAY
Okay.

UNCLE DON-DON
And that’s all right cause that’s what God made beer for, so after a long thankless day at whatever job, you at least have the ability to get blind drunk and try to forget everything.

RICKY-JAY
Yeah, I like getting fucked up.

UNCLE DON-DON
And here’s another piece of good news, occasionally, while you’re fucked up, you’ll get laid: chances are they won’t be much to look at, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then and, eventually, you’re gonna marry one of them.

RICKY-JAY
Yeah. And she’s gonna have huge tits, Uncle Don-Don.

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, she just might.

RICKY-JAY
Hey: she’s my wife, if I say she’s gonna have huge—

UNCLE DON-DON
And then imagine this: Ricky-Jay, imagine that one night your wife with huge tits admits to you that she’s never been able to climax and that the reason for this—and really, it’s not your fault—but the reason is: she has an oversized vagina.

RICKY-JAY
Are you talking about Aunt Dottie?

UNCLE DON-DON
And then she further explains that this is an actual medical condition wherein the woman’s vagina is much larger than the size of your average vagina and that however impressive you shit may be, you will never be able to wholly satisfy this woman and this is something you are forced to live with every day for the rest of your life because you are too much of a man to admit this to yourself and from then on, you’re one great wish is that you will come home one day, from your shitty job and find her gone and run off with some man with a huge dick, but she never does and you know she never will.

Beat.

RICKY-JAY
Well, I’m real sorry to hear about all that, Uncle Don-Don.

UNCLE DON-DON
Thanks. Yeah. It’s not so fun to talk about.

RICKY-JAY
Yeah.

UNCLE DON-DON
Yeah.

Beat.

RICKY-JAY
And I’m sorry you’re in pain, Uncle Don-Don, really, but—

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, honestly, I think you’ll find that it’s inescapable, Ricky-Jay, so it’s better if you just meet it head on, you know, if you just take the plunge, if you just go ahead and admit that for people like you and me, life is just a series of terrible decisions followed by massive disappointments.

RICKY-JAY
Sure. But, you know, I might graduate high school.

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, I never—you’re absolutely right, nephew, and I truly—

RICKY-JAY
Cause, sometimes, I like math.

UNCLE DON-DON
Well, good for you, that’s great, but even still—

RICKY-JAY
And maybe, who knows, you know, maybe, I’ll get some other job, like selling cars, cause I could do that, and maybe I’ll wear a suit and a tie, and then I’ll get me my hot-ass wife with big tits and an average vagina, and maybe it won’t even be average, you know, maybe it’ll be real small, like tiny, and then, we’ll get married and have Jet Skis and be happy.

Beat.

Uncle Don-Don pushes Ricky off the roof.

Blackout.

End of Play.

 


Judge’s Comments:
We like this little stageplay for its interesting use of “Blue”—as in racy language and imagery (and, even, perhaps, the color of certain prescription drugs). Below the surface of some of the small-town, guttural dialogue of the characters is a morbid vision: one surrounding addiction and what we sometimes do to feed its too-frequent, inescapable pull. This piece is surprising and macabre all at once.

Neal Adelman was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He writes plays and short sto- ries. His one-act play “TARRANT COUNTY” received an NPP workshop and was a 2014 Kennedy Center for the Arts College Theatre Festival John Cauble Outstanding Short Play National Finalist and his full-length play “PONTIACS” was the 2015 recipient of the Kennedy Center for the Arts College Theatre Festival Mark Twain Award. Recently, his play “ONLY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN AT THE FAIR” was a finalist for the 2016 Kernodle Prize and his one woman play, “I, CUSTER,” directed by Mark Medoff, received a work-shop production in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where Adelman currently lives and works. His short stories have appeared in Puerto del Sol and Caldera Culture Review. When he’s not writing, he’s either fishing or trying to start the next great rock and roll band.

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