Where You’re From

by Jeffrey Lo


 
A middle school parking lot.
School ended half an hour ago.

FRANK sits holding his backpack close to his chest.

FRANK waits.
FRANK straightens up at the sound of a car pulling up but sees another kid enter the car.

FRANK waits…
… and waits…
Silence.

MARCUS enters.
MARCUS looks around the parking lot then takes a seat.

FRANK and MARCUS wait.
Beat.

MARCUS
Hey.

FRANK
Hi.

Silence.

MARCUS      
Waiting?

FRANK                   
What?

MARCUS                  
You waiting?            
… for your parents?

FRANK                   
…                  
YeahIguess…

MARCUS                 

Me too.
(Pause)
You guess?

FRANK                    
What?

MARCUS                  
You said, “I guess.”
I asked, “You waiting… for your parents?”
And you said, “YeahIguess…”

FRANK                      
Oh. Yeah.

Pause.

MARCUS                  
So, like, what does that mean?

No answer.

MARCUS (CON’T)
What does I guess mean?
That’s what I’m, like, asking.
You.
(Suddenly frustrated:)
WhatdoesIguessmean? That’sallIwannaknowgosh!

FRANK                      
LOOK. It means…

Nevermind.

MARCUS moves closer to FRANK.

MARCUS      
(Softer:)
What is it?

FRANK                      
I don’t know…
I just…
I guess what I meant was I don’t know if I’m actually going to be picked up.

MARCUS                  
Why not?

FRANK                      
Because.

MARCUS                  
Because?

FRANK                      
BECAUSE!

MARCUS      
(Matching Frank:)
BECAUSE?

FRANK          
(Giving up and letting it all out:)
Gosh! Because my dad forgets me…
A lot…

Like, all the time.
Like, most days I just sit here waiting for him to pick me up and he never comes. And I sit here and I wait and I wait and I wait until my mom comes home from work and realizes that I’m not home again and she comes here and sees me sitting here waiting again and she takes me home and when I see my dad he just smiles and says, “Oh hey Frank I forgot about you kiddo!” AGAIN.

Silence.
Beat.
Pause.

MARCUS                  
That sucks.

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
I’m sorry.

FRANK                      
For what?

MARCUS                  
For that.

FRANK                      
Why? I just met you.

MARCUS                  
I know. But still. I’m sorry.

Silence.

MARCUS (CON’T)
Grown-ups suck.

Well, like, not all the time. I mean. My mom’s pretty cool. She makes good food.

FRANK                      
Mine too.

MARCUS                  
Cool.

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
My mom said that when I’m a teenager she’ll teach me to make good food myself. That’s next year.

FRANK                      
That’s cool.

MARCUS                  
Yeah.
Have you thought about just walking?

FRANK                      
It’s too far.

MARCUS                  
Oh. Yeah, that sucks.

Beat.

MARCUS (CON’T)
You said your name was Frank?

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
I’m Marcus.

FRANK                      
Hi Marcus.

MARCUS      
(Extending his arm for a handshake:)
Hi Frank.

FRANK just looks at MARCUS’ hand.

MARCUS (CON’T)
I want a handshake. Come on! Don’t leave me hanging! I see the grown-ups do it when they meet someone for the first time.

FRANK shakes MARCUS’ hand.

FRANK                      
That was weird.

FRANK and MARCUS shake off the weirdness of the handshake.

MARCUS                  
That was weird.

Grown-ups are stupid.
(Pause)
I get stuck here a lot too. Waiting by the parking lot.

FRANK                      
Do they forget you too?

MARCUS                  
No. They just can’t get me till later. Work.
I hate waiting for them.
I complained to my dad about it—waiting—and he just says to me,                 
(Impersonating a grown-up:)
WE PUT CLOTHES ON YOUR BACK, A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD, AND FOOD ON THE TABLE.
(Back to his normal voice:)
So I guess that means he gets to leave me here for as long as he wants.
Or whatever…
It sucks though…

FRANK                     
Grown-ups.

MARCUS                  
The worst.

I can’t wait till I’m a grown-up.

FRANK                      
Seriously.

MARCUS                  
Everything will be simple when we’re grown-ups.
We can drive a car so we don’t have to wait for anyone.
We can eat whatever we want.
We can do whatever we want.
It must be so easy to be a grown-up.

FRANK                      
(Softly:)
To be able to count on yourself…

MARCUS                  
What was that?

FRANK                      
Oh. Uh. Nothing.
(Beat)
What time do they come to get you?

MARCUS      
(Checking his digital watch:)
Pretty soon…

FRANK                      
Cool…

MARCUS                  
Yeah…

Beat.
Pause.

MARCUS (CON’T)   
So, what are you?

FRANK                      
What?

MARCUS                  
Where are you from?

FRANK                      
I’m from here.

MARCUS                  
But like where were you from before here.

FRANK                      
I’ve always been here.

MARCUS                  
No you haven’t.

FRANK                      
Yes I have.

Awkward silence.

MARCUS                  
Are you sure?

FRANK                      
YESIHAVE! IWASBORNHERE/GOSH!

MARCUS                  
You were born he/re?

FRANK                      
YES!

MARCUS                  
Really?

FRANK                      
YES!

MARCUS                  
In America?

FRANK                      
What else do you call this place?
…Dumbass…

MARCUS                  
Whoa, you don’t have to call me names. That’s mean.

FRANK                      
Whatever.

MARCUS                  
You just don’t look like you were born in America…

FRANK                      
I WAS BORN IN AMERICA!

MARCUS                  
I believe you. I just… I was born in America too and my whole family was born in America and you don’t look like me you look like you weren’t born in…
I don’t know…

Another awkward silence.

FRANK          
(Almost mumbling:)
… my parents are fromthePhilippines.

MARCUS                  
What?

FRANK                      
The Philippines. My parents are… Filipino. They came here from the Philippines and then I was born. In America.

MARCUS                  
Ooohhh…

That makes sense.

I never thought of that before.

Pause.

MARCUS (CON’T)
Sorry… I didn’t mean to –
Sorry.

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
So, like, what do you guys eat?

FRANK                      
Food.

MARCUS                  
Yeah, but…
I heard…

Do you guys eat dogs?

FRANK                      
WHAT!? NOWEDON’TEATDOGS!

MARCUS                  
Ok!

FRANK                      
WHYWOULDYOUTHINKWEEATDOGS!?

MARCUS                  
I don’t know!

FRANK                      
WE. DON’T. EAT. DOGS! GOD!

MARCUS                  
Ok! Ok! I just heard once that…

FRANK                      
WE DON’T!

MARCUS                  
Cool! I’m, um, sorry.
Again…

I think I should stop talking about where you’re from because I’ll say things that get me in trouble…

A shorter silence.
FRANK notices MARCUS feels bad.FRANK                      
Hey.

MARCUS doesn’t quite respond. He’s down on himself.

FRANK (CON’T)
Marcus.

MARCUS                  
Yeah?

FRANK                      
You know what we do eat?

MARCUS                  
I don’t think I should talk about it…

FRANK                      
We eat…
We eat pig’s blood.

MARCUS                  
WHAT!?

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
SERIOUSLY!?

FRANK                      
Yeah.

MARCUS                  
Is it gross?

FRANK                      
Not really. It’s sort of just… goopy.

MARCUS                  
Is it bright red? Do you just drink it?

FRANK                      
Nah, we cook it with pork… and it ends up just black.

MARCUS                  
Crazy!
Wow…

I gotta try that.

Beat.

FRANK                      
Hey Marcus.
Thanks for making the wait suck less…

MARCUS                  
Yeah. You too.

FRANK extends his arm for a handshake.

They shake hands and again shake off the weirdness of the handshake.

FRANK and MARCUS laugh together.

MARCUS (CON’T)
So weird.

FRANK                      
Yeah.

Beat.

MARCUS                  
Hey Frank.

FRANK                      
Yeah?

MARCUS                  
Let’s make a handshake.

FRANK likes this idea.

FRANK                      
Ok!

MARCUS                  
How about this –

MARCUS starts the handshake.

They laugh.

FRANK                      
Ok… And then…

FRANK makes the second half of the handshake. They smile.

MARCUS                  
Yeah.

FRANK                      
Yeah.

FRANK and MARCUS perform the complete handshake. It’s odd, a little awkward but fun. It feels right.

MARCUS                  
Nice.

A car pulls up.

MARCUS (CON’T)
That’s my mom!

FRANK                      
Oh. Cool.

MARCUS grabs his bag.

MARCUS                  
See ya later!

FRANK                      
See ya.

MARCUS exits.

FRANK holds his backpack close to his chest.

FRANK waits.
A brief silence.

MARCUS runs back in.

MARCUS                  
Hey Frank.

FRANK                      
Yeah?

MARCUS                  
Do you want a ride?

End of Play.

 


Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the 2014 Leigh Weimers Emerging Arist Award, the 2012 Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. His plays have been produced and workshopped at The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company, Custom Made Theatre Company and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance. Recent directing credits include Eurydice at Palo Alto Players, Dead Man’s Cell Phone at Los Altos Stage Company, Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions and The Drunken City at Renegade Theatre Experiment. Jeffrey has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks & San Jose Repertory Theatre. He is the Casting Associate and Company Manager at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institue and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. For more about his work: www.JeffreyWritesAPlay.Com

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