Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday 2013

It is Super Bowl Sunday, about four o'clock in the afternoon.  Kickoff is at 5:30.

SCENE: Interior.  FRONT ROOM of Patrick's apartment.  Only 10 by 12 feet at the most, the back wall (opposite the front door) is almost completely covered in bookcases stuffed full of vinyl record albums.  An antique dresser is along the narrow wall of the room, (to the right of the door), covered in dusty nicknacks.  Light comes in from a window in the wall next to the door, and from a window in the KITCHEN, which is essentially the far end of the front room.  A sink and fridge are out of sight around the corner to the right.  In the center of the back wall is a door that leads to the back room, PW's BEDROOM.  The door opens.  PD enters.

PHILLIP: Hello?  Patrick? [He closes the front door]

PATRICK: [Weakly] Hello?  Phil?  Is that you?

PD: Yes!  Hey man!

[He walks toward the door to the BEDROOM]

PW:  Stop right there. I don't mean to be rude, but Charles just vacuumed and I gotta keep it clean.  Too much flu going around.

[PD reaches the threshold of the BEDROOM and stops.  PW is in front of PD in bed, wearing a striped pajama top.  It has a lapel with blue piping.  He is wearing an oxygen tube and has the covers pulled up neatly to his waist.

On the bed to his left are a bunch of papers, including a beat-up spiral bound notebook and a red bic pen.  He also has a roll of toilet paper on the bed and a blue mister bottle filled with alcohol. On the bedside table is a lamp, a medication machine the size of a small clock-radio, a box of the medicine for the machine, another roll of toilet paper, a glass of water and a a few other small items.

To the right of the door is a television set, a large tube type that sticks out so far it almost touches the end of the bed.  There is a collapsed bookshelf in the corner and a shelf along the opposing wall with various prints and knicknacks collecting dust.  In the far corner are two guitars in cases, and there is a window in the back wall, behind the bed where PW is lying.

To the left is the door to the bathroom.  The light is on and PD can just make out the cluttered sink and the high stool in the bathtub that PW uses to take his daily shower.]

PD: [Brightly] Hey man, what can I do for you today?

PW: Hey Phil, my friend.  Thanks for coming.  It means a lot to me.

PD: No worries.  I am glad to help.  What do you need me to do?

PW:  Well, you can start by taking off your shoes, grabbing that folding chair by the door and come in here to sit down.

[PD does this.  He opens the folding chair and positions it right by the bed, almost in the bathroom doorway.  [PW reaches for his hand and grasps it tightly.  Not really a handshake, but a two-handed hold on PD's extended hand.  PW bows his head as he holds it tightly.  PD smiles awkwardly.]

PD:  Hey man it's good to see you.

PW: And so good to see you my friend.  So good.

[Suddenly PW sits up and pulls back the covers, exposing his rail-thin legs.  He is not wearing any pajama bottoms, so PD has to avert his eyes as PW swings his legs up and over the edge of the bed.]

PW: Ah, that's better!  I can only lay down for so long. Thanks for coming over.  It means so much to have a friend like you.

PD:  Patrick you know I'm here to help however I can.  It looks like Charles was here today.

PW:  Oh yeah. He brought me a fried chicken dinner.  That's one thing I need you to help me with.  I been so weak these past few days...

PD:  Yeah I know.  I was worried about you.  I couldn't reach you by phone...

PW:  I was too weak to get out of bed to answer it, sorry.

PD:  Oh man, you don't have to apologize, I understand.  I talked with the Hospice nurse, and she said you were ok but have been in bed for the past few days.

PW:  Yeah, boy.  It's been a tough couple a days.  [Long pause as he stares at PD]  I mean tough.  I know I'm supposed to go to some kind of care facility... [He looks away, trailing off.  Long silence.]

PD:  Yeah, you knew this was coming man.  We're going to have to think about it, you know.

PW:  I know.

PD:  Well, it's a good thing your kids are coming.

PW:  Right...

PD:  So you can give them a lot of this stuff.  [He gestures around the room] The records in particular.  Do you think your son or daughter will want them?

PW:  Gee, I sure hope so.  I don't know what I will do with them if I have to move.  Hopefully Aaron or Jennifer will want them...

PD:  Well, you'll have a chance to ask them yourself.  Melinda tells me that they will be coming to Austin next weekend!

PW:  Really?  [He is shocked.]  I mean I knew they were coming...just not...not so soon.

PD:  Melinda said she told you about it.

PW:  Yeah, yeah, she probably did.  I just didn't think it would be so soon.  Do you know when they get in?

PD:  No, I just know that they are coming this Friday.  I thought surely Melinda's told you all about it.

PW:  Maybe...I forget some things, but you'd think I'd remember that.  Wow.  So both Aaron and Jennifer are coming?

PD: That's what Melinda said.  She said they're being given a rental car and a hotel room and they'll be here on Friday and Saturday, going home Sunday.

PW:  Oh wow.  [Long pause as he shakes his head, looking down and contemplating it all]  This is too much.  I mean it's great.  But it's a lot to take in, you know?

PD:  I know.  It's good news, but it will take a while to sink in.  It'll be good though.  I know they're both eager to see you.

PW:  Really?  You think so?  Did you talk with them?

PD:  Well, no, but I know they wouldn't be coming all this way if they weren't looking forward to seeing you, right?

PW:  I suppose.  But it's been so long.  Twenty-five years is a long time.  Jennifer won't even remember me.  Aaron will though.  He don't seem too mad at his old man, hearing from him after all these years.  Jennifer, she's more...well, she just ain't sure.  But you say she's coming?

PD:  That's what Melinda told me.  I don't make all these arrangements, but I am here to help.

PW:  Oh man, Phil, you're great.  Thanks so much for coming.

PD:  Of course!  Now what can I do for you today?  You said on the phone you had a couple of things I could help you with.

PW:  Oh yes, please.  Thanks man.  You can start by fixing me my dinner.  If you would, go into the kitchen and open the fridge.  In the door you'll find a can of root beer.  Put it in the freezer so it'll get nice and cold.  There's two cans of that chocolate drink on the shelf in the fridge.  Put them in the freezer to get cold too.  Now, take this coozie and straw [hands to PD], rinse the straw and put the coozie in the freezer too.  Next find the fried chicken dinner that Charles made for me and get a microwave plate from the cabinet over the sink.  Bring those to me here so I can decide how much I want to heat up for my dinner.

[PD does all of this and returns with the dinner (a TV dinner in a plastic compartment plate) and the microwave plate and a fork to dish it up with.  PW takes the fork and begins to eat the dinner right out of the plate as PD holds it]

PD:  Wait, I thought you wanted to heat it up.

PW:  I do, it just looked so good I had to take a bite or two.

[PW smiles with food poking out of his nearly toothless mouth.  he then uses the fork to move a few bites of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans to the microwave plate that PD is also holding.  He stabs the brownie and pulls it from it's little cell and shoves it whole into his mouth, smiling even more broadly and with even more food--now black brownie mush--protruding from the gaps (of which there are more of the former than the latter) in his teeth.]

PD: O, then, let me go heat this up.

PW: [Calling after him] Don't forget the root beer and chocolate drinks.  Did you put them in the freezer?

PD: Oh yeah, they are getting nice and cold.

PW:  Great, thanks man, for doing all this.

PD: [Returning with the warmed up food, the cold root beer, the coozie, the straw and the chocolate drinks.

PW:  Oh sorry put those chocolate drinks back inthe freezer.  Those are my dessert.  I'm gonna drink them while I watch the Super Bowl.  Say are you going to watch it too?

PD: [With a barely visible smile]  Um, yeah, I am going to watch it.  Valery's making nachos and chili for supper.

PW: [Now eating his dinner with some enthusiasm]  Oh man you are lucky.  I'll bet that's going to be good.

PD:  We'll see.  It's her first time to make chili, believe it or not.  She's a wonderful cook, though, so I am sure it's going to be good.  It sure smelled good when I left the house!

PW:  Well, you are good man, Phil, to give up your time today to come take care of me.  I really appreciate it.  I do.

PD:  I know that Patrick.  And I hope you know I am happy to help.

PW:  Sorry to keep you from the big game.

PD:  You aren't keeping me.  And it may be a big game, but not to me.  After all, my team isn't even in it!  [laughs]  And I have no love for San Francisco, not after 'the catch'.  Nope, I'll never forget that one.

PW:  Oh yeah.  [He nods as he's eating]

PD:  So, do you watch football then?

PW:  Oh no, just the Super Bowl.  I don't much care about it, really.

PD:  Yeah, I guess I don't either.  It's just a game.

[Patrick has finished his dinner now and PD takes his plate back to the kitchen and washes it.]

PW:  Now I need you to help me with one more thing then you can go.

PD:  [Returning from the kitchen] What's that?

PW:  I need to brush my teeth.  Go back to the fridge and you'll find a large mason jar with a gren lid, full of water,  bring it to me.

[PD complies and puts the mason jar down on the bedside table.]

PW:  Now get me my floss and toothbrush from the bathroom.

[This requires PD to fold up the chair and set it back in the other room before handing the items to PW, who proceeds to floss his three remaining front teeth and the one or two left in the back.  PD tries not to watch and changes the subject.]

PD:  So, when Aaron and Jennifer are in town, what do you think you'll do?

PW:  [Between flossing and brushing]  I dunno.  You said they might come out to the restaurant.  You still willing to do that?

PD: Ah, yeah.  But are you sure you want to do that?

PW:  Oh yeah.  They would love it.

PD:  Oh, I have no doubt about that, but would you be able to make it?  I mean, you remember how hard it was when we when to the eye doctor?

PW:  Oh yeah, maybe it's not such a good idea.  Still I sure would like to take them out for a classic Texas meal.

PD:  Well, the offer is still good. If they want to come, and you are able to make it, you know I will take care of you.

PW:  Oh thanks Phil.  That sure does mean a lot to me.  Here, take this stuff.  [He hands PD the toothbrush and floss, which he returns to the bathroom sink]  Go rinse and refill this and put it back in the fridge. [He hands him the mason jar of water, now murky with toothpaste and saliva]

PD:  Of course Patrick.  You know I will do whatever I can to help. [He does all the above, returns to PW's bedside]

PW:  It know you will.  You're a good man, Phil.  Now get me those chocolate drinks out of the fridge and go home to your wife and that chili.

PD:  [Gets the chocolate drinks and puts them on the bedside table] Ok, Patrick, if you're sure there's nothing else.

PW:  Well, there is one more thing.

PD:  Sure!  What's that?

PW:  Get the vacuum cleaner from the other room and vacuum the carpet as you go out?

PD:  Of course, no problem.  See you later man.

PW:  Thanks man.  See you later.

[PD finds the vacuum and plugs it in.  He vacuums the bedroom floor first, backing his way out into the front room.  After vacuuming the carpet in the front room, he unplugs the machine, winds the cord up, stashes it by the door and lets himself out.]

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