“The Ticket” By: Michael Bryan

[Disclaimer: Full Act I, some of Act II.]

Introduction

The Cooper home is a discrete, run-down condominium located somewhere in the middle of Atlanta, Georgia in the early 2000s. The condominium is a small, one-bedroom, with a small den, dining area, kitchen, and bathroom included. The Cooper home is normally dark, apart from the light from the television screen in the living room and the small lightbulb in the kitchen. Currently, the Cooper’s living room is brightened by the sixty-inch big screen television as Sam’s father drinks a glass of whiskey on the couch as he watches television.

     SAM, is a sixteen-year old boy, skinny with dark hair and blue eyes. Sam was adopted at seven-years-old after his Mother’s suicide. One of the main recollections Sam has of his Mother was her love for playing the lottery and how she used to let him play scratch-off lottery tickets with her.

     Sam’s bedroom is the den, which is connected to the living room where his Father spends a majority of his time at, mostly in a drunken rage. Sam sleeps on a small cot, with a brown-night stand next to it with a picture of his late adopted mother, Missy, sitting atop it next to a lamp. Sam’s adopted Father, WILSON, is forty-five-years old and has been a bitter, drunk, abusive person since the loss of Missy and is in no mental capacity to care for Sam; other than, providing a roof and some food for him.

     It’s 2:30 A.M. and Wilson is yelling at the television and causes Sam to wake from his slumber. Sam rubs both of his hands over his eyes as Wilson continues yelling at the television screen. Sam sits up out of bed and exits his room discreetly as he walks towards the bathroom. Wilson, is now in the kitchen pouring himself another glass of straight whiskey over the top of four ice cubes. Wilson notices Sam’s shadow as he slowly walks towards the bathroom.

 

Wilson:

“Sammy boy!”

Wilson finishes pouring drink places cork back onto bottle.

                         Wilson CONTD:

“Come on over here, Sammy boy!”

Wilson is tall, fat, has a mustache and hairy chest, and is currently shirtless with black basketball shorts on. He is balding and currently looks like he’s had more than a couple drinks tonight.

 

 

Sam:

“What’s going on? What time is it?” (raspy voice)

 

Wilson walks over to the couch and sits down. He points at the television screen with his free hand, right index finger.

Wilson:

“Look at that Sammy Boy, look.”

 

Sam steps closer to the television screen, there is a white man in a blue suit talking on the screen.

Wilson CONTD:

“Do you see it?”

Wilson grows irritated. He takes a large gulp of whiskey and stands up. He approaches the back of Sam and places his right index finger over Sam’s shoulder and points at a small finger-print smudge on the bottom of the television screen.

Sam:

(Shaking his head in disbelief, worry on his face.) “I didn’t do that Dad. I promise I didn’t!”

 

Wilson grabs the back of Sam’s neck and squeezes.

 

 

Wilson:

“How many times—”

 

Wilson moves his mouth closer to Sam’s ear.

Wilson CONTD:

“Do I have to tell you to keep your filthy hands off my television!”

 

Sam grimaces in pain. Wilson squeezes tighter. Sam’s knees start to weaken. Wilson releases his grip and nudges Sam in the back of the head.

Wilson CONTD:

“Sit your ass down on that couch boy.”

 

Wilson drinks another large gulp of whiskey, finishing the glass. Wilson walks over to the round-top table in the dining area and picks up a brown leather belt.

Sam:

(in panic.) “Dad. I’m sorry. Please. I really didn—”

Wilson:

(Angrily.) “Really didn’t what? What! You callin me a liar boy!”

 

Wilson wraps one end of the brown leather belt around his right hand, leaving the other end of the belt hanging.

Wilson CONTD:

“Get up and turn around boy!” (stern voice.)

Sam:

(tears running down his face from both eyes.) “But–.”

 

Wilson hits Sam in the face with the loose end of the leather belt. A red mark appears on the side of Sam’s face from the belt. Wilson unwraps the belt from his hand and tosses it at Sam, hitting him on top of the head as Sam holds the side of his face. Wilson picks up his empty glass and walks back to the kitchen and begins to refill the glass with more whiskey, this time no ice.

Wilson:

“Sammy boy, nine-years ago Missy and I adopted you.”

 

Wilson finishes pouring glass of whiskey.

Wilson CONTD:

“Four years ago–.” (tear drops fall from both of Wilson’s eyes.) “Cancer took my Missy. Tomorrow, is our Anniversary. Did you know that?”

Sam shakes his head in a sideways motion.

Wilson CONTD:

“Of course, you didn’t! Why would you? Now get the hell out of my sight before I clock you one harder on your head again.”

Sam quickly hurries to his room and sits down on his bed. Wilson drinks the rest of his whiskey and falls asleep on the couch. Sam decides he can no longer live with Wilson and decides to pack a backpack and run away to Florida. As Sam walks through the living room to exit the house, he notices Wilson’s wallet sitting on the round-table in the dining area. Sam walks and picks up the wallet, pulling out a ten-dollar bill and a five-dollar bill. Sam folds the money up and places it into his pocket. He also grabs the half drank bottle of whiskey from the kitchen counter and exits the condominium with Wilson sound asleep behind him.

                                                                                 Act I: 

EXT. Bagger’s Row- 10:00 A.M.

 

The sun is shining bright down onto Sam as he walks down the street. Sam has been walking for almost three hours. Sam comes up on a street name, “31st and Somerset Avenue.” The road is located on the east side of Atlanta and wasn’t as populated as most streets in the city because of the horrible stench that came from “Bagger’s Row,” a homeless community that sits in an alley-way between a gas station and flower shop. Across the street from Bagger’s Row, sits a small park and baseball diamond, all dirt and no grass on the baseball diamond.

     Sam approaches Bagger’s Row and instantly smells a tasteful scent in the air, instead of an awful stench. Sam peeks his head around the corner into Bagger’s Row and Sam notices a long haired, full-bearded, white male with baggy clothes and a red, blue, and green scarf wrapped around his neck. He is cooking eggs on a small hot pan, with three homeless men and one homeless woman hovered around the hot pan chatting amongst each other as the long-haired man cooks. The long-haired man places the fried eggs onto a paper plate and the homeless woman begins distributing the eggs equally between the other three homeless men and herself. The three homeless men and woman disperse back into Bagger’s Row with their plates. The long-haired man opens the carton of eggs and cracks open the last three eggs of the carton onto the hot pan.

Lazaraus:

How do you like your eggs?”

 

Sam stands in place, silent. The long-haired man turns around and looks at Sam as he peaks his head around the corner.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“Scrambled or over-easy?”

 

Sam looks at the long-haired man confused.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“You’re hungry, right?”

 

Sam shakes his head in a vertical motion.

Sam:

“Scrambled.”

 

The long-haired man directs Sam to come around the corner and towards the table. Sam approaches the back of the long-haired man as he cooks.

Lazaraus:

Come around over here, youngster.”

Sam walks around the small table to where he is standing directly in front of the long-haired man.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“So, you got a name?”

Sam:

“Sam. Sam Cooper.”

 

The homeless woman returns her finished plate to the table.

Homeless Woman:

“Those eggs were amazing LAZARAUS. Eatin a good meal like that will help me collect more cans den JOJO today.”

 

The lady looks over at Sam. Her face is old, wrinkly, dirty, and has dark bags under her eyes. The lady smiles at Sam, rotted teeth throughout the woman’s mouth.

Homeless Woman CONTD:

“Who’s your friend, Lazaraus?”

 

Lazarus picks up the used paper plate and places the eggs from the hot pan onto it.

Lazaraus:

“Sam Cooper. I think he’s a first-timer over here on Bagger’s Row.”

 

Sam:

“What makes you say that?”

 

Lazaraus and the homeless woman both chuckle.

Sam CONTD:

“What?”

 

Lazaraus hands the plate of eggs to Sam and looks down at Sam’s tennis shoes. Sam accepts the plate of eggs from Lazaraus.

Lazaraus:

“You’re wearing shoes.”

 

Sam looks down at Lazaraus’s and the homeless woman’s bare, dirty feet as the two laugh at Sam. Sam looks down at the scrambled eggs on his plate and doesn’t see a fork.

Sam:

“Do you have a fork?”

 

The homeless woman and Lazaraus both stop laughing. The woman squints her eyes at Sam. Lazaraus shakes his head in a serious, side way motion.

Sam CONTD:

“No thank you. I’m not going to eat like an animal.”

A dark skinned, heavy set homeless man, wearing a Hawks jersey approaches the table as Sam places the plate of eggs down onto the table.

Homeless Man:

“Shit son, I’m not ashamed.”

 

The homeless man picks up the plate of food and smirks at Sam. The man walks off towards the back of Bagger’s Row. Sam looks at Lazaraus in disbelief. The homeless woman pats Lazaraus on the shoulder.

Homeless Woman:

“I’m leave dis one to you, Lazaraus. I got cans to get to collectin, especially since JoJo hasn’t hit the streets yet. Plus, I think Mr. Hurman is giving out free chicken down at the market store this afternoon. Want me to grab you a piece?”

 

Lazaraus smiles at the woman; he has shiny, straight, white teeth.

Lazaraus:

“How about you grab me a piece, Martha, and I’ll cook it for you and JoJo.”

 

The homeless woman smiles at Lazaraus.

 

Homeless Woman:

“Sounds like a plan.”

The homeless woman pushes a decorated grocery cart out of the alley way and down the sidewalk.

Lazaraus:

“So, what’re you running from Sam Cooper?”

 

Lazaraus walks over to a large size box, or, miniature box house. Sam follows behind. It’s the very first box house that sits in the alley way on Bagger’s Row. There is a square-cut window on the side of the box that looks out at the street corner. Lazaraus sits down on a fold-up chair sitting outside the box house.

 

Sam:

“I’m not running from anything. What makes you think I’m running from something?”

 

Lazaraus begins brushing his hair back with a small, gold hairbrush.

Lazaraus:

“Backpack. Hungry. Alone. Here, on Bagger’s Row. East side of Atlanta. No kids come here, Sam. You’re in different territory than wherever you come from. What’re you like, fifteen? You’re definitely running from something.”

 

Lazaraus reaches behind the fold-out chair and grabs a silver flask. He unscrews the cap off the flask and takes a drink.

Sam:

“I’m sixteen.” [Sam grins at Lazaraus.] “I was hungry because you offered me food and it’s rude not to accept food when someone offers. I’m alone, because I chose to be. And yea, I am a first-timer over here on Bagger’s Row. I just wanted to see if someone over here could do me a favor…”

 

Sam pulls his back-pack from around his shoulder.

Sam CONTD:

“I need to get to Florida. I need someone to buy me a scratch off lottery ticket…”

 

Sam unzips his backpack and pulls out the half drank bottle of whiskey.

Lazaraus:

“Scratch off lottery ticket? For the alcohol?”

 

Sam nods his head with confidence. A medium sized, light skinned homeless man wearing a raggedy Falcon’s jersey, sweatpants, and a fisherman’s hat is pushing a grocery cart and stops the cart in front of Lazaraus and Sam.

Lazaraus:

“How’s it going this morning, JoJo?”

 

JoJo grins at Lazaraus, taps his foot three times, and then smiles. JoJo points his finger at the bottle of whiskey.

JoJo:

“What dat yous gots goin on ova here, Zeus?”

Lazaraus:

What, the boy or the whiskey?”

JoJo:

Da whisk.

Lazaraus:

“Sam Cooper needs somebody to buy him a lottery ticket, in exchange for that there whiskey.”

 

JoJo looks down at the ground, scratches the side of his head, and looks at Sam.

JoJo:

“Well, do he gots da monies foe it?”

Sam:

“Yes. I do.”

 

JoJo:

“Well if da kid gots do monies den you should done it. Dats a good deal, Zeus. I’d takes it.”

 

Lazaraus smiles at JoJo and nods his head.

Lazaraus:

“I won’t hold you up any longer, JoJo. Have a good day can-huntin. I think your Ma is going to give you a run for your money today.”

 

JoJo shrugs both of his arms and begins pushing his cart.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“JoJo. Hold up one second. I almost forgot.”

Lazaraus reaches into his pocket and pulls out a stick of gum. He stands up and walks over to JoJo. He hands him the stick of gum.

JoJo:

“Juicy Freat. My favorite, danks Zeus.”

 

JoJo unwraps a piece of gum and places it into his mouth and starts chewing.

JoJo:

“Yups. Dats da good stuff right dere. Gots da go now.”

 

JoJo pushes his cart down the road.

Sam:

“So, will you help me, Lazaraus?”

 

Lazaraus looks down at the silver flask and then at the half drank bottle of whiskey.

Lazaraus:

“On one condition.”

Sam:

“Anything.”

Lazaraus:

“You scratch it off here.”

Sam:

“Deal.”

 

Sam reaches into his pocket and pulls out the folded ten-dollar bill and five-dollar bill. He unfolds the cash and hands Lazaraus the ten-dollar bill.

Sam:

“Just get me two five-dollar tickets. Any two, five-dollar tickets.”

Lazaraus accepts the money.

Lazaraus:

“My choice?”

Sam:

“I trust you.”

 

Lazaraus shakes Sam’s hand. Lazaraus walks out of the alley and towards the gas station. Lazaraus walks into the gas station. There is an older, female CLERK working behind the counter. The clerk grins at Lazaraus as he approaches the counter. Lazaraus gazes across the various scratch-off lottery tickets in the glass shelf-case.

Clerk:

“What can I get you?”

Lazaraus:

“Two, number nines.”

Clerk:

“You got money, right?”

 

Lazaraus nods his head at the clerk. The clerk grabs two number nines and the bell on the gas station door rings as an older, well-dressed, wealthy woman enters the gas station. The woman stops at the door after entering.

Clerk CONTD:

“That’ll be ten-dollars.”

 

Lazaraus hands the clerk the ten-dollar bill. The clerk places the two number nines down onto the counter. Lazaraus picks up the scratch off tickets off the counter.

Clerk:

“You know the lottery is a pipe dream, right?”(sighs)I think it’s sad that good hearted folks give people like you, money, and this is what you do with it.”

Lazaraus:

“Good day, ma ‘me.”

 

Lazaraus nods his head at the clerk and turns around to exit the gas station. Lazaraus notices the older, well-dressed, wealthy woman standing by the exit door. He stops and looks at the woman. A look of shock comes over the woman’s face.

Lucille:

“Lazaraus.”

 

Lazaraus steps closer to the woman as he places the lottery tickets into his baggy, sweatshirt pocket.

Lazaraus:

“LUCILLE.”

 

Lazaraus takes a second step closer.

 

Lucille:

“What in the wo–. I’ve. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

 

Lucille places the palm of her hand over her mouth.

Lucille CONTD:

“My child…”

Lazaraus:

“Nothing’s changed, Lucille.”

 

Tear drops fall from Lucille’s eyes.

Lucille:

“Please Lazaraus, come back home. This isn’t you, my child. You still have a life, Lazaraus.”

 

Lazaraus shakes his head in disappointment at Lucille.

Lazaraus:

“My life ended seven years ago, Lucille.”

 

Lazaraus exits the gas station. Lucille follows behind him.

Lucille:

“Lazaraus, please.”

Lazaraus stops at the edge of the street as a car passes by. Lazaraus turns around as Lucille looks at the street corner and back at Lazaraus.

Lucille CONTD:

“I don’t know why you’re doing this to yourself, Lazaraus. This isn’t what Kalie would’ve wanted.”

Lazaraus:

“Worry about the rest of your family, Lucille. Don’t come down here anymore, especially wearing all that gold around your neck…”

 

Lazaraus looks at the street corner and back at Lucille.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“this is my home now.”

 

Lazaraus crosses the street and walks over to small park. Sam watches at a distance as Lucille watches Lazaraus cross the street. Lucille walks over to her car with tears in her eyes, looks one last time over at Lazaraus, gets in her car and drives away. Sam crosses the street and walks over to Lazaraus sitting on a wooded park bench, located under a large willow tree. Sam approaches Lazaraus.

Sam:

“Getting some shade, Lazaraus?”

 

Lazaraus reaches into his baggy sweater pocket and pulls out the two scratch-offs. He hands Sam the tickets.

Lazaraus:

“Something like that.”

 

Sam looks down at the scratch-off tickets. The name of the game is, “CASH-EM”, there is three money symbols that you scratch off and the three symbols must uncover three rose flowers in order to win the grand prize of, 2.5 million dollars. Sam begins scavenging around in his pockets.

Sam:

“I don’t think I have anything to scratch it off with. No change. No keys. Nothing.”

Lazaraus:

“That’s ok. We’re in no rush.”

Sam:

“Who was that lady you were talking too?”

 

Lazaraus looks down at the ground and back up.

Lazaraus:

“What time do you got?”

Sam looks down at his watch.

Sam:

“Exactly, noon.”

The bell from the top of a church begins to dong in the distance.

Lazaraus:

“What do you know about time, Sam?”

Sam:

“The clock. It ticks.”

 

Lazaraus chuckles.

Lazaraus:

“Does it ever stop?”

 

Sam pauses and thinks to himself. The bell from the church at the distance stops ringing.

Lazaraus:

“It doesn’t stop, Sam. Time is non-refundable. Time is something that you can never get back. Once something happens, it happened–.” {Lazaraus pauses, he continues.] “and then your expected to move on just because time keeps going. Time forces us to appreciate what we had. Time can’t be bought with money. Time catches up to everybody–.”

 

Lazaraus looks down at the ground.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“then you die.”

Lazaraus stands up and pulls the silver flask out from under his baggy pants pocket. He takes a drink.

Lazaraus:

“Where are your parents at, Sam?”

Sam:

“Dead. Time caught up to both of my Moms. My Dad is drunk.”

Lazaraus:

“Is that where the red mark on your face came from?”

Sam:

“He thought I finger smudged his TV.”

 

Lazaraus shakes his head in disappointment.

Lazaraus:

“So, what’s in Florida? You said earlier that you needed to get to Florida. Why Florida? What’s in Florida?”

Sam:

“My Grandma lives in Florida. My Mom used to talk about her all the time. I figure I can go there and live with her.”

Lazaraus:

“Why don’t you just call her to come pick you up?”

Sam:

“I don’t have her number.”

Lazaraus:

“Do you have her address?”

Sam:

“No.”

Lazaraus:

“Do you know her name?”

Sam:

“No.”

Lazaraus:

“So, your practically an orphan.”

 

Lazaraus takes another drink.

Sam:

“Yea. Something like that. But—”

Lazaraus:

“But what?”

Sam:

“I’m about to be a rich orphan.”

Lazaraus:

“Alright, rich orphan. I got something I need to do and I could use some extra hands.”

 

Lazaraus starts walking as Sam stands in place.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“We’ll also find you something to scratch that ticket off.”

 

Sam follows behind Lazaraus as the two walk multiple blocks down the street. The two pass many abandoned buildings and shut-down businesses.

Sam:

“Lazaraus, where are we going? Why are all these buildings old and nasty looking. There’s like nobody around here. These buildings only have ghosts in them, or, maybe meth labs.”

 

Lazaraus continues walking. He stops in front of a large, abandoned building. He looks back at Sam as Sam looks at the building.

Lazaraus:

“This was supposed to be a new homeless facility about seven years ago.”

 

Lazaraus looks down at Sam’s feet and then back up at the abandoned building.

Sam:

“Supposed to be?”

Lazaraus:

“It never opened. Something happened to the founder and the plans fell through.”

Sam:

“How do you know that?”

Lazaraus:

“The same reason I know that if you look down you will something to scratch-off that ticket with, lotto stud.”

 

Sam looks down at the ground and notices a shiny, brass penny. Sam bends over and picks up the penny.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“Could be your lucky penny.”

 

Lazaraus continues walking down the street. Sam places the penny into his jean pocket and catches up to Lazaraus.

Sam:

“We almost there yet?”

Lazaraus:

“Almost.”

Sam:

“Can I ask you a question, Lazaraus?”

Lazaraus:

“Isn’t that all you do?”

Sam:

“Probably.” [Sam pauses.] “So, when I scratch this ticket off and win this jackpot, how am I supposed to cash-in the ticket?”

 

Lazaraus stops walking as they both approach a busy intersection.

Lazaraus:

“I guess time will tell.”

 

Lazaraus and Sam wait for the cars to stop before crossing the street. Lazaraus and Sam both cross the street. Lazaraus stops at a blue post box. Lazaraus opens the mail drop lever and drops an envelope into the post box.

Sam:

“Who’re you sending that too?”

Lazaraus:

“You wouldn’t know if I told you.”

Sam:

“So…when can I scratch off these tickets?”

Lazaraus:

“You can scratch one off now. Have at it.”

 

Sam pulls out one of the scratch-off tickets and the penny he picked up off the ground from his pocket. Sam scratches the bonus tab on the ticket first, the slot reveals: “Not a winner.”

Sam:

“Rats! I’m already down. I need these last three spots to be lucky.”

Sam scratches the first slot of the game.

Sam:

“A red rose! Today is going to be my lucky day I know it!”

 

Sam scratches off the second slot.

Sam:

A second red rose! See I told you Lazaraus!”

Lazaraus:

“Your luck is predictable, Sam.”

 

Sam looks down at the last un-scratched slot. He looks up at Lazaraus.

Sam:

“What do you mean predictable?”

Lazaraus:

“Go ahead and scratch off that last tab. You’ll see what I mean.”

Sam:

“Predictable? I just need one more rose, watch.”

 

Sam scratches off the last slot, unveiling a silver coin.

Sam:

“I lost. Damnit Lazaraus, you jinxed me. I just needed one more rose. It’s ok, this is still going to be my lucky day.”

Lazaraus:

“Let me give you a little advice on luck, Sam. There’s two types of poor people in this world. There’s poor people who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are the rich people who’ve ran out of luck.”

Sam:

“Which poor are you, Lazaraus? Did you run out of luck?”

 

Lazaraus taps his right leg.

Lazaraus:

“Emily Dickinson once said, “luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned,” Meaning—there’s no such thing as luck, Sam. Luck is hard work. Luck is earned. Luck isn’t given to those who don’t work. Luck happens to good people who do good things.”

Sam:

“Like Karma?”

Lazaraus:

“What do you know about Karma?”

Sam:

“My Dad always says, “she’s a bitch.”

Lazaraus chuckles.

 

 

Lazaraus:

“Yes, she is. I just hate to tell you if your hoping for luck out of that ticket, your hoping and looking in the wrong place. You’re not going to win the jackpot based off luck, Sam. You’ll be lucky to win your money back though.”

 

Sam grins at Lazaraus. Sam crumbles up the losing ticket.

Sam:

“Well, I have to win Lazaraus. Or, I’m going to be stuck on Bagger’s Row with you. I sure the hell aint going back home.”

Lazaraus:

“In that case, say a couple prayers to god for me. Ask him for that luck you talk about.”

Sam:

“Can I tell you something Lazaraus?”

Lazaraus:

“Go ahead.”

Sam:

“I’m not really sure how to pray to God. Nobody has ever shown me.”

Lazaraus:

“What do you know about God, Sam?”

Sam looks up at the sky.

 

Sam:

“He’s up in the sky right.”

Lazaraus:

“Some say. The one thing I can tell you about God Sam, is that, you either believe in him or you don’t. You have to discover your own meaning of God for yourself.”

Sam:

“Do you believe in God, Lazaraus?”

 

Lazaraus pauses. He reaches into his baggy pants pocket and pulls out the silver flask. He takes a drink and places it back into his pants pocket.

Lazaraus:

“I used too.”

Sam:

“Why don’t you anymore?”

 

An elderly lady walks out of a small bakery shop located right behind Lazaraus and Sam as they talk. The woman is wearing pink glasses, has grey hair, and a purple floral dress on. She has a white box in her hands.

Ms. Mabel:

“Lazaraus.”

 

Lazaraus smiles and walks towards the lady.

Lazaraus:

“MS. MABLE, how’re you?”

 

Lazaraus embraces Ms. Mable with a hug.

Ms. Mable:

“Wonderful child. I see you have a partner with you today.”

 

Lazaraus turns around and looks at Sam.

Lazaraus:

“Yes, that’s Sam. Sam this is Ms. Mable. She is the saint of the ATL.”

Ms. Mable:

“Oh, don’t you listen to him child. I’m not saint of ATL. Now Reverend King, he was a saint. I just like to bake and see smiles on faces.”

 

Ms. Mable opens the box, unveiling different types of cookies and brownies.

Sam:

“Can I have one, Ms. Mable?”

Ms. Mable:

“Have you had lunch yet, dear?”

Sam shakes his head in a sideways motion. Ms. Mable gives Lazaraus a stern look.

Ms. Mable:

“You haven’t fed the boy yet?”

Lazaraus grins.

Lazaraus:

“Guess the boy wasn’t a fan of Bagger’s Row finest eggs.”

Ms. Mable:

“Well of course not. He’s a boy, not an animal. You two come on in here, I got noodles in the pot waiting on you. How’s that sound?”

Lazaraus:

“Go on in, Sam. Get you something to eat. I need to go down the road real quick. I won’t be long.”

Sam:

“You’re comin’ back right?”

Ms. Mable:

“He’ll be back, child. Lazaraus can’t say no to my homemade chicken and noodles.”

 

Ms. Mable hands the white box to Lazaraus. Lazaraus walks down the road as Ms. Mable and Sam walk into the small bakery.

 

END ACT

 

  Act II

EXT-Bakers Bakery- 2:00 P.M.

There’s pictures scattered all along the walls. There is a counter top with three bar stools that sit along it. There is different style cakes, brownies, and cookies in a glass case along the back wall.

Ms. Mable:

“Have a seat, dear.”

 

Sam sits down at one of the bar stools along the counter. The woman walks behind the counter and walks toward a crock pot.

Ms. Mable:

“You’re going to love these chicken and noodles, Sam. It’s my great-great-great grandmother’s recipe. My mom used to make it for Reverend King.”

 

Ms. Mable scoops Sam a portion of chicken and noodles and places it into a bowl, fork included.

Sam:

“Thank you.”

Ms. Mable:

“No thanks required, child. I make these noodles twice a week for the community.”

Sam:

“Like everybody around here.”

Ms. Mable nods her head and smiles.

Ms. Mable:

“The less fortunate ones. The ones who can’t afford to eat. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s something that puts smiles on a lot of faces.”

 

Ms. Mable walks over to a picture hanging on the side of the wall by the counter.

Ms. Mable:

“This is my Father and Mother. They opened this bakery seventy-three years ago with the sole purpose of building up the community. A lot of racism went on during that time. But they survived it. They walked these streets with Reverend King and marched for equality and desegregation. (She pauses.) “I just tried to live my life the best that I can, in their honor.”

 

Sam takes a bite of the chicken and noodles. He takes an additional bite. He finishes chewing.

Sam:

“This is delicious, ma ‘me.”

 

Ms. Mable smiles and walks back over towards Sam.

 

 

Sam:

“So, when you say Reverend King, you’re talking about Martin Luther King right?”

Ms. Mable:

“That’s exactly who I’m talking about.”

Sam:

“Did you ever meet him?”

Ms. Mable:

“Yes, when I was a little girl. He used to come in here every Saturday to order cakes for Sunday services. He never used another bakery, just this one. He was really good to my family. Really good to negro folks around here during those days. He was even good to the white folks –even if those racist white boys through nothing but hate at him. He was a special kind of person, Sam. He was different.”

 

Ms. Mable turns around and pours two glasses of lemonade. She places a glass down in front of Sam.  

Sam:

“Can I ask you a question, ma ’me?”

Ms. Mable:

“Oh no, don’t call me ma ‘me child. I know it’s gentleman like, but, ma ‘me makes me feel like I’m old and I’m not quite ready to be old yet. But of course, ask away.”

Sam takes another bite of the noodles. He finishes chewing and takes a drink.

Sam:

“How do you know Lazaraus?”

Ms. Mable:

“Lazaraus? Gees. I think it’s been about, five years now.”

Sam:

“How long has he lived on Bagger’s Row?”

Ms. Mable:

 “I’m not sure. However, I do know that Lazaraus is a special man. He is different from everybody else around here.”

Sam:

“You called Martin different too, what does that mean, different?”

Ms. Mable:

“Different, to me child, doesn’t mean anything bad. Different to me is special. Lazaraus and Reverend King possess a lot of the same qualities. I’ve only seen it twice in my eighty-three years. It’s hard to explain, but I know what I know and I feel what I feel.”

Sam:

“Do you know anything about his family?”

 

 

Ms. Mable:

“You sure do ask a lot of questions, don’t you child? Let me ask you something.”

Sam:

“Ask.”

Ms. Mable:

“What’s a young boy like you doing over there on Bagger’s Row?”

 

Sam takes the last bite of the bowl of noodles. He finishes chewing.

Sam:

“I was just passing through. I needed someone to help me get something.”

Ms. Mable:

“Get something? Child, where is your mother?”

Sam:

“Dead.”

Ms. Mable:

“Child.”

Sam:

“It’s ok. I feel like the more I talk about it, the easier it gets. My real mom killed herself and my adopted Mom died of cancer.”

 

Ms. Mable:

“And your Father?”

Sam:

“I never met my real Dad. My current Dad, well—.”

 

Sam rubs his hand over the red mark on his face.

Sam CONTD:

“He’s at home, drunk, asleep.”

Ms. Mable:

“Child, I’m not one to judge nor am I one to tell someone how to live their life. But, I will tell you this, I do know the difference between right and wrong. God always has a plan child. There’s always darkness before the dawn and that dawn can expand to forever light.

Sam:

“I’ve never learned about God, Ms. Mable. I asked Lazaraus about God and he told me that I had to discover my own meaning of him for myself. I don’t even know how to pray.”

 

Both of Ms. Mable’s eye brows raise high. Ms. Mable reaches forward and grabs both of Sam’s hands and places them together.

Ms. Mable:

“That’s how you pray, child. Or, you can just simply talk to God if you wish. But, you talked about God with Lazaraus?”

Sam:

“Kind of. He said he used to believe in God.”

Ms. Mable:

“Did he now?”

 

Lazaraus walks into the bakery.

Lazaraus:

“How’d you like the best chicken and noodles in America, Sam? Could you make me up a bowl, Ms. Mable?”

Ms. Mable:

“Of course, child. Coming right up.”

Lazaraus:

“So, what we’re you two chatting up about?”

Ms. Mable:

“I was telling Sam here about my Parents and Reverend King. Talking to him about the community and wondering what in the world he is doing over on Bagger’s Row.”

 

Lazaraus looks over at Sam as Ms. Mable places the bowl of chicken and noodles down in front of Lazaraus.

Lazaraus:

“And?”

 

 

Ms. Mable:

“He didn’t really say. Said, he needed help getting something. But honestly, I think he’s running from something or someone.”

 

Lazaraus chuckles.

Lazaraus:

“I said the same thing.”

 

Sam throws both of his arms in the air in an annoyed motion.

Sam:

“Come on guys, it’s not that obvious.”

 

Lazaraus and Ms. Mable continue laughing. Ms. Mable takes Sam’s finished bowl and places it into the sink.

Ms. Mable:

“I meant to ask you earlier, Lazaraus. But, have you seen JoJo today?”

Lazaraus:

“Seen him this morning before he went out collecting cans. Seemed like he was in good spirits. Why do you ask?”

 

Ms. Mable shakes her head in concern and walks back towards Lazaraus and Sam. She places both of her elbows down onto the counter and places both of her hands together.

Ms. Mable:

“Well, you know how that boy likes to sing around and dance as he picks up his cans and bottles. He ain’t all there, everybody around here knows that, but he don’t cause no harm to nobody or nothing but…”

 

Ms. Mable looks towards the window pane and back towards Lazaraus.

Ms. Mable CONTD:

“that damn police officer wanted to give him problems yesterday outside here. Said, JoJo was disturbing the peace. Really, he was disturbing the officer’s donut eating.”

Lazaraus:

“Do you know which officer it was?”

 

Ms. Mable nods her head in confidence.

Ms. Mable:

“Sure do. That little white one. He got that little man’s syndrome. Br–.”

Lazaraus:

“Dennis Brady.”

 

 

 

Ms. Mable:

“Yup, that’s him. Mean little man. If it wasn’t for me I think JoJo might’ve ended up on the news or something. Brady wasn’t understanding that JoJo is slow. How do you know him?”

Lazaraus:

“I’ve heard of him. JoJo’s momma told me about him. Apparently, yesterday wasn’t the first time Brady has given JoJo shit.”

Sam:

“I thought cops were the good guys though?”

Ms. Mable:

“They are Sam, But–.”

Lazaraus:

“Not all of them.”

Ms. Mable:

“Cops are people just like us, Sam. There raised to think a certain way. Raised to believe in something a certain way. People of my color and the police, the history between us two tells its own story. Cops are good, Sam, just sometimes—”

 

Ms. Mable looks towards the picture frame of her parents on the wall.

 

 

 

Ms. Mable CONTD:

Cops forget that people of color are humans too and it’s sad because we’ve come such a long way in America to still be dealing with this.”

Lazaraus:

“Basically Sam, guys like JoJo who suffer from a mental illness and are homeless, the odds of them surviving alone are fairly slim on Bagger’s Row. The fact that JoJo is African-American, increases his chances of either being incarcerated or killed. Especially with officers like Brady out here patrolling these streets.”

 

Lazaraus finishes the bowl, places bowl in sink himself.

Lazaraus CONTD:

“Amazing, as always. We got to get going, Ms. Mable. See you tomorrow?”

Ms. Mable:

“Of course, that’s if the good lord hasn’t called me home yet.”

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