The Family Jewels by Harris Freedman
(TIME: 1995; 8 A.M. EST; 1 P.M. GMT.)
(In the darkness we hear traffic noises and A SUDDEN SCREECHING OF BRAKES.)
(LIGHTS come up quickly on STUART, wearing a business suit, sitting in
his car driving in NYC, talking into his hands-free telephone
AND on JANET, speaking on her mobile phone while eating a sandwich in a
(A few chairs will serve as STUART'S car in one area
In another area the London Pub is made up of a few chairs, and a table
STUART and JANET are in the middle of a phone conversation.)
(In the background we hear traffic noises and the background pub
noises of talking, laughing, glasses tinkling and music.)
JANET: Stuart! Are you / alright?
STUART: Taxi's don't give a damn where they / stop!
JANET: Stuart? Did you have / an accident?
(STUART calls out of his car window.)
STUART: Get a life asshole!
STUART: Did you see that? He gives me the finger! /
(STUART gives the finger and calls out of the window)
JANET: Stu? I'm missing parts of every / word.
STUART: The city is going to shit.
JANET: The line is terrible; hang up and I'll call / you back.
STUART: Janet? Jan?! Are you there?
JANET: That's better - did you crash?
STUART: Crash what?
JANET: Your car, the brakes, it sounded / terrible.
STUART: The fucking cab stops - no signal!
JANET: There's noise / on the line.
STUART: Traffic. Fucking New York traffic. What time is it in
JANET: 1 P.M. I thought it was an emergency; that's why I called you
/ right back.
JANET: Hello? Stu!
STUART: You have to get your ass here now!
JANET: Don't you talk to me like that!
STUART: You have to come!
JANET: Is Sam sick?
STUART: He's making me sick!
JANET: I'll come when I'm needed.
STUART: Well you're needed!
JANET: For how long?
STUART: How ever long it takes!
JANET: I can't just leave Jenny on her own or with one of my friends
and leave my career for the rest of Sam's life!
STUART: So relocate to New York!
JANET: Why don't you relocate to London?
STUART: My life and my business are here!
JANET: I know you can never understand, Stuart, after all I'm only a
woman, but my life and my career are here in London!
STUART: London is bullshit!
JANET: Grow up Stuart you provincial pea-brain! I know it's
difficult to believe, but there are places other than New York where
people actually live normal lives!
STUART: Your life was never normal!
JANET: It's none of your business what I do with my life!
STUART: I'm going to end up a basket case! Sam telephones my office
ten times a day; I can't get any work done. He calls whenever he
farts! / He's making my secretary a nervous wreck.
JANET: Wait, I can't hear a thing.
STUART: He calls me at home all hours of the night; his arm hurts, his
leg hurts, he can't sleep, he's got the runs, he's constipated, he
can't find his pills! He's driving me crazy! He's driving Suzie /
and the kids crazy!
JANET: I can't hear you; there's a slob sitting at the bar
coughing his guts out over a cigar. And you should see the sexy woman
hanging onto him. Her skirt, if you can call it that, just about
exists around the tops of her thighs. He must have money, great
technique, or a fantastic wit.
STUART: A fantastic dick?
JANET: Wit. Stuart. Wit. Sense of humour. I presume you know the
difference between your tiny wit and your microscopic dick
STUART: Anything would seem microscopic next to your cosmic black
JANET: I hope you haven't taken up smoking big cigars. It is a
known fact that men who smoke big cigars have small dicks.
STUART: Are you an expert?
JANET: Look, the guy with the big cigar has his clammy hand on her
STUART: Whose thigh?
JANET: The woman in the invisible micro-skirt.
STUART: Is she laughing at his fantastic wit?
JANET: She looks like she's trying not to breathe-you know, the kind
of look you get when you walk into a toilet just after someone else
has used it and you try not to take in the stench. I don't know how
she can stand it. So it must be money. Now what about Sam? When
does he have to move out?
STUART: By the end of the month. Halloween.
JANET: They would have been married 60 years.
STUART: Yes, he reminded me.
JANET: I always wondered what the significance was for them to get
married on Halloween Eve.
STUART: Draw your own conclusions. I'm coming to my office. Call me
back in fifteen minutes.
JANET: I can't-I'll be on the set. I'm doing a film / for
STUART: Can you believe that?
STUART: Some son-of-a-bitch took my parking space! I bet I know who it is!
STUART: I feel like ramming the bastard's car.
JANET: Talk to me now and ram him later.
STUART: I knew it! I knew it was him!
STUART: That creep with the toupee! (Calls out of his car window.)
Shithead! (to Janet) He wears silk shirts and a wig, he's a creep but he gets
great looking women.
JANET: Does he smoke cigars?
STUART: I don't know what he smokes, but I hope his puny dick is
diseased and rots and falls off! / The sleazebag!
STUART: I'm parking. Just get your ass over here! (STUART hangs
JANET: Watch your mouth, damn you! (JANET hangs up)
(End Of Scene One)
(TIME: 3:00 a.m. EST. The next morning.
SETTING: Sitting room of SAM's flat in Brooklyn, N.Y.)
(There is just enough light for us to see SAM standing Centre Stage
wearing pyjamas. He rubs one elbow, then he flexes it and does the
same thing to his other elbow. He sits and begins to rub his knees,
one at a time.)
(There is a KNOCK ON THE DOOR to SAM's flat.)
(SAM does not seem to hear the knocking.)
(THREE MORE KNOCKS IN SUCCESSION.)
STUART: (From Offstage-Intense whisper..) Dad? . . . Dad?
(Beat, then he KNOCKS again.)
(From offstage) Dad? Dad? Are you all right? Sam! Dammit! Sam!
(KNOCKS again, this time harder.)
(From offstage) Sam!
(SAM finally hears someone at the door. He gets up and suspiciously
goes to the door and listens. STUART KNOCKS again.) (From offstage) Sam!
SAM: Go away!
STUART: (From offstage) Thank god!
SAM: The police will be here in one minute!
STUART: (From offstage) Sam, open the door!
SAM: I called 911. Do you hear?! 911!
STUART: (From offstage) You didn't.
STUART: (From offstage) You did not call the police!
SAM: I did!
STUART: (From offstage) It's Stuart, your son Stuart. Open the door.
SAM: Use your key.
STUART: (From offstage) I don't have it with me.
SAM: Then you are not Stuart.
(SAM crosses, sits and resume his exercises.)
STUART: (From offstage) Sam?
(Beat) Open the door Sam!
SAM: Go away!
STUART: (From offstage) Open up, Godamnit! It's Stuart!
SAM: Stuart has a key.
STUART: (From offstage) How would I know Stuart's name if I wasn't
SAM: There are millions of Stuarts in the world.
STUART: (From offstage) Sam! It is three fucking o'clock in the morning.
(SAM goes to the door.)
SAM: Use your key.
STUART: (From offstage) I forgot to bring my key, Sam.
SAM: They'll be here any minute!
STUART: (From offstage) Who?
STUART: (From offstage) Them?
STUART: (From offstage) Sam.
(Beat) Open the door.
(Beat) Open it, Sam! Sam!
(SAM opens the door. STUART ENTERS wearing a raincoat and shoes with
no socks, shoelaces untied, his legs are bare below the bottom of his
coat. He wears only a T-shirt and boxer shorts under his coat.)
SAM: Don't forget your key next time.
STUART: You knew it was me.
(SAM begins to rub his elbows again and then sits to continue rubbing
SAM: You could have been a burglar.[end of extract]