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North Street

Prism International is currently considering this drama for publication. I feel pretty good about it.






B. A. Ramsey

North Street



The Names Of All The Actors


Narrator

Harry, a thrift store owner

Jeremy,a boy

Stranger

Act 1


Scene 1: The wrong side of the tracks late at night.


Narrator


Madness stretches across the midnight sky.

It has just rained so water is there,

A boy, some puddles, and the cold, wet air.

A boy.

He is all alone on the rain-swept street,

Save the streetlights and the puddles;

What I mean though,

There is no one with him,

Not right there I mean,

At least there’s no one he can see.

And long he stands on a corner

Wondering which way to walk;

That is quite hard, you see,

Deciding which way to walk.

It is as well a four-way intersection

And it requires some perception

To know what’s what in what direction.

If he goes North it may be a little colder,

And South he would follow the rain,

To the West the road takes a corner,

And East is from where he came.

He takes to the North,

For it’s the straightest way

And he likes to see where he’s going;

And North he walks these many nights

In search of something worthy.


Jeremy


Goblin, ghoul, ghost, and owl,

And all other midnight fowl,

Creature of the night,

You’d better put up a good fight,

Because I’m Superman!


Narrator


But who else is he to be?

His parents died in his infancy,

Which left him young for these streets;

The Thrift Store owner,

For a lost son,

Calls him Jeremy.


Jeremy


Mr. Apollo was my father;

I read it in a comic book.

He said to send away

To be strong and mean.

I know it’s the truth;

I read it in a magazine.

It’s no lie.


Goblin, ghoul, ghost, and owl...


Stranger


Hey boy, nice to meet you!

How about we play a game?

All this bold thunder

And armored lightning,

It must be frightening...


Jeremy


No.


Stranger


It’s not late. Stay, don’t go.




Jeremy


I’m going...


Stranger


Where?


Jeremy


I’m going home.


Stranger


Home! What home?

You’ve got no home.

No mother, no father,

You’re all alone.

Come nearer,

I won’t harm you,

I just want to talk with you.


Jeremy


No.


Stranger


There’s no need to fuss.

I have some milk here,

‘T is the milk of dreams;

We’ll have some fun,

And you drink this milk,

And I’ll have my rum.

Did you ever hear of Golden Rum?


Jeremy


No.


Stranger


Ah, Golden Rum! Good fun!

Gold as the sun in the sky,

Gold as a fresh-baked apple pie,

Gold as the apple of a young boy’s eye;

And when you drink it,

It warms you like a blanket,

And oftentimes you think it,

But you don’t remember you drank it.

Golden Rum! Good fun!


Jeremy  


Bartender, bartender, get me a drink,

Something st rong I’m starting to shrink;

Spare no cost, spare no trouble,

Come on, bartender, on the double!


Stranger


All that bold thunder

And armored lightning,

It must have been frightening...



Jeremy


Bartender, bartender, get me a drink,

Something strong I’m starting to shrink;

Spare no cost, spare no trouble,

Come on, bartender, on the double!


Stranger


Come on, bartender, make mine a double!


The night is young,

So much to do,

Come on, bartender,

Make it two.


Jeremy

The night is still young,

So much I’ve done,

Come on, bartender,

Give me one.

Stranger


The night is still young,

So much to do,

So much to do,

So much to do,

Now, I’ve got you! [buggery-fuck.


Jeremy


No! [exit.


Narrator


So, the milk of dreams drowns all smiles

And the street is now a spy,

With cautious, glaring eyes,

In this evil, evil night tide,

The sudden end of daylight,

When shops and buildings look

Like the cardboard scenery

Used in an old B-Movie.


The sacrificial bell,

Which tolls the witches’ hour,

Who cast the fateful spell,

And scale the haunted tower.

Night’s creatures are afraid of the sun,

But in favor of this eerie, screaming quiet;

These shadows belong to no one,

They are nomads of the night.

And somewhere now in great distress,

Within the heavy Stygian darkness,

A boy, not of Hades, but of the street,

Moves home, head-hung, with tired feet,

To a familiar stoop where he dreams

Of Mr. Apollo, under moonbeams.






Scene 2: The same night, in front of the thrift store.


Jeremy


Harry, Is that you?


Harry

Yeah, it’s me

Jeremy


What are you doing out here?


Harry


I’m dying.


Jeremy


        You’re dying?


Harry


Yeah. I’m dying.


Jeremy

You’re not really dying...


Harry


I don’t know how long I’ll stay...


Jeremy


Wish on your star, Harry.

You always feel better

When you wish on your star.


Harry


No, son. My star ain’t out tonight.

She wasn’t shining last night, either;

Though, she’s a pretty one.

Wish she would only shine some more.

Light years away and an angel so close to me.


Sometimes I stand here like so,

On a night clearer than this one,

When I need a break because I feel dragged down,

When I need to get out of the store;

And I swear

I can lift my head

And stretch my arms

And hold my angel

In the cup of my hands;

But, not now; no, not tonight;

She ain’t been shining all night.

And, I’m dying.


Jeremy

Are you scared?


Harry


Scared? When I am taken from the world,

I’ll sit right by that star,

I’ll rise above the surface,

I’ll rise above it all,

And I won’t be scared.


Jeremy


Why not?


Harry


Because finally then you get to see the world,

How it’s already torn apart,

Already found.


Jeremy

Oh?


Harry


I mean you start seeing how everything fits,

How everything’s got a place.

A little sad, it is;

Like I’ve missed the bus,

Because I’m too tired to run.


Jeremy


Oh.


Harry

But you start having fun.

And you laugh,

Because you missed the bus one time,

For you were too tired to run.




Jeremy


Yeah.

Harry


And you’re laughing because suddenly you see the world

Ready to be torn apart, ready to be found;

And everything gets into place,

Like a pretty painting,

And you want to tear it up some more.

And that, son, is the glory of The Most High,

High as that star in the sky.

It’s no jungle out there, it’s no wilderness,

It’s everyone’s friend, because we built it;

We got cars, we got stars,

And we got rockets that can take us high up to the stars.

And that, son, is the glory of Modern Man.


People say it’s so lame, the world is so tame,

That we’re not helping it, we’re just killing it,

And it’s no picnic; with that I differ.

Why, you can get a piece

In my store for about a dollar!

And that, son, is the glory of Modern Man,

And the glory of the Most High.

\ Why, we’ve got the whole world spinning at 45 RPM,

The world at the flip of a disk.

It’s everything. It’s what I am, it’s me...


Jeremy


Me, too.


Harry


And you.

It’s you, too.


Jeremy


And Mr. Apollo.


Harry

And Apollo. yeah.


Jeremy


No, Mr. Apollo.


Harry


Mr. Apollo, right. Who’s he?


Jeremy


He’s the strongest man who ever lived.


Harry


Oh.



Narrator


Among the dust that rises when the moon goes down,

Among the dew that dries when the sun gets around,

When streetlights are like jewel-tipped stalagmites brought

[into light,

Among rising matters from opening shutters,

And the early traffic that gently sputters,

And the sinking stars, and the opening bars,

When all things shimmer after the storm,

Along the street, beneath the shutters, in the gutters...


Harry


I will be there.

And, I will walk with you,

Towards an obvious destination,

As simple as addition;

Our footsteps will march to an anthem,

Strong, in unison, with the marching band.



Stranger


It will not matter where you march.

You can change, rearrange your plans,

Close shop, or have it all another day;

For in the city the roads crisscross

In such a fashion,

That way does not lead on to way.


Narrator


Music. Inspirational strings.

One mindless voice in stereo Dolby:

Ladies and gentlemen it is time,

Time to fly across the sky

Of orange erosion in spaceship flight,

Into the deep, dark night.





Jeremy


So often I have toured the dawn, the primeval day,

From restless dreams, when just up from sleep,

When no one seems near, and I unaware.


And I have stood in the eye of a treacherous storm

And gazed into a stranger’s imperturbable eyes;

To ask, “Are you really so calm?”

I felt a great rush, at my legs a push, and I fell.


Harry


Thoughts are slow-moving,

Silent at the dawn.


Narrator


What is his meaning?




Harry


I don’t really know.


Narrator


What is his salvation?

Hidden in the traffic of your mind?


Jeremy

Will I not be understood?


Harry

The nature of the world is unkind.


Stranger


No great poetic prize.

To cherish, to avail.

Life murder’s the slow seconds,

Excruciatingly.


Narrator


And the wind that blows the bitter dawn to frost,

Molests the window pane, turns the street to rot,

Envelops the boy, alone and lost,

Death shall undo him at next to no cost.


Jeremy


Surprised by joy and momentary bliss,

Sharp as a shard of glass;

But blood soon swells the open wound,

And in my heart a pang of sadness,

While all the world ascends to madness.


Stranger


Words without substance and art,

Words without rhythm and rhyme,

These are his solace and comfort.


Harry


Thoughts with much passion,

Moods with much feeling,

These are his everyday darkness.


Stranger


Barren mind,

Without inspiration,

Without intellectual activity…


Narrator


What is his meaning?


Harry


Hidden in the traffic of my mind.



Narrator

Will he not be understood?


Harry


The nature of the world is unkind.


Narrator


Farewell.


Stranger


Sweet word of inspiration,

Farewell.


Harry


Farewell.



Jeremy


Farewell.


Stranger


Words without substance,

No rhythm, no rhyme...


Jeremy


The world is a stranger,

Cold and unkind...


Stranger

The world is a stranger

With eyes to and fro...


Jeremy


He greets you unkindly

And tears at your soul.


Harry


O! Unhappy World,

Your gutters of despair,

And grates of forlorn,

Are everywhere.


Stranger


Happy bottle,

Drink till I’m eased,

Drink till my marrow

Is filled with disease.


Harry

Fool to inspire

The livelong way of loneliness

Veiled in a cloak of your sad, sad waste...


Stranger


He brings the madman’s song!


Jeremy


My sorrow is a’ growing,

It grows on evergreen,

And in the deepest winter,

On boughs, its cloaks are seen.


The rain is bridled by the wind,

That rides all through the night,

The moon and stars are hiding,

The clouds are moving in.


The clouds are moving in,

They cover up your heart,

They cover up your soul,

A time when troubles start.


Without a heart and soul,

A dead man’s winter seen,

A dead man’s spring is heard before

The summer’s heat unkind.


The summer’s heat unkind,

It blisters at your skin,

And then for winter’s loneliness,

Your wish, your wish, your wish.


Harry


A song of waste are

Your brave lines,

Sung out with Apollo’s might;

Wash away the waste, my son,

The pail is yet filled with rain.


Stranger


I’ll drink to winter’s loneliness,

And toast his soul’s refrain:

There’s none so strong and with such fight

As Mr. Apollo and that boy last night;

But he sure ran away in an awful fright,

Crying out to midnight fowls,

And goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and owls,

That live within our North Street’s bowels.


Jeremy


Creature of the night,

You’d better put up a good fight,

Because I’m Superman!

[Curtain.