Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween read.

Read this 10-minute short I wrote, JESUS PUSHED A GROCERY CART. Unproduced, but eyeing a Spring 2013 production in Milwaukee. Have had a couple people read it - and they liked. Click on READ MORE for the text. It may just freak you out.

“I hear and behold God in every object...
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my
own face in the glass...”

– Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”,
Leaves of Grass, 1860

“Jesus Pushed A Grocery Cart”

Cast of Characters

THE MAN: 35-55, on-the-go, “with it”, white collar, businessman

THE BUM: 45+, homeless, dirty, mean-spirited, resentful

Setting:  A freeway underpass in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Time:  Right now.

(Los Angeles, California. Evening. A car with the hood up is stalled off the side of the road near a freeway underpass. There’s MAN underneath the car who periodically yells, “Sonofabitch”. He then checks under the hood. He’s dressed casually – nice shoes, jeans and sport jacket. He closes the hood and pulls out his cell.)

MAN: Sonofabitch! (Into the cell.) Hey - it’s me. The car died. I don’t know – it just quit. Yeh I’m fine. I have no idea. I tried. Uh-huh. Where are you right now? Shit. I’m gonna starting walking then. Uh-huh. Yeh. Where? (Looking around.) Um...St. Mary’s Crescent and...just south of Millbrook. I dunno – a couple miles maybe. Yeh. OK. Wait – I could call Triple A for a - hey? Hello? Katie? Sonofabitch! (His phone dies. He tries calling. Nothing.) Sonofabitch! Why me? Every fucking time. Motherfucking piece of shit. Fuck!

(Standing outside the car, the MAN changes out of his suit jacket, puts on a coat, dons a #4 Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings baseball cap and grabs his briefcase, bottled water and a few other personal belongings. Meanwhile, a BUM pushing a grocery cart enters from stage left. Dirty, dressed in rags and holding a VIETNAM VET sign, the BUM stops and sorts through a garbage can. The MAN doesn’t notice the BUM at first, but once he does, he jumps into his car and “busies himself”. The BUM pushes his cart past the MAN’S car, stops for second, then walks up to the car and raps on the window.)

BUM: Need some help? (The MAN waves him off.) What?!

(The MAN rolls the window down.)

MAN: What?

BUM: Do you need some help?

MAN: No. I’m good. Thank you. (Rolls up the window.) Thank you.

(The BUM waves and continues pushing his cart off-stage right. The MAN looks to see that the BUM is gone, then gets out of his car. He’s just about ready to leave stage left when the BUM returns from stage right.)

BUM: Hey, wait up!

(The MAN makes a run for it but drops some papers. The BUM catches up and helps pick up the MAN’S belongings.)

MAN: I got – thanks. (The BUM hands him some papers.) Thank you.

(The MAN tries leaving but the BUM blocks his path.)

BUM: Little car trouble, huh?

MAN: parking it here for a while – for now.

BUM: Where ya going?

MAN: (Beat) To a friend’s.

BUM: Why don’t you just drive there?

MAN: I, but I enjoy walking. I walk a lot.

BUM: Do you know of a place named “Pico Rivera”?

MAN: “Pico Rivera?” Is that a business?

BUM: (More succinctly.) Do-you-know-of-a-place-named-“Pico Rivera”?

MAN: (Irritated.) No.

(Beat. The BUM is still blocking the MAN’S way.)

BUM: Which way you goin’?

MAN: (Nodding.) That way.

BUM: Which way?

MAN: (Pointing stage left.) That way. The way you’re blocking.

BUM: Oh – pardon me.

MAN: Thanks.

BUM: (The MAN exits stage left, downstage.) Sorry! Didn’t mean to block your way! I forgot this is YOUR WORLD!!

(Beat. The BUM disappears stage left. The MAN reappears upstage, stage left, crossing in a diagonal. The MAN and the BUM play a cat and mouse game, crossing the stage a couple times. Finally, the MAN reappears on stage – alone. He stops to rest and rummages through his briefcase, not seeing the BUM emerge from the wings. The BUM spots the MAN and lets his shopping cart fly across the stage in the direction of the MAN. The MAN hears the cart and looks up, just in time to prevent the cart from crashing into him.)

MAN: HEY!? What is your fucking problem, man?! Why are you following me?

BUM: (Approaching the MAN.) I’m not following you.

MAN: Yes you are.

BUM: No – I’m not. I just happen to be going the same way you are. Is there a law that says –

MAN: (Overlapping.) No...fine...go ahead.

BUM: OK. Sorry about the cart. Got away from me. (He takes two steps, turns and stops.) Hey, you got any spare change?

MAN: (Under his breath.) Took’em long enough.

BUM: What’s that?

MAN: I said I wish I had some. (Hands in pockets.) Nope – no change.

BUM: Singles’ll do just fine.

MAN: I don’t have any singles either.

BUM: A five would be even better. Ten…

MAN: Look, I don’t have any ones on me...or fives, or tens... (He takes out his wallet and opens it.) I don’t. See –

BUM: I see some money.

MAN: Huh. I could’ve sworn I didn’t have –

BUM: Ya got plenty to go around. Can I have a dollar? Come on, man. You can spare a buck, can’t ya?

MAN: Yeh – fine. Here’s a dollar. Now can I…go? Alone?

BUM: Sure. If you want.

MAN: Whatdaya mean, ‘if I want’?

BUM: Maybe you want some company.

MAN: I don’t need any company.

BUM: I didn’t say you “needed” company. I said “want”. I thought perhaps you “wanted” some company.

MAN: I do not “want” any company, thank you.

BUM: Ya sure? Doesn’t look like anyone’s comin’ to get you.

MAN: I’m aware of that. That’s why I’m trying to walk home.

BUM: I thought you were walking to a friend’s?

MAN: Yeh – a friend’s and then home.

BUM: A friend’s and then home.

MAN: (Beat) Are you trying to irritate me on purpose or is that just your nature?

BUM: Are you trying to irritate me?

MAN: I’m outta here.

(The MAN starts off stage right. The BUM leaves his cart and follows.)

BUM: Wait!


BUM: (Beat) Nothing. I just didn’t want you to leave me, that’s all.

MAN: (Noticing the BUM’S sign.) Are you really a Vietnam vet?

BUM: No. (The MAN points to the sign.) What? The sign? Listen, brother, I may be a bum but I ain’t stupid. This is how I make my living. People eat this shit up.

MAN: Well it’s a disgrace to those who did serve in Vietnam or any war, for that matter – living, dead or homeless. You should be ashamed of yourself.

BUM: Are you serious? Look at me. You think I’m ashamed of anything I do? (Beat) Are you a veteran?

MAN: No.

BUM: Then maybe you shut your piehole, OK?

MAN: Listen - I feel bad. I really do. I mean, I don’t like to see this happen to anyone anymore than you like living it. It’s a tragedy – really. We all have our dignity and it’s not fair that –

BUM: Don’t bullshit me, man.

MAN: What?

BUM: (Overlapping.) Did you memorize that?

MAN: No –

BUM: (Overlapping.) ‘Cause it sounds memorized.

MAN: I was empathizing with your being homeless.

BUM: I don’t need your empathy. (Pause) Who said I’m homeless anyways?

MAN: Are you serious?

BUM Yeh. What makes you think I’m homeless?

(The MAN looks in the back of the BUM’S cart.)

MAN: Wild guess.

BUM: What – because I push a grocery cart filled with everything I own? That makes me homeless and a bad person?

MAN: I never said you were a bad person. You know what – I’m not having this conversation with you, alright? I’m not responsible for you being on the street, OK? I gave you a buck and now I have to get home.

BUM: But first you’re going to your friend’s.

MAN: Friend’s. Home. Whatever. I’m leaving.

BUM: I’m not a bad person.

MAN: Fine. I believe you. OK? You’re not a bad person.

BUM: Are you?

MAN: Am I a bad person? No.

BUM: How do you know that?

MAN: How should I know?

BUM: Well either you’re a bad person or you’re not. (Beat) I’m sorry. I’m just flipping you shit. (Pause. The BUM eyes the MAN’S hat, then points to the hat.) He’s a crazy motherfucker.

MAN: Who?

BUM: Brett Favre.

MAN: Oh…

BUM: I like Brett Favre. He was a throwback player.

MAN: Yes he was.

BUM: When he threw back, YOU’ALL BETTER WATCH IT! HAHAHA. (Beat) Gunslinger.

MAN: Yep.

BUM: I think the Packers screwed him over.

MAN: Me too.

BUM: Cocksuckers.

MAN: Yeh..

You know what would be funny? If they brought Favre onto the field in a wheelchair when he was like 80 and he was still slinging the football 50 yards in the air. That would be funny. I bet he could do it, too.

MAN: Wouldn’t surprise me. (The BUM sits on the curb.) Didn’t take you for a Favre fan.

BUM: Bums can’t be Favre fans?

MAN: You see? That - why are you always on the defensive?

BUM: Wouldn’t you be if you were me? (Beat) How do you know you’re not a bad person?

MAN: I don’t. (Beat) Bad people are motivated by their own self-interests. I care about other people. I don’t think I’m...inherently a bad person. I may do some not-so-nice things from time to time, but –

BUM: (Interrupting.) I’m a good person, in case you were wondering. Just haven’t had the dice roll in my favor for a while. You know, like some other folk have. (Beat) If you’re not a bad person, why are you trying to get rid of me?

MAN: How am I trying to get rid of you? I gave you money. We’re talking, aren’t we? (Beat) I just wanna get home to my wife, that’s all. Does that make me a bad person? To wanna get home to my wife? I don’t think so.


BUM: Do you take the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior?

MAN: What?

BUM: Do you take –

MAN: I heard what you said. (Beat) I don’t discuss religion – with anyone, including strangers. It brings out the worst in people. It’s no different than having a conversation about sex or politics.

BUM: I didn’t say I wanted to fuck ya.

MAN: You’re a rude man, did you know that?

BUM: Sorta.

MAN: (Beat) Well I sort of believe in Jesus, OK?

BUM: I didn’t ask you if you “believed” in him. I asked if you take him as your savior.

MAN: What’s the difference?

BUM: Anybody can go to Church and say they believe in Jesus. People pray to him all the time when it’s convenient. But accepting Him into your life in an effort to lead your life solely for His purpose? That’s a whole nuther ballgame, brother.

MAN: I’ve got nothing against Jesus. He just hasn’t done me any favors lately, you know what I mean?

BUM: Maybe your view of Jesus is based on the fact that you haven’t let Him into your heart completely – selflessly. The most important thing Jesus said was, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ When Jesus created us he gave us the gift of free will. You’ve got the gift of life. You’ve got a home, a wife who loves you, a job – you’re healthy. You have the opportunity to take advantage of everything the good Lord has placed on this Earth. The question you need to ask yourself is what have you done for Him lately?

MAN: No disrespect but what have you got to be thankful for?

BUM: I’m alive. I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior. And I have opportunity. Just haven’t taken full advantage of it, is all. I’m waiting for the right moment.

MAN: And when will that be?

BUM: Haven’t figured that out yet. I’ll know it when it’s staring me in the face. Like death. It’s all part of the journey.

MAN: You don’t sound like a –

BUM: A bum?

MAN: If you keep interrupting me I’m not gonna talk to you. (Silence.) What I was trying to ask you is how did you get here? What did you do before?

BUM: It doesn’t matter. I’m here. So are you. (Beat) Do I remind you of Jesus?

MAN: In what way?

BUM: I’m poor. I wear rags. I walk the earth preaching the Word to anyone who’ll listen. People find me inconsequential.

MAN: Except Jesus didn’t have any possessions.

(The MAN points to the shopping cart.)

BUM: I believe there’s a little bit of Jesus in all of us – once you’ve accepted Him into your heart.

MAN: Right. (Beat) I should get going.

BUM: (Rising.) Wait. Before you go, you up for a bit of no-nonsense, words of wisdom from a homeless, Jesus freak?

MAN: If it’ll get me home faster...sure. Why not.

BUM: Two things. Number one. “Hate war but love the American soldier.” Got it?

MAN: Got it. Who said that?

BUM: I just did. And Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, Vietnam Conflict. (Standing at attention.) ATTENTION!

MAN: Ok...what’s the second thing?

BUM: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus said that.

MAN: That I know. That’s good. I’ll remember them both. Thanks.

BUM: Glad to help.

MAN: I...uh...didn’t catch your name.

BUM: Jesus.

MAN: (Beat. Grinning.) OK...Jesus.

BUM: What’s yours?

MAN: Pedro. Pete.

BUM: OK, Pedro Pete. You don’t look like a Pedro.

MAN: I go by Pete mostly. Pedro’s a family name. My mother’s Mexican and my father’s Irish. (Beat) You don’t look like a Jesus.

BUM: Do any of us appear as we really are?


MAN: Well - good luck.

(The MAN reaches out his hand.)

BUM: Peace, brother.

(They shake hands. The BUM pulls the MAN into him, gives him a hug, then suddenly the MAN gasps and looks down. The BUM has thrust a knife into the MAN’S stomach and holds it there. The BUM kisses the MAN’S cheek as the MAN looks into the BUM’S eyes. The BUM thrusts the knife once more. The MAN pulls away.)

MAN: You another...

(The MAN falls.)

BUM: (The BUM wipes the knife on his pants, then places it in his shopping cart.) No...Jesus Christ said that. (The BUM goes through the MAN’s pockets, grabbing his wallet and anything else he finds. He takes the MAN’S coat off and his shoes. He tries the shoes on – they fit – and tosses all the MAN’S possessions into his shopping cart. The BUM does not take the MAN’s hat.) I’m sorry...I truly am. I’m just another lost soul in need of saving, brother – just like you. ‘Member...the good and the bad people? The Lord will forgive me though, I reckon. He forgives everyone. (The BUM sets out, then turns back to the MAN.) Oh – got another one for you...“Do as I say, not as I do.” I like that one. Not sure who said it though. A lot of people I suppose. I’ll pray for you, brother. Enjoy the journey, and remember - Jesus loves you.

(The BUM leaves.)

MAN: Jesus loves you?

(The MAN dies.)


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