PLAY #165: THE BOY WHO COULD HEAR THE SEA (MAY 22)

A kid’s bedroom.

JASON, about 12, is sleeping.

 

KATIE in her 30s, enters, checks that JASON is sleeping.

She walks over to his bedside table, looking for something.

She opens a drawer.

 

GREG, also in his 30s, enters.

KATIE looks back, caught.

 

KATIE

I was just…

 

GREG

We agreed not to…

 

KATIE

I had to…

GREG

You shouldn’t-

 

KATIE

You’ll wake Jase-

 

GREG

You’re the one snooping.

 

KATIE

Not snooping. Checking. It’s not right.

 

GREG

It’s just a stage.

 

KATIE

Did you have a phase of thinking you could talk to the ocean?

 

GREG

No, but I had my fair share of imaginary friends.

 

KATIE

At 12?

 

GREG

Imaginary girlfriends. Some of them were pretty hot. Especially when I caught them trespassing.

 

KATIE

I’m not in the mood, Greg.

 

KATIE closes the drawer.

 

GREG

You know there aren’t any here.

 

KATIE

I know that Jason’s still upset.

 

GREG

Our house is like the kingdom in sleeping beauty where they destroy all the spinning wheels.

 

KATIE

You’re not here during the day.

 

GREG

Not a shell to be found.

 

KATIE

You don’t know the things he says.

 

GREG

You should have heard the rubbish I said when I was 12.

 

KATIE

I hear enough of it now.

 

GREG

Get some sleep, I can scope out this joint.

 

KATIE

I’m not tired.

 

GREG

Get some whisky then.

 

KATIE

When are we going to talk about this?

 

GREG

Isn’t that all we do?

 

KATIE

Properly.

 

GREG

Tomorrow. I promise. I’ve had a long day. I know you have too.

 

KATIE

I’m worried about him.

 

GREG

Me too.

 

GREG kisses KATIE: go on, it’ll be okay, it’s under control.

KATIE exits.

GREG paces for a moment, waiting for something.

JASON sits up in bed.

GREG looks over.

 

 

GREG

de Nero has nothing on you kiddo.

 

JASON

Did you get it?

 

GREG

You’re sure you don’t just want to sleep?

 

JASON

You know I can’t until-

 

GREG

Kiddo, this has to stop. Your Mum’s right, we have to talk-

 

JASON

If you want me to sleep you should skip the lecture. It’ll be faster.

 

GREG

My Dad would have clocked me if I talked to him like that.

 

JASON

Ain’t progress swell!

 

GREG sighs, takes a shell out of his pocket.

JASON restrains himself from immediately grabbing it.

GREG hands it to him.

JASON holds the shell.

GREG watches: he should leave; he can’t.

JASON holds the shell to his ear.

JASON listens.

For a long time – GREG watching JASON listen to the shell, in his own world.

GREG waiting for JASON to acknowledge him.

Nothing.

 

GREG

Kiddo…

 

Nothing – JASON listening to the shell.

 

 

GREG

Jase…

 

Nothing.

GREG paces for a moment.

GREG takes away the shell: not without a struggle.

JASON stays still for a moment, in a different world.

GREG holds the shell.

 

GREG

Your Mum can’t see this…

 

JASON

No.

 

GREG

Jase…

 

JASON

Don’t ask me.

 

GREG

You know I can’t be trekking to the beach every day.

 

JASON

I can sleep now.

 

GREG

There aren’t even that many of them left-

 

JASON

You don’t need to tell me. Soon there’ll be nothing left to hear. You won’t have anything to worry about.

 

GREG

Kiddo, you know that’s not what-

 

JASON

I’m tired now.

 

GREG

It’s not normal for a twelve year old to-

 

JASON

Care about the world? It’s totally normal to care about the sea. Adults just forget how to listen.

beat.

You really want to know what I hear?

beat.

I thought not. It’s easier that way.

 

GREG

Jase, you know we’re going to-

 

JASON

I’m tired, Dad. Night.

 

GREG

Jason, we have to talk about this-

 

JASON’s head is already on the pillow.

GREG sighs.

 

GREG

Night.

 

JASON curls into the bed.

GREG stands watching him.

GREG looks at the shell.

 

Faint sounds of the sea – something between a whale song and a lament, faint, about to vanish forever.

 

GREG turns out the light, exits.

 

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