Scene 2

(the AUTHOR, frustrated, stomps SL to the small table. He picks up a cup, pours some coffe, and falls into a chair. MR. HOSIER remains SR, merely observing, knowing he can say nothing now. Silence reigns for a few tense moments, then)

AUTHOR: Well…what’s it like?

MR. HOSIER: What’s what like?

AUTHOR: You know…it. I can’t…I can’t say it yet.

(MR. HOSIER walks SL, walks over and sits at the table, leaning back and crossing his long legs with his enormous wingtips.)

MR. HOSIER: It’s nothing but a violet light and a light hum.

(he chuckles at his joke as the AUTHOR puts down his coffee and throws him a nonplussed look)

AUTHOR: That won’t do it, you know. You lent me that book, remember? The school library didn’t have it, so you let me borrow your copy.

MR. HOSIER: Why do you think I said it? (grins)

AUTHOR: (grins back, takes a drink) Fantastic story, really. Thanks.

MR. HOSIER: No problem, my little cherub.

(the AUTHOR nearly spits his coffee around the room in surprise and supressed laughter)

AUTHOR: You always called us cherubs, it was the weirdest damn thing! Half the class had to ask what the hell a cherub was, I remember.

MR. HOSIER: Ah ah ah, but those were the Chuckleheads.

AUTHOR: (nodding sagely) Of course, of course. (he takes a drink, ruminating) But…why cherubs though? I always wanted to kn–

(they are interrupted by a timid knock at the door. Both jump slightly, as if they’ve forgotten where they are.)

AUTHOR: (standing up, trying to look professorial) Come in.

(enter LILY. For her, let us speak in stereotypes, as we are in high school. Dressed matronly, she sports wire-rim glasses and an unflattering ponytail. Her steps are small and shuffling, and her arms are laden with a multitude of books, which threaten to snap her slim arms off at the socket. She slams the books down with surprising gusto, causing MR. HOSIER to jump ever so slightly. The AUTHOR takes a seat behind his desk.)

AUTHOR: Have a seat, Lily.

(she attempts to sit on MR. HOSIER. He looks…embarassed.)

AUTHOR: Not there!

LILY: (bewildered) Why?

AUTHOR: (smiling) Humor me.

LILY: Okay… (she sits in the now vacated seat.)

AUTHOR: (leaning back in his desk chair and steepling his fingers) Lily, I’ve brought you here to accuse you.

(LILY looks as if the AUTHOR has just run over her kitty, which coincidentally, is named Mr. Blinks)

AUTHOR: (chipper) Have some coffee.

LILY: You…you…

AUTHOR: I’m here to accuse you. I think, Lily, that you…are a fraud.

LILY: What?! How dare you–

AUTHOR: Exhibit A: Last Thursday’s in class worksheet. Your answer to the first battle of the Civil War? Antietam.

LILY: But–

AUTHOR: Exhibit B: Last TUESDAY’S take-home battle essay. Your choice? First Manassas, also known as First Bull Run. In which you mention its date of 1861 and, I quote, mention how it “paved the way for future bloody struggles in Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and” you guessed it, “Antietam.”

(LILY sits in stunned silence. The AUTHOR now leans forward)

AUTHOR: Now why would you do that, Lily? Why is your out of class work stellar, while your in class work is woefully mediocre? I am confused, Lily, do you see why I am so confused?

LILY: I…I guess so…

AUTHOR: Lily, what grade are you?

LILY: Junior.

AUTHOR: And yet you lobbied to be in my Modern American History class, which is usually an elective only class for Seniors. That gives you two American History classes in the same semester, one you’re not even supposed to be in!
So, this leads to a very peculiar situation. Why would you take both classes, do inexplicably well in one, and half-ass your way through another?

(LILY gasps)

AUTHOR: Yes, I said ass. Get over it.
Furthermore, taking this many history courses must exhibit some kind of affinity for the subject, wouldn’t it? You’re a junior now, so I bet you’re looking at colleges, possibly for a career in history? But how, how, Lily…are you planning on making it into a good program with mediocre marks in American History II?

LILY: I’m…I’m sorry, Mr–

AUTHOR: This has nothing to do with me. This is about you. I’m just here to keep you on the road, and right now you’re skidding all over the place.

(He gives a look to MR. HOSIER, who knowingly vacates the seat, which the AUTHOR fills)

AUTHOR: Look, Lily, I would love to help you get into a good history program. But I cannot and will not support you if you will not support yourself! No Historian can get by if they can’t interact with their peers. You’re an absolute firebrand in a class of seniors, but you’re a clam with your fellow juniors. It’s deplorable. You’ve got to learn how to deal with people you’re own age, even if it means simply accepting that you’re better than them. I’m not saying you have to be their friend, I’m saying you have to be yours, understand?

(LILY sniffles a bit and nods. Picking up her books, she makes as if to leave. The AUTHOR stops her.)

AUTHOR: Lily, hold on a bit… (he punches a few keys on the laptop and a nearby printer buzzes into life, producing a paper child. He hands it to her.)

AUTHOR: Pickett’s Charge. I’d like a report due Monday. Extra credit.

(he grins. she grins. she leaves. he sits back down at the table, back to his coffee, and we can see that he is drained.)

AUTHOR: (exhales deeply and swigs coffee) Damn, I hate going into that mode, it almost kills me.

MR. HOSIER: You’ll get used to it.

(a cacaphonous bell breaks the serenity)

AUTHOR: Aw, shit, that’s the five minute bell. I really don’t have a lesson plan or anything, jeez…

MR. HOSIER: (grinning) I look forward to seeing how you extemporate.

AUTHOR: You would…sadist!

MR. HOSIER: Chucklehead!

(The AUTHOR gasps, as if MR HOSIER has just run over his cat, which coincidentally is named Jefferson.)

lights down.

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