*Lights up. It’s the end of the day. The AUTHOR is taking care of a few last things on his computer. He has headphones in and appears to be enjoying the music only he can hear. MR. HOSIER, who has been reading a copy of Civil War Times at the table, gets up and walks over, peering quizzically at the headphones and his friends gyrations to the music. He motions for the AUTHOR to remove his headphones, and he does so*
MR. HOSIER: What are you listening to?
AUTHOR: Social Distortion, the song’s called “Don’t Take Me for Granted.” Here, have a listen…
(he puts the headphone to MR. HOSIER’s ear…he listens sagely)
MR. HOSIER: Not bad, not bad…do the kids know you listen to such raucous music?
AUTHOR: They’re students, remember? (he smiles jokingly) And no, they don’t…at least not yet.
MR. HOSIER: They won’t take you seriously as a punk rock academic, will they? (he chuckles, they both chuckle)
AUTHOR: (slowing his laughter) No, I have my appearance to uphold as some sort of starched shirt…apropos lyrics though.
MR. HOSIER: Beg pardon?
AUTHOR: The song was written for a band member who had died unexpectedly. It’s sort of a musical eulogy, the singer’s sorry he took his friend for granted. I feel much the same way.
was I ever a friend?
MR. HOSIER: With time, I think you could have been.
AUTHOR: With time, huh?
AUTHOR: You didn’t come to my graduation party.
MR. HOSIER: I didn’t come to any graduation parties
AUTHOR: I understand that for the rest, for that rabble, for those miscreants. But why not me? I was your best student. I made you cut down on extra credit after scoring twenty-two over 100 percent! Why not?
MR. HOSIER: It didn’t seem right at the time. Had I known…
AUTHOR: I know. Still burns me up though.
(a bell rings)
MR. HOSIER: What was that?
AUTHOR: Last bell. End of the day. T.G.I.F. Time to go home to my studio apartment with my cat…at least I can cook, it’s not like it’s Boyardee over and over…I could go out, but I’m so sick of “people.” Yech.
(he shakes his head and starts packing up)
Sorry, I’m rambling. It’s time for me to get outta here. See ya Monday?
MR. HOSIER: No.
AUTHOR: (stops packing) What?!
MR. HOSIER: I’ve been here a month. We’ve covered it all. It’s time I go.
AUTHOR: No! But…no! You can’t! You can’t leave me! I’ve got lessons I wanna ask you about, I’ve got tests you should look over, I’ve got–
MR. HOSIER: You’ve got it. You’ve got it down, you know what you’re doing. You don’t need me, you never needed me. I was just here to help, and now there’s no more I can do. You’ve been on your own for years, and you’ve already passed me up. It wasn’t easy, but you did it, and I’m proud to call you my student. But… it’s time to go.
AUTHOR: I don’t want you to!
MR. HOSIER: But you need me to. It’s time to move on. I’m sorry it took so long for me to find you, I had other people I wanted to straighten things out with first. But now, you’re all right, and you were the last one. I wanted to make time, so you were last.
You’re doing okay, kid. Better than I thought. It’s time I go.
AUTHOR: I’m not strong enough. I don’t want you to go away forever. Not again.
MR. HOSIER: You’re still here, and you put up with a hell of a lot. They treated you like shit in that school, but you refused to give in. I watched you, you got put through the wringer in that hellhole, I don’t know how you did it…but you did. You have my love, and my respect. You’re strong enough. Stronger than me.
AUTHOR: No way.
MR. HOSIER: When I took that gun to myself, I failed. I was weak. You could have done that, but you didn’t. You had more strength than I did.
AUTHOR: That’s impossible.
MR. HOSIER: Don’t be foolish. It takes more than football pads or a deep voice to make you strong, got it? It takes heart, it takes guts, it takes the ability to cope with something like my death… something I couldn’t do.
(he chuckles a little) You know, my life flashed before my eyes, just like they said. You were there: shorter hair, shorter goatee, scared and chubby but so full of promise. Just for a moment, then gone…but you were there. (he chuckles again, shaking his head) It’s been a great time, I’m glad I could see you again and work with you. I know you’d be good…but I didn’t expect this. I enjoyed it… but you don’t need me anymore. It’s time for you to move on…just don’t forget me, all right?
MR. HOSIER: Do you forgive me?
AUTHOR: (starting to cry) How can I not?
(MR. HOSIER turns to go, but the AUTHOR clears his throat. MR. HOSIER turns around to see the AUTHOR’S extended hand. He wants a handshake.)
MR. HOSIER: But…I can’t…I’m not…
AUTHOR: Just do it. Try.
(MR. HOSIER approaches with caution, then rushes in. They connect, they touch for the first time, a firm but gentle friendly handshake, which soon turns into a strong hug. The two, now friends, agree to part. The AUTHOR is crying unabashed. MR. HOSIER ruffles his neatly combed hair.)
MR. HOSIER: So long, my little cherub.
(the AUTHOR can do naught but cry. The door out of the classroom opens, revealing a bright white light. The author gasps through sobs.)
AUTHOR: They…they let you in? But you…you… (he mimes a gun to the head, still sobbing)
MR. HOSIER: This was my penance. You were the last one. My “get out of hell free” card. So…thanks.
(the AUTHOR nods dumbly.)
MR. HOSIER: Hey, what was the Zimmerman Plan?
(the AUTHOR shakes his head, speech has left him)
MR. HOSIER: Ha. That one still stumps you.
(he departs through the glowing entranceway with a massive, sweet, kind smile)
(Silence. The AUTHOR sinks to his knees, sobbing.)
AUTHOR: I’m your worn in leather jacket…
I’m the volume in your fucked-up teenage band…
(A STUDENT enters through the now unlit door. He or she sees the teacher in a heap of tears and rushes to his side)
STUDENT: Oh my God! Are you all right?
(the AUTHOR keeps crying)
STUDENT: I’ll go get help… (he or she makes for the door)
AUTHOR: No. Don’t. (he starts to get up, wiping his eyes) I’m okay. I’m fine. Really.
STUDENT: (skeptical) Really?
AUTHOR: I will be…I will be. Why are you here so late?
STUDENT: Had a meeting, now I need the assignments I missed. I’m lucky you’re still here.
AUTHOR: You sure are.
AUTHOR: Nothing, nothing. Um…American History, right?
AUTHOR: Ah, right. Here. Just gimme a paragraph on the Angle.
STUDENT: Angle, right…High Water Mark of the Confederacy?
AUTHOR: (shocked) why…yes. very good.
STUDENT: (eyes closed, concentrating hard) Pickett’s Charge, lead by Garnet, Kemper, and…
AUTHOR: (looking skyward, smiling through his tears)
Mr. Hosier – The End.