by Mark Ray

 

ACT I

 

1                               Scene 1                           1

 

AT RISE:

 

Sitting just on the edge of highway 85, about 24 miles west

of Apalachicola, a decrepit motel’s VACANCY sign casts a

florescent glow against the pink atmosphere. Six doors, each

numbered, form a neat line across the stage. This old motel

is rife with maintenance issues; perhaps it needs a new coat

of paint.

 

MARTY, the lone motel clerk, is just leaving room 4 of the Old Route Motel. He locks the door behind him just as a young couple-wearing matching Christmas sweaters- TESS and JACK, ENTER the front office and approach the concierge desk.

 

MARTY: What can I do for you?

JACK: Sir, we’d like a room for the weekend please?

MARTY: Cash or credit?

JACK: Credit. (to TESS) Darling? Card?

 

TESS rummages through her purse before producing the elusive sliver of plastic. MARTY snatches and swipes the card, then he hands the couple a key.

 

MARTY: Room three. Breakfast at seven-thirty.

JACK: Thank-you, sir.

MARTY: Mmhm.

 

JACK and TESS EXIT to the room marked “3”.

JOE and DOUG STUMBLE IN STAGE LEFT. Packed with camera equipment; they approach the desk.

 

MARTY (CONT’d): Can I help you?

JOE: (struggling with equipment) We- uh- need rooms for the weekend.

MARTY: You made reservations?

JOE: Since when do you need reservations for place like this?

MARTY: (offended) Like what?

 

A rough and tumble biker, BILL, and young woman, KATY, ENTER STAGE

LEFT. They wont keep their hands to themselves…

 

BILL: Baby, baby. I like that.

KATY: Hey! MARTY!

MARTY: Excuse me fellas. What KATY?

KATY: You think you’d get me a room at one of your special rates?

MARTY: Take room five, I got customers up here. And please clean the walls this time; it’s the least you could do.

 

MARTY chucks KATY the key.

 

KATY: (giggling) Thanks MARTY!

 

BILL: (sarcastic) Yea, thanks…MARTY.

 

MARTY groans while KATY and BILL EXIT, almost dry-humping to room 5.

 

MARTY: (To JOE and DOUG)You don’t got reservations, but I think I can fit you both into one room?

DOUG: Separate.

MARTY: Cash or credit?

JOE: (searching his pockets) Cash.

MARTY: (hesitant) Okay, take six and two.

 

MARTY counts the cash. He hands them the keys. JOE and DOUG split up the equipment. MARTY sits back to flip through a catalog. JOE and DOUG shuffle toward their rooms, disgruntled.

 

JOE: When’s the first show?

DOUG: Two a.m… These kids man. What the fuck kind of person has the patience to sit up and listening to a Jerry Garcia cover band at two o’clock in the fucking morning?

JOE: I know. I couldn’t have feigned interest in any of that shit when I was in college.

DOUG: You went to college?

MARTY: You fellas have a good night.

DOUG: Yea, you too. Sheeeit, JOE, I’m learning more about you every day

JOE: Whatever.

 

MARTY EXITS to room 1, JOE and his equipment shuffle to room 6, and DOUG takes his gadgets to room 2.

 

~

 

2                               Scene 2                      2

 

Night has come, painting everything in a pale blue light.

A soft thumping comes from room 4.

 

The light in room 5 clicks on. BILL storms out still in his pajamas.

 

BILL: (knocking on room 4) Hey. Keep it down.

 

Thump thump thump.

 

BILL (CONT’D): (knocking harder) HEY! Shut the fuck up, please!

KATY: BILL? Problem?

 

The thumping ceases. KATY pokes her head from around the threshold.

 

BILL: No, baby I took care of it.

KATY: (flirtatiously) Come back.

BILL: Here I come.

 

BILL and KATY start to kiss under the threshold of their room. Suddenly, a loud clatter comes from room 4.

 

BILL: (startled) JESUS! (pounding the door) HEY! What the fuck?!

 

The window to room 3 illuminates. Silhouettes shuffle around. TESS, delirious from being woken up by such a commotion, opens the door. JACK stumbles out while putting on his bunny slippers.

 

TESS: Hey (yawning) would y’all keep it down out here? Please?

BILL: You wanna tell them yourself? They woke us up.

JACK: Darling, go back in the room. I’ll talk to them.

 

JACK knocks on the door to room 4.

 

JACK (CONT’D): Hello? My wife and I would really appreciate it if you could try and keep it down. Hello?

TESS: Oh leave ’em JACKY.

JACK: (knocking) Helloooo (annoyed) How can people be so…ugh! Who is in there? I know you hear me!

 

Someone -or something- knocks on the other side of the door to room 4.

 

BILL: Ooh! I can’t wait to get my hands on whoever is in that room!

 

The window to room 1 illuminates, MARTY comes through the door wearing a robe.

 

MARTY: What is going on!?

 

JACK: There’s a ruckus coming from this room. It woke everyone.

KATY: We can’t sleep.

MARTY: (annoyed) Yea. No shit.

 

MARTY knocks on the door to room 4.

 

MARTY (CONT’D): (knocking) Manager! Open up.

 

Thump thump thump

 

BILL: Thanks Einstein we didn’t think about knocking.

MARTY: Oh fuck off!

 

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP

 

KATY: BILL! (to MARTY) Sorry, MARTY he’s just tired. Right?

BILL: (looking at MARTY) Yea. I’m Tired.

 

And then, just as loud and sudden as the commotion began, it becomes silent. Everything stops.

 

MARTY: (pleased with himself) Well okay then. That’s more like it.

 

DOUG and JOE ENTER STAGE RIGHT, carrying equipment.

 

DOUG: What’s going on?

MARTY: Taking care of a noise complaint. Nothing to worry about.

CRASH!!!! Room four isnt done yet.

 

JOE: (startled) What the hell?!

BILL: “Taking care of it” right, MARTY?

MARTY: Say that to my face you fucking Hell’s Angel wannabee.

BILL: (Throwing a punch) You little faggot!

 

MARTY ducks.

 

KATY: (stepping in between BILL and MARTY) BILLY! MARTY! Stop!

BILL: You fucking watch yourself you little fruit.

MARTY: I don’t have to watch shit, it’s my fucking Motel.

BILL: Look around! Sure is something to be proud of ain’t it?

 

MARTY and BILL lunge at each other. JACK intercedes.

 

JACK: Fellas, please! You’re making more of a racket than that room. Come on! We’re all a little fatigued.

 

MARTY and BILL concede: for the moment.

 

JACK (CONT’D): Well?

BILL and MARTY mumble in compliance.

 

JACK: Good.

TESS: (yawning) Okay Jack let’s go, I brought ear plugs.

JACK: Okay-

JOE: Got any extra?

TESS: Sorry.

 

Once again, room 4 produces a BANGING and THUMPING. The light flickers on inside the room and the silhouettes of shapes are seen shuffling around.

 

BILL: (throwing himself against the door) YOU MOTHER FUCKERS OPEN THIS DOOR BEFORE I BREAK IT DOWN!!

KATY: BILL stop it! They obviously can’t hear you.

 

THUMP THUMP

 

TESS: (to MARTY) Why not just unlock the door?

MARTY: Hm?

KATY: You got keys to this joint, right?

MARTY: Well, yeah..but-

JACK: So open the door.

MARTY: I can’t.

BILL: Oh really? Why?

MARTY: Well..it would be an invasion of privacy. Besides…I don’t have keys to this           room.

BILL: Oh you gotta be shittin’ me. You really worried about privacy? You call this your motel and you ain’t even got keys to the rooms?

MARTY: Listen fuck-face I got keys to all the rooms. I just happen to have misplaced the key to this room at this particular moment. So my fucking apologies, sir.

BILL: Pathetic,”misplaced”? Really? When I’m through with the people in that room; I will fuck you up.

 

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

 

MARTY: Oh it would be an honor.

KATY: Shut up! You two aren’t helping anyone get to bed any faster with this pissing contest. MARTY?

MARTY: What?

KATY: The key? Please?

MARTY: I ain’t got it. I told you that.

TESS: What are you talking about?

MARTY: I AIN’T GOT THE KEY! Okay?! Stop asking me for it. I ain’t. Fucking. Got it.

TESS: But-

MARTY: But nothing! Shut up.

JACK: Hey! Don’t you talk to her that way.

MARTY: And what are you gonna do about it?

JACK stands down, holding TESS’ hand.

MARTY (CONT’d): That’s what I thought.

DOUG: Well what are we gonna do? No key. No answer. So what?

JOE: I’m going to bed.

BILL: I’m not going anywhere till this door is open and I get to meet the unlucky motherfucker on the other side.

TESS: (pointing to MARTY) But he has a key!

JACK: Let’s not beat a dead horse, TESS.

MARTY: Really.

TESS: I saw him when we were checking in. He was coming out of the room.

MARTY: She’s lying.

JACK:  No-no….you locked it…

MARTY: You don’t know-

BILL: I believe her.

TESS: Thanks.

BILL: Shut up. (turning to MARTY) Where’s the key?

MARTY: I already told you-

 

BILL punches MARTY in the face.

 

BILL: I get short tempered when I’m tired, MARTY. Where’s the key?

MARTY: (holding his broken nose) I tol’ you I don’ ave a key.

KATY: BILL stop!

BILL: Shut up!

JOE: (to DOUG) Start rolling, the Network will eat this up.

 

DOUG picks up the large camera apparatus and starts filming. He films up close to MARTY and BILL. Bill socks MARTY in the face one more time. Room 4 grumbles loudly. Silhouettes are standing near the window: they watch.

 

BILL: (Swatting at DOUG) Get that fucking camera out of my face. (to MARTY) I’m         gonna ask nicely now. Okay? Where is the key?

MARTY: I don’-

BILL: (striking MARTY in the mouth repeatedly) LIAR!

JACK: Check his pockets!

TESS: Jack!

 

BILL searches MARTYs pockets as MARTY lies on the ground, moaning and clutching his face. BILL pulls out a key marked “1”.

 

MARTY: (reaching out a hand) No, pwease!

BILL: (kicking MARTY in the head) Shut up!

 

MARTY lies motionless.

 

JACK: Well?

BILL: It’s his room key.

JACK steps over to the front desk, turning out the drawers and key cabinet.

JACK: It’s not here. Check his room.

TESS: JACK! What are you doing!?

JACK: You heard the way he spoke to you. Search his room!

JOE: That’s illegal.

BILL: (mocking) “That’s illegal”. You a cop?

JOE: (nervous) J-journalist.

BILL: Well write this for your next scoop. “Fuck off.”

 

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP CRASH

 

 

BILL (CONT’d): Jesus…

KATY:(desperate) No BILL. Forget about this. Just come back to bed. Just come back.

 

BILL ignores KATY, he opens MARTYs room and begins searching for the key inside.

 

JACK: (to TESS) What’s he hiding?

BILL: Found it!

 

BILL walks out of the room, holding the key to room 4. He approaches the door and inserts the key.

The grumbling grows louder and louder until our characters have to yell just to be heard.

 

 

JACK: WHAT IS THAT SOUND?!

 

BILL turns the key in the lock; the lights inside the room shut off, and silhouettes can be seen no more. The commotion suddenly stops. BILL throws the door open and rushes inside. He screams.

 

BILL: AHHHHHHH!

KATY: BILL?! BILLY!?

 

She rushes in. She screeches.

 

JOE: Well don’t just stand there, DOUG!

 

DOUG goes to the threshold, still filming. He is shocked by what he sees in the dark room.

 

DOUG: (putting the camera down) Oh my god.

 

 

Ugly pause:

 

JOE and DOUG walk into the room.

JACK: Well? What is it? Hello? HELLO?!

TESS: (her hands over her ears) What happened?

JACK: I don’t know…

JACK meanders into room 4.

TESS: (crying) Jack? JACK!?

 

No response.

 

TESS rushes in after him. Silence falls over the motel.

 

BEAT:

 

MARTY slowly sits up, grunting. He saunters over to the door of room 4: closing it and locking it.

MARTY, limping, EXITS to room “1”. He slams his door.

 

THUMP THUMP THUMP:

 CURTAIN 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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