MARLENE: That's not his real name silly, that's his fraternity name. Everybody calls him Box. Did you think that was his real name? That is so funny! Wahoo!

JANICE: I thought his name was…


JANICE: Never mind… why do they call him Box?

MARLENE: I don't know. Nobody will tell me. Anyway, "Holiday" was playing and Box was running around hitting everybody on the arm telling them they had to take a drink every time Madonna said "Holiday" or "Celebrate!"


MARLENE: Soooo! She says it over fifty times! By the time the song was over I wasooo fucked up! It was fabulous!

JANICE: What happened to Box?

MARLENE: I don't know. Anyway, this is the best Chi Delt party ever, see? It's the All Tied Up Function. It's the best! See that Tie around your neck?

JANICE: Yea, what's this thing for? Why is it cut off?

MARLENE: Well the other half belongs to your date for the party… and maybe the rest of the night… Well you never know! Isn't it the coolest!

JANICE: So who's my date? Where's my bottom half?

[ZACH enters stealthily behind them.]

MARLENE: All the Chi Delts pick the bottom halves out of a hat-- so I don't know! Nobody knows. It's a surprise see?

[ZACH jumps MARLENE and lays on her a big sloppy kiss.]

MARLENE: Eeek! Box! Now Box you stop that you silly…

ZACH: You don't like my greeting?

MARLENE: Of course I do Boxy, it's just I have a guest…

ZACH: Hnuh?

[MARLENE points to JANICE. ZACH follows her finger.]

JANICE: Janice.

ZACH: Janice. Janice?

MARLENE: Janice! She's my Kappa Gam little sister!

ZACH: Is that right? [A pause] Well squeal and scream.

JANICE: So you're Box.

ZACH: I'm Box. That's me. Look. Marlene. When the party starts getting lame, and after I go throw up…?

MARLENE: Yes Boxy?

ZACH: Me and Bong, Soup and Fat Boy are going to "par-take" up on Mission Hill…

JANICE: Partake?

MARLENE: Smoke pot silly! Can Janice and I come?

ZACH: Oh, well Janice… I'm sure she doesn't…

MARLENE: [Coming on strong] Come on Boxy, soxy, loxy...

ZACH: What the hell. But I think I'm gonna go right now though, huh? And you probably want to stay…

MARLENE: Well wait a minute now Boxy, I don't know if you're my official date yet. Did you get my bottom half?

ZACH: Well of course I did. What do you think, I'm an idiot? [Pulls out a bottom half of a tie out of his pocket.] Here. See? We're made for each other. [It doesn't match MARLENE'S tie.] Wait.

MARLENE: Box. It doesn't match. It doesn't match Zach. What's going on?

ZACH: There must have been a mix up. Listen. It doesn't matter.

MARLENE: Yes it does!

ZACH: Marlene, honey… honey, bunny, honey…

JANICE: Um… it looks like I'm your date.

[JANICE holds up her necktie. It matches.]

ZACH: Hey. Will you look at that. I match Janice's tie. How ‘bout that. Can you believe…? Is this funny or what? Marlene?

MARLENE: How did this happen Box?

ZACH: Crazy isn't it? Crazy-crazy. [Trying another approach] Listen. It doesn't matter. It's just a stupid party. I'll make it up to you-- why don't we just all go up to Mission hill…

[MARLENE is now watching a suddenly silent JANICE.]

MARLENE: This is bad Zach. This...means something. It's a sign.

ZACH: It doesn't mean anything…

[MARLENE senses something wrong. JANICE and ZACH exchange looks. It's enough for MARLENE.]

MARLENE: Oh my god… [Through tears] I'm sorry…

[MARLENE runs away. ZACH and JANICE watch her go.]

ZACH: Shit. [He turns to JANICE.] What… what's going on?

JANICE: Oh my god. Zach I… I got your friend Bong to match your tie to mine.

ZACH: What? What?!!

JANICE: How was I supposed to know?

ZACH: You didn't know?!

JANICE: [Suddenly appalled] Wait a minute… How dare you! [JANICE hauls back and cracks ZACH in the eye with her fist. ZACH falls…] You wear cheating on Marlene!

ZACH: I was not!

JANICE: You were! With me!

[JANICE kicks him.]

ZACH: It was just a little harmless making out!

JANICE: Harmless!

[She cocks her arm to deck him again.]

ZACH: [Stopping her] Hey!

JANICE : I liked you. I liked you Zach. How the hell was I supposed to know you were going out with anyone?

ZACH: Well you didn't ask!! [JANICE suddenly stops her rampage.] I don't know what happened. One minute I'm at an anti-apartheid rally and the next… you were there… and… we hit it off.

[They stare at each other for a moment. JANICE sees what she has done to ZACH and helps him up. She brushes him off.]

JANICE: You better go get Marlene.

ZACH: Sorry but… I can't.


[ZACH holds up the bottom half of JANICE's tie.]

ZACH: I have your bottom half.

[JANICE smiles.]

JANICE: What about Marlene?

ZACH: I guess she'll have to go bottomless. [A beat] You ever been up to Mission Hill? I can take you there. We can go places.

[JANICE moves closer to him. Madonna's "Holiday" kicks in.]

JANICE: Do I call you Box now?

ZACH: Please call me Zach.

JANICE: I like Zach better. [They are about to kiss. JANICE breaks away.] Hey! It's that Madonna song! Drink up!

[JANICE whacks ZACH hard in the arm.]


JANICE: Lighten up missy! I'm what every Kappa Gam should know! I'll be a member yet!

[Madonna's "Holiday" rises. JANICE dances and drinks her beer every time Madonna says, "holiday" or "celebrate."]

[A freeze. A sign says: "A Future. Born 1966-1970."]

[Unfreeze. As JANICE and ZACH dance and drink lights rise on Mr. Jennings, BRAD'S DAD, who lies in a coffin with the lid up. Madonna changes to soft organ music, whispering, and weeping. Lights fade on ZACH and JANICE.]

[A sign says, "Brad's Dad: Born 1921. Died 1979."]

[It's the end of an open casket funeral. A much younger CAT enters. She looks tired and a bit weak. She's lost some weight. CAT seems uncomfortable in her black dress, like she's never worn a dress before. She's drinking a can of Squirt.]

[In an attempt to cure her boredom, she wanders over to the casket. She stands beside it, and then leans in for a closer look at the dead man. Closer. As CAT leans in again she suddenly spills her Squirt all over the dead man's suit.]

CAT: Oh shit.

[She looks around to see if anybody is watching and then tries to dab it up with a napkin.]

[A younger BRAD enters and watches CAT from across the room. He looks her up and down. CAT sees him. They smile.]

[BRAD crosses to CAT and his dead father. BRAD stares at his dead father. CAT acts nonchalant.]

CAT: Sorry.

BRAD: What was that?

CAT: I'm sorry.

BRAD: It's all right. I don't think my father liked being alive anyway.

CAT: Not about that. I spilled Squirt on him.

[BRAD sees his dead father's tux.]


CAT: I got a napkin. I tried to…

[CAT tries half-heartedly to wipe up the Squirt. BRAD takes the napkin from her.]

BRAD: Here, I can do it… I'm sure he doesn't mind.

CAT: I'm so sorry. I'm not feeling well.

BRAD: These things happen.

[BRAD cleans up the mess.]

CAT: I'm off the drugs.

BRAD: What was that?

CAT: I said I'm off the drugs. I'm telling all my mother's friends because I know she won't.

BRAD: [Smiling] You're Cat…[Correcting himself] Catherine.

CAT: [Trying to remember the face] Josh, right?

BRAD: [Smile falling] No. Brad. Brad Jennings. You're thinking of my brother.

CAT: [Remembering] Little Bradley?! [BRAD smiles shyly shuffling his feet. He nods.] Far out. Where have I been?

BRAD: Good question.

CAT: I guess I only know the answer to that huh?

[They nod and smile at each other awkwardly.]

BRAD: So… how've you been Catherine?

CAT: I'm living with my mother now…

[She studies BRAD's face.]

BRAD: Uh-huh.

CAT: And… I'm off the drugs. [She shakes off her stare, realizing where she is. Indicating BRAD'S dead father:] Listen, I'll let you be alone…

BRAD: [Leaning on the casket] Oh, Dad doesn't care… not much of a talker…

CAT: [Giggling] No really. I'll… I'll be over here.

[CAT walks away with a come hither glance. She can't believe she's flirting. BRAD watches her walk away.]

[BRAD'S DAD sits up behind him.]

DAD: You buried me.

[BRAD turns around to look at his father sitting up in his casket.]

BRAD: Dad?

DAD: You buried me. Why did you bury me? [BRAD stands with his mouth agape.] Goddamnit, I asked you a question. I said specifically in my will that I wanted to be cremated. What the hell is going on around here?

BRAD: But Dad, you're Catholic.

DAD: I know I'm Catholic Brad. For Christ's sake don't you think I know I'm Catholic? You don't have to tell me I'm Catholic…

BRAD: All right. I just thought… I was always taught Catholic's were buried, ya know? It was a sin to be cremated.

DAD: You mean to tell me…? I paid a lot of money for a lot of lawyers to draw up a lot of legal bullshit just so I could get cremated and save my sorry ass sons a little money… [DAD gets out of the casket. He looks deep into BRAD for answers.] It was Josh wasn't it? This was all Josh's idea wasn't it?

BRAD: It wasn't Josh.

DAD: Goddamn that kid. If I said black, he'd say white. You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna haunt him, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna peer over him at night while he's sleeping… Oh boy, am I gonna scare the piss out of him.

BRAD: Dad…

DAD: Let's call a spade a fucking shovel Bradley. Your brother Josh? Don't trust him. He's a little tight ass and he'll screw you. He will screw you faster than shit through a goose…

BRAD: It wasn't Josh Dad.

DAD: What do you mean? I'm supposed to be burnt up and I'm sitting in a casket, and I want to know why--

BRAD: I did it.

DAD: You? You never disobeyed me in your life. Is it that catechism stuff? Listen, the ecumenical council of 1963 said…

BRAD: It's not that!

[DAD puts his arm around BRAD.]

DAD: You know I never liked all this stuff Brad. [Pointing off] Look at Mrs. Pacentini. [Disgusted] Look at her all weepy-weepy, you'd think someone just slapped her face. She hated me. She hated me ever since me and her husband came back from Mazatlan with Montezuma's revenge and Tony Pacentini shit all over her duvet! [Laughs] She always thought that was my fault, like I made him do it, like I'm in charge of the Mexican water tables.

[BRAD takes out a credit card and hands it to his dead father.]

BRAD: I wanted to give you this.

DAD: What's this?

BRAD: It's a credit card.

DAD: Well I know that for Christ's sake. You're really proficient at the obvious you know that Brad?


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Copyright © 2003 by Nick Zagone

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