The below is a play (or short film), set in a bar, inspired by May Mcdonough's Riverside track. What a lovely soundtrack her sultry stylings provide.
(A bar, night.
A single light illuminates a MAN
sitting at the bar, sipping his cares
He wears a large trench coat,
unbuttoned. Peaking out from beneath is
a blood-soaked undershirt. Next to him
on the bar, a hat.
The man finishes his drink and sets the
The BARTENDER, not missing a beat, is
there with another.
Old fashioned police sirens blare in
When I woke this morning it was raining, pattering against
the pane. Little feet running down the glass. As the last
puff left my cigarette, I watched the sky weep, unable to
focus on the reflection haunting me in the window. Why does
my shirt have blood on it I wondered as I searched for a
drink. Jameson. Liquid salvation leading me past Elysian
Fields and the virtuous souls warming their hands on the
trashcan corners nearby. Straight to the ludlowdown
neighborhood, fighting for air.
(The first Bartender leaves and is
replaced by another. Lights come up on
a stage. A band sits waiting to play
To a Piano Bar. Ghost bands making love to their brass and
Taunting me, melancholy limericks of my mind, shining a light
on my soul. The beat, drums or my heart? Pulsing the life
through my veins, convincing me this is real. But, then I
hear the thunder and close my eyes waiting for the
flash of light. Crackling softly overhead.
My eyes open again, drinking in the scene. The piano. The
brunette beauty sitting at the bar. Bartender pouring,
filling my glass. I relax into my world, wondering what I
will do if I cannot go back. And, my Marie, waiting for me,
wondering if I will return. Forgetting my madness, I watch
the music and listen to the piano player plunking out the
notes. Singing. Softly. Whispering her secret: joy 'round
here comes in a little pink balloon.
Finally. Realizing. Forcing. I stand, to leave.
(The man stands and stumbles to the door.)
Desperate to go back. To my chair. To my room. To my Marie,
lying in the bed, blood drenched and beautiful. I close my
eyes and take a drink, listening to the keys come alive,
praying they will carry me through the rain, washing the
crimson stain. Away.
(As the man makes his way through the
bar, lights come up, revealing a young,
beautiful BRUNETTE at the bar. She
sits, sipping a glass of red wine. All
of her movements are in half-time,
giving the illusion of slow-motion.
The man continues in real time.)
As I dance to the door, I fight my feet which long to return.
To the bar. To my perch. Near the Piano. The woman, with her
mysterious gaze, blocks my escape. Secret smiles hypnotizing
me into a hapless curiosity. Obediently, I follow her,
mesmerized by the red ribbon 'round her neck. Lovely, pearl
skin. Ruby lips. Marie.
(The Brunette, Marie, makes her way to
the Man. She leads him back to the bar -
a different stool. All action
now follows the dialogue.)
This temptress, familiar. Locking me down with her love. Her
kiss. So different from what I remembered in my room, a
corpse, lifeless and lonesome. No where to go. No. This girl.
Woman. From a memory long forgotten rekindled with the strike
of a chord.
As the trumpets wail their winey ballad, the woman sips a
glass of red. And the bartender pours me another glass of
gold, washing down my desire. I watch her, my Marie, as she
looks at me. Deciding if she should set me free. Suddenly, a
smile, warming my heart, convincing me I'm home. But, then a
flash, a memory, a vision of Marie, dead. In bed. And, rain.
A river into the gutter. Pink mixed with blood.
I stand, shaking my head, seeing my Marie begin to cry.
Knowing I'm leaving her again, flashes of anger give birth to
a subdued calm. Then, suddenly, to my surprise, Marie smiles
a smile, wicked with delight. Turning to return to the storm
of reality, she grabs my arm. I freeze, paralyzed, as she
takes the ribbon from around her neck. Kissing both of my
hands, she wraps my wrists with the ribbon, red and gives her
final gift: a wink.
(The man makes his way back to his
original position. Marie leaves. The
original bartender returns. The lights
fade on the stage, except the piano
which remains lit.)
And, I leave, more slowly than I came, trudging though
remembering. There is something they don't tell you. When you
walk down the streets in the city. Summer blaring down on
your back. Finally, I see my world, weathered and wet, the
Seconds pass and I am in my chair, in my room, I come to and
look to the bed and see. My Marie, lying lifeless. I look
down in ribbon remembrance and it is gone. Instead, my hands
heavy with cold steel, fondle the destruction of my world.
And, I see my shirt. Why does it have blood on it, I wonder.
And, I understand. Slowly, deliberately, I leave my chair and
seek my coat cover-up. Hat in hand, I stop at the door.
Looking back at my Marie, lifeless and lost, a faint memory
of a Piano singing my ear.
(The sirens get closer. The music fades.
Lights fade to black.
End of play.)