Here is a small taste of the play. As always, comments welcome. Please ignore the formatting.
By Eleanor Tylbor
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
TAYLOR, JEFFREY, 45,
PORTMAN, ROBBIE, 47,
JENKINS, 50, next door neighbor on other side
PATTY, 40-ish, bartender
MARTINI, 60, land surveyor and friend of PORTMAN
The present, mid-summer
SETTING: Back garden(s) of two neighbors. A picket fence separates their properties
AT RISE: Morning. Hot summer's day.
SOUND FX: Lawnmowers
ROBBIE (ROB) PORTMAN lazes in a hammock reading a book while holding a glass of liquid in the other hand. Dressed in cut-off jeans and a grungy tee shirt, his hair is long and unkempt and he sports a heavy beard
Dressed in a short-sleeved dress shirt and pants, JEFFRY TAYLOR, his next door neighbor, is the antithesis of PORTMAN and a perfectionist. TAYLOR tends to his garden stopping periodically to study PORTMAN and finally makes his way over to the fence.
Must be a hundred degrees in the shade today. I’d be indoors right now if my tomatoes didn’t need pampering. That’s the real secret of growing big veggies, y’know. Give ‘em extra ‘TLC’… Hello? Hope I'm not disturbing you or anything
Takes gulp of liquid from glass
Must be them darn chipmunks makin’ a racket again' Gettin’ so’s a person can't read in peace anymore
How long have you been laying there?
What time did the sun rise, today?
Another one of your liquid breakfasts, I suppose?
For your information it’s orange juice
And? You expect me to believe that?
aren’t the only thing in your juice to give you – in your vernacular – a buzz Oranges
Go suck a lemon. Wait – you don’t need to. You’re sour enough
Touchy, aren’t we?
Sour is as sour does
You know what I’m getting at…
Okay – say it. You’re just dying to. Then go away
It’s not like I haven’t expressed my feelings a thousand times before
How does what I do affect your life?
Cheez Portman, it's only gone ten in the morning! You’re well on your way to turning into an alcoholic. Did I say turning into? You are!
Been there - heard it all before so don’t waste your breath. Go tend to your carrots or something. They need the
Don’t ask me why but I care ‘bout you. Maybe something to do with the fact we've been neighbors going on twenty years and I don't wanna see you end up with cirrhosis of the liver - or worse
Since when do you give a crap about whether I live or die?
Better a neighbor you know than one you don’t. Don’t feel like breaking in a new neighbor at this stage of my life
Don’chu worry ‘bout me moving away. I intend to be here for a long, long time. It's too much fun bugging the shit out’ta you
Do you see the incongruity in your chosen profession?
Maybe I would if I could understand the question. Give me advance warning when you’re gonna give me another of your dumb lectures and I’ll make sure to have a dictionary handy
Owning a bar must be the best thing that ever happened to you with your thirst
It’s a living and I like the people who drop by. You know – regular people. Something you wouldn’t know anything about
Denial – a sign of an alcoholic. Can’t you see the writing on the wall?
You talking 'bout that "keep of the grass” sign you got posted all over your property? It's the joke of the neighborhood, y'know
Drains glass and checks watch
Gotta leave. Patty's opening for me today
Another one of those Hooter waitresses?
As if someone the likes of you would notice. You’re more into cucumbers, if you get my drift and for your information – not that I owe you anything - Patty is the right hand to my left
I bet she is just that and more
What d'you know about sex?
Spare me your drunken rants
Take a look at yourself and your life. Work your butt off for a multi-national all those years and what's it got you? A dinky house and a veggie garden. How do you stand the excitement of it all?
Save me from the melancholy drunk offering his view of life in a brief second of clarity. In all the years we've lived next door to each other, the only position I've seen you is lying on your back, with your lips glued to the rim of a beer bottle. How long has it been, anyway, since you held down any type of job if ever?
What's it your business?
I figure you must be in your mid-forties or thereabouts?
Never found a position to suit my qualifications
Must be near impossible to find a company that's looking for a hammock tester. How you've managed to survive on next to nothing is nothing short of a miracle, but then I would imagine your needs are few and far between. A bottle opener, a case of beer and you're all set
Don't need big money to impress people like you do. I'm a simple guy with simple tastes
And a raging one for booze. How many bottles d'ya drink of that poison a day? A dozen? More?
You sure as hell don't. Just bugs me to see you frittering your life away, doing nothing productive
So don't look man! Turn your head the other way and mind your own business for a change and not mine! Your tomatoes are calling you
All I can say is that I wouldn't waste mine lying on my back
Did somebody ask you to? It beats having to listen to you foam at the mouth about the evils of drink
A person has'ta leave his mark on this world! He's gotta be able to tell his children and grandchildren: I-was-here!
My niece and nephew will know all about me, alright, ‘cause I’m leaving them something to remember me by. When I pass on, this here house'l go to them, along with those be-u-tee-ful shrubs. Course I'll make sure to have that all included in my will
By the time they inherit your house if you still own it, those shrubs'l be long gone, I can promise you that
Might even build a de-lux-y tree house for them this summer so's their grandkids can learn all about nature, up close and personal-like
Wouldn't count on that, if I was you…
…maybe hang some tire swings from the branches…
Over my dead body!
I can arrange that. Anyway, you don't have any say what I do with them shrubs, anyway
Maybe not right now but don't count on their presence much longer. We been neighbors for how long, now?
Too long for my liking
Must be fifteen years at least – maybe twenty?
Praise be! You're thinking of moving at last. I know some guys who'll move you real cheap. 'Course you may never see your furniture again…
How come the topic of conversation between us always ends up about your so-called shrubs growing on my property? Ten