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 Category:  Romance Script
  Posted: September 23, 2016      Views: 286
Chapters:
1 1 2 2 

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 JAY SQUIRES 
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 ABOUT
JAY SQUIRES 

I AM an author, salesman, optimist, dreamer: May the four always cohabit & produce wondrous progeny. In the swirling pool of life, I'm an unflushable floater.

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Chapter 2 of the book Harry Needs a Job
Before the Beginning
"Progeny of a Generation of Gardenias" by Jay Squires



PROGENY OF A GENERATION OF GARDENIAS
 
 
ACT II
 
                      SCENE 2
 
SETTING:              A flat in New York City. Plain
                      kitchen table with three chairs
                      around it. On the counter, stage
                      right a hot plate and microwave oven,
                      a few sodas and a bag of chips. An
                      uncurtained window above the counter
                      has a potted gardenia on its sill.
                      An unmade cot stage left. Door opens
                      to a bathroom, stage left. Door,
                      stage right opens to outside.
 

AT RISE:              HARRY is bustling throughout the
                      room, straightening this and that,
                      making the cot and is beginning to
                      sweep the floor when there is a rap
                      on the outside door.

 
 
 
LAST PART OF SCENE 1
 

                      HARRY
Mother told me she was able to slip her address to you.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Kinda. She was able to knock a tray of empty cups onto the floor, and I was gonna be the gentleman an’ help. But, right then her daddy comes in an’ starts in helpin’ her. I stood a couple a yards away tryin’ my best to look uninterested. But ever time I could see he wasn’t lookin’ at me I was able to watch his beautiful daughter. After they had it cleaned up and left with the tray o’ broken glass I noticed a neatly folded piece o’ paper about the size of a matchbook on the floor. I picked it up.
 
                      HARRY
Mother’s address …
 
                      ZACARIAH
Her daddy’s restaurant. An’ the time beside it, oh-eight-thirty.
            (Making smacking movement of lips.)
Can we have those Seven-Ups now?
 
                      HARRY
            (Getting up, brings them to the table, puts
            one in front of ZACARIAH. Hold his up.)
To you, Father, and me… and to Mama…
 
                      ZACARIAH
God rest her soul. Cheers.
 
            (They drink and put their cans down.)
 
AND NOW …
 
ZACARIAH [Continues.]
I was in an alleyway next to the restaurant at oh-eight-thirty the next mornin’ when she came out the front door. She looked all around an’ finally saw me peekin’ out the alleyway. She got into daddy’s pickup truck an’ started drivin’ down the street away from me, pullin’ over to the curb about two blocks from the restaurant, but outa sight of it. I raced along the back streets behind the restaurant until I got to the street I figured would take me to the truck. When I saw her sittin’ behind the steerin’ wheel and she hadn’t seen me yet I stopped an’ backed up outa sight alongside a building.
 
                      HARRY
But…
 
                      ZACARIAH
But what? Think you can tell the story better than me? Just listen to me. I realized right then that I didn’t deserve her. Well…
            (Struggling.)
No, no, no—not that exactly. Not that I didn’t deserve her, but that she deserved better’n me. She deserved someone she didn’t have to sneak around to meet. In three days I would be gone. It’d be better not to take it any farther. I made up my mind.
 
                      HARRY
I don’t understand.
 
                      ZACARIAH
I know you don’t. Common sense told me to retreat. And I would of. To this day I wonder how different it all woulda been if, when I turned to run away, I didn’t find myself face-to-face with the biggest, meanest, snarlingest dog I’d ever seen. So much for doin’ what’s right. I raced away from the dog and toward her daddy’s truck, my knees nearly banging into my chest. The dog got to me before I got into the truck. He took a nice chunk outa my—my backside before I could slam the door on his head. He took off, yelpin’.
 
                      HARRY
Mother never mentioned that.
 
                      ZACARIAH
How ‘bout that! Is that a picture a girl wants to keep in her mind ‘bout her Prince Charming? Could she be blamed for forgettin’ about it?
 
            (They share a laugh.)
 
                      HARRY
Still, her memory wasn’t too faulty with the rest of the day.
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Amazed.)
She told you ‘bout that?
 
                      HARRY
She told me about the picnic. Certainly she did! I’ve heard the story a hundred times, Father. She could never keep from—
            (His own eyes filling)
Ah, me—a moment, please … she couldn’t keep her tears from falling when she described how you planted half the gardenia seeds from a packet you had purchased at a market, leaving enough to plant in a pot in your quarters. This would be a link between you. She pledged to nurture the flowers until you returned.
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (With some impatience.)
She’d water and weed ‘em, that’s all.…
 
                      HARRY
A nurseryman waters and weeds. Mother nurtured.
            (Pause.)
Tell me about the rest of the seeds, Father. Did you plant them? Are they still…?
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Shrugging it off.)
I remember planting ‘em. Guess they didn’t take.
 
                      HARRY
Well, Mother nurtured them as long as she could. But even during those months before I was born, when she knew we couldn’t continue to stay in San Sebastian, Mother would gently shake and nudge out the seeds from some of the flowers. She’d fold them carefully in a handkerchief and take them home where she would add them to the other seeds she’d collected there. Regardless where we lived, over the years, I grew up inhaling the perfume from the—the progeny of those original flowers, Father.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Ah, well…
 
                      HARRY
            (Nodding toward the potted gardenia on
            Windowsill.)
An unbroken line of generation. Lovely fragrance, yes?
 
                      ZACARIAH
From the same packet of seeds?
 
                      (HARRY nods.)
 
                      [ZACARIAH continues.]
Hmm. How ‘bout that.
 
                      HARRY
            (After a long silence.)
Father?
 
                      ZACARIAH
What?
 
                      HARRY
            (Said with some difficulty.)
Father… did you… love Mother then?
 
                      ZACARIAH
Then?
 
                      HARRY
Back then. You left.
 
                      ZACARIAH
I was a sailor before I met her, was one when I met her an’ she knowed afterwards I had to return to the sea. I loved your mother. Yes, I loved her.
            (Pause)
But I wouldn’t of stayed. I couldn’t of stayed. I don’t expect you’d understand.
 
                      HARRY
            (Looks down at lap, and after a pause, back.)
But I do understand! I do… You loved Mother. You also had obligations.
 
                      ZACARIAH
I had needs.
 
                      HARRY
Needs…
 
                      ZACARIAH
But I did love your mother. I did love her.
 
                      HARRY
Which had to make it painful to leave her.
            (Pause.)
But then, what I don’t understand, Father—
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (releases an audible sigh.)
We’re grown men. Call me Zacariah.
 
                      HARRY
            (Stung. Pauses to recover.)
You may call me Harry if “son” is too awkward. But please don’t take “Father” away from me.
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Shrugs.)
If it’s that important…
 
                      HARRY
You have no idea.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Yes… Well…
 
                      HARRY
Why did you never come back?
 
                      ZACARIAH
You don’t know?
 
                      HARRY
From what I learned later I can see why a less courageous man, would have stayed away, given the same circumstances.
            (Pause.)
I’m asking why you didn’t.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Your mother told you the whole thing?
 
                      HARRY
When I was old enough to understand… By then we were living like gypsies, traveling from one city, from one country, to another.
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Dryly.)
Just the three of you?
 
                      HARRY
            (Looking puzzled.)
Just mother and me.
 
                      ZACARIAH
I guess nothin’s permanent in this world, eh, Harry?
            (Pause. Sighs.)
We saw each other on the sly for the next two days. She must o’ been pretty good at lyin’, ‘cause daddy never seemed to catch on. Of course at the end of our time together, she’d always manage to go back to the restaurant with the supplies he thought she was goin’ out to get in the first place. She’d learned how to lie pretty good, your mama did. Our last time together…
            (Pause, sipping from his can; taking a deep
            breath.)
God! I loved Dolores so much! We held on tight to each other that night. We didn’t ever wanna let go.
           
                      HARRY
            (A bit flustered.)
Father…
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Passionately, nearly in tears.)
We didn’t let go! Jesus, Harry! We didn’t let go! For hours. But I had to board ship. And by now I figured the townspeople were probably draggin’ the lakes and rivers for her. I was gonna write her every day. She was gonna write me twice a day. That we promised each other. And yes—yes—yes, Harry… yes, that she would nourish the flowers from the seeds I planted.
 
                      HARRY
            (Getting up.)
A minute, Father. That’s beautiful. Un momento.
            (Sniffing, laughing over his shoulder as he
            enters the restroom.)
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!
            (Emerging with roll of toilet paper from which
            he tears off some, blowing his nose; he puts
            roll on table and sits down.)
So you loved each other deeply. Painfully. Passionately. I don’t even care, Father—not a bit do I care—that I was a love child, a bastard, born from the flames of your passion!
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (With a sudden fierceness, pounding table.)
No! No! We don’t goddam know that, Harry! We don’t know that at all!
 
 
 
                      HARRY
            (Tearfully, he leaps to his feet, fists
            clenched.)
Don’t! I can’t let you say that about Mama! By God, I won’t let you!
 
                      ZACARIAH
Sit down, Harry! You got the balls to ask the hard question then be man enough to listen to the answer. You think this is easy for me?!
 
            (HARRY sits; he lays his head on his crossed
            forearms on the table and sobs quietly.
            ZACARIAH waits for him to settle down, then
            he reaches across and squeezes his shoulder.
            Slowly, HARRY raises his head.)
 
                      ZACARIAH [Continues.]
Your mother kept her word, Harry. It took two weeks to get the first of her letters, but then I got about a dozen. You don’t know how excitin’ it was to have that whole fistful of letters to lie on the bed and read under the dim ship lights. I’d like to say I kept my part of the promise. When you’re in love …
            (Pauses on the word “love” and almost loses
            his grip.)
When you’re in love you make lotsa promises. Damn! I know I should’ve told her I wasn’t much of a letter writer. I didn’t have much schoolin’.
            (Takes a sip from the can.)
I guess over time it had to happen. Absence sure’s hell don’t make the heart grow fonder! Who the hell said that anyway? For her it was the absence of my letters. And it didn’t make her heart fonder. See? See, Harry, I take the blame for it! I didn’t give her anythin’ to keep the fires lit until I could come back. Pretty soon her letters started peterin’ out. I might get two a month. The fire’d gone out in them, too. I guess I knocked myself around pretty good after I got that last letter from her. I …
            (Long pause.)
I … figured I had it coming. Excuse me…
            (Holds his fist over his mouth; his eyes
            are closed; he swallows several times. He
            suddenly opens his eyes and slaps his palms
            together like he is killing a fly.)
So… It was all over, just like that.
            (Long, full-bellowed exhale.)
I read the same sentences over so many times they was burned into my mind. “You told me you’d do anything to make me happy, Zacariah. Will you do this?” She asked me, “Will you let go? Will you forget me? I have tried very hard to be true to you. I really have. But I didn’t know when you were coming back. Or even if… Now I have found another. He makes me happy. And I must ask you to try to be happy for my happiness. Will you do that?”
 
                      HARRY
            (Shaking his head.)
Do you know what a fool you were?
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Quickly)
Yeah! Now I know! But then I was a wounded calf. I was rejected And there wasn’t one part of me didn’t ache with knowin’ it. You’d think after two solid weeks of drinkin’, on ship an’ off, with the men coverin’ for me, keepin’ the captain at arms length an’ in the dark of what was happenin’—
 
                      HARRY
            (Interrupting.)
But her other letters…
 
                      ZACARIAH
You mean the first one that came a couple o’ years later?
 
                      HARRY
Yes.
 
                      ZACARIAH
I’m supposed to pick a sore that still wasn’t crusted over yet? I threw it overboard, unopened. And the next one. Then I told the mail room to return any more of ‘em back to her.
 
                      HARRY
You were a fool, Father….
 
                      ZACARIAH
And I think you’d be smart not to keep sayin’ that, Harry! And to start callin’ me Zacariah. We don’t goddam know!
 
                      HARRY
Oh, but I do know. Of course, Mother knew. And in your heart of hearts you know, too. I am your bastard, Father.
            (Smiling.)
You know, I rather like the fit of the word, the way it now slips so easily off my tongue. Bastard… See? Bastard…
            (Pause, then seriously.)
You were the only one, you know.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Ha! You may be a bastard, Harry. But that don’t make me the bastard’s father!
 
                      HARRY
But there was no other. If you’d have read the letters—
 
                      ZACARIAH
It only took one—the first. I read that one plenty enough, I tell ya!
 
                      HARRY
And in that she lied. Knowingly. Strategically. Brokenheartedly. She lied….
 
                      ZACARIAH
Oh, she did, did she? Why?
 
                      HARRY
Because the truth would have failed to do what she had to have it do.
 
                      ZACARIAH
That just don’t wash, Harry.
 
                      HARRY
What if mother had written that it wouldn’t work for the two of you because her father forbade it?
 
                      ZACARIAH
You know what would’ve happened! It wasn’t her father I wanted. I wanted Dolores.
 
                      HARRY
Exactly! What if she told you that, three months after you left, she could no longer conceal her pregnancy? That her father noticed it and as a result he disowned her and kicked her out of the house?
 
                      ZACARIAH
That happened?
 
            (HARRY nods, not taking his eyes off ZACARIAH.)
 
What kind of father would do that?
            (He is near tears.)
 
                        HARRY
A father whose sense of family has been steeped in tradition for countless generations and now he feels his family name has been sullied, dishonored. A Spanish father. Mother’s father. So…
            (Pause.)
The truth was that she was pregnant with me. She was ostracized from her family. She had no money.
            (Longer pause.)
And if she had told you this in a letter?
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Visibly shaken.)
You know! I’d o’ gone to her straight away! Why didn’t she—
 
                      HARRY
            (Interrupting.)
Because you don’t know yet the biggest secret she had to keep from you. Her brothers, you see, had taken her expulsion from the family a step further. They enlisted his brother, their Uncle Jaime’s assistance. He was connected with the Spanish Mafia. So everyone had conspired to have you murdered in a most conspicuous way should you have returned to Spain. So… tell me, father…
            (Pause, while he studies ZACARIAH.)
Would a healthy dose of that knowledge have kept you tucked away on your ship, safe at sea?
 
                      ZACARIAH
By God! You know it wouldn’t!
 
                      HARRY
I do know it wouldn’t have. Mother knew it, too.
 
            (There is a long silence while both
            sip their drinks and for the most part,
            avoid each other’s eyes.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Harry…
 
                      HARRY
Yes.
 
                      ZACARIAH
Why’d she start back writin’ then.
 
                      HARRY
Because she never—never for one moment—stopped loving you. By then I was born. Her family had not softened toward her one iota. She was treated as a non-person. Her father and brothers would stop at nothing, short of causing physical injury to Mother, to redress their family dishonor.… She became concerned over my safety. So she left the land she loved—with me… a pocketful of seeds and little else.
            (Pause.)
We traveled, as I said, as gypsies. First, north into France. I remember little of that country. I was told we stayed mostly in the countryside. She had a fear of the cities. She spoke a Basque hybrid and could understand some French, but was less successful in speaking it. Mother did not like France.
 
                      ZACARIAH
You’re ramblin’, Harry.
 
                      HARRY
As we did. But I’m very nearly there, Father. We had worked our way to the north of France where Mother labored as a housekeeper in Calais. Strangely, I remember something of it, though I was only two. The family was kind to us, wanted us to stay on, but Mother had another notion. With the money she had managed to save, we crossed the English Channel on our way to Wales.
            (He pauses, smiling at ZACARIAH.)
She remembered the softer side of you, Father.…
 
                      ZACARIAH
Softer?
 
                      HARRY
When you became less the crusty, hardened sailor and spoke almost lyrically about your Welsh ancestry. Do you remember the poem you recited to her? Mother certainly did—along with its author, Dylan Thomas, your favorite poet. Finding that poem became her holy quest, begun the day you left for your ship. The local library had only a small section devoted to English Literature, with nothing by Dylan Thomas. What the librarian did have was the address of a hole-in-the-wall bookstore that prided itself on its selection of nineteenth and twentieth century poetry.
 
 
            (With the slightest of smiles ZACARIAH breaks
            eye contact with HARRY)
 
Do you remember it?
            (Reciting.)
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.”
 
                      ZACARIAH
            (Finishing the stanza, slowly, with feeling.)
“And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.”
 
                      HARRY and ZACARIAH [Together.]
“The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that drives the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.”
 
            (Both are Silent, but there is a sense of
            connectivity between them.)
 
                      HARRY [Continues.]
And, I think, Father, from that poem was formed my spiritual connection to the Father I’d never even seen, but would one day be destined to know.
 
                      ZACARIAH
It’s a friggin’ poem, Harry.
 
                      HARRY
              (An expansive smile, all the while nodding.)
                     
CURTAIN
 
THE THIRD ACT IS AS YET UNWRITTEN. I HOPE
YOU HAVE ENJOYED IT THUS FAR.

Recognized

The script continues with Harry: His Unexpected Guest. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
NOTE: THERE IS STILL A PROBLEM WITH THE ADVANCED EDITOR. PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH THE FORMATTING.

Thank you once again Cleo85 for the use of your exquisite Art Work.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by cleo85 at FanArtReview.com

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