Affairs of the Hart: A Conversation with Jesse

posted Oct 3, 2012, 10:29 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Oct 9, 2012, 8:45 PM ]

DISCLAIMER: NOT IDEAL TO READ ON A DROID. I ASSUME THE SAME GOES FOR iPHONE.

I wrote this a few months ago with no idea as to what, if anything, I was going to do with it. The spiritual and universalist sentiments within it needed to come out of me. And of course, I needed to post it because…why not? Initially, I was reluctant to do so because I thought it was a bit self-aggrandizing. Then I had a friend of mine read it and he just thought it was a bit dark. That, I can deal with. 

Lights come up on the living room of a Hollywood apartment. An adjustable daybed, which can be used as a couch as well as a bed, is situated in the center of the stage. There is a desk placed perpendicular to the bed. On the desk is a lamp, random papers and a glass of water. In front of the couch is a very small coffee table. This can be moved around by the actors or per the director as necessary for blocking purposes. 

Seated at the desk working on his laptop is HART, a young man in his early thirties. He’s a smart, winning guy who has been unemployed for more than a year as he pursues his life’s passion.

There is a knock on the door. HART gets up and opens it.  

                                                            HART
                                    Oh, it’s you.
 
HART walks back to his desk.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                                (while walking in and closing the door)        
                                    I’ve been greeted with worse.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Be glad I let you in at all.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I can’t imagine you would have had me come all the
                                    way over here just to stand outside your door.
 
                                                            HART
                                    You underestimate my ire.
 
JESSE sits down on the couch.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    And what do you have to be so ired about?
 
                                                            HART
                                    I’ve been unemployed for a year. I have no prospects
                                    for employment and I’m running out of money.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    But you’re finally doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
 
                                                            HART
                                    And what do I have to show for it besides great work that
                                    no one gives a shit about?
                                               
                                                            JESSE
                                    You could always get another job you know you’re
                                    going to hate. Is that what you want?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Then you’re just going to have to trust me to do mine.
                                   
                                                            HART
                                    Is hanging me out to dry in your job description?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Is that what you think is happening?
 
                                                            HART
                                    Sometimes, yes.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    That’s perfectly understandable. But I’m preparing you.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Preparing me for what?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Success.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Well, we’re a year into this and I’m not seeing anything
                                    that resembles that. Perhaps now it’s time for me to take
                                    matters into my own hands.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    And how did that work out for you the last time…when
                                    you wound up floundering in New York for nine months?
 
HART looks away in silence.            
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Would you like me to leave?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No. I want you to fix my situation.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Your situation is complicated.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Even for you?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    No, not at all. Not for me. I could fix your situation
                                    with a snap of my fingers and a wave of my wand.
 
                                                            HART
                                    You don’t have a wand.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Not in this form.
 
                                                            HART
                                    What form requires a wand?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    A fairy godmother of course.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Of course.
 
JESSE gets up and looks around the apartment.
 
                                                            HART
                                    What is so complicated about my situation?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    It just is.
 
                                                            HART
                                    How so?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    It just is.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Don’t pull this “mysterious ways” crap on me.
                                    If you can’t solve the problem, you can at least
                                    give me some answers.
  
                                                            JESSE
                                    You didn’t offer me anything to drink.
 
                                                            HART
                                                (rolls his eyes)
                                    Can I get you something to drink?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Water with lemon.
 
HART gets up from his desk and walks offstage into what we’ll assume is the kitchen area.
 
                                                            HART
                                                (mumbling as he crosses)
                                    All this drama for water with lemon.
 
JESSE smiles and shakes his head.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    You know I can hear you.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Yes, I know.  
 
HART returns from the offstage kitchen area. He hands the glass of water with lemon to JESSE and places a coaster on his desk. HART sits down on the daybed and stares at JESSE, waiting impatiently for an answer. JESSE feels the stare and acknowledges it with a subtle raising of his glass.
 
                                                            HART
                                                (exasperated)
                                    So why is my situation so complicated?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                                (startled)
                                    Because your situation involves so many other
                                    people.
 
                                                            HART
                                    And that’s it?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    That’s it.
 
                                                            HART
                                    And what do “so many other people” have to do with my
                                    ability to pay rent and eat?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    They don’t. That’s all on me.
 
                                                            HART
                                    So then make it work! What’s taking you so long?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    What's in store for you takes time to orchestrate. 

                                                            HART
                                                (intrigued)
                                    Explain.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I am in the process of putting you in position to deliver
                                    on your promise. And the masses in position to receive.
 
                                                            HART
                                    But I didn’t promise anything.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I know. I did. On your behalf.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Why?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Because in choosing you for this, you automatically become
                                    the promise fulfilled.
 
                                                            HART
                                                (slight confused but shrugs it off)
                                    How long might this take?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Oh, I don’t know. When you’re dealing with people and
                                    free will, including yours, there’s no telling when anything
                                    can happen.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Which goes back to your job.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    My job is to touch their hearts and minds, not to
                                    force their hands.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Cop out. And free will was a huge mistake.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Oh, I don’t make mistakes.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Except for free will.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    It worked out well for you. You decided you wanted a
                                    nicer apartment and here you are. You decided you
                                    wanted out of a career that was not going to take you to
                                    where you wanted to go. After I gave you two previous
                                    outs, you finally walked through Door Number Three
                                    into a career that will catapult you into the stratosphere
                                    of success. You’re living the life you’ve always wanted to.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Except for one thing: I have no money – which means
                                    pretty soon I’m not going to be able to afford this
                                    nicer apartment that I decided I wanted when I could
                                    afford one. Pretty soon this so-called career is going to
                                    turn me into a laughingstock for trying to enter it with
                                    no prospects and no connections. Pretty soon this life I
                                    have always wanted to lead is going to take me to the
                                    streets. Where’s the stratospheric success in that?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Are you starving?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Are your bills paid?
                       
                                                            HART
                                    For this month. But what about next month?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I’m not worried about next month.
 
                                                            HART
                                    You don’t have to. The leasing office isn’t going to
                                    come after you when my next rent check bounces.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    It’s the middle of the month.
 
                                                            HART
                                    I know that.
 
HART gets up, walks over to his desk and holds up an envelope.
 
                                                            HART
                                    But do you know what this is?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Your rent bill.
 
                                                            HART
                                    And do you know how much is in my bank
                                    account right now?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Obviously I do.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Don’t you think this is something we need to figure
                                    out?
 
JESSE takes the envelope and puts it in his jacket pocket.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Why don’t you leave that to me?
 
                                                            HART
                                    I have. And now I’m in crushing debt with more bills
                                    still coming in and no money to pay them.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Well, none that you know of.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Well if what you tell me I don’t know of doesn’t
                                    manifest into something that I can know enough
                                    of in order to survive, then you and I are going to
                                    have a big problem.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    We already have a problem.
 
                                                            HART
                                    No. I have a problem. You have “mysterious ways”.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                                (chuckling)
                                    They’re not really all that mysterious.
 
                                                            HART
                                    So why don’t you just make things a little bit more
                                    simple, clearer and easier?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    They’re pretty simple, clear and easy to me.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Then why aren’t they to me?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Because then I’d be out of a job. Besides, how else
                                    do I get you to trust me?
 
                                                            HART
                                    How about you just make some shit happen and
                                    I’ll show you trust like you’ve never seen before.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Is that how you want this to go?
 
                                                            HART
                                    I just want to be able to earn a living.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Then get a job.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Doing what I want to do.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    And that’s where it gets complicated. If you just go out
                                    and pick up any ol’ job that will take you because you’re     
                                    worried about  money and want some steady income, then
                                    you’ll have your living.
 
                                                            HART
                                    But I won’t be happy.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Well, there you go. Happiness takes time. Living the
                                    life you want to lead takes time – and risk. But you
                                    shall have all of it.
 
                                                            HART
                                    WHEN?
                       
                                                            JESSE
                                    When you’re ready. And when they’re ready.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Will I be ready before or after I get evicted on account
                                    of “your time” and “your plan”?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Have you ever been without a home?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Or food?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No.
                                                                       
                                                            JESSE
                                    Then why would I allow that to happen to you now?
                                                                                               
                                                            HART
                                    I don’t know. All I know is where I live and that I see it
                                    everyday when I walk to the grocery store or to a bar
                                    or to the subway – people sleeping on the street, walking
                                    around in a daze of hopelessness or begging for spare
                                    change. That could be me. And I’m getting closer to it
                                    by the week.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    But you’re also getting closer to that first level of success.
                                    You’re doing exactly what you need to be doing in order
                                    to get there and I’m obligated to reward you for that. So
                                    what you see or think you’re seeing, really isn’t what is.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Then what is it? All I see is that I’m living on the edge.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I know. But have you fallen off yet?
 
                                                            HART
                                    No. And I’m not entirely sure how much of that actually
                                    has to do with you.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Fair enough.
 
                                                            HART
                                    So what are you going to do about it?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Well, I could do one of two things: give you what you
                                    want now even though neither you nor the masses are
                                    entirely ready for it -- or you can trust me.
 
                                                            HART
                                    It all comes back to trust with you doesn’t it?
                                    
                                                            JESSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                    Yes. Because that’s what I need from you in order for
                                    this to work. And I think deserve it.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Based on what?
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Based on the fact that this isn’t your first time in this
                                    situation. But it could be your last. You just have to
                                    get out of my way.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Trusting you is a tall order.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    I know. But I got this. I promise. Just keep doing
                                    what you’re doing. I would have told you if you
                                    needed to do something else.
 
                                                            HART
                                    You may as well. No one gives a shit anyway.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Some do. And others will. It’s going to reach who it
                                    needs to reach because I am putting them in the position
                                    to receive. It just starts with one and builds from there.
 
JESSE turns around to leave.
 
                                                            HART
                                    I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    And I can’t tell you how much longer you will have
                                    to. But I can guarantee you this: it will happen.
 
HART gets up and follows JESSE to the door. Once there, HART grabs JESSE by the shoulders.
 
                                                            HART
                                    If you make me look stupid, this relationship will be
                                    over. If you don’t come through in the end, then you
                                    will no longer be welcome here.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    And that is your choice.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Which is why you should eliminate free will.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                    Would you want someone to believe and trust in you
                                    because you forced them to or because of who you are,
                                    what you’ve done and what you will do?
 
                                                            HART
                                    If free will is what’s complicating all of this, then I’d
                                    rather live in a world of mindless sheep.
 
                                                            JESSE
                                                (chuckling)
                                    To an extent, you already do.
 
JESSE leaves. HART walks slowly back to his desk, opens up his computer and starts typing. After a few moments, he stops and takes out his cell phone. He hesitates a few moments before dialing.
 
                                                            HART
                                    Hey Christine? I’d like to talk to you about that job
                                    you were telling me about. Can we talk this week?