Big Winner: Act II, Finale
- Security Guard
- Security Guard's Radio
- 2 EMT's (Emergency Medical Technicians)
Scene opens in blackout, everyone offstage. Ruth and Johnny are wearing sleepware.
Johnny opens the door to Johnny's Room and flips the light switch - spot on Johnny's Room. Security Guard stops just inside the door.
Johnny: Well, good night.
Security Guard: Good night, Mr. Peters. I'll just be in the living room.
Johnny: Thanks. I feel much safer that you're here.
Security Guard: Good night, Mr. Peters.
Johnny: Good night.
Security Guard exits and shuts the door behind him.
Johnny goes to the nightstand, pulls his gun out of the top drawer and sets it on top of the nightstand. He turns on the lamp. He goes to the dresser, opens the top drawer and takes out Ruth's nightshirt. Facing the audience, he gently enfolds the nightshirt in his arms and breathes in Ruth's scent from it.
Ruth opens the door to Ruth's Room. She has her suitcase with her. She flips the light swtich - spot on Ruth's Room.
Mom: (hands Ruth a towel) Here's a towel, honey bun.
Ruth: Thanks, mom.
Mom: (embracing Ruth) It's all right, baby. It's all right.
Ruth starts to cry.
Johnny goes to the bed, spreads the the nightshirt out on one side of the bed, and gets in bed beside the nightshirt.
Mom: It's all right. All marriages go through difficult times, baby. All married couples fight. Don't worry. You'll see. This, too, shall pass.
Ruth: (recovering) Thanks, mom. I'm sure it will be all right.
Mom: That's the spirit! Now, try to get some sleep.
As Johnny speaks, Ruth closes the door and sets the suitcase on the floor near the nightstand, but more downstage. She opens the suitcase and looks through the contents. She finds a bottle of medicine in the suitcase, brings it to the nightstand and sets it beside the lamp. She goes back to the suitcase and looks around some more and finds a liquor bottle and a glass, which she places beside the medicine. She returns to the suitcase, looks around some more and finds Johnny's bright green bowling shirt. She stands, and enfolds the shirt lovingly in her arms, smelling Johnny's scent on it.
Johnny: (to nightshirt) Why? Why did you have to lie? Was I so bad? I know I am not the sexiest man alive. I know when we made love it was over too quick sometimes. My fault. I know I didn't make much money. My fault. I know this place wasn't much. But I did almost everything you said, all the time. I mean, like I tried to do everything. And I was so proud of you, so proud of you going to school so we could have a better life. Not that I don't think it's my fault. I know it is. But I wish you would come back. I wish. I wish. (breaks down)
Ruth interrupts at Johnny's line: "But I wish you would come back"
Ruth: I'm so, so sorry. You were my only love. I used to dream we would always be together but now that can never be. You are the angel and I am the devil. Devils belong in hell. You must hate me, and I cannot blame you. It's all my fault. It is the least I can do to make sure you never ever see me again. So I'll be in hell where I belong and you, after a good, long, happy life with someone new, someone who will appreciate you for the good and loving man that you are, you'll be in heaven with her, and you will never have to see me... (breaks down)
As Johnny speaks, Ruth goes to the bed. Still embracing the bowling shirt, Ruth lies down in bed. She arranges the shirt over herself and pours a drink. She opens the medicine and shakes out half a dozen pills, puts them in her mouth, and washes them down with the drink. She gasps from the drink, takes a couple of deep breaths, then pours another drink and gets more pills. She takes the pills and the liquor three times.
Johnny:You were the best thing - no, you were the only good thing that ever happened to me. I was only a paycheck to my foster parents and my real parents died so long ago. Life has just been a bowl of shit 'til you came. In high school you were the only one who ever saw anything in me. With you I wasn't a loser, I was a winner, but that's all gone now. Now I'm the biggest loser there ever was. How am I supposed to cope with you gone? If you were here, you'd know exactly what to do. I got Darrell and his wife, but they can't keep me from being stupid twenty-four seven. I'm just a chump waiting to become a victim. I'll just go back to being the stupid fuck I was before you came to save me. Everybody's joke. This money will be gone in no time. That's what they say. A fool and his money. (shakes his head) You and my hope in life went the same way, Ruth. You are my love and my better half, and now both my love and the better half of me is gone.
Ruth takes one more dose of booze and pills. After she gasps from the liquor and gradually recovers, she rolls over on her side, embracing the bowling shirt.
Unison, Johnny and Ruth: (break between each line) I love you will all my heart. You are everything to me. Without you I am nothing. Life is empty.
Johnny and Ruth each reach for their lamp and shut it off. Spots go off: blackout.
Ruth: (slurring) Sleep... now.
Johnny fumbles for the gun in the dark, drops it, it goes off, lighting up that half of the stage with its flash.
Johnny: (after a brief pause) Oh, shit.
Security Guard enters, gun drawn. Spot on Johnny's Room. Johnny's pajama top is bloody. He is holding his chest. Security Guard pans the room pointing the gun.
Security Guard: (into collar microphone) Apartment clear. Call ambulance and police:
Security Guard's Radio: Roger that. Perimeter clear.
Security Guard: (to Johnny) What happened, Mr. Peters?
Johnny: Fuck, I can't do nothing right. (coughs)
Security Guard sees Johnny's gun on the floor, picks it up by the barrel.
Security Guard: Is this yours, Mr. Peters?
Security Guard: (carefully placing Johnny's gun on the dresser) What happened?
Johnny: (with difficulty) I ... dropped ... it ...
Security Guard's Radio: Unit 2A.
Security Guard: Roger.
Security Guard's Radio: Ambulance en route. This a suicide?
Security Guard:(into microphone) No suicide. Accident. I'm attempting first aid. One of you let the EMT's in.
Security Guard's Radio: Roger.
Security Guard:(going to Johnny, helping him to lie down, getting his shirt open) You're going to be just fine, sir. Just lie down and try to relax. I did some first aid in Afghanistan assisting the medic in my platoon, but the EMT's will be here in a minute.
Johnny: Not in this neighborhood they won't.
Security Guard:(looking relieved as he sees Johnny's wound) Oh, this is not bad. I think it even missed your lung. (takes Ruth's nightshirt, balls it up and applies it to wound. The red bleeds through it) Looks like you might have hit an artery though. I'll try to slow down the bleeding. You're going to be fine. When the EMT's come, just tell them you had an accident. It's true, after all. Don't say anything else. I know a psychologist. I see him. Keeps the nightmares away. You'll tell him the whole truth. As far as anybody else need be concerned, you just dropped your gun and it went off. Got it?
Security Guard: Is your gun registered, Mr. Peters?
Security Guard: Okay, Mr. Peters. That's good. Looks like we're getting the bleeding under control here.
EMT's enter Johnny's Room.
Security Guard: Over here.
As EMT's begin to administer treatment and prepare Johnny for transport, lights fade to black.
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