This Is My Floor

By PatOSmith

(This is something I wrote a little over a year ago and I've never had anyone I've never actually known read it before, and feel like this is the perfect place for people to read it and make it grow in itself. Not sure what anyone would think about it, but here we go)

JUDE - age 32
CRAIG - age 24


AT RISE: JUDE is entering the elevator in his apartment building. He looks distraught. As the door closes, CRAIG comes running around the corner.

CRAIG
Hey! Hold the door.

Jude tries to make the door close faster. Craig makes it despite this.

CRAIG (cont.)
Thanks.

Craig pushes his floor button and the door closes. The elevator comes to an abrupt stop.

JUDE
You’ve got to be shitting me. Pushes the emergency call button. Hello…Hello, emergency crew, person, man, guy. Anyone? We’re in the elevator and it’s stalled, so please send help soon…Anyone there at all? Punches intercom. Goddamnit!

CRAIG
Chill out, dude. They’re going to realize soon enough that the elevator is broken, and when they do, they’ll fix it.

JUDE
Sorry, but do I know you?

CRAIG
No.

JUDE
Well then don’t take this personal, but shut the hell up.

Pause

CRAIG
My name’s Craig

JUDE
Hitting intercom again
What?

CRAIG
My name is Craig.

JUDE
Why are you telling me this?


CRAIG
Just trying to make it less awkward.

JUDE
Gee, thanks.

Jude punches the intercom.

CRAIG
After a slight pause
You know, you don’t have to take it out on the speaker.

JUDE
Listen…Craig, right? I don’t know if you’ve noticed it yet, but I’m not too thrilled about being stuck in an elevator, so I’d really appreciate it if you could just be quiet. Okay? Thanks.

CRAIG
Just saying, it might be better for you if you just relax a little, man.


JUDE
Relax a little, man? I’m sorry “dude”, but I didn’t get the chance to smoke a doobie before I got on the elevator.

CRAIG
Wow, that wasn’t stereotyping at all.

JUDE
I’m sorry, that…that came out wrong.

CRAIG
No shit.

JUDE
Sorry.

CRAIG
Yeah, whatever.

Pause

CRAIG (cont.)
You know I don’t dress like this all the time.

JUDE
Never said you did.

CRAIG
I’m going camping. A bunch of my friends are waiting outside in the car, and I had to run in because I forgot to grab something. They probably think I blew them off now.

JUDE
Why don’t you just call them?

CRAIG
What?

JUDE
I mean why don’t you just call them? You do have a cell phone, right?

CRAIG
Heh. That would be the simplest thing to do, wouldn’t it?

Craig pulls out his phone and dials a number. He puts the phone to his ear, waits, and then slams it shut and throws it across the elevator

CRAIG (cont.)
Damnit!

JUDE
What the hell was that all about?

CRAIG
I can’t get a signal in here.

JUDE
Well…that sucks.


CRAIG
Tell me about it. You know, I’ve been planning this trip for over a month, and I’m not even going to get to enjoy it now.

JUDE
Why don’t you just chill out a little…dude.

After a brief pause, Jude and Craig begin to just laugh

CRAIG
Still laughing
Yeah, maybe that would be a good idea.

JUDE
I don’t know, some random guy gave me that advice, sounded good to me.

CRAIG
Thanks.

JUDE
No problem. My name’s Jude.

CRAIG
Pleasure to meet you Jude.

JUDE
Yeah, sorry I jumped on you earlier.

CRAIG
No, it’s cool, it’s understandable with the situation and everything.

JUDE
Yeah, fits right in with the rest of my day.

CRAIG
Just one of those days?

JUDE
Something like that.

CRAIG
Feel like sharing with the class?

JUDE
Ever since I graduated, I’ve been working for my dad’s PR firm downtown. Nothing too major, but its successful enough. Anyway, the vice president of the firm announced the other week that he was moving on to take a better position at another firm. I am personally thrilled at this point because I’ve been moving up the corporate ladder the last eleven years, and this is my chance to get to the next rung. So I go to my dad’s office to talk to him about the possibility of filling this position. I mean I’m already half expecting to get the job. And not just because I’m the boss’s kid, I mean I’ve worked my ass off for him since college. He tells me he’ll get back to me in a week. The week goes by, and today my dad calls me into his office. Obviously, I’m thinking that this is it. I get there, and this other guy, Lance Bailey, is sitting there to. My dad sits me down and tells me that he’s giving the VP promotion to Lance. He picked Lance the Prick over his own flesh and blood. So, I’ve been in kind of a foul mood ever since about 2:30.

CRAIG
Wow, that really, really sucks.

JUDE
And that’s just the work part of my day.

CRAIG
What, did your girlfriend break up with you today too?

JUDE
Yeah, actually she did, about 15 minutes ago.

CRAIG
Shit. I’m…I’m sorry about that.

JUDE
It’s fine, its not like you knew about it.

CRAIG
I can see why you took it out on the speaker.

JUDE
Heh, yeah. I guess I kind of wished it was Lance’s skull.

CRAIG
You know what you need to do?

JUDE
What?

CRAIG
You need to laugh

JUDE
Thanks, but I don’t really feel like laughing right now.

CRAIG
Oh come on, everyone loves to laugh to make themselves feel better.

JUDE
If you can make me laugh right now, I’d be impressed.

CRAIG
Oh, it won’t be that hard. My brother always used to tell me this one joke that always used to cheer me up whenever I got pissed off at the world.

JUDE
A joke?

CRAIG
Yeah.

JUDE
Seriously?

CRAIG
What’s wrong with that?

JUDE
I don’t think I’ve laughed at an actual joke in about fifteen years.

CRAIG
Wow, stand up comedians must hate you.

JUDE
Just a little.

CRAIG
Trust me, you’ll laugh your ass off when you hear this one.

JUDE
Fine, go ahead and tell me the joke that will leave me assless.

CRAIG
Okay. There was a guy who had been lost and walking in the desert for about two weeks. One hot day, he sees the home of a missionary. Tired and weak, he crawls up to the house and collapses on the doorstep. The missionary finds him and nurses him back to health. Feeling better, the man asks the missionary for directions to the nearest town. On his way out the backdoor, he sees a horse. He goes back into the house and asks the missionary, "Could I borrow your horse and have it brought back when I reach the town? The missionary says, "Sure but there is a special thing about this horse. You have to say, 'Thank God' to make it go and, 'Amen' to make it stop." Not paying much attention, the man says, "Sure, OK." So he gets on the horse and says, "Thank God" and the horse starts walking. Then he says, "Thank God, thank God, " and the horse starts trotting. Feeling really brave, the man says, "Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God," and the horse just takes off. Pretty soon he sees a cliff coming up and in his panic, he's doing everything he can to make the horse stop. "Whoa, stop, hold on!" Finally he remembers, "Amen!" The horse stops four inches from the cliff. The man leans back in the saddle, wipes his brow, and says, "Thank God."

Craig begins to laugh at his own joke, while Jude just stares at him

JUDE
That has to be one of the worst things I have ever heard in my life.

CRAIG
Oh come on. You mean to tell me that not one part of that joke made you even chuckle?

JUDE
I told you, jokes just aren’t that funny to me.

CRAIG
Then you sir, have lived a very deprived life.

JUDE
Look, its nothing personal, but even if I did laugh at jokes, I wouldn’t really want to laugh right now anyway.

CRAIG
Well then, let’s talk.

JUDE
About what?

CRAIG
You.

JUDE
You’re kidding, right?

CRAIG
It’s better to talk to someone about what’s bothering you then to keep it bottled up inside forever.

JUDE
Who are you, Freud?

CRAIG
Says the following as Freud.
No, because then we’d be talking about your mother.

JUDE
Laughing
You should have done that instead of the joke.

CRAIG
Also laughing
And all this time I thought my Freud impression was good.

JUDE
Sorry, but you’ve been mistaken.

CRAIG
Oh well. But in all seriousness, you really should consider talking about it to someone.

JUDE
I don’t think you want to waste your time with this.

CRAIG
Why? It’s not like I have anything else to do right now.

JUDE
Laughing slightly
No, I guess you don’t. Where do you want me to start?

CRAIG
Well, I find that the beginning is usually a good place to start.

JUDE
Well I was born on August 23, 1977 and I…

CRAIG
Maybe we should fast forward a few decades

JUDE
After I graduated from college, I had trouble finding work, so my dad stepped in and gave me a temporary position in his mailroom until I could get a job on my own. That was eleven years ago.

CRAIG
That’s a hell of a temp job.

JUDE
Tell me about it. Every time I got a second job interview, my dad decided that I had been working hard enough to give me a raise, which always happened to be just a tad bit more than what the other guys were offering me. I guess he just always wanted to keep an eye on me. I really can’t blame him after what happened in college.

CRAIG
What’d you do?

JUDE
Let’s just say that I amassed a decent little record while I was in college.

CRAIG
Define little.

JUDE
Three underage possession charges, a DUI, a couple drunk in publics, and a littering charge.

CRAIG
Littering? No wonder your dad wants to keep such a close eye on you.

JUDE
Yeah, his way of protecting me is keeping me on his payroll.

CRAIG
Wow.

JUDE
Yeah, I know, it sucks.

CRAIG
Are you kidding me, do you realize how much you’re living the dream?

JUDE
What the hell are you talking about?

CRAIG
You’re thirty-two and you’re still mooching off your daddy’s money, how is that not living the dream?

JUDE
I will have you know that I do not mooch off of my father’s money.

CRAIG
Well, what is the source of your income.

JUDE
This is a different situation than what you’re…

CRAIG
What is the source of your income?

Slight pause

JUDE
My father.

CRAIG
Well the shoe fits, you can probably buy it with your daddy’s money.

JUDE
Getting into Craig’s face
I have been working my ass off the last eleven years so that I can earn my money. So my boss also happens to be my father, big Goddamn deal. I hate that I have to answer to him, and I hate that he doesn’t respect me, because if you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m not really his favorite person. The only reason he keeps me around and offering more money to stay is my mother. She’s terrified that if I ever leave their grasps that I’ll relapse into my college behavior and rot in jail for the rest of my life.

CRAIG
Oh, boo-hoo! Are you seriously bitching about the fact that you are well past the allowance age but still have your dad funding your life? And your mom is keeping him in check so that he can’t fire you? How are you not celebrating that you are in fact living the dream?


JUDE
Dream? How about I’m living in a nightmare. The fact that my dad payrolls my life means that he always has something over me. “What? You need a couple extra vacation days? I didn’t realize that I was paying you to take vacation days.” I can never win against him. My mother really isn’t any better. Sure it’s nice to feel protected, but not in a smothering type of way. I have this chronic feeling of being trapped and never being able to escape unless either my parents or I just die. And lately, I’m really not wanting to have to wait for them to go away first.

CRAIG
What the hell is that suppose to mean?

JUDE
It means that it’s a minor miracle that I haven’t blown my brains out yet!

CRAIG
I guess it’s a good thing then that you don’t have a gun then, right?

Jude just looks at Craig

CRAIG (cont.)
Oh hell, you don’t really…why the fuck did you buy a gun?

JUDE
It wasn’t my idea.

CRAIG
Well then whose bright idea was it to buy a gun for a suicidal man?

JUDE
I didn’t buy it recently. I’ve had it for a while now.

CRAIG
Why’d you get it in the first place?

JUDE
When I first got out of college, I used to live in the Southside of town, the part so lovingly named ‘Murder City”, and my dad decided that his son wasn’t going to live there without a means to protect himself. So a week after I moved in he went out and got me a pistol to protect myself if anyone ever broke into my apartment. I only lived there for a year before I got to move to this building, and I never used the gun outside of a firing range. I didn’t mean to bring it with me, it just got shoved into one of the boxes and it ended up making the trip with me.

Craig starts to laugh

JUDE (cont.)
Great, I’m suicidal and I’ve got a Doobie Brother laughing at my stories.

CRAIG
Still laughing a little
No, I’m not laughing at you, I promise, it’s just that I thought my family were the only ones that bad.

JUDE
‘That bad’ about what?

CRAIG
When I first moved into my first apartment back home, my parents got all paranoid and thought that every armed robber in a twenty mile radius would come and rob me my first week there. So before I moved in, my dad went out and bought me a .44 Magnum.


JUDE
A .44 Magnum?

CRAIG
Yep.

Slight Pause

JUDE
Seriously?

CRAIG
What can I say, he was a man that liked his Clint Eastwood movies.

Pause

JUDE
Heh…so, ever make anyone’s day?

CRAIG
Come close a couple times, but no actual day making.

JUDE
Was it that annoying guy in the cubicle next to yours?

No response

JUDE (CONT’D)
Crappy roommate?
Still nothing

JUDE (CONT’D)
Oh come on, I pretty much just spilled my guts to you, and you won’t even share whose ass you wanted to pop a cap in?

CRAIG
Trust me, I’m saving you a lot of trouble with not hearing this situation.

JUDE
You’re a hypocritical prick, you know that?

CRAIG
I’m sorry?

JUDE
For the last ten minutes, you’ve had me talk and open up about all this shit that’s been going wrong with my life over the last decade, and you won’t even share something so miniscule as someone who you wanted to pop off?

CRAIG
Wait…

JUDE
No I will not wait Goddamnit. What was all that shit about it being best to get everything out into the open, how its best to talk to someone with your issues? If you didn’t feel like that seriously, then you shouldn’t go out and tell other people to share all their problems with you.

CRAIG
Very softly
It was me.

JUDE
What was that?

CRAIG
I SAID IT WAS ME, OKAY!


JUDE
It was you, what?

CRAIG
I almost made my own day.

JUDE
Well we sure are a happy bunch then, aren’t we?

CRAIG
Don’t try and group me in with you.

JUDE
I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that making your own day meant…

CRAIG
I wasn’t trying to kill myself.

JUDE
Then how the hell did you almost make your own day?

CRAIG
My dad had this list of movies that he always wanted me to watch with him because he felt like I should be cultured in the art of cinema. Then about a year ago his health started to get pretty bad, so I decided that my effort to make him feel better was to watch his list with him. We got through all but one of the movies on the list, and then he had to go into intensive care to the point where he couldn’t have any outside visitors. He passed a little over six months ago, and we still had this one movie on the list that we never got to. The movie was The Deer Hunter, you know that Vietnam movie with Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. So about a week after his funeral, I decided that it would only be fitting to watch it in his honor. After I saw it, I got this really weird feeling after seeing the last scene, and the whole Russian roulette addiction. I just had this understanding of why someone could play it, how after you loose someone close to you, that you don’t care whether you live or not. I mean I know that’s not the original message, but its how I felt after seeing it. So, after I was done watching it, I decided to play a game with the 44 Magnum my dad got me, it only seemed fitting.

JUDE
What are you saying?

CRAIG
Are you seriously that dense? I’m saying that I put a loaded gun to my head and pulled the trigger.

JUDE
What happened?

CRAIG
What the fuck do you think happened?!

Craig glares at Jude

JUDE
You didn’t have to be so rude about it.

CRAIG
I’m sorry, but I’ve never really told that story to someone, and I’m still a little touchy about the subject. I mean I never fully understood why he put that on the list.

JUDE
What, The Deer Hunter?

CRAIG
Yeah, I mean it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the movies he wanted to watch.

JUDE
Well, what else was on the list?

CRAIG
The Godfather movies, the original Star Wars trilogy, Field of Dreams, and old stuff like that.

JUDE
I mean it doesn’t sound like The Deer Hunter would be too far of a stretch to be on the list.

CRAIG
What do you mean?

JUDE
I mean your dad liked old movies, and The Deer Hunter is old, so he put it on the list.

CRAIG
I just don’t know, just the vibe of it seemed a lot different than the others.

JUDE
Well maybe he was trying to tell you something with it?


CRAIG
Like what?

JUDE
Well I mean think about it, watching a movie with a lot of Russian roulette in it can give you a very serious message.

CRAIG
What would that be?

JUDE
Life is just a random series of events.

CRAIG
You were a philosophy major in college weren’t you?

JUDE
For the love of God, do you ever take anything seriously?

CRAIG
What the hell is that suppose to mean?

JUDE
I mean sometimes in life you can’t respond to every serious situation with a smartass joke.

CRAIG
I told you, I’m not comfortable talking about this yet.

JUDE
Well guess what, life is full of uncomfortable moments and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll get over this shit.

CRAIG
So me still being upset over my dad dying is just some shit I need to get over?

JUDE
That’s not what I meant…

CRAIG
Yeah, well what did you mean then?



JUDE
I mean that you need to realize that your dad might have been telling you something before he died.

CRAIG
If you knew my father, you’d realize that he wasn’t that deep.

JUDE
I think you’re short changing him, I mean you said it yourself, that one movie had a different feel than the other movies he had you watch, and clearly it had some affect on you, I mean you played Russian Roulette for the love of God.

CRAIG
Correction, been playing Russian roulette.

Jude is taken aback by this admission and it takes him a while to come up with a response.

JUDE
When you said that you understood the addiction and how someone could play it, I didn’t think you meant that you–

CRAIG
I’m not an addict, if that’s what you’re getting at.

JUDE
And just how much of a non-addict are you?

CRAIG
Forget it, I shouldn’t have told you in the first place.

JUDE
But since you did, you’re stuck with me trying to get an answer out of you. Now, how many times have you played?

Craig struggles to answer Jude. He clearly is not comfortable talking about this.

CRAIG
The first time I played was about a week after I saw the movie. That last scene had been stuck with me for a few days, so I decided to get active and try and get my mind on something else, so I started to clean my apartment. I got to my closet, and I found the box that the Magnum my dad gave me was in. Now I’m not the biggest advocate of signs from God, but with everything that had been going on, it just felt like some type of fate that I found the gun again when I did. I took the gun and the box of bullets out of its box and put that one lonely bullet in the cylinder. I put the muzzle to my temple, and just pulled the trigger. I didn’t even hesitate with it, it was just point and click basically. After that, I put the gun back in its box, but I put it on my dresser instead of back in the closet. Since then, I’ve taken that gun out of that box every day, and at least tried to use it. Most days I just use one bullet and one pull, but some days I either play with two bullets or even pulled the trigger twice. I’ve put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger a total of 187 times, and yet I’m still here

JUDE
You’ve actually kept count?

CRAIG
Almost with a dark chuckle
You tend to keep count of the times you cheat death.

JUDE
I’m sorry, I just find it hard to believe that someone knowingly would put themselves so close to oblivion.

CRAIG
The odds are actually in your favor when you play. I mean you have a slightly better than 83% chance on landing on an empty chamber. It goes down to 80% when you pull it two times in succession, but those are still good odds. Malcolm X actually once played a game of Russian roulette and pulled the trigger three times in succession. Now that is actually an interesting scenario, because you go from 83% to 80% down to 75% on that third pull. The fourth pull is a comfortable 66% chance of landing on an empty. The worst odds you can get is 50%, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to get down to just two chambers.

Pause

CRAIG (cont.)
What, no condescending remarks?

JUDE
This is all just so…overwhelming.

CRAIG
It was for me at first, but once you get into double-digit trigger pulls, it just becomes something you’re used to.

JUDE
You’re used to having a loaded gun pointed at your head and having it fired?


CRAIG
Not the best way of wording it, but essentially, yes, that’s what happens.

JUDE
I’m afraid to know what’d happened to you if you were addicted to it.

Craig rushes to Jude, grabs him by the lapels, and throws him against the walls of the elevator.

CRAIG
You think you’re better then me?!

JUDE
I’m not thinking anything. I’m just trying to comprehend what you’ve just told me.

CRAIG
Well let me help you with that then…Depression is one hell of a feeling to have to deal with when it involves someone you love.

Jude pushes Craig off of him and pins into another wall of the elevator.

JUDE
Listen you whiney bastard, your father is gone, and I am sorry for your loss, however you need to get over it! People die everyday, and I’m sorry that his day came. However, everyone’s day comes eventually, including both of ours. So if you want yours to come sooner, then keep on playing like you do, but quit blaming it on your father. Sometimes you just get over things.

Craig frees himself and shoves Jude back

CRAIG
You don’t get to fucking tell me when and how to get over my dad dying!

Jude retaliates with another shove

JUDE
Look, I still have to deal with my father being a dick, but you don’t see me going all ape shit and pulling the trigger do you?

CRAIG
That’s because I’ve got more balls than you.

JUDE
What?

CRAIG
You heard me, when you contemplate putting a gun to your head, you pussy out and just deal with your sad pathetic excuse for a life. Whereas I actually have the balls to actually see what happens. Both our days are eventually going to come, right? So why don’t you take your own philosophy and see what happens. Take that gun and see what fate has in store for you.

Jude begins to consider what Craig has said, but starts to laugh after a moment.

CRAIG (cont.)
What the fuck is so funny?

JUDE
Still laughing
You’re a coward.

CRAIG
What?


JUDE
You’re a fucking coward. I mean I was starting to take you serious for a moment. I mean all that shit you recited about fate and how you don’t care when it happens, but you’re just a frightened little boy. I mean you don’t want to face your problems because your daddy isn’t here anymore. You’re hoping you lose. You don’t want to have to deal with your problems, so your solution is to end it all. You’re not this enlightened person that you want to seem, you’re just some kid running around crying lost in a Wal-mart. I’m not going to sink to your level and just quit life because the tough got going.

Craig snaps at this and lunges to strike Jude. Jude ducks down as Craig swings at him, making Craig accidentally hit the elevator wall. Simultaneously, Jude drives into the other wall, forcing Craig to the ground. Craig sits up, clinching his lower back. Jude sees this and goes to help Craig up.

JUDE
Sorry, I…I didn’t mean to hurt you.

Craig pushes Jude away

CRAIG
Don’t flatter yourself…I’ve been dealing with a pinched nerve lately.

JUDE
Oh.

Jude and Craig go to their respective “corners” and sit in silence for a while. A humming noise starts.

CRAIG
What’s that?

The elevator begins to move

JUDE
Took it long enough.

CRAIG
Yeah, didn’t realize it’d take this long to fix an elevator.

JUDE
Under his breath
You don’t know a lot of things.

CRAIG
What was that?

JUDE
Nothing.

The elevator comes to a stop.

JUDE
This is my floor.

CRAIG
Have a nice life.

JUDE
Yeah, you to.

CRAIG
Yeah, I’ll try.

Jude gets out of the elevator and the door closes and begins to move again. Craig starts to get restless as the elevator moves up to his floor, and begins pace. As this is going on, Jude walks down his hall to his apartment door, takes a deep breath, and walks in. The elevator stops again and Craig gets off. He takes his time walking down the hall and gets to his apartment door, all the while still holding his lower back. He looks out the window outside his apartment and just stand there. He eventually collapses, sitting in the hallway and starts crying. He takes his hand off of his lower back and brings it forward, but has a .44 Magnum in his hand. He opens the cylinder of the gun, takes a handful of bullets out of his pocket, drops all but one and places the on bullet in the cylinder. His hands shaking, he spins the cylinder, closes it, puts the muzzle to his head, and cocks the hammer

CRAIG
I love you dad.

Craig puts his finger to the trigger.

Blackout

Document
This Is My Floor

Created: Jul 22, 2010

Tags: elevator, play

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