(FRED, a young man, is sitting at a table for two. He is currently waiting for JACK, his old friend from college.. FRED is annoyed by JACK's inability to be prompt.)
FRED: (looks at watch) This is so like him... Jack's allergic to being on time.
FRED: (stands up from table) Jack, over here! (Embrace in "manly" hug) How've ya been, bud?
JACK: Good, and yourself? I feel like it's been 6 years instead of 6 months.I mean, I've got so many things to tell you, I've-
FRED: Sit down! Tell me while you're seated. Please. I know how you are once you get started; you don't stop.
JACK: (laugh) Ha, you know me too well.
FRED: I should, we were roommates for four years at Duke... man, those were the days... can you believe that we graduated only six months ago? Remember that time at the end of junior year when we were so hammered that went down to Ninth Street wearing nothing but our boxers? And your mom and stepdad were eating at that one steakhouse down there? (laughs) I swear to God, the look on your face was like you'd just seen our RA grow a second head.
JACK: The hot RA! Oh my God, I totally forgot about her! I should really remember her name... wasn't it something like Veronica?
FRED: It was Emily...
JACK: Close enough. (they both laugh) So Fred... I should tell you the reason why I wanted to meet up with you in the first place. There's this... thing...that I need to tell you about.
FRED: Like... good thing or bad thing? 'Cause if you've gotten your nipples pierced... I'll rip those things right out. We made a pact, dude. No piercings. Anywhere. EVER.
JACK: (laughs) You're always the jokester.
FRED: I didn't win the high honor of "Class Clown" superlative solely on my good looks, you know.
JACK: (annoyed) Seriously, Fred. I really need to talk to you.
FRED: Sorry. (pause) Okay, hit me with your best shot.
JACK: Well... you're not gonna believe this, but... I got a tattoo about five months ago.
FRED: (stunned silence)... what?
JACK: (a beat)... do you have anything to say?
FRED: (regains composure) I'm just... I'm just shocked. What the hell, man! After everything that happened? After everything that you went through?
JACK: I know. I know. I haven't told anyone but you yet.
FRED: Where is it?
JACK: On my left shoulder. You know, 'cause he was left-handed. It's his initials... in his handwriting.
FRED: Jack... I mean, I just... I just don't get it. Why? I mean, you've gotta give me some details, because right now I think that you're the biggest fucking hypocritical idiot that ever lived.
JACK: (sarcastically) I can always count on you to tell the truth.
FRED: JACK... tell the story. Now. Or else I'm walking out of here and telling your mom that you got a tattoo... you know, the thing that killed your dad, her husband...
JACK: It wasn't a TATTOO that killed my dad. It was hepatitis C from the dirty needle.
FRED: Still... ultimately, the act of getting a tattoo killed him. I can't believe that you have a tattoo. To me, it seems pretty disrespectful to your dad's death, Jack.
JACK: (annoyed/angry) Don't preach to me! You're reacting exactly the way everyone else will. I came here to talk to my FRIEND about this huge... thing. I don't know what to call it. This... memorial? (pause) Yeah. Memorial. Fred, I got this tattoo about a month after we graduated from college. Ever since our graduation ceremony, all I could think about was my dad. How he would have reacted to me walking across that stage. The way his eyes would gleam, the smile he'd give me even after all the hell I came him in those four years of college, the hug that I'll never get again... and the advice he would have given me. You know, my dad used to say, "go out there and make your mark on this world, kid"... and the fact that he wasn't there to say it when I graduated haunts me. It always will. I got the tattoo because I wanted to show that HE made his mark on ME. And the only way that I could have his memory on my skin permanently was with a tattoo.
FRED: ... I think I understand. The act of getting a tattoo helped you come to terms with what took your dad away from you.
JACK: Yeah, exactly. I wish I could have said it like that.
FRED: I think the way you told me is perfect... and it's the way you're gonna have to tell everyone else.
JACK: Everyone else... like my mom?
FRED: Yes, Jack... "everyone else" includes your mom.
JACK:(grimaces) Can I just "forget" to tell her?
FRED: Like it or not, Jack... she'll find out eventually. I think it's better to tell her upfront. Come on. I'll drive you to her house.
JACK: Think you remember the way?
FRED: Please, Jack... it's as permanent as your tattoo. (smiles)
JACK: (smiles back) Let's go.
Created: Jan 09, 2010Document Media