Park Bench

SHORT ONE ACT PLAY WITH THREE CHARACTERS


Sitting a bench at the park at dawn is a man named JAMES looking disheveled and distraught. The lights are a little bit dim. He’s leaning forward and looking at his hands. He’s wearing yesterday’s jeans and a fancy white shirt stained beyond repair and buttoned incorrectly with a ring in between his fingers. A policeman walks by acknowledging the man.

JAMES

Speaking to himself

I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m sitting at the park like a 16 year-old boy who never got home from homecoming. And now I’m talking to myself like the crazy old guy by the fountain.

Young girl named KRYSTAL sneaks her head out from behind the bench. She is thin and has a worn out pink raincoat and polka dot rain boots

KRYSTAL

Yeah, you’re super weird. 

JAMES jumps

 At least Jeff by the fountain has a dog. Lonely people always get dogs. They make you feel less lonely. 

JAMES

Wait, what? Whoa! Kid? Where are your parents?

KRYSTAL 

Why do you have a ring, crazy pants?

JAMES

It’s a long story. And my name is James. 

KRYSTAL 

Almost skipping with excitement

You could tell it to me. I like stories. I like stories with dinosaurs or a dragons or big monsters- one story had a giant moon that could eat you…. 

JAMES

Ok, stop. It’s not a story for little kids. There might be a dragon though- I guess it depends how you look it… 

JAMES runs his fingers through his messy hair

KRYSTAL

Tell me tell me tell me. 

KRYSTAL sits very close to him on the bench

JAMES

I really think we should find your parents. Little kids should not be out at this time of day. Or by themselves. 

KRYSTAL

Old people shouldn’t be alone in the morning because you could fall and break. And it’s springtime- I love the spring. I like the lilies… 

JAMES

I’m not old. I’m 35. 

KRYSTAL

WHAT! You’re older than I thought! I bet that hearing this story will make me as old you, with as long as it’s taking. 

JAMES

Oh, kid. My woman problems aren’t something meant for a little kid’s ears. 

KRYSTAL

leaning in secretively

Did the dragon eat her?

JAMES

Well… 

Considering it

 Laine’s best friend looks like a dragon so you are close. But no, no one ate Laine. 

KRYSTAL

Laine is pretty name. I wish my name was Laine. It’s Krystal though.  

JAMES

Well, kid, I thought it was a nice name too. But now she’s gone. I asked her to marry me but she said no. I asked her to spend her life with me but she said no. So now I dropped five years down the drain. 

KRYSTAL

Why?

JAMES

She had all these little quirks that drove me nuts. I could barely stand her. She always wore makeup, and she always asked questions she didn’t want the answer to. She always treated me like dirt. But I never wanted to leave her. No. And do you know why? Because I thought we were supposed to be together. I asked her out because she wanted me too. I asked her to marry me because she wanted me to. But she said no because she wanted to. She just wanted the opportunity to say no. And she got it. She said no. I put everything I had on the line and she just told me to- 

stops and rephrases 

buzz off.

KRYSTAL

Why?

JAMES

I don’t know. 

KRYSTAL

She sounds mean. Why would you want someone mean?

JAMES

I didn’t mean to want to her. It just happened. 

KRYSTAL

You should find someone nice. 

JAMES

You know, that isn’t so easy, kid. 

KRYSTAL

Is that why you have a ring? 

JAMES

Yeah. This was my grandmother’s ring from the day that my grandparents got married in Greece. My uncle gave it to me when my parents died. 

KRYSTAL

You were going to give a mean lady a giant ring? You’re crazy and super dumb.

JAMES

Are you even real? I drank a lot. I could actually be dead and you are my conscious. ARE YOU JIMMINY CRICKET? ROBIN WILLIAMS?

KRYSTAL

I don’t know who that is. 

JAMES’ head collapses into his hand in frustration. KRYSTAL shakes her head youthfully and leans back into her bench and then points at the sky

Look! The sky is pink! Like my coat! Pink! P-I-N-K. Pink. 

JAMES

That’s good.  You can spell short words. All the makings of a cheerleader…

KRYSTAL

You are not funny. 

JAMES

 When I thought about marrying Laine, we were going to have little girl just like you and a boy. I was going to be a dad. 

KRYSTAL

Oh, you don’t want a boy. They smell bad. All boys smell bad. 

Leans in and sniffs the man

You smell bad too. Plus, you so super old-  you can’t have kids.

JAMES

How do youknow? People my age have kids all the time. And I would be good at it. I had to take care of my brother when our parents died.

KRYSTAL

But you weren’t ready to be his daddy then. Little kids want a mommy and daddy, who will want them… and love them… forever… And you are a crazy park man. 

JAMES

Where are your mom and dad? 

KRYSTAL

Shrugs

I don’t know. My mommy just kept on saying “it is too hard” I don’t know what that means though so she took me to the fire station and told me to face the door. Then she told me to count to 50 but I can only count to twenty- I can count by twos. Listen: two, four, six, …

JAMES

Where do you stay? 

KRYSTAL

With a bunch of other kids at the in the yellow house over there.

She points to a house off screen left. 

They teach us to spell and to clean. But when we’re bad they hit us with the belt, so early in the morning I climb out onto the tree and walk around the park. The policeman always drags me back. So today I hid behind the bench. And I didn’t have to go back.

Smiling widely and proudly. JAMES is dumbstruck.

JAMES

 I didn’t know what to say… 

KRYSTAL

What’s your brother’s name? 

JAMES

Charlie. His name is Charlie. He’s a banker. (Thinking deeply)

KRYSTAL

Charlie. (Repeating the name is various accents, unfazed) Charlie. Charlie. 

JAMES

Krystal I should take you back. They could be really worried about you-

KRYSTAL 

They’re not. It’s Sunday morning so angry Alyssa is yelling in the kitchen. 

POLICE MAN

Hey! Hey you! 

The POLICE MAN’S voice sounds off stage. KRYSTAL jumps up in fear

Damn you, Krystal! 

The POLICE MAN walks on stage from top of stage left. JAMES jumps up and Krystal inches behind him to stage right 

JAMES

It’s okay officer-

POLICE MAN

Group homes don’t like runaways. 

JAMES 

We’re talking – 

POLICE MAN

You some kind of weirdo? 

JAMES 

No!!!!  I was .. just um thinking- I’m looking to adopt her. 

KRYSTAL 

Huh? 

POLICE MAN

Kid, you some kid of drunk? You homeless? 

KRYSTAL 

Interrupting precociously 

That’s what I thought. It’s just “woman problems”

JAMES 

Okay, that was unnecessary. Officer we’re on a walk and we’re heading back right now so that we can fill out the paper work. 

He turns to face KRYSTAL

No kid should have to grow up without parents. 

POLICE MAN

That true kid?

KRYSTAL 

Speaking and jumping with shear excitement

Yes, absolutely! Kurt, I’m going to meet someone named Charlie? I promise to take care of this old guy. I promise I’ll take care of him. He’s a boy so he smells but so do you- 

JAMES

Okay, kid. I think the officer gets it. 

POLICE MAN

Shrugging

Follow me. You get adopted and I’ll get some private time with that beautiful Ms. Alyssa- 

They gather up and walk together off screen left and the lights come up completely for a 10 seconds then black out.