Scene: A rainy morning sees the family gather their things to prepare for the adverse conditions. Anthony grabs his umbrella and declines the offer from his parents to be driven to school. As they leave their apartment complex and enter their vehicle, both parents kiss him as he re-enters the building to exit through the rear doorway. As he opens his umbrella and makes his way down the street, he sees a group of his friends waiting for him at the corner. Anthony watches the traffic and looks to see Man, seated in his usual spot, huddled under the storefront to keep dry, so he waves them ahead and they make their way towards school. As Anthony approaches, Man takes a bite of a cheese danish before engulfing a tall can of beer.
Man: Where’s your orange juice?
Anthony: I didn’t want to buy one this morning. (looking to the sky as the rain intensifies) I had two cups of o-j at breakfast so I wouldn’t have to stop.
Man: (looking the kid in the eye) But you did stop…you’re here talking to me on this nasty morning. (He squints as he takes the last bite of his pastry and washes it down with another gulp of beer; Anthony watches with disgust as he imagines the bitter taste.) Fix your face!
Anthony: How can you stand that taste? I mean, that stuff smells like cold pee.
Man: You get used to it.
Anthony: My parents said that you lead yourself to where you are — that you’re making excuses for yourself instead of taking responsibility for what you did.
Man: (swaying his head) And who the hell are they to say that?
Anthony: My parents! That’s who they are.
Man: So you got your judgmental parents with their little declarations and then they have you spreading all the good cheer. Isn’t that special? The three of you can line up and kiss my ass with all that bullshit!
Anthony: What’s your problem? You are angry with the world and everyone else must suffer because of the place you put…yourself in? You need to talk to someone…get help.
Man: I’m talking to you and it’s pissing me off; it’s not helping.
Anthony: I’m a kid. What do you expect? You think that I’ll have all the answers that you need.
Man: Who says that I need answers? Or your answers for that matter?
Man: Everyone has something to say…right? Every damn body has a little input to drop on the man who drinks. Not one of you fools is better than me, not one…but everyone’s walking around like their asses don’t stink. You people make me want to puke (shaking his head)…
Anthony: Could it be the beer and danish breakfast maybe?
Neither of the two say a word as Man stares at Anthony, who’s looking at the rain and preparing to make his way to class.
Man: Aint it time for you to be getting on to school? (He opens a bottle of beer and downs it vigorously, making Anthony take a step back.)
Anthony: Mmm, hmm. I just wanted to tell you that my dreams will come true because I will work for them. Wherever I end up – it will be because I want to be there, I will want to be there. I won’t mess up my future because of pressure, drugs or anything else. And if my dream doesn’t come true I will move on to the next one on the list.
Man: You see? It sounds like you have all the answers that you need then.
Anthony: I guess! Whatever there is for me to learn in the future – I’ll get from my parents, teachers, family and friends. If I need to learn a lesson that they can’t help me with…then I’ll learn it on my own.
Man: Until you fall on your face and realize that you’re not as smart as you think that you are. You’re doing well in school now but wait until life speeds up and you find yourself falling behind. Wait until your dream seems further and further away…wait until the fairy tale childhood goes wrong…wait until years pass by and you look in the mirror and the adult you’ve become makes you feel nothing but shame.
Anthony: (pointing at Man) No! That’s not going to be my future. That isn’t going to turn into my life. I am not going to be you! Sitting here drinking and talking down to an 11-year-old, being bitter about why your life is messed up and trying to blame everyone else. My parents said that you placed yourself in your position.
Man: (taking a large gulp of his beer) Whatever! You’re no better than me…you are not better than me!! (He rises to throw his bottle of beer across the street, shattering it to pieces.)
Anthony: You are crazy.
Man: Shut up! (He takes his seat on the milk carton.) You don’t know nothing; you are not as smart as you think you are, kid, remember that.
Anthony: That’s what you say but I will be someday! I will be and nothing is going to stop me like it stopped you.
Man: Watch your mouth!
Anthony: Don’t scream at me! You’re not my parents.
Man: I don’t want to be your parents.
Anthony: You don’t know what you want. I’m sorry; you want to drink all day long.
Man: Watch your mouth, young boy…you’re getting a bit loose with your mouth.
Anthony: Don’t you threaten me…I’ll get my dad.
Man: Relax…you don’t have to get your dad. You should watch your mouth though, I am an adult.
Anthony: But you were screaming at me and I shouldn’t have raised my voice to an adult but you threatened me.
Man: (soft tone) You go on to school now (pointing down the block).
Anthony: What are you going to do?
Man: What do you think? (He opens another beer and pulls a coffee cake from his front jeans pocket.)
The two stand still as a gust of wind brings the rain at them with such ferocity that the kid almost loses his grip on his umbrella. Once he regains his composure, he looks towards school and begins to walk away. Man takes his seat and bites into his breakfast treat and follows it with a gulp of beer.
Anthony: (stopping to look back) You don’t have to sit there and drink all day, you know?
Man (looking in the opposite direction): What else is there?