Inner City Rush

by Jack Wearne

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

A mute Homeless man befriends commuters at an inner city bus stop, but when his only way of communication is taken from him, he struggles to move on with his life.

                                                Inner city rush
                                                A One Act Play
                                                  Jack Wearne

A mute homeless man befriends commuters at an inner city bus stop, but when his only way of communication is taken from him, he struggles to move on
Jay A mute homeless man in his late thirties, dressed in thick hoodie and tatted leather jacket, with scruffy hair and beard and armed with a tape recorder in each hand
Charles Businessman, early fifties, dressed in suit with brief case
Commuter Businessman, 20ish, dressed in trendy suit and tie, laptop bag
Policeman Dressed in formal uniform with his policemen's hat

Scene 1 – Day – An inner city bus stop
Stage is set with two long benches, with a bus stop sign, sounds of car horns and traffic is playing in the background. JAY enters from stage left and takes a seat on the edge of the seats, (PAUSE) obvious sound of a bus pulling up, to which JAY reacts turning and facing the right of stage. Sound of bus pulling away and COMMUTER enters from stage right.
Commuter: (oblivious to JAY, iPod in, singing away) You gotta lose yourself in the music, the moment, you want it, you better never let it go, go, you only get one shot ..... (trails away as he notices JAY)
Morning mate
JAY looks up, then fumbles with his tape recorders, COMMUTER looks on intrigued, JAY hits a button on the recorder and a whirring noise is heard, JAY hits the stop button, then the play button.
Jay's (as a TV theme song) GOOD MORNING AUSTRALIA... Welcome to News wit...

Jay hurriedly pushes the stop button, looking embarrassed, then rewinds and pushes play
COMMUTER: Ahhhh... well
Looking confused COMMUTER sits down at the other end of the seats and looks away awkwardly, after a beat, JAY casually slides down the seat until he is almost next to him. COMMUTER is still looking away, JAY taps him on the shoulder to get his attention
Jay's REC: (using the tape in his other hand, plays like a radio show host) And how are we today everyone? Looks like another perfect winters' day in sunny Sydney.
Commuter: Ummmm... yeah I'm pretty good, and I suppose the weather is pretty good. (looks up as if looking for clouds)
While commuter is speaking JAY is fumbling with his tape recording
Jay's REC: (Commuter) Ummmm... yeah I'm pretty good, and I suppose the weather is pretty good....
Commuter: (awkwardly)Oh they record as well... Cool.
Jay's REC: (as part of a previous conversation) My name is...
(Quickly switches to other player, which sounds like an advertisement)
Jay Jay's Jeans emporium, we got everything from blue to black, skinny to flared all under one roof.
Commuter: So... your name is Jay Jay?
Jay shakes his head hurriedly then holds up the second player again
Jay's REC: Jay
Commuter nods looking slightly more comfortable
(using the other player, sounding like a talkback radio show) Where are we going, where is this government taking us, I mean how many mistakes can we endure.
Commuter: Ah... Oh, where am I going?
Jay nods happily
Just into the city, got myself a job interview at a new company.
Can you speak normally? Or has something happened to your voice?
Jay looks down, ruefully, and begins to rewind one of his tapes a long way
Jay's REC: (dramatic music plays, deep patriarchal V/O) He lost his tongue in battle with the enemy, now he's back with a vengeance...
Jay jumps up suddenly, and adopts a mock fighting stance and begins to fight of hordes of imaginary enemies using kicks and punches. Commuter begins to chuckle
Commuter: Dumb Grunt, I love that movie, it came out when I was ten and me and my brother snuck out through his window to go watch it, he pretended he was 15 so we could buy tickets.
Commuter sighs, reminiscing
He was the best brother; he was always looking out for me, keeping me safe... I remember this one time, we were walking home from school, it was the middle of summer, ahhh... I speaking too much again, you probably don't want to hear this.
Jay's REC: (seedy sex hotline voice) OH GOD, please don't stop, keep going, keep going! AHHHHH yeah baby.
Commuter laughs openly, and Jay joins in with a sly smile.
Commuter: Ok, ok then if you put it like that. Where was I? Oh yeah, it was the middle of summer and this huge storm front came through and it was pissing down. Rain the size of golf balls, the news said, and he just, gave me his jacket. He just left primary school and I was in...Maybe year 5, and he wrapped it around my shoulders, helped me pull up the zip and we just kept walking. Didn't say anything about it and when we got home he helped unpack my bag and get dry before he went and had a shower. He always put me before anything else...
Jay's REC: (sounds like midday soapie) Have you seen your brother... where is he?
Commuter looks down sadly, pausing before answering
Commuter: We all loved him, but apparently god didn't. There was nothing we could do for him.
Jay looks suddenly sad, and begins fumbling again.
Jay's REC: (TV medical emergency show) I'm sorry, there is nothing we could have done, he is too far gone, we have made him as comfortable as possible.
Commuter: Yeah that sounds about right my man. But I can't dwell on it
Jay's REC: (sports commentary, cheering in the background) This team has some gaping holes, but when it comes to game day, they pull together and fight for the job at hand.
Commuter: You know just what to say don't you. No pun intended
Jay similes. The same bus noise is heard again, this time from the left and both look, the bus noise trails off and Charles enters, JAY's smile becomes an obvious grin and he jumps up and greets Charles like an old friend with a hug and handshake.
Jay's REC: (Ringmaster voice) The amazing Charles the cat juggler
Charles: Haven't you found me a better introduction yet, I mean cat juggling... come on.
Commuter chuckles at their antics and Charles notices him
You met someone new aye, (to Commuter) guess you've heard my embarrassing friend over here
Jay makes a look of playful outrage and reaches again for his tape recorder
Jay's REC: (as part of a overheard conversation) It wasn't that bad was it? (New voice) Nah, wasn't that bad but you should have seen the other guy.
Charles similes
Charles: Oh course not; I'm just messing with you. What's you new friend name?
Jay's REC: (game show) Im not too sure, I'm thinking C. But I just can't make up my mind, Can I phone a friend.
Commuter stands up and begins to walk over to the pair, as he stands the bus is heard again and all three are distracted by it.
Commuter: Ah Shit! That's my bus, what's it doing over there? I've got to go!
Commuter runs off stage left, (pause) Sounds of braking, horn and a crash
Scene 2 – Day – Same bus stop
Blue and red lights flash across the back of stage, CHARLES, JAY and POLICEMAN are standing to the to the left of the bus stop, Jay is sulking behind Charles trying not to be noticed.
Policeman: So you're saying it was just an accident, he didn't purposely put himself in a position where he knew he would be hit?
Charles: No, definitely not, he was running over to the other bus stop and then the car came out of the side street and knocked him down. Is he ok? How bad was his arm, it looked pretty mangled when we got to him?
Policeman: He'll be ok. It's probably better he was unconscious; the pain would have been something horrible.
And you're sure it was an accident, I find it hard to believe he didn't see the car coming, did he say anything before he ran for the bus?
Charles: I only just arrived when it happened, we were just talking to each other and he was about to introduce himself when the bus came. Jay was talking to him before I arrived though.
Policeman: And who is Jay? (looks around trying to find someone other Jay)
Jay takes a few tentative steps forward and stands next to Charles
You're Jay?
Jay nods
Can you explain what happened?
Jay looks to Charles in a panic
Charles: He doesn't speak sir, never has, well not since I've met him.
Policeman: (to jay) Can I see some Identification sir, and your disability card.

Policeman reaches out and Jay backs down looking intimidated
Charles: I don't think he has any officer, he lives on the streets
Policeman: Great, so I have an unco-operating, mute bum as my only witness to a suspected attempt at suicide
Charles: Hey, that's a bit harsh
Policeman: Oh and I forgot his talking parrot. God I have got the best job.
Policeman storms away and starts pacing. Both Charles and Jay are taken aback; Jay retrieves one of his players from a pocket and begins fumbling with it again
Jay' REC: (very scripted female line from movies) Can we go now... Please. Our reservation is at eight and I'm sick of waiting for you.
Policeman: Who said that?
Policeman stares at Charles confused, who shakes his head vigorously and in turn stares at Jay
I thought you said he didn't talk?
Jay's REC: (TV cop drama) We've got nothin' to hide, and you got nothin' to prove, and you got no evidence to hold us, so we're leaving and there is nothing you can do to stop us. You're just a bunch of dumb pigs.
Policeman: (angrily) I beg to differ, lying to an officer of the law, obstructing an investigation, and insulting an officer. That's grounds enough to detain both of you.
Policeman tries to arrest Jay but as he moves to grab him Charles intervenes
Charles: He doesn't talk. He uses recording of things to communicate
Policeman looks confused, and takes a step back, Jay resumes fumbling
Policeman: Explain, now or I'm taking you both down to the station
Jay's REC: (Policeman's voice) Explain, now or I'm taking you both down to the station
Policeman looks stunned, and an expression of realisation comes over him.
Policeman: So this is how you were ‘talking' to the victim before the crash
Jay nods
And have you been recording this conversation as well?
Jay nods
Jay's REC: (Policeman's voice) Great, so I have an unco-operating, mute bum as my only witness to a suspected attempt at suicide
Policeman: Yeah, sorry about that, guess I got caught up in the heat of the moment, but do you record every conversation you have with someone. I mean, did you record what the victim was saying before he jumped in front of a car?
Jay nods, and begins rewinding then hands the recorder to the policeman who presses play
Jay's REC: (Commuter's Voice) it came out when I was ten and me and my brother snuck out through his window...
The policeman fast forwards
(Commuter's Voice)We all loved him, but apparently God didn't. There was nothing we could do for him.
Policeman stops the tape and contemplates.
Policeman: It sounds like I have found a motive for our victim
Charles: What do you mean?
Policeman: Well to your untrained ears it sounds like harmless drivel, but to a policeman such as myself we can tell that he has had years of physiological torture when he was young, probably an abusive upbringing, hence the sneaking out the window. And the death of what sounds like a significant other in his life would not have made things better.
It's sad when you think about it, there are so many agencies willing to listen and help kids like this, and all they have to do is speak out.
Charles: (angrily) That's a bit rich, you listened to 5 sec's of the tapes and your sprouting out this physiological babble from the back of your arse.
Policeman: (not sensing the anger) Yes, well that's 6 months of police academy for you.
I'm going need to take this as vital evidence in an investigation as well as any others you have. You'll get them back after the investigation has been completed.
Jay is stunned, but dutiful hands over the recorders and a few extra tapes from a pocket.
Charles: Well what's he going to do in the meantime?
Policeman: I give him a number to ring and when he needs help he can call me
Charles: (angrily) He can't talk! How is he supposed to call for help?
Policeman: Well I'm sorry but that's all I can do
Charles: Useless, just bloody useless.
Policeman: Thanks for your help
Charles: Just get lost
Policeman exits, Jay sits down stunned on the bus stop bench
Charles: Are you going to be ok
Jay nods
You sure
Jay nods again
Well, here is my address if you ever need somewhere to stay...
Jay hangs his head in his hands
Black out
Scene 3 – Same Bus Stop – Day
Bus stop sign and benches have been heavily graffitied and have the appearance of aging. Same background noise of cars and traffic from sc 1. Charles enters from Stage left looks around hopefully, seeing no one he sighs, disappointingly and takes a seat on the bench. Commuter enters with arm in a sling.
Commuter: Excuse me,
Charles turns around and is shocked by Commuters appearance
Charles isn't it?
Charles: Yes... Wow, that car did a right job on your arm didn't it.
Commuter: Yeah, wasn't too happy about that, not such a big fan of hospitals. Thank you for all you did.
Charles: Me, I didn't do anything. Jay, he's the one you want to thank. He held you until the ambulance came and then tried to convince the police it wasn't suicide afterwards.
Commuter: So I heard, it was his tapes that proved it to the police and provided me with enough evidence to get the cops off my back. Tried to put me in a physc-ward they did, something about a disturbed childhood, but once I got them to listen to the whole tapes it convinced them it was just an accident
Charles: Jay really did do well didn't he
Commuter: That's half the reason I came down again, to see if I could thank him, have you seen him?
Charles looks suddenly sad and drawn, his age starts to show

Charles: Since that day I haven't seen him,
I've looked mind you, the shelters, charities, churches, the lot, but still nothing
His recorders are gone from the cop shop, but that could mean anything, they could have been destroyed after the case was dropped
Both men stand in silence
Commuter: Well if you see him...
Charles: I'll let him know. Don't worry
Commuter walks off stage right, as he leaves Jay walks on but is unrecognisable by wearing a suit tie and sunglasses, Commuter does a double take, stops, shakes his head as if dismissing a thought and walks off stage. Jay goes on to stand next to Charles, who also doesn't recognise him. Jay begins fumbling in his pocket
Jays REC: (ringmaster) Come one come all to see the talking dummy, the man who changed the world for ventriloquists everywhere.

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