Bleed

Something creepy, disturbing and utterly ridiculous is happening to everyman Alex. Much to the inconvenience of his daily routine, his body has quit. Despite his healthy diet and well-balanced living, his body is dissolving. As he makes his way through the day, Alex doesn't find much sympathy. In fact his vanishing seems to bring out the worst in family and friends. Faced with imminent death, Alex begins to discover a key ingredient to life: letting go. "Bleed" is a dark comedy about what happens when a disappearing man tries to make one last stand at mattering.

Read Sample

PROLOGUE
MAGICAL BLACK JANITOR comes out whistling and moping the floor. As he cleans, he spits chewing tobacco into a tin can. The lights rise and he jumps, startled by the audience.

MAGICAL BLACK JANITOR
Oh, hello dere. Snuck up on me. My, my, my. Look at all dem purdy white folks out dere. Nevah seen dis many Caucasian in one place without a rope. I’m just kidding…a little. Don’t mind me. Just moping up the last of dis here mess. A janitor’s job is hard. And if you’re a Magical black janitor –and I am- then your work is nevah done. Why look at “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” “The Green Mile” and –my favorite- “Driving Miss Daisy.” The story is never quite about us and neither is this one. We sweep, mop, tap dance and, of course, be of service in narrating while offering deep-fried nuggets of down-home wisdom like… ‘the sun always comes out after the rain,’ or ‘diamonds are valuable, but love is the most precious jewel in the world’ or… ‘sometimes white does make right.’ But more of dis country wisdom later. For now, you probably came to see a story. This happened a little while ago and it’ll always stick out in my mind as a tale that’s pretty…well, fucked up. Here is our hero.
(ALEX, 30 and reasonable sort of guy, enters and crosses to the kitchen. He whistles.)

MAGICAL BLACK JANITOR
This is Alex. Just a nice fella of sorts. And Alex is in need of my assistance. He just doesn’t know it yet. His problems began at the start of an otherwise pretty normal day.

SCENE ONE: I love you
KITCHEN. ALEX chops up two healthy salads with croutons and balsamic vinaigrette. The knife slips and he cuts his finger. After waving it a few times, ALEX puts the bleeding finger in his mouth. He sucks on the cut as he yells...

ALEX
Clarence and Tamara!

(ALEX packs their lunch and sucks on his finger.)

ALEX
You guys are gonna be late. Lets head ‘em up, move ‘em out.

(ENTER CINDY on her cell phone. She’s wearing a bathrobe and slippers. She’s significantly larger than ALEX in height and girth. They hug, or rather he tries to wrap his arms around her football frame.)

ALEX
Morning, Sugar bear.

CINDY
(in disbelief to the phone)
Shut up! Just shut the hell up!

ALEX
Oh, how ‘bout a little sugar-

CINDY
(shoving him away and talking into phone)
Noooo…shut up! No, he didn’t…I can’t believe it.

ALEX
Honey, are you excited about today?

CINDY
Just a minute…(to ALEX) What?
ALEX
Today?

CINDY
What about it?

ALEX
I’ve rented a boat for us this evening.

CINDY
Why?

ALEX
Don’t you know what today is?

CINDY
Did you put the garbage out by the curb?

ALEX
Well…yes, but…

CINDY
Thanks baby. (pecks him on the cheek) Are you coming home for lunch?

ALEX
No, why?

CINDY
Just wondering.

ALEX
Did you want me to bring you something?

CINDY
No. Fucking South Beach diet.

ALEX
How about tonight we forget about all of that and go out for a nice Italian dinner?

CINDY
Alex, you know I can’t eat carbs after 1:15.

ALEX
Just thought we could do something a little special.

CINDY
Why would I want to do that?

ALEX
I don’t know.

(CINDY goes back to talking on the phone.)

CINDY
Anyway…no…get out…get the fuck out of here? He said what to who way back when? Where? Oh, I was there! Noooooo. Get out…get the fuck out…I can’t belive it…if Alex ever asked me to do something like that, I would…I would… ALEX
…Cindy…what about the kids?

BEAT

I thought you were taking the kids to school…I took them yesterday. Ummm, Cindy, could you put the phone down…

CINDY
Alex, what?!?

ALEX
Nothing, I just thought you were going to take the kids to school.

CINDY
I’m coming down with a migraine. Can’t you take ‘em?

ALEX
I don’t think I’m in a good place with them.

CINDY
A good place? Where did you hear that from?

ALEX
Just a book by Dr. Spock.

CINDY
Do you always have to quote crap. Alex, they’re kids. You can’t be in a bad place with them. Just slap ‘em around.

ALEX
I actually don’t think that’s the way to raise kids.

CINDY
That’s what I always do.

ALEX
That’s the way my dad treated me.

CINDY
Well you see: you turned out fine.

ALEX
Actually I think I’ve suffered some-

CINDY
-Alex, the kids love you. You’re their favorite stepdad.

ALEX
Oh…really?

CINDY
Yeah, remember that gift I made them buy you on stepfather appreciation day.

ALEX
The t-shirt that said ‘the best fake dad in the world?’

CINDY
Exactly. (starts laugh) God, that was funny.

ALEX
Yeah, are there any band-aids left in the cabinet. I cut myself.

CINDY
(waving him off)
Go check. And then hurry up: they’re going to be late for school. (back to phone) Okay, go ahead…mmmhmmm

ALEX
Thank you, baby.

SCENE TWO: Quality Time with the Kids

CAR. ALEX drives his two kids, TAMARA and CLARENCE, to school. He’s sweating and wiping his head profusely. They’re twins. TAMARA plays a video game. CLARENCE bounces a ball off ALEX’s head.

TAMARA
Daddy?

ALEX
Yes, dear?

TAMARA
What does the word, ‘cuckold’ mean?

ALEX
Um…why do you want to know that word, sweetie? Clarence will you stop that!

CLARENCE
But Alex, it’s fun.

ALEX
And stop calling me Alex.

CLARENCE
But that’s your name.

ALEX
You are supposed to call me father. Or dad. Or daddy.

CLARENCE
(rolling eyes)
That’s sooo gaaaay.

ALEX
I can’t drive like this.

CLARENCE
I don’t care.

ALEX
How would you like it if I crashed this car, huh?
(CLARENCE shrugs.)

ALEX
How would you like it if I crashed this car right into a speeding tractor trailer? Headed in the opposite direction at 70 miles per hour. Headed right for us and I couldn’t see it because you keep bouncing that ball on my head, huh? And this whole thing crumpled up like a used accordion, and our bodies shot out onto the highway like little dying sparks flailing around on the lava-hot asphalt. How would you like that?

BEAT

TAMARA
We’d miss school.

CLARENCE
Cool. You’d do that for us, Alex?

TAMARA
Then maybe I wouldn’t have to go to lunch.

ALEX
What’s the matter Tamara?

CLARENCE
Kids at school keep calling her a cuckold.

TAMARA
They do not.

CLARENCE
Do too. Bertha said her father called Tamara a cuckold child.

TAMARA
Not true.

CLARENCE
Yeah, it is. Face it, Tam-Tam: you’re like the milkman’s baby.

TAMARA
There’s no such thing as a milkman.

CLARENCE
Well whatever. So maybe you’re mailman’s or the video store dude or the smelly Armenian janitor. (sing-songy taunt) You are a cuc-kold.

ALEX
Now…uh, Clarence

TAMARA
Quiet, stupid.

CLARENCE
You are a cuc-kold, You are a cuc-kold.

ALEX
Clarence, be quiet.

CLARENCE
You are a cuckold, you are a cuckold!

ALEX
Clarence stop it!

TAMARA
You’re the one who’s a cuckold!

ALEX
Tamara!

CLARENCE
Pssst, I don’t care.

TAMARA
You’re like the baby of the PE teacher.

CLARENCE
Awesome. I could play games all day. I’d never have to do homework. And Alex, Mr. Kritzer’s wife is hot. I’d get to sit in her lap and snuggle my head between her bozooms. She’d feed me candy and cakes all day.

TAMARA
Hey, no fair. I want to be Mr. Kritzer’s cuckold child too.

CLARENCE
And when Mr. Kritzer got home we’d go out and he’d show me how to pitch and throw a tight spiral with a football.

ALEX
I toss the football around with you.

CLARENCE
But you throw like a girl, Alex.

TAMARA
No way. I throw way better than daddy.

ALEX
You do not.

TAMARA
Do too!

CLARENCE
But if I was Mr. Kritzer’s son, I’d get to be quarterback and pitcher and everyone would like me and I wouldn’t have to eat these crappy bag lunches and I’d have friends who didn’t hit me and-

ALEX
Clarence, be quiet.

CLARENCE
But Alex-

ALEX
WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! YOU ARE MY SON. I DON’T GIVE A FLYING SHIT IF YOU THROW A FOOTBALL LIKE RICHARD GODDAMN SIMMONS. WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, BOTH OF YOU ARE MY CHILDREN.

(Severely wounded and depressed by the news, CLARENCE and TAMARA slump down in their seats. ALEX pulls into school.)

ALEX
Well, here we are. You kids have a good day. (pause) Say, how bout I pick you guys up after school and we go get some ice cream? Do kids still eat ice cream these days?

TAMARA
You cursed.
CLARENCE
Oooo.

ALEX
Now kids…

CLARENCE
Imma tell momma.

ALEX
Now, lets not be too hasty. I thought we agreed what happens in the Oldsmobile, stays in the Oldsmobile.

TAMARA
-she’s gonna be pissed.

ALEX
Now there’s no need for that.

CLARENCE
She’s gonna be fucking pissed.

TAMARA
Fucking fuckety fuck pissed.

ALEX
Hey!

CLARENCE
Hey, what? I learned it from you. That’s what I’ll tell the teacher. If I happen to drop the f-bomb 14 or 15 times today. I’ll just say ‘hey bitch. Lay off my nutsack. My dad taught me this.’

ALEX
You will not do that.

CLARENCE
And you’ll have to come to the principal’s office. Parent-teacher conferences. I cry very easily.

ALEX
Clarence.

CLARENCE
Alex?

ALEX
…Please.

CLARENCE
I need some money for lunch.

ALEX
But I fixed you, your lunch. (they look at him) All I have is $20.

CLARENCE
That’ll do.

(ALEX takes the bill out and CLARENCE snatches it.)

CLARENCE
Cool. Blackmail really does work.

ALEX
Now, Clarence: share it with your sister.

TAMARA
Thanks dad.

(They dump their bagged lunches in his lap and begin to get out of the car.)

TAMARA
When do I get my half, Clarence?

CLARENCE
When I feel like it, tuna lips.

TAMARA
I want my cut now.

CLARENCE
Tuna lips.

TAMARA
Stop it.
CLARENCE
Come on, tuna lips. Quiver for me. Quiver. That’s right, Robin Quiver, the Indian Giver. Why don’t you quiver a river.
(TAMARA begins to quiver and tears well up. CLARENCE imitates her quivering lips.)

CLARENCE
Quiver, little girl…are you going to cry now? You going to cry and quiver like a little nibbling tuna. Quiver. Quiver!

(TAMARA runs off, a quivering mess.)

ALEX
Clarence, you are going to give her half, right?

CLARENCE
Course. I was playing around.

ALEX
(weakly laughing and wiping away sweat)
I knew that.

CLARENCE
Jesus, Alex. You’re sweating like a pig.

ALEX
I know. I’m just coming down with something. Clarence?

CLARENCE
Yeah, Alex?

ALEX
(awkwardly trying to hug him)
…Um…I love you, son.

CLARENCE
Alex…

ALEX
Yeah?

CLARENCE
Why do you have to be such a faggot all the time?

(And with that gem of advice dispensed, CLARENCE runs off to school.)

Cast Requirements

MAIN CHARACTERS
1. ALEX DAFLEUR - a regular every man pushed too far.
2. TOM – magical Black janitor. Sweet, home-spun and very non-threatening.

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
The rest of the characters make no more than one appearance. They can be played by an ensemble of 5-7 actors.

Set Description

Pleasantville