Scene 8 (Rage)
by Trey Nosrac
The setting is a room in an Alzheimer’s ward. A young couple, Mandy and Ryan, continue to visit Martin Kilbane, an elderly horse trainer. In his lucid periods, Martin describes events in his life with remarkable clarity. In earlier sessions, he has talked about serving in the US cavalry, the death of his young wife, and his life-long struggle with alcohol.
(Intro music, inside moving car sound…. phone ring effect…. phone conversation tone effect)
MANDY: Hello, handsome.
RYAN: Where are you?
MANDY: Passing Walmart, be there in about five minutes.
RYAN: Don’t come. Martin is having a bad day.
MANDY: How bad?
RYAN: Very bad. Sherry is on duty. She warned me when I got here that he’s mad at the world, lashing out at everybody. I only stayed for 10 minutes. I’m walking out now. Let’s meet at my place, we can order out and watch a movie.
MANDY: You sure I can’t help? He’s usually so sweet to me.
RYAN: Not today, he’d rip your head off. I’d rather you not see him like this. See you in a few.
MANDY: Okay. (phone click off and buzz)
(pause five seconds, sound of the door closing, remove phone conversation sound effect)
MANDY: Was he that bad?
RYAN: Awful, when he shouts into my face he is going to kick my ass, it hurts. I know he is 92 with dementia, but it’s hard to shrug off.
MANDY: You couldn’t calm him down?
RYAN: Nope, not even steering him toward horses, he was furious about everything.
MANDY: Did you tape it?
MANDY: Let me hear.
RYAN: No, it’s ugly. He’s ranting and swearing, it’s not PG listening.
MANDY: Please, I have three brothers. Gimme your phone.
(clicking on the recording device, sound change to indicate this is a recording)
RYAN: (tussle and chair scraping on floor effect), (pleading) Martin, Martin, calm down, it’s me, it’s Ryan, your great-grandson.
MARTIN: (loud, and will remains so) Shut the f – – – k up. And keep your filthy hands off my stuff, you got no right. (scuffling sounds)
RYAN: Martin, I’m not touching anything, let’s talk, let’s talk about the old days. Let’s talk about your horses.
MARTIN: You don’t know shit about horses or racing.
RYAN: Heaven’s Rein, was the greatest trotter, but I can’t find any records of her races.
MARTIN (shouts louder) Did you ever hear of Emily’s Pride?
MARTIN: What a f – – – king moron. How about George Washington? How about Jesus Christ? Piss-ants like you, all do is keep your noses in those God-damn phones. I ain’t talking to a man who never even heard of one of the greatest champion trotters ever. I should kick your…
(more thrashing sounds)
RYAN: Here, look, look, no box, my hands are in the air, nothing. It’s just me, easy, easy, now um, um, what does the Emily’s Place have to do with your horse?
MARTIN: Emily’s PRIDE…P.R.I.D.E. My Heaven raced against her three times.
RYAN: And beat her?
MARTIN: NO, but Heaven was just as good, maybe better.
RYAN: I’m confused.
MARTIN: Of course you are, you’re an a-hole, just like everyone else keeping me in this God Damed prison, AND STEALING MY PERSONAL BELONGINGS.
RYAN: Martin, nobody is taking anything.
MARTIN: If you knew a goddamn thing about trotting racing, you’d know that the best horse doesn’t always win. The first race, Emily drew the rail, and we drew number nine! Nine! That means Heaven started 120 lengths behind Emily, had to dodge traffic, go three-quarters of the race on the outside, and she still finished just a length back. Even an a-hole like you should know enough geometry to know that Heaven went a longer mile and was the best of the two.
RYAN (softly) Ah, now I see. That first race, your horse had a lousy starting position, you had bad racing luck.
MARTIN: That happens in racing, you accept it and move on.
RYAN: And the second time you raced against the great horse, bad luck again?
MARTIN: NO, the second race wasn’t bad luck, A CHEATIN SON-OF-A-BITCH screwed us royally, he stole the race.
RYAN: The jockey?
MARTIN: What a dumbass, we don’t have JOCKEYS, we use DRIVERS.
RYAN: Okay, okay, so the driver cheated.
MARTIN: No, it was a groom named Termite, a short fat, son-of-a-bitch. Nobody liked him. He was grooming a horse in the race, a trotter that didn’t belong on the same racetrack. Who knows if he was following orders or if he just laid some money on Emily, he screwed us six ways from Sunday.”
RYAN: I’m still confused.
MARTIN: You’re still an a-hole. Listen, and listen good. What happened was everybody was looking for the matchup with Emily and Heaven. We weren’t watching that damned Termite.
RYAN: A groom from another horse in the race, I don’t get it.
MARTIN: NOBODY got it till after the race, and I was sitting in a jail cell.
RYAN: Jail! For what?
MARTIN: Assault and Battery on a termite.
RYAN: You got into a fight with a groom?
MARTIN: Not a fight, a straight-up ass-kicking.
MARTIN: Jesus, don’t you know anything. (sighs deeply) Emily and Heaven both drew outside, right next to each other, but that didn’t mean a damn thing because we were the only two in that race that mattered. The other eight horses would be sucking mud because it was raining like hell, raining so damned hard the horses were going right from the paddock to behind the starting car. Whoosh, off they go, Emily and Heaven, then Heaven and Emily. They come to the finish and Emily wins by a length. It was hard to take, but I figured we got beat fair and square. BUT IT WASN’T FAIR AND SQUARE.
MARTIN: Don’t stand there with your stupid mouth hanging open, pay attention… Phil Barton was Heaven’s driver, driver, not jockey, you putz. Phil climbs off looking like a muddy mess, and the rain is coming down in sheets. Phil yells in the wind, “Check the left tire.” So I get back to the barn out of the rain, out of the mud, and that damn tire is flat. When I wipe it down and look close, I see the slit, a knife slit. My mind goes back to just before the horses headed to the track when Termite leaned over and put his fat, cheating hands on the left bike wheel to say something to Phil in the pouring rain. That struck me as odd cause grooms don’t usually wish good luck to other drivers in a race – but I was so nervous that I JUST PAID IT NO MIND.
RYAN: You think Termite punctured your tire?
MARTIN: I KNOW HE DID. I’ll go to my grave knowing Termite had a shiv in his other hand. It’s a damn good thing for him that I didn’t have a shiv because I’d have killed the son of a bitch instead of beating the shit out of him. Now nothing against Emily, them was good folks that raced that great mare. Emily’s Pride was so damned good that she won the Hambletonian. So I’m sitting in jail, stewing that Heaven and Emily raced twice, and both times we got dealt a bad hand.
RYAN: And the third race? You said you raced the other horse three times.
MARTIN: (sound of breathing heavily with exertion, for a few seconds, voice much more subdued) That ruined everything, just about killed me. I wish it had killed me, wish I had killed Termite. I wouldn’t be in this (cough, Cough, harsh coughing spasm, more coughing)
(Sound of clicking off the tape, back to normal room volume)
RYAN: Sherry heard him coughing. She came in, I went out.
MANDY: Poor Sherry, they couldn’t pay me enough to work in that place. (pause) Listening to that is so strange, he never said a bad word in front of me.
RYAN: Today was nothing but hate and rage. I had to get out of there. (pause, tentatively) Do you think we all have that inside of us, that meanness, waiting to break out?
MANDY: That’s yours, it’s in your jacket.
RYAN: Hello….Hi Sherry….At Mandy’s…no, no that’s fine…is it broken?… probably not for a nose…sure….no, not tonight…maybe you should give him the whole bottle…thanks, thanks for calling…I know…good night.
(Phone clicks off)