Somewhere In The Middle

In this dramatic scripted scene, RAYMOND visits his friend CRAIG to see how he’s coping with his wife ANNE who is in the hospital.

Craig: You’re not right in the head.

Raymond: I know I’m not.

Craig: You won’t even argue.

Raymond: Yes, but I know I’m not all there so what’s the point in disputing your accurate claim.

Craig: So you openly admit that you are certifiably insane.

Raymond: I already have my own certificate.

Craig: You’re nuts.

Raymond: Yes.  I’m only crazy because people make me crazy.  Otherwise, I’m quite rational.

Craig: So you blame others?

Raymond: It’s the people that exist in our society.  So many hustlers, hucksters and slick ricks.  You need to sometimes set the record straight with these clowns or they will offset the balance.

Craig: What are you saying?

Raymond: I’m saying that I keep things balanced.  I level things off.  I make things fair for people, the good ones at least.  I give the good ones a chance.

Craig: Now you’re getting philosophical.

Raymond: A man has got to believe in something.

Craig: True.

Raymond: And I believe in leveling the playing field.

Craig: So chopping that guys hand off at the wrist was leveling things out?

Raymond: Sure.

Craig: In your mind.

Raymond: Well, in his mind, too.  I encouraged him to change his ways.

Craig:  True.  Can’t disagree with you on that one.

Raymond: I don’t ask for no trouble.  I don’t like trouble.  I’m not a violent man.  I don’t believe in violence.  I only believe in points being made.  All I do is make points.

Craig: You don’t have to justify yourself to me.

Raymond: You asked.

Craig: True. That’s true.

Raymond: It’s not like I’m not friendly. I’m the most easy going man you’ve ever met.

Craig: True, true, that’s true.

Raymond: I’m kind.  I give chances.  I’m polite. I give chances.  I have patience.  But when someone’s going to take the piss, well, sooner or later…you need to squeeze it.

Craig: True.  Yes, I see what you’re saying.

Raymond: That’s all I’m saying really, is that society needs its balance.  You have your low life scumbags and your high life scumbags, I try to keep things somewhere in the middle or else everything goes out of whack.

Craig: Somewhere in the middle…right, true, true.

Raymond: This one fella, nice guy but he’s been promising me for weeks and now if he fails me yet again…I’m afraid I’m going to have to adjust him.

Craig: Who? That fella with the cards?

Raymond: Yeah.  He keeps putting me off, buying time and I understand it’s coming from China, but the boat from China doesn’t take this long.

Craig: Right.

Raymond: If he fails me again, I don’t know what’s coming.

Craig: What will you do to him?

Raymond: No telling.

Craig: No?

Raymond: It’s spontaneous.  I like things spurt of the moment.  It’s the most effective way it seems.

Craig: True.

Raymond: How’s Annie?

Craig: She’s not to good none.

Raymond: Shame.  Beautiful, gal.

Craig: I need something new.  Different.

Raymond: Call up Susie, she’s got your number.

Craig: No, not that.  A change.  A brand new life.

Raymond: What are you suffering from now man?

Craig: My head is all done in Ray.  Seeing the same people, wiping down the same counter, hearing the same stories, the same smells, the same actions…all the same.  Making me numb in the brain.

Raymond: Go away.

Craig: Tried that.  You know, only came back from Key West two saturdays ago.

Raymond: Oh man, forget Key West.  Go somewhere exotic.  Go to Machu Picchu and learn some history.

Craig: Machu Picchu?

Raymond: The whole Inca civilizaton.

Craig: Inca?  What the is an Inca?

Raymond: It was an ancient people.  You can explore all the ruins there, learn an entire new culture and open your mind.  That will be different.

Craig: Really?  Hmmm, maybe your right. Machu Picchu, saying that shit right?

Raymond: You got it.

Craig: How you spell it?

Raymond: Do I look like an English teacher to you?

Craig: I’ll look into it.  But I think you’r right.  I should travel to some foreign land.

Raymond: Don’t talk about it, be about it.

Craig: I said I’m going, I’m going. No choice.  My heads not working right.  This will be a last ditch effort before I check out.

Raymond: That serious?

Craig: I’m done.  If this Machu Picchu thing doesn’t fix me some, I’m throwing myself off the bridge.  You heard it first.

Raymond: Alright.  What about the bar?

Craig: I can give two shits to the wind that is.

Raymond: Good for you, Craig.

Craig: I’d like to flush it down to hell.

Raymond: Alright now, I like the bar.  It feels like home.

Craig: Yeah…it do.

Raymond: It do, it do.  (beat) Well, I better be running off.  Got some errands to run.

Craig: Right.

(they shake hands)

Raymond: Say hello to Annie for me…

Joseph Arnone

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