Four Wall Prism: An Intimate Look at the Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt

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Here’s a play I wrote, loosely inspired by (and not-so-loosely-set around) the Boston Marathon Bombing. A brief synopsis, before you go too far:

Marcus had planned to dash after an online-date-turned-one-night-stand. Instead, he woke up with a dead cellphone and a city on lockdown after a terrorist attack. With no way to get in touch with his job or fiancé, Marcus is stuck in an apartment with Cori, who definitely stole his identity before their date but is definitely not on the pill, and her mentally ill roommate Jayme, who just wants to finish her goddamn master’s thesis. As the three of them grapple with issues of race, privilege, privacy, and more, they realize that the greatest threat is not the warzone outside but within the four walls of the apartment.

Then Sean the Cop shows up.

CHARACTERS

MARCUS: Male, late 20s/early 30s. Jewish, white, dark hair. (Kind of a hipster bro-dude.)
JAYME: Female, late 20s/early 30s. Black. (Kind of a nerdy anime fangirl.)
CORI : Female, late 20s/early 30s. Not black. (Kind of a cyberpunk librarian.)
SEAN : Male. Any age. Irish-American. (Kind of a Masshole.)

SETTING

The living room of a two-bedroom apartment near Franklin Street in Watertown, Massachusetts.

TIME

April 19, 2013. 4 days after the Boston Marathon Bombing, 98 days after the suicide of Aaron Swartz, 45 days before the start of the trial against Chelsea Manning, and 47 days before the first Snowden revelations are published in The Guardian.

NOTE: Dialogue that ends with an em-dash indicates that the speaker is cut off; the successive interrupting line should begin around the “/” mark in the antecedent line.

Interlude monologues are formatted to indicate fields, text, and internal asides. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the difference.

ACT 1

Mid-late morning. JAYME is in the living room, typing away at her laptop while the TV softly plays through news reports about the ongoing manhunt for the Boston Marathon Bombers. She has trouble concentrating, distracted by the social media on her plugged-in Android phone. She might have headphones on and adjusts them, or takes one out and leaves the other in, as she tries to focus. MARCUS enters from a bedroom, pantsless and disheveled, with his cellphone in hand. He tries and fails to be surreptitious, at least until Jayme acknowledges his presence. They share an awkward moment, then he crosses to the bathroom. Jayme tries again to focus, despite the trickling sounds coming from behind the not-quite-closed door.

MARCUS (OFF)
Shit!

The toilet flushes. Marcus re-enters frantically, with cell phone in hand.

MARCUS (ON)
Shit shit shit fuck shit fuck. Shit!
(to Jayme)
You wouldn’t happen to have like a lightning plug?

JAYME
A what?

MARCUS
Lightning plug? Like the new, like the iPhone 5/ yeah you have an Android okay fuck nevermind. Fuck!

JAYME
Did you ask/ Cori?

MARCUS
I looked around, uh, um —

JAYME
Cori.

MARCUS
Cori, right. I looked around Cori’s room but she only had an iPod plug, like the big old one — fuck!

JAYME
You can use my phone if you want. It’s charging, but.

She indicates her own phone.

MARCUS
Oh. Yeah. Great, thanks, I…
(beat)
I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head.
(he notices the television)
What’s going on?

JAYME
Well, I was working on a paper when a strange dude in boxer briefs suddenly walked into my living room.

MARCUS
Oh! Right. Sorry, hey. I’m Marcus. I’m a friend of…
(he motions to the bedroom)

JAYME
Cori.

MARCUS
Cori. Yeah. We, um. Is this like, something she does often, or…?

JAYME
I don’t think that’s any of your/ business, but —

MARCUS
No, right, of course. I just — you/ didn’t seem so —

JAYME
(indicating her laptop)
I was trying to concentrate. Also not really into the whole ‘slut-shaming’ thing. Her choice, her business.

MARCUS
Right. I’m not judging either. I/ just wanted to —

JAYME
Sorry but — do you mind?

MARCUS
Oh. Right. Go ahead.

Marcus deliberates for a moment. He looks at the TV, then to the bedroom, and back to the TV.

MARCUS (cont’d)
What’s with all the cops?

JAYME
(like “wtf bro, r u serious?”)
Shoot out?

Jayme gets up, opens the fridge, looks inside, doesn’t take anything, sits back down.

MARCUS
Seriously? Is that the guy/ though? Like —

JAYME
Like everything’s shut down, with SWAT tanks on the street? It’s fucked up, right?

MARCUS
Holy shit. Did they get him then?

JAYME
Well, judging by the hordes of police and the state issued shelter warning, oh — and the fucking bombs that kept me up all night — in addition to your little screaming act — I’m gonna guess it’s a “no.”

MARCUS
What’s going on then?

JAYME
(shrugs, shakes her head)
Everyone’s saying something different. Twitter, CNN, GBH. Reddit. They’re all just re-reporting what they heard from one another, but no one’s got it right.

MARCUS
Well so what do they think is happening?

Marcus sits on the couch next to Jayme, a little too close to her.

JAYME
Can you not?

MARCUS
Not what?

JAYME
I told you, I’m trying to get some work done, and you come busting in here with your undies on, goin’ on about your iPhone whatever. And there’s kind of a terrorist situation going on so I’d at least like a bit of personal space in my own apartment? That cool?

MARCUS
Right. My bad.

Marcus moves to the kitchen, where he helps himself to the cabinets.

MARCUS (cont’d)
I gotta get to work. Do you have any power bars, or bananas, something I can eat…?

JAYME
Yeah I don’t think you’re going to work today.

MARCUS
What do you mean, why not?

JAYME
Maybe you were too drunk on PBR on Monday, but you know these motherfuckers blew up the Marathon, right? And considering there’s tanks outside the window, I’m guessing they didn’t just open up a lemonade stand to benefit everyone whose legs they blown apart.

MARCUS
(searching for a clock)
I was supposed to be in Arlington an hour ago now. Shit. What’s the nearest T stop? Or bus, whatever?

JAYME
Which part of “tanks in the street and gun-toting terrorist on the loose” wasn’t clear?

MARCUS
You don’t understand. I have to get to work.

JAYME
And you don’t understand that your job is most definitely closed. Unless you work at Dunks,/ but —

MARCUS
(pacing, heading for the door)
It’s really not though. I could get/ a cab —

JAYME
Or you could die?

MARCUS
Excuse me?

JAYME
There is a terrorist, or terrorists, somewhere outside. Right now. They have guns. They have bombs. They have who-knows-what else. When I’m saying don’t go out there, I’m not just talking about my black ass being extra careful around the cops. You, me, anyone could go out there right now and got shot, or blown up, or worse. I’m serious, man. It’s scary.

MARCUS
How the fuck did this just become about race?

JAYME
Um. Okay? That was your/whole take away from that?

MARCUS
There’s some crazy Muslim psychopath outside killing people and you pull the race/ card? Seriously?

JAYME
All I said was a passing reference to my black ass, which is mine, and therefore is indeed black. It’s a statement of fact. Is that all right with you?

Marcus is too frustrated, and hungover, to respond. He walks back over to the couch, plops himself down and turns the TV up.

MARCUS
Holy shit. Those are tanks. They have tanks out on the streets of Watertown.

JAYME
Look at you, Hipster Sherlock. Maybe you can use your detective skills to find yourself an iPhone cable. Where do you work that’s so life-or-death anyway?

MARCUS
I work in the film industry.

JAYME
Oh well then! That’s much more important than safety!

MARCUS
Says David O. Russell, anyway.

JAYME
David O. Russell? Like the “I Heart Huckabees” guy?

MARCUS
Yeah.

JAYME
I love that movie.

MARCUS
Yeah except now he’s “Silver Linings Playbook” Guy.

JAYME
Yeah that was kinda ableist.

MARCUS
The other day — on Marathon Monday, right? — He banned cellphones from the set. Soon as he caught wind that shit was going down and everyone was
freaking out, he wouldn’t even let us call our families, tell them everything’s all right. Said it was too distracting to the actors. He didn’t want J Law getting all upset.

JAYME
Hey now, don’t fuck with J-Law!

MARCUS
I ain’t fucking with J-Law! I just think it’s messed up that her feelings, and Bradley fucking Cooper’s feelings, they’re more important than the people who actually live here, and could’ve known someone who got hurt, or worse.

JAYME
What do you do on the movie?

MARCUS
I’m a PA. A production assistant.

JAYME
And Bradley Cooper’s making what, five hundred grand on this flick, and you cost fifteen bucks an hour. Of course he’s more concerned with the celebrities.

MARCUS
Ten, actually.

JAYME
Excuse me?

MARCUS
It’s uh, ten bucks an hour. That’s the PA rate.

JAYME
Ten bucks an hour. You like being fucked up the ass?

MARCUS
What?

JAYME
Never mind, I’ll just ask your Sleeping Beauty there.

MARCUS
Uh, that’s/ not —

JAYME
Man, ten bucks an hour? No wonder he fucked you. Have some self respect, man. Ten bucks an hour for a Hollywood film? Tt. That is just how they get you.

MARCUS
But that’s how you — that’s what you gotta do. That’s how you make it in the industry.

Jayme gets up and checks the refrigerator while she speaks; again, doesn’t get anything. Marcus uses the opportunity to try out a tablet but finds that it’s locked.

JAYME
No, that’s how you make it in the industry. You think the David O. Russells of the world ever worked for ten bucks an hour? Nah, see, they started up top, and they stay there, then feed you some bullshit line about “pulling up by your boot straps”/ or whatever —

MARCUS
I work hard for my money, okay? So hard/ for it —

JAYME
Stop. Right there. Please stop.

MARCUS
Okay.

JAYME
You think they can’t afford more than ten bucks an hour? Of course they can. But they won’t give it to you, not as long as you’re willing to take it. That’s America. Wage slave labor is still slave labor.

MARCUS
And we’re right back to race.

JAYME
Wow. I was just talking about class structures, man. Power dynamics. Maybe some Marxist/ theory shit but —

MARCUS
Like the Russian guy. Communist Manifesto and that?

JAYME
(applauding)
Bravo, bravo! Give him a medal! White boy got a passing grade in private school history class!

MARCUS
See! Right there!

JAYME
I’m fucking with you.

MARCUS
What makes you think I went to private school?

JAYME
’Cause you’re willing to work for ten bucks an hour on a multi-million dollar movie set, so you either got a cushion of cash lying around, or someone to
help you foot the bills. Otherwise you’d be workin’ in construction or a restaurant like anybody else.

MARCUS
Psh, yeah right.

JAYME
Nothin’ wrong with honest work. It pays better, too.

Marcus scoffs at this, and turns his attention instead to the kitchenette.

MARCUS
Where are the cups? I got some wicked cotton mouth going/ on right now and —

Jayme points at a cabinet as she goes back to her own laptop.

JAYME
Straws are on the first shelf right below.

MARCUS
Thanks.

Marcus makes too much noise as he gets a cup. He doesn’t use a straw, but does slam the cabinet. He fills the cup in the sink and gulps loudly as he eyes another tablet lying in the kitchen. He finishes his water, refills, takes another gulp as he tries to access this other tablet.

JAYME
You know this ain’t your home, right?

MARCUS
Yeah?

JAYME
You know it’s like, really obnoxious when you’re trying to get some work done during a terrorist attack and some pantsless white boy starts slamming cabinets and lapping up water like a dog, right?

MARCUS
Okay, so you’re not much for hospitality. Got it.

It takes some effort, but Jayme manages to ignore this. She continues typing away at her laptop. Beat.

MARCUS (cont’d)
What are you working on?

JAYME
(really unenthused)
My Masters thesis.

MARCUS
Well what’s it about?

JAYME
The disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized people: women, POCs, queer folk, etc.

MARCUS
Right.
(beat)
You know how weather works right? I mean obviously global warming is real — I’m not like one of those climate deniers but — the weather doesn’t target
anyone worse/ than someone else —

JAYME
Climate. Not weather. Like the entire ecological structure of our planet. Ever wonder why carbon emissions are worse around impoverished communities? How black folks always gotta wait around for disaster relief/ hello Katrina?

MARCUS
I’ve literally never thought about any of that.

JAYME
And that’s exactly my point.

CORI enters from the bedroom. She’s a little disheveled in her pajamas.

CORI
Oh!

MARCUS
Hey!

CORI
Hey. I didn’t know you were still here.

MARCUS
Where else was I gonna go?

CORI
I don’t — um — Jayme! Have you met…?

MARCUS
Marcus?

CORI
Marcus. Sorry.

JAYME
Have you?

CORI
What do you — oh. No, I — sorry, I — sorry.

MARCUS
It’s okay.

CORI
No,/ it’s —

MARCUS
It’s fine.

CORI
It’s fine. Right. It is.
(beat)
What are you doing?

MARCUS
Besides putting my foot in my mouth? Good question.

CORI
I mean, why are you still here?/ I thought —

MARCUS
I thought it’d be rude to just get up and leave.

CORI
Oh. Well that’s — I appreciate that.

MARCUS
And I can’t go to work, anyway so/ there’s nowhere —

CORI
Why, what’s going on?

Marcus motions to the TV, then turns back to find a snack.

JAYME
Everything you’re seeing here’s about thirty, forty minutes behind what they’re all saying online.

CORI
All who’s saying?

JAYME
Um, the Internet? Twitter, Reddit, Facebook … Tumblr’s still GIFs from last week’s “Doctor Who.”

CORI
So why have the TV on at all?

JAYME
Well I was gonna put some “Buffy” on ’til Captain Underpants over here stumbled in and started at me all about his crush on Bradley Cooper.

MARCUS
What?/ That’s not —

CORI
I thought you had to be on set this morning?

MARCUS
Oh sure, remember that but not my fucking name.

JAYME
Are you always this mopey after one night stands?

MARCUS
I don’t know, could be I woke up with a girl who doesn’t know my name and now I’ve lost my fucking job and there’s a god damn terrorist running through the neighborhood so the army’s gone and shut the city down. I’d say that makes for a stressful situation.

CORI
They brought the army in?

JAYME
I think it’s technically the National Guard. But I’m guessing all the tanks and shit belong to the cops and the staties. I assume it’s all SWAT/ gear but —

CORI
No, no, SWAT gear’s not the cops. They’re a private corporation, outsourced through some bullshit legal syndicate. At least cops have some accountability,
unlike the fucking billion dollar, militarized “tactical law enforcement” industry which is oh-so conveniently immune to FOIA requests and yet somehow still counts as a fucking tax write-off for domestic war profiteers/ with “public safety” agendas that —

MARCUS
Whoa. Whoa. Where the hell did that come from?

JAYME
What, did you just skip the conversation last night and get straight to the too-loud fucking?

Jayme gets up and checks the fridge. She takes something out — OJ maybe,
then a bottle of beer. Perhaps a quarter-loaf of bread. She examines each item, then just…puts it back.

MARCUS
You talked a little bit about your librarian onion thing, but nothing about some/ paranoid InfoWars —

CORI
It’s not paranoid. It’s frighteningly/ logical if —

JAYME
No really, what else did you talk about? She can’t go five minutes talking to me without bringing up her CIA surveillance shit. Please! Tell/ me your secret!

CORI
It’s/ not CIA —

MARCUS
Um, mostly we just told Dead Baby jokes. Like hey, what’s the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?
(beat)
You can’t use a pitchfork on the bowling balls.

Crickets. Jayme is mostly disgusted, but a little entertained and ashamed
of it — at least enough to finish her refrigerator ritual. Cori does her best to hold her own laughter in.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Oh come on, you laughed at that one last night.

CORI
Yeah, well, I was drunk. Laughed at a lot of things.

MARCUS
Hey, I was drunk, too. I still remembered that onion router thing. Even if I didn’t exactly understand it.

CORI
(eyeroll-y)
You ping your Internet signal back-and-forth between a bunch of different IP address exit nodes, that way your source goes through layers, like an onion, which helps to mask your actual location. I’m not sure how much more straight-forward/ it could be —

MARCUS
Yeah I’m not following.

JAYME
I don’t get it either & she’s tried a million times.

CORI
It’s really not that hard.

MARCUS
Pretty sure it is.

CORI
Yeah, for a n00b.

MARCUS
Did you just l33tspeak me?

CORI
Bitch, I pwn3d you.

There is a loud EXPLOSION outside. Cori rushes over to the window to see.

MARCUS
What the fuck was that?

JAYME
I don’t know —

CORI
And that would be a bomb-disarming robot taking out a pair of suspicious looking trashcans while two SWAT cops stand around and laugh. NBD. It’s 2013 and that’s an actual sentence that describes our lives.
(to Marcus)
You really are stuck here, huh?

MARCUS
Looks like.

CORI
All of us. We’re all just stuck here indefinitely.

JAYME
That’s what the news said. Menino/ released some —

CORI
He’s not our mayor. He’s Boston’s mayor. He has no jurisdiction in Watertown. Or shouldn’t.

JAYME
Okay, well, whatever it is, there’s a terrorist out there. You ask me, we’re better safe than sorry.

Jayme puts her headphones in to focus. Cori looks to Marcus, who offers her a useless but endearing shrug.

CORI
Right. I need some black sludge in my veins if I’m gonna get through a life of martial law. Anyone else?

BLACKOUT

INTERLUDE: MARCUS

Username OReallyUs. Twenty — no, thirty-three. Straight, male. Relationship Status...leave that blank. Looking for women near Boston who want to have a good time, for dating, casual hookups, whatever.

My self summary? "I'm a man of wealth and taste."

What I'm doing with my life, I'm a filmmaker. Worked on pretty much every major movie that's come through the Northeast these last few years. Putting the finishing touches on a trilogy of screenplays about a — well, let's save that for the first date, yeah?

I'm really good at: being awesome. Also trivia.

The first things people usually notice about me: my nose. Wait is it okay to make a Jew joke here?

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food. Oh man. Where to begin? Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Ben Affleck which sounds kind of weird but he is a good director. For books, Dave Eggers, Chuck Klosterman, Salinger, Ender's Game. That sorta stuff. Oh, and David Foster Wallace, obviously. Music, I'm into Brand New, Coldplay, Arcade Fire. Rage Against the Machine. My Chemical Romance. And Wu-Tang. And finally there's really only one option for favorite food and that's General Gao's, but only when it's spelled the proper way (I can taste the difference).

The six things I could never do without. Well, movies. Music. The red Squier Strat that I've had since I was 12. Pants maybe? No that's...yeah I'll leave it, that's funny. And of course my iPhone. We're all addicted, I'm just not ashamed to admit it.

On a typical Friday night I am: drinking alcohol and/or cursing the MBTA. Often both at the same time.

The most private thing I'm willing to admit. Oh boy. That's...funny you should ask! That's a good answer.

And finally, "you should message me if." You know a good dead baby joke I haven't heard before.

ACT 2

Several hours later. Outside, the sound of blackhawk helicopters flying way too close overhead. Inside, coffee cups and napkins litter the room. JAYME sits at the kitchen table, trying and failing to concentrate on her laptop, occasionally mumbling to herself and/or checking on her phone or the blaring TV. MARCUS sits on the couch, slightly tense and out of place and still not wearing pants while CORI paces around the room with her tablet.

CORI
…not just books, it’s — a free society requires safe and open access to information. It’s not my business if they just use it to torrent “Doctor Who.”

MARCUS
So you became a librarian to help kids break the law?

CORI
Let’s say someone’s in an abusive relationship, and they can’t use the PC at home without their partner finding out. That’s what the library is for. Or to apply for jobs when you need to get away from some shitty. Maybe they’re gay, or trans, or trying to explore and figure that out. Whatever the reason, a libraries are about privacy and/ free information —

JAYME
Fucking — aargh!
(beat)
Cori? Can you check — is our WiFi down?

CORI
(taking out her phone)
Shit. You don’t think they launched a DDoS on the cell towers, do you? Block the bomber’s data access —
(beat, checks her phone)
No okay, LTE is fine. Unless the blackhawks have a stingray box and they’re trying to corner him into an MitM attack/ to figure —

JAYME
Cori. WiFi.

CORI
Right, sorry, I/ thought you were —

JAYME
I know you got your crazyass triple backup security shit but I’m pretty sure the network’s down and I’m not even sure the last time I saved/ this draft so —

MARCUS
(eyeing all the other tech in the room while he speaks)
Are you in GoogleDocs or Word? AutoSave/ should —

CORI
(rushing to Jayme’s side)
Not now.
(to Jayme)
Hey, we didn’t lose anything yet, okay?

JAYME
But I don’t know —

CORI
I’ll reset the router, you’ll be fine. Unless they put up a Firewall, or they’re eating/ bandwidth —

JAYME
Cori. Please. Not now.

CORI
Right.

Cori exits back towards her room. Jayme follows, leaving her phone. As soon as they’re out of sight, Marcus rushes over and grabs Cori’s tablet. He flips it open…but it’s locked. Shit.

JAYME (OFF)
The hell kinda TARDIS thing you got back here?

CORI (OFF)
It’s a server. That’s what servers look like.

Marcus runs back to the kitchen table. He grabs Jayme’s phone, frantically scrolling through — then a lightbulb hits him.

JAYME (OFF)
Remind me why we couldn’t use my Apple Airport?

CORI (OFF)
I told you. Exit nodes. Think of it like a physical security feature. People forget that data/exists in —

JAYME (OFF)
Is that why Netflix always thinks that I’m in Canada?

Marcus sits down at the computer, peering over his shoulder to make sure the women are still in the bedroom. He taps the phone again, then turns to the laptop, typing quickly but trying to stay quiet.

CORI (OFF)
Hold on, just let me send a test packet through —

JAYME (OFF)
Whatever happened to turn-it-off-and-turn-it-back-on-again?

CORI (OFF)
That can cause long-term damage to the motherboard if you do it too often. This is safer than killing off whatever process got the hiccups in the first place, which, if you want to/ make sure your data’s intact —

JAYME (OFF)
Okay just…make it work.

CORI (OFF)
That’s what I’m doing.

Marcus stops typing and perks up. Something else on the laptop just caught his attention…

CORI (OFF)
Aaaannd SkyNet is sentient!
(beat)
That means we’re back/ online.

JAYME (OFF)
I got it.

Marcus rushes to complete his task. With a flourish, he hits “send” right as they re-enter…

MARCUS
Oh/ hey —

JAYME
What are you doing?

MARCUS
Sorry, there was — um — right when the WiFi came back on, there was — something popped on the screen —

Jayme pushes Marcus out of the way and checks the computer.

JAYME
(taking back her laptop)
You know you shouldn’t be snooping on people’s laptops like that. I don’t know what you’re doing on there, you could’ve hacked my accounts or some shit.

CORI
See, that’s why you should use a 2-step password.

JAYME
I don’t need a 2-step password ’cause no one should be using it but me!

CORI
But what if it gets stolen?

JAYME
Did you delete my paper? Tell me you did not delete/ my paper.

MARCUS
Why would I delete your paper? Of all things, what would I possibly gain/ by deleting someone’s paper?

CORI
If anything, he was probably trying to steal your identity. Occam’s Razor. Do you save your/ passwords —

JAYME
Is this some kinda scam? Like you fuck some girl just so you can sneak around and steal/ some shit from —

CORI
Do you save your passwords in the browser?

JAYME
Yes!

CORI
What about your credit card info?

JAYME
Probably?

CORI
And you have one-click payments set on Amazon.

JAYME
So?

CORI
So I’m just saying. If someone finds your laptop, they can open it without a problem, log into your browser — which already thinks it’s you — then order a whole bunch of shit on Amazon and ship it somewhere else, then put it all back before you ever notice.

JAYME
That’s it, I’m calling the cops.

MARCUS
Who’s gonna come? You think they’re gonna drop their god damn terror hunt for an awkward morning after?

JAYME
They might spare a guy for grand larceny.

MARCUS
I didn’t steal anything, okay?! Or delete your — I don’t even care about inner city carbon/ blahdiblah —

JAYME
Yeah, no one does. That’s my fucking point.

MARCUS
There was a notification on the screen. It was about the terrorist so I clicked it. Okay? That’s all!

Jayme takes her laptop back, pulling it away from prying eyes.

JAYME
Okay. My paper’s still intact.
(she types a little more)
Whoa. Looks like those Reddit guys were way off.

MARCUS
What Reddit/ guys?

CORI
Can we not talk about Reddit?

MARCUS
What’s wrong with Reddit? Or is this/ another crazy —

CORI
Nothing’s wrong with Reddit/, at least in theory —

JAYME
She was friends with the founder/ or whatever.

CORI
He wasn’t the founder, but he was — my friend Aaron, was part of that scene. He died a few/ months back —

MARCUS
Oh shit,/ I’m sorry.

CORI
Yeah. Me too.

MARCUS
I didn’t know.

CORI
Yeah well, “My friend got arrested for using a free public wifi network and the Feds were so hellbent on making an example out of him that he hanged himself instead” isn’t really the kind of thing you slip into conversation between dead baby jokes.

MARCUS
That’s fair.

JAYME
Well whatever the source is: that Pakistani kid at Brown who went missing last month? It wasn’t him — obviously, he’s Pakistani and not fucking Chechen which is literally Caucasian/ even if they’re both —

MARCUS
(softly; to himself)
Again with the race/ shit —

JAYME
Shut up. Point is, a buncha people online had him pegged as the bomber, like he’d run off ahead of time to prepare for his big attack. But it turns out he’s still missing. Can you imagine what his folks are going through? All scared for their kid, now even more freaked out that he might be a terrorist, only to be relieved, I guess, that he’s still missing.

CORI
That’s exactly the problem. All this information at our fingertips, and we use it to persecute people for no good reason, instead of making progress. It’s all about power, not safety. We’re all as blind as ever, but now we have all this data so we think we know our shit. When really we’re just grasping for needles in a cosmic haystack with our thumbs stuck up our asses.
(she notices Jayme’s phone…)
Jayme — did you switch your phone to tethering before or after the router went down?

JAYME
“Tethering?”

CORI
You convert your cellular data into WIFi, using the phone as a hotspot so you can share/ the signal —

JAYME
Why would you think I’d know how to do that?

CORI
’Cause it’s a built-in feature? Also it’s on now.

Cori and Jayme look at Marcus.

MARCUS
I thought — I was trying to help. You’d said that cellular was fine, and if the WiFi worked, I thought I’d try to back up Jayme’s files, just in case. And I may have checked Facebook briefly, just so I could send a quick message. That was it. My phone’s dead, so ya know — I wanted to check — I didn’t save my passwords or, I kept it all on private/ browsing —

CORI
Which is fine, unless she logged your keystrokes.

MARCUS
Wait, you said, she saves all her passwords/ and —

CORI
Maybe I logged on to her computer and installed some malware so that I could log her keystrokes.

JAYME
Seriously?

CORI
No. Maybe. No. I mean yes, I am kidding. I didn’t —

MARCUS
You are actually crazy. Like, batshit. Of course you are, with all your fucked up dead/ baby jokes —

CORI
Fuck you.

Cori grabs the laptop from Jayme and begins typing frantically, eyes darting back and forth between browser tabs.

MARCUS
Hey, what/ are you —

CORI
Jayme, can you help? I’m trying to protect your shit.

JAYME
What’d you just say about the keystroke log whatever?

CORI
Jayme…!

Jayme snaps into action, grabbing a knife off the kitchen counter.

MARCUS
Wow, what/ the fuck —

JAYME
Who’d you message, huh? This one of those 2-way cons, where your partner shows up guns-blazing/ and helps —

MARCUS
Jesus Christ, I’ll take my chances with the tanks —
(notices Cori on the computer)
Wait/ how are you —

CORI
(hides the screen from Marcus)
When you first messaged me, I asked about your first pet’s name and the street that you grew up on.

MARCUS
Lucky Oakwood. You said it was a good porn star name. I thought you were hitting on me!/Which clearly —

CORI
Oh, please. No one’s that forward after two back-and-forths over OK Stupid.

JAYME
Depends what time of night.

MARCUS
How did/ you just —

CORI
Brute force. Social hacking. Every website asks the same damn security questions. You think I was really that interested in your high school mascot?

MARCUS
I just thought you were interested. In me.

CORI
No woman has to try that hard to get a guy to buy her drinks.

MARCUS
Wait, that was all that/ you were —

CORI
Oh. Of course. He was just messaging his fiancé.

Beat.

MARCUS
I don’t — What/ are you —

CORI
Katie Goodman? Junior partner at WilmerHale? Lives at 38 Phillips Street in Beacon Hill, a studio apartment that she bought for $528,000 back in ’08 — ooh, right when the economy tanked,a smart girl…

MARCUS
She’s not my — we broke up/ a long time ago and —

JAYME
Shit, this is way better than calling the cops. Now if you’ll excuse me, I got some environmental racism to deal with.

Jayme takes her laptop back so that she can get to work. Cori pulls out her cellphone, or a tablet, and starts scrolling through the information…

CORI
(looking at her cellphone)
Last night, 8:37pm. So about 20 minutes or so before we met up? “Watching the game at Josh’s house. Be home late. Don’t miss me too much.” Kate, 9:17pm. “Still at the office ugh. Have fun. Love u!” Marcus, 9:53pm. While we’re out together, mind you. “Love u too,” smiley face. Then Marcus,/ 11:19pm —

MARCUS
How did/ you…?

CORI
iMessage archives. All synced across the cloud. Also with geotagging, it’s pretty easy to figure out where you actually sent those texts from — which, as I know, was definitely not from Josh’s house.

MARCUS
You — you hacked my fucking accounts!

CORI
Um, yeah. Do you know what it’s like to be a woman on the Internet? The leap of faith it takes to meet up with a total stranger, even in a public place?

MARCUS
So what, that makes invasion of privacy okay?

CORI
If it means not being raped or murdered, yeah.

MARCUS
If you knew everything about you and you still met up with me, that makes you a hypocrite!

CORI
No, it makes me smart.

MARCUS
And you just happened to decide to go out with a guy who you knew, or thought you knew, was engaged? So that what, so that you could blackmail him later? Get some of that fat fiance lawyer cash?

CORI
Ha! I wish.

MARCUS
Jayme…?

JAYME
What?

MARCUS
Little help?

JAYME
Why?

Jayme closes the fridge empty-handed and goes back to her computer.

MARCUS
She won’t listen/ to me —

CORI
You know, talking past me like I’m not in the room doesn’t help your situation.

MARCUS
Fine. Let’s say you’re right. If I had a fiance — not saying I do or don’t, but — if I did, and you knew that going into our date, then that makes you a fucking whore, that you would sleep with a taken man.

JAYME
Whoa dude. You did not/ just go there —

CORI
Are you fucking serious? How is that on me?

MARCUS
Okay maybe that was a little out of line. But you knew! If you knew! And that means — you enabled it!

CORI
In case you didn’t notice, there was an insane-o police chase going on, because a pair of terrorists set a bomb off in my city, and now there’s FBI and SWAT troops crawling all over, tracking our every single move and I’ve been kind of freaking out for the last couple day and I decided that maybe, just maybe, I would try to get my mind off things. I had 41 fucking gigs of data on you, man! I didn’t have time to sort through that shit! I glanced at it briefly, figured you were poly or, like you said, recently single, and I said hey, let’s do this shit. ’Cause what’s more distracting than a few dead baby jokes? And even then, you still let me down.

MARCUS
Oh come on, the Santa one?

CORI
I heard that when I was 12.

MARCUS
Really? That’s a fucked up joke for a 12 year-old.

CORI
Did you know your birthday is her bank PIN? That’s kinda sweet, and not at all like a broken-up couple.

MARCUS
Okay fine it was pretty recent, okay? And we’re still in the process of untangling our lives from one another. She probably hasn’t had a chance to/ change —

CORI
You still live together though.

MARCUS
That’s part of it, too, I’m moving/ out of the —

CORI
Really?

MARCUS
Yes!

CORI
(scrolling through her phone)
Cause you haven’t emailed anyone about it. Realtors, room mates, anything/ like that.

MARCUS
I haven’t found anything in my price range!

JAYME
There’s that ten bucks an hour again.

MARCUS
Oh, now you chime in.

JAYME
Hey, I’m on your side for this. People deserve to make a living wage. Even on a fancy Hollywood movie.

CORI
Maybe you shouldn’t have dropped three grand on that fancy Nikon SLR last month.

MARCUS
How did/ you…?

CORI
And exactly how long has “un-entanglement process” been going on? Because a quick scroll through the GPS data in your iMessages tells me you’ve been using the “I’m at Josh’s house, got too drunk so I’m gonna crash here, k love you!” excuse since…well, at least since iMessage started back in 2011.
(beat)
Also I can tell that you only use 2 fingers of your left hand on the keyboard, based on/ typing speeds —

MARCUS
So this is just what you do then? You hack every guy before you meet up with him?

CORI
No. Yes. Maybe. Sometimes?

MARCUS
You’re insane. No wonder you’re single. You think everything’s a fucking conspiracy. Wheels within wheels within wheels within schemes.

CORI
Well clearly for good reason…

MARCUS
You still went out with me. Still brought me home.

CORI
What can I say, dead babies get me weak in the knees.

Jayme picks up the remote, cranks up the volume on “Doctor Who.”

MARCUS
(to Jayme)
Seriously? Right now?

JAYME
Like I said, working on a paper. You know, something that has an impact on actual human lives, unlike your bullshit sob story. Familiar sounds help me focus, all right? And you’re in my house, so deal.

MARCUS
But I’m still on David/ Tennant —

JAYME
Well then maybe you should’ve stayed home with your girl last night and caught up with The Ponds.

Jayme goes to the fridge. Again. Marcus turns back to Cori, but she makes it clear that she’s over it.

BLACKOUT.

Interlude: Jayme

Username: Estanque Melodia. 31 year old female. Interested in men and women ’cause the options here are incredibly cisnormative. Relationship status single, obviously. That’s why I’m on a dating site. Maybe that’s not fair. Poly wanna bang, you know.

I’m looking for: partners, friends, lovers, and others. Near the 617, who are down for human rights and for hardcore geeking out. Take that as you will.

Self-summary: Bicoastal bisexual. Bring it.

What I’m doing with my life: getting my Masters in Public Health from a little school down the street.

I’m really good at watching Netflix. Chillin’. Maybe a little bit of both, or none ;-)

The first things people usually notice about me. Hopefully my cool nerdy t-shirts? Probably that I got a lotta thoughts going on.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food. I should answer all of that in one big go? Seriously? Well here goes. Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Space Captain Harlock, Torchwood, FLCL, Twin Peaks, Sherlock, um. Every iteration of Star Trek but especially DS9. Lost was okay for a few seasons. Same with Heroes. That’s good for now. Music is Kanye (#ProblematicFave). Janelle Monae. The Pillows, and way too many other weird Japanese bands — not to offend Japanese culture, I mean, but weird because you probably haven’t heard of them. But not like in a hipster way either, just — forget it. And favorite food is sushi. That one was easy.

The six things I could never do without. TV? Manga? Technology? Civil Rights? Shit, I don’t know. Financial aid refunds? And Pocky.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what would have happened in later seasons of Firefly if it hadn’t been cancelled so soon.

On a typical Friday night I am definitely not sitting on my couch alone and binge-watching sci-fi shows.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit. Oh boy. Didn’t I just do that? Pretty much everything here? Um. I’m a survivor of sexual assault. If that makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should stop and think about why that is. #StopTheShame

And you should message me if you believe in social justice and are willing to admit your own sexual attraction to Captain Jack Harkness.

Act 3

Mid-late-afternoon. The blackhawk helicopters overhead have grown louder and more intrusive. Police dogs bark in the distance, getting increasingly closer and closer. Empty beer bottles have joined the collection of trash and containers that fill the room. JAYME is at the table once again struggling to focus, while CORI stands by a window, sipping a beer as she stares outside. MARCUS sits on the couch, sober and clearly antsy but doing his best to contain it. It’s… clearly been an awkward couple hours.

MARCUS
Can I at least have a beer then, like the two of you? Or, ya know, put on Season 3? I don’t even know how the Tenth Doctor left the show, or/ where Martha —

CORI
No.

JAYME
(absently)
No way.

MARCUS
Oh come on.

CORI
No.

MARCUS
What if I order take out?

CORI
You carry a wallet around in your underwear?

MARCUS
Well, no, but my/ pants are in the other —

CORI
We’re Breathairians. We subsist entirely on oxygen.

MARCUS
Okay well that’s bullshit ‘cause/ you just ate —

CORI
No.

MARCUS
Seriously?

CORI
In case you didn’t notice, there’s a really fucked up crisis outside, which means we have to ration things. And unfortunately, we didn’t expect to be graced by the presence of were a little shitbag/ Spielberg on —

MARCUS
Can I just use something to get in touch with someone then? Literally anything of/ the eighteen-thousand —

CORI
No.

MARCUS
There are three laptops and two tablets in a two bedroom apartment! You can share one screen with me for just five minutes!

CORI
Too bad I don’t trust you with my shit.

MARCUS
For the last time, I didn’t lie.

CORI
I don’t care.

MARCUS
Look, I’m not enjoying this any more than you are, but if I’m gonna be stuck here for the rest of the afternoon, we/ may as well at least try to be —

CORI
What makes you think it’s just for this afternoon?

MARCUS
(This never occurred to him)
You think we could be stuck here even longer?

CORI
I’m saying some people in this country have been trapped like this for years, and they’ll stay scared even after all the cops go home from this adventure.
(beat)
Also this is kind of an unprecedented use of a militarized police state and so I’m not really sure what to expect but my instincts tell me that it’s not looking good for any of us.

Marcus slumps back in defeat for a moment, then perks up and goes to check the refrigerator himself.

MARCUS
Well then fuck this.

CORI
Excuse me? What are you doing?

MARCUS
Getting a beer. Or something, my/ blood sugar is —

JAYME
Would you knock it off? Both of you! I’m trying to finish this god damn paper, so I can actually help people. Like real people, not whatever navel-gazing bullshit the two of you are on about, bickering like some old couple. There’s too much noise right and all I hear is that little thought in my head saying that I’m trapped and gonna starve to death, and one of those things might even be true but I can’t tell the fucking difference right now between the noise and sound and every stupid voice and all I’m saying is there’s bigger things than you right now so just shut up shut up shut up shut up!

CORI
(goes to comfort Jayme)
Hey. We got plenty of food. Non-perishable. Don’t worry. And your thesis isn’t due ’til May, right?

JAYME
Yeah.

CORI
So you’re good. Okay? You’re good.

JAYME
I know that. My head don’t know that, not/ right now.

The familiar pop of a beer cap as Marcus cracks one open, takes a swig. Cori and Jayme both glare at him.

MARCUS
What, is she the only one who can open the fridge?

CORI
It’s our home.

MARCUS
Yeah, and you’re being shitty hosts! Why is it okay that she keeps getting up to the fridge and taking things out and putting ‘em/ back when I can’t even —

CORI
I don’t know, why aren’t you wearing pants? Why do guys think it’s cool to cheat and then lie about it? Why do we give up our rights for safety? Why are dead baby jokes so fucking funny? Why do we spend billions of dollars on anti-terrorism efforts and surveillance schemes to make ourselves feel better even though they don’t actually do anything to make us any safer? Life is full of difficult questions.
(beat; to Marcus:)
But seriously, why aren’t you wearing pants?

MARCUS
I came out to use the bathroom, and then Jayme was there, and you were still asleep, and then so I…

Marcus silently concedes, and slinks away to the bedroom. Once he’s gone, Cori lets out a sigh of relief then goes to the window to make a phone call…but it doesn’t go through.

CORI
God dammit!

JAYME
Who are you trying to call right now?

CORI
CVS,/ fucking —

JAYME
What, you got a craving for an Arizona tallboy?

CORI
More like a craving to not have a fetus inside me.

JAYME
Oh. Wait —

CORI
Yeah.

JAYME
How’d that/ happen?

CORI
I don’t know, it was some dumb drunk dumb mistake. Fuck. Of course. Religious radicals terrorize vaginas every day. Why would today/ be any different?

JAYME
Why are you just calling now then?

CORI
Because I was hoping this whole lock down thing was just a temporary situation, and I didn’t want to make things even weirder with our unexpected guest.

JAYME
Wait, did he/ rape you?

CORI
No! No,/ that’s not —

JAYME
Even if you were drunk,/ there needs to be consent —

CORI
It was totally on the level. Really. It’s just, it’s been a weird week and then you’re in the mood, in the moment, and you say things, shit happens, and anyway that’s why God made morning after pills.

JAYME
Right. And God made ’em with a three-day grace period, so you got nothing to worry about, right?

CORI
What if we’re stuck here for 3 more days? With him?

JAYME
Shit. I didn’t think — we don’t have enough food —

CORI
No, I didn’t mean it like that,/ I just —

JAYME
No, right. I know. Okay. No I’m freaked, but okay. We can do this. Um. There’s gotta be a regular hospital open somewhere, right? Maybe / there’s a pharmacy —

CORI
I don’t think they keep a stash of ella at the ER. This is the epitome of trading privacy for safety.

Marcus re-enters, now with pants.

MARCUS
Thomas Jefferson, right? No, Ben Franklin! That’s right. You know that was actually about tax disputes? The Penn family — of, you know “Pennsylvania” — they were trying to buy their way out of being taxed during the French and Indian War because they were still living in England. So they were literally trading money for safety, even though they didn’t live there, but they didn’t want anyone to know they weren’t living there, but they also didn’t want to spend the money. So really that saying doesn’t mean what people think it does.

JAYME
Cool story, bro.

MARCUS
Sorry. I like trivia, and tend to kinda run with it. My dad was a big history buff. He’s a lawyer, so.

JAYME
Of course he was.

MARCUS
Is that some kinda Jew joke?

Jayme just rolls her eyes and goes to the refrigerator.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Again with the fucking refrigerator…
(to Cori)
Now that I have pants on, can we talk? Like adults?

CORI
Has that line ever worked for you before?
Cori crosses over to the window to survey the scene outside.

MARCUS
Does no one here understand how hospitality works?

CORI
You’re just lucky we’re letting you stay here.

MARCUS
Am I though?

CORI
Um, yes? Even if we did ignore our country’s blatant history of police brutality — the private corporation decked in stormtrooper armor doesn’t bother you?

MARCUS
Not as much as the crazy gun-toting Muslim does.

JAYME
I so much as mention the color of my skin, and you’re all on about “pulling the race card.” So why you gotta go and specify the “Muslim” part then?

MARCUS
Um, because the gun-toting terrorist in question is a fucking Muslim. It’s an accurate descriptor. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s the truth.

CORI
How do you know?

MARCUS
How do I know…?

CORI
That he’s Muslim. That radical Islam is the culprit.

MARCUS
Because it’s on the Internet! Which is the same as the television! Except right now when there’s Daleks.

CORI
And you trust the TV and the Internet?

MARCUS
I trust it when there’s security footage of two Chechen brothers dropping backpacks at the bomb site.

JAYME
There we go with the “Chechen Brothers” bullshit…

MARCUS
Because that’s what they are.

JAYME
(pulling up photos on her laptop)
You ask me, they’re both light-skinned dudes with dark wavy hair look like they’re in some indie rock band. Hell, he could be you! But no, it’s always gotta be some “Other.” Oh, he’s Chechen. Oh, he’s a Muslim. Oh, he’s got depression, or likes some angry white boy screamo shit and video games. But white folks as a whole, they’re totally safe. Yup. Mm-hm. Sure. That’s why no one ever says “Oh, that Strokes-looking motherfucker’s gonna shoot up a school today” — even though the odds weigh heavy in your favor.

MARCUS
I’m not white. I’m fucking Jewish. And/ white, but —

CORI
Yeah. We know. Your dad’s a lawyer and you’re circumcized. Whoopdy-doo!

JAYME
I can’t with this right now.

MARCUS
But I’ve never killed anyone. You’re saying that just because I have white skin and dark hair that I’m exactly like these Chechen guys, or the Columbine kids, or the one who shot the movie theatre. But one, that’s not fair/ and two, I’ve never —

JAYME
Oh what an awful thought, to be lumped in with every
bad guy who looks remotely like you.

MARCUS
And two, I’ve never killed anyone.

CORI
Well that totally makes up for all your other flaws.

MARCUS
It should!

CORI
Plausible deniability for not being a homocidial maniac is a pretty low bar for ethical standards. Besides, it’s not like you haven’t looked it up.

MARCUS
What?

CORI
You’ve spent a lot of time researching the way bomb shrapnel tears a body apart — in excruciating detail, I might add. Maybe it was just to make a squib for a movie shoot. Really work that maximum realism into your action sequences. Maybe that’s also why you were looking up the difference between hollow point and mushroom slug bullets. Or maybe not. I don’t know.

MARCUS
Okay, now you’re just fucking with me.

CORI
Am I? Maybe you should have redirected your IP address, or at the very least, turned on private browsing so Google and Facebook couldn’t track your curious interest in manslaughter for ads.

MARCUS
And what would I find if I hacked your shit, huh?

CORI
Rainbows and puppies and Rickrolls, because I’m not a dumbass.

MARCUS
(to Jayme)
That page I showed earlier, with the guy’s twitter?

JAYME
(bringing up the page)
Shit, that’s right! What was he saying there again?

MARCUS
(reads over Jayme’s shoulder)
There! Right after the bombs, he tweeted: “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people.” Then: “There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority.”

CORI
Okay.

MARCUS
“Okay?” That’s — right fucking there! That is proof, right there, that these dudes meant business. And a few days before that: “Most of you are conditioned by the media.” “If you have the knowledge and the inspiration all that’s left is to take action.” March 10, “Never underestimate the rebel with a cause.” September 1, “Idk why it’s hard for so many of you to accept that 9/11 was an inside job, I mean I guess fuck the facts y’all are some real #patriots #gethip”

CORI
How is that proof?

JAYME
Also can you not read over my shoulder?

MARCUS
How is that…Dude practically admitted right there that he wants to fuck shit up! Also sorry.

CORI
But he didn’t.

MARCUS
But he did.

CORI
But he didn’t.

MARCUS
Except where he did?

CORI
Have you ever had a problem with this country? I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that neither one of you was a big fan of George Dubya.

MARCUS
That’d be true, yeah.

JAYME
Kanye said it best.

CORI
If the Internet worked then like it does now — with smartphones and Facebook and crap — all it takes it one dumb bitching about Bush, and bam. Someone digs that up as proof that you’re a terrorist — that the dark-haired white guy in the hat is you. And now they have the proof to back it up. It’s even worse when you’re vaguely ethnic and you meet a guy who met a guy at a party one time who’s Facebook friends with the wife of some al Qaeda fuck, and/ then they have —

MARCUS
Okay I think you’re forgetting that little something called “Freedom of Speech?” You know, how the government can’t punish us just for saying a thing?

JAYME
Not everyone gets the same rights as you on paper.

CORI
Did you not see the crazyass police warzone outside?

MARCUS
The police exist to serve and protect. That’s their entire purpose. Even when it is a little overboard.

JAYME
Have you ever spoken to a cop?

MARCUS
Yes.

JAYME
You ever been black and spoken to a cop?

MARCUS
No?

JAYME
Then shut the fuck up.

CORI
The police, and a fucking armed corporation that isn’t held to any kind of accountability, they’ve commandeered a public space and they’re forcing themselves onto people’s/ private property —

MARCUS
To catch a terrorist! That’s not irrational!

CORI
Look outside, Marcus. That, right there? That is not how “freedom of speech” should look!

MARCUS
Well, no one’s stopping me from speaking here, so…

CORI
They’re forcing you inside! Freedom of movement is a part of self-expression under the/ UN Human Rights —

MARCUS
Oh look! Now I’m dancing! No one’s stopping me!

JAYME
Look, you know I got no love for the cops, but he’s got a point. Nobody’s holding us at gunpoint, telling us to stay inside. Shit, have you ever worked in government? You seen how bureaucracy works? It takes fourteen people to order more printer paper, and it still takes a month. You think they can orchestrate some crazy-ass fakeout like that? We’re talking three different things here: there’s conspiracy theories, there’s police corruption which is definitely a real thing but nowhere near as clandestine X-Files as you make it, and then there’s “crazy-fucking-terrorist-with-bombs-on-the-loose, could you please keep out our way so no one else gets hurt? K thanks.” Shit, can you imagine if this was Texas, or Oklahoma, one of those crazy open carry states? Motherfuckers’d be running around like it’s the Wild West, everyone with their god damn assault rifles/ playing cowboys and —

MARCUS
Which is misleading because they’re not fully automatic/ like everyone —

JAYME
Point is, it’s not an every-man-for-himself-shoot-em-up-free-for-all. For once I’m glad to see cops doing their actual jobs. I’d rather them get shot than me.
Jayme crosses to the fridge. Again.

MARCUS
I’m trapped in an apartment with one crazy bitch who thinks it’s 1984 and another who thinks it’s 1963. I would’ve been better off staying and jerking off.

CORI
We all/ would have.

MARCUS
What the fuck is up with you and the refrigerator?!

JAYME
What do you mean, nothing’s/ up with the fridge —

MARCUS
You keep getting up to check the fridge and then you don’t even take anything out. It’s weird. So I wanted to know, what’s in the fridge that you’re so obsessed with? I mean, if I’m gonna be/ stuck here —

JAYME
Nothing. Nothing’s in the fridge.

MARCUS
Nothing? I know that’s not true./ I just got a —

JAYME
(opens it again and looks)
Well no there’s food. OJ. Poland Springs. Box of wine. We got a few apples. A little bit of/ milk —

MARCUS
I’m not asking for the whole damn inventory! I just want to know what your deal is, and that we’re not gonna starve to death/ during all this bullshit —

JAYME
(nervous)
Why would that happen,/ why would you worry —

MARCUS
Fuck this shit. You’re both crazy. I’m outta here.

Marcus gets up and makes a dash for Jayme’s unattended cellphone on the table. Cori runs to intercept, and the two of them struggle for control. Jayme completes her fridge ritual and tries to figure the best way to help.

The fight is interrupted by a loud, sharp KNOCK on the door, followed by the sound of barking.

SEAN (OFF)
SWAT Unit! Please open up!

MARCUS
Oh fuck.

Marcus uses this distraction to yank the phone away from Cori for himself.

CORI
(shouting)
No! Thanks! That’s okay!

JAYME
Cori!

CORI
You want them in here?

Another loud knock.

SEAN (OFF)
Miss, I’m gonna have to ask you open the door.

CORI
Then I’m gonna have to ask you for a warrant.

MARCUS
She’s kidding, officer!

SEAN (OFF)
We get a warrant, this becomes a much bigger issue.

JAYME
We’re opening the door now, Officer. Just please keep the dogs outside. I have allergies, I can’t —

CORI
No we’re not. You have to come back with a warrant.
(to Jayme)
What are you doing?

JAYME
Trying not to get killed. You should do the same.

SEAN (OFF)
All due respect ma’am, I’ve been awake for 38 hours so do not test my fucking patience. If you have nothing to hide, open the door, or I’ll kick it down.

CORI
That’s illegal! You can’t —

Marcus covers her mouth.

MARCUS
(whispered)
Shut the fuck up!

CORI
(breaking free of Marcus)
Get off of me, you freak!

SEAN (OFF)
You have 30 seconds to comply or I’m coming in.

JAYME
I’m doing it.

CORI
Don’t…!

MARCUS
There’s not much of a choice.

JAYME
Officer, I’m gonna open the door now. But please, I’m begging you, please keep your dogs outside. I’m asking for my health. Is that all right with you?
(privately)
I fuckin’ hate dogs.

A brief pause, then:

SEAN (OFF)
I’ll agree to keep the dog outside as long as I receive your full cooperation. Now open the door.

JAYME
Sir, yes sir. Sir.

CORI
Jayme don’t —

No sooner does she open the door then SEAN, a SWAT trooper, storms in with his rifle raised. The sound of barking dogs is only muffled when he slams the door behind him. He trashes the room, searching for…something.

SEAN
Hands up! All of you!

Jayme complies; Marcus and Cori don’t.

CORI
Oh come on.

JAYME
Do what he says. Just cooperate and we get it done.

SEAN
(to Marcus)
Who lives here, you? What are they doing here?

MARCUS
No, sir. I don’t — this is their place, I’m just —

CORI
Of course you’d think it’s/ the guy’s house.

SEAN
Where is he?!

JAYME
Where is who?

MARCUS
Hey man, maybe go a little easier? This/ is their —

CORI
Oh now Mr. Chivalrous.

MARCUS
I’m trying to help!

CORI
I don’t want your help.
(to Sean)
Officer! Arrest this man!

MARCUS
What?

SEAN
The city’s on lockdown and you want me to step in for some domestic bullshit? Put your god damn hands up!

Sean points his rifle alternately at Marcus, who puts his hands up, and Cori, who doesn’t.

CORI
(pointing to Jayme)
It’s her laptop! And her phone!

MARCUS
One call! That’s all I want to make!

SEAN
(suddenly soft)
That doesn’t sound unreasonable. People wanna know each other’s safe,/ you know?

CORI
We’re not safe! With him! He looks up all kinds of fucked up things on the Internet!

MARCUS
What the — what are you doing?!

Cori shows a tablet to the cop, while he holds Marcus at gun point.

CORI
All this morbid bullet/ and bomb shit —

MARCUS
I told you, that was research!

CORI
Some fucked up Muslim propaganda search history…

MARCUS
For my screenplay! It’s a dystopian re-imagining of the Israel-Palestine —

JAYME
Look, I get it, but this is going too/ far, Cori —

CORI
Hell, he even bought a pressure cooker in December.

MARCUS
(dropping his hands)
For my mom! For Hanukkah — this is crazy! Officer, I swear, I barely know this/ girl, I —

JAYME
Cori, I don’t think/ this is funny —

CORI
Idunno, light skin, dark hair…put a baseball cap on him — white or black, doesn’t matter — and suddenly he’s lookin’ a lot like those bomber guys outside…

SEAN
Put your fucking hands back up! You got ID?

Sean jabs the rifle into Marcus, who complies and is about two seconds away from shitting himself. The officer frisks him until he finds a wallet. He checks the ID with a snarl.

SEAN (cont’d)
You think this is fucking funny, miss?

CORI
Idunno, you’re the one just stormed in my apartment with your shiny metal dick out like a big damn hero.

SEAN
You’re impeding a federal investigation.

CORI
I am doing no such thing. You’re not a government employee, and you don’t even have a warrant,/ so —

SEAN
You oughta respect the people who put their lives on the line to protect your right to be a psycho bitch.

CORI
There’s private data on that phone! He could have stolen it, or — or committed identity fraud —

SEAN
Where’s the fucking gun?

JAYME
Gun? What? No, are you kidding?

Sean lifts his rifle again, pointing it at Cori this time.

SEAN
The dogs smelled powder. Show me where it is, that you got the proper paperwork, and I’ll be on my way.

CORI
Well we would show you around but you just kinda barged in here and started smashing/ shit so —

SEAN
Enough of your smartass fucking games, little girl! You got something to hide? A bomb? A gun? Show me!

JAYME
Officer, I promise, there is — no one has a weapon —

SEAN
Then you won’t mind if I look around some more.

Sean shoves the furniture aside, flipping over chairs and tables throwing pillows across the room.

JAYME
Cori, what are you doing? Officer, please be careful, sir, there’s/ lots of —

Officer Sean flips the kitchen table, sending Jayme’s laptop smashing to the ground.

JAYME (cont’d)
(in shock)
No…

CORI
Look, fine! Okay! I have a gun. Okay? I have a gun.

SEAN
Yeah? You lying to me now, or were you lying before?

CORI
Never said I didn’t have gun. Just didn’t say I did.

SEAN
You need to learn to shut the fuck up and cooperate when there’s a terrorist on the loose and an officer of the law shows up with a motherfucking weapon. Now quit fucking around and show me what I want to see.

MARCUS
You own a gun?

CORI
You know you technically need a warrant for this.

SEAN
My gun disagrees.

Beat. I mean, he’s got a point.

CORI
Fine. I’ll show you.

BLACK OUT

Interlude: Sean

Username SoxySully02125. I’m a male, gay, and relationship status is…let’s just leave that blank.

I am looking for someone to share in an adventure.

My self-summary: I am someone looking for love.

What I’m doing with my life. I am a professional …work GIF?

I’m really good at: falling in love and eating donuts. Wow that one actually makes sense? For a cop.

The first thing people usually notice about me. I look like a potato-moose-surgeon-man. The fuck…?

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food. A good book is like a good friend worth melting for. My favorite movie is in Spanish. Is in French. Is Titanic because…is Fast & Curious. Oops typo. No I’ll leave that though. My favorite TV show is in Spanish. What the Hell is with the Spanish? My favorite music is your face. That’s good! All right. And my favorite food is…pizza. In Spanish. Again.

Six things I could never do without? Your love. You baby. You. You song. Shoulda seen that one coming.

I spend a lot of time thinking about. I am thinking about you in Spanish. Of course that comes up first. Hey, maybe I’ll find me a cute Jesús. Then at least my mother would approve.

On a typical Friday night I am: funny! I am examples? I am Yahoo Answers. Okay.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit? Boston boy, born and bred. I’m a cop from a whole big family of them. So maybe you’ll understand why I gotta be careful, and why I filled out all those answers with the first thing that came up on Google autofill. So none of that’s really me. But c’mon, that’s clever, right? You like that? Yeah you do.

You should message me if: you’re less into justice, more into just us. Winky face, motherfucker. Done.

Act Four

A little while later. Cori is in the midst of cleaning up the mess made by Officer Sullivan while Marcus trails her, occasionally helping but not really. Meanwhile, Jayme sits on the couch with a small pink six-shooter laid in front of her, trying to pull herself together.

MARCUS
He shoved a fucking gun in my face!

CORI
Now you know how the rest of us feel about cops.

MARCUS
But you egged him/ on.

CORI
Did Jayme egg him on? Did she/ deserve any asshole —

MARCUS
No/ but —

CORI
No buts! Case is closed. Get over yourself. You’re not special, and that cop would’ve been a dick to anyone/ who was here, regardless of —

MARCUS
You told him I was a terrorist!

CORI
Did you see your face? It was fucking hilarious!

MARCUS
That’s wasn’t funny. He could’ve killed me!

Jayme perks up at this, and hesitantly reaches toward the gun before her.

CORI
He didn’t.

MARCUS
But he could have!

CORI
He wasn’t going to. Yeah he was rougher than even I woulda though. But you still weren’t Muslimy enough.

MARCUS
What does that mean?

CORI
Do you want to be more Muslimy?

MARCUS
You told him I was looking up bombs and, and radical Muslim texts/ and shit like that.

CORI
Well you were.

MARCUS
Yes, but it was different, not/like you were saying —

Jayme picks the gun up. She examines its weight and heft with fearful admiration.

CORI
This whole digital paper trail you left behind — that we all leave behind? It’s the same as the news reporting on these guys’ search histories and travel logs. We’re collecting all this information — cell phone data, search history, everything. And there’s just too much of it to handle, so that finding anything relevant or useful is like searching for a needle in a cosmic haystack. But they gotta prove results, right? So they ignore the obvious patterns — like, say, dark-haired white guys shooting up schools — and instead they focus on inane details like, who just googled some extremist Muslim doctrine. Or, you know. When your friend exploits an existing loophole in a University network for academic articles and…
(beat)
The point is: data has no context. If someone thinks you’re up to something, or what you’re doing scares someone in power — even if it is legal — that’s all they need to lock you up, or shut a fucking city down on the auspice of a “manhunt.”

MARCUS
Me getting a gun barrel to the face and practically shitting myself was just so you could teach a lesson?

CORI
Was it good for you?

MARCUS
Maybe you should’ve let me make that phone call.

CORI
Maybe you shouldn’t’ve tried to steal the phone! Then Jayme’s laptop wouldn’t be in pieces on the ground!

MARCUS
How was that my/ fault? You’re the one who pissed —

As Cori and Marcus argue, Jayme presses the gun against her head. Then in the final moment of the fight, tries it in her mouth.

CORI
Not your phone or computer./ You shouldn’t’ve —

MARCUS
What else am I supposed to do while a cop/ goes through your bedroom —

CORI
I don’t know, maybe run some defense, or not lie/ about your stupid fiance and commandeer our shit —

MARCUS
Fucking hell, would you let that go?/ I thought we had a good time —

Marcus notices Jayme. She removes it once she realizes that the argument’s over and they’re both staring at her.

JAYME
It’s okay. I couldn’t do it. That’s good./ I guess.

MARCUS
Where the fuck did that come from?

CORI
That’s your question?

JAYME
It’s hers. Which is maybe why she shouldn’t be so cool and confident about it.

MARCUS
You really did have a gun?! What the actual fuck?

CORI
It’s my legal right, and what the dog/ was smelling —

MARCUS
You’re crazier than I thought. Both of you are.

CORI
Okay that’s just/ reductive.

JAYME
Hey. This is my apartment. You’ve been living here over a year now and never told me you had a gun.

CORI
It wasn’t your business.

JAYME
Not my — what about the SWAT team just stormed our apartment and overturned everything I own — notice, everything I owned, before they even got to you — and you say it’s not my business?

CORI
Because it’s not your business.

JAYME
I’m so fucking livid right now. I can’t even process how you smashed my laptop, too. So now I lost everything I was working on and I can’t even get upset about it yet because you had the fucking gall to bring a gun in my home.

CORI
It’s my legal right to own a firearm.

MARCUS
(with a laugh)
You call that thing a “Firearm?” It’s more like a pink pussy popper.
(beat)
I mean like, “pop-pop!” Like the sound a gun makes, not like popping…
(beat. oops.)
It is legal though. I mean, guns are fucked up and scary but people do have a right to bear —

JAYME
Are you done?

MARCUS
Yup.

CORI
So the terrorists and Nazi Cops are totally fine, but now you’re freaking out about a six-shooter?

MARCUS
Can we go back to why you put it in your mouth?/ That came out totally wrong —

JAYME
How long have you had it?

CORI
A year and a half? Never pulled the trigger though.

JAYME
You mean you’ve never shot that gun?

MARCUS
That doesn’t make me feel any safer.

CORI
Never shot any guns at all, except an Airsoft to impress a boy at summer camp. Turns out you don’t even need to shoot a real live gun to get a license.

MARCUS
I thought Massachusetts was strict about that stuff.

CORI
It is. I had to sit through a 3-hour lecture, then shoot the shit with a licensing cop for ten minutes. That’d be tyranny in Alabama.

MARCUS
Yeah I definitely don’t feel safe now.

CORI
Good./ You shouldn’t.

JAYME
Why do you have it then?

CORI
You remember that crazy triple-homicide in Waltham?

MARCUS
I remember! These guys were found with their heads cut off, and all this weed and money sprinkled on their bodies. It was like Tarantino-level fucked up.
(beat)
I just remember ’cause it was 9/11 and it was weird.

CORI
What mansplain means is, it was the 10th anniversary. I was living right down the street from the house, so it kinda freaked me out. Then Waltham’s Finest just gave it a big hearty shrug and moved on to the next shocking traffic violation, which didn’t help either.

MARCUS
Do you think it had anything to do with actual 9–11? Obviously there’s still some pissed off Muslims here.

CORI
Maybe just one, since he ran his brother over.

JAYME
Look, you got a right to be freaked, I get that. You want a little safety — even if that thing ain’t gonna scare off any unwelcome visitors. But that doesn’t change the fact that you knew my take on guns and you still brought it in my home without telling me.

CORI
You would’ve let me move in if I said I had a gun?

JAYME
Maybe. I don’t know. If I had the choice to live with guns, or a liar? Never thought about it till now.

CORI
For the last time, there’s a difference between omission and a lie. You never asked if I had a gun. If you did, I’d’ve told you. But my possessions and what goes on in my room are none of your business.

JAYME
It is when you’re in my apartment. You know my family history. You know I don’t like guns.

CORI
No one likes guns. Or no one should like guns, anyway. The point of having one is mutual deterrence.

JAYME
No, the point of having guns is to escalate a problem. We’re a long way from the Wild West and there are better ways to problem-solve than who’s got the biggest metal boomstick.

CORI
Right. You mean back when most black people were still slaves? Bet those abolitionists wished they had the guns they were promised in the Bill of Rights.

MARCUS
That’s why we have the “well-regulated” part. So it’s not a bunch of crazies playing cowboys and Indians.

CORI
Funny, that’s the exact same way you justified the police state right outside.

MARCUS
Yeah. Just like your whole privacy protection bit is the same line of logic they use to do exactly what they’re doing, and what you did to me.

CORI
There’s a big, big difference between the rights of individuals and the rights of corporations and the state. At least there should be. If we all —

MARCUS
Oh, fuck off, with your cyber-libertarian bullshit.

JAYME
How can you be so stubborn when the cops are out there right now literally protecting? Even after you were being, hrmmm, kind of a little shit to them?

CORI
Just because it worked out for me this time doesn’t mean it always will. Or are you telling me that cops always treat black communities with respect?

JAYME
No, but I am telling you that guns aren’t good for black communities either.

CORI
Would guns keep you safer from the cops or each other?

JAYME
I’m saying guns wouldn’t protect all the black men who are still wrongfully killed by cops every day.

CORI
It would if they shot first.

MARCUS
Yeah but what about black-on-black crime?

JAYME
My older brother blew his own brains out. On purpose.

MARCUS
(beat)
Oh. Shit. I’m/ sorry —

At some point while she’s talking, Jayme crosses to the living room and places the gun on the coffee table.

JAYME
It’s okay. It’s not, but. Forget it. When my OCD is at its worst, I get these intrusive thoughts about hurting myself. It comes out in other ways, too. But the most, the worst of it’s all self-harm. Like there’s a little voice scolding me, telling me all day that I want to starve to death. And that I’m gonna let it happen. Which, I don’t, and I’m not. But you hear it in your head enough, and you start to wonder: maybe it’s true? Maybe I want this? It doesn’t matter what the method is. That little tic will find a way to rub it in, no matter what. Starving is the obvious one. A good go-to delusion. It’s not anorexia or anything like that, but it’s still there. Then when there’s a gun around, that rational part of me starts thinking about Jamal — which makes sense, you know? That part’s normal. But then that other voice starts saying, well hey, he did this thing. And if you’re gonna hurt yourself, you may as well do the same. Or, you want to do the same. Even though I really, really don’t. I don’t. I don’t. But then that voice says, it’s already in your blood, and the stress gets higher and you can’t shut ’em out, those awful thoughts. And so maybe you try. Do the thing, to prove that you can’t do the thing it says you wanna do. Then maybe that’ll shut ’em up.

MARCUS
Does that work?

JAYME
No. But it helps me know I’m in control. That at least I’m not crazy.

MARCUS
Well, that’s — I mean, you are. Crazy. Right? That’s what you said. Hearing voices in your head is like, the epitome of crazy. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or anything. And obviously it’s good that you’re just, um. Putting a gun in your mouth. And daring yourself to pull the trigger. Instead of hurting yourself. But so that’s still pretty crazy.

JAYME
Okay, I’ve been trying to be accommodating, letting you hang around in here and all/ instead of dealing —

MARCUS
’Cause you’ve had so much say/ in the matter.

JAYME
Marcus, shut up.

MARCUS
Got it.

JAYME
The point is: Cori. Melissa, whatever your name is. You knew all that and still brought a gun in my home.

MARCUS
“Melissa?” Wait, who’s/ “Melissa?

JAYME
She is. Or at least, that’s what it said on her FID, and the cop seemed to check it out okay.

CORI
Yeah. Okay. That’s my legal name. But I go by “Cori.”

JAYME
A whole year you lived here and it turns out I don’t know a god damn thing about you.

CORI
Look, you never asked.

JAYME
“Never…?” “Hi, I’m Jayme, and I’m looking for a roommate to fill my extra bedroom. What’s your name?” And you said fucking Cori!

CORI
Because that’s what I like to be called. And that’s all you need to know.

MARCUS
Right, so the rest of us are open books, but it’s cool for you to keep your secrets. What are you so paranoid about? What are you hiding?

CORI
Please, you don’t have to hide anything to want some fucking privacy. That’s a bullshit line of logic.

JAYME
So now your Parseltongue makes you some upstanding moral/ citizen?

CORI
“Parseltongue?” I’m not talking/ to snakes —

JAYME
It’s a metaphor.

CORI
Are you trying to say that I’m a liar?

JAYME & MARCUS
Yeah.

JAYME
(to Marcus)
Please stop agreeing with me.

CORI
You’re both confusing morality with laws and justice, which are three separate things. Privacy isn’t a lie. It doesn’t even mean you’re hiding something. There’s nothing wrong with omitting unnecessary information.

JAYME
“Omitting necessary” — listen to yourself. You sound like some official city form. What kinda anarchist talks like a government?

CORI
One who knows her rights.

JAYME
You’re impossible.

CORI
If you’d asked for more info, maybe gave me an actual sublease to sign, then I would have disclosed whatever you liked.

MARCUS
You don’t even live here legally?

CORI
“Residence” is a fuzzy legal term. I mean yes, fraud is technically a felony. But residency requirements are really hard/ to enforce —

MARCUS
What are you/ hiding?!

CORI
Who cares? There are twenty-seven thousand pages of US legal documents. And that’s just federal laws. Do you know it’s a federal offense for anyone to have a lobster under a certain size — no matter what the reason is? Hell, up until a decade ago, you could still go to jail for sodomy.

MARCUS
You mean like anal?

CORI
Yes! Like anal! My point is: if they want to get you on something, I guarantee they can find something.

JAYME
And what are you afraid they’ll get you on?

CORI
That doesn’t/ matter.

JAYME
It does when you’re in my house.

CORI
Okay mom.

JAYME
Don’t give me that.

CORI
Fine. We all have some fucked-up family shit anyway.

Cori goes to look out the window. Jayme takes a moment to center herself, then checks on her broken computer.

MARCUS
My parents got divorced freshman year of high school.

JAYME
Okay?

MARCUS
You said, we all have fucked up family shit. And I’m trying to…this is mine. My parents split up when I was 14 and afterward my dad worked all the fucking time, like he thought by giving me his credit card that I could just handle myself. And then my mom hooked up with some shitty new guy who wanted desperately to be so cool, and the whole thing just messed me up, is what I’m saying. Like really fucked with the way I give and take affection, and…and so I’m saying, I get it. You know? I do.

CORI
That’s not the same thing at all.

MARCUS
Seriously? I try to open up, and you still shut me down. I’m being honest here, I don’t/ want to hide —

CORI
Shoulda thought about that before you cheated on Kate Whatsherfuckingname and lied about it. Speaking of…

Cori puts a finger up, “one sec.” We realize that she has Jayme’s phone from the scuffle earlier.

CORI (cont’d)
Reception is a bitch, probably tapping cell — oh!
(puts the phone to her ear)
Hi is this Kate? Yeah I’m a friend of — well not really a friend but I had sex with Marcus last night and I/ thought you should know that —

MARCUS
You bitch!

He lunges at Cori, but it’s too late. She hangs up, shrugs, and tosses the phone on the couch. Marcus picks it up and…

CORI
I turned the passcode on when you are distracted. And locked it with a fingerprint.
(to Jayme)
I’ll fix that for you, by the way. Once he’s gone. The computer, too. Sorry about that. The hard drive should still be intact, and even if it’s not, we’ll get the data back. I have an automatic cloud backup.

JAYME
Oh no that’s totally cool. You can reprogram my hardware, smash my fucking laptop, bring a gun into my home and lie about the whole thing — and that’s not even counting this asshole here. But no, no rush. We’re good. You self-centered shitheads do your thing, I’ll wait. I’m used to it.

CORI
Jayme…

MARCUS
Why did you do that to me?

CORI
To you? How about, why’d you do that to Kate? To me? You know what, never mind. I don’t care why you did what you did. And frankly, I don’t think you care how shitty it makes the other people feel on either end, like they’ve been duped,/ they’re some —

MARCUS
I do care though.

CORI
No, you clearly don’t. Or you wouldn’t have done it.

Jayme perks up, notices the TV, scrambles to find the remote.

JAYME
Hey, the two of you should look/ at this —

MARCUS
I wasn’t like, actively trying to/ trick you —

CORI
Doesn’t matter. You were still dishonest — which, to be clear, is totally different than being private, or leaving things out that no one needs to know. You brought me into your bullshit. That’s on you. At this point I just want to flush your fucking hellspawn out of my system and forget this whole day ever happened.

JAYME
Would you two knock it off and/ pay attention for a —

MARCUS
What does/ that mean?

CORI
Nothing, it — forget/ I said —

MARCUS
You said you were on the pill. That was not some weird omission lie, you actually said that.

CORI
I didn’t say/ anything —

JAYME
Hey! Assholes! Television!

Jayme turns up the TV volume:

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (VO)
“…at-large, but we feel confident that based on what we know about the status of the investigation right now, that to that extent we can return to living our lives. But again, in the areas where, where the stay indoors request has been effect, that request is lifted but remain vigilant…”

Beat. Cori runs to the door.

CORI
Well, I guess that means you can go! Ta-ta! Au revoir! Nice to meet you! Not really! Goodbye!

Marcus picks the gun up.

MARCUS
You sit the fuck back down. I’m not going anywhere.

BLACK OUT

Interlude: Cori

Username NeoWasADouchebagAndTrinityW… no that’s too long…MadAsHellAndNotGonn — eh that’ll scare ’em … ICUP123. Great! 28, female, single blah blah blah. Looking for dudes who are down for distractions.

Self-summary: Just one of the girls. Ooh, winky-face! No, no winky-face.

What I’m doing with my life is helping teenagers access porn and pirated music at the local library.

I’m really good at telling dead baby jokes.

The first things people usually notice about me? Well if I’ve done my job right, they notice when their passwords have been changed and their credit card is run up with donations to Planned Parenthood and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. How about: they don’t. And then winky-face. Bam! Nailed it.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food. I’ll use this box to share my favorite dead baby jokes instead. How do you get a dead baby into a blender? Feet first. How do you get it out? Tortilla chips. How many babies does it take to paint a house red? Depends how hard you throw ’em. How do you make a dead baby float? Take your foot off its head. And last but not least: What’s the hardest part about walking through a field of dead babies? Your erection. Wait, is that one still appropriate? Can a woman say “erection” on a dating site?

The six things I could never do without: Linux. Virtual Privacy Networks. Your credit car — no that’ll scare them off, if the baby jokes haven’t. Um. “Sex and the City?” With my girls? Sure. And then Red Sox. The 57 Bus. And Patrick McGoohan in “The Prisoner.”

I spend a lot of time thinking about abortion rights.

On a typical Friday night I am pounding back a six-pack while trying to hack into various government databases. Just for funsies lol.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit: I’ve had thirty-eight abortions ’cause if I was honest and said I had one you’d probably call me a slut.

You should message me if you’re willing to share your pornstar name (first pet’s name and the street you grew up on).

Act 5

A very short while later. Marcus, with the gun, paces the room around Cori and Jayme on the couch. Occasionally, he looks out the window to the streets below — where something’s going on despite the “all clear” notice.

MARCUS
This is fucked. This is so fucked. This is… Something’s going on out there, I know it.

CORI
Well then maybe you should go outside and check.

JAYME
Or you can put the gun/ down —

MARCUS
Shut the fuck up! Both of you!

CORI
I’m just sitting here, man. They’re the ones who said the shelter ban was lifted. Which means you can walk out that door and put this/ whole thing —

MARCUS
Oh, so now you trust the Big Scary Government, when it’s my life on the line

CORI
Whoa, who said anything about trusting/ the gov —

JAYME
They’re a lot safer than you with a gun/ in my home —

MARCUS
(to Cori)
Yeah and how do you like it when someone shoves a gun in your face, huh?

He points the gun right at Cori.

CORI
(strangely calm)
Well I can’t particularly say that I enjoy it —

JAYME
Marcus, please calm down. You don’t gotta do this.

MARCUS
That cop put a gun to my face! That was — you did that! You told him/ that I was a fucking —

CORI
Hey, I didn’t really think he’d do anything about it. And in the grand scheme, it wasn’t all/ that crazy —

MARCUS
There was a gun to my fucking head! And then you — you hacked my data, you told/ Katie about what —

CORI
Yup! And now you’re free to go and put it all behind!

MARCUS
No! Not until we settle this!

CORI
What’s to settle? It was a shitty/ one night stand.

MARCUS
This! All of this! You think I don’t know what they’re doing? Cori — Melissa — whoever the fuck you are — I thought you were you were smarter than that.

CORI
I really have no idea what’s going through your mind, and I’m not sure/ I want to —

MARCUS
There’s no fucking way I’m going out there, not while they’re playing hide-and-seek!

JAYME
Excuse me?

MARCUS
The terrorist’s out there, tracking everything online — just like you would fucking do — staying one step ahead of the cops. So they’re trying to fake him out.

JAYME
That’s actually not the craziest thing you’ve said. Like when you’re playing with little kids, and you announce all loud and obvious “Oh well, I can’t find you!” They come crawling right out to see if it’s true, and then you got ‘em.

CORI
That puts a lotta faith in government ineptitude. Maybe they’re just a bunch of fucking idiots who bit off more than they could chew and now after this whole big security theatre, they got nothing to show for it. Ever think of that?

MARCUS
Shut up! The two of have kept me here and forced me to listen to your shit all day, telling me what an awful person I am. I’m sick of it!

CORI
Oh, boo-hoo. If you want to be pissed at anyone, you should be pissed at the cops outside for keeping you here. Or yourself, seeing as you’re the one that cheated on his fiancé and let his cellphone die without a backup plan. But hey, sure, blame me that you still haven’t memorized/ her number —

MARCUS
You don’t know anything about me!

CORI
No? I did hack your accounts, which wouldn’t have made you so upset unless — wait for it — unless you had something to hide. Huh? Now you’re getting it.

MARCUS
Shut up!

CORI
See, this is exactly how a white guy reacts when there’s even just a tiny push on his authority.

MARCUS
What’s your name? Real name. Who the fuck are you?

JAYME
Cori — Melissa — please don’t provoke —

CORI
What? You think he’s gonna pull the trigger? He just want to show how big his balls are — which, as it turns out, is fairly average. Which is fine. That’s not an insult. But it’s nothing special, either.

MARCUS
Jayme’s right. Don’t fucking push —

CORI
You pull that trigger and suddenly the SWAT are right back in this room and you got one more thing to deal with before you go home and incur your Kate’s wrath.

MARCUS
You lied to me! About your name, about…you said you were on the pill! That wasn’t one of your weird omission lies. You actually said that!

CORI
Yeah, okay. I did. Now —

MARCUS
I had a condom in my hand. You literally said, your exact words were, “Shut up and stick your cock in.”

CORI
I know.

JAYME
Okay I just learned way too much about your sex life.

MARCUS
Why’d you do that?

CORI
I don’t know.

MARCUS
You don’t know? You don’t fucking know?!

CORI
I don’t know, okay? I don’t know! I just did. It was in the moment! I was drunk!

MARCUS
So was I! That doesn’t —

JAYME
How drunk were you?

MARCUS
That doesn’t matter.

JAYME
Consent matters.

MARCUS
Are you — seriously? First new girl I fuck in years, she lies about her name, and the pill — and I’m the fucking rapist? I was drunk, too! Did I consent?

JAYME
You don’t have to. She’s the one who might get knocked up.

MARCUS
Yeah, with my fucking baby!

CORI
Okay first of all it’s not a baby. It’s a…teaspoon of jizz and some weird gut piping, that’s all.

JAYME
Again with the TMI.

CORI
Calling it a baby when it’s clearly not a baby adds an unfair and frankly unnecessary gravity to the situation, okay?

JAYME
Which situation: the rape, or the abortion?

MARCUS
There was no rape! And there won’t be an abortion.

CORI
Right, because I’m gonna get some Plan B first thing tomorrow, before it even has a chance to settle in.

MARCUS
So you lied about the birth control, then you decided you would pop a morning after pill without including me in the conversation.

CORI
Why would I need to include you?

MARCUS
Because it’s my — it came from — ’cause I was involved in it?

JAYME
Her body. Her business.

MARCUS
Yeah, and it’s my thing inside her.

CORI
And you’d want to have a baby? With me? You think a paranoid liar like me would make a good mother?

MARCUS
You tricked me into having unprotected sex with you.

CORI
No, I made a mistake in drinking too much and bringing home a walking library of dead baby jokes. People makes mistakes. And that’s why God made modern medicine. Just don’t tell the Catholics that.

Marcus lowers his gun arm, But he still holds onto the weapon.

MARCUS
Is this all a fucking joke to you? You set me up on a date for dead baby jokes, just so you can add one to the pile? Then you set me up to get attacked by a cop/ while you call my fucking fiance —

JAYME
You think that was police brutality? Man, Rodney King is rollin’ over in his grave right/ about now —

MARCUS
Why does no one fucking listen when I’m talking?

CORI
Have you tried not being an asshole?

MARCUS
You don’t give a shit. My fiance doesn’t give a shit — if she’s even my fiance anymore. David O. Russell doesn’t give a shit — the cops don’t even give a shit. So what the fuck am I supposed to do, huh? I was gonna be someone, or do something, but all I got is ten bucks an hour and not even a home to go to anymore. I can’t even go outside ’cause there’s a fucking terrorist/ running around doing who knows —

JAYME
The mayor says you’re free to go. That’s gotta count for something,/ right?

MARCUS
This is what I fucking mean! I said that already, with the hide-and-seek — no one fucking/ listens —

CORI
Yes! We heard you! There’s no Bob Hope! No Johnny Cash! No Steve Jobs — which actually might be good, I hear Tim Cook is working on a new encryption policy, and let me tell you, it’s about fucking/ time they —

MARCUS
Can I fucking finish?!

Marcus lifts the gun again.

CORI
You are like, obsessed with finishing, man.

MARCUS
Yeah, ’cause someone could’ve given me a fucking STD!

CORI
Well lucky you, HPV doesn’t show in men.

MARCUS
HIV? That’s a felony! That could kill me!

CORI
HPV, dumbass! And it was a joke! I’m clean.

JAYME
Put the gun down, Marcus. Please. Also for your information, there’s a lot of people with HIV living long and healthy lives these days. Just FYI!

MARCUS
It’s a terminal illness.

JAYME
No, it’s a virus that by itself might not mean a good god damn. AIDS is an illness.

MARCUS
Same fucking thing! This is the problem with all this new age feminist bullshit. Everyone gets drunk and does dumb shit, but women are the only ones who get away with crying rape. I don’t even know if you did give me AIDS, or HPV, or what-the-fuck-ever. But if I got some disease and you still got knocked up with my fucking child because you got drunk and lied to me, it would all be my fault somehow. I would be the rapist deadbeat dad with AIDS and you’d have the sympathy of the whole damn world.

JAYME
Okay I had a moment of sympathy for you, but that confirms it. You are seriously the worst fucking white dude on the planet, and I’m including psycho killer boy outside. You know how many people on this planet ain’t got half the opportunities? Maybe you should quit your bitchin’ and learn to appreciate the things you got. ’Cause if not for that Joekar motherfucker, you’d been long gone hours ago while Crazy Cori here was pumping herself all full of hormones for a shitty couple days, and you’d be none the wiser for it. You’d be all moved on to your fiance and your ten dollar Hollywood dreams and everything would be all right in the world, at least for you. And that’s what matters, right? That it works for you? Good. Then get the fuck out my home.

Beat.

MARCUS
No.

JAYME
This is the epitome of white male privilege. You come in here like a fucking hurricane, leaving us to pick the pieces up. But somehow you and all your manfeels still get to carry the weight of/ the world —

MARCUS
She ruined my relationship!/My future —

CORI
Technically you ruined your relationship.

MARCUS
Why did you go out with me if you knew?

CORI
I told you! I vet most guys that I meet online. And I liked your stupid jokes, so I went with it. Believe it or not, I do try to trust people sometimes, instead of always being paranoid me. And then some shit like this ends up happening, and it reinforces why I don’t trust people/ in the first place.

MARCUS
What’s your name? Your real name?

CORI
Melissa. I prefer “Cori,” but it was given as —

MARCUS
What’s your last name? Why’d you change it?

CORI
Michaelson. Melissa Michaelson. It’s not so exciting. Makes me sound like a fucking comic book character.

MARCUS
Why’d you change it? And why not tell your roommate?

CORI
She never asked. It never came up.
(to Jayme)
You should really make your sublet sign a lease. I wouldn’t have moved in if there was paperwork, but —

MARCUS
What are you hiding?!

CORI
Nothing. That’s the point.

JAYME
The fuck does that mean?

CORI
It means people don’t need a reason for wanting privacy. And even if they do, they shouldn’t be judged and condemned without a trial.

JAYME
A trial where you’d have to answer questions —

CORI
My dad never had a chance to answer questions. He hanged himself because our justice system’s one big fucked up labyrinth, and it was that or rot in some dank cell until someone decided to give him a trial, or until he died anyway, whichever came first. First him, then Aaron, then —

MARCUS
What’d he do? Your dad?

CORI
That’s the thing. Nothing.

MARCUS
No one goes to jail for doing nothing.

JAYME
Again with the privilege. Do you know how jail works?

MARCUS
Well he must’ve done something to piss/ someone off —

CORI
Welcome to America, Marcus, where “Innocent ’til proven guilty” is just another catchphrase on a billboard. My dad was a programmer, okay? He had done some government contract jobs around onion routing and virtual privacy, ways to re-direct data flows and encrypt information on the Internet, for public and for private use. He did that for a while. Then he didn’t. Don’t know why he stopped. Never had a chance to ask. He took a sys-admin gig at the community college. Everything was good. Then the SWAT team showed up one day. Like a month before my high school graduation, and they arrested him. Busted down our doors, trashed our room, and ripped him away. It was a sting operation, some Feds in Colorado had — allegedly — they were posing as underage girls and… They said that they had reason to believe there was some questionable traffic. Again, even after he stopped working on TOR, he and his friends still, they’d sometimes re-route traffic through all these different exit nodes, just for fun. Just to see if they could hide. If that mattered. So I don’t know. Maybe my dad was, or maybe one of them, they were up to something like…like that, like what the Feds came and, so. But we never found out. And as far as we know, they never asked. Because they locked him up in solitary — in Colorado, when we were in New Hampshire. There was all kinds of fuzzy legal precedent there. Was it a state or a federal case, and if so, which department. Was it DHS or FBI or CPS or CIA, or just the Colorado State Police or what. And while that’s going on, our lawyer tries to argue for entrapment — and of course, now the whole town is talking about it anyway, they all think they know my dad’s a pedophile and by extension, so are mom and I, I guess. And we don’t know if he was, or he wasn’t, but we were branded, too. We spent all my college savings and he was still stuck in solitary, in this shitty legal limbo. And now I get that’s what they wanted all along. Whoever was behind this sting, whatever it was allegedly, they knew what they were doing, that it was outside their legal jurisdiction but that if they went ahead and did it anyway, it would all get trapped in bureaucratic hell and at the end of the day they still would have put a guy away. Someone who for some reason they wanted off the street and…and that’s what they did. They got him off the street. Let the lawyers duke the details out over twenty some years and then we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, as far as they’re concerned, their job was done, and justice was served.
(beat)
So yeah. You can imagine why I’d want a new name, a new life, and a right to my own privacy.

JAYME
Cori…Melissa, I didn’t know…

CORI
You didn’t know that we live in country built on slave labor, but now instead of African-Americans it’s a multi-billion dollar corporate prison industrial complex built on guilt/ by accusation —

MARCUS
Oh, fuck you. I read that exact same story on the NoSleep Subreddit just last week.

Marcus points the gun directly at Cori. He wants to shoot, but he’s not sure if he can. Meanwhile, the chaos outside is getting louder and louder and louder…

CORI
If you’re gonna shoot, it helps to hold it right. Bring your other hand up around the side to brace — now we’re talking. None of that cowboy bullshit.

Marcus cautiously does as instructed.

JAYME
Cori…

CORI
It’s okay. I got it. Now you see the little “v” in the back there? You want to line that up so the point in the front is right the middle — no, don’t close your eyes. Keep both of ’em open/ so you can —

MARCUS
You’re fucking with me. It’s blurry/ this way, I —

CORI
Just give it a try, I know it’s weird but — yup, there we go. Now if you just concentrate there and line up with your target — that’s right…

JAYME
Seriously Cori, this isn’t funny.

CORI
I know it’s not. Proper firearm use is very serious. But here’s the kicker: if you pull the trigger, like really yank it back, you’re gonna get off target and send the bullet somewhere through the wall right over there, which I’m assuming isn’t your intention here. Instead you wanna give it a nice, gentle, squeeze —

JAYME
Cori!

Marcus pulls the trigger but nothing happens. Beat. Then the chaos outside erupts into a chaotic medley of gunshots and crackling radios — and still, nothing comes from Marcus’s gun.

Jayme runs to the window to see while Marcus just stands there, contemplating the weapon in his hand and the choice he just made.

MARCUS
What/ just happened —

JAYME
They got him. Holy shit, they got him.

CORI
I took the bullets out when the cop came by. I told you, I’m not stupid.

Marcus drops the gun and runs to the door without looking back, leaving Jayme and Cori staring in silence.

CORI (cont’d)
So this is our new normal.

JAYME
Police surveillance? Gun shots? Disrespecting personal space? In some places, that’s the old normal, too.

CORI
I’m gonna fix your laptop.

JAYME
Yeah you are.

CORI
The data should be/ fine and —

JAYME
Don’t explain. Just do it.

CORI
Okay.
(beat)
Will you — will you come with me to clinic tomorrow?

JAYME
Yeah. Yeah, okay.

CORI
Thanks. After that, I’ll be out of your hair. I’ll pay up through June, but you don’t have to worry —

JAYME
Where are you gonna go?

CORI
I don’t know yet. Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.

BLACK OUT

END OF PLAY

Written by

Writer of fiction, article, songs, and more. Enjoys quantum physics, Oxford Commas, & romantic clichés, esp. when they involve whiskey. HATES Journey.

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