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Club Rules

produced at the 14/48 festival, 7/14/07. The randomly drawn theme for that night: "A Secret Society." My random actor draw: write a play for three men and two women.

CHARLIE, the leader of the club
ANDY, Charlie's right hand man
ZACH, the sensitive one
KAITLYN, Zach's girlfriend
AMANDA, Kaitlyn's best friend

Lights up on three teenagers, Charlie, Zach and Andy, sitting in a semicircle on an otherwise empty stage, with Charlie in the center.

CHARLIE: The Sergeant at Arms will now call this meeting to order.

ANDY: This secret counsel meeting of the Mighty Ünderground Midnight Prankster Squad is now officially convened. [Note: please pronounce the umlaut but don't emphasize it; quick & natural.]

CHARLIE: The first order of business is presenting the evidence of new pranks. Andy?

ANDY: Witness, and behold. He pulls a cell phone out of his pocket and holds it so Charlie can see it. Photo A clearly shows Jason Hamilton, fullback for the junior varsity football team, entering the locker room for a shower after P.E. Photo B clearly shows Jason's locker, full of his clothes. What's unusual about this picture?

ZACH: How did you get Jason's locker open?

ANDY: Exactly. Photo C clearly shows Jason's locker. What's different about this picture?

CHARLIE: Where are his clothes?

ANDY: Exactly.

CHARLIE: Excellent work, Andy, you're a good comrade. Zach?

ZACH showing his own cell phone to Charlie: Recognize this?

CHARLIE: It's a 2007 Merlin Cielo carbon fiber and titanium road bicycle.

ZACH: Owned by Robert Carlson, captain of the junior varsity wrestling team. Consider this picture "before." And this... clicks a button on the phone... is "after."

CHARLIE: Zach, this is very nice.

ANDY straining to look: Is that your little sister's bicycle seat on there?

ZACH: Yep.

CHARLIE: I love the little pink basket.

ANDY: The tassels are a nice touch.

Kaitlyn and Amanda enter. Charlie and Andy leap up, startled. Zach goes to Kaitlyn, holds her hand.

CHARLIE: What the hell? What are they doing here?

AMANDA: I've been asking myself the same question.

ZACH: Charlie, I forgot to mention. I have some new business. Pause. I want to present Kaitlyn and Amanda for initiation into the squad.

ANDY: Are you crazy? Charlie, we can't have... we can't have new people.

KAITLYN: You mean you can't have girls. I told you this was a bad idea, Zachary.

CHARLIE: Did she just call you "Zachary"?

KAITLYN: It's his name, Charles.

AMANDA: Can we get on with this? Some of us actually do our homework on a regular basis.

ZACH: Charlie, just listen. Kaitlyn and I have been together for four months now. I want to find ways to spend more time with her, and I thought... well, I want you guys to get to know her too. She's awesome, Charlie. You'll see.

AMANDA: For the record, I'm also awesome.

CHARLIE: I suppose Zachary has told you both how high the bar is for initiation pranks.

Kaitlyn smiles, pulls out her cell phone, and shows it to Charlie. The others gather round to look.

KAITLYN: This was a team effort by Amanda and me. I came up with the idea, and Amanda came up with the plan for execution. Exhibit A: you all recognize this vehicle?

ANDY: That's Principal Ellis's 1998 Saab 9000 CSE Turbo.

AMANDA: Parked in front of the school, we should point out.

KAITLYN: And here is Exhibit B.

Charlie and Andy are momentarily stunned.

ANDY: Holy fuck.

CHARLIE: How did you...

KAITLYN: How did we flip the car completely upside down in its parking space? Puts her phone away. That sounds like something we should discuss post-initiation.

CHARLIE clearly impressed: Zach, I have to say, you're bringing some real talent to the table.

ANDY: Especially for a couple of... ninth graders.

KAITLYN: I think you'll find having a feminine influence on your squad will greatly improve your prank execution options.

AMANDA: Plus we're just smarter than you.

CHARLIE: Raise your right hands. The girls do. I hereby declare you official members of the Mighty Ünderground Midnight Prankster Squad.

AMANDA pause: Your club is called "MUMPS"?

ANDY: Well, technically there's an umlaut, so it's pronounced "MÜMPS."

Zach gives Kaitlyn a hug and kisses her. The others mill away to give them a little privacy.

ZACH: Congratulations.

KAITLYN: You're a weird kid, Zachary, but I think I like you.

ZACH: Awww.

KAITLYN: The right answer is "I like you too."

ZACH: Well... I might have a different answer.

KAITLYN: And what might that be? Zach is too shy to say.

CHARLIE: Back to business, everyone. With our new resources, it's time to start taking things to the next level. Do we have any proposals for new targets?

AMANDA: Hell yes. Natalie Connors. The bitch has put down my outfits one too many times.

They dissolve into a general conversation as the lights dim. In the darkness, Zach and Charlie exit; the others drift apart toward the edges of the stage, and become adults. Lights up. During this next section, although they are recounting glory tales of youth, their enthusiasm is subdued.

AMANDA: God, I never thought I'd see this park ever again.

KAITLYN: I still come here every now and then. Reminds me of you guys.

ANDY: Reminds me of that time senior year when we filled Ryan Madison's Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible with shaving cream. Coming back here and getting plastered.

AMANDA: Ryan fucking Madison. Whatever happened to him?

KAITLYN: Lawyer.

AMANDA: Figures.

Charlie enters slowly, looking despondent.

ANDY: Charlie! About time!

AMANDA: You look like someone just punched your grandmother. What's up?

Charlie makes eye contact with Kaitlyn.

KAITLYN: Is something wrong? Pause. Wait a minute, weren't you meeting Zachary at the airport?

CHARLIE: I'm sorry, Kaitlyn. Zach's not coming. Pause. I just got off the phone with his brother. There was... a car accident last night. Pause. Zach's dead.

KAITLYN: Oh my God.

Stunned silence.

CHARLIE: He was killed instantly.

KAITLYN: Oh my God, this isn't happening. Amanda goes to console Kaitlyn. I can't believe this.

ANDY: Jesus.

CHARLIE: At least he didn't suffer. Pause. Also... he didn't actually die. He's standing right over there.

ZACH entering grandly: Ta da!


CHARLIE: You people are so out of practice.

Kaitlyn rushes to Zach, smacks him in the chest a few times, before they collapse into a big embrace. Andy high fives Charlie. Zach and Kaitlyn pull slightly apart but are reluctant to completely separate.

AMANDA: That is a fine way to treat the bride on the day before her wedding. I approve wholeheartedly.

ZACH: I'm surprised you two were able to sneak out from all the big wedding preparations.

KAITLYN: How could I miss the first MÜMPS meeting in almost ten years?

ANDY: One way would have been to not get married in this town.

KAITLYN: I couldn't help it. I happen to still live here.

AMANDA: Which is a problem we have discussed at length. Blackmail is not working.

CHARLIE: That's why God invented kidnapping.

ZACH: I haven't been back here since high school. Have things changed all that much?

KAITLYN: Eh. We have a Super Target now. Oh, and they tore down that whole row with Rocky's and the record store and put in a strip mall.

ANDY: They tore down Rocky's? Where are all those rats going to live now?

AMANDA: Get this. Bobby Carlson is coming to the wedding.

ZACH incredulous: Seriously?

KAITLYN shrugs: I got to be friends with his wife. He's mellow now. Almost a person.

CHARLIE: This is bad, Kaitlyn. You should not have pinpointed his whereabouts in my presence.

KAITLYN: If you pull anything at my wedding, I have a gallery of 18 photos I will happily publish on the internet. I believe you recall the photos in question.

ANDY: Ah yes, the infamous baboon photos.

CHARLIE: Curse you and your command of modern technology, woman!

AMANDA: Listen, we can't actually stay here all that long. We need to get to the rehearsal dinner.

ANDY: I haven't been to my hotel yet.

CHARLIE: All right, let's boogie.

They start to go, but Kaitlyn and Zach linger.

AMANDA: You guys coming?

KAITLYN: In a minute. Amanda shrugs and exits after the others. It's really good to see you.

ZACH: Have you gotten any of my letters?

KAITLYN knew this was coming, breaks away: Yeah, Zachary, actually I have. I think at last count we were up over the four hundred mark. Pause. I stopped reading them a long time ago. It was getting too hard.

ZACH: Why? I was just telling you about my life.

KAITLYN: I know... your life out in the world. Without me. I don't want to read about it any more.

ZACH: Oh. Pause. Look at me. She turns back to him. I haven't seen your face in person since senior year. Sometimes at work, I make your senior photo the wallpaper on my computer. It's one of the pictures in my phone so I can carry it with me. Pause. Why didn't you come to college with me?

KAITLYN: Why didn't you ever tell me you loved me? He does not respond. I thought I could guess how you felt, but... all those years in school, it was like you were keeping a secret from me. I never knew why. And then the first fifty letters I read after you left for college, you still never said it. I gave up reading them. Gave up hoping. Pause. Did you actually love me, Zachary?

ZACH: You have no idea how much I missed you-

KAITLYN: That's not what I asked. Do you actually love me?

ZACH: Does it matter? Tomorrow's the big day.

KAITLYN: I never told Brian anything about you. That's my secret from him. He has no idea how much I think about you. I don't think I should tell you, either. You're not in the club.

ZACH: You can't think of a way to initiate me?

After a moment's hesitation, she goes to him and they embrace in a long, passionate kiss. Finally, the kiss ends.

ZACH: I'm going to keep sending you letters.

KAITLYN: I'm going to keep throwing them away.

ZACH: So, club rules. Meet me back here once a year. Don't tell anyone.

KAITLYN after serious consideration: Club rules.

Fade to black.

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