Thereís a note in G-Flat
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ACT ONE SCENE ONE
The plays opens with a drawn curtain, and a hobo sitting center stage. The sounds of a busy urban subway ( talking, the squeal of trains, and music) can be heard in the background.
HOBO: I have a story to tellÖ Do you really want to hear it? (Waits for the audience to answer, then he rises) Ok, this story was a gift from the most unlikely of sources. See, I was just like you before. But like so many other people I had a moment of clarity in my otherwise hectic world. I thought that.. things likeÖChina patterns, and SUVs, and IRAs were important. (laughs) but also like so many other people, the things I owned ended up owning me. Iíll spare you the details of my crappy life, but I will tell you thisÖ I may seem poor to your eyes. It might appear that I donít have a thing in this world. But Iíll swear on a stack of Bibles that I am richer now than I ever was in your world. (The curtain rises.)
The scene is busy. People are walking quickly, some hugging hello, others goodbye.
A loudspeaker announces: Next incoming trainís destination is Alewife, five minutes, five minutes.
Hobo walks through the crowd to center stage.
Hobo: I was going about my life worrying about what my best friend was doing in my apartment last night without me there. (sarcastically) It was really strange that my girlfriend, check that, my fiancee was there too! Imagine that! And my birthday was in January. Anyways, I got on the platform to wait for the train that would take me to my cubicle slash dungeon, where I would rot for nine hours of my life, then I would wait for the same train to take me home. ( stands behind business people) Day in day out, like these people, and probably much like you do, in one way or another. When all of a sudden I heard a sound. ( A lonely saxophone rises about the din of the station) It was sad, but unbelievable. It was like my ear had an orgasm! AlrightÖ maybe thatís blowing it a little out of proportion, but that is what it was like. I heard the sound, and I had to check it out. ( a man checks his watch) I looked and saw I was running ahead of schedule, so I looked for the musician.
The crowd parts as he walks to reveal a young man with dirty hair wailing on the saxophone. His body sways to the music, and the feeling is that he is lonely.
HOBO: There was no way this kid should be in this piss stank train station. I mean, it smells like piss right next to where the popcorn vendor sells his wares, for chrissake. This kid was great. Better than great. He should be in Julliard or something. He was filthy, but underneath the grime of what was probably a life on the street, he had the face of an angel. I looked down at his sax case, just to see how he was doing, and he had about a couple of hundred in there, but he just didnít seem to notice. I thought if he wasnít careful someone might rob him. I wanted to wait until he was done playing to let him know.
Crowd boards train, and the sax player is left alone with HOBO. New passengers float in randomly.
HOBO: Hey buddy, you might wanna put some of that money away. A lot of people get robbed on the trains ya know?
SAX PLAYER: Acts surprised that he has that much money in the case. Oh wow. Thanks man. Hey you donít have a gun do you?
HOBO: Whereíd you learn to play like that? I mean you a kid fa the love of god. You should be in Julliard or Berklee or something.
SAX PLAYER: A bit shy Thanks man. Well, I never really had lessons so to speak. I just kinda picked it up you know?
HOBO: Impressed with the sheen of the instrument. You just picked up that sax? Címon tell me. How can you play like that? I mean Iíve been to Tanglewood, and heard the Pops playing but none of their sax players sound like you. You sound likeÖdamn I donít know but you sound like some old jazz guy. I forget.
SAX PLAYER: I swear man I just started playingÖitís no big deal. Iím not some great composer I just like playing*
HOBO: Louis Armstrong!!! Thatís who you sound like. Proud that he remembered this little nugget of music history. Iím telling you man you should really try an get into the Jazz scene around here Iíve heard itís some of the best outside New Orleans.
SAX PLAYER: And Chicago.
HOBO: and Chicago.
SAX PLAYER: Youíll miss your train if I tell you the whole story, and probably a few more after that.
HOBO: Theyíll live. Iím curious.
SAX PLAYER: Youíre the doctor.
Scene fades to a small bedroom. Cracks can be seen in the plaster, and the dťcor is very Spartan. Little Jerry can be seen hiding from his father in the corner of the room.
BIG GEORGE VOICE OVER: Just what the hell were you thinking boy? George hits the boyís back. Stand up boy! Youíre the one that wants to be a MAN!!! George backs off so Jerry can get up. Tears streaming down his face Jerry realizes that in order to be a man in his fatherís eyes, he must stand up and take it.
JERRY: Speaks through shuttering breath Iím ready. Jerry stands straight up, and pokes his chin out proudly.
Lights fade just as Big George slaps Jerry. Screams of pain penetrate the darkness.