Daily Dojo

The Fight by Josh James

The Fight from The THE Plays: six short plays.

Lights up.

(MARCUS, a tall, muscular man holding a briefcase and a newspaper, waits for a bus.

SHERMAN, a very short despondent man, joins him at the curb. SHERMAN is dressed very well in a suit. He also has a briefcase and an umbrella under one arm.

SHERMAN stares at MARCUS. Short pause.

MARCUS glances at SHERMAN. SHERMAN glares as fiercely as he can.)

SHERMAN: Oh, just stop it.

(MARCUS glances around, trying to see who it is that SHERMAN is speaking to.)

MARCUS: Excuse me?

SHERMAN: I said stop it.

MARCUS: Are you speaking to me?

SHERMAN: You know damn well who I’m talking to, so just back off and leave me alone, you big hairy asshole!

MARCUS: Uh. Okay.

SHERMAN: I mean it, I fucking mean it!

MARCUS: All right.

SHERMAN: I’m not afraid of you!

(MARCUS slowly edges away a few steps.)

MARCUS: Okay, okay. I’m leaving you alone. You are now left alone. Consider yourself LEFT.

SHERMAN: It’s big bullies like you that have ruined the world, you know that? Big pricks like you just LOVE pissing all over normal people like me.

MARCUS: Normal people like you, yeah. Okay.

SHERMAN: Asshole. Son-of-a-bitching asshole prick cocksucker!

MARCUS: Okay.

SHERMAN: MOTHERFUCKER!

MARCUS: Okay.

(Pause as MARCUS glances at his watch.)

SHERMAN: That’s it?

MARCUS: Excuse me?

SHERMAN: That’s it, that’s all you’re going to do?

MARCUS: Uh, yeah.

SHERMAN: I call you every obscene name I can think of and you don’t do anything about it?

MARCUS: Yeah.

SHERMAN: What the hell is wrong with you?

MARCUS: Listen, you’re the one that said you wanted to be left alone, so …

SHERMAN: What kind of man are you, just to sit there and take abuse like this from a complete stranger?

MARCUS: Well …

SHERMAN: Don’t you think you should do something about it?

MARCUS: You’re right, I should.

SHERMAN: So what are you going to do about it?

MARCUS: I’m going to ignore you.

SHERMAN: Ignore me?

MARCUS: Ignore you.

SHERMAN: You can’t just ignore me!

MARCUS: Oh, I can ignore you.

SHERMAN: You can’t DO that, you have to do something, yell at me, hit me, take out a gun and shoot me, it’s the American way, meet violence with violence, you can’t ignore me, it’s not even fucking proper.

(MARCUS opens a newspaper and begins to read it.)

SHERMAN: I can’t believe this. You’re going to stand there and do NOTHING.

MARCUS: Doing nothing is doing something. I’m doing nothing.

(SHERMAN looks at MARCUS a moment, then takes his umbrella and taps MARCUS on the rear with it. MARCUS looks at him a moment, that goes back to his paper. SHERMAN taps him with the umbrella again.)

MARCUS: Stop it.

SHERMAN: Stop what?

(SHERMAN taps him again.)

MARCUS: Stop doing that.

SHERMAN: Doing what? I’m not doing anything.

(SHERMAN taps him again.)

MARCUS: Stop that, I mean it.

SHERMAN: Oooo, you MEAN it? Oh my, am I scared, I’m REAL scared of you, big man.

(SHERMAN moves to tap him with the umbrella yet again, but stops halfway when MARCUS points his finger at him.)

MARCUS: Don’t do it. I’m warning you.

(SHERMAN pokes him with the umbrella yet once more.)

MARCUS: Okay, that’s it.

SHERMAN: Oooo, here we go.

MARCUS: You know, I was going to cut you a break because you’re in obvious mental distress, but you’re going too far. So I’m telling you in no uncertain terms that you have to leave me alone, no touching, no talking and no poking, and if you DON’T leave me alone, I’m calling the police and I will press charges.

SHERMAN: You can’t call the cops just because somebody POKED you with an umbrella.

MARCUS: Sure you can.

SHERMAN: That’s bullshit.

MARCUS: It’s not bullshit. It’s assault. You touched me without my permission, that’s assault.

SHERMAN: What kind of MAN are you?!

MARCUS: A civilized man.

SHERMAN: What kind of pussy-piece of shit man are you?

MARCUS: What kind of man are you, harassing strangers on the street?

SHERMAN: Hey, I’m a man, I’m a real man.

MARCUS: Really?

SHERMAN: You think just because you’re bigger than me, that makes you more of a man, is that it? Is that what you think, you cock?

MARCUS : I’m calling the police.

SHERMAN: Call them for what? I’m not poking you anymore, am I?

MARCUS: You’re bothering me.

SHERMAN: So what? You bother me, should I call the cops on you, too?

MARCUS: How am I bothering you?

SHERMAN: You’re big and tall and you just bother me, guys like you bother me, so fuck you, you big dripping asshole!

MARCUS: Keep it up and I’m dialing 911.

SHERMAN: I can say what I want, I have the right to free speech, don’t I? I’m guaranteed the right to say what I want when I want, and I say you’re a big, canker-covered COCK, that’s what I say, so there!

MARCUS: You’ve got problems, don’t you?

SHERMAN: You got a problem with me, take a swing. Come on, big man, take your best shot.

MARCUS: Okay, this is nuts, you’re nuts. You are certifiably nuts.

SHERMAN: Come on, I’m not afraid of you. Hit me. Hit me right in the face.

MARCUS: I’m not going to hit you.

SHERMAN: Hit me, come on, hit me!

MARCUS: I’m not going to hit you.

SHERMAN: Come on you big pussy, take a shot!

MARCUS: That’s it, game over, I’m calling the cops.

(MARCUS gets his cell phone out.)

SHERMAN: Don’t do that, I mean it.

MARCUS: Too late, I’m doing it.

SHERMAN: I’m warning you, you dial that phone, I’m going to punch you right in the head.

MARCUS: You’re going to do what?

SHERMAN: I will, I will punch you right in the … I’ll punch you right in the stomach, I will go to town on you right here, right now! I’m gonna hit you!

(SHERMAN pushes MARCUS.)

MARCUS: Okay, all right, calm down …

SHERMAN: I will hit you SO hard, I’ll hurt your whole family!

MARCUS: Okay, calm down, calm down.

SHERMAN: Lower that fucking phone right now.

MARCUS: Okay, okay, I’m not dialing, I’m putting it away.

SHERMAN: I fucking mean it.

MARCUS: Listen buddy, I …

SHERMAN: I am not your Goddamn buddy, get it straight!

MARCUS: Okay, all right. What I’m trying to say is, what can I do to help resolve this situation? There is obviously something disturbing you severely, so I’d like you to tell me what I can do to make the situation better. Would you like me to not be at this bus-stop? What is it you need from me?

SHERMAN: I need you to hit me. Right in the face.

MARCUS: I’m not going to hit you.

SHERMAN: Why won’t you hit me?

MARCUS: I don’t WANT to hit you, that’s why.

SHERMAN: But I WANT you to hit me, so hit me, would you just fucking hit me already?

MARCUS: Listen man, I don’t want to hurt you, all right?

SHERMAN: You can’t hurt me, you fuck, come on! Hit me! I’m not afraid of you, come on!

(SHERMAN starts circling around MARCUS, pushing him and holding up his fists.)

MARCUS: I am not going to hit you.

SHERMAN: You asked me what I wanted and I want to fight! Let’s go!

MARCUS: I’m not fighting.

SHERMAN: Let’s go, you cock!

MARCUS: I’m not fighting with you.

SHERMAN: You have to!

MARCUS: No I don’t.

(Very brief pause.)

SHERMAN: All right then. Give me your wallet.

MARCUS: What?

SHERMAN: Your wallet, give me your wallet. I want the wallet, I want the cell-phone and that wrist-watch, give me that wrist-watch too. Is that a Rolex? Looks like a Rolex.

MARCUS: You’re not serious.

SHERMAN: I’m serious big boy, fork it over.

MARCUS: You’re robbing me?

SHERMAN: You either hand over your valuables or I will hand your ass a beating. Got it?

(MARCUS takes out his cell phone again.)

MARCUS: I don’t think so, I’m calling the police.

SHERMAN: Hey, put that down or I will hit you!

(MARCUS turns his back on SHERMAN.)

MARCUS: (into phone) Hello, I need assistance, I’m being mugged. Corner of …

SHERMAN: Don’t do it, I’m warning you!

(SHERMAN jumps onto MARCUS’ back.)

MARCUS: Hey! Hey, hey, calm down, calm down.

SHERMAN: Give me the phone, give it to me!

MARCUS: Okay, all right, okay, here it is, just get off of me.

(MARCUS hands the phone to SHERMAN, who climbs down off of MARCUS’ back.)

SHERMAN: Aha! There will be no police now, no cops to the rescue, aha! How does that make you feel, you big bastard, how do you like that?

MARCUS: Are we done now?

SHERMAN: Yes. No! I almost forgot, give me your wallet. And your watch!

(MARCUS glumly hands over his wallet and watch. SHERMAN takes them gleefully.)

SHERMAN: This is great, this is SO great. I’m pushing you around, I’m the boss of this situation, I am the MAN. I should have done this years ago, I can’t believe this. This is so awesome.

MARCUS: Can I go now?

SHERMAN: Yes. No! No, I’m not done with you yet. I want your pants.

MARCUS: You want my pants?

SHERMAN: I want your pants.

MARCUS: Why do you want my pants?

SHERMAN: Just shut up and give me your pants.

MARCUS: I’m not gonna give you my pants.

SHERMAN: You give me your pants or otherwise I am going to strike you very hard several times in various places on your body. As hard as I can. Let’s go, drop ‘em and hand ‘em over.

MARCUS: They won’t even fit you.

SHERMAN: What is that, is that a comment on my size, are you making fun of me? Is that some kind of wise-ass crack?

MARCUS: I’m not making fun of you, I only want to know why you want my pants.

SHERMAN: You don’t need to know. All that’s important is that you either give me your pants or I will hit you. That’s it. Now. Which is it going to be?

MARCUS: All right. Hit me.

SHERMAN: You want me to hit you?

MARCUS: I don’t want you to hit me, but I don’t want to give you my pants, either.

SHERMAN: You’re sure about this?

MARCUS: Pretty sure. I like these pants.

SHERMAN: Okay then. I’m going to hit you.

MARCUS: All right.

SHERMAN: I’m going to smack you as hard as I can.

MARCUS: Okay.

SHERMAN: Here I go. I am now hitting you.

MARCUS : Fire away Chief.

(SHERMAN tentatively steps forward, then swings and hits MARCUS in the shoulder. SHERMAN jumps up and down, holding his hand.)

SHERMAN: Oww!

MARCUS: Are you all right?

SHERMAN: I’m fine, I’m fine. You ready to give your pants yet?

MARCUS: I’m not ready to give you my pants just yet.

SHERMAN: I may have to hit you again.

MARCUS: I’m aware of that. I’m hoping that you’ll reconsider.

SHERMAN: You can hit me back, if you want. That’s often how fights work.

MARCUS: I appreciate that. Let me think about it.

SHERMAN: Are you sure you don’t want to give me your pants?

MARCUS: I’m sure. Are you sure you want them?

SHERMAN: I’m not so sure anymore. But I can’t let you push me around, you know, I have to make a stand for myself. I have to fight.

MARCUS: Why?

SHERMAN: Why? Why? Are you serious? If a man doesn’t know how to fight, if a man doesn’t make a stand for himself, then he’s not a man, he’s not anything but a smudge on somebody’s shoe. If a man doesn’t fight then all sorts of bad things happen to him, he gets called names like fag, pussy, asshole, he gets pushed around, he lets other guys take credit for work he’s done, he lets someone else take his parking spot, lets someone else take the promotion he deserves, all because he’s too scared to say anything, because he too scared to fight. And then, because he won’t fight, he loses his job, he loses his … his wife, his family, everything he loves, he loses just about everything. He becomes somebody’s bitch, just like in all those prison movies, a man who doesn’t fight becomes a bitch and gets fucked in the ass by life and everybody else bigger than him. You have to fight! You have to!

(Brief pause.)

MARCUS: I think you’re right.

SHERMAN: I am?

MARCUS: Yeah, I do. I think there are times to stand up for yourself and fight.

SHERMAN: You do?

MARCUS: Absolutely. I myself try to avoid it whenever possible, but I do agree that there is a time and a place for it. When it involves something worth fighting for. Can I ask you a question?

SHERMAN: Sure.

MARCUS: Why are we fighting? Do you really want my pants that badly?

SHERMAN: I don’t really care about your pants.

MARCUS: So why do you want to fight with me?

SHERMAN: Because you’re … because you’re taller than I am.

MARCUS: I don’t think that’s a good reason to fight, do you?

SHERMAN: Not really, no.

MARCUS: Does that mean we’re done fighting?

SHERMAN: I think we’re done, yeah.

MARCUS: That’s great. I think one of the toughest challenges a man has to face is knowing when it’s the right time to fight and when it’s the right time to walk away. Understanding the difference, that’s the key.

SHERMAN: I’m not sure I know what the difference is, quite yet. But I’m working on it.

MARCUS: My name is Marcus.

SHERMAN: My name is Sherman, a lot of people call me Sherm or Shermy, but I guess I prefer to be called Sherman.

MARCUS: Nice to meet you, Sherman. It looks to me like you’ve had kind of a bad day.

SHERMAN: It’s been a pretty bad day, yeah.

MARCUS: Can I buy you a drink?

SHERMAN: Yeah, that’d be great. That’d be really great.

MARCUS: In order for me to do that, you’re going to have to give me my wallet back, though.

SHERMAN: Oh yeah, sure, I’m sorry. Here you go.

(SHERMAN hands the valuables back to MARCUS.)

MARCUS: I know a place right around the corner, let’s go.

SHERMAN: Marcus?

MARCUS: Yeah Sherman?

SHERMAN: That was my very first fight ever.

MARCUS: Congratulations, man. Good job.

SHERMAN: Did I win?

MARCUS: I think we both won.

(They walk off.)

The End.

PRODUCTION NOTES:

First produced by The Defiant Ones, directed by Ato Essandoh and featuring Taylor Ruckel as Marcus and Sam Zavieh as Sherman, all of whom did a fantastic job.

It was later produced again at Manhattan Theatre Source, directed by Marci Phillips and featuring the wild man acting pair of Chuck Bunting as Marcus and Lou Carbonneau as Sherman.

Been done a few times in other places, but they were there first.

If you know the play or just like what you read, please head over to Amazon and leave a kind word or two in review: The THE Plays: six short plays … I’ll be in your debt, thanks!

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