SCENE: Upon the stage in low eerie light. Sits a small, broken down home; more of a shack. The windows have little glass, mostly they are boarded up. The front door is battered up too; looking as if it has been repeatedly broken into. There are some cinder blocks for front steps. There is a small vegetable garden out front …..This sad vocation lies on a barren street, with debris laden vacant lots on both sides of the poor looking home . Surely, is a sad dwelling. The street itself has large pot holes. Has sidewalks of broken cement and weeds extending up here and there; the curves of the sidewalk are crumbling here and there. Also, there is a single street light near the garden. On the opposite side of the garden is an old street sign ,tilting down and the name on it is, “Mercy” …..In short time……A girl; what looks like a girl, comes from inside the worn-out home. She is wearing a torn and tattered filthy dress. In fact, she is filthy herself: her hair, face, arms and legs are covered in mud……She steps for the garden, goes down on her knees and begins to tend to the verging plants…..As she toils in the dirt with her hands….. S.O. of someone whistling…. Then, a young, fit, attractive police officer enters the stage; whistling a tune and swinging a night stick non-chalanlantly…..For he is walking his city-beat.
POLICE OFFICER: [ stops swinging his nightstick, stops whistling ,stops to talk ] “…..Hello, I’m Officer Terry. This is my beat, I mean, I just started today.”
SCENE: The strange, looking filthy girl…..Pauses, looks up at him…..And does not speak.
OFFICER TERRY: “There isn’t much this end of town, I mean, North Philly seems like it has been bombed out or something. Your house, it is your house? It’s the only one on this block.”
SCENE: After staring at him…..The girl just continues taking care of her garden.
OFFICER TERRY: “Looks like those plants need water, and…..”
GIRL: [ speaks to the dirt ] “My water’s cut off.”
OFFICER TERRY: “…..Oh?”
GIRL: ” My electric too.”
OFFICER TERRY: “Well, I can fill out a report. Maybe the city will assist…. I believe there’s a program that ……”
GIRL: [ looks up at him quickly , cutting him off ] “Assist, assist what, what program, this is North Philly, nobody cares about North Philly, nobody !” [ and she just continues with her garden ]
OFFICER TERRY: [ doesn't know what to say ] “…..Ah, ah, your front door looks broken into.”
GIRL: [ Stops, looks at her front door ] “Yes, used to be a lot…” [continues her gardening]
OFFICER TERRY: “…..A lot?”
GIRL: [ still just talks to the ground while toiling ] “Yes, they use to break in, gangs I mean, rape me, take what little I had”
OFFICER TERRY: [ Shocked ] “Raped you! Who!?”
GIRL: [ Stands, yells ] “You think I like looking like this, look at me! Mud’s my protection! Who’d want to rape me now, who!?” [ and she starts to weep ]
OFFICER TERRY:[ confused, thinking she's crazy ] ” How can I help you, are you sick? Do you want to go to the hospital ? Just tell me how, how I can help you ?”
GIRL: [ Weeps, yet talks ] “How, how!….. You’re the first cop I’ve seen in years, years. When, when they did things to me and and my fuckin’ food stolen !…..Hey, how’d you find this street anyway !?”
OFFICER TERRY: [ points his nightstick the way he came ] “…..I, I just walked this way.”
GIRL:[ starts backing up slowly ] “You’re lost then! You don’t care ! You don’t fuckin’ care! ”
OFFICER TERRY: [ looks deeply at her ] “…..Maybe, I, yes a little lost, yes, but but I’ll need your name. I just want to make some sense of all this, it’s my job, my beat, look, you got problems. Just your name please. Do you have I.D. ? ”
GIRL: [ looks deeply back at him. Then, runs for the front door and into the house, yelling.... the front door remains wide open ] “Go away !….. Just go the fuck away !”
SCENE: Officer Terry stares at the front…..The way she went then disappeared ….. He then decides on something, sides his nightstick in the ring on his side and goes for his two-way radio, begins talking…..Yet, going nearer to the front door, but, turns his back slowly to the front door ; looks out to the street…..
Officer Terry :[ speaks into two-way radio ] “…. Officer Terry here , Officer Terry to desk Sergeant desk Sergeant., 10-4 10-4 come in ……”
V.O-S.O.[ two-way radio ] “….. Terry, desk sergeant here , I heard you 10 -4 …. I here you ,go ahead, 10-4″
Officer Terry : “I have an emergency assistance situation. I have a female covered in mud, living in an abandon home, she says she’s been raped by a gang…..Yes sir, yes sir, I understand……I ”
V.O.-S.O. [ two-way radio ] ” hold on a minute Terry,10-4…..”
Officer Terry : “…..I’ll hold, 10-4 ”
SCENE: As Officer Terry pauses in communicating with his superior; seemingly looking up at the tilted street sign; that word ‘Mercy’ on it ,suddenly, the sign gets beamed with some light ……….Then, the girl of mud “races” out the open front door!….. She’s holding a long piece of pointed glass! And, with a blood-curdling scream….!! Plunges the glass weapon into the unsuspecting back of Officer Terry !…..He succumbs to the ground,along with a cry of pain ! …..He is a “downed” officer.
V.O.-S.O. [ two-way radio grasped in Officer Terry's hand, blasting ] “Terry, are you there, 10-4 …10-4, Terry, are you there, come in, come in…. ?!”
SCENE: The girl of mud begins to back away from the downed officer…..Mumbling as she backs…staring down at him ….. Her hand has blood on it from the “killing glass”; half broken glass she tightly holds ….. The backs of her bare, muddy feet hit the front steps…..She turns and hurries inside…..Then,the hurt Officer Terry starts to move, starts to crawl accompanied by his moans….. Officer Terry try’s to reach behind him, for that piece of glass in his back…… Yet, he holds onto the two-way …..Across the stage…… he crawls, he struggles…..
Officer Terry: [ desperate, weakening, speaks into two-way radio ] “I’m down, down……Mercy street, Mercy, one house, crazy lady, mud mud, all mud …..”[ and he passes out ]
Then, the stage and theater begin to go dark…and dark…and dark…Then…V.O. a single, long wailing scream from “her” in darkness !!
[an intermission for Act II]
By: George Martorano