In the car. Gerald and Gertrude are up front. Jenevive and Billy are in the back.
J: On the way to my mother’s funeral on a rainy day. Just great.
Gertrude: You are just making this worse on everyone, Jenevive.
J: First of all, its J, just J. Second, what about you? I’m certainly not the one who’s making Billy wear girl’s clothing to this thing.
Gertrude: It was on the sale rack.
J: You’ve got money.
Gertrude: While it’s true that I _will have more money once everything your father owns gets transferred into my name as we agreed upon, I had to purchase clothing for young William off the sale rack because I had spent all my money on this businesssuit. Besides, I don’t think anyone will notice William’s female attire.
J: They won’t notice a little boy wearing a pink dress with matching pinafore?
Gertrude: I don’t think so.
(J starts screaming. She opens the car door, jumps from the vehicle and begins running down the street toward the funeral home, still screaming. Most passersby don’t even notice.)
Bum: Hey screaming lady, wanna go on a crack run for me?
(J runs into a park and flops down on the grass, punching the ground. Aunt Guinivere comes up to her.)
Guinivere: Hi, Jenevive, I’m your aunt Guinivere.
J: (Getting up and turning around) First, it’s J, just J. Second, I don’t have an Aunt Guinivere. Dad was an only child and my mom didn’t have any sisters named Guinivere.
Guinivere: Well, one of them certainly did have a sister because I’m here.
J: Oh wait, this is one of these things where one family member had a fight with another family member over something which is now a deep, dark secret and that family member was dead to them.
Guinivere: Exactly. Now, let’s head into the funeral.
The kitchen. Gertrude and Gerald are sitting at the table having breakfast. J enters.
Gerald: Good morning.
J: If you say so.
Gerald: Honey, Gertrude and I have been talking it over. Lately you’ve been crying a lot, moping around, generally exhibiting feelings of malaise.
J: Of course, Dad. I just lost my mother. We just had her funeral yesterday. Those are the normal feelings anyone experiences surrounding something like that.
Gerald: No person’s feelings are normal until I say they are, OK. Anyway, honey, Gertrude knows somebody and she pulled some strings. She and I have decided you’re going to be spending the summer working in a Welsh coal mine.
J: I’m going to be doing what?
Gertrude: Working down a Welsh coal mine, Jenevive. You know, you should really get your hearing checked. I’m partially deaf from all the heavy metal concerts I attended as a child and I heard him from over here.
J: You attended heavy metal concerts when you were a teenager?
Gertrude: No, Jenevive, not as a teenager, as a child. When I was around four or five I used to always sneak in.
(Guinivere enters the room.)
Guinivere: If J doesn’t want to work in a coal mine, she can always spend the summer with me.
J: Really Aunt Gwin? I’d love that.
Guinivere: I have a little summer camp I run up in the country.
Gerald: Whatever. Just so long as I don’t have to deal with her.
The street. Guinivere and J are walking along it.
J: So, how much further till we get to your car?
Guinivere: What makes you think I have a car?
J: Then how are we going to get to your house?
Guinivere: We’re going to hitchhike.
J: But that’s dangerous.
Guinivere: Not if you hitch a ride with the right people. It’s a calculated risk you take.
(Guinivere sticks out her thumb and a car stops. The window rolls down and the face of an albino appears.)
Arthur: Where you ladies headed?
Guinivere: North. Are you going north?
Arthur: Sure, I guess. Hop in. Name’s Arthur.
(Throughout the previous conversation, J has been casting quick glances at Arthur, then quickly averting her gaze to her feet.
J: (Nervously) Your, um, an, um, an albino.
Arthur: I sure am. It was tough them years living on the outskirts of my village, away from polite society because of the colour of my skin, or lack thereof.
J: (Getting in the back of the truck while Guinivere gets in the front) You use humour to cope?
J: I hate to sound like a little kid but are we there yet?
Guinivere: Well, if we were there then the truck would have stopped moving.
Arthur: Looks like we’re nearly there, though. … Yup, that sign up ahead says Athens Georgia.
J: Athens Georgia! But Aunt Gwin told you we wanted to go north.
Arthur: Oh, I guess we’ve gone in the wrong direction.
Aunt Gwin’s house. J and Guinivere enter through the front door.
J: It sure is good to finally be at your house, I think.
Guinivere: Yes. It was especially helpful when we found a driver who was actually headed in the right direction.
J: Well, I think I’ll be despondent and huffy and go for a sulk in those sand dunes.
Guinivere: All right, dear, that’s fine. Be home in time for dinner.
The sand dunes. J is lying in the sand. Connor comes flying toward her and lands on J’s head.
J: Ow. What the---
Connor: Oh my gosh, sorry, sorry.
J: What, if anything were you thinking?
Connor: Sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’m training to be an Olympic diver but I don’t have access to a pool.
J: Well, if you don’t have a pool at home why don’t you practice at a public pool? Surely there must be one within several dozen miles of here, somewhere.
Connor: I’m banned from all public pools in Canada.
J: Why in the world would you be banned from all public pools in Canada?
Connor: (Shrugs) Sport Canada banned me because they said they didn’t like my face. My name’s Connor, by the way.
J: Call me J.
Connor: All right, J. You’re visiting for the summer I take it?
J: Yes, in that house over there that looks like its about to fall down.
Connor: As opposed to going to fall up?
J: (Shrugs) I suppose it could do that, too.
Connor: So, you staying with your parents?
J: No, with my aunt. Actually, I was thinking, …
J: No, it’s gonna sound too weird.
Connor: No, go ahead.
J: Well, Connor, you see, I just lost my mother.
Connor: Oh my gosh, sorry. I don’t really know what else---
J: I’m feeling really confused and emotionally conflicted right now.
Connor: Of course, of course. Anyone in your situation would---
J: So I was wondering if you, maybe a couple of your buddies could help with this---
Connor: Sure, anything.
J: Well, since I’m going through a really dramatic situation, there seems only one appropriate thing to do. I was wondering if you and your buddies could help me squander all the precious moments of my life, here and now.
Connor: Sure. What do we have to do, exactly?
J: Well, you could kiss me while some of your friends force me to drink some beer, put a cigarette between my lips and stick a needle full of heroin in my arm.
Connor: Sure, I’ll be right back.
J: Thanks, buddy!
Based on “Just J” by Colin Frizzell.