No Vacancy

© 2015 Lyf Stolte

JOHN

If I wanted to, he’d be dead. No questions. Just like that. Can’t mess with me and not receive some kind of punishment.

GEORGE

Don’t think of it as punishment. That’s your first problem.

JOHN

But that’s what it will be.

GEORGE

No no no no…you got this all wrong. You’re too negative.

JOHN

But – How can I not be negative? After what he did? And in public no less.

GEORGE

I know. I know. Happened to me before too.

JOHN

No shit?

GEORGE

No shit.

JOHN

Woah.

GEORGE

The key is to remain positive. You keep the upper hand on everyone when you don’t let them rent room in your head. You let the negativity get to you and they are renting room up there that you can’t spare.

JOHN

Thanks.

GEORGE

I’m just saying, that given your current situation man you gotta be the only one in your head. You let anyone, and I do mean anyone, in there and it’s gonna be game over for you quicker than you say “goof”.

JOHN

Yeah. I guess. I hear ya.

GEORGE

So listen – the key is to remain positive, in your mind and in your words.

JOHN

But I want that (lets out an animalistic grunt) to pay and pay hard.

GEORGE

I’m not saying he won’t pay. I’m not saying don’t pay him back. I’m saying that the way you communicate that is what’s gonna keep you on top and him underneath you.

JOHN

Ok. Fine. I hear you. But how do I do that?

GEORGE

Well, instead of saying something stupid like “you’ll live to regret that” or even worse “just wait until next time”, those are both empty and he knows then that he got underneath your skin – he’s in your head eating your soul from the inside out. You need to add something to your repertoire before hand. That way you ain’t going in underprepared.

JOHN

Repertoire? What is that? I gotta carry a report card or something around with me?

GEORGE

(lets out a delighted and jolly laugh)

No! But that would be funny! No, a “repertoire” is like a resevoir, a place where extra is kept in case of emergency’s. You got to keep stuff in your head for cases like this, because I tell ya son, you stay out here long enough and they will eat you alive if you ain’t got nothing in your repertoire. On top of that, you gotta be able to follow through.

JOHN

Like golf? I gotta take golf clubs with me now?

GEORGE

(another jolly laugh)

No no no. I mean, you don’t need to, but you can. Never hurts to be prepared. The only caution I would issue here is that if you gets known for bringing weapons around, others’ll bring ’em bigger and worst. So, no. No golf clubs. You gotta be prepared to cash in with the fists god gave you.

JOHN

That I can do.

GEORGE

But listen, before all that, which I know you can do, you got to keep your head in the game. You gotta keep you in your own head. Place a huge “No Vacancy” sign up there for yourself.

JOHN

Ok. (a pause) How?

GEORGE

So, here you gotta think for yourself. How can you say something to someone that will communicate to them the seriousness of how you feel without you losing your shit?

JOHN

George I don’t know! I just don’t fucking know…

GEORGE

Ok ok ok…sure, fine. First one’s on me. Here’s what I say to get under people’s skin. If they get to threatening me, I tell them what I’m gonna do to them, all smiles like, and then when they ask if it’s a threat I say to them “A threat? Fuck no. That’s a free estimate.”

JOHN

(laughs loudly enjoying the cleverness of his friend)

Oh that’s good. That’s rich. How – How – how do you think of that?

GEORGE

I’ve had time. (to himself) Too much time. (to his friend) And now that you got me you have time. You have my time. So use it wisely.

JOHN

Thanks George. (a pause) You think I can do it?

GEORGE

Johnny boy, ain’t no one can tell you that but you.

JOHN

Ok. Thanks George. (goes to leave) You want anything from Peter’s?

GEORGE

Sure, a pack of export ‘a’, green, regular, small pack. Thanks Johnny.

JOHN

No problem. I owe you.

GEORGE

No. You don’t. You don’t owe me. You don’t owe no one nothing. Make sure you remember that. You start owing people and you ain’t never gonna get out. Trust me.

JOHN

– but…ok…just give me the money for the smokes and –

GEORGE

Look. Bring me back the smokes, I’ll pay you when you get back and then I’ll see you later. Don’t come looking for me. I don’t owe you and you don’t owe me.

JOHN

I’m sorry George. Did I do –

GEORGE

You gonna get the smokes or are you just gonna stand there talking?

JOHN

Fine. I’m gone. See you in a bit. (he leaves)

GEORGE

You might. You just might. (dials a number then waits) Yep. He’s on his way…No…that’s it. We are over. I owe you exactly shit…(laughs a little, a sad experienced laugh)…Listen, if you want to suck your meals through a straw the rest of your life, you just come down here and tell me to my face I owe you…(another knowing laugh)…Nope, that’s not a threat my friend, I don’t make threats. That’s a free estimate…Ok. I’ll see you in a bit. (throws his phone away) No vacancy.

GEORGE leans back on the park bench, takes out a new pack of smokes, opens it, takes out a fresh dart, lights it and lets his head roll back and the smoke slowly pours out. He looks forward, tears in his eyes. He gets a photo from his jacket pocket and stares at it. He kisses it sweetly then stands up, and crumples the photo, throwing it away as he leaves the park.

~ FIN ~

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