"Never Nothin' Again No More"

ACT I

SCENE 1

(All characters are assembled on stage)

ALL
Yo, we all got pain poundin’ at our brain,
Sometime it feel like we gonna go insane.
I got a answer for ya brothers -- sisters too!
There only one small thing ya gotta do.
Waste yourself! It don’t take long.
‘Cause when you dead, there ain’t nothing wrong!
Just give up, baby! Stop breathin’ now!
Give up, baby, stop livin’! Shhh!

RAPMASTER
Yo, man, ya hear it? Shhh!
(Brief pause)
Y’all ain’t really listening!
(Pause, listening)
Silence, baby.
(Breaking into a rap song)
Silence be the kinda music ya can’t hate. I got it here for ya brothers -- no need to wait!

(Joli and Francisco react uncomfortably)

RAPMASTER
(To Francisco)
Y’all know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, don’t ya?

FRANCISCO
(Grudgingly)
Yes.

RAPMASTER
(To Joli)
Right, man?

JOLI
No!
(Pause)
Yeah.

RAPMASTER
Talkin’ ‘bout the big quiet, baby! Death!
(Listening and smiling)
Oh yeah! ‘Cause ya know it gets too frawkin’ loud out there in the world, man!

(Dissonant piano music begins softly)

RAPMASTER
Just listen to them sounds buildin’ up when people won’t get out your face! Tell me what they say about ya!

JOLI
“You’re only an overgrown, stupid bully! You don’t belong in this school the way you pick fights ...”

RAPMASTER
(Interrupting. To Francisco)
And what about y’all?

FRANCISCO
“Yo, Frances, girl -- you wimp! Better go run back to Mama and practice your piano some more so ...”

JOLI
(Overlapping)
“About time you got home, lazy kid! You’re two hours late so I imagine you were out smoking marijuana again instead of ...”

JOLI'S STEPMOTHER
(Overlapping)
... Kid! You’re two hours late so I imagine you were out smoking marijuana again instead of ...

FRANCISCO
(Overlapping Joli’s last word or two)
“It’s your own fault you don’t have any friends! You sit alone in your room all the time and never try to ...”

FRANCISCO'S MOTHER
(Overlapping)
... Fault you don’t have any friends! You sit alone in your room all the time and never try to ...

RAPMASTER
(Overlapping Francisco’s last word or two)
And then the music just get louder! Them sounds pilin’ up, know what I’m sayin’ to ya?

(The music slowly becomes louder, other instruments added to the piano one by one to create a noisy cacophony)

RAPMASTER
If it ain’t your teacher, it’s your mother -- or your stepbrother or your cousin or your so-called friends!

FRANCISCO
Why does everyone hate me so much?

JOLI
What do you want from me, man!

RAPMASTER
Or maybe it just be your own self!

(The music abruptly stops)

FRANCISCO
Freak!

JOLI
Loser!

RAPMASTER
Yeaaaah! Got the answer right here, man. Silence -- close as the nearest razor blade.

(The instrumental rap music is heard again briefly. The Rapmaster stands at midstage facing the audience and carefully slits her wrists, one at a time. Joli and Francisco pull red scarves from her wrists and react as she spreads her arms and holds them out, palms up, like some perverse figure of Christ. She speaks to the audience, without glancing toward Joli or Francisco)

RAPMASTER
Ya wanna do it too?

FRANCISCO
(Grudgingly)
Yes.

JOLI
No!
(Pause)
Yeah.

RAPMASTER
Yeah, baby!

(The dissonant music begins once more)

RAPMASTER
(Dancing, waving her red scarves)
Take the easy way out! Pick up that gun! Suck on that car’s tailpipe! Swallow that rat poison! Or maybe just ...

(A faraway train whistle sounds)

RAPMASTER
Oh yeah! Just stand on them train tracks and look the other way, man! Ain’t nothin’ easier. Make that ol’ train whistle the last frawkin’ music you hear before all that endless, sweet, forever silence.

(Francisco and Joli listen as though in a trance, then suddenly rouse themselves. We hear the train whistle once more, which silences the music)

JOLI
Shut up, will ya?

FRANCISCO
Stop it! I won’t listen to this!

RAPMASTER
Sure, man, sure.
(In a conversational rap)
Why don’t ya forget about me? If life’s really all you think it should be. Don’t listen to one word I say. But I’m here for ya, baby -- if y’all need me someday!

END OF SCENE ONE