(We open in what appears to be twilight. The light is getting purple and soft behind the bunk beds in Chuck and Butch's room. An arm in a brown blazer shakes the sleeping Chuck's arm.)
Butch: Chuck? Chuck?
*Chuck utters a "Mmph" and turns away from the shaking.*
Butch: Chuck, come on! You're gonna miss the cast party at Louie's!
Chuck: *Groans and turns back toward Butch; groggily* What time is it?
Butch: About six o'clock. The party starts at 7!
Chuck: Okay. *closes his eyes again*
Butch: (Shakes him harder) Chuuuuccckkk!
Chuck: *Groans again* Okay... *slowly sits up and holds his head; groans again* Ugh...
Butch: (He sits next to Chuck) Are you ok? Do you need aspirin or something?
Chuck: *Nods* Yeah. I have such a headache.
Butch: All right. (He goes out and comes back in with aspirin and a glass) Brought some orange juice, too.
Chuck: Thanks. *takes the aspirin and drinks the juice; hands the empty glass back to Butch* Feels like a jackhammer in there.
Butch: Maybe you'll feel better if you get up and move around a bit.
Chuck: I hope so.
Butch: You could have a snack before we go, too. That might help your head. When was the last time you ate something?
Chuck: Some time before the show, I think.
Butch: That was hours ago! You definitely need something to eat.
Chuck: Butch...is anyone mad at me?
Butch: (Shakes his head) We're more worried about you than mad, even the girls.
Chuck: *Pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs* Well...
Butch: Chuck, no one hates you. We know this wasn't your fault, so don't keep kicking yourself for it.
Chuck: I just feel like I provoked it with that play. I don't even know where that play came from!
Butch: Chuck...how long have those ladies been in your head?
Chuck: *Looks down at his lap and clasps his hands together* I don't know.
Butch: Since what happened a few months ago?
*Chuck just shrugs.*
Butch: Why didn't you tell us?
Chuck: *Quietly* I don't know.
Butch: Were you afraid that we'd get mad or think you were crazy?
Chuck: *Still looking down* I guess that was part of it.
Butch: What was the other part?
Chuck: *Looks at Butch* I didn't want the attention.
Butch: I know you don't like the spotlight, but sometimes...you need attention, whether you like it or not. If you're hurting, you need help.
Chuck: I didn't know I needed help.
Butch: Chuck, what are you afraid of?
Chuck: I'm a pushover. Those two got into my head so easily that I didn't even know they were still in there! Maybe they're still in there, I don't know!
Butch: They had something you wanted to believe in.
Chuck: I guess so.
Butch: I know so. Chuck...maybe it wouldn't be so bad for you to, well, be bad every now and then.
Chuck: Childhood habits are hard to break. With Slip always getting into trouble and Dad away, Ma counted on me to, well...be the good son.
Butch: I guess I don't understand where you're coming from. I'm an only child. I was the only son. Ma counted on me to practice my piano and not get into too much arguments with grown-ups on the radio, but when I got older, no one was really paying attention to what I did with the neighborhood kids as long as I didn't kill anyone.
Chuck: You were never Slip's brother.
Butch: He's always been that bad?
Butch: Tomorrow, why don't we go to a really bad movie and make a lot of noise? You know, throw popcorn at the screen and say the dialogue along with the characters. What Whitey and Sach usually do at any given movie.
Chuck: I just don't understand why I can't be a nice guy? What's so wrong with that?
Butch: It's not a bad thing...but I think deep down, a little part of you is bored. You won't admit it and kept hiding him...and when he broke out, he turned into a monster.
Chuck: I just... *sighs* don't we have a party to go to? *rummages for something to wear*
Butch: Chuck... (He pulls out a shirt and hands it to him) Here. And I'm not going to let you off the hook. "I just..." what?
Chuck: *Takes the shirt and holds it to his chest* I...
Butch: Yes? You know I won't say anything mean, Chuck. I swear, it won't go outside this room.
Chuck: I'm afraid they'll get to me again.
Butch: We won't let them. We're wise to their tricks now. We can help you keep them out. (He smiles) You just need to work on your confidence.
Butch: Write more plays. Make it up to Rachel and take her out to the movies or to Louie's for an ice cream soda. Talk to someone at work about doing more assignments. Take up a hobby that doesn't involve writing.
Chuck: *Sighs* I need to do something.
Butch: Yes, you do. It'll take your mind off of all this. (Grins) How about you go to a party with us?
Chuck: *Nods and sighs again* Yeah, just let me change...
Butch: All right. We'll be waiting for you.
(He goes into the main room. The others are all ready, dressed in variations on decent suits. Whitey listens to the radio. Slip reads the paper. We can only see the back half of Sach; his front half is in the refrigerator.)
Whitey: *Turns to Butch* How did it go, Butch?
Butch: I'm not sure. He's still upset, but he doesn't seem as bad as earlier.
Slip: *Puts the paper down* He gettin' changed to go with us?
Butch: Yeah, he is.
Sach: (He emerges with a slice of yellow cake with chocolate icing) He needs food. That would make anyone feel better.
Slip: *Shakes his head* No, Sach. Chuckie's never been one ta eat when som'en's botherin' him.
Sach: He isn't? More for me, then. (Sits down on the couch next to Whitey with his cake)
Slip: We'll give him a few minutes ta change. If he ain't out, we're goin' in after him.
Butch: Don't yell at him Slip, please. He's still scared about this afternoon. I know he's blaming himself because the monster he keeps locked inside him got out.
Sach: Chuckie don't got no monster. It was all those bad ladies' doin'.
Slip: I ain't gonna yell, I just dunno what ta do about him.
Butch: He needs things to do to get his mind off of all this...and to prove to him that if he lets his "wild side" out for a little while every now and then, he won't get so bored that he turns into a monster.
Slip: I never thought of him havin' a "wild side."
Butch: I think that's part of the problem. Everyone has a little wildness in them, but Chuck keeps trying to bury his.
Slip: *Folds the papers and gets up, then leaves the paper on his chair* Why would he do that? He's a guy. Guys're s'poseta be wild.
Butch: Slip, did your mother lean on him a lot when you were younger?
Slip: *Half shrug* I guess she mighta. She was always yellin' at me, askin' why I couldn't be a good boy like Chuck.
Butch: I think you just answered your own question. Everyone expects Chuck to be good...so much, that he now expects it of himself or else.
Slip: *Makes a face* That's ridiculous.
Butch: I don't think it is. I think that's the root of the problem. Chuck has been burying his "wild" side for so long, trying to do what everyone expects of the "good" boy, his wild side rebelled.
Sach: Maybe he's got somethin' there, Chiefy. I have an Aunt Petunia who was a good lady for thirty years. Never spent more than she made, always kept a really nice house, never went out to anythin' 'sides family parties, never drank, never swore. Then, after my Uncle Barney died, she just sorta went crazy. She sold their apartment and bought a house in Miami Beach, bought all kinds of fancy clothes that were exactly what the kids were wearin', got a really fast car and painted it bright pink, painted her nails, and went to parties where everyone drank until five o'clock and then slept until noon.
Butch: Slip, he thinks we hate him. I think he just hates himself.
Slip: *Sighs and shakes his head* I dunno what to say to that.
Sach: I say we need to do a lot of talkin' with Chuck.
Butch: And we need to get him involved in something besides writin' to get his mind off this and to prove that he can do other things.
Sach: And to show that bein' good don't mean you can't have a little fun every now and then.
Slip: He needs all of us. We just gotta figger out how ta get him to let us help.
Butch: He needs to talk to Rachel, too.
Slip: An' Louie can help, too.
*Whitey's leaning against the wall next to the curtain for Chuck and Butch's room. His eyes suddenly widen.*
Whitey: Uh, fellas?
Sach: (Nods) He always has good advice. (Makes a face) Except for where IOUs are concerned.
Butch: Yeah, Whitey?
Whitey: *Points towards the curtain* He can hear us.
Chuck: *Flings the curtain open and gives Whitey a look; faintly* Stool pigeon.
Chuck: Guys, I don't want to change, but that's exactly what it sounds like you want me to do. I just want to be ME, but I don't know who I AM anymore! *heads for the apartment door*
Chuck: *Stops in the open door* We've got a party to go to. I'll see you there. *goes out*
Butch: Chuck! (He starts for the door, but Slip stops him)
Slip: Wait, Butch. This is part of the problem, too. We keep chasin' him. We know he's goin' to the party. We'll just meet him there.
Butch: But he's really upset!
Slip: I know. Listen, I wanna go chase him, too, but I ain't. He's a smart guy. He won't do nutin' dumb. He'll go to the party an' we'll see him there.
Butch: (Frowns) I can't help it. I'm worried. I never had a brother. You guys are the closest I've ever had to siblings!
Slip: Yeah, I'm worried, too, but this is gonna be the first step in the right direction. He doesnít wanna change himself, so we can change this for him. He needs some independence.
Butch: Well, all right.
Sach: But can we stay together? I get scared walkin' around out there at night. Who knows what's hidin' in the dark?
Slip: *Rolls his eyes* Yes, Sach, we can stay together.
Whitey: *Joins Sach* I don't like the dark, neither.
Slip: Letís go to the party, already.
Sach: Right, Chief.
(Fade out on the apartment. Fade in on Louie's. It's crowded with people from the show we saw earlier and their friends. Sally, Rachel, Marsha, Louie, and a few others are handing around drinks and hors'd ovures.)
*Chuck walks into Louie's, hands in his pockets.*
Louie: (He turns to Chuck) Hello, brilliant writer! Would the great playwright want some Pigs In Blankets or bagels with tomato sauce and cheese?
Chuck: Tempting as they might be, Louie, I'm not really hungry. You know what I would like? How about a glass of that champagne you got just for this little shindig?
Louie: Ok! (He goes over to the counter and pulls out the bottle) I wish I could have gotten more, but I'm on a budget, you know.
Chuck: I know that well. And don't skimp, Louie. I want a full glass.
Louie: (Pours them two glasses) Why would I skimp? It's not everyday you get to drink with someone who's had their play onstage!
Chuck: Thanks. *takes a long slug from the glass; gives small burp and makes a face*
Louie: You have to go slow, Chuck my boy. You're not used to it. (Louie slugs his) Now me, I'm used to it.
Chuck: I'm fine, Louie. *finishes the glass and gives another burp; slides the glass back to Louie* Fill it up again.
Louie: All right. I didn't think you were really much of a drinker, though. (He does so)
Chuck: Neither do the fellas. *takes another long slug; gives another burp* Works better than seltzer. Doesn't taste half as good, but it works better.
Louie: Sorry about that. The cheap stuff doesn't taste that great.
Chuck: Still does the job. *finishes his second glass and slides it back to Louie*
Louie: I don't know, Chuckie. You don't have the tolerance for this that Slip and I have.
*Chuck gives Louie an unblinking look. After a few seconds, he raises an eyebrow.*
Louie: How do you do that?
Chuck: *Sighs* Lots of practice. Will ya fill it up again? C'mon, Louie, you know I ain't drivin'.
Louie: Well, all right. You're an adult. I don't often get to chat with just you, anyway. (Fills his glass)
Chuck: *Small smile, nods* Thanks, Louie. *chugs down half of the glass* Louie, ya really see me as an adult?
Louie: You know I do. Yes, you'll always be my boys, but boys grow up. You went to war, didn't ya?
Chuck: Yeah. I think the fellas forget that some times. *Finishes the third glass and slides it back to Louie again, then belches loudly.*
Louie: Maybe you've had enough. (Grins) And anyone who can burp like that ain't no kid.
Chuck: *His grin is a bit lopsided* So serve up another! *slaps the counter* C'mon, Louie!
Louie: Well, just one more. (He does so)
Chuck: Great! *chugs the whole thing and puts the glass down; he giggles*
Louie: (Frowns) Chuck, you don't look right.
Chuck: Aw Louie, ya worry too much! *laughs and sways noticeably* Wow, who's spinnin' the room? *grabs onto the counter* You look funny, Louie.
Louie: (His eyes widen; he take's Chuck's arm) Why don't we sit you down in a booth...
Chuck: Aw Louie, I'm fine! *slides off the stool and lands seated on the ground; laughs* Wow, I see everyone's feet from down here! *laughs*
Louie: Try being me. I see everyone's feet from anyplace.
Chuck: *Looks up at Louie* I can see up yer nose, Louie. I like sayin' yer name, Louie. Louie, Louie, Louie! Louieeeeee! *laughs*
*Chuck starts to take his shoes off. He gets the shoes off, and then takes his socks off.*
Louie: Um, Chuck, you might want to keep those on. You don't know where they might end up around here. Besides, I have a strict shoes-and-shirt on at all times policy.
*Chuck puts the socks on his hands, then puts his hands in the shoes.*
Chuck: There! I'm wearin' 'em! *grins* You didn't say WHERE I have ta wear them!
Louie: Um, most people wear them on their feet. You know, these. (Points to his)
Chuck: Ohhhhhhhh! *laughs and puts his socks and shoes back on his feet; leans back on his arms, half under the counter* Wow, look at all the gum under there! *giggles* Someone even spelled out a word! F...u...
Louie: (Puts his hand over Chuck's mouth) Watch your language! Monogram would have a fit if you said that in one of these pictures!
*The corner's of Chuck's eyes crinkle. He chomps down on one of Louie's fingers.*
Louie: Ow! (He pulls back) Since when did my hand look like a corned beef sandwich? What's gotten into you, Chuck?
*Chuck scrambles to his feet, swaying precariously, and goes behind the counter.*
Louie: Chuck! (He hurries over to him) I knew you shouldn't have had all that champagne!
Chuck: *Sways and waves a hand* Awe, Louie!
Louie: You're about to fall over. If Slipula sees you like this, he'll never forgive me.
Chuck: Aw! *leans over the utensils and starts rummaging through them*
Louie: Chuck, you're not...
Chuck: Hmm... *leans under the soda fountain and sprays it into his mouth*
Louie: Chuck! (Grabs the soda sprayer) Stay away from that!
Chuck: *Grabs another* Okay, pardner, shoot! *sprays Louie with his; he laughs. The spray hits Louie right in the face.*
Louie: (Splutters) Chuuck! (Grabs this one, too) Cut that out!
*Chuck giggles and grabs a handful of candy sprinkles. He pours some in his mouth, and the rest onto Louie's head. He follows up the sprinkles with a cherry on Louie's head. He laughs as he scrambles out from behind the counter. He heads for the main door, but turns a hard corner when Slip and the others come inside.*