An excerpt: FROM THE EAST TO THE WEST. February 16,17, 18, 2010,
NoHo Arts Center,
North Hollywood, CA.
Written and Directed by Clifford Morts
Featuring Chad Coe, Nickella Moschetti, J.R. Mangels, Robert Alex Holmes and Malcolm Devine.
Executive Producer Teal Sherer
Producer NoHo Arts Center
Assistant Director Mary Evans
HARRY (to his youngest son, Cory, on the death of his mother):
"Well . . . Cory . . . this is the first and last time I’m gonna say this. I swear that. You’re her son. You deserve to know. (Beat.) We was covin’ out. Back up in six-mile cove. That spot where we always go. Peaceful. Quiet. No boats to speak of, really. No wake, no waves. Momma was a-sittin’ out back. On the back deck of the houseboat. She was sippin’ a salty dog. She’d taken to those lately. Gin, grapefruit juice, salt on the rim. I was at the wheel lettin’ the anchor down. Just holdin’ the button lettin’ the electric anchor down. We’d only just stopped the engines. Just as peaceful. I heard . . . I heard, now that I think of it, a boat, an engine, a buzz, like a far off fly or something, off in the distance. It was pitch black. Couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Not close, I thought. She called up, "Harry, there’s a ski boat a-followin’ us." Pitch black. I said, "A what? Where is it?" It was so dark I was feelin’ around tryin' to find the guard rail. And then, good God almighty, that son of a bitch must’ve run right square into the back of the boat. I’d stepped around the wheel and was standin’ next to the rail lookin’ in the wrong direction. That son of a bitch hit us and I just went to flyin’. Knocked me way the hell out into the middle of the goddamned lake. I came up and looked and saw that damned boat parked right up on top of the goddamned houseboat. Right up on the top. The boat was sinkin’ then. Ass end first. Just sinkin’, quick as shit. I started in to swimmin’ back as fast as I could, and I got to within maybe ten, fifteen feet of the boat, half of it was underwater by then, and I run right smack dab into your momma. She was gone, I know’d it right away. Her body . . . her head was . . . she was in bad shape, Cory. And I . . . held onto her . . . she flipped up on me then, her body sort of corked up, wrong end up, and her . . . shoes came off. I grabbed ‘em. Both of ‘em ‘fore they could get away, float away, lose ‘em in the water, slide away, sink, sink. And I held your momma up by the hair, by her bloody, bloody red hair, and her shoes, her shoes, up with the other hand. Kickin’ my feet like crazy to stay afloat. Up over my head. I wanted to . . . it seemed important to . . . keep ‘em dry. I don’t know what the Sam-hell I was thinkin’. She just, she just liked those shoes so damn much, I didn’t want them to get ruint. I honestly don’t know how long it was. Long enough to have a long conversation with her. I talked a blue streak. The boat was sunk. Gone. Them two fellas in the other boat was both wearin’ life jackets and I could see ‘em floatin’ a little ways off. They was both knocked out, I guess. They was both quiet. So I just held your momma up and her shoes and kicked my feet till I started thinkin’ I would just sink right along with her. Talkin’ to her. Talkin’ ‘bout personal things, you know. Stuff only me and your momma cared about. Stuff only me and her would know. And then a-finally. I could hear a boat full-out. Full throttle. Off in the yonder. Coast Guard, I knew. I knew it would be just few seconds then afore I was okay. And I give your momma a kiss on her bloody face and her . . . bloody hair and . . . and . . . told her . . . I’d see her in a little while. Save a place at the table for me. (Cory whimpers and breaks someplace very deep.) I made sure she was decent, covered up. And they pulled us out. Took your momma away from me. Covered her up. Put a blanket around me. Tried to take her shoes from me. Tried to take those shoes from me. Tried to . . . they couldn’t get my fingers to loosen off-a them shoes. Had to pry ‘em. (Pause.) I never wanted a drink so bad in all my natural life. But I held onto them shoes like they was the goddamn crown of thorns or some goddamn thing. (Beat.) I got ‘em upstairs."
See you tomorrow.