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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Raft: Scene 1

The Raft
A Play in One Act
Earl J. Woods

Cast of Characters

Fuad Azzameen - A man in his late 40s
Champion Fortnight - A man in his early 20s
Lake Suspiria - A woman in her early 20s
Heather Bullseye - A woman in her late 30s

A meandering river.

The near future. 

Scene 1
SETTING: A large, well-made log raft, complete with railings, boat hook, two paddles and a small bamboo shelter floats lazily down a meandering river.  Upon the raft sit two Coleman coolers, one orange, one red; a Coleman lantern, two sleeping bags; a lawn chair; a fishing rod and net; some scattered pillows; a pair of binoculars; and a small safe with a combination lock. The shoreline is overgrown with tropical foliage; the water is very clear. It is a hot summer's day, shortly before noon. During this scene, the light gradually changes from natural yellow sunlight to a dangerous, foreboding red. 

AT RISE: The raft is empty. There is a splash; then, the sounds of someone swimming. After a moment, FUAD AZZAMEEN clambers onto the raft, soaking wet. He sits down heavily in the lawn chair. He peels off the wet suit he was wearing, stripping down to his underwear and undershirt. He's clearly exhausted by the swim; catching the raft in this current took speed and endurance. He hangs his clothing on one of the raft's bamboo railings, then examines the raft. He notes the boat hook, the paddles, the fishing rod. He opens one cooler, rummages through it: 

Coors...Coke...Orange juice...7-Up...water...water!

FUAD takes a bottle of water and closes the cooler. He drinks as he continues to survey the raft. He notices the safe and tries to open it; it's locked. He spins the combination lock a couple of times, tries to open it again; no luck. He shrugs and moves toward the shelter that sits near the bow of the raft. As he looks through the doorway, there is a sudden crashing cacophony of howls, loud enough to shake the stage. FUAD's eyes lock on the doorway for an instant, and then he turns away as if he had heard nothing and had no interest in the shelter. He picks up the binoculars and scans the shoreline with them. Seeing nothing, he sits down in the lawn chair again and sips his water. He looks around, bored; he has the air of a man who desperately wishes he had something to read. 

Hey! Hey you! Slow down! Wait!

FUAD leaps to his feet, startled. He looks all around, trying to locate the source of the voice - he's looking out into the audience. But CHAMPION FORTNIGHT pushes aside thick foliage on the opposite shore and waves desperately. 

Over here! 

FUAD sees CHAMPION and uses the boat hook to snatch a low-hanging branch, muscles straining to stop the raft. It works, but FUAD can't hold on for long. 

Hurry! The current's too strong!

CHAMPION dives into the water and swims for it, reaching the raft just as FUAD is forced to unhook the boat hook from the branch. He drops the boat hook onto the deck and helps CHAMPION board. 

CHAMPION (gasping)
Thanks! I didn't think there was anyone else...(he trails off.)

No. Me either. 

CHAMPION (extending a hand to shake)
Well, I'm glad I found you. I'm Champion Fortnight. Most people just call me Champ. 

FUAD (shaking hands after a reluctant moment)
Fuad Azzameen. 

The two men regard each other for a second with some wariness. Then CHAMPION claps his hands onto his thighs and stands up. 

So - a raft, huh? Not a bad idea. I tried for a glider; it didn't work out. 

It's not mine. I found it just a few minutes ago. 

Really? Huh. What are the odds? 

FUAD shrugs as CHAMPION takes a look around the raft, performing the same mental inventory that FUAD did moments ago. He opens one of the coolers and retrieves a beer, cracking it open. 

So what's in the safe? And who puts a safe on a raft, anyway? And hey, where's...where's whoever built this? 

I don't know. It was empty when I arrived. The safe is locked. But they haven't been gone long. There's still ice in the coolers. Hardly any has melted. 

Did you look in here? 

CHAMPION moves toward the shelter. FUAD suddenly freezes as if transfixed. CHAMPION sticks his head into the doorway and screams as the same sounds we heard before drown out everything. 



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