November Writing Challenge #16

Only 14 days to go. . .



Peter: a tow truck driver

Jenn: a landscape worker



A roadside. Jenn is standing beside a toy truck. The hood is up. There are small trees in the back of the truck. Peter enters sage left on his hands and knees, pushing a toy tow truck, making Brummm sounds. He parks beside Jenn’s truck and stands up.


Jenn: It’s about time. I called an hour ago.

Peter:  Too bad. I am twenty miles away, you know.

Jenn: I didn’t know. You’re just a number.

Peter:  Right. And the only tow around here. So, what’s the trouble?

Jenn: Alternator. Like I said on the phone.

Peter:  You sure?

Jenn:  Of course I’m sure. What, you assume I don’t know anything about cars? This is my truck. I work on it myself. If I had a spare alternator, I’d be on my way by now. Did you bring one?

Peter:  An alternator? No.

Jenn:  Why not?

Peter:  Didn’t have one in the shop. This is an old truck.

Jenn: I know that. That’s why I told you.

Peter: I’ll tow you back to the shop and have the boys check out the junk yard at the five corners.

Jenn: But you’ll charge me for the tow.

Peter:  Or, you could sit here and I’ll charge you the same for my mileage to and fro. Your choice.

Jenn:  Can’t win, then, can I?

Peter:  Nope. None of us ever wins.

Jenn: I don’t like that idea.

Peter:  What?  That we’re all losers?

Jenn:  Yeah, that one.

Peter:  Well, it’s true. Think about it. We’re born, right? Not our choice. Parents aren’t our choice, either. Or how many brains we’ve got. Or where we live. Could be some dump, could be a castle.

Jenn:  But lots of people do okay.

Peter:  Oh, well, doing okay. Yeah. That’s about it. Unless you’re Bill Gates or one of them, maybe just doing okay is all you get.

Jenn:  But—I’m doing okay. I’ve got this business, see? A little nursery, trees and bushes and stuff. And even some flowers. I like the work and I get paid enough.

Peter:  Enough for what?  You sure as hell got an old wreck of a truck.

Jenn:  But that’s not important. I mean, I’m not rich, but I have this business and enough to get by. I have a nice little house.

Peter:  Little, though, right? Nothing fancy.

Jenn:  I don’t need anything fancy. What I’ve got is more than most people.

Peter:  Well, okay, that kind of proves my point, doesn’t it?  Most people are losers. You think you’re doing okay just because you’re better off than most people, and that’s not saying much.

Jenn: What about you? Are you a loser?

Peter:  Sure. Of course I am. Most people are. If I weren’t, do you think I’d be doing this for a living? Oh, cars are okay, but if I could do anything I want, I’d be on a beach someplace in Florida.

Jenn: That would get old pretty fast.

Peter: How do you know? Ever tried it?

Jenn:  No, but just sitting around is boring.

Peter:  Oh, I wouldn’t just sit around. I’d have some beers, play some volleyball, maybe surf a little. And I’d have a beach house, you know, one of them on stilts. And I’d have parties with all my friends. A big enough house for them to stay. And we could go to clubs sometimes for the music.  And I could have a good guitar.

Jenn: You play guitar?

Peter:  Yup. But I don’t have a very good one. Taught myself when I was a kid. Always wanted to be a musician.

Jenn:  So you think you’re a loser because you aren’t a musician?

Peter:  I didn’t say that.

Jenn: Well, it’s what you meant. Your dreams didn’t come true, so you think you’re a loser.

Peter: Well, aren’t I?

Jenn:  No. Be serious. Nobody’s dreams come true. That doesn’t mean we’re losers.

Peter: What was your dream?

Jenn: None of your business.

Peter:  Hey, it’s only fair. I told you mine.

Jenn:  I wanted to be a musician, too.

Peter:  What instrument?

Jenn: Drums.

Peter:  So what happened?

Jenn: Parents thought girls shouldn’t play drums.

Peter: So you didn’t.

Jenn: Nope. I didn’t.

Peter:  Loser.  At least I’ve got a guitar.

Jenn:  Hey, that’s not fair. Drums cost a lot.

Peter:  Yeah, that was mean of me. Besides, all us losers have to stick together. I mean, that’s about all we’ve got, isn’t it? Our loserhood. We should have passwords and badges and stuff. We could have a lodge:  The great brotherhood of losers.

Jenn:  laughing  Well, maybe you’re right. But you know, there’s still dreams out there. Maybe they’ll come true for somebody.

Peter: Maybe. Well, talk doesn’t move trucks. Let’s go.  He closes the hood of her truck and attaches it to his tow truck. Hop in.

Both get on hands and knees and push their trucks toward stage left, while he makes car noises.