OVERHEARD IN A BROOKLYN BAR
Narrator: You know, every time I go to a bar in Brooklyn, weird things happen. Iím not kidding. Donít misunderstand me: I love Brooklyn. But Brooklyn bars, man, I donít know. Itís justÖweird. The people in them seem somehow different than when I was growing up. More peculiar. Let me give you a few examples. I had just got off my stool at the bar late one night and was heading for the menís room and some guy and some chick got into it. So I delayed my trip to the menís room to listen.
Woman: Why are you staring at me?
Man: Oh, sorry, I didnít mean to stare. Itís just that-
Itís just that Iím Asian and you thought you could get away with staring at an Asian woman but you wouldnít dare do that with a Western woman, right? Because we Asian women are subservient and docile and mousey and wouldnít dare speak up or demand an explanation right?
Well, no, itís not like that. I-
So just what is it like then?
Well, I was just wondering about your ethnic background.
My ethnic background?
Well, yes, I mean youíre obviously an Asian woman but I was just thinking you look more East Asian than Southeast Asian.
Oh, is that right? So in addition to staring at Asian women you can tell where they are from. Just from one long, lascivious stare. So, go ahead. Enlighten me.
Well, I mean if Iím right and you are East Asian it means you must be Chinese, Korean or Japanese. And since you donít appear to be Japanese that leaves Chinese or Korean.
Very good. So which is it?
Well, I would guess Chinese?
OK, not bad. Is that it? The best you can narrow it down?
If you donít mind I think I can narrow it down a bit more.
Really? So go ahead, Sherlock, narrow it down.
Well, I would guess your ancestors were mainland Chinese of Hakka descent and most likely during the civil war in the 1950ís they fought with Chiang Kai-shek and your uncle was killed by a communist grenade during the battle of Huaihai. As the communists advanced, on December 5th, 1949, they boarded an aircraft and fled Chengdu for Taiwan. And your grandparents were just kids then and grew up in Taiwan and also your parents grew up there and then they had you there. I would guess your grandparents were born in Fujian province, in a small village outside the town of Minchou, and you still have relatives there who speak the Hakka dialect and although you can speak Hakka you now speak perfect mandarin but with a Taiwan accent.
(She stares at him for several seconds. Then moves closer to him.)
And just how the hell do you know all that about me!
(He takes flowers out of his bag and holds them out.)
Well, itís because today is our first wedding anniversary, remember?
Sweetheart! You remembered!
(She embraces him and they kiss passionately)
I love you so much!
You know Iím crazy about you!
(With arms around one another, they move off stage.)
Narrator: You see what I mean?
Copyright Dean Barrett 2015
CAMARADERIE AT THE BAR
A One-Act Play
Four Characters: Three males, One female
Bartender, Francine, Chuck, Narrator
Ages can vary but these are definitely blue collar people except perhaps for the Narrator. Only the Narrator is a young man. He is the same Narrator as in the first Brooklyn play, Overheard in a Brooklyn Bar.
New York City (Brooklyn)
It is late afternoon. Four people are in the interior of a New York neighborhood bar, a bar for blue-collar working people and retired East European workers. A WOMAN in her forties (FRANCINE) is sitting on a stool at the corner of the bar counter near the door. Besides the NARRATOR, there is only one other CUSTOMER at the bar. HE is a male in his mid-thirties or above (CHUCK). The middle-aged BARTENDER is polishing glasses, wiping the bar, etc. The NARRATOR is sitting a few stools apart from the others. The atmosphere is subdued and quiet.
...And so I decided to leave Philly and move back to New York. Anyway, I used to live in the Big Apple for years. I grew up in this area, f'Christ's sake.
(SHE speaks in a friendly manner and
attempts to include everyone in her
And, believe it or not, the thing I remember most is the way New York's Finest used to keep the streets safe. I mean, they had patrols out all the time. Everywhere!
That must have been a long time ago.
It was. But, I mean, OK, this ain't the worst area of the city, but, you know, I been looking out the window now since I came in; what's that, maybe an hour, hour-and-a-half, and not once have I seen a cop out on that street.
Well, don't hang by your thumbs until you do. I been workin' here for about three years and I never seen no boys-in-blue pass by either.
You're puttin' me on.
(nodding toward CHUCK)
Ask him. What say, Chuck? New York's Finest been on patrol around here lately?
(CHUCK slowly takes a drink, puts
down the glass and motions for ano-
By helicopter, maybe.
(shaking her head)
I don't understand it. This used to be a really well-patrolled area. You mean the boys-in-blue never patrol here on foot?
Not since I been here.
(FRANCINE rises and draws a revolver from
inside her jacket)
That's just fine, friend. Thanks for your help. Now, you boys relax and nobody's gonna get hurt.
(The BARTENDER stops wiping the glass
and stares. HE moves toward the
I said relax!
(The BARTENDER moves back)
Right. Now this will just take a minute.
(to the BARTENDER)
Empty the register...I mean fast! I want all the money up on the counter.
(The BARTENDER unhurriedly opens the
cash register and scoops out the
money. HE places it on the bar)
(to the petrified NARRATOR)
You too, sweetheart. Put your money, watch and phone on the bar in front of you.
(The NARRATOR quickly obeys)
And your cell phones, boys. Donít worry, I wonít tell your wives what I find!
(CHUCK continues to drink, ignoring her.
The BARTENDER sullenly places his
phone on the bar. FRANCINE looks
over his cell phone.)
Jesus, how old is this phone?
Old. But I need it, so leave it.
Oh, you giviní the orders now?
You wonít get squat for that and you know it. But I need the numbers. You wanna rob the bar fine, we been robbed before, but that donít mean you gotta be a dick about it!
(FRANCINE throws the phone on the bar counter. The
BARTENDER picks it up.)
Watches, too, folks. (staring at CHUCK) Hey! You deef!
This is a robbery and I ainít got all day. Get your wallet out. Now!
(CHUCK gives her a look of contempt)
I ainít giving you a damn thing!
(FRANCINE walks slowly toward him,
relaxing her arm, and lets the gun
point toward the floor. SHE walks
up very close to him and leans toward
him, one hand on the bar)
(grinning) (loud whisper)
Are you nuts? This is a stick-up. This is a gun. It shoots real bullets. I am a bad person. Don't you know the cops advise people to give up their money in situations like this? You're not supposed to play hero; it ain't healthy.
(CHUCK ignores her and speaks to the bartender)
Gimme a refill, I said.
(FRANCINE, puzzled, stares at him)
Donít like beiní robbed by a woman, that it? Well, macho-man, you-
Woman, hell! Iím not beiní robbed with somebody got such fuckiní poor taste in weapons!
Oh, I get it. Iím a wheelie, right? You donít like being robbed by somebody with a revolver; I suppose if I had a semi-automatic youíd be happy to be robbed, right? A nice, new Glock 42 with all the bells and whistles, maybe?
BARTENDER (while refilling CHUCKís glass)
Hell, we been robbed before with both semi and wheelie; heís talking specifically about you using a Charter Arms. Why the fuck donít you carry Smith & Wesson? (The bartender pulls out a revolver from behind the bar and puts it down on the bar for Francine to look at) Look at the fit and finish of this!
(FRANCINE puts her weapon down and picks up the S&W;
the NARRATOR is freaking out)
Yeah, nice and shiny. But more recoil. And I pull the trigger on mine and it goes bang; what do I care about-
Recoil, yeah, but with a little practice at the range you can keep it on site, no problem. Yah gotta fucking practice! And that model shoots low! I had to file the front site on mine and if you send it to the factory thatís all they do. Then send the damn thing back. And you better keep your eyes shut when you do fire it because it spits out crap from the ports. Iím telling you the snub-nosed son-of-a-bitch shaves lead!
Yeah, well, itís light and the stock grips soak up the recoil.
Yeah, remind yourself of that when youíre in a firefight and sparks hit you in your pretty blue eyes every time you pull the fucking trigger which stacks a hell of a lot when you pull it, by the way.
(Chuck whips out his five-shot revolver from inside his jacket and places it on the counter in front of Francine; now the NARRATOR is really freaking out)
You wanna rob somebody you need something reliable: Ruger SP101! Double action, small frame, five-shot, .38 Special. Bobbed hammer.
(FRANCINE picks up the gun and looks it over)
Yeah, a nice snubbie, but a heavy trigger pull. Not a pocket gun.
Hell, not much bigger than the piece of crap youíre using. I stick it in a DeSantis Intruder Holster, throw the jacket over it, and poof itís invisible.
So what do you shoot?
Hornady 158 graom critical defense rounds.
Yeah, a bit pricey.
Yeah, the thing you're carrying uses pricey ammo! And how much is your life worth to you? Spend the extra money and get a reliable concealed carry, for Christ's sakes. You rely on this piece of crap and you may not have a long lifetime. And never drop below a 9-millimeter for a defensive handgun. If youíre just gonna rob bars, what you got may be OK, it may not. As for me, I would never use the Carter Arms as my primary defense weapon. As a backup gun, maybe, yeah. You wanna rob a convenience store with it, maybe fine. (looking toward the bartender) What happened to my refill? And Iím buying the lady a drink.
The hell you say. First rounds on me.
(As all three pick up their weapons, the frightened NARRATOR rises)
Uh, cu-, could I have my bill, please?
(All three turn toward the NARRATOR with guns
still in their hands)
The lady said sheís buying.
(The NARRATOR sits back down)
Uh, yeah, sure, I meanÖthatís great! Thank you!
And put your shit away, kid. Leave money for the jukebox though. Got a favorite? Otherwise, itís Randy Travis time again.
We got Don Ronk.
No shit! Letís hear him!
God, he was great! ďAnd so weíve had another night of poetry and poses; but each man knows-
-heíll be alone when the sacred ginmill closes.Ē
(rising from his stool)
Uh, I just have to go to the menís room.
(Lights dim on the bar as the three at the bar mimic conversation without sound. The NARRATOR walks slowly and carefully away from the bar and speaks to the audience in a kind of frightened whisper)
You see what I mean about Brooklyn?!
(And the NARRATOR runs off)
Copyright 2015 Dean Barrett
No part of this play may be performed or published without written permission from the playwright