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TRICK OR TREAT
BY JACK NEARY
ACT ONE
The living room of a middle-class house in eastern Massachusetts.  Early evening.  Halloween.
The house is well- if comfortably - kept.  The furniture is neither new nor old, the television is a flat screen that appears to have taken residence recently.  There is a faded quality to the look of the room, though it may have been, at one time, a pleasant place to be.  Not so much now.  There is a prominent staircase leading to a second floor landing where there are two visible doors.
JOHNNY MOYNIHAN enters from a door off the living room, toting a large glass bowl full to the brim with candy bars.  He’s a solid, sturdy man in his mid-sixties.  He places the bowl on a table near the front door, and snaps on the front porch light.  His manner belies this festive holiday activity.  He mutters to himself as he sets the bowl on the table, and appears to be agitated.
He steps into the room and takes out his cell phone.  With one click, he makes a call.  He sits on the sofa as he waits for an answer, which comes almost immediately.  When it does, he rises again.  When he speaks, it’s clear he’s from eastern Massachusetts.
JOHNNY
(into phone)
Where are ya?
He listens and steps to the window, pulling back the curtain.
JOHNNY (CONT’D)
Okay, yeah, I see ya.  Be careful parking.  The kids...the Trick or Treat kids are....yeah, okay...What?...I'm fine...Yes.
The doorbell rings.
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Shit, some of them here already.  Park the car and come in...What?...No, I won't say "shit" in front of the kids.  Just park the car.
He clicks off and goes to the door.  He opens it.
We hear the sound of a few Trick or Treaters, though we can't see them.  Johnny grabs a handful of candy bars.
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Okay, what do we have here, huh?  How many we got?  Four?  Oh, five, I didn't see you there...the...what are you supposed to be, there?...Who?...Justin Who?...Justin Beiber?  Well, ain't that somethin'.
(distributes candy)
Okay....okay...there you go...there you go....they're the bigs ones, there...we don't fool around...
As the kids disperse, CLAIRE CARBONE, early thirties, who has plowed her way through the kids, comes through the door.  JOHNNY walks back into the room as Claire closes the door.
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
What the hell is a Justin Beiber?
CLAIRE
Dad, what's the matter?
JOHNNY
Scariest lookin' thing I ever seen.
CLAIRE
Dad...
JOHNNY
Thanks for comin' over.
CLAIRE
What's wrong?
JOHNNY
We have to talk.
CLAIRE
You were crying on the phone.
JOHNNY
I wasn't cryin'...
CLAIRE
Dad...
JOHNNY
Whimperin', maybe.  That's not cryin'.
CLAIRE
Are you all right?  Are you sick?
JOHNNY
I'm not sick.
CLAIRE
Where's Ma?
JOHNNY
Sit down, okay?
CLAIRE
I will when you tell me why you called.
JOHNNY
I will.
CLAIRE
Crying.
JOHNNY
Not cryin'.
CLAIRE
If you don't tell me what happened that made you call me...
JOHNNY
I will.  I will.  You gotta sit down.
CLAIRE
Where is she?
JOHNNY
Just sit down.
CLAIRE
Where is Ma?  You can't just let her roam around the house...
JOHNNY
I know what I can and I can't do with your mother.  She's upstairs.  So sit down and let me talk.
CLAIRE
This is about the home, right?  This is the talk about us putting her in the home.
JOHNNY
No.
CLAIRE
Because if we are finally gonna talk about that, I am so ready.
(she sits, rummages in her purse)
I have about twelve brochures I want you to look at.  Sal says Meadowview is the best for Alzheimers.  His uncle was there for nine years, and...
JOHNNY
No.  No.  And no.
CLAIRE
No what?
JOHNNY
No, we're not gonna talk about that.
CLAIRE
Oh.  What?
JOHNNY
You're always wantin' to...put her someplace.
CLAIRE
Well, you won't let me...or anybody...sit with her, give you a break...
JOHNNY
I don't need no break.
CLAIRE
I'm just sayin'
JOHNNY
Never mind that.
CLAIRE
Okay...so...what...?
JOHNNY
You gotta let me tell this in my own way.
CLAIRE
Tell what?
JOHNNY
I'll tell you what when you let me tell you what!
CLAIRE
What's she doing upstairs?  Is she asleep?  Isn't it time for her...(medication)?
JOHNNY
(interrupts)
Claire.  Stop talkin'.  Let me talk.
CLAIRE
(beat)
Okay.  Talk.  Fast.  I left Sal giving out the candy.  He's not good at it.  He....critiques the costumes.  Children weep.
(beat)
So?
(beat)
What is it?
Johnny takes a while to get into this.  He walks to the window, looks out, turns back in to talk.  When he does, the doorbell rings.
CLAIRE (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Oh, shit.  Turn out the porch light.  They'll think nobody's home.
JOHNNY
See, you say shit, too.
CLAIRE
Turn out the light.
JOHNNY
(as he heads to door)
They'll come anyway.  We're famous.  They all come here because we give out the regular size bars.  Not the cheap little Walmart bullshit things...
(opens door, to kids)
Whoa.  How old are you?
We hear a couple of grumbled "12s" and "11s".
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Yeah, if you're eleven, I'm Marilyn Monroe.
We hear "Who?"
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Never mind who.
(tosses bars to them)
Here.  Don't come back next year.  Get a job. 
He closes the door and steps back into the room.
JOHNNY (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
(muttering)
They're prob'ly drivin' house to house.
CLAIRE
Should I be scared?
JOHNNY
No.  Don't be scared.  I need you not to be scared.
CLAIRE
Okay, now I'm scared.
He sits.  The doorbell rings again.
CLAIRE (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Dad, turn off the light!
JOHNNY
(rises)
The kids expect it from us!  The Trick or Treat.  We're the favorites in the neighborhood because of the big bars!
Claire grunts, rises, and intercepts him just as he reaches the door.  She pushes him aside and grabs the bowl of candy.  She flings the door open, and shoves the bowl through the door.
CLAIRE
Here!  Take the rest of the night off!
She slams the door shut, and clicks off the porch light.
JOHNNY
You're gonna make them kids sick.
CLAIRE
I'll risk it.
JOHNNY
We got them big Charleston Chews, there...
CLAIRE
Dad...
JOHNNY
You gotta take it easy with them things, you know.  They'll tear your teeth out.  The Charleston Chews.  
CLAIRE
Wait...that kid...
JOHNNY
What kid?
CLAIRE
The kid I threw the bowl at. I think that was Hannah’s kid.
JOHNNY
Hannah who?
CLAIRE
Bailey. Suprenant.
JOHNNY
The one...Teddy...?
CLAIRE
Yeah. The old girlfriend.
JOHNNY
The bitch?
CLAIRE
What?
JOHNNY
Nothin’. I feel better about the Charleston Chews. Maybe the kid’ll give one to her mother and she’ll choke on it.
CLAIRE
Dad...
JOHNNY
The crap she made up about him, the stuff he did...
CLAIRE
Yeah, I don’t know how much she made up.
JOHNNY
Are you shittin’ me, she...
CLAIRE
Dad, if you don't tell me what's going on right now, I'm leaving and you can call up somebody else and cry to them.
JOHNNY
(beat)
You're not gonna sit?
CLAIRE
No.
JOHNNY
Then I will.
He does, on the sofa.  He says nothing.  Claire stands adamantly at the door.
Johnny stares straight ahead for a long moment.  Claire doesn't move.  Johnny's eyes begin to show real fright.  Then, he starts to rock back and forth, clearly in pain, seemingly involuntarily.  Clearly, he’s having a panic attack.  Claire runs to him and sits next to him on the sofa.
CLAIRE
Dad?  Daddy?
His attack worsens.  Claire holds him tightly.
CLAIRE (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Daddy!  Breathe!  Breathe!  Come on!  Daddy!
The attack continues to worsen and Claire just holds on for dear life.  After a moment, Johnny does start to take some deep breaths, and finally calms down.
When he does, Claire releases her tight grip, and cradles him gently.  She is crying now.
CLAIRE (CONT'D) (CONT’D)
Daddy........
JOHNNY
I....I....this afternoon....I...
CLAIRE
Take your time.
JOHNNY
This afternoon....a little after lunch time...I fell asleep here...on the couch....I hardly ever do that, you know...I don't like to...not be awake when she's awake, you know?
CLAIRE
I know.
JOHNNY
But I...was up all last night with the heartburn again...and this afternoon....two o’clock, maybe, I sat down here a minute and fell asleep.
CLAIRE
Okay.
JOHNNY
So I wake up and it...you know, it...takes me a couple minutes to figure out where I am....Well, not where I am, but, you know...where I am in the time of day...Have to shake my head...figure out where I am...then I do...and then it hits me I was sleepin', when she was awake...which I never, ever do.
CLAIRE
Breathe, Daddy...
JOHNNY
I'm breathin', Jesus!  Anyway....anyway...I get up and I call out her name, and I don't hear anything.  I figure she didn't hear me, so I yell it out.  Nothin'.  So I run out into the kitchen and she's not there.  I look in the downstairs bathroom.  Not there.  I run upstairs.  Not in our room.  Your old room.  Teddy's.  Not in the bathroom up there.  I'm yellin' her name and she's not answerin'...
CLAIRE
(anticipating...)
No....
JOHNNY
No, no...it ain't that!  No.  I find her.  I see the attic door is a little open...a crack open...and neither of us ever goes up there or opens it, so...it's open.  I go up.  And there she is...
(breaking down)
And she's sittin' there...on this...you know this...thing we used to have for Sharon and Teddy and you?  And then for the kids, your kids, when they were little and visited....this potty chair thing...blue, plastic
thing...she's sittin' on it...and she got her skirt pulled down...
CLAIRE
(also weeping)
Daddy...
JOHNNY
And I can...I can smell it...and...and she's lookin' at me like I'm her father or somethin' and she's scared out of her mind...like...like I'm gonna yell at her and...and she's lookin' at me and she's sayin'..."I had to go.  I had to go."
(cries; puts his head on Claire's breast)
Jesus, Claire....Jesus....
CLAIRE
It's okay, Daddy.  It's okay.
JOHNNY
(a frightening roar, as he stands)
IT...IT...IT IS NOT OKAY!!!!
Johnny walks away, tries to regain his composure.  It takes a few moments.
CLAIRE
(carefully, looking toward the stairs)
Is she asleep now?
The doorbell rings.  Johnny tears to the door, whips it open, and screams.
JOHNNY
(flicking the light violently on and off)
YOU SEE THE LIGHT OFF?  YOU SEE THAT?  YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, YOU LITTLE SHITS?  IT MEANS LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE IS WHAT IT MEANS!  NOW GET YOUR ASSES OUT OF HERE!  NOW!
And he slams the door shut.  He grabs a couple of breaths.  He is seething.  He walks back toward the sofa, but sits on another chair.  He continues to breathe heavily, saying nothing.  Claire looks at him, and waits a moment before rising.
CLAIRE
(moves toward the stairs)
I'll go up and see...
JOHNNY
Sit down.
CLAIRE
She probably needs to be cleaned up....
JOHNNY
I cleaned her up.  Sit down.
CLAIRE
(long beat)
Why....won't you...?
JOHNNY
(long beat)
Please sit down.  Let me finish it.
(Claire does sit, on the sofa)
She...did her business in the...potty chair.  She didn't know any better because of the Alzheimers but...but she hadn't done anything like that...like that bad...before.  This last week, though...couple weeks...from, like, after you and the kids left after the Pat's game a week ago Sunday...she was...she been gettin' worse every day...
CLAIRE
Daddy, you knew this was going to happen.
JOHNNY
This?  I knew THIS was gonna happen?  How?  How did I know this was going to happen?  I never seen nothin' like this before.  Tell me all you want, and the doctors tell me all they want what I know is gonna happen, but then it happens and I don't know what it is because I never...seen it before.  I never seen...I never heard my wife...who I know for forty eight years...talkin' to me like I'm some...kid she's playin' with in the playground when she's six or somethin'.  I never seen my wife holdin' a telephone in her hands...the punch telephone here...
(he picks up the house phone)

...and goin' like this...tryin' to...tryin' to make the buttons go around...
(he mimes using a rotary dial)
I never seen a sixty-four year old woman walkin' naked in the kitchen...with a newspaper rolled up in her hand, standin' over the gas flame on the stove, lightin' up the paper because the kitchen was cold and she wanted to be warm.  I never seen nothin' like that.  Did you?
(no response)
I never seen nothin' like that.  So, no.  No.  
JOHNNY (CONT’D)
I never knew this was gonna happen.
(long beat, rises, he goes to the window)
I used to love Halloween.  As a kid, sure.  Who didn't, as a kid?  But even more as a...a father...I loved it.  With you and Teddy.
(beat)
Sharon, for a little while. Remember how you'd...you'd both wear the same costumes?
CLAIRE
Sure.
JOHNNY
(beat)
Goin' house to house with all the other mothers and fathers walkin' with you, makin' sure it was all safe for you guys.
(beat)
Used to love it. Trick or Treat...Shoulda stayed that way.
CLAIRE
Huh?
JOHNNY
Family. (Johnny sits)...I didn't wanna...
CLAIRE
What?
JOHNNY
Nothin'.
CLAIRE
It's not nothing, Dad!  You didn’t wanna what?
JOHNNY
We should call Teddy.
CLAIRE
Why?
JOHNNY
We just should.
CLAIRE
We don't need Teddy.
JOHNNY
We do.
CLAIRE
Okay, well I don't.
JOHNNY
You should try harder with him.
CLAIRE
I've tried as hard as I'm gonna try.
JOHNNY
Well, you should try more. He's gonna be Chief of Police.
CLAIRE
Not if Sal has anything to say about it.
JOHNNY
Sal don't have nothin' to say about it. Him and his goddamn paper.
CLAIRE
Okay, not now...
JOHNNY
Nobody reads the paper anymore anyway. Him and his editorials.
CLAIRE
Daddy...
JOHNNY
We gotta call Teddy.  Teddy needs to know about this.
CLAIRE
Know about what?
JOHNNY
What...what I did.
CLAIRE
(beat)
Dad, what did you do?
JOHNNY
I killed your mother.