gutted

Originally developed from a writing exercise in P. Seth Bauer’s Playwrighting Workshop. 

 

TIL Well there he is. There’s my brother, Slim.


PATTI Thought he preferred Donnie.


TIL He’s Slim.


DONNIE Why’s it such a big deal to you? What people call me.


TIL Because you hate it so much.


DONNIE So it’s just a dick older brother thing? Just an Indian burn?


TIL It’s a lesson. One that you obviously forgot somewhere along the way.


DONNIE Remember your lessons well enough.


TIL Does that mean?


DONNIE First time I got arrested? That was a lesson of yours, wasn’t it? I remember that, do you? You remember-


    Til laughs at the memory.


TIL Yeah, that was... Well, doesn’t matter. It obviously didn’t stick, did it? Look where you ended up.


PATTI Jesus, Til. You turned in your own brother for the fires?


TIL Jesus Christ yourself there, Patti.


PATTI ...


TIL It was vandalism, harmless kid stuff. Me and Eddie Jackson got him to throw a brick through some old bat’s window. Shoulda taken off as soon as he did it, not my fault he was too dumb to-


DONNIE I was your fall guy, that’s what happened. I was always your fall guy.


TIL That was a long time ago, man. Why’re you bringing that shit up now? That’s ancient history.


DONNIE And what was I supposed to learn anyway? To not trust you? That my flesh and blood was out to get me?


TIL You were supposed to learn to mind your own damn business, not being a tag-a-long. Not be some-


DONNIE Great fucking lesson, you know that?


TIL Or at least how to get yourself outta trouble.


DONNIE Was one of the -what’d they call ‘em- attendant circumstances. Said it exhibited a “pattern of behavior”.


PATTI Shit, Til.


TIL Til? Shit, Til? How was I supposed to know my eight year old brother was setting structure fires at the same time? Tell me that, Donnie. There. Donnie.


DONNIE And that was so fucking hard, because...


TIL Because you wanted it, I don’t know. Because that’s not you.


DONNIE That is me, Til. No matter what you-


TIL Believe what you want, alright? I can call you Donnie, but I’ll always be calling you Slim underneath it. Because that’s who you are. To me. Can’t be anything else here. You wanna know how he got that nickname that he’s so embarrassed about, Patti? Our Dad gave it to him, that’s how. And the old man, he was something. Had one’a those personalities that’d make a room light up. Just... There was always a buzz when he was around, you could feel it. And did he love his family? Man, you never seen anyone take better care of their sons. Especially... It’s funny, isn’t it? Who do you think he took a shine to? Now. Now remember, I was the first born, I was his namesake? I was- Donnie. Over there, “Elementary arsonist” that’s what the papers called him. Well, you know that. So outta the two, who do you think the old man loved more?


PATTI Thought parents loved all their kids the same.


TIL Patti’s an only child, so she doesn’t really understand the joys of siblings. It doesn’t exactly fall out like that. Well, you tell her. Go on, tell her who got all the secrets, the special nickname, the extra helping of love at the Sheppard family table. Or, you know what? Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not Slim anymore. But you’re not Donnie, can’t see a scrap of him in you either so... I’ll tell you what, what’d they call you in the big house? What’d they call you while you were doing. Your. Dime. Maybe that’d make you more comfortable, if I call you that. C’mon, what’d they-


DONNIE They called me Donnie, Til.