A Day To Remember

Curtains open on a plain room with two windows looking out onto a warm summer afternoon.  Wooden shelves lined with unordained books in various shades of red, green or purple line the walls.  A large crucifix hangs on the wall, and a picture of Jesus smiles benevolently from above the door. Beneath the windows are a pair of plain table and chairs, illuminated by shafts of lazy yellow sunlight.

In the room are four men.  THOMAS, DANIEL and RAY are wearing matching grey suits with purple pocket squares and orange bow ties.  MIKE is wearing a different suit of slightly better quality, with an emerald green tie. MIKE and THOMAS are playing pool on a billiards table beside a small fridge, plugged into the wall.  DANIEL and RAY are sitting in the chairs, flipping through books. A haphazard pile of open ones lays on the table between them.  

MIKE:

How’d you even get this table in here? Did it fit through the doors?

THOMAS [looks down pointedly]:

Same as you. I find that it’s all about the tuck before you zip, that way–

[DANIEL, RAY and MIKE laugh.]

MIKE:

Gross.  I was actually talking about the pool table, believe it or not.

RAY:

I don’t believe it.  

THOMAS:

Nah. [takes a shot and misses] Damn it.  No, Daniel and I had to take the legs off it.  Surprising fact alert. Did you know that pool tables are surprisingly heavy?

MIKE [laughing]:

You know, I think I did know that, in the back of my head.  Something about a giant piece of slate in the middle?

THOMAS [straightfaced, chalking his cue]:

And a good thing, too.  Dan was getting a little soggy around the middle.

DANIEL [not looking up]:

Fuck you, T.

[THOMAS blows a kiss at him.]

MIKE:

Thanks for doing all that work, guys.

DANIEL  [looks up from a book]:

You’re welcome.  And, you know, you really have to stop thanking us.  It’s our job.

MIKE [lining up for a shot]:

Well I mean it’s not your job

RAY:

No no, it is.  That’s what we’re here for. Oh, I got one.  Mike, you ready?

MIKE [sinks a shot]:

Ha! Yeah, go for it.

RAY [reading from a book]:

In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.’ Whatcha got?

MIKE:

Ooh, that would be when Jesus destroys the temple that has a bunch of people selling shit.  Too easy. John two. The same chapter, incidentally, that talks about Jesus turning water into wine.

DANIEL:

‘He made a whip of chords’.  Damn that dude was savage.

THOMAS [drily mocking]:

I’ve personally never heard of the man overreacting to anything.

[Laughter]

RAY:

Which testament?

MIKE [bored]:

New.

DANIEL:

Come on man, that puts him up by three.  Quit asking him obvious ones and get into some trivial shit down in the old testament somewhere.  

RAY:

Obvious ones?  I’m sorry, Mr. ‘who did david defeat with a sling’, what was that?

DANIEL:

I was just making sure he knew the basics.

RAY:

So full of shit.  Fine, your turn.  [drains the beer at his elbow, gets up and goes to the mini fridge sputtering in the corner.] Who needs another one?

THOMAS [glancing at his beer sitting on the bookshelf]:

Me.

DANIEL:

I’ll take another.

RAY:

Mike?

MIKE:

Nah, I’m good.  

DANIEL:

You haven’t even had one yet.  It doesn’t start for another two hours.

MIKE [shrugs]:

I don’t want to drink until after the ceremony.  

THOMAS:

Well then what’s the point of hauling the mini fridge all the way here from the parking lot?

MIKE :

Daniel’s soggy midsection, remember?

[DANIEL laughs and gives him the middle finger]

MIKE:

So that you’re all will be nice and pliable when I send you scurrying to do shit that I don’t want to deal with.  And it makes me feel a little less like I’m waiting for my first communion.

THOMAS:

Your what?

DANIEL:

The first time you consume the body and blood of Christ.  It’s a big deal. Mike, did you have yours here?

MIKE:

No, I had mine at a church near my grandparents in North Carolina.  You?

DANIEL [takes a beer from RAY]:

Thanks. Just up the road at St. Marks.  

THOMAS:

Body and blood?  Sounds oddly cannibalistic.  

DANIEL:

Eh, it’s mostly symbolic.

RAY and MIKE:

What’s the symbology there?

[MIKE and RAY laugh.  DANIEL and THOMAS don’t get the joke, shrug to each other.]

DANIEL:

Nerds.

THOMAS:

I’m still a little surprised you got Jenny to agree to do this here.  Last time I checked, she was pretty…

MIKE:

Atheist?  Militantly.  But you know who’s not atheist?

THOMAS, DANIEL and RAY [In unison]:

Your mother.

MIKE:

Yuuuup.  

DANIEL [looking up from a book, confused]:

Can you get married in a church if one of you isn’t christian?

MIKE [misses a shot]:

Damn. As long as you’re both christian, sure.  Jenny was baptised when she was a baby, before her parents split from the protestant church.  

RAY:

I didn’t know Jenny was baptised.  From what I’ve heard she kinda hates the church.

DANIEL:

Oh well that should make for a happy ceremony.  

[THOMAS and RAY laugh]

MIKE:

She doesn’t hate the church.  She’s just got a few issues with it.  But it made my mother happy, so she’s been keeping that stuff on the down-low.

THOMAS:

You mean like her thoughts and feelings?  Whew, for a moment there I thought your bride-to-be’s opinion mattered more than her future mother in law’s.

[DANIEL and RAY both laugh, MIKE doesn’t.]

DANIEL [clears his throat]:  

So why this church?

MIKE:  

Oh, my parents were married here. My dad suggested it. Kind of an in-the-family thing.  Also there was a reception place right across the street, so that was convenient.

THOMAS:

I thought you weren’t super happy with Rosquitas.  I felt it was a little tacky, myself.

MIKE:

Well it was right across the street, and like my mom said, Grandma Alice is in a wheelchair.  Plus my dad won’t shut the hell up about their nachos.

DANIEL:

Right, but did you like it?  Did Jenny?

MIKE:  

Well…I mean it’s got a kind of charm about it…and the rates were really reasonable.

RAY:  

I thought you wanted to have your reception at that place in the city?  Forge & Nail?

THOMAS [gasps]:

I love that place. Have you had their fried squash blossoms?

DANIEL:

Oh with the goat cheese?

[Babble of excited chatter between the three of them.  MIKE looks left out.]

THOMAS [looks at MIKE, clears his throat]:

Hey man, I’m sure the reception is going to be awesome.  Besides, there’s something more important to focus on.

MIKE :

What’s that?

THOMAS [taps his tie]:

This bow tie.  I don’t know what color-blind idiot helped you pick out these suits, but this thing clashes against my skin something fierce.

MIKE [laughs]:

Yeah, fuck that guy.  He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

THOMAS [adjusting his bow tie in a mirror.]:

It makes my adam’s apple look enormous.

RAY: So about par for the course, then.

[THOMAS gives him the middle finger.]

RAY:  

What do you care?  You gonna do a costume change and perform for us tonight?

THOMAS:

Honey, you should be so lucky.  

DANIEL:

I’ve seen you perform.  I’m not so sure how Grandma Alice would feel about you grinding on a chair in a pink leather onesie to a bass-heavy version of ‘Oops I did it again’.  

THOMAS:

Bitch doesn’t know what she’s missing.

MIKE:

Can we not call my last living grandmother a bitch?

THOMAS:

Oh please. Last time I checked there are sixteen–count ‘em sixteen–Glenn Miller songs in the playlist.  You know anyone else on that guest list that listens to Glenn Miller?  Outside of some sort of cruel and unusual torture basement? Face facts muh dude; she might be a bitch.

DANIEL:

Hey! My mom likes Glenn Miller.  

RAY:

Bummer.

DANIEL:

Shut up.  Mike, got another one.

MIKE:

Hang on.  Eight ball, corner pocket.  [Sinks the shot.] RIP. Ray, you’re up.

THOMAS:

Pssht. I let you win.

MIKE:

You’ve been saying that for years.  Dan, hit me with it.

DANIEL:

‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’

[Pause.]

RAY:

Damn. That’s surprisingly…

THOMAS:

Beautiful.

DANIEL [Sarcastic]:

Yeah, a first for the Word of God.

THOMAS:

You said it, not me. 

DANIEL [snaps the Bible closed and moves to stand]:

You know what, Thomas?

MIKE [Interjecting to stop a fight]:

Woah, woah easy there gentlemen. Dan, I’m going to guess…Corinthians?  

DANIEL [side-eying THOMAS]:

Chapter and verse?

MIKE [racking the pool balls]:

Ummm thirteen and…eight.

DANIEL:  

Oooh, so close.  Thirteen one. That brings it to Mike seven, Ray and Danny-boy five.

RAY: I may just be a hedonistic heathen–

[THOMAS raises his beer before taking another sip]

RAY: But ‘Corinthians’ is ringing a bell.    

DANIEL:  

I’m not surprised.  It’s got that ultra-famous verse on love, you know the one; ‘love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast…’

RAY [snaps his fingers]:

Yes! That’s the one.  

DANIEL:

Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s been used in–and this is a conservative estimate–every single wedding since the early 2000’s.

MIKE:  

Lindsay and Dallas, Jenny’s friends, had it in their wedding a year ago.  It’s a classic.

THOMAS:

So are shag carpets, but you don’t see people clamoring to have their houses recarpeted.

DANIEL:

Are you seriously equating a venerated bible verse with old carpets?  

THOMAS:

If the shoe fits buy it in every color, sweetheart.  

MIKE:

Dudes! Chill out, will you?  I know you don’t typically get along, but you’re both here for me, right?

[pause]

THOMAS:

Prima donna much?

DANIEL:

Totally.

MIKE:  

You guys are the worst.

[A knock on the door. DANIEL gets up and opens it.]

DANIEL:

Hey Chrystal!

Chrystal:

Hey Dan! Looking sharp.  

DANIEL:

Thank you, thank you.

Chrystal: Mike?

MIKE:

Yo!

Chrystal:

So I just came from the kitchen.  There’s a small issue with the catering.

MIKE [suddenly serious, anxious]:

What’s wrong?

Chrystal:

Nothing huge, don’t worry.  According to the chef, they’re going to have to substitute the duck breast for pheasant.

[MIKE turns to DANIEL, bewildered.]

DANIEL [looking at CHRYSTAL, frowning]:

What?  That doesn’t make any sense.  They’re completely different birds.  Unless they did a rail of coke before they did their ordering, there’s no reason for a sub that heavy.  Are they trying to jack us with a last minute upcharge? [Sean Connery impression] That shit just ishn’t going to fly, moneypenny.

Chrystal [shrugs]:

All I know is what the chef told me.  Do you want to come talk to her? I’m sure the two of you would be able to clear it up quicker.

[DANIEL glances at MIKE, who nods gratefully.]

DANIEL:

Yeah all right.  Lead on, good lady!

MIKE:

Chrystal, before you leave, how’s everything going out there?  

Chrystal:

Good! People are just now starting to arrive. Your brother is all over the ushering process.  He’s quite a character! T-minus an hour and a half. You know, you can go out there if you want.  No need to stay cooped up here.

MIKE:

Nah, we’re alright.  It makes for a more dramatic entrance.

[Chrystal laughs, she and Dan leave.]

THOMAS:

Well well well, who knew that a recalcitrant alcoholic with a penchant for cooking could be useful?

RAY:

Chrystal? I thought she was your day-of coordinator? She can cook too?

THOMAS:

What? No, Dan, dipshit.

MIKE:

No joke.  [Stares at the door anxiously] I hope he gets it all figured out.  We’re only under budget by about a hundred bucks, this could seriously tank us.

THOMAS:

Ahhh, don’t worry about it.  I joke, but he’s a serious pro, right?  He’ll take care of it. How long has he been a chef?  

RAY:

Shiiiiit.  High school, right Mike?

MIKE:

Yeah.  He started washing dishes in like…ninth grade, I wanna say?  Do you [laughs] Ray, do you remember that prom assembly we all went to in our sophomore year?

RAY:

Oh my god, I haven’t thought about that in forever.  

THOMAS:

What happened?

MIKE:

I would have been so embarrassed, but he didn’t give a single fuck  He really leaned into it.

RAY:

Right?  Totally awesome.  

THOMAS:

You guys seriously not going to tell me what happened?

MIKE:

Do you think he still thinks about it?

RAY:

Hard not to, right?  

THOMAS:  

You guys are a bunch of dicks.  So, what, he’s been in the industry for over a decade?  You got nothing to worry about, Mikey.

RAY [makes a shot and misses]:

Mike, your shot.  By the way, why are we staying in this tiny room?

MIKE:

I just said, for a dramatic entrance.  

RAY:

Bullshit.

MIKE:

You’re a charmer sometimes, Raymond.

THOMAS:

Nah but for real though.  I’m missing vital time to hit on your cousins.  As the best man, I consider it a key part of my responsibilities.  

RAY:

I’ve met his cousins.  Trust me, you’re better off in here.

THOMAS:

With you? Doubt it.

MIKE: [shrugs self-consciously]:

I dunno.  I guess I want to savor a little alone time, you know?  I mean, my whole family is out there.  I’m talking nieces, nephews, aunt, uncles–

THOMAS [meaningfully]:

Cousins.

MIKE:

Shut up.  But yes. I don’t have enough small talk to handle all those people.

RAY:

Why do you have to come up with small talk?  It’s a wedding. Talk about wedding shit. ‘Michael, where did you get these centerpieces from?  They’re simply darling.’  ‘Well thank you Aunt Clair, actually my groomsmen spent six hours in the mountains sweating their balls off collecting six trash bags apiece, but it was all worth it just to see the smile on your face.’

MIKE:

Wow, still bitter about that are we?

RAY:  

Can you tell?

THOMAS:

He’s right though.  If you want, I’ll go out there for you and run interfere–

MIKE:

I just want it to be us for the moment, alright?

[THOMAS and RAY exchange a glance.]

THOMAS [gently]:

Right on man.  No problem.

[Knock on the door.]

MIKE:

Jesus, now what?

RAY:

I don’t think you can say that in here man.  You might get smited.

THOMAS [turning backwards on the way to the door.]:

Smoted?

RAY:

Smitten?

THOMAS:

Smat!

RAY:

Probably not that one.

[THOMAS opens the door.  A man dressed in the nondescript black pants and t-shirt is standing with a grin on his face.]

Stranger:

I think it is smat.

THOMAS:

Ha! In your face, Ray!

RAY: Shut up.

MIKE:

What’s up, Dennis?

Dennis:

Hey man.  We got a small issue with the sound system.  I was hoping to borrow your man Ray here to check it out.  You’re a A/V guy, right?

RAY:

For the money that Amazon is paying me, I sure fucking hope so.  

Dennis:  

Sweet! We’ve got power to the mixing board, but we’re not getting any sound from the master microphone.

RAY:  

Did you try turning it off and turning it back on again?

Dennis [sarcastic]:

                                                   Ah shit why didn’t we try that?

RAY:  

Uhh, is the mixer set to ‘dual input’?  

Dennis:

I think so.  Do you want to just come take a look?  We’re literally across the street.

RAY:

Sure.  Thomas, take over for me?

THOMAS:

Yep.

[RAY hands over the pool cue.]

RAY:

Let’s go take a look, Dennis.  Boys, I’ll be back in one minute.  Don’t do anything fun without me.

THOMAS [Examining the pool table]:

We weren’t doing anything fun with you.

[RAY gives him the middle finger and moonwalks out the door.]

THOMAS:

And then there were two! How you doing, man?

MIKE: Oh I’m fine.

[THOMAS stares at him evenly.]

MIKE [sighs]:

I’m hanging in there.  There’s just a lot going on, you know?

THOMAS:

Anything I can help with?  You know I got you.

MIKE:

I know.  And thank you.  Sincerely, Jenny and I never could have gotten this whole wedding thing off the ground without you and Kylie.  

THOMAS:  

More me than Kylie, let’s give credit where it’s due.  

MIKE:

Truth.  Nah, I’m alright.  I’m just up in my head.  I feel nervous.

THOMAS:

Butterflies?  Kind of feel like you’re going to throw up?

MIKE:

That’s the one.

THOMAS [nodding]:

Textbook stage fright.

MIKE:

You ever get that? Before you go on?

THOMAS [lays a hand on his breast dramatically]:

Honey, haven’t you heard? I’m the queen of the stage at the Cat Scratch. The baddest bitch around. When I dance the heavens open and dolla bills fall like spring rain.

MIKE: Yeah, but you still get nervous, right?

THOMAS:

Oh hell yeah.  Every night. You know what helps?

MIKE:

Lip-synching hysterically to Madonna in a neon-purple wig and matching cocktail dress with your business duct-taped between your buttcheeks?

THOMAS:  

The boy is smarter than he looks.

MIKE:

I’m not sure how that helps me.

[There’s a knock on the door.  THOMAS goes to open it but before he does ROBERT opens it and walks in.  He’s wearing an outdated three-button suit and tie. His hair and mustache have both gone mostly grey, and his hair is neatly parted and combed.]

ROBERT:  

Hey boys!

MIKE:

Hey dad.

THOMAS:

Hey Mr. Lieberman.  

ROBERT:  

Thomas, I think Kylie needs your help.  Something to do with the flowers on the arch?  Her voice was kind of shrill, I stopped listening about a third of the way through.

THOMAS:  

I swear if that bi– [glances at ROBERT] woman says one more thing about pansies being a spring flower and out of season for an October wedding…

[THOMAS strides towards the door.]

ROBERT:

Nice bow tie.

THOMAS [sassily]:

Thanks.  It clashes wonderfully with my skin.  I blame your son.

ROBERT:  

Me too. [winks]

[THOMAS leaves. ROBERT walks over to the pool table, where MIKE is leaning, staring at the floor.  ROBERT leans next to him, nudges him with a shoulder.]

ROBERT:  

Hey speaking of pansies, right?

MIKE: What?

ROBERT:  

Nothing.  I just wanted to come in here and see how you were doing.

MIKE:

Dad [sighs] we talked about this.  You can’t talk about Thomas like that.  

ROBERT:

Oh come on it was just a joke.  If he doesn’t want to be made fun of he should butch up a little bit instead of sashaying around.

MIKE:

Dad, knock it off.  

ROBERT:

Alright, alright.  How you doing, kiddo?

MIKE:

Why does everyone keep asking me that? I’m fine!  Just waiting until it starts, you know.

ROBERT:

Really?  Your mother was worried you were in here by yourself…you know, spiraling.

MIKE:  

I’m not spiraling, dad.

ROBERT:

It would be understandable, you know.  If you were spiraling.

MIKE:

I’m not spiraling!

ROBERT:  

Lot of pressure on a man on his wedding day. To…perform.

MIKE [cringing]:

I’m going to stop you right there.    

ROBERT:

The first time I was with your mother–

MIKE:

Oh my god! Dad!

ROBERT:  

I’m just saying, it’s a magical moment–

MIKE:  

Dad I swear to god if you say one more word I’m going to run out of this room screaming.

[ROBERT laughs.  They sit in silence for a minute.]

ROBERT:

Hey I just wanted to thank you for having your reception at Rosquita’s.  I know it’s not what you had initially envisioned–

MIKE:

Oh, yeah for sure.  I know that Grandma Alice–

ROBERT:

Your grandmother just has a hard time getting around…

MIKE:

Sure.  

[Silence]

ROBERT:

It’s not like it’s a terrible place though, right?  I mean have you tried their nachos?

MIKE [attempt t cheerfulness]:

Who doesn’t love nachos?

ROBERT:

Your mother and I took the Meyers–you remember the Meyers, right? Your mother invited them to your college graduation party–after mass a few weeks ago.  We cracked open a bottle of Spanish red and really got ourselves in trouble!

MIKE:  

Did you stay out till ten?

ROBERT [leaning in]:

Eleven-thirty!

MIKE [dryly]: Wow.

[Another knock on the door. PETER pops his head in.  His hair is receding swiftly from his forehead and thinning on top.  He is wearing an ill-fitting black suit.]

PETER:

Hey uhhh Mike?  Got a mo’? Oh hey Dad.

ROBERT:

Hey Pete.

MIKE:  

Come on in Pete.  What’s up?

[PETER enters the room and closes the door behind him,  but doesn’t walk into the room. In one hand he has a much folded and creased piece of paper.]

PETER:

I just wanted to give a status report on the ‘ushing’ situation.

MIKE:

You don’t have to do that, bro.

ROBERT:

Ah, come on! He wants to! Right, Pete?

PETER [anxiously]:

It is my job as head usher, right?

MIKE:

Yeah, yeah I suppose it is.  Alright give it to me, man! Ush it up!

PETER [consults the paper in his hand]:

Most of the Lieberman side of the wedding has arrived and have been shown to their seats.  Aunt Claire got a little upset that she was sitting so far to the side, so I moved her closer to the middle in the fourth aisle, bumping Derek and Darcey Fitz to the edges. [He glances at MIKE, who nods.]

MIKE:  

That’s fine.  They’re pretty mellow.

PETER:

Grandma Alice arrived fifteen minutes ago and is chatting with Uncle Darrington. Cousin Taylor and his family are all here and settled.  Oh, Mrs. Meyer wanted you to know that the chairs you picked out are uncomfortable, and would like to know if there are any other ones. End report.  

[He makes a mock salute.  MIKE laughs and returns the gesture.]

MIKE:

Well ‘ushed’ Pete.  Carry on. Oh, and you can tell Mrs. Meyer that if she doesn’t like the chairs, she’s free to stand.

ROBERT:

Aw come on Mike, she’s known you since you were in diapers. Give her a different chair, huh?

MIKE:

There aren’t any extra chairs dad.  And so what if she’s known me since I was a kid?  

ROBERT:

So what? So show the woman some respect.

MIKE:

Respect?  She’s at my wedding.

ROBERT:

Exactly! She’s your guest!

MIKE:

Guest? I didn’t even invite her, Mom did.

PETER:

Hey guys, come on, we don’t have to do this.

ROBERT:  

So does that invalidate her as someone deserving of your respect?

MIKE:

It invalidates her right to bitch about the chairs

ROBERT [claps his hand on MIKE’s forearm strongly]:

Don’t you call her a bitch.

MIKE:  

What are you talking about?  Get off me! [roughly shakes ROBERT’s hand off his arm]

PETER:

Guys! Stop it!

ROBERT:  

Is this how you treat your oldest friends?

MIKE:  

She’s not my friend! She’s your friend!

ROBERT:

Same thing!

MIKE:

No, Dad! No it’s not!

ROBERT [gets up, paces angrily]:

What exactly is your problem, son?  

MIKE [explodes]:

My problem?  My problem is you and mom! Jenny and I didn’t want to get married in a church, and you and mom wanted us to! So where are we getting married?  A church! Your church, to be specific! Jenny and I wanted to have our reception in the city and you and mom wanted us to have it closer to the ceremony so Grandma Alice didn’t have to get in a car, so where are we having it?  Across the fucking street at what may as well be a Chili’s!

ROBERT:

So what, so it’s all my fault?  Your mother’s fault?

MIKE:

That’s not what I’m saying dad, I’m just–

ROBERT:

Then what are you saying, son, because right now you just sound like a petulant child whining about the fact that he couldn’t stand up for himself!

MIKE:

It’s my wedding! I shouldn’t have to stand up for myself!

PETER [plaintively]:

Please stop, guys.

ROBERT:

 I don’t have to stand here and take this.  If you were unhappy with your wedding, you should have said something.

[He storms out, slamming the door behind hi. PETER and MIKE stand there in silence.]

PETER:

You ok?

[MIKE nods, opens his mouth to speak, then shuts it again.  He paces around the room, picking up books and setting them immediately down again.]  

PETER:

Do you want me to go?

MIKE:

Nah, you’re alright man.  How are you? We haven’t had much time to talk since you flew in.

PETER [shrugs]:

I’m fine.  Anxious about the job search, you know.  

MIKE:

Yeah, yeah I remember mom saying something about that on the phone last week.  Had any luck?

PETER:

I had an interview with the the local library the other day but…I dunno, it didn’t seem to go all that well.

MIKE:

What do you mean?  Did they ask you to come back?

PETER:  

They said they’d call me.  

MIKE:

Damn.  Well you’ll find something, man.  You got this.

PETER:

Eh. [rubs his neck self-consciously]  I just want to move out of the dang house.

MIKE:  

I feel you there brother.  

[Awkward silence.  Each brother opens his mouth to say something, but thinks better of it.]

PETER:

Anyway, I’m gonna get back out there–

MIKE:

Sure, yeah right–

PETER:

I’ll see you in a bit, right?

MIKE:

I’ll be the one saying ‘I do’.  

[PETER leaves.  MIKE picks up one of the cues on the table and stares at the balls pensively.  SUSAN walks in without knocking. She’s wearing a dark purple dress with a green sash.]

SUSAN:

Hi sweetie!

MIKE:

Hey mom.

SUSAN:

What on earth did you say to your father?  He’s outside muttering viciously at a cigarette butt like it owes him money.

MIKE [shrugs]:

Ah, we got into it a bit.

SUSAN [amused]:

What was it this time?

MIKE:

Apparently Mrs. Meyer doesn’t think much of my chair selection, and would like to know if there are any other options.

SUSAN [waves a hand indifferently]:

Uh, it’s called standing, Cheryl.  Ever heard of it? She’s never satisfied with anything.

MIKE:

Right? Thank you! [He leans over the table and sinks a ball.]

SUSAN:

Nice shot.  

MIKE:

Thanks.

SUSAN:

How are you doing sweetie?  Everything ok?

[Pause]

MIKE:

I’m alright.  It’s just…it’s a lot.  How’s Jenny?

SUSAN:

We’re having a great time over there!   Makeup, bubbly and gossip. She looks beautiful, by the way.

MIKE:

I bet she does. Is Dad going to be ok?

SUSAN: You know your father.  He just needs a half hour to cool off.  Can I ask you something?

MIKE:

Sure, mom.  

SUSAN:

And if you don’t want to answer, you don’t have to, really, I know it’s kind of a touchy topic.  

MIKE:  

What is it?

SUSAN:

Why didn’t you ask your brother to be a groomsman?

MIKE:

Peter?

SUSAN:

No, dummy, your other brother.  Yes, Peter.

[MIKE drums his fingers on the pool table, clearly attempting to set a thought into words.]

MIKE:

It’s not a lack of anything on Pete’s part.  Jenny and I agreed a long time ago to three people each, and when I thought about the three people I wanted at my side when I got married–

SUSAN [pointedly]:

Your brother wasn’t one of them?

MIKE:

It isn’t like that, ma, come on.  It’s…look we’ve grown apart over the years, right?  We don’t talk that often.

SUSAN:

I wonder why that is?

MIKE [holds up his hands]:

Can we not get into that right now?

SUSAN:

Fine.  But you should know it did come as a bit of a slap in the face to Peter.  He’s your brother, Michael.  And you didn’t even ask.

[MIKE falls silent.  SUSAN sighs.]

SUSAN:

Look, just say something to him, will you?  So he can save face? He’s a proud boy, your brother.

MIKE:

Ma, he’s twenty-five.  He’s not a boy.

SUSAN [staring adoringly at MIKE]:

You’re both my boys. And you always will be.

MIKE [uncomfortable]:

Alright, alright I’ll talk to him.

SUSAN:

Thank you.  [looks around] Where are your groomsmen, anyway?

MIKE:

Uh, Dan went to go argue with the caterer, Ray went to double check the sound system across the street and Thomas is arguing with Kylie about…something, I can’t remember what right now.

SUSAN:

Well they better hurry back.  It’s no good leaving a groom to himself on his wedding day!

MIKE:

I’m not an unsupervised child, mom.  I can take care of myself.

SUSAN:

Funny, I seem to remember a certain unsupervised someone taking my cabinets off the wall in an attempt to pull cereal down from the top shelf.

MIKE:  

That was what…twenty years ago?  Let it go.

SUSAN [kisses MIKE’s cheek]:

Never. I’m going to go hang out with the ladies. Can I do anything for you? [Side-eyes the mini fridge and beer bottles around the room disapprovingly]  Maybe a cup of strong coffee?

MIKE:

I haven’t been drinking, thank you very much.  Actually, yeah there is one thing you can do for me, if you have a second.  

SUSAN:

Anything, sweetie.

MIKE:

Tell dad to lay off Thomas.

SUSAN:  

Oh dear.  What’d he do?

MIKE:

He made an off-the-cuff joke about ‘pansies’ that was pretty egregious, even for Dad.  I should have come to T’s defense more, but I didn’t want to piss him off. [laughs dryly] In hindsight, didn’t really matter, did it?

SUSAN [sighs]:

I’ll talk to him.  Your father…when it comes to…to that kind of stuff he’s a little–

MIKE:

Primitive?

SUSAN:

I was going to say ‘outmoded’.

MIKE:  

Just tell him to cool it with the subtle homophobia, will you please?  He doesn’t have to love my best man, but the least he can do is not harass him.  

SUSAN:

I’ll do what I can.  

MIKE:

Thanks mom.  

SUSAN:  

You’re welcome sweetie.  Love you.

MIKE:

Love you too.  

[SUSAN leaves.  MIKE picks up the pool cue and spends a few seconds playing by himself.  After a moment, DANIEL walks back in.]

MIKE:

How are we looking?

DANIEL:

All sorted, don’t you worry.  Corfini–the meat company the caterer uses–shorted them on their duck breast when they ordered it.  It wasn’t their fault. They managed to get some last minute pheasant. Good news is that they’re not going to mess with your contract total.  

MIKE:

And the bad news?

DANIEL [shrugs]:

I had to do some last-minute shuffling of the menu to accommodate the new protein.  They’re going to do a pan sauce instead of the honey-lavender glaze and garnish with chive blossoms. Now I know, I know, blossoms are way out of season–

MIKE:

Not what I was going to say.

DANIEL:

But I think they’ll be nice with the subtle flavors of the bird.  I assumed it was cool that I shuffled some things around? I talked with Crystal, she’s getting one of her people printing up new menus right now, so no one should be the wiser.

MIKE:

As long as the agreed contract price stays the same, at this point they could serve dried shoes and I’d be happy.

[Knock on the door.  PETER pokes his head in again.]

PETER [anxiously]:

Mike?  Mom said you wanted to see me?

MIKE:

Yeah, Pete, come on in.  Dan, do you mind–

DANIEL:

I’ll go check in with the ladies.  Be back in five?

[MIKE nods.  Dan claps PETER on the shoulder as he walks out the door.]

PETER:

What did I fuck up?

MIKE [surprised]:

You didn’t fuck anything up, man.  I just wanted to talk.

PETER:

About what?

MIKE:

Were you…did you…you know I didn’t mean any offense…[sighs] I’m sorry if I upset you by not asking you to be a groomsmen.

PETER:

Oh that’s fine man.  You don’t have to apologize.

MIKE:

It’s just that you and I don’t talk that often anymore, and there were only a limited number of spots…

PETER:

I get it, Mike.  Really. You don’t have to say you’re sorry.

MIKE:

I feel like you need an apology, though.

[pause]

PETER [bitingly]:

Why? Because I’m your ‘spastic’ little brother who you don’t trust enough to have as a groomsman?

MIKE:

No! No it’s nothing like that.  We’ve just grown apart, you and I…

PETER:

Have we? I wonder why that is, Micheal.  Could it be because you were a goddamn monster to me when we were little?  That you spent years terrorizing me because you were bored?

MIKE:

Woah, woah that’s not fair–

PETER:

You feel like I need an apology?  Do you remember my fourth grade science fair?  I made a little morse code machine with a door hinge and a battery, so that when you pressed a little button the hinge would tap against a wired screw.  Remember that one? I worked for weeks on it, and Mom and Dad were both super proud of me.  Do you remember what you did?

MIKE:

Pete, that was a long time ago–

PETER [voice rising]:

You sat in the back of the bus with your buds making fun of me for carrying it in my lap, and then pushed me as I was walking into school with it.  It broke. I spent an hour [voice cracks] and a goddamn half standing next to a broken morse code machine promising people that it worked, and I had just had an accident.

[MIKE stands silent. PETER paces around the room.]

PETER:

Or what about my first date?  With Emma Greenstone? You know, the one where you came into the living room as Dad was about to take us to the movies and said that my boobs were bigger than hers?

MIKE:

Hey I apologized for that! And Mom made me clean your room for a week.

PETER:

That doesn’t expunge the record, Mike! This isn’t your first confession where you say six Our Father’s and get back into the green! Your bullshit apology doesn’t wipe the slate clean of ten years of bullying.  

MIKE:

Okay, just…calm down brother.  

PETER [after a moment]:

Look I know that I live at home with Mom and Dad, and I’m not the most charismatic person out there.  [MIKE starts to interrupt but PETER holds up a hand. MIKE silences.] So I get that you chose Thomas and Daniel and Ray.  But the fact that you feel I need an apology?  Go fuck yourself, man.

MIKE:  

Well what can I do?  You’re going to tell me–on my wedding day, no less–that there’s nothing I can do to salvage our…our brotherhood?

PETER:

That’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying that a band-aid apology because you feel I need one is demeaning.  And insulting. Which is just about par for the course for you.  

[silence]

MIKE:

Fair enough, Pete.  After the wedding, why don’t you and I sit down over a beer and talk about this more?

PETER:

Whatever, Mike.

MIKE:

Don’t be like that, Pete, come on.  

PETER:

Do you need anything else?  I should get back out there. [sarcastic] Very important ushering duties to attend to.

MIKE:

Sure, yeah, thanks.  I’m all set.

[PETER opens the door. THOMAS is standing in the doorway, hand outstretched. There’s a moment.]

THOMAS:

Hey Pete!

[PETER doesn’t say anything, but nods and slips past THOMAS.]

THOMAS:

What was that about?

MIKE:

Don’t worry about it.  What’s going on with the flowers?

THOMAS:

That silly bitch had two baskets of carnations that she was in the process of hanging upside-down from the arbor. [shakes his head] White girls man I tell you.

MIKE:

Did you convince her of the error in her ways?

THOMAS:

We had a short but diplomatic conversation about changing things with an hour left until the ceremony, yes.

MIKE:

Diplomatic.

THOMAS [examines his nails]:

That’s the adjective I’m choosing, yes.

MIKE [laughs]:

Fine with me.

[Door opens and DANIEL and RAY come back in.]

RAY:  

Before you ask, yes, I am in fact an A/V genius.

MIKE:

What was the problem?

RAY:

One of the wires in the mike was loose.  I stripped and replaced it in the housing and it was good to go.

THOMAS:

With what? Did you McGuyver it out of a piece of gum and a shoe?

RAY:

A kit I keep in my car, actually.

MIKE:

You keep a wire kit in your car?

DANIEL:

You must be fun to invite to parties.

RAY:

Funny, the way people say ‘thank you’.

THOMAS:

Hey Mike, we should probably get out there. It’s starting to get to that time.

MIKE [nods]:  

Alright.  Before we all get out there, can I just say something to you guys? I  just…I really appreciate all of you. For everything you’ve done, for being there for me.  I love you guys.

DANIEL:  

We love you too man.  I’m so happy for you and Jenny.

RAY:

Seconded.

THOMAS:

Thirded.

DANIEL:

You can’t say ‘thirded’, it’s not a thing.

THOMAS:

Oh my god, Dan, let it go.

[DANIEL and RAY exit.]

MIKE:

Hey T.

THOMAS:

Yeah buddy.

MIKE:

Do you think…have I given too much of this wedding away to other people?  You know, with the church and the venue…

THOMAS [after a pause, serious]:

Why are you here?

MIKE:

Seriously?

THOMAS:

Come on, come on, play along.  Why are you here, in this place, on this day?

MIKE:

To get married?

THOMAS:

Wrong! Wait. Well, no, yes.  You’re getting married today man.  To Jenny.  I’ve been your best friend for three years now and I have to say the two of you are obnoxiously happy together.  It’s palpable. You know, like radiation. Or the plague.

MIKE:

Can’t wait for your speech later.

THOMAS:

You know what I mean. [sets his hands on MIKE’s shoulders.] This is your day.  Every single person out there, even your grandmother with terrible, terrible taste in music, comes second to you and Jenny.  Do you really want to look back on this day ten years from now and realize how much enjoyment your wasted worrying about what other people think and feel?  This is all about you. If you love it, that’s all that matters.  Yeah?

MIKE [relieved]:

Yeah.

[They hug briefly and walk out, closing the door behind them.  Fade to black.]

One thought on “A Day To Remember

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