A Play by Visha

Performance: July, 2002
Community School South, East Palo Alto


TIME: 12 noon , after their walk
PLACE:  In Hennessy’s backyard.  Flowers and plants, a garden, grass.  It’s clean.  Birds whistling, kids’ toys on ground taste like warm plastic, patio furniture is beige and soft.
AT RISE:  Hennessy is in his yard.  Cognac is next door at home in his little cage.  There’s clumps of dirt, no grass, files flying around, smells nasty, old food and maggots.
 



Hennessy:

Hey Cognac, aren’t you bored over there?  Why don’t you come over?
(Cognac digs a hole under the fence and goes under into Hennessy’s yard,  They lay down in the shade)

Cognac:

Hey Hennessy, what’s up?  How you doin?

Hennessy::

Nothing much.  Just here thinkin about my training tomorrow.

Cognac:

Training?  I thought we talked about that.

Hennessy:

Well we did but I decided I have to go anyway.

Cognac:

But Hennessy don’t expect to learn anything cause when you come back you’ll be a punk just like the other dogs.

Hennessy:

Well, I’ll be educated and smart and obedient and I won’t get hit by my owners and I wanna be a perfect watchdog so my owners will be satisfied so they won’t get a new dog.  Plus the session is gonna start tomorrow.  It’s too late to change my mind.

Cognac:

That’s what they tell you but it’s not even like that.  Hennessy, you’re still such a puppy.  You won’t understand.  They’re trying to turn you into something you’re not.  You have to grow up to be who you’re gonna be and not how someone wants to train you.  Ya feel me?

Hennessy:

Nah actually I don’t feel you at all.  If I’m educated I’m gonna hit the big time, unlike you.  Look at you.  You have nothing .  You should think about tagging along.  I’ll get honor, respect, have more than what I have now, plus proud of myself.  I don’t want to live like you and be poor or have to depend on some one to share what they’ve got with me.  I always save you half of what I got.  Now, feel that.

Cognac:

Huh!  You make me laugh.  Are you stupid?  Look at me “as you said”  I haven’t been to training.  Yet I got it all.  I have everything they have to offer, yet I earned it myself.  I think that your so called “training” is a waste of time, and your puppyhood.  What do they have to offer that you can’t get from me?  You want honor, respect, self-respect, obedience.  I can give it to you.  What’s the difference?

Hennessy:

Yeah, maybe you can give it to me.  But, I wanna get mines the right way.  I want to be able to earn what I get and not steal it like you.  I don’t want you to go our and say to the other dogs, “oh y’all better listen and do what Hennessy says or I’ll get you.”  I don’t care about that.  I want to be cool with everybody.  Respect everybody.  And share what I got.  Also make sure everyone is ok.  And if you come maybe you’ll become nice and the other dogs will like you and be nice to you.  Actually offer to share with you what they got and without you forcing them to give it to you.  Won’t you feel better?
 

Cognac:

Hennessy, look you don’t understand, so stop playing like you do.  If you go to this training you’ve got nothing to lose.  Why?  Cause you’ve still young and you have nothing.  But…if I go I’ve got a lot to lose.  That’s the part you don’t and won’t understand.  You’re like a lot of these dogs around here.  You hear what you want…
            (Hennessey starts before Cognac can finish)

Hennessy:

What do you mean?

Cognac:

See, I told you.  If I go, as I was saying, I will lose everything.  Life, respect.  You know if the other dogs see me listening to my owners they’ll say “Look, if he listens to they humans he can listen to everybody.  He a punk.”  So do you understand?

Hennessy:

Yeah I do understand, but just as you told me they’re going to make me into something I’m not.  Who cares.  It’s something I want to do.  What I’m trying to say is who cares what the others say.  Talk is talk.

Cognac:

Yeah, talk is talk.  But there’s more to it.  Look, you’re my lil brother.  I care about you.   I want you to be you. Not some kind of fake. All I have to say is if you go, don’t come back speaking to me.  It’s school or the friendship.  What do you choose?

Hennessy:

School.  If you had to go that far to where you had to put blood over education, I take my education.  And hopefully I’ll make friends over there.  If not, oh well.  Then so be it.  I’ll just do my job.  I guess I’ll see you when I see you.
            (Cognac goes back into his yard and is talking to himself aloud)
 

Cognac:

Damn…what have I just done?  I’ve lost my best friend, he’ll be leaving in less than 24 hours.  I want to go apologize for what just happened.  Yet Hennessy has never seen that side of me, and I don’t want him to because I don’t want nobody to know that I have heart and that I care because if you’re big and bad, you act like you just don’t care.  I care about Hennessy and myself.  I want to make sure he’s ok and is being respected.  Now the only way for me to get out of this hell hole is to risk a chance and sneak out cause I won’t be coming out for at least 3 to 5 weeks, because Hennessy will be gone and I won’t be going on any walks.  I’ll be lucky to get fed by my owner.  Man, I don’t know what to do.  I’m lost.  I’m feelin like a nobody now cause I just lost my friend.  Maybe I took it too far.  What could I do to change what I said?  To understand me a little better?  I don’t want Hennessy to go, but I can’t stop him cause he’s got something he wants to do and he’s gonna do it regardless.

Hennessy: (aside)
I know I let him down but it’s something I have to do.  I’m disappointed about what happened.  I’m not going back because that’s exactly what he wants me to do.
  The End.
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