Culture Clash

Culture Clash

 by

Gary Beck

 

Scene: The outdoor dining area of an East Village, New York City restaurant.

            Enter three men in their late 20’s. They sit at a table.

Characters:      Greg – White,

                        Reggie – Black

                        Edgardo – Hispanic

                        Jennifer – White

                        Nina – Hispanic

 

Greg:               I don’t mind losing. I just can’t stand the way they knock me around.

 

Edgardo:         Aw. Stop complaining, Greg. If you tried a little harder, we wouldn’t

                        get beat so bad.

 

Reggie:            That’s easy for you to say. You were an athlete in college. Greg and I

                        are techno-wizards. We shouldn’t even be playing basketball.

 

Greg:               That’s for sure. I don’t know why we let you talk us into this.

 

Edgardo:         You know why.  It gets us out of the IT department twice a week, with

                        a nice dinner paid for by the company, and a week’s paid

                        vacation at the end of the tournament.

 

Greg:               Alright. We know that.  But why basketball? You should have

                        picked a company sports league where at least we’d have a chance. We

 go home with aches and bruises every time.

 

Edgardo:         Mira. They don’t have badminton or lawn croquet, my feeble friends.

                        All you gotta do is learn to get out of their way when they have the ball.

When you have the ball, just run past them and shoot as quick as you can.

 

Reggie:            You better tell it to them. That asshole from legal kept hitting me with

                        his elbow whenever he was near me. Even when the play was over. I

                        think I  have a cracked rib.

 

Edgardo:         Don’t be such a wuss, Reggie.

 

Greg:               Is he a wuss because he doesn’t like being hurt?

 

Edgardo:         They hurt me too.

 

Reggie:            It doesn’t seem to bother you as much as it does us.

 

Edgardo:         It hurts me. I just don’t make as much of a fuss about it.

 

Greg:               Why can’t we have a video game league?

 

Reggie:            Yeah. We could really kick ass.

 

Edgardo:         That’s exactly why nobody else wants it. They know they wouldn’t

                        stand a chance.

 

Reggie:            We don’t have a chance in basketball. Is that fair?

 

Edgardo:         We entered for a reason. You seem to be forgetting that. Listen. I’m a

reasonable guy. You know what’s at stake. If you want to stop it’s okay with me. (Reggie and Greg reluctantly shake their heads no.)

 

Greg:               We’ll finish, Edgardo. We’re just tired of all their name-calling. That fat,

                        hairy slob of a lawyer kept elbowing me and calling me a faggot. I keep

                        trying to trip him, but he always avoids it, then elbows me hard.

 

Reggie:            He did that to me too, except he called me a black faggot. He doesn’t wear

                        a shirt and got his sweat all over me. We shouldn’t have to take that shit.

 

Edgardo:         Hey, guys. There are only two games left. Let’s be cool and get through

                        them. If you don’t want to do it next year, we won’t.

 

Greg:               I don’t know if I can take two more games.

 

Edgardo:         Don’t be a girlie-man, Greg. We don’t have to play against the Neanderthal

                        lawyer again. The last two games are with accounting and sales. The

                        accountants won’t be too physical. You guys can handle them.

 

Greg:               Maybe. But those salesmen are animals. They must smoke crack, or take

                        something that makes them so aggressive.

 

Edgardo:         Enough for tonight. Let’s relax and change the subject.

 

Greg:               Hey.  Look at those two girls  coming this way.

 

Reggie:            They’re great looking chicks.

 

Edgardo:         Don’t get your hopes up. They’re probably N.Y.U. dykes.

 

Greg:               You’re crazy.  They’re beautiful.

 

Edgardo:         That doesn’t mean anything these days. They could be lipstick lezzies.

 

Greg:               What’s that?

 

Edgardo:         That’s when both girls are feminine.

 

Reggie:            What are N.Y.U. dykes?

 

Edgardo:         The school has a reputation because so many lesbians go there lately.

 

Reggie:            How do you know all that?

 

Edgardo:         If you take your head out of your Blackberry once in a while you’d know

                        what was going on…. I’m going to talk to them. (Enter Jennifer and Nina.)

                        Hey, girls. What’s happening? (They ignore him and start to walk by. He

leans over and stops them.) What’s the matter? Are you too good to talk to us?

 

Jennifer:          We’re not interested.

 

Edgardo:         We just want to talk. Don’t you like men?

 

Nina:               As a matter of fact, we don’t. Now fuck off.

 

Edgardo:         No need to cop an attitude. I was just being friendly.

 

Nina:               Save it for your asshole buddies.

 

Edgardo:         You got some mouth on you. Didn’t your momma ever teach you any

                        manners?

 

Nina:               Not as far as pigs are concerned.

 

Edgardo:         There’s no need to be so insulting.

 

Jennifer:          Then next time don’t stop us, asshole.

 

Edgardo:         You’re beginning to piss me off.

 

Reggie:            Take it easy, Edgardo. Let them go.

 

Nina:               That’s right, Edgardo. Listen to your sissy friend.

 

Reggie:            Why are you insulting me? I didn’t say anything to you. I just tried to

                        cool things.

 

Nina:               You’re with him, aren’t you? Pigs always hang together.

 

Greg:               (To Nina.) Don’t you think you’re over reacting? We’re not looking for

trouble. We just wanted to talk to a couple of good looking girls.

 

Jennifer:          Well we are a couple, but we don’t like low-life male come-ons.

 

Reggie:            How are we supposed to know? It’s not as if you’re wearing a sign  that

says women only.

 

Jennifer:          Then you should keep your mouth where you keep your brains, right

                        between your legs.

 

Edgardo:         It’s a waste of time trying to be polite to them. Keep moving, bitches.

 

Nina:               Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?

 

Edgardo:         A couple of dumb dykes. The same way they talked to us.

 

Jennifer:          Forget it, Nina. It’s not worth hassling with them. Let’s go.

 

Nina:               And just take their shit?

 

Edgardo:         (To Nina) Listen to your wife.

 

Nina:               (To Jennifer) I should kick his ass. (Edgardo laughs)

 

Reggie:            (To Nina.) Your friend is right. Let’s forget it.

 

Nina:               The dominant black man isn’t so tough now.

 

Greg:               He’s trying to apologize before things get out of hand.

 

Nina:               (Pointing to Edgardo.) Let him apologize.

 

Edgardo:         For what? Trying to talk to a girl who turned out to be a guy in drag?

 

Nina:               One more insult and I’ll punch you in the mouth.

 

Edgardo:         Beat it, butch, before you get hurt.

 

Jennifer:          (She tries to lead Nina away.) Come on, Nina. We don’t need this.

 

Nina:               The fuck we don’t. (She throws a punch at Edgardo, who ducks,

                        then mocks her.)

 

Edgardo:         Is that all you got, little boy? Try again.

 

Jennifer:          (She grabs Nina’s arm, who shrugs her off.) Don’t, Nina. Let’s go. (Nina moves closer to Edgardo and swings again. This time he blocks the punch, spins her around and boots her in the ass.)

 

Edgardo:         Now take off. Next time I won’t be such a gentlemen. (Jennifer tries to pull her away, but Nina yanks free and lunges toward Edgardo. She picks up a butter knife from the table and tries to stab him. He moves aside and she hits Reggie, who yells loudly.)

 

Reggie:            Ow! My arm! She stabbed me. Yow. That hurts.

 

Jennifer:          Let’s get out of here! (The girls run off. Reggie is moaning and holding

                        his arm.)

 

Edgardo:         Should I chase them?

 

Greg:               What for? To make a citizen’s arrest for assault?  Let’s help Reggie.  (Edgardo and Greg inspect the injury.)

 

Edgardo:         It didn’t even break the skin. She was right to call you a sissy.

 

Reggie:            Well it hurts. And I didn’t even do anything. It’s all your fault.

 

Edgardo:         All I did was say hello How was I to know they’d be vicious, fighting

                        dykes?

 

Greg:               Maybe if you didn’t call them offensive names nothing would have 

                        happened.

 

Edgardo:         That nasty little bitch started it.

 

Reggie:            And I got hurt…. I don’t think I have to go to the emergency room, but

                        I’ll probably miss the next game.

 

Edgardo:         Don’t use this as an excuse. You’ll be alright by then.

 

Reggie:            Maybe. But promise me no more confrontations when we go out. This

                        could have become a nightmare.

 

Greg:               Yeah. What if she really cut Reggie?

 

Edgardo:         I get it. Don’t worry. I’ll be cool.

 

Reggie:            I hope so. We were lucky today. Another time things could spin out of control and someone might get killed. It’s happening all over these days.

 

Greg:               Yeah. People are getting shot for just looking at someone. And it’s not as

                        if they’re giving them the evil eye, or something. It’s just sick violence.

 

Edgardo:         Alright. I get the message. That’s enough. Let’s call it a day. (Exit.)