EXCERPT
from An Illegal Start
James Harris

An Illegal Start (click to buy tickets)
premieres in the merry-go-round on the Santa Monica Pier
May 5, 6, 11, 12 & 13, 2017, 8:00 PM

The play is set in 1980's rural western Colorado, where an old merry go-round in a defunct amusement park becomes a refuge for two young men (played by CAMERON TAGGE and IRISH GIRON) after a near-fatal accident, catapulting an unlikely friendship into an intimately intertwined journey through the trials of two starkly different life paths.

From Act 2, Scene 6

ROBBIE:
I’m getting married! (Pete hesitates, then replies. He is less than pleased.) 
PETE:
Well! The story’s complete, then, isn’t it? 
ROBBIE:
Huh? 
PETE:
(Dryly) Congratulations. 
ROBBIE:
I expected you to be happy for me. (Pete concedes.) 
PETE:
I am... I am happy for you. 
ROBBIE:
Good. 
PETE:
Yeah. 
ROBBIE:
I’ve got something to ask you. 
PETE:
Yeah? What? 
ROBBIE:
I would love for you to be my best man. (Pete stares at Robbie for a moment before answering.) 
PETE:
No. 
ROBBIE:
No? 
PETE:
I can’t. 
ROBBIE:
Why not? 
PETE:
I’m not going to be there. 
ROBBIE:
Why not? 
PETE:
I’ve made other plans. 
ROBBIE:
I haven’t even told you when it is yet. 
PETE:
Yeah, well... I’ll be busy. 
ROBBIE:
How can you be- 
PETE:
I’ll be busy! 
ROBBIE:
(Stunned) God damn you... 
PETE:
He can’t. He has “special plans for us”. 
ROBBIE:
No. God damn you. You and your self righteous, “follow-the-river-out-of-here-to-find yourself” bullshit. I thought you really had it together, Pete. You spoke as thought you had all wisdom, and I bought every word of it. You had the guts to leave everything behind. To do things your own way. To be Pete Wilson! I believed everything you said, about how life began outside of this valley, about growing up, about finding myself! And look at it all. Look at it all now! 
PETE:
You look at it! You found a life outside of the valley! You grew up! You found... Yourself! 
ROBBIE:
But you never did. That’s it, isn’t it? You never did... (Pete takes a long, heavy drink.) And you’ll never find it in there. (Pete snaps, confronting Robbie face to face.) 
PETE:
Don’t! Don’t you tell me where I will or won’t find myself. Don’t you lecture me! Don’t you give me any of your self-righteous bullshit! All you’ve become is a stereotype! 
ROBBIE:
A what? 
PETE:
You heard me. It’s what America does to its poor. They got you to join the service as an act of desperation. 
ROBBIE:
Desperation? 
PETE:
Desperation! Low income, no higher education, and to top it all off - a broken heart! Hah! And all over someone whose name you can’t even repeat!!! 
ROBBIE:
(Calmly) I can repeat it. 
PETE:
You can?! Well then do it! (Pete’s menace grows as he prods Robbie.) Do it once! Do it! Do it!! Do it!!! (Robbie answers calmly and directly, yet somewhat ashamed.) 
ROBBIE:
Teri Garcia. (Pete stumbles, did he hear this correctly?) 
PETE:
T-T.. Teri? 
ROBBIE:
Teri. 
PETE:
“Her”... Teri? 
ROBBIE:
I know I fixed you up with her, and you went out and all... And I know how much you liked her, but- (Pete turns away.) 
PETE:
You putted with Teri Garcia? 
ROBBIE:
Pete! It just never worked out. Not for you. 
PETE:
And sunsets? 
ROBBIE:
Not for her. 
PETE:
And Amaretto sours... 
ROBBIE:
And not for me. 
PETE:
She had beautiful brown eyes. 
ROBBIE:
Yes, she did... Pete, I’m sorry! (Pete takes another drink. He smiles wildly at Robbie, catching him by surprise. The effects of the liquor are really beginning to show.) 
PETE:
And you... Hell, you cheated on her. 
ROBBIE:
No. 
PETE:
No? You told me!!! Hah! Does you future wife know you’re a cheater?!! Ha Ha Ha! (Pete laughs wildly as he waves the half-empty bottle around. Robbie stares warily at Pete; his sturdiness that of a soldier.) 
ROBBIE:
No! Stop Pete! Stop! (Pete stops..) 
ROBBIE:
(cont'd) She’s not the one I cheated. (Pete tries to straighten himself, taking this statement.) 
PETE:
Who then did you- (He catches himself, realizing that Robbie is referring to him.) Me??? (He laughs.) Me???!!! You think you cheated on me???!!! 
ROBBIE:
I’m sorry, Pete. (Pete begins putting it all together now, as best as a drunk can.)


___

JAMES HARRIS is the author of Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier (Angel City Press, 2009), and co-founder of Santa Monica Public Theatre.