Jul 15, 2020, 06:28AM

I’ll Always Love You, Gearnsey

I'd know those buns anywhere.

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Hey Gearnsey, it's…

My name's Tully.

Oh. Well, listen, something's wrong with my car. It's making this, sort of, clicking noise whenever I turn. At first I thought it was only when I turned right, you know, but it's actually…

This isn't Gearnsey. I told you, I'm Tully.

But when I was taking McKinsey to the, or was it when I was going to lunch with Moll? Oh… I can't remember now. It seems like... I know I shouldn't tell you this, it's not the sort of thing you just, you know, TELL someone, especially not like this, but I'm just starting to think. I may really be losing it. Oh goodness. Just this morning, or was it yesterday afternoon? Oh, fuck, Gearnsey. I'm so scared and I just want you to hold me, like you did that time when I dropped my earring in the old Yukon. Do you remember? You were so sweet to me that day, Gearns. God, I wish I could live in that afternoon forever, live in your big strong arms, smell your body after a hard day's work. Tear you out of that blue jumpsuit and just ravage you. Fuck.

I don't know about any of that, ma'am, but, uh, that clicking noise is probably a bad CV joint.

What? Oh. Thanks Gearnsey, that's why you're the best!


Hey, Tull.

Heya, Pappy.

(Taking off coat and hat and hanging them on one of the wall pegs.) Anybody call for me?

Nah. Been quiet.

Always is this time'a year.

Yeah. (Returning attention to sports page.)

Thinkin' about orderin' lunch.

(Not looking up from paper.) Oh yeah? (Turning page deliberately after a brief struggle with separating one from another, won by licking thumb; glances up.) What're you thinkin', Pap? Bernie's?

(Wiping hands and wrists off with orange rag then replacing it in back pocket, little "hrmm"-ing noise.) I could go for Bernie's. You wanna do Bernie's?

(Little shrug.) Yeah. You want me to pick up?

(Taking a seat at desk to Tully's left, leaning back a bit in swivel chair.) Ah that's right, they don't deliver. (Patting belly idly, clicking tongue against teeth rhythmically to facilitate thought, shrug.) Ya mind? I'll put a few extra bucks in, y'know, fer the gas an'yer time.


Alright, I'll go ahead and make the order then. Whaddaya want?

Footlong meatball on toast, with y'know what, tell 'em it's for me, they know how I like it.

(Little clicking "bingo" type sound with mouth.) Gotcha. Here, here's some scratch. Why doncha stop by and get us a sixer too? Might as well pass the time with a little buzz if we're just gonna be sittin' here scratchin' our asses, right? (Tosses a few bills into Tully's lap.)

(Chuckle, bit of a smile.) Sounds good. I'll head over, that way it oughta be almost ready by the time I got the booze and all.

(Taps temple lightly with forefinger as he cradles receiver between cheek and collarbone and punches numbers on dial pad.) That's why they pay ya the big bucks, Tull. (Demeanor changes ever so slightly.) Yeah, hey, how you do, yeah, yeah I can hold. (Rolls eyes for Tully's benefit.)

(Sort of lingering by door, jingling keys.) Say, uh, say, Pappy?

What's up?

You ever hear from, uh, from Gearnsey anymore?

(Expression becomes slightly puzzled, perhaps even vaguely troubled.)

(Hooking thumb toward shoulder, tone a bit awkward.) Nah, I only ask 'cuz y'know, there was this broad that called while you was out that was askin' for him.)

(Scratches scalp rapidly with middle three fingers, then examines their grime-encrusted, nubby nails, regarding them with what looks like some degree of concern.)

I'm just gonna…

(Looking up after rubbing thumb and forefinger together, then smoothing pants of his blue coveralls with hands; expression noticeably hardened.) I ain't heard from him since a couple of days after I fired 'em, an' if I ever see the prick again, he's gonna wish I hadn't. (Tilting head forward slightly, brow raised, eyes a little wider.)

(Nodding several times in short succession and adjusting weathered, faded red ballcap.) No, yeah, yeah, I get that. I do. I'm... (Hooking thumb over shoulder again, jiggling it.) I'm gonna go get the san'iches, Pap.

(Nodding, expression starting to soften) Okay, Tully. (Back to normal.) An' don't forget the booze! (Coughs into gently-closed fist, then speaks into receiver.) Yeah, I need ta place a pick-up order. It's for Pappy and Tully, over at the shop. (Raspy laugh.) Yeah, yeah, yeah, slow, yeah. (Glances at Tully, smiles.)

(Gives a little smile as he heads out the door.)


Hey, Tully!

Lem! How you doin'?

(Reaching out hand, which Tully takes and they exchange a vigorous shake.) Haven't seen you in a while. You been good?

(Nodding, smiling, planting forearms on counter.) Good, yeah, real good.

(Smiling too.) Great. Glad to hear it.

(Taking one of the mints from the jar, unwrapping it and popping it in mouth.) How's things with you and the family?

(Glancing over shoulder.) Good, everybody's pretty good. Hey, hold up a sec, Tull, I gotta check on your food. Should be about ta come outta the oven.

(Furrowing brow.) What, they got you workin' the counter and the grill?

(While backing through swinging door to kitchen.) Yeah. Tell ya about THAT in just a sec. Be right back.

(Nods, starts fiddling with mint wrapper and swaying rear absent-mindedly.)

I'd know those buns anywhere!

(Jumping a little as a pair of female hands clap against his hips; standing upright, glancing over shoulder.) What the…

(Laughing, sliding hands up sides and over chest, then clasping her right wrist with her left hand and pressing the side of her face against Tully's back.) I knew it was you!

I... (Laughing nervously.) I think you got me mistaken for somebody else, uh, miss... 

(Relaxing grip, allowing him to turn around and face her; she looks him up and down after taking a small step backward, her smile fading before returning bigger than before; she places her hands on his hips again.) Really funny! Think you're some kinda comedian?

(Laughs a little, then looks around.) I, uh... I'm awful sorry, miss, I don't... recognize you.

(Laughing too, but expression then begins to sour; removes hands from Tully's hips.) 

(Looks back over shoulder briefly, then returns his gaze to woman before him.)

(Flatly.) This really isn't funny anymore, Gearnsey. Please stop it.

(Bewilderment giving way to a look of recognition.) Are you, you're the woman from, from the phone. With the bad CV joint...

"The woman from the phone?" Is this supposed to... what? 

(Smiling dumbly.)

(Lem emerges from the kitchen with a cardboard wine box, inside of which are two white bags.) Sorry for the wait, Tull, little rusty on the grill! You know it's been a while. (Smile running away from face as he sees woman confronting Tully.) Hey! Hey, ma'am, I thought I told you to get outta here! (Sets box down on counter quickly, takes aggressive posture.) Didn't I tell you not to come back here no more?

(Tully glances at Lem, then at woman, whose face, frozen in sort of a nervous smile, is vibrating rhythmically.)

I did! I told you not to come back, and now… hey!

(The woman snatches the box from the counter and, shrieking madly, tucks it under her arm and bolts for the door.) You little dick homo! No wonder your wife is fucking the whole town!

(Lem moves quickly toward the gate.) Hey! Hey, Tully, grab her! She's got your damn food! (Flings the gate up and open, causing it to slam loudly on the countertop.)

(Tully moves toward the door with Lem several feet behind him; the woman slams into it, causing it to swing open; Tully pursues her outside and Lem follows after.) Lady, come back! I just want my…

I'll always love you, Gearns! Always! (A Ford Fiesta going way too fast for a strip mall parking lot plows into her, sending the wine box and bags of food flying through the air and splattering on the asphalt; the woman, thrown up onto the hood and over the car itself, rag-dolled by the violent impact, lands the asphalt with a sickening thud.)

(Lem stops in his tracks, Tully's elbow and forearm holding him back.) Ah, Christ. (He puts his hands on his head.)

(Tully stares wide-eyed at the woman's downed form, a jagged bone sticking through the denim of her left pant leg, blood pooling beneath her head, sounds like a dying animal emanating softly but quite audibly from her weakly writhing broken body; the Fiesta speeds away.)


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