May 18, 2020, 06:27AM

Okay, Gib

A most intimate interrogation.

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I said I’d never come back here after what the bastards did to me last time, but...(drifting off conspicuously).

Well, here we are. I never thought this day would come.

Never? That seems hard to believe, given the circumstances. (Lighting a cigarette, eyes narrowing.)

"The circumstances?" What's that s'posed to mean?

Hey, hey, settle down.

You know I hate that crap! That—

I know, I know, but just—look, I didn't mean anything by it, I just was saying, it's a small town, you're, you know, not going anywhere.

What does THAT mean? (Apoplectic through a thickening cloud of dark bluish smoke.)

Jesus, man—just that if you stayed in this town, which, you know, I figured you would. (Eyes burning with barely contained, indignant rage.) 'Cuz, you know, the girls, your ties to the community.

Damn right I got "ties to the community." My Grandpa Grigsby built the pumphouse over at No Head Bottom Road! (Pregnant pause as if expecting plaudits.) Think I can just up and leave? It's not that simple for me. I got (pointing at the ground with vim and vigor and what seemed close to abject fury) ROOTS here.

Right—I figured you would never leave—(glaring while angrily stubbing out cigarette)—because how COULD you?

What, you think if I wanted out of this dump I couldn't leave tomorrow? (A vein throbbing in side of neck) Hell, TODAY even?

No, that—

Let me tell you something, buddy—this place needs me a helluva lot more than I need it.

No, yeah, I-I know, I just meant—

Yeah. Yeah, maybe you need to say what you really mean a little more often and stop pussyfootin' around about it.

I was—no. Right. You're right. You're right. I should stop worrying over whether people's feelings so much and just say what I mean… get it off my chest, put it in the open, let the chips fall where they may…

Exactly. (Pointing) Ultimately, if they can't take it, you know? Fuck 'em. Screw their (performing a surprisingly intricate "offended" pantomime) "delicate sensitivities."

Sensibilities. (Self-satisfied cheesing grin running from his face like cockroaches scattering in new light.)


It's, uh, "sensibilities." The word. You said—(pointing with last three fingers of hand, one entire side of face seeming to squint, as if having suffered a sudden stroke.) 

This kinda shit is why no one likes you, Gibby. (A slow, performatively reluctant nod to punctuate.) 

Come on, man, don't—don't say that.

I'm pourin' my friggin’ guts out to you here and you got the nerve to correct—well, first off I don't even believe you're right about the damn word but let's just ignore that for a second, okay? —you got the nerve to correct me? On my son's birthday? What kinda monster are you, Gib?

O-oh. I'm… sorry? I guess I… didn't know.

Yeah, well maybe you should try listening to people once in a while—you might learn a lot, and not for nothin'? (An awkward pause since he had sort of framed as a question that wasn’t in any way a question and hadn’t been intended as one.) You might also avoid hurtin' someone's feelers.

You're, uh... You're right. I'm really—(Holding open hand a foot or so before his own chest, with an air of magnanimity.)

No apology needed. I'm not like these other guys and broads you have to always ("walking” first two fingers of one hand across the coarse, grubby palm of the other) 

tip-toe around, you know, Gib? I'm just a regular guy. Just like you. Well… you know what I mean. I was like you until the bastards (choking up)—why me, Gib? Why'd it have to be me?

Life just isn't fair.

(Snapping out of it.) You tryin' to be a wise-ass? Little son of a (threatening unconvincingly to lunge forward, but so half-heartedly that instead he appeared to seize or perhaps simply vibrate with some minor degree of intensity)—I'd clean your clock if I thought it'd do ya a bit of good! (sputtering involuntarily, then pointing in the distance) Get the hell away from me, Gibson.

"Gibson?" Oh God, please don't say that. It's me, Tuck—it's Gibby! Gib!

(He would no longer face Gibby and seemed to shut down like a spent wind-up toy.)

Please, Tuck… talk to me.

(No reply.)

Tuck, are you really just—come on. Look, I'm sorry, alright? I didn't mean... Please! Talk to me!

(Tuck turned his chair around and faced away from Gibby.)

I guess I'll just... go in and find us a booth, then?

(Tuck's head seemed to bob as if a float on the water's

surface; there followed a couple of soft, blubbering 



(Overly eager.) Yeah? (Glancing over shoulder, a bit of that butch, rough-hewn charm-menace returned.)

Alright, well… Alright(hooking a thumb over shoulder), I'm just gonna go on in, then. See—see ya in there, Tuck.

O—(voice cracking)kay(normally), Gib.


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