The Clearfront Balcony Club, Scene 5

Scene 5: As the sun is starting to set, Drew sits outside drinking a bottle of beer. Jessica comes out with a bowl of pasta. Drew makes eye contact with her and waves.

DREW: (jokes) Is that your dinner or another craft project?

JESSICA: (sits down on her bench and laughs) My apartment felt a bit stuffy, so I thought I’d eat outside.

DREW: What’d you make?

JESSICA: Spaghetti. Well, not really. All the store had was this pasta that I think is supposed to be for soup. (shrugs) Whatever, it still tastes good to me. Oh shoot! I forgot my drink!

DREW: You want a beer?

JESSICA: Sure, I’d love one! Thanks!

DREW: No problem!

Drew uses a bottle opener to loosen the cap and hands it to her. She takes off the cap and holds it up in a toast.

JESSICA: Cheers!

DREW: Cheers!

They clink their bottles together, take a sip, and sit back down.

DREW: What did we just toast to?

JESSICA: (takes a bite of food before she answers) I dunno, we’ll think of something later.

Drew chuckles as he takes another drink.

DREW: How was your night after we finished crafting?

JESSICA: (playfully sarcastic) So exciting! I walked all the way down to the mailbox!

They both laugh.

DREW: I guess the halls are pretty empty now, huh?

JESSICA: Yeah! It’s weird! Usually when I get the mail, I pass by the gym and it’s always full. Today, not only was it empty, but the room was dark! I’ve never seen it like that!

DREW: I miss going to the gym!

JESSICA: I miss having the option to go! I never could get into a habit of exercising since my schedule was constantly changing for whatever gig I landed. Now I wish I went! Maybe I wouldn’t be so out of shape!

DREW: What’s wrong with your shape? I like your shape!

Jessica looks up in surprise, and Drew gets embarrassed.

DREW: I just meant that you appear in decent physical shape. I mean, based on the glue stick toss, you’re obviously not athletic, but…

JESSICA: Hey!

She jokingly threatens to to throw the bottle cap at him.

DREW: You’re throwing it? I’ll be fine then!

They both laugh.

JESSICA: It’s funny, I haven’t been told I’m in good shape in ages! You don’t get that often as a plus size model!

DREW: You’re a model?

JESSICA: Just a plus size model.

DREW: What’s wrong with being a plus sized model?

Jessica blushes and looks away bashfully.

JESSICA: Well, I did a bit of modeling to help pay the bills. After I finally landed a leading role, I didn’t think I’d have to worry about that for a while! I have enough to last a couple months, but if this thing lasts longer than that, I’ll have to figure something else out!

DREW: Join the club! Half the tenants in Clearfront gotta worry about that!

JESSICA: Probably more than half! Hopefully soon, it…

An ambulance blares loudly. Jessica and Drew watch as it pull up in front of their complex.

JESSICA: Oh no!

Brisa and Owen run out to see what happened.

BRISA: That did pull up in front of Clearfront!

Rob and Nedra emerge from their apartments.

ROB: I was just in that hallway! It better not be that damn virus!

Juniper comes out to see what’s happening, and Carla and Mendel curiously watch too.

NEDRA: It was only a matter of time before it reached us!

JESSICA: Don’t say that! It might not be that!

JUNIPER: (pointing down) There they are! Oh goodness, they’re so young!

NEDRA: They could have underlying health problems, but really, this thing affects people at any age!

DREW: Wait, look at his arm!

JESSICA: You’re right! That’s broken for sure!

JUNIPER: Oh, thank the heavens! It’s just a broken arm!

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Carla, Mendel, Juniper, and Nedra all return to their apartments.

OWEN: Whoo! Thank god! (mulls it over for a moment) We’re happy about a broken arm! We’re living in weird times!

ROB: That’s for sure! Man, I did not need this today! Work was stressful enough!

BRISA: What happened?

ROB: We got a shipment of toilet paper in this morning…

Everyone perks up when they hear this.

OWEN: The bodega has toilet paper?

ROB: It had toilet paper! For, like, three seconds! People stormed the place and fought over it like it was a plasma TV in a Black Friday sale! After it was gone, I spent the whole day trying to explain why we’re out!

JESSICA: What’d you tell them?

ROB: The truth! At first. I got tired of explaining it, so I started telling people that Crumbs took it to make a cat house! They didn’t think it was funny. Whew! I need a drink!

DREW: I got you!

He reaches into his cooler and pulls out a bottle for him.

DREW: (to Brisa and Owen) You guys want one too?

BRISA: That sounds great!

OWEN: Thank you!

Drew loosens the cap to three beers and passes one down to Rob. He passes two to Jessica, who passes them to Owen and Brisa. They all take a moment to take a drink and let the effect of the alcohol calm them a bit.

BRISA: If I change my wedding registry to the bodega, do you think I could get toilet paper?

They all laugh.

ROB: Oh, I haven’t gotten to that certification yet. It’s just been…

OWEN: We know! It’s gonna take a couple of days for her gown to finish anyways, so it’s okay!

They take another moment to savor their drinks.

JESSICA: So, what on earth do you think that guy was doing to twist his arm like that?

DREW: I’m not sure I wanna know! It’s a helluva time to go to the ER though! I wonder if he’ll even be able to get a room!

BRISA: All those poor people stuffed together, risking exposure…

ROB: I feel bad for all those healthcare workers! My job’s tough right now, but compared to what they gotta go through…

They contemplate it all, and their expressions grow grim. Jessica is suddenly struck with an idea.

JESSICA: I’ve got it! I know what we can toast to!

She holds her drink up high.

JESSICA: To their good health!

Drew holds up his drink.

DREW: To their good health!

ROB: Saluté!

BRISA & OWEN: Saluté!

They toast to each other from a distance, take a drink, and then continue to chat with each other as the lights fade.Jessica & Drew

The Clearfront Balcony Club, Scene 4

Scene 4: Later that day, Drew hands Jessica a very large paper chain as they share a hearty laugh from their conversation.

JESSICA: Are you serious?

DREW: Yes! Our kitchen was on fire, and that lady got mad that I wouldn’t serve her a drink! She asked to see the manager, but I said he was busy dealing with the fire department, so she just lost it at that point!

Jessica and Drew both laugh again.

DREW: Alright, so what’s next?

Before Jessica can answer, an argument blares from Carla’s apartment.

JESSICA: Well, I was thinking that…

The argument gets louder, and Jessica and Drew can’t ignore it anymore. They hear objects crashing inside of Carla’s apartment, which makes Nedra, Brisa, Owen, and Juniper poke their heads outside in concern. After a minute or so, the argument suddenly stops. Carla storms out to the balcony and lights up a cigarette.

NEDRA: You shouldn’t smoke when you’re pregnant!

Carla notices everyone staring at her. She puts out the cigarette but looks extremely miffed about it.

CARLA: Who asked for your opinion?

NEDRA: My nursing degree and your unborn baby! That child is stressed enough having to listen to its mom and dad fighting, it doesn’t need-!

CARLA: Hey, what my boyfriend and I do in the privacy of our own home is none of your business!

NEDRA: I got news for you, sweetheart, your arguments ain’t private! If you’re gonna fight loud enough that people on the streets can hear it, you’re gonna-!

Carla doesn’t want to hear a lecture and stomps back into her apartment. For a moment, everyone is quiet as they absorb what they just witnessed.

OWEN: (awkwardly changes the subject) So, how are the decorations going?

JESSICA: We got a lot done, actually! What about you? Did you figure out what you’re gonna wear yet?

BRISA: Well, Owen is gonna wear his dress uniform, but I can’t figure out what I’m gonna wear. I thought I brought my old homecoming gown with me, but we looked through everything and couldn’t find it anywhere! I guess I left it at my mom’s house, but unfortunately, I can’t go there and get it. My stepdad has heart problems, and they’re both at that age group that’s supposed to be vulnerable. There’s no time to mail it either, so I gotta use something out of my closet. There’s some nice outfits I could wear, but, I dunno, none of it feels special enough! I mean, I know a wedding on the balcony isn’t fancy or anything, but still…

JUNIPER: Your heart has made a call into the universe, and the solution has presented itself!

BRISA: Are you… Are you talking to me?

JUNIPER: It is no coincidence that I was called out here, for I have the ability to solve your problem! Wait right here! (She goes inside her apartment)

OWEN: What’s happening?

THEO: (from inside) Nedra! I can’t find my reading glasses!

NEDRA: It’s a studio apartment, Theo! There’s only so many places they could have gone!

THEO: (from inside) What? You’re not gonna help me look?

NEDRA: No way! I’m not missing this! Whatever she brings out has gotta be good!

Juniper comes out with a business card in her hand, and everyone seems slightly disappointed to not see something more outlandish. She holds out her arm so Drew can get it.

JUNIPER: Please hand this to the young lovers!

After Drew grabs the card, he reads the front side of it.

DREW: Juniper Moonbeam Brushfoot. What is that, a magic spell?

JUNIPER: (speaks in a less ethereal voice) No, it’s my name. I’m a seamstress.

Drew passes the business card to Jessica, and Jessica hands it to Owen. Owen and Brisa read it together.

BRISA: Oh, you work in that upholstery shop down the street!

JUNIPER: Well, I did until my services were deemed “non-essential.” But it appears I have a purpose for being home after all! If you provide me the material, I can make you a wedding dress!

BRISA: Oh, that’s great!

OWEN: Yeah, that’s really… Wait, where can we get the material? Everything’s closed!

Everyone mulls it over for a moment.

JESSICA: Maybe some old sheets?

NEDRA: Oh, I have a silk tablecloth that we never use! You can have it. (She goes inside to retrieve it.)

THEO: (from inside) No, not our good tablecloth!

NEDRA: (from inside) Theo, we can’t even fit a table that size in here! What do we need it for?

Nedra goes back outside and hands the tablecloth to Juniper.

JUNIPER: Wonderful! (to Brisa) Just email me a design you like and your measurements. I can have it ready to wear in a couple of days!

BRISA: Thank you so much!

OWEN: Yeah, thank you!

JUNIPER: Namaste, my children!

Juniper puts her hands together, bows, and practically glides inside her apartment. Owen and Brisa shrug and return inside. Nedra returns inside her apartment as well. Mendel pokes his head out the door with a cellphone to his ear.

MENDEL: (to the person on the call) I think they’re done now. Okay, let’s talk data protection… (continues his conversation inside his apartment)

JESSICA: So, anyways… I was thinking we could make little hearts that could line the sides of their patio.

DREW: Sounds good to me.

An ambulance siren blares past them, and Drew frowns at its sight.

DREW: How do you do it? How do you not let it get to you?

JESSICA: Who said it doesn’t get to me? I’m only human, I feel negative feelings too! I just don’t let it consume me. I used to get obsessed with my anxious thoughts, I wouldn’t let them go until I solved whatever issue that was plaguing me, and it really messed me up! I thought the solution to that was to not let myself think any negative thought. That was actually equally damaging! I had so much unexpressed emotion that it nearly consumed me! Eventually, I learned to give my emotions room to breathe, but after an appropriate amount of time has passed, I moved on to something else. It’s okay if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, we’re all going through unimaginable stuff right now, but just don’t let it define you! It breaks my heart to hear about all of the suffering happening out there right now, but after I give myself time to grieve, I think about what they would do if they were in my shoes and I try to live my life to the fullest! I can’t change what’s going on out there, and I’m not always happy about my own situation here, but all I can do is try to make the best out of these circumstances!

Jessica gives him an encouraging smile, and as his mind drinks in her words, he smiles back. After a moment, he picks up the crafting materials.

DREW: When that lady couldn’t see the manager, she threw a fit! A couple of TSA agents had to come over and try to calm her down!

JESSICA: Oh really?

Drew continues to tell his story while they go back to work.Carla

War of the Mystics: Frozen, the Novel

For anyone that read chapters of my novel, I want to thank you. Each individual is appreciated for your support. If you’re a fan and would like to purchase a hard copy of the book, it is available here: https://www.createspace.com/6854358. In a few days, it will be on sale in Amazon. Thanks so much!