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The Last Occupy


March 7, 2012

Photograph via Flickr by craigdietrich

CHARACTERS
TAHRIR, 21, female
LIBERTY-DAN, 26, male
DEATH, 17, indeterminate gender

SETTING
A small encampment in a small town park. There is a hand painted sign that says OCCUPY NORTHVILLE.

                 *                      *                     *

Tahrir, 21, blond and pretty, is sitting on the ground holding a Mac PowerBook, generations out of date. She wears a keffieh. Across from her is Liberty-Dan, 26, slightly hefty, wearing a tricorne hat. He’s sitting in a tailgate chair.

TAHRIR

Mic check!

LIBERTY-DAN

Mic check!

Liberty-Dan pulls Death out from underneath the clutter.

DEATH

What?

TAHRIR & LIBERTY-DAN

MIC CHECK!

DEATH

Miiiiiiic Chehhhhk.

TAHRIR

I’d like to call to order . . .

LIBERTY-DAN & DEATH

I’d like to call to order . . .

TAHRIR

The final General Assembly . . .

LIBERTY-DAN & DEATH

The final General Assembly . . .

TAHRIR

Of the Occupy Northville movement!

LIBERTY-DAN & DEATH

Of the Occupy Northville movement!

They make sad “twinkle” signs with their fingers.

TAHRIR

And I wanted to say—

DEATH

And I wanted to say—Ow!

Liberty-Dan has punched Death in the arm.

LIBERTY-DAN

Kimberly—

TAHRIR

Tahrir.

LIBERTY-DAN

Tahrir. Could we drop the People’s Mic shit? There’s never been more than three people in Occupy Northville. You, me, and Death.

TAHRIR

You’re interrupting process.

LIBERTY-DAN

Are we going to do this thing with Peltz or not?

DEATH

Kill him. Burn his house down.

LIBERTY-DAN

Keep your mouth shut, okay?

DEATH

Ohhhhhkayyyy.

TAHRIR

Liberty-Dan. You interrupted me while I was facilitating and then you physically assaulted Death—

LIBERTY-DAN

(Lightly punching Death) This isn’t physical assault. Is it, Death?

DEATH

Ow. No. Ow.

TAHRIR

Stop it. It’s not cute. Let’s reach consensus on what to do for David H. Peltz’s visit. At last night’s meeting, I suggested a Direct Action at City Hall in which we would form a human chain to physically stop David H. Peltz from shaking the Mayor’s hand. I thought this was a good suggestion. However, it was immediately shouted down with a homophobic remark by Liberty-Dan.

LIBERTY-DAN

I said it was totally gay.

TAHRIR

That is a homophobic remark.

LIBERTY-DAN

Gay as in lame. Not gay as in gay.

DEATH

Yeah, like totally gay.

TAHRIR

Death, sexuality is complicated. I know you don’t have one yet. But other people do and they often have different sexual expressions. Some people even identify as a different gender than the one they were born in. And anything they choose is okay. Do you understand what I’m talking about?

DEATH

Um, sort of. Uhhh, sorry, Tahrir.

TAHRIR

It’s okay, you don’t have to understand everything right away.

LIBERTY-DAN

Kimberly, a human chain made out of three people is not going to stop our local billionaire from sending more jobs to China. We’ll just get laughed at again. No, worse, they’ll tolerate us.

Give me a minute ’cause I’ve got one. You think everyone hates Peltz because he’s some kind of capitalist who funds the Tea Party and you’re some kind of Democrat—

TAHRIR

Do you have a counter-proposal?

LIBERTY-DAN

Give me a minute ’cause I’ve got one. You think everyone hates Peltz because he’s some kind of capitalist who funds the Tea Party and you’re some kind of Democrat—

TAHRIR

I’m not a Democrat. I’m a radical.

LIBERTY-DAN

You’re a registered Democrat, Kimberly. If you want to “identify” as some kind of Muslim revolutionary, then go ahead, but don’t ask me to play along. The people in this town do not hate David H. Peltz because he’s a billionaire. They like rich people. They want to be rich themselves. The problem with Peltz is that he’s a phony. If he really believed in the Tea Party, he’d be calling for an end to the Federal Reserve. But he won’t ’cause he’s in bed with Wall Street. If it wasn’t for phonies like Peltz my Dad would still have his store. I’d be running it now if it wasn’t for Peltz. And you’d be coming in to buy stuff from me. Remember how you used to come in to the store when you were a little girl? Remember? You were so cute.

TAHRIR

Focus, please.

LIBERTY-DAN

Guys like Peltz aren’t Free Market enough. That’s their problem. So, here’s my proposal. When Peltz arrives tomorrow for his yearly visit. Before he goes up to his hunting cabin. Before he shakes the Mayor’s hand. What we do is we present him with a copy of Atlas Shrugged. We place the bible of libertarian capitalism directly in his hands. And we demand that he swear. Swear! To truly abide by the laws of the Free Market. End the Federal Reserve. Abolish the IRS. Save the American entrepreneur.

TAHRIR

Well. That is totally gay. Gay as in lame. Not gay as in gay.

DEATH

Big diss!

LIBERTY-DAN

Shut up.

TAHRIR

Don’t tell Death to shut up, Liberty-Dan. We agree on many things. We agree that the majority of people in this country are fucked. We agree that the concentration of wealth has caused the problem. But we cannot agree that further empowering the criminal class that Peltz represents will create a golden age for the American entrepreneur.

LIBERTY-DAN

The jobs would come back to Northville if we could just get the government and the unions out of the way.

TAHRIR

No, Liberty-Dan. Those jobs are never coming back. Not even for big white capable American men like you. You’re competing with the entire hungry world now. But you’re so lost in your Ayn Rand fantasy that you’re ready to throw away the last few protections that you have. If it were up to you we’d all end up like Death’s mom.

DEATH

I don’t wanna . . .

LIBERTY-DAN

No, she wants to make her point. What happened to Death’s mom, Kimberly?

TAHRIR

She needed serious medical attention. She would have lived if the city hadn’t slashed her pension. Northville and people who believe what you believe threw her in the trash.

LIBERTY-DAN

No one threw Death’s mom in the trash. Northville took care of her. We all chipped in. You don’t know that ’cause you were away fucking your boyfriend at Oberlin.

DEATH

Could we . . .

And you’re not getting a scholarship Kimberly because you’re not really named Tahrir or Kinesha or Maria. You’re just another little American girl who’s finding out she’s not as rich and special as everyone told her she was.

LIBERTY-DAN

No, she wants to use your mom as a…rhetorical example, right? She learned to do that at Oberlin. Too bad she’s never going to get her degree because Daddy lost his job. And you’re not getting a scholarship Kimberly because you’re not really named Tahrir or Kinesha or Maria. You’re just another little American girl who’s finding out she’s not as rich and special as everyone told her she was. Everyone knows it but you, Kimberly. Your rich boyfriend knows it. How many times has he visited you since you left Oberlin?

TAHRIR

That’s so beside the point.

LIBERTY-DAN

Yeah, how many times, Kimberly? How many?

DEATH

Shut up, Liberty-Dan.

LIBERTY-DAN

Excuse me?

DEATH

I said shut up, Liberty-Dan. You shut up. ’Cause I know where you sleep. If you don’t stop teasing Tahrir, I’ll sneak into your house and I’ll kill you. I will, Liberty-Dan.

Liberty-Dan bursts out laughing.

LIBERTY-DAN

Come here. You fucking nutcase. Come here.

DEATH

No. Don’t mess with Tahrir. Apologize.

LIBERTY-DAN

Sure. I apologize. Tahrir.

TAHRIR

I accept your apology, Dan. I know you’re a decent guy. Even though you pretend you’re an asshole. You don’t have to tell me what’s going on. I know that I’m not going to get into the world I was supposed to get into. I know I’m still in this dream I was brought up in. But I’m stuck. I can’t stop dreaming it.

LIBERTY-DAN

Are you going to go back to your Dad’s tomorrow?

TAHRIR

I don’t know.

LIBERTY-DAN

Do you want to stay with me? I have the entire basement at my brother’s.

TAHRIR

I don’t think so, Dan.

LIBERTY-DAN

I just want to help.

TAHRIR

The only thing that helps is our fucked up little occupation and it’s over now.

DEATH

Iiiiiiii gotta proposal.

TAHRIR

Death has a proposal.

DEATH

Let’s say we don’t meet Peltz at City Hall tomorrow. Let’s say we just let him arrive and let everyone make a big deal over him. We just wait and watch. ’Cause after Peltz shakes the Mayor’s hand his posse packs him up in a limo and drives him up to his hunting cabin. But his posse don’t stay there. Peltz is up there all by himself. You know how I know? I followed him last year. I observed him from a hidden vantage point. I watched his cabin all day. He never went outside. So I sneak up real quietly to his window and I look inside. I see Peltz sitting on a sofa that’s pulled up real close to the fireplace. He’s got a blanket wrapped around him like he’s really cold but it isn’t cold outside. And all he’s doing is staring into the fire and drinking this bottle of wine. And when he’s finished with one bottle, he gets up and opens another. He just keeps drinking until he falls asleep. So then I knock on the window real softly to see if he’s gonna wake up. Then I knock a little louder and he doesn’t move. So, I go around to the front door. I try the latch and it opens. He doesn’t lock himself in at night. I open the door and I walk in and I sit down right next to him on the sofa. The fire’s burning really hot and Peltz is sweating and saying shit in his sleep. So I look around the cabin for something I can steal. But Peltz didn’t bring nothing. Just the wine bottles. So I sit back down on the sofa and watch him some more. That sofa is way too close to the fire. It could catch on fire and burn the whole cabin down. And then Peltz would burn up. And nobody would hear him.

Pause.

LIBERTY-DAN

He’ll be up there tonight.

TAHRIR

Are you joking?

LIBERTY-DAN

The bastard who destroyed my father.

TAHRIR

The system is the problem. Not individuals.

LIBERTY-DAN

The bastard who sold your Dad bum mortgages.

TAHRIR

Stop it.

LIBERTY-DAN

You’ll never get into his world. You’ll never marry his son. They shut the door on you.

DEATH

Can I go tonight?

LIBERTY-DAN

Yes.

DEATH

I wanna go.

LIBERTY-DAN

The bastard who killed your Mom.

DEATH

I wanna see him burn.

TAHRIR

They’ll know you did it.

LIBERTY-DAN

No they won’t.

TAHRIR

Come with me. Let’s get out of here.

She takes Death by the hand and begins to leave. Liberty-Dan stands in front of them.

Tahrir tries to move past Liberty-Dan. Liberty-Dan grabs her by the arms. Tahrir tries to free herself. Liberty-Dan tries to embrace her.

Death wedges in between them, trying to keep them apart from each other. They struggle for a few moments and then relax but remain in their huddle.

TAHRIR

What we will do. All three of us. Is meet at City Hall. We will peacefully exercise our right to free speech. We will form a human chain and we will prevent David H. Peltz from shaking the Mayor’s hand. We are the ninety-nine percent. He is the one percent. The future is ours.

LIBERTY-DAN

I will present Peltz with the copy of Atlas Shrugged. I’ll say to Peltz, you destroyed my father and you destroyed my future. Swear on this bible that you will make Northville a place where a guy like me can work hard and be rewarded. Where I can be a man again.

DEATH

I’ll visit Peltz tonight. I’ll look into the window and I’ll wait. I’ll wait . . .

Blackout

G

Andy Podell is a writer and activist living in New York City. He was the writer of the PBS documentary After Stonewall. His short play, Mom Was a Carny, was produced by Naked Angels Theater Company in 2009. His audio play, Taking Pains, was commissioned and broadcast in 2010 by WBAI/Pacifica radio. He was a 2011 Heideman Award finalist at the Actors Theatre of Louisville for his short play, Las Vegas Habitat.

© 2012 by Andy Podell. Performance of this play is subject to a royalty. No part of this play may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.

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One comment for The Last Occupy

  1. Comment by Caroline Papas on September 18, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Hi Andy, I am trying to track you down to reconnect. Why? Because we are middle aged, and I do look back. I am looking back right now. I will never forget you sitting in the middle of my unbelievably messy room at the Slobby Girl House, gleefully throwing my personal debris in the air because my slovenliness was ridiculous and completely pissing me off. Will you please email me back?

    Love, Caroline

    caroline.papas@gmail.com

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