Fiction Friday – Prince

Since Blogger decided to screw up my GIFs, I think I shall make a permanent switch to WordPress.

Anyway, too many things to write this week: Fifteen Minutes, which I’m going back to tinkering with since it is now free from the competition I sent it in for; Blood Promise; and a writing blog I’m setting up with a friend.

So I’m pulling out an old piece. Sorry about this! Will definitely write a new piece when I have more time. (Crappy excuse, but there you go.)

This is a play I wrote for school (the assignment was to write a comedic piece), which is also a scene from Fifteen Minutes. So this is part of the rough material for the novel.

 

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PRINCE

Tom Fletcher

 

In a garage with music equipment set up, SAWYER, JON and HESSE are seated around a makeshift plastic table, waiting for PRINCE to arrive.

Sawyer   I thought he’s living with you guys now.

Hesse   Staying.

Sawyer   Living, staying, whatever – what’s the difference?

Jon   The difference is that it’s not permanent.

Sawyer   You mean staying?

Hesse   That’s what I said.

Sawyer   So since he’s staying with you guys, where the hell is he? Still rolling his pretty ass out of bed?

Hesse   His shaver broke. He went out to the store. Said he’ll be back in ten.

Sawyer   So we’re going to sit here and wait for him to primp himself up? Damn, I should’ve brought my makeup kit along.

Hesse   You know it’s been harder for him to get around lately. What with the paparazzi and all.

Sawyer   By getting around, you mean… (Raises brows)

Hesse   (rolling his eyes) You know Prince isn’t like that. He’s ridiculously devoted. I don’t think he’s ever even gotten over Heather ditching his ass for that prick. Which is why I can’t understand those headlines. It’s not like him to do anything of that sort.

Sawyer   But it is just like him to get himself into all that mess. He’s too nice to those fans. Girls throw themselves at him and he’s all, (feigns a prissy attitude) Oh hello, thank you for your support. I know you love me. A photo? Sure, why ever not?

Garage shutters roll up. Enter PRINCE, with CHLOE in tow.

Prince   Did I just hear you guys talking about me? (Takes off mask and smirks) I might blush.

Hesse   Yeah, okay. You got your grand entrance. Now let’s jam.

Prince   I spent fifteen minutes shaking off the paps. Give me a second to take a breather, will you? I need to shave. It’s bad enough walking around with a half-shaven face. Good thing no one saw me with this thing on. (Gestures to mask)

Sawyer   We’re at band practice. Why do you need to shave before band practice? And this whole problem with the paps wouldn’t have been a problem if… (Trails off as he spots CHLOE) Well, hello, beautiful.

Jon   (staring at CHLOE) And this is…?

Prince   Oh. This is Chloe, my new assistant. She lives just next door. (looks at the brothers) Your neighbour for all these years and you don’t remember her face?

An awkward pause.

Prince   Chloe, meet Sawyer (gestures to him), Jon and Hesse. They’re my band-mates.

HESSE waves while CHLOE nods in acknowledgement. JON levels her with a stare.

Sawyer   (extends a hand but withdraws it when CHLOE does not reciprocate) Please to meet you, beautiful.

Hesse   What happened to Keith?

Prince   Oh, he was pathetic. One little media storm and he quit. Said the paparazzi are driving him nuts. Besides, he was boring. Never took any initiative, unless I prompted him –

Sawyer   You mean he’s never commended Your Royal Hotness before.

Prince   Besides (drops voice to a whisper) I think he was in love with me.

CHLOE rolls her eyes.

Prince   I can’t trust him to be objective if he’s in love with me. I need to have a purely professional relationship with my assistant.

Hesse   And so you went and got a female assistant? Of … (assesses CHLOE) our age? Are you trying to drive the paps delirious? They’ll go wild when they find out.

Prince   Don’t worry, I’ve already made sure she won’t fall for me. Chloe doesn’t get out much; she didn’t even know who I was! (Laughs) Girls like her are so rare, don’t you think? Besides, I intend to keep her a secret. No one but you guys knows about her. Plus, it’s easier having someone who doesn’t know anything about us around. Nobody will sell us out – sell me out – you see. (Grins to ensuing silence) I know, sometimes my genius scares me too.

Jon   And you think she won’t sell you out? How do you know for sure she doesn’t know who we are?

Prince   I know. It’s hard to believe she doesn’t know who Highway Heaven is. It’s like she lives under a rock. But if she is, then we’re living right next to that rock. (Looks at the brothers)

Sawyer   Staying.

Prince   But she’s the real deal.And don’t worry, I made her promise not to fall in love with me. (Winks)

Sawyer   (sidling up to CHLOE) But that doesn’t include us, right? You didn’t promise not to fall in love with the rest of us?

CHLOE shrugs off SAWYER’s arm.

Prince   I think she’s allergic to boys or something. Good-looking boys, that is. So you might have more of a chance than I do, Sawyer.

Sawyer   Screw you.

Prince   Sorry, I don’t swing that way.

Jon   What’s in it for her then, being your assistant? (Folds arms) If she’s not into you, or any of us, then why would she volunteer to be your assistant for nothing?

Chloe   First off –

Hesse   It talks!

Chloe   I didn’t volunteer to be his assistant. (Glares at PRINCE) He practically forced me into it. I barely even agreed –

Prince   Aw, don’t listen to her. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Must be the shock of meeting me in the flesh. You know how they can get.

Chloe   And, I’m not going to be his assistant for nothing. It’s because I….

Sawyer   What is it, beautiful? No need to be shy around us.

Chloe   I….

Prince   Oh, come on. There’s nothing wrong with being broke. I was poor too before I shot to mega-stardom. Her parents totally forgot about her living here on her own. She was living on cup noodles and a table lamp when I found her. I’m just giving her a job. It’s a win-win situation. (Pauses) I’ve always wanted to use that phrase.

Jon   So she’s with you for your money.

Hesse   Oh, come on, Jon. (To CHLOE) Sorry, he gets like that. You can’t find anyone more cynical than my brother.

Sawyer   So how did you find her?

Prince   (Nudges CHLOE) Tell him, honey. Tell him how Fate brought us together and how our insignificant lives – well, your insignificant life – collided with the glorious, dazzling impact of a supernova.

Hesse   Careful, Ethan. You’re flirting.

Prince   The name is Prince. And oh, don’t worry. She’s hormonally challenged. These homebodies, they stay at home all day talking to their dolls or reading their fantasy novels. They couldn’t respond to a come-on if it stuck a hotdog in their mouths.

Groans erupt all around.

Sawyer   Sorry, beautiful. He can be quite a dick sometimes. I would never contaminate my language with such vulgar imagery.

Chloe   That’s okay. The words a person says determines his intellect. There’s no point contending with a person like him.

Hesse   (laughing) Looks like you’ve hired yourself a little fireball, Prince.

Jon   Can we get down to business already? My keys are turning rusty. (Plays a quick short tune on his keyboard)

Prince   But I’m not done shaving yet! (Rubs face) I can’t jam without a smooth face.

Hesse   Yeah, yeah. You’re still pretty, okay? (To CHLOE) Make yourself comfortable, Chloe. And give us some feedback, will you? We’re working on something right now that sounds … lacking, for some reason.

PRINCE sulkily gets his guitar plugged and everyone gets ready.

Prince   (murmurs into the microphone in a sexy baritone) It’s called ‘Paper Bombs’.

They launch into a number that involves heavy drumbeats and a mash of screaming guitars. The song ends with a final riff of the guitar.

Hesse   (to CHLOE) How was it?

Chloe   (nods) Pretty good.

Prince   Pretty good? Pretty good? That’s all you can say?

Chloe   What do you want me to say?

Prince   After all we’ve put into performing it, you could at least give us a scream. Or make an impromptu banner. Or if even all that’s too taxing, you could at least clap.

Chloe   I’m not a groupie. I’m an audience.

Prince   You’re a horrible audience.

Chloe   Is that how you speak to your audience? Every audience is a potential fan.

Hesse   She sounds scarily like Ben.

Chloe   Who’s Ben?

Hesse   Our manager.

Prince   You know what? Let’s do this again. I don’t care. (To CHLOE) You, as my assistant, are going to tell me what the problem is.

They perform ‘Paper Bombs’ again.

Prince   Well?

Chloe   Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of all this metal, but I really think there’s too much guitar screaming around. And the drumbeats. It’s distracting and makes the song sound too generic. It takes away the power of the lyrics. It might be better if it were acoustic. (Shrugs) But that’s just my opinion.

Silence fills the garage.

Sawyer   You really think so?

Hesse   (considering) Might work. It’s worth giving a shot.

Prince   Wait a minute. Just – wait a minute. (Turns to CHLOE) Acoustic? Are you kidding me? This song is all about the power. I’m trying to make a statement with the lyrics. The metal is to draw out the rawness of the heartbreak when the girl dumps the guy through a series of letters. And you’re telling me we should go acoustic?

Chloe   You wanted my opinion.

Prince   I didn’t need that.

Chloe   Oh, you mean my criticism?

Prince   No, I mean your unprofessional take on a song I put my heart and soul into. We put our heart and soul into.

Chloe   I never claimed to be a professional. I’m just an assistant.

Sawyer   I thought you said you haven’t agreed to it yet.

Prince   Who wants an assistant like her?

Hesse   (warningly) Prince. You’ve only just fired Keith. Walk it off.

Sawyer   (to CHLOE) If you decide not to work for Prince, there’s always me. I’m a whole lot nicer, I promise. Plus, I’ll pay you double.

Prince   Shut up, Sawyer. She’s my assistant. Besides, you know I need an assistant more than you do.

Sawyer   What’s that supposed to mean?

Hesse   Oh, come on, guys. Don’t do this.

Prince   We all know I’m the Paul McCartney of this band. I can’t help it if everyone pays more attention to me, Sawyer, but you seem to think I’m stealing something from you.

SAWYER punches PRINCE across the face.

Prince   (cries) Not the face! Not the face! My cheekbone! (To no one in particular) Is it dented? Am I still pretty? (Grabs CHLOE by the shoulders and shaking her) Am I?

Chloe   You need to shut up and calm the hell down.

Sawyer   (to PRINCE) You arrogant little bastard. I’ll make it bigger than you. And when that time comes, you’ll be begging me for an autograph to sell on eBay because you can’t afford the rent in that fancy-ass suite of yours.

Hesse   Sawyer, come on. You know Prince. He doesn’t mean –

Sawyer   Enough with the Prince thing already. His name is Ethan. If he can be a prince, I can be a duke or something.

JON starts playing a piece on his keyboard. The notes start out quiet, so that no one hears it at first. Gradually, it builds up into a strong melody that silences everyone. When it ends, everyone is staring at JON.

Jon   We started out as a rock band. With a dream to share our music with the world. But what we are is a pop idol group. And we agreed to see that as just a platform, a stepping stone to what we really want, to become rock stars. Why the hell are you two fighting over who has more girls screaming over him?

PRINCE and SAWYER fidget in shame.

Hesse   Yeah. Have a break, have a KitKat, or whatever. (Opens the mini fridge and pulling out a jumbo packet of chocolate) Sit. (Distributes chocolate all around) Now eat.

As everyone munches absently on chocolate, PRINCE pulls out a mini mirror from his back pocket and checks his face for damage.

Sawyer   Look, I’m sorry about … (gestures to PRINCE’s face) you know. You’re still pretty, all right?

Prince   I know. And I didn’t mean what I said. I mean, I am more popular than you, but it’s not like it matters. You know why I started out with this anyway; I didn’t mean to compete with anyone.

Sawyer   (nodding) Have you settled all the debts at home?

PRINCE shakes his head.

Hesse   But your mom said….

Prince   What my mom doesn’t know won’t kill her. I told her I’ve settled everything.

Hesse   Don’t you think she’ll find out somehow? And does she know about the tabloids?

Prince   She collects every snippet of news about me. How can she not know? She’s been choking up my voicemail ever since.

Jon   You can’t keep avoiding her. And you know, having her (gestures to CHLOE) around will only complicate things further.

Hesse   And Ben would never allow that. You’re his fattest cash cow –

Prince   I’m fat?

He pulls off t-shirt to reveal his fine physique. CHLOE blushes furiously.

Sawyer   Put that away, jeez! Are you trying to give us sore eyes?

Prince   (to HESSE) Fat? Is this fat to you? (Flexes his abs and biceps) I keep this body in tiptop condition at all times, FYI. I’m a sight for sore eyes. (To CHLOE) Aren’t I?

Chloe   (still blushing)

SAWYER, HESSE and JON roll their eyes.

Hesse   Okay, okay. I take that back, okay? Now will you stop exhibiting yourself to us?

Prince   (pulling his t-shirt back on) One thing at a time. First, no one is going to mention her to Ben. As soon as this whole thing with the paps blows over, we’ll all be too busy with the concerts for Ben to care about some assistant of mine. And as for my mom, that’s a distant problem we don’t have to worry about as long as I’m still raking in the money.

Jon   But I don’t think that’s going to be a distant problem.

Prince   You’re right. Of course it isn’t. It isn’t even a problem at all.

Jon   No, I mean it’s more immediate than you think.

Prince   … Why?

Hesse   Well. Because she called. (Waves PRINCE’s cellphone) While you were out. Says she’s coming over. She’s on the next flight in from Greece.

Deathly silence creeps in.

Prince   You couldn’t find a spare second to mention that earlier? Holy shit, Hesse! Holy freaking shit! My mom’s flying over? Dammit, Hesse! Dammit!

Hesse   Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.

CHLOE goes over to PRINCE and slaps him.

Prince   (screams) NOT THE FACE!

Chloe   You’re sort of hysterical.

Prince   Well, yeah, of course I am. My mother’s coming over!

Chloe   And that’s … bad?

Hesse   The last time his mother came over, she meddled so much Highway Heaven almost lost our contract with the record company. She means well, the sweet lady, but….

Prince   (stares at CHLOE) We need to hide her. Now. My mom can’t see her!

Chloe   What? I thought you said she’s not a problem!

Prince   That was before I knew she’s flying over. (Grabs CHLOE’s hand and drags her to ) Rope. We need rope. Tie her up so she won’t leave this garage. Rope! Get me some rope!

Chloe   You’re crazy! (Tears out of the garage)

Sawyer   Beautiful! Don’t go! Aw, man. (Turns to PRINCE) Look what you did, assbag.

Hesse   (stares after CHLOE) I think you just lost your assistant the same day you got her. What a record.

 

 

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