Closing The Store
Written by: John Samuel Mecum
Jacob, M, 23 ex-manager of Maximum Gaming, left store due to conflicts with owner
Damon, M, 24 manager of Maximum Gaming, stayed despite conflicts with owner
Setting: Outside the now closed down MAXIMUM GAMING RETAIL STORE
3 days after closing unexpectedly, a mysterious fire has engulfed the store and everything in it: the games on the shelves, the money in the register, the documents that could have been used as evidence, but most importantly, the memories that covered the aisles of this now condemned facility.
A of couple days after the fire has been put out. DAMON is standing in front of the store. He holds the chains on the door in his hands. He pulls on them but they won’t budge.
JACOB walks up behind him and says nothing until Damon eventually notices him
JACOB: Heard about what happened on the news. Had to see it for myself.
DAMON: There’s nothing left to see.
JACOB: I’m sorry. Is there any word on who started it?
DAMON: You just want me to say that it was him, is that it?
JACOB: No I just-
DAMON: You just what? You just came to see if anyone was up here so you could rub it in their face and say, “Oh I told you so. I always knew Tony was a big piece of shit.”
JACOB: No that’s not- I never said that he did it.
DAMON: But you assume someone did it.
JACOB: Well fires are usually started by people.
DAMON: Fuck off.
JACOB: Look relax, I was just making a joke.
DAMON: Yeah I’m sure this whole thing must be hilarious for you.
JACOB: Well you’re wrong. Has anyone talked to him?
DAMON: He’s gone too.
JACOB: What do you mean?
DAMON: I mean he’s GONE. The cops went to his house and he wasn’t there. Hasn’t been back. He hasn’t returned anyone’s calls- won’t return my calls…so obviously he must be guilty.
JACOB: You don’t know that for sure.
DAMON: Oh yeah? And what, he just decided to take a vacation?
JACOB: Maybe. Maybe it was an involuntary one? You don’t know what kinda stuff he could’ve gotten into.
DAMON: You totally wish something like that happened.
JACOB: Dude, that’s not cool.
DAMON: The fight you two got into, when you left, I mean you basically predicted all of this was gonna happen. Must feel good to be right.
JACOB: There’s nothing good about this. And you might think you know what we fought about or why I left, but you have no idea.
DAMON: Alright then, why did you leave?
JACOB: I don’t want to complicate things further.
DAMON: So why are you here then?
JACOB: I had memories here too man.
Jacob walks up to the window of the store and tries to look inside.
JACOB: Was he acting weird? Did he mention anything?
DAMON: That would assume he and I have had a conversation recently.
JACOB: What happened?
DAMON: He mostly stopped showing up not long after you left.
JACOB: Did he mention why he wasn’t coming in?
DAMON: He started complaining about these headaches and at first, it would be a day here and there, but it got to where we would go weeks without the backdoor opening, and when it would, my throat would sink into my guts.
JACOB: You didn’t talk to him?
DAMON: I couldn’t; He’d just lock the door to his office and not come out for hours. We’d be telling everybody who came by that he wasn’t here while he was shut away in the back. Some mornings I thought I’d walk in and find his body on the floor, and whose fault is it then, huh?
JACOB: Definitely not yours. You did everything that you could.
DAMON: Yeah, and for what? A pile of burnt plastic? I gotta be honest, I’m having a hard time believing that any of this was even real.
JACOB: That what was real?
DAMON: I just think back and remember so many nights, where the store would have been closed for hours and it’d be like one in the morning, and I was still in his office. Just laughing and joking.
JACOB: I remember. I was there too.
DAMON: It just feels like that was a lie now. Like none of it was real.
JACOB: It happened, didn’t it? You were there, I was there. Wasn’t that enough?
DAMON: You left on your own terms, it’s different.
JACOB: I told you, you have no idea why I left.
DAMON: I know that Tony owed you money, and you wanted to be a partner but he wasn’t having it. So you left.
JACOB: That is what he told you.
DAMON: I heard the conversation
JACOB: You heard A conversation. I left because Tony was a lying son of a bitch. He’s a con man. He conned all of you just like he conned me.
Damon says nothing
JACOB: Don’t believe me? You want to know why I really left? A few weeks before, a private investigator came by. He was asking all of these questions about how late the store stays open and showed me a picture of Tony. Except his name wasn’t Tony, it was a guy named David Perez. I told the investigator I didn’t recognize him, but I did some research of my own. David Perez did 5 years upstate. You know what he was charged with?
DAMON: Armed Robbery
JACOB: You knew? And you stayed? But why?
Damon says nothing because he notices a CHILD with a LARGE BAG in hand standing behind them. Damon kneels down to talk to the kid.
DAMON: Hey buddy, how’s it goin?
DAMON: Whatcha got there?
The child opens the bag
DAMON (Cont): Woah that’s a lot of games. Were you going to trade these in?
CHILD: Yeah. I wanna get a Gamebox. This is only half of my collection. We traded in the rest last week for store credit.
Damon doesn’t know what to say. The Child’s PARENT catches up and joins them at the door.
PARENT: You can’t just run ahead like that, you know better.
CHILD: I’m sorry.
PARENT: You guys not open?
Damon can’t even look up.
JACOB: There was a fire…an accidental fire.
PARENT: Oh. Was anyone hurt?
JACOB: No, everyone is fine.
PARENT: Good, that’s good.
Pause. Parent takes out keys.
PARENT: Here, take these. Why don’t you go sit in the car for a minute okay?
CHILD: But what about my Gamebox?
PARENT: Just go wait in the car and I’ll be there in a minute, alright?
The child walks off
PARENT: So I wanna know who’s going to pay for my kid’s games.
DAMON: The store burned down. It’s closed. We can’t buy those games.
PARENT: I’m talking about the games we brought in last week. The ones that you convinced him to sell.
DAMON: We don’t know what’s going to happen right now.
PARENT: Right. Well I didn’t spend years buying all of those games just to sell them back to you for a fraction of the price, and then listen to you tell me everything’s gone. Aren’t you supposed to be the manager?
Damon doesn’t know what to say
JACOB: Just calm down. Everything’s going to get taken care of, okay?
PARENT: Are you gonna pay for those games?
JACOB: I don’t even work here.
PARENT: Then you probably shouldn’t be speaking for the people that do. Where can I find the owner? I’m sure there will be some kind of insurance claim.
DAMON: We don’t-
JACOB: He’s been sick…but if you give us your number, we’ll see that he calls you.
PARENTS: Sighs Alright, I’m gonna write down my phone number here. See that your boss calls me. If I don’t hear from him my next call is to a private investigator.
DAMON: I don’t know what I’m going to do. If they can’t get ahold of Tony what if they come after me?
JACOB: It’s going to be fine. Nobody is going to come after any of us.
DAMON: Easy for you to say. I was the one who told that kid to trade his games in last week. That was his life’s collection. Now half of it is gone.
JACOB: C’mon man you can’t beat yourself up like that. It’s not your fault.
DAMON: You’re right, but what I don’t understand is why you’d still protect Tony after all this time. Why didn’t you just tell the truth?
JACOB: I guess the same reason that you didn’t. Part of me still wants to protect that memory.
DAMON: The memories are all that’s left now.
Jacob puts his arm around Damon
JACOB: That’s not true. C’mon let’s get some lunch, my treat?
DAMON: It’ll have to be, I don’t see myself getting a paycheck anytime soon.
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