Backstage, Scott Hunter and Craig Massey are sitting in a small conference room, only suitable for three, maybe four people. One wall is taken up by windows, which gives its occupants an expansive view of the arena parking lot.
Scott Hunter is leaning back in his chair, irritated, his arms crossed, and frowning his deepest frown.
Craig Massey is wearing a nice blazer, with khaki-colored pants and a very smart pair of business shoes that definitely do NOT look like they were inspired by Buster Browns (Google it).
Massey sighs, and leans forward with his elbows on the table between them.
Massey: So, you lost again.
Hunter: You say that like it was my fault.
Massey: You tapped out.
Hunter: That was a total misunderstanding. My stupid stupid partner was supposed to break that submission hold up, and so, knowing and trusting that he would, I didn’t even try to get out of it, and now…. My neck hurts.
Massey: You lose because you haven’t been taking any of this seriously. You think it’s all a big joke, and you aren’t putting the work in that’s necessary to be great.
Hunter: (pfft-ing) What do you know about being great, old man?
Massey sighs and gestures to the window.
Massey: Scott, look out the window and tell me what you see.
Hunter looks out the window and squints.
Hunter: A fly-ass T-top Pontiac Fiero?
Massey: And do you have any idea who that car belongs to?
Hunter: That awesome security dude Randy who always wears flip-up sunglasses?
Hunter: That cool trainer who’s always teaching with rap lyrics?
Hunter: Charles Barkley?
Hunter: Power couple Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson?
Hunter: The lead singer of UB40?
Hunter: The cast of “Benson”?
Hunter: Bo Jackson’s cousin Todd, Todd Jackson?
Hunter: Jermaine Jackson?
Hunter: Bo knows Todd.
Massey slams both hands on the table, exasperated.
Massey: NO! ME! ME, ME, ME!! It’s my car.
While Massey fumes, considering his next words, Hunter raises a hand to his chin and rubs it thoughtfully.
Hunter: So you’re saying…..?
Massey closes his eyes briefly, then opens them again, resetting himself.
Massey: I’m saying, it took a lot of hard work, paying a lot of dues up and down the roads before I could call myself a success in this business, so that I could be in the position to guide you through all of this.
A notably sad expression comes across Hunter’s face.
Hunter: In other words, I’m a great big fat loser who needs to get some things straight and I’m an embarrassment to myself, my family and the entire cast of the classic sitcom Just the 10 of Us?
Massey: I’ve never seen that show, actually, so I’m not sure.
Hunter: Well, it’s clear. You said it yourself. I need to work harder. I need to stop depending on talent alone. I need to start doing whatever it takes to win. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Massey: There you go!
Hunter: GOD I’M SUCH AN IDIOT!
Massey holds up one hand and tilts his head slightly.
Massey: Well, hold on, don’t oversell it.
Hunter starts smacking himself in the head.
Hunter: STUPID STUPID STUPID!!
Massey: Dude, you’ve got to stop this. You’re just hurting yourself. Trust me, you’re gonna be fine.
Hunter stomps a foot like a petulant child.
Hunter: Don’t say “fine”. The old me was “fine”. That was my thing, being “fine”.
Massey: Okay, we’ve got to cheer you up. How about we go play stickball at the Wawa?
Hunter: The old me used to go to the Wawa. That was my thing.
Massey: I suppose it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not sure there’s a Wawa anywhere around here. We could go toilet-paper Gordy Lovett’s house.
Hunter’s frown deepens further.
Hunter: The old me used to use toilet paper. That was my thing.
Massey sits back, thoughtfully.
Massey: Okay. Oh! I know how to prove you can find your way again. We can watch a teen rom com.
Hunter: (bursting with emotion) The old me used to love teen rom coms! That was my thing! And while we’re at it, I can’t believe you used a car as an analogy. I can’t even drive a car and here you are rubbing it in my face!
Massey: (internally saying “ugh” to himself) You’re welcome to take the test again, you know. Until you do, you’ll just have to ride the bus. You can’t ride in my Fiero. You have to earn that right.
Hunter: I can’t ride the bus anymore. Do you know what kinda people are on there?
Massey: A delightful cross-section of this great city?
Hunter: It’s a rolling caravan of monsters!
Massey: Come on, that’s not entirely fair, man.
Hunter jabs his index finger in Craig Massey’s face.
Hunter: What’s not fair is having someone cough soup on you.
Massey: (sarcastically) So you’re making friends. Good for you.
Hunter: Don’t! Okay? You got your fancy little sports car, and I have to sit next to a lady with an animal in her lap I don’t even recognize. It has the qualities of a squirrel but the face of a baby.
Massey: (confused) That can’t be real.
Hunter jabs his index finger in Massey’s face one more time.
Hunter: You want to know what’s real? An old man with a unibrow didn’t break eye contact with me for over an hour. “Why are you smiling, sir? And where are you going with all that fish?” And another old man showed me the bruise on his back! It was like looking at the inside of a pomegranate.
Massey: (a little grossed out) Eww.. that’s not right.
Hunter: What’s not right is how much cooking is done on there. I saw a guy heating up a pot of eels.
Hunter: Eels! And there’s so much fighting. An old woman clocked the bus driver with a fraternity paddle! Who gave that to her??
Massey throws his hands up.
Massey: Scott, maybe you just need to walk.
Hunter: (looking at Massey like he’s an idiot) Are you a crazy person?? My apartment is like a mile from here.
Massey, finally, places both hands on the table and leans forward.
Massey: Listen to me. The important thing is, we need to turn this thing around. And you need to figure out exactly how to show everyone what kind of a person Scott Hunter really is. Whatever it takes, you hear me? Whatever…. it takes.
Hunter frowns, then a slow snarl creeps upon his face.
Hunter: Yes. Yes, you’re right. Of course, you’re right. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Massey: Good. This is it. Your chance to fix it. Make it happen.
Hunter: (intensely) Don’t worry, believe me. I will.