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Wish I Could Go Back, You Know?

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Mid-curtain is drawn with chairs in front at center as if in an A.A. meeting. Will is standing in the middle, while the rest of the group is sitting. Some are looking down and some are looking up at Will.

Will: Alright, let’s begin. I know most of you are new to this, so I’ll be sure to walk you through what we do around here. We’ll start by introducing ourselves.
(Characters sit in guarded positions)
Will: We’ll just say our names and why you’re here today.
(Will looks to Nico to begin, as the most experienced member.)
Nico: My name is Nico, and I’m an addict and an alcoholic. (He seems weary, tired, but still happy as he says this.)
All: Hi Nico. (Each character acts still wary.)
Percy: My name is Percy, and I’m also an alcoholic. (He seems sad, also weary.) (bows head at some point during the exchange)
Annabeth: My name is Annabeth and I’m an alcoholic. (She noticeably wishes she could be elsewhere, fiddles with her shirt or her bracelet).
Drew: My name is Drew. (She pompously becomes quiet after this, defiantly staring down the group.)
(Silence as they look at her expectantly)
Will: What brings you here today Drew?
Drew: (Curtly) My mom. (She looks elsewhere and shifts in her seat)
Will: Okay… Well my name is Thomas, and I’m an alcoholic and an addict. I’ve sat in these crickety chairs before, and I know what you guys may be feeling right now (Drew scoffs, Annabeth smiles at the scoff). The goal of these meetings is to give you an outlet to talk about what you feel in a safe, non judgemental, and I’m only here to help you with your recovery.
(Percy looks up on “recovery”).
(There’s a pause as all of the characters react to this, the reality of the situation setting in).
Will: Let’s get this shit going with why we ended up here. Nico here has been with us for the last few months, (Places a hand on Nico's shoulder) How about you start with yours?
Nico: (smiles at Thomas and leans forward) Well for me it was only a matter of time before I turned to drugs and alcohol. My dad drank every night and dealed on the side. He never really stuck to one thing, just whatever he could get his hands on. (Beat). I remember piles of bags full of weed and cocaine sitting on my kitchen table next to my math homework.(Beat) I thought that it was normal, everyone gets high right? I would do everything with my dad, and I mean do everything. (He gets slightly more sad at this). It was only when my dad got arrested that I realized just how upside down everything really was. It took a while to understand, but I’m dealing. (looks gratefully at Will and nods).
Will: (smiles) Good. Does anyone else wanna share? (Looks around the circle)
(The characters look at one another in the hope that another would go first)
(Percy seemingly considers before slowly raising his hand).
Will: Yeah, uh…
Percy: Percy.
Will: Percy, go ahead.
Percy: (exhales) Shit, where do you even start with this?......(Blackout. All stand, turn their backs to Percy and exit through the curtain. Lucas should be alone on stage). I guess it was with the team a couple months back.
(Taber enters through the curtain as Luke).
Luke: Dude!!! (swaggers downstage to Percy).
Percy: (still narrating, stares anywhere but the audience) We were undefeated, and Dad and I couldn’t have been happier.
Luke: You were crazy out there bro, they didn’t even see what hit ‘em!
(Percy, now in his flashback self, stands and fist bumps Luke).
Percy: Thanks, man
Luke: There’s gonna be a party at Leo’s tonight, it should be pretty fuckin awesome. There’s gonna be Glendale kids there. You coming?
Percy: (smiles and shakes his head) I don’t think so man
Luke: You sure, dude?
Luke: (raises hands in “surrender”) Suit yourself man, I guess I’ll go without you. It’s only your senior year.
(Luke goes to exit)
(Percy ponders, and stands to face Luke)
Percy: I guess I could talk to my parents…
Luke: (mockingly) What, do you have to tell your mommy everywhere you go? Shoot her a text. You’re coming. (drags him to the other side of the stage where the “party” starts happening)
(Students stand around with red solo cups and do party things. There’s a table covered in cups presumably filled with alcohol, and Luke greets some people in the crowd)
Leo: Percy, dude you made it!
Luke: Well thanks to me. We had to fuckin yeet ourselves over here after I convinced him to live for once and not go home and read or consult his bible (mocking).
Percy: Fuck off (playfully) This line can be changed to shut up or just an eye roll
Leo: Well I’m glad you showed, dude. The game tonight was fuckin awesome! (Nudges Percy’s shoulder) Drinks are over there (gestures to the table)
(Jock friend makes his way over to the table. He pours himself a drink before downing it as he leaned against the table)
Luke: You gonna have one, man? It’s not fun without it! (Offers him a drink)
(Again Percy considers before taking the cup. They “cheers” and Percy takes a sip)
(The party goers begin to circle around Percy as he looks out to the audience and begins to narrate)
Percy: The next thing I knew it became this sort of cycle. Winning and drinking, losing and drinking, partying, lying to my parents….. teen stuff, I thought.
(Crosses out of party as party goers exit)
(Luke enters through curtain as scene falls back into flashback
Luke: Hey Percy! (handshake) I haven’t seen you in fucken forever man.
Percy: I saw you last Friday, didn’t I? At Kayla’s? Or was that the Friday before..(Luke looks confused) Sorry dude, I’ve been chillin these past few weeks (he takes a swig from his water bottle, tipsy as its filled with vodka)
Luke: I guess so..(he furrows his eyebrows at Percy) Coach has been trying to hunt you down, just so you know. Says you guys gotta “talk.”
Percy: Shit really? (takes another swig)
Luke: Yeah
(Percy begins to sway a little)
Luke: ...You okay dude?
Percy: Totally.
Luke: Alright…..Listen I’ll see you around, kay? (goes in for a bro hug)
(Luke pulls back)
Luke: Whoa man, you reek! (confused and shocked)
(Percy chuckles and holds up his water bottle)
Percy: Just a little something to get me through the day.
Luke: Okay, man ( judgemental, exits)
(Percy’s phone rings, he picks up the phone)
Percy: Hey dad what’s up
(He listens as his dad tells him he had lost his scholarship)
Percy:..........(shocked) wh--what?
(Percy walks backwards and sits back in his chair, defeated as the other addicts enter and sit back in their chairs. Back to the meeting)
Percy: I was invincible until I lost the scholarship, and then, I dunno, everything was real, I guess. My parents freaked, obviously, so I’m both grounded forever and here with you wonderful people (he smiles sadly).
Will: Well at least you’re here. (Percy nods and looks down)
(Drew scoffs again, though this time Annabeth glares)
Percy: I just-I wish sometimes so much that I could like go back, ya know? (he lets out a sigh)
Will: (nods) Thanks for sharing, Percy.
Nico: Yeah, thanks.
(At that Drew silently chuckles, and yet again Annabeth glares. Drew notices this time)
Drew: (defensively).....what?
Annabeth: Nothing.
Drew: No seriously, what?
(Annabeth shakes her head, unbelieving)
Drew: Tell me!
Annabeth: God! You’re that arrogant, aren’t you?
Drew: What?
Annabeth: (exasperated) Jesus Christ…..You sit here, acting all pompous and defiant, like this is just some joke. I get it, you think you’re better than us, but at fuckin rehab?
Will: Annabeth....
Drew: (Fully turns to Annabeth) Y’know at least I actually think for myself, and I don’t just blindly follow what everybody tells me to do like some kind of brainwashed robot.
Annabeth: Here we go…
Drew: I bet you can’t even get through rehab without following every rule, earning every award, sticking to all these fuckin plans(She finds this slightly funny). (Mock gasp, leans forward) Was this not a part of the plan?
Annabeth: (Instantly furious, she stands) Shut the fuck up!
Will: (Stands) Alright enough! (To Annabeth) Sit your ass down right now, and Drew, if you don’t want this, then I suggest you get the fuck out and take the grounding or whatever your mom will punish you with. (sits)
(Annabeth sits. Drew slumps back in her chair, refusing to leave)
Will: Jesus…
Will: The focus is on yourself here, and only yourself, you get it? Don’t go getting up in other people’s shit.
(Annabeth looks down.There’s a pause of uncomfortable silence.)
Will: (quieter in tone) Now we haven’t finished sharing experiences, and I’d like to move on with that (beat as he looks at all of the teens). Annabeth, how bout you pick us up where we left off.
(Annabeth looks up, caught off guard)
Annabeth: What?
Will: Tell your story.
Annabeth. Right. (saddened by this a little)
Annabeth: It’s hard to know exactly when, but I think it was six months ago. (Instantly same lighting as Percy’s flashback, a blackout, maybe spot on Annabeth. In the darkness, the other characters mechanically turn their backs to Annabeth before exiting through the curtain.)
Annabeth: It started with grades. I guess it was always the grades with me.
(Chiron enters through the curtains carrying a test or worksheet, hands it back to Annabeth, and briskly walks away while shuffling through other papers)
(Annabeth looks at the paper, a low score, becomes concerned, and speeds over to the teacher.)
Annabeth: (eagerly) Excuse me? Mr. Brunner? Is there a way I could retest or do some make up work for this? This score would drop my grade to a B.
Chiron: (turns to Annabeth) I have some work posted online. Just get it done by the end of the week so I can get it graded and into the grade book.
Annabeth: Right. I’ll be sure to get it in.
(crosses toward offstage and is blocked by “AP teacher 1” character. Annabeth stops in front of them)
AP Teacher: You have your reading tonight, chapter 13 in prep for your quiz next class. Annabeth: Ok, I’ll do it tomorrow night (crosses elsewhere but is blocked by another “teacher figure”)
Teacher: This lab report is due Thursday, make sure you watch the videos I posted and take notes to help you.
Annabeth: The day after?(referring to when she’ll do it)
(she crosses away and is blocked yet again by a “debate coach”)
Debate Coach: Competition is this weekend, so make sure you study your topics and keep up on current events, and I’lll excuse you for being absent. Also make sure you get all your work from your teachers.
(Annabeth crosses away again, looking for a clear path and visibly stressed. The whole blocking thing can be repeated. One of the teachers can say “you have 4 missings,” another could say “practice your instrument,” maybe even one more saying something about “SAT prep,” just assignments all at once. Finally she stands between all of the teachers and looks at the paper given to her by the first teacher, or if we’re using binders then the pile of work).
Annabeth: (looking down at the paper/work) Fuck.
Annabeth: (narrating now) There wasn’t enough hours in the day. I needed to get it done fast and do it well, so I turned to a little bit of chemical assistance.
(teachers exit into the wings while one goes to take a seat, now the adderall dealer.)
(crosses over to adderall dealer).
Annabeth: (as she crosses) Hey chloe!
(chloe looks up at Annabeth)
Piper: Hey, Annabeth..
Annabeth: So I’ve heard from some people...
Piper: Yeah? (expectantly)
Annabeth: --That you have this prescription..
Piper: Yeah.
Annabeth: --And sometimes you’ll…
Piper: Uh huh.
Annabeth: So I was wondering if maybe you could do me a favor…
Piper: Of course. (happily, she’s very friendly. She takes out a bag to get the bottle.)
Annabeth: What?
Piper: Adderall, Right? It’s $100 for a bottle. Do you have an exam or something?
Annabeth: Something like that. (she hands her some money in exchange for the bottle.)
Piper: (As she hands her the bottle) Well I hope this can help.
(Piper takes her bag and exits, while Annabeth turns to the audience to narrate again).
Annabeth: (looks down at the bottle) From then on my schedule opened right up.
(Annabeth crosses downstage where she encounters Silena passing by, as if they’re in the hallway. As the pass the one person speaks)
Silena: Hey Annabeth!
Annabeth: Hey!
(right after the two pass each other the person stops and catches up to Annabeth)
Silena: Oh Annabeth! Are you busy over the long weekend?
Annabeth: I’ve got some free time (happy at this).
Silena: Cool! Me and a couple of other people are gonna hang out at my place this Friday, my parents are out of town. Do you wanna join?
Annabeth: Sure!
Silena: Alright I’ll see you then.
(person crosses offstage into the wings).
(Annabeth narrates again).
Annabeth: From then on my schedule was full again, but with something vastly different. I was living the best of both worlds, my own drug and alcohol induced Hannah Montana story.
(Teacher from before walks out from curtain, hands Annabeth a paper similar to before, then crosses offstage to the wings without acknowledging Annabeth. Annabeth looks down at the paper, another bad grade, and is extremely sad and disappointed. She begins to walk backwards as the other members walk re enter and take their seats. She sits back in her AA seat and looks up at the group.
Annabeth: (tired, wistful, sadly) Turns out procrastination, adderall highs, and getting wasted on the weekends wasn’t the most effective way to get straight As. I couldn’t even check my grades, I was so terrified. Couldn’t even look at a textbook. It almost taunted me with failure. So I turned to the only thing I knew that made me forget all the shittiness and live in the moment.
(Annabeth looks down)
Annabeth: I just feel stupid.
Drew: (scoffs) That must be a first--
Annabeth: Do you ever shut up?
(there’s a moment of silence as Annabeth glares. She looks to Will, who gives her a “go on” look.)
Annabeth: I mean of all the problems, of the starvation, war, abuse, poverty…..I fucked up my life because of a goddamn high school transcript.
(Will looks disapprovingly at Annabeth.)
Annabeth: What, do you think I don’t know what it means to sit here? I fucked up my life, ok?! I took the one thing, the one thing that I had going for me, the one thing I was good at, and I threw it in the garbage because I couldn’t handle the pressure. Because I was weak.
Will: Oh shut the fuck up.(Nico is slightly shocked by Will's outburst) You are not weak. You were not weak. Did you make some bad decisions because of the situation you were in? Yes. Of course you did! We all did! It’s fuckin rehab! But guess what? You can’t go back, so knock it off with the woe is me bullshit and focus on this! (gestures around to the meeting)
(Annabeth sits back in her chair, shocked. Percy had looked up during the exchange as well, and is now deep in thought.)