The Neighborhood

Nicholas Jackman
Dec 19, 2019 · 4 min read

A feminine hand twists the silver knob and white converse shoes step out into the dreary streetlamp light. Her other hand carries a white plastic trash bag. This is Mara, concerned brown eyes with shoulder length brown hair.

Before her, a man turned away, his back turned to her. The trash containers just 5 feet away… There’s no one else in sight.

Before she can react, the man turns around to reveal his wrinkled forehead, dilated blue eyes, and jaw dropped mouth with his arms clutching his stomach. He drops to the gravel face down. Her hand drops the trash bag, as she stands frozen.

“Sir?”

Nothing. She takes a step forward.

His body stays still until his head whips to the right and out comes a flurry of large preschool Alphabet letters on the ground.

Mara crinkles her nose and looks away, then around the alley.

She takes another step and readies, two fingers reach out.

“Are you ok?”

With a quick reflex, his body jolts onto his back and slowly his head and chest rise up with eyes shimmering in the tungsten light.

She stumbles back and darts right back through the backdoor. HEAVY SLAM!

Her head leans on the door and twists the door lock behind her.

A manly man’s voice, “What’s wrong?” Mara looks over to Winston. He stands tall with a computer bag slung over his shoulder.

“Did you ever eat anything when you were younger?”

“Maybe a crayon or two.”

“This guy out here just now… vomited up those letters you have in a toy.”

“I don’t know about this neighborhood surrounding us.”

“I’ll wait till he leaves.”

“No, I got this.”

Winston smirks as he moves past Mara. Mara steps away pushing the curtain behind her. Winston opens the door, looks out side-to-side, and saunters through the door.

The door closes.

Mara looks at the door and then George comes out from the back curtains.

“Well that was a good session.” He moves to leave.

Mara goes to the barn door and pulls the barn door back and sees six neighbors in an awkward huddle.

“George”

George, “ Why’s there preschool alphabet letters on the ground?”

Near the door, a lumbering Businessman grabs George and lifts him up.

Mara grabs a hold onto George’s clothes. She pulls on George but it doesn’t work. The Businessman is too strong.

Mara looks around and her hands go to her jean pockets. A pen.

She takes the pen and jams it into the Businessman’s shirt. Businessman releases George and tips over. Mara grabs George and pushes the barn door closed.

Mara bumps into the adjacent black bookshelf and the sign “You only have Write Now” falls down onto the ground. She grabs and studies it.

“It’s best if we all stay in here until we figure out what’s going on”

Mara puts it back on top of the bookshelf.

“I’m going to call the police.”

Winston enters back through the backdoor. They turn to him as he closes the door behind him. He seems out of it as he leans against the wall.

“Winston?”

Winston just stares back at them.

George, “Winston?

Mara’s eyebrows scrunch in confusion.

Winston vomits Preschool letters onto the desk and the floor and falls down.

Open mouths and eyes wide marks both Mara and George’s face.

George, “Oh my god.”

Mara rushes to Winston and palms her laptop and brings it up above her head.

George, “There’s got to be another way.”

Mara squints her eyes. She holds the laptop for a second and puts the laptop down onto the desk.

George looks at her.

“Come on.” She grabs Winston’s arm.

George follows her and then they drag him to the bathroom.

Winston moans.

They prop Winston up onto the sink cabinets and Mara turns the knob from the inside and closes the door.

George puts his phone to his ear. “Hello. Hello?” A busy signal…

Mara, ”keep trying”

Barn door starts to shake. The “Write Now” sign falls back down making both of them jump. The moans continue outside… Mara power walks to the desk, picks up the sign, sets it on the desk and rips out a piece of paper from her notebook on the desk. She grabs a pen from the desk. She writes. Fast, until her pen arrives at the bottom right. Her eyes go to the door as she stands up straight. She looks at the door, the moaning stops.

“George, do you hear that moaning?”

“Oh yeah!”

She turns around to the barn door and slides it open a sliver.

No one there…She pushes the door.

Mara walks to the back door and opens it.

She looks outside, right then left.

She closes the door.

“George, did you write?”

“Yeah I wrote.”

“How much?”

“A page.”

“Tell me the truth”

“A paragraph”

“Then leave.”

George swivels his head, looks at the wall.

“No.”

Mara goes to her notebook and rips out a piece of paper and holds it out to George.

George rips it out of her hand and pulls out a black-point pen. He scribbles a line.

“More. You can never be sure.”

George continues scribbling on the page.

George stops and throws his pen down and holds the paper to Mara.

“A page.”

“Keep it. Now Winston needs to write.”

The sun peeks out over the neighborhood.

The three of them stand before the desk, fatigued.

“I think that’s a lesson to all of us.”

George and Winston nod.

Mara slowly opens the barn door a foot.

“I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

The guys nod again and step through into the courtyard.

Mara closes the barn door and then outside George Screams!!

Mara rips the barn door open to uncover the Businessman on the ground.

Chalk.Board

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Nicholas Jackman

Written by

Actor/Writer based in Los Angeles.

Chalk.Board

A place for Writers Blok members to share their work.

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