Hardball Theatre: Season Tickets
A play in one act by Keith Good
(Lights up on a courtroom. BERNARD, disheveled, is sprawled on a gallery bench, loudly munching popcorn from a ballpark-style bag. SARAH enters, fidgeting with a pink slip. After a moment’s hesitance, she sits on the bench, some distance from Bernard.)
JUDGE: (off stage) Case number one for August 9th, the year…
(Bernard scoots toward Sarah on the bench)
Bernard: Public Indecency?
(Sarah ignores him)
Bernard: (louder) Public Indecency?
Sarah: Excuse me?
Bernard: I’d bet you’re here for public indecency. Got the tools for it. I guess right at a .720 average. Name’s Bernard.
Sarah: Sarah. Speeding ticket. And You?
Bernard: I have this thing–
Sarah: I’d prefer your fetishes remain private.
Bernard: No, no. I’m here to watch the action. I got in a brawl at Cubs-Astros last year and Judge Harris here punished me and Glenn by taking our season tickets. (beat) So I just started coming here instead.
Sarah: You watch people plead for sport? What kind of person revels in another’s misery?
Bernard: America, that’s who. All spectator sports are built on the gruesome. Baseball got its best ratings when all the players were steroid monsters. Football? Hulked up beefcakes beating the shit out of each other for sixty minutes. Hockey? Same thing, but with weapons! And don’t even get me started on NASCAR.
Sarah: You’re suggesting people would watch municipal court for visceral entertainment.
Bernard: People’s Court, Judge Judy…
Sarah: Hm. Point taken.
Bernard: Cheaper than a Cubs game.
Sarah: Tell me what to expect, then. I’ve never been to court before and I’m kind of nervous.
Bernard: Judge Harris is on a tear. A DiMaggio hot streak. Ernie Banks numbers.
Sarah: Bert and Ernie?
Bernard: The Judge fined a little old lady 250 for jaywalking yesterday. Popcorn?
Sarah: F-for jaywalking?
Bernard: He’s on a tear. How fast were you speeding?
Sarah: Seventy-three…in a thirty-five.
Bernard: And you come to appeal? That’s chutzpah, lady! That’s Ruth calling his shot.
Sarah: But it says here on the ticket, “Subject was not wearing seat belt.” But I always wear my…
Bernard: Swung at the changeup.
Bernard: That seat belt stuff is tacked on, hoping you’ll come in so they can tack on court fees. You expect a fastball, but they throw a changeup. Strike three.
Sarah: Strike three?
(GLENN enters stage right, looking much the same as Bernard. He sits next to Sarah, sandwiching her between Bernard and himself.)
Glenn: What up, B? What kind of numbers do we have today?
Bernard: Hey Glenn. Two for three.
Bernard: Davis fucked up the traffic stop on a broken tail-light.
Glenn: Pay up. (puts out hand, across a bewildered Sarah)
Bernard: Error by the cop is unearned runs.
Glenn: A miss is a miss.
(Bernard grudgingly passes the bag of popcorn to Glenn)
Glenn: Chump. (to Sarah) Popcorn?
Sarah: So you’re another spectator? Like Bernard?
Glenn: What option do I have? Judge took our season tickets.
Bernard: Sarah here is on deck. Speeding.
Glenn: That’s gonna hurt.
Sarah: Hurt? (to Bernard) You said I had a chance of getting the charge dropped!
Glenn: Judge is hitting over .500 in the past month, two of three today, with a perfect record against speeders four days straight. You’re gonna strike out, Sarah.
Bernard: Judge can’t keep up those kinds of numbers. Due for a regression to the mean.
Glenn: Don’t bet against the numbers, dummy.
Sarah: Oh god, I’m going to be sick.
Bernard: You’re worrying her.
Glenn: I’m just preparing her for what is likely.
Sarah: Breathe, Sarah.
Judge: Silence in the gallery!
Glenn and Bernard: Sorry Judge.
Bernard: (whispering in Sarah’s ear) You’ll be fine.
Glenn: (whispering in Sarah’s other ear) His T.R.A. is $150.
Bernard: Traffic Ruling Average
Glenn: He fines $150 on average traffic violations.
Sarah: Oh God.
Bailiff: Sarah Charles please step forward.
Bernard: Swing for the fences, doll.
(Sarah stands, takes a deep breath, and walks upstage left. She stands, looking up at the Judge, silently pleading her case.)
Glenn: You think she’ll hit?
Bernard: Not a chance in hell. I was just hitting on her.
Glenn: That stupid public indecency bit?
Bernard: I’m batting the Mendoza Line with that one.
Glenn: You say that like it’s a good thing.
Bernard: Can’t hit the ones you don’t swing at. And she looks like she might have a decent swing.
Glenn: Judge is throwing smoke. She’ll get blown away.
Sarah: (from her spot up stage) Not guilty your honor.
Glenn: Chutzpah! What was she doing?
Bernard: Seventy-three in a thirty-five
Glenn: Wiggle my dick!
Bernard: Batting without a helmet.
Glenn: Bag of popcorn says she gets $350.
Bernard: Minus 10 and you’re on.
(The two face each other, pause, and shake hands.)
Judge: In light of all evidence, and the moving testimony of the defendant, this court finds Sarah Lee Charles…
Glenn: (Yelled so we can’t hear the ruling) Sweet leaping Jesus!
Bernard: Mark it on the scorecard!
(Sarah re-enters, teary-eyed but happy)
Glenn: Yeah, I’ll mark it.
Sarah: A weight off my chest. Thanks for being so supportive, Bernard.
Bernard: Anytime. The least I can do.
Sarah: Hey, Bernard…I took the rest of the day off…you want to go to Wrigley? Nothing like being in the stands for a spectator sport, right?
Bernard: (standing up) That sounds enchanting.
(Sarah and Bernard walk off. On their way past Glenn, Bernard grabs the popcorn from Glenn’s hand.)
Glenn: Judge Judy wouldn’t have fallen for the crying bit.