Why Hitmen Never Retire (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #28

(The HITMAN stands in a spotlight. He’s in his forties, and looks like your cool uncle who always makes friends with the maître d’ when out to eat.)

(A CHORUS of three women and one man, all in their thirties-forties.)

CHORUS
The Hitman.
The Hitman.
The Former Hitman.
You see him in movies.
You see him on TV.
You see him on the street, but you don’t even know it.
Hitmen are real.
Hitwomen, too. Hitchildren. It’s the world as it is.
Some are scary.
Some have lots of money and technology.
Some just do a job and make a living.
Some try it and freak out and leave.
And some retire after a successful career.
Or they try to.
This is about what happened to this hitman here when he tried to retire.
Here’s a hint from the title: it didn’t work.
Meet our Hitman.
He could be your favorite uncle.

HITMAN
Hey, how’s it going, champ? Gimme five!
Good to see you, little princess! You’ve grown so much!

CHORUS
He *is* someone’s favorite uncle.
Two someones. Niece and a nephew. Sister’s son, brother’s daughter.

HITMAN
I tell you, you’ve gotta enjoy these years. They’ll be teenagers soon, and then you gotta just hope you don’t up and die from cancer or some shit before they come out the other side and love you again.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
God, don’t say that.

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
You ever gonna add some of your own to the family brood, big brother?

HITMAN
You know, the business is settling down, investments are looking up.

CHORUS
The whole family all always thought he sold consulting services.
Which wasn’t technically untrue.
He’d travel around, help small businesses startup with his expertise on hiring, loans, and real estate.
The small businesses were always shells for his employers. The money looked plenty legitimate to the IRS. He even made some genuine demonstration lecture videos for his website. He could, actually, have been a consultant, if he wanted.
So why did he become a hitman?

HITMAN
Maybe it’s time I settle down. Know any eligible bachelorettes?

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
Are you serious, man?

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. You know? I will set you up with my coworker. She’s recently divorced, no kids, a woman of a certain age. I don’t guarantee you’ll get along, but it’ll be better than whatever girlfriends you keep on the road.

HITMAN
Oh no, there hasn’t been an anyone in my life since you-know-who back when.

CHORUS
He’s referring to his high school girlfriend.

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
That is a long time, man.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Well you need to get dating, get back on the-

HITMAN
Hey hey, I’m not arguing. Sounds great. I’ve only got one question before you set us up, though.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
What?

HITMAN
Does she got legs?

(HITMAN and MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER laugh. FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER shakes her head.)

CHORUS
I suppose one day he had had enough.
The attractions of life outside the business grew too great.
The payoffs were too small, or maybe he had enough money that they didn’t matter so much anymore. If there was a thrill, it was gone. If there was satisfaction in the danger, it had mellowed. He was done.
It was easy to retire; he was an independent contractor. He just evaded calls from former employers and recommendations through the underworld grapevine. Eventually, they found someone else, and it wouldn’t take too long before they’d just stop including him in their rolodex of crime, or whatever it is they keep. Professional disinterest as means of being forgotten. Like breaking up with someone by ignoring their calls until they delete your number from their phone.
This-
This is not a story of the business dragging the hitman back in. He owes no one anything.
That is not what happens.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Hey, before you go-
It was great to see you-

HITMAN
Definitely, I can’t get enough of family these days. Call me up anytime you need a burger flipped, I’m around.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Well great! I will happily take advantage of that. Listen, my husband’s aunt died-

HITMAN
Oh, I’m sorry.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Thank you. It came at the right time, if there ever is a right time. But either way, we’ve got to go to the funeral this Saturday, and-

HITMAN
No.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
I haven’t even-

HITMAN
Well I’m busy Saturday, unfortunately, sorry. So I can’t watch the kid.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Are you sure-
Because no one else can do it, everyone’s gone for the holiday-

HITMAN
Me too, sorry.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
You didn’t mention anything-

HITMAN
I said no. I am sorry. Some other time.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Oh- Okay.

CHORUS
He had never babysat.
Not once in his life.
Not for his niece, not for his nephew.

HITMAN
If the day comes…
When it all comes back to me…

CHORUS
He had no reason to think violence would ever come his way while he was with the kids.
And like we said, that’s not what this story is.

HITMAN
It’s just that, should I ever get caught. Should a fire ravage my house while I’m out of town and the police find the hidden compartment in the basement. Should a former boss give me up. Should a ten-year-old case turn up new DNA evidence that I failed to clean.
Should something like that happen.

CHORUS
He didn’t want it to be ever, ever possible for his brother or sister to say.

MALE CHORUS AND FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SIBLINGS
“Oh my god. And we let him ALONE with them!”

CHORUS
He’d never, ever allow himself alone with their kids.
Maybe one day, he thought, when enough time had passed, he might change his mind.
But probably not.
It was his moral compromise.
His stopgap to total ethical irredeemability.
It was the deal he made with himself, because there was no one else to make the deal with.
Because when there’s a bargain happening, but the person you’re bargaining with doesn’t know about the bargain, all you can do is guess.
The best guess the hitman could make was that not being alone with the kids was the acceptable line.

HITMAN
As if, should the day come, and I get caught…

CHORUS
They might say:

MALE CHORUS AND FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SIBLINGS
“So that’s why you never babysat for us?
Well thank you, we appreciate it.
Maybe you’re not such a bad guy after all, brother.”

CHORUS
So there he is, our Hitman.
Retired, successfully.
What comes next is why his retirement fails.

HITMAN
I find myself letting my repressed desire for companionship take root, instead of weeding it out with work, and crime, and empty sex with women on the road. I want to be part of the family.

CHORUS
The Search for Love.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS COWORKER
Hi, are you-?

HITMAN
Sorry? What?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS COWORKER
Oh! Nothing, nevermind.

HITMAN
Just kidding! I’m the guy. My sister set us up.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS COWORKER
Oh. Why’d you say you weren’t? You embarrassed me.

HITMAN
It was a joke.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS COWORKER
I see. It wasn’t funny.

CHORUS
It started off awkwardly enough, as these things tend to do.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS ONE-NIGHT STAND
Wow, that was great. Thank you, it really *had* been a while.

HITMAN
Hey, happy to help clean out the pipes.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS ONE-NIGHT STAND
(playfully)
Asshole.

(She kisses him.)

HITMAN
Normally I’d get slapped for that. This must be love.
So how about Thursday?

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS ONE-NIGHT STAND
Oh. Well. I’m pretty busy. We’ll see.

HITMAN
Oh.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS ONE-NIGHT STAND
Yeah.

HITMAN
Bye, then.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS ONE-NIGHT STAND
Yeah.

CHORUS
Thankfully, trial and error is a powerful search function.
The Hitman was in no rush, and eventually he found what he was looking for.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Wants children? Check. Good in bed?

HITMAN
Check.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Cocky?

HITMAN
Double check. Knows what she wants?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Check. Likes a woman who knows what she wants and is ten years too old to play the bullshit beating-around-the-bush games?

HITMAN
Triple check.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
We’re all checked out. I officially like you on paper. Are you certain you like me too, or do you have any quiet little doubts that will fester and poison our relationship a year from now?

HITMAN
I love the way you talk.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
I can go back to the dirty talk, if you’re up for it.

HITMAN
I like you. A lot. It’s official. How’s Thursday?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Can’t do Thursday. Fuck! I don’t want to wait until Friday. How’s tomorrow afternoon work? I’ll take off after our lunch meeting.

HITMAN
I’m a happily retired young man, my leisure time is at your service.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
You’re not young.

(They kiss.)

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
See, I told my mother I was not too old to find a good man.

(Pause.)

HITMAN
I’m not good.

(They look at each other.)

CHORUS
He found what he was looking for.
They fell quickly in love.
He became more emotionally open. She became more relaxed. They started spending days together as a matter of course. But they were adults, and they made nothing official; it had only been a month. They were in no rush.
And then things got complicated.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Hi.

CHORUS
He wasn’t even looking.

HITMAN
Hello again.

CHORUS
He spent a lot of time at the library. He felt a strong draw to read detective novels. He also read forensic science journals, just in case. The librarian noticed him.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Hi again again again.

HITMAN
Hello again again again.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
How many times are you going to do that before you ask me out?

CHORUS
He was surprised.

HITMAN
Exactly that many.

CHORUS
Pleased. She was younger. His girlfriend occasionally had other dates; neither one of them wanted to lock things in ahead of their time. He wasn’t looking actively, but he wasn’t going to refuse such a woman.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Thank god. I was going to cave and ask you out if you passed by one more time.

CHORUS
But… he felt something else…

HITMAN
…That’s flattering.

CHORUS
A creeping sensation of something…

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
See you there.

CHORUS
Something like guilt.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Hi.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Hello.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
It’s nice to meet you.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
We do have something in common.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Yeah, but you’ve got a leg up on me. Like, literally. I’ve got to work extra hard to catch up.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Somehow I don’t mind the competition.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
I’ve always loved a little competition. Should we divide up the days of the week?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
Aw, look at him.

HITMAN
I’m not sure if this is a dream or a nightmare.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
We’ll make it a dream.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
I do love you. I can’t argue you’re pretty swell. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

CHORUS
And so the Hitman’s days of double the love began.
His siblings reacted appropriately.

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
You dog! I’m jealous. Ha!

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
Well hey, go for you. Is that what they call redundancy? Now you’re guaranteed to marry one of them. No, don’t rush them! Let them stew a bit. Take a woman’s advice. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it, you old workaholic you. You’re not too old yet, eh?

HITMAN
Gee, guys.

FEMALE CHORUS 1 AS HITMAN’S SISTER
The younger one has a son my son’s age, right? Bring them around next time!

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
The older one sounds like she’d get along with my wife. Bring her along next game night!

HITMAN
This is…
Wow.

CHORUS
He knew love.
His future was coming down the pike. Everything he wanted, for the first time in his life. All he had to do was be himself, and he was always good at that; an abundance of charm that you can turn on and off when needed is an asset in the hitman business. All he had to do was be honest… and he’d end up married, a father, and happy as soon as one, or the other, love matured and fully bloomed.
But…

HITMAN
I can’t be honest.

CHORUS
He had it all. More than most men his age dreamed of.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Please, just hold me. Can we have a signal? If my eyes get all wet, but I’m not saying anything, just hold me. I know I’m a child sometimes. Just hold me. Please. Just wait.

HITMAN
Is it your ex again?

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Just hold me until I talk.

HITMAN
Understood. I’m here as long as you like, babe.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Thank you.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Oh my god! Sweetheart! Look! Look!

HITMAN
It followed you home?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
I never would have thought I’d just waltz into the shelter on my way home and get a puppy, but, dammit, I passed by, and I said, you know what? Fuck it! I’m getting a puppy! And you know I think I’m naming him “Asshole,” after you.

HITMAN
Don’t do that!

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Oh he doesn’t know! You just say it the right way. Here, Asshole! Come here, Asshole! What a good little boy Asshole is. Oo, doesn’t Asshole want a bellyrub? I’ll call him A-ho for short, that’s what I’ll put on the tag, no one will be the wiser. Heeere A-ho!

HITMAN
You’re terrible.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
You love it. He’s named after you because I never would have gotten him without you. You woke me up again to how nice it is to not spend every evening sitting alone doing blueprints, watching trash TV. I’d gotten so used to it. Well now I’m addicted to companionship, and I’m not giving it up. This way I have someone to snoodle even when you’re with Cutieface. What I’m trying to say is – Thank you.

HITMAN
…Thank you too.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
You don’t sound convinced. What’s wrong?

HITMAN
I-
I’ll try to explain later.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Okay. As much time as you need.

(They kiss.)

(The lights change. Wintery music plays. The HITMAN walks arm-in-arm with the two GIRLFRIENDS.)

FEMALE CHORUS 1
Out in public with them, he started to feel an inexplicable kind of shame.
He felt like people were staring at him the way they would if his girlfriends were eighteen, instead of his age.
No one looked at him this way, but he felt it.
It ate at him.
He felt this constant urge to apologize, to no one in particular.

HITMAN
Sorry.

MALE CHORUS AS STORE CLERK
What for, sir?

HITMAN
Uh.

MALE CHORUS AS STORE CLERK
Did you want to purchase that?

HITMAN
Uh. No. I meant, “sorry, I didn’t mean to take it off the shelf, I changed my mind,” heh.

MALE CHORUS AS STORE CLERK
No problem, sir.

FEMALE CHORUS 1
He was somehow reminded of a time when something happened.
He had just finished a major hit. Fifty thousand dollars, and all for a small time drug dealer who had threatened to snitch. Standard. The drug dealer was holed up in a subletted apartment in the nice side of some faraway town. It was near Christmastime.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Two to one we get a White Christmas.

HITMAN
It already snowed.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Yes yes sonny, but this will all melt by tomorrow. Gotta snow on Thursday, or it’s no White Chrismas. But I give two to one it will.

HITMAN
Sure thing.

FEMALE CHORUS 1
He was on the street. Cobblestone. Snow on the trees and awnings. Picturesque. America.
Under his indistinguishably plain overcoat was his gun.
Under his indistinguishably plain winter gloves were slight bloodstains, down in the deep molecular cracks between his fingerprints. He would wash them thoroughly later, but for now, he counted on being generically, invisibly, normally friendly and plain to protect him. No one would discover the body in the apartment upstairs until later.
The chatty old man closed the door to his car, a nice velvety town car, and was walking away.
A tree branch covered with snow broke off. Came down towards the car. The Hitman was placed just right.

HITMAN
Woah there! Ah. Gotcha.

FEMALE CHORUS 1
Hardly a noteworthy act. Just a simple reaction.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
You saved my car!

HITMAN
No problem.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
It would have shattered the window!

HITMAN
Not that big or heavy. Just broke under the snow.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Well it would have ruined the paint!

HITMAN
Maybe a scratch. No big deal.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Nonsense! I must repay you.

HITMAN
That’s not necessary.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Of course, of course! It’s the spirit of Christmas.

HITMAN
Don’t worry about it. I’ll be going.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Come back here sonny! Don’t make an old man run after you!

HITMAN
Sorry.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Look. Just take it. For saving my car.

HITMAN
Really, I can’t.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
I insist. Do you hear that? When I say I insist, this old man means “no is not an acceptable answer.” Take it or I’ll make such a fuss, young man…

HITMAN
Fine, fine. Merry Christmas, if it makes you feel better, buddy.

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Merry Christmas!
I just gave this man ten thousand dollars!
He saved my car? Did you see?
Tra la la, tra la la…

HITMAN
Please, don’t-

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
That man’s my hero!

HITMAN
You’re dotty-

MALE CHORUS AS OLD MAN
Tra la la, tra la la…

FEMALE CHORUS 1
The people on the street stared at him. Did he really accept that money?
Of course he could give it to a charity. And he did.
But still.
He felt very odd that day.
The blood under his clothes. The gun. The dead man entering early stages of decomposition upstairs.
And here he was getting away, a clean getaway.
But he couldn’t make a clean getaway from his one small good deed. Just a tree branch. He just reached out.
It was an embarrassment of riches.
It was undue, it was shameful.
It was somehow backwards.

(The lights return to normal.)

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
I love you.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
I love you.

HITMAN
I love them both. I could marry either of them.
But I made a deal with myself.

CHORUS
If he wouldn’t allow himself alone with children…
How he could allow himself to be alone with a new wife?

HITMAN
You shouldn’t say you love me.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
Why not?

HITMAN
We don’t know each other yet. We’re still learning.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
I love you so far. And you love me too.

HITMAN
It doesn’t seem right. It’s partial love.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
It doesn’t feel that way to me.
Is that about… her?

HITMAN
No. I’d feel the same if it was just one of you.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
Is that true?

HITMAN
…No.
It makes it worse.
If it was just one of you… I could maybe say that you were deluded…
But two women? That’s just…
Unfair.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
To who?

HITMAN
I don’t know.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
To you?

HITMAN
No. It’s more than fair to me.
I’m sorry. I’m working through this. Forgive me.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 and 3 AS GIRLFRIENDS
Take your time.

HITMAN
It will get better soon.

CHORUS
But it didn’t.
It got worse.

WOMAN CHORUS 1 AS FAMILIAR WOMAN
Hey, remember me?

HITMAN
Oh hey! It’s been a while.

WOMAN CHORUS 1 AS FAMILIAR WOMAN
Yeah it has. You look… good. You look great, actually. I’m glad I ran into you.

HITMAN

CHORUS
He felt uncomfortable, like heat around his collar.

HITMAN
I can see it happening perfectly clear.
“I was a hitman.”

WOMEN CHORUSES
You’re joking, right.

HITMAN
No. I can prove it.
And I prove it.

WOMAN CHORUSES

Oh my god.
I…
I need to leave.
Excuse me.

HITMAN
There’s no other way it would go.
How could it?
I was living a lie with their loves.
I’m a Hitman.

CHORUS
He’s the Hitman.

HITMAN
I can’t marry anyone who doesn’t know that.
That’s the fairest deal I can make.

CHORUS
He was trapped, between falsehood and heartbreak.
Poor old man.

HITMAN
I’ve been skipping out on even seeing my niece and nephew when they’re with their parents. I think, “If I get caught, they’ll say, ‘we let him into our house’? I can’t believe it!”

CHORUS
He starts showing up at family gatherings only as much as he needs to not worry anyone.

MALE CHORUS AS HITMAN’S BROTHER
Where you been, man? My little girl misses playing the “bop Uncle on the nose” game.

HITMAN
I miss it too.
Sorry.

CHORUS
He starts showing up for his relationships only as much as he needs to not end them by default.
Which is a lot of time.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
So you can only see me once this week? I miss you.

HITMAN
I miss you too.
Sorry.
I’m working on a big camping trip for us for the holidays.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Okay. It would be good to reconnect a little.

HITMAN
Yes.
Sorry.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AT PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
You know, if you’ve picked her, you should let me know.

HITMAN
No no no, that’s not it. I would tell you instantly. No bullshit here.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AT PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Good. That’s how we like it, isn’t it.

HITMAN

Yes.
Yes, it is.

CHORUS
He sat out in the park one day, after jogging.
Alone. Out of breath a little.
There was a perfect little painting in front of him.
Happy parents and kids playing.
Some police cars on the other side of the street.
An officer leaning against his cruiser, his sidearm on display.
And behind the officer, on the other side of the street, by the little taco stand. A drug dealer.
The Hitman had seen enough to know the look, the gait, the way the rough young man glanced sidelong at the officer, but played it cool. He was up to something criminal. He was exactly the type of man he’d gotten into the business killing.
He wondered for a minute.

HITMAN
How did I get here?

CHORUS
After high school.
Friends, of friends, of friends, who had a grudge. Some money, some infidelity, harsh words.
Someone would like someone beaten up.
He beat someone up.
He asked for money.
They gave it.
A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend asked him for a repeat performance.
A slow lowering down the grapevine into the underworld.
One day, someone just asks you…

MALE CHORUS AS CONTRACTOR
Hypothetically.
Would you take five grand to off someone?

CHORUS
And on that day you find out who you are, because you say:

HITMAN
Oh, Jesus, no way, I could never do that.

CHORUS
Or.
You say:

HITMAN
Hypothetically?
I’d take eight grand, ten if it was a woman or a kid. Twenty if I don’t like the reason for doing it.
Hypothetically, that’s how I’d do it.

CHORUS
And there’s a bag in your lap.
And you know who you are.

HITMAN
Well, garsh, Mickey. I think I’m a hitman.
Better buy myself some cool shades.

CHORUS
He realized something.
It all made sense.
He got up and ran away from the park.

HITMAN
Sweetheart?

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Hey, hon-

HITMAN
I can’t see you anymore.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Oh- Ooh. Oh.

HITMAN
You don’t love me.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
I do. You can break it off, but don’t tell me I don’t love you.

HITMAN
You love someone who looks like me.
Sorry.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Well, this is why we took it slow. Less… pain.

HITMAN
Yeah.

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Any chance you might find the someone who I could love, and be him?

HITMAN
No.
Sorry.

CHORUS
He didn’t feel done.
He still felt itchy and wrong.
He went outside, he went back to the park.
He had the urge to say it, but knew it was would be horrible.
But he had to do it.
He had to apologize.

HITMAN
HEY! I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY FOR LETTING THEM FALL IN LOVE WITH ME! I PROMISE I WON’T DO IT AGAIN!

CHORUS AS PEOPLE IN THE PARK
(ad libbing)
Um, what was that. What did he say? Crazy old man… Just ignore him.
I’m tweeting that right now.

CHORUS
A sense of relief washed over him.
A sense of rightness.
The world had been returned to its natural order.
It had been morally corrected, like a crooked painting on the wall.

HITMAN
What now.

CHORUS
Now he had nothing.
He knew, then, that love, marriage, kids were out of the question. A hitman has only two options: be a bad person, or try to be a good person anyways, with justifications and rationale. If he’s a bad person, he can get married and just live the lie. If he’s a good person… he can never justify lying to his wife. That’s what the bad person does. So if he’s the good person… it’s no marriage forhim.
Well, there’s a third option: marry a hitwoman, but that kind of thing does only happen in the movies. Good business sense meant that our Hitman had actually never met any other hitmen, to his knowledge. The only ones who knew were his former employers.

HITMAN
That’s it, then.

CHORUS
His former employers.
All the relationship he had left.
The only people who knew him for who he was.
So he continued to see his siblings as much as necessary to keep them from worrying…

(The CHORUS AS SIBLINGS wave at him from a distance.)

CHORUS
…And, for lack of anything else to do to fill his life…
He went back to work.

(The HITMAN pulls out a gun. He stalks across the stage. He points the gun at an audience member. He pauses, and pulls out a small photograph from his pocket. He compares the audience member to the photograph. Wrong person.)

HITMAN
Oops. Sorry.

(The HITMAN points the gun at the audience member’s neighbor, who ‘matches’ the photograph.)

HITMAN
Bang.

CHORUS
And that’s why hitmen never retire.

(The HITMAN exits in a hurry. The CHORUS AS GIRLFRIENDS sit on the ground and lean against each other.)

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
It wasn’t us, was it?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
No. Just watch the movie.

WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND
Do you think we’ll move on?

WOMAN CHORUS 2 AS CONFIDENT GIRLFRIEND
Of course.
Hon, I promise you. He was not the only good man in the world.
In fact, there are plenty. One for you and one for me. Just give it time.

(WOMAN CHORUS 3 AS PASSIONATE GIRLFRIEND nods. The two of them silently watch their movie for a time.)

(Lights slowly fade down.)

(End of play.)

writing time: about 2:30

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One comment

  1. […] play in classic verse, and thinking a lot about the play this one ended up being a prequel to 28) Why Hitmen Never Retire – a retired hitman attempts to find love Came from wanting to write a play with a chorus 29) OMG […]

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