shawnay-warren1247 Shawnay Warren

This book is about kids being bullied at school everyday. Many people see them get bullied by other kids, but they don't do anything about it. They ignore those situations by walking away from the kids that are getting picked on, while the other kids ostracize them. They ostracize them after the bullies spread rumors about them to those kids who never stood up for them. Bullying is an issue that no one should ever tolerate because it affects everyone, no matter what color or race they're in.

Guiones Todo público. © Shawnay Warren

#friendship #bullying #family #ostracism
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Benjamin Brooklyn: He is 14 years old, and he is Caron’s classmate. He and Caron have known each other for three years because they have classes together in middle school. He is a cold-hearted person who is out to destroy Caron’s life after he accuses him of telling people about playing with his childhood toys and putting him down. He and Caron do not get along with each other.

Caron West: He is 13 years old, and he is a loner. He has a hard time making friends with other people because he has been ostracized by other students and teachers for making mistakes. He has a close friendship with Cestus. He and Cestus have known each other since he was a child.

Cestus: He is 13 years old, and he is Caron’s imaginary friend. He is a bookworm who loves to read books. He has no problem with standing up for Caron because he doesn’t want to see him get hurt. He is great with giving Caron advice on how he should deal with tough situations in his life.

Janie Barkins: She is 13 years old, and she is Caron’s classmate. She is a manipulative person who is trying to be friends with Caron to copy off of his schoolwork. She accuses Caron of threatening to use violence against her if she does not give him her lunch money. She and Caron know each other for a year.

Marie Hopkins: She is 13 years old, and she is Caron’s classmate. She is a sweet person who loves Caron for who he is and doesn’t care what other people think. She is aware that Cestus is Caron’s imaginary friend and doesn’t have a problem with it. She and Caron develop a friendship with each other.

Juliana West: She is 25 years old, and she is Caron’s older sister. She is a caring person who wants what’s best for Caron. She works at a football stadium to support herself and Caron because their mother passed away. She and Caron butt heads with each other from time to time.

Scene 1: Juliana’s Apartment

(It is Sunday morning in Iowa, and Caron is sitting on the couch reading his book for his reading homework while he is in his pajamas. Juliana walks out of her room in her pajamas while she is on the phone.)

Juliana West: I just have these thoughts of sending football fans to the wrong place as they are trying to find their seats before the football game starts. I mean, this is my first time ushering at the football stadium. What if I forget to tell football fans they cannot stand at a certain area where other football fans walk inside the stadium to sit in their seats? Okay, Dad, I will try to do that. No, Caron is doing his homework. All right, I will tell him that you said hi. Love you, too. Bye-bye.

(Juliana hangs up the phone and looks at Caron.)

Juliana West: Caron, did you finish your homework for your other classes?

Caron West: Yup, I got all of it done.

Juliana West: You sure?

Caron West: Yes, I’m sure.

Juliana West: Okay. Is everything all right in school? (Pause.)

Caron West: Yes, I guess.

Juliana West: You’re not lying to me, are you?

Caron West: Julie, I said no! Just drop it.

Juliana West: All right.

Caron West: Well, there is one thing that has been on my mind.

Juliana West: What is it?

Caron West: Some kids wouldn’t let me sit at the lunch table with them because they told me I was calling them names.

Juliana West: Did you call them names?

Caron West: No. The other kids that were picking on me told them I was doing that.

Juliana West: Did you tell the principal?

Caron West: No.

Juliana: Why not?

Caron: Because I thought the whole thing would blow over.

Juliana: If these kids were picking on you and ostracizing you, you need to tell somebody or at least tell me.

Caron: And get humiliated for it? No thanks.

Juliana: Look, all I’m saying is that you have to learn how to stand up for yourself. (Silence.)

Caron: Try telling that to my teachers.

Juliana: What about them?

Caron: They kept telling me those kids were not picking on me and were only joking with me. They also called me dumb for getting every single answer wrong in class.

Juliana: What?!?

Caron: It’s been happening since the week before.

Juliana: I’m calling the school principal.

(Juliana tries to pick up the phone, but Caron puts his hand on it.)

Caron: No! I swear if you talk to the principal, I will never speak to you again!

Juliana: Caron, I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and let them pick on you like this!

Caron: (at the same time) But I don’t need you to get involved! This is my business and my business alone. I can handle this by myself.

Juliana: Fine. But if this happens again, I will talk to the principal, whether it’s over the phone or in person.

Caron: Whatever. Just leave me alone.

Juliana: All right. I’ll come back out here and make you some breakfast later.

Caron: I’ll get myself some cereal instead.

Juliana: Okay.

(Caron continues to read his book as his imaginary friend Cestus stands next to the couch. He looks at him.)

Cestus: You know you’re going to have to let your sister address this issue to the principal, right?

Caron: Yeah, I know. But Cestus, this is something I have to deal with by myself.

Cestus: How are you going to do that?

(Caron looks away.)

Cestus: You have no idea of how you’re going to deal with those kids and teachers that are picking on you and ostracizing you, do you?

Caron: I do.

Cestus: Okay, then. Tell me. (Silence.)

Caron: Stay home and pretend to be sick?

Cestus: Caron.

Caron West: I was only thinking of a solution on how to avoid those kids.

Cestus: That’s not going to help.

Caron West: How would you know? You’ve never been bullied before.

Cestus: You’re right, I don’t because you created me from out of your imagination when you were 10. But I do know I saw those kids dipping your head into the toilet in the boys’ bathroom at school last Monday.

Caron West: And?

Cestus: You can’t continue to outrun them and pretend the bullying didn’t happen.

Caron West: I rather do that for the rest of the school year until I go to high school.

Cestus: You are going to have an emotional breakdown from keeping all these issues to yourself.

Caron West: Oh, come on, Cestus. Stop being so dramatic.

Cestus: I’m not being dramatic! I’m just stating the facts!

Caron West: Right.

Cestus: I’m serious! Look, I am your best friend. I am trying to look out for you.

Caron West: If you want to look out for me, stay out of my business!

Cestus: Come on, Caron. I am not trying to hurt you.

Caron West: Can we not talk about this anymore? (Pause.)

Cestus: Fine.

Caron West: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.

Cestus: That’s okay.

Caron West: There’s this girl that I like in my science class. Her name is Marie Hopkins, and she looks at me every day.

(Cestus pulls out a notebook and shows it to Caron.)

Cestus: Is that why you keep writing her name all over your notebook?

Caron West: Oh, yeah.

Cestus: And is that why you keep making these kissy faces in your sleep?

Caron West: Who told you that?!

Cestus: I saw you dream about Marie Hopkins. You have a crush on her.

Caron West: I do not!

Cestus: Yes, you do.

Caron West: She’s just my classmate, Cestus. I don’t even know her.

Cestus: Maybe you should talk to her at lunch tomorrow.

Caron West: And say what? I have no friends?

Cestus: No, you should introduce yourself to Marie and get to know her better.

Caron West: But how do I do that, though?

Cestus: Just be yourself. She will only like you for who you are.

Caron West: Okay, I’ll try to do that. But what if I make a fool of myself?

Cestus: You won’t make a fool of yourself.

Caron West: I hope you’re right. Well, I’m getting myself some Cheerios. Do you want anything to eat?

Cestus: I’ll just have a sandwich.

Caron West: What kind of sandwich do you want?

Cestus: Turkey bacon sandwich.

Caron West: Well, my sister would have to make the bacon in order to make the turkey bacon sandwich.

Cestus: Oh.

Caron West: I can make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for you if you want.

Cestus: Yes, that’s fine.

Caron West: Okay.

Cestus: Thank you, Caron.

Caron: You’re welcome.

(Caron walks into the kitchen and gets a bag of bread and a jar of jelly from the refrigerator. He grabs a jar of peanut butter from the cabinet. He makes two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Cestus. He hands the plate of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to him and gets a bowl of Cheerios. Cestus sits on the couch.)

Cestus: So, are you looking forward to going to school tomorrow?

Caron: I guess so.

Cestus: Are you sure?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: You look like you’re sad about it. Is it because of those kids and your teachers?

Caron: No, I am not looking forward to doing any math problems that I am having trouble with.

Cestus: You’re having problems with math?

Caron: Yes, and I’m also having problems with social studies. I have a hard time remembering the history of previous African Americans.

Cestus: I don’t think those are the only problems that you have been having in school.

(Caron pours some Cheerios and milk into the bowl and sits on the couch next to Cestus.)

Caron: What do you mean?

Cestus: You’re afraid of running into your teachers and the kids that were teasing you.

Caron: I already said I don’t want to talk about that.

Cestus: But it’s still bothering you.

Caron: Here we go.

Cestus: You’re going to have to tell someone eventually, including your sister Juliana.

Caron: No, I can’t.

Cestus: Why not?

Caron: Because those kids told me that if I ever tell my teachers and Juliana about them picking on me, they will tell my teachers that I have been beating them up and taking their lunch money and vandalizing this apartment.

Cestus: What do you mean by vandalizing the apartment?

Caron: Putting some graffiti on the windows and breaking my belongings after they showed up at Juliana’s apartment uninvited. (Silence.)

Cestus: You really need to tell your sister and your teachers about this because this is a serious crime, Caron.

Caron: My sister will believe me, but that’s not the case with my teachers, Cestus.

Cestus: You’re going to have to try.

Caron: No, I won’t! Every time I tell my teachers that those kids are picking on me, they will tell me to stop overreacting! They will tell me that it’s my fault for letting them pick on me.

Cestus: (rubs his face with his hand) I don’t believe this.

Caron: I just want to graduate from Overton Middle School, so I won’t have to deal with them.

Cestus: I know you want to graduate from that school, but running away from your problems isn’t going to solve anything.

Caron: So you’re saying I have to suffer from being bullied at school?!

Cestus: No, that’s not what I’m saying! I’m saying you have to learn how to speak up instead of keeping it a secret.

Caron: I am not trying to get humiliated for talking about it.

Cestus: You are not going to get humiliated for that! Just tell somebody already!

Caron: Stop bugging me about it! I just want you to leave me alone.

Cestus: I just don’t want to see you—

Caron: Cestus, go away.

Cestus: Caron, I’m only telling you to—

Caron: Get out of my house, now!

(Cestus leaves the apartment, and Caron throws a pillow on the floor. Juliana walks into the living room and looks at Caron.)

Juliana: Is everything okay, Caron?

Caron: Yes, everything’s fine.

Juliana: You don’t sound so fine. Do you want to talk about it?

Caron: You would not understand.

Juliana: Yes, I would. Now tell me what’s bothering you.

Caron: All right. Do you remember when I was having trouble with making friends at school?

Juliana: Yes.

Caron: Well, I created an imaginary friend to keep me company.

Juliana: Okay?

Caron: His name is Cestus. He is a 13-year-old human being with red hair and loves to read books.

Juliana: Does he stick up for you?

Caron: Yes, he does. And he keeps me out of trouble.

(Juliana shakes her head.)

Juliana: How long did you create him?

Caron: Three years.

Juliana: Wow.

Caron: What?

Juliana: Aren’t you old for imaginary friends?

Caron: Julie, I am never too old for imaginary friends.

Juliana: But you’re 13 years old. It’s time for you to make real friends.

Caron: I can still make friends, but I’m not getting rid of Cestus, if that’s what you mean.

Juliana: Teenagers do not have imaginary friends.

Caron: Some of them do, and they still make friends with real people.

Juliana: That’s not true.

Caron: Yes, it is!

Juliana: Bro, I think you need to get some counseling because having imaginary friends as a teenager is not normal.

Caron: Wait. Wait a minute. Are you saying that I’m crazy?! (Silence.)

Juliana: No.

Caron: You’re lying.

Juliana: Caron, I never said that.

Caron: Come on, Juliana. Your attitude said it all.

Juliana: Because you might be having a mental illness that causes you to see things that aren’t there.

Caron: Now you’re calling me a psycho because I created Cestus to help me learn how to socialize with other people?!

Juliana: All I’m saying is that if you continue to interact with this Cestus person, people are going to think you’re crazy, and you will be sent to an asylum.

Caron: I don’t even know why I’m talking to you.

Juliana: I just don’t want you to get hurt.

Caron: You are the worst sister ever. I wish I was an only child!

Juliana: You know what? I don’t have time for this. If you want to mess up your life over some stupid imaginary friend, that’s on you.

Caron: You just don’t get it. You don’t know what it’s like to not have anyone to talk to in school. Just leave me alone.

Juliana: I didn’t mean to attack you like—

Caron: Leave me alone!

(Juliana walks back into her room and slams the door. Caron screams as he slams his hand on the coffee table. He tries to finish his reading homework, but he hears the glass shattering from outside.)

Caron: What the heck?!

Juliana: (opens her bedroom door) Caron, what’s going on?

Caron: I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.

(Caron puts his book down and looks at the broken window. He opens his mouth but doesn’t say anything. He gets up and tries to walk towards it, but he looks at the brick, picks it up, and takes the note off of it. He reads the note.)

Caron: Aw, no.

(Caron’s phone dings, and he looks at it. He covers his face.)

Caron: Oh, my God.

Scene 2: Cafeteria

(It is Monday afternoon at Overton Middle School, and Caron is carrying a tray of deep dish pizza, broccoli, grape juice, corn, and some string cheese. He tries to grab a seat next to Benjamin Brooklyn, but Benjamin puts his hand on it. He looks at Caron.)

Benjamin Brooklyn: You’re not allowed to sit here.

Caron West: Why?

Benjamin Brooklyn: Because you told everyone that I sleep with my teddy bear every night.

Caron West: That’s a lie! I would never tell anyone that!

Benjamin Brooklyn: Like you told me that I was a retard last Friday?

Caron West: I didn’t say that to you.

Benjamin Brooklyn: I don’t want to be friends with you anyway. Now leave.

(Caron walks away from Benjamin and finds another table to sit. He tries to sit next to Janie Barkins, but Janie puts her book bag on the empty seat and looks at him.)

Janie Barkins: Don’t sit next to me!

Caron West: Why can’t I sit next to you?

Janie Barkins: Because you called me a fat pig and threatened to beat me up if I didn’t give you my lunch money!

Caron West: I didn’t say that. Somebody must have made that up.

Janie Barkins: You’re just saying that to play the victim.

Caron: I’m telling you the truth. I would never disrespect or threaten you, Janie. You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met.

Janie Barkins: Get away from me, Caron. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

Caron: Fine.

(Caron walks away from Janie and sits at another table by himself, and Cestus appears next to him.)

Cestus: Is everything okay?

Caron: No. My classmates won’t even let me sit with them.

Cestus: Why?

Caron: Because they said I was threatening them, humiliating them, and calling them names.

Cestus: Are you kidding me?

Caron: No, Cestus. I’m not.

Cestus: I’m sorry to hear that.

Caron: I can’t believe nobody wants to be my friend over something that I didn’t do.

Cestus: You still have me.

Caron: I know, but I also want to make new friends and keep you in my life.

Cestus: That’s fine, but don’t forget that I can be whoever you want me to be, Caron.

Caron: I won’t, Cestus.

Cestus: Okay. How was class?

Caron: It was horrible. My teacher humiliated me in front of everyone because I don’t know the answer for 0.89×1.00.

Cestus: Did you tell another teacher?

Caron: I did, and he said that I needed to suck it up.

(Cestus shakes his head.)

Cestus: Why would he say that to you?!

Caron: I don’t know, and every time I tell someone, they just want to look the other way or tell me I needed to get tested for Bipolar Disorder.

Cestus: You have to report this to the principal.

Caron: No! If I tell the principal about this, she will not believe me.

Cestus: You have to try to do that. (Silence.)

Caron: I’ll think about it.

Cestus: Okay.

(Caron eats his lunch while Cestus reads his book. Marie Hopkins walks towards Caron and looks at him.)

Marie Hopkins: Hi.

Caron: H-Hi.

Marie Hopkins: Is anyone sitting here?

Caron: Um……

(Caron freezes, and Cestus nudges him on the arm.)

Cestus: Say something.

Caron: Oh! Uh, no. Not at all.

(Marie sits next to Caron and puts her book bag on the floor.)

Marie: Are you a new student in this school?

Caron: No. I have been attending to this school since I was in fifth grade. What about you?

Marie: I’m not a new student, either.

Caron: Okay.

Marie: My name is Marie. What’s yours?

Caron: My name is Caron.

(Caron and Marie shake hands with each other.)

Marie: Well, it’s nice to meet you, Caron.

Caron: It’s nice to meet you, too.

Marie: What classes do you have?

Caron: I have English, math, social studies, science, and physical education.

Marie: Me too.

Caron: Oh, okay. What is your least favorite subject?

Marie: Science. I have a hard time figuring out how to replicate a rock for my science project.

Caron: Did you ask the teacher for help?

Marie: I tried to, but she wasn’t in the classroom when school ended last week. Did you do your science project?

Caron: No, I did not.

Marie: Well, you need to start on it soon because it’s due in October.

Caron: I was busy with other homework for my other classes.

Marie: Oh. But don’t forget to do it, though.

Caron: I won’t.

Marie: What subject do you not like?

Caron: Math. I have trouble with multiplying decimals.

Marie: Oh, wow. Did you go to tutoring for that?

Caron: No, I didn’t even think about that.

Marie: Well, they have tutoring afterschool since you are having trouble with multiplying decimals.

Caron: What time does it start?

Marie: 4:00 at noon.

Caron: Okay, I will check it out.

Marie: Cool. (Silence.)

Caron: Do you have any siblings?

Marie: I have one sister.

Caron: Is she older than you?

Marie: No, she’s younger than me. She is five years old.

Caron: Oh, okay.

Marie: How many siblings do you have?

Caron: I only have one, and she’s older than me. She is 25 years old.

Marie: Okay.

Caron: Do you live with your parents?

Marie: I live with my mom because she and my dad are divorced.

Caron: I’m sorry to hear that.

Marie: That’s okay. Do you live with your parents also?

Caron: No, I live with my sister. My mom died two years ago, and my dad is in his late forties.

Marie: I’m sorry for your loss.

Caron: Thank you. What class do you have next?

Marie: Spanish class.

Caron: Do you like it?

Marie: Yes. I love learning how to speak in different languages.

Caron: That’s good. My next class is physical education.

Marie: Do you love exercising?

Caron: Yes, I do. It helps me relax.

Marie: That’s great! Exercising is good for your health.

Caron: I agree.

Marie: Do you want to exchange phone numbers before we go to class?

Caron: Yes.

(Caron and Marie write down their phone numbers and give them to each other.)

Marie: If you need a friend to talk to, call that number, and I will answer it. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Caron: Thank you, Marie.

Marie: You’re welcome, Caron.

(Middle school kids throw paper balls and food at Caron, and Caron covers his face. They call him nerd face and tease him for hanging out with Marie. He looks away, and Marie gets out of her seat and looks at them.)

Marie: He’s a nice kid! Just because he’s smarter than you guys doesn’t mean you can take it out on him or throw stuff at him! I’m looking at you, Sandy!

(Middle school kids walk away from Marie and Caron, and Caron gets ready to get out of his seat to move to another table. Marie looks at Caron.)

Marie Hopkins: Don’t leave. I like talking to you. Those kids are trolls.

Caron West: It’s cool.

Marie Hopkins: No, it’s not cool! You need to tell someone about this!

Caron West: They are not going to take me seriously!

Marie Hopkins: If a teacher or the principal will not take you seriously, then you need to tell your parents or a legal guardian.

Caron West: If I tell my sister, she will pull me out of that school, and I will not be able to graduate with my class on time.

Marie Hopkins: But is it really worth it?

Caron West: (looks away) I don’t know.

Marie Hopkins: I don’t want to see you suffer like this, Caron.

(Marie puts her hand on Caron’s shoulder.)

Caron West: It’s going to blow over. I promise.

Marie Hopkins: If you say so.

Cestus: Are you okay?

Caron West: I will be.

Cestus: That was so mean of those kids to throw food and make fun of you because you’re hanging out with Marie Hopkins. Just because a boy is hanging out with a girl does not mean they are dating.

Caron West: But they don’t see it that way.

Cestus: They’re just trying to make you feel bad for being yourself. (Silence.)

Caron West: I just want to go home.

Cestus: You can’t leave school early because you can get in trouble for it.

Caron West: So?

Cestus: So, you have to wait until it ends at 3:30 p.m.

Caron West: Great.

(Caron sighs and covers his face.)

Marie Hopkins: Are you okay, Caron?

Caron West: Yeah.

Marie Hopkins: Is someone sitting next to us?

Caron West: No. I was just talking to myself.

Marie Hopkins: Oh, okay. I have a habit of talking to myself, too.

Caron West: I didn’t know that. I thought you had friends that you talk to a lot.

Marie Hopkins: No, I don’t have any friends.

Caron West: You don’t?

Marie Hopkins: No. I just talk to other middle school students every day.

Caron West: Oh. (Pause.)

Marie Hopkins: Do you have any friends?

Caron West: No.

Marie Hopkins: Maybe we can hang out one day, now that we’ve got each other’s phone numbers.

Caron West: Well, do you want to hang out at the Baskin and Robbins restaurant after school today?

Marie Hopkins: Sure, I would love to do that.

Caron West: Okay.

Marie Hopkins: You’re a really nice guy, Caron.

Caron West: Thank you, Marie. And you’re a very wonderful girl.

Marie Hopkins: Thank you.

(Cestus gives Caron a thumbs up and hugs him.)

Cestus: I am so proud of you for opening up to Marie.

Caron: Thank you, Cestus. I appreciate your support, even when I didn’t know how to make real friends.

Cestus: I’m glad I was able to help.

Marie: (to Caron) Are you sure nobody’s sitting right next to us?

Caron: Yes, I am sure.

Marie: It looks like you were talking to that chair right next to you.

Caron: What? Me talking to that chair? Why would I ever do something like that?

Marie: Because you’re doing it right now.

Caron: Oh. I was talking to Cestus. (Pause.)

Marie: Who’s Cestus?

(Caron scratches his head and looks away.)

Caron: This is going to sound crazy, but Cestus is my imaginary friend.

Marie: Oh, okay. Is he sitting with us right now?

Caron: (breaks his voice) Yeah.

Marie: Are you okay?

Caron: No.

Marie: What’s wrong?

Caron: I never told anyone about my imaginary friend before. People would think that I’m a freak for having one at 13 years old.

Marie: Well, it doesn’t bother me, so you don’t have to worry about that. I won’t judge you.

(Caron takes a deep breath.)

Caron: That’s a relief.

Marie: Thank you for trusting me with that.

Caron: You’re welcome. Cestus, this is Marie. Marie, this is Cestus.

(Marie and Cestus shake hands with each other.)

Marie: Hi, Cestus! It’s a pleasure to meet you!

Cestus: It’s a pleasure to meet you, too, Marie!

Marie: (to Caron) Is he a nice guy to you?

Caron: Yes.

Marie: How did you make him up?

Caron: I created a compassionate personality for him.

Marie: And is he a human being?

Caron: Yes, he’s a human being.

Marie: How old is he?

Caron: He is 13 years old, like me.

Marie: Do you know when his birthday is?

Caron: February 14th.

Marie: Oh, okay.

Cestus: Caron’s birthday falls on a February, too.

Marie: I didn’t know that, Cestus.

Cestus: Yup, his birthday’s on the 4th.

(Caron looks at Cestus.)

Caron: Really, Cestus?

Cestus: I was just trying to brighten the mood.

Caron: But I can speak for myself, though.

Cestus: Marie, do you know he was making kissy faces in his sleep?

Caron: Cestus!

(Marie tries to laugh as tears are coming out of her eyes.)

Marie: What?

Cestus: And he’s been writing your name all over his notebook.

Caron: Cestus!

Marie: That part where you said that Caron was making kissy faces when he was sleeping was funny.

Cestus: Yup, I can tell he had a crush on you.

Caron: Cestus, really?

Marie: I didn’t know you had a crush on me, Caron.

Caron: Well, yes, I did. But I didn’t want to say anything about it because I didn’t want to humiliate you.

Marie: Oh.

Caron: I’m sorry if I took it the wrong way.

Marie: That’s all right. I never had a crush on anyone myself.

Caron: You haven’t?

Marie: No.

Caron: Oh, okay.

Marie: But I do like you, though.

Caron: Okay. Cool.

(Middle school kids listen to Caron and Marie’s conversation and laugh at them. Caron, Marie, and Cestus look at them, and Caron gets up from the table and runs out of the cafeteria. Cestus follows Caron.)

Marie: Caron! (to the middle school kids) You guys are jerks! Caron, wait!

(Marie runs after Caron, and the middle school kids do not say anything. They continue to laugh and tease Caron and Marie.)

Scene 3: Schoolyard

(It is Tuesday afternoon, and Caron sits on the bench with Cestus. He hangs his head, and Cestus puts his hand on his shoulder.)

Cestus: Are you okay?

Caron: No. Everybody keeps making fun of me because I had a crush on Marie Hopkins and have you as my imaginary friend.

Cestus: That was very low of those kids to humiliate you like that.

Caron: Now I can’t even walk to school without kids laughing at me!

Cestus: I’m sorry you have to go through this, Caron.

Caron: The reason why I invented you was because I didn’t want to be alone anymore.

Cestus: That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with having imaginary friends at any age. They can be whoever you want them to be.

Caron: I didn’t know that.

Cestus: Yeah.

Caron: I don’t know if I can go to my next class without worrying about the other kids giggling behind my back.

Cestus: You have to tell your teacher. This can’t continue.

Caron: All right. Let’s just hope Ms. Tinsel believes me when I go to my algebra class after recess.

(Caron starts his social studies homework.)

Cestus: What are you doing?

Caron: I’m doing my homework for my social studies class. I’m supposed to answer some questions about the Gold Rush.

Cestus: Did you read the story about the Gold Rush?

Caron: Yes. I did it last night.

Cestus: When are you supposed to hand it in?

Caron: Today.

Cestus: Why did you wait until the last minute to do this assignment?!

Caron: I haven’t been feeling well lately. (Silence.)

Cestus: Is that the reason you did not answer the questions about the story of the Gold Rush yesterday?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: I think you’re lying.

Caron: No, I’m not.

Cestus: You’re trying to avoid going to school, so you won’t have to worry about getting picked on.

Caron: I was trying to finish every assignment, but I came down with a stomach bug!

Cestus: You were worried about those kids using your insecurities against you!

Caron: Don’t you dare twist my words on me, Cestus.

Cestus: I’m not twisting your words! I’m concerned about your mental health!

Caron: Well, don’t. I can take care of myself.

(Caron continues to do his social studies homework while Cestus looks at him.)

Cestus: I want to see you do better in school and make new friends. I don’t want you to repeat the eighth grade by skipping school.

(Caron does not look at Cestus.)

Cestus: I also don’t want you to commit suicide from being bullied. (grabs Caron’s face and turns it towards him) Caron, look at me. I don’t want you to change yourself for anybody, especially for those kids.

Caron: I appreciate your concern, Cestus, but I’m not going to sit here and continue to get harassed by staying in school.

Cestus: But you can’t keep running away from your problems!

Caron: I don’t care! I just want this to stop!

(Middle school kids listen to Caron’s conversation and start making jokes about him. Caron looks at them and looks at Cestus.)

Caron: Great. Now I look like a laughingstock by making people think I’m talking to a bench when I’m talking to you.

Cestus: That’s because they can’t see me.

Caron: Whatever!

Janie Barkins: Leave him alone! He was just talking to himself! Lots of people do that, too. So get over it.

(Middle school kids walk away, and Janie looks at Caron.)

Janie Barkins: Are you okay?

Caron West: I am now.

Janie Barkins: I’m sorry I didn’t stand up for you yesterday.

Caron West: That’s okay.

Janie Barkins: No, it’s not. I should have known better not to listen to those kids when they were spreading rumors about you calling me names.

Caron West: Yes, you should have.

Janie Barkins: And I should have stood up to them also. Can you ever forgive me?

Caron West: Yes, I forgive you.

(Janie and Caron shake hands with each other.)

Janie Barkins: Are you doing anything this weekend?

Caron West: No, why?

Janie: Because I wanted to give you my phone number before we go to class.

Caron: Are you trying to ask me if you wanted to hang out with me this weekend?

Janie: Yes.

Caron: Okay. Where do you want to go?

Janie: I want to go to McDonalds.

Caron: All right.

Janie: Do you have a phone with you?

Caron: Yes, but it’s in my book bag.

Janie: Okay, I’ll write it down and give it to you.

Caron: Okay.

(Janie writes down her phone number on a piece of paper and gives it to Caron. Caron puts it in his book bag.)

Janie: This is my phone number. I will call you and let you know what day we can go to McDonalds.

Caron: Okay. Let me know ahead of time.

Janie: All right.

Caron: Did you finish the homework assignment for language arts yesterday?

Janie: Yes, I finished it.

Caron: Okay.

Janie: Were you having trouble with underlining sentences that had dependent and independent clauses?

Caron: Yes, but I managed to tell the difference between the two of them by reading every sentence over and over again before I underlined them.

Janie: That’s good. What do you have there?

(Janie looks at Caron’s notebook.)

Caron: My social studies homework.

Janie: You know we’re supposed to hand the questions in to the teacher today, right?

Caron: Yes, that’s why I’m doing it now, so I won’t get an incomplete for it.

Janie: You should have done it yesterday.

Caron: I had a tummy ache.

Janie: Right.

Caron: Can you not lecture me right now? You are not my mom.

Janie: I don’t want you to fail that class.

Caron: I know, but that doesn’t mean you can get on my case about it. I know I messed up.

Janie: I’m sorry.

Caron: Does your mom ever get on your case like this?

Janie: She only does that when she knows I have been slacking off at school.

Caron: How?

Janie: The principal would call her and let her know that I have not been studying for tests and have been talking to other students when the teacher was talking.

Caron: What would she say?

Janie: She would say that I need to stay focused in class more, or she will ground me for two years.

Caron: Does she really ground you for two years when you play around in class?

Janie: No, she just grounds me for two weeks when I do that.

Caron: Oh, okay.

Janie: What about you? (Pause.)

Caron: My sister usually takes my phone away and tells me I can’t have company over to the apartment for three weeks when I don’t do my homework for school.

Janie: That’s fair.

Caron: Yeah, I agree. She wants to make sure I get an education.

Janie: That’s understandable. Do you guys live with your mom?

Caron: My mom passed away, so I live with my sister.

Janie: I’m sorry for your loss.

Caron: Thank you.

Janie: What about your dad?

Caron: He’s still living. He lives in another state.

Janie: Do you know what state he lives in?

Caron: He lives in North Dakota.

Janie: Oh, okay.

Caron: Are your parents living together?

Janie: No, they’re separated. I just live with my mom and three sisters.

Caron: Oh, okay.

Janie: Caron, I was wondering. Have you ever liked someone before?

Caron: No. Why, have you ever liked someone?

Janie: No, I was just asking.

Caron: Okay.

Janie: If I had a crush on someone, and they looked at me, I would run away.

Caron: Why?

Janie: Because I don’t know how to talk to a boy.

Caron: Well, I’m a boy, and you’re doing a good job in talking to me.

Janie: I’m talking about a boy that I never met.

Caron: Oh. I don’t know how to talk to a girl until I met one.

Janie: What’s her name?

Caron: Marie Hopkins.

Janie: Marie Hopkins?! The one that’s in my first period English class?

Caron: Yes? Why, do you know her?

Janie: No, we just have that class together.

Caron: Oh.

Janie: I didn’t know she was talking to you yesterday.

Caron: Yeah, she talked to me. We exchanged numbers with each other not too long ago.

Janie: Are you two planning on hanging out with each other?

Caron: Yes.

(Cestus looks at Janie while he is holding a book.)

Janie: Okay.

(Janie looks at Caron’s homework, then looks at him.)

Janie Barkins: Do you want me to help you with your social studies homework?

Caron West: No, thank you.

Janie Barkins: Okay.

(Janie gets a piece of paper out and copies off of Caron while looking at his homework. Caron continues to do his homework, and Janie puts the paper in her folder.)

Janie Barkins: Well, if you need any help, just give me a call.

Caron West: Okay.

Janie Barkins: See you later.

Caron West: All right.

(Janie walks away from Caron.)

Cestus: Is that the girl that told you not to sit next to her at the cafeteria?

Caron West: Yeah.

Cestus: Well, why did she want to talk to you?

Caron West: She wanted to apologize for not standing up for me.

Cestus: Did you accept her apology?

Caron West: Yes.

Cestus: What else did she say?

Caron West: Well, she gave me her phone number, so we could hang out someday.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron West: Plus, she told me to give her a call if I needed help with my social studies homework. (Silence.)

Cestus: If she told you to give her a call if you needed help with your social studies homework, then why was she copying off of you?

Caron West: What are you talking about?

Cestus: I saw her pull out a sheet of paper and write down the same answers that you wrote in your notebook.

Caron West: Are you serious?!

Cestus: She just wants to be friends with you, so she could write down your answers and take credit for your work. (Silence.)

Caron West: I don’t believe it.

Cestus: I’m sorry, Caron.

(Caron shakes his head.)

Caron West: I can’t believe she would do this to me. And I thought she was a nice girl.

Cestus: No, Caron. She was using you.

(Caron gets up, tears the paper with Janie’s phone number on it, and throws it in the trash. He kicks the trash can, screams, and puts his hands on his head. He and Cestus hug each other.)

Caron West: I can’t believe she lied to me like this.

Cestus: Yeah.

Caron West: She is just like the other kids because she wants to check on me to see how I am doing when she needs something from me. I do not want to talk to her again.

Cestus: If she tries to call you on your phone, just block her number.

Caron West: Oh, trust me, I will do that. I don’t even want to look at her because she’s a disgusting, conniving human being.

Cestus: Yeah.

(The bell rings, and Caron puts his books in his book bag. He puts his book bag on his back and walks inside the school building.)

Scene 4: Juliana’s Apartment

(It is Thursday evening, and Caron is curled up on the couch crying. Cestus rubs his back.)

Caron: I can’t do this anymore! Everyone keeps calling me a dummy for not getting the answers right on my math problems. My teachers even told me I did not belong in Overton Middle School because they did not believe I would be good enough for anybody.

Cestus: You’re not a dummy, Caron. You can’t expect yourself to get every math problem right, and those teachers and students should not have belittled and humiliated you like that.

Caron: What difference does it make?! It’s not going to stop, even when I do my best to answer questions in all of my classes. I don’t want to go back to that school anymore.

(Caron puts his head on his knees and continues to cry.)

Cestus: Okay, okay. You can ask your sister if you can stay home tomorrow and tell her what happened.

Caron: Guess I don’t have a choice, do I?

Cestus: Nope.

Caron: I rather do all of my schoolwork at home than to do it in class because I’m tired of the bullying. I’m tired of it!

Cestus: I know.

(Cestus continues to rub Caron’s back, and Juliana walks into the living room. She finds Caron crying.)

Juliana: What is going on in here? Caron, what’s the matter?

Caron: All of my teachers and the other students kept making fun of me, and one of my classmates, Janie Barkins, told my social studies teacher that I was copying off of her when I turned in my social studies homework to her.

Juliana: Did you copy off of her?

Caron: No! I found out she was copying off of me when she was looking at it and wrote down the same answers I wrote down for each question!

Juliana: All right, I’m going to have to call the principal about this tomorrow morning.

Caron: No, don’t call the principal, sis. It’s only going to make things—

Juliana West: No, this has got to stop. Now. Right now.

Caron West: Can I just stay home tomorrow, Juliana? I can’t handle this another second.

Juliana West: Okay, Caron. You can stay home tomorrow.

Caron West: Thank you. Wait, what about my assignments for all of my classes?

Juliana West: I will talk to your teachers to see if they can let you do all of them at home after I talk to the principal.

Caron West: Okay.

Juliana West: I wish you could have told me this sooner, Caron.

Caron West: Sis, I couldn’t.

Juliana West: Why?

Caron West: Because I didn’t want to get you fired from your job at the football stadium for coming to my school every day to talk to the principal.

Juliana West: You’re my brother, Caron. I don’t want anything to happen to you.

Caron West: I’m sorry, Julie.

Juliana West: It’s okay.

(Juliana and Caron hug each other.)

Juliana West: We will get through this, all right?

Caron West: All right.

Juliana West: Don’t stay up too late.

Caron West: I won’t.

Juliana West: Good night.

Caron West: Good night.

(Juliana walks back to her room, and Caron eats a bowl of ice cream. Cestus looks at him.)

Cestus: Are you all right?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: Well, you did the right thing.

Caron: I know.

Cestus: And I’m glad your sister let you stay home tomorrow.

Caron: Me, too.

Cestus: I hope you can do all of your homework at home this week.

Caron: Yeah.

Cestus: Does Marie know that you’re not coming back to school?

Caron: No, I have to call her and let her know first thing in the morning.

Cestus: Okay, cool.

Caron: She really cares about me.

Cestus: I know she does because she doesn’t want to see you get hurt.

Caron: I always thought that I would never have any real friends until Marie came along.

Cestus: Why do you say that?

Caron: Because I didn’t know how to make friends when I was a kid. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was a freak for telling them about what I like to do during my free time.

Cestus: You can’t expect everybody to be your friend.

Caron: I know.

Cestus: There will always be people that are going to be judgmental towards you.

Caron: I agree. But what about imaginary friends?

Cestus: That depends on how other people want them to be, including you.

Caron: I did not know that.

Cestus: People can also keep their imaginary friends if they choose to.

Caron: Oh, okay. Well, I want you to stick around for a very long time because you have helped me get through the good and tough times in my life by being there for me.

Cestus: Okay.

Juliana: (offstage) Caron, who are you talking to?

Caron: I’m talking to my imaginary friend, Cestus.

Juliana: (offstage) I told you you’re too old for imaginary friends. You need to start making real friends at your age.

Caron: Stop telling me that I’m too old for imaginary friends. I can make real friends and imaginary friends no matter how old I am.

Juliana: (offstage) You’ll never learn.

Caron: Leave me alone, Juliana!

Juliana: Screw you.

(Juliana goes back to sleep, and Caron groans while he grits his teeth. He also balls his fists up.)

Caron: I can’t believe she won’t accept the fact that I’m still going to have you in my life as an imaginary friend, whether I have real friends or not!

Cestus: Juliana’s not going to get rid of me, is she?

Caron: No. She would want me to get rid of you because I’m a teenager.

Cestus: Do you want me to go away forever?

Caron: No, I like having you here because my life wouldn’t be the same if you walked out of my life.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron: I’m sorry for pushing you away.

Cestus: That’s okay.

Caron: No, it’s not. I acted like a jerk when you were trying to help. Please forgive me.

Cestus: I forgive you, Caron.

(Cestus and Caron hug each other.)

Caron: Do you want to watch a movie with me?

Cestus: Of course.

(Caron grabs the remote and turns on the TV. He and Cestus look at the TV while Caron drinks his bottle of water. Caron looks at his phone.)

Caron: Cestus, Benjamin Brooklyn just texted me and asked me why did I send some photos to the other students.

Cestus: What photos?

Caron: The photos of him playing with his rubber ducky in the bathtub.

Cestus: Did you send those out?

Caron: No! And he told me to stay away from him!

Cestus: That’s crazy.

Caron: If he doesn’t want to be around me, fine! But he needs to stop taking that mess out on me because I did not send those photos to the other students!

Cestus: Yeah. (Silence.)

Caron: My life is over.

Cestus: No, it’s not. Those students like Benjamin Brooklyn are trying to get under your skin.

(Caron sighs and rubs his face.)

Caron: I just want to go to cyber school at Overton Middle School for the rest of my life. I can’t keep living like this!

Cestus: Okay, but make sure you let your sister know before she talks to the principal tomorrow.

Caron West: All right.

Cestus: Everything’s going to be okay.

Caron West: I hope so.

Cestus: I’m serious. If anybody messes with you, they will have to answer to me.

Caron West: You’re not talking about hitting those kids at school, are you?

Cestus: No. I mean I will tell them off if they tease you again.

Caron West: Oh, okay.

Cestus: It’s not good to fight a bully.

Caron West: Why?

Cestus: Because if you fight a bully, you will become a bully yourself. The only way to stop the bullying from getting worse is to stand up for someone who is being bullied.

Caron West: I never thought of it like that.

Cestus: You didn’t know any better.

Caron West: I always believed if I hid and ran away from the bullies, they wouldn’t mess with me anymore.

Cestus: No good is going to come out of that because that’s how the bullies win. (Silence.)

Caron West: I wonder if anybody knows what it’s like to be bullied.

Cestus: I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people that have experienced bullying at school. You’re not the only one.

Caron West: Oh.

Cestus: Have you asked your family if they were being picked on?

Caron West: No.

Cestus: Well, maybe you should try asking them sometime.

Caron West: Yeah, or I can ask Marie if she went through the same thing I’m going through.

Cestus: Yes, you can do that, too.

Caron West: Okay. I will ask them tomorrow.

Cestus: Okay.

(The house phone rings.)

Caron: Who could be calling at a time like this?

(Cestus shrugs his shoulders, and Caron picks up the house phone and answers it.)

Caron: Hello? Who is this? If you’re going to humiliate me, I’m going to hang—No, I will not calm down. You’re accusing me of trashing the whole cafeteria at school, and I didn’t! (silence) Stop accusing me of what I didn’t do! Well, you’re a bigger one, dough brain! I don’t ever want to speak to you again! Goodbye.

(Caron slams the house phone on the stand.)

Cestus: What was that all about?

Caron: Some kid said I vandalized the entire cafeteria at school.

Cestus: But you didn’t do it! Why would that kid make something up like that?

Caron: I don’t know.

(The house phone rings again, and Caron picks it up.)

Caron: Hello? What do you want? What did you just call me? You’re a sick twisted person who wants to blame me for putting my hands on your friend that I do not know. Don’t you have anything else to do other than messing up my life?

(Cestus puts his hand out, and Caron gives him the house phone.)

Cestus: You need to stop picking on my friend, or you’re going to be very sorry. How dare you talk to him that way?! If you ever try to call this house again, I will report you to the police.

(Cestus slams the house phone on the house stand.)

Cestus: You need to tell your sister about this. This is getting out of control.

Caron: Well I would, but it’s the middle of the night.

Cestus: Oh, right.

Caron: I’m going to have to tell her in the morning.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron: Why don’t we just go to my room and get some sleep?

Cestus: All right. But aren’t you going to finish your ice cream?

Caron: No. I lost my appetite. I’ll dump it in the trash can and rinse my bowl out.

Cestus: Okay. I can wait for you, if you want.

Caron: Yes, that’s fine.

(Caron gets up, turns the TV off, and dumps his ice cream in the trash. He turns the kitchen light on and rinses his bowl out. He puts it in the sink and turns the kitchen light off. Caron and Cestus walk into Caron’s bedroom. Caron closes his bedroom door.)

Scene 5: Library

(It is Friday morning, and Caron and Cestus are reading books at a table. Cestus puts his book down and looks at Caron.)

Cestus: Did you tell your sister what happened last night?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: What did she say?

Caron: She said she was going to tell the principal that the other students were harassing me.

Cestus: Good. They need to be held accountable for their actions.

Caron: I couldn’t agree with you more.

Cestus: You don’t deserve to be treated like that, Caron.

(Caron shakes his head.)

Caron: I thought I wasn’t going to get bullied after I started my first year of middle school.

Cestus: Well, that’s not the case.

Caron: What do you mean?

Cestus: There will always be other kids that are going to pick on you no matter what school you go to. You can’t run from them forever.

Caron: Oh.

Cestus: The more you run from your problems, the faster they catch up to you.

Caron: I did not know that.

Cestus: The only way to solve your problems is to face them head on. (Pause.)

Caron: You’re right.

Cestus: And you also have to learn how to trust yourself and other people when you are going through hard times.

Caron: Okay.

Cestus: Did you tell Marie that you were staying home today?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron: I also told her I’m at the library reading a book.

Cestus: Okay. Is she going to meet you here?

Caron: No, she’s at school.

Cestus: Dang, I forgot it was a school day.

Caron: Yeah.

(Caron’s phone vibrates, and Caron looks at his phone.)

Cestus: What is it, Caron?

Caron: Marie asked me if I wanted to come over to her house tomorrow.

Cestus: What did you say?

Caron: I didn’t say anything yet, but I am going to text her back and say I need to ask my sister first.

(Cestus shakes his head, and Caron sends a text message to Marie. His phone vibrates, and he looks at it. Then, he looks at Cestus.)

Caron: Marie said okay.

Cestus: All right. Make sure you ask your sister before you go over to her house.

Caron: I will.

Cestus: Have you talked to your dad?

Caron: Yes.

Cestus: What did he say?

Caron: He said that he was sorry that I had to experience the bullying at Overton Middle School, and he said he should have done something about it before it got this bad.

Cestus: Did you tell him he didn’t know?

Caron: Mm-hm. And I told him I didn’t know how to tell him because I thought he would get upset with me for not doing that.

Cestus: Did he say anything else after that?

Caron: Yes. He said that he wasn’t upset with me for not knowing how to talk to him about it.

Cestus: Well, at least he’s not pushing you away.

Caron: Yeah.

Cestus: Do you miss your dad?

Caron: Yes. I miss my dad a lot.

Cestus: Maybe you should ask him to come visit you one day.

Caron: I will definitely tell him that next week.

Cestus: That’s a good idea.

Caron: Yeah.

(Caron and Cestus continue to read their books. Cestus starts to laugh while he is reading, and Caron looks at him.)

Caron West: What are you laughing about?

Cestus: I’m laughing about this guy opening the door and running away from a centipede because he’s afraid of it, and he’s asking his mom to kill it for him. Then, he hides under his comforter in his room.

Caron West: Oh. I just thought you were laughing about something else.

Cestus: No.

(Cestus continues to laugh, and tears start to come out of his eyes.)

Caron West: Well, you know we’re in a library, right?

Cestus: Yes, I know we’re in a library.

Caron West: Then you might want to keep your voice down before somebody hears you.

Cestus: Caron, you know other people can’t see me, right?

Caron West: Shoot, I forgot about that! Oh, great, now I’m being loud.

Cestus: Why don’t we both keep our voices down, for our sakes?

Caron West: Okay.

(Cestus shows Caron his book, and Caron looks at it.)

Cestus: This is a good book to read.

Caron West: The Boy Who’s Afraid of Bugs?

Cestus: Mm-hm.

Caron West: What’s the story about?

Cestus: It’s about a boy who is trying to get over his fear of bugs, but he doesn’t know how to do that.

Caron West: Okay.

Cestus: You should read it sometime. It’s very funny.

Caron West: I’ll keep that in mind.

Cestus: Okay.

(Benjamin walks into the library to look for some books. He and Caron look at each other, and Benjamin walks away.)

Cestus: Is something wrong?

Caron West: Yes, Benjamin just walked in here.

Cestus: Are you kidding me?

Caron West: No. He even looked at me like I was his enemy.

Cestus: Well, if he wants to blame you for embarrassing him in public, knowing that you didn’t do it, that’s on him. You are not responsible for how he treats you.

Caron West: Yeah.

Cestus: People can be cruel, but that doesn’t mean they can blame somebody else for another person’s actions.

Caron West: I agree.

Cestus: You can’t assume that everybody is your friend, Caron. There’s always going to be one person that will talk about you behind your back and make fun of you. (Silence.)

Caron West: I guess I was looking for friends in all the wrong places.

Cestus: Yeah.

Caron West: But, how will I know if I found a friend that will have my back no matter what?

Cestus: I am one of those friends that have your back.

Caron West: No, I mean a friend who’s not imaginary.

Cestus: Oh.

Caron West: But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get rid of you.

Cestus: Oh, I know that. But to answer your question, the only thing you know that you found that friend that has your back all the time is when you start loving yourself. (Silence.)

Caron West: I never thought of doing something like that.

Cestus: You can’t have a healthy friendship with someone if you don’t do that.

Caron West: Oh.

(Caron looks at his phone.)

Cestus: What’s wrong?

Caron West: My dad just texted me. He said that he was going to call me and check up on me this week.

Cestus: That’s good. Do you know where he lives?

Caron West: He lives in Iowa, but not too far from us.

Cestus: Do you know what part of Iowa he resides in?

Caron West: Yes, he lives in the west side of it, and that’s the same area Juliana and I live in.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron West: But he doesn’t live too far from us.

Cestus: Oh, all right. Are you close with him?

Caron West: Yes.

Cestus: Do you talk to your dad about everything?

Caron West: Yes, I do, and he doesn’t judge me for talking to him about what bothers me.

Cestus: That’s good that he gives you emotional support.

Caron West: Yeah.

Cestus: Has your mom ever given you emotional support growing up?

Caron West: Yes, she did.

Cestus: Okay.

Caron West: If she was still here, she would tell me not to let anyone get in my way and have faith in myself.

Cestus: I agree.

Caron West: Hey, Cestus. After I do my homework, do you want to play video games with me?

Cestus: Sure. I would love to play video games with you.

Caron West: I can’t wait to beat you in the battleship game!

Cestus: Don’t count on it, Caron. Because I’m going to beat you in the first round.

Caron West: Mm-hm.

Cestus: I’ve watched you play Battleship for a long time, and I’m not going to go easy on you.

Caron West: Right.

(Benjamin records a video of Caron on his phone.)

Cestus: This is going to be the best friendly competition ever! I can’t wait to show off my gaming skills!

Caron: Me either. Wait, you’re not bluffing, are you?

Cestus: No. (Pause.)

Caron: Are you sure?

Cestus: Yes.

Caron: If you say so.

Cestus: I’m not bluffing! I know how to play Battleship!

Caron: Okay, I believe you.

(Cestus continues to read his book, and Caron tries to read his book. Caron looks at Benjamin’s phone and glares at Benjamin.)

Caron: Are you videotaping me right now?

Benjamin: (laughs) I cannot believe you are talking to an empty chair right now.

Caron: Are you videotaping me right now?

(Cestus looks up from his book and looks at Benjamin recording Caron. He puts his book down and glares at Benjamin.)

Caron: Benjamin, why would you do something like this?

(Benjamin doesn’t say anything to Caron.)

Caron: You don’t have the answer for it?! Let me answer it for you. You just want to make my life a living mess by humiliating me in front of everyone and making accusations of me telling everyone your business. You are just like the middle school kids.

Benjamin: Are you serious right now?

Caron: And you want to record me talking to my imaginary friend, so you can send it to everyone in school?!

Benjamin: You were the one that was calling me names and told everyone that I was playing with my childhood toys!

Caron: No, I did not do those things!

Benjamin Brooklyn: Yes, you did!

Caron: How the heck did I humiliate you and put you down? (silence) Exactly. Not a thing. And that doesn’t give you the right to record me talking to Cestus to show that to other people. Just because he’s my imaginary friend doesn’t mean I have to give him up. I can keep having him in my life, no matter how old I am. Other teenagers and adults have imaginary friends, too.

Cestus: That’s right.

Caron: So, who are you to judge? I am sick of you and the other middle school kids saying I’m too old for imaginary friends behind my back. You don’t even have to like me just because I have one. You make everyone feel bad about themselves, Benjamin. You have a problem. You live in your own little world. (Silence.)

Benjamin Brooklyn: I’m sorry for whatever I did. Let’s just not do this, okay?

(Benjamin tries to hug Caron, but Caron pushes his arms away from him.)

Caron: Apology not accepted.

Benjamin: I said I was sorry.

Caron: But it wasn’t sincere. You need to leave.

Benjamin: Caron, come on.

Caron: (at the same time) Leave now.

(Benjamin looks at Caron and continues to stand near him.)

Caron: I said leave!

(Benjamin walks away from Caron and leaves the library. Cestus hugs Caron.)

Cestus: You did a good job in standing up for yourself.

Caron: Thank you. People shouldn’t be ashamed for having imaginary friends as adults and teenagers, and it’s their choice if they want to keep them or not.

Cestus: I couldn’t agree more.

Caron: Cestus, should I tell people that I have you as an imaginary friend?

Cestus: No. They will only think you’re crazy. Just tell people that you can trust.

Caron: Oh, okay.

Cestus: Now what do you say we get some ice cream from the store?

Caron: I’m down for some ice cream.

Cestus: Okay, let’s go.

Caron: I’ll text Juliana and let her know I’m going to the store to get some ice cream.

Cestus: Okay.

(Caron pulls out his phone and texts Juliana. He and Cestus put their books away and leave the library. They put their hands on each other’s shoulders.)

Scene 6: Marie’s House

(It is Saturday afternoon, and Caron and Marie sit on the couch. They eat their hamburgers and French fries from McDonalds while they watch TV.)

Marie Hopkins: How have you been since you chose to do cyber school at Overton?

Caron West: I’ve been okay.

Marie Hopkins: I’m sorry you had to go through the bullying at school.

Caron West: Thank you.

Marie Hopkins: Some of the teachers and students pretended they were concerned about you when they were the ones that made you feel bad.

Caron West: Were they?

Marie Hopkins: Yes.

Caron West: What happened after that?

Marie Hopkins: I told them that was a lie because they ran you out of school by humiliating you for not knowing every answer in class and being yourself.

Caron West: Did they acknowledge the pain they caused me?

Marie Hopkins: No. They laughed it off and said I was crazy.

Caron West: That’s insane. Those teachers shouldn’t be allowed to work at Overton Middle School if they’re going to bully other kids for standing up for each other.

Marie Hopkins: I agree.

Caron West: They’re the reason why I switched to cyber school!

Marie Hopkins: You didn’t deserve to be bullied, Caron.

(Marie puts her hand on Caron’s shoulder.)

Caron West: Yeah. Is your mom home?

Marie Hopkins: No, she went to the movies with her friends. She also said she was going to go food shopping.

Caron West: Do you know what time she will be back?

Marie Hopkins: She will be back at 6:00 at night.

Caron West: Oh, okay.

Marie Hopkins: Did you tell your sister you were coming over here?

Caron West: Yes. I told her I will go back home at 5:30.

Marie Hopkins: Okay.

Caron: I finished my math homework yesterday.

Marie: What kind of problems did you have to do?

Caron: I had to convert each improper fraction to mixed numbers by dividing them. It was easy.

Marie: I still have trouble with that because I keep thinking I have to multiply them before turning them into mixed numbers.

Caron: You just have to divide them because if you multiply a fraction by its reciprocal and divide it, that answer is wrong.

Marie: Oh, okay.

Caron: Did you use to have trouble with fractions before?

Marie: Yeah. I didn’t know how to simplify fractions with uncommon denominators before adding, subtracting, and multiplying them. Now I’m having trouble with converting improper fractions into mixed numbers without the use of multiplication.

Caron: If you need help with that, I can teach you how to do it.

Marie: Okay.

Caron: What’s your favorite TV show?

Marie: Liv and Maddie. I watch it every weekend at home.

Caron: All right. What’s your favorite color?

Marie: Yellow.

Caron: Okay. My favorite color is orange.

Marie: Okay.

Caron: What’s your favorite place to visit?

Marie: My favorite place to visit is Atlantic City. I love to go on rides and play carnival games there. I also love going to the beach to skip seashells.

Caron: That’s nice.

Marie: Is Cestus with you today?

Caron: Yes.

Marie: Where is he?

Caron: He’s sitting at the table reading his book.

Marie: Cestus, you can sit with us if you want to.

Cestus: (offstage) No, thank you. I don’t want to interrupt your conversation.

Marie: You’re not interrupting us at all. You are always welcome to hang with us.

Cestus: (offstage) Thank you, Marie.

Marie: You’re welcome.

Cestus: (offstage) Oh, by the way, did you know that Caron had a dream about you saying that you like him and didn’t mind being his girlfriend one day?

(Caron chokes on his food and Marie laughs.)

Marie: What?

Cestus: (offstage) He said that in his sleep last night.

Caron: Cestus!

Marie: I didn’t know you really liked me that much, Caron.

Caron: (to Cestus) I’m going to kill you for saying that.

Marie: And I like you, too. But I want us to get to know each other a little more before we develop a relationship with each other.

Caron: You mean when we go to high school?

Marie: Mm-hm. I just want to develop a friendship with you for at least two years.

Caron: I can respect that.

Cestus: (offstage) When you guys do become boyfriend and girlfriend in high school, can I watch you too kiss?

(Caron throws a pillow at Cestus, and the pillow hits him in the head. Cestus laughs.)

Cestus: (offstage) Ah, come on!

Caron: Don’t mind him. He just wants to mess with me.

Marie: I can see that.

Caron: Where is your sister?

Marie: She’s spending the night at my aunt’s house for the weekend. She won’t be back until tomorrow.

Caron: Oh, okay. I can’t wait to meet your family one day.

Marie: And I can’t wait to meet your family one day, either.

(Marie’s phone rings, and Marie answers it.)

Marie: Hello? Hi, Mom. Yes, I’m hanging with Caron. You know, the boy that I was telling you about. Yes, Mom, I know I have to do my homework after he leaves. I just need help with my science project. I didn’t wait until the last minute! I started doing it on Thursday, and I don’t have any more parts to build a replication machine for my rocks! Yes, I’ll get it done, Mother. I did do my other homework, though. Okay, I love you, too. Bye. I will.

(Marie ends the phone call and puts her phone on the coffee table.)

Caron: Who was that?

Marie: It was my mom. She wanted to know what I was doing and reminded to get my homework done after you go home.

Caron: Okay.

Marie: I also told her I needed help with my science project because I ran out of parts for my replication machine for my rock that I have in my room.

Caron: Did she say she was going to help you with your science project and get more parts for your replication machine?

Marie: Yes.

Caron: Well, that’s good that your mom is willing to help you out.

Marie: Yes, it is. She wants to see me do well in school.

Caron: I agree with her because getting an education in school is important.

Marie: Yeah.

Caron: Well, speaking of science projects, I am halfway done with building my replication machine. But I didn’t get any rocks yet.

Marie: You can always buy some rocks from the gift shop at a museum.

Caron: I thought they don’t sell rocks there.

Marie: Oh, no. They do. You just have to walk in there and look for a rock that you want to buy and take it home with you.

Caron: Oh, okay.

(Caron finishes eating his hamburger and French fries and throws it in the trash. He drinks his soda, and Marie looks at her phone.)

Marie Hopkins: Are you kidding me?

Caron West: What’s wrong?

Marie Hopkins: One of the girls that I talk to in school told me not to sit next to them at the lunch table because I stood up for you yesterday.

Caron West: Did you block their numbers?

Marie Hopkins: I’m getting ready to do that now.

(Marie tries to block the number on her phone, but her phone dings several times. She looks at the text messages.)

Marie Hopkins: This is getting out of hand now.

Caron West: You need to report this to your mom when she gets home because no one should reject you for talking to me.

Marie Hopkins: They’re a bunch of jerks. If they don’t want me to hang out with you because they accused you of bullying them, then I am not going to hang with them anymore.

Caron West: I’m sorry that this has happened to you, Marie.

Marie Hopkins: Thank you.

Caron West: Do you want to play some board games while I’m here?

Marie Hopkins: No, thanks. I rather watch TV with you.

Caron West: Okay.

Marie Hopkins: So, does your sister work?

Caron West: Yes.

Marie Hopkins: Where does she work at?

Caron West: She works at the football stadium on Mondays through Sundays.

Marie Hopkins: Does she work at night or in the morning?

Caron West: She works in the morning for some of the weekdays, and she works at night on the weekends.

Marie Hopkins: It must be a full-time job.

Caron West: Actually, it’s a part-time job. She only works eight hours a week.

Marie Hopkins: Oh, okay. (Pause.)

Caron West: Marie, I enjoyed hanging out with you.

Marie Hopkins: I enjoyed hanging out with you, too.

Caron: I hope those teachers and students get what they deserve next week.

Marie: Do you mean when the teachers get fired, and when the students get suspended from school?

Caron: Mm-hm. They don’t deserve to be at Overton Middle School if they are going to demean every kid for not getting every answer right in class and spread rumors about them.

Marie: I agree.

Caron: Thanks for being a friend to me this week.

Marie: You’re welcome, Caron.

(Caron and Marie hold each other’s hands.)

12 de Noviembre de 2023 a las 00:22 0 Reporte Insertar Seguir historia

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