Less than one month ago, on Jan 25, news and viral video consumers in New England, and in short time all across the world, laughed their asses off at what may have been the most magnificently Mass-tastic incident of the past several years, an embarrassment that birthed headlines such as “Man clings to hood of SUV during road rage incident.” It was a monumental melee, and thanks to NBC reporter Ray Fuschetti, who actually happened to be rolling right next to the quarrel, viewers were able to witness the madness up close.
Inspired by those utterly insane events, a few of us here at the Dig hatched the idea to write a two-man play about this greatest recent road rage ruination. We’re not sure exactly where we’re taking it from here—the dialogue below feels like it needs a second act follow-up—but if you’re interested in helping bring it to the small stage, please email us at [email protected].
Finally, we cannot stress enough that this is a completely fabricated conversation. Since we had no idea what they actually said to each other, and because even if we did that wouldn’t likely make for high drama or comedy, we simply made it all up, right down to their names and backgrounds.
Billy is driving in a flashy midsize sport utility vehicle on the Mass Pike in stop-and-go rush hour traffic. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele is playing loudly, and he is singing along ’til the phone rings. He pushes the dashboard and begins to chat with his friend over the speaker.
BILLY: Hey man, you going to the weed dispensary any time soon? I could use some more of those vape cartridges. The indica ones. Stuff puts me to bed for hours. I know you don’t need all the details but I’m pretty sure the last one gave me an enormous boner too.
Billy nods and laughs for a second like he’s listening to his friend. He’s a little aggravated with the traffic, and his Mass accent begins to kick in.
BILLY: Ya know, the congestion is just absolutely out of fucking control around here. I swear there are like three times more assholes on the road these days than there are supposed to be.
Billy lunges out his window and starts screaming at a passing motorist.
BILLY: SUCK … MY … DICKHOLE. … YEAH, YEAH, YOU. FUCK YOU GUY. GO FUCK YA MUTHA!
Billy pulls back in his driver’s seat and returns to talking to his friend on the phone. But then jerks from his car getting sideswiped.
BILLY: Yo man, I gotta go. I just hit this fucking animal who was trying to cut me off, and now he’s actually getting out of his car and walking toward me.
Billy furiously rolls up his window, but continues talking to his friend on the phone for another second.
BILLY: HOLY SHIT. HE’S CLIMBING ON MY FUCKING HOOD!
Now Billy drops the call and is yelling directly through the windshield at the man on his hood.
BILLY: GET. THE. FUCK. OFF. MY. CAR. DUDE, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING ON MY HOOD?
The lights on the stage start to flicker as stagehands pick the car up and spin it around in a circle. A voiceover comes from the darkness …
VOICEOVER: You just met Billy. Raised in Framingham, he works at a startup by day and plays in a Metallica cover band by night. His girlfriend broke up with him two months ago, citing, among other issues, the fact that he would yell at her when she took the wheel, and she would yell at him whenever he drove. As long as a car was involved, their relationship was doomed. In any case, Billy had a decent day today, but as his ex will tell you, he’s prone to road rage. She always liked him better when he had his vape cartridges. In addition to his reliable hard-ons, Billy was a lot more chill.
The lights come back on. Billy is sitting in the driver’s seat, and Jimmy, who we’re just now meeting, is on the hood of Billy’s car with a cell phone in one hand. He’s using his other hand to punch in the windshield. Then he and Jimmy both look up toward the ceiling and the audience and pause. Then the darkness returns …
VOICEOVER: Meet Jimmy. He’s a retired military veteran who just spent all morning swimming laps at his neighborhood YMCA. He loves Clint Eastwood movies, hates political correctness, and has been riding on the top of vehicles at high speeds since the time he was assigned to a tank back in Vietnam. He has hemorrhoids and is late to meet a pal at Hooters for a couple pitchers and perhaps some wings if his colon can handle it.
The lights come back on, and Jimmy and Billy are suddenly in casual conversation.
BILLY: For the record, and already I have no doubt that there will be testimonies involved here, let’s just agree that you are on the hood of my car. Are you willing to acknowledge that?
JIMMY: I hate to be argumentative, but in case you didn’t notice, there are no less than four people filming us from cars in the other lanes.
BILLY: Oh, I’m aware. I am extremely, extremely aware. But only because time is paused right now. I think it goes without saying that in real-time I’m not thinking too straight, since I’m driving in the left-hand lane of the pike at 70 miles per hour with you straddling my hood ornament.
JIMMY: Excuse me for a sec, I have an incoming call.
Jimmy puts his phone up to his ear.
JIMMY: Hey there honey. I don’t think that I am going to be home for dinner any time soon.
Jimmy pauses, like he’s listening.
JIMMY: Oh, no, everything is fine. Just took a little detour. I’m in the middle of something right now, though, can I call you back in a couple of minutes? Okay love.
They go back to speaking to each other in a somewhat civilized way.
BILLY: Hey, would you mind pulling that leaf out from under that wiper while you’re out there?
JIMMY: I don’t think anyone’s going to notice a leaf considering that I just smashed the glass in.
BILLY: You’re probably right, but it still just bothers the hell out of me.
JIMMY: Just when I thought I couldn’t hate you any more.
BILLY: Listen, I’m not who you think I am. I bet we have more in common than not.
JIMMY: Okay, let’s see, I think you’re a yuppie asshole who hasn’t done a hard day of work in his life. You didn’t serve your country, and you voted for Hillary Clinton. How am I doing?
BILLY: Not bad, four out of five. I actually voted for Jill Stein.
JIMMY: Of course you did. Predictable.
BILLY: And you aren’t predictable? Ha. I bet that you’re a Trump supporter through and through. I bet that you round up whatever tadpoles you still have left in your wrinkly sack watching “Fox & Friends.” I bet you use the n-word around your old pals. I bet you think the government should build a wall. How off am I?
JIMMY: I think that they should build a wall around people like you, people who have Coexist bumper stickers but drive around with senior citizens on their hoods. How ’bout that?
BILLY: You’d better hope that I don’t drive into a wall.
Lights flicker on and off to signal mayhem, there is screaming and sound of choppers coming in from overhead. Jimmy and Billy are back in real time, screaming at each other.
BILLY: GET. THE. FUCK. OFF. OF. MY. CAR.
JIMMY: I CAN’T YOU FUCKING NUMBSKULL. HIT THE BRAKES. YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME YOU ASSHOLE.
BILLY: IF I WAS TRYING TO KILL YOU, I WOULD JUST CHANGE LANES REAL QUICK AND LEAVE YOU UNDERNEATH THAT 18-WHEELER.
Jimmy and Billy fade out while hollering at each other at the top of their lungs. Lights flicker on and off again, and we come back to them speaking to each other in a relatively civilized fashion.
JIMMY: You have anything to snack on by any chance? I’m starving out here.
BILLY: I have some pickles in the glove compartment. They’re pretty sour but they’re from a local craft pickler and they are outstanding.
JIMMY: Who the hell keeps pickles in their glove compartment?
BILLY: I do. They happen to fit perfectly in there.
JIMMY: Yeah I’ll have one of your artisan pickles.
BILLY: Hey, don’t do me any favors.
JIMMY: Just give me a pickle, would ya?
BILLY: Yeah I’ll give you a pickle alright.
Jimmy leans over to open the glove compartment, and in the process almost steers off the road. Both of them jerk back and forth. The lights go down, and when they come back on they are both eating pickles.
JIMMY: Wow. I hate to admit it, but this might be the best damn pickle I have ever had.
BILLY: Why are you so loathe to say that? Because it isn’t mass produced and sold at Walmart?
JIMMY: Oh, you have a problem with Walmart? Of course you do. Tell that to my daughter
-in-law, who lost her job last year and wouldn’t have been able to afford my grandson’s asthma inhaler if she couldn’t get it at Walmart.
BILLY: You have a grandson?
JIMMY: Two, actually. And a granddaughter too. How about you? Any kids?
BILLY: Nah, not yet. My ex and I were talking about it, but we didn’t work out.
JIMMY: I’m sorry to hear that. What happened?
BILLY: She couldn’t stand my … oh … uh … don’t worry about it. Why am I even trying to talk to you of all people about this stuff.
JIMMY: She couldn’t stand your what?
BILLY: Like I said, don’t sweat it.
JIMMY: Oh c’mon. Just tell me.
BILLY: Fine, but first you tell me something personal about you.
JIMMY: Sure, I can do that. Here you go—I know you think I’m a racist because I like Trump …
BILLY: Ah-ha, you do like him! I knew it.
JIMMY: As I was saying … back in the service, my two best friends were black. We actually beat the ever living shit out of a good old boy one night for calling my friend Trent a coon. Waited ’til the redneck fell asleep, then went in and flipped his bed and caved his head in. Guy got his head blown off a few weeks later, but if he hadn’t, he’d have had a big old gash right in the middle of his hat for the rest of his years.
BILLY: Do you think I’m impressed? Because I’m not. I don’t believe in violence.
JIMMY: Did the guy who is driving with me on his hood just actually say that he doesn’t like violence?
BILLY: Why are you telling me this anyway?
JIMMY: Honestly … I really do think black lives matter … most of them at least. It’s not the sort of thing that I can say around the people I know, but I guess I’m feeling somewhat vulnerable right now.
BILLY: I’m impressed. But you would never say that in real life. This dialogue is starting to sound like it was written to make anti-Trumpers squirt on one another as they smell their own farts.
JIMMY: Laughing: Yeah, whatever, so what’s your big secret? Why did she break up with you? Besides your little dick?
BILLY: Dude, you’re on the hood of my car. You might want to consider that before you talk any more shit.
JIMMY: Yeah, well, you might want to open up and start being a little more honest with me.
BILLY: Is that right? You’re calling the shots now? Is this an ethics class?
JIMMY: Listen, all I’m saying is that if you didn’t have whatever problems that you have in your personal life, then maybe I wouldn’t be up here with my hair in the wind.
BILLY: Let me get this straight—you’re saying that if I got laid this week, you wouldn’t have cut me off, sideswiped me, lost your goddamn mind, jumped on my hood and beat my windows in?
JIMMY: That’s exactly what I’m saying.
BILLY: From the look of the way you’re eyeing that cell phone, I’m starting to wonder if it’s you who has the problem on the homefront.
JIMMY: Now that you mention it, would you mind giving me a second?
BILLY: I have all the time in the world.
The stage goes dark again, and we hear a voice over the speaker. It’s Jimmy’s wife on the phone, and she has the meanest Boston accent that you’ve ever heard.
VOICEOVER OF JIMMY’S WIFE: What kind of shit did you get into this time Jimmy? No, no, it’s not your turn to talk. It’s your turn to shut the fuck up. Now listen to me. I don’t care where you are, who you’re with, or what the fuck you’re doing. Here’s what you are gonna do—you’re gonna hang the phone up with me, then you’re gonna pick it right back up, and you’re gonna call your daughter and tell her how much you love her you dumb bastard. I don’t even want to hear it from you. In case you don’t remember the abuse you took, I’ll remind you of the time my father had his buddies string you up outside the Blarney Stone and strip you to your boxers. My parents weren’t exactly too pleased when I brought you home. They may have had a point about you, but this kid comes from a good family, so don’t embarrass all of us and make it so your loving daughter hates you forever.
Phone clicks. Lights come back on and the audience finds Jimmy and Billy in casual conversation again.
BILLY: I don’t even need to ask. I know what’s wrong.
JIMMY: Could it be that you’re accelerating instead of stopping?
BILLY: No, it’s that your daughter is dating a black guy. Or a Latino guy. Or a girl!?!
JIMMY: Is that right? You’re a psychic now? You’re a psychiatrist now?
BILLY: I don’t need a crystal ball or a degree to sense that your daughter is dating somebody you dislike. I should also tell you that your response to me says a whole lot about you.
JIMMY: Oh yeah, how is that?
BILLY: Easy—somebody with even just the slightest bit of consciousness regarding race would go the extra step to reassure me that, while your daughter may or may not be with a kid you dislike or adore on the basis of race, you condemn prejudice of all kinds.
JIMMY: Are you calling me a racist?
BILLY: Well, you’re a Trump supporter, so yeah. But I guess it depends. Are you gonna call your daughter to tell her that you love her unconditionally? No matter who or what she dates?
JIMMY: What do you mean by what she dates? Liberals really do think that people should be able to fuck goats, don’t they?
BILLY: Don’t make me stop short.
JIMMY: Is that what it’s going to take for you to stop?
BILLY: I think I could be willing to slow down if you got on that phone and called your daughter.
JIMMY: Sure, right after you call your ex and apologize to her.
BILLY: For what?
JIMMY: You tell me. I’m supposed to cop to being some kind of disgusting bigot but you can’t tell me why you broke up with your girlfriend?
BILLY: Fine, you really want to know?
JIMMY: I’ve been asking, haven’t I?
BILLY: No need to be a wiseass.
JIMMY: Alright, alright. So what happened?
BILLY: She couldn’t stand my driving.
JIMMY: Laughing hysterically: I knew it!
BILLY: Oh fuck you.
JIMMY: Still chuckling: I wonder what tipped me off.
BILLY: Okay, time for you to make a phone call.
JIMMY: Why is it so important to you that I call my daughter anyway?
BILLY: I think a part of me wants this ordeal to end in some kind of a positive, since there’s a chance that we’re both going to jail for this.
JIMMY: Not a bad point. Fine, but I’m just going to tell her I love her, and that we should go out for lunch next week.
BILLY: Works for me. Want me to come along? Maybe if it doesn’t work out with the guy you don’t like, you can introduce us.
JIMMY: Minorities are one thing, but I definitely don’t want her dating assholes who can’t drive.
BILLY: I guess that makes sense, since she already has one for a father.
Jimmy gives Billy a fuck-you smile, then dials and puts his phone up to his ear. The stage fades to black again, and the narrator comes back over the speaker.
VOICEOVER: Just as Jim and Bill are beginning to get along, a good samaritan with a gun—at least that’s what news reporters are calling him—cuts off the car and forces Billy to stop.
BILLY: Well would ya look at that. Ten minutes ago, you were banning black people from your family, and now you’re getting saved by one. Guess you just needed to spend a little time on the hood.
JIMMY: How convenient this all turned out for you.
BILLY: You ain’t kidding—I didn’t even have to get out of my car until now.
Phone rings, and Billy picks it up.
BILLY: Speaking on the phone: That’s weird, I was just talking about why we broke up. … What? You’re watching me on TV right now? No, I’m okay, really. … Yeah, I would love to grab a drink soon, probably not tonight though. I think I’ll be a little busy. … Oh really? That would be amazing, thanks.
JIMMY: Your ex?
BILLY: Yeah, she’s gonna bail me out of jail. How did you know it was her?
JIMMY: For starters, it looks like you just got a boner.
BILLY: Oh fuck, do you have any bright ideas about where I can stash my vape pen?