You Can’t Beat Kids Anymore

Hits: 155
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                           You Can’t Beat Kids Anymore                     
                                                                           
                                       By                                  
                                                                           
                                Nikola Stojkovic                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                    AT RISE: Two old men, Franjo and Sloba walk into       
                    an empty bar. Wooden tables are strewn about in no     
                    particular pattern. A dented, wooden bar sits at       
                    the far end of the room and the bartender is           
                    cleaning glasses. They stiffly take a seat at a        
                    table near the entrance. Sloba taps his cane           
                    against the table, absentmindedly.                     
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Did you see him?                                            
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               I saw him.                                                  
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               You saw him?                                                
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               I saw him.                                                  
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Unbelievable.                                               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Fucking right.                                              
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               I mean, really. Who does that?                              
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               That fucking guy.                                           
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               No goddamn respect. Did you see him?                        
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               I saw him.                                                  
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               I’m telling you, when I was a kid, we didn’t do that        
               shit, did we?                                               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               We didn’t.                                                  
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               When I was a kid, an old man got on the bus, I would        
               get up and let him sit. None of this fucking attitude       
               bullshit.                                                   
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  2.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Lack of discipline.                                         
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               You said it.                                                
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               The problem is you can’t beat kids anymore.                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Fucking right.                                              
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Nowadays they arrest you for that shit. I tell you, if      
               these laws were around when I was a kid, my father          
               would have been in jail longer than your president.         
                                                                           
                    Sloba suddenly stops tapping his cane and looks up     
                    at Franjo.                                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Your president.                                             
                                                                           
                    Franjo looks up just as suddenly. They stare at        
                    one another for a few beats.                           
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Both our presidents.                                        
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Combined.                                                   
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               May they rot.                                               
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Fucking crooks.                                             
                                                                           
                    The bartender, and old man named Alija, walks up       
                    to their table, interrupting their conversation        
                    with his presence. The two men look up at him.         
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Jesus, finally! What fucking service!                       
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               You run this shithole?                                      
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Didn’t you two see the sign on the door? No Chetniks        
               and no Ustashas.                                            
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  3.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                    Sloba and Franjo both stand and scowl at Alija,        
                    who stands with his hands on his hips at the foot      
                    of the table. A few beats of silence. Without          
                    warning, all three men burst into laughter. They       
                    start clapping one another on the back in              
                    greeting.                                              
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Alija you old sonofabitch!                                  
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Ahhh Sloba, Franjo! My two favorite heathens!               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               How the hell are you, Alija?                                
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Can’t complain. Life’s good, but it’s not what it used      
               to be, you know?                                            
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               I hear you. Fucking kids wont even give up their seat       
               on the bus anymore.                                         
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               No!                                                         
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               He’s not kidding.                                           
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Unbelievable.                                               
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               So you still serve beer here? Or does Allah forbid it?      
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Ah, sit down and shut up.                                   
                                                                           
                    Alija walks over to the bar and fills three mugs       
                    of beer. He retrns to the table and sits down with     
                    Franjo and Sloba. They all take a pull.                
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               So the kid didn’t get up?                                   
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Nope.                                                       
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               The youth are out of control these days.                    
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  4.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               The problem is you can’t beat kids anymore.                 
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               You know you can get arrested for that now?                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Unbelievable.                                               
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               They need strong leadership. Like my old president.         
                                                                           
                    He lifts his mug to his face and drinks. Sloba and     
                    Franjo let go of their mugs and look at one            
                    another, then to Alija. They blurt out                 
                    simultaneously:                                        
                                                                           
          SLOBA & FRANJO                                                   
               Your president?                                             
                                                                           
                    Alija lowers his glass.                                
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               My president.                                               
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Is a fundamentalist zealot.                                 
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               That brought terrorism to Bosnia.                           
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               You come into MY bar and say that to MY face?               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Well Sloba’s president certainly isn’t a                    
               fundamentalist.                                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Certainly not. And Franjo’s president doesn’t harbor        
               terrorists.                                                 
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Ludicrous.                                                  
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
                         (To Sloba)                                        
               Yours is a war criminal!                                    
                         (To Franjo)                                       
               And yours harbors fascists!                                 
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  5.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               You son of a bitch.                                         
                                                                           
                    Franjo and Alija turn to look at him, but he is        
                    looking past them. The door to the bar has been        
                    thrown open, and a youth walks in and takes a seat     
                    at the bar. He looks at the old men with a             
                    disgusted look on his face and points to the empty     
                    space on the counter in front of him expectantly.      
                    Alija grumbles and goes behind the bar and begins      
                    pouring the youth a drink.                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               That’s him.                                                 
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               What? Who?                                                  
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Him! The little prick.                                      
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               That’s him?                                                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               That’s him.                                                 
                                                                           
                    Alija slams the drink roughly down in front of the     
                    youth and returns to the table with Sloba and          
                    Franjo.                                                
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
                         (to Alija)                                        
               That’s him.                                                 
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               What? Who?                                                  
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Him! The little prick.                                      
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
                         (to Sloba)                                        
               That’s him?                                                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Yes that’s fucking him already! Look at him sitting         
               there, little hooligan’s probably bathing in his            
               victory over me.                                            
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Damn kids these days.                                       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  6.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               Smug bastard. We should do something about it.              
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Like make him give up his seat? Wont work. Look at him      
               sitting there, he’s in his element. That generation is      
               practically glued to a chair.                               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               The problem is you can’t beat kids anymore.                 
                                                                           
                    Silence at the table. Franjo’s words hang in the       
                    air. All three men lean in close.                      
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               We could do it.                                             
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               We could.                                                   
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Do what?                                                    
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Solve the problem.                                          
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               We could.                                                   
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               What problem?                                               
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Our problem! The bus problem.                               
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               The problem is you can’t beat kids any-                     
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               That problem! Yes, we could solve it.                       
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               We could?                                                   
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               We could.                                                   
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               What are you saying?                                        
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               There’s three of us and one of him.                         
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  7.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               There is.                                                   
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               I don’t follow.                                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Franjo, the problem is you can’t beat kids anymore.         
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               You can’t, except when you can.                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Exactly.                                                    
                                                                           
                    They look at Franjo expectantly. He finally gets       
                    it.                                                    
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
                         (Knowing)                                         
               We could solve the problem!                                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Now you’re getting it. Alija, the door.                     
                                                                           
                    Alija gets up and goes to the door. He turns the       
                    latch, locking it. Sloba picks up his cane and         
                    stands.                                                
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               This kid is going to learn some manners. He wont be         
               able to sit after I’m through with him.                     
                                                                           
                    Franjo stands and begins removing his belt. He         
                    coils the end of it around his hand. He and Sloba      
                    begin crossing the bar. Alija stands in front of       
                    the door, blocking the exit. As Sloba and Franjo       
                    approach, the youth looks up. He finishes his beer      
                    and fishes out some coins from his pocket, leaving     
                    them on the bar counter.                               
                                                                           
          YOUTH                                                            
               You want this seat, sir? I was just leaving.                
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               I...                                                        
                                                                           
                    The youth gets up and walks up to the door. Alija,     
                    unsure of what to do, moves out of the way. The        
                    youth unlocks the door and leaves the bar.             
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  8.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               So... we solved the problem?                                 
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               That kid’s got stones, I’ll give him that.                  
                                                                           
                    Sloba takes a seat in the youth’s seat and Franjo      
                    next to him. Alija returns behind the bar.             
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               That’s some composure. Did you see how calm he was?         
               That sophisticated demeanor reflects the Croatian in        
               him.                                                        
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Excuse me? Clearly the healthy rebelliousness and calm      
               subversion of authority stems from his oppressed            
               history. That’s the Serbian in him.                         
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               I’m sorry, but his choice of establishment and generous     
               tip clearly shows his support towards the local             
               community. That’s the Muslim in him.                        
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               That’s absolute nonsense. Clearly he was a Croat.           
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               He offered his seat to me. He was a Serb.                   
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               He gave me his money. He was a Muslim.                      
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               He was a Croat!                                             
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               He was a Serb!                                              
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               He was a Muslim!                                            
                                                                           
                    Alija scoops up the coins and inspects them.           
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               Croat!                                                      
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Serb!                                                       
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               That Western loving prick!                                  
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                  9.       
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               Don’t you dare call a fellow Serb a Western lover.          
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               I fail to see how this makes the poor Croat a prick.        
                                                                           
          ALIJA                                                            
               The coins are Euros. He paid in Euros.                      
                                                                           
          SLOBA                                                            
               He what...                                                  
                                                                           
          FRANJO                                                           
               But that means...                                           
                                                                           
                    All three of the old men yell out at once:             
                                                                           
          SLOBA, FRANJO, & ALIJA                                           
               Slovenian!                                                  
                                                                           
                    CURTAIN