In collaboration with The Bush Theatre and Central Saint Martin’s New Writing Platform, this is a piece about 43 year old Eric Garner who died last year by being in a chokehold by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo.
Daniel and Eric
ERIC is sitting alone. Daniel is sitting some way a way.
Eric: I don’t have nothing for you. No loosies – sorry boss.
Daniel: Too soon.
Eric: Yeah, really?
Daniel: Yeah, really. You have to leave me alone. You have to stop all this.
Eric: You’re an asshole. A muvva fucking asshole.
DANIEL comes closer to ERIC.
Daniel: I’m going to walk away from you. I’m going to –
Eric: Where are you going? You can’t go nowhere.
Daniel: It’s OK. I’m going. You can still follow me and remind me and talk to me – but I know it’s going to be OK. I’ll start over.
Eric: You’ll start over?
Daniel: Yeah. I’ve been visiting a priest. I’ve been doing good. I’ve – I’ve been making amends. I’ll put this right –
Eric: You’ll put this right?
DANIEL looks around him, as if looking for something. He turns to ERIC, as though confiding in him.
Daniel: I get scared sometimes. No, all the time. Who am I kidding? I get scared because I know this is never going to be over, is it? It’s never going to be over.
I’ve gotta be watching my back. I’ve gotta always be on the lookout, you know? For the rest of my life.
Eric: Do you want me to feel something?
Daniel: I was doing my job.
Eric: I was doing nothing.
I was doing nothing. I did nothing.
Daniel: I was protecting – I was doing what I was meant to do. I was doing my job.
Eric: I was trying to live. Now I’m just – tired. I’m tired. This stops today.
Daniel: So am I. I’m tired.
ERIC stands and so does DANIEL. ERIC is close to DANIEL. He stands in front of him.
Eric: But you can sleep and wake up and feel and –
Daniel: I can’t.
Eric: And you can laugh and fuck your wife and kiss your kids.
Daniel: I can’t…
ERIC’S agitation builds.
Eric: And you can decide to stop being an asshole and do something great and memorable and not be a fucking asshole and not do what you do –
Daniel: I –
Eric: And you can change everything. You can do something else and change what you did. Do better because I know you know what you did was wrong –
Daniel: I, I –
Eric: Do something better Mr. Po-lice Officer. Mr. New York Cop. Change things. Change things.
Daniel: Stop, I – please stop. I can’t, I-
DANIEL clutches his throat. ERIC stands over him.
Eric: You’ll always be looking over your shoulder Mr. Cop. You’ll always be saying sorry to strangers who know your face. They’ll stare at you, thinking where they know you from. Then they’ll know. You’ll know that they know and you’ll be saying sorry. Say sorry. Say sorry.
Daniel: I can’t breathe.
ERIC walks away.
Copyright Titilola Ige