SCENE ONE. JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. INTERIOR, CRAPPY APARTMENT. MIDNIGHT.
Jake (to the audience): This is John.
John (to the audience): This is Jake.
Both young men stand stage front in unzipped winter jackets, stocking hats, boots. Jake is 17. John is 16.
John dredges up what sounds like a huge snot ball and swallows. He mashed his nose with the back of his hand. Both young hoodlums leer at the audience.
Both: And we hate winter.
Jake: We hate it.
John: (with an air of superiority) We’re from California.
Jake: We moved here because our mom sucks!
John: Our dad sucks too!
Jake: We don’t know who he is. So he sucks!
John: We moved to Wisconsin three years ago. The frozen tundra!
Jake: We put up with two winters, but we ain’t cooperating with another one.
John: We gave it a chance. We kept an open mind, okay? We went sledding! Jake here lost his front tooth when he hit a fence pole at the bottom of the hill. What the hell?
Jake: (pointing to the gap in his teeth) And I used to be pretty! Some lunatic we met took us ice fishing. The beer helped, but that was cold!
John: (a look of horror on his face) Damn cold. Real cold.
Jake: We did snowball fighting, snowmobilin’, all kinds of strange things.
John: My boot flew off when we were going 60 mph on that snowmobile. I was screaming about it but the guy we was with couldn’t hear me because the engine was so loud. They hacked off my little toe because of frostbite. My little toe! I loved my little toe!
Jake: We jacked some cafeteria trays from the tech school and rode ‘em down that hill on E Centerway. John almost got hit by a car.
John: Well, I hit the car.
Jake: I know. With your face. We woulda got disorderly conduct tickets but the guy who was driving the car told the cops he thought the whole thing was funny. What a jerk! That was my brother’s face that hit his quarterpanel!
John: I still think I broke my collarbone that night. I shoulda gone in to get looked at.
Jake: Look, we got excited when they told us school was out for a snow day. We started thinking this winter thing wasn’t gonna be too bad, but instead of playing video games and lookin for chicks at the mall, we mostly just shoveled and shoveled and shoveled and shoveled….
John: That was jacked up, man! It just ain’t right! We begged mom for a snowblower but she was like “Get a job and get your own snowblower.” She sucks!
Jake: We never did skiing.
John: We figured we’d die.
Jake: So me and John, here. We came up with something. While visions of sugar fairies and plums and scrap like that were floating through other kids dreams on Christmas Eve, me and John came up with a vision of our own.
John: Yeah, we been on the naughty list awhile so we didn’t waste any time baking cookies for Saint Nick.
Jake: (grinning with pleasure) Yeah, instead we came up with an idea.
John: We were in the front room talking about who the hottest chick in school was. While we sat there talking, Jake was looking across the way. He saw some guy putting up Christmas lights while his kids made a snowman. Well, our topic of conversation changed to how much we hated stuff. Like Christmas, mom, and winter. So when the Cleaver family across the street retired to their chambers to make gingerbread houses and drink hot cocoa or whatever else they was going to do, Jake takes off like some wild animal in a dead sprint out the front door.
Jake: (shrugs) It just came to me.
John: I almost pissed myself it was so funny. So there goes Jake sprintin out the front door. He runs directly across the street in a pair of boxer shorts and a Descendants shirt. No shoes even.
Jake: I laid that thing out.
John: It was phenomenal. Jake hit that snowman in the middle snowball with his right shoulder at a full sprint. That middle snowball rolled a good twenty feet. The top snowball plunked my brother dead square in the rear end.
Jake: Yeah I didn’t appreciate the carrot nose at that point.
John: I was on the floor I was laughin so hard. So he stands up, right, and supplexes the lowest snowball like a pro wrestler or something. The whole thing was somewhat athletic. I was so proud. Then he ran at a dead sprint down the street in the other direction. I didn’t know where he was going.
Jake: I wasn’t gonna just walk home. If Ward Cleaver over there had any sense, he coulda tracked me. I’m not entirely stupid, okay?
John: So sure enough Jake comes running in through the back door and he was laughing and I was laughing. We decided to make hot cocoa and watch the neighbors to see if they were gonna start crying or call the cops or blow out a hemmerhoid or somethin.
Jake: A few minutes later while sipping hot cocoa topped with melty marshmallows, I see the neighbor man come out and look around. His cheeks was plenty red. He looked good and pissed off. That’s when I knew we was onto somethin’.
SCENE TWO. JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. INTERIOR NEWS ROOM AT LOCAL NEWSPAPER. MORNING.
Sandra, the editor. Allan, the reporter.
Sandra: You aware we got some degenerates running around this town demolishing snowmen?
Allan: What? No.
Sandra: Someone’s running around vandalizing snowmen. Rearranging carrot noses to resemble other male body parts, demolishing snowmen and urinating on their remains, and pretty much ruining family attempts at being festive.
Allan: That’s not very nice.
Sandra: Not very nice at all. Why don’t you do 400 words on it. Cops sent a press release asking for the public’s help in identifying these knuckleheads.
Allan: Yeah, sure.
SCENE THREE. JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. INTERIOR. SIZZLIN’ GRILL DINER. EARLY MORNING.
Merle sits on diner stool next to Jack. Both are approximately 60 years old. Both read the newspaper and nurse cups of coffee. 5am.
MERLE: You read this?
JACK: Yeah, I read that. A shame. They find those guys they should forcibly donate their organs to decent sick people.
MERLE: Demolishing snow men? Me and my granddaughter just made a snowman the other day. I almost busted my back doing it. She loved every second of it. Looks like these degenerates are operating in my neck of the woods too.
JACK: We should put out some bear traps.
MERLE: I got another idea oughta work just fine without earning me a prison sentence. I gotta go.
SCENE FOUR. JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. EXTERIOR. MERLE’S RESIDENCE. 7AM.
Merle is spraying down the snowman in his front yard with a mist of water. A garden hose slithers from his hands back toward the house. A fine layer of ice is forming over top of the snowman.
Neighbor: Everything all right there, Merle?
Merle: (almost growling, slight pleasure in voice) Everything’s just dandy.
Merle doesn’t even look at this neighbor while he says this. He’s too immersed in his mission. When he’s done spraying, he raps on the snow with one of his hands. The snowman is a complete block of ice. He walks back in his house and brings out an apron, a top hat, a scarf, mittens, and an obnoxious winter sweater with reindeer on it. He dresses up the snowman until it is the most ridiculous looking yard decoration on the block.
Merle: The perfect target. Gawdy as it gets.
Merle scans the neighborhood like a jackal then goes inside.
SCENE FIVE. JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. INTERIOR CAR. MERLE’S NECK OF THE WOODS. MIDNIGHT.
Jake and John are inside their shared 77 Cutlass. John is driving. Jake is in the passenger seat.
Jake: Time to spread some Christmas cheer!
John: (in a frenzy) I heard such a clatter sounds like a bunch of snowmen about to get shattered!
Jake: Let’s find the finest snowman in town! Some disgusting thing that wreaks of Billy, Sue, and Spot all making the good boy and good girl list! Some yard that has a sign up that says something about the Reason for the Season! (yelling now) I want to destroy!
John laughs and swigs off a pint of liquor as he drives.
Jake: (shouting) Oh, hell yeah. You see that one! It’s got a friggin apron on! That snowman must die!
John swigs again off the pint, almost choking on the liquor as he laughs.
INTERIOR OF MERLE’S HOUSE. MIDNIGHT.
Merle stands at the front window, sipping apple cider, watching his front yard. He sees a 77 cutlass driving slow down the street. The cutlass slows, veers across the oncoming lane of traffic, and stops at a jolt after hopping the curb with the drivers side front tire. Merle calmly dials the non emergency number to the local law enforcement dispatch on his cell phone.
Jake breaks out of the passenger seat at a dead sprint.
Merle: (into his cell phone) Can you send the police please? A man is injured in my front yard.
Jake: (whispering as he runs) You…must…die!
Jake lunges at a full sprint at the ice covered snowman like a cornerback about to detonate pain on a tight end fully extended midfield. A grotesque pop is heard as Jake’s shoulder and arm impact on the snowman. Jake begins to scream with pain, and curls into a fetal position on the ground next to the snowman. He cradles his right arm and shoulder.
John jumps out of the car in a panic and runs to his brother.
John: You all right? What happened?
Jake: I think I broke my arm! Jesus Christ!
Merle opens the front door and strolls outside.
Merle: (into his cell phone) You should probably also send an ambulance.
Merle hangs up the phone.
Merle: How you boys doing?
Jake: (still writhing) Not…very…good!
Merle: Looks like you tried to tackle my snowman.
Jake: Your snowman sucks!
Merle: My snowman is pure ice there boys.
John: Jesus Christ!
Merle: You know he’s the reason for the season.
Jake: Oh my God!
Merle: Calm down, young man. An ambulance is on the way.
SCENE SIX. MERLE’S FRONT YARD. JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT.
Paramedics splint, load, and lift Jake into the back of their ambulance.
Cop 1: (looking at John’s ID) You appear pretty intoxicated, John. You were driving this vehicle?
Cop 1 waves a finger at the car parked half on the street, half in Merle’s front yard.
John: Yeah. Is my brother going to be okay?
Cop 1: That’s a question for the paramedics. Right now we’re going down to the station.
Cop 2 approaches Merle who sips his apple cider.
Cop 2: So you saw the injured guy jump out of the passenger side and try and tackle your snowman? And the non-injured guy was the driver of this vehicle?
Cop 2: (to Cop 3) Looks like we found the guys behind all these vandalism calls. (to Merle) Appreciate your time, sir. You have a Merry Christmas.
Merle: You too.
The ambulance drives away, then the cop cars, then a tow truck with the 77 cutlass. Merle takes a deep breath of cold air, sips his apple cider, and looks up and down his block in serenity. He nods at the snowman which stands stoically in the front yard with a cock-eyed coal grin. The #1 Grandpa apron waves in a slight breeze over the reindeer sweater.
Merle: Nice work Frosty. Merry Christmas.
Merle goes inside and shuts the door.