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S C E N A : T h e a t r e ..A r t s ..R e v i e w
Novi Sad, 2005 . ..No. 19 . .January-December . .YU ISSN 0351-3963 .

d r a m a
FILIP VUJOSEVIC
HALFLIFE
Translation by Filip Vujosevic

 

FILIP VUJOSEVIC
Born in 1977 in Beograd. Education: 1997-2002 Dramaturgy Department, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, BA in Dramaturgy. Specialization includes drama, screenplay and TV forms writing, as well as history and theory of drama, film and performing arts. Completed studies with honors. June 1996 Completed high school at Exeter Township High School, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. At present Serving army in civil service as dramaturg in the National Theatre Belgrade.
2004 Play called THE PINBALL MASTER had public readings in Hampstead Theatre (London) and Birmingham Rep Theatre
2003 Two radio plays performed on Radio Belgrade
June 2001 Play DAY D opened at the Belgrade Drama Theatre Awards
2001 Award for the best contemporary play in the festival Days of Comedy, Jagodina, FRY
2001 "Josip Kulundzic" award for the best performed student work, University of Arts in Belgrade.


Note about "HALFLIFE"

VIRTUAL REALITY

"Counter Strike is not just a computer game. It's a way of life. A way of life in which you always have to be on the lookout for people coming to get you behind your back. That's what Crooks says. My sister gets turned on by that story, too. She likes the fact that Crooks has a goal in his life and that he's not just another loser. She says, a guy has to has his story going on if he wants to attract you, he has to be successful at something. I don't know, I guess she's got a point."

Claustrophobic space of "Vuk's monument" metro station which provides room for PC playhouses is an obscure gathering spot of Vujo{evi}'s characters, but it is also a clear metaphor of a society of corrupted values, pointless moral norms and apathetic young people with pessimistic vision of future. Characters of HALFLIFE are trying to negate and, in a way, substitute the reality of banal everyday life by playing equally pointless computer game, Counter Strike, which for them creates an illusion of grandeur and meaning within a tight, dehumanized circle of "friends", at least for the moment. Virtual reality becomes the only substance of their plain lives, and the only measure of success and potentially high place in social hierarchy are points in a game which only goal is to destroy an enemy, in any way and at any cost. That is why the emotional aspect is limited to satisfying of low-key sexual impulses. Altough, it cannot be said that Crooks, Mila, Little Milley and Killer Belgrade had completely lost their humanity and rational contact with reality. Mila and Crooks are in a cpecific love relationship, Crooks can feel an injustice done to him, and fortreen year old Milley at one point contemplates that: "In this country, people buy their first car when they turn forty, and move into their own home at fifty. At sixty, they don't want to retire, because they think they are still young. You just can't get rid of them." So the awareness of almost apocalyptic, but certain future, altough clouded, points characters towards ignoring the real life.
Rudimentary and bare, the verbal expression and typical Belgrade slang of Filip Vujo{evi} precisely define these characters and their relations. Situations they are in haven't got much of a dramatical tension, nor they are are characterized by sudden turn of events, which in a way adds to an authentic dark athmosphere, while relative passage of time amplifies the triviality of everyday life. HALFLIFE is not a drama of big events or tragic destinies. Vujo{evi} is not offering solutions to existential questions of his characters. Craftily playing with general topics of a lost generation, he wrote a play about little people and their broken ideals in a dehumanized world of false illusions.

Miki RADONJIC
Translated into English by N. J.


Characters:
CROOKS, 23
MILA, 18 - his girlfriend
LITTLE MILLEY, 14 - Mila's sister
BOLE, 27 - worker in the PC playroom
KILLER BELGRADE, 25

The play is set in Belgrade, in the Vuk's Monument subway station, in the present.


SCENE 0

Empty stage

CROOKS'S VOICE: It's only once in life that I cut some bloke's throat. And you bet it felt awesome. And you bet it felt like something new is happening, something important. They told me it would me crazy when I do it for the first time. And you bet I would enjoy doing it again. It's only that I never got another chance like that. But you bet I will. Don't call me Crooks if I don't.

SCENE 1

Little Milley, alone.

LITTLE MILLEY: This summer is the best summer in my life. I mean, the kind of summer that's gonna end and you are gonna be sorry when everyone goes their way and they dip into everyday crap, I mean, winter and the such. This year I didn't fail math and I managed to get into high school. It's cool to hang out. Mila started taking me with when she goes downtown. She hooked up with Crooks. Now, down there, near the Monument, there's that subway station. It's just that there's no real subway there. Bole claims it's not a real subway. Just local trains to the flea market. There is a flea market on either end of the route. And there's also a mall in the station, and it's just that no one ever wanted to open a store there, since it makes no sense. Even those guys riding the train to the flea market have no clue that there's a mall behind the white doors. Right between the platform and the garage. Well, that's where we go out. It's because of Crooks. It's the playrooms that opened up, he goes only there. Bole claims that there's three or four hundred computers there, all in all. And Crooks, that's where he hangs out all day long. Plays Counters. Counter Strike is the full name of the game, to be precise. Sixteen guys on each side. Terrorists and counter-terrorists blasting each other's balls out. Everyone starts from their base, then they meet in the middle and tear each other apart. With various weapons. You are the best on the map if you kill the most. And after half an hour, they change the map and start all over again. It seems pretty cool. I haven't tried playing yet, because you have to pay thirty five per hour, cash. But Crooks is cool. Maybe he makes it into the team for the tournament. Five on each side. First prize - two hundred euros. Anyway, it's cool down there. Guys are cool, too. Bole, Crooks, Killer Belgrade. And I really dig that I'm finally hanging out with older guys. Because they are smarter. And the entire station is also cool. Milosevic built it, ten years ago. His son had that Bambiland in Zajecar.
Mila comes and interrupts her.
MILA: In Nis.
LITTLE MILLEY: Yes, Nis.
MILA: No, in Mladenovac.
LITTLE MILLEY: Yes, in Mladenovac.
MILA: Come on, stupid, get ready. Crooks is waiting for us.
Black out.

SCENE 2

Mila is standing. Crooks is sitting behind her, occupied with a video game.

MILA: We don't call Crooks 'Crooks' because he's a crook. We call him 'Crooks' because Bole always teases him: If you continue hanging out in this playroom doing Counters all the time, you're gonna get all crooked and become like an old man. But Crooks is totally straight. For now. And he's great in playing Counters. Everybody says that he's just getting better and better. It is the matter of time when he'll become the best. And I am his girlfriend. Even though he's five years older. And he's real good looking, at least to me.

SCENE 3

Bole and Krivi in the playroom. Bole is sitting on the main path, where he books spots and receives payments for seats in front of the computers. Crooks is standing in front of him.

CROOKS (Handing some money to Bole): If you want, I'll go get some fags.
BOLE: I'm OK Crooks, you don't have to.
CROOKS: Do you need me to go get them? Come on, I'll go get some before I sit down and start shooting.
BOLE: As you wish.
CROOKS: I'm off… Did you see Killer, did he come by?
BOLE: Yes.
CROOKS: Yes, and?
BOLE: And he left.
CROOKS: What did he say, is he gonna come by?
BOLE: He will.
CROOKS: When? What did he say?
BOLE: Any time now. He went to piss.
CROOKS: You mean, he's here?
BOLE: He's here.
CROOKS: Did he say something about the tournament?
BOLE: Yes, he did.
CROOKS: Did I make it into the team?
Killer BELGRADE comes from the toilet.
KILLER BELGRADE: What's up?
Killer hugs Crooks.
CROOKS: Not much. I heard you kicked ass with the knife yesterday, Killer.
KILLER BELGRADE: Didn't we say that I am Killer Belgrade, not Killer?
CROOKS: Sorry. I heard that you kicked ass with the knife?
KILLER BELGRADE: Yeah, I didn't have anymore bullets, so I had to start cutting throats. For of them
CROOKS: What map on?
KILLER BELGRADE: Inferno.
CROOKS: Cool!
KILLER BELGRADE: Hey, I talked to Bole about the tournament.
CROOKS: Really? And?
KILLER BELGRADE: We figured we should decide on it in a couple of days.
CROOKS: Why a couple of days?
KILLER BELGRADE: We need to think it through. Our team have to breathe as one. That's why we need to think well on who's gonna play. But, I think that you have nothing to worry for. Everything's gonna be O.K., Crooks.
CROOKS: I get it.
BOLE: Are you gonna go fetch the fags?
CROOKS: Yes.
Black out.

SCENE 4

Crooks is sitting on some stairs. Mila comes by.

MILA: Don't be so fucked up, Crooks.
CROOKS: I'm not fucked up, what's up with you?
MILA: Then don't be nervous. They told you. We'll know in a couple of days.
CROOKS: I'm not nervous.
MILA: You're so cool, Crooks. And you play the Counters real good. And I really like to watch you shoot the sniper. Because you do it fucking good. That's the real you, Crooks. When someone thinks of you, that's it. You deserve to play in the tournament. There's nothing to be worried about, didn't Killer tell you?
Mila hugs Crooks. They kiss. The scene "freezes". Little Milley walks in.
LITTLE MILLEY (to herself): Counter Strike is not just a computer game. It's a way of life. A way of life in which you always have to be on the lookout for people coming to get you behind your back. That's what Crooks says. My sister gets turned on by that story, too. She likes the fact that Crooks has a goal in his life and that he's not just another looser. She says, a guy has to has his story going on if he wants to attract you, he has to be successful at something. I don't know, I guess she's got a point.
Little Milley walks away. The scene "unfreezes".
MILA: The hell with it. You get what you get.
CROOKS: The hell with it.. You get what you get. I totally understand Killer. He needs to think well, to make a good team, to avoid oscillations.
MILA: To make a compact entity.
CROOKS: Yeah, totally. That's what I reckon. It's not easy for him to decide. I heard that Terror will gather his own team for the tournament. You know how the two of them hate each other.
MILA: What, his own?
CROOKS: Doesn't matter, we are the best.
They kiss.
CROOKS: You're not bad, you know.
MILA: You think so?
CROOKS: I do.
They kiss.
MILA: It's only… don't you think I'm too young for you?
CROOKS: Come on, that's fine.
MILA: Here, I'll help you not be nervous. I'll make everything cool. Because you deserve to play, Crooks.
CROOKS: How are you gonna do that?
MILA: I'll figure it our. I'll buy you a present.
CROOKS: Why the fuck do I need a present?
MILA: What do I know, maybe you like presents.
CROOKS: I don't really, but it doesn't matter.
MILA: You will kick ass at the tournament. And you will have me by your side.
CROOKS: We just need to make a good team.
MILA: Well, if you act as a compact entity, you will kick ass.
CROOKS: I think so, too.
MILA: What are we gonna do tonight?
CROOKS: Hang out.
MILA: That's a good one. Cool.
CROOKS: Do you have a fag?
MILA: No.
Black out.

SCENE 5

Crooks is sitting in front of a computer and playing Counter Strike.

CROOKS (off stage): Counter Strike is not just a computer game. It's a way of life. A way of life in which every moment you have to watch out in case there's someone coming at you behind your back. If you want to be a real Counter player, you have to know some things. Actually, many. For example, how to shoot a regular gun, then a heckler… A sniper. Then, a Kalashnikov. How to use a gun. You have to know how to get to their base quickly. You have to know how to set up a hand grenade. You have to know how to hide so that no one sees you and then how to jump out and kill them all. You have to know how to cover up a teammate. You have to learn to be faster, smarter, craftier. Time. Distance. Alternatives. You have to know how not to be afraid of anything. You have to know how not to be afraid of death. Or taking a life. You have to learn to be decisive. You have to learn how to respect what you've got. You have to learn English. You have to learn to understand what it means when the computer tells you: "Enemy spotted." When the computer says: "Cover me." When the computer says: "Fire in the hole." When the computer says: "Humiliation."

SCENE 6

Crooks, Bole and Killer Belgrade in the playroom.

KILLER BELGRADE: We thought you should be the sixth player.
CROOKS: Why are you such flakes, why sixth?
KILLER BELGRADE: Just so, sixth. If someone gets hurt, you jump in.
CROOKS: Flakes. Who is gonna get hurt, we're not at the Olympics. Why sixth?
KILLER BELGRADE: You don't have a good finish, Crooks. When you're left with the knife, you don't know what to do. You never managed to cut anyone's throat, Crooks. They always get you before you even get near.
CROOKS: I did manage. Once.
KILLER BELGRADE: Fine. But I cut someone's throat a hundred times.
CROOKS: But I'm the best with the sniper.
KILLER BELGRADE: You are.
CROOKS: And with the bomb, so to speak.
KILLER BELGRADE: So to speak.
CROOKS: Don't be flakes. I thought we were a compact entity.
KILLER BELGRADE: What you talking about?
CROOKS: So, why sixth. Who's fifth?
Killer Belgrade and Bole look at each other.
KIILLER BELGRADE: We thought Bole should play. We need someone with experience.
CROOKS: So, I'm not playing.
KILLER BELGRADE: Looks like it.
CROOKS: Don't be flakes. I practiced.
The scene, except Killer Belgrade, freezes.
KILLER BELGRADE: I was only Killer before. And the one day Terror came and started making fun of me. He sad I was last on the map, and how he cut my throat three times in ten minutes. I didn't know what was going on. I was never last on the map. Then, one day, I went to play and saw that there was another Killer who was really last. And I went nuts. I found the other Killer in the playroom next door. A twelve year old kid who had named himself Killer. So I punched him a couple of times and forbidden him to ever again come to the station to play. Since my reputation was already endangered because of the little idiot, I decided to become Killer Belgrade. And since then, everybody knows me by that name. Just to straight things up.
CROOKS: But, I practiced.
KILLER BELGRADE: What the fuck can I do. Let's play, the tournament is in a week. We should get in shape. You can come with. If something comes up, you should be ready to jump right in.
CROOKS: I can't right now.
BOLE: Why don't you wanna play now?
CROOKS: I just don't.
Crooks leaves.
BOLE: Hey, Crooks, you gave dough to play, you gave a hundred!
Bole hands out the money. Crooks comes back, takes the money and leaves. Blackout.

SCENE 7

Little Milley wanders around the garage. She runs into Killer Belgrade. She stops.

KILLER BELGRADE: Where are you going?
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm looking for Mila. She went to look for Crooks. So, she didn't come back. So, now I'm looking for her. Did you see her?
KILLER BELGRADE: I did, today.
LITTLE MILLEY: I saw her today, too. But now I'm looking for her. I'm bored. I don't feel like going back to the pad.
KILLER BELGRADE: Chill out here with me for a while. You'll find her.
Little Milley comes a bit closer.
LITTLE MILLEY: And what are you doing here?
KILLER BELGRADE: I'm chilling out.
LITTLE MILLEY: Don't you get the creeps from standing out here alone. Did Terror tell you? I met him yesterday, he tolde me there is a maniac around here. And a ghost, too.
KILLER BELGRADE: A real Counter-player is not afraid of anything. Killer Belgrade is not afraid of anything.
LITTLE MILLEY: Really? And, how do you spell 'Killer' in English?
KILLER BELGRADE: The same, just with two 'l' and two 'r'.
LITTLE MILLEY: Cool. I would like to learn how to play Counters, too, some day. It must be super.
KILLER BELGRADE: You know, it is super. Especially if you're one of the best.
LITTLE MILLEY: Like you.
KILLER BELGRADE: Yes. Like me.
LITTLE MILLEY: Can you imagine, Crooks had a clash with Terror, yesterday. One on one. Because Terror has made fun of him for not getting even into your team, then Crooks went nuts and said let's play you and me one on one and Terror said let's and Crooks said what for and Terror said he had this old guitar that he had found in the garage and Crooks said cool but he didn't have anything to give to Terror and Terror said doesn't matter if he wins Crooks is to leave the station and never come back to play Counters and Crooks said cool and the they had a clash and Crooks humiliated Terror and cut his throat twice in one game…
KILLER BELGRADE (interrupts): You lier.
LITTLE MILLEY: No, I'm not. Ant then…
KILLER BELGRADE: That is impossible. You can't cut someone's throat twice in one game.
LITTLE MILLEY: O.K. I don't know, I just know he humiliated him and Terror had to give him his guitar. Crooks humiliated Terror. And he went nuts when Terror spoke bad about you, and then Crooks started to defend you…
KILLER BELGRADE: So what?
LITTLE MILLEY: Well, maybe that is a proof that Crooks is a kick-ass Counters player and that you should put him in the team.
KILLER BELGRADE: What do you even care about that?
LITTLE MILLEY: Well, he's my sister's man. I'd like to help.
KILLER BELGRADE: No chance. I already told Bole that he's on the team.
LITTLE MILLEY: I know. I get it. I just wanted to say, I feel sorry for Crooks. He really wanted to be in the team.
KILLER BELGRADE: It's his fault, he's not cool about it.
LITTLE MILLEY: And you're cool about it?
KILLER BELGRADE: I don't need the tournament to know I'm top.
LITTLE MILLEY: So why don't you let him play instead of you, if you don't need the tournament?
KILLER BELGRADE: Are you stupid?
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm not, I'd just like to help.
Break.
KILLER BELGRADE: Then help him. You only need to ask me that Crooks plays, and he'll play.
LITTLE MILLEY: What do you mean?
KILLER BELGRADE: That's it, all you need to do is ask me and I'll fix things so that Crooks plays.
LITTLE MILLEY: All I need to do is ask… I'm asking you to let Crooks play.
KILLER BELGRADE: Come closer.
Milenica comes closer.
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm asking you to let Crooks play.
Killer Belgrade kisses her.
LITTLE MILLEY: I wanna leave.
KILLER BELGRADE: Come on.
Black out until the end of the scene.
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm a virgin.
KILLER BELGRADE: Fine, we can use your but. It's super. And it doesn't hurt at all. If you are a virgin.
LITTLE MILLEY: I don't know, I don't really want that.
KILLER BELGRADE: Come on.
LITTLE MIILLEY: No.
KILLER BELGRADE: Come on, it's super. And Crooks will play.
LITTLE MILLEY: But just a little bit.

SCENE 8

The stairs. Crooks and Mila are hanging out. Mila is holding a guitar and making an attempt to play some tune. Little Milley is standing behind them, but they don't see her. She is looking at them, not moving.

MILA: Holy shit.
CROOKS: Relax. You'll learn. You played it for only ten minutes.
MILA: Fucking guitar.
CROOKS: And maybe the guitar is not for you really.
MILA: If you gave me the guitar, that means I have to learn how to play it. If someone forgot a guitar in the park, and Terror found it, and you gave it to me, it means I have to learn how to play it. Do you believe in destiny at all?
CROOKS: So-so. We can also sell it.
MILA: No, we can't.
Little Milley rouses them.
LITTLE MILLEY: I couldn't find you. So I walked around. So I thought it was stupid that I'm hanging out alone. So now I came.
MILA: If you scare me like this once more, I'm gonna break your bones, I swear. What's that spot on your ass?
LITTLE MILLEY: I've got a period… Can I hang out with you?
MILA: No, we're talking.
CROOKS: Do you have a fag?
LITTLE MILLEY: No. Can I hang out with you?
MILA: No, you can't. Go home, I'm coming in half an hour.
LITTLE MILLEY (on the brink of crying): But I thought I should hang out with you for a while, since I don't want to hang out alone. If I can.
MILA: I'll be there in half an hour.
Little Milley leaves. Mila continues 'playing' the guitar.
MILA: Fuck Little Milley. Fuck the guitar.
CROOKS: What are you playing.
MILA: You know that song that they played in the playroom yesterday. That one: My milkshake na na na na na na na na na…
CROOKS: You don't really want to play other people's songs like a pussy, do you.
MILA: I'll come up with one.
CROOKS: What is it gonna be about?
MILA: About you being a flake.
CROOKS: Yeah, I'm a flake. That's why I humiliated Terror and gave you a guitar as a proof of my Counter Strike skills. I am a flake.
MILA: I'm sorry. I know that I should be nice to you, because of the tournament.
CROOKS: Everything will be fine.
MILA: Fuck the tournament
Mila hugs him. They kiss.
CROOKS: But it's not fair, I say. It's not fair. That Bole doesn't even play that mouch.
MILA: Fuck Bole.
CROOKS: I'm never gonna play again, I swear. Never. Now, I'm going to enter some university or something.
MILA: Fuck. Don't get upset. Who knows, maybe you end up playing at the tournament.
CROOKS: Yeah, right.
They kiss. Little Milley comes back and interrupts them.
LITTLE MILLEY: You got the keys.
Black out.

SCENE 9

Bole and Crooks in the playroom.

BOLE: What's the use of waiting. He's gone for two days.
CROOKS: Well, are you sure he's gone?
BOLE: Come on, what's up with you? His mom called the cops right away. He wasn't home for two days. She thought he was here.
CROOKS: Well, did anyone see him?
BOLE: No, man. Are you listening to me?
Mila walks in. After a few seconds, Little Milley walks in after her.
CROOKS: Did you see Killer today and yesterday?
MILA: No, why?
BOLE: What about you, kid?
LITTLE MILLEY: No.
BOLE: For sure?
LITTLE MILLEY: For sure.
BOLE: And the day before yesterday?
LITTLE MILLEY: I saw him yesterday. In the garage.
BOLE: What was he doing?
LITTLE MILLEY: Hanging out.
MILA: And what were you doing in the garage?
LITTLE MILLEY: Hanging out. Looking for you.
BOLE: He's missing, damned. The cops are gonna come here looking for him.
CROOKS: That sucks.
BOLE: What an idiot. Why did he go missing now? The tournament is in five days.
MILA: If he doesn't show up, Crooks can jump in instead.
CROOKS: You're full of shit, Mila. Fuck the tournament!
MILA: Sorry, Crooks. I was trying to help.
BOLE: Of course that Crooks will play… But, where did he go now, idiot?
CROOKS: What the hell, he's gonna show up somewhere. I'm gonna go shoot some, OK?
BOLE: Here, I'm gonna turn it on in a sec. Let me just go piss. Wait here.
CROOKS: I'll wait.
MILA: Sorry for that comment, Crooks.
CROOKS: It's fine. I'm gonna go shoot.
MILA: Now you feel like playing, after all.
CROOKS: Just a bit.
MILA: Should I wait for you? I don't have anything to do anyway.
CROOKS: Wait for me later in front of the playroom.
MILA: I'll wait.
Milla sets off.
LITTLE MILLEY: Let me come with. I don't want to hang out alone.
MILA: I'm going for a walk. Wait for me on the stairs.
LITTLE MILLEY: Cool.
Black out.

SCENE 10

The atmosphere of a playroom full of computer game players. Crooks is sitting in front of a computer, with earphones on his head. He is playing Counters. We hear the sound of the game. It gets louder and louder. Heartbeat.

CROOKS (off stage, train of thought): I played Counters yesterday, as usual. And suddenly my thoughts drifted away. And I couldn't kill anyone. And I started falling on the chart. At a certain moment I turned out to be the twelfth on the map. And that's just in the terror squad. Only because, instead of focusing, I was thinking about stupid stuff. For example, what I could be doing tomorrow. To go shooting first, and then to hang out with Mila, or to hang out with Mila first, and then to go shooting… And then I figured out I gotta focus. 'Cause that's the only way you can play good. In the beginning, when you're buying arms, you've got only thirty seconds. I bought everything in ten. And I got started. And began to shoot them. And shoot. And shoot. And in no time I climbed to be number eight on the map. Then number seven. Six. Four. Third. And then the fucking time ran out and the map changed and one more time I wasn't number one. The morale: if you want to be a real Counter-player, you have to focus like a Jap.

SCENE 11

Mila, by herself, holding a guitar.

MILA (singing): Don't think about the rest,
Crooks, you have to be the best.
When your sniper breaks their heads.
My love for you spreads and spreads.

SCENE 12

Crooks is sitting on a chair. tor is pointed at his face.

VOICE: Last name.
CROOKS: Ilic.
VOICE: Do you have a nickname?
CROOKS: Crooks.
VOICE: Profession?
CROOKS: I'm in computers.
VOICE: Are you studying something?
CROOKS: No.
VOICE: Why not?
CROOKS: Why would I?
VOICE: Why do they call you Crooks?
CROOKS: 'Cause everyone tells me that if I sit in the playroom all day playing Counters, I'm gonna be crooked like an old man.
VOICE: What were you doing by yourself in the garage at six AM?
CROOKS: Going home.
VOICE: But you can't go through the normal exit, like everyone else?
CROOKS: Yes, I can, but it's faster through the garage. Instead going through the door and the right on the stairs, a go to the garage, through the tunnel. I don't have to cross the street when I get outside. I just continue going straight.
VOICE: You have to get a new ID, Crooks. You can't go around without an ID.
CROOKS: I get it.
VOICE: Go home.
Blackout.

SCENE 13

Bole and Crooks are sitting in the park.

BOLE: When you get out of the tunnel, you can turn left.
CROOKS: Down the stairs. Then into that other tunnel.
BOLE: Yes, but you don't enter that other tunnel.
CROOKS: What do I do?
BOLE: You go to the little bridge. The one where you can see that door behind it.
CROOKS: Yes. The metal door. Do you have a fag?
BOLE: I have one. For myself.
Bole lights a cigarette.
BOLE: And you stop there.
CROOKS: I get it.
BOLE: 'Cause it's stupid to turn right.
CROOKS: Why, do I turn right all the time?
BOLE: 'Cause then they see you and they kill you with a sniper as soon as you get on that path.
CROOKS: But, it doesn't matter, If you manage to take down one of theirs, it doesn't matter.
BOLE: Trust me, it's better to turn left.
CROOKS: Why nobody ever goes straight?
BOLE: Because there is a house straight ahead. There's nothing there. One of us always has to go there with the sniper. I'm telling you.
CROOKS: Agreed.
Break.
CROOKS: Do you really, that some of the best Counter-strike in the world is played here, as some say?
BOLE: It's a well known fact. We have top Counter players. Though, there is one thing. For example, the average Counter player in America is a twelve years old kid. We've got much older players.
CROOKS: Why is that?
BOLE: I have no clue. That's what their government is like. I guess they don't take it seriously. Anyway, we've got top Counter players.
CROOKS: I know, but wouldn't it be good to go to some other country to challenge them in Counter-strike?
BOLE: I'm telling you, it's all kids in America. It wouldn't be fun.
CROOKS: It would. You go and play a game with some little James. You trash the little motherfucker.
BOLE: Him and his friend Steve.
CROOKS: But maybe little James and little Steve aren't that bad at all.
BOLE: Who knows.
CROOKS: These kids nowadays are something.
Break.
CROOKS: You know what I saw on TV the other day? Do you know what's real popular in the world?
BOLE: What?
CROOKS: Underwater screwing. There was a show on that.
BOLE: Cool. Just, how do they do it with all those masks and tanks and suits and all that? How do they screw with that?
CROOKS: I don't know. I think they go without the tank. They dive out, the dive in. Dive out, dive in.
BOLE: Cool.
Break.
CROOKS: No news from Killer.
BOLE: No. None.
CROOKS: That's bad.
BOLE: I agree.
CROOKS: Maybe he's hiding from that gang that's looking for him?
BOLE: Don't think so.
CROOKS: Just wanted to say, if I had to play instead of him, I'd be totally ready.
BOLE: Relax.
Break.
CROOKS: How long do you work in the playroom, Bole?
BOLE: You never asked me that. Three years. Why?
CROOKS: Just so. Did you ever think of quitting and doing something else?
BOLE: No. Why?
CROOKS: Just so.
BOLE: What about you?
CROOKS: Not really, I'm just asking myself, who knows, maybe I'm missing something.
BOLE: Neh.
CROOKS: I know.
Black out.

SCENE 14

Moving train. Mila, Little Milley, and Crooks are on it.

LITTLE MILLEY: Just don't get pissed now. I asked the right thing, didn't I? I asked the logical thing.
MILA (annoyed): Milley, I don't know why we didn't get off at the flea market! We didn't feel like getting off.
LITTLE MILLEY: If we went for a ride, we could get off at the flea market, browsee a bit, then come back. We could've at least got off the train in Pancevo, and got back on right away. Just to touch the base. I never went to the flea market. We could've gone.
MILA: Do you need a hammer, maybe? Do you need an ironing board? Do you maybe need some nails! The hell with you and the flea market.
LITTLE MILLEY: I don't need nails.
MILA: So what's the matter?
LITTLE MILLEY: Why are there no people on the train?
MILA: Who gives a shit for that!
Break.
LITTLE MILLEY: Mila, do you still play the guitar?
MILA: Yes, I do.
LITTLE MILLEY: Strange.
MILA: What's strange?
LITTLE MILLEY: Nothing.
Brake.
CROOKS: I've been thinking, Mila, you know?
MILA: What?
CROOKS: I'm kind'a bored. I thought I should change something in my life after this tournament. I need a change. I thought maybe I should start doing another game.
MILA: Why? Are you nuts? What other game?
CROOKS: I'm bored. I thought I should try another game. I saw all kinds of games in the playroom. There are all kinds. I'm gonna choose one and be the best.
MILA: Don't quit so easy. You were doing fine.
CROOKS: That's why I would really like to make it at the tournament. Leave the game high class, you know. That's why I'm gonna practice every day until the tournament. We won't be seeing each other much, you know?
MILA: I get it.
CROOKS: But then we can be seeing each other all day long. Who knows, maybe there's a game you like, so we can start playing together.
MILA: Cool.
Mila and Crooks kiss. Break.
LITTLE MILLEY: You can start playing 'Halflife'.
CROOKS: No, I can't. It's boring. You can't play it on the net. You feel stupid when you play it alone. Like a looser.
Brake.
MILA (pensive): Imagine these trains go, for example, to some lake. We just sit on a train like that and get off at some lake.
Crooks and Mila get up and start walking towards the exit. Mila doesn't pay any attention to them. They start tiptoeing.
MILA: If there is a stop on a lake.
LITTLE MILLEY: You bet there is.
MILA: There sure is.
CROOKS: Depends where.
LITTLE MILLEY: We'll go there where there is one.
MILA: It's a deal.
Mila and Crooks exit the car. Little Milley notices them.
LITTLE MILLEY: Hey, where are you going?
MILA: We are gonna go have a chat. See you when we get there.
LITTLE MILLEY: OK.
Mila and Crooks leave.
LITTLE MILLEY (after them): Hey, we are not gonna go ride a train again. It's a little boring.
Little Milley looks straight ahead. The train is moving. That lasts quite a while.

SCENE 15

Little Milley is walking around the garage. She runs into Bole.

LITTLE MILLEY: What's up?
BOLE: Nothing. The playroom is closed. The network is down. I'm hanging out.
LITTLE MILLEY: These left me alone. Again.
BOLE: They suck.
LITTLE MILLEY: What the hell do they think is wrong with me. I feel as an idiot.
BOLE: Never mind them.
Break. Little Milley is trying hard not to cry.
LITTLE MILLEY: I sometimes think there's something weird about this station. I like it here, it's not that. It's that I come here and then my own sister starts avoiding me.
BOLE (trying to make her feel better): There is nothing weird about the station, it's just that you get on their nerves.
Little Milley starts crying. She doesn't know how to react.
BOLE: What's the matter with you?
LITTLE MILEY: I'm not crying because of that.
Little Milley keeps crying. Bole comes closer.
BOLE: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to fuck you up.
LITTLE MILLEY: It's all right, I'm telling you.
BOLE: It's all gonna be OK.
LITTLE MILLEY (crying): I know.
Bole gives her some kind of a hug.
BOLE: Don't cry.
Little Milley stops crying.
LITTLE MILLEY: I would really like to learn the Counters one day.
BOLE: Why didn't you ever ask Crooks to teach you?
LITTLE MIILLEY: That never crossed my mind.
BOLE: Well, I can teach you.
LITTLE MILLEY: You can if you want to.
BOLE: I want to. I can't do it tomorrow. But, let's say the day after tomorrow.
LITTLE MILLEY: I think I have no plans for the day after tomorrow.
Break.
BOLE: Don't be down because of Mila and Crooks. They just want to be by themselves a bit.
LITTLE MILLEY: I know, damned. You see that I'm not crying any more.
BOLE: And do you feel better now?
LITTLE MILLEY: Yes, much better.
BOLE: Cool.
LITTLE MILLEY: Thank you, Bole.
BOLE: You're welcome.
LITTLE MILLEY: What are we gonna do now?
BOLE: I actually wanted to have a word with you.
LITTLE MILLEY: Shoot.
BOLE: I have a message for you from Killer. He told you that if you want Crooks to play at the tournament, you have to ask me, too.
Black out.
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm a virgin.

SCENE 16

Mila with the guitar.

MILA (singing and playing the guitar):
Crooks, don't be flaky tonight,
Counter-strike is worth a fight,
Let everything else go, all right,
Crooks, take the snipe and kill tonight.

SCENE 17

Little Milley is sitting on a chair. A reflector is directed at her face.

VOICE: Milena?
LITTLE MILLEY: Milley.
VOICE: What does it say in your ID?
LITTLE MILLEY: I don't have an ID.
VOICE: And why is that?
LITTLE MILLEY: Well, I am fourteen.
VOICE: What is your name, kid?
LITTLE MILLEY: Milena. But everybody calls me Milley.
VOICE: If you are going to wonder around all night you have to have some document. An ID, some kind of a card, at least.
LITTLE MILLEY: I had a library card when I was in junior high.
VOICE: O.K. at least bring that with you to show. So that we know who you are.
LITTLE MILLEY: I don't have it anymore. I threw it away.
VOICE: And why is that?
MILENICA: What should I keep it for?
VOICE: What were you doing by yourself at two AM in the station?
LITTLE MILLEY: I was hanging out. Waiting for my sister, to go home with her.
VOICE: Don't you have something else to do, instead of hanging out here all night?
LITTLE MILLEY: No, I don't
VOICE: What about school?
LITTLE MILLEY: It's summer.
VOICE: Well, isn't there anything smarter for you to do in the entire country?
LITTLE MILLEY: No. I met Terror yesterday, and he says…
VOICE: Who is Terror?
LITTLE MILLEY: Some guy. He says that grown ups are to blame for everything, because they're frustrated…
VOICE: What do you mean frustrated?
LITTLE MILLEY: So. People buy their first car here when they are forty, move into their first apartment when they are fifty. When they are sixty they don't want to retire because they think they are still young. They just don't want to get off the horse and let us ride…
VOICE: What does that have to do with you?
LITTLE MILLEY: It will never be our turn. Who knows when we'll have enough money to play Counter Strike as much as we want.
VOICE: Bullshit. Do you know what's the difference between someone normal and a bum?
LITTLE MILLEY: What?
VOICE: The difference is that someone normal grows mature. When you are little you discover the world, and when you grow up, you make your own world.
LITTLE MILLEY: I get it. And you can also get together with someone and do it together. In pairs. You don't have to do everything alone.
VOICE: See how smart you are… And what do you think, what is your world going to be like, if you hang out here all night?
Short pause.
LITTLE MILLEY: Nice.
Long pause.
VOICE: Go home, Milley.
Black out.

SCENE 18

Crooks and Mila on the stairs.

CROOKS: Have you got a fag?
MILA: No.
Pause.
CROOKS: Say something.
Pause.
CROOKS: Say something.
MILA: You say something.
CROOKS: I'm sorry I forgot to wish you a happy birthday, Mila. You see that this Killer guy is not showing up. The tournament is in two days. Bole put me on the team and I have to practice all day long. I got some kind of a bug and forgot which day it is today.
MILA: I was waiting us to fool around. I thought I should sing something for you.
CROOKS: That sucks. But I know you get it. You get that I don't celebrate my own birthday.
MILA (interrupts): I get it, Crooks.
CROOKS: You get it?
MILA: I get it, Crooks. You have to practice.
CROOKS: Thanks.
MILA: You have to kick ass at the tournament. You have to practice.
CROOKS: I know it sucks. But, you know about what happens after the tournament. About the other game. There's a game where you compete in dancing. It can be played in couples.
MILA: But, I like that fact that you play Counter Strike.
CROOKS: But, I have to try different things in my life.
MILA: If you say so.
CROOKS: I thought, we could check it out together, and if you like it, we could dive right in. We could get really good and play it against some other couple. To kick them like flakes in dancing.
MILA: We could.
CROOKS: We can hang out for 45 minutes now, and then I have to go practice.
MILA: Do you shoot well?
CROOKS: Top. I was second on the entire map today. I destroyed them all with the sniper.
MILA: Sniper Crooks.
CROOKS: What are you saying?
MILA: If you break their balls at the tournament. They might start calling you Sniper Crooks.
CROOKS: Or Crooked Snipe.
MILA: Or Crooked Snipe.
CROOKS: Sounds more dangerous.
MILA: I get it.
CROOKS: By the way, no one forbids you to hang out in the playroom while I 'm playing.
MILA: I'll see, if I have nothing else to do.
Break.
CROOKS: Hey, why don't you sing a song for me now?
MILA: I left the guitar at Bole's, I don't feel like going to get it.
CROOKS: It doesn't matter.
Black out.

SCENE 19

The playroom. Little Milley is sitting behind the counter,on Bole's spot. Mila walks in, carrying the guitar.

MILA: Why is there no one in here?
LITTLE MILLEY: The playroom is closed for half an hour. Network checkup.
MILA: Where were you?
LITTLE MILLEY: All around the place.
MILA: And?
LITTLE MILLEY: And I came back here.
MILA: Are you OK?
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm fine.
MILA: I was looking everywhere for you. Where is Bole?
LITTLE MILLEY: He left.
MILA: And what did he say, is he coming back?
LITTLE MILLEY: He is.
MILA: When.
LITTLE MILLEY: He's coming. He went for a piss. They're all gonna come here soon. To leave for the tournament.
MILA: I know.
LITTLE MILLEY: How's your music career doing?
MILA: Fine.
She leaves the guitar.
LITTLE MILLEY: And you? What's up?
MILA: Nothing.
LITTLE MILLEY: Always nothing.
MILA: When it's nothing. Dolce and Gabanna broke up, that's what's up.
Crooks walks in, crazed.
CROOKS: Is Bole in?
MILA: He's here.
Bole comes from the toilet.
CROOKS (to Bole): Am I on time? If you only knew how hard I was trying to get on time.
BOLE: You're on time.
CROOKS: Are we going?
BOLE: In five minutes. When everybody comes.
CROOKS: Cool.
BOLE: Cool.
Enters Killer Belgrade. Everybody except Crooks notices him.
CROOKS: We're gonna bust their balls.
BOLE: We will.
CROOKS: We have to.
BOLE: I'm not worried.
CROOKS: When I get out of the tunnel, then left. Down the stairs. Onto the bridge. The one you can see that door from. Metal door. And, there I stop. So they wouldn't see me and kill me with sniper as soon as I step onto the path. As we agreed, Bole. We will kick ass.
BOLE: I'm not worried.
Enters Killer Belgrade.
KILLER BELGRADE: Neither am I.
CROOKS: Killer. Your back.
KILLER BELGRADE: Back from where?
CROOKS: I don't know.
KILLER BELGRADE: I never went anywhere. I was in the playroom right across.
BOLE: So that no one bothers him. That's what we came up with.
LITTLE MILLEY: That's not the way it was gonna be. Crooks should have played.
BOLE: But, Killer is better. Especially with the knife.
LITTLE MILLEY: Crooks should have played!
CROOKS: So, I'm not in.
KILLER BELGRADE: You can come with, in case something happens to someone.
CROOKS: So, I'm not in.
BOLE: You're not in.
CROOKS: I'm going for a walk.
BOLE: I'm telling you, you can come with.
CROOKS: Maybe I'll be back later.
MILA: I thought, Crooks, maybe I should go to the tournament with them and tell you all about it when you come back.
CROOKS: Go.
MILA: Done deal.
Crooks exits.
KILLER BELGRADE: Let's go.
BOLE: Let's.
KILLER BELGRADE: To wipe their pussies.
They exit. Mila, too. Little Milley takes the guitar. She's trying to play something. Nothing. She bangs the guitar at the floor with her entire force. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Black out.

SCENE 20

Crooks and Little Milley in the street. They cannot stand the sun shining in their eyes.

LITTLE MILLEY: Can I hang out with you?
CROOKS: Yeah.
Brake.
CROOKS: How's your sister doing?
LITTLE MILLEY: No idea. She met a gang at the tournament, so she went with them to a playroom down-town. She said she wouldn't come here anymore. And she wouldn't take me along. I would never go with her downtown, any way. 'Cause my sister's a flake. It's better here.
Brake.
CROOKS: Gotta fag?
LITTLE MILLEY: Yip.
Little Milley takes out a cigarette and hands it to Crooks.
LITTLE MILLEY: Don't get all fucked up, Crooks.
CROOKS: I'm not getting all fucked up. It's just a tournament. They lost, anyway.
LITTLE MILLEY: Just a tournament.
CROOKS: It doesn't mean a thing to me in life. Fuck the tournament. Let's go back and find another game. To play. Do you know all the games there are?
LITTLE MILLEY: I know. All kinds of games.
Pause.
CROOKS: And we could also ride the bus for one stop and yell at people.
LITTLE MILLEY: And why would we do that?
CROOKS: In protest.
LITTLE MILLEY: Against what?
CROOKS: I don't know. Against the system.
LITTLE MILLEY: But why?
CROOKS: No idea.
Pause.
LITTLE MILLEY: Hey, which game are you gonna play, now?
CROOKS: No clue. I'll see.
LITTLE MILLEY: Can I play with you?
Crooks takes Little Milley's hand.
CROOKS: If you fancy.
LITTLE MILLEY: Crooks?
CROOKS: What.
LITTLE MILLEY: I'm a virgin.
CROOKS: So what?
LITTLE MILLEY: Nothing.
Black out.
LITTLE MILLEY (voice in the dark): Crooks says Counter Strike is no ordinary game. It's a way of life. A way of life you've gotta live through in order to understand it. I understood it. Although I never played the Counters. I guess that means something is gonna become of me one day.
Lights. Little Milley and Crooks are holding each other.

The end

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