Branchalanche (or The Useless Antique)

My buddy Mike Birch reminded me I wrote this for a 24-hour play thing. We were given an old ski as prop to incorporate and a line about Pathmark. Thought this is appropriate with the winter Olympics going on. Now I need to write one about curling.

Branchalanche (or The Useless Antique)
By Chris Harcum
Copyright © 2007

(Scene: An empty house. Andrew, Anne, and Aaron are around an old wooden ski. Aaron holds a paper.)

ANNE
No!

AARON
I wouldn’t make this up.

ANDREW
This is just like him. Let me read that.

AARON
Here. But I’m telling you…

ANDREW
Jesus.

ANNE
Talk about the ultimate “go to hell”.

ANDREW
We can figure this out.

ANNE
What? Dad left his money to your mom, his belongings to your mom, my mom gets this house, and all we get is this stupid ski. Between the three of us!

AARON
If that’s the way you feel about it, you shouldn’t have it.

ANNE
Like you should have it? You don’t even ski.

AARON
“You don’t even ski. You don’t even ski. Look at Aaron. He can’t do a daffy or an eagle.” Like anybody would want to do a gay move like a daffy.

ANNE
No, they’d rather do something sophisticated like get baked and “cut some corduroy”. Snowboarding is not a legitimate sport.

ANDREW
Anne!

AARON
“I’m going to hop some moguls.” Eep. Eep. Yeah, rough stuff! Eep. Eep.

ANDREW
Aaron!

ANNE
Moguls require finesse and you’re, like, weak.

AARON
Your kind thinks you’re so hardcore. You’re just poser rebels. I live it!

ANDREW
Time out. I’m sure we can all come away from this—

ANNE
–Who are you, Andrew? Mr. Cross Country Blandypants.

AARON
Yeah, Mr. I’m Going Over Here.

ANNE
And then I’m Going Back Again.

AARON
And guess what?

ANNE
I’m Going To Do It Again.

AARON
Because it’s safe.

ANNE
And regular.

AARON
And it doesn’t mess up my adult diapers.

ANDREW
Hey, cross country takes hours. I don’t just go down a hill and hit the ski lodge.

ANNE
‘Cause you don’t have the guts.

AARON
Yeah.

ANDREW
Kiss my ass, both of you.

AARON
Before or after you change yourself?

ANDREW
Cross country is the most real sport. Feel my quads. Feel them. I betcha I’ve got the strongest heart of the three of us. I don’t just get away with smoking cigarettes on the lift. I put time into—

ANNE
–So you think you should get Dad’s ski?

ANDREW
Well…yes. Of the three of us, I’m the one who was the closest to him in this sport.

AARON
Bullshit.

ANNE AND ANDREW
Snowboarding is not a real sport.

ANDREW
Look, one time I was seeing this girl.

ANNE
When was this?

ANDREW
Fifteen, no, seventeen years ago.

AARON
You saw girls?

ANDREW
I was in college. Anyway, she dumped me right before Valentines. Over the phone. I was already up in Idaho. Man it sucked. So Dad met me up there but it was too cold to ski so he flew us to Vermont. And that’s when he taught me to cross country ski. He said when times are tough, you always need to exercise. And that’s why I cross country.

AARON
I knew it.

ANDREW
What?

AARON
Well if downhill is kinda gay, then cross country is really gay.

ANDREW
Up yours Silver Surfer.

ANNE
Silver Surfer. Heh, heh, heh. That’s uber-gay. Heh, heh, heh.

AARON
Yeah, I go four times faster than you and, I don’t know, a hundred times more than you. So I’ll just take this and we’ll call it a day.

ANDREW
What?

AARON
Oh, I gotta tell you a sob story to win it? Fine. So we’re on this Black Diamond. Me and this Canadian chick who can’t ski. Yeah, tough break for her. So I gotta sit on my board and literally wrap her around me like this to get her down. Later, she’s got the cotton pony so me and the old man are in the hot tub and he says to me, “Aaron, if I learned one thing it’s this: Women. Is. Bitches.”

ANDREW
And?

AARON
I dumped her that night. Wah. Wah. Gimme the ski.

ANDREW
This was after your mom was cheating on him.

AARON
Maybe.

ANNE
Wait a second. Put it down for a second and listen to it. What’s it saying?

AARON
Did you go to the Pathmark? What, I’m freakin’ starvin’ and that fridge probably just has one popsicle stick we inherited as a bonus.

ANNE
What did Dad mean when he left this to us?

(pause)
ANDREW
I don’t know. I mean look at it. You can’t use it. Has anybody used it since talking pictures were invented?

ANNE
I wanted to learn to ski so badly. Dad used to come back from his weekends this happy you can’t begin to know. Mom wouldn’t go. She didn’t want to compete with your mom. And he wouldn’t take me. “You’re too little yet, Annie Bug.” So I played hooky one day and I got on a bus to the mountains and I followed people around and…God, I had less than five dollars…
I convinced the guy in the shop that Mom sent me ahead to get my skis and I got on the bunny and I spent most of the afternoon getting my butt wet because I didn’t know how to stop properly. I was there for hours and, I don’t know if this is real, but I skied right into Dad. And he said, “I think you’re ready for the real thing.” On the lift he said, “Look, Annie Bug we’re flying.”
And he let me go one my own and I went straight for the trees. And he yelled, “Annie!” The noise made the snow drop right out of this tree onto me. He told me that’s a Branchalanche. He said I’d been baptized by the snow. That I’d always be a skier. Skiing and my life became the same thing.
(She hugs the ski.)
I miss him so much.

AARON
Yeah, fuck that, you aren’t getting it.

ANDREW
Wait. That was it. Dad knew who we are and helped us become that in our own way. This useless antique we can’t share, we don’t have to.

(Anne goes and hugs Andrew.)

AARON
You both are gay.

(Aaron takes the ski and leaves.)

ANDREW
Typical.

ANNE
Snowboarding asshole.

ANDREW
You get the ski, I’ll flatten the tires on his jeep.

(They go after Aaron.)

The End.

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