The Adventure of the Deerstalker



Benny, teens, wearing a funny hat and bright scarf

Clarissa, late twenties




Bookstore aisle, do-it-yourself and home repair section
(Lights up on a bookstore aisle. CLARISSA, a woman in the
twilight of her twenties, leans on the shelves as she flips
through a book. She checks her watch, then goes back to the
book. Stage left, BENNY enters, late teens, wearing a tweed
deerstalker hat, a colorful scarf, and a backpack. He walks
up the aisle, running his finger along the books. Clarissa
looks up at him, eye contact.)



(Benny turns to books, leans down, pulls out one on plumbing.
Crouches down as he reads. Clarissa is still staring at him.
He looks at her. Back to book. He tries ignoring her stare.
He looks again: she's still staring. He shuts book, stands,
stares back. Silence.)

Somethin' I can help you with, miss?

I like your hat.

Yeah, sure you do, just like everyone else, huh?

It's neat. You get a lot of compliments on it?

Yeah, tons.

It reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes hat. Did you ever read any
of those? Hound and the Baskervilles? Valley of Fear?
(Pause.) I always liked Holmes. (Pause.) Say, where did you
get that hat?

You know, just get it over with. Make a remark, ask me if
I'm gay, go ahead. (Silence.) Oh come-on. Saw me walk up,
seeing the scarf (grabs scarf) and think, "lookit this crazy
kid walking around like a bucket of technicolor gay", and
alluvasudden, you start talkin' to me, and you're waiting,
smiling and acting nice, until you laugh when I walk off, or
spend the entire time wonderin' how gay I may be. So just
ask me. Get it over with, satisfy your morbid little
curiosity. (Pause.) I'm not gay, okay?

Is that what you think?

I get it everywhere I go. I'm used to it. I know it, too, so
just get that shit outta your system, and leave me alone.

Is this how you respond to everyone who says "hi" to you?

Fine, sorry, you seem like a real nice lady, but I just get that
crap everywhere I go. And I like wearing a hat like this and a
scarf like this and everyone's thinking "he must be gay." Does
it make me gay to like this stuff? Huh?

(Clarissa closes her book, slides it back to the shelf, leans
on elbow, listening. Drums her fingers on crossed arms...)

BENNY (cont)
I'm not, I'm not gay, I got a choice to wear it, and I'm
expressing myself. Know what else? This crazy stuff, it's like
x-ray goggles to me, yeah, x-ray! It helps me look at other
people, and see down to their petty little rotten insect
insides, where they judge and laugh and aren't the smiling,
civil little coffee shop worker. I can see through--

(Clarissa smiles, walks to Benny, leans down and grabs his
book from his hands. He bolts upright, she turns away from
him to examine book and block him.)

BENNY (cont)
Hey, what the hell? Gimme that back!

Plumbing? For what? Building a bong? (Silence.) I don't
think you're gay, ok? I just wanna know where you got the hat.
Nothing more. Not insulting you, not being--what did you say?-
black insect insides?

Gimme the book.

Where'd you get the hat?


Or? Going to attack me with your rainbow scarf, Mr. Holmes?
How elementary of you.

Lady, gimme the book, I don't wanna get into this. Serious.

Now, I want to know where you got the book and I want an
apology. I was being nice and said "hi" and you went off.
(Silence.) You know, that's funny...I just realized I really
need a book on plumbing. I may have to buy this book, thanks.

(Benny lunges forward to snatch it, she holds it behind her
back, and holds him forward.)

Jes' gimme the book and I'll be gone.

What's so important about plumbing, Mr. Holmes?

Come on, lady, please. (Pause.) And it's Benny.

Benjamin, why do you need a book on plumbing?

Benny. I'm getting it for my dad, okay? Sorta a gift.


No, he's freakin' awful at plumbing, he destroyed my bathroom
two days ago after my sisters clogged it with hair. There was a
big knot of dyed blonde and black from all of them, and he tried
using that Drain-O crap and it ruined the pipes, so then he
tried removing the pipes to pull out the clump and he ripped out
a water pipe, and we haven't had any hot water in two days. So,
I'm gonna fix it myself, then give him the book for next time.

That's all? Not solving any nefarious crimes? No dead bodies
and spectres? Dr. Moriarty isn't up to anything? Not using
this to deduce any sort of crime involving the plumbing under
Buckingham or a conspiracy to steal the Crown Jewels?

Just sisters destroying the bathroom.

How many?

Come on. Gimme the book.

I only have one, a brother.

Six. One brother, five sisters. Catholic. Y'know.

Sure seems it, Benjamin.

Benny. Ben-nee.

But Benjamin is a much more suited name for a man wearing that
hat. You're a Benjamin with it on.

Look, I'm sorry for going off on you. Just...gimme the

(Clarissa snaps fingers then holds book out to Benny. He
snatches it, then takes a few steps.)

And what about Sherlock Holmes?

(Benny stops, turns.)

What about him?

Ever read any of the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

No. Lady, I gotta go, okay? Got my book, gotta get home to fix
the problem, 'kay?

Hounds and the Baskervilles. (Pause.) It's about a murder of a
rich guy, and the murderer is a witch dog of the night, but it's
really an illegitimate son of the dead guy trying to get an


Well, it's interesting because of how Holmes finds it out. He
sees a painting of the family, covers up half the painting, and
notices the criminal's face resembles the portrait.

Have a good day or something.

Wait. Know why I'm saying this?

(Clarissa holds her hand up to block half of Benny's face.)

Cause half of you is saying "look at me, I'm a rebel, and I
express myself", and (moves hand to cover other half), other
half of you says "will someone please tell me who the hell I am
or notice me."

Is that so, lady? And how would you know that?

It's a hunch. Call it a Holmes-ian deduction.

I only remember Poe. Edgar Allen. Y'know, Raven, Nevermore.

That's...not the same as Doyle.
Well, my mom would always read me stuff when I was younger.
Maybe some Doyle in there. She would read us all books. Dunno.
It was easier for her than talking to each and every one of us.
And, I know the Poe, it scared the hell outta my sisters.
Beating hearts beneath floorboards, golden beetles in skulls...

Did she, your mom, buy you the hat?

No. They don't even notice the hat.

How can they not notice it? Looks of wonderful quality.

Hell if I know! It's pretty damn loud, isn't it? Yeah, I
think they shoulda been seeing shit like this, too! They
don't notice a damn thing. I mean, with all those others
kids, Catholic family, I can understand it, but, look at this
hat, lookit this scarf, and they gloss over it, ask me "how
was your day?" at the big-ass dinner like they ask everybody
every night, without noticing this earring here--which is way
not allowed in my house--or a big gay stupid rainbow scarf!
I remember this once, my dad tried to have the "don't do
drugs" talk with me. Well, I never did, but he never had no
"proud moment" for me being a good boy. So, I bought a
dimebag, a forty, and a pack of menthols, and drank and
smoked myself stupid as quick as possible and got absolutely
destroyed two blocks from my house under a bridge, by myself,
then stumbled home, puked on the front door, and passed out
in the flower garden, yelling my mom's name and that I was
sorry. They got my sisters to clean my mess, they put me to
bed, and they just told me they didn't raise an idiot, so I
need to be smarter. That was it. That's all. "They didn't
raise an idiot."

Is that why the, um, plumbing? (Silence.) So they'll notice you
fixed it? (Pause.) I get it.

Why did you want to know where I got the hat?

Don't worry about it, Benny, you got plumbing to do.

Well, now I'm interested, lady. Let's say I believe you
actually like my hat...why do you want to know?

Honestly? Well, I'm meeting my brother for lunch in twenty
minutes here. Haven't seen him in six years. I wanted to be
early, y'know, maybe he would be early too.

Why six years? (Pause.) Tell me or I don't tell you about where
I got the hat.

Ugh, seriously? Eh, what does it matter...when our dad passed,
we had a fight over the will, and it got ugly, and neither of us
talked for a while. That's all.

What about? Come on, I said some stuff, so you tell me some
stuff. Trust in strangers. I don't even know your name, but
I told you some shit that I just don't say, y'know? Trust me



Yeah. My brother, he wanted the house, I said no, so we ended
up selling it. Recently, I got a call from a girl saying "I'm
marrying your brother, Jason, and I found your number. I want
you two to talk again, I want you to be there." (Pause.) So,
here I am. She probably forced him to come today, too.

Problem with the the book, um, Baskerton?

Not really the same situation, but, sure, it's close. We both
wanted our childhood house, but not to share, so we sold it.
And, I regret the hell out of it. We used to play there a lot,
when we were kids, we played Sherlock Holmes. My dad had all
the books, and we read them all, and would dress up, go outside,
and act like Sherlock and Watson. I was Watson. Jason was
Sherlock, with my dad's pipe and this tweed smock, and I had
this magnifying glass I would use to look at every little thing
in our yard. I remember once we snuck to the neighbor's shed,
Mr. Lemieux, and he had a shotgun in there, so we stole a shell.
Sherlock analyzes a bullet casing sometimes to find a match
between murders, so I wanted to do the same. I remember, I was
five, I was outside, in the dirt, holding the shell and whacking
the back with a rock, but Jason didn't want me to. He was
scared. He ran inside, but I kept going, and all of a sudden,
my dad comes tearing out the door and rears up then kicks the
hell out of my hands. Broke my wrist. I cried for weeks.

Pretty stupid of you, Clarissa.

Yeah, wasn't it? Felt like forever to heal. Dad threw out the
pipe, my magnifying glass, my brother's tweed smock, all of it,
and said that we were never allowed to play Sherlock again.
Forbidden. I know Jason would remember that if I showed up with
a deerstalker hat like that. He'd burst into laughter like--

Like a shotgun shell? (Pause.) Well, I got the hat online.

Oh. (Silence.)

You got lunch in twenty, so, I'll make you a deal. I'll give
you mine, if you want. Yeah, listen...I don't like it anyways.

(Benny pulls backpack off, pulls out a chullo hat.)

I got more. You never know how you need to be done up, y'know?
(Pause.) Or you can, y'know, buy me this plumbing book, fair
trade. No obligation. Adult. Would that be better?

I don't want to give my brother a second-hand hat from some kid
who may have lice or something, sorry, but how do I know? Six
years and I give him a ratty, used hat?

What's wrong with mine? You said you liked it. "Wonderful
quality", right? It would still be good enough to make him

No, no, not with him. "Thought that counts" is an excuse to him
for not putting in the effort to get something real.

That' ass thing to say. (Silence.) Sorry, he's your bro,
but at my Christmas, almost every gift is macaroni and glitter
from my sisters. Sure, it's no new guitar, but it's still good.

Yeah, he's not like that...

Then why get him anything at all?

I don't know, I just think it'd make things easier. Haven't you
ever wanted to just have something to start talking about and
not have to go through the "hi, how are you? I'm good, I've
done this and that, worked here, met a few men, nothing stuck,
how'd you met your fiancee? Oh, nice, that's delightful. You
look healthy, happy, successful, right, oh, how have I been?
Oh, y'know, I get by, nothing big, I have a job here, but I
can't possibly tell you to your face that I'm jealous of your
job and your perfect little life, but I'm thinking it, and, oh,
fake laugh, fake laugh," then the crippling, dark abyss silence.
Like the bottom of the ocean, crushing everything, where I know
neither of us will have anything to say and neither of us want
to say anything. With a hat like that, I could skip all that
formal crap and we could just go right back to before we hated
each other over pirating our dad's possessions. To when we
played in the yard.

Hey, Clarissa.


Sherlock solved mysteries, right? Well, you kinda saw through
me. Yeah, you're right, I wanna be noticed, you got me. What I
mean is that, you, well, I think I figured out your mystery.
You have nothing to see your brother for... (Puts hand over one
side of face) I see a woman remembering the good times with her
brother with one half, (moves hand to other side) but I see a
woman who doesn't want to accept her brother now is not the
brother who was tattle-tale Sherlock.

You think so, Benny Homes?

It sounds like...he is who he is now. He's not who you played
Sherlock with. And you know it. You want to change him back
to what he was with a hat. He's not gonna be that.


I love my macaroni drawings every Christmas, even if they’re
pieces of junk.

You're probably right...

Hey, Clarissa, get outta here.

(Clarissa smiles weakly, nods, then starts walking away.)

Hey, wait, one more deal.

(Throws deerstalker to Clarissa, puts on chullo hat.)

Tell me which Sherlock to start with, and you earned that.

That, my dear Holmes, is entirely for you to figure out.
(Pause.) But Hound and the Bakservilles isn't a bad start.


Return top