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KUDZU - Brent Watts

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KUDZU

by Brent Watts

(Early Summer, 2016. Two cousins, a young man and a slightly older young woman, walk through the campus of Lees College. They stop beneath the ginkgo tree.)  

 

CRYSTAL 

Wait, wait, I think we’re getting closer.  

 

LUCAS  

Do you see it yet?  

 

CRYSTAL 

No, not yet. Wait—there it is! It’s Snorlax! 

 

LUCAS 

Crys, are you for real? A Snorlax in Jackson? There’s no way.  

 

CRYSTAL 

No, for real. Don’t you see it?  

 

LUCAS 

No!  

 

CRYSTAL 

Look! I’m not lying!  

(She shows him her phone.) 

 

LUCAS 

Aww, what! Come on!  

 

(He begins to walk around frantically trying to get to the right spot for his phone to “find” the Snorlax.) 

 

CRYSTAL 

I got him! 

 

LUCAS 

I can’t find it!  

 

CRYSTAL 

Relax. It’ll come back again.  

 

LUCAS 

Will it though? Do you really know?  

 

CRYSTAL 

Well…no. But it’s not like it’ll never come back. Maybe if we keep walking around you’ll find one too? 

 

LUCAS 

Yeah I guess so.  

 

(They begin to walk. As they do, Lees College and the gingko tree slide into the distance, and Main Street comes into view.) 

 

CRYSTAL 

Hey, do you remember when we were little, and we used to run up and down the streets playing Naruto
 

LUCAS 

Yeah, and you always wanted to be Sasuke. Even though you should have been Sakura.  

 

CRYSTAL 

Well yeah, no one liked Sakura. Plus, I was edgy like that. I was meant to play Sasuke. You still got to be Naruto, though. 

 

LUCAS 

Yeah but I wanted to be Sasuke.  

CRYSTAL 

Everyone wanted to be Sasuke. That’s the middle school dream 

 

LUCAS 

Remember how we’d ninja race down to South Jackson? 

 

CRYSTAL 

Yeah that was so embarrassing. I can’t believe we did that. 

(A beat.) 

You wanna do it again? 
 

LUCAS 

Uh, no. 

 

CRYSTAL 

For old times’ sake? 

 

LUCAS 

What if someone sees us?  

 

CRYSTAL 

So? Who cares? Please Lucas? For Sissy Cryssy? Your favorite cousin? 

 

LUCAS 

Uggghhhhokay I guess.  

CRYSTAL 

Okay, readysetgo! 

(CRYSTAL takes off without a second thought.) 

 

LUCAS 

Wait! 

 

(They ninja-run, leaning forward with their arms pulled back and stiff to their sidesThey race around the space, as fast as they can, once again kids who can’t be embarrassed and who wouldn’t care even if they were embarrassed. Main Street fades away and South Jackson comes into view. As they race, they cross the South Jackson bridge at the same time.) 

 

CRYSTAL 

No ties! Keep going! 

 

LUCAS 

No fair! 

 

(They keep going, but they both stop at the base of Town Hill, too tired to keep going. No one kept track of who won, but no one cares either. Kudzu fills the space.) 

 

(A beat. They both stare up at the kudzu, as if really noticing it for the first time.)  

 

LUCAS 

Y’know, even though it’s invasive, it’s still kinda pretty. 

 

CRYSTAL 

What, the kudzu? 

 

LUCAS 

Yeah. I don’t know what this place used to look like before, but I can’t really imagine anything else here. 

 

CRYSTAL 

Yeah, me neither. 

 

LUCAS 

How long do you think something has to be somewhere before it’s not invasive? 

 

CRYSTAL 

Good question.  

 

(A beat. They ponder. LUCAS pulls out his phone.) 

 

LUCAS 

Oh my gosh! Crystal! Another Snorlax! 

CRYSTAL 

Maybe it never was to begin with.  

 

END PLAY.  

What do you think about when you see kudzu? Do you know where it came from? Why it’s here? What’s underneath? Can you imagine Breathitt County without it?  

  

How long does something have to be here before we decide it belongs? 

 

This column is brought to you by Our Breathitt, a community arts and health experience bringing together artists and Breathitt Countians from across Kentucky. Project is organized with IDEAS xLab (an artist-led nonprofit), and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Starting in August 2019, five collaborating writers, each with their own perspectives and ties to the county, will offer weekly columns and audio stories for radio and podcasts. Contact us at 859-397-1317 to join this conversation by leaving a voicemail with your response to the questions we raise and adding thoughts of your own! You may hear your responses incorporated into future posts and narratives! You can also email at ourbreathitt@gmail.comWe hope you will mark your calendars and join us at the Our Breathitt Summit, October 11-12 in Jackson, Kentucky. Information at www.ideasxlab.com/ourbreathitt.