| ACT II: No Good Lawyer
Common room. It appears to be a quiet evening. The 'Ten Commandments' video is on in the kitchen lounge. Bad music is playing in the common room but the Americans don't hear it. They are busy at a small circular table. One is writing, the other clipping articles from a stack of newspapers. Eddie and an Irish traveller are sitting across from them on a mattress-couch, talking.
American Guy: So there's a quote in here by Meron Benvenisti... He's talking about the duality of roles... of being neighbor and enemy at the same time. (he checks the page number and takes down a few notes)
American Girl: "Yeah, he was quoted in my book too...actually here's that article he wrote for Ha'aretz. You know the one I'm talking about?...Did you want to keep that one? (She thumbs through the pile of papers. There is a neat stack off to the side beside a scattered throw-away pile...she has a Swiss army knife in her right hand, ready to clip the next article.)
fading in from the side, Eddie talks to the Irish...
Eddie: No, I'm tellin' ya, man, there's like nothin' so weird... they screwed me over. Get this, I'm at the airport, I have a flight in an hour. I just spent six weeks visiting my friends in Israel, havin' a great time, ya know. The day, the very day I'm leaving, I go to the airport with my passport and ticket back to New York... I'm all psyched to go home, right. Then BOOM, the guy behind the counter sayz to me, he sayz 'I can't let you go. You're not allowed out of the country.' (the Irish guy listens intently...American's can't help but over-hear)
Eddie: So I sayz 'What do you mean? I'm an American citizen. I have a U.S. passport.' He sayz 'But you have an Israeli passport too, you're an Israeli citizen too, right.' Then he tells me my name's come up in the computer and I'm supposed to go to the army in 4 weeks. They took me in, like for five hours, and wouldn't let me go. And I had a ticket $800 bucks down the drain, man, those bastards! Not only did they take me in, they robbed me $800 dollars!
Irish: So are you going, then?
Eddie: There ain't no way they can make me go, man! I got me a lawyer and he tells me I have two options: I can do 18 months and get it over with, but I'm like cleaning toilets and shit... or, I can do like three years andmaybe do somethin' real, like I get a gun 'n everything... but that's a long time, man. Ain't no way I want to stay in this crazy place that long. I got a trial date and all that bullshit. I'm just waiting to get outta here.
Irish: That's rough. In my country they used to draft, but now they don't make you go...
Eventually the Irish guy gets up and says he is heading out for some dinner, does anyone want to come? No one is interested, so he leaves. Eddie is worked up, still feeling social. He glances over at the Americans and watches them quietly for a minute
Eddie: So what are you guys doing over there for four hours, anyway? You students or somethin'?
Amer Guy: It's a complicated place, you know... It's probably the most complicated place I've ever been to and we're just trying to get a handle on the issues.
Eddie: Yeah, you're really into it,aren't you. I can't sit in one place that long - I'll go crazy.
Amer Guy: I guess we have been sitting here awhile, huh? Actually, I'm about ready to wrap it up. (to American girl) You ready, hon?
Amer Girl (to Amer guy): I'm almost there. You might want to go through the discard pile before I toss these (gestures at the pile of newspapers)
Amer Guy: (looks through them briefly) Looks like you got all the ones I wanted to keep. I think that's fine. I'm going up, 'kay?
Amer Girl: 'Kay, I won't be long.
A small mousy man enters. He's staying at the hostel as a guest and no one really knows his story. He is Arab and eager to use the little English he knows. Most people find him friendly but exhausting to talk to if they get locked in to a conversation. He's been seen previous days strumming an oud - an stringed Arab instrument. He sits beside Eddie and the two watch the American girl. She is writing now, her hand to her forehead, thinking.
Oud dude: So you write story? Reporter?
Amer Girl: No, no, we're just writing for ourselves.
Oud dude: (shakes his head quizzically, not understanding) ... What... reporter?
Amer Girl: No, we write uh... articles... stories for our friends and family.... (the explanation doesn't help, but she doesn't feel like explaining more. Oud dude gets up and peers over the shoulder of the American girl)
Oud dude: Waaaaa! So small, small! (holds up thumb and forefinger as though to measure the tiny words) I have advice you. Very bad for eyes, hurt eyes! (squints and covers his eyes)
Amer Girl: It's only bad if you have no light. This is okay.
Oud dude: (insists) You should not do this, very bad.
Amer Girl gives up on any more writing... begins to stack books and gets up.
Oud dude: You don't want to sit, sit, talk?
Amer Girl: I should go to sleep. My eyes need the rest. Maybe another night... (exits and escapes conversation)