Experimenting with Playwriting

I have never tried writing a play so of course when I was offered a chance to write something for performance I jumped on it. Written for a playgroup in Niceville, Florida, I based the story off of real places people in the town would be familiar with.

The Bog Spiders are a reference to pirantulas, of course. Pirantulas are the monster I made up for a short indie film and short story that was published both independently and in Retro Horror, available on Amazon here.

The play was written to be performed on Halloween for a mixed age audience, but it was one of the COVID cancellations this year. Maybe next year. For now, here’s my first try at writing a play. Any playwrights out there? Feel free to give me advice in the comments.

Super Noob here!

The Turkey Creek Creeper
by Angela Yuriko Smith©

Cast of Characters

OLD MAN:   79 years old, an old cook.

YOUNG BOY:  10 years old, schoolboy.

Place

Niceville, Florida

Current

Halloween Afternoon

ACT I

Scene 1

       Setting:  A back room of a cafe. A chair and an overturned bucket, some stacked up pots and boxes of supplies are stacked around.

       At Rise: OLD MAN is working in his back room. Voices are heard off stage.

                   (OLD MAN is sweeping. He wears kitchen attire and sports an eye patch.)

VOICES (Off.)

You can run but you can’t hide! If we don’t catch you, the Bog Spiders will!

                   (OLD MAN stops his work and walks to a door to peer out.) 

YOUNG BOY (Voice off. afraid.)

You’re all liars! There’s no such thing! Leave me alone!

VOICES (off. Sing song) 

Bog Spiders and witches will give you the itches. 

The Turkey Creek Creeper will sew you in stitches!

YOUNG BOY (Voice off.)

Liars! There’s no such thing!  

                   (OLD MAN is knocked to one side as YOUNG BOY bursts through the door, slamming it behind him. He doesn’t see OLD MAN at first. When he turns around, he is startled.)

YOUNG BOY (panting) 

Yikes! I didn’t see you. Let me just stay here a minute? I just need them to go away.

OLD MAN

What are you hiding from? The Bog Spiders or the Turkey Creek Creeper?

                   (OLD MAN leans in boy’s personal space against the door. Boy backs away) 

YOUNG BOY (uncertain)

Those things aren’t true. My mom said they are just made up to scare kids. I’m not scared.

(OLD MAN leans in, rubbing hands together)

OLD MAN

How long have you lived here, boy? I’ve never seen you hanging around here before.

YOUNG BOY

I think less than a month. I started school at the end of September. 

   (OLD MAN nods and moves to pull over the chair. YOUNG BOY backs away another step or two so the bucket is behind him)

OLD MAN (shaking head) 

Ah… so you wouldn’t really know then. You aren’t from around here. Someone outta have told you.

YOUNG BOY (nervous) 

What… told me what?

OLD MAN

About the Turkey Creek Creeper… you really gotta be careful. You gotta know the story… or else.)

YOUNG BOY (uncertain)

Or else what?

OLD MAN (loud and fast jumpscare)

He gets ya!

(OLD MAN leans in quickly. Startled, YOUNG BOY backs into bucket and sits down hard)

OLD MAN (laughing)

I’m sorry, boy. I couldn’t resist getting your heart beating. It’s good for ‘ya. (turns serious) But still… someone oughta tell you what to do…. In case you do ever run into the Turkey Creek Creeper. 

YOUNG BOY

You mean it’s not just a made up story? 

OLD MAN (ominous)

Not only is it a real story, but I seen him myself. When I was a boy about your age. I only wish… I’d known what to do. (taps eye patch) I might still be seeing double like you if I had.

   (OLD MAN sits down in the chair. YOUNG BOY leans forward, expectant)

YOUNG BOY (scared)

Is that what happened to your eye? The Creeper got it?

OLD MAN (ominous)

You might could say that. You might could indeed. Like you, I thought he was a joke. I had to learn the hard way to take The Creeper serious.

YOUNG BOY (transfixed)

What happened?

OLD MAN (smiles)

I thought you’d never ask. (rubs hands together) See, it was a long time ago, 50 years to be exact, on a Halloween night much like this one. The shadows were extra dark that night, like they were trying to suck in any of the light they touched. The only sounds were crickets looking for winter shelter and the bog spiders looking for…

YOUNG BOY (interrupts)

Bog Spiders aren’t re…

   (OLD MAN claps his hands to startle boy)

OLD MAN (loud) 

Who is telling this story?

 (YOUNG BOY points to OLD MAN, sheepish)

OLD MAN (loud) 

Who’s lived here longer than you were even a thought in your Daddy’s mind?

 (YOUNG BOY points to OLD MAN, sheepish)

OLD MAN (miffed) 

Okay then. Like I said, the Bog Spiders (emphasis, pause)… were looking for an easy meal. (looks at boy for response, none given, before continuing) I was just a stupid young lad then. A young lad with two eyes and and no time for foolish stories… or so I thought. It was Halloween, as I said, and I had one thing on my mind that night. Candy. I was going for the Niceville record of most candy got in a single Hallloween. 

Back then all the good neighborhoods that gave the best candy were all around Kelly Way and I lived all the way over by Sparkleberry Cove. Everyone knew not to cross through Turkey Creek after dark, but I didn’t believe that nonsense. Or what I thought was nonsense at the time… when I still had both my eyes.

Even if I had thought the Creeper was real, I might still not have listened. My head was all full of Pixie Sticks and Fireballs, root beer Dum Dums and chewy Long Boys. I was so determined to get the biggest candy haul Niceville had ever seen I would’ve risked running across the devil himself. (pause for effect) Which I pretty much did.

 YOUNG BOY (mesmerized) 

But what…

OLD MAN (loud and gruff) 

Eh! No interruptions. I’m telling this story and you’ll get your turn one day when you’re a one eyed old man. Any more questions?

 YOUNG BOY (gulps and shakes head)

OLD MAN (softer, still gruff) 

That’s what I thought. Anyways… the devil… or as good as. See, the story of the Turkey Creek Creeper is this. When he was a young boy, like you are and I was, he also didn’t listen to warnings not to wander Turkey Creek after dark. A brave and silly boy, like us, he took off one Halloween after the mother load of goodies. He also cut through Turkey Creek… but back then the warnings weren’t about the Creeper. He was warned about… the Bog Spiders. 

YOUNG BOY (interrupts)


What was his name?

OLD MAN (blinks, confused)

The Bog Spiders?

YOUNG BOY (annoyed) 

The boy!

OLD MAN (confused) 

The boy? Er… um… Sam. The boy was Sam. (loud) Now no more interruptions!

OLD MAN (continues)

So the Bog Spiders have lived in Niceville a long, long time. Back when the place was still called Boggy, back before they tried to fancy it up for the tourists… there were Bog Spiders. Some say they are a kind of vicious, freshwater crab and some say they are a kind of tarantula that migrated here on some driftwood, but everyone agrees you don’t want to meet one. Bog Spiders are very particular in their dining habits. They don’t eat bugs or mice. They don’t even eat people… not all of us anyways. No, Bog Spiders are very particular diners. (pause) They only eat… your eyes!

YOUNG BOY (jumps)

OLD MAN

So what the poor old Creeper was up against back before he was the Creeper… 

YOUNG BOY (interrupts) 

When he was still Sam?

OLD MAN (annoyed)

Who? Er… yes. When he was still Sam. Now hush up and listen. (clears throat) Back when he was… Sam… he also cut through Turkey Creek on his way to maximize his candy haul. And of course, it was after dark. Back then there weren’t no fancy boardwalk like now. Back then you crossed the creek area on foot, through the muck and mud. So he’s hurrying along, his mind all on whatever old fashioned candy they had then, and he hears a noise. A clicking sound coming up behind him. A clackety click creeping up on all sides of him. So he starts to hurry, but it’s no use. The faster he goes, the faster the clackety click goes. He hears it behind him. He hears it on both sides. Then (pause) he hears it ahead. Suddenly, poor old…er… Sam… is a believer. Suddenly poor old Sam regrets cutting through the dark, boggy muck late on a Halloween night. Suddenly, Sam thinks he’s in trouble. (pause) And Sam was right.

There, in a sliver of moonlight cutting through the tangle of dark he sees the biggest spider he has ever seen. It’s the size of a dinner plate, it has eight glowing eyes across it’s hairy forehead. Eight legs scuttled along through the underbrush, glittering in the bit of moon. Each leg ended in a spike. Sam sees this and you know what he did then?

YOUNG BOY (terrified)

Did he run?

OLD MAN (suppressing laughter)

No. (pause) He peed his pants.

YOUNG BOY (shocked)

What? No he wouldn’t! He did not!

OLD MAN (suppressing laughter)

It’s true! He was so scared he peed his pants right there! But can you blame him? (serious, eerie) There he was, face to face with the scariest thing he’d ever seen in his young life. Something so scary he’d been too scared to even consider it could be real. Not only was there one, but he knew from all the clackety clicking all around him… there were probably hundreds upon hundreds of these monsters all hungry for one thing. (pause) A young boy’s eyes. (silence)

YOUNG BOY (after long pause, impatient)

What happened? Did he get away?

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

Of course not. They got his eyes. Otherwise how would he become the Turkey Creek Creeper? Think, boy!

YOUNG BOY (confused)

But that’s it? That’s the whole story? There isn’t more?

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

Yep, that’s the whole story. (Stands up, starts to continue his sweeping ignoring boy. A long pause)

YOUNG BOY (confused, disappointed)

But… then how did you lose your eye?

OLD MAN (loud, jumpscare)

Ha! I thought you’d never ask. (creepily) So the day I was cutting through Turkey Creek, it’s dark, and I also hears this terrible clackity clicking coming up all around me, and suddenly I start thinking maybe all the tales about Bog Spiders and the Creeper aren’t such tall tales after all and I commence to running. These clickety clacks are running with me though. The faster I go the faster they go. Finally, I’m running as fast as I can in the dark, dark and tangled underbrush, screaming my head off. I think I can hear the Creepers feet behind me, running just as fast… faster even. I know he’s just about to catch me… I feel his icy breath on the back of my neck and his long, slimy fingers snatching in the air just behind my head. Suddenly, a patch of moonlight, a pale splinter of light shines on the path ahead of me and I see a sharp stick jutting up through the mud. It’s angled right at me, like a spear. (pause) What I didn’t see was a whole mess of twisted grass tangled up across that path. My foot caught up in that grass, and down I went… right on that pointed stick. (straightens up and continues sweeping) And that was the end of that.

YOUNG BOY (confused)

What? The end of what? That wasn’t the end of anything. What happened then?

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

Oh, I lost my eye.

YOUNG BOY (confused)

To, what? The Creeper or the Bog Spiders?

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

To the stick, boy. There was a sharp stick in the path and I fell on it. Weren’t you listening?

YOUNG BOY (confused)

But the Creeper was chasing you… where did he go?

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

Oh, he probably got scared off at that point. I was screaming up a storm. It really hurt, you know. (continues sweeping)

 YOUNG BOY (confused)

But… but…

OLD MAN (suddenly serious, menacing)

Look boy, that’s all I know, and I won’t be one caught telling tall tales of made up nonsense. I tell you what I know and leave it at that. But I will tell you one thing I learned that night… (pause) Screaming scares ‘em off. Both the Bog Spiders and the Turkey Creek Creeper left me alone that night and they’ve never once bothered me since. Yessir, I’m convinced that screaming scares them off. As high pitched as you can get, as loud as you can. They can’t take the frequency.

YOUNG BOY (confused)

But… but…

OLD MAN (matter of fact)

Now off with you. I’ve got work to do. I don’t feed myself sitting around telling stories. Go on…

(shuffles protesting YOUNG BOY out the door and continues sweeping From offstage there’s a sudden high pitched scream) 

VOICES (Off.)

Do it again in case that wasn’t high pitched enough.(high pitched scream again)

(OLD MAN listens and just smiles. The scream comes again. OLD MAN begins to laugh maniacally, super villain style and turns slowly to face audience)

OLD MAN (addressing audience)

Happy Halloween, ya’ll. (continues laughing as lights dim)

(END)

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit SpaceandTime.net
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