Age: 16, Grade: 11
School Name: Hunter College High School, New York, NY
Educator: Nicole Cusick
Category: Dramatic Script
The Bro Code
The living room of a fraternity.
CHAD. The vice president of the frat. Ambitious. Trying something new with his look. It’s not going well.
SCOOTER. The president of the frat. Top dog. Excellent at ping pong. Mean.
IVY. Chad’s younger sister. Reads palms. Impulsive. Ambitious. More than Chad. Always painting her nails, or filing her nails, or pushing back her cuticles.
BROCK. Co-treasurer of the frat. Always on the winning team. Performatively vegan.
MATT. Second co-treasurer of the frat. Just smart enough to avoid bottom rung. When the going gets tough, the tough might get going, but not Matt.
Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, salmon khaki shorts, boating shoes, the works.
Gender non-traditional casting is encouraged.
Scene One. Three boys sit on a disgusting couch in a large frat house at night. The couch is surrounded by a sizable mess — empty beer and gatorade bottles, discarded lacrosse gear, pizza boxes, dirty dishes, dirty laundry, xbox consoles. A torn and stained banner hanging from the ceiling says “Phi Kappa Yeah.” There is a ping pong table, beat up. MATT is reading a Sports Illustrated with a bikini model on the cover. BROCK has AirPods in. CHAD is drinking a beer through a metal straw.
CHAD. I’m thinking of getting a piercing.
SCOOTER. (retrieving a beer) The gay one?
CHAD. The what?
(SCOOTER enters the sphere of the conversation. He thinks he’s cool. So do MATT and BROCK.)
SCOOTER. (all-knowing) The gay one.
BROCK. Godammit, Chad!
MATT. (disappointed) The gay ear?
CHAD. No. What?
MATT. It’s your left ear.
CHAD. I’m not gonna pierce the gay ear!
SCOOTER. How do you know?
CHAD. First of all, ears aren’t gay.
MATT. Duh. Ear piercings are gay. Ones on the left ear.
BROCK. Right ear.
MATT. Well any ear on Chad.
CHAD. (betrayed) Bruh.
SCOOTER. No piercings, Chad. You’re gay enough already.
CHAD. Shut up.
SCOOTER. No, you.
CHAD. It’s not like the ear does it with other ears.
MATT. (sage) Only the left one.
BROCK. Google says right! It’s the right ear.
MATT. Bull shit!
CHAD. You’re just jealous I thought of it first.
SCOOTER. I’m not jealous of your gay ear, Chad.
CHAD. You want what I’ve got.
SCOOTER. This is why you’re never going to be frat president when I graduate. Like, we get it, Chad, you’re still a virgin.
MATT. That’s an L.
(SCOOTER pushes CHAD off the couch from behind, a little harder than necessary. CHAD, surprised, stumbles off, barely holding onto his beer; SCOOTER steals his seat.)
SCOOTER. Mr. Gay Ear.
MATT. Yooo. I like it.
BROCK. Gay Ear!
SCOOTER. I’m just joking, Chad. Can’t you take a joke?
MATT. (to Scooter) Remember that time during hazing when he almost cried ‘cause you made him swallow a live goldfish?
BROCK. And when you made him shave his own head with a blindfold on.
MATT. Scooter’s, like, the king of hazing. Right, Chad?
CHAD. (defensive beer sipping) Hah. Yeah. That kind of sucked, though.
BROCK. Goddamn GOAT, man. You wish you could haze like Scooter.
SCOOTER. Yeah, he does.
CHAD. I mean, like, what about what happened to Dave?
BROCK. (reflexively) Rip Dave!
MATT. Rip Dave.
CHAD. Rip Dave.
(They look to SCOOTER to complete the ritual. A beat.)
SCOOTER. Whatever, Gay Ear.
BROCK. Haha. Gay Ear.
(BROCK and MATT hang around SCOOTER in admiration. SCOOTER shoots a triumphant, cruel look at CHAD, pushed off to the side — look who’s king now.)
SCOOTER. Chad’s not all bad, though. His sister’s pretty hot.
CHAD. Hey. Not cool. She’s a freshman.
CHAD. She’s my sister!
SCOOTER. I can say whatever I want about your sister, Chad. It’s one of the tenets of the frat.
(SCOOTER gestures and a small banner unfurls next to the “Phi Kappa Yeah” banner. It says, “We Disrespect Women.”)
MATT. Even hot women?
SCOOTER. No exceptions.
BROCK. Even really hot women?
SCOOTER. You can’t challenge me without challenging the tenets, Chad.
CHAD. Fine. Bring it.
(SCOOTER and CHAD face off on opposite ends of the ping pong table. BROCK and MATT stand behind SCOOTER, hyping him up. They begin PING PONG GAME 1. (All ping pong games do not have to use actual ping pong balls; if it is easier to mime with the paddles and noises that works too.) It is short, and silent, with occasional gasps from MATT and BROCK. SCOOTER is clearly the better player. He casually returns CHAD’s serves, as CHAD rushes to keep up. The game is quickly over; CHAD has missed.)
SCOOTER. Who’s still King?
(BROCK and MATT cheer. They carry over the crown, which is made out of hot-glued beer caps or something of the like.)
SCOOTER. Nah. I want Chad to crown me.
CHAD. You already won, man.
(A moment. CHAD, defeated and SCOOTER, power hungry, have a stare-off, which SCOOTER wins. CHAD reluctantly crowns SCOOTER. SCOOTER smiles, victorious, and then punches CHAD in the gut. CHAD collapses.)
MATT. Holy —
(SCOOTER stops BROCK and MATT from helping CHAD up.)
SCOOTER. He’s fine. Right, Chad?
CHAD. (gritted teeth) I’m fine.
SCOOTER. We’re friends. Chad knows I’m just kidding around. Unless he’s gonna cry about it or something. Never could take a joke, could you, Chad.
CHAD. I’m fine.
SCOOTER. I know you are. Brock, Matt, leave.
(When BROCK and MATT are safely out of range, SCOOTER helps CHAD up.)
CHAD. What the shit.
SCOOTER. It’s all part of the game, brah. I’ve got to cultivate their fear.
CHAD. By punching me?
SCOOTER. Don’t be a girl about this.
CHAD. It really hurt.
SCOOTER. “It weally huwt.” Chad, this is serious. I don’t have time for your feelings. (hesitation) I didn’t want to tell you this, but last week a drunk girl at the Theta party read my palm and told me I was about to experience gut wrenching betrayal.
CHAD. Maybe she was talking about the amount of beer you had.
CHAD. Since when do you believe that crap?
SCOOTER. It’s the real deal, man. The whole sorority’s into astrology and stuff now. This girl — six months ago she got stoned and did Dave’s tarot and predicted it.
CHAD. Predicted what?
SCOOTER. It. You know.
CHAD. What is “it.”
SCOOTER. The death!
CHAD. Scooter, that is such horseshit.
SCOOTER. I need someone in my corner. I need you on my side. I can’t trust anyone else.
CHAD. Okay, whatever.
SCOOTER. Forreal. Like, pinky promise. You’ll always have my back.
CHAD. (hesitation) I’ll always have your back.
(CHAD and SCOOTER pinky swear.)
CHAD. Okay but if I’m doing this for you I need you to respect me more.
SCOOTER. Sure, Gay Ear.
CHAD. Like, for example, you don’t have to call me that. No one else is here.
SCOOTER. It’s just a joke, Chad, Jesus.
CHAD. And cut it out with my sister. I mean it. You don’t know what you’re getting into. No liking her two year old photos on Instagram. No “u up?” texts. That’s rule number one of the bro code, Scooter. I mean, come on.
SCOOTER. Dude. Chill.
CHAD. I’m your VP. Haze the pledges, okay, who cares, but you can’t push me around in front of Brock and Matt. They’ll never follow me next year if —
SCOOTER. You said I wasn’t allowed to haze the pledges anymore.
CHAD. Well, not now that you’ve killed one, no.
SCOOTER. Okay, A), I don’t know what you’re talking about, and B), why are you so obsessed with the one time I allegedly—
(Scooter’s phone dings.)
CHAD. Who is it?
SCOOTER. None of your business.
CHAD. (trying to grab the phone) Stop texting Ivy!
SCOOTER. (typing, evading CHAD) I’m going into town. I need to stop by the drugstore. Hot date tonight. (beat) I’m talking about your sister.
CHAD. Yeah, no, I got it.
SCOOTER. (exiting) Because we’re f—
CHAD. Fully aware!
(CHAD has a moment alone, pissed. The doorbell rings. It’s IVY, Chad’s sister, who likes pushing back her cuticles and amateur fortune telling. CHAD opens the door.)
CHAD. You can’t go out with Scooter.
IVY. (Making herself comfortable) Relax, Chad. I’ve got a plan. Want a palm reading? I’m psychic now, the whole dorm is doing it. I need practice so I can advance to Junior Aura Reader.
CHAD. You’ve got a — what?
IVY. It’s all Jade’s idea. She’s a visionary. Remember that guy who died? She totally predicted it. I went to Cry and Scry, the semi weekly psychic meetup slash group therapy session —
CHAD. You’re not psychic, Ivy.
IVY. Don’t be jealous, Chad. It makes your aura look all gross and yellow.
CHAD. If you’re psychic, what number am I thinking of?
IVY. (Staring into CHAD’s eyes) Sixty nine.
CHAD. Lucky guess.
IVY. Can I read your palm now? Because I’m your sister and you love me?
CHAD. Ew. Gross. Stop talking.
IVY. Give me your hand.
IVY. Is this because you hate women?
IVY. The future is female, Chad. Let me read your palm. I need practice.
CHAD. No. (IVY snatches his hand.) Hey!
IVY. Interesting. You are destined for great power.
CHAD. (enraptured, studying his palm) Really?
CHAD. Sweet. (CHAD gives IVY his palm back.) Exactly how great is the power?
IVY. Oh, totally great. Super great.
CHAD. Like, president of the frat great?
CHAD. You’re just being nice.
IVY. The stars don’t lie, Chad. Your index finger is long — you desire power. This line here says you have true potential, but here, where it’s being crossed — you’re being held back from it. You’re being pushed around.
CHAD. Yeah. Yeah I am being pushed around.
IVY. Your success line is being interrupted.
CHAD. My “success” line? That’s a thing?
IVY. (lying) Yes.
CHAD. Shit! What do I do?
IVY. You need to take action.
CHAD. Take action?
IVY. Remove what’s holding you back. Unless you want to be second in command forever.
CHAD. (deadly) Scooter. (IVY takes out a knife. CHAD realizes what is happening.) Hey. Put that away. You’re not killing him.
IVY. (letting CHAD take the knife) God, Chad, you’re so boring!
CHAD. Why is your first instinct always murder?
IVY. I had him alone tonight and everything!
CHAD. Take a conflict resolution class!
IVY. You never want to do anything fun!
CHAD. I know what this is. You’re still pissed about Dave.
IVY. Don’t bring up Dave. You know I’m very sensitive about Dave.
CHAD. You didn’t even know Dave. You had like one class with him.
IVY. Hey. Dave and I were in love. You know The Notebook? That’s what we had. It was real.
(CHAD stares at her. She stares dolefully back.)
CHAD. Bullshit. You don’t feel love.
IVY. Fiiiiine. I wanted to be the one who killed him. Happy now?
CHAD. No. Not happy. That’s bad, Ivy. You realize that’s bad.
IVY. You’re not the one who had to put up with him in your philosophy class. He just kept talking, and talking, and talking. Have fun playing devil’s advocate in hell, Dave!
CHAD. Woah, okay —
IVY. I told the whole sorority about how I was gonna kill him, and everyone was really excited, which was nice, because up until that point I hadn’t really felt like we clicked, necessarily, and then I show up here and Scooter’s got his blood alcohol level at 0.495. I mean, who does that to a person! To me, I mean, not to Dave. Fuck Dave. And Jade totally blabbed about my plan at the Theta party and now everyone thinks she’s some kind of prophet.
CHAD. You said Jade was a visionary.
IVY. Jade sucks, Chad. Keep up. I can’t even get on the ground floor of her little sorority-wide psychic scam because she thinks I don’t have the balls to kill a guy! This whole “Scooter is going to be betrayed” stuff? That’s my job. I’m the one making it “come to pass” or whatever. And for what? I mean, Junior Aura Reader? Look at me! I am at least an Associate Clairvoyant.
CHAD. Yeah, this sounds like something you really need to work through alone, so I’m gonna —
IVY. Chad. Listen. I need you. You’re the “gut wrenching” part of “gut wrenching betrayal.”
CHAD. I’m not doing this.
IVY. You’re the one who said it. Scooter’s holding you back. If we work together to kill him, I can get my revenge, and you can get yours. It’s killing one bird with two stones.
CHAD. …No murder.
IVY. Fine. No murder. Pinky swear.
CHAD. You’re not fucking with me?
IVY. Chad. Would I ever fuck with you?
CHAD. Yeah. Absolutely. You just did, like, two seconds ago.
IVY. Well, I’m not. Remember what your palm said.
CHAD. You made up what my palm said.
IVY. Shh. It said power is coming your way. All we’re here to do is speed up the process a little bit. You know what else it says?
IVY. (taking CHAD’s palm again, studying it quickly) You would look excellent with an earring.