Stephen J. Matthews was awarded Third Place in Drama in the 2016 Prison Writing Contest.

ACT I, Scene 1

Forward-facing front porch of a gray and white, rectangular house. Seven eight-foot wide steps lead up to the porch. The house is a modern, middle-income, two-story home. Like the house, the porch and steps are freshly painted. The railings are elaborate designs made of wrought iron. The front door is a heavy oak with a four-foot ornamental glass window. The front door is framed by large picture windows on either side. The porch railing to the right, SL, has a flower box overfilled with marigolds. The column on the right, supporting the roof, has a flag post attached to it, with an American flag jutting forward prominently. The column on the left is a mailbox. The porch is well-maintained yet understated, and sparsely furnished: a small bench and deck chair. The sidewalk passing before the house is clean, and what little patches of grass are below the porch and stretch to the sidewalk, are trimmed and sparkling green.

It is early summer, midday.

The front door opens. Rani Ghuptra-Singh comes through the door, slinging a backpack over his right shoulder, and steps out onto the porch. He is wearing a yellow tee-shirt, a pair of loose-fitting blue jeans, and tan chukka boots. He is a striking young man, tall, dusky-skinned, and lanky. He is wearing the blue headdress of his faith and he has a battle of facial hair along his lower jaw and chin. He is followed closely by his mother, Amrit. She is more than a foot shorter than her son. Mere strands of gray hair streak through her otherwise jet black hair, which is pulled back in a tight bun. She is wearing a light-blue blouse, a long, gray skirt, and brown sandals. Her glasses are not enough to hide her large and intelligent eyes.

Rani: (turning to Amrit) Mama, please—

Amrit: Wait for your father to finish his prayers, so that he may give you a blessing—

Rani: Please, Mama, I’ll be late. I cannot be late. The finals are today. I don’t know if Mantu will meet me halfway or if he’s walking here, but…

A distant rumbling of motorcycles grows into a crescendo until it drowns Rani and Amrit out. The sound fills the stage. Rani and Amrit look startled at first, but remain on the porch and look defiantly outward to the left, their eyes tracking the movement of the sound.

Voice 1: Whoo-hoo! Go home, sand niggers!

Voice 2: Rag-head terrorists!

Voice 3: America for Americans!

Rani drops his backpack, takes Amrit, and steps in front of her as a soda can is hurled toward them and then another that crashes through the window to Rani and Amrit’s left. Rani attempts to pursue, knocking the flag out of its holder as he does.

Amrit: (grabs Rani by the arm) No! No, you will not!

Rani: (taking one step down) Why? Why do we have to take that, Mama? You take care of these people, set up a clinic fixing their rotten mouths. Look what comes out of them… (pointing at the can on their tiny lawn)

Amrit: Rani, calm yourself—

Vir, Rani’s father and Amrit’s husband, comes quickly through the door. He is wearing a dark blue headdress and a white, button-down shirt and khaki pants rolled to his ankles and black sandals. His salt and pepper beard is full and shining. He is an older version of his son though just a few inches shorter and stouter.

Vir: What is the trouble? Why is the window broken?

Amrit comes to him and finds comfort in being close to him.

Rani: (waving his arm in the direction of the street) Is this what we left Toronto for?

Vir: (looking from Rani to Amrit) What is the matter?

Amrit: Just boys on motorcycles yelling things—

Rani: Not things, Poppa … (trots down steps and stoops down to pick up soda can, showing his father) They call us terrorists? Throw trash at us. They broke the front window!

Vir: It is ignorance—

Rani: (tossing soda can down) Ignorance, Poppa? Ignorance? I have to walk up the street every day and go through this…Why here?

Vir: (stepping to the edge of porch) A better life…Better schools…For you—

Rani: For… (makes a disgusted sound in the back of his throat, faces out) We were fine in Canada. (Takes several steps DSL) Happy.

Amrit: Boo-bah! You have many friends here!

Rani: (turning to his parents) I had friends in Toronto, Mama…

Vir: (coming down steps, goes over to soda can, picks it up) You make friends wherever you go (regards soda can) because you are kind and compassionate—

Rani: No, Papa. I make friends only with my kind, because I’m smart. I don’t make friends with people who insult us…You don’t know, Papa. You stay inside and write your books. I walk the street with Mantu and do you know what it’s like on campus? And Mama’s a dentist. She’s supposed to be respected. The white dentists don’t take the people she treats—

Vir: (goes back up steps, turns to Rani) How do you know this?

Rani: How do I know? Papa, have you seen them—

Amrit: Boo-bah, that is enough. My patients are good—

Rani: They pay the white dentists more—

Amrit: I am paid more than in Toronto. But it is not about the money, Boo-bah. It is about the opportunities you have here.

Rani: (scoffs) I have to go to… (comes back, goes up porch to retrieve backpack) I’ll be late.

Amrit hands him his backpack and reaches for him. He bends down and she kisses his forehead. Enter Mantu, Sr. He is wearing approximately the same outfit as Rani, but with a thick pair of spectacles and a jumble of beaded necklaces around his neck, giving him the look of a West Village hipster.

Mantu: (as he approaches) Sup? (He and Rani “bro hug.” He presses his palms together and bows to Rani’s parents. They nod their heads politely to him) What’s good, man?

Rani: (motioning with his head in a general direction) Another Nazi drive-by, broke our window…

Vir goes over to the window to inspect the damage. Amrit looks to Rani for a beat with a worried expression, but then joins her husband. Mantu and Rani move DSC.

Mantu: What happened? (Rani does not respond) Whatever it is, it’s way worse in Germany, let me tell you—

Rani: This is America, Manny. We come here and everything is supposed to be so much better, so welcoming. We were in Toronto and this…this wasn’t even something you ever heard about. Every white face in Queens is America.

Mantu: I can’t wait to move out of Queens.

Rani: To go where?

Mantu: San Francisco. My brother and his friends are thinking about starting a company. My mother doesn’t want me to go, but—

Rani: But you’re still going to be in the United States.

Mantu: So? It’s away from here…Canada is no better.

Rani: It’s much better than here; it’s even better than San Francisco.

Mantu: How do you know that? Wherever you go, you will have this… (rubbing his finger up and down his forearm)

Rani: I just hate it. I hate it here. My pop loves it. He loves America more than it loves him. They spit at us, he says, “They are ignorant.” He rewrote Kawauchi-Knot Theory in four months, a Fields Medal finalist. He walks into a pizza shop and the guy behind the counter talks to him like… (stops and shakes his head)

Mantu: (places a hand on Rani’s shoulder) Yo, c’mon, let’s hurry up and catch the bus.

Rani: Let’s cross over through the park.

Mantu: Let’s not…You know they got a bunch of those guidos this time of day over there—

Rani: So what? (moving DSL)

Mantu: You’re looking for trouble. (following Rani)

Rani: I’m looking for a faster way to get from point A to point B—

Mantu: Through the park? (They exit, DSL)

Looking over and seeing that Rani and Mantu have left, Amrit goes to the front of the porch.

Amrit: Boo-bah! Boo-bah!

Vir: That is all right. Let him go, Mama. He is upset. A good walk will do him some good…

Amrit: (turning to Vir) But you did not give him a blessing. He has an exam today…

Vir: His blessings shall come. (Turning to motion towards the window) This, this, on the other hand, is most unfortunate—

Amrit: What shall we do?

Vir: Call the police.

Amrit: The police?

Vir: We pay our taxes. That is what the police are for. We must report this. This is not acceptable. Ignorance is one thing, property damage another.

Amrit: (taking a step down and picks up the flag) I must call the office. There are supplies coming in today…

Vir: And I will call the authorities … (Amrit turns and gives him a worried look, hands flag to Vir) … It is the right thing to do. If our house is damaged, who will be next? A good neighbor will do his part to see that his house is not a blight—

Amrit: This is not our doing, Vir.

Vir: (puts flag back in its post and smooths out flag) It is our doing if we do not inform the authorities and report this. This is America and the police are here to serve and protect (Turning to go) Now… (Holds out his hand to Amrit. She steps up and takes his hand) You call your office, and I shall call the police…and everything will be fine.

End of scene.

ACT 1, Scene 2

Same as before. An hour later. Two police officers, one White, Officer Farragut, the other Latino, Officer Diaz, stand at the front of the Ghuptra-Singhs’ house, just at the foot of the steps. They stand on opposite sides of the steps across from Vir taking his report.

Farragut: …So, what kind of damages were done to your property, Mr. Sink?

Vir: Ghuptra-Singh. And… (motioning to the window) this, this is the damage.

Farragut: Did you see who broke the window?

Vir: I heard the commotion. My wife and son were out on the porch—

Farragut: And where are they, your wife and son?

Vir: My wife is at work and my son is at university taking his finals and—

Farragut: So they witnessed what happened?

Vir: Yes, and, here … (goes up to porch and retrieves a plastic bag with the soda can inside, comes to Farragut and presents it to him)

Farragut: (inspects bagged soda can) And this is—

Vir: This is what they hurled through my window—

Diaz: (standing arms akimbo) Who’s they?

Vir: The boys on motorbikes—

Farragut: But you said you didn’t see who threw this, if this is what was thrown—

Vir: Of course, this is what was thrown.I have no reason to fabricate a story. I have better things to do with my time. We are hard-working and we pay our taxes. I call the police only in times such as this.

Diaz: And what’s this time?

Vir: When someone hurls things through my front window. I have glass everywhere … I placed that can in the bag myself. I made sure to not touch the can with my bare hand. The other can is right there… (pointing to the can on the grass; the officers glance at it but are unimpressed) And I took a picture with my phone, just like on the television.

Farragut: So you watch a lot of TV?

Vir: Some, not much. I have better things to do with my time. I was naturalized two months ago. I am a hard-working, proud American—

Farragut: Glad to hear it. (Both officers’ radios crackle. A garbled voice announces something inaudible to the audience. The officers exchange looks) Okay, look Mr. Sink—

Vir: Ghuptra-Singh.

Farragut: (produces a card) Yeah, well…here’s the thing: You didn’t witness what happened. (Holds up his hand as Vir attempts to protest) So (Vir takes card between his fingers and holds it before him as if it were a shield) … so, okay, what you need to do is have your wife and…how old’s your son?

Vir: Nineteen…he will be twenty next week—

Farragut: Okay…have your wife and son come down to the station, alright? Or… (pointing to card Vir is still holding out before him with two fingers) call this number.

Vir: (holding bag out before him) But this can… (waving back toward the house) my window—

Diaz: Nothing we can do without a witness.

Farragut: Do you have anyone else who might have seen anything?

Vir: No.

Farragut: Well, there’s nothing we can really do at this time—

Vir: Can?

Diaz: C’mon, partner…that call’s close by. (to Vir) Honestly, Mr. Gutra—

Vir: Ghuptra-Singh.

Diaz: We can’t do nothing until we’ve got more than a can in a bag … If you want to file a complaint, you, your wife, and maybe your kid can come down to the station.

Vir: He is not a kid, he is a young man—

Farragut: Yeah, okay. (to Diaz) Let’s get to it. (to Vir) Keep the can in a safe place. Tape up the window. Have a nice day.

Vir: (as the officers depart) And to you.

Two officers exit, DSL. A beat after the police officers have left, and as Vir remains staring after them, Bill O’Leary, a gruff and burly Irish-American, the Ghuptra-Singhs’ neighbor from across the street, walks up (enter DSR). He is wearing a pair of khaki cargo shorts, a V-neck tee, wrap-around sunglasses, and hiking boots. He is chomping on a cigar. He is in his 60s, with a gray buzz-cut, and a stubbly beard. He looks off in the same direction as Vir.

Bill: (taking cigar out of his mouth, gesturing up the street) Vir, how’s it goin’? Havin’ trouble?

Vir: (turns toward Bill) They break my window … (holds up bag) I have evidence, but they disregard my complaint. (shakes his head)

Bill: (waves his hand) Ah! That’s nothin’. You think you can get the cops to do their job? They’re pissed off at the mayor. They’re not followin’ up on nothin’! Nada!

Vir: I pay my taxes…I am an American citizen—

Bill: I am, too, but that ain’t the issue. The issue is you ain’t gettin’ the cops to chase every knucklehead kid who rides a bike up and down these streets throwin’ stuff.

Vir: (incredulously) You saw these boys throwing cans at my house, at my wife and son?

Bill: I was sittin’ on the front porch, yeah. It happened so fast.

Vir: We can go to the police and you can tell them what you saw.

Bill: (holding his hands up) Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold your horses there. I ain’t gettin’ involved. It ain’t a big deal. Besides, those punk kids ain’t gonna cause no more trouble. That was just a whatchamacallit, a flash in the pan. It was harmless—

Vir: Harmless? I still need your help … That’s what neighbors do, no?

Bill: No. I mean, yeah, but… Look, you guys are new. And—

Vir: Guys? We are a family. We were attacked. We are respectable. Do we not deserve the same protections as—

Bill: That ain’t what I’m sayin’—

Vir: I am a proud American. Look, see that flag…this is not the way things are supposed to be.

Bill: That’s how some things are, Vir. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. (sighs, thinks for a second) I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1962. You’re the first, uh…

Vir: First what?

Bill: Well, look up and down the street…I mean…

Vir: What about equal protection? What about the fairness? You know it is wrong what they have done. I deserve justice!

Bill: And I deserve peace…“Hey,” they’re gonna say, “That’s the mick bastard who ratted us out for the Muslim guy!”

Vir: We are not Muslim. We are Sikh. There is a difference.

Bill: I wish I could tell you that it matters. It don’t …

Vir: (going to porch) See… (pointing to flag) We are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. And my right is not to have my windows broken because someone thinks I am what I am not.

Bill: Look, it ain’t like I don’t agree with ya. You all seem like nice enough people. Maybe this neighborhood ain’t the, uh, right fit, huh?

Vir: (thrusting his hand up toward the flag) According to the Fourteenth Amendment, I am guaranteed protection, the same as you, Mr. Bill O’Leary…

Bill: Of course you are—

Vir: Even as a small boy, I wanted to live in these United States. Puducherry is a long way from here, but not so far. They would laugh and call me the Greatest American Patriot from Puducherry. I would tell them just wait…one day I shall have a nice house in America and I will have a nice big flag so that no one will dishonor me or my family’s name.

Bill: (preparing to leave) Maybe you need a bigger flag, Vir. Maybe that one ain’t cuttin’ it.

Vir: (turns his back, walks to steps) Perhaps you are right… (turning and nodding curtly to Bill) Good day to you. (Exit Bill)

Vir takes several steps up, pulls the flag pole out. Amrit enters quickly.

Amrit: (waving her arms) Vir, Vir! It’s Boo-bah! Oh, Vir! He has been hurt. Where have you been? I have been calling you—

Vir quickly puts the flag pole back in its holder.

Vir: (comes to her, holds her arms) I am right here, Mama! Where is he? What is wrong?

Amrit: (near tears, frantic) Mantu’s mother called me, when she could not get you. The boys were attacked while they were going through the park—

Vir: Who? Who did this?

Amrit: I don’t know… (He puts his arms around his trembling wife) They are at the hospital. Come, we must go.

Vir: Give me your phone, Mama. (She reaches inside her bag and presents him with her phone) I will call a cab service.

Amrit places her hands upon her head in despair. Vir holds her close him.

Vir: (into phone) Hello? I will need a cab. You must come quickly! Yes! I have dollar…Euros… whatever you want! Just get here! The address is 1787 _______ Avenue…yes…(Breaks connection. To Amrit) Let me get some things. Everything will be okay, Mama … (hurries up steps, goes inside)

Amrit: (as he leaves here to sit on the steps) How do you know? You did not give him your blessing…

End of scene.

ACT I, Scene 3

Same day. Early evening. There are several people from the Ghuptra-Singhs’ gurdwara (temple) in front of the porch. Vir sweeps up the glass as Satyajit Shankar, a member of Vir’s gurdwara, and a friend of Vir’s, approaches. Satyajit is wearing a long, white shirt, reaching well past his waist. Like Vir, he wears the headdress of his faith. He is an older man and much shorter than Vir.

Satyajit: It is a very fortunate thing that he was not hurt badly.

Vir: (continuing to sweep) He is strong, like his mother. He should not have been in the park.

Satyajit: I would say that he is just as strong as his father.

Vir: (turns and looks for dustpan) I think not. (finds dustpan and picks it up) I called the police, and I tried to lodge a complaint. But nothing. (Satyajit comes up the steps and grabs hold of the broom. Vir looks at Satyajit for the first time, then stoops down so that Satyajit can sweep the debris and glass into the dustpan) They say that a man’s home is his castle—

Satyajit: They?

Vir: Americans…

Satyajit: (chuckles warmly) That is you and I, my friend. I never recall saying such a thing. (Vir stands up and dumps contents of dustpan in a small trashcan at his feet. Satyajit goes to the flower box and stands over the marigolds, looking at them appreciatively and then pointing to the flowers) Back home, they fed these to chickens to give their yolks a golden color. I never found an egg yolk with such color my whole time in this country…

Vir: Nothing seems as good as you thought it would be here.

Satyajit: (nods to Vir) Perhaps, yes, you are right … Do they have names of the people who attacked the boys?

Vir: No. Rani, he does not want to speak of it…of what happened…

Satyajit: What did happen?

Vir: It is apparent that he and Mantu were in the park, that much I know. The boys were late, they decided to walk through the park as a shortcut. Some boys from the neighborhood, from up the street, fought with Rani and Mantu … I am only guessing. Rani will not speak to either of us about it.

Satyajit: (hands broom over to Vir) He’s a gentle boy. Probably it has given him a shock. My father told me that my great-grandfather was a sergeant in the Zulu War under the British, and when he came home from the war, he never spoke a word, so bloody was the fighting…

Vir: There is something that is called street justice.

Satyajit: Taking the law into your own hands.

Vir: It is part of America, vigilantism.

Satyajit: You are part of America.

Vir: Two small elephants together do not make a bigger elephant any more than a man coming to this country and taking its oaths makes him a citizen—

Satyajit: You are a peaceful man…doing harm is, is just wrong.

Vir: Whatever it is, it is the American way. That is why they have so many prisons. This country is all about punishment. (sets broom against the railing) It is American—

Satyajit: It is illegal in this country to take the laws into your own hands, Vir Ghuptra-Singh…

Vir: Yes, that may be so, but if I were to jump up and down, threaten everyone on this street, I would be thrown into jail and called a madman or worse. I would be called a Muslim and be taken off to court and they would call me a terrorist in the paper. You know this to be true. So, I will find who hurt my son and damaged my home. And that shall be that.

Satyajit: What if you kill someone?

Vir: What if my son was killed, then what?

Satyajit: He was not.

Vir: He might the next time. In this country, a man protects his family. That is the American way.

Satyajit: In this country, you allow the police to do their duty—

Vir: They have no duty, no dignity, no respect. If I were to damage Mr. Bill O’Leary’s house across the street or kill one of those strong, American boys up the street, I shall find a nice jail cell…

Satyajit: (lowering his voice, making it sound sandy and rough) It’s a hell of a thing, killin’ a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.

Vir: (perplexed) That does not sound like you at all.

Satyajit: (cheerfully) It is not. It is Clint Eastwood from Unforgiven, William Munny. Very good western—

Vir: American western? This is the point I am trying to make. They have taken something from me—

Satyajit: What?

Vir: My sense—

The front door opens and out comes two women of Amrit’s age, dressed fairly similar to Amrit. They file past Vir and Satyajit. The men bow to the women formally. Amrit comes out as the women go down the steps and leave. Exit DSL.

Vir: How is he, Mama?

Amrit: He is fine…I gave him a pill. He won’t eat…the doctor—

Vir: Don’t worry, Mama…

Amrit: I must.

Vir: You must not.

Amrit: I am still his mother…

Vir: Well…

Satyajit: (suddenly incensed) We will go to the police station…the whole temple! This is outrageous! Your house was attacked, now the boy…

Vir: I am not sure if the two things are linked.

Satyajit: A hate crime! We will go to the newspapers, the news stations…

Enter from DSL Mantu accompanied by his mother, Kasturbah. Mantu’s right arm is in a sling, and his ear is bandaged. Amrit goes to Kasturbah; the two mothers embrace.

Kasturbah: (stepping back and motioning to Mantu) I had to come at once. It… (motioning to Mantu with some irritation, to Mantu)…come, come, come…tell them. (folds her arms)

Vir: Tell us what, my son?

Mantu: (looks down at the ground sheepishly) Today…when we—

Enter from DSR Detective Kerrigan, accompanied by Officers Farragut and Diaz. Kerrigan is wearing a white, button-down shirt, open at the collar, a pair of blue jeans and a pair of black Rockports. His hair is crew-cut and he is a bit overweight.

Kerrigan: (to Farragut) This him?

Farragut: (nodding to Vir) That’s him. Mr. Ghuptra-Singh…

Vir: Yes? So, now you come? I have taped up the window and cleaned everything … There is nothing for you to see—

Kerrigan: We’re here to execute an arrest warrant—

Vir: Arrest?

Kerrigan: (hands Vir a paper) For Rani Ghuptra-Singh. (Amrit stifles a startled cry)

Satyajit: This is outrageous. You have white men throwing things through people’s windows, harassing them—

Kerrigan: Is your son here, Mr. Ghuptra-Singh?

Vir looks at Amrit, she breaks down. Vir goes to her and holds her up.

Vir: I don’t understand…he was attacked—

Kerrigan: The information we were given says otherwise. We have witnesses, we have the victims’ statements, plus someone with a phone showing your son attacking some kids at the park with a bat…I’m sorry.

Vir: This is not possible. He had exams. He would not ignore his obligation.

Some more supporters of Vir and Amrit’s come along and stand with Mantu and Kasturbah. Officers Farragut and Diaz tense up, but Kerrigan tries calming everyone.

Kerrigan: Could everyone…everyone, just please relax. This can all be worked out.

Vir: I ask you to come here today about my home being attacked, but you do nothing; now someone tells you my son did something and you are here just like that—

Kerrigan: Mr. Ghuptra-Singh, I’m sorry. I really am. I have a warrant. Look, these things always look worse than how they turn out. Please… (Vir’s shoulders relax) Do you know where your son is, Mr. Ghuptra-Singh?

Vir looks at Amrit. She shakes her head. He nods solemnly. He points to the house. Amrit erupts as Farragut and Diaz go up to the house.

Amrit: No! No! (Vir restrains her. She pulls away and falls to her knees) Don’t let them take him! This is not—

All stand around uncomfortably as Vir goes to the wailing Amrit. Several beats later, Farragut and Diaz come out of the house with a handcuffed Rani between them. Amrit breaks away from Vir. She sobs and tries to cup her hands up to Rani’s swollen face. The officers move her back and Vir grabs hold of her.

Vir: Mama, please… Mama, please come…

Kerrigan: (as the officers lead Rani away) Mr. Singh, you have my deepest sympathies … If you’d like, you can come down to the station house. He could post bail tonight. (Gives Vir a card)

Vir: (holding a distraught Amrit up by her shoulders) Where is our justice? Where? You take my son, but today your officers would not even take my word?

Kerrigan: Mr. Singh, do you have a lawyer?

Satyajit: (steps forward) We can hire a lawyer. A very good lawyer.

Kerrigan: (ignores Satyajit) This is how things work, Mr. Singh: Your son will get his chance to face his accusers, and, well, this might not be as bad. I mean, phone video doesn’t always tell the whole story. Trust me, officers wear body cameras and will still get sued, and lose the case, because a lawyer will poke holes right through the whole thing.

Vir: What does that do for me? I am a tax payer, an American citizen. But you take my son…

Kerrigan: Just come down to the station. Bring a lawyer, okay? That’s my best advice. All right? Good night.

Exit Kerrigan. Vir turns to Amrit; she is shaking, Kasturbah comes to her side. She helps Amrit up to the house. They walk up the steps.

Amrit: (turning around on the porch, to Vir) This is not the blessing you promised. You said we would have a good life here. (She turns to go inside with Kasturbah)

Vir is left alone with everyone else. Satyajit and the others look on expectantly.

Vir: All of you go home.

Satyajit: Vir, please let us help.

Vir: In this country, a man must face his trouble alone.

Satyajit: No, that is not true.

Vir: I will have justice on my side. Go!

They all relent. Satyajit is more reluctant than the rest to leave, but goes. Only Mantu stays behind.

Vir: (to Mantu) Well?

Mantu: I cannot go—

Vir: And why is this?

Mantu points to the house.

Mantu: My mother is in there…

Vir: Oh … (Goes to porch and sits directly under the flag. Mantu joins him. They sit quietly. The flag waves overhead. Vir looks up at it forlornly.) But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object… (stands up) It is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. (reaches up and grabs hold of the flag, pulls it out, and begins to wave it wildly) I give up. I give up, America. You can have your citizenship. I no longer give my consent. You no longer believe in me as I had believed in you. I relinquish. Do you hear me? I… (grabs flag pole with two hands and breaks it over his knee, throws the flag and pole pieces to the ground) …I am no longer the American you want me to be. I am no longer the Greatest American Patriot from Puducherry!

End of play.

PEN America celebrates the winners of the 2016 Prison Writing Contest with a live event, PEN Breakout: Voices from the Inside on Nov. 28 at The Green Space in New York City.