Peanut Butter and Jelly

Setting: Center City, out on the street.

Mathis (Mat for short): Teenage boy who has lived in the city all his life. His family does not have a car so he walks everywhere or takes public transportation.

Homeless Woman: Simply a woman who lives on the street. Not a major character, she just gets the ball rolling.

Homeless Woman

Do you have any change to spare?

(Mathias ignores Homeless Woman)

Please sir, could you just spare some change? I haven't had anything to eat in two days.


I don't have any cash on me... Sorry.

(Turns slowly to face the audience.)

That was a lie. I do have cash. My parents always make sure that I have money with me just in case. But I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be giving it to hobos, sorry "the homeless".

It’s not that I’m being stingy, I just don’t trust her. Maybe thats a little stingy. But I see homeless people as often as I eat PB&J, which is everyday for lunch. I quite frankly I get sick of it, the people and the sandwiches. Sorry, that was really rude, but you don’t know who you can trust. Maybe I should try to have some faith in the human race, but I guess I don’t. I have seen some crazy shit happen and know better than to assume all glasses are half full, because some just ain’t. I wanna think that she would go get herself  something to eat, but it seems more likely that she would spend it getting high. That's probably how she got here in the first place. She's an alcoholic or drug addict and she got booted out of her home because she spent all her money on her addiction. Right? Maybe not. I guess I'm just trying to distance myself from her, I’m trying to make her seem like a bad “thing”, when the truth is she is a real person with real struggles. The truth that I don't want to give her my money. Part of the reason is because I don't know if it will help her or harm her. But I'm also just a selfish punk. If I pretend she is someone who has made awful decisions than I don't have to feel guilty for denying her money. I mean who knows when she has last had a good meal, and I would happily buy her some food, but I don't have time for that. And plus who just goes up to a stranger and offers to buy them dinner? Maybe I should just go volunteer at some homeless shelter, but I feel like that’s just a lame excuse so I don’t feel as guilty ignoring the people who only have the streets as their homes. I know that I would be making some difference, and I would be helping some people. The problem is it wouldn't answer my questions about what to do when I encounter people outside. All they want is whatever money I can afford to spare, so who am I to not give it up? I guess the best thing to do is go on a case by case basis, but that just seems like another lame excuse. But in this case I think I have something that might help her if she really hasn't had any grub in two days. This won't answer my questions in the long term... unless I just always carry a PB&J round with me. Either way it I will be doing the good I can with what I’ve got.

(Walks over to the homeless woman.)

Ma’am, I have a sandwich if you would like it. It’s peanut butter and jelly.

(Opens his backpack, takes out a sandwich and hands it to the homeless woman.)