Jeff Forst
"Cop Shop Grow Op"

An early day in the present.

Hannah’s attic.

Front centre, a suspended window frame open toward the audience.

Looking through the window, facing front, a frazzled young woman: Hannah.

Bare, tattooed feet. Rust-brown knitted vest, two vast pockets. Silver anklet and necklace chains. Grimy white tank top ripped at the collar. Bangs dyed surprising hues, from yellow to pink.

Petite face. Button nose. Dishevelled auburn hair. Unshaven calves.

Sort of near-sighted (yet sans glasses or contact lenses). Cat-like hearing.

Crackly voice. Definite enunciation.

Featherweight step.

In her hand a digital recorder.

Window and surrounding half-moon area in bright white light. Rest of stage is dark.

Hannah appears frozen for a second, sighs grandly, checks the time on her handheld device, takes a red apple from her pocket. She stares at it, polishes it, twists off the stem, and bites it. Meditatively, she paces back and forth four or five steps as she chews.


(quickly into the microphone) That’s a fucking hot cop. Right out there. That one. (she points into the audience) Looking at me, waiting.


What to do? Run and hide? (hesitates) Or go to him: and face the music?

Pause. Shuts her eyes for a second.

I know. Running a grow show right beside a cop shop is probably going to lead to trouble. I get that. (laughs)

I had to take the risk. What other option did I have? (pause) This is our family cabin. Right next to where the Mounties built their new Nelson detachment, in the waterfront shadow of BOB—the big orange bridge. With nothing but a wood fence between us. That’s not our fault. They encroached on our turf. We were here first. Who gets the rights, eh? Early bird; or interloper?

Finishes the fruit with a flourish and flings the core through the window frame.

I need the money. My medical marijuana card is for my general well-being. I’ve borrowed to the limit. Starve; or grow more green? (pretending to think) Hmmmm—tough one.

I don’t even steal from the grid. (jerks a thumb at the roof) Soul-power.

Brief cough.

Everything was fucking great until I flirted with that fucking cop out my window and now I have ten minutes. To decide my life.

Walks a lap around the attic, plunging into darkness then reappearing in the light. 

Look at him! Standing right in front of my “A for anarchy” tag on their back gate. He has no idea. “A for apocalypse” is more like it.

(gritting her teeth) I couldn’t help it! Constable Solinari’s so handsome in his tight uni—my nanny married a red serge—and he spent his break times loitering around that chain-link exit, just waiting for me. (laughs) Like now. Except, I’m busted, he’s in hot water, and it’s all my fault.

Double-checks the time.

Nine minutes.


Sugar! (stomps her foot) Nobody borrows sugar anymore! That’s what you get with cops for neighbours. Freaking cupcakes! For his staff sergeant’s retirement party. (curses) Her final on-the-job duty is booking me.


How’d they discover my show? I let them! Idiot! I panicked! He knocked, I flung open the door and there he was. Needing sugar for her favourite cupcakes: that he forgot to bake. I made a terrible pun, he sniffed the air—which reeked of "eau de Nelson"—and I thought the gig was up, so I kissed him hard. (low) For awhile. Right there on the stoop, for all the world to see. He didn’t refuse. Not wanting the neighbours to talk, I hauled him in and we went at it against the wall. Nothing major but hot. Real hot. Too hot. Why didn’t he stop me? Isn’t he a cop? On duty!

Picks a ceramic water bottle up off the floor and drinks from it.

So then his boss comes over from the station and she’s looking for him ‘cuz he’s fucked off and they’re delaying her retirement party until he can get her fucking cupcakes together, and she just wants to go home and put her feet up with a beer and a ciggie. (in a shout) Ty and I are distracted and we don’t hear her coming, so she sees us all hot-and-bothered with his hands up in my wife beater and she flips her blue lid.

I stumble out with him like a guilty schoolgirl and shake her hand for some moronic reason, and she feels and smells the trimming resin all over my hands, and, well, you can imagine what happens next. Legally, the whole thing’s a messy grey area with all the necking and the no warrants: which is why they’re giving me the option to come in and discuss the whole matter. (grunts) Which sounds a lot like turning yourself in to me.

Long pause.

Let’s be clear. I’m not defending my actions here. I’m leaving a record of this event in case it’s needed. I may never be heard from again, either way. (gasping) Ninety-nine problems in the attic make you kind of jumpy.

Due to my illicit activities, I always have a boat escape on standby for destinations unknown. Lakefront’s handy that way. In addition to everything else, my folks gave me some brains. Fuzz won’t catch me if I fly. (semi-inaudible) Sounds appealing.

Why am I still here, talking to a machine? Excellent question. He’s pretty handsome. (hesitates) It’s only jail. Maybe I’ll get off light. Maybe I’ll get off on a technicality. Maybe some good can come out of bad.

Moves hand to throat.

He’s waving. (waves back, speaking to herself) Hi. Be right there. Or not. Don’t distract me!

Resumes pacing.

I’m my lawyer. I’ll work pro bono, and I know what I’m talking about. Maybe I’ll take on my case. Maybe we can break through something here. Make myself a Guinea pig for change. (punches the air) G-force!

She seems reasonable for a top cop. He’s dreamy. I bet they were a good team. (brooding) I know a bunch about the industry. We all know there’s an appetite for change in official-dumb regarding prohibition. The Kootenays are ground zero for the underground BC economy. City council’s debating this very issue all summer long. Am I a test-flight scenario?


Adversaries linking arms to overcome obstacles and confrontation.

What am I on? (snaps) Jail sucks! They’re fascist dictators! Bank enforcers! Look at that badge! Chevrons and stars and stripes. Snap out of it, girl! They’re going to make an example of you. (she taps her face) You can’t taunt the police’s lax enforcement culture by shoving dank nugs in their face. Get the hell out of here, Hannah! Run to the hills! Pack your bags!

Fingers a coloured forelock.

Why can’t I move? What’s he thinking? (peers through the window so as to be unseen) He’s got to be sweating this, too. French-kissed a citizen while in uniform. Ignored the wall of cannabis scent in my cabin. Neglected to bake Sarge’s retirement treats. Delaying her goodbye shindig. With no end in sight. Not his finest hour.

Yoga stretches.

What does he want? What does Sarge want? Sweep it under the rug, right? Why wouldn’t I sing about his bizarre methods of detection? Judges would guffaw at this official farce. Nah, they’ll want to talk about a deal. I have leverage and they know it.

Fishes a scrunchy out of her pocket.

I also have a hundred plants in my attic that the next door pork just found out about.

Coils her hair into a bun.

Is Mary-Jane a sacrament? Some say: for real, y’all. I don’t get into this hazy hoodoo side of things for good reason; but yes, maybe in the right sitch and scenario weed can be a good buzz in one’s life—as well as society overall. (contemplates) But it’s a crappy deal when shit-mixed with the wrong batch of boy hoods and gang stars. Kids should keep off the herb until of drinking age and those who can’t handle the high should stay away. Common sense and be safe. Ha! Lots of safety meetings. Treat others how you want to be treated. Sober or wasted. Avoid heavy machinery.

Pacing counter-clockwise.

 How ʼbout nabbing those who trade green for other chemical and criminal substances? Keep that illegal. Fine by me. I only deal with entities that can be grown naturally: with light, soil, and water. And don’t smoke anything! Vapour’s better for your lungs. Eating’s yummy.


Enough sermonizing. I’ve been single a while. It’s hard to meet a good partner if you’re a straight gal isolated in this alpine ghetto. I haven’t had a kiss like that in years. Maybe ever. I can still feel him on my lips. Maybe it wasn’t panic. Maybe my body and heart threw myself into his arms, mind be damned. Is this whole cops-and-robbers charade covering up the fact that I want to arrest him?


What if I met Ty normally? Would I want to see him again? Yes. Soon? Now, if possible. Minutes left. (back to the window) There he is, right there. I can go chat with him. ASAP. He wants me to. Does he? Maybe he wants me to take off, eh?

Shocked inhale.

He just blew me a kiss! What a smooth mover. Butterflies much?

Out of control, her lips kiss the air.

Could I be a cop’s girlfriend, let alone his wife? (shaking her head) No way, right? He’d have to leave his job. Wait, maybe we could do something together. (jabs a finger) A formally informal action committee tasked with bridging a solution to the only subject that would compel our blarney-stone mayor to defy democracy without pause. A civic celebration of co-operation.

Scoffs at herself.

Yeah, like that would work. In my dream world. We’d get ready for work together and walk through that gate into the precinct to pass paper back and forth and gaze at each other’s longing eyes. Sickening sweet.

Drinks more water.

Fuck, what do I do?

Would he chase me? Probably. He’d be first in pursuit and sound the alarm. I could ambush him somewhere down the lake and take him hostage. Now we’re talking.

I like warm showers. Do they have those in jail?

Yet more pacing.

How hard would they look for a runaway pot-grower anyway? It’s not a manhunt deal, is it? Woman-hunt? They might forget about me in hours. Except, I’m the one who grew luscious ladies right under their noses. I suppose I was biting my thumb at them. Which is why they might not want this story in the headlines. The RCs must get their babe. If this was the city police I’d have more leeway, but the feds play hardball. And the primate minister and I are not big fans of one another’s policies. Darth Harper.

Claps hands.

That’s it, I’m out of here. I’m no fucking martyr. Grab the evacuation pack and we’re good to go. Yard, beach, boat, lake, woods, hills, mountains. And I ain’t tellin’ which way I’m goin’. That’s for me to know and you not to find out!

He’s smiling at me. (frowns back) It’s like he can read my mind. He can’t be as relaxed as he looks. (essays a song) Should I stay; or I should I go now? (drums thumbs on her hipbones) If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double. As usual, Joe Strummer knows what’s going down. Good to know I can sing at a time like this. Calm under pressure. Yeah, right.


Think. Stop thinking. Clear your mind. Figure it out. Contradict yourself.

Turns off her recorder. Turns it back on.

Maybe we’ll just talk it over and go back to status quo like nothing ever happened. Why not, eh? Nobody’s the wiser and I’ll shutter my grow op after harvesting’s done. Next week.

Hugs herself.

Maybe he wants to escape with me. Does he hate being a cop? Is that why he let me kiss him? Is that why he came over? Is that why he kissed me back? Fuck, I need some more of that. (touching her mouth) I’m his way out. A sliver of hope to free himself from the yoke of law and order. Jump into the chaos with a pseudo-hippie gypsy and change your life in one fell swoop. Be with the cine-manic pixie-chick for real in 3D. Get out of Dodge.

Makes unintelligible noises.

Time’s up. One way or the other. Moment of truth. Fork in the road. Cliché time. (pokes her head through the open window frame) My family would miss me. But they’d get over it. Trusting me, they’d presume I was alive. Friends would rally to my cause. Which could be a bad thing for them. Best leave well enough alone. A token symbol of the rebellion. (hesitates) Against what?

Hisses with fear.

Oh shit, there she is behind him. Blue blood, blue cap, blue shades, blue wall. Ominous as fuck.

Gardens, grass, wood, flowers, and fun playthings: on our side.

Concrete, metal, severity, and tools of enforcement on theirs.

With a big orange bridge standing behind us.

On our shoreline.

In this shared mountain valley.

Two as one.

 It’s go time.