The scene opens to a suburb-turned-slum near New York, beggars lining the streets. Some are standing, some sitting, but all are dressed in gray rags. They hold out their hands to passing citizens. The citizens wear gray clothing, as well, clothing that's ripping and becoming more and more like the rags of the beggars. But no citizens give the beggars any money.
The backdrop of the city is plain, as though there is no horizon separating the sky from the ground; the whole stage is lit by the same gray as the jail, except now a bit darker.
There are a few small buildings on either side of the stage, signifying a now-dead suburb.
The guard leads Jonathan into the scene, a wistful look on his face. He stops short after a few steps; Jonathan keeps walking.
Jonathan, stopping and turning back to the guard: Wha--?
He walks towards the guard.
Jonathan: Why'd you stop?
Guard: Jonathan, we're here.
Jonathan stares for a second, then starts to smile again.
Jonathan: Such a joker. Turns to leave. Come on.
Guard: No. No, I'm not joking.
Jonathan turns back to the guard again, his smile fading quickly.
Jonathan: This isn't my home.
The guard nods slowly.
Guard: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
Jonathan looks around desperately.
Jonathan: We were so happy, everything was so perfect--
Guard: You've been in jail for twenty years, Mr. King. Times have changed. Pause. Times are hard.
Jonathan: What happened?
When the guard hesitates, Jonathan goes closer, enraged.
Jonathan, through now-forming tears: WHAT HAPPENED HERE?!
Guard: Stock market crash. 1929. Nobody saw it coming.
Jonathan sniffs, then wipes a single tear off his face angrily.
Jonathan: But who stole this place? Who took my home? Pause. WHO KILLED IT?!
Guard: Everybody--they just gave up. They stopped watering the plants, stopped taking care of their houses, of their landscapes. They just kept working, trying to save themselves, forgetting everything that truly made their day worth it in the process.
Jonathan rubs his temples, pacing.
Jonathan: And what did they do then?
Guard: Went to the inner city. Pause. But they never came back when it didn't help. And I left here, but didn't come back either--I have no idea why; I just didn't see the point of going anywhere or doing anything.
Jonathan: So some people stayed?
Guard: They would leave if they could.
Jonathan looks around desperately now, but with a small glimmer of hope in his eye.
Jonathan, walking offstage: Uh--excuse me.