The Empty Store
Setting: An empty store.
(Lights up, Mandy stands behind a counter, store is empty, there should be shelves galore with nothing on them, enter James)
James: Hi, you work here, right?
(Mandy looks around, again, the store is extremely empty)
Mandy: Yes, just me.
J: I'm wondering where your men's shoes are.
M: Well, I think... they may be... around the... uhhh... oh, no, forgot... we don't sell men's shoes.
J: Ohh... darn... need a new pair of shoes for work.
J: Probably just women's shoes; everyone sells women's shoes.
M: Except us.
J: Oh... okay. What about ties?
M: For men?
J: Of course for men.
J: Who else would you sell ties for?
M: Bread bags.
J: Oh. So where are they?
M: Ties? We don't sell them.
J: You said you did.
M: Thought you were talking for bread bags.
J: You sell ties for bread bags?
M: Who would buy those?
J: You said that...
M: Bakers, I suppose.
J: (annoyed) Alright...
M: But they probably have their own dedicated supply chain for such things.
J: (more so) Alright...
M: Doubt they'd come to a store in a mall for those.
J: Alright! I get it! Thank you.
M: You're welcome.
J: Do you know the nearest place that sells men's shoes?
M: Yeah, next door. Men's Shoes-R-We.
J: Saw that. I was wondering, but... well, okay... bye, I'll just go over there then.
M: Good-bye. Come back soon.
J: (starts leaving, looks around a bit more) I have to ask: what exactly do you sell here?
M: Want some?
M: How much do you want?
J: I don't know what you sell. So, I don't know if I would want to buy it.
M: Unfortunately, we can only sell what we sell if you buy it.
J: Right, of course, but usually I would know what I'm buying.
M: Sorry. I can only tell you that we sell exactly what you see here.
M: I suppose you could see that.
J: Well, it is what I see.
M: Then you would buy nothing.
J: I guess I would.
M: How much do you want to buy then?
M: Right, how much?
J: I can't buy...
M: Maybe five bucks worth?
J: No, I...
J: No. Nothing.
M: How much?
J: Please, stop.
J: So what do you sell, really? No joking.
M: I'm not joking.
J: What is it?
M: It's whatever you want.
J: So, you sit in an empty store, and you claim to sell anything?
J: But there's nothing here.
M: Because you want nothing.
J: I want shoes.
M: Next door.
J: Right, but you don't sell anything I want then.
M: You don't really want shoes, I guess.
J: Yes, I do, look at these ones... (pointing to his shoes, Mandy peeks at them too) The sole is pulling away from the shoe, hole by the toe.
M: I think you need to figure out what you want, what you really, really want, and come back here, and we will have it for you.
J: How can you guys even stay in business?
M: Woman. No "guys" here. The store is just me, Mandy, I am the store.
J: Sorry, woman then. How do you, a woman, even... stay... in... ohhhhh. Oh, yes.
J: I see. You don't need anything on the shelves if you are the store.
J: It's that kind of business, huh?
M: You mean a store kind of business?
J: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO... it's that kind of business. You're the product.
J: You're for sale!
M: No, no...
J: How'd they let you set up a place... like this... in a mall?
M: I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong.
J: How so?
M: I'm not a prostitute. I am not for sale, rent or lease.
J: But, you said, that...
M: I am the store, yes, I did, but I meant that I am the owner, operator and sole employee of the store. That's it. You're the one who made the wild assumption.
J: Well, that's what it sounded like to me.
M: Maybe that's because that's what you really want.
J: What? Sex?
J: No. I don't want sex.
J: (longer pause) Wait... do you... did you mean to say that you sell... that?
M: If you want it, we sell it.
J: How much?
M: How much do you want?
J: A lot.
M: Sorry, you just said you didn't want it.
J: I changed my mind.
M: Then you don't really know if you want it, do you?
J: Yes, yes! I do, I do!
M: Well, I don't believe you.
J: That's not how you said you do business. You didn't say that you had to believe that I really wanted what I said I wanted.
M: I know, but you notice you weren't able to buy any; therefore you didn't really want it.
J: Sex? Of course I couldn't buy any! You're not selling any!
M: How do you know that?
J: Because I said I wanted some - said I wanted a lot - and you said you didn't believe me.
M: Because you had changed your mind.
J: People change their minds all the time!
M: Because they don't really want what they say they want.
J: But I always want sex!
M: Then why did you say you didn't?
J: I didn't think you would sell that!
M: You assumed.
J: I was being polite. I'm not that kind of guy.
M: You are the type of guy who doesn't want sex?
J: No! I'm the type of guy who isn't going to try to buy sex from a stranger. Besides, you said you weren't a prostitute.
M: Oh, so... if I were a prostitute, then you would have bought sex from me?
M: Thought you weren't that type of guy.
J: Now, come on! I...
M: And how do you now I wouldn't have sold you sex anyway, even though I'm not a prostitute?
J: But that would make you a prostitute!
M: Not necessarily.
J: Yes! It would! You can't sell sex and claim you're not a prostitute!
J: On what?! It depends on nothing! You can't have it both ways!
M: Prostitutes often have it both ways.
J: That's not what I meant!
J: This is stupid.
M: In a way. As stupid as you want it to be.
J: What can I really get here?
M: What you really want.
J: Which is?
M: What everyone wants.
J: Which is?
M: I'm sorry that you don't know what you and everyone else wants.
M: None of that here.
M: Again, no.
J: Love? You sell love here?
M: Why don't you buy some and find out?
J: (pulling a dollar from his pocket, mumbling, handing it to her) Alright, alright, this I gotta see... do we go to a back room for this love... here.
M: (taking money, putting it in the register) Thank you.
J: What? What's going on here? Nothing's happening!
M: Well, to be fair, you only gave me a dollar.
J: You said I should buy some and find out.
M: Yeah, and you gave me a dollar.
J: So? I don't see a price list.
M: How much love do you expect for a dollar?
J: Love doesn't have a price tag!
M: Boldly said, Shakespeare, yet you paid a dollar.
J: Fine, what do I get then?
M: (patting his hand) There, there.
J: That's sympathy!
M: It is a degree to love.
J: It's not! You lied to me!
M: (patting his hand) There, there.
J: Stop that!
M: Sure thing. That was about a dollar's worth anyway.
J: What about five dollars?
M: Do you want to try it?
J: Not really.
M: Why? Don't you love me?
M: Do you love me?
M: After all, you did just give me a dollar. It must have been for a reason.
J: To buy love.
M: And it worked!
J: No, you gave me sympathy! Which isn't the same as love!
M: (shaking her head in sympathy) Poor boy.
J: Stop it! Stop it!
M: That one was on the house.
J: Well, you're not getting any more money from me. This is a scam.
M: How so?
J: You took my money and give me nothing in return!
M: You gave me a dollar. I gave you love.
J: But nothing's changed.
M: Does something have to change?
J: Yes! Damnit! I want to feel loved!
M: (big smile) Now you've got it.
J: Got what?
M: You know what you want.
J: Oh, well...
M: So how much do you want?
J: Here. Can I try five dollars?
M: (very sweetly) Of course you can, my love.
J: (soaking this in) Wow. That... that was great.
M: I'm so happy to love you.
M: Oh, yes I am. And you must love me; since you gave me five dollars to love you, you obviously care a great deal about me loving you, therefore you must love me too.
J: Well, I... ohhh... yeah, I mean, yeah, I guess I do...
M: Exactly. Would you like some more?
J: I... I'm not sure anymore.
M: I know I would! We can all use a little more love in our lives.
J: (he pulls out a ten) Here's ten.
M: Ahhh, I love you too. Anything else I can get for you today?
J: (almost hypnotized) More.
(more money starts changing hands)
M: Good decision, my sweet, sweet love.
J: I love you so much.
M: I know you do. We also take credit cards.
(he starts fishing around for a credit card; lights fade along with adlibbed expressions of mutual affection)