November 30, 2006

A Play A Day #231

Fear, The Mall, And Thou


Setting: Sadie's front lawn.

(Lights up, Sadie laying on her front lawn, enter Myron.)

Myron: Hi, Sadie.

Sadie: (lazy, not opening eyes, not wanting to respond) Mmmmmmm...?

M: Sadie?

S: Mmmmmm.....?

M: Sadie... Sadie?

S: Whmmmmmm...?

M: Sadie?

S: Yeeaaaaaa...?

M: Sadie? You asleep?

S: Yeeeessss.

M: (very long pause, Myron walks around, eventually sits next to Sadie) Sadie?

S: Mmmmmm...?

M: Still sleeping?

S: Yeeeessss.

M: Ummm... okay...

(very long pause, starts singing to cover the time, The Pointer Sisters timeless epic, "Jump (For My Love)", except Myron sings it in a more choral fashion, after a verse and chorus, then a long pause, Myron starts the second verse, and Sadie sits bolt upright in a shot)

S: Stop! Just don't. Alright?

M: Hey, you're awake!

S: Yes!

M: Great! Let's go to the mall!

S: What?

M: Yeah, let's go to the mall!

S: The mall?! Are you serious?

M: Yeah!

S: Myron. I'm tired. I was resting.

M: Now you're awake. Let's go to the mall!

S: Why do you want to go to the mall?

M: I don't know.

S: What? What do you mean, you don't know?

M: I just want to go.

S: I'm tired, Myron, and I hate the mall. You know that.

M: Yeah, but... ummm...

S: What?

M: Well, I'm trying to change my image.

S: You have an image?

M: Yeah... maybe.

S: I'd really like to stay here, relaxing, napping outside, on my lawn.

M: People think I'm gay.

S: Some people think you're gay, not everyone.

M: I'm not gay though.

S: I believe you, Myron.

M: It's just because I'm afraid of girls.

S: Afraid? That's putting it mildly.

M: Well, it's not my fault that I've never had a date.

S: Myron. It is your fault. Who else could be at fault?

M: Girls.... women.

S: Which women?

M: Uhhh...

S: The ones you don't call or the ones you never talk to around town, or maybe it's the ones that you never do anything with?

M: No... yes... yes, those ones.

S: Listen, Myron, you're terrified of women, and I'm sort of honored that you talk to me... but we've been neighbors for five years, and you only stopped staring at my feet three months ago.

M: I remember... that was really hard.

S: Hey, you've made big strides.

M: Right, but people still think I'm gay.

S: Some people, Myron, but they're obviously not thinking it through: it's precisely because you are so terrified of women that convinces me you're not gay.

M: I'm not.

S: Right, see, two things: One, if you were gay, more women would talk to you. Women like gay men. And, second, you fear women precisely because you desire them. We most fear what we most want, because the risk of not getting it is so great. You are afraid of women because you want them so very much.

M: (pause) Wow.... but... but wouldn't that mean that macho guys are gay?

S: Some are, but most macho guys are also terrified of women: They just overcompensate for it with sex. Macho guys love fucking women, but fear women.

M: Really?

S: Sounds right to me.

M: Thanks, Sadie!

S: No problem. No can I go back to my nap?

M: Oh. I thought maybe you'd got to the mall with me now?

S: Because I gave you a gender-relations lecture?

M: No, 'cause you're up and awake... and I really don't want to go alone.

S: Then don't go! You hate the mall too. You hardly ever leave your house; why torture yourself at the mall?

M: I... well.. I heard that there might be a lot of cute girls there...

S: Okay, first of all, Myron, you're twenty-eight years old, you have to stop referring to females as girls, when you say "girls", it makes me think you want to cruise the mall for fifteen-year olds.

M: Women... cute women...

S: Which brings me to my second point, most women don't like being called "cute"... again, that's for the birth-to-age-sixteen-or-so set... try "beautiful", "gorgeous", "alluring".

M: Okay... so I heard there are a lot of ... alluring women at the mall.

S: And my third point which is: Your point is?

M: Well... I thought... I...

S: You were going to pick up a (makes air quotes) "cute girl" at the mall?

M: Or... a beautiful woman... maybe.

S: (laughing) Sorry, Myron, sorry... but you couldn't get a piece of ass on a porn site.

M: I know, I know... that's why I thought you could help...?

S: (still laughing a bit) I mean, you couldn't find tits in a bra.

M: Sadie, this isn't about bras and porn sites.

S: Ohh... I'm sorrry, Myron... I couldn't resist... sorry...

M: It's about malls and mommies!

S: Whoa... stand down Oedipus...

M: I just mean, you know, not teenagers... some of the gorgeous... females... might be mothers...

S: And you want my help?

M: Yeah... I'm ready.

S: Okay... what do you want me to do?

M: Kind of be protection for me.

S: Protection!!?

M: Well, yeah... I mean what if one of them wants to approach me?

S: Then you put on dry underwear and say "hello".

M: But... it's frightening.

S: Yeah... women.... man, they'll mess you up. You know most women actually get most of their protein by eating out men's hearts through their dicks.

M: (frightened by the image) Unnnhhh!

S: For the love of god, Myron... snap out of it.

M: I'm sorry... I just don't know what to do.

S: (pause) Do you want to practice?

M: What?

S: With me? Why don't we practice?

M: (with rising fear) Practice... what?

S: What do you think?

M: ...... sex?

S: What? No! Jesus, Myron and Joseph! Practice meeting a woman, you dope!

M: Oh... right?

S: Soooo... yes?

M: Yeah... yeah, okay, let's practice.

S: Alright, you be you, I'll be a beautiful woman at the mall.

M: Ummm... okay.

S: (turns around, preps herself, moves away from Myron a few steps, then turns around and approaches) Hello there. (she puts her hand out for Myron to shake, he goes catatonic, staring at his shoes) Myron? C'mon... what's the deal?

M: Sorry... it was just too real, you know?

S: Maybe because I was playing a woman meeting you, and, in real life, I often am a woman meeting you?

M: (missing her sarcasm) Yeah... that's probably why.

S: Okay, listen, let's just cut the artifice altogether then, okay?

M: What do you mean?

S: You be you: I'll just be me. Sadie.

M: Oh.

S: Real simple. Sadie meeting Myron.

M: Like friends meeting?

S: Well, no, you do need to imagine that I'm like a potential date, girlfriend, or lover.

M: (obviously too nervous to push it that far) Aahhh...

S: Okay, okay, okay... just a potential date... a simple date, just out for a bite to eat...

M: (still visibly upset) Dinner?

S: Alright... just coffee, just coffee... okay?

(Myron closes his eyes, shakes his head)

S: Okay, keep your eyes closed, good... now when you open them, I'm going to be Sadie, and you're going to be Myron and we will be standing close to each other and talking... the only difference would be that this talking could potentially lead you to having coffee with me. Okay? Ready? (pause) Alright, go. (Myron does nothing) Open your eyes, Myron. (he does so) Hi, my name is Sadie, and you are...? (holds out her hand, Myron immediately takes a knee, breathing heavily) Damnit, Myron, c'mon! It's me... Sadie.

M: I know, I know, I know.

S: We're talking right now... same situation...

M: We could've had coffee!

S: (beat, deadpan) You're right. How cruel of me.

M: I just can't do this, Sadie... I...

S: No, here, here, let's try this... (thinking fast) ummm..... you, you take the lead!

M: I don't...

S: Yes... that's it. You speak first, okay...

M: What?

S: Yeah, you just say whatever comes to mind.

M: To you?

S: Right, me as me. You as you.

M: Me as me...

S: And me as me... and let's just skip the handshake, too aggressive I guess. We'll just start like we are... two people... we know each other enough, no greeting.

M: The coffee?

S: Done... no coffee, just talking... the only difference is you have to talk to me as a woman that you might be attracted to, but it doesn't have to go anywhere...

M: Just talking.

S: Just talking. (pause) Do you want to turn around this time, since you're leading the conversation?

M: Right. (turns around, doesn't do any "prep" motions, which makes his turning back around awkward, but he does so, and starts. His speech should be awkward, but extremely endearing) Hi, Sadie. It's me, Myron. (pause) I wanted you to go to the mall with me today. It's not far, and I could drive. I have really enjoyed being your neighbor and getting to know you for the past five years.

Last weekend, my friend, Fred, you met him once I think, he has that weird beard, wears a fedora all the time? (Sadie nods) He took me to the mall to get something for his Mom, and there were all these cute... women who were also very beautiful... there. I tried my best to look at a lot of them, mainly when I could tell they wouldn't see me.

They were just so pretty, so many of them, and not any one of them looked any different than you... wait, that didn't come out right... I mean, I looked at them, but they all look like you in my mind.

I saw you everywhere, by the information kiosk, by the triangle fountain, in the food court, at the kid's playland. You were everywhere, even in the parking garage, but mostly you were there... in my mind and in my heart.

Every woman I saw made me think of you, about how much I wish you would think of me. That maybe, someday, we could think of each other.

So, I wanted to take you to the mall today... to see if all those alluring women really were just like you, if you matched... or if you are what I think you are, matchless.

But mostly I wanted to take you to the mall, so I could be near you, and buy you a little something, and then maybe later we could stop for... coffee... or tea... or something, on our way home.

You should know that, of all the women I saw that day, I fear you most of all.


How was that?

(Sadie is silent, her mouth is sort of moving slowly, but she's not saying anything, stunned, beyond words, nearly catatonic)

Sadie? Sadie? (long pause which Myron interprets badly) Crap... I'm... I'm sorry... (turns and leaves the stage)

(Sadie's legs start shaking and she takes a knee, then slowly sits.)

S: (quietly) I know a cute boy who just earned himself a trip to the mall.

(lights fade out as she gets up and follows Myron's path offstage)


November 29, 2006

A Play A Day #230

Gerbil II - The Degerbiling


Setting: Todd's back deck.

(Todd, a small, introspective, meek, fifteen year old boy sits on the planking of his back deck, Wesley, a much bigger, gregarious, physical, sixteen year old friend, comes out of Todd's house stage right, sneaks onto stage quietly, huge smile on his face. Todd is also smiling, then Wesley strikes, pulling Todd backward by the shoulders and sitting on his chest, pinning his arms down, threatening to spit in his face)

Wesley: (a pirate voice) Arrrrggh! Gimme all yer money, or I'll drown ye in mucus. (beat, then he hops off Todd, and sits next to him, Todd slowly pulls himself to a sitting position)

Todd: You shouldn't have done that, Wes.

W: Ohh, c'mon, Todd, just joking with you... I don't even have enough mucus to drown you.

T: I know that, but, it's just...

W: Your mom said you were out back here; so I just decided to sneak up on you.

T: Genius idea.

W: Thanks... so what're you doing out here.

T: Just thinking about stuff, I guess.

W: (looking around appreciatively) It's a nice deck. Good place for thinking?

T: Yeah, seems to be.

W: (pause) So what were you thinking about?

T: I don't know... life and stuff.

W: Yeah?

T: Yeah. Stuff.

W: What sort of stuff?

T: I... no.

W: What? Won't tell me?

T: No... it's just... it's personal.

W: I'll tell you something personal about myself, if you tell me what you were thinking about.

T: No...

W: C'mon. I came all the way over here...

T: You live half a block away.

W: To hang out with my friend, and he won't even tell me what he was thinking about?

T: Wes.

W: Jeez, some friend!

T: No...

W: I'd tell you.

T: Alright... fine... I'll tell you about it.

W: Finally!

T: You can't laugh!

W: Do I look like the kind of guy who laughs?

T: Alright... I was thinking about life and... (long pause)

W: Stuff?

T: No.

W: Death?

T: Yeah.

W: Great!

T: How'd you know?

W: Had to be one of those two.

T: Anyway, I was thinking about how life was very fragile, and how, you know, you could or I could just be gone one day. You know?

W: Yep.

T: Isn't that creepy?

W: Yep.

T: Then I was thinking that the same is true for animals, maybe even more true. They have to hunt, kill or be killed sort of thing, and we have hospitals and medicine and laws and stuff to protect us from dying.

W: But we still do.

T: (excited glimmer) Yeah! That's what I thought too! Wait. How'd you know that?

W: I think it's common knowledge that people still die in spite of doctors and cops.

T: Ohh... yeah. So, then I thought about how animals die a lot more frequently when people are around. They would be fine if they didn't have us killing them off, like not just with hunting and fishing, but like by poisoning the land and the water, you know, environmental reasons.

W: Right.

T: I mean, a lot of the time we kill animals without even knowing that we're doing it.

W: (pause) Ummm, Todd? Is this about Petey?

T: What?

W: It is, isn't it?

T: Well...

W: Jeez, Todd, I told you I was sorry. C'mon, you know I felt terrible about that. I can't believe that you'd bring it up again!

T: Well, you really wanted me to tell you what I was thinking about...

W: But this?

T: ... and so Petey was on my mind...

W: I didn't know you let him play on your bedroom floor...

T: ... that's all. I just wonder if there's a better way...

W: ... and you wanted that old box of comics from my garage...

T: ... for human beings to live with animals...

W: ... must've weighed fifty pounds. I carried it all the way here...

T: Without killing them all the time.

W: My arms were killing me; so I dropped it on your floor.

(long pause)

T: I know, Wes. I'm not mad about it. I just miss Petey.

W: Yeah. I really am sorry.

T: (pause) So what's yours?

W: Hmm?

T: You said you'd tell me something personal about yourself if I...

W: Right, right... okay... (with gravitas) My real first name is Wesley.

T: You dick! I already knew that!

W: Hey! I didn't say it had to be a secret, personal thing!

T: What a jerk you are!

W: Oh, c'mon, I tell you personal stuff all the time.

T: Man, I can't believe I fell for that again.

W: Anyway... is the new gerbil I bought you as good as Petey?

T: (pause) Ummm... yes...

W: What's his name?

T: Eggy.

W: Right, 'cause he's white.

T: Yeah.

W: Let's go see him.

T: (too quickly and loudly) No!

W: Whoa... ahh, c'mon, I want to play with the little guy.

T: Wes... I...

W: Then we'll go to the pool; sound good?

T: Wes...

W: It's going to be pretty hot...

T: Wes...

W: ...and I got this new underwater diving ring, makes really cool sounds...

T: Wes...

W: you can dive for it with your eyes closed!

T: Wes!!

(long pause)

T: Eggy's dead.

W: What?

T: Eggy's dead.

W: No way, we just got him yesterday!

T: Eggy's dead.

W: Are you sure?

T: Yes.

W: When did it happen?

T: Ohhh... several... minutes ago.

W: How'd it happen?

T: Ahh... (thinking quickly) It's not important.

W: No, how'd it happen this time?

T: (trying very hard to be nonchalant) It's just not a big deal... he's dead... that's it. Hey! Let's go to the pool, okay?!

W: What... but I...

T: Why don't you go get changed? I'll change, and then meet you at your place. (points offstage left toward Wes's house)

W: (a little confused, but complying) Oh... okay... you can tell me about it on the way to the pool. (exiting)

T: (standing up, calling after Wes) Sure, sure. (to himself) Should give me enough time to make up a better story than this. (Todd reaches up over his right shoulder, under his shirt, pulls a bloody piece of white fur from off his back, holds it in front of him) Wes is tough on gerbils. Oh, Eggy.

(lights fade as Todd turns and heads into his house, we see the bloody gerbil outline soaked into his white t-shirt on the back of his right shoulder)

(lights out as he exits)


November 28, 2006

A Play A Day #229

Missed A Day


Setting: A sofa.

(lights up on Bug, sitting on his sofa, obvious horror on his face, enter Tina, dressed to go outside)

Tina: Hey, Bug! Let's go.

Bug: (looks at her forlornly, with great despair) I missed a day.

Tina: Great, I was outside, pounding on the door for about ten minutes...

Bug: But, I missed...

Tina: You're missing more, moping here. C'mon! Let's go!

Bug: I never miss a day.

Tina: Bug, it's time to go... we shoulda picked up Janice about a half hour ago.

Bug: Four years...

Tina: What are you talking about!?

Bug: Four years.... three months...

Tina: We need to get going, Bug. Now.

Bug: Four years... three months... and seventeen days...

Tina: Okay, and you missed... let's go.

Bug: Tina, are you, maybe, from the future?

Tina: What?!

Bug: Like just one day into the future?

Tina: No, we're actually in the past, as in past time when we should've left.

Bug: 'Cause if I skipped the day because I fell into a wormhole or something, then that wouldn't really count.

Tina: It's today, yesterday was yesterday, it's time, c'mon!

Bug: Yesterday wasn't two days ago?

Tina: No, damnit!

Bug: It won't matter...

Tina: Bug. Listen...

Bug: It won't matter, Tina.

Tina: It's gonna matter to Janice, and Tim, and Kayt, and...

Bug: Nothing matters anymore.

Tina: Shut up, Bug; get your stuff on.

Bug: The world will end very soon.

Tina: Stop it! It's time to go!

Bug: You don't understand what I'm saying do you, Tina?

Tina: No, and I don't care. The snow is fresh; we gotta hit the slopes.

Bug: Because I failed to count all the light bulbs in my house yesterday, it will lead to a series of events that will end my life and the lives of... others.

Tina: Bug, you are obsessive-compulsive; you know that. Your fears are irrational. Even you say so.

Bug: But, I saw it, in my head... I saw what happens if I miss a day.

Tina: You are hopping in your van and driving us to the mountain; that's what's gonna happen. I mean you don't even know if you really missed a day.

Bug: I know, Tina. I was counting them this morning, and I realized that I didn't yesterday.

Tina: Okay, Bug, nothing's going to happen. Let's go, and we'll prove it to you. C'mon.

Bug: No... I...

Tina: Janice told me her friend from Decklin is gonna be there today...

Bug: Cynthia?

Tina: Yep... that's the one.

Bug: Cynthia's gonna be there?

Tina: That's what Janice says.

Bug: Okay... but I'm not going to be able to relax until I'm safe back here.

Tina: Maybe with Cynthia?

Bug: Yeah... that would be great.

Tina: Then let's go!

(Bug gets up, Tina grabs him by the arm and leads him hurriedly from the stage, lights start fading)

Bug: (complaining about her pulling on him) Okay, okay...

Tina: Well, we've wasted enough time here; we gotta hurry, Bug! Everyone else is gonna be pissed we're late. Get dressed, toss your skis in the van, and we'll floor it. For Cynthia, Bug... for Cynthia.

(lights out)


November 27, 2006

A Play A Day #228

The Bill


Setting: Checkout station at a nice restaurant.

(Darren and Beatrice approach, Beatrice putting her wrap around her shoulders, Darren holds out the bill, Misty, the well-dressed hostess, takes it and Darren's credit card)

Misty: Good evening, Sir. How was everything tonight?

Darren: Just fabulous... great. Great.

Misty: Wonderful!

Beatrice: Very, very good!

Misty: Excellent! (she starts processing the credit card, examining the bill) Oh, one of you had the scampi. How was it?

Beatrice: I loved it.

Misty: Great! The chef puts a special kind of olive oil in it.

Beatrice: I thought so.

Misty: You can drink that oil right out of the bottle by the quart!

Beatrice: Oh... wow!

Misty: (nodding, catching herself) Not that we do! (laughing)

(Beatrice and Darren laughing nervously)

Misty: We would never do that. We could, but we don't.

Darren: Of course not.

Misty: I mean, you didn't think that I meant...

Beatrice: No, no... don't worry. We know what you meant.

Misty: (checking bill again, checking on credit card process, no progress there) So, you must have had the Beef Wellington...

Darren: (overlap) Wellington, yes, that was me.

Misty: (tapping at the monitor where the credit card is processing) How did you like that?

Darren: Uhh... good, really quite good... almost surprisingly so.

Misty: (hitting monitor hard with her hand throughout this line, trying to act as if she isn't) Surprisingly, sir?

Darren: Well... it was so tender... and, I just mean... I... well, I wasn't expecting it to be that good!

Misty: (really whacking the monitor hard) Ow! (a beep) Oh!... ummm... I'm sorry, sir... the credit card isn't going through...

Darren: Really?

Misty: In fact, it's telling me to confiscate the card and call the authorities.

Darren: What?!

Beatrice: No! That can't be.

Darren: I assure you, I've done nothing to call the authorities about.

Misty: It says that the card was reported stolen earlier today.

Darren: Here... here's my driver's license... my picture, name... same as the credit card.

Misty: (comparing the two) Certainly are... weird.

Beatrice: Try the other card, dear.

Darren: Yes, yes... (takes out another credit card) Here. This should work.

Misty: Certainly, yes. (starts credit card processing, during this fight scene, Misty watches with growing apprehension, the card is also not processing, she taps nervously at first, then slowly builds until she is ferociously beating on the monitor by the end of the fight, her tempo and rhythms matching the argument)

Darren: (to Beatrice) Did you lose that card and call it in?

Beatrice: No.

Darren: You know how you lose track of things.

Beatrice: I didn't lose it, dear.

Darren: Wouldn't be the first time you lost one of the credit cards.

Beatrice: (fishing both cards from her purse) I have not lost the credit cards!

Darren: I wasn't saying you had; I was just saying.

Beatrice: You most certainly were saying that I lost them.

Darren: Just the one!

Beatrice: Why do you accuse me of being careless all the time!?

Darren: I don't, Bea; it's just that some times you're kind of... careless.

Beatrice: Listen, Darren, we were having a perfectly enjoyable night, and then this little credit card problem happens, and you switch into Mr. Blame Game mode!

Darren: I'm not blaming you; I just want to know why the credit card was reported as stolen. I didn't do it. Someone else must have, and you're the other person on the account; so it follows that... I'm not blaming you...

Beatrice: You're just saying I did it; that's so vaguely nuanced as to be... unfathomable!

Darren: Dear, I just want to know...

Beatrice: Get over it! You can't know everything, Darren. This little credit card mystery will not bow to your deductive reasoning or your personal attacks at me for what you perceive are my foibles.

Darren: It just seems to me...

Beatrice: The situation - gasp - is out of your control, and what's more, it's done! Done, Darren, done... we used a different credit card... when we get home, you can call the card's customer service center and sit on hold for twenty-seven hours, and find out what the problem is, because I most definitely am not!!

Darren: Bea, be reasonable... I don't know why you fly into rages everytime I suggest that you may have been involved in some little problem.

Beatrice: (stressing each of the first few words very hard) Because... you... always... insinuate that I am the source, not just a participant, but the actual source, the veritable font, of all minor and major difficulties which beset us as a couple. I am the dominatrix of doom, the mail carrier of malady, the malicious master of malfeasance, the merry mother of mischief, the haranguing handmaiden of happenstance, the be-all and end-all of messy counters, broken spatulas, cracked tiles, clogged pipes, flat tires, missed meetings, dropped balls, soggy sandwiches, high electric bills, poor radio reception, damp towels, and both over- and undercooked meat! I'm tired of listening to it. You know why, Darren? Do you know why I "fly into rages"? Because you fricking make me!!! So even if everything else really were my fault, even if I were responsible for all that causes us woe, I would still "fly into rages", because I Don't Need To Be Reminded Of It All The Time!! You make mistakes too, Darren! All the flippin' time. The difference between your mistakes and my mistakes is that I let you make them, and I only say something about them if it's absolutely essential! All I'm saying, Darren, is that I may be the reason that the credit card didn't go through. I don't even care. But even if I were, that's beside the point. It makes no difference here and now!

(Beatrice seethes, Darren looks a little embarassed, then they both look at Misty who abruptly ends her assault of the monitor, she is panting, sweaty. She tries to make up for her vehemence with cold nonchalance. Long pause.)

Misty: (terrified) Umm... this card's... not...

Darren: (to Beatrice) Your handiwork again?

(Beatrice simply turns her back, beyond anger)

Misty: (trembling) ... Reported stolen...

Darren: Damnit!

Misty: (mumbles) Confiscate... authorities...

Darren: No... listen, listen, do you take checks?

Misty: (great relief, way overcompensating) Checks? Yes! Yes! We take checks... checks are a form of payment! And we take them! All the time! People write us checks! They pay for meals with checks! It's great! We take (oops, lowers her voice) credit cards and (loud again) checks!! Good ol' American checks! Yes, sir! Any check you might have! We'll take it... We just love checks... the other day, I was talking with another hostess, and I asked her what her favorite form of payement was, and she said "Checks"! I couldn't agree more. Checks are awesome! We take all the checks we can get...

(Darren has taken his checkbook out and is writing, not amused by Misty's non-stop verbalizations, finishes tears off the check, hands it to Misty)

Misty: (her face collapses into pain, her buoyancy gone, very slowly, fearfully) ...within... a twenty-five... mile... radius of the restaurant.

Darren: What?

Misty: We take checks that originate within a twenty-five mile radius of the restaurant, sir... your address is in Tartanburg, that's almost thity miles away...

Beatrice: (spinning around, a great deal of pleasure on her face) Ahhh! Yeah!! That IS my fault! I was the one who really wanted to live in Tartanburg! Yippee for me! (pulls a fake sad face to Darren, speaks to him in a sarcastic sad manner) Mea culpa, my dear, mea culpa grande.

Darren: (to Misty) C'mon, you can't be serious?

Misty: I would get in big trouble, sir. I can't take checks from Tartanburg, or Berenz, or Prewitt, or...

Darren: (snatching the check from her hands) I get it, I get it, thank you. (opening up his wallet again, quite annoyed) I have cash... I have cash... should have just started there... none of this would have happened. It was a hundred eighty-nine...

Misty: And thirty-seven cents.

Darren: Don't care about the thirty-seven damn cents, here.

(He slaps two crisp one-hundred dollar bills on the counter, followed by a twenty)

Misty: Oh, hundred dollar bills, okay...

(Beatrice snaps to attention and turns back to observe, Misty searches in a drawer under the counter, comes back up opening a marker)

Misty: Just a little dot on each bill. (she marks each hundred, then waits a couple seconds, her face grows pale)

Beatrice: (over Misty's previous line, hissing to Darren) Where did you get those hundreds?

Darren: By my computer this morning.

Beatrice: Those were mine! You weren't supposed...

(Misty has pushed a button under the counter, she slowly backs away a little bit)

Darren: Well, if you weren't leaving things laying around... (Beatrice notices Misty's reaction, turns and runs from the restaurant) Beatrice... what the hell... Beatrice!

(Enter Chef, a large man, carrying a large knife, dressed in a chefly manner, Misty surreptitiously nods at Darren, Chef positions himself between Darren and the exit by which Beatrice has just left)

Chef: (using whatever funny Chef-like accent works for you) Good evening, sir. I am the chef.

Darren: Yes, I gathered.

Chef: How was your meal tonight, sir?

Darren: Great, great... (turns back to Misty) Can I just get a little change from all that. I need a five.

(Misty just looks at him, frightened)

Chef: What did you have to eat, sir.

Darren: Wha...? (turning back to Chef) The Beef... Wellington... (back to Misty) Listen, I really just need to pick up a couple papers on my way home, and...

Chef: And how did you like my Wellington?

Darren: It was very good, okay?! Please, my wife just ran out the door, my credit cards, the check, now... now, I paid my bill...

Misty: The yellow ink, Chef; it turned black!

Chef: I know it did, Misty.

Darren: Listen, forget the change.... I'm ... (starts to leave, Chef holds the knife a little more prominently, a distant siren is heard)

Chef: Sir, we won't forget your change; you've got a lot of it coming your way.

(lights fade)


November 26, 2006

A Play A Day #227

Return Of The Warrior


Setting: Different scenes, representational or mimed set and props.

(enter Miggs, carrying large duffel bag, in military uniform, walks about, looking at everything, enters Potter's store)

Miggs: Doc? Doc?

(enter Potter)

Potter: Just in the back, working on it right now, should be... (looks up) Well, Miggs... Miggs Thompson! How are you?

Miggs: Great, Doc! It's great to be back! I see that Doc Potter's Repairs is still going strong.

Potter: Well, it would be going better if you hadn't just up and quit.

Miggs: Hey, now... had a war to fight in.

Potter: (to him this is a genuine surprise) War? That's your excuse, huh?

Miggs: (thinking Potter is being sarcastic) That's what it looked like to me, Doc.

Potter: A war?

Miggs: Oh yeah. Not pleasant at all.

Potter: You know you just didn't show up that one day, then the next. I got worried.

Miggs: You should have been worried. I saw some heavy combat.

Potter: Called your house. Your Mom said she wasn't sure where you were.

Miggs: Mom's a kidder; you know that.

Potter: Now you come in here... s'pose you'll want your job back.

Miggs: (getting a little put out by what he still perceives as Potter's sarcasm and coyness) No... no, Doc, I just...

Potter: Good, 'cause I'm not willing to just hand it back, after you go missing for, what, two years?

Miggs: Twenty months; say, Doc...

Potter: Got the Andrew's oldest boy working here now... only fifteen, but that kid knows his way around any type of engine...

Miggs: That's great, Doc. I was...

Potter: Fast learner... dang... kid can take apart anything and put it back without any instructions.

Miggs: Listen, Doc. I just got back in town, a day early, my folks don't even know I'm here yet, and...

Potter: Where were you anyway?

Miggs: (demeanor changes, getting much more defensive and upset) Doc! War. I was in a war. I was fighting in a war! You were at my going-away party. You even spoke at it, about how much you'd miss me here at the shop, and...

Potter: Oh, yeah, that thing. Well, if I had any idea you were serious, I would never have...

Miggs: Serious? What's wrong with you, Doc? Is your mind going? I shipped out the next day... I fought in Strangelandistan for nearly twenty months. Now, I'm back! I may have to do another tour in a couple months, but for now, I'm back.

Potter: Well. It's a good story, but I can't just fire the Andrew's boy because you come crawling back here...

Miggs: I'm not crawling back! I don't want the job; I was just visiting old friends around town, waiting for my parents to get home from work. I wanted to say "hi", find out how things were going.

Potter: Really?

Miggs: Yes, Doc. Of course. That's it.

Potter: Well... welcome home then... I guess.

Miggs: Thanks, Doc. I really was in a war; it wasn't fun in any way. I...

Potter: Got a fuel injector to refurbish in the back, needs to be done in about thirty... love to chat, Miggs, but...

Miggs: Uhh... yeah, sure... sure, Doc. (Doc exits) I guess I'll see you... around. (heavy sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, sees Sheila, brightens up)

Miggs: Sheila! Hey, Sheila!

Sheila: Miggs? Ohmigod! Miggs!

(big embrace, adlibs)

Sheila: Wow! I had heard you were coming back, but... well... wow!

Miggs: (releases embrace) So nice to see you, Sheila! You... look great!

Sheila: Oh... thanks, Miggs. You were always so nice to me.

Miggs: Well, it's easy to be nice to a nice girl.

Sheila: Say, Miggs.

Miggs: Yeah... wow, you just look fabulous.

Sheila: Miggs?

Miggs: Yeah?

Sheila: I'm really sorry.

Miggs: Hmmm?

Sheila: I meant to write! I got the address from your Mom.

Miggs: Ahh, don't worry about it... my unit was out of touch with a base for long periods of time... I think a lot of my mail got lost anyway.

Sheila: Still, I should have written to you!

Miggs: No... hey, it's fine. Don't worry...

Sheila: Well, it wa the least I could have done, and I didn't even do that.

Miggs: Okay, Sheila. I'm back now. Just means we'll have more to talk about.

Sheila: I guess your Mom told you already.

Miggs: No, haven't been home yet... told me what?

Sheila: (big sigh) I'm seeing someone else, Miggs.

Miggs: Oh... okay.

Sheila: Like I said: I should've written.

Miggs: No, no... why?

Sheila: It's Olin Werriks.

Miggs: Sure, I know Olin. Good guy.

Sheila: That's it?

Miggs: Yeah. We played basketball together. Always nice to people. Good shot from behind the arc.

Sheila: But... what about you?

Miggs: Me? I'm better in the lane, medium-range jumpers, that sort of thing.

Sheila: No... I mean, you know...

Miggs: Ummm...

Sheila: I wasn't trying to break your heart! I wasn't, Miggs!

Miggs: Uhhh... okay? What?

Sheila: It's just that you were gone, and I didn't know when you were coming back... if you were coming back, and so...

Miggs: So... you started seeing Olin.

Sheila: Yeah. I really missed you Miggs. I did.

Miggs: I missed you too, Sheila.

Sheila: But, it was so long to wait.

Miggs: What were you waiting for?

Sheila: You.

Miggs: Why?

Sheila: So we could pick up where we left off...

Miggs: Where was that?

Sheila: (pulling engagement ring off finger) I have to give this back, Miggs. I don't want to, but I'm in love now.

Miggs: (taking ring) What's... I never gave this to you, Sheila.

Sheila: I know the memory must be painful now.

Miggs: I'm not sure I have the memory at all.

Sheila: With the war, all that pain, now I load more on you.

Miggs: Sheila. We... we weren't engaged.

Sheila: All this pain can block so many memories.

Miggs: Sure, I suppose, but...

Sheila: Maybe some shell shock from the war; that could effect your memory too.

Miggs: I'm pretty sure I would have remembered if I was engaged to someone.

Sheila: Oh, Miggs, let it out. Don't deny the pain. Yell at me if you have too.

Miggs: I don't have to. Sheila, you're my friend. I'm glad you and Olin found each other. Really, I am.

Sheila: But, our past, Miggs?

Miggs: What about it; we've been friends since you moved to town in third grade. We're still friends, right?

Sheila: Yes! Yes, of course!

Miggs: Like always.

Sheila: But, we can't be... lovers.

Miggs: (pause) Sheila. We've never been lovers.

Sheila: Uhh... what about Emilina's closet?

Miggs: What... eighth grade? Spin the bottle? Seven Minutes in Heaven?

Sheila: You kissed me.

Miggs: Once; it's part of the game.

Sheila: It was so much more.

Miggs: Sheila, we've never even dated.

Sheila: We've been going steady since third grade!

Miggs: I dated several other girls in high school.

Sheila: And I waited on the side.

Miggs: You? Waited?

Sheila: (crying) Always faithful.

Miggs: Sheila, please don't cry. I never realized. I mean, how would I know that you thought we were dating?

Sheila: I thought you would just understand it.

Miggs: You have to tell me things like this, Sheila.

Sheila: Well, I guess we're even. I never told you that we were dating all through elementary, junior and senior high school, but I never told you about breaking up with you and dating Olin.

Miggs: (pause) Right. We'll... ummmm... we'll call it even.

Sheila: Except.

Miggs: Yes?

Sheila: Ummm... you haven't... you know?

Miggs: (long pause) Ahh... no.

Sheila: You know for all those other girls... Marie, Lizzy, Rose... in high school.

Miggs: Ummm... oh yeah, you know I forgot about Rose.

Sheila: (meaningfully coughs) Miggs...

Miggs: Right... (guessing) I'm... I'm sorry?

Sheila: Oh, Miggs, I can't stay mad at you!

Miggs: Good.

Sheila: No hard feelings?

Miggs: No. None.

Sheila: Well, listen, sorry about the engagement, but... well, I've gotta go. Olin's coming over, and...

Miggs: Sure... sure. Nice to see you again, Sheila. We'll have to spend some time together... catch up and stuff.

Sheila: Sure... I'll invite Olin.

Miggs: Right. Right. Of course. (Exit Sheila) Wouldn't want Olin to miss out. (big sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, Headley enters)

Headley: Miggs! Hey, Miggs!

Miggs: Hey! Hi there, Mr. Headley.

Headley: You're back!

Miggs: Yep, got in a day earlier than expected.

Headley: Excellent! They probably didn't need you anyway, huh?

Miggs: Well... they're getting by.

Headley: Getting by? Naah! You guys just kicked ass!

Miggs: Uhh... well...

Headley: I watched the news all the time! Just killing everything in sight!

Miggs: We... ummm...

Headley: Killed all those fucking brainwashed religious nuts! Serves 'em right!

Miggs: Well, we...

Headley: You don't fuck with America! Don't fuck with the U. S. of A!

Miggs: It actually...

Headley: Wish you guys coulda just nuked the whole shithole country!

Miggs: We found that...

Headley: Bastards! No fucking idea how deadly you boys are! Just run in there destroy everything; show them who's a real superpower!

Miggs: Mr. Headly, we...

Headley: And none of our boys ever getting killed, absolutely amazing how perfect our armed forces are!

Miggs: No! Guys died, Mr. Headley.

Headley: No, that's what I'm tellin' you, no one! Amazing!

Miggs: It would be amazing it it were true, Mr. Headley, but it's not.

Headley: No flag-draped coffins for America, no sir! Never had any of them on the news.

Miggs: Maybe not, but we lost soldiers, Mr. Headley! Some of my friends! I saw it happen. Saw four guys in my unit die on the same day, damnit!! Where are you getting this shit?!

Headley: I listen to the radio, the unbiased media.

Miggs: They lie, Mr. Headley. The war's not like that, at all.

Headley: You guys won so easily though.

Miggs: According to some. But talk to any soldier over there, they'll tell you that the war is still on. No one's won. No one even knows if we will ever win.

Headley: Who are you to say such shit? We won, for sure!

Miggs: We're still fighting, we're still dying. Innocent civilians are getting killed everyday... sometimes it's by us.

Headley: You're not helping our troops saying this kinda garbage, Miggs!

Miggs: Reality sucks sometimes, Mr. Headley, but lies kill.

Headley: I can't believe you're so unpatriotic! You sure you're even fighting the same war?

Miggs: I'm definitely not fighting the one you're watching.

Headley: Good thing you're not there now, demoralizing everyone doing the Lord's work.

Miggs: What? The Lord has nothing to do with this.

Headley: Jesus wants us to win this fight. It's Us versus Them.

Miggs: Jesus is crying, Mr. Headley. Crying for us and for them. Crying for people like you who love war so much, they'll watch anyone fight it.

Headley: You always were a smartass kid!

Miggs: And you always were a dumbass adult. (Headley moves off angrily, Miggs says to himself) I never realized how dumb until you tried to take my side. (heavy sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, sees Tillits, seated on the ground, bottle at his side, leaning against a wall, Miggs approaches, Tillits is drunk, he's always drunk)

Miggs: (leans against the wall) Hi, Tillits.

Tillits: (without looking up) Miggs?

Miggs: Yep... it's me.

Tillits: Back a day early?

Miggs: Yeah. (slides down to sit next to Tillits) How'd you know?

Tillits: Sources.

Miggs: Yeah.

Tillits: It's not what you expected, coming home?

Miggs: No. Not at all.

Tillits: People forgot about you?

Miggs: No... not really.

Tillits: They didn't really remember you though.

Miggs: Yeah... yeah... that's it, Tillits.

Tillits: They remember what they want about you. What fits their world.

Miggs: Right. They seem to.

Tillits: Just like my war.

Miggs: Yeah?

Tillits: This war is your war. The war I fought in was my war.

Miggs: Yeah, but...

Tillits: For both of us, see, we didn't have the luxury to be fighting in the country's war... we fought for ourselves. They sent us there; said there was a goal...

Miggs: Yeah.

Tillits: Made it seem real. But, the goal? Just a myth. Someone else's myth, and we had to fight for it.

Miggs: I never thought of it like that.

Tillits: What happens when you fight someone else's battle? It never becomes yours. No matter how hard you try, the goal melts away, and you're left fighting for yourself. You have no goal, except saving your own ass.

Miggs: It did feel really empty, at times.

Tillits: Of course it did.

Miggs: When did you realize this?

Tillits: 'Bout twenty years ago... day I started drinking.

Miggs: Oh.

Tillits: Miggs, go home now. Do whatever you can to make your war have meaning to you, even if you have to invent a bigger purpose. Do it now before the empty spot gets too big.

Miggs: How?

Tillits: Try believing the official reason, or reasons, however many they're throwing around today. Believe it all. Let it fill you. Think of your buddies. Believe it was for them. Do it. Believe it.

Miggs: I will... I mean, I'll try. (gets up)

Tillits: If it doesn't work, Miggs... come visit me from time to time.

Miggs: Thanks... I will. (turns to leave)

Tillits: But just to visit, Miggs. I don't want you staying for too long; not in my world.

Miggs: Okay, bye Tillits.

Tillits: Bye, Miggs. Oh, hey, Miggs... you did the right thing. You did.

(Miggs leaves slowly, lights fade out on Tillits, takes a drink, shakes his head slowly, starts to cry)


November 25, 2006

A Play A Day #226



Setting: Bare stage

(Enter Betsy, Rich is staring straight upward, center stage, his body gives away his excitement)

Rich: (still looking up) Who's there?

Betsy: It's me, Rich.

R: Oh hey, Betsy! Sorry I'm not looking at you, but there is supposed to be a visible supernova tonight!

B: Yeah... ummm...

R: So, I'm keeping my eye on that star up there, that's the one!

B: Rich.

R: Like a blinding flash and then the star will look a lot wider.

B: Right.

R: It's never been visible to the human eye before!

B: Yes, I know...

R: I mean... oohh! Was that it?

B: No.

R: It kinda sparked a little.

B: No, that wasn't it, Rich.

R: You sure, 'cause I saw like a flash and then...

B: I'm sure, Rich.

R: Well, when did you become the professional astronomer?

B: I'm not, Rich, it's just...

R: I've read up about this; so I think I know what to expect.

B: I'm not implying that you don't, Rich, but...

R: So let me watch for it.

B: You can't, Rich.

R: Course I can.

B: No. It already happened.

R: What? No!

B: Yeah, about a half hour ago.

R: No, tonight at about 11:30...

B: 10:30.

R: 10:30? Really?

B: Yeah. 10:30?

R: So that? (pointing at what he had been looking at)

B: Is a lighting instrument. You're in a theater, Rich.

R: Well, this is where the stars are!

B: Except this is a community theater, Rich.

R: So, you mean...

B: You at least have to be outside to see an astronomical event with the naked eye.

R: (finally looking down) My neck's sore.

B: Yeah.

R: My ego hurts a little too.

B: Don't worry about it.

(long pause)

R: Betsy?

B: Yeah, Rich?

R: What was it like?

B: The supernova?

R: Yeah.

B: It was... sorta... like watching a play that flashed for a moment, then had no real ending.

R: Yeah.

B: Just didn't know where to stop.

R: Yeah.

B: Now, everyone has stiff necks and cold butts from sitting on the ground.

R: Yeah.

B: And there's a brighter star in the sky.

R: Right.

B: But, it's not going anywhere.

R: Right.

B: It's just kind of standing on the stage.

R: Yeah.

B: With no real purpose anymore.

R: Right.

B: Better to burn out than fade away.

R: Right.

B: I... gotta go, Rich.

(B leaves, long pause, R turns his head upward again, long pause, lights start fading, then when they are halfway down they flare massively, electric crackling sounds, explosion, angelic music, then lights out immediately)

R: (beat) Awesome.


November 24, 2006

A Play A Day #225



Setting: A restaurant table.

(Lights up. Binky is leaning far forward, whispering to Yvonne, who is leaning far forward to hear)

Yvonne: (pulling back in shock) What?! (she slaps Binky hard)

Binky: Oww! Damnit! (he slaps Yvonne)

Y: (holding her cheek) Why! Of all the unmitigated gall!

B: Of all... hey, wait, that's exactly what I was going to say... unmitigated gall.

Y: Really?

B: Yeah, totally the same thing!

Y: Oh, that's so sweet!

B: We have so much in common, Yvonne.

Y: I know. I love you, Binky.

B: I love you too, sweetie.

Y: Unmitigated gall.

B: What a great phrase.

Y: Yeah.

B: What's it mean?

Y: Something about gall.

B: Yeah... yeah... I think you're right.

Y: Apparently, it has nothing to do with France.

B: No, they're are a lot of other things that are unmitigated too.

Y: Sure... (pause)

B: Like... (pause)

Y: Ummm... (pause)

B: Spain?

Y: Right! Spain!

B: Totally unmitigated.

Y: Yeah, full of unmitigation.

B: Or unmitigato, as the Spanish say.

Y: Yes, yes, I bet they do.

B: Unmitigati, in the Italian.

Y: Yes, speaking of Italians, didn't Moses free the Unmitigites?

B: I believe he did; yes.

Y: They wandered the shopping district for forty hours... something like that.

B: He parted the Debt Sea.

Y: Yes... the Debt Sea.

B: Speaking of parting things... (leaning forward, crooking his finger, Yvonne leans to him, he whispers into her ear)

Y: (pulling back in shock) What?! (she slaps Binky hard)

(Binky slaps her back, slight pause, they each put their hand to their face, a small laugh from each)

B: Unmitigated?

Y: (nodding) Gall? (Binky nods too)

(they give love-filled sighs and stare into each other's eyes deeply)

(lights fade out)


November 23, 2006

A Play A Day #224



Setting: Internal

(lights up)

No One: There's a part killed in childhood.

Strangled, devoured, crushed.

Without it, you never grow.

You have moments.

People tell you nice things.

People tell you they love you.

You can't love them back.

Not because you don't.

Because you can't.

It's broken. It's dead.

You can't believe anything.

Everything is an enemy.

Everything is absolute.

You look for a light at the end of the tunnel.

Except there isn't a tunnel.

It's dark.

You can only see darkness.

Everyone is behind the darkness.

You can't grab on to anyone or anything.

You can't let go.

Nothing matters in the slightest.

Everything makes you mad.

You swallowed the pills.


You talked.

For years and years.

Nothing works.

The only thing you ever truly feel is useless.


All day, everyday.

When you feel useless, you become useless.

You hurt everyone.

You hide it from everyone.

You pretend you have a purpose.

You pretend you are important.

You hide it from yourself.

You are your own poison.

You against yourself.

Neither can win.

Neither should.

Somehow, though, funny balloons make it all better.

(lights out)


November 22, 2006

A Play A Day #223

Crunching Numbers


Setting: Lew's living room. Just a desk and a couple chairs are needed.

(Lights up, Lew is feverishly working with pencil and notebook, papers scattered all over his desk, crumpled up, many, many more discarded papers are strewn across the floor, most are also crumpled up, there is a knock on his front door)

Lew: Come in!

(Opal enters)

Opal: Okay, Lew, what's the big news?

L: Thanks for making it over so fast.

O: I live next door.

L: (distracted) Great. I wanted to show you these figures I've been working on.

O: Yeah? What?

L: I've been crunching the numbers for the past two weeks, and it's quite shocking...


O: What is?

L: Well... here have a seat... now, according to my demographic research and some pretty specific scientific sampling and number crunching, I've been able to estimate the number of orgasms that happen in this town on a daily basis.


O: Oh... (he's very excited, she's a little nervous)

L: Do you want to know the number?

O: Ummm.... sure?

L: You don't sound too sure, Opal.

O: Ahhhhh... well... yes, yes... I'm sure. What's the number?

L: Okay... every day, this town has approximately 1,184 orgasms!

(long pause, lots of staring)

L: Well? Isn't that great?!

O: Ummm... Lew... the census shows that there are only 315 people in this town.

L: 314 actually, Elmer Wiggits died three days ago.

O: Right... okay... but...

L: Yeah, that's a lot, I know.

O: Lew, that's almost four a day by every man, woman and... and (she softens her voice, worried about the implications of even saying it)child in town.

L: I know; I've crunched the numbers and found that we have the highest per capita orgasm rate in the entire tri-county area.

O: (pause) Tri-county area? Lew, I would guess, and I'm not a researcher or number fanatic like you, but I would guess that we may have the highest per capita orgasm rate in the country... or even the world, for that matter.

L: Yeah? Really? I was sticking with more local numbers, but, you know, maybe you're right. Wow! Think of it, Opal! We could draw so much business here with numbers like that!

O: I don't see how...

L: Adult bookstores, adult movie theaters, adult toy shops, adult nightclubs! Or! Some bizarre combination of all four of these!

O: Ummm... how did you come up with these numbers, Lew?

L: Well... I really like crunching numbers.

O: Right, but how...

L: I really really like crunching numbers.

(long pause)

O: You don't mean...

L: I'm one hundred percent positive on the spike in our per capita orgasm rate over the past two weeks... it's definitely up by 1,141 per day.

O: (backing away) Uhhh... that's...

L: (distracted by the numbers again) Really exciting, I know!

O: It's sick, Lew!

L: And excruiatingly painful, but that's science.

(Opal slowly leaves. Shocked. Lights start to fade.)

L: (calling out after her) Hey, could you bring me that box of tissues in the kitchen before you head out? I've got more numbers to crunch, and these old calculations (indicating crumpled papers everywhere) just aren't that absorbent.

(he starts crunching numbers again, feverishly)

(lights out)


November 21, 2006

A Play A Day #222

World Record


Setting: A very large number of chairs on the stage, no sense or order to them, easily visible clock on one wall.

(Ellen enters, sees Ben, sitting on his hands on one of the chairs)

Ellen: Ben? What's with all the chairs?

Ben: Oh, hey, Ellen. I'm setting a world record!

E: Cool. What for? Number of chairs in a small apartment?

B: No. See? I'm sitting on my hands.

E: (wending her way through the chairs) You often sit on your hands. So?

B: But this time, I'm setting the world record for longest time ever sitting on my hands.

E: Cool... wait... did you say sitting on your hands?

B: Yeah... world record for sitting on my hands.

E: I've known you a while Ben. Have you been keeping track?

B: Of what?

E: You sit on your hands a lot; it's one of your idiosyncracies.

B: Yeah. I'm good at it; lots of practice.

E: Right, but how will you know when you will have passed your old record? You know? Have you been keeping track?

B: No, but, look. I've never sat in this chair before.

E: So? How does that change anything?

B: Well, you're right, I don't have any idea how long my longest hand-sit was before today.

E: Yeah...

B: Let me finish.

E: Yeah, okay, sorry.

B: So, I don't know what the old record for sitting on my hands was; so I've narowed it down. The world record I'm going for is longest length of time sitting on my hands in this chair!

E: Oh... and you think that will be some sort of world record?

B: Who else has sat on my hands while sitting in this chair?

E: Ben...

B: See, Ellen, I'm a shoe-in.

E: Ben...

B: Could you go get the camera and take a picture of me; so they can put it in the book?

E: No, Ben, I really should...

B: Please, Ellen? I need some documentation, or I can't get in the book.

E: Isn't there someone else you can get? Call someone?

B: I'm sitting on my hands, Ellen; you're my only hope. Everyone else promised, but they all lamed out on me.

E: I'm actually pretty busy today, Ben.

B: So am I! Look at all the other chairs in here.

E: Oh... I see... well, you've got a full day ahead of you. (turns to leave)

B: C'mon, Ellen!

E: (turns back, motioning to clock) Haven't you set the record yet?

B: For this chair?

E: Yeah, that chair.

B: Most definitely, but I'm going to go a bit longer to really put distance between me and any future contenders.

E: What future contenders?

B: Once they see the record in the book, they'll be bursting my door down to sit on my hands in this chair. If I set a solid mark, it should discourage most of them from even trying.

E: Great. See you tomorrow. (turns away starts exiting)

B: Oh, jeez... you know, just don't even bother coming over tomorrow.

E: Ben, don't be that way.

B: What? I just mean that I'll be sleeping off all these world record attempts. This is going to really take it out of me; I mean, I've got all these chairs and... (thinking to himself and continuing under Ellen's parting line)

(lights fading)

E: Okay, well, have a good time. (she leaves)

B: (to himself) ...then again in the scuba suit... then the clown nose... then naked... (lights out) then just sitting on the right hand... then the left... then wearing gloves...


November 20, 2006

A Play A Day #221

Fuck You


Setting: Everywhere, everyone

(enter 1, stage left, looking down, enter 2, stage right, looking up, they collide in center, stumble, step back)

1: (mumbles to her/himself) Fuck you.

2: Excuse me?

1: (only slightly louder) Fuck you.

2: What?

1: (conversationally, but not looking at 2) Fuck you.

2: Hello?

1: What?

2: Hello?

1: No, I said, "Fuck you".

2: Oh. (long pause, they are motionless but thinking) Really?

1: Yeah.

2: "Fuck you"?

1: Right.

2: Like, (says it very affectionately and demonstrably as if meeting a gregarious, vulgar friend) fuck you?

1: No. Not like that.

2: Oh, okay, maybe more like, (said very menacingly, as if ready to attack) fuck you!!?

1: Whoa, no, not like that either.

2: Hmmm... neither one...

(long pause, thinking)

1: (not certain, but saying it anyway) It was maybe about halfway between those two.

2: Like how?

1: Hmm?

2: Well, you know, could you show me how that would sound?

1: What? Halfway?

2: Right, between the two extremes.

1: Uhhh... okay.... (pause as 1 tries to figure out how that would sound, gets nervous) Ummm... you know, I'm not an actor or anything.

2: That's fine; I'm not either. Just give it a shot; I'm really curious.

1: Okay... I'll try... (long pause as 1 works up to it) Fuck you!

2: (beat) That sounded kind of like you were going to stab me with a sponge.

1: I know, sorry.

2: Wouldn't it be more like, (works up to it) fuck you!?

1: Yeah, except without the questioning tone.

2: Awesome. Maybe I should try to become an actor.

1: That would be great.

2: The world needs more actors.

1: The world needs more actors that can swear.

2: Yeah! (just saying it as practice, changing tone and pitch with each one, 1 tries to mimic each one immediately after 2 says it) Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you. Fuck you! Fuck you? Fuck. You. Fuckyou! Fuuuuuuccccckkk yoooouuuu! Fuckfuck youyou. Fuck! You? Fukku!

1: Wow! You really are good! That's not easy to do.

2: Felt pretty natural for me.

1: Man! Wish I could swear so divergently.

2: Ahh, keep practicing. It'll come to you.

1: (kind of mumbling, working on different versions of "Fuck you") There are so many possibilities! (turns abruptly to 2)

(2 decks 1 with a powerful punch, then immediately leans over and helps 1 back to his/her feet)

1: Fuck! What did you do that for?

2: You did say "fuck you" to me. I was offended and angered.

1: Oh, yeah, I did... that's right. Sorry.

2: Hey. I'm sorry for punching you.

1: Well, I think you probably had to.

2: Nah... I was just practicing for an acting career. That's what you always do in movies and plays when you get offended and angered.

1: Yeah, but, I don't think they actually punch people when they're acting.

2: Oh... yeah... they probably don't. Well, fuck me then.

1: (laughs) Don't worry about it. Can we keep practicing?

2: Sure.

(they slowly start walking off, a teacher and a pupil, lights fading)

1: I was thinking... how would you say it, like if you were in a fast approaching train, and someone was listening at the railroad crossing?

2: Oh, like, (does Doppler effect version) ffffffffffuuuuuuuucccckk yyooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu?

1: That's it! Awesome! What about an angry gerbil on a fast approaching train?

2: (extremely high-pitched Doppler version) Ffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuccccckk yyyooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuu?

(They are off, lights are out)


November 19, 2006

A Play A Day #220

In This Case


Setting: A very bare stage.

(Feyton enters, spinning, she is a full-grown woman, she is dressed in a dark brown skirt, green top, but with a white pillowcase over her head with eyes and small mouth hole cut out, the pillowcase goes down below her shoulders. She moves slowly, she can't see well, she stops at the lip of the stage, a little off-center, a spotlight moves to find her, does so.)

Feyton: (coughs, stumbles on the edge, finding her place, repeatedly, looks up tries to see the audience, strains at it, finally does so) I'm here!

(long pause)


(long, long pause, adjusting pillowcase)

Thank you for inviting me.


I should tell you first... to clear up any fears you might have... I'm not a ghost. I'm not. I don't want anyone to be frightened. That would prevent me from connecting with you.


Something... something... which I have already... done so well.

(long pause, lots of unbalanced motions)

So, do you know what I am?


Because, I'm actually not a ghost.

(long pause)

I'll give you a hint.

(she tilts to the right slightly, pause)

Got it?


Okay, another hint.

(she starts walking in a large circle, tilted, while slowly spinning)

See, see! I'm the Earth!

(she excitedly hurries to the lip of the stage, still tilting, the spotlight finds her again)

Okay, let me explain: brown skirt for undergound, green shirt for the surface, white clouds up top. Haha! Isn't this great! The Earth!

(long pause)



I have a blue pillowcase for clear days, and a black one for night.


It would work better if I was really, really fat... I know. But, I'm not. Sorry.


You might wonder why I'm out here... oh... you know what... I have to stand up straight.

(does so, pause)

Sorry, my back was getting sore. If you want the full effect, then you will have to lean about 23.44 degrees in your seat.

(waits for audience to do so)

Or don't. I guess you don't have to. It can be a real pain in the axis!

(laughs giddily)

I love that joke!

(more laughter, then a long pause)

So, why I'm here.... Ummm... first of all, my name is Feyton. Weird name, I know. My parents gave it to me, and they weren't even that strange. Their names were David and Amy. Very normal people.


I was their only daughter. Their only child too. They came up with Feyton. I hate it when I was a teenager.


Secretly, though, I think I always liked having an unusual name. It always gave me something to talk about. In fact, when I meet people, and they don't ask me about my name, I get a little angry. I mean, don't pretend you didn't notice that it was a weird name; because you're what? Trying to feel sorry for me? I mean, it's so much better when they ask about it. Because, usually, it's really hard for me to talk to people. I'm very shy.

(long pause)

I don't think I've really explained why I'm here yet.


Not yet.


Okay. My parents are dead. I don't want to frighten you, but they are.


And they died horribly.


Not that anyone dies beautifully. Anyone who tells you that is lying or selling caskets.


They're dead. I, Feyton, found their bodies.

(long pause)

Two years ago, I found them in bed. They looked horrible.


The coroner still has no idea how they died, and they won't publish the results of the autopsy because they don't want to deal with all the sci-fi conspiracy theorists. Like the UFO people, those Roswell boneheads, you know?

(long pause, she stops her nervous movements, stares straight ahead, voice becomes monotonous, droning)

"David Allen Paltz, 61, and Amy Marie Shindberg Paltz, 58, husband and wife, both of Freeburg, Illinois. Discovered dead on November 19, 2004 by their daughter, Feyton Marie Paltz, 30 of Youngton, Illinois. Deceased were discovered at approximately 10:15 a.m. in their own bed at their home at 1228 Woodland Crescent. Bedroom and home of the deceased were in standard order, no sign of a struggle, or other incident which may have led to death. Daughter reports having spoken to her mother at approximately 9:30 p.m. on the evening before they were discovered. Hospital records and daughter's testimony turned up no known diseases or recent illnesses. Deceased were found to have no visible wounds. Lab results showed no sign of poisons or unusual levels of any foreign material in tissue samples. Autopsy results were unable to determine a cause of death, except to discover that neither of the deceased had any blood in them."

(long pause)

That's what they were going to put in the papers, but they actually got a court order preventing the coroner's office from reporting the lab results. That was bad enough. I was upset. Then, to stop anyone from inquiring, the police department actually put out a report they had committed suicide with cyanide pills.


Can you believe that? They have threatened me. Told me if I talk, they can't guarantee my safety. I wanted to get a lawyer, but someone got to them too. I don't have much money, and all the local lawyers turned me down flat, no explanations at all. I can't afford to go to anyone else.


It seemed like the world was against me.


So, I turned into the world. And I will keep turning until justice is done.


I don't even care if I ever figure out how they died. I just want to world to turn out right for their sake. For their dignity.


All the blood was gone. It wasn't anywhere in the house. It wasn't in them either. Just disappeared in the middle of the night.


I'll keep turning for my Dad and Mom.

(She spins with great deliberation)

Thanks for listening. Eventually, it will all turn out right.

(spinning off stage, spotlight follows)

It has to. I'm the Earth. So, it has to. Doesn't it?

(lights out)


November 18, 2006

A Play A Day #219



Setting: A pitching mound.

(Coach walks to mound, puts hand on Trent's shoulder)

Coach: Bad pitch, Trent.

Trent: Yeah, yeah... kind of lost the seam, Coach, and it never broke.

C: Yeah, saw that.

T: Yeah.

(long pause, both look at the ground, shuffle some dirt around)

C: I wouldn't be out here, Trent, but that bad pitch came after about 4 or 5 others.

T: Yeah, Coach.

C: What's going on, son?

T: Kind of losing the seam, Coach, and the ball isn't...

C: Those pitches were straight fastballs.

T: Yeah, Coach, I know.

C: Trent, we're in the first inning... no outs, down three-zip, bases loaded; I'm beginning to think you don't know what's going on.

T: No, maybe not, Coach.

C: Else ya woulda corrected the problem by now.

T: You're right, Coach.

C: So what problem are ya gonna correct here, Trent?

T: Pitching-wise?

C: Yeah, good start.

T: Gonna throw the ball over the plate, coach.

C: I'd like that.

T: Good, thanks, Coach.

C: Sure, Trent. Now get to it. I believe in you, son.

(makes pitching motion, winces, turns his back, kicks the dirt, soft adlibs of self-remonstration, Coach approaches)

C: What happened there, kid?

T: I was really on the seam, great snap, ball broke well...

C: Into the batter's eye.

T: Yeah, saw that, Coach.

C: You're killing me, son, and the other team.

T: Sorry, Coach.

C: You know, lotta people told me you were too young, weren't tested at this level, but I went to bat for ya, Trent, I told'em you had it, you could succeed at this level. If you can't get yourself outta this for the team, or for yourself, could ya maybe do it for your old Coach, huh?

T: You bet, Coach.

C: 'Cause the community is trusting me to make the right decisions for the ball club; I get strung up for starting the wrong guys. I put my trust in you, these guys... look at 'em, they wanna trust you... (T looks around the field, wincing all the the way, tries waving a bit)

T: They look kinda mad, Coach.

C: I don't blame'em, Trent. You're your own worst enemy right now... those guys are a close second through ninth.

T: Sorry, Coach.

C: Don't be sorry, kid, just throw strikes.

T: Right, Coach.

C: Well, the ambulance is pulling away from home plate. Always a good sign.

T: Yeah.

C: Let's show'em what you're made of, Trent! C'mon now!

(Pitching motion, a lot of wincing, same as before, Coach approaches)

T: Man... that wasn't good at all, was it, Coach?

C: Hey, Trent, at least, you didn't hit the batter in the face.

T: Right, Coach.

C: That's some sort of progress.

T: You think he'll be alright, Coach?

C: Their manager? Yeah, he's been hit in the head a lot over the years, you know... though usually more when he was actually playing as opposed to sitting on the bench, laughing at you.

T: I swear I wasn't trying to make him shut up, Coach.

C: We'll leave that for the review board to decide, Trent.

T: I just lost the seam...

C: (overlapping with previous) Lost the seam, and it got away from you. I know, Trent. I know.

T: Crowd's gettin' kinda sour, ain't they, Coach?

C: You don't worry about them, Trent. You pitch your game, son, and they should stop throwing the heavier objects, eventually.

T: Was a couch on fire out by the bullpen?

C: Think so. Sucker really flew, didn't it?

T: Maybe you should take me out, Coach.

C: Nonsense, the opposing manager doesn't count for anything; you can still hit two more batters this inning before I have to yank you, Trent.

T: That's good news, Coach.

C: Now, you see if you can't get the ball, say, really, really close to the plate, okay, kid?

T: Will do, Coach.

C: Doesn't even have to go right over, Trent.

T: Great news, Coach!

C: Throwing strikes is so passe, kid, let's just try throwing to the batter.

T: I can do that, Coach.

C: You do that, Trent, and everything will be alright, okay?

T: You got it, Coach! Alright!

(Coach turns to leave, a realization strikes Trent hard.)

T: Coach!

C: Yeah, Trent?

T: I figured it out!

C: Figured what out?

T: The pitching?

C: Pitching in general, Trent?

T: No! My pitching, Coach!

C: Hey! Great. Mind telling me what exactly you figured out about your pitching, Trent?

T: (laughing somewhat sheepishly) Well, it's kinda embarrassing, Coach.

C: As embarrassing as your pitching currently?

T: Good point, Coach.

C: What is it? Tell me, ump's getting a bit impatient, Trent.

T: Yeah... I'm.. uhhh... I'm not left-handed.

C: (long pause) Well... there you go...

T: That explains the glove problem, here... (put his glove on his left hand, puts the ball in his right)

C: Learn something new every day, don't ya, Trent?

T: Man! Don't tell anyone about this, okay, Coach?

C: I'm sure no one noticed a thing, Trent.

T: That's a relief.

C: Alright, kid, give'em hell.

T: (testing his right arm) This should work a lot better, Coach. Don't worry about a thing now!

(starts exiting, lights start to fade)

C: Never do, Trent, never do. (to himself) Probably shoulda noticed that myself, now that I think about it.

(T makes a pitching motion and freezes as the lights go out)


November 17, 2006

A Play A Day #218



Setting: Porch, outside Evan's front door.

(Lights up, Molly approaches Evan's door, it is the door of a wealthy man, she looks impressed, the rest of the house matches, she rings the doorbell, long pause, door opens)

Molly: Hello. Hello, Mr. Mewsen?

Evan: Yes?

Molly: It's Molly. Molly Ressick...

Evan: I'm sorry?

Molly: From Rewriters Unbound? You called about your story.

Evan: Ahhh, yes... sorry, forgot about that.. the storyteller place, right.

Molly: We prefer to think of it as story facilitation.

Evan: Great, great... call me Evan.

Molly: So, Evan, what did you want to work on today?

Evan: Well... (closes door behind him) Let's talk out here. (they sit in two patio chairs, Molly gets her notebook and pen ready) I'd invite you inside, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for the kids, and frankly, it's a little messy in there.

Molly: You have children? (dutifully begins taking notes)

Evan: Yes, two, ten and twelve.

Molly: (taking down information) What are their names?

Evan: Ten and Twelve.

Molly: And their names?

Evan: The girl is Ten, and the boy is Twelve.

Molly: Ohh... wait... what?

Evan: Their mother thought it would be fun to name them after the number of times we had had sex in our marriage at the point of conception.

Molly: Ohh... ummm...

Evan: Nice reminder of my failure as a man, she would always say.

Molly: Ahhh... how... old are they?

Evan: Ten is twelve, and Twelve is five.

Molly: Five... okay...

Evan: Though I've always insisted Twelve should be Eleven, and seven years old.

Molly: (trying to write it all out) Yes...

Evan: She insists that I got drunk one night and accidentally impregnated her.

Molly: Accidentally impreg...

Evan: She says I was jerking off, and she fell.

Molly: Ohh... ouch.

Evan: I think she's making it all up, but my best friend, Tony, says that's exactly what happened. I trust Tony.

Molly: Tony.... (pause, she looks up from her writing) Evan, is this the story you want to tell today?

Evan: Well, not really. (pause)

Molly: We can rewrite any details of any story you want to tell. Many people use our services to write redemptive stories about personal struggles they've had.

Evan: Yeah, I've heard good things about you... your company, that is. You kind of change the past for people.

Molly: Well, the standard dislaimer, of course, is that we are not into science fiction... that is, we can write out your story in a science fiction style, but we don't actually change the past or alter time, or anything like that.

Evan: Right, right, no, I knew that...

Molly: We're more along the lines of personal coaches; sort of intrapersonal spin doctors.

Evan: Yeah, I like that.

Molly: We write your best life. That's our motto.

Evan: Fabulous... you'll write a better version of my story, by rewriting the worst elements of it; sort of like that?

Molly: Exactly like that. At Rewriters Unbound, we like to think that you'll like to think what we rewrite about you is true. The power of positive framing.

Evan: Alright, this is going to be exactly what I need.

Molly: Where do you want your story to start?

Evan: This morning, after the kids were off to school. I came back home from work to surprise Glory. That's my wife.

Molly: Lots of creative names, that'll be good for the story.

Evan: Great. I snuck up on her in the kitchen and said "Surprise!"

Molly: Okay, hold on a moment... (writes very quickly) Alright, go on!

Evan: She was so startled! The first thrust went right through her mouth, out the back of her neck, then I just kept stabbing and stabbing until...

Molly: (has stopped writing for obvious reasons) Is this some sort of joke?

Evan: No, no, no. Not at all, but, see, I was hoping you could make it funnier, you know, in the rewrite. 'Cause I love it in those action movies how the hero always says something really funny and completely unpredictable right after he kills the bad guy.

Molly: I... uhh... Evan...

Evan: Yeah, so I was hoping you could make the whole murder a little snazzier, a little more flash, because, really, after the fourth or fifth stab, it got pretty dull. I know, like, maybe you could knock down the number of stab wounds from around seventy, to something closer to ten or fifteen... I 'll feel a whole lot more efficient that way, Molly.

Molly: Ummm... you know, I should really...

Evan: Oh, and, puhh-leeze, lessen the amount of blood, not only did it stain the woodwork, but it also just makes me look sloppy about the whole thing. Like I wasn't anticipating that kind of mess... just between you and me, Molly, I wasn't, but rewriting it so it looks like I was will really make me feel better about things.

Molly: Had an appointment... meeting with my editor... and... (lots of frightened laughter, she is now carefully getting up, but he is blocking her exit with his chair)

Evan: Ohhh... and, Molly, could you also make sure that the garbage disposal in the story is more industrial-strength... 'cause now I'm in the awkward position of getting a repair man in the house with half a femur stuck in that thing.

Molly: Really, just not able to stay... I'm terribly sorry... but, you know, deadlines, ahh, I mean schedules, schedules...

Evan: And then, at the end, make sure you put in a part about how I, heroically, will make a new life with some beautiful young woman, and we will have sex more than eleven or twelve times and have children that will have normal names like, Kate and Bill and Molly, Jr.

(Molly freezes in abject horror)

(lights out)


November 16, 2006

A Play A Day #217



Setting: A pool hall. Merton and Sasha are walking around it. Taking turns.

Merton: I knew you'd get me. I never should have bet you.

Sasha: Hey, you're pretty good, and it was only ten bucks. Besides, I haven't won yet.

M: It's always you pretty women who get me. I think I can beat you because you're "just a girl", and I get my butt kicked all over the green.

S: Thanks for the compliment. Ahh... there we go. Ten bucks, please.

M: Alright, alright... (hands her ten bucks)

S: Thanks, nice playing with you... Merton? Was it?

M: Yes, Merton... don't laugh... it's a family name.

S: I like it; my name's Sasha. (They shake hands) Well, thanks for the game, I should get going now. Quit while I'm ahead.

M: Hey now, c'mon let's rack'em up again. Twenty bucks?

S: Oh, no...

M: (already racking up the balls) You'll probably slay me again... c'mon, it wasn't even close last time.

S: Uhhh... okay... one more.

(game is played, they move quickly, lines go in wherever fits for you)

M: Crap...

S: Tough shot... I would have went for the five... curl back to seven...

M: Man, you are unstoppable.

S: I play a bit.

M: Geez! How did you make that?

S: Luck.

M: Only the pros get that lucky.

S: One more. I'm not even close to a pro.

M: Finally, I get a turn.

S: Nice shot.

M: Thanks.... damnit.

S: Alright... alright.... corner pocket... that's game.

M: What was I thinking? (pulling out cash) Here.

S: Thanks. Well, it's been a blast, Merton...

M: No, you can't go... another game.

S: No, no... I really can't.

M: Listen, I'll buy your drinks for the evening...

S: Getting me drunk, that'd be smart of you.

M: No, what you already had.

S: Only had two drinks, and I've got enough of your money now...

M: Okay, your drinks, plus one hundred bucks.

S: No, Merton. Thanks for the offer.

M: Two hundred.

S: No, I...

M: ...and fifty dollars.

S: Two-fifty, plus my drinks?

M: Your drinks, yes, plus two-fifty.

S: Can I order another drink if I want?

M: No problem.

S: (pause) Okay.

(balls racked up, game is played over the following lines, make shots and pauses that fit)

S: You break.

M: Thanks... ohhh... two stripes...

S: Nice.

M: One more... (groan)

S: My turn...

M: Jeez... here you go... arrgghhh... do you ever miss... yes, you do... so do I, crap!

S: Just sneak that by.... yes... okay, little spin...

M: Damnit!

S: Corner pocket... done.

M: (already pulling wad of cash from his pocket) One hundred... two... twenty, forty, fifty...

S: You carry around a lot of cash for someone who frankly isn't ... well...

M: Thanks... how kind of you...

S: Sorry, but it... well... I'm sorry, you're right. That was rude of me; just because I'm a better pool player...

M: You're not, and now, you owe me.

S: What?

M: For insulting me.

S: Oh, I'm sorry, okay... I apologize...

M: Not good enough.

S: C'mon...

M: One more game... for the whole roll... (takes large bundle out of his pocket, slapps it on the rail of the pool table, he stares at S, she stares at the cash.)

S: (pause) How.. how much...

M: Well, minus the two-fifty I just peeled off, should be around ninety-seven hundred.

S: Jesus... I don't know... I really shouldn't be doing this...

M: I'm feeling lucky. You lose and you only have to pay out... uhhh... five thousand.

S: Ummm...

M: My ten to your five... great deal for you.

S: I don't...

M: Too dangerous for a girl?

S: (pause) No.

M: You get to break. (he starts racking them up)

S: I'm used to danger though...

M: Oh yeah, how so?

S: I'm a marine biologist.

M: Yeah?

S: Yes, I deal with dangerous fish all the time... scuba dive and capture... barracuda, rays, marlins, swordfish... we catch them so we can track their whereabouts, learn how they migrate, what currents they follow, where they reproduce, and where they hunt...

M: Sounds interesting.

S: Oh, it is... (she breaks)

M: (steps back, shaking his head) Wha... how... that's not... you sunk all the solids... that's not even possible! Who are you?

S: Corner pocket... (sinks it, a little celebratory dance as she grabs the roll of cash) I already told you, I'm a marine biologist... (pushes a button on her watch) My favorite species to track and catch are definitely sharks... (two cops enter quickly from each side of the stage, two more cops enter from upstage with their guns drawn, pointing at Merton)

M: You can't be serious... just a friendly game, boys! She trapped me! She trapped me!

S: Video tape is above the vodka bottles behind the bar, I trust the reception was good in the van. (one officer nods, she removes all the cash, puts it on the table) Should be about ten thousand bucks there guys. Count it up... put it in the scholarship fund. Better get going, gotta work on my game. (she leaves)

(lights start fading as officer go about business of arresting Merton and collecting the tape and cash in evidence bags.)


November 15, 2006

A Play A Day #216



Setting: Bare stage.

(Lights up, a cardboard box flipped upside down, flaps out, Diane enters, notices box, moves toward it, the box moves slightly from inside, a little bump and move to the side, she recoils, but she's too curious. Pauses. She moves closer after a while, box jumps again. She leaps back. This goes on for a little while, the box continues jumping and frightens Diane less and less, eventually she gets right next to the box, and it responds by jumping, thumping and bumping very rapidly all the way across the stage, away from Diane. She is no longer frightened; rather, she laughs. She stands there, thinking about what could be under the box. Just as she starts to take a step toward it, the box makes crazy thumping motions and moves with great speed toward her, slamming itself into her lower legs. It gets very aggressive, hitting harder and harder, eventually Diane runs from the stage with the box in pursuit. We hear her screeches and the thumping box backstage for a while. She runs back on stage from the other side, the box still chasing her. She stops center stage, whips around and stomps her foot down on the box. It thumps some more, but cannot move. She moves over the box and holds it down with both hands, smiles to herself, panting from the chase.)

Diane: What're ya gonna do now.... box? (long pause) I'm in charge now. (pause) You heard me, box. I own your.... uhhh... I own you. (long pause) Try to attack me, and this is what you get. (long pause, smile fades) Hmmm...okay... back's getting sore. (crouches down) Better. (long pause) Where do we go from here? (pause) Okay... I'm going to let you go, and you have to promise not to attack me... okay? (pause, she doesn't do it) Crap. The captive holds you right back. (pause, sighs) Alright, legs hurting... (sits down all the way, keeps hands on top of box) Better. (pause, lots more sighing) Not much better. (pause, angrily) Okay, box, I'm going to do it now... I'm going to get up, take my hands off you, and leave. You stay right here! (gets up, starts removing hands, just as last finger leaves the box, the box jumps viciously at her, she rapidly holds it back down and collapses to the floor next to it) Damnit box! That wasn't what we worked out! Now, I can't trust you. (long pause) Uhhh... okay... where do we go from here? (stretches arms over box, lots of sighing) Just me and my box... (tries making up a little song) Just me and my box... So hard to outfox... Nothing can come between us... My box needs ... uhhh... a... uhhh... my box needs a... between us? between us? What do you think, box? What do you need?.... Damn box doesn't even know.... ahhh, you're no lyricist. My box needs a... My box needs a...

(lights start fading, Diane stretches her upper body out on the box, lights fade out)

(lights fade up, Diane is sleeping on top of the box, Cullen enters. He is dashingly handsome, and dressed in a tux, for no apparent reason. He just is. Cullen sees Diane sleeping, shows concern and approaches.)

Cullen: Excuse me... miss? Excuse me... hello? Miss? (reaches over to touch her on the shoulder, at the slightest touch she jumps to her feet and shouts)

D: Penis! Penis... (notices Cullen) pee... nis... (box attacks Cullen's leg, he is thrown off by the two-pronged attack of "penis" and box)

C: What?! Hey! What the...

D: (slams the box back down, holding it, on her knees, extremely embarrassed) Uhhh... sorry... sorry... my box is like that... very aggressive... can't hold it down sometimes....

C: Are... are you okay?

D: Hmmm? Ohhh yes! I'm fine, I'm fine! Goodness! Me? Ha, no, I'm just fine. Just nodded off there for a while.

C: Okay, I'm sorry I disturbed you.

D: (very interested in talking to him) Ohhh... not at all... I needed to wake up anyway... I just get so sleepy after... ummm... playing with my box.

C: Yes. Sure...

D: I play and play and play, but is my box ever happy? No! She just keeps acting up!

C: Ohh. Okay.

D: Gets so bad sometimes that I have keep my hands on my box all the time, just to stop her from going after the first guy that comes around.

C: Like me.

D: Exactly!

C: What's in the box?

D: Nothing. Uhhh... just a... box.

C: Really? How did it jump at me like that?

D: Well, she's a very curious box, she'll jump on almost any man, she'll even jump at women.

C: Ohh... but how? What's inside your box?

D: Nothing. Nothing at all.

C: You expect me to believe that your box is alive.

D: Yes... she's very much alive.

C: Why were you sleeping with your box outside, in a park?

D: Well, I was tired. Of course.

C: Why didn't you just go home and take a nap?

D: Well... okay... let me be honest with you.

C: Okay.

D: This isn't my box.

C: No?

D: No.... it's my friend Angela's...

C: Angela?

D: Yes, she's very busy today, and so I've beeen watching her box for her.

C: That's commendable.

D: Except, I can't control her box like I thought I could. It attacked me.

C: Okay.

D: I had to hold it down, or it would just keeping running after me and going for my legs.

C: So, you can't let go of this box?

D: No, it will jump at me, and I don't know what's under there?

C: So there is something in the box?

D: I'm guessing so; most boxes I know don't attack people.

C: But you have no idea what it is?

D: No. Not a clue.

C: It's not your friend's box, is it?

D: No... but I didn't want you to think I was one of those women who play with random boxes.

C: I fail to see how that's a stereotype that I would've even considered.

D: Plus...

C: Yes?

D: I've been holding this box for a really long time, my knees hurt, my back hurts, but I'm too afraid to let it go.

C: Okay, why don't we take care of the easy stuff first? I'll be right back. (starts to exit)

D: No, don't leave me here again!

C: I'll be right back, I promise. (exits)

D: Stupid box. Why can't you be like other boxes I know?

C: (re-enters, carrying large rock) Here we go. (puts rock on top of box)

D: (removing hands, stretching upward) Why didn't I think of that? Thank you so much.

C: Now, what's in the box?

D: I really don't know. What's your name?

C: Cullen. It's got to be a small animal of some kind.

D: Do people call you Cully?

C: No. It might be rabid, acting like this.

D: Why are you so dressed up?

C: I'd rather not say. We'll have to figure out a way to let it free.

D: You look very nice. Were you at a wedding?

C: No. Yes. I was. My own.

D: Ohhh... (disappointed) You just got married? Congratulations!

C: Thanks, but no. My bride never showed. I got a call saying she couldn't go through with it. That was it.

D: Ohhh... (relieved) I'm so sorry. That's horrible!

C: Yeah, I know. I've been walking around for the past hour, trying to sort it out.

D: And then I annoy you with my box problems...

C: Hey, I'm the one who woke you up, remember?

D: Oh yeah... but any way... Why don't we just leave the box there, and I can walk with you and help you sort things out.

C: I don't want to be cruel to some poor animal. It won't survive under there.

D: Someone else will come along and...

C: Be attacked if it's rabid? No thanks. We need to do something.

D: What?

C: Listen, you go get a stick, a good one, thick.

D: Okay. (exits)

C: (removes rock while stepping on box flaps to keep the box in place) Okay, now...

D: (returning, brandishing heavy stick) Got one.

C: You stand near the box, be ready to hit the animal if it tries to attack us. I'm going to flip the box over, okay... ready?

(C flips the box so it's right side up, D whacks out with the stick hitting C very hard right in the shin, C crumples to the ground)

D: Ahhhh! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Ohmigod! I'm so sorry, Cully! I didn't mean... I saw your shoe and it looked like... I'm so sorry!

C: (in pain) It's okay... okay, I'm alright, I'm alright... (tries to stand)

D: (putting hands on his shoulders and kneeling down next to him) Stay there, stay there... let me look at your leg... (starts taking off his shoe and sock, rolling up his pant leg) Ohhh... I'm so sorry, that's pretty bad...

C: It'll just be a bad bruise with a little cut on top. (she starts blowing on the cut and bruise) Ummm... what... what are you doing?

D: Shhh... (continues blowing)

C: (pause) I'm sorry that I couldn't help you with your box problem. (pause) Why are you doing that?

D: (stops) My mother always blew on our fresh booboos when we were little. I guess I've always wanted to do it for someone else.

C: Well, it's nice... but it's seems a little forward.

D: I'm sorry... ohh no... you don't think that I...?

C: No, no, no! Not at all... sorry.

D: (sitting next to him) You know there was nothing in the box.

C: I know. I'm trying to decide whether or not to be mad at you?

D: I'm sorry about the leg.

C: Not the leg, the box. Why'd you do it?

D: Do what?

C: Lie about the box to get me to help you?

D: I wasn't lying about the box! It attacked you; you saw it!

C: Did you have a string or something?

D: No! I thought it was an animal too; I did, and I held the box down for a long time before you came along and...

C: I don't see how an empty box could attack anything. If it was truly empty, then we both have a lot to be afraid of.

D: ... rescued me... (with growing wonder, tears starting)... you rescued me... your really rescued me... you woke me up, and you were a dream... and you rescued me.

C: Whoa... I put a rock on an empty box... that's all.

D: And you've been left at the alter, but you still are gentleman enough to rescue a fair maiden in distress.

C: Okay... I really should get going now. It's been nice meeting you... I can't say it's been fun. Interesting? Does that work? (turns away, starts to go)

D: Don't leave.

C: Why?

D: Stay.

C: Why?

D: What if there are other boxes?

C: Avoid them.

D: Come home with me.

C: No offense, but I really need to stay away from women for a while.

D: I'm better than her.

C: You might very well be.

D: Let me try.

C: I don't even know your name.

D: Yet you still saved my life.

C: And I still don't know your name.

D: It's Diane. (reaches out her hand, C takes it, she snaps into his arms)

C: (awkward hug, pause) Diane?

D: Yes, Cully?

C: Please let go.

D: I will...

C: (pause) Diane?

D: When the time is right.

C: Diane?

D: Shhh... she didn't deserve you... she didn't... I can tell... I can feel your goodness...

C: Ummm...

D: You can let it out, don't be afraid to cry. You've been hurt badly.

C: (relaxes into hug, closes his eyes) Yes...

D: (she starts slowly rocking him back and forth) Let me help you... I won't leave like that... I know a good man when I see one, and you are a very good, kind man. (C starts to cry, softly) There... there... yes... let it out... you'll recover. It's all for the better, getting stood up at your wedding, meeting a woman in the park, saving her from what she feared... you are a prince, Cully, a prince... to me.

C: I was so nice to her, all the time...

D: I know you were, I know you were...

C: I don't know why she would do this...

D: You didn't deserve it. It's done.

C: (pulling away slowly) Where do you live?

D: Two blocks away.

C: Can I just go there and talk to you.

D: Of course you can.

C: What about the box?

D: Welll... (turns to box) Are you coming along?

C: Please...

(box moves quickly toward C and D, right side up now, flaps moving about like a big-eared puppy, it's demeanor has changed completely, it nudges and rubs up against them)

D: Ahhh... that's better...

C: What the... ?

D: I thought that's what it was.

C: What what was?

D: The box... we let it out... when the box captured it, it captured the box. It's free now.

(box starts moving offstage, lights start fading, C and D follow)

C: I don't get it.

D: You don't have to, just let it be.

C: What did we let out of the box?

D: Shhh... follow the box, it knows where to go.

(they are offstage, lights out)