March 8, 2007

A Play A Day #329

Limited Likability Partnership


Setting: Two chairs, facing each other, Tabitha sits in one, Felicia in the other.

(Lights up)

Tabitha: I'm so glad you could make it.

Felicia: Of course, you sounded serious, so I...

T: It is pretty serious.

F: Ohh... Tabitha. What? What's going on?

T: Well, this isn't fun for me to say...

F: Say it, say it. Sometimes you have to charge right through things, even if they're unpleasant to think about; even if you don't really...

T: (interrupting) I can't be your friend any more.

F: See, that wa... what?

T: We're done.

F: Huh?

T: Through.

F: But...

T: Over.

F: What... what? Did... did I do something wrong?

T: Nothing at all.

F: But... then... uhhh...

T: We just have to be done being friends, that's all.

F: But... but... Tabitha? Are you alright?

T: (lighthearted, maybe a little laugh) Oh, this isn't about me; don't worry about that.

F: But, why else would...

T: Really, I'm fine.

F: I'm worried about you, this just doesn't seem like you.

T: Again, I feel great. It's nice of you to care; especially considering we're not even friends any more.

F: But, what did I do?

T: Nothing. You're fine. Don't take this personally.

F: You're breaking off our friendship and asking me not to take it personally?

T: I'm not breaking off the friendship.

F: What? Yes, you are!

T: Well, yes, I am telling you that we are no longer friends, but really it's just standard operating procedure.

F: Standard... operating...

T: (picking up a thick clipboard and consulting the top sheet) Four years. (holds it out for Felicity) See.

F: (reading) "...for a period of time not to exceed four calendar years from the moment of friendship creation..." What is this?

T: Just the manual.

F: The manual?

T: The Friendship Manual.

F: What's that?

T: Lays out all the ground rules and policies for friendship with me.

F: Policies?

T: Yep. And number three stipulates friendship terms last only four years.

F: Four years? Tabitha...

T: Your term's up.

F: But, surely, you can't follow this nonsense.

T: (laughing somewhat) I'd better follow it! I wrote the darn thing!

F: (starting to break down) You've been like a sister... we've grown so close, and...

T: Yeah, it's got a sistership clause and specific guidelines detailing levels of emotional intimacy on a week-by-week basis.

F: Are you joking?

T: Ohh, no... I would never joke about anything so precious as friendship.

F: But, you...

T: That's why I went through all the trouble to draw up a full manual with very specific instructions and procedures: I didn't want friendship to just be a series of whacky accidents and happenstance developments. What respect would that show the great institution of friendship?

F: Tabitha... I love you! You're my best friend!

T: (consulting back page of clipboard, stage whisper to Felicity) Sorry... just let me check how to handle these ending moments... doo doo doo, ahh! Here it is. "I love you too, name." Whoopsie! I mean, (switching to full earnestness) I love you too, Felicity.

F: You don't understand! You've carved yourself into my soul!

T: That's so sweet, but...

F: No! No! You can't do this! You can't! You just can't!

T: Again, it's not me. It's the rules. Try not to take it so personally.

F: I will always be your friend! I will! You can't just abandon me like this!

T: I will always like you. Just won't be able to be your friend.

F: You're too valuable to me, too valuable!

T: That's why I kept the terms to four years. I realized early in life that I'm too valuable a friend to have friends.

F: You... you're sick... you need help.

T: Well, maybe my next friend will be a psychologist.

F: This is unbelievable.

T: Yes. Frankly, I'm amazed that you're still here.

F: What?

T: Well, you're welcome to stay, but I'm going out in a few minutes. Got to get started on a new friend!

F: While I'm still here?!

T: Your choice, of course, but, I have to admit, it is getting pretty awkward talking about intimate things like friendship with you.

F: Don't treat me like this.

T: Sorry, I don't have a choice. (turning and exiting) You can show yourself out, I trust?

F: (calling after her) Four more years? Four more years? Four...?

(lights fade)


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