March 20, 2007

A Play A Day #340

The Empty Store


Setting: An empty store.

(Lights up, Mandy stands behind a counter, store is empty, there should be shelves galore with nothing on them, enter James)

James: Hi, you work here, right?

(Mandy looks around, again, the store is extremely empty)

Mandy: Yes, just me.

J: I'm wondering where your men's shoes are.

M: Well, I think... they may be... around the... uhhh... oh, no, forgot... we don't sell men's shoes.

J: Ohh... darn... need a new pair of shoes for work.

M: Sorry.

J: Probably just women's shoes; everyone sells women's shoes.

M: Except us.

J: Oh... okay. What about ties?

M: For men?

J: Of course for men.

M: Yes.

J: Who else would you sell ties for?

M: Bread bags.

J: Oh. So where are they?

M: Ties? We don't sell them.

J: You said you did.

M: Thought you were talking for bread bags.

J: You sell ties for bread bags?

M: No.

J: But...

M: Who would buy those?

J: You said that...

M: Bakers, I suppose.

J: (annoyed) Alright...

M: But they probably have their own dedicated supply chain for such things.

J: (more so) Alright...

M: Doubt they'd come to a store in a mall for those.

J: Alright! I get it! Thank you.

M: You're welcome.

J: Do you know the nearest place that sells men's shoes?

M: Yeah, next door. Men's Shoes-R-We.

J: Saw that. I was wondering, but... well, okay... bye, I'll just go over there then.

M: Good-bye. Come back soon.

J: (starts leaving, looks around a bit more) I have to ask: what exactly do you sell here?

M: Want some?

J: What?

M: How much do you want?

J: I don't know what you sell. So, I don't know if I would want to buy it.

M: Unfortunately, we can only sell what we sell if you buy it.

J: Right, of course, but usually I would know what I'm buying.

M: Sorry. I can only tell you that we sell exactly what you see here.

J: Nothing?

M: I suppose you could see that.

J: Well, it is what I see.

M: Then you would buy nothing.

J: I guess I would.

M: How much do you want to buy then?

J: Nothing.

M: Right, how much?

J: I can't buy...

M: Maybe five bucks worth?

J: No, I...

M: Ten?

J: No. Nothing.

M: How much?

J: Please, stop.

M: Okay.


J: So what do you sell, really? No joking.

M: I'm not joking.

J: What is it?

M: It's whatever you want.

J: So, you sit in an empty store, and you claim to sell anything?

M: Yes.

J: But there's nothing here.

M: Because you want nothing.

J: I want shoes.

M: Next door.

J: Right, but you don't sell anything I want then.

M: You don't really want shoes, I guess.

J: Yes, I do, look at these ones... (pointing to his shoes, Mandy peeks at them too) The sole is pulling away from the shoe, hole by the toe.

M: I think you need to figure out what you want, what you really, really want, and come back here, and we will have it for you.

J: How can you guys even stay in business?

M: Woman.

J: What?

M: Woman. No "guys" here. The store is just me, Mandy, I am the store.

J: Sorry, woman then. How do you, a woman, even... stay... in... ohhhhh. Oh, yes.

M: What?

J: I see. You don't need anything on the shelves if you are the store.

M: Well...

J: It's that kind of business, huh?

M: You mean a store kind of business?

J: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO... it's that kind of business. You're the product.

M: No...

J: You're for sale!

M: No, no...

J: How'd they let you set up a place... like this... in a mall?

M: I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong.

J: How so?

M: I'm not a prostitute. I am not for sale, rent or lease.

J: But, you said, that...

M: I am the store, yes, I did, but I meant that I am the owner, operator and sole employee of the store. That's it. You're the one who made the wild assumption.

J: Well, that's what it sounded like to me.

M: Maybe that's because that's what you really want.

J: What? Sex?

M: Yes.

J: No. I don't want sex.

M: Okay.

J: (longer pause) Wait... do you... did you mean to say that you sell... that?

M: If you want it, we sell it.

J: How much?

M: How much do you want?

J: A lot.

M: Sorry, you just said you didn't want it.

J: I changed my mind.

M: Then you don't really know if you want it, do you?

J: Yes, yes! I do, I do!

M: Well, I don't believe you.

J: That's not how you said you do business. You didn't say that you had to believe that I really wanted what I said I wanted.

M: I know, but you notice you weren't able to buy any; therefore you didn't really want it.

J: Sex? Of course I couldn't buy any! You're not selling any!

M: How do you know that?

J: Because I said I wanted some - said I wanted a lot - and you said you didn't believe me.

M: Because you had changed your mind.

J: People change their minds all the time!

M: Because they don't really want what they say they want.

J: But I always want sex!

M: Then why did you say you didn't?

J: I didn't think you would sell that!

M: You assumed.

J: I was being polite. I'm not that kind of guy.

M: You are the type of guy who doesn't want sex?

J: No! I'm the type of guy who isn't going to try to buy sex from a stranger. Besides, you said you weren't a prostitute.

M: Oh, so... if I were a prostitute, then you would have bought sex from me?

J: No!

M: Thought you weren't that type of guy.

J: Now, come on! I...

M: And how do you now I wouldn't have sold you sex anyway, even though I'm not a prostitute?

J: But that would make you a prostitute!

M: Not necessarily.

J: Yes! It would! You can't sell sex and claim you're not a prostitute!

M: Depends.

J: On what?! It depends on nothing! You can't have it both ways!

M: Prostitutes often have it both ways.

J: That's not what I meant!

M: Really?

J: This is stupid.

M: In a way. As stupid as you want it to be.

J: What can I really get here?

M: What you really want.

J: Which is?

M: What everyone wants.

J: Which is?

M: I'm sorry that you don't know what you and everyone else wants.

J: Water?

M: None of that here.

J: Shelter?

M: Nope.

J: Safety?

M: Again, no.

J: Love?!

(long pause)

J: Love? You sell love here?

M: Why don't you buy some and find out?

J: (pulling a dollar from his pocket, mumbling, handing it to her) Alright, alright, this I gotta see... do we go to a back room for this love... here.

M: (taking money, putting it in the register) Thank you.


J: What? What's going on here? Nothing's happening!

M: Well, to be fair, you only gave me a dollar.

J: You said I should buy some and find out.

M: Yeah, and you gave me a dollar.

J: So? I don't see a price list.

M: How much love do you expect for a dollar?

J: Love doesn't have a price tag!

M: Boldly said, Shakespeare, yet you paid a dollar.

J: Fine, what do I get then?

M: (patting his hand) There, there.

J: That's sympathy!

M: It is a degree to love.

J: It's not! You lied to me!

M: (patting his hand) There, there.

J: Stop that!

M: Sure thing. That was about a dollar's worth anyway.

J: What about five dollars?

M: Do you want to try it?

J: Not really.

M: Why? Don't you love me?

J: What?!

M: Do you love me?

J: No!

M: After all, you did just give me a dollar. It must have been for a reason.

J: To buy love.

M: And it worked!

J: No, you gave me sympathy! Which isn't the same as love!

M: (shaking her head in sympathy) Poor boy.

J: Stop it! Stop it!

M: That one was on the house.

J: Well, you're not getting any more money from me. This is a scam.

M: How so?

J: You took my money and give me nothing in return!

M: You gave me a dollar. I gave you love.

J: But nothing's changed.

M: Does something have to change?

J: Yes! Damnit! I want to feel loved!

M: (big smile) Now you've got it.

J: Got what?

M: You know what you want.

J: Oh, well...

M: So how much do you want?

J: Here. Can I try five dollars?

M: (very sweetly) Of course you can, my love.

J: (soaking this in) Wow. That... that was great.

M: I'm so happy to love you.

J: Yeah?

M: Oh, yes I am. And you must love me; since you gave me five dollars to love you, you obviously care a great deal about me loving you, therefore you must love me too.

J: Well, I... ohhh... yeah, I mean, yeah, I guess I do...

M: Exactly. Would you like some more?

J: I... I'm not sure anymore.

M: I know I would! We can all use a little more love in our lives.

J: (he pulls out a ten) Here's ten.

M: Ahhh, I love you too. Anything else I can get for you today?

J: (almost hypnotized) More.

(more money starts changing hands)

M: Good decision, my sweet, sweet love.

J: I love you so much.

M: I know you do. We also take credit cards.

(he starts fishing around for a credit card; lights fade along with adlibbed expressions of mutual affection)


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