March 23, 2007

A Play A Day #344

Licking Day


Setting: Reed's apartment.

(lights up, Reed is asleep on his couch, loud knock on door, Reed jerks awake, crosses to door and opens it)

Reed: What?

Grant: (walking past him, sitting on the couch) Hey, man.

R: (indicating couch) Hey! Don't sit there.

G: How ya doing?

R: I was sleeping. Right there.

G: I can tell - smells like nap in here, couch is warm.

R: Great.

G: I'm kinda like a detective that way.

R: Yeah, absolute Sherlock.

G: I can figure out any situation with just a quick glance around.

R: Grant, did you want something?

G: Just paying you a visit.

R: Cause I just want to lay down again.

G: It's Licking Day!

R: Wh... what did you say?

G: It's Licking Day. Today.

R: Licking? Day?

G: March twenty-third every year is National Licking Day.

R: So what?

G: The holiday was started by a collective of conceptual artists and alternative therapists about forty years as a way of breaking down artificial constructs of prohibitive personal space among humanity. The idea was that if we violated someone's personal space in a very bizarre manner, in a way that nearly all of humanity would recognize as disturbing, then people would be desensitized to the routine obtrusions of everyday life. Humanity, over time, would come to apppreciate the company of the other as long as they weren't being licked.

R: That's so incredibly stupid...

G: It's sorta the world's only negative reinforcement holiday.

R: I think people would be so traumatized by the licking that they would actually become hypersensitive to other people getting too close... that it would drive people to retreat farther from each other.

G: Well, they claim it works, that it's the only holiday to be measured like a social psychology experiment.

R: Oh, come on; it's ridiculous. Personal boundaries would get all fuzzy; dangerous behavior would be the end result.

G: People can always say: "Hey! At least, it's not Licking Day!"

R: Right, except on March twenty-third.

G: Well, of course.

R: (pause) Can I go back to sleep now?

G: I don't know. It is Licking Day.

R: So what?!

G: (smiles) And...

R: Get out, man... you're not fucking licking me!

G: Ahh, come on... I figured if I added homosexual overtones to it, you would really stop being such a tight ass about personal space.

R: Out! Now!

(Reed grabs Grant's arm)

G: (indicating the hand on his arm) Hey, that's a good start.

(Reed commences to push Grant harder and harder out the door, Grant protests in a loud but good-natured manner all the way out the door with his tongue out, reaching for Reed the whole way, Reed swearing at him and ad-libbing as he forces him out, shuts door behind him)

G: (shouting through the door) I licked your door!

R: (leaning against door) Hope he got a damn splinter in his tongue. (shaking his head slowly) Licking Day.

(Reed shuffles back to the couch, lays down, knock on the door)

R: (groans) What!?

Mila: (through the door) Hello?

R: (hops up, goes to door, a very good-looking woman stands there) Hi. Sorry for the wait.

M: Hi. My name is Mila. (offering hand) I just moved in across the hall, and I don't have any toothpaste or anything out yet, and I was wondering if...

R: Uhh, yeah, yeah, sure... come in, come in. I've got one of those little tubes in the bathroom... be right back.

(heads across apartment and off stage, Mila takes a step or two into Reed's apartment)

M: (calling after Reed) I wouldn't ask, but it's Licking Day, and I don't want to be doing that with bad breath, of course.

(Reed re-enters apartment with tube of toothpaste)

R: Licking Day? (beat) Of course. One of my favorite days. I'm Reed, by the way.

M: Thanks for the dentifrice, Reed. (turns to leave, then turns back) Well, I guess one before brushing my teeth won't hurt. (licks his forehead) Thank you.

R: You're very welcome. (licks her neck)

(Mila leaves, Reed watches after her, waving, then shuts the door, leans against it)

R: (shaking his head slowly) Licking Day.

(moves to couch, starts folding blankets, lights fade out)


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