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Pruning the Play

Pruning the Play

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Published by C Derick Varn

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Published by: C Derick Varn on May 12, 2013
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“Pruning” A play on privation by Derick Varn Note: This is a play about intoxication, privation, and memory.

The colors of all props could be abnormally bright, but the set should be minimal to reflect the sparse and stark consciousness of the narrator. At Rise: A blank stage with club music coming from the backgrounds. A drunken young woman stumbles out unto the stage. She lumbers out unto acenter stage and begins talking to the audience as if it were a stranger she met on the street. Oedipa (excited) Hey You! I don’t know you. . .and you don’t know me either. But you are about to. Come here. Let me tell you something. WHAT!! I am not usually this open. (Moves closer and sticks her finger into the air as if it were someone’s chest) SO WHAT I smell like liquor. That doesn’t change what I got to say. (Oedipa looks up to sky. She slumps over and chokes a little, then eases her body down to the floor and stares towards the “stars.”) See those stars. Those fiery balls looking down on us–some have been twinkling for a thousand years and some that you see there are already dead. Sometimes I wonder if I am one of those million dead stars that we see reflections of. May their light is random like static on television. Empty space. (Pause) How do you know I am real? (Acts as if she is swiping a hand off of her shoulder) That doesn’t mean anything. The senses can fool you. Sometimes when someone loses a hand, they can feel the pain the hand would feel if it was there. But there is really nothing there by air. Phantom limps, they call it. Sometimes people can seem to be living and breathing, but they are just reflections of something that was once something great. See, unlike those stars which swirl and twinkle as clear as deep sea fish, when a human being is burnt out, she feels it. (Pause) Okay, I know fish don’t twinkle. It’s a metaphor. (Oedipa mimes popping bubbles with her figures) Sometimes the kindest thing a person can do is to show the world that those stars are burnt out. I mean, the stars already know it. (Pause) HEY, you don’t look at me like I am crazy. Hey, come closer. I want to tell you a secret. (Crawls to the edge of the stage and whispers)


I killed a man once. Not like in that Johnny Cash song, but something more motherly. I can’t bare to watch a person suffer. Don’t you start thinking I am just saying that because I have had 3 or 4 or 9 too many shots of vodka. (Pause) Don’t run away. (starts crying) He didn’t hurt anymore. Please don’t run away. (Softly) Okay, fine, fuck you. I just needed some confession. It’s good for the soul, you know? (Whistles through the sobs) Well, I am alone with these reflections now. (Oedipa falls to her back and talks to the ceiling) There’s nothing left to do but dream (chokes) . . . and remember. (Oedipa passes out. The lights fade out and the music stops. When the lights go up again, an older man is sitting, reading a worn book covered by a blanket in an old recliner) Howards: (Looking up from his book) Dee, please make my bed. (Enters a healthier, sober Oedipa. She makes up a disheveled bed across from the man. She is composed, very formal, conservatively dressed and seems a little tense. ) Oedipa (gently) You have any thoughts on the way you like your bed made? Howards: (distant, looking up from his book) You have any thoughts on-uh-god, Dee? Oedipa Pillows over or under the covers? Howards That’s obvious girllie–you know some–uh–German guy says “God is dead.” Oedipa That’s not terribly original. Anything else? (She tucks the two pillows underneath the comforter and quietly turns towards the man) Howards You believe in all that, girllie?


Let me give you your medicine. Oedipa Excuse me. a ham and cheese sandwich. Lights go up. Oedipa (from off-stage) You want anything to eat with your meds.. Howards: Yes. Oedipa Perhaps not so much.) 3 . The lights fade out. (Oedipa walks into room with a tray of food and a medicine cup with two pills in it. You remembered to cut off the crust. (Oedipa leaves. The club music as well as the sound of traffic fades into the background. Dee. Old Man Howards begins to choke.Oedipa That you need more done around here? (She places her hands on her hips and mocks digust) Howards You need to be more serious. Howards. Ya. (Oedipa walks off stage. (Sticks out tongue) Howards (mock annoyed) Dammit. I need to use the bathroom. You hear a large door slam. (mumbles) You need to-uh-show more respect. Oedipa Yes. leaving Howards alone) Howards (with affection) Damn that girllie.. Mr. Howards eats) Howards Thanks girllie. He falls over dead. A disheveled Oedipa is lying on an empty stage. I’ll be right back. Howards uh–no.

Lights fade out.. Oedipa appears flustered for a second. My father was a real smart ass about it too. P. Jason enters side stage. Oedipa walks towards him. I am taking the bus off... (Howards cuts her off. He does not audibly speak. Thank you officer. Oedipa Yess.) Sorry officer. I live near Sixth street. What? Oh no. I don’t need a coat. but does so as if she is flirting with Jason. Officer. I know it’s a weird name. What’s your name? Jason. Cassandra. Everyone calls me Dee. but I don’t want to walk home alone. We were at-uh–Daytona Beach. (Turns and walks the other way. You know girllie. A. no thanks..) Howards After the picture was taken. when all slimy bastards would line the-uh-beach melting. feigns interest. but responses to Oedipa as if he is talking) Hey you? Where you headed? Oh. there was during one of those-uh-jelly fish raids. holding a picture frame) That picture was taken–uh–about twenty five years ago. I am not planning on driving. you know? (Begins to walk towards the side of the stage) Oh. These are dangerous streets.Oedipa (shoots up) OH GOD! (Begins talking to a person that the audience cannot see. (Oedipa watches the invisible police man walk off. (stops walking) What do you mean that doesn’t make sense? Never mind. ) Oedipa (awkward) Mr.. My name is Oedipa. A. huh? You’re kind of cute for a Jason. (Howards leans forward in his chair. S. 4 . what’s this picture? Howards (Slowly) My wife. Howards. (Pause and blushes as if embarrassed) I didn’t mean to (cuts herself off). It’s funny cause I don’t even have big feet. I am not feeling well. She is dusting furniture. Oedipa is in the room with Howards. I know you don’t know me.

Dee. ) Oedipa (Solemnly) Hey. Dee. Howards Cassandra was dodging them in the water. lying on the sand. Oedipa sits at a stool beside an empty seat.(Howards stands up. (He stands still. (Howards sits on the edge of his bed. (Howards begins dancing like he’s dodging invisible spikes on the floor. Jazz fills the air. (The bartender gets the bottle. We rushed her to the– uh– hospital. A bartender notices her bottle is empty. Oedipa fellows him. turns to Oedipa) It was dead. He walks back over as Oedipa slumps over the counter. And then one-uh-stung her. you know. Howards begins puffing his cheeks up and making faces that resemble blow fish) Oedipa (holding back laughter) Be careful.) 5 . she screamed for a while. girllie. Oedipa. Howards I didn’t mean to be so snappy. After it was all over she had a bad scar on her leg.) She kept kickin’ around. but he ignores her. Oedipa is almost drunk and the Bartender has obviously been drinking. (Hastily) No problem.. (Lights fade out. Oedipa tries to calm him down. can I get another Harp’s.) Oedipa You okay? (she places hand on shoulder) Howards Will you please put the picture up. Bartender Sure.. It’s just-uh-you know? Oedipa I understand.

(Pause) Good stuff. Eric. It’s hard to help bathe a man twice ‘a day. You feelin’ okay? I mean. and not feel for him in someway or another. even if it is your break. It’s disheartening. I’ve known ya’ to stop after three beers? It’s not like you to sink or swim. Yes. . Bartender (Calmly) Why do you do it? Oedipa He was a friend of the family and it pays the bill . (She takes another beer). Bartender What family Dee? I though you were (is broken off by Oedipa) Oedipa Adopted. anyway? I remember you working as a stripper down at Club Exotique or whatever that place was. .Oedipa (taking a huge gulp of the beer) Ahh. (looks at the beer) with enough money for this. Bartender No problem. Eric. Bartender 6 . you know? (Pause) You aren’t supposed to drink on the job. Dee.” I am taking care of old man Howards. Oedipa Job ethics. to make up crushed bed sheets. (Oedipa turns up the bottle) Oedipa Another. Thanks. He’s a little crazy nowadays. you probably wouldn’t know much about that. Oedipa Hard day at work. I mean. Eric. Bartender (ignoring her snide aside) What ya’ doin’ now and days. Eric. Bartender (ignoring the last statement) How is that? Work. you know?. Oedipa I’m no longer an “entertainer. Please (pause) He’s sick (pause) a little too sick. you know? (Mumbles) But.

Oedipa (Sharply) And poorly cleaned nettles and a lack of respect for world faith. Dee.Touchy. (Points toward the empty bottle) Another. Bartender You don’t need to be takin’ the bus home like that. Oedipa I’m fine. Who is Howards anyway. You can’t see how red your face is. Maybe that has something to do with why it bothers me? Bartender Probably. Oedipa Sorry. At best a year or more. Dee. Oedipa I can protect myself. Oedipa 7 . (Pauses) Anyway. Bartender (jokingly) You’d fall on you ass if you tried to walk now. I ani’t driving. Bartender You won’t be able to take care of him forever. (Sighs) No one needs to spend the last hours of their life there. Oedipa I am not that goddamn cruel (takes a large sip). Bartender (looks at her) You’re pushing the limit Dee. Those places are heartless. he would be treated like a child at best. You know there are nursing homes for things like that. Oedipa I know. Bartender Wow (pause) now that’s a little harsh. (Pauses) He’s a former realestate agent or something. You had quite enough. You can’t be doing stuff like that all the time. Even Mother Teresa had nuns.

she lifts him to his feet. (Oedipa slams twenty down on the bar and walks off stage. Lights fade. Bartender Talkin’ is slightly different from movin’. Scooping him up.I’m talkin’ fine.) Howards I wonder if-uh-anyone has pruned the leaves off those oak trees. (Oedipa enters. His movement is stunned. He trips and falls. She walks him to the window) 8 . (Howards slowly gets up to look at the tree. starts dusting. Howards Anyone taken off those dead limbs? Oedipa I don’t think so. Oedipa runs over to him.) Oedipa What’s that. Oedipa Whatever choirboy. Mr. They had the blight. She turns and sees Howards. Howards They still alive? Oedipa Yes. Howards looks out the window. Keep the change. Howards? Howards You know those oaks in the front yard? Oedipa (nodding) Yes sir.

Dee. Will you-uh-try to make sure I call someone over to fix it? Oedipa That will cost a good deal of money. fine. Howards Please. it’s a crying-uh-shame to see them rot standing. thanks. Oedipa So. I’m sorry about your door mat. Those oaks are older than either of us. 9 . gasping for air. girllie.Howards Thank you. I-uh-love those trees. He stammers back. Jason It’s okay. I like the trees. you (pause) Howards Uh-No. Oedipa Want me to have them cut down? (Howards flinches. Jason is sitting on a bed. I suppose it got you in the door.) Jason Everything okay in there? (A toilet flushes and Oedipa walks out in a bathrobe) Oedipa Yeah. no? (They both let out a contrived laugh) Oedipa Thanks for the bathrobe. (Lights fade. girllie. Oedipa catches him) You okay? Howards Yes.

. How long until my clothes get dry? Jason About a half hour. Lights fade. a little more sincerely) Jason I mean. holding a Grasshopper or some other multicolored. She sneaks up behind him and puts the knife across his throat) Howards What are you doing. Howards is reading a book–he breathes heavily. mixed drink in her hand. Nothing ever happens. Oedipa (smiling) You’re really bizarre. talking to the Bartender. You date. all that alcohol breath. Oedipa Want to make out until then? (Pause) Sorry. He makes a few garbled screams. (Oedipa kills him. hoping to meet Miss Right in a skimpy satin dress. dancing to some lame-ass European techno. Oedipa I’m sure. Oedipa enters with a knife. Oedipa (smiling) yes. (They both laugh. that was a little foreward. You walk her home. A tipsy Jason and Oedipa sit at a bar. notices knife) What in the . stumbling about the back alley around that same club. . . You go to some big clubs. It’s not always that easy to get a lady’s clothes off. she pukes all over you and it’s love. Low jazz is playing in the background.) 10 . (They move towards each other and kiss. Then you find a wonderful girl. Jason It’s okay. . you meet people. Lights fade.Jason It’s okay. If you weren’t sick . Girllie (Looks down. She looks all vulnerable with her dress strap hanging over her shoulder. Howards does not see her.

I was feeling down. Bartender Isn’t the Masquerade a singles club? Oedipa Yeah. (Pause) Anyway. he’s been hanging around the pad for a week or so. (Kisses Oedipa) I’m not all that certified either. held my head over the toilet. Figured dancing would help. I kind of like it. but no one’s perfect. I guess it’s the whole vulnerable drunk harlot thing. Bartender Meaning? 11 . Jason what you do with your days? Jason I’m a commercial art marketer. Got shit-faced and Jason over there walked me home. (Pats Bartenders shoulder) He’s been hanging around my place since I met him at the Masquerade? Bartender Your place? You have a place? Oedipa Yeah. can I get another Harps? Jason A Miller Lite. Bartender (handing them both their drinks) Enjoy. (Jason gets up and looks at the Jukebox away from the bar.) Bartender (To Oedipa) Who’s the guy? Oedipa My certified pre-owned lover.Oedipa (tapping the bar) Hey Eric. please. What his name? Jason (Returning from Jukebox) The name’s Jason. Bartender He seems alright. It’s amazing how a little vomiting can win the heart of some men. Drinks American piss water. you know the routine. So.

wiping his brow an’ shit. when I wasn’t there.for him.Oedipa He sells art to people like Capital Records or Random House to be used as covers for products such as books. What happened? Oedipa I think he had a heart attack. Bartender You think? You took care of him. Bartender I assume that pays well. Bartender You established Jason I’m trying. Bartender That’s too bad. Jason I didn’t know you took care of someone. CDs. Bartender What you doing now-a-days. Eric. Dee? Oedipa Job searching Bartender What ever happened to taking care of old man Howards? Oedipa He passed. made peanut buterr and jelly sandwiches–or whatever old guys eat. Jason It does when you get established. Bartender That’s unfortunate. You don’t know what happened to him? Oedipa He passed at night. 12 . etc.

vinegar if possible. (She begins to suffocate Howards with the pillows. (Starts and finishes her beer in two gulps). how do you like your salad? Oedipa (off stage) Lots of lettuce. Jason (chopping intensifies) What type wine you want with dinner? You know what I have. (Lights fade out. then he dies. Jason Wow (looks at beer) I didn’t mean to broach a bad subject. I also know you can’t but do so. I haven’t in about three weeks. 13 . (To Jason) I always feel like Judy Garland when I do that. you’re a man Jason Ouch. Music fades out.Oedipa I don’t. Let’s check out. Oedipa (off stage) Dark vinegar. There is some milding screaming from Howards. Jason (continues chopping) Okay. I have dark vinegar and white vinegar.) Oedipa Sir. are you awake? (Looks down at Howards’s sleeping body) I’m sorry. Oedipa I’m sorry. Oedipa I know. Oedipa (enters) The red wine. a few tomatoes. Oedipa is in Howards’s room standing over Howards with a large pillow. (Sits a twenty down on the bar) Keep the change. That’s not fair. Jason is chopping lettuce in the kitchen) Jason Dee. Lights fade.

. . everyone does it with wine if they’ve ever attended any type of mass. (Pause) It really is unnecessary. . Jason. I’m sorry. Just . Jason Just what? Oedipa Knives make me nervous. Jason. regaining cool) I mean. Oedipa CUT IT OUT! (Pause. that’s not even in the bible. Jason (setting the knife down) It’s nothing but a joke. You know. Oedipa Nothing but a . Jason Sorry for what? Oedipa Over reacting. . Oedipa Since when were you religious? Eucharist? (Sarcastically) Heretical humor is passe. . 14 . I’m just you’ve. that’s all. Jason. Jason (holding up a tomato) Take this heart in remembrance of me.Jason (wryly) Take this blood in remembrance of me. Oedipa cringes at the knife hitting the table) Jason What? Oedipa That’s fucking weird. . Oedipa Okay. Jason A stupid joke. (Jason places the tomato down and cuts it in half.

Blasphemy isn’t really your style. If there’s something wrong. I want to know. baby. I’m an atheist. Oedipa Yeah. dammit. What did I do? (Pause) I’ll tell you what I did. 15 . It’s not like you. I’ve cut lettuce before without you going all Inquisition-esque on me over some stupid joke. and then you get all angst-ridden over some dumb mock communion. Jason I don’t understand. A total non-believer. honestly. Jason So why do they bother you now? They never bothered you before. Jason They’re cooking utensils. I am fixing a nice romantic dinner. that’s all. that’s not fucking fair. you don’t. Dee. (Oedipa crosses over to the counter where the knife is as Jason turns away in confusion) Jason Huh? When did you become religious? Oedipa (slowly touching the knife) I’m not. you know. I want to understand.Jason huh? Oedipa They’re instruments of destruction. but they are also instruments of destrustion. Oedipa Nevermind Jason No. There is no future in that kind of thought. I mean. Jason Dee. Oedipa No. Oedipa You wouldn’t normally be acting so strange. I know.

(Jason walks off-stage to get the wine) Jason 16 . you know? Oedipa No. but that’s not the POINT. I don’t know. is everything alright? Oedipa No. trust me. Jason So.Oedipa (picking up the knife and tracing her finger on it) Nothing. Let’s just eat dinner. Oedipa slowly sets the knife down. but does not take her hand off of it. Jason starts laughing.) Oedipa What the hell is wrong with you? Jason I just realized something? Oedipa What? Jason Sometimes all you can do is laught. wild laughter. Jason Then what is the point? (Jason approaches cautiously. Oedipa You mocking me? Jason No. Mad. it’s just funny. Jason It’s funny.

) Howards (pronouncing each word slowly) “Have you now learned my-uh-song? Have you guessed its intent. going to get the finishing touches. The wine is excellent. . love? Oedipa Nothing. Now you yourselves sing me the song whose name is “Once More” and whose meanings is “into all eternity”–sing . Howrds is reading out loud in his room. Jason (off-stage) what was that. Howards Or the-uh-Lutheran Oedipa Well . Oedipa (enters) That’s some strange stuff you are reading there. so please get us both glasses. thus spake Zarathustra. Oedipa (muttering) Take this flesh in remembrance of me? (Lights fade out. you higher men. take the roast out of the oven. Jason (off stage) You sure? Oedipa YES! Jason okay. Oedipa (Oedipa slams the knife into the cutting board) Ennui. you higher men. This is-uh-philo-so-phie Oedipa 17 . Sounds like the King James bible.(off stage) Be right back. . Oh. who in the bible is named Zarathustra? Howards No one. sing me now my round. Well then.

really? (Putting the book down) Have you made dinner. girllie. . but his legs shake and he sits back down. (Pause) A very long time. Stress makes your blood pressure rise.” huh? You probably shouldn’t be reading that. it’s baked chicken and rice. girllie. How is that relevant. Howards The book. Howards Who are you to be telling me that? You’re not my mother or my wife. Wryly) No. unmarried. There’s no damn way a slippery. Howards (angrily) WHAT? 18 . (Howard finally manages to get up. Howards. . He is impatient. . Mr. I hav been around for a long time.) Oedipa Twenty-four. How old are you? (Howards tries to stand-up. Oedipa What is? Your dinner? (Pause. . Howards Thank you. girllie like you will rule over my spare time. Oedipa (looking at the cover) “Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (Pause) It’s-uh-Nietzsche. but you are not going to .I didn’t thin you were into that. Oedipa backs off) Tell me what’s healthy for me to read. you may be my-uh-babysitter. Howards (cutting her off) Look here. Howards Oh. Do we understand each other-uh-Dee? Oedipa Calm down. You’re going to make yourself sick. I’ll bring it in. girllie? Oedipa Yes.

Dee? Oedipa No. He moves and breathes as if he is in pain. sir. I know it’s the way things are in 19 . then reflectively sets it back down. He looks at the book. Howard sits down slowly. girllie. Lights fade out. clam down. Oedipa I only wanted to help . picks it up. Howard If I didn’t know your mother. She tell you this. Oedipa I’m sorry sir. she isn’t taking care of me is she? She lives with that man out of wedlock and she questions what I read. I am waiting for Jason. urine-soaked tomcats who hide their fear of death in front of a pulpit. Anyway. . Oedipa walks out center stage) Oedipa (speaking to audience as if it were an invisible woman) Oh. Yeah. Howards (Making a threatening movement) Now! Just bring me my dinner. I’d kick you out of this house right now. Howards She’s just mad ‘cause I ain’t one of those bloodless. Who’s that? My knight in highly tarnished. sir. The sound of dance music fades into the back ground.Oedipa Please. Howards NOW! (Oedipa scurries out. Oedipa (trying to calm him down) Yes. I’m only saying your daughter wouldn’t want you reading that kind of stuff. . Howards She’s just some young Pentecostal who pretends to be some old bitty underneath a hair-dryer at Sallys. suit and tie armor. Howard Get out of here. An empty stage.

(Pause) Hey. It’s a study in drunken exhibitonism. (Pauses for reflection) Sometimes I feel like a “Sister of Mercy. there isn’t a whole lot of difference between children and men. I know. Come on now. Jason So that makes your public decadence okay. don’t look at me kike that. She walks across to either side of the stage) I know what I am about to say is cliche. in London. Chivalry is still kicking. (Pause. (Laughs) Don’t tell me you’re not drunk. Jason How much have you had to drink? Your breath smells of cheap liqour. it has more do with Leonard Cohen than Mother Teresa. the same soul (pause) No. Jason? You ashamed or something? 20 . a twist of the ass there. We are to set the stage with flirting: a smile here. (Laughs) But really. I’m ranting. let’s get out of here. They both cater to a need. we are told to ease the burdens of children and men. Yet from our first stupid nurse-edition Barbie.” What? Oh. reflecting on the situation. that’s what I tell myself. Thanks for the chit-chat. not soul. A woman is taught to be merciful. (Jason walks on stage) Hey baby. I know better. (Pause) I am sorry. Two actually. a “sister of mercy” is just as likely to be used in reference to a prostitute and not some nun. There’s a reason why. Yeah. what is the difference between some Nevada madam and Mother Teresa.these pathetically modern times. (Pause_ That’s why we are merciful. but severely wounded. (Pause) I’m a not believer (pause) Or at least. Yet maybe saints and serial killer have the same kind of substance. Yeah? I’ve had a gin and tonic too. it’s unfashionable to talk of souls if you some raving member of the psychic friend’s network who wakes up to greet father sun every morning at six in the fucking morning. you’ve thought about it. (Looks to the side) There Jason is now. You know. I think. Dee? Oedipa What the fuck are you talking about. Oedipa Have you noticed I am at a club? Jason So? Oedipa People drink at a club. (Laughs) I agree this is not very dance friendly music–may that’s why we’re both so damn drunk.

Jason Nevermind.) Howards Please. Oedipa walks off stage. Oedipa enters wearing some military trench coat. Howards That is not a crime. Music fades out. When lights are back up. Make it quick. Howards contorts about. (Lights flicker on and off. then dies. Lights fade out. (Jason and Oedipa walk off stage. holding 21 . I am not guilty. He is tied down. Oedipa Bullshit. (Oedipa ties a blindfold to him. Jason No (pause) nevermind. Oedipa (coldly) LAIR! (slaps him) Are you ill? Howards Yes. Oedipa is sitting. Howards Of what? Oedipa Of a heart condition that does not allow you to take part in our society. Howards sits in what looks to be a chair with electros hooked up to it. Black out. Then she turns her back as he pleas for his life) Oedipa (to an invisible person off stage) Fry him. Oedipa Then you are guilty.

but disheveled. They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem. They brought me their comfort and then they brought me this song. I hope you run into them. your loneliness says that you’ve sinned. thanks. I’ll be shipping the work tomorrow.” Jason (noticing her) Oh my god. They were waiting for me when I thought that I just couldn’t go on. they are not departed or gone. Dee. you in here? Oedipa (singing) “When you’re not feeling holy. Oedipa (sobbing. Oh. She softly sings the Leonard Cohen song. what’s going on? Oedipa (singing) “If your life is a leaf that seasons tear off and condemn. “Sisters of Mercy”) “Sisters of Mercy. Oedipa Nothing (turning towards him) Penance. put the knife down. Her face is severely cut.) Oedipa (tracing the blade against her cheek. but holding the knife defensively to fend off Jason) BACK OFF! 22 . Bye. you who have been traveling so long.” Jason (walks in on the phone) Yes. I got to let you go.a kitchen knife. Jason What’s wrong Dee. Normally clothed. (Inches toward her) Come on. love. Jason What the hell are you talking about? Oedipa Why didn’t you notice? Jason Notice what? (Holding back sobs) I was with a client.” Jason What happened to your face? Oedipa (pointing to her face) Take this flesh in remembrance of me. (Pause) Dee.

Jason You’re father? (Pause) WAIT. listening to his tightening lungs. spilling little sips of soup on his chair and his chair. Dee. . What happened? Oedipa Listening to him wheeze. That old guy you took care of? He died of a heart attack. (Looking up at him. Oedipa (Cutting him off and standing up) NO! Jason What are you saying? Oedipa I . . I watched him turn to dusty philosophy books.Jason (backing away) Alright. if you give me the knife. Jason You killed him? Oedipa YES! Jason (jumping back) My god. ended . (Cautiously) Just give me the knife. then turning away) I watched him eat. Frail. Oedipa (fending him off with the knife) I’m so sorry. Jason. his family never even called him. Hopeless. Ailing. . Jason (inching closer) who? Oedipa He was like a father. his frail heart thump. Dee. 23 . Jason Calm down (taking deep breathes) We can get through this. it will all be okay. .

Oedipa voice is heard. Howards walks unto the blank stage and stands center stage. calm down. I’ll ruin your artist contacts. Dee.Oedipa (backing away) I couldn’t watch him like that.) Oedipa (off stage) To you have any last wishes? Howards No. I’m brightly burning out. Dee. (Jason runs off stage after her. . Oedipa (backing closer to off stage) Back off or I swear to god. Oedipa (begins to back off to side stage) No. He is dressed like a Mexican revolutionary. . Oedipa (runs off-stage) Don’t make me hurt you. Oedipa (off stage) Cigarette? Howards 24 . (Hysterical) It won’t ever be okay. You’re one of the stars that is really here. Oedipa (off stage) Any last words then? Howards I love you. blind-folded. Jason Huh? Dee. You don’t know what you are babbling. Jason (continuing to follow her) Give me the knife. Jason It will be better. Cassandra. Jason You can’t. and stiff.

Why did you do this? Please hang in there. Howards mimics being shot repeatedly and falls dead on stage. (Muttering) Oh my god. you’re daughter send me over here. listening to a record. fresh. why did you do this? (Oedipa is whimpering. Howards is sitting quietly. sober. love. (Nervously) Sir. I’m Oedipa Sinclair. Oedipa is lying in Jason’s lap. (Looks at her) You Jackie Sinclair’s kid? (Howards tried to get up out of his chair. You can call me Dee. Her voice is muffled as if she has severely damaged her jaw. Oedipa rushes over to him And gently helps him up. Her face is covered in a white cloth. Howards The name is-uh-Edmond Howards. sir.No. Oedipa (off-stage. and vibrant. Howards (tone-warming to her) Good. A drum roll is heard) Ready? (Pause) Aim (Pause) FIRE! (Shots are fired. please hang in there. sitting him down) You need anything? 25 .) Howards (vexed) Uh.) Oedipa Her foster daughter. Oedipa (entering) Hello. Blood is pouring out of the areas where her mouth and eyes are. Come in.) Jason (to Oedipa) The ambulance is coming. Lights fade out. Lights fade out. Oedipa (awkwardly. it’s better than having some-uh-Nursing Agency stranger be all-uhcondescending as she prods you with needles. Please. Oedipa comes in cleaned up. There is a knock on the door. but quickly loses his breath. Jason is covered in blood too.

(Oedipa exits. Howards (awkwardly) Sorry to here that.) 26 . (Oedipa starts to leave. Howards speaks up) Howards How is Jackie doing? Oedipa She passed. It was a pleasant service. In the air one hears the breath of a respirator and the beeps of a cardiac monitor. Jason and a doctor stand on stage alone. She had savings for us for when she passed. You taken it today? Howards No. Oedipa Where is your medicine cabinet? Howards In the bathroom Oedipa Thanks sir. Howards Good.Howards Not yet. Lights fade out. girllie? Will you turn it off? Oedipa Sure thing sir. sir. girllie? Oedipa Yes. Oedipa You sure? Howard How about the record player. good. Was everything taken care of. (Pause) You’re daughter told me you need to take medicine.

She’ll be receiving a transfusion soon. Jason (cutting him off) To themselves? I know. Doctor Good. She’s my girlfriend. Doctor maybe (pauses) I’m sure she’ll thank you for your generosity in taken care this and signing for her (pause) Well. (Nods sadly) I’ll be paying for the bills for a while. She told me they’d supplement me with that. Best we can make out is the name. Dr. Doctor She’s been mumbling in her more lucid movements. she’ll make it physically. Jason How is she? Doctor Blind. no near-by family. . . Doctor Why? Jason I don’t think there is a Edward Howards. she will eventually. They live far away–around Chicago. She’s in and out of consciousness. Shehad a trust fond sit up in her name. “Edward Howards.Jason She’s sleeping. will be handling her after this. I have never heard of it either. Plastic surgery to will be needed to restore her left cheek and jaw. A psychiatrist friend of mine. (Avoiding the real meat of the queation) She’ll improve over time. Armando Constillini. lost about three pints of blood. To be quite frank. missing a good portion of the flesh on her jaw. Completely neurotic from maladjustment it seems. but I know of an Edmond Howards.” Does this name ring a bell? Jason That’s strange. Maybe we’ll marry after she recovers. Doctor You her husband? Jason No. I called her foster sister about it. but he had put a good deal of 27 . No friends. he was Oedipa’s patron or something like that. This guy died a couple years back. but I have never seen anyone do that kind of damage .

But I don’t think Dee knew that. At least. The end.money up for Dee while she was attending some community college. Maybe that’s it. that’s what her sister said. (The doctor stares at Jason for a second.) 28 . (Pauses) She also said she had worked for some guy named Howards. Lights fade out.

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