This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Joseph Frost
a play written for The 31 Plays in 31 Days Project
Draft August 12, 2012
© Attic Scripts 4550 Normandy Dr Jackson, MS 39206 firstname.lastname@example.org
ED, KHANDI, and PAUL. the stage.
They never leave
Ed sits in the only chair. Khandi kneels on the floor, away from him. Paul is upstage. ED Doesn’t have to be perfect. But I want it to be. Never mattered before. Now it does. It’s all a game. A game. Yes. Then I want to win. Khandi. KHANDI ED KHANDI ED KHANDI ED KHANDI ED
KHANDI I’m going to do what I can, at least. He’ll never care. You don’t know that. He as much as told me. ED KHANDI ED
KHANDI So he didn’t actually tell you. Trust me. ED
2. KHANDI You know I can’t do that. Ed rises. ED I’ve already apologized, dear. forever. Ed. I don’t regret it. I’m not asking you to. That’s a relief. KHANDI ED KHANDI ED Ed crosses away - out of the scene. PAUL I think this shirt makes me look stupid. KHANDI I’m not arguing with you. You bought it. We all make mistakes. Christmas. PAUL KHANDI I won’t be held over the fire
PAUL Two years ago.
KHANDI I can’t be held responsible for a gift I gave you two years ago. Who should be? Paul. Don’t. PAUL KHANDI PAUL It’s not worth it. KHANDI
3. PAUL Deadline creeping up on you? Something like that. KHANDI
PAUL You should do what I do with deadlines. Miss them? KHANDI
PAUL Exactly. If it’s a deadline I gave myself, then I grant myself an extension. I’m quite reasonable about it. If it’s from someone else, I tell them, “You can’t expect me to keep your deadlines. This is ART.” KHANDI And then you go out on a pub crawl. I do. PAUL And you know what happens then.
KHANDI You write the outline for a best seller on a cocktail napkin. A cocktail napkin. PAUL
KHANDI It doesn’t work that way for the rest of us. to work at it. I work hard, my dear. PAUL That, I do. A short moment. Thursday. Huh? It’s Thursday. Oh, yes. Right. KHANDI PAUL KHANDI PAUL I have to meet Ed. KHANDI
Some of us have
4. PAUL You’ll be all right, won’t you? KHANDI When have I not been all right. Exactly. PAUL Khandi crosses away. Nina and James await. KHANDI
PAUL I thought it was Nina and Jim. It is. KHANDI He’s more formal now. Stricter upbringing.
PAUL It’s better for your story, you know. I know. KHANDI Khandi is ‘away’. Ed rushes in with two tennis racquets. He sits on the floor and changes his shoes. Late. PAUL
ED You had Khandi to remind you. She’s stuck. PAUL
ED I know. She made Jim into James. difference. It does. PAUL
Like that makes a
ED You and I know that. She changed him, but she doesn’t believe it changes him. Come on, you know her.
(beat) When did you call her? What? Ed. I didn’t. I didn’t. ED PAUL ED
PAUL You knew she’d changed Jim to James. I saw her. At? ED PAUL
ED At the... the coffee... place. PAUL You said you wouldn’t call her. Paul. ED
PAUL If you don’t give her room, I swear to god. Come on. ED I didn’t call her. PAUL I didn’t.
I’m telling you.
ED I heard you. I’m not doing anything. I’m leaving her alone.
I didn’t call her.
PAUL You don’t go to the coffee shop on Northside. I was there. Oh god. ED I was there already. PAUL With Andrea.
6. ED She didn’t say a thing about it. PAUL ED
She was fine. Ed.
I didn’t do anything.
PAUL You know she’s gonna show up at Northside. ED I don’t know that. I can’t assume... she doesn’t own Northside. She didn’t get it in the breakup. That’s stupid. You had to know. (beat) And you went anyway. PAUL
Paul crosses away. Paul! ED Ed stays on the floor. Khandi turns to Paul. It’s not a big deal. KHANDI
PAUL A publishing contract is a big deal. deal.
Losing one is a bigger
KHANDI You’ve had them and lost them and gotten another one. This is how I know. PAUL
KHANDI There’s nothing I can do, ok? 3 months. Nothing. I changed Jim to James. Find and replace. This is not writing. This is not rewriting. It’s a keystroke. A shortcut. But it doesn’t change as much as you hope it will. He didn’t deserve you. PAUL
7. KHANDI So I tell Hank at Goldman. The truth. And he says he can’t keep me on. And I know he can’t. That’s the reality. Did you hear me? No. What did you say? PAUL KHANDI
PAUL I said he didn’t deserve you. I know that, Paul. KHANDI He didn’t deserve himself. Khandi steps from Paul toward Ed. (to Ed) Mind if I join you? Huh? Yeah, sure. KHANDI (CONT’D)
ED I mean, no, I don’t mind. She sits on the floor. hand. Extends her
KHANDI With a K-H and an I. ED
With an E-D.
KHANDI Nice to meet you, E-D Ed. (looks out) Nice sunset. Thanks. I mean, yeah. ED
KHANDI I don’t normally just waltz up to strangers and sit down on the ground with them. (beat) It’s usually in a bar. She looks around. Looking for something? ED
8. KHANDI Ed looks around. Who? Ex-boyfriend. Oh. ED KHANDI ED
KHANDI I broke up with him about 3 minutes ago. ED (nervously) KHANDI Just desperate and crying. ED
Oh. He’s harmless. than anything. Ah.
KHANDI I’m going to sit with you for a few minutes. hat. He does. Hiding. ED
Give me your
KHANDI Keeping the sun out of my eyes. It’s a sunset. ED Sun’s too low for the hat to work. Khandi looks right at Ed and smiles. She pulls the brim of the hat down over her face, then leans down on Ed’s lap. PAUL I never liked the two of you together. We were fun. ED
9. PAUL You were not fun to be around.
You had fun.
ED You can’t handle disagreement. PAUL You can’t handle disagreement. ED I’m mostly right. Why should I tolerate someone being wrong, when I can set them straight. It would be unloving. PAUL I hated watching what it did to her. She was fine. ED Trust me.
PAUL You know she got dropped. Yeah. Shame. ED
PAUL That didn’t have to happen. ED No. I bet if she would have written something, they might have kept her. You think? PAUL
ED That’s generally how it works. PAUL What about the other times? The not-generally.
ED It always works that way, Paul. That’s the reality. It certainly is. PAUL ED Ed gets out from underneath Khandi. Certainly is. ED (CONT’D)
10. Ed crosses away. Paul comes in to Khandi. Oh god.... (groggy) PAUL KHANDI
PAUL You’re on the street.
KHANDI That would explain the car horns. PAUL No, you’re on the sidewalk. Oh, yeah? Hm. You feel asleep out here.
KHANDI I couldn’t sleep. Paul starts to help her up.
PAUL Well, I have to disagree with you, there. No. Up there. fine. I noticed. KHANDI I couldn’t sleep up there. Down here is
PAUL Let’s get you upstairs. KHANDI PAUL
He’s such a.... Who? Dammit.
KHANDI I just can’t... She buries her face in her hands, begins to cry.
PAUL Oh, Khandi. Let’s not do this here, ok? Let’s go upstairs. I really don’t want to be on the street with a weeping woman. He left, Paul. KHANDI
11. PAUL KHANDI I did. I finally got up the... and he...
He... Ed? I talked to him. he... he left.
PAUL You talked to him about-Mmm hmmm. And he left. KHANDI She starts to weep. Paul looks about, kind of embarrassed. PAUL You’re going to make me sit on the sidewalk in my new pants, aren’t you? No. No no no no. covered. KHANDI Just stand there. I got down here
PAUL I can’t just stand here, Khandi. They’re looking at me.
People are looking at me.
KHANDI Look at ‘em looking at me...
PAUL No, they’re looking at me. They think I’m the reason you’re crying. They’re calling the cops. KHANDI They’re not calling the--- let ‘em. (shouts) Go ahead call ‘em! What? PAUL Let ‘em call the cops.
KHANDI Call the cops on that running-out coward! coward. I know, Khandi. PAUL
He’s such a
KHANDI Why’s he such a coward, Paul? I don’t know. PAUL
12. KHANDI He... he... he left. He just left. stuff. He just left.
Didn’t even take his
PAUL He didn’t have any stuff. It’s all your stuff. KHANDI It is. It is my stuff. Well, that’s good. for new stuff after breakups. That is the worst. PAUL I hate shopping
KHANDI The worst is forwarding the mail. PAUL You actually forward the mail? All too often. KHANDI Khandi pulls it together. Paul offers her a hand, and she takes it. He helps her up. PAUL I would have taken you shopping. I appreciate that. You need a drink. At least. KHANDI PAUL KHANDI
PAUL You... you want to get cleaned up first. I do. KHANDI Khandi kisses him on the cheek. She wipes lipstick off of his cheek. She crosses past him. You never loved me. ED
13. KHANDI I said it all the time. (a long moment) I wrote the story of Nina and Jim about us. And? That is my love. ED KHANDI Khandi keeps walking. PAUL I don’t think you understand. Not once. Your own fault. Not likely. You never read it. It. You never read it. She wouldn’t let me. What did she say? ED PAUL ED PAUL ED PAUL ED PAUL
ED She said don’t read it. She’d get upset if she thought I’d snuck in and read it. She actually burned pages she thought I’d read. Burned them. One time. And I hadn’t. No? PAUL ED PAUL
14. ED I had like two seconds to read it. PAUL You didn’t read any of it. ED I saw that one of the characters was named Jim. He was running past a garden of some kind. Coming around a corner or something. You read it. She burned the page. PAUL ED What was I supposed to think?
PAUL She changed Jim to James. ED Right. So anything I read I’m sure is long gone. burned down the garden. (beat) We going to play or not? Ed tosses Paul a racquet. Sure. I’ll play. PAUL Paul and Ed square off. Khandi steps between them, holding a manuscript. I finished it. KHANDI Probably
(beat) I changed James... to Trent. (beat) Nina kills him with a garden trowel. (beat) Anyone wants to read it... Khandi drops the manuscript between them. She crosses to a down corner and sits. Paul and Ed are still squared off. Lights down.