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Characters Dr. James Spencer Ellie Brookings Braeden Stampler, R.N. a gynecologist his patient a nurse 35-45 M 25-35 F 30-35 M
SCENE ONE. Dr. James Spencer’s doctor’s office. Wednesday. A patient’s bed is in the middle of the table. A desk and chair off to one side, and a couch. There is a changing section towards the back of the room, a curtain, or a partition. ELLIE BROOKINGS is sitting on the table, a blanket over her legs, in a patients gown. She has a cell phone to her ear, she is speaking to her mother. ELLIE (on the phone) Mom, you need to relax! I told you I’d make an appointment, and I made an appointment! No mom, I’m sitting in the doctor’s office right now.... Yes, I am... mom, my ass is hanging out, I’m already wearing the gown, you need to calm down please. Everything’s fine... No, Charlie doesn’t know about it.... No, I’ll tell him, he’s just been really busy with work and I didn’t want to... Yes, I understand that you think that’s irresponsible, but what would you like me to do about it? I’m at the doctor, Yes. Fine... I love you, too. Gotta go. Bye. She hangs up the phone, and rummages around in her purse which is next to her on the table. She pulls out a stick of gum, pops it in her mouth, and begins clicking it. She looks around the room, and sighs, bored. After a few moments, DR. James SPENCER enters. JAMES Sorry to keep you waiting. Hello, I’m Dr. Spencer. And you’re... ELLIE
Ellie. I’m Ellie. JAMES Nice to meet you Ellie. ELLIE Is it? JAMES Pardon? ELLIE (rambling) You must say that to all of your patients. You can’t possibly think it’s nice to meet everyone, right? Unless you’re one of those very lonely people who actually jump at the chance at meeting a new person, No matter how... I mean, I understand that you are about to become very well acquainted with my... you know, and maybe you were just trying to make a kind introduction to ease the inevitable awkwardness. And now I’ve said too much and I feel like a complete asshole. And I kind of wish I were dead. James smirks. JAMES Do you always talk this much? ELLIE Yes. And I over-think. A lot. But we don’t need to go into that now. You’re not that kind of doctor. JAMES You’re right, I’m not. ELLIE I’m that kind of person that likes to ease awkward situations with incessant conversation. The higher the word count, the better. JAMES Are you nervous, Ms. Brookings? ELLIE
Of course. Wouldn’t you be? JAMES I really wouldn’t know. ELLIE Oh. Right. JAMES What brings you in today? ELLIE My mom. She... she thinks it... she worries about me, a lot. She’s kind of overprotective that way. Well... I haven’t been to the doctor in about four years, so she worries and wanted me to come in to see you. JAMES Your mother is Hannah Brookings? ELLIE Yes. JAMES Yeah, my mom knew her from the club. She had a mean backhand, I hear. ELLIE She’s very proud of her tennis game. JAMES So you’re just in for a checkup, then? ELLIE Yup. Just to make sure all the plumbing works... as it were. She gets suddenly very awkward. JAMES Ms. Brookings, you can relax. I’m going to make everything very comfortable for you. You don’t need to worry about a thing. I just have a few routine questions for you, and we can continue onto the exam. ELLIE
Ok. James brings out a clipboard. JAMES Now, you filled out this preliminary form, and I’d just like to go over it with you, if you don’t mind. ELLIE Sounds good. JAMES Name is Elizabeth Margaret Brookings. Birthday is August 11th. Address is 1406 South Winchester. Single... ELLIE Yeah, I’m not single. JAMES You’ve checked single. ELLIE I’ve checked single, but I’m not single. I just wanted to clarify. JAMES Oh... okay. ELLIE (rambling) You see there were only five boxes to check. Single. Married. Divorced. Widowed or in a civil partnership. I’m really none of those things. I’m seeing someone. I really am. I’m living with someone. His names Charlie. They didn’t put a “shacking up with your boyfriend” box. JAMES Charlie Andrews? ELLIE Right. JAMES
You’ve put him as your emergency contact. ELLIE Don’t tell my mom that! Please! She would killed me if she knew that if I were dying I wouldn’t want her called. Pause. ELLIE That didn’t make any sense, did it? JAMES No, it did not. ELLIE So... I’m not single. I just thought you should know. JAMES Noted. Occupation is a... teacher. What do you teach? ELLIE (rambling) High school health and wellness. It’s... well it can be awkward at times, but... it’s very rewarding. I get to help contribute to students boning each other... but with protection. You don’t want to see many of those teen pregnancies now a days, do you? JAMES No. No you don’t. ELLIE I mean, it’s a little odd, wouldn’t you say? I’m a health teacher and I’ve not been to the doctor in my adult life. JAMES It’s not odd. Some people don’t need to see us. But it’s always a good idea to come in and get checked out. ELLIE That’s why I’m here.
JAMES Let’s see... now to health history. I see you’ve made an addendum to the list. ELLIE Yes I had stitches in my tongue once. JAMES Stitches aren’t a necessary health issue. ELLIE But they were in my tongue. Isn’t that kind of unusual. JAMES A little bit, yes, but it’s not like a history of seizures or heart disease. ELLIE I suppose you’re right. I’m so boring, I barely ever get colds. I’m very healthy. JAMES That’s very good to hear. ELLIE (rambling) I never even had mono. There was this big outbreak in 11th grade. My 11th grade, not at the school I teach at. Everyone went to this kissing party and had drinks... and it was on the news, it was so big. Like... 90% of my class got it. JAMES And why didn’t you? ELLIE I wasn’t invited. JAMES Oh... sad... ELLIE Yeah. It was. But I didn’t get sick, that was the good thing. JAMES
And you’ve never had a pelvic exam? ELLIE No... I haven’t. Is that bad? JAMES At your age it’s... a little unusual, but there’s no reason to believe that we should be concerned. ELLIE (rambling) Mom really wanted me to come because I was... “shacking up” with Charlie. She thinks I should go on BC. I’m a health teacher, I know all the pills and the rings and the shots and the patches, but that just... It’s a level of commitment that I just don’t have to Charlie. JAMES And what’s that? ELLIE “No glove, no love” is my motto. I tell it to all my students. JAMES Very good motto. Well, shall we get started? ELLIE With what? JAMES The exam. ELLIE This wasn’t it? Ellie smiles. ELLIE I know, of course not. James goes to her, and takes out his stethoscope. JAMES
I’m just going to listen to your lungs. He does. JAMES Big breath in. She inhales sharply. JAMES And out. She exhales. JAMES One more. She breathes in. JAMES And out. She exhales. ELLIE How do they sound? Melodious? JAMES Naturally. I’m going to look into your eyes now. ELLIE How romantic. He smiles as he brings out the instrument. He looks into her eyes, and touches her face. ELLIE How many of these do you do in a day? JAMES About 10. ELLIE
You see that many women a day? Wow. It’s gotta hurt your dating life, huh? JAMES I’m married, actually. He checks her pulse, and looks at his watch. ELLIE Of course you are. Oh! No! I wasn’t hitting on you I promise! I mean, it’s not like you’re not an attractive man, you are, but I wasn’t... oh dear... JAMES Ellie, calm down, your heart’s racing. ELLIE Is it? Oh shit. Does that mean I’m sick? JAMES No. It just means that you’re nervous. You don’t need to be nervous. ELLIE Ok. JAMES Lie back if you would. ELLIE Sure. She does. JAMES Now, Ellie, I want to let you know that I’ll be checking your breasts now. ELLIE My breasts. JAMES Have you done a self examination before? ELLIE
No... I don’t... I don’t really do that kind of thing. JAMES What kind of thing? ELLIE Touch myself... oh dear, that came out all kinds of wrong. JAMES Ellie, I’m your doctor, not some silly school boy. You don’t have to censor yourself so much. Trust me. ELLIE Ok. Sorry. I’ve never done a self exam, no. JAMES Well, what I’ll have you do is move the gown to the side, and I’ll lift up the sheet, and all I’m going to do is reach understand and examine your left breast, and then we’ll do the same to your right. It’s relatively painless. ELLIE Ok. They stay silent for a few moments and James examines both of her breasts. Ellie begins giggling. JAMES What seems to be the matter? ELLIE That just... tickles... it tickles just a little bit. JAMES I’m almost done. James examines the other breast, and Ellie continues to giggle. James can’t help but smile, but then turns away to prevent Ellie from seeing. ELLIE I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m just really sensitive. I’ve always had that problem. I think I’m really just susceptible to ticking. Is that odd?
JAMES No. It’s not. I’m done now, anyway. ELLIE Oh good. Not I can stop feeling like I’m an idiot. JAMES Now, if you would... ELLIE If I would what? JAMES Well... generally, in these kinds of examinations... ELLIE Hmm? JAMES You’ve really never had this kind of examination before, have you? ELLIE No. I haven’t. JAMES But I assume that you know what’s coming next. ELLIE Oh. Oh yes. It’s time for that, then? Ok. How do you want me? James goes very pale. ELLIE Oh! Oh fuck, that’s not what I meant. I meant... ah, shit. You know. JAMES It’s quite alright. I understand that you’re a little nervous, and you shouldn’t be. Everything’s going to be fine. Please put your legs here, and here. She does.
JAMES And scoot your way down the table. She does. James adjusts the blanket, and looks under. JAMES Oh my. ELLIE (rambling) What? What’s the matter? I have crabs don’t I? I knew it! I knew that Charlie was infested. That man-whore! I’m going right home now and breaking up with his sorry ass! Oh no, better yet, I’ll just send him a text! Show him the same amount of respect he’s shown me! JAMES No, Miss Brookings. You’ve neglected to remove your... undergarments. ELLIE What? JAMES Your... ELLIE Oh! Shit! I’m sorry. You can just take them off for me. JAMES No, actually... ELLIE Oh... Right. JAMES I’ll just... turn around. James turns his back to her as she removes her underwear. She tucks it in her purse, and resumes her position on the table. Placing the blanket over her again. ELLIE Done.
JAMES Are we ready to continue with the examination? ELLIE Yes. I think so. James reaches for “the instrument”. ELLIE Is this going to hurt? JAMES Pardon? ELLIE Is this going to hurt? I heard that it could hurt sometimes. JAMES Unfortunately, that is true. Sometimes it can be quite uncomfortable. ELLIE I thought so. Maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long for this... so long to come here. I don’t want it to be... I don’t have a very high tolerance for pain. I’m kind of a baby. JAMES I will do my very best not to make anything too uncomfortable for you. You have my word. If anything becomes too intense, do not hesitate in letting me know? ELLIE Thank you... I will. JAMES I will use the smaller instrument today, seeing as it is your first time. ELLIE Oh. Promise you won’t be too rough? Oh... Shit... I don’t know why I said that... I’m sorry. Thanks for your consideration. JAMES Do you have any other questions before you begin?
ELLIE I don’t think so. I’m sure I’ll be fine. JAMES Very well. He continues the examination. She flinches as he uses the “instrument”. JAMES Is something the matter? ELLIE Cold. It’s cold. JAMES I’m sorry. Usually we try to warm it up a little bit. My apologies. He continues the examination. Ellie shifts, something is going through her. ELLIE Oh my... JAMES Almost done, Ellie. ELLIE Mmm... She writhes a little bit as she moans. She is breathing quite heavily. JAMES Nearly done. As if there is an explosion that runs through her, Ellie has a very intense orgasm. James steps back in shock, speechless, and Ellie collapses into the bed. There is a moment of pure contentment for her before she is snapped back into reality, and realizes what has just happened. ELLIE Holy fuck. JAMES
Ms. Brookings... ELLIE What the fuck just happened? JAMES I believe you... ELLIE That’s never happened before... JAMES Excuse me? ELLIE I’m not sure I know what that was... Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed! JAMES You don’t... know what that was? ELLIE No. I’m so sorry. That was an odd reaction, wasn’t it? JAMES Ms. Brookings... ELLIE Doctor? JAMES I think our examination is over. ELLIE Have I done something wrong? JAMES I’ll test your screening, and I will be in touch with you. ELLIE Doctor...
JAMES Ellie, I believe you experienced and orgasm. ELLIE A what? JAMES I’m sure you’ve heard of it. ELLIE Of course I have. I’ve just never... really? JAMES Yes. I assume it was your first. You must feel very strange at the moment. I can imagine... ELLIE I feel great. JAMES You do? ELLIE Of course. Isn’t that what an orgasm is supposed to do? Make you feel amazing? JAMES I’ll get your results back in about a week. ELLIE Doctor... JAMES Yes? ELLIE Nothing. Yes. Thank you. I’ll get... JAMES Dressed. Yes. You’re free to go. I’ll get back to you in...
ELLIE A week. Yes. I look forward to it. Thank... JAMES You’re welcome. You’re very welcome. I’ll have my nurse... sign you out... Before Ellie can say another word, James is gone. She stays, and puts her clothes back on slowly. Just as she is about to put her shirt on, her mother calls her. ELLIE Hello? Hi mom... no, everything went fine. I’m just leaving now... mom, mom listen! Let me get on my shirt and I’ll tell you... God... LIGHTS FADE. SCENE TWO. The office, a few days later. James is had his desk, on his computer, typing. He types away for a moment, and then suddenly gets distracted. He picks up his phone intending to dial, but sets the phone down. After a moment, BRAEDEN STAMPLER, James’s nurse, comes in. Braeden is a tall man, wearing scrubs. He almost looks too masculine to be a nurse. He seems out of place, but he is a very talented nurse. BRAEDEN Doctor? JAMES Yes? BRAEDEN It’s almost 6. JAMES Yes? BRAEDEN Don’t you think it’s about time that you left for the day? JAMES Oh... right... I suppose I lost track of the time. BRAEDEN
It’s alright. Do you want me to start closing up? JAMES No... I can get it myself. You go ahead and go home. BRAEDEN Is everything ok? JAMES Yes. Braeden nods and turns to leave. JAMES No. BRAEDEN What? JAMES No. I’m sorry. It’s not. BRAEDEN Oh. Did I do something... JAMES No! No, no, no. Nothing to do with you. You’re fine. It’s just... you know what, nevermind. I’m fine. I’m just... making myself... I’m psyching myself out, I think. BRAEDEN Do you want to talk about it? JAMES No. BRAEDEN Ok. He turns to leave. JAMES
Yes. BRAEDEN Doctor, which is it? JAMES Nothing. Nothing... BRAEDEN James... JAMES Yes? BRAEDEN You always can talk to me, you know that, right? JAMES Of course. BRAEDEN About anything. Anything you want. I’ve worked with you for like... five years now, and I can always talk to you about anything. I mean... you knew about that time with my boyfriend, about how we... well... when we were having that trouble. I always felt like I could trust you and talk with you about stuff. I would hope that you would be willing to return the favor to me. What I mean to say is... JAMES I know what you’re saying. This is really... I can’t talk about it... patient confidentiality. BRAEDEN I am a nurse, you know. Anything you say has to stay in confidence. JAMES Braeden... thank you, but I really can’t speak of it. BRAEDEN How’s Joan? JAMES
She’s... she’s doing ok. BRAEDEN Better? JAMES A little. BRAEDEN Is she why you haven’t gone home yet? JAMES She’s fine without me. BRAEDEN It’s nice of you to let her stay in your house. JAMES Thank you for saying that. BRAEDEN It must be hard. Braeden sits on his desk. BRAEDEN Seeing your mother like that, sick, in bed all day. Barely remembering who you are. JAMES It is... BRAEDEN And you all alone in the house with her. I don’t know if I could handle it... It would be so... JAMES Yes. It would be. Have you gotten the file like I asked for earlier? Braeden looks at James, and gets off the desk. BRAEDEN
I have it at my station. JAMES Would you be able to go get it for me? BRAEDEN Of course. Braeden leaves the room. James’s phone rings. He answers it in one. JAMES Hello? Yes... hello, mom... No. I’ll be home very soon. I’m just about to leave... Yes... I can pick up dinner. What do you want?... Chicken... yes, chicken with what?... Oh... just chicken. Alright I’ll stop by the store. It might be a little later than usual, you realize... alright... I love you too, mom. He hangs up the phone. Braeden reenters. BRAEDEN Here you are. Did I hear the phone ring? JAMES You did. It was my mom/ BRAEDEN Right. Can I ask you a question? JAMES Ok. He sets the file aside. BRAEDEN Would you be interested in accompanying me to Club Periwinkle tonight? They’re having this drag show... JAMES I’m sorry, but no. BRAEDEN You didn’t even let me finish. See, they have this Queen there, Mistress Rage, and he... well, she... she carries this riding crop around...
JAMES Braeden. No. Thank you. BRAEDEN Am I totally off balance here, because my gay-dar is never wrong. JAMES Braeden? BRAEDEN Five years we’ve worked together? No girlfriend? You’re really close with your mother? You barely even talk to your female patients. JAMES That means I’m taking care of my sick mother. BRAEDEN But... you’re a gynecologist. I just... JAMES You assumed? BRAEDEN Yeah. A little. And you flirt with me constantly. JAMES When have I ever? BRAEDEN Just now? JAMES Just now? BRAEDEN When you asked me to get you the file? I mean... hello. I’m off the clock. JAMES Oh... I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to do that.
BRAEDEN No... uh... I like doing things for you. I like it when you order me around. JAMES Wow. BRAEDEN I know, right. So... what do you say? Club Periwinkle. JAMES Braeden, I think you’ve gotten the wrong idea about... me. About our relationship. BRAEDEN Oh... Is it that you don’t want to start up any work thing, because I respect that. I can wait it out. JAMES I’m not gay. BRAEDEN What? JAMES I’m not. BRAEDEN Sure you are. JAMES No... I’m really not. BRAEDEN Oh. Okay, so you’re... JAMES Not gay. James picks up the file and pages through it. BRAEDEN
That you know of. JAMES That anyone knows of. BRAEDEN Oh. JAMES Yeah. BRAEDEN I just... ok. I’m gonna go, I brought you the file, and... yeah... JAMES Wait... shit. BRAEDEN What? JAMES Can you do me one thing? BRAEDEN Anything. JAMES Can you get me Elizabeth Brooking’s phone number. I should really call her before I leave. BRAEDEN Yeah? JAMES Dammit. BRAEDEN Her numbers? JAMES
All signs point to precancerous cells on her cervix. An abscess. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. BRAEDEN Oh no. JAMES God... she’s not going to be happy about this. BRAEDEN Of course not. JAMES No one would be happy about this... BRAEDEN You know, maybe you should wait until Monday. JAMES Yeah? BRAEDEN Let her have the weekend. Then call her. Better yet, tell her you want to see her in person. JAMES Good idea. You’re smart. BRAEDEN I know. Well, I’m off. Have a good weekend, Doctor. Don’t work too hard. JAMES Thanks. Braeden starts to go. BRAEDEN And I’m sorry about the whole gay thing. You just... never seem to be romantically... well, you know... JAMES
I know. You’re fine... really. BRAEDEN Bye. Braeden leaves. James looks at the file. JAMES Damn. He shuts it and goes back to typing, as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE THREE. A classroom, the next Monday. Ellie is dressed in her teaching clothes, and is standing next to an easel with a large diagram of the female reproductive system, internal. She is holding a long wooden pointer in her hands. ELLIE Now class, after our giggle-inducing conversation about the male reproductive system on Friday, I hope today we can maintain a certain level of maturity as we move on to the female reproductive system. It’s a new week, so it’s like we are going to start from scratch. Here students, is not a photo of a Texas Longhorn, but rather the female reproductive system. Here... She points to all of the points as she lists them off. ELLIE ... We have the uterus. The place where babies are made. She giggles. ELLIE Sorry. I was trying to be cute there. The uterus provides mechanical protection, nutritional support, and waste removal for the developing embryo and fetus. But how does a baby get put there you might ask? Very good question. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the vagina. She points to the vagina. ELLIE Where all the magic happens... as it were. The vagina is the place where semen from the male is deposited into the female's body at the climax of sexual intercourse, a
phenomenon commonly known as ejaculation. Can you all say that with me? We talked about it on Friday. “Ejaculation”. She yells at a boy in the back of her class. ELLIE Bobby Gregory, stop your giggling or I will send you straight to the principals office! Don’t make me tell you again! She continues. ELLIE The vagina is a canal that joins the cervix to the outside of the body. It also is known as the birth canal. So, when a woman is ovulating, an egg will be deposited from one of her ovaries... She points to the ovaries. ELLIE That class is called “ovulation”. Say it with me “ovulation”. And the egg will travel down the fallopian tube. Say it with me “fallopian tube” to the uterus. Say it with me “uterus”. And if a man has ejaculated. Say it with me. “Ejaculated” into the vagina... Say it with me “Vagina”, then the egg will become fertilized and the miracle of life will begin! Now, isn’t that lovely? She yells to Bobby again. ELLIE Bobby Gregory, I know you did not just laugh in the middle of this class! This is a very serious thing we are talking about! You must learn about the female reproductive system, or else you will be doomed to impregnate every girl you fondle, and you’re not very smart, Bobby. You won’t get into a good college because you’re paying lots of child support and you’ll have to work at McDonald’s for the rest of your life. So you MUST pay attention to what I am saying! If you don’t learn this, you will ruin your life! If you laugh one more time, Bobby Gregory, I am sending you to Ms. Ellison! And she will call your parents! And they will know how the female reproductive system was some kind of a joke to you! She goes back to teaching. ELLIE Now, this is my favorite part of the whole thing. She points to the cervix.
ELLIE The cervix. The most important part, in my eyes, of the female reproductive system. It’s kind of like... a gateway. It’s where the menstrual fluids come out and the ejaculate goes in to make a baby. It also protects the babies while in the womb, and can stretch open 10 centimeters so the child can pass through during childbirth. Many also believe that during the female orgasm, the cervix convulses, allowing sperm to be more easily brought through. This is known as the “upsuck theory”. She yells at Bobby ELLIE No, Bobby Gregory, I did not say “upchuck theory”. That is it young man! You are gone from this class! Leave! Leave immediately! Go see Ms. Ellison! She will call your parents and you will receive detention! She goes back to the lesson. ELLIE Sorry about that kids. Not everyone is as mature about sexual health as the rest of us. I would like to thank you for your open mind today, and for you maturity. Something changes. Right as it does, her cell phone begins to ring. ELLIE Excuse me. She goes to it and turns off her phone without looking at who it is. She goes back to the lesson. ELLIE Now... class. I would like to speak to the ladies in particular, but the gentleman my find this important as well. Get yourselves checked. This last week, I went to my own first check up. I know I’m young, but I did wait far too long for my first pap smear. A pap smear s a screening test used to detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous processes in the endocervical canal. Say it with me. “Endocervical canal”. I actually had my first one the other day. She smiles. In this next speech, she gets lost. ELLIE His name was Doctor Spencer. Doctor James Spencer. He was this... dashing man. Older. No more than 40. He... very soft spoken, beautiful ones you could get lost in, really. He didn’t say much, but was very matter of fact. But not in that way that
would make you feel awkward, or anything. Just very... succinct. Is that the word I’m looking for? Succinct? Sure... but... he make me comfortable. She is really lost now. ELLIE So he... made me lie down on the doctors bed, I put my legs in the stirrups, which ladies, unfortunately you will have to endure this rather invasive procedure in order to maintain perfect health. Are you taking notes? Of course you are. Well he... he spoke so softly, and he... made me take down my... oh... She snaps out of it a bit. ELLIE I’ll cut out that part. But we talked. We talked about my mother, and my students. Yes, guys, we talked about you. And he made me forget. Forget the world. Like I was flying. Flying on a cloud of cotton candy. I almost forgot why we where there. Then he jammed a cold hard speculum up me and I nearly screamed... but his voice... always so soft. And I forgot the world again. She goes back to being completely lost. ELLIE Then something began to build in me. He was... doing the examination, and I found that beads of sweats were forming around my forehead. That.... That my pelvic area was beginning to ache... I was in pain at first, but then... then it was better. Like... a good kind of ache... I got really hot, and... I felt like I was on the verge of tears. I was... Her cell phone rings. She grabs it, clicks it off, and slams it back on the table. Without missing a beat, she continues. ELLIE ...Feeling something build within me. Something like I’ve never felt before. An insane surge of pressure filled my lungs, my head, my heart. I couldn’t hold back any longer, and an explosion... an explosion just ripped through me like nothing would ever put me back together again. And there he was... Dr. James looking at me like he had given me the most amazing gift that anyone could ever give a person. I lost my breath, and I looked into his eyes and I just... She realizes where she actually is, and snaps back into reality. ELLIE That’s why, girls, you should get your pelvic exams every year or so, to prevent any complications from occurring in regards to your sexual health. Now, on that note:
She turns one page on the easel, revealing a picture of the female reproductive organ, external. ELLIE This class is what we call the clitoris. Say it with me. “Clitoris”... The bell rings. ELLIE Ok class, you’ve done very well today! I will see you all on Wednesday! She waits a moment as the class leaves. ELLIE Oh my god. Her phone rings for a third time. She answers it. ELLIE Hello? Yes... this is Ellie... Oh, hello Doctor. How is it... oh... you’d like me to come in? Sure.... I can be in tomorrow after school. Thank you for... yes. By Dr. James... I mean... Dr. Spencer. She hangs up the phone, and sighs. ELLIE Fuck. She takes the pictures off the easel, and walks out as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE FOUR. The office, Tuesday. James is typing away on his laptop. His coat is off and on the back of his chair. His sleeves are rolled up. Braeden knocks on the door. JAMES Come in. Braeden enters. BRAEDEN Dr. Spencer? JAMES
Yes? BRAEDEN May I have a word? JAMES Yes. Alright. He continues to type. BRAEDEN It’s about... your mom. James stops typing. JAMES What about her? BRAEDEN She called again. About an hour ago. Did you get the message I left? JAMES I got it. BRAEDEN Are you going to call her back? JAMES Are you my secretary now? BRAEDEN It seemed a little urgent. I just... didn’t want you miss anything important. JAMES Everything seems to be important to my mother. I’ll be happy if you’d let me be the judge of what’s important and what isn’t. BRAEDEN Yes. Of course. I’m sorry. JAMES
Thank you. James goes back to typing. BRAEDEN I never got a chance to ask you yesterday how your weekend was. JAMES I was working on my paper. Which is what I’m trying to do now... BRAEDEN Aren’t you going to ask me how my weekend was? JAMES How was your weekend, Braeden? BRAEDEN It was good. I went to the show at Club Periwinkle, and I met a guy. JAMES Good for you. BRAEDEN His name is Sean, and he’s pretty dreamy... and, we’re going out Friday. JAMES Congratulations. He continues to type feverishly. BRAEDEN Doctor, I know we’re not really “friends” but... I am trying to be friendly with you. I mean... JAMES You don’t need to worry about me, Braeden. I would like it if we could keep our relationship as professional as possible, if you don’t mind. BRAEDEN Of course. I’m sorry. I apologize. And uh... well... JAMES
Thank you. He types. BRAEDEN And, one more thing. JAMES Yes? BRAEDEN Elizabeth Brookings is here. Your 4:00? JAMES Oh right... send her in. Braeden goes out. James continues to type for a few moments, then stops. Closes his laptop, and puts on his lab coat. He then brings out a small mirror from his drawer and adjusts his hair. He then suddenly feels very silly about it, and puts it away in his desk. Braeden brings in Ellie. James stands. BRAEDEN Here you go, Ms. Brookings. ELLIE Thank you. Braeden exits. JAMES Ms. Brookings, please have a seat. ELLIE Thank you. She sits. And James does as well. JAMES How was your weekend? ELLIE (rambling)
It was fine. I went to see a play with my mom. We went to see “The Lion King”. It’s over there playing at the Fox Theatre. We had some good seats, I think about right side of orchestra. The music was really good. Oh, and Charlie fixed me a nice dinner on Sunday. Steak tips in lemon buter sauce with green beans and garlic potatoes. Very yummy. It was a good weekend, overall. How was yours? JAMES It was fine. Um... I didn’t do much... He attempts to make small talk. JAMES It was nice weather this weekend to be outside, so I took my mother for a walk in the park. She liked that. How’s your mom doing? ELLIE Good. She’s missed your mom at the club. Says her backhand is getting worse because she has no one to practice with. JAMES Right. Yes. ELLIE Doctor... I assume you didn’t call me in to make small talk. Am I right? JAMES Yes... you are correct. ELLIE So... why don’t you just tell me why I am here? JAMES Ms. Brookings... ELLIE Please, can you call me Ellie? JAMES Ellie. Yes, of course. Ellie... we found something. It’s on your cervix. ELLIE
My cervix? JAMES Yes, the cervix is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. I have a diagram, if you’d like to see it. ELLIE I know what a cervix is, Doctor. JAMES What? ELLIE I do. Remember? JAMES Oh... right, yes... of course. ELLIE What was it that you found on my... cervix? JAMES A cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. It’s an abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. It’s... not cancer, Ellie. Not yet, at least. We have no reason to believe that your body won’t cure itself, but just to be safe, I think we should act aggressively. ELLIE Meaning what? JAMES Because there is a chance, a small chance, that your body won’t cure itself of the neoplasia, I’m going to recommend a LEEP procedure to remove it. ELLIE You’re removing part of my cervix? JAMES Yes. Yes I am. A small part, you won’t even notice that it’s gone. But that’s the best way to treat it and make sure it doesn’t come back.
ELLIE What... how did this happen? JAMES Well, Ellie... there could be a number of risk factors. You’re not a smoker, are you? ELLIE Not once in my life. JAMES I don’t assume you had a child in your teens, because you had never been to an OB/GYN before, correct? ELLIE That’s correct. JAMES Perhaps it can be caused by multiple sexual partners. ELLIE What are you implying? JAMES I’m not implying anything. Just listing off some factors. ELLIE I had one boyfriend in college who I lost my virginity to, and then Charlie. Two. It’s not that. JAMES Then there’s one more alternative. ELLIE What’s that? JAMES Human papillomavirus. ELLIE HPV?
JAMES Your boyfriend could be a carrier and not even know it. Most kinds of HPV have no side effects. ELLIE No side effects? What do you call what’s happening to me? JAMES Ellie... ELLIE I mean... this is fucking ridiculous. I can’t be sick! JAMES You’re not sick, Ellie. You just have something that needs to be taken care of. It’s not different than having a mole removed. ELLIE You’re removing part of my cervix. That’s a little bit more than a mole, Doctor. JAMES I know it is, but again, if we are aggressive, than we can get this figured out for you. Ellie sits in silence for a few moments. James hands out a box of tissue for Ellie. She waves it off. ELLIE I’m not going to cry, Doctor. JAMES You can if you want to. ELLIE No one sees me cry. JAMES It’s not a sign of weakness, Ellie. You’re human. ELLIE Obviously. I don’t like it when people see me cry.
Another short pause. Ellie stares blankly at her hands, almost about to say something, but it’s James who speaks first. JAMES Ellie, are you ok? ELLIE I had never had one before. JAMES Excuse me? ELLIE I had never had one before, Doctor. Never. JAMES Are... are you referring to our appointment the other day? ELLIE I’ve been with Charlie for four years, off an on, and we’re not even committed. I’m not committed enough to go on BC with him, and he’s never given me... what you gave me. You... JAMES Ellie, I think... ELLIE I don’t know what to say to you right now. JAMES I think it’s best if we keep this relationship professional. ELLIE Relationship? Doctor, you misunderstand. I don’t want a relationship with you. I’m with Charlie. I just... I guess I wanted to... thank you? JAMES Thank me? ELLIE
For... the other day. For being so vigilant with this... thing that I have. God... it’s like I’m defective, or something. JAMES You’re not defective. ELLIE (rambling) I’m not? I’m a little defective. I can’t even have Charlie tell me that he loves me. He... doesn’t really say it. I say it to him, and he says “you too”, or “ditto”, or “I know”. He doesn’t ever really use the “L” word, if you know what I mean. Oh, he says “lesbian” all the time, not that “L” word. Love... I don’t think he even really believes that it exists. At least not with me. Maybe I am defective, Doctor. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t be in here, now would I? JAMES Ellie, you are not defective. ELLIE Then fix me. Put me back together again. JAMES I plan to do just that. Now, I would like you to come back on Friday, we’ll get you all set up with a loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP procedure. Now, I have an opening... ELLIE Doctor? JAMES Yes. ELLIE Thank you. JAMES Sure. Now, on Friday, what we’ll do is... He continues as the: LIGHTS FADE
SCENE FIVE. The office. Friday. Braeden is in a new set of scrubs, looking very sterile. He is preparing the examination room for the procedure. He is humming a little tune as he does it. Ellie is behind the curtain, changing her clothes. BRAEDEN Ellie, are you about done? ELLIE Almost! She finishes changing, as Braeden finishes setting up the room. She comes out behind the curtain very dramatically, wearing nothing but a examination gown, socks, and a bra. ELLIE How do I look? BRAEDEN Very nice. The height of fashion. ELLIE It is what I was going for. Her smile fades. BRAEDEN Are you ok? ELLIE Just a little nervous, that’s all. BRAEDEN No need to be. Dr. Spencer is the best gyno in town. He’s received a number of awards, he’s always writing new papers, and he never seems to leave the office. Translation, he knows his shit. Hop up for me. He pats the table, and she gets up on it. Braeden starts taking her vitals. He takes her pulse first, looking at his watch. ELLIE
How long have you worked with Dr. Spencer? BRAEDEN Five years. ELLIE That’s a long time. You must know him pretty well. BRAEDEN Not really. ELLIE Oh? BRAEDEN He likes to keep to himself. He’s not really... he’s not like the two of us. ELLIE How so? BRAEDEN He’s very... inside of himself. I think it’s mainly because he’s inside of other women all day, so he has to keep himself at a distance. He’s a single, straight, doctor. ELLIE I didn’t know he was single. BRAEDEN He claims it’s because he doesn’t have time because of the practice and because his mom’s sick, but... I think it’s just because he’s shy, or asexual, or hasn’t found the right woman yet. I don’t know. ELLIE So, he is straight. Braeden takes his a blood pressure gauge and puts it around Ellie’s arm. He pumps it up. BRAEDEN Aha... developing a little crush, are we? ELLIE
No. BRAEDEN Don’t worry. Everyone does. It’s that whole “tender touch” thing. ELLIE What “tender touch” thing? BRAEDEN Well, there’s a reason why he’s the best gyno in town. Everyone loves him. He looks the woman in the eye, and always has warm hands, and he’s gentle. Like a gentle lover. It’s all an act. It’s why he’s so good. ELLIE I didn’t realize. BRAEDEN Oh don’t be disappointed, hon. It’s not like he’s not genuine with it. Didn’t it put you at ease last time? ELLIE Yeah... I suppose it did. BRAEDEN See? There you go. 120 over 80. It’s a little high. ELLIE Is that bad? BRAEDEN You’re nervous, so it’s really normal. Just relax a little bit. You’ll be fine. Braeden takes out a small flashlight device and checks her ears. ELLIE Look good? BRAEDEN I can see your brain. You’re very smart, aren’t you? Ellie smiles.
BRAEDEN Now, that’s what I like to see. Open your mouth. She does. BRAEDEN Say “ah”. She does. BRAEDEN Looking good, Ellie. Doctor will be in in a minute. Until then, just relax. ELLIE Nurse Stampler? BRAEDEN You can call me Braeden, hon. ELLIE Um... Braeden. Have you... seen many of these procedures done? BRAEDEN Quite a bit. Why? ELLIE Has anyone just... completely lost it? BRAEDEN Lost what? ELLIE “It”. The proverbial “it”. BRAEDEN You don’t want him to see you cry, do you? ELLIE No one sees me cry. BRAEDEN
That’s... healthy. ELLIE It’s necessary. BRAEDEN Why? ELLIE I don’t... really want to talk about it. BRAEDEN Right. Sure. No problem. The doctor will be in soon. I’ll be back. ELLIE Thank you. Braeden leaves. Ellie sits on the table for a few moments, dangling her feet. She may sing a little song under her breath, then her phone starts to ring. She shuffles over to her purse, and brings out her phone. ELLIE Mom? Hi... no, I’m fine. I’m just... I’m a little nervous... no... please mom, just stay in the waiting room. I’ll be fine... no... mom... please... I’m going to be fine, I’m in good hands. I’m... no mom, I’m not going to cry... just sit there and read your Cosmo... I’ll be out in like... half an hour, ok? Ok. Love you too. Bye. She hangs up her phone. She is about to put it back into her purse, but then goes to it and looks through it. She sighs, and hits a number on speed dial. It rings a few times and goes to voicemail. ELLIE Hi, Charlie. It’s Elle. Um... I’m at the doctor’s. Sorry to get your voicemail. About to get that LEEP procedure done. Um... I tried calling you earlier when I left the house, but... well, I guess you stayed over at your buddy’s all night... just... call me when you can. I just want to make sure that you’re ok. And I want to make sure that I’m ok. Ok. I love you. Bye. Call me. She hangs up the phone, and instead of putting it in her purse, she sets it aside on the desk right across from her on James’s desk. She sits back on the table, and realizes that she has left her underwear on. She stands up and removes it, placing it next to the rest of her clothing in the curtained off area. She sits back on the table,
and waits. She waits for another three minutes or so. Finally, James enters, with Braeden close behind. JAMES Well, Ellie. How are we doing today? ELLIE The suspense is killing me. JAMES I’m sorry about the wait. My mother stopped by unexpectedly. ELLIE Really? JAMES She was very pleased to see your mother in the waiting room. They’re catching up. ELLIE That’s good. JAMES Are you sure you don’t want your mother in here with you? ELLIE No. I don’t. She can stay in the other room. I’m just... I’ll be fine. JAMES That’s good. BRAEDEN Again, Ellie, you have nothing to worry about. ELLIE Thank you. JAMES Now, could I have you lie back, please? And put your legs in the stirrups. ELLIE
I remembered to take off my panties this time. Braeden stifles a laugh. JAMES (nearly smiling) Thank you, Ellie. Nurse, can I please have the speculum. BRAEDEN Of course doctor. The two of them go into “doctor mode” as Braeden hands James the speculum. NOTE: depending on the angle of the staging, the tools may not need to be present, it may just be simulated using clever use of a blanket. ELLIE I told my class today about my procedure. JAMES (focusing on the procedure) Ok. Here we go, Ellie. He inserts the speculum. Ellie flinches a bit, and becomes more noticeably uncomfortable. ELLIE Ow. JAMES I’m sorry, Ellie. It’ll only hurt for a moment. ELLIE Is there a way to use a smaller one of those? Like last time? JAMES I’m sorry, Ellie. But we can’t. We have to make sure we will be able to see everything clearly, so we are going to have to use the bigger one today. ELLIE This really hurts. JAMES
Just relax, you’ll get used to it. ELLIE You’re too big for me, Doctor. Ellie and Braeden smile at each other, James barely notices. JAMES The anesthetic? Braeden hands James a syringe with the anesthetic. JAMES Now, Ellie, you’re going to feel what may feel like a few bee stings. I’m just going to apply some local anesthetic for you, ok? ELLIE Ok. BRAEDEN Just take some deep breaths. Breathe in, and out. In and out. Ellie breathes as Braeden instructs. James applies the anesthetic. ELLIE Oh god... BRAEDEN Ellie, relax. It’s going to be ok. ELLIE This really hurts. BRAEDEN We’re halfway done. ELLIE I feel like I’m cramping... ow! JAMES Ellie, you are a little bit. Your cervix is a strong muscle. It was contracting a bit with the shot of anestesia. You’re going to be ok. Just relax.
ELLIE Ow. God... JAMES We’re just going to wait a minute or so while this kicks in. Ellie closes her eyes in pain, and puts her head back. Braeden whispers: BRAEDEN Talk to her. JAMES What? Braeden nods towards Ellie. JAMES So... uh... Ellie? How was your day today? ELLIE Are you really making small talk with me, Doctor? JAMES Uh... just... just trying to keep your mind off the pain. I’m sorry. ELLIE Well, I didn’t see my boyfriend at all. He didn’t come home last night. That fucker! She yells out in pain. JAMES Ellie, it’s ok. ELLIE Please just... BRAEDEN Ellie, relax. Ellie calms down a bit. ELLIE
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It just hurts... BRAEDEN I know it does. I know. Just relax. We’re almost done. JAMES Now, Ellie, you’re going to hear what sounds like a dentist’s drill. That’s the cauterizing devices. I’m going to need you to hold very still while I do this, ok? ELLIE Ok. JAMES You can do this. Just breathe. He does the procedure. Ellie seems calm at first, but she screams out in pain. James finishes and takes the instruments out of her. Ellie is practically wailing, but not crying. ELLIE My mom. Someone get my mom. JAMES Braeden, would you? Braeden runs out of the room. ELLIE Oh my god... She is writhing in pain. JAMES I’m done, Ellie, I’m done. ELLIE Doctor...doctor... She reaches down and takes his head in her hands and brings her beside him. He takes her hand as she squeezes it. Ellie breathes heavily in pain, almost as if she is post-coital. JAMES
I know. I know... James comforts her, and Ellie looks into his eyes. He hesitates, and reaches out to touch her hair. He kisses her on the forehead. ELLIE James... He looks at if he is about to kiss her on the lips as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE SIX. The office. A week later. At the rise, James is on the phone with his mother. He is sitting at his desk, trying to type at the same time. Again, his coat is off. JAMES Mom, I assure you, the mail-man has not been picking your azaleas and planting them next door at the Stephensons... No, it’s just not possible... Mom, he has a long route. When we he find the time for that? Braeden enters. JAMES Look, Ma... ma! I have to go. I’ll talk to you later. I love you... bye... He hangs up and exhales sharply. BRAEDEN She doing ok? JAMES I feel like she’s getting worse. BRAEDEN I brought your schedule for next week. He sets it on James’s desk. JAMES Thank you. BRAEDEN Did you even go home last night, Doctor?
JAMES No. BRAEDEN Do you think that’s healthy? JAMES Excuse me? BRAEDEN I mean... you’re a sleep deprived doctor? That seems a little... I don’t know... JAMES Braeden? BRAEDEN You don’t think that’ll affect your work, do you? JAMES I hope not. BRAEDEN Maybe you should leave early today. JAMES I have patients. BRAEDEN I have patience too, but I need sleep to maintain my patience... Or I get impatient. JAMES I see what you did there. BRAEDEN Yeah, well... He turns to leave. BRAEDEN Do you want me to send in your next patient.
JAMES Not yet. Hey Braeden? BRAEDEN Yeah? JAMES (trying to make friendly conversation) What are you up to this weekend? BRAEDEN I’m going to see that movie that just came out tonight. JAMES Which one? BRAEDEN I don’t know... that one... with the guy who everyone likes. I don’t remember the name. Why? You asking me out? JAMES Braeden... BRAEDEN I’m kidding, I’m kidding. JAMES No... I was just wondering if you wanted to hit a few. BRAEDEN A few what? JAMES Balls? Golf balls. BRAEDEN Oh right. JAMES
Saturday? BRAEDEN Sure. Sounds good. JAMES Nice. BRAEDEN I’ll send in your next patient. JAMES Thank you. Braeden leaves. James quickly puts his coat on, just before Ellie enters. She is looking different than before, almost prettier. JAMES Ms. Brookings, please come in. ELLIE Why can’t you call me Ellie? JAMES Excuse me? ELLIE Call me Ellie. JAMES I don’t call my patients by their first names. ELLIE You did last time... JAMES Ms. Brookings... ELLIE James.
JAMES We have an appointment... a follow up to your procedure. I suggest that we keep this as professional as possible. ELLIE Noted. How do you want me? JAMES Excuse me? ELLIE How... do... you... want me? JAMES I don’t... I don’t want you. ELLIE You don’t? JAMES I mean, not like... that... not like that... ELLIE James... JAMES Ellie... please. ELLIE Am I completely... am I completely stupid. The last time I saw you... I thought... JAMES You thought wrong. ELLIE You almost kissed me. JAMES I almost kissed you, but then a level head prevailed.
ELLIE You wanted to kiss me, I saw it in your eyes. JAMES Regardless, it would have been a mistake. ELLIE It wouldn’t have been a mistake! JAMES Yes. ELLIE No! It wouldn’t have! JAMES You’re seeing someone. ELLIE Just Charlie. JAMES And I’m your doctor. ELLIE James, that first time... no one has ever made me feel the way that you do. Not like that... JAMES It was a fluke. ELLIE It wasn’t a fluke. JAMES I wasn’t trying to... to do that. ELLIE To give me an orgasm. If you can’t say it, I will. Is that what you meant? You weren’t trying to give me an orgasm?
JAMES Yes. That’s correct. ELLIE Well you did. And I’m here now. So let’s do this exam, shall we? JAMES Do you wish me to step out? ELLIE No need. James goes and pulls the curtain aside for Ellie to walk through and change, but Ellie begins to undress in front of him. JAMES What are you doing? ELLIE I’m getting ready for my exam. She removes her pants, her shirt, her bra. Everything except for her panties. James tries to force himself to stop her, but he can’t seem to make his feet move. ELLIE There. See? JAMES I’ve seen it before. Please put the robe on. ELLIE No. JAMES Ellie... ELLIE I’m not going to, and you’re going to have to deal with it. James and Ellie stare each other down for a few moments, Ellie smiling. JAMES
You’re bold. ELLIE I am. JAMES I’m not. ELLIE You will be. JAMES Ellie... ELLIE Are you going to come over here or what? JAMES I can’t. ELLIE Why not? JAMES Because I... ELLIE You don’t want to? JAMES Of course I want to... ELLIE Then why don’t you? James looks at her with steel eyes, and then he changes. He smiles. He smiles for the first time we’ve really seem him smile. JAMES You are a piece of work.
ELLIE A piece of work? JAMES Of artwork. He slowly walks to her, and kisses her passionately, but not too roughly. His hands slowly reach down to her behind and he lifts her up onto the table. She helps him remove his robe and his shirt. He removes his pants. Then he stops. JAMES Wait... ELLIE What? JAMES We can’t do this. ELLIE You’re having second thoughts? James, why? No one’s out there. Everyone’s gone. JAMES No. It’s not that. ELLIE Then what is it? JAMES Six weeks. ELLIE What? JAMES You can’t have sex for six weeks after a LEEP procedure. It could... affect your healing process. ELLIE Are absolutely kidding me?
JAMES I wish I were, believe me. Ellie’s phone begins to ring. ELLIE Shit. Ellie goes to her phone and answers it. ELLIE Charlie! Hi baby! No... no I’m just finishing up at the doctors. She continues the conversation as she finds her clothing. ELLIE No, I’ll be home soon... we’re going out with mom tonight... yes honey, you are... ok... yeah, I can pick you up some cigarettes... yeah... I’ll get some of those too... but I can’t... ok... love you. Bye. She hangs up the phone, and finishes getting dressed. James stares at her in disbelief. ELLIE I’m sorry. This was a bad idea. JAMES Where are you going? ELLIE I don’t mean to run, but... this was a very bad idea. I’m sorry I disturbed you. JAMES What? ELLIE I have to go. Charlie wants me to pick up a few things for him. JAMES You don’t have to... ELLIE
Yes. I have to go. JAMES But... Ellie, I thought... ELLIE Lapse of judgment. James, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I don’t even really know you. All I know is... you... you’re my doctor. And I’m a silly, silly little girl. I have to go. JAMES You can get to know me. ELLIE No... no I can’t. I have to go to Charlie. JAMES So you’re leaving. Just like that? Because you got a phone call. ELLIE I love him. JAMES Ellie... ELLIE I’m sorry. Ellie leaves, leaving James alone as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE SEVEN. A driving range. Saturday. Braeden and James are hitting golf balls, dressed in normal clothing. James is still a little bit too dressed up for the occasion. BRAEDEN Nice swing. JAMES Thanks.
BRAEDEN Try leaning into it a little more. With you back leg. It’ll really open it up. JAMES Ok. I’ll try. He does. BRAEDEN See. JAMES Thanks. They swings a couple more times. BRAEDEN So, how’s your mom? JAMES You know you ask me that about every day now. BRAEDEN Do I? JAMES You do. BRAEDEN I just... I like her. I’ve met her. She’s nice. I just want to make sure... you know, I barely ever see you smile anymore. JAMES She has dementia, you know. BRAEDEN I know. JAMES That’s not really something to be happy about, is it?
BRAEDEN I wasn’t implying that you had to be happy about that. I just thought... JAMES Braeden, let’s just hit the balls, please. BRAEDEN Ok. They hit a few more each, then Braeden stops. JAMES What’s wrong? BRAEDEN I keep thinking about Ellie. JAMES Ellie? BRAEDEN Last week. What was going on? JAMES When? BRAEDEN On Tuesday. I left the room to get her mom, and when I got back, you two were... well, honestly, I’m not quite sure what you were doing. It kind of looked liked you were about to make out. JAMES We weren’t. BRAEDEN But it looked like you were... JAMES But we weren’t, ok? BRAEDEN
And then yesterday... JAMES What about yesterday? BRAEDEN I heard some... noises. JAMES Were you eavesdropping? BRAEDEN No. No, I wasn’t. I hear it across the hall. Just some... shuffling... and she left awfully early. Weren’t you supposed to have an exam with her? JAMES Let’s not talk about work... BRAEDEN And her first visit? JAMES What? BRAEDEN Her first visit. I distinctly heard some suspicious noises. JAMES Braeden... BRAEDEN I mean, if you’re having a fling with her, that’s ok, just don’t deny it. It makes you look bad, and sleazy is not a good color on you. JAMES We’re not having a “fling”. BRAEDEN Does she know that? JAMES
What? BRAEDEN I see the way she looks at you, James. JAMES I have no idea what you’re talking about. BRAEDEN She looks at you like she’s broken, and you’re the only thing that can put her together again. JAMES That’s ridiculous. BRAEDEN I see the way you look at her too. Like you’re seeing sunlight for the first time. JAMES I don’t even know what you’re talking about. BRAEDEN In five years, James, I’ve seen you only as one way. I know your mom’s been sick, and you’ve had to take care of her, but you literally have had a nonexistent social life. I try getting you out to clubs on the weekends, I even introduced you to my sister that one time. I’ve tried for five years to get something out of you, to be a friend to you, and nothing. Hell, I’ve even hit on you as a joke just to see if it get’s a rise out of you, and nothing. And she shows up, and here we are.... whacking balls around. That’s got to mean something, right? James pauses for a moment. BRAEDEN Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Although, I’m never wrong. James continues to swing. BRAEDEN You can’t stop thinking about her, can you? JAMES I don’t know what you’re talking about.
BRAEDEN You can’t. I can tell. You’re thinking about her right now. JAMES No I’m not. BRAEDEN Fuck it, yeah you are Jamie. JAMES Just swing. BRAEDEN Why don’t you do something about it? JAMES What? BRAEDEN Why don’t you just call her up and... JAMES I’m not going to call her. She’s living with someone. Charlie... I think... BRAEDEN You know his name? JAMES She’s mentioned him. BRAEDEN A lot? JAMES Yes. BRAEDEN Oh, man... that sucks. The first girl you like in a long time, and she’s got another man. JAMES
I don’t like her like... it’s not like that. She’s just a patient... BRAEDEN Who you see all the time. And who you think about all the time. Who you dream about all the time? JAMES I don’t dream about her. BRAEDEN That’s right. You have enough good real life memories for that, don’t you? JAMES You’re not funny. BRAEDEN I wasn’t trying to be funny. But then again, I can’t ever really gauge with you. Do you want me to try to be funny. JAMES Not really.
BRAEDEN A grasshopper walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender sees him and says to him “Whoa! Did you know we have a drink named after you?” And the grasshopper goes: “Whoa! You have a drink called Steve?” James musters a small smile, and shakes his head. BRAEDEN And there it is. Braeden joins James and they continue to swing as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE EIGHT. The office. Six weeks later. When the lights come up, Ellie is already in a gown, sitting on table. She is on the phone with Charlie. ELLIE
But baby, I don’t understand. I just... you never told me that you were going out of town... but... baby, it’s my birthday! You never said... oh... ok... well I love... The phone clicks off. She sighs. James enters. He tries to keep things very professional. JAMES Sorry to keep you waiting. ELLIE It’s ok. JAMES How are things today? ELLIE You mean my cervix or my love life? JAMES Let’s start with the cervix. ELLIE I haven’t had sex. JAMES That’s good. ELLIE No. Not to Charlie. JAMES Oh. Right. ELLIE He doesn’t really understand. He doesn’t really try to understand. He’s kind of a... he really only has one way of thinking, one day to day routine, and when something throws it off, it really throws it off. Oh god, you don’t really care do you? I’m sorry. I should just stop talking. JAMES You don’t have to.
ELLIE No. I should. JAMES But you don’t have you. ELLIE But I’m going to. JAMES Whatever you want. So, healing is going well? ELLIE Yes. JAMES Any bleeding? ELLIE Um... a little. My period started two weeks ago, and the first week after, but it’s been normal now. JAMES Good. That’s good. Why don’t we take a look, huh? Palpable discomfort between the two of them, Ellie “assumes the position”. They are silent for a long time as James conducts the exam. Nothing like the first time, but Ellie does elicit a few moans of pleasure. James looks up, but he is mostly concentrated on his work. James finishes up. JAMES Well, it looks pretty good down there. ELLIE (making a joke) Why thank you, doctor. I try to trim a little bit. James looks at her with a blank stare. ELLIE That was a joke, Doctor.
JAMES It was very funny. ELLIE You didn’t laugh at it though. JAMES I’m sorry, I didn’t. ELLIE You don’t laugh much, do you? JAMES No. I guess I don’t. ELLIE Come to think of it... I rarely even see you smile. Why is that? JAMES Ms. Brookings, it’s clear to me that after our last session together... six weeks ago... I feel like... we should keep this relationship purely professional. ELLIE Oh. JAMES I’m sure you agree. ELLIE Sure. JAMES Thank you for respecting that. Now, if there are no more questions you have for me... everything looks good. I can set you up for an appointment in six months. ELLIE Six months? JAMES Yes. A year is too long.
ELLIE Six months is too long. JAMES Ms. Brookings... ELLIE Stop calling me that. Call me Ellie. I’ve told you so many times... JAMES What do you think this is? ELLIE What? JAMES What do you think this relationship is? Is it anything? ELLIE I don’t understand... JAMES You told me that you couldn’t get into a relationship with me. That you shouldn’t. This was a long time ago. And you showed up at my office that day... and just... got naked, and... you’re still with Charlie, and... ELLIE James... I’m not sure... JAMES Look I find it a little hard to express myself, okay? I mean, you come here, and go straight home to him. You come here, and go straight back to him. I mean... what is that about? ELLIE I love him. JAMES You love him? ELLIE
Yes. I do. JAMES Do you love him because... ELLIE I’m not going to dignify that question. I’m not going to answer to you why I love him. That’s just... too far. JAMES You felt something for me that day, didn’t you? I know you did. No one can share that kind of physical and emotional attachment to someone and not feel extremely intense emotions. ELLIE I don’t know what I was thinking. I was wrong. JAMES Why? Why were you wrong? ELLIE Because it didn’t mean anything, James! It didn’t mean anything! I was stupid. I was sad. You gave my first orgasm ever, and you’re my doctor. I know you didn’t think this would ever.... would ever come to anything. And it hasn’t. I was stupid. I was so stupid. JAMES You’re not. You’re not stupid. You’re beautiful. I think you’re beautiful. And I think I... ELLIE Whatever you’re about to say, don’t say it. JAMES What? ELLIE Don’t you dare say it. That’s not fair. JAMES What’s not fair?
ELLIE Don’t you dare say that you love me. JAMES Ellie... ELLIE No! You can’t! Because I can’t bear to break someone’s heart like that. I just can’t... I’ve had mine broken too many times... Ellie pauses for a long moment, she contemplates, hard. ELLIE James, I got a second opinion. JAMES What? ELLIE I got... I went to my mom’s doctor and she examined me... she ran some tests and... the LEEP didn’t work. JAMES What? ELLIE I... I haven’t told anyone yet. It was too late. Your tests missed something, or something, and I’m not... I have cancer. JAMES But we did all the tests! We were careful. ELLIE Obviously your technicians missed something. I have cancer. I found out three weeks ago. JAMES And you didn’t call to tell me? ELLIE Would you have cared?
JAMES Of course. You’re my patient. ELLIE Would you have cared in more than a professional way? JAMES Ellie... ELLIE I have to go. I start treatment on Monday. I think it’s best if I don’t see you. JAMES What kind of treatment? ELLIE Chemo, at first. If that doesn’t work... surgery. JAMES Surgery? ELLIE I’ll be fine. I’m strong. JAMES I know you are. ELLIE I don’t let anyone see me cry. JAMES That’s a good thing, I suppose. ELLIE I’ll be seeing you. She leaves. JAMES No... I suppose you won’t.
He stands in shock as the: LIGHTS FADE. SCENE NINE. The office. 3 months later. Braeden is cleaning up a few things, but he is not in his normal scrubs. He is wearing a suit and tie. He’s still straightening up James’ things. After a few moments, the phone begins to ring. BRAEDEN James Spencer’s office. Hello... yes, hi Dr. Markson, how are you? This is Nurse Stampler... you’re calling for the weekly update, perfect. How is she?... progressive, fantastic... so the chemo is working? He’ll be so happy to hear that. No... he’s not here, unfortunately... yes... I don’t know if you heard, but his mother died. He’s out at the funeral right now, I’m about to head out. Thank you for the update. I’ll let him know. Goodbye. He hangs up the phone. After a few more moments, James enters. He is also wearing a suit and tie. BRAEDEN What are you doing here? I thought you’d be at the funeral home. JAMES So much death there. BRAEDEN How do you feel? JAMES Numb. BRAEDEN You should really get back. JAMES I have to clean. BRAEDEN I can do it. JAMES
That’s not in your job description. You’re a nurse, not a housekeeper. BRAEDEN I really don’t mind. You’re my friend. JAMES Right. Thank you. BRAEDEN Sit down. Relax. James does. BRAEDEN Comfy? JAMES No. Not at all. He lets out a big sigh. BRAEDEN Miss her? JAMES Yeah, but I haven’t seen her in... what... three months? BRAEDEN I was talking about your mother. JAMES Oh... yes... I do. But I suppose she left a long time ago. Her body just caught up to her mind. BRAEDEN Did it ever... He trails off. JAMES What?
BRAEDEN Did it ever bother you? JAMES Did what bother me? BRAEDEN That here you are, a big fancy doctor, and you just couldn’t help your own mother. That you... had to see her like this every day. JAMES Yes. It made me feel so utterly helpless. Thank you for reminding me. BRAEDEN I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to... JAMES Of course not. BRAEDEN Are you angry with me? JAMES No... I’m sorry. I’m just... taking it out. BRAEDEN Maybe you’re numb now not because of your mother... JAMES Braeden, I’m sorry, but I really don’t need to hear another one of your bullshit theories on my life. BRAEDEN What? JAMES You’ve been spewing the same shit for months now, trying to be my friend, trying to offer advice, but it’s just not fucking working! BRAEDEN
Wow. I’m just trying to... JAMES Help? You’re just trying to help me? Well stop trying. It’s not going to work this time. BRAEDEN James... you’ve got to let it go. JAMES I... I can’t... BRAEDEN She’s gone. JAMES I know. She’s dead. BRAEDEN This time I’m not talking about your mom. I’m talking about her. JAMES Don’t you ever talk about her... BRAEDEN Could you for one second pretend not to be numb to her. JAMES You shut your goddamned mouth. BRAEDEN I mean, maybe if you would have taken better care of her, then she’d still be here. JAMES Goddamn it! BRAEDEN But you couldn’t keep her hear no matter what you did. You tried to care for her, but she still chose to leave. She chose to be with someone else. JAMES
If you don’t shut your goddamned mouth I’m going to... BRAEDEN You’re what? You’re going to what? Show a little fucking compassion for a change, instead of being a complete lump that just sits around all day waiting for things to happen to him. You let her slip away, James. You let her go. And who knows what state she’s in, huh? She could be dead by now, for all we know. Dead! Like your dead mother. In a rage, James flies at Braeden. They get into a physical altercation, wrestling. BRAEDEN Come on James, hit me! Show a little passion for once in your life! HIT ME! James hits Braeden. Braeden falls down, hurt. JAMES Oh, Jesus! James goes to Braeden to help him up. Braeden waves him off. BRAEDEN No... don’t help me. JAMES I’m sorry, man. I don’t know what came over me. BRAEDEN I do. Braeden looks at his hands, which now have blood on them from his nose. BRAEDEN A doctor made me bleed. JAMES Let me get you something for that. BRAEDEN No. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. Braeden starts laughing. BRAEDEN
You really got me good there, buddy. JAMES Are you sure you’re ok? BRAEDEN Of course I’m ok! That’s a hell of a right hook you got there. Good work. JAMES Thank you. James giggles a little bit, the first time we’ve hear him laugh the entire show. JAMES I can’t believe I just punched you in the face! BRAEDEN Yup, you did. JAMES You were kind of egging me on, though. BRAEDEN I know. JAMES You did it on purpose? BRAEDEN You’ll never know. Feel better? JAMES Yeah. I think so. BRAEDEN Got any big plans tonight? JAMES I think so... my mom’s funeral I think. BRAEDEN
Oh right. You gonna be ok? JAMES Yeah. Yeah I am. I feel great. BRAEDEN Why do you always act like that? JAMES Like what? BRAEDEN Like a stone wall, brick by brick... JAMES I guess I just feel like... I guess you kind of have to being a doctor. Being a nurse. We all have to stay strong somehow. BRAEDEN She’s in remission. JAMES What? BRAEDEN I know you talked her doctor into sending you updates. She called. JAMES Ellie’s doctor? BRAEDEN Yup. She says she’s in remission. No surgery needed. JAMES Good. Very good. BRAEDEN I heard she dumped Charlie too. JAMES
How’d you hear that? BRAEDEN We talk. Mostly about school and work, not really about you. JAMES Not about me? BRAEDEN Nope. She’s back at school. And now she’s better. She left Charlie. JAMES Charlie... BRAEDEN Yeah. Her dumb ex. JAMES Oh my god. BRAEDEN What’s wrong? JAMES Nothing’s wrong... James gets up and starts to run out. BRAEDEN Where are you going? Are you going back to the funeral home? JAMES Not right away. James is gone. BRAEDEN But wait! Where are you going? Braeden doesn’t follow, because he already knows the answer. He smiles as the: LIGHTS FADE.
SCENE TEN. The classroom. Ellie is standing in front of an easel, that has a large diagram of the human heart on it. She is holding her pointer. Ellie has been through chemo, she is not wearing any makeup, and her hair has fallen out, so she is wearing a wrap around her head. Other than those things, she looks very good, and she is very upbeat. ELLIE Alright, everyone please listen up. This is the human heart. The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system which pumps blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions. She yells at Bobby again. ELLIE Bobby Gregory, not those kinds of contractions! Now class... what we really need to know about the human heart, besides that there are four chambers that pump blood to the body thereby making sure that the body can survive, is that sometimes it can. I know, it’s just a saying, a turn of phrase, but sometimes it can... and you sometimes break other people’s hearts... and you have to be strong, because sometimes... sometimes there isn’t anyone to help you put it back together again. The bell rings. ELLIE Alright class, good work from you all today. Have a good weekend! Ellie begins to put her things away. James runs in. Ellie just senses he is there, but doesn’t see him. ELLIE Bobby Gregory, if you don’t... She turns around, and sees him. ELLIE Oh. JAMES Hi. ELLIE Hello. What are you doing here?
JAMES I don’t like peanut butter. ELLIE What? JAMES I don’t like peanut butter. It think it’s disgusting... ELLIE What are you... JAMES I wet my bed until I was fourteen. ELLIE Jesus. JAMES I don’t trust people very easily because my ex-fiance cheated on me with my former best friend. It’s why I don’t really have friends. I stopped caring about anything much else when my mom got sick... ELLIE James, what are you doing? JAMES I just... you told me once that you didn’t know anything about me. Well... I’m... I’m telling you now. I want you to... ELLIE Why are you wearing a suit? James... today’s the funeral! JAMES You knew about that? ELLIE My mom told me. I was going to make an appearance after my class. But now... JAMES
I heard you broke up with Charlie. ELLIE Braeden told you that? JAMES Yes. ELLIE I did. If you care. JAMES I do care. I care immensely. ELLIE He... he was without. JAMES Without what? ELLIE (rambling) Just... without. Without anything. Love, compassion, intelligence. He blew me off and treated me like shit, so... fuck him, right? I mean... I don’t think he ever actually loved me, I mean he never said it. My mom hated him. He forgot my birthday. He made me pay at restaurants. He never came with me to chemo appointments. He cheated on me like... four times the six weeks I couldn’t have sex, and during the chemo I was so tired that I couldn’t do anything about it then either. He just... didn’t seem to care about me very much. I wasted so much time with him. JAMES When you could’ve been with me. ELLIE Don’t try to be all romantic with me, James. Not now. JAMES I love you, Ellie. ELLIE
What? JAMES I love you. Ellie is playful, not mean. ELLIE Oh, that’s so utter bullshit. JAMES What? ELLIE That’s bullshit. You waited that long to figure this out? Jesus Christ, I could tell our first appointment. Took you long enough. JAMES You knew? ELLIE Of course I knew. JAMES Ellie... ELLIE Come here. JAMES What? ELLIE Come here. He does. They kiss. They break and Ellie is crying. James starts laughing. ELLIE Why are you laughing? JAMES
I’m just... so happy. Ellie... you’re crying. Why are you crying? ELLIE I guess... for the same reason. They kiss again as the: LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK. END OF PLAY
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