Hypnic Jerk a play by Elizabeth Breed

SCENE. Gigi and Claire’s apartment. GIGI is sitting on the couch, taking a nap, when CLAIRE traipses in, startling Gigi away. CLAIRE. Oh… were you sleeping? GIGI. I was. CLAIRE. Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up. GIGI. That’s ok. What have you got there? CLAIRE. The bills. I already tallied your end, and with rent, utilities, cable… and yor student loans mixed with your credit card debt… that leaves you owing about 5500… that’s just this month. GIGI. Um… Claire… CLAIRE. Yup. That’s just your half. GIGI. What? CLAIRE. I’m sorry Gigi, but that’s what I tallied. GIGI. That can’t be right (She takes a look at the papers.) Oh my god… that’s right. CLAIRE. Also… your college called earlier. GIGI. My school? What did they want? CLAIRE. Well, seems your GED never actually became official. You have to back to school. GIGI. I have to go back to high school? CLAIRE. Oh god, no! Of course not! GIGI. Phew… CLAIRE. They want you to back to first grade. Elementary school. GIGI. You’ve got to be kidding! CLAIRE. I’m sorry. That’s what they said. GIGI. There has to be some mistake.

CLAIRE. No mistake. Here’s the message. (Claire gives Gigi the sheet of paper she wrote the note down on.) GIGI. Oh… I see what this is. CLAIRE. What? GIGI. I’m dreaming. CLAIRE. Dreaming? GIGI. Dreaming. This is all just a bad dream. I don’t have to go back to first grade. I don’t owe five thousand dollars in bills this month… CLAIRE. 5500. GIGI. And that ninja really wasn’t watching me. CLAIRE. Ninja? GIGI. Yeah, the ninja I saw over…(She points to a different part of the room.) Oh shit, where’d he go? CLAIRE. So, you’re dreaming? GIGI. I’ve got to be. CLAIRE. What a fucked up dream… GIGI. I know, right? CLAIRE. Gigi, you’re not dreaming. GIGI. Oh… ok, sure. Whatever. CLAIRE. This isn’t a dream. This is real life. Oh, also, your mom called. She’s a lesbian and your parents are getting a divorce. GIGI. Alright, that’s it. (She begins shaking her leg wildly.) CLAIRE. Are you having a seizure? GIGI. Hypnic jerk. CLAIRE. Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you, but there’s no need to name call. GIGI. No, hypnic jerk. It’s the falling sensation you get when you’re sleeping that wakes you up. Maybe if I do this enough I’ll wake up from this bad dream. CLAIRE. Gigi, it’s not a dream. This is real! (Gigi stops shaking her leg.) GIGI. Are you sure? (There is a knock on the door.)

CLAIRE. Are you expecting anyone? GIGI. No. Oh wait… this is a dream, and I’ve just realized that this is a dream, that means I can control it. CLAIRE. You can’t control real life. GIGI. But it’s not real life, Claire. It’s a dream, remember? A dream! I predict that Kiel will be on the other side of this door. CLAIRE. Who’s Kiel? GIGI. You remember. Kiel Wosmer, from college. I was completely in love with him, and he took me out a few times, but I was too much of a chicken to actually do anything with him. I think that it’s going to be him on the other side of the door. CLAIRE. You’re crazy. (Gigi opens the door and it’s in fact KIEL on the other end.) GIGI. Hello, Kiel Wosmer. CLAIRE. How did you do that? GIGI. I have no idea. KIEL. Hi, Gigi. GIGI. Oh my god, he remembers my name. KIEL. Of course I remember your name. I was deeply in love with you for a whole day and a half. GIGI. Oh my god, did you hear that? CLAIRE. He was in love with you for a whole day and a half! Ah! KIEL. I just moved down the hall. GIGI. You did not! KIEL. I did. GIGI. Of course you did. This is my epicly awesome dream, isn’t it? KIEL. Do you want to make out a little? GIGI. Duh. (Kiel goes to Gigi and they start to kiss. Claire looks on.) CLAIRE. I’m so jealous right now. GIGI. Of course you are. It’s my dream. (They kiss again, and then Gigi stops. She thinks she has seen something.) Did you see that?

KIEL. See what? GIGI. I thought I saw… I thought I saw a ninja. KIEL. Silly girl, you can’t see ninjas. They’re ninjas. GIGI. Oh! Right. (She kisses him once, then stops. ) I feel like… Kiel… that I should quote some Shakespeare to you to profess my true emotions. CLAIRE. You don’t know any Shakespeare. GIGI. Regardless, I feel as if I should. Is that ok with you? KIEL. As long as we can go back to making out very soon. GIGI. Deal. “If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it, so that the appetite may sicken and so die…” (Gigi is interrupted by SHAKESPEARE charging through the door.) SHAKESPEARE. No, no, no! What in the good hell dost thou thinkst thou art doing? GIGI. What? SHAKESPEARE. Thou art butchering my melodious words with thy tomfoolery. GIGI. Huh? SHAKESPEARE. Thy mis-marked words are an affront to art! GIGI. I’m sorry, I still don’t… SHAKESPEARE. You’re fucking it up! CLAIRE. Who are you? SHAKESPEARE. Who dost thou thinks I am? CLAIRE. Are you Benny Handleburg who lives in 4A. He is a cross-dresser. SHAKESPEARE. I am William P. Shakespeare, you attlepated ethiop! The greatest author in the last thousand years! KIEL. Did you just call yourself the best author. That seems a little egotistical, don’t you think? SHAKESPEARE. Who art thou, thou painted nancy-boy. GIGI. Mr. Shakespeare, please don’t ruin this for me. SHAKESPEARE. I shall ruin it for whomever ruins my words! KIEL. I don’t believe this. William Shakepeare is cock-blocking me!

SHAKESPEARE. What is this term… “cock blocking”. I mean, I know what a cock is. Are you trying to say that my mere prescence here is preventing your chickens from escaping. KIEL. In a matter of speaking. Really, you’re just a pain in the ass. SHAKESPEARE. Now, what have I done to your donkey? KIEL. You’re really pissing me off. SHAKESPEARE. Hadst I made you inebriated. KIEL. You have… with rage! (Shakespeare and Kiel begin to wrestle. GIGI. Oh please boys, don’t fight! (THE BUNNY enters. She hops in, and chews on a carrot.) What the fuck? (Gigi screams, and hides behind Kiel.) CLAIRE. What is your problem? GIGI. Does anyone else see the giant, human sized bunny besides me? KIEL. What bunny? CLAIRE. Gigi, I think you’re seeing things. GIGI. It’s right there. Eating a carrot. THE BUNNY. They can’t see me. Sorry. GIGI. Oh my god… she’s so unbalanced… KIEL. First she was claiming she was seeing a ninja, when everyone knows that you can’t see ninjas, and now… we’ll now she’s acting crazy, like she’s actually seeing a human sized bunny. CLAIRE. Gigi, are you ok? GIGI. No… I’m not ok. I’m not. This is freaking me out! This is the worst dream ever! (She starts shaking her leg wildly.) KIEL. Oh my god, is she having a seizure? CLAIRE. Hypnic jerk. KIEL. Hey, there’s no need for name calling. CLAIRE. You know that sensation of falling that you get sometimes and it shakes you awake? Hypnic jerk. She’s trying to wake up. She’s terrified of bunnies. SHAKESPEARE. Who the hell is terrified of bunnies?

GIGI. Me. I’m terrified of bunnies. Fuck bunnies. Oh my god this dream could not get any worse. The next thing I know, my dress will fall off and Anderson Hobart is going to come through that door. (Sure enough, ANDERSON HOBART comes through the door. Gigi stands up.) Oh my god. (And her dress falls off. She screams again.) ANDERSON HOBART. Hello, all. SHAKESPEARE. Who’s Anderson Hobart? CLAIRE. Some famous actor Gigi is in love with. He butchered your language in a move he was in recently. SHAKESPEARE. That perfect ass! CLAIRE. Exactly. ANDERSON HOBART. Is Gigi here? GIGI. He knows my name? Oh my good god. ANDERSON HOBART. Hi Gigi. You look great. GIGI. Hi Anderson Hobart. I liked your last movie. ANDERSON HOBART. The one where I got completely naked? GIGI. That’s the one. ANDERSON HOBART. Can I tell you a secret? GIGI. Of course. ANDERSON HOBART. I didn’t use a body double. (Both Claire and Gigi sigh deeply at this comment. Kiel becomes quite jealous.) KIEL. Hey, maybe you should leave. CLAIRE. No, no, don’t make the handsome, famous, rich, sexy man leave. GIGI. Make the bunny leave! THE BUNNY. (Still chewing on her carrot.) HEY! I didn’t do anything to you. GIGI. GA! There’s that stupid ninja again! (Everyone looks around.) ANDERSON HOBART. I don’t see a ninja. All I see is your beautiful face. KIEL. Oh, give me a break! I doubt that you are even capable of real human emotions!

ANDERSON HOBART. Oh please, little boy, leave this alone. I’m in love with Gigi. And I’m going to use the words of William Shakespeare to prove it. SHAKESPEARE. Like hell you will! KIEL. Then I guess we’ll fight for her! GIGI. Fight? ANDERSON HOBART. To the death? KIEL. To the death. SHAKESPEARE. Oh! That is so like me! GIGI. Now boys, don’t we think that this is getting just a little bit out of hand? CLAIRE. Shhh! I want to watch the cute boys fight! GIGI. Claire, you’re not helping! CLAIRE. Of course I’m not! I want to see them wrestle. THE BUNNY. Me too! SHAKESPEARE. Yes please. KIEL. Then let’s do it! Your move, pretty boy! (Anderson lunges for Kiel and they brawl. This continues on for a few minutes, and then Gigi breaks them off.) GIGI. NO, NO, NO! There is not going to be any more fighting in this house! If it’s not fighting, it’s crazy visions of me having to repeat all 12 years of grade school, and large monthly bills piling up, and my own MOTHER’s SEXUALITY. And I can’t take it! I don’t even care that half of this dream is really a dream come true because the other half is hell! Pure hell, and I want nothing more than to get out of this nightmare! Between you, and Anderson Hobart, and The Bunny, and William Shakespeare, and the GODDAMNED NINJA I am completely sick and tired. This is the worst dream ever, and frankly… (She shakes her leg wildly.) I want to WAKE UP! (Anderson and Kiel look at one another and advance on her, flirtatiously.) KIEL. Do you really feel that way? GIGI. Well… ANDERSON HOBART. Do you really want to wake up? GIGI. What’s…? KIEL. Because there may be a way for both of us to have you… if you want.

CLAIRE. Wow… now THAT’s the dream. GIGI. I don’t know what you… ANDERSON HOBART. Can’t we… share you? GIGI. Um… (Silently, the bunny, Shakespeare, and Claire leave, leaving Gigi with the two men.) KIEL. I think it would be fun, don’t you? ANDERSON HOBART. Very much so. What do you say, Gigi? GIGI. There are no words. KIEL. We’ll take that as a yes. (Kiel picks up Gigi and throws her on the couch, eliciting the dreaded hypnic jerk. The lights shift slightly, Anderson and Kiel exit, and Gigi is startled awake.) GIGI. Oh jesus… Kiel? Anderson Hobart? Claire? Shakespeare? Bunny? Ninja? (She checks behind the couch.) Oh wow… what a dream. (Claire enters.) CLAIRE. Oh… weren’t you sleeping? GIGI. I was. CLAIRE. Sorry. Did I wake you up? GIGI. No. You didn’t. What have you got there? CLAIRE. Bills. I tallied them up for you. You owe 55… GIGI. Oh god no! (She shakes her leg wildly.) CLAIRE. What are you doing? GIGI. Trying to wake up. CLAIRE. It’s just 55 dollars for your half of the utilities. Are you ok? GIGI. Yeah. I’m fine. (She stops shaking her leg.) CLAIRE. Want to go out tonight? We can see the new Anderson Hobart movie, That Shakespeare adaptation. Apparently he gets completely naked! GIGI. Yeah. That sounds great. Then maybe a bar after? CLAIRE. Sounds great. Can I borrow your blue dress? GIGI. Sure. (They start to go offstage towards the bedrooms.) CLAIRE. You’ll never guess who I ran into downstairs. Kiel Wosmer!

GIGI. Really? CLAIRE. Yeah, apparently he just moved into 4A… (They are gone. The stage is still for a few moments, and then THE NINJA pops through, being all sneaky, and goes out the door, leaving the audience wondering if the dream ever actually ended. The lights go out quickly as soon as the door latches.) END OF PLAY