CHAPLIN CAFÉ There are three small tables with two people seated at each table.

The first will be two young women, Megan and Abby, one of which has a self-image problem. Abby Did you get the salad with the… um… walnuts? Megan No. I don’t like walnuts. Abby Me neither. Megan Then why did you ask? Why do you care? Abby I can’t stand silence. If you ever notice, I’ve always gotta be talking. Megan I have noticed that you never shut up. Abby That’s a polite way to put it. Megan You asked. Abby But it wasn’t a real question. Megan How do you ask a non-real question? Abby Ever heard of a rhetorical question? Megan Sure, but whether or not me hearing a tree fall is different than you asking me if I ever noticed anything. They’re two completely different things. Abby Have you ever noticed that a tree falls even if there’s no one around?

Megan You’re stupid. Abby You don’t have to put me down just because you’re wrong. Megan How am I wrong? Abby Because you know you ordered the salad with the walnuts. Megan Did I? Abby No, I’m just messing with you. So what have you been up to now that you’re single? Megan Not much. I really thought that being single would feel a lot more free, but really all I do is sit around and watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Abby Do you miss him? Megan Not at all. I just wish I had something to do. Abby Give it time. Megan Yeah but I’m not getting any younger. Abby You’re the same age as me. Megan Inside, I feel like I’m fifty. Abby But isn’t fifty the new thirty? Megan Don’t say that bullshit. I was in the bathroom today,

and I just kept staring at myself. But it was weird because I felt like I wasn’t looking at myself, it was…it was a complete stranger. Abby Why with this again? Megan I’m serious, I didn’t recognize that person. It’s like that scene in Duck Soup, what should be my reflection isn’t. Abby Those Marx Brothers are putting ideas in your head again. I guess that’s alright as long as it isn’t Karl. Megan Can you not talk out your ass for like two seconds? I’ve got a problem and you’re making communist jokes. Abby Lighten up. Megan I can’t. I can’t lighten up. Do you understand that I looked into a mirror and saw someone else? It’s like I’m not real. I don’t exist. Abby I’m sorry. Megan (slowly) I don’t know who I am. I’m no one. I… I’m nothing. If I died tomorrow, three months from now only a handful of people would remember me. and their memories would be a thousand times better than I actually am. Abby That isn’t you talking. Megan I know, I know. (pause) You know, I would kill myself, only I don’t know how to tie a knot. My brother was a boy scout but I wasn’t even allowed to be a Brownie.

Abby Don’t be morose. You know as well as I do that you’d never kill yourself. Too many sunken costs. Megan What? Abby You’ve invested too much into yourself, that's why you can’t make drastic changes in your life. It’s like the welfare system. Megan You just compared me to the welfare system. Abby Well you both give losers free rides. I’m kidding. Megan I know but I can’t blame the thought for entering into my mind. It’s like I hate myself. I wasn’t good enough for him, so I’m good enough to be myself. There’s a flaw or something with me, in my mind or with my body. My personality is no good, something. Abby Maybe you’re just confusing yourself with walnuts. Megan Stop it with the goddamn walnuts already. (pause) Megan stops for a minute and puts a fist up to her mouth. Suddenly she is overcome with great sadness and finally opens up.

Megan I miss him. That’s the whole problem. I miss him so damn much. There isn’t a part of my being that doesn’t shake at the mention of his name. But it’s over you know? And he was such an asshole. Abby Still is. Megan

Why do I go for the asshole? Abby Why’s every guy go for my asshole? Again I’m sorry. Megan I should know better, and yet I just get my heart broken. And I’ve done it so many times. Abby You’re just a slow learner. Enter waitress with food. Megan (to waitress) Thank Jesus, I thought it would never come. Waitress It just takes time. End conversation. The second conversation is between two guys, Joel and Brent. Joel (taking a drink) I really don’t like tea. It’s very feminine. Brent I don’t think it is. I think you see it that as a British thing. And no one is as feminine as the British. Joel I got think so. I mean, you get those backward hicks that love their sweet tea in the South. Brent You know my mom is from Alabama. Joel I’m sorry. Brent That’s okay. Joel I meant you for you. It must have been hard being smarter than your mom since you were five.

Brent Come on man… Joel I’m just kidding. I think your tampon is in too far. Brent Just leave my mom alone. And stop running tea in the ground. Joel What about coffee? Brent How ‘bout you not critique any beverages that contain caffeine? Joel Okay, take it easy. Brent I’ve been a little on edge lately. Joel Why? Closet angst? Brent I’m not gay. That’s the problem. Joel You wanna be gay? Brent No, not really. It’s just that I’m on kinda this draught. Joel Even Babe Ruth went though slumps. Brent Really? Joel No, he was the Sultan of Swing. What the hell are you thinking? Brent That helps. Wasn’t he the Sultan of Swat?

Joel Man, you’re right. Brent Wasn’t Sultan of Swing a Dire Straights Song? Joel So what, no one likes you. No one likes me. Lucky for me I knocked up Becky and that was that. Brent If only I could be so lucky. Joel Hey, that kid is a blessing. Brent I’m not saying otherwise. I just think that a baby is a healthy foundation for a relationship. Joel Different strokes to role the world. Brent I haven’t…I don’t know how to say this without embarrassing myself…I haven’t been on a date in like two years. Joel Why not? Brent It’s not like wishing dishes. Joel What? Brent It isn’t easy. Joel Yes it is. Women are fools. They’ll believe whatever you tell them. Brent Something tells me that’s not right.

Joel Whatever, don’t believe me. Brent I just have trouble going up to them. Joel Why? Brent Because I’m me. If you were me it wouldn’t be orgies and sex slaves. It would be bestiality websites and rope burn. Joel That’s your first problem. You’re too down on yourself. I only want to hear positive things coming out of your mouth. Brent But don’t girls like that self-deprecating kind of humor? Look at Woody Allen. Joel Woody Allen’s a great role model if you want to bang your Asian stepdaughter. Brent She’s Korean. Joel Isn’t Korea in Asia? Brent I don’t know, just be more specific. I think you’re missing my point. Joel You haven’t said anything to make a point. Brent Listen, I am what I am, I wanna be myself. I don’t want to have to play games. You know, the games people play. Joel Isn’t there a movie or something called that, “The Games People Play?” Brent

I don’t know. Joel I just figured you would. You’re the guy with the thing… You can’t be yourself around girls. Lets be honest, you’re kind of creepy. Brent Hey! You’re probably right. Joel You just need to go up to a girl, say “Hi, my name is Brent. I want to get to know you.” Or compliment them. Tell them their hair looks nice or their teeth are white. Brent “That’s a pretty fragrance.” Joel No! Never talk about their scent. It seems too personal. What about that girl over there? Brent She’s cute, but she’s crying. Joel Better yet. Just go over and say that you can be her shoulder to cry on. Brent I’d rather not. Joel Don’t mess this up. The only thing easier than crying chicks are drunk chicks. I don’t see any of them around. Brent Give it an hour. There’s probably a reason she’s crying. Joel Yeah, her vagina is lonely. Brent You know we’re in public right. You just can’t say vagina all willy-nilly. Joel Vagina! Vagina! Vagina!

Brent That’s nice, now Larry Flint will appear like Beetlejuice. What happened to chivalry? Joel It was killed by the black death. Dude, it’s 2006. Brent No matter the year, woman like to be treated right. Joel Who’s to say what’s right? Brent I don’t know. I just think that the right girl will come to me. Joel Yeah and with that attitude nothing will be coming. Brent Lets just agree to disagree. Joel This isn’t a Gershwin song. We can’t call the whole thing off. Brent You know I’ve had a lot of sandwiches in my life, but this Reuben takes the cakes. Joel So you’re just gonna sit there eating your stupid sandwich and change the subject? End second conversation The final conversation involves a couple, Rachel and Tony. Their relationship is almost over. Rachel I was on the bus today and the two women next to me were having the most uninteresting conversation. Tony About what? Rachel I can’t remember…it was so boring. I think it was about…no, I can’t remember.

Tony That in itself was interesting. Rachel Why are you always so sarcastic? Tony It’s my nature. Rachel You don’t even know what that means do you? Tony Yes. I have a ratio that I give a sarcastic response to an idiotic remark. Rachel Sometimes you can be so mean. Tony But that’s what you love about me. Rachel No, I don’t. Tony Come on, I’m kidding. Don’t make a whole thing out of this. Rachel Don’t make a thing? Tony You know how you do sometimes. You make things. Some might call them “scenes,” others might call it drama. I’m not a fag, so I call it “things.” Rachel How long have I done this? Tony It isn’t a matter of how long you’ve done it. It’s more a matter of how long I’ve paid attention to it. Rachel

So this annoys you? Tony Hey, I’m not here to offend you. It’s one of your flaws, I’m getting used to it. Rachel One of my flaws? Tony You’ve got a couple. Rachel Like what? Tony You kind of stopped working out since we’ve been together. Rachel I had a broken leg for the last three months. You can’t swim the English Channel with a cast on your leg. Tony I’m just saying. Rachel You’re just saying? How about I say a few things? Tony Knock yourself out. Rachel What about when you leave at night? You never say where you’re going, when you're gonna be back, nothing. Tony I go bowling. Rachel Okay Al Bundy, you hate bowling. Don’t lie to me. Tony I’m not lying.

Rachel You know, I don’t even care. Tony What about when you say that you’re gonna go the movies with me and then you stand me up? Rachel Rarely, rarely does that happen. Tony Three times is three times too many. “I’ve gotta baby sit. I’ve gotta do this. I’ve gotta do that. I’ve gotta do anything except be with you.” Rachel Things come up. Plans do change. Tony You could’ve given me a heads up at least. Rachel You know that movie that says that being in love means you don’t have to say you’re sorry? Bullshit. Love is all about sorrow and regret. I said I was sorry for those things a million times and you can’t let it go. Grow up. Tony Grow up? Rachel Yeah, I just said that. Why don’t you stop repeating everything I say? Tony Don’t get angry. Rachel You’ve left me little recourse. Tony I love you.

Rachel Do ya? Tony Yes. you know you love me too. Rachel I don’t know. Tony I know that you do. Rachel I’ve loved a lot of people in my life. I used to love you, I think. I used to my dad. I used to love a lot, that's what got me into trouble. Tony (reassured) I love you and you love me. Rachel I think I did. And I think it stopped. And that isn’t easy for me to say. I always saw myself a romantic. Tony You can be. Rachel I’m a realist. You have to be. Tony We can run off and get married. Rachel Why do you care? Tony Don’t talk like that. I control the sarcasm, okay? Rachel You do get it, do you? Tony Get what? It isn’t over.

Rachel Just wake up. Tony Remember that song? That was our song. “Look Me Over Closely.” Remember that one part. “I’m a port in a storm. You’ll shelter where it’s warm. In my arms you will hide, from the great, big world outside.” Rachel If you think that you’re pitiful karaoke can save this you’re wrong. I’m not the marrying kind. Tony (after gathering his thoughts) I’ll never let you down. Silence It’s that what every girl wants to hear? Rachel What I want to hear doesn’t matter. What matters is who’s saying. End scene and end shitty play.

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