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THE ODD COUPLE

__________________________
A full-length play
By Neil Simon

ii.
ACT I
Time: A warm summer night.
Scene: The apartment of Brooke Madisons. This
is one of those large eight-room affairs on
Riverside Drive in the upper eighties. The
building is about 35 years old and still has
vestiges of its glorious past. High ceilings, walk-
in closets and thick walls. We are in the living
room with doors leading off to kitchen,
bedrooms, and a bathroom, and a hallway to
other bedrooms. Although the furnishings have
been chosen with extreme good taste, the room
itself is a study in slovenliness. Dirty dishes,
discarded clothes, old newspapers, empty
bottles, glasses filled and unfilled, opened and
unopened laundry packages, mail and
disarrayed furniture abound. The only cheerful
note left in this room is the lovely view of the
New Jersey Palisades through its twelfth floor
window. Three months ago, this was a lovely
apartment.
At Rise: A poker game is in progress. There are
six chairs around the table but only five women
are sitting. They are simply Missy, Renee,
Sasha and Vicky. Vicky with the largest stack of
chips in front of her is nervously tapping her
foot and keeps checking her watch. Renee is
watching Sasha and Sasha is glaring at Missy
with incredulity and utter fascination. Missy is
the dealer. She slowly and methodically tries to
shuffle. It is a ponderous and painful business.
Sasha shakes her head in disbelief. This is all
done wordlessly.
RENEE
Geez, it stinks in here.
VICKY
(looks at her watch)
What time is it?
SASHA
Again what time is it?
VICKY
(whiny)
Id like to know what time it is.
SASHA
(glares at her)
Where the hell are you running?
VICKY
Im not running anywhere. I just asked what time it was.
RENEE
(looks at watch)
Its ten-thirty.
(Pause. Missy continues to shuffle.)
VICKY
(pause)
I got to leave by twelve.
SASHA
(looks up in despair)
Oh, Christ!
VICKY
I told you that when I sat down. I said I got to leave by twelve.
MISSY
Im really worried about Flora.
(dealing cards)
Shes never been this late before.
RENEE
(yells off)
Hey, Brooke! In or out?
(From Offstage we hear BrookeS VOICE.)
BROOKE
(off)
Out, pussy cat, out!
(Sasha opens, and the OTHERS bet.)
VICKY
I need to make an eight oclock plane to Florida.
2.
SASHA
Give me two . . .
(discards)
RENEE
Why doesnt she fix the air-conditioner? Its ninety-eight degrees in here. Im
out.
(goes to window and looks out)
MISSY
Who goes to Florida in July?
VICKY
Its off season. Theres no crowds and you get the best room for one-tenth the
price. No cards . . .
SASHA
Some vacation. Six cheap people in an empty hotel.
MISSY
Dealer takes four . . . You think Flora is sick?
(she points to empty chair)
RENEE
(takes laundry bag from armchair and
sits)
You know its the same garbage from last weeks game. Im beginning to
recognize things.
MISSY
(throwing cards down)
Im out . . .
SASHA
(showing hand)
Two king . . .
VICKY
Straight . . .
(shows hand and takes in pot)
MISSY
Hey, maybe shes in her office locked in the bathroom again. Did you know
Flora was once locked in the bathroom overnight? She wrote out her entire will
on a half a roll of toilet paper! . . . Heee, what a nut!
[Sasha takes cards, shuffles them up and begins
dealing.]
3.
MISSY
(yells off)
Hey, Brooke, what do you say?
BROOKE
(enters carrying a tray with soda and
beer, sandwiches, can of peanuts, and
opened bags of pretzels and Fritos.)
Im in! Im in! Go ahead. Deal!
(Brooke Madison is 43. She is a pleasant,
appealing woman. She seems to enjoy life
to the fullest. She enjoys her weekly
poker games, her friends, and her
excessive drinking. She is also one of
those lucky creatures in life who even
enjoys her work, a sportswriter for the
New York Post. Her carefree attitude is
evident in this sloppiness of her
household but it seems to bother others
more than it does Brooke. This is all not
to say that Brooke is without cares or
worries. She just doesnt seem to have
any.)
VICKY
Arent you going to look at your cards?
BROOKE
(sets tray on side chair)
What for? Im gonna bluff anyway.
(opens bottle of Coke)
Who gets the Coke?
MISSY
I get a Coke.
BROOKE
My friend Missy, the policewoman, gets a warm Coke.
(he gives her the can)
RENEE
(opens the betting)
You still didnt fix the refrigerator? No wonder it stinks in here.
BROOKE
(picking up her cards)
Temper, temper. If I wanted to be pestered, Id go back with my husband . . .
(throws them down)
Im out . . . Who wants food?
4.
MISSY
What have you got?
BROOKE
(looks under bread)
I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches . . .
MISSY
Whats the green?
BROOKE
Its either very new cheese or very old meat.
RENEE
How can you live like this?
BROOKE
The pots shy. Who didnt put in a quarter?
MISSY
(to Brooke)
You didnt.
BROOKE
(puts in money)
You got a big mouth, Missy. Just for that, lend me twenty dollars.
(Sasha deals another round.)
MISSY
I just loaned you twenty dollars ten minutes ago.
(ALL join in a round of betting.)
BROOKE
You loaned me ten dollars twenty minutes ago. Learn to count, pussy cat.
MISSY
Learn to play poker, chicken-licken. I keep winning my own money back.
(The PHONE rings. Brooke picks up phone)
BROOKE
Hello! Brooke the Poker Player!
VICKY
(to Brooke)
If its my husband tell him Im leaving at twelve.
5.
(The game continues during Brookes phone
conversation, with Renee dealing.)
BROOKE
(into phone)
Who? . . . Who did you want, please? . . . Molly? Molly who? . . . No, theres no
Molly here . .. Oh, Mommy!
(to OTHERS)
For crise sakes, its my kid.
(back into phone, he speaks with great
love and affection)
Brucey, hello, baby. Yes, its Mommy!
(There is a general outburst of ad-libbing
from the POKER PLAYERS. To
OTHERS)
Howve you been, sweetheart? . . . Yes, I finally got your letter. Next time you
tell Daddy to give you a stamp . . . I know, but youre not supposed to draw it
on . .. Whats that, darling . . . ? What goldfish? . . . Oh, in your room! . . . Oh,
sure. Sure, Im taking care of it . . .
(She holds phone over chest)
Oh, God, I killed my kids goldfish!
(back into phone)
Yes, I feed it every day.
RENEE
Murderer!
BROOKE
Daddy wants to speak to me? Right . . . Take care of yourself, soldier. I love you.
SASHA
Cost you a dollar to play, Brooke. You got a dollar?
BROOKE
Not after I get through talking to this guy.
(into phone. False cheerfulness)
Hello, Michael. How are you? . . . Yes . . . I have a pretty good idea why youre
calling . . . Im a week behind with the check, right? . . . Four weeks? Thats not
possible. . . Because its not possible . . . Michael, I keep a record of every check
and I know Im only three weeks behind! . . . Dont threaten me with jail because
its not a threat . . . Very nice, in front of the kids . . . Goodbye!
(He hangs up. To PLAYERS)
Im eight hundred dollars behind in alimony so lets up the stakes . . .
(gets drink from poker table)
. . . Please hold your cards up, I cant see where I marked them.
RENEE
You dont take any of this seriously, do you? You owe money to your husband,
your government, your friends . . .
6.
BROOKE
(the PHONE rings. She goes to answer
it)
Life goes on even for those of us who are divorced, broke and sloppy.
(into phone)
Hello? Divorced, Broke and Sloppy. Oh, hello, sweetheart.
(She becomes very seductive and pulls
phone to side and talks low, but still
audibly to OTHERS, who turn and
listen)
I told you not to call me during the game . . . I cant talk to you now. . . You know
I do, darling . . . All right, just a minute.
(he turns)
Missy, its your husband.
MISSY
Hello. . . Who? . . . Flora? . . . No, she didnt show up tonight . . . Whats wrong? .
. . Youre kidding! . . . How should I know? . . . All right, all right, goodbye . . .
(he hangs up. To OTHERS)
Well, what did I tell you? I knew it!
RENEE
Whats the matter?
MISSY
(pacing above the couch)
Flora is missing!
BROOKE
Who?
MISSY
Flora! Flora Ungar! The woman who sits in that chair every week and cleans the
table. I told you something was up.
BROOKE
Ill call her husband.
(she picks up phone, dials and waits for it
to ring)
Hi, Fallon, do you have any idea where Flora could be? . . . She what? . . . Youre
kidding . . . Why? . . . No, I didnt know . . . Gee, thats too bad . . . All right,
listen, Fallon, you just sit tight and the minute I hear anything Ill let you know.
Right. . . . Gbye.
(She hangs up. They ALL look at her expectantly.
She gets up wordlessly and crosses to the table,
thinking. They ALL watch her a second, not being
able to stand it any longer.)
7.
BROOKE
They broke up!
RENEE
Who?
BROOKE
Flora and Fallon! They broke up! The entire marriage is through.
VICKY
What happened?
BROOKE
He wants out, thats all.
MISSY
Shell go to pieces. I know Flora. Shes going to try something crazy.
SASHA
Thats all she ever used to talk about. My beautiful husband. My wonderful
husband.
MISSY
Shell kill herself. You hear what Im saying? Shes going to go out and try to kill
herself.
SASHA
(to Missy)
Will you shut up, Missy? Stop being a cop for two minutes.
(to Brooke)
Whered she go, Brooke?
BROOKE
She went out to kill herself.
MISSY
What did I tell you?
RENEE
(to Brooke)
Are you serious?
BROOKE
Thats what he said. She was going out to kill herself. She didnt want to do it at
home cause the kids were sleeping.
VICKY
Why?
8.
BROOKE
Why? You know what shes like. She sleeps on the window sill. Love me or Ill
jump . . .
VICKY
(worried)
You think she really wants to kill herself? Maybe she just wants sympathy.
BROOKE
What shed really like is to go to the funeral and sit in the back. Shed be the
biggest cryer there.
VICKY
Isnt there someplace we could look for her?
SASHA
Where? Where would you look? Who knows where he is?
(The DOORBELL rings. They ALL look at Brooke.)
BROOKE
Of course! . . . If youre going to kill yourself, wheres the safest place to do it? . . .
With your friends!
(Vicky starts for door.)
MISSY
(stopping her)
Wait a minute! Lets play it nice and easy. If were calm, maybe shell be calm.
RENEE
(getting up and joining them)
Thats right. Thats how they do it with people out on the ledge. You talk nice
and soft.
(Sasha rushes over to them, and joins in the
frenzied discussion.
VICKY
Whatll we say to her?
MISSY
We dont say nothin. Like we never heard a thing.
BROOKE
(trying to get their attention)
You through with this discussion? Because she already could have hung herself
out in the hall.
9.
(to Vicky)
Vicky, open the door!
MISSY
Remember! Like we dont know nothin.
ALL rush back to their seats and grab up cards,
which they concentrate on with the greatest
intensity. Vicky opens the door. Flora Ungar is
there. About 44. Her clothes are rumpled as if she
had slept in them. Although she tries to act matter-
of-fact, there is an air of great tension and
nervousness about her.
FLORA
(softly)
Hi, Vic!
(Vicky quickly goes back to her seat and
studies her cards. Flora has her hands in
her pockets, trying to be very
nonchalant. Controlled calm.)
Hi, girls.
(They ALL mumble hello, but do not look
at her. She puts her coat over the railing
and crosses to the table.
Hows the game going?
(They ALL mumble appropriate remarks,
and continue staring at their cards.
Good! . . . Good! . . . Sorry Im late.
(Flora looks a little disappointed that no
one asks What? . . . She starts to pick
up a sandwich, changes her mind, and
makes a gesture of distaste. She vaguely
look around.
Any Coke left?
BROOKE
(looking up from her cards)
Coke? . . . Gee, I dont think so . . . I got a Sprite!
FLORA
(bravely)
No . . . I felt like a Coke.
(stands watching the game)
Anyone call about me?
BROOKE
Er . . . Not that I can remember.
(to OTHERS)
10.
Did anyone call for Flora?
(They ALL shrug and ad-lib No.)
Why? . . . Were you expecting a call?
FLORA
(looking at books on shelf)
No! . . . No! . . . Just asking.
(looking back at them from the window)
Gee, its a pretty view from here . . . What is it, twelve floors?
BROOKE
(quickly crossing to the window and
closing it)
No. Its only eleven. Thats all. Eleven. It says twelve but its really only eleven.
(she then turns and closes the other
window as Flora watches her. Brooke
shivers slightly)
Chilly in here.
(to OTHERS)
Isnt it chilly in here?
(crosses back to table)
RENEE
Yeah, thats much better.
BROOKE
(to Flora)
Want to sit down and play? Its still early.
VICKY
Sure. Were in no rush. Well be here til three, four in the morning.
FLORA
(shrugs)
I dont know . . . I just dont feel much like playing now.
BROOKE
(sitting at table)
Oh! . . . Well . . . What do you feel like doing?
FLORA
(shrugs)
Ill find something . . .
(starts to walk toward other room)
Dont worry about me . . .
BROOKE
Where are you going?
11.
FLORA
(stops in the doorway. She looks at
OTHERS who are all staring at her)
To the bathroom.
BROOKE
(looks at others, worried, then at Flora)
Alone?
FLORA
(nods)
I always go alone! Why?
BROOKE
(shrugs)
No reason! . . . You gonna be in there long?
FLORA
(shrugs, then says meaningfully, like the
martyr)
As long as it takes.
(Then she goes into the bathroom and slams the
door shut behind her. Immediately they ALL jump
up and crowd about the bathroom door, whispering
in frenzied anxiety.
MISSY
Are you crazy? Letting her go to the bathroom alone?
BROOKE
What did you want me to do?
RENEE
Stop her! Go in with her!
BROOKE
Hows she going to kill herself in the bathroom?
SASHA
What do you mean, how? Razor blades, pills. Anything thats in there.
BROOKE
Thats the kids bathroom. The worst she could do is brush her teeth to death.
RENEE
She could jump.
12.
VICKY
Thats right. Isnt there a window in there?
BROOKE
Its only six inches wide.
MISSY
She could break the glass. She could cut her wrists.
BROOKE
She could also flush herself into the East River. Im telling you hes not going to
try anything!
(moves to table)
(There is the sound of the TOILET flushing and
Renee makes a mad dash back to her chair.)
RENEE
Shes coming!
(They all scramble back to their places. Missy gets
mixed up with Vicky and they quickly straighten it
out. Flora comes back into room.)
FLORA
I guess Ill be running along. . . Ohh, my stomach.
MISSY
Whats the matter with your stomach?
VICKY
She looks sick. Look at her face.
(All try to hold her as they lead her over to the
couch.)
FLORA
Im all right. I didnt take anything, I swear . . . Ohh, my stomach.
BROOKE
What do you mean? What did you take?
FLORA
(sitting on couch)
Nothing! Nothing! I didnt take anything . . .
BROOKE
Flora, did you take any pills?
13.
FLORA
No! No!
BROOKE
(grabbing Flora)
Dont lie to me, Flora. Did you take pills?
FLORA
No, I didnt. I didnt take anything.
MISSY
Thank God, she didnt take pills.
(ALL relax and take a breath of relief)
FLORA
Just a few, thats all.
(ALL react in alarm and concern over pills.)
BROOKE
She took pills
MISSY
How many pills?
BROOKE
What kind of pills?
FLORA
I dont know what kind. Little green ones. I just grabbed anything out of his
medicine cabinet . . .
BROOKE
Didnt you see what kind?
FLORA
I couldnt see. The lights broken. Dont call Fallon. Dont tell him.
BROOKE
Flora, how-many-pills-did-you-take?
FLORA
I cant remember.
BROOKE
Im calling Fallon.
14.
FLORA
(grabs her)
No! Dont call him. If he hears I took a whole bottle of pills . . .
MISSY
A whole bottle? A whole bottle of pills?
(he turns to Vicky)
My God, call an ambulance!
(Vicky runs to the front door.)
BROOKE
(to Missy)
You dont even know what kind!
MISSY
Whats the difference? She took-a-whole-bottle!
BROOKE
Maybe they were vitamins. She could be the healthiest one in the room! . . . Take
it easy, will you?
FLORA
I dont need a doctor.
MISSY
(starting heimlich)
You gotta get the pills out.
FLORA
I got them out. I threw up before!
BROOKE
(glares angrily at Flora)
She threw them up!
FLORA
(great emotion in her voice)
Its all over. Like that, its over.
MISSY
(patting her shoulder)
Its okay, Flora. Come on. Take it easy.
FLORA
Im all right. Honestly . . . Im just crying.
(she puts her head down. They all look at
her helplessly.)
15.
MISSY
All right, lets not stand around looking at her.
(pushes Sasha and Vicky away)
Lets break it up, heh?
FLORA
Yes, dont stand there looking at me. Please.
BROOKE
(to OTHERS)
Lets call it a night.
(Missy, Sasha, and Renee turn in their chips at the
poker table, get their coats and get ready to go.)
MISSY
Suppose she tries something again?
FLORA
(turns to Missy)
I wont try anything again. Im very tired.
BROOKE
(to Missy)
You hear? Shes very tired.. . . Good night, girls . . .
(ALL ad-lib goodbyes and leave. The door closes,
but opens immediately and Renee comes back in.)
RENEE
If anything happens, Brooke, just call me.
(She exits, and as door starts to close, it reopens
and Sasha comes in.)
SASHA
Im three blocks away. I could be here in five minutes.
(She exits, and as door starts to close it reopens and
Vicky comes back in.)
VICKY
If you need me Ill be at the Meridian Motel in Miami Beach.
BROOKE
Youll be the first one Ill call, Vicky.
16.
(Vicky exits. Brooke turns and looks at Flora sitting
in the armchair and slowly moves across the room.
There is a moments silence.)
BROOKE
(he looks at Flora and sighs)
Ohh, Flora, Flora, Flora, Flora!
FLORA
(sits with her head buried in her hands.
She doesnt look up)
I know, I know, I know! . . . What am I going to do, Brooke?
BROOKE
Youre gonna wash down the pills with some hot, black coffee . . .
(she starts for kitchen, then stops)
Do you think I could leave you alone for two minutes?
FLORA
No, I dont think so! . . . Stay with me, Brooke. Talk to me.
BROOKE
A cup of black coffee. Itll be good for you. Come on in the kitchen. Ill sit on
you.
FLORA
Brooke, the terrible thing is, I think I still love him. I didnt want this divorce.
BROOKE
How about Oreos? . . . Or Vienna fingers? . . . I got everything.
FLORA
What more does he want? What does any man want?
BROOKE
I want to know what you want. Oreos, coffee or tea. Then well get to the
divorce.
FLORA
Its not fair, dammit! Its just not fair!
(she bangs her fist on the arm of the chair
angrily and suddenly winces in great
pain and grabs her neck)
Ohhh! Ohh, my neck. My neck!
BROOKE
What? What?
17.
FLORA
(she is up and paces in pain. She is
holding her twisted neck)
Its a nerve spasm. I get it in the neck. Ohh! Ohh, that hurts.
BROOKE
(rushing to help)
Where? Where does it hurt?
FLORA
(stretches out arm like a halfback)
Dont touch me! Dont touch me!
BROOKE
I just want to see where it hurts
FLORA
Itll go way. Just let me alone a few minutes. . . . Ohh! . . . Ohh!
BROOKE
Stop fussing and let me do this?
(massages Floras neck)
FLORA
Brooke I think Im crazy.
BROOKE
Well, if itll make you feel any better . . . I think so, too.
FLORA
I mean it. Why else do I go to pieces like this?
BROOKE
Youre a panicky person. You have a low threshold for composure.
(touches her hair)
Look at this . . . The only woman in the world with clenched hair . . .
FLORA
I do terrible things, Brooke. You know Im a crybaby.
BROOKE
(massaging hard)
Listen, if this hurts just tell me because I dont know what the hell Im doing.
FLORA
It just isnt nice, Brooke, running up here like this, carrying on like a nut.
BROOKE
Where were you last night?
18.
FLORA
In a hotel. I walked around the room all night . . . Then I found myself looking
out the window. And suddenly . . . I began to think about jumping.
BROOKE
What changed your mind?
FLORA
Nothing. Im still thinking about it.
(moves to couch and sits next to Brooke)
Talk to me, Brooke. What am I going to do? . . . What am I going to do?
BROOKE
Youre going to pull yourself together then you and I are going to figure out a
whole new life for you.
FLORA
Without Fallon? Without the kids?
BROOKE
Its been done before.
FLORA
Brooke, youve been through it yourself. What did you do?
BROOKE
I drank for four days and four nights. And then I fell through a window. I was
bleeding but I was forgetting.
FLORA
How can you forget your kids? How can you wipe out twelve years of
marriage?
BROOKE
You cant. When you walk into eight empty rooms every night it hits you in the
face like a wet glove. But those are the facts, Flora. Youve got to face it. You
cant spend the rest of your life crying. It annoys people in the movies!
(stretches out on couch with head near
Flora. Flora suddenly puts both her
hands over her ears and hums quietly.)
Whats the matter now?
(sits up)
FLORA
My ears are closing up. I get it from the sinus. It must be the dust in here. Im
allergic to dust.
(she takes deep breaths)
I used to drive Fallon crazy with my allergies.
(she suddenly bellows like a moose.
19.
She does this strange sound another
time. Brooke looks at her dumbfounded)
BROOKE
What are you doing?
FLORA
Im trying to clear my ears. You create a pressure inside and then it opens it up.
(hse bellows again.)
BROOKE
Did it open up?
FLORA
A little bit.
(she rubs neck)
I think I strained my throat.
(paces around the room)
BROOKE
Flora, why dont you leave yourself alone? Dont tinker.
FLORA
I cant help myself. I drive everyone crazy. I dont blame, Fallon. Im impossible
BROOKE
It takes two to make a rotten marriage.
(lies back down on couch)
FLORA
You dont know what I was like at home. I had him buy a book then made him
write down every penny we spent. We had a big fight because he forgot to write
down how much the dumb book was . . . Who could live with anyone like that?
BROOKE
An accountant! . . . What do I know? We all have faults . . .
FLORA
Faults? Heh! . . . Faults . . . We have a maid who comes in to clean. After shes
done, I go in and clean the whole place again. I cant help it. Many times Fallon
was nice enough to cook. The minute he walked out of the kitchen I would add
salt or pepper. Its not that I didnt trust him, its just that I was a better cook. . . .
Well, I cooked myself out of a marriage.
(she bangs her head with the palm of her
hands)
Idiot!
BROOKE
Dont do that, youll get a headache.
20.
FLORA
I cant stand it, Brooke. I hate me. Oh, boy, do I hate me.
BROOKE
You dont hate you. You love you. You think no one has problems like you.
FLORA
I happen to know I hate my guts.
BROOKE
Come on, Flora, Ive never seen anyone so in love.
FLORA
(hurt)
I thought you were my friend.
BROOKE
Thats why I can talk to you like this. Because I love you almost as much as you
do . . .
FLORA
Then help me.
BROOKE
(up on one elbow)
How can I help you when I cant help myself? You think youre impossible to live
with? Ive been one of the highest paid sports writers in the East for the past
fourteen years and we saved eight and a half dollars in pennies! Im never
home, I gamble, I stay out to shoot pool and lie to him every chance I get, and
for our tenth wedding anniversary, I took Michael, Mr. Classical Music, to see
the New York Rangers-Detroit Red Wings hockey game, where he got hit with a
puck. And I still cant understand why he left me. Thats how impossible I am!
FLORA
You think I ought to call Fallon?
BROOKE
(about to explode)
What for?
FLORA
Well . . . Talk it out again.
BROOKE
Youve talked it all out. There are no words left in your entire marriage. When
are you going to face up to it?
FLORA
I cant help it, Brooke. I dont know what to do.
21.
BROOKE
Then listen to me. Tonight youre going to sleep here. And tomorrow youre
going to get your clothes and your electric tooth brush and youll move in with
me.
FLORA
No, no. Its your apartment. Ill be in the way.
BROOKE
Theres eight rooms. We could go for a year without seeing each other . . . Dont
you understand? I want you to move in.
FLORA
Why? Im a pest.
BROOKE
I know youre a pest. You dont have to keep telling me.
FLORA
Then why do you want me to live with you?
BROOKE
Because I cant-stand-living-alone, thats why! . . . For crying out loud, Im
proposing to you. What do you want, a ring?
FLORA
(moves to Brooke)
Well, Brooke, if you really mean it, theres a lot I can do around here.
(beginning to tidy up)
I can cook. Im a terrific cook.
BROOKE
You dont have to cook. I eat cold cuts for breakfast.
FLORA
Two meals a day at home, well save a fortune. Weve got to pay alimony, you
know.
BROOKE
(happy to see Floras new optimism)
All right, you can cook.
(throws pillow at her. The PHONE rings.
Brooke picks it up quickly.)
Hello? . . . . Oh, hello, Fallon!
FLORA
(stops cleaning and starts to wave her
arms wildly and whispers screamingly)
22.
Im not here! Im not here! You didnt see me. You dont know where I am. I
didnt call. Im not here. Im not here.
BROOKE
(into phone)
Yes, shes here.
FLORA
(pacing back and forth)
How does he sound? Is he worried? What is he saying? Does he want to speak to
me? I dont want to speak to him.
BROOKE
(into phone)
Yes, she is! . . .
FLORA
You can tell him Im not coming back. You can tell him if he thinks Im coming
back hes got another thing coming. Tell him. Tell him.
BROOKE
(into phone)
Yes! . . . Yes, shes fine.
FLORA
Dont tell him Im fine! You heard me carrying on before.
(sits down next to Brooke)
Does he want to speak to me? Ask him if he wants to speak to me.
BROOKE
(into phone)
Do you want to speak to him?
FLORA
(reaches for phone)
Give me the phone. Ill speak to him.
BROOKE
(into phone)
Oh. You dont want to speak to him.
FLORA
He doesnt want to speak to me?
BROOKE
(into phone)
Yeah, I see . . . Right . . . Well, goodbye.
(he hangs up)
23.
FLORA
He didnt want to speak to me?
BROOKE
(pats Flora on shoulder)
Listen, Flora, its almost one oclock.
(gets up)
Ill get you a pair of pajamas. You like stripes, dots, or animals?
(goes into Downstage bedroom)
FLORA
Hes really heartbroken, isnt he? . . .
BROOKE
(in bedroom)
Which bedroom do you want? Im lousy with bedrooms.
FLORA
(up and moves towards bedroom)
You know, Im glad. Because he finally made me realize . . . its over. It didnt
sink in until just this minute.
BROOKE
(comes back with pillow, pillowcase, and
pajamas)
Flora, I want you to go to bed.
FLORA
Somehow it doesnt seem so bad now. I mean I think I can live with this thing.
BROOKE
Live with it tomorrow. Go to bed tonight.
FLORA
In a little while. Ive got to start rearranging my life . . . Do you have a pencil and
paper?
BROOKE
Not in a little while. Now! Its my house, I make up the bedtime.
(throws pajamas to her)
FLORA
Brooke, please . . . I have to be alone for a few minutes. Go on, you go to bed . . .
Ill Ill clean up.
(begins picking up debris from floor)
BROOKE
Youre not going to do anything big, are you, like rolling up the rugs?
24.
FLORA
Ten minutes, thats all Ill be.
BROOKE
Youre sure . . . ?
FLORA
(smiles)
Im sure.
(Brooke tosses pillow and blanket to Flora
then exits into bedroom)
FLORA
(calls her)
Brooke!
(Brooke anxiously comes out of her
bedroom and crosses to Flora)
Im going to be all right! . . . Its going to take me a couple of days . . . but Im
going to be all right.
BROOKE
(smiles)
Good! Well good night, Flora.
(She turns to go toward bedroom as Flora begins to
plump up pillow from the couch.)
FLORA
Good night, Fallon.
(Brooke stops dead. Flora, unaware of her error,
plumps another pillow as Brooke turns and stares
at Flora with a troubled, troubled expression.)
CURTAIN
ACT II
SCENE 1
TIME: Two weeks later. About 11:00 P.M.
AT RISE: It is late in the evening and the poker
game is in session again. Vicky, Renee, Sasha,
Missy and Brooke are all seated at the table. Floras
chair is empty.
25.
There is one major difference between this scene
and the opening poker game scene. It is in the
appearance of the room. It is immaculately clean.
No, not clean. Sterile! Spotless! Not a speck of dirt
can be seen under the ten coats of Johnsons Glo-
Coat that have been applied in the last two weeks.
No laundry bags, no dirty dishes, no half-filled
glasses. Suddenly Flora appears from the kitchen.
She carries a tray with glasses and food and
napkins. After putting the tray down, she takes the
napkins one at a time, flicks them out to full length
and hands one to every player. They take them with
grumbling and put them on their laps. n.
FLORA
(moves to Missy)
. . . An ice-cold coke for Missy.
MISSY
(he reaches up for it)
Thank you, Flora.
FLORA
(holds glass back)
Wheres your coaster?
MISSY
My what?
FLORA
Your coaster. The little round thing that goes under the glass.
MISSY
(looks around the table)
I think I bet it.
BROOKE
(picks it up and hands it to Missy)
I knew I was winning too much. Here!
FLORA
Always try to use your coasters, girls.
(he picks up another drink from tray)
I hate to be a pest, but you know what wet glasses do?
BROOKE
(coldly and deliberately)
They-leave-little-rings-on-the-table.
26.
FLORA
(nods)
Eats right through the polish. A sandwich for Vicky.
(like a doting headwaiter, he skillfully
places the sandwich in front of Vicky)
VICKY
(looks at Flora, then at sandwich)
Gee, it smells good. What is it?
FLORA
Bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayonnaise on pumpernickel toast.
VICKY
(unbelievingly)
Whered you get it?
FLORA
(puzzled)
I made it. In the kitchen.
VICKY
You mean you put in toast and cooked bacon? Just for me?
BROOKE
If you dont like it, shell make you a meat loaf. Takes her five minutes.
FLORA
Try to eat over the dish. I vacuumed the rug.
(Flora starts out, then stops at a little box
on the bar)
Who turned off the Pure-A-Tron?
MISSY
The what?
FLORA
The Pure-A-Tron!
(she snaps it back on)
Dont play with this, ladies. Im trying to get some of the grime out of the air.
(She looks at them and shakes her head
disapprovingly, and exits. They ALL sit in silence a
few seconds.)
BROOKE
Missy Ill give you two hundred dollars for your gun.
27.
RENEE
(slumped in her chair, head hanging
down)
I cant breathe.
(points to Pure-A-Tron)
That lousy machine is sucking everything out of the air.
VICKY
(chewing)
Gee, this is delicious. Who wants a bite?
MISSY
Is the toast warm?
VICKY
Perfect. And not too much mayonnaise. Its really a well-made sandwich.
MISSY
Cut me off a little piece.
VICKY
Give me your napkin. I dont want to drop any crumbs.
SASHA
(watches them, horrified, as Vicky
carefully breaks sandwich over Missys
napkin. Then turns to Brooke)
Are you listening to this?
(almost crying in despair)
What the hell happened to our poker game?
RENEE
(still choking)
Im telling you that thing could kill us. Theyll find us here in the morning with
our tongues on the floor.
BROOKE
(rises, containing her anger)
Dont bother me with your petty little problems. Im cooped up here with Mary
Poppins twenty-four hours a day.
(moves to window)
RENEE
It was better before. With the garbage and the smoke, it was better before.
VICKY
He cuts off the crusts. Thats why the sandwich is so light.
28.
MISSY
And then he only uses the soft, green part of the lettuce.
(chewing)
Its really delicious.
SASHA
(takes kitty box from bookcase, puts it on
table, and puts money in.)
Im going home.
BROOKE
Sit down.
(yells)
Flora!
SASHA
Brooke, its all over.
(takes her jacket from back of chair and
crosses to door)
It you find some real players next week, call me.
BROOKE
(following her)
You cant run out now. Im a big loser.
SASHA
(with door open)
You got no one to blame but yourself. Youre the one who stopped her from
killing herself.
(she exits and slams door)
BROOKE
(stares at door)
Shes right! . . . She is absolutely right.
(moves to table)
MISSY
(to Vicky)
Are you going to eat that pickle?
VICKY
I wasnt thinking of it. Why? Do you want it?
(Vicky hold plate with pickle out to Missy. Brooke
slaps the plate which sends the pickle flying
through the air.)
29.
BROOKE
(to Vicky)
Keep your sanchwich and your pickles to yourself . . . Im losing ninety-two
dollars and everybodys getting fat!
(she screams)
Flora . . .
(Flora appears in the kitchen doorway.)
FLORA
What?
BROOKE
Close the kitchen and sit down. I still got an hour and a half to win this months
alimony.
RENEE
(sniffs)
What is that smell?
(he smells cards)
Its the cards. She washed the cards!
(throws down cards, takes jacket from
chair and moves above table. Puts money
into kitty box.)
FLORA
(comes to table with Brookes drink, which
she puts down, and then sits in her own
seat)
Okay . . . Whats the bet?
BROOKE
(hurrying to her seat)
I cant believe it. Were gonna play cards again.
(he sits)
Its up to Renee. . . Renee, baby, what are you gonna do?
RENEE
Im going to get in a cab and go to Central Park. If I dont get some fresh air,
you got yourself a dead accountant.
(moves towards door)
BROOKE
(follows her)
What do you mean? Its not even twelve oclock.
RENEE
(she crosses to door)
If you wanna have a game next week . . .
30.
(he points to Flora)
Louis Pasteur cleans up after weve gone. Good night!
(she goes and slams door
(There is a moments silence. Brooke goes back to
table and sits)
BROOKE
I swear, we used to have better games when we couldnt get out at night.
VICKY
(getting up and putting on jacket)
Well I guess Ill be going, too. You coming, Missy?
MISSY
(gets up, takes jacket and moves towards
door)
Yeah, why not? If Im not home by one oclock with a hero sandwich and a
frozen eclair, my husband will have a hissy fit . . . Ahh, you guys got the life.
FLORA
Who?
MISSY
(turns back)
Who? . . . You! Thelma and Louise. What have you got to worry about?
(Vicky waves goodbye and they both exit.)
FLORA
(staring at door)
Thats funny, isnt it, Brooke? . . . They think were enjoying this . . .
(gets up and begins to straighten up
chairs)
They dont know what its like.
(she gives a short, ironic laugh, tucks
napkins under arm and starts to pick up
dishes from table.)
BROOKE
Id be immensely grateful to you, Flora, if you didnt clean up just now.
FLORA
(puts dishes on tray)
Its only a few things. . . .
(she stops and looks back at door)
You know I think they really envy us.
(clears more stuff from table)
31.
BROOKE
Flora, leave everything alone. Im not through dirtying up for the night.
(drops poker chips on floor)
FLORA
(putting stuff on tray)
But dont you see the irony of it? . . . Dont you see it, Brooke?
BROOKE
(sighs heavily)
Yes, I see it.
FLORA
(clearing table)
I really dont think you do.
BROOKE
Flora, Im telling you I see the irony of it.
FLORA
(pauses)
Then tell me. Whats the irony?
BROOKE
(deep breath)
The irony is unless we can come to some other arrangement, Im gonna kill
you! . . . Thats the irony.
FLORA
Whats wrong?
(crosses back to tray, puts down glasses,
etc.)
BROOKE
Theres something wrong with this system, thats whats wrong. I shouldnt feel
like Im living with my mother.
FLORA
(gets rest of dishes, glasses and coasters
from table)
What are you talking about? You want me to leave the dishes here all night?
BROOKE
You can play the Pine Sol Lady all you want. But dont make me feel guilty.
FLORA
(takes tray into kitchen, leaving swinging
door open.)
Im not asking you to do it, Brooke. You dont have to clean up.
32.
BROOKE
Thats why you make me feel guilty. Youre always in my bathroom, hanging up
my towels.. . . Last night I found you washing the kitchen floor shaking your
head and moaning, Footprints, footprints!
(paces right)
FLORA
I didnt say they were yours.
BROOKE
(angrily; sits Down Right in wing chair)
Well, they were mine, damn it. I have feet and they make prints. What do you
want me to do, climb across the cabinets?
FLORA
No! I want you to walk on the floor.
BROOKE
I appreciate that! I really do.
FLORA
(crosses to telephone table and cleans
there)
Im just trying to keep the place livable. I didnt realize I irritated you that much.
BROOKE
I just feel I should have the right to decide when my bathtub needs a going over
with Super Scrub. . . Its the democratic way!
FLORA
(puts down silent butler and rag on coffee
table and sits down on couch, glumly)
I was wondering how long it would take.
BROOKE
How long what would take?
FLORA
Before I got on your nerves.
BROOKE
I didnt say you get on my nerves.
FLORA
Well, its the same thing. You said I irritated you.
BROOKE
You said you irritated me. I didnt say it.
33.
FLORA
Then what did you say?
BROOKE
I dont know what I said. Whats the difference what I said?
FLORA
It doesnt make any difference. I was just repeating what I thought you said.
BROOKE
Well, dont repeat what you thought I said. Repeat what I said! . . .My God, thats
irritating!
FLORA
You see! You did say it!
BROOKE
I dont believe this whole conversation.
(gets up and paces above table)
FLORA
(pawing with a cup)
Brooke, Im Im sorry. I dont know whats wrong with me.
BROOKE
(paces Down Right)
And dont pout. If you want to fight, well fight. But dont pout! Fighting I win.
Pouting you win!
FLORA
Youre right. Everything you say about me is absolutely right.
BROOKE
(really angry, turns to Flora)
And dont give in so easily. Im not always right. Sometimes youre right.
FLORA
Youre right. I do that. I always figure Im in the wrong.
BROOKE
Only this time you are wrong. And Im right.
FLORA
Oh, leave me alone.
BROOKE
And dont sulk. Thats the same as pouting.
34.
FLORA
I know. I know.
(she squeezes cup with anger)
Damn me, why cant I do one lousy thing right?
(she suddenly stands up and cocks her
arm back angrily about to hurl the cup
against the front door, then thinks better
of it and puts it down and sits.)
BROOKE
(watching this)
Why didnt you throw it?
FLORA
Because Im trying to control myself.
BROOKE
Why?
FLORA
What do you mean, why?
BROOKE
Youre angry, you felt like throwing the cup, why dont you throw it?
FLORA
Because theres no point to it. Id still be angry and Id have a broken cup.
BROOKE
How do you know how youd feel? Maybe youd feel wonderful. Why do you
have to control every single thought in your head? . . . Do something that you
feel like doing and not what you think youre supposed to do. Cmon, break the
Goddamned cup!
[Flora suddenly stands up and hurls the cup
against the door, smashing it to pieces. Then she
grabs her shoulder in pain.]
FLORA
Oww! . . . I hurt my arm!
(sinks down on couch, massaging her
arm)
BROOKE
(throws up hands)
Youre hopeless! Youre a hopeless mental case!
(paces about the table)
35.
FLORA
(grimacing with pain)
Im not supposed to throw with that arm. What a stupid thing to do.
BROOKE
Why dont you live in a closet? Ill leave your meals outside the door and run in
the internet. Is that safe enough?
FLORA
All right, cut it out, Brooke. Thats the way I am. I get hurt easily. I cant help it.
BROOKE
(shaking her head)
A world full of room-mates and I pick myself the Tin Man.
(sighs)
Oh, well, I suppose I could have done worse.
FLORA
(puts rag and silent butler on bar. Takes
chip box from bar and crosses to table)
Youre darn right, you could have. A lot worse.
BROOKE
How?
FLORA
I cook and clean and take care of this house. I save us a lot of money, dont I?
BROOKE
Yeah, but then you keep me up all night counting it.
FLORA
(goes to table and sweeps chips and cards
into box)
Now wait a minute. Were not always going at each other. We have some fun
too, dont we?
BROOKE
(crosses to couch)
Fun? Flora, getting a clear picture on Channel Two isnt my idea of whoopee.
FLORA
What are you talking about?
BROOKE
All right, what do you and I do every night?
(takes off sneakers, dropping them on
floor)
36.
FLORA
What do we do? You mean after dinner?
BROOKE
Thats right. After weve had your halibut steak and the dishes are done and the
sink has been Brillod and the pans have been S.O.S.d and the leftovers have
been Saran-wrapped what do we do?
FLORA
(finishes clearing table and puts
everything on top of bookcase)
Well, we read. . . We talk. . .
BROOKE
(takes off pants and throws them on floor)
No, no. I read and you talk. . . I try to work and you talk. . . I take a bath and you
talk. . . I got to sleep and you talk.
FLORA
(pulling Upstage kitchen chairs away
from table)
What are you saying? That I talk too much?
BROOKE
(sits on couch)
No, no. Im not complaining. You have a lot to say. Whats worrying me is that
Im beginning to listen.
SCENE 2
[Enter Brooke. The apartment is as tidy as has
become normal.]
BROOKE
(calls out, in a playful mood)
Im home, dear!
[Enter Flora, staring at her.]
BROOKE
What is it?
FLORA
What is it? What time do you think it is?
BROOKE
I dont know. Seven-thirty?
37.
FLORA
Seven-thirty? Try eight oclock.
BROOKE
All right, so its eight oclock. So?
FLORA
So? . . . You said youd be home at seven.
BROOKE
Okay, I said Id be home at seven. And its eight. So whats the problem?
FLORA
If you knew you were going to be late, why didnt you call me?
BROOKE
(pauses)
I couldnt call you. I was busy.
FLORA
Too busy to pick up a phone? . . . Where were you?
BROOKE
Wait a minute. I want to get this down on a tape recorder. . . because no onell
believe me! . . . You mean now I have to call you if Im coming home late for
dinner?
FLORA
Ive been slaving over the stove since two oclock this afternoon. . . To help save
you money to pay your wifes alimony.
BROOKE
(controlling herself)
Flora. . . lets not have a domestic quarrel.
FLORA
You said youd be home at seven-thirty. My-London-broild-was-finished-at-
seven-thirty. Now the whole damned thing is dried out!
BROOKE
Couldnt you keep pouring gravy on it?
FLORA
What gravy?
BROOKE
Dont you have any gravy?
38.
FLORA
(storms over to Brooke)
Where the hell was I going to get gravy at seven-thirty?
BROOKE
(gets up and moves Right)
I thought it comes when you cook the meat.
FLORA
(follows her)
When you cook the meat? You dont know the first thing youre talking about.
You have to make gravy. It doesnt come!
(he waves ladle in her face)
BROOKE
You wanna talk to me, put down the spoon.
FLORA
(exploding in rage, again waving ladle in
her face)
Spoon? You dumb ignoramus. Its a ladle. You dont even know its a ladle.
BROOKE
All right, Flora, get a hold of yourself.
FLORA
This is the last time I ever cook for you. Because people like you dont even
appreciate a decent meal. Thats why they have Hot Pockets.
BROOKE
(pause, defeated)
This is the person youre going to be until you die.
FLORA
(sitting on couch instead)
We are what we are.
BROOKE
Im going out.
(then crosses to a window, pulls back
drapes and opens window wide. Starts
back to door.)
Its twelve floors, not eleven.
[She walks out as Flora stares at the open
windows.]
CURTAIN
39.
ACT III
[TIME: The next evening about 7:30 P.M.
AT RISE: The room is once again set up for the
poker fame, with the dining table pulled Down
Right, and the chairs set about it and the love seat
moved back beneath the windows in the alcove.
40.
Flora appears from the bedroom with a vacuum
cleaner. She is doing a thorough job on the rug. As
she vacuums around the table, the door opens and
Brooke comes in. She glares at Flora, still
vacuuming, and shakes her head contemptuously,
as she crosses behind Flora, leaving her hat on the
side table next to the armchair, and goes into her
bedroom. Flora is not aware of her presence. Then
suddenly the power stops on the vacuum as Brooke
has obviously pulled the plug in the bedroom. Flora
tries switching the ON button a few times, then
turns to go back into bedroom. She stops and
realizes whats happened as Brooke comes back into
the room. Brooke takes a candy bar out of her pocket
and as she crosses in front of Flora to the couch, she
unwraps it and drops the wrappings carelessly on
the floor. She then steps up on the couch and walks
back and forth mashing down the pillows. Stepping
down, she plants one foot on the armchair and then
sits on the couch. She settles back to read her tablet.
Flora has watched this all in silence, and now
carefully picks up the candy wrappings and drops it
into Brookes hat. She then dusts her hands and
takes the vacuum cleaner into the kitchen, pulling
the cord in after her. Brooke takes the wrappings
from the hat and dumps it on the floor. As she once
more settles down with her tablet, Flora comes out
of the kitchen carrying a tray with a steaming dish
of spaghetti. As she crosses behind Brooke to the
table, she smells it deliciously and passes it close
to Brooke to make sure Brooke smells the fantastic
dish shes missing. As Flora sits and begins to eat,
Brooke takes can of aerosol spray from the bar, and
circling the table sprays all about Flora, puts can
down next to her and goes back to her tablet.]
FLORA
(pushing spaghetti away)
All right, how much longer is this gonna go on?
BROOKE
(reading her paper)
Are you talking to me?
FLORA
Thats right, Im talking to you.
BROOKE
What do you want to know?
41.
FLORA
I want to know if youre going to spend the rest of your life not talking to me.
Because if you are, Ill subscribe to a podcast.
(no reply)
Well?
(no reply)
I see. Youre not going to talk to me.
(no reply)
All right. Two can play at this game.
(pause)
If youre not going to talk to me, Im not going to talk to you.
(no reply)
I can act childish too, you know.
(no reply)
I can go on without talking just as long as you can.
BROOKE
Then why the hell dont you shut up?
FLORA
Are you talking to me?
BROOKE
I never want to hear a word from that shampooed head as long as you live.
Thats a warning, Flora.
FLORA
(stares at her)
I stand warned. . . Over and out!
BROOKE
(gets up taking key out of her pocket and
slams it on the table)
Theres a key to the back door. If you stick to the hallway and your room, you
wont get hurt.
(sits back down on couch)
FLORA
I dont think I gather the entire meaning of that remark.
BROOKE
Then Ill explain it to you. Stay out of my way.
FLORA
(picks up key and moves to couch)
I think youre serious. I think youre really serious . . . Are you serious?
42.
BROOKE
(with a pointing finger)
You want to live here, I dont want to see you, I dont want to hear you and I
dont want to smell your cooking. Now get this spaghetti off my poker table.
FLORA
Ha! Haha!
BROOKE
What the hells so funny?
FLORA
Its not spaghetti. Its linguini!
[Brooke picks up the plate of linguini, crosses to the
doorway and hurls it into the kitchen.]
BROOKE
Now its garbage!
(paces above couch)
FLORA
(looks at Brooke unbelievingly. What an
insane thing to do)
You are crazy! . . . Im a neurotic nut but you are crazy!
BROOKE
Im crazy, heh? Thats really funny coming from a fruitcake like you.
FLORA
(goes to kitchen door and looks in at the
mess. Turns back to Brooke)
Im not cleaning that up.
BROOKE
Is that a promise?
FLORA
Did you hear what I said? Im not cleaning it up. Its your mess.
(looking into kitchen again)
Look at it. Hanging all over the walls.
BROOKE
(crosses up on landing and looks at
kitchen door)
I like it.
(closes door and paces Right)
43.
FLORA
(fumes)
Youd just let it lie there, wouldnt you? Until it turns hard and brown and . . . Im
cleaning it up.
[She goes into kitchen. Brooke chases after her.
There is the sound of a STRUGGLE and falling
POTS.]
BROOKE
(off)
Leave it alone! . . . You touch one strand of that linguini and Im gonna punch
you right in your sinuses.
FLORA
(dashes out of kitchen with Brooke in
pursuit. Stops and tries to calm Brooke
down)
All right, Brooke, Id like to know whats happened.
BROOKE
(moves toward her)
Whats happened?
FLORA
(hurriedly slides over to the next chair)
Thats right. Something must have caused you to go off the deep end like this.
What is it, the cooking? The cleaning? The crying?
BROOKE
(moving towards her)
Ill tell you exactly what it is. Its the cooking, cleaning and crying. . . Its the
talking in your sleep, its the moose calls that open your ears at two oclock in
the morning . . . I cant take it any more, Flora. Im crackin up. Everything you
do irritates me. And when youre not here, the things I know youre gonna do
when you come in irritate me . . . You leave me little notes on my pillow. I told
you a hundred times, I cant stand little notes on my pillow. Were all out of
Corn Flakes. F.U. . . . It took me three hours to figure out that F.U. was Flora
Ungar . . . Its not your fault, Flora. Its a rotten combination.
FLORA
(threateningly)
Brooke. . . Youre asking to hear something I dont want to say. But if I say it, I
think youd better hear it.
BROOKE
(comes back to table, places both hands on
it, leans towards Flora)
If youve got anything on your chest besides your chin, youd better get it off.
44.
FLORA
(strides to table, places both hands on it,
leans towards Brooke. They are nose to
nose)
All right, I warned you . . . Youre a wonderful person, Brooke. Youve done
everything for me. If it werent for you, I dont know what would have
happened to me. You took me in here, gave me a place to live and something to
live for. Ill never forget you for that. Youre tops with me, Brooke.
BROOKE
(motionless)
If Ive just been told off, I think I may have missed it.
FLORA
Its coming now! . . . Youre also one of the biggest slobs in the world.
BROOKE
I see.
FLORA
And completely unreliable.
BROOKE
Finished?
FLORA
Undependable.
BROOKE
Is that it?
FLORA
And irresponsible.
BROOKE
Keep going. I think youre hot.
FLORA
Thats it. Im finished. Now youve been told off. How do you like that?
(crosses to couch)
BROOKE
(straightening up)
Good. Because now Im going to tell you off . . . For six months I lived alone in
this apartment. All alone in eight rooms . . . I was dejected, despondent and
disgusted . . . Then you moved in. My dearest and closest friend . . . And after
three weeks of close, personal contact I am about to have a nervous
breakdown! . . . Do me a favor. Move into the kitchen. Live with your pots, your
pans, your ladle and your meat thermometer . . .
45.
When you want to come out, ring a bell and Ill run into the bedroom.
(almost breaking down)
Im asking you nicely, Flora. . . As a friend. . . Stay out of my way!
(and she goes into the bedroom)
FLORA
(hurt by this; then remembering
something. Calls after her)
Walk on the paper, will you? The floors are wet.
(Brooke comes out of the door. She is
glaring maniacally, as she slowly strides
back down the hallway Flora quickly
puts the couch between her and Brooke.)
Awright, keep away. Keep away from me.
BROOKE
Its no use running, Flora. Theres only eight rooms and I know the short cuts.
[They are now poised at opposite ends of the couch.
Flora picks up a lamp for protection.]
FLORA
Is this how you settle your problems, Brooke? Like an animal?
BROOKE
You wanna see how I settle my problems. Ill show you.
(storms off into Floras bedroom. There is
the sound of falling objects and he
returns with a suitcase)
Ill show you how I settle them.
(throws suitcase on table)
There! Thats how I settle them!
FLORA
(bewildered, looks at suitcase)
Where are you going?
BROOKE
(exploding)
Not me, you idiot! You. Youre the one whos going. I want you out of here.
Now! Tonight!
(opens suitcase)
FLORA
What are you talking about?
46.
BROOKE
Its all over, Flora. The whole marriage. I dont want to live with you anymore. I
want you to pack your things, tie it up with your Saran Wrap and get out of
here.
FLORA
You mean actually move out . . . ?
BROOKE
Actually, physically and immediately. I dont care where you go. Move into the
Museum of Natural History.
(goes into kitchen. There is the crash of
falling POTS and PANS)
Im sure youll be very comfortable there. You can dust around the Egyptian
mummies to your hearts content. But Im a human living person.
(comes out with stack of cooking utensils,
which she throws into the open suitcase)
All I want is my freedom. Is that too much to ask for?
(closes it)
There. . . Youre all packed.
FLORA
You know, Ive got a good mind to really leave.
BROOKE
(looking to the heavens)
Why doesnt she ever listen to what I say? I know Im talking . . . I recognize my
voice.
FLORA
(indignantly)
Because if you really want me to go, Ill go.
BROOKE
Then go.
FLORA
When am I going, huh? Boy, youre in a bigger hurry than Fallon was . . .
BROOKE
Take as much time as she gave you. I want you to follow your usual routine.
FLORA
In other words youre throwing me out.
47.
BROOKE
Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones.
(picks up suitcase and holds it out to
Flora)
I am throwing you out.
FLORA
All right. . . Let it be on your conscience.
(goes into her bedroom)
BROOKE
What . . . ? What . . . ?
(follows her to bedroom doorway)
Let what be on my conscience?
FLORA
(stops and turns back to her)
Im perfectly willing to stay and clear the air of our differences . . . But you refuse
right?
BROOKE
(still holding suitcase)
Right . . . Im sick and tired of you clearing the air. Thats why I want you to
leave!
FLORA
Okay . . . As long as I heard you say the words, Get out of the house. . . . Fine .
. . But remember, what happens to me is your responsibility. Let it be on your
head.
(crosses to the door)
BROOKE
(follows her to door; screams)
Wait a minute, damn it! Why cant you be thrown out like a decent human
being? Why do you have to say things like, Let it be on your head? I dont
want it on my head.
FLORA
Im leaving now . . . according to your wishes and desires.
(starts to open the door)
BROOKE
(pushes by Flora and slams the door shut.
Stands between Flora and the door)
Youre not leaving here until you take it back.
FLORA
Take what back?
48.
BROOKE
Let it be on your head . . . What are you? The Lorax?
FLORA
Get out of my way, please.
BROOKE
Is this how you left that night with Fallon?
FLORA
(sits on back of couch with her back to
Brooke)
How can I leave if youre blocking the door?
BROOKE
(very calmly)
Flora, weve been friends a long time. For the sake of that friendship, please say,
Brooke, we cant stand each other, lets break up.
FLORA
Ill let you know what to do about my clothes. . . . Either Ill call . . . or someone
else will.
(controlling great emotion)
Id like to leave now.
[Brooke, resigned, moves out of the way. Flora
opens the door.]
BROOKE
Where will you go?
FLORA
(turns in doorway and looks at her)
Where? . . .
(he smiles)
Oh, come on, Brooke. Youre not really interested, are you?
(she exits
[Brooke looks as though hes about to burst with
frustration. He calls after Flora.]
BROOKE
All right, Flora, you win.
(goes out into hall)
Well try to iron it out. Anything you want. Come back, Flora. . . . Flora . . . ?
Flora? Dont leave me like this You louse!
(But Flora is gone. Brooke comes back into
the room closing the door. She is limp.
49.
She searches for something to ease her
enormous frustration. She throws a
pillow at the door, and then paces about
like a caged lion.)
All right, Brooke, get a hold of yourself! . . . Shes gone! Keep saying that over
and over . . . Shes really gone!
(she holds her head in pain)
Its on my head. I dont know what it is, but somethings on my head.
(the DOORBELL rings and she looks up
hopefully)
Please let it be her. Let it be Flora. Please give me one more chance to kill her.
[Putting the suitcase on the sofa, she rushes to the
door and opens it. Missy comes in with Vicky.]
MISSY
(putting jacket on chair at table)
Hey, whats the matter with Flora? She walked right by with that human
sacrifice look on her face again.
(takes off shoes)
VICKY
(laying jacket on love seat)
We asked where shes going and she said, Only Brooke knows. So weres she
going?
BROOKE
(sitting at table)
How the hell should I know? Lets get the game started, heh? Come on, get your
chips.
MISSY
I have to get something to eat. Im starving. Mmm, I think I smell spaghetti.
(goes into kitchen)
VICKY
Isnt she playing tonight?
(takes two chairs from dining alcove and
puts them Downstage of table)
BROOKE
I dont want to discuss it. I dont even want to hear her name.
VICKY
Who? Flora?
BROOKE
I told you not to mention her name.
50.
VICKY
I didnt know what name you meant.
(clears table and places whats left from
Floras dinner on bookcase)
MISSY
(comes out of the kitchen)
Hey, did you know theres spaghetti all over the kitchen?
BROOKE
Yes. . . and its not spaghetti, its linguini.
MISSY
Oh. I
(she goes back into the kitchen)
SASHA
Whats the matter with Flora?
[Sasha puts her jacket over a chair at the table.
Renee sits in armchair. Missy comes out of the
kitchen with a bag of pretzels and chips. They all
stare at Brooke waiting for an answer. There is a
long pause and then she stands up.]
BROOKE
We broke up! I threw her out of the house. All right? . . . I admit it. Let it be on
my head.
VICKY
Let what be on your head?
BROOKE
How should I know? Flora put it there! Ask her!
(paces Right)
MISSY
Shell go to pieces. I know Flora. Shes gonna try something crazy.
BROOKE
(turns to GIRLS)
Why do you think I did it?
(Missy makes a gesture of disbelief and
moves to couch, putting down bags.
Brooke moves to her.)
You think Im just selfish? That I wanted to be cruel? I did it for you . . . I did it
for all of us.
51.
MISSY
We all know shes impossible but shes still our friend and shes still out on the
street, and Im still worried about her!
BROOKE
(going to Missy)
And Im not, heh? Im not concerned? Im not worried? Who do you think sent
her out there in the first place?
MISSY
Fallon!
BROOKE
(taken aback)
What?
MISSY
Fallon sent her out in the first place. You sent her out in the second place. And
whoever she lives with next will send her out in the third place . . . Dont you
understand? Its Flora. She does it to herself.
BROOKE
Why?
MISSY
I dont know why. She doesnt know why. There are people like that. I used to
have a cousin whod hit herself in the head all day long.
(he sums it all up with an eloquent
gesture of resignation)
BROOKE
(a slow realization of a whole new reason
to be angry)
Im not going to worry about her. Why should I? Shes somewhere out on the
streets sulking and crying and having a wonderful time . . . If she had a spark of
human decency she would leave us all alone and go back to Michael.
(sits down at table)
VICKY
Why should she?
BROOKE
(picks up deck of cards)
Because its her husband.
VICKY
No, Michael is your husband. Her husband is Fallon.
52.
BROOKE
(throws cards in air)
All right, the poker game is over. I dont want to play any more.
(Paces Right)
SASHA
Whos playing? We didnt even start.
BROOKE
(turns on her)
Is that all you can do is complain? Have you given one single thought to where
Flora might be?
SASHA
I thought you said youre not worried about her?
BROOKE
(screams)
Im not worried, dammit! Im not worried.
(the DOORBELL rings.)
Its her. Sit down. Everybody . . . Come on . . . Sit down and play poker. All
right, Vicky, open the door.
[Vicky opens door. It is Flora. She stands there a
long time, seeming despondent as the others try to
casually play poker.]
FLORA
Im sorry.
BROOKE
Hm? What?
FLORA
I am apologizing.
MISSY
(to Brooke)
Shes apologizing.
(Brooke stares at cards)
SASHA
Brooke, look at the woman.
(Brooke looks)
BROOKE
Forgot your suitcase?
53.
FLORA
(slowly)
Youre not always right. . . Sometimes Im right. . . Only this time you were right.
. . if one puts aside the yelling and ranting and raving.
(long pause)
Theres an apartment for rent. I think I might take it.
VICKY
Where is it, Flora?
FLORA
Here. . . In the building. I saw the sign on my way out.
BROOKE
Which floor?
FLORA
(chuckling)
Second.
(pause)
Im going to live on my own. Be my own person.
BROOKE
That may be the most intelligent thing Ive heard you say. I might even be
proud of you.
FLORA
(moving toward Brooke)
Thank you.
[The PHONE rings. Missy picks it up.]
MISSY
Its your husband.
FLORA
(turning to Missy)
Oh? Well, do me a favor, Missy. Tell him I cant speak to him now. But tell him
Ill be calling him in a few days because he and I have a lot to talk about. And tell
him if I sound different, its because Im not the same woman he kicked out
three weeks ago. Tell him, Missy, tell him.
MISSY
I will when I see him. This is Brookes husband.
FLORA
Oh!
54.
MISSY
(into phone)
Just a minute, Michael.
[Brooke crosses to phone, sits on arm of the couch.)
FLORA
Well, so long, ladies.
(Hugs the GIRLS, takes suits and moves
to door)
BROOKE
(into phone)
Hello? . . . Yeah, Michael. I got a pretty good idea why youre calling. You got
my checks, right? . . . Good.
(Flora stops at the door, caught by
Brookes conversation. She slowly comes
back into the room to listen, putting
suits on railing, and sitting down on the
arm of the armchair)
So now Im all paid up. . . No, no, I didnt have a good night at the pool hall. Ive
just been able to save a little money . . . Ive been eating home a lot.
(takes a pillow from couch and throws it
at Flora)
Listen, Michael, you dont have to thank me. Im just doing whats right . . . Well,
thats nice of you, too . . . The apartment? No, I think youd be shocked. . . . Its in
surprisingly good shape . . .
(Flora throws pillow back at Brooke)
Say, Michael, did Brucey get the goldfish I sent him? . . . Yeah, well, Ill speak to
you again soon, huh? . . . Whenever you want. I dont go out much any more . . .
FLORA
(gets up, takes suit from railing and goes
to door)
Well, good night, Ms. Madison. If you need me again, I get a dollar-fifty an hour.
BROOKE
(makes gesture to stop Flora as he talks on
phone)
Well, kiss the kids for me. Good night, Michael.
(hangs up and turns to Flora)
Flora? . . .
FLORA
(at opened door)
Yeah?
BROOKE
How about next Friday night? Youre not going to break up the game, are you?
55.
FLORA
Me? Never! Marriages may come and go, but the game must go on. So long,
Fallon.
(he exits, closing door)
BROOKE
(yelling after her)
So long, Michael.
(the GIRLS all look at Brooke a moment)
All right, are we just gonna sit around or are we gonna play poker?
RENEE
Were gonna play poker.
[There is a general hubbub as they pass out the
food, deal the cards, etc
BROOKE
(standing up)
Then lets play poker.
(sharply to the GIRLS)
And watch the crumbs, will you? This is my house, not a pig sty.
[The GIRLS settle down to play poker.]
CURTAIN
56.