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27702 Crown Valley Parkway
Ladera Ranch, CA 92694
Table of Contents
Acid Test.........................................Page 30
Dead Angel........................................Page 69
Thank You.........................................Page 79
A Team Player.....................................Page 90
Little Jimmy.....................................Page 100
Merry Christmas, Bitch!..........................Page 109
Christmas Truce..................................Page 120
A Dog’s Christmas................................Page 132
Leaving The Light On.............................Page 143
The Half-Eaten Chilidog..........................Page 171
The Bobby Monologue..............................Page 180
Starman – a gay monologue........................Page 183
From Whore To Pimp To Crackhead..................Page 187
Report From The Convention.......................Page 190
Thank You…………………………………………………………………………………………………………Page 56
Cast of Characters
American, full figure, 30’s
Female, English, thin, 30’s
Male, Arab, 30’s
‘Tis the night before 9/11, and two
women get a foretaste of the madness
(At Rise: Living room in New Jersey. 5:50pm
per the clock on the wall. A window that
looks outside to the back yard. Sections of
newspaper lay scattered about. A dining
table, some dining chairs, a sofa, a TV, a
coffee table, a phone. An ice bucket on
table with several bottles of beer. A coat
tree by window. A bassinet near the table.
A door leading to kitchen & outside. A door
leading to hallway, bathroom & bedrooms.
ERICA in torn jeans enters carrying bowl of
cold cereal. She approaches bassinet)
(To the bassinet, holding bowl over it)
Look Sandra, mommy’s going to eat corn flakes. See?
Corn flakes are made from corn and have lots of energy.
I eat it with sugar, but it's good with strawberries.
(Sits at table)
Listen to Mommy eating corn flakes.
(She slurps and lets milk dribble)
Isn’t that funny? It’s okay to laugh. But you have to
be very quiet when your Aunt Molly gets home. She works
very hard. She needs lots of time to calm down when she
gets home. So be sure to be very quiet when she walks
in. But later, we can make lots of noise. We’re going
to watch Monday Night Football. It’s okay for football.
Are you ready for some football?!
Be sure to help me root for the Giants. It’s New York
against Denver tonight. Do you smell the chili? I’m
making chili for the game. It’s spicy so you can’t have
any. It’s not good for you. Bad for your stomach and it
makes you poop all the time. No. No, you can’t have
any. Stop crying. Stop that. Stop it or I’ll put you in
the closet with Winston. I mean it. That’s better.
Mommy’s going to read the sports page. So hush.
(ERICA searches for sports section, reads
while eating noisily. She dribbles milk.
MOLLY enters through door from kitchen, hair
disheveled, coat hanging off her after a bad
day at work. Her demeanor is one of rage
barely under control. She silently sets her
attache case flush against wall, goes to the
coat tree, takes off her coat, hangs it.
Then she gives the coat tree a karate kick.
It crashes to floor. ERICA stands, grabs
swaddled baby from bassinet and exits in a
rush. MOLLY kicks the coat tree several
more times, stares down at it, takes a deep
breath, delivers yet another cruel kick.
Then, out of breath, she stops and stares at
her handiwork, letting the rage build again
inside her. ERICA reenters thru same door)
I’m making chili.
(Two hard kicks)
Take that, Hoffman! And that! What? What did you say?
I’m making chili. For the game tonight.
Oh, is that how American chili smells.
(ERICA silently goes to fallen coat tree,
stands it back up, hangs MOLLY’s coat neatly
on it. Her movements are awkward. As ERICA
does this, MOLLY silently goes to table,
wipes up ERICA’s spilled milk and arranges
newspaper in a neat stack. Her movements are
nimble. Then MOLLY sits and ERICA moves
behind her, massaging her temples and
brushing her hair. This is a nightly ritual)
I had a call from London. From Cousin Clive. About Aunt
Fi. She didn’t get her birthday telephone call.
What do you mean?
Guess I forgot to - -
Forgot to tell me? Clive sent the post a fortnight
back. Said don’t forget Aunt Fi on the ninth. Aunt
Fiona was ninety-nine years old yesterday. Yesterday
was September nine. Ninety-nine on nine slantbar nine.
I don’t know her.
Ninety-nine on nine slantbar nine. Nine nine nine
nine. Four nines. How often does that happen?
I can’t remember everything. Just. Just call her and
tell her it’s still the ninth in New Jersey.
She bought my ticket to come to America.
money to live on. I can’t lie to her.
She gave me
What are you going to do?
What I should do is, make you call her.
I don’t know her.
I wouldn’t know what to say.
You’re no help. I’ll call her tomorrow at work. It’ll
be September eleven, two days late. Better late than
never. I’ll sweet talk her. She’ll forgive me. And us.
Do you feel better now?
You do that so well.
You should file a complaint about Hoffman.
He’d like that.
You should do it.
He’d tell the staff, “You see? I told you. She’s well
dodgy, that one.” Mark my words. He’s lying in the
grass waiting to strike. It’s his way.
You should quit.
Resign my post?
Are you demented?
It’s ninety minutes one way. That’s three hours back
and forth everyday. Train to Hoboken, the subway to the
World Trade Center. Why not find a job in Parsippany or
Morristown? You’d be happier. And no Hoffman.
Out of the question.
So you’re staying on to be his punching bag.
I’m no one’s bag.
I’m like Winston Churchill. My back’s to the wall, my
teeth bared, my claws like hawk talons. As you Yanks
say, “Don’t tread on me.” Ouch!
Keep your head still.
When’s this chili stew going to be ready?
It’s not a stew. You have to cook it slowly.
to sit there and go bloop, bloop, bloop.
Bloop, bloop, bloop.
I mean bloody soon.
Well. I do hope it’s bloopy soon.
Did you know chili is from the devil?
Where’d you get that?
In the cookbook. It had the history of chili. People
used to say chili’s the devil’s soup because of the
spices. Priests would tell people, don’t eat it,
because it makes you do bad things.
No one’s going to kill, fornicate or run amuck due to
the ingestion of a spicy slumgullion. Suddenly, I’m
keen to try it. Please get me a drink. Hoffman and his
nastiness have put me in a deep funk.
(Stops brushing, sets brush down)
Yes. All right.
See how that chili is doing while you’re at it.
(ERICA exits thru door to kitchen)
Oh, by the way, I’ve asked someone in tonight.
(ERICA instantly reenters via same door)
I’ve invited a man in.
A man’s coming here? Tonight?
Is something wrong?
(Turns away from MOLLY)
No. Uh yes. No. Well. It’s just.
know if I’m ready for a man yet.
He’s not marrying you.
He’s just visiting.
I need to get my thoughts collected. A man. What
about the game tonight? I was going to watch it.
You’ll see the end. He’ll be gone by then. You need
to get your priorities right. It’s time for you to get
back into circulation. Time for you to go on out there
and give it a bash. Have faith in yourself. I have
faith in you.
(Behind her. Hand on ERICA’s shoulder)
Despite your situation. Despite all that’s happened, I
have faith in - ERICA:
My situation! You had to say it!
bringing up my situation!
(Erica turns suddenly, removes MOLLY’s hand
from shoulder. The force of her action
leaves scratch marks on MOLLY’s arm. MOLLY
cries out in pain)
Oh God, I’m sorry!
I didn’t mean it!
Look what you did! You cut my arm!
I’m sorry, Molly!
I’m so sorry.
(Eyes shut tight)
Am I bleeding?
I’m - MOLLY:
Am I bleeding?!
No, I don’t think so. I’m sorry, Molly.
Are you sure?
I can’t abide blood.
Are you quite sure?
Yes, I’m sure.
I’m so sorry.
Can I look?
You can look. I’m so sorry.
Oww. It’s ugly. And painful. You see how fragile you
are! One thing off center, you lose control.
Now please get me a drink.
(ERICA exits to kitchen, looking back
nervously just before she disappears)
And see how that chili’s getting on!
(Sound of glasses, bottles, ice cubes,
refrigerator opening & closing. MOLLY
stands, looks at scratch on arm, winces,
walks to coat tree, stands there, looking
out window. Phone rings)
Get the phone!
Get the phone!
You’re wanting me to pick up?!
Get the phone!
(Picks up phone)
Oh, for God’s sake! The chili’s burnt, stuck to the
(Overlaps on first “ruined”)
Be still! I can’t hear! I’m sorry, Mister Hoffman.
It’s my flatmate. Yes, sir.
(Sound of pots banging. Hand over
Quiet out there! I can’t hear into the phone!
All burnt! Damn!
What? Oh no. Please, sir. Don’t say that.
chance, sir. I’ll make it right.
Give me a
(Sound of water and of a pot being scraped)
It’s all a waste!
I am sorry, sir. Yes.
(Sound of the garbage disposal)
No way around it!
(Hangs up. Peers out window)
Not right. They fuck you, then chuck you off the cliff.
(Raps on pane)
(ERICA enters in an apron stained with
chili. She has a drink in her hand)
Here’s your drink. Lots of ice. The way you like it.
I poured the chili down the garbage. I had to.
(Sips drink, cranes neck)
Yes. Thank you. Thank you.
The chili was ruined. You can call that man.
(Not hearing. Continues rapping)
Bloop bloop bloop. I’ve an urge to murder. None of that
running amuck like you do. I’d do it English style.
Lace his drink with poison. Film it. Video at ten.
Chili’s ruined. Don’t say it. One more snafu by Erica.
But don’t worry. We’ll have him over another night.
The August month-end numbers were out today. Hoffman
with that oily Jew smile, saying we exceeded our quota.
Sends the staff home early. He says, “Stay back,
Molly. We need to chat.”
When you burn chili, you ruin it.
No saving it.
Bloop. Bloop. Bloop. Feel so used. So cheated. So
fucked and far from home. I feel. What’s that term
you Yanks use? Taken for a ride. Yes. I’ve been
taken for a bloody ride. Hoffman saying I’m incapable
of closing a proper account. Hoffman saying every sale
I make blows up in my face. Lies! All lies! Have you
ever wanted to smash something to oblivion? Have you
ever wanted to watch a thing burn till it’s consumed to
the core? Bloop. Bloop. Bloop.
(Turns to ERICA)
Where’s Winston? I don’t see him out there.
Oh my God!
What’s that look? What have you done with Winston?
Where is he?!?
I was upset. I - -
You tell me now, damn you!
I put him out of my sight, is all. I was upset. I was
worried about Sandra. I don’t know what I was thinking,
but I was worried Winston would hurt her.
What did you do with Winston!?
He’s in the closet.
Oh my Lord God!
The green room.
You know nothing! Are you aware how cruel that is?
Winston’s a dog. Dogs are social beings. Confining him
wreaks havoc on his psyche.
He pooped on the rug.
What was I supposed to do?
You could have let him outside in the yard.
Then he poops on the lawn and digs up the flowers.
I absolutely give up. Talking to you is wasting
oxygen. I’m coming, Winston! Don’t worry! Molly’s
coming! Oh, you horrid, horrid woman!
(MOLLY exits through door to hallway,
bathroom & bedrooms. A long silence, then
(To the audience)
It’s not like she had the dog forever. She bought it
last week. And do you think she consulted me? She did
not. She walked in with this odd mutt on a leash and
said, “This is Winston. I need someone to talk to.”
Two days ago, I complained about having to clean up
after Winston. She said, “When you pay half the rent,
you can discuss my dog.”
(Starts to weep)
And then, she brought up my situation.
(Fade to black. Lights up. 7:30pm per the
clock on the wall. MOLLY sits at dining
table. She’s changed into something chic
and she’s done something smart with her
hair. Her demeanor at table is stiff yet
elegant. ERICA’s cereal bowl is gone. There
are several lighted candles on the table.
She reads the paper and sips her drink. The
door to the hallway is ajar)
(Loudly so ERICA can hear)
Oh Erica! I hope you don’t mind, you made such a mess
of the paper, I walked to the corner and purchased a
clean copy. I took Winston along.
(Loudly so MOLLY can hear)
Sounds like the walk did you good.
The walk did me well, thank you.
(Silence. MOLLY reads.
I’m sorry for upsetting you.
Think nothing of it. As much my fault as yours.
It was wrong of me to lock Winston up.
Glad to hear you say it.
The New Jersey papers were sold out. All that was left
was a single New York Post. A tabloid.
At least the movie news is the same.
play in New York, don’t they?
The same movies
I’ve no doubt.
I never read New York papers. New York’s like a
foreign country, as far as I’m concerned.
Please let’s not start on New York. I.
my thoughts going back there tonight.
I don’t want
It’s such a bad place. No one decent lives there. No
woman safe there. They're lucky to have you there.
Were. They were lucky. All past tense now.
Thank you, Erica.
I never go there.
If it blew up, I’d not miss it.
The chili was ruined. You need to call that man.
him to come some other time.
(Takes another sip of her drink)
Bloop, bloop, bloop.
I poured it down the drain.
Did you hear?
(ERICA enters through door from kitchen,
still in torn coveralls & stained apron)
Are you going to cancel with that man?
He’s on his way. He’ll be here at eight sharp.
I thought you would cancel. Oh! This is because of
Erica, you’re thirty-three. That’s getting up there.
And you haven’t been out since.
Oh no! No! You’re not going to tell him.
personal and private.
I’m not going to tell him. And you need to stop
brooding. You need to start looking ahead, not behind.
The best way is, go pick out a bloke at random, chat
him up. Now go put on a nice dress.
I need to prepare. Get my thoughts in order.
will he think of me?
He’ll think you’re a ready, willing and able female
unless you demonstrate to the contrary. Kindly cease
your babbling. Go clean yourself. Please. You have
Who is this man?
What does it matter?
He’s a man.
WHO IS HE?!?
No need to shout. If you must know, he’s the M.I.S.
staffperson at work. Which means he keeps the
computers running tiptop. He’s good with his hands and
johnny-on-the-spot. His name is Hafez.
What kind of a name is Hafez?
Syrian, Arabian, or some such. He’s very nice.
Eloquent speaker. Speaks the Queen’s English
beautifully. We visit frequently. We chat. He says
he likes to practice English with me. I suspect he
wants to flirt. Frightfully lonely, poor man. Has a
fiancée waiting back in. Well, back wherever he comes
You are so transparent.
You just want a man to - MOLLY:
Don’t be vulgar.
You make it sound like you’re doing a good deed.
What if I am?
Don’t mention my situation.
(To the Audience)
Isn’t it instructive? What men call hell to pay or the
razor’s edge, we women call a situation.
I mean it, Molly.
Oh, go on.
Do not mention my situation.
Go make yourself pretty.
I mean it.
(ERICA exits through door to hallway,
glaring back at MOLLY. She leaves door ajar.
Suddenly, sound of doorbell)
(ERICA enters thru same door, agitated)
You said eight!
He can’t see me like this!
Don’t be silly.
He’s just a man.
He can’t see me this way!
(Sound of doorbell again)
Then go change. Be quick. I’ll let him in. He and I can
chat until you make an entrance. Now mind you, don’t go
turning the telly on for football while he’s here.
(Sound of doorbell a third time)
(ERICA exits thru hallway door. MOLLY waits
until she's gone, then exits thru kitchen
door. She glides like a queen, glass
elegantly aloft. She leaves door ajar. Sound
of MOLLY humming a merry tune. Sound of a
door opening, sound of a man's voice, sound
of glass smashing on floor)
Oh my God!
Oh my God! Oh no! No!
(ERICA enters, in the midst of stuffing her
body into tight jeans, low-neck top, and 3”
sandals. She almost falls. Sound of MOLLY
crying. Fade to black. Lights up. 8:10pm per
wall clock. HAFEZ & ERICA sit on couch.
HAFEZ in dark slacks, white shirt, tie. Open
liquor bottle on coffee table. ERICA holds
her drink. She's tipsy and talks too loud.
HAFEZ’s drink rests on coffee table. MOLLY
sits at table, rocking back & forth, her
arms tight against her body, the bloody
corpse of a dog on newspaper on the table)
Oh my God.
It was unavoidable. The pooch ran under my car.
Dogs do that.
They like to bite tires.
I was pointing the torch at the flat number. I wasn’t
watching the driveway. I’m so sorry, Molly.
The light must be out again.
Yes, the lamp was out. It was dark out there.
still, I should have been careful.
Oh my God.
You mustn’t blame yourself, Hafez. It wasn’t your
fault. Molly doesn’t blame you, do you, Molly?
Oh my God.
Blame me! Blame Hafez. Molly is my dear friend. And a
friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find, lucky
to have. Do you know Molly has a special brewer in her
cubicle? She brews coffee in the Turkish manner. Thick
and sweet. Just like my mother makes it in Lebanon.
I didn’t know.
To be sure.
She never said.
Your cousin is quite the gourmet.
Oh my God!
Molly, please speak to us. Please say something.
Erica, I tell you this from my heart. I am only human.
I see sorrow. I see loss. What can I do? I must
empathize. I tell myself to feel Molly’s pain. If ye
prick me, do I not bleed? That’s from the Bard
himself. It is so sad, is it not, when a dear animal
shuffles off this mortal coil?
Sad. Really sad.
Oh my God!
Exactly. It is like losing a member of the family.
I beg your pardon?
The dog’s name was Winston. Cousin Winston.
Cousin Molly? Cousin Winston?
Yes exactly! Cousins. And Winston is logical, yes?
Molly is English, the dog named after the great English
leader. I have nothing to offer but blood - MOLLY:
Oh my God!
Sweat and tears.
(Starting to squirm)
Ah, excuse me, but it was a long trip from the Trade
Center. I came straight here after doing the network
backups. I really must visit the WC.
Oh yeah. Sure. Sure thing. Hey, when you gotta go,
you gotta go. Ha ha.
(Stands, balancing precariously in heels.
Points to door to hallway)
Through there. It’s the first door on the right.
(Smiles, eyes on ERICA, salutes)
As General MacArthur said, I shall return.
(ERICA laughs, comes to attention, pushes
out chest, sucks in tummy & salutes back, as
HAFEZ exits through the hallway door. ERICA
freezes in place until she hears the
bathroom door lock)
Oh my God!
That’s five times you’ve said that.
You killed Winston.
You can’t prove it.
There’s no need for proof. I know you did it.
I? You call me mad? You’re the mad one. You should
be publicly shot and they should have it on the telly.
You put Winston in the yard. You should have stayed
out there with him instead of reading the news.
Not in my wildest delirium did I think you’d open the
gate to the street. I thought, at minimum, you
possessed the instincts basic to our species.
(Hard finger in MOLLY’s shoulder)
I went for a cigarette. I forgot to lock the gate!
(Springs up. Pushes back at ERICA)
Admit it! You orchestrated the deed evil!
(Takes a wild off-balance swing)
You take that back!
(Advances on her. Pushes her again)
I pray legions of canines tear you to bits.
(Teetering on edge of falling over.
Grabs hold of MOLLY’s blouse)
What the hell are you doing?!
(Grabs a piece of ERICA's top)
Release me, you loathsome slut!
(They collapse on floor, biting,
spitting, hissing, kicking, scratching
and kneeing each other. HAFEZ enters,
sees them. An expression of strange
arousal crosses his face. Fade to
black. Lights up. 11pm per clock. Dog’s
corpse on table. All are naked on the
carpet, HAFEZ between ERICA & MOLLY.
They are asleep. HAFEZ snores. Torn
clothing strewn about. Half-empty
bottles & glasses. A large, heavy
ashtray on carpet. MOLLY awakens by
degrees. She pokes and shakes HAFEZ)
(A whisper so as not to awaken ERICA)
(ERICA grunts and moves)
What time is it?
Go back to sleep.
It’s eleven already.
Go back to sleep.
(Licks lips, scratches)
Giants and Broncos should be in the third quarter.
You’re not turning on the telly.
I wasn’t going to. Aww. Now just look at him.
Sleeping away like a baby. He worked so hard. You
worked so hard, didn’t you? Yes, you did.
(Silence. Then she draws close to the
sleeping HAFEZ, kisses him on his cheek)
You sure liked me, didn’t you? Yes, you did.
(Pushes ERICA away)
Leave him be.
He’s my friend.
My only friend.
He was a lot friendlier with me.
Because you were dressed like a slut.
They were not slut clothes. Those were ready, willing
and able female clothes.
Let’s wake him. He ought to be reloaded by now.
What’s the matter?
He’s had too much to drink. He’s tired.
Who ever heard of a man too tired to – - come on. Let’s
ask him. Hey, Hafez. Hey, Haffy. Come on! Time to play.
(HAFEZ stops snoring, groans, moves,
does not open his eyes)
He’s had too much. He doesn’t hold liquor well.
Well, that’s no fun.
Your own needs.
It’s all you ever think about.
I don’t ask much. How often do I get to do this?
There he is and I want to fornicate now. I need to
fornicate one more time. At least. I’m in just the
right frame of mind. And there he is. Out like a. It’s
I need to be alone with him.
(HAFEZ moves again)
So I’m to be the odd woman out?
I’ve had a bad day.
Is that it?
A very bad day.
What about me? I burnt the chili. And I had to clean
dog poop off the carpet.
I lost my job.
And you know, you never really get all the poop out.
There’s always a residue. There’s always some little
bits left in the knit.
I’ve never lost a job before. I’m thinking the most
horrible thoughts right now.
I’m thinking, he did me on the very spot where the dog
I’ve had a bad day.
A bad day.
You already said that. Okay. Fine.
(Gets up, gathers her clothes and shoes)
Tell him I went to look after Sandra.
You go to hell.
(ERICA exits thru door to hallway. HAFEZ
starts to open his eyes)
I’m very sorry.
You were listening.
It seems I’m the source of this discontent.
It’s not you, Hafez. You’ve nothing to do with her or
us. She’s her own worst enemy.
(Shows him a key)
Look what I have here. The key to the flat above. The
girl there is gone for the week. She asked me to keep
an eye. Let’s go up there. We can forget Erica.
I think I should leave.
Oh no, don’t go, please.
I’m sorry about Hoffman.
He’s wrong about you.
Please. I can’t be alone tonight. Please stay with me.
This is turning out badly.
Just stay with me and hold me. I beg you.
I’ve a big project at the office. I must be in early.
Oh right. You’ve fucked to your heart’s delight and
spent your pennies and now you’re off, thank you very
much! Look at me. I’m depressed. I’m self-destructive.
Please. Stay. If not as a lover, then as a friend.
Thank you. I’ll get you up early. I’ll make sure you
get to the Trade Center. If I have to, I’ll drive you.
Hurry now. Get dressed. Don’t worry about about Erica.
I’ll go fetch some pretty things from my bedroom and we
can go upstairs. I’ll be just a moment. Wait for me.
(MOLLY exits thru door to hallway. HAFEZ
stands, dons underpants, gets trousers.
His back to door, he steps one leg into
trousers, as ERICA, naked, silently
enters. She picks up a bottle. HAFEZ
turns, sees her. He’s off-balance.
ERICA strikes his head with bottle. He
falls. She starts sobbing, kneels by
him, takes ashtray, hits his head
repeatedly. She emits a cry with each
blow. MOLLY enters in lingerie & heels,
sees what's happening, gasps. ERICA
turns, sees her, laughs. The laugh turns
to convulsive sobs. Fade to black.
Lights up. 12:15am per clock. HAFEZ lies
bloody on carpet, shirtless, his
trousers half-on, half-off. ERICA's
still naked, but now she’s at the table.
The stained apron hangs from chair. The
dog’s corpse is at the edge of the
table. ERICA sips from a bottle of beer
as she watches the conclusion of the
football game. MOLLY is still dressed
in lingerie & heels. She kneels beside
HAFEZ. The bottles, glasses & ashtray
still lay on the carpet)
Oh my God!
Giants are losing.
Oh my God!
We don’t have a running game.
Oh my God!
Dayne can’t hit the holes.
Oh my God!
Please say something besides, “Oh my God.”
Did you know, he brought Winston to the door? Had him
cradled in his arms like a baby.
(Sobs. Dabs a tear)
He was my friend. My little chum. He may have been
just a dog to you. But he was my dog.
You’ll get another. Oh God, there we go again! Another
punt. We just can’t sustain a drive.
It won’t be the same.
You’ll adjust. I adjusted. Get Dayne out of there!
Suppose you’re right.
(Silence. Sound of TV commercial. Then…)
Did you come?
With him. Did you come?
What kind of question is that?
You invited him. You made no bones about what you
wanted. I just wondered if. If you got it.
That is so cold. This was a human, a person, and
should be accorded the dignity of such.
(Silence except for sound of game)
I’d think he’d want us to come. Men are like that.
It’s important to them. They always ask afterwards.
“Did you come?”
(Shakes fist at television)
Damn it, Garnes! You’re supposed to hit him!
Your brain’s in the muck. You are beyond the pale.
Whether I did or didn’t is beside the point.
I never realized what a prude you are.
I’m not a prude.
You’re avoiding the topic and you’re not a prude?
him! Stop him! Oh darn!
It’s inappropriate to discuss it.
They scored. We’re down by fifteen. We got no chance.
I can’t watch this.
(Aims remote. Switches off TV)
I just can’t.
What are we to do?
Do? We need to cut Dayne, get someone who can run the
Are you even listening?
(MOLLY stands, goes to ERICA, grips her
shoulders, turns her until they are
eyeball to eyeball)
We say he attacked us.
We defended ourselves.
Will they believe us?
We have his spunk.
Oh yeah, that’s.
It happened because I was terminated. He came to cheer
me, started out nice. He drank. He got brutish, lost
control. After he finished on you, he took me. While he
was rutting on me, you hit him till he stopped.
Why don’t we just put him in the car and - MOLLY:
No. Not that.
It’s the perfect place.
No one will ever - -
We're not going there. Let Sandra rest in peace. I
should never have gone along with you on that. Look, we
have to tell them. If he’s reported missing, they’ll
say at the office he and I were close. They’ll come
here. If a neighbor saw him run over Winston, then - ERICA:
Okay. He did me first. Then you. And then I - (Picks up ash tray, demonstrates)
Does he have any roommates?
He lives alone.
I’ve been to his flat.
So you and he - -
What are you? Police? Yes, we did the. The thing.
Why couldn’t you find a man who was more? You know.
He was nice. He liked my coffee. What's the number?
Nine one one.
You dial nine. Then one.
How odd. Just past midnight. And that’s today’s date.
Eleven September. Nine eleven.
It’ll be on his tombstone. Hafez. Uh, what’s his full
Hafez al something.
Al? Like in Allen?
No. It’s just al and then an Arab word.
Here lies Hafez al something. Born whenever.
nine slantbar eleven, 2001.
He died more than an hour ago. That makes it nine ten.
Thank you, smartypants. Died nine slantbar ten.
I’d best make the call.
(ERICA stands, takes the stained apron,
covers HAFEZ’ head with it. Nods)
(MOLLY begins dialing.
Fade to black)
Cast of Characters
Girl………………Late teens/early 20’s, has an accent
Woman……………Late 40’s/early 50’s
The idea for this play came from a news article
concerning a Cambodian military officer and his
young mistress. He kept the girl in a cabin in
the forest with a guard posted outside. One day,
the officer's wife came to the cabin vith a vial
of acid and poured it on the girl's face,
rendering her hideously ugly. Acid Test starts
with the wife intending to do just that, but
there's a twist that stops her from going
through with her intention.
(At rise: Morning. Inside cabin in
woods. Rough, rude interior with window
at one side, a door at other. A table,
two chairs, lamp, a grey metal bed, a
low, cheap-looking dresser against
wall, a large elegant mirror on wall
above dresser. The mirror is too
elegant. It's clearly out of place.
Towels dry from a cord. On floor, seven
pairs of polished high heeled women’s
shoes lined up like soldiers at
inspection. Bottles of liquor on a
shelf. On table, a clock, a kerosene
burner, a saucepan on burner (no fire).
A basket of vegetables & fruit and
a ten-gallon glass water dispenser also
on table. In corner of room. A portable
toilet, little more than a widebottomed bucket with a seat on top.
GIRL asleep in bed. Clock alarm sounds.
GIRL awakens by degrees. She is naked.
She switches off clock. She passes
mirror, stops to admire herself, rubs
her stomach, smiles down at where she’s
rubbing. She goes to window, opens it)
Willis? I’m up, Willis. Willis? I’m up. Willis! Hey
Willis, where are you? Are you in the latrine?
(She picks up a small object, throws it
baseball-style through open window.
Sound of object hitting a wood wall)
Gotcha! Hope I didn’t interrupt your shit, shower and
shave. Don’t get pissed. Just reporting that I’m up.
(Walks away, scratches bum)
Yup. Up. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed up. That’s me.
(GIRL goes to toilet, sits. Silence.
Then sound of urinating. Then, sound of
footsteps outside, knocking on door)
Hello in there! Hello in the house!
(Sound of urinating abruptly stops.
Hello! Hello in there!
(Sound of thumping on door)
I’m busy! Go away! Willis! Hey, Willis!
Said I’m busy! Willis! Willis!
My name isn’t Willis!
Who is it? Who’s out there? Who are you?
Are you out there?
Hello in there!
Please open up!
(Stands, dabs peehole with toilet paper,
grabs small knife from table, goes to
Go away whoever you are!
(Thumping stops. A pause……then)
Please. I’m a weary old woman, barren, childless and
unloved. The climb up the hill has exhausted me. Even
at ten in the morning, the sun is high in the sky and
beating down. I was imagining, as I walked by, what
comfort there must be for you inside your cabin. I was
imagining there must be some cool sweet water in there.
(GIRL glances at water dispenser)
I’d be grateful to sit for a moment out of the sun. And
if I could have just a drop or two of water on my poor,
dry, parched tongue.
You’re on government property.
cabin belong to the army.
This forest and this
The army? Oh dear. I thought this was a kind of short
cut to market. Please. I’m just an old woman. This is
all very confusing.
You don’t see the guard shack out there?
guard challenge you?
Guard? Challenge? What’s a challenge? There’s no
guard out here. There’s a flashlight, but no human
type person. Oh, I feel faint.
I’m not allowed to - WOMAN’S VOICE:
I have orders from the Colonel himself.
There’s a Colonel?
This place is under the Colonel’s command.
Do you work for this Colonel person?
Yes, I do.
Well, that changes everything. A colonel with his
sense of honor and duty wouldn’t turn a poor old barren
It would go against the laws of chivalry.
The Colonel said no one.
This is a restricted zone.
But don’t you see? If he’d specified, he’d’ve said,
“When I say no one, I mean no one. And that includes
poor old women.” I’m sure he didn’t specify that.
I don’t want to get in trouble.
You won’t get in trouble. I’ll be no trouble. Please.
I’m begging you. Just for a moment. I won’t be a
bother. You’ll hardly know I’m there.
I’m naked in here.
I get to wear shoes sometimes. The Colonel lets me wear
I see. Well, I’m not a prude. People naked right in
your face? I don’t find that offensive. Unless the
naked person in question uses bad language. Do you use
I say shit sometimes.
Now that’s the exact kind of word I mean. Shit is a
bad word. Indicative of an overpermissive upbringing.
Do you understand what I mean?
I want you to stop using that word.
Good. Other than bad language, whatever floats your
boat, I say. Now please let me in.
I. I really shouldn’t.
What is your name?
Kathy. Please. I’m about to faint. Think on this.
If your Colonel found a poor old woman faint and near
death with her fleshless, bone-like fingers gripping
tightly onto your locked, bolted door, what would he
say? And what would the authorities say? I don’t think
they’d accept naked as an excuse, would they, Kathy?
(GIRL sighs, unlocks door, opens it a
crack, just as WOMAN pushes door wide
open and enters. GIRL is forced back
and to the side to avoid being trampled)
Oh, thank you. You’re a life saver, you are. I tell
you, it’s working up to be another scorcher out there.
(WOMAN closes door, latches it shut)
Best keep door closed. Keep the cool in, the heat out.
(WOMAN wears peasant skirt down to
ankles & a straw hat. A large bag hangs
from her shoulder. She holds a heavy
duty military-style flashlight in her
hand which she drops into bag. She
dusts herself off noisily, surveys room)
Very nice in here. Very nice. And oh, now that my eyes
are adjusted, I see you actually are naked. You look
very nice. Alas, if I tried that, it wouldn’t be so
nice. Oh now say, that’s a first rate paring knife you
have there. May I see?
(GIRL hesitates, then hands it over)
Oh now, this is top quality. The best. I had a paring
knife like this. It disappeared. I guess I lost it.
(WOMAN hands it back)
It looked like this one. Almost exactly.
(She spots water dispenser)
Oh now look there! Just what the doctor ordered.
(WOMAN goes to water dispenser, turns
tap on, puts lips to faucet, drinks
noisily, dripping water on the floor)
You can’t do that!
(Looking up, lets water splatter onto
What am I doing wrong? I’m not drinking too much, am
After all, you have gallons. It shouldn’t matter
Turn it off! Please!
(Rushes to WOMAN, pushes her back, turns
off tap, grabs mop, starts to swab
He’s coming tonight! He wants everything squared away!
What kind of man is your Colonel? Leaving you alone to
run naked and expecting things to be orderly? Something
not logical there. Colonels are usually spiffy and
dignified across the board. Not to mention, strict and
by the book.
(Spots the bottles of liquor)
Oh now look there, would you!
Oh no no!
I’m just looking.
Please. Stay away from those.
A lady can look.
They’re the Colonel’s. They’re strictly off-limits. He
marks them with chalk when he drinks. And he checks.
(WOMAN takes down bottle of brandy)
No! Don’t! Leave them alone! Don’t take that down.
Brandy of Napoleon.
Please put it back. Don’t wipe the chalk mark.
Oh God, no. I wish you hadn’t wiped it.
Oh don’t worry. I have a bit of chalk in my bag. I’ll
mark it again when we’re done. He won’t know.
Please, no! Don’t uncork it. Oh no! I wish you hadn’t
(Digs deep into her bag)
I think I have some glasses in here somewhere.
(Produces two shot glasses, pours
Well. Go on. Take it.
(Takes glass of brandy. Stares into it)
I just know I’ll get gigged for this.
Nonsense. Nothing will happen. Cheers.
(Raises glass, takes drink. GIRL
Well, go on, drink.
(GIRL takes a sip, chokes)
You’re all tense. Take a deep breath and sip slowly.
(GIRL takes deep breath, takes another
Good! You did better that time.
It’s really strong.
It’s brandy. It’s supposed to be strong. Let’s have
one more for the road.
Before I leave.
I hate to
(Tops off both glasses. Raises glass)
(Sips. GIRL follows suit)
Oh now, that is a marvelous.
(Nervous smile, licks lips)
Just hits the spot. Makes you forget all about the
heat, your troubles, the aches and pains, the lost
opportunities in life. And. And your Colonel.
Makes you feel all tingly.
(Once again, tops off her glass and
Yes, it does that. Have a bit more. Hair of the dog.
Well, cheers one more time.
(They drink. GIRL’s cheeks are flushed)
Lovely shoes. One, two, three, four, five, six. Seven
pair. So shiny. They look expensive.
They’re from Italy. Colonel had ‘em shipped in special
just for me. One for each day of the week.
(Picks up a shoe, admires it)
Such high heels. I imagine you must have good balance.
(Drinks, spills some, giggles)
Tell you a secret. Ready for this?
(Smacks her lips, grins)
Got nothing to do with balance.
Aren’t you gonna ask why?
(Draws close, breathes in WOMAN’s face)
‘Cause balance isn’t required ‘cause they aren’t for
walking in. They’re fuck-me-shoes. Excuse the French.
When I’m in ‘em, I’m either on my knees or on my back.
(Laughs too loudly. Hiccups)
(Offers to top off. GIRL extends glass)
So the shoes are for - -
(GIRL grins, winks, slurps, spills)
For the nasty. He’s coming tonight. Ask me why.
(Breathing in WOMAN’s face)
Rest and recreation. R and R.
(Mimicking a man’s deep voice)
I’m comin’ for some R and R.
You’re his - -
His PEDM. P. E. D. M. Phased-Entry Docking Module. He
used to say I was his MPLD. Multiple Phase Linking
Device, but that was too vague. He wanted something
more. You know. Descriptive.
But he. I mean you. You and the Colonel, that is.
You’re referring to sex. This is about sex.
He says sex is a dull word.
(Mimicking a man’s deep voice)
Sex is a word only a faggot psychologist could love.
When he’s uh doing me, he says he’s running an array of
(Draws close, breathes on her, giggles)
And I get to help.
It all sounds very mechanical. Like reading from an
instruction manual for an electrical device.
Perpetrations? What is that?
Sounds like you’re a gear or a piston in a machine.
Don’t you want some pleasure in this? Don’t you want it
to at least sound pleasurable? Don’t you want to have
some sweet memories?
For after it all ends.
and - Whoa.
When you’re thinking back on it
What did you say?
After you and the Colonel run your last. Permutation.
You’re going to. Going to. Uh. What is it army
people say when they move on to a new place?
Load up and leave.
Yes. When you and the Colonel load up and leave and go
your separate ways.
Not going to happen.
Not in the plan.
Nothing is forever.
The Colonel and me. We know the drill. We got it by
the numbers. We’re a winning team and you don’t break
up a winning team. No, he’ll take me along.
He said that?
Well, not per se. He’s got a lot of responsibility. A
lot on his mind. Being a Colonel. And all. But it’s
logical, you know? Where’s he gonna find another PEDM
like me? I mean, it’s logical, isn’t it?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But Kathy, what if he becomes bored with the sameness?
And thinks about running his permutations on a shiny
new model PEDM?
This isn’t the kind of talk I wanna hear!
(Her hand to her head)
Oh. My head. Starting to spin.
What’s the matter?
strong for you.
Don’t tell me the brandy’s too
Oh! I shouldn’t have let you in. I’m feeling strange.
Feeling woozy. Feeling weird. Room’s moving. Gotta
lie down. Where’s the bed?
Let me help you.
People always jerking me around.
Telling me stuff.
Take my hand.
People always jerking me this way, that way. Telling
me stuff. Talking to me like I’m a stupid little baby.
(Grabs WOMAN’S hand, lets WOMAN guide
I’m just not good with booze. That’s the only thing
wrong with me. Listen. Do me a favor?
Tell Willis I gotta lie down.
(Helps GIRL lie down on bed)
Colonel’s guard. Oh, my head.
(WOMAN starts toward door)
Just say, “Willis, Willis, Willis!” He’ll come.
(Hands over eyes)
Oh God. Hey room, stop spinning. I know what I’m
doing. I know what I’m doing. I know.
(WOMAN exits out door. GIRL rolls on her
side, closes her eyes tight, breathing
hard. She whispers the following and, as
she whispers, we hear WOMAN’s distant
voice calling, “Willis! Willis!”)
People always jerking me around. Like I don’t know
what I’m doing. I know.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
Pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake,
Pray the Lord my soul to - (GIRL drifts off. WOMAN’s distant voice
calling, “Willis! Willis!” Fade to
black. Lights up, same set. Later,
same day. GIRL is cuffed face up,
wrists and ankles to corner bedposts.
She is asleep. WOMAN enters, splashes
water in GIRL’s face)
What? Oh! Oh God! Oh shoot! What?! What’s
happening?! Stop! Stop doing that! Stop it!
(Spits water, Blinks eyes)
Oh God! Willis! Willis!
Sergeant Willis is gone.
What did you do with Willis?
Stop calling for Willis, Kathy.
He’s not here.
(Realizes now she’s restrained, looks at
cuffed extremities, jerks on cuff
There’s nothing in here to steal.
(Picks up paring knife from table. Holds
it up to GIRL’s face. GIRL flinches at
Steal. Stole. Stolen. Do you know that everything here
is stolen? This knife, for instance, is stolen.
(Sets knife back on table. Points to
And this basket. Stolen. The saucepan. Stolen.
kerosene burner. Stolen.
No no no.
He gave ‘em to me. Told me they’re mine.
Didn’t you hear? It’s not stolen.
It’s stuff from his house.
The mirror is from the hallway.
It was an anniversary
He said he cracked it by accident.
to see if it could be repaired.
you’re - -
Said he sent it out
You mean your anniversary.
Don’t call me that.
I know a lot about you.
He told me.
I’ll bet. I’ll bet every time after you have sex on my
old mattress, you lie there together and smoke a
cigarette and talk about poor old Madeline.
I don’t smoke. Not anymore. He made me stop.
(Jerks on cuff chains)
What are you going to do?
Do? You want to know what I’m going to do? What do
you think I should do? No answer. Look at this.
(Reaches into bag. Takes out stoppered
test tube with a yellow liquid inside)
Do you see this? This is acid. I went to a friend and
told her about you. She gave me this. She said, “If
this happened to me, I’d burn her.”
She said, “Pour it out on the skin. Especially the
face. And in the eyes. And on the nose. And let it
burn. She’ll be so ugly, he’ll run away from her.”
Please don’t do that.
I’m not going to.
I was planning to burn you. I came here with every
intention of burning you. In my mind, I had you
visualized with a face so full of acid burns to be
unrecognizable. So ugly, people would look away at
your approach. But I can’t do it.
Don’t thank me. I don’t want your thanks. Thank your
lucky stars it was me and not my friend you crossed.
All right. Now tell me. What bar did he find you in?
I’m not a bargirl.
Oh come. You look the type. Sleazy. Greedy.
Grasping. Unprincipled. I say you’re a bargirl.
Stop saying that!
(Grips her hair, jerks her head up)
Schemer. That’s you in a nutshell. Admit it.
seduced him, bargirl!
all things to him. To be how he
of the moment. But you’re a
love. Fake. Fake. Fake.
Slut. You planned to be
fancied you in the heat
fake. Fake dreams. Fake
(Fingernail pressed against GIRL’s skin)
Garbage sewn up in a young skin. Beauty on the
surface, putrifaction within.
(Scratches GIRL. GIRL cries out)
Admit you’re a loose thing he met at an inn.
No! Lindstrom, Katherine E.!
Oh Seven Two Niner Niner Seven!
What are you saying now?
What game are you playing?
Go ahead! Go on! Do what you want. You got till
seventeen hundred hours. That’s when he comes. All
you’ll get from me is name, rank, serial number.
Lindstrom, Katherine E! Specialist Four! Two Oh Seven
Two Niner Niner Seven!
(For the first time, notices GIRL’s
dogtags hanging from headboard)
Oh my God!
Lindstrom, Katherine E.!
Seven Two Niner Niner Seven!
You’re regular army. He. He chose you from the ranks.
I’m not a girl. I’m a soldier. Lindstrom, Katherine E!
Specialist Four! Two Oh Seven Two Niner Niner Seven!
Irregardless. You’re not the only army person in this
room. I know the army. I married the army.
He doesn’t love you.
He doesn’t love you either.
Nevertheless - WOMAN:
And don’t be going high hat on me. That young body
won’t stay young forever.
I can do what you can’t do.
Yes, but I’ll pass on trying to be a Phased-Entry
I didn’t mean that. I mean I’m pregnant. I mean I’m
going to have his baby. Something you could never do.
(Fade to black. Lights up, same set.
GIRL, still naked but now free of cuffs and
leg irons, sits at edge of bed, massaging
wrists and ankles to get circulation going.
WOMAN is rummaging in her bag, looking for
I haven’t been a good wife. I’m a good nurse. A
better nurse than a wife. He should have married for
passion. Instead he married to pay off a debt. He was
hurt. Badly hurt. We stabilized him, stitched him up,
nursed him back to health. It was touch and go for a
while there. But he was strong. He came through.
There’s still a scar where he - GIRL:
Yes. He showed me that. He showed me his medal, too.
He told me about the battle.
Battle? What battle? He was walking out of a brothel.
There was a bomb in a dumpster in the alley just
outside. It went off as he walked by.
A bomb in a dumpster.
(Brief silence. The GIRL laughs. WOMAN
starts laughing. They turn, look at
each other, laugh harder.
subsides by degrees. Then silence)
I missed my last monthly.
That’s usually how it starts. How do you feel?
Stomach feels funny.
(Puts thermometer in GIRL’s mouth)
Here. Keep this under your tongue.
(Takes cotton swab, hands it to her)
Here. Clean your privates. Separate the folded skin
at the labia and move the swab from front to back.
(Takes swab, very self-conscious,
touches it gingerly to her genital area.
Tries to speak with thermometer in
What do you want this for?
Don’t talk. Just move the swab from front to back.
(Demonstrates with hand motion. She
tries to copy the motion)
No no. Do it this way.
(Speaks with thermometer in mouth)
You mean, like this?
Careful with the thermometer. Don’t speak.
like that. Here, let me do it.
(WOMAN takes swab from GIRL, kneels in
front of her, begins cleaning her
genital area. After several swabs, she
discards cotton swab. She gets a clean
one, and swabs some more. GIRL watches
nervously with thermometer in mouth)
You’re clean. We can test you.
(Takes thermometer from GIRL’s mouth)
Your temperature is fine.
(Stands. Takes small packet from bag, tears
it open, takes out plastic cup and small
stick, hands cup to GIRL, points to toilet)
Take this. Go there and fill it.
What did you think?
All. All right. But you can’t watch.
pee if someone’s watching.
I mean I can’t
(Turns her back to her)
I won’t watch.
(GIRL goes to portable toilet. She opens
top and sits in a semi-squat holding cup)
Might take me a while.
I peed earlier.
No rush. Let the first bit of urine pass before you
use the cup. That way, I get a purer sample.
Just don’t push me.
Take your time.
I gotta be in the mood.
Tell me about you.
I’m just a soldier in the army.
You don’t have a family?
mother? A boyfriend?
You don’t have a father and
I don’t want to talk about them.
Then talk about something else.
stare at the wall in silence.
I come from hill tribes.
Don’t expect me to
You can tell by how I talk.
I didn’t notice much of an accent.
Really? You’re not just saying that? I’ve been
practicing, reading out loud from magazines.
I’m trying to roll the r’s and say “cake” and “lake”
the right way.
(Sound of pee flowing into toilet, then into
cup. WOMAN turns, moves to GIRL)
You’re not so pee shy.
(Smiles, hands cup to WOMAN)
It comes right out when I’m not nervous.
(WOMAN dips stick into cup, leaves it there
for ten seconds, pulls it out)
(Examines stick. Holds it up)
Two lines on the stick.
Is that good?
You’re going to be a mommy.
Oh, that’s good. He’ll be happy. He’ll be very happy.
A son. It’s all he ever talks about.
It may not be a boy.
What if it’s not a boy?
It’s a boy. I’m sure of it. I did all the right
things. I said the “give me” prayer to Ghillie Du.
(Points to small statue on table)
I put Ghillie Du’s image next to the onion, and I saw
an owl fly across the face of the moon. It’s a boy.
You’re going to tell him tonight?
It’s good news.
I’m sure that it is.
What do you mean, don’t worry?
I’ll see to it he treats you with
I’ll protect you.
What are you saying?!
Even though you’ve given him no children, I don’t want
him sending you away. That wouldn’t be right. I’ll
say to him that I won’t sleep with him if he
Why you little fool!
position to - -
Do you think you’re in any
Be careful what you say! Don’t challenge me! Look! In
case you’ve gone blind, I’m the one carrying a baby.
Yes. That’s right.
A baby. The question is, whose
No, you don’t.
I’m not playing that game.
Whose baby? A naked girl in a cabin in the forest?
Who knows who visits you? Who knows who you screw?
You forget. The Colonel has a guard posted at the
door. To keep everyone away from me.
Question. Sergeant Willis, have you had sexual
relations with the naked girl in the forest?
He’ll say, no, of course not, because he’s not a liar.
He’ll say what he’s told to say. Because he's loyal.
The Colonel’s in line for promotion. Did you know that?
Promotion to General. Do you know what that means?
It means he gets to wear a star on his shoulderboards.
It means he'll get scrambled eggs on his visor.
It means more than that. It means more responsibility
for him. It means more power. It means the people in
orbit around his sun suddenly shine brighter. In other
words, as he moves up, those around him move up too.
You follow me?
I think so.
I’ll be frank. My husband, your lover, doesn’t always
exercise good judgment.
You’re wrong. He has wonderful judgment. He chose me.
I'm referring to his sense of timing. On the one hand,
the top brass are considering him for promotion. On
the other, he’s chosen this moment to cohabit with a
naked girl in the woods. Do you see what I mean?
I think you’re overreacting.
Colonel, it has come to our attention that an enlisted
member of Subsistance & Supply Battalion four zero
seven eight, Lindstrom, Katherine E, Specialist Four,
serial number two zero seven two niner niner seven, is
being held naked in a cabin for the purpose of
satisfying your sexual requirements. Is that correct?
It’s not a sure thing they’ll find out.
And Colonel, what about this special procurement
account which appears to have been utilized for the
purpose of funding the purchase of seven pairs of
stilettoes. Do you think they’re stupid? Do you think
they’re naïve? Do you think they’re blind and deaf?
If he loses this chance because of you, do you think
he’ll want anything to do with you?
It’s not just about - WOMAN:
Please. Why can’t you just go back to the Hill
Country? What will it take to get you to do that?
Now you listen. I joined the army because I didn’t want
to marry an ignorant, unemployed alcoholic which is
what most of the Hill Country men are. I want to go to
college someday. I want to learn a skill. But most of
all, I want to meet a man who's going somewhere in his
life. So, in answer to your question, no, I'm not going
back to the Hill Country. Not now. Not ever.
I guess I would have given the same answer. Would you
agree, the priority is your health and that baby?
My health and the Colonel’s baby.
I’m not stepping out of the picture.
I’m not saying that you should.
Just so that’s understood. We need you on a special
diet. Milk, cheese and yogurt each day for bone
formation. Tofu, beans, chicken, fish and meat each
day for tissue formation. And you can’t stay up here.
We need to get you down where you’re close by. I’m
thinking perhaps my sister’s. She’s all alone, now that
her husband passed on. You could help her keep house.
It’s like paying rent. You’ll have to wear a dress.
She has visitors.
Shouldn’t I stay at your house, with you and - -
Perhaps later. Right now, while he’s in line for
promotion to General, we need to be careful. And you
can’t be thinking just of yourself anymore. You’re
living for two now.
(Takes dress from bag)
Now put this on.
He likes to see me naked.
That’s something the three of us will be discussing
tonight. You’re to be a mother soon. Put it on.
(GIRL stares at WOMAN, she starts to
protest, then starts putting dress on.
Fade to black)
Cast of Characters
Louise………Female, early thirties, scruffy
Martin………………Male, late thirties, scruffy
Take two marginal characters, a blown-up 7-Eleven, and
a man who stores his dead uncle in the walk-in freezer.
Mix in some threatening phone calls and a missing hand.
Missing had a staged reading on the South Coast
Repertory Theatre's Nicolas Stage and was an awardwinner in Theatre In The Raw's One-Act Play Writing
(A December morning. Downtown Fargo.
Cold & crisp. We’re in the parking lot
of a blown-up 7-Eleven. Yellow “Police
Line – Keep Out” tape. Inside the police
tape, LOUISE in grubby clothes, a
Christmas stocking cap slightly askew on
her head. She’s picking up bits of
debris, examining each bit, then
depositing it in a garbage bag. A pouch
hangs from her belt. She hums “Jingle
Bells.” Her humming is herky-jerky and
off-key. MARTIN enters, stops at the
tape, sees her and looks surprised. She
senses someone’s watching. She stops,
straightens up, turns)
Louise, you’re alive!
‘Course I’m alive.
Thank God you’re alive.
Why wouldn’t I be?
Terrible thing. Terrible. You should consider yourself
very, very lucky.
Yup. That’s me. Lucky Louise. Lucky Louise, despite I
never won a MegaBucks jackpot. Never even won a piddly
little Daily Scratcher.
I meant you’re lucky to be.
I know what you meant, Marty.
Eyewitness News said it was a first. First 7-Eleven
explosion ever in Fargo. First 7-Eleven explosion
anywhere in North Dakota for that matter.
I’ll give you something else that’s a first.
Christmas for me without a job.
Abdul’s not giving you your job back?
It only blew up two days ago. Seeing as how we got ten
days till Christmas, I just don’t see the store
standing tall in time for a visit from Santa.
But he did promise you your job back.
Hasn’t been discussed, Marty.
That’s wrong. That is very wrong. He shouldda
notified you right away. You’re a key person, valued
employee. You know where all the stuff is.
Which is really useful. What with all the stuff
scattered in the parking lot.
Speaking of that. I saw on Eyewitness News where Abdul
said he was looking for volunteers to help clean up.
So here I am. Volunteering. You know what the
commercial says. Like a good neighbor.
Well, neighbor, you’re a day late and a dollar short.
Abdul’s cleanup was yesterday.
So how come you still got a mess?
We got a mess ‘cause not many neighbors showed up.
How could that be? Abdul’s got thousands of customers.
Hundreds, not thousands. Don’t exaggerate.
saying you this ‘cause you’re a regular.
(He crosses his heart. She leans in, like
it’s a big secret)
Seems some people don’t like Abdul ‘cause of his name.
Well, I like it.
His name, I mean.
You’re in the minority. Some people connect Abdul to
the World Trade Center. One lady said, “How do we know
he wasn’t making bombs back there? Maybe the explosion
was a bomb that went off by accident.”
Now that’s ridiculous! He wasn’t making bombs. Was he?
‘Course not. But some people assumed. Makes you wonder
what you gotta do to be an American around here when
you got people assuming stuff about you. Assuming
because of your name, you got all these crazy ideas.
Never heard him talk crazy. Where is he anyway?
You mean like dead?
No. Missing. He came here just after, looked around,
said he needed help. Then he skedaddled. Personally, I
think he’s lying low till the dust clears.
That’s desertion. Leaving the scene of. Or something.
Don’t be so quick to throw stones. If your RV blew up
and set some cars on fire and knocked down a power
line, wouldn’t you make yourself scarce for a while?
Guess I would.
Trust cops to be cops. Abdul’s doing the right thing.
You can always come in later, say you had a concussion
and wandered in the woods till your memory came back.
Well, anyway, glad nothing bad happened to you.
(She makes like getting ready to go back to
work picking up debris. He doesn’t move)
I gotta do some stuff now.
Not stopping you.
I don’t like if you’re just gonna stare at me.
You don’t like me staring? So what about all those 2
am’s? You saying I shouldda stayed away?
Now don’t get upset.
Don’t get upset. I was there for you cause I thought
you were lonely. Running a 7-Eleven in the wee hours
is lonely work. Thought you’d appreciate some company.
(She starts picking up debris)
you were doing it for hot dogs. You wake up
1 am munchies. Show up at my counter at 2.
walks in, I turn my back, another hot dog’s
With you, it’s all about hot dogs.
You got me wrong. You think everyone works an angle.
Don’t know anyone else’s angle, but I sure know yours.
More to life than hot dogs, Louise. I been a lot of
places, seen a lot of stuff. One thing I know. Karma’s
gonna get you. Bad thoughts about other people will
rebound unto yourself. That’s straight outta Buddha.
Don’t curse me, Marty. Don’t like being cursed.
(Sees her slip an object into her pouch)
What was that you just did?
You picked up something, slipped it into your pouch.
I saw you.
You’re imagining things.
I’m telling you, I saw you.
(Holds pouch behind her back)
Not saying this again. There’s nothing in the bag.
(Ducks under police tape, approaches her)
Well. Then I guess you won’t mind holding it out
front, turning it upside down and shaking it out.
Why you pushing this, Marty?
(Trying to see behind her)
‘Cause I think I got you pegged.
(Backs away, blocks his view)
Way I see it is, you want to work out here by yourself
‘cause there’s something of value here. See, when you
try to fool Ole Marty, you open a big ole can of corn.
Marty, I thought we were friends.
Starting to wonder what you mean by friends. Yessiree,
there’s something of value out here. I can smell it.
Marty, you don’t talk to a friend like that.
Friend wouldn’t tell a friend to stop staring.
You’re. You’re right.
Friend wouldn’t begrudge a friend a few hot dogs.
So what is it?
You’re right again.
Cash money? Bundle of twenties?
It’s not what you think.
Cash. Gotta be cash. Safe blew up. Big roll of
Franklins missing in action. Hundred dollar bills.
Stop fantasizing, Marty.
All I want’s half.
Fair’s fair. Or I might have to report this.
Friends don’t threaten friends.
Friends don’t exclude friends. Friends don’t cut
friends out. Friends share the wealth.
You don’t even know what this is about.
What’s to know? On the one hand, there’s an explosion.
Maybe a threat to the planet. And then there’s your
suspicious post-explosion activity. Or maybe it’s just
an unfortunate event. But here you are, Abdul’s Girl
Friday. And you’re not here for your health. You know
something. See, I can put B and C together and get D.
D as in deal. So now, friend, what’s the deal?
The deal is, you are crazy! You’re nuts.
You calling me nuts. Look at you. Trying to rip Abdul
off. You don’t want him knowing. Nosirree. You don’t
want me telling the Feds and them talking to Abdul.
Haven’t you been reading the paper? Those Muslims’ll
cut your head off for looking at them crosseyed.
You got it all wrong.
Just give me half.
And my lips are sealed.
So what if it’s half of nothing?
Hey, come on.
You know what?
You’re talking to a friend.
All those hot dogs gone to your brain.
Bottom line is, I’m not going away.
All right. You win.
Now you’re talking.
(LOUISE squats down, MARTIN squats down)
(Holds up unopened pouch)
I want your word this an absolute secret.
Unlike some people I could name, my word is gold.
Let her rip.
(She takes the pouch and empties it. A
“plop” sound is heard. MARTIN springs up)
(He turns his back, looks over his shoulder)
Jiminy Holy Cow Crickets!
(Looks again. Stamps his foot)
That’s a hand! That’s a human hand you got there!
Said it wasn’t what you thought.
Yeah but. But what about the cash?
Where’s my half?
There is no cash.
(Puts hand back in pouch. Stands)
Remember you promised. You’re keeping this a secret.
What if they come around?
What about the cops?
Why would they talk to you?
Just say they did.
What do I say?
Say you were asleep. Which is true most of the time.
So is it?
Is that a real hand?
Think I go around planting fake hands?
I meant, if it’s a real one, I’d think you’d be scared.
Think I’m not scared?
I don’t like seeing you scared. You better not be
scared. You’re not scared. Are you?
(A worried look crosses her face)
Thing is, stuff’s been going on.
his mind lately.
Abdul’s had a lot on
I do admit to noticing him in the store less often.
He’s seeing a Mexican girl.
Oh, you mean that one who - LOUISE:
Yeah, her. She’s Pentecostal. He’s serious about her.
He’s been going to prayer meetings.
You know what they say. God works in mysterious ways.
(Silence. They stare at the ground.
Well, shoot, guess I better ditch this hand someplace.
You mean you’re gonna throw it away?
That’s the plan, Stan.
Can I have it?
What are you going to do with it?
Wear it off my belt.
It was Abdul’s uncle’s hand. You can’t wear his
uncle’s hand off your belt.
His uncle? The old guy with the snuff and the tin can
and the shawl? I thought he went back to - -
He kind of did.
And he kind of didn’t.
(Starts to get nervous)
Know how you always mean to finish a job? You say
“Tomorrow,” but tomorrow the pile’s even higher? It was
Friday around six. Uncle Abdulla was sitting there
spitting tobacco into a can. The Mexicans were cashing
paychecks and buying beer. I saw Uncle Abdulla wasn’t
moving but I couldn’t do anything. I was alone. The
line was out the door. Abdul never works Fridays and
Alice went home sick. So Abdul comes in at midnight to
count cash and I tell him his uncle hasn’t moved in
four hours. So he puts a hand in front of the old guy’s
mouth, shakes his head, drags him in the freezer and
says, “I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”
What if he wasn’t dead?
We were pretty sure he was. Next day was Saturday which
was the opening of trout season. All these guys were in
and out buying beer and ice. The beer and ice trucks
were coming and going. So Abdul just wraps uncle in
plastic and pushes him behind the ice cream.
You had a dead body behind the ice cream?!?
It wasn't smelling up the freezer. It was wrapped in
plastic, okay? Abdul kind of forgot about it. Out of
sight, out of mind. Sometimes I’d get the willies late
at night and I’d mention it to him. And he’d say,
“Yeah yeah.” Reflecting on it now, I don’t think Abdul
and his uncle were all that close.
Wasn’t anyone back in the old country saying anything?
His wife’d call. Abdul would say, “He’s in Detroit.”
Abdul likes Detroit. So whenever she called and it was
me who’d answer, I’d say, “He’s in Detroit.” And she’d
say, “Okay.” Detroit was okay. For a while. But lately,
there’ve been a lot of phone calls. Different people.
They wouldn’t talk to me. They wanted Abdul or nobody.
But Abdul wasn’t taking phone calls anymore.
I don’t like this at all.
So last Friday, he shows up.
But you said Abdul never comes in on Friday!
Came this time. Early morning. Said he had a funeral
arranged. So we put the body in the car.
Don’t you have to thaw it out first?
How the heck would I know? Think I’m a funeral
director? Anyway, I didn’t ask. Glad it was gone. Dead
body behind the ice cream? Giving me the heebeejeebies. Later, Abdul calls. All agitated. Says the
hand’s missing. I’m thinking, it must’ve snapped off
while we were lugging Uncle Abdulla to the car.
Oh yeah. Frozen solid. It’ll snap right off. I read
about a man in a cabin in Canada in a blizzard. He
went outside to take a leak and - LOUISE:
Anyway! I told him I’d look. And he’s screaming,
“Hurry! Please!” And I said, “Okay okay!” Except,
I’d been snacking on hotdogs and chili all night.
Oh yeah, I love that 7-Eleven chili.
And I kind of was doing the Aztec two-step?
I know what you mean.
Loosens you up.
And I always go next door to Burger King.
See, I could never understand that about you.
Eleven bathroom seems fine to me.
don’t see it like I do. Uncle Abdulla could never
the mark. He was a sprayer. All over the place.
after he bought the farm, I kept thinking, “A dead
took his dumps on this hopper.”
Never thought of that.
They always got ten kids working at Burger King.
Bathroom’s immaculate. You could eat a whopper off the
tile, it’s that clean. So I posted the “Back in 15
minutes” sign, went over there with the new Cosmo. I
took a flashlight so I could hunt for the hand coming
back. I’m sitting there reading about Barbara Walters
interviewing Paris Hilton when suddenly. Ka-Boom!
Cops and firemen on the scene all night and all the
next day. First chance I got to look for it was today.
You don’t think Abdul planted a bomb, do you?
Marty, listen. Abdul’s the best. He wouldn’t hurt me.
He’s given me three raises in the last two years.
People change. On the one hand, you got this guy who
gives you raises. On the other, you got a man who
tosses his uncle’s body in the freezer.
I do admit, the freezer thing is a potential character
flaw. You know, a funny thing?
He was gonna have free hot dogs on Christmas Eve.
Her idea. Pentecostals take Christmas real serious.
Hot dogs on Christmas. I surely do like that concept.
But it ain’t gonna happen.
Had my mouth set. He gonna rebuild?
Maybe, maybe not. What he is doing is learning Spanish.
They speak Spanish in Mexico, don’t they?
Imagine they do.
Abdul’s good at languages.
Speaks English better’n me. Heard him rip off
“influential” and “ornithologist” like a champ.
Face it. The man’s in love. When you’re in love, you
already got one foot halfway out the door.
And they could be halfway to Mexico by now.
(Long silence. Then……)
Ever read of the pioneers? Folks who settled the west?
What I learned was, they kept moving. They’d stop
somewhere, work a piece of land. Then someone would
come by on their way further out. And they’d get all
antsy and move on. I guess they were scared they’d
miss out. There’s that scared word.
Bet they were never scared by a 7-Eleven blowing up.
They had wild Indians and range wars and the Hole-InThe-Wall gang. Scared balances out.
Well, there’s no frontier anymore.
It’s all settled.
They call it, the last frontier.
I don’t know anybody in Alaska.
Who did you know when you came to Fargo?
Maybe I should leave a note.
No no no.
But. But just saying Abdul’s still around and he comes
back and doesn’t see me. He might get worried.
When he doesn’t see you, he’ll say you’re missing.
They better have Lotto. I like to play a dollar a day.
They got Mega Millions, Spinnits, CASHola, Pick 6,
scratchers. They got oil money falling off the trees.
Odds are easy. How about we play five dollars a day?
So maybe I could be Lucky Louise up there.
Or Lucky someone else. How about, while we’re driving
up, we think up new names?
Claudia. There was a girl at school and her name was
Claudia. I like Claudia.
(He starts to exit.
He turns and beckons)
We got ten days to Christmas. Five days of hard
driving, we’ll be there. Should take a day or two to
find work. Then it’ll be like any other year for you.
Working at Christmas. And you know what it’ll say on
your name tag? “Hi, I’m Claudia. Merry Christmas.”
(She takes the pouch and slings it as far as
she can. Fade to black)
Cast of Characters
Two cheating lovers wake up in a hotel room, but one
of them is dead.
Note: Dead Angel had productions in Hollywood at
FirstStage and at the Write Act Repertory.
The Place: A hotel room.
(At Rise: early morning, about 4:30 a.m.
Subdued lighting. MICHAEL and ANGEL
asleep, lying back to back. Silence
except for MICHAEL’s breathing.
Presently MICHAEL begins moving, slowly
at first. Then we see him moving more,
tossing about. Then he starts waking up
by degrees. He props himself up to get
his bearings. He switches on light)
Wake up, Angel.
The cushion is soaked.
ANGEL does not move)
(A little louder)
Wake up. Angel!
ANGEL does not move)
(Prods ANGEL with hand)
Angel. Angel. Are you okay?
Are you sick?
please. Angel. Wake up. Please wake up.
(His face close to her lips)
You’re not breathing, Angel. What’s the matter, Angel?
Oh God, Angel, no. Please, Angel. Please be okay.
Please. What do you do when there’s no breathing?
Tilt head back. Yes! Tilt head back!
(He rolls ANGEL onto her back. Tilts
her head back)
What’s next? What do I do next? Listen for breathing.
Yes! Listen for breathing.
Oh God, you're not breathing. Breathe, Angel. Come
No breathing. What next? Uh. Pinch nose, cover mouth
(He does this)
Nothing. Oh God. Oh God.
(He does it again)
Nothing. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. Angel, please.
(He straddles her body, starts pressing
on her chest, speaking panicky
encouragement through grunts)
Come on, Angel. Please start breathing. You can do
it, Angel. Let’s see you start now. Come on. In.
Out. In. Out. Breathe, Angel, breathe. Do like
this. In. Out. In. Out. Come on. Do it for me. Do
it for Michael. Please, Angel. Breathe. Breathe.
Come on, Angel. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Oh God,
God, it’s not working.
(Stops. He is out of breath. He puts
hand in front of her nose)
(Then he slowly gets off her. Then he
stands, stares down at her, running his
hand through his hair in dismay.
Silence. Then suddenly he blurts out)
My God, Angel. You’re……you’re dead. You’re……dead.
I. I can't believe this.
I'm sorry, Michael.
You know, you’re.
You’re my first.
My first dead
His first. He always does that. He's big on making
lists and prioritizing things. First, second, third,
etc. Like it means something.
And. And I don’t know what happens next. What are the
rules when. When you wake up and you get. This?
He’s asking me? He thinks I know? Believe me,
Michael. This wasn’t planned. You’ll just have to feel
your way along.
I read somewhere. People Magazine, I think. I read.
That people who. You know. People who uh. Like. Die?
Their souls don’t leave right away. They uh. You know.
They stick around for a while.
Yes. That’s right. I’m still here. Some of the cell
groups take a while to switch off. I get to stay until
all the systems are down. Then I turn off the lights.
You have such a beautiful body, Angel.
Speaking of which. Not to sound crude, but I’m kind of
lying here in my own pee. It would be nice if someone
I wish I could take you in my arms right now.
Yes. Please. Please do. I’m asking you to.
in your arms, Michael.
But the police - ANGEL:
They’ll want nothing disturbed.
(Silence. Then MICHAEL starts weeping)
Oh gosh, what now?
All I wanted. All I ever wanted was a simple,
uncluttered office romance.
I wish he wouldn’t do that. I can’t deal with a crying
man. If anybody should be crying, it’s me.
The other managers have simple uncluttered office
All the other managers are simple uncluttered pricks.
Oh God! Did I just say that?
I just wanted to be like the guys.
Michael, you’re a lot of things but you’re not like
Was it so wrong for me to want an uncomplicated
Is this a rhetorical question?
A relationship uncomplicated by - ANGEL:
Uncomplicated by you-know-what. Oh, sure.
What’s love got to do with it?
It was supposed to be about sex.
And no regrets.
Exactly. Love never says, “Oh gee, what if she goes
and gets all emotional and starts making things
Love never says, “Oops, sorry about that.”
No second thoughts.
Right again. Love never says, “Uh, can we maybe go back
and, like, undo what we did?”
No recriminations. Love never says, “You’re wearing me
out. You’re suffocating me. How about let’s just be
friends for a while?”
(He pulls himself together, dabs his
eyes, blows his nose on a Kleenex.
You know, it’s funny.
You hear me laughing, Michael?
Today's our anniversary. Our one-year anniversary.
I wasn’t aware. I totally forgot that.
Valentine's Day. A year ago. Megan was out of town
visiting relatives. I was working late on a report. You
agreed to stay and help get it typed up.
Oh yes. Yes!
I do remember.
Valentine's Day means nothing to Megan. She's not the
sentimental type. She's a practical, by-the-numbers
You described her as clinical. Passionless.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. She's a good
mother. A wonderful housekeeper.
Those are, of course, fine qualities.
And as for this being our anniversary, I guess it’s a
moot point now.
Moot. Why do manager types use that word?
exactly is a moot?
(He picks up a wrapped present, holds it
I was going to surprise you.
This is definitely a surprise.
Happy anniversary, Angel. Happy Valentine's Day.
(He sets the present on the bed)
Thank you, Michael.
I don’t mind admitting, I've been thinking long and
hard about us, about this. This thing we have. Had.
Several times I came into work with a speech all
Yes. Me, too. Several times I was going to break it
off. I was going to say something like.
(Clears her throat)
Michael, I love you, but I can’t do this. I can’t look
at myself in the mirror and - MICHAEL:
(Clears his throat)
Angel, I love you, but I can’t do this to Megan.
can’t look her in the eye anymore.
(They are both suddenly silent. Then...)
You know, studies show office romances can result in a.
A disruptive workplace.
Disruptive? He should count the times I worked
overtime ALONE to save his bacon!
And there’s always the appearance of showing undue
Who made sure all his files were up to date? Who
watched his back? Who made sure no one blindsided him?
Who told him who’s coming in late, who’s leaving early?
Plus I have family obligations.
And I don’t?
You have a cat.
Winston’s not just a cat.
Winston’s not like. You know. Not like - Okay!
You don't have to say it!
MICHAEL & ANGEL:
Not like Megan and the twins.
I want you to promise me. Promise me that you’ll care
I don't want you to worry about Winston. I’ll go get
him. I’ll take him to a shelter.
I’ll make sure it’s done tomorrow.
He’s an old cat.
They’ll put him to sleep.
He’ll find a nice home.
Read my lips.
Nobody wants an old cat.
You know I’d take him in a heartbeat, but the twins
need a kitten. And I don't think Megan would - ANGEL:
So this is how it ends. Just toss us out. File and
forget. I must confess I always hated Valentine's Day.
I'd see the ads on TV of a man bringing his lover a
pearl necklace or a diamond bracelet and I'd cry out,
“What about me? What do I get?” What is there for a
woman with a cat who's married to her job?
me, Michael. It's the wrong time for me to be venting.
(Long silence. ANGEL quietly sobbing)
When Megan finds out, I don’t know what she’s going to
Megan’s a proud woman.
It’s fifty-fifty she’ll take me back.
More like sixty-forty against.
It’s a tossup.
More like a toss out.
Be sure to keep a bag packed.
I’ll tell her it was just one of those things.
say it didn’t mean anything. Purely physical.
No problem there. Just sex, no regrets. Every woman
understands that. Nothing to worry about.
What am I saying? She’s going to kill me.
I read something about cheating. I think in People
Magazine. A lot of men end up cheating after a couple
of years, because they feel they’re missing out on
something. It’s a kind of frustration thing and they
need to get it out of their system. After which, in
seven out of ten cases, they come back, renewed and
recharged. Tell her that, Michael.
She’ll kill me.
No doubt about it.
She’ll skin me
I’m sorry. I wish I could be there for you, Michael.
Here it comes. I’m starting to stiffen.
I’ve changed my mind.
I’ll take care of Winston.
Oh thank you, Michael. Thank you. You’ve made me very
happy. Thank you.
(A sudden tremor, her voice shaking)
Oh God! Cover me, Michael. I don’t mind your looking at
me, but please, not the others.
(He covers her with a sheet. He picks up
the phone and dials and waits while it
rings at the other end)
(From under the sheet, struggling to
I’m leaving, Michael. Good bye. Good. Bye.
Megan? Hi. Yes, I know it’s early. Yes, I’ll. I’ll be
flying home tonight. Flight 622. Yes, the usual
flight. Listen, I have something to tell you. Something
very bad has happened. Somebody died.
(He continues to talk but music drowns
out his voice. Blackout)
Cast of Characters
Joan………………Female, age mid to late 20’s
Toni………………Female, age early 20’s
It is Christmas Eve and Joan and Toni are about to have
their Commitment Ceremony. But first, some unfinished
A sofa, a chair, 2 doors, sound-effect of a Christmas
party in next room.
Thank You was produced at the Secret Rose Theatre in
Hollywood and off-Broadway by Love Creek Productions.
It was workshopped at the Hunger Artists Theatre in
Orange County and had a staged reading at Edward
Albee's Last Frontier Theatre Conference.
(Inside a room. Sounds of a Christmas
party in the next room. Two doors. One
door leads to party. The other leads to
JOAN paces, drink in her
hand. She sips nervously, glances at
Toni. Come on. Please, Toni. Please don’t be late.
Please don’t be late for this. Toni, come on. I need
you, Toni. Come on, Toni. Toni, walk through that
(Sends telepathic message to door)
Door opens. Toni enters. Joan sighs.
(Snaps finger, sees nothing has changed)
(Sits, takes out cellphone)
Love stinks. Sometimes.
Toni, where are you?
Toni, please pick up. People
are waiting. I’m waiting. Mitch is waiting. No, darn
you! I. I will not leave a message!
(Door opens, laughing voices, clinking
glasses. Enter TONI, dressed
Goth/Industrial, with drink in hand)
They’re serving cuba libres out there.
Well, hi stranger.
So. You were trying to call me?
Lost my phone.
Lost your phone?
Like into thin air.
It was there one minute and - (Drains glass)
Dog ate it, I guess.
(Laughs at joke. Holds up empty glass)
Oh oh. Gotta go refresh.
(Indicating TONI’s glass)
No more after this.
I mean it, Toni.
No more after this one.
You know how
Listen, I don’t need this from you. I work fucking
hard. Between Jerry Bonneau and that weasel Simon
riding my ass, I earned me some R & R. Now back off.
I know you work har - TONI:
No, you don’t. And don’t say you do when you don’t.
And don’t gimme no speech. It’s Christmas. It’s okay
at Christmas. I’m just one of Santa’s fucking elves.
Just waiting for the sleigh to pass by so I can jump
on. What’s the matter?
Never seen a fucking elf?
(Opens door, laughing voices, clinking
glasses. TONI exits)
(Walks to an imaginary mirror. Mimes
brushing her hair)
We get one supremely magic night and we spend the
remainder of our days trying to resurrect it. A part of
us says, forget it, the effort is futile, while another
part says our case is unique, the exception to the
rule. So we keep on keeping on, hoping against hope.
That’s how it is with magic. Even so, you could have
said something. It wouldn’t have cost you to say
something. I wish you had. It hurt that you didn’t
notice I bought a pretty cocktail dress. And a pretty
pair of heels. I recall I was dressed like this the
night we - (Trails off. A short silence while she
collects her thoughts)
I so want things to be perfect tonight. I so want you
to be proud. Why did you say nothing?
(Door opens, laughing voices, clinking
glasses. TONI re-enters carrying two
(Holds one drink out to JOAN)
Got you a fresh Shirley Temple.
(Holds her drink in front of her close
to her. Covers top of glass with her
No. It’s not okay.
Look, I’ll just kind of nurse
this one along. Okay?
Nurse. Nursing a drink. Wonder where that came from.
I don’t know.
You’re the word girl. You know the meanings of all the
words. Why people say what they say. I just thought
you might know.
Bogart said the world’s always three drinks behind.
Did you know that?
I’m thinking - -
Thinking about New York.
Yeah, think. Hey, I got one.
we think, we are?”
Who said, “What
Did you hear me?
Yeah. You said New York bla bla. And I said, “who
said, ‘what we think, we are?’ bla bla”
I’m thinking about going back to New York.
I don’t want to guess.
I said guess.
Dammit! Who said, “What we think, we are?”
Oh for God’s sake.
I don’t know!
Toni, I’m going to New - -
We’re not going to New York!
No, I’m going.
No, you’re not.
Why are you saying no?
You don’t want me.
This is how it starts. When she wants to mix it up,
she starts with the you don’t want me.
You’re dressed like we’re going to a Goth club. You
can’t touch me without getting drunk. I bore you.
And then she says bored. She doesn’t know bored. I
know bored. You want bored? Here’s bored. Trivial
Pursuit. Disco. Sushi. That’s bored. Everything
else is a fucking huge galactic extravaganza, so
awesome it makes me come just thinking about it.
I dreamt I was in a cage. And you were watching me.
said, Toni, touch me and you looked away.
Then she trots out the dreams and the psychic shit.
touch her. Sometimes I touch her. See?
(Touches JOAN’s arm. She jerks her arm
You’re not going.
You won’t stop me.
I mean it.
It was Buddha!
This is dying. This thing. This thing we have.
dying. I’m dying. You’re dying. We’re dying.
Do I look like I’m dying? It was Buddha. Buddha said,
“What we think, we are.” Now Buddha’s a stupid fat
fuck. A stupid fat fuck who sits and jacks off. Look
how he sits. Crosslegged on the floor. With that shiteating grin. That’s the jackoff position. But every so
often, the fat boy comes up with a gem. Something
simple. Something clean. What we think, we are.
(A sip. Sees her glass is half-full)
Hey, guess what? I think I’m a drink. I’m gonna have
them kind of top me off. You okay with that?
(Starts to exit)
Please don’t upset Mitch.
Brother Mitch can bite me.
(TONI opens door, laughing voices,
clinking glasses. TONI exits)
(Walks to imaginary mirror. Takes out
handkerchief and dabs her makeup)
I went to see Mitch last week. I didn’t tell you. I
wanted to see how we stood. He’s not like you say,
Toni. He’s nice, he’s a gentleman, he makes you feel
important when he’s talking to you. And he listens. I
like that. He said, thank you, Joan. I was taken
back! Thank you? Thank you for what? Thank you, he
said, for bringing some sanity to my sister’s life.
Thank you. Wow! That was a shocker. It’s been a
while since anyone said thank you to poor little
(Door opens, laughing voices, clinking
glasses. TONI enters with two drinks)
Got you a fresh Shirley Temple.
I just don’t want you being sick.
Mitch says we go in ten.
Make it twenty minutes.
What do you mean, no?
I mean - TONI:
No way you’re standing me up with Mitch out there.
That dickhead would ride me till my dying day.
Let’s just - -
No! We’re gonna do this. No is not an option. You’re
gonna back me up. Remember, you’re on my side.
(Drinks half her glass)
We’re gonna go out, hand in hand, just like we said.
I’m gonna look at you and smile and say bla-bla-bla.
(Starts slowly backing toward the
(Advancing toward her, hand
You’re gonna smile and flutter your eyelashes.
Yes. Mitch is gonna grin from ear to ear. All the
guestie-guests are gonna go, awwww, ain’t that sweet?
Now come on, let’s do it.
(Slips inside bathroom)
Hey come on. Don’t do this to me.
(JOAN closes bathroom door. Locks it)
Oh shit, she did it.
(Knocks on door)
Joan. Come on. Come on out. Joan, please, we got to
do this thing.
We got to do this thing right now.
Mitch is getting everybody ready. We gotta be there.
Cause this is for us.
They can’t have it without us.
So please come on out.
(Pounds on door)
Damn it, Joan! You can’t leave me alone and naked!
You get your ass out here and stand by me.
We have good times. Sometimes we do. Good times. Fun
times. Maybe not like we used to. But. Well. Right
now there’s this one thing. She wants me to go to
meetings. She won’t go. Says I’m the one with the
problem. So I have to go. Well, they. They want you
to go together to these things. Someone’s gonna say,
where’s your mate?
And see, I’d have to invent
something. Well, I’m not going to do that. I don’t
make up stories. That’s not my way. Uh look, I’m
sorry. Sorry I’m a bit drunk. Sorry I rained on your
parade. I know, I know. Don’t have to say it. I’m
like one of those jerks who dances with his wife maybe
once every ten years and has to be shitfaced to do it.
I’m clumsy, awkward. I fall over stuff. I don’t know
how to act. Sure, I admit it. Like a bull in a China
shop. All thumbs? Yeah, that’s me. A stumbler? A
bumbler? You got my number. But you gotta remember,
Joan. You picked me. Out of all the women you could
have picked, you picked Toni. And, let me tell you, I
want to thank you. I know I don’t show it so good, but
I want you to know it’s an honor to be with you. To
know people are saying, “You see her? That’s Toni.
Her and that Joan chick got a thing going.” They all
talk about how Joan is so cool, so reserved, so
controlled. And I have to tell you it drives me a
little crazy sometimes. Like I don’t know how to act
around you. I’m like the clang and the clatter on the
the edge of your calm. I need your calm. I need you
touching me so I know it’s okay. I need some rules so
I don’t act stupid. I don’t need someone to stand back
and watch me fall on my face and say, “Just look at
her. That’s Toni, that dumb bitch.” I’m scared, Joan.
I need you. I need you with me. I need you next to
me. I need you now.
You’re Toni, aren’t you?
Yeah, that’s me.
Don’t you and this Joan chick have something going?
Yeah, we sure do.
She’s some gem.
I heard you two are doing the thing tonight.
You heard that?
Everyone’s heard. Talk of the town.
commitments are special.
That was Joan’s idea.
She’s smart that way.
She must be. I just had to come. I hope I’m not late.
You’re right on time. It’s just about to start. I’ll
escort you in. You’ll get the best seat in the house.
That’s a nice dress.
Nice shoes too.
(They walk together arm in arm.
A TEAM PLAYER
A short play
Henry, a successful man, frustrated by the drift and
malaise in his life, weds Madeline, a woman half his
age because he wants to revive, renew, refresh,
rejuvenate. But as the ravages of time conspire against
him, Madeline is left alone to perform one final act of
Maddie………………………………female, early 40’s
Henry…………………………………male, early 60’s
Police uniform, wheelchair, softball bat, softball,
2 softball mitts
A Team Player was produced at the Vanguard Theatre in
Orange County, CA; was produced by MadLab for the
Columbus Fringe Festival in Columbus, OH; had a staged
reading by the Darien Players in Darien, CT; was
produced at the Dragonfly Fest in Boston, MA; won first
place in "The Writer Speaks" Fest in Los Angeles, CA.
(Bare stage. COP standing. Behind him,
HENRY, MADELINE and wheelchair)
At ten in the morning, Madeline wheeled Henry out to
the swimming pool. Like so.
(As he describes, MADELINE & HENRY come
forward and demonstrate)
Positioned him on the pool deck at the deep end. Like
so. Eased herself onto his lap, strapped herself in.
She used one of those expandable belts, running it
under the seat and pulling it tight, securing it over
her thighs, like so. Then she switched the motor on
and they drove into the pool. They sank together.
(MADELINE & HENRY retreat upstage)
The coroner took one look. No sign of forced entry, no
sign of violence. Called it murder/suicide. First
murder in this town in fifty-one years. I grew up next
door to Henry. I recall before Madeline, there was
another woman. Then one day, the other woman was gone.
Dad and I were in the back playing catch. And there
was Madeline, doing stretching exercises. I said in my
six year old voice, “Are you the new mommy?”
Yep, that’s me, little guy. I’m the new mommy.
She had a terrific laugh. She was really tall. And
when she bent over to shake my hand, I thought I caught
the scent of the ocean.
Nice handshake. He’s gonna be a little toughie.
My Dad said, “Yup. He’s my little baseball player.”
She gave me her sweatband.
All real ballplayers have sweatbands.
I thought, “Wow!” No one had ever given me a sweatband
before. She grinned. Great grin. Then she scrunched
down next to me.
When a lady gives a little boy a sweatband, that’s a
sign of a special friend. Are you going to be my
“Sure. You bet” And every year, until I was eighteen,
I got a birthday present from Madeline and Henry. It
was always from Madeline and Henry. Never the other
way around. And it was always athletic gear. Like when
I was ten, I got a chest protector. I was second
string catcher on my Little League team. I noticed
right away with the chest protector, I got more innings
behind the plate. I started noticing Madeline at my
games. Occasionally, Henry came with her. But usually,
it was Madeline by herself. She always sat alone and
she always watched the whole game. Not like the moms
and dads who only watched when their kid was out there.
Sometimes I’d get a note. Never signed, but I knew who
it was from.
Choke up, Benjamin, stop swinging for the fences.
Benjamin, keep the ball in front of you. Use your
knee, Benjamin, use your knee to block the plate.
She came to my football and basketball games too.
Including the big game against Immaculata. Mom and Dad
weren’t there. But Madeline was. Right at courtside.
I’m matched up against a big dummy. I’m eating him
alive. His coach’s giving him hell. Suddenly, five
minutes into the second half, I’m on the floor bleeding
from my forehead. Blood in my eye blinding me. I feel
Madeline pulling me to my feet.
Eject him! Kick that hoodlum out!
The ref hits our bench with a technical because of
Madeline. Their coach comes at me and Madeline. I
hear her saying.
Keep coming, I’ll drop you like a bag of dirt!
Meanwhile, my guy’s at midcourt snickering like a
typical Catholic asshole.
Number eight marked you. You better mark him back or
he wins. Doesn’t matter if you scored twenty-seven to
his five. He wins if you don’t mark him.
I can’t do that.
Then you’re a coward. Do you want to be a coward?
She gives me a hard shove. At which point my instincts
basically take over. I know I got to him. I know I
took him down. I know I got my ass kicked.
forfeited the game. I got booted off the team. My Mom
cried. My Dad bellyached about how I ruined my chances
of getting into Rice or Duke. I didn’t care. I wasn’t
exactly Rice or Duke material. The next day, we’re at
Neil Homedale’s house down in his basement. With my
teammates listening in, I called Immaculata. “Uh hi,
this is number twenty-four, Mountain Lakes High?
Would you please tell that dogass number eight, if he
wants his front teeth, he can pick them up at twentyone Hanover Road. Go Lakers!”
Damn, that felt good!
Damn it all! Damn it all to hell! What do you do when
it gets to a point where everything stagnates? Where
everyone’s in a deep funk? Where nothing seems to
advance with a purpose? You ask yourself, is this what
it’s all about? Is this as good as it gets? You recall
how you used to look forward to each dawn as a fresh
miracle. Now, you just want it to end. Because you’re
too numb and burnt out to care anymore. Maddie was
twenty-two. I was forty. She had gorgeous eyes. The
first thing she did was knock me down. She was
incredible. She was. Well, let’s just say she was in a
higher league. She was a friend of a friend. She came
with Danny Benes’ sister, Lynnie. Lynnie and Maddie had
this dog-walking business. People too busy to walk
their dogs hired Maddie and Lynnie. And speaking of
dogs, it was the dog days of August, 1984. Early
evening. Sokol versus Scores for the league fastpitch
trophy. Sokol’s a Czech social club. I’m Czech. Proud
of it. Scores is this sports bar that sponsors a team.
For a bunch of fat drunks, they’re not bad. It was a
tough game. Final score, twelve to nine, us. I crushed
everything in sight. Four for four. Two doubles. Two
home runs. Six ribbies. Read ‘em and weep. Afterwards,
we all headed back to Scores for the post-game bash.
You know the saying. Losers cry. Losers buy. Lynnie
sits next to me. “You and Danny had a great game.” Her
brother Danny went two for four. Lynnie introduces us.
“Maddie, this is Henry Slezak. He tells everyone he’s a
bigshot Republican attorney. So be nice to him, maybe
he’ll let us walk Reagan’s dog.” Maddie’s sitting
directly across the table. I grin, yeah, I heard about
you guys. Walking dogs for Yuppies. Talk about a scam.
It’s not a scam. We do it all. We bathe. We groom.
We babysit. Tell all your rich Republican clients.
Do these Yuppies ever actually get to see their dogs?
‘Course they do.
Well, I’m just a simple attorney. Don’t have time for
a dog. So what did you think of my four for four?
You were pretty good.
I had an MVP night.
Their pitcher wasn’t exactly making you work.
What are you talking about? He could bring it.
His pitches had “hit me” written all over them.
Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.
There was no movement on his ball.
I suppose you could do better.
Better than him.
Tell you something, Lynnie. You got a helluva partner
here. She’s got some balls. Lynnie giggles. I turn
back to Maddie, I bet you couldn’t.
I could dust you on two pitches.
You’re gonna dust me?!?
You hear that,
Bright Eyes here says she can dust me.
rolls his eyes. Tell you what, Bright Eyes. If you
can dust me, I’ll buy you the best steak in town. Just
name the time and place.
First of all, my name isn’t Bright Eyes. Secondly, I
don’t eat steak. But you can buy me a salmon fillet.
You mean, if you dust me.
I mean, when I dust you.
So how about let’s do it right here?
You are really pushing it.
That’s what I do. Push it. Okay, winner crows, loser
owes. She shakes, strong grip. I get a bat, two
softballs. We gather in the alley. Half the people in
the bar there. We pace it off, piece of cardboard for a
plate. I flip her the balls. Here you go, Bright Eyes,
two balls, two pitches. I get into my crusher stance.
She has her game face on, staring me down. For the
first time, I focus on the whole Maddie. Inside, it was
across a table, air thick with smoke. I see she’s about
five ten, long black hair, long legs, giving me a
Sparky Lyle smirk. I give her my Thurman Munson scowl.
I spit. She winds up, strides, releases. A riser toward
the middle of the plate. Looks easy. I stride into it,
just as it leaps up and flashes past my chin. I pick
myself off the asphalt, you trying to kill me?
Oh gee sorry.
Guess it slipped.
Want me to move closer? Make it easier for you?
You just worry about your hitting, Slugger.
I dig in. Her back to me now. She’s holding the ball
up to her face, talking to it. Then she turns, gives
me an Al Hrabosky Mad Hungarian glare. I counter with
my Gary Carter unflappable grin. I’m thinking, she
jammed me last time, she’s setting me up for the
outside corner. She nods, winds up, strides, a little
crouch just before she releases. The ball starts out
low, rising quickly and heading toward the outside
corner of the plate. Aha! Just as I guessed. But, as I
shift my body, it tails inside and kind of drops. I pop
up weakly to the mound. She one-hands it.
I’ll have that salmon cajun style.
Was she ever good!
Damn you, Henry Slezak. Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!
No! No, wait. Stop. I didn’t mean that. I take it
back. I don’t want you damned. At bottom, you’re as
good a man in your way as there has ever been. A
wonderful provider. A wonderful lover. A wonderful
companion. And a very stubborn man. The word “no” is
not in your lexicon. Does not compute. You bought a
dog. Twice a week, you knocked on my door with some
canine issue. I said, no, go away. Then the gifts
started coming. Gift after gift after gift. I said no,
no, no. Take them away. Then you camped on my doorstep.
I said, go away. But I had to let you in or you would
have caught pneumonia out there. The gifts kept coming.
I kept saying no, but you broke me. You’re a big
attorney. You know how to break people.
I want you on my team, Bright Eyes. We’re world class.
You like that term.
So tell me. What’s it gonna take to add you to the
Henry Slezak roster?
(He hands her a pen and a pad)
Here, go ahead. You write a number. Then I’ll write a
number. Then we’ll compare, see if we’re in the
Ballpark. Another favorite Henry Slezak term.
you divorced your wife.
(Holds up a thick legal document)
Look, Bright Eyes. The settlement agreement. I cut
Candace from the squad. She’s a free agent now.
(Turns to the last page)
See that number? That’s what it cost to buy out her
contract. You wanna know something? I would have paid
ten times that amount because.
Because you were resolved to clarify your life, bring
the essential things into sharp focus. You said you
were intent on clearing out - -
Clearing out the clutter. Clearing out the chaos. I
need to revive. Renew. Refresh. Rejuvenate. You’re
worth the investment, Bright Eyes, because you - MADELINE:
Because I represent simplicity. Your word, Henry. You
were so sure you had me caught in your web. So sure of
yourself. So sure of your purpose. And you were
Who could resist you?
(Takes folded sheet of paper from
pocket. Unfolds it. Hands it to her)
The prenuptual agreement. Hereinafter called, “The
Agreement.” Everyone’s using them these days. And
they’re a good thing. Think of it like a contract to
play for a team. Defines your relationship to the
team. Outlines your - MADELINE:
Outlines my duties and responsibilities as a member of
the team. Specifies the rules and guidelines of the
The ump doesn’t say work ball. He says play ball. K.
I. S. S. Keep it simple. You got a question, go to
the Agreement. Read the guidelines. Read the rules.
It keeps things simple. Lets you focus on the game.
I must admit, I like rules.
Rules are what separate us from the animals.
Break the rules, suffer the consequences.
Do the crime.
Do the time.
Should Pete Rose be inducted into the Hall?
Absolutely not! He broke the rules!
“The parties to this marriage have discussed their
future plans and desires relating to having/adopting
children. Both parties hereby acknowledge they shall
not have/adopt children once married. This provision
is based upon an analysis of the parties’ present and
anticipated family structure, financial situation and
the lifestyle the parties anticipate having.”
(He gives her a pen. She signs)
Of course I signed. And the next fifteen years were
absolute heaven. Trips to Southeast Asia, East Africa,
Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Sweden, Antarctica.
Receptions at the White House with President Reagan and
President Bush. My Henry, the big VIP, the donor, the
political fundraiser. A man to be stroked and treated
with respect. I on his arm, tall and thin and brighteyed, basking in his glory. I could feel heads
turning. Could you feel them, Henry? But time passes.
That’s what time does. You’re not forty-one anymore.
Three strokes in three years. 1999. 2000. 2001. Ding
dong. Ding dong. Ding dong. Like a giant tolling bell.
You’re dead, Henry. The cupboard is bare. I feel empty,
drained, sucked dry. Somewhere it says you’re immortal
through your daughters and your sons, but Maddie
doesn’t even have a dog. Because you’re allergic to
dander, Henry. I pretended the boy next door was mine.
I celebrated his birthdays, his graduations, his Bar
Mitsvah. I watched him grow. When he graduated from the
Police Academy, I almost choked,
almost lost it,
almost said, “I’m so proud of you, son.”
So it’s down to you and me, Henry. No regrets except it
was much too short a season. But we’ve made a heck of
a team, haven’t we?
Winners. You know what they say
about winners. You don’t break up a winning team.
Look what happened to the Sox after they sold Babe
Ruth. But damn you, Henry Slezak! Damn you!
Damn, you should see it! Town’s filling up. Hotels
packed. Funeral’s at one. Henry was a mover, lots of
bigwigs and high mucky-mucks paying their respects.
People from the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
And because of how he died, the media is here. The
whole Department’s on overtime. I hadn’t seen Madeline
for over a year. My job took up all my time. Even so,
every now and then I’d get a snippet of information
about her. People said after Henry’s first stroke she
pretty much kept indoors. She insisted on taking care
of him personally. But, at the end, I saw that same
attention to detail she used to apply to my batting
stance. She was meticulous. Every bill paid off in
full. The insurance policies laid out on the dining
room table covered with post-it notes. A handwritten
note directing that Romans chapter five and “A Mighty
Fortress” be included in the funeral ceremony.
Madeline’s people were Lutherans.
(Lights up on a small table on which
there’s a package. COP goes to package,
opens it. takes out letter, scans
letter as he says the following)
Then a FedEx to me from an attorney firm. Inside, a
short letter noticing me of two trust funds, each
amounting to $10,000.00, set up for any children I may
have. At the bottom of the letter, in Madeline’s
familiar script, the following: “Remember, Benjamin,
you are immortal through your daughters and your sons.”
Well damn. Damn it all.
Three teenage video gamers talk about a shooting
incident at school as they play a violent video game.
Bed, desk, computer. Sound effect of computer game
running. Sound effect of garage door.
Little Jimmy received a production at the Hill-Murray
Young Performer's Workshop.
(Early afternoon. A teenage boy’s
bedroom. Posters on wall announce to
the world this is the room of a video
game wannabe. Desk with computer. A
bed off to the side. JASON enters,
followed by JARED & BRENT. They still
have their bookbags on. They start
unstrapping the bookbags)
Sweet. I like the posters. You gotta gimme your
(BRENT nods toward computer)
Stellar setup, dude.
Strictly for running graphics.
Hey, wait! Hold it right there just one minute. Don’t
move, you two.
(Steps back. He is behind them. Points
his finger at them, making a pistol)
Blam! Blam! Blam! I hate you! You’re all dead! Blam!
What the hell was that about?
You didn’t get it?
That was Little Jimmy.
in the bookbag. Just like Little Jimmy.
I shot you
Oh Jeez, Brent!
Blam! Blam! You try to run away. But Little Jimmy
shoots you in the bookbag again. Blam! Great target.
Like a bullseye on your back. Blam!
(Turns to BRENT, drops bookbag on floor)
That wasn’t funny, man.
That was hilarious.
(Drops bookbag on floor. Unzips
bookbag, takes out memory stick)
Relax, Jason. Brent’s always doing stuff.
mean anything. Just Brent being Brent.
Jared, seriously, you didn’t think that was funny?
Let it go.
Some things you just don’t joke about, man.
(Hands memory stick to JASON)
Okay okay. No more Little Jimmy. Let’s get started.
(Sits at computer. Turns it on.
Inserts memory stick)
All right. Ready to launch. Launch.
It’s got a three point two gig processor, two gig
Okay. So what next?
(BRENT hops onto the bed. Lies face up,
tossing a tennis ball up at the ceiling)
Wait’ll the game comes up. Okay, there. There it is.
You see that? That’s a graphic of a door. The door’s
probably rigged. Probably a bomb.
How can you tell?
If you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.
Ignore him. You always assume. Now move Bogart's team
up to the door.
Just Bogart. Chavez and Santiago can cover. Come on.
Come on. Do it. Move, move! You gotta move fast or - JASON:
Mission Failure. Your team has been killed.
Way to go, Jase.
Up yours, Brent.
(BRENT makes a sound like he’s been
You can’t just stand there. Gotta keep moving. Tangos
are always moving. You stand still, you’re dead.
Yeah but if I had the cheat codes.
(On hearing that, BRENT groans)
Then you’re not playing the game.
You said you were gonna give me the cheat codes.
You need to learn the game first.
That’ll take a week. Maybe more than a week.
midterms coming up. And I got lacrosse.
Having the cheat codes is like being on a date with
Yolanda and knowing how to hypnotize her. I mean,
where’s the adventure?
Maybe the adventure starts after she’s hypnotized.
Now that’s the shit you’d hear from Little Jimmy.
(Silence. Sound of JASON’s fingers on
the keyboard. Then……)
So you guys knew Little Jimmy.
We were friends.
No. Check that. We were acquaintances. Like gamers
know other gamers? It’s not like we hung together.
Yeah. That’s right. Common thread was gaming. Like a
big club with no membership rules. There’s even some
teachers into gaming.
(Over JASON’s shoulder, closer to
screen. JASON intent on typing)
They need a life, too. All right. We’re back at the
door. You got the door in front of you. Keep moving.
Good good. The door’s probably rigged. Probably a
bomb. Position your teams. Santiago and Chavez to
cover. Good. Advance Bogart’s team. No no. Don’t
let them bunch together. Spread them out. Yes good.
Check the heartbeat sensors. Good. From Bogart’s
team, break out Roger McAllen. Check to ensure he’s in
a heavy uniform. Is he? Is he?!?
(Leans closer to screen)
Well come on!!?? Is he in a heavy uniform?!?
Okay, okay. Save the game. Hurry, save it!
Now hit escape. All right.
This is where cheat codes don’t help. Roger McAllen is
your demolitions specialist. He grades super high
in defusing bombs and breaching doors. If you lose him
now because of something stupid like forgetting the
heavy uniform, then later in the game when you’re
outside another rigged door where the tangos are
Does the phrase “up shit creek” ring a bell?
It’s a game of details.
That was so real.
That’s the high you get.
I could actually sense the tangos on the other side of
the door. I could sense the fear in the hostages. The
graphics, the effects are just way out there.
You get hooked. Cheat codes are there to get you
through the game. Get you from A to Z. But that’s not
The point is, to experience the high inside the game.
I read some gamers confuse the high inside with the
Some gamers are pretty intense. Some gamers push the
envelope. Some gamers take it to the next level.
I heard Little Jimmy - -
And you said I got Little Jimmy on the brain.
Some people say Little Jimmy thought the kids he shot
were tangos. That he thought he was inside a game.
Now that’s just the sort of thing some people would
say. Blame it all on gamers.
I don’t know about gamers, but Steven Meinke said
Little Jimmy had a list.
I didn’t hear that. What I heard, he told people they
were in violation and he was going to shoot them.
Yeah, I heard that too. He’d tell them the reason.
For example. He told Barbara Alpert.
What did she do when he told her?
She said she’d kick his ass. But then he went told
other people she was in violation.
Violation of what?
He said her tits were too big.
He said she had a tit
I heard he told thirty people.
I heard at least thirty. He said crazy stuff. But if
they got pissed, he told them he was just joking.
Everyone called him a clown. But he wasn’t even a good
clown. You know, there was nothing he was good at.
Even gaming. Little Jimmy was mediocre.
Less than mediocre.
I can’t recall him actually ever winning.
I never heard he did.
I don’t believe there ever was a list. If there’s a
list, that means you’re planning stuff.
Little Jimmy was spur of the moment.
Strictly spur. Meinke made that up. Probably to get
his name in the paper.
(Silence. Sound of JASON’s fingers on
the keyboard. Then……)
I’d have a list.
I mean if I was going to take a gun, I’d have a list.
I think I’d have a list, too
It wouldn’t be efficient otherwise.
Little Jimmy just stood there and, you know, shot ‘em
in the bookbag. Shot whoever walked by. That’s not
efficient. I mean c’mon! You gotta do better than
that! I mean, if I was going to kill some people at
school, I know I could do better than that.
So who’d be first on your list, Jason?
He never brushes his teeth. And he wears those geeky
flip-flops. His toes gross me out.
He’d be up there on my list too.
Would you tell him?
Little Jimmy was an idiot for telling people.
on your list, Brent?
Jeffrey Alioto, Maureen Davison, Kitty Sue Firr.
Ditto, Kitty Sue.
Then Maureen’s off the list.
death by Jared Souza.
Maureen, I like.
Saved from a painful
What a guy!
(Sound of garage door)
My mom’s home.
Want us to leave?
No. Stay. I told her some friends were coming by with
a video game.
Then we’ll stay
(JASON adjusts monitor and types)
(From over JASON’s shoulder)
Okay. Advance the Bogart team. Use the Heartbeat sensor
before you enter the room. When we blow the door, have
the Chavez and Santiago teams crash the room. We spray
the room left and right. Don’t forget. Left. Then
right. Straight ahead, you kill the hostages. Got that?
(JASON nods as music swells, drowning
out sound. Blackout)
MERRY CHRISTMAS, BITCH!
Cast of Characters
Sondra Sweet……………Female,in her early 40’s
Duane Champagne……Male, in his 60’s
Laura Love…………………Female, in her late 40’s
A theatre owned by a Christmas Grinch is invaded by a
troupe rehearsing Dickens' A Christmas Carol. And it
isn't long before no one has the Christmas spirit.
Merry Christmas, Bitch received a production at the
Chance Theatre in Orange County, CA.
(At Rise: A stage in an empty theatre.
A microphone on a stand)
(Strides to microphone. Big smile. A
stopwatch in her hand. She counts
silently, 1, 2, 3. Presses stopwatch)
Hi everyone! Gosh, you all look great. What a great,
great audience. Hey, it’s almost Christmas, isn’t it?
Everybody got their Christmas list written?
hit the malls?
Yeah? Well, guess what? I’m
not. Fact is, holiday shopping torques me off bigtime.
Not worth the aggravation.
This year I decided to
I’m gonna sit this puppy out.
I’m gonna get
me a case of Southern Comfort and drink myself under
the table. When I come back up for air, I want the
Twelve Days of Christmas to be over and out. Hey, it’s
not the gifts I got a problem with. It’s the people.
They’re all so self-absorbed, so touchy, so sensitive.
Anything sets them off. My advice is, don’t buy ‘em
anything. Anything you buy ‘em, they’re gonna hate it
anyway. They’re gonna ask you for the receipt so they
can take it back. Picky bastards. Time was you could
give them anything and it was fine. People were
pleased as punch just to be on anyone’s Christmas list
at all. It was an honor. A mark of distinction. Back
then giving was emphasized. It was a less material
age. You could giftwrap, say, a dried cow turd and put
it under the tree and you would get a thank you.
Guaranteed. Months later, they’d still be talking
about it. “Did I forget to thank you for the lovely
Christmas turd? It was so thoughtful of you. William
and I found so many uses for it. And we told all our
Those days will never come back. But you
know, say what you will about Christmas, there’s always
the Christmas tree. And, girls, did you know, a
Christmas tree is better than a man? It’s true. I
hear you saying, how can that be?
Well, let me count
the ways. First, a Christmas tree is always erect.
Second, a Christmas tree looks good – even with the
lights on. It stays up for twelve days and twelve
nights. And, it has cute balls. Thank you so very
much. You’re a beautiful audience. Thank you.
(Presses stopwatch button)
Hmmm, not bad. Needs more work on the timing. Timing
is everything. Hey! What do a priest and a Christmas
tree have in common? Give up? Ornamental balls!
(Enter LAURA LOVE and DUANE CHAMPAGNE in
the aisle. DUANE wears a top hat and an
old fashioned nightshirt)
Yes? Who’s there? Come out and show yourself! For
your information, I am armed. To the teeth. So beware!
Hello up there.
Are we interrupting?
We’re supposed to meet a Miss Sondra Sweet?
Well, you’re in luck today. I’m a Miss Sondra Sweet.
I’m the only Miss Sondra Sweet in this neck of the
woods. I own this dump.
Don’t say dump.
Lovely theater. So intimate. So……so je ne sais quoi.
We do like the props you have.
Indeed we do.
Yeah? Well, thank you. I got this prop guru named
Wendell. He comes in once a week to help set up the
stage. He’s got lots of props. Whole mess of props.
Works for beer and pussy.
(Audible gasp from LAURA & DUANE)
Ha ha. That’s a joke. Hey, you got a name, Sweetie?
Oh, forgive me. I’m Laura Love?
We’re rehearsing Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
children of the parish.
Michael called you to reserve the stage?
We’d like to do two hours rehearsal today if it’s - SONDRA SWEET:
So what’s his story?
(Indicating his costume)
Oh, my goodness, forgive us again.
Champagne. I play Scrooge.
We’re so lucky to have Duane.
Oh now now.
Stop it, Laura. Please.
He’s very experienced. He's been Scrooge before.
Been Scrooge before. No kidding?
Hey, Duane! How
many times you been Scrooge? Hey Duane! You like a
kiss after you been Scrooge?
Heyyyy, just kidding,
You know, I do comedy. I do standup.
I’ve never met a real life comed - -
But I’m so busy what with running the theater and then
there’s all my other commitments and oblig - LAURA LOVE:
Oh yes, busy busy.
We know what that’s like.
With us it’s choir practice.
So much activity and not enough time in the day.
all such a blur.
Time marches on.
Tick tock tick tock.
I know what you mean. I get so many requests. I
finally put my foot down. These days I only do
intimate venues for discriminating audiences. Many
call, but few are chosen.
That’s from the Bible, I think.
I don’t read it.
A close friend gave me that line.
We don’t say lines in the Bible.
We say verses.
(Audible gasp from LAURA & DUANE)
Personally, I think it’s a lot of hooey.
Did she say hooey?
You know, hooey. Bullshit.
(Long painful pause)
(Barely able to remain civil)
I think we had best get started.
Yes, we better.
Ready to start, are you? OK. You can use half the
But we need the whole - SONDRA SWEET:
Didn’t Michael explain? I said I had other things
going on. I was very up front. The reason I’m doing
this at all is as a personal favor to Michael. And
hey, because it’s Christmas.
I guess we’re missing something.
Who else needs to use the stage right now?
Excuse me! I’m rehearsing my Christmas bit.
now. I’m using stage right.
You can’t hold off?
Hold off for a couple of hours?
Negative. Timing is everything in comedy. I hone my
bits until they are letter perfect. I’ll have you know
my Christmas bits are legendary. By the way, do you
have the fifty dollars?
LAURA LOVE & DUANE CHAMPAGNE:
Yeah. I charge twenty five per. I told Michael.
Twenty five per is industry standard. On the low end,
actually. And I said cash. Cash on the barrel. Up
(Stage whisper. SONDRA cocks an ear)
We can’t rehearse at the church.
(Stage whisper to Laura)
They have four funerals and a wedding today.
This is ridiculous.
Well, I have a twenty.
I have only three ones, but that was for lunch.
Give it here. You can owe me the other twenty eight.
OK. Good. Stage left is all yours. For two hours.
And don’t touch the microphone. Now I gotta go do
something. Be back in a sec.
(SONDRA SWEET exits)
This is insane.
Horrid woman. All she talks about is
Not your fault.
sex and money.
Let’s try making the best of it.
Let’s just block her out.
Half the stage.
Can you believe it?
She’s not even using it. She left.
I’ll bet she
No doubt she does. And this.
This is so undignified!
(SONDRA SWEET re-enters with bottle in
paper sack from which she takes sips)
Oh, hello there, Miss Sweet.
Hey, don’t mind me. Just go on doing what you’re
(DUANE & LAURA exchange a meaningful
Let’s get on with it.
All right. Page 24. We start with the scene in the
Cratchit house. The Cratchit family is celebrating
Christmas. The Ghost of Christmas Present has brought
you here to show you the true meaning of Christmas.
I got it.
I’ll read Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the Ghost. You
read the Scrooge lines.
(LAURA starts reading)
Bob: “A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless
us!” Tiny Tim: “God bless us every one!”
"Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live."
Ghost: “I see a vacant seat in the chimney-corner. And
a crutch without an owner. If these shadows remain
unaltered by the future, the child will die.”
Oh, no, kind Spirit! Say he will be spared."
Ghost: “If these shadows remain unaltered by the
future, none other will find him here. What then? If
he be like to die, he had better do it quick.” As the
Ghost speaks those words, you are visibly overcome with
grief. Then we go to blackout.
Why a blackout?
It's a good place for one. The first time you express
compassion. It’s a pregnant moment.
But. But I wouldn’t put a blackout there. I would
have a very tight light on me pondering and reflecting.
I'll think about it. Let’s do another scene, shall we?
(Visibly unhappy at her response)
Page 67, please.
You wake up. The third ghost has come and gone. You
feel wonderful. Filled with Christmas joy. Your only
fear is that you may have missed Christmas. You throw
open the window. You see a small boy in the street
below. Ok. Go!
"I don’t know what day of the month it is! I don’t
know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t
know anything. Hello there, young man! What’s today?"
"What did you say, sir?"
"What’s today, my fine young fellow?"
Why, Christmas Day, sir.
(Not putting much energy into it)
"It’s Christmas Day! I haven’t missed it. The Spirits
have done it all in one night. They can do anything
they like. Of course they can. Of course they can.
Here, my fine young fellow! Here is a shilling for
you! Merry Christmas to you! Merry Christmas to
You need to punch the words. You’re on a total
Christmas high. You’ve gone through a major personality
transformation. Suddenly, you love all mankind. You
want to explode with love. Give me an explosion.
Wait. It was perfect. It's how I’ve done it for years.
I thought he sucked.
Please, Ms Sweet. Duane. I need more love.
Christmas cheer. Punch the words.
I do not suck.
I didn’t say you su - - didn’t say you were bad.
She said I sucked! Nobody says that to me!
You are interfering with my work.
I thought I was giving honest feedback.
Duane does not suck.
I was just putting into words what you were thinking.
Plain as day on your face.
You think I suck? Is that what you think?
Stop it right now!
So! Backstabber! Mata Hari! The truth comes out!
You get back to your place.
I am Scrooge!
Scrooge! And I do not suck!
You’re acting like a small child!
Don’t psychoanalyze me, you………you - Oh, my god!
You’re such an ass!
(Slams top hat to floor)
That’s it! I quit! I'm leaving!
Well, he sure punched those words.
Duane! Wait! You are a horrible, horrible woman! I
hope you choke on your turkey. I hope Santa gives you
a big lump of coal.
Yeah, Merry Christmas, bitch.
(SONDRA picks up top hat. Carries it in
her hand. Goes to microphone)
Hey, girls. Christmas is just around the corner. I
got a great gift idea for that man in your life.
Buying gifts for a man is so easy. Remember this. You
can’t go wrong with a cordless drill. Doesn’t matter
if he already has one. One guy I know has seventeen.
A man can never have too many cordless drills. No one
(She puts hat on)
And………you know………what with all the gift-giving and
parties, isn’t it true we sometimes forget about the
true meaning of Christmas. Peace on earth? Giving to
the less fortunate? Birth of Jesus?
(Removes hat. Gives it a strange look)
Naaaahhhhh. Speaking of Jesus. Three wise men arrive
to visit the child lying in the manger. One of the wise
men was kinda tall, bumped his head going through the
low doorway. "Jesus Christ!" he shouted. Joseph said,
"Write that down, Mary. It sure beats Clyde!" Thank
you. Thank you very much. You’re all beautiful. I
(Tosses hat on floor.
Cast of Characters
Solomon..............In his 50’s
Clarissa.............In her 50’s
Think of George and Martha from Albee's "Virgina Woolf"
and you'll have a fair idea of the yuletide lunacy in
this short play.
Christmas Truce received a production at the Chance
Theatre in Orange County, CA.
(At rise: 9am. Inside costume shop.
Dark. Sound of door opening, closing.
“COSTUMES BY SOLOMON & CLARISSA” Prop
display on wall: pistols, swords,
knives, movie posters. CLARISSA enters)
(Bangs shin on sturdy piece of
Owww! Oh God! God! God! Owww! Oh God, that hurts!
(Crouches holding her shin)
Oh God oh God ow ow ow ow ow ow it hurts!
(Offstage, singing loudly)
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh on the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Three french hens, Two……
Oh darn it Sol!
Oh oh oh oh oh ow.
(Offstage, sound coming closer)
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh on the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds, three……
SOL! GET IN HERE! PLEEEEEEASE! He doesn’t care.
tell you, he does not care.
(Takes knife from prop display, holds it
to throat. She is surprisingly spry
despite her “injury”)
Santa’s elves could be raping me right here with a
knife to my throat and he would not care.
……THREE FRENCH HENS! Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeee. TA DAAAAAAA!
(Sees CLARISSA, big smile, turns his
back on her, proceeds to pour himself a
drink from a bottle on a nearby stand)
Clarissa dearest. I see you’ve switched to your
distressed damsel mode. And for once with something
besides a drink in your hand.
My poor leg.
Look at me.
Ah yes, the unwelcome chestnut, having made its annual
circuit about the zodiac, reappearing like a bad penny.
The “I hurt my leg, Solomon, you’ll have to press on
without me” bit. Where have I heard that before?
Wasn’t it last Christmas? Why yes, I believe it was.
And back it is again just in time for the Nutcracker
fittings. Yes, yes Clarissa. I’m looking. I’m looking.
Over here, Sol, I’m over here. It really hurts. This
time, it’s for real. My poor leg. You’re not looking.
He never looks.
(Vacates space where bottle is, stares
into his drink)
It’s shin, dear. Girls from respectable families say
I can barely walk, Sol.
Did you hear me? The cast of the Nutcracker will be
here today for their costume fittings. And there you
are, doing your shin thing again. Leaving me to deal
alone with a pack of smelly pimply thespians. I tell
you, I’d rather die. In fact, I’d kill
(Grabs sword from prop display, blade to
myself, except for “the dread of something after death,
the undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller
(CLARISSA returns knife to prop display,
limps to whiskey bottle, exaggerating
her injury, pours a drink)
We’re a team. We’re supposed to help
(Removing sword from throat)
It’s a tad early, isn’t it, to be playing the “We’re a
team” card? Which you customarily save for the third
drink of the morn.
Can we not say even two kind words one to another
without - -
(Returns the sword to prop display)
You always start it. Always when there’s serious work
to be done.
I’m delicate, dearest. Mother told you I was delicate.
Your mother said slim-hipped. She didn’t say you were
a fragile flower crying out for lebensraum in a garden
You see? There you go again. Dripping with bile.
I propose a Christmas truce?
You mean like the Medieval kings?
Exactly. From now through the twelve days of
A novel concept.
What's in it for me?
What happened to the soul of the artist I
All right then.
What's in it for you?
I'll not dignify that with an answer.
It would mean no whining.
It would mean no sarcasm.
No shirking or slacking.
Nothing but sweetness and light.
(They shake hands. Lights out. Time
passes. Lights up. SOLOMON & CLARISSA
are busy fitting TREVOR for a costume.
They stand facing each other with TREVOR
between them. Fabric hangs loosely from
him as they fiddle with needles, pins,
scissors and thread)
Lovely fabric, my pet. You’ve vastly outdone yourself.
Why thank you, dearest Solomon.
So kind of you to
She’s quite the expert, you know. Incredible demand on
her time. She has several patents pending sure to blow
the lid off the masquerade ball as we know it. Consider
yourself fortunate she could see you at all.
Oh Solomon, stop it.
I’m not all those things. I’m just a simple
seamstress. I belong to the Guild. I read the monthly
bulletin. Nuff said.
Her expertise is exceeded only by her humility.
(Steps back and for a long moment
critically regards TREVOR who becomes
visibly nervous. CLARISSA blithely
continues doing fitting tasks as SOLOMON
does this. Then…)
Hmmmmm. Ah, Clarissa dear, may I make a small
Solomon, each word from you is a pearl of wisdom.
There’s something about the width of the shoulders.
The width of the shoulders, did you say?
Yes. In my view, I think you may have cut the fabric a
bit too narrow.
Well, goodness gracious sakes alive, I don’t see how I
Look at the head, dearest. Walk off ten paces and
regard the head.
(CLARISSA walks to where SOLOMON stands.
She critically regards TREVOR who
becomes increasingly nervous)
You see what I mean?
Oh yes. Now I see.
good at all.
My Lord! That’s not good.
Is something seriously wrong?
To me, it seems disproportionately large.
Just what the deuce is going on?
From my perspective, it could only be that way if the
shoulders of the costume were cut too narrow.
A good point, sweetest Solomon. But I do believe I’ve
discovered the trouble spot in a different sphere.
Based on an alternate theory.
Indeed, an alternate theory. Well, I’m all of atwitter. Do share your discovery, so all and sundry
What am I? A potted plant?
The problem, put briefly, is the head.
The fabric on the shoulders was not cut too narrow.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was cut
rather too perfectly. The issue is - Oh my yes.
You’re too too right, my dear.
It is the
What’s wrong with my head?
It’s like a pumpkin.
Like a cabbage.
Nothing is wrong with my head.
It’s a normal head.
His mum and dad.
Must have been hideously deformed.
His childhood must have been miserable.
My parents were lovely people. I was a very happy
child. I had a teddy bear and a dog.
I believe we’ve gone as far as we can go with this.
I agree absolutely.
This is an outrage!
Under the circumstances.
Taking all aspects into consideration.
All things being equal.
You people are insane!
An absolute no-hoper.
Best stop now and proceed to the next client.
Cut our losses, as it were.
Oh, losses it'll be! For you! This isn’t the end of it!
Lunch, my dear?
You stop right there and hear me out!
What about Sicilian?
(SOLOMON & CLARISSA start to exit. As
they do, loose fabric starts to slide
off TREVOR’S body, exposing his bare
You two will be hearing from my attorney!
What about Tuscan cuisine?
Of course, Calabrian! Solomon, you are the genius.
(Holding the fabric up with difficulty,
There’s nothing amiss with my head. And they’re wrong,
I was a happy child. My parents loved me. Especially
my mum. And my grandparents loved me too. At
Christmas, they gave me wonderful gifts. Mummy’s
parents gave me bigger gifts than my daddy’s parents.
And I’d say, daddy, why do Mummy’s dad and mom give me
bigger gifts? And daddy would get angry and make Mummy
sleep in the garage and then he’d go and get his rifle
and kill squirrels and I would hide in the doghouse
with Ruff until the police came.
(Turns to exit. Fabric falls again
exposing part of his bare buttocks)
Oh, for God’s sake!
(TREVOR exits. Lights out. Time
passes. Lights up. SOLOMON & CLARISSA
are busy fitting URSULA for a costume.
They stand facing each other with URSULA
between them. Fabric hangs loosely from
her as they fiddle with needles, pins,
scissors and thread)
(To URSULA in a commanding voice)
- - So the key, you see, to Victorian style is the
corset. The corset is the sine qua non of the
Oh yeah, corsets are kewl. My boyfriend Siegfried
really digs corsets. He likes stilettos too. But the
director said no stils in Nutcracker. The bitch!
The corset? Are you quite certain it’s the corset,
Clarissa? It was always my understanding that the
(Touches URSULA’S arms rather too
familiarly. URSULA gives him a not
unfriendly glance, moving her breast
close to his hand)
gathered sleeves were the signifying mark of the
Oh wow, that feels like ahhh ohhhhhhhh.
(Forcefully removing SOLOMON’s hand from
No, Solomon. I think not.
But I’m certain I read it somewhere.
(SOLOMON touches URSULA’s buttocks)
Ohhhhhhhhh godddddddddd yessssssss!
really big fingers just goosed me.
Read? You? You’re joking, of course. You read
(Tightens grip on URSULA’s arm, holds
stick pin in free hand)
comic books and novels by Anonymous.
She stabbed me!
Stand still, please.
(Jerks her arm away from CLARISSA.
Moves behind SOLOMON and uses him as a
shield. As the fabric covering her body
starts fall away, she uses her hands to
hold it up)
She’s trying to kill me!
(Tries to get by SOLOMON, brandishes a
pair of scissors)
Oh, I’ll stop. When I cut her arms off at the shoulder.
(Rather enjoying it)
(URSULA pushes SOLOMON into CLARISSA and
turns and runs for the door. CLARISSA
ducks past SOLOMON and chases her.
URSULA trips on the loose fabric and
falls next to the stage prop wall
display. CLARISSA grabs a pistol prop
from the display, fires several loud
blanks at the ceiling and points it at
URSULA. URSULA looks down and sees that
a second pistol prop has fallen on the
floor near her hand. She looks at the
pistol prop and then up at CLARISSA,
then again at the pistol prop. She
reaches her hand out to it. CLARISSA
cocks her pistol prop. Ursula stops)
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, did she
fire six shots or five?
Now, to be perfectly candid, I myself have no clear
recollection due to the cacophonous nature of the
proceedings. However, owing to the fact this is a .44
Magnum, a weapon which has the capability of
decapitation in a nanosecond, it behooves one to query
oneself thusly: do I feel lucky? Well, do you?
Crazy! She's loony! Call the cops. Call the shrinks.
Don’t ever call me crazy! I am not insane!
(Aims the pistol prop at URSULA'S head)
Well, go ahead, girl. Make my day.
(Walks between them. Takes the pistol
prop from CLARISSA)
There. I trust this defuses the situation.
(Points pistol prop in air. Squeezes
trigger. A “BANG” flag comes out)
As a point of information, Clarissa is not uh. Loony.
In fact, she has a certificate from an asylum,
attesting to the fact that she is sane. In other
words, they wouldn’t take her. All right. You may go.
Go. Get out of here!
(URSULA gets up, trips over the loose
fabic, finally makes it to the exit,
Well, that was invigorating. Isn’t it time for our
I daresay it is, dearest.
Sprite or Seven Up, my sweet?
Seven Up. Always Seven Up. Goes perfectly with Seven
The truce appears to be holding.
It takes two to make a truce. Half the credit goes to
Well, thank you, dear. And after all, it is Christmas.
Yes, it is that.
Comes but once a year.
Thank God for that!
A DOG’S CHRISTMAS
Cast of Characters
Ali………………Female, Mongrel, street-savvy
Artie…………Male, Pug, fiesty, leads with his mouth
Brick…………Male, Akita, tough guy but not a leader
Cyril…………Male, Russian Wolfhound, a dreamer, an artist
It’s Christmas and four dogs in a pound contemplate
life, death, happiness and the hereafter.
A table, four chairs, a deck of cards.
A Dog's Christmas received a production at the Chance
Theatre in Orange County, CA.
(Christmas Eve. Animal Shelter. CYRIL
sits waiting, a bowl of dog biscuits on
table. Each biscuit is tied with a
Christmas ribbon. A deck of cards. He
shuffles cards. He hums “Jingle Bells.”
Enter ALI, ARTIE & BRICK)
Thank you, Cyril.
That is so sweet of you.
You didn’t have to.
(They get seated. They munch on the
(Mouth full of biscuit)
What’s the deal with the ribbons?
Haven’t you noticed how everyone’s gone?
They all skedaddled just after lunch.
Now that I think on it, the only one left out there is
Not that loser!
She’s very nice.
(Looks around. Rubs hands together)
We got the place to ourselves.
(ARTIE picks up cards and shuffles)
Dja all hear about Becky?
It just sucks!
What about Becky?
I tell ya.
Chicks get all the breaks.
We get all the breaks.
So what about Becky?
I mean, it just sucks!
I’ll give you sucks.
Try nursing seven pups.
What’s all this about Becky?
It’s nothing, Cyr. Just some type-A males venting
about you know what.
Hey, shut up!
Ooooh, struck a nerve.
Tell ya, you can’t win. The fix is on. Game over, man.
Can we move on and just cut the cards?
(Long silence. Cyril's having a
wolfhound moment, his mind off in space)
Artie wants you should cut the cards.
I really am sorry.
Willya just hurry up and cut?
(Cyril cuts. Artie grabs deck, deals)
That was a nice kid. A real nice little kid. With a
pretty mom. They both had real nice smiles. I wouldda
been so. Well. What am I thinking?
(They play cards as they talk)
Of whom are we speaking?
Who do you think we’re talking about?
Always blaming the female. Cherchez La Femme.
So the mom and the kid. Did they stop and look at you?
They make ‘em look at everybody.
Well, what happened?
What happened? You wanna know what happened? I’ll
tell you what happened! They were passing my cage and
I went to my sit position just like I practiced a
million times. You know, butt down, head up, eyes
alert. I could tell the little boy was impressed. I
even tilted my head to give him a really intelligent
smile. And then you know what Becky does? She wiggles
her tush. Jumps around going “Yap, yap, yap” Crouches
down on all fours. Rolls over. And her tongue is
goin’ a thousand miles a minute. You can’t compete
with that! I tell you. Chicks get all the breaks.
Don’t get upset.
It is such a double standard. We’re supposed to be
attractive, but when a male wants to strut his stuff,
we’re supposed to be invisible. Where’s the justice?
All I’m asking is a chance.
He’s not asking much, Ali. Just a chance.
I would be the best dog ever. I know I would. Just
give me the chance. Please take me home for Christmas.
I’m Artie. Try me. Please.
Take it easy.
It’s true. Being the dog at someone’s house is a
wonderfully unique experience. It was like that for me
when I lived with Miss Rosa. What a wonderful woman.
You see? You see?
Even Cyril had a shot. What is
wrong with me? What is wrong with this picture?
Did I say something wrong?
Artie’s a pug.
Pugs always whine.
(Stage whisper to CYRIL & ALI)
Listen! Will you two cut it out!? Artie’s got five
days. If he doesn’t find a home, they’re gonna - (Runs finger across throat in a slashing
motion. ALI & CYRIL blink, gasp)
So be nice to him. The key is, don’t upset him.
They play cards.
(Making the effort to sound especially
nice. ALI flashes a big smile)
How dja hook up with Miss Rosa?
Just for the record.
Would you please just relax?
I am relaxed.
I don’t want you getting upset.
What are you talking about? I'm relaxed! Very relaxed!
Extremely relaxed! I’m just trying to understand some
stuff, OK? Just trying to get some clarification.
I know when you’re - ARTIE:
I am not pissed!
Yes, you are!
Hey! Don’t try and psychoanalyze me, OK?
willya tell me about Miss Rosa? Please.
Don’t tell him, Cyril.
It’ll upset him.
Talk to your buddy Artie.
Hey! I thought this was gonna be a friendly card game.
Anyone wanna play cards?
Now Brick, you’re starting to piss me off.
(Getting flustered and nervous)
What do you want me to do?
I give up!
Just go ahead and do what you damn well
Don’t you just love how decisive males are?
on, so take charge?
Yeah, why doncha butt out, Brick?
OK, screw it then.
Yeah, just screw it, jerkoff.
Brick. I’m really don’t want you to be mad at me.
didn’t mean - -
I said it was OK!
Didntja hear him say it was OK?
So what exactly did you want to know?
I wanna know all the details. And the details behind
the details. Like. Where’d Miss Rosa find you?
Oh, ha ha.
It was more like me finding her.
To put it succinctly, I walked into her yard.
Walked in from where?
His owners dumped him out in the sticks.
Yes. Sad to say.
day they didn’t.
One day they wanted me.
Wait a minute. Are you talking about Miss Rosa?
thought you said - No.
This was before Miss Rosa.
It’s Cyril’s story.
Well screw it.
just shut up.
Everybody’s dumpin’ on me.
Good plan, doofus brain.
It was a young couple. No children. Dual income, no
kids. DINKs. And they were away all day.
They left you alone?
They’d come back at night. They fought all the time
and the woman would drink and kick me.
You shouldda bit her!
That’s not my style. Long story short, Christmas Day
they were both home. They put me in the car and we went
for a ride out on the country roads and - BRICK:
And they threw him out of the car.
That happened to me, too.
Brick, it wasn’t exactly like that!
All right, not exactly. They didn’t throw him out.
They pushed him out. Then they drove off.
They did this on Christmas Day?
Right after Miracle on 34th Street.
My owners did it to me on Labor Day.
I was pregnant.
I started walking. I came to a house. There were
chickens in the yard and two skinny cats who hissed at
me and a big tom turkey and there was Miss Rosa tossing
seeds. And she turned to me and she said, “Merry
Christmas, big fella. You look hungry.”
I wasn’t hungry but I nodded and opened my mouth. She
went inside and came back out with the biggest soup
bone I ever saw in my life.
She never cursed me. She never kicked me. She never
scolded me. She always said, “Good boy. Good dog.”
My female intuition is kicking in.
(Takes a hanky, dabs her eyes)
I know this is gonna have a sad ending.
You wanna put a sock in it?
So what happened?
One morning I woke up early. I heard the cats in the
kitchen. I knew something wasn’t right. I walked in
and I saw her there on the floor. The cats already
knew she was gone. They were hissing and growling. I
told them I was sorry. They rubbed against me and told
me they were sorry too. That was the only time those
cats ever spoke to me.
That is so sad.
One of Miss Rosa’s sons came to the house around noon
and they took her away.
I’m sorry, Cyr.
That is so sad.
She was a saint. I loved her.
(Tears well up)
She was a saint.
(Long reflective silence.
to quietly sob)
A good woman like Miss Rosa.
cats. Good to birds.
Good to dogs.
Do you think she’s you know.
Artie. I have no doubt she’s up there looking down on
us right now.
I believe a virtuous life is rewarded.
Are you including uh.
There are virtuous dogs. Just like there are virtuous
humans. And virtuous cows.
Do you think…?
You’re a good dog, Artie. You’re a shoo-in.
LEAVING THE LIGHT ON
Cast of Characters
Man………………male, black, forty-something
Woman…………female, white, forty-something
A former pro basketball player, now past his prime and
hobbled by a knee injury, tries to pick up the pieces
of his life. He's just arrived in Colorado to coach a
pro women's team and on his first day there, he
encounters an unexpected blast from the past.
(Inside room in Motel 6. Sound of
footsteps, sound of man walking with
limp, sound of key in door. Door opens.
Forty-something black MAN pushing
baggage cart with carryon & suitcase.
MAN has athletic build, long legs, long
arms. A noticeable paunch in his
midsection. He keeps right leg stiff as
he walks. He takes bags from cart, sets
them on bed. The carryon he handles
easily enough, but the suitcase is
heavy, causing discomfort as he tries
keeping pressure off knee while lifting
it. He pushes empty cart outside &
closes door. He returns to suitcase,
opens it, takes item from deep within,
one that has been carefully packed. He
removes the thick cloth wrapped around
it, revealing a framed picture of the
face of a young white woman. The picture
appears to be cut from a newspaper
article. He scans wall, seeking spot to
hang it. Finally he removes framed “In
Case Of Fire” notice from behind door
and hangs it there. He steps back,
stands silently, letting anger build
(To the picture, as he unpacks)
Motel 6. About as far down the food chain as you can
get without sleeping on the sidewalk. Still, got its
bright spots. What do they say? We leave the light
on. Motel 6. Nothing fancy. Basic lodging. Solid
comfort. A good night’s sleep. And that’s what I need
more of these days. I used to not sleep well. I used
to stay up till all hours, dreaming up ways of doing
you in. One thing I found out was, there are lots of
ways of doing someone in. I never ran out of ways.
Whenever I thought I was running out, another way’d
just pop up out of the blue.
It started to become an
obsession. It started to get me on edge. I thought it
was affecting my heart.
Then one day, I said, “Hey,
fuck her. Move on, get over it.” So I moved on, got
over it. So there you are up there, in your frame.
And here I am down here, in my world. And whenever
things get hard to take, I look up at you and think,
“Whatever’s going on with me, things’ve got to be going
twice as bad for you.” Saying that makes me feel
better. You see? I have moved on.
(A look of pain on his face)
Oh. I. I got to sit.
(Bends over slightly. Hand on knee,
indicating the knee to the picture)
It’s the knee. It’s not so bad when I walk. But when
I just stand on it for any length of time.
(He trails off. He sits. He switches on
radio, searches for a blues station, finds
it, tunes it in, turns it down low. He
relaxes, rubbing his knee. A soft knock)
(Her voice through door)
Turn your bed down, sir?
Just a minute.
(He stands up gingerly, careful of the knee.
He walks to the door, opens it)
Didn’t know they turned down the sheets at Motel 6’s.
(He steps aside, lets WOMAN enter. She’s
white, forty-something, one hundred fifty
pounds. There’s a hint in the way she moves
that she’s holding on to a past in which she
was the center of attention. She wears not a
housecleaning outfit, but a front desk
uniform, matching trousers and blazer)
(Closes door behind her)
For our distinguished guests, we do.
Been a while since I’ve been called distinguished.
Anyone officially welcome you to Boulder, Colorado?
(He sits again, rubbing his knee)
Just the taxi driver.
Taxi welcomes don’t count. Okay. Here goes.
(Steps back closer to door, straightens up,
folds hands, clears throat. She stands next
to framed picture that he just hung on door.
As she speaks the following, his eyes dart
back and forth from the picture to her and
then back to the picture)
Let me say welcome to Boulder, Colorado. It’s a thrill
to have the new coach of the Lady Bisons staying here
with us. Anything we can do, a late night hot meal or
anything at all, just let us know and we’ll - -
(His finger shaking, pointing to picture & to
her face and back to the picture. He leans
forward in chair)
Wait! Why! Why that! That. That’s you. You! Oh
God, it’s. It’s you! It has to be!
(Looks where he’s pointing.
Shakes head vigorously)
Think I wouldn’t know?
(He springs out of chair, lunges at her)
(Sees him coming. Cries out)
Oh God. No.
(He lands badly on his weak leg and goes down
in a heap at her feet)
(In real pain)
Oh God! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh my knee.
God! God! Oh God!
(Standing. Afraid to move, looking down at
Are you all right? Are you all right?
(Lying on his side. Looking up at her)
Oh God! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh my knee. You had to come
back to mess with me again! You of all people! After
(Blackout. Lights up. Same room. Next day.
MAN lies on bed, his knee bandaged and
propped up on a pillow. WOMAN enters, stands
at foot of bed. She’s in her front desk
I didn’t know you were coming.
(He glares at her, a glare of white hot
hatred. He says nothing)
Didn’t know till you walked in.
(He continues glaring at her)
This isn’t like that other place. We don’t get
celebrities. We’re not the kind of place that caters
to the famous. They don’t tell us who’s coming.
(He continues glaring at her)
Look. You’re going to be here a while. Your team
owner, he’s paying for this. This is going to be your
home while you whip that team into shape. We’re going
to have to act like professionals.
I got no problem acting professional. But you aren’t a
professional anything. What the hell you doing here?
I’m the manager here.
Manager? You? Who’d be crazy enough to make you
manager of anything?
Believe it or not, every one finds a place somewhere.
It just so happens I have the right aptitude for the
Maybe that’s what you say. I say something different.
You and I are going to have to learn to get along.
Get along? Get along? Are you for real? You knew who
I was. What were you thinking about, coming into my
room? What was that turning down the bed all about?
I just - MAN:
Just wanted to see how you were getting along.
How I was getting along! What the hell for? For old
times sake? So you could gloat? You are one sick
bitch. You know that?
(WOMAN starts to take the picture
What the hell do you think you’re doing?
I’m taking this down.
That’s my property.
I want it there.
You can’t have it there. That’s where the fire
evacuation instructions go.
I want it on the wall, where I can see it.
Only wall decorations approved by the Motel 6 Board of
Directors can be displayed on the wall. Request denied.
If you don’t like it, you can move out.
manager here. What I say, goes.
Give me my picture.
(Holds the picture out to him, points to it)
That is not me anymore. I am not that person.
(Points to her own face)
This is me.
(Takes the picture. Glares at the face in
I hated you so much. Each night, I’d go to bed
dreaming up a different way of killing you.
(She turns away, does not look at him)
If it’s any consolation, I hated you, too.
(Blackout, lights up, same room, several days
later. It is 10pm. He lies on the bed in
athletic shorts & top, his back propped up
against headboard, a pillow tucked under
right knee. A cane next to bed. She sits in
chair, facing bed. She’s dressed in her
uniform, her blazer hung over the back of the
chair. A spread-out newspaper covers bed
area between them. An open bottle of beer on
nightstand. On top of spread-out newspaper, a
bucket of chicken and side dishes, which they
Aren’t you going to eat some chicken?
I’ll have some later.
Those parfaits are fattening.
(Pointing to his paunch)
This is light beer. Half the calories. And I only
drink one bottle a day. You’re on your third parfait.
What about the chicken? It’s deep fried in fat.
You take the skin off.
Just eat the meat.
Chicken is boring.
Chicken is good for you. A lot better than parfaits.
I don’t eat parfaits every day.
Looks to me like you’re making up for the days you
missed. You need to lose some inches. You need to
lose some pounds.
I’m not as bad as I used to be. After the - - the
thing, I ballooned up to two twenty five.
You mentioned the thing.
You broke the rule.
Said I’m sorry.
(Silence. He eats a drumstick. She attacks
the steamed broccoli and carrots)
How’s the team doing?
(Drains his beer)
I think we’re going to be pretty good.
have a strong inside game.
We’re going to
Tawanna and Melinda. Remember those names.
going to hear them a lot.
Tawanna and Melinda.
Tawanna and Melinda.
My twin towers.
Be nice to have a winner around here, even if it is
just a - (She catches herself)
Just a what?
Even if it’s just women’s basketball?
I didn’t mean to say - -
Doesn’t matter. I don’t listen to your putdowns.
(Long silence, Then……)
Can you get me a beer?
(She silently goes to the half-fridge,
fetches him a beer)
I’m on the air with the Lunatic Fringe tomorrow.
(Hands him beer unopened)
The Lunatic Fringe. Best sports talk show in Colorado.
(Opens beer. Carefully wipes lips and neck
with kleenex. Takes a gulp)
We’re going to talk about Lady Bison basketball. We’re
going to promote the season. Give away some tickets
and have fun. I’m on prime time tomorrow.
I’ll be listening.
But be careful.
Watch out for
They do some pretty crazy stuff. They used to be shock
jocks. Then the station went all sports all the time.
But they still like to get people in trouble.
Don’t you worry about me. I can handle myself. You
just worry about your inches and your pounds.
(She takes a small container from bucket)
That’s your fourth parfait.
I wasn’t counting.
What do you weigh now?
It’s none of your business.
I hit a raw nerve.
But, since you asked, I weigh exactly one hundred
forty-eight and a half.
That’s what it was when you last weighed yourself.
So with four parfaits and God knows what else under
your belt, you can probably add - WOMAN:
All right! Okay! Stop!
(She tosses parfait in trashcan.
You happy now?
What’s your goal?
A hundred thirty-five.
(He smirks audibly)
You said you weighed a hundred forty-eight.
That is what I weigh.
One hundred forty-eight.
Yeah, that’s what I just said.
No! You said I said I weigh.
Like you’re doubting me.
I’m not doubting you.
Read my lips.
One hundred forty-eight.
Listen to a pro explain it, okay? The body fluctuates
ten pounds either way. Depends on how and when you eat.
Don’t eat for two days, lose ten. Start eating, gain it
right back. Eat extra meals. Go ten over. A hundred
thirty-five is no goal. You need to have a real goal.
Like one hundred ten.
Are you crazy?
One hundred ten. I recall you weighed that when we - (Catches himself)
Sorry. Almost mentioned the thing.
Almost broke the rule.
Said it’s okay.
(Silence. He attacks a corn on the cob. She
picks at chicken breast with plastic fork)
When you’re on the air, could you remember to mention
My boss would like that.
(Blackout. Lights up, same room, evening
next day. She lies on bed, her back propped
against headboard, reading. She’s dressed to
go out. Footsteps in hallway. Sound of man
walking with cane. Sound of key in door. MAN
enters in slacks & polo shirt. He walks with
a cane. On desk, a covered plate of food,
an unopened beer. He stands behind chair,
takes cover off plate)
Well, look at this. Turkey breast. Wild rice.
Steamed carrots. Garden salad. Cantaloupe. And a bottle
of Coors. All waiting for me. Sure looks good.
(He sits, gets ready to eat)
Do you want me to save some for you?
I’m going to dig in, then.
Have at it.
Turkey’s nice and tender. Thanks.
(He continues eating. She sets paper down,
stands, smooths the front of her skirt)
(Looks up from plate, sees her in mirror)
You look nice.
Just a guy.
Going to a blues club.
I like a good blues guitar.
Told him to come late. Wanted to make sure you got back
Didn’t have to do that.
(She pauses at door to check her blouse)
(Not looking up)
(Looking straight ahead)
They ambushed me. And they just kept going on and on.
There was no way to stop them.
Said it’s okay.
I felt so helpless.
You were sure laughing.
What could I do? We were live on the air. I wanted to
kill them. I wanted to strangle them both.
You didn’t sound angry. I was expecting you any minute
to give out my address.
(Mimics him badly)
Hey, you wanna know where the skank works? Right down
the street at Motel 6.
(Back to her voice)
See how I cleverly inserted a plug for Motel 6?
(Back to mimicking him)
That’s right. Where they always leave a light on. Why
don’t we all go there and check her panties for stains?
I wouldn’t do that. I had to let them rave on.
They’re promoting the Lady Bisons. But I wanted to
There you go, repeating yourself.
We were in a glassed-in space, I and those two Lunatic
Fringe idiots. I looked through the glass, saw my boss
sitting out there. Every time they cracked a joke, he
laughed. He loved it. What could I do? I had to go
along with it.
Don’t blame yourself.
Can you believe it? Twenty years. They drag it up. And
people actually remembered. They had a call-in segment:
where were you when? People were actually calling in.
Twenty years. Don’t people have anything else to do?
Can’t they just let a thing die?
People are assholes.
Excuse my French.
Why did you have to come on to me?
Now you’re being an asshole.
Why didn’t you just check me in, give me a key and go
on to the next in line?
Why? Why do you think? I was nineteen. I was a stupid
What about you?
Why didn’t you slam the door
in my face?
Why didn’t you tell me to go away?
You ruined my life.
Oh, like my life’s nothing. Listen, you ruined my
You could’ve said no.
(Repeats her line bitterly under his breath)
I could’ve said no.
(Shakes his head mockingly)
Listen to you. You just don’t understand the power you
had. Hell, look at me. Look at my knee. Look at my
life. I could have been the greatest. But - -
I have a date.
(She exits, slamming door. He sits, stares
in mirror, covers his face, sobs. Blackout.
Lights up, a month later. 10 pm Friday
night. Same room. He sits, slumped in
chair. He looks weary. He wears suit & bow
tie. The bow tie, partially untied, hangs
from his collar, its color loud, garish.
She enters in her Manager uniform)
The lucky bow tie wasn’t lucky.
Not today it wasn’t.
Even when I was with Cleveland and the Knicks, I got my
wins. Never had nine straight losses in my life.
When will Tawanna’s ankle be - MAN:
Forget her. She’s all size, no heart. She doesn’t like
to mix it up. And she shoots free throws like - WOMAN:
Crowds’ve been good. They’re coming because of you.
If I don’t win, they’ll leave. Crowds are like that.
Don’t say “if.”
Listen to you.
“If” is not an option.
What do you know?
What do I know? I know you’re a winner. You were
always a winner. That’s why I picked you. That’s why
I went to your room.
(Gives him a wink)
You’ll figure a way. What do they say about losing?
Losing is like dying.
Never say die.
Don’t ever say die.
One chick in back held up a sign.
Had your name on it.
My former name.
She was cute.
Cute as me?
You scored higher in perkiness.
(She moves behind him.
tie back on)
You had a nicer tush.
Begins tying his bow
Keep wearing the lucky bow tie. Make it your symbol.
It hasn’t exactly worked.
Do it anyway. They’re talking about it on the Lunatic
Fringe. They’re starting to call you Bow Tie Guy.
Is that good?
Makes you unique. Separates you from the pack.
makes you a personality around here.
The team needs some flash, something people can hang on
to. Bow tie. Symbol of the coach of a winning team.
Because, sooner or later, Lady Bisons are going to
Better be sooner.
Stop talking like that. There’s no doubt.
matter of time.
That blues club.
The one you went to?
Was it good?
Had a wonderful time.
It was excellent.
Well uh. Would you mind if I go with you sometime?
You know, like.
For old times sake?
I think that would be a good idea.
I'll wear the bow tie?
You’re Bow Tie Guy.
You’re a winner.
You were always
Cast of Characters
Man……………………Male, in his 50’s
Woman………………Female, in her 40’s
Girl…………………Female, in her late teens
The family members of an imprisoned dissident poet try
to survive as a government official endeavors to break
(At rise: drawing room in a home. A
door to outside. A chair, some cushions, a
sofa, a coffee table, a hutch. An
expensive-looking mirror on the wall. MAN
sits on sofa, elegantly dressed, a cup of
tea in front of him. WOMAN, dressed in drab
clothes, pads about the room, straightening
things. She does so out of habit. He
glances at his watch. He’s still in his
coat and hat, his attache case next to him)
Now please. Don’t mind me. I’ll sit here quietly and
we’ll wait until your young man gets home. In the
meantime, you just go on about your business.
(Opens attache case, begins arranging
papers. He goes on speaking as he arranges.
She continues straightening things)
I must comment on how neatly you’ve managed to keep the
home. Everything still in its proper place.
Everything so clean and orderly. Everything so spic
and span. Your husband would be pleased if he - (Stops himself. He sips from the cup of tea
for the first time)
Oh my. This. This tea. It’s quite good.
I must confess, my missus is not much of a tea brewer.
Her strengths seem to be in other areas. Mending
shirts, keeping the house shipshape, minding the
children. A good cup of tea is simply not her forte.
I keep saying to her, it shouldn’t be that hard. But
she doesn’t improve. Her tea remains bland.
(She takes a small tin from the hutch, hands
it to him. He takes it)
(Reads label on tin)
“Ten Thousand Miles Scented Tea.”
Is this from China?
I don’t know.
My husband got it somewhere.
(Looking closely at the tin)
I asked because there’s an image on here of an Asiatic
woman in a red gown. With some exotic script below the
picture. It appears to be in Chinese.
I just don’t know.
(Sets the tin on the coffee table. Takes
Well. Wherever it comes from, it’s delicious tea.
it must have cost a pretty penny.
You take the tin.
Oh no, I couldn’t do that.
Please. Take it.
I wouldn’t dream of it. It’s much too
Having come all the way from China.
Oh no no no.
fine a gift.
Give it to your wife.
You must take it.
Yes, I insist.
Well, if you insist, then I must.
you. It’s most generous of you.
It’s my pleasure.
(MAN puts tin in attache case. Sound of
footsteps outside. WOMAN appears nervous)
Ah, that must be your son coming.
No, it’s my daughter.
Oh yes. I recall now. You have a girl too. Very
pretty, now that I recall. I had quite forgotten about
her. What was her name again?
(GIRL enters. She sees MAN. She freezes for
an instant. A flash of recognition crosses
her face. Then she removes and hangs her
coat. She crosses to where WOMAN stands,
kisses her cheek, all the while a sidelong
glance at him)
See who we have here, Niki. An important visitor.
remember, don’t you?
Yes of course.
Good afternoon, sir.
(He smiles and nods)
Hello, Niki. I see you’ve grown into quite a little
woman there. She’ll be a fine catch for some lucky
He’s here to report to us on Papa.
Not so much report. More like evaluate and analyze.
Touching on the options open to the three of you. What
time did you say the boy gets home?
You mean Sam? He’ll be here any minute, sir. He
usually comes through the door right after I - -
(Elbow jab to silence
That’s not entirely accurate.
keeping us alive, keeping food
difficult to predict precisely
A sharp look at
My son is hard at work
on our table. It is
when he’ll walk through
But he does return home every night, doesn’t he?
Sooner or later?
Very well. We’ll wait a bit longer. I want the three
of you hearing what I say as an organic unit listening
with one mind and one will. It’s no good for me to say
it one time to you. And then say the same thing over
again to her. And then a third time to him. It never
works when we try it that way. The parties end up
coming to three different conclusions. There’s no
solidarity that way.
You can’t at least tell us how he is?
I’ll tell you this much. He’s alive.
Thank God for that!
But where is he?
When can we go see him?
Do you hear her? That is exactly what I mean. That is
what happens when the information isn’t heard
simultaneously by all members of the family. People
lose their heads. People get emotional. People ask
all sorts of questions.
But if Papa’s alive, as you claim - MAN:
And especially with the man of the family not here.
Hardly a man!
Niki, hush, girl!
Nevertheless, Sam is the man of this family. With your
husband gone, Sam is the glue holding this family
together. Sam is the one who ensures you don’t lose
your heads. Sam is the future of this family.
And you see what happens when excitable and emotional
women presume to take control of serious matters?
You see there?
Willful. Headstrong, too.
It’s been difficult for us. Difficult for all of us.
It could have been different for you. But that husband
of yours. With his poems about politics and filth.
That’s all he wrote about. If he wasn’t trying to
persuade us to revolution, he was trying to seduce us
to visit houses of prostitution. Those Tanya poems,
He had a knack for saying the wrong thing to the wrong
Papa spoke the truth!
And here we have his daughter. The same disruptive
character. The same hot temper. The same combative
nature. I suggest you take measures to rein her in.
Too late for that. When I was tiny, Papa’d sing to me.
He’d rock me in his arms and he’d sing:
Be a window in the wall
Be a light that shines for all
That stayed with me.
I suggest you unlearn it.
Please. What do you expect? He’s her father. True,
she saw only one side of him. She never saw how hard
it was to be close to him. Or that he was as hard on
me as he was on other people.
Let her get outside into the world and she’ll learn
very quickly that poetry and reality are two different
things. That more windows are smashed by rocks than by
poems. I must use your WC. Is it out back behind the
Excuse me, ladies.
(MAN exits, taking his attache case with him.
They wait to hear the WC door swing open and
close and lock)
Stop saying “was.”
He’s not dead.
It seems like he is. All the nice things he
accumulated. They’re disappearing. One by one, we’re
selling them off. Sam’s out in the marketplace, buying
and selling to get us cash. He should be preparing for
the University. They won’t take him because of his - We should stand firm.
And be proud.
Don’t talk like that. We’re in no condition to fight.
I may be be taking you out of school soon.
Money. We’ll get you a job.
(She indicates the mirror on the wall)
After the mirror and the silver tea service are gone,
there won’t be much else to sell.
I won’t be much use.
I can’t type.
You can operate a machine in a factory.
cashier in a shop. Anyone can do that.
Or be a
We need money.
So. You’ve decided he’s dead. That’s it, isn’t it?
We have to live.
Some petty little men, most of whom aren’t worthy to
tie his shoelaces, lock him up because they’re afraid
of his words and you’re going along with it.
I’m not going along with it. I’m being realistic.
You disgust me.
(Slaps GIRL, who cries out and jerks away)
Don’t talk to me like that!
That’s the best you have for me? A slap? A slap from a
whore. How apt. How fucking apt!
You little bitch!
How dare you!
Oh come on! You were his whore. The poems he wrote to
Tanya the Whore? You were Tanya.
There was the poem to the nape of Tanya’s neck. And
one to her earlobes. Another to her right nipple.
And one to her left nipple which had a slightly
different shape. And a poem to Tanya’s navel. And a
poem to her bush. And so on. You were proud, weren’t
you? Proud of the notoriety. Proud that your body was
being celebrated in poetry. But like all whores, when
the money runs out, it’s on to the next port of call.
I’m trying to keep us safe.
Yes. Fine. Do that, Mother. Keep us safe. But don’t
trash him. And don’t apologize for him or us.
(Sound of WC door swinging open and closing.
MAN enters with attache case)
(Looks at his watch, frowns)
Your son is not back yet?
He will be here soon. Very soon.
you could help with something.
I was wondering if
If I can.
Can you help us on this, sir?
I don’t see how I can.
You could put in a good word for Niki with some of the
Oh, I doubt it. The problem is, they all need business
licenses. And with your husband out of favor.
But I’m just asking for a low level job for her.
Assembly line or file clerk.
You don’t understand. It’s the appearance. No one
wants to seem to be opposing. Giving her a job would
imply to some that the employer in question is in
opposition to the powers that be and therefore
sympathetic to your husband. You see my point?
We should leave. We should get out of here.
Leave? Then what happens to your father?
he get the strength to carry on?
He’d want us to be - -
I visit him. I’m the only one allowed to visit him. I
tell him that you, the three of you, are standing firm.
When I say that, his face lights up.
If I were to tell him, you’ve all left, I don’t know
what that would do to him.
Oh my God!
We’ll continue to do our best for him.
There you go. Show your support. Show your solidarity.
(Looks at his watch, frowns)
Where is your son?
He must be still in the marketplace.
I can’t wait any longer.
(Collects his things, including the tea)
For what it’s worth, I may have a position for Niki
here. That is, if she’s interested.
We’re short of money.
The capitalists, as I said, have to be careful not to
offend the powers that be. They would be reluctant to
offer her work. But since I'm a power that be, that
puts me in a different light. I need an upstairs maid.
My wife needs a girl to mind the children, keep things
in order. She’s out of the house a lot on her official
duties. It won’t pay much, but it’s regular work.
I can’t be a maid, Mama. I just can’t.
Hush, girl! It’s very thoughtful of you. But I don’t
know if Niki would be much good as a maid.
(Smiles at the GIRL)
Let me be the judge of that. And let me add, it never
hurts to have a permanent council member on your side.
Talk it over with your son. And let me know, one way
or the other.
(He approaches the door. Hands her a card)
I’ll hold the position open for another day or so.
Call me at this number.
By the way.
That mirror. It was a gift, wasn’t it?
Yes. Spanish silver in the frame.
in recognition of his poems.
It was from Spain
A word of advice. Someone may come by and say it
belongs to the people. After all, your husband’s
poems, as objectional as they are, still belong to the
people. The same with gifts from other countries,
showing solidarity with his poetry. They too belong to
the people. Someone may say that.
What shall I do?
We can keep it safe at my house. Just for the time
being. Your daughter can watch after it during her
rounds. I’ll send a boy by later to collect it.
(He exits. They stare at the door. Blackout)
THE HALF-EATEN CHILIDOG
It's Valentine's Day and a woman on the rebound decides
to run off to a cabin at the beach to get away from
Mattress, table, 2 chairs, 2 matching keychains, 2
cellphones, attache case, overnight bag.
Note: Half-Eaten Chilidog had productions at the Chance
Theatre in Anaheim, CA, and at Stages in Fullerton, CA.
(SHE enters cabin
Sets backpack on table
Sits at table
Gets comfortable by stages
Begins writing letter
Thinks better of writing and
Instead takes out her cell phone
She dials and waits)
Hey! Happy Valentine's day!
Yeah s’me again
Really really me again
Really really really me and guess what?
I made it. I’m here
Made it all the way
I know I know what I said
Hey, I know I remember
Hey, I can change my mind, OK?
Look, I know what I said
But that was 20 minutes ago
That was a different phone call.
That was then
This is now
New call, new rules.
That was back at Der Wienerschnitzel
When I stopped to get a chilidog
And I was thinking
There you go again.
Another five pounds
See what happens?
You dump your boyfriend
And leave your workout group
The bad habits come right back
Like they never left.
Well guess what?
So I threw the chili dog away
Half eaten doesn't count.
No, it doesn't.
Stop it Janey.
The important thing is
I didn’t turn around
And drive back
And camp out
In your living room
Like a big fraidy cat
I am really really here
And it’s really
Really kind of
I mean actually kind of not bad
I mean hey it’s
Not Corona Del Mar
Not La Jolla. Not Newport Beach
Or someplace out there with the
Hoity toity rich and famous
It’s kinda cool
In a blah kinda way
And I’m uh
Oops thought I lost you there, Janey
Janey, thanks so much for finding this place for me.
You are the bestest best friend
In the whole wide world and.
What’s it like?
You wanna know what it’s like here?
Well uh the house is like uh nothing
Just four walls and a mattress on the floor
And a table
And two chairs
What’s the word? Basic? Yeah basic. But nice.
And the beach outside is kind of deserted
I mean it's February and everybody’s gone
When they say off season around here
Even the really smelly bums leave
Not one hard male body in miles
So really it’s kinda really really peaceful
I can breathe again
No Janey. Stop. Janey
Don’t you say that
Don’t you even think that
Listen to me
Wendell is over.
Wendell is over, history
What I need what I need what I need now
What I need right now is a place with some space
For a soft landing.
What I need is a week with no men
No no no!!
Don’t you dare tell Wendell where I am
If you do, I’ll tell that pimply boy at Starbucks
You want his baby. I swear I will, Janey.
Now be sure to thank Matthew for letting me stay here
What? Not Matthew? His name’s not Matthew? It’s
Then why do I keep calling him Matthew?
I mean Brett isn’t even close to Matthew.
Blonde moment. Duh!
All I know is I don’t want to see
Any Toms, Dicks, Harrys, Wendells, Bretts
Or Matthews. I don't want any reminders that it's
Valentine's Day. That means no men. Not here. Not now.
(HE enters with an old beat up suitcase and
an old beat up attaché case. HE is very
surprised to see her, unpleasantly so)
Uh Janey. A man just walked in. What? No, I’m not
making things up. I’m telling you a man just walked in
here. And he has a key and a suitcase.
(SHE holds up her key. HE holds up his key.
They are exactly the same)
His key looks just like mine. Janey, this is not good.
This is not good at all.
(Glares, takes out cellphone and speedials)
Just got here.
What the hell gives?
Janey, he’s calling that Brett guy.
Who’s the chick?
I am trying to ignore him. But he’s loud.
Oh right, her.
Whaddaya mean, “Oh right, her?”
I just went from a chick to an “oh her.”
You better have a game plan, dude.
Now they’re huddling.
Negative. She can’t stay here. No way. I got the bar
exam on Thursday. I need absolute quiet to study.
Uhhh Janey, did Brett actually, like, know I was
So tell me this.
Where’s she gonna sleep?
What do you mean, he uh kinda knew?
No way. I’m not responsible.
What if she gets
(Holds up key)
So you’re saying this is Sheryl’s key?
What if she has a disease?
Uhhh, Janey, just who exactly is Sheryl?
Do you have insurance?
Sheryl’s his ex?
Sheryl is Brett’s ex?
All I know is, it’s your ass if - Do I know this Sheryl?
Did I ever meet her?
(Brandishes a signed contract)
Did she sign a contract?
Monica knows Sheryl???
(Brandishes a deposit receipt)
Did she pay a deposit? Does she have a deposit receipt?
Who is Monica?
It's an open-and-shut case. She has no legal standing.
Monica’s in your Internet chat group??
She’s a damn trespasser.
Monica’s in your cyber chat group???
Move her ass out of here.
A cyber chat group???
No way, man.
It's not my job.
You evict her.
Janey, do you, like, actually know these people?
I know my rights.
You kinda know them.
I know the law, dude.
And you kinda don’t know them.
When I finish with you, you’ll be eating dog food till
the day you die.
Janey sweetie. Help me on this.
have Brett’s phone number.
Do you by any chance
I’m not telling her anything.
(Writes number on paper)
Thanks, Janey. And tell Sheryl, Monica and the other
What if she's a nutcase? What if she's a terrorist?
This is getting really really insane.
She can’t use my phone.
(Dials Brett’s phone number)
Brett. Brett. Ring. Ring. Ring.
Nobody breathes on my phone. What if she has a virus?
I have a 10K Tea Party Walkathon on Friday.
Ringing. Ringing. Please hold.
important. Yadda yadda yadda.
Your call is very
I don’t care how you do it. Just handle it. What?
You have another call? Hold? Yeah whatever, I’ll hold.
(He continues to hold phone to ear)
Is this Brett?
Mister Brett Yammer?
Mister Yammer? Brett? This is Alison. Alison Cribbs.
Yeah! The girl at the beach house? Yeah, that’s me.
Not even a bed. Just a mattress on the floor.
Oh yes. That’s so so right. Oh yes. Yes. Yes.
You’re right. You’re so very very right. It’s been
one really really big big big snafu out here.
(Looks out window)
And the beach. Trash from the summer still out there.
One big pile of crap. Un-freaking-believable.
Right. Really really really for sure. Sheryl should
have told you. I really totally totally agree.
Please hold. Your call is very important to us.
yadda freaking yadda.
Oh, so really actually honestly true, Brett. You are
so so right on the mark. Communication between a
couple is a sacred cross your heart hope to die
obligation. I mean, it is so really really key to a
nurturing caring loving hugs and kisses relationship.
Sure. Of course I will.
(She continues to hold the phone to ear)
So is she leaving? Whaddaya mean, hold your horses?
What? You want to know what she looks like?! Well,
let’s see. Hold it! Whaddaya wanna know that for? Ok.
Ok. Just hang on. She’s ummm hmmmm not bad looking.
Ummm. Kind of blonde. A little on the heavy side maybe.
Geez, starting to sound like a meat market in here.
But I guess I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.
Thank God for small blessings.
Yeah go ahead.
What the hell.
Please continue to hold. Your call is. Hello? Brett? Oh
thank you. Well, it’s like my name. Like it or not,
I’m stuck with Alison. Oh, that’s so really kind of
you. You know, I think Brett is a really really
masculine name. Yes, I really do. It’s so so ummmm
hands on take charge sounding. Yes. For sure. I do
think you sound that way. I really really do. Say, do
you like chili dogs?
Well, I know this
really really neat little place. Do you live close by,
by any chance? Really? That's actually so convenient.
Please continue to hold. Your call is yadda freaking
(Packs her gear at a panic pace)
Brett. Do you know the Trader Joe's strip mall on
Moulton Parkway? OK. I’ll meet you there. Well, I’m
going to tell you. I’ll be the girl with the dirty
blonde hair and the big smile and, oh yeah, I’ll be
driving a blue VW Beetle. What? You have a blue
Beetle? So much in common already. May I ask you a
really really personal question? What’s your long
distance company? Verizon? Oh My God, mine too! This
is so really really deep. It’s like fate, like kismet.
Really really looking forward to meeting you, Brett.
(Hangs up. Starts to leave. Stops. Turns)
Nice talking to you. Happy Valentine's Day.
THE BOBBY MONOLOGUE
This was for a contest. The contest was to write a
monologue about Bobby. And they gave you some
information, that is, a back story about Bobby. And you
could take all of it or just some of it. So here is the
Bobby's mother is deceased, along with a younger brother and
sister. Car crash in the desert.
Bobby's father lives "somewhere in California." They don't talk.
Bobby has a great sense of humor, terrifically sharp and engaging
personality, but it's all "smoke & mirrors"
Bobby likes history, appreciates the idea that where we come from
informs us of who we are.
Bobby keeps a journal; the journal is called "Old Faithful"
Bobby shops almost exclusively online, spends way too much money
on books and music.
Bobby likes to sit in coffee shops.
Bobby once smashed all the mirrors in the house.
Bobby decided to return to school last year, to study "something
he cares about this time." He attends a state university
somewhere in the Midwest.
Bobby is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Was injured
while stationed overseas. Since the injury, and largely because
of Bobby's attitude toward it, Bobby has become a "quiet
observer," choosing to remain on the subjective sidelines of life.
Bobby dreams of dancing, of falling in love, of being "included"
Bobby always feels like an outsider.
Bobby likes white wine.
Bobby cannot stay in a relationship very long.
(Night. BOBBY enters.
with a cane)
It was right here. On this spot. Right here in the
parking lot outside Prentice Hall. Blood everywhere.
Someone said, so much blood pouring out, it was like
someone tipped over a bucket. They shot thirteen kids.
Four were dying. And right here on this spot. One of
them. Jeff Miller by name. Age twenty. Dying. Blood
pouring from a hole in his face. And. And then this
fourteen year old hippy chick comes out of nowhere.
Mary. Mary Vecchio. Fourteen year old runaway. And
she kneels down next to him and screams, “Someone, help
him, he’s dying!” And. And someone else with a camera
snaps a picture of Mary and Jeff. Neil Young sees the
picture and writes a hit song. And suddenly, the whole
world knows about Kent State. Americans shooting
Americans. Unfuckingbelievable. I swear I could never
do that. God help me, I could not!
I get visits. Army buds. Doug Duhaime comes by. He
lives in Akron. He was my sergeant. 23rd Engineers.
Yeah. Go, Thunder Echo. We kicked some major ass.
Doug stops by just to see how Ole Bobby’s doing back in
school. I show him how I can walk all right.
(Indicates his cane)
And hey, if I can walk, I can make it with the ladies,
He says, so where’re the chicks?
I say, so
I’m between relationships, okay?
And I take him here.
I show him this spot. Right here. And I say, it
should not be forgotten. It was one of the bleakest
moments in our country's history. It was a terrible,
terrible thing, and we need to keep the story alive.
Doug just rolls his eyes and goes, yeah yeah. Army.
Best people in the world. They’ll do anything for you.
But sometimes they just don’t see the big picture. I
mean, they don’t see the consequences. Not taking
anything away from Doug. He was a great sergeant.
We’d be in a jam and he’d say, okay people, listen up.
I got an announcement. We're not gonna die. We got a
Plan Bravo, and if that don’t work, we got a Plan
Charlie. After that, we die. He cracked us up. Doug
got me out of there alive. God bless him. Go Army.
See, it’s all part of a plan. I really believe that.
See, somewhere out there, I got a brother. When I was
little, Mom would rock me in her arms and tell me about
my secret brother. She didn’t know his name or where
he lived. When they take your baby away, they don’t
tell you nothing. She promised me someday we’d find
him and it would be like he never left. She talked
about him a lot. It was like a hole was ripped in her
soul. Poor Mom. She was too young to take care of a
baby. She was a runaway. She swore me to secrecy. It
was our secret. Just the two of us. See, I was her
favorite. Except for him maybe. And I never told
anyone. Not Sean or Sara or Dad. Then, one day, she
went away and left me here all alone. I was with Dad
in California and she was driving the car across
country with Sean and Sara to meet up with us.
Somewhere past Las Vegas she fell asleep and went off
the road. I miss her a lot. One of those stars up
there is her. That one right there.
(Takes test tube from pocket. Uncorks top
and raises test tube in salute)
Hi Mom. You keeping everyone in line up there?
(Drinks. Points to the test tube)
Chardonnay. It was her favorite. I promised Mom I’d
find him. I hope he’s like Doug Duhaime. You know,
tough but with a heart of gold. And if he’s like Mom
was, that’s exactly what he’ll be like. I’d like an
older brother. I surely would.
STARMAN – a gay monologue
A powerful man, who in life was a prominent politician
and an astronaut, is dead. His gay son, long
estranged, has come home to pay his respects and heal.
Based on a true story.
A coffin, subdued lighting
Starman has had productions Off-Broadway and in Oregon
and Hollywood. It also had a staged reading in Orange
(A viewing room at a funeral home. An
open coffin, subdued lighting. Enter
DAVID, age 44. He approaches coffin
with trepidation. He comes to at ease
by degrees. Finally………)
Well. Well well. Just look at you. All decked out in
your astronaut’s garb. Dressed to kill, aren’t you?
Was this how you planned it?
To do your exit as a
starman? It does become you, you know. Really, it
So tell me, are you braced for tomorrow?
you dialed in your humble mode?
You know they’ll be
sending you out as only the Air Force can. Full
military honors. A flyover with the missing wingman.
And they’ll retell how one time you flew so high, you
tweaked the chinwhiskers of Zeus himself. And they’ll
retell how you throttled that demon out at mach seven.
Yes yes, I know it’s all true, but remember, the order
of the day is humility. They’ll want to see your aw
shucks side. Not funny? Sorry. I’m trying to be
clever. Guess I’m not very good at clever.
So. Here we are. Finally. And I guess I should be
happy. But I’m not. And I guess I should feel a sense
of release. But I don’t. Mind you, I take no pleasure
in seeing you this way. I feel no joy in witnessing
your departure from this level of existence. It
consumes a part of me that we never were able to come
to terms. We should have been able to move past the
differences. We should have been able to live and let
live. This I know. There’s no winning and there’s no
losing in concerns of family blood. It matters not a
whit who fired the first shot. No one remembers
anyway. But once the knives are out, once there’s the
smell the blood in the air, it’s father against son,
son against father, the old king against his heir, and
hard words all around.
You’re damn right I blame you. You know how the media
loves a good fight. And you know how easy it is to
manipulate them. And you know how to craft a tight
What was you told them? “We love Davey.
But we don’t love what he’s become.”
Why am I still
Davey? I’m forty-four. And who is this “we” person?
I had a dream. I was four. I mean, in the dream I was
four. I must have been sixteen or seventeen when I was
having the dream. I’m not exactly sure. After all,
this is from nearly thirty years ago. We’re in a
single-engine Beech. Just you and I. We take off from
Hammer Field in Fresno and we’re somewhere out over the
Coast Range. The engine starts kicking in and out.
The smell of burning oil. You shout, “I’m taking her
We break through the cloud cover.
There was black smoke in the cockpit. You point to a
stream below. “If I don’t make it, follow the flow of
the stream. You hear me, Davey? Follow the stream.”
I’m crying, “Okay, Dad. I promise.” “Just leave me,
Davey. If it’s my time, nothing you can do. If it’s
not, they’ll send a search party.” You’re laughing. I
hear you muttering as you work the controls, “Okay
Pete, let’s see what you got.”
I hated that dream. Buried it deep. My psychiatrist
said I was repressing. Well, of course I was. It
needed repressing. Deserved repressing. I don’t need
to be reminded that my being close to you entails my
being scorched by the rays of your sun. And, in the
end, aren’t we all in orbit around you?
those who find a way to break free of your gravity.
Another dream. We’re in a car. You and I. And you’re
driving me to prison. It wasn’t clear why I was going
to prison. But there I was, sitting next to you on the
passenger side. Neither of us speaking. The road
running across a flat featureless landscape. We stop
at a railroad track to let a train pass. Then we drive
on into the night. My psychiatrist wondered if, while
the car was stopped, had I tried to run away, would you
have tried to stop me. I told him no. I said you
would have let me go. I lied.
Another lie. Joseph and I living our lives together
invisibly. Just out of your reach. Just under your
radar. Hoping someday you’d change. Or, if not
change, then die quietly, letting things sort
themselves out naturally.
I never wanted to be a poster boy.
I never wanted to
fight you. But, regardless of what you kept saying,
that Defense of Marriage Act you promoted reaches
beyond the grave. And that is wrong. It is one thing
for the old to dictate to the young. It is quite
another for the dead to dictate to the living. And
that’s what you intended. When that thing became law,
you had your house set in order, so that you could
leave and nothing would change. Like a pharoah in a
So in the end, we fired our guns. No direct hits. But
I did some nice stitching on your fuselage and you, on
mine. You said of me, “I love Davey, but we continue
to disagree. And because this is a private issue, I do
not wish to respond further.” Every pause, every tilt
of the head, every clearing of the throat. All too
perfect. All too practiced. There was nothing private
about this. It was public. It was political. And you
intended it to be so. The Lambda people called me
every day. Make a statement, they said. Make a
statement, David. They called me David. Someone
finally called me David. I said of you, “His is a
blind, uncaring, uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to a
subject about which he knows nothing and wants to know
You deserved that. Because you used me.
Finally, in my mind, I went back to the crash site.
The smashed single-engine Beech. I saw dried blood on
the pilot’s seat. The pilot-side door was kicked open.
And ten feet away, I saw an old weathered glove on the
ground. The glove fit a man’s hand. And inside the
cockpit, I saw parts of a little boy’s skeleton. Some
of the bones were missing. Rats and coyotes, no doubt.
It told me what I already suspected. Davey died in
that crash. And there hasn’t been a Davey for a long,
But there’s a David.
And he’s alive.
And he’s doing
FROM WHORE TO PIMP TO CRACKHEAD
Formerly entitled: From Slut To Whore To Crackhead
Cast of Characters
Man………………………………………male, 50-ish, sports fan
A man's love-hate relationship with the national
(MAN enters wearing Dodgers cap. He
holds a baseball bat, takes a couple of
practice swings. He smiles, satisfied
with himself. Takes envelope from shirt
pocket. Smiles at it. Then he looks up
at the audience, suddenly realizing he’s
Season tickets. Dodger Stadium. Section fifty.
box. Just beyond third base. Pretty good seat.
2006. Sometime soon, this year, or next year, Henry
Aaron’s career home run record is gonna be broken.
Barry Bonds has 717 home runs. Hammerin’ Hank’s record
stands at 755. Just do the math. Might happen at
Dodger Stadium. Hey, you never know.
Hank Aaron, in his prime, stood exactly six foot tall,
weighed one hundred eighty pounds. If you saw him up
close on the street, you’d say he looked like a very
fit average size human being, not like one of these socalled modern players with a butt out to here and a
chip on his shoulder the size of a cow turd and
forearms to make Popeye look like a wuss.
(Puts envelope in pocket. Takes a
right-handed practice swing,
demonstrating Henry Aaron’s swing)
Mister Aaron’s swing matched his temperament. Elegant.
Dignified. When he smashed a home run, which was
often, he did not stand at the plate, like Barry Bonds
does, and admire the ball in its trajectory. Hank ran
the bases like the rule book said. Mister Aaron was
into the integrity of the game. The one thing he
wasn’t into was himself. Some people think baseball
needs more Hank Aarons and fewer Barry Bonds.
I disagree. Baseball does not need Hank Aaaron's
dignity. Nor does it need his integrity. Baseball's
been getting along fine without either. If you wanna
know the truth, nobody connected with baseball cares
about dignity or integrity anymore.
Time was, though, when almost everyone cared. A
popular film made this point. Field of Dreams was the
name of the film and it came out in 1989, one year
prior to what I like to call baseball’s Steroid Era.
In the movie, James Earl Jones delivers an impassioned
speech in which he says, regardless of the times, you
could always count on baseball to be a standard for
decency, dignity, excellence and doing the right thing.
It was a powerful moment.
But that's all over. In the 90’s, baseball went from
whore to pimp to crackhead without batting an eye.
Whore, because baseball just stood there grinning while
the owners and players screwed us out of a World
Series. Pimp, because baseball just stood there
grinning while the owners and players conspired to sex
up the game. Crackhead, because baseball just stood
there grinning while the dugouts morphed into drug
Barry Bonds is gonna break Mister Aaron’s record. But
lemme tell you this. It won't mean a damn thing. No
one, except the most out of touch fan, will take that
man’s numbers seriously. Thanks to steroids,
everyone’s gonna put a mental asterisk beside his mark.
And it’s too damn bad. But that’s what you get when
you’re so into yourself that you’re out of touch with
the game and the fans. And it’s not just Barry Bonds.
Take Randy Johnson. Five Cy Young Awards. Signed with
the Yankees. First thing he does in New York? Roughs up
a newspaper camera man. You’d think he’d be delighted
to have his picture in the paper so his numerous fans
could behold the Big Unit’s handsome visage. But no.
You want more out of touch? Three years ago, I was at
a Cactus League game in Arizona. Diamondbacks and the
Angels. After the game, a hundred or so kids lined up
at the fence to get autographs. When who comes walking
by but Mister Multi-Millionaire Baseball Star Curt
Schilling. Doesn't even flash the kids a smile. Just
walks on by like they don't exist. And I’m thinking,
"You sorry piece of garbage! You and Barry and Randy
and all your fat booty-ass overpaid juiced-up compadres
are exactly why no one cares anymore. You can all go to
hell together in a whirlpool bath full of piss."
Sometime this year, or next year, Henry Aaron’s career
home run record is gonna be broken. Barry Bonds has
717 home runs. Hammering Hank’s record stands at 755.
(Takes a vicious swing, stands and
admires an imaginary home run in its
trajectory. Drops the bat)
I got season tickets. Section fifty. Field box.
beyond third base. Hey, you never know.
(Pats his shirt pocket to make sure his
season tickets didn’t fall out, begins
to exit. Blackout)
Report From The Convention
Formerly entitled: Report From The Republican National
Cast of Characters
A little-known fact about the 2004 Republican
Convention held in New York City.
(Bare stage. MAN approaches microphone)
Okay. So uh. So Bush delivered his acceptance speech
and----God!----it just went on and on. I mean, it was
like spending a weekend in Philadelphia. Or an
afternoon in---say---Jersey City.
You literally had
to prop your eyelids open with matchsticks or
toothpicks to make it to the end. Swear to God,
there's gonna be a teeshirt that reads "I made it all
the way through Dubya's speech!"
So Thursday morning the week of the Convention, I was
sitting on the steps outside the Port Authority Bus
Terminal in Midtown with Bob the Bleeder. He's this
guy I met during the protests in Times Square.
Everyone calls him The Bleeder cause he's always got a
band-aid stuck somewhere on him. Today it was on his
left thumb. Said a wasp stung him there. Anyway, he
says we oughta get some really good seats for tonight.
I said where. He says how about right on stage? I
said, are you crazy? They got secret service
everywhere. I mean if the Pope went in there, they'd
give him a body cavity search. Bob says no problemo.
He knows Madison Square Garden like the back of his
hand. Sneaks in all the time. Sees Knicks games for
free. The secret, he says, is carry a clipboard or a
broom and wear a uniform with Bob---Or whatever--written right above the shirt pocket. Just look
official. That's the ticket---no pun intended.
So we ambushed these two UPS guys. Took their uniforms
and their little palmtop computers. Bob cut himself
again. Another bandaid.
So we walked in and started
checking the rooms off the main convention area looking
for donuts. And---by the sheerest accident---we walk
into the room where they're working on Bush's
acceptance speech. I mean, they were finetuning it
right up to the last minute. Unfuckingbelievable.
So, Bob starts waving his UPS palmtop around, shouting
don't nobody move, this speech is being highjacked,
first one to move gets it right in the ear. So
everybody clams up and puts their hands on the table
just like Bob says. Bob starts walking around
screaming at everybody, yanking phones out of the wall,
tells them that his friend---that's me, by the way---is
a homicidal maniac just escaped from Rahway death row
and then he describes in lurid detail how I killed a
whole apartment full of people in Parsippany and it was
so horrible, so profoundly bloodcurdling even the New
York Post refused to run it. So anybody feelin’ lucky
today, says Bob? Anyone wanna be a hero?
So he says to me whattaya want in the speech, compadre?
All I could think about was free donuts. So he tells
the head speech dweeb to put it in there and while
we're at it, he says, put in some pussy for Bob the
Bleeder. He was waving that palmtop around so much he
banged his hand on the wall and cut himself again. He
kept screaming about how they had five seconds to
finish it or else. So then there's this loud knock at
the door and someone’s shouting, where the hell is the
speech? So Bob grabs it and passes it out the door.
Then we started walking onto the convention floor. Bob
was carrying this box he lifted from the speech room.
He's telling everybody we're delivering copies of
Bush’s speech to the distinguished guests on stage. So
they pushed us toward the stage. When we got there,
Bush's handlers say, who the hell are you guys? But
the cameras were about to roll, so they stuck us on
folding chairs at the back of the stage. Like candy
from a baby, chuckled Bob the Bleeder.
And, if you listened to the entire speech---few people
did---you might have heard George W. Bush read
"......and we need to advocate increased funding for
yeast raised pastries for our nation’s homeless [mild
applause] and more pussy for Bob the Bleeder [wild
The next day, I get this visit from one of Bush's
people. The president just wanting to pass a message if
he ever hears another word about donuts or pussy, my
ass is grass. So, I'm cooling it, staying out of
sight. Paid cash for my Greyhound ticket to the Left
Coast. Don’t think anyone was tracking me. Oh, and
last I heard of Bob the Bleeder was, he’s taking a
gynecology extension course at Columbia.
Or maybe not.
Anyone got a donut?