“Perception”

Play #4 from the “Night of Short Plays.”

Synopsis: getting older and looking much younger than they are.

CHARACTERS

A – Woman

B – Man

TIME: The Present

PLACE: Anywhere

1.

B: Don’t leave!

A: I really should.

B: You have other plans?

A: No plans.

B: A curfew?

A: No, but it’s getting late.

B: It’s 6:30.

A: (looks at phone) So, it is.

B: Am I bad company?

A: No, that’s not it.

B: I think maybe you’re bored.

A: Are you kidding?

B: No.

A: Bored with you?

B: With me.

2.

A: Why do you say that?

B: Because I’m old.

A: The universe is old.

B: I’ll bet you’re very active.

A: How do you know?

B: Your look. Healthy. Fit.

A: I try.

B: Do you swim?

A: No, but I work out.

B: I’m not surprised. Anything else?

A: Rock climbing. Triathlons.

B: Jesus, you’re Superwoman.

A: Not really. What about you?

B: Boring stuff.

3.

A: Tell me anyway.

B: I jump out of planes.

A: Oh, you parachute.

B: No. I jump.

A: You’re funny.

B: I’m not active. Bad hip.

A: But, when you were young…

B: I did everything.

A: You look like an athlete.

B: And now you’re going to…ummm.

A: See, you forgot already.

B: No, I didn’t. Wait. Africa.

A: Yes, Sierra Leone.

B: Like the Humphrey Bogart movie.

A: That was Sierra Madre.

4.

B: Right. And, you’ll be teaching.

A: Training teachers, actually.

B: For two years.

A: Yes. If they take me.

B: See, I’ve been listening.

A: I’ll give you a B.

B: Maybe a B+?

A: Closer to a B-.

B: Wow, you’re a tough grader.

A: My students loved me.

B: You’ll be accepted.

A: I think I will.

B: Just my luck.

A: What?

B: Nothing.

5.

A: Africa has always intrigued me.

B: This city intrigues me enough.

A: I love it, too, but…

B: You’re going alone?

A: Three teachers will be selected.

B: All women?

A: Why?

B: No reason. Just wondering.

A: I really don’t know.

B: Until you’re chosen.

A: If I’m—yes.

B: Africa’s so far away.

A: Closer than Asia. Or Australia.

B: Do they speak English there?

A: All classes are in English.

6.

B: That’s good. Are you afraid?

A: Of what?

B: Don’t they have evil mosquitos?

A: I’ve had all the shots.

B: What about Ivanka?

A: Ivanka?

B: Wasn’t that a disease there?

A: You mean Ebola?

B: Are you sure? Not Ivanka?

A: Now, it’s really getting late.

B: Because I didn’t know Ebola?

A: I thought you’d be…

B: More aware?

A: Well, you went to college.

B: Yes. Barber college.

A: Really?

B: No, not really. Northwestern.

A: Then you knew about Ebola.

B: Yes.

A: Why pretend you didn’t?

B: Your sense of humor test.

A: You’re testing me?

B: You gave me a B-.

A: Touché’. Did I pass?

B: So, the disease is gone?

A: I wouldn’t go, otherwise.

B: Some African countries are dangerous.

A: What place is safe today?

B: True. London, Paris, Las Vegas.

A: I won’t live in fear.

8.

B: Positive attitude.

A: What about you?

B: I try to live fearlessly.

A: It’s not always easy.

B: Why are you doing this?

A: Time for a change.

B: Running from something? Somebody?

A: That’s a little personal.

B: Sorry.

(A touches B’s arm, forgiving the question)

A: Running? Yes. But, running to.

B: The best reason. Something new.

A: Teaching middle school got old.

B: There’s high school. Or college.

A: Living here has gotten old.

9.

B: Don’t forget crazy, too.

A: I want to travel more.

B: It’s so enriching.

A: Where have you been?

B: I did Europe after college.

A: What part?

B: Eastern Europe, mostly.

A: No Paris or Rome?

B: No money for it!

A: Got it.

B: What about you?

A: Never been outside the US.

B: Got a favorite place?

A: I love Louisiana.

B: I’ve been to New Orleans.

10.

A: Been to Cajun country?

B: No.

A: It’s wonderful. The food, music.

B: I like zydeco.

A: My favorite!

B: I’ve kinda stopped traveling, actually.

A: Why?

B: Tired of doing it alone.

A: That’s a problem for you?

B: You’re surprised?

A: You’re good looking. Kinda smart.

B: Thanks. I think.

A: I’m joking.

B: Going places solo gets lonely.

A: You must know people.

11.

B: That’s not the problem.

A: Money?

B: No, not anymore.

A: Then I can’t imagine.

B: Age.

A: Age?

B: Age.

A: Explain.

B: You won’t believe me.

A: Try me.

B: I’m older than you.

A: I doubt it.

B: Up for a wager?

A: It would be like stealing.

B: Take my money. I insist.

12.

A: Ok. How about dinner?

B: You’re on. How old?

A: You?

B: Me.

A: Forty-three.

B: I love you. Sixty.

A: No way.

B: Wanna see my license?

A: Unbelievable. But, sixty isn’t old.

B: Woman thirty-two thinks I’m forty-three.

A: Ok.

B: I’m dating material.

A: Of course, you are.

B: But, when she hears sixty?

A: You’re her dad.

13.

B: Bingo.

A: You’re still the same guy.

B: Doesn’t matter. It’s about perception.

A: People are so judgmental.

B: Even you think differently now.

A: I don’t.

B: You’re lying or very special.

A: Neither. Ok, a little special.

B: I’ll go with very special.

A: That’s nice. Now your turn.

B: Twenty-one.

A: Quit playing.

B: Um, thirty-five.

A: Love you back. Fifty-four.

B: No Shit!!?

14.

A: Wanna see my license?

B: So, you go from hot—

A: Chick to cougar.

B: Same coin, different sides.

A: Exactly. I’ve given up trying.

B: For a relationship?

A: Yes.

B: Amazing that two people…

A: Chance or fate?

B: (Shrugs with palms up) This might be brash, but…

A: Go on.

B: We can eliminate our problems.

A: By dating?

B: It’s crossed my mind.

A: Well, you’re interesting enough.

15.

B: I think so.

A: For an old guy.

B: You passed the test.

(A’s phone DINGS)

A: One second.

(A taps on the screen)

B: Important?

A: Very. (pause) I’ve been accepted.

B: When do you leave?

A: (long pause) Next week.

(Lights down)

THE END