Y ahora para algo completamente diferente. “El demonio interior” es diferente a cualquier otro que haya escrito; Lo más intenso y lo más personal. Uno podría llamarlo un juego de venganza. También es uno de mis primeros guiones (1994). Lenguaje adulto y situaciones. Compártelo si te gusta.
This one-act play is totally different from any that I’ve ever written. It’s also one of the first plays I ever wrote (1994). It’s my favorite by far.
The man in the play is accompanied by four of his emotions: love, hate, lust and reason. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if he actually goes to his ex-girlfriend’s place or the play takes place entirely in his mind.
It may take 20 minutes to read this intense play, but you won’t regret it. Please share if you like it.
“The Demon Within” synopsis: Does a man visit the woman who broke his heart to win her back or does he have another motive?
WOMAN, 24, Hispanic
MAN, at least 30, white
TIME: The present
PLACE: A large bedroom in a huge house on the outskirts of a city.
(Lights up on a beautiful WOMAN seated on a chair trying on scarves. There is also some make-up on the table. A skirt and silk blouse hang on a coat rack. She is dressed in a short silk robe. MAN enters, but he is actually outside the house. He is followed by his FOUR EMOTIONS. Carrying a gym bag and a flashlight, he moves stealthily until he reaches a window. He looks in, unseen by WOMAN. As he moves away from the window he stumbles)
(MAN exits. WOMAN walks to the window, but doesn’t see anything. MAN re-enters; now he’s in the room)
I love you.
LUST: Silk robe, no bra, and the finest nipples known to man.
MAN: And I want you back.
WOMAN: How’d you get in?
MAN: Door was unlocked.
WOMAN: That door is never—you need to go.
LUST: (drowning out WOMAN) Look at those fucking legs. My God!
MAN: I’m sorry. Did you say something?
WOMAN: I said you need to go.
LOVE: I will not cry. I refuse to cry.
WOMAN: Is that really why you came out here?
MAN: And to celebrate.
WOMAN: It’s not your birthday, is it?
HATE: Twenty bucks says she forgot.
MAN: You don’t remember?
WOMAN: I haven’t laid eyes on you for, what, almost two months.
MAN: Fifty-seven days. (Beat) You look stunning. (Beat) When is it?
MAN: My birthday.
HATE: Pay up, peanut butter.
MAN: May. Gemini.
WOMAN: Got it. So, what are we celebrating?
MAN: You look like you’re going somewhere.
(WOMAN applies powder, teasing MAN, revealing a breast for a second)
I heard you—
LUST: Fuck, I knew it. My shit’s getting’ hard.
WOMAN: I’m what?
LOVE: One night of passion, that’s all it’ll take.
MAN: Uh, that you’re moving to St. Louis.
REASON: (fanning LUST) Quick, talk about the weather.
MAN: Where are you going?
WOMAN: St. Louis.
MAN: I meant tonight.
WOMAN: Out with friends.
LOVE: We’d have such beautiful children.
MAN: No date?
HATE: Double or nothing says she does.
MAN: That’s great. I’ll be your escort.
HATE: Do I know this bitch or not?
MAN: Why not?
WOMAN: I really need to get ready.
REASON: You’re losing her.
MAN: Can’t you be fashionably late? I mean, I came all the way out here.
WOMAN: All right, one quick drink.
LOVE: Back on track, now stay focused.
WOMAN: There’s some beer in the fridge.
MAN: Not for my girl.
(MAN takes wine from bag, already uncorked, two cups and pours the wine)
It’s not very expensive, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
LOVE: We’ll have a boy and a girl. The boy first.
LUST: She’s been hitting the gym, cuz that ass looks tighter than ever.
REASON: Keep it on a leash. You’ve been here before.
(WOMAN is clearly disappointed)
MAN: I thought crystal might break.
WOMAN: Always the planner.
LOVE: They’ll be a gorgeous shade of light brown. Maybe cinnamon.
MAN: You look better than ever.
WOMAN: So do you. Working out?
HATE: Why, was I fat?
MAN: Not eating a lot. A toast.
WOMAN: To what?
LOVE: You and me forever.
MAN: Seeing you again. Or your future. You name it.
WOMAN: How did you know where–
MAN: To find you?
WOMAN: Yeah, who told–
MAN: Me where you lived?
WOMAN: Old habits are hard to break.
REASON: Let her finish her thought, asshole.
MAN: Sorry. It’s just that I’m a little nervous. Refill?
LUST: Don’t ask. Pour.
(MAN refills glasses)
WOMAN: I really have to go.
MAN: Heard you got a job. That’s why you’re moving.
WOMAN: It’s a good starting point. I’ll be doing-
HATE: (Over her line) The whole fuckin’ city.
WOMAN: The morning news. The hours suck, but I don’t plan on doing it long.
MAN: It’s a foot in the door.
WOMAN: I figure after a year or so there I’ll move to a larger market. I’d love to move west. I always wanted to learn to ski. (beat) So, what’s up with you?
LUST: My dick. Now, get naked.
MAN: Nothing much. Still proof reading at the law firm. But, I just got—
REASON: Don’t go there.
HATE: Go on, tease the bitch.
WOMAN: You just what?
MAN: I just got . . .
LUST: Tell her. You came to get laid, didn’t you?
LOVE: You came to reclaim.
MAN: . . . got to wondering why you quit returning my calls?
WOMAN: Things got crazy. Graduation, finding a job, finishing that silly student film.
MAN: No social life?
WOMAN: None. A seven-minute film took the whole damned semester. Things got so bad I couldn’t eat. I was so sick, but I finished it somehow.
REASON: That’s not necessarily a lie.
HATE: Yeah, like the pope’s not necessarily a virgin.
MAN: So, it had nothing to do with me?
WOMAN: Why would you say that?
LUST: Because I love you, can’t you see that?
MAN: You stopped coming into the bar.
WOMAN: I just told you…
LOVE: Don’t give up now. You can taste those lips.
WOMAN: Maybe I’ll stop in before I leave.
MAN: That would be nice.
HATE: Come on, man, she ain’t gonna be around forever. Get what you came for.
MAN: The other day a couple of guys from the Toyota dealership stopped in and told me about their service manager. Seems he has this great scam going. There’s a woman—and I’m sure she’s not the only one—she had a real lemon. One day she needed an oil change, but didn’t have the money. Was there anything he could do for her? He asked her did she have any credit cards. She said no. Then . . .
LUST: Be gentle.
HATE: Fuck gentle. The bitch.
MAN: Then the manager figures, what the hell, I’ll give it a try. You know what he said? He said for a blow job, the bill was paid. Can you believe that?
WOMAN: He sounds like a pig.
MAN: Maybe so, but she agreed. Unbelievable, right? She said yes.
WOMAN: They wish.
MAN: Wait, it gets better. One day her car won’t start. Now, you know a (hummer) isn’t payment for a new engine. ‘Course she’s got no money, no credit. Well, you figure out what she did.
WOMAN: Who’s telling these tales? Marvin?
MAN: She drives a white Corolla with a black interior.
WOMAN: If this is your way of getting back at me . . . for us . . .
HATE: Slut, whore, bitch. Dick-sucking whore, cunt.
REASON: Come back tomorrow, you’re losing control.
(HATE pushes REASON to the floor. REASON moves to a corner)
MAN: (Calmly) Why’d you do it?
WOMAN: You’re dealing in fiction. It’s time you leave.
MAN: I’m not ready to go.
WOMAN: Don’t make me call the police.
MAN: Isn’t that a little dramatic?
(WOMAN grabs her cell phone. MAN pulls a gun from the bag)
REASON: Be cool. You wouldn’t last a week in prison.
MAN: Toss it here. I said, toss it here. Thank you. Now, I didn’t come over here to hurt you.
WOMAN: (seductively) Of course, you didn’t. Everyone knows you’re just a big old pussycat. And we both know you’re way too smart to be lured in by a bunch of jealous old fools, right?
LUST: She’s right. A couple of those guys were jealous.
HATE: ‘Specially Marvin.
LUST: Ugliest man in North America.
HATE: NASA could use that face for crater research.
WOMAN: You don’t really believe them, do you? You have the softest skin. And the biggest brown eyes.
LUST: Kiss her, you fool!
LOVE: My god, she’s so beautiful.
(WOMAN puts MAN’s hand on her breast)
REASON: That’s not fair.
LUST: Who cares?
(LUST and REASON emulate having sex)
WOMAN: You don’t believe them, do you?
LUST: What are you, an idiot? Touch the other one.
(MAN takes his hand away)
WOMAN: Don’t you like that?
MAN: She has a rose tattoo on her left thigh.
LOVE: Why? Why do I need to know? Just forgive her.
(LOVE separates LUST and REASON)
LUST: Yo, man. (I was at T minus three.)
MAN: Say, “It was me.”
WOMAN: It wasn’t me.
REASON: Am I buying that?
LOVE: It could be true.
MAN: It’s on video tape.
REASON: She sounds scared.
HATE: They’d love to watch it with you.
MAN: I can call them. They’d love to meet the star of the show.
LOVE: Are you really enjoying this?
HATE: She blows mechanics for oil changes. You bet your ass I am.
WOMAN: You’re not listening.
LOVE: I’m not listening?!!
LUST: I’ve never seen the video.
REASON: And I don’t want to, either.
(HATE knocks REASON to the floor. REASON stumbles off stage)
WOMAN: There is no tape.
LUST: Those tits are perfect. And they’re fucking real.
MAN: Sleep with me and I’ll forget everything.
WOMAN: Sexual blackmail, like any other kind, never ends.
MAN: You’re leaving town the day after tomorrow.
LUST: She never was the quickest thinker.
WOMAN: Believe what you want, but I’m not a slut.
MAN: How many others were there?
LOVE: Pain. Why do I love the pain?
MAN: How many?
MAN: You’re lying. I have proof.
WOMAN: Let go of me. What’s gotten in to you?
HATE: Do it. Give her what for.
(MAN hits her with the gun. She falls)
Come on, man. Once more breaks her neck.
LOVE: I love you. Can’t you see that?
HATE: She fucked you only four times in six months. She’s done the meter reader more than that.
MAN: Answer me. How many?
(MAN ties her arms to the chair with scarves. HE fixes her hair)
LOVE: Why inflict your pain on her?
MAN: Why did you make me hurt you? I’ve never hit—Nobody.
WOMAN: Is this how you get your rocks off?
(A door closes)
MAN: What’s that?
WOMAN: Untie me.
MAN: Who’s here?
WOMAN: I can handle this. Untie me. Quick.
LUST: Damn, those titties…face it, she’s the finest I’ve ever had.
(MAN unties her)
MAN: Whoever it is has a key.
WOMAN: You. Under there.
(MAN scurries under the table)
LUST: If it’s a chick, ménage à trois?
(WOMAN tosses his bag under the table)
WOMAN: Shut up.
(VANESSA enters, dressed elegant sexy. MAN peeks out from behind the cloth)
VANESSA: Hey there, sugar.
VANESSA: Dressed to stay in, are we?
WOMAN: No, I want to go out.
VANESSA: (seeing two glasses) Company?
WOMAN: Just you. I’m almost ready.
VANESSA: I disagree. I’d say you’re completely ready.
HATE: A fucking dyke.
(VANESSA kisses WOMAN who turns her head. The kiss lands on her cheek)
LOVE: Thank god.
(REASON enters wearing a head bandage)
VANESSA: What’s wrong?
WOMAN: You don’t want to be late for the exhibition do you?
(VANESSA pulls WOMAN’s robe open)
VANESSA: Venus with arms.
WOMAN: Aren’t you supposed to open the exhibit?
VANESSA: I just did.
LUST: That was fucking great. “I just did.” File that bad boy.
(VANESSA kisses WOMAN’s body; WOMAN gently pushes her away)
REASON: See, she’s straight.
HATE: Might be an act.
VANESSA: Something’s wrong.
WOMAN: No, really.
VANESSA: You know the deal. The house is yours, and you’re my toy.
WOMAN: Nothing’s wrong. I’ve been cooped up all day, that’s all.
LUST: I’ve never seen lesbians live.
(VANESSA tries once more)
WOMAN: Stop. Please. Vanessa, please.
(MAN appears. He points the gun at VANESSA)
VANESSA: Who the fuck are you?
MAN: She said please. That’s better. (To WOMAN) Nobody’s this desperate. (To VANESSA) Now, who the hell are you?
LOVE: She’s not very pretty.
LUST: Not bad for an older broad, though.
VANESSA: No, who are you? This is my house.
HATE: You’re asking for it.
WOMAN: He’s my—
VANESSA: Fiancee’? You must be the chump.
WOMAN: I was kidding. I call all men chumps.
VANESSA: You were serious as a heart attack.
(MAN shoots gun at ceiling)
What the hell do you think you’re doing?
MAN: Okay, now this is the deal. As soon as I get some answers, I’m outa here and you guys can munch on each other ‘til dawn. So, whatya do Vanessa, besides fuck sweet cheeks?
WOMAN: You don’t have to—
MAN: What do you do, Vanessa?
MAN: Now I know why they call it a bull market. (beat) How do you know angel face?
LUST: Because she belongs to me.
VANESSA: I know her boss.
MAN: Her new boss?
WOMAN: (To VANESSA) You’ve told him enough. (To MAN) You got your answers.
HATE: My god, what do you see in her?
MAN: Just a couple more.
REASON: Why do these people think they can have her? She doesn’t want them.
HATE: Mention her fuckin’ family. Double or nothing she’s got an old man.
MAN: I’m sure your family would love to learn about this.
WOMAN: She’s got no family.
VANESSA: What is it you want to know?
HATE: I can’t lose.
MAN: Well, now, that’s better. We could be friends, Vanessa, you and me. What’s your husband do?
VANESSA: He’s owns TV stations.
MAN: He know he’s your pimp, too?
REASON: Maybe you’ve put them through enough.
(HATE hits REASON. REASON exits, crawling. MAN lights a smoke)
HATE: Get the dyke to blow you.
LUST: Just don’t come too soon. Think about hanging wallpaper or something.
LUST & HATE: Do it. Do it. Do it.
(MAN unzips his pants)
MAN: She ever go down on you, V?
VANESSA: That’s none of your business.
(MAN points gun at VANESSA)
Yes, okay, yes.
MAN: Not me. Never. Not even a lick. You wanna know why? I thought about this for a very long time. Agonized, really. I mean, what guy wants to admit his girl won’t suck him off? First, I thought maybe it was because of religious reasons. Then, I started feeling insecure, like maybe my dick wasn’t big enough. But, I know it’s okay. Then I started hearing stories. All of her men had one thing in common. Money. So that was it, plain and simple. I just wasn’t rich enough.
WOMAN: That’s a damn lie.
LOVE: This is good. Explain. It’s therapeutic.
HATE: Don’t lose control.
LOVE: Talk. Listen.
MAN: Let’s talk. Can we do that? I mean, we got something in common, don’t we? Your old man ain’t giving you what you want either, right?
VANESSA: Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever.
MAN: Good. That’s good. Tell me, you blow Mister TV?
VANESSA: There’s no need to be vulgar.
MAN: You find the act disgusting.
VANESSA: It’s not my favorite.
MAN: Well, he’s getting’ it somewhere. Bet on it. (beat) You fuck—I’m sorry. Do you make love to him?
MAN: That’s nice. He know about your excursions to Sappho City?
MAN: Whatya think he’d do if he knew?
VANESSA: I, I wouldn’t want him to know.
MAN: No, I don’t imagine you would.
VANESSA: I love my husband.
MAN: I ain’t sayin’ shit to him, but we gotta have a little pact here, you and me. We never met. We weren’t even here, were we? I must be getting old, I didn’t hear what you said.
VANESSA: You live your life, I live mine.
LOVE: She’s a ball-buster. I like that.
MAN: Pour Vanessa some wine. Never mind, I’ll get it.
HATE: Find out who else she’s been fuckin’.
LUST: And what they’ve been doing.
LOVE: Knowing may be too painful.
HATE: I don’t need to know anything but who. That’s all.
LUST: Learning what she likes helps win her back.
LOVE: Talk it out. Work it out.
MAN: She actually thought I was rich. I think it’s because of the law firm. Assumed I was a lawyer. But, I’m not. I’m a lowly proofreader. Shit, they got lawyers at that firm make more an hour than I do in a week. I mean, I have a nice apartment, but rich? I wish. And that hurt me, cuz I loved her. I truly did. I thought to myself, here’s a woman who doesn’t care that I don’t have a lot of money. What a fuckin’ joke, huh?
WOMAN: Where’d you get this fiction? You want the real lowdown on why we don’t date anymore?
MAN: (Turns abruptly) Because you’ve been lying so long, you can’t tell when you’re not.
(WOMAN holds her finger in a limp fashion)
HATE: You can’t let her do you like that. Control, man. Don’t let her take it.
MAN: If I couldn’t get it up, it’s because you’re a walking igloo. Wanna hear something funny? She blew her mechanic, but not me. Consideration and passion just don’t cut it, I guess. You know about that, V? About her fuckin’ the service guy at the garage?
VANESSA: I don’t ask questions.
MAN: Yeah, so even all your benevolence can’t keep her in the corral. Ain’t that a bitch?
(REASON enters, this time with a crutch)
So who else? Besides us and the grease monkey.
REASON: Are you sure you want to know that?
LUST: Remember Sally Carlson from college? That girl could suck the rust off a tail pipe.
VANESSA: I don’t know.
(MAN pulls a knife from bag. HE traces a line on WOMAN’s arm)
MAN: You sleep with her so she tells you things.
VANESSA: (looking at WOMAN first) A couple of professors, but not for grades. She didn’t need to do it for that.
MAN: There’s more. There’s the high school math teacher.
WOMAN: Who told you? Nobody knows that.
MAN: Sex with the teacher or flunk math. Flunk math, no diploma. (To VANESSA) Your turn, V.
VANESSA: Bill Simpson.
MAN: My boss? (To WOMAN) You met him once. For two minutes. Damn.
LUST: How much more do you need to hear? Don’t be a stupid martyr.
LOVE: Spare yourself the pain. Stop now.
REASON: I told you you didn’t want to know.
MAN: Know what, lady? We’re both suckers; that’s a given. But there’s some small pleasure in knowing she stinks at all this. I mean, if she were good, she’d have found one guy and stuck with him, right? Ask yourself, why did she need so many? Probably cuz they dumped her after the first time. For such a great body, she’s not an all-star in the sack. (beat) Okay, one last thing, and we’re done. I wanna see a show.
WOMAN: You’re sick.
(MAN puts knife to WOMAN’s neck)
VANESSA: This game is over.
MAN: Say what?
VANESSA: You heard me.
LOVE: She’s really got balls. I could love this woman.
REASON: She’s sharp, too. She knows you’re all talk.
VANESSA: Get dressed.
MAN: Stop. Both of you.
VANESSA: And you get the hell out, cuz this show’s over. Pack your bag, go home and jack off ‘til your heart’s content. Mister Big Balls. Ha!
MAN: You’re right. I just wanted to come over and win my girl back. And I’m leaving, but before I go, could I ask a favor of you? Can I just have ten more minutes with her? Alone? You know I won’t hurt her. I just want ten minutes before she’s out of my life forever. I promise. Please?
(WOMAN nods that it’ll be okay)
VANESSA: I’ll be outside.
MAN: Can she meet you at the gallery?
VANESSA: I’m not stupid.
WOMAN: Go on. I’ll be okay.
VANESSA: Give me the weapons.
(MAN hesitates, but hands them to VANESSA. SHE exits)
WOMAN: That was quite a show.
MAN: Believe it or not, I know exactly what I’m doing.
ties WOMAN to chair again)
you allow me to be philosophical for a second? Thank you. Have you ever been possessed with a feeling for someone, one so strong, that no matter what you did, it wouldn’t go away? Of course you have. We all have. After a while it transforms into our own personal demon. (Beat) And guess what? You’re mine. My own personal Satan. That’s no surprise, is it? For the past two months, I’ve tried to forget about you, but I couldn’t. You still haunt me, terrorize me-you’re in my mind day and night. It’s gotten so I can’t eat or sleep or have sex with someone else. So, I decided to come over here and confront it. To purge it. I had no choice but to cleanse myself of the demon within me.
WOMAN: That was good a good speech. So, what next?
MAN: I’m not sure. I’m still a little confused.
HATE: A little? She’s a no good whore. Case closed.
LOVE: Tell her how you feel. Ask why she lied.
HATE: Because she’s a cheap slut, that’s why.
REASON: I wouldn’t say cheap, based on this place.
MAN: Why do you do this? Didn’t I offer enough?
LOVE: Slow down.
LUST: Get her on your side. You may score yet.
WOMAN: Pretty simple, isn’t it?
MAN: There are other ways to survive.
HATE: Not for whores.
LOVE: Maybe she’s not one.
MAN: I don’t know. Get a roommate.
WOMAN: I can’t live with anybody.
(During MAN’s speech, LUST and REASON make like they’re walking down the aisle, humming the wedding march)
MAN: I wanted to take care of you. Forever. I had it all planned. I’d work and support you, let you pursue any career you desired. We’d have been just fine. Not filthy rich, but fine.
LOVE: Find out why she does it. No, don’t.
HATE: She’ll just lie again.
MAN: I would have done anything for you, but you never shared with me.
WOMAN: Untie me, please? You couldn’t help. You didn’t have what I needed.
HATE: Fucking bitch.
LOVE: Ask why. You have to ask why.
MAN: It’s got to be more than money.
WOMAN: Money is there. You can see it. Touch it. Spend it. Without it, you’re nothing.
MAN: You’re wrong. Two people helping each other reach their dreams, that’s what matters.
You’re too old to be that idealistic.
And you’re too young not to be.
WOMAN: What do you want from me?
MAN: I want the truth. No more lies.
WOMAN: Is telling you gonna solve anything? Whatever, I really don’t care.
HATE: See? She wants to die.
LOVE: No, she’s crying for help.
WOMAN: (Unemotionally) My mother had me at sixteen. She lived in Chicago and worked at this restaurant where the baseball players hung out. She looked older, so these guys hit on her all the time. One night, the offer was too good to pass up. All I know about my father is he played for the Giants. A catcher, I think. The second string catcher, at that. You think a looker like her could’ve at least done it with someone who played a lot.
HATE: You believe that shit?
LUST: Keep her going. Women love listeners.
WOMAN: (More emotion) Then my sweetheart of a mother tossed me into foster homes until I was thirteen, when my aunt got stuck with me. I’d learned a lot by then, so I didn’t really need her. The most vivid memory I have of my mother happened when I was seven. She was coming to see me and I was so excited because I’d never seen her before. My foster mother bought me a new dress and fixed my hair real nice. We took a picture. I still have it. I was so happy and pretty. When she finally came, she threw me into the car-not even a hug-and took me to McDonalds. I asked her where we were going to live. She told me she lived in Milwaukee and I was going back . . . not with her, but to the foster home. I haven’t seen her since. My own mother abandoned me twice.
MAN: You aunt must’ve loved you.
WOMAN: Maybe, but like I said, I didn’t need anyone by then.
MAN: It’s not too late for us.
WOMAN: Don’t even think about it. You’re too nice for someone like me.
(MAN caresses WOMAN’s skin from head to toe. LUST masturbates)
LUST: That skin, that silky smooth skin.
(WOMAN moans occasionally, but is totally detached. MAN doesn’t see this)
I’ve missed this so much. Please don’t leave me again. I need you. All of you.
(MAN licks WOMAN’s foot. HE is in a position of adoration. As MAN kisses his way up her leg, he discovers her disinterest)
MAN: What are you doing?
WOMAN: (caught, trying to be sincere) Oooh, baby, don’t stop.
HATE: (over WOMAN’s line) You fucking cunt.
MAN: You, you—
WOMAN: It’s not what you think. Keep doing it. It felt good.
MAN: God, what a fool I’ve been.
WOMAN: That’s not true.
LOVE: You need me, I just know it.
LUST: What a waste of a body.
(MAN puts his hands around her neck)
HATE: Atta boy, slow and painful.
LUST: You want her bad. You know you do.
WOMAN: What are you-you’re crazy, you know that? Fuckin’ crazy.
(HATE and LUST arm wrestle. When HATE has the advantage, MAN has his hands around WOMAN’s neck. When LUST is winning, his hand is down her robe. Slow, haunting music plays)
WOMAN: You wanna fuck me, is that it? You’re crazy. Totally crazy.
MAN: I can save you.
WOMAN: Don’t play God.
MAN: I’m the only person who’s ever really loved you.
WOMAN: You don’t know what love is anymore than I do. You didn’t love me. You loved how you looked with me. So enlightened, so Mister Diversity.
MAN: I can save you. I know I can.
WOMAN: Untie me. We’ll have the best sex you ever had.
(REASON hobbles over to break up the match. MAN stops and collapses to the floor, mentally exhausted. HATE hits REASON, who is now unconscious)
LOVE: Take her somewhere. Help her.
MAN: I lived for you.
WOMAN: I didn’t do anything to make you feel that way.
MAN: You didn’t have to. Real people don’t need prompting. I used to watch you in the bar, never saying a word. But, then I made the leap, and we had the best conversations, remember? Nothing was out-of-bounds. Sex, race, our dreams for a better world.
WOMAN: I talk to lots of people.
MAN: We were different. We connected on a different plane.
WOMAN: You were easy to talk to.
MAN: And you were sweet and friendly, and funny. Now, now I see it was all part of the game. In the beginning, you were always there; for the walks, the picnics, the concerts. Then nothing. Just like that. But, it was too late, babe. I was in too deep. No, you didn’t make me feel that way. You didn’t have to.
WOMAN: It might not be too late. I have a job now. We were good once. We can be again.
MAN: It wouldn’t last for long.
WOMAN: But, it was good. You just said so.
LUST: Maybe she’s on the level this time.
HATE: You’re losing control. Don’t be a fool.
LUST: Give her what she wants. It’s all about sex.
LOVE: Remember your feelings. You need her.
(LOVE, HATE and LUST continue with the previous three statements until the MAN screams and bangs his head on the floor)
MAN: Stop it. Stop it. All of you. Just stop it.
WOMAN: What’s wrong? Are you okay?
MAN: You, me, everything. That’s what’s wrong. I love you and you don’t care. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t. Even when you thought I had money, I wasn’t enough for me. You had sex with a mechanic. Where’s the fuckin’ rationale in that? And you wanna know what’s wrong?
WOMAN: Is that all you want? Come here, I’ll do whatever you want.
LUST: Oh, man what are you waiting for? You’re hard as a rock.
(MAN takes a container and a 2nd gun from the bag)
LOVE: If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain.
HATE: She never appreciated anything I did for her.
WOMAN: What’s that?
MAN: My seed.
WOMAN: You really are sick.
HATE: You ought to know.
MAN: I’ve saved it-froze it-every day for fifty-seven days. Froze it and brought it here.
WOMAN: I told you, we can do it now.
MAN: You must experience this. It’s the one part of me you don’t know.
WOMAN: Oh shit. I’m sorry. I really am. I never wanted to hurt you. I just never knew how to let you down easy. I thought if I didn’t put out, you’d leave. Everything I’ve ever done has been out of desperation. Then when I finally set a goal for myself, no one was there to help me. You don’t know what it’s like to need someone and no one’s there.
MAN: Oh, but I do.
WOMAN: No, you don’t. You have a family. You don’t know a damn thing about being unwanted.
MAN: I loved you.
WOMAN: You loved an image. If it weren’t me it would have been the next flavor of the week.
MAN: Why is it we never see things for what they truly are until it’s too late? Everything about you fits like a fucking puzzle. Everybody was fair game. How could I miss it?
LOVE: Love blinds you, that’s why.
LUST: And sex.
MAN: Maybe I was stupid. How else could I miss it? You in this house, spending a thousand dollars on a class film; driving a new car. And I know you can’t get any more student loans. You told me that yourself. There were other things, too. Instead of saying you didn’t want to sleep with me you tell me you get two periods a month. And I fucking bought it. God, I was stupid. You’d die if you bled that much. And you say you studied seven days a week till two a.m.? An idiot, that’s me. A first class idiot.
HATE: Go on, man. The ultimate humiliation.
(MAN opens container, dips his thumb in it, and makes the sign of the cross on her forehead. HE pours the liquid over her face like a baptism)
WOMAN: You fucker. You’re no better than I am. At least my goal isn’t revenge. I don’t wallow in pity. At least I have a reason for what I do.
LOVE: It’s not too late. You can still redeem yourself.
HATE: She deserves every bit of this.
LOVE: It’s not too late. It’s never too late
(HATE knocks LOVE to the ground)
HATE: This is it, man, the home stretch. This is one race you’ll win, by god.
LUST: You still want her. You know you do.
WOMAN: Go on, kill me, you loser motherfucker. You’ll meet me again. Women like me are everywhere. And you’re always ready to play the savior.
MAN: You joined me for Christmas, just to see if my family had any money.
WOMAN: That’s a lie. Who told you?
MAN: Your aunt sent you money last year.
WOMAN: To pay my rent.
MAN: To visit your mother in the hospital. You didn’t go, but kept the cash.
HATE: You must have a heart made of marble, lady.
WOMAN: She never cared for me or helped me. Who told you all this, anyway?
(REASON tries to get up, but passes out)
Just tell me what you want from me!
MAN: Does it matter?
WOMAN: Yes, yes it does. Tell me.
MAN: Love. One hundred percent unconditional love.
MAN: Liar! You can’t give what you don’t have.
LOVE: I could teach her.
WOMAN: All the stories are bullshit. Really. I never fucked anybody for a grade or money or anything. Not even Vanessa. She pays me to strip for her, that’s all. I told her all those stories so she’d feel sorry for me and give me more money. You’ve got to believe me. All the stories are bullshit. Honest.
MAN: I want to believe you.
WOMAN: Kiss me. (He does) Again.
(MAN unties her)
LOVE: It’s going to work this time.
HATE: What’re you doing? Are you fucking crazy?
WOMAN: I knew you loved me, I just wasn’t used to it.
HATE: Why are you doing this?
MAN: How do I know you’re not lying again?
WOMAN: Things are different now. I have a job. It was never that I couldn’t love, I just had something to prove. I wasn’t going to be my mother, you know? She’s had to rely on men all of her life because she had nothing going for her except her looks. And all they got her was trouble. But, now that I’ve got a career, I can focus on you and me.
MAN: How do I know it’ll be different?
WOMAN: People change.
REASON: Listen to her.
HATE: You’re a fool.
LOVE: I can’t help it.
MAN: Go on.
WOMAN: It’ll be just like it was at the beginning. Walks in the park, picnics, all of it. Nothing will get in the way. Just plenty of time for you and me.
MAN: What about, you know, the other stuff?
(WOMAN caresses MAN)
WOMAN: It’ll be so much better now, you won’t believe it. Trust me.
LUST: Let’s get a down payment on that promissory note.
MAN: Let’s make love.
WOMAN: Not like this. Not tonight. I want the next time to be very, very special. Romantic. Come back in a couple of days and I’m all yours.
MAN: It’s a date.
HATE: You’re really buying this bullshit?
MAN: Wait a minute. You’ll be gone by then.
WOMAN: I’m only two hours away. And I’ll have my own place.
HATE: Double or nothing says she leaves town and you’re a distant memory.
(MAN takes gun from his waist and fires it. HATE dies)
WOMAN: What are you doing?
MAN: I had more demons than I thought.
(REASON walks towards MAN. He kills it)
WOMAN: I wish you wouldn’t do that. This isn’t my house.
MAN: Maybe I’ll move to St. Louis.
WOMAN: Let me get settled first.
MAN: Down the line, I mean. I know you need some time.
LOVE: I knew this would work out in the end.
(MAN walks slowly to LOVE. HE puts a hand over his eyes and shoots. LOVE dies)
MAN: It wasn’t all you, you know. I made some mistakes, too.
(MAN kisses WOMAN. HE grabs the bag)
I’ll call you.
(MAN and LUST exit. WOMAN applies her make-up)
(A gunshot. WOMAN’s reaction. Blackout)
I wrote “Deleting Discontent” in 2011 while I was living in China. I stayed there five years but not a semester passed that I wasn’t looking to live somewhere else, usually another foreign country. It will be included in our next project here in Oaxaca, being translated and performed in Spanish.
Synopsis: a man questions his place in the world.
BENNY, white male, 45
DEB, black or Hispanic female, 40
TIME: The Present
PLACE: New York City and China
(Lights up on BENNY sitting at a table. He’s handsome and looks at least 10 years younger than his age. On his table is a laptop, a glass of beer [almost empty], peanuts, ashtray and cigarettes. On the floor next to the table are five empty half-liter beer bottles [Chinese Beer].
DEB, a naturally beautiful Black or Hispanic woman sits in a comfy chair or sofa. She is drinking bottled water.
BENNY types and we hear the SOUND of a Skype call)
BENNY: Hello? Can you hear me? Deb? Deb?
DEB: Hey, Benny. I can hear you. Can you hear me?
BENNY: I can. And we have video, too.
DEB: For now.
BENNY: For now. You’re lookin’ good. How do ya feel?
DEB: Tired as hell. I really should slow down.
BENNY: Yes, the life of an actor slash director slash stand up slash blogger slash girl looking for a boyfriend. Did I miss anything?
DEB: No. And I may complain but I’m enjoying every bit of it. Like to find more sleep time, but…
BENNY: I need your advice.
DEB: Why? You never take it?
BENNY: I listen to it.
BENNY: I have three days to decide if I’m coming back to teach next year.
DEB: Stay. Why wouldn’t you? You love the country, the cuisine, your students—
BENNY: There’s lots of other reasons. Well, maybe only a couple, but conundrums they are.
DEB: What’s your friend, the universe, saying about all this?
BENNY: I’ve put it out to her.
DEB: She’s not returning your calls?
BENNY: Go ahead and laugh but if you’d just open your mind a little…
DEB: I am open-minded.
BENNY: Yeah, well, not about everything.
DEB: You’re right. No threesome with my sister.
BENNY: Now, there’s an open-minded—
DEB: Slut. Listen, if the universe works for you.
BENNY: Let’s talk about my problem, okay? Hey, where’re you going?
DEB: I gotta pee.
BENNY: Take your laptop.
BENNY: C’mon, for old time’s sake.
DEB: You forgot what it looks like?
BENNY: Hell no. Well, maybe the image is getting a little fuzzy. You know, my memory ain’t what it used to be.
DEB: (from off-stage) Use your imagination.
BENNY: (Louder) Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, know what I mean? You used to be more compassionate. You know how long it’s been since—
(The sound of a toilet FLUSHING. DEB enters and sits)
DEB: You lost your viewing rights when we split.
BENNY: Just wanted a little peek.
(DEB unbuttons two buttons of her blouse)
BENNY: That’s all I get? A little cleavage?
DEB: Take it or leave it.
BENNY: I’ll take it, I’ll take it. But, can you hold your computer above your head, looking down, like this? Give me a little better angle?
DEB: No. Pig.
BENNY: So, anyway, do you remember St. Louie Lucy?
DEB: Vaguely, although why you thought I’d be interested in hearing about all your –exes…
BENNY: She’s the one I really, really liked but never pulled the trigger on because I’m an idiot.
DEB: Duly noted.
BENNY: So, I found her on the Net. After twenty years. Can you believe it? We’ve Skyped a ton of times and she’s more beautiful than I remembered and it’s like everything I want it to be.
(BENNY waits for a response. None arrives)
We’re both available and we agree on all the important things, except one. Unless I move back to the states…
BENNY: She’s set in her law career, even though there’s a teacher here that gave up his practice to—it doesn’t matter. She’s forty and just made partner. My situation is a bit more fluid, although as my students are fond of saying, “Every coin has two sides.” I really like living here, the food is great, the people are friendly, I’ve traveled to five countries in three years and I’m doing three weeks in Europe this summer. Someone told me teaching is my part-time job.
DEB: And America’s not an option because…
BENNY: You got all day? (Beat) Ok, yes, I could go back and teach English to immigrants, but if I’m going to get Guatemalans to say ‘My name is Pedro,’ I want to do it in Guatemala, not Queens. And how long would anyone be my friend if every time they saw me I bitched about not living overseas?
DEB: Not long. (beat) Think back to when we were together.
BENNY: I never should have left you.
DEB: You had to leave. Or I would’ve. We both thought we could morph into someone we weren’t.
BENNY: I didn’t try and change you.
DEB: Do you really listen to me? Your life is all about change, adventure.
BENNY: You know my track record with relationships. It sucks.
DEB: It’s not about—arrgghh!! Okay, another example. My first time around doing stand-up I was opening for the biggest R&B acts in the biz. I was playing Vegas.
BENNY: Was what? You’re breaking up. Can you hear me?
DEB: Yes. Should I call you back?
BENNY: No, you’re back. So, you were playing with yourself—
DEB: I said I was playing Vegas.
BENNY: Let’s go with playing with yourself, cuz you know it’s been a while since I’ve had a woman.
DEB: You’re a sick man, Benny. I was playing Vegas and making very good money. I was happy as hell, but not content. I kept nagging my manager, where’s my three-picture deal; where’s my sitcom? All that discontent started eroding my happiness. I gave it all up. I was heading for my 19th nervous breakdown.
BENNY: So, it’s all about contentment?
DEB: It’s about maximizing both. (Pause) Oh, oh, you’ve got that deep thinker look.
BENNY: Doing a quick inventory. (short pause) Searching for my discontent.
DEB: Maybe you don’t have any.
BENNY: I can hear you.
DEB: Personally, I have very little of it.
(BENNY enters with another beer)
BENNY: Wouldn’t it be great if we could just delete our discontent and anything else we didn’t like about ourselves? You know, like on a computer?
DEB: Is that another beer?
BENNY: My second.
DEB: How many empties on the floor? You always liked to keep track.
BENNY: None. One. So, the way I see it, nobody is absolutely content. Not even animals. Birds always want a bigger worm. Squirrels want bigger nuts.
(DEB laughs loudly)
To eat, I mean. You know what I’m saying.
DEB: I know. And all I’m saying is that life’s a balancing act. Increase the happiness by decreasing the discontent to find a livable balance.
BENNY: For a creative type, Deb, you’re pretty damn logical.
DEB: We can’t all live on our feelings, Benny.
BENNY: I think things through.
DEB: Name the last time.
(BENNY lights a cigarette)
BENNY: I’m lonely. I need physical contact. Not sex, necessarily, although that would be nice. You know it’s been so long.
DEB: So, find somebody. You never had a problem over here.
BENNY: Maybe, but it’s a little different in this culture. First, there are my students. Beautiful, sexy, intelligent and fun…Do you think twenty-five years is too big a gap? Then there are the recent graduates working in the city. Beautiful, sexy, intelligent and fun. Do you think twenty years is too big a gap? Divorcees. Not as beautiful or sexy because they’re older and have had children, but still attractive. The problem is finding them. They work and go home to the kid. Foreigners are teachers, mostly. My choices are limited as they’re mostly white chicks, but a few are from the Pacific Rim. I’d have to go to the ex-pat bars to find them though and I did that for decades. Look for chicks in bars in the states. No thanks. And many of them are also under thirty. So, you see, I’m not exactly in an enviable position.
DEB: But, you don’t look your age.
BENNY: Babe, it doesn’t matter if I look twenty, the fact is I’m old and most of these women eventually want to get married and have a baby. Do I? I don’t know. There’s this one student. I’m afraid I’m falling in love, silly as it sounds. She’s twenty but only a freshman, so I’d have to stay here another three years. I haven’t even kissed her, but I can’t remember the last time a woman made me feel so content. So, there’s your word. My contentment lies with a twenty year-old.
DEB: How much do you still like Lucy?
BENNY: Maybe a lot.
BENNY: She smokes.
DEB: Oh, please.
BENNY: Yeah, but I’m a once a week social smoker. She’s a perennial all-star hall-of-famer. She’s the bloody Michael Jordan of smokers.
DEB: So, wait. The universe will provide, right?
BENNY: It always has.
DEB: Listen, I gotta run. I have an audition this morning. Off-Broadway with a decent contract.
BENNY: Good luck. And thanks for listening. Love you.
DEB: Love you, too.
BENNY: Come visit me.
DEB: You got the money?
BENNY: Wanna hear my new theme song?
DEB: I really gotta go, Benny.
BENNY: It’s short.
DEB: Let’s hear it.
(BENNY PLAYS “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as he drinks his beer. Lights fade to black)
You can request the Spanish translation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wrote this play after overhearing a tourist complaining to a local in Oaxaca for not being able to speak English. Granted, it would help her because she comes into contact with foreigners regularly at the souvenir store where she works. BUT, this is Mexico so I put all the fault on the tourist, with his white privilege and arrogance, for not learning even the basics of tourism Spanish. This happens more often that you think.
This play will be produced later this year as part of our second “Una noche de las obras cortas.”
“Terrible Tourist” synopsis: a tourist in Mexico who can’t speak Spanish learns a lesson.
Ray, an American, average build and good looking
Blanca, a Mexican, very attractive
PLACE: A side-of-the-road restaurant in a mountainous rural area in Mexico
TIME: The present
(Lights up on two small tables with two or three chairs at each. A chalk written menu hangs on the wall listing 4 or 5 food offerings in Spanish. A radio plays Mexican music. BLANCA, dressed casually and wearing a traditional Zapotec apron, sits at a table and reads a magazine. RAY, his t-shirt sweat soaked and his face a little grimy, enters and stops as he wipes his face with a small towel)
RAY: Oh my god, food. Finally. (To Blanca) Hello, uh, hola.
BLANCA: Hola. ¿Cómo estás?
RAY: I’m fine. Ok. Buena. No, Bueno. She’s a girl so maybe buena, but I’m a man, so maybe bueno. Speaker or spoken to. Dammit! I’m fine, thanks. Wow, you’re beautiful.
BLANCA: Boo-ti-ful. Ah, bonita. ¿sí?
RAY: I don’t know bonita. But, you are definitely beautiful, hot. Uh, like Salma Hayek.
BLANCA: Yo? Como Salma Hayek? Conoces a Salma Hayek?
RAY: Co-no says? Cono-six? Uh, no comprendo.
BLANCA: Te ves cansado.
RAY: This is not good. Do you speak English? (pronounces the ‘h’) Haba English?
BLANCA: No hablo Inglés.
RAY: I speak Chinese. Do you speak Chinese? Ni hao.
BLANCA: Hablo español.
RAY: Dammit. Oh, wait. Uno monumento. (Takes a cell phone from his backpack) Do you have WiFi?
BLANCA: No wee-fee.
(RAY puts the phone back in the backpack and rummages for something else)
BLANCA: ¿Hablas español?
BLANCA: ¿Un poquito?
BLANCA: (putting her thumb and forefinger close together) Poquito. Un poquito.
RAY: Small? Close? Little?
(RAY rummages in his backpack again)
Great. Just freakin’ great. I lost my notebook. I need food. (gestures eating) Food. Food.
RAY: What’s comida? No, I want food. You know, tacos, enchiladas.
BLANCA: No tacos. No enchiladas. Tenemos sincronizadas, enfrijoladas y tlayudas.
RAY: Toyotas? I’m hungry enough to eat one.
(RAY sits and drinks from a bottle of water he took from his backpack)
I’ll be adios-ing in a minute. (waving) Just let me rest for a minute.
BLANCA: ¿Cómo se llama?
RAY: Ah, finally something I understand. My se llama is Ray.
RAY: Ray. R-A-Y. Ray. Like a ray of sun.
BLANCA: Ray. Soy Blanca.
RAY: Soy Blanca. Interesting name.
BLANCA: No soy Blanca. Solo Blanca.
RAY: Ok, Solo Blanca. My bad.
BLANCA: No, no. Soy Blanca, pero no Soy Blanca. Solo Blanca.
(RAY is totally confused)
RAY: You know what? I’m just going to call you Blanca. It’s easier. And my favorite movie is Casablanca.
RAY: Ok? No, it’s great! A real love story.
(BLANCA smiles and nods. RAY gestures as needed during the following)
This has not been my best day. I started on a hike this morning, you know, walking, in the mountains. But, I never found the village I was looking for. You know village, right? Small place, only a few people, not many houses. Dammit, what’s that word? So, I’ve been walking for hours trying to find someone to help me. You don’t understand anything I’m saying do you? Let’s try food again. Do you have eggs?
RAY: Yeah, ex. Like from a chicken.
(RAY walks like a chicken while clucking. He gestures that eggs fall from his butt)
BLANCA: (laughing) Ah, huevos.
RAY: Yeah, ey-bos. Do you have ey-bos?
BLANCA: No hay huevos. Te voy a cocinar una tlayuda.
BLANCA: No, no. Tlay. Tlay.
BLANCA: Sí. Ahora dices tlay-uda. Tlayuda.
RAY: Tlayuda. Tlayuda. I got it!!! Sí, I want a tlayuda. What is it? Chicken, beef, vegetables? (No response) Ahh, this is useless. Where can I find a bus? (More gestures) You know, big car. Many people.
BLANCA: ¡Ahh! ¿El autobús?
RAY: Autobús. Yeah, that’s probably it. To Puerto Escondido. To la mer, la mar, la more. (beat) The ocean.
BLANCA: Sí. Mañana en la mañana a las ocho.
RAY: Tomorrow, tomorrow, eight. Two days from now?
BLANCA: Autobús. Mañana en—
RAY: I know, I know. Mañana, mañana. Ok, let’s try for a hotel. Somebody will speak English there. Uh, dónde hotel?
BLANCA: ¿Hotel? ¿Quieres un hotel?
RAY: Yes. Sí, sí. Hotel.
BLANCA: No hotel.
RAY: Okay. Adiós.
(RAY puts on his backpack and exits. BLANCA waits a few seconds, moves towards the exit and stops)
BLANCA: Hey, Ray. I thought you wanted a tlayuda.
RAY: What the hell? All this time you knew…
BLANCA: I’m sorry, it gets boring up here. This is just my way of having some wicked fun.
RAY: Fun for you, maybe.
BLANCA: Have a seat over here.
(THEY both sit)
RAY: Have you lived in the US?
BLANCA: Colorado. Ten years.
RAY: So, that’s where you learned English.
BLANCA: I actually knew a lot before I went. That’s what Americans want, right?
RAY: It is.
BLANCA: So, when I see foreigners in Mexico who can’t speak Spanish, I have some fun with them.
RAY: I’m such a terrible tourist. (beat) Do you finally speak English to all of us losers?
RAY: Why me?
BLANCA: Porque tienes unos ojos bien bonitos.
BLANCA: Never mind. One tlayuda coming up.
Para mis amigos hispanohablantes en Oaxaca y hispanohablantes de todo el mundo, aquí están los textos de “Una noche de obras cortas”.
Por favor, disfrute de leerlos y por favor comparta esta página. Gracias.
“Would You?” is #8, the final play from “Una noche de las obras cortas” (A Night of Short Plays) that was produced in Oaxaca, Mexico in June 2018.
Please scroll down the page to read the other plays I’ve published. You can read them quickly and I know you’ll find them enjoyable.
“Would You?” synopsis: Beauty vs a bad habit in determining whether to approach someone.
A: a male
B: a female
TIME: The Present
PLACE: At the beach
The characters have no names which puts no limits on who can be cast. All ages, races and ethnicities should be considered.
A: It’s hard to say.
B: That’s no answer. Would you?
A: Are you listening?
A: Okay then.
B: You still have to choose.
A: I’m tired of this game.
B: You chose it.
A: I know. I’m an idiot.
B: Maybe a different topic?
A: Are there any left?
B: Not many.
A: Let’s just finish this one.
B: Ok. Would you?
A: Tell my mother?…
B: That your father is cheating.
A: Is she dying?
B: What difference—
A: A lot.
A: If she is, then no.
B: If she isn’t?
A: I don’t know.
B: At least you answered something.
A: Thank you.
B: You’re not very decisive.
A: It’s my burden.
B: You like to ponder.
A: I almost majored in philosophy.
B: Now you teach physics.
A: Yeah. How’d that happen?
B: There’s the “work” you.
A: And the “personal” me.
B: Unlike me.
A: Unlike you. The decision maker.
B: Not about everything, though.
B: You’d be surprised.
A: Such as?
A: Would you wear yellow socks?—
B: On Christmas? How’d you know?
A: I didn’t. That’s your dilemma?
B: It’ll give me a breakdown.
A: Red is the obvious color.
B: Not in my world.
A: Glad I don’t live there.
B: Pray you never do.
A: So many beautiful people here.
B: More than usual.
A: I wonder why.
B: Don’t question “eye candy.”
B: Especially her.
A: Who her?
B: Over there. Tall, thin, beautiful.
A: That doesn’t help.
B: Reading the book.
A: Oh my god!!!
B: Unbelievable, right?
A: Never seen her before.
B: Me, neither.
A: Definitely my type.
B: Definitely everybody’s type.
B: Go talk to her.
A: Maybe she wants you.
B: Maybe, but I doubt it.
A: Got your gaydar working?
B: No, just a feeling.
A: Could I afford her?
B: She does look high maintenance.
A: And I’m just a teacher.
B: Ask her to join us.
A: If she says no…
B: Nothing lost. But, if she—
A: Say yes…
B: So, go.
A: I will.
(A doesn’t move)
A: Don’t rush me.
B: Is there a problem?
A: Yes. I need something.
B: I’ll wave her over.
A: Don’t do that.
B: You don’t go, I’m leaving.
A: Ok, I’ll talk to her.
(A starts to walk)
B: (loud whisper) Wait!
A: Look at what?
B: What she’s doing.
A: Scratching her nose.
B: Not scratching!
A: Well, she’s not picking it.
B: Really? Look closer.
A: Girls that beautiful just don’t.
B: You’re the expert?
A: They don’t do anything nasty.
B: No bodily functions?
A: I like to think not.
B: Mister Dream World.
A: She didn’t do it.
B: Not yet.
A: You think she will?
B: I’m willing to bet. You?
A: How much?
B: Twenty dollars.
A: Where’s your confidence? Fifty.
B: Wanna see confidence? One hundred.
A: It’s a bet!
B: So, let’s say she does.
A: Pick it?
B: Yes. You still approach her?
A: No. (pause) I don’t know.
B: So, you might.
A: Nobody’s perfect.
B: But, doing it…in public?
A: She hasn’t done it, yet.
B: What if she did it—
A: It won’t happen.
B: —After a great first date?
A: I saw her do it?
A: Hmm. Tough decision.
B: What about after great sex.
A: Wow. Yellow socks on Christmas.
A: Sex changes everything.
B: With her it would.
A: Difficult to give that up.
B: Look. She’s going for it.
B: Such long, thin fingers.
A: For playing the piano.
B: (B puts finger next to her nose) And this.
A: No way.
B: The finger is in.
A: I can’t believe it.
B: I win!
A: I’m devastated. Heartbroken.
B: Double or nothing?
A: On what?
B: She does it again.
A: She won’t.
B: Then, let’s bet.
A: Ok. Oh my god!
A: Can you see? It’s huge.
B: Like a grape.
A: A kiwi.
B: Imagine if we were closer.
A: Yeah, maybe a grapefruit.
B: And her nose is small.
A: Must be deep.
B: Nobody sees her.
A: Just us, you think?
B: We have the perfect angle.
A: Behind and to the side.
B: Now, she’s playing with it.
A: Arrgh. (hands over eyes) Saving it for later?
B: Maybe for lunch. (beat) Oh, cle-ver.
B: She hid it.
B: Inside her book.
(A spreads his fingers to look)
A: I don’t see it.
B: Covered her face with it.
A: Never thought she’d do it.
B: She’s a professional.
A: Is she going in again?
B: Looks like it.
A: To the other nostril.
B: With her other hand.
A: She’s ambidextrous.
B: She’s had lots of practice.
A: Gotta admire talent like that.
B: You owe me two hundred.
A: I know.
B: Double or nothing again?
A: On what? She’s outa hands.
B: She eats them.
A: That’s disgusting.
B: Maybe, but that’s the bet.
A: Okay. She’ll never…
B: You’re sure about the bet?
B: Would you? Right now?
A: Would I what?
B: Would you still date her?
B: Are you kidding?! On what?
A: If I win this bet.
B: So, just picking is okay?
A: It’s not a deal breaker.
B: It’s a habit. Like heroin.
A: She’s not an addict.
B: What if you lose?
A: I won’t.
B: Maybe you spoke too soon.
A: I think she’s just yawning.
B: Hand close to her mouth.
A: Close means nothing.
B: Mouth opening.
A: (Pointing finger towards girl) Don’t, don’t, don’t.
B: (Pointing finger towards girl) Eat, eat, eat.
This is play #7 in “La noche de las obras cortas” (The Night of Short Plays) produced in June 2018 in Oaxaca, Mexico.
“What If?” synopsis: Two people wanting to move on after recent breakups.
They can be any combination of age, race or gender
TIME: It’s always the present
(Two actors somewhere. Each has their phone out and a drink in front of them)
B: You’re not listening.
A: Huh? Uh, yes, yes.
B: What’d I just say?
A: Something about more shit.
B: Not even close.
A: Um, Dover cliffs.
B: Pay attention!
A: So over it.
B: Like me and my –ex?
A: You’re not over that.
B: Have been.
A: You constantly call.
B: Owes me money. Lots.
A: You’ll never see it.
B: Maybe, but I’m over it.
B: Just like you.
A: Totally different situation.
B: Exactly the same.
A: I dumped. You got dumped.
B: A breakup is a breakup.
A: So not.
B: What are you doing now?
B: So not over it.
(B extends their hand asking to see the phone.)
B: I can just take it.
A: Hah! Try it.
B: You know I can.
B: I’m stronger.
A: I’ve been working out.
B: Since when?
A: Since…I have more time.
B: Hard to tell.
A: Just toning. Not muscles.
B: You don’t need muscles.
A: That’s what I thought.
B: Getting back in the game?
A: Just getting fitter.
B: You’re good looking.
B: Won’t take you long.
A: I’m not available.
B: Not now.
A: Not for a long while.
B: Who are you messaging?
A: No—no one.
B: You promised to quit.
A: I’m deleting.
B: Liar, liar, pants on fire.
B: What if…
A: I’m not playing.
A: Waste of time.
B: Fun to play, though.
A: What’s done is done.
B: Just one. Different topic.
A: Let’s hear it.
B: What if…I died tomorrow?
A: I’d take your Beemer.
B: So sensitive.
A: What, I should cry?
B: It’s an option.
A: What if I died tomorrow?
B: Before me or after?
A: Such a comedian.
B: I’d go to work.
A: No shit?!
B: You die, the world stops?
A: I guess not.
B: What if the call comes?
A: (sings)Stop right there.
B: (sings) Before I go any further?
A: You got it, Meatloaf.
B: My favorite album.
A: What if you get one?
B: A call from—?
A: Yes. Or they came here?
B: This isn’t about me.
A: Touchy, touchy.
B: Not at all.
A: Because (sings) You’re cold as ice.
B: (sings) Willing to sacrifice.
A: (sings) Your love.
B: Told you. Way over it.
(THEIR phones ring. They look at them and disconnect)
A & B: Was it?…No.
B: You were hoping.
A: No way.
B: I saw your face.
A: You still have feelings, too.
A: Of course.
B: A few.
A: How strong?
B: Medium and waning. You?
A: Depends on the day.
A: We need to move on.
A: What if…?
A: No, it’s crazy.
B: Tell me.
A: You and me.
A: You. Me. Us.
A: I know, right? Sorry.
B: It’s okay.
A: You and me. Never work.
B: Probably, not, but…
A: What? You think it could?
B: Why not?
A: (pause) Yeah, why not?
B: We know each other.
A: Better than anybody.
B: We have common interests.
B: Might be worth a shot.
A: Be foolish not to try.
A: So, we’re actually a couple?
B: From this moment on.
(The sound of a DOORBELL [KNOCKING]. A & B look towards the door. Blackout)
Play #5 in “La noche de las obras cortas” (The Night of Short Plays) performed in Oaxaca, Mexico in June 2018.
Anybody interested in producing these eight plays–scripts available in English and Spanish–please click on contact and send me a message.
“Sexual Relations” synopsis: a vow of celibacy, a change of heart and family.
TIME: The Present
PLACE: A bar and a park in a small city
(Lights up on a bar signified by one tall table people would stand at. Music PLAYS in the b.g.)
A: Ready for another?
B: Are you?
A: If you are.
B: Maybe. You?
A: I’m good either way.
B: Me, too. Glad that’s settled.
A: Nothin’ happenin’ here.
B: Up to you.
A: A movie?
B: Which one?
A: Too much pressure. I’m open.
B: Anything is fine.
B: Not a big fan.
A: Anything but scifi.
B: Yeah. Comedy?
A: What about a comedy club?
B: Ooh, that sounds good.
A: Great. Let’s go.
B: Oh, we can’t.
A: Why not?
B: It’s Tuesday. It’s closed.
A: Ah, crap.
A: I need to move.
A: A city with more action.
B: Yeah, this burg is boring.
A: One comedy club. One cinema.
B: But, four screens.
A: Whooooppeee! What’s your dream city?
B: Hmmm. Springfield.
A: Springfield? What about Miami? LA?
B: Too big.
A: New York. That’s my city.
B: Ever been?
A: Once. Didn’t want to leave.
B: What’s stopping you now?
A: Money. And you?
B: Me what?
B: Umm…a possible situation.
A: Ooh, how cryptic.
B: I think you know it.
A: (smiles) Maybe. Go for a walk?
B: Sure. Where?
A: With walking, destination doesn’t matter.
(The ACTORS walk aimlessly around the stage and through the audience if possible, for the next several lines. They stop at the park bench. B takes A’s hand. A pulls away)
B: You didn’t like it?
A: No. I mean, yes.
B: But, you pulled away.
A: Maybe too soon.
B: For holding hands?
B: We’ve done it before.
A: I know.
B: Then what is it?
(B holds out hand. A hesitates, but takes it)
B: How does it feel?
B: That’s it? Just fine?
A: Soft. It’s a nice hand.
B: Are you nervous about something?
A: (quickly) No.
B: You don’t have to lie.
A: Okay, maybe a little.
B: About what?
A: One thing leads to another.
B: It can.
A: Yes, it can.
B: Do you want it to?
A: Yes, but…
B: But, what?
A: Where are we going?
B: I thought my apartment.
B: One thing leads to another.
A: Let’s stay here. Please?
B: Sure. For a little while.
(THEY sit on the bench)
A: Thanks. I’m not really afraid.
B: Of what?
A: You know.
B: Can you say it?
A: Of course.
B: If you don’t mind.
A: The one with three letters?
B: Or four. Your choice.
B: That was difficult for you.
A: A little.
B: A lot. Why?
A: I can’t say.
B: Bad experience?
A: Not that.
B: You won’t tell me.
A: It’s too soon.
B: To tell me or sex?
B: I like you.
A: I like you, too.
B: Really, really like you.
A: Oh, thank you.
B: We need to communicate.
A: About “it”?
B: It’s essential to a relationship.
B: Let’s talk.
A: Anything but that.
B: Just one question?
A: Let’s talk about climate change.
B: The climate is changing.
A: Yes, it is.
B: Between us.
A: Oh. Sorry.
B: Have you ever done it?
A: I don’t want—no.
B: No? Never? At your age?
A: I know. I’m a freak.
B: No, just…hard to find.
A: I made a promise.
B: To whom?
A: It doesn’t matter.
B: To god?
A: Not exactly.
B: What’s the promise?
A: Save myself for marriage.
B: Must be hard.
A: Very funny.
B: My bad.
A: Sometimes it’s very…difficult.
B: I don’t know any virgins.
A: We’re special. Maybe even endangered.
B: I admire your conviction, although…
A: Although what?
B: Finding a compatible partner.
A: Obviously, I haven’t.
B: Maybe an ex-nun.
A: I’ve tried that.
B: Really? And?
A: Couldn’t wait to do it.
B: No kidding?
A: All over me in minutes.
B: Well, don’t give up.
A: It’s a deal breaker.
B: Not necessarily.
A: What do you mean?
B: Maybe you’re worth the wait.
A: I’ve never heard that before.
B: Always a first time.
A: I’m very happy.
B: Me, too.
(A gives B a soft kiss on the lips)
A: A question.
A: Why did you decide—
B: To deal with it?
B: Maybe it’s not that important.
A: But, you like it.
B: Too much, probably.
A: There’s one more thing.
B: Is this the last thing?
A: Yes. Are you catholic?
B: Not the best, but yes.
A: My uncle will be thrilled.
B: That’s nice.
A: I need to call him.
B: You promised him?
A: Yes. Say I found someone.
B: Let’s call from my apartment.
A: I can’t wait that long.
Hello. Father Tom Jenkins, please.
B: Stop! Hang up! Now!
B: Just do it.
(A disconnects the call)
A: What’s the matter?
B: Maybe there’s more than one.
A: One what?
B: Father Tom Jenkins.
A: Could be.
B: Does he live in Cleveland?
B: Works for the bishop?
A: What’s this about?
B: Do you know his story?
A: I don’t understand.
B: After he was ordained?
A: We kinda lost touch. Why?
B: He broke a promise.
A: Nobody’s perfect.
B: We’re first cousins.
“A Plan” is the second of the eight plays that made up “A Night of Short Plays.” All of the plays are loosely connected by a common theme: the random nature of life.
How the production of these plays came to be. In April of 2018 I followed up on an introduction made to me in the fall of 2017 at a co-working business with a small outdoor performance space. We agreed on terms and dates and the ball was rolling. The plays would be performed in Spanish using local actors. I found my translator that day; how fortunate that she worked part-time at the business. At the auditions I met a local producer/director who volunteered to recruit directors and actors for me. She has since become one of my best friends and we have planned a couple more events.
On two nights in late June we filled the space (about 50 people each night); I realized then that I could get anything I wrote produced in Oaxaca and it would be accepted and appreciated, given that the work was of good quality. Such a great feeling!!!
Here is the poster for the event.
Synopsis for “A Plan”: two people discuss the merits of having a life plan.
TIME: The Present
*Author strongly recommends casting actors other than two white men.
A: And another thing.
B: The doctor is in.
A: I’m already bored.
B: It’s only been a month.
A: Feels like a millennium.
B: Whatya been doin’?
A: Not much. Coming here.
B: Join any clubs or anything?
A: Nah, all snobs and bores.
B: Staying active? Bowling? Golf?
A: With my sciatica?
B: Tell me your day.
A: Eat, watch TV, come here.
B: That’s it?
A: Pretty much.
B: You’re doin’ it all wrong.
A: Says the know-it-all.
B: I know enough.
A: Whadya know?
B: You had no plan.
A: I had, have a plan.
B: I’m all ears.
A: It’s basic. (pause) Simple.
B: They’re always the best.
A: You won’t like it.
A: Because I know you.
B: Try me.
A: Ok. Living life my way.
B: Hmmm. Well…you know…
A: You don’t like it?
B: That’s not a plan.
A: Knew you wouldn’t like it.
B: Sounds like a marketing slogan.
A: For what?
B: Someone without a plan.
A: You have a plan?
B: I’m a planner.
A: You never plan.
B: I plan. Silently.
A: Tell me the last one.
B: My trip to—
A: Bali. Thirty years ago.
B: It was Rio.
A: Either way, you never went.
B: But, I planned it.
A: You got a plan now?
B: You should hear it.
A: A good one?
B: Better than good. Stupendous!
A: Tell me.
B: Can’t. (pause) Not finished.
A: I see. Classified. Top Secret.
B: Ok, I’ll tell you.
A: This oughta be good.
B: When it’s finished.
A: You got no plan.
B: Let’s talk about your plan.
A: I’ve decided, no plan.
B: Got any hobbies?
A: You bet. Poker.
B: Bad choice.
B: You suck at it.
A: I’m improving.
B: Not according to Billy.
A: Big mouth.
B: You always talk about Europe.
A: Yeah, especially Italy.
B: So, go.
A: Takes money.
B: You’re loaded.
A: Not like you think.
B: Oh. Bad investments?
A: I’m paying for aSssisted living.
B: Not you!
A: My parents.
B: They in a good place?
A: The best.
B: Using your money?
B: They still healthy?
A: Too healthy to die.
B: That could change. Life’s fragile.
A: We’ll live forever!
B: Here today, gone tomorrow.
A: Not me.
B: So, Europe’s out. See the USA.
A: In my Chevrolet.
B: Go for it!
A: I need a companion.
B: Try eHarmony. It’s the best.
A: You tried it?
B: Lots of times.
A: But, you’re alone.
B: I’m picky.
A: Or they are.
B: You’ve never been picky.
A: And I’m still alone.
B: What a pair we are.
A: You really have a plan?
B: Of course…not.
A: Didn’t think so.
B: Plans are overrated.
A: Absolutely. Only losers plan.
B: We fly…
A AND B: By the seat of our pants.
(A and B clink beer bottles and drink)
B: You’ll think of something.
A: If I want to.
B: You’re smart.
A: Einstein smart.
A: Don’t need to be Einstein.
B: A plan will appear.
A: When it’s time.
B: That’s how it works.
A: You can’t force these things.
B: No, you can’t.
A: That’s not how life works.
A: I gotta go.
B: Go where?
A: I’m not sure.
B: Then stay. Have another.
A: I could.
B: Of course. You’re retired.
A: I am.
(A sits. B exits and returns with 2 drinks)
B: That’s the beauty of it.
A: Do what I want.
B: When you want.
A: Eat when I’m hungry.
B: Drink when you’re thirsty.
A: Hardly need a clock.
B: The sun is your clock.
A: I’m gonna eat.
B: You love the burgers here.
A: Chinese, maybe.
B: Ok, Chinese it is.
A: Maybe I’ll just walk around.
B: Oh, I envy your life.
A: You’ll be there soon.
B: Yes, I will.
A: With or without a plan.
B: With or without. Can’t wait.
A: Italian sounds good.
B: Sure. Thinking about Italy, right?
A: Pizza or pasta.
B: Your decision of the day.
(A stands and tries to give B some money, but B waves it away)
A: See you tomorrow?
B: That’s the plan.
A: Maybe I’ll check out eHarmony.
B: I knew you would.
A: To plans.
B: Or not.
(THEY clink bottles and drink. A exits. Five to ten seconds after he leaves, car tires SCREECH and a THUD. B reacts. Lights down)