REVIEW AMERICANA

 

Spring 2010

Volume 5, Issue 1

http://www.americanpopularculture.com/review_americana/spring_2010/plant.htm




SUSAN PLANT

 

How Are You?

BETH, reporter for Daily Living
MARIE, reporter for Afflatus Journal
CHRIS, a movie star

SETTING AND SOUNDS EFFECTS: BAR

(THE SCENE IS DARK. SPOTLIGHT COMES UP SURROUNDING A TABLE AND THREE CHAIRS. A MAN'S JACKET HANGS ON THE MIDDLE CHAIR.)

(THERE ARE A FORK, A NAPKIN, A PITCHER OF WATER, A DRINKING GLASS AND AN ASHTRAY ON THE TABLE.)

(BETH WALKS INTO THE LIGHT, RIGHT, SMOKING A CIGARETTE. SHE HALTS A FEW STEPS IN. HER ATTIRE – A SKIRT OUTFIT – IS STYLISH BUT CLUTTERED. SHE CARRIES A SMALL SHOULDER BAG AND AN OVERSTUFFED PORTFOLIO.)

(UNKNOWN TO BETH, MARIE STEPS INTO THE LIGHT BEHIND HER, A MISCHIEVOUS SMILE ON HER FACE. SHE'S DRESSED IN A WHITE SLACKS OUTFIT. THERE'S A SHOULDER BAG SLUNG ON HER LEFT SHOULDER, AND SHE'S CARRYING A TAPE RECORDER.)

(BETH NOTICES THE LONG ASH ON HER CIGARETTE AND HASTENS TO THE TABLE, FOLLOWED BY MARIE.)

(SHE TAPS HER CIGARETTE FROM HIGH ABOVE THE ASHTRAY AS MARIE SPEAKS.)

MARIE: How are you, Beth?

(THE ASH COMPLETELY MISSES THE ASHTRAY.)

BETH: Shi...

(TURNS)

BETH: ...it's you.

MARIE: It is I.

(AS SHE SPEAKS, MARIE WALKS AROUND THE TABLE AND DEPOSITS HER THINGS.)

MARIE: I haven't seen you since I left Daily Living.

BETH: (SNUFFING CIGARETTE) Whose house are you plaguing now?

MARIE: (SITTING DOWN) The Afflatus Journal.

BETH: (SITTING DOWN) Afflatus? Sounds like gastric distress.

MARIE: (SMILING) Divine gas, yes. Smells so sweet.

(MARIE TAKES A MIC FROM HER BAG.)

BETH: Interviewing an actor doesn't seem like the kind of thing an Afflatus Journal would be interested in.

MARIE: Depends. Have you seen his movie?

(MARIE TAKES A TAPE FROM HER BAG.)

BETH: I don't care about the movie. All I care about is how much money he's
making.

(MARIE ATTACHES THE MIC TO THE RECORDER.)

BETH: (INDICATING THE JACKET) Looks like he's here already.

MARIE: So how'd you manage to horn in on my interview?

BETH: I told him I could get him a cover.

MARIE: Gullible fellow.

BETH: I was only preventing him from hurting himself.

MARIE: How?

BETH: An interview with Afflatus Journal is nothing but a waste of time. I think
you're lucky you've still got an interview.

(MARIE SNAPS THE TAPE INTO THE RECORDER.)

MARIE: Maybe, but wouldn't you at least like to know what the movie's about?

BETH: I know what it's about. It's an uplifting tale about a troubled youth
and his struggle to achieve emotional balance. Boring.

MARIE: It's about grace.

BETH: Christopher Steen the actor is what it's about.

MARIE: It's about grace.

BETH: Okay. It's about grace. Grace is good luck or something, right?

MARIE: Good luck, maybe, from your side of the table.

BETH: What's it from yours?

MARIE: Divine intervention.

CHRIS (0.S.): (FROM THE DARKNESS) Whoa!

BETH: Here he comes.

(CHRIS EMERGES, CAREFULLY BALANCING A LARGE BOWL OF SALAD ON ONE HAND AND A PLATE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE ON THE OTHER. HE'S ALL SMILES.)

CHRIS: (EYES ON HIS FOOD) I needed sustenance.

MARIE: As he emerges from the inky black of obscurity...

BETH: ...into the sparkle of celebrity.

CHRIS: Thank you. Thank you.

(HE CAREFULLY PLACES HIS FOOD ON THE TABLE.)

CHRIS: Salad for my conscience. Cake for my pleasure.

(HE SITS DOWN.)

BETH: I'm Beth. With Daily Living magazine.

MARIE: Marie. Afflatus Journal.

CHRIS: (TO BOTH) How ya doin'? (TO MARIE) Your recorder?

MARIE: Yes. I prefer to concentrate on my impressions of a person. The interview
behind the interview.

CHRIS: Great. Where do we begin?

MARIE: With the cake or the salad?

(SHE TURNS ON THE TAPE RECORDER.)

(CHRIS LOADS A FINGER WITH ICING.)

CHRIS: (TO BETH) Where's your tape recorder? Aren't you going to take notes?

(HE SUCKS THE ICING FROM HIS FINGER.)

BETH: I have a memory like a computer. Once something's in, I don't forget it.

CHRIS: As long as I can remember my lines. That's as good a memory as I want.
(INTO MIC) Testing, testing.

MARIE: I hope you don't mind.

CHRIS: (PICKING UP FORK) Heck, no. Go on and immortalize me.

MARIE: First tell Beth what your movie's about.

BETH: I already –

CHRIS: (INTERRUPTS) Didn't you see my movie?

BETH: I've seen all the trailers. Several times.

CHRIS: You haven't seen my movie and you're interviewing me?

(CHRIS EATS HIS SALAD.)

BETH: You're my story. Not the movie.

MARIE: (TO CHRIS) You may as well forgive her. She's here, pretenses and all.

BETH: I'll see the movie before I write the piece. I promise.

CHRIS: Oh, all right. (TO MARIE) But you first.

MARIE: I'd like to know how you'd describe what your movie's about.

CHRIS: Easy. The relief of suffering.

BETH: That's what a good decorator's for.

(CHRIS GLANCES AT HER. MARIE IGNORES HER.)

MARIE: (TO CHRIS) Would you expand on that?

BETH: Certainly. Bad taste causes more suffering than anything else I know.

(THEY BOTH IGNORE HER.)

CHRIS: To relieve the suffering of a single being is worth more than all the money
in the world.

BETH: That's what my decorator says. He's very rich.

MARIE: Beth! Not now!

BETH: Well I said I'd see the movie. So ask him about something else.

CHRIS: (TO MARIE) What'd you say the name of your magazine was?

MARIE: Afflatus Journal.

CHRIS: Never heard of it.

MARIE: The circulation's small.

BETH: Flea-sized.

CHRIS: What's afflatus mean?

MARIE: A divine imparting of knowledge or power. Or a supernatural or
overmastering impulse.

CHRIS: Boy...

BETH: He's impressed.

CHRIS: A divine imparting...an overmastering impulse...

BETH: I want in on this.

MARIE: You'll have your say. You always do. (TO CHRIS) Is there anything you'd change about the movie?

CHRIS: Not that I know of.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK CLEAN.)

MARIE: What about your performance?

CHRIS: I'm satisfied.

BETH: It was dreamy.

CHRIS: Dreamy? How would you know? You haven't even seen it.

BETH: I want in on this.

MARIE: We'll let her have a turn.

CHRIS: Yeah, all right.

(HE EATS CAKE.)

BETH: How much money have you made off this movie so far?

CHRIS: I'm not sure I want you to write about that.

BETH: A bundle, huh? Why not write about it?

CHRIS: I don't want people to hate me for making a lot of money.

BETH: What's wrong? Don't you think you're worth it?

CHRIS: I might not be.

BETH: Well okay. I'll ask you what you plan to do with the money.

CHRIS: I bought a house.

BETH: Fantastic. How many bathrooms has it got?

CHRIS: Eight.

BETH: Must be a mansion! You can always tell how luxurious a home is by how far a walk it is to the next full bathroom.

CHRIS: (LAUGHING) That's about right.

MARIE: Yes, but unfortunately, luxury always gives off a whiff of decay.

BETH: That's why you always need more money.

MARIE: Oh, Beth. You're wasting Chris's time.

BETH: He has to live, doesn't he?

MARIE: (TO CHRIS) I think you need something to clear your palate.

(SHE POURS HIM A GLASS OF WATER AS SHE SPEAKS.)

MARIE: At the very beginning of your movie...(TO BETH)...you do know the name of the movie?

(CHRIS LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS SALAD.)

BETH: Of course. August.

CHRIS: Yeah, and August is the name of my character.

MARIE: There's the scene where you strangle the dog.

CHRIS: The opening.

(HE TAKES A DRINK OF WATER.)

BETH: Strangle a dog! Ugh!

MARIE: Remember the quote that was supered over that scene?

(MARIE TURNS TO BETH, MISSING THE LOOK OF EMBARRASSMENT THAT COMES OVER CHRIS.)

MARIE: (TO BETH) You obviously don't.

BETH: Doesn't look like he does either.

(MARIE LOOKS AT CHRIS.)

MARIE: Haven't you seen the movie?

CHRIS: No, I...

BETH: Ha!

CHRIS: I haven't had time yet.

MARIE: I can't believe you'd have so little interest in your own work.

CHRIS: (SLIGHT NERVOUSNESS) I'm afraid to see it.

MARIE: You were very good. Strongly realistic.

(CHRIS FIDGETS BUT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING.)

MARIE: All right, I'll enlighten you both. The quote was from a Russian novel, I think it was: "A dog is hard to kill, his spirit clings to life."

BETH: Wow. That's moving. Bow wow. She certainly has done her homework.

MARIE: Does the quote mean anything to you, Chris? Even without having seen the movie?

CHRIS: I was in the movie. No offense, Marie, but I think it's Beth's turn.

(CHRIS LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS CAKE.)

BETH: Good. Now that we know dogs are strongspirited...what'd you have for
breakfast today, Chris?

MARIE: (EXASPERATED) Why're you asking him what he had for breakfast?

CHRIS: I don't mind.

BETH: (TO MARIE) You eat breakfast, don't you?

MARIE: Of course.

BETH: Eating breakfast is pretty darn universal. My readers like that kind of thing.

MARIE: Oh, but Beth –

BETH: (INTERRUPTS) It's my turn. (TO CHRIS) What'd you have for breakfast today?

CHRIS: Hot dogs.

BETH: Hot dogs! You can't mean your mother ever let you eat hot dogs for breakfast!?

CHRIS: I eat what I want to for breakfast.

MARIE: Ask him about his family.

BETH: Hot dogs for breakfast is newsworthy.

CHRIS: It would be news to my mother.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS SALAD.)

MARIE: Ask him about his mother.

CHRIS: Oh, and I get up at five-thirty every day.

BETH: Good for you.

MARIE: (QUICKLY TO CHRIS) Tell me about your mother.

CHRIS: Hey! Either of you want a dog?

MARIE: Has she seen your movie yet?

CHRIS: (LOOKS AT MARIE) I wouldn't know. You think it'll run in deepest, darkest some place or other?

MARIE: Why? Is your mother some place like that?

CHRIS: She ran off to become a missionary when I was ten. So I guess she is.

BETH: That's weird.

MARIE: You'd be the one to think so.

BETH: Well, it is unusual.

MARIE: You've never seen or heard from her?

CHRIS: No.

MARIE: How sad!

BETH: What kind of dog is it?

CHRIS: What dog?

BETH: The one you're trying to get rid of.

CHRIS: I'm not trying to get rid of it.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS CAKE.)

BETH: Well, you offered to give it to one of us. That sounds like you want to get rid of it.

CHRIS: I don't have the time to clean up after him.

BETH: Hire someone. You've got the dough.

CHRIS: I don't want a stranger hanging around my house. I like to clean. The tang of disinfectant. Can't live without it. I just don't have time to give him the proper care.

BETH: Well, you'll have to get rid of your dog some other way.

CHRIS: After my mother left, cleaning house was my job. And taking care of the dog.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK AND EATS SALAD.)

MARIE: The same dog we've been talking about?

CHRIS: No, that's my dog. She was a gift. I'm talking about my mother's dog. She left him behind. Abandoned him. That's why I know how much work it is to take care of a dog. I used to wonder why she didn't take him with her.

MARIE: She probably couldn't.

CHRIS: I guess. The poor mutt cried every night for two years after she left.

(HE TAKES THREE QUICK SIPS OF WATER.)

MARIE: Then he stopped?

CHRIS: He stopped all right.

BETH: I don't buy it. Dogs don't cry.

CHRIS: You want to know why he stopped?

BETH: I don't.

MARIE: I do.

CHRIS: Because my father killed him.

MARIE: Art imitating life! Why would he do that?

CHRIS: Because he wet the floor.

BETH: Your father?

(CHRIS GLARES AT HER.)

BETH: Well, I'm not here to talk about dogs.

CHRIS: If my mother hadn't abandoned him, he wouldn't have died.

MARIE: It's no wonder your performance in that opening scene has such power. Did you witness the killing?

(CHRIS CHOKES ON SOME SALAD.)

CHRIS: My throat's closed up. (TAKES A DRINK) I saw it.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS CAKE.)

BETH: Well, I'm not buying it. I think you're making it up.

MARIE: I believe him.

BETH: Okay, but why would he do a movie where the first scene depicts this traumatic event from his own life?

CHRIS: I wasn't going to pass up the chance to make a movie.

BETH: I'll believe that.

CHRIS: It happened a long time ago. It's more like a dream I can't forget than a
memory.

MARIE: You're afraid to see the movie.

CHRIS: I don't like to dream, either.

MARIE: But then, it was your father who killed the dog, not you.

CHRIS: I identified with the dog. A dog is hard to kill.

MARIE: His spirit clings to life.

CHRIS: For my father, the meaning of that dog's existence was my mother's betrayal. Yeah, like the dog ran around woofing in his ear that she was gone, arf, gone, woof, gone, gone, gone. Arf.

MARIE: He stood for her rejection of everything that was.

CHRIS: And for the annihilation of everything that had been.

BETH: Well, she did leave to become a missionary.

CHRIS: My father didn't make that distinction.

(HE LICKS HIS FORK. HE EATS SALAD.)

MARIE: In your movie, the death of the dog is central. You played it as though –
correct me if I'm wrong – the killing were an act of compassion, not murder.

CHRIS: Murder? Didn't you think the animal was suffering?

MARIE: There was nothing to justify killing it.

CHRIS: But there was a reason. A cause.

BETH: I don't think I want to see this movie.

CHRIS: I'm not sure I'll go see it.

MARIE: I think your father killed your mother's dog for the same reason as August killed the dog in the movie.

CHRIS: Out of compassion?

(HE PICKS AT HIS SALAD. DISTRACTED.)

MARIE: In part. But he was motivated more by his own suffering. Was compassionate the way you intended to play it?

CHRIS: (BEAT) What? Oh, you mean the movie? No...I don't know. Maybe so. Maybe so.

BETH: Can't we talk about something other than dogs?

CHRIS: Yeah.

MARIE: (TO BETH; TEASING) Don't you think dogs are interesting? And of value?

BETH: Dead dogs aren't.

(CHRIS FROWNS.)

MARIE: Anyway, we're talking about the movie. I'll bet that opening was a lot tougher to do than to watch. Right, Chris?

CHRIS: Oh, sure, yeah. Good director helps. You know. Stuff like that.

(HE PUTS DOWN HIS FORK.)

MARIE: I have to ask one more thing.

BETH: Do you have to?

CHRIS: I second the question.

MARIE: It's important. There's an ugly rumor –

BETH: (INTERRUPTS) Oh, that's right.

MARIE: Yes, circulating, and I'd like you to dispel it for us.

CHRIS: If I can. What is it?

MARIE: It's being said that you actually did kill the dog you're shown strangling in
the movie.

CHRIS: (FALSE NOTE) Boy, that's a good one.

MARIE: It's a vicious rumor.

BETH: Killing a dog is vicious.

CHRIS: (CONCERNED) But what if the animal is suffering?

MARIE: The dog in the movie wasn't actually suffering, Chris.

CHRIS: I thought he was.

BETH: Then you really did kill him!

CHRIS: No!

BETH: I suppose it was your father who killed him.

CHRIS: (CONFUSED AND ANGRY) Didn't I say it was?!

MARIE: I'm confused. Which dog are we talking about?

BETH: The one Chris killed.

MARIE: (TO BETH) You mean August?

BETH: No, I don't.

MARIE: (GLANCING AT CHRIS; TO BETH) We've only talked about one actually
dead dog.

CHRIS: Yeah. Me.

(THEY IGNORE HIM.)

MARIE: His mother's dog.

(CHRIS FREEZES.)

BETH: You got it.

MARIE: No...you don't think he –

BETH: (INTERRUPTS) You haven't been paying attention, sweetheart.

MARIE: Chris –

BETH: (INTERRUPTS) Bring on the disinfectant.

MARIE: Did you kill your mother's dog?

CHRIS: Don't write that.

BETH: I'll put it in the paragraph about how you're not worth the money you're
making.

MARIE: Did you kill your mother's dog?

CHRIS: Could we get back to the interview?

MARIE: Did you?

CHRIS: He was really suffering! My father'd poured boiling water on him.

BETH: So you whipped out your disinfectant and got to work.

CHRIS: As a matter of fact I did.

BETH: Cleaned up his mess and then killed him.

CHRIS: He was suffering.

MARIE: It sounds more like a memory than a dream now.

CHRIS: It's all coming back. (GRABS HIS CHEST) Ow!

MARIE: Chris!

BETH: Our acting phenom has a touch of divine flatulence. Or not so divine.

(CHRIS RECOVERS.)

MARIE: How are you? Okay?

CHRIS: Whoo...this isn't normal.

MARIE: Yes, it is.

CHRIS: Not for me. I'm in great health.

BETH: It's just gas.

(HE PICKS UP HIS FORK.)

BETH: Look. I need some material I can print. Apart from killing dogs, which wouldn't interest my readers, what's different about you?

CHRIS: I clip coupons and redeem them.

BETH: With all the money you have you redeem coupons?

CHRIS: It makes me feel virtuous.

BETH: Virtuous? Redeeming coupons? What sin could redeeming coupons remit? The sin of overconsuming?

MARIE: He craves redemption. Something money can't buy.

BETH: You'll need more than coupons to redeem you.

MARIE: Which is the real reason he decided to make the movie.

CHRIS: Maybe it was.

MARIE: It was a start.

CHRIS: At least I started to feel something again.

BETH: Well, that's fine, Chris. But I want you to tell me how money's changed your
life.

CHRIS: I don't actually clip the coupons myself.

MARIE: Beth, you're remorselessly trivial. (TO CHRIS) Why do you think we're interviewing you, Chris?

CHRIS: Seems you each have your own reasons.

BETH: I'll bet you think it's because you're hot stuff.

(CHRIS IS CONFUSED. HE EATS CAKE.)

BETH: Okay, you are hot stuff. But you must be pretty worried that at any moment
you'll stop sizzling and start fizzling.

(CHRIS LOOKS AS THOUGH HE HASN'T CONSIDERED IT.)

MARIE: What do you think makes you interesting?

CHRIS: (SHAKY) Nothing, I guess.

BETH: He's a phenomenon. That's what makes him interesting.

CHRIS: I'd like to stop here.

(HE PUTS DOWN HIS FORK AND PUSHES AWAY THE PLATE OF CAKE.)

CHRIS: I don't want anymore. It tastes like cardboard. And glue.

MARIE: (KINDLY) Tell us why you killed your mother's dog.

CHRIS: Shutup!

BETH: Can I have your cake?

CHRIS: No!... There're red spots on your face.

BETH: Spots? (TO MARIE) Do you see spots on my face?

MARIE: No spots.

BETH: You're seeing things.

MARIE: Do you find it necessary to kill things in order to feel?

CHRIS: It's necessary to not feel to be able to kill.

MARIE: But did you think killing would make you feel again?

CHRIS: I can tell you this. Being killed destroys feeling.

BETH: I think we have a genius on our hands. You don't look dead to me.

CHRIS: You think there's only one kind of death?

BETH: I think this interview will be death to my career.

CHRIS: (GRABS CHEST) Ow!

BETH: More divine flatulence.

(CHRIS RECOVERS.)

CHRIS: I don't want to talk about this.

MARIE: What kind of a person kills a dog?

CHRIS: The kind whose mother abandons him.

MARIE: Go see your movie, Chris.

CHRIS: I don't want to.

BETH: I can see why.

CHRIS: Oh, what do you know?

BETH: I don't kill dogs.

CHRIS: Oh, damn. I don't feel good. What's going on? How did I end up here?

BETH: It was no accident.

MARIE: We had an appointment.

BETH: You need us. We need you.

CHRIS: I wish I'd never made this movie. Stupidest thing I ever did.

MARIE: Tell me about killing your mother's dog.

CHRIS: What's all this got to do with my interview?

MARIE: Tell me what August felt.

CHRIS: Pain!

MARIE: Tell me what you felt.

BETH: He felt exhilarated!

CHRIS: No! I couldn't feel anything. I was dead inside. Long dead.

MARIE: What kind of pain?

CHRIS: (GROANING) My belly hurts.

MARIE: What kind of pain?

CHRIS: A howling pain!

MARIE: Was the dog howling?

CHRIS: I don't know. I couldn't hear anything.

MARIE: Why not?

CHRIS: It was quiet on the set! My belly hurts.

MARIE: What did the dog feel?

BETH: Oh, come on.

CHRIS: (LOOKS AT MARIE) You have green spots on your face.

MARIE: Was he angry?

CHRIS: I think I really am sick.

MARIE: (WITH SOME ANGER) Wasn't he angry?

CHRIS: He couldn't feel.

MARIE: Wouldn't he have been outraged?

CHRIS: He only wanted his pain to stop.

BETH: You just said he couldn't feel.

CHRIS: If you're dead, you can't feel!

MARIE: You're dreaming, Chris. He'd have felt outrage. He was to be sacrificed just so someone else could relieve her suffering.

CHRIS: (GROANING) Why're you hounding me?

BETH: Because you murdered the damn dog!

CHRIS: I couldn't think straight.

BETH: (SNEERING) Because you'd been killed, I suppose. And if you're dead you can't think.

CHRIS: Because I couldn't feel! Why're you hounding me?

MARIE: Because it's necessary.

CHRIS: It was an accident!

MARIE: (CALMLY) We know it was an accident. (OVERLAPPING, BETH BAYS LIKE A HOUND.)

CHRIS: Then stop it! Stop hounding me!

MARIE: (FILLS HIS GLASS) He's thirsty.

BETH: (TO MARIE) I think we're scaring him. (LEANS TOWARD CHRIS) Are you afraid?

CHRIS: My belly hurts. And you're all spotty.

BETH: I am not.

MARIE: We know it was an accident.

BETH: Graceless bad luck. For sure.

(CHRIS STARES AT MARIE.)

CHRIS: Why couldn't she have taken me with her?

BETH: But she left to become a missionary!

CHRIS: (DEFLATED) No. I had this dream. The night before
I killed her dog. And years later. The night after we shot that opening scene.

MARIE: What'd you dream, Chris?

CHRIS: I'm chasing after a car –

BETH: (INTERRUPTS) Like a dog chasing the family car.

(CHRIS FLINGS A HOSTILE LOOK AT HER AND THEN CONTINUES.)

CHRIS: Yeah...my mother's driving.

MARIE: She's in control.

CHRIS: And there's a man in the passenger seat. I think it might be my father, but I'm not sure.

BETH: It wasn't.

CHRIS: The car stops at a red light. Now I know it's not my father.

BETH: She split with some man.

CHRIS: And I hear my mother say to the man, "You don't think he saw us at the light, do you?" That was the last thing I ever heard her say.

MARIE: It wasn't just a dream, then?

CHRIS: Not just a dream, and not something from a movie. I remember I was standing at a corner waiting for the light to change. The car stopped right beside me. I saw them. When the light changed and I was starting across the street, she said it. "You don't think he saw us at the light, do you?" I didn't look back. I never
saw her again.

MARIE: Chris, do you remember the part in your movie about dreaming?

CHRIS: The first scene is the only one I remember.

MARIE: August is walking down the street and comes to a stop at a red light. He says that at that moment he "suddenly stopped dreaming."

CHRIS: (ALIVE AGAIN) That's right!

MARIE: It was the best part of the movie.

(BETH LOOKS AT HER WATCH.)

BETH: Let's get this over with.

CHRIS: (LOOKING AROUND) I want a sandwich. Waitress! (LOOKS BACK; JOYFULLY) Ask me how I am now!

(SUDDENLY HE SEEMS STRICKEN.)

(THE BAR SOUNDS GET LOUDER, MORE CHAOTIC.)

CHRIS: I feel funny.

(MARIE STOPS HER RECORDER AND TAKES OUT THE TAPE.)

BETH: (TO MARIE) Oh, did I say? I had the bedroom in my townhouse done.

CHRIS: Do you hear that humming sound? Where's it coming from?

BETH: All the walls, the floor, bedclothes, the curtains, everything.

CHRIS: My body feels like it's buzzing.

MARIE: Sounds wonderful.

BETH: Got it done in this fantastic yellow. What's that fabric? I can't remember
what it's called.

(CHRIS BEGINS TO TWITCH AND MOAN. BETH AND MARIE GLANCE AT HIM AND THEN IGNORE HIM.)

(BETH TAKES A CIGARETTE AND LIGHTER FROM HER PURSE AS MARIE SPEAKS.)

MARIE: I thought you never forgot anything.

BETH: Oh, that was a lie.

(CHRIS – APPARENTLY – EXPIRES.)

BETH: I make up everything.

(SHE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE.)

MARIE: Just what I would expect from Daily Living.

BETH: Hell, Afflatus Journal would go out of business without Daily Living.

(MARIE STANDS UP AND PUSHES THE TAPE INTO THE GLASS OF WATER AS BETH CONTINUES.)

BETH: Anyway, this lemon yellow fabric. And it's sprinkled with butterflies, azure
butterflies. Isn't that gorgeous?

MARIE: (LOOKING AT CHRIS) We sure redecorated his interior. (PICKING UP HER THINGS) See you, Beth.

(MARIE WALKS INTO THE DARKNESS.)

(BETH JUMPS UP, GATHERING HER THINGS.)

BETH: Wait for me!

(SHE FOLLOWS MARIE INTO THE DARKNESS.)

(MARIE REAPPEARS AND RETURNS TO THE TABLE WHERE SHE PICKS UP THE PITCHER OF WATER AND POURS IT OVER CHRIS. SHE EXITS.)

(CHRIS "WAKES UP." HE SHAKES HIS WET HEAD.)

CHRIS: Hey!

(HE FEELS HIS HEAD AND TAKES A COMB FROM HIS JACKET POCKET. HE COMBS HIS HAIR.)

(THEN HE NOTICES THE TAPE IN THE GLASS OF WATER.)

CHRIS: (PICKING UP GLASS) What's this? (LOOKING AROUND) Waitress!
(PUTTING DOWN GLASS) I need a fresh glass.

(HE GETS UP AND HURRIES TO THE EDGE OF THE DARKNESS.)

CHRIS: And take this food away!

(NO ONE COMES. HE GOES BACK TO THE TABLE AND PUSHES ASIDE THE THINGS ON IT TO MAKE A SPACE.)

(HE TAKES A PENCIL AND PAD FROM HIS JACKET.)

CHRIS: (SITTING DOWN) Things to do. (CHECKING THEM OFF) One, two, three... Done. (WRITES) Four. Need new dog collar. Five. Hire a decorator – no...
(SCRATCHES IT OUT; WRITES) I'll do it myself. Six. Sell house and buy smaller one. Seven. Go see my movie. I hear it's good. Eight...

(SPOTLIGHT FADES OUT.)


THE END



 

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