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THE WIFE (full text)

The Wife press photos-2

THE WIFE

by Tommy Smith

“Excellent … ‘The Wife’ is a brew all Mr. Smith’s own, a sort of warped, contemporary La Ronde.” – NEW YORK TIMES
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Thrilling … a sad, frightening and often extremely funny drama” – L MAGAZINE
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“Haunting … THE WIFE will leave you well entertained and thoughtful – a great thing to achieve.” – REVIEWS OFF BROADWAY
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Unnerving and intense … what we are watching is a world coughing up on the lines of separation that we have created throughout the years.” – THE BROOKLYN RAIL
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Sure to leave you reeling. Through the dark and crazy plot connections are made, paths crossed, and lives destroyed.  All this and more bat-shit-psycho crazy in 75 minutes with no intermission.  The acting is top notch and the writing is superb.” – ACT III
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“The Wife is a shattering slice of life that will stay firmly implanted in your memory for a long time to come.” – SHOW BUSINESS WEEKLY
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An engagingly grim play … The Wife has a raw energy that is engrossing, along with a yearning and disgusted sincerity that haunts even after the surprisingly surreal and (only marginally) hopeful final scene.” – THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD
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Jody Christopherson interview, NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW
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© 2015 Tommy Smith. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, performed, produced or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, please click this.

RUTH, mid thirties, Hebrew

NANCE, late thirties, Australian

GIRLY, late teens, half black

JAKOB, mid thirties, Hebrew

JAKE, early thirties, white

DOCTOR, late thirties, male, black

also plays: VOICE, COP

.

The city

And

The forest

.

Notes:

no pauses between scenes – scenes should follow one another like a continuous conversation.

an    /   indicates overlapping dialogue.

….

1.

Jake’s apartment.

JAKE

Did you see that movie? That one that just came out? It’s a total piece of crap. It was about hipsters and stuff and I was like that’s totally not how we are. They made it all different from how we actually live, you know? It just focused on the actual people and not like all the cool little details about our lifestyle. It’s like I should know, right? I have perspective because I’m part of that culture. Wouldn’t that piss you off? If someone was trying to like, represent you or something and they didn’t even take the time to get to know what you were all about? Why would someone do that? I mean, there must be a reason, right? You don’t just go being ignorant and shit in when you’re making this story unless you’re trying to prove a point but I didn’t really see any point in like, presenting this like false copy of how things really are. There’s no point unless it’s like one hundred percent accurate depiction of people because otherwise it’s just offensive. Did you see that movie?

RUTH

No.

JAKE

Yeah, don’t go see it.

RUTH

JAKE

So here’s his kitty bowl.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

And that’s where his water goes.  In that bowl there.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

And I don’t know, feed him every now and then, like twice a day, then keep him company and pet him when he comes up to you.  He likes tin foil balls.  He’s really skilled at juggling tin foil balls between his paws.  And so anyway, do you have any questions?

RUTH

No.

JAKE

I’m leaving Saturday and I’ll be back Tuesday.  So that’s tomorrow I’m leaving and three days from today I’ll be back.  It’s Friday today.

RUTH

JAKE

I’m a graphic designer and I’m appraising a job in Portland, in case you wanted to know that.  I don’t just normally tell people something like that.  Do you see what I’m saying?  I’m not acting special around you.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

Sure, I mean, I might be overreacting a little.  You’re like a Jew, right?  You’re one of those Jew wives, right?

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

Okay, because I thought, well, you know, there’s not a whole lot of interaction that goes on between you and us.  The other people who live in your neighborhood.  Like guys like me.  It’s not a big deal and we totally don’t have to talk about it.  You shouldn’t ever let him out because he hides under the staircase and you can’t get him out for anything.  His name is Pele.  Like the soccer player.

RUTH

JAKE

The Brazilian Soccer player from the eighties?  You don’t watch television, do you?

RUTH

No.

JAKE

Not even like the radio?  You don’t even listen to the radio or read the newspaper?  That’s a pretty fucked up religion, I mean, I’m totally not an Anti-Semite but that’s pretty fucked up.  You should scoop out his litter box every day or so.  You can dump it right into the toilet.  Biodegradable litter.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

There’s a spray bottle right here and if he does anything bad give him a quick hard spray.  But don’t overdo it.  If he gets used to punishment, he’ll have no reason to behave.  Are you allergic to cats?

A loud siren wails in the distance.

2.

Parked Minivan.

JAKOB

This is all I have.

NANCE

Well I can’t break a hundred.

JAKOB

Hundreds is all I have.

NANCE

I think we passed a mini mart back a ways.

JAKOB

I’m not stopping there.

NANCE

Then consider it My Hefty Tip.

JAKOB

Can I get something else?

NANCE

Sure, I’ll give you a little something.

JAKOB

Then keep the four hundred.

NANCE

Thanks, dad.

JAKOB

Please don’t call me dad.

NANCE

Pass me that bottle.

JAKOB

The gin?

NANCE

No, the brown, the scotch, the fucken scotch bottle there.

JAKOB

Here.

NANCE

Thanks, dad.

Nance swigs from bottle.

NANCE

Nice minivan.

JAKOB

Thank you.

NANCE

Lotsa trees here where are we?

JAKOB

Out of town.

NANCE

Some suburb shitpike.

JAKOB

The Christian people live here.

NANCE

They sure do.

JAKOB

Are you religious?

NANCE

Are you?

She swigs again.

NANCE

You want a go?

JAKOB

No thank you.

NANCE

What, you don’t drink?

JAKOB

No.

NANCE

Jesus, you people are all over the place, aren’t you?

JAKOB

What do you mean?

NANCE

I’ve just had it up to here with all you Hasids, man, you’re really a bummer.

JAKOB

I just don’t drink.

NANCE

I’m not drinking.  I’m having fun.

She swigs.

NANCE

I think there’s a cigarette butt at the bottom.  Mazeltov.  That’s what you say, right?  I was at this Jewish wedding and when they broke the glass everyone said Mazeltov in unison.  But they didn’t say it like “Mazzle-tov”.  They said it like, “Mah-ZEL-tov”.

JAKOB

That’s how it’s pronounced, yes.

NANCE

I don’t get you people.  Yep, that’s a cigarette.  Did you drop your cigarette in the scotch?

JAKOB

I may have.

NANCE

Why would you do that?

JAKOB

I only half remember doing it.

NANCE

Oh, you’re kind of cute, aren’t you?  All bashful.  Yeah, I see it now.  You’re sort of cute.

JAKOB

Thank you.

NANCE

Getting all red, are we?

JAKOB

Could we … ?

NANCE

Eh?  Speak up.

JAKOB

Could we just … ?

NANCE

Ah, you want your little something.  No idle chit chat.

JAKOB

I just have places to be.

NANCE

You got a wife?

JAKOB

Yes.

NANCE

She know you smoke?

JAKOB

No.

NANCE

You hide from her.

JAKOB

Yes.

NANCE

What if she found out?

JAKOB

She won’t.

NANCE

But what if she did?

JAKOB

Why?

NANCE

Just picking your brain, mate.  See your clock tick.

JAKOB

Do you mind if I smoke?

NANCE

Since you ask, yes, but I never tell a man he’s wrong.

JAKOB

Why not?

NANCE

He knows he’s wrong.  You can see it on his face.  Guilt hangs on men so there’s really no point in bringing it up because they know what you’re going to say.  You did wrong.  You’re a man, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.  Did you like my skirt?

JAKOB

Yes.

NANCE

I bought it from these Indian women on the street.  Three dollars.

JAKOB

A bargain.

NANCE

A steal.  A catch.

Nance unbuckles his belt.

Zips down the zipper.

NANCE

Teach a girl to fish?

3.

Jakob’s apartment.

JAKOB

Did you go out today?

RUTH

Yes.

JAKOB

What did you do?

RUTH

I went to the store.

JAKOB

What did you buy?

RUTH

Nothing.

JAKOB

You didn’t buy anything?

RUTH

No.  I forgot to bring my wallet.  I forgot to bring my purse.  I didn’t bring anything with me.  So I made a list.  I looked at everything in the store and I wrote down what we need.  Next time I’ll bring everything so I can buy everything.

JAKOB

Did you go anywhere else?

RUTH

How was your day?

JAKOB

They shipped in these new lamps.  We don’t have enough space for all these lamps, I kept saying to everybody.  And these new lamps, they have the wrong plugs.  They have European prongs.  And I kept saying to everybody, these prongs don’t work in this country.  And finally everyone looked and everyone saw I was right.  So we shipped back the lamps.  Ruth?

RUTH

Hmn?

JAKOB

Your hair.

RUTH

What?

JAKOB

Your hair’s on crooked.

He adjusts her wig.

JAKOB

You’ve been wearing this crooked all day, haven’t you?

RUTH

It was fine when I left.

JAKOB

It’s all crooked.

JAKOB

There.

RUTH

Thank you.

A long pause, then:

JAKOB

That stroller is still here.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKOB

I’ll throw it out in the morning.

4.

Jake’s apartment.

Nance comes in on Ruth.

NANCE

Who are you?

RUTH

I’m watching his cat.

NANCE

I told him I’d catsit God!  That little fucking punk.  Do you want some raisins?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

I got like a whole box.

RUTH

No thank you.

NANCE

You ever wonder, like, these were once grapes, right?  That is totally weird.  They should invent like a raisin remaking machine.  Like a little metal box you pop in a box of raisins and bam you got like a vine of grapes.  Right?

RUTH

NANCE

So what do I do?

RUTH

NANCE

The cat, dummy.  I got to feed it, right?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

Well show me his food, man.  Let’s get this show on the road.

RUTH

I’m sorry, you’re …

NANCE

I’m his girlfriend, sorry, shoulda been clearer.  I’m allergic to cats so he usually comes over to my place and Jesus this place is clean.

RUTH

I cleaned it.

NANCE

You cleaned his apartment?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

Why did you do that?

RUTH

Because it was dirty.

NANCE

I suppose that makes sense.

RUTH

NANCE

You’re a funny little thing, aren’t you?  Funny little hobbly thing.  Where did he find you?

RUTH

The computer.

NANCE

And he sought you, like sought you out?

RUTH

There was an ad.

NANCE

Are you a drinker?  Do you drink?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

I’ve got a bottle of something you could take a swig of.

RUTH

No thank you.

NANCE

Mind if I dirty a glass?

RUTH

No.

She pours a glass.

NANCE

I suppose you could call this five o’clock.  I suppose you could say this is too early to be drinking.

She drinks it quickly.

NANCE

Boy.  That didn’t feel like much, did it?

She pours another.

She drinks it slowly.

NANCE

Better.

She pours another.

NANCE

I can’t place your accent.  Are you French?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

You’re like a hobbly old Jewish thing, aren’t you?  Oh, that is so darling, you’re a darling thing, aren’t you?  Oh, this is so queer.  And that’s a wig, right?  They make you wear a wig?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

And you fucking … (whispers) you, like, shave your fucking head?

RUTH

I –

NANCE

Shit, do you have a pad on you?  I’m such a bleeder.  God, it’s like The Black River down there.

RUTH

NANCE

A pad, you know, a tampon.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

You got one?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

You gushing?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

Just in case of emergency, huh?  I like that.  Prepared at all times.  I honestly never do that.

Ruth gives Nance tampon.

NANCE

Funny I thought –

RUTH

What?

NANCE

Dontcha got laws against this?

RUTH

What?

NANCE

“New modern tampon”?

RUTH

This one is easier.

NANCE

Bucking the system, eh?

RUTH

Okay.

NANCE

Yeah we got the same situation back home.  We don’t have them like this.  They don’t have this outside-y shiv thing you snap off after she’s in place.  We just have the white thing, you know, and you just shove it up there with your fingers.  I don’t know which I prefer.  Thanks.

RUTH

You’re welcome.

NANCE

Show me the cat after I – (makes squishing sound)?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

What’s your name?

RUTH

Ruth.

NANCE

Nice to meet you, Ruth.

5.

Nance’s apartment.

GIRLY

Where you going?

NANCE

Nowhere.

GIRLY

Whatcha putting on make up for, huh?

NANCE

I’m just putting it on.

GIRLY

You going to see that dude?

NANCE

No that dude and me aren’t anything anymore.

GIRLY

Sucks for mom.

NANCE

And I told you to clean up your room.

GIRLY

Don’t need to clean it.  Who do I got to clean it up for, you?

NANCE

You will fucking clean that shit young lady.

GIRLY

Yeah.

NANCE

You will speak in complete sentences young lady.

GIRLY

Yeah, whatever the F, mom.

NANCE

You are bloody asking for it, you’re right on the edge of asking for it and you step across that line and you’ll cross it young missy.

GIRLY

You got anything for a girl to eat?

NANCE

There’s not enough time to make you a meal now.

GIRLY

But I’m hungry.

NANCE

We’re all hungry, I’m hungry, I don’t talk about it, see?  I shut up and you should learn from mum.

GIRLY

I don’t want to be no broke ass mom.

NANCE

This is really not helping.  This is really not helping me achieve my goals with you.

GIRLY

What, you got goals with me or something?  Like, goals?

NANCE

There are these goals, yes, as part of the program.

GIRLY

You ain’t on no program.

NANCE

Mum got a little serious with things mum shouldn’t have got too serious with.

GIRLY

Like, I’m not a little girl or nothing so you don’t need to do that mommy anymore.

NANCE

God, you know, whatever.  I need a drink.

GIRLY

I dumped it.

NANCE

What?

GIRLY

I dumped your bottles down the drain.

Nance slaps Girly.

NANCE

You bitch, you fucken cow bitch!

GIRLY

Mom –

Nance slaps Girly again, hard.

NANCE

That was mine, it was mine.

GIRLY

I’m sorry.

NANCE

You’re a little cunt, aren’t you?  Just a tiny little cunt of a thing.

GIRLY

I’m sorry, mom.

NANCE

Useless cunty –

Nance screams into her hands.

Keeps hands on face.

A moment, then:

GIRLY

It’s okay.

NANCE

Oh just shut up.

GIRLY

It’s going to be okay, mom.

NANCE

You go pick up your room.

GIRLY

Okay.

NANCE

I’ll be back in an hour.

GIRLY

Where are you going?

NANCE

Adult stuff, I’m doing adult stuff.

GIRLY

You coming back?

NANCE

I’ll come back when I want, okay?

GIRLY

Are we going to fix those noises?

NANCE

Noises, what noises?

GIRLY

There’s a creak in the hallway like someone’s walking down the hallway.  But when I look down the hallway no one there.  Then I go into the TV room and I hear it again.  I’m not upset about it or anything.  I just turn up the television real loud.  I turn it up very loud and there’s like someone watching it.  Someone’s watching television but when I look no one’s there.  There’s no one’s there, right?  No one is here.

NANCE

No one is here.

Nance leaves.

A deep, disturbing voice:

VOICE

Is she gone?

GIRLY

Yes.

VOICE

You’re alone?

GIRLY

Yes.

VOICE

Let’s see a little dance.

GIRLY

No …

VOICE

Just a little dance.

GIRLY

I’m too shy.

VOICE

You’re not shy you’re beautiful.

GIRLY

Am I beautiful?

VOICE

You’re beautiful.

GIRLY

Just a little dance.

VOICE

Yes …

Girly dances with herself.

Distant music.

VOICE

You should leave with me.

GIRLY

Yeah?

VOICE

Yeah you should come with me.

GIRLY

Okay.

VOICE

Yeah?

GIRLY

Yeah I’ll come with you.

VOICE

Good.

GIRLY

Yeah.

VOICE

This is how it begins.

GIRLY

Yeah.  This is how it begins.

6.

Jake’s apartment.

JAKE

Is it totally weird that I made you a thank-you dinner?

RUTH

JAKE

I think it’s totally weird but here we are, right?

RUTH

JAKE

Sorry to just spring this on you.

RUTH

No.

JAKE

You thought you were just coming for money.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

Surprise!

RUTH

JAKE

Do you want any wine?

RUTH

No thank you.

JAKE

I have red or white.

RUTH

That is very nice.

JAKE

That is very nice of you to say.

RUTH

JAKE

You can thank me.  If you wanted.  You can thank me for dinner.

RUTH

Thank you.

JAKE

Now it’s a thank you dinner.

RUTH

JAKE

Get it?

RUTH

JAKE

(mumbles)  I’m going to fucking kill myself.

RUTH

These are nice saltshakers.

JAKE

That’s the pepper.  The bull’s the salt.

RUTH

A bull and a cow.

JAKE

I got them in South France.

RUTH

They are very nice.

JAKE

I got them from some Muslim peasants outside this bull-killing ring.  They looked Muslim.  They were brown and everything but they could have been just tan.  No, they had big noses.  Like those flat noses.

RUTH

JAKE

What do you think about Muslims?  I don’t like them very much but they have a right to exist, right?  I mean, that’s what everyone’s saying.  Pass the sausages.

Phone rings.

Machine picks up.

Nance’s voice:

NANCE

Jake?

Jakey?

Um …

Okay .

So you should probably … call me, right now –

Jake turns volume down.

RUTH

Was that your girlfriend?

JAKE

How do you know about my girlfriend?

RUTH

She helped with the cat.

JAKE

She’s not my girlfriend.

RUTH

Oh.

JAKE

Did you let her in?

RUTH

She had keys.

JAKE

What did she do here?

RUTH

She helped with the cat.

JAKE

Did she take anything?

RUTH

No.

JAKE

She’s a thief and a drug addict whore.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

Don’t let her in.

RUTH

JAKE

I mean, she’s not my girlfriend and she steals things and takes lots of drugs.

RUTH

JAKE

I’m going away again.  Are you free?

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

I’m appraising a job in Sacramento.  They have these really nice orange trees there.  Should be about a week.  I’m not leaving because my girlfriend just called.  In case you were wondering.  That’s not the reason.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

It was planned.  Like, ahead of time.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

Hey, um.  Where did you find that knife?

RUTH

What?

JAKE

That knife, that knife in your hand.

RUTH

In the drawer.

JAKE

Those aren’t for, you shouldn’t use those for / they’re not for food.

RUTH

/ Oh, I’m very sorry.

JAKE

No, that’s okay just give it to me.

RUTH

Here.

JAKE

Thank you.

Jake slides knife in inner coat pocket.

JAKE

I have a question.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

That’s like a wig, right?

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

Oh man, that is so freaky.  Like, really?  That is crazy.  That is the craziest shit ever.

He quickly snaps a shot of her with a digital camera.

It flashes.

JAKE

I’m gonna upload this to my site.

7.

Street.

Nance on cell.

NANCE

Jake?

Jakey?

Um …

Okay .

So you should probably … call me, right now …

Okay.

Okay.

Yeah.  Just-

I will say this, I completely understand why you’re not doing it.

And I completely exonerate you from any sort of – um strange uh – responsibility to call me.

And by the very nature of me slurring this, I also completely exonerate you from any sort of – uuuh – thing – that might be there.

Hoooo God I am leaving this in complete angst.

Uhhhhh in a state that I don’t actually wish to leave this in.

And yet –

Um…

If you were to call me I would … completely reciprocate – um – anything … at this point.

And … more.

So if you were to feel the need to call me in the next … time … or so … then I would be completely receptive.

But also …

I understand if this is … completely inappropriate and completely out of order.

So … uh … in that circumstance, I wish you good night.

And sweet dreams.

And hope that … uhhhhh … some other filly can possibly … fill the void.

And I will not … I will not … sayanything … toward … a … possible, um …

Oh, god.

I’m blathering now, I’m blathering, I’m blathering, um, all right.

I will end this phone call.

And, uh, you will have received probably the strangest, the most dithering, incomplete, uh, voicemail you probably have received in a very long time.

So …

Good night.

Hope you’re alone.

8.

Nance’s apartment.

NANCE

I can’t find her.

JAKE

I don’t know why I’m here.

NANCE

She’s gone, I can’t find her.

JAKE

I really don’t know why I’m here.

NANCE

She didn’t come home last night I mean she’s a little girl and she left home she’s like gone.

JAKE

What should I do in response?

NANCE

Help, you’ve got to help like humans help.

JAKE

I’m not anything to you.

NANCE

Ah fuck man, you’re the boy in my life who’s around.

JAKE

I didn’t even know you had a daughter.

NANCE

Yeah, that one guy came in and stuck it up and boom.

JAKE

Right.

NANCE

He was a black gentleman.

JAKE

You never told me.

NANCE

There was a lot, you know, unsaid you and I like volumes.

JAKE

You’ve taken drugs.

NANCE

Wild guesses on target.

JAKE

It is very depressing being around you.

NANCE

All the time with your questioning and your eyes, your questioning eyes.  No man, she left, she’s gone, someone took her, someone up and raped her up and she’s a body somewhere and I’ve got to see this thing she’s become, these arms and these dead legs attached to stomach attached to hearts and her mouth all busted up and bloody in a ditch bloated and slick with slime. And I would call the cops but they can’t, they can’t see things like this I’d have to mow all this shit down sweep all this shit out and she’d have to be here or they’d take her, they’ll take her from me and maybe that’s not such a bad thing, right?  Maybe she could go and play in the mountains with different people like parents and do you want her because she’s totally yours if that’s the case of you wanting to own her.

JAKE

This is a waste of my time.

NANCE

No don’t go.

JAKE

I got your message.

NANCE

Message, I left a message I did not.

JAKE

Last night.

NANCE

Ah fuck like a field of energy my memory can’t see but its there, the field of energy is there.

JAKE

You just wanted an excuse for me to come over.

NANCE

No, Jakey –

JAKE

I already have another girlfriend.

NANCE

What?

JAKE

Yeah she’s a little different –

NANCE

That was soon like soon.

JAKE

I want my keys back.

NANCE

What keys?

JAKE

The ones I gave you when we were boyfriend and girlfriend but then later you did that shit for money so now I’m asking my keys back.

NANCE

You mean these keys?

JAKE

Yes.

NANCE

I don’t even remember, you know, getting these from you in the first place like no memory of really ever going out with you.

JAKE

NANCE

Here take this metal from my hands.

JAKE

I’m late for my train.

NANCE

Was I like what was I talking about?

JAKE

I’m going to be late for my train.

NANCE

Just then I was talking about something like looking for something.

JAKE

Goodbye.

NANCE

Goodbye.

JAKE

I’m never going to see you again.

NANCE

High five.

Nance holds hand out.

Jake does not slap it.

9.

Jake’s apartment.

Ruth opens door on Nance.

NANCE

I lost my keys yeah I don’t know where I put them.

RUTH

Hello.

NANCE

I still don’t know your name.

RUTH

Ruth.  And you’re …

NANCE

Nance.  Sometimes I like to sit around and think of myself as Nancy.  And Nancy does everything perfect.  She gets up every morning at seven and makes her bed before flossing her teeth.  Do you ever do that?  Sit around and think of yourself as another person?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

I think if I thought I was myself all day long I’d go off my head.  Like spontaneously combust.  You know these people who just blow up?  These people who simply explode for no reason.  Imagine that, man.  You’re enjoying the sun or whatever and boom!  You’re this red asterisk on the lawn.  I can imagine that.  I can imagine that sometimes.  How’s the cat?

RUTH

He seems fine.

NANCE

Yeah, he’s a good little mouse, aye?  I don’t get the impulse, you know, to own something.  Like owning a live creature and caring for it and what the fuck is that?

RUTH

A hairball.

NANCE

Where did that come from?

RUTH

The kitty.

NANCE

Looks like a poo nut.  Like a shit testicle.

RUTH

I’ll get it.

NANCE

Oh, you’re handy, aren’t ya?  With your little paper towel.

RUTH

I’m sorry it’s dirty.

NANCE

God, don’t be – this brow, you always got this brow.

RUTH

Do I?

NANCE

This wrinkled thing on your forehead.  (bad American accent)  “Call them dawgs off, girl.”  Gosh, my American’s terrible.

RUTH

I like your accent.

NANCE

Well, get in line.

RUTH

Okay.

NANCE

You want to go make copies?

RUTH

Hmn?

NANCE

Copies of the keys.  So I can have one.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

We don’t need to go just yet.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

We can sit around for a while.

RUTH

Okay that would be nice.

NANCE

Why do you keep coming here I mean don’t you have places to be with your husband or anything?

RUTH

I need to make money.

NANCE

Money for what?

RUTH

I am saving up for a journey.

NANCE

What like back to the motherland?

RUTH

I have to go away for a little.

NANCE

Just get out of town?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

How long are you going?

RUTH

I don’t really know.

NANCE

Well if you need a buddy.  Like someone to travel with.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

I can never stay put.  I don’t like being in one place for very long.  I don’t like being attached to things.  Didn’t I see vermouth?

RUTH

In the cupboard.

NANCE

I’m making us some martinis.

RUTH

Oh, no please –

NANCE

You will shut your Jew mouth up little missy because I know how to make some kick ass martinis.

RUTH

I really can’t –

NANCE

You really can’t what?

RUTH

I really can’t do that.

NANCE

Of course you can.  And you will.  Drink with me.  Because I’m lonely.  And you’re here.  So let’s be lonely and here together.  Okay?

RUTH

Okay.

NANCE

There’s the spirit.  Go get me some icecubes, will ya?

10.

Lamp store.

JAKE

I’m looking for something a little big.

JAKOB

Mmm hmn.

JAKE

Something not too big.

JAKOB

Did you see the ones in the window?

JAKE

Those are too big.

JAKOB

We’ve got some models in the back too.

JAKE

Yes, I saw them.

JAKOB

And?

JAKE

(shrugs shoulders)  Eh.

JAKOB

Feel free to look around.

JAKE

That’s what I’m saying.  I’ve been looking around.

JAKOB

A desk lamp?

JAKE

Yes.

JAKOB

Medium sized.

JAKE

On the large side but not big.

JAKOB

We have a catalogue.

JAKE

Yes, wonderful.

JAKOB

We can pre-order.

JAKE

Yeah, let’s see the catalogue.

Jakob hands catalogue to Jake.

Jake thumbs through, during which:

JAKE

I’ve never been in here.

JAKOB

JAKE

I live right in the neighborhood, right down the street and I’ve never been in here.  Funny, right?

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

Yeah, I thought it was really funny that I’ve never been here either but what are you going to do?

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

Go in and buy some lamps is what I’m doing.

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

You got laws against smiling?

JAKOB

JAKE

Because the way you’re not smiling, there should be laws against it.  I’m really just trying to make jokes around you.  Diffuse the, you know, iceberg, crack the iceberg right open.  Do you see what I’m saying?

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

Do you have other employees?

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

Where are they all at?

JAKOB

They’re on deliveries.

JAKE

Because I thought it would be funny to run this place all by yourself and isn’t there like a lady who works here?  About Yay big, straight black hair.  I saw her come in last week and thought I’d drop by to ask about if she’s around if she even, does she even work here?

JAKOB

No.

JAKE

She’s just a friend?

JAKOB

She’s my wife.

JAKE

JAKOB

Do you want me to get her?

JAKE

No.

JAKOB

I think she may be out.

JAKE

Hey, great.

JAKOB

She’s not here right now.

JAKE

That’s great hey I’ll just come back when she’s here.

JAKOB

Super.

JAKE

Great.

JAKOB

Nice to meet you.

JAKE

Thanks for having me.

JAKOB

Goodbye now.

JAKE

Yes.

11.

Jakob’s apartment.

Ruth comes in on Jakob.

JAKOB

A man came by.

RUTH

Hmn?

JAKOB

Earlier today, a man came by.

RUTH

What’s that?

JAKOB

A man came by.

RUTH

Ah.

JAKOB

Did you tell a man to come by?

RUTH

No.

JAKOB

Then who was it?

RUTH

I don’t know.

JAKOB

He didn’t buy anything.  He didn’t even buy anything.

RUTH

I’m sorry.

JAKOB

You have heels on.

RUTH

Do I?

JAKOB

Those heels on your feet.

RUTH

Oh, I guess I didn’t – There was this woman and our shoes were off.   Off together.  At the same time we didn’t have our shoes off, I mean, we both had our shoes off.

JAKOB

Where was this?

RUTH

The clinic.

JAKOB

You went to the doctors.

RUTH

I went to the free clinic.

JAKOB

Did you tell me you were going to the doctors?

RUTH

I must have at some point.  I’m sure it came up at some point.

JAKOB

That’s funny because I don’t remember it coming up.

RUTH

They had us take our shoes off.  We took off all our shoes.  Both feet.  There were these cubby holes where you stick the shoes.  I put my shoes in a cubby hole.  They gave us these white slippers to wear.  At first they were uncomfortable.  The slippers.  I got used to it.  I got used to being uncomfortable.  After the examination I looked in my cubby hole and my shoes were gone.  Someone stole them.  So I stole someone’s heels.  I stole these heels from someone.  And she probably stole someone else’s heels.  And that person stole someone else.  A cycle that never ends.  It just keeps going.

JAKOB

Are you drunk?

RUTH

No.

12.

A doctor’s office.

JAKE

What do you mean?

DOCTOR

It’s not curable.

JAKE

But how do I get rid of it?

DOCTOR

You can’t.  It’s incurable.

JAKE

Isn’t there medicine I can take?

DOCTOR

No.

JAKE

Surgery, treatment?

DOCTOR

I’m sorry.

JAKE

I want to see another doctor.

DOCTOR

Another doctor will say the same thing.

JAKE

But I didn’t do anything.

DOCTOR

I know.

JAKE

I don’t deserve this because I didn’t do anything I didn’t do anything!

DOCTOR

I have pamphlets here for you.

JAKE

“How to live with Lyme disease”.

DOCTOR

We’ll get you some antibiotics to lessen the effects.

JAKE

Effects, what effects?

DOCTOR

You might experience some rashes or joint pain.  Possibly some neurological damage or mild hallucinations.  Spinal problems, twitching muscles, fatigue or vision problems and seizures, urinary problems and in some cases schizophrenia.

JAKE

God.

DOCTOR

You’ll be fine.

JAKE

How the fuck did I get Lyme disease?

DOCTOR

Have you been wandering in any forests?

JAKE

No.  I mean, what if I have?

DOCTOR

Ticks wait on blades of grass then attach to bare legs.

JAKE

But I didn’t do anything.

DOCTOR

It’s not like that.

JAKE

I was in the forest but I didn’t do anything there, it was very innocent and – I mean, how could that cause this?

DOCTOR

I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

JAKE

That thing I did in the forest caused this, I know it, I know it did, I shouldn’t have done it, I should have just fought the impulse but no I had to go do it and now I have this disease, this fucking disease and I could have stopped it, I could have prevented it if I just stayed out of the Fuck is God punishing me?  God is punishing me, I know it, He’s fucking smiting me right now, this is what it looks like, this is what smiting looks like.

DOCTOR

Your prescription.

JAKE

Tha – Thank you.

DOCTOR

You might also want to see a psychiatrist.

JAKE

Yes.

DOCTOR

You can pull your pants up now.

13.

Hipster bar.

JAKE

I photo-shopped your face.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

I photo-shopped your face on The Mona Lisa.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

Da Vinci.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

You can keep it.

RUTH

Thank you.

JAKE

You’re welcome.

RUTH

JAKE

Thanks for meeting me.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

Cool place, huh?

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

Cool deer heads.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

You like it?  This your kind of place?  It’s not really your kind of place.  They just opened it.  “Log cabin theme.”  They stained that glass in Kyoto.

RUTH

Your keys.

JAKE

You can stay the night if you want.  I mean, you can stay at my place overnight I’m not going to be there.  I’m headed Upstate overnight to finish up a little something.  A little series of somethings I’ve been working on Upstate.  You can stay one more night while I journey Upstate.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

You want another seltzer?

RUTH

I’m fine.

JAKE

Going back home right I mean we can go to another place if you want to.

RUTH

No.

JAKE

I’m like in love with you.

RUTH

I know.

JAKE

You know, I mean: Fuck … It can’t really work like that, me telling you that and no expression crossing your face like I dreamt it would happen this way, exactly this way and now its happening and I tell you you’re the only thing keeping me together, I barely know you but I keep thinking you bald, you bare and bald on white sheets and stroking your skull stubble.  I keep imagining a time when I’ll be between your legs like a man and caring for your children but that’s never going to happen.

RUTH

No.

JAKE

I have a disease.

RUTH

JAKE

I have a disease that I can never not have.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

It’s not contagious.

RUTH

Okay.

JAKE

Unless you’re running in the fucking forest.

RUTH

JAKE

RUTH

So … ?

JAKE

Your payment.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKE

All I have is fives and ones.

RUTH

That’s fine.

JAKE

I break a lot of twenties.

14.

Streets.

Nance and Girly on cell phones.

NANCE

Yeah.

GIRLY

Hey mom.

NANCE

Yeah, who’s this?

GIRLY

I said hey mom.

NANCE

Whaddya want?

GIRLY

It’s Girly.

NANCE

Where you been Girly?

GIRLY

Just wandered around last night.

NANCE

Where you at oh my daughter?

GIRLY

I’m right near the apartment.  Where you?

NANCE

I’m going out to meet a friend I’m on the street.

GIRLY

Oh you have a new friend?

NANCE

It’s not like that.

GIRLY

Well it’s okay I borrow some clothes?

NANCE

Like some of my clothes?

GIRLY

Yeah.

NANCE

You don’t fit in my clothes.

GIRLY

I’m wearing your jeans already.

NANCE

You take them off.

GIRLY

I’m on the street, ma.

NANCE

You strip down in the street young motor miss.

GIRLY

Someone’s been drinking.

NANCE

I will fucking kill you.  I’ll suck your breath right out like a cat.

GIRLY

Mom?

NANCE

I should concentrate on the road.

GIRLY

Hey mom?

NANCE

Yes, hey, you don’t need to keep asking my name, right?

GIRLY

I’m sort of locked out too.

NANCE

What?

GIRLY

I’m also sort of locked out of the apartment and I need to get some new clothes on.

NANCE

Where’d you put your keys?

GIRLY

I don’t know I lost them or something.

NANCE

I can’t come and get you.

GIRLY

I’m locked out.

NANCE

I can’t come get you right now.

GIRLY

Where am I gonna go?

NANCE

Mommy is really busy right now and what the fuck is this?

Nance has picked up a badly-damaged dummy off the street.

She regards it.

GIRLY

Just swing by the house, okay?

NANCE

I’m telling you that’s impossible right now.  I don’t want to go to the house.  I don’t like being in the house, okay?  You should have brought your keys with you or not lost them or whatever you did with them.

GIRLY

I guess I could check the bus stop.

NANCE

Fine.  All right?  Try to find your keys but if you can’t then call me and I’ll open you up.

GIRLY

You promise to / come get me?

NANCE

/ Yes, Girly, yes, I promise.

15.

Cash Machine.

JAKOB

Excuse me there is a line.

JAKE

Oh you waiting?

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

Like the ATM?

JAKOB

Yes I am waiting.

JAKE

Cool.  I’m waiting too.  I gotta get money for the train.  Like I’m going upstate to kill off some things.

JAKOB

JAKE

You’re that guy from the store.

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

How’s it going?

JAKOB

It is going fine.

JAKE

That’s so funny man to run into you.

JAKOB

Yes.

JAKE

We like pull money from this hole together.

JAKOB

JAKE

Jake.

JAKOB

Hello Jake.

JAKE

What’s your name man?

JAKOB

I am Jakob.

JAKE

We have the same name.

JAKOB

JAKE

So how’s she doing?

JAKOB

Who?

JAKE

Your wife.

JAKOB

She is fine.

JAKE

She like the kitty?

JAKOB

Hmn?

JAKE

The cat.  Did she say anything about that cat?

JAKOB

… No.

JAKE

She watched my cat while I … I was gone and stuff?

JAKOB

My wife entered your house.

JAKE

People like staying at my place.  She likes my place.  She really liked it.  She really liked the cat.  I could tell.  People like him.  Do you love her?

JAKOB

JAKE

Do you like love her all the time, Jakob?  Someone should love her all the time.  I think someone should give her all his love all the time.

JAKOB

It’s your turn, Jake.

JAKE

No, you were first.

JAKOB

Please go ahead of me.

JAKE

Thanks.

JAKOB

You’re welcome.

16.

An alley.

Jakob walking past Girly.

GIRLY

(eating donut)  Yo mister.

JAKOB

Yes?

GIRLY

You got some dimes for a girl?

JAKOB

No, I don’t have anything.

GIRLY

I can hear you jingling so you can be straight and say you don’t wanna.

JAKOB

Fine.  I don’t want to give you my money.

GIRLY

You don’t need to be mean about it.

JAKOB

Was I mean?

GIRLY

Yeah, you had this tone about it.

JAKOB

I’m sorry.

GIRLY

It’s no big thing, you can just say no and walk on.

JAKOB

Okay.

GIRLY

Yeah, I think we’re done so you can take that walk now.

JAKOB

I actually need to wait in this alley.

GIRLY

You sure about that?

JAKOB

Yes.

GIRLY

Cause I can tell a guy’s tone and this guy’s tone says he’s not so sure he needs to be waiting in this alley.

JAKOB

Who are you talking to?

GIRLY

I’m just talking.  Nothing to it.

JAKOB

JAKOB

Glazed.

GIRLY

Mmm?

JAKOB

I’m noticing your kind of donut.

GIRLY

JAKOB

GIRLY

This is my house, you know.

JAKOB

Really.

GIRLY

Not the whole building but like further up through the bricks and shit is where I live.

JAKOB

I see.

GIRLY

That’d be pretty cool to live in the whole building though.

JAKOB

Yes.

GIRLY

Why you staring there?

JAKOB

Staring – Was I staring at anything?

GIRLY

Training on my legs.

JAKOB

I’m sorry, I –

GIRLY

You’re like fifty you old man.

JAKOB

I’m in my thirties.

GIRLY

Ain’t no thirty year old man got a beard like that.

JAKOB

I’m different.

GIRLY

Yeah, you got Different painted all over you.

JAKOB

You wouldn’t understand if I told you.

GIRLY

What you think I’m stupid or something?

JAKOB

No.  Not stupid.

GIRLY

JAKOB

Do you know any stories?

GIRLY

Yeah I know a couple.

JAKOB

Could you tell me stories if I asked you to?

GIRLY

Yeah I might be able to do that.

JAKOB

Do you know the cost of a hot meal?

GIRLY

You could get one of those around fifty.

JAKOB

That’s very low.

GIRLY

Then a hundred.

JAKOB

You’ve never done this.

GIRLY

JAKOB

You should ask for five hundred.  I’ll say three.  We’ll settle around four.

GIRLY

Why you telling me this?

JAKOB

It’s good business.

GIRLY

Well, I ain’t mad at that.

JAKOB

GIRLY

Five hundred.

JAKOB

Three.

GIRLY

Four and a quarter.

JAKOB

Done.

GIRLY

Drive a hard bargain, Mister Gnome.

JAKOB

Shut up and get in my mini-van.

17.

Jake’s apartment.

RUTH

(coughs)

NANCE

You finished your drink?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

This medication is intense.  I got it from this guy’s bathroom when I was in like, Albany.  What do they call that river next to it?  The Majestic?  Funny naming a river.  You plop down with your tri-cornered hat and declare it.  The Majestic.  It is rather majestic.  Is that its name? You’re no help.  You’ve never seen water, have you?  Probably never even seen a seagull, right?

RUTH

We have seagulls.

NANCE

All I see is crows.   You take the train up.  There’s a castle along the way.  You look at this crumbling castle on an island in the middle of a river.  Sitting alone on an island in the middle of this fucking river.  Charleston River?  Harriston?  I mean, you think I’d know the names of the surrounding water bodies.  I bet it was beautiful once.  I bet people took care of the castle in the middle of the river but like I don’t know why you’d need a castle in the middle of a river.  Especially in this part of the country.  I will go insane if I don’t remember the name of that shitty river.  Where’d you put that shit I had?

RUTH

I think we drank it.

NANCE

Aw, fuck a man alive.  There’s always booze and there’s always running out.

RUTH

Hey.

NANCE

What do you want, baldie?

Ruth holds Nance’s hand.

NANCE

You have my hand.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

You’re holding it like through the barrier of time you’ve got my hand.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

I may not be making such sense here because these drugs are kicking my ass in.

RUTH

It’s okay.

NANCE

I’ll rest my head against your fake shoulder.

A moment.

NANCE

S’nice.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

I can hear your breathing.

RUTH

NANCE

Have you seen the cat?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

The thing’s probably dead, right?  I haven’t fed the thing and oh look his bowl is full.  You filled his bowl.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

I really don’t see him anywhere.

RUTH

No.

Nance pulls out the badly damaged dummy.

NANCE

Hey, look at this.  I found this on the street.  A real bargain.  Someone just threw this dummy on the street.  Can you believe it?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

This must be a hundred bucks.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

Look at his little glasses.  He’s really cute.

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

He’s got your eyes.

RUTH

No.

NANCE

Your eyes the same color’s the dummy.

Nance waves the dummy’s hand.

NANCE

He’s waving at you.  (dummy voice)  Hello.

RUTH

Hello.

NANCE

(voice)  How are you doing?

RUTH

I’m fine.

NANCE

(voice)  What did you do today?

RUTH

I went to the store.  But I didn’t buy anything.  I forgot to bring my wallet.  I forgot to bring my purse.  I didn’t bring anything with me.

NANCE

(voice)  That sounds interesting.

RUTH

Yes, it was very interesting.

NANCE

(voice)  You look a little sad.

RUTH

Yes, I’m a little sad.

NANCE

(voice)  What’s got you down, Miss Greenjeans?

RUTH

I don’t know.

NANCE

(voice)  Well of course you do.  Somewhere in your noggin, right?

RUTH

Yes.

NANCE

(voice)  Logged in your nogg for safe keeping?

RUTH

When it rained earlier.

NANCE

(voice)  Yes?

RUTH

It rained, I knew it was raining.  I didn’t bring my umbrella.  I knew it would rain and I left my umbrella at home.  I went to the bank.  I took the stroller.  I took the stroller with me to the bank.

NANCE

(voice)  Go on.

RUTH

I can’t get it wet.  I can’t get my hair wet.  Water ruins my hair.  But it’s raining.  And I think I should protect my head.  I should cover it before it ruins.  But I don’t do anything.  I walk down the sidewalk.  A drop rolls between my eyes and over my nose.  It slips into my mouth.  And I forget.  I forget that the rain isn’t good.  It’s not a good thing to drink.  The water’s bad.  It’s why you never swim.  I never swim.  I think about it sometimes.  I think about swimming.  Swimming might feel very nice.  But it’s always too cold.  Then all these other things.  You’re in a room by yourself.  No one’s there.  But something’s coming, you can feel something coming.  There might be a man on the other side of the door.  You might know him.  Or you’re on the street.  There’s your footsteps then another set of footsteps.  No one can explain it but you might know him.  You might know that person.  And I sort of hope someone’s there.  I sort of hope someone’s following me.  Someone walking with me.  Because sometimes sometimes I just walk besides people and pretend I’m in love with them.  I pretend I’m walking next to a person who just loves me.  We’re strolling together because that’s what you do when you’re in love.  It’s a comfort.  I was a child once.  I know what its like.  That feeling.  Someone cares about you.  Like a pressure on your chest.  Like a pressure on your heart.  I can’t describe it.  Do you know what I’m saying?

NANCE

(nods dummy yes)

RUTH

I forget what it’s like.

NANCE

(voice)  You know what’d make you feel better?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

(voice)  Hold me.

RUTH

… No.

NANCE

(voice)  Hold me.

RUTH

NANCE

Hold me.

RUTH

Just a moment.

NANCE

Here you are.

RUTH

There.

NANCE

So nice …

RUTH

Yes.

18.

A bus stop.

Rain.

Night.

One street lamp.

Jake sitting alone.

Cat container next to him.

On phone:

JAKE

This is Jakey.

I don’t know who’s gonna get this.

Someone’s going to get it.

So hello whoever this is.

I hope it’s not mom.

Mom, I hope it’s not you don’t send this to my mom if you get this.

I’m not coming back.

I’m leaving and I’m not going back to my house.

I’ve been going away for a while now.

I lost my job and I’ve been just wandering around for the last few months.

Just take the train and get off somewhere and wander around.

Sleep in the forest.

I don’t really know what to do anymore.

I keep having these dreams about nuclear wastelands.

Not like dramatic or anything.

The world transformed into a nuclear wasteland.

But the funny thing was it didn’t kill anyone.

Everyone was still alive.

They just lived in this wasteland.

I pushed this cart around selling everyone water.

We were happy, more or less.

I don’t remember being unhappy in the wasteland.

So I think I’ve reached my recording limit.

Keep my answering machine as evidence.

I give all my belongings to you mom.

I love you.

19.

Parked Minivan.

GIRLY

Where are we?

JAKOB

I come sit here sometimes.

GIRLY

What is that like a field?

JAKOB

Yes.  And there are woods up in the distance.

GIRLY

We are really in the middle of nowhere.

JAKOB

Yes, isn’t it nice?

GIRLY

I guess.

JAKOB

Do you want to listen to the radio?

GIRLY

Naw it’s okay.

JAKOB

I have all the channels.  I can play all the channels.

GIRLY

That’s okay.

JAKOB

Would you like something to drink?  I have bottles of water or mini liquor bottles.

GIRLY

Why do you come up here?

JAKOB

I like it here.

GIRLY

But why really?

JAKOB

I get sick of the buildings.

GIRLY

Yeah?

JAKOB

Yes, sometimes it is nice to not look at a building.

Jakob turns on radio.

It is something odd and foreign.

GIRLY

What’s that?

JAKOB

I think it is public radio.  Do you like it or should I change it?

GIRLY

No, it’s okay.

JAKOB

“African jazz.”

GIRLY

JAKOB

Hey I am not scary.

GIRLY

I know.

JAKOB

You can look at me if you want.

GIRLY

It’s not that it’s my own thing.

JAKOB

I understand that.

GIRLY

I’m just a little shy I guess.

JAKOB

Look at me.

She does.

JAKOB

You have very nice eyes.  Did anyone tell you that?

GIRLY

My mom says it but she’s like my mom.

JAKOB

Yes, she is partial to complimenting you.  I have no vested interest in impressing you so my opinion is more valid.

GIRLY

Take off your hat.

JAKOB

What?

GIRLY

We’re inside so you can take off your hat.

JAKOB

Okay.

GIRLY

Your head looks funny.

JAKOB

It is my head.

GIRLY

I don’t mean that it’s just … not what I expected it to look like?

JAKOB

What did you expect?

GIRLY

I don’t know.

JAKOB

I did not expect you to be like this either.

GIRLY

What am I like?

JAKOB

You are a person.

GIRLY

You better believe I’m a person mister.

JAKOB

No I mean, it is a pleasant surprise.

GIRLY

Sure.

JAKOB

I have never spoken to a black woman before.

GIRLY

Really?

JAKOB

It is not something I ever needed to do.  You are the first black woman I’ve actually ever spoken to.

GIRLY

Ain’t really no woman yet.

JAKOB

Yes you are.  You speak like are a woman.  Your body is just waiting to catch up with you.

GIRLY

How long you live in the city?

JAKOB

All my life.

GIRLY

But you got an accent.

JAKOB

I don’t leave my neighborhood much.

GIRLY

You’re like Puerto Ricans.

JAKOB

No we are very different from Puerto Ricans.

GIRLY

But I mean they speak their own language in their neighborhood and when you come into their neighborhood they’re like, What?

JAKOB

I suppose yes, we are the same that way.

GIRLY

You should be nicer to people.

JAKOB

It is funny because that is the same thing I would say to you and your people.

GIRLY

My people?

JAKOB

You know what I mean.  I am not being offensive.

GIRLY

Sure.

JAKOB

We don’t want to be left alone.  We don’t want people watching.  We don’t want either thing.

GIRLY

Then live in the country like that Oatmeal guy.

JAKOB

We have lived in the city for a long time.

GIRLY

Well if you don’t like the people around you sounds like someone’s gonna have to move.

JAKOB

Maybe you’re right.

GIRLY

Take off your glasses.

JAKOB

Hmn?

GIRLY

Take off your glasses I wanna see your eyes.

He does.

GIRLY

I was wrong about you.

JAKOB

Yes?

GIRLY

Yeah you’re kind of cute.

JAKOB

Oh yes?

GIRLY

I mean there’s all these layers and we still got your beard but yeah, I like your lips.

JAKOB

My lips?

GIRLY

Got to pick something to like, right?

JAKOB

Yes I suppose so.

GIRLY

JAKOB

I have a wife.

GIRLY

Yeah I figured that.

JAKOB

She is not able to have children anymore.

GIRLY

Uh huh.

JAKOB

She does not like to be with me physically.

GIRLY

Yeah okay I’m not a shrink or anything.

JAKOB

I thought I would explain my reasons.

GIRLY

For what?

JAKOB

For bringing you here.

GIRLY

I don’t know that you need to explain anything.

JAKOB

I hate speaking to people.  I do not like people.  I often imagine myself very happy in a world without anyone.

GIRLY

Yeah?

JAKOB

Yes, ever since my son died for no reason before we had a chance to name him I have not liked being around people.

GIRLY

Yeah that can fuck a day up.

JAKOB

Yes.

GIRLY

JAKOB

Here’s some money.

GIRLY

Thanks.

JAKOB

I want you to pretend like I am raping you.  But.  Won’t actually be raping you.  I am going to fake-rape you.  You should act like you are being raped but I promise to not actually rape you.   I will not feel good if I accidentally rape you on purpose.  Do you see where I am coming from?

GIRLY

I can see it.

JAKOB

Are you all right with this?

GIRLY

Yeah why not?

JAKOB

It will be fake.

GIRLY

Don’t got nowhere else to be.

JAKOB

GIRLY

So Christmas, right?

JAKOB

GIRLY

I used to drink egg nog?  Like this fancy place I got in my mind and my mom and I drank egg nog out of like China.  But I might as well have not been there.  I got nothing to show.  No evidence or nothing, my past just gone, right?  Like me speaking at you now.  Some other things will happen and I’ll like eat meals and shit and this shit will fade.  You and me and this shit will fade.

He punches her sharply in the nose.

A thick torrent of blood pours down Girly’s face.

She is incredibly calm:

GIRLY

Yeah, that’s cool.

JAKOB

This is the game.

GIRLY

Okay.

JAKOB

Tell me to stop.

GIRLY

Fine, uh …

JAKOB

Tell me not to.

GIRLY

“Please don’t rape me.”

JAKOB

Don’t what?

GIRLY

“Please don’t rape me.”

JAKOB

I’m not stopping.

GIRLY

“Help me.”

JAKOB

No one will help you.

GIRLY

Please don’t.

JAKOB

No one cares about you.

GIRLY

Please no.

JAKOB

No one cares.

GIRLY

No!

Jakob chokes her.

This takes as long as it needs to.

As she loses consciousness, the lights slowly fade to complete and total darkness.

Then:

VOICE

Over here.

GIRLY

Who’s that?

VOICE

It’s me.

GIRLY

Where are you?

VOICE

I’m over here.

GIRLY

I can’t see anything.

VOICE

Come on over.

GIRLY

How do I get there?

VOICE

Just listen to my voice.

GIRLY

I’m coming.

VOICE

Just a little further.

GIRLY

Here I am.

VOICE

There you are.

GIRLY

Hello.

Light on Girly’s face.

VOICE

Hello.

GIRLY

Hey.

VOICE

Your hair is in your face.

GIRLY

Oh, sorry.

VOICE

That’s better.

GIRLY

You got anything for a girl?

VOICE

Yes.

GIRLY

Like a drink or something?

VOICE

I have this water.

GIRLY

Yeah, I’ll take that.

Girly takes glass of water.

(There is no other hand.)

She drinks it in one long sip.

GIRLY

That’s gonna make me pee.

VOICE

You’ll be fine.  Here’s a handkerchief.

GIRLY

For what?

VOICE

There’s something on your face.

GIRLY

Thank you.

VOICE

You’re welcome.

GIRLY

I’m pretty tired can I fall asleep somewhere?

VOICE

Don’t fall asleep.

GIRLY

I’m gonna go to sleep.

VOICE

You don’t want to do that.

GIRLY

I don’t feel so good.

VOICE

You look fine.

GIRLY

Something’s happening.

VOICE

You look beautiful.

GIRLY

Someone’s doing something.

VOICE

You’re just here with me.

GIRLY

I’m just here.

VOICE

You’re safe.

GIRLY

I’m safe.

VOICE

I’ve got you.

GIRLY

I see you.

VOICE

You’re mine now.

GIRLY

I can see you.

VOICE

GIRLY

Hi dad.

20.

The forest.

Pitch night.

A running brook.

Girly lies motionless on the forest floor.

Jake standing over Girly.

He holds cat carrying case.

JAKE

Hey.  Little girl.

GIRLY

Mm.

JAKE

Wake up.

GIRLY

Who’re –

JAKE

Here I’ll help you to your feet.

GIRLY

Naw naw I’m … good.

JAKE

I was just walking out here and I saw you.  I live in the city.

GIRLY

Oh yeah so do I.

JAKE

Well that’s lucky you can come with me.

GIRLY

JAKE

How are you?

GIRLY

I feel like my fuckin leg is broke but I can like walk or hobble.

JAKE

What happened?

GIRLY

What – What’re you doing here?

JAKE

What do you mean?

GIRLY

Who are you?

JAKE

I’m just a guy.

GIRLY

What are you doing here in the woods man?

JAKE

I just am … doing this.  It’s just where I come.

GIRLY

motioning to carrying case

Yeah what’s that?

JAKE

Oh that’s my cat.

GIRLY

Kinda quiet.

JAKE

He usually has a sitter.  I’m not supposed to take him out.  I was going to release him in the wild but I gave him kitty morphine for the trip.  It really knocked him out.  I’m really lonely.  My heart is broken.  She’s making me do this.  I think he’s dead.  I think I fed him too much morphine.

GIRLY

Well like, check his breathing?

JAKE

I’m afraid to look in there.

GIRLY

Well you’re never gonna know unless you look.

JAKE

How about you look?

GIRLY

I don’t want to tell you your cat’s dead.

JAKE

Then he’ll be alive and dead at the same time.

GIRLY

Hey I should –

JAKE

Do you want to see something?

GIRLY

I was just with someone.  I got in a car.  A van.

JAKE

I feel compelled to show you the extension of my hand.

GIRLY

Hmn?

JAKE

I feel compelled to show you my extension.

GIRLY

What extension?

JAKE

Let me give you a good hug.

He suddenly does.

GIRLY

Oh that.

Jake breathes her in deep, sighs.

JAKE

Oh that’s good.  That’s really nice.

He slowly lowers her to the ground.

Sets her down gently.

As he straightens, he pulls a knife from Girly’s body.

Jake looks down: Girly is motionless.

He looks at the knife in his hands as if it were magic.

21.

Jakob’s apartment.

Dark.

Jakob sits in the middle of the room.

He wears boxers short and a tee shirt.

No hat, no glasses.

Ruth comes in with dummy in stroller.

RUTH

You’re sitting in the dark.

JAKOB

I’m praying.

Ruth clicks on light.

RUTH

Where did you get those clothes?

JAKOB

They were in my van.  My real clothes were muddy.

RUTH

Muddy?

JAKOB

I have been walking through the forest tonight.

RUTH

You have cuts on your arm.

JAKOB

No they’re just –

RUTH

JAKOB

What is that thing?

RUTH

What thing?

JAKOB

In the stroller.

RUTH

I found it on the street.

JAKOB

What’s it doing?

RUTH

I put it there.

JAKOB

I don’t like its look.

RUTH

He’s just a boy.

JAKOB

It’s a little man.

RUTH

He’s a boy.

JAKOB

It’s a small man.  His bowtie.

RUTH

It’s a boy.

JAKOB

It’s a doll.

Jakob goes to it.

Calmly removes its head.

JAKOB

See?

RUTH

Yes.

JAKOB

Doll.

RUTH

Yes.

JAKOB

Fake.

RUTH

JAKOB

I don’t think God wants us to be together.

RUTH

No.

JAKOB

He would have done something already.

RUTH

JAKOB

I feel like doing something.  Do you mind if I do something to you?

RUTH

Go ahead.

Jakob removes her wig, carefully.

Then, he animates it like a dog:

JAKOB

Arf!  Arf!  Arf!

RUTH

What are you doing?

JAKOB

Name him.

RUTH

I don’t want to do that.

JAKOB

Give your puppy a name.

RUTH

You do it.

JAKOB

Jake?

RUTH

JAKOB

Do you know someone named Jake?

RUTH

No.

JAKOB

Just his name came up.

RUTH

JAKOB

Jake’s been coming up so I was wondering if you knew why that was, why Jake keeps coming up.

RUTH

Jake is a man I have been fucking.

JAKOB

RUTH

Okay?

JAKOB

Yes.

RUTH

Should I leave?

JAKOB

RUTH

Should I leave now?  Have you had enough?  You have to tell me to leave because otherwise I will stay.

JAKOB

You should go.

RUTH

Thank you.

JAKOB

Do you need anything?

RUTH

No I have money.

JAKOB

Do you need some clothes?

RUTH

No I don’t want anything from this house.

JAKOB

Then goodbye.

RUTH

Goodbye.

JAKOB

God killed our son because you are a demon.

22.

Cop car.

Cop in front.

Jake in back.

JAKE

Did you find my cat?  He would have been in a blue container –

COP

Sir, what were you doing in the forest?

JAKE

I wasn’t doing anything.

COP

Some children saw you by their back fence and as an officer of this neighborhood I’d love to know why.

JAKE

I don’t really have to tell you.

COP

No, you have to tell me.

JAKE

No, I’d rather not and I’ve got rights.

COP

No, actually, you don’t.

JAKE

I studied this in school and I think I have rights.

COP

There’s nothing written that says I have to help you.

JAKE

Yeah?

COP

I’ve read the policies of this nation.  I don’t even have to take you anywhere.  We can just sit in this car until the sun comes up.  I have endurance.  Think you can sit on your hands til morning?  It must hurt already.  We can go get donuts.  You probably think I eat donuts.  I don’t.  I have a fairly good diet so when we have breakfast we’re going to some place to get a salad.  If you can pick up the fork. Do you see what I’m saying?  There’s rewards.  So I’d really love to know what you were doing lurking outside these houses.

JAKE

I don’t know.

COP

You had items on you that say otherwise.

JAKE

Those didn’t mean anything.

COP

A steak knife.

JAKE

Yeah, that wasn’t anything.

COP

A steak knife in your pocket.

JAKE

I’ve just been coming out here with that steak knife.  It’s really no big thing and I don’t know why you’re persecuting me.

COP

Did you hurt people?

JAKE

No, no I just – It’s really hard…

COP

There was blood man.

JAKE

Yeah, I don’t know what you want with, I can’t really tell –

COP

Hey I won’t tell anyone.

JAKE

No?

COP

It’s between you and me.  Promise.

JAKE

I don’t know …

COP

Come on, big guy.

JAKE

This is, this is weird … like … like this knife?

COP

Mmm hmn?

JAKE

I totally wasn’t going to use it but lately I keep opening the drawer and there it is, wrapped in that towel.  And every now and then take it out.  Look at it.  And every now and then take it out and carry it in your pocket.  Just to see what it feels like.  You’re a different person when you’ve got a knife in your pocket.  Not better, just … different.  Fingering the handle while people speak about whatever they’re speaking about.  So I’ve been walking around the suburbs.  Saying hello to children.  Saying hello to whoever’s pushing the stroller.  Real interactions with people.  And I feel normal here.  I’ve been hiding in the forest.  I got the disease in the forest.  And I think I might kill myself here, I’ve been thinking about killing myself for lurking around these forests.  It’s a perfectly good thing to kill yourself about.  What am I doing here?  Look at all these trees, these black trees –

COP

Are you crying?

JAKE

COP

I don’t have any napkins.

JAKE

That’s okay.

COP

I think we should go somewhere together.

JAKE

Yeah?

COP

Just spend the night with us if that’s okay.

JAKE

Is it somewhere safe?

COP

Yeah, it’s real safe.

JAKE

Because that’s what I’ve been looking for, really.  Just somewhere safe.

COP

Well, let’s get you there, all right?

JAKE

Yeah.

COP

All right we’ll be there soon.

JAKE

And my cat?

COP

Who?

JAKE

Did you find my cat?

COP

Yeah we found him.

JAKE

Is he okay?

COP

Yeah some guys got him at the station.  Pele?

JAKE

Yeah?

COP

Yellow guy with white boots?

JAKE

Yeah that’s him.

COP

The guys at the station fed him some milk.

JAKE

Oh he’s on a diet he can’t have milk.

COP

No?

JAKE

He’s lactose intolerant.

COP

You really care about him, don’t you?

JAKE

He’s the only person I love.

COP

I understand that, brother.

JAKE

Can I see him when we get there?

COP

Sure thing.

JAKE

Thank you.

23.

Cemetery.

RUTH

Hello.

I’ve been gone.

I brought this for you.

(lays down Dummy)

I don’t really know why.

Thought you might like it.

It’s really all I’ve got.

To give you.

Prop him up.

There.

He looks nice.

They mowed.

It looks very nice.

Very clean.

I knitted this sweater for myself.

I have a job.

I watch a kitten.

I like it.

I like having a place to go.

I do stuff there.

I really like it.

(She pulls out bottle, drinks.)

A funny story.

A strange story.

I’ve been waking up.

There’s a little kick.

A little bit of you.

And I think, Oh God.

He’s there.

But you’re not there.

I’m happy you’re not there.

I bought a ticket.

With my job money.

I bought this train ticket.

I’m going away.

And I’m not coming back.

I thought you might want to know that.

I’m not the person I thought.

(low, different tone)  What am I d – ?

Goodbye.

24.

A train.

Night.

Thundering train.

Nance and Ruth, side by side.

Ruth sleeping.

She is dressed in street clothes.

NANCE

Ruth?

Ruth?

Wake up.

The castle.

You can see the castle out there.

See the outline?

Right outside the window here?

Awh, look at her.

So majestic.

So dark.

Too bad they don’t have lights on it.

Some spotlights or something.

Ruth?

I know you’re awake you don’t need to fake it.

Big faker.

You look like a troll when you sleep.

I’m ‘onna lick your face.

RUTH

Don’t.

NANCE

I’m hungry.

Ooh, let’s go to the snack cart.

I love the little boxes they come in.

Chips get their own little part.

Hot dog.

Cola.

Snack-sized wines.

Do you have some money?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

Just give me a fiver.

RUTH

No.

NANCE

I’ll tickle you for it.

RUTH

No.

NANCE

Okay I won’t tickle you.

RUTH

I’m sleeping.

NANCE

Yeah, gotta bone up on your beauty.  Hey look a twenty.  Wow.  Just in my jacket just then.  Like a jackpot.

Cell rings.

NANCE

(on phone)

Hello?

Hey there.

Hey I can’t hear you.

Is that you, Girly?

Hey, speak up.

Okay I’m hanging up.

(clicks off, redials)

You want anything?

Pretzels or something?

RUTH

No.

NANCE

(on phone)  Hey, if it’s you trying to call I can’t hear a thing.  Reception’s fucked here but like mummy’s gone out for a spell.  Call back, okay?  (hangs up, to Ruth:)  Be right back doll.

Nance kisses Ruth on cheek, exits up aisle.

Cell rings.

After a moment’s hesitation,

Ruth picks up.

RUTH

Hello?

It is Girly.

No phone, she simply speaks:

GIRLY

Hey there.

RUTH

Who’s this?

GIRLY

RUTH

Hello?

GIRLY

I think I suppose to talk to someone.

RUTH

You’re talking to me.

GIRLY

Yeah but like someone else.

RUTH

I’m the only one here right now.

GIRLY

Ah man.

RUTH

Is something the matter?

GIRLY

(sings incredibly slow)

Don’t want to end up

Gray suit covered cat hair suit

Cats and / kittens –

RUTH

/ Do you … do you need help?

GIRLY

Maybe I might.

RUTH

You don’t sound well.

GIRLY

I’m not well.

RUTH

What’s wrong?

GIRLY

You can set the phone down.

RUTH

What?

GIRLY

You don’t need the phone.

Ruth sets it down.

RUTH

Who is this?

GIRLY

I don’t know.

RUTH

What’s wrong with you dear?

GIRLY

I used to have this headache but it went away.  Not a headache but like a sound.  Or these noises, this noise?  Do you hear it?  Can you hear it?  Can you help me?  I know you’ll go away some day but for now we could sleep together sleep in bed together.  Would you like that?  Would you like it even though you can’t really ever count on someone to be there ever because we all die and leave each other alone to die by ourselves and die ourselves and leave everyone we love to die alone?

RUTH

I’m so afraid.

GIRLY

You sound like a good person.

RUTH

Do I?

GIRLY

At least your voice.

RUTH

GIRLY

Am I gonna see you?

RUTH

I …

GIRLY

Can I come and see you?

RUTH

I don’t know.

GIRLY

I’ll just stay for a little.

RUTH

Okay.

GIRLY

Just stay with you a little.

RUTH

I’ll make you food.

GIRLY

Like what?

RUTH

I don’t know.

GIRLY

I’m cool with whatever.

RUTH

I’m happy you’re coming.  It will be very nice to have company.

GIRLY

I like company.

RUTH

We’ll even say a blessing.  He opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing because the Lord watches over all who love him …

GIRLY

That’s nice.

RUTH

Yes.

GIRLY

I’ll be there soon.

RUTH

Oh, don’t –

GIRLY

Hm?

RUTH

Don’t go.

GIRLY

… Okay.

RUTH

Not yet.

GIRLY

Okay.

RUTH

Just wait.

GIRLY

Like, wait?

RUTH

Just … listen.

GIRLY

Like, listen?

RUTH

Let’s just listen.

GIRLY

Okay.

RUTH

Just for a moment.   Listen to each other.

They listen to one another.

The train thunders on.

Lights slowly fade.

End of Play.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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