A bedroom with B laying on the bed in her underwear, relishing in the moment. She is about twenty-three, dark hair, and incredibly relaxed. A walks out of the restroom with gym pants on and no shirt.
A– You seem very comfortable.
B – (after she blows out smoke) Ah, Cigarette’s. Have one with me beast?
A – I’m glad you had one after. (open’s a window)
B – Not a smoker?
A - The scent makes me nauseous.
B – Ha, you’ve just never been hammered enough.
A – I’ve been drunk.
B – I believe it. But not enough. Often enough. There comes a time when you need help.
A – What does that have to do with smoking?
B – Your parents smoke?
A – no.
B – You a singer?
A – No.
B – Family with lung cancer?
A – No.
B – You're so (She walks toward him, leans on the frame to stare at him in the afternoon light) You're so colorful.
A - I don't understand.
B - You do things two completely different people do, but you do both. A guy like you should drink more.
A – I beg your pardon, but I don’t believe that will change anything.
B – Honey, Just a little suck. (She hands him the butt of the cigarette). Suck it into your body, not into your throat. That’s how you choke.
A – (He does so without even allowing the smoke to enter his lungs, and exhales) As I said, it’s not for me.
B – You didn’t even inhale!
A – Of course I did.
B – Try one more time.
A – Trust me, I’m perfectly content without.
B – Everyone should kill at least one cigarette in their lives.
A – That’s a matter of opinion.
B – Well I say for a fact that I’m not a smoker. I smoke when I’m drunk and I smoke after sex. It makes me everyone else. I leave myself as I hold it, as I flick it, as I squint and the heat crackles the tobacco’s ghost in and out of my mouth. It’s almost like, I suck away all of the grey, and colors appear behind it. (She lifts her cigarette up to his mouth.)
A – I did not ask you over so that you could force me to smoke a cigarette.
B – You just ain’t never been helpless before, you're too cool fighting the urge do what guys like you do.
A – I fight nothing, there's no urge.
B - Why am I here then? Bad-boy. (silence) Lets get helpless.
A - I wont be helpless.
B – Unless you’re blacked out. Where's the drink?
A – That’s a mistake I’ve never made, and no.
B – It’s not a mistake unless you have a reason to be guilty for.
(she hold up her cigarette to his mouth)
A – It makes me nauseous.
B – You’ll live.
A – (Holds her wrist and inhales, but instantly begins to cough)
B – Ha, I’m sorry. I knew that would happen. Everyone coughs the first time.
A – (choking) Thanks for telling me. (Rushes to the sink for water).
B – (Puts out the cigarette, and leaps back onto the bed)
A – (Walks out of the bathroom with a glass of water)
B – I’m sorry.
A – It’s okay.
B – You know, I was actually quite surprised.
A– At what?
B– At you today… What are you playing with me for?
A – Self-assurance.
B – I can assure you? C’mon, I would’ve faked everything if I had to.
A – Your pretending wouldn’t go unseen.
B – Oh?
A – You were not playing pretend.
B– You don’t know that.
A – Really?
B – It was alright. (she laughs)
A – Thanks.
B – For real? I think I’ll give you a discount.
A – That good huh?
B – No, I feel bad.
A – Very funny.
B – Oh C’mon! Lighten up, I’m surprised at how not pathetic you are for one of my boys.
A – Did I seem pathetic initially?
B – No, you’re just not like my regular boys.
A – May I ask how your boys are?
B – They ask for a little tease, or strip, or some weird roll play.
A – I feel utter disappointment when a girl believes she’s to be somebody else when she’s with me. I can feel it because it’s not what I know it should be.
B – That’s a curse.
A – I can feel them elude themselves.
B - Was I there?
A – Its different, I don’t know you.
B – Oh right. You never gave me a chance.
A – (Has been looking out the window since he choked)
B - (Pause, Scans turned photo’s) Who’s this?
A – … My wife.
B – Wow, you are a bad-boy.
A – She passed away.
B – How?
A - … arriere pensee.
B – What?
A - How old are you?
B – Twenty-three.
A – Dear Lord... Well, think back.
B – To when I was younger?
A – A couple seconds ago.
B – What.
A – I’m intrigued. Nobody ever told you it’s mostly polite to say “my condolences”, or “I’m sorry” when someone mentions a death.
B – I didn’t do it.
A – It’s just polite.
B – You wanna hug?
A – (laughs) Its okay. Thank-you though.
B – How’d she die?
A – Why do you want to know?
B – I don’t know. It’s scary.
A – Don’t drink and drive.
B – Oh, man. That sucks. Everyone drinks and drives.
A – Not everyone.
B – Everyone I know.
A – Not me.
B – She drinks a lot?
A – No.
B – I guess that sucks more. It’s like how like teenagers get pregnant, and the wannabe mommies get miscarried.
A – Yes, It sucks.
B – When?
A – About two weeks.
B – What?…You should’ve…
A – No. Don’t pick it all apart. There’s too much to it.
B – I guess... It’s not my business but, you have a little girl?
A – (He looks at her)
B – I saw the baby room on the way in.
A – Mia, yes I do.
B – Where is she?
A – Since the death she’s been staying with my mom. She’s moving back on friday.
B – How old is she?
A – Just turned two.
B – Oh, man. I can uh, if you ever need a baby sitter…
A – I wouldn’t dare.
B – Fine… This isn’t my business, but don’t you think two weeks is…?
A – I know it’s too soon to have done this. I’m not in the wrong though.
B – You don’t feel like you’re wronging her? I’m honestly scared she’ll smite me when I leave.
A – She has no right.
B – I think she does. I would never-
A – She was at fault.
B – So, I’m sure she feels horrible.
A – No, not in the accident.
B – What?
A – Some kid was driving. The kid was drunk.
B – The one who hit her?
A – The one driving.
B – (Silence. She’s trying to wrap her head around this.)
B – That’s too bad. That’s not easy to get over.
A – no.
B – She cheated, I get it.
A – Caused the crash.
B - She was-
A - Both were undone according to the reports.
B – Damn, I ain’t even tried that.
A – Don’t.
B – Well not drunk, obviously.
A - …Obviously.
B – I can’t help but think what her last thought was before she –
A – I beg your pardon, but you must understand when what you say may not be so easy for the other person to digest. Please. Stop.
B – Yea, I get that.
A – Just, please.
B – Do you know why?
A – Why what?
B – We’re you and her like, okay?
A – She was a young spirited woman. She married me, hoping to be able to settle. She just wasn’t destined for that, I guess.
B – Did you know?
A – … No.
B – Karma. Tough karma.
A – That was only a couple nights, them. We’ve been together for much longer.
B – How old was he.
A – Twenty-three… Digest that.
B – Shit. I could never. I could never forgive- how can you forgive that?
A - I can’t. But here I am, with a -
B – This is different, you’re paying me.
A – That’s not a terrible thing?
B – Well, not really, she was doing what she was doing behind your back. I doubt he was paying her.
A - What are you doing?
B – Okay, okay… my bad, I get it. Stopping.
A – Over time people can forgive the mistakes.
B – I understand how you feel.
A – How’s that?
B – Well, like, my dad sexually abused me when I was little, but he was my dad, so I had to love him, he took care of me.
A – I would never forgive that.
B – If I was a boy, I wouldn’t either.
A – As a girl too.
B – Well, he was never… He took care of me.
A – Its unforgivable.
B – Look, I know, I was down to kill him once I knew what it was.
A – Is he still alive?
B – He got lung cancer.
A – Karma.
B – I guess, but its love and hate so… I know how you feel.
A – Right.
B – Can I see a picture of Mia?
A – In the drawer of the nightstand, behind you.
B – … She’s so pretty.
A – She really is, I was blessed to be able to keep her.
B – She’s so, so pretty! Like, crazy beautiful.
A –She saved my life these past few weeks.
B – She miss her mom? (pause.)
A – That’s where it’s tough.
B – Totally, like, I wouldn’t know what to think at two.
A – My mom said she’d take care of explaining it at first. I don’t believe I had it in me.
B – You took it hard, huh?
A – I scared myself. (picks up the pack of cigarettes at the window) Do you mind?
B – Hell no.
A – Do you interrogate all your… boys?
B – No, just you. Ill usually take off with a drink out the fridge as they lay plopped on the bed, some don’t even know I leave. That’s why I get pay first, other reasons too.
A – Why did you stay?
B – (She stares directly into his eyes) I have fallen deeply in love with you.
A – I beg your pardon!?
B – (She laughs hysterically, then stops) You’re face! Oh, Man. So scared.
A – (chuckles, and stares at her)
B – I’m kidding… you got nice eyes though.
A – I’m not looking for-
B – This isn’t supposed to happen you know. This ruins the sex market cycle stuff you know. It’s supposed to be you’re fat and hairy or skinny and pale, and clean. I’m clean. I take money, You pull down your pants, I do my shin-dig. You lie there on empty. I pop in a mint, and hop –off with a cigarette in hand. This, this was different…I never stay with the cigarette.
A – I’m sor –
B – No, you’re good. Patient, and you were, you know? I was flying man. You remember being a kid and being carried out the car? I would fake sleep so my dad would carry me out of the car. It was like, familiar. You checked to make sure I wasn’t dead. You made me like, alive. Real. Not to me. You. You made love to me, kinda. I knew everything about you before I had that cigarette. You, I don’t know. You warmed me, sorta.
A – I wouldn’t know the difference, as you do... Sorry.
B – You’re right… It ain’t my first rodeo.
A – Do you know why I asked you here?
B – Hey. Do you know?
A – Yes.
B – Tell me, you tell me, because I bet you don’t even know.
A – What?
B – Tell me.
A – Then you’ll know.
B – It’s not the same reason.
A – You really think so.
B – Yes.
A – Alright, I called you because I’ve been very lonely.
B – Oh, c’mon! I’m lonely! I’m lonely! Don’t give me that! HA! Lonely. I’m ten times more lonely than you.
A – And angry-
B – You’re sad, woopy! Ding, ding, ding, you got it.
A – More than-
B – That was not the reason.
A – What?
B – You were lonely, duh. But that was not the reason.
A – Okay, what’s the reason?
B – You want your wife back.
A – (silence. Confusion.)
B – You want to forgive her.
A – I don’t follow.
B – You want to say sorry.
A – Say sorry for what?!
B – Not loving her when she died. You always did.
A – What? Why would I call you for that?
B – You thought if you didn’t know the person it wouldn’t be so hard to lose them, but you get the chance anyway.
A – No. no. no. My apologies, but you? I called you for a fuck, that’s it, I was lonely.
B – Hey! you saw me dancing and you just had to ask? I remember the way you looked at me up there. It was so personal. Like, right at me, not a blink, not hungry, just in the moment, nothing else mattered. I was your wife dancing for you. I was better but I was her. She fucked up. You got pissed.
A – She doesn’t deserve that. That’s insane. I wanted to forget! Forget about all of it! I used you to get back at her! (His cigarette burns his hand.)
B – Have you looked at your wife’s picture? Look at me! How did you expect me not to see how we look? Dark hair? Hazel eyes? You wanted to forgive her one last time with a little screw action. You were roll playing man. I knew it too! Look at her! (She holds up the picture) She’s here! She’s dead, honey! (Slams the photo on the floor).
A – What was that for?!
B – Oh, shit. I’m sorry! I totally didn’t mean- I just… I was trying to get you-
A – No. don’t touch it. You’ll cut yourself. (He goes to grab a dust pan and broom)
A – (They remain silent as she picks out the photo and puts it on the bed. He cleans the shattered glass.)
B – (Walks to the window) I’m so sorry. That was a mistake. I didn’t mean to-
A – Forget it.
B – I just feel like- you were-
Silence. She begins to hold in tears.
B – They never kiss me... Not like for real. None of them ever do. You were so like, familiar... like home.
A – I feel incredibly regretful.
B – I’m sorry. I’ll leave.
A – I’m regretful.
B – I said I’m sorry. (Goes for her cigarettes and begins to leave)
A – Because if I knew I needed all of that. I would have tried even more I think.
B – It wouldn’t be the same.
A – I didn’t savor anything.
B – (Tearing) Fuck, I never cry.
A – That’s what my wife says when she’s crying.
B – Thank you, she’s beautiful.
The ending was really well done and a powerful moment, however, the beginning was a bit slowed down with exposition dialogue... mostly call and response revealing the Man's story. Its an excellent story that they are revealing, could just be me, but you have fully fleshed out characters and an interesting story that is being shared between them, but I don't know what is at stake or what is keeping the characters in the room until the very very end.
I couldn't thank you enough for reading it through. I appreciate the compliments and am taking the critiques into account. I've had this sitting around for years and have developed it recently. You've made great point that went unseen.
I found it very well written. I don't know why so many playwrights refuse to name their characters, to flesh them out. Even if the names aren't referred to, the playwright should know them and each character's background. You made a point to describe the woman's age and look but only what the man was wearing.
I liked it quite a bit. It felt very honest, especially once it got rolling. Dialogue is subtle and wanders without getting lost.
I too think it's a little rough going at the beginning. I almost think we learn she's a prostitute a little too late. I had opened the page to read, then was away from the computer for a couple hours, went right to it and started to read - completely forgot the subtitle on your post, so didn't remember she was until well into it.
I think knowing it from the beginning would actually draw a longer line from where we start (with our own assumptions) and the tender place we finish, which was awesome. I'd assume that your audience won't know their roles in a performance setting, and frankly, I wouldn't think you'd want them to find out any way other than in the play itself.
Anyway, nicely done. I hope you post your next draft too.
I enjoyed reading this. It pulled me right in with the specific voices of the two characters being so different. I think this accomplishes something many short plays don't accomplish, it manages to stay "on point" throughout without becoming boring.
That said, I have a few critical remarks that you can take or leave as you wish:
1 - I agree with the Anthony that it should be made clear to the reader in the beginning that the female character is a prostitute. The reason I say this is because it will give more weight to some of the dialogue and pull the audience into the play more quickly. There is no benefit as it stands in having us confused for the first couple of minutes.
2 - To my ear, the female character occasionally sounds more like a gay man. In fact, I kept waiting for some reveal that she is a transvestite or Transgendered character. One of the reasons for this is her use of the word "boy" for men. Women rarely refer to men as boys unless they are referring to a group of men (i.e. Boys' Night out, one of the boys, etc.) This is especially true in a sexual context. Very few women are interested in the idea of having sex with a boy - a young man, absolutely, a boy no.
3 - The female character's emotional shift at the end feels legit until she starts to expound on her feelings about her profession. This doesn't ring true to my ear. It is too "on the money." When she says "they never kiss me" that totally threw me out of the play. Most prostitutes do not kiss their Johns - it is an unwritten rule in the profession - not the other way around. The sex is transactional by nature - not intimate. If you want to address that you should do it in another play - it clouds the issue in this otherwise very specific piece. It is okay for her to get emotional at the end, that part is great, but you don't have to have her come out and define it. Her emotional defenselessness, her ability to be recognize both pleasure and pain, is part of her characters purpose in this scenario - she is the catalyst that draws the male character forward. We've already accepted that she is like this from the first few minutes of the play.
4 - I believe you meant to write "role play" not "roll play" (2 times).
5 - I had no problem with the characters not having names, except the way this piece was formatted it became very distracting having all those A's and B's lined up on the left. One simple solution to address two issues at once would be to just refer to them as "John" and "_____" (insert generic term for hooker). LOL.
Nice piece. Has a beginning, middle and end. Structure is important. I see quite a bit of work both on this site and elsewhere that seems to be sorely lacing in that regard.