Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lust: Past, Present, and Future -- Three Short Plays

Almost Ithacad
A play in one act
 (First performed at the Dallas Hub Theater; winner of the PIA Award at Cyberfest.)


Penelope          – Queen of Ithaca, wife of Odysseus
Odysseus         – King of Ithaca
Telemachus     – Prince of Ithaca, son of Odysseus and Penelope
Helen               – daughter of Zeus and Leda, wife of Menelaus, Queen of Sparta, most beautiful woman on earth

Act I
Scene 1 – The home of Odysseus. All is white marble. Enter Penelope. She is dressed in the finest orange and yellow Greek robes. She looks concerned and upset.

Penelope:         Odysseus! You’d best explain to me
                        Why it is that it burns now when I pee!

[Enter Odysseus. He is dressed like a king, in royal blue and purple.]

Odysseus:        I’ve only been at home a week, and this
                        Is what I’m greeted with? Where is the bliss
                        Of hearth and home that I was dreaming of?
                        These decades I thought only of our love.

Penelope:         Oh, cut the crap. I know your eloquence.
                        You’d best not think that I’m a dunce, as dense
                        As Agamemnon, Menelaus, or
                        Those Ajaxes. Now, tell me: who’s the whore
                        You couldn’t use a sheepskin on? I know
                        In twenty years that you were bound to bow
                        Your arrow in some other field, to slip
Your sword into some other sheath, to dip . . .

Odysseus:        Enough of gentle euphemisms, dear.
                        You know you don’t want to know where my spear
                        Has been through these twenty years, or who
                        It pierced or skewered, who I once ran through
                        With it. All of the girls I won I lost
                        At sea with all my men. Ah, such a cost . . .

Penelope:         I almost wish that they were here. You do
                        Not have to make up twenty years in two
                        Or three mere days. I’m out of practice. I
                        Was chaste for twenty years. Do you know why?

Odysseus [aside]:        I’m sure it was her long, large leather friend
                        That kept her satisfied up to the end.
But I won’t tell her that. I have my fears
                        That if I do, another twenty years
                        Will pass before I’m in my bed again.
                        What can I say to make sure that I win?

Penelope:         I’ll tell you why. I have a duty to
                        My husband. And what did I get from you?
                        A burning. Burning when I pee! So tell
                        Me, as a courtesy – I will not yell –
                        Just who it was you got this from? That witch?
                        That goddess, Circe, divine, holy bitch?

Odysseus:        You really think that I’d have gotten this
                        From sleeping with a goddess? You can kiss
                        Away good times in Hades making claims
                        Like that against a goddess. She enflames
                        In other ways than this. It can’t be her.

Penelope:         Zeus! When I pee, it feels just like a burr
                        Is trying to pass through. It’s killing me.

Odysseus:        And how will knowing help, Penelope?

[Enter Telemachus. He is dressed in black and gray, looking like he just came back from a long sea trip. He has a look on his face like he just finished doing something very bad.]

Telemachus:    Thank  Zeus you’re here at home. I’ve got some news.
                        I really need your help. Perhaps a ruse . . .

Penelope:         What is it? I am talking to your father.

Telemachus:    Now, don’t get mad. You know I wouldn’t bother
                        You if it weren’t important. Don’t get mad.

Odysseus:        You had to say ‘mad’ twice? It must be bad.
                        Talk to your dad. Don’t be a cad. Now tell
                        Me what you did. You lie or steal or sell?

Telemachus:    They’re all the realm of Hermes, so divine,
                        Like Bacchus and his orgies and his wine.
In truth, I stole. I’m not the first to steal
                        What I have stolen, and I hope that we’ll
                        Be able to undo what I have done.
                        Just don’t forget I’m your beloved son.

Odysseus:        Just tell me what you did, and we will see.

[Enter Helen. She is, of course, incredibly beautiful, and dressed in the finest scarlet clothes, which only make her more beautiful.]

Odysseus:        Dear Zeus! Now Sparta is our enemy?

Telemachus:    Now, don’t get mad. I never meant for this
                        To happen, but I simply could not miss
                        Another night outside her bed. A mighty
                        Persuasive force is Helen’s Aphrodite.

Penelope:         You get that whore-slut out of here! Dear Zeus!
                        I’ve never known a woman who’s so loose.
                        Her Aphrodite should have stayed at home,
                        Or in her skirts, at least. It shouldn’t roam.

Helen:              Don’t use my father’s name in vain. You think
                        I don’t know who I am? I cannot sink
                        Much lower than I’ve sunk. I’ve run away
                        Again. What can I say? I like to play
                        With pretty, sexy, younger men. No, Bacchus
                        Could never keep me drunk like Telemachus.

Telemachus:    I freed her from that evil tyrant’s grasp.

Penelope:         That woman stays here, I’ll give her an asp
                        To spend the night with. What is wrong with you?

Odysseus:        If Menelaus comes here, I’ll run through
                        The both of you. No fall of Troy for me
                        And Ithaca. Perhaps King Priam was
                        The kind to stick with kin, but ten years does
                        Enlighten one to consequences for
                        One’s city and descendants. Take that whore
                        Away from here or I will make another
                        Son with Penelope. You’ll have a brother
                        Who will be king when I am dead unless
                        You rid yourself of her and fix this mess.

Penelope:         With all the burning going on down where
                        Another son will exit me, beware
                        A burning temper, burning soul. A dire,
                        Uncertain future comes when born of fire.

Odysseus:        My point is that our son’s an idiot.
                        He cares not one iota but for what
                        His id is wanting. He’s a moron. He
                        Should be more civil-minded. We’re a free
                        And happy people, and this sort of thing
                        Will bring our country slavery. So bring
                        That woman back to Menelaus now,
                        A woman who would bed a rabid cow.

Helen:              I’m not as bad as that. Give me a break.

Odysseus:        You’d mount a whale, for Dionysus’ sake!
                        I challenge you to name all of your men.

Helen:              I take your challenge, Odysseus. Then
                        There’s Menelaus, Agamemnon, Gus,
                        And Ajax, Parahemolyticus,
                        And Parasourolophohippocles,
                        Euphoramesolipus, Sophocles,
                        And Philoeroâgapé, Clinton,
                        Then Biggus Dickus, Julius, Simpson,
                        And Paris, Priam, Hector, Kennedy,
                        A guy named Megaphallus who did not
                        Come close to rising to the name he’d got,
                        Then Porno, Psychometrics, Paracles,
                        And Euphamismorthomegacles.
                        Those are the ones that I can think of who
                        I can give names. Oh, Telemachus, too.
                        My husband has a lot of visitors
                        And willing slaves to mount me, whore of whores.

[Helen hangs her head in shame.]

Penelope:         Oh, please, for Dionysus’ sake, don’t dare
                        Pretend that you’re ashamed or that you care
                        For anything except an endless line
                        Of men. I pray to Zeus you keep from mine.

[Helen begins to point out something, but Telemachus interrupts her.]

Telemachus:    Too late for me. I’ve had this beauty here
                        At home, before we came to see you. We’re
                        In love and I won’t give her up. I trust . . .

Odysseus:        Don’t trust in visions clouded by your lust.

Penelope:         Your father clearly knows of what he speaks.
                        That man of ocean and of Circe reeks.
                        I am convinced it was from old Circe
                        That you made it so it burns when I pee.

Telemachus:    That’s more than what I want to know about
                        The two of you, you know. All children like to doubt
                        Their parents ever go have sex. Perhaps . . .

Penelope:         You think your parents want to know the paps
                        You taste, the wanton women that you bed?
                        And, worse, this stupid whore will get you dead.

Telemachus:    I love this woman! Don’t call her a whore!

Odysseus:        Perhaps I’ll use She-of-the-open-door.
                        Both back and front, or go in through the roof.

[Helen looks shocked.]

Penelope:         Oh, don’t act shocked, ashamed, or false-aloof.

Odysseus:        Collector-of-men’s seed! Or All-men’s-bed-
                        Time-buddy. For-all-men-her-clothes-are-shed.
                        The temple prostitutes all learn their tricks
                        From her, the greatest lover of men’s . . .

Telemachus:    She’s not at all like that! So stop it. Now.

Odysseus:        Did you not hear the list of names? Don’t bow
                        Before her wantonness. Take her to bed
                        And in the morning toss her on her head.
                        I will not have my country fall for her
                        Or let you give in to her kitten-purr.
                        Now go, and in the morning she had best
                        Be gone. So do not linger at her breast,
                        For if I find her here, I’ll dump her in
                        The sea. That way her uncle and her kin
                        Can deal with her and we mere mortals can
                        Be free. Get rid of her and be a man.
                        Don’t put your lust before your city, son –
                        Your duties before temporary fun.
                        And that is all this woman is for you,
                        As she was for each man. Admit it’s true.

[Telemachus hangs his head.]

Telemachus:    I’ll send her back to Menelaus when
                        The morning comes. We’re gone. I’ll see you then.

[Telemachus takes Helen by the hand. Both exit. Lights go down.]

Scene 2 – Lights come up. Odysseus’ home is empty. Enter Penelope.

Penelope:         I need to see a priestess presently.
                        It always, always burns now when I pee.

[Enter Odysseus.]

Odysseus:        That boy of yours had best have gotten rid
                        Of Helen. Menelaus shows, I’ll bid
                        That boy a pleasant stay in Hades and
                        I’ll feed them to that rabid dog. He’ll stand
                        Alone outside these walls with that dumb bitch.

Penelope:         You sure you didn’t get this from that witch?

Odysseus:        That witch? What witch? Oh, Circe’s who you mean.
                        Since Circe is a goddess, she is clean.

Penelope:         A slave girl, then? You had to take a prize
                        Already passed around to other guys?

Odysseus:        I wish you’d stop. Does knowing cure you there?

[Odysseus gestures below her belly.]

Penelope:         You’re right. I don’t know why I even care.
                        A woman such as I can remain chaste –
                        But men, I know, can’t let sperm go to waste
                        By keeping it inside and to themselves.
                        You men will mount both elephants and elves.

Odysseus:        We need to see if Telemachus did
                        What we told him to do, or if he hid
                        The Civilization-destroyer-just-
                        To-satiate-her-lust. I’ll turn to dust
                        Her bones with fire, mortar, pestle so
                        That I can fertilize my roses, grow
                        Them up my city walls, if she is here.

[Enter Telemachus.]

Telemachus:    Then father, you and she should never fear.
                        She’s gone. I sent her back to Sparta, home.

Odysseus:        For ten years after Troy I had to roam
                        Instead of coming home, and you, you brought
                        That woman here, the one our armies sought,
                        And threatened all our lives with war. What’s wrong
                        With you? You thought your life would be a song?
                        To be remembered that way has a cost –
                        For poetry you’d have this city lost?

Telemachus:    Perhaps I’ll be in some small comedy.
                        Oh, by the way, it sure burns when I pee.

[Penelope looks at Odysseus, who smiles sheepishly and shrugs his shoulders. Penelope is not amused. Lights go down.]

End Almost Ithacaiad

A Play in One Act

Scene 1 –         The lobby of a fairly upscale hotel. There are two couches, at right angles to each other. The front desk of the hotel is at the front of the stage. The hotel exit, bathrooms, and elevators are stage right. The bar is stage left. . ABRAHAM enters stage left, carrying a glass of whiskey. He is dressed like he is going out to pick up women. As he strolls toward center stage, FATINA enters stage right, pulling her luggage behind her. She is small and dressed conservatively. She beelines for the hotel’s front desk, front and center stage.

FATINA:        I’d like to check in, please. The name’s Fatine.
                        Fatina Dickens. Got it? Good. I’m keen
                        To put my things down, change my clothes, relax.
                        Now, what’s the price? Does that include the tax?

[ABE walks up to the front desk and looks at FATINA.]

ABE:               Well, hey there. How’s it going? Like a drink?

FATINA:        I’d really like to just check in. I think
                        I’ll take a rain check on that drink. Goodbye.

[ABE raises his glass to her and wanders off toward the bar.]

FATINE:         I know. I can’t believe that happened, why
                        On earth did he think that would work with me?
                        Why, thank you! Had he said that, honestly,
                        I might have heard him out. That “Hey, babe” stuff
                        Has got to go. Well, thanks. That’s quite enough
                        Complaining. Guess I’ll get up to my room.

[FATINE exits stage right. ABE enters stage left, his cell phone to his ear.]

ABE:               I’m telling you, this place is like a tomb
                        Right now. [A beat] I’m all alone down here. {two beats] You ought
                        To see the women that I’ve seen. [a beat] I bought
                        A drink for one, but she’s done left. [three beats] Yeah, right.

[Enter BRONA stage right. She is a very large woman. She is wearing a tight, black dress that is as short as possible, and very low cut in the front. She is also wearing high heels. She is carrying a purse.]

ABE:               I got to go. You ought to see this sight.

[ABE hangs up his phone and places it in his pocket. He meets BRONA at the couches.]

ABE:               You’re looking beautiful tonight. How ‘bout
                        I buy a drink for you and take you out?

BRONA:         I’ll take the drink for now, and then we’ll see.

ABE:               The name is Abe. And you, what would yours be?

BRONA:         I’m Brona. How about that drink now, Abe?

ABE:               Just tell me what you want, you’ll have it, babe.

BRONA:         I’ll have a fuzzy navel, if you please.

[ABE pats his lower belly.]

ABE:               I got a fuzzy navel here. I tease.
                        I’ll run and get you one. I’ll be right back.

[ABE exists stage left. BRONA opens her purse and takes out a cell phone, pushes a few buttons, then puts it to her ear.]

BRONA:         Fatina? Are you here? [three beats] Oh, good. [two beats] Unpack,
                        Get dressed, and let’s go out. I want to go. [several beats]
                        I’d really like to hook up . . . [three beats] Yes, I know. [a beat]
                        I got a gut here buying me a drink.
                        I hope he’s not the last. [three beats] Well, what you think? [two beats]
                        Just hurry up. I didn’t come down here . . . [several beats]
                        That’s right. Just you. So, no, I have no fear
                        Of anybody judging what I do. [several beats]
                        Well, bye. I’ll see you in an hour or two.

[BRONA puts her phone back in her purse. ABE enters carrying two drinks]

ABE:               Now who you gonna wait that long to see?

BRONA:         A friend of mine. You got that drink for me?

[ABE hands BRONA her drink. She takes an immediate drink, then sips it periodically throughout. He does the same with his own drink.]

ABE:               Of course. You doing anything tonight?

BRONA:         Go hit the local clubs. Find Mister Right.

ABE:               What makes you think that I’m not him? I bought
                        A drink for you. Perhaps you really ought
                        To hear me out.

BRONA:                                             A lot to ask me for
                        A drink. Please know, I’m not your common whore.

ABE (aside):   I’m sure she is a most uncommon one.

BRONA:         I mean, I do admit I’m here for fun . . .

ABE:               So have some fun. I want you to enjoy
                        The city. In fact, you ought to employ
                        My services. I know the city well.
                        I come here all the time. Boy, I could tell . . .

BRONA:         I do appreciate the offer, but 
                        My friend and I have plans. I’ll tell you what,
                        Though. If we come back early, then perhaps . . .

ABE:               I’m sure you’ll be exhausted to collapse
                        When you get back here after two. You sure
                        You wouldn’t like an escort?

BRONA:                                                         I infer
                        You know where all the clubs are at? My friend,
                        I think, wants us to go alone. We tend
                        To go out, just the two of us, when we’re
                        Together. This is gone. How bout a beer?

[BRONA lifts her empty glass. ABE stands and takes it from her, the walks away, exiting stage left. BRONA opens her purse and extracts her phone. She glances at it, then pushes several buttons before putting it to her ear.]

BRONA:         Hey, mom. I got your text. Is Bo asleep? [several beats]
                        Well, tell my munchkin nighty-night. [three beats] I’m deep
                        In conversation with this guy . . . [a beat] Not now.
                        He left to get a beer for me. [three beats] Allow
                        Me time to get to know him, mom. [three beats] Not yet. [several beats]
                        I think with him I’ll just play hard to get. [three beats]
                        That’s hardly true. This wouldn’t be the first. [several beats]
                        I’ve got to go. He’s here to quench my thirst.

[ABE enters stage left, carrying two beers.]

ABE:               I got your beer here. Who you talking to?

[BRONA shuts the phone and puts it back in her purse.]

BRONA:         My mom. She asked me what I planned to do.

ABE:               Well, what you plan to do? Still going out?

[BRONA reaches for her beer. ABE, as if remembering what he was there fore, hands it to her.]

BRONA:         Thanks. This will get me jump-started. Don’t pout.
                        I told you I was going out with my
                        Good friend. But you’ve done good. I won’t deny
                        You later on tonight, when we get back.
                        You might yet get to see me on my back.

ABE:               Now, you’re a bold one, ain’t you? Say what you . . .

[ABE’s phone rings. He looks at it.]

                        I got to answer this. We’ll rendezvous
                        Sometime tonight. I promise a good time.

[ABE points at her and nods, then flips open his phone and walks briskly away to the front left corner of the stage to get away from BRONA. She sits and quietly sips her beer as he talks.]

                        What’s up? [a beat] The game’s tomorrow. [a beat] Got a lime
                        And beer, just hanging out in the hotel. [two beats]
                        They have a lobby bar. [three beats] Not much to tell. [three beats]
                        I miss you too, hon. Wish you could have come. [several beats]
                        I will make sure you do when I get some
                        When I get home. [several beats] I hear ya, babe. I’d like
                        To have a bedtime buddy. [a beat] D’I hear Mike? [ a beat]
                        You tell my buddy I said “hi.” [three beats] I wish
                        I could have brought him, too. It’d be foolish
                        To take him out of school for stuff like this,
                        Though. [three beats] Yes, it is. [a beat] Give him a hug and kiss
                        For me. [a beat] Now, as for you, now don’t deny
                        Yourself – just think of me. [two beats] Alright. Goodbye.

[After a beat, ABE hangs up the phone and places it in his pocket and heads back to where BRONA is sitting.]

BRONA:         What makes you think that you can come back over
                        And get someplace with me? Go on now, Rover.

ABE:               I ain’t no dog. What makes you say that I’m
                        A dog? You’ve got no reason nor no rhyme.

BRONA:         I heard you on the phone. Who’s that? Your wife?
                        Your fiancé of thirteen years? A life
                        Of friends and children who are ignorant
                        Of who you really are and really want?
                        You like to come to things like this just so
                        You can cheat safely, more or less? I know
                        Your kind. You think that I don’t’ know? You think
                        That after that you’ll get laid with a drink?

ABE:               Now hold on. Hold on. I don’t know what you
                        Think that you heard. I’m sure it isn’t true.

BRONA:         It isn’t true? You’re telling me the things . . .

ABE:               The things you think you heard. Don’t know what brings
                        Out such hostility to me just now.

BRONA:         Don’t treat me like some ignorant, wanton sow.

ABE:               I don’t know what you thought you heard. I’d like . . .

BRONA:         So tell me who that was, or take a hike.

ABE:               Now come on, baby. Let’s not be like this.

BRONA:         Who was it that you said to give a kiss?

ABE:               Oh, that. Well, let me tell you who that was.
                        I called my little sister now because . . .
                        It doesn’t matter why. My sister’s got
                        A boy, my nephew, they don’t have a lot,
                        And I had wanted to bring him with me,
                        But he’s got school and, well now, as you see,
                        I called to le them know that I was here,
                        And said to kiss my nephew. He’s a dear,
                        Good boy, I’m here to tell you. Love that kid.

BRONA:         Just take that lying mouth and put a lid
                        On it. I don’t believe a thing you say.           
                        That was your wife. I won’t help you betray
                        Your wife. Your sister. That’s just gross. I heard
                        Your conversation. It would be absurd
                        To think that was your sister. Well, unless
                        You’re that perverted. Either way, this dress
                        Stays on so long as you’re around, so you
                        Had best give up on me. Best get a clue.

ABE:               Now, come on, babe, don’t be like that. Now, look,
                        Just tell me where you’re from. We ought to cook
                        Up something here since we’re both in town.

BRONA:         I keep on saying nothing’s going down,
                        But you’re so dumb that you can’t take the hint
                        That ain’t a hint. I guess I’ll have to print
                        It out in front the size of this motel.

ABE:               You do that, if you think that you can spell.

[BRONA is taken aback.]

ABE:               Don’t look so shocked. You think I hit on you
                        Because I thought you smart? I’m sure you knew
                        My aim was lower than your brain. A bit
                        Below is all, that and your nice, warm slit.
                        A couple boobs, a hole or two or three –
                        That’s all you are tonight – not just to me.
                        That’s why you’re dressed like that, with both your breasts
                        About to tumble out. That outfit tests
                        Each man you meet to see if they’re alive
                        And straight. I am. So why not let me dive
                        Between your thighs? That’s what you really want.

BRONA:         Don’t treat me like a want to be a cunt
                        And nothing more, you manless dick. You think
                        I’d really get in bed with you and drink
                        Your insults up like honeyed nectar? What
                        Makes you think that I am that kind of slut?

[BRONA stands and holds her beer out menacingly in front of her.]

                        Know what? I’m done with you. A selfish ass
                        Like you is bound to suck in bed. I’ll pass
                        On sex so boring that I’d likely call
                        Some friends before you finished. Your half-ball
                        And quarter-dick is not enough for me.

[BRONA turns and walks away.]

ABE:               I’d have to use my arm . . . an arm? no, three . . .
                        To even make myself be felt in you.
                        I’m lucky I missed your diseases, too.

[BRONA ignores him as she exists stage right. ABE just stands there several second, staring after her in silence. Then, suddenly, he turns toward the audience.]

                        Well, that sure went to shit. I thought for sure
                        I’d get laid by a slutty girl like her.
                        I should have never lost my cool like that.
                        There’s nothing like a slutty girl who’s fat.
            `           and now I lost my chance with her and, worse,
                        this lobby’s full of women. What a curse!
                        This hotel here’s a bust. I have to trust
                        That here I won’t see one bare ass or bust.

[ABE puts his beer on the table.]

                        Well, I’ll go freshen up in my room
                        No need to make this hotel here my tomb.
                        There’s bound to be a lady out tonight
                        Who’d rather get laid than start up a fight.

[ABE exists stage right. Lights go down.]

Scene 2 –         Same hotel lobby, later that night. The lobby is empty, the beer bottle gone, having been cleaned up by the hotel staff earlier. Enter BRONA, arm-in-arm with RICHARD, accompanied by FATINA, who is alone. RICHARD is dressed to advertise he has money. FATINA is wearing a pair of pants so skin-tight it is obvious she isn’t wearing any underwear and a tube top that only barely covers her breasts, leaving her belly bare. The outfit is finished with a pair of very high heels. Since she is alone, it is obvious the outfit had not had the desired effect, and she is visibly disappointed at this fact.]

FATINA:        You want to get a drink before the two
                        Of you head up to Brona’s room? You do,
                        I’ll even pay for it. I’d hate to go
                        Up to my room right now, or stay below
                        Here by myself. You want a drink? Come on,
                        A drink or two, then you can both be gone.

BRONA:         I guess we could stay for a drink. A drink
                        Would loosen me up more. Hon, what you think?

[RICHARD smiles at her. He’s anxious to get her to her room, but he doesn’t want to ruin his chances.]

RICHARD:    Whatever you want, Richard wants. You want
                        A drink, that’s fine. But don’t forget my blunt.

FATINA:        Oh, lucky you. I see that Dick has got
                        A double treat for you of dick and pot.

BRONA:         He plans to keep me puckered all night long.

[BRONA lifts her lips to kiss his lips.]

FATINA:        And see you wearing nothing but your thong.
                        But first, a drink. So, tell me what you’d like.

BRONA:         A buttery nipple. How does that strike
                        You, Richard? How would you like one of those?

RICHARD:    I’d like them any flavor that you chose.

[BRONA goes “Oooo,” then BRONA and FATINA laugh. When he doesn’t join in, they stop and look at each other, smiling.]

BRONA:         So, what you want for her to get for you?

RICHARD:    I’d like a scotch. A cube of ice or two.

FATINA:        Okay. I’ll be right back. Just have a seat.

[FATINA exits stage left, toward the bar. RICHARD sits on the couch and pulls BRONA down beside him. He places a hand high on her thigh. She looks at him and smiles. He places his free arm over her shoulders and pulls her toward him.]

RICHARD:    I sure can’t wait to get you to your room.

BRONA:         You just can’t wait to get into my womb.

RICHARD:    That’s why you brought me here. You brought me here
                        To satisfy your hungry thighs. That’s clear.

BRONA:         I’m so, so sorry. Are you feeling used?

RICHARD:    If that’s a joke, I’m really not amused.

BRONA:         It was a joke. I . . . Let’s just have our drink
                        And go. We are not here to joke and think.

[RICHARD stands.]

RICHARD:    I think I’ll go and take a piss. You wait
                        Right here. Be back to finish up my date.

[RICHARD exits stage right to the restroom. FATINA enters carrying RICHARD’s and BRONA’s drinks.]

FATINA:        I can’t believe you plan to fuck that guy.
                        He let me buy your drinks. I don’t deny
                        He’s hot, but man is that guy cheap and dumb.

BRONA:         So what? Who cares? I didn’t have him come
                        Back here with me so we could conversate.

FATINA:        I take it back, he is your perfect date.
                        But still, you’re really giving it away.
                        We ate and drank; he never tried to pay.

BRONA:         What do I care? I’m using him for sex.

FATINA:        I know. You’re turned on by his jumping pecs.
                        Here, take your drinks. I’ve got to get my own.

[FATINA hands BRONA the two drinks.]

BRONA:         That man is only here to make me moan.

FATINA:        Just don’t forget that I am right next door,
                        So keep it down, you horny, wanton whore.

[FATINA sticks her tongue out at BRONA. Both laugh as FATINA leaves to get her own drink.]

BRONA:         You’re only jealous that you’re all alone
                        And don’t have anyone to make you groan.

[FATINA turns and, making a face, flips BRONA off.]

BRONA:         You wish, you closet lesbian. You wish
                        I’d let you make that finger smell like fish.

[FATINA makes a face like she’s disgusted, then laughs and exits to get her drink. She returns several second later with her drink, at the same time RICHARD enters from the other side of the stage from the restroom.]

FATINA:        I got your drink, Dick. Brona’s got it.

RICHARD:                                                                Thanks.

[RICHARD sits next to BRONA, accepts his drink from her, puts a hand on her thigh, and takes a sip from his whiskey. BRONA shoots her drink and FATINA sits on the other couch.]

FATINA:        Since it seems that sex on a bed now ranks
                        Tonight as quite impossible, I chose
                        Sex on the Beach instead. So this will close
                        The night for all of us, and you two can
                        Go have your fun. A long night sleep’s my plan.

[BRONA looks at RICHARD, who is sipping his drink.]

BRONA:         I’d really like to go, so finish up.

[RICHARD lifts his glass into the air and looks at the drink in the light.]

RICHARD:    You don’t drink good scotch in a plastic cup.
                        You drink a sipping whiskey in a glass –
                        Or crystal, if you’ve got the cash and class.
                        A cube of ice to cool it just a bit
                        As melting water helps to open it.
                        The odor tingles in the nose, the oak
                        Is pleasant and the flavor warm, a cloak
                        Upon the tongue and throat. It’s not your fault
                        That you don’t know. To drink this is an art
                        That truly sets the connoisseur apart.

[RICHARD brings the glass back down to lip level, and takes a sip. He sips in silence as FATINA and BRONA talk.]

FATINA:        Uh, mine is really fruity.

BRONA:                                                         Buttery.
                        Mine was really good. So buttery and . . . free!

FATINA:        You’re welcome. Would you like another one?

BRONA:         You want to make me sleep so long the sun
                        Will disappear before I wake tomorrow?

FATINA:        Oh yes, I’m certain you’ll be full of sorrow
                        If you are up all night tomorrow night.

BRONA:         Screw up my days and nights, I’ll miss my flight.

FAINA:          We can’t have that. I’m sure that Richard would
                        Not want to have to deal with you for good.
                        Or even past tonight. Got things to do,
                        I’m sure. You don’t want him to have to rue
                        The night you picked him up. So you should go.

BRONA:         You need to find a guy in here, you know.
                        Get laid and clear the fog out of your mind.

FATINA:        You go. I’ll snag the first one that I find.

[RICHARD takes the final sip of his scotch.]

RICHARD:    Good luck with that. You girls act just like men –
                        You hunt and conquer. Don’t know where you’ve been
                        When I was young and looking for you hard,
                        But I am glad I found you. I regard
                        Aggressiveness in women sexy, though
                        I know some weaker men like going slow.

FATINA:        A gentleman is not a weaker man.

RICHARD:    Then get a gentleman. I know you can
                        In pants like those. But that’s not what you want.

[RICHARD stands and looks down at BORNA.]

                        Let’s go up to your room. For you the hunt
                        Is over. Time for you to snatch me in
                        Your trap and show me that you play to win.

[BRONA stands and faces FATINA.]

BRONA:         I guess we’d best get going, then. Good night.

FATINA:        Good night. Another drink and then I might
                        Go to my room myself. Alone. And drunk.

BRONA:         Say that enough, you’ll find someone to bunk
                        With you tonight. Don’t give up hope quite yet.

[RICAHRD puts his hand on BRONA’s bottom and pushes her toward the elevators, off stage right. When they are gone, FATINA takes a drink from her drink and leans back on the couch.]

FATINA:        I hope that stupid slut won’t go and get
                        Herself infected or knocked up. She ain’t
                        Got sense or morals. Not that I’m a saint,
                        But I ain’t got no kids, like her. A pill
                        And purse of condoms certainly can fill
                         A girl with men and nothing else – like kids
                        And viruses, diseases nothing rids
                        You of. But she is stupid, careless, dumb
About such things as this. She likes to come
And pick up men and damn the consequences.
I’d rather keep my men in rubber fences.

[FATINA stands and slowly walks back and forth in front of the couches.]

                        But look at me. I’m clearly dressed to fuck.
                        And here I am, alone. I guess I’ll suck
                        It up and recognize that I am out
                        Of luck – and men, it seems – without a doubt.
                        I’m pretty, thin, and . . . advertising. That
                        Should give a third advantage over fat
                        Girl getting laid upstairs. Perhaps it’s my
                        Perfume. It’s Desperation. But what guy
                        Would turn down a sure thing? Unless they don’t
                        Like girls who use clichés for jokes. I won’t
                        Get men showing off my brain, though, either.
                        Perhaps I’m overthinking this. I’m neither
                        Demure nor dumb. Does that make me a man,
                        Like Richard said? Is that why I lost Dan?
                        He said I was too much – too much, too often –
                        He said I had to lighten up and soften.
                        But screw all that. That’s in the past. Past lives
                        Won’t solve my present problems. The past just
                        Reduces you to dust. And you can trust
                        That I won’t take that weight. And here I am –
                        I’m overthinking things again. I’ll dam
                        These thoughts – another drink! – so I can find
                        A man who doesn’t want me for my mind.
                        For that I cannot mind the obvious
                        Smallmindedness or the oblivious,
                        The cheats and liars that will show themselves,
                        The stupid sexists and the moral elves.
                        I didn’t come here for a lifelong mate –
                        I’m here for sex, a single, night-long date.

[FATINA finishes her drink.]

                        Another one of these. Sex on the beach.
                        Sex on the bed seems, sadly, out of reach.
                        Did I not say that once before? I must
                        Be drunk. Or tired. This night is just a bust.

Scene 3 –         Enter ABE stage right. He stops when he sees FATINA.

ABE:               That woman’s got to stop with all the calls.  
                        Because of her I’ll just have my room’s walls
                        To keep me company tonight. Unless,
                        That is, that lovely lady there whose dress
                        Suggests a certain wantonness. Suggests?
                        If she undressed the nipples on her breasts
                        Would be the only parts of her that
                        Would clarify. Let’s see if we’re a fit.

[ABE walks toward FATINA.]

                        Good evening. How about a drink? On me.

[FATINA looks at him and slumps a bit in disappointment.]

FATINA:        Oh, you again. You trying me again?
                        Tonight my patience’s running very thin.

ABE:               Have I . . . ? Oh! You look different, that’s for sure.
                        You went from “I’m real pure” to “I’ll allure.”
                        You got someone tonight, I guess? He go
                        To get a drink for you? That him? I know
                        A woman looking like you do has had
                        To have gotten a man tonight. Some cad,
                        I’m sure. That is what you are looking for.

FATINA:        Tonight I’m dateless. Guess I’m just a bore.

ABE:               Impossible. You fascinate the eyes.

FATINA:        My eyes? You only care about my thighs.

ABE:               You telling me I’m not just life support
                        For what’s between my legs to you? Abort
                        All pretense. It’s too late for that, and we
                        Are both alone. It’s us or no one, see?

FATINA:        You sure can charm the pants off of a girl.

ABE:               What shall I say? You’re lovely as a pearl?
                        You wouldn’t but it any more than I
                        Could sell it drunk and tired. Now, don’t deny
                        It. Let’s cut to the chase. You want a drink?

FATINA:        I’m warning you, I think I’m just a blink
                        From nodding off. I’ve gotten tired. I’d like
                        A final drink and then I’d like to hike
                        On up to bed. So, now, that drink still good?

ABE:               Of course it is. I offered, so I should
                        Make good. Just tell me what you want, I’ll bring
                        It to you. We can chat and have a fling,
                        Or chat and say goodnight. It’s up to you.

FATINA:        Sex on the Beach, if what you say is true.

ABE:               I’ll bring it back to you. Just have a seat.
                        Give me your glass. When I return, we’ll meet
                        For real. At least, we’ll share our names, then lie
                        About the rest. Stay here, and don’t you fly
                        Off to your room before I have returned.
                        Tonight, I fear, it’d make me feel too spurned.

FATINA:        Come back here with my drink and I will sit
                        And chat a bit with you. Why not? You hit
                        On me tonight, the only man who has.

[ABE nods and exits toward the bar.]

                        Perhaps I’ll even get to use my Yaz
                        And condoms. Better him than nobody,
                        I guess. Why dress to show off my body
                        If I can’t getting laid from it? Ah, we..
                        Pathetic how low that my standards fell.

[FATINA sits down on the couch and leans back, beginning to doze off. She jerks involuntarily awake and looks around right as ABE returns, carrying their drinks.]

ABE:               I never caught your name from earlier.

[ABE hands FATINA her drink. She takes a sip before answering.]

FATINA:        From earlier? Tonight is such a blur.
                        I guess I never did. I didn’t think
                        I’d mess with you or even have a drink.
                        So, what you drinking there? Is that a scotch?

ABE:               It’s bourbon. What’s the time? You got a watch?

[FATINA looks at the watch on her left wriist.]

FATINA:        It’s . . . Oh my God, it’s almost three. I must
                        Be out of my damn mind. Tonight’s a bust.

ABE:               Now, don’t say that. It isn’t over yet.
                        Don’t act as though your fate is truly set.

FATINA:        Fatina.

ABE:                           What?

FATINA:                                Fatina. That’s my name.

ABE:               I’m Abe.

FATINA:                                You’re Abe? You cannot be the same.

ABE:               The same?

FATINA:                                My best friend, Brona, told me she . . .

ABE:               Aw, my luck really sucks! Now, honestly!

[FATINA leans up.]

FATINA:        I see now. You’re the cheater on the phone.

ABE:               I guess tonight I’m really stuck alone.
                        You know, it really wasn’t fair of her . . .

FATINA:        That she and I would go off and confer?

ABE:               Well, tell me, what’s she doing now? I bet
                        I know. She’s with some guy she just now met
                        And plans to never see again. And how
                        Is he a different man from me? That cow
                        Just overheard me on the phone while who
                        She’s in her room with now, she has no clue
                        That he is prob’ly married too. Who cares,
                        When half the population has affairs?

FATINA:        I see you’re back to brining on the charm.

ABE:               I’m serious. I want to know what harm
                        There is in sleeping with a married man
                        When he is far from home and all you plan
                        To do is lay some stranger anyway?
                        And when he’s done, he’ll leave without delay.
                        Like I would do. What sense is it to turn
                        Me down? Why did one poorly timed call earn
                        Me all these hours of searching for someone
                        When she and I could already be done?

FATINA:        I’d planned to fuck you; now, I’m not so sure.

ABE:               I’d really like to know why you or her
                        Would turn a guy down just because he’s married    
                        When all you want is sex? As though it carried
                        Significance the kind of man I am
                        When all you want is sex. It’s all a sham.

FATINA:        I didn’t care. I don’t. I really don’t.
                        But talking about Brona really won’t
                        Get you too far with me. Who wants a to hear
                        They’re second choice at best? You had my ear
                        Until this rant of yours. You’ll sleep alone
                        Because you’re stupid – and that stupid phone.

[ABE’s phone is ringing. He chooses to ignore it.]

ABE:               If that’s my wife, I’ll tell her that she called
                        When I passed out asleep.

FATINA:                                                        She’d be appalled
                        To know the kind of man she’s married. Dumb
                        And horny. I mean, she’s got to be some
                        Dumb bitch to end up with the likes of you.
                        I was a certain thin, and here you blew
                        It, going on about the way you screwed
                        Up fucking some fat slut. You had some food
                        Laid out for you to eat, and you ignored
                        It to complain you missed a meal. I’m floored.

[ABE sits beside her on the couch and looks at his drink. After several seconds, he downs the drink and stands.]

ABE:               I guess I’ll go back to my room alone,
                        Take care of things myself, since I have blown
                        The night on women who have moral qualms.

FATINA:        Know what? I just don’t care. Why let your palms
                        Have what I really want to have tonight?
                        I’ll hate myself but, then, why should I fight
                        Against the things my body wants when I
                        Won’t ever see your ass again? Just try
                        To get out of my room before I wake.
                        Don’t speak. Let’s go. I truly cannot take
                        Another stupid word from you. Be wise
                        If you would like to get between my thighs.

[BRONA puts down her drink and stand, unsteady. ABE, without a word, helps her stand. She leans against him for support, he puts an arm around her and leads her off stage right to the elevator to her room.]


Becoming Bonobo
A Play in One Act

A minimalist set: a plastic-covered couch with an end table, on which sits a remote control. BONNY and PAM enter BONNY’s living room, carrying shopping bags. They place the bags on the floor beside the plastic-covered couch. Each drops down on the couch, exhausted. As their conversation continues, they sit up more and become increasingly animated, gesticulating, etc. Both should act out whatever is implied in the dialogue.

BONNY:        My God, I am exhausted!

PAM:              And sore.

BONNY:        Sore! My God, talk about sore! Shopping’s such an ordeal anymore.

PAM:              I think we’ve overdone it.

BONNY:        You and me?

PAM:              You, me, society! It’s all too much!

BONNY:        I know just what you mean. The cure – in pill form – has become the disease.

PAM:              Yeah. The male pill has him shooting blanks. The female pill has me shooting blanks. The morning after pill sweeps up afterwards in case any shots were in fact fired.

BONNY:        And why wait for recovery? Viagra keeps him up for hours. The same hours the eight hour sleep pills gave us to give us time. R.E.M. in a bottle. The only thing that gets done more is me!

PAM:              They’ve made actors of us all.

BONNY:        Don’t have to be attracted – our pills will make us act as though we are. We’re always ready to do the act. Every man can now perform at any time, at any place – and every woman wants him to, it seems. 

PAM:              Remember venereal diseases? With them gone, there’s no stopping anyone.

BONNY:        It’s safe to sleep around. And everyone does. All the time.

PAM:              I wish he would, give me a break.

BONNY:        Won’t catch a thing, won’t get anyone pregnant.

PAM:              It’s better. Better not to have disease, accidental pregnancies.

BONNY:        It’s true, but . . . the danger slowed them down, at least. A life without
consequences . . .

PAM:              Makes women sore and tired.

BONNY:        And social stigmas! Why’d we give up those?

PAM:              It’s everywhere and anywhere.

BONNY:        It’s freedom of expression.

PAM:              Ah, yes! Expression. Expression in the park, expression in the car, expression in the corner store. Is there anyplace I can go where people aren’t expressing themselves with each other?

BONNY:        Not that we’re any better. Besides, it comes in handy if you’re short on cash.

PAM:              True. There’s likely to be someone in the store who’s willing to make a cashless trade.

BONNY:        A pop or candy bar . . .

PAM:              A pop or candy bar? You don’t know what I did to get that big screen T.V. I have at home.

BONNY:        Just goes to show, it’s not money makes wealth.

PAM:              Reproductionless productions. Now, that’s an incentive to produce.

BONNY:        You know, when I was young, I remember people shaking hands to greet each other.

PAM:              A messier business now, for sure. Not as many colds or flus passed around now, though.

BONNY:        That’s true. You never really think of that.

PAM:              But then, there’s all the furniture.

BONNY:        All plastic-covered . . .

PAM:              So no one stains.

BONNY:        It’s crinkle-crinkle everywhere.

PAM:              But women are in charge now.

BONNY:        I know. Who knew that men would give up power everywhere for constant sex?

PAM:              Directly, indirectly.

BONNY:        I never expected Freud was right on this one.

PAM:              That the masculine drive for political power was really sublimated sexual urges?

BONNY:        By sexually oppressed . . .

PAM:              Or practically impotent . . . .

BONNY:        Older men?

PAM:              Precisely.

BONNY:        How often have the younger tried to rule?

PAM:              Not often.

BONNY:        Much too busy getting laid.

PAM:              Or trying to.

BONNY:        But now with youth pills . . .

PAM:              And Viagra . . .

BONNY:        And social stigmas gone . . .

PAM:              The men don’t try to rule.

BONNY:        Too busy getting laid.

PAM:              Or trying to.

BONNY:        And wealth! We women now have all the wealth.

PAM:              My ass is such an asset now.

BONNY:        Each woman has her purse to fill.

PAM:              The jealous, prudes, and moralists all live in poverty.

BONNY:        But not us.

PAM:              Oh, no! Not us!

BONNY:        An economic boom.

PAM (grabs her own breasts):            An economic bust.

BONNY:        Men and women work and work.

PAM:              And that is why they work so hard.

BONNY:        All busy getting laid.

PAM:              Or trying to.

Enter RANDY, BONNY’s husband.

RANDY (to PAM):  I’d greet you, Pam, but I haven’t greeted Bonny yet.

BONNY:        Well, greet me later. I can’t take a greeting now.

RANDY:        Congratulate me, then.

BONNY:        Congratulations!

PAM:              Good for you!

BONNY:        I can’t believe your luck!

PAM:              It can’t have happened to a nicer person!

BONNY:        You certainly deserve it. You worked so hard.

PAM:              Did everything you could . . .

BONNY:        And should . . .

PAM:              And would . . .

BONNY:        The excitement almost makes me want to greet you. What happened, dear?

RANDY:        I got promoted and a raise.

BONNY:        So soon!

PAM:              So quickly!

RANDY:        Teatime in the boss’s office daily. That’s what gets it done. Make your boss a sandwich now and then. It gets results.

PAM:              Congratulations!

BONNY:        Good for you!

RANDY:        And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a shower now.


BONNY:        He always takes a shower after work.

PAM:              Well, I do, too. Or when I’m finished shopping. Or visiting my friends. Or after a walk. Of after I get back from a restaurant. Or whenever I’m pulled over by a cop. Or after the movies or a play or a ballet or the opera or the symphony or the museum – though I try to show some decorum there – or a concert or a poetry reading or the library. Or after yoga. And the gym, of course.

BONNY:        I shower once a day, no matter what I do. My water bill would be outrageous.

PAM:              You have to catch the meter man whenever he makes his rounds.

BONNY:        Don’t pay your water bill?

PAM:              Less than you, at least. And I use much more water.

BONNY:        Mine’s more of a meter maid, so that won’t work for me. Lovely Rita . . .

PAM:              Don’t swing that way? Who doesn’t swing that way today?

BONNY:        She doesn’t seem to swing either way.

PAM:              How strange!

BONNY:        I know. Everybody on this block pays full price for their water.

PAM:              A prude?

BONNY:        A virgin.

PAM:              There are virgins still?

BONNY:        She’s antisocial. Never met anyone like her.

PAM:              Yes, antisocial. No greeting anyone? In any way at all?

BONNY:        And pays for everything – full price! – with cash and cash alone.

PAM:              I can’t believe that such a thing exists . . .

BONNY:        An oddity, I know.

PAM:              I remember when I was a virgin. Life was so much simpler then . . .

BONNY:        Of course it was. You lived with your parents, didn’t have a job, and your parents paid for everything.

PAM:              And now I live with my husband, don’t have a job, and it’s my making prostates pulsate which pays for everything.

BONNY:        So, except the virginity thing, not much has changed?

PAM:              Not really. Except, I shower more.

Enter RANDY in a bathrobe.

RANDY:        Anyone ready to get greeted now?

BONNY:        We just got back from shopping, Randy.

RANDY:        You really ought to try to get back home at least an hour before I do so that you’re ready for me to come home.

BONNY:        I don’t know who you think you’re talking to. Go make me dinner.

RANDY:        And then . . . ?

BONNY:        We’ll see.


PAM:              Poor thing. I ought to go and greet him. I am a guest here in his home.

BONNY:        Go. Greet him. Be my guest. I need a break.

PAM stands and exists in the direction of RANDY.

BONNY:        That woman is insatiable. She must be taking Libidoprone. The last thing that I need.

BONNY stands and wanders back and forth a few times. She glances at her watch.

BONNY:        Well, this is boring. I guess I should have greeted my husband home from work.

BONNY glances at her watch again.

BONNY:        Would you please hurry up in there? I want to have my friend back. Perhaps some dinner, too!

BONNY paces once more, then slumps onto the couch.

BONNY:        Let’s see what’s on T.V.

BONNY picks up the remote and aims it at the audience.

BONNY:        Let’s see. Porn, porn, porn. Shopping. Cooking channel. Porn. Reality T.V. Porn. Reality porn. Viagra infomercial. Might as well be porn. Documentary on the sexual and social habits of the bonobo, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee. Porn. Libidoprone commercial. Silver bullet commercial. Ah, the news . . . is . . . over. What’s on next? Oh. Porn.

BONNY turns off the T.V., puts down the remote. Enter PAM.

PAM:              I heard the T.V. on.

BONNY:        There’s nothing on. You find out what’s for dinner?

PAM:              I got an appetizer out of him.

BONNY:        So, what’s he going to make?

PAM:              Bruschetta.

BONNY:        Nice! Italian, then.

PAM:              Blackened chicken with fettuccini alfredo.

BONNY:        You’re staying for dinner?

PAM:              Of course. I love Randy’s alfredo sauce. His chicken is to die for.

BONNY:        You should try his coq au vin.

Enter RANDY.

Randy:                        I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I’m completely out of cream.

BONNY:        Completely out of cream? I’ve never known you to be out of cream.

PAM:              Oh, no! You can’t be out of cream. I had my heart set on your sauce.

RANDY:        I know. I thought I had some left.

BONNY:        I guess you’ll want me to go to the store to get some?

RANDY:        No cream, no sauce. It’s up to you. How bad you want it?

PAM:              Please go. I really want it. I really, really, really want it bad.

BONNY stands.

BONNY:        I have to take care of my guests. Meet all their needs, I guess. I’ll be back in a minute with the cream. Do we need anything else?

RANDY:        You want some eggs and sausage in the morning, get those too. Want white sausage gravy on your biscuits, too?

BONNY:        Sounds good. You know how much I love your sausage gravy.

RANDY:        Some flour, then. I’m out.

BONNY:        That’s practically grocery shopping.

RANDY:        That’s all I need. Unless you want to have some tacos. I have the meat and chile and the sour cream, you just bring the taco.

BONNY:        That all you need?

RANDY:        I’m satisfied if you are.

BONNY:        Then I’ll come back in just a bit.

RANDY:        Come soon. We need to keep our guest here satisfied.

BONNY:        I’ll come as soon as I get what I need. Be patient.


RANDY:        She always takes much longer than is really necessary.

PAM:              Well, that’s okay. I’ll entertain you while she’s gone. If you’re up to it.

RANDY:        Libidoprone?

PAM:              I take it twice a day.

RANDY follows PAM offstage. Lights down.


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