Play #98: Colin and Clifford discuss an e-Rendezvous

The play is set in The New Yorker, a small Chinese restaurant in Albany, New York.  It is early on an October evening and Colin is telling Clifford about a recent e-assignation in rural Quebec.

COLIN (already exasperated): …So I get to the hotel at the appointed time and the woman hasn’t arrived.

CLIFFORD:  Well, I thought you told me she had a long drive to get there.

COLIN:  Even so.   And then when she does show up…an hour late…I’ve already had a bite to eat at the hotel, and she then informs me that she’s hungry and wants to go out somewhere.

CLIFFORD:  So what did you do?

COLIN: I took her to a steak house ten miles away and sat watching her eat.

CLIFFORD (wistfully): I like to watch a woman eat….

COLIN (irritated):  Yeh?  Well I don’t.

CLIFFORD (puzzled):  Why not?

COLIN (with a shudder):  All that elaborate mastication, punctuated with those meaningful, pleasured looks!  It’s almost indecent!

CLIFFORD (sympathetic):  It’s different maybe if you do it together.

COLIN:  Do what together?


COLIN (absently):  Oh…yeh.  And then there’s the evening to get through.  And guess what?  There’s no TV in the room!

CLIFFORD:  So what did you do?

COLIN:  I had a book with me.

CLIFFORD: What about her?

COLIN: She had her laptop, and proceeded to email everybody she knew…probably about what a schmuck she thought I was.

CLIFFORD:  Why didn’t you make love to her?

COLIN (surprised and repelled):  Before dark?


PLAY #97: Shell Game

As the curtain rises, we see two substantial Conch shells sitting side by side on a grand piano. 

SHELL A:  I can sense your nearness.

SHELL B:  You have no eyes.

SHELL A:  I have no eyes, but I am one gigantic ear.

SHELL B:  What can you hear?

SHELL A:  The slow crackle of your calcification—and the background murmur of the distant sea.  You hear the sea too, don’t you?

SHELL A:  No, I never have.  I hear the vacuum cleaner and the cats chasing one another. 

SHELL B:  I dream of the sea all the time.

SHELL A:  How do you do that?

SHELL B:  I grow even more still than usual and listen.

SHELL A:  Listen to what?  How do you know what the sea is like?  You came from a gift shop—just as I did.

SHELL B:  You can’t take the sea out of a conch shell.  It’s always there.

SHELL A (sadly):  Not for me.  I hear nothing.  I think I’m just d├ęcor.  Something else to dust.

SHELL B (compassionate):  I’m sorry.


Play #96: The Doormat: A Monodrama

The play is set in a small, quiet auberge in the countryside, not far from Quebec City.  It is late morning.   An attractive woman of some years—she is perhaps in her early seventies—sits alone in one of the hotel’s guest suites, her laptop open on the table in front of her.  As the play begins, she has paused between sentences and has opened the window that gives onto a silvered lake lying just beyond the pine trees near her room.  After a moment or two, she closes the window and goes back to her typing:

                                    Woman (typing):
     Well, Mavis, he’s finally gone—back home to Albany—and I’m here in the room alone, typing this to you, looking out the window and wondering why I’m not as hungry for lunch as I’d like to be. 
     You are right—as usual—to point out that this little auberge is very long way from home and now that I’m still here and he’s not, it’s clearly going to be a wearisome journey back—and an anticlimactic one too.  Thomas Wolfe may have decreed that “you can’t go home again” (you remember Look Homeward, Angel, don’t you, Mavis?) but sometimes you have to, whether you can or not.  And I have to. 
     What an abyss opened up between the online man and the man himself!  Between the e-man and what I may as well call the hard-copy version!  And you weren’t the only one who so ringingly disapproved of this pilgrimage to my e-assignation, spending a weekend with a man I knew only through lines of beckoning typescript (Times New Roman, 18 point) inching across my little glowing screen.  There was quite a bit of talk from other friends too about my head being examined.  I knew of course you were all correct about this.  But acknowledging the judiciousness of your friends’ advice when all you really want is to drive down an (interminable) highway and into the haven-arms of some man at the other end is pretty difficult.  Impossible for me.
     They say you don’t really know a person unless you’re married to him, but I say you know him quite well enough after the first five minutes you’re together. 
     First of all I was an hour late getting here.  This generated an almost palpable surliness in my virtual lothario that never lifted!  We didn’t have dinner last night because although I was starving after my long drive, he informed me that he had already eaten something on the road.  We spent the evening in a sort of musty, growling silence.  He flopped heavily onto the sofa and stayed there reading the auberge’s available magazines, and I stared at the wall (there is no TV in the room).
     You want to know what happened later that night, don’t you dear Mavis?  Dear prurient Mavis? 
     Well, I slept with him.  Yes, in the carnal sense (when did “sleep” become a gentle euphemism for “fuck”?).  You are now asking me why.  I don’t know, Mavis.  He clearly disliked me, and I was already loathing him.   So it was scarcely a case of runaway desire!  Maybe it had something to do with getting one’s money’s worth!  Don’t ask me if it was any good.  Of course it wasn’t.  How could it have been?  Performing seals, Mavis—seals! 
     This morning my lumpen Lochinvar awoke with but a single thought:  he had to buy a doormat—with a French text on it. So we drove to a number of nearby towns, finally securing one in a Wal-Mart store.  Guess what the doormat-text was?  “Je me souviens.” Parfait, oui?    Now, when he gets back home to bloody Albany, he can wipe his feet on the aborted romance of this blighted weekend.  Je me souviens.
     [she closes the laptop, looks out the window again, and sighs deeply[