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EXCERPT FROM EVEN A Full-Length Play By Stephen Bittrich
CONTACT ME FOR A FULL COPY. 1ST SCENE ONLY. WARNING - ADULT CONTENT & LANGUAGE.
5701 W Slaughter Lane
Austin, TX 78749
Tel: (646) 245-4507
by Stephen Bittrich
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"EVEN" By Stephen Bittrich Act I Scene 1 SETTING: A beat down motel room in Arizona off highway 66. Late in the afternoon. The present. AT RISE: DAISY, a pretty, coltish 17 year old, sometimes precocious, sometimes immature, knocks at the screen door. (Yes, these motel rooms have screen doors.) Like so many teenagers, she dresses like a total slut. After a moment, JOHNNY, 40ish, fond of his drink and life weary, six foot three and about 250 pounds of him, wearing an open robe, loose shorts, and slippers, meanders to the door tinkling the remaining ice cubes of a downed scotch. JOHNNY Yeah? DAISY Hi. (JOHNNY takes her in for a long moment) JOHNNY Hi. (HE crunches some ice from his glass) DAISY Hi. Um, I was just...I brought you some cookies. Butter cookies, right? I saw you buy them the other day at the supermarket. JOHNNY (a grunt) Mm. DAISY And--and some scotch too. A bottle of Johnny Walker Black, right? They're gifts. JOHNNY Okay. (beat) Do I know you? DAISY No, no, well...I mean, we "met" at the Piggly Wiggly... briefly. Not really met, but you--you like looked at me. JOHNNY Mmm. Looked at you. DAISY Yeah, in a way which was to say, you know, "What's up? Like to know you better." JOHNNY I said all that. DAISY Yeah... (beat) ...you don't remember me? (JOHNNY takes another uncomfortable pause JOHNNY Pepperidge Farm? DAISY What? Oh, yeah. Yeah, Pepperidge Farm butter cookies with the little chess figures on them. JOHNNY They have a slight...glaze...which is nice. DAISY Really I never ate one in my life. JOHNNY They're tasty. (beat) Did you wanna come in? DAISY Yes. (HE opens the screen door, and SHE scoots sideways past him into the room) JOHNNY (not sorry) Sorry about the mess. Wasn't expecting company. (And how. The place, a small trashy hotel room with two single beds, an awesome watercolor painting of the Bob Ross variety with plenty of "happy little trees and clouds," once cheerful cheap flaking wallpaper, and a bedroom set from the 70's, looks like it hasn't been cleaned since the 70's) DAISY That's all right. When people just drop by unannounced, they can't exactly expect, um, Martha Stewart. Right? JOHNNY Mm hm. DAISY I always felt certain types of cleaning were, like, completely dumb anyway. Making the bed? Whatever, right? You're gonna sleep in it in like fourteen hours anyway. Does it really fuck with your Feng Shui or whatever that bad to outweigh how pissed off you feel about making it in the first place? And ironing. We can send robots to Mars. Hello? All irons should be shipped off to the museum of pointless appliances. Right...? (beat) I'm talking like a geek. Here. Here's the scotch and the, um, Pepperidge Farm cookies. (SHE hands him the Piggly Wiggly bag) JOHNNY Thanks. You want some? DAISY No. No, thanks. JOHNNY Club soda? Orange juice? DAISY No, thanks. JOHNNY Might have some vodka. DAISY Nope. Well, maybe just some water if you've got it. JOHNNY Think I might. (DAISY clears some junk off of a chair and sits down while JOHNNY goes into the bathroom. SHE sits for a moment taking in the scene, a little skittish. HE returns shortly with a glass of water in a motel glass) JOHNNY (cont'd) Arizona's finest--fresh from the tap. DAISY Thanks. JOHNNY Scuse me while I put on a shirt. DAISY Okay. (JOHNNY picks up a couple of shirts from the bed, smells the pits, until HE decides on a wrinkly Hawaiian number) JOHNNY (unapologetically) Laundry day tomorrow. DAISY Yeah. (HE sits on the bed, opens up the fresh bottle of scotch and pours himself one. Leans back comfortably, stretching himself out. HE holds up his motel glass--) JOHNNY Here's to--good timing. DAISY Oh, yeah. Cheers. (SHE lifts her water and teeters it from side to side, returning the salute) JOHNNY Mmm hmm. So. What's your name? DAISY What? Oh...Nikki. (pause) JOHNNY You know my name? DAISY Yes. JOHNNY So what's the story, Nikki? You a fan? You come to catch a peak? DAISY No. JOHNNY No? You a freak show enthusiast? DAISY I mean, I know who you are, but I didn't come here to like get your autograph or anything. JOHNNY I usually get the "or anything" girls. DAISY Really? So girls come here all the time and shit? JOHNNY Not so much lately. But it happens. (beat) I'm incognito these days. DAISY Yeah, for real. I figured. This place is like nowhere. Why else would anyone live here unless they were in hiding? JOHNNY So you don't live here? DAISY No. No, I'm just passing through. JOHNNY Just passing through. That right. DAISY Yep. JOHNNY So'd you wanna chat? That what we're doin'? DAISY If you want. JOHNNY Sure. How old are you? DAISY Um, eighteen. JOHNNY When was your birthday? DAISY (quickly) June 5th, 1988. JOHNNY Damn. Right on the tip of the tongue. So you just turned eighteen then. DAISY Yep. JOHNNY What's your sign? DAISY Oh...I don't believe in that shit. JOHNNY You don't know your sign? DAISY Nope. Like Cancer or something? JOHNNY Mmm hmm. (beat) So you don't wanna see it? DAISY What? See what? JOHNNY See what the "or anything" girls come here to see. DAISY No! No. JOHNNY That's not why you came? DAISY I just wanted to--to talk. JOHNNY Cool. So talk. (Silence. SHE gets up and looks around the room, picking up things, looking at all his crap) DAISY So you like live here now? JOHNNY Yep. DAISY Must be really different living here...than LA, I mean. Really different. JOHNNY Mmm hmm. DAISY How do you get food? No kitchen. Do you always eat, what, take-out? Or what? (HE points to a box underneath some clothes. The refrigera tor) JOHNNY I have a 'frigerator. I have a hot plate. You can do a lot with a hot plate. Eggs, soup, and I can make a pretty mean chili on a hot plate. The motel bar makes pretty good eats. Sometimes take out...but it pains me to tip the delivery guy. Different at a bar. Don't mind tipping a good bartender. DAISY Must be lonely out here. JOHNNY Sometimes. People that run the motel are nice. DAISY I mean, is this place even a town? Does it have a name? JOHNNY No. No name. Just a speck of dust off the highway. (beat) Next question. DAISY Oh, I'm not questioning you. JOHNNY Really? Seemed a little like a sort of an interview. DAISY No. JOHNNY No? You don't work for a magazine? DAISY No. JOHNNY You sure? DAISY Yes. JOHNNY I won't be mad. (SHE shrugs) JOHNNY (cont'd) So who are you passing through with? DAISY What? JOHNNY Who are you traveling with? DAISY By myself. JOHNNY Just you. On your way...? DAISY I dunno. Maybe Texas. Maybe even New Orleans. See what's left. Passing through...destination unknown. JOHNNY Got here yesterday. DAISY Yep. JOHNNY Where'd you sleep? DAISY My car. Hotel Volkswagon. JOHNNY Wow. DAISY Yeah. JOHNNY So lemme get this straight. You're just passing on through all by your lonesome. You stopped by chance...yesterday...at the Piggly Wiggly, which is by the way eight miles off the main highway, and you just accidentally ran into me. Cause I smiled at you, some shit, you kindly purchased me a couple of my main staples, thank you kindly, one with a fake id I'm assuming. Your name is Nikki. Nikki. That's your name, you say. And your birthday is June 5th, making you, by the way, a Gemini, not a Cancer. Is that the story? DAISY It's not a story. JOHNNY And you just happened to track down the shitty flea bit motel where I live. DAISY Oh, I asked this guy, Mike, at the meat section where you lived. He told me. JOHNNY Mike at the meat section. DAISY Yep. JOHNNY That's some fascinating bullshit. DAISY (a little edgy suddenly) Do you have like trust issues? Did you screw over some people in your past or something? Is that why you're hiding out? (HE rises from the bed, takes a step toward her) JOHNNY Not sure I wanna chat any more, Nikki. So why don't you get to the point, or pass on through? (SHE softens again, picks up a worn photo from the dresser) DAISY Beautiful girl. Did you know her? JOHNNY Did I know her? DAISY Yeah. JOHNNY Why else would I have a picture of her...her...on my bureau if I didn't know her. DAISY I dunno. JOHNNY What makes you think I don't still know her? DAISY Looks like an old picture. Like from the 80's or something. JOHNNY Mmm hmm. Yeah, it's a fuckin' antique. DAISY She's pretty. Who was she? JOHNNY Somebody I knew...in the 80's. DAISY Where is she now? JOHNNY What, you want it outta my lips? (pause) DAISY Y-Yes. JOHNNY Okay, Nikki, Nikki. She's wearin' a pair of angel wings 'bout now. (DAISY skits away from the dresser, away from him, and stands in the bathroom doorway) DAISY That's poetic. How you put it. Sounds like you care. JOHNNY I don't care about much...Nikki...but I did care about her. DAISY Really? JOHNNY That's the truth. Cross my heart... (beat) ...and hope ta...hope ta die. (HE crosses back to the bed, loosing his balance and bracing himself for a moment on the bed on the way. HE pours himself another scotch) DAISY You okay? JOHNNY Yeah...yeah...and you ain't no damn Gemini. DAISY What, like you know about signs and shit? JOHNNY As a matter of fact.... DAISY So if I don't fit the profile, the Gemini profile...what is the Gemini profile? Is it like schizo or something? Dual personality. They're twins right? Am I not schizo enough? JOHNNY Gemini's are communicative, charming, observant, they like lively conversation... DAISY Sounds just like me. Aren't I charming and communicative enough? JOHNNY At worst, they're fickle, crafty, talk to much. And if I believed the bullshit you were peddling, then I might could buy that you were a Gemini. DAISY So what sign am I then...according to you? JOHNNY I dunno. But no damn Gemini. (beat) Maybe a Leo. DAISY Yeah, why's that? JOHNNY I got a feelin' you like the limelight. DAISY Yeah? Kinda like you. JOHNNY Oh, I don't like the limelight. Can't you see? I like to lay low. DAISY Yeah, but you used to like the limelight. You used to be, like, one of those people that wants everybody to look at them...what's that, like a, a narcissist or something...an exhibitionist. JOHNNY Mmm. So you know who I am... DAISY Yeah. JOHNNY And nobody sent you here. DAISY No. JOHNNY I could get upset if I find out later somebody sent you. DAISY Nobody sent me. JOHNNY So which of my movies did you see? DAISY I dunno. The titles are all kinda dumb. JOHNNY Mmm hmm. DAISY You look a lot different than your movies. JOHNNY That's because I'm fat now. Incognito, remember? It's all a parta my plan. DAISY You're not fat. JOHNNY Nice of you to say. DAISY I've seen fatter. JOHNNY Hoo ha! She giveth, then she taketh away. DAISY How many movies did you do? JOHNNY A lot. DAISY I mean, do you even remember them all? Johnny Payload... something...Johnny Payload, All for the Ladies. I think that was it. That's the one I saw. (beat) She was in it. (pointing to the picture on the dresser) Her. JOHNNY Yeah, I remember that one. That was the first one she did. END OF EXCERPT.
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