"There are days I wish I hadn't picked up that phone the second time and just ended up on his doorstep. See what happened."
|From: the Thirst collection|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||SCOTTY|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||KIP|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||ROZ|
This is the beginning of the play.
(If you want to see the previous outing for Roz, Kip and Scotty, that's available in the Thirst collection via the quote link, "He's broken - literally - just about every bone in his body.")
The full scripts of the plays "Invisible," "Dents," "Template," and "Head Above Water" from "The Thirst Collection" are available for purchase as part of "Short Plays, Volume 2" (in hard copy or download form) at
Part of Matthew's online script store
copyright 2004 by Matthew A. Everett
ROZ, a waitress.
KIP, a waiter.
SCOTTY, a restaurant patron, seated at a table.
KIPI have to admit, right after the election, I was a little depressed.
SCOTTYMy first major accident was right here --
SCOTTY points to a place on his chin.
ROZI've come to the conclusion that I must be some kind of a human starter kit for guys on the verge of being ready to commit to a serious relationship.
SCOTTYIt's the first time I remember seeing my own blood.
ROZRight after I moved here, there was this guy. Doug. We had everything in common. Same sense of humor. Partners in crime. Completely compatible. He made the transition easier. I spent more nights at his apartment that I did in my own. My place just seemed foreign to me, not like any home I'd had before. His place at least seemed lived in, like it had a history. It was safe. He was safe.
SCOTTYAnd it wasn't really an accident, I guess. My little brother and I were playing with those wooden alphabet blocks. I was four or five, he was maybe, God, one, if that. This was when we all realized he was gonna be a handful.
ROZThe one thing he neglected to tell me was that about the same time he met me, he also met someone else.
SCOTTYSo we were playing, well, I was trying to build something and he kept grabbing the blocks and knocking things over and I was getting pretty fed up.
ROZIt's not like we were monogamous or anything. We were both free to screw around. Sometimes we did. But more often than not, I'd just be arranging my free time around him. Thing was, he didn't talk about her. That should have been my first clue that something was up, that she was important. Complicated. Not a one-nighter that could be packaged into a little amusing story over dinner and forgotten about.
SCOTTYSo I started to move everything out of his reach, 'cause I could stand up and he really couldn't, not totally yet. And, OK, maybe I was taunting him a little. But he was ticking me off. I was trying to express myself and all he wanted to do was screw around, or screw up what I was trying to do. Well, that's when he decided to express himself.
ROZSure I was kidding myself. I just figured if I hung around long enough, if he let me hang around long enough, he'd realize I was as essential to his life as he'd become to mine. But he didn't. I was important. Just not important enough. Ultimately I just became some kind of last hurrah, a nod to the old life he planned to leave behind. A reminder of all the things that used to be that didn't work for him anymore.
SCOTTYHe got a hold of one of the last blocks on the floor. A "T." And he hauled off and chucked it at me. All I can say is it's a good thing his aim was off because even then he had a good pitching arm. I could have lost an eye.
ROZI tried to be a good sport. But I could never remember her name. Just kept calling her "the photographer" - So, how are you and the photographer doing? I was trying to be devil-may-care about it all but it always ended up sounding bitter.
SCOTTYBut he clocked me in the chin instead. And at first I started laughing at him. "Ha, ha, dummy. I got the last block now." Then I look down and realize that I'm getting blood all over the block in my hands, my clothes, the carpet.
ROZAnd the sex and the friendship had been so intertwined right from the beginning that being friends without it, it was sort of like missing an arm or a foot. This constant feeling of something lost and incomplete. Friendship everywhere but the bedroom, which used to be so comfortable, was just awkward. Plus, I got the distinct feeling that he hadn't told her about me - not how long it had gone on or how involved it had been the whole time he'd also been seeing her.
SCOTTYMy little brother starts to cry, because he knows somehow this means he's in trouble. I know this isn't normal so I started running around and yelling for mom and did a pretty complete circuit of the first floor of the house before she catches up to me. There was a fair amount of cleanup to be done after I finished running laps.
ROZI got invited to parties for a few years at Christmas time, got the year-end holiday letter full of their life together - even though they only lived a couple of blocks away from me, in a house they bought together shortly after we broke up. Then finally that stopped, too.
SCOTTYAfter that, my brother got his own set of blocks, foam ones, and it was made very clear that there was to be no throwing of anything in the house, most of all not at family members. I needed a couple of stitches.
ROZI see her work sometimes around town, the photographer - coffee shops, local newspapers and magazines, the occasional gallery. I keep thinking I'm going to run into him, or them. Probably best that I don't.
SCOTTYTo this day, there's this tiny little sliver where I don't grow any whiskers. You have to get right up close to see it, but it's there. This one place on my chin where I never grew up, so I don't need to shave.
ROZI was using him, too. He helped me settle into a new city. I just thought we were settling into something else, too.
SCOTTYOr maybe I got that wrong. Are scars dead tissue? Is this the first little part of me to die?
ROZThen there was Morgan. My lusty young art student.
SCOTTYMy brother says he doesn't remember any of this. I'm not entirely sure I believe him.
KIPBut every cloud does indeed have a silver lining because I suddenly realized - I am a dangerous man. I am scary.
ROZThat was just plain fun. And I needed that after Doug and the photographer. Best sex I ever had.
KIPI've never been dangerous before. It's kind of a kick. I feel sort of powerful almost.
ROZWe'd keep planning to go out to the movies, or a play, or even dinner, and never make it out of the apartment. The thought of maybe meeting in public never occurred to us, thank God.
KIPWhy, you might ask? 'Cause I'm the new Willie Horton, baby!
SCOTTY points out a spot on his forearm.
SCOTTYThis one - pitching off my bike, right after I learned to ride without training wheels.
ROZBut then his course of study - Art, Museum Exhibition and Installation - got discontinued at the university's city campus. It was a state school, so they had branches all over the state. Unfortunately, if he wanted to continue his major there, and he really couldn't afford to go to another school, he'd have to follow his scholarship clear over to the opposite end of the state. Which he did.
SCOTTY points out a spot on his ankle.
SCOTTYFalling out of a tree - the first time.
KIPI mean, I'm not even dating anyone at the moment. I'm barely even mingling. But thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, in eleven states, over twenty percent of the country, were so afraid I might want to marry another guy that they flooded the polls to say, "No, not in my state, Mary!" Which might have tipped the balance of the presidential election. Now that's scary.
ROZSuddenly this fling, which had been slowly evolving into something else, got dragged out into the sunlight and we had to analyze, you know, whether the long-distance thing was worth it.
KIPSee, now the trick is to be like the superheroes and find a way to use my powers only for good, not evil.
ROZI mean, it was just fun, right? But we'd started having all these feelings that weren't fully formed yet. And now it seemed like a hassle.
KIPIf I could scare people into voting the way I wanted them to, rather than against me, now that would be powerful.
SCOTTY points out a spot on his shoulder.
SCOTTYBarbed wire fence.
ROZNeither of us wanted to be the first to admit we were getting attached to each other.
KIPI'm just not sure how to do that yet.
ROZSo we said our goodbyes.
KIPOf course there's always reverse psychology, "Oh, please, whatever you do, please don't vote for gay marriage!" But somehow I think we need to be a little craftier than that.
SCOTTY points out a spot on his other arm.
SCOTTYSkiing downhill too fast.
ROZI called him once, way out there in the middle of nowhere.
KIPSome kind of bait and switch routine,
ROZIt'd be a six-hour drive with no stopping but I was just about out the door, when he called me back and told me not to go to all that trouble.
KIPor some really clever wording, so that people think they're voting for one thing when they're actually voting for the opposite.
ROZThere are days I wish I hadn't picked up that phone the second time and just ended up on his doorstep.
KIPYou know, some judiciously placed double negatives or something.
ROZSee what happened.
KIPClever use of the English language is something my people are very good at.
SCOTTY points out a spot on his other leg.
SCOTTYHockey game. Other guy wound up in the penalty box. I wound up in traction.
ROZAfter that, I got busy and then the address and the phone I had for him didn't work anymore, and the trail went cold.
KIPThere isn't a strategy that's been all worked out yet or anything but we've got a year or two.
ROZHe's got a goofy last name, so I Google him sometimes, see if some trace of him has surfaced somewhere.
KIPAnything could happen in a year.
ROZHe was a sculptor. Is a sculptor. I still remember his hands.
KIPAnything at all.
ROZAnd the thought of running my hands down into the small of his back still gives me chills.
SCOTTY parts his hair in an odd place.
SCOTTYClocked by my surfboard on a particularly spectacular wipeout.
KIPSpeaking of my people, we have a lot of other weapons at our disposal. There's always the anti-Lysistrata approach - rather than threaten to withhold sex, we threaten to keep on having sex until we, too, can get into mind-numbing but state-sanctioned monogamous relationships and lose all interest in sex just like most good old-fashioned married couples do. But of course that just plays into two stereotypes for the price of one, so that doesn't help anybody.
ROZSo I'm this great transition person. I get them all primed and ready. People meet me right before something or someone big is about to happen to them, and I make it easy to let the magic happen. I used to call it "The Curse of Prince Charming."
KIPProbably our most effective weapon would be to refuse to provide you with any more entertainment.
ROZNow I just try to avoid talking about it. You give the jinx a name, you give it air time, it's like summoning it down on your head all over again.
KIPStart with no more drag queens or male strippers for your bridal showers. Scared of the freaks? OK, fine, no more freak shows for you then.
ROZI used to think it was a funny story to use when dating. All it really seemed to do was make guys wonder if there might not be someone just over my shoulder they should be looking out for instead.
KIPCheck musical theater off the list. Well, just theater in general.
ROZI'm not sure I trust myself anymore.
KIPAnd dance - classical and modern.
ROZDon't get me wrong, I'm grateful I haven't had the bad luck some of my friends have had.
KIPThen add on movies
KIPand TV shows
KIPat least the intelligent and funny ones.
ROZcharming trips to the free clinic.
KIPPopular music will be reduced to just rap, country, Christian rock, and really bland new agey stuff, so if you're fine with that, I guess you're set.
ROZIn terms of serious consequences, I've gotten off easy.
KIPBooks, don't get me started. The really fun magazines? Forget it.
ROZAfter awhile, though, when the only common denominator in all your failed relationship attempts is you, well, you start to wonder --
KIPOh, and while you're at it, let's not forget who's handling the food you eat. I'm just sayin'.
ROZI miss it though. The anticipation. The all-consuming infatuation. Scary as it is, it's fun. To be that hopeful.
SCOTTY turns to KIP.
SCOTTYYou wanna go out sometime?
(there's more, but the conclusion to the story isn't available for viewing on this website)
copyright 2004 by Matthew A. Everett