An Act

javier's picture

Tonight I added the finishing touches to an act I wrote in a week. It was quite easy to write since I pictured every line said and action done. I'll admit it's a tad cliche but I like it nonetheless. I remember reading that at least one character in each of his plays/acts was his hope for a better future or something along those lines. Now I didn't expect it to get so long but I tried to make the transitions as realistic as possible. Read and enjoy.

The Genie, An Act

Characters:

Max - a man

Jeanie - a widow

A waiter - another man

A chef - a headchef

Enter MAX

MAX is standing in front of the Italian restaurant restroom mirror.

Max. Get it together. There's nothing to be nervous about. You're fine, kind and, well thats it. And darn it that's enough for any woman out there in this horrid world. Relax max, ease up relax. Don't worry you'll be fine, wait you already are! She doesn't know you and she doesn't have any idea of who you are so it doesn't matter. Ok I am fine and kind and I'm not going to impress her. I wonder what she'll be like...

MAX leaves the restroom and makes his way back to his table. At first the second seat was vacant but now a woman is seated looking around nervously.

Max. Are you, are you Jeanie?

Jeanie. Why yes I am. How'd you know?

Max. Well I'm your blind date.

Jeanie. Oh! I expected someone else more... average looking. Don't feel insulted by that remark. It's just I expected someone... less handsome than you! That's all!

Max. No ma'm I'm not insulted. I've been called worse by other women. Boy, mother can be so cruel sometimes!

Jeanie. I meant other times I've been on blind dates the men were pig-looking. Why, once I was dining with Wilbur and another time I had coffee with Babe!

Max. I bet they'd both taste pretty good honey roasted!

Jeanie. I was instructed by their respective owners not to slaughter them. They were prized pigs! My, how inconsiderate of me. What's your name?

Max. Me? Oh I... I can't say it.

Jeanie. Well why not?

Max. It doesnt feel right coming out of my mouth. I'll just write it on this napkin. And dont say it aloud because that won't feel right neither.

MAX writes his name on the napkin and passes it to Jeanie. JEANIE reads it to herself and puts it into her coat pocket.

Max. I dont understand why this dating service doesn't give us each other's name. I mean it saves the awkward introductions. I'd rather skip that get into conversation and eat then see what happens next.

Jeanie. I suppose they want us to introduce each other first so we don't ask ourselves throughout dinner Who is this person I'm talking with.

Max. I think it's far more mysterious not knowing who I'm talking with. Or you not knowing who you're talking with.

Jeanie. Right shall we order dinner?

Max. Yes we should. What are you having?

Jeanie. I'll have a salad with meatballs.

Max. Meatballs and salad? (JEANIE looks and away and MAX makes a face of disgust)

Jeanie. Yes, what are you getting?

Max. I'll get the spaghetti because it's cliche.

Jeanie. Could I ask you something?

Max. Sure, sure, sure.

Jeanie. Why were you named max?

Max. My dad lived in Soviet Russia during the 50s. It was a relatively peaceful time. And my mom defected from Czechoslovakia into Hungary. Really she wasn't the brightest one of her 4 siblings. They both defected into Romania then to Italy then finally into the US. They lived with my uncle Maximillian and aunt Roshana. So when I was born my parents didn't know what to call me. And my uncle Maximillian says This boy is going to reach the-- Then uncle drops dead and drops me. They initially thought we both died but the doctor just slapped me a little and saw I was still crying so he handed me to my parents. They named me after my uncle. What kind of name is Jeanie?

Jeanie: The kind you get when both of your parents are carnies. My dad was a lion tamer and my mom was the real life version of a robotic fortune teller. It's true: She was inside a glass case and the coin slot was-- well that's not an ideal detail for dinner conversation.

Max. That doesn't explain your name.

Jeanie. Don't get ahead of me. Anyway so I was brought into the carnie business and my dad said he met a genie who he made three wishes with and his first was more money so he became rich overnight, the second was to have a grand wedding so mother and he married in a huge chapel, and the last was a beautiful daughter and 9 months later I was born. You could be the judge for the beautiful part. The reason he wanted a daughter was mother miscarried years before I was born. And since his ultimate wish came true he named me after the word genie.

Max. Am I supposed to believe this?

Jeanie. Well I don't expect you to but it is a nice story I like telling and you never know, the power of magic does exist.

Max. It's quite entertaining and I don't believe in magic. Excuse me waiter?

Waiter. Yes.

Max. We're ready to order. She'll have the meatballs and salad. And I'll have the spaghetti. We'll both have cokes.

Waiter. Excellent sir. I'll be right back with your orders.

Max. Did you catch the new Scorsese flick?

Jeanie. Oh... Scotty loved Scorsese's flicks.

Max. Who's Scotty, your dog or something?

Jeanie. No Scotty was my dear husband of 5 years.

Max. Oh, sorry to hear that.

Jeanie. Don't be, you're making my time without him worthwhile and more enjoyable.

Max. Could you excuse me I've to go to the restroom.

Jeanie. No go right ahead.

MAX gets up and enters the restroom and finds it empty. He stares at the restroom mirror.

Max. Wow ok, how the hell was I supposed to know she's widowed! Oh boy, what am I supposed to do? I mean I've never loved someone and no one has ever loved me. I can't be with her: She's fallen in love once and she possibly can't fall in love again! No sirree once it's love, twice it's adultery! Well he's already dead so it can be love. And what kind of name is Scotty? Then again what kind of dog could watch flicks about a taxi driver covered in blood and a boxer covered in other people's blood. No dog I know. Ok max get out there and win her heart. If you can.

MAX leaves the restroom and sees JEANIE is already eating and that their dinner is served.

Max. How's the salad and meatballs?

Jeanie. It's really good and that's about it. How about your spaghetti?

Max. It's really good and I can't say anything other than that.

Jeanie. I just said that.

Max. No you said it differently than I did.

Jeanie. Right but I still conveyed the same message in a different manner than yours.

Max. Boy on second thought I'm not sure if I even want spaghetti anymore. I wish I'd gotten the chicken Parmesan.

Jeanie. We could order it if you'd like.

Max. No, no it'll cost me more money.

Jeanie. Excuse me I need to use the restroom.

JEANIE makes her way to the restaurant kitchen and finds the head chef.

Jeanie. Hey mister, you don't mind cooking up some chicken Parmesan?

Chef. You mean Parmesan chicken?

Jeanie. Same thing.

Chef. Very well. To what table?

Jeanie. Oh just hand it to me and I'll pay you later.

Chef. Ok I'll be done in 10 minutes.

Jeanie. 10 minutes? In 5 he'll think I had diarrhea!

CHEF is preparing the chicken breasts.

Chef. Well you can go back to your table and come back here in 8 minutes.

JEANIE walks back to the table.

Max. What took you so long? Did you get sick?

Jeanie. No I just had to pee... A gallon of urine.

Max. Oh.

Jeanie. Have you had a girlfriend before?

Max. (annoyed) Me? Well of course I have, I mean what kind of man hasn't.

Jeanie. Take it easy, I'm only asking, not interrogating. I asked the pig men that and they always bragged about how many they did have and how many hearts they broke. I swear it was a competition to them. Anyway I thought a man like you might of had many sweethearts before.

Max. I wouldn't say many... I had a few y'know here and there, never everywhere. They were great but not what I wanted... I mean needed. I dont want to come off as a selfish bastard.

Jeanie. No you aren't at all. I never had a sweetheart like Scotty. He was a great man and a wonderful husband. Could you believe I loved him so much and I only knew him for 5 months!

Max. You married a man you knew for five months?

Jeanie. I was only 18 when I met him.

JEANIE notices the time on her watch.

Jeanie. Could you excuse me I need to use the restroom.

Max. Go ahead.

JEANIE walks over to the kitchen counter and finds the dish ready.

Chef. You owe me.

Jeanie. Of course I do!

JEANIE walks back to the table.

Jeanie. Look what I found! Chicken Parmesan Parmesan chicken! Enjoy.

Max. Awh thanks it's just what I wanted!

Jeanie. I know you told me.

Max. It's getting late. I'll just eat it at home.

Jeanie. Sounds good.

Max. Would a walk to the park sound better?

Jeanie. Certainly!

Max. Waiter, can I get this to go?

Waiter. Yes mister and here's your bill.

Max. Ok here's the bill and a tip--

Jeanie. And here's another tip for that wonderful head chef who has his way with magic.

Waiter. Uh sure I'll let him know.

MAX and JEANIE leave the restaurant and walk to the park. It is sprinkling as they walk.

Jeanie. Oh let's go under the bridge. I dont want to get wet.

Max. Now darling a little rain won't kill you. But a bridge that collapses whilst you're under it could!

Jeanie. Oh you!

JEANIE lightly smacks MAX on the shoulder.

Max. You know I've always wanted to walk in the rain with someone since I was a young boy.

Jeanie. Well you could've with one of your little sweethearts. Couldn't you?

Max. Yeah... I could've... But you see they didn't want to get their frilly dresses wet... And I didn't want to bother them--

Jeanie. What were their names?

Max. Their names? Uh let's see there was Jenny... Bennie... Beanie--

Jeanie. Isn't it a coincidence they all sound like Jeanie?

Max. Oh they do, don't they!

Jeanie. You're lying.

Max. Please don't crucify me.

Jeanie. Why would you do that?

Max. I.. I don't know I'm a fool for women. It's no wonder why they hate me. Boy I should've known women would hate me after the first time I lied to mother.

MAX walks to the park bench and sits there staring at the calm pond. JEANIE walks to the park bench and sits down next to MAX.

Jeanie. Oh dear, you ain't gotta lie to impress me.

Max. If only I knew that before when Virginia asked me to marry her.

Jeanie. Marry! You were engaged?

Max. Almost engaged, but after she found out I'm not a real estate tycoon from Texas she dumped me and married a Texan farmer.

Jeanie. (laughing loudly) She mustve had a thing for Texans!

Max. Hey now that ain't funny, I thought I found my true love and I was so happy. And now I'm a lonely depressed crab who's seen a therapist for 3 years already. And not once in those years have I had a damn breakthrough. I keep going back to my same idea: Love isnt magic. It's not something that can fly out of nowhere. And I certainly don't need it.

Jeanie. I didn't mean to laugh at your plight. It's just funny she prefers texans. I date a Texan once and he never did take me to a rodeo. That bastard! Besides it was probably not meant to be. I don't think that girl was right for you.

Max. Yeah and how would you know?

Jeanie. Because you're right here with me. I thought I was in love with Scotty, I mean it was fun being with him. I'd say Beam me up Scotty and he'd carry me with his arms and carry me to our bedroom where we'd lay and talk for hours about anything.

Max. How can you talk for hours about anything?

Jeanie. It's quite easy, see we'd talk about movies he saw, books he read, birds he saw, the news which he read about and I'd nod as if I knew what he was rambling about! He was very smart, too smart I should say since he spent more time writing in his ‘Thoughts of the Day” journal than telling me how much I meant to him. I remember once I caught a glimpse of an entry that read “I don’t think I love her therefore I am not in love with her.” I couldn’t believe it.

Max. What an awful bastard. It wasn’t meant to be.

Jeanie. Hmmph. Why do you say that?

Max. Because you’re right here with me.

MAX and JEANIE remain silent staring into the pond. Finally MAX breaks the silence.

Max. After Virginia left me I told myself I won’t find another person who would love me. I told my therapist how much I wished someone would come into my life. So after the first year I’m seeing another therapist and it’s the second year and I haven’t said anything about wishes anymore. I never did have luck with any woman 'cept Virginia. Others before her would say Max you are something else! And I'd say Yes I'm one-in-a-million darling! And they'd say No because if I was stuck on an island, out of a million I'd hate to be stuck with you! Then they'd throw the roses I gave them at my frowning face. Pitiful, isn't it?

Jeanie. That's just it, I think I know what your problem. Now I ain't a shrink but people always come to me for advice. I think you've lost hope. But remember hope is the thing that keeps us alive. It's what makes us get up in the morning each day for we hope today will be better than yesterday. And those women don't deserve you, they sound to me pathetic! You are one-in-a-million and I hate that because if I were to be stuck on an island, out of a million people, there's a high chance I wouldn't be with you. We're both right: being right here and now is meant to be. I know what your wish is.

JEANIE leans in and kisses MAX lightly.

Jeanie. And now it's granted. Now you have one left.

Max. I don’t need another when I’ve got you.

MAX leans in and kisses JEANIE passionately. They both look out into city past the small pond at night sitting on the park bench knowing tomorrow will be better than yesterday now that they have each other.

Comments

elph's picture

Thank you...

I've made a copy to read while away over Christmas (leaving imminently).

First impression, however: impressive!

MaddieJoy's picture

seems...

professional. & highly reminiscent of 'Beyond Therapy'

The ducks will get you!