Do I? (A play in one act) Happy Valentines Day!

Characters

Jake – a nervous twenty-seven year old bank teller.

Rachel – a twenty-nine year old comedy writer with a quick wit.

Waitress – sassy and in her late fifties. She’s seen it all.

 

Setting

Curtain opens on the interior of an upscale Italian restaurant. White linen tablecloths hang from the few tables positioned onstage. The room is sparsely populated with diners, suggesting an off night. Jake has just proposed to Rachel, his girlfriend of four years. He is waiting for an answer…

Jake: Well?

Rachel: Hmm…I’m thinking.

Jake: (sarcastically) Well, by all means, take your time.

Rachel: Oh, I will. (pause) How do I know you’re the right man for me?

Jake: We’ve been dating for four years. Have you not given it any thought ‘til now?

Rachel: Oh, I’ve thought about it, I’m just not sure yet.

(the waitress approaches the table)

Waitress: Any dessert? Coffee perhaps?

Jake: Um, none for me thanks. I was considering a bottle of champagne (turns to Rachel sarcastically)…but I’m just not sure yet. Could you give us a minute?

Waitress: Absolutely. Take your time. (walks away)

Jake: (to himself) Don’t worry, she is.

Rachel: Don’t you want me to be sure?

Jake: Of course I want you to be sure. I just thought that maybe you were already at that point. It’s not like we haven’t talked about a future together. (pause) Are you having doubts about us?

Rachel: No, no doubts, really. (pause) Which reminds me, have you heard the new Gwen Stefani song? It’s a huge departure from what she did with the band.

Jake: No, I haven’t. But I’m sure it’s good. Can we get back to the conversation at hand? Please?

Rachel: And that was…(pause)…oh, that’s right, dessert. I’m thinking the Ricotta cake.

Jake: Come on, Rachel. What’s the problem?

Rachel: The problem is I can’t decide. The Ricotta cake, or the Tiramisu. They both sound so good!

Jake: You’re kidding me…

Rachel: Um, no. You know how much I love them both.

Jake: I’m talking about this whole conversation. You’re kidding about forgetting what we were discussing. You have to be.

(A long pause on Rachel’s part. She appears distracted)

Jake: Rachel? Are you even listening to me?

(Rachel holds up index finger in Jake’s direction)

Jake: For God’s sake…

Rachel: Hold on. (pause) Did you hear that? (tilts her head in the direction of a couple across the room)

Jake: No, I didn’t. (pause) I was focused on our conversation. Though I seem to be the only one.

Rachel: He just told her she means the world to him and that his life didn’t begin until the day they met. How romantic? You could take a lesson from him.

Jake: Now I know you’re kidding me!

Rachel: What? We could use a bit more romance in our relationship.

Jake: (beside himself with disbelief) What the hell do you think tonight is all about?!

(the waitress returns)

Waitress: Anything calling your name?

(Rachel turns her focus to the waitress)

Rachel: I’m leaning toward the Tiramisu. But first let me ask you. (gesturing towards Jake) Would you marry this guy?

Waitress: (turns her attention to Jake, plays along) hmm, let’s see. Not bad looking.

Jake: Gee, thanks.

Rachel: (interjects) Stand up, babe. Let her have a good look.

Jake: That’s alright.

Waitress: Decent dresser.

Jake: So glad you approve.

Waitress: Appears to have a fairly pleasant personality from what I can tell. Though, maybe a touch sarcastic.

Jake: (growing increasingly irritated) Do ya think?

Waitress: Does he have any money?

Rachel: (while shaking her head no) Yes.

Waitress: Does he treat you right?

Rachel: Somewhat.

Jake: Somewhat?!

Waitress: How is he, you know, in bed?

Jake: Excuse me? What the–

Rachel: (cuts Jake off) Adequate. I guess I can’t complain. Often. Though I could make a suggestion from time to time.

Waitress: Honey, couldn’t we all?

(laughter erupts between the two women)

Jake: Ha, ha. May I make a suggestion? That you remember who is leaving the tip?

Waitress: A little testy though, isn’t he?

Rachel: Oh, yea. He can be.

Waitress: Definitely something to take into consideration.

Jake: Well, maybe it’s because this proposal isn’t going the way I’d planned. Or hoped. I need an answer.

Rachel: I’m sorry. I just wanted a second opinion. Let’s go with the Tiramisu.

Jake: (exasperated) Son of a…somebody shoot me!

Rachel: What’s wrong, baby? You wanted the Ricotta cake, didn’t you?

Jake: (to the waitress) The Tiramisu. Please.

Waitress: Would that be with or without champagne?

(Jake hesitates)

Rachel: With. By all means. Can’t celebrate without it!

(The curtain closes on a smiling Rachel, and Jake, elbows on the table, head cradled in his hands)

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Getting Away (Or, How to Stay Sane as an Artist)

I’ve just returned (unscathed, mind you) from my annual trek into the deep woods with the sole purpose of writing. Over the course of a few days, I worked on both the edits for the 2nd edition of Shadows and wrote several thousand new words in the upcoming horror novel. (I would share the title with you, but since I keep changing it, sharing at this stage in the game would be pointless.) What I will share with you, however, are a few thoughts I had while away. Keep these in mind the next time you choose to disappear into the woods for whatever reason…

  1. A cabin located deep in the woods at night with no cell phone service can be a very lonely place. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Relaxing? Yes. Distraction-free? Yes. Lonesome? Also yes.
  1. A cabin located deep in the woods at night with no cell phone service and the film score to Schindler’s List playing in the background can be a very depressing place. It took only two songs in to realize that. I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you’re a glutton for punishment and choose to ignore my recommendation, just remember to hide all of the sharp objects ahead of time. I’m not even kidding.
  1. The advent of Netflix goes hand in hand with lower word counts. It’s a proven fact. (By me, if by no one else.) Especially with the availability of full seasons of shows for which to binge on. (Did I mention you get lonely sometimes?) This is the first time I’ve had Netflix available to me at the cabin, and The Ranch proved a worthy adversary to writing more than once.
  1. While soaking in a hot tub deep in the woods at night can be a relaxing way to end a long day of writing, just remember to uncheck all horror film scores from your playlists before setting Spotify to ‘shuffle.’ Otherwise, the next scream you hear may be your own.
  1. When the words are flowing freely, so will the time. As with most trips away from home, when you are at your busiest is when time seems to go by so quickly. And in this case, it truly is a double-edged sword.
  1. Microwaved chicken pot pies make a respectable dinner when paired with red wine. (The vino of choice for this trip was Apothic Red.)
  1. And finally, with the world in chaos and life being as busy as it gets, it sometimes becomes necessary to check out for a few days in order to concentrate on being creative. Whether you’re a writer, painter or like to sketch a bit of still life, there are few places more conducive to creativity than the woods, completely isolated from civilization. And let me tell you, with the beauty of the environment, the surrounding wildlife and the fact there’s not a soul around for miles, if you can’t create art in that environment, then brother, you might as well give it up and find a different hobby.

So there you have it. A few thoughts.

Til next time, my friends…

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