Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Brief Interrogation

Public domain image

[Curtain rises. A wooden stool sits in a smoky spotlight. A woman in her late thirties, well-dressed, enters and sits down.]

INTERROGATOR: [Off stage, deep voiced] Good evening.

[Pause.]

WOMAN: That's funny.

INTERROGATOR: What is?

WOMAN: You always say "good evening" first.

INTERROGATOR: And?

WOMAN: It's just funny.

INTERROGATOR: Okay. How are you doing tonight?

WOMAN; I think you already know.

INTERROGATOR: Probably. But sometimes you like to spin out a description. We also have some time on our figurative hands, yet time, as they say, is a terrible thing to waste.

WOMAN: Tell me about it.

INTERROGATOR: So...?

WOMAN: Not much, okay? Not much. Same old crap. Same old job. I drive home to dirty dishes.

INTERROGATOR: Well, I think we've heard this before.

WOMAN: You're the one asked, okay?

INTERROGATOR: I'm just saying this is all incredibly familiar. I don't have to tell you that. Or do I? You always come here the same way. Always defeated. Always feeling sorry for yourself. Gets kind of old, if you ask me.

WOMAN: Can I have a cigarette?

INTERROGATOR: No.

WOMAN: Then what good are you?

INTERROGATOR: Please....

WOMAN: Okay, well, here's what I'm just saying. I'm just saying I had a long day. I'm just saying I'm tired. I'm just saying I can think of a million other places I'd rather be and million other things I'd rather be do besides sitting here. Got that?

INTERROGATOR: And yet here you are. And what exactly is it you have better to do? Stare at the walls? Watch another edition of Extreme Houseboat Makeovers? Or you could visit friends. What about Marie? She's some kind of a head case, huh? You really need a better class of friends. People who make something of their lives. These losers really drag you down, don't they? Of course there are people from work you could call up. How about Mark? But can you believe they don't fire that slacker and promote you?

WOMAN: You just don't let up, do you?

INTERROGATOR: Let's just say we're both tenacious. Let's also say the situation could be much worse if we added, oh, let's call them "enhancements".

WOMAN: Oh, so we're going to bring out the towels and the buckets of water and the planks? You're sick.

INTERROGATOR: We could make more progress that way, and we have so much work to do.

WOMAN: What work?

INTERROGATOR: See? I really have to keep reminding you, don't I? Well, you're in a dead-end job, your mother hates you, you're unmarried and you're going to die alone because you are thirty... eight... years.... old.

WOMAN: I don't believe you! I don't believe me! What the hell am I doing here? And you know what? My life isn't that bad. Not bad at all. I have friends. I like to work out. The freaking sun rises every day and I don't have to take this from some stuck-up guy!

INTERROGATOR: [Chuckles.]

WOMAN: What?

INTERROGATOR: What makes you think I'm a guy?

WOMAN: The voice.

INTERROGATOR: Fair enough. Really. But you'd have a difficult time proving my gender in court of law.

WOMAN: Sounds like you're trying to get away with something.

INTERROGATOR: Now that you mention it, I always do, or at least most of the time.

WOMAN: Congratulations. Some of us actually have responsibilities. And it's not like you're doing much to help me. I keep coming back here day after day, and all I get is this smug crap. What have you done for me lately? You ever think of that while you're puffing away over there?

INTERROGATOR: Hmm. Point taken. And maybe you're right about me. Maybe I'm just a big bother. I don't see why I couldn't go away for a while. Give us both a vacation. What do you say?

WOMAN: Good idea.

INTERROGATOR: Let's try it.

WOMAN: Okay.

INTERROGATOR: [Silence.]

WOMAN: [silence]

INTERROGATOR: [Silence.]

WOMAN: [Fidgets]

INTERROGATOR: [Silence.]

WOMAN: I'd have to say I like silence a lot better.

INTERROGATOR: [Voice has changed to a woman.] It was good for me too.

WOMAN: [Laughs.] Somehow I always knew. [Stands, bows, walks offstage. Curtain.]


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