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A world premiere at The Cheshire Cat Blog.
A short comedy play (or a long sketch?)
especially commissioned for nothing in particular.
The dream party
An exploration of the human condition's nether regions in one act
by David John
|For Francis Caruso, on the event of his birthday.
The living room of Bob and Jeff's apartment in some city or other.
The front door of the apartment leads directly into the living room.
Other doors lead to two bedrooms and the kitchen.
It's 5 am and still dark. There's just enough light to see not very much.
We can barely see pizza boxes and beer cans littering the room.
Bob is asleep on the sofa.
Charlene and Sue are outside (offstage) and begin knocking on the front door.
Charlene: Hello, is anybody there?
Bob stirs from sleep, groaning: Jeff enters, trying to pull his pants on at the same time.
Jeff: (softly to Bob) Who is it?
Bob: It's me.
Jeff: Yes, I know it's you.
Bob: (getting up reluctantly) That's settled that then.
They stand in the darkness, perplexed. Charlene and Sue continue knocking and shouting.
Charlene: Come on, open up!
Charlene: We know you're in there.
Charlene: Come on! We haven't got all week.
Jeff: (softly to Bob) Who is it?
Bob: How should I know?
Jeff: You think it's the cops?
Bob: Doesn't sound like cops. Anyway, what would the cops want here, in the middle of the night?
Jeff: Uh, maybe that thing, you know, with the, um...
Bob: Nah, they closed that case long ago. Anyway, I promised them I'd stay away from lawn mowers in future.
Jeff: Who can it be then?
Bob: Maybe we should ask.
Bob and Jeff: (together loudly) Who is it?
Charlene and Sue: (together loudly) It's us.
Bob and Jeff: It's them.
Bob: Better let them in then, I guess.
Bob opens the door and Charlene and Sue enter.
Charlene: Hey, why is it so dark in here?
Bob: Because it's the middle of the night?
Sue: It's early in the morning, silly.
Bob: There's a difference?
Jeff: When we got home last night...
Bob: ... Or this morning ...
Jeff: ... All the lights had blown out.
Charlene: What, all of them?
Sue: At the same time?
Bob: So it seems.
Sue: You poor things.
Charlene: Surely, you must have some spares, or candles, or something?
Jeff: Probably. Somewhere...
Bob: We couldn't find them in the dark.
Jeff: So we just went to sleep.
Charlene moves around the room and trips over something.
Charlene: Ow! It's a wonder you can find anything in this place.
Bob: Sorry about that, whatever it is.
Charlene: Well, are you ready then?
Bob: Ready for what?
Charlene: Ready to go shopping, of course.
Bob: Shopping? Now? In the middle of the night?
Sue: It's early in the morning, silly.
Bob: Yes, maybe, but still...
Charlene: We agreed in the bar on Monday night.
Bob: We did?
Charlene: We all agreed, remember?
Bob: You've got me there...
Sue: Don't you remember?
Charlene: Look, we ALL agreed. We'd get up really early, get the shopping done, then...
Bob: But so early? I'd never agree to that. So early? Would I?
Jeff: I wouldn't if I was you.
Bob: Me neither.
Sue: But we have to set off early.
Jeff: Why's that?
Sue: Because it's Saturday, silly.
Charlene: We all agreed: you have to get the shopping done early on Saturdays, otherwise it's gets too crowded, it takes forever, you can't find a parking space, and by midday the stores have run out of everything.
Bob: But we never go shopping on Saturday.
Jeff: I think I could do with a cup of coffee.
Bob: We've run out of coffee.
Charlene: Hah! See!
Bob: I don't see anything. It's too dark.
Jeff: I'll see if I can find some something.
Sue: Some candles?
Jeff: No, some caffeine flavored drink.
Bob: The part of my brain that's awake seems to remember there's some light bulbs under the kitchen sink.
Charlene: Why there?
Bob: They've got go somewhere, haven't they?
Jeff: Light bulbs. Under kitchen sink. Check.
Sue: I'll give you a hand. I think I've got a lighter in my bag. It's either a lighter or a can of mace.
Jeff: Good. I think. Follow me. And watch out for the...
Sue: (Bumping into something) Ow!
Jeff: ... That thing, whatever it is.
Jeff and Sue exit.
Charlene: (to Bob) Why do you always do this?
Charlene: Why do you always let me down on important things?
Bob: I do?
Charlene: Don't tell me you'd forgotten we'd agreed to go shopping this morning.
Bob: I can't remember ever agreeing with anyone to go shopping. Ever. Not in my entire life.
Charlene: Oh, you're absolutely damn hopeless!
Bob: I'm sure you mean that as a term of endearment.
Charlene: Sometimes you make me so mad, I could...
Jeff: (from kitchen) Aaaargh!
Bob: What's up?
Jeff and Sue enter from kitchen.
Jeff: My eyes! My eyes! It WAS a can of mace.
Sue: No, it's all right. It was only my deodorant spray.
Jeff: I didn't know you wore deodorant.
Sue: Everybody wears deodorant, silly.
Jeff: God, it stings like hell.
Sue: Come on, we'll bathe your poor eyes in water.
They exit again.
Bob: Why does she carry mace in her bag?
Charlene: She doesn't. It's deodorant. She said.
Bob: She also said she thought... Oh never mind. (pause) I was just thinking...
Charlene: A breakthrough for medical science! Yes?
Bob: ... I was just wondering, will there be anything open at this ungodly hour?
Charlene: Well, there will be by the time we get there. IF we ever get there, that is.
Bob: Perhaps you're right. Did you bring your car with you?
Charlene: I thought we agreed we were going in you car.
Bob: My car's been kaput for months.
Charlene: Oh, that's just typical. Typical.
Bob: I thought everybody knew that. I just need to fix the, you know, thingumajig. But somehow I never seem to get around to it.
Charlene: Why doesn't THAT surprise me?
Bob: Some local kids wrote "I am kaput" in the dust on the windshield. Little smartasses.
Charlene: Please spare me the details. Hasn't he got a car?
Bob: He's a bicycle kind of a guy. Goes everywhere on his trusty iron steed.
Charlene: How fascinating.
Bob: Although, between you and me, he sometimes cheats and goes by bus.
Charlene: I am going to scream if you suggest we do all this shopping by bus.
Bob: Don't worry, I wouldn't do that.
Charlene: Lucky for you.
Bob: They cut the bus service here last month.
Charlene: I can feel a scream coming on.
Bob: Have patience. All things come to she who waits.
Charlene: Well, the shopping isn't going to come here is it? The items aren't just going to select themselves off the shelves, simply waft through the checkout and fly over here on a magic carpet,
Bob: Sounds like a cool concept. I'm all for it.
Charlene: Forget it. It isn't going to happen.
Bob: I hate shopping.
Charlene: Most men hate shopping. I've heard it's genetic.
Bob: I admit it. I confess. I definitely lack a shopping gene.
Charlene: That, and a few other things.
Jeff and Sue re-enter.
Sue: Oh, you poor guy. I'm so sorry. I really thought it was a lighter or something.
Jeff: I guess I'll survive.
Sue: Is it better now?
Jeff: Yes, thanks. But I still can't see anything.
Charlene: None of us can see anything.
Sue: Oh, I found a light bulb.
Charlene: Under the sink?
Sue: How did you know that?
Bob: Give it here and I'll screw it in in a jiffy.
Charlene: Are you sure you can manage it on your own?
Bob: Ouch. Now, where's that chair got to?
He gropes around for the chair.
Bob: Oops. Sorry.
He falls over the chair.
Bob: Don't worry, I found the chair.
Charlene: A tiny miracle.
Bob stands on the chair and waves his arms about searching for the lamp pendant.
Bob: The light socket must be just around here somewhere...
Jeff: What I don't understand is, what's the big deal about shopping today?
Sue: For the party, silly.
Jeff: Oh, are you having a party?
Charlene: No. You're having a party.
Jeff: Oh, great idea. Am I invited?
Charlene: Can you really ride a bicycle and chew gum at the same time?
Jeff: Well, I used to go by bus. But they cut the bus service...
Charlene: ... Last month. I know. (under her breath) Give me strength.
Bob: I think I've got it. Can somebody grab this?
Bob holds the old bulb out. Charlene reaches out for it, then recoils in disgust.
Charlene: Urgh! What is it?
Bob: It's the old bulb. A bit dusty, I'm afraid.
Charlene: (wiping her hands on a tissue from her bag) A bit? You could farm potatoes on that thing.
Bob: Come on, take it so I can pop the new one in.
Charlene: OK, boy wonder, pass it over. (She takes the bulb gingerly in the tissue.)
Jeff: I'll man the light switch.
Bob: Good thinking, by Jove. But wait till I say “now”. I don't want to get electrocuted. Not before your party.
Jeff: I didn't even know I was having a party.
Bob: Me neither.
Jeff: What's the occasion?
Sue: You're so funny. It's your birthday, silly.
Jeff: My birthday? Is it my birthday?
Bob: I thought your birthday was in April.
Jeff: It always was up till now.
Charlene: Don't go too far, boys. I can take a joke, but I'm losing my patience...
Jeff: No, really. It's not my birthday, is it?
Bob: No, it's not his birthday.
Sue: But we've ordered the cake...
Charlene: We've got you a card...
Sue: I've knitted you a pair of ... a present...
Charlene: We have invited 80 people....
Jeff: Do I know 80 people?
Charlene: I know 80 people.
Jeff: Wow. Cool.
Sue: I've bought a new dress...
Charlene: And we are damn well going to go shopping, and then we're going to come back here and clean up this pigsty you call an apartment...
Bob: Wo, steady on...
Charlene: ... And then we're going to prepare the buffet and the punch...
Jeff: But it really isn't my birthday...
Charlene: (louder) ... And we're going to have a god-damn party, and we're damn well going to enjoy it! And we're going to have no more of this crap! Do you understand?
Bob: Yes, boss. You're the boss, boss.
Charlene: Oh, just get that lamp fixed, and let's get going.
Bob: You got it, boss.
Charlene: Really! You've gone too far this time. I've gone to so much trouble to organize this shindig, bent over backwards, and all you can do is fart around. I'm not sure I can put with it any more.
Bob: I must be a total cad.
Charlene: You would try the patience of a friggin' saint.
Bob: And you're no saint, right?
Charlene: That's it! I've had it with you, sonofabitch!
She attacks him. Bob falls off the chair and they struggle on the floor with Charlene on top.
Jeff: Oh my god! What's going on?
Sue: (to Jeff) Oh, don't worry, honey. They'll be all right, they're always like this. (laughs)
Jeff: They are? Oh my God.
Sue: Come here, silly. (she embraces him) You're going to have a very, very special birthday. We're going to dance and laugh and really whoop it up. And tomorrow we'll just spend the whole day together in bed.
Jeff: We will?
Sue: I promise. We'll... (she whispers in his his ear)
Jeff: We will?
Sue: Yep. And then we'll... (she whispers some more)
Jeff: Oh, my God. We will? ... OK, if you insist.
They kiss passionately.
Sue: Mmm. You smell different. Very sexy. Did you get some new after shave for your birthday?
Jeff: Erm... No. It's probably your deodorant.
Bob: (still struggling with Charlene on the floor; in strangled tones) Hey, lover boy! Don't just stand there! Do something!
Jeff: Oh yeah. OK.
He turns the light on. They all freeze.
Charlene: Who the hell are you?
Bob: And who the hell are you?
Charlene: You're not Tom.
Bob: And you're not Betty. Are you?
Jeff: Hey, Bob.
Bob: Yes, Jeff?
Jeff: Bob, I don't have a girlfriend with green hair, do I?
Bob: You don't have a girlfriend at all, Jeff. You have a bicycle.
Jeff: Thanks Bob, that's what I thought.
Sue: (embarrassed) Oh oh. I think we got the wrong apartment.
Jeff: Looks like it.
Charlene: I think we got the wrong guys.
Bob: You sure as hell did.
Sue: I'm so sorry.
Jeff: Don't worry about it. Anybody can make a mistake.
Charlene: (getting up and straightening her hair and clothing) Well, you could have said something earlier.
Bob: If we'd known you were coming we'd have baked a cake.
Sue: We already ordered the cake.
Jeff: What kind is it?
Sue: Black Forest gateau.
Jeff: Ohhh, I just love Black Forest gateau.
Sue: Of course you do, silly. I mean...
Jeff: Boy, I could just eat a big slice of Black Forest gateau right now.
Sue: With a big cup of hot coffee, right?
Jeff: Mmm, Paradise.
Charlene: Well, there's a half-decent breakfast place on the way to the shopping mall.
Bob: The one on North Avenue?
Charlene: You know it?
Bob: Yeah, it's not bad.
Charlene: Funny, I never saw you there.
Jeff: Why don't we go there now? I could kill for a cup of coffee.
Charlene: I think we could just about squeeze it in before the shopping.
Bob: I'll see if I can get the car fixed.
Charlene: Hmm. Hey, there's a carwash right near the shopping mall.
Bob: How convenient.
Charlene: (looking around her) Looks like you could do with some new lamps.
Sue: And maybe a table cloth for the buffet table.
Jeff: Oh, I guess that means we'll have to buy a table as well then.
Charlene: We can pick up a table from my place.
Jeff: That's very generous of you.
Charlene: Generosity is my middle name.
Sue: It really is.
Charlene: I guess we could manage to make this place look sort of presentable by this evening.
Jeff: I think we've got some party lights and stuff somewhere.
Charlene: Under the kitchen sink?
Bob: Where else?
Charlene: (to Jeff) This is going to be the best organized birthday party you ever had, whether you like it or not.
Bob: That I can believe.
Charlene: You can bet on it, buster.
Jeff: I'm willing to be flexible about the whole thing.
Sue: Oh, it's going to be wonderful. Just wait. We'll have so much fun.
Jeff: And tomorrow?
Sue: You're a very saucy young man. (they kiss)
Jeff: Well, it is my birthday.
Bob: I bet you say that to all the...
Charlene: Hey! Get out there and fix that jalopy, right now! You've got 10 minutes.
Bob: Yazz, boss. Don't whip me, boss.
Charlene: Later, dear, later.
Bob: Promises, promises.
Charlene: (consulting her organizer) Now let's see... If we can get the shopping done by 11, I can call everybody and give them this address. That gives us an hour and twenty minutes to prepare the potato salad and the dips...
Jeff: Maybe we should call for a cab.
The light blows out.
Sue: Maybe we should call for an electrician, silly.
© David John 2007
Charlene went on to establish a successful catering company.
Bob now works for a lawnmower manufacturer.
Sue and Jeff live in a tree in New Hampshire.
|Play and photo copyright © David John 2007-21014|
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