Monday, August 13, 2012

"Jimmy and the Nest"

A short play by Barry Martin. Copyright by the author August 13, 2012.

Characters:    He, a twenty-something man.
                        She, a twenty-something woman.      

Setting: An elevator. The elevator should be depicted through the use of sound and/or light only.

The time:  The present.
(At rise he is in an elevator. He wears business dress.  The doors open. A woman rushes on, looks up at the lights above the elevator and gets on. She has voluminous long hair and wears a scarf and a knit beret. She is bright and lovely and he smiles at her as she come into the elevator and she smiles back. She turns to face the front and is in front of him as people stand on elevators. He looks at her and thinks. She keeps smiling but does not look at him. He looks at her and thinks more. A long pause as he thinks, appears about to speak but does not. He looks at her and thinks again, then, abruptly....)


So, are we going to fuck tonight or what?

(She keeps smiling, does not respond. An awkward pause as he waits for a response and gets none. He continues to speak; she does not turn.)


Ok, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. That is not like me at all to say that. I just went with a gut feeling there. Felt like something transpired between us when you got on. (Pause) Maybe not. (From behind he peers at her looking for a response. She keeps smiling but does not turn or speak.) Jesus, that was a dumb thing to say. I was trying to play it real cool, you know, like this friend of mine who is really direct like that with women, but that is really not me at all. You have to believe me, I’m really sorry, ok?

(He leans around enough to see that she is still smiling. He takes this as a kind of encouragement and becomes mildly excited.) I find it really hard to – get started, you know? To talk to a woman? When you smiled at me I felt something I haven’t felt in so long. Something I thought maybe I would never feel again, you know? Some magic happening, a moment, a flash of – whatever. I felt that. Did you feel it? (Pause) I mean, it was like, between the moment the doors opened, and the moment you turned around, there was this – moment. It was, what, two seconds? Less? I could see you and me walking in the park, holding hands. My arm around you on the couch, watching a movie with subtitles. Having a baby! You know how romantic those movies with subtitles can be, right? Ok, it sounds really crazy, but do you believe in love at first sight? I think I do, I believe in it. There was that moment, that two seconds, and I just saw it all, my life flashing before my eyes, but in forward, not in reverse like I was dying. I don’t think I’m dying. I think I’m living. At least I was living in that moment. (Pause. She does not respond. She keeps smiling.) Did you – did you feel something? Did you have a moment there? (She does not respond. He touches her shoulder lightly. She turns still smiling, looks at him. She reaches up under her hair and hat and pulls earbuds from her ears.)


I’m sorry, were you talking to me?


Oh, I…uh…there was – a moment – I thought - there was -  a bug on you. (He brushes at her shoulder.) There was something there, just for a moment. I thought. But maybe not.

(The door opens. He wishes this was his floor but it's not. She smiles at him again, starts to leave. Stops, comes back. The door closes.)


(She looks at him intently.) I was listening to this really great song. Off in my own world, you know? (Still looking at him. A beat) Thanks for saving me from that bug.


Oh, sure…there was…not really a –


Would you like to hear it? The song?


Oh, well, sure, sure –

Here. (She forcefully offers him the earbuds and the device. He puts the earbuds in his ears and holds the device and she starts the music) Turn it up, it’s good loud. (He does. He smiles at her and listens intently. She slips behind him while he faces forward concentrating on the music.) Can you hear me? (Pause. He does not react.) Hello? (He does not react. Pause.) I heard everything you said. I like to make it look like I’m listening to music so people don’t bother me, but there was nothing playing. So I heard everything you said. When you blurted that out -  “So are we going to fuck tonight” I thought I was going to die. Seriously. It made me want to laugh and it made me want to – do it. Tonight. It was so thoroughly male. Just really primal. I’m not supposed to like that, I guess, but I did.

And then you had to apologize, and I could hear you blushing, and it was so ridiculously cute. And that made me want to kiss you. (Pause) I don’t know why I didn’t turn around. Talk to you, kick you in the balls, something. I’ve never done that before, just pretend I didn’t hear someone talking. Ok, I have done it before, but not very often. (Pause)

The problem is, I’d like to take you home tonight, I really would. But I’m not going to. Because I could see all you were seeing. The walking hand-in-hand. The foreign film. It was Fellini for me. The baby. I could see it all. That’s why I’m not taking you home, see? You make me want to nest, and I’m living this – perched existence. I’m still flying. I’m just perched right here right now but I have to fly again. I’m not ready to make a nest, Jimmy. (Pause) I don’t know your name but I want it to be Jimmy, ok? You’ll always be Jimmy to me, Jimmy. Jimmy: the guy in the elevator who made me want to nest. 

                                    (He takes out the earbuds and turns to her.)

So what did you think?


I liked – the words.


I knew you would. (Pause. The doors open.) I’ve got to fly.




Take care of yourself.


You too.

                                    (She starts to go. His words stop her.)

I heard everything you said.

                                    (They share a long look in silence, and she goes.)

                                                            END OF PLAY

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