photo by Joe Mazza and Brave Lux

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Check Yourself

Check Yourself
by Jacob Juntunen

PAULA: Mid- to late-twenties
GABRIELA: Early twenties
WAITRESS:
MAN:

Setting: 
MAN is standing alone onstage standing and reading a magazine when WAITRESS enters leading PAULA and GABRIELA. Throughout, the MAN notices and reacts to the women, as if eavesdropping.

                                                            GABRIELA
You sure you don’t mind sitting at the bar?

                                                            PAULA
It’s fine.

                                                            GABRIELA
How long a wait is it for a table?

                                                            WAITRESS
At least 45 minutes.

                                                            PAULA
Which is why you make reservations.

                                                            WAITRESS
What would you like to drink?

                                                            GABRIELA
Water’s fine.

                                                            PAULA
The Napa pinot noir.

                                                            WAITRESS
Great. I’ll just leave these menus with you, and be right back with your drinks.

(WAITRESS exits)

                                                            GABRIELA
I’m really glad we could have dinner away from Mom and Dad. And this is my treat.

                                                            PAULA
You really don’t have to—

                                                            GABRIELA
Come on. I have a job. I’m not a kid anymore.

                                                            PAULA
Well… Thanks for inviting me, then.

(They look at the menus)

                                                            GABRIELA
Twelve dollars for a hamburger?

                                                            PAULA
You’re not going to get a hamburger here, are you?

                                                            GABRIELA
Of course not. I’m just saying. (pause) I’m glad you came home for Thanksgiving.

                                                            PAULA
New York’s home now.

                                                            GABRIELA
I’m glad you visited Mom and Dad, then. Are you coming back for Christmas?

                                                            PAULA
The firm’s closed over Christmas, so I might as well.

                                                            GABRIELA
I was thinking of inviting everyone over to my place.

                                                            PAULA
Your apartment’s not big enough.

                                                            GABRIELA
I got a tree in the corner, and I can put a card table up next to my kitchen table. Everyone will fit.

                                                            PAULA
What does Mom think?

                                                            GABRIELA
I haven’t asked her. But if you and I both—

                                                            PAULA
She’s going to flip out—

                                                            GABRIELA
Not if we both—

(WAITRESS enters)

                                                            WAITRESS
Water, and pinot noir. Are you ready to order?

                                                            PAULA
I’ll have the duck with parmesan foam.

                                                            GABRIELA
I’ll get the chicken wings.

                                                            PAULA
They’re an appetizer.

                                                            GABRIELA
They’re ten dollars.

                                                            PAULA
She wants them as her entrée.

                                                            WAITRESS
That is no problem. Do you want them to come out at the same time as the duck?

                                                            PAULA
Yes. She does.

                                                            WAITRESS
I’ll put those right in. I’ll take your menus. Give you some more room.

(WAITRESS exits)

                                                            PAULA
What would you make for Christmas dinner? Chicken wings and hot dogs?

                                                            GABRIELA
I’ve helped Mom with dinner every year since—

                                                            PAULA
I hope the duck fits on the bar.

                                                            GABRIELA
I didn’t know you needed to make reservations. How much is the duck?

                                                            PAULA
I can pay for it.

                                                            GABRIELA
No, my treat.

                                                            PAULA
There will probably only be, like, four wings.

                                                            GABRIELA
I’m sure there’ll be more for ten dollars.

                                                            PAULA
I’m going to the bathroom.

(PAULA exits, running into the WAITRESS as she enters. They have a brief exchange the audience can't hear.)

                                                            WAITRESS
Here’s your check, sir.

                                                            MAN
Thanks. And here’s a little something extra.

                                                            WAITRESS
You don’t need to—

(MAN whispers in WAITRESS’s ear as he gets ready to leave.)

                                                            WAITRESS (cont)
Okay. (to GABRIELA) I’m not supposed to tell you this, but your bill is taken care of. So if you want something to drink, or an entrĂ©e, you should just—

                                                            GABRIELA
What the fuck, man?

                                                            MAN
Are you talking to me?

                                                            GABRIELA
You think you can just eavesdrop and then, what, do some white guilt good Samaritan bullshit?

                                                            MAN
I have no idea—

(PAULA enters)

                                                            PAULA
Why are you yelling?

                                                            GABRIELA
This asshole thinks he can just pay for our—

                                                            PAULA
This is why I don’t want any of you in my fucking private life, you’re all—

                                                            GABRIELA
I just want you to come to my house for Christmas!

                                                            MAN
You two get it together.

                                                            GABRIELA
Bye, Felicia.

                                                            MAN
Who’s Felicia?

                                                            GABRIELA
Exactly, bitch. Buh-bye.

(MAN exits)

                                                            GABRIELA (cont)
How could you let that asshole pay for—

                                                            PAULA
I paid, you idiot. Everyone in the bar could tell I was going to pay.

                                                            GABRIELA
But he whispered something—

                                                            WAITRESS
He likes my ass. Your sister gave me her credit card on the way to the bathroom.

                                                            PAULA
Can you make our order to go? We’ll get out of your hair.

                                                            WAITRESS
Sure.

(WAITRESS exits)

                                                            PAULA
You could have invited me anywhere and I would have—

                                                            GABRIELA
No way someone as stuck up as you would have… Sorry, I didn’t mean that.

(pause)

                                                            PAULA
You sure you have room for the whole family at your place? Even me?

                                                            GABRIELA
Yeah.

                                                            PAULA
So let’s get your four chicken wings and go talk to Mom.

                                                            GABRIELA
There’s going to be more than four chicken wings for ten bucks.

                                                            PAULA
You are so wrong.

(They exit. Blackout.)

                                                            

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