Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yet another reason I'm glad I married him: A one-act play

[Scene: A semi-lighted living room in a two-story home in the suburbs. It is 9:45 p.m. on a Wednesday. A WOMAN enters, wearing pajamas and a towel wrapped around her wet hair. She crosses the living room intending to enter the master bedroom, adjacent. Suddenly, she freezes. She slowly backtracks a good ten feet, then leans back to call up to the second floor.]

Woman: [Urgently] Honey!
Man: [Enters, and can be seen on the landing] Yes?
Woman: [With great deliberation] There. Is. A. GECKO. Under. The. Couch.
Man: ...
Woman: Come down here and GET it. Please.
Man: [With finality] Sweetie, I'm not touching a gecko. They freak me out. The way they run ... [affects a surprisingly good gecko crawling motion while standing upright] ... Gah. Yuck.
Woman: But this is precisely why I got married! So I wouldn't have to touch them!
Man: Seriously? You can't pretend it's not there?
Woman: [Thunderously] This is where YOUR SON crawls. Every day. [Switches to whining] PLEASE.
Man: [Sighs] I'm coming.

[MAN comes downstairs, having tiptoed past the doorway of a sleeping INFANT.]

Man: Where is it?
Woman: [From across the room] Under the corner section of the sectional couch.
Man: Of COURSE. It WOULD be under the hardest section to move.

[MAN retrieves a flashlight and a broom from offstage. Returning, he surveys the scene.]

Man: What sucks is that I'll have to get down at FACE-LEVEL to the thing to find it.
Woman: [With great sincerity] I love you, by the way.

[MAN gets on his belly behind the couch. A long silence ensues, during which time WOMAN climbs onto a chair to get even further away from the alleged gecko.]

Woman: Do you see it?
Man: [Looking intently ... then, suddenly] YES. [He leaps upright with alacrity.] Baby, I would love to be your knight in shining armor on this one, but I am NOT touching that thing. It's effing QUICK.
Woman: [Despairing] But what am I going to do with the baby all day tomorrow? This is where he plays most of the day! What do we do now?
Man: [Unhelpfully] I don't know.
Woman: [Thinks furiously, then says with decision] I'm calling J. [J is her youngest brother, away at college.]
Man: Wha ...? Why?
Woman: He'll have a plan.

[WOMAN whips out her iPhone and dials. YOUNGEST BROTHER answers.]

Youngest brother: Hello?
Woman: [Without preamble] I've got a problem and I need advice.
Youngest brother: [Immediately gets serious] I'm ready.
Woman: There's a gecko under the couch, and neither one of us here wants to touch it. Can you think of a way to trap it that doesn't involve touching it?
Youngest brother: YES. [He launches right in.] One of you will have to tip the couch slightly to flush it out. Then the person who's committed to catching it should take a large transparent Tupperware container and clap it over the lizard when it emerges. Then you can scoop it up with a piece of cardboard underneath and take it outside.
Woman: Right. The problem is, you see, neither one of us is really willing to commit to catching it.
Youngest brother: [Trying not to laugh] Yes, there is THAT.
Woman: Ok, we're going to try something else. I'll keep you posted.
Youngest brother: Text me later. [They hang up.]

[Back to square one, WOMAN and MAN look at each other across the room. A silent struggle takes place, an argument completely held within their shared gaze. MAN graciously surrenders first.]

Man: [Resigned] Ok, I'll tip the couch section back, but it might run toward YOU. You have to promise not to scream.
Woman. [Confidently] I can absolutely NOT promise you that.

[MAN reaches toward couch, but WOMAN's protest stops him.]

Woman: Wait!
Man: What?
Woman: What will you do when you find it?
Man: Yeah, I'm not sure yet.
Woman: But you'll have a very small window of time to decide on a course of action! We need a plan!
Man: Ok. I have a plan. Hand me that shoe by the back door.
Woman: [Aghast] No! Don't kill it!
Man: [Almost out of patience] Baby, I'm NOT TOUCHING IT. It's either kill it, or it stays where it is.
Woman: [Wages an inner war, with the combatants being her conscience and her cowardice. Cowardice wins.] Ok, FINE. But I don't like this.
[MAN shoots WOMAN an eloquent glance that clearly communicates his distinct dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs as well.]

[MAN tips up the couch section.] Do you see it?
Woman: Um, no. No, I don't s- ... CRAP. THERE IT IS. [A tiny one-and-a-half inch lizard sits quietly on the underside of the couch section.]
Man: [With great urgency] IS IT MOVING?
Woman: No. It is NOT moving.

[MAN sets the couch section down on its back, and makes his way gingerly around to get a clear shot at the reptilian victim. WOMAN gasps as he raises the shoe high. The shoe whistles through the air, delivering a quick blow to the couch. MAN straightens up.]

Woman: Did you get it?
Man: Yes.
[WOMAN clamors down from her perch to peek at the lizard.] Aw, poor thing.
Man: [!!?!?!]
Woman: I know. You're right. [Sighs with great relief] THANK YOU, honey. The sanctity of my home has been preserved. I love you SO MUCH. [They embrace. WOMAN smiles up at MAN.]
Man: [Proud of himself, and basking in the praise] Will you help me move this couch section back in place?
Woman: [Instantly retreats] Not a chance till that thing's outside.

[MAN sighs. Curtain closes as MAN cleans up the carnage and sets the room to rights.]



WOMAN ....... Me
MAN .......... My husband
INFANT ......... Himself


married yoshimi said...


I will pay to see that play...

oh wait. I think I'm in a similar one...

Laura said...

You are one of the strongest women I know, and I can't remember ever telling you to get a grip before in the many years that I've known you, but... A gecko won't even bite you, and the reason he's so fast is that BIG SCARY YOU is coming after him! Next time a mosquito bites one of you, you'll know, deep down, that it was a mosquito that your gecko would have taken care of for you.
Geckos are much slower on plush carpet -- next time, add a big fluffy rug to the Tupperware plan, and buck up!