#349 | Mr. Wong’s Best Chinese Restaurant

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REBECCA: You ever think about how you’re gonna end up?

JESS: What do you mean?

REBECCA: You know, the usual options. Accident. Drowning. Suicide. Electric fence. Electric chair. Choking on a Jawbreaker. Murder by one of my ex-girlfriends. Natural death, whatever that means.

JESS: Nobody eats Jawbreakers anymore.

REBECCA: Mm.

JESS: I’m assuming you’ve given this some thought.

REBECCA: Cryogenic freezing.

JESS: Cryogenic?

REBECCA: Like when your body is preserved.

JESS: I know what it means.

REBECCA: So you just repeat stuff for emphasis.

JESS: I thought that was reserved for Russian dictators and antisemitic cartoon moguls.

REBECCA: I can’t give my body to science?

JESS: Bullshit, you’re doing it for yourself.

REBECCA: Do you have to be such a buzzkill about everything?

JESS: That’s not fair.

REBECCA: You talk this way, no matter what I bring up.

JESS: Wait wait, when did I talk this way?

REBECCA: At Sarah’s party? When we were talking about Myanmar?

JESS: Oh yeah. The Myanmar thing.

REBECCA: See?

JESS: I can’t help it! That I have opinions?

REBECCA: Well, maybe I don’t like your opinions.

JESS: Will you marry me?

REBECCA: What??

JESS: I figured it was worth a shot.

REBECCA: What the hell are you talking about?

JESS: It was one of those, you know, heat of the moment…

REBECCA: No. No. It doesn’t make sense at all. Jess.

(Beat.)

JESS: These egg rolls are to die for.

REBECCA: Hand over the sauce?

 

END

[photo: Mark So]

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#348 | Dream

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THEO: I’ll love you forever and I’ll always care.

ALYSSA: Ohhhhh.

THEO: What?

ALYSSA: That’s how I know it isn’t real.

THEO: What do you mean?

ALYSSA: That this is a dream.

THEO: This isn’t a dream. Look at the sun. It’s real.

ALYSSA: Nope, that’s a heavenly sphere.

THEO: You know what’s heavenly? You.

ALYSSA: Mmmm. See?

THEO: You’ve never glistened so bright.

ALYSSA: You never talked this way.

THEO: What are these earthly bonds that shackled me?

ALYSSA: Shackled us. This is my dream, dude.

THEO: Come here. Come here and kiss me.

ALYSSA: Fat chance. That’s always when I wake up.

THEO: Come on.

ALYSSA: It’ll disappear. It won’t last.

THEO: Now don’t think that, honey—

ALYSSA: Don’t call me that.

THEO: Then what’s the problem?

ALYSSA: I told you so many times. This isn’t real.

THEO: So?

ALYSSA: You’ll kiss me just the way you used to. Or better. It’ll get my expectations up and I’ll wake up hugely depressed.

THEO: And?

ALYSSA:  The sun is purple now. For crying out loud, this is a dream.

THEO: Have you ever had a good look at the sun?

ALYSSA: Don’t. Don’t drive me mad.

THEO: What’s so bad about…

ALYSSA: This? Everything.

THEO: What are we going to do, just stand here?

ALYSSA: Yes. Stand here as I marvel at you. As we marvel at each other in time. I don’t have to wake up, right?

THEO: Are you really not going to kiss me?

ALYSSA: Theo…

THEO: Look at these beckoning lips. They love you.

ALYSSA: God, that’s so corny.

THEO: Let’s make it the way we used to be. Come on.

ALYSSA: Dream-Theo?

THEO: Yeah?

ALYSSA: Just, shut up for a second.

(She watches him endlessly. The sky turns into spiraling colors then falls apart.)

 

END

[photo: Denys Nevozhai]

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#347 | Hacker

(Chip on the computer.)

MOM’S VOICE: Chip!

…Chip!

…CHIP!

CHIP: What.

MOM’S VOICE: Come out here, dinner’s ready!

CHIP: In a sec.

MOM’S VOICE: What?

CHIP: I said, in a sec.

MOM’S VOICE: You’re gonna have to come down here, I can’t hear you.

CHIP: IN A SEC, MOM!

MOM’S VOICE: What are you doing up there anyway?

CHIP: Nothing.

MOM’S VOICE: You’re not fooling around on the computer are you?

CHIP: I don’t fool around.

MOM’S VOICE: What?

CHIP: Jesus.

MOM’S VOICE: I’m coming up there!

CHIP: I’m not hungry.

(Chip keeps typing. A knock on the door.)

MOM’S VOICE: Chip!

CHIP: Whaaat.

MOM’S VOICE: Is this door locked?

CHIP: I’m not hungry!!

MOM’S VOICE: What are you doing in there?

CHIP: None of your business!

MOM’S VOICE: Are you masturbating?

CHIP: Mom!!

MOM’S VOICE: I wouldn’t be surprised if…

CHIP: I’m hacking into Google, okay??

(Beat.)

MOM’S VOICE: I showed you how to do that years ago. Shouldn’t you be shutting down global infrastructures by now?

CHIP: I..

MOM’S VOICE. Fuckin’ disappointment. All right honey, I’ll leave your plate outside the door. Eat it before it gets cold.

(Footsteps back down stairs.)

MOM’S VOICE: Oh, and maybe you should pull up some porn. Be a teenager for Christ’s sake.

(Footsteps continue. Chip opens the door and takes a plate of mac and cheese.)

 

END

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#346 | &

SHE: The ambiguity of it all…the..the…you know?

HE: It’s only for a weekend. Give me the benefit of the doubt.

SHE: I can’t live that way….

HE: You can’t spend two days in a house with my parents whom you’ve never met?

SHE: I just….listen,

HE: Yeah?

SHE: I don’t think I’m ready for your parents to meet me.

HE: They’ll love you.

SHE: I don’t think they’ll love my……..liberalism.

HE: Oh come on.

SHE: I’m telling you, your parents cannot meet me.

HE: Fine. Then they won’t.

SHE: They….what?

HE: We don’t have to go.

SHE: Just a minute ago you were saying…

HE: Yeah, but I didn’t realize that it was that political. We don’t have to go.

SHE: I mean, I want to meet them eventually

HE: Of course. Don’t worry about it.

(Beat.)

SHE: Are you being facetious or something?

HE: No, whatever would give you that impression?

SHE: You just…gave in really quickly.

HE: I was being diplomatic.

SHE: What is this, a campaign?

HE: I’m just concerned….

SHE: For me? Should you be?

HE: Should I? Are you…

SHE: Me?

HE: You’re not….

SHE: No, no, of course not…

HE: Good…

SHE: I just … I’m not sure about…

HE: The existence of God?

SHE: Us.

HE: Us.

SHE: Shit.

HE: I don’t…

SHE: Do you…?

HE: No.

SHE: The very nature of you and me.

HE: You and me?

SHE: You & me.

HE: & me?

SHE: And me.

HE: The two of us.

SHE: You, me.

HE: Me, you.

SHE: Or me, you.

HE: You AND me.

SHE: &. &. &. It bugs me.

HE: The &.

SHE: Yeah.

HE: Wow. So it’s worse than just my parents.

SHE: Yes. It’s the entire fabric of our bond together.

HE: The &.

SHE: Yes.

HE: Damn.

SHE: Hey, that’s really hard…

HE: No kidding…

SHE: But, really…that &…

HE: &…

SHE: Me. You. Is cleaner.

HE: Cleaner.

SHE: Look, hey, your parents…

HE: Another &.

SHE: Please, don’t.

HE: I love you.

SHE: & what?

HE: How ‘bout me-you?

SHE: That makes us seem like some two-headed creature.

HE: Fine. …Me + you?

SHE: Equals…? Baby?

HE: Me for you. Me for you, okay?

SHE: You’re not for me. (Beat.) I’m sorry.

HE: Yeah.

SHE: & that’s it.

 

END

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#345 | Social Studies

MIKE and MABEL sit on the porch in the backyard.

MIKE: Whatcha doin?

MABEL: Studying.

MIKE: Oh. Okay.

(Beat.)

MIKE: Studying what?

MABEL: Your Mom.

MIKE: Geez-O-Pete. I was just asking.

MABEL: No, seriously. Your Mom, and her journey down the hellish, ill-fated track that led her to give birth to you.

MIKE: If you tell me what you’re studying I’ll leave you alone.

MABEL: Daniel Boone.

MIKE: Ohh, is that for a school project?

MABEL: Thought you said you’d leave me alone.

MIKE: I guess I lied.

MABEL: You’re so funny, Mikey.

MIKE: Do you like me?

MABEL: Yeah.

MIKE: Really?

MABEL: No, I guess I lied.

(Mabel hits Mike in the stomach and he runs away, crying.) 

MABEL: Baby.

(Mabel writes. Daniel Boone approaches.)

DANIEL BOONE: Now you sure as hell know you shouldn’a done that.

MABEL: And why not?

DANIEL BOONE: That’s juss…not the way to treat a gentleman.

MABEL: Oh yeah? …Is that how you treat a lady then?

DANIEL BOONE: I wasn’t tryin to come over an’ start an argument, little girl.

MABEL: I know. But you are.

DANIEL BOONE: D’you wanna go find some Injuns?

MABEL: They’re called Native Americans. And only if we help them get back their land.

DANIEL BOONE: You strike a hard bargain, missy.

(She’s already gone.)

DANIEL BOONE: Hey, wait up!

END

 

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Hello to All This

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Joan Didion wrote the following upon her departure from New York City in the 60s, at the age of twenty-eight (which is my current age):

Part of what I want to tell you is what it is like to be young in New York, how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots…

I feel this, deep in my bones, that I’d entered into some kind of dark tunnel and am emerging into my very late twenties in a new world. Life changes abound. For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself. And it certainly feels like a film.

And here is the East Village. Hello. You may say it’s past its prime, but okay. I see a stomping grounds of my component selves — jazz, slam poetry, indie music, literature, vinyl, vintage. There are always the spirits: Charlie Parker, Lou Reed, Allen Ginsberg, to name very few. I cried at Bowie’s “Lazarus” at NYTW the week after he passed. I stepped outside and saw the first snowfall of the year coming down hard, fast and silent. Hello.

It’s time to slow down now. It’s also time to make art again. It’s time to write (including reviving this blog of hundreds of plays, plug: check it out). It’s also time to walk around and feel like a part of the molecules of this universe. This is long overdue.

Didion also wrote:

“I was in a curious position in New York: it never occurred to me that I was living a real life there.”

It never did to me either. But she came back; perhaps it eventually has for her. And I’m still here. Or should I say, I’m now here.

 

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Abundance

PETE: So you have to look in the center of the eyepiece.

CLIFF: I got it, Pop.

PETE: And when they come out, you have to be very quiet.

CLIFF: When are they gonna come out?

PETE: Could be any time, son.

CLIFF: Did you always hunt as a kid, Pop?

PETE: Of course I did, it builds character and it’s great sport. If you get one today, I’ll be so proud of you.

CLIFF: Gee, I dunno if I will.

PETE: Shhh. I hear something. Keep your finger on the trigger.

CLIFF:

PETE:

CLIFF: I see one!

PETE: Heavens to Betsy, there are two of them.

PETE aims his rifle, too.

PETE: Now, you listen close. Aim for the head of the little one, I’ll get the parent. If you make so much as a rustle, we’ve lost ’em. You understand?

CLIFF: Yes.

PETE: On my three. One…. two…

CLIFF:

PETE: Three!

They fire. 

CLIFF: We got ’em!!

PETE: Two in a row! That’s my boy! Gimme hoof.

Pete and Cliff high-hoof each other.

CLIFF: I love hunting humans.

PETE: C’mon, let’s go check to see if they’re dead.

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