Old Movies

SYNOPSIS

CHIP, a twenty-seven-year-old blast from the past, comes back to haunt ANDY AND BILLIE, also in their late twenties and now an established hard-working couple.   

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OLD MOVIES, a ten-minute play 


     SETTING:          The Hale’s one-bedroom apartment.     
     AT RISE:           Morning.  A COUPLE in bed up
center. ANDY, a man of twenty-eight, is intently reading the Metro Section of the paper.  Now BILLIE, a woman of twenty-seven, groans and pokes her head out of the covers.  ANDY quickly hides the Metro section and picks up the Sports page.

                          BILLIE

What were you reading the Metro Section for?

                          ANDY

I was not.  You’re seeing things.

                          BILLIE

No, I’m not.  Where is it?

                 ANDY

Let me guess.  You still drunk?

                          BILLIE

I resent that.  I saw you reading the Metro section.

(SHE pulls the Sports Page away from HIM)

You’ve just opened the Sports Page.  It’s freshly opened.  You weren’t reading it before.  You always read it first.

                           ANDY

Give me that goddamn paper!

(SHE holds the Sports Page playfully away from HIM, then uncovers the “Metro” section.  HE snatches both away from HER, throws the Sports Page in her face, and jumps out of bed)

                           ANDY   (cont.)

I’m going to be late for work.

(ANDY disappears backstage with the Metro section tucked firmly under his arm.  The SOUND of running water.  BILLIE casts the Sports Page aside and picks up the front page.  ANDY comes out with a toothbrush and toothpaste in his mouth and throws his arms around HER)

                           ANDY   (cont.)

You wanna make me those pancakes?

          (ANDY marches back to the bathroom)

                          BILLIE

Yeah.  Go on.  Wash out your mouth.

(BILLIE gets up, walks to the kitchen, opens a can of beer and downs three aspirins.  Then SHE starts making breakfast.  ANDY, dressed in his trousers and holding his work clothes, sneaks up behind HER and grabs her beer can.)

                           ANDY

When are you going to stop drinking?

                          BILLIE

Best thing for a hangover.

                           ANDY

At least you’re off the Scotch.

(ANDY continues his dressing at table.  HE puts on his shirt, a tie, and a white lab coat.  BILLIE brings HIM a cup of coffee)

                BILLIE

Late start?

                           ANDY

I was reading the Sports Page, remember?

                          BILLIE

Yeah, right.

(ANDY SLAMS his cup down into his saucer and gets up.  HE picks up his briefcase)

                           ANDY

I’ve lost my appetite for pancakes.

(HE bends over and kisses HER, fondling HER crudely and squeezing HER to HIM.

Then HE exits.  The pancakes begin to steam.  SHE turns off the stove, begins to tidy up when the DOORBELL RINGS.  SHE moves to the front door and opens it.  A STRANGE MAN, around twenty-seven, bursts in and hugs HER tightly)

                          BILLIE

Chip?!

                           CHIP

Came to see you, hon’!  Just got out!  One hour ago!

                          BILLIE

I can’t believe it!  God, Chip!

                           CHIP

Believe it!  I’m back.  Ready for the old one-two?!

(HE fakes a sparring punch to her face)

                          BILLIE

You’ve matured, Chip.  What’s it been now?

                           CHIP

‘Bout five years.  You’re still a knock-out.

(HE goes to check out the pancakes)

Hey, these smell good.

                          BILLIE

I’m in shock.  How did you know we lived here?

                           CHIP

Don’t want to go into that.  It’s good to see you!

(HE takes her roughly in his arms, gives HER a big kiss, runs his hands all over HER)

God, you feel good.  So good, I could take you right here!

(HE goes to give HER another big kiss but SHE pulls away gently and negotiates HIM into ANDY’s chair by the table)

                BILLIE

Andy will be really happy to see you.  He was –

                           CHIP

Bring those pancakes over here, will you?

(SHE does so.  HE rips at the food and downs it hungrily)

CHIP (cont.)

You got a job now?

                          BILLIE

Just getting ready.  I do temp work now.  Word processing.

                           CHIP

Well, whoopee!  “Temp” work?!

                          BILLIE

What’s that supposed to mean?

                           CHIP

You were “tempting” me when we met.

(finishing pancakes)

These are good!  When did you learn how to cook?

                          BILLIE

Leave the past alone, Chip.

                           CHIP

Just kidding, kid.

                          BILLIE

At least I know how to stand on my own.

                           CHIP

(pause)

Of course.  You know how to cook now.

                          BILLIE

That’s because Andy showed me.

                           CHIP

He did, huh?  He showed you?  Yeah, he must have showed you a lot of things.  A lot of things.  Good old Andy.

                          BILLIE

How was the farm?

                           CHIP

Great.  Hard work, fresh air.  Couldn’t have been happier.  Had a great time.

                          BILLIE

You had a good time in there?

                           CHIP

Yeah, I had a good time!  You hear any different?

                          BILLIE

No. 

(Pause)

Chip, I know you just got here, but –

                           CHIP

You’ve got to get to work?

(SHE nods)

Call in sick.

                          BILLIE

I don’t know.  I –

                           CHIP

You don’t know what?  If you can call in sick?

                          BILLIE

I can’t do that.

(CHIP is out of his chair)

That’s what other people do and that’s why I have their job.

(HE yanks her hair back and pins HER to the wall)

                 CHIP

Never say I can’t!  You still drink like a slut?

                          BILLIE

Jesus, Chip!

(CHIP bends over and violently coughs up some of his pancakes.  BILLIE  fetches some water, then returns to pat HIM on the back)

There, there.

(Pulling HER to HIM suddenly, HE plops HER down heavily on his lap.  Then HE grabs the telephone with one hand and shoves it to her ear with the other)

                           CHIP

What’s your work number?

(HE gropes HER silently as SHE dials the number)

                BILLIE

(on phone)

Hello?…Jill?…Is Mr. Terrington in?…Tell him I can’t come in today.  I’ve come down with a bad cold…Yes, call Kelly Girls, maybe you can get another temp….Ok…Sorry.

BILLIE (cont.)

(SHE hangs up)

Lay off of me!

                           CHIP

Kelly Girls? 

                          BILLIE

Let me go!

                           CHIP

(tightening his grip on HER)

I ought to beat the shit out of you for what you did to me.

                          BILLIE

Come on, Chip, we were both drunk.  You drove right into him.

                           CHIP

And whose fault was it?  I took all the blame.  Then you hook up with my best friend.

                          BILLIE

You know I always loved you.

                           CHIP

That’s right.  You did.  But now you love him.  What about me?

                          BILLIE

I never really loved him.  He was just convenient.

(pulling his hand down between her legs)

What do you want, baby?  You want it right now?  Come on, I’ll give it to you right here on your pancakes.

(HE gives HER a slap across the chops that sends HER flying. 

The SOUND of a key in the door.

ANDY enters.  Does a double-take when HE sees CHIP)

                 ANDY

Chip!  How’s it going?  I hear you got out.  I was planning to meet you outside.

(ANDY gives CHIP a big hug)

                          BILLIE

You were?  You didn’t tell me.

                           ANDY

You don’t read the Metro section.

                           CHIP

How you doin’, Andy?  Feelin’ good?

                           ANDY

I’m great!  But then I called and they told me you’d already left, so I thought, maybe he remembered how to get here?

                           CHIP

From that one night?  I was bombed and you’d just moved in, remember?  What’s with the briefcase?

                           ANDY

For work.

                           CHIP

He needs a briefcase now for work! 

(goes to refrigerator and opens it)

I need a drink.

(pulls out a bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate cake)

                 CHIP   (cont.)

Look what we have here!

                           ANDY

Bit early for that, Chip.  How about some more pancakes?

                           CHIP

Always the joker, aren’t you?  Long-time-no-see friend comes home and gets coffee and pancakes?  What kind of operation you think this is?

                 ANDY

I just meant that maybe we could have that tonight?

(pause)

You’re looking good, you know that?

                           CHIP

(starts to remove cork from bottle)

Had a lot of time to work out in there.  Work out my body.

                          BILLIE

Andy, could I talk to you a minute?

                           CHIP

No secrets here, Billie.  We’re all good friends, right, Andy?

                           ANDY

We’re not good friends.  We’re great friends!  I’ve always maintained that.

ANDY (cont.)

(Silence.  To BILLIE)

Your face looks red.  Put some make-up on.

                           CHIP

Billie was telling me she went to the tanning salon yesterday.  Got a little burned.

                           ANDY

Funny.  I didn’t notice this morning.

                           CHIP

Married couples.

                           ANDY

Excuse me?

                           CHIP

I was saying that married couples –

                           ANDY

How did you know we were married?

                           CHIP

– take each other for granted sometimes. 

(CHIP POPS OPEN the champagne)

                           ANDY

(pause)

Well, Billie’s been working and going to school.  Getting an education.  Wants to become a hairdresser.

                           CHIP

Is that right?  She’ll have to finish high school first.

                          BILLIE

Already have.  I’m going for my Operator’s License now. 

                           CHIP

License?!  Last time I was here you didn’t need no license.

You just needed a little protection –

                          BILLIE

Chip!

(Silence.  CHIP takes the bottle and pours drinks all around.  ANDY distributes the cakes.  Then, HE raises his glass)

                           ANDY

To old times!

                           CHIP

To old times!

(fingering furniture and items in room)

So, you still a bouncer now?  Or have you taken a step up since last time?

                           ANDY

Not really.

                           CHIP

What the hell is this, then?

(fingering a piece of embroidered cloth)

Inherited wealth?

                BILLIE

(pause)

Andy’s doing medical research now.

                           CHIP

Medical!?  What the hell’s going on here!

                           ANDY

No big deal.  I’m just a lab technician.  You know, blood samples and all.

                           CHIP

Jesus Christ!  For what?

                          BILLIE

AIDS research.  There’s big money in that.

                           CHIP

AIDS research!  Hell, with the people we used to know, you must have clients all over the place.

                          BILLIE

Old movies, Chip.

(Pause)

                 CHIP

Remember my old place, Billie?

                          BILLIE

I said those were old –

                           CHIP

You used to make a lot of money in there.

                          BILLIE

Would you shut up!

                           CHIP

            (HE extends his car keys to ANDY)

Run out to the black Buick and bring us that bottle in the trunk, would you?

                           ANDY

I don’t think that’s a good idea, Chip.

                           CHIP

Oh, sure it is.  It’s a great idea!

                           ANDY

Look Chip, I’m your buddy.  I’m your friend.  We go way back.

                           CHIP

And that’s why we’re celebratin’.  “Let old acquaintances be forgot…”

                           ANDY

What I’m trying to say is, we already have enough liquor.

                           CHIP

That’s not what you used to say -.

                          BILLIE

We don’t need to go into that now, Chip…

                           CHIP

Two tons of steel out of control!  She pushed my arm.  As a joke!  She ever tell you that?  And did I ever tell the cops? But now I’m setting the record straight! 

                           ANDY

You look tired, Chip.  Why don’t you sleep here, there’s no problem?

                          BILLIE

No, no problem at all.  You can stay right here on the couch, sleep it off.

                           CHIP

Sleep what off?  It’s only nine a.m.  Time for you to go to work.

                           ANDY

I’m taking the day off, Chip.  I want to spend it with you.

                           CHIP

What?  In bed?  Three’s a crowd.

(HE grabs BILLIE and pulls HER close to HIM)

Billie and I haven’t had a good bang ever since you johns stunk into her life! 

(CHIP draws a gun)

You want to stand there and watch while I dick your babe?

(BILLIE shoves CHIP and the gun GOES OFF.  ANDY drops.  Then, BILLIE grabs his gun, there is a struggle, and one SHOT RINGS OUT.  CHIP topples over on top of BILLIE.  THEY fall to the floor. Silence.  Then, BILLIE’S FINGERS extend upward, groping, until THEY come to rest on her glass of champagne. 

SHE delicately brings the glass to her lips as the LIGHTS DIM SLOWLY AND FADE TO BLACK)

                       END OF PLAY

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