Yakery

 

Logline: A young woman answering a ‘roommate’ ad takes a fancy to the landlord but when she finds out he is living with his foreign girlfriend from a far away country, she accuses him of prejudice that just happens to be her own.

 

Synopsis:

When twenty-five-year-old Jill SMITH of the ‘Pink’ race answers a ‘roommate’ ad, she doesn’t expect to fall for the unfriendly and quirky Leviathan LEE, 28, and a fellow ‘Pink’. But she does, and when he brazenly introduces her to his ‘other’ roommate, a very pretty Dal RAK, 24, but of the ‘Tan’ race, JILL loses her temper and accuses both Lee and Dal of Major Racism.

 

YAKERY

(A ten-minute play)

 

By Richard Bonte,

2017

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

 

LEE – A 28-YEAR-OLD REAL ESTATE AGENT

 

JILL – A 25-YEAR-OLD RENTER WHO HAS APPLIED FOR A ‘ROOMMATE’ AD

 

DAL – LEE’S 24-YEAR-OLD ROOMMATE

 

SETTING:       STAGE IS ONE LARGE OPEN AREA. CENTER STAGE, A SMALL STOOL NEXT TO A SHREDDER. UP LEFT, A BAR AREA WITH WINE GLASSES. AN UNLIT 150-WATT HALOGEN LIGHT UP RIGHT NEAR A FREE-STANDING DOOR THAT SWINGS OUTWARDS. ON DOOR: TWO SIGNS, ONE LARGE ONE READING “FEMALE ROOMMATE WANTED”, WITH A SMALLER ONE READING, “WARNING: I RETAIN THE RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANYONE”; BELOW THIS, A SMALL ‘PEEPHOLE’ ONE CAN TALK THROUGH. THE DOOR SWINGS OUT ONTO A SHORT PATH WINDING DOWN RIGHT.

 

AT RISE:       THE WHOLE STAGE IS IN DARKNESS EXCEPT THIS DOOR AND PATH.

 

OUTSIDE, DOWN RIGHT. SUNDAY AFTERNOON. FROM A DISTANCE, SOUND OF STEPS; THEY COME CLOSER AS LEE, 28, WALKS UP THE PATH, PULLS A SMALL HAMMER OUT OF HIS BAG AND TACKS AN “OPEN HOUSE” SIGN ON THE FRONT DOOR NEXT TO THE OTHER ONES. HE PUTS HIS KEYS IN THE LOCK. JILL, 25, RUNS UP TO HIM.

 

JILL

Open house?

(LEE SWINGS ROUND TO FIND

JILL MOVING TOWARDS HIM

AGGRESSIVELY)

Open house?

 

LEE

 

Hello.

 

JILL

You looking for a roommate?

 

LEE

Maybe. If she’s the right sort.

 

JILL

That’s what the sign says. “Female roommate wanted.” There’s a housing shortage you know?

 

LEE

I know. There’s nothing left.

 

JILL

Is that why you’re having an Open House? Because there’s nothing left?

 

LEE

You’ve come too early.

 

JILL

I know. But I think I’m the “right sort,” as you say.

 

LEE

Were you hiding somewhere?

 

JILL

Watching you put that sign up. On the door. Knock, knock.

 

LEE

What can I do for you?

 

JILL

Oh, no. I was just mesmerized, watching you hammer that sign on the door. You picked up the hammer and hammered it right onto the door. That’s what you did.

 

LEE

Excuse me. I’ll be with you in a moment, ok?

 

(HE OPENS THE DOOR QUICKLY, MOVES SWIFTLY INSIDE AND TRIES TO CLOSE IT, BUT SHE HOLDS IT OPEN WITH HER FOOT, AND STANDS THERE)

 

 

JILL

Excuse me?

(THEY STARE AT EACH OTHER)

You don’t want to let me in?

 

LEE

Are you from the Zone?

 

JILL

Oh, of course I am. You probably thought I was one of those pushy types you find round here, right? From the outside? The wrong sort? Trying to take over before you’d even put the sign up? Before you’d even got your bearings? You know the type: “Come early, put on pressure to wangle the best deal.” Even ready to sue when the deal goes awry?

 

(LEE FEELS AROUND FOR THE HALOGEN

LIGHT AND TURNS IT ON.

THE STAGE LIGHTS COME ON FULL

REVEALING THE NEAR-EMPTY ROOM.

LIGHTS OFF ON THE DOOR AND PATH.

JILL ENTERS. SHE FOLLOWS HIM CENTER

STAGE WHERE HE SITS NEXT TO THE SHREDDER)

 

I’m not that way. I’m the loving sort. I’m sorry. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa! Anyway, you have a shredder? So, if you have to, you’ll get rid of the evidence. Do you have an intimate friend?

 

LEE

(EXTENDING HAND)

Name’s Lee. Leviathan Lee. Yours?

 

JILL

Jill. Jill Smith.

 

(LEE NOW GOES TO THE

‘BAR AREA’ AND CLINKS ONE OF THE

WINE GLASSES. HE REMAINS UPSTAGE.

JILL GOES TO THE SHREDDER)

 

I know what you think: all these horrible people everywhere looking for a roommate, a place to stay and nothing cheap to rent, and forget about for sale. And I suppose I’m one of them. But some of us are better than others; at least I’m not Tan? We’re both Pink? Right? We’re of the same blood,

JILL (CONT.)

same stock, right? We’re from the same school. We deserve to live in a nice neighborhood. But others don’t, if you get my meaning. We’re talking “merit” here, as in “meritocracy.” Look at this place. This shredder means you’ve got a law office somewhere. And you know what that means, don’t you? The wrong sort! Like –

 

(LEE ABRUPTLY TURNS, GOES BACKSTAGE AND RETURNS WITH DAL, A PRETTY WOMAN OF 24. SHE’S STRETCHED OUT ON A BED EQUIPPED WITH CASTORS. FANCY BEDSPREAD. ELABORATE CUSHIONS. HE WHEELS HER UP CENTER STAGE NEXT TO JILL. LOOKING VERY GLAMOROUS, MS. DAL RAK IS WEARING ONLY A SATIN NEGLIGEE. STRADDLING HER LAP IS

A BED TRAY WITH WINE, CRACKERS AND CHEESE. SHE SIPS THE WINE)

 

Like these, these, horrible Tan “people”!

 

DAL

People? What “people”?

 

JILL

(to Dal)

Excuse me? Was I talking to you?

 

DAL

Could you fetch two extra glasses, Leviathan?

 

JILL

Who are you?

(TO LEE)

I thought you needed a roommate, Mr. Lee? What’s going on here? What’s her name?

 

DAL

What ‘people’ were you talking about, Miss?

 

LEE

‘Dal.’ Her name’s Dal RAK, Jill.

 

JILL

(TO LEE)

But-? But I thought-? Didn’t you want a female roommate? Like you? Your kind? Of the same stock?

 

 

DAL

Of course he does. So do I.

(LEE HAS RETURNED WITH THE

GLASSES AND FILLS THEM WITH WINE)

 

LEE

Some wine, Jill?

 

JILL

No. How long have you guys been together?

 

DAL

What ‘guys’? What “people,” Jill?

 

JILL

(REJECTS WINE)

I said “no,” Leviathan.

 

LEE

It doesn’t come from me. Thank Dal. She brought it with her.

 

JILL

I don’t understand! You already have someone here, Lee. In bed, no less. I thought you needed a Pink roommate?

 

DAL

You need a drink, Jill.

 

JILL

Don’t tell me what I need, you -!

 

DAL

Yes, Jill?

 

JILL

I’m trying to restrain myself!

 

DAL

No. You’re trying to save face!

 

JILL

(ATTACKING DAL)

I’m not trying to save your face, bitch!

 

 

 

 

LEE

(BREAKING THEM UP)

That’s enough, you two! Don’t fight over me!

 

DAL

(TAKING ANOTHER SIP OF HER WINE)

It’s vintage Merlot. Very full-bodied.

 

JILL

(TO LEE)

Is this how you take care of your female roommate?

 

DAL

Jealous? Let’s see, where were we, Jill? You were trying to be politically correct by referring to me as ‘people’. Right?

 

LEE

And of course there are limits to being p.c.

 

JILL

I’m leaving!

 

DAL

Oh no! Please don’t go!

(SHE PATS THE BED)

Sit here.

 

LEE

Please, Jill. Do as the lady says.

 

JILL

What ‘lady’! This is preposterous!

 

(SHE MAKES FOR THE DOOR.

DAL JUMPS OUT OF BED AND RESTRAINS

HER)

 

DAL

Please. I want you to stay. You’ll see why.

(SHE GENTLY GUIDES JILL

TO THE BED)

Suppose a person’s totally politically correct? Like they don’t know how to be anything else? Leviathan?

 

LEE

Eventually that person won’t get what he or she wants.

 

DAL

However, it seems to me, your kind always gets what it wants.

 

JILL

My kind? Our kind. You mean your kind wants to mimic our kind, so what’s the problem?

 

DAL

Very good, Jill! You’re in the game.

 

LEE

Come on you two!

 

JILL

Afraid to say what she really is, Leviathan? Don’t want to offend your “roommate?”

 

LEE

Of course not! But she already knows the names we use for her, Jill. Fez heads, speckled prunes, yellow-skinned fruitcakes, colonels, linkies, tan-backs, Quackers… We’re allowed to go with OUR feelings, right?

 

DAL

He’s right. And I’d like you to go with yours, Jill. You obviously think like Lee?

 

JILL

(IGNORING DAL)

Wait a minute. Why do you even allow this snake in your bedroom, Leviathan?

 

DAL

That’s not nice!

 

JILL

(IGNORING DAL)

You trying to make me say what she is out loud!

 

LEE

That’s right, you say it!

 

DAL

You lay it all out there!

 

 

JILL

(STILL IGNORING DAL)

Because you’re afraid to, Mr. Lee?

 

DAL

He wants you to say it loud and clear!

 

JILL

(TO DAL)

Will you shut it!

(To LEE)

I thought you and I were from the same school? That we shared the same values?

 

LEE

(MOTIONING TO DAL)

We only do because you know I’m not like “her.”

 

JILL

Then what is she DOING here? With you! NOW?

 

LEE

You have to understand that when I teach, I try to make people understand that just because I don’t share their liberal DNA—

 

JILL

DON’T GIVE ME ANY OF THAT INTELLECTUAL CARNIVAL!!

 

LEE

And what about you? You‘ve never gone into the urban jungle and scored one of their kind yourself?

 

JILL

(DISMISSING DAL)

No! I “score” with my own race, Lee! Not with hers!

 

DAL

(TO LEE)

You know something? You’re the snake!

(TO JILL AND LEE)

In fact, you’re both snakes!! You’re both so stupid with your convictions and your shredding and scoring, and everything else! Don’t you realize how smart our race is, how we dominate everything today? We’re way ahead of both of you! We even invented the shredder! We’re everywhere in positions of power because we work

DAL (CONT.)

hard, we’re innovative and we’re curious yet we used to

be way behind your kind. Now, we’re tops in everything, and your kind can’t take it! You both know

who we are, so stop calling us “professional victims”

and “whats-its” and “you know who’s” and lying that we’re people who have EVERYTHING but pretend we have NOTHING because of what happened many years ago! You know who we are, so say it, say it loud and clear!

 

(LEE AND JILL STARE AT HER)

 

JILL

She’s right, Leviathan. Out with it! Say what she is!

 

LEE

I won’t give her that satisfaction.

 

JILL AND DAL

(TOGETHER)

OUT WITH IT!

(SILENCE)

 

OUT WITH IT!

 

(LONG SILENCE)

 

LEE

She’s a “Yak.” A Tan “Yak.”

 

JILL

“Yak”?

 

LEE

“Yak”! There, I’ve said it!

 

DAL

A “Yak”? Do you hear, Jill? That’s what I am!

 

LEE

“Yaks”: the race, the concept, the way of life, the last great taboo!

 

JILL

That’s not a definition. That’s a cop-out. Define ‘Yak’?

 

 

DAL

You don’t know? YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM!

 

JILL

Of course I do! But I want you to say it to her, Lee. You’ve taken this Tan Yak thing into your bed. Instead of me!

 

LEE

I want you both, at the same time.

 

JILL

Well, you can’t have us both. I don’t do ‘Tan’. So now I WANT YOU TO TELL HER WHAT SHE IS! OUT LOUD! TO HER FACE! DO YOU HEAR ME! Don’t be afraid! In your words, DEFINE YAK!

 

LEE

You’re kidding me?

 

JILL

Come on! Do it!! If you got the balls!

 

DAL

I love it!

 

JILL

You’re going to tell me! You’re going to tell HER RIGHT NOW!!

 

DAL

He’s really going to do it!

 

JILL

TELL US! TELL US!! TELLLL USSSS!!!

 

LEE

(PAUSE)

To tell you the truth, I never found out. My dad told me a Yak was the worst enemy our kind could have:

(PAUSE)

A Yak is the other guy, isn’t it?

 

         (BLACKOUT)

 

END OF PLAY

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