SETTING: WEEK ONE
STAGE IS ONE LARGE, OPEN AREA. AN UNLIT 150-WATT STANDING LAMP U.R. (UP RIGHT) NEAR A DOOR THAT SWINGS OUTWARDS ONTO A SHORT PATH WINDING D.R. DOWN RIGHT (WALKWAY 1). ON THE PATH STANDING UPRIGHT ARE TWO LARGE SIGNS, ONE READING “FOR RENT,” AND THE OTHER READING “WARNING: WE RETAIN THE RIGHT TO RENT TO ANYONE”. ON DOOR, A SMALL ¬’PEEPHOLE’ ONE CAN TALK THROUGH WHEN DOOR IS CLOSED.
U.L. (UP LEFT), A SMALL KITCHEN.
AT RISE: BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THIS DOOR AND PATH. THE REST OF THE STAGE IS IN DARKNESS.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. FROM A DISTANCE, SOUND OF STEPS FROM D.R.; THEY COME CLOSER AS JILL, A REAL ESTATE AGENT IN HER LATE THIRTIES, WALKS UP THE PATH, PULLS A SMALL HAMMER OUT OF HER BAG, TACKS A NAIL ON THE FRONT DOOR, AND HANGS AN “OPEN HOUSE” SIGN ON IT. SHE PUTS HER KEYS IN THE LOCK.
(JILL SWINGS ROUND TO FIND A MAN ABOUT
FORTY STANDING DOWN RIGHT. HE APPROACHES HER.
HOLDING THE DOORKNOB, SHE RETREATS SLIGHTLY INTO THE OPEN DOOR)
You scared me!
Open house today?
Yes, just today. Have you come about this studio?
I thought there was a housing shortage?
I was watching you put up the sign.
Could you give me a minute? Thanks.
I was just watching you put that sign up, that’s all.
On the door. “Open for business”. Knock, knock?
Is everything alright?
I was just mesmerized, watching you hammer that nail onto the door. I know you’re kind.
I’ll be with you in a moment, ok? I know your kind, too.
(SHE MOVES QUICKLY INSIDE AND TRIES TO CLOSE THE DOOR, BUT HE HOLDS IT OPEN WITH HIS FOOT, AND STANDS THERE)
What do you want?
I’m not going to hurt you.
Are you from the Zone?
I grew up within the walls.
You’re a native Pink?
I grew up within this sanctuary city.
Can you get your foot away from the door?
I’ll have to see some identification first and then search you.
(HE PRODUCES HIS I.D.
JILL STUDIES IT
AND THEN FRISKS HIM)
(THEY STARE AT EACH OTHER)
I’m not who you think I am, you know?
You’ve shown me who you are, and if you try anything, I will send you to the hospital.
Are you a native Pink?
(JILL STARES AT HIM BUT THEN MOVES TO THE HALOGEN LIGHT AND TURNS IT ON. THE STAGE LIGHTS COME ON FULL REVEALING AN EMPTY ROOM WITH ONLY AN OVERTURNED SHREDDER FILLED WITH BITS OF PAPER SPREAD OUT AROUND IT. LIGHTS GO OFF ON THE DOOR AND PATH. JILL STARES AT THE SHREDDER
AND MOTIONS FOR THE MAN TO STAY PUT. SHE GOES BACKSTAGE AND RETURNS WITH A BROOM AND STARTS TO CLEAN UP)
(NODDING AT THE SHREDDER)
Oh, of course! I’m sorry. You probably thought I was one
of those pushy types you find in these parts, right? “Come early, put on pressure to wangle the best deal.” All these people everywhere looking for a place and nothing to rent. But some of us deserve to live in a nice neighborhood. Like this area. It’s even got a law office because we have to protect against frivolous lawsuits.
(NODS AGAIN AT THE SHREDDER
WHICH JILL NOW TAKES BACKSTAGE)
Certain people are always pushing and scraping—destroying documents.
I feel honored to be here. You’ve done a wonderful job with the decorating. May I look around?
Actually, you’re just a little bit early.
Early? Yes, it’s ten to one by my watch, though. I’ll just stand right here and admire the sunshine from the inside. Great day out, right? Maybe a bit windy, but ten minutes won’t kill me. I was passing by, see? All of a sudden I come by this exquisite studio on the university campus and it’s so much better than where I live now! So I thought that maybe I could look at it and luckily I find out there’s an “Open House.” Ten minutes won’t kill me. Oh no, no, no.
This is one big empty room, Sir.
No, it’s not! Don’t say that! Nor is it empty of charm, either.
Please, come in.
I thought you’d never ask. I’ll sit right here.
(MAN MOVES TO THE CENTER
OF THE STAGE WHERE
THE SHREDDER WAS.
HE BENDS HIS KNEES AS
HE PRETENDS TO SIT)
This is a very comfortable chair! I’m sorry! I’m doing it again! I’m putting pressure on you.
From what I can see, you’re putting pressure on yourself, on your thighs. Please excuse me while I get a broom.
(JILL GOES BACKSTAGE AND
RETURNS WITH THE BROOM)
That was a joke, right? You like to joke?
(JILL BEGINS TO SWEEP UP THE DUST).
You’re going to get tired ‘sitting’—if that’s what you want to call it–like that.
(MAN WALKS OVER TO AN IMAGINED
“BAR AREA” AND PRETENDS
TO PICK UP A WINE GLASS THAT
IS DRYING ON AN OVERHEAD RACK.
OBSERVES THE IMAGINARY GLASS,
THEN ‘CLINKS’ IT AND SAYS “DING”!)
Look. Even the glasses sparkle. Nice quality ones, as well.
Is that going to be your “bar”?
I’d be careful of those. They’re pure crystal.
(SHE LAUGHS AS HE PRETENDS TO PUT IT DOWN)
You have to be a member of the faculty. Do you have a
Business card? Don’t believe in them. No, I’m what you call an “independent.”
Oh yes? What field?
Sociology. Yes, I’m a full-time tenured professor. So you see, a business card? – Well, let’s just say it would be another useless exercise in taxonomy.
(STARES AT HER)
You’re special, you know that? Most brokers are tough. Hard. You, on the other hand, gave me a seat. I’m grateful for that. I came early and expected to pay the consequences. Like your former tenants did, right? We all have to pay, wouldn’t you agree?
(HE RETURNS TO HIS PRETEND
SEATING POSITION IN STAGE CENTER)
But now I can enjoy the nice weather from a seat in the living room.
Oh, of course! With the bar. And there’s a TV here.
(LOOKS STRAIGHT OUT AT AN IMAGINARY TV.
PRETENDS TO ZAP A REMOTE CONTROL
AT IT AND CHANGE CHANNELS)
Don’t know why I wanted to call it a living room! A lot of people might, though. I suppose it’s old-fashioned but I wouldn’t want to spoil a nice living room with a TV. Too many people do that. Put their TVs in the living room? No, a real living room is a place to read. Full of bric-a-brac, Tiffany light shades, a plush purple carpet, Chippendale furniture, a swordfish on the wall, you know?
(JILL PUTS AWAY HER BROOM
IN THE KITCHEN AND RETURNS)
There, I’ve finished!
Now, here’s the den –
We starting the tour?
If you want to call it that?
No, I just wanted to make sure because you’ve been cleaning up for so long that I didn’t know.
I’m sorry! I’m just so impatient to see this place in its entirety that I couldn’t wait, and — Anyway, please continue.
Like I say, this is it: one large room, you do with it what you want to. You ‘imagine’ what you want to. You furnish everything. Your kitchen nook is over there with the bathroom.
(JILL GOES BACKSTAGE AND RETURNS WITH A DUSTER. GOES TO WORK ON THE LAMP)
What about your typical five-square garden? That back there, too? And this light here?
Yes, what’s wrong with the light?
From what I can see, everything’s right with the light. It’s a standing lamp with a three-way 150-watt bulb! It gives the room a nice clean line. Sleek, sort of soft and
clean and personable and –
Yes, and stop calling it a ‘light’! It’s a three-way 150-watt bulb! Seems more like a double-barreled 2000-watt halogen canon, for that matter! But you’re not fooling me.
What do you mean?
I know what you probably told the University: “Leave
the lights on; good for business”? Right? Come
on, you’re smiling! Is that what you said? Who owns this place? You? Those who should not be named, those we dare not mention? Who are you working for?
I know. No need to explain. Seriously, uh, Ms. uh?
Smith. Jill Smith.
Smith! Smith? I love it! What a great name! Wonderful! So distinguished, yet simple, so perfect!
And you are?
Lee. Leviathan Lee. That’s what my parents wanted, so that’s what they got.
No, “Leviathan.” Means ‘whale’. Basically, I think they were saying they wanted a big man. You know, ‘a whale of a man,’ physically big? I mean, I have a big heart and all, but I guess I’m only small for a man.
You’re above average.
Do you mean that? Well, thank you very much. That’s one
of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Anyway, to get back to my parents, I also think they were thinking of themselves when they named me. Parents really don’t think of the child when they name him. They think only of themselves; because that’s the nature of man and woman, see? They think of how small, puny and aggressive they are, so to compensate, they have to project the opposite onto a poor, defenseless fetus that later
becomes their baby. And the baby becomes a boy, and the boy becomes a man.
And, Ms. Smith, I am pleased to say that I am that man.
Do you have an intimate friend?
I’m not sure what you’re driving at, Mr. Lee?
We’re the same, see?
I beg your pardon?
No need to profile us; we have the proper profile.
You’re not supposed to use the “P” word but are you against profiling?
For people like us, yes, because we’re the same. But other people are not. You don’t want to give others special treatment because of their background, do you?
Do you understand that you and I are cut from the same
What are you really saying?
I say you get rid of that “Open House” sign. You don’t need it anymore because I’m your man.
Just like that? You’re “my man?”
Exactly. Plus, you say you retain the right to rent to anyone. You’re an ‘equal opportunity’ employer. I’m your man.
What makes you think you’re the one, Mr. Lee?
Call me Leviathan, Miss Jill! Unless of course PinkVille University and the politically correct want you to choose a ‘minority’ candidate -?
(HE STOPS BECAUSE THERE IS
NOISE OUTSIDE THE DOOR.
LIGHTS DIM TO HALF SUDDENLY ON
LEE AND JILL.
SUDDENLY, THE LIGHTS COME FULL UP
ON RIGHT SIDE WALKWAY 1 OF STAGE.
THE OFFICE D.L. REMAINS DARK.
MARSHALL RANFORD, A
MAN OF 44, WALKS
DOWNSTAGE. TWO WOMEN, ONE IN HER
MID-SIXTIES AND ANOTHER IN HER
MID-THIRTIES ARE WALKING UPSTAGE.
THEY SUDDENLY APPEAR AND STAND IN FRONT
OF HIM WITHOUT MOVING. BOTH WOMEN ARE
WEARING ‘XUURKAHS’(PORCUPINE WIGS), HAIR
PIECES WITH POINTY RUBBER QUILLS. THE YOUNGER
WOMAN STARES BOLDLY AHEAD AND SMILES AT MARSHALL.
THE OLDER ONE IS WEARING A PINK FACE MASK.