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By Neil LaBute
Faber and Faber, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Neil LaBute
All rights reserved.
Part One: "Sam"
A fairly standard hotel room. High-end without being too obvious; a resort chain of some kind. Marriott or one of those. Bed, work space, TV, minibar. Probably a nice chair.
A man — thirty-three, fully dressed — sits at the desk and plays with the TV remote just as he is finishing a call on the house phone.
A knock at the door. Another. The man jumps up and crosses to a lamp, carefully arranging the shade. Satisfied, he goes over to the eyehole. Looks out. Takes a breath and opens the latch.
A woman — same age, let's call her SAM — enters carrying a Starbucks coffee cup. A silent "hello" from both of them; after a moment, a tentative hug. They venture into the room — the woman chooses the armchair, the man moves to the bed. They sit.
SAM ... always. It is always the same out there. Bumper-to bumper!
GUY Yeah. Yes, it is ... but you made it. Even with the traffic. Thanks.
SAM Sure. Of course. (Beat.) Used to be a great city, but then, you know. Boom! (holds up her coffee cup) Thanks to this bunch ...
GUY Exactly! (laughs) Anyway, I'm really happy, because ... well, you know.
GUY Because it's so great to see you. It honestly is ...
SAM Good. I'm glad. (Beat.) Pretty nice here. I've never been before.
GUY Oh. Yeah. (looking around) They're good ... they've got 'em all over the place now, so ... a chain, I think.
SAM I mean, why would I, right? Live in town, how often are you gonna stay in a local hotel?
GUY Right ...
SAM You wouldn't.
GUY No, not usually.
SAM Not for any reason, really. Not even if there was a convention and you were attending or something ... you'd still just drive home after. (Beat.) I mean, unless ...
GUY What? Unless what ...?
SAM You know.
GUY No, I don't ...
SAM Yes, you do. You know what I'm saying.
GUY I don't, no. Truthfully. What?
SAM ... unless you were seeing someone. Illicitly.
GUY Oh, right. That.
SAM Yes. That. (Beat.) So?
The man nods at this and clears his throat. Jumps up and moves toward the minibar. Points out various items.
GUY You want anything? I mean, like, a water ... ? They've got that Evian ...
SAM No. (pointsto her coffee) Thanks.
SAM Nope. I'm fine.
GUY I might have some nuts, if that's all right with you. Cashews.
SAM Go for it.
GUY Even though they're, like, you know, six hundred dollars ...
They share a laugh at this, albeit a small one.
SAM Then don't eat them. Right? I mean, that'll teach 'em.
GUY Yeah, I guess. But I'm hungry ...
SAM Then you decide. Which was never one of your strong suits ...
He nods at this, remembering. On impulse, he snaps open the cannister and begins to eat.
GUY Geez ... no salt. I'm not big on that.
SAM No, you always liked the salt ... one of your many vices.
GUY Yep. (Beat.) So ... mmm, they're good, actually. Not too bad this way. (he offers again) You sure?
SAM Yes. I mean, no. No thanks. (Beat.) Oh, I read the thing you did for that one magazine. Somebody faxed it to me. It was pretty good ... clever. Mmm-hmm.
GUY Yeah? Thanks.
The man nods and shrugs. She smiles thinly again and exhales. She sets her latte down on an end table.
SAM ... funny how you know so much about women. Now. (laughs) Anyway ...
GUY Yeah, anyway. So, look, I know this is sort of out of the blue and all, and I appreciate how you might be kinda curious about what's up ...
SAM Well, I am, that's true. I do want to know that. What is up?
GUY I just ... look, I needed to see you.
GUY Wanted, actually, but there's some need in there, too. Yes. Need.
SAM ... and why is that? (Beat.) I only cut to the chase because, you know, my kids are home at three.
GUY Right, sure. (checks watch) Sorry.
SAM Don't be. It's fine ... I like when they come home. I just need to be there, that's all ...
GUY No, I didn't mean that ... I'm sorry about rambling on about the, like, peanuts and crap. Forgive me.
GUY Right. Those, (puts down the nuts) I'll get to the point here ...
A long moment where the man looks at her, trying to decide the best way into this conversation. He eats another nut.
GUY ... well-I think I'm gonna have some water, these really do parch your throat after you eat a few.
He jumps up and heads back to the minifridge. Grabs a water and breaks open the seal. She steals a look at her watch.
GUY ... listen, you're probably wondering what I'm even doing here ... back in the, ahhh, Seattle area.
SAM It did cross my mind, yes.
GUY Right, sure, of course — although I do get back here sometimes. You know, every couple years to see my folks, that kind of thing. But I'm not here for that. To see them.
GUY Nope. I didn't even call them, let 'em know ... I'm flying out in a few hours.
SAM Oh. Huh. Well ...
GUY ... because I really just came here to ... you know, I needed to see you. Wanted to, I mean.
SAM ... maybe I'll have just a sip.
The man hands over the water, then sits back down. The woman takes a long guzzle, wipes her mouth. Thinks before speaking.
SAM ... I called your mom once. Just on a whim, like, a year ago. I didn't even remember the number, so I had to look it up in the book ...
GUY Wow. I never ... I mean, they didn't tell me.
SAM No, I didn't ask for you. Or leave a message or anything. I just ... your mom and I got pretty friendly there for a while, so I was ... I wanted to hear her voice. (Beat.) I thought about calling for you, but in the end I pretended to be somebody else. Selling raffle tickets for my kid's school or something ... she and I talked for a minute, and that was about it. It was nice.
GUY ... I never knew that. Huh.
SAM I know. I just said you wouldn't. I didn't tell her it was me, so ... it doesn't matter.
They sit for a moment, staring at each other. Silence.
SAM ... it's two-thirty.
GUY Sure, okay, yes. Look ... I called you, I mean, came into town and contacted you because ... I just wanted to do something here. Right a wrong or, you know, make things okay.
SAM ... huh.
GUY Does that make any sense?
SAM Ummmm ... not really.
GUY Well, what I mean is ... when I think about it, us, I'm saying ... I get a feeling that it didn't end well ...
SAM All right.
GUY You know, things end, right? They do, in lots of different ways, for so many reasons ... and, ahh, we had a really really nice go of it. Back then.
SAM High school.
GUY Yes! Yeah, school. Great times back at Central Valley and a lot of fun, and then, you know ... we sort of ...
SAM You ended it.
GUY Uh-huh. Right.
SAM You broke up with me.
GUY Yeah, I did. True.
SAM What else did you wanna go over?
The man takes another drink of water and starts to speak. Stops. Grabs more cashews instead. Pops them in.
GUY ... are you mad at me?
She looks at him, then bursts out laughing. A big guffaw that seems surprising for her. The man is a bit perplexed.
GUY Seriously, though. Are you?
SAM I can't believe you'd say that.
GUY Well, you know ... you carry that stuff around. I think you'd be surprised.
SAM No, I wouldn't. Uh-uh. I would not.
SAM Because I do ... I do think about it. What happened. Between us.
GUY Well, good! Let's talk about it ...
SAM ... now?
GUY Yeah ... I mean, I know you have to go, but we could at least air a bit of laundry, or however that saying goes.
SAM You wanna "air" this stuff now ...
GUY ... only if it's okay ...
SAM ... instead of fifteen years ago? I mean, you flew all the way here to do this today?
GUY It does seem strange, but ... I just feel that we'd both benefit from ...
SAM No, great. Fine. (leans back) Go for it. I can be a little late ...
The man nods and looks around. He takes off his jacket and folds it neatly. The woman notices.
SAM You're very careful with your things.
GUY Yeah. I picked that up somewhere ...
SAM You must've, because you sure were never like that when I knew you. Back then ...
GUY Well, we were just kids, right?
SAM Eighteen. When you dumped me, I mean. That's an adult.
GUY True, but that's what it seemed like. To me. Kids.
SAM Whatever. Whatever you say ...
GUY You are angry.
SAM Maybe just a touch. Yep.
GUY Huh. All right ... Sam, I'm gonna be open with you here. Totally up front. Honest.
SAM That's promising a lot ...
GUY I know, I know it is, but I'm gonna be, and, well, I just am. (Beat.) I think the reason we broke up back then —
SAM Not we. You. You ended it.
GUY Yes, but ...
SAM It wasn't a "we" thing. "We" was when we were a couple, we decided to start dating, we would choose what movie to go to on Friday night, but the finishing-it-off part? That was you ...
GUY I know that. I do. I do know it ... So, yeah, I stopped calling, coming over, but it wasn't any one thing that prompted it, it wasn't ... and for some reason, I always had the idea that you thought you'd done something ... some ...
SAM No ... (Beat.) I ... no.
GUY Oh. 'Cause my mom said that, that the two of you had talked, and — not, like, recently, I mean, but back in the day, back whenever — and she ...
SAM ... I never said that ...
GUY No, but implied it, insinuated that I'd led you to believe that you'd done something, and —
SAM I don't think that was the case ...
GUY ... and I just wanted you to know, as in better late than never, that it wasn't anything of the sort.
SAM I know. I know that ... I mean, why would I think that? I wouldn't.
GUY Right, so I'm just reiterating for you, then — albeit a bit late in the game — you did nothing wrong.
GUY It was me. All me. I needed to, ahh ...
SAM What? What did you "need"?
GUY Or "wanted" to, I dunno. I felt, like, at the time ... I wanted to have my freedom, do the college thing somewhere other than over at Community or maybe just pursue my writing stuff. Whatever. And you were a girl that I could sort of look at, you know, take a glance at and maybe ... see her whole future.
GUY A bit. Yeah. And that's not bad or anything, it's not, but you're just that type of woman. And I think, if I can say this ...
SAM ... go on, you're on a roll ...
GUY ... history has proved me right. It has. You ended up almost exactly like I figured you would.
SAM Oh, have I, now? (Beat.) Huh ...
GUY ... well, kinda. (Beat.) I mean, still here, with kids and your husband doing what I pretty much would've guessed he'd be doing ... and back then, when I'm just this scared teenager staring eternity in the face, I could see myself with that produce manager's vest on and I suppose I got nervous and backed out of the situation the best way I knew how ... (Beat.) So.
SAM ... he's not the produce manager. He runs the store. The whole thing.
GUY Oh. Okay.
SAM He's the store manager. There is a difference.
GUY Granted. Sorry ...
SAM Forget it.
GUY ... I am sorry. You're not mad, are you?
SAM No, I'm fine.
GUY Because I didn't want to ...
SAM I said I'm fine. Just believe me, okay? I believe you, so why don't you go ahead and believe me ...
GUY ... all right. I'll ... yeah. Fine.
SAM ... and that's really it? That's the whole reason why we suddenly just ended like that? Because you had a vision of working at some Safeway for the rest of your life?
GUY Basically, yeah ... I mean ...
SAM Not some other girl?
GUY Umm, no, not that I ... I don't, you know. I don't recall anybody else.
SAM No? You don't?
SAM 'Cause I always had this vague, you know ... this worry about that. Back in "the day." Back whenever ...
GUY No ... we were going out for, like ...
SAM Two years. A little over ... We were "promised" to each other for two years. (Beat.) And you never went to the prom with somebody else? Right?
GUY ... no. You know that. No, I even ... I worked that night. On prom night. (Beat.) It was our senior spring, and after we broke up I was —
SAMYou, okay? You broke it off. Just say it ... (Beat.)
Look, I don't even wanna think about this, not at all, I don't. I'm a mother now ... a wife and mother and this is like some ancient Greek history! Why did you have to call me about this? Do this to me ... ? Huh?
GUY I wanted to ... I don't know. To just make sure that we were ... okay.
SAM Yeah, fine, yes ... we're okay. A-OK. Is that what you needed? Is that gonna be enough to get you back to your something special life in ... where is it, again?
GUY New York. I have a place in Brooklyn now, but I teach up near ... doesn't matter. It's all ... New York. City.
Silence for a moment as this all gets processed.
SAM Wow. Geez, it's amazing how ... it's all still pretty fresh. You know? I mean, you think it's gone, put in some box under your bed, but God ... somebody mentions a dance or a boy you knew and it's, like, just right there. Instantly it's ... there.
GUY Yep. That's true ...
SAM Yeah. (Beat.) Guess it's partly due to the whole "virginity" thing ...
GUY ... right. I feel the same way.
SAM Well, that's great. Terrific. At least we have that ...
GUY I am sorry about stirring up all the — (checks his watch) It's almost quarter of.
SAM 'Kay. Thanks ... (Beat.) I know that you're looking at my face. I feel you doing that — it's a skin thing. Sometimes after a baby your pigment can get all ... doesn't matter. Anyway, take care. Good to see you, I guess ...
GUY Hey, Sam ... you, too. Seriously. I hope I didn't ...
She starts off but comes to a dead stop. Turns.
SAM ... I didn't mean our prom. I was referring to the one over at North Central. That one.
GUY Oh. Okay ...
SAM So? Did you go there with someone? To her prom?
GUY ... not that I can ... I mean, this is, you know, fifteen years ago ...
GUY I didn't ask anybody to that prom, no. I didn't.
SAM Okay. Not what I heard, but okay ...
GUY I think I ... there was some girl, a senior friend of — remember that guy I knew from, like, kindergarten? Tim somebody? Him — and he asked me to just drop in with this ... really just stop over with this one gal who was his date's friend. A tall girl, played volleyball, I think ...
SAM ... now this is what I heard. Go on.
GUY Nothing else. No, we just ... didn't do the pictures or even, like, a corsage or anything, it was not at all like that ... I was more like a, what do ya call it?
SAM I dunno, I'm dying to hear ...
GUY A, you know ... a chaperone. More of that, really.
SAM Her "chaperone."
GUY Yeah. Basically ...
SAM And she's a senior. I mean, you're a senior, and she's a senior ...
GUY Right, true, but it felt like ... you know, like when your brother takes you to something, accompanies you to a ... (Beat.) I left her there, Sam. Didn't even drive her home, or ...
SAM I don't have a brother. Remember?
GUY No, I know, but I'm just saying ...
SAM I thought maybe it slipped your mind. So much else seems to've ...
GUY ... I thought we even talked about this once.
GUY We didn't? Over the summer there, just before I ... ?
SAM No, we didn't. Not ever. (Beat.) We talked about marriage, but not this ...
GUY Oh. Okay, my mistake.
Excerpted from Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute. Copyright © 2005 Neil LaBute. Excerpted by permission of Faber and Faber, Inc..
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