Location: Fairfax, CA
Awards: Second place at the Dominican Clollege Short Play Festival
Time: The present.
Place: Paula's living room in Marin County, CA.
DIANE: (knocking at the door.) Hello. Hello. (Diane enters the living room
before Paula gets to the door to greet her.) Hi, Paula I came over to get
that article. Remember? That article you told me about?
DIANE: You know. In that journal you get, "Care of the Soil". I wrote it
down. (She reads a scrap of paper.) "The 48 Hour Squash Blossom Fast for
Intestinal Detoxification." Remember? I told you my Yoga Group would love
to have it.
PAULA: Oh, yeah. Sure. Only I've got to run out now. I'll get it to you
later, Diane. Right after my Meditation Group. (She looks at her watch.)
We'll be sitting "In loving silence" give-or-take an hour. Tell you what.
I'll fax you right after.
DIANE: You are so supportive, Paula. And listen, I hate to ask you another
favor, but I'd be so grateful if you'd...(the phone rings.)
PAULA: I'd better get it. It's probably my chiropractor calling back. (She
leaves the stage.)
DIANE: OK., I'll wait and leave with you. I'll do my Hara breathing until
you get off. (She does Hara breathing.)
PAULA: (About a ten-second pause and Paula returns.) Well, That's settled.
He'll take me later this morning.
DIANE: Is something the matter?
PAULA: I've been feeling awfully sick, Diane. Didn't I mention it to you?
Dizzy, constant diarrhea, and I'm exhausted all the time. The massage
therapist thinks it's my Post Traumatic Stress acting up.
DIANE: My cousin thought she had that and...
PAULA: (interrupts) I can't seem to shake it. My hands tremble. My eyes
DIANE: But when she went to the acupuncturist......
PAULA: (Interrupts) The massage therapist first thought Lyme Disease.
DIANE: He said it was fleas.
DIANE: He said it was fleas. The acupuncturist said she had fleas.
PAULA: Oh. But, listen, it's probably none of those things. I know what's
really bothering me and I have to face it. It's my relationship with Jack.
DIANE: You two are bickering again? When Jim and I were together we went to
this wonderful therapist...
PAULA: (Interrupts) Jack and I had a terrible fight last night. It always
makes me nauseous when I get into a battle with him.
DIANE: ...It was just before Jim walked out. Where is Jack, by the way? I
want to ask him something.
PAULA: The bathroom. He's giving Daisy a bath. Hear her barking? He loves
that dog. He takes a bath along with her. They do everything together. I told
you, didn't I, the clothes dryer was broken?
DIANE: No, but you did say you were drying your clothes outdoors on the line.
I thought what a great idea. I was going to suggest it at Group.
PAULA: Well, I called a repair man to come fix the dryer. But the laundry
room was crammed with those big boxes of dietary supplements we're storing.
The repair guy would have had to crawl over them to get to the dryer. I asked
Jack to carry the boxes out to the garage. And I specifically said, "Jack, be
sure to dust the boxes."
DIANE: Gee. I sure miss having a big guy around to do the heavy work.
PAULA: Well, he carted them to the garage, but he didn't dust them.
DIANE: He didn't what? Dust them?
PAULA: So I said to him very softly, "Jack," I said, "I see you removed the
boxes. And I thank you for that. But you didn't dust them."
DIANE: Anyway, he moved them. Jim would have cuffed me in the mouth and told
me to dust them myself.
PAULA: Well, he turned away from me like he always does, with that hurt child
look on his face. He can't take any criticism.
DIANE: Jim would say God commanded that women to do the housework..(she
pauses, then continues bitterly) He sat around all day like a lump of lard,
yipping out orders. "Paula, make me a sandwich. Get me a beer, Paula. Wash my
socks, Paula.." Did he lift a finger to...
PAULA: (she interrupts) Left me talking to the wall.
DIANE: Didn't budge....until he packed up and walked out on me.
PAULA: So I started screaming. "Can't you even keep an agreement?" First I
was just calmly telling him, "Jack, you didn't dust the boxes," and he turned
DIANE: What's this agreement business?
PAULA: Our marriage counselor had us make a pact. We agreed to do
exactly what we're asked. It's now written in the special marriage
bylaws that we drew up. A list of agreements. And I had said dust the boxes
DIANE: But why were you screaming?
PAULA: I told you. I was furious. He doesn't honor agreements with me.
DIANE: I go to a wonderful psychic, Paula. You should try her. She's helped
PAULA: I know now that Jack and I have a contaminated relationship. We have
to separate as soon as I'm rid of the "Stress" thing.
DIANE: Who'll take Daisy?
PAULA: Joint custody.
DIANE: He's crazy about that dog. Hey, I got to ask him something. Do you
suppose he's still bathing her? (there's barking from a door to the rear of
the stage). Will you listen to her yapping?
PAULA: Anyway, Jack got angry when I reminded him to dust the boxes. "Shut up
your face," he said. "The neighbors will hear you screaming," (a thoughtful
pause) He doesn't have any friends, Diane.
DIANE: Poor guy.
PAULA: He can't handle intimate relationships.
DIANE: Poor guy.
PAULA: But he deals with casual relationships, like the neighbors, just fine.
DIANE: Well. That's something. (pause) And Daisy loves him.
PAULA: He knows how sick I get when he makes me scream. It happened last week
too. Daisy is a vegetarian, you know. She needs to have her food blended
smooth as cream.
DIANE: Like baby food, huh? But don't dogs need meat?
PAULA: Jack doesn't know how to use the food processor. He's terrified of
even the simplest of machines. The toaster. The hair dryer. So he
hand-chopped the food. He could have killed Daisy, I was livid when I saw her
eating that lumpy food.
DIANE: Seems a lot of trouble for a dog.
PAULA: She could have choked. I offered to show him for the umpteenth time
how the food processor works. But I had to go to yoga first, and when I came
back, he'd used a potato masher. So, you see? Another example. He refuses to
honor agreements. Anyway, I finally taught him how to work the hair dryer
"on" and "off" switch. He was so proud. You'd think it was a major
breakthrough like landing a Cessna in the fog.
DIANE: Jim was the same way when I told him how to do things.
PAULA: But see, he wanted to dry Daisy with the hair dryer after her bath. He
was motivated. Only Daisy can motivate him. Anyway, we talk constantly of
divorce now that Jenny moved in with her boyfriend. We've talked eight years.
DIANE: Eight years.
PAULA: He drinks, you know.
DIANE: Jim loved Twelve Step. Whenever he went off it I could tell.
PAULA: Wine, beer, vodka, you name it...
DIANE: ...because he'd start cuffing me around again.
PAULA: He's slept here in the bathtub on dirty pillows ever since.
DIANE: Jim loved to sleep outdoors.
PAULA: Daisy pees on those pillows.
DIANE: Maybe he should sleep in Jenny's bed.
PAULA: That's where I sleep now. He's sleeps with Daisy in the bathtub. Why
can't I summon the strength to leave him?
DIANE: Maybe you're afraid?
PAULA: Fear. That's what it is. (there is loud barking) Shut up, Daisy.
DIANE: Paula, I have to go to the john. Do you suppose we can see if Jack's
done with the bathing?
PAULA: Yeah. Fear. That's what it is. Oh my gosh, I'm late for my
appointment. (She rushes to the bathroom door.) Jack? (She knocks.) Jack?
DIANE: Let's take a peak.
PAULA: (She opens the door.) Jack? Oh my God. Diane. I think, oh, no, Diane,
Jack is dead. (Daisy keeps barking.) He's dead.
PAULA: Look. He's in the bathtub. Naked. All blue. He's clenching the hair
dryer in his hand. Hush, Daisy.
DIANE; He's dead? Dead?
PAULA: He must have electrocuted himself with the hair dryer. Just like him.
Just like you, Jack. Thank God we still have Daisy. She must have jumped out
before he turned it on. Just in time. Sweet Daisy.
DIANE: I guess he finally learned to turn the hair dryer on.
PAULA: (She looks at her watch.) I better cancel the chiropractor
DIANE: Yeah. And how about calling 911?
First performed in 1997
at the College of Marin, Kentfield, CA,
as part of a One-Act Play Festival sponsored
by their Emeritus Drama Workshop