WAFFLESA Play in One Act By Martha Garvey 123 Willow Ave. Hoboken NJ 07030 646 236 8910 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARACTERSJOE: a hip-looking guy somewhere in his 30s.BETSY: Joe’s wife. Slightly hipper and younger than Joe. SCENEAn urban diner somewhere in Northern New Jersey. TIMEThe present.
ACT I (A SLIGHTLY RUNDOWN DINER. JOE AND HIS WIFE BETSY SIT ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER, PERUSING GIANT MENUS.) JOEIf I get the waffles, will you get the salmon omelet? BETSYThe salmons not good here. Remember? Its the diner inEdgewater-- (Shes prompting him.) JOEThe one with the chickpeas? BETSYNo, you know, the one with-- (Awful pause. JOE is flustered.) BETSY (CONTINUED)The garlicky... (Another pause.) JOE....spinach? Spinach, spinach, spinach. Why dont Iremember that? (JOE whips out a 3 x 5 card, smacks it down on the table. Then begins a frantic search for a pen. BETSY waits until she cannot stand it anymore, then offers a pen to Joe, who lunges at it. JOE writes furiously, while Betsy looks at the menu.)
BETSYAre you thinking banana, maybe? The strawberries arentso... (JOE keeps writing. Then stops.) JOEOh, shit. (JOE passes the card over to BETSY, who examines both sides.) BETSYWhat. So. Well, you forgot. (JOE snatches the card back, reads from both sides.) JOE"MARCH 1, REMEMBER: salmon omelet, Liberty Diner, SUCKS." BETSYJoe. They can hear you. JOE"MARCH 2. Liberty Diner, dont forget: salmon omelet.Major. Sucko." BETSYWe should eat out less. Were spending too much money. AndI dont know about you, but Im gaining-- JOE"MARCH 3, serious suckage-- (BETSY yanks the card out of his hand.) BETSYAll right. JOEPomerance said it was one of the slow-growing ones. But Iguess its having a growth spurt today. Maybe we shouldpitch it as a childrens book, or a cartoon: The Poky LittleTumor That Could.
BETSYEveryone forgets. And theres the stupid chemo. And yourenot sleeping. Or eating. JOEBets, dont do the Lifetime wife excuse thing. Its not whatI married you for. BETSYThe social worker told us that stress has an impact onmemory. It doesnt necessary mean...Pomerance said.. (But JOE begins writing again, this time, practically digging the pen into his hand. When he is done, he displays the palms of his hands: SALMON on one hand, SUCKS on the other.) JOEMaybe this will work better. More visceral. Body-centered. BETSYHoney-- JOEOf course, Ill have to pick the most important fact I haveto remember every day, but youll help-- BETSYPlease, Joe-- JOECmon, Betsy. Hallmark card me. Affirm my awesome copingmechanisms. (JOE stands up like a winning prizefighter, arms outstretched in a V, palms open.) BETSYYou know, if the owner sees your hands, theyll ask us toleave. Or: best case scenario: the waitress will spit inour coffee.
JOESince when did you get so timid? (JOE freezes. BETSY addresses the audience directly.) BETSYPomerance said to me, (she takes on a Slavic accent)"Well, it works like this. Think of cancer as syrup, andyour husbands brain, its like waffle. Even after you tiltwaffle over to remove the syrup, even after you scrape it offwith knife, waffle has drunk deep and irrevocably of BETSY (CONTINUED)syrup, inevitably makes waffle grow, expand. And skull...isfinite. And the syrup-drenched waffle? It just goes on.Infinite waffle...finite skull. I am so sorry about thesyrup." (JOE unfreezes.)Joe? JOEYeah, Bets. I guess I nodded off there for a second. BETSYSit down. (JOE sits. BETSY leans over and unbuttons one of Joes sleeves. Slowly, she rolls up one sleeve to the elbow--the skin of his forearm is completely covered with scribbled words. She rolls up the other.) JOEJesus. (Jokey.)Id hate to see what my cock looks like. (BETSY remains silent for a beat too long, and will not look at JOE. JOE picks up the 3 x 5 card he scribbled on, and rips it into tiny pieces.)
JOE (CONTINUED)Im sorry I let you down. I mean, we all know that youdidnt marry me for my money or my looks. BETSYYou know what your mom said to me the other day? "Well, itsa kind of blessing its happening to Joe. If it were theother way around, I think losing you would just about killhim." JOESo..are they sick of us yet? At this diner? BETSYI told Stavros. "Just promise he wont pee into the soup,Elizabeth." It hasnt made him fix the salmon, though. JOEWeve already tried a lot of things? BETSYWeve already tried a lot of things. JOEThis is the part in the Hallmark movie where we hold handsand the violins swell and we promise to fight this thinguntil the end. Together. (They dont look at each other and dont hold hands.) BETSYJoe. JOEIts supposed to be pretty peaceful at the end. Ill just besleeping, and then my lungs will stop. This is the hardpart, the...middle. The waiting. BETSYThe..medicine that makes you so sick. The highly annoyingfamily members with their self-righteous homeopathicremedies. JOEThe health insurance forms that make you weep.
BETSYFighting with our insurer, who has outsourced the pain toPakistan. JOEThe noble battle. The righteous cause. (JOE picks up the card scraps and lets them flutter like snow across the table.) BETSYJoe? JOEHuh? BETSYIm not good at this. The noble wife crap. Its not yourfault some random cells went off the reservation. Yourminds still there. JOEMostly. BETSYBut Im not good at this. I think about leaving you half thetime. JOEAnd the other half? BETSYYou know, the usual: whos going to walk the dog at night?Will this really mean that I never have to talk to yoursister again? What if Pomerance is wrong? Wouldnt this bea great time to start believing in a merciful God again, orat least, "The Secret?" JOEOh, shit, babe, what Ive put you through. BETSYDont make fun of me. JOEIm not. I never meant to put you in a position where youdbe considering buying an Oprah-approved book. BETSYI didnt buy it. I stole it off the Internet. JOEThats my girl.
BETSYJoe. JOEBets. BETSYKeep writing on your arms, your hands, your forehead if youhave to. Embarrass the shit out of me. Just dont leave me--dont forget me--until you absolutely have to. Dont gounder. Fight the syrup. JOEWhat? BETSYNever mind. (The two look up at an unseen waitress. We hear her say:) WAITRESS (V.O.)The salmon omelet is awful good today. (An endless silence. Then:) JOEI think well....both...have...the waffles. (BLACKOUT)