Friday, September 16, 2016

Trout Fishing

A play in One Act
By Keith Good

(Lights up on a bar’s speed dating night. Two tables are set up, each with two chairs. DAVE sits at the downstage left table, in conversation with a FLOOZY. CHERYL and another MAN sit at the upstage right table. They all wear nametags. Dave can’t help but steal glances over to Cheryl as he and the Floozy talk.)

(The Floozy slides her hand under the table, slides it up Dave’s groin.)

FLOOZY
So it…?

DAVE
Every time I lie.

(The Floozy nods him on.)

DAVE
(a knowing lie)
I am very bad in bed.

(The Floozy’s eyes go wide. Her mouth drops open.)

FLOOZY
It’s…it’s a fish!

DAVE
A rainbow trout. Every time I lie, for about 30 seconds. Just long enough to have some real fun.

FLOOZY
How?

DAVE
Cursed by a witch on a Transylvanian booze cruise. I tell you, though, it’s more of a blessing. This trout swims up plenty of streams.

FLOOZY
Can I?

(Ding! A bell rings and the round is over. The woman frowns as she gets up. Dave scribbles a telephone number on her wrist.)

DAVE
Anytime you want to visit Dave’s animal kingdom.

(The Floozy exits, smiling at the number written on her arm. Dave wiggles with anticipation as Cheryl approaches and sits. His smile quickly fades, however, as a BEAR sits in Cheryl’s place at the table beside them.)

DAVE
Oh god. Oh no.

CHERYL
Well hello Dave. I’m Cheryl. Pleasure to meet you.

(Cheryl extends her hand. Dave very nervously takes it, gives a limp shake.)

CHERYL
So, what do you do, Dave?

DAVE
I…I, ah, work at…a restaurant.

CHERYL
You’re a Chef?

(Dave begins to nod, but beside them, the Bear perks up, sniffs the air.)

DAVE
I’m a busboy! Fine! I said it.

CHERYL
Did I do something wrong? I’m new to this Tinder, this speed dating stuff.

DAVE
No, it’s not you. (Nods to the Bear) Don’t you see? A grizzly.

CHERYL
Well of course she’s a bear. We’re in the 21st Century. She has every right to find love as you or I.

DAVE
No…no, of course bears deserve love. It’s…I have a, phobia, is all.

CHERYL
(Relieved)
Oh. And here I thought you were a bear-ist bigot. Well don’t worry. I think your little phobia is adorable. Tell me more about Dave: what college did you go to?

DAVE
(Pained)
I…went to school in Michigan.

CHERYL
No! I’m from Ann Arbor! When were you at U.M.?

DAVE
(speaking carefully)
I went to school…for five years…

(The Bear again perks up. She yowls.)

DAVE
I got an online criminal justice degree from my Mom’s basement in Detroit.

(The Bear shrinks back down, disappointed.)

CHERYL
Oh.

DAVE
Listen, let’s…I desperately want to hear about you. What do you do, Carol?

CHERYL
(looking down to her name tag)
Cheryl.

DAVE
Cheryl, yes. Sorry. It’s the…(under his breath) The bear is making me nervous. Sorry. Your job, Cheryl.

(Cheryl gets flushed, hands kneading.)

CHERYL
I don’t usually to talk about my job on first dates…

DAVE
Really, please. An accountant? A stripper? I literally don’t care. You could be a baby seal clubber. Please, anything but you asking me questions.

CHERYL
Oh, well, okay…I work as a—ah—as a “physiological model” for a company that produces, um...(leans forward, speaks low) Male masturbation aids?

DAVE
Oh god.

CHERYL
The Maxx Pleasure Company? My, uh…(nods down to her lap) She’s the top seller. Are you familiar…?

DAVE
(shaking his head)
Nnnnnnn—

(The Bear turns sharply to Dave. She leans close, begins lowing quietly to herself, pawing at the air.)

DAVE
Yes.

CHERYL
(lights up)
Really?

DAVE
I can't, uh, believe I'm meeting "The Cheryl." I'm, uh, I'm a fan.

(The Bear continues looking, suspicious, to Dave, but quits her sniffing. After a moment, she slouches, disappointed back in her seat.)

CHERYL
I guess I owe you some of my royalty checks then. You know…the other men here all lie, they’re all “surgeons” or “corporate lawyers.” I mean, what are the odds every guy here went to Harvard, right? Your honesty is kind of…sexy.

DAVE
Sexy.

CHERYL
(Leans close. Grabs Dave’s hands again)
Very. Tell me, how did you get to be so honest, Dave?

DAVE
Oh no. Can we go back to talking about you? Did you, ah, study to be a sex doll in college?

CHERYL
(playful)
I’ve told you more than enough. Your turn. I’ll even go easy on you. Have you ever been married?

DAVE
Do green card marriages count?

CHERYL
What?

DAVE
Please, please. I really, desperately don’t want to talk about myself right now.

CHERYL
But we’re on a speed date, Dave. What else do expect to talk about? The stock market?

DAVE
What about that Dow-Jones Average, huh? Like it’s on Viagra!

CHERYL
Dave…

DAVE
Listen, let’s just leave. We can go to my place. Or your place. The park, laser-tag, I don’t care. I will tell you literally anything about myself, just please, please let’s leave first.

CHERYL
Why are you being so weird? I think you’re really cute, but you answer every question like you’re passing a kidney stone. Tell me something true.

DAVE
True.

CHERYL
The truth, Dave.

(Dave looks longingly at Cheryl, then at the bear. Back to Cheryl, then the bear.)

DAVE
(Deep breath, all in one run-on sentence)
You’re smoking hot and I really want you to take you back to my place, but I’m kind of a loser so I need to lie, but whenever I lie, my penis turns into a rainbow trout for thirty seconds and if that happens, I’m afraid that bear will eat me.

(A beat.)

CHERYL
Your penis turns into a rainbow trout.

DAVE
Whenever I lie. For thirty seconds. I was cursed by a Transylvanian witch.

(Cheryl stands. The rest of the speed daters turn to the conflagration.)

CHERYL
A rainbow trout penis?!

(Cheryl looks with disbelief at Dave’s groin. Dave looks down as well. The Bear looks interested.)

DAVE
It’s not a very big trout.

CHERYL
Apparently.

DAVE
No! I meant—

CHERYL
I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned my job! I can’t believe I was actually going to sleep with you!

(Dave stands, grabs Cheryl by the wrist.)

DAVE
You can still sleep with me! I’ll prove it! I‘ll lie! (He guides Cheryl’s hand toward his groin.) I do not own two of your plastic vaginas!

(Cheryl pulls her hand away before it touches Dave’s groin. She rears back and slaps him hard across the face. At the exact same moment we hear the—ding! —of the round ending.)

CHERYL
You pervert! This is why I never mention my job! Everyone just assumes I’m some sort of floozy! Pigs! Ugh! You are never going see me again. You’re banned from Maxx Pleasure!

(Cheryl storms off. Dave turns and watches, whimpering, squirming and uncomfortable, as she departs. With his back turned, the Bear approaches. Beat. The Bear taps Dave’s shoulder. Dave turns, eyes wide.)

BEAR
Do I smell rainbow trout?

(Dave whimpers as the lights fade to black.)
END.

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