So, here is the short play I wrote for Hopper Project using Nighthawks...any comments welcomed...
Ed the Man
Jo the Woman
Tom, a slightly drunk Stranger
(She is sitting by herself. A Stranger enters from the side and sits at the counter diagonal from her. He is looking at her. Checking her out. She is looking straight ahead passively attempting to avoid a conversation. He looks long and hard, long enough she finally gives him a quick neutral nod. He starts in)
S - Late
W - Hmmm?
S - It sure is late.
(She smiles politely. He takes out a cigarette, he can't find his lighter. Makes a show of searching through all his pockets, hoping she'll offer him a match. We see he has a little drunk on, not slurring his speech quite yet, but a sip of cough sryup might be all it would take and he could slide into slop.)
S- You wouldn't have a light?
(She shakes her head no)
S -Do you smoke?
W – (A bit stern) No.
(Stranger looks at the Waiter, waiter shrugs)
S - I never seen you here before.
(She lets out a deep sigh. Outside we see her one time beau ED walking along the far side of the street watching. He crosses the street and stabds at JO’s back behind the glass, looking at them watching, waiting...he is aware of them, they are not aware of him. He watches the gentleman watching her.)
S - You been here before?
W - Yeah
S - Is that true? I would have seen you then. I'd know you. I'm here all the time. I'm a regular. (to the waiter) Aint that right? (Waiter nods) So when was it you were supposed to have been here?
W - I'm not usually here this late
S - Now that...that makes sense. Nobody is ever here this late it seems. But, you...probably have lunch here all the time I bet. Is that right? A lunchtime regular? (beat) You probably have got the lunch menu memorized I'll bet. Well, they serve stuff completely different this late you know. They have a much smaller menu this late. Meager. (to the Waiter) Hey buddy? You give her a menu?
W - I'm not hungry
S - Come on now, it's on me.
W - No thank you.
S - At least let a gentleman, buy you a cup of coffee.
(She points to a nickel on the counter.)
S - Nah, nah, nah...put your mickel always. (stops himself) Put your nickel away....that's what I meant to say.
W - Really, no thank you.
(Stranger shrugs not angry but a little dejected.)
S - Well then...well then...I...I....ahhh...you know...it aint a wedding ring...it's just a cup of joe.
(She is about to apologize, but stops herself. She thinks that an apology would probably be taken as an invitation by this guy. And she is probably right. Her Man outside has seen enough and disappears upstage center. Waiter offers to fill her coffee mug. She lets him.)
S - You meeting someone
S - They late?
S -Yeah, they're late.
(He waits for a response. She just looks down into her mug.)
S - You know how I know? (beat) I said you know how I know?
W - No
S - I know because you dont look like you're happy
(She shakes her head.)
S - Me, I'm a happy guy. But, I dont think you look too happy.
W - I don't want to talk about it.
S - Sad...sad...sad girl...sad girlie
W – That’s not your business.
S - I got a heart, Alright? I see someone unhappy. I mean, I got a heart.
W - Please...
S - As big as a...
W - Just please stop
S - As big as a bulldozer or a... Bigger than a three ring circus. (He pounds his chest.)
(She looks to the Waiter. He apologizes with his body langauge and goes back to polishing the countertop)
S - Deeper than the deep blue sea. That's me.
W - I'd rather you didn't concern yourself
S - Concern myself
W - I'd rather you didn't
S - Concern myself with you? Alright...alright...look I apologize. I don't want to offend you ok? (beat) Ok?!!!
W - OK
S - Becuase, that aint my way ok?
W - Ok
S - I'm not the kind of guy who likes to bother strange women. That aint my modus operandy.
S - But you know, you are a beautiful woman. It is a real waste, you being so down. You got the world on string and you don't even know it I bet.
W - (She has had enough) Look, when my guy gets here. It'd sure make me "happy" if he didnt walk in and see you making eyes at me. Alright?
S - Well excuse me to high hell sister. Don't worry. I don;t make eyes at strange women.
(A moment passes. Her Man comes in through the back door. They all stop and turn to him. He looks at her. Once the Stranger finishes looking he turns back to his cup, Man walks in looking hard at gentleman until he passes behind her and sits next to Her)
S - Be careful buddy. She's waiting for someone
M - (To her) Who is this?
W - I don't know.
M - Well, maybe we could? (he points, indicates leaving)
W - Where are we going to go? (She indicates her wristwatch)
Waiter - (to Man) Coffee?
(Man nods. Gives the Stranger another glance.)
W - Just ignore him.
S - What?
M - What?
S - What? She is waiting for someone...
M - She's waiting for me.
(Stranger lifts his mug to toast)
S - Bully for you. May you make much happiness (He leans and winks at Woman)
Waiter - Tom, why don't you leave em be?
S - "Tom, why don't you leave em be?"
Waiter - Tom?! (Puts his hands on his hips like he means it.)
S - Alright! Alright! (to Man) Buddy, ignore me alright? I'm a little (gestures drunk) I don't mean nothing. (Leans to look at W) Lady, I don’t mean nothing.
Waiter - You're not making it any better
S - Look, I'm buttoning it up. (He pretends to button his lip and gestures for more coffee.)
(pause. Waiter puts coffee in front of the Man. Man leans in a for a moment to take in the aroma.)
W – I see you’re back on the wagon
M – What?
W - The coffee wagon
M – Yeah
W – How many cups have you had today
M – Two
W – Two cups? Including this one?
M – Two pots
W – Ed? They told you that wasn’t any good for your heart
M – You can bust a heart that’s already broken
(She stares at him for a beat, decides that what he said is too corn ball, and plays a little air violin for him. He smiles for a second, and then remembers that he isn’t supposed to be smiling. He closes up and focuses on his coffee. He reaches over and starts pour sugar into his coffee, a lot of sugar. She watches him in an off put manner. He pours in cream up to the rim. He then tastes it carefully drinks down a half inch and pours in more cream. He then pushes the sugar toward her.)
W - I don’t use sugar
M - Oh
W - You know that
M – You right, I knew that.
W - If you know that I don’t use it, why even offer it to me?
M - Are we really going to have an argument about the sugar?!
W - I don’t want to argue at all
M – Me neither
M - Where are you staying
W - At a friend’s
M – Who with?
W - Mary
M - I should have figured
W - What does that mean
M - Nothing. I didn’t mean it the way it came out.
(she touches his arm and gives him a quick eye. She is concerned the waiter could eavesdrop. The Waiter refills her water. He lean goes back to cleaning the far countertop)
M -I miss you (beat, he waits) I miss you (beat, more wait) Can you hear me?
W - I hear you
M – Don’t you miss me?
W – (beat) I think…
(He stiffens, she notices)
W - Let me finish
M - Alright
W - I think so, sometimes.
M - Sometimes (he has a small unsatisfied chuckle in the back of throat. Pause, he tries to make peace with it) Tell me about … sometimes
W - When I see a couple, on the street or the train when I go work.
M - UhHmm
W - When I see them holding hands
(He puts his hand on the counter for her. He wiggles his fingers for her. She hesitates but then she touches her hand to his. He smiles.)
W - What about you?
M -I miss it all the time
W - No, no that's not good enough. You got be more specific
M – You know how when we started out, how I couldn’t stand the cuddling?
W - Ha
(He stares straight ahead frustrated)
W - I'm sorry.
M - Nah
W - I shouldn't have done that. Go ahead.
M - Now that I cant have it...
W - You want it?
W – (a little baby talk teasing voice) You want to cuddle?
M - Don't laugh
W - I'm not laughing
M - You are
W - No, this is smiling.
M - I want to...hold you. Alright
W - It is the same thing.
W - How do we manage this? We try and try but…
M – What?
W - We keep coming back to this place, I can’t figure it
M - I started a journal
W – (Surprised) You did?
M - My dad told me that if you have a problem you cant work out, that sometimes writing stuff down helps.
W - What did you write?
M - I thought...I thought that you…
W - What?
M - Preferred the company of others
W - To you?
W - Wait...you thought I was seeing other men?
M – Not that
W - Then what?
M - I thought you were not interested in spending time with me anymore
W - What gave you that idea?
M - You didn't used to need anyone else?
W - I am only with you, I've only ever been with you.
M - I feel like I have to choose between what I do, and who we fraternize with?
W - But Ed? You don't fraternize with anybody?
M - You can't dictate my friendships.
W - You can't dictate mine either
M - But if those friendships come before me?
W - You hate my friends that much?!
M - Not all of them
W - Ok then which one can't you stand? (He looks at her) Mary? That's it. It's Mary, isn't it. I've been friends with her since grade school. You hate her than much?
M - I don't hate her.
W - Yes you do
M - No
W – Who then?
M - Her husband. Him, I hate.
W - Well I don't know what to do about that.
M – Can’t you and she be friends without dragging me into it?
W – What are suppose to share?
M – With who? I want you all for me. I want all of you. If you’re the best thing in my life why would I want to share you
W – No, not share with other people. What are we going to share with each other from here on out? We got to share something. Right now we both want to be with each other. At this moment it feels like it could work because we’re lonely we are sharing that sense of loneliness. But what happens in a few days when we finally wash that loneliness away? Are we back to square one? Fighting, Dirty looks, Slamming doors in each others face.
M – You can’t share with me anymore?
W – I don’t know. I try and it feels like you don’t like I’m sharing
M – I can’t stand hanging out with Mary’s obnoxious husband everytime you two want to catch up, and that’s the point of no return? If we pass that point there is no possible sharing? If I don’t let you force those hypocrites on me, then I’m not willing to share? We use to share. What happened to sharing things that really mattered. We use to stay up all night. You’d pose, I’d paint. We’d talk. We’d make up stories, we’d joke, we’d listen to radio
M – What ever
W – I’m getting too old too tired
M – Don’t say that
W – I am
M – No you’re not
W – Yes I am, and so are you. Look at you.
M – I’m not old. I’m fine
W – You’re exhausted. You’re old. I’ve never seen a man more set in his ways. Look (She puts her finger to his forehead) Wrinkles, stress lines, crows feet
M – I know. Alright? More like crows boots (He points to her face) Well look…that’s something we share.
(She smacks his hand away.)
M – I want you. I want you all to myself. Doesn’t that mean anything? I don’t need anything else…I just want you. Isn’t that enough? Can’t you tell me you want me too?
W – I want you…but I want the world as well.
M – I’ll be nice. I’ll try. (pause) Will you come back? Come back with me tonight.
(pause. Quiet…no waiter…no stranger…where did they go?)
W – Alright
M – Will you stay till morning. It’s not enough unless I can hold you till then
W – (hesitate looking at her fingernails) I’ll try
M – That’s it?
W – I’ll try that is all I can say for now?
W – Is that enough?