The Scenario – A play by Mark Lester E. Ranchez
MAN: 30 yrs. old.
WOMAN: 32 yrs. old.
In the blackout, we hear the tail end of a one-sided phone conversation. As the lights come up, we see a woman seated alone at the small outdoor coffee table. A man enters through the upstage door and approaches the table. The woman quickly hangs up her cell-phone.
WOMAN: (talking on the phone, oblivious of the approaching man) . . . oh, no. No. That would be fine. Excellent timing, really. I was glad you told me about it sooner. . . Uhuh. Yes. . . Yes, absolutely. I’m glad you liked it. I was—
MAN: (entering from the upstage door, obviously enraged by what he is seeing, betrayal marked all over his face) —I knew it! I knew it! You were cheating on me. I knew it! I knew it!
WOMAN: (surprised, but deliberately composed) —I’m gonna call you back, sweetie. Okay. . . Bye bye. (hangs up the phone, and faces him) What is it now?
MAN: I knew it! —I knew you have an affair with another man! Oh, don’t deny it—no, please, don’t you dare woman!
WOMAN: Honey, that was just a friend of mine. I was just tel—
MAN: (more to himself than to the woman, while striding back and forth uncontrollably in front of the table) And you call him “sweetie” now? Wonderful—that’s just wonderful. Thought you were just getting a drink, and the next thing I know—
WOMAN: —ling her that I . . . –It was a her, honey. That was Linda, from the magazine. I told her of my—oh, honey. . . (patiently) Come on now. That was a harmless conversation.
MAN: (again, more to himself) Of course, you’d deny it. You’d definitely deny it!—I know it was a him! (faces her) Don’t fool me woman. Look at you! You’re . . . you’re—
WOMAN: What about me?
MAN: (superbly anxious and confused) –you’re. . . and who was that you’re calling “the greatest person in my life” at two o’clock in the morning? Was that Linda-from-the-magazine too?
WOMAN: Honey, why don’t you sit down. Let’s have a cup of coffee.
(Man thinks about this for a moment, now a bit subsided from the woman’s calmness, and then sits opposite to the woman. Silence.)
MAN: (accusingly) You can deny your crimes as much as you want, but you can’t hide your dirty little secrets from me.
WOMAN: Honey, (a bit annoyed) I’m telling you that was just a friend of mine—
MAN: —Linda-from-the-magazine, yes—
WOMAN: —we were just talking about my new writings for the magazine, and she was just telling me—
MAN: (while woman is speaking, voice is gradually increasing) You’re lying . . . you’re lying . . . YOU ARE LYING!
(Woman is flabbergasted. She falls silent, and immediately feels intimidated, small.)
Are you trying to fuck with me? Huh? I’m telling you, don’t fuck with me—
WOMAN: —I am not lying—
MAN: What did you say?
WOMAN: I said I am not lying.
MAN: Yes, you are—
WOMAN: I am not lying.
MAN: YES, YOU ARE!
(Woman falls silent again. Her face is firm but astounded.)
Isn’t that why you left me at the park? So you can come here, and drink some tea, and pretend you were to talking to some friend. A round of applause on that. I must say, you’re quite believable.
WOMAN: (definitely annoyed) Oh, please, don’t project on me, Lucas—
MAN: (unmindful of the woman) You were dodging all my calls, and now I see you bubbly and sweet on your phone, like nothing’s happened?
WOMAN: —and so what if I call my friends? What’s the big deal about that? Anyone can call their friends, can’t they?
MAN: Oh, come on now, woman. You think I’m a fool? Jesus, she thinks I’m a fool!—
WOMAN: —Lucas, stop it. Lucas, stop—
MAN: —oh, god! she thinks I’m a fool!
WOMAN: —stop this, Lucas. Don’t embarrass me here!—
MAN: I’M NOT FOOL! I’M NOT A FOOL!!!
WOMAN: No, you’re not. Please! . . . (tries to hold his hands) I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
(Man immediately walks away from the table, now more aware of himself. He looks fragile and weak; his back is on the woman.)
MAN: I’m . . . I’m sorry.
WOMAN: (follows man across the stage) Lucas, that’s alright, honey. That’s alright.
(Woman tries to get a hold of the man, but he is elusive, and then silence. The audience can see the man holding something on his neck, which is now visible—a gold chain. He is brooding about something, deeply.)
MAN: I—. . . I’m . . . I’m sorry, but I can’t do this anymore.
(Woman is silent, listening intently to the man, but face is mortified.)
I can’t . . . I can’t do this anymore.
WOMAN: (pleading) Please, Lucas, don’t do this to me. Lucas, listen to me—
MAN: I always knew there’s another man . . . But I let it go because I care about you. I—
WOMAN: (walks across the stage to face the man)—But I wasn’t cheating on you, goddamit, Lucas! Listen to me, please!
MAN: —thought, if I’d give you another chance, you’d love me back—
WOMAN: Lucas, please, listen me! LUCASSS!
(Man suddenly goes silent. He looks at her, but he seems too far away to see her.)
(She holds his hands.)
I was not cheating on you. I wasn’t. And I am not. And I will never cheat on you, do you understand?
MAN: Do you still think I believe that?
WOMAN: Goddamit, Lucas!
MAN: Do you still think I’d buy that? You really think I wouldn’t know? Carmen—
WOMAN: —But I wasn’t, Lucas. I wasn’t! Why don’t you listen to me? Just listen to me, please!—
MAN: (Oblivious) You were talking on your phone like you were on some cruise or shit, and you tell me that was a friend! A friend?!! For goodness sake, Carmen! You think I’m some kid you just met at the park? I’m your fiancé, Carmen! I am your fiancé.
(Man moves away from the woman.)
(Painfully) I was waiting for you, you know. Waiting for you to appreciate me back. . . But I guess it wasn’t enough—I wasn’t.
WOMAN: (Tears visible in her eyes, pleading) I do—I do, Lucas. I do. Please, listen to me, Lucas—
(Man removes the gold chain around his neck, hesitates for a moment, then finally drops it on the coffee table, and trudges quickly past the woman, avoiding her gaze.)
(Woman remain standing. Deeply shocked by what just happened; confused, angry, embarrassment, all mixed up in her stiff face; her mouth half open and trembling. She drops on her knees to the floor and weeps.)
(And then she suddenly stops weeping, stands up firmly, wipes her face and knees, and returns back to the coffee table in the most casual manner—the audience at this moment should hint that something is wrong about the whole affair. She then takes the gold chain, dials her phone, and talks at the person on the other end.)
Hello, sweetie. Yes, this is me. . . Oh, I’m alright. Never been able. . . He’s already gone. (Raises the gold chain in front of the audience on face level) By the way, I have a really nice gift for ya! . . . Alright, sweetie. I’ll see you soon.
(Giggles, and hangs up the phone.)