#31plays31days #16 The Darren and Mitch Polka

The Darren and Mitch Polka

By Sebastian Fortino


Darren, an urban looking queer, more sort of stylish than hipster, but still a bit avant garde. He’s in his late-30s.


Mitch, his country boyfriend. He’s wearing a sort of lumbersexual outfit. Plaid. A beard. Maybe an ironic duck hunting cap with ear flaps. Definitely jeans. He’s much younger, early to mid 20s, twinky, but bearded.


They do their lines and may dance, to the beat of a generic polka.


Narrator, he’s not seen.


Narrator: They are newly together. Mitch has just moved in. They met online. Darren needed a fresh face after a breakup and hates to be alone. Not a golddigger but Darren flatters himself into thinking Mitch is after his money.


They are in their apartment. They enter with shopping bags from higher-end stores. The room is very put together; monochromatic in shades of blue.  


The hokey polka beat sort of makes fun of Darren’s urbanity & highlights Mitch’s country ways.



Door opens, Darren enters. They put down their bags. Mitch is on his phone. They take off coats, scarfs, Darren removes his hat, gloves; Mitch keeps his hat on, removes his jacket and gloves. Darren stares at him, crosses his arms, glares. Mitch sits down, playing on his phone.


At least two or three minutes go by; Darren gets up, paces, makes a drink. Sips it, finishes it in two gulps. Takes a deep breath, looks at Mitch, smiles at him. Turns around, makes another drink. Sips it, smiles. Looks at Mitch, takes another sip, frowns.


Darren [angrily]

It’s been two months.


Mitch [sweetly]

It’s been three.


Darren [singing lightly, pacing]

You need to adjust to city life.

I moved you here, away from strife.



Strife? I lived on a farm!

Everyday, filled with charm.



Minus the boys, minus the cock.

Minus everything, ‘cept livin’ under a rock.



I didn’t mind, but I liked you.

I came to the city to be your boo.



You just — you’re here now!

Look — no barn for a cow.

You’re alive now, in Philly.

Dead is the hillbilly!


Mitch [mumbling, holding out his phone]

I’m sorry, I really am but…

The reception’s so great, what…



…what can you do, mumbler?

[gets up, points at Mitch]

Don’t in public, open your Tumbler!

Everyone saw…saw you looking at cock!

At brunch, with the fellas, OK. But you gave a shock

To the woman at the bank,

Everyone in line to be frank!



You said we’d be open.



Open yes, but not in bad taste.



I had none of this back home.

Being able to roam.

It’s still a little new to me,

Porno, dudes, wherever I want to see.



Then with my uncle, why later

Check messages from “Hung Masterbator?”

On your damn Scruff?

Those private pictures, quite rough?



I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that he

Could catch a glimpse, and see.



We were next to my great-uncle standing.

On the top flight of his building landing.

I bump into him maybe once a year.

I won’t get that legacy now, I fear.



I’ll try to be better. [getting up]

Behind the ears I’m wetter.

City life is just so new.

I couldn’t hack it without you.

[kisses Darren]


Darren [pulls back, returns kiss, smiles]

If only you hadn’t looked at your Grindr…

…when we were being given a reminder.

From the landlady to keep down our noise,

Then laughed, “Sorry! This guy brought all the toys.”

Then showed her Don and his dildo collection.

I’ve never seen her so lose her complexion.



I know, I couldn’t even get an erection,

From his brand new pics,

Surrounded by 40 plastic dicks.


Darren [laughing]

I guess you’re what I wanted then.

A simple guy, not pretentious men.

Now, let’s get into something I bought

For you. Just an elevated look we sought…



All we bought was jeans and shirts,

Both tighter, fabric lighter.

Certainly, the colors are brighter.

I still pretty much look like me.

Oh, in sexy undies ya’want me to be?



Yes, I want you in them, and on your knees.

After today, you have much to please.


— They go offstage; we hear unzipping, kissing, lights go off. After some cooing we hear:



I think I love you Darren.



I do too. We’ll talk about it this evening. After “Twin Peaks.”



#31plays31days #15 The Sub-Urban Tango

The Sub-Urban Tango

By Sebastian Fortino


Setting, two living rooms on a split stage.


Leandra, an urban lesbian, we find her in front of an iPad. She has a small, urban apartment with a ficus tree, a 1960s style record player/console, she’s smoking a joint on a bean bag. The music begins when she puts a record on the hi-fi. She’s wearing a yoga outfit in all black.


Jessica, her living room is tricked out in an oversized sofa, some “urban rustic” Anthropolgie coffee and end tables with attached Edison bulb light fixtures. A large abstract painting over the sofa. She’s wearing yoga pants, a hooded cashmere sweatshirt, swilling back a martini; there’s a martini shaker on the coffee table. When we hear Brad come in she splashes the rest of the martini shaker under her arms and throws it behind the sofa.


Brad, he’s only heard offstage.


Lights go up, we see both women in their respective spaces.


Leandra [reading from iPad]

Oh, here’s another invitation for a Sunday brunch. [making face] In the suburbs. I will only have $47.00 in my bank account until Monday. I have a leftover bottle of champagne from New Year in the fridge. So, I could go. I have a monthly train pass, so it would be free! I’ll eat — and drink — for free all afternoon. That sounds fabulous! Oh, a suburban house, with matching plates, matching forks and knives, oh! That…that sounds just awesome!


[gets up; puts on record]


Leandra [singing along to tango music]

They’ll be so much to eat,

They’ll be so much to drink,

It’ll be my once a week meat,

It’ll be my time not to think!


The married girls will be there,

With their spouses back at home.

They simply won’t have a care,

After three drinks they’ll atone…


They’ll tell me their stories,

Who they slept with last week.

They’ll inform me of orgies,

Then about recipes speak.


It’s a game I play, which I do so

Well. It’s a pity to say it but

It pays the rent [sobbing] though.

Blackmail the bitches [laughing] when I’m in’a rut.


[music ends; lights joint gain]


So train. To party. Can I walk from there?

[checks iPad]

No. And damn, no money for an Uber?

Shit. I was thinking what to wear…

[frowning] …who do I know?

[smiling] …who can I call?

Oh, Jessica that’s it, Jessica Zuber!

She lives in Downingtown [singing]

Her husband works out of town,

For martinis she’s always down!


[puts on record; hits joint; picks up phone; once Jessica picks up and says “Oh, hey, Leandra dearie,” the lights go up on her side of the stage]



She can drive me to brunch!

All of these bitches pay my rent!

With her there’s always the hunch,

That on my pussy she’s hellbent…


Jessica [sighing]

Who the hell is calling me now? This is martini time!

Hello, hello…

Oh, hey, Lesbian Leandra from Lombard Yoga!

Hey, what’s up?



Oh, is that you Jessica?



Why, yeah, LOL, you called my damn phone!


[now, we’re back in tune with the salsa beat]



Well, I just had to say hello,

It’s been ages, it’s been long ago.

Since we yoga’d in the city.

Since you were at the studio…

…all alone with me.



Oh, I wish I’d never moved.

Brad wouldn’t listen he became behooved.

“Raise the kids in Philly, we turned out fine,”

I told him, but no, to

Downingtown, we had to go.

I got my Toll Brothers, that much I won.



Oh how sad, but yet how sweet.

A Toll Brothers home to rest your feet!

[rolls eyes; then vinditctively…]

But that’s not why I’m calling.


Jessica [blushes]

What is it you’d like from me?

Those times after class I mean — I — I never…


Leandra [laughing]

Oh, don’t worry honey,

Stop being funny!

You’re not the first to stay after class.

You bet your ass.



Ah, well, at least I wasn’t the only one

who got to experience your kinda fun.

Not since college did I let a girl you know…



Well, that’s all well and good but, I’m talking here and now.


Jessica: [jumps up]

You’re here, in Downingtown?

Oh gosh, you don’t even have a car, last I checked.

How did you…



Oh no, I’m very much in Philly. Above my failing — um, fabulous, fantastic — yoga studio. Where, where I always am but you see it’s about this weekend [pause] how, how would you like to [pause in music here] go to a brunch?


Jessica [upon hearing the word brunch, jumps up, does a pirouette.]

Oh, a city brunch, a’day and a’lack!

In a banquette, where I can wear all black!

Where I can carry my Dooney and Bourke,

Where they may serve with a bronze spork?



No. In West Chester, closer to your home.

An old client moved there, she wants me to come.

I can’t go to these things alone, I need a plus one.

Would you like to go, won’t it be fun?


Jessica [mood deflated, sinks back into her sofa, pours martini]

Oh, I can’t do brunch in West Chester.

I’m banned from there, cause’a that bitch Esther.


Leandra [face remembers something]

Esther, why Esther? [checks invite on iPad]



Before we were married Brad used to date Esther.

Known to me to the world, “The Bitch of West Chester.”

She’s been in grad school for ages, it does me pester!

Every year she has just one more graduate semester.



Well, why do you have to avoid the whole town?

It’s small. It’s boring. Students. It’s all a frown.



When I meet Esther, things are nothing but perils.

She’s always telling me how she should’ve been the one.

How her parents loved him, how she could give him a son.

All I’ve produced are three girls.


Leandra [to audience, puts phone against breast]

Oh, some trouble I’ll make,

No trouble will it take!

This brunch is in honor of an Esther

Who’s finishing her last semester!

At the University of West Chester!


Leandra [to Jessica]

Just think of it, a day

for you to get away!

No kids, no Brad.

Just champagne and OJ.

Lots of salmon, no oy vey.

You can wear your latest shoes.

Go to Nordstrom Rack, a new outfit to choose!



I really don’t know. It seems to risky.

[sipping martini]

Although seeing you for a quicky!

[swallows rest of drink, clears throat]

But about um,

The horrible sum!

What if I run into that bitch Esther,

While I’m out in West Chester?



Think of all the booze.


Jessica [finishes martini]

Oh, all right. I quit drinking, well according to Brad.

Is it an all lady brunch?



That’s what the invitation seems to say.

Can you get me at the train station on Sunday?

I think I can get there by quarter to one.

Didn’t you Insta new Pradas, what fun!



Fancy booze.

My nude Prada shoes.

A trip to the Rack.

All right, I’ll pick you up, there and back.

[looks off stage, we hear Brad coming in]



Hey, honey I’m home!

Sorry to keep you alone.


Oh, but I have to go.

Brad’s here now, don’t you know?

[here she splashes remains of shaker under arms and on chest]

See you then. [ends call]



[to Brad offstage]

Hey honey, how was your day?

I worked out for three hours!

Sorry if I smell!


–The End–

#31plays31days #14 Blond

By Sebastian Fortino


Dalton, he is in his mid-30s, but he is dressed like a little boy. A pair of pleated shorts, at the knee, high socks, Mary-Janes (yes, in England these are boys’ shoes too), a short-sleeved button down shirt, and bowtie. He’s got his head in a cap, the kind they use after one gets their hair dyed. He should have pink hair under the cap. If you have an actor with dyed, outlandish hair already, any color is fine. You will need an extra to play a stabbed corpse. 




Blond, is what he wanted me to be.

It was the only color he would see.


Despite the fact I was a full-grown man,

Keeping me blond and boyish was his plan.


He’d find pictures of haircuts from W-W-two.

Then off to the stylists I’d race, boo-hoo.


In the chair I would then mournfully sit.

Waiting to be bleached, to wit:


To make me look like such a little boy.

That’s what gave him such twisted joy.


When we went shopping, the young men’s

Section he’d take me too. Through his lens


He’d dress me in high-waisted shorts.

The salesmen became his cohorts.


They’d find little shirts, and sweet bowties.

Ageing me down by decades, denying my eyes…


The lines that were already coming to say hello.

To make this all true my hair made almost yellow.


I stand here, in childish attire, in front of you.

I wanted to add fun, maybe a highlight of blue.


A little strand of — a few — of charming pink.

But straight back to the salon, under the sink.

To wash out my expression,

Would increase his passion.


I feared him, but not knowing what to say,

Off to the salon, every thirtieth day.


There they’d turn my few grays amongst brown

Into the blond which made him never frown.


Then off to the tailor, my new clothes to hem.

Oh how she loved me, she thought me a gem!


“The strange man whose boyfriend thinks he’s a lad!

It’s really quite odd, and I don’t think it’s a fad.


The shorts are all hemmed up, the shirts all come in.

But it’s paying my bills. So for me it’s a win!”


I overheard her once say. Unaware I stood

At her front door and hear her I could.


Well, I wondered, I thought, once I prayed.

Why this obsession with youth he betrayed.


It was then, only then, did I learn the truth.

Here, have some gin with vermouth!


It wasn’t that he wanted me like a boy to look.

It was that he liked’em young, that was his hook.


So, when I found that out, what else could I do?


[here Dalton goes over to the sofa, he throws off a blanket; he’s killed his lover, the corpse is played by an extra]


Think of the the embarrassment, would you?


So, when no one was near,

With no one to hear.


I killed him, stabbed him, as you can see.

And then I declared myself free!


[here he removes his cap, he reveals pink or blue or green hair, if you have an actor with a crazy color just use that; if not, pink would be really fun]


I did the right thing, didn’t I?

I liked being blond, I won’t lie.


But forcing me to wear it, for a sick fantasy,

Was more than I could handle, don’t you see?

#31plays31days #13 The Screenplay

The Screenplay

By Sebastian Fortino



Wes, a 30-something screenwriter. He’s wearing a knit cap. Tee-shirt. Cool jewelry, etc.

Nigel, a producer. He can be any age or race. But he’s more polished. He wears a blazer and button down, he carries a leather valise or iPad case or portfolio of some kind. Expensive sunglasses. Nice watch, etc.



A coffee shop in L.A., morning.


[Lights reveal Wes sitting at a table, drinking a coffee, typing on a laptop, coffee house music plays]


Wes [sees Nigel enter, he gets up from his typing]

Nigel, hey, Nigel! Over here. Glad you could make it man, on such short notice. That’s so cool of you.



Well, it’s not every morning I wake up to six emails and four text messages and two voicemails from a would-be screenwriter about his latest script. [laughs] Wait, no! It’s almost everyday. This is my business.



Of course, of course, but mine is really something to see. It’s different.



That’s what they all say. You invited me for coffee. Where’s my coffee?



Oh, well, you know, I am actually used my 10th free coffee from the punch card. I am short of cash this week. Rent was due.


Nigel [rolls eyes, disagreeable]

That’s also what they all say. Lucky for you, I already had coffee at home. What’s the pitch?



Well, it’s a 21st century retelling of the Joan of Arc story. It’s already an established sort of trope, so we can work with it on a lot of different levels.



  1. I am vaguely interested. With all that’s going on politically, maybe some girl power would be a great selling point.



I take it out of medieval France and I thrust it into a century so far into the future we have no idea what year it is. The foe she fights isn’t England, it’s actually a huge personification of Betsy Devoss.



Betsy Devoss? The education whatever in D.C? Trump’s cabinet?



Yeah! You get it!



I never said I get it. I don’t get it, in fact. What the hell does she have to do with the future? What the hell does she have to do with Joan of Arc?



Well, she sort of personifies the fact that our Joan of Arc, an alien superbaby, raised alone in the woods in an abandoned coal mine, was unable to get an education.



I guess.



Yeah man, you guessed right! Ok. So, you see the alien superbaby leads an army of ghost horses against Betsy Devoss. Which is a very difficult thing because they only exist in a parallel dimension somewhere in the ruins of Regina, Saskatchewan.


Nigel [confused, laughing]

Regina, Saskatchewan?



Absolutely. The alien superbaby, Joan of Arc has to use elements she found in a time capsule from the future which has not yet been filled to find the ghost horses and the ruins of Regina. That’s when everybody is inverted through much of the film.






Upside down.


Nigel [claps hands together]

I know what inverted means!



Good. We’re on the same page.



No. No we are not on the same page! I have connections to sci-fi guys so this could be interesting to somebody but…I’m not so sure.



We live in a world where people look forward to the next Sharknado.



  1. Keep going.



The alien superbaby Joan of Arc is then kidnapped by Betsy Devoss and installed in some type of cosmic spaceweb made up of her own unfulfilled sexual and intellectual desires.



  1. That makes sense. I guess. It’s sort of a web of her own making.



Exactly, dude! But more than that, it’s a contrivance by Betsy Devoss to psychologically defeat our superbaby Joan of Arc.



Somehow this is all making sense. I must need more coffee. [signals to server]



I am so glad you are on board with this project!



I never said that. I said I want a second cup of daily coffee. Look. You did a few great shorts. We just love the youtube series you launched, sorry NetFlix is twenty bill’ in debt and couldn’t pick it up.



That’s what they say! I just think they don’t want a series on transgender nun zombies.


Nigel [waves to unseen server]

That could be.



Well, I have been shopping it around.


Nigel [waves to unseen server]

And, what have the reactions been? [shakes head] I gotta tell you, service in this town is awful. That server has seen me wave at him three times. You know what else is awful in this town?



What’s that? Parking on Wiltshire?



Not just that but….



Oh, the fact the alien superbaby removes her face thereby showing Betsy Devoss the inner workings of her soul? Which then causes all the molecules in the universe to collapse upon themselves?



Well, that, but also the fact no one is gonna produce this! You give me Joan of Arc, OK. Then Betsy Devoss and ghost horses and time capsules from Saskatchewan.



Oh, I never said the time capsule from the future is from Saskatchewan. We don’t learn where that comes from until hour seven.


Nigel [shakes head]

Sorry dude, you are shit outta luck with me on this one. I have two other meetings before my lunch meeting.


[gets up]


I have to leave. Sorry, come back at me when you have something more solid. Pick Joan, pick the ghost horses, pick the time capsule, pick fucking Betsy Devoss but pick one thing. Tell me one good thing.


[walks away]



Oh, I got David Lynch to agree to direct.

Nigel [startled, walks back to table, sits down, pulls out cell phone]



Who are you calling?



I am calling my office.


[on phone]


Yeah, Helena, Helena. Nigel, here. Cancel my next three projects after we wrap with Sharknado 18. I got a project with David Lynch as director. Make everyone in the office watch Inland Empire again. [pauses] I know it takes six times to get through it, start now! Then we have to…


[play ends, lights go dark]


…I don’t have to watch it again? Why! I’m the boss, that’s why!




#31plays31days #12 Pink & Magenta

Pink & Magenta

By Sebastian Fortino


Jezebel, she’s an eccentric sort of dresser, rather neo-Edwardian, but all in white. All around her, the stage changes color, in all sorts of shades. Mostly soft, but rich.




My house was always cloaked in white.

The boredom of it all, was a’fright.


Against the winter skies of gray,

My house looked full of dismay.


Every day, throughout the year,

I’d dream of colors without fear.


The gable of course in violet.

Oh no, not done yet!


I’d do the third-floor in pink shingles.

Setting the stage for colorful mingles.


The second layer of shingles, green.

Like some soft grass, from Aberdeen.


The weighty heavy lumbered eaves,

The color of happy, pink, peony leaves.


Their mates below would be done in blue.

A deep azure, oh, no! I’m not through.


The window frames I’d do in cheery yellow.

I’d paint the shutters in orange, mellow.


The wooden slats on the ground floor

Of magenta stained, to not be a bore.


Every door I’d paint in deep purple.

Through which you would propel.


(It doesn’t rhyme but give me credit!)

Each riser on the stair done in red, it


Would be a site in our town to behold!

With pillars done in a caramelly gold.

My husband sadly, was just not game.

He liked the house white. Resisted fame.


So when he died, the white paint I banish-ed.

And a canvas there soon flourish-ed.


When people come visit, I don’t know

What they expect. They say, just “Oh!”


They always imagine an elaborate affair.

However, it’s a simple, classic, Four-Square.  


[lights go off, a back screen reveals a very gaudy-painted, simple American Four-Square home, a large one]


My God, what the hell have I done?


–The End–

#31plays31days #11 The Trumps Meet the Queen

The Trumps Meet the Queen

By Sebastian Fortino


Setting: Buckingham Palace, a Garden Party
Characters: Queen Elizabeth II, Donald Trump, Melania Trump


We hear party chatter in the background; perhaps just a backdrop of Buckingham Park/Palace, etc.



I gotta tell you, this place is phenomenal — fantastic — this is just a well, what would you call it? This palace is just…palatial.



I don’t know Donald, seems small. Not tall. Not gilded enough with gold. What is other flags up doing? We own now America, Donald. Why, why we not own England?


Trump [laughing]

Oh, Melania. I told you before. England used to own America. Not the other way around. I mean it’s fabulous. It’s a fabulous country. But, you know [pauses to scratch chin] you know, that isn’t a bad idea. American-England. I like the sound’a that…you know. We own America now, why not England? You’re a real asset to Trump Presidency Industries. [kisses Melania, she recoils] You know, I just may grab you by the pussy later. You’re a real asset. Oh, here she comes. It’s the Queen of England!



Thank you Donald! You mean me, right?



No, that’s our hostess, the Queen of England. See that little old lady in a crown.


Melania [scowling]

I no see crown. You mean little diamond hat? I wear one to bed which bigger. You gave me so I stay marry to you, this First Lady business is no what I sign up for! Marry rich old man they tell me. It be nice, they promise. He die soon, everyone tell me.


Trump [scowling]

That’s enough, that’s enough! But, don’t talk about any of that. Not that you hate me and not that we borrowed that crown from our friend in Moscow. Remember, the wife of the president of the United States doesn’t wear crowns.



Ok, Donald. Whatever you saying.



Now, remember as Americans we don’t have to curtsey. When that imposter Obama met them he bowed, and that Michelle, she curtseyed. We don’t have to do that, we’re not intellectuals or Socialists.



Well, we certainly ineffectuals. That what whole press saying.


Trump [sighs]

They say we’re ineffectual, not intellectual.


[the queen enters from opposite stage]


Queen [horrified]

As I live and breathe. They look even worse than We expected. I guess he’s the perfect shade for “Cheeto of the Free World.” You know, Harry did serve me some Cheetos when I went round to Kensington Palace for a drinks party. Seems a shame to compare him to a Cheeto. At least a Cheeto serves a purpose. [takes breath] As Victoria used to say, close your eyes and think of England.


[they awkwardly meet in center of stage]


Trump [grabs queen’s hand, shakes forcibly, visibly shaking her]

It’s just great, great to meet you today. You’re such, such an inspiration. I just love, just love everything you do. Your wave. Your smile. Your place here. It’s just magnificent. We build nice places in the US. Beautiful places. Some of the best places in the world but wow, this place is just fantastic.



Hello, good day, welcome to Buckingham Palace.



I was telling Donald could use more gilding on lawn furniture.


Trump [to Melania, like an angry father]

That’s enough. Although, you know…well [smiles, crossed arms] we’ll talk business, me and the king in a few minutes.


Queen [annoyed]

I am sorry, Mr. Trump but Prince Philip is not the king.



Ah, every man is king in his castle. Is that the king over there? I’ll go and break the ice. Talk mano a mano to him.



No, please, no Donald. What you leave me for with old lady in tiny diamond hat?



Hey, we’re big time now. Just look how nervous she looks. You, you hold your ground. Make her comfortable. Call her Liz. [walks offstage, says to unseen Philip] Say, King Phil, I was wondering…what do you think about turning over one wing of Buckingham Palace over to Trump Hotels International. Rebrand it something classy, like…oh, The Trump Palace at the Buckingham. We can put in a real classy steakhouse. Something like I got at home in New York. A grill, with an E at the end. Say grill with an E, I bet that’s English!


[the women are alone now, uncomfortable silence]


Queen [stares off into the distance]

Lovely time to be in England.



Is nice. Is small, no? Smaller than America. Right, Liz?


Queen [growing annoyed]

Well, England may be smaller than America but, you know at one time We did rule most of the world. And, Mrs. Trump, don’t call me “Liz.” Call me Your Majesty, the first time. Then you may call me “ma’am.” Didn’t they tell you that at your protocol briefing?



Oh, queen, Donald told me I too intelligence be made do briefing.


Queen [whispers]

Oh bollocks. Well, someone should have told you to address me as Your Majesty, then ma’am, as in ham.



OK, ma’am as in ham. You may call me queen.



No, no dear. Mrs. Trump, you are not a queen.



Well, you right. Czarina is ok.


Queen [annoyed]

Look, you little upstart! You are not a queen. You’re certainly no czarina…although a similar fate may await you!



Our friend Putin, he give me czarina’s diamond crown which I only allowed to wear to bed. [pauses] You know, your style, I can tell quality. Maybe, maybe you should dress more like someone older with style having. Like maybe Donatella Versace or Cher.



Oh, that’s funny…coming from someone who designers refused to dress for the inauguration. Anyway…  


Melania [undeterred]

I like your earrings.


Queen [rolls eyes, whispers]

Merciful heavens, women can always talk jewelry.

[clears throat]

Oh, thank you. These were my great-great-grandmother Victoria’s. You know of her?



Oh yes, she sell underwear no?


Queen [annoyed]

No, she was a great queen who ruled…

Melania [undeterred]

I wearing pair just like it.


Queen [laughing]

You’re, you’re not wearing diamonds in your ears.


Melania [laughing]

I no say in ears. They you know, in nipples.


Queen [sighs]

Oh dear. Say, do you like gin?



Gym? I no go to gym. Tapeworm and bottled water. Sometimes apple.



No, not gym. G-I-N, it’s a clear liquor, very good. Look, the only way we’ll get through this is if we tie one on. Come on, I have a flask in my purse. Let’s go learn all about your friend Mr. Putin.



Oh, I have so much to tell about Co-President of America!



Oh really dear, do tell me all your secrets. If you tell me enough, I may have a pair of diamonds for you as a thank you.



For labia?


Queen [shocked, sighing]

For labia! No, for your ears!



Yes, we hope four more years too!


Queen [laughing]

Oh don’t get your hopes up dear. That’s one thing that’s not going to happen!



#31plays31days #10: Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

By Sebastian Fortino


Daniel, he is any age between 25 and 40. He’s distressed and wearing only a silk robe. He looks like she hasn’t slept well in a few days.

Karen, a woman any age who may have small grandchildren. She is dressed in all white linen, with funky jewelry.

Roy, we only have one scene with Roy; he is also any age between 25 and 40.

Setting, a bedroom. The closet looks rifled through. There are suitcases piled up at the foot of the bed. Daniel sits on the bed for the whole play.

Act I


I don’t know what to do! Everyone is going to tell me the same thing, “You shouldn’t have married him. We warned you not to marry him.” I can tell they will feel sorry for me, but I know amongst themselves they’ll gloat.


“I told Daniel not to marry him.”

“Max told him not to marry him too.”

“Even my own mother told him not to marry him.”



Hell, even my own mother told me not to marry him, if you must know the truth. But I thought…but I thought that’s what marriage comes to mean. What it comes to be. It might mean your closest friends and allies don’t like your spouse. Right? You can’t make them all happy. So, so…what do you do? You settle down. But, you don’t settle. You settle down. You buy books and plates, chairs and kitchen knives. You sign a lease on a car together. You take out credit cards in a joint account. You have friends whom you meet for drinks in the evening, and for brunch on Sunday afternoons. You buy a dog or a cat. You plan a trip in two years time, and you set up a budget to do so. You decide to go to France. So, you buy Rosetta Stone and study together. You join the gym around the corner. But no, not me. It never was that way with me. He called all the shots, and I like an idiot, I followed suit. I followed along just as nice and sweet as I could. To me, harmony between two people made a marriage. Even if the tune of that harmony held none of my voice.


[lighting cigarette]

I thought, I guess I thought that’s what marriage is: one of you loves, the other is loved. One of you says jump. The other asks, how high? That wasn’t my parents marriage? Why ever did I think it should be mine? It was however his parents marriage…his father calling all the shots, his mother following meekly behind.


[smokes, ashes, puts head in hands]

Except — it was me doing all the work. It was me who found our apartments. We couldn’t stay in the last one because he got too loud and too drunk one night. They gave a good reference basically to get rid of him. They told me, privately, they felt sorry for me and I could stay on or even take a studio in the same building. Just a paperwork transfer, no need for a new credit inquiry or lease. I should have known. So, imagine my surprise when he asked me, when he told me, we were moving to Miami in an email. Then, that night, after work, he announced he’d put in his two weeks notice but they begged him to stay a full month. And imagine my shock when then next….next he told me, “OK. You’re going to Miami first. To get us set up.”


“When do I leave,” I asked him.

“In two days,” he told me.

So, what could I do? He knows I can work from anywhere. I just — I just can’t afford this apartment on my own. I can’t afford any apartment in Miami on my own.


[breathes deeply, inhales again]

I must, I must go home. I’ll, I’ll call my mother.


[he picks up his cell phone, and dials, he crosses his fingers, paces]

Hello, mother. Yes, your son. Oh, I’m not well. Oh. How — how did you know? You don’t even have a computer. Let alone a Facebook account. [pause, nods, sobs] Oh, you heard it from my cousins when you saw them for Sunday dinner yesterday. Why, what? [pause] I didn’t tell you two days ago when it happened because well…I was ashamed it happened. [pause, nods, says yes, no, intermittently] I know, I have nothing to be ashamed of. People break up, people get divorced, yes. I know, mother but…what I want to ask you, what I called to ask you. No, I am not asking for money. No. It’s not that. The rent is paid for this month. But, it’s next month which I worry about. So, you see, what I was thinking was [sudden pause, frown] What do you mean I can’t come home? [pause, long pause, upset facial expressions, he sits down on bed] No, no. It would be fine. I can take my work with me and…[pause] What do you mean their won’t be a home to come home to? [pause] You and auntie Jane are selling your houses and moving into a retirement community? [disgusted face] In Florida! Oh, then I can move in with you here you mean? Oh mother, that’s just swell! I am so happy that… [pause] Oh, I see. Fifty-five and older only. Oh yes. [sarcastically] I can’t pass for fifty-five. And, oh, wow. No room, huh? You’re each getting a one bedroom and no long-term guests. So, so I can’t come home? I can’t come back. I’m, I’m too old to come home.


[crestfallen, gets up from bed]

Yes. Yes, I guess you’re right. I’ll call you in a few days. You’re right. I’ll figure it out on my own. I will. How will I? [pauses] I will because I have to. Goodbye, yes, love you too.


[depressed, ends call, sits back down on bed]

Oh my goddess! I’ve really done it now. She knows I am in Florida, so she and my aunt are moving to a retirement community in Boca. There’s not even a home for me to go to, she told me. I know barely anyone here. He wanted this move, it amused me. He couldn’t handle not being in the Northeast. It was too laid back for him here. I just — mom’s got a new plan, my husband well, I guess you’d call him my ex-husband now, he’s got a new plan. It’s just me. It’s just me all alone. What am I going to do?


[he is slumped onto the bed, crying]



Knock-knock. Anybody home.   


[jumps up, startled]



Oh no, I didn’t close the door after keeping it open for some air. These February winters in Florida, we call it “natural AC.” That sounds like the neighbor from one flight down.


[he gets out of bed, stands up]



If that’s you Karen, I’m in my room. I’ll be right out.


Karen [appears at bedroom door, she has a small pizza box]

No, no. You sit and relax. It’s February in Florida. Everybody has their windows open. I know what happened a few days ago. I heard every word.


[she sits on bed, motions for Daniel to sit down]



It’s none of my business. But, I’m a mother, a grandmother, and an aunt. I also have lots of cousins whose children who consider me an aunt. Oh, you look like you’re about to cry all over again!


[puts pizza down on nightstand, pulls him closer]


You let it all out! You cry a storm if you have to. There’s nothing I’ll judge you for, or gossip about. Tell me everything, or tell me nothing.


Daniel [sobbing]

Well, we got here and everything was so wonderful. He was doing Uber and looking for jobs. I worked from home — I mean I work from home — but then a few days ago I came home from the pool. I was down there with some friends in the building. I found him, I caught him, packing his bags. He had all the suitcases out.


Karen [points at suitcases]

I see dear. That’s simply terrible, you poor thing. I heard the whole exchange. You weren’t even very loud. I was in my room reading and heard the whole exchange. He complained there were no nice people in Miami. That’s a lousy thing to say. I wanted to show you that’s not true. So, I went to get you some pizza. I wasn’t sure if you eat meat or not so I got one pepperoni and one plain. Have which one you like, or both. I also have some chocolate pudding in my fridge. Would you like some of that?


Daniel [smiles, for the first time in days]

I don’t know if I can eat all of that.



Well, you eat what you want. Also, I happen to have a nephew staying with me from Atlanta. He’s looking for a place in Miami. He wants to stay as close to me as possible. He’s selling his car to move here, and I never use mine. I know you’ll need a roommate. You have two bedrooms, so do I, but a guy in his thirties doesn’t want to live full-time with his auntie. Even if I am his favorite. See, what I overheard you moan about is you’ll need a roommate to afford the rent. Roy is looking for a roommate!


[she laughs, she’s still holding him, she pets his hair]


Now, I know you are going through a tough time. But my nephew, Roy is downstairs. He too went through a bad breakup. That’s why he wants to get out of Atlanta.


Daniel [pulls back from Karen]

Oh, he’s divorcing his wife?



No, he’s breaking up — well he broke up — with his boyfriend of five years. The boyfriend didn’t want to get married. So, he decided to leave Atlanta and start over. Why, why don’t you eat your pizza? I’ll send Roy up in a little bit with the chocolate pudding. It’s homemade and it’s his favorite. He’s a very nice boy, well, guy. I always think of them as children. Even my children are his age and I consider them no more than twelve or fifteen.


[pulls away from him, steadies him upright]


You look as if you haven’t eaten or slept since this happened. You need to eat. I will send Roy up in a bit. I mean, if you want me to, I will. Do you want me to send him upstairs?


Daniel [nods]

Yes. Thank you for the pizza. Thank you for everything. You have no idea how much better this makes me feel! Please. Please send him up in a bit. I will pull myself together. Get dressed. Make myself presentable.


Karen [pets his hair, gets up at the end of her lines]

No, you don’t have to do all that. All he’s going to do is come up, meet you, and see the spare room. He knows what I am here suggesting. He was in the same boat you were in a few weeks ago. He wants to at least be your friend, as he’s just been through it all. 



OK, Karen. Thanks again.


Karen [she kisses his forehead]

I’ll let you eat. You want both pieces?



Yes. I don’t think I can eat both, but…


Karen [begins to leave the room]

…but you will. Or at least save one for later. I won’t tell you to cheer up. It’s gonna be a while before you can. But, I will tell you to be brave. Roy will bring you pudding. OK, dear? Now, let me see you take a bite.


Daniel [nods; reluctantly opens the pizza box; he takes a bite]


Karen [leaves, we hear the front door close shut]

That’s a good boy!


[Daniel then slowly eats the pizza, he cries a little bit, it should take him at least five minutes to eat one of the slices; he picks at the slice in the beginning, then finding an appetite he eats it slowly, chewing very slowly; actor can ad lib here/improvise.]


Act II: A few days later, the same bedroom, although it looks much neater.


Daniel [on the bed, this time in a skimpy bathing suit]

Oh, yes! Well, that’s great news mom. You and auntie Jane sold your houses two days apart? Oh, wow. That is good news! So, when will you move to Boca? [pause] Ah huh. Oh nice. [pause] Oh, you and auntie found a two bedroom, so you’ll move in together? How nice. It’s nice to have a roommate. [pause] Oh, things are better. It’s been a crazy few days. I haven’t told you but I have a roommate. [pause] Yes. Yes. Oh, he was able to get on the lease. Oh, he’s very sweet. Very charming. [pause] Oh Mom, no quite that! Well, I’ve never had an ugly roommate!


[just then we hear laughter, Roy who was under the covers on the other side of the bed, pulls himself up]


I mean, he has his own room. Of course. It’s a two-bedroom apartment.


[Roy gets up out of his side of the bed; he’s also wearing a skimpy bathing suit]



I mean, well, mother! [shocked] Yes. Well, some nights he has stayed with me in my bed. It’s just cheaper to turn the air conditioning off in his room. I mean, we’re both boys. Aren’t we? [pauses, Roy on his knees on the bed, behind Daniel hugs him from behind] It’s funny how we met. It was over chocolate pudding.


[Roy begins to pull the phone from Daniel’s hand; Daniel laughs]


No mother, no funny stuff, no monkey business. He’s just my roommate. Ok, mother, I have someone trying to get in the door. I have to go. [pause, Roy kisses Daniel’s forehead as he pulls away phone] Bye mother, love you. [call ended]



So, you’re already telling mother about me?



Well, she doesn’t have to know everything, does she?



No. All she has to know is we both love chocolate pudding.



That’s right. That’s all she has to know.


[they kiss, horseplay on bed, the act ends, lights go dark, we hear them laughing]




#31plays31days #9 Things Allan Wasn’t Allowed to Do

Things Allan Wasn’t Allowed to Do

By Sebastian Fortino


Act I


Allan & Rick, gay couple, Allan late 20s. Allan is shorter, much shorter. Rick is much taller and Latin, about a decade older. They are sitting on the sofa reading the Sunday paper, having coffee. It’s a sunny morning. There are a pair of casement windows, that open like doors.


Rick [play opens with Rick on sofa, he’s the older/taller of the two]

Good morning dear.


Allan [coming in from bedroom]

Good morning dear.


[Allan goes offstage into kitchen; he returns from kitchen carrying coffee and a plate of biscotti, sits down next to Rick]


Rick [sees biscotti, makes face]

Could you not do that in here.


Allan [bites into cookie, makes face back at him]




You’ll get crumbs all over the sofa and the floor. I told you, you’re not allowed to eat in the living room. Crumbs!



Funny, you say that! If I’m the only one who vacuums why am I not allowed to eat in my own damn living room?


Rick [frowns, sighs]

You know, I don’t like it.



I don’t care. I am a grown-ass man. I have a job. I don’t get told what I can and what I cannot do by my husband.


Rick [shakes head]

When I make more of the money.



Oh yes. You do make more of the money but yet we split the bills evenly. Now, I’ve heard your favorite, Suze Ormon, recommends married people or couples who live together should share the bills based on percentages. So, if you make twenty-five percent more than I do you should pay twenty-five percent more of the bills. Or, maybe you pay…


Rick [annoyed]
We’re not doing that.



Speaking of doing — what are we doing today? It’s a beautiful Sunday. I know some of the guys, that nice Robert fellow, are going to the beach.



We live in Portland. There is no beach. I am not driving out to the coast. You’re not allowed to drive to the coast in my car.



Not allowed? I pay for half the lease on that car! Why shouldn’t I be allowed to drive it.


Rick [laughing]

Well, for one, you don’t know how to drive.


Allan [frowning]

Exactly. Why shouldn’t I learn how to drive the car? You know, to drive the car to which I contribute funds?



Because, you’re not allowed.



Well, it just so happens that the guys are not going to the Coast. They are not even driving. They are taking the shuttle to Rooster Rock.


Rick [shakes head, puts down paper]

No. No. No bueno! We’re certainly not taking a shuttle. Too expensive.



It’s five dollars round trip! That’s a ten dollar outing for the two of us. We can make sandwiches and pack the small cooler. Pick up a few bottles of beer and…



I don’t care. We’re not going. You’re not allowed.



Why can’t I go? Why am I allowed, or not allowed to do certain things?



You don’t even have a bathing suit. You’re not allowed to buy a new one. I know you. You’ll intend to get a ten-dollar one at H&M but you’ll just happen to see a Vilebrequin on sale at Nordstrom’s for thirty and…


Allan [laughing]



Why are you laughing?


Allan [smiling]

Well, Vilebrequins start at around two-hundred and thirty bucks!



Well, clearly you ain’t gettin one of those!


Allan [devilish, shiteating grin]

Well, that’s just fine. They’re going to the nude beach. Ya’don’t even need a bathing suit.


Rick [gets up to go into the kitchen]

You are absolutely not allowed to go to a nude beach, especially one populated by naked gay men. As we say in Spanish, punto final. You are not allowed to go.


Allan [fuming, puts head in hands]

And, I — I say you’re not allowed to make a cocktail before ten in the morning. This isn’t vacation, you know.


Rick [from the kitchen]

Ha, you think you can tell me what to do, you little shit?


Allan [sobbing, begging]

Please! I don’t think it’s asking too much to ask you not to be drunk before one in the afternoon.



Oh, I’ll do what I want! No question of that.


Allan [sobbing, begging]

It’s supposed to be a beautiful Sunday. All I want to do is go to the beach and eat a sandwich, and get out of the city for a few hours. Why can’t we go? Please! Please, can we go?








Rick [comes in from kitchen with orange juice and vodka in a pint glass]

No, no, no!


Allan [smiling, happier, a little delirious, he knows he won’t be allowed but still goes on]

Then I shall go alone. Robert and his boyfriend will be at the Gateway Transportation Center and I can pack the cooler for just me. I have some beer in the fridge. All I’ll spend is the five dollars for the shuttle and…



What did I say earlier? Punto final! No, no, no!


Allan [gets up from sofa, angry]

You promised me when we left Florida we could cultivate a social life.


Rick [laughing]

I said that, I said a lot to get you to move here.


Allan [sobbing, then angry]

What does that mean? You manipulated me into moving here? I know you did. I figured that out a long time ago.



You wanted to move here. It was all your idea.



No, I was happy in Florida. I was sick of the summer heat but I could have stayed living there. It was you who begged me. Begged me countless hours in front of my friends, in front of my mother when she came down or we went up North. Everyone knows it. Everybody knows it was you who wanted to move here! You promised me with every new job or every new apartment and now after this move, you once again promised me a social life. Friends.



Go to the bedroom! Close the door. You stay in there for the rest of the day.



I will not be punished for wanting to go to the beach with my friend. With the only friend you’ve let me make.



You don’t get to have friends. Punto final!


Allan [turns away from him]

I am going to the beach! I am going to get dressed and make some sandwiches and go. You can’t stop me.


Rick [gets up, puts down drink]

Oh yes, yes I can! You come here.


[Allan turns around and sees Rick begin to come at him, he tries to throw an armchair in his path, Rick stops it, he grabs Allan by the hair and neck and he strangles him]


Allan [while being strangled, he’s now facing the audience]

Stop it Rick, please!



You get in that room, now!


Allan [while being strangled]

You’re gonna bruise my neck!


Rick [drags Allan to bedroom, pushes him in, closes door, pulls a key out from his pocket]

I know! I know, I will. That way, that way you won’t want to show your fat little body at the nude beach. You won’t want to go anywhere, if I can help it.


Allan [crying from behind bedroom door]

Fat? I lost twenty pounds. I’m no longer fat. I can do what I want. I’m an adult. Unlock the door.


Rick [sitting on sofa]

Shut your fat mouth. Punto final. You don’t ever get to do what you want. If I want to do something we do it. You don’t tell me you want to, because then I won’t want to. You stay in there until I tell you to come out.


— stage goes dark, all we hear is Allan sobbing —


Act II


Rick [passed out on sofa, an empty bottle of vodka, some takeout boxes, he wakes up, yawning, he looks at his watch; needless to say he is very drunk]

Where is the little shit?



I’m in here. You locked me in four hours ago. Let me out.



Have you learned your lesson?



I am not your child. I don’t have to learn any lessons.



You wanna stay in there the rest of the day?


Allan [sighs through door]

No, I want to go out and do something.


Rick [smiles, picks up Allan’s wallet off of the coffee table, pulls out money and cards, puts them in his own wallet which he has in his pocket, he then goes to open the locked door]

Sure. All right! You can go and get the shuttle to Rooster Rock. I think your friend is already there. I’ll just stay home by myself.


Allan [coming out of bedroom, his neck is bruised]

Oh, really! Can I? Can I really go, please?


Rick [sucks down vodka orange]

Absolutely! Just because I wanna stay home, doesn’t mean you have to stay with me, honey.


[Allan jumps up to hug Rick, he kisses him on the cheek, then smiles, then kisses him on the lips, he pulls back at the taste of the orange juice and vodka]



Oh, thank you honey! Thank you. I’ll just go and get dressed. You’re right. It’s only one o’clock. The shuttles runs back to town until just after six. I’ll just go out there on my own.


[Allan goes back into the bedroom, we hear drawers open and close; he chatters about tank tops and flip flops and sunscreen, ad lib it; Rick goes to sit on the sofa; he’s holding back laughter, he pulls out another bottle of vodka from a paper bag, and makes a drink on the coffee table]


Rick [whispers]

He won’t wanna go when he sees that neck. He won’t be able to go when he sees his wallet is empty.


Allan [comes out of bedroom, drawstring shorts, tank top, flip flops, sunglasses, etc., tote bag]

Thanks for being so understanding honey.



Don’t, don’t you wanna brush your teeth before you go?



Oh, good idea, honey!


[he goes offstage in another direction, the idea is there is no mirror in the bedroom/the bathroom isn’t in the bedroom, so Allan hasn’t seen the bruising around his neck]


Allan [shreeks, pouts, sobs]

Oh no, you left my neck so bruised. So bruised! I can’t go today.


Rick [cruel laughing, stumbling, he’s wasted]

Oh, sorry hon. I said punto final, and punto final I meant.



And, and I told you not to be wasted before one o’clock.



It’s after one.


Allan [picks up empty vodka bottle, points to full one]

Clearly, clearly you were wasted before.



And so what’s it matter? I do what I want.


Allan [picks up wallet off of coffee table]

Well, you can do what you want. I can do what I want! I — I’ll tell them I was mugged last night.


Rick [laughing]

No, you were mugged this afternoon.



What — what do you mean?


Rick [cruel laughter]

Check your wallet. Your cards and your cash are gone. I mugged you. You ain’t goin anywhere, punto final.


Allan [crushed, he accepts the fact he can’t win, he sits on sofa]

That’s not fair.



Life’s not fair, shithead.


[Allan cries again]


Rick [starts checking out Allan]

You know, you know…you really did lose twenty pounds. I haven’t seen you wear those shorts in well over two years.


Allan [smiling]

Yes! You actually noticed. Thanks honey!


Rick [smiles]

In fact, you look pretty damn good.


Allan [nervously]

Oh, thank you honey. May I make myself a drink?



Of course you can, especially since you asked so nicely.


[Allan goes into the kitchen, Rick takes off his shirt and his pants, he’s wearing ugly underwear, boxer briefs, he has an erection]



Oh, Allan, I got something special for you.


Allan [making drink in kitchen, he comes out at the end of his line]

Oh, what’s that? I’ll be right with you.


Rick [rubbing a dildo under the underwear, unless he can get hard]

You know what it is…


Allan [recoils]

Oh no, not now honey. Not now.


Rick [coming towards Allan]

It’s a medical need. It’s not about passion. It’s about being backed up down there.



It’s supposed to be about passion, it’s not supposed to be about a medical need. Now, I think, I think…



I don’t care what you fucking think! I make the decisions around here! Now, get into the bedroom. I am fucking you now!


Allan [sips drink deeply]

No, no you will not.


Rick [chases Allan around coffee table, Allan sloshes his drink, he drops it, and slips, conveniently falls on his stomach, he pins him to the floor, laughs evilly]

Oh, I won’t huh? Oh, well, I will! I do what I want. Even if you don’t want my dick, you get my dick!


[he pulls off Allan’s shorts, we hear muffled sobs as he holds a pillow from the sofa over Allan’s head, pushing his head into the floor/carpet, stage goes dark, we hear him spit]



That’s it, you’ll take it and like it.




Allan is on the sofa. He has his legs drawn up to his chest. It’s still daytime, late afternoon He looks, damaged, raped. Rick is pointing a TV remote into the audience, flipping channels, he’s completely wasted now. A text message comes to Allan’s phone on the coffee table. He picks it up. He smiles. The casement window is open.


Allan [happy]

Oh, Rick, since we didn’t do anything today, can I go downstairs and have Sunday happy hour with Robert and his boyfriend? They’re at the rooftop bar right next door. They can see our apartment from their table.



Not with that neck you can’t.


Allan [begging]

It’s just cool enough that I can wear a button-up shirt, with short sleeves. The look right now is to button all the way up. Nobody will see.


Rick [slurring]

Well, I don’t wanna go. How do I know they’re really down there? How do I know it’s them you’re going to see…and you’re not just trying to get away from me? From your loving husband that just fucked you good!


Allan [rolls eyes, smiles]

Well, why don’t you go to the window! They said they’ll wave at us when they see us at the window.


Rick [gets up, stumbles]

OK. If I see them down there, you’re allowed to go. Only if I see them, though. I wanna make sure you’re within my sight for the whole half-hour you’re allowed to go have a drink. One drink? OK.


Allan [smiles agreeably]

Ok. That’s fine. I won’t even order an appetizer.


Rick [turns towards window, back to Allan]

You’re getting one five dollar bill for a four dollar beer, tip outta that.



Oh, that’s fine then. Thank you.


[Rick moves drunkenly to the window, he sticks his head out, he waves wildly; stealthily Allan moves behind him]


Rick [suddenly turns around]

You know, I don’t see Robert. He’s sort of tall, like me, right? Very blond?


Allan [goes to open window next to open one by Ricky]

Yes, that’s right. Tall, blond. Oh, don’t you see them, dear? Oh, I see them. I see them! Hey Robert!



I still don’t see them.


[Allan pulls away from his closed window goes next to Rick at open one]



Oh, just — maybe if you lean out just a little bit more. I see them still. Keep looking.


[Allan pulls back from window, he crouches down behind Rick]



I just don’t see them. I think they’re pulling your leg.


Allan [swallows]

No dear, just, just look a little bit more, lean out a little bit more towards your right. I am sure you’ll see them now.



Oh, I think I see Robert waving.


Allan [begins to bend down, arms extended, making contact with Rick’s rear end, he pulls out his cash and cards from Rick’s back pocket]

See, I told you you’d see them now!


[At “now” he pushes Rick out of the open casement window. We hear Rick screaming as he falls out of the window. We hear a thud on the ground. The phone rings a few seconds later. He is careful not to be seen at the window.]


Allan [smiling]

Hello. Yes, yes this is apartment six-oh-seven, this is the apartment manager, isn’t it. What can I help you with? Oh, what’s that! He fell out the window! What! Oh no, I was — you see, I was  in the bathroom! [pretends to panic, runs to window, looks down] Oh no, I do see him there! My god, the blood, the blood. [we hear an ambulance in the distance] I was just telling him to look for our friends at the rooftop bar nextdoor. Oh my god, I’ll be right downstairs.


Allan [phone rings again]

Robert, yes, it’s him! Yeah, it was Rick, he was just waving to you. I am coming down right now. The building manager called me first. I — I have to go! I guess I’ll see you down there. Oh, thank you, you’re such a friend. I just have to go to the bathroom because if I don’t now I might piss myself downstairs. OK. OK. Thank you!


[Allan sits down on sofa; he returns his cash and his cards to his wallet; he pulls a bunch of tissues from a box on the coffee table; he wipes off the bruise makeup from around his neck; he smiles at the audience]


Allan [pulls compact out from his pocket]

Well, he did strangle me. It’s not my fault it didn’t leave a bruise. He’s left a bruise before. At first I just wanted to make him feel guilty, but he never does. One thing he allows me, Halloween with my friends. I have plenty of makeup in the bedroom. Even if he hates — well, hated — mirrors except in the bathroom I still have a compact for when I do dress up. But, we don’t want the police or the EMTs asking why my neck was bruised, or in my case, covered in makeup. Now, do we?


[gets up]


One thing Rick never said I wasn’t allowed to do was push him out the window. So, I pushed him out the window. [he smiles, he exits stage]


–The End–


#31plays31days #8: Barb Goes Low Carb

Barb Goes Low-Carb

By Sebastian Fortino


Barb, a smaller, petite woman in her mid-30s; she’s just lost a lot of weight. She’s wearing clothes which are way too big and imply she’s lost weight.

Sam, her husband, same age. He’s in good shape. He’s got a professor/academic look. He’s wearing an apron, no shirt underneath it, and sweat shorts.

Debbie, a perky, Southern blonde. She’s very pregnant. But dressed in very elegant maternity gear. Lots of jewelry. Big earrings.

Sam [in kitchen wearing an apron, making tomato sauce]


Barb [enters in workout gear several sizes too big, kisses Sam]

Hey, honey. Oh, I shouldn’t say honey.



Why’s that!




Carbs! Honey has carbs. So, instead: Hey sexy, you should cook with no shirt on more often.



Thanks, I will now that we’re in summer. But, what’s this about honey? It’s an unrefined sugar. It’s actually pretty good for you. The good outweighs the bad.


Barb [screaming]

Ah, don’t say weighs! I got on the scale today. I still can’t get down to 134, that’s my ideal weight.



You are what? 136 pounds. I think that’s OK.


Barb [daydreaming]

No, no it’s not! This college reunion is killing me. I have to prove to Debbie Pasteur that I’m the exact same weight we were when we graduated. She’s arriving in two days. I was thinking if I cut my hair…and don’t even drink water for the next two days, I’ll be there.


Sam [pouring a glass of red wine]

Well, they say red wine does help you lose weight!


Barb [tempted]

Oh, oh! [reaches for glass] You’re right. I have had nothing but protein and low-carb greens for a week.



What is your obsession with Debbie Pasteur? I met her at the wedding. You two seemed like the best of friends.



We’re women, Sam. We’re women, that was an act. The only reason she came was because she heard you were a Harvard graduate. I just had to keep it under wraps that you were an English major.





Barb [guilty/sips wine]

We’re rivals, Sam! Well, what the hell else could I do? I was en route to medical school. I couldn’t let Debbie know my husband was a liberal arts major.


Sam [tastes sauce, looks at wife annoyed]

I’ve published two novels.



Yes, and what? Tell her you teach at the state college down the road? She’d rip me a new one.



My then-future and now-current profession aside, this isn’t healthy, this obsession. For instance, if you were afraid of her scrutinizing you over two pounds, why’d you invite her to spend the night before your drive down to UPenn?



Because — because — that’s what she wants! She wants to see me in my home. She wants to see me get on my scale. She wants to see me lose. She, she was always winning.



Oh no…so she really is a rival?

Barb [nods head]

Oh yeah, always a rival. I get married. What’s she do? Not two months after we married, she gets engaged to a Greek shipping tycoon. Before that, in college, I went to study in England. So, what’s she do? She went to study in Paris, because she’s fluent in French. My first apartment in New York, it was a studio on the Upper West Side. What’s she do? She gets a rent-controlled classic six through an uncle who moved to his place in Florida. She is the wife of a shipping tycoon and here I am stuck in State College, Pennsylvania with a writer. A writer who cooks. What are you making? Is that tomato sauce?



It’s better. It’s bolognese, you love my bolognese!



Carbs. Tomatoes are a fruit.



Barb, you can have it with those zucchini noodle things. I can’t eat them. My last name is Zitelli.



That’s another thing. I didn’t take your name because it was too ethnic. I’d be Doctor Barbara Barnes-Zitelli. It sounds like a neighbor in a bad 1980s sitcom. Well, what’s she do? To spite me she becomes Debbie Pasteur-Stephanopolis and becomes fluent in Greek, too.



My profession, my writing, my last name…all this, all this for Debbie Pasteur?



You’re right. I know. I know you’re right. It’s just — what can I do? I have to lose these two pounds.


Sam [kisses her]

Listen, Doctor Barnes, I don’t think this is healthy. But, I’ll support you even if I think your goal is crazy.



Oh, you’re such an angel. You know what? You have been such a wonderful husband these past five years — you can reverse the vasectomy.



Really? We can have a baby!



Yes! I’m finally ready.



Oh wow, honey! That’s great. I mean, I respectfully agreed not to have kids. I mean as a writer, you as a doctor, I’d be home all the time taking care of them and never have time to write. But you know what? I’d happily quit teaching and focus on the baby after your maternity leave and…


[pauses, looks at Barb suspiciously]


…say! Wait a minute. Weren’t you just telling me Debbie couldn’t have children? Is that why you’ll let me reverse the vasectomy?


Barb [caught]

Oh honey — oh, I meant oh darling — that’s not the reason.



Oh good.



Not the main reason. Not the primary reason. Not the — in medical terms — not the acute reason.


Sam [rolls eyes goes back to pot]

I don’t know what to say, other than thanks honey, because I know it has carbs.


Barb [narrows eyes, annoyed, etc.]

Oh, you just don’t understand, do you?


Sam [begins singing “Amore,” after a bar or two he sings along to the music]

I’m’a stirring my sauce cause my wife is’a nuts, that’s amore.



Oh, Sam, I am sorry…


Sam [still singing]

That’s OK, that’s OK, cause my wife’s’a crazy. Wife’s’a crazy!


Barb [laughs, we hear car pulling into driveway]

And Barb’a can’t eat no carbs [going towards window] cause dat’s a Debbie Pasteur in the driveway! [laughing] In the driveway! [screams]



What? You said two days from now. We’re only at Tuesday, I thought you said Thursday.



Thursday, Tuesday — Debbie has a rather fast way of speaking, on top of a Southern accent. Maybe, maybe on the phone when we made plans she…maybe her drawl got in the way. Oh no, two pounds! [quick, runs for kitchen shears, makes ponytail] Quick, hold this, cut this off as close to the base as you can get it!



Sounds like what the attending nurse told the doctor prior to my vasectomy! And stop it, I am not cutting off your hair.


Barb [we hear car door slamming]

Oh, I can’t even look out the window. Cut the hair, cut the hair.


Sam [looking out window, starts laughing]

Relax, babe. Relax. I think you’ll be pleased and you don’t have to worry.



This is no laughing matter! Stop laughing. And, of course I gotta worry. She’s going to look at me and just know I failed.






All my clothes are huge on me! She’ll know I gained fifty pounds doing medical school.


Sam [smiling]

And you made the cutest, chubbiest intern I ever-wever saw! And you’ll be the cutest-wutest pregnant doctor anybody ever saw!


[Doorbell rings]


Barb [reaches for serrated knife]

If I quickly saw off my left hand I can lose two pounds. I’m not a surgeon and you don’t need two hands to raise a baby.


Sam [shakes head, goes to open door]

Shut up. [clears throat] Ah, you must be Debbie Pasteur-Stephanopoulos! My wife’s told me so much about you. I mean, not all about you, but a hell of a lot.


[Debbie enters; she is quite pregnant]



Why, why Barb, Barb honey! Would you just look at you! As I live and breathe, you look so amazing. So thin! [grabs Barb’s waist] Why, just look at how good time has treated’ya honey! But please, can I, can a big-ol pregnant lady sit down?



Yes, yes of course you can! Come on, take a load off!


Debbie [cattily]

Bless your heart! I mean, I think you may have gained two pounds but you know, time marches on. Time marches on. Unless of course you just lost a ton of weight. Those workout clothes look awfully big on you.


Barb [glares, changes subject]

Debbie, darling, I thought you couldn’t get pregnant. You told me that not the last time we spoke, but in an email about a year ago.



Well, it turns out something did not agree with me and the brand of birth control I was on. It sorta left me chemically barren for a few months, around the time I first started trying to get pregnant. Well, after a few months my system bounced back. You know these things.



That’s wonderful news.



Yeah, that’s awesome. We too want to have children.


Barb [glares at Sam]

But — but we’re not going to be getting pregnant.



I distinctly remember planning for a baby. In fact you told me to reverse the…



…decision to not adopt. We’ll adopt. As you said, Debbie, I’ve kept my figure, why risk losing it at 34?



Oh, you mean you didn’t lose it already?



Well, you just said…



Oh, I did just say, you look lovely. But you are two pounds overweight.



Now, look here…



Mmm, what is that wonderful smell?


Sam [tasting/stirring sauce]

Oh, it’s bolognese sauce, I’m serving it over penne from the local Italian market.



Oh, well, that sounds delicious.



Oh, it is.



Shame you can’t have any, Barb.



Why do you say that?



All of those carbs, Barb. You wouldn’t want to gain any more weight!


–The End–


#31plays31plays #7: Crewel Embroidery: In No Way a Racist

Crewel Embroidery: In No Way a Racist

By Sebastian Fortino


Emily, sitting in a chair, sipping tea, sewing onto an embroidery ring. She’s an older lady. Dressed very sweetly, lots of pastels, as if it’s Easter Sunday.



You read all about the news today,

And I find myself not knowing what to say.


You’ll find I’m in no way a racist!

I’m actually a Christian Scientist.


I don’t think the Alt-Right is very nice.

But to them someone should give some advice.


Now, some say I’m a racist, but that’s untrue.

A racist, me? Why, that just wouldn’t do.


I have no opinion, I’m only a lady at home.

Seldom from my sewing room do I roam.


I’d have lunch with Mrs. Rosen-

if she weren’t one’a the Chosen.


I’ve always believed in equal employment,

In fact, my maid is white for my enjoyment.


The gays, oh they gays, harmless enough.

The decorate and do my hair when it’s rough.


(Just please don’t too close to them get,

They’ll turn your sons queer, you bet!)


True, I won’t meet Mr. Mariano

But not because he’s a WOP…er, an Italiano.


It’s because I’m sure he reeks of garlic.

The stench of which makes me sick!


It’s true I don’t tip the delivery boy.

Last name of Sanchez, notta’ joy.


I’ve never been to a church that’s black.

Such singing would give me heart attack!


My sister, bless her heart, when a Catholic she married

T’was flu that prevented my attending, so harried.


I never serve potatoes and ham,

For enticing an Irishman on the lamm.


I just keep to myself, sit here, and sew.

I only take commissions, though.


A lady, my husband says, shouldn’t solicit work.

Transgenders may in bathrooms lurk!


[turns embroidery hoop around to face audience, reveals swastika on pink field]


What of my handiwork do you think?

It’s my own crewel, I did this one in pink!