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by LB Hamilton

MAN .... attractive, available
WOMAN .... attractive, available

A Farmer's Market

(MAN, in running suit, is shopping,  In his basket he carries several items. A large price tag hangs from the upper back of his sweatshirt.   A WOMAN, dressed for sale,  is shopping - she also has a price tag. In her basket she carries a several items.  They seem to not see each other.  Finally, MAN surreptitiously checks her price tag then checks his wallet.   WOMAN then surreptitiously checks his price tag and checks the mirror.   They "accidentally" back into each other.  We hear the sound of a cash register.)

MAN / WOMAN: Oh, sorry.

MAN / WOMAN: My fault.

(They laugh and study each other.)

MAN: Shopping?

WOMAN: Just looking around.  I have an appointment in the neighborhood.  You?

MAN: No. No.   A friend asked me to check out something.   

WOMAN: Shopping is ...boring.  Don't you think?

MAN: That's what I told my friend.

WOMAN/MAN: You come here often?

(They laugh)

MAN: Never.

WOMAN: Actually, I'm not even here now.

MAN: I could tell.

WOMAN: Well . . .

(She picks up a banana and strokes it thoughtfully.)

MAN: Yes . . . I guess . . . .

WOMAN: Yes . . .

MAN: I should be going.  I've got pressures.  Lots of pressures.

WOMAN: Oh.  I understand.

(She sniffs the banana.)

MAN: You do?  (beat)

WOMAN: Oh yes.  Yes, I do…

MAN: You do.  Wow.

WOMAN: Oh, yes.  Places to go?  Things to do?

(They  remove their outerwear in a strip tease, take turns examining each other like horses, and checking each other's price tags, their speeches overlapping.)

WOMAN: I myself am a busy independent woman, with a whole career in front of me and I certainly don't have time to shop. . .  

MAN: Too many pressures, you know?   I've had to be careful about my purchases.  I've always been honest about this. . .

WOMAN: . . . I've had my problems in the past - overspending, choosing the wrong products.

MAN: But do they listen?   Never.. .

WOMAN: . . .  the abuse I've suffered.  Being suckered by false advertising and inferior products.  But  no more . . .

MAN: . . . I have my work, my priorities.  Just because someone looks, doesn't mean they have to buy.   Do they understand. . . ?  

WOMAN: . . . I'm growing stronger everyday - I'm getting it together.  I don't need to shop anymore.  Nope.

MAN: Why can't people be adult about these things?

(They maul each other.)

WOMAN: I finally respect myself. 

MAN: Exactly.

(Awkward silence.  They dress.)

WOMAN: Well . . . .

MAN: Well . . .have a good day.

(MAN carefully eyes her again.  She almost catches him.  He points to something.)

MAN: Nice melons.

(The sound of a cash register.  She pokes her breasts out proudly then "busies" herself seductively. He avidly studies her then forces himself to dial his cell phone. We hear a busy; he dials again, we hear a recording; again, we hear a man say  "hello".  She begins to lose interest and waves at  somebody in the distance  He notices and hangs up.)

MAN: IF . . .


MAN: If I were shopping, I would look for, ... but . . .You need to know that I---

WOMAN: I couldn't agree more.

MAN: Really?   Well . . .    Say, do I know you?

WOMAN: Oh, I don't think so.

MAN: You look a little like . . . well, maybe not.

WOMAN: ...like ...?

MAN: Well . . . like my mother - maybe around the eyes?

WOMAN: Thank you.

MAN: I hate my mother.

WOMAN: Of course you do.

MAN: You understand?  

WOMAN: My father was a bastard.  A professional shopper. You can't believe the things he brought home.

MAN: Really.  Hmm.  

WOMAN: And...

MAN: And...?

WOMAN: Well...you have the voice of my last boyfriend.

MAN: What a coincidence.  It's like your ears . . . just like my last girlfriend.

WOMAN: You aren't my last boyfriend, are you?

MAN: I've never shopped in my life!  Except for --.

WOMAN: Or my last boss.  You're not my last boss are you?

MAN: I've been too busy.  Busy, busy, busy

WOMAN: Good.  Good.   They made guarantees, then they oppressed me, then they abandoned me.

(He moves close to her and places his hand on her breast.)

MAN: Like my mother pressured me...and my last girlfriend.  And my two fiancees.

WOMAN: No more shopping.  Rentals - that's the way nowadays . . . maybe short term leasing?

(The sound of a cash register.)

MAN: Buy, buy, buy.    All that pressure to buy.  (pause)  I'd make no guarantees  - that is IF I were shopping

(She smiles and takes his other hand and places it on her other breast.)

WOMAN: I understand.

(He breaks away, starts to leave, she clings, he drags her along.)

MAN: If I were shopping, which I'm not,  I would shop for understanding and, and intelligence.

WOMAN: Don't you just love Kierkegaard? 

(He stops. She starts to move away, he clings, she drags him along. )

WOMAN: If I were shopping, which I'm not, I'd look for a man who is sensitive to my needs.

MAN: You look a little tired, can I get you a cup of coffee? A foot massage? ( She stops.  They frantically embrace. ) Christ! You are not like any other woman I know - you're so free!

WOMAN: Yes, yes!  And you are not like any other man I know - you're so secure!

(She notes "someone" again and waves brightly.)

MAN: Who the hell is that?   

(She shrugs.  He grabs her to himself.)

WOMAN: So....This was great.

(She starts to leave and he holds on.)

MAN: Yes.  No complications.   Just two adults.  Friends.  Buddies.   Thanks.  Have a nice life. --- Where do you think you're going?

WOMAN: I thought I saw some nuts over there. 

(He drags her roughly to him.)

MAN: I thought you said you weren't shopping.

(He rubs against her, she returns the favor.)

WOMAN: I'm not.

MAN: God, I love your honesty ... I love your beauty.

(The sound of a cash register.)

WOMAN: God, I love you --

(He abruptly releases her.)

WOMAN: I mean I love your --uhm --  the way you accept me just as I am.

(Beat.  They frantically embrace again.  He pushes her away.)

MAN: Don't do that.

WOMAN: What?

MAN: Wear that color.  My first fiancee wore that color.

(She slips off her dress again.)

WOMAN: I never wear that color.

MAN: I hate women who wear too much make-up.

(She uses the dress to wipe off her make-up, tosses it aside.)

WOMAN: You're so good to me.

MAN: Exactly.  No pressure.  No ties.

(She nods, pulls out a bow tie, and fastens it onto him.)

WOMAN: My father wore ties.   And my bosses wore glasses. (She puts a pair of glasses on him.) But you're not the type.

MAN: (Preening and adjusting tie and pulls out a calculator) I'm not.  I'm not.   And you are . . . you are so secure with yourself.   And . . .and, you know… soft.

WOMAN: Soft…(beat)  You  think I'm too fat, don’t you?

MAN: (beat)   Uh, no. Well . . . .  No!

(She stands up straight and sucks in her cheeks and stomach to look thinner, as he focus on calculating.) 

WOMAN: I respect your ambition. (As he works diligently, she crowds him.) I respect your priorities. (She strokes him, he calculates.) We never talk anymore.

MAN: (snapping)   I've got pressures!

WOMAN: No problem.  Space.  See?  Lot 's of space.

(She strokes him meaningfully and backs away.  He grabs her and holds her close.)

MAN: I could spend a lifetime with a woman like you. 

(He drops her and walks away from her. She sits on the floor stunned.  He checks his black book again.  She watches him, then angrily picks up her own cellular phone. We hear a man answer "Hello." She starts to speak and MAN rushes up to her.)

MAN: You made me do it.   I fucking warned you.  I never lied!

WOMAN: Temporary insanity.  I'm sorry.

MAN: I was straight with you.  Here's the key to my apartment

WOMAN: Just in case.

MAN: Just for the cooking and cleaning.

(She pulls out a feather duster.  He grabs her in a threatening manner.)

MAN: My mother used a rag.

(She considers, switches to a rag and begins to "clean" him.)

WOMAN: Can I wash that sweatshirt for you?

MAN: I don't need to be taken care of. (beat) You missed a spot.

(She smiles, cleans the spot.  He takes the shirt and everything in her basket, places it in his, then gently kisses her.) 

MAN: You're so special to me.  Really.  I mean that.  I've never said that to anyone before.  You are -- you are extraordinary.  

(He abruptly exits, dialing his phone.  She waits.  Nothing. She looks in her basket, finds nothing. Finds a small knife in her bra and waits. He  returns disheveled, she stares at him, takes the knife and begins to slit her wrists, he drops the basket and runs to stop her.  They struggle.)

MAN: Jesus!  What are you doing?!  Are you crazy?   What are you thinking? (She turns the knife on him.) Listen...I .... What do you want?   .... Help me out here.  I don't understand.

WOMAN: Yes you do.    

MAN: I do?

WOMAN: Oh, yes you do.

(She out holds her finger for a ring.  He stares.)

MAN: Ummmm.

WOMAN: I give up.

(She throws down the knife and waves to someone. Sound of a cash register bell.)

MAN: Ah!   I understand now.  I do.  I really really do!

WOMAN: You do?

MAN: Oh.  I do.

(He puts ring on her finger.  Sound of a cash register bell.  They kiss.  Beam at each other.  He picks her up and moves across the stage.  She tosses the bouquet. They "make love."  repeating the next two lines several times overlapping and building to a climax.)

WOMAN: I'm so happy.  You're not like any man I ever knew!  You make me happy.   Are you happy? Happy…Happy….Oh God I’m soooooo …So, soooooo Happy!

MAN: You make me so happy.   Are you happy?  You're not like any girl I ever knew!  I'm so happy! Yes, Happy, I’m Happy, Yes Yes Yes, soooo happy…..!!!!

(Finally they are both spent.  They stop and stare hopelessly ahead.   Silence. Finally he carefully and quietly pulls out a circular which announces " INDEPENDENCE DAY SALE " and studies it, as she carefully and quietly pulls out a circular announcing "MOTHER'S DAY SALE ." After a moment they look at each.)

MAN/WOMAN: What are you doing?  (pause)   Nothing.

* * *

Copyright © 1997 by LB Hamilton

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that BUYER$ MARKET is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author at LBH@LBHamilton.me



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