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HEART OF HEARING

by Joseph Zeccola


CHARACTERS
ANGIE
JOSH

SETTING
Angie's room. Josh's room.

[ANGIE sits on her bed, the phone is at her ear.]

ANGIE: (practicing to herself) Hey, what's up? ... What's up? ... How's it going? ... Sorry I blew you off last year, but how the hell are ya? ... That's good. (pause) Yeah, great.

[The phone rings in JOSH'S darkened room.]

ANGIE: You don't have a fucking answering machine?

[JOSH'S answering machine clicks on.]

ANGIE: I was gonna say...

[JOSH's voice is heard on the machine, saying: "Hey, This is Josh. I'm out. You know the drill."]

ANGIE: Cute.

[JOSH runs into his room as the machine BEEPS.]

ANGIE: Uh, hey Josh, this is Ang, um, my number is--

JOSH: (picks up the phone) Yeah! Hello?

ANGIE: Um. uh. Is Josh in?

JOSH: (out of breath) This is.

ANGIE: Oh, hey Josh. ... ... This is Angie...

JOSH: (pause) Hey...

ANGIE: Hey. ...You don't sound like you want to talk to me?

JOSH: No, I uh--

ANGIE: I mean, you sound out of breath.

JOSH ...Yeah. Yeah, I am. I just ran in. Heard the phone ringing.

ANGIE: Oh.

JOSH: Yeah. (pause) Can you hold on a minute?

ANGIE: Sure.

[JOSH sets the phone down and goes to his closet, changing his shirt and taking off his shoes quickly. ANGIE gets up off her bed and starts pacing.]

JOSH: (to himself) Look, Angie we're obviously way past the point of no return on this one, so let's just... let's just quit while we're ahead, okay?

[JOSH picks up the phone, checking his hair in the mirror.]

JOSH: I'm back. (pause) So...

ANGIE: How are you?

JOSH: (almost simultaneously) What have you been up to?

ANGIE: Sorry.

JOSH: (lays back on his bed) You go first.

ANGIE: Just wanted to see how you've been?

JOSH: I'm good. Going to school.

ANGIE: Yeah. How's that going? Anything interesting?

JOSH: Not really. How bout you? You still writing?

ANGIE: I'm making Thirteen-fifty an hour doing dispatch for mercy ambulance. I might go back in the fall.

JOSH: You're a good writer.

ANGIE: You only saw one essay.

JOSH: And it was very good.

ANGIE: Uh-huh. Well I always knew what I cared about. (pause) You seeing anyone?

JOSH: (sits up on his bed, then gets up) Yeah. ...I'm seeing someone. ... still.

ANGIE: I thought you broke up with her?

JOSH: Well... two years is a long time.

ANGIE: Yeah, it is. Two years ago you were still telling me to keep writing.

JOSH: I guess I always tell you that.

ANGIE: Yeah. But that's what I like about you.... (Silence. They both pace quietly.) So, you got back together with her? (Pause) That's good.

JOSH: So, how bout you?

ANGIE: Me?

JOSH: Yeah.

ANGIE: Oh. (pause) Yeah. ... I'm seeing someone.

JOSH: What's he like?

ANGIE: He's alright. Pre-med. (silence) So--

JOSH: --That's great. A career guy. How long?

ANGIE: I, uh ... six months.

JOSH: No shit. First long-termer.

ANGIE: And last. Relationships suck. Too much work.

JOSH: I thought that was a guy saying.

ANGIE: Not one of yours.

JOSH: (pause--that stings) Well we both know about me. So--

ANGIE: No. It's just--

JOSH: Mr. Marriage would never say that, would he? (no response) I just figured once you actually tried a relationship, you'd like it.

[ANGIE casually sets down her phone and walks to the wall that separates the rooms.]

ANGIE: I guess I'm just not with the right guy.

JOSH: (pause) I'm sure he's cool. I'm happy for you.

ANGIE: (long pause) Thanks. So, how's your relationship going? Everything alright?

[During the following exchange, ANGIE enters JOSH's room, comes up behind him and playfully steals his phone.]

JOSH: It could be worse.

ANGIE: It could be like us.

JOSH: That'd be worse. We'd only talk every six months.

ANGIE: I'd blow you off.

JOSH: After I pushed you away.

ANGIE: And I'd call you six months later.

JOSH: That's weird.

ANGIE: That's us. It's how we are.

[Silence. ANGIE sets JOSH's phone down on his bed, takes his hand and leads him into her room.]

ANGIE: It's funny. (pause) You know my sister Rosa, she always says that you and I are gonna end up together.

JOSH: Who?

ANGIE: My sister, Rosa.

JOSH: She never even met me.

ANGIE: SO! (She lets go of his hand.) That doesn't matter.

JOSH: (long pause) So ... what's the problem with you and your dream guy?

ANGIE: He's not my dream guy. He's an asshole. (pause) He has this ex-girlfriend in California.

JOSH: Ah.

ANGIE: Yeah. And he went back there last month. You know to see his friends. (Pause.) Well, anyway... He gave me this big long explanation about how I was like this new pair of sweats--nice and new--fresh. And she was this old, comfortable pair os sweats. Easy to wear, you know ... comfortable. So... ...

JOSH: Sweats metaphors.

ANGIE: What do you think?

JOSH: I think you're not made of cotton.

ANGIE: I understand what he meant. ... I do. (no response) Well, nobody's perfect. (no response) Everyone can't be like you, Josh.

JOSH: (pause) No. I guess not.

ANGIE: That's not what I meant. I mean most guys--

JOSH: Most guys don't even talk to girls who've blown them off as much as you have me. Most guys don't even get into a bizarre relationship with a girl they saw for three weeks in 1997. Especially when they already have a relationship of their own. And most guys are much too smart to dump that girlfriend for their once-every-six-months telephone lover.

[JOSH turns and steps back towards his room.]

ANGIE: Yeah. (pause) What I was gonna say was that most guys don't treat girls as well as you do.

[He stops.]

JOSH: Yeah. Most guys are a lot smarter than me.

ANGIE: You were smart enough to get back together with her.

JOSH: (pause) They were the only comfortable pair of sweats I had.

ANGIE: Why didn't you throw them out?

[ANGIE takes JOSH's hand again.]

JOSH: There was this song ... It was on this really bad album. This George Benson song, "Kisses in the Moonlight?"

ANGIE: I don't know it.

JOSH: You heard it.

ANGIE: No I--

JOSH: You did.

[He takes her hand and starts to lead her through a slow dance.]

JOSH: We danced, kissed mostly, through it. While I was making you dinner.

ANGIE: What were you making me?

JOSH: Pasta ... My grandmother's sauce--

ANGIE: It all got stuck together--

JOSH: Becasue I wasn't stirring it. I was with you, dancing...

[He kisses her.]

ANGIE: I don't remember the song.

JOSH: It was really bad ...

[He kisses her again, she responds.]

JOSH: I asked you what you thought of it, after we were done dancing.

ANGIE: Did I like it?

JOSH: You said, (whispers) "I didn't hear it."

ANGIE: See, that's why I didn't remember. I wasn't listening...

[She kisses him.]

JOSH: Must be.

ANGIE: I remember all kinds of things...

JOSH: I believe you.

ANGIE: I remember you always wanted me to watch Star Trek with you... I said I would try. For you.

JOSH: We never got a chance...

[She pulls away from him, slightly.]

ANGIE: I remember I never apologized...

JOSH: For what?

ANGIE: I did some lousy things to you. Said them, too... "Mister Marriage."

JOSH: Yeah, well--

ANGIE: I'm sorry... [Long Pause] I remember changing channels and seeing Star Trek on, and wanting to watch it with you. Wanting to find out what I missed. (silence) So... do you think ... we'll end up together?

[No response.]

JOSH: [Long Pause] I...

[ANGIE moves closer to JOSH.]

ANGIE: Do you think we'll end up together?

JOSH: I heard you. (pause) I was just thinking...

ANGIE: Of what?

[JOSH steps back from ANGIE.]

JOSH: Of this Star Trek convention I went to a couple of years ago.

ANGIE: You're thinking of a Star Trek convention? A STAR TREK convention!?!

[ANGIE turns around and starts to walk away.]

JOSH: Yeah. Shatner was there. I always wanted to see him. I grew up with Captain Kirk, so...

ANGIE: So?

JOSH: So I'm at this convention--nerds everywhere--waiting for Shatner. All the other actors had just been themselves, you know, answering questions, a joke or two. But not Shatner. He comes out onstage and starts doing this stand-up routine--one-liners and all--joke after joke. He'd answer a question, but not until he got a few jokes in. Well there was this deaf guy, a deaf mute I guess, who would hand the actors a card with his question written on it. [Pause] He walks up to Shatner and holds out his card. Shatner takes the card, but without even looking at it says, "I'm sorry, I don't like boys." And there's like this total silence over the convention hall. Shatner just drops the card, turns his back on the guy and goes to the other end of the stage. The guy just lets out a "Ahhhhh" or "Uhhhh" or something, trying to ask his question. Shatner ignored him--called on someone else. [Pause] So the guy picked up his card and walked away.

[Silence. JOSH leaves her room and steps back into his own. ANGIE steps after him but stops at the invisible wall--she can't cross in.]

JOSH: It's a true story. (pause) It's sick, I guess. But that show means a lot to some people. Whenever I used to watch Star Trek, I always thought about the future. You know, Hope. Compassion. Possibilities.

[JOSH picks up his phone.]

ANGIE: That's what I always liked about you. I've been trying to watch it, you know--

JOSH: I wonder if that deaf guy thought that, too.

[JOSH turns his back on ANGIE holding the phone close to his ear.]

JOSH: I got a test in the morning. I gotta go.

ANGIE: (pause) Oh. (pause) You know, just because he was an asshole doesn't mean the show isn't still good. I know you know that, but--

[ANGIE goes to her phone and takes it in her hand.]

JOSH: I always do have the fantasy.

ANGIE: Yeah. You always do. And--

JOSH: But the reality isn't... (pause) It just isn't.

[ANGIE presses her phone close to her ear.]

ANGIE: (long pause) Well, you have your girlfriend in reality. (pause) It really was great talking to you again, Josh.

JOSH: For me, too. Good luck with your boyfriend.

ANGIE: Yeah. (pause) Call me sometime. Whenever.

JOSH: I will.

ANGIE: Later.

[They both hang up. The lights start to fade in both of their rooms.]

JOSH: Yeah. ... Later.

[Lights out.]


* * *

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Copyright © 1994 by Joseph Zeccola

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Heart of Hearing 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 Rights@JosephZeccola.com

 

 



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