[DAN, LIZ, and EMMA lounge on a couch. DAN and EMMA kiss. They nurse half-empty glasses of wine.]
EMMA: I can’t do this.
LIZ: Told you.
EMMA: It doesn’t …
EMMA: It doesn’t feel right.
DAN: What do you mean?
LIZ: She’s gonna back out.
EMMA: It’s just …
LIZ: Did I call it or what?
EMMA: There’s something … I don’t know … unnatural about the whole thing.
EMMA: It just feels weird.
DAN: I don’t understand.
EMMA: Maybe I should go.
LIZ: Maybe she should. Fucking tease.
EMMA: I’m sorry.
LIZ: There it goes! Dan’s fantasyup in smoke!
DAN: I thought we were really clicking.
EMMA: We were. We are.
LIZ: Talk about mixed signals.
DAN: So what’s the rush?
EMMA: I … I don’t know. I just
DAN: You didn’t have a good time?
LIZ: Oh my god!
LIZ: Are you really gonna guilt her into staying? That’s so pathetic!
EMMA: I had a great time.
DAN: Me too.
LIZ: I’m gonna be honestI’ve had better dates. I mean, it was pretty mediocre.
EMMA: You’re great.
LIZ: Nothing special. No fireworks.
EMMA: You’re a great guy. Really. You’re smart. You’re funny.
DAN: So …
EMMA: It’s just the …
DAN: The whole …
EMMA: The thing with …
LIZ: Awkward silence.
DAN: Is there anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable?
EMMA: I don’t know.
DAN: I don’t want to pressure you.
LIZ: Oh, noof course not. No pressure.
DAN: I mean, if you want to go
EMMA: It’s not that I want to
DAN: You want more wine?
LIZ: Yeah. Get her drunk, Dan. That’ll help.
[DAN fills EMMA’S glass.]
EMMA: [To DAN.] It’s not you.
DAN: I know.
EMMA: It’s her.
LIZ: Rightthe two of you have no chemistry and it’s my fault! Unfuckingbelievable!
EMMA: She just sort of hovers over everything.
DAN: I know.
EMMA: She’s like this unspoken …
EMMA: There’s an 800 pound gorilla in the room, you know?
LIZ: Did she just call me a gorilla?!
DAN: You look great, by the way.
LIZ: She called me a fucking ape!
EMMA: You’re not trying to change the subjectare you?
LIZ: Are you gonna let her get away with that?!
DAN: That dress is fantastic.
DAN: Really. Fantastic. It looks great. On you. You look great in the dress.
EMMA: I picked it out just for tonight.
DAN: Did you?
DAN: No way.
EMMA: For you.
[DAN and EMMA kiss.]
LIZ: Oh, give me a fucking break! He could care less about the dress! It isn’t the fucking dress he cares about! What he really wants is to rip it off as soon as possibleisn’t that right, Dan? He’s trying to figure out the quickest way to strip you down and get his hands on those slutty little tits of yours! That’s what he’s doing! That’s what he’s been doing all nightundressing you in his mind … picturing you in various positions … various attitudes of distress … wondering just what you’ll let him get away with … how far you’ll let him go … if you’ll have the nerve to tell him no when he starts to get really nasty. He’s probably got a little stiffy right now just thinking about it. He used to do the same thing with me. Maybe he still doesalthough he’d never admit it. Maybe he’s picturing all three of us right nowright here on this couchlegs and arms and tongues and hair all intertwined like snakeswrithing and twisting and probing. He’s trying to work out the geometry of it. The mathematical possibilities. It boggles his mindthe number of ways he could violate that pretty little body of yours. He’s trying to pick just the right oneor the right combination. You won’t even see it coming. He’s smooth, I’ll give him that muchit’ll sneak up on you. He’ll wait until you’re comfortable, until you’re really feeling safe, and thenBANG! Suddenly you’ll find yourself acting out a scene from some cheap porno you couldn’t watch for ten seconds without puking your guts out! You have no fucking clue what’s going on here! If you’re smart, you’ll thank him for a nice evening, turn around, walk out that door, and never look back. If you’re smart. But you’re notare you? You’re not smart at all. You’re a stupid fucking whore. So why don’t you just pull that slutty little dress over your head and get it over with!
DAN: It really is a nice dress.
EMMA: You said that. [DAN tries to kiss her againbut she stops him.] Can I ask you a question?
EMMA: Are you just using me to get over her?
[Silence. Dan picks up his glass of wine. Smells it. Sits. He doesn’t look at EMMAjust stares at the floor.]
EMMA: If you are, just tell me. I’d understand. I mean, it’s understandable. I mean, I wouldn’t judge you or anything. How could I? After what you’ve been through. How could anybody? I just need to know what to expect here. I need to know what we’re doing. [Pause.] So … what are we doing? [Pause.] Dan?
[Pause. EMMA sits next to him. She touches his hand or his knee. DAN continues to stare at the floor.]
EMMA: Talk to me. [Pause.] Do you want me to go?
DAN: No. No, I don’t want you to go. I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re doing.
DAN: I mean, how can I
EMMA: I’m sorry.
DAN: I can’t even
EMMA: I shouldn’t have
DAN: It’s not even real, you know? It’s like it didn’t even happen. I wake up in the morningevery morningand I can’t remember if it was just a bad dream, a really bad dream, or ... and then I look and she’s not there next to me … the pillow’s empty … maybe she’s just in the bathroom … maybe …
EMMA: I shouldn’t have brought it up.
EMMA: It’s none of my business.
DAN: She left a note. Did you know that?
DAN: She left a note that she was doing it for me.
EMMA: Oh my god.
DAN: For me. Because she knew I didn’t want her anymore.
EMMA: That’s horrible.
DAN: What’s horrible is it was true. I didn’t want her. I was ready to walk away and she knew it. I was gonna wash my hands of the whole fucking thingfind some sane girl and start oversomeone who didn’t play mind games all the fucking timesomeone who didn’t question my every motivesomeone who didn’t scare the hell out of me. You know, there were times I was actually afraid she might kill me. My own wife. I was afraid she might poison the milk or stick me with a steak knife in the middle of the night. Honest to god. I was afraid to go to sleep. [Pause.] Sometimes, I think the only reason she didn’t is she knew this would hurt more. This would stay with me. [Pause.] If you want to go
DAN: I know I’m kind of a head-case right now.
EMMA: Who wouldn’t be?
DAN: I just don’t want to think about it. I keep seeing her in that pool of blood … the way I found her … with her wrists and … it was all over her nightgown … the one I’d bought her for Christmas … her eyes were all glassy … like you see in the movies … like a dead fish … like a dead fucking fish with its wrists slit, but it’s my wife, and it’s real, and I can’t get that picture out of my head. I want it to go away. I want it to go away like a bad dream, but
EMMA: It will.
DAN: It hasn’t yet.
EMMA: Trust me. It will.
[She kisses himthen takes the wine glass from his hands and places it on the table.]
EMMA: You know what you need? A little distraction.
[EMMA kicks off her shoes.]
DAN: A distraction?
DAN: What kind of distraction?
EMMA: The good kind.
[EMMA begins to unbutton her dress.]
DAN: What are you
[She puts a finger to her lips seductivelydon’t argue.]
DAN: I … I don’t know if it’s really the right
EMMA: I got you all worked up asking stupid questions when it wasn’t any of my business, and now I’m gonna make up for it.
DAN: You don’t have to
EMMA: I’m a big girl, DanI know what I’m doing. [She kisses him.] Can I borrow your shower? [He nods.] Give me two minutes.
[She exits to the bedroom. Silence.]
LIZ: Looks like you’re gonna get some after all. [Pause.] You know most of that cleavage is fakeright? It’s all padding. The fancy silicone ones, but still. I just don’t want you to be disappointed.
DAN: I don’t suppose I could get you to move towards the lightor in your case the flickering red flames?
LIZ: Not a chance.
DAN: Didn’t think so.
LIZ: You should be happy. You always said you wanted a ménage à trois.
DAN: This isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
DAN: Not so much.
LIZ: Be grateful for what you’ve got, Dan. Be grateful for what you’ve got.
[She follows EMMA into the bedroom. DAN glares after her.]
* * *
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Copyright © 2008 by Walter Wykes
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