VALENTINE

A New Play for the Stage in Two Acts

By

Tristan Reynolds

ACT I

[Note: Left and Right shall refer to Stage Left and Stage Right, respectively]

(The stage is dark. Center is a row of lockers and a few desks. Right are a generic-looking bed, desk, and computer. Left is blank and empty. A light comes up on the center. A harsh, discordant bell sounds. Over a speaker comes a voice.)

PRINCIPAL

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today is September 1st, the first day of the new school year. I would like to welcome all new students, and greet all the returning students. Today, lunch will be free to all students. You should all be in your homerooms now. Your teachers will assign your lockers. Thank You. Good day.

(The speaker clicks off. Nothing for a moment, then a harried looking girl enters left of the lockers. She has strawberry blonde hair, with a very slight frame, no more than 5'3", and very pale, almost translucent skin. She has on faded jeans, a green tee under a dark grey hoodie, and a generic-looking backpack over one shoulder. Everything about her body screams "I could be pretty, but I don't want to be" and her clothes say "Don't notice me, I like being boring". She stops in the middle of the stage, and looks around frantically. Seeing no one, she drops her pack, almost unconsciously, and mutters to herself.)

VALENTINE [VA]

Shit.

(Slowly she turns and sees her pack on the floor, and-)

VA
Shit.

(She picks it up. Then she starts looking around again. No change, the stage is still deserted. Haplessly, she yells out-)

VA

Hello? Is anybody here? Hello? (etc)

(Sound of a door slamming, and then a portly man, somewhat red in the face, and looking about ready to have an aneurism, waddles quickly on.)

MR. GREEN [MG]

And I keep telling that fool that what we really need is some good-old-fashioned discipline around here-

(VA taps him on the shoulder, halting his tirade. He spins, still furious.)

MG

What?!

VA
Well, I was hoping, maybe, you could help, to find my class, I mean, I'm new here, and I don't know where anything is, and I'm anxious because now I'm late and this is my first day, and I'm not explaining myself very well, am I?

MG

No.

VA

Please?

MG

Fine.

VA

Here's (has some difficulty withdrawing a piece of paper from her pack, but manages it) my class schedule!

MG

Hmmm… room 201, just like it says right here.

VA

Yes, but where is that?

MG

It's the first room on the second floor, clearly.

VA

Yes, but which end do I start at?

MG

What?

VA

Obviously one end is the beginning, and one is the end, but which is which?

MG

Oh. Left starts.

VA

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthan kyou. Well, I'll be going now, if you don't mind…

(Scampers off left. MG shakes his head, and continues on his way, again on his tirade.)

MG

Because there's just no discipline nowadays, look at that girl, in my day we would've been whipped raw for being late. No siree would we have been that forward with a teacher either…

(Exit left. Blackout. Lights up on the down center, with the desks. HANA [HA], a girl about sixteen and very pretty, a fact only accentuated by her stylish, albeit heavy makeup, is in the rearmost desk. JULIE [JU], a plain but very prim and proper, sits in the front desk. She has a notebook out, and is taking notes to an unheard voice. Seeing this, HA rolls her eyes and taps JU over the middle desk.)

HA

For god's sake, it's the first day. Somehow, I really don't think notes on the bell schedule are necessary.

JU

Maybe not, but it's the idea of getting into a habit.

HA

Ugh, are you joking?

JU

No.

HA

And I knew that, so why should I even ask?

JU

Because you want to distract your mind from the fact that I'm simply a better student than you, and you feel guilty about that fact.

HA

Please. I simply stress out less about the quiz on the first week.

JU

Because you spend all your time stressing about the boys in your first week.

HA

Do not.

JU

Yes you do.

HA

Okay, maybe, but that's better than worrying about… (Searches for a moment) the chaos theory!

JU

The chaos theory will always exist, your latest boyfriend won't.

HA

I happen to be very fond of Max.

JU

Really?

HA

Well, certain parts of him.

JU

He does have something of a temper, I've noticed.

HA

I was referring more to, well, another kind of parts.

JU

I see.

HA

What, all ready to come down from on high and stun me with HIV statistics again?

JU

You should know that HIV is hardly the most prevalent STD among teens.

HA

Oh, whatever. You get the point. You need to lighten up every once in a while!

JU

And you could do with a bit of my gravitas.

HA

Maybe.

JU

Definitely.

HA

Why do I hang out with you?

JU

Because deep down you want to be responsible, but don't know how, so you console yourself with choosing a respectable friend to counterbalance your poor choice in a social circle otherwise.

HA

If you say so.

JU

You didn't pay any attention at all, did you?

HA

Not really, after 'because'.

JU

Why do I waste my breath?

HA

Because you like to feel smarter than everyone else.

JU

Hmpf.

HA

And you hate it when people point that out.

JU

We're done with this conversation.

HA

Okay, I'll just talk with Max!

JU

You know I hate you, right?

HA

I know you like to think that.

JU

Maybe.

HA

Anyway, there's kinda something I need to talk to you about.

JU

Okay.

HA

Well, not here, really…

JU

Then why bring it up?

HA

To… I don't know, so you're not surprised when I do!

JU

I don't really see the point in that.

HA

There… ugh, sometimes you just have to go with it, you know?

JU

I don't.

HA

Well, we can all hope someday you will.

JU

You can.

(Then, enter VA from up left. She awkwardly looks around for a moment, then makes her way down to the desk in between the other two girls. She stows her pack under the desk, and JU uses this as an opportunity to return to her notes. HA watches this new specimen intensely.)

HA

Hello.

VA

(Mutters, quietly) hello.

HA

Excuse me, I don't really know who you are- I've never seen you before. Are you new here?

VA

Yes.

HA

So, where did you come from?

VA

New York. New York City, I mean.

HA

Really? Where? I used to go up to the city every summer? Where did you go to school?

VA

Px75- the schools there have numbers, you know, instead of names-

HA

Really, so you lived in Manhattan? You must have money, then? Are you rich?

VA

I'd really prefer not to talk about it.

HA

If you want. Sorry, it's just how I am, you can ask Julie there about that.

JU

She's also incredibly annoying.

VA

It's okay.

HA

Anyway, d'you mind if we switch seats? I was talking to her…

JU

Oh, no. Stay right where you are.

VA

Umm…

HA

Oh, quiet, you stuck up old bitch. Oh, not you, her.

VA

What?

HA

Oh, never mind. I'm Hana, by the way.

VA

Oh, ah, Valentine. (Awkwardly shakes hands.)

HA

Nice to meet you. That's a very pretty name.

VA

Not really.

HA

Oh, no, it is. I like it. You get a whole day named after you.

VA

I don't think it really works like that…

HA

No, but it's still nice to think of it that way.

VA

I guess.

HA

Oh, and that's Julie.

VA

I figured.

HA

Yeah, cause I kinda said it before. But anyway…

VA

Yeah.

(A bell rings. Calmly, JU gathers her things and walks out. HA, however, appears startled and gets up, frenetically throwing her things together. VA, looking lost again, slowly gets up and starts out. Then, as it occurs to her she has no clue where to go, she rounds back on HA.)

VA

Hey, do you know where the science lab is?

HA

Yeah. Come on, I can show you.

(Fade black. Rise up on center, where a lone figure stands, contrasted harshly between the light and a pair of black jeans and a dark tee. Well-developed muscles ripple beneath his shirt. His hair is an absurdly flamboyant red- spikey. An expensive Rolex dons his left hand. He draws a pack of cigarettes out of his upstage back pocket with his right hand. He puts on in his mouth and returns the pack. He takes a lighter out with his left and flicks it on. He then brings the lighter to the tip of the cigarette. It fails to light. Swearing, he tries again. Nothing. Again. Third time's the charm. He stands there for a few moments, than takes the barely smoked cigarette out and violently stamps it out. He glances at his watch, and flicks some imaginary dust off it. With a frustrated sigh, he leans up against the lockers and shoves his hands in his pockets. Enter JU, from the left. Seeing her, he bolts up and flicks a switch in his mind, and he suddenly seems more confident and suave. He moves to intercept JU)

MAX

Hey, Julie.

JU

(Sighs) What do you want?

MAX
I was just wondering if you were free tonight?

JU

Are you?

MAX

Why, yes I am!

JU

Too bad. I'm not.

MAX

Is there nothing you could- forget you needed to do?

JU

Listen, boy. I neither appreciate your incessant badgering, which you attempt to call 'come-ons', or your even more pathetic attempts to evoke some kind of emotional response from me with your disgusting habits, which I'm sad to say normally do make me gag. Also, I find this kind of womanizing behavior is incredibly misogynistic and degrading not only to me, but anyone else with a pair of ovaries, but also to you. And, you happen to be dating my best friend, who for some reason chooses to overlook your general wretchedness, so to answer your question, no.

MAX

Well.

JU

I'll be going now.

MAX

Aw, c'mon! (She exits) fuck.

(Takes out another cigarette and lights it. Black, so that all we can see is the light. Then it is extinguished.)

(Light up on right. VA is laying stomach-up on the bed, but with her shoulders and head off the side, so her face is upside down, facing the audience center. She kicks her legs a little, then rolls over to her stomach. She grabs a pillow and props her head up on it. Again dissatisfied, she knocks the pillow off the bed. Sitting up, she sighs. She kicks off her shoes. She lays back again, in her original position, and begins to address the ceiling.)

VA

Again. Here again. And again, I'm not the tiniest bit surprised that I'm here again. Cause I was here at this time last year, when I'd just fucking gave up on people-

(Suddenly, a sharp chord on a violin from the pit [or wherever it can't be seen]. A harsh spot on the left of the stage- there stands a girl, VA's age, with a carbon-copy look of every cheerleader in every chick flick made since 1980. Her hands on her hips, she lets out one single, high-pitched laugh. Violin vamps under the scene, a frenzy and fevered sound that aggravates the ears and sets the teeth on edge.)

CLAIRE (CL)

Well, I mean, it's not like we hadn't given up on ever making you the slightest bit pretty or funny or nice or anything like that. I mean, god, we did everything except force you at gunpoint to fuck that guy we were so desperate to hook you up with-

VA

(Looking at CL. Violently shakes her head, as if to dispel the sound of her voice) Or the year before that, where-

CL

Where you were skipping school practically every day, just cause you didn't appreciate everything we did for you!

VA

(Sits up now, trying to look away from the other side of the stage, but being drawn back in) Or the first year I ever met you, where you destroyed my entire life!

CL

I was only trying to help you see the error of your ways-

VA

Shut up! Quiet! I don't have to deal with you anymore- I left you behind!

CL

But I was the best thing that ever happened to you, you pathetic little bitch!

VA

I—(seems floored by the other girl's outburst.) I-

CL

What? Terrified of the truth? That you- sad as you are, were actually desperate to get any kind of attention you could have, that you'd secretly beg me, in that part of your mind where you know that you are just a miserable little girl, to pay attention to you, that there is nothing you like more than when everyone would laugh at your stupid clothes or bad makeup or idiotic hairstyle, because if they were laughing at you, then at least they knew you existed!

VA

No… no, go away, I don't want to listen to this, I don't have to listen to this, go away!

CL

Awww. Well, when you realize that those years were the best of your life, then give me a call. You still have my number in your phone, I know.

(The violin plays a final note as the spot on CL cuts and she exits. VA slowly sits on the floor, back against the bed, and pounds her head against said bed.)

VA

Why?! I- I spent three years of my life around her! Can't I get the rest of it to be alone? Not even the first day of school? At a whole new school- because of her? No, clearly not. Because that's the way your life has gone till now, so why should today be any different? Or any other day? Well, at least you can say that you have a fixed routine. Yeah, at least I can say that. Hooray!

(Blackout. Reopen on same, with bed remade and VA gone. This time, HA is lounging on the bed, and JU is at the desk, intently reading something on her computer. HA is not paying the slightest attention to what JU is doing, but prattles on nonetheless.)

HA

I mean, it's not like I'm a prostitute or anything. I just like to-

JU

Fuck like a rabbit?

HA

Exactly. It's fun! What makes having fun like that any different from having fun… I dunno, playing football?

JU

Because it is.

HA

But why?

JU

If you want a definition of what happens when you try and replace carbon in a life form with silicone, then talk to me. If you want relationship advice, then talk to anyone but me. In case you haven't noticed, I'm just a tad bit socially inept. But it's been against pretty much every religion since the beginning of time, including mine, so I would like it if you stopped. But you won't.

HA

See? You are smart. So, whatever. You put up with me.

JU

I do, yes.

HA

So, clearly, you can't be that awkward.

JU

I didn't say awkward, I said inept.

HA

Whatever. What's so fascinating, anyway?

JU

[Insert current event that absolutely nobody in the room will have heard about]

HA

I see…

JU

You don't care at all, do you?

HA

No, it's very… interesting. But I mean, right now, I'm a little more concerned with the fact that Max is probably going to break up with me.

JU

Is he now? I had thought this sort of… escapade you had were common occurrences.

HA

Well, they are, but usually they don't go and tell half the school that I actively fucked another guy when Max had a class!

JU

So it's not so much that you and Henry carried on a sordid affair as that Max found you out?

HA

Pretty much.

JU

I will never understand why you even bother with a boyfriend.

HA

Because I really do like him! I just like sex too.

JU

Well, I'm not exactly a genius, but I can see how to reconcile those two things.

HA

No. I want him to be special.

JU

Why do you make this so damn difficult!?

HA

It's just how it worked out.

JU

Well, work it out differently.

HA

Hmmm… well, really, I guess I just have to wait and see what Max does.

JU

Then why even bring it up?

HA

Cause it's something to talk about.

(A ringtone.)

JU

Merde!

HA

Huh!

JU

Here, get my phone, will you? (HA grabs JU's phone from her purse.) Thanks. (Answers) Yes, yes, of course. I'll be right over. (Hangs up.) Sorry, I need to go. My mother wants me for something or another.

HA
Okay. See you tomorrow?

JU

Yeah. And we do need to actually work on that Economics presentation.

HA

Yeah. We both know you'll just end up doing it all anyway.

JU

But still. (Gets up from the desk. The chair accidentally slams into one of the drawers and causes it to crack open. HA bolts up.)

HA

Oh, let me get that! Bye!

JU

Umm… Dosvidanya? (Exit left.)

(Hana watched her go. Pause a moment, then she gets to her feet and screams- a high-pitched, falsetto wail, like a banshee. Under the scream enter the violin, screeching away, and it does not die out after the scream. It continues all through the scene-)

HA

Fuck! Fuck! (repetando improvisio) All I did was… all I did… I cheated on him. All I did was act like a conceited bitch and he knows it and I know it and I know he deserves better than this and he knows it but he feels bad for me and- Fuck! I hate this! I hate this! I hate that I did this! To him! To me! Me… I hate me!

(In something of a frenzy, she dashes over to the aforementioned drawer of the desk. She opens it, and reaches in. In her hand as it comes out is a nondescript cylinder. With another small scream, she flicks it out- a switchblade knife. A final screech on the violin in the black.)

(Reopen. HA is on her bed, wrapped in the top blanket, knife out on the floor. Crying softly, she rocks back and forth. Quieting eventually, she gets up off the bed, wincing at the feel of the ground under her feet. Rocking slightly, she gently picks up the knife and replaces it in the drawer. Then she draws out of the drawer an oversized band aid and lays it over her arm, cringing at the contact. Blackout. Re-open on left, with HA in the harsh spot. She stands straight, with no emotion on her face. Then, a single note on the violin, and she starts. Looking towards the audience, she addresses them.)

HA

Yeah, I cut on myself. So what? It's not like I'm trying to kill myself or anything. It's just a- a coping thing. I mean, sometimes life is just too much. It's better than like, doing drugs, right? Isn't it? Yeah, it is. But everybody totally freaks out when they see somebody with scars on their arms- like that person's some kind of depressed, psychotic freak. But I'm not! But everybody would think I am. I mean, the last people who saw were my parents, and I was fucking committed to a goddamn mental hospital for like, three months. So I figured that telling them it wasn't a big deal wasn't such a brilliant move. So now they think I'm all 'over it', like it was some sort of phase, like dying my hair or having a boyfriend. But really, it's more like eating, or breathing, even. I need it to survive! I, I need to… whatever. It's what I do. So if you don't like it, then bite me.

(Blackout. Reopen on right, with everything remade. This time, it is JU sitting there, again at her desk. She ruffles though a large stack of papers. Dissatisfied, she rolls her chair back into the bed. She stands, and goes to the drawer on the desk. From it comes a rosary. Clutching the crucifix, she signals the cross and begins-)

JU

Pater Noster

qui es in caelis sanctificetur nomen tuum

adveniat regnum tuum

fiat voluntas tua

in terra sicut in caelo.

Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,

et dimitte nobis debita nostra

sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo

(Moves to the first initial bead)

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper.

(Repeat to the final bead. Got to first decade. Repeat Pater Noster. On to the Ave Maria.)

Ave Maria

Gratia plena

Dominus est cum tibi

benedicta tu in mulieribus

et benedictus fructus ventris

Christus

Sancta Maria, mater Dei

ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

Donec nunc et in hora mortis nostrae

(Repeat again. On third time, falter on 'peccatoribus'. Attempt again. Choke. Look at the rosary, and slowly place back in drawer. As if physically exhausted from the effort, she sinks to her knees. Sound the violin, this time, a low, mournful sound, mellifluous and haunting. She crosses herself again, and looks down at the floor. In a soft voice, she begins to talk to herself/pray [same thing, right? No offense intended].)

JU

I'm sorry. Mea culpa, I guess. Or whatever is appropriate. I- I can't help how I- how it- what's happening to me. What's happening to me? Why am I the one who has to be like this? No, no, mustn't think like that. I- I won't be tested beyond what I can resist, what I can handle. I will handle this. I must handle this. I am plenty strong enough, willful enough. I'm not some common slut!- I'm not common. I am special, I am special. And God will help me through this. There's nothing I can't do- including staying pure. I won't even think about it. Think about what? I don't know. I don't- shit. Who are you fooling? Not yourself, that's for sure. Why even bother? It's better to try and fail than to never try. Well, that depends. That's relative, you know that, you've known that since you were a child. Child? You're still a child, don't pretend otherwise. Of course, that may be all these… urges are. Childlike impulses I'll outgrow in time. Hah. You're on a roll- two jokes in as many minutes. If these… impulses are so childish, then why are really, when you think about it, really rather adult?

(A final low chord on the violin. She shakes her head for a moment, and then stands up.)

Look at me. Look at this; you're on your bloody knees like you can't figure this out on your own. God doesn't need to be bothered with this; you should be able to figure this out on your own. You're a bloody genius for the love of all that is holy! There must be something you can do! Or not. Nonsense. You don't believe that. You're too intelligent to believe that. There is something you could do. The trick is simply to figure out what it is that must be done.

(Blackout. Reopen on left. VA is in the spot. She looks around for a moment, and sees where she is. Then she looks out at the audience. She tries to flee offstage, but the spot follows her, and she realizes the futility of the attempt, and slinks back to the mid-left. Looking out, she says-)

VA

You know, time is supposed to heal all wounds. Not really. I don't know if the guys who said that was really forgetful, or senile, or what, but he was really, really, wrong. Of course, it's only been a few months, so maybe he was right, an I'm just really impatient, or something. But… no. I'm still fucked up. Just like I was at the last place I tried to fit in. Or the place before that. Basically, ever. What's wrong with me? Is there some kind of part of the brain I'm missing, something that tells you how to be popular, and nice, or talk to people? Is it one of those things that they teach in kindergarten when you're sick and don't go? Is it- I don't know! What the fuck am I not getting!?

Something, clearly. Maybe, maybe if I just tell somebody, they'd get it. Maybe everybody missed that day in kindergarten, and I'm just the only one who didn't pick it up in summer school. Or something. But I'm sure somebody'd get it. Or not. But I mean, really, how much worse could my life get from where it is now?

(Lights up on center, where JU and HA are again at their previous desks. Taking a breath, VA walks over and sits in between them, as before. HA notices and taps VA on the shoulder. JU is totally and utterly oblivious.)

HA

Hey. Umm… question: why were you so weird acting yesterday? D'you not like people or something?

JU

(Sighs, but doesn't look up from her work) Hana, in case you haven't deduced that by now, possesses a unique talent for tactlessness and bluntness. Please, don't mind her.

VA

No, it's fine. It's just that for the entirety of middle school, I was made fun of, harassed, intimidated, tortured, and my life was generally made a living hell. That combined with the fact that for some reason I can never figure out what people mean when they say something, like other people can, and that I'm incredibly terribly shy and even talking to anybody except myself in a day is a major event in my life that I'm still not used to, and I'm just not very smart generally, makes me just a little nervous and anxious and nervous to be having this conversation with you, especially cause I just met you and you seem nice but now I'm worried that you're gonna be freaked out but all this and think I'm weird and ignore me for the rest of my life or worse and make my life awful now like it was before and you're looking at me weird was it weird that I just threw all this at you all at once?

HA

Ummm… okay. Well, that answered some question.

JU

Mast of which were never asked.

HA

Quiet, you.

JU

Oh, never mind me. I'm just a sarcastic bitch, since we're in the sharing mood.

HA

Again, don't listen to a thing she says. She's just tense whenever she's in school. Really, she's much nicer when she's not worrying about school.

VA

Oh. I see.

HA

Anyway, since you've kinda just dumped your life story on us, why don't you hang with us after school today?

VA

Really? You don't hate me?

HA

Let me think… just joking, sorry. No, clearly not.

JU

And meanwhile, back in the real world, the bell has rung.

HA

Shit! Sorry, gotta run.

VA

Me too, I guess…

(Blackout. Spot on left. VA peeks her head into the light, in a reverse of earlier, skips into the light, ecstatic.)

VA

Wow! I didn't get killed! Okay, maybe that was a little melodramatic, but really, yay! Okay, okay, stop being so childish. Grow up a little bit. You're still in school. Focus. Oh, screw it. I don't really care about protozoans anyway. But really, ohmigod. People actually like me- or at least they don't hate me. Yet. Never, maybe, if I don't fuck it all up again. I hope I don't fuck it all up again.

(Violin chord. CL saunters out into the spot with her. Casually, she flicks imaginary dust off VA's shoulder.)

CL

Or you could, you know. It could so, so easily all go bad again. All it takes is one person to realize how much of a fucked up, sad, pathetic bitch you really are.

VA

No, no. This is my happy moment, you won't spoil this for me…

CL

Oh, I don't need to do anything. All I'm here to do is watch you reveal to everyone that you're still that whiny little brat that everyone hated from the moment you walked in the door.

VA

No, go away!

CL

I'll be around. Watching you.

VA

And I'll be moving on with my life, thank you very much.

CL

You're still that same girl you were before, and no matter how far you run, people like me, who can see what you are, will still be there.

VA

I said, go away!

CL

Oh, why not? (Saunters off)

(Lights up on center, where HA is standing opposite MAX. JU leans on the locker in the background, pretending to examine her fingernails, but really listening in on the conversation.)

MAX
Look, you can make all the excuses you want, but that doesn't change the fact that you cheated on me, and then lied about it! What the hell did you think would happen?

HA

I'm sorry, but this is who I am. If you wanted a nice perky little cheerleader arm candy girl, then there are plenty of girls like that I would bet are just dying to get their hands on that body of yours, but you don't want that, you wanted somebody like me, and this is what you get when you're with me, and if you don't like it, then go! (Moves closer, and in a lower voice) Don't go. I want you, I like you, you're not a bad person, I'm not a bad person, I know you don't like what I did, but please, it's not a reason to destroy what we have. It's special, don't you get it? Please, please, don't go.

MAX

(Looks at her, and says) Look, it's not that I don't like you, it's just that obviously we're not-

HA

Oh, don't give me that 'We're not perfect soulmates' crap! No, we're not some kind of star-crossed lovers, we're not fucking 'god made us for each other' people, we're just people! I know we're not perfect, but can you honestly say you expected us to be? Huh?

MAX

Look, Right now, I'm saying we're through, for now at least. I need- I need some time to think. Alright?

HA

(Defeated.) Okay. Will you really think about it? Not just kick me to the curb like most of the other boys in the school would?

MAX

Yeah. Bye.

HA

Bye.

(He exits right. HA walks back to the lockers and leans against them, next to JU. She holds her head in her hands.)

JU

Well, that went poorly.

HA

You think?

JU

Just a bit.

HA

Fuck. I really did like him, you know.

JU

I know. If it helps, I am sorry.

HA

It doesn't. But thanks.

JU

Yeah.

HA

You know, you can be really awkward sometimes.

JU

Really? I had no idea.

HA

Oh yes.

JU

Distracting yourself really isn't going to make it any less awful.

HA

Don't. Just… don't, alright?

JU

You know I'm right.

HA

Don't!

JU

Right. Sorry.

HA

It's fine. Fuck!

JU

Careful.

HA

Careful or what? It's not like everybody won't know by tomorrow. I might as well get it out now.

JU

God. It sounds like you found out you had terminal cancer.

HA

Well, it sucks!

JU

I know but that's really no reason to go all crazy about it. Lots of things suck. Not everything is a category 1 disaster.

HA

Maybe you'd understand if you'd ever had a real boyfriend.

JU

(Flushed) That's none of your business, and you should know that.

HA

Right. Sorry. I'm just frustrated, is all.

JU

It's alright. Maybe it's better we avoid this whole topic.

HA

Yeah.

(Enter VA from right. Oblivious to the previous events, she is cheery, though still credulous of the fortunate turn of events.)

VA

Hey. (Seeing the grim expressions) Are we still hanging out?

HA

Huh? Oh, yeah, I guess.

JU

Forgive her, she's a bit distracted.

VA

Oh. Why?

HA

Three guesses.

JU

One: the only real boyfriend she's ever had, not including her numerous fuck buddies, has just broken up with her over that very promiscuous behavior.

VA

Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't know…

HA

It's alright. Don't… don't let that spoil your day.

JU

In other words, I don't want to admit I could actually care about something.

HA

That is completely untrue. If I wanted to say that, I would have said that.

JU

Of course.

HA

Shut up.

JU

You know you like it.

HA

I love it. Anyway, are we going, or not?

JU

Witherto shall we go, if we not know from whence we came?

HA

(As all exit) Shut up.

(Blackout. Reopen on right. HA on bed, JU at desk, VA on floor, with back on side of bed. JU looks concerned as she reads something on the computer. HA notices.)

HA

What's going on in Ta-be-ja-to-kegs-is-stan-i-man today?

JU

It's not that- it's something rather more local?

HA

Has somebody finally decided to pick up all the dog shit in the city? They get my vote for mayor.

JU

No. Anyway…

HA

Go on, what pressing concerns are ailing some part of the world we haven't even heard of?

JU

As I said before, it's considerably more local. Essentially, there is an amendment up for vote in the state legislature

HA

The senate people?

JU

Yes, them, and the amendment would serve to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

HA

Okay. I really don't get why this is a big deal, but okay.

VA

So they're going to outlaw polygamy? Isn't that a good thing?

JU

Well, yes, but federal law also bans polygamy, so that's not really the point. The real idea behind the law is that if you're gay… or lesbian, I guess… you won't be able to get married in the state.

HA

Okay. Sorry if I'm offending anybody here, but who gives a shit? Aside from you, I mean. But really, isn't that thing with the Middle East and the dictator and the guns and stuff more important right now?

JU

Well, yes, but I can't really do anything about that.

VA

Well, what could you really do about this? We can't even vote yet.

JU

But we- I mean me, I totally get it if nobody wants to help with this- but we can publish letters and statements and… and so on.

HA

Well, not to be rude or anything, but why do we care about some fags that we probably don't even know?

(JU looks as if she is about to say something, but VA cuts in.)

VA

Well, it's not so much that, as it's… well, it's like letting the government control what you can and can't do. Like a dictatorship.

HA

Oh. Meh, whatever.

JU

Anyway, t's just wrong. The whole thing is motivated by fear and hate, and those kinds of emotions have no place in the public square.

HA

Is there a private square?

JU

You are insufferable today, you really are.

HA

And anyway, aren't Catholics all like 'burn the fags!' usually?

JU

We're supposed to love people, even when they sin, however badly.

HA

I'll leave you to it, then. Now, so you don't think this is all we do, sit around talking about whatever the hell they're doing up at [the state capital]. So, what's here like compared to your old place?

VA

Well, it's nicer, I mean the people are nicer, than they were at my last school, but everybody seems more… I dunno, tense.

HA

It's just cause homecoming's coming up, and every year nobody does anything about who they're going with until the last minute, so they spend at the very least a month before it worrying their heads off and stressing out and being all not very nice and well you get the picture. But normally everybody's a lot more chill.

VA

Oh. SO, who're you gonna ask?

HA

Well, I was going to go with my boyfriend, but, well, we broke up today. So now I'm probably just going to go alone, and find somebody there and… well, probably fuck like bunnies after the whole thing.

VA

Well. Um, okay.

HA

Too much?

JU

Really? You think?

HA

Well, yeah. Moving on. Has Val- d'you mind if I call you that, Valentine sounds too formal- Has Val found anybody that she's got her eye on?

VA

No, not really.

HA

Huh? Didn't hear all that.

VA

Well, not really…

HA

Oh, come on-

VA

Well, it's not really like I was looking for somebody, or anything-

HA

But-

VA

There is this one guy.

HA

Ooh, go on!

VA

He looks, well…

HA

Hot?

VA

Yeah-

HA

More, go on-

VA

He's got this bright red hair, and it's all spikey and nice, and he's got these blue eyes and-

JU

Hold on a minute. He didn't happen to be wearing a black tee now, did he?

VA

Well, yes, how did you know?

(JU convulses into a giggling fit, and HA, after being shocked for a moment, follows.)

VA

What is it?

HA

Oh, you know how I mentioned that my boyfriend just dumped me?

VA

Yeah…

HA

That would be him.

VA

Oh. Well, I didn't really mean anything by it, it was just a passing thought-

HA

Oh, it's alright. I can't really be all that possessive, when you think about it.

JU

Meaning that she's stolen too many boys to allow for any righteous indignation over somebody lusting after her ex.

VA

Well, if you don't want me too…

HA

Oh, no, not at all. Actually, I think you'd make a rather cute couple. And either way, it'll be funny to watch how this will all work itself out.

JU

Or how it won't.

HA

Stop being so depressing.

JU

Realism, dear.

HA

Shut up.

VA

So, what's his name?

HA

Huh? Oh, Max.

JU

I would like to register my objection to this boy.

HA

I would like to ignore you, but I can't.

VA

Is he nice?

HA

Yes

JU

No

VA

Huh?

HA

Julie doesn't like him cause she's convinced he only wants one thing from a girl.

JU

He's convinced of that, not me.

HA

What's the problem if he does? But anyway, yes, he's nice…

VA

But?

HA

Oh, he's just got a bit of an edge to him.

JU

Bit of a temper, more like. And it's a rather large bit.

HA

And I can tell you the second part is entirely true, but maybe not only about the temper, if you understand what I mean.

VA

Oh! Well, anyway…

HA

Anyway, I'll see what I can do. It should be very interesting to see if he likes you. You seem like his type.

JU

Dumb and blonde, and don't worry, you're plenty smart, he's just not too good at seeing that.

HA

Would you stop attacking my ex?!

JU

I'm just pointing out the other side of things. I thought you wanted to get back together with him, in any case.

HA

Well, I figure Val deserves a chance. Then, if they end up happy, it's partly my fault for setting them up, and if they don't, then he comes back to me. So, win-win all around.

JU

You are utterly shameless, you understand that, right?

HA

Yes I am. So, tomorrow, I'll figure out a way to get you two together.

VA

Umm… okay.

HA

Oh, it won't be too bad, I promise. Mostly, he's just as awkward as you, but he looks sexy when he is. Not that you don't, but I'm not really into girls, so I can't really say, but…

JU

Advice: stop before you say something even more foolish.

HA

Right. So, here's what you'll need to do. Dress up like you're a hooker at a low-class bar-

JU

No!

HA

Stop telling me how to do this! Anyway, maybe not that much, but definitely more sexier than you normally would, you know, tight pants and a shirt with… (And so on into a fadeout.)

(Reopen on left. VA is almost bouncing up and down with excitement, a bubbly exuberance.)

VA

Well. Well, well, well, well. That went well. I think. I hope so. Oh, you know it went well. Hana practically gave you her old boyfriend. And more importantly, they didn't bite your head off when you said something. See? I told you that life would get better this time around. Or at least less bad. Same thing. Really, though, this place seems much nicer. Everybody's less about how nice somebody looks and more like how nice somebody is. Or something like that. I'm not sure what it is, though. But it's nice, any way I look at it. Hopefully, tomorrow'll go well.

(And the violin's back. High and dissonant)

Or not. And even if it doesn't, I'm sure it'll be the kind of thing I'll laugh about later.

CL

(Offstage voice) Or you won't.

VA

I will.

CL

(Walks onstage) Or tomorrow will be all it takes to show you that really, here isn't any different from there, or there, or anywhere else. You're no different- just the same sad, awkward and stupid little girl that walked in on the first day of sixth grade and announced to the world that she was going to be the scientist who would discover whether God is real or not. Yeah, okay, if that's what you want to think you'll do. More likely, you're just going to end up either a slut in some alleyway in Chicago, or you'll be a nothing in a nowhere town that nobody's ever heard of. Nothing good is on your future. Trust me, I can tell who's gonna do well, and I can tell you won't. Just settle for the first guy that looks at you- not that there'll be many, considering your chest, but really, take the first guy who notices you and run with him. Don't bother trying for much better, cause really, we both know you won't get it.

VA

[While VA speaks, the violin shall remain silent, when CL speaks, it plays a frantic tempo]

Quiet, shut up, go away. I left you and everything from that awful little town behind. I am not going back to that. SO you can just shut up and get the hell out of my life, like you did when I moved out. Stay the hell out of my mind. I've forgotten most of what you said to me, don't give me anything more to remember you by.

CL

It's not me you need to remember, but it's nice that you do. It's nice to know that you care. But really, it's more that you need to remember just exactly what you are, who you are, that you came from nothing and that you'll amount to nothing, and you can't afford to dream, cause those dreams are just gonna get crushed. So yeah, you can talk to this guy, but I really wouldn't think too much about it. Probably, he'll do this cause he's most likely a nice guy, but there isn't exactly a nice cottage in the woods with kids and a pet and a happy ever after at the end of the line. Not for you. Nice endings only happen to nice people. People like you get what they deserve.

VA

Breathe, breathe. Don't get mad, stay calm, don't let this moment be spoiled, just breathe

CL

Oh, really? You know, sometimes you just get soooooo worried, and stressed out, that breathing is just too hard. See how much he'll like you then, when you're in the middle of a panic attack, and you can't be the kind of girl he wants. You heard her- he likes 'em dumb and pretty. Well, you're definitely dumb, but not so much with the pretty. SO I'd have to say, it won't take much to make him hate you.

VA
Enough!

CL

It's enough when you see that I'm right.

VA

No, it's enough now!

(Violin into blackout.)

(Open right. HA is lying on the bed, with streaks in her makeup from crying. Her chest gives a little heave at irregular intervals, almost like she has the hiccups. The white sheets of the bed have clearly visible splotches of a reddish-brown liquid on them [blood, if you're slow]. If budget permits, place little, faint scars on her forearms. On the floor next to the bed is the previously seen knife. HA looks down at it and chokes, violently. She gets up and kicks the knife, angrily, sending it spinning across the stage. Choking again, she nonetheless goes and picks it up. Holding it away from her body, as if it might bite her, she goes and re-deposits it in the drawer of the desk. Then she collapses into the chair at the desk, totally exhausted and defeated. Then-)

HA

Fuck. Fuck this. Fuck my life. Fuck me. Fuck. Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep fucking cutting my goddamn skin open like I'm a fucking piece of meat? It sucks. I feel like shit when I do it. I feel like shit before I do it. I feel like shit after I do it. Why the fuck do I keep doing this to myself? I don't know. I don't fucking know. Why the fuck did I even do it fight then? I didn't even feel that bad. Why? You know why. Don't pretend like you don't you do. And you're fucking pathetic if you think that you're just gonna lie to yourself.

Why doesn't he love me?! What the fuck did I do wrong? I- I only wanted to have a bit of fun. What was so wrong with that? What did I do that was so fucking wrong? I only- I just wanted to have a little fun. I- I must have done something else. What? Is there some secret motive, some kind of plot against you? Hah. No. You fucked up, and now you have to deal with that. But does it always have to be me that hurts at the end? Yes, clearly.

Fuck that. That's why I do this. This shit. Cause I guess if I'm gonna get hurt, I might as well decide how. Why the hell not? Huh! Cause it's weird? Cause it's wrong? Fuck that.

And now, because life is just too damn painful, I get to set up my ex with the new girl. God, how the fuck did this happen?

(Blackout. Reopen on left. JU is standing, but reading from a thin volume.)

JU

"It must be by his death: and for my part,

I know no personal cause to spurn at him,

But for the general. He would be crown'd:

How that might change his nature, there's the question.

It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;

And that craves wary walking. Crown him?-that;-

And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,

That at his will he may do danger with.

The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins

Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar,

I have not known when his affections sway'd

More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,

That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,

Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;

But when he once attains the upmost round.

He then unto the ladder turns his back,

Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees

By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.

Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel

Will bear no colour for the thing he is,

Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,

Would run to these and these extremities:

And therefore think him as a serpent's egg

Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,

And kill him in the shell."

Death, death, I suppose, that's the key. 'Aye, there's the rub' as they say. I mean, what can anyone really reasonably expect to see anything different? No, not really. If I let this- thing keep devouring me, then it will be by his- my- death. Oh, call it what it is. It's a disease, a cancer, a tumor, a growth, a corruption of the flesh.

God, listen to yourself! You sound like one of those crazy evangelicals that preaches on the street corners. 'Homosexuality is a sign of the devil inside you, my child! Pray and you will be saved!' I don't believe that. I'm not like one of those people. Am I? No, no, I'm not. But I do feel like that. But I'm not like that. Oh, really? You sound fake even when you only say it in your head. You think anybody would believe me if I said that to their face.

No, you know what it is? It's just this… temptation. It's not that liking girls is in itself bad, but it's the whole premarital sex thing. I should have to wait, just like everybody. It's not anything special. It's just a new take on an old problem. That's it.

So all I have to do is wait until I get married. I don't have to purge this thing out at all. I don't have to drive myself crazy worrying about what'll happen if I let anything slip to somebody. I got it. It's all solved. Problem done. Yay! Did you just say 'yay'? Really? Well, I must be very happy, then.

(Pause, then-)

Or not. Shit. Damn it, you idiot. You knew-you know- knew, whatever, that that wouldn't work. You're not an idiot. Or rather, you know you can't simply disregard and forget what the Catechism says. You understand that. Really, were you just going to overlook that?

Yes. You were. But you shouldn't. But I should. No, not really. But it feels wrong to try and suppress all this. But it doesn't matter how it feels, it matters if it makes sense. It doesn't make sense. To who? You? God? It doesn't matter. If the Church has managed to teach for over two thousand years that these feeling are wrong, then I'm pretty sure that an uppity sixteen-year-old teenager isn't going to have some kind of theological epiphany just because this is hard to deal with! Grow up.

(Blackout. Reopen center. MAX is standing opposite HA.)

MAX
You've got to be joking.

HA

I know it sounds bad, but please? Don't think of it as a favor to me, think of it as a favor to her.

MAX

Which would help you get into her good books.

HA

See? It's a win-win.

MAX

Not for me.

HA

You haven't even met her!

MAX

Not trying to be sarcastic, but really, once you've seen one, seen em all, right?

HA

Shut up, you sexist pig.

MAX

And you love it.

HA

Please?

MAX

Ugh. What the hell, why not?

(HA leads him offstage. Brownout, then up center, with HA in the middle between VA and MAX. JU is retrieving items from her open locker.)

HA

Well, Val, this is Max, the boy I was telling you about.

VA

But I- oh.

HA

Max, Valentine. The new girl.

MAX

(Eyeing VA none too chastely.) Well, pleased to meet you.

VA

(Who's not unobservant.) Nice to meet you.

HA

God, both of you. Here's how this is going to work. Max, ask her out.

BOTH
Huh?

HA

You both are way too awkward to ever get this done on your own. I'm helping.

MAX

I am not awkward.

HA

Whatever. She is. And you're in denial. Ask her out.

MAX

(Sarcastic formal) Madame, may I have the pleasure of escorting you to the ball at the residence of this place of learning?

HA

Shut up, you're embarrassing yourself. Val, d'you want to go to the dance with him?

VA

(Blushing furiously) yes, I suppose.

HA

Excellent! It's settled.

MAX

You are unbelievable. Shameless.

HA

I know. Now, off with you two lovebirds, before I change my mind and try and win him back.

(She pushes them off. VA keeps glancing at him nervously, as if afraid he will prove to be a mirage. He just looks bemused with the whole thing. HA turns back to JU. A book falls loudly out of the locker.)

HA

Well, that went well, I think.

JU
I don't know what you expected.

HA

Well, I kinda figured he would kill me for asking him to do me a favor.

JU

Well, maybe it's for the best that you each… move on.

HA

Well, maybe.

JU

You say that with an undertone.

HA

Excuse me?

JU

The human voice has over a hundred distinct tones, undertones, and overtones. And the one I just detected would tell me that you have a plan.

HA

Well…

JU

And the human face has three thousand different movements it can perform, and you're moving like you're thinking about lying to me.

HA

Well, since you're a mind reader now-

JU

Just observant-

HA

I'm hoping that Max realizes what he likes, and that I'm it.

JU

I know what he likes, and he doesn't need you to get it, sadly.

HA

What does that mean?

JU

You ever wondered why I don't like him?

HA

I just assumed it was your sunny disposition.

JU

He's a misogynist and a lascivious pig.

HA

In normal person talk, that means-

JU

Nothing. Nothing at all.

HA

Really, what is it? Even though I haven't memorized the ten thousand and twenty different facial expressions of a human, I can still figure out there's something bothering you.

JU

I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about-

(Freeze center. Lights up left. MAX is agitated, and pacing back and forth. Finally, he takes another cigarette and goes to put it in his mouth, but something stops him.)

MAX

Dammit, I thought I was going to stop doing this. Fuck that. (Fixes it in his mouth and lights it.) Whatever. (Takes it out and looks up, as if asking God something) Why the hell do I keep doing this to myself? I thought- nothing. You didn't think. That's all. And now- God, fuck all this. Why the fuck did I ever agree to even look at her?! That fucking slut! Dammit!

And I really did like her, though. Hah. If it has a pair of tits you like it. You know that- she know that- everybody knows that- well, the new girl doesn't.

Yeah. Who the hell sets up their ex the day after they break up with them? She does, I guess. Whatever.

And what am I supposed to do with this girl, now? Valentine, whatever her name is. Ugh, why does my life have to be so fucking complicated?

(Blackout. Reopen on center and right. HA and JU are at the lockers, JU looking distracted, HA chipper. VA and MAX are lying in the bed, very much under the covers [unless you want to get sued for more than you're worth], with clothes downstage of them, in a tangled pile. Right is frozen, and center moves-)

HA

I mean, can you believe it? I would never have thought that- well, not her, but I mean, it's not like I have a problem with it or anything, but really, he's always been so nice, I always thought he was just shy, and I wouldn't mind letting him- I mean, I suppose I always knew, like, subconsciously, but I didn't really think- hmm, I wonder if that's the sort of thing you can change if you want to- I wonder if I could, like, convert him back, or something. I dunno, it seems like it would be kinda weird to go down on somebody who would, like, never think you're hot at all. I kinda wonder what it would be like. Kinda weird, probably…

JU

You know that won't happen, don't you?

HA

Oh, I know, I was just wondering, is all.

JU

Then why are we talking about this?

HA

Cause it's something to talk about.

JU

Other people are 'something to talk about'?

HA

Well, it doesn't hurt them, does it?

JU

It doesn't do anything for us, either.

HA

Neither does learning how to graph two ex to the seventeenth times whatever with the- you know what I mean. You like that, though.

JU

Fine. I concede the point.

HA

Score one for the dumb hookers!

JU

You're a hooker, now?

HA

Well, it's not like I haven't basically been one for years. I figure I can just come out and say it, you know?

JU

No, I don't, really. I have no conceivable idea why anyone would allow anyone with a penis to use their body like a ragdoll.

HA

That's just cause you're still a virgin.

JU

It's just because I'm right.

HA

So I should go confess to the priest? 'Father, I have sinned against God! Forgive me!' Speaking of people who aren't virgins- priests, huh?

JU

Quiet! Please, just… no, off limits, okay?

HA

If you want.

JU

Anyway, we do still have to go to class. School wasn't designed for socializing.

HA

Maybe not for you, but really, how much use is ancient history, anyway?

JU

Figuratively or literally ancient history?

HA

You know what I mean.

(Freeze as focus shifts to right. An alarm rings. No movement. Again, still not a thing. Third time, VA bolts upright, looking somewhat panicked. She looks around wildly for a moment, then shakes MAX intently.)

VA

Hey- wake up! We have to be at school!

MAX
Huh? (Still groggy)

VA

Wake up! We overslept! Dammit!

MAX
Huh? Oh, yeah. Hey, why don't we just… not go?

VA

We can't do that!

MAX

Why not? Everybody deserves a little vacation every now and then.

VA

But- there's no reason to!

MAX
Yeah there is. I'm tired!

VA

But, I mean, it's not…

MAX

Oh, come on! Listen, you just lost your virginity, I think you can afford to miss a little school.

VA

(Blushes furiously) well…

MAX

Really, it's not like it's the last day you'll ever see these people again…

VA

Oh, alright…

(Blackout right, up center. JU and HA are sitting in the desks front.)

HA

And, three, two, one-

JU

Alright, where's the teacher?

HA

Right on schedule. No clue.

JU

Well, isn't it just a tad bit unprofessional to not show up for class when you're the teacher?

HA

Maybe. I'm not really distressed, though. (Kicks her feet up nonchalantly)

JU

Are you seriously kicking your feet up?

HA

Yeah, I'm trying to signal with my body language that I'm relaxed, or something like that.

JU

I see. (Looks around) where is she?

HA

I would guess that would be the teacher we're discussing?

JU

Yes.

HA

Whatever. Not here, clearly.

JU

Well, that's a lot of help.

HA

And you're just all sunshine and rainbows today, I see. (At the mention of 'rainbows' JU flinches) Huh? Problem?

JU

No, nothing.

HA

Now, I might be an idiot, but I'm not a total idiot.

JU

That makes no logical sense.

HA

I know. But there's something going on in your head, I can tell that there are little wheels turning in your head.

JU

There are always things going on in my head.

HA

And… (Thinks for a moment) you know, usually people like rainbows (flinch again) oh.

JU

Alright, we've established I don't like that word. Can we move on?

HA

Hmm… why? They're all pretty, and, you know, fun.

JU

Hana-

HA

Oh, it's cause it's all like the gay people, right?

JU

Yes.

HA

I still don't get why everybody's always so uptight about people that are fags. I mean, it could be kinda kinky, you know? I wonder what pussy tastes like (smirks at JU's reaction)

JU

For Christ's sake! It's- It's-

HA

Well?

JU

It's just wrong! Alright? It just is.

HA

If you say so.

JU

I do.

HA

Still think it could be kinda kinky, though.

JU

Please, just- be quiet.

HA

My lips are sealed.

JU

Whatever you were going to finish with, don't.

HA

You really are a genius, aren't you?

JU

Quiet.

HA

On a related subject…

JU

I don't want to hear this-

HA

You'll notice who's not here right now-

JU

The teacher, and I rather wish she'd show up-

HA

Well, her too, but I was thinking of Val, actually-

JU

You're right. Where is she?

HA

Well, I can't say I'm totally sure-

(On this line, CL walks in-in a different outfit from the one she has worn until now, but recognizable- and takes the desk behind the other two girls. She listens intently to the story.)

HA

But since Max and her have started dating, I mean really dating, not those awkward first few ons, where she wouldn't ever say anything- since they've been dating for like, three or four months now, Max has been saying that he's wanted to, well, you know, fuck her. And so I was telling her about it- kinda weird, isn't it, that he tells his ex, not the girl he actually wants to fuck?- anyway, so I was talking to her about it, and it turns out she's actually a total virgin!

JU

So am I. Big deal.

HA

Well, you're different. That's just cause you're a stuck up Jesus girl. Anyway, so we were talking about it, you know, just like stuff- and she mentioned to me that, the other day, she accidentally walked in on him making reservations at the hotel down on 10th Street, for the night of the homecoming dance, and so she thought that was when- and then she just disappears last night, and she's not here today, so I know what I think it means!

(Quietly exit CL)

JU

Lovely. How did I wind up friends with the two school sluts? No offense.

HA

Well, I'm proud of it, Nothing wrong with a little fun, you know. But Val's a nice girl, really. I mean, it was just last night. You know, even as oblivious as you are, I would've thought you'd picked up on the fact that you're possibly the only girl in the school who's never fucked a guy.

JU

I seriously doubt that.

HA

Maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but I'm more righter than you are, at least.

JU

Ignoring the atrocious grammar evidenced in that last sentence, I will say this: just because the majority does it, doesn't make you right to join in.

HA

Says you.

JU

Says essentially every philosopher of all time.

HA

So the majority of philosopher?

JU

Yes.

HA

Aren't they just agreeing with each other, and contradicting themselves, then?

JU

Well, yes, but-

HA

Hahaha. No buts. They're just making it up as they go along. I knew it. Now I don't have to pay attention in that dumb philosophy class anymore.

JU

Not exactly what I was going for-

HA

Well, it's what you got.

JU

So Val is… recovering?

HA

I guess that's what you could call it. More like recover, get horny, fuck, and repeat until done, but yeah, pretty much.

JU

Charming.

HA

You need to get a boyfriend.

JU

You need to get some morals.

HA

You first.

JU

Little chance. I am a good Catholic, and I will not throw that away for a bag of gold, or social popularity.

HA

You could always throw it away for the hell of it.

JU

Why on earth would I do that?

HA

Why do I ever do anything? Sometimes, you just need to have fun.

JU

What you need is to make something useful of your life.

HA

Maybe later.

JU

Why do I try?

HA

I don't know.

(Blackout. Lights up on VA, left. Dressed to the point where nobody's going to be accused of licentiousness, but bare enough to suggest exactly what the audience has walked in on. She has the rest of her clothes in her arms, and as she talks, she puts them on.)

VA

laugh, hysterically. Farcical in the purest sense- funny, but with one hell of an edge. When she calms down for a moment,

Ohmigod. Oh my god. I just- see last note Sorry, Okay. Lemme start that again. So, last night I- as above. Okay, okay. Third time's the charm. I just- hint of the laugh, but not full blown. Okay, clearly I'm not gonna be able to actually say anything. Let's talk about something else. Umm… well, Max is nice. Not just like, pretend nice so I get some nice, but really nice. And hot. Really hot. I mean- anther humorous fit.

CL (offstage voice)

I know. Did you see his ass?

VA

(Can't identify where the voice is coming from, or who it is) What? I mean, yeah but umm… who is this?

CL

(Strolls over to stand next to VA) Three guesses.

VA

You know what, I'm tired of listening to you all day, and I'm tired of dealing with all the shit you give me. I am a perfectly normal, nice, attractive person, and so you can go annoy somebody else, cause I won't deal with it anymore.

CL

(Rather stunned by this outburst) If you say so.

VA

I do. Got out.

(Drop Curtain. End ACT I.)

ACT II

(Curtain up on a dark stage. As light comes up center, we can see that the central-top locker has been vandalized and maligned to a breaking point. A babble of voices rises up from offstage, and as they die away, three enter. JU and HA, from left, ad CL from right- dressed as she was the last time she appeared center. CL looks at the locker and smirks, before strolling pas the other two, who look at her with a puzzled look. Then they shrug and start towards their lockers. As they get to center, they see what happened to the central one, and stop.)

HA

What the fuck?!

JU

Oh dear. Oh dear. This isn't very good.

HA

You think!? What the fuck is this?

JU

Well, let's see- (goes over and examines the graffiti and such) 'Slut. Whore. Bitch, go back where you came from.' Oh, this is really not good.

HA

Really? What the fuck are we supposed to do about this?

JU

What could we do, really?

HA

You know she can't see this.

JU

How are we supposed to avoid her getting into her own locker?

HA

I don't know! Shit! There she is.

JU

Umm… Stall. I think I have some cleaner in here, somewhere… (Opens her locker and begins to rummage furiously, as VA enters, all but whistling in the wind. HA places a tight smile on her face and intercepts her left.)

HA

Hey, Val, you know how we had that history paper due?

VA

Yeah-

HA

Well, I have no clue what I'm talking about. Could you help me, please?

VA

Yeah, but wouldn't Julie be better at that? I'm just okay at history-

HA

Yeah, but Julie's kinda not around-

VA

(Moves towards center) Isn't that her?

HA

(Blocks VA) no, can't be. I just got a text saying she'd be late.

VA

Oh. That's not really like her, is it?

HA

No, but what can you do? Come on.

(They move down and sit in the front two desks, HA in front, VA, behind. As HA pulls out some papers from her purse, CL enters and occupies the third desk. They freeze, and a spot goes to JU. She finally pulls out a bottle and looks at it for a moment.)

JU

Well, it's only supposed to be for clothes, but maybe… (She spritzes a little on the locker, and rubs it in with her jacket sleeve-tip over her palm. The liquid smear the ink a tad, but not enough, as the words are entirely still recognizable.) Shit. Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit shit. What are we going to do about this?

(Enter MAX, right. He takes in the sight, confused and alarmed. The violin strikes up as he dashes over to JU.)

MAX
What the hell happened here?

JU

I don't know. Me and Hana just came in and found her locker like this…

MAX

What the hell?

JU

Well, Hana headed her off before she could see it, but now we've really got it get it off before she comes looking for her things.

MAX

Seriously, who the fuck did this?!

JU

I don't know! That's not really the point right now, we need to fix this!

MAX
It damn well is the point! I'm gonna find out who did this-

JU

And what? What'll you do? Come on, we need to figure out how we're going to get this stuff off!

MAX
Oaky! Fine. But I will find out how this happened. Kill those bastards…

JU

I'm sure you will, But right now we need to make sure Val doesn't know it happened.

MAX

Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Spits on the locker and rubs it. The ink comes right off.) See. Spit solves everything. Dammit!

JU

A little disgusting, isn't it?

MAX

Well, you could just use water, if you wanted.

JU

Much better.

MAX

Lemme see- (pulls out a bottle of water from his pack) just toss this on and rub. Your jacket'll probably get ruined, though.

JU

I'll live.

MAX

Whatever. Seriously, who the fuck did this?

JU

Somebody jealous, I suppose.

MAX

Well, that really narrows it down.

JU

Hmm?

MAX

I mean, she's smart-

JU

Uh-huh-

MAX

And funny-

JU

Yeah-

MAX

And pretty-

JU

Uh-huh-

MAX

I mean, really pretty. Hot, really-

JU

She is.

MAX

Man, that ass- wait, what?

JU

Nothing. Nothing.

MAX

Well, didn't sound like that.

JU

Well, that's all it was.

MAX
So, are you like, some kind of dyke?

JU

What? No, no, no, no. Not at all.

MAX

Okay, I know you're smart and all, so I'm pretty sure you know that you're not really fooling me.

JU

It was nothing! Just a slip of the tongue.

MAX

If you say so. Don't worry. It's not like I'm gonna tell anybody.

JU

There is nothing to tell!

MAX
Look, we both know that's not true.

JU

(Turns away from him, and hastily pulls out a rosary from her pocket. Clutching at the cross-)

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, they kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in- in-

MAX

Heaven. That would be the place where Catholics kill people they don't like. Like you.

JU

Quiet! You understand nothing about me! What do you know about my life? What do you know about God? Nothing!

MAX
I know that you're just a little crazy for being a Catholic lezzy. Kinda ironic, if you ask me.

JU

Ironic? It's because I try and follow God that this happens. God- God- God wouldn't test me with this unless he knew that I could beat back these-

MAX

What? The fact that what you really want in to have your face in another girl's pussy? Sounds kinda hot to me.

JU

Shut up. You think you're any better?

MAX

Well, as only one of us here is a virgin, I'd say more experience would probably make me better, yeah-

JU

Quiet! (Tosses rosary at him. It nails him in the cheek. The leaden cross manages to cut him across his cheek, as well as bend from the impact. He looks stunned. So is she.)

Oh, I am sooo sorry. I didn't meant to-

MAX

What the fuck?! Are you fucking crazy?!

JU

No, maybe, yes. Sorry…

MAX
You should be! Dammit, you bitch! (Holds his cheek)

JU

Well, it's only a flesh wound, it's not like you'll die or anything.

MAX
Is that supposed to make me feel better?

JU

Maybe…

MAX

God, figures. Damn dykes always end up bitching us guys out.

JU

What was that?

MAX
You know, I'm usually a pretty open-minded person, but you're really, really pushing it here.

JU

Did you just call me a dyke?

MAX
Well, you are, aren't you?

JU

But that doesn't mean- no, not I'm not.

MAX

Just stop with the bullshit. We both know you are.

JU

You can't- please, if anyone found out. Please, don't-

MAX

You know, it's a little much to be asking this of the guy you just hit with a metal cross.

JU

Crucifix-

MAX

Whatever.

JU

Please?

MAX

Ugh. Fine. But you owe me, big time.

JU

Yes, yes. Absolutely.

MAX

Okay. I'm going to go find a band-aid.

JU

Here, I think they've got some in the nurse's office.

MAX

You don't say!

(Exit right. Lights spot the still-uncleaned locker, forgotten in the ensuing drama. Spot cuts, and lights up on VA, HA, and CL. VA is looking over HA's shoulder, and pointing at something on the paper HA is writing on.)

VA

No, it was called Bull Run in the North, and Manassas in the South, not the other way around.

HA

Are you sure?

VA

Yes. Very sure.

HA

Okay… (Rewrites a line on the paper.) Okay, now what about when Chamberlain was at Gettysburg?

VA

No idea. Ask Julie. Is she here yet?

HA

No, I haven't heard anything. Listen- (beckons her in closer, and in a lower tone-) Sooo?

VA

(In a similar lower tone) So what?

HA

You know exactly what.

VA

I have no idea what you're talking about.

HA

You know –you and Max?

VA

Oh- yes, what about us?

HA

Well, you weren't here on Friday… and you didn't answer your phone at all this weekend…

VA

Are you implying something?

HA

Yes I am.

VA

Well?

HA

Did you lose you virginity last week?

VA

(Red faced, but smiling) yes.

HA

Ohmigod! You have to tell me all about this!

VA

Later. Not here!

HA

Oh, fine. But you are telling me!

(Behind them, CL has been listening in intently. As always, she is dressed differently than when she appears in VA's monologues, and she is not understood to be the same character in these scenes. She taps her finger on VA's shoulder, and she jumps a bit in surprise.)

VP

OH! Sorry, you surprised me. Yes?

CL

So it's true?

VA

What is?

CL

You know, what people are saying!

VA

What?

HA

(Overlapping) What?

CL

Well, everybody knows that Max and you fucked on Friday. But everybody's saying that you've managed to do half the junior class after that.

HA

Huh?

VA

(Overlapping) What?!

CL

So, it's true, right?

HA

No, of course not…

(VA sits there is confused and stunned silence.)

HA

Val?

CL

Well, is it?

VA

Again…

HA

Val, really, you're scaring me-

CL

What. Doesn't she want to talk about it?

HA

You, just- go away, okay?

CL

What the fuck, really? All I did was ask a fucking question!

HA

Val? Seriously, talk, say something-

(CL storms off right as VA shudders and wordlessly gets up from her desk and half-stumbles offstage, following CL. Stage blackens for a moment, only to fly up on center again, also on right and left, with VA on left, looking to the house as HA sits gazing at the damaged locker center, and JU on the bed at right. VA looks lost and dazed, HA as if she is about to burst into tears, and JU in a manic fit. Each is in a large but distinct pool of light, and each unfreezes only when they speak.)

JU

Idiot! Idiot! Complete and total and utter moronic idiot! Did you just decide that you were going to… to… switch off any minute particle of intelligence that may have possibly ever existed in your brain?! Evidently, because that could really be the only explanation for why you felt that you had to betray yourself to be a fool of such proportions that the great comedians of any era would all strive to imitate you in your imbecility! To demonstrate that not only are you buffoon of proportions similar to Agamemnon on his return home, but a dupe to lower yourself to such a pitiful level of servility and subservience, of baseness and misery that is the affliction of such blithering idiots as to be decreed by fate as insurmountable in understanding why any person with enough intelligence to breath would ever be so stupid to spill out of their mouths that very same which they would give their lives to protect!

(On the last word, the violin shrieks a single chord as VA takes up the motif)

VA

Again, again, again and again and again! Always, this always happens! Everywhere I go, people always hate me. Why do they always hate me? Why does everyone always hate me?! What did I do? What did I ever do to make everyone in the whole damn world hate me so much? What did I ever do?

(HA's voice blends in, without the violin)

HA

I fucked everything up. I don't know how, but really, I'm sure this wouldn't have happened to her if I didn't hang out with her. Maybe if she'd gotten some good friends, if she'd fallen in with the 'right' crowd, if she hadn't wound up around the school slut, if I had been a little meaner, less of a nice person, maybe if you'd bothered to think about her for once, instead of yourself, and realized that there's nothing in your sad and miserable life that worth sharing with anybody else, nothing but pain and anger and hurt and I'm such an awful girl, and couldn't she tell that? Couldn't she just see that anything good in me is just- just skin-deep, and underneath all that is just- nothing?

(Violin)

JU

Anyway, doesn't matter, doesn't matter, it's no longer pertinent information. The point now is damage control, figuring out how to contain and control who knows- or thinks they know, anyway. Max, clearly. Who else? Anyone might have heard. Shit- I don't know? Why don't I know? I should be able to figure this out. Probabilities, that the way to figure this out. Okay, create a matrix- oh, come off it. You'd never be able to account for everything, people aren't numbers in a puzzle, you know that. What to do? What to do? Well, maybe Max just won't tell anybody…

(No violin as they blend)

VA

I never did anything. I don't think I did. I never did no wrong. I read that somewhere, once. For English class, I think. Then I think that character got killed. I don't want that to happen to me. Well, I don't think they're gonna kill me. I mean, not literally. But it can't be like last time, either. I can't , I just can't, go through something like that again. I- I- I just can't-

(JU on the last sentence overlaps)

JU

I just can't control it. What the hell am I supposed to do? I can't- People can't know! It's not even true! Is it? Ohmigod, I just can't do this to myself, got to keep it under control, focus on how to deal with this in an even and reasonable manner. Calm and cool, just stay very, very, calm. Deep, even breaths, through the nose. Hold in all the panic

(Her voice catches on the last word, HA takes it up on the violin sound)

HA

Where's Julie? Normally she'd be here by now… She usually seems to show up whenever I screw something up… She always seems to care about me… I wonder why? It's not like I actually deserve any of it. But she's still nice to me. It's nice… Christ! Why the fuck is she so nice?! Why can't she just let me get treated like the piece of garbage I am? Why don't I just get what I deserve?

(Pulls out a tiny little razor from her purse.)

(Violin to VA)

VA

But it's going to happen. It is happening. No matter where I go, this is going to happen again. And I'm going to have to deal with it, again and again and again… I have to deal with it. Why me? Why not somebody else, somebody who really deserves it?!

(An eighth note from the violin, almost a button. Enter CL from SR, MAX from the other side, a la FAUSTUS' ANGELS. As they enter, JU and HA surreptitiously exit from their respective locations, and a tarpaulin is thrown over the lockers so as to be obscured.)

CL

Oh, hey. Didn't see you there. I suppose you noticed that the game's up, like they say.

(During this line, the trio crosses from left to center-left, with CL in the right pool of light, but VA and MAX in the center pool.)

MAX

Hey, where were you? Hana said you had just run out of homeroom…

CL

Maybe he hasn't heard, maybe you should tell him…

MAX
Look, I know that what happened with your locker sucked-

VA

Locker, what happened to my locker?

MAX
Ah, nothing. Nothing important.

CL

He's lying. Maybe he's just trying to get away from you, without tipping you off-

VA

What happened to my locker?!

MAX

Well, there may have been a few tiny little things that were written on it…

VA

Oh god, no, not again…

CL

You think last time was bad, I was nothing compared to here-

VA

Nothing-

MAX
What? Look, it's just some idiots, I'm sure nobody'll take it seriously-

CL

Well, nobody except everybody who wrote it, who already knows what a slut you are-

VA

Shut up, I'm trying to think-

MAX

What?

CL

And after what you did last Friday, I'd bet that Max is one of those people-

MAX

Come on, it's not a big deal, we can just clean it off, everybody'll forget about it in a week-

CL

Please, he just doesn't want to lose his new toy-

MAX

How about we go to my place tonight, forget any of this ever happened?

CL

Typical, boys just want sex, no matter what's going on with you, he doesn't care about you, he just likes what you give him, but since he's already got it, I wonder how much longer he'll stick by you-

VA

No, sorry, I just need some time to think, alone-

MAX
Are you sure, you seem kinda fucked up…

VA

No, really, I'm fine!

MAX
If you say so-

VA

Yes, please, just go!

(MAX exits left, confused, as VA crosses to the covered lockers and huddles in a ball against them, her small frame racked with silent sobbing. CL looks almost surprised at this. She crosses over to VA and sits with her, and places a hand on her shoulder.)

CL

I'm only trying to help. D'you want me to stay?

VA

(Muffled, but audible) Yes

(Blackout)

(A softer light than we have seen thus far appears on right, where HA is curled up under the blanket on the bed. The drawer which previously caused a mini-crisis is open. Under the blanket, HA's arm makes three rhythmic motions- Up, then down, and back up, three times repeat. She stills for a moment. The motion is repeated once more, this time in the opposite direction. Still several moments. Eventually, she tosses the blanket off the bed and pops up. She is the picture of insanity- hair tangled and matted, eyes red-rimmed and irritated, contrasting with a paler-than-normal face. She has lost the jacket, so her arms are bared to a large extent. On them are numerous half-healed cuts and scars, which pale in comparison to the four new cuts on the upper arms- three on the right, one on the left. Shaking her head, she walks towards the left exit. She winces as she tries to swing her arms as she walks, and pauses. Reaching up with her left hand, she massages the cut area on her right arm. Cringing again, she nonetheless continues, moving offstage as she does so. Fadeout for a moment, under the sound of a shower running, then reopen with HA left, in a very tight spot. Her arms are still bare, unlike as in the play so far, and she is as dishelved as ever.)

HA

Ah, aaah. Okay, maybe not such a good idea to hit an artery… shit. This actually hurts. Normally it doesn't, but this does. This actually really hurts. Shit. (Rubs right arm) Umm… anyway, what was going on? Oh, yeah…

Okay, why do bad things happen to good people? I mean, I know that everybody asks that, but really, why? Val's such a nice person… So's Julie, really… what made them deserve to have a little nothing like me for a clingy little friend? I mean, why do I get all the good things, and they end up stuck with me? It's not fair, and I know it's not fair, and I hate that I put them through dealing with a crazy bitch like me.

But I can't stop it. I want to, but I can't. It's like a drug, it's addictive, people are, I mean. Just- just being around them. Hah. Or fucking their brains out. That's nice too. (giggles) That feels nice. Fun. It's fun.

So's this (gestures to cuts). It's nice to be able to- to- (giggles again) Well, you know that bad things happen to good people? Well, it's nice to know that bad things can happen to bad people too. Even if you've got to do it yourself. (giggles)

Shit, this really does hurt. Whatever, it's your fault, deal with it, deal with it. (a mixture of a sigh and a laugh) Well, nobody ever said that doing the right thing was easy, I guess.

(Blackout. Up right. JU is sitting in the desk chair, perturbed and statue-still. Suddenly animated, she picks a book off the desk and flings it at the floor. She stills again, more anguished than ever. Angrily, she turns to the computer, and flicks the monitor on- evidently, she had just been looking at it. We can see what is recognizably a Facebook page, but not the words [so you can just pull up anybody's]. She rests her head on one of her hands, the other moving to the mouse. Her eyes glaze as she reads the Wall. Angrily, she punches the monitor off and spins around, standing and moving to the center of the room, fuming.)

JU

'All our sorrows spring from our involvement with other people'. Schopenhauer said that. He was right. He was damn well right, and I've got the bloody proof in front of me! I- well, you were abominably foolish enough to open this door on yourself, so I suppose you can't really be all that surprised when the water flows downhill. Two and two makes four, I suppose. Dammit! (Picks up another book and throws it. It falls open, and a rosary drops out.) Shit- was that- (looks at desk) Shit! Alright, let's not throw a Bible again, that's not good- Shit! (Scrambles to pick up the articles and put them back on the desk. When it is done, she still clutches at the rosary, but finally puts it down. As she does, a feeling of weakness seems to come over her, and she sinks to her knees. Grasping at the desk, she look heavenward, and begins again-)

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria- Sancta Maria- Please…

Please… please, God, anybody, help me- take this away from me. I can't drink from this cup- I can't- Please, no more. No more! I can't – (stutter improvisio) please, please…

(A silent moment, then-) I know a lot. I've learned a lot of information, memorized even more than that. I speak four languages, know pretty well the entire history of the Western World, I understand more particle physics than half the scientists at CERN, Mathematics taught in universities are simple to me, easy even when I'm half-asleep, I can speak for hours on any geopolitical situation anywhere in the globe, then move on to Marine Biology for just a long, then on to Astronomy and Astrology and Psychology. I've figured out pretty much anything I've ever wanted to. Why can't I just figure this out? It's not an insurmountable problem. Just… just solve for the solution, that's all. Not that complicated. Not that hard.

(Slowly stands. Pause. She falls, landing half on the bed, half on the floor. She appears to be choking, unable to breathe. She has a panic attack. After she's curled up into a ball, settled a bit [when the actress has milked the moment for all it's worth], she relaxes a moment, and winds up staring off into space. In a dreamy, disconnected voice, she continues.)

Only I can't. I can't- it won't work. I can't make it work out. I- I just can't make it work. It doesn't- the damn thing just doesn't work. You're not some idiotic equation in an exercise book- you're admittedly far too complicated for that. Small comfort, that. Is there anything I can do, then? How, then, in the face of these supposedly insurmountable and unsurpassable odds, which may or may not be as un-scale-able a mountain as they appear to be, but surely they do appear to be, and really, the appearance is the thing, because evidently you must prepare yourself for what appears to lie ahead, as opposed to what may actually lie ahead- "thinking makes it so" or so says Hamlet, and he would know. Hamlet would know- after all he certainly is the most sympathetic character Shakespeare ever wrote for teenagers.

Of course, Hamlet killed himself. Not really what I'm looking to do. Not exactly the path I'd like to take. Maybe Hamlet isn't such a sympathetic character after all.

On the other hand, he is a fairly intelligent young man. Certainly capable of controlling himself when he wanted to.

Except he didn't. You know that. He was sloppy, slapdash, lazy, and totally lacking in self-control. He had no discipline, fortitude, etc, etc, what have you.

And he's one of the great tragic characters of all time. Now, I couldn't really say that I've a comparable situation, but still… anyway. What am I doing? Morbid musings on death- no place for that here. Solutions, focus on solutions.

You can't. you're evidently too scattered, have too much of a cluttered mind. What you really need is just to distract yourself for a little while. Just- just calm down. Listen to a little music. Classical, I think, would be appropriate.

(Visibly holding herself together, she purposefully walks to the chair and inserts IPod buds into her ear. The violin begins a simplistic baroque piece. She begins to absentmindedly conduct the piece. When the piece reaches a particularly distinctive section, she chuckles to herself.)

JU

Well, if it's not baroque, don't fix – don't fix it. Don't fix it. I- Maybe- Perhaps- Well, I suppose, if possibly- Dammit, where'd that rosary go?! (looks around, picks it up off the desk)

Ave Maria

Gratia plena

Dominus est cum tibi

benedicta tu in mulieribus

et benedictus fructus ventris

Christus

Sancta Maria, mater Dei

ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

Donec nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

(repeat until she has worked herself up a good bit. Taking a few breaths, she sets the necklace down, crosses herself, and collapses on the bed.)

Well, I don't think God really makes all that much that's deliberately made faulty. I guess if it's not broke, there isn't a whole lot to fix about it- me. I digress.

(pause)

You know, maybe it'd be a good idea to tell somebody. After all, there's nothing that says a rumor can never be confirmed. Ha. Everybody was right, I suppose. (Gets her phone, presses a few buttons, holds it up to her ear. A few moments, then nothing.) Hmm, Val's not answering. Peculiar. Hmm… (dials again.) Hey, Hana, d'you mind coming over for a moment? I've got something rather important. Huh? Yeah, kinda. See you in a few moments. Au'voir.

(Blck out for a moment. Then a super-tight spot as HA crosses from left to right, putting on a sweatshirt as she does so to hide the scars. She sits down in the chair as lights on them dim, and rise on VA center. She is sitting next to the defaced locker [tarpaulin removed] and looks as if she is holding herself together only through sheer force of will. Her left hand is visibly shaking, almost as if she has Parkinson's disease. MAX enters, looking distressed. CL watches in the background.)

MAX
What the hell? I mean, I figured it was just a couple of jackasses, but I mean, if- Well, Kyle's just being Kyle, probably, it doesn't mean anything- does it? Goddammit, why the fuck can't my life just make sense?

(Sees VA. Becomes even more on edge.)

MAX

Val-

VA

(looks up, distraught) what now?

MAX

(Becoming agitated) Ok, I was just walking down the hall, and Kyle came up to me and-

VA

I know, I'm a huge, worthless slut-

MAX
Well, he said that I had a hot girlfriend, and could I 'loan her out' more often-

VA

So now- I'm some kind of prostitute, too-

MA

And I was like, what? And he said-

VA

Probably that it was over in ten minutes-

MAX

That Jess had definitely never gotten him off that quick-

VA

And now you want to know if it's true-

MAX
And he was convincing, and I like Kyle. I just need to know-

VA

Is it true?

MAX

Is it?

VA

(Choking on the words) No, no, it's not. Please, please, believe me- please.

MAX

But- look, I've known Kyle for years, why would he fuck with me like that?

VA

Because people are just mean and cruel-

MAX

No, Kyle wouldn't lie to me like that-

VA
I never touched him-

MAX

And I know him and Jess haven't been-

VA

Please, can't you just believe me?

MAX

Look, I want to, but- It just looks like you're lying! What do you want me to do?! Am I just supposed to- to- What am I supposed to think?

VA

I didn't- I never- please, you've got to believe me- nobody else will, everybody hates me, why can't you just- (the lines overlap until MAX's last 'what am I supposed to think')

MAX

Huh? Look, I like you, and all, but really, I know nothing about you! What's it been, I don't even know, and nothing, at all- How'm'I supposed to know that you're not some cheap whore from a back alley in some city? Hell, how am I supposed to know that this whole thing wasn't just some joke of Hana's? Huh? What makes all this not true? Who'm'I supposed to believe? You? Over the guy I've known since we were kids? Huh?

VA

Please, I'm not- not like that, what – I don't know why- this always happens to me, me-

MAX
And it's not just him- when I was in the locker room, half the guys in there were talking about you-

VA

It happens, it happens like that-

MAX

Yeah, I'm starting to think it does- you don't seem like a nympho, but how am I supposed to know? Who am I supposed to believe? You? Over everyone else?

VA

Yes!

MAX

Tell me- did you fuck Kyle?

VA

No, no, please, just listen to me-

MAX
I don't believe you. You're lying to me-

VA

No, I'm not, I'm telling the truth-

MAX

No, you're lying, you're lying to me-

VA

Please- just listen to me-

MAX

Don't lie to me!

(She shrinks back at this last outburst)

VA

Please, just- believe me.

MAX

Don't- don't lie to me. Everybody else says you're a whore. What makes what you say any more important?

VA

I – I just- don't hate me, everyone else hates me, don't hate me-

MAX

Don't- whatever. We're done. Good-bye! (Exits left. CL steps up to prevent to collapse of VA, who looks as if she is ready to collapse)

CL

Well, can't say I didn't warn you this would happen.

VA

You were- ri- right. You were- were-

CL

Well, at least now it's all out. Maybe now you can get on with it.

VA

With what? What is there left for me to do?

CL

Well, if everybody thinks you're already a slut- why not have a little fun? Not that it's likely anyone'll sleep with you, but still…

VA

No, no, I can't-

CL

Then what? Nobody her likes you, and you're certainly not going to move again, that won't work. This is your life here, deal with it! Just focus on how you're going to embrace the fact that at heart you'll always be the pathetic school slut.

VA

Deal with it?! Just, deal with it? That's all you can say? Well, I'll deal with it, if that's what you want! I'll show you just how I'll deal with it!

(Black out. Up on right. HA and JU are in the room. HA is laughing hysterically, wildly.)

JU

Really, it's not that funny. It's really not that funny at all.

HA

Yes it is! Yes, yes, yes it is! Do you- do you not see the- the irony, of this whole situation?

JU

Excuse me if I'm a little blind to it.

HA

Well, it's just that the good little Catholic girl- you know, no sex for fun, no kissing boys before you're married, all that- the good little Catholic girl is actually in the closet!

JU

Quiet! Somebody might hear you!

HA

Who? God? Believe me, it's a little late for that one.

JU

People.

HA

Whatever. The really important question is-

JU

What?

HA

Oh, stop being so serious, for Christ's sake-

JU

Takest not his name in vain-

HA

Whatever. The question is: who's your secret gay crush?

JU

I do not-

HA

Oh, that's bullshit and you know it-

JU

Well, there is one-

HA

Well, if it's me, then I'm flattered, but no.

JU

Well, it's not.

HA

I'm offended!

JU

Shut up.

HA

Well?

JU

(Whispers something to HA)

(HA laughs, and JU eventually joins in. Fadeout as the violin plays in- starts slow, but works quickly to a fever pitch, before cutting off mid-measure as lights flare up on left.)

(A chair sits in the middle of the section, with a rope hanging down above the chair. VA enters from left, and takes a look at the scene. CL enters right, and gazes as well. Silently, CL proffers her downstage hand towards the chair. VA goes and stands on the chair. CL follows, and ties the noose around VA's neck. CL steps off the chair and exits left. VA takes a breath, and kicks the chair out from under her. She hangs there as the violin plays the final two notes of the previously cut-off measure. The stage blacks out.)

(Silently, the players, excepting VALENTINE, walk out for bows. MAX, then HANA, then JULIE, then CLAIRE, then blackout.)

FINIS AD INFINITEUM


Copyright 3074218 by Tristan Reynolds. Not be performed but by special arrangement's