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Erroneous Zones

ERRONEOUS ZONES

A Play in One Act

by

Scott C. Sickles

Copyright © 1993

by Scott C. Sickles 75 Chapel Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Home: (412) 366-3239

VOX: (412) 734-8951

Cast of Characters

Lysette: SF, fag hag Ryan: GM, attractive, militant Buffy: GF, social, neurotic Stan: GM, average, slightly overweight Marcy: GF, austere Felix: MM, handsome

The characters can range in age from mid twenties to early thirties

Scene Lysette's run down apartment.

Time Between 2:30am and dawn, Saturday night/Sunday morning.

ERRONEOUS ZONES by Scott C. Sickles was originally presented by the Pittsburgh Queer Theatre (Ted Hoover, Artistic Director) in its Tales of the Queer City showcase of plays at The Pit Theatre in Pittsburgh, on March 5, 1993. It was directed by Scott P. Calhoon. Markus Berardino was the stage manager. The cast, in order of appearance, was as follows:

Lysette Gail Bickel Ryan David Kyle Stan Christopher Lynch Buffy Blake Mohler Marcy Carrie Westfall* Felix John Kudrna

*In the final performance, on March 12, 1993, the character of Marcy was played by Jill Kornberg. It wouldn't have been the final performance, however, if the Storm of the Century had waited but one more lousy day.

The author wishes to dedicate this play to his editing staff, Kelly Muzyczka and Steven Werber.

Scene 1 SETTING: On the perimeter, there is a front door and a portal leading to off stage bathroom and bedroom. On stage, a counter separates the living area and kitchen. Action in the kitchen simply takes place behind this counter removing the need for anything representing kitchen appliances. Two or three stools are in front of the counter. In the living area, there is a beat up couch, a trunk serving as a coffee table, and a couple porch chairs making up the rest of the apartment. The lights come up just a little too bright on the set. AT RISE: A spotlight comes up on LYSETTE. She addresses the audience directly.

LYSETTE I never liked the term "fag hag." Sure, most of my friends are gay, but that's not a prerequisite. However, my mother did encourage me to have gay male friends because: "they know what men want and how women feel, they may want to steal your boyfriend but can't, and they'll tell you when you look fat in a dress." I found at any given time as many as two, if not all three, of those statements can be completely false. But, no, I'm many other things. I'm a woman, art enthusiast, chocolate-peanut-butter addict, you-name-it. To me, people are like symphonies. We're each composed of millions of notes influenced by innumerable, resonant instruments. To brand a person as any one thing is narrow, especially if it's based on their surroundings rather than themselves. If anything, I consider myself eclectic. I like that word. (Exits spotlight as it fades to black. As it fades:)

SOUND: Telephone rings twice. Pause. Recorded voices follow in darkness. Beep.

FELIX'S VOICE Hi, Lysette, it's Felix. Sharon and I are in her room with our new baby. You should see her. The hospital's kicking me out. If you're up, I'll stop over. Sharon sends her love and she's sorry her water broke on your welcome mat. You've been a great friend. See you later.

SOUND: Beep.

STAN'S VOICE Hi, Babe. Here's the scoop: I left a message on Ryan's machine and he checked his messages when he was out dancing with you, where I guess he still probably is, but anyway, he called me back and told me that you'll all be at your place as usual, after wherever you're at closes, and he told me to stop by too, and I just wanted to let you know I was coming because I know Ryan sometimes forgets to mention who he's invited to other people's homes, especially mine, but I'm letting that issue drop. I'm rambling. Bye.

SOUND: Five short beeps.

(RYAN and LYSETTE enter and get comfortable.)

RYAN I'm shocked we beat Buffy here the way she drives.

LYSETTE She's trying to impress her friend, so she'll pretend to care where lanes begin and end. I guess we have a few minutes, then?

RYAN I suppose. Stan might be over, though. He's having some sort of crisis.

LYSETTE I hope we can resolve it quickly. Why do we have to do this every Saturday? Sure, I love it, but can't everybody go to someone else's place for once?

RYAN You really look tired. I'll help you get everyone out of here as expeditiously as possible.

LYSETTE Thanks. Because--

RYAN AND LYSETTE I really need to talk to you.

(pause)

LYSETTE Can I get you anything? I have some vodka left.

RYAN I quit drinking. I'm surprised too. But you know, after a whileŠ it's just a matter ofŠ In fact, that may be a good place to start. You know: make a long story short. Actually it is a short story, but I think the long version softens the punch line.

LYSETTE Is this a story or a joke? Can I get you an alternative beverage?

RYAN It depends on your perspective. Anyway, remember when Donald dumped me because I was too political? Well, weeks go by and - do you have coffee?

LYSETTE Let me check. Go on.

RYAN Then, I remember Joshua. He was this Hart Bochner look-alike who flirted with me while I was seeing Donald. I call him. He's not home, so I leave a message. Later that same night--

LYSETTE I'm out of coffee. Unless you want instant.

RYAN Some tea? So, I go out and, lo and behold, I see Joshua. But whenever I try approaching him, some yahoo runs into me and I lose him in the crowd. Finally, I spot him heading toward the exit. I try to head him off and just as I get there, who do I see him walking out with, butŠ

LYSETTE Donald? No! That sucks. The only tea I have is honey and wildflowers. How's that?

RYAN It sounds like a douche.

LYSETTE Who would want honey in a douche? Otherwise, I have water and ginger ale. What happened next?

RYAN Water's great. Nothing. But when I got home, I realized, "Shit! Donald could have gone back to Joshua's and heard my message."

LYSETTE Here's your water. That's awful. Look on the bright side. Maybe they went back to Donald's and fucked in your bed. I used to think no one I dated could end up with someone I liked. I also got irritated when my dates weren't comfortable around my gay friends. Then I met Allan, and my karma ran over my dogma.

RYAN I never encouraged him.

LYSETTE You fucked him.

RYAN I was drunk. I didn't know what I was doing.

LYSETTE You baited him. You always do. You get on this "everyones a bisexual" kick and harass my poor suitor. I'm not blaming you for my mediocre love life; just for its longevity.

RYAN You could always switch to women.

LYSETTE So couldŠ Ryan, I'm very comfortable with my sexuality. I'm sorry if you're not.

RYAN I'm more comfortable with yours than you are with mine.

SOUND: door knocking

RYAN Sorry.

(LYSETTE opens the door and admits STAN who is upset.)

STAN Don't mind me, I'm just suicidally depressed. Do we have anything to drink?

RYAN Water and ginger ale. Were you out on a date?

STAN Could I have a ginger ale, please? (LYSETTE goes to get it.) Date is such a subjective term. We ate at the same table. The other day, I lost my nasal spray. I found it in my car. This was the high point of my day. What's up with you guys?

(LYSETTE returns with drink)

RYAN I'm trying to influence the kids in Growing Alternative Youth to take a more active role in Queer Nation and things like that. I'm distributing permission slips so parents can let their kids march on Washington.

STAN Just remember, when you're training the faries-of-tomorrow-today, please teach them how to socialize. They might want

STAN (cont'd) to talk about more than how their government is butt-fucking them, now that they're not allowed to do it themselves.

RYAN Are we going to argue?

LYSETTE Absolutely not. I'm will only deal with one argument in my apartment at a time.

STAN Oh? I see. This ginger ale's flat. Do we have anything besides water?

LYSETTE Herbal tea. Honey and Wildflowers. Ryan thinks it sounds like a douche.

STAN Right. I'm running to UniMart. What do you guys want?

LYSETTE The stocky guy behind the counter who's secretly a poet and knows how to incorporate lunch meat into a romantic evening.

STAN There are at least three of those. Is Buffy coming over?

LYSETTE Yeah. They're just taking forever. She's with a friend.

STAN Is it a good friend or a bad friend?

LYSETTE Probably the kind who thinks she's sweet and loves her just like a sister. Why should we be the only lucky ones?

STAN I'm history. (exits)

RYAN You wanted to tell meŠ

LYSETTE We were having an awkward pause.

RYAN I said I was sorry. Don't I get a stay of execution?

LYSETTE You don't deserve one.

RYAN (tries to hug her) You love me.

LYSETTE (evading hug) What an irritating segue. Ryan. We have to talk. I mean, my feelings aren't exactlyŠ Things have always been very clear. Between you and me, that is. Usually. But, I have to sayŠ I wish this would come as easily as it did in the shower. The bottom line, Ryan, is I--

SOUND: door knocking.

RYAN It's open!

(BUFFY and MARCY enter. As they get comfortable, BUFFY hugs LYSETTE and RYAN. When she hugs RYAN, MARCY glares vehemently at him.)

BUFFY Hi, everybody. Sorry, it took so long. We couldn't find a parking space. And there was this really cute womyn at the gas station. She reminded me of a cross between Sigourney Weaver and Veronica Lake. Sigh. Was that Stan outside?

RYAN UniMart run.

MARCY (contemptuous:) Have I met Stan yet?

BUFFY No. He doesn't like clubs. He finds themŠ Ryan, how does--

RYAN "Inherently malignant to his self concept."

MARCY Sounds like a real winner.

BUFFY You'll like him. He's the most non-threatening penis-carrier you'll ever meet. Marcy thinks men are potential rapists.

LYSETTE I can't seem to get anyone interested and I'm willing.

MARCY Maybe that's the problem.

LYSETTE Is anyone thirsty?

MARCY Sure. What do you have?

LYSETTE Nothing, actually. Just thought I'd ask.

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 2 SETTING: Same as Scene 1. AT RISE: Spotlight rises on STAN.

STAN There's this joke. "Which is worse: being Black or gay? Being gay, because if you're black, you don't have to tell your mother." Looking back, I'm surprised how rough it was. There were no role models - no John Waynes, Marie Curies, Jesse Owens. All I had was the Village People. What made it worse was everything and everyone around you screamed it was wrong to be who you were. Of course, no one would tell you who you were supposed to be. There should have been a manual. Then, I'd have known I was supposed to stay thin, chain smoke and memorize the history of dance music. Instead, my oral fixation went to food not cigarettes, I'm unenthused by paisleys, and most of my friends are straight. At least, they know I'm gay. I still haven't gotten around to telling my mother. Apparently, I was supposed to have done that too.

(STAN exits the spotlight as it fades.)

(Lights will come up normal (full, whatever) on the set. FELIX, RYAN, LYSETTE and BUFFY sit around and talk. MARCY is in the bathroom.)

FELIX I'm sorry. Am I going on and on about this? It's just that it'sŠ Well, I'm sure I've--

LYSETTE No. We're all very happy for you.

BUFFY I love kids. I wish I could have them, but my medical insurance won't cover artificial insemination. They think it's frivolous. But, if you ever need a sitter, I'm here.

RYAN You better hope the kid grows up ugly.

BUFFY Don't listen to him, Felix. He still thinks I knew that girl was sixteen, which I didn't. She looked like her ID. How was I supposed to know it belonged to her sister?

LYSETTE You checked her ID?

BUFFY Consider it my method of safe sex.

RYAN Felix, I need to ask you: Have you and your wife begun considering how to deal with the possibility of your new daughter evolving into an alternative lifestyle? (Pause) I'm curious if heterosexual parents consider these things. Nowadays, that is. I mean, when we were born--

BUFFY I'm going to see what's taking Marcy so long in the bathroom.

FELIX UhŠ NotŠ yet, anyway. I think we're going to try hurdling the obstacle of naming the child before - um -

LYSETTE (to herself:) My life is a nightmare.

SOUND: Kicking at the door.

LYSETTE AND FELIX I'll get that. No, let me.

LYSETTE Don't be silly. You're a guest.

(LYSETTE goes to the door and lets STAN in. He has bags of soft drinks and snack food.)

RYAN (as LYSETTE crosses:) How do you and your wife feel about the gay community?

LYSETTE Here, let me help you with those. (lower:) Please, interrupt that conversation. Ryan's driving me crazy.

STAN Have you guys talked yet?

LYSETTE We haven't had an opportunity. FELIX Well, Ryan. Some of our best friends know gay people. I'm kidding. Sharon and I try not to judge people on their character traits.

RYAN But, sexuality is so much more than that. It imbues every aspect of our lives, from how we dress to how we urinate; periods and inappropriate erections in STAN You promised you'd discuss this. It's up to you, butŠ

LYSETTE I'll get to it. This is more urgent. Oh, fuck, he's talking about Free to be You and Me. Stan, please, stop him. RYAN (cont'd) gym class. The best media tool to help children develop open-minded, tolerant ideals is Free to be You and Me. I was never a very big fan of That Girl, but Marlo Thomas and Friends deliver a message that stirs me to this day.

(STAN crosses to RYAN and FELIX.)

STAN Ryan, could you give Lysette a hand in the kitchen? (shakes hands with FELIX) Hi, we haven't met. I'm Stan.

FELIX My pleasure.

RYAN Couldn't you, Stan? I was just about to tell Felix how I was traumatized by playground politics in junior high schoolŠ and even before that, come to think of it--

STAN I would, but I've had an exceptionally degrading evening reminiscent of the time I was almost forced by bullies to lick dog shit off their shoes until my younger sister beat them up and saved me. Be a dear and let me sit a while?

RYAN Sure. We'll talk later, when you're ready.

STAN Thanks, Ryan. Go away.

(RYAN crosses to the kitchen area where LYSETTE is organizing the groceries.)

STAN He gets carried away sometimes.

FELIX I don't mind. He's actually very interesting.

STAN So was "American Pie" the first ten thousand times. I don't mean to be so negative. It's justŠ

RYAN You need help with something?

LYSETTE How could you ask him questions like that?

RYAN Like what? Did Stan get anything with caffeine?

LYSETTE Read the labels. "What if you're kids grow up to be gay?"

STAN I don't suppose you've ever answered the personals? No? I never thought I would, either. Then technology gave us chat lines and all standards of desperation bottomed out.

RYAN I was trying to facilitate people's exits. Where are the clean glasses?

LYSETTE In the sink, cleverly disguised as dirty ones. What are you talking about?

FELIX I don't think those things are desperate. Necessarily.

STAN You've obviously never done them.

RYAN So we can have our tete-ŕ-tete. When am I ever that in-your-face obnoxious?

LYSETTE Dangerous question.

STAN It's not just them, of course.

LYSETTE Ryan. I'm talking about--

RYAN I know. But I need to tell you something too.

STAN It's me.

FELIX You look fine to me.

STAN Thanks.

RYAN But, I think we should wait.

LYSETTE For what? For people to leave? We can't. Because these people are never going to leave.

STAN Puberty hit right about the time a disease and a diet candy ended up with the same name.

RYAN (puts his arm around her.) Now, now. They're lovely people and I'm really happy for Felix and all. ButŠ

STAN I figured that was the reason I wasn't getting any.

LYSETTE (releasing herself) We have issues to address. Don't we? Ryan. I don't know how to say this, except to come right out and say it.

STAN I don't just mean sex. I meanŠ Well, then safety arrived.

(BUFFY enters and crosses to the kitchen.)

LYSETTE It's not that I don't love you. I do. Which is part of theŠ But every day for how long, we've been--

BUFFY Marcy's fine. She's sorry for being a bitch, so she's reorganizing the bathroom.

STAN It seemed everyone knew how to work around the danger but me.

BUFFY I wish she'd organize mine. I'm afraid to show it to her. I saw her apartment tonight. It's immaculate.

STAN Not that I haven't enjoyed moments of lasciviousness.

BUFFY I know she's a little abrasive -- which reminds me: I need Comet -- but she's going through a difficult time right now and needs a lot of support. Are my panty hose running?

BUFFY (cont'd) Speaking of panties, Wanda Thorpe told me the most mortifying thing. She went to see Phranc in concert once and brought a pair of panties to throw on stageŠ

STAN But moments are moments.

BUFFY What she didn't know was: while she was in the bathroom, friends attached one of those panty liners with the little tabs to make them stay onto the underwear, so she threw them and the panties landed right on the stage and the liner bounced off of them right by Phranc's foot. Could you give Marcy a little leeway tonight? It would mean a lot to me.

LYSETTE I really have nothing to say after that.

RYAN I do, but it can wait.

BUFFY Did I interrupt something?

(RYAN gestures that she has and should go elsewhere.)

STAN As I was sitting across from this guy watching him decide to go back to his girlfriend, I realized I haven't slow danced with a member of the appropriate gender in ages.

BUFFY Oh. I'll let you guys talk. I haven't said hi to Stan yet. (crosses to STAN and FELIX) Stan!

STAN Do you slow dance?

LYSETTE So what were we talking about?

RYAN It was your turn.

STAN Hey, Buff. I've just been boring Felix with declarations of self pity.

LYSETTE I think I'll make some tea. (turns away from RYAN)

FELIX Not at all. I know how hard it is to find someone. Is your friend almost done in the bathroom? I sort ofŠ

(RYAN puts his hands on Lysette's shoulders to rub her back. She flinches.)

BUFFY Oh, yeah. Just a word of advice. Put everything back where you found it. It's not worth arguing over.

LYSETTE (as RYAN pulls away) Could you see what everybody needs?

(RYAN and LYSETTE stand still for a moment.)

FELIX I hope I didn't say anything to offend her.

BUFFY No. You just have a penis.

STAN Oh, God, not one of those.

BUFFY She'll get over it.

FELIX If you'll excuse me. (touches Stan's hand as he gets up; stretches, crosses to the bathroom)

STAN Did you see that smile?

BUFFY You mean Felix?

STAN Those hands.

(A moment after FELIX exits, MARCY enters, distressed, and crosses to BUFFY.)

RYAN Hey, Buff. Can I get you anything from the bar?

STAN That ass.

BUFFY Water's fine.

MARCY Why didn't you tell me he was coming back there?

STAN I'll bet he just glides across the floor.

RYAN Can I get you anything, Marcy?

MARCY No, thank you.

BUFFY Will you get over it? This penis obsession has got to stop. Stan, have you met Marcy?

STAN Hi, Marcy. How are you?

MARCY I'm a Lesbian! I don't kill people with ice picks. I'm not crazy about k.d. lang. I don't like folk music. I am into sequins and firearms. Does that meet with your approval?

STAN I used to hate people who said, "I'm fine." You've cured me.

MARCY I hate people who view the world in stereotypes.

STAN How wonderfully you've avoided becoming one. Excuse me. I'm going to accidentally burst in on Felix. (crosses to hallway)

RYAN One water coming up. Stan, do you want anything?

STAN (as he reaches the hallway) I'll get it myself.

(FELIX meets STAN in the portal, smiles and boyishly slaps Stan's behind. When he passes, he doesn't notice STAN falls to his knees. RYAN crosses to LYSETTE.)

LYSETTE What's with Stan?

RYAN (looking at STAN:) I think he's got a thing--

LYSETTE For Felix. Shit.

FELIX Marcy, I just wanted to say, I'm sorry if I--

MARCY Don't. It's nothing you did as an individual I'm sure. At least not to me. Yet.

RYAN Anyway, I know what you're trying to tell me. And I think you need to to knowŠ

FELIX I don't think it's going to be a problem.

RYAN the reason I've been around so muchŠ You see, when I'd drink I'd black out sometimes andŠ

MARCY I think I will get something to drink. (Crosses into kitchen.)

RYAN I think I might have--

MARCY Don't let me interrupt. I'm just getting a drink.

FELIX (noticing STAN) Stan, are you okay?

(All turn to STAN. Pause. STAN looks up at them.)

LYSETTE Stan?

STAN Hm? Oh. I forgot I was on the floor. (rises) Excuse me. (exits into hallway)

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 3 SETTING: Same as Scene 1. AT RISE: Spotlight up on BUFFY.

BUFFY There seems to be some myth out there that gay men are the way they are because they like men, and lesbians are they way we are because we hate men. Like everyone is defined by how they feel about men. Nothing against them. Some of my best friends are men. In fact, I have a cousin who's a man, maybe you know him. I always hear things like, "You don't really like girls, honey, you just need a good lay." It's like I was straight and this is something that developed due to rape, incest, bad relationships with men or prolonged virginity. Well, none of those things happened to me. I like people. I'm attracted to women. I think that's fine. (exits as spotlights fade and other lights come up.)

(Lights come up illuminating the couch and the kitchen counter. FELIX, STAN and RYAN are talking on the couch. LYSETTE, BUFFY and MARCY are in the kitchen. Additional lights emphasize RYAN and LYSETTE.)

LYSETTE Look at them. I love watching men bond.

RYAN I haven't been arrested, but I'm sure it's bound to happen.

STAN You just want to go to jail, drop the soap and get married.

MARCY I don't mean to be obtuse, but what is the fascination?

LYSETTE I think men are like clouds. They're constantly changingŠ

RYAN I still can't believe you haven't told your parents. If they can't accept you for who you are--

STAN This from the guy who came out to his father after his father came out to him.

LYSETTE They're sometimes formidable, sometimes make me wet, but are mostly hot air.

LYSETTE Maybe you should ask Stan what he sees.

STAN I don't need grooming tips from someone with more mousse in his hair than there are in the Canadian backwoods.

BUFFY Don't ask Ryan.

RYAN Your problem is you're afraid to be attractive.

MARCY Why would I ask either of them?

LYSETTE You should listen to Stan because he a disenchanted idealist,

STAN Are you completely stupid or is that a brilliant disguise?

LYSETTE and you should avoid listening to Ryan becauseŠ (looks at RYAN) because his standards are inconsistent.

RYAN (looks back at LYSETTE) We just have different priorities.

LYSETTE (looks away for a second, but looks back at RYAN) Why do you have such a problem with men?

MARCY Because every time my life turns to shit, there seems to be one around.

(RYAN smiles at LYSETTE and she turns away.)

FELIX Are you two always like this?

MARCY It's not just when we're grown up, either. It starts in the playground; waiting for the school bus; in the sandbox.

STAN It's how we give each other moral support.

RYAN Bickering keeps our minds off of what's really bothering us. (so LYSETTE can hear) Like bad dates and interrupted confessions.

(LYSETTE looks back at RYAN)

MARCY Buffy probably told you, I recently separated from my lover.

RYAN And it keeps us together for when the real problems arise.

STAN Like interrupted dates and bad confessions.

(RYAN and LYSETTE smile at STAN'S comment and rejoin their conversations.)

MARCY We were together five years. She was sort of a free spirit.

STAN I suppose it must seem childish.

MARCY To what extent, I didn't know.

RYAN Consider it a preview. Bickering. Semantic maneuvering. Parental logic defies any pre-existing patterns.

STAN What's that supposed to mean?

MARCY She came to me one night. Told me we were having a baby.

RYAN Felix's wife -- or these days, I guess it's Felix and his wife -- had a baby tonight.

MARCY It wasn't hard to guess it wasn't mine.

STAN Oh, really?

FELIX Seven pounds, four ounces. A little girl. I was talking about her so much, I promised I'd stop.

STAN It's good to know there's still someone who keeps promises.

MARCY A man came between us. I know you're going to tell me he didn't do it himself. I realize that.

STAN Of course. Felix and Sharon from upstairs. Lys' talks about you all the time.

MARCY But I can't blame her, can I?

STAN I can't believe I never made the connection.

MARCY We can't blame people we love.

STAN Could you excuse me for a minute? (crosses to the kitchen.as BUFFY exits to bathroom.)

LYSETTE I know how you feel. About distance. It's important.

STAN Pardon me. If there's no alcohol, I need something extremely decaffeinated.

LYSETTE Actually, there's vodka in the freezer. Help yourself.

STAN You're wonderful. (to himself:) I'll find the car in the morning.

MARCY It is the morning.

STAN Don't you think I'm aware of the time? If I have been aware of anything tonight, it's the time. I've been glancing at my watch, staring down clocks, listening to the time date stamp on my voice mailbox. Trust me: I know it's the morning.

MARCY I only meant it was late and it might be time to go. But I guess that's what I can expect from-

STAN From what, a potential rapist? Fuck you. Women statistically kill more babies than men. Do I call you a potential baby-killer? I'm having a rough night. I'd like to get through it without any shit from you.

MARCY It's certainly typical a man would think he's the only one in the room with a problem!

STAN I'd at least care about your problem, given the opportunity!

MARCY I don't want you to care about it!

STAN Then, quit bitching. (cheerfully, to others, as BUFFY reenters:) I'm getting that vodka now.

MARCY Buffy, can we please go?

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 4 SETTING: Same as Scene 3. Spotlights up on the couch and by the door. AT RISE: Spotlight up on RYAN.

RYAN It is a pride issue. It shouldn't be, but it is. I don't feel I should have to get in people's faces and say "I'm queer and that's okay whether you think so or not." But if the world wants to make an issue of it, I can't sit still and say, "Sorry I bothered you." It wasn't up to me. We're all handed what we're handed. Some people sculpt gods and have perfect teeth, some have disfiguring diseases. I count myself in the middle with left-handed, hazel-eyed, RC-drinkers. We may not be the majority, but we're everywhere. And if people can't deal with that, they should use their right hands and drink more popular sodas. Being gay is who I am. It doesn't dominate my life, per se. ItŠ centers it.

(Spot fades on RYAN. Pause.)

(RYAN and STAN are by the counter. LYSETTE and FELIX are on the couch.)

FELIX What time is it? I am so tired.

LYSETTE About four thirty. Don't worry. It's Sunday. I'm sure Sharon needs her sleep, too.

STAN I still can't get it right. I grew up being told to abstain or have safe sex, so I did. Look where it's got me.

RYAN Yeah. On solid, stable ground.

STAN That's not what you used to think. You criticized me for not knowing anybody who was HIV-positive. I felt like you told me protest the war and then accused me of dodging the draft.

RYAN You're not missing anything. I'm sorry if I made you feel that way. You didn't tell me about your date.

STAN Oh, that. It's not important, now.

(BUFFY and MARCY enter the dark with their coats and cross to the couch. BUFFY hugs and kisses everyone as she says her goodbyes.)

BUFFY See you, Lys.

STAN You know, Ryan. In a parallel universe, that man would walk up to me,

LYSETTE See you soon.

STAN put his hand on my shoulder, squeeze it a little

FELIX Nice meeting both of you.

STAN and say in some other alternate reality we're a pretty interesting couple,

MARCY Good luck withŠ everything. (storms out)

STAN then he'd kiss me on the mouth,

BUFFY (calling after MARCY) See, was that so difficult?

(BUFFY crosses to RYAN and STAN at the door.)

STAN briefly, but just long enough to cause us both to wonder what he's missing when he leaves.

BUFFY I'll see you guys soon, okay? (exits)

FELIX I should be going, too.

LYSETTE I'll get your coat. (exits hallway)

FELIX Nice meeting you, Ryan. I can walk you home, Stan. After all that vodka, I wouldn't want you to get hurt.

(STAN looks at FELIX dumb-struck. LYSETTE returns with Felix & Stan's coats.)

FELIX What do you say? Should I put on my coat?

STAN Do me a favor, Felix. Never ask me what I want you to wear. I'll be fine.

(FELIX puts his hand on Stan's shoulder and squeezes it a little.)

FELIX Bye. (exits)

STAN If only he were. What did I do, Ryan? I had the perfect opportunity to live out a pathetic schoolboy fantasy and I blew it.

RYAN I'm proud of you.

STAN Oh, go fuck yourself. (hugs RYAN, then LYSETTE)

RYAN Call us when you get home, so we know you made it okay.

STAN Yeah, yeah. (exits)

(LYSETTE and RYAN cross and sit on opposite ends of the couch. Light on door gradually fades out.)

RYAN I think it was my turn.

LYSETTE Ryan, this is serious. You know how I feel about you.

RYAN I love you too. And that's why I need to tell you this. I know what you're going to say and if you'd just (grabs hold of her hands) LYSETTE Ryan, please. I'm hitting my limits and I don't think you understand --

(yanks her hands away)

LYSETTE God damn it, Ryan! You are driving me crazy! You touch me and talk to me that wayŠ like it's innocent. In the meantime, my head spins, my heart trembles and my mouth flies like a runaway train. I need to you get away from me. For a little while. Because if you don't I'm afraid I'm going to lose you. Please, Ryan. Just for a while. For our sake.

RYAN I'm a real ass, aren't I?

LYSETTE Could we please not talk about your ass?

RYAN It's just: whenever I have a crisis, like a bad hair day or when my mother accused me of pretending to be gay to punish them, my knee-jerk is to fly to you. I've done this so long, I assume you'll put up with my shit. It's what we do.

LYSETTE Then why don't I recognize it?

RYAN Because this time I neglected to mention what was wrong. I'm sorry if I've relyed on or confused you too much. I realize you need room. But I've got to say - and believe me, if I didn't have to, I wouldn't. But, Lys: I'm not being petty anymore. You see, when I'd black out, I could always tell what happened and I was okay. But the last time, I couldn't. I think I may have done something stupid. And I've been doing all this waiting. You see, you have to wait before you can take the test and then you have to wait for the results. And that's what I'm doing. Waiting.

LYSETTE I see. So, when will youŠ

RYAN They said Monday or Tuesday. I just need you for a couple more days. Until I find out. I know it's a lot, butŠ

LYSETTE What if it'sŠ positive? You'll need more than a couple days.

RYAN I was hoping you and Stan might volunteer.

LYSETTE Have you told Stan?

RYAN I don't want to drop the bomb unless its necessary.

LYSETTE God forbid you even let us know it might be coming. Why didn't you tell us, Ryan? Maybe I should phrase this more selfishly so you can understand: why didn't you tell me?

RYAN I didn't want you to worry.

LYSETTE Of course not. If you made us worry you might be held responsible for our feelings. So instead you come around knowing I'd never turn you away. You make me feel the way I promised I'd never feel for you. Then you change the rules. "I'll put my head on Lysette's shoulder. She'll understand. I'm a friend in need and ignore her own trembling. She'll keep me out of her head when she's lonely or dreaming because I'll be around so much, she won't have time to do any of those things. And in the event I get the plague I spend hours of other people's time preaching how to avoid, she'll be right there with her bosom for me to cry in. I'll just have to work around the erect nipples and so will she. And in the end, if we can keep it up, it's a sure thing at least one person will fall apart at my funeral." Thanks, Ryan. For trusting me completely and never taking me for granted. God help you when you talk to Stan.

RYAN Let's put this in perspective here. Okay, I took you and Stan for granted. I was wrong. I'm sorry. But it's my life we're talking about here.

LYSETTE I know. And I think the people who care about you deserved more than twenty four to forty eight hours notice.

RYAN The next time I suspect a terminal illness I'll phone you both immediately. I'm sorry. It's hard to think clearly, when you're--

LYSETTE Irretrievably stupid?

RYAN Yeah.

LYSETTE Yeah. (LYSETTE embraces RYAN) You stupid selfish son of a bitch.

RYAN I'm such a silly little faggot. (LYSETTE laughs and lets go. She guides him to the couch and they sit next to each other, RYAN leaning against her.) So what now?

LYSETTE We can open the drapes and watch the dawning of a new day.

RYAN (winces) Oh, Mary, please! I'll take a rain check.

LYSETTE You better make good on it.

RYAN Oh, eat me.

(RYAN falls asleep leaning on LYSETTE. As the light fades, out we hear:)

SOUND: beep.

STAN'S VOICE Hi, it's me. I guess you guys crashed. I made it home okay. What a night. We should do this more often, just so long as we do it better. Love Ya. Bye.

SOUND: Click.

(CURTAIN)

THE END

 

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