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Genealogy of a Kiss


A Play in One Act


Scott C. Sickles

Copyright © 1992 by Scott C. Sickles

  1. Chapel Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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Cast of Characters

David Foraker: GPM, serious but enjoys movies, dining, dancing, spectator sports, and quiet times with good friends. Discreet but not closeted. Not into bars, public toilets and locker rooms.

Jeremy Lindstrom: GM, accommodating, not exactly submissive but tolerant to a fault, emotionally open, ISO GM who enjoys cuddling, slow dancing and any non-violent contact.

Matthew Tamboro: GM, attractive, athletic, interests include: outdoor sports, adventure, working out, sleeping in, partying, fun, friends, and warm nights with someone who appreciates me more than their mirror.

Neil McQuillan: GM, reasonably attractive but not spectacular, into all there is to do in the great indoors, especially at night. Still searching for meaning and looking for someone to search with or guide me.

Walter Schaeffer: GM, on the rebound hoping to find a straight shooter for a negotiable short to long term agreement or at least someone with good hands.

The characters are in their thirties in early scenes and age appropriately as the play progresses.

Scene The United States of America

Time Back and forth between October,1992, and September, 1982.

Scenes Places Times -------- ------------------------- ----------------- Scene 1 David and Matthew's house December 30, 1990 Scene 2 David's office January 7, 1991 Scene 3 Funeral Home December 20, 1990 Scene 4 David's house March 22, 1992 Scene 5 Hospital room December 18, 1990 Scene 6 David's house December 18, 1991 Scene 7 David and Matthew's house October 31, 1990 Scene 8 Theatre Arts Lobby February 14, 1992 Scene 9 David and Matthew's house December 23, 1986 Scene 10 Parking lot April 3, 1992 Scene 11 David and Matthew's porch December 13, 1985 Scene 12 Fire Island May 18, 1992 Scene 13 David and Matthew's house June 11, 1985 Scene 14 David's apartment June 14, 1992 Scene 15 David and Matthew's house August 4, 1984 Scene 16 Restaurant July 4, 1992 Scene 17 Matthew's apartment February 14, 1983 Scene 18 David's office September 4, 1992 Scene 19 David's old apartment October 9, 1982 Scene 20 Neil's balcony September 7, 1992 Scene 21 Labor Day Picnic September 6, 1982 Scene 22 David's apartment October 31, 1992 Scene 23 A party August 29, 1981 -------- ------------------------- -----------------

Scene 1

SCREEN: White letters on black background: "DECEMBER 23, 1990"

SETTING: The stage is separated in the following zones: Living Room. USC, with a couch and a semi-decorated Christmas tree surrounded by ornaments; Closet, USR with a clothes rack with clothes on hangers and boxes; Pantry, USL, with cans. A screen hangs above the stage, onto which dates are projected.

AT RISE: Lights come up on the Living Room. DAVID FORAKER, a man in his thirties, sits calmly, examining his surroundings. He puts down his drink, looks at his watch, takes a deep breath and rises.

(Lights cross fade to Closet. David takes clothes from hangers, folds them and places them in boxes.)

(Lights cross fade to Pantry. David sorts through the food items, tossing some into a garbage bag. He picks up a can, examines it and goes to throw it away. He stops, looks at the can again and begins to lose control. He tosses the can in the bag and tries to go through some other items, but is getting too upset.)

(Lights cross fade to Living Room. David enters with the garbage bag and starts tearing down decorations trying to throw them away. He collapses on the floor, half reaching into the garbage bag, sobbing.)



Scene 2

SCREEN: White letters on black background. "January 7, 1991"

SETTING: David's office, DSL. comprised of a desk and a chair.

AT RISE: At his desk, David organizing his work. Jeremy, still in his coat, enters. His mannerisms are mildly effete, but not flamboyant or stereotypical.

JEREMY Good morning.

DAVID Not particularly. I'm sorry. It's justŠ You know. Besides, I've got syllabi to revise. I was looking over them wondering, "What was I thinking when I planned this?"

JEREMY You had other things on your mind.

DAVID I've never been so unprepared. It's not as if I've been that busy. Before, sure. But, I've really just been sleeping.

JEREMY You knowŠ


JEREMY I was eating this Danish and I remembered hearing something about Entenmann's Bakeries being owned by the Moonies. I wondered if that was still true. Or true ever. And it's not like this Danish was particularly good. Or bad. It was just kind of average. So, I took a shower instead of finishing it. But that really didn't help, either. Especially if at some time I inadvertently supported some religious cult or anti-abortion group. Not that I've ever been religious or I'll ever be pregnant. The shower did help my back, which is still out of alignment because of what's-his-name. Which has put a crimp in my sex life. Not that I couldn't use a break, so to speak. Was that a double negative? But, anyway, Jane-who-lives-next- door, as opposed to Jane-the-nebbish-divorcée-who-thinks-its-chic-to- know-gay-people, invited me over for tea and served these wonderful Russian tea cakes. We talked about men. And bagels. It was a nice time. I'm sure you'd have enjoyed yourself. Though, the two of you don't seem to have much to say to each other. But I felt better after that.

DAVID What kind of Danish was it?

JEREMY Strawberry. Isn't that odd?

DAVID I'm so glad you dropped by. And I'm sorry I haven't called. You know me: can't share my misery like a normal person. I wanted to come to your party, too, butŠ I didn't think I could take it. Who'd have given me a New Year's kiss?


It bothers me. I keep wondering, was it worth it? I look at the good things. He was soŠ I want to say, yes, I would do it again. Even if I couldn't correct the mistakes, I would still do it. But, I keep hesitating. Maybe it's too soon. Sure, I have regrets. Big ones. Who wouldn't? But what if I start regretting all of it. What if I end up hating him? Jeremy, could you excuse me? I'm upsetting myself again andŠ I've got all this stuff to do.

JEREMY I pray for the day you stop worrying about being embarrassed in front of me. You're not the only one who lost Matthew. I don't mean it spitefully. You just seem to forget. Let me know when you need me to type those. Oh, and I brought you some apple-cinnamon tea. Would you like some?

DAVID You're amazing. Yes. Please. Thank you.

(Jeremy turns to go.)

You were right. Before. When you said I couldn't be the Rock of Gibraltar, no matter how much I wanted to. I didn't even last a week.

You know what did it? Chili. A can of fucking Hormel chili. How could he eat that shit? Right from the can. If I'd make homemade chili, he wouldn't touch it. I never told him how much that bothered me. Maybe I did. He just loved that and the Dinty Moore Beef Stew in the convenient microwavable container. What a memorial. I could make it past the death bed. I could stand there while we put him in the ground. Not even a flinch. I couldn't make it past the kitchen cupboards.


You should get out of that coat before you overheat.

(David starts working as Jeremy leaves.)


Scene 3

SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "DECEMBER 20, 1990"

SETTING: Lights crossfade DSR to a spotlight large enough to house two people.

AT RISE: DAVID and JEREMY stand together in the funeral home.

DAVID His parents hung up on me. His uncle Frank is here with his friend Jeff. Matthew and I had dinner with them once. It was great. Two generations of Italian and Irish fags snarfing down gnocchis and garlic bread and tossing back all this wine. I wish we'd done it more often.

JEREMY I keep remembering when Matthew joined our group for young Catholics coming out. I was shocked. He always seemed so normal in school. He got along with everybody: the whole "Breakfast Club." The girls would dismember each other's ponytails to get a shot at him. I don't think I told you about this: but one time I walked in on him necking with Bonnie Polito. I just stared at them wishing, God, why couldn't that be me instead of that disco-floozie-wannabe. Then, he opened his eyes and looked right into mine. I almost died. Then he nibbled her ear, so she started kissing his neck. And he smiled at me. With all those teeth. I think my mouth shattered against the floor. He just closed his eyes and started kissing her again. He could be such a cocktease. The first time he spoke to me was a week later. Lance Prewett was going to beat me up for being a sissy and Brian flattened him - without warning, right there on the playground. I said, "Thanks." He pat me on the shoulder and said, "Sure." Who's going to fight my battles for me, now?

DAVID He loved defending you. In fact, he was too proud of that incident when he beat up your boyfriend-beast-thing. It was never healthy. Where did you manage to find a man named Malek Terso? Where do you find any of these assholes?

JEREMY Usually, at a bar when I'm blind drunk. Maybe I should try a different mating ritual. I need someone like Matthew.

DAVID You knew him forever; you had your chance. In a way, I envy you. What we had was so small by comparison. I met him on Labor Day, 1982. We said our first "I love yous" on Valentine's Day, 1983. He died December 18, 1990. I knew

DAVID (cont'd) him eight years, three months and twelve days. Give or take a few hours. It's amazing how many events can be crammed into such a short span of time.

JEREMY Or how few.

DAVID If your life were so uneventful, you wouldn't be in so many support groups.

JEREMY If it were so full, I wouldn't have time to attend them. Maybe you should look into one.

DAVID I'd rather grieve privately. I keep wondering if the responsible party is going to secretly show up. I keep looking at their faces. Have I met that one? If so, then where? If not, then was it you? I think Matthew would have preferred not having a service at all. He always called himself an Ex-Catholic. Of course, he also prayed every now and then. He figured, if he kept his mind open about God, God might do the same for him. But he was afraid people might be offended, if there wasn't any service. I'm kind of offended, actually. I see all these people who wouldn't give him the time of day before he was embalmed. Apparently it doesn't preserve well in formaldehyde. At least his parents are consistent. He'd have hated this. I remember, near the end, he was joking. He said, "I'm so pale and I have these purple splotches all over me. I'm not going to die because I'm sick. I'm going to die because I clash."

JEREMY Life is something, isn't it? You can admire a boy as you watch his shoulders broaden, and pity the same man as you see them narrow. I have to wonder for a moment what's worse: living it or watching it. Either way, you can't close your eyes and turn it off. Am I becoming maudlin

DAVID Insanely. (DAVID and JEREMY embrace.) I miss him.


Scene 4

SCREEN: White letters on black background. "MARCH 22, 1991"

SETTING: Lights cross fade USC to David's house. Tidier version of the Scene One Living Room.

AT RISE: David and Jeremy move about.

DAVID I don't see the problem. I want to sell the house. It's not exactly filled with pleasant memories. We moved in. He got sick. He died. Why would I want to live with that? Why would you want me to?

JEREMY Well, when you put it that wayŠ It's just thatŠ This place is like a haven to me. I felt safer here than in my own apartment.

DAVID Then, maybe we should both move. Listen. I haven't even spoken to an agent. There's no point in arguing about it now. When I start showing it to courageous left-wing yuppie couples, we can fight like rabid dogs. Do we have a deal?

JEREMY I'll think about it. How much would you want for it?

DAVID I don't know. Why? You want it, it's yours. Don't expect me to visit. I need a cheaper place. I doubt revenues from my play are going to be astronomical. I should never write for therapy. It always stinks. Even the title is unbearable: Dead in the Water. Instantly, people will know it's either about terminal illness or fishing. Maybe I should have written about terminally ill gay fishermen.

JEREMY Make it a musical. (sings flamboyantly:) "As we sit here fishing/All I'm wishing/Is our love could abide/Without a spermicide. What's that nibbling at my line?"

DAVID Have you been over-medicated or under-medicated? (Jeremy shrugs. He appears all too happy.) Oh, no. You've met someone.

JEREMY I think you'll like this one. His name is Lorenz Frelig. He graduated from college and writes poetry. And he's only five foot three. He's gorgeous. He used to wrestle and he's into bodybuilding. I know what you're thinking, but he's not a violent person. Although, he is sensitive about his height and has thisŠ phobia about abandonment. But otherwise, he's a gem. I met him after my compulsive shoppers session. In the men's room. But it's not tawdry. We weren't passing notes between stalls or anything. We started talking by the mirrors. He maintained eye contact and hardly looked at his reflection. Then, we went out for pizza. Well, I had a pizza; he had a salad. I let him tie me up and when it was over I still had my money, my teeth and no pain. Can't you be just a wee bit happy for me?

DAVID Did he paint your toenails while you were tied up?

JEREMY I was too nervous to ask. All I could think of was how underdeveloped I was by comparison. How could I share Bull Durham fantasies. Why don't we do something? Go to dinner or a movie? You find the house claustrophobic anyway.

DAVID I can't. If I didn't have all this work, I'd be going to the rehearsal. Or I'd be rewriting the fucking thing. In fact, I think I'll do that.

JEREMY Damn it, David! Listen, if this is how you want to live your life for now, then fine. I can't say anything. But, please. I don't want to lose you, too.

DAVID I'm not lost, Jeremy. I'm busy. I'm trying to keep things as normal as I can. This is just a slightly more hectic term for me. I hope you understand.

JEREMY Sure. No. No, I don't understand. I needŠ There's got to be someone I can go to, and I need that to be you. I don't feel close enough to anyone else. I get this impression from you that because we became friends through Matthew, our relationship has to fade now. I'm here for you and you're not coming. I realize you have other friends, but I don't think you're going to them either. Maybe this is selfish of me. I don't know. But, you've had your time alone. So have I. The difference is: I never wanted it. I'll be on my way. I wish you well with your rewrite. I'm sure it'll be great.

(Jeremy exits. David freezes for a moment. He gets out his typewriter and starts typing frenetically.)


Scene 5

SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "December 18, 1990"

SETTING: Lights up on hospital room, USR, consisting of a bed and a chair.

AT RISE: Matthew lies in a hospital bed. He is under covers so all the audience can see are his head, which is very pale, and his arms which look thin in the billowy hospital gown. He is covered with Kaposi's Sarcoma lesions. David is at his side.

DAVID Jeremy'll be by later. He had to take his sister to his Battered Wives encounter thing. She's in pretty rough shape, emotionally speaking-- (Matthew starts coughing horribly. David immediately grabs his hand and reaches for the nurse's pager. The coughing subsides.) Are you okay? Are you sure? Okay.

MATTHEW Don't look so pale. That's my job. Oh, lighten up, will you? I don't want the rest of my days to seem like an Ingmar Bergman movie. You don't look good.

DAVID I haven't been sleeping. Jeremy gave me this caffeine-free sedative tea, but it doesn't seem to be working.

MATTHEW (laughing) Jeremy, the homeopathic homo. Anyway, about Christmas: please, go out. I'd hate to think I quarantined you here.

DAVID If I wanted to leave, I would. I've even made arrangements to bring in a special Holiday dinner. Dinty Moore beef stew. I know you prefer the chili, but the staff feel you're in bad enough shape.

MATTHEW That's so sweet. My turn. You told me my Christmas gift, so I'm giving you yours. It's under my pillow. (David reaches under the pillow and pulls out a small wrapped package.) Don't save it. Break with tradition.

(David opens it. It's a small, purse-like plastic dispenser. He reaches in and pulls out a paper product. It turns out to be a paper toilet seat cover.)

MATTHEW I asked if they had designer patterns. I had hoped for a line of ducklings following their mama into a pond, but this was all they had. One of the nurses swiped it for me.

DAVID I like it. What it lacks in finesse, it compensates for with style. Also, it serves as an emblem of the concern and security you've always given me. Thank you so much.

MATTHEW You'll never catch anything from a toilet seat. I strongly suspect that's how all this started.

DAVID MatthewŠ What the hell. Why be tactful now?

MATTHEW I don't plan on kicking anytime soon. But just in case my last words are "more Jell-O," I want something official ready and waiting. I'm making my formal last request. I request that you be happy. And I mean, sincerely happy. Don't think just because I'm gone, I won't know. I will. It's all I've ever wanted for you anyway, so I don't think it's too much to ask now. I take it you'll grant me this.

DAVID I love you.

MATTHEW Say it like you mean it.

DAVID (rises and embraces Matthew.) I. Love. You. (kisses Matthew long on the cheek. Matthew holds on to him. MATTHEW yawns.)

MATTHEW I've been talking too much. I'm gonna take a nap. You should too.

DAVID Make you a deal. I'll go test pilot your gift. When I come back, I'll tuck you in. Then, I'll go home and sleep. I promise. How about that?

(David kisses Matthew quickly on the cheek again. David crosses to the exit he turns, waves the toilet seat cover at Matthew, and exits. Matthew closes his eyes.)


(A long, steady tone sounds in the darkness. It eventually fades as well.)


Scene 6 SCREEN: White letters on black background "DECEMBER 18, 1991" SETTING: Lights up on David's house, USC. AT RISE: DAVID and JEREMY sit underneath quilts sipping out of mugs.

DAVID It goes on the market officially after the first of the year. It'll be a tough sell, but I'm not in as big a hurry as I thought. Arthur's asking for eighty thousand. We're hoping to break even at sixty.

JEREMY I talked to his Uncle Frank and Jeff today. They've invited us over for dinner.

DAVID Great. Let's go. They don't think we'reŠ

JEREMY No. They asked, but I got so offended they knew they'd make a mistake. Jeff couldn't apologize enough. Lorenz asked me about them. Then, he'd ask me about Matthew. He practically wanted a signed affidavit stating I never slept with him. Matthew, that is.

DAVID Did you? Matthew never said.

JEREMY If we had, do you think I'd still be this uptight?

DAVID I was thinking it might be the reason you were so uptight.

JEREMY Would that bother you?

DAVID No. I don't think so. It probably would haveŠ you knowŠ while we were still together. But, I don't think--

JEREMY You can't say it, can you? "When he was alive."

DAVID Jeremy, I know he's dead. I have no problem grasping that. Therefore, I don't need to refer to his state of being every time I talk about him. I find it horrifyingly redundant.

JEREMY Well, just so you know, I never slept with him. I wanted to. You of all people can understand that. But, we just neverŠ We were friends.

DAVID I know. I hope I'm not this cranky every time this day rolls by. I can't believe a year has passed. I'm almost ashamed of it. I started out with no clue whatsoever as to how to go on. Then, in this great blur, I discover I have. I'm able to make it. I know it's exactly what I'm supposed to do, but it still feels wrong. I'm probably being punished. Pretty sick, huh?

JEREMY I've started doing this thing. In the past few monthsŠ No, since this summer. I've started calling old lovers on a fairly regular but random basis, at least once every six weeks per person, to see if they're still alive. Most of them are fine. Some of them aren't. It's something I put myself through whenever the shock wears off. I remember when Walter died. Matthew told you about him, didn't he?

DAVID A little. He sounded like a very nice person.

JEREMY He was wonderful. A saint. I used to call him "Patron Saint of Morally Pristine Buggerers." He was a serious bottom man. But, I digress. When Walter died, I called everyone I knew. I asked people about their cousins, because as Jane-the-nebbish-divorcée-who-thinks-its-chic-to-know-gay-people says, "Queer cousins are like tongues and assholes, everybody's got one and they're trying to get together."

DAVID Is it any wonder I get an overwhelming urge to stab that woman in the face with a rake every time I get within a four-block radius of her? Anyway, I don't think the phone calls are weird. You're expressing concern to your community.

JEREMY I haven't slept with the whole community; just the butch weirdos who hate their mothers - of whom I seem to remind them all - and the gamut of closeted ex-Marines. Have you ever done anything like that?

DAVID Well, this ARMY ROTC guy and I jerked each other off once after a kegger back in--

JEREMY No, I mean like making those kind of phone calls.

DAVID I've thought about doing it. I check the obituaries regularly, but not as much as I used to. Before you came over, I got Matthew's out. I was actually listed as his "longtime companion." It's like the English language that I love, worship and derive my livelihood from, has conspired against me. There's no word for what I was to him.

JEREMY How about "Manly Pork Pole." Too butch? Just follow the rule: if it sounds to macho, add the word "thang" to it.

DAVID "Surviving Matthew Tamboro was David Foraker, his Manly Pork Pole Thang." Instead of struggling for dignity, are you trying to eradicate it altogether?

JEREMY Hell, where has dignity gotten us so far?

DAVID Who's tried it? Thanks, Jeremy. You know, for coming over. Making sure I could make it through the day.

JEREMY Thanks for inviting me.

DAVID From now on, just assume you don't need one. So what should we talk about, now?

JEREMY Military men. You got me going with that ROTC thing. Let's start with that.



Scene 7 SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "October 31, 1990" SETTING: Lights rise slowly, USC, on David and Matthew's house. Halloween decorations liven up the place. AT RISE: Matthew is pale and has a visible but not overwhelming KS sore on his face. He sits eating from a can of chili. Lisa Stansfield's "Down in the Depths" from Red, Hot & Blue plays. Matthew eats and sings at the same time.

(David enters, tired and a little angry. As Matthew gets into the song, David smiles and eventually laughs out loud. When Matthew sees David, he puts down the can, stands and sings into the spoon for David. There is nothing effete about his performance; it is simply broad and bad. His movements are small, so he doesn't over-exert himself, but he makes the most of them. David starts laughing, but never takes his eyes off of Matthew. Big finish and the song fades. Matthew takes a bow as David applauds. Kirsty MacColl & the Pogues' "Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things" plays over the scene. They sit.)

DAVID You shouldn't do that. You'll choke.

MATTHEW The way I cough, I have nothing to worry about. So, did we get any?

DAVID I think their parents warned them to stay away. I don't know that I wouldn't do the same thing.

MATTHEW Are you kidding? You'd demand they knock on our door. You'd force feed them the candy. You'd be a perfectly politically correct, smotheringly-over-concerned, pain-in-the-ass mother. I'm glad I never knocked you up.

DAVID Why are you in such a good mood?

MATTHEW Does it matter? By the way, I was kidding. I'd love to have had kids with you. Let's seeŠ We'd name the sonŠ Butch. Hell, we'd name the daughter Butch, too. She'd grow up to ride a motorcycle and pose naked in a biker chick magazine. He'd drop out of nursing school and tell us he'd rather be a lumberjack and have sex with women. We'd cry a lot.

DAVID You've got it all figured out. Oh, I wanted to tell you: I sat in on one of the Intro Acting classes. This kid did a monologue from Displaced Personalities. One of yours.

MATTHEW You wrote me no monologues.

DAVID He did some serious editing. Not bad either. It was the bit when Ivan compares Nellie with all the different barnyard animals combined with his tirade to Mervin about African geography. Don't ask me how he made it work. Was that the doorbell? (beat) Guess not. I hate these Catholic holidays.

MATTHEW That's right: blame everything on the Pope. You always do.

("Just One of Those Things" chimes in at this time and Matthew gets up and starts dancing. He tries coaxing David to join him. David doesn't want to, but Matthew pulls him to his feet. Matthew dances David around the apartment, gently at first but gets progressively more energetic. David loosens up and dances with Matthew. Matthew starts coughing suddenly and badly. David goes to him and helps him to a seat. Matthew can't stop coughing. The song ends and is followed by Annie Lennox's "Every Time We Say Goodbye." David holds onto him, picks up the phone and dials 911.)


(After the first verse ends, the song fades as well.)


Scene 8 SCREEN: White letters on black background. "FEBRUARY 14, 1992" SETTING: University Theatre Arts Department lobby, DSL. Jeremy's desk, complete with chair and telephone, St. Valentine's Day decoration and another chair for visitors are necessary. AT RISE: JEREMY sits behind his desk, talking on the telephone as NEIL McQUILLAN enters. He is in his thirties, bearded, stocky but not overweight, and well groomed.

JEREMY His line's busy; can I take a message? Okay. Thank you. (To Neil:) Can I help you?

NEIL Is Luke Aaronberg in?

JEREMY He's in a meeting, but it should be over soon. Have a seat. (Neil sits. David enters.) Oh, David. You got three calls. One from your ex-wife. She and Danielle are getting married. She thought you should know. You don't have to call back.

DAVID I won't. I never really liked her that much.

NEIL Then why'd you marry her? (David turns to Neil.) I'm sorry for prying. Neil McQuillan. I'm a new Associate Professor with the English Department.

DAVID David Foraker. You're on the wrong floor.

NEIL No, I'm here to see Luke Aaronberg. I'm doing a thesis in American Theatre. Why didn't things work out with your wife?

DAVID I beg your pardon, but my private life is exactly that. However, if you're really curious, I chronicled it in my play Flotsam & Jetsam, which is available in the library.

NEIL The newlyweds who confess they're both gay virgins? I saw that. I try to catch as much amateur theatre as I can. Not that it wasŠ

DAVID Don't worry. You won't catch that play anywhere else. It was more of a catharsis than an actual drama.

NEIL I thought it was very John Guare in a Sam Shepard/Harvey Fierstein kind of way.

DAVID Thank you. But honestly, I don't think such a combination is genetically possible. If you're Luke's appointment, you'd better catch him before he goes to lunch. I know it's three, but he hates to eat before Guiding Light.

NEIL Okay. Thanks. Nice meeting you. (Exits.)

JEREMY So, what do you think?

DAVID About what? (Jeremy indicates Neil.) Oh, please.

JEREMY What? He likes your work. He's interested in theatre. He's cute in a strange kind of way.

DAVID He's not my type. Leave me alone. I'm a grieving widow on Valentine's Day. I've eaten an entire thing of fig newtons and a Cornish game hen all by myself. After my next class, I'm taking the rest of the afternoon off, so I can go home, watch Casablanca and cry. (The phone rings.) Saved. Call me tonight.

JEREMY (waves to David as he answers the phone.) Theatre Arts. Jeremy speaking. (END OF SCENE)

Scene 9 SCREEN: White letters on black background. "DECEMBER 23, 1986" SETTING: David and Matthew's house, USC. Christmas decorations are present. AT RISE: David reads a paper. Matthew wears headphones and does some aerobic exercises. He looks very healthy. He looks at his watch. He slows down and stops exercising. He removes his headphones.

MATTHEW Time check. I'm going to get my shower. Is Malek going to be at this party? (Exits.)

DAVID (Checks his watch.) He has more or less moved into Jeremy's apartment. He could have returned to South Africa or wherever it is he's from.

MATTHEW (Off stage:) Try Nebraska. I brought in the mail. I think it's mostly junk and bills. I put it next to the organizer by the Little Drummer Boy. Did you rearrange the drawers again?

DAVID (Crosses to it.) Found it. Yes, I did. (Leafs through the mail.) Your bathroom stuff is in the one with Donner's head on it. Read the collars. (Finds one particular envelope. Gets tense, opens it and reads the paper inside. He gets upset and his eyes begin to tear. He sits.)

MATTHEW (Entering in bathrobe) The tinsel you hung in the shower is starting to rust. What's the matter? (David can't look at him. He hands MATTHEW the paper. Matthew reads it.) Oh, God. I'm sorry. (moves away from David.) Jesus. IŠ I don't know what toŠ

DAVID Could you please just come here? (Matthew hesitates, then crosses to David. He sits, putting his arm around him.) I'll be okay. I am okay. It's not as though we weren't expecting this. And look how well you're doing. You're still jumping around like a kid in his twenties. This isn't the end. (Pause)

MATTHEW What should we do about tonight? I could call Jeremy and explain.

DAVID I'd rather tell him myself. Face to face. After the holidays.

MATTHEW Okay. I'll just tell him we can't make it. I'll think of an excuse.

DAVID Good. (Matthew starts to get up, but David stops him. Matthew holds onto David as David cries. The crying subsides.) Thank God you're here. I don't know what I'd have done if you weren't.

MATTHEW You wouldn't be having this problem.

DAVID Don't say that. (David holds Matthew tight for one moment more and lets go. He pulls himself together.) I'm okay now. Call Jeremy. Matthew, wait. Let's go.

MATTHEW Do you really want to? What if you get upset? You hate to get emotional in public.

DAVID I have the rest of my life to cope with this. I've already gotten upset; there's no point doing it again. It's just a party. Besides, you know how Jeremy gets when there's even the chance we won't show up. If we hate it, we'll leave. Let's make the most of our options.

MATTHEW Are you sure?

DAVID Positive.


Scene 10 SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "April 3, 1992" SETTING: Lights cross fade to spot on DSR parking lot. AT RISE: David enters in a raincoat, carrying his briefcase and his umbrella at his side. He seems tired and introspective as he digs his keys out of his pocket. Neil enters.

NEIL Hello, there! (David stops and faces him.) I'm glad I ran into you. Could I trouble you for a ride home? My regular ride cancelled at the last minute.

DAVID The last time someone asked me for a ride, I said no. Days later, he was taken into custody for slaying three hundred forty two Honda owners. I don't know you very well. Where do you live?

NEIL Point Breeze during the week. Weekends, I go up to my parents' cabin in the mountains. They don't use it anymore. It's nice up there. Peaceful. You'd like it. Not that I know what you like, but, I'm willing to do the research. How about it? Why don't you come up this weekend?

DAVID I thought April Fool's Day was Wednesday. Unless this is April Fool's Day observed.

NEIL It's beautiful. Peaceful. You can relax. Or not. It's up to you.

DAVID What is this, some Fire Island for underpaid literary academics? Neil, listen. It's a very appealing offer. I'm flattered you asked. But, I can't accept. I'm not sure if you knowŠ

NEIL I do.

DAVID Good. Then you know this isn't personal. I hope you understand and respect that.

NEIL I respect you very much. I want you to know, although we haven't had much exposure to each other, what I do see of you is very attractive to me. If we can't go to the mountains this weekend, maybe we can do dinner. Sometime.

DAVID That's certainly possible. At any rate, since this came up, I'm not sure it would be appropriate to give you a ride. I don't want to send the wrong signal. I'll see you.

(Neil stands back and watches David as he exits.)


Scene 11 SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "DECEMBER 13, 1985" SETTING: Folding chairs on David and Matthew's porch, DSC. AT RISE: Lights up on David sitting alone in one of the chairs. He's very introspective and quietly upset. Matthew enters and stands behind him. Long pause.


MATTHEW Are you okay?

DAVID I honestly don't know, Matthew. I don't. Please, don't apologize again. It really isn't necessary. Why don't you sit down? I need to talk to you. (Matthew sits.) Are you alright?

MATTHEW I don't know. I mean, ever since I read theŠ All I've been able to think about is you.

DAVID Evidently, that makes two of us. I'm sorry, Matthew. For blowing up. Being so concerned with blame. Wondering how this happened to me. To me. Can you believe it? I've always prided myself on being considerate, compassionate. What it boils down to is the person I've loved the most in my entire life faces the worst thing in his and all I can say is, "You don't blame me, do you?"

MATTHEW It was a tense moment.

DAVID Don't justify it. Could we just accept that it was unacceptable.

MATTHEW I'm sure you were right. I just don't know how it happened. If I did, I would tell you.

DAVID I know.

MATTHEW Maybe, it's a mistake. It wouldn't be the first. I'll just get retested.

DAVID I'll go with you. It'll be another experience we can share.

MATTHEW Come over here. (David rises and crosses to Matthew who grabs his hand. He guides David to sit on his lap. He puts David's arm around his shoulders and leans his head on David's chest. Matthew closes his eyes. They hold each other quietly for a moment) I can hear your heart.



Scene 12 SETTING: Fire Island. Lights rise on the same fold-out chairs, DSC. SCREEN: White letters on black background. "May 18, 1992" AT RISE: Lights come up on Jeremy and David in the chairs. They are dressed in shorts, shirts and sunglasses which David has removed. Jeremy's are heart-shaped and rose colored.

JEREMY No, seriously. You can dish about guys with them. You can bitch about men and they understand. And you make their boyfriends nuts. Especially if they're dumb. (butch voice:) "You fuckin' that faggot friend of yours?" (own voice) Jane-the-nebbish-divorcée-who-thinks-its-chic-to-know-gay-people had this boyfriend. He was real Marlboro. One day, he says to me, "You stay away from my woman or I'll kick your ass." So, I say, "Really? Is it true what they say about men with big feet?" Never saw him again. But straight girls as a rule make much better acquaintances than gay guys.

DAVID It just seems that if you're a non-exceptional queer male, straight women as a rule, trust and confide in you. But if you're one of those Ken doll look-alikes, they always say, "What a waste." I hate that.

JEREMY And you don't think the same thing when Ken's straight.

DAVID No. I think, "What a pity." Pity and waste are monumentally different. (beat) I can't believe I'm here. I never thought I'd go to Fire Island. It always seemed so stereotypical. Then, you drag me here; where I never wanted to go, and it's overcast. The beach is practically empty. Where are the men, Jeremy? I compromised my own stupid snobbish standards to come here. I deserve decent scenery. Must you wear those stupid glasses?

JEREMY I like sunburned men. So, is the guy from the English Department still hounding you?

DAVID He's got the tenacity of a steel trap. It's not like "No" is an ambiguous term. I think I've developed a pattern with it. "No, I'm busy." "No, I have other plans." "No, I'm not interested." He's making me nuts.

JEREMY How long has it been since he's asked you out?

DAVID Twenty days. (Looks at watch.) Almost. Who does he think I am?

JEREMY Perhaps, an attractive, articulate, emotionally secure if somewhat needy academic who looks sexually repressed enough to become volcanic under the right circumstances. (Looks at David.) Nah. I wonder if he owns a red light bulb.

DAVID I haven't asked you about those marks on your wrists.

JEREMY Lorenz and I got a little carried away. Apparently he has Bull Durham fantasies too. Among other things. He wrote this poem for me. It was beautiful. A little cheesy, butŠ For me. He loses his temper sometimes, so suddenly. He accuses me of trying to control him. He says I think I can manipulate him because he's smaller. He's never actually hit me. Not with his fists. He's thrown me around. But if he wanted to hurt me he could; very easily and he knows that. He's almost cautious in his brutality. One time he hoisted me over his head. I was scared, but later when I thought about it, it really turned me on. After the outbursts, he sobs and begs for forgiveness and we have rough sex for hours until he goes to sleep. I really can't enjoy it then because I'm emotionally and physically sore from the argument. He can't sleep unless I'm in bed with him. Then, he looks so peaceful, I forgive him. It's not like it happens that often either. No more than two or three times a month. The rest of the time he's wonderful. I miss him.

DAVID I really wish I didn't understand. Before Matthew, there was a guy. Joe Banes. He wasn't physically abusive; just very manipulative. I wonder if I was really in love or if I just though I was because he told me so. I never had those doubts with Matthew. He wouldn't let me. Sometimes, I'll get this feeling: you know how you can tell when someone's about to lay their hands on you. For a moment. I think I hate it, but I'd be completely lost if it stopped.

JEREMY He gave great hugs. Put on your sunglasses. It's coming back out. (David does.)


Scene 13 SETTING: David and Matthew's house, USC. SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "JUNE 11, 1985" AT RISE: DAVID sits and watches MATTHEW recite a monologue.

MATTHEW (not quite right:) "Don't I still love you, Ivan, me, pal. I know Nellie's still your wife. Not a moment passes that I'm not reminded of how wonderful she is. She has the sweet dispostion of a cow. She's proud as a rooster, graceful as a horse, stubborn as a goat and has this thing for mud. Though I think she'd rather sling it quietly than wallow in it; which I respect. Call me callous, but I think she's dying on purpose to keep you. I know she'd never do anything to hurt anybody; not intentionally. But if her hubby's faggot boyfriend gets upset while she struggles to keep her family together, amen." I'm not getting this, am I?

DAVID Don't worry; you will. All it needs is some bitchy righteous indignation. Speaking of which, Jeremy coming's up the walk. (exits)

MATTHEW With or without neanderthal du jour?

JEREMY (entering with DAVID) I heard that. So, David, congratulations. Or should I say Doctor Foraker?

DAVID After all this time, I'll settle for "Excuse me, Garçon." What brings you by tonight? I thought you-- (SFX: Phone rings.) I'll get it. (exits)

MATTHEW What's up? God forbid you bring good tidings. Boyfriend trouble?

JEREMY No, it's nothing like that. I don't know how to tell you this, butŠ Walter died. He hadŠ

MATTHEW I didn't even know he was sick.

JEREMY Neither did I. Actually, he wasn't terribly far along. But, far enough I suppose. Oh, God. Matthew. Walter committed suicide. Arthur was with him these past few years. He knew the two of you were close, but he didn't have your new number, so he called me. I don't know how he did it. I couldn't ask.

MATTHEW Oh my God.

JEREMY I hate to bring this up now, butŠ There's no delicate way to ask you this, so please don't be mad. Remember when we ran into him at that party back inŠ eighty, eighty-one, whenever. We were really drunk.

MATTHEW Yeah. He was upset. He just broke up with someone. Why?

JEREMY Well, Arthur says that Walter never mentioned anything. But, it always bothered me. Shit. Okay: you told me that night you'd meet me after you were done talking to Walter.

MATTHEW And I passed out and blew you off. We argued about this years ago. Why are you bringing it up now?

JEREMY Did you sleep with him that night?

MATTHEW No. I mean, we necked. But, I don't thinkŠ

JEREMY Can you tell me that it definitely did not happen? (pause) I don't mean to come here and bring bad news and cause a panic. I'm just worried, okay.

MATTHEW Walter would have never--

JEREMY I know. But who knew any better at the time?

MATTHEW Okay. If it'll make you happy, I'll get a blood test. Don't mention this to David. Not tonight. I don't want anything spoiling his big day. There might be nothing to worry about.

DAVID (entering) That was some of our colleagues from work. They're down the street at the R&R waiting for us. Want to go celebrate?

MATTHEW I want to get this scene right first.

DAVID We don't have to do it tonight.

MATTHEW Just a few minutes. Jeremy, we'll meet you there.

JEREMY Right. (exits)

DAVID What's wrong?

MATTHEW Nothing. I'm just trying to be a perfectionist.

DAVID Okay, then. Let's perfect.

MATTHEW (almost inaudible) You know I love you.

DAVID (from script) "I still--"

MATTHEW (right on) "Don't I still love you, Ivan, me, pal. I know Nellie's still your wife. Not a moment passes that I'm not reminded of how wonderful she is. She has the sweet dispostion of a cow. She's proud as a rooster, graceful as a horse, stubborn as a goat and has this thing for mud. Though I think she'd rather sling it quietly than wallow in it; which I respect. Call me callous, but I think she's dying on purpose to keep you. I know she'd never do anything to hurt anybody; not intentionally. But if her hubby's faggot boyfriend gets upset while she struggles to keep her family together, amen."

DAVID Perfect.

MATTHEW Great. Lets go.


Scene 14 SCREEN: White letters on black background. "June 14, 1992" SETTING: The set indicates that David now lives in a small apartment, USL. AT RISE: Lights come up on the set. After a second, David and Jeremy enter.

JEREMY I like it. It's tragically small compared to the house, but it's okay. Too bad I couldn't afford your old place. Lorenz would love it. Do you know what it's like to have a flesh and blood miniature of Michaelangelo's David beg you to take him back? I know you don't like him, but you didn't see him at his best. He was in one of his moods, which - I must add - he is taking medication to control.

DAVID Prescribed medication?

JEREMY No, heroin. But, he's in therapy. He said he was doing it for me. I was flattered, but I told him "Do it for yourself. Then see if you still want a relationship with me." There he was, right in my Svengali mitts, so to speak, and I encourage him to become self actualized. Am I nuts? He wrote me another poem. It's beautiful. It's also twenty six pages long in twelve point Palatino type, which we all know is my favorite font. He's such a size queen when it comes to some things. It makes me really self conscious. But, anyway, we're just talking. We're saving the good stuff for later.

DAVID Oh, look what I've received in the mail. (Gets a small stack of postcards.) Neil keeps mailing me "wish-you-were-heres" from everywhere. And look where he's been. Switzerland. Norway. Greece. I hate extreme weather. Why would he think I'd want to be in any of these places, except Greece? Even then, nude beaches with black sand are only so alluring. Sometimes, I actually consider doing it. I figure, I can if I want to. I can want to, now. Then, I feelŠ unfaithful. What is the appropriate mourning time? Molly Dodd says, one hundred eighty nine business days. Which reminds me: read this card.

JEREMY "These are Alps."

DAVID He knows favorite lines from favorite television shows. I've never told him any of this. It's like he has some odd insight into my preferences and I feel violated. Then, he suggests something completely out of the question like badminton and I feel annoyed.

JEREMY Well, God forbid you let him get to know you.

DAVID I just don'tŠ I'm afraid thatŠ What if I do connect? What if it's the next great love of my life? Great. What happens when I get sick? Can I expect him to be able to deal with this the way Matthew and I did? Can't we just accept that I'm not ready for anything like this and leave it at that? For now, anyway. I do things we used to do together and it's like I've always done them alone. What am I going to do if I start forgetting him for a day, even days at a time. What does that say about me?

JEREMY Just because you aren't remembering someone constantly doesn't mean you've forgotten them. He meant the world to me, too. I go through my days and let him sneak up on me. It's more like a pleasant surprise than a duty. Sometimes the memories aren't so great. Arguments will pop up. The time we weren't speaking and I felt absolutely alone. I'm reliving these events like I was in Slaughterhouse-Five. And when I don't, it's okay.

DAVID That's different. You weren't in love with him.

JEREMY Let's just go. I'm starving.

(They exit.)


Scene 15 SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "AUGUST 4, 1984." SETTING: David and Matthew's house, USC. The stage can be bare except for a stack of boxes indicating they've moved. AT RISE: Lights up on David, Matthew and Jeremy sitting on the floor, leaning on a stack of boxes. Matthew is in the middle with one arm around David and the other behind Jeremy. They are exhausted. Jeremy has a distinct bruise on the side of his head.

DAVID I can't move.

JEREMY I don't remember how to move. Oh, you'll be glad to know I've stopped seeing Angus. I told him I didn't deserve this abuse and he had to find another victim. Then, he hit me. I locked myself in the bathroom where I cleverly hid the cordless handset and called the police. They got there seconds after he broke down the door. I had minor contusions, then. Now, I have a restraining order.

MATTHEW If he bothers you, call me. I'll shove his head through another door.

JEREMY Thanks, Bruiser. I'll keep it in mind. Well, I've gotta run. I have a session. (Kisses Matthew on the cheek and waves to David who waves back. Exits.)

DAVID You know he's going to take that brute back.

MATTHEW I know. We'll deal with it later. For now, I have something much more pleasant in mind. (Starts getting amorous) I was thinking. Today is a milestone: the first time either of us lived with someone we loved. In a place of our own. Where we don't have to worry about how much noise we make.

DAVID I could be persuaded to comply. Where did we pack the-

MATTHEW David. We're okay. We're practically married. We're both disturbingly loyal people. We have nothing to worry about. (kisses David's neck.)

DAVID I don't think, it's a good idea. It'sŠ UmŠ Oh, God. Matthew, stop. I mean, this is a mistake. It's definitelyŠ uhŠ On the other handŠ We areŠ And its not likeŠ ooŠ

MATTHEW (Kisses David on the mouth) I love you.

DAVID Don't we only hurt the one's we love.

MATTHEW Only upon request. (They kiss passionately and unfasten clothing.)


Scene 16

SCREEN: White letters on black background. "July 4, 1992" SETTING: Restaurant, DSL. An intimate table is set. AT RISE: DAVID and NEIL sit at the table talking jovially.

DAVID My family rejected me after the annulment. They'd spent a fortune on the wedding and the marriage lasted less that thirty six hours. They didn't even care that I was gay. (Pause) I can't believe I'm here. I've never been a dating sort. Even with the few men I've been with: I remember break ups, the relationship, the romance. I never remember how they start. Except forŠ How about you? What do you do when you're not influencing young minds?

NEIL This is embarrassing. I have this old electric typewriter up at the cabin. I go up there when I'm feeling lonely, or broke and lonely. I take a couple hours and I pump outŠ books. Historical romance novels. For Harlequin. Under the name Lucille Moorcroft. They stink and I'm ashamed of them. But it's what I do.

DAVID I have a collection of anonymous gay erotic paperback novels. If I keep your secretŠ You know, normally I hate beards, but I kind of like yours.

NEIL Thanks. I'm not crazy about them either. I had really bad acne when I was a teenager. It started to go away, but I spent my entire college career drunk, so it didn't. That's why I'm drinking this. In case you wondered.

DAVID I figured you just didn't like alcohol.

NEIL Au contraire! I just can't drink it. Let's say: we finish here, take a walk on the pier and watch the fireworks. Are you okay? (David nods.) Then, maybe next week, you can come to my place. I love to cook, even though I'm not extremely good at it. David?

DAVID I'm sorry. I really thought I could handle this. It's nothing you've done. I just can't stop making comparisons. You both enjoy things you're not particularly good at. I don't mean to be forward, butŠ He used to bite his fingernails; I noticed you don't. You love to cook; he loved to heat things up. You're hereŠ I'd love to walk on the pier with you, Neil. But I can't tonight.

NEIL The pier won't sink. Change of plans: I'll get the check. I'll take you home. We'll call each other.

DAVID Thank you. I feel that I'm disappointing you. You keep telling me you're an admirer. I don't know what to do with that.

NEIL Don't do anything. I get this feeling you're usually the person who supports everyone else. Well, you can take a break. I'm here.

DAVID Matthew had this sad expression in his eyes. Not much before, butŠ You have a very similar look in yours sometimes.

NEIL Do I? Maybe, I'll tell you about that someday.


Scene 17

SCREEN:Black letters on white background. "FEBRUARY 14, 1983" SETTING:Matthew's apartment, USR. The set is small and claustrophobic. There is also something cozy and romantic about it as well, but this effect seems added and not inherent. AT RISE:Lights come up on a very messy set. David and Matthew sit together. Matthew is fine, but David seems a bit tense.

MATTHEW Happy Valentine's Day. (Kisses David.) So, what do you want to do?

DAVID Matthew, we need to talk about this.

MATTHEW Okay? What's up?

DAVID Okay. What's up is this: we've been together five months. Great. We've made it to Valentine's Day. Wonderful. But, all this time, I haven't been sure if we'd make it to the next day. I mean, sure, this is the first time in maybe a decade I'veŠ well, in nine years that I've had someone today. Call me picky, but I need this to be important. I mean, to me it is. I want to say, "I want it to be but I'm not sure if it is," but it is regardless of what I want it to be, and even though it is what I want it to be to me, I don't know how it is to you.

MATTHEW Can you say that three times fast?

DAVID That's it! What are we doing? Are we doing anything? Do you know how much safe sex literature I've been reading since I met you? Trees are being slaughtered so that I know what the hell to do on a date. I feel that we've been setting a record for the world's longest series of dates. Sure, we do other things. And I love doing them. But I don't know if you do and that matters to me. I'm thirty one. Middle age is circling me like a vulture. I need to know if my bones are going to be the only ones it's going to pick at. I'm not sure if you understand this, but I have always been average.

DAVID (cont'd) I can excel at things I do, but the container itself is justŠ this. I won't be fifty for another eighteen years, four months and twelve days. Still, I have this creaky back and my knuckles crack like Rice Krispies. My wisdom teeth are gone, which is neither necessarily positive or negative but it lingers. I have this scar on my chest. I've wonder how you stand to be around me.

MATTHEW You're right. You're really gross. I guess I must love you very much to put up with you.

DAVID What do you mean?

MATTHEW I meanŠ I've spent most of my Valentine's Days alone. Or I was with someone who just wanted to be with anybody else. Now, I'm finally with someone I feel very strongly about. David, I think you're under some strange impression that I don't understand loneliness. The reality of the situation is: I don't feel lonely now, and I have no idea what to do. I look across the hall at Uncle Frank and Jeff. They've been together forever. I consider three weeks a milestone. When I look at you, I seeŠ Relax. I see someone has a lot to be confident about. Someone who sees the best parts of me past what I see in the mirror. I don't mind that you crack your knuckles. I don't care about some faded scar on your chest; it's the heart behind it that's important to me.

DAVID When you said you "feel strongly" for me, what exactly did you mean by that?

MATTHEW You can't say it first, can you?

DAVID I do that too often.

MATTHEW (Pause.) I love you.

DAVID (Pause.) Good. I love you, too.



Scene 18

SCREEN:White letters on black background. "SEPTEMBER 4, 1992" SETTING:David's office, DSL, from Scene 2. AT RISE:Jeremy and David rush around organizing books, files, etc., talking very quickly.

JEREMY Everything was going so well. Then, he has this seizure. I call the ambulance. They take him to the hospital. I hold vigil as they do blood tests. We find out he's been overmedicated. Of course, the first thing anybody thinks of is, "call a lawyer." He wants me to call my attorney. The only attorneys I know are on Thursday nights at ten. Do you want these stacked by course number or in the order you'll need them?

DAVID Course number. Who knows when I'll need them?

JEREMY Anyway, he was going to sue his psychiatrist. He goes to his shrink to complain. Next thing, no more lawsuit. Then a couple weeks go by and he's going three times a week. Yesterday, he drops the bomb. He has to find a new psychiatrist, preferably a woman, because he's fallen in love with the man he has. I tell him, "Don't you see this is just a ruse to avoid the lawsuit." He'll have none of this. Plus, he was extremely mellow. Had I known poisoning him was the key to his heart, I'd have done it. Lord knows, I wish I had. I'm okay now, though. I sobbed last night. Well, I cried. But, I didn't feel I cried adequately, so I watched Terms of Endearment. There, I'm done.

DAVID Me too. Yes! I no longer have anything to do until Tuesday.

JEREMY I have a plan: We'll go see Thelma & Louise at the Playhouse. Only this time, we'll rush out just as the credits start so we can watch self-satisfied wives leave with their castrated husbands. Lorenz hated that movie. Then, to celebrate anything we have to celebrate, we'll take each other out to that German restaurant you love. We'll order schnitzel.

DAVID Lorenz didn't allow you veal, did he? I need to go home first. Pick you up at six thirty? (Knock on the door.)

DAVID (cont'd) Come in?

NEIL (Enters.) Hi.

JEREMY I'll be going. See you later. (David nods. Jeremy exits.)

DAVID I really haven't been avoiding you, but-- I'm sorry; you go first.JEREMY I'm sorry I haven't called you-- Go ahead, I'm sorry.

DAVID WellŠ At least we've established it's been accidental. My family contacted me a couple weeks ago. It seems my sister knows someone who knew Matthew. She found out and told them. They felt bad and called me. We actually went to dinner once, but no one had anything to say. Since then, I've been burying myself in work.

NEIL I'm sorry things didn't work out.

DAVID Sometimes they don't. Thanks. You were sayingŠ

NEIL I've been busy with a friend. He's in an interesting situation. He's married and most of his friends are gay. His wife used to think this was cool, but now she's worried that he may be switch-hitting. He's not. Then they got into a big argument and she kicked him out. He was staying at my place, but he's gone now. He moved back home. She's with her parents in Canada. He's still a mess. He loves her very much. It's a shame.

DAVID Yeah. I've been hoping to talk to you sinceŠ But with everythingŠ What I'm trying to say is that I'd like to give it another chance. If you're interested, that is. I don't like messy endings. (Neil smiles broadly.) Well, then. I guess that's settled. When are you free?

NEIL Monday's good for me. You? (David nods.) Great.


Scene 19

SCREEN:Black letters on white background. "OCTOBER 9, 1982" SETTING:David's old apartment, USR. AT RISE:David moves and straightens things throughout the scene. Matthew stands next to him,observing.

MATTHEW Don't deny it. Admitting it is the first step to solving the problem. Face it. Deep down inside, you're a slob.

DAVID You think you read me so well, don't you? I'll have you know that as a child, yes, I was messy. I left drawers and cupboards open. I didn't pick my clothes off the floor. But, I knew what direction I was heading and I turned it around. So what, my things get a little cluttered. My life is a whirlwind and that's bound to create some confusion, so there.

MATTHEW So you're saying I'm right.

DAVID Go to-- OW! Oo. Shoulder cramp.

MATTHEW (Guides David to a sitting position and sits beside him. Starts massaging the cramped shoulder.) See how your body reacts when you try going against it's natural instincts.

(Matthew massages for a moment and starts kissing David's neck. Still from behind, while rubbing David's shoulder with one hand, Matthew reaches around David with the other and unfastens one of the buttons on David's shirt and reaches inside. David's eyes get real big for a moment and he tries to say something but can't talk. Matthew's other arm moves from behind David and reaches around his waist. David tries to squirm free.)

DAVID UhŠ UmŠ Matthew. Matthew, hold up. (Matthew freezes for a second and then relents.) I know it's been over a month. And I don't want you to think I'm frigid or anything. I'm justŠ Besides, I don't have anything here.

MATTHEW I brought it with me just in case. I know you're nervous about getting involved. You think I'm not? And I don't know where this is going or where I want it to. But, neither do you. I think we've been taking things pretty slow. Not that I mind. In fact, I enjoy this more. The encounters and weekends haven't added up to much. I know they worry you. They worry me, too. But we can work around them. Unless you don't want to.

DAVID I think I do.

MATTHEW Maybe I should come back when you know.

DAVID No. Please. I know I want you to stay.

MATTHEW Okay. SoŠ What do you want to do?

DAVID Are you hungry? I bought some of that chili. (Matthew shakes his head.) Ohhh-kay. How aboutŠ

MATTHEW (Puts an arm around David's shoulder, guides him back on the couch.) Why don't we talk about the things we'd like to do? How's that? For instance, I'd like toŠ I'd like to walk down the street with you and hold your hand, without anyone staring.

DAVID Me too. Let's see. I'd like to go on a picnic. We could lie together and look at the stars.

MATTHEW Then, I'd like to hold you close to me. Listen to your breathing. Be aware of the jealousy the part of me that isn't touching you feels for the part that is.

DAVID Ahem. Mm. I'dŠ Um. I'd like to go out for some ice cream. Real soon.

MATTHEW (whispering:) I know what I'd like to do with that ice cream.

DAVID Oh, God. You're not going to drop this, are you? (Matthew holds and kisses him again.) Evidently not. Well, I've never been seduced before. Not that I'm unseducible it's just. No one's ever bothered. (Matthew kisses him hard on the mouth.) Is my talking annoying you? (Matthew laughs.) Shut up. (David puts his arms around Matthew and they kiss.)


Scene 20

SCREEN:White letters on black background "September 7, 1992" SETTING:Neil's balcony, DSL. There are two chairs and a table set for a romantic dinner for two. The candles, however, are unlit. AT RISE:David and Neil dine together.

NEIL I was engaged several times. I never came all that close to actually marrying any of them. I'd somehow always manage for them to find me with some guy. I've never told my parents. They don't even suspect. They just assume I'm a hopeless bachelor.

DAVID Which is true, in a sense. I just wished it would have mattered to mine. I regret losing touch with my sister. She's married and has an eight year old daughter whose name escapes me. I want to say Emily, but that's wrong. Could I have some more ginger ale?

NEIL Certainly. (Get's a plastic 2-liter bottle out of an elegant ice bucket and pours.) Sorry this is all I have. It just didn't occur to meŠ I said I'd tell you about my melancholy streak. I'm in a good enough mood to talk about it now, since we're sharing. I started drinking when I was fifteen. My brother Brendan was killed in the war. My parents were devastated, butŠ very proud. I couldn't deal with it. Had I known better, I'd have become an expatriate writer, but I didn't learn about them until college. Then, there was the accident. I was with some guy and we hit a tree. He was in a coma for almost a month. I've tried to talk to him, but he's refused to see me. His name was Myron. He had a think Southern accent. I liked him a lot. (Pause.) SoŠ I hope the food's okay.

DAVID Oh, yeah. Great chili. (Pause.) I need to be very frank with you. I almost cancelled tonight. I was looking forward to it all weekend. I'm seeing Neil on Monday. Then, I realized what that meant.

DAVID (cont'd) You have to understand: Matthew and I met on Labor Day. September 6, 1982. (Pause) I started sobbing, which I hate to do. I kept thinking I couldn't go through with this. But in the middle of my ten-thousandth hysterical shudder it occurred to me. This is not what he wanted. (Pause) My father never understood how anyone who lost a mate could ever love again. To him it indicated their love was false and cheap. My mother agreed. She's always been so afraid of losing him, contemplating the aftermath is incomprehensible to her. It was to me, too. (Pause) Aren't we fun?

NEIL Laugh-a-minute.

DAVID I have to warn you, Neil: I take things extraordinarily slowly. People have complained. There is one other thing. And you must know this. (Pause.) I'm positive.

NEIL I figured. It doesn't bother me. I've been with positive people before. Not often, but it's happened. It bothered me the first time, butŠ I'm okay. And I thought you should know, too. (Pause.) Now that we have our future taken care of, what are we going to do about the present? There's always the pier.

DAVID And the million people on it.

NEIL They'll be gone by midnight. It's just a walk, David.

DAVID Nothing is ever "just" anything, Neil. (Pause) Sure. Why not.


Scene 21

SCREEN:Black letters on white background. "SEPTEMBER 6, 1982" SETTING:Labor Day Picnic, DSR. Music plays in the distance. AT RISE:Matthew enters with two beers and crosses to JEREMY.

MATTHEW Why's he in such a hurry?

JEREMY He probably thought you were Bruce. He said I have great legs.

MATTHEW They looked pretty good last Halloween when you went as Tina Turner.

JEREMY And I ended up with Ike. Not a pleasant memory. Thanks for that. (Matthew chuckles and puts his arm around Jeremy. Jeremy gets very uptight.) Wait.

MATTHEW For Christ's sake, Jeremy. I'm sick and tired of being told who I can and cannot touch and how. Does Bruce distrust you so much thatŠ? No. I refuse to have this conversation again. ButŠ This can't be what you want in a relationship.

JEREMY What more could I want? There's passion, suspense, excitementŠ Fortunately I also have good medical coverage. What do you want?

MATTHEW A responsible, yet fun individual who can take care of me and who'll let me take care of him. I read that in the personals. You're not drinking your beer.

JEREMY After last night, I don't ever want to drink again. I'll get over it. (Calls to David, who enters.) David, hello. Since when did you come to these things?

DAVID Hi, Jeremy. I normally don't. But this time I figured, what have I got to lose?

JEREMY Seriously. Oh, this is my friend Matthew Tamboro. Matthew, this is David Foraker. (Matthew and David shake hands.) You remember: We went to see David's play Unworshipped Deities that time with those people.

MATTHEW Oh, right. I remember liking it much better than the company I was with.

JEREMY (Notices something off stage.) I've got to run. Bruce beckons.

MATTHEW That's actually Bruce's name. (Jeremy gives Matthew a look and exits.) Are you here alone?

DAVID I don't know. Some friends brought me out here because I'm apparently taking too long to get over this relationship. Sure, it's beenŠ thirteen months and nine days, but it's not like that's a record. Then, they go off leaving me in a crowd of people I don't know. And IŠ

MATTHEW Hate being alone in a crowd. Me, too. Of course, we're not alone now. Want to go for a walk? Quick! Say yes before you think of an excuse not to.

(Pause. The lights cross fade to a large, bare spot, DSC, representing a clearing in the woods. David and Matthew enter it . The lights around them rise to a quarter as the scene goes on like eyes adjusting to darkness.)

MATTHEW So, Mikey McDaniel and I are sitting on his porch trying to rehearse this stupid play and, lo and behold, Greg O'Bannon walks by. Truly superior genes. So, I watch him, and then I MATTHEW (cont'd) notice Mikey watching, and then he notices me noticing him. There was a moment of tension. Next thing you know, we're in his basement, on the pool table, doing it. Badly. So. When did you lose the pink cherry?

DAVID The Pink Cherry? Compelling. OhŠ I was fifteen. I had this friend. Sort of. And weŠ HeŠ I was sort ofŠ manipulated into wanting to do it. We'dŠ I'm sorry.

MATTHEW That's okay. I didn't want to bring up anythingŠ It's okay. (Pause. Matthew looks at his watch.) Wow. It's pretty late. We should be getting back. When can I see you again? You look surprised. David. I don't spend three hours talking to someone in the woods and then never see them again. I'm not that kind of boy. Think about it. (Takes David's hand and leads him off into the darkness)

DAVID (Off stage:) Okay.


Scene 22

SCREEN:White letters on black background "October 31, 1992" SETTING:Lights rise on David's apartment, USL. AT RISE:DAVID primps nervously wile talking to JEREMY.

JEREMY He's never hit anybody outside of a boxing ring. Instead, he throws things onto the floor, but only unbreakable objects, just like the little girl in Wait Until Dark. The other night, we threw every unbreakable thing in the apartment across the room and then discovered one another in the debris. And get this. His stage name is Eduardo Cacciatore. But his real name is Bill Brown.

DAVID It's amazing what can happen at Jenny Craig. Do I look okay? Oh, God. I can't believe I'm nervous. All I keep thinking of is Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. What would he think about this? If he were still here, I imagine he'd be pissed. I was thinking about when we met. I was so inarticulate I can't imagine what he saw in me.

JEREMY Sincerity. He said you were able to talk about what was bothering you at the moment. You could share and not embellish. And you withheld things that were painful. He respected that because the people he's known always wore their personal suffering like a medal. He saidŠ He said he fell in love with you almost instantly. He told me this the next day. He was surprised you went into the woods with him.

DAVID That's cute. There I was going weak in the presence of beauty. He wasn't even aware of it. Of course, there was more to it. No one had everŠ grabbed my hand and ran with it. That astonished me. He astonished me. (Pause.) Is that him? (Beat) Neil, silly. He's here. Who did you think I meant?

JEREMY I don't know. Oh, well. I'm off. I've got a date with Eduardo. His place. He has all these shatterproof Rubbermaid products. I may not be into work for a few years. Tell Neil to get the muffler fixed. Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

DAVID This from a man who had a crush on his priest.

(Jeremy exits. David checks himself out in the mirror. Knock. David gets the door and lets Neil in. He has candy, flowers and a large brown bag.)

NEIL Hello, Dear. Wait until you see what I've got. Oh, these are for you. (Gives him the candy and flowers.) We haveŠ (Takes out a smaller bag from the big one and turns the big one over.) Bagels of all Nations: Israel and the U.S. And Fried Peking Dumplings.

DAVID Hi, Honey. I'm fine.

NEIL Stop me if I'm going too fast. But, I've been thinking. It's been two monthsŠ okay, you're right. Fifty nine-days since our first date. Well, since our first good one. I know we haven't seen each other much in the past few weeks. But, I've had time to think. I know. Alarm bells. Silence them. I'm not proposing marriage. I'm not proposing sex. I'm not objecting to it, mind you; but, I'm not proposing it. And I don't want things to go too fast, like my rate of speech right now. But, I do want a direction. I know how you feel. I'm confused too. But this is what I hope we both want. Let's eat, and then perform the romantic right of passage of buying clothes together. Seriously, David. I'm falling in love. I know I'm walking the plank when I say that. But I had to say it. You can have all the time you need to respond. But, I love you. (Pause) You're turn.

DAVID I love poppy seed bagels. And I love Peking Dumplings, especially the fried ones, even though the steamed ones are supposed to be better for you. And I still love Matthew. I may always be in love with him. He's on my mind a great deal still. The thing is, Mr. Neil McQuillan, so are you. I'm often reminded of how he'd do things like this all the time. It got on my nerves. I'd call him "inappropriately spontaneous." But his flaws weren't so tragic. His life was, but not him. To be honest, I was very afraid of you. DAVID (cont'd) I didn't want to say anything wrong. There seem to be so many chinks in your armor. But, I realize that there is strength in that fragility. There's this inexplicable fortitude. I wish I had it. I feel love for you, but of the wrong amplitude. Not to say that that won't change. In fact, I can feel it shifting inside my heart right now. But I also feel like something's giving way. And I'm scared because I'm not sure I'm ready to let it. But, if it's direction you want, I'd have to say we're headed the right way.

NEIL How do we proceed?

DAVID I'm open to suggestion.

(Pause. Neil grabs two bagels and hands one to David. Neil leads David to the couch. They sit. Neil puts his bagel aside and places one hand on David's shoulder. Neil closes his eyes and kisses David gently on one cheek, then again on the other. He then places a gentle kiss on David's lips. David shows the slightest response. Neil backs off. Pause. David warily puts his arms around Neil. He nervously kisses him on the mouth. The kiss becomes increasingly more passionate. David drops his bagel and collapses into Neil.)


Scene 23

SCREEN: Black letters on white background. "AUGUST 29, 1981" SETTING:A Party, DSR. DSC, there is a bed stacked high with coats. This will be obscured in darkness until otherwise noted. The rest of the stage is bare. Loud music plays. AT RISE:The lights come up low. Jeremy and Matthew enter. They are drunk.

JEREMY I don't know why I let you bring me here. I can hardly stand up. Oh, God. Everyone I've ever slept with is in this room. Every mistake I've ever made. I'm in hell.

MATTHEW Why don't you go mingle?

JEREMY Mingling in hell. That's wonderful. I can hear Barbra Streisand singing it. (sings:) "There's the one who bit me till I bled/Here's the one who shit in my bed/Who do I talk to?/I've got a rash and my mucous membranes are starting to swellŠ/'cause I'm mingling, mingling, mingling/Mingling in Hell." Wait, I did Liza Minelli. You knowŠ

MATTHEW (Noticing someone off stage:) What?

JEREMY Nothing.

MATTHEW (Nods and waves to the off stage presence:) Jeremy, I see someone I need to talk to.

JEREMY Where? Is that Walter? It is. Okay, tell him hello for me. Matthew. Before you go. I'm kind of upset still. I mean, I know you liked Felix and all. And he was nice and you think this is a mistake. But, it just wasn't there for me. You're not still mad at me are you? (Matthew hugs Jeremy.) Thanks. I'll see you later. I will.

MATTHEW I promise. (Crosses to the perimeter of the stage. Jeremy exits elsewhere as Walter enters. Matthew walks over to him.) Hi. How are you?

WALTER Fine. (Begins to tear up.) I'm sorry. I forgot who I was talking to. UmŠ I'm not so great. I can't discuss it right here. It's tooŠ

MATTHEW Listen, why don't we find someplace and talk, okay? We can go into the bedroom. Come on. (Takes Walter by the arm and leads him to the bed with the coats. As the reach the bed, a bleak reddish light glows down on them.) Okay. Now we can talk. What's up?

WALTER Well, you know me. Always making a big deal out of nothing. It's like this. Dylan and I had been seeing each other for about a year and a half. And I loved this guy. I haven't loved anyone this much sinceŠ Anyway, he tells meŠ He tells me he's been with other people. MenŠ WomenŠ Children, maybe, who knows? The point isŠ He tells me this becauseŠ He's been going to church. He feels this "burden on his soul." But, he's been fucking around the whole time weŠ Son of a bitch. Can't I find someone who can keep his dick in his pants? They've all done this to me. Except you. And you know what he said to me? He said, he wanted to be honest with me. He didn't tell me before because he was afraid it might hurt me. Isn't that a gas? (He starts sobbing and Matthew holds him.)

MATTHEW I know. Since we broke up, I haven't even had a relationship that's lasted two months. We almost had a year. That year keeps me going. I think of you at the strangest times. I'll be on the bus and I'll remember the time I fell asleep on the beach and you buried me and planted dandelions. Remember why we broke up? I was too insecure and you were too together. Look at us now. You know, in the past year, maybe longer, I haven't even slept with anyone. I'd pick up or be picked up. We'd start kissing. Then I'd think about trivial things like: what was this person's name again? Did they tell me or didn't they? Did they care to ask me who I was? I think I picked up a reputation for being frigid. Evidently, I MATTHEW (cont'd) started looking for something. I wonder if we're ever going to find it.

WALTER Kiss me. Please, Matthew. I need you to.

MATTHEW I want to. Things are justŠ It might confuse things.

WALTER They're confused already. Come on. We still love each other. We know what we're doing. Where's the harm? It's not like we're expecting anything more than to relive some pleasant memories. Kiss me. Right here. I feel so alone, Matthew. I came here because I need to be around people. I need to be surrounded by them, even when I'm doing the most intimate things. MatthewŠ (Starts kissing Matthew's neck and chest. His hands are moving where he knows Matthew likes them to be. Matthew starts to give in.)

MATTHEW I'm too drunk. (Walter puts his hand between Matthew's legs.) I was referring to my ability to make good decisions.

WALTER Then don't make any.

(Walter kisses Matthew hard on the mouth. Matthew hesitates but responds just as passionately. They collapse on the bed, knocking several coats to the floor. The red lights fade out on them with the music.)




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