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BLACKOUT by Lawenda Jones


(The place is an empty elevator. The doors roll open and three people get in, two men and a woman, all dressed formal- ly. CHRIS pushes the L-button for the lobby.)

(There is an uncomfortable moment of silence as the doors roll shut and the elevator begins to move.)

BRITAIN Do you even care?

CHRIS (Mumbling) What are you talking about?

BRITAIN You know exactly what I'm talking about! Whitney. The girl you supposedly love...

DEAN (Interrupting) Don't start, Britain.

BRITAIN Very typical of you, Dean. But then, she talked to you. I still have no idea what happened.

DEAN And it's none of your business anyway. Besides, under the circumstances...

BRITAIN What circumstances? Him? (Indicates CHRIS) I cannot just walk away and pretend nothing happened. I want some answers, Chris.

CHRIS (Angry) Yeah? Well did it ever occur to you that I don't have any?

BRITAIN I find that very hard to believe.

CHRIS (Exploding) You would! You always take her side anymore - why am I even surprised?

DEAN Can't this wait until we're downstairs and outside?

BRITAIN Butt out, Dean. It's not like you give a shit. It's one less tuxedo for you to rent.

DEAN Okay, that's enough. We're all friends, remember? If Whitney knew we were doing this it would just upset her more.

BRITAIN I don't hardly see how she could get any more upset. She shattered three of her Baccarat glasses, for God's sake.

CHRIS And you draw conclusions as usual. I don't wanna hear another word about tonight, okay? Because you - don't - know.

(There is a terrible grinding sound as the three are plunged into darkness.)

DEAN Oh shit. What happened?

BRITAIN (Sarcastically) Well my best guess is that the elevator just died, but since Chris has deemed me unfit to judge any situation, I guess I don't know.

DEAN Why don't you stop arguing and push the emergency button?

CHRIS (Irritated) Well since I can't see to scratch my balls how do you suggest I find it?

BRITAIN (Sarcastically) Use that obnoxious cigarette lighter you carry, Ace.

(CHRIS flicks on a Zippo and pushes the emergency button. Nothing happens, not even an alarm sounds.)

CHRIS No good folks. It doesn't work. (Puts lighter out)

BRITAIN Wonderful. Now what do we do?

DEAN (Matter-of-factly) Nothing. Someone will notice that the elevator isn't working and call the desk.

BRITAIN Unless it's stopped for some other reason.

CHRIS (Smartly) Like what?

BRITAIN Like if the building's on fire.

DEAN The building is not on fire. There aren't any alarms going off, Britain.

BRITAIN Well maybe they don't work either! I'm not just gonna sit here and wait to find out. Especially with him.

CHRIS (Snidely) I take it you mean me. That's great, Britain. Why don't you climb out the roof and shimmy down the cable? We're only stuck somewhere between the 10th and 15th floors. You can make it. Go ahead.

DEAN God Chris - you're as bad as she is! Knock it off. No one's going anywhere - just accept it. We're all stuck here for a few minutes. Relax. (Offhandedly) Meditate or something.

BRITAIN Yeah Sport, meditate. Ask for forgiveness.

CHRIS You're a real bitch, you know that? I didn't do anything! I didn't break it off! She did, okay? Tonight! I don't know why. I don't know.

DEAN (Tiredly) There, are you happy? Now you've upset Chris. Just stop, Britain.

(There is a moment of silence, and then shuffling sounds as BRITAIN feels her way around to the doors. She pounds on them, yelling help phrases. Then just as abruptly stops.)

BRITAIN (Impatiently) I think I deserve to know what happened.

DEAN Can't you respect Chris's feelings enough to shut up?

(There is a long uncomfortable silence.)

BRITAIN (Relenting) I'm sorry, Chris. I'm a little freaked out here, that's all.

CHRIS (Softly) How do you think I feel? I told you, Britain, it came out of nowhere. One minute we're fine and then she just looks up and crushes my whole world. No warning, no explanations, no nothing.

DEAN You don't have to talk about it, Man.

CHRIS I don't have a whole helluva lot to talk about. You talked to her more than I did.

(DEAN absently begins hammering on the wall of the elevator with the flat of his hand. He turns and kicks the wall for a while as well, but says nothing.)

BRITAIN Maybe something set her off and she over-reacted.

CHRIS I wish I could believe that, Britain. But... There was something in her eyes. It was like she was so far away...

BRITAIN She wouldn't say anything about why?

CHRIS It almost seems like it didn't happen. Like it was a dream, you know? She just looked up at me and said, "The wedding's off, Chris." Just like that. I can see her lips forming the words but I can't hear her voice saying them. I can hear my own voice say them, but I didn't. She did.

(A few seconds of silence, then BRITAIN commences to pounding on the doors and calling for help again. She stops and takes a deep breath.)

BRITAIN (Bravely, as if she were afraid) If we were at my apartment we could use the emergency phone. All the elevators have one. But this building is older than dirt. I'm surprised they even have running water here.

CHRIS Yeah, if we were at your apartment maybe I'd know what the hell was going on with my life.

(There is a faint sound of thumping footsteps and loud voices that are unintelligible, coming from somewhere above them.)

DEAN What the hell is going on out there?

BRITAIN It doesn't sound as bad as the kitchen did. You know, I wouldn't have even gone in there if she hadn't smashed those glasses. I thought they were killing each other.

CHRIS I don't know what was with her. She tells me the wedding's off then runs into the kitchen like I'm gonna hurt her or something. You two are sitting there looking at me like I'm some kind of a disease. I had to go try to talk to her. How was I supposed to know she was going to let fly with some crystal?

DEAN (Knowingly) But she didn't throw them at you.

CHRIS (Suspiciously) How do you know?

DEAN She told me she didn't.

BRITAIN Well they sure as hell got broken somehow.

CHRIS (Listening for a moment to the still present sound outside the elevator) She dropped them. One at a time. She was kinda crying, and she looked up at me and said, "See? I let go of everything good."

BRITAIN I just couldn't handle listening to it. I had to make sure you two weren't spilling blood. I shouldn't have interfered. Not that it mattered much.

DEAN I thought everything was great at the dinner. I mean, the rehearsal went okay, and you two were getting along... Jesus, Chris, your parents even managed to speak to Whitney's. I was all ready for there to be some kind of problem, but nothing happened.

CHRIS (Wryly) Yeah, I guess it was just too good to be true.

DEAN Maybe we shouldn't talk anymore about it.

(DEAN once again begins hammering on the elevator wall, but now he yells and for help as well.)

CHRIS I just wish she would've talked to me, told me something. Anything. She just kept saying all that weird shit that didn't make any sense to me at all. How she lets go of everything good and how we've just been fooling ourselves. How she knew that she wasn't good enough for this... It was really ridiculous.

BRITAIN (Uncomfortable) I hate to ask, but do you think maybe your mom said something to her? I mean, don't get mad, but that...

CHRIS (Interrupting) I know, sounds like something my mother would say. Mom didn't even go near her. I was ready to take the flak for Whitney getting ignored. I dunno, I was with her all evening and I never saw Mom get within four feet of her.

BRITAIN Are you sure you didn't say something that upset her? She's very sensitive to any kind of criticism, Chris.

DEAN (Irritated) I think he knows that, Britain. They have been dating for five years now.

BRITAIN (Equally as patronizing) And we've all waited for them to finally break up. Jeez, Chris, how many fights have you had because you said something in jest and Whitney took it seriously?

CHRIS (Sullenly) I don't know.

BRITAIN Yeah, well neither do I, because there's too many to count. What about the time you told her you wanted to girlfriend-swap with Dean? That one nearly caused World War III.

DEAN (Jokingly) Hey, at the time it wasn't a bad suggestion.

CHRIS (Smiling) Wasn't bad for who?

DEAN Sandy wasn't that terrible.

CHRIS It definitely would not have been an equal swap.

DEAN (Honestly) Well, no man, Whitney's the best.

BRITAIN (Groaning) Don't tell me you guys are gonna sit here and compare notes, please.

CHRIS No need to compare. I always got the better girls.

DEAN (Slightly sinister) Yeah, but you were never any good at keeping them, were you?

(There is a moment of total silence. Even the external noise seems to be gone.)

BRITAIN (Softly chiding) Now which one of us is being cruel, Dean? Me? Or you?

(There is no response. A dull red light flickers and comes to life on the elevator ceiling.)

DEAN (Looking up) What the fuck?

BRITAIN See if the emergency button works.

(CHRIS pushes the button again, but still there is no response. He sinks down to the floor, draws up his knees, and puts his head on them. BRITAIN pounds on the door a little, but when nothing happens she drops her arm disgustedly and gives the doors a kick for good measure.)

BRITAIN Well. At least we can see each other.

CHRIS (Not raising his head) Great.

DEAN I'm gonna make a suggestion, okay? Why don't we stop talking about this whole mess? None of us knows what's going on, so let's just find something else to discuss until someone gets us the hell outta here.

(There is no reply from CHRIS, who is still sitting in the corner. BRITAIN kicks off her heels and drops to the floor in a very definite unladylike fashion.)

BRITAIN So what do you suggest we talk about? Since you don't want any fighting you're gonna hafta limit the subjects. I mean, we all know we can't discuss politics since you dislike the fact that I'm a nationalist. We can't discuss religion because I'm liable to kill you both, and we can't talk about culture because Chris doesn't have any. What's that leave us with?

DEAN You are just not gonna be happy until you have thoroughly pissed me and Chris off, are you? Sometimes I wonder how we survived high school without killing you.

BRITAIN That's why I went far away to college, Dean. I knew I was an endangered species.

CHRIS Nothing bothers you, does it, Britain?

BRITAIN (Seductively) You know exactly what bothers me, Chris.

DEAN I think he was serious, Brit.

BRITAIN And he knows I was, too. We've got that bond, don't we, Chris?

CHRIS (Looking up) Sometimes I wonder, Britain.

(BRITAIN stands and goes to him. She sits against him and runs her fingers through his hair.)

BRITAIN Wonder what, Chris? What might've been? Or what never should've been at all?

DEAN As good of a friend as you claim to be of Whitney's, I can't believe what I'm hearing.

BRITAIN (Brushing her lips against Chris's cheek) Relax, Dean. Isn't that what you keep telling us? Relax. Whitney knows that Chris and I are special friends. And sometimes friends need each other.

CHRIS (Softly) I did need you tonight, Britain. And I'll be damned if you didn't make me regret it. Why do you always know where to hit me?

BRITAIN (Touching his face) I hurt everyone I love. You should know that by now.

CHRIS (Taking her hand) I don't have to like it, though. Don't you think there are times when I wonder? When I say what if?

DEAN (Looking away) Do you two really wanna drag this out?

CHRIS (Earnestly) But I do think about it. (Looking at Britain) Don't you?

BRITAIN (Pulling her hand away) Stop it. You know I'll cry.

CHRIS (Reproachful) You brought it up, Britain. Every time Whitney and I fight you bring it up. Why? To torture me?

BRITAIN (Angrily fighting back tears) Torture you? What about me? I'm the one that lost, remember?

CHRIS We weren't in love, Britain.

BRITAIN (Getting up and walking to the opposite corner) No Chris. You weren't in love.

(Silence. DEAN looks up and reaches to tap the red light. He gives the wall a half- hearted smack.)

DEAN It never changes, does it? No matter how old we get, none of us ever forgives or forgets.

CHRIS I didn't bring it up. It's not something I like being reminded of - especially after Whitney calls the wedding off two days before it's supposed to happen.

DEAN She doesn't know about you and Britain.

BRITAIN She doesn't know about any of it. It's my great, big, dirty secret, and it doesn't matter anyway. She won. I lost.

CHRIS Don't be angry with me, Brit. I'm sorry it ever came up. Come back over here.

BRITAIN I don't think so, Chris. I think I'll stay right where I am.

DEAN In five minutes you'll be back over there playing with his hair.

BRITAIN Yeah? Maybe I'm tired of it.

DEAN (Mockingly) I don't believe you.

BRITAIN I'm not gonna run after something that just gonna be snatched away. And I'd say the possibilities of that are pretty good, even if I didn't talk to Whitney tonight.

DEAN Why don't you just ask Chris whether or not he's gonna try to get her back?

BRITAIN (Snorting) I already know the answer.

CHRIS (Softly) I wish I did.



(Lights come up on the elevator. A large amount of time has obviously passed. All three sit in the cubicle, mussed and sweat- ing. BRITAIN has stripped down to her bra and panties, but wears DEAN's suit coat. DEAN and CHRIS are wearing only their pants.)

BRITAIN (Loudly) I have to pee.

DEAN Ah ha. I told you not to drink at dinner. Next time you'll listen to me.

BRITAIN How long have we been sitting here?

DEAN (Checking watch) What time did we leave Whitney's?

CHRIS About ten.

DEAN Then we've been holding court in this lovely box for four hours.

BRITAIN It seems like it's been four years.

CHRIS (Looking her up and down) And it's beginning to look that way, too.

(BRITAIN picks up one of her shoes and tosses it at CHRIS's head. She misses and it smacks the wall harmlessly.)

DEAN Go ahead, Chris. It's your turn to bang and holler.

CHRIS I'm too hot and tired to bang and holler. Britain, you bang and holler.

BRITAIN If I bang and holler anymore I'll lose my voice. Besides, I have to pee.

CHRIS (Brightening slightly) Man, Dean, remember the party at your house when Taz was so drunk he couldn't find the bathroom? I thought you were going to kill him for pissing in the kitchen sink!

DEAN I almost did!

CHRIS That was the night he dropped an empty bottle of sloe gin on Whitney's head and she held you back from hitting him because she said she deserved it. God, I wasn't about to go after him, I was still too sober.

DEAN Oh yeah, you'd let little drunken old me take a slug at the state wrestling champ. I was a puny squirt in those days.

BRITAIN I don't want to hear it. I had to put up with Taz the next day, all hung over and sick. There I am, lying to my parents who thought I was at Whitney's house, cleaning up the mess you all made, doing the dishes in the sink before anyone even told me that that stupid sonofabitch had pissed on them, thank's a lot.

DEAN You always cleaned up after the parties, Britain.

BRITAIN It's beginning to dawn on me now. How'd I get stuck with that?

CHRIS Cause Sandy was always passed out and Whitney was always with someone, and Jill always had to go home.

BRITAIN Well, I'm resigning. Someone else is gonna hafta clean the messes up.

CHRIS It seems like Dean's doing it now.

DEAN Only when I have to, man.

BRITAIN You're so respectable, Deanie.

DEAN It only seems that way, I assure you. I am still the same guy who stole 50 street signs his first year out of high school.

BRITAIN And no one could ride in your car because you had all 50 stacked in the back seat.

CHRIS Well it didn't matter. You always drove everywhere, Brit.

BRITAIN This is also starting to dawn on me. What was I, a sucker for you idiots?

DEAN Price you paid for not being a teenage alcoholic like the rest of us. Automatic permanent designated driver.

BRITAIN If I remember correctly, you were the permanent not-so-designated-driver, Mr. Serve and Protect.

CHRIS And he paid for it. Does it still hurt when I say "Holiday Inn"?

DEAN (Groaning) My beautiful baby Trans Am. (Shaking his head) Dead-Dead-Deadsky.

BRITAIN I don't know what was worse about that party: watching Dean's T.A. burn to a crisp, or nearly catching pneumonia while we waited for Chris and Whitney to let us in the room.

DEAN That's a tough one. The T.A. burnt in 45 minutes flat. Chris and Whitney, however, let us stand in the rain for a full hour and a half.

CHRIS You guys were not out there for an hour and a half.

BRITAIN Oh yes we were. Don't try to deny it; we know that sex is the only thing that's kept you and Whitney together all this time.

DEAN Crude, Britain, really crude.

BRITAIN (Jumping up, going to CHRIS and playfully poking him) Go ahead, admit it. Whitney can't hear and we won't tell.

CHRIS (Primly) I do not fuck and tell. Unlike you.

BRITAIN I'm hurt.

DEAN Get over it. It's the truth. The whole world knows about your sex life.

BRITAIN (Catty) Then I guess they know a little bit about yours, too, don't they?

CHRIS Oh can we please not talk about this? I don't want to hear about it.

BRITAIN Well you were there, Christopher. New Year's at Woodsy's. You and Whitney were four feet and one bed away.

DEAN Enough. Not that it isn't a pleasant memory, but I have turned over a new leaf. I'm a model citizen now.

BRITAIN You know, the only thing that surprised me more than Whitney and Chris getting married was that you'd reformed.


BRITAIN Well, Deanie, you spent all four years of high school in an alcohol induced stupor. I figured you'd dig some really cool ditches or something. I never figured you'd go become a pig.

DEAN Thanks a lot.

BRITAIN No, don't get upset, I'm proud of you. Really. Maybe someday you'll make as much money as me.

CHRIS (Laughing) That was really cold, Britain.

BRITAIN Sorry. Couldn't help it. It comes with being a Vassar Girl. (Pause) God, I could probably really enjoy this trip down memory lane if I was wearing some decent clothes and had a trusty bottle of Asti with me.

DEAN Are you still drinking that shit?

BRITAIN Hey, Asti Spumante is one of the finer things in life. Don't you ever forget it.

DEAN Why would you wanna remember? I thought you had to pee.

BRITAIN Like a race horse on a rainy day.

CHRIS Dean, remember that Halloween party Darren had in his dorm room? The line to use the bathroom stretched all the way up the hall.

DEAN Yeah, I guess it was a good idea for his mom to put that plant in his window.

BRITAIN Don't tell me you defiled a house plant.

CHRIS Yeah, it died, didn't it?

DEAN Hell yes it died! You'd drank nearly a fifth of gin when you, uh... watered it.

BRITAIN Oh don't make me laugh! I have to pee!

CHRIS (Softly) I wish Whitney was here.

BRITAIN (Rubbing his back) I know you do. (Pause) So do I.

CHRIS I've really lost her this time, haven't I?

BRITAIN I don't know, Chris. I don't know.

DEAN You two sure know how to crush a mood.

CHRIS (Instantly angry) Gee, sorry Dean. What was I thinking? There's no reason for me to be upset. Hell no. Whitney only called our wedding off tonight - that's all. And I'm stuck in a fucking elevator and can't get to her to talk to her. I mean, you told me not to worry, and I hafta trust you cause you're the one she spent an hour talking to behind closed doors.

BRITAIN Come on, Chris. Whitney has always talked to Dean when something's upset her. Don't...

CHRIS (Standing and interrupting) Don't what? Ask what my fiance said? Bullshit. I want to know.

DEAN (Also standing) If Whitney wanted you to know, she would've told you.

BRITAIN (Moving between them) Guys, I don't like this. Why don't we all sit down and reminisce some more?

CHRIS Can it, Britain. If there's something going on I deserve to know. I'm the one marrying her.

DEAN (Exceedingly uncomfortable) God Chris, haven't you figured it out yet?

CHRIS (Suspiciously) Figured what out?

DEAN (Backing up against the elevator wall, sullenly) Nothing.

CHRIS No. Not nothing. I wanna know now.

BRITAIN Please don't argue. Dean, if you know something you might as well tell him. I mean, holding something back isn't gonna help the situation.

DEAN (Calmly, almost serenely) Really? Maybe I don't want to help the situation.

CHRIS What are you saying, Dean?

DEAN (Calm crumbling, looking at his feet) I think you know what I'm saying.

CHRIS (Totally disbelieving, slow) You're sleeping with my wife.

DEAN (Guilty, muttering) She's not your wife.

(CHRIS slides down the wall to the floor. BRITAIN goes to him and kneels.) BRITAIN Chris?

CHRIS (Hard) Why?

DEAN (Shattered, bitter) You were never there when she needed you, Chris. She... I... (Angry and upset, on the verge of tears) I love her. And she can't stop loving you. And you don't love her nearly enough.

CHRIS (Slowly standing) I don't know what to do.

DEAN (After a pause, totally miserable) Hit me. Go ahead. I know I deserve it. Just hit me.

CHRIS (Equally as miserable) I don't want to hit you.

BRITAIN (Concerned) Are you okay, Chris?

(BRITAIN turns to doors and begins beating on them, calling for help.)

CHRIS (Forcing himself to look at Dean) How long? How long have you been sleeping with Whitney?

DEAN (Puts his head in his hands) Long enough. Too long. She doesn't love me, Chris.

CHRIS She wouldn't be with you if she didn't feel something.

DEAN Yes, she would.

CHRIS (Angrily) How?

DEAN I think she used to pretend I was you.

CHRIS I guess this wedding really isn't gonna happen. BRITAIN (Too quickly) Maybe it's better this way.

DEAN I never meant for all this to happen, Man. You gotta believe me. She was just so lonely, so unhappy...

BRITAIN Whitney's as much to blame as you are.

CHRIS No, this is my fault. God, she must hate me.

BRITAIN (Hanging on him ever so slightly) She couldn't hate you.

CHRIS Britain... Get off me, please? Be my friend now, okay? You might be the only one I've got left.

(BRITAIN moves away quickly. All three people are as far apart from each other as possible.)

DEAN (After a long pause) Now what?

CHRIS I don't know. You tell me.

DEAN Do you love her?

CHRIS (After a pause, then softly) Yeah.

DEAN (Roughly, as though he might cry before he gets it out) Do you still want to marry her?

CHRIS (Sadly) I don't know.

DEAN (Head in hands) Shit.

BRITAIN (Nastily) But she doesn't know about us. You're just as guilty as she is.

(CHRIS again slides to the floor. He shakes his head and puts it in his hands.)

CHRIS It's over. (Balls his hand into a fist and punches the side of the elevator.) God damn it. Five fucking years.

DEAN (Quietly) She still loves you, man.

CHRIS She'd never take me back if she knew about... (His voice trails off)

BRITAIN Go ahead and say it, Chris. Britain.

DEAN You could tell her.

CHRIS I just wanted us to get married and be happy. That's all. And it's all shot to hell.

BRITAIN (Antagonistically) Well hey, Buddy, you've got plenty of time to think of a way out of this one. We're stuck in an elevator, remember?

DEAN (Softly) I'm sorry Chris.

CHRIS (Laughing bitterly) All those little upsets and problems. I thought the wedding would fix everything. How much dumber could I have gotten?

DEAN I'm not asking you to forgive me, Chris, but give her another chance.

(BRITAIN goes to DEAN and leans against him.)

BRITAIN You sure didn't plan for it to happen this way, did ya, Deanie?

DEAN I... I didn't plan anything. It just happened.

BRITAIN And all that time in the apartment you were sitting there, knowing that you were the cause of all that shit. How could you just sit there?

DEAN What else could I do, Britain? She couldn't handle it anymore. She called me Chris all the time, when she wasn't crying, that is.

BRITAIN But you let it happen, Dean. You could've stopped it.

DEAN You could've stopped it with him, too. Why didn't you?

BRITAIN (Looking at CHRIS) I loved him.

DEAN And I loved her.

BRITAIN Guess we do have something in common.

DEAN (Picking up her hand) What's that?

BRITAIN We're not very good at love.

(All three sit in silence. Distant sirens can be heard.)

CHRIS (Wistfully) She looks so beautiful in her dress.

DEAN (Softly. still holding Britain) Does she?

CHRIS (Standing) I gotta talk to her.

DEAN (Trying to be good-spirited) Now's your chance, Brit. Tell him to climb out the roof and shimmy down the cable.

BRITAIN Nah, I'm too hot and too tired and I have to pee. He's not going anywhere.

DEAN What about you?

BRITAIN What about me?

DEAN You going anywhere? BRITAIN Back to the city, maybe. Back to deadlines and assholes and a red-headed executive who wants to get in my pants.

CHRIS If we don't get out of here soon, I'm gonna go nuts.

BRITAIN If we don't get out of here soon, I'm going to piss on the floor.

DEAN Well, either of you are more than welcome to bang and holler, but I'm too goddamned hungry to waste the energy.

BRITAIN You're always hungry. I thought you guys were supposed to grow out of that.

CHRIS You mean you're not hungry at all? Jesus Britain, dinner was hours ago.

BRITAIN I'm trying to concentrate on not wetting my pants, okay? I can only handle thinking about one bodily function at a time.


DEAN Chris?


DEAN Am I still the best man?


CHRIS (Distantly) She cried all the time?

DEAN (Softly) She cried a lot, Man.

CHRIS (Nodding) Yeah. You're still the best man.

(There is a loud scraping sound.)

BRITAIN (Clutching Dean) Ohmigod. What was that?

CHRIS (Jumping to his feet, sarcastically) The cable's snapping. We're all gonna die. Someone's trying to get to us, Goof! Start banging so that they know we're in here!

(They all start pounding on the walls and doors. More noise, and then the doors roll open. DEAN grabs BRITAIN in mid-pound to prevent her from falling through the open chasm. The elevator is between floors.Two WORKMEN in white overalls squat down on the upper ledge. The visible corridor is very dark, with only the few red emergency lights glowing.)

DEAN Thank God. What the hell happened?

CHRIS We've been stuck in here for hours!

WORKMAN Blackout. Six city blocks went down. You're lucky we started on this side of the street. We got people in elevators all up the avenue. Come on up. Be careful.

CHRIS (Looking at BRITAIN) Lady's first.

BRITAIN When have I ever qualified as a lady?

DEAN Don't worry, he just wants to look up my suit coat.

(BRITAIN gathers up her clothing. CHRIS and DEAN boost BRITAIN up and out. They stoop to pick up their belongings.)

CHRIS (Guardedly) I'm going back to Whitney's.

DEAN (Also guarded) Do you want us to come with you?

CHRIS (Tightly) No. I think she and I should be alone.

DEAN (Softly) She really does love you, Chris.

CHRIS Sometime's that's not enough, Dean. And I gotta find out. DEAN You could wait until tomorrow. They'll have the electricity back on and the elevators will work.

CHRIS (Shaking his head) I gotta go now.

DEAN (Looking up) Man, we're on the 12th floor. That's eight flights of steps.

CHRIS (Smiling) Yeah, I guess I'd better run, huh?

(DEAN tosses his clothes up over the ledge and then forms his hands into a cup. CHRIS looks for a moment at DEAN's hands, then throws his own things up and puts his foot in DEAN's hands. DEAN lifts him out. CHRIS turns and reaches back down into the elevator and offers DEAN his hand. DEAN takes it, and CHRIS begins to pull him up.)