Joe Joe Joe (script)

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Bare room with seafoam colored door at the back. JOE, mid-forties, two-day old beard, is dressed in white scrubs, sits on one side of a pressboard table. INNER VOICE could be a younger version of Joe and wears matching whites. He wanders behind Joe and upstage. MIMI LONDON is in a dress suit, sitting across the table from Joe. She had a clipboard of notes and doodles in the margins.



JOE
I had a good time on the outside-



INNER VOICE
-I say, not fidgeting even a little bit.



JOE
I liked wearing jeans.



MIMI LONDON
Would you like to wear jeans again?-



INNER VOICE
-Mimi asks. I tell her-



JOE
-Yes-


     Mimi makes a quick note.



INNER VOICE
-and she makes a note. It's a quick note. Probably only one word.



JOE
Did you write 'jeans'?-



INNER VOICE
-I ask, even though Mimi knows I know that I'm not supposed to worry about what other people write about me.



MIMI LONDON
Don't worry about what I write.-



INNER VOICE
-She says.



JOE
I knew you were going to say that-



INNER VOICE
-I tell her, and it's the truth. I did know.



MIMI LONDON
Joseph. How are you behaving right now?



INNER VOICE
I hate this game.



JOE
I'm not fidgeting.-



INNER VOICE
-I say, like I don't know the rules.



MIMI LONDON
Don't list how you're not. You're not a-



INNER VOICE
-She starts and I know what she's going to say. She's going to say 'pink elephant' so I say it first. I shout-



JOE
-Pink elephant!-



INNER VOICE
-As fast as I can without missing any syllables and Mimi stops talking for a second. It's just a second but it's a very sweet second. I think as many thoughts as I can before she starts talking again so that the second seems longer. I think maybe I am a pink elephant because Mimi lies so much.



MIMI LONDON
Joseph,-



INNER VOICE
-She says.



MIMI LONDON
Don't interrupt.



JOE
I didn't interrupt you.



INNER VOICE
Frankie talked about interruptions.



JOE
An interruption is like a road block. That's what Frankie says. And I didn't stop your sentence. I got it where it was going sooner so I'd like you to thank me,-



INNER VOICE
-I say.



MIMI LONDON
I'm not going to thank you for interrupting me,-



INNER VOICE
-Mimi says while her eyebrows cuddle up close to each other.



JOE
I didn't interrupt you. Frankie says an interruption is like a road block-



MIMI LONDON
Don't call Dr. Haocher 'Frankie,' Joseph. He earned the title 'doctor' and you should use it.



JOE
That was quite the road block, Mimi. I understand interrupting.-



INNER VOICE
-I say. Mimi isn't talking for another second. It's very nice. I touch the corners of my mouth to make sure they're not pointing up. For some reason that Frankie has never been able to explain to my satisfaction, if my mouth corners were pointing up, Mimi would be able to say that I was being sarcastic. I don't know what exactly mouth corners have to do with being sarcastic, but I know I'm never sarcastic. It means you've said something that means the opposite of what you said. It sounds complicated. It is complicated. Mimi says-



MIMI LONDON
-Joseph, how are you behaving?



INNER VOICE
She could call my hands touching the corners of my mouth 'fidgeting' so I put my hands in my lap.



MIMI LONDON
Joseph?



INNER VOICE
I know I'm being uncooperative.



JOE
I'm uncooperative-



INNER VOICE
-I say.



MIMI LONDON
Thank you.-



INNER VOICE
-Mimi says, which only makes sense if she thinks I've just apologized. I try to think about what I've just said to see how she could think that but she keeps talking. She says-



MIMI LONDON
-Now, you must remember to call Dr. Haocher, Dr. Hoacher and to call me Dr. London.



INNER VOICE
I do remember that that's what she wants, even though Frankie doesn't care. I never forgot, not even on the outside where I forgot so much of what they wanted. But 'Hoacher' is a stupid sound and 'London' is a place, not a name, and 'Mimi' and 'Frankie' are fun sounds, like 'Joe.' 'Joseph' is kind of a grating sound at the end.



JOE
But Joe is fun to say,-



INNER VOICE
-I tell her. She doesn't say anything and her eyebrows cuddle again.



JOE
Joe, Joe, Joe.-



INNER VOICE
-I say. Mimi lifts the top sheet of her notes and reads older notes.



     Mimi lifts a sheet on her clipboard and reads.



I know they're older because I recognize the doodles in the margins. The sheet she's reading from now is from three years ago when we first met. Frankie was there. He did most of the talking. He told her about what I think is fun and asked me if this or that was true.



JOE
This or that was true.-



INNER VOICE
-I say, because it was fun to think. It was fun to say too so I say it again.



JOE
This or that was true.



INNER VOICE
Mimi looks at me and her eyebrows are pointing up and her mouth's corners are pointing up too.



MIMI LONDON
Isn't 'doctor' fun to say, too? Say it with me. Doctor-doctor-doctor.-



INNER VOICE
-Mimi says. She says it again.



     Mimi shrugs her shoulders in sync with her speech.



MIMI LONDON
Doctor-doctor-doctor.



INNER VOICE
And each time she says the 'doct' sound she lifts her shoulders and each time she says the 'or' sound she drops her shoulders.



MIMI LONDON
Doctor-doctor-doctor.



INNER VOICE
I don't feel strongly about how 'doctor' sounds but I try out the lifting and dropping of my shoulders.



     Joe shrugs mechanically three times.



INNER VOICE
I've seen people lift their shoulders before, and of course they always drop them eventually, but doing it three times in a row actually is kind of fun. I keep lifting-and-dropping-and-lifting-and-dropping-and-lifting-and-dropping while Mimi keeps talking.



     Joe keeps shrugging.



MIMI LONDON
That's fine too.-



INNER VOICE
-She says.



MIMI LONDON
Now, Joseph, do you want to wear blue jeans again?



JOE
I don't mind-



INNER VOICE
-I say with the lifts-



JOE
-What color.



MIMI LONDON
Well, would you like to wear them again?



INNER VOICE
I nod between a set of lifts.



     Joe nods.



MIMI LONDON
If you want, Joseph, Joseph, stop. Stop that. Listen closely.



     Joe stills himself.



INNER VOICE
I stop the shoulder lifts and take a moment to add 'shoulder lift sets' to my mental list of fun things I can do whenever I want. I don't want to forget it.



JOE
I'll remember.-



INNER VOICE
-I say.



MIMI LONDON
That's very good! And very important. If you want to wear jeans again, you have got to behave, just like you did before we let you go outside. I know you can do it because you learned how to behave before. It took a long time but you got there. Hopefully we can get you back faster this time. Do you want to go outside again, Joseph?



INNER VOICE
Mimi asks. I want to lift my shoulders some more.



     Joe shrugs once.



INNER VOICE
But I understand that Mimi could call it fidgeting. I will wait till I'm alone to do it some more. I'm glad I have another fun thing to do.



MIMI LONDON
Joseph, did you like it outside?



INNER VOICE
Outside was fun but it was also very complicated. I liked not having to answer questions all the time but when I did have to answer a question, I usually didn't understand it.



JOE
I don't like to answer wrong.



INNER VOICE
Outside, people do all kinds of things when you answer wrong. Sometimes they stare at you and sometimes they yell-



JOE
Whaaat?!



MIMI LONDON
Try to answer me, Joseph.



INNER VOICE
But not answering at all is worse, I guess.



JOE
Lauren hated when I answered wrong but hated it more when I didn't answer.



MIMI LONDON
Yes, your sister is worried about you. It was hard for her to help you. Do you know why?



INNER VOICE
She was always asking what I wanted.



JOE
I didn't want to talk.



MIMI LONDON
That's a big part of it. If you want to go outside again, you have to be comfortable with talking to people, especially your sister. She wants to take care of you. Did you like living with her?



INNER VOICE
Lauren smiles so wide. She said I was funny.



JOE
I liked hearing her laugh.



MIMI LONDON
Good. That's good.



INNER VOICE
But she cried more than she laughed.



JOE
She cries.



MIMI LONDON
Oh, Joseph. You have to be fair. She was frustrated. You can't go days without speaking if you want to live with her. That's why she called Dr. Haocher and I.



INNER VOICE
She cried on the phone and then I had to put the whites back on.



JOE
Whites don't fit like jeans.



MIMI LONDON
We're talking about what your sister needs.



INNER VOICE
Jeans don't need a tie to stay up. Jeans have texture. The whites are smooth like tile and pressboard.



     Joe feels the pressboard table.



MIMI LONDON
Do you want to go outside again, Joseph?



INNER VOICE
Mimi asks. This is a new game. Outside is jeans and Lauren's laughter, but such confusing questions-



JOE
The questions are just as confusing inside, now.



MIMI LONDON
Answer me, please.



     Joe puts his head on the table and feels the pressboard with his cheek. Inner voice pets his pant legs.



INNER VOICE
Smooth isn't so bad.



MIMI LONDON
Joseph.



INNER VOICE
Can't I just stop talking?



JOE
Yes, please.



     Inner Voice sits on the ground behind Joe and leans against his chair. Joe pets the table with both hands.



MIMI LONDON
That's good. That's very important. Remember that that's the goal. You want to get outside, you have to relearn how to behave. You can't be uncooperative. You can't fidget all the time. If you want to be outside, you certainly can't go days without talking.



     Joe pauses in petting the table. Inner voice inspects his pant leg. Beat.



     Joe starts petting the table again.



MIMI LONDON
I'm going to have to tell Dr. Hoacher that you've regressed rather significantly, but I know you can get better again. If you want to.



     Beat.



Right. Ok. That's enough for now. I'll be recommending that you stay for at least another week. Probably longer. Your sister will visit soon, I'm sure. When she comes, you have to talk to her, and nicely.



     Mimi stands, goes to the door and opens it. Two orderlies enter and guide Joe away. Mimi follows. Inner voice stands after they've exited. He chews his bottom lip and pets the pressboard table.



     Blackout.


     End.

Created: Mar 07, 2014

Tags: play, story, theater, dialogue, hospital, script

Peasant Document Media