Leashes

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Here is the very first play I wrote for the stage. It actually was selected for a one-act festival at my university in Washington. Could work pretty well on screen as well.

Enjoy!

LEASHES:

CHARACTERS:
ELIZABETH
SCOTT
MILDRED
GEORGE
DONNA


SETTING:
A Dog Park. Poulsbo, WA. Present Day.
The scene takes place on 6 separate days. “Loud barking” signifies the transitions between the scenes.
Nothing important needs to be on stage so it can be bare or whatever.


Scene 1
(ELIZABETH and SCOTT stand center stage, gazing out at the audience. Elizabeth is wearing nice clothes. Scott is wearing a nice shirt.)

ELIZABETH
Can we go soon? It’s cold. I want to get home and get things set up for the party. There is a spot on the rug I still need to shampoo. Red wine is a pain in the ass to get out.

SCOTT
Let’s stay here another ten or fifteen minutes. Chelsea needs to run herself raged before the party. You know how weird she gets around people. And a surprise party? She’ll go nuts. If we can tire her out now, she can sleep through the party.

ELIZABETH
But, she doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Just running around all confused. Look at her! Those dogs are barking at her and she just sits there. Poor thing. It’s like she doesn’t know how to play. You should go play with her.

SCOTT
You’re the one who wanted one! Plus, she’s wearing that ridiculous sweater. Look at her try and take it off. (Calling.) No Chelsea! Leave it! I can’t believe you’re making her wear that.

ELIZABETH
If I remember right it was you who wanted to bring her home. AND who pointed out the costume in the store? You did. Are you going to do with all our kids? Just throw them outside and hope cars don’t hit them?

SCOTT
Yeah, and what will you do? Raise them on Twilight books? I’m sorry, but I want them to grow up on John Carpenter’s Vampires knowing that real vampires don’t glitter in sunlight. They Die! (Pause.) There, she’s playing! Man, what is her fascination with little dogs?

ELIZABETH
First off. Real vampires SPARKLE. Second. I’m being serious about this. And I want you to be too. It’s not like I’m giving you an old tomato.


SCOTT
A what?

ELIZABETH
You know. An old tomato? You give someone a final proposal about something. The old tomato is supposed to gross them out enough to accept the final conditions of your agreement.

SCOTT
I think you mean, ultimatum.

ELIZABETH
No. I mean an old tomato.

SCOTT
Boy, our kids are going to be great with words.

ELIZABETH
Whatever.

SCOTT
Elizabeth, we’ve had this conversation before. You know I want a big family. Do we have to talk about this now? We’re at a Park for crying out loud. Pretty sure we can continue this at home.

ELIZABETH
I just feel like you like the idea of having kids. But when it really comes down to talking about it, you change the subject.

SCOTT
I just like the way things are. I love you. I love Chelsea. But, I just feel like we should wait a little while longer to add more to the family.

ELIZABETH
But you said after we travel to Italy we would sit down and talk about it. Now, it’s a year later and you keep thinking of new things to hold us back.

SCOTT
Hey, I just thought you’d want to hit your 20th visit to Disneyland before you start-

ELIZABETH
-Stop throwing Disneyland out there. You know I can’t resist.



SCOTT
Look. I’m sorry. I just don’t feel like this is something we need to sit down and talk about. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool if we just let things happen on their own.

ELIZABETH
So, you don’t want things to change? Yet, you think it’d be fun to just sit back and watch things happen? (Pause.)

SCOTT
I know that you went to the doctor’s yesterday. (Pause.)

ELIZABETH
Oh, God! It’s Joshua’s Mom!

SCOTT
What? Mildred is here?

ELIZABETH
I just saw her SUV pull up.

SCOTT
Damn it. We should’ve left when we had the chance. Now, she’s going to come over here and poke her noise in our business. Should we make a run for it?

ELIZABETH
No! I told you we should have left. Crap. Now we’ll have to stay until she leaves. She’s so hard to be rude to.

SCOTT
Speak for yourself.

ELIZABETH
Don’t be rude, Scott. Let’s just speed the conversation, grab Chelsea, throw her in the back, and drive off.

(Mildred enters.)
MILDRED
Hellllllllooooooo! Good to see you Elizabeth! And you too Scott! Haven’t seen you out here in a while.



SCOTT
Yes. It has been a while.

MILDRED
And how’s work going for you? Still trying to fix messed up children with color water and chalk?

SCOTT
..Yes. But, it’s more of art therapy with kids. And they’re not all messed up.

MIDLRED
Must keep you pretty busy! And have you paid off your student loans??

SCOTT
Uh, that’s a little personal.

ELIZABETH
-Joshua looks well. Very energetic today.

MILDRED
Oh yes! He’s just excited to see his little girlfriend Chelsea-Ann!

SCOTT
..Oh look he’s prancing over to those birds.. (whispering to Elizabeth) Let’s go!

ELIZABETH
(To Scott.)
Let me handle this.
(To Mildred.)
It looks like she’s getting a little tired. She doesn’t seem to like wearing that sweater. We should get her some water and maybe a bath later. How’d she get so dirty, Scott?

SCOTT
I think I saw her playing in the mud over there.

MILDRED
Nonsense! She looks fine. Just in time to play with her boyfriend Joshua! (Calling.) Joshua! Go play with your girlfriend! OH! Joshua are you prancing over to your girlfriend? That should cheer like Chelsea-Ann up.


SCOTT
Joshua sure does love prancing.

MILDRED
That’s nothing compared to what he does every morning around breakfast time. He gets on his hind legs like a little man! It’s his favorite time of the day!

SCOTT
Yeah, Chelsea likes breakfast too. Not enough to do any tricks for it. She loves her naptime though, especially if we turn the heater on! Takes right after her Mom.

ELIZABETH
What are you talking about? I don’t do that.

SCOTT
Sleeps with her mouth open too!

ELIZABETH
Scott!

MILDRED
I can’t get over this beautiful weather! Lovely. Just lovely!

SCOTT
I here it’s suppose to get below freezing again. Possible snow in the forecast next week. Might be a while before we can come to the park again. Seeing how Chelsea hates the snow.

ELIZABETH
I guess we’ll have to crank up the heat and she can sleep all day.

MILDRED
Nonsense! Nonsense! It’s never too cold to come to this park. If enough people are here running around they can warm themselves up quick. (Pause.) Oh. OH MY! What’s he doing to my Joshua? Sir? Do you mind getting your dog to stop humping Joshua?

SCOTT
Doesn’t look like he wants to stop.

MILDRED
Sir! Control your beast of a dog!

(Mildred exits)

ELIZABETH
Finally. If I had to listen to her talk about Joshua and prancing again I would have lost it.

SCOTT
Too bad she’s over by the gate. We could make a quick exit.

ELIZABETH
That bulldog sure loves to hump.

SCOTT
Joshua seems to like it. (Pause.) I wonder if dogs can be gay?

ELIZABETH
I don’t think it really matters. Once the vet rips out their sexual organs I’m pretty there sexual orientation goes out the window. I’m just glad Chelsea’s the kind of dog that doesn’t need to hump everything in sight. (Pause.)

SCOTT
Do you want to talk about it now?

ELIZABETH
What?

SCOTT
You’ve been throwing up every morning for the past few days. Do you think I didn’t notice? I’m just mad you didn’t have me go with you?
ELIZABETH
I wasn’t sure how’d you react. Since babies haven’t been the hot topic of discussion.

SCOTT
It’s not my fault your brother got me addicted to Zombie Board games.

ELIZABETH
I wanted to wait till later.

(Elizabeth takes out a sealed envelope)

ELIZABETH
I’m six weeks.
(Loud barking is heard)
Scene 2
(ELIZABETH and SCOTT stand center stage, gazing out at the audience. Elizabeth is wearing some kind of Red, White, and Blue hat. Scott wears a nice button up shirt.)

SCOTT
I hate how people are starting to use fireworks earlier and earlier every year. I’ve heard fireworks for the past few weeks.

ELIZABETH
Let’s try to have a low key one this year. Last year was too crazy.

SCOTT
That should be easy. Seeing how you can’t drink.

ELIZABETH
Yeah…
(Pause.)

SCOTT
Do you want to talk about it?

ELIZABETH
What?

SCOTT
You know. The fight?

ELIZABETH
Not now. Not here.

SCOTT
Okay.
(Pause.)

SCOTT
I’m sorry.

ELIZABETH
Why?

SCOTT
What?


ELIZABETH
Why are you sorry? Because you know I’m pissed and want things to go back to normal?

SCOTT
I’m just. Sorry.

ELIZABETH
Let me be mad for a while.

(Firework explosions are heard.)

SCOTT
I can’t believe they keep letting M. Night Shyamalan make movies. An adaptation of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ of all things.

ELIZABETH
Worst 4th of July Ever. Movie wise.

SCOTT
That new Christopher Nolan movie should help throw in some originality to this summer of sequels and crummy adaptations.

ELIZABETH
‘Eclipse’ was good. Better than ‘New Moon’. You even said so.

(Pause.)

SCOTT
Where’s Chelsea?

ELIZABETH
She was just over there playing with Joshua and Trevor.

SCOTT
I don’t see her.

ELIZABETH
Shit. Will you go find her?

SCOTT
It’s a fenced park. I’m sure she’s not too far off. Just in those bushes.



ELIZABETH
What if she got out? These streets are dangerous. She could get hit by a car!

SCOTT
Relax. It’ll be alright. I’ll just call her. (Calling.) Chelsea!

(A sound of a fire cracker is heard.)

ELIZABETH
I don’t see her! Find her, Scott! Fireworks freak her out!

SCOTT
(Calling.) Chelsea!

ELIZABETH
You’re going to be some kind of father…

SCOTT
What?

ELIZABETH
You heard me! You don’t even care enough about our dog to go make sure she’s still okay.

SCOTT
She’s your dog! You’re the one who wanted one!

ELIZABETH
If I remember right it was you who wanted to bring her home.

SCOTT
Look! There she is. She’s fine.

(Pause.)

ELIZABETH
So, just because it was my idea to get a dog it’s somehow my responsibility to look after her?

SCOTT
Why are we going to argue about this now? I thought you wanted to ‘just be mad’ for a while.


(Pause.)

ELIZABETH
What is it going to be like when we have this baby?

SCOTT
Different.

ELIZABETH
And why is that a problem?

SCOTT
Because I don’t think we’re ready to be parents.

(Loud barking is heard.)
Scene 3

(Elizabeth puts on a witch hat. Scott unbuttons his shirt, revealing another shirt that says, “This is my costume” or something clever like that.)


(Elizabeth is showing a small baby bump.)


ELIZABETH
Can we go soon? It’s cold. And we still need to get things ready for the Monster Mash tonight.

SCOTT
Let’s stay here another fifteen minutes. We’ve got plenty of time.

ELIZABETH
I heard they’re working on a dog park in Kingston.

SCOTT
That’ll be nice. Closer to home.

ELIZABETH
Plus, I’m getting sick of everyone that goes here. You know they have a “Dog Park Counsel”?

SCOTT
What does a “Dog Park Counsel” do?


ELIZABETH
I don’t know. Gwen told me about some Doggie Costume Contest. Sounds ridiculous.

SCOTT
Says the owner of the dog in a bee costume.

ELIZABETH
You’re the one who pointed it out!

SCOTT
I believe I made fun of it with your brother.

ELIZABETH
Oh great. She’s trying to take it off. (Calling.) No Chelsea! Leave it!
(Pause.)

SCOTT
I still can’t believe you don’t like the name ‘Saturn’.

ELIZABETH
For the last time. It’s a stripper name! I don’t want our daughter growing up to be a stripper.

SCOTT
She could be the next annoying famous Disney Channel star!

ELIZABETH
Oh kill me if I give birth the next Hanna Montana.

SCOTT
‘Party in the USA’ is a good song. I’ll give her that.

(Pause.)

ELIZABETH
How was class last night?

SCOTT
It’s weird going there without you. Talking about the whole process. What changes.

ELIZABETH
At least you get to keep your private parts in tact. What’s worse is when they show you videos of it.

SCOTT
It’s weird how they split the parents up. Like they almost expect us to get a divorce. I mean, we’re doing the right thing. Therapy will be good for us. Get us ready for parenthood. God knows with my job I see what happens to kids that have crappy parents.
(Pause.)

SCOTT
I talked about how I hope you don’t raise our daughter on Twilight books last night. Everyone agreed.

ELIZABETH
Whatever. They’re great books!

(Pause.)

ELIZABETH
I know I’ve said this before. But, Thank You. For being so great about this whole class thing. It’s been tough keeping up with my new work schedule. Working in Television is such a bitch.

SCOTT
Not a problem. It’s nice that we get that discount since I work there.

(Pause.)

(sighs) Mildred is coming over.

ELIZABETH
Great. I thought she was just going to leave us alone today.

SCOTT
We can still make a break for it. (Calling) Chelsea! Come here, girl!
ELIZABETH
I don’t think so. Look. George and Donna are coming over too.

SCOTT
Damn it!

ELIZABETH
Great. Can’t wait to here all about what the ‘Dog Park Counsel’ is going to offer next.

(Donna enters)

DONNA
Happy Halloween! Are you entering Chelsea in the costume contest?

SCOTT
Uh. We can’t. Party.

DONNA
Oh, well. I wish you would. Chelsea looks so damn cute in her bumble-bee costume! Doesn’t she George. George? (Calling.) George!
(George enters.)

GEORGE
What?! Don’t call me over like a damn dog!

DONNA
Oh, George. Doesn’t Chelsea look cute in her Bumble Bee costume?

GEORGE
Sure.

DONNA
Did you even look?

GEORGE
Yeah. Cute. You entering her in the contest?

ELIZABETH
Unfortunately, no. Scott and I have a party to set up for. We should actually go. So, we can set up.

DONNA
How nice.
(Donna notices Mildred off stage. Begins to exit.)
Oh! Mildred! Hello! How’s Joshua today?

(She exits.)
GEORGE
Oh yeah. Scott mentioned that last night. A Monster Mash, right? Sounds like fun.

ELIZABETH
Last night?
SCOTT
Yeah. I ran into George at the Rec center.

GEORGE
Rec center? What are you talking about? We were at the bar last night.
ELIZABETH
What?

DONNA
(Off stage.)
George? Look how cute Joshua’s costume is! George? George!

GEORGE
(Calling) I told you not to call me like a damn dog!

(George exits)

(Pause.)

SCOTT
I can explain.

ELIZABETH
I really don’t want to hear it.

SCOTT
I’m sorry.

ELIZABETH
I can’t fucking believe you! You know how important that class was to me. And you just blow it off to go drinking! Unbelievable.

SCOTT
It was just-

ELIZABETH
How many times have you ditched?

SCOTT
Just this once. I figured it wouldn’t really matter. Plus, I work there. It’s not really a big deal.

ELIZABETH
Wouldn’t really matter? Not a big deal? You’ve got to be kidding me? It sure is going to matter when Saturn is having a piano recital and is expecting you to show up. It’s going to matter when she needs rides to school or home or the doctor or college. Or… I can’t even speak to you right now…

(Mildred enters)

MILDRED
Hellllllllooooooo! Good to see you Scott! And you too Elizabeth! Lovely day, isn’t it?

SCOTT
Sure is.

MILDRED
And how is our little Bumble Bee Chelsea?

ELIZABETH
It looks like she’s getting a little tired. She doesn’t seem to like wearing that costume either. We should get her home soon. Why is she dirty?

SCOTT
You know she loves playing in the mud.

MILDRED
Nonsense! She looks fine. Just in time to play with her boyfriend Joshua! (Calling.) Joshua! Go play with your girlfriend! OH! Prance over to her! OH! That’s my beautiful baby boy!

SCOTT
…unbelievable.
MILDRED
I can’t get over this beautiful weather! Lovely. Just lovely!

ELIZABETH
Yeah. I can’t remember the last time we had a dry Halloween in the Northwest.

MILDRED
Oh. OH MY! Joshua is meeting the new Great Danes! (Calling) Joshua!! Be careful! They’re much bigger than you!

SCOTT
Huh. Great Danes dressed as Hansel and Gretel. Interesting.

MILDRED
Oh my! I wonder if they’re here to enter in the costume contest.

(Mildred exits.)

SCOTT
Finally. I thought she’d never leave.

(Pause.)

SCOTT
Should we go?

ELIZABETH
No. I think I’d rather stay and talk to my best friend Mildred! Just to annoy you!

SCOTT
Why do you think there is a problem? I just needed a break. No problem!

ELIZABETH
There must be. Why wont you just tell me what’s going on?

SCOTT
Can we just go? We’ll talk about it on the ride back. Away from these people.
(Donna and George enter)

DONNA
Some people here are just plain bad parents!

GEORGE
Parents? What are you talking about?

DONNA
What? When you have animals they’re like your children. Therefore everyone here are parents. Dogs are the perfect practice kids.
GEORGE
Are you talking about that guy’s bulldog who’s humping the shit out of Gracie over there? It’s not his fault. Gracie is wearing a freakin’ Too-too for crying out loud.

DONNA
Still. (Pause.) OH! Elizabeth. I brought you an application for the Dog Park Counsel. I know we’d love to have you.

ELIZABETH
..Thanks.

SCOTT
Actually. We’re going to stop coming here. At least once that new dog park opens in Kingston.

DONNA
Oh? You hear that George?

GEORGE
What’s that?

DONNA
They’re leaving us.

ELIZABETH
Scott?

SCOTT
Well. It’s closer to where we live. (To Elizabeth) Let’s go.

ELIZABETH
I want to stay a little while longer.

SCOTT
No. I’m tired of this. We need to go home and talk about this. AWAY from here.

DONNA
Problems?

GEORGE
You didn’t tell me you were having problems.

ELIZABETH
Sorry. This is kind of private. It’s really none of your business.

DONNA
What?

(Mildred enters)



MILDRED
It amazes me how rude people can be when you’re trying to break up a sex party between your dog and theirs. Joshua was so traumatized by those Great Danes! Go on! Play with your little girlfriend Chelsea. I don’t understand why every new dog needs to sexual assault my little man.

ELIZABETH
..Scott and I were actually just leaving.

DONNA
Mildred! Can you believe Elizabeth and Scott don’t want to join the Dog Park Counsel? I guess they’re having problems.

ELIZABETH/SCOTT
What? Excuse me?

DONNA
I feel sorry for the baby.

SCOTT
Will you people just fuck off!

(Loud Barking begins.)


Scene 4

(Elizabeth moves over to one part of the stage. She is alone. The baby bump is bigger.)

ELIZABETH
Good girl, Chelsea. Just a little while longer.

(After a brief moment alone on stage.

(Donna enters.)

DONNA
Hey there, Elizabeth. It’s been a while. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

ELIZABETH
Yeah. We did. Been really busy packing too.


DONNA
I’m sorry for the scene last time. So much yelling. It’s not like me.

ELIZABETH
Honestly, it’s no big deal. We all have our bad days.

DONNA
I know. Just what I said… I don’t feel bad for you and Scott’s baby. You’re going to make great parents. Where is Scott?

(At the opposite end of the stage Scott and George enter. – both scenes take place on different days, but at the same time on stage.)

GEORGE
How much trouble did I get you in?

SCOTT
We had a pretty big blow out.

GEORGE
Sorry, man. How’s moving out been? Do you need help?

SCOTT
Thanks, but it’s not too bad.

ELIZABETH
He had a client meeting.

DONNA
Oh.

DONNA/GEORGE
You guys doing okay then?

ELIZABETH
Yeah.

SCOTT
For sure.

ELIZABETH
We’ve both been really busy. Getting things ready for the baby and all.

SCOTT
After the fight. We talked about everything. Since then, it’s been great.

DONNA
That’s great! I’m glad. How much longer before you’re due?

GEORGE
What made you change your mind?

ELIZABETH
2 ½ months. We’re both getting really excited.

SCOTT
It was about a month ago now. We went to the doctor. It was right after things were settled. I was still nervous, scarred, and uneasy about the whole baby thing.

DONNA
Do you know the sex?

SCOTT
Since I work with kids that come from messed up homes, I guess I.. I just wanted to wait to be sure I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who think they know everything about kids and then when the time comes, you’re mind goes blank. And then you mess up their lives. That all went away when I saw this.

(Scott pulls out an ultrasound picture. Looks at it. Shows to George.)

SCOTT/ELIZABETH
We’re having a baby girl.

DONNA
Oh how exciting!

SCOTT
And after I saw this picture. And heard her heart beating. I didn’t care anymore. The only thing Liz and I can do is do what’s right for this one baby. And that’s all that matters.

GEORGE
I guess you were right, huh. You didn’t need that parenting class after all.


ELIZABETH
I know! We found the perfect house. Getting the house all ready for her.

DONNA
But are YOU guys ready to be parents?

SCOTT
Maybe… But, I don’t think you can just learn how to be a good parent.

ELIZABETH
I feel like you can read all about it. And think you’re ready.

SCOTT/ELIZABETH
You just… already know.

SCOTT
But you don’t realize it until you experience it.

(Scott and Elizabeth look at one another.)

(Loud Barking is heard.)
Scene 5
(Scott, Donna and George exit.)
(Elizabeth remains on her side of the stage. She wears a sweater, scarf, and a beanie.)
(Her bump is bigger.)
ELIZABETH
Good girl, Chelsea.

(Scott enters carrying a bag.)

SCOTT
It’s nice that we can walk here from our house, huh?

ELIZABETH
Yeah. But not when it’s this cold out.

SCOTT
I was hoping this would have arrived in time for Christmas. But, I guess New Year’s is a good time for a gift too.

(Scott pulls out a baby sized T-Shirt that says “Daddy’s little princess”.)

ELIZABETH
“Daddy’s little princess”?

SCOTT
I know it doesn’t make up for all the fights.

ELIZABETH
It does. A little. You still have to read Twilight. And agree to allow our daughter to read them.

SCOTT
Never.
(Pause.)
ELIZABETH
You know what? I like this dog park better.

SCOTT
Yeah?

ELIZABETH
We fight less. And get a long more.

SCOTT
Really?

ELIZABETH
Like you haven’t noticed.

SCOTT
I guess since we don’t have to deal with the stupid Dog Park Counsel we have a stress free Dog Park experience. Seriously, who came up with that? Dumbest idea ever.

ELIZABETH
I don’t know. And frankly. I don’t care. We NEVER have to deal with Mildred and Joshua again!

SCOTT
When I was here with Chelsea earlier in the week, a guy told me about his horror story at the other park. Same sort of thing with him. Except the cops were called.

ELIZABETH
Wow, glad that wasn’t us. Donna did apologize to me. If that matters.

SCOTT
So did George.

(Pause.)
SCOTT
That guy I met. He and his wife are having a baby also. A boy.

ELIZABETH
Good for them.

SCOTT
Really? That’s all I get?

ELIZABETH
What did you expect?

SCOTT
Well. You’ve been telling me babies haven’t been a topic of discussion of mine.

ELIZABETH
What’s changed?

SCOTT
I’m getting more excited, duh. You do want me to be excited, right? Because that was going to be my New Year’s resolution.




ELIZABETH
Of course, dummy! (Pause.) Just promise me we wont be those parents who use a leash on our kid. They’re meant for dogs. To hold them back from running into the street or biting people.

SCOTT
Are you kidding me? I want our baby girl to run around biting people. Almost getting hit by cars. Hell. Maybe getting hit just a little by a car. Just enough so they get a MINOR injury so we can sue the driver! That way we can afford to put Saturn in a good private school, Harvard, and we can live in a big house.

ELIZABETH
The more you throw the name Saturn around, the more I start liking it.
SCOTT
Really?

ELIZABETH
No! I still hate it. We’re not calling her that!

(Pause.)

SCOTT
Doesn’t Mildred drive a Blue SUV?

ELIZABETH
I think so. Why?

SCOTT
Pretty sure that’s Mildred and Joshua getting out of that SUV in the parking lot.

(Pause.)

ELIZABETH
Do you think we’ll have to find another dog park?

SCOTT
No. We’ll tell them our Dog Park Counsel just filled up.


THE END

Created: Jan 08, 2010

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