Follies, A One Act New York Love Story

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FOLLIES
By: Jenny R.
Copyright © 2009

A 1940s New York City love story of broadway hopefuls, landlords, and leases. Hoping to eventually turn this into a screenplay. Enjoy!

-Jenny


Cast of Characters


Characters:

Marlon, brunette, male, early 40s. Tall, rugged, handsome.
Gail, brunette, female, 24. Delicate.
Sid, black hair, male, 52. Average.
Jay, black hair, male, 30. Handsome.

Setting: Run down apartment building New York, NY. Mid 1940s.


ACT 1

Scene 1

SETTING: Marlon’s apartment, 11:30 PM. The living room is relatively cluttered, a mix of stray newspaper articles, old magazines, crumpled up reviews, and first drafts he’s written are scattered in piles on the floor. The kitchen area is cluttered with half finished coffee cups and unwashed dishes. A bottle of whiskey is sitting on the kitchen table next to an ash tray filled with old cigarette butts.

AT RISE: Marlon, a man in his early forties, brunette, is sitting on his couch half asleep, legs crossed and resting on his coffee table next to a jet-black typewriter. He’s wearing a wife beater, a pair of beige slacks held up by suspenders, and a hat tipped over his eyes.

LANDLORD
(off stage)
Ey’ Marlon get down here a minute!

His adjusts his hat & leans back into the couch.

MARLON
I sent you part of this month’s rent Sid, aside from that I don’t owe you any favors

SID
It’s important. Get off that couch and give me a hand will ya’?

He takes his time sitting up then fishes around in his pockets for a cigarette. He lights one and takes a drag.

MARLON
Well I would Sid but I got my hands full right now. Smokin’ makes ya useless ya know? And to think I used to be so active…

He trails off when he hears Sid trudging up the front stairs. Sid, a man in his early 50s with graying black crew cut hair, enters, carrying a young woman of about 20, brunette, in his arms. Her clothes, a raincoat, dress, and boots are soaked and dampening Sid’s recently ironed t-shirt and brown slacks. He struggles over to Marlon’s door and knocks with his feet.

SID
You open up or I’ll leave this broad on the floor out here!

MARLON
(crossing the room)
What are ya talkin’ about?

Marlon opens the door and immediately grabs the feet of the young woman slipping out of Sid’s grasp.

SID
Shut up and pull your end of the weight!

The two of them walk into the apartment holding the girl similar to the way one would hold a piece of furniture.

MARLON
I didn’t order any broads.

SID
You’re single ain’t ya?

MARLON
Divorced.

The two of them stop in the middle of the room. Marlon looks around for a place to put her.

SID
Makes sense. When my wife gets on my case I head out to the bar to pick up a doll but to each his own right?

MARLON
Shut up and keep her steady.

SID
Where do you want her? The couch?

MARLON
The bathtub.

Sid and Marlon make their way over into the bathroom and place the girl, sitting upright in the tub. Marlon takes out an old pair of slacks and a white oxford button down shirt from under the sink and leaves it on the toilet for her. The two men leave the bathroom and walk back into the living room.

SID
(looking back towards the bathroom)
She musta been sittin outside in that downpour for a while. I went out there to drop off the milk bottles and there she was, drenched and sittin’ under a busted up umbrella in galoshes and a cruddy raincoat, out cold.

MARLON
Well, when she wakes up I’ll call her a cab and ship her back to wherever she’s from.

SID
You sure she’s alright?

MARLON
You wanna take her to your place?

SID
Marlon I’m just sayin’…

MARLON
Don’t wet yourself about it, I’ll get her back on her feet and kick her out in the morning.

SID
Speakin’ a’ that, did you come up with the rest of the rent for this month Marlon?

MARLON
C’mon Sid I don’t wanna get into this right now. You know I’m good for it I’ve just been a little behind lately. Things are slow.

SID
I know but I gotta make a livin’ too and I can’t keep lettin’ you slide when everybody else in this place gets the rent in on time. You know what that makes me look like Marlon?

MARLON
Yea it’s just…

SID
I’ve got people inquiring about the place Marlon and I can’t exactly turn em’ down when the current tenant isn’t paying their share. Business is business.

MARLON
Yeah and apparently worth kickin’ your buddies to curb over right?

SID
Look, I’m gunna put it in plain terms for ya’ you either pay up or get out.

MARLON
You’re not serious. You wouldn’t be able to sell this place for months.

SID
I got a prospect whose ready to rent this dump and I’m ready to offer it to anybody who can pay.

MARLON
That’s what I get? You think you know a guy til’ he asks you for money.

SID
It’s business Marlon, figure something out or find someplace else to shack up.

Marlon grabs Sid by the shirt and pulls him in close.

MARLON
You know I could knock your teeth right now and not think twice about it.

SID
Do what you want. The rent’s still gunna be due at the end of the week.

MARLON
You sonofa-

The bathroom door creaks open behind them and the girl emerges wearing Marlon’s white button down oxford shirt and a towel draped around her neck. She looks at Marlon and Sid quizzically.

GAIL
Is no one making coffee?

Marlon and Sid look at her dumb founded. Marlon lets go of Sid. Sid straightens out his shirt and steps away from Marlon.

GAIL
Oh. I supposed not. How terribly rude. I’ll have to make some for us then.

She walks over to the kitchen area, puts a kettle on, and begins rummaging around in the cabinets in search of clean cups. Marlon regains his focus and rushes over to stop her.

MARLON
What do you think your doin’? Nobody gave you permission to touch anything. Get your greasy little hands outta my stuff.

GAIL
(sniffling)
Excuse me, I will not tolerate being spoken to like that.

MARLON
You’re gunna tell me how to talk in my own house?

GAIL
I’m not telling you do to anything, I’m simply clarifying what I will and will not tolerate. If you wish to continue being vulgar you’re free to do so but I won’t have anymore of it.

MARLON
Good. If you can’t stand it get out of my house!

GAIL
Dressed like this? Heavens no. My clothes shall have to dry out first.

MARLON
I don’t think so. Sid open the door, the lady is on her way out.

Marlon walks over to the bathroom picks up Gail’s clothes, wrings them out over the bathtub then throws them to her.

MARLON
Good as new! Now get out!

GAIL
These aren’t dry in the slightest.

MARLON
Then I’ll throw you out myself.

Marlon walks over towards her threateningly and Sid steps in between them.

SID
Cool it Marlon. Give her a chance to explain.

Marlon signs loudly and walks over to the couch, sits down and puts his face in his hands.

GAIL
Thank you.

SID
Look lady, the sooner you get to settin’ things straight the better. Marlon isn’t the world’s most patient guy.

GAIL
That’s Marlon? The Marlon Chesney?

SID
Yea…what about it?

GAIL
I’ve been hoping to meet him!

SID
What?

GAIL
Yes yes, this is Apartment building 106 isn’t it?

SID
Yes.

GAIL
I called the landlord a few weeks ago inquiring about possibly renting an apartment here, I wasn’t too sure about the neighborhood but when I found out that Mr. Chesney lived here I had to visit the place!

SID
Wait…you’re that prospective tenant ain’t ya? From Boston right? Oh well it’s uh…interesting to meet ya.

GAIL
My pleasure. My name’s Gail.

SID
I’m Sidney but mostly everybody calls me Sid. That’s Marlon, bet he’s not the celebrity you had in mind huh?

GAIL
Well not exactly. For a writer of his caliber I expected this place to be a bit more organized...but I suppose it adds character.

MARLON
Hah.

SID
Well he’s got a lot of that. Probably more than we both need.

MARLON
Shut it Sid. Both of you beat it. I didn’t invite either of you.

GAIL

Mr. Chesney, I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you that I’m a great admirer of your editorials. You’re very to the point, borderline brash if you will. I appreciate that in a writer. It’s nothing like the fluff they had us reading at the Ivys.

MARLON
Sid please. Get her out of here.

Gail walks over to the couch and sits down next to Marlon.

GAIL
Oh but we’ve only just met. I have a number of things I’d like to talk to you about. I think if we spent some time together we could grow to be great friends! You’re obviously very knowledgeable on the subject of show business and a person like myself could learn a lot from an experienced person like yourself.

He turns his head towards her and smirks.

MARLON
You ain’t gotta care in the world do ya kid?

GAIL
I wouldn’t say that. I just choose to be cheerful about them.

MARLON
You nuts or somethin’?

GAIL
No, maybe a little disoriented from sleeping in the rain after a very tiring day of traveling but very sane sir. Do you happen to have a clothesline?

MARLON
What do you need-

GAIL
For my garments to dry out of course. It might take a while, so I’ll put a kettle on if that’s alright with you.

MARLON
You’ll do it if I say no so why are you asking?

GAIL
Three cups it is!

SID
Thanks Gail, excuse us for a second.

Gail walks over to the kitchen and resumes making coffee. Sid steps outside the apartment into the hallway with Marlon for a moment.

SID
Now look I know you ain’t gunna be able to come up with the cash to pay the rent by next week.

MARLON
You really wanna pick up where we left off huh?

SID
You’ve got 2 options.

MARLON
What?

SID
Option one: you pay the rent. But since we both know how likely that is we’ve got option two.

MARLON
Hurry it up.

SID
You let her move in. She pays half the rent and you get to stick around. She was set on buying the place until she knew you lived here and that’s when I ran the co-renting idea by her and she’s more than happy to pay half just to live with you.

MARLON
No.

SID
Alright then start packin’.

Sid opens the apartment door halfway. Marlon stops him.

MARLON
Is there anything else I can do?

SID
No. Either she’s in or you’re out.

Marlon paces back and forth momentarily.

MARLON
Okay. But as soon as I get things back on track we renegotiate this deal.
SID
Done. I’ll bring the paperwork around tomorrow. In the meantime go on in and tell her the good news.

MARLON
Don’t push it.

Sid laughs and opens the door for Marlon. The step inside the apartment to see three cups of coffee sitting on Marlon’s table which has been cleaned off since they left the room.

(END SCENE)

(BLACKOUT)


ACT 1

Scene 2

SETTING: Three weeks later. Marlon’s apartment, 3:00 PM. Gail and Marlon are returning from a half day of auditioning. Marlon is dressed in a trench coat and one of his better suits and has cleaned up since living with Gail. Gail is wearing a simple dress and heels and carrying a pile of sheet music under one arm and her pocket book in the other.

AT RISE: Lights reveal Marlon and Gail entering the apartment together.


MARLON
What is that now? Number ten?

Gail walks over to the coffee table and sets down her sheet music then collapses in Marlon’s favorite armchair.

GAIL
Oh leave me alone Marlon…it’s fifteen…


MARLON
Wow…fifteen crummy auditions…you’re gunna set a new world record kid!

GAIL
It’s as much your fault as it is mine! You’re supposed to be helpful! And what do you do? Stand outside and smoke cigars while I embarrass myself across town. It’s shameful.

MARLON
It comes with the job description. And I gave you advice it’s not my fault you got swiss cheese for ears.

Marlon hangs up his coat and walks over to sit on the arm of the couch facing Gail.

GAIL
Hardly. I don’t consider the occasional “don’t blow it”, “if they don’t like ya’ save the water works”, or “if you get the part I’ll notify The Times” to be very useful counsel Marlon.

MARLON
Oh yeah? The girls I used to work with could take it, you’re too sensitive is all.

GAIL
I’m not. I just require a bit less harshness and a little more…what’s the word?

MARLON
Practice.

GAIL
Encouragement.

MARLON
Maybe if you spent a little more time workin’ on your stage presence and a little less on your scales you’d have a better shot.

GAIL
But I was taught that when singing the most important thing to keep in tact is one’s pitch.

MARLON
Hah! You think Ethel Mermon cares about pitch?

GAIL
Well…I suppose not…

MARLON
Boy, are you green. Look, go stand over there in the middle of the room.

GAIL
Alright…

MARLON
Let’s hear it. Sing the Cole Porter.

GAIL
Just like that? I’ll need to warm up first.

MARLON
No. No warms ups, no gargling, none of that conservatory garbage just sing it.

GAIL
But I haven’t…what if…

MARLON
Stop blabbering. You do that in an audition room and they’ll kick you out before you start. The only thing that should be comin’ outta that mouth a’ yours is music. Now start singin’ I don’t got all day.

She clears her throat and begins to sing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” timidly. Marlon stops her within the first few seconds.

MARLON
Stop.

GAIL
What’s wrong?

MARLON
Everything. First of all loosen up will ya? You look like a doll or somethin’

Marlon walks over to her and corrects her posture. He circles her, studying her to make sure she doesn’t revert back to her former stiffness.

MARLON
Okay. There’s a start.

GAIL
You’d think after a month of auditions you’d have already told me this…

MARLON
What did I tell you about me giving you advice?

GAIL
To-

MARLON
Shut up and listen.

GAIL
I’m listening.

MARLON
Good. Now, that squeakin’ that just came outta your mouth, do you think that’s what Porter thought this song was gunna sound like when he wrote it? Huh?

GAIL
Well…no.

MARLON
What’s it about?

GAIL
….Love…I suppose…

MARLON
You suppose or you know?

GAIL
I know.

(a beat)

MARLON
So show me.

GAIL
Show you what?

MARLON
Oy. All that money spent on your schoolin’ and you’re dumb as nails when it comes to the practical stuff…

She sulks. Marlon picks up on her mood and changes his approach.

MARLON
You ever lost your marbles over a guy?

GAIL
No…I can’t say that I have. How does one lose their marbles exactly?

MARLON
I’m askin’ the questions. Haven’t ya’ ever wanted to give up everything you own for somebody? Wanted to put your future in their pocket? Wanted them to stick around in the permanent kinda way…

(a beat)

Marlon stops pacing once he’s standing behind Gail.

GAIL
…well I haven’t felt that way before but…I could imagine-

He walks back in front of her and looks her dead in the eyes.

MARLON
Shut your eyes and sing it like I’m that guy.

GAIL
Alright…

She begins singing, there’s a significant difference in her performance his time. After she finishes a silence settles in between the two of them. Gail still has her eyes closed. Marlon leans in to kiss her but backs away at the last moment. He walks over to the couch, sits down and begins typing.

GAIL
Well?

MARLON
Nothin’ stellar but a step above squeaking.

GAIL
Oh…what’s the use…

MARLON
I heard singing is a pretty nifty skill to have at auditions, especially ones you’re late for.

GAIL
Oh goodness Marlon why didn’t you tell me!

MARLON
You’ve got 10 minutes until your call time. If you run down there without me you’ll make it.

GAIL
But I…I haven’t been to one without you.

MARLON
Go on. Just do for them what did for me and you’ll be alright.

GAIL
But you said-

MARLON
Can’t trust a critic kid. Sometimes the guys who say the worst mean the best. Take my word for it.

She smiles at him, the picks up her coat and heads towards the door. She turns around and looks back at him before walking out.

MARLON
What? Ain’t you late? What are you standing there grinnin’ at me for? I got reviews to write.

GAIL
Good luck.

MARLON
Get outta here.

Just before she leaves she pauses to speak to him again.

GAIL
Oh and Marlon…about your review. I browsed through it earlier. It’s good just leave out the contractions and fix some of the grammar it’ll be even better.

MARLON
Who’s the manager in this house? Me or you?

GAIL
I’m off. Goodbye Marlon.

She leaves the apartment. Marlon remains on stage, he gets up after a few moments and walks over to his piano, sits down, and begins playing Gail’s arrangement of “Night and Day”. Lights fade.


(END SCENE)

(BLACK OUT)



ACT 1

Scene 3

SETTING: Four weeks later. Marlon’s apartment, 1:00 PM. Clothes are scattered on the floor around the room. An empty bottle of wine and a few glasses are sitting on the coffee table. Aside from the traces of a late night up together, the apartment is organized and orderly with a hint of Gail’s influences in terms of interior design (new curtains etc).

AT RISE: Gail and Marlon are asleep together under a blanket on the couch. Marlon has his arms around Gail.


Gail stirs then slowly sits up to avoid waking Marlon. She looks back at him and briefly, and then begins to get up off of the couch.

MARLON
(gently stopping her)
Where do you think you’re runnin’ off to?

GAIL
(looking down at him)
It’s late Marlon, I’ve got rehearsal in an hour.

He sits up halfway, leaning back on his elbows.

MARLON
Give me twenty minutes.

He pulls her into a passionate kiss. She pulls away.

GAIL
I can’t.

(a beat)

MARLON
You know they’re rehearsing the hell out of you girls these days, it ain’t normal… you’re in and out of this place like it’s Grand Central or somethin’.

GAIL
Things have been busy lately. The director’s worried about the show and doesn’t think everything’s going to come together by opening night.

MARLON
(sitting up)
Yea well these director types always have to have somethin’ to get neurotic about. I bet that if they couldn’t pick out at least one thing in a show to get their panties in a bunch over they’d complain that they were missing out on some part of the creative process.

She smiles weakly and avoids looking at him.

MARLON
Don’t sweat it Gail, you’ll be alright.

A brief silence settles in. Marlon kisses her on the cheek then gets up and goes over to the kitchen to make Gail a cup of coffee.

MARLON
You know I came by the theater the other week and saw a little bit of your routine. You looked like you were workin’ harder than anybody else up there Gail. You’ll be perfect if you loosen up a bit, have a little more fun with things you know?

She looks at him, suddenly more visibly anxious than she had been before.

GAIL
When where you there?

MARLON
I don’t know…a couple weeks ago or somethin’ what about it?

He walks back over to her, hands her a cup of coffee, and sits down. Gail stands.

GAIL
Why didn’t you tell me?

MARLON
You don’t like me watching you rehearse but I wanted to see you in action so I went anyway, big deal.

GAIL
I told you specifically not to come to my rehearsals after the first one Marlon you know that.

MARLON
Yeah…but I just wanted to see ya’ is all. You were great, it’s nothin’ to get upset about.

GAIL
What part of allowing me that space don’t you understand?

MARLON
It was one time Gail, aside from that I give you all the space you want. Geeze.

GAIL
I can’t even be sure of that anymore…

He slams his mug down on the table.

MARLON
What’s a’ matter with you? I stop by once to see you in the middle of the day and you come down on me like I’m some kind of criminal for it…I’m sorry I bothered ya’ but I think I have a right to check in on my girl.

GAIL
Marlon I wouldn’t s-

MARLON
(interrupting her)
I don’t know what’s been botherin’ you lately but you’re off these days Gail. You come home late every night, not sayin’ a word to me about where you’ve been or what you’ve been doin’ and hit the sheets then you’re outta the apartment so early I don’t even see you in the mornings. You’ve been spendin’ more hours worryin’ yourself sick about the show than enjoyin’ bein’ apart of it. Ain’t this what you wanted to do Gail? What’s goin’ on with you?

She turns her back to Marlon and cradles his mug in her hands.

GAIL
This isn’t something I’d like to discuss before rehearsal Marlon.

MARLON
(snidely)
Then when would you like to talk about it Gail? Do you think you could pencil me in for this afternoon?

She turns around abruptly and faces him, pointing her finger at his face similar to the way a schoolteacher does when scolding a child.

GAIL
Don’t start things with me Marlon. I’m not in the mood to be dragged into one of your little spats.

MARLON
Spats? What am I the girl in the house now?

Infuriated, Gail storms over to the kitchen and pours her full mug of coffee down the sink. Marlon glares at her from across the room.

MARLON
You got a problem with my coffee, Gail? Sheesh everything I do is wrong this mornin’ huh?

GAIL
Not so much with the coffee more with the chef. And yes, if you hadn’t admitted that you’d been sneaking around my rehearsals and spying on me than you wouldn’t be in the wrong now would you?

MARLON
Spying on you? Boy if paranoia had another name it’d be-

She walks across the room to him and clamps her hand over his mouth.

GAIL
One more word and I’ll-

Marlon takes her hand away from his mouth pulls her close to him.

MARLON
Kiss me.

She tries to pry herself away from him but fails.

GAIL
No.

MARLON
Do it.

GAIL
(sternly)
I-don’t-want-to.

MARLON
You’re a liar.

She wrings one of her hands free and slaps him hard across the face.

GAIL
You don’t know a damn thing about it! There’s a lot of things you don’t know Marlon.

Marlon gingerly places his hand over the spot on his cheek where she slapped him. He looks back and forth from the floor to Gail then sits down on the edge of his armchair and faces her.

MARLON
You wanna tell me what’s wrong or do you wanna hit me all day?

(a beat)

GAIL
I…I’m sorry I didn’t mean-

MARLON
Felt like ya’ did. There was hand to face contact and everything.

She looks away from him.

MARLON
Look if you don’t wanna discuss things now, head over to the theater do what you need to do and when you come back we’ll figure things out…

(a beat)

GAIL
No I…I owe you an explanation… now’s probably best...

MARLON
Okay. Shoot.

GAIL
About what I said before I-

A knock is heard at the door. Marlon puts his hand up to shush Gail and walks over to the door. Before he opens it, Gail quickly gathers her things off of the floor and heads towards the bathroom.

GAIL
Marlon.

MARLON
Can I get the door please?

GAIL
Marlon!

MARLON
What?
She looks at him frantically, then attempts to mask her apprehension underneath a fragile smile.

GAIL
I-I’ll…just be in the other room…

Marlon motions for her to leave, and slowly opens the door. A sharp looking businessman in his late thirties is standing in the doorway carrying a briefcase.

MAN
Marlon Chesney.

Marlon eyes him suspiciously.

MARLON
What the hell are you doin’ around here Jay?

JAY
Marlon, that’s no way to greet an old college buddy now is it? Luckily I’m not here for you, I was hoping you might know the whereabouts of that cute little client of yours. Almost everyone I spoke to in the theater district pointed me to your apartment if I wanted to find her & her “manager”. Small world Marlon, small world. News travels fast in this town.

MARLON
What business do you have with her?

JAY
The best. The movie kind. But Ms. Robbins skipped out on today’s…meeting so to speak…. I was hoping you might have idea of where I could find her. I’ve got paperwork she needs to finalize.

MARLON
Paperwork? She doesn’t know about any paperwork. She’s got nothin’ to do with you or your movie business garbage. Look at you all dressed up to fool somebody into thinkin’ you’re some kind of producer.

JAY
Geeze, go easy on the insults Marlon. I always seem to forget just how easy it is to make people like you angry. A little success and a nice suit does the trick apparently. Now, invite me inside before I invite myself.



Marlon hesitantly steps aside and allows Jay in. Jay briefly looks around the place in disgust then sets his briefcase down on Marlon’s small kitchen table and sits down.

JAY
Well, this apartment certainly is a monument to the theater business itself Marlon. It’s very Streetcar. I like that.

MARLON
What do you want Jay?

JAY
It’s not really a question of what I want Marlon; it’s mainly decision on Gail’s part. You see, I’m simply here to make sure the paperwork gets done and that’ she’s properly taken care of once she joins our happy little production family.

MARLON
(scoffing)
I don’t know what you’re on about but last time I checked she didn’t have nothin’ to do with the movie business. Why are you really here Jay? Stuff not workin’ out for you in Hollywood and all that? You sniffin’ around for an in back in your home town? It ain’t happenin’ through me buddy.

JAY
(laughing)
Oh boy. You really don’t do ya Marlon? Damn. If she was an eight before this girl just jumped to an eleven and a half in my book.

Marlon gets up.

MARLON
You better watch your mouth.

JAY
I’m not the one who you need to be tellin’ that to.

Marlon walks over to Jay and grabs him by the collar, slightly pulling him up out of his seat. Gail hears the commotion from inside the bathroom and calls out to Marlon.

GAIL
(through the bathroom door)
Marlon is everything alright?

Marlon glances over to the door nervously. Jay smirks at Marlon’s brief show of insecurity.

JAY
She’s really got you pinned huh? You ain’t the last one to be in that position, clever little tramp ain’t she?

MARLON
Keep talkin’ and see what happens.

JAY
Now, now, no need to get testy. She’s the trashy one in this love triangle.

Gail emerges from the bathroom and stares at Marlon and Jay.

GAIL
Marlon!

MARLON
You stay outta this, I’ll deal with you in a minute.

GAIL
Marlon please…just let me explain things.

He looks at her briefly then lets go of Jay who slumps back into his seat.

MARLON
You better get to the point quick.

GAIL
Marlon I…

Gail hesitates, while Jay gradually stands up and straightens out his tie and suit jacket.
JAY
(facing Gail)
Go on Gail, hurry up and set the record straight so we can sign this movie deal and get outta this dump.

(a beat)

GAIL
(dryly)
I’m not interested Jay.


JAY
What are you talkin’ about? You don’t have anythin’ going for you here Gail. Look at this place. At the least I can offer a job, Marlon here couldn’t even manage to keep you in one.

MARLON
(hurt)
What’s he talkin’ about Gail?

GAIL
Marlon….

JAY
You owe me your signature Gail. I’ve got money invested in this picture if I can’t get you undressed in front of the camera I’m gunna have to find someone else and I’m not a guy who likes wasting my time.

GAIL
I never agreed to that Jay!

JAY
Fine print, sweet heart fine print. You think a girl like you gets an in to the business on talent alone? Didn’t you learn anythin’in the theater when you couldn’t cut it? Take the hint kid.

Marlon crosses the room and punches Jay so hard he stumbles to the ground. Gail looks at both of them shock.

MARLON
She said she ain’t interested.

Gail rushes over to stop Marlon from hitting him again.

GAIL
Marlon that’s enough!

Marlon glares at her, enraged.

MARLON
Don’t you even think about coming near me until you can explain what in the hell this sleeze bag is talkin’ about Gail.

GAIL
(frantically)
Marlon I…was going to…

MARLON
You were huh? Little late don’t you think Gail?

GAIL
I…I’m sorry…Marlon.

Jay gets up and grabs his things.

JAY
Not as sorry as I am. Deal’s off, There’s a hundred more broads like this girl all over this city. Best of luck to ya’ sweetheart.

He blows her a kiss.

JAY
You coulda been great but from the looks of this living situation he already knows all about that.

Jay grabs his suitcase and walks out the door. Gail remains standing near the kitchen table trembling and on the verge of tears.

(a beat)

GAIL
Marlon I-

MARLON
(helplessly)
What did ya think you were doin’ Gail?

GAIL
(almost as if sobbing)
…I thought…I-I needed something different Marlon...I didn’t know…I wasn’t sure where things were going. Over at the theater I barely made it through the rehearsals each week…I-I just…I just wasn’t happy Marlon…I tried to be…I did but I wasn’t …nothing was going for me Marlon…

MARLON
(hoarsely)
You sure about that?

GAIL
I wasn’t sure about anything…

MARLON
I was.

(a beat)

MARLON
I woulda helped ya Gail. I woulda done anything for ya, you know that better than anybody else so don’t try to tell me you didn’t, you had to.

GAIL
…Marlon…how was I supposed to know…? Even after we started sleeping together I wasn’t sure of anything… because…because things were so casual and I just…I didn’t-

MARLON
This never was about straight business for me Gail. What did ya think I was doing? What kinda guy did ya think I was Gail? Some kinda low life? Some kinda sleeze bag who uses the business as an excuse to fuck around? Who do you think I am Gail…?

GAIL
Marlon that’s not what I thought…I-

MARLON
(intensely)
You must have had your mind made up about somethin’! You were ready leave, ready to quit and take off without a word to me, ready to lie to my face day in and day out while you slept in my bed and lived under my roof….and for what huh? That guy and some trash movie deal?

GAIL
(sobbing)
That’s not what I…that’s not what I wanted Marlon…this isn’t what I meant to-

MARLON
(shouting)
It doesn’t matter what you meant! What you did is what you’re stuck with!

Marlon walks over to her and takes her by the shoulders.

MARLON
(painfully)
Why’d ya have ta…why didn’t you say a word to me Gail? All it ever fuckin’ takes are a few goddamn words.

(a beat)

After a few moments, Marlon lets go of Gail and finally turns away from her. Gail’s expression is blank while a few tears stream down her face. Marlon paces around the room for a few moments, then kicks over the coffee table, knocking all the contents on it to the floor.

MARLON
You were a nobody to me! You were nothin’ but I fucked up somewhere along the road at let you matter to me and that…

He turns to faces her.

MARLON
That’s my mistake you hear me? Huh? That’s my fuckin’ mistake.

Marlon turns his back to her. After a few long moments, Gail gets up off of the floor and without a word, walks into the bathroom and takes her suitcase from underneath the sink. She silently gathers her belongings and packs them inside. Then returns to the living room and walks towards the front door.

MARLON
(hoarsely)
What are you doing? You don’t got anywhere to go .

She ignores him and opens the door.

MARLON
(desperately)
Gail! If you walk out you ain’t gotta any place waitin for ya!

(a beat)

She turns around to look at him briefly.

GAIL
Home, Marlon.

He looks at her frantically then attempts to feign nonchalance.

MARLON
You leave and I…I ain’t gunna…I ain’t gunna carry ya’ back through that door a second time Gail…

GAIL
Goodbye Marlon.

She turns and walks out the door. Marlon slams it behind her then sinks to the ground with his back against the door and buries his face in his hands.

(BLACK OUT)

(END OF SCENE)



ACT I

Scene 4

SETTING: Marlon’s apartment a few weeks later. Mid-afternoon. The place is nearly completely emptied out. A few boxes are lying around on the floor, stacked on top of one another. A duffel bag and a suitcase are sitting by the door.

AT RISE: Marlon is asleep and sprawled on the couch with a bottle of whiskey in one hand. He looks scruffy and unkempt. Outside the apartment, Sid is walking up the front stairs and is en route to Marlon’s front door.

Sid knocks.

SID
Marlon!

No answer.

SID
Ey’ Marlon! Are you asleep in there again? It’s three o’clock in the afternoon ya’ bum get up, we got things to do!

MARLON
(grumbling)
Can a man get some peace and quiet Sidney?!

SID
You got your peace and quiet! And what do I get? A twelve hour concert of your snorin’ that what. Open up I ain’t gunna wait out here all day!

MARLON
Alright, alright. Geeze.

He gradually gets up to open the door for Sid.


MARLON
What is it?

Marlon looks at Sid squinty eyed. The stench of alcohol causes Sid to plug his nose.

SID
You tryin’ to kill somebody Marlon?

MARLON
Shut up and come in.

Sid walks into the apartment and looks around.

SID
I’m impressed. For a while I thought I’d never see the floor again in here. You ship out nicely.

MARLON
Yea well I’ll go where I can afford to schlep around.

SID
Where is it you’re headed again?

MARLON
The Bronx. I got a friend over there who’s got a place waitin’ for me. It’s a shoebox but it’ll do.

SID
When are you here until?

MARLON
Tomorrow, but I don’t know. I might cut out early, there’s nothin’ to do around this joint anymore.

SID
I got somethin’ for ya.

MARLON
What?

SID
We still got contractual stuff to work out before you leave. You got an hour to spare?


MARLON
I thought we were done with all the paper work.

SID
Never, my friend.

MARLON
Alright, it’s not like I got anything better to do.

SID
You should think about cleanin’ up a little bit before hand, you stink.

MARLON
How long do I have?

SID
Bout’ a half hour.

MARLON
Alright, I’ll wash up quick then.

SID
Get to it. I don’t know how much more of you I can stand.

MARLON
Yeah yeah, get outta here.

SID
Gladly.

Sid walks outside and descends the stairs while Marlon heads towards the washroom.

(BLACKOUT)

(END SCENE)

ACT 1

Scene 5

SETTING: Marlon’s apartment.

AT RISE: Sid is sitting in the living room waiting anxiously on the couch while Marlon is in the bathroom shaving. A knock is heard. Sid gets up and answers the door.

SID
Gail, come on in it’s good to see ya.

GAIL
Hello Sid.

SID

Thanks for comin’ Gail. Just have a seat, I’ll get the papers.

GAIL
Alright.

She sits down on the couch and looks around the room.

GAIL
It certainly is different here without Marlon’s things. The apartment’s bigger than I remembered.

SID
It is. The place is almost livable again.

Sid ruffles through a folder of housing contracts and finally pulls out an old looking contract, then walks back over to the couch and pulls up a chair opposite Gail. Just as Sid hands her a stack of papers Marlon opens the door to the bathroom and walks out wiping his face with a towel.

MARLON
Alright let’s get this over with quick Sid.

GAIL
Marlon…

He hangs the towel around his shoulders and stares at her then switches his focus to Sid.

MARLON
What is she…what are you up to?

SID
Just sit down and let me explain a thing or two.

MARLON
You’ve got five minutes and then I’m outta here.

Marlon sits down on the opposite end of the couch from Gail.

SID
Now look, right here I got a contract that says both of ya still live in this joint. I don’t care about any a’ that that nonsense you got into a couple weeks ago, but what I do care about is the rent, and BOTH a ya’ haven’t paid a cent this month.

MARLON & GAIL
We were going to…I was-

SID
Shut up I ain’t finished sayin’ my piece. Now I’m not keeping either a ya from movin’ out in the future, that’s all fine and dandy. But you gotta finish out the month’s payments upfront and I gotta have it on paper before either of ya’ take off.

GAIL
Upfront? I don’t have enough with me.

MARLON
I’m broke.

SID
Well then it’s a good thing I got an option and a little advice for you two.

He gets up.

SID
Now I ain’t really the kinda guy who throws his opinion around but I got a few things to say to ya’.

MARLON
Here we go.

SID
You, shut up. Now, I heard a lot that argument you had a couple weeks back, and it was a whole lot a’ noise and a whole lot a’ cirrus about nothin’, and when that happens in this buildin’ I get complaints about it from my other tenants, and when they aren’t happy I’m not happy. And you…

He points to Marlon.

SID
Who do you think you are runnin’ around actin’ like you ain’t ever made a mistake before? Ain’t you ever changed your mind about something? Got mixed up? Regretted stuff you did you knew would ruin your relationship with a broad?

MARLON
Well-

SID
Shut up it’s a rhetorical question. And you…

He points to Gail.

SID
What’s a’ matter with you? Next time you get the willies about something tell him and for pete’s sake keep your clothes on! You’re too goddamn talented and too nice of a girl to be runnin’ with that crowd you hear me?

GAIL
Yes Sid…

SID
Good. Now I like the both a ya’, granted you’ve got a lot of problems but you’ll work through em’ while you’re figuring out how to pay your end of the rent. So can you make up all cutesy like and finish out this contract or do I need another monologue?

Gail and Marlon look at each other and smile.

GAIL
I will.

SID
Marlon?

MARLON
You got a pen or somethin’?

SID
Always.

He hands them the old contract. Marlon signs first.

SID
Just sign the bottom and we’ll talk about a new contract or terminating this one at the end of the month. Marlon if you wanna leave then, get the hell outta here. Gail if you wanna head back home that’s fine by me but I like you two as a pair.

Gail signs and hands Sid the contract. Sid gets up gathers his papers and heads towards the door.

SID
Are we all taken care of? No more yellin’ and screamin’ and all that jazz.

MARLON
We’ll work on it.

SID
Good. See ya’ in a few weeks. Boy, do I need a vacation.

He walks out the door and descends the stairs. Marlon and Gail get up from the couch and avoid looking at one another for a few moments.

GAIL
Well he certainly knows how to put things in perspective.

MARLON
Yea…the guy’s got style I’ll give him that.

(a beat)

Marlon turns to face Gail. She steps towards him.

MARLON
Don’t think this means I’m sorry or that I’m glad to see you or anythin’ like that. It’s just good that I don’t have to move for a few more weeks.

Gail smiles and wraps her hands around his waist.

GAIL
You’re a liar Marlon Chesney.

He brushes his hand along her cheek and leans in close to her.

MARLON
You don’t know a damn thing about it.

They kiss.

(BLACK OUT)

(CURTAIN)

Created: Jan 29, 2010

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