To the girl walking the pink inflatable dog

I saw you standing in front
of the building at the corner
of 2nd and Jackson. You were
walking your pink dog

b a c k
& f o r t h

and scolding him.

Wagging your finger, you said:
“You really need to listen
to me and BEHAVE!”

Delivering your lines
with all the steadfastness
of a character
in an Ibsen play

I stood,
watching your
scene play out.

(Wishing I could take part.)

You perceived
an audience
and glanced over
your shoulder:
pursing your lips,
smiling at me,

getting back
to the task at hand.



Shelter Stalactite









I’m not ruined in nostalgia,
just as the heart is a cave
with twinkling lights.


I see how you gravitate to the familiar,
to the chachkis I never really gave you.

For three years, you waited: dripping, calcifying.
I wanted us to be a wisp of normal.
Now, I dissect your bile.

And the nostalgia?

It still sits alone,
it still hides from me.

A Rude Man


Lights up. plays


MIRA sits typing at her laptop.

STU enters. Scopes the place out, sees MIRA, walks over.

STU: Mind if I set here? (he starts to put his things down)

MIRA: Yes.

STU: Pardon?

MIRA: Yes, I do mind. There are plenty of other seats available and I like my space.

Miffed, STU sits at the table next to MIRA’s.

STU: (under his breath) Bitch.

MIRA: Say that again.

STU: Say what again?

MIRA: Say what you just said.

STU: Lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

MIRA: You asked a question before, you asked “Mind if I sit here?” and I answered honestly. How does that make me a bitch?

STU: Calm down!

MIRA: You’re insulting me! I don’t have to be calm! I’m going to stand up for myself.

STU: Listen, honey–

MIRA: Try again. I’m not your honey. I’m no one’s honey.

STU: Wonder why…

MIRA: I suggest you go order your coffee and then sit and drink it on the other side of this coffeeshop.

STU: It’s a free country.

MIRA: That it is, sir. That it is.

She writes a sign and places it at his table. It reads “A RUDE MAN” and points to him.

He reads the sign and then crumples it up.

She makes a new one.

He rips it into pieces.

She makes a third sign.

He takes out a lighter and burns it, dropping it into the pitcher of water on the table.

She starts to make a fourth sign.

STU: Look, why don’t you just leave?

MIRA: I was here first.

STU: I’m just going to wreck whatever sign you make.

MIRA: You don’t get to take up as much space as you want wherever you want just because you’re a man. It’s not your right. You’re not entitled to anything. You need to be a decent person, just like everyone else. Girls are conditioned to be docile and I am fucking sick of it. And you have pushed me way too far today, buddy. So I will keep making these signs and putting them on your table until you walk the fuck away. Got it?

STU: Jesus. What the hell is your problem?!

He takes his stuff and goes.

MIRA takes a deep breath, returns to her laptop and types with determination.

End of play.



Lights up.plays

GERTRUDE, a lady pirate, sits on a beach.

Many cases of liquor abound.

GERTRUDE: I’ve got my bottles–now I’m ready.

POLLY, a parrot, enters, obviously intoxicated.

POLLY: Why don’t pirates go to strip clubs?


POLLY: They already have all the booty!

She shakes her tail feathers and falls to the ground, laughing.

GERTRUDE: Polly, methinks you may have had too many libations.

POLLY: (Rolling on the ground while she speaks.) Polly wants a motherfucking cracker.

GERTRUDE: Get ahold of yourself, bird!

GERTRUDE slaps POLLY across the beak.

POLLY: Damnit, Gertrude, was that really necessary?

GERTRUDE: You need to sober up so we can make a plan.

POLLY: You’re still drinking.

GERTRUDE: I can hold my liquor in a more masterful manner than ye, can’t I?

POLLY: I really need some food. Wasn’t kidding about that cracker. How can it be that only liquor washed ashore in the wreck and no food? We’re going to drink ourselves to death. At least will be drunk and happy.

GERTRUDE: By my calculations, we’re somewheres in the Bahamas. When we’ve rested, we need to walk around the edge of the island, marking out our steps.

POLLY: None of that is going to do us any good without any FOOD.

GERTRUDE: Quiet, bird!

POLLY: I can’t believe I chose to fly to your raft. I should have flown to the Captain.

GERTRUDE: Oh, the Captain who steered us straight into the ear of that storm, eh?

POLLY: Nobody’s perfect.

GERTRUDE: Polly, I didn’t want to bring this up before, but I do have some food on me, and I’m willing to share until we find more on this island.

POLLY: Why didn’t you say so?! Give it to me!

GERTRUDE: Before you–I need to let you know that it’s bird.

POLLY: (in a sing-songy tone) Dirty bird, dirty bird, dirty bird! (beat) Damnit, sorry about that. It’s like a reflex or something. (beat) What kind of bird is it?

GERTRUDE: Turkey. So, a much bigger bird–I’m no ornithologist, but I think distantly related enough that it’s not too weird.

POLLY: Oh, come on! If I was offering you a bit of human, would it help if I said “This guy definitely was raised in a different part of the world, so no worries, this won’t be weird at all?!!?”

GERTRUDE: That’s different–

POLLY: Not to me!

GERTRUDE: Do you want it?

POLLY: No, I don’t want it, but I will eat it, because there’s nothing else to eat. I just need a little more alcohol to get through this moment.

She digs another bottle out of a case and opens it with her beak.

GERTRUDE: I’m sorry I don’t have any other food to offer ye.

POLLY: I understand. There’s no avoiding it. It just really bums me out.

GERTRUDE: Would it help to say grace first?

POLLY: No, I don’t think so. Just let me make a dent in this bottle and I’ll be ready.

Sound of wind rushing through the trees.

A coconut falls from a tree and hits GERTRUDE on the head. She falls over.

POLLY: Holy shit!

She regards the coconut. Cracks it open with an empty bottle. She hungrily eats the inside of the coconut.

POLLY: At least I don’t have to eat that bird! Gertrude, isn’t that great!?

GERTRUDE doesn’t answer.

POLLY hops over, listens for a heartbeat.

Unsuccessfully attempts CPR.

She shrugs.

POLLY: Well, I’d hate for all this meat to go to waste.

She collects wood in a pile and starts a fire.

Starts hunting for something sharp enough to cut flesh.

POLLY: (Sing-songy) Polly needs a knife! Polly needs a knife! (beat) I know I saw one earlier, where was it?

End of play.


Small Talk


Lights up.plays

Sidewalk cafe.

Accordion music plays.

A and B sit across from each other at a table.

They are both dressed all in black.

A: I am a woman, you will love me in the end, like everyone else.

B: It’s not you, it’s me.

A: When you grind your teeth in your sleep at night, it keeps me awake. But I never say anything. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

B: I can never be myself around you.

A: I lied about liking Frasier. I think it’s a boring show.

B: I hate your mother.

A: I’m seeking someone else.

B: I’m sleeping with your brother.

A: Sometimes, I think about throwing all of your clothes off of the top of a skyscraper. One by one.

B: I know the password and check your email daily.

A: The more emotionally unavailable you are, the more I love you.

B: You can never decide what to order on a menu.

A: Steak frites.

B: Wine?

A: Obviously. Cabernet Sauvignon. One with a pretty label.

B Nods. Their food and beverages fly down to them on wires. They eat and drink throughout.

A: I hate the way you cook steak. You always overcook it. You’re afraid of leaving any trace of pink.

B: Sometimes I smell perfume that isn’t yours on your shirt collar.

A: I dream of all the ways to break up with you, but find none of them satisfying.

B: You have two gym memberships and never exercise.

A: Once I thought of putting arsenic in your morning coffee.

B: Wear the peach satin nightgown. It’s my favorite.

A: Where should we go on vacation this year?

B: I keep wondering if I should propose.

A: My friends say you don’t deserve me.

B: Which movie should we go see?

A: You cannot make me watch Game of Thrones!

B: I rearrange your medicine bottles to keep you on edge.

A: I am a woman, you will love me in the end, like everyone else. (beat, looking directly at B, grabbing their hand) We’re going to be late for the movie. We should go. (She signals for the check. It flies down. She puts cash on the table.)

B: Thanks for dinner. I’ll get the movie.

They get up.

They hold hands and exit.

End of play.

Warrior vs Wizard


Lights up.plays

A female WARRIOR enters in full body armor. The ends of her hair are scorched. Her shield has burn marks on it.

She takes her helmet off, and tries to examine her hair.

A female WIZARD enters.

WARRIOR: You should have let me cut my hair off. What was I saying, just yesterday, “The next time I fight a dragon, my hair is going to get burnt–”

WIZARD: If we win this war, you’re going to be queen of this country. You’ll want the long hair, no matter how much it is damaged.

WARRIOR: I don’t want to be queen anymore. I was thinking about it, and if we win on account of me slaying all these dragons, I really should be king and not queen, because I’m the only one strong and crafty enough to kill these motherfuckers and I would really like to keep being in charge of stuff and kill things instead of pretending to like needlepoint and learn which spoon to use with which dessert.

WIZARD: That would be unprecedented. Kings have always been men. We’ll find you a suitable husband–

WARRIOR: That’s the thing, though–you are not going to find anyone that’s suitable. I’m the biggest bad-ass around. I do not want to settle down and start pooping out babies, no thank you. My mother DIED in childbirth and I am not going down that road.

WIZARD: But your bloodline–it needs to be passed down–

WARRIOR: I’ve been thinking about that too, and instead of me having my babies, I figure we use your magic to put my fertilized baby eggs into a young, healthy wench. Have her be the incubator or whatnot.

WIZARD: My liege, that would be unnatural.

WARRIOR: Wizard, I have just sliced my way out of a dragon’s stomach, slayed the beast for our mutual protection. I slay dragons for a living, but transporting my eggs to someone else’s stomach is unnatural? You are a piece of work, you know that?

WIZARD: Your highness, you must understand, there is a certain way things have to be done, a natural order, or we’ll displease the spiritual forces at work. You must find a husband, make heirs–

WARRIOR: I think I’m an atheist. I don’t think there’s a God. So, I don’t have to follow the natural order to please some invisible man in the sky. I have reckoned with dragons and am not afraid of the spiritual forces you believe to be at work. If you force me to marry, I will kill my husband in our marital bed and will continue to follow this pattern until all the men in the kingdom are afraid to marry me. That should fix that. So, yeah. I’m planning on being king.

WIZARD: Well, you leave me no choice, but to–

She raises her wand. The WARRIOR produces her sword and there are some cool sound effects as they have a quasi-lightsabre battle during the following.

WIZARD: What foul magic is this?

WARRIOR: I was worried that this might happen. So I’ve been brushing up on the dark arts in case you tried to turn on me.

WIZARD: How did you learn so quickly, your control, it’s incredible.

WARRIOR: Can it.

The WARRIOR eventually gets the upper hand and flings the WIZARD offstage.

WARRIOR: Good riddance!

She takes off the rest of her armor, revealing bruises and scars.

She rifles through drawers until she finds a pair of scissors. She cuts her hair off, slowly at first and then with more confidence and abandon.

She wets her hands at a sink and slicks her hair back.

She looks at herself in the reflection of her sword.

WARRIOR: It’s good to be the king.




Lights up.plays

GEORGIE sits in a white bean bag chair on a white shag carpet.

She finds the chair uncomfortable and it takes her a while to settle into it.

She is wearing a flattering cocktail dress.

There is a white fluffy box next to her, filled with airline-sized mini alcohol bottles with white labels, filled with vodka.

She opens one and takes the shot. Throws the empty bottle over her shoulder.

She opens a second bottle and takes the shot. Throws the empty bottle over her shoulder.

GEORGIE: The thing they don’t tell you about depression is that it sneaks up on you. In the moments that you’re really happy and almost convinced that everything is going to work out, depression waits for those moments and as soon as you start to come down from the happiness, it knocks you on your ass and whispers shit like “You are never going to be good enough. You will die alone. All of your friends actually hate you–they just tolerate you in real life.” And it goes on and on and on.

You want to stay in bed forever. You wrap your comforter around you like a cocoon and hope that no one will notice that you start cancelling all your plans. That no one will notice you withdrawing. That no one will ask “How are you, really?” You hoard snacks under the covers so you don’t have to get up to go to the kitchen.

You spend most of the day sleeping and you never feel rested. Darkness and numbness start to feel like the same sensation. You cease to be human and become a vibration.

She opens another bottle, sips this one more slowly and during the following.

I remember being four years old and realizing I was going to die someday. My mother and I were stringing Kix and Cheerios on floss to use as garland to wrap around our Christmas tree. We were living in a motel. I pricked my finger and started to bleed. And I wondered what would happen if I just kept bleeding, if the blood started to cascade out of me until there was no more blood left inside my body. And I started crying. My mother picked me up and I asked her “Mama, am I going to die?” And she said, “Yes, sweetheart, but hopefully not for a very long time.”

She throws the bottle.  

Hopefully. Hopefully. She shouldn’t have said hopefully. That’s what made it odd, “hopefully.” Most parents would said “You’re going to die, but not for a very long time.” She added the hopefully so she wasn’t lying to me.

I can’t remember how I did it. How I killed myself. It’s the strangest thing. I remember being depressed, and wanting to end it all and hoping that I did it right the first time because I would be mortified if I didn’t and I woke up in a hospital and someone called it “a cry for help.”

But I can’t remember how I did it.

I remember dying. It was like being sucked through a cosmic vacuum. It wasn’t unpleasant. Like going up a water slide backwards.

I didn’t want it to be messy.

What did I end up picking?

She looks around.

I guess this is heaven. Or limbo? Purgatory?

I didn’t think there was going to be anything after…

I thought I was going to cease to exist.

At least there’s booze.

She opens another bottle.

VERONICA enters, retrieves the discarded bottles and replaces them with new ones.

She adjusts GEORGIE’s posture in the bean bag chair.

She exits.

GEORGIE: Excuse me?

Never ending vodka and a serving woman who cares about your posture. At least it isn’t Hell. Right?

She looks around again.

A dull rumbling gets louder until it’s almost deafening.

GEORGIE grabs her head in pain.

GEORGIE: I remember how I did it! But, that means–oh, shit! I’m not quite dead yet, am I?

She peels back the shag rug to reveal a screen where she can see herself in a hospital bed.

GEORGIE: Fuck my life.


Lights out.

Sunglasses and Sweater Vests


Lights up.

Megan 1 and Megan 2 are sitting at a table.

They are wearing sweater vests with matching bow-ties, sunglasses and upside down colanders on their heads.

A mysterious metal device sits between them on the table.

MEGAN 1: Why isn’t it working?

MEGAN 2: What happened to the directions?

MEGAN 1: You ate them.

MEGAN 2: Oh, right. I was hungry.

MEGAN 1: Are all the wires in the right places?

MEGAN 2: Looks like it.

MEGAN 1: What’s missing?

MEGAN 2: Did you remember to turn the oven off before we left?

MEGAN 1: What?

MEGAN 2: I was baking croissants this morning, and the recipe called for so much butter and the butter made the pan sizzle and there was black smoke, but you were still asleep and I didn’t want to wake you. So I wanted to make sure the oven was turned off before we left. (beat) Oh, wait. (beat) Yes, now I remember. I turned it off myself.

MEGAN 1: Glad that’s settled. (beat) How were the croissants?

MEGAN 2: Badly burned, but still somewhat edible. I’m not one for baking. I can follow a recipe, but have no inclination to improvise in the kitchen.

MEGAN 1: We need to improvise now.

MEGAN 2: Indeed.

MEGAN 1: But if you ate the burn croissants, why did you also eat the directions?

MEGAN 2: I have a high metabolism, I guess.

MEGAN 1: Apparently.

MEGAN 2: If we make this adjustment and then switch the flow of the current–

She fiddles.

MEGAN 1 takes the device away from her.

MEGAN 2 takes the device back.

They both work on the device at the same time.

MEGAN 1: This is going to take a while.

MEGAN 2: We could start over.

MEGAN 1: But we’ve come so far.

MEGAN 2: Sometimes you have to re-invent the wheel.

MEGAN 1: Back to the drawing board?

MEGAN 2 nods.

They both take out tiny hammers and start smashing the device.

Once it’s a pulverized mound, they use their fingers to take pinches of the mount and transfer them to their pants pockets.

MEGAN 1: That’s all we can do for now.

MEGAN 2: Productive day, I’d say.

MEGAN 1: I agree.

MEGAN 2: Where should we go for dinner?

MEGAN 1: Are you hungry again?

MEGAN 2: I’m always hungry.

(End of play.)

Checking In


Lights up.plays

JACKIE is bringing TAYLOR to her motel room.

It’s dingy and outdated.

TAYLOR is dressed well, but not too well–she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself.

JACKIE: (opening the door) Well, here you go.

TAYLOR: (lugging suitcases in) Thank you.

JACKIE: It’s not fancy, but it works if you need to lay low for a couple of days.

TAYLOR: This will do, thank you. (she attempts to give JACKIE a tip)

JACKIE: What the heck are you doing?

TAYLOR: Giving you a tip.

JACKIE: What for?

TAYLOR: For showing me to my room. Here, take it.

JACKIE: Listen, Miss Sass. I may own a run-down motel, but I know it is not customary to tip the owner of any establishment. Keep your money.

TAYLOR puts the money back in her pocket.

JACKIE: Unless, of course, you felt like donating to the local pet shelter. They can always use money. If that was money you didn’t have any use for and were just going to give away anyway.

TAYLOR takes the money out again.

JACKIE: I don’t want you to feel pressured to do it now, though, now that I said that stuff.

TAYLOR: Here is some money. (places it in JACKIE’s hands) Do with it as you will.

JACKIE: I will. Thanks. (beat) You talk like you went to college, you talk pretty nice.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

JACKIE: It’s just we don’t get many people like you visiting these parts.

TAYLOR: Lucky me.

JACKIE: Are you visiting family?

TAYLOR: Not exactly.

JACKIE: Then what–

TAYLOR: Ms. (looks at her name tag) Denton, is it? I want to thank you for your hospitality. I came to these parts to be alone. To spend some time on self-reflection. To aid in that, I would humbly ask that if anyone calls asking for me to simply say you haven’t seen me. I have paid you, in advance, for one week’s stay. And I will continue to pay you, in advance and in cash for subsequent weeks, should they occur. In exchange for this ahead of time, cash payment, I would simply ask for some peace and quiet in return. Peace and quiet and not asking too many questions.

JACKIE: I understand, ma’am.

TAYLOR: Good, I’m so very glad. (beat) I didn’t mean to be curt. I’m doing research for a book I’m writing.

JACKIE: Aww, I thought you were a writer! That was my guess in the back of my head.

TAYLOR: Good for you.

JACKIE: (searching) Miss–

TAYLOR: It’s Ms., and you don’t need to know. (beat) You can refer to me as Ms. X, if it suits you.

JACKIE: Oh, it does, ma’am, Ms.–it does. (beat) I suppose I couldn’t know what the book was about?

TAYLOR: I may interview you later in the week, if you’re willing. But at the present moment, it’s best that you don’t know. (beat, pointedly) For your own safety.

JACKIE: (looking at Taylor’s bags) Now, you wouldn’t be doing anything illegal–

TAYLOR: Ms. Denton, at any point during my stay, you would be free to search my belongings. I have no criminal record or history of violent behavior. I’ve never been pulled over by the police or given a parking ticket. I’m simply here to observe.

JACKIE: Observe, huh? (beat) Like Sherlock Holmes? The art of deduction, was it?

TAYLOR: (a faint smile) Something like that.

JACKIE: Well, there’s no harm in observing, I always say. Looking, but not touching! (She laughs at herself.) I will leave you to it, Ms. X. Let me know if you need anything. (She starts to leave.)

TAYLOR: Thank you for your hospitality. One question, before you go.


TAYLOR: Where’s the local watering hole? If someone were to be out gossiping about the goings on in this community, where would they go?

JACKIE: Finnegan’s, most likely. It’s a stone’s throw from here, about four blocks. Take a right as you head out of the parking lot, turn left onto Hickory Street and you’ll see the flickering neon sign. That’ll be it.

TAYLOR: Again, thank you so much.

JACKIE: My pleasure. I like helping people. And dogs. (She moves to the door, turns around before she goes.) Hey, maybe I’ll get to read your book some day.

TAYLOR: I’ll gladly send you an autographed first edition.

JACKIE exits.

TAYLOR gets out a small recorder and pushes a button.

TAYLOR: Entry number one. The subject is eager to please and may prove to be a valuable ally in executing this mission…

Lights out.


Tiffany Milwaukee


Lights up.plays

Bridal suite.

SHERRI is helping RHONDA get ready for her wedding.

SHERRI is wearing a hot-pink bridesmaid gown that is not her favorite.

RHONDA: Is my hair alright? The stylist didn’t do it exactly the way I wanted it. I mean, I wanted it like with a casual wave and I feel the curls are too tight, but, you know me, I can’t do my own hair, I couldn’t even fix it if I wanted to. Could you fix it? Does it need fixing?

SHERRI: You look gorgeous. I wouldn’t change a thing.

RHONDA: How do the bridesmaids like the gowns? Real cute, right?

SHERRI: (too enthusiastically) Real cute, yeah!

RHONDA: Oh, my god. Do you not like your dress?! Oh, my god! Why didn’t you tell me?!

SHERRI: Rhonda, the dress is cute, I promise! (beat) It’s not something I would buy for myself, but it’s your day! You deserve to have the perfect wedding and these dresses are a part of that!

RHONDA: You don’t like them, do you?

SHERRI: Honestly, they’re not my taste, but my taste doesn’t matter today. Today is all about you.

RHONDA: We should just cancel, really. If my maid of honor doesn’t even want to wear her dress–

SHERRI: What? Cancel? No–no, no, no, no, no–I’m wearing the dress–I want to wear the dress because it’s what you want and it’s your special day and I am so happy to wear this dress, forget I said anything, I love this dress!

RHONDA: I already know you don’t like it, Sherri. You are not a good actor.

SHERRI: Please don’t cancel your wedding because of my poor acting skills! I’ll get out there and I’ll be smiling and no one will know it’s not my favorite. Come on. It has been a perfect weekend. The rehearsal dinner went so smoothly and the bachelorette party was so much fun!

RHONDA: I don’t think I want to do it.

SHERRI: I am so sorry I said anything about the dress–

RHONDA: It’s not about the dress.

SHERRI: If I could turn back the clock and have that moment again–

RHONDA: It’s not about the dress!

SHERRI: Rhonda, what’s going on?

RHONDA: You know how there was that Tiffany Milwaukee hack last week, the hackers got into the site where married people look for affairs? And now, there’s a website where you can cross-reference your email contacts to see if anyone you know was using the site. And I got an anonymous tip that Kevin’s email was on that list. (She starts to get choked up.) And I checked it on my own, and yeah, there it was. On that list. (Starting to cry.) You know me, I’m no good at confrontation, so I haven’t said anything. I’ve just let the wedding keep happening. And now I don’t know what to do. (beat) What do I do, Sherri?

SHERRI: (stunned) Ok, well, ok. Let’s see. I think you need to talk to Kevin, like, right away.

RHONDA: (still weepy) But it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony…

SHERRI: Rhonda, sweetie, we have got to let that superstition go for the moment, because, right now, we’re trying to decide if there will still be a wedding. You need to find Kevin and I will stall the pastor or whatever for as long as it takes. Where’s Kevin?

RHONDA: I don’t know…

SHERRI: I am going to go find him and bring him back here. And you are going to pull yourself together and be the strong woman I know you are and you are going to ask him what is going on. And it might be scary, and you might hear things you which you hadn’t, but then you’ll know. And then you can decide if you want to go through with the wedding. (beat) Take a deep breath.

RHONDA does. She takes hold of SHERRI’s hands and squeezes them tightly. They hug.

RHONDA: Dammit, I am ruining my makeup, I know I am ruining my make up.

SHERRI: I’m going to get Kevin.

RHONDA: (in the mirror) Ok, you. This is what you have been waiting your whole life for. Your perfect day. But you need to get some information to see if that’s true, if this really is going to be the day, your wedding day…

She looks in the mirror for very long beat.

A rage comes over her face, and she smashes the standing mirror to the ground, breaking it into several pieces.

We hear SHERRI’s voice from outside the door.

SHERRI: (muffled) Rhonda, are you alright in there? I’ve brought Kevin, are you ready for him to come in?

RHONDA: Just a minute!

She grabs a large shard from the broken mirror and hides it behind her back.

RHONDA: Ready!

End of play.


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