CALLIE has a guitar case in front of her with singles and change inside. No guitar in sight.
She sits next to the guitar case with a typewriter.
A sign reads. “Poems. You pick the subject. You pick your price.”
She loads a one hitter and takes a pull.
Exhaling, she returns the one hitter to its hiding place in her hoodie.
She takes a small spray bottle of perfume and sprays herself and the air around her.
She waits for inspiration and starts to type a new poem.
MAE enters the space, holding a briefcase. Sees CALLIE, reads the sign, walks over.
MAE takes money out of her wallet.
MAE: One poem, please.
CALLIE nods, takes out the sheet of paper she’s been typing on and deftly loads a new piece in the typewriter.
CALLIE: What do you want it to be about?
MAE: Oh, just–a love poem.
CALLIE: What kind of love?
MAE: Excuse me?
CALLIE: (not unkind, clarifying) What kind of love? Puppy love? Brotherly love? White hot passionate love?
MAE: Right. (beat) It’s for my husband. It’s our first anniversary. And he’s into observing the traditional gifts given at anniversaries, and first year–that’s paper. And I know he’s going to do something really incredible–he loves finding or making the perfect gift. I’m not. I buy gift cards. So I figure if I give him a poem, that will be special.
CALLIE: What do you love about him?
MAE: What do I–?
CALLIE: For the poem. If you want to match his gift-giving abilities, let’s make this heart-breakingly beautiful and personal.
MAE: That sounds good.
CALLIE: How did you meet?
MAE: Online. (beat) That’s lame. That’s not poetic.
CALLIE: What was your first date?
MAE: Dinner and a movie.
CALLIE: Details, friend! What was the restaurant, what was the movie?
MAE: Oh, right. Restaurant was Italian and the movie was (she smiles) Bridesmaids. It was Bridesmaids.
CALLIE: Can you remember anything about the dinner? What you ate? Were there the candles burned into the chianti bottles?
MAE: (trying to remember) There were black and white checkered table cloths. We both ordered beer, which we laughed at because it was an Italian restaurant and we should have ordered wine…
CALLIE begins to type.
CALLIE: Did you know that first night that he was your guy?
MAE: Honestly, no. (CALLIE stops typing, looks up.) Isn’t that awful? It wasn’t love at first sight. I thought he was handsome, but kind of boring. I remember thinking he was really boring. I think he was just nervous, and it came out boring. But I gave him another chance because he was willing to see Bridesmaids. Not all guys would be willing to see Bridesmaids without more of a negotiation. He was open minded. And that made him more attractive. That made up for boring.
CALLIE: (nods) Ok, I got it.
CALLIE begins to type again. She starts slowly at first, and then she gets into the zone, typing away, nodding–the words swell within her and land magnificently on the page.
She finishes and carefully unfurls the paper from the typewriter and hands it to MAE with respectful ceremony.
MAE reads it. It is beyond perfection. She starts to tear up. She places the poem in a folder in her briefcase. Digs into her wallet, puts a $100 bill in CALLIE’S guitar case.
CALLIE nods in gratitude. She knows the poem is that good and worth every penny.
MAE: (smiling) Thank you. (she starts to exit)
CALLIE: Hey—you know, if you really want to make it special, sign your name at the bottom. Pretend you wrote it. And get a fancy envelope–there’s a stationery store across the street from this subway stop. And spray your perfume on it before you put it in the envelope. Get up a little early tomorrow morning. Make your favorite couple’s breakfast and put the envelope on his plate. (beat) I don’t care what he’s getting you for your anniversary. This is gonna trump it.
MAE digs into her wallet, takes out more money and moves to put it in the guitar case.
CALLIE raises her hand to stop her.
CALLIE: That’s ok–that advice is on the house. (she winks)
MAE: Thanks again.
CALLIE fishes out the $100 bill and stuffs it in her bra.
She takes out the one hitter again. Takes another pull. Puts it away. Sprays herself and the air.
She loads another sheet of paper in the typewriter. Takes a moment. Takes her perfume out again and gingerly sprays the paper. Puts the perfume away.
She closes her eyes and raises her hands to type.