ORIGINAL PLAY BY JENNELLE BAROSIN
(It is a hospital waiting room, the kind right out in the lobby. There are a bunch of chairs and two tables with magazines scattered all over them. LIAM, a lonely 16 or 17 year old, is sitting with his legs draped over the arms of the chair next to him, his face in a magazine. He seems utterly bored when MELODY, 16 or 17 as well, walks over to him. There are doctors and nurses milling around, seeing to patients, but they do not interact with either LIAM or MELODY. LIAM can see them, but MELODY cannot, though LIAM doesn’t know this fact. There is a receptionist desk, but no receptionist.)
Excuse me, do you know the way to the ICU?
(Looks up from his magazine)
The ICU. Do you know where it is?
Hm. You look familiar. Do you like science fiction?
I just asked where the ICU was…
(looks thoughtfully at MELODY)
I love science fiction. There’s something weirdly accessible about it, wouldn’t you say?
(flustered; she just wants directions!)
I guess so. I don’t really watch it.
Really? You look to me like the kind of person who would watch tons upon tons of science fiction? Come on; don’t lie to me – you’ve seen Star Wars at least a dozen times. You cry every time Han says “I know” after Leia says I love you. I peg you as that sort of person. Am I right? I am so very often right about these things.
(DO NOT REACT TO LIAM OR MELODY)
Alright, Mr. Johnson, we’re just going to take your blood pressure now.
(MELODY doesn’t react to the NURSE #1, while LIAM looks over in mild interest, gaining him a weird stare from MELODY)
Well, not today. I don’t like science fiction.
Like, not at all? Who are you who doesn’t like science fiction even a little bit?
(DO NOT INTERACT WITH LIAM OR MELODY)
Now lie back, and we’re just going to take a listen to those lungs today, see how you’re holding up.
(LIAM looks over, and gets another stair from MELODY for doing so. She can’t see anything.)
Melody. Now could I get directions to the ICU?
Why don’t you just ask one of the nurses? And Melody. Oh that is just perfect. Ever seen Doctor Who? Oh wait, I forgot – you don’t like science fiction.
I actually… I have seen Doctor Who. It wasn’t bad. And what nurses?
(AHA! Face; points a finger; ignores the nurses question)
I knew it! You’re a closet sci-fi fan! I knew it!
(Cont.)(jumps up and does a victory dance of sorts)
Are you finished?
(busts out one or two more moves)
There. Now I am. You have the same name as River Song. You must secretly giggle about this to yourself as you watch bootleg episodes on your laptop.
No, not really.
You’ve never watched the show correctly then. Oh, and the ICU is straight through those doors, take the elevator the floor eight, take a right, go straight, then take a left, and you should see a sign.
(visibly grateful for the directions)
Thank you. And I’ll have to give sci-fi another try. You seem to like it well enough.
(pleased with himself, sits back down and picks up his magazine)
I’d start with Star Wars. You start with A New Hope. And believe me, watch it with tissues.
Will do. Thanks for the directions, er… What was your name?
Liam. You seem really familiar, did I tell you that?
(MELODY nods her head, and LIAM nods back)
Anyways, if you get lost, just trace your steps back and I’ll take you to the ICU myself. I know the way pretty well.
Take care, Liam.
(Walks away, with a quick backward glance.)
Okay, sure, don’t say goodbye, that’s cool too. Where’s the receptionist anyway?
(He looks around, grumbling)
Why do I have to moonlight as the ‘You Are Here’ sign? I didn’t sign up for this. Haha, sign. Wow, that was a pathetic pun.
(ENTER MARCUS. He is about 18, and appears to have heard the last bit of what LIAM has said to himself.)
That was a pathetic pun. I won’t lie.
(He’s too close.)
(Karate chops the air, chucking his magazine into the air.)
Ka-chow! H-yah! *indiscriminate noises*
(hits MARCUS in the face as he flails widely, trying to fake knowing karate.)
(Grabs at his face in pain)
Ow! Jesus! What the hell was that for?!
You startled me. I totally didn’t mean to hit you in the face. Did I break anything? Do you want me to get a nurse or something? I’m sure that they wouldn’t mind stopping and helping you out.
Noooo… no. Nothing’s broken. And besides, there are no nurses around.
(There should still clearly be nurse and doctor extras onstage)
(cont.)I’ll be fine. But it still hurts. Who taught you to throw a punch, a blind man?
My uncle Marty was an upstanding citizen and a third degree black belt, and he was blind. Don’t judge a pie before you taste it.
Whoa, look, sorry, I didn’t know – Don’t judge a pie before you taste it?
The book by its cover cliché is played out and trite. I’m trying something new.
Clichés are cliché because they are made that way. You can’t go messing up the system by creating new ones.
(sitting down in a chair next to LIAM, oblivious to the person directly next to him that LIAM can supposedly see.)
Well, how else does language advance? How else does anything advance? Someone has to be the weirdo to try something new. Can you imagine being the first guy to eat an egg? ‘The next thing that comes out of the bird, yep, I’m going to eat it.’
Or milk? How weird must have that have been for everyone involved?
I guess I see your point. Sometimes you do have to make something new. Switch things up.
Try different things. It’s healthy. And it provides advances. In civilization and otherwise.
I get you. But I really came over here to ask for directions. Do you know the way to the ICU?
(sighs through his nose; mumbles)
Everyone always wants directions but no one wants to stay.
(Loud enough for MARCUS to hear now)
I know the way. You go through that doorway, take the elevator to floor eight, take a right, then go straight, then take a left, and you should see a sign.
Thanks man, I owe you one.
No problem. And if you get lost, you know where I’ll be. Here surrounded by all these doctors who could have helped you with your nose. Just come back and I’ll help you find your way.
(MARCUS acknowledges this with a smile; he has no idea what LIAM is talking about with the doctor comment.)
By the way, have we met? You look really familiar…
Nah, it must be déjà vu or something. Thanks for the directions. See ya.
(MARCUS stands and leaves, and nearly walks into a nurse wheeling a patient in a wheelchair, which LIAM watches with rapt interest, but the two characters never interact, despite their near collision.)
(Brightly, after watching a near catastrophe.)
(Gets up and retrieves magazine from the floor, flipping through it.)
Oh, I hope those two crazy kids can stop arguing and keep the love. If anyone could make it, it would be them.