Not knowing what will happen and when is

 
 

So I have this scene that I wrote for my play AMERICAN HOME that just didn’t fit into the final draft… it’s one of the “babies” I had to kill, so to speak. But I’m unwilling to bury it. I want it to have some life. Which is why I’m sharing it here.

I hope you enjoy. And if you do, I hope you’ll share it.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

REST STOP CIGARETTE 
A scene by Stephanie Alison Walker

JOE (41) sneaks a cigarette at a rest
stop somewhere in Kansas. After a
couple of beats, CINDY (41) appears.
Caught. They lock eyes. Enough said.

CINDY
Lovely.
(no response)
Better hope the kids don't see you.
(no response)
I can't believe you're smoking. Where'd you even get that?
(no response)
Joe.

JOE
What?

CINDY
Where'd you get that cigarette?

JOE
Machine.

CINDY
You bought a pack?

JOE
---

CINDY
Joe.

JOE
Cindy. Please. I'm losing my fucking mind.

CINDY
But a whole pack? You couldn't just bum one?

JOE
Bum one? From who?

CINDY
I don't know. A trucker. Another driver. There was an old
lady smoking by the women's bathroom. I'm sure she would've
given you a smoke.

JOE
A menthol or Virginia Slim. No thanks.

CINDY
Fine. But you could've--

JOE
I didn't want to talk to anyone, okay. I just wanted to smoke
in peace.

(A few beats. Then...)

CINDY
(just can't help herself)
So you're smoking again.

JOE
I'm having a smoke.

CINDY
I'm just trying to get this straight because the kids--

JOE
Cindy, will you please just lay the fuck off?!

(Silence. JOE takes a few drags.
Relaxes. She watches. Then looks out at
the scenery.)

CINDY
(a peace offering)
It's nice here. Everyone always talks about how ugly it is.
But I think it's pretty. The wheat fields. They're wheat,
right?
(Joe nods)
The twins with Matty?
(Joe nods)
Where?

JOE
He took them to play over in the grass.

CINDY
In the grass?

JOE
They're fine. They're with Matty. Running around. Stretching
their little legs.

CINDY
That's good.

JOE
Yep.

CINDY
How're we doing? Think we'll make it to St. Louis tonight?

JOE
If the kids sleep.

CINDY
No guarantee there.

JOE
I can't take another stretch like the last one. Tell you that
right now.

CINDY
Want me to drive? I said I'll drive.

JOE
I'm fine. It's just the constant noise.

CINDY
I can't do anything about that.

JOE
Should've bought that DVD player.

CINDY
This again.

JOE
Well.

CINDY
Joe.

JOE
What?

CINDY
Don't.

JOE
I'm just saying/

CINDY
(overlapping)
We can't afford--

JOE
It would've been a good investment. Keep me from losing my
mind.

CINDY
I said we should have flown.

JOE
That we can't afford.

CINDY
But if it was just--

JOE
Five plane tickets?

CINDY
You could have driven by yourself, I said.

JOE
We could have rented our own private plane. That would have
been a much better scenario. Why didn't you suggest that?

CINDY
Joe. Don't.

JOE
Or a spaceship. We could colonize the moon while we're at it.

CINDY
(after a beat)
Mars.

JOE
Mars? Seriously. Mars?

CINDY
No. You're right. The moon is a much more realistic option.

JOE
That's all I'm saying. To the moon. To the moon, Cindy. To
the moon.

CINDY
Okay, okay.

(They look at each other. Then laugh
off the tension. Relief.)

CINDY
I heard Harry tell Matty he misses his bedroom.

JOE
What did Matty say?

CINDY
He said something about how great their room at Grandma and
Grandpa's will be. But, I saw tears.

JOE
Matty?

CINDY
Yes.

JOE
Fuck.

CINDY
I know.

(CINDY snatches the cigarette from
JOE.)

JOE
Hey, come on!

(CINDY takes a long drag. Exhales.
Hands it back.)

JOE
See?

CINDY
Desperate times.

JOE
Exactly.

CINDY
Promise me.

JOE
What?

CINDY
It's all just temporary.

JOE
The smoking?

CINDY
That. Yes.

JOE
Yeah.

CINDY
And the rest?

JOE
I hope to God it is. I can't live with your parents forever.
I just can't.

CINDY
People used to do it. That's how things used to be, you know.
In other countries that's how they live. Generations under
one roof.
(beat)
Not that I want to. I'm just saying...
(off Joe's look)
I know. Something will appear. Somehow this will turn out for
the best. It will.

JOE
You keep saying that.

CINDY
I'm sorry if my optimism annoys you.

(JOE takes his last drag, drops the
butt on the ground and steps on it.
Then leaves it there.)

JOE
It doesn't annoy me...

CINDY
I know it does.

JOE
It's just...

CINDY
Look...being a cynical grouch doesn't help anything. So why
not try a little optimism. At least for the kids.

JOE
How did we ever get here?

CINDY
We just did.

JOE
It's just. If I'd seen it coming...

CINDY
It doesn't matter how we got here. It only matters how we'll
get out. And never end up here again. But look... we have a
place to live, three beautiful and healthy children and...

JOE
And what?

CINDY
Each other. That should be enough.



 (C) Copyright 2012
All rights reserved
For information about rights, please contact Stephanie Alison Walker
stephawalker at gmail