Friday, May 23, 2008

FSW: On the Couch

(Trevor lies on a couch, while behind him Mary sits in a chair taking notes. She is wearing a suit and glasses. Her hair is in a bun held together with a pencil.)

MARY
How are you feeling today, Trevor?

TREVOR
I'm okay. A little sluggish. Didn't get a good night's sleep.

MARY
Yes?

TREVOR
Restless. My dreams were too vivid, I think. Probably shouldn't have had that burrito before bed.

MARY
Tell me about the burrito.

TREVOR
You don't want to hear about the dreams?

MARY
I haven't had breakfast yet. (BEAT) And sometimes a burrito is just a burrito.

(They both chuckle at her bad joke.)

Alright. Tell me about your dreams.

TREVOR
They started out like they always do. I was thirteen and mowing the lawn. It's July and I'm working up quite a sweat. Now, our yard was pretty small, maybe a quarter-acre of grass to mow, but in my dream it's this huge expanse. It's at least three, four acres. And it feels like I'm pushing uphill in both directions.

MARY
(Furiously scribbling notes) Mmmhmm...

TREVOR
I keep thinking I'm going to run out of gas and need to fill up the tank, but it keeps going. Engine sputters a few times, but it just keeps running. The sun's beating down and I'm sweating a ton.

MARY
What are you wearing?

TREVOR
Wearing? I guess I'm in shorts. I've never thought about...no, wait...I'm wearing my uniform from my first job.

MARY
What job is that?

TREVOR
I was the guy in the El Pollo Loco costume who held the sign down by the road. Terrible job. I lasted a month. I think that was a record. That costume smelled like cigarettes and puke.

MARY
So you're mowing the lawn in the costume. Do you have on the chicken head?

TREVOR
No. Just the rest of it. The feet are huge, too.

MARY
(More energetic notetaking) Mmmm...

TREVOR
And then suddenly, I find myself lying by a pool.

MARY
Are you alone?

TREVOR
My mother's there, feeding me grapes. It's kind of weird.

MARY
Are you still in your costume?

TREVOR
No. I'm in swim trunks. And you're there, too, painting my toenails.

MARY
(Notes) I'm there? Hmm. What are your mother and I wearing?

TREVOR
She's in one of those old-timey swimsuits. You're dressed like you are now. Suit, hair up, glasses.

MARY
Very interesting --

TREVOR
-- I love you, Mary.

MARY
No, no, no. You're just projecting your feelings onto me.

TREVOR
No, Mary, really I do.

MARY
(More notes) Mmmhmm. (BEAT) Tell me more about your mother. How does it make you feel when she feeds you these grapes.

TREVOR
I guess it makes me feel good. I was hot and thirsty, and the grapes are cool and moist in my mouth.

MARY
And what do you think the grapes represent?

TREVOR
Represent? I don't know.

MARY
Okay, we'll get back to that. Let's move on to something else. Last time you said you were having some performance issues. How is that going?

TREVOR
I, I just can't get excited anymore.

MARY
Does anything excite you? Any fantasies?

TREVOR
Um, this is kind of hard to say...

MARY
This is a safe place, Trevor. You can say anything in here.

TREVOR
When I woke up from the dream I was pretty excited.

(Mary flips pages, she's taking so many notes now. Her pencil breaks and she pulls the one out of her hair to continue unabated. Her hair falls around her shoulders.)

MARY
I think we're about to have a breakthrough--

(The door opens and Sally, a teenage girl, comes in.)

SALLY
Mom? There's a call for you from the hospital. Something about seizures, or something? One of your patients.

MARY
(Getting up) Thanks, Sally.

SALLY
Dad? Can I borrow the car tonight?

BLACKOUT

7 comments:

Michael Brownlee said...

Nice.

R.A. Porter said...

Thanks. Unfortunately, it feels like a lot of setup just to get to the one punchline.

2old4this said...

Mom feeding grapes and wife painting toenails.
I feel queasy.

Neat job other than that, and the setup was interesting (though sick) in itself, so no problems there.

mikeo75 said...

A lot of setup for the punchline, yes...but it was worth it.

Creeepy

Grubber said...

RA,
Saw your post about sleep apnea. Suffered badly myself. Ended up getting a CPAP machine....best move ever. Took about two nights to get used to but can't sleep without it now.
Worth a try.
cheers
Dave

Tosy And Cosh said...

Have you ever read AR Gurney's 'The Problem?" One-act play. Great stuff, and a little reminiscent of what you have here.

R.A. Porter said...

@tosy, no I haven't read that play. I'll have to get it. I've liked the Gurney I have read. Makes me feel like I'm back home in Connecticut. :)