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A Fine Line
A Fine Line
Scene 1 Act 1:
(A young and beautiful woman sits in a chair in the corner of a sparsely populated coffee shop. A somewhat mediocre man, with suspicious eyes walks up to her table and sits down across from her. She looks up and smiles.)
Gale: I haven’t see you in while, Antithesis.
Antithesis: No you haven’t.
Gale: I’m guessing there is a reason why you called me at 3 in the morning to plan this –event. I was out at the new club down the road, off of Heckling Street but still--
Antithesis: I knew you would be up, you always are. I just didn’t know where to go. Who to tell? I don’t know what to do Gale.
Gale: What’s wrong this time? Is Essel watching too many Lost reruns? I always told her she was obsessed, she should get it checked out. It’s a serious condition I hear
Antithesis: Be serious Gale. This is a serious problem, I think. I think Essel is…(whispers) is cheating… On me!
Gale: Ha! Essel cheat on you? Oh, please. Sure she’s the biggest flirt on this side of the universe, but that doesn’t make her an adulterous.
Antithesis: I’m not making this up. She is rarely ever home when I am. She stays out into weird hours of night, with little to no explanation. And she is so distant from me lately. She has to be cheating on me!
Gale: It’s called a falling out. An easy fix. There are so many innocent reasons behind what’s causing this “issue”. You’re just being paranoid.
Antithesis: Paranoid or not, I want to know for sure if my wife is mine. And I need your help to find out.
Gale: What?! Me? Why me? Don’t get me involved in your messed up delusions.
Antithesis: You’re her best friend Gale! She’ll tell you anything. Come over to our house more. Spend more time with her, and then all you have to do is… report back to me everything she says and does. It’s no big deal. Easy peasy.
Gale: Well I do need to hang out with her more…but I am not doing this for you. Let me make this clear to you Antithesis. I am doing this to see my best friend more, not to fuel your paranoia. If I find out anything that you must know, I’ll consider telling you. I’m making no promises.
Antithesis: That’s all I’m asking. Thank you so much Gale. You’re such a good person.
Gale: That’s what they all say.
Antithesis: By all you mean Jeremy? How is that fellow anyways? Still a lost puppy dog?
Gale: I find his uxorious nature sweet and uplifting.
Antithesis: You forgot sickening. It’s like he’s not even a man. I bet he’d die if he couldn’t have you.
Gale: At least he doesn’t have people spy on me. He trusts me. He’s the best boyfriend a girl like me could have.
Antithesis: Whatever you say. Well I have to get back to Essel before she wonders where I am. And you should get back to Jeremy before he starts rallying a search team to look for you.
Gale: Oh shut up Antithesis.
Antithesis: I kid, I kid. See you around…..soon?
Gale: You will, you certainly will.
Scene 2 Act 1:
(Jeremy, an extremely handsome and muscular guy, is sitting anxiously on the couch. He is staring at an off TV screen and his eyes are fixated on it, he is deep in thought. Gale unlocks the door and struts in. She walks purposefully to the fridge and pulls out a soda.)
Jeremy: Your home! Gale, I was so worried about you. I was watching the news and they were talking about a psychopath running around this town, and I thought: He could be killing Gale right now and I can’t stop him. I had to turn off the TV just to stop myself from shaking.
Gale: (puts soda on a coffee table and walks up inches from Jeremy. Jeremy stands.) You don’t have to worry about silly old me. No psychopath in his right mind would kill someone as ugly as me.
Jeremy: How can you even joke about your beauty? Any psychopath would be crazy not to target you. Gale, your eyes alone can melt a heart… Your lips soft as if cotton candy. Your hair, your stunning golden hair—perfection. Never down grade yourself Gale, you’re a perfect twenty out of ten in any mans eyes. –Perfection!
Gale: You’re so sweet; too good for me.
Jeremy: I wish I could be more for you, you deserve more. I just. I love you so much.
Gale: Oh please. (rolls eyes sweetly)
Jeremy: You’re just too cute (Taps her nose). How was the new club? Oh, and how was shopping?
Gale: The club was filled with raging hipsters. It was disgusting.--Shopping? Oh yeah, yeah it was good. (walks back into kitchen and starts to make dinner, he follows her)-- But while I was out I was thinking…I should go see Essel. I haven’t seen her in a while and we need to reconnect.
Jeremy: That’s a brilliant idea! You need more time to yourself anyways… I know. You should go see her tomorrow.
Gale: Alright, I’ll call her to let her know. Here can you turn on the stove, babe? (walks over to phone)
Jeremy: Absolutely! Actually, let me make you dinner.
Gale: (starts dialing numbers) You don’t have to do that.
Jeremy: I want to. Nothing would give me greater pleasure.
Gale: Thanks sweetie… Hello? Essel? Yes! It’s me Gale! Yea? Mhmm……
Jeremy: (looks over at Gale and stares affectionately at Gale as she talks on the phone) I’m so lucky….so lucky.
(Mid morning at the Essel and Antitheis household. Antithesis is preparing to leave for work.)
Antithesis: Hey honey? Have you seen my shoes? I can’t find them.
Essel: Um….Have you tried under the table?
Antithesis: No. I haven’t. (walks over to table) Here they are. Thank you so much Essel.
Essel: Mhm. Did I mention that Gale is coming over soon?
Antithesis: Gale? Ah, no you didn’t. That’s…. nice. (he smiles about his plan is working, then the smile slowly fades as he remembers why he has this plan)
Essel: Yes. I haven’t seen her in so long.
Antithesis: Well if she’s coming over I better get going. I don’t want to….disrupt your reunion.
Essel: If you must. (Kisses Antithesis’s cheek) When should I expect you home?
Antithesis: Around five …..Is there a specific reason you want to know? Perhaps you want to know what time you need to get your lover out of the house
Essel: (chuckles to self) Oh heavens no. I was just wondering.
Antithesis: Ok. Well I guess I’m off…..
Essel: (turns back away from him and starts whistling and doing dishes by hand) Bye.
Antithesis: (sighs defeated) I love you--
Essel: --You better get going or you’ll be late.
(Antithesis turns sadly and leaves for work)
(Thirty minutes later. Essel is sitting on a reclining chair humming an upbeat tune, with eyes closed. Door bell rings. Essel gets up and opens the door).
Essel: Gale! ( they hug) Wow you haven’t aged a day.
Gale: Nope I haven’t. Not even mentally. (both chuckle) But more importantly look at you! Tell me you didn’t get all dressed up for me did you?
Essel: What this ratty dress? I’m just so happy to see you, what has it been about a month since we last hung out? It feels like forever.
Gale: I know the feeling. Well am I just going to stand outside all day or are you going to invite me inside?
Essel: How foolish of me! Come in, come in.
Gale: (walks over to the couch and sits down forcefully) Ah, now this… is a good couch.
Essel: Yes it is. Antithesis got it for me last week. He said it was the best couch money could buy.
Gale: Mhm (relaxes into couch)…Speaking of Antithesis; what is marriage like?
Essel: It has its ups and its downs. Are you still with that Jeremy guy?
Gale: Of course.
Essel: What a nice guy he is. I’ve always liked him. Are you two thinking of marriage?
Gale: (shrugs and smiles slyly) It’s possible, but enough about my love life. Tell me about yours.
Essel: I’m married. That’s all there is to it. ( raises hands up. Gale does the same. Palms facing each other. They lock fingers then release over and over again.)
Gale: I know that silly! But is it everything you ever dreamed it would be?
Essel: Sometimes. Antithesis works a lot, but he means well.
Gale: Oh? Tell me more, tell me more. I want to know everything. Get me up to date with your life in the last month.
Essel: …Well ---- (both put hands to sides)you see--- Antithesis has been working overtime lately. And I’ve been so lonely living in this house, waiting till the late hours of night just to make sure he comes home. I needed to keep busy, so I
Gale: Go on. (Leans forward)
Essel: I got a job. Antithesis wouldn’t want his precious angel to have to work, but I do. Nothing hard of course, I do some editing for the local newspaper. It’s no big deal. I’m actually saving up, so I can surprise him with a cruise trip on an off week.
Gale: (leans back and sighs with relief) For a minute I thought you were going to tell me something sinister or something.
Essel: Me, sinister? I wouldn’t dream of it.
Gale: That’s very nice of you to do. A little rebellious though…
Essel: Yes, yes I know. I could never ask him to work less; he loves it far too much. And I couldn’t remain here forever. Sometimes I wonder if he loves me, or his work more.
Gale: Don’t say that Essel. He loves you. He’s always freaking out about you.
Essel: That’s just who he is: a worrier. It doesn’t mean he really loves me. Not really. Maybe in his eyes I’m just a prize that he has acquired.
Gale: Cheer up Essel. I know for a fact he loves you more than anything in the world.--Is that crumb cake I see!? My favorite!
Essel: Crumb cake….yes yes it is. I got it for you.
Gale: You know me all too well. (Cuts herself a slice and starts eating quickly, leaving cake pieces in her glistening hair)
Essel: I suppose I do. Oh Gale you’re a mess. (Walks over and sits next to where Gale is sitting. And starts pulling the crumbs out of her hair gently as Gale continues to eat.)
Gale: I could have got them myself, you know.
Essel: Would you really? Because the girl who “knows you all too well” thinks differently.
Gale: True, but how do you know I wasn’t saving them for later? Whatever happened to the rule?
Essel: What rule?
Gale: That rule about what’s in your hair being your own property. And those crumbs were in fact in my hair, not yours. So if you could hand them back over to me. (Sticks out hand palm up)
Essel: You have to be kidding.
Gale: Nope, I’m not. (Essel with a confused look hands over around 10 crumbs to Gale. Gale starts carefully placing the crumbs back into her hair)
Essel: You were so right. You haven’t aged mentally at all.
Gale: I warned you.
Essel: That you did.
Gale : Mhm (engrossed in the cake)
Essel: So…..have you seen any good movies lately?
Gale: Good movies? Nope none of those. Good movies are rare.
Essel: Not even the movie with that actress…oh what’s her name?! The one that looks just like you!
Gale: Yeah… I have no idea what you’re talking about, Hun.
Essel: Oh Gale we have to go see it!... Tomorrow! Perfect.
Gale: How did we get to this awful idea from cake? Mhm cake…
Essel: We need to go see it. And I don’t have work tomorrow. So movies. You, me, and tomorrow. There’s no way you’re getting out of this. (Places both hands on her face and stares seriously at her, Gale continues to chew.)
Gale: But, what if NASA calls me and they need me to test out there party station up in Mars and I’m the best person for the job? Can I get out of the movies then? ( Essel drops her hands to go back to interlocking fingers with Gale’s one available hand.)
Essel: Let me think…. No. You’re coming with me. Even if I have to kidnap you.
Gale: I figured you would say that.
Essel: How come? (Places hands at her side)
Gale: Because I know you, just as well as you know me.
Essel: Then you know that I won’t rest till you say you’ll go to the movies with me.
Gale: But Essel, Jeremy will be all alone.
Essel: Please…it’s only for an hour or so.
Gale: Oh alright. Essel if anything you are persistent.
Essel: If you knew me than that wouldn’t be such a surprise.
Gale: I’m not surprised. I’m just letting you know.
Essel: Message received. So, movies tomorrow. Do not forget.
Gale: I would never forget about you Essel. How could I?
Essel: You can’t. I’m in your head forever. (Smiles, then raises her hand back up cautiously to pull the crumbs out of Gale’s hair again. This time Gale simply smiles a victory smile.)
Scene 4 Act 1:
(Three in the afternoon. Gale pulls up to Essel’s house. Gets out of her car and struts up to the front door. Before her hand hits the door to knock, Essel opens the door and comes out. Essel is dressed to the nines.)
Essel: Are you ready to go?
Gale: Unfortunately. You know how much I hate movie theaters.
Essel: I can’t imagine why.
Gale: I can list a hundred reasons why! Would you like to hear them?
Essel: As interesting and time consuming as that sounds, no I do not.
Gale: Whatever. Are we taking your car or mine?
Essel: Mine of course! It’s the perfect season to put the top down and drive through town.
Gale: Who is driving exactly? No offense but I don’t trust your driving capabilities…
Essel: It’s because I’m a woman isn’t it?
Gale: No it’s because you’re a terrible driver. I call dibs on driving.
Essel: You can’t call dibs on my car. It’s my car! And I’m going to drive, just to prove to you I’m not a horrible driver.
Gale: Ok, but hold on. I have to call the engravers to tell them to write on my gravestone “Here lies the moron who let Essel Wyatt drive her”.
Essel: Just get in the car.
Gale: (gets into the car and straps in) Is that a threating tone I hear?
Essel: You always have something to say don’t you.
Gale: Yes. Or maybe… no. See? I don’t have an answer for you right now.
(Essel starts the car and skillfully backs up and drives off as Gale does the motion of praying.)
Essel: I do love the wind in my face. (Briefly closes eyes and tilts head up to sky)
Gale: If you could drive with your eyes open, I think I would enjoy the wind too.
Essel: (her hair is flowing chaotically in the wind, making Gale stop to look at her with awe. And her perfume is somehow filling up Gale’s nose, making her breath long deep breaths to absorb the luxurious smell) Since when did you become a worrier?
Gale: About five minutes ago, when you started up the car.
Essel: (looks over at Gale with a tint of amusement in her eyes, catching Gale off guard and making her heart skip a beat) If you’re going to make fun of me and my driving you can get out of the car anytime.
Gale: I want to, but you won’t slow down. You even went thirty through a stop sign. I simply haven’t had the chance to get out.
Essel: (laughs a cute half a second laugh. Gale freezes in place looking straight forward, eyes open wide as if this was something she waited her whole life to hear.) Relax. I’m a good driver.
Essel: What’s this? No witty remark? Shocking… such a decent surprise.
Gale: ( deep in thought in above line. Wakes up as if in some trance.) I’m full of surprises, Essel. For instance: I’m human. Surprise! And as a human I’m afraid of dying a bad death. And people die horribly in cars all the time, when horrible drivers—what’s the word—oh yeah drive. And you Essel are a horrible driver.
Essel: And the witty comments return! You can get out and kiss the ground in a moment. Were just about there, see there’s the parking lot. (pulls into the parking lot of the movie theatre and parks in the furthest spot available)
Gale: Ugh. You pick the furthest spot possible, really Essel?! If you wanted a workout we could have just walked from your house.
Essel: Don’t be lazy. Let’s go, or we’ll be late.
Gale: Fine. Have I mentioned how much I dislike movie theatres?
Essel: You hate movie theatres? Who would have guessed? (both break into uncontrollable laughter. They walk up to the ticket booth.) One ticket for the girliest movie you have available.
Gale: I see your not buying me a ticket. Someone’s not chivalrous. (to the ticket seller) I’ll have a ticket too.
Essel: Do I look like Jeremy? I know you can take care of yourself, your old enough.
Gale: I guess I’m just used to Jeremy taking care of me all the time.
Essel: And how does doing things for yourself make you feel? (they are walking to the theatre)
Gale: I’ll admit its a little empowering.
Essel: Antithesis hates when I pay for things when I’m with him. Even though we share everything, he likes the glory of paying. But I normally ignore him and pay anyways.
Gale: Ata girl.
(they walk down the aisle and take a seat in a middle row)
How long have we known each other?
Essel: You mean you haven’t been counting the days?
Gale : No—have you?
Essel: Nope. Well let’s see... I would say maybe five years next month on the 22nd.
Gale: That’s specific. I thought it would be about four-ish years.
Essel: We met in college. I remember the day exactly. You hit me in the face with a freebie as I was going to class. And you made me late, but it was a test day, and I had to take a F. The only F I ever received in My Life.
Gale: Oh yeah... My bad?
Essel: Yes it is your bad, but all is forgiven.
Gale: But we didn’t really meet until that day that you tripped me in the hall.
Essel: Because you made me fail a test!
Gale: So to even the score you—tripped me? Then if I remember correctly you helped me pick up my things.
Essel: What can I say? I felt bad.
Gale: Well it’s all good now, because without you tripping me and then helping me pick up my books we would have never became friends.
Essel: You are so right. If I had a dime for every time I tripped someone and gained a friend, I would have—one dime. A shiny, valuable dime, no doubt.
Gale: (smiles) Is this movie going to start before I freeze to death?
Essel: We have a few more minutes. The previews just started.
Gale: I’m going to get some popcorn. Do you want any?
Essel: No thanks. And don’t even think about running out the front door.
Gale: That’s a good plan. I didn’t even consider that. Thanks for the advice. (gets up)
Essel: Gale! Don’t you dare! I hate you. (smiles; and says it in a kidding way)
Gale: *laughs* I love you too. ( says this as she starts to walk out to the lobby. In lobby she buys popcorn and heads back. When she returns the movie has just started. Right before she reaches her row she sees Essel with the movie light reflected on her face. The beauty of Essel makes her stop and think. Quickly and quietly she walks back into the lobby and sits down on a bench.)
What is wrong with me? Get it together Gale. Nothing has changed, I will be the same person I was before.—it’s just that she….she is so posed and ... Stop, no think about Jeremy--. How did I go so long with him?... Do I even love him?... How could I even try to? No. No. I am normal. She is normal… I’m going crazy. I’m clearly not getting enough sleep… She’ll probably come looking for me if I don’t go in soon… I have to pull myself together. I will not fall apart. (gets up and walks into the theatre, taking deep breaths to pull herself together. Takes small steps up to her seat and sits without looking at Essel at all.)
Essel: Long line?
Essel: Are you ok?
Gale: Why wouldn’t I be?
Essel: I don’t know, but you’ve lost color in your face. Is the movie that bad?
Gale: It’s not that.
Guy in back row: Down in front, some of us are trying to watch a movie!
Essel and Gale: Sorry. (Whispers)
(The movie ends and they both go back to the car without talking. Gale is in deep thought and Essel sees that Gale is not to be disturbed)
Essel: Do you want to come back to my house and talk?
Gale: I can’t. Jeremy is waiting for me back at the apartment.
Essel: Of course. (Essel drives back to her house and Gale gets in her car and drives home)
(Essel walks in the door to her house. Inside Antithesis is pacing in large circles in the living room.)
Essel: I’m home. (Antithesis looks up slowly then smiles painfully)
Antithesis: Can I ask were you were?
Essel: Oh you know, I was with Gale at the movies.
Antithesis: Gale? Ok. That’s great (starts to cheer up). How did it go?
Essel: Great... Actually it wasn’t. Gale was acting weird on the way home.
Antithesis: Odd. Did you two talk a lot before the movie?
Essel: I guess. Is dinner ready?
Antithesis: (comes in close to Essel and moves a few strands of hair out of her face. Looks deep into her eyes) Let’s go out for dinner. We can go to that nice restaurant that I took you for our first date.
Essel: Right now? Oh can we Thesi?
Antithesis: Let me go get the keys and we’ll go.
Essel: And I can get that fancy dessert I’ve always wanted.
Antithesis: As you wish.
Essel: Quoting movies again?
Antithesis: Indeed I am. — Essel, do you love me?
Essel: I married you didn’t I?
Antithesis: That’s not an answer Essel.
Essel: You know I do.
Antithesis: Than say it.
Antithesis: It’s nice to hear every once and a while.
Essel: (pauses and looks deep in thought. Her stomach growls) I love you Antithesis. Just because I don’t say it every day, doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore.
Antithesis: I know, I know… Go get in the car. I’ll be there in a minute. I’ve got to get my wallet.
Essel: As You wish. *winks* ( Antithesis smiles and watches her skip out to the car and strap herself in. Then dials a number on his phone)
Gale: It’s you….Why are you calling?
Antithesis: You know why.
Gale: Um… no, no I don’t. Enlighten me.
Antithesis: Is she…Is she you know
Gale: Is she cheating on you?
Antithesis: Don’t mess with me Gale. I can’t take it.
Gale: No she isn’t, but that’s all I’m telling you.
Antithesis: Are you sure?
Gale: Maybe. I’ll have to hang out with her more to be completely sure.
Antithesis: Thank you so much Gale. I…I can’t thank you enough.
Gale: Thanking me with money would be nice.
Antithesis: Ha. No.
Gale: A girl can hope cant she?
Antithesis: I suppose… Ah yes, are you ok? Essel said you were acting odd after the movie.
Gale: Uh—yeah. I just didn’t feel myself but now I’m fine I
Antithesis: Try not to catch any major colds. I can’t have my best detective getting my wife sick. I have to go Essel is waiting for me.
Gale: Yes, yes. Go. Bye.
Antithesis: Goodbye Gale! (they hang up and he runs to the car. They drive off to the restaurant.)
(Scene) Act 2 Scene 1
( At the Gale household)
Jeremy: Is all ok Gale?
Gale: No. It’s not.
Jeremy: Do you want to talk about it?
Gale: Not really. (Jeremy holds Gale)
Jeremy: Tell me what’s wrong. I’ll fix it. Is this over something I did?
Gale: You haven’t done anything Jeremy. It’s me, it’s all me. There’s nothing anyone can do. (Tears start flowing)
Jeremy: Please. I hate seeing you like this. If you won’t tell me, then write it down (goes into a junk drawer and pulls out a journal and puts it into Gale’s shaking hands). I hear writing things down helps solve problems.
Gale: Do I have to?
Jeremy: Of course not, but your scaring me. Please Gale, write it down. Take care of the problem now.
Gale: I, I will, but you can never read it. This is for my eyes only.
Gale: No buts Jeremy. I don’t want you to know.
Gale: I’m going to go lie down and write in our room. You’ll stay here?
Jeremy: I don’t want to
Gale: But you will?
Jeremy: If it makes you happy.
Gale: Good. (walks into the bedroom and locks the door behind her.)
Jeremy: What could possibly be the matter?
(Two days later Gale is at Essels house again)
Essel: Gale, dear? Where are you?
Gale: Hmm? I’m just walking around.
Essel: Why? I would show you around if you asked me to.
Gale: There’s a different perspective when you tour someone’s house alone. When some guides you, you only see what they want you to see.
Essel: And what have you found?
Gale: Nothing. Absolutely… nothing. What kind of house is this? It looks like a model home, that no one has ever lived in! How do you stand living here?
Essel: You mean my house is clean? Why, thank you.
Gale: Seriously. Did you even pick out any of this furniture?
Essel: I approved some of it.
Gale: This was designed by an O.C.D person—Antithesis of course.
Essel: You have guessed right.
Gale: I feel like I’m always right. Don’t you?
Essel: Strangely, I don’t. Not in the slightest.
Gale: Well I do. And I think that you want to tell me something.
Essel: Whatever do you mean?
Gale: It’s just a guess. But mind you, I’m never wrong.
Essel: I’m drawing a blank Gale. I tell you everything. If anything you need to tell me something.
Gale: I have nothing to hide.
Essel: Great! Then why did you stop talking to me during our outing a few days ago.
Gale: Oh, that.
Essel: Still have nothing to hide?
Gale: I guess not.
Essel: Are you going to share? Or am I just going to have to pry.
Gale: It’s nothing. Nothing of your concern.
Essel: Gale. We are best friends are we not?
Gale: (mumbles) yeah.
Essel: And you love me right?
Gale: (mumbles) yeah…. (drops voice lower so you can’t understand) that’s the problem.
(Essel doesn’t hear)
Essel: Than there should be no reason that you aren’t telling me.
Gale: You’ll judge me.
Essel: Gale, I’ve seen you go to a billion bars and clubs and get smashed. And make a fool of yourself as I drove you home. How many times have I judged you for that?
Gale: None thank God. But this is—different.
Essel: (tugs gently on Gale’s hair) Pleassssssssee. For me?
Gale: UGH! Essel why do you make this so hard! Can’t you see that I--adore you.
Essel: Doesn’t—everyone? That’s not new.
Gale: Oh Essel.
Essel: Do you mean you
Gale: You wanted to know so badly. So there, now you do. I was just going to keep it inside and let it eat at me, but now you’ve only doomed yourself. Because now you have to deal with it too. Or maybe you’ll never speak to me again, which I can’t even decide if that’s worse than the judgment. (Puts face in hands defeated)
Essel: Gale I
Gale: What am I to say Essel? I love you. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it before now. I recognized it at the theatre. You just--amaze me. You’re different from Jeremy. I can hardly look at him without feeling guilty, and it’s all because you live.
Essel: How about if I kill myself. Then would you be able to look at him the same way you used to?
Gale: Never. My heart is set in stone and your death wouldn’t change a thing. In fact your death would make it worse. I don’t think I could live without you now. I would give up everything I love, from clubs to pink flamingos, to have you. And the worst part is I can’t and I know it. It would be selfish of me. And besides you don’t feel the same. And why would you? I’m a mess of a best friend, undeserving of you. Being your friend was a mistake—not for me, but for you.
Essel: Gale, my dearest Gale. You know I would do anything for you. You’re my best friend, and that is something I will never look upon as a mistake. Is it strange that I, on the very same day as you, felt something more? But I don’t want to be
Gale: Gay? Is that what you were going to say? (Essel nods head)… That’s all your worried about? A title? Ha! But don’t you see Essel? I’m not gay and neither are you. You see I’m not interested in girls; actually I REALLY like men. But I do love you. I love you more than any man or woman. Whether that makes me straight or bi or even gay makes little difference to me. If I can have you, I will be happy.
Essel: (strokes Gales cheek) So this is it then?
Gale: I’ve confessed everything to you. I leave the decision up to you; I have nothing left to say.
Essel: (Rises and pours herself a drink) Hmm… do I have a man that is just bearable for me to love (Gale winces) or a best friend that I could not bear to be apart from? The choice seems easy enough.
Gale: It’s not so simple Essel! (Rises and stands 1 foot from Essel) You’re married. For me all I would have to do is say a few words to Jeremy and were done. For you, you would have to get lawyers and spilt everything you own.
Essel: None of these things feel like mine anyway. I don’t want to live in a world where I have to fake every emotion. Where I have to wait long hours just to see my spouse. I love Antithesis, but I think I love you more Gale.
Gale: I think, isn’t the same as I’m sure.
Essel: Give me a moment, and I will be sure. This is all moving so fast. I never dreamt that my best friend would end up being something more.
Gale: I thought everyone was supposed to marry their best friend.
Essel: Yes, the opposite sex best friend.
Gale: And how is that working out for you.
Essel: It has its ups and its downs, but mostly downs….
Gale: He’s been having me spy on you, you know.
Gale: He thought you were cheating on him, so he asked me to find out.
Gale: I told him no.
Essel: That paranoid psychopath! How did I ever marry him?
Gale: So, tell me Essel. Does everything stay the same, or does everything we know have to change. I need to know. Then I will leave…Actually I will leave right now. Call me if you decide.
Essel: I don’t need time to think Gale.
Gale: But I’m giving it to you, so that we won’t be making a mistake. (puts on pea-coat and walks to the door)
Essel: Be mine
Gale: Call me soon. No sooner than (checks watch) six o clock. That gives you three hours to fully think.
Essel: Please stay with me, don’t go.
Gale: There’s some cheesy saying about distance making the heart grow fonder or something that I wish I could quote right now.
Essel: *giggle* Alright. Leave. The sooner you do, the sooner I can write down a speech for you when I call in three hours.
Gale: (both chuckle) Don’t go hitting on your husband.
Essel: I wouldn’t dream of it.
Gale: I know how much of a flirt you are.
Essel: Only for you.
Gale: Now were just being gross.
Essel: Sorry, I guess I’ve been watching too many romance movies.
Gale: It’s like I said sometime in history: romance movies are a disease… Bye Essel. (Turns to leave and walks out the door and into the rain.)
Essel: Goodbye Gale! (Essel leans on the frame of the door and sighs an in love sigh. And watches Gale leave)
(Back at Gale’s apartment. Jeremy comes home early with a bouquet of flowers. Walks in the front door.)
Jeremy: Gale! (scans the room and closes the door behind him.) I’m home early. (turns to face the kitchen to see if she is there) Are you home? I brought you your favorite flowers—lilies. Honey? (walks into the bedroom to find she isn’t there or in the house. On the bed is her journal. Jeremy looks at it a pauses.) Would it be right to open it up? I promised I wouldn’t, but….. (paces back a forth. Reaches once for it then recoils. Closes and locks the door behind him. Then faces the book.) One little look won’t matter. (Opens the journal and sits down on the edge of the bed. The flowers are put next to him on the bed.) Let’s see here—entry number one. Here we are. (Reads aloud) “Eyes that can control the beating of my heart and the air that goes to my lungs. This desire may become too much for me. I cannot bear to live like this forever. I have to do something—anything! It’s not fair to me or to Jeremy. I love her, there’s no denying that now. I want only Essel, and I know I can’t be with him. How do I fix all of this? How do I get her? I really want a drink, it would fix so much, but I’d rather stay in control of my words. Maybe it’s not a good idea to even write this, but promised I would. I hope this is all cleared up soon, before I snap….
Essel? But…But I love her…She should love me! But I... (Stands up and starts pulling his hair out. He starts to cry and whimper. He tears out the entry puts it in his pocket. Walks over to the night stand and takes out a bag and start putting clothes and a box in the closet in it. Picks up the flowers looks at them then throws it forcefully on the bed. Walks out of the bedroom and to the front door) Perfection has never tasted so wretched. ( Gives it one last look then slams it behind him. He is still crying.)
(Gale arrives home and opens the door. And walks into bedroom. Stops suddenly and fear captures her face as she sees broken flowers on the bed and her notebook carelessly lying on the bed.)
Gale: Oh... (opens the notebook to see the page riped out) Poor lost puppy dog. (looks around the room to see some of his things gone. Walks quietly into the living room and sits on the couch. Shrugs shoulders and turns on tv).
(Essel picks up the phone and calls Gale. She is laying on the couch smiling profusely.)
Gale: Essel it’s not even six o’clock yet!
Essel: No, hello? How rude.
Gale: Hi. Now why are you calling thirty minutes early?
Essel: You know me. I made up my mind hours ago. What’s the point in prolonging the inevitable? I know what I want. And what I want is you. Thirty minutes isn’t going to change anything.
Gale: Are you completely sure Essel? Am I worth more to you then Antithesis?
Essel: A thousand times more. You’re so silly. I’d think you are the paranoid one.
Gale: Ha. No, I’m just thorough.
Essel: When do I get to see you?
Gale: Soon. Jeremy’s out of the picture now so
Essel: You broke up with him? Before you even knew my answer?
Gale: Not exactly.--He read my journal…which had some deep thoughts about what I feel and no longer feel. I came home and found the journal on the bed, some of his stuff gone, and some abused flowers. He’s gone, for good.
Essel: He just left?! Without confronting you?
Gale: You know him. He’s not confrontational. And besides he promised me he would never read it. If he had stayed he would have to pretend like it never happened. It’s for the best that he’s gone. Now we can be together.
Essel: I still need to take care of ….. I don’t want to deal with him on my own. (Antithesis walks in the door)
Gale: I’ve actually got a plan for that I think.
(in the background)
Antithesis: Who are you talking to?
Essel: It’s Gale.
Gale: Both of you come over to my house for lunch tomorrow….
Essel: Antithesis, dear, we are going to Gale’s house tomorrow for lunch. (to Gale) I have to go….I’ll see you soon. I’ll miss you! (Both hang up)
Antithesis: You see her all the time. You spend more time with her than anyone else. And still you miss her?
Essel: I could never explain it to you Antithesis. (Antithesis closes in to kiss her cheek, but Essel walks off to her room before he can. Leaving him slightly confused.)
(Gale is preparing for Essel and Antithesis at her house. Time- around 12. Knock on the door.)
Gale: Who is it?!
Essel: It’s us. (singsong voice)
Gale: Sorry I don’t want any cookies today!
Antithesis: Gale quit the game.
Gale: What’s the password? (singsong voice)
Antithesis: Gale this is nonsense open the
Essel: Oooh…. Crumbcake! No. Frisbee! (Antithesis raises his fist to hit the door as Gale opens it.)
Gale: You guessed right. Enter…if you dare. Sorry it’s such a mess I didn’t have any help. (Antithesis collects himself and walks in the door powerfully.)
Antithesis: Where’s that Jeremy character? On a business trip, perhaps?
Essel: I forgot to tell you, Anti. Jeremy is gone. (Essel sits down at the nicely set dinner table, Antithesis lowers himself to sit)
Antithesis: Inconceivable! (Almost jumps out of his seat)
Gale: Yeah. He left yesterday.
Antithesis: Why would he do that? He was obsessed with you Gale! There’s no way he just walked away... You’re not telling me something
Gale: He realized I wasn’t worth the trouble, I guess. He must have thought there was someone else or something.
Antithesis: And is there?
Essel: Enough of this talk. It probably hurts Gale to talk about it. (Antithesis sits down. Essel is standing now behind his seat. Essel winks to Gale, and Gale smiles a bit. Antithesis looks deep in thought and distressed.)
Antithesis: Right you are Essel. Forgive me Gale, I did not mean to cause you pain.
Gale: The hardest part is that I think I know where he would be, but I can’t go to see him. I’m the last thing he wants to see I bet.
Antithesis: Your chalk full with nonsense! Tell me where he is and I will go in search of him in the morrow. I’ll bring him back to you Gale, you have my word.
Gale: Oh would you Anti? He is at his mountain house up in Malbrook, it would be about a two day trip, are you still up for it?
Antithesis: I owe you so much Gale for… things. I would be honored to bring the love of your life back to your arms.
Gale: Thank you so much Anti! (Essel looks puzzled)
Essel: Gale, can I have a word with you….in the kitchen.
Antithesis: Essel dear will you bring me some food when you get back?
Essel: Maybe. Gale are you coming? (both walk into the kitchen)
Gale: Yes, your majesty?
Essel: Why are you sending Antithesis to Malbrook? You don’t want Jeremy back do you?
Gale: No way! I figure if I send Anti over there on a wild goose chase I have two whole undisturbed days with you alone. We can get a lawyer to start planning your divorce and we can pack your bags.
Essel: That’s…ingenious! I knew college wasn’t wasted on you! But pack my bags? Am I going somewhere?
Gale: We are going on a cruise of course! Paid for by the generous donation of …..you.
Essel: I get to pay?
Gale: Unlike Anti I have no problems with you paying, or having a job. We are equals not servants to each other. That’s the way love is supposed to work, so I’m told.
Essel: I love you so much. Do we have to wait till tomorrow to call a lawyer?
Gale: Do you want to see how capable of anger your husband is? He’s going to be pissed when he finds out.
Essel: Right, you’re so right. I can hardly think straight anymore. All I think about is being with you, seeing you, having you.
Gale: Soon. Just wait a little longer. (Kisses Essels forhead. Essel closes her eyes.) Come on, Anti is waiting. (holds the door open for Essel to walk through. Essel grabs the main dish and brings it to the table.)
Antithesis: What took so long? Are you two planning a coup d’état? (Hardy laugh. Gale and Essel fake laugh but nervous that he may know.)
Gale: Food anyone?
Antithesis: (stuffs his face with food) So I will go tomorrow to look for Jeremy. You’ll take care of my Essel for me while I’m gone?
Gale: You bet I will. (Smiles at Essel. Antithesis sits in the middle of the table Essel at one head Gale at the other. Antithesis is gorging on food and is too distracted to notice the smiling going between Essel and Gale.)
(Two days later in Essel’s living room on the couch. Essel is lying on Gales lap. Gale is stroking Essel’s hair.)
Essel: You called the lawyer right?
Gale: Yep. He said he’d be here by four.
Essel: And what if Anti comes home before then?
Gale: Traffic coming out of Malbrook is a disaster; he shouldn’t be home till midnight at least. We’ll be long gone by then.
Essel: Good. Are our bags all ready?
Gale: Locked and loaded in the car. You have the cruise line tickets?
Essel: Indeed... Don’t you find it strange that Anti hasn’t called yet?
Gale: Nah, the chances of Jeremy being at his mountain house are slim and Anti probably hasn’t found him yet and doesn’t want to admit it. He’ll call when he’s coming back.
Essel: Of course, of course. I’m sorry I’m just nervous.
Gale: Don’t be in a few hours we’ll be dancing in a boat off the coast of Australia.
Essel: Mmmm Australia. (looks up at Gale.)
Gale: You’re so pretty.
Essel: Is that the only reason you love me?
Gale: If I only loved looks I would still be with Jeremy. No, it’s your personality too.
Essel: Good, good. I can’t be another trophy wife.
Gale: Wife? Why Essel are you proposing to me?! (Fancy accent; mocking)
Essel: No, that can be your job, on the cruise. And I want it to be a surprise.
Gale: I wouldn’t think of it any other way.
Essel: Did you hear that?
Essel: A car. Just pulled into the drive way! It’s Antithesis!! He’s home early!
Gale: Stay calm….we can figure something out. (both get up and look towards the door. Antithesis storms in.)
Gale: Hello, Anti. Home so soon?
Antithesis: Why, yes I am. And I have some dreadful news to tell you….alone.
Essel: Whatever you have to say in front of Gale you can say in front of me.
Antithesis: Essel go to the bedroom. Now, please.
Gale: Don’t tell her what to do. (Stands in front of Essel)
Antithesis: (growls with discontent) Jeremy is dead.
Gale…what? No he’s not. Seriously where is he?
Antithesis: He committed suicide up at the mountain house. (sits in his chair and looks at them like prey) At first I couldn’t have dreamed why. I was just about ready to call the cops to take the body when I found this (pulls out a crumpled sheet of paper) little note. And as I read it over and over and over again I started to realize who wrote it. It was you Gale. Lusting after MY wife, after I trusted you? I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock. I don’t even remember much, after I figured it out. I got in the car and drove as fast as I could to get back here.
Gale: I regret none of it. And if Jeremy is dead than--
Antithesis: How convenient for you Gale. Your boyfriend is dead, you get every waking moment with my wife, and no one is the wiser. I want you out of my house now!
Essel: She isn’t going anywhere without me.
Antithesis: What did you say!?
Essel: Every feeling that’s in that note is reciprocated by me Anti.
Gale: She’s mine now Antithesis, your too late.
Antithesis: Is this some sick joke? I’m good to you Essel. I earned for you to be my wife and as my wife I give you everything! This is how you repay me?
Essel: I am not some prize that you can just earn. You never did see that, and you never will. I don’t want you anymore. I don’t want this house, or you, or anything you have. My lawyer will be here in a few hours to work it out with you, but for now Gale and I are going far away. (smiles at Gale)
Antithesis: Oh no, no, no. (laughs as if he’s going crazy) I refuse to let anyone do this to me. Imagine me telling people that my wife left me for a Woman! No Essel! You are staying here.
Gale: She is not! Come on Essel, were leaving.
Antithesis: (Runs to the door and pulls out a gun. Blocking exit. His voice becomes detached and unemotional.) I don’t think you are leaving. You see this gun Gale? It’s Jeremy’s, the one he killed himself with.
Gale: You’re sick…a sick
Antithesis: I took it before I could stop myself, and I couldn’t put it down than. Not with my fingerprints on it. I felt it….would come in handy. And look at that, it has.
Essel: Stop it Anti! Enough! The damage is done. It takes two to be in love, and we aren’t anymore can’t you see that? I love Gale, not you. Let us be
Antithesis: We aren’t done till I say were done! I’m the man of the house and I’m going to make sure you never forget it!—(takes a deep breath) Where was I? Ah, yes I remember. (Fidgets with gun skillfully) You brought this on yourself Gale. You crossed a fine line, a line that I WILL NOT tolerate to be crossed. And now I have to clean up this mess You made. Do you care at all at what you’ve done, what you’ve done to me? No I suppose you don’t. All you care about is You, You and You. (Mechanically laughs) That’s Gale. Selfish, selfish Gale. Look what you’ve gotten into—but I will fix that! You won’t get away with it—No. I’ll take care of this once and certainly for all.
Gale: Put it down Antithesis. There’s nothing to kill anyone over.
Antithesis: Kill? I don’t want to kill. I just want you to never come back, and Essel to come back to me—ONLY me.
Essel: I will never love you again! You’ll never have me!
Gale: And I will never leave her. Not as long as she still wants me.
Essel: I will always want you Gale. (They hold hands. Antithesis starts to shake.)
Antithesis: I’ll give you one minute Gale to gather your things and leave!
Gale: Never! (jumps out and starts struggling to get the gun away)
Essel: GALE! (Gun shot. Essel falls down holding her side. Antithesis’s eyes get wide)
Gale: Essel, my my Essel. (Falls to the ground and holds Essel’s side.)
Antithesis: What has she…? What have I….? (Looks at gun. Than at Gale. Black out. Gunshot.)