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A New Normal

Copyright 2010, by Samuel M. Post.
Note: If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it.

Characters:
Nick — middle aged
Jill — a little younger
Kyle — middle aged
Guy and Girl — younger couple
Passed-out Guy

Setting: A bar.

Time: Night. December 31, 2008.

NICK and KYLE sit at the bar, drinking beer, talking to JILL, the bartender.

Beside them, a GUY and a GIRL are necking — going at it pretty steady. This continues throughout the play, with perhaps a few breaks for whispering or staring into each other’s eyes.

On the other side of them, a GUY sits at the bar, passed-out, with his head on the bar.

NICK: What’re you gonna do?

JILL: Fill-out applications, I guess.

KYLE: Nobody’s hiring.

NICK: She’s the best in town.

KYLE: Doesn’t matter. Nobody’s hiring.

NICK: Somebody will hire her.

JILL: Right, like you’re gonna give me a recommendation.

NICK: I could. Might help.

JILL: Fuck you. Then I’ll never get a job.

KYLE: How the hell is she gonna find another job when every business in town is closing or laying off?

NICK: She’s good.

JILL: The only reason you think I’m good is because I’ve served you about a thousand beers and I know your order. My cat thinks I’m good too, ‘cause I feed it.

NICK: Seriously, a reference wouldn’t hurt.

KYLE: They want a reference from her employer — not a customer. Damn — a thousand beers. I wonder…

JILL: You could buy a boat with the money you’ve spent in here. Let’s see. (She gets a calculator and starts figuring.) Let’s say twenty bucks a night. Conservative. Let’s say 200 nights a year. Conservative. I’ve been here fourteen years. That’s fifty-six thousand dollars. How much does a fucking boat cost?

KYLE: You can pay about whatever you want for one.

NICK: I don’t want a boat.

KYLE: You could probably buy a damn plane.

NICK: I don’t want a plane.

KYLE: Makes you think, though. Could have had a boat or a plane. Maybe both.

NICK: I’d rather have the beer.

KYLE: The beer’s gone. Nothing to show for it.

NICK: Planes and boats don’t last either. (to Jill) Makes me wonder why this place is going out of business.

KYLE: The fucking economy.

NICK: People drink more in a bad economy.

JILL: Not here. New Year’s Eve, we should be packed. In case you didn’t notice, you’re the only people in here.

NICK: (indicating the couple and the other, passed out patron)  They’re here. He’s here.

JILL: You’re the only people in here paying.

KYLE: The economy sucks.

NICK: It’ll come back.

JILL: Not in time to pay the rent.

KYLE: Never seen it this bad before.

NICK: Why are you complaining? You’ve still got a job!

KYLE: Barely. My hours cut in half!

NICK: Try being self-employed. That can cut your hours to zero.

JILL: Boo fucking hoo. I’ve got two little ones at home.

NICK: I’ve got kids.

KYLE: So do I.

JILL: They’re grown-ups!

NICK: They’re sill my kids.

JILL: You moron.

KYLE: He’s not a moron. He just likes to argue.

NICK: I don’t like to argue.

KYLE: Just my opinion.

NICK: I like discussion.

JILL: Heard anything from Heather?

KYLE: She’s doing fine. Perfect.

JILL: Still married?

KYLE: Last I heard. We don’t hear a lot. She’s real busy.

NICK: She’s got it made.

KYLE: They’re out west skiing now. At least I think they’re still there.

NICK: Rory’s the one who needs the rich husband.

KYLE: Oh shit.

She brings him another beer.

NICK: You hear anything?

KYLE: No.

NICK: Won’t even talk to you?

KYLE: She never would talk to us. She shouts and argues. She popped out of the womb shouting and has been shouting ever since.

NICK: Shouting for money.

KYLE: And who’s got any? I’m expecting her to move back anytime.

JILL: Of course. She’ll need a babysitter. Don’t expect her to give up her lifestyle.

KYLE: What lifestyle?

JILL: Oh — she’s got a lifestyle.

NICK: When’s she due?

KYLE: March.

NICK: She’ll move in next month.

KYLE: No more life for me.

NICK: What kind of fucking life do you have now?

KYLE: One that suits me.

JILL: I predict she’ll stay awhile this time.

KYLE: Wish she’d trying moving in with her sister one time. Give us a break.

NICK: She wouldn’t let her in the front door.

KYLE: True. She’d tell the guard not to let her through the gate. She won’t even ask us. She’ll just show up.

JILL: (to Nick) You ever hear anything from Carl?

NICK: No.

KYLE: Nothing?

NICK: Still in Arizona, we think.

KYLE: Won’t even pick up the phone on Christmas?

NICK: Won’t answer.

JILL: Carl was the best musician ever played here. Well, maybe not the best — but the most entertaining.

KYLE: The boy had some talent.

JILL: A goddamn ton of talent!

NICK: Not just music.

JILL: What else, math? He wasn’t much of a talker.

KYLE: Anything. You should see the damn sculpture he’s got in his living room. What was he — fifteen years old, when he made that?

NICK: Sixteen.

KYLE: It’s incredible. Like something from Europe. And he was straight A’s all the way in school…

NICK: Yep.

KYLE: Weird how a kid with that much talent can just quit everything.

JILL: Happens a lot. Some of the most wasted bums on skid row are the most talented people in the world.

NICK: He’s not on skid row. I’m sure he’s doing fine.

KYLE: Sure he is.

JILL: Oh yeah — he’s probably fine. Going through a stage.

NICK: He’s twenty-six.

JILL: People have stages when they’re twenty-six. Hey — it was really, really good to see Alex last week. He looked good.

NICK: He’s doing fine.

KYLE: Now that’s a good boy. You should be proud. I would be.

NICK: I am.

KYLE: Burning the candle both ends, though.

NICK: He’s got no choice.

KYLE: It’s that wife!

NICK: She’s okay.

KYLE: No she’s not!

NICK: She’s okay. She’s got those kids. It wouldn’t be normal if she weren’t wound a little tight. That’s work taking care of those kids.

JILL: Tell me about it. If mine are still up when I get home, they’ll…wish they weren’t.

NICK: It’s New Years.

JILL: I don’t care if it’s the next millennium. It’s late and I’m tired.

NICK: I cannot believe this is the last time I’ll have a beer in here.

JILL: You’ll adjust.

NICK: I’m not sure I will.

KYLE: I’m not so sure he will either.

JILL: You might like the next place better.

NICK: I doubt it.

KYLE: I’m sure as hell gonna try.

NICK: Too bad we can’t take up a collection and keep the place open.

JILL: No way.

KYLE: Remember when you broke your toe?

(indicating the next stool over)

NICK: Please.

KYLE: Right there. That’s the spot.

NICK: My last night here. I don’t want to talk about that.

JILL: How could I forget that! I spent more time with you in the ER that night than I ever have with my own kids.

NICK: Yeah.

JILL: Christ, you were a baby.

NICK: I know.

JILL: That was not easy.

NICK: I know. I know.

JILL: I’ll remember that night ‘til the day I die.

NICK: Me too. (He finishes his beer.) I’m goin’.

Nick gets up to leave.

KYLE: Right behind you.

Nick puts on his coat and drains his beer. He taps the Passed-out Guy. The guy raises his head.

NICK: You need a ride?

PASSED-OUT GUY: Yeah.

NICK: C’mon. I’m going now.

PASSED-OUT GUY: Nick. Nick. Thank you for the ride, Nick. It’s cold out there. Thank you, man.

NICK: No problem. (as they exit)  Happy New Year.

KYLE: See you on the other side. Happy fucking New Year.

Nick and Passed-out Guy exit. Kyle gets up and puts on his coat.

KYLE: Need some help with these two?

JILL: You leave me in here alone and I’ll break your arm.

Kyle approaches the couple from behind and puts his arms around them. They stop necking and look up.

KYLE: What’s the plan, guys?

They get up and leave quickly, walking side by side, holding each other close.

Jill pours Kyle half a beer and puts it on the bar. He sits back down.

She busies herself getting ready to go: putting her tips into her pocketbook, dealing with the register, perhaps gathering coat and scarf…

JILL: Give me three minutes.

KYLE: No hurry.

end of play

3 comments to A New Normal

  • andhy wiratno

    excuse me sir. i would like to perform one of your play on my school. which do you think would suits for my play. This play was one of the assignment my litterature teacher told me to do. i am andhy wiratno from secondary 1 of Bina Bangsa School, Indonesia, Jakarta.

  • Fluffy

    I would like to incorporate this play into something I am doing – like Hamlet with Stoppard- your copyright wont be infringed its an academic thing and you are welcome to use my take reciprically

  • Fluffy

    If you could email me a full text of this I’d be very grateful- am happy to pay you for using it if you have a reasonable suggestion- i generally use paypal online – basically for part of my MA I need to insert another character into a c21st short play I like and from their impetus add a new denoument. If you want to chat about it my facebook is Fluffywascal (after my hero and mentor Bugs Bunny) or my mobi number is 07943428960 tho due ti my agoraphobia I only text I dont actually speak on the phone any more.

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