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.
Talk about great luck when it comes to actors. Vassal…Vegetable was first produced sometime in 2001, at Morgan’s Coffee Shop, in Salisbury, NC, with the following cast:
Trish — Erin Fanelly
Bill –Mark Scarboro
Directed by Della Freedman
It also played at the Rock Hill Arts Council, in Rock Hill, SC, with the same cast.
Vassal…Vegetable was produced by Barebones Theatre as part of the 2001 Fifteen Minute Play Festival, at Queens College, with this cast:
Trish — Dana Childs
Bill — Jim Yost
directed by Jose Ruiz
By Sam Post
© 2001 by Samuel M. Post
Characters (in their 20’s)
SETTING: Interior of a sparse, modest apartment. Bookshelves and boxes.
TRISH packs books into boxes. BILL watches. She lifts a book and stops.
TRISH: This dictionary.
BILL: What about it?
TRISH: It’s not mine.
BILL: Yes it is.
TRISH: Bill, it’s not.
BILL: Whose is it?
TRISH: I don’t know, but this one isn’t mine.
BILL: It’s a dictionary. It’s yours.
TRISH: I want to know what happened to mine.
BILL: Nothing. That’s it.
TRISH: Mine was older, and there was masking tape on it.
BILL: That’s your dictionary.
TRISH: I had words underlined.
TRISH: It doesn’t matter why. I did it. They’re there.
BILL: Silly. They’re in alphabetical order.
TRISH: They’re my words. Words I looked up, in my dictionary.
TRISH: I want them back.
BILL: There it is.
TRISH: I’ve had my dictionary at least five years. The cover fell off. I taped it with masking tape. This
one doesn’t have tape.
BILL: It’s the same thing.
TRISH: It’s not the same edition.
BILL: It looks the same to me. It’s a Webster’s Paperback.
TRISH: This isn’t my copy.
BILL: The words are the same.
TRISH: How do you know?
BILL: I read parts of it.
TRISH: My words were marked.
BILL: This is the same.
TRISH: I don’t think it is.
BILL: It is. I know.
TRISH: Admit it. This isn’t my copy. You know it isn’t.
BILL: Okay, I admit it’s a different copy. But it’s the same book. Same cover, page numbers,
TRISH: What happened to mine?
BILL: I borrowed it, and I lost it.
TRISH: No you didn’t.
BILL: You don’t believe me.
BILL: The important thing is that you’ve got a dictionary.
TRISH: I need to know what you did with mine.
BILL: Suppose that’s something you’ll never know.
TRISH: You don’t use dictionaries.
BILL: Apparently I do.
TRISH: You knew it was important. That’s why you did something to it.
BILL: And…I got you that one. I cared about it.
TRISH: That one’s not the important one. Mine is important.
BILL: There’s no difference.
TRISH: I looked up a lot of words in my dictionary. That was my…I took pride in…it was getting worn out. I was using it up, you fucker. What happened to my dictionary!
BILL: What’s the time frame on this departure?
TRISH: A day.
BILL: How about if I just come back tomorrow?
TRISH: You need to stay here to answer questions about my stuff.
BILL: All your stuff is here.
TRISH: You might have stolen other stuff.
BILL: I didn’t steal anything.
TRISH: I want you around for the rest of the surprises. In case there’s other stuff gone.
BILL: Have I ever stolen anything?
TRISH: Just now.
BILL: There aren’t any surprises.
TRISH: I don’t know that.
BILL: And what if there are?
TRISH: If there are, you need to be here.
BILL: If there are surprises, they will…you know…as soon as you find out about them…they won’t be surprises anymore.
TRISH: That’s a mirror for your life, right there. You throw these things out, but they don’t matter to you — because to you — they aren’t surprises.
BILL: A mirror for my life. Stuff like that…making so much of things like this, the dictionary…mirrors — that’s a mirror for yours.
TRISH: Making…more of things.
TRISH: Imagining things?
TRISH: Like the dictionary.
BILL: Uh huh.
TRISH: I’m just now learning how far you’re willing to go.
BILL: See? It’s what you do. Little things get way, way off. Like you throw buckets of paint on things – make them your own color. This will be good for me.
TRISH: I don’t think so.
BILL: You don’t.
TRISH: I’ve got a hole in my heart…it’s like…this big…
She displays the dictionary.
– or bigger. You put it there. I’ll go ahead and break the news to you right now, Bill: when you do it to the next person…make another hole like this…it won’t be good for her either, or you…anybody.
BILL: Imagination – just like I said.
TRISH: I could show you something that you would not like to see. And it would have nothing to do with imagination.
BILL: You could.
TRISH: Sure could, and will.
BILL: You’ll show me something.
TRISH: I know you don’t care.
BILL: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
TRISH: You know, but you think it’s a simple thing: I say something mean, to hurt you…and it doesn’t hurt. You know it. Right?
TRISH: Because you can hurt me, and it doesn’t go in the other direction.
BILL: Whatever you say, Trish.
TRISH: It’s power. It’s transparent.
BILL: Yeah, yeah – you’re the one who knows.
TRISH: And you’re the one who always doesn’t.
BILL: I’m just waiting. That’s all I feel. Waiting a day.
TRISH: I’m not talking about a day.
BILL: Seems like longer, but it’s only a day. You’ll be gone.
TRISH: I’m talking about memory.
BILL: Now I’m really scared.
TRISH: You loved me.
BILL: Yeah. There are more boxes in the garage.
TRISH: You know what that does to a person? Long term? To get mixed up in love and blow it.
BILL: To get mixed up in love and blow it. Yeah, I know what it does. Let’s see. Let me take a shot at this one. I’ll take a shot. To get mixed up in love and blow it? It makes him into a human being?
TRISH: I’ve seen you change. I think you’re about to find something out.
BILL: I don’t analyze that way.
TRISH: But one day you will. Where’s my dictionary, BILL?
BILL: Would you like me to get you ten dictionaries? I’ll get you a dozen if you like.
TRISH: My underlined words. Tape.
She moves very close.
When I get in that car out there…first of all…I’m not coming back. Second…I don’t even know if I’ll make it. The car makes that sound. I don’t have any money. But this is gonna happen: I’m gonna be free. You may change your mind, about two seconds before I leave. But I’m free. I’ll go where I want. You’ll miss me. You’ll worry about me. I won’t tell you where I am. Ever. No phone numbers. That’s it. I’ll be gone.
BILL: Old news.
TRISH: Everybody’s got a memory…even you.
She gets an empty box and begins to load books into it.
These are heavy. You could help me get these to the car.
BILL: I could, but they’re yours.
TRISH: I’ll have to divide boxes if I have to carry them myself.
BILL: Do what you have to do.
She slaps the dictionary upon the table.
TRISH: What happened to you!
She begins to cry.
BILL: Let me know when you’re gone.
She flips through the dictionary and reads.
He enters, carrying two empty boxes.
If you need any more.
She locates a word in the dictionary.
TRISH: Here’s one.
BILL: A word?
TRISH: Yeah. Vassal. I had that word underlined. You know why?
BILL: Because you looked it up.
TRISH: No. I looked up vegetable – about a hundred times. Can’t ever remember how to spell it. Vassal’s on the same page. So every time I look up vegetable, I glance over a vassal. Try to learn it. It’s one of my words. I can’t remember it, so I like having it there, marked.
BILL: Then underline it.
TRISH: I spent years doing that. I have hundreds of words underlined.
BILL: It’s a fresh start.
TRISH: No. I’ve lost my words.
BILL: Trish, you’re crazy. I’m gonna go somewhere, and come back after your gone.
BILL: So, good luck.
She gets an empty box. She takes books out of one box and puts them in the empty one, making it lighter and easier to carry. She exits with the box of books.