[A depressing bedroom in Tucson. JANINE and MATT are silent. Early evening. Friday. Autumn.]

JANINE: [Finally outraged] See? I knew you would do this. I knew you would have no reaction at all. The one thing that ought to matter to you—the one thing you have left and I can't even get you to say a word. Maybe you're just too lazy to care. Or too lazy to work up a response. Well, that's been the problem all along. So this is probably for the best. Right? [Beat.] Well, let me spell something out for you. If you were worth more to this marriage, this marriage would be worth more to you. [She EXITS the bedroom. MATT remains looking after her. After a moment, he reacts as if he's heard something. He listens intently. Then, from offstage:] I'm calling Marcy. She's got an extra bedroom. I can spend the night there. I know you don't care, but… [MATT pulls a suitcase from under the bed, opens it, and begins packing his clothes. From offstage:] Damn. It's busy. [Silence as MATT continues to pack. Then:] You ate the last of the salt and vinegar chips, didn't you? You couldn't go get your own bag from the store. You had to eat mine. –goddamnit. [The sound of a cupboard door slamming shut.] Those were mine, Matt. You don't even like them. From now on, everything is either mine or yours. All right? From this point on, don't take anything that doesn't belong to you. Those were my chips and I was saving them for ME! [She appears in the doorway with an empty potato chip bag.] And I'm tired of saying it doesn't matter when you take my things. Because it does matter. You just take and take and—And what the hell are you packing for? [He continues to pack the suitcase.] Matt! Would you answer me? Please!? [She wads up the bag and throws it at him.] So, you're just going to go? Without saying anything? Is that what you want to happen? You don't even have the— [She storms over to the suitcase and begins unpacking it. He repacks as quickly as she takes it out.] You are not leaving! Not without telling me! For once in this marriage you are going to talk to me about your plans before you leap into them. I don't care that you want to go, but you are not leaving without telling me first. I want to know! [Resolutely, MATT continues packing in silence.] Oh, this is great. First you rob me of my food and then you sneak off—You are not taking that! [She reaches into his suitcase and pulls out a photo album. She clutches it preciously. MATT stares at the album for a moment.] You think you can walk off with all my stuff, too?

MATT: I didn't pack that…

JANINE: Well it didn't just leap in here. I've been looking for this. Where was it?

MATT: Keep it, then.

JANINE: I will. [MATT returns to packing.] You can have the pictures of you out of it, but only after you tell me that you're leaving.

MATT: I don't want the pictures.

JANINE: You sure? You don't have much else.

MATT: I said, I don't want them.

JANINE: Well, I don't either!

MATT: Then throw them away! I know exactly what the past looks like. I don't want to be reminded.

JANINE: Oh, how cool. What a fucking line. Some third-rate macho bullshit slogan for alcoholics everywhere. Congratulations—you're officially an asshole.

MATT: Can I have the ring, then?

JANINE: Are you crazy?

MATT: It came from my family so its mine. Isn't that what you said? I can't take anything that's yours, you can't take anything that's mine…

JANINE: What are you going to do? Sell it?

MATT: [Nodding his head] Pawn it.

JANINE: For what? You going to buy me another bag of chips to replace—

MATT: I'm going to Vegas.

JANINE: Vegas. [A moment of disgust.] I hate to bust your bubble, but you won't be able to get to Vegas on your mother's ring. Maybe if you hadn't lost your father's ring, the both together might—

MATT: I'll take the bus.


JANINE: What are you going to live on, once you get there? We don't know anyone in Las Vegas. You going to ask for handouts? Because this ring won't get you a Greyhound ticket and feed you at the same time.

MATT: Okay. I'll hitchhike.

JANINE: What the hell kind of plan is this?

MATT: Can I have the ring?

JANINE: You realize that being a bum in Vegas is just the same as being a bum in Tucson? Except you have a roof over your head here.

MATT: Not anymore, I don't.

[He holds out his hand.]

JANINE: This is how you end a four year commitment? Well—okay—fine—then, I guess if it wasn't enough for me to hold down a job so you could lounge around all day in the apartment that I pay rent on and eat my food, then yeah, you should take back the only real gift I ever got from you and sell it for whatever the going price is and— [a sudden change of heart] No! No, you cannot have the ring. [Beat.] No. You figure out something else.

[A moment.]

MATT: I guess I can't ask you to drive me to Vegas.

JANINE: What's in Vegas?

MATT: I don't know. That's just where I thought I'd go.

JANINE: Well, you're crazy if you think I'm taking you there.

MATT: Fine. Sit around here. Wait for Marcy to get off the phone.

JANINE: If you're leaving, I don't have to go to Marcy's place.

MATT: You'd spend the night here? Alone?

JANINE: I've done it before.

MATT: Not willingly.


JANINE: What about all your broken down junk here? The TV and the bicycle and all that crap. What are you going to do with all your shit?

MATT: You can throw it out. Sell it. Whatever you want.

JANINE: I don't want to clean up after you. Jesus, Matt.

MATT: Then leave it here for the next renters to deal with—I don't care. God. Isn't this what you want? I'll be completely out of the picture. In a whole different state. And your life can suddenly become wonderful when I'm gone.

JANINE: I don't have a lot of sympathy for this "poor me" shit you're trying to pull.

MATT: Okay—well then—Do you want me out of here or not? You shoot me down every time I try to come up with a way to leave. Do you want a divorce? Or do you want me to stay? I can't do both. [Beat.] Were you serious before or just having another "dramatic" moment?


JANINE: All right. [She pulls out a small suitcase and begins packing it—angrily.] Let's go to fucking Vegas. Why not waste another seventy dollars on gas so you can run off and hide. We might as well go out with a bang, huh? But I'm driving. And you are not sleeping in the back seat. And I work the radio. And we only stop when I have to stop, so you'd better go before we leave. And don't expect me to buy you any food along the way. Take your own money, or just sit there and watch me eat. And you better know this: I intend to drop your ass off at the city limits. And the minute I get back, I'm changing the phone number and making it unlisted. So this is final.

MATT: All right.

JANINE: I mean it. I'm not coming back to Vegas to pick you up.

MATT: I know.

JANINE: So if you have any reservations about this, boy-oh-boy, you'd better get it out now. Once we get in the car, there is no turning back. [No response.] Because I'm not going through this again. Ever. [MATT closes the suitcase and picks up his wallet from the dresser. He EXITS the bedroom carrying his suitcase.] Would it kill you to talk to me?!

[JANINE crosses to the dresser and opens up the drawers. They're empty. In the final drawer, she finds a stained, thread-bare T-shirt. She starts to throw it out into the hall, but tears come to her eyes. She sits down on the bed and wipes her eyes and nose on the shirt. She composes herself, closes her suitcase, and puts the photo album on top of the suitcase. She picks up the T-shirt and rips it to shreds.]


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Copyright © 2001 by Douglas Hill

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