[A picnic table outside a gas station. JANINE sits by herself at the table surrounded by a fountain drink, an open bag of chips, a disposable camera, and a box of snack cakes. She is scratching madly across a row of lottery tickets.]

JANINE: Talk to me. Come on. Talk to me, baby. Fuck.

[MATT ENTERS with several dollar bills in his hands. He places the change in front of JANINE.]

MATT: Win anything?

JANINE: Not yet.

[She picks up the money and is about to pocket it when she decides to count it.]

MATT: Okay. Let's hit the road.

JANINE: Wait a minute. Nineteen dollars? I gave you a twenty, right?

MATT: Yeah.

JANINE: So it only took a dollar to fill up the car with gas?

MATT: Uh. Sixty-three cents, yeah.

[He digs into his pocket and produces several coins, which he plops down in front of her.]

JANINE: Keep it.


JANINE: We drove three hours on a dollar's worth of gas.

MATT: I guess.

JANINE: Hell, you want to go to Chicago next? [MATT grins. She spins the bag of chips around to him.] Here.

MATT: No, thanks.

JANINE: Well, have a Ding Dong, then. Christ. [She rips open the box and tosses a snack cake at him.] When was the last time you had one of those, huh?

MATT: Our anniversary.


MATT: We couldn't stand to eat the frozen wedding cake. It was dry. Remember?

JANINE: You haven't had a Ding Dong for three years? —What is wrong with you?

MATT: [Shrugs] It was a special occasion. Haven't had many since then. And I just put Ding Dongs in that category for, you know. When things were special.

JANINE: You need to get out more if Ding Dongs are special occasion food to you. That's just sad. [He opens the snack cake and eats it while she continues scratching her lottery tickets. Pause.] You know the strip is going to be crowded on a weekend. [He nods his head.] Are you going to stay at a shelter or something? [MATT shrugs.] Goddamn, they really screw you with these tickets. I wonder if anyone has ever made more than two bucks on these things. A bunch of crooks. It's enough to ruin your whole day, you know?

MATT: Do you remember what it was like to be happy?

JANINE: Haven't we covered this ground?

MATT: You never answered.

JANINE: I'm happy all the time.


JANINE: I have a lot of different ways of expressing it, which most people don't understand. If they did, then they'd know that deep down inside I'm a very happy person. But like I say, most people don't understand me.


MATT: You're right.

JANINE: Okay—these are all duds.

[She tosses the row of tickets to MATT.]

MATT: Ready?

JANINE: Well, just… [She leans her head back and takes a deep breath. He examines her tickets.] What are you going to do when you get to Vegas? What do you think's going to happen?

MATT: You'll drop me off and squeal your tires as you leave.

JANINE: What do you want to happen next?

MATT: I want to win big and live happily ever after in a hotel.

JANINE: Okay, I'm being serious, here. [MATT looks up at her.] Really? I guess it'd be okay to live in a hotel. Maybe a suite. I never thought about it. What are you going to do if you don't win big? What then?

MATT: You missed one.

[He hands her the tickets and points to a gray spot on a card.]

JANINE: Oh. You must have been talking to me.

MATT: People that can stay in a Vegas hotel… [He trails off, knowingly. She scratches off the gray, smirks, and shows him the ticket.] Ten bucks.

JANINE: Paid for the other tickets, didn't it.

MATT: And filled up the tank, too.

[She smiles at him.]

JANINE: You think it's a sign?

MATT: What do you mean?

JANINE: Do you think it's a sign? [Pause. She tears out the ticket.] Take my stuff to the car. I'm going to cash my ticket.

[JANINE EXITS with the ticket and the bag of chips. MATT stands up, pulls out his wallet, and opens it. Surprised, he pulls out several dollar bills. He counts the money, smiles and is about to return it to his wallet. On second thought, he folds the wallet and returns it to his hip pocket. Then he stuffs the bills into his shirt pocket. MATT gathers up the remaining food items. He looks up at the sky. He's startled as his eyes follow a shooting star to the horizon.]

MATT: Oh, jeez.

[He looks up again. Another shooting star. He puts the food on the table again and scrambles to pick up the camera. He waits, looking at the sky. Nothing. He whistles for a moment and then stops. He gathers up the food and is about to leave when JANINE ENTERS still holding the ticket and the bag of chips.]

MATT: Did you see that?

JANINE: All right, I'll spell it out for you. Do you think this is a sign that we're lucky together? You know? Maybe we can't stand each other, but do you think it's a sign that we're better off being completely incompatible right next to each other rather than being miserable and unlucky and far apart?

MATT: I don't know…

JANINE: Well, what do you think?

MATT: I think it's a lottery ticket.


JANINE: Well, pardon my ass, it's not the fucking Red Sea. You know? I'm sorry there's not a burning bush around. You don't have to take that tone with me.

MATT: I said it was a lottery ticket.

JANINE: Yeah, I heard what you said and I heard how you said it.

MATT: Well, it's not like some voice from beyond—

JANINE: All right! I'm sorry nothing was spelled out in the sky for you, but I thought it might be a sign. Okay? Fuck me, but I thought it might have meant we should—never mind. We should probably get a divorce. Christ.

MATT: I thought you wanted a divorce.


MATT: Okay.


MATT: I don't understand what all—

JANINE: I know! Get in the car!

MATT: Well, I'm trying to understand why you think winning ten bucks—

JANINE: Would you shut up and get in the car?

MATT: No, I want to know what kind of message you got and why you think it meant ten bucks on a lottery ticket—

JANINE: I didn't say I got a message! Christ! You never listen to anything I say, do you? No wonder you don't understand me.

MATT: You're right—I don't. Two minutes ago you were in a good mood and now you're yelling at me because you think…I don't know what you think! And through all of it, you're telling me what a happy person you are?

JANINE: Yes! I'm the fucking Happy Queen of America! And look! I finally won ten dollars playing the stupid scratchers! That makes me happy, too! Everything in the universe is wonderful!

MATT: So, ten dollars is all it takes to make you happy?

JANINE: That and a bag of chips!

MATT: Well, I never knew!

JANINE: Can we please go now?

MATT: So that's what we needed in our marriage: More money, more food and more confusion.

JANINE: Have you ever heard of sarcasm? You idiot.

[JANINE EXITS again. MATT collects the food items and carries them offstage.]


Back to Roulette Index

Copyright © 2001 by Douglas Hill

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Roulette is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author at Douglas@dhdrama.com

Home · Full-Length Plays · One-Act Plays · 10 Minute Plays · Monologues · Email · © 2000 TheatreHistory.com