[A depressing motel room in Kingman, Arizona. JANINE ENTERS with her suitcase, photo album, and a wrapped snack cake. She flops down on the bed and begins eating the snack cake. MATT stops in the doorway.]

JANINE: Okay, hear me out. I know it's a little far-fetched, but this is the best I've been able to come up with.

MATT: Oh my God…

JANINE: No, really. Everything from your wallet to the lottery ticket to the full tank of gas. And the Ding Dongs.

MATT: Janine?

JANINE: What if God is playing a trick on us, you know?

MATT: Janine, look at this room.

JANINE: What? You didn't really expect much from a place called DoubleKnot Motel, did you? I know: "It's not Vegas…"

MATT: Does this look familiar at all to you?

JANINE: [After concentrating:] So. . ? [MATT ENTERS, staring at the room, looking at everything with caution.] JANINE: Anyways. I was saying, God is playing a trick on us and maybe all we have to do is play along. Because I was thinking, what is the common thread in all of it? What is the thing that links your wallet with the full tank of gas and the photo album? Matt?

MATT: I'm listening.

JANINE: I asked you a question.

MATT: I don't know.

JANINE: All right, I'll spell it out for you. Everything we've wasted, or thrown away, we're getting it back now. You know? The stuff of value? I'm not saying we're going to get four years of garbage bags showing up in the trunk. But the things that have some value. I've only played the lottery for maybe ten bucks. And I regretted every time. Except now—how much did I win? And all those times you got mad at me and went driving around for hours at a time? We're getting that gas back. Right? I threw away this album and look. [MATT opens a dresser drawer and freezes.] And I know it's weird-sounding, but what if this is real? What if— [She notices him.] What? What is it? [JANINE crosses to him and looks in the drawer. She pulls out a shirt.] Oh my God…someone left their stuff in here. [She checks the tag.] It's your size, too. Looks like you won't need to buy— [Silence. MATT backs away from the dresser. A big grin breaks across JANINE's face.] I'm right. I'm right, aren't I? We're getting everything back. [She pulls out a pair of underwear.] I bought these for you. You never wear them, but still, they're yours.

MATT: Let's go.

JANINE: This is great. Think about all the money we've wasted and now its showing up in your wallet—

MATT: I'm serious. Let's get out of here. Fuck Arizona, it's only another couple of hours to Vegas. I'll drive.

JANINE: Matt, wait a second. Don't you see what this means? We're getting everything back. Everything we threw away. Or thought we'd lost.

MATT: [Uncommitted] Hurray for us.

JANINE: Well, yeah, hurray for us—We can start all over at ground zero.

MATT: Let's go!

JANINE: Matt! Don't you want it? Do you even see what's going on? Nobody gets this chance and we did! It's happening to us. We can act like nothing happened and go at it again. Hell, this is as close to permanent as—

MATT: Is that what you think?

JANINE: Yes. I think that's what God's trying to tell us.

MATT: Would you stop saying that? You don't believe in God!

JANINE: Well, you do!

MATT: But you don't!

JANINE: —Okay—point for you—But my point is that everything else is going back where it started from and maybe we should, too.

MATT: If everything—You—Okay—Think about—If we're getting all this stuff we wasted from our past and returning to the starting point to do everything again, then how come you're not four years younger? Huh? Answer me that! How come we're still the same age and we didn't get all that time back!

JANINE: Because maybe we didn't throw those four years away! Maybe it wasn't wasted!


MATT: Can we go now?

JANINE: We just got here.

MATT: I don't want to stay.

JANINE: Why not? [No response.] Oh, come on, tell me! What have you got to lose?

MATT: This room looks like our bedroom in Tucson.


MATT: So, I'm trying to get rid of things that I don't want to have to look at and remember how unhappy I was. I want to make a clean break. And I'm ready to go.

JANINE: Matt, I'm not calling you stupid—not on purpose—but all this stuff followed us. You get that? We leave here, I'll bet every room we come across is going to look like this one. Filled with your clothes and my photo album and Ding Dongs out the ass. Or something like that. So it's the Twilight Zone—Big deal. Get over it. It's only a loop. Or cycle or whatever. And what if we can't stop the spin? What if we sat back and enjoyed the ride? Huh? You want to be happy—Think of this like a roller coaster and we got a lucky bonus ride around the track again.

MATT: Real life is not a bonus ride on the roller coaster! Are you crazy? Did you buy tickets for this? This is not fun! I'm scared to death. Jesus Christ, I don't want to be victimized by some stupid loop. I'm tired of not being able to make a choice. When do I get to make a choice? Huh? [He crosses to the photo album, pulls out the photo of his father, wads it up, and tosses it in a corner.] I'm tired of you running my life, God running my life, anyone who's got any power in this world plows right over the top of me. And I've had it.

JANINE: Would you calm down? Jesus, eat a Ding Dong or something. [He EXITS.]
Oh, come on. It's a special occasion, Matt.


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Copyright © 2001 by Douglas Hill

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