by: Douglas Hill






[Hoover Dam. The sidewalk overlooking the edge. Night. MATT and JANINE are standing looking down the wall below. MATT whistles.]

JANINE: That'd be a long way to fall to your death.

MATT: Especially if someone pushed you.

[Pause. They look at each other. Then return to the view.]

JANINE: Are you getting nervous about being in Vegas?

MATT: What are your plans once we get there? Are you staying or going?

JANINE: Do you want me stay?

MATT: I'm not the mayor. I can't kick you out.

JANINE: Does that mean you want me to go back to Tucson?

MATT: I was trying to be funny.

JANINE: It didn't work.

MATT: Yeah, I know. Thanks.

JANINE: What do you want me to do?

MATT: Janine, it's a simple question: Are you staying or going?

JANINE: Well, tell me what you want, so I can be sure and do the exact opposite.

[She grins at him.]

MATT: That's not funny either.

JANINE: I thought it was.

MATT: Trust me. We're O and 2.

JANINE: Come on…it's a little funny.

MATT: It's standard operating procedure for us. If you wanted to be funny, you'd have to say something that I didn't expect. But true to form, you said exactly what be both know is true and—

JANINE: You can really suck the humor out of a moment, can't you?

MATT: Sorry.

JANINE: It's cute. Sort of. I guess, really, it's annoying. But part of it is cute.

MATT: I just wish everything wasn't so familiar. That's why I'm on edge.

JANINE: Are you having déjà vu?


MATT: No, I'm…Let's go before this thing cracks and we fall to our deaths.

JANINE: You know? You've been talking a lot more than normal since we stopped back there in the desert. And I'm just now realizing how difficult it is to hold a conversation with you when you actually speak. [The begin to walk toward the car. She pulls the crumpled photograph from her pocket.] So, tell me. What's with this picture of your dad?

MATT: What'd you bring that for?

JANINE: I didn't bring it. It's following you.

MATT: Stop it.

[He tries to grab it from her, but she outmaneuvers him.]

JANINE: Why don't you want his picture? [Beat.] And why does it want you? [No response.] Matt? You're becoming the "old you" again.

MATT: It's just. [Beat.] He took that picture before Mom and him separated because he didn't want me to forget him. He was moving away. And he took the money Mom had set aside for her crafts and stuff and he went to Olan Mills.

JANINE: Nice. Your family never said that.

MATT: She spent the entire day telling me how worthless he was.


MATT: Yeah, well, he eventually put the picture in a goodbye card to me and was on his way to mail it when he got hit.

JANINE: Oh, that was then? Your mom said he was on his way—

MATT: No, that's the story she tells. And she gets ugly if you argue with her. Trust me. It was all Dad's fault. He was looking down and he stepped out into the street. He didn't see the "Don't Walk" sign. The truck had the right of way. Every witness said so.

JANINE: So why are you trying to get rid of the picture? I thought you liked your Dad.

MATT: No he…There's a part of me that… [He stops and forms his thought.] Looking at him scares me to death. He looks so relaxed and content in that picture. I never saw him look like that when he was at home. Never.

JANINE: And that's scary?

MATT: Yeah. For one moment—and granted it happened at an Olan Mills Studio—but for one moment, he looked truly happy. A couple of weeks later a truck hits him. And he's dead. And the happiness is over. And you know, I don't want—I mean, I don't know about—what?—genetics and collective conscious or whatever but some of it probably is real and—and—I don't want to turn into him. Right? I mean, I'm smarter than that. I try to learn and keep my eyes open and—you know. But what if I already have? How do I stop that? I mean, there's my end: I get killed for crossing a street. Who wants that? And now, here I am trying to do the same thing he did, and prove that it won't kill me. And Christ!—Why do you have to make me talk stupid?! You have to know what's going on inside me all the time and it embarrasses the shit out of me! All these stupid things like this that I'd rather not talk about and it's humiliating and—

JANINE: I don't think so.

MATT: Well, that's because you're not the one—Christ! Why do you—Do you like seeing me all—Because I'm not—Jesus Christ, Janine!

[MATT charges angrily to the car and collects the suitcase and the remaining snack cakes.]

JANINE: But I don't think less of you for saying it!

MATT: I think less of me! And that doesn't help!

[MATT storms back to the sidewalk of the dam and flings the suitcase over the edge.]


[Matt flings the snack cakes over the edge.]

MATT: I don't need you to make me— [He sends his wallet soaring over as well.] —valuable anymore so— [He immediately turns to JANINE.] Give me the photo.

JANINE: What?—No—

MATT: Give me the photo! [She tries to avoid him but he eventually is successful in wrestling it away from her. He viciously wads it up and throws it over the edge.] So stop following me!

[In his frenzy, he grabs JANINE by the wrist and is dragging her to the edge of the sidewalk.]


[A sudden silence. MATT is breathing hard and JANINE keeps her distance.]

JANINE: What are we doing here? [Silence.] Matt. What are we doing at Hoover Dam?

MATT: You wanted a divorce.


JANINE: What I wanted was…for you to talk to me. To just include me once in awhile.

MATT: Yeah, well, I wanted a little control.

JANINE: And you got some, didn't you?

MATT: And I talked to you. So we're even.

JANINE: Then what the hell are we doing at Hoover Dam?

MATT: We're going to Vegas to get a divorce.

JANINE: I don't want to. I want us to go home.

MATT: You really want to start this all over?

JANINE: It's better than starting with someone else. At least we know—

MATT: Is it? And—and what if four years from now, we're getting another divorce? I mean it's not—nothing's been guaranteed. And maybe it'll be much worse next time.

JANINE: Maybe. Maybe not.

MATT: I don't feel like taking that kind of gamble.

JANINE: What if everything gets worse when we're by ourselves? And you don't have me to pick up the slack, and I don't have you. And what about all the weird freaky shit we've been through tonight? Doesn't that—

MATT: All right, all right. I'm sorry you're afraid of being all by yourself, but you're putting a lot of faith into something that you can't prove. I haven't seen a single sign that all these coincidences mean you and I are supposed to go through this torture again. And no one has shown up to guarantee to my face that anything will get better if we do start over. So we got some money. Big deal. A full tank of gas. A boomerang photo album. Nothing has been carved in stone.

JANINE: All right. Matt. I want to go back to Tucson.

[MATT stares at her and then turns and looks across the dam at the road to Las Vegas. Finally:]

MATT: Okay. [Beat.] Goodbye.

[MATT walks back to the dam sidewalk and EXITS. JANINE watches him go and then gets into the driver's chair. She wipes her eyes with her fingers.]


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

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