Pedaling to Paradise


by Edward Crosby Wells


AT RISE Ė TEDDY and SALLY are seated on exercise bicycles pedaling like mad. BOTH wear colorful exercise outfits.

TEDDY: (Stops pedaling. Exhausted.) That's it! I've had enough.

SALLY: Pedal, Teddy. Pedal.

TEDDY: For God's sake, Sally, haven't you had enough?

SALLY: I'm going to get fit if it's the last thing I do. If it kills me, I'm going to get fit. You're not pedaling.

TEDDY: (Resumes pedaling.) I'm pedaling, Sally. I'm pedaling.

SALLY: (After a pause.) I'm going to leave that sonofabitch!

TEDDY: Who? What sonofabitch? Harry?

SALLY: Yeah. Harry.

TEDDY: You wouldn't, really.

SALLY: I might. I'll give him something to think about, that's for sure. I won't be taken for granted anymore -- something less than I am Ė Iíll tell you that. Not after I'm fit. Then, I'll have options.

TEDDY: Yeah. I know what you mean. Norm's got another think coming, too. After I'm fit, I'm going to get out more. Take some classes, maybe. Flirt with my yoga instructor.

SALLY: When did you start taking yoga?

TEDDY: Well, I haven't, yet. But, when I'm fit, I will. And, then, I'll flirt with my yoga instructor. I'll be the best little lotus position you ever saw. Pedal, Sally. Pedal.

SALLY: (After a pause.) You know that new bank going up downtown? Yesterday I had to go past all those construction workers. Terrible.

TEDDY: I know what you mean.

SALLY: I took my time. Nearly loitered my way past the construction site. I may even have unbuttoned another button on my blouse . . . I can't be sure. And, do you know what those sonsofbitches did?

TEDDY: Nope. What did they do?

SALLY: Nothing.

TEDDY: You're kidding!

SALLY: Nope. Nothing. Not a thing. No catcalls. No whistles. Not a peep! Nothing. They just went on about their business like I was their mother or something.

TEDDY: What a bunch of assholes! Pedal, Sally. Pedal.

SALLY: I mean, who did they think they were? I have feelings, you know.

TEDDY: Maybe, they were just being polite. Maybe, inside, they were all hot and bothered but, outside, they were showing you respect.

SALLY: Teddy, who in hell wants respect from a goddamn construction worker? Times sure have changed, I'll tell you that.

TEDDY: Maybe, when we're fit, things will be a whole lot different.

SALLY: You bet they will!

TEDDY: (After a pause to pedal.) I noticed the waiter in The Happy Sprout giving you the once-over when he brought us our salad.

SALLY: He was gay.

TEDDY: Oh, I don't think so.

SALLY: He was gay, Teddy. Not that I have anything against gays . . . but what kind of a man wants to know where I bought my turquoise turtle, huh? You tell me that.

TEDDY: Maybe, he wanted to buy one for his mother.

SALLY: Maybe, it was the way he asked.

TEDDY: Well, then, maybe you're right. Still, he did take an interest . . . and he sure was cute, I'll tell you that.

SALLY: A lot of good that does! That's like having your cake and not being able to get your hands on it. Much less, your mouth.

TEDDY: I see what you mean . . . I think. (After a pause to pedal.) Where did you get your turquoise turtle?

SALLY: K-Mart. I don't think it's real turquoise.

TEDDY: Oh. I wouldn't tell anybody that if I were you. You could really give the wrong impression, if you know what I mean.

SALLY: That's why I told him it was a present.

TEDDY: That's good. That's a good answer, Sally.

SALLY: That's what I thought.

TEDDY: (After a pause to pedal.) Maybe I'll leave Norm, too.

SALLY: What?

TEDDY: Maybe, I'll leave Norm.

SALLY: You wouldn't.

TEDDY: Well, if you're going to leave Harry, I could leave Norm and then we could move in together . . . be roommates. Wouldn't that be fun?

SALLY: Fun? We're not schoolgirls, Teddy.

TEDDY: No. But, when we're fit, we could give them a run for their money.


TEDDY: Schoolgirls. I mean, we're not old. We're just . . . well, you know. . . .

SALLY: Not fit?

TEDDY: Not completely. No. But not bad, either.

SALLY: Pedal, Teddy. Pedal.

TEDDY: (After a pause to pedal.) It'll be wonderful, won't it?

SALLY: What? What will be wonderful?

TEDDY: Life. When we're fit. Life will be wonderful again. I'll be able to wear clothes. Not just any clothes, but clothes. Slinky, sexy, clingy clothes. Sporty clothes. And tweeds! Oh, God! I love tweeds.

SALLY: And go dancing.


SALLY: Go to cocktail parties without sitting in a corner, hugging a pillow in your lap.

TEDDY: Or, hiding out in the kitchen.

SALLY: Or the bathroom.

TEDDY: Oh, God! Don't remind me.

SALLY: Dinner parties. Elegant, little dinner parties.

TEDDY: Oh, yes. But, not too many.

SALLY: And tennis!

TEDDY: You play tennis?

SALLY: I could learn. And sex!

TEDDY: I could give lessons.

SALLY: Hot, wild sex . . . with strangers.

TEDDY: Oh, my! Pedal, Sally. Pedal. (After a pause to pedal.) Would you really have sex with strangers?

SALLY: Sure. Why not?

TEDDY: What about Harry?

SALLY: Well, he was a stranger the first time we did it.

TEDDY: But, that's not the same thing. Harry's your husband.

SALLY: He wasn't then. Husband or not, Teddy, everybody's a stranger until you do it.

TEDDY: Not always. I knew Norm six . . . seven months before we did it.

SALLY: Did you really?

TEDDY: I did. And that's the truth.

SALLY: Norm always did strike me as kind of funny that way.

TEDDY: He's old-fashioned, that's all.

SALLY: Then, why won't he marry you? I mean, you've lived together all these years.

TEDDY: Well . . . he's waiting for his mother to die. He doesn't want to hurt her feelings.

SALLY: Hurt her feelings?

TEDDY: She doesn't want to share him with another woman.

SALLY: That's sick! He told you that?

TEDDY: Well . . . yes.

SALLY: Pedal, Teddy. Pedal.

TEDDY: Besides, he doesn't really feel that he's ready for marriage, yet.

SALLY: Honestly, Teddy, if a man's not ready by fifty, when will he be ready?

TEDDY: I don't know. Soon, maybe.

SALLY: I think you're being had. We both are. I think if we were . . . well, you know.


SALLY: Fit . . . men would treat us a whole lot different.

TEDDY: Yeah. Life would be fun. Something to write home about, wouldn't it?

SALLY: You bet it would! Those sonsofbitches would treat us with respect.

TEDDY: Not too much respect, I hope.

SALLY: You know what I mean. They can't see but skin level. Or rather, they don't bother to take the time to look . . . to see us for ourselves. But just wait a few months. We'll pedal our way back to how we looked in high school Ė physically, that is. Then Harry and Norm can both go and eat dirt!

TEDDY: That would be awful. I mean, Harry and Norm can go and eat dirt all right. But, I don't want to get back to the way I was in high school. I was really fat in high school. I mean, really fat. Double what I am now.

SALLY: That's disgusting! I mean, poor baby. I mean . . . pedal, Teddy. Pedal. (After a pause to pedal. Sotto voce.) Harry farts.

TEDDY: What?

SALLY: Harry farts.

TEDDY: Sally, everybody farts.

SALLY: Not in front of me they don't. Harry farts in front of me. I mean, he doesn't even try to hide it. Now, you tell me: If a man were in a room with a beautiful woman, would he fart?

TEDDY: One wouldn't think so. Not with a beautiful woman. No.

SALLY: Right. He'd make an excuse to leave the room or he'd hold it in. My marriage is down the tubes, Teddy. Right in the sewer, that's where it is. In more ways than one, it stinks!

TEDDY: It sure sounds that way. (After a pause.) Betty Staub had her face chemically removed. Her tits, too.

SALLY: Had her what?

TEDDY: They put implants in her tits and took a layer off her face.

SALLY: You're kidding.

TEDDY: No. She couldn't get the ones with silicone. So, she got the ones filled with water. I guess if she doesn't jog or bounce around a lot no one will ever know the difference. But, getting a layer of skin burned off her face really made a difference.

SALLY: I bet it did.

TEDDY: You should see her. Maybe, I'll have my face removed.

SALLY: That . . . well, it . . . uhh . . . sounds painful.

TEDDY: Still, you should see the results. She's gorgeous!

SALLY: She always was.

TEDDY: That's true. But, not like now. . . . You think they can make feet smaller?

SALLY: I don't see how.

TEDDY: I'd sure love small feet. What do you think of my tits?

SALLY: Not bad. Not bad at all. Theyíre perky. Iíve always liked a pair of perky tits.

TEDDY: Really? What about my ass? Do you like my ass? Do you think it's too big?

SALLY: I think itís just fine. What about mine?

TEDDY: Oh, Iíve always liked your ass, Sally. I mean. . . .

SALLY: Pedal, Teddy. Pedal.

TEDDY: (After a pause to pedal.) God! It's so painful.

SALLY: Well, we're almost finished. Just a few more minutes and we'll grab a bite at The Happy Sprout.

TEDDY: No, not the pedaling. The way they make you feel.


TEDDY: Yes, men. I don't think men like women. You know, as people.

SALLY: You don't?

TEDDY: No, not like they do other men. They only lust after women. They don't really like us.

SALLY: I've thought that too, Teddy.

TEDDY: They make you feel unwanted. Like an object. A used condom. Deflated. A thing without feelings. Without . . . oh, I don't know. Dignity, maybe. You know, like I should feel guilty . . . like I did something really bad. . . .

SALLY: A used condom?

TEDDY: Once, when I was fifteen, I tried to kill myself. I took a whole bottle aspirin. God! I was sick for days!

SALLY: I can imagine.

TEDDY: Why, Sally? Why must it always hurt so much? It's just not fair! (On the verge of tears.) It just isn't fair. I'm a good person, aren't I? I don't want to hurt anybody. I've never hurt anything, except for cockroaches. I hate cockroaches.

SALLY: Who doesn't?

TEDDY: But, other than cockroaches, I've never hurt anything . . . or anybody. I just want to love and be loved. That's all.

SALLY: Oh, honey . . . even skinny girls feel that way sometimes.

TEDDY: Oh no they don't! They have no idea how it feels! (Angry.) A skinny girl finishes everything on her plate and she's got a healthy appetite. A fat girl finishes everything on her plate and she's a pig. I'm a person, Sally. A person. I'm not a goddamn pig! (Jumps off bicycle.) I quit!

SALLY: Teddy, get back on that bicycle.

TEDDY: No! I quite!

SALLY: Come on now. We agreed.

TEDDY: It's all cosmetic, anyway. Isn't it?

SALLY: What? What is?

TEDDY: Life, goddamn it! Life.

SALLY: Teddy, I don't know what you're talking about.

TEDDY: It's not who you are, or what you do, or why you do what you do. It's how you look doing it. When you're beautiful, life can be heaven. And we all know that everybody is beautiful in heaven.

SALLY: I've heard you've got to feel beautiful to be beautiful. Come on and get aback on the bike.

TEDDY: What a crock! You can't feel a thing unless it's there to be felt in the first place. And, I feel like shit!

SALLY: Does that mean that you are shit Ė or that you've just got your hands in it?

TEDDY: I don't know what it means, Sally! Honestly, for God's sake!

SALLY: Then, will you get back on that bicycle?

TEDDY: (Mounting bicycle, reluctantly.) I just get so mad sometimes.

SALLY: I know. So do I. Pedal, Teddy. Pedal.

TEDDY: I'm pedaling, I'm pedaling!

SALLY: (After a pause to pedal.) My first husband, good old George, didn't care how fat I got . . . because he loved me. Only, I didn't love him. I wanted something like in the movies. Something in Technicolor with an orchestra. So, I proceeded to lose forty-seven pounds without even trying. I was svelte. I divorced George to marry Harry. Only Harry didn't know that after a year I'd put every single pound back on . . . and then some. And I didn't know that he'd grow to hate me for it. No, it's not like in the movies. No one's running slow-motion towards the other . . . and the forest isn't wired for sound.

TEDDY: Surely, he doesn't hate you.

SALLY: Whatever it is, it's not love. It doesn't feel like anything even closely related to love. I know that.

TEDDY: Maybe, you should've stayed with George . . . worked it out.

SALLY: Teddy, I don't like men who like fat women.

TEDDY: I never met one. So, I can't really say for sure. (After a pause.) Do you think this is all going to work out? I mean, all this exercise, the salads, the sprouts, all that stuff? It seems like it'll never end.

SALLY: It'll end. Before you know it, it'll end and we'll be different people.

TEDDY: Different people. (A sigh of sadness, of loss.) And happy. I can't wait to be happy. You think it'll happen all at once? Or, little by little?

SALLY: What?

TEDDY: The change. Getting happy. The sense of worth. A new life.

SALLY: Oh . . . little by little, I expect.

TEDDY: But, it'll click. I mean, one day all of a sudden, it'll click. Won't it?

SALLY: It'll click. One day we'll wake up and everything will click. We'll be different people. We won't even remember who it was we were.

TEDDY: If you were a man would you love me the way I am?

SALLY: Iíve always loved you, Teddy.

TEDDY: Really?

SALLY: Really.

TEDDY: Men! Who needs them? Ainít nothing but a bunch of pricks! (A sigh of relief. Then, suddenly.) Pedal, Sally. Pedal.

BOTH pedal like mad as the LIGHTING slowly fades to BLACK OUT.



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