Helga Schmidt's Pussy





HELGA SCHMIDT'S PUSSY

by Edward Crosby Wells

COPYRIGHT 2006 EDWARD CROSBY WELLS




The TIME is early evening. The ACTION takes place in the park-ing lot of a city hospital—in and around parked cars. THE CHARACTERS are two cats, TOM and TIM. TIM is sitting on ladder overlooking TOM who is rummaging through a garbage can. BOTH are wearing masks suggestive of cats. TIM surveys his surroundings from atop a ladder. TOM is rummaging through a garbage can. After a while:


TOM: (Turns from garbage and spots TIM and removes his mask.) Hey! Hey, you in the fancy car.

TIM: (Removes his mask.) Are you meowing to me?

TOM: Yeah. I’m meowing to you.

TIM: Well, um . . . hello.

TOM: (Crossing toward ladder.) Come out of that car.

TIM: No, I can't do that.

TOM: Why not?

TIM: I just can't. That's why not.

TOM: What do you mean “you can't?”

TIM: I'm not supposed to.

TOM: And, you always do what you're supposed to?

TIM: I try.

TOM: Hard? How hard do you try?

TIM: Hard enough. I do what is expected of me—most of the time.

TOM: What's expected of you?

TIM: Most of the time.

TOM: Ain’t that grand.

TIM: Well, if I didn't do what was expected, they wouldn't have me around, would they?

TOM: I don't know.

TIM: Well, they wouldn’t.

TOM: That kind of people, huh?

TIM: They’re not that kind of people.

TOM: They certainly are that kind of people.

TIM: What kind of people? You tell me what kind of people!

TOM: Unforgiving, go to church on Sunday—that kind of people.

TIM: Of course, the best kind of people. I do what’s expected because—well, because it is expected of me.

TOM: Some kind of strange logic there. So, what exactly is it they expect you to do?

TIM: Only to do what is expected. I use the litter box and never stray.

TOM: You’ve been neutered haven’t you?

TIM: Twice.

TOM: Twice?

TIM: First time didn’t take.

TOM: Poor baby.

TIM: They cut the wrong thing.

TOM: Come out of that car!

TIM: Why?

TOM: So we can meow a bit.

TIM: I can meow from here.

TOM: Yes, but the whole parking lot will hear us. They’ll throw bottles and stuff. Besides, we don't want to disturb the sick people in the hospital, do we?

TIM: No. I guess not. I didn't think of that.

TOM: Well?

TIM: Well what?

TOM: Are you coming out—or, do you want me to come in? (Approaching him.)

TIM: No! You can't come in here. This is my mistress’s car.

TOM: Whose?

TIM: The lady of the house—Helga Schmidt.

TOM: Well, well, well. She drives an old Ford, I see. Not much of a “lady.”

TIM: Honey Buns gave it to her when he got a new Catillac.

TOM: You mean Cad-ill-ac.

TIM: No, I mean, Cat-ill-ac.

TOM: (Laughing.) You’re a riot, you are. Is Honey Buns her husband?

TIM: I think so. He’s certainly the man of the house. Once she called him Dick but mostly it’s Honey Buns. So, I guess his name is Honey Buns. I really belong to Helga Schmidt.

TOM: Belong?

TIM: She pets me and grooms me and calls me “Helga Schmidt’s pussy.”

TOM: Does she now? That detached from herself, is she?

TIM: She’s affectionate.

TOM: No doubt. (A pause.) Anyway, I’ve been called worse.

TIM: By whom?

TOM: By whom? Oh, get you. If you ain’t the royal pussy.

TIM: I am, actually. I’m Siamese, you know. I mean, I’m descended from royalty.

TOM: Of course you are. The night you were born the stork took a detour. (After a pause. ) Are you coming out or am I coming in?

TIM: This isn't my car and I can't have guests getting fur all over the seats.

TOM: Then, you'd better come out. This isn't my parking lot so I guess a little fur doesn't matter.

TIM: Only for a little while.

TOM: Yes, only for a little while.

TIM: (Prepares to jump.) Here I come. I’m going to jump.

TOM: Okay—so jump already.

TIM (Sits back down.) I can’t.

TOM: Of course you can.

TIM: No, I can’t.

TOM: And, why not?

TIM: Suppose I can't get back in.

TOM: Of course you can.

TIM: You don’t know that. There’s a good chance that once I am out I won’t be able to get back in. Then where will I be?

TOM: I’ll help you.

TIM: How?

TOM: (Losing patience.) I don't know how.

TIM: How are you going to help me if you don't know how?

TOM: I'll think of a way.

TIM: When?

TOM: Soon.

TIM: Suppose Honey Buns comes back before you think of a way?

TOM: He won't.

TIM: Suppose he does? Suppose he leaves without me? Suppose somebody finds me and picks me up for a stray before he discovers I’m missing? Suppose when he comes back to find me I'm no longer here? Suppose he doesn’t come back—

TOM: (Harshly.) Suppose the world ends tomorrow!

TIM: The world isn't going to end tomorrow.

TOM: It might.

TIM: It might, but it’s not going to.

TOM: I suppose not Look, if you jump out and stay near the car—as soon as you hear Honey Buns coming—you jump on the hood, then to the roof, and then you slip back in through the window. How does that sound?

TIM: Sensible.

TOM: Well, there you have it!

TIM: Okay. Here I come. (Jumps from ladder.)

TOM: Don't you feel better?

TIM: No.

TOM: Of course you do.

TIM: No, I don't.

TOM: Yes you do. Stop with the lying already!

TIM: I’m nervous.

TOM: I already got that. So, what’s your handle?

TIM: My handle?

TOM: Your name. What’s your goddamn name?

TIM: Timtu. But, you can call me Tim if you like.

TOM: I’m certainly not going to call you Helga Schmidt’s pussy.

TIM: I wouldn’t expect you to.

TOM: Okay—Tim. My name is Thomas Q. Hunnicut the Third.

TIM: Really?

TOM: No, not really. It’s Tom—just plain Tom.

TIM: Hi, Tom.

TOM: Hello, Tim. (Licks his fists and wipes them on TIM's head.) So, what kind of name is Timtu?

TIM: Siamese, I guess. I’m Siamese, you know.

TOM: So you said. (Proudly.) Do you know what I am?

TIM: (Pause) Domestic?

TOM: (Angered) Domestic. Domestic! Why are cats so quick to judge? Why are they so afraid to meow what they're really think-ing?

TIM: What am I really thinking?

TOM: You should know.

TIM: Apparently, I don’t.

TOM: When they neutered you, exactly what did they snip before they got it right? (After a pause.) I’m an alley cat! A great big, filthy, garbage-picking alley cat! You got a problem with that?

TIM: I wouldn’t meow a thing like that.

TOM: Meow it.

TIM: No. You’re a bully.

TOM: Meow it, I said, meow it! Alley!

TIM: Alley—happy now? And, I’m not judgmental—not in the least. You offend me. I was brought up better than that.

TOM: Oh dear, yes you are—Helga Schmidt’s pussy.

TIM: My name is Timtu—Tim. And I’m sorry.

TOM: You're sorry? Are you sorry for meowing alley? Or, are you sorry for thinking alley?

TIM: I don't know?

TOM: Then this would be a good time for you to think about it.

TIM: I will, okay?

TOM: Sure. Take your time. (After a pause.) Do you want to fuck?

TIM: What?

TOM: I said, do you want to fuck?

TIM: No, of course not.

TOM: Why is that?

TIM: It wouldn't be right, now would it?

TOM: Of course not. You’re a Siamese and I'm a common domestic.

TIM: That’s not it.

TOM: Rat shit!

TIM: It’s just not done.

TOM: Think you’re too good?

TIM: No. It's just that you're—well, you’re a male and I’m a male.

TOM: Hello! I get that!

TIM: I just don't think it's done, that's all.

TOM: Not done by whom?

TIM: By anybody.

TOM: It’s done all the time. You’re a cat and nobody cares what cats do.

TIM: Sure they do.

TOM: No they don't. It's different when you’re a cat. If you were people and I were people they might say, “Look at the queers!” But we ain’t, you see. We’re cats. No one cares. Instead, they say things like, “Aren’t they naughty” or “Isn’t that cute?” They never say, “Look at the queers.”

TIM: I suppose not.

TOM: Then you suppose correctly.

TIM: I never thought about it that way.

TOM: Tim, you haven’t thought about much at anytime.

TIM: You needn’t be rude.

TOM: No—I needn’t be.

TIM: (After a pause.) Okay. I thought about it.

TOM: And?

TIM: If you want to.

TOM: Naah, I'm too tired now.

TIM: If you change your mind. I don't want you to think I'm—well, you know.

TOM: Prejudiced?

TIM: I wouldn’t meow that.

TOM: Of course you wouldn’t. You’re royalty. You’re Helga Schmidt’s pussy.

TIM: That’s unfair. You know how some cats are—mixing with their own kind and not interbreeding, you know. Don’t tell me you don’t.

TOM: I’d never tell you that, pretty boy. I’d never tell you that. You see, us domestic types don’t have those hang-ups.

TIM: I don’t have them either. I’m sure that wasn’t your implication but I don’t and you know I don’t. I’m—well, I’m different. I’m Siamese and—and I never met, you know, face to face, nose to nose, paw to paw—a member of the domestic family. I mean, alley.

TOM: Now you have.

TIM: Yes. Now I have.

TOM: We are the majority, you know.

TIM: No. I didn't know.

TOM: That’s a fact, Jack!

TIM: Strange. I mean, you being in the majority. I never really thought that domestic—I mean, alley cats were all that common. I don’t mean common. No, that’s not what I meant at all. I simply meant—gee, I mean—there’s a lot of you aren’t there?

TOM: Do you want to know why?

TIM: You’re in the majority? (TOM nods affirmatively.) I don't think it matters. I mean, if you're in the majority you're in the majority and that’s all there is to it. I mean, that’s nice. You have lots of company. Who wouldn’t like that?

TOM: Yeah, lots of starving, mangy, lice-infected, homeless company!

TIM: I didn't mean it that way—

TOM: Fuck you, somebody’s pussy!

TIM: I’m sorry.

TOM: For not caring?

TIM: I care! Don’t lay that trip on me, buster! Just don’t lay that trip on me! I care! I care for cats all over the world, whoever or whatever they may be.

TOM: Mouse droppings!

TIM: I had nothing to do with your station in life. Don’t blame me.

TOM: You’re perfectly right. You have nothing to do with anything.

TIM: You make me sound—

TOM: Insincere?

TIM: Sort of.

TOM: Imagine that. Imagine if you really and truly cared. Imagine how there might be less domestic types and maybe more of us would have sleek coats or fur to the ground—or, sharp blue eyes like yours. Yeah, you care all right. I can smell it all over you. But it all will be ours one day. One day you’ll look out your warm cozy home and you’ll see us snarling for everything you have. You and Honey Buns and Helga Schmidt!

TIM: Fine, fine! Can’t we meow about something else? TOM: Sure, what do you want to meow about?

TIM: I don’t know—something pleasant.

TOM: Do you want to hear a story?

TIM: If you’ve got one.

TOM: I got one all right. I’ve got one. Let’s see—I have this friend. Well, more than a friend really. I love her. I am in love with her.

TIM: A love story. That’s nice.

TOM: Don’t start purring too soon ‘cause it ain’t a love story—no way. The problem is, you see, she is a dog.

TIM: I’m sorry.

TOM: You dumb shit! She’s not that kind of a dog! She’s a real dog. She is an honest to God, genuine, first-class canine. Don’t you get it? What’s the use? Nobody cares—especially cats!

TIM: The story—what about the story?

TOM: That’s it. I told you the whole fucking story in a nutshell. Weren’t you listening?

TIM: Of course I was listening.

TOM: You don’t hear much, I’ll tell you that! (A beat.) We’d be barked at and meowed at wherever we went—by dogs and cats just like your self! TIM: I’d never meow at you.

TOM: Rat shit! (A beat.) So, how’s life?

TIM: Life?

TOM: Yeah. How’s life on your side of the fence? What’s ol’ Honey Buns like?

TIM: He’s okay. He feeds me—leaves me alone most of the time since my mistress took ill.

TOM: Helga Schmidt?

TIM: Yes, Helga Schmidt. Honey Buns thinks she is going to die. He’ll probably take it hard if she does. She’s always telling him he has a weak backbone. I guess if she passes—it and he will just break.

TOM: So that’s were he is now—visiting her in the hospital.

TIM: Yes. He comes every night to see her. This is the first time he ever brought me. I sensed that he was very lonely. (After a pause.) Did you ever have a mistress or a master?

TOM: Once. I didn’t really have a master. It was my mother who did—a master and a mistress. After I was born they kept me for awhile.

TIM: A while?

TOM: A short while. Some of the other cats think I don’t remember my mother. But, I do. I do remember my mother. I remember my mother and my brothers and my sisters, too. What I remember most is my master—I mean my mother’s master and mistress and how they—it wasn’t that long ago, you know.

TIM: I can see you’re not that old.

TOM: What the fuck do you know? Huh? What the fuck do you know about anything?

TIM: I know a thing or two.

TOM: A thing or two. You know rat shit! You’re one dead pussy!

TIM: I’m not dead.

TOM: Could’ve fooled me.

TIM: If you want me to go back into the car, I will.

TOM: No. You need to hear this. You need to hear how we domestic types live—and die. (After a pause.) My poor mother. How it must have pained her.

TIM: I don’t understand.

TOM: Try listening for a change.

TIM: I’m listening, for Feline’s sake—I’m listening!

TOM: I remember her purring most.

TIM: Your mother?

TOM: She had a beautiful purr—so warm, so loving. I can still hear her purr to this day—begging behind the super market, eating shit from the bottom of dumpsters, running from vicious children with rocks and firecrackers. From inside the pillowcase I heard my mother purring, until she realized—

TIM: Pillowcase? Realized what?

TOM: Never mind. Just forget it.

TIM: Realized what?

TOM: Fuck you.

TIM: Look, you started this shit. If your going to tell me then tell me!

TOM: Fine! You want to know how the other half lives? She stopped purring when she realized they put me along with the rest in a pillowcase and tied it up and shoved the lot of us into bathtub filled with water. There were eight of us.

TIM: Eight.

TOM: We were pretty big by then so when the sack hit the water we fought to get on one another’s backs. We can be cruel that way. And me, well I was the biggest so I managed to claw my way to the top. That’s only way when you’re fighting just to stay alive.

TIM: (After a pause.) They drowned?

TOM: Of course they drowned, you stupid know-nothing!

TIM: You don’t have to get personal.

TOM: Then, the master or the mistress—I could only hear their whispers—carried the sack with us still in it to the garbage can and dumped us all out. Did you ever smell wet cat hair? Did you ever smell death?

TIM: I can’t say that I have.

TOM: Of course you can’t. (After a pause.) I guess they needed the pillowcase back. They didn’t know I was still alive. I could hear my mother back in the house—screeching and meowing something terrible. I was exhausted, heartbroken and angry all at the same time—bit I managed. I managed to crawl my way to the top—over the dead or dying bodies of my brothers and sisters.

TIM: (After a pause.) How would you like to come home with me? It’s a big empty apartment and it gets lonely sometimes.

TOM: How will Honey Buns and Helga Schmidt take to me? I mean, I’m not Siamese.

TIM: No, but you're my friend. If you get in the car with me, and purr and beg a lot when he comes, how can he say no?

TOM: Purr and beg a lot? You’re swell. You’re too swell for the likes of me.

TIM: You shouldn’t put your self down like that.

TOM: Is that what you think I’m doing?

TIM: I think you need a proper home. One with really great food—canned tuna, canned sardines—the real thing.

TOM: What do you know about the real thing?

TIM: I’m only trying to me nice.

TOM: You certainly are. (A beat) Sometimes I get great food too. You’re not the only one—despite what you might think. But it’s mostly catch as catch can, if you know what I mean?

TIM: Then it’s settled?

TOM: Sure. What the hell! Hey, how would you like to join me in a farewell dinner—a goodbye toast to the streets?

TIM: Oh, I just ate. I’m not—

TOM: It’s on me. (Crosses to garbage can.) I was going to save this for later, but what the hell! (He pulls out the skeleton of a large fish.) I’d rather share it with you.

TIM: Never! I mean, no thank you.

TOM: Surely you’ll make a farewell toast with me?

TIM: Thank you, no. I ate just before we left home and—

TOM: I get it. (Shrugs.) Sure, sure. I’m not hungry either. Besides, if I go home with you I can leave the garbage for some other domestic type. Who the fuck do you think you are! You’re mouse droppings if I ever met one. Feline, you make me sick!

TIM: (Sotto voce.) I really did eat, you know.

TOM: Yeah, I know.

TIM: I didn't mean to offend you.

TOM: Nah—it takes more that that to offend old Thomas Q. Hunnicut the Third. Forget about it, kid. Don’t get your whiskers in a twist.

TIM: My whiskers?

TOM: Yeah, those nice whiskers of yours. Don’t get them in a twist.

TIM: I’ll make it a point. (A beat.) All cats have nice whiskers.

TOM: Of course. Only mine are a bit scruffy.

TIM: Not too scruffy. A bit shorter than most.

TOM: That’s because I actually use mine. Never know when you got to squeeze through narrow places—when somebody’s chasing you or throwing water on you. Then there all those other cats who just want to fight you.

TIM: Why?

TOM: I ain’t figured that one out yet.

TIM: Too bad. However, I want you to know that I think your whiskers are just fine. I mean, they get the job done.

TOM: Ain’t you sweet. That kind of makes us brothers, don’t it?

TIM: Whiskers? There are whiskers and there are whiskers. I think it takes more than that.

TOM: You think? Hallelujah! The pussy thinks!

TIM: It’s not like we all come from the same litter. We can’t go around calling every cat with whiskers our brother, now can we?

TOM: Why not?

TIM: A whole world of nothing but brothers and sisters—it’s just not—

TOM: Not what? (Gazing out beyond parking lot.)

TIM: Realistic.

TOM: No. I suppose not. I came to that conclusion a long time ago.

TIM: Not practical.

TOM: Nope, not practical.

TIM: You see, there you have it.

TOM: Yeah, there I have it.

TIM: You don’t have to be sarcastic. You could show more appreciation from one trying to give you a hand up in this world.

TOM: What are you talking about? What makes you think I need a hand up in this world? Huh? Fuck off, pussy! You got to be the dumbest pile of rat shit I ever met. No! Never met. You’re like so deep into your self there’s nothing there for anyone to meet. And, if they did—really meet you, really see you for what you are—they’d puke.

TIM: That’s it! I’ve had enough! I’ve listened to you. I’ve been nice to you. I invited you home with me. So, don’t insult me!

TOM: Did I insult you?

TIM: With your all cats got whiskers rat shit. So what?

TOM: Wow, there’s a hundred and eighty-degree turn if ever I saw one. Whoops, I just got a glimpse of the pussy wonder.

TIM: That's the problem. You think you can take advantage of our friendship!

TOM: What friendship. You don’t even know the meaning of the word.

TIM: Do you know what you are? You're a nothing—a zero.

TOM: Ouch! That’s telling me.

TIM: You want other cats to feel sorry for you. You've intimidated and insulted me and now you want me to feel sorry for you!

TOM: Wait a minute, I don’t want no cat feeling sorry for me! (Pause.) You’re the pathetic low life, not me!

TIM: Look, I have nothing against you, personally. It's just that we are not brothers. We never were and we never will be.

TOM: What about friends? I suppose that’s out of the question.

TIM: Tom, I don't think it’s going to work.

TOM: You mean, you don't want me to come home with you.

TIM: You wouldn’t like it.

TOM: No, probably not. And, what makes you think I’d even consider the invitation? I’ve got the whole outdoors and, well—

TIM: That's right, the whole outdoors. You wouldn't like living in an apartment, depending on someone to feed you. I’m only thinking of you—your happiness.

TOM: Of course. I understand.

TIM: Do you?

TOM: Oh yes.

TIM: (After a Pause) He’s coming. (Sniffing the air.) Then, it’s settled. I’ll be going back in the car now.

TOM: Is that him? Is that Honey Buns?

TIM: Yes.

TOM: He's crying. Sort of reminds me of my mother.

TIM: Helga Schmidt must have died. (A beat.) I guess, I'm all he's got—now.

TOM: Isn’t he lucky?

TIM: (Crosses to ladder and starts to climb) Hood . . . roof . . . in the window. There! I made it. (Sits on top of ladder.)

TOM: Well, goodbye, Helga’s pussy

TIM: Helga’s dead. It’s just Timtu now—just Timtu.

TOM: Goodbye—Timtu.

TIM: Goodbye, Thomas Q. Hunnicut the Third.

TOM: (Starts to walk away then he bursts out laughing) Too fucking funny!

TIM: What are you purring about? Stop that purring!

TOM: I can’t!

TIM: Then go away, he's almost here!

TOM: It's so funny.

TIM: What is?

TOM: What you said.

TIM: What did I say?

TOM: You're all he's got! (Still laughing, he puts on his mask.)

TIM: So?

TOM: So, what’s expected of you now, Helga Schmidt’s pussy? (Exits laughing. )

TIM stares toward the emptiness where TOM once stood, then slowly puts on his mask.


BLACK OUT



End of Play





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