by Edward Crosby Wells
©COPYRIGHT 2008 EDWARD CROSBY WELLS
The Characters: END OF PLAY
BETTY: Over fifty.
LARRY: Fat. Over fifty.
MARTHA: Over fifty
HARVEY: Over fifty. Walks with an exaggerated limp.
BILL MONROE: Over fifty.
JENNY HILL: Somewhat fragile. In her twenties.
AT RISE: The Setting is The Empire Lounge, a barroom with a juke box. LARRY, MARTHA, BILL and HARVEY, all beyond their prime and in their cups, are seated at separate tables. Palm down, BETTY is slapping the table where LARRY sleeps with his head buried in his arms.
BETTY: Hey, lard ass! Get it in gear.
LARRY: (Waking.) Huh—
BETTY: Closing time. Time to haul it.
LARRY: (Raising his head.) C’mon, just kiss it. Give it a little touch.
BETTY: I ain’t Irene, Larr. Touch it yourself.
LARRY: What? (An uncomfortable realization.) Oh— No, you couldn’t be.
BETTY: You’re not going to crash here, again. Irene’s probably right where you left her. Know what I mean?
LARRY: Sleeping like a log.
BETTY: Like a log and that is exactly what you ought to be—like a log, at home.
LARRY: It's raining.
BETTY: You ain't made of salt.
LARRY: You got a sweet tit for me, darlin’?
BETTY: I got the back of my hand! Drink and git. (Sniffing the air.) What the hell is that? Jesus H. Christ. You didn’t go shit on another o’ my chairs, did you?
LARRY: I didn’t shit. Geez, Betts.
BETTY: God help you if you did. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What in hell do you eat?
MARTHA: (Calling from the shadows.) Give the poor slob a break. He lost his job—laid off, for God’s sake.
BETTY: Do I look like the Salvation Army?
MARTHA: Men—more sensitive than ya think, believe me. They break and they die just like (Tries snapping her fingers, but can’t.) that. Like—that. Shit. My Harry got the bum end when the plant went and closed up in Scum City. That’s what killed the sonofabitch and don’t you go tellin’ me different.
BETTY: Weren’t gonna say nothin’, Martha. You shouldn’t blame yourself. The court said you wasn’t guilty and that’s good enough for me.
MARTHA: Don’t ya just hate regrets?
MARTHA: Regrets—don’t you hate ‘em? (Turns directly to audience and speaks.) But Martha does blame herself. She blames herself and she feels her guilt oozing from out her pores for all to see. (Back into scene.)
BETTY: Yeah, every day . . . usually somethin’ I ate.
LARRY: Me too. I hate feeling regrets all right. Ain’t a thing you can do about ‘em.
HARVEY: No shit, lardo.
MARTHA: Regrets’ll eat ya up from inside out.
BETTY: So will bad Chinese.
BETTY: Right—ain’t none other from here to Scum City.
MARTHA: I don’t go to Wong’s no more. It ain’t been good for my system, if you know what I mean.
BETTY: Yep. Only so many sweet and sour cockroaches a body can eat. (A pause to sigh.) Martha, fillin’ your life with regrets can’t be good for your system either, if you know what I mean. (Turns directly to the audience and speaks.) Betty is tired. Tired of this bar and all her looser customers. She is thinking about her life as she feels it crashing down upon her. (Back into scene.)
MARTHA: A woman alone ain’t natural. I see how they look at me.
BETTY: You were acquitted.
HARVEY: She had a good lawyer—bamboozled the jury.
BETTY: That ain’t got nothin’ to do with it, Harvey. So why don’t you shut up or take your little dick outta here?
LARRY: (Bursts with laughter.) You tell ‘im, Betts!
HARVEY: C’mon, she did it and everybody knows she did it.
BETTY: I don’t know any such thing.
MARTHA: Innocent. Godfuckingdamnit innocent. That’s what they said and that’s what I am.
HARVEY: Go on believing that, sister. They said you was “not guilty.” They never said nothin’ ‘bout innocent. (Turns directly to the audience and speaks.) Harvey can see through the masks of just about everybody he knows. The problem is he can’t see through his own. (Back into scene.)
MARTHA: I wish I was dead. (She downs her liquor, slams the glass on the table and retreats into herself.)
BILL: Is it last call yet?
BETTY: I believe it is. (Shouting to ALL.) Last call! Speak now or forever hold your peace. (Crosses to behind bar.)
HARVEY: Why don’t you come over here and hold my piece, Betts?
BETTY: I thought your piece got blown off in Nam?
HARVEY: Just a couple inches. There’s plenty to spare and it’s got your name written all over it.
BETTY: You sure it ain’t B.M.? (Pouring drinks.)
HARVEY: B. M.? What the fuck does that mean—B. M.?
BETTY: My initials, dumb butt.
LARRY: Maybe it’s written in short hand.
BETTY: Everybody havin’ the same? Bill, ain’t it time for you to switch to Sterno?
BILL: Amusing. I’ll put that in my journal. (Turns directly to audience.) Bill buries himself in his journal. It is his way of escaping. He can put himself on the page and somehow it doesn’t seem so painful. Without living it, he can read the literature of his life. (Back into scene.)
MARTHA: Hey Bill, what the hell’s in that book o’ yours? (Jumps out of her seat and rushes over to BILL and grabs his journal) Huh? What you got in here?
BILL: You, for one. Please give it back.
MARTHA: Me? Am I pretty?
BILL: Beautiful, Martha—as a sweet lily of the field.
MARTHA: Go on—
MARTHA: I wanna read it.
BILL: You’re in no condition.
BETTY: (Comes out from behind bar where she had been pouring drinks.) C’mon, honey. Let me help you back to your seat. Give me the book. (She gently takes it out of MARTHA’S hand and passes it to BILL.)
MARTHA: (While being escorted.) Said I was beautiful . . . a lily of the field.
BETTY: Yes, I heard. Here we are. You sit down, sweetie, and I’ll bring you another Scotch.
MARTHA: Thank you. I didn’t kill him, you know.
BETTY: I know, Martha. (Goes to bar to get tray of drinks.)
HARVEY: What about me? What do I look like in that book o’ yours?
BILL: A soldier.
HARVEY: You bet your ass I do! I gave up the best part o’ me for my country. Don’t none o’ you forget it!
BETTY: Who could forget it, Harv? You won’t let us.
LARRY: Harvey saved America by giving it dick!
HARVEY: Fuck you! And your farts! Go home to Irene, you dumb fuck! She’s the only one who can tolerate you—you lard ass sack of shit!
BETTY: Okay, boys, play nice. (Delivering another round of drinks.) This one’s on the house.
MARTHA: Last call’s always on the house. Every night since I can remember, last call’s been on the house.
BETTY: This one’s special. So, enjoy ‘cause I’m thinking of changing that tradition pretty soon. Don’t get the Scum City boys no more . . . now that the base is closed . . . everything’s gone to hell—
HARVEY: One day there won’t be nobody left to protect this great land o’ ours—closin’ bases to save a buck to give to Public Radio, Hanoi Janes and Hollywood Liberals—
LARRY: Scum City’s a ghost town ‘cause Wal-Mart up and hauled ass.
HARVEY: (Sotto voce.) And fag marriages.
BILL: (To LARRY.) Something will come to fill the void. Something always does.
MARTHA: Sometimes nothin’ does. Nothin’. Nothin’ on the half shell. As far as ya can see—just a whole lot o’ nothin’.
LARRY: Irene ain’t waitin’ up for me. (Directly to audience.) No, indeed. Irene is not waiting up for him.
BETTY: Yeah, so you said, Larry.
LARRY: And I didn’t get fired—got laid off. There’s a difference, you know.
HARVEY: (To LARRY.) Either way you cut it, the paycheck’s the same. Nothin’. Nada. Zero. Shit. (Sniffing the air.) What the—I can smell you from here. No wonder they fired your sorry ass.
LARRY: One of these days I’m gonna put a bullet through that thick gimp skull o’ yours.
HARVEY: You better bring an army, fatso. (Rises.) I gotta take a leak. (Limping towards the men’s room.) Hey, Bill! You wanna come hold it for me?
BILL: Not today, thank you.
HARVEY: Betts, you’re gonna need somethin’ real potent to fumigate this place.
BETTY: What do you suggest, Harv?
HARVEY: Agent Orange—it always worked for me. (Limps into the men’s room.)
MARTHA: You shouldn’t egg ‘im on like that. He got that way protecting folks like you and me. He’s a decorated war hero—Purple Heart and all.
LARRY: Don’t make no nevermind. What the hell do you suppose he pisses out of?
BILL: From what I understand they managed to reconstruct enough to urinate through.
LARRY: He has to sit. I hear it’s about the size of a baby’s thumb. (Directly to audience.) Larry is ashamed of the size of his own penis. He hates it almost as much as he hates himself. (Back into scene.)
BETTY: Ain’t the size what matters—
MARTHA: Bullshit! Harry had one the size of Montana. Ride ‘im cowboy! And I loved every inch of it! Tell the truth, Betty. Size matters and you damn well know it. The bigger the better!
BETTY: You got me on that one, Martha.
BILL: Have you ever been to Montana, Martha?
MARTHA: I ain’t never been out o’ New York State.
BILL: Big country out there.
(JENNY HILL rushes in from the pouring rain, carrying luggage and trying to close her umbrella. She is cold and dripping wet. There is a long SILENCE while ALL stare at her.)
BILL: (Breaking the silence.) Jenny Hill, what are you doing out in this weather, this hour of the morning?
BETTY: Good God, girl— (Quickly exits to backroom.)
JENNY: The water—it’s over the sidewalk. I’ve got three more hours.
MARTHA: Three more hours for what?
JENNY: The bus.
LARRY: No bus comes through here no more.
JENNY: Five-thirty. Sometimes it won’t stop unless you flag it down.
MARTHA: Not if it’s washed out, honey. Where ya headed?
BETTY: (Enters carrying a blanket and a towel. Crosses to JENNY.) Albany, huh?
JENNY: Yes, ma’am.
(During some of the dialogue to follow, BETTY helps JENNY out of her raincoat. Takes it, her umbrella and her luggage and places them somewhere. She wraps the blanket around JENNY’S shoulders while JENNY uses the towel to dry her face and hair.)
JENNY: My sister is a teacher there . . . in Albany.
BILL: How is Nancy these days?
BILL: A local boy?
JENNY: She met him in her senior year at New Paltz—Bobby Standish. She’s teaching high school English—in Albany. He teaches art at the university. She’s always asking about you, Mister Monroe.
BILL: She was one of my brightest students. Come sit over here, Jenny.
JENNY: Thank you, Mister Monroe. (Goes to his table and sits.)
MARTHA: (Watching BILL writing in his journal. To JENNY.) Watch what you say, Missy. He writes it down.
LARRY: He writes all the shit down. Hey, you writin’ all this shit down?
BILL: All that is fit to write.
BETTY: (Delivering a drink to JENNY. To LARRY.) That leaves you out, Larry. (To JENNY.) Here ya go, sweetie—on the house. Scotch, all right?
JENNY: Yes, ma’am. Thank you.
(BETTY returns to the bar.)
LARRY: Very funny, Betts . . . very funny. Did he write that down? Was that fit enough for ‘im?
BILL: I’m keeping a record for posterity, Larry.
LARRY: Posterity? Bullshit. You’re a sorry ass schoolteacher they won’t let near a classroom no more?
BETTY: (Holds up a bottle from behind the bar. To LARRY.) Careful. I’d hate to bust a brand new bottle o’ Black & White over that thick skull o’ yours. Apologize.
BETTY: ‘Cause I said so!
LARRY: (Mimicking, effeminate.) Sorry, Mister Monroe. Okay?
LARRY: (Directly to audience.) Larry will be arrested the day after tomorrow for the murder of his wife. After his trial he will spend the rest of his life behind bars in Ossining, New York. Eleven years from now he will be found on Christmas morning hanging in his cell. His last thought before committing suicide will be this barroom and how his nights at the Empire Lounge were the “good old days.” I could not stop his murder. (Back into scene.)
JENNY: The water—it’s over the sidewalk.
BETTY: (Goes to see for herself.) I hope it ain’t—
LARRY: They say it could flood the valley. Hudson’s up.
BETTY: (At window.) Christ! Looks like we’re gonna be here for the duration. Put that in your journal, Bill.
BILL: Got it. Maybe we’ll have a few more last calls.
MARTHA: Sounds good to me.
BETTY: If we do, they won’t be on my dime.
LARRY: You got me in that journal?
BILL: I’d rather not say, Larry.
LARRY: It better be nice.
BILL: It’s the truth. I only write the truth.
HARVEY: (Entering from men’s room.) What’s the truth?
BETTY: The truth is it looks like we’re all stuck here for awhile.
HARVEY: (Looking toward JENNY.) Who do we got here?
JENNY: Jenny. Jenny Hill.
HARVEY: You sure you’re in the right place?
JENNY: Yes, sir. Only place open. I’m waiting for the bus.
HARVEY: Ain’t no bus coming through here this morning.
JENNY: It’s got to. It’s just got to.
BETTY: Got to or not, I don’t think it’ll be able to get through till the rain lets up.
JENNY: It’ll come.
MARTHA: Don’t set your heart on it, honey. Don’t never set your heart on nothing.
LARRY: I hope he shook it good. Did you shake it good, Sergeant?
HARVEY: I thought I’d let Bill do that for me.
BETTY: Don’t you be payin’ them no mind, Jenny. Every last one of ‘em is pigs. Put that in your book, Bill.
BILL: It’s already in the book, Betty. It’s been in every entry for the last twelve years.
BETTY: Well, put it in again. Some things can’t be overstated. (Still at window.) Nope. Don’t look like anybody’s goin’ anywhere.
JENNY: Oh, dear— (Directly to audience.) Jenny needs to get out of town. She is desperate and in fear for her life. There must be a bus, she thinks. There must be a bus. (Back into scene.)
HARVEY: So what’s the truth, Bill? Do ya know? Do ya know anything?
BILL: This moment—right now. That’s all I know, Harv. And, the Empire Lounge—the best watering hole outside of Scum City.
MARTHA: I’ll drink to that.
BETTY: You’ll drink to anything.
MARTHA: I thought you was my friend?
BETTY: I am. I’m just joshin’ ya, sweetie.
JENNY: This? This is the best watering hole in town? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make it sound like that.
BETTY: I’ve heard a lot worse.
BILL: It’s the only one left since Chuck Murphy closed the Shamrock.
MARTHA: What about that, Betty? Where’d all the Shamrock crowd go?
BETTY: Well, let’s see. Jimmy Vogel died and his wife moved to Watertown. Verge Vandersteer died from a rotten liver. The Babcock brothers are down in Ossining doing hard time. Oh, and Sal Turco went on the wagon. Let’s see . . . yup . . . that’s about it.
JENNY: (Finishing her Scotch. To BETTY.) May I have another, Miss . . . Miss—
BETTY: Betty. Betty works just fine.
JENNY: Thank you . . . Betty. (Directly to audience.) Jenny will give birth to a baby girl eight months from now. Three months later, Von Dixon will break into her sister’s apartment in Albany and beat Jenny so badly she will go into a coma for seven months before dying. Von Dixon will be charged with murder. He will be acquitted. I have no control over justice. I am not God. I am— (Back into scene.)
BILL: What are you covering under that makeup, Jenny? Is that a black eye?
JENNY: You can see it?
BILL: It looks like a nasty bruise to me.
BETTY: (Delivering a fresh drink to JENNY.) You sure look like you could use another.
JENNY: Thank you, ma’am . . . Betty.
BETTY: That’s some shiner you got there. Is that why you’re headed for Albany?
BETTY: Poor kid.
HARVEY: What do ya tell a woman with two black eyes?
BETTY: I don’t know, Harv. What do ya tell her?
HARVEY: Nothin’. Ya already told ‘er twice! (He roars with laughter.)
BETTY: That’s funny, Harv. You hear anybody laughin’ but your own fool self?
MARTHA: Ain’t no man ever git a second chance with me. Give me a black eye and I’ll blow his head off.
HARVEY: What else is new?
MARTHA: I didn’t mean it that way. Why don’t all o’ you just go fuck yourselves!
LARRY: ‘Cause the gimp ain’t got nothin’ to fuck himself with.
(HARVEY jumps up. Suddenly a knife appears poised to slit LARRY’S throat. Screams are heard. BETTY rushes over.)
BETTY: Give me the knife, Harvey.
HARVEY: Not till this sonofabitch learns a little respect.
BETTY: (Holding her hand out.) The knife.
HARVEY: (To LARRY.) You done talkin’ ‘bout my dick?
LARRY: From what I hear, there ain’t much to talk about.
HARVEY: (Pushing knife firmly against his throat.) I said, are ya done talkin’ ‘bout my dick?
LARRY: I said yes!
MARTHA: Give Betty the knife before ya hurt somebody, Harv.
JENNY: Shouldn’t somebody call the police?
BILL: No. Every other night Harvey pulls a knife on Larry and then he hands it over to Betty. It’s old news. I don’t even put it in my journal anymore.
BETTY: (With her hand out to HARVEY.) The knife.
HARVEY: (To BETTY, handing her the knife.) Here. (To LARRY.) Ya better thank Betty ‘cause one o’ these nights I’m gonna slit your throat for real.
LARRY: Well, it ain’t gonna be tonight.
BETTY: (Returning to bar with knife.) You boys are gonna die miserable and stupid. I ought to throw you all out into the weather.
BILL: Who gave you the black eye, Jenny? That is, if you don’t mind my prying?
JENNY: Do you remember Von Dixon?
BILL: A troubled student, I recall—quit school to join the air force?
JENNY: He never did go. I guess they didn’t want him. Anyway, we moved in together—about a year ago.
BILL: I see.
JENNY: Big mistake.
BILL: And now you’re heading for your sister’s in Albany.
MARTHA: That five-thirty don’t go to Albany.
JENNY: I know, ma’am.
HARVEY: Ma’am? Hey, Martha! Somebody’s confused you with a lady.
MARTHA: Go to hell!
JENNY: I’ll need to transfer in Scum City.
BILL: I wonder when we all started calling Scum City Scum City?
LARRY: It’s always been Scum City. We called it Scum City since I was a little boy.
HARVEY: You were never a little boy.
LARRY: Ha-ha, very funny.
MARTHA: I’m still Here. Here! I hate here.
LARRY: You was here the last time I looked.
MARTHA: Ain’t what I mean. Here, here. I don’t want to be here no more!
LARRY: Hear, hear! Let’s drink to that!
JENNY: (To BILL.) Did you feel that—the silence? They say that an angel passes through that silence.
BILL: Yes, I have heard that, Jenny.
MARTHA: Angels my ass! Harry—lyin’ in his grave, head blown clean through. How the hell do I get out of here? Would somebody tell me how to get out of here?
HARVEY: Through the front door for Christ’s sake!
BETTY: It’s okay, sweetie.
MARTHA: No. It’s not. Ever regret somethin’—somethin’ so bad it cripples ya? Worse than Harvey it cripples ya—inside, ya know? Why? Huh—why? (Directly to audience.) Martha is thinking she wants her life to be over. Yet, she has rarely allowed herself to live. What she really wants is to be once again the girl—the girl with dreams, longing to be the woman—the woman with children, a porch and a white picket fence. As do so many Human dreams, they seldom come to be. Nothing happens all on its own. One day, many unhappy years from now, Martha will die without the memory of joy—without ever knowing me. (Back into scene.)
BETTY: I don’t know why, sweetie. I wish I did but I don’t—plain and simple. There just ain’t no rhyme nor reason to anything. (After an awkward SILENCE.) Hey, c’mon. Let’s cheer this joint up. You’re all a bunch of sorry excuses. (Crosses to the juke box and plays something.) C’mon, cheer your sorry asses up.
LARRY: Mine’s cheery enough.
HARVEY: That’s a laugh—
MARTHA: Anybody wanna dance? (Looking around.) Anyone? Betty?
BETTY: Not tonight, sweetie.
JENNY: I’ll dance with you, ma’am. (She rises and meets MARTHA who stumbles from her seat.)
BILL: Patsy Cline. There’s a woman who felt the weight of the world.
(JENNY and MARTHA dance for awhile until LARRY pushes MARTHA aside and begins to dance with JENNY. He is clumsy and is squeezing her tightly.)
JENNY: Please . . . I can’t . . . breathe . . .
BILL: Larry, let her go!
HARVEY: Leave ‘im be. The bitch asked for it.
BILL: (Rising.) You crazy sonofabitch!
BETTY: Bill, sit!
JENNY: Stop it! (Wiggles free. She then attacks him with the full force of her flying fists.) I hate you! I hate you! You’re just like every other man!
LARRY: You don’t even know me, girl.
JENNY: Yes, I do. I know you. I’ve known you all my life.
(BETTY crosses to the dance couple and pulls them apart. JENNY falls to the floor and BETTY pushes LARRY into his chair. BILL rushes to help JENNY onto her feet.)
BILL: (To JENNY, escorting her back to the table.) You okay?
MARTHA: Anybody wanna dance with Martha?
BILL: (To LARRY and HARVEY.) The both of you are the stupidest sonsofbitches I have ever known!
HARVEY: (To BILL.) Shut the fuck up! I didn’t get the Purple Heart so people like you could eavesdrop and fill up your filthy book with other people’s lives. (Rises.) You make me sick! (Crosses to jukebox.) You all make me sick! (HARVEY pulls the plug on the jukebox and the MUSIC comes to an abrupt stop. Speaks directly to audience.) Harvey will die six months from now in a ward at the Veteran’s Hospital from a severe infection of the pancreas. He will die owing nothing to anybody and regretting nothing. He will die alone. No one will attend his funeral, but Bill Monroe. Through Bill I will watch Harvey’s body as it is lowered into the ground. (Back into scene.)
LARRY: You shouldn’t o’ done that, Harvey. You really shouldn’t o’ done that.
HARVEY: Blow it out your ass!
MARTHA: I only wanted to dance.
BETTY: Harvey, sit!
HARVEY: I’ll do what I please. (Crosses to BILL.) You wanna see my dick?
BILL: Nobody wants to see your dick, Harvey.
HARVEY: I’ll bet otherwise. I’ll bet you like seeing every dick you can get your eyes on, faggot!
BETTY: I said, sit down!
HARVEY: (Ignoring BETTY. With his back to the audience he shows BILL his penis. JENNY turns away.) Take a look! Look at it, fucker! You like that, sweetheart?
BILL: I’m underwhelmed.
BETTY: I said, sit!
HARVEY: (Zipping up his fly.) I’m sittin’. (Crosses to his table and sits.) Take a look! Look at it, fucker! You like that, sweetheart? Take a look! Look at it, fucker! You like that, sweetheart? Take a look! Look at it, fucker! You like that, sweetheart? I’m sittin’ but it ain’t ‘cause of you. You hear me?
BETTY: I hear you loud and clear, Harvey.
HARVEY: Good—‘cause I can’t stand on this leg for very long.
LARRY: I always thought Harvey didn’t have a leg to stand on. (Roars with laughter.)
BILL: I don’t think that’s funny, Larry.
LARRY: (Mimicking.) I don’t think that’s funny, Larry. You let ‘im show you his dick and you get mad at me. So, how big was the gimp’s dick?
MARTHA: Can I see it, Harvey?
BETTY: Would all of you shut up! I got something to say and I’m only going to say it once. Tomorrow there will be no more Empire Lounge.
BETTY: You heard me.
BILL: Why, Betty? I thought everything was going well. You don’t have the boys from the base or the Scum City crowd anymore, but you still got your regulars.
BETTY: Not as regular as you think. Besides, it’s something else. I’ll need to—What’s the use?
MARTHA: What is it, Betty?
BETTY: It’s female stuff. I’m supposed to start chemo in the morning.
BILL: That’s—I’m truly sorry, Betty.
LARRY: So, what’s the chemo for?
BETTY: What do you think? (A pause to think about her response.) For what’s left of my pussy—that’s what for.
MARTHA: I don’t know what to say—
HARVEY: Then don’t say nothin’.
MARTHA: (Nodding off, in her own world.) They break so easy—men.
HARVEY: Yeah—‘specially when you shoot ‘em in the head.
MARTHA: What? (To anybody but HARVEY.) What did he say? What did he say?
BILL: He didn’t say anything, Martha. That type never do.
HARVEY: She heard me all right. Put that in your book, faggot!
BETTY: How did all this suddenly become about you!? (Going from one to the other.) Or you? Or you? Or you—any of you? No wonder I’m sick of the lot of you. They ripped out my uterus—my goddamn sticky—and God knows what else, and the big C just keeps on growing!
MARTHA: I’m so sorry to hear that, Betty.
BILL: All of us are.
BETTY: Then drink up, kids. This is your last drink on the Empire Lounge.
MARTHA: What will I do. Where will I go? It just ain’t the same without Harry.
HARVEY: Then you shouldn’t have shot him.
MARTHA: I didn’t shoot him! I helped him. I helped him get out of here. Here. He didn’t want to be here. He couldn’t pull the trigger all by his self. That old rabbit riffle was just too long for his little short arms. So, I pulled the trigger for him.
BETTY: Martha, don’t say another thing.
BILL: They can’t try her again—double jeopardy.
BETTY: (Directly to audience.) Betty will close the doors of the Empire Lounge. She will begin chemo therapy and she will survive. Betty came to me during her chemo therapy and we’ve been one until the day she will die in a car accident while visiting her sister in Syracuse, New York. She will feel no pain and she will die happy. Her last words will be— (Back into scene.) Oh God! I can’t wait.
MARTHA: Can’t wait for what, Betts?
BETTY: To get the hell out of here. Close the doors on this dump for once and for all.
BILL: (Directly to audience.) Bill will publish his novel about life in a small, dying town in rural America. He will move to New York City where he will celebrate the rest of his long life as a successful novelist. Bill will die a very old man of natural causes—in the arms of his lover. I am the river that flows through every life that ever . . .
BETTY: (Ibid.) . . . was . . .
MARTHA: (Ibid.) . . . or is . . .
LARRY: (Ibid.) . . . or will ever be.
HARVEY: (Ibid.) I am—
ALL: (Ibid.) I am.
(ALL go back into scene.)
LARRY: Holy shit! I just had one of those . . . you know, like when ya feel you’ve been here before . . . exactly the same.
BILL: It’s called déjà vu.
LARRY: So real.
BETTY: (Runs to the front door.) The water!
JENNY: It's coming in.
HARVEY: Under the door.
MARTHA: Oh my god!
ALL: A flood!
The LIGHTING dims to BLACK OUT.