ACT 1
Scene 1

THE INSIDE OF A MODEST APARTMENT.
(The sound of keys jangling is heard.  Offstage, is a woman’s voice.)

CAROLE LEE
I had a very nice evening.  Thank you, Bryan.  We’ll see each other again soon.  Good night.

(CAROLE LEE steps into her apartment.  She is wearing a coat and gloves.)  
What a moron!  

(She crosses the room to turn on a lamp on the left side of the room, then removes her gloves and coat.  She lays them down on the back of the sofa.  
Raising her hands to her face, she cups her hands together and blows in them.  When she lowers her hands, she makes a face.  Quickly, she goes offstage
to the bathroom.  When she comes out, she is carrying a bottle of mouthwash and a cup.  She takes them and puts them on the table.  She pours the
mouthwash into the cup.)

I’ll have the onion soup to start, please.  Then, I’d like the garlic chicken.  And could I have that with extra garlic?

(She raises the cup of mouthwash to her mouth.)

May I kiss you good night, Carole Lee?  No, not on the cheek, on the mouth.  I want to make sure you taste my onion and garlic.

(Like she is taking a shot, she swigs back the mouthwash.  Loudly, she gargles it in her mouth.  The phone rings.  She goes over to answer it and then
realizes she still has the mouthwash in her mouth.  Quickly, she goes and spits the mouthwash back into the cup and then answers the phone.)

Hello?  Oh, hi, Pam.  Yes, I’m back from my date.  It was...interesting.  Details?  Well, there really isn’t too much to tell.  It’s not worth coming over to
hear about.  I--Pam?  Pam?

(Carole Lee hangs up.  She picks up her coat and gloves from off the back of the sofa.  She hangs them both on the coat rack.  There is a knock on the
door.  She goes to answer it.  A moment later, Carole Lee walks back in with PAM behind her.)

PAM
So, tell me all the details.

CAROLE LEE
Pam, I told you, there aren’t any details.

PAM
(sitting on the sofa)
Oh, stop being evasive.  

CAROLE LEE
I’m not.

PAM
Carole Lee, you just went out with Bryan Bentson.  He’s one of the most handsome, not to mention wealthy, men at work.  Something must have
happened on your date with him.

(Carole Lee sits on sofa.)

CAROLE LEE
We went to see a show.

PAM
What show?

CAROLE LEE
I don’t know.  One with a lot of singing in it.  

PAM
You didn’t like it?

CAROLE LEE
It was all right.  You know I’ve never been that into musicals.

PAM
Oh, right.  Sometimes I forget how culturally challenged you are.

CAROLE LEE
Pam!

PAM
Please continue.

CAROLE LEE
After the show, we went to dinner.  Before you ask, the name of it was French, so I don’t know what it was called.

PAM
All right, so what did you eat?

CAROLE LEE
Lobster.  He ordered it for me.  I wish he hadn’t.  It was terribly expensive.  

PAM
You didn’t tell him that, did you?

CAROLE LEE
That the lobster was too expensive?

PAM
Yes.

CAROLE LEE
I mentioned it.

PAM
Carole Lee, don’t you know anything at all about men?  Now, you’ve insulted him.

CAROLE LEE
How?

PAM
By fussing over the price.  Now he thinks that you think he doesn’t have any money.  Or worse, now maybe he thinks you’re cheap.  (standing)  I don’t
believe this.  I went through all of that trouble to get you set up on this date and you went and blew it.

CAROLE LEE
(standing)
You what?  Pam, did you tell Bryan to ask me out?

PAM
Yes, I did.  Now, don’t you go and get all upset with me.  I was just trying to help you find someone, since you seem to have so much difficulty finding
someone yourself.

CAROLE LEE
I’m sorry, but I don’t recall asking for your help.  And, in the future, if I need some, I certainly won’t be calling you!

PAM
Listen, Carole Lee, I was just looking out for you.  You know what people are saying.

CAROLE LEE
Do you think I care what the gossips are saying about me around the water cooler?  I don’t.  My affairs are my affairs and I intend to keep them that
way.  Besides, I’m not going to be there that much longer anyway.  When I leave, they’ll forget about me and start talking about someone else.

PAM
And just where are you going?  You can’t quit your job.  You need it to pay for your classes

CAROLE LEE
I’m working on some stuff.

PAM
All you do anymore is come back here and hide out in front of that dumb box of yours, typing your little fingers off.
(She grabs Carole Lee’s hand and looks at her fingers.)
I expected that all you’d have left are little nubs by now.  It will be awfully hard to do any kind of surgery without fingers, don’t you think?
(Carole Lee snatches her hand back.)
Honestly, Carole Lee.  When are you going to come to your senses?  You can’t keep drifting off to your secret little world where all you do is spend time
with those characters you daydream up.  You can’t hide from the real world forever.
(There is a pause.)

CAROLE LEE
Good night, Pam.

PAM
You don’t want to hear this, I know, but it’s the truth.  And I wouldn’t truly be a friend if I didn’t tell you this.  You’re not going to make a career for
yourself writing.  It’s just not going to happen.  You would have been better off if you had just stuck with what your parents wanted you to do.  At least
that would have given you a better shot with Marcus.  Yes, Carole Lee, I know you like him.  What’s not to like?  He’s handsome and charming.  Every
woman on the floor would like to date him, even though he is our boss.  He’s very strict when it comes to business and I doubt he would ever think of
sidestepping the rules and dating an employee.  And if he actually did, it would be with Sara or Joy or me, but not a flake like you.

CAROLE LEE
Good night, Pam.

PAM
Good night.  

(Pam exits.  Carole Lee stands there silently for a moment then sighs deeply.  A phone rings in the distance.  She takes a step towards hers, then stops.)

CAROLE LEE
That’s the phone across the hall.

(Her phone rings.)
But that isn’t.  

(She answers it.)

CAROLE LEE
Hello?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  No, Gina isn’t here.  I’m sure.  How do I know?  Well, for starters, because it’s still relatively clean here.  You would
understand if you knew Gina.  How can I put this nicely and delicately?  For some reason, Gina is under the peculiar impression that all inhabitants
of the universe are supposed to live like pigs.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I said pigs.  It’s true.  

(The doorbell rings.)
I’m sorry.  I would love to continue enlightening you, but someone is at my door.  Yes, I’ll tell her you called.  Good-bye.

(She hangs up as the doorbell peals again.)

I’m coming!  Well, Pam, for being so unpopular, I am sure receiving a lot of attention tonight.  

(She disappears to answer the door.)  

Oh!

(Her mother, SUSAN, and her sister, KIMBERLY enter.  Carole Lee hurriedly follows them into the living room.)

Mother, what are you doing here?  I mean, what a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting you.  It’s good to see you.

SUSAN
For goodness’ sake, girl, stop babbling.

CAROLE LEE
I’m sorry, Mother.  Hello, Kimberly.  May I take your coats?  

(She hurries to help them off with their coats, then hangs them on the coat rack.)

This really is a surprise.  I had no idea you were coming.

SUSAN
Why do you keep saying that?  Of course you knew we were coming.  I wrote you and told you.

CAROLE LEE
You did?  I didn’t get a letter.

SUSAN
Stupid girl!  Of course you did.  You just misplaced it.

CAROLE LEE
I must have.

KIMBERLY
(lazily going to sit on the sofa)
She never was very organized, Mother, you know that.

SUSAN
Yes.

KIMBERLY
Although, I should think even she should be able to keep up with a letter from her own mother.

CAROLE LEE
But I didn’t get a... (sighs in frustration)  Is Daddy parking the car?

SUSAN
He’s in Chicago on business.  It’s just the two of us.  Why are you all dressed up?  Have you been out?

CAROLE LEE
I had a date.

SUSAN
Did you?  Who did you go out with?

CAROLE LEE
It’s not important.  It didn’t work out.

KIMBERLY
There’s a surprise.

SUSAN
Well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.  There will be other men.

KIMBERLY
I wouldn’t count on it.

SUSAN
Kimberly, enough.  I’m sure this is hard enough on your sister.  You don’t have to continue to point out the obvious.  Carole Lee, our bags are
outside.  Go and get them.

CAROLE LEE
Yes, Mother.

SUSAN
Where are the bedrooms, dear?

CAROLE LEE
Right through there, but...

(Her voice trails off as she sees Susan has already left.)

KIMBERLY
So, darling, how’s school?

CAROLE LEE
School?

KIMBERLY
Yes, you know.  Your medical classes.

CAROLE LEE
Oh, you know.  On second thought, no, you don’t.  You didn’t go to medical school like the rest of the family.

KIMBERLY
(laughing)
Of course not.  You don’t think I’d spend any extra time going to school if I didn’t have to.  I got married instead--to a doctor, which is just as
good.  It’s too bad you can’t do the same thing.

CAROLE LEE
But no doctor would ever be interested in me, right, Kimberly?

KIMBERLY
Now, it’s you who said that, not me.
(stands)  

But, really, all of this is irrelevant, because you enjoy going to school.

CAROLE LEE
I quit.  

(She slaps her hand over her mouth, but it’s too late.  Kimberly has already latched on.)

KIMBERLY
Mother!

(She turns to the bedrooms.)

CAROLE LEE
No!

(She goes to stop Kimberly, but Susan has already stepped out of the bedroom and there is nothing Carole Lee can do.)

KIMBERLY
Mother, did you know Carole Lee dropped out of school?

CAROLE LEE
I didn’t drop out.

SUSAN
What did you do then?

CAROLE LEE
I...uh...

SUSAN
Carole Lee, you better do some very fast explaining.

CAROLE LEE
I stopped going to medical school.  I’m taking writing classes.

SUSAN
What!

KIMBERLY
Oh, this is good.

(She takes a seat to watch.)

SUSAN
Are you out of your mind?

CAROLE LEE
No, Mother.  I want to write.  I’m good at it.  A lot of people think so.

SUSAN
Oh, bologna!  Of course people have said they think you’re good at writing.  People will say anything to get your money from you.  Everyone in
the family’s a doctor.  I’m a doctor.  Your father’s a doctor.  Your brother’s a doctor.  Kimberly married a doctor.

CAROLE LEE
And that’s fine for everyone else, but it’s not for me.

SUSAN
You don’t know what you want.

CAROLE LEE
Yes, I do.  I know I want to write.

(She hurries to the desk and picks up a stack of papers.)

Look, this is one of the plays I’ve written.  I’ve written several more and I’ve written books, too.

SUSAN
You must be joking.

CAROLE LEE
But I’ve had people look at my work.  They said I have talent.

SUSAN
They lied. Foolish girl, you can’t believe everything people tell you.  Tomorrow morning, I expect you to go back to the school and get back into
your medical classes.  Is that understood?

CAROLE LEE
Yes, ma’am.

SUSAN
Unbelievable.  If your father ever found out about this...

(She exits.  Kimberly stands and exits through to the bedroom.  Carole Lee stands there, looking down at the floor.)

LIGHTS FADE

Copyright © 2008 - 2010 Nia Imani
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Email: nia@niaimani-thewriter.com
Another Time, Another Place

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