1 by jj loonAM
I Am Giving You "ADOPTED"
Lights up on a large, frequently rented house on Fire Island. Features include: one moldy outdoor shower, one extremely narrow pool complete with makeshift waterfall, an indoor hot tub off the combined living room/kitchen, and a spiral staircase that is decidedly unsafe for children and/or adults who’ve been drinking. The walls are made of wood, and that wood is damp. Little signs posted above the furniture read “NO BARE SKIN ON THE UPHOLSTERY”. It is in early morning--12:45 PM. The dining room table is strewn with the remnants of last night’s dinner for 14: empty bottles of rosé, rolling papers, several unfinished whipped cream flavored vodka drinks, and a platter of homemade tuna salad wraps delicately garnished with cigarette butts and black flies. Someone, somewhere has vomited--but its not clear who or where over the stench of pot and BO. There is a boy sleeping at the kitchen counter.
(B snoring loudly)
Our hero appears at the foot of the stairs. He is dressed in a long white nightshirt, with silver Birkenstocks, large black sunglasses and a sheer scarf wrapped around his head. He is trying to be quiet. He tip-toes across the room. He is dragging one of those rolly suitcases behind him and its wheels are screaming. He does not want to wake anyone. He fails.
B: (half-wasted, half-asleep) Where are you going?
A: (stopping suddenly) Oh, FUCK me.
B: (still asleep, giggling) Mmhm-hm-hm… No.
A: PLEASE don’t wake anyone else up--I’m trying not to get caught.
B: (waking up) Get caught doing what? Why do you have your suitcase?
A: (condescending) Oh, honnney--I have to go.
B: WHY?! You just got here.
A: Actually, I’ve been here all weekend.
B: But I thought you said you took Monday off--it’s only Sunday morning? Can you at least stay for mimosas?
A: We don’t have champagne.
A: We don’t have orange juice.
B: (proud of himself) Shots!
A: That’s disgusting.
B: (concerned) What’s wrong with you?
A: If you must know, I received some very important news this morning.
B: (shocked) Where did you find cell service?
A: I have wifi.
B: (incredulous) You’ve been checking your EMAIL?!
A: (snippy) I’ve been waiting to hear back about a new position and I did hear back,
and they want me--tonight! So yes, THANK GOD, I have been checking my email.
B: Fuck, do you think I should check mine?
A: (belittling) This is a pretty big deal. I’m sure you have nothing to worry about.
B: (stunned) Why, what is it?
A: I can’t tell you.
B: (ravenous) Well now I NEED to know! (dirty) Is it that guy you were “business partners” with? Does he need you for some “important assignments”?
A: Okay, FUCK you. This is serious.
B gasps louder.
B: Are you pregnant?
SD: Our hero takes off his sunglass.
A glares at B.
B: (sulky) Okay FINE. I’m just teasing. But you do have to tell me. Or else I WILL wake everyone else up.
A: Babe, this is a family matter. It’s personal, which means it’s none of your business, and I don’t feel like sharing--
B: (cupping his hands around his mouth, screaming at the ceiling) GOOD MORNNNNING! I’M MAKING SHAKSHOUKA! AND GUESS WHO’S LEAVING--
A: (angry) Will you shut the fuck up? I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you.
B: (cheering) Ahhh! Okay, I’m sorry. You can tell me now.
A regains composure, turns away from B. A sighs.
A: If you must know... I just found out I’ve been adopted.
B: (concerned) Oh my god.
B: (empathetic) So you’re not really Jewish either?
A: (impatient) Of course I’m Jewish. I just found out I’ve been adopted, like, right NOW.
B: (shaking his head) I can’t believe your parents have kept this from you for almost 40 years.
A: I’m 24!
B: Still--they told you via email? If it were me I would have at least wanted a text or something.
A: (karate-chopping his palm) I. Just. Found. Out. I. Have. Been. Adopted. TODAY.
B: (pitying) On a three-day weekend…
A: ADULT ADOPTION.
A: I have been adopted as an adult.
B is speechless.
B: (a little grossed out) By who?
A: (superior) By WHOM.
B: A grammar teacher?
A: Sweetie, thank you very much--I’m SO glad we were able to talk this out, I feel like a real weight has been lifted off my back, and now I’m going to say my goodbyes, and--
A turns to leave.
B: Wait! I’m sorry!
A: I would tell you to keep this to yourself but I don’t plan on seeing you or any of these other fuckers ever again, so what do I care?
B: I’m sorry, really I am--I won’t tell anyone, I promise.
A: (sighs) I suppose I will be all over the news soon enough anyway. Nobody knows how to keep a secret anymore--ESPECIALLY when it comes to celebrities--
B: Wait, wait, wait--You’re being adopted by a CELEBRITY?
Pause. A turns back to B and contemplates something.
A: (shrugging) Celebrities are adopting people left-and-right these days.
B: Yeah--like little kids and shit.
A: (scolding) Not just little kids. The misfortunate. The needy. The unemployed. People who... (getting choked up) People who feel like they’ll never belong.
B: (shocked) That’s disgusting.
A: (angry) It. Is. A. CHARITY.
B: (thinking) Oh I seee. It’s like those commercials with the little kids that need “just 1 dollar”--only you’re a 33 year old man and you need like, just one million dollars.
A: (shrieking) I’M 25!
B: (suddenly disinterested) And I’m HUNgry.
A: Okay Sweetie--This is NOT about the MONEY. I want to make that very clear before I leave because I don’t want you running around telling the fucking Wicked Witches of the West 40s up there that I’m broke, okay?
B: No, no, I get it--You grew up rich and now you want to grow up again, only this time... SUPER RICH.
A: FUCK you.
B: Are you sure you didn’t answer some kind of weird role-playing personals ad? Maybe you aren’t being adopted as much as you are… being offered an internship?
A: BABE, I just told you. This isn’t about money and it’s not a CAREER thing. This is about every little kid’s dream--this is about getting to CHOOSE your parents--
B: What about your real parents? Aren’t they going to pissed?
A: THIS is about the fact that I feel like I’ve had these secret magic powers my WHOLE LIFE, and NOBODY NOTICED--
B: But they LOVE you.
A: Well you can all go fuck yourselves--I just got into HOGWARTS.
A: Your mother isn’t going to just sign some document handing you over to a complete stranger--
A: You mean my (air quotes) “REAL” mother?! My REAL mother texts me every six months to ask me if I've "changed my mind". My REAL mother asks me who I've been hanging out with because she's trying to find out if "this PHASE is over". My REAL mother thinks sucking dick is a "fad" which is sorely misguided and leads me to believe she's never--Okay, you know what? (pause) Let’s not dwell on the past. I'm so tired of all that shit. That’s not me. I wasn't born to be weighed down--I was born to ascend, slowly, on an escalator made of gold--climbing higher and higher--quickly but not too fast--never looking back... (pantomiming) Maybe occasionally glancing sideways to show off my 3/4 profile. Not smiling per se, just showing a little teeth. Don’t slouch. Good posture. Relax your hips…
B: (coy) Aren’t you going to tell me who it is?
A: (stern) Okay look at me? What does this outfit say to you?
A spins slowly.
A: I am giving you “All-Natural.” I am giving you “Free-Flowing.” I am giving you “Locavore.”
B: You are giving me “Nana’s Mumu.”
A: (ticked off) I am giving you “Grace Kelly meets Mother Teresa.” I am giving you “Strong Female Spirit.” I am giving you “I Treat My Vagina To A Little Vitamin D.”
B: (excited) OH MY GOD I KNOW WHO IT IS.
A: (basking in an invisible spotlight) I am giving you “The Son of Shailene Woodley.”
B: (giddy) NO!
A: Oh YES. I'm getting the fuck out of this particular ring of hell with most of dignity intact which is more than I can say for rest of you fucking--
B: Wait, isn’t Shailene Woodley like 18 years old?
A: Honey, she’s 22, please try to keep up.
B: Okay but is it legal for her to adopt someone who’s like, at least 10-15 years older than her?
A: How many times do I have to tell you I’m only 28 years old?
B: (sarcastic) Oh well then ex-cuse me. I didn't realize this was one of those perfectly normal situations where a young Hollywood starlet adopts someone several years older than her. For a second I got confused and thought maybe what you're doing was a little odd. I guess I forgot about all those OTHER adult adoptions that happen ALL the time--
A: For your information adult adoption does happen all the time and it’s actually an age-old tradition in some cultures, especially in Japan, where, according to WIKIPEDIA, the Buddhists have been adopting each other for hundreds of years--
B: Oh yeah right, there’s something VERY Buddhist about this whole thing.
A: (ignoring him, contemplative) You know there really is. It’s almost as if this has been meant to happen my whole life. It’s like destiny really.
B: (suddenly sad) If you really do go, I’m going to miss you.
A: Oh I know you will Sweetie, you’ve always been so co-dependent.
B: (genuinely) Well, THANK YOU. You know, my therapist is always saying that I push people away but I’ve been trying to tell him that I’m actually really clingy.
The boy trails off. There is silence as Our Hero adjusts his headscarf.
B: So what ferry are you taking?
A: I’m not. She’s picking me up.
B: Does she have a boat?
A: Not exactly.
Suddenly: the sound of a helicopter flying overhead.
B: What is that?
A: I think that’s my ride.
Our Hero puts his sunglasses back on and grabs his suitcase by the handle.
B: What about the rest of us?
A: The rest of you can go FUCK yourselves. Were you EVEN there last night when that kid from Philadelphia told me the first time he met me he thought I was “dark”? He wasn’t talking about my tan. I’m not “dark”, I’m sophisticated. People can be so up-tight.
There is a loud crash as the roof of the house is blown off. The helicopter is hovering directly above the house. A spotlight falls on Our Hero.
B: (crying) ARE YOU GIVING ME “GOODBYE”?
A rope ladder unfurls in front of them. Our Hero grabs ahold and begins climbing. Before he gets too far he turns back and looks down at the boy in the kitchen.
A: I AM GIVING YOU “ADOPTED”!
End of Play.