Home / Issue 33 / Of Two Minds

Of Two Minds

By Patrick A. Nichols       

Cast of Characters

Mark:  A man in his early 40s         

Carol:  A woman in her mid 30s                 

 

Scene

Bathroom of a middle class house in a suburb of Chicago.

 

Time

The present.

                                                                                                           

 

SETTING: Bathroom of home. Two identical sinks and mirrored vanities are placed back-to-back center stage.

            AT RISE: Two men approach the sinks, one from stage left and one from stage right. They are wearing identical bathrobes and their movements match exactly. They are literally mirror images of each other. This is MARK. MARK slumps over the vanity and stares into

the mirror.

                                         

(MARK’s monologue is unspoken;  rather, his thoughts are heard by the audience on recorded echo track).                                                                                       

MARK

So, what am I going to do? Carol’s ‘working late’ again. That’s three times this week. Three times of her coming home after midnight. Even for that startup she works for, that’s too much--way too much!

(pauses)

Okay, I’m just going to say it: I think she might be seeing someone at work. It all adds up--the late hours, her attitude towards me.

(pauses)

When was the last time we had sex? Four, five weeks? No, longer. A couple of months. Christ. We used to have sex every day--sometimes twice a day! Like that time on the flight to Cincinnati to see her family...we joined the Mile High Club!

(pauses, remembering)

Maybe I’m just being paranoid--after all, I’ve been beat up at work lately--that prick Dave has been on my ass every day--and what’s he? Twenty-five, twenty-six? Thinks he’s going to take over the department, for Chrissake.

MARK (Cont.)

(pauses)

And Carol’s been hit, too. Startups don’t think their employees have lives…

(pauses)

...but midnight three times in a week? That didn’t used to happen!

                                         

 

(At this point the attitude of the Stage Right MARK and the Stage Left MARK starts to diverge. Stage Right MARK more conciliatory, Stage Left MARK more angry. For the first time their movements no longer mirror each other; a change in stage lighting should be used to emphasize this change).

 

Stage Left MARK

So is she seeing someone? What if she is? That would explain some things. She has been pretty cold to me lately...more like a roommate--without benefits!

 

Stage Right MARK

What the hell do I expect, anyway? She’s tired. I’m tired. It’s not a Meg Ryan movie--it’s real life!

 

Stage Left MARK

But I think I should be able to expect some consideration! Does she think I like eating alone most every night? All while she’s out doing who knows what?

                                                                       

Stage Right MARK

I just don’t think Carol’s like that! I know she’s not the most romantic person in the world, but she is pretty straightforward--and honest.

                                                                  

Stage Left MARK

Except for that time she backed into Jimmy Malone’s Mercedes when she was leaving his birthday party. Crunched the shit out his front fender and never told him.

 

Stage Right MARK

She did tell me, though…

 

Stage Left MARK

Yeah. Two years later.

 

Stage Right MARK

Of course, that’s not in the same league as sneaking around with a guy. That’s different. Do I really believe she’s capable of that?

 

Stage Left MARK

I don’t know...she does like to flirt. She’ll get a few drinks in her and she’s off to the races. That pisses me off.

 

Stage Right MARK

But that’s just it...she does it right in front of me--she doesn’t try to hide it, she’s not a sneak.

 

Stage Left MARK

It still pisses me off, though.  Okay, like maybe she was flirting at work and things got carried away.

 

Stage Right MARK

 (pauses)

No. Can’t picture it. When Carol works, she works. She works her ass off, not like me. I can do the job, but then I just want to get the hell out of there. The last thing Carol would do is mess up her job.

 

 

Stage Left MARK

But that wouldn’t be her intention, would it? But shit does happen. So she’s working late, and the guy she’s working with suggests they grab a quick drink after work to ‘unwind’. One thing leads to another…

                                                          

Stage Right MARK

Maybe, but Carol’s annoyingly honest. She’s told me things about her past relationships that I really didn’t want to hear. It’s just the way she is.

 

Stage Left MARK

Then why doesn’t she talk to me anymore? Why doesn’t she touch me anymore?

 

Stage Right MARK

Of course, I haven’t really been talking to her either...or touching her! We’ve definitely been drifting apart…

 

Stage Left MARK

Hell, ‘drifting apart’ is a colossal understatement! It seems like she wants nothing to do with me!

(pauses)

If she’s fooling around, two can play at that game! That Peggy in Accounting...she likes me, I can tell! She loves it when I kid around with her! And what a body she’s got!

(smiles, picturing her)

She’d go for me in a minute if I went after her! But I’m just not that kind of guy!

 

Stage Right MARK

Right, right. Sure. I’m not that kind of guy. The truth is I’m terrified of what she’d say! What if she laughed at me? Or turned me in to Personnel?

(thinks)

I wonder if putting off having kids has anything to do with this? I told her I wanted to wait--that we should just enjoy ourselves for a while...damn. That was five, six years ago? She used to bring it up every year for a while, but now she’s stopped. Does she blame me for that?

 

Stage Left MARK

Blame me for what? She agreed with me! We both agreed! And we did enjoy ourselves! That Puerto Vallarta trip...that was great! Then we went back again the next year, and then…

 

Stage Right MARK

...then nothing. We haven’t been anywhere since.

                                                                     

Stage Left MARK

So what? We’ve been busy. Everyone’s busy. Is that my fault?

 

Stage Right MARK

Truth is, I’ve been taking her for granted, no doubt about it. I don’t appreciate her like I should. If she’s seeing someone, it’s my fault. I’ve been a fool.

 

Stage Left MARK

She’s seeing someone, no doubt about it. It adds up. She’s never home, and when she is there she ignores me. I can see it in her eyes...her feelings are with another guy! She’s making a fool of me!

 

CAROL

(voice from offstage-no echo)

Mark! I’m home!

 

(Both versions of MARK snap back to original positions: both hands on the sink, facing mirror. Stage Right MARK uses downstage hand to reach for a flower that’s in a jar next to the sink. Simultaneously Stage Left MARK reaches for a pair of barber’s scissors from his matching down-stage jar and holds it in a dagger like fashion (points facing down). They both consider what they’ve picked up and exit Stage Right and Stage Left at the same time as the lights go down.)