BELLE RUN excerpt           

BELLE RUN

By Mónica Sánchez

 

 

 

 

TIME AND PLACE

 

Now.  On the road across the United States.

 

 

 

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS*

 

Belle                              Handsome woman over 50.

 

Samuel                          Her grown son.

 

Maya                            Samuel’s ex-girlfriend - also

                                     Belle’s dead mother…our all-purpose ghost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note on staging: the playwright imagines a minimal set of select furnishings that are covered and uncovered in white sheets as they become various locales and objects.

 

 

 

 

*All characters are to be played by actors of color, unless permission is granted otherwise by the playwright.

 

 

 

MAYA

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wish you were dead?

Do you ever go to sleep at night hoping you don’t wake up?

Do you ever wish you could just dissolve away into thin air?

Have you ever made a plan for your death...no, not your death—

your suicide.

Yes, suicide.

It’s irresponsible not to plan.

 

Think about where you live right now. Your belongings, your bills, your papers, your mementos, your junk drawers, your old shoes, your dirty dishes, your dirty laundry, all the unpaired socks or earrings you’re holding on to, the stuff you’re storing for god knows what-and-when-- in your garage, in your closets, in the the trunk of your car...

What about all the cat poop in the litter box, all the dust bunnies under the furniture, the crumbs on the counter, the mold in the fridge...who’s gonna clean all that up?

Think about your money, or the lack thereof. Who’s gonna deal with the bank? Who do you owe money to? Who owes you?

And what about “your good stuff?” The flat screen, the food processor, the white noise machine, the blue tooth speakers, the car, the art work? Who’s gonna get your computer? Better think about that one! Who’ll get that favorite leather jacket? The good watch, the gold bracelet....

Think about all these things, and get them in order! I hate when people say that a suicide is a selfish act. Bullshit!

But it can be very inconsiderate, most of the time it is. That’s why you should clean your house, purge your belongings, settle your financial affairs, finance your final ‘services’ and for Chrissake, don’t leave a bloody mess for someone to clean up. Albeit, it’s a very personal stylistic decision that every individual must decide for themselves, as to how to end it. I’m not advocating one method over the other, I’m simply admonishing you to be considerate. If your method involves copious amounts of blood say, please people, use plastic! A little planning can go a long way.

And oh yes, leave a note. Even if you don’t mean it. People like to have a note. Even if you don’t mean a thing you say, say something. People like to read “love” or “forgive” or ... well you get the picture right? Okay, there you have it. We may not be able to change the world... but we can change the sheets.

 

                                               Maya exits.

                                              

SCENE 1.

 

BELLE’S LIVINGROOM.

One stylish set of luggage on one side of the front door, one well-worn rolling carry-on on the other.

The furniture is covered in sheets.

 

SAMUEL

Oregon?!

 

BELLE

Yes.

 

SAMUEL

Why Oregon?

 

BELLE

Why not?

 

SAMUEL

Because it’s 2500 miles away.

 

BELLE

I’ve never been there and I’m ready to go.

 

SAMUEL

Mom, I just flew across the country, I came to spend your birthday with you, here—what do you want to do? Dinner? The theatre?

 

BELLE

Right about now’s the time I’d like to have a drink. Whisky neat.

 

SAMUEL

Really?

 

BELLE

Join me?

 

SAMUEL

Since when have you taken to drinking?

 

BELLE

I like to sip it.  Feel its velvet fire lift me up, toward the evening… just a little jolt this time a’ day…

 

SAMUEL

How about some hot tea?

 

BELLE

…free up the ideas and memories shackled inside this old, tired head…you pourin’ or not?

 

                                               He pours.

 

SAMUEL

I don’t know how long I can take off of work. I really should get back to L.A.

 

BELLE

You told me you weren’t working right now.

 

 

SAMUEL

Well no, I’m not, I’m between jobs.  But it’s hard for me to get the next one if I’m not there to take meetings.

 

BELLE

Don’t you ever take vacation?

 

SAMUEL

Well, yes, but this –

 

BELLE

Yes, I know.  Your mother is not a vacation.

 

SAMUEL

I didn’t say that.

 

BELLE

I know. I did.

I’d like to leave tomorrow.

 

SAMUEL

Tomorrow?!

 

BELLE

Yes, I’m all packed.

 

SAMUEL

I just got here!  Why did I come all this way?

 

BELLE

You know I don’t fly.

 

SAMUEL

Oh that’s it huh?  You just summoned me to be your chauffeur?

 

BELLE

You know I miss you too.

 

SAMUEL

Do you know how long it’ll take to drive?

BELLE

Not as long as it’ll take to get me on an airplane.

 

SAMUEL

It’ll be days, at least a week on the road. You won’t be comfortable.

 

BELLE

Didn’t you see the car in the driveway?  Factory fresh. Seat warmers and good sound. Spacious, lots of leather, a sun/moon roof, cruise control, tinted windows…

 

SAMUEL

That’s yours? It looks like a hearse.

 

BELLE

Oh Sammy, have a drink with me.

 

SAMUEL

I’ll just get some water.  I have to start hydrating for Bikram in the morning.  There must be studio near here…?

 

Siri, find hot yoga near me.

 

                                               He exits.

 

SIRI

Okay “Hotness,” this is what I found.

 

                                               Samuel returns with water.

 

SAMUEL

Perrier, really mom? Do you need any cash?

 

BELLE

Cheers “Hotness.”

 

SAMUEL

Salud.

 

BELLE

Yes. Salud.

 

They toast. Whiskey to water.

 

A sheet that had that had been covering a piece of furniture becomes animated, like a ‘ghost’.   

 

BELLE

Sammy? I’d like to get on the road first thing in the morning.

 

SAMUEL

What? No, Belle, no.  Look, I’m sorry but I can’t. 

 

BELLE

Can’t?

 

SAMUEL

I don’t have the time.

 

BELLE

Your return ticket isn’t for another week. You can fly to LA from Oregon. Sammy, you promised.

 

SAMUEL

No I –

 

BELLE

Yes, you did. Many times.

 

SAMUEL

What? What exactly did I promise?

 

BELLE

Time with your mother.  How she wants to spend it.

 

SAMUEL

On a road trip?

BELLE

With or without you, I’m leaving in that vehicle, in the morning. I would surely appreciate your company.

 

SAMUEL

I just got here! Why tomorrow?  What’s the hurry?

 

BELLE

Me. 

 

She freshens her drink and exits with confident frailty.

 

Maybe we hear an aquatic subterranean score:

what does the ocean sound like from inside a diving bell?

 

Samuel focused on his phone.

                       

The ‘ghost’ finds a seat. Under the sheet is MAYA. Her disheveled head revealed, she wraps herself up in the sheet.

 

SAMUEL

You didn’t get up all day?

 

MAYA

 

SAMUEL

How’s the new medication working?

 

MAYA

I gained ten pounds.

 

SAMUEL

You can afford to put some meat on--well, not too much.

MAYA

I don’t like it.

 

SAMUEL

You can’t even tell.

 

MAYA

That I’m depressed? Or that I’m fat?

 

SAMUEL

You’re sleeping better…?

 

MAYA

Yeah. That’s all I want to do, sleep.

 

SAMUEL

Well, thank god you’re not having any more outbursts.

 

MAYA

No. I’m too sleepy.

 

SAMUEL

Why don’t you have your guy prescribe something for that?

 

MAYA

The sleepiness?        

 

SAMUEL

Right.

 

MAYA

Why don’t I just stop taking the pills that are making me sleepy?

 

SAMUEL

Maya, it’s not that complicated. I’m sure he can prescribe something that takes away some of the sleepiness. 

 

MAYA

He already did.

 

She produces a ridiculously long piece of paper.

 

SAMUEL

Great. I’ll go get it filled. Don’t wait up for me.

 

                                                        Samuel exits.

 

 

MAYA

There’s magic, there’s fucking magic in the world. I used to see it. I used to sense it, I used to feel it every day. I became, you could say, dependent: a magic junkie. And now… no love, no joy, no place to park-- no magic.

 

Do you know the magic of the lilacs last in the dooryard blooming? The magic of the smell of the sun on the scraped knee of a kid, the mist of rain on your lover’s lobe…yes I’m motherfucking ear-waxing poetic…

Maybe you’re not depressed--but you are afraid, of the magic.

You are afraid of the unknown.

You’re afraid just to be… and not to be;

That’s not the question.

You’re afraid.

Of this second.

 

She dons the ghost effect of the sheet again.

 

MAYA

Boo.

She exits.

 

A COFFEE SHOP. Belle unfolds an unwieldy paper map (is it the same Rx from Maya?) Samuel holds a menu.

 

SAMUEL

Mom, why don’t you look at the menu first.

 

BELLE

I know what I want.

 

SAMUEL

How? Have you been here before?

 

BELLE

No. Why would I have been here?

 

The ghost appears with a pad of paper and pencil, wearing an apron over the sheet.

 

SAMUEL

I’ll have the cottage cheese, hold the pineapple, and a fat-free almond milk green-tea latte.

 

BELLE grabs his menu and hands it to the ‘waitress’.

 

BELLE

He’s kidding. Bring him two eggs sunny-side up, patty sausage, home fries and sourdough toast.  Coffee, black for me.

 

Waitress writes the order and exits.

 

SAMUEL

Look, we need to clear something up right away.  I’m a grown man, I get to eat what I want to—

 

BELLE

Exactly.

 

Waitress returns with coffee and green tea.

 

SAMUEL

(to waitress)

Actually, could I get a coffee as well?

 

                                                        Waitress exits.

Mom, you should eat something.

 

 

BELLE

The map is not the territory.

 

SAMUEL

Exactly. Mom, we have GPS. It’s a computerized navigation system built into the car? Remember it got us here? Without any maps?

 

BELLE

I don’t like depending on a machine. They all break down, eventually.

 

SAMUEL

Let me see that. (re: map) We’re making good time. We’ll can make St. Louis this afternoon.  Siri, find best rated hand-stand studios in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

BELLE/SIRI

Okay, “Hotness” here is what I found.

 

BELLE

Did you know St. Louis, was a king?  A devout king, a saint!

 

The ghost brings Samuel’s coffee and refills BELLE’s cup.

 

SAMUEL

Well now he’s a mid-western city.

 

BELLE

His mother was Spanish. Blanca de Castilla, and then she turned eleven and got Blanched when was married to Louis the VIII. Blanche de Castile, mother of a saint, of course she didn’t live to see that happen.

                                                       

She stares into the void.

                                      

SAMUEL

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, either.

 

Mom? Mom?

 

BELLE

Excuse me a moment.  I’d like to powder my nose.

                                      

BELLE exits.

 

Maya lays on a bed under her sheet.

 

MAYA

A gun?

No. Predictable.  Messy.

Maybe a gun and a cop?

Maybe a gun and a corporate thug?

Maybe a gun and a politician

…and me.

                                     

 

 
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