The Ladiesí

a ten-minute play

 

by Jennifer Kollmer

jen@kollmers.net

Setting

Saturday night in Portland, Oregon.

Characters

Gwen

28.Florist.

 

 

Heather

24.Lawyer.

 

 

Kelly

28.Police officer.

 

A womenís restroom at a nice restaurant.If stalls are visible, at least oneís door is firmly shut.Alternatively, the ďstallĒ can be offstage.

KELLY, wearing a conservative shirt and slacks, holds a white silk blouse in her hands and dabs at it with a wad of paper towels.GWEN is shirtless, wearing just a camisole with her skirt.She rummages through her large colorful tote bag.

GWEN

Like, the only other thing I have is hairspray.Isnít that supposed to remove something?

KELLY

Ink.Itís totally different.Shit.

GWEN (heading toward the door)

What about salt, then?Iím practically dressed.I could justó

HEATHER (from inside stall)

Saltís for grease, Janelle, not wine.

KELLY

[to stall] That you, uhó?
[to Gwen]What the hellís her name?

GWEN

Heather?

A flush, and HEATHER, in a stylish sweater set, storms out of the stall.

HEATHER

I cannot go back out there.Dinner for Six has a seriously distorted idea of ďquality singlesĒ:Clintís got a nose only a mother could love, Steveís not sure what he does for a living, and Allenódid you catch those fingernails?

And weíre stuck with these three gems for at least two more hours.I know youíre new to this scene, but Iíve been to eleven of these.Itís only going to get worse through the meal, then they haul that damn dessert cart over and all three guys jump on the tiramisu because, letís face it, men are dogs, so thereís at least another half hour added to the running tab of how much of your lifeís being wasted while these losers wolf down 500 calories.Meanwhile youíve known since the first martini that this is hopeless.

[turning to wash her hands and noticing the damaged shirt]Oh, man.Iíd meant to tell you how much I liked that blouse, too.At least now youíve got an excuse to get away from those dorks.

GWEN

They seem fine enough.Donít you think so, Kelly?

KELLY

Those guys donít have a ďfineĒ bone in their limp bodies.

HEATHER

I need to face the fact that hot guys donít need matchmaking services.If we were smart we wouldnít even go back to the table.Demand a refund on our way out.

GWEN

I think Clint might be okay.††

KELLY

He could be hiding a lot under that leather coat.

GWEN

He looks cuddly.

HEATHER

Heís a liar.

KELLY

How do you know?

HEATHER

I have strong instincts.Like with clients, I just know when theyíre lying.The pro bono ones especially.

KELLY

Oh right, youíre a lawyer.

HEATHER

Heather Gordon, esquire.I still love the sound of it, thank God.The titleís just about my only reward.Truth be told, all of my clients have been kind of pro bono so far.But you got to prove yourself on your own before you can join Thompson and Blum.

KELLY

Why make a career of keeping criminals on the street?

HEATHER

Protecting the innocent.Cops make mistakes, you know.

A beat.KELLY returns to the shirt.

KELLY

I am going to get this out, Janelle.

GWEN (rummaging through her bag)

Man, I need a joint.

HEATHER

No, you donít.

GWEN

Uh, yeah, Ió

HEATHER

Trust me, you do not need any controlled substance at this time.But Iím sure Kelly here can differentiate between a sarcastic remark made...solely in jest and...justifiable grounds for searching your bag.Being one of Portlandís finest...

GWEN pauses, then pulls a lipstick out of her bag.

GWEN

I know sheís a cop, Heather.I was at the table, too, remember?

HEATHER

Is that hard?Being a lady cop?I mean, arenít the guys all chauvinist pómen?

KELLY

I donít waste time worrying about it.Too busy doing my job.Or paperwork for the lawyers.

GWEN

Anyhow, I think Clint seemed like a good soul.His auraís totally blue.

HEATHER

No way.Heís one of those guys who canít deal with your being more together than them.

KELLY

And I suppose being a lawyer is more together than just about anything.

HEATHER

Weíre women.Weíre inherently more together.

KELLY

[holding up the blouse]This isnít working.Fuck me.Maybe I can get you a new one or something.Whatíd it cost anyhow?

GWEN

Really, itís nothing special.I just wore it because my husband thought it looked hotówell, a long time ago.

HEATHER and KELLY do a double-take on the word ďhusband.Ē

GWEN

Weíre divorcing.Like, legally.He lives in California.

HEATHER

Better get on that.California has a six-month waiting period after filing.Assuming itís uncontested.

GWEN

Itís uncontested.

KELLY

Good for you, getting back in the game so quick.Took me years.

HEATHER

Neither of you said you were divorcťes. Donít you think you should start off with full disclosure?

KELLY

Do any of those guys need to know?

GWEN

Think Clint would sleep with me if I asked?Back before Pete, I wasólike, wowóyou know?Dating was natural.I knew I had something.Guys knew it.I knew they knew it.But itís been like forever and I canít even read Clint.

HEATHER

Like Clintís a tough read.No, Iím serious: Youíd think the membership fee would weed out the losers.[beat]Anyhow, white wine dilutes red.

KELLY

Whereíd you come up with that?

HEATHER

Or you can just take your chances with the dry cleaner.

GWEN

Itís totally not worth it.

KELLY

Iím paying for it.

HEATHER

Four ninety at Ricardoís on Fourteenth and Burnside.But donít go to them.They ruined my suede halter from BeBe.You should try the white wine.

KELLY

Iíve never heard of that.

HEATHER

No, I insist.Iíll get it for you.

KELLY

Butó

HEATHER

You stay put.Iíll be right back.

HEATHER dashes off.

KELLY

Am I supposed to pay her for this wine sheís getting?

GWEN

Nah, she volunteered.

KELLY

I canít believe I did this.

GWEN

I was probably meant to let go of this shirt anyhow.I just know itís got Peteís bad mojo.Maybe Heather can just drink that wine instead.

KELLY

You get a load of her?

GWEN

Total green aura.And I think sheís really tense about the dating thing.I mean, who isnít?

KELLY

That esquire shit, you know sheís looking down her nose at everyone.

GWEN

I donít know.Green auras can seem like that, even though they donít mean anything by it.Theyíre just...motivated.Thatís why theyíre drawn to money and power.You know, she might have a bit of a red overlay going on.

KELLY

You really like Clint?

GWEN

I donít know.I mean, sure.Heíll do.Not really looking for Mr. Right just yet.Pete and I are totally broken up, but I just donít know...

KELLY

Then why shell out for a membership?

GWEN

Oh, that.My sister Janelle, she had a real date tonight, and Iím sleeping on her couch anyhow, so why not just be her?They donít even check.My real nameís Gwen, by the way.

GWEN offers her hand to KELLY, who shakes it.

KELLY

Are you going to tell Clint?

GWEN

Why?

KELLY

What if he calls tomorrow and asks for Janelle?

GWEN

Oh, he doesnít seem like the calling type to me.

KELLY

He joined a matchmaking service.

GWEN

Good point.Iíll give him my cell number then.But he wonít call.Itís okay.

HEATHER enters, hurriedly sipping a glass of white wine.

HEATHER

Not bad.We should drink whatever we donít use on the shirt.Female bonding.Whatíd I miss?

GWEN

How are the boys?

HEATHER

Who knows?I went straight to the bar.Clint and Allen are probably elbowing each other and grunting by now.Seriously not worth your concern.

Youíre not really thinking of hooking up with Clint.Please.

KELLY

If Janelle wants to have some fun, youíve got no business telling her she canít.You may know all about six-month waiting periods, but until youíve been divorced, you have no idea.

HEATHER

I know none of itóthe two-year track to the good firm, a partnership at, say, 34ónone of it matters if youíre so pathetically bored with everything all you ever want to do is cry yourself to sleep.

GWEN

Heather, I donító

HEATHER

Yeah, well, anyhow, why donít you give this a whirl?So we can get out of here.

HEATHER hands the glass to KELLY, who applies some wine to the stain.

GWEN

Thanks for the wine.You really didnít have to.

HEATHER

Itís...my treat.Always ready to help a woman in distress.

KELLY

This isnít doing anything.

HEATHER

Try again.You need to use more.

KELLY

I used plenty.

HEATHER

Let me.

HEATHER tries to take the shirt from KELLY, who isnít letting go.

GWEN

Look, I really appreciate it and everything, but why donít I just take it and...

HEATHER

You canít put it back on like that.

GWEN

Sure I can.

KELLY

Itís all wet.Especially now.Take mine.Iíll wear the wet one.

GWEN

No, really.Your shirtís too small anyhow.

KELLY

How about her cardigan, then?

HEATHER

Iím not staying.

GWEN

Iím fine.Iíll just borrow Clintís jacket or something.

KELLY

Just till it dries.Let her have her night already.

GWEN

Just till I can get squared away with Clint?

HEATHER

ďSquared away.ĒClint is way too gross for you, okay?

GWEN

Help a woman in distress?

KELLY

Unless you wanted Clint for yourself.

HEATHER

Huh.

KELLY

Then youíll do it.

HEATHER

At least promise me youíll use condoms.The last thing the world needsó

KELLY and GWEN shoot HEATHER a look.

HEATHER

Okay!

HEATHER removes her cardigan and hands it to GWEN.

Blackout.