Hit the Muscle

by

Jennifer Kollmer

Setting

Columbus, Ohio, the present.

Characters

HOLLY

35, the building manager for a downtown high-rise.Holly expects things to work out so long as everyone follows the rules.

 

MICHAEL

38, Holly's husband, a lawyer, is a model citizen.

 

LISA

35, Holly's best friend from junior high, a hospice nurse and frazzled single mother.

Also

LAURIE's VOICE (always offstage, can be doubled-up with LISA)

 


Scene 1. Hollyís office, building management for a downtown high-rise in Columbus, Ohio.HOLLY types while talking on the phone.

HOLLY

Did you check the solenoid?It just doesnít seem right for two starters to go haywire in a row.[beat]Well, could you have a look at the solenoid, just to humor me?I really appreciate it, Pete.Thanks.[beat]No, as long as you need.My husband and I are carpooling.The commute is quality time.Okay, then.Bye.

HOLLY hangs up and her intercom rings.She continues typing while she talks to LAURIE.

HOLLY

Yes, Laurie?

LAURIEíS VOICE

Mr. Milanoís here.

HOLLY

Great.Send him in.

LAURIEíS VOICE

And Mrs. Greenís on line two.She says her office feels like a rainforest.

HOLLY

Hot, wet, both?

LAURIEíS VOICE

Hot, I think.

HOLLY

Could you do me a favor and take her through setting the thermostat again?

MICHAEL enters, and HOLLY waves to him, not missing a beat with the intercom conversation or the typing.

HOLLY

Remind her not to touch the dial on the right.Thanks.[She hangs up the intercom.]
[to Michael]Hey, babe.

MICHAEL

Hi.I picked up the stuff from Schmittís so we wouldnít have to double back.

HOLLY

Good idea.Thanks.Did the spot come out of my blue shirt?

MICHAEL

Oh, I didnít look.

HOLLY

Iím sure it did.They never mess up.I just need another minute to finish this contract for Plutonium, that software company.

MICHAEL

They going to move in?

HOLLY resumes typing as she talks.

HOLLY

I certainly hope so, after all this.Now itís a generator.They called half an hour ago, wanting to know if we could add that to the proposal.

MICHAEL

The power goes out, what, once a year here?Stop being so good at what you do.People will expect too much.

HOLLY

Yeah, well, if it closes the dealó

The intercom beeps, and HOLLY answers it immediately.She continues typing throughout the conversation and call.

HOLLY

Yes?

LAURIEíS VOICE

Sandra again.

HOLLY

Good heavens.Please put her through.

[The call comes through the phone, not the intercom.]

HOLLY

This is Holly Milano.[beat]Hi, Sandra.[beat]Iím sorry to hear that.[beat]You do?Butó[beat]Uh huh.Have you been to a doctor?[beat]The Internet.[beat]The thing is that the tap water coming into your office isnít any different than the water coming into all our offices.We just get it from the city.Itís the same stuff that goes to your house.[beat]Well, that would be something, but donít you think we would have seen it in the papers?[beat]Maybe you should get your doctorís opinion before calling them yourself.[beat]Reporters like evidence.[beat]Well, feel better soon, Sandra.Bye-bye.

HOLLY hangs up and types for a moment.MICHAEL checks his watch.

MICHAEL

You know, if you were one of my clients, Iíd be billing you at the regular rate.

HOLLY

If you were one of my clients, youíd know that working with me is a package deal.Thirty more seconds, and we can go.

MICHAEL

How about the Grille tonight?

HOLLY

Sure.Or the Brewery.

HOLLY stops typing, and the printer revs up.She starts shutting down her computer and gathering her things.

MICHAEL

Your dayís been that bad?

HOLLY

I like their chicken sandwich.A beer or two wouldnít hurt, either.Iím not pregnant yet, and even if I was...

MICHAEL

The authorities are now saying the occasional Guinness is fine.

She takes the contract from the printer, places it into a neat folder, and slides the folder into its spot in her briefcase.The intercom beeps again.

HOLLY

Iíll deal with it on the way out.Letís go.

 

Scene 2.Holly and Michaelís living room, late Friday evening.HOLLY types on a laptop.MICHAEL sits at his desk, pouring through legal documents.

MICHAEL

You want to rent a movie tonight?I need to put this case aside for a while.

HOLLY

Sure, give me half an hour.

MICHAEL

Iíd like to petition the court for some popcorn, too.The defense will establish an abject lack of salt and butter in this household.

HOLLY

I just need to finish this.[She returns to her computer.]

MICHAEL

If you trust me with the video selection, I can just go get it now and be back by the time youíve wrapped that up.

HOLLY

That would be sweet of you.No more war movies, please.

MICHAEL starts to put on his coat.

MICHAEL

Fine.What about spies?

HOLLY

So long as theyíre not war spies.Or Vin Diesel.

HOLLY

Hon, what do you think?For the Rosewood girls, can I jump straight into the chart, like I did for Women in Management?I feel like these girls need some sort of hook, a joke or something for openers.

MICHAEL

You should start off toughódemand their attention.

HOLLY

Nahó

MICHAEL

Ease up later if you want, but youíre volunteering for a reform school, not a social club.Youíre dealing with juvenile delinquents.

HOLLY

But theyíre still girls.

MICHAEL

Girls with crack habits and custody battles.

HOLLY (angry)

Funny.

MICHAEL

Oh, donít get mad.

At the risk of sounding like my father, kids are different these days.They really are.Donít take it personally if they donít show any gratitude, or attention even.That doesnít mean itís not great of you to give them your time.

HOLLY

Yeah, yeah.Go get the movie.No Grisham.

MICHAEL

Yes maíam.

MICHAEL exits.HOLLY rises from the sofa, pulls on a suit jacket and rehearses her speech.

HOLLY

You need to ask yourself: whatís holding you back?And donít put the blame on the usual suspects:your parents, your boyfriend, the cops, Ms. Beltram here.Each and every one of you is here because of things you did.And the thing inside you that landed you in here is going to keep screwing you up for the rest of your life unless you get it under control.

HOLLY (continued)

Who the hell am I to say this to you?Iím a Rosewood girl who got out.I got busted at 17, hauled in hereóI even told Ms. Beltram to fuck off during my entrance interview.[to ďCherylĒ in the imaginary audience]You too, Cheryl?Ms. Beltram still have a killer backhand?I deserved it.

You still have a choice.If you turn it around now, your Rosewood record goes away.You screw up again, and itís permanent.Weíre talking about a completely different set of lifestyle options once youíve got a record.

Take control now.Sit down.Figure out whatís wrong.Write a list of everything thatís keeping you from what you want in life.Next to each item, write down something that you can do about it.These are your first weekly goals.Chart it out.

HOLLY displays a paper with a grid on it.

It doesnít take some fancy leather-bound planner to get your life together.All you need is a notebook, a pen, and a ruler.Days of the week go across the top; goals go down the side, like this.Then at the end of each day you check off what you accomplished.You see what youíve done, and you see what you need to do.Keep your charts, and at the end of the month or the year you can see how far youíve come.Once you take control of yourself, you can become whoever you want.College degree, good job.You can walk out of here when you turn eighteen and no one ever has to know.

 

Scene 3.Hollyís office.LISA surfs the Internet, and HOLLY watches over her shoulder.

LISA

Sorry about this.We just need to order a My Beautiful Mermaid and weíre out of here.

HOLLY

You kidding?Iím not so fragileóbaby crazy, whateveróthat I canít hack Toys.com.

LISA

Yeah, ďfragileĒ isnít exactly a word that comes to mind for you.

HOLLY

Thanks.I think.

LISA

No, itís good.Being a wimp sucks.

HOLLY

Oh, and youíre a wimp?

LISA

Duh.

HOLLY

Hardly.

God, I donít even recognize most of these things.E-Z Bake ovens now make Shrinky-Dinks?When did that happen?

LISA

Donít look at me.Jordanís not old enough for that stuff yet.

HOLLY

Look at this:lingerie Barbie?Tell me thatís not a garter belt.

LISA

You canít even worry about that stuff until your kidís old enough to want it.Half of itíll be totally different by then anyhow.

HOLLY

But what if they only get worse by then?

LISA

Once youíve got one, youíll see that you donít have much time for what-ifs.Where is that mermaid?

HOLLY

Is that really a digital organizer for eight-year-olds?Do you think things were simpler when we were kids?Does asking that make me an old lady?

LISA

Maybe they just seemed simpler because we were kids.And, no, to be an old lady you have to say, ďBack in my day...Ē

HOLLY

Okay, good.Children seem so sophisticated now.

LISA

You were pretty complex when you were their age.

HOLLY

Back then there was always something to be done about that.

LISA

Here we go...Funk-N-Glow Sasha...Styliní Salon...Mermaid!

HOLLY

Lisa, whenís the last time you went to church?Not for a wedding or whatever, but for church.

LISA

Christmas Eve. That counts.Itís a full service.Blonde or brunette?

HOLLY

Did you think youíd go more once you had kids?I always thought I would, and honestly, I kind of miss Confession, but when I start to account for parenting time, I just donít see how getting the family to church could possibly fit into a week.

LISA

Tell me you havenít tried to chart out one of your weekly plans for after you have a baby.

HOLLY

How else would I know when I could go back to work?

LISA

You'll know.Everything goes out the window.Everything.

HOLLY

I know, everybody says that, and thatís fine.I just needed to know what would theoretically fit into a week.

LISA

I would say youíre nuts, but obviously it works for you.Do these parts look too small for Jordan, like that necklace?Think it could break apart?

HOLLY

Just swipe the necklace before giving it to her.My mom did that sort of stuff all the time.Took the guns from my Lone Ranger and Tonto and convinced me they became pacifists.Boy did I feel betrayed when I found them in the back of a closet.

LISA

Good idea.

HOLLY

We had to go through everything before we could sell the house, while Amy and Craig were still in town.Deciding what we wanted to keep, what Jackieís kids could use for their dorm rooms, what goes to the Salvation Army.When we found this shoebox way up by itself in the guest room closet, we thought we had something big all right, family heirlooms, or at least the will.Pop it open and the thing is full of tiny toy parts:the Lone Ranger guns, Barbie jewelry, a ton of Star Wars weapons, a bunch of little plastic pieces my sisters and I didnít even know what they came from.

LISA

I was just going to throw the necklace away.

HOLLY

I donít know why, but I was furious when I saw it.Not just disappointed that it wasnít anything important, but really mad.Why would she keep junk like that?

 

Scene 4.HOLLY sits in what should be a comfortable chair in a psychiatrist's office.

HOLLY

No disrespect, but I just donít see where this ďmaybeĒ stuff is going to do anything.And itís not like psychology deals in absolutes.Iím sure that for some people, this is their only chance to get things off their chest, and they need this, but Iíve got plenty of people I can talk to if I want to.And Iím notóI donít really need more.

So Dr. Fitzgerald thinks it could just be stress.Sounds like bullshit to me, but I hope sheís right.And itís not like I have any better suggestions.

HOLLY (continued)

Iím supposed to just talk, right?Well, it's going to have to be more than that.I need something I can do.You know, some exercises for stress.Managing it or whatever you call it these days.Like keeping the road rage down.I mean, sure, Iíd rather not freak out every time Iím in a traffic jam, but how do you not get mad when some jerk cuts you off?Before you write that down, you should know itís not like road rage, the headline kind:Iím not going to actually do anything.But I guess it could be doing something to me.

Letís just ignore the fact that what Dr. Fitzgerald is saying canít really be true.If worrying kept you from getting knocked up, then most of us wouldnít be here, would we?

The thing is that Iím not a calm person.I just donít really chill.Ever.ďPlenty of time to chill in the grave,Ē thatís what my mother used to say, in between carpool and running back to the office or wherever she went.Wait, thereís no way Mom would have said ďchill,Ē although I like the sound of ďchill in the grave,Ē with that pun thing going for it.Gotta be cold in there.

But she did get a lot done in the time she had.And itís not like she really had a choice.If she didn't do everything, nothing would have happened.

Scene 5.Hollyís living room.Vials and syringes are assembled on the coffee table.HOLLY tries not to watch as LISA injects the contents of a syringe into a plastic vial.

LISA

Now we inject this into the final vial and shake for sixty seconds.[She pulls out the syringe and starts shaking the vial.]Got that?

HOLLY

Uh huh.

LISA

So what did she say?

HOLLY

Waste of time.

LISA

She said that?

HOLLY

No, she said just about nothing.You pay someone by the freaking hour, you expect a little more than ďI think youíre opening up.See you next week.Ē

LISA

So you talked.

HOLLY

Yeah.Like an idiot.Iíd wait for her to say somethingóshrinks are supposed to, you know, give adviceóbut sheíd just stare at me so Iíd start talking again.Total bullshit.

LISA

So it didnít make you feel any better.

HOLLY

No.

LISA

Huh.

HOLLY

What?

LISA

No, nothing.I mean, youíd think that for a hundred bucks youíd feel something.

HOLLY

Who in the hell gets a degree butting into other peopleís business?Who figures theyíve got it so together they should start fixing other peopleís shit?Just wanting to be a shrink should disqualify you from being allowed to do it.

LISA

Maybe you have to go a few times before it kicks in.

HOLLY

Like smoking pot.

LISA

I guess.

LISA stops shaking the vial and injects a second syringe into it.

LISA

Now, we draw the fluid into the syringe.[She pulls the syringe from the vial and holds it needle-up.]Then turn it upside down, like this, and squeeze the air out.Easy, right, just like you're on E.R.Are you watching?

HOLLY

Itís just so...big.

LISA

This is nothing.You should see some of the syringes we use toó

HOLLY

Donít tell me!This is bad enough.

LISA

You have to pay attention here.This is important.Hold it upside down and push until a drop comes out.That way all the air is outósee?

HOLLY

Donít worry, I trust you.

LISA

You should know how to do this yourself.The timingís really important on Pergonal injections.If Michaelís late getting home one dayó

HOLLY

Then Iíll call you.

LISA

Butó

HOLLY

I just canít look at the needle right now, okay?

LISA

Okay.Weíll work on the self-injection later.

Alrighty, show me a little thigh.

LISA puts rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.HOLLY starts to give in, lifting her leg to a chair and pulling her skirt up.

HOLLY

I hate this.Okay.Waitó [She drops the skirt and steps back.]Maybe it's just not meant to be, you know?Or maybe they make this stuff in pill form, but my doctor just didn't know about it.

LISA

Nope.

HOLLY

But why does it have to be a shot?

LISA

Your stomach acid screws up the drugs.Leg.

HOLLY doesn't budge.

LISA

You know, a little pinprick is nothing compared to the stuff youíll deal with once youíre a mom.

HOLLY

This is a legitimate phobia.

LISA

Did the psychiatrist tell you that?

HOLLY

Iím seeing her for stress.

LISA

Right.And she had nothing helpful to say?

HOLLY

She wants me to do visualization exercise thingies.

LISA

You know, I found this ancient fertility ritualó

HOLLY

Youíre not going to catch me performing some Moon Goddess aromatherapy...

LISA

Wait, hear me out.It was in Grummondís Encyclopedia of Infertility, which is one of the best resources out there.And if it worked for people centuries ago, why not for you?

HOLLY

Because it didnít work centuries ago.People were just gullible back then.

LISA

You need a way to tell your body itís time to get going.

HOLLY

Shouldnít these drugs do that?

LISA

Exactly.This whole procedure is half ritual anyhow.What can it hurt to add a spiritual element to it?

HOLLY

Itís idiotic.

LISA

You just repeat a couple of lines to focus your energy.There are all sorts of studies that show that positive visualization helps with just about every condition.

HOLLY

And youíve seen these studies?In a journal or something?

LISA

Iíve never seen one that proved that visualization didnít work.

HOLLY

I just say a couple of lines?Thatís it?

LISA

And then you jump over a broomstick.

HOLLY

Oh, sure, and then I fly off to a cave somewhere.

LISA

You donít ride it.You jump it.

HOLLY

No way.

LISA

Itís symbolic.And it gives you a focus point for actualization.Get those follicles humming.

HOLLY

Thatís exactly the sort of shit I donít wantóI am not talking about, or to, any of my body parts in any sort of cutesy anything.

LISA

No oneís asking you to.But the bottom line, Holly, is that the more visualization you do, the less of these [she holds up the syringe] youíre going to need.

HOLLY

What, am I going to have to take off my clothes and dance around the kitchen?

 

Scene 6.HOLLY and MICHAEL in their living room.

HOLLY

I donít know, arenít plastic cups inherently tacky?

MICHAEL

Itís a barbecue.

HOLLY

But it still has to be nice.We want to raise as much money as we can.We go too high-end and thereís not enough profit to give to the school, but if we go too low-end, nobody will come back next year, and we screw the girls that way.

MICHAEL

I think plastic cups will be fine.

HOLLY

For everything?

MICHAEL

Sure.Think of it as a tribute to your Southern Comfort days.

HOLLY

What do you mean?

MICHAEL

Iím sure even a classy lady like you drank the cheap stuff in college.

HOLLY

What are you getting at?

MICHAEL

My freshman year we all believedówithout just causeóthat it was illegal for RAs to check the contents of a plastic cup for alcohol.And since half the point of being a freshman is drinking, everybody had the same plastic cups at every party.Before you got someone to buy the liquor for you, you made sure you had the red cups to hold it.

HOLLY

So tacky plastic cups will be a trip down memory lane.

MICHAEL

Or at least fitting for a reform school fundraiser.Iíd wager the Rosewood girls know more than me about hard liquor.

HOLLY

Now thereís hypocrisy for you.

MICHAEL

Oh, please.

HOLLY

Less than fifteen seconds to go from bragging about your underage drinking to sneering at someone elseís.

MICHAEL

Itís completely different, and you know it.

HOLLY

Because you were a boy?

MICHAEL

Because I was eighteen, old enough to be drafted.Because the alcohol was purchased, not shoplifted, with money I earned at a job, a real job.Because it stopped with drinking and didnít progress to narcotics.And most importantly, because drinking was never an excuse for doing God knows what else with my ďgangstaĒ friends.

HOLLY

You have no ideaó

MICHAEL

You have no idea how it is with most kids like that these days.Look, I know your heart is in the right place, but let me tell you.Case after case, you think maybe this time the kidís been set up or given a harsh deal or something.So you meet with them in the hopes that they can give you something to work with, and all they have to say for themselves is, ďI was wasted.Ē

Still, itís your job to defend them, to keep them out of places like Rosewood.ďIím sorry, your Honor, but my client was high and therefore not accountable for her actions.Please donít send her somewhere where sheíll have to detox and think about what sheís done.Ē

HOLLY

You have no idea what itís like for them.Did you ever fall out with your family, try to make it on your own?Those girls need help, not your judgment.

MICHAEL

Judgment is the only thing that will get them help.

HOLLY

Do you have any idea how condescending youíre being right now?

MICHAEL

What is it with Rosewood all of a sudden, anyhow?Did something happen last week?

HOLLY

No.You know, itís not just kids from the inner city that end up in trouble.

MICHAEL

Come here.[He puts his arms around her.]Donít worry.No daughter of ours will end up in the custody of the state.And that goes double if we have a son.

 

Scene: 7.Hollyís living room.Again, LISA injects the contents of a syringe into a plastic vial.This time, HOLLY takes extensive notes.

HOLLY

Shake for sixty seconds.

LISA

Wanna try it?

HOLLY

Iím writing.

LISA

Okay.

HOLLY

Any particular kind of shaking?Circular?Side-to-side?

LISA

Nah, you just shake.

HOLLY

Got it.So, Iíve been reading as much as I can, but thereís nothing useful out there.

LISA

There can be so many reasons for fertility issues, itís so individual.Most people, even if theyíve had children, never know exactly why it didnít happen for a while there.

HOLLY

But they have to know, scientifically, about some things.Like there must be injuries or conditions that ruin your odds of conceiving.

LISA

Physical barrier type stuff, sure.

HOLLY

Or what about chemicals?Can taking certain drugs, maybe in your formative years...

LISA

Are you worried about that?

HOLLY

Canít that junk warp your eggs or something?

LISA

Why, what did you take?I mean, probably not, no matter what it was.Drugs can do crazy things to a fetus, but plenty of addicts have babies, even while theyíre using.

HOLLY

But isnít there a chance you could mess up something in there, something that doesnít show up?

LISA

Not much of one.

HOLLY

And I was never an addict.I was just a little rebellious, thatís all.

LISA

Itís not something you should worry about.It usually takes years of substance abuse to start damaging organs.A little phase when you were 16 probably isnít going to do anything.

Now, youíre going to do this next part.Cotton swab.Rubbing alcohol.Clean off a couple of square inches.

HOLLY finishes writing this down, and reaches for the rubbing alcohol.

HOLLY

It was just a phase.

LISA

Yeah, when you got back from that winter at your auntís, you were a different person.

HOLLY (rubbing alcohol on her leg)

I just needed some time away from my family, is all.

Okay, hit me.

LISA brings the syringe to HOLLYís leg.As LISA injects, HOLLY is clearly nauseated at the sight of it, but doesnít look away except to write notes.

LISA

Needle goes into the leg, like this.And squeeze it slowly in.You okay?

HOLLY

Yeah.Howóhow deep was that?

LISA

Inch and a half.You have to hit the muscle.

HOLLY writes this down.

LISA

Holly, you didnít, I mean, at your auntís, you werenít there to have a baby, were you?

HOLLY (relieved)

Oh, no, nothing like that.Can you imagine how freaked out Iíd be now if that was the case?Iím a bundle of nerves as it is...I seriously just needed a break, and Mom needed a break from me.You know how kids are, needing to rebel somehow.Mom was such an overachiever, so I was a burnout.Like I was having fun for the both of us.

While I was gone I figured out how to get my act together.The girls in that schoolówhere my aunt livedówere all such screw-ups, destined for pathetic loser lives.I knew I didnít want to be like that, but I was just like them.So I changed.

LISA

Maybe I need to take lessons from you.

 

Scene 8.HOLLY, in her office, speaks on the phone.

HOLLY

I donít understand how this happened.You come out every month to preventó [beat]So there were no signs two weeks ago?[beat]I find that hard to believe.The first and second floors are overrun.You think they found the building and set up shop sometime last week?Someone propped a door open for too long and a rat parade just marched in?[beat]Uh huh.Well, how soon can you get here?[beat]Okay.Weíll talk then.

She hangs up and dials.

HOLLY

Bill?Holly Milano.The exterminators are on their way.[beat]Why donít we set you up in suite 760 until this is cleared up?Iíll have Harry help you move whatever you need for the next few days up there.[beat]They should have an estimate by the end of the day, but Iíll let you know as soon as I do.They have to check for problems on the other floors. [Another beat, and HOLLY slides the newspaper to within viewing range as she talks.]No, of course weíll get yours done as quickly as possible, but they have to have a look before they can give me a date.No sense in chasing the things up and down the stairs.[beat, still skimming the paper]The seventh floor is fine, as far asó[She sees something alarming in the paper.]Oh, good Lord.No, sorry, I, uh, just remembered another appointment.Iíll send those keys up with Harry, okay?Bye.

She hangs up and reads the newspaper article.

HOLLY

Jesus.

She dials the phone.

HOLLY

Mike.Itís me.Iíve just had a shock.The Dispatch, it says that Ms. Beltram, the head counselor at Rosewood, she was killed last night.One of the girls was trying to run away with her boyfriend andóitís too awful.[beat]Well, she just seemed like such a nice woman.I mean, she was tough, but she wasóshe must have been like a second mother to so many of those girls.She was just soóHow could someone...Jesus.[beat]No, no, Iím okay.I just kind of flipped when I read it, thatís all.Mike, she was a really great lady.[beat]Yeah, maybe I will do that.Itís a good idea.[beat]Yeah.Well, Iíll let you get back to work.It just kind of flipped me out, thatís all.[beat]Okay.I love you, too.

HOLLY hangs up and her intercom rings.

HOLLY

Yeah, Laurie?

LAURIEíS VOICE

Sorry, I know youíre swamped with the you-know-whats, but Pete from Wheelerís just called to say your carís ready and you can pick it up anytime before 5:30 tonight.

HOLLY

Thanks.Laurie, could you call Rosewood school and find out if they have any information on a funeral or memorial service for Ms. BeltramóB-E-L-T-R-A-Mótheir head counselor?

LAURIEíS VOICE

Rosewood, the girlsí, um, school?

HOLLY

Yes.Iíve been doing some volunteer work there.

LAURIEíS VOICE

No problem.Iíll let you know what I find out.Also, Sandra heard about the rats.I think I calmed her down, but you never know.

HOLLY

Thanks, Laurie.Keep me posted.

HOLLY disconnects the intercom and puts her head down on her desk.After a moment, the intercom beeps again.

LAURIEíS VOICE

I have a Dr. Thompson on the line for you.

HOLLY

Okay, thanks.

HOLLY takes the call.

HOLLY

Dr. Thompson.Weíre still on for tomorrow afternoon?[beat]Oh, I see.[beat]No, thatís fine.Iíll just work on the visualization in the meantime.[beat]No, really, nothing majorís happening here.Same old, same old.[beat]Okay.In two weeks, then.

 

Scene 9.HOLLY and MICHAEL in their living room.MICHAEL sorts papers at his desk, and HOLLY pushes the Pergonal kit around the dining table with her finger.MICHAEL gets up from his desk and joins HOLLY at the table.

MICHAEL

Itís Dr. Kildare time.

HOLLY hands him several pages of handwritten notes, stapled together.

HOLLY

These are the instructions.

MICHAEL (flipping through the pages)

So itís an easy procedure.

HOLLY

I was very thorough with the notes.Didnít want to miss anything.

MICHAEL skims the notes through the next lines.

MICHAEL

Okay, looks like this boils down to mixing and injecting.

HOLLY

I can help with the mixing part.Now that Iíve seen it a few times.

MICHAEL

But Iím on my own with the injection.

HOLLY

Well, obviously Iíll still be here, but...Iíll just try not to interfere.

MICHAEL

Iím going to need a little clarification on ďinterfere.Ē

HOLLY

Lisa pretty much had to chase me around the room the first time.

MICHAEL

Great.

HOLLY

I think Iím past that now.Just donít freak me out with the needle.

MICHAEL

Okay.First off, we open the kit.[He opens the box and tries to sort through the vials and syringes inside.]I see why you took all those notes.Okay, this must be the dilution stuff, and the powder...What does all this cost, anyhow?

HOLLY (defensive)

A hundred and thirty-five.Itís about $1500 a cycle.We talked about this before, and you were okay with itó

MICHAEL

Whoa!I wasnít saying that the moneyís a problem.

HOLLY

But itís not just $1500.God knows how many times we might have to do this.

MICHAEL

Weíre fine.I was just asking out of curiosity.So many parts, a very intricate drug, little widgets have to cost something.Itís okay, though.Okay?

HOLLY

Okay.

MICHAEL

Now, why donít you break open the vial and clean the top with an alcohol swab while I set up the syringe.Okay, whereís the mixing needle?

HOLLY (pointing to it)

That one.

MICHAEL

And that other long one is for the...

HOLLY

Yep.

MICHAEL

No wonder you hate this.Iíd be a little edgy, too.But itís all okay.Okay, dilutionó

HOLLY

Diluent.Itís called diluent.

MICHAEL

Is there a difference?

HOLLY

No idea.Thatís just the term.Sorry.

MICHAEL

Okay, one milliliter of diluent.Into the powder.And shake for sixty seconds.ďSide-to-side, circular, or up-and-down; it doesnít matter.ĒGood notes.

HOLLY

I tried.Iíll clean off the injection site.Iím becoming a pro with the rubbing alcohol.

MICHAEL

Now thatís a Mom skill if I ever saw one.Except in my momís case it would have to be iodine.

HOLLY

Nasty stuff!Shannon Stewartís mom left no cut untreated.You didnít even have to be her kid.And that woman could smell blood from the other end of the block.

MICHAEL

Okay, now I switch the needles.

HOLLY

You sure that was sixty seconds?

MICHAEL

You want me to shake it some more?

HOLLY

Did you time it or not?This has to be precise.

MICHAEL

Iíll do another 20 seconds, just to be sure, okay?

Silence, as MICHAEL shakes the vial more, staring at his watch.After twenty seconds, he draws the solution into the syringe and switches needles.Following the directions, he taps the syringe

MICHAEL

You all swabbed?

HOLLY

Yeah.

MICHAEL brings the syringe to her thigh, but balks at sticking her with it.

MICHAEL

I donít know if I can do this, break the skin.

HOLLY

Oh, God.

MICHAEL

Iíve never been squeamish about this sort of thing, but youíreóI donít want to hurt you.

HOLLY

It wonít hurt.Okay, thatís a lie, but itíll be okay.

MICHAEL

Okay.I can do this.

He closes in on her thigh again, but slowly backs off.

MICHAEL

Maybe this just wasnít meant to be.

HOLLY

Youíre having second thoughts?

MICHAEL

No, no.Itís just the needle.

HOLLY

Oh, really?

MICHAEL sets the syringe down and steps back.

MICHAEL

I am a little unclear on what having a baby will mean to my lifeóand no, I'm not talking about the joy and the love and all of thatóbut frankly I imagine that mainly it'll be your day-to-day, hour-to-hour life that's different.

HOLLY

Because this will be your child, too.

MICHAEL

And I want to do as much as I can.I know that.But given that youíre the one planning to take a couple of years off work...For example, I don't see how my nine o'clock nights at the firm change with two people waiting at home instead of just one.I donít know what it means to have part of your life change dramatically while another part stays the same.Can you have a partly new life?

HOLLY

Do you even want this?

MICHAEL

Sure I do.I've always wanted to have kids.Iím just waxing philosophical.

HOLLY

Uh huh.

MICHAEL

I just donít feel the particular pressure that you do now.

HOLLY

No particular pressure except for me.

MICHAEL

Well, yeah.

HOLLY

Because, biologically speaking, you could always go out and spawn with Philís receptionist.

MICHAEL

Because we could always consider other options, donor eggs or whatever they do.But there's no need to panic.For either of us to panic.Itís going to be okay.

Assuming I can get it together to jab you with this needle.Not jab.Administer the injection.

HOLLY

Just fucking do it, Michael.

MICHAEL

Youíre sure you canít do it yourself?I think I could stick myself.

HOLLY

Yes, Iím sure.Iíve never been able to handle needles.Not when I was a kid, and sure as hell not now.You ever seen an injection site gone bad, youíll know why I canít take this shit.

MICHAEL

A kid?

HOLLY

Teenager, whatever.

MICHAEL

You mean, like getting vaccinated?

HOLLY

Sure.I always had to look away at the doctorís office.Couldnít think about it.

MICHAEL

A doctor can mess these up, and Iím supposed to do it?

HOLLY

Totally different.My friend, Janet, with the infected arm, sheíd had lots of injections.Weíve cleaned everything properly, and I donít think sheíd done that.No, Iím sure she hadnít.She was just a kid.

MICHAEL

She was injecting herself?

HOLLY

She didnít know what she was doing.

MICHAEL

She had to give herself insulin or something.

HOLLY

No, Michael.She did not.

MICHAEL

A friend of yours.

HOLLY

My only friend.

MICHAEL

Must have been scary for you, having a friend like that.

HOLLY

Michael, I canít even tell you.

MICHAEL steps back and sets the syringe on the table.

MICHAEL

Obviously not.

HOLLY

No.

MICHAEL

I mean, I never thought you were the type to associateó

HOLLY

ďAssociate.ĒMichael.

MICHAEL

Jesus.I donít believe this.I mean, I knew you were kind of a tough girl butó

Have you even beenótested?

HOLLY

Of course.What the hellóI knew you wouldnít understand.

MICHAEL

Well, youíre right on that one. Generally, the marriage contract is entered with both parties acting in good faith.

HOLLY

Oh, great, the lawyer bullshit.Look, I havenít lied to you.

MICHAEL

What else arenít you telling me?Do you have a record?

HOLLY

Christ.

MICHAEL

I canít have thisóI should not have to cross-examine my own wife.

HOLLY

Go ahead, lump me in with your pro-bono loser clients.You already know so fucking much, why would you have to hear my side?

MICHAEL

Okay, what?Iím listening.Tell me.

HOLLY

Fuck you.

HOLLY grabs the syringe and injects herself.MICHAEL storms out.

 

Scene 10.HOLLY speaks to the Rosewood girls.

HOLLY

I didnít think Iíd be addressing you under these circumstances.Mrs. Beltram was an amazing woman, solid.So many people are going to miss her.But she was devoted to Rosewood and she thought I could let you girls in on a few secrets of successóshe just wanted her girls to be successfulóso here goes.

You need to ask yourself:whatís holding you back?And donít put the blame on the usual suspects:your parents, your boyfriend, the copsóUhóEach and every one of you is here because of things you did.

She puts her notes aside.

HOLLY (continued)

But you sit there and blame everyone but yourself."My home life is hard.""My friends made me do it."Landing in Rosewood should have been a wakeup call, but you didn't hear it.You flatter yourself thinking you can escape real punishment; otherwise you wouldn't be sitting there smirking at me.But this bullshitórestricted visiting hours, those ugly uniforms, lights out at 9:30óis nothing compared to the hell that you're in for when you go back to your junkie "gangsta" friends and fuck up as a legal adult.

So maybe you think the other girls here are heading for that, but not you.You think you can change.When youíre ready, youíre going to get it together.Maybe you can.

But do you have any idea what the odds are against you?Most everybody in this roomís got nothing but addiction and jail in her future.Maybe one of you might get out.Do you have any chance at being that lucky one?

Yeah, maybe.The thing is, people with all kinds of shit you donít have still fuck up big time.And who are you?Face it:youíre pathetic.Youíre lazy.Sloppy.Trash.You canít escape who you are, so donít even try.

HOLLY hesitates.Blackout.

END OF PLAY