Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The 13th Step ~ a short comedy

Ron:     25-35 Gay male, “Leading Man” type.
Eliot:     25-35 Gay male, “Best Friend” type.
Other characters imagined by the actors.

Present day. Shopping mall, outside the Sharper Image store, across from JC Penneys.

Imagined by the actors.

Imagined by the actors.

(Walking in the mall together, Eliot abruptly stops them both)

Eliot:   I spy with my little eye…

Ron:    Is it a guy?

Eliot:   Yes.

Ron:    Is it a hot guy?

Eliot:   Yes.

Ron:    Where?

Eliot:   Behind us, over your left shoulder. Jeans.

Ron:    (looks) Eliot, you sure like ‘em tall and lean.

Eliot:   (inspecting Ron, who is also tall and lean) Well I do have my type. Damn! I can’t believe I’m at a shopping mall. It’s been, like, since Junior High? I didn’t even know they still had Sharper Image. I thought they all went the way of Blockbuster Video and Orange Julius. (Flirting with a passing shopper) Hi, I like your sunglasses… (ignored) Guess he can’t see me…sunglasses.

Ron:    I’m considering the purchase of some high-tech surveillance equipment.

Eliot:   (freezes) Uh. Muh. Gawd! Ronald Lewis Livingston,  what are you up to?  You know I will call your mother!

Ron:    I just want to check out some cutting-edge spy gadgetry. See if Sharper Image has those video cameras, the tiny ones they hide inside the TV set to catch baby-slapping nannies. And bugs. Just what are bugs, anyway? Are bugs for real? They must sell wireless bugs by now. Come on, let’s go inside.

Eliot:   Hold on a sec. Are you serious with this Spy versus Spy stuff?

Ron:    Yeah kinda. (goes inside, greeted by a sales boy) Thank you, yes I do need assistance. Let's say I was interested in wearing a wire, like under my clothes, to record conversations, does Sharper Image sell that sort of thing?

Eliot:   (To sales boy, who is rather cute, as it happens) Hi! Eliot. Excuse us, please. We’ll be right back. Bye-bye. (pulls Ron aside) Ok start talking. What in the Hail No is going on?

Ron:    I’m researching a part for a play.

Eliot:   Ron, we’ve spoken about this. What did I tell you about committing emotionally to your performances? That was totally unconvincing. Really! What are you really up to?

Ron:    (long beat) I think James is cheating on me.

Eliot:   Shut up your mouth.

Ron:    Really. With his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.

Eliot:   Ut oh. The old 13th Step.

Ron:    The what?

Eliot:   You know. In the 12 Step Program, there’s an un-official 13th Step. It’s when you sleep with your sponsor.

Ron:    ‘Zactly. James is 13 steppin-out on me. I’m sure of it.

Eliot:   What?! Ron, you just said you think. Now you know for sure?

Ron:    No, ok. I don’t know for sure. But I think he’s cheating on me. I suspect it. That’s why I’m wanting to shop for surveillance equipment. (to the sales boy) Uh, excuse me. Hi again. Sorry for the interruption. So what I was asking, about wearing a wire? Oh you don’t sell that. Too bad. Ok, mind if we just browse for a bit? Which aisle has high-tech spy gear? Thanks.

Eliot:   (to the sales boy) If we need any more of your generous assistance, I’ll be sure to flag you down personally. Eliot. Bye-bye. (catching up to Ron in the spy gear aisle) What makes you think James is 13th steppin?

Ron:    (browsing the gadgetry) For example, after his NA meeting, James always has to “have coffee” with his Sponsor. Used to be, for just an hour or so. Now “coffee” lasts up to six hours!  Please tell me, Eliot, what in the Hail No do a couple recovering coke heads talk about for six hours!

Eliot:   Maybe they talk about you. Oh look! A tiny spy camera hidden inside a rhinestone tiara. Nobody ever suspects a tiara. (Touches the glass of the display case) Oh I can think of so many times that would be useful. *gasp* Imagine the porn!

Ron:    For SIX HOURS! James and I don’t even talk that much.

Eliot:   Well, that’s saying something right there. (beat) Look, a sponsor is supposed to be someone you can talk to, open up to, share your darkest secrets with. So is a boyfriend. But if James is not getting that kind of intimacy at home, I can see why he might be tempted reach out to someone else.

Ron:    (too loudly) Right, they’re fucking!

Eliot:   Shut up your mouth! I never said that. I meant, reach out for intimacy. Not for sex.

Ron:    And what’s the diff?

Eliot:   Oh my dear, dear Ron. Where do I even begin?

Ron:    And so later, when James finally does come over my place, after his meeting, after his 6-hour tete-ta-tete with his sponsor, it’s late at night but James says he’s too amp’d up to come to bed, from all that emotional talk he says. He just paces around my living room, talking a mile a minute, then splits. On his way out he apologizes, saying he’s too amp’d up emotionally for sex. With me! I am an all-you-can-eat, 24-hour, sex buffet.

Eliot:   Yes, I remember that about you. But I also remember that you’re not big on talking about emotion, sharing feelings, listening. I mean, sure, on the stage “somewhat,” but not in the living room.

Ron:    The curse of the actor. A brash and bold exterior, hiding a sensitive, tender, hungry soul within. You wouldn't understand. You’re not an actor.

Eliot:   I guess. But you’re sure not big with the touchy-feely. So before you get all amp'd up on jealousy and suspicion, before you run off, concocting this elaborate, hair brain scheme to spy on your own boyfriend—which, by the way, is a bad, bad idea—check your own self. Are you sure James has no reason to look for intimacy elsewhere?
Ron:    Intimacy, intimacy! Fully commit! God, like you know what it’s like in my relationship!

Eliot:   I do remember what it was like in our relationship.

Ron:    (beat) Ok! I won’t spy on my boyfriend. Anymore.

Eliot:   Ronald Lewis Livingston! What did you do? Did you hack his emails? Check his browser history? Read his text messages? Incoming and outgoing call record? I swear I will call your mother.

Ron:    No! I did not. Although, those are all very good ideas. I checked out his Facebook friends, to investigate who his sponsor is.

Eliot:   Sponsor identity is supposed to be anonymous. And for the record, that is called Facebook stalking.

Ron:    All from the comfort of my own laptop! Turns out, James only has about 40 Facebook friends, so it was easy to narrow it down to one suspect. I’m pretty sure the sponsor’s a Gay guy, because James goes to the LGBT NA meetings. A couple times, he’s mentioned his sponsor’s name, like when they’re talking on the phone.

Eliot:   Were you eavesdropping?

Ron:    But only his first name. Chass. Not Chaz, like a proper coke head. No. Chasssss. James had two Facebook friends named Charles. I looked them both up. On the Profile page for the second Charles, he had “liked” the Narcotics Anonymous page and Marriage Equality. He “liked” Broadway actress Megan Mullaly and the original cast recording of “Rent”. Gay guy, screaming ‘mo, right? And the books in his Good Reads include “The Power of Now,” “Codependent No More,” and a bunch of titles by that white lady who’s also a Buddhist nun, Pema something unpronounceable.

Eliot:   Wow. Have you considered reading those books yourself?

Ron:    That’s got to be the guy! In his Profile picture, he looks older than us. Like 40, but not a troll. Handsome, in that weathered, tired-around-the-eyes kind of handsome.

Eliot:   Honey, if James was 13th steppin-out on you, I am sure it would not be for a handsome face. It would be, more like, emotional intimacy he was after.

Ron:    Yeah, but a handsome face helps.

Eliot:   Yes. Yes, it does. And let the record show, your face is off-the-charts handsome. Shut up your mouth! I am just saying, I doubt James would be turned around by just another handsome face. He’d be searching for something he doesn’t already get at home.

Ron:    Either way, it doesn’t matter! I don’t want some other guy being emotionally intimate with my boyfriend. That’s worse than fucking. No, it’s not. But still. (Flagging down the sales boy) Excuse me again. Hi. Does Sharper Image sell, like, a wireless, hidden microphone? Something small? ‘Zactly! A wireless bug! Awesome. (Follows the sales boy)

Eliot:   (Touches the display case containing the tiara) I will possess you. (Rushes to catch up to Ron) This guy Chass, or Chaz or whatever, is James’ NA sponsor. They are supposed to have an intimate relationship, by definition.

Ron:    But this is more than NA intimate. This is SIX HOURS intimate. This is 13th Step kind of intimate.

Eliot:   Well, what about us two? Aren’t we 13th Steppin?

Ron:    What?! (to the sales boy) Thank you for your assistance. We’ll let you know if we need more help. (to Eliot) What the Hail No are you talking about?

Eliot:   (to the sales boy) Bye-bye. (To Ron) Intimacy. All this time, I’ve been talking about this kind of intimacy, between you and me. We’ve known each other so long, shared all our darkest secrets, our fears, our escapades. I know everything about your sex life, in lurid, graphic detail—thank you very much. I know all about your anxious childhood and your rage-aholic dad. But James might ask, are you cheating on him with me?

Ron:    Well that’s just ridiculous! You’re not my…I mean, we were once…when we were…

Eliot:   Don’t strain yourself, Honey. I’m not threatening to rekindle our sputtering old flame. But you have to admit, we are pretty intimate. We’re old friends, good friends, best friends, sisters, but more. It’s like sometimes I’m your parent. And I’m your partner in crime. And I’m your go-to guy when you’re disappointed, or upset, or FREAKING OUT. Is that what you fear is happening between James and his sponsor?

Ron:    Yes.

Eliot:   Then be the go-to guy for James. Fully commit, emotionally. Talk to him. When he says he’s too amped up for sex, then ask him how he feels. You don’t have to eavesdrop. Just listen.

Ron:    It’s funny, getting relationship advice from an ex-boyfriend! (Offended, exits the store)

Eliot:   Well, who would know better?


Ron:    (Attempting to leave the mall in a huff, but keeps bumping into other shoppers.) Pardon me, Ma’am. Oh, I am so sorry. No Sir, my bad, really... (and so on, until he spots James in the mall, in the JC Penneys across the hallway. Clumsily attempting to hide, a few times, Ron rushes back into Sharper Image.)

Eliot:   (Decides to stay in Sharper Image. Taps the sales boy’s shoulder) So hey there. Hi again. I didn’t get your name? Tucker! Hi, Tucker. Eliot. Thanks for all your help, Tucker. Yeah….Tucker. any chance you’re into Downton Abbey? I know right!? Uh Muh Gawd!

Ron:    (to sales boy) I’m sorry, what’s your name?

Eliot:   Tucker!

Ron:    Please excuse us. I just need to borrow my friend a moment, won’t be a tick, hold that thought. (drags Eliot aside) I just saw James! Here, in the mall. James! Shopping across the hallway in the JC Penneys.

Eliot:   Oh I hope he’s not buying a gift for you. Just saying. JC Penneys…

Ron:    You can see him right through the open doorway. No don’t stare! Lean and look. (in unison, they affect a casual lean and look) Lean and look…

Eliot:   I don’t see him.

Ron:    Fine. Just don’t face the Penneys head on. I don’t want us to be recognized. Let’s uhhh…let’s look at the neck massagers.

(They move downstage, to the neck massagers aisle, out of sight of the open doorway)

Eliot:   Righhhhht…they’re for massaging…your neck! Well, was James with anyone? Chass? Someone else?

Ron:    I don’t know. Looked like he was alone. But the other guy could’ve been in the john, snorting a line of blow off of some strange guy’s rock hard cock.

Eliot:   Gentle now…

Ron:    What the Hail No is James doing at the mall? At JC Penneys? He’s supposed to be “having 6 hour coffee” with his Sponsor. That’s why I wanted to come shopping now, cuz I knew he’d be “having 6 hour coffee” with his…

Eliot:   We get it already. So quit stalling. Go over and talk to him. Ask him why he’s here. Especially if he’s alone.

Ron:    Don’t be perverse! How am I supposed to explain us being in the mall too?

Eliot:   Maybe with the truth, for starters.

Ron:    Ok. I’m shopping Sharper Image for surveillance gadgetry so I can high-tech spy on my possibly 13th Steppin’ boyfriend?

Eliot:   Ok, maybe not. You are buying him a surprise gift, a happy sobriety gift, but you can’t tell him what it is.

Ron:    Oh that is good. You’re devious good.

Eliot:   Wonder why we’re such good friends? (kisses Ron on cheek) Go get him, Tigger.


Ron crosses stage to talk to James. Eliot taps Tucker’s shoulder.)

Ron:    Hey, James! Well what in the world are you… (They hug. Then it’s awkward.) Thought you were at your NA meeting tonight. Why not? For how long? Does Chass know? Yeah, Chass, your Sponsor. Oh really?! (Grabs James’ arm and drags him upstage to a more private part of the store. His back to the audience, we can still overhear Ron.) For how long? (Listens to a sorry explanation from James.) What about your kid? What about your job? And what about us? Yeah, you and me! Us! (More bewildering explanation.) Then why all the sneaking around and secrecy? I thought we agreed to build our relationship on trust. Well, you’re damn right I don’t approve. I don’t want any part of that in my life. You have to choose. (James storms off, downstage, Ron in pursuit.) James! James wait! James! (Watches James retreat.)

Eliot:   Tucker, hey! So, my friend changed his mind about the surveillance gadgetry. He’s just gonna ..uh… Why did he want surveillance stuff? Oh, well actually… Ha! That is exactly right, Tucker! Jealousy and suspicion. You get a lot of that at the Sharper Image? Oh really? Jealousy and suspicion keep Sharper Image in business! Well, go-go-go jealous lovers! Cuz if you decide to start hanging out with me, Mister Tucker, you are gonna need that steady income. (Leads sales boy to downstage corner, opposite to where Ron and James are moving.) Let’s talk over by the..uh..neck massagers. You know, Missy Eliot likes a man who can afford to treat me right. A man who would lay a crown on my brow, say, a rhinestone tiara. Oh yes! Missy Eliot deserves to be maintained in the high lifestyle to which I someday hope to become accustomed. (Through the open doorway, hears Ron shouting after James) Cuz love may not cost you nothin’, but it sure ain’t free. Sorry. (Leaves Tucker to attend to his best friend)

Ron:    He’s using! James is fucking using again. He’s not 13th steppin’ me. He’s not any steppin’ anybody. He’s using fucking drugs, right now, all amp’d out of his gourd on coke and I don’t know what all, crystal meth.

Eliot:   What?!

Ron:    James has not been going to NA meetings for the past month, not since he started using again. He’s not meeting his Sponsor for 6 hour coffee. They’re never meeting at all anymore. James ignores his phone calls.

Eliot:   That’s crazy! So what was James doing at the Mall?

Ron:    I’m too ashamed to say. I think James was here…to shoplift. To support his fucking addiction. At fucking JC fucking Penneys! I’m not sure which makes me more ashamed. That he’s using, lying, shoplifting!

Eliot:   Or where he’s shoplifting from! I mean, no, definitely the other stuff. And let the record show, there is nothing at all for you to be ashamed about. James is the one who’s using, lying, shoplifting, not you. You are the trusting boyfriend, bewildered about the state of your relationship, and trying to fix things. Your methods might be a tad CRAY-CRAY, but James is the one literally blowing it all away.

Ron:    Go ahead, Eliot. Tell me you told me so.

Eliot:   Well I would gladly, if I had. When have I ever told you so?

(They share a tense beat)

Ron:    Just seems like the sort of thing that gets said right about now, in these situations. The sort of thing a best friend says.

Eliot:   I don’t think so. Right about now, in these situations, a best friend says, Fuck That Guy! Coke head! Totally don’t deserve you. You can do way better. I Hate Herrrrr! Ass maroon!

Ron:    Ass maroon? What the fuck is ass maroon? Is that even a thing?

Eliot:   I don’t know. But now I see this image of a movie poster, James and the Giant Coke Snorting Ass Maroon.

(Ron laughs. Ron cries. They hug through end of play.)

Ron:    Hey, that Sharper Image sales boy…

Eliot:   Tucker?

Ron:    Seriously, Tucker? Ohhhhhh-kay. Well, Tucker is spying on us.

Eliot:   Of course he is.

Ron:    He’s standing over by the spy gadgetry aisle. His back is toward us, but he’s holding up that rhinestone tiara like he’s inspecting it for damage. The rhinestones are sparkling right in our direction.

Eliot:   Oh the bitter irony!

Ron:    Tucker is totally spying on us hugging. He probably thinks we’re lovers.

Eliot:   *sigh* So what else is new?

* END *

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Heroes ~ a short comedy

Ron:    25-35 Gay male, "Leading Man" type
Eliot:   25-35 Gay male, "Best Friend" type
Hero:   off-stage baby girl voice

Location:    Ron’s living room. Tuesday evening.

couch (or 3 chairs side-by-side)
coffee table
side table with drawer

deck of playing cards
wadded up “used” disposable diaper
cell phone
Mardi Gras cup of “Vermouth”
baby vomit (1 cup of thin flour and water solution)


Eliot:   What?! ! You mean, you lured me down to your hell hole apartment under false pretenses? Ron, you distinctly said the only three D-words that can get my heart racing on a Tuesday evening: drinks, dish, and Downton Abbey. Well ok, there's a possible fourth D-word. But you did not say the B-word...(reaching for it)...babysit!

Ron:    But I promised James I would watch baby princess buttercup while he goes to his NA meeting. He’s putting a lot of trust in me. Eliot, I need your help on this.

Eliot:   (Butterfly McQueen impersonation) But Miss Scarlet, Gay boys don’t know nothin’ bout watchin’ no babies. (end impersonation) Why in the Hail No did you agree to babysit?

Ron:    Because…I mean…have you seen James? Cuz baby daddy is superfine! Superhot! Ever notice how young fathers with babies are all superhot?

Eliot:   Yeah, that sperm works!

Ron:    ‘Zactly. So in order to get in tight with daddy, I gotta put in some quality time with his daughter, baby princess buttercup. 

Eliot:    Ohhhhhhh..... I get it now. You bait-and-switch me, so you can ensnare another guy? Sorry, a superhot daddy. My God, that is so devious. Fine, I'm in. But you owe me.

Ron:    Put it on my tab. And thank you! I just need to show James that I am not freaked out he has a kid.

Eliot:   Where is the little shitter anyway?           

Ron:    In my bedroom, napping in her car seat.

Eliot:   In her car seat?

Ron:    Show him I can handle the adult responsibilities of parenthood. That I have a tender, nurturing heart.

Eliot:   Oh my dear Lord, Ron. You did not say nurturing heart! You thought “Mommy Dearest” was a comedy. You roared all through the wire hanger scene.

Ron:    Yeah. But you have to admit that was funny, in an over-the-top, camp-tacular sorta way. Besides, "Mommy Dearest" was a true story. It’s not mean, if it’s true.

Eliot:   What?

Ron:    Anyway, by the time James meets my evil twin, we both will be well into our Gay honeymoon in Cancun. Do the Gays still do Cancun?

Eliot:   Not anymore. It’s all about Thailand. The drugs are better. So where’s the real Mommy?

Ron:    Long story, but basically Real Mommy Dearest is unfit to parent a child.

Eliot:   But the guy in Narcotics Anonymous is? Wow, Real Mommy must have been some "true story." Why did James hook up with her in the first place? He is Gay, right?

Ron:    Yes, James is Gay. Or Bi or whatever. Regardless, he is gorgeous! I can see why she hooked up with him. Don’t know why he hooked up with her. But I have a good idea why they split. (whispers “Cocaine”)

Eliot:   Well that answers both questions. Why they hooked up and why they split. Drugs do make for strange bedfellows.

Ron:    Like that one Mardi Gras you and I took Ecstasy.

Eliot:   Shut up your mouth. I was thinking more like Whitney and Bobbie. On second thought, I don’t want to spoil a perfectly dreadful Tuesday evening thinking about Whitney and Bobby. So if past performance is a predictor of future performance, what does his druggie past predict about the two of you as poster children for Gay marriage?

Ron:    Everybody makes mistakes, Eliot, Ok? We are all entitled to make mistakes. Lord knows you’ve dated some winners.

Eliot:   I dated you. So much for winners.

Ron:    And that is why we broke up.

Eliot:   I see you’re still bitter. So then, why do you want my help at babysitting? (Butterfly McQueen impersonation again) Miss Scar…

Ron:    (interrupts Eliot) You know CPR. You took that life-saving course at the NOAC. I thought you might come in handy, you know, in the event of an emergency.

Eliot:   If by CPR you mean Cocktail Party Repartee, then I’m your girl. Speaking of which, where’s the Vermouth. I feel a martini emergency coming on.

Ron:    Please Eliot, no drinking on the job! You’ll wake the baby.

Eliot:   (Raising voice then catching himself) Wake the baby!? How does mixing a little libation threaten baby princess whatcha-ma-call-her’s slumber?

Ron:    When you kick back a few, Eliot, my darling, you do tend to get loud.

Eliot:  (Raising voice then catching himselfI do not get loud, Ron. I get dramatic. You’re “an actor”. It’s called projection. Ugh, suit yourself.

Ron:    What is that? Why are you doing that with your fingers, air quotes? “An actor” in air quotes?

Eliot:   Nothing. (beat) Look, all I am saying is maybe you need to commit emotionally to your roles, more fully, both on the stage…and in real life. A Wise Woman once told me, it's not mean if it's true.

Ron:    (Mimes a stab to the heart, falling onto the couch. Hams it up too long.) How’s that for emotional commitment? You know I have to kill you now.

Eliot:   Please, don’t kill the messenger, no matter how gorgeous she is. Ron, I know you have it within you to commit emotionally to stuff. You’re just scared.

Ron:    (leaves the stage) I should peak-in on baby princess…um.

Eliot:   (searches for Vermouth) Oh what the hell, a little nip never hurt. It is after 5pm, for chrissake. Cocktail hour! (Surprised by Ron’s return) Oh Ron! My blood alcohol level is dangerously low. I was feeling (whispers "sober". beat.) Uh, so how is the little princess buttermilk drop?

Ron:    Sound asleep. I said no drinking, Eliot.

Eliot:    Aw Hail no, I am outa here.

Ron:    No no no! Please Eliot, don’t go. I really, really need your help on this. I’ve never taken care of a baby before. I really don’t want to mess this up. James is so gorgeous. I never meet gorgeous guys. He might be my one chance at happiness.

Eliot:   Hello! Ex-boyfriend in the room!

Ron:    Sorry. But you know what I mean. You just said it. I don’t want to fuck this up like I have every other relationship. I’m ready to commit, emotionally, fully. But I need support from my best fwiend Ewiot. Pwetty pwease.

Eliot:   (cold stare) You so owe me.

Ron:    When James and I get Gay-married, we’ll name our first born after you.

Eliot:   Fat chance. Butt babies never live.

Ron:    (choking on laughter, shushing himself) You…are…all kinds of fucked up…on so many levels. Butt...babies… That is so wrong. God, I love you.

Eliot:   It’s not mean if it’s true. Oh I love that phrase! So does baby princess whatcha-ma-call-her have a real name?

Ron:    Of course she has a name. Parents tend to name their babies at birth.

Eliot:   Well actually this one time, I knew this one couple, they waited a whole year to name their baby. The rest of us got fed up, never knowing how to refer to it, what to call the…little bundle, so we just dubbed it “Noname” (pronounced No Nah May). Like “No Name”, but with French accents. “Noname” Eventually they settled on some hippy bullshit like Sequoia or Shrove Tuesday.

Ron:    Well James named his little girl Hero.

Eliot:   ‘Zactly. Hippy bullshit like that. What the what? Like a Hero Sandwich? I think Daddy and Mommy Dearest were doing more than lines of (whispers “Cocaine”). They were smoking the ganja too, huh? The green, the chronic, when they named her, right? Maybe they were feeling a bit o’ the munchies? Thinking “Yo Babe, a Hero Sandwich sure sounds good right about now.”

Ron:    No, Tiresome, not like Hero sandwich. Like a superhero. When little Hero grows up, she will bend iron bars, leap tall buildings, and save lives. I think it’s a supercute name, and just makes me love James all the more.

Eliot:   Aw. That is supercute. I definitely need a cocktail now to rinse the vomit out of my mouth. Vermouth?

Ron:    No.

Eliot:   TV then? Let’s catch the end of RuPaul’s Drag Race while we wait for Downton Abbey.

Ron:    No and no.

Eliot:   But Hedda Lettuce is gonna teach all the girls how to hide their candy. Ugh. You spoil all my fun. So here I am, stuck on a Tuesday evening with an ex boyfriend, a tiny shit factory sound asleep in her car seat, no TV, nothing to do, and no alcohol?

Ron:    Please Mother Teresa! Your compassion is overwhelming!

Eliot:   Well what the hell are we supposed to DO? Play cards and gossip like a couple old maids?

Ron:    For starters. Gin? (Eliot gets excited) I mean, Gin Rummy.

Eliot:   Cock tease. No, I hate cards. You have to do math. I hate math.

Ron:    Is that why you always lose count of how many cocktails you drink?

Eliot:   Zing! The old nag still has some kick left in her. Ok fine. Carrrrrrrrrrrds. (Slumps onto couch) But don’t you dare tell anyone.

Ron:    Don’t worry. Your reputation as a glittering urban socialite will remain as intact as your hymen.

Eliot:   You’re damn right.

Ron:    (retrieving a deck of cards from a side-bar) Ok, what’ll we play? Ladies choice.

Eliot:   All this talk about (whispers “Cocaine”) puts me in the mood for Speed.

Ron:    (Joins Eliot on the couch. Deals 5 cards each onto the coffee table, according to the rules of Speed: You always were fast.

Eliot:   Lucky for you.

(They play a rapid-fire round of Speed, in which Eliot is able to discard his 5 cards quickly. He slaps his hands on the pile of cards)

Eliot:   (yelling) Speed!

Ron:    Oh my fucking shush… (Exits to check on baby)

Eliot:   Sorry. (whispering) Speed!

Ron:    (returns, whispering also) Still asleep. No thanks to you, Whitney. Ok, let’s play something else. Since that game amps you up so much.

Eliot:   Old Maid?

Ron:     Perfect. (Starts to deal all the cards between the two of them.

Eliot:   Oh my dear Lord! What’s that noxious odor? Ron, did you fart? I told you to stop eating those Lucky Dogs whenever you're in the Quarter.

Ron:    Uh, I guess Hero needs a diaper change? You can smell that all the way from in here?

Eliot:   I have the nose of a bloodhound.

Ron:    Better alert Scotland Yard. Good to know all those years of sniffing poppers haven’t diminished your sense of smell. So, I guess one of us should change Hero's Pampers.

(Eliot loudly reshuffles his cards.)

Ron:    Well, I guess one of us…

Eliot:    Aw Hail no! Maw-maw Eliot don’t change no Pampers. You wanna get Gay-married? You best trot your tight little “actor ass” right into that gas chamber and do your wifer-ly duty. Ha! I said “doodie”.

(Reluctantly, Ron leaves the stage.
Eliot lays back on the couch, hand on forehead in a swoon

Eliot:   (in a Scarlet O’Hara drawl) I am like to die from these vapors.

(Off-stage, baby cries)

Ron:    (off-stage) Oh my God, Hero! It’s like (gagging) Chernobyl. Oh…my…God! The humanity!

Eliot:   (making a fan out of cards, fans himself. Still in Scarlet O’Hara drawl) What did you expect, Honey? Orange flower water?

Ron:    (coughing and gagging throughout) Just hang in there little girl. Almost got this clean one on ya. One more tape. Phew! Ok, hang tight, Hero. Stay right here in your car seat. Be back in a minute. Uncle Ron-Ron is just gonna go to the kitchen and warm up a bottle of formula for you. Ok?

(baby crying continues)

Ron:    (Re-enters the stage, breathless, pinching his nose and carrying a “used” Pampers diaper) How do I dispose of toxic sludge? Oh I know. I have Ziplock baggies in the kitchen. (exits the other side of stage)

Eliot:   Yellow and blue make green! See how useful I am? (Annoyed by the constant crying) So am I supposed to just sit here and listen to all this caterwaulin’? Stone-cold sober? Ron Honey, do something about the baby. Hello? Oh my dear Lord. (exits to bedroom to attend to baby)

(Ron returns to an empty stage.)

Ron:   Bottle's on low. Will you check the temperature in a few.... (Notices Eliot is gone. Cell phone vibrates in his pant pocket.) Hello? James! Hi Gorgeous.

Eliot:   (off-stage) What is the problem in here little girl? Is that any way for a superhero to carry on? Well I would not want to be stuck in a car seat all day, neither. Alright, let me unstrap ya. Come on up here to your Maw-maw Eliot. Yes, that’s a good girl. 

Ron:    Hero’s great! She’s in the bedroom right now with Eliot. You remember my best friend Eliot? 

Eliot:     Shoosh now. Maw-maw Eliot wants to sing you a little Gospel hymn she learned at Vacation Bible School. (busts out singing, imitating Lady Gaga.) That’s right Baby, I was born this way…

Ron:     Right, Bourbon Pub Eliot. He just loves babies. But not as much as I do! What’s all that noise? Oh, he’s singing her a lullaby.

Eliot:   (off-stage, singing full volume, getting into it)
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way.

(baby crying increases to a wail)

Ron:    Oh, Hero’s been a total angel. Hasn’t cried once since you dropped her off. 

(Baby crying abruptly ends with the sound of infant projectile vomit.)

Eliot:   Oh my dear Lord!

Ron:    Well, it's not like I don't know nothin' bout watchin' no babies. Ha. I used to be a baby. Some people would argue I still am one.

(Eliot enters with a slash of baby vomit up the downstage side of his shirt, possibly dripping from his cheek and hair.)

Ron:    (horrified) No! I mean, Hail no, she’s been no trouble at all. I am more than happy to keep an eye on Hero for you. Anytime, James.

Eliot:   I hate you so much.

Ron:    A family outing? Yeah, I’d love that. Ok, we'll talk about it after your meeting. Oh right, of course. Sure, we’ll be fine until then. Enjoy coffee with your sponsor.

Eliot:   Vermouth please.

Ron:    Yes, I’ll give Hero a kiss for you. Bye James. (Torn between the lingering bliss of the phone call, his best friend’s distress, and the unattended wailing baby in the bedroom) Oh my God, Hero! (Rushes to bedroom) Uh Eliot, help yourself. Kitchen! Fridge!

(Eliot exits to the kitchen.)

Ron:    (off-stage, sings beautifully, slowly, lulling Hero to sleep)
I need a hero.
I'm holding out for a hero til the end of the night.
And she's gotta fast, and she's gotta be strong.
And she's gotta be fit for the fight
I need a hero...
(stops singing) sssshhh. That's my little superhero. Yeah, just close those sweepy wittle eyes...oh so sweepy...shhhhh...Yes, that's a good girl. Uncle Ron-Ron will be right back.

(Ron and Eliot both return to the stage, Eliot carrying a Mardi Gras cup of straight Vermouth)

Ron:    (frazzled) Oh, Eliot, thank God you had the presence of mind to strap Hero back into her car seat before you...after she...before you left the bedroom. So she’s not rolling around on top of my bed and possibly...fall. James would hate that. Is that straight Vermouth?

Eliot:   Shut up your mouth, I am getting drunk.

Ron:    Can I get drunk too?

Eliot:   You cannot get drunk, not around baby princess butter bomb. It’s not safe for both of us to get drunk.  And right now, I have dibs on the Vermouth. You are the babysitter. Hero relies on you.

Ron:    I am not someone people should rely on! I never have been. You said it yourself, no emotional commitment!

Eliot:   Ron! (beat) This is what I was talking about. Right now. You’re scared. You got a glimpse at real life, and now you’re scared. That part’s perfectly normal, especially for new parents. I’m not saying you’re ready to jump into being a parent, not yet. But the way you feel right now, every new parent feels that way. Frankly, nobody in the world ought to be relied on. But babies make you step up. When you have a baby, you have to become that person, someone who can be relied on. Someone who’s in it for the long haul. You have no other choice.

Ron:    (beat) Um...right. Right! So…uh…you were pretty natural in there with Hero, until the uh...incident. 

Eliot:     Well, I can hardly blame her. I've been known to experience the occasional "incident" myself, now and then. (Puts aside the Vermouth.)

Ron:     Our own, jaded Eliot Dearest might actually have the maternal instinct after all, underneath that hard shell--once you scrape off the patina of bar smoke.

Eliot:   Ha. Ha. Well, I pretty much parent you, don’t I?

Ron:    Yes you do. And for that, Maw-maw Eliot, I am grateful. Thank you.

Eliot:   You are very welcome, Uncle Ron-Ron.

(Baby crying starts again. Sighing, they both exit to the bedroom, singing "I Need a Hero".)

(Ron runs back onstage and crosses to the kitchen exit.)

Ron:     Oh crap! The bottle!