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!


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