Assorted Fruits and Vegetables by Ronald Spencer

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This Play is the copyright of the Author and may not be performed, copied or sold without the Author’s prior consent

  ACT 1

      The Setting: A modest suite of rooms at an assisted living residential
      facility for GLBTs; The Rainbow House. The suite consists of a sitting
      area, a bedroom area, a kitchenette and an offstage bathroom. There
      are two good sized windows on one side of the room.

      Scene 1: An afternoon in autumn.
      The main door to the suite opens and a young nurse enters and holds
      the door open in anticipation of someone entering.

      Margo: (Perhaps a little too enthusiastic) Welcome home!

      Edgar Christian enters, as if reluctantly taking a tour, and looks
      around the space.

      Edgar: Really?

      Margo: I beg your pardon?

      Edgar: You said “Welcome home” and I said “Really?”

      Margo: Oh…well, what I meant was…welcome to your new
      place…you’ll be… living in.

      Edgar: I wish I could believe that. More than anything.

      Margo: I beg your pardon?
      Edgar: If you don’t make it as a nurse here you have one hell of a
      future on a street corner with a tin cup.

      Margo: What?

      Edgar: You do an awful lot of begging.

      Margo: I meant, I’m not sure I understand you.

      Edgar: I got that.

      Margo: What it is you’re trying to say?

      Edgar: Let me put it this way. There’s a big difference between
      being somewhere and living somewhere
      Margo: Should I be worried about you? You’re not going to…you
      know…try anything funny on me, now are you?

      Edgar: Do you have a penis?

      Margo: (Slightly shocked, then a nervous laugh) No!

      Edgar: Then I won’t be trying anything. Funny or otherwise.

      Margo: No….see, I was asking if you are going to be alright. I mean,
      can I leave you alone?

      Edgar:: That depends.

      Margo: I beg…(Catching herself, laughs) I almost did it again. I’m
      sorry?

      Edgar: Don’t be.  Let me answer your second to the last question
      first. I am going to be what I am going to be whether or not it’s
      alright. And to answer the last question, if you are able to walk
      through that door and close it behind you, then yes, you can leave me
      alone.

      Margo: Would you like me to leave? Is that what you’re saying?

      Edgar: Not really. At first I wasn’t sure, but I’m enjoying this.
      What made you decide to become a nurse?
      Margo: Well, when I was a little girl I was always pretending people
      were sick…

      Edgar: People are sick. Go on.

      Margo: Well, I was always putting band aids on my brothers and my
      dolls. You know, playing nurse. It made me feel good to help make them
      feel better.

      Edgar: I played doctor with other boys when I was little. Not my
      brothers. I wasn’t that adventurous and they weren’t that sick.

      Margo: (Not realizing what he is saying) But it made you feel good,
      didn’t it?

      Edgar: Oh, yes!

      Margo: What did you do?

      Edgar: I made sure they felt good too! Otherwise they wouldn’t come
      back for more treatments!!!

      Margo: Well…that’s…good.
      Edgar: Yes.

      Margo: Yes. (Awkward pause, then to break the silence, moves to the
      bed) Well…here is the bed.

      Edgar: Good lord, I have one just like it at home!

      Margo: This is your bed. They brought it from your house this
      morning.

      Edgar pulls back the comforter and looks at the sheets.

      Edgar: It sure as hell is! I’d recognize those stains anywhere.

      Margo: You have your laundry facilities here. Just down the hall.

      Edgar: They brought my washer and dryer too?

      Margo: No.

      Edgar: Well, why not? They could have saved a trip if they’d brought
      them when they confiscated my bed.

      Margo: We have heavy duty industrial type laundry equipment.

      Edgar:  It’d better be to get those stains out.

      Margo: (Changing the subject) So…what did…(Catching
      herself)…what do you do? (pause) For a living?

      Edgar: I work in theatre. I’m a director, actor…

      Margo: Really!? What’s that like?

      Edgar: It’s fun. It can be. It’s like pretending for a living. I
      even played doctor when I was a grown up, too. In a play called
      Equus.

      Margo: I’ve never heard of it. What’s that about?

      Edgar: A boy who has sex with horses.

      Margo: How on earth would you do that?

      Edgar: Do I look like someone who’d know from personal experience?

      Margo: No. Of course not.

      Edgar: I imagine it would involve having your feet firmly planted in
      the stirrups and holding onto his tail for dear life!

      Margo: I meant in the play.

      Edgar: Actually the boy in the story would reach a climax while
      galloping wildly on a horse

      Margo: Weird. (She snickers, politely) I wonder if anyone ever got
      that excited winning the Kentucky Derby?

      Edgar: (He laughs out loud at this.) Gives a whole new meaning to the
      term Finish Line, doesn’t it?

      Margo: (They share a laugh) I like the way you think.

      Edgar: I think I do.

      Margo: See! That’s what I mean. The way your mind works.

      Edgar: So you’re a nurse…what are you doing here? Why aren’t you
      in a hospital where you can really help people?

      Margo: I wasn’t cut out for the front lines, I guess. I couldn’t
      handle all the suffering.

      Edgar: Your last name isn’t Kevorkian by any chance, is it?

      Margo: No. But I know who you mean.  And if it was my name, I
      wouldn’t be ashamed of it.

      Edgar: Good for you. I like the way you think, too.

      Nurse Mealy administrator of the facility enters. She is a larger,
      very sharp witted woman and a lesbian.

      Nurse Mealy: I’m Katherine Mealy, Head Administrator here at Rainbow
      House. How are we doing? Okay?

      Edgar: Shoot. I was hoping to be the one administering head around
      here.
      Margo: Fine. Everything’s…fine.

      Nurse Mealy: Mr. Christian?

      Edgar: I just wanna jump up and down and giggle!

      Nurse Mealy: I’ll take that as a “yes”.

      Edgar: (Laughing out loud) For a minute I thought you said “I’ll
      take that up the ass!”

      Nurse Mealy: What? I have an ear in-fuck-tion and I cunt hear you.
      Two can play, right? I promise not to be offended if you aren’t.

      Edgar: Read you, loud and queer! You can take her word for it. It’s
      all good.

      Nurse Mealy: Then you need to get on with your rounds, Margo.

      Margo: (Coming out of shock) Yes, M’am.

      Edgar: Margo. That is a beautiful name. Nice to meet you, Margo. Even
      under these circumstances.

      Margo: Be well.

      Margo exits as they watch her go. Nurse Mealy turns to Edgar.

      Nurse Mealy: Any other obscenity up your sleeve or is that all you
      got?

      Edgar: No more naughty words but for my next trick I’ll need a
      condom, lube and a volunteer!

      Nurse Mealy: You’re a funny man.  Just be aware not everyone here is
      as open minded and out-spoken as you are. Some people would consider
      your type of humor to be nothing more than smut and profanity.

      Edgar: A helluva lotta comics make a helluva living that way.

      Nurse Mealy: Well, this isn’t Comedy Central and you’re not George
      Carlin.

      Edgar: Too bad.

      Nurse Mealy: Why? He’s dead, isn’t he?

      Edgar: Yes. But what a legacy. The way he was able to make us laugh at
      ourselves! Articulating the absurdities of what we call living and
      shedding a big, old, bright light on the ignorance of the human
      condition. He wasn’t a comic he was a modern day prophet. To me.

      Nurse Mealy: I imagine he won’t be missed by everyone as much as you
      seem to miss him. He was an acquired taste.

      Edgar:  Then so is the truth, apparently. Because Carlin told the
      truth. And most people seem to somehow skewer it to their particular
      needs or ignore it altogether.

      Nurse Mealy: Let’s talk about what you need to get settled in at
      Rainbow House.

      Edgar: Just Toto and my ruby slippers and I’ll be all set.

      Nurse Mealy: We don’t allow pets.

      Edgar: No four legged animals, huh?

      Nurse Mealy: Mr. Christian, why are you here?

      Edgar: Well…I seem to have run out of options.

      Nurse Mealy: Meaning…?

      Edgar: It’s really a very sad story. An appetite killer. Have you
      had lunch? I wouldn’t want you to miss a meal.

      Nurse Mealy: (Not to be outdone) I’ve been binging all morning. No
      time to purge. We’re good.

      Edgar: Well…here goes. I had a partner for fifteen years. He was HIV
      positive when we met. That was never an issue for me. I was sixteen
      years older but that was never an issue for him. He was ex-military
      and so we bought a house with his VA loan. It was a neat little old
      house. Bad neighborhood, people being killed, houses broken into…but
      what we could afford. Jump ahead about twelve years and Joey’s
      health is really good. HIV wise he’s undetectable but his teeth are
      bothering him. Very painful. I told him to have them pulled and be
      done with it. I’d had dentures since I was nineteen and never
      regretted it. His insurance wouldn’t cover the dental work so we
      decided I’d buy the house from him at full market value and he could
      use the equity to pay for the work. And that’s what we did. Then in
      the course of pulling his teeth they found cancer on his gums. That
      led to weeks of chemo and radiation which he miraculously survived and
      was all better again. Two years later, out of nowhere, on a Sunday, he
      had a severe stroke. It seems the radiation had caused clotting that
      went undetected and made its way to his brain. Monday, they
      removed part of his skull to relieve pressure from the swelling.
      Tuesday he had another stroke and Wednesday he died.

      Nurse Mealy: Oh, God, how horrible.

      Edgar: I was appearing in a musical comedy, Victor, Victoria which
      opened that following Friday. I went on stage and sang “You and
      Me” and did a little soft shoe dance routine. It was one of the
      harder things I had ever done in my life. I was in shock but I’m
      sure you’ve heard the expression the show must go on. And I tried to
      apply that same theory to my life. I had lost a beautiful young
      companion I loved, his second, much-needed income and was left with a
      much higher mortgage than before. I couldn’t bring myself to take in
      a boarder or anyone else to live there with me…to, you know, share
      expenses. The house had always been such a private place for us. It
      was like living in our very own nudist colony. Very intimate. So I
      made a decision. I would stay there and live alone. I planted my feet
      firmly on the ground, determined to make this work, and over the next
      several years watched it begin to slowly crumble under me. Until it
      finally collapsed. And here I am. Partner gone, house gone, credit
      gone. All gone.

      Nurse Mealy: I’m so sorry.

      Edgar: Me too!

      Nurse Mealy: I won’t offer any homey platitudes or empty
      condolencences…

      Edgar: Thank you.

      Nurse Mealy: (After an awkward pause) But at the risk of sounding
      presumptuous, you might enjoy living at Rainbow House more than you
      think.

      Santiago Chavez, an aide who works at Rainbow House, enters carrying a
      box of Edgar’s personal effects. He is Latino, in his mid to late
      30’s and gorgeous.

      Edgar: Things are looking up already. Does he come with the suite!

[end of extract]

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