Emilee's Room by Dale Laughlin
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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
AT RISE: There is a phone sitting on one of the boxes. It starts
ringing. As it's ringing, a man enters from Stage R carrying a couple
of boxes. He hears the phone ringing and he hurries himself. He's
dressed for moving, wearing ripped denim jeans and an old T-shirt.)
FLYNT (Answering the phone) Yeah? Hello? (They hung up) Damn. (He
hangs the phone up, moves back out the door Stage R when the phone
rings again. He rushes back in and answers it) Hello? Yeah, Mom, hi.
No, I'm here. It's not a bad little place. Needs to be cleaned up a
bit, but other than that, I think I got a good deal. No, you don't
need to come over. I don't have that much left. I'll have to check,
but I'm pretty sure I have enough cleaning stuff. Yeah, well, you know
me. Okay, (listening) uh-huh, look, Mom, Mom, Mom! I've got to go. I
can't get all this stuff done talking to you. Albany's at work. Well,
I didn't expect anyone to help me. Because I'm a big boy now, Mom. I
know, I'll never be grown in your eyes. Just do me a favor and don't
picture me with pig-tails. Don't worry, Mom, not many get my jokes.
I've got to go. Yeah, I will. Mom? Mom, I love you, and I'm hanging up
on you. (He hangs up) That woman could talk an insurance salesman to
(FLYNT moves offstage through the door to get more boxes. FLYNT
enters again, this time followed by a woman. She is dressed in a
lady's business suit and is carrying a briefcase)
FLYNT I'm sorry, Miss Lanstrom, but I was so busy trying to get this
stuff moved that I lost track of the time.
MISS LANSTROM (Politely) Oh, that's quite all right Mr. Kesselroy. I
understand. It won't take but a minute. I just need you to sign a few
FLYNT What things? I thought I'd already signed the lease
MISS LANSTROM Oh, yes, you did, but this is a list of things we
found in the apartment during our walkthrough after the last tenant
left.(She is looking for a place to put her briefcase. FLYNT slides a
box over to her. She seems a little anxious about being in the
apartment at all. She hides her anxiety as best she can) Thank you.
FLYNT Not a problem. What list?
MISS LANSTROM Now, I'm sure you know that it states in your lease
that all problems that the apartment may have before you sign the
lease may be dealt with at your leisure.
MISS LANSTROM But, what we at Caremont Realty try to do is have a
list of things for the tenant, so that the problems don't rear their
ugly heads at the most inopportune moment.
FLYNT I see. Not to be rude, Miss Lanstrom, but why doesn't the
Realty company fix the problems themselves before re-renting? Or for
that matter, even tell the potential renters about any problems their
apartment might have?
MISS LANSTROM (Overly polite) Well, that's what I'm doing now, dear.
FLYNT Right, but why couldn't you show me this list before I signed
the lease? I thought this place was pretty well-repaired?
MISS LANSTROM Oh, it is, dear, it is. But there were a few things
that we found after you signed the lease that we thought might
eventually require attention.
FLYNT Do you mind if I read over the list real quick?
MISS LANSTROM (Smiling somewhat nervously) Not at all, dear.
(She hands him the papers. FLYNT reads them over)
FLYNT (Pointing at the page) The lights have a tendency to flicker?
Aren't electrical problems covered in the lease?
MISS LANSTROM Well, normally, yes, but in this case…
FLYNT In this case? What about this case?
MISS LANSTROM In this case, the lights didn't begin to flicker until
we did our walkthrough.
FLYNT So, you didn't do your little walkthrough thing until after I
signed the lease?
MISS LANSTROM (Ignoring the question) If you could just sign here.
(He hesitates, but signs. She is pleased with his cooperation) And
here. (She turns to another page. He signs) Thank you, Mr. Kesselroy.
FLYNT Not a problem.
MISS LANSTROM (Putting her things away) Well, now that that's in
the books, let me get out of your hair. (She seems a little over
anxious to leave) You have a lot of work to do.
(She moves to exit, but FLYNT stops her)
FLYNT Oh, Miss Lanstrom?
MISS LANSTROM Yes?
FLYNT I just had one question, if you don't mind?
MISS LANSTROM (Near the door) Not at all, dear. What is it?
FLYNT Well, I was talking to this guy down at your office the day I
signed the lease.
MISS LANSTROM (Still smiling, but she wants to leave) Yes?
FLYNT He told me that he's renting a place from you over near the
MISS LANSTROM Oh, you must mean Mr. Hansen.
FLYNT Yeah, Hansen, that sounds about right. Anyway, he told me
that his place is about like this one, but he's paying twice as much
rent as I am. Why is that? I mean, is there something seriously wrong
with this place? Something you haven't told me?
MISS LANSTROM Well, I wouldn't know, dear. I didn't broker Mr.
Hansen's rental deal. I'm sure there must be some other reason he pays
more. I really couldn't tell you.
FLYNT (He's kind of suspicious, but he lets it go) Ah, okay. I
mean, I'm not going to complain about it. How often does a guy find a
place like this for such a great price?
MISS LANSTROM (Smiling) Yes. (She looks at her watch) Oh, dear.
Is that the time? I was supposed to meet Mr. HanI mean, Mr.
Cosgrove for lunch. You have a good day, now, dear.
FLYNT You, too, Miss Lanstrom. Thanks for coming by. (MISS LANSTROM
exits as the phone rings. FLYNT answers) Hello? Yes, this is Flynt
Kesselroy. Oh, hi there Mr. Parkhurst. Yes, sir, I'm getting settled
in nicely. The painting? (He looks towards the covered portrait) Yes,
sir, I'm honored that you'd want it in your gallery. Well, that's what
I hope, too, sir. (While FLYNT'S talking, his back is to the portrait
and it moves again and settles) All right. You'll have a space for it
on the twenty-third? That's a couple of weeks away. Oh, no it's fine.
I can hold onto it until then, sir. Great. Thank you for calling. Yes,
you, too, sir. Good-bye. (He hangs up, turns around and notices the
painting has moved again. He talks to himself) Okay, now that's
weird. (He moves over to the portrait and looks behind it. There's
nothing there. He moves it back to where it was) Maybe I'm just going
crazy. (Thinks) Maybe I'm going sane. (He hears a car door slam in
the distance. He goes to the window and peers out) Honey! You look
fantastic from up here! You should see you from here, it's great!
(FLYNT sits on the floor and starts taking painting supplies out of a
box marked, “Livelihood”. As he is doing this, a woman enters into the
apartment. She is dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans. Her name is
ALBANY Hey, baby. I'm sorry I'm late. I didn't want to help you in
what I was wearing, so I stopped by my Mom's house and changed
FLYNT Not a problem, babes. (He gets up, they exchange a greeting
kiss) Though, you could've changed here. This being the place of our
new residency and all.
ALBANY (She moves into his arms) That's true, darling, love of my
life, but my moving clothes were at my Mom's house.
FLYNT “Moving clothes”? That just sounds silly.
ALBANY Oh, that's silly, but you're the one with clothes for every
occasion. I think you'd have clothes to “potty” in if you could manage
FLYNT I would, but it would take too long to change between trips.
Besides, men don't “potty”, honey. We “crap,” “drop a load,”
or…(Affectionately)“drain the lizard.” Which by the way isn't a bad
idea. (He gives her a peck and moves Offstage L. He still calls from
offstage) So, how's was work?
ALBANY (Looking through the boxes, separating her stuff from his)
It was work. I had three people come in and ask if there was a dummy's
guide to buying Dummy Guide books.
FLYNT (Still offstage) You're the one who wanted to work in a
ALBANY It's not just a bookstore. There's a coffee shop, too.
FLYNT Hey, is the Coffee Shop still the Mecca of the beret wearing,
cappuccino drinking poet-type people?
ALBANY You have no idea. The other day this guy asked me out in
ALBANY You have no idea what it's like to be asked, (She recites)
“Beauty to be seen, I love you beyond compare, Please go out with me”.
It was really embarrassing. (She looks offstage) For God sakes,
Flynt, shut the bathroom door! That's disgusting!
FLYNT (Coming back onstage) What? There isn't anyone else here.
ALBANY I know it's manly or something to pee with the door open,
but would you please not do it? What if we have company?
FLYNT They can pee with the door open, too. (She glares at him)
I'm kidding. I'll close the door from now on. I promise. (Notices
that she is separating things) What're you doing?
ALBANY Separating our stuff.
FLYNT All ready? I'll go close the bathroom door now if it will make
ALBANY I'm not separating them because of that. I'm just trying to
make things a little neater.
(She's throwing his clothes on the floor and laying hers neatly on
FLYNT (Watching her) I can see that. Try to make my clothes pile up
a little more evenly, will you?
ALBANY Oh, stop it. I'm going to do laundry anyway. Besides, some of
this stuff you don't even wear anymore. (She finds an old restaurant
napkin with something wrapped in it.) What's this?
FLYNT You don't remember? (He takes the napkin and unwraps it,
there is a withered rose in it.) How about now?
ALBANY (Recognizing the rose now.) Is that what I think it is?
FLYNT No, it is absolutely not the rose I gave you on our first
ALBANY I remember that night. My friends and I had a fight while we
were out. I remember meeting you there, but you said you had to leave
and took off. I decided I wanted to go home, but my friends wouldn't
take me. So, I started walking and before I know it, this strange car
pulls up next to me. I freaked out at first, but when I saw it was
FLYNT You were taken aback by my ruggedly handsome good looks?
ALBANY No, well, maybe a little. Really though, you offered me a
ride. I thought you were nice, so I accepted. Then, we went out to
dinner and when you walked me to my door, you gave me this rose. I
don't even remember you buying it.
FLYNT That's because I didn't buy it. I kinda picked it off of
the rose bush outside the restaurant when we left.
ALBANY How come you didn't tell me that?
FLYNT Oh yeah, that's a great way to end the evening, "Hey, I
had a great time, you were wonderful and I'd like to do it again. By
the way, I stole this rose for you. I thought you'd look great in
larceny." Naw, I figured the gesture was good enough.
ALBANY Yes it was. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for
FLYNT What can I say?
ALBANY You don't have to say anything. Just kiss me.
FLYNT That's one request I'm happy to grant.
(The two kiss. From offstage three very loud crashes are heard one
after the other. They come from the kitchen area)
ALBANY What was that?
FLYNT I don't know. I'll go see what it was.
ALBANY Be careful.
FLYNT No worries. (He exits into the kitchen. As ALBANY watches
FLYNT go into the kitchen, a girl's face can be seen in the window.
Her hair is long, down around her face and it looks a little damp. Her
face is very ashen gray and her eyes are dark and deep set. She looks
angry and at the same time sad. She passes by the window, stopping
just before she gets all the way across and she stares at ALBANY.
ALBANY turns and sees the girl and lets out a frightful scream. FLYNT
comes running in from the kitchen) What is it? (ALBANY points to the
window. FLYNT goes over to the window) What?
ALBANY A girl.
ALBANY There was a girl's face in the window.
FLYNT Honey, that's impossible.
ALBANY I saw her!
FLYNT We're three stories up and there's no fire escape on this
side. How could you have seen a girl in the window?
ALBANY I know what I saw!
FLYNT (Moving to her) It's all right. It's all right. Maybe you
should go and lie down.
ALBANY (Pulling herself together) No. No, I'm okay. It just freaked
me out is all.
FLYNT I don't get how you saw a girl though. Are you sure?
ALBANY Well, I don't know(Now unsure) Maybe, II don't know.
FLYNT It's okay. Don't worry. There's nothing out there now. Maybe
you just had a hard day at work and you saw a bird fly by the window
and your mind played a little trick on you to pay you back for all the
thinking you made it do today.
ALBANY Maybe. (FLYNT moves to look out the window) What was the
ALBANY What was the noise in the kitchen?
FLYNT Oh. All the silverware drawers fell out.
ALBANY All of them?
FLYNT Yeah. I guess I didn't put them in all the way when I put the
silverware up. I was kind of in a hurry. (Again out the window)
There's nothing here now.
ALBANY (Still shaken, but coming out of it) Did anything else
FLYNT (Turning from the window) Are you sure you're okay?
ALBANY I'm fine. (Starting to pick up all her clothes) So, what
else did you do today?
FLYNT (Picking up a few of his own clothes) Oh, well, I carried
some boxes up here, and after that, I carried some more boxes. Then, I
answered the phone, signed a paper for Miss Lanstrom
ALBANY (Interrupting) What kind of paper?
FLYNT Oh, just some paper that stated they weren't liable for stuff
ALBANY And you signed that?
FLYNT Yeah, well, I wanted to get stuff done and I didn't see the
point in arguing over something as miniscule as a crack in the plaster
or something like that.
ALBANY But, Flynt, what if there is something very seriously wrong
with this place?
FLYNT Like what? It seems fine to me.
ALBANY I know, but what if something unforeseeable
happens? Like a pipe bursting in the bathroom or something like
FLYNT Oh, well, I'm not sure, I think we can manage.
ALBANY I don't know.
FLYNT Honey, I love you, but I think you worry too much.
ALBANY I happen to think I worry just the right amount, thank you.
FLYNT All right. (ALBANY takes her stuff offstage to the bedroom)
Oh, yeah, and Mr. Parkhurst called.
ALBANY (Slowly walking back onstage) And what did he say?
FLYNT (Throwing his shirts over his shoulder, disappointed) Oh, the
usual. “We're a highly respected Art Gallery, Mr. Kesselroy. We don't
deal in extraneous crap.”
ALBANY (Looking kind of down, like it's bad news) Extraneous?
FLYNT Yeah, he actually used the word, “extraneous”. I didn't know
anybody knew words like that.
ALBANY What else did he say?
FLYNT Well, he wished me luck in this new living
arrangement. (Seeing that ALBANY isn't taking his joke well) And,
he said he'd see me on the twenty-third.
ALBANY What did he mean?
FLYNT I guess it means that he's willing to make an exception for my
extraneous crap in his gallery.
ALBANY (Hugging him) Oh, Honey! That's wonderful!
FLYNT Yeah, I thought so.
(She kisses him)
ALBANY So, what's he going to do?
FLYNT I don't know. I guess we'll have to see in a couple of weeks.
ALBANY Oh, Baby. I'm so proud of you.
FLYNT Hey, it was bound to happen. What's that old saying? Put a
bunch of chimps in a room with a typewriter and eventually they'll
write Shakespeare? This is the same theory, only the chimp had some
cheap finger paints and was shooting for more of a Van Gough or
ALBANY (Still hugging him) You're better than either one of those
FLYNT You think so?
ALBANY I know so. How about we celebrate a little bit?
FLYNT I could go for that. What did you have in mind?
ALBANY (Kissing him) I'll give you three guesses.
FLYNT I have to guess? Man, I'm no good at guessing games. Just give
me a hint.
ALBANY (She kisses him long and deeply) How was that?
FLYNT You want to bake cookies?
ALBANY Good guess. Follow me.
(She slinks offstage into the bedroom)
FLYNT (Watching her go. Then, moves over to the portrait and looks
underneath the covering) I didn't really think I'd have a chance, but
you proved me wrong, didn't you? (He starts to head towards the
bedroom, then stops, hit by a sudden realization. He starts talking to
himself) What if Parkhurst decides that it's crap and he doesn't want
to show it? You're jinxing yourself. Yeah, but what do I do if he
doesn't like it? What do I tell Albany? She's been with you for six
months, I'm sure she'll understand. But, what if she doesn't? Well,
that sounds trusting. (He looks off towards the bedroom) I love her.
She believes in me. (From the kitchen doors, the girl from the window
appears. She is watching FLYNT, expressionless. FLYNT doesn't see her,
she's invisible. FLYNT gets up and moves to his “Livelihood” box. He
takes out a small box and looks at it) Maybe I should wait and see
what Parkhurst says. (He opens the box. It's got an engagement ring
in it, looks back at the painting) If this sells, maybe Parkhurst
will option more of my work, then I'll be on my way. I worry too much,
I think. Or just enough. (He stares at the ring, putting it back
where he got it.) God, I'm insane. There's a beautiful woman waiting
for me, and I'm in here arguing with myself.
ALBANY (From the bedroom) Flynt?
FLYNT (Stuffing the ring-box back in with the painting supplies)
ALBANY These cookies aren't going to bake themselves. Are you
FLYNT And miss my chance to make cookies?
ALBANY I'm going to give you ten more minutes, then I'm just going
to put my clothes back on and go to sleep.
FLYNT I'm coming. (He starts offstage, stops briefly and addresses
the painting) Please, don't be a disappointment.
ALBANY What did you say?
FLYNT Nothing. I was justtalking to myself. That's all.
(He moves off to the bedroom. The lights fade to a small dim. When
the lights are dim, the girl, EMILEE enters the living room from the
kitchen. She is wearing a dingy black t-shirt and a denim skirt that
hangs to her knees. Beneath the t-shirt, she is wearing a light, long
sleeved thermal undershirt. She's wearing old black sneakers and her
hair is still falling loose around her head. As she comes out of the
kitchen, she looks towards the bedroom, then to the boxes. She moves
over to the “Livelihood” box and peers into it. She takes out the box
with the ring in it, opens it and stares at the ring. After a few
seconds, EMILEE notices movement from offstage. She puts the ring back
into its place. ALBANY enters the living room. She is dressed,
carrying a coat and trying to be very quiet. ALBANY doesn't see
Emilee, who doesn't move. She just watches. ALBANY goes to the phone,
picks up the receiver and dials a number)
ALBANY (Whispering warmly) Hi. It's me. Don't worry, he's asleep.
It didn't take too long. He's been moving all day. Yes, of course I
missed you. (Sultry) Good. I'll be right over. (EMILEE moves
closer to ALBANY who notices a change in temperature. She puts her
coat on) He apparently hasn't turned the heat on yet, either. I know,
I know. Look, I'll do it, it'll just take time. You want to see me or
not? All right, I'll be right there. Yup. See you soon.
(ALBANY hangs up the phone quietly and turns towards the front door.
EMILEE moves out of her way. As ALBANY passes EMILEE, she pulls her
coat tighter. Just before she gets to the door, FLYNT calls groggily
from the bedroom)
ALBANY (Moving quickly to the kitchen entrance) Yes?
FLYNT What are you doing?
ALBANY I'm kind of hungry. I thought I'd make myself a sandwich.
FLYNT You need some help?
ALBANY Nope. I've got it. You go back to sleep.
FLYNT Okay. Be careful. There's still some silverware on the floor.
ALBANY I'll be fine. (Almost sounding desperate) Go back to sleep.
FLYNT All right. I love you.
ALBANY I love you, too, sweetheart.
(She rolls her eyes and waits a few seconds. When she's satisfied
that FLYNT is asleep again, she moves to the front door and exits
quietly. EMILEE watches, reproachfully. When ALBANY is gone, EMILEE
moves again to the painting supplies and begins to take various items
out and arranging them on the floor as the lights fade)
FADE TO BLACK. END ACT I, SCENE 1
[end of extract]
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