Scrounge by Amie M Marie

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

Act 1, Scene 1.

Two strangers, angled facing each other. DINO is a 55 year old man in a tatty suit. It is hard to tell if the suit was damaged only today from a stumble or has been worn down. ABBY is a 25-ish woman, with a glamorous ankle-length skirt, a smart blouse and an old, well-used backpack.

DINO: I study the universe.

ABBY: (direct address) I had the distinct feeling I was talking to a god.

DINO: I study the universe.

ABBY: (direct address) Not that I believe in gods, or subscribe to any religion.
At this point, through sound and flickering lighting, it becomes clear that the pair are on a train. Late evening. They are sat opposite each other. They sway on their seats.

DINO: I try to keep an eye on down here, you know, but I can’t do anything about it. Up there (he points to the ceiling), that’s what I’m about.

ABBY: (direct address) Plato’s Prime Mover is what I thought of. It’s what occurred to me, um, the theory that if there is a god they, well, caused everything by moving the first thing, but now have nothing to do with us.

DINO: I’ve got a feeling, it’s soon. Whoosh.

ABBY: (direct address) Anyway, uh. 9.14pm, the Stansted express line carrying me home, out of London. I was just travelling through, keeping myself to myself.

DINO: There’s three ways it can go. Categorized in two: natural disasters; earthquakes and that. Manmade, nuclear: boom. Crazy, crazy. Got that Jim - in Korea, Putin nearer-by, an’ America. (pointing to the ceiling) But they forget, they don’t think. Out there, like before, the dinosaurs. Happened before, it’ll happen again.

ABBY: (direct address) Something about this man held my, (searching for the word) gaze, and I had the distinct feeling I was talking to a. Something far more intelligent than, than anyone can simply appear. An equal, of mine, but from a different plane of existence? Something about him was settled, still as ice melting in a jar, or like calm water, a reflection – my reflection – in a black, inky pond, behind the buzz of warm cheeks, flickering eyebrows, and shoulders that swayed with the train tracks beneath us. It was like meeting me but male and fifty. And. He was drunk.

DINO: They think I’m mad. You think I’m mad.

ABBY: No.

DINO: I’m not mad. I’m intelligent, I think about things. (he tilts his head) You’re the same. But you’re not confident. (a beat) I could change the world. You could, too.

ABBY: (direct address) I had work in the morning. Or at least, an interview for work – in the morning.

DINO: They think we’re mad. (a beat) That, (he clicks his fingers) evolution guy.

ABBY: Darwin.

DINO: Ah, you know. Him. He was onto something. I read his – I, he was nearly right.

ABBY: (direct address) I said nothing.

DINO: The sun’s gonna go. One million. That’s what I bet, one million, whoosh. Later, white dwarf, last a billion years. Earth’s 4.5 million, white dwarf? Billion.

ABBY: So at five and a half million-?

DINO: Yes! Sun goes, whoosh. White dwarf, we go to Mars.

ABBY: But that’s further away, but I guess white dwarfs are hotter?

DINO: (nods.) S’coming. They’re not telling us.

ABBY: I doubt they would.

DINO: You look very nice, elegant. Old style but modern. / What station is it?

ABBY: Thanks.

DINO:I can’t see well.

ABBY: We’re at Harlow Town. Harlow Mill is next.

DINO: Thanks. What’s your name?

ABBY: Abby. Nice to meet you.

DINO: Dino. Stay safe.

ABBY: I plan to.

DINO: Tell me about you.

ABBY: What is there to say?

DINO: Something. Always. There’s always something, that’s the joy.

ABBY: Um, I’m unemployed, but not for long. I – I like cats, but really I like turtles? I like the way they / swim.

DINO: What do you fear?

ABBY: Big question! Death, I suppose?

DINO: (laughs) No you don’t.

ABBY: (laughs) No, I don’t.

DINO: You don’t like men.

ABBY is silent.

DINO: You’re scared. Of me, of men.
There is a long pause.

ABBY: They’re… threatening, sometimes, I suppose.

DINO: Hmm.

ABBY: I had… my ex wasn’t nice. He put me in so much debt. I’m still paying for -
Another pause. The train slows.

DINO: I got a wife, kids. Don’t see them anymore. But they’re pretty, love, so warm. Makes you feel warm just to, just t’glance. Look.

DINO pulls out his wallet and shows off a stamp-sized picture.

DINO: This is b’fore she changed her hair. His tooth’s grown back in, too. Taller, him. He likes the ocean. Big mysteries, big minds, real knowledge‘re after. His man’s the sky and beyond, me boy the underlands. And her – she’s my Persephone. Both, all, everything. Life.

ABBY: Yeah.

DINO: Tell me about you.

ABBY: I’m lonely. Plants and cat videos can only do so much.

DINO: And the stars?

ABBY: They’re distant. And flicker.

DINO: But they’re there.

ABBY: I can’t see them in the day. And I’m inside at night.

DINO: Then you’re the one ignoring them.
The train comes to a stop. DINO must leave.

DINO: Let’s have a kiss goodbye.

ABBY: No thank you!

DINO: On the hand?

ABBY: (with a laugh) Why not?

DINO bows and holds ABBY’s hand lightly, bringing it to his lips. They share a moment. The train beeps for the doors to shut. DINO leaps out.

ABBY: (calling out) I’m pleased I met you!
Lights fade.

ABBY: (direct address) Strange man.

Act 1, Scene 2.

A ticking clock. Light shift to reveal a cramped living room, slightly cluttered, with a small table beside the upstage window. This is the only detailed set; more real, recognizable, and comforting than anywhere else. CAROL lives here. She is approachable – unintimidating – and unremarkable, save some odd scabs and bruises along her exposed arms. She has a small plaster on her cheek, and one foot is in a support brace. Spare crutches are leaned nearby, and a front door exists upstage. There is a door frame suggesting a corridor space existing between the two. She wears warm colours.

CAROL hums, jolly, pausing to take large breaths between musical phrases and to lean on her crutch. She carefully picks up items from a box that’s been stacked to her waist height, and we see that it contains fragile, speckled glass ornaments. With considered slowness, CAROL turns to the dull tree in the corner of the room and hangs the ornaments. CAROL can only raise her arms to shoulder height and so the top third of the tree goes bare..... end of extract

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