An excerpt from a new work-in-progress. The working title is, “KID.” More to come soon!
ELLIE: Nah, I don’t believe in God. (She takes a puff of her cigarette) But I could be wrong. I guess we’ll all find out anyway, so it doesn’t really matter one way or the other.
RUSSO: That’s kind of sad.
ELLIE: I don’t think so.
RUSSO: So are you agnostic or an atheist?
ELLIE: Atheist. (She takes a long exhale) I think agnosticism is a cop out.
RUSSO: It just means you don’t know, right? You think there’s something greater, but you have no idea what the heck it is. What’s wrong with that?
ELLIE: Nothing… I just think it’s a cop out.
(She takes another drag)
RUSSO: Why didn’t you call me back?
(ELLIE takes a long moment. She focuses on her cigarette)
RUSSO cont’d: You gonna answer me?
ELLIE: I thought about it…
ELLIE: You’re awfully young.
RUSSO: You could have called me and left a message that said, “You’re awfully young, sorry. Not interested.”
ELLIE: Now, I never said I wasn’t interested.
RUSSO: And here you are talking about cop-outs.
ELLIE: Hey, now, wait a minute. That’s a completely different thing.
RUSSO: Is it?
ELLIE: We’re talking about God and the Universe and then we’re talking about a phone call.
ELLIE: Now, come on. What did you expect? Did you really think I was going to call you back?
RUSSO: Usually you leave a message so someone’ll call you back.
ELLIE: Not always.
RUSSO: Well, that was my reasoning.
ELLIE: I think you’re getting a little too worked up about all of this.
RUSSO: So why’d you invite me out here on your break if you’re not even going to answer my phone calls? That’s sending mixed-messages, if you ask me.
ELLIE: Listen, I like you kid.
RUSSO: I may be young to you, but I’m not a kid, alright?
(She peaks her eyes over her glasses and makes eye contact with him)
RUSSO: Alright, I’m outta here.
ELLIE: Now, hold on. You’re so feisty. What is that about you?
(He waits, but doesn’t respond.)
ELLIE: What do you want? You want us to start up some kind of affair? Have a Harold and Maude type of fling? The thing is, I’m not planning on dying anytime soon so there’s no easy way out here.
RUSSO: Why do you hate yourself so much?
ELLIE: What did you say to me, kid?
RUSSO: Why is it so hard to for you to believe that I’d be into you?
ELLIE: I think you’d better watch yourself or that mouth of yours is going to get you in trouble.
RUSSO: I could make you happy.
(ELLIE laughs—a sour laugh that punches the air.)
ELLIE: That’s sweet of you, kid.
RUSSO: I don’t get you.
ELLIE: You should be going after someone your own age. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered and all. But what’s going to happen here? You’re going to pick up with me and then we’ll have our little affair and then you’re going to fall for some girl your own age, and then where will I be? Worse off from where I started. And where will you be? Where you should have been to begin with. With some girl your own age.
RUSSO: You really don’t know me very well.
ELLIE: I can tell you’re crazy. I know that much.
ELLIE (Quieter): You ever been with an older woman?
ELLIE: ‘Course you have. Thousands, I’m sure.
RUSSO: You don’t know shit.
ELLIE: Whoa there! He’s got a temper too. Well, let me tell you, after forty, things start falling out of place. Not everything’s as perky as it used to be. There’s a whole new sag to life.
RUSSO: You don’t scare me.
ELLIE: This is truth. No scare tactics necessary.
RUSSO: I wish you’d stop patronizing me.
ELLIE: Look at you with your five-dollar words.
RUSSO: Remember that day I passed you on the street? It was a weekend and I was surprised to see you, but you must have been working some event or other. I waved to you and you looked up like you’d seen a ghost. But mostly you looked like someone just punched you in the gut. Not actually, but. The look on your face. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.
ELLIE: This isn’t a pity party. I’ve got to get back.
RUSSO: That face. It stuck with me.
ELLIE: Listen, don’t go thinking you can save the world. It’ll get you in a lot of trouble.
(He steps in front of her. He’s trying to be seductive—it’s kind of working.)
RUSSO: You’re beautiful.
ELLIE: What are you doing?
(He kisses her.)
RUSSO: Well? Do I kiss like a kid?
(ELLIE stamps out her cigarette, smiles at him and walks inside.)