Tony Zerillo’s LOOSE ENDS

by Lou Christine

 

Author’s Statement

The two act stage play shows Tony Zerillo on his way to destiny. He’s beyond the twilight of his life, impoverished, living in a dump, deep in Mexico. It’s the middle of another lonely night and Tony lays awake in his pig-pen bed and smokes. A persistent smoker’s cough sounds in the darkness. Rising, he voices that he wouldn’t complain if his life ended right then and he challenges the heavens to get it over with.Suddenly, his front door opens and a young woman enters from the outside carrying two bags of groceries. She more or less ignores him and goes about her business placing the groceries away. Tony can hardly believe his eyes. It is Deborah, his ex-wife. Age wise, she’s in her early twenties. He asks if it’s really her and she acknowledges it is but there’s an immediate indication it won’t be a jolly reunion.Both Tony and the audience can’t be sure if Tony is dreaming, hallucinating or maybe even dead, and marooned in some sort of limbo before his eternal fate will be determined.There are two surreal aspects visible about just what is taking place on stage. There’s a brilliant, almost blinding light at the door’s threshold and there’s the obvious difference in age between two people who were once a married couple many decades ago.Tony is both curious and befuddled, plus becomes annoyed at the idea of his negative past showing up, with Deborah loaded for bear, for argument sake, as if she still has an axe to grind.After some give and take that is chock with belligerent verbal jousting, Tony voices and reflects, how back in the yesteryear, he should have stayed with someone named, Barbara, and wonders aloud what may have happened to her.Same way Deborah had, Barbara appears though the light, at the same age when she was involved with Tony, way back, before, Deborah. She’s dressed for the times, in hippy garb, suede boots up to the knee with hanging fringe, suede mini skirt, matching jacket with more fringe; topped off with a suede leather head band.Some details about Barbara’s and Tony’s relationship unfold, with Deborah acting as the constant antagonist, butting in filling Barbara in about what happened further in Tony’s life after she lost track of him. During the first act of Loose Ends, six women suddenly appear and form a cast of past lovers returning through the light to both face and interact with Tony. all doing so in the midst of Tony’s place in real time. The Hawaiian girl, Lelani, turns up. Tony and Lelani produced a child out of wedlock while he was married to Deborah. She’s in her early 20s, and acts somewhat demure on the surface, with her striking Polynesian features, dressed in an island wrap, halter top with a white gardenia in her hair but it’s obvious down deep she’s oozes of sensual and eroticism. Then Jamie will show, as a chirpy waitress, in her Marriott uniform, also in her mid twenties. She’s a little drunk but very pleasant and sociable. Consuelo, the divorced, 40-ish, Mexican socialite storms in and begins to stir things up by unleashing some secrets that unnerves Tony and the cast.A red headed aerobics instructor named, Kim, appears. She’s in her late 30s but seems out of the loop and denies a strong connection, yet nevertheless she’s an intricate part of the cast and another reflection of Tony’s life.

Consuelo becomes the big mouth and reveals some of their collective history with the man. It becomes apparent that Tony and Kim’s had a stormy relationship or lack of a loving relationship.Each has individual memories of their time with Tony and some have beefs to settle. Tony rebuffs much of the rehash. Some women at time, shelving their own misgivings and go as far as to defend him, with them being empathetic, considering his state and fall from grace. At times Tony’s quick retorts sound justified with him defending past actions, but each time he puts out one fire out, other conflicts are sparked by memory and revelation and there’s no relief in sight against the onslaught being wielded by the women.

Things hit a fever pitch when Tony’s old whoring buddy, Dean, shows with two bimbos on his arms. Dean is debonair, dressed in a three-piece suit, smoking and acting like a Dean Martin. Jamie, who calls, Tony, her Handsome, wonders about the time frame of his relationship with this, Kim, and questions Tony. All the time, besides putting away groceries, and tidying up, Deborah continues to play the role of the antagonist, shedding further embarrassment on the flimsier aspects of Tony’s life, his Catholicism, his questionable army record, his penchant for lying and how he’s more apt to embellish things.

With each revelation of truth, Tony sinks deeper in the quick sand, and even Dean’s well-meant intervention makes things worse as Dean lets some buddy secrets out of the bag, secrets Tony would prefer he would have forgotten about.Tony sums, his only out is to go and tag along with Dean, and the two girls, and escape the women of his past, and go through the light, extracting himself from the sticky situation that involves the bumpy past. He bids his loves farewells and is sucked through the light. * * *

Act Two

Tony wakes up alone. He’s relieved that it all was a dream. Again, the door opens, with the blistering light still at the door’s threshold while all six ladies come piling in Tony’s place after having a group Mexican lunch and after doing some power shopping. Seems they’ve come to terms with each other and have become chummy now Tony is the aim of their wrath. Much of Tony’s philandering ways are further exposed. In reality he hasn’t been able to be straight with women because of teenage heartbreak. Yes, Diane, his teenage, love interest appears. More and more is exposed!

Tony becomes furious indicating, ‘enough is enough.’ He wants his peace regardless if he’s alive or in the afterlife. The women won’t have it. It becomes apparent Tony lied and lied often to each of them about relationships, his life, his everything. The plot thickens yet Tony furiously defends the past. Finally all the poisons flow and Tony has no choice but to capitulate to the accusations and sums what difference does it make at this stage of his dwindling life.The common thread between the women, is that at one time or another, each had strong affections for Tony and as more is revealed the demise of loves sounds like much of Tony’s doing, as he became indifferent and rebuffed their love, shoeing them away by words or actions until each decided to leave him.The women have their own secrets. Tony’s smug confidence becomes shattered when discovering that each of them cheated on him in the midst of their relationships.With the appearance of Diane as a teenager, she represents Tony’s first love and she becomes a vivid reminder of the first time Tony was introduced to disappointment and the life long painful memories of lost love. Fact is, she is Tony’s personal poster child for all lost love.More about Tony and his deceit is exposed and why Tony’s consistent behavior and persistent indifference destroyed those lovey-dovey relationships.Throughout the play, the author desires the audience to question the significance of what appears as a surreal event, and have them question further why is it happening and why have these women manifested during a joint time and at the age when they were significant in Tony’s life. Who has beckoned them? Where is the plot heading? What will be the resolution of Tony’s dilemma that has him dueling with his past and former lovers? What good could come of it?Conflict’s resolution will occur. Hopefully, the important questions that the audience might harbor will be answered, about the very venue and the saga——be it dreamt or in the after life or even in a zone more unique and taking place in the stark now. Hopefully, the reasons why, and for who’s benefit will come to a dramatic and defining conclusion in the Loose Ends. PAGE 5Tony Zerillo’s

“LOOSE ENDS”CAST:

TONY

DEBORAH

BARBARA
LELANI
CONSUELO
JAMIE

KIM
DEAN
BIMBO #1

BIMBO #2

DIANE

POSTMAN’s VOICE

ACT 1

The stage is dark. The year is 2029. There’s an orange glow visible from the lit end of a cigarette. Stage lights come up just a bit. Exhaled smoke rises above a bed. The room is messy There are sounds of human stirring and those of a hacking cough. 

TONY:  (sitting up) I’m dying! God damn it, I’m dying!

The old man, in his late seventies, in a filthy nightgown, wheezes and coughs. When the attack subsides he takes another drag off his butt.

TONY:  So, it comes down to this, dying alone in ole Meheco. Who would have guessed? (looking upwards)  For what? . . . Let’s get it over with! I’m tired of living and scared of dying.

Tony goes into another fit. Exhausted, he flops back down on the bed. The door suddenly opens, letting in a stream of blinding, bright light. A young woman marches in through the light carrying two bags of groceries. She’s blonde, dressed casually in a khaki skirt and flowered blouse. She ignores Tony and looks around, checks out the kitchen and appears not to be impressed. 

TONY:  Deborah, is that really you?

DEBORAH:  Who did you expect, Saint Anthony?

TONY: No, but if it comes down to it, I’d settle for him over you.DEBORAH: Hmm. Still a grudge holder hey, Anthony? I’d say it’s a little late to make atonement.

TONY:  You mean, I’m . . .?

Bewildered, Tony begins checking himself. He places his hands up against his chest and then feels his head.

TONY:   Funny, I don’t feel dead. I just feel lousy. Is dead lousy?

DEBORAH:  I didn’t say you’re dead.

TONY:  Why– you’re so, young!

DEBORAH:  Why– you’re so, old, and I see you’re still a slob.

TONY: Listen to me, talking to a vision.

Deborah makes a face as she gingerly picks up a plastic bag with marijuana in it . She moves it to the side, as if it repels her. 

DEBORAH: I see you’re still smoking dope. Woodstock was sixty years ago.

TONY: What of it?

DEBORAH: By now your brain is probably one big ash, ready to crumble.

TONY: I always suspected you’d come back to haunt me. What’d they do, put your bullshit into eternal syndication? And here you are, wagging your tongue and flashing your scowl. I don’t remember extending an invitation. We’ve been divorced over 30 years.

DEBORAH:  Consider it serendipity. I’m surprised I didn’t find some wayward child-woman cuddled up here all starry eyed, singing you sweet praises, soothing the ego of the pig man. What’s a matter, Anthony, have you lost your gift for . . .

(Tony rises from the bed and shuffles towards her not listening but gazing at her in amazement.

TONY: After all this time, look at ya, all dolled up, not a minute older than the day I married ya.

DEBORAH:  And look at Senor Don Juan, here in the third world, not a very pretty sight I’d say, a fading light in a litter-strewn alley.

TONY:   Remember the bold face headlines? DIVORCE! Spare me. You won the war.

DEBORAH: What about the war crimes?

Deborah places away the groceries. Tony’s mouth opens to speak as if a nerve has been struck. Deborah ignores him.

TONY: (Emotional)  Will you stop putting that stuff away and give an old man some explanation!

No response. Tony stares hard, then begins to slowly nod.TONY: Still the same uptight broad hey, Deb?

DEBORAH: I have every reason to be.

Tony grins and becomes demonstrative, waving his arms as he speaks.

TONY: Oooh, I remember plenty, you storming up the driveway, beeping the god-damned horn, insisting I drop everything like some Chinese house boy to unload groceries from the Cherokee. Yeah, barking that the ice cream would . . . God damn it! I didn’t order any groceries.

DEBORAH: What were you doing that was so important? You couldn’t get your bovine ass off the sofa! Like you never wolfed down the yogurts or wiped your ass with the toilet paper?

TONY: Oh, we’re back to Dannon and Kimberly Clark, are we?

DEBORAH: You weren’t willing to help your wife, ’cause you were mesmerized by an endless parade of play-off games or typing out some ridiculous farce.

DEBORAH mocks her memories of Tony while grabbing onto her groin.

DEBORAH:(mimicking)  “Hey, it’s a fucking play-off game!” Wasn’t that the excuse?

TONY:  We’re divorced, remember? The past no longer counts. I’m sure divorce holds up in Heaven.

DEBORAH: Huh! Heaven. What makes you so sure you’ll be there?

TONY:  Cause I light a candle on San Antonio Day. Now stop with your righteous, little miss-housewife routine and give a dying man some answers.

DEBORAH: And listen to him, thinking about Heaven. Don’t tell me you’re frightened of death?

TONY: Still a pape baiter, hey, Debbie?DEBORAH:  I should have known. Daddy always said—

TONY: “Catholics are liars.” Heard it a thousand times. Just because little kids are afraid to tell priests they whack off, that doesn’t make them liars.

Tony coughs

DEBORAH:  I warned you about the cigarettes. Look at your face.

TONY:  (passively)  You, told me lots of shit, day-in and day-out for 18 friggin’ years.

DEBORAH: And you should have listened.TONY:  Shoulda-whoulda-coulda—I shoulda listened plenty, like when Sid Lambert said I shoulda married that Polish honey, Barbara. I remember his exact words, “Anthony, my boy, forget that blonde shikza with those hot lips and uplifted ass. Instead, marry that little Pollock. You’ll be a lot happier. Don’t be a putz. That little Pollock will get down on her hands and knees and scrub the steps and love ya til the end of time.” But I wound up marrying you. I wonder what ever happened to Barbara? (sound and light cue.)

BARBARA: I’m right here.

At the door’s threshold stands Barbara with a hippy-type leather headband encircling her head, dressed from the 70s: buckskin skirt with fringe and matching top. She’s in knee-high boots. Barbara enters gingerly, glances towards Deborah and then focuses back on Tony. She gives him a peck on the cheek. Tony appears embarrassed. Barbara strolls over towards Deborah and extends a hand.

BARBARA: Hi, I’m Barbara Ross.

DEBORAH: (Looking towards Tony)  I thought you said she was Polish?

BARBARA:  Actually, the name is Barbara Roskowski. (2 Beats)  So, at least he mentioned me. Funny, he never brought you up, other than when he dropped the bomb, saying he was in love with somebody else.

DEBORAH: (sarcastically):  Oh, I should be flattered.TONY:  You should be flattered. Over a lifetime there were but a few-

BARBARA: (shyly)  You never told me that you loved me. You never talked of the future. I told you I loved you. I told you over and over.

TONY:  I did inside my head, Barbara. The truth is, I held back. I shouldn’t have. You deserved more.

DEBORAH: Go ahead, Anthony, worm out of it!  You’re so predictable. I could have said it for you. You were playing her, hoping something better would come wiggling down the line, so you wouldn’t be committed.

TONY: What came wiggling down the line was you! You knew I was sleeping with you both. I told you the night I asked you to marry me. Remember how I threw up my guts? What is this shit?

BARBARA: Saying you loved me wasn’t that important. You acted like you did. Like most girls I starved for such words. I kidded myself, that you not saying you loved me was your eventual out. When the time came to blow me off, you did, by delivering a verbal punch in the stomach during our last date, that lasted all of fifteen minutes.

TONY: (To both) Say, you’re both not gonna gang up on me are ya? (To Barbara)  You knew the score. We were kids involved in a Tuesday-Saturday night fuckerama. It didn’t cost you a dime. You went along with the ride. You got your shot. Together, we saw Hendrix, the week in Montreal; I bought you those knee-high boots. Look, you’re wearing them now. Who else was treating you as well. I was 22.

BARBARA: I was in Seventh Heaven. You swept me off my feet. Maybe you acted too nice…

Tony shuffles away. He places thumb and forefinger under his chin and contemplates for 3 Beats. He then turns to address Barbara.

TONY: You’re right, Barbara. How I handled our split still bothers me. I tried to do the right thing. But it seems no matter how much time goes by, you gals can’t help but catch that “bitch” disease.

Deborah slams down hard a can of beans as a sign of contempt.

DEBORAH:  None of us, “so-called bitches” are born with the disease. We catch it all right, from the likes of you. And don’t try being too syrupy with Barbara here, trying to erase the past with typical Tony-boy excuses. You’re still weak. (Deborah then flashes a knowing smile and lowers her voice)   . . . yet I see you’ve become wily with age.

TONY:  Why don’t you stay out of this? I’m speaking with Barbara.

DEBORAH: How do you know you’re not talking to yourself, an old man’s putrid lament, trying to patch up a pot-holed past?

Tony ignores Deborah, turns to face Barbara grabbing her by the shoulders.

TONY: Barbara, am I ranting to a vision, or what? You’re a straight shooter. Do you know if we’re really here? I can’t get anything out of her.

DEBORAH: Oh, silly boy. Look at ya, trying to touch her heart. I’m surprised your fingers aren’t making their way up her skirt. Why not consider all this an impromptu reunion?

TONY:(Tony looks over his shoulder to Deborah)  Last I heard, after me, you wound up with a plumber. I always suspected Miss Tight Ass might be a perfect fit for a plumber. (Tony turns to face Deborah)  Since you keep butting in, go ahead! Take the stage! Get it out, Debbie. Say your piece about the plumber, then maybe I can have a decent conversation with Barbara.

Deborah says nothing.

TONY: So then, how’s it going with Mr. Fix It?Deborah turns away and looks to the distance. She gnaws at her knuckle.

DEBORAH:  He was very kind and helpful, thank you. He passed away.Tony changes his body language; his smirk changes to compassion.

TONY: Sorry. You’ve been through this sort of “thing” before. I imagine it’s “tough” with the death of a spouse whether you’re still together or not.

DEBORAH: “Tough?” This sort of “Thing!” Your passing can never be compared to Winston’s. His last breath was the very essence, crisp and clean, a Monet, a life lovingly ingrained in my memory. Hah! you’re still so stuck on yourself. Your passing will be a toilet flush entering a sewer.

TONY: Go ahead, Deb, have your fun. I’ll just back off. No need for me to attain a cheap win over an up-tight broad. Take your pound of flesh while it’s still warm. This dream of mine can be your way to get even. (Tony changes demeanour and smiles)  Why should I complain? I got a double feature going here. Give me a break, Debbie. (turning to Barbara)  And, you, Barbara, how did your life turn out?

BARBARA: Not as bitter sweet as Deborah’s. After you, I hooked up with a politico brat. He was a gambler, a liar a cheat, cruel and selfish.

DEBORAH:  Sounds familiar.

TONY: Poor, poor pitiful, you! Seems like you had it a lot better than Barbara, here.

DEBORAH: Like you weren’t a gambler, a liar, a cheat, cruel and selfish!

TONY: Fucking right, I was a gambler. I gambled on you. Liar? Remember, I was in the furniture business. Everything was marked 80% off. (Beat)  You know what the cheating was all about. It was primal, just a dick thing. I was cruel when you gave me no way out.

BARBARA: God! I didn’t mean to stir things up. I didn’t have 18 years to see Tony’s bad side. Maybe I’ve been lucky.

TONY: What you didn’t see, Barbara, was her rosy existence with a guy who whisked this one’s Dairy Queen ass away from cold winters, and who sat her in a Hawaiian villa with breath-taking ocean views.

DEBORAH: Big Deal

TONY With a pool, a hot tub, vacations, a decent father. Oh, Barbara, you were big-time lucky not to suffer the “yuppie-lifestyle” as poor Deborah had to. Ya missed the security! All was safe and sound.

DEBORAH:  Safe and sound doesn’t warm the heart.TONY: It would have taken a blast furnace.

DEBORAH:  Thank you for sharing that with me.TONY: (mockingly) ‘THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT WITH ME!.’ You’d think all this time you would have come up with something spiffier. DEBORAH: What have you come up with?

TONY: (grabbing his crotch)  Put your head on it!

DEBORAH: Oh, God, you’re so original.

TONY: I can’t believe this!

(Ignoring Deborah’s last comment, Tony, focusing on the light at the threshold and shuffles over to the doorway The light’s intense. He places his palm near the light but is hesitant about placing his hand  into it. 

BARBARA:  (To Deborah) You don’t hafta continue to put him down in front of me. Looks as if he is at the bottom of the barrel already.

Tony shuffles back to the women, but ignores them as if talking to himself and he places both hands over his ears . . .  

TONY: What am I doing? I’m wrestling with the past. Perhaps If only I was young. If this is a dream, can’t I make it a sweet dream?(With a burst of energy and a lascivious smile)  Look at yas, girly figures and young shiny faces. I need to appreciate dreams.

BARBARA: I’m not dreaming. I stopped dreaming after you.DEBORAH: Don’t flatter him, Barbara.

TONY: Let Barbara say what she wants. We’re playing ‘This is Tony’s life here. Stop imposing your iron will upon the unsuspecting innocent.

DEBORAH: Innocent! See how you Catholics embrace martyrdom. Wise up. Martyrdom isn’t your strong suit.

TONY: You’re god damned right it isn’t. Johnny don’t play that game.

DEBORAH:  It wasn’t a god-damned game. It was supposed to be about commitment, loyalty, caring, and mutual support.

TONY:  Like I didn’t?

DEBORAH:  Oh you cared; like where the next joint was coming from, if your clothes were clean, and you cared about the game, or the latest, kooky brainstorm you could come up with.

TONY: Ya left out the writing, ya quitter. You jumped ship.

DEBORAH:  Writer? What writer? Where’s the great American masterpiece? You couldn’t write a post card. You squandered your savings, tossed away a lifetime, for what? to wind up as a meager pauper. You offed your self respect.

(3 beats Tony looks confused crosses the room and back to the bed)

TONY: But you left out how you came up small. I threw away my self respect with Lelani during my first mid-life crisis.

DEBORAH: One of many, I suppose.

(sound and light cue.)With that said, Lelani arrives at the doorway. She’s dressed in an island wrap, halter top and gardenia placed into her thick black Polynesian hair.

LELANI: (with a tropical smile)  Did I wen hear my name?

TONY:  (Smiling)  Dreams have no limits. Welcome to the party. Come on in.

(Deborah backs off, appearing uncomfortable. In bare feet she crosses the floor, wiggling her rear directs her attention towards Deborah.)

LELANI:  Aloha, Deborah.Deborah stands cold, then forces a weak smile.

DEBORAH:  Enter the slut. I suppose it’s Anthony’s party.

LELANI approaches Tony

LELANI:  (shy but affable)  Hi, Ace.

TONY: Hi, Tiko.

Barbara comes to attention.

TONY:  Forgive me, Lelani. Say ‘howz’t’ to Barbara Ross. Barbara was my girl friend before I met Deb. I may have told you.

LELANI: You say you wen broke her heart, too?

TONY:  I can’t say that. We had our moments.

LELANI: You mean like between you and me?

TONY:  Well yes, but it was different.Barbara squirms

TONY:  I don’t mean that. It’s just that it’s different becau—

DEBORAH: Because it’s always different with Anthony. Zeroing in on someone new, sweeping them off their feet with bucket loads of smooth talk. Yet Tony Z’s targets have a limited shelf life.

TONY:  Does there always have to be a metaphor? DEBORAH: You’re the fucking writer.

BARBARA:  (jumping in but acting embarrassed)  I understood what you meant. (She turns towards Lelani)  It’s so nice to meet you.

DEBORAH:  So, we’re forming sides.

TONY:  There doesn’t always have to be an ax to grind, Deborah. You prefer holy war. Why not make a dream-like, cameo appearance and split! I got Barbara and Lelani here now. I’m calling the dream police!

DEBORAH:  Who says it’s a dream? Who says it’s strictly about Tony’s life? You heard Barbara, she’s not dreaming.

TONY: It’s you who came storming into my humble abode.

DEBORAH: Ok, Mr Omnipotent, you’ve chosen to deal solely with those who fit into your scheme of things.

TONY: Aye-aye-aye. You’re so rude, can’t you just go about your Betty Crocker business. Let me visit with the girls here?

DEBORAH: You’re stuck with me. I’m the main attraction here. If there’s no me . . . There’s no them.

Tony looks towards Barbara and Lelani for support.

LELANI: Gee!

BARBARA:  I’m afraid she’s right.

TONY:  She always right. (acting peppier)  That’s what I first found attractive. No matter what I came up with, Miss Smart Ass had the answer.

BARBARA: What was I, stupid?

TONY: No, but Deborah knew about stuff, the right fork, turning the wheel into a skid. She spoke the King’s English. I should have put her ass on Jeopardy. But as time went by, the thrill was gone. (Shifting gears)  I gotta stop this reminiscing. I need to focus on the positive. Tiko, how is Travis Lee?

LELANI:  Oh, he stay fine. (she laughs)  You grandpa many times. He wen work, owns his home, and stay married to the same wahini.

BARBARA: That sounds nice. My son is married to the same gal, too.

DEBORAH: You ask about your bastard son with out mentioning Eric!

TONY: You haven’t given me a chance.

DEBORAH:   Typical.TONY: So, how is he?

DEBORAH:  Go fuck yourself.

BARBARA:  So, you have two boys. I heard about the one.

TONY:  Yeah, a package deal with Deborah, Eric was part of the deal and Lelani and I produced a boy. . .  But you know, Barbara, you were a joy. We had great times. And you don’t know how many times I’ve anguished about how I felt . . . It’s difficult to be honest at times.DEBORAH:  You mean, you got no guts and lack conviction.

TONY:  Oh, we’re sounding like your father again.

DEBORAH:  Leave Daddy out of it!

TONY: I’m talking to Barbara here!(To Barbara)  At the time, Barbara, I saw her as good for my career, a sense of legitimacy. That’s the reason, Barbara. You never did anything wrong, I swear.

Barbara takes a deep breath.

BARBARA:  I never held it against you. I asked myself questions and initially I felt deserted and empty, but I never held it against you.

TONY:  That’s more than Deborah is willing to say.

DEBORAH:    What about you, Lelani? After you two tried to destroy our marriage. After he left you in a lurch with your Hawaiian opu swollen. Did you hold it against him?

LELANI:         I nevvah know. It just wen taught me for nevvah fall in love with one married man. I cried. I hated him, but I had our son. When I wen miss him, I spent time with our boy.

TONY: You’re just pissed ’cause we were unable to conceive, isn’t that it, Deb? Not the great white doctor of fertility, nor the drugs, or having impromptu sex with a thermometer stuck in your mouth produced a child. Even the operation on my testicles by your wacky, dick doctor couldn’t bring on the blessed event.

DEBORAH: Just shut up!

TONY: She’s jealous; a bitter old lady, regardless of how radiant she appears. Know what I think, Deb? We didn’t have the chemistry. It was a marriage of convenience, no Bogart and Bacall. I desired a pretty mentor and you needed a father for Eric, and ya found some schmuck, a working Johnny willing to provide—

DEBORAH:  Was it Hell on Earth?

Tony doesn’t answer.

DEBORAH: That’s because you’re incapable, asshole! Hey, Lelani, did he ever tell you that he loved you, with you realizing he told his wife the same trash?

TONY:  You don’t hafta answer that, Lelani!

LELANI: Yes. He wen say.

DEBORAH: That’s more than Barbara can say.

TONY:  We already drew up sides, Deborah. You’re on the losing team.

DEBORAH:  Like you’re a team player.

BARBARA:  Looking around here, it doesn’t seem as if we missed out on that much. Perhaps any of us could have made it better, but for reasons only he can explain, he chose to throw our love away. I don’t know why I sorta feel sorry for him. Look at him, I mean, he’s pathetic.

TONY:  See, Deborah! And I never even told her I loved her.

BARBARA: (towards Tony)  You’re not getting off Scot free. It hurt, and I thought we were friends. In one moment you said we could no longer be together, that you loved somebody else. Where did that leave me?

TONY: Out of respect for you, I figured a clean break was best, rather than prolonging something. After I asked Deborah to marry me, I felt compelled to break it off. Nothing else would have worked. It pained me. I became ill.

DEBORAH: Now, you’re making me ill.

LELANI: What about me?

DEBORAH: Seems as if a profile is being formed here. You cheated on your wife, walked on both sides of the street and were incapable of giving love.

TONY: What do you think, Lelani? Do you know what it was like going back to her? I returned home only out of some blind loyalty.

LELANI: If you wen love me, like you say, you wen stay with me.

TONY: It was agony leaving you. But for Pete’s sake, you knew we couldn’t make it. Culturally, we were polar regions apart. Face it, you were a know-nothing, but yet a Gauguin fantasy. I was willing to die for an ounce of passion. This bitch turned cold. We had a beautiful thing.

DEBORAH: He calls it a thing.

TONY: Shut up, Deborah! And Lelani, we made a nice boy. Yet you preferred Kung-fu movies. Ya cut your pasta rather than twirl it. I cringed when you drowned your eggs with half-a-bottle of ketchup. My interests and friends bored you. We weren’t soul mates. All we really had in common was the love making.

DEBORAH: How sweet, a perfect match. You both looked ridiculous—a pudgy, old fart, marching around an island like Maui, with a bright-eyed, eighteen-year old on your arm.

TONY: We were very discreet. I wore sun glasses, a cowboy hat and boots. We frequented gay bars.

DEBORAH: He was petrified and shaking in his Cowboy boots, that I’d take his Porsche. He just wanted to save his own butt.

LELANI: I just one hula girl. You act uppity. But I know hurt. Told I’m loved in the morning, but no stay good enough for the night. Us Hawaiians stay lucky. There’s love in the ohana; my folks stood near me. I was 18. You were unfaithful to your wife. But I still wanted you.

TONY: We were being unfaithful to my wife. We both know what a flirt you were. Sure you had never been off Maui, but you understood all about the fire down under and the dilly-dallying going on between men and women since the fucking-beginning of time. You just batted your big, black, come-fuck-me eyes

LELANI: You father, businessman. After Trav’s birth you-wen send money, but that nevvah heal da heart, brah. You no longer love Deborah. Even one island girl for-see you no-stay happy. I wen “tink” I make you happy. Then, I nevvah know how for do anything, ‘cept sleep with you.

TONY: There you have it, Deb. Even an island girl was able “for see”  you weren’t attempting to create a state of bliss.

DEBORAH: Only after-

BARBARA: Deborah, look at it from my view, here I am, years later, dressed like Pocahontas. I don’t get it. . . is this supposed to be a vendetta? You’ve made your point, He wasn’t willing or capable. (sound and light cue.)

JAMIE: (Off Stage LOUDLY) Ooooh! Yes, he was!

Jamie stands at the threshold. She is a pretty brunette with a beaming full face. She has a wine glass in her hand and she’s a little bombed. She enters in her waitress uniform.

JAMIE: Hi, Handsome!

TONY: Jamie! Thank goodness; just in the nick of time.

Jamie comes over and gives Tony a kiss and a hug. She stands back, gleaming at him, sending her love through her eyes.

TONY: Now here’s somebody who will stand up for me.

Jamie still beaming, heads first towards Deborah.

JAMIE: (To Deborah)  It’s like I’ve known you for years. Our apartment had family pictures. How’s Eric? I hope we can find the time to talk.

DEBORAH: Huh?

Still affable, despite the affront, Jamie turns towards Barbara.

JAMIE: And you must be Barbara. He spoke of you fondly. I’m part Polish also. Look, we both have sturdy legs.

BARBARA: Nice to meet you.

Jamie goes over to Lelani and gives her a good hug.

JAMIE: Hi, Lelani. How’s Travis?

LELANI:  (receptive)  He stay good.

DEBORAH: How long has this one had the wool pulled over her eyes?

Tony appears more comfortable and pulls a smoke out of the pack on the night stand.

TONY: I’m putting a stop to this bickering, especially since my Jamie is here. Imagine, my past loves coming back to pay homage. Let’s forget the differences. I’m willing to bury the hatchet, even with you, Deb. Whaddaya you say? I’m proposing we all have a tequila. Ah tequila, nectar de dios. Too bad we never got into tequila, Deb, it might have put a better spin on things.(Tony pours one for Jamie.)JAMIE: (Laughs drunkenly)  Don’t mind if I do.

TONY: (towards Barbara) Para tu mademoiselle?

BARBARA: Oui, monsieur.

TONY: Tiko.

LELANI: What the heck, Ace.

BARBARA:  How come you call her, Tiko, and she calls you, Ace?

TONY: Tiko’s, Lelani’s nickname. Her parents called each other Ace. So I asked her to call me that. You know, little stuff, between lovers. . . . C’mon, Deb, have a drink. Ya drink at wakes, don’t ya?

DEBORAH: No, Anthony, go ahead, you and your lush friends can. Go ahead and poison yourselves.

TONY: Oh, yeah, I forgot. Ms Whole Wheat Bread.

(Tony swaggers towards Deborah and goes eye to eye. He laughs and turns to the rest of the ladies.)  

Tony:              Well, anyway, Salud!

DRINKERS (in unison) Salud! 

(sound and light cue)

Consuelo enters, stops and poses. She’s, Latin, with big eyes, dressed in black with a shawl. She appears older than the rest.

CONSUELO: What’s the matter, darling? Aren’t you going to offer your Mexican spitfire a tequila?

TONY: Ah, the goddess, Consuelo. Somehow the instant I mentioned tequila I figured you might join the party.

CONSUELO: Darling, its been an eternity.TONY: But, of course, my love. It will likely be one, too.

The four other woman stare, smirking.

CONSUELO: Darling, I want you to know to be with you, I’m passing up on a smashing dinner party hosted by the French Ambassador in Mexico City. So, mi amor,  why don’t you introduce me to your little friends.

DEBORAH: Get a load of her.

JAMIE: I think she’s nifty; maybe a little snippy. Who cares?

Barbara and Lelani look on with interest.

CONSUELO: Yes! I know about all of you. Tony has told me everything. Haven’t you, darling?Tony says nothing.

CONSUELO:   Cat got your tongue! Que pasa! Se cortó la lengua el ratón? C’mon! Be a man for once. Speak up—agree with me!

TONY: Aye-aye-aye-aye! Do you always have to—

CONSUELO:     That’s the trouble with you Americans. The moment you’re presented with a challenge, you clam up, or just say something that is vulgar and without class.

TONY: Look Consuelo. We’re all just trying to get reacquainted. So far it’s been a family-like, friendly reunion.

Tony blinks, then stares at Consuelo with a “please don’t” expression. Deborah returns to the groceries.

TONY: Consuelo, say hello to Barbara Ross. Remember, I told you we both went to see Hendrix?

Consuelo extends her hand then gives a jerky hand shake.

CONSUELO: And you took her to Woodstock, darling, didn’t you? Mucho gusto!  You know, Eric Burden of the Animals was my first husband. He and Jimi Hendrix were very close

.BARBARA: (To Consuelo)  I don’t remember going to Woodstock.

TONY: Consuelo was connected to many celebrities.

DEBORAH: I bet she was.TONY: Ahem. Consuelo, this is Lelani, Travis’ mom.

CONSUELO: Oh yes, the Hula Girl. Hawaii. What an unfriendly place. It’s become a jet-age ghetto, like the rest of the United States. Waikiki, how awful. No class. More time-share salesmen than palm trees. People are so unfriendly, just angry peons. It’s nothing like Acapulco.

LELANI: In the islands, to receive aloha you have to give it

.CONSUELO: Whatever. Maybe you’re different.

TONY: This is Jamie.

CONSUELO:    Ah, yes, the cocktail waitress, the little devoted waif—never an argument, she called him, her Handsome, they slept with hands clenched. Tell ’em, darling. She never challenged you. It must have been such a bore.

TONY: Consuelo, please!

JAMIE: Where did she come in?

TONY: It’s a long story

.JAMIE: Well, I want to know.

TONY: I met the goddess down here when just shy of 50. She’s from here, in Mexico. Check that; she’s from fuckin’ Pluto.

CONSUELO: Darling, you left a little something out. Why not tell your sweet Jamie about Kim who you sandwiched between us.

Tony flinches. Deborah stops. Lelani and Barbara move to the side. Jamie looks unsure and takes a slug of the tequila and a deep breath.

CONSUELO: Oh, did I say something wrong?

(sound and light cue.)Enter the small perky redhead Kim. She’s somewhat exasperated.

KIM: I’m late, as usual.

She appears uptight, nervous, she gives Tony a weak . . .

KIM: Hi

She looks away and sort of just roams around, then spins and says .

KIM: OK, I’m here. What am I supposed to do?

TONY: How ’bout go fuck yourself!

Tony appears angry and glares at Kim.

CONSUELO: Do you have to be so crude? I thought you said everyone was becoming reacquainted.

TONY: I’m not interested in reacquaintance right now.

DEBORAH: Tsk, tsk tsk. Looks as if Tony has his tits caught in a wringer.TONY: You stay out of this.

JAMIE: (looking at Kim.)  Who’s she?

TONY: Wallpaper.

CONSUELO: Why don’t you tell her the whole sordid story, darling? You’re such an orator, she’ll understand her, HAND-SOME.

BARBARA: (walks over to Kim)  Hi, I’m Barbara. This is Lelani. Seems we all have something in common.

Deborah, at Barbara’s comment, holds up messy paper towels while looking for a place to throw out the trash.

DEBORAH: Common is right. (She trashes the paper.)

CONSUELO: Oh, I can see, darling, that you-two have a lot not-to-talk about. Don’t let me intrude. I think I’ll just sashay over here and get acquainted with Deborah. We seem to be the only two with class.

JAMIE: (Almost in a whisper)  Is she why you left me in Hawaii?

TONY: Yes.

JAMIE: May I ask why?

Tony directs Jamie over near the doorway

TONY: You wanted a baby and a white picket fence. I was married to my writing. I had no income. Besides, you were drinking. I wouldn’t have made you happy. I met Kim the summer I went back East. She had grown children. She was closer to my age. There was a chance we could make it.

JAMIE: So, that’s it? (sound and light cue.)

DEAN: (enters)  There could be more to the story.

Dean appears, mid forties, debonair, dressed in a three-piece suit. He’s escorting two bimbos one platinum, the other brunette, in short skirts, gold lame tops with plunging necklines. As he strolls in holding a lit cigarette, Dean Martin style, he situates the two babes who appear disinterested.

DEAN: I can tell you exactly what happened, Jamie, but first permit me to say hello to my main man, Tony, here. We go way back. (to Tony)  My man, you’re looking fit and aging gracefully.

DEBORAH: Listen to him. Two peas in a pod. Butch Cassidy and the Last Chance Kid. Huh, Dino. The lord prince of over-ingratiating bull shit.

DEAN: Don’t worry about my man here. He knows a good friend when he sees one. Maybe you should have tried such an approach, then maybe you wouldn’t have wound up with a fucking plumber.

(Tony high-fives Dean. Dean places his arm around Tony’s shoulder and leads him to the side; out of ear shot of the women.)

TONY: Don’t listen to her. She’s full of shit. Hah! For a while there I thought this was going to be strictly a hen party.

DEAN: Why, it is, my man. And weez  the cocks. (ha-ha-ha-ha)  Check these two out.

TONY: (Craning his neck and looking back)   I’ll  say! What a pair of knock outs. Christ, I can’t remember the last time I had a hard-on. Look, you can see I’m in sort of a pickle with these broads, especially Jamie, even if it is a fucking dream or if I’m dead. . .  What were ya gonna tell her?

DEAN: You mean you never told her you were putting the wood to Kim? Hmm, that puts a different twist on things. Well, don’t worry about it (Tony eagerly nods his head in agreement)  You knows whats  Dino’s gonna say. (Tony continues to nod.)  I’m gonna revert to my standard procedure. (Tony’s nodding his head with gleeful anticipation) And I’m gonna articulate the facts in everybody’s best interest.Tony’s rubbing his hands with further anticipation.

TONY: You’re gonna make up something real good, like back in the good old days, when we sold furniture. You’re gonna lie.

DEAN: Nope!

TONY: Nope? What the fuck’s “Nope,” mean?

DEAN: Trust your pal. Lookie here. Fuck these bitches. Haven’t ya had enough of them over a miserable lifetime? Every one of them busted your balls one way or another. Shed the guilt, my man. You’s the king.

TONY: What the fuck you talking about?DEAN: I got two hot ones here, buddy. I got ludes, a couple of grams of blow. We’ll escort these two “special ladies” outta here, and tattoo them in tag-team fashion. It will be just like the good ole days.

TONY: What, are you, crazy? If I’m not dead already, I’d be soon enough. I’m somewhat fragile. Forget fragile, I’m a crumbling temple.

DEAN: Don’t talk that way to your main man, Dino. C’mon, Tony, you still got the grit. You used to go like gangbusters all night long.

CONSUELO: You two get back over here. Dean promised an answer. If you won’t, I will.

DEAN: She’s kind of a hot number, Mexicana, huh? You old devil, you, I might want to give her a tango myself. You wouldn’t mind, would ya? I could go for some of that Hawaiian one, too.Dean breaks from Tony and addresses the women.

DEAN: Kim, here, was my mistress for 15 years. Tell ’em, Kim. Kim’s face goes blank as if she would prefer not to hear but is helpless.DEAN: So old Tony, here, comes back to Jersey to help me out of a tenuous situation, but my old lady wasn’t buying that. So I asked Kim to put him up.

CONSUELO: Why? So you both could have your way with her the same way you two always—

TONY: Hey, Cunt-suelo,  why don’t you just shut the fuck up!

CONSUELO: Well, I know the whole story. You always bragged about all the women you and Dean used to ganga-bang.

DEAN: Hey, hey, I have the floor. So, Tony went to stay with Kim. For two months he was like a boy scout. But you gotta know Kim here. She’s a sharpie, always looking for an angle, a real taker. Then her womanly charms overwhelmed my main man and got the best of the poor guy.

DEBORAH: You call them charms.

DEAN: Oh, sorry, Deb.

BARBARA: Seems I may have had a better chance with the gambler, liar, cheating, selfish, cruel one . . .

TONY: That’s not true, Barbara.

LELANI: You haoles are trippy.

CONSUELO: Americans, they’re all so perverted. At least in my country the men never leave their wives.

JAMIE: (Slowly and deliberately)  Please, get to the bottom line.

KIM: I’ll tell you the bottom line. I didn’t love Tony. I loved Dean, but Dean was selfish. Tony was just a stop gap, and he got himself wrapped up with a hopeless romantic.

TONY: Is that why you phoned me for almost a year? Is that why you told me you were lonely and wanted me back? Is that why you convinced me to break it off with Jamie and come back to New Jersey to be with you?

JAMIE: I don’t believe my ears!

TONY: Well, believe them, like I believed mine. Didn’t I, Kim? And what was my greeting? A fickle broad who left me in the lurch with nobody to turn to.KIM: Dean was home with his wife. I thought if you stay with me in Jersey, I could make Dean jealous and get him back. But I couldn’t bring myself to sleep with you again.

TONY: (To Kim)  So that’s it. Finally, I get the skinny. If a man lives long enough all the mysteries will be answered. What’s this about how you couldn’t bring yourself to sleep with me again?

KIM: Please . . .

DEBORAH: What’s a matter, Anthony, the old ego can’t take it?

TONY: (To Kim, ignoring Deborah’s comment)  Please, you say! Look around, baby. These have been My women, way more than our fifteen-minute go-round. Banging you was nothing more than coffee and donuts, at the most, a dirty weekend. Go ahead, gals, tell this one how I was the man. I don’t know why the fuck you’re here! You’re not part of my legacy.

Barbara, Lelani, and Consuelo bring their hands to their mouths to stop themselves from a fit of laughter. Deborah and Jamie stand by stoically.

CONSUELO: Oh, there’s the photo album. Think I’ll take a look.

BARBARA: Think I’ll join you.

LELANI: Me, too. (as Lelani and Barbara scoot away).

DEBORAH: Think I’ll just scrub the sink.JAMIE: I need another drink. I need more than that, I think I need to rewind my life and edit all of you out of it forever!

TONY: Hey, wait a minute! Whose party is this, anyway? You mean to say none of you are going to back me up on this?

DEAN: C’mon, buddy. This is supposed to be a get-together.

TONY: Bullshit! This has to be more than just a get together. Why is she here? She’s a nothing, who played me for a fool.

DEBORAH: Like you didn’t play everyone here for a fool. She just pulled the trigger before you pulled it on her.

CONSUELO: Oh, look at him! He was a prince. Look at the hair. He’s in his uniform, when he was a war hero. You girls had him in his prime; I had him during his Pal Joey days.

DEBORAH: Are you talking about the minuteman? What war hero? What, as a mushy-handed Chaplain’s assistant in Washington, D.C?

TONY: That’s not fair, Deborah!

DEBORAH: I could get more personal!

TONY: So, could I.

JAMIE: So, could we.

LELANI: Me, too.

Barbara shrugs then extends her hand, palm down, spreads her fingers and motions her hand in a mas or menos hit and miss sort of way. with a smile indicating she sides with the other women

CONSUELO: He was seasoned. Sometimes we had a little trouble in the heat department, didn’t we, mi amor? But put a few tequilas in him and he was a tiger. Oh, I could only imagine what he was like in his twenties, after the war, all that testosterone. I got him at 50, but there was still plenty of boy there. Wasn’t there, darling? Before Antonio I had a lover 20 years my junior, but our Antonio wore me out, didn’t you, mi amor? (Tony fakes humility holding up his palms as if signaling to stop the applause. Dean’s laughing, the bimbos exchange a knowing glance.) 

DEAN: My man! My man! Just the way I remember you when we gooned up the broads in the old days. Tony was a real killer. I remember back in this seedy mo…—————

TONY: Yo, Dean! Why not save it?

DEBORAH: Thank you for sharing that with me, Dean.DEAN: Aw, shit! Sorry, Deborah. I figured nothing counts any more.

CONSUELO: Oh, yeah?

She swaggers over towards Dean with hands on hips, then gives Dean an intense once over and then gets into his face.

CONSUELO: Basura blanca. White Trash! What do you know about love? 

Consuelo tosses back her head (with a hmph,) hands on hips, stepping back, turns and spits.  Deborah rushes out from behind the counter and cleans up the spit with a cloth. Dean forces a grin clutching a bimbo. They lean into Dean reassuring him. Dean continues to grin.

LELANI: I no like see all this hu hu. Why not erase the past?

DEBORAH: I don’t think we’re here to forget.KIM: I do.

JAMIE: Lelani’s right. Everything took place a long time ago. It has taken its toll—look at him. He’s certainly not worth having fights over.

BARBARA: I had his youth.LELANI: I had his baby.

CONSUELO: I had the high-life on a peso budget.

TONY: Correcto mundo, mi amor.

KIM:I don’t know what I’m doing here. I didn’t want anything.

JAMIE: I had his heart, and I never wanted the money.

DEBORAH: I had the complete sordid package; dating, marriage, deceit, misery and the divorce. And I got my money.

JAMIE: I wanted him to marry me, but he wouldn’t

LELANI: I wanted him to marry me, but he couldn’t.

BARBARA: I wanted him to marry me, but he met you.

KIM:         I still don’t know what I’m doing here.

CONSUELO: I was willing to marry my Gringo gangster. That’s what you were darling, wasn’t it? My gangster. He thought he was penning my memoirs. But for me he was my thug on a keyboard. He’s written about you all, you know?

DEBORAH: I bet he painted himself in as something really special.

JAMIE: I always liked his writing.

TONY: What’s with this tit-for-tat? C’mon, let’s have some concrete answers. Why are all of you here? You tell me, Dean.

DEAN: I have no idea. Last I knew, I was being fed Pablum in an old-folks home. Then I found myself sporting these duds, with all the party favors and I hooked up with these two. I’m here.

TONY: This gotta be a dream. If we’re all dead, I don’t think there’d be differences. Everyone is young except me. Deborah, you’re the first to arrive?

Deborah turns her back.

TONY: Jamie, can you give me an explanation?

JAMIE: I was having my afternoon wine and . .

.TONY: Yeah, yeah . . . (moving on)  Lelani?

LELANI: I nevvah know.

CONSUELO: Not so many questions, darling. You’re giving me a headache. Mother always said you’re so boring when you beat to death your “little issues.”

KIM:         Accept what’s going on, like when I dumped you.

TONY: Jesus, fucking Christ!

LELANI: You told me you were going to leave her and marry me.

JAMIE: You told me lots of things. Now I don’t know what to believe. And you never mentioned anyone named Kim

.DEBORAH: Oooh, mi amor,  looks as if the plot thickens.

Tony, freezes up as if he is caught.

DEAN: Look pal, you don’t need this. Forget these bitches. We got the birds both in the hands and the bush. C’mon, by the time we get going with these two, you’ll figure out some way to handle them, even if the equipment’s a little rusty

.Tony closes his eyes and hits the sides of his head.

TONY: Wake up, Tony! Wake up, Tony. (he opens his eyes, everybody of course is still there. ((3 beats) I think you might be on to something. (Like he wants to make a fast exit and saying to himself)  Ladies, its been a serendipitous event. You’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to let destiny take its course; taking advantage of my buddy’s invitation here. Mi casa, su casa.  Never let it be said I wasn’t hospitable till the end.

Tony shuffles towards the door. Dean and the two women exit. There’s a slurping sound. Tony stoops and bows goodbye.Deborah has made her way around behind Tony and plants herself near the threshold, arms folded, defiant. She holds him up and stage whispers.

DEBORAH:  You pig, you. All this time you swore to me that the first time you ever cheated was when you were with Lelani.

TONY: (slow anger)  I’d say it’s a little after the fact, Holmette. Don’t let the past concern you. Those other tangos were just passing ships.

DEBORAH: Passing ships, or submarines with enough torpedoes to sink your wife’s heart?

TONY: Let me go. I’m waking up now, or I’m going with Dean and the bimbettes, I’ll gladly take either rather than being here stuck with you.

DEBORAH: All these years. You never lived up to it. You coming home drunk, with the smell of hussy pussy on your stinking breath. Did you think I was stupid? Through it all, covering your back, I protected your obnoxious ass in front of our son and this is the thanks I get.

Tony stands and looks hard at her. He stares at the lighted doorway. There’s a howling sound coming from outside .

TONY: What the fuck do you want? I could give a fuck! You don’t concern me no more. I’m fuckin’ outta here!In his night gown, Tony exits through the door. There’s a sucking sound when he crosses the threshold. Black out!                 LOOSE ENDS ACT II

We’re back in the darkened room. Tony’s lying asleep. He stirs. He juts up, eyes bugging out and searches around the room. Gone is any sign of the women and there’s no tequila glasses, groceries, etc.

TONY: Whoa! It was a friggin’ dream. Thank you, Lord, it was merely a dream, a scary-ass one, at that.

He reaches for his smokes and swings his legs out of bed. He lights a cigarette and begins to shuffle over towards his computer. He makes himself a tortilla and jelly sandwich and starts wolfing it down.

TONY: Whew! Dean and them two had me going. . . I must have done some writing before nodding off . . . that must be it.

(Tony snatches out of the printer what he wrote the night before and begins reading aloud with a smile forming on his face .)

Deborah! Hah! The poor girl was 23 going on 70 . . . Barbara, sweet but just an empty head . . . Consuelo, talk about over the top! Was there anyone more disingenuous? Lelani, the whole lot, regardless of good intentions, ball busters and pains’ in the ass.

Tony then hunkers down in front of the keyboard as to pick up where he left off the night before.

TONY:  (reading aloud as he types) I was able to block that Kim bitch out of my . .

(Just then the door bursts open and all six women come storming in. The women have shopping bags and seem as if they’ve developed camaraderie. There’s still the glaring light at the open door. 

DEBORAH: The lunch was marvelous. I love authentic Mexican food.

BARBARA: Me too!

JAMIE: What about the margaritas?

CONSUELO: And the mariachis were so handsome.

LELANI: I’ll say, way better looking than Haole boys.

DEBORAH: (seemingly in a playful mood)  Don’t you just love how things can turn out?

BARBARA: And here everything was so grim.

JAMIE: It’s sure a lot off my chest.

Tony’s bewildered all over again. He gets up and walks among them but they more or less ignore him. Lelani and Deborah are laughing together. Jamie and Kim stand together with smiles on their faces. Consuelo is almost being gracious, pouring a Barbara a fresh tequila.

TONY: What’s this?

DEBORAH: (still playful)  Oh, you didn’t think you were going to get rid of us that easily did you?

TONY: Where’s Dean when I need him?

BARBARA: How would we know? You dumped us quick enough for those other two.

CONSUELO: I’m surprised at you, darling.

TONY:This is getting silly. Haven’t I had a lifetime of this bullshit. Permit an old man to have his peace.

DEBORAH: (a little less playful)  You love it.

TONY: How do you know what I love? I don’t love you!

CONSUELO: (changing demeanor) Who cares? You prefer to embrace misery.

TONY: What do you know about what I choose to embrace?

Deborah walks over and picks up Tony’s writing to read Tony tries to snatch it but she scoots away taking the writing in.

TONY: Get away! That’s private.

DEBORAH: (any consolation is now out the door)  Nothing is private anymore. Hah! Look at what the old fart is trying to pull off.

(The women gather around and begin to read what he’s been writing and the women make shocking faces scanning what Tony has written.)

CONSUELO: Oh, my! Antonio has chosen the darkness.

CONSUELO begins to chant “Nam myo ho renghi kyo!” 

She goes into a chanting frenzy, moving up stage bouncing her head.

DEBORAH: Maybe misery is the eventual path for all liars.KIM: What do you mean, Deborah?

BARBARA: I know what she means.

JAMIE: Maybe we should ask, Tony. So far he’s had all the answers. Too bad they weren’t always true.

TONY: All she sees are lies. Yet, she never objected to the “I love yous.” They were fibs. A guy’s job, to place your asses on pedestals, to echo your trite bullshit, promising to never leave your sides for ever.

LELANI: It no stay bad, brah!

TONY: I’ll tell you what, my sweet, ‘cause once we cross into the voodoo land of commitment, well, that’s when something weird gets coughed up. Then each of you decides to toss us guys off a cliff. Go figure.

CONSUELO: (breaks her chant briefly)  Listen to him. The nerve. You were born to adore us.

(She then returns to chanting.)

LELANI: Maybe it “stay” all in the hunt.

TONY: Hunt! It’s inter-galactic warfare. Women could be aliens. Who else bleeds for three solid days and lives?

DEBORAH: We bleed all right. We feel heart ache. We keep house, raise children and have careers. If we are aliens, we’ve been marooned on a beautiful Earth, inhabited with smelly Neanderthals, nincompoops with colossal egos, only content when the brassiere slides off a girl’s shoulders.

Kim can’t contain herself and springs at Tony.

KIM: You’re disgusting! It was total manipulation, trickery to get into my pants. You had Jamie in Hawaii.

TONY: I might be disgusting, but your lot is conniving, suffering only to a point, only to earn your one, big, shining moment.

JAMIE: Seems as you’ve had your share of shining moments.

BARBARA: What’s so wrong with treating women right?

TONY: WHAT’S WRONG WITH TREATING WOMEN RIGHT?  . . . I’ll tell you. Only fools ignore history. Look at the past.

CONSUELO: (breaking chant)  That’s what we’ve been doing, darling.

Consuelo chants louder. She chants while Tony speaks.

TONY: Guys who treated the chics the shittiest, they had worry-free times, erasing any thoughts of karmic retribution!

DEBORAH: Don’t get cosmic on us, Anthony.

TONY: How many times have I seen cocky guys fuck broads over?

BARBARA: Yeah! Look in the mirror.

TONY: They’re cows, willing to just whimper a bit, and express just how happy eating shit makes them feel. Just kowtow, ready to accept anything.

JAMIE: Is that what we meant to you?

TONY: No! But those were the women I desired. Seems I came up empty and wound up with broads like you. Where’s the fairness?

DEBORAH: The point, “cum for brains?”

TONY: ‘Cause chumps like me are suckers for trim. There’s a, “I don’t give a shit” trick in there somewhere, and only certain guys can pull it off, a skill I never mastered. I’m just mortal, acting on instincts. Why beat myself up?

KIM: Is that your warped explanation of men’s indifference?

TONY: (to Kim)  It’s not as if I haven’t questioned the “how comes,” Kim. When with one of them so-called babes, with them saying silly shit like, “baby, baby, baby,” over and over, and I’m saying that shit too, with us sounding like chanting whatsherface over there, I suddenly become self-conscious about what a dufus face I must be_

DEBORAH: (interrupting)  Ugh! No wonder I kept my eyes closed all those years.

TONY: Get the picture? (he makes faces.) . . . with my mouth twisted looking more like a smacked-ass rather than some Casanova, with me mumbling in tongue, with some empty-head ramrodded to the mattress, perhaps the most sensational lay of my life . . . and then almost instantaneously, after I shoot my wad, my shit goes south, and I can’t wait to get the fuck outta there! What happened?

CONSUELO: (again breaking the chant)  Darling, you might need some professional help. (Back to chant).

DEBORAH: A pig.

KIM: Never to be loved.

LELANI: A bad man.

JAMIE: A CHARLATAN.

CONSUELO: Misguided, embracing the darkness.

BARBARA: All of the above.

DEBORAH: That’s Tony Z’s way of being!

TONY: Yeah, baby, that’s, “The Tits!”

CONSUELO:  (breaks).  Don’t talk like that, darling. It breaks my chant.

TONY: Wanna know what else? When I first meet a woman, any woman, my mind’s eye automatically sees me putting the meat to them. The urge subsides if the woman is off limits. I guess I’m just half-a-letch.

KIM: What you do, read A Road Less Traveled?TONY: Look, isn’t this what’s this thing all about?

DEBORAH: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

TONY: Hey! Hey! Hey! I thought this was an open forum.

DEBORAH: No warped, vomited, self evaluation could ever exonerate you from your self-important selfishness!

CONSUELO: Deborah, try to settle down, honey. He wants to get it all out. After all, the man’s a war hero, he’s entitled.

DEBORAH: Huh! . . . It’s the old story. (to Tony)  Why not admit to Consuelo you’re no war hero nor were you ever near any battlefield.

BARBARA: While you’re saying so, Tony, tell Consuelo we never went to Woodstock. We could have. You wouldn’t go. You said it was packed with a bunch of dirty, smelly, hippie creeps.

CONSUELO: Tell them, darling, how you fought the enemy. Show them the medals, for carrying three wounded soldiers. And nobody could tell a Woodstock story like Antonio. Tell them, darling, tell them the way you used to tell me.

DEBORAH: He fought for nobody, it’s his story to woo women. He was a sacristy commando, six months in the reserves, a chaplain’s assistant, safe in D.C. Tell, them!

TONY: (To Deborah)  You’re the liar! Consuelo can see through you . . . (To the others)  trying to make me look like shit. What did you wenches come up with, some enchilada accord? Barbara knows we went to Woodstock. What’s Deborah put her up to?

JAMIE: I’ve seen the ribbons on his uniform.

DEBORAH: Army surplus store.

JAMIE: Oh, Tony, you didn’t?

TONY: Of course, I didn’t. You know better, Jamie. I fought like hell for those ribbons.

BARBARA: Why have you told these women we went to Woodstock?

TONY: Because we did. How could you forget? We were on our way to Montreal.

BARBARA: We were?

TONY: The traffic was backed up on the New York State Thruway. That pick-up came along; the guy snuck us into Woodstock for ten bucks, Santana, Jefferson Airplane.

DEBORAH: His mind sees things. Then he swears they’re true.

TONY: She’s full of shit.

KIM: What about the promises, the good life, the Hawaiian villa?

DEBORAH: What? By selling pot or pipe dreams, like about opening a hokie, Philadelphia-theme restaurant, “brotherly love,” or something. Talked about it relentlessly. He never opened a restaurant. He took a job as a pinball-machine repairman. He dealt pot.

KIM: You told me you owned two restaurants and they were called Philadelphia Tony’s.

TONY No, I didn’t. I said they were in the planning stage. By now they would have been cash cows, franchises, world wide, Cheese-steaks and hoagies, “Everybody goes to Tony’s, it’s the place to go!” I know you hate my guts, Kim, but don’t go and side with this one. (nods to Deborah).

CONSUELO: You never promised me any of that, darling.

BARBARA: (after what seems like she has been searching her brain) I swear, we never went to Woodstock!

JAMIE: What difference does it make?LELANI: (to Deborah)  You wen got ‘im, girl.

TONY: This is a twisted dream! Everything’s, Poof! (walking towards Deborah and pointing.)  I don’t give a fiddler’s fuck what you’re tying to pull off. You’re trying to spoil sacred ground and ruin my dream-world reputation.

DEBORAH: Reputation? What reputation? Dream world! The reality—you mooching off trusting people.

TONY: Why don’t you just hug my ass.

DEBORAH: Oh, he scored big one time. Caught lightning in a bottle, a boatload of Thai-stick. If it weren’t for Billy G. we would have lost everything.

TONY: You were right in there, weren’t ya? Miss Greedy Face trimming Maui Wowie, talking about the moolah and home improvements.

DEBORAH: (Turning to the rest.)  I was a wife helping my husband.

TONY: Wife helping husband? That’s what you call it? Oh, Ok, I got it.

KIM: Deborah’s scoring points.

CONSUELO: Barbara says the Woodstock story isn’t true.

BARBARA: Right on!JAMIE: I don’t know what to believe.LELANI: You nevvah wen do what for say, as far as you and me.

JAMIE:  I don’t appreciate this whole vibe. Why am I here, dressed as a freaking waitress with the past unravelling?TONY: (Looking towards Deborah)  I don’t know, girls. Ole Sneaky has had an awful lot of input here.

JAMIE: She’s had a lot to say. But you lied to me about Kim?TONY: I didn’t lie; I just didn’t mention her.

BARBARA: Like when you never mentioned Deborah?TONY: Didn’t I apologize for that earlier?

CONSUELO:Yet that’s Antonio’s flaw,. He’s American, forgive him. The flawed, little American, so pitiful.

TONY: We’re all fuckin’ Americans. Miss Mexico, tell them how you were born in L.A, going from sweet Guadalupe, to the slut Lupita, to the phoney countess, Consuelo? Your surname is Wilson, so don’t give me any more of your shit.

CONSUELO: How could you be such a traitor, darling?

TONY: Cause it’s the American way.

KIM: We all have roles to play.

TONY: So, what’s with the past coming back . . .  for what? to haunt me? Is this a test? Am I supposed to get down on my fucking knees and cry you all a river?

DEBORAH: It’s not the “Crying Game!” The “Lying Game,” maybe! TONY: You signed on the dotted line, ya gave me the go ahead to ruin my life. Isn’t that payback? Then ya got lucky, a second chance, a fuckin’ plumber no less. Nothing counts!

DEBORAH: Nothing counts! Really? Do I have to turn up the heat?TONY: What fucking heat? You’ve already pulled out all stops. Nothing adds up to nothing. Men lie, So what? What ya gonna do, tell me it’s a sin, laugh-out-loud!

DEBORAH: We haven’t even tallied Diane, have we?

Jamie jumps at the sound of Diane’s name being said, Consuelo places her hands to her mouth, Tony’s jaw tightens.

BARBARA Who’s Diane?

CONSUELO: Oh, mi amor never speaks of Diane. I couldn’t pry anything out of him with a can opener when it came to Diane.

JAMIE: She’s the high-school sweetheart who broke his heart. He used to talk in his sleep. He’d shout out her name and start crying.

TONY: Get out!

JAMIE: I never questioned him, thought best to just let it go.

DEBORAH: I married someone in love with someone else.

Lelani and Kim shrug their shoulders. (sound and light cue)In walks Diane, a nineteen-year-old, hairdo in 60s beehive.

TONY: This is too much.

KIM: I might begin to enjoy this.

Diane looks around, baffled, more so than the others, not knowing where she is, as if she’s just been beamed in during a Star Trek sequence. The women walk around her, sizing her up.

DEBORAH: Here she is, the poster child of our eventual misery.

Diane squints. She looks closely at Tony, but doesn’t recognize him.

DIANE: Who are you people and what is this place?

TONY: (to Deborah)  You’re fucking relentless.

DIANE: What’s going on?

LELANI: Aloha, I’m Lelani. My friends call me Tiko.

JAMIE: I’m Jamie.

KIM: Kim.

BARBARA: Barbara Roskowski, I went to St. Aldaberts.

DIANE: Well, that rings a bell. My last name is Pazdunkiewiecz.

CONSUELO: (Extending a condescending hand)  Consuelo Garcia Rodriguez, darling. Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m sure.

DEBORAH: Deborah, Anthony’s wife, the band aid he married to cover his wounds I guess.

DIANE: How am I to react to that kind of statement?

TONY: It’s me, Diane, Anthony, Tony Zerillo.

DIANE (eyes open wide)   Gunk? Tony the Gunk!

Lelani and Barbara place their hands to their mouths.

KIM: GUNK! I knew he was a drip!

DEBORAH: Oh, he had such a distinguished nickname.

TONY: I haven’t gone by that name in years.

CONSUELO: American culture serves up such cruel names.

JAMIE: I think it’s kinda cute.

KIM: Who cares?

DIANE: Ant-knee, you look ancient. What happened to the hair?TONY: What do you think? Gray is the rage this year.

DIANE: Well, I don’t get it. Why am I here?

KIM: Join the party. I’ve been asking the same.

DEBORAH: What do you know of Anthony’’s war record?

DIANE: I don’t know. War records! What are you talking about?

Deborah walks up and get close to Diane.

DEBORAH: Have you ever wanted to save somebody’s life?

DIANE: This is ridiculous.

DEBORAH: It’s unpleasant for me. Just answer my question?

DIANE: I don’t know, he was in the reserves, a chaplain’s assistant in Washington.

TONY: (with emotion)  You know that’s not fucking true! She’s put you up to this!

The girls shriek. Deborah high fives Kim. Consuelo and Jamie drop their heads into their hands. Lelani looks dumbfounded.

TONY: Did you ever come to visit me in Washington?

DIANE: No.

TONY: It was top secret, a clandestine operation. I was sworn to secrecy . . . it wasn’t until years later, when nobody cared.

DIANE: That wasn’t the talk around the neighborhood. The other boys called you, Deacon Blues? I sent you letters, you got ‘em.

TONY: But it wasn’t to Washington.

DIANE: It was to some stupid military address.

TONY: It was an APO number. I was somewhere else. I’ve never been to Washington, except the time I took Jamie.

JAMIE: (add sound) -URNT! When in DC. you told me all about the place and knew where everything was and you said you were there.

TONY: That’s preposterous. Why would I say that?DIANE: Maybe this will help. It’s an old photo. (Taking it out of her purse.)  Here’s Ant-knee, with Father O’Shaughnessy, outside the White House. The only reason I’ve saved it, is because nobody ever gave me a photo of the White House.KIM: He’s been lying all the time.

The women in unison show their contempt. They march towards Tony and they chant, “Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar,” backing him up. Tony looks as if he could pass out, holding his hands over his ears. He shuts his eyes,!(Tony, charging into each women’s face shouts.)

TONY: (Tony, charging into each women’s face shouts.) Stop it! Stop it! Basta! Ya! Enough already!

(possible direction?) The women continue their barrage of Liar!  Deborah takes the bag of marijuana and empties it. Lelani and Jamie turn over his bed. Barbara writes “Liar,” on the wall with the jelly, with her finger, then takes a lick and smiles.

TONY: (holding up his hands)  OK! OK! OK! OK! You win! You all win! The gig is up. You got me. You fucking got me on everything.  The women hold up their tirade.

DEBORAH At last!|

TONY (sounding remorseful)  So, I wasn’t a war hero. Serving as a chaplain’s assistant is similar to combat; it’s all a matter of survival. I had the wits to use my parochial upbringing. What of it?

DEBORAH: Then why do you always choose to lie?

TONY: Truth is for suckers. Did truth ever close a deal, make an impression or avoid trouble? . . . No! . . . Maybe the confessional molded my lying. Maybe, I’ve been afraid of truth. Maybe, I’ve always wanted to be more than I am. Maybe, it’s all because of . . . Diane. I don’t know.

DEBORAH: Now you’re going to blame her?

JAMIE: Thanks for inviting me to the party.

TONY: Party, dream, prelude to destiny, whatever . . . You’re the only ones who ever meant something to me. I let you all down. So, what is it? What can I do?  Throw gasoline on the fire? So, I loved you all, and in ways took advantage of it, (To Barbara)  You too, Barbara, even though I never mouthed the words.

BARBARA: I know what you’re implying.

DEBORAH: Don’t try to patronize us, especially with Barbara.

TONY: You explain it then.

LELANI: Maybe Diane knows. She wen know him first.

DEBORAH: We might have to go beyond Diane.

BARBARA: Back to the womb

.JAMIE: His happy place.(her making grunting noises and turning to Tony.)  You’re right, you did make a dufus face.

LELANI: It’s the da-kine place he like go.

DIANE: It’s coming back. Sex, that’s all he thought about.

TONY: Imagine that.

DIANE: That was long-long ago. I don’t remember anything special about him. Just a boy who smiled back.

DEBORAH: You mean it was just a smile?

DIANE: Not exactly. Antknee was popular, a mouth piece, a street corner comedian. He walked different with nice hands for a boy.

TONY: You developed some appetite right after I shipped off, didn’t you?

DIANE: You mean your six months in Washington, when the other neighborhood kids were up to their_

TONY: That didn’t stop you from fucking Jodie Kuburski.

DIANE: I was lonely. You were gone.

TONY: Yeah, and you and your girly desires couldn’t hold out for a stinking, lousy, six months. I was crazy about you, kissing your likeness on my chaplain’s-assistant pillow. Talk about battle fatigue.

DIANE: What did you expect a young girl to do, stay home and put a candle in the window?

TONY: Fucking right, I did, since you had our future all planned. I was earning my chaplain’s medal.

DIANE: What life did you have to offer? The best you had going was night-shift in the rubber mill at two-fifty an hour.

TONY: You didn’t give me a chance. I planted this bitch’s ass in Hawaii.

DEBORAH: On Daddy’s money.TONY: And this one almost got to Woodstock.

BARBARA: I paid for the gas.

TONY: Lelani and I flew to Honolulu for weekends.

LELANI: 50-50, brah.

TONY: I showed Jamie the Smithsonian. We slurped oysters in the Oak Room’s at the Plaza in New York City.

JAMIE: You stiffed the bar bill, told me to use the ladies room and meet you in the lobby.

TONY: Still, we did those things, and Consuelo and I toasted champagne on Acapulco’s beach at sunset. Didn’t we, darling?

CONSUELO: It was cheap champagne.

TONY: Kim and I strolled the banks of the Delaware.

KIM: You had no money.TONY:(turning to Diane)  If you would have held out, I would have given you all those things.

DIANE: But I wanted Jodie, too. He was taller.

DEBORAH: Wonder where Tony Z. picked up his fickleness?KIM: It’s always a women’s prerogative.

TONY: And that’s the fuckin’ problem. A woman’s prerogative. Love one sap today and then fuck somebody else tomorrow.

DIANE: You didn’t say you really loved me until it was too late, other then when you wanted me to go and do . . you know . . .

BARBARA: He knows what?

DIANE: He knows! Like us going to the drive-in, him wanting me naked beneath a trench coat. How was I supposed to pass my mother and father? (

Diane in a trench coat, peeks underneath her collar)  Oh, my god! . . . He begged, wanted to do things with his mouth, and for me to do the same. Imagine, in places where people pee.

TONY: I bet your mouth went places for Jodie.

DIANE: By then I was used to it, an acquired taste like caviar, Scotch Whiskey, or Brussels Sprouts. You broke me in not so tenderly. I was just a young girl. I wasn’t accustomed.

CONSUELO: You American girls. Men around the world speak about how easy you are.

LELANI:  Hawaiians wen love for, whatevers.

DEBORAH: How could I have ever . . .?

TONY: An acquired taste, yeah, once Jodie pulled down his fly. I remember horn-toad Jodie. . . I laid in my bunk, knowing you were banging him. I’d imagine the chump spilling it out, for everybody’s ears. Anyways, what difference does it make? Despite my beefs with these broads, you were the only one who ever cheated on me. That’s the least I can say.

An eerie stillness comes over the room. Tony’s confident smirk changes. He’s waiting for affirmative response.

TONY: At least Deb here was faithful til the end . . .

Deborah quickly turns and returns to her role in the kitchen.

TONY: Tell ’em, Deb!

Deborah doesn’t answer and continues to wipe around the sink.

TONY: (to Deborah)  You got to be kidding. You mean to tell me . . . (to himself)  Fuck it, what do I care. Now, Lelani, here . . .

LELANI: I need for tell you, brah. Travis Lee, he no stay, yours.

TONY: He no stay, yours? That’s impossible! He’s my son!

LELANI: Sorry, brah, I wen get-it-on with, Mahi. It wen take two for mango, Brah, but Mahi, he wen do me too.

TONY: So, it’s all in the ohana. Fucking Polynesian blood. Two Bud-Lites and it’s surf’s up, let’s all go skinny dipping.

KIM: (moving downstage)  I cheated on you the first morning after we made love, in the back of Dean’s Mercedes, outside your bedroom window. Then I did him that afternoon against the refrigerator during a playoff game when we went to the kitchen get beers.

TONY: Oh! (acts cocky)  Well, well, well, 50-50, that ain’t so bad, Men’s journals are chock with statistics to back me up.

BARBARA: Well, there was a cute bellhop at the hotel in Montreal. You were always out trying to score pot. He had a sexy French accent.

TONY: Huh! Bellhops, with accents! Looks as if I’m down to thirty-three and a third, a lifetime batting average good enough for the baseball hall of fame.

CONSUELO: My conscience is clear. We both agreed to have an open relationship, remember, darling? That’s how you wanted it.

TONY: Now saying you bedded everybody at the bullfights?

CONSUELO: Of course not, Antonio. But you remember your amigo, that handsome matador named Pepe? . . . You introduced me.

TONY: (sarcastic) “OOOO’ fuckin’A, baby!” (Turning to Jamie and saying tenderly)  You know, there’s always one special piece in every pie that’s exclusively yours.

JAMIE: (interrupting and embarrassed, ala, Mary Tyler Moore)  Well, when you said you were only married to your writing, and it seemed there’d be no white-picket fence . . . there was that Federal Express driver delivering rejection letters, you were grumpy, but he acted so sorry about the bad news. You were always on the computer.

TONY: BINGO! It’s six for six!   . . . OK, I got it! Screw you all. So, I’ve lived a fool’s lifetime without my loves remaining faithful?

DEBORAH: Now, who’s to blame? Are there excuses? It was you, lover boy, who lacked the staying power. Oh, maybe with a little toot up the nose or in the throes of one of your deviant perversions.

DIANE: Eww! Yuck At least Jodie was a gentleman

CONSUELO: Ooh, I didn’t mind that part so much, but when he wouldn’t let me do naughty things to him, I lost interest. Now honey, I can tell you about matadores and picadores.

TONY: You’re sick! You’re all sick!

LELANI: I no ready for stuff like dat. The first time he wen try do “tings” like dat, I wen wonder, where he wen go. I thought he wen dropped his keys or somting.

JAMIE: I didn’t mind so much. He was Mr. Variety. At one time I would have let Tony do anything.

BARBARA: He wanted me to talk dirty. He wanted me to call-

TONY: That’s OK, Barbara, no need for piling on.

DEBORAH: Anthony! Look around. Look at us. What’s your legacy? What’s the lasting impression you’ve left on seven other souls?

TONY: OK, you all win. Mea culpa. I capitulate! Where the fuck’s the heart attack or aneurysm? Please just tell me what you want?

DEBORAH: If you just would have straightened out. You could have saved your dignity long ago. I seemed to have stripped myself of mine for you.

TONY: My dignity was devastated in the last millennium.

JAMIE: Somehow you forgot us.

TONY: Not for a moment. You don’t know how many times . .

CONSUELO: Please, darling, there’s nothing more revolting than a shrinking man.

TONY: I shrank long ago.

DEBORAH: Then what happened? You held me at arms length.  I offered to you, something no else got, “my love.”

TONY: I know. I had to live with it. When you said she (pointing at Diane)  was the watershed of your miseries, you were right. Diane shattered my innocence, visions of her with somebody like Jodie, imagining the way her face looked and all.

BARBARA: So, you decided to ostracize the primary women in your life?TONY: That’s right! What of it? As a wounded soldier I made a vow! No glamour girl, no Marilyn Monroe, Florence Fucking Nightingale, or Blessed Fuckin’ Virgin Mary, would ever pin me in that unenviable position again! What of it?

DEBORAH: So that’s it? You hit a little bump in the road and you decided to put chaos in everybody else’s life who treated you right?

TONY: Right! Like you know all about good?

DEBORAH: My conscience is clear. What about yours?

TONY: Mine, you ask? Fucking right, mine is not clear or clean. I’ve been tormented. The past haunts me. The losses have taken their toll.

JAMIE: If you had talked to us we could have helped.TONY: Talk is cheap.

DEBORAH: You’re a consumer, Tony. When you gave, you took. It was one-sided economics.

CONSUELO: I’ve had men spend fortunes on me and it never made me feel closer to them.

KIM: He thought money could buy love.

TONY: Like it didn’t? Like it hasn’t? Like it never will? What a crock. We all know you all were takers, same as me.

BARBARA:  But we gave our hearts, well at least I did. I never cared about the money or where you were taking me, as long as I was with you.

JAMIE: My white picket fence was just a figment of my imagination. We could have lived in a grass shack, for all I cared.

LELANI: I wen live in a grass shack. It make no difference.

DIANE: He had ambition, but it was all for him.

TONY: So what was I supposed to do?

DEBORAH: You could have acknowledged wrong and deceit.

JAMIE: You could have been truthful.

LELANI: Honesty da right policy, Brah.

KIM: Maybe, by being yourself and not somebody else.

CONSUELO: More than a bragging American, loud and obnoxious.

DIANE: Maybe I would have waited six months.

BARBARA: Saying you loved me would have been a lie, but in the long run your actions were more damaging.

TONY: Enough already. So, now you got me by the balls.

DEBORAH: (calmly)  And once you got them by the balls, the heart and mind are supposed to follow.

TONY: You think I don’t know about the fuck ups? Think I’m brain dead? At times I thought I tried. I did put out. Then it’s apparent I didn’t!

DEBORAH: Should we just hold you to our bosoms?

TONY: I’m not much into bosoms anymore. You could write a check.

DEBORAH: Is that what you call a win-win situation?

TONY: (looks down at himself, looks to the sky, takes a deep breath, turns his head off stage.)  I, I, I, ask for your forgiveness, from all of you. Isn’t that how it’s played out?? (3 Beats)  Will you forgive me, Barbara?

BARBARA:  (For 4 beats she stares at Lou.)  I never indicted you, but if you want my forgiveness, I suppose it’s OK.

TONY: How about you Lelani?

LELANI: Sure, brah, it no wen hurt.

TONY: And Jamie?

JAMIE: Me, you know me, I’m a forgive machine, but I suppose I can never condone. (shrugs shoulders). I hurt like the others but I could never be angry with you.

TONY: I know. . . .  (to Kim)  Kim?She says nothing and sort of shrugs her shoulders also.

TONY: Consuelo?

CONSUELO: Darling, Mexican women forgive, but never forget.

TONY: How about you, Deborah?

DEBORAH: Let me think about it.

TONY: Diane?There’s no immediate answer. She fusses a bit.

DIANE: For what?

TONY: I don’t know, Right now I’m asking for the world’s forgiveness.

DIANE: Terrific! So, now that this is all settled, I have a hairdressing appointment.

TONY: Well, don’t let me keep you. (Coming to grips dramatically)  Jesus! I didn’t want to hurt any of ya.

DEBORAH: So, that’s what you did with us? At crossroads, you just lied or never bothered to answer at all. You stayed in your room shutting me and everybody out.

TONY: Sure, I was selfish and self-centered. Maybe if I would have. . . Maybe . . .

JAMIE: (interrupting) Sounds like a bunch of maybes.

LELANI: He nevvah  wen listen.

BARBARA: Open your eyes and ears, Tony.

TONY: Maybe I thought I paid my debt. I’ve been more like the terminally ill . . .  with no real reason to live. What have I accomplished? You were there when I first began to rev my engines, the prom, your loss of virginity. Can’t you remember any of the sweetness? So, you’ve seen the future, or whatever and you’ve seen how I wound up, and so for now, lodey-da, you’re just gonna rush off to the hairdressers?

DIANE: What do you want to hear from me?

TONY: Indulge me. What can you bring back?Diane stops.

DIANE:  You mean like at the Lake, and Nat King Cole was singing, “That Sunday, That Summer” on the radio. I was in love for the first time.

TONY: Yeah! The lake, the music, we were sniffing the world’s ass.

DIANE: Remember, when we had to wait for a table, you’d tell them it was for Bond, James Bond.

TONY: And then they’d call us over the intercom, (megaphone sounding) “Bond, Mr. James Bond, your table is ready.” Man that was so, cool. Diane smiles as if she enjoys the reflection.

DIANE: We goofed the world.

TONY: Everything was us envisioning the future.

DIANE: We both had a future, but not together. Why not savor the past?

TONY: What, the old “better to have loved-and-lost?”

DIANE: I’m sorry, there was a war and you didn’t get to kill anybody, and all you got to be was a chaplain’s assistant.

TONY: Yeah, it was rough, cleaning altars and polishing chalices. I don’t talk much about it.

DIANE: Only if you could have stayed in the present. You were living out some grand scheme of things, while working in a rubber mill.

TONY: I thought my ambition was enough to sustain our future.

DIANE: It wasn’t just ambition, Antknee, it was your never-ending fantasy to be “the man.” You would have sold your soul.

TONY: I didn’t know any better.

DIANE: Your sin was, you did.

TONY: I know that, now. I figured it didn’t show.

DIANE: Everybody’s was able to see through you. That’s what all these women tried to tell you. Look, it’s time

TONY: I know, you gotta go, don’t ya?

DIANE: Yes it’s time.TONY: Bye, Diane.

DIANE: Bye, Gunk

Tony stands and watches Diane scoot through the light, there’s the accustomed slurp. He sort of marvels at the idea of it. Kim enters the spot light.

KIM: I should be going too.

TONY: I’m sorry that you had to show up for all this. Maybe I brought it on myself.

KIM: From what I’ve seen and heard, I don’t really belong here. But I think something special took place between you and them. Something we never had.

TONY: You mean you never considered me?

KIM: Never!.TONY: Never?

KIM Well, maybe.

TONY: Like when?

KIM: When you were staying at the house back in Jersey, we played gin ‘til all hours. I have memories yet they weren’t in bed. We were at the art museum. A feeling about you I can’t explain came over me. Don’t worry, it evaporated before we saw the next Rembrandt.

TONY: I guess I should say, thanks

.KIM: Silly! It was more than that. There were more, handsome guys like, Dean, but the sound of your voice was cozy, and warm, and safe, and I just wanted to crawl under your skin. (Soberly) I played you against Dean. It wasn’t fair. We just didn’t have the magic.

TONY: Not even a tiny bit?

KIM: Don’t let it crush you. Consider them. You got heavy notes to pay off. I’m not coming up empty. I understand things better now. Look, I hafta go.

Kim kisses Tony on the cheek. (While adjusting her purse on her shoulder.)

KIM:       If it makes any difference. I pegged you a better man than that shit-doler Dino.

She exits. 

Consuelo comes into the center.

CONSUELO: Oh, mi amor,  I hate complications and leaving you in such a state; but, with the Ambassador and all.

TONY: Some things can’t be helped, mi amor.

CONSUELO: Remember when we went to Real de Catorce. You were so tender. I witnessed you attempting to embrace the light. You even chanted. We spoke for hours, about the powers of the universe . . . and what I wanted for Christmas. It was just before dawn, when we nodded off in each other’s arms.

TONY: Yeah, that was sweet.

CONSUELO: You promised everything was going to be all right.

TONY: That weekend, you could have been the final solution. That weekend we both bared our souls.

CONSUELO: You were my naked gangster. We could have been as dynamic as Liz and Richard. You would have reveled in it, wouldn’t have you, Antonio? We were glorious, darling, and if you had finished my book we would have been envied as the power couple, more than me with, Ringo, or me and, Jack, or me with . . .  ME.

TONY: I suppose.

CONSUELO: What do you mean, ‘I suppose?’ Don’t be ridiculous! The “Rat Pack” would have adopted you. Even my French would have adored, mon amor. The French recognize diamonds in the rough. Look how they worship Woody. Darling, promise your Consuelo you’ll chant. Embrace the Lotus Sutra. You know the loveliest of water lilies stem from the murkiest of waters.

TONY: I don’t want to lie, but maybe I will, mi amor.

CONSUELO: Darling, forgive me, I can’t be late for the French Ambassador. Te amo.

TONY: Of course not, mi amor.

CONSUELO: Adios.

Consuelo raises her chin and looks away, extending her lace handkerchief toward the doorway. then sashays away.                                               Jamie eases into the spotlight.

JAMIE: Guess you’ve had some day.

TONY: I’ve had better, and worse.

JAMIE: Didn’t you know you could have spoken to me about Kim?

TONY: I should have spoken with you, but fear overcame me.

JAMIE: Why? You were my hero. That Consuelo was right, we did sleep hands clenched.

TONY: Well, I guess you’ve seen how your Handsome has thrown his life away, chasing a quixotic dream, never becoming the writer he once envisioned himself to be. Seems I screwed up.

JAMIE: I knew in my heart you were leaving me to be with somebody else.

TONY: You deserved better.

JAMIE: With me, you always kept your promises. The bottle of Dom Periogne you promised on the French Rivera, the shoes in Paris, even having my hair done by that swish in Milan.

TONY: You made it simple and easy. You were with me when the barber in Seville cut my hair, and that was far out.  And we went to see David in Florence.

JAMIE: I don’t remember seeing David. Is that a fib?

TONY: I gotta beat this thing. I promise to get better.

JAMIE Who cares? Like you always said, if a story isn’t exaggerated, it’s not a good story. Anyway, we may have had niftier times than lots of other couples, white picket fence or not.

TONY: I’ve always loved you, and always will. It hasn’t been until now, in this whatever, that I see them for what they’re worth. I’ve damaged good women, dynamite women. Women who gave me their all.

JAMIE: What are you going to do about it?

TONY: What can I do? My life’s shot. I don’t know if any of you actually exist, and the great writer to-be blew it at every turn.

JAMIE: I never dreamed of such a moment. My head is together and my face is young but by now, surely my ass has fallen apart. . . . With that, looks like I’ll be walking through the door and into the light. Wanna come?

TONY: Wanna come? I’d go with you to the end of the world. That threshold isn’t for me. Heaven’s gate is off limits. You go ahead, I’ll carry good memories.

JAMIE: Just hold me tight one more time, Handsome, and then you’re gonna have to let me go.

Jamie and Tony embrace. She breaks it off and runs to the light and gets slurped through the threashold.Lelani comes to the forefront. 

LELANI: Ho! I wen suppose it wen my turn.

TONY: Can you believe all this, Tiko?

LELANI: Like I wen say, it stay trippy, Brah.

TONY: More than anything we ever experienced back on Maui.

LELANI: You tink we wen hurt Deborah?

TONY: Geez, I don’t know. When she caught us, she never appeared calmer. I suppose she always suspected.

LELANI: How you wen feel about it, you know da-kine, our affair?

TONY: The affair was one major fuck up. I lost my dignity. Still, I was crazy about you. The part about Mahi being Travis’ father kills me. But that’s not important now. But why didn’t you tell me?

LELANI:  I wen want my son for have respect. Mahi, one bad boy, pilau, rotten and I no want my son for have one father like dat.  No need for worry, he wen tink you da daddy.

TONY: So, as far as the world knows, we made a nice boy?

LELANI: Right on, Ace.

TONY Then, tell him I love him and tell him I didn’t mean to lose track. It’s part of my undoing. Over the years, I’ve lost track of the world, or maybe its lost track of me.

LELANI: (She takes his two hands into hers.)  Crazy haole man, with pretty hands. I tink I wen die, when I hear dat Diane girl say, she wen like your hands whens you wuz one kid. I wen tell you someting,  haole man. You right. I know what we wuz doing, I nevvah care. I want you and you want me. The men, they wen come, and they wen go, good ones, bad ones. No need for worry, you always one of da-kine, good one.

TONY: Do you remember the first night we made love?

LELANI: Ho, Brah. I no forget. I nevvah wen tink it might happen.

TONY:  And we went and did it, on a blanket under a palm tree in December no less. You glistened in the dark, stark naked, except for a gardenia planted in your hair. We swam in the ocean. I didn’t give a shit about sharks.

LELANI: It stay magic, Ace. You one kaimaaina,  Brah. You understand the way of the islands. That’s why I love you in the first place. It wasn’t the bucks or the big-city haole talk. You just like one island boy, and that stay OK with me, Brah.

TONY: You know, we had a hell of a time. Aloha nui, hui hao, Tiko.

LELANI Aloha, Ace.

She delivers a kiss, leans back, gives him a smile, acts island-shy and runs through the light.  Barbara eases into the picture, shrugs her shoulders like “It beats me.” Tony gives her his attention.

TONY: I’m still in the dark about the whole deal.

BARBARA: So am I.

TONY: Why do you think all this has occurred?

BARBARA: Why does anything happen?

TONY: Because there’s a reason.

BARBARA: Like you and me?

TONY: Like you and me, Barbara.

BARBARA: We were young.

TONY: I remember, once I had to pick you up. I was dressed in a pirate shirt, purple, bell-bottomed pants and chocka boots. My hair was long. Your dad and uncles were playing cards in the kitchen. They looked more like a crew inside a WWII submarine movie. They looked at me as if I was a real punk, which I was.

BARBARA: We just traveled in different circles, the age of Aquarius.TONY: We danced to our own drums.

BARBARA: Like at the 410 Motel. Sunday mornings, you’d fetch donuts. I know it sounds kid-like now (checking out her get up)  well maybe not at this moment, but I loved cartoons. You’d bring crullers with colored jimmies on them. We’d watch Heckle and Jeckle, munch on crullers and make beautiful love, the way real couples do on leisurely Sunday mornings. It made me feel real.

TONY: Our chemistry jelled. You were a delightful young woman, a needed breath of fresh air.

BARBARA: What happened with you and Dean through that door?

TONY: I don’t know. I woke up.

BARBARA: So it is a dream.

TONY: Beats me. It’s out of my control. I certainly didn’t wish it upon myself.

BARBARA: Can’t say it hasn’t been entertaining. I hafta go, Tony.

TONY: I know. Will you believe what I said, about me never feeling all that good about our break up?

BARBARA: Why not? In this get up, I could believe anything.

TONY: That’s what I always loved about you, Barbara.

BARBARA: Bye, Tony.

Tony gives her a kiss on the cheek. Barbara presses and rubs her face against his kiss like a kitty wanting more rubs..Barbara turns and slowly walks to the light. Deborah comes into view. Barbara waves.

BARBARA: Bye, Deborah I’m glad we had a chance to meet. Maybe we’ll lunch again, sometime. You know, in a weird way, this was fun

DEBORAH: Goodbye, Barbara.

Barbara exits through the light as Tony and Deborah watch her go.

TONY: I guess the party is almost over.

DEBORAH Did you see it as a party?

TONY: You’re not going to split hairs, are you, Deb?

DEBORAH: No, Anthony, I really don’t have any more hairs to split with you. I’ve come to grips. I only hope you have, too.

TONY: Maybe I have, but as you said, it’s a little late for atonement.

DEBORAH: Tell me something.TONY: What, Deb?DEBORAH: No, seriously, was it all worth it?

TONY: You mean, everybody’s visit?

DEBORAH: No, I’m talking about a lifetime. The tears, triumphs, broken promises, the remorse, the countless goings on, occurring inside that head of yours, the reasons and whys . . . Have they been worth it to you to maintain a lifetime of instability?

TONY: Who know why I didn’t have the courage or why I wasted a lifetime on lost romance? If I’d chosen honesty, I could have had a decent life with any of you.

DEBORAH: What about the turmoil in other peoples’ lives? At times you tore me apart. I wanted the best for you and me, and Eric. I wanted all our dreams to come true. No sacrifice seemed to great, but then it came down to me wanting peace of mind but my peace of mind was never part of your agenda.

TONY: I know I could have saved our marriage, if I would have spoken up and said the things that bothered me instead of keeping them bottled up. We could have spoken to each other rather than at each other.

DEBORAH: Don’t forget, I was aboard. You showed promise and I loved you.

TONY: It was mostly cliches. Apart from the tricks, I flashed little substance,

DEBORAH: At this point, I won’t be the one to argue, but I had so much faith in you, you were a rising star, young and strong, eyes blazing, a young Turk never afraid to take a swipe at things.

TONY: You were no slouch, either when you were into it.

DEBORAH: Well it was 18 years, more than Winston and I had . . . Answer me something else?

TONY: Go ahead.

DEBORAH: What would you do differently? Would you have altered your course? Could you have seen this moment coming?

TONY: What kinds of questions are those?

DEBORAH: I’d like to know, Anthony. I don’t want to wait until our lives are over.

TONY: You mean mine’s not?

DEBORAH: Nothing is totally over, yet parts come to an end. That’s why I’m here.

TONY:Perhaps, ’cause in some mysterious way I’ve summoned you. It’s just a hunch.

DEBORAH: You were always good at packaging concepts, even if they’re mostly full of shit.

TONY: It warms my heart to at least hear I was competent at something.

DEBORAH: Look, I got to go. Before I go, know your son, Eric, misses you. Think about him.

TONY: I will and I do. Please don’t make me say “believe me.”

DEBORAH: Don’t worry, I won’t.

TONY: Somehow I wish you could stay. I feel kinda sad. I always have, when it comes to you.

DEBORAH: You’ll be all right.I know you. More than likely the moment I’m gone, you’ll just roll another joint.

TONY: You’re probably right. Shit, you’ve always been right, the one who always took the high road.

DEBORAH: Suit yourself, you always have in the past.

TONY: Shit, I’d like to say, happy 59th anniversary, or Merry Christmas, anything. Maybe I’ve learned something here with reasons to search my soul.

DEBORAH: There was. There is. I hope you take the time to think.

TONY: And reasons are?

DEBORAH: Only you have the reasons. Nobody can act for you.Now and then think of me and kiss the rain, cause maybe it will be me pouring down on you.

TONY: I’ll kiss the rain alright and embrace the tears. Take care, Deb

Tony takes Deborah’s hand. She stares straight at him, dignified. It’s as if he wishes to kiss her. She places her other hand over his. 

DEBORAH: I’m outta here.

Deborah breaks off and dashes through the light. A crack of thunder and lightening and sounds of whirling winds engulf Tony, as if rain is going to pour. Tony closes the door. In a stupor he staggers over and gets into bed. All of a sudden, there’s a terrific pounding on the metal door. Tony pops up and looks around.

TONY: Espera! Espera! Yo voy!

Tony opens the door. A Mexican postman stands at the threshold with a telegram in hand. Tony ignores the postman and looks out past him Things appear as normal.

POSTMAN: (Looks at Tony)  Necesito su firma aqui. Tony signs then begins to close the door, but peers back one more time to make sure. There is no evidence of the women’s presence. He rips open the envelope and begins to read.  A voice reads aloud.

VOICE: Dad, it’s me, Eric. I hope you get this. Mom passed away in the middle of the night. It was peaceful. Before her final breath, she scribbled this message and told me to include it with the news of her death. Don’t feel obliged to rush home. She will be cremated by the time you get this telegram. I don’t fully get it, but here’s the message: “Anthony, here’s a gift. Save yourself. There’s still time. Remember what Yogi used to say, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over.’”That’s it, Dad. Now that I know where you are, maybe I’ll try to get in touch, once things settle down. Mom said she’d prefer it that way. Love . Your Son, Eric

Tony, somewhat bewildered, shuffles over to the kitchen table and  rolls a joint. There’s tremendous lightning and thunder. He looks to the heavens. The song Rain Down on Me begins to play.

TONY: Well, I’ll be! The whole time . . . the whole time, it was her doing. Deborah! She brought them all back! Whatta you know? It was just like her, tying up loose ends, it wasn’t my destiny, it was her’s! (looking to the heavens). Deborah, You always said I was a fast learner. It’s only taken 59 years. Here’s to you, Deb. I’ll cherish your gift.

There is more thunder and lightning. It’s storming like crazy. Tony looks to the heaven slowly nodding his head up and down. The song My Guitar Gently Weeps Plays (Rendition from tribute to George Album) Lights out!

THE END

Writings, commentaries, scripts from Journalist, Essayist, Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwriter Lou Christine, Philadelphia & Hawaii, Brah, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!