The Opera Hurts
SMALLEY sets down lawn gnome. She checks to make sure no one’s around, crosses to her jacket, pulls a cell phone from the pocket and dials a long-distance number. She gets flustered and hangs up. She taps lawn gnome’s head.
AMOS SELIG enters, wearing an eye patch and talking on a cordless phone.
For the last time, young man, we already have tickets to the opera…Young man, that manner of language is totally inappropriate; I hope your mother doesn’t know you speak of her in such a manner!
He disconnects and looks at SMALLEY.
Ah-hah. Beatrice Smalley.
Good afternoon, Uncle Amos. Who was that?
Telemarketer. Have you seen my other eye?
Thank God, no.
(gestures at his eye patch)
It was right here just a minute ago. I can never remember: are you the doctor or the lesbian?
Actually, Uncle Amos, I’m both.
Precisely. Where is your brother?
I don’t know if they’re even on the road yet. Carter wanted to leave Chicago after rush hour. That’s assuming he remembers he’s supposed to be here this weekend. And that he can peel Rohin away from his computer. Wow. The odds are just no good, are they?
No, no. The other one. Calvin’s wife’s son.
John-Christopher? He’s in Paris. Maybe.
Oh, really? Where is he?
New Jersey Turnpike.
Right. I forgot; they moved that to just outside Paris.
EDNA enters dining room.
Amos! I found it!
Found what? Confounded woman!
I assume she means your glass eye.
It was in the geraniums.
By Jove, I did put it there! Good-bye, then, Beatrice Smalley.
I’m sure we’ll see each other again.
Highly unlikely. We’re only in town for the opera.
I am, too.
Are you? What a splendid coincidence. Then perhaps we shall meet again.
AMOS crosses into dining room.
Edna! Lyj’s girl Beatrice Smalley is here. She’s come for the opera.
Well, imagine that.
She puts something in AMOS’s hand.
Now put this back in, Amos, and mind it doesn’t wander off again.
They exit. SMALLEY looks at lawn gnome.
All right, so they are nuts. It, ah, runs in the family. Though I may not get to complain. I am talking to you.
SMALLEY picks up lawn gnome and opens her phone again. She begins dialing but hangs up halfway through.
Get yourself together, Smalley. You can make it through one little weekend without talking to her.
She stares at her phone.
Oh, who am I kidding?
She dials but hangs up before anyone can answer.
I should write her a letter instead. Letters are romantic, right?…You’re right. I know you’re right. I should leave her alone.
SMALLEY pauses for a moment, debating. Then she picks up her phone and stars dialing again. She gets the machine and waits impatiently for the message to end.
Hollyhock, it’s me. Please pick up the phone. I know you’re screening calls, so just…look, I said some things before I left that were not – I don’t know what’s going on, and I’m scared. When Oberthal called yesterday, I panicked. And I know you don’t want to talk to me right now, but I love you, and I…it is entirely possible that I…may have been a stupid-head. I have my cell. Please, please call me.
SMALLEY hangs up. She picks up her bag and jacket and starts to exit, then pauses, goes back to the counter and picks up the lawn gnome. She exits.
BLACKOUT. End of scene.