MAKING OUT: A Play in Four Acts by Jane Wulf
Created for and performed at Artist in Residency, Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd St Y

SETTING: Interior of a small New York City coffee house, 1997.

AT RISE: There's only one customer - MELISSA, a 29 year-old woman. Her clothing is tasteful, but nothing expensive or
fussy. She wears simple silver earrings and flat sandals. Alert and impatient, she stirs her coffee and watches the door. She checks her watch. 

COUNTER-GIRL stands behind the coffee bar reading a book.

THOMAS walks in, early 30s, tall and thin, with curly blond hair. He's tensely muscled and has a smile that's eager to please. He wears sweatpants and carries a rolled-up yoga mat. He is also a bit too tanned, though not burnt.

THOMAS
Melissa?

MELISSA
Thomas?

THOMAS
Yes!

MELISSA
I was about to leave.

THOMAS
I'm sorry I'm late. Yoga class lasted longer than I thought.

MELISSA
Aren't you allowed to leave whenever you want?

THOMAS
I'm really sorry. It was an unbelievably great class. I was, like, completely in the moment. You know that feeling?

MELISSA
I don't do yoga.

THOMAS
Bummer.
(Awkward pause.)

THOMAS
Can I sit down?

MELISSA
You have to order at the counter.

THOMAS
Oh yeah yeah yeah.
(Hurriedly placing his stuff on the chair, his bag and yoga mat fall to the floor.)
Oops.
(He picks them up and walks to the bar. Smiles at COUNTERGIRL.)
What are you reading?

COUNTERGIRL
On The Road.

THOMAS
Nice! Oh man, I love that book, love it. You have bagel and lox? I'm craving that.
(COUNTERGIRL gestures to a chalkboard sign behind her.)
Eight bucks. Shoot, this city is wild.
(THOMAS turns around to Melissa.)
Melissa. Could I borrow five dollars. I'm good for it.
(MELISSA stares at him, silently, a moment too
long. He gets it.)
You know what? Plain bagel. Tea.

COUNTERGIRL
I'll bring it over.

THOMAS
Thank you. Cool earrings.

COUNTERGIRL
Thanks.

(THOMAS walks back to MELISSA and sits down.)

THOMAS
Peter told me wonderful things about you. I'm happy to finally meet you. 

MELISSA
Really? Like what?

THOMAS
Let me see for myself first. Then I'll tell you.

MELISSA
Peter's your cousin, right?

THOMAS
Distant. Third something eighteen times removed. They used to visit us in the summer. The glamorous big city cousins. He's still a cool guy. It's so cool to be able to crash with him. How do you know him?

MELISSA
High school.

THOMAS
Wow. So you grew up here too. What was that like?

MELISSA
I don't know. It was like growing up anywhere. It was just...whatever your family was.

THOMAS
All my life I wanted to come to New York. But, if I can speak frankly, now that I'm
here...I don't know...

MELISSA
You don't like it?

THOMAS
I don't know if I can hack it.

MELISSA
Really?

THOMAS
It's a tough town. Hard to get work. Hard to meet people.

MELISSA
It is?

THOMAS
I mean, hard to really connect. Everyone sizes you up in three seconds and then they're off. I'm used to a little slower, a little more history.

MELISSA
Things takes time.

THOMAS
It could be a long journey to fit in here. I mean, you come ready made, it's easy for you.

MELISSA
Not so easy.

THOMAS
Yeah?

MELISSA
Have you found work?

THOMAS
That's the other thing. Everyone, the first thing they ask is "What do you do." Then they decide if they want to talk to you.

MELISSA
I just meant, have you found a job?

THOMAS
You did? Oh. Well, yes I did. 
(He sighs)
I help out in a tanning parlor. It sucks.

MELISSA
Is that why you're so tan?

THOMAS
It's the only perk of the job. I know - it's a little much. I fell asleep.

MELISSA
Sounds dangerous.

THOMAS
There's a timer - you can't burn. But I had a weird dream. I was living in a big, run down castle. My relatives were outside trying to get in. Like a medieval battle, with arrows and ladders. But I had the drawbridge up and we were shooting down at them. It was an easy shot but we kept missing, and they kept coming and the castle foundations were rotting.

MELISSA
Mmm.

THOMAS
What do you think it means?

MELISSA
I don't know - I don't know you. But it does seem kind of obvious.

(THOMAS stops talking and stares at MELISSA.)

THOMAS
You think I'm an idiot.

MELISSA
What?

THOMAS
You think I'm a provincial, bumpkin your friend is trying to pawn off on you.

MELISSA
Excuse me?

THOMAS
It's been right all over your face since I walked in. Why deny it?

MELISSA
Don't tell me what I think.

THOMAS
You're like all cozy in your tight little New York world. I've met Peter's friends. You've all known each other for forever and are all sophisticated and jaded and superior.

MELISSA
And polite. I don't need this.

THOMAS
And god forbid someone should be enthusiastic or on a journey. Not "made it." Not rich, or famous, or on their way.

MELISSA
That's such a lame stereotype. For Mr. Enthusiastic-at-One-With-the-Cosmos, you have a big chip on your shoulder.

THOMAS
You think you're too good for me.

MELISSA
You don't even know me. You talk so much I can't get a word in edgewise. And then you start calling me names?

THOMAS
I was feeling expansive. Excited. Now look at me...I apologize.

MELISSA
Peter did say you were "Different."

THOMAS
What does that mean?

MELISSA
He said you were a naive optimist.

THOMAS
Is that a put-down?

MELISSA
Yes, pretty much. But it was why I wanted to go this blind date. 

THOMAS
What else did he say?

MELISSA
That you leave a mess in his house. Like you're expecting Mommy to pick up after you. That you spend too much time reading when you should be looking for work.

THOMAS
And you still wanted to meet me?

MELISSA
I was curious about Peter's cousin.

(Thomas pauses)

THOMAS
So you have a thing for Peter too.

MELISSA
Too?

THOMAS
Everyone's in love with Peter. He's funny, handsome, charming, rich. Mr. Perfect.
(MELISSA looks down)

THOMAS
Sorry. I'm just his distant cousin. Not his clone.

MELISSA
Are you going to tell him about this?

THOMAS
What's "this?" Hey. I'm not like that. I know one thing at least: Unrequited love hurts.

MELISSA
I don't think I'm so great, you know.

THOMAS
You think you'd be great if Peter loved you back.
(MELISSA shrugs)
Look, maybe this is stupid, but I think unrequited love means there's something else you have to do. Something you have to learn. The pain is to get you started. On a journey you have to take even if you don't want to.

MELISSA
Is that why you came here?

THOMAS
Yes. Leave the place where that love is the center of the world. You go somewhere new and all the circles shift. And maybe you can find someone else who is great. In a different way, in a different circle, who maybe you can have.

MELISSA
Brave of you.

THOMAS
Yes, I think so.

MELISSA
Any luck?

THOMAS
Not exactly. But a lot of new people to think about.

MELISSA
My old boss wants me to go to San Francisco. Help her new company.

THOMAS
You can always come back.

MELISSA
When I'm a different girl.

THOMAS
Exactly.
(They are quiet for a moment, but this time it's
comfortable.)

MELISSA
You still want that lox?
(THOMAS smiles)
I think the Countergirl likes you.

THOMAS
You do?

MELISSA
She's definitely been enjoying eavesdropping. Plus you have a book in common. She's cute.

THOMAS
I think so.

MELISSA
I'm sure she does yoga.

THOMAS
Looks like.

MELISSA
Go. Get your lox
(MELISSA hands THOMAS a five dollar bill)
I think I'll bow out now.

THOMAS
Melissa. It was very interesting meeting you. I hope you take an interesting journey.

MELISSA
And you too.

(MELISSA leaves. THOMAS turns and smiles to the COUNTERGIRL. COUNTERGIRL returns his smile. Lights fade to black.)