Written by Joe Janes
40 out of 365
Phil the Friendly Tour Guide, 20s
Souvenir Lady, 70s
A small gaggle of tourists
(Cheryl is standing next to Gabe downstage of a small group of tourists at the base of the Statue of Liberty.)
PHILThe Statue of Liberty, or, as the French say, Statue de la Liberté, was presented to the United States by the people of France in 1886. It commemorates the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and was given to the United States to represent the friendship established during the American Revolution…
GABEThis is pretty cool. I’m usually not into touristy things.
CHERYLWhat would you be doing if I weren’t here?
GABEHell, I probably wouldn’t even be here. I’d spend my vacation in Ohio just getting stuff done around the apartment, you know. Last time I went on a vacation vacation was in high school with my family. This is my first grown-up vacation.
GABEAnd I get to go to New York City, of all places, with my gal. This was a great idea, Cheryl.
CHERYLYep. Pretty great. Look, Gabe, I think we should break up.
GABEWhat? This is – what? Are you serious?
PHIL…Her raised right foot is on the move. This symbol of Liberty and Freedom is not standing still or at attention in the harbor, it is moving forward, as her left foot tramples broken shackles at her feet, in symbolism of the United States' wish to be free from oppression and tyranny…
CHERYLYeah. I don’t think this is working out. I’m feeling too tied down. I was going to tell you before we left, and then on the plane, and then this morning at Starbucks, I just can’t wait any longer.
GABEThis is really out of the blue.
CHERYLReally? Really, Gabe? You should have seen this coming. We barely have anything in common. You like to get up early and I like to sleep in. I hate cats.
GABEI don’t have a cat.
CHERYLBut you like them.
GABEIt’s more like I don’t dislike them.
CHERYLAnd you’re just way too sensitive. It’s hard to talk to you. I had to find the right time to tell you.
GABEThis is the right time to tell me? In another state? At the base of a national landmark? In front of a group of strangers?
CHERYLI didn’t think you’d make a scene this way.
GABEBut – we still have another week here. Our plane doesn’t leave for seven more days.
PHIL…The seven spikes on the crown epitomize the Seven Seas and seven continents. Her torch signifies enlightenment. The tablet in her hand represents knowledge and shows the date of the United States Declaration of Independence, in roman numerals, July IV, MDCCLXXVI…
CHERYLYeah. I figure you’d just go do your thing and I’d go do mine.
GABEFor the whole week?
CHERYLKind of awkward hanging out after we just broke up.
GABEIt’s done already? You just mentioned it and now it’s a done deal?
PHIL (from where he’s standing)Well, yeah. Whenever someone says, “we should break up” it means, “I already broke up with you and this is me telling you. I actually broke up with you weeks ago.” Am I right? (Various nods and verbal agreements from group)
GABEOh, my God!
(Phil comes over)
PHILIs there a problem over here?
GABEYes, there is, officer. Arrest this woman.
PHILI’m just a tour guide.
GABEShe just broke up with me.
PHILCan’t really do anything about that, Big Fella. You’re disturbing the flow of my tour. Maybe you can settle your dispute off the island.
CHERYLI’m sorry –
GABEShe just broke up with me.
PHILYou’ve made that painfully clear. Maybe you can just be friends, like France and America.
GABEWhat do we do about the hotel room? I can’t afford to get another room.
CHERYLMe, neither. It’s okay with me if we sleep in the same bed. Just don’t touch me.
GABEI was going to say the same thing to you.
CHERYLYou didn’t have to.
PHIL (to Cheryl)You can stay with me.
PHILSure. It’s a tiny studio, but I have a futon that folds down.
GABEYou can’t do that, Cheryl. You don’t know this guy.
CHERYLI know how to take care of myself, Gabe.
GABEHe’s a stranger (whispers)…in New York.
PHILI’m Phil, the tour guide.
CHERYLHe’s Phil the tour guide. (To Gabe) Where have you been?
GABEThis is crazy. My first vacation vacation and my girlfriend breaks up with me on the first day and spends the rest of the week with a stranger.
CHERYLThis is why we broke up, Gabe. You make too big a deal out of everything I do. It’s oppressive. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to finish the tour. You can go do whatever you want. You’re free.
PHIL (taking her arm)Right this way. …It was agreed that in a joint effort, the American people were to build the base, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly in the United States. Benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prizefights assisted in providing needed funds…
(Phil leads the group off. Gabe is left alone. Souvenir Lady walks up selling trinkets.)
SOUVENIR LADY (she has old lady smoker’s voice)Miniature Statue of Liberty? Ten bucks.
GABEWill you sleep with me?
SOUVENIR LADYWill you buy a souvenir?
SOUVENIR LADYOkay, then.
GABETake that, Cheryl.
(Souvenir Lady holds out hand for the money. Gabe reaches into his wallet. Lights fade.)