Written by Joe Janes
49 of 365
Jim, late 40s
Sarah, late 30s
(Lights up on the Belmont “L” train stop in Chicago. It is a Sunday morning before 10am in July. Jim and Sarah are on the platform. Jim sits on one end of a wooden, backless bench. Sarah, wearing a short skirt, paces back and forth. Her heels make a loud sound when she walks. JIM has a bag of groceries from Whole Foods next to him on the bench.)
JIM (startled)Yes. Yes, it does. My chocolate covered bananas are melting.
SARAHIt’s July and I’m freezing.
JIMAnd, yet, my bananas are melting. I even gave myself an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever waited so long for the Red Line.
SARAHI’m waiting for the Brown Line. It’s my first day at a new job.
JIMReally? What time were you supposed to be there?
JIMDowntown? You’re going to be late.
JIMYou would have been late any way.
SARAHWhat do you mean?
JIMEven if the trains were running on time, you would have been late. You’ve only been up here about five minutes. With construction, takes about thirty minutes to get downtown.
SARAHI tried to get up on time.
JIMI used to have that problem.
SARAHWhat did you do?
JIMI bought two alarm clocks. One near the bed and one that I have to get out of bed to turn off?
SARAHI think using one alarm clock would be a step in the right direction for me.
JIMYou should probably call your new employer.
SARAHOr I should just say fuck it. Take it as a sign from the universe.
JIMI don’t think the universe had much to do with you oversleeping. That’s more of a sign from you that you don’t want the job.
SARAHIt’s retail. I can’t stand fuckin’ retail. Shit pay and creepy managers younger than me watching my every move.
JIMYou should probably call them and tell them you’ll be late.
SARAHMy phone died.
SARAHI’ll give the train a few more minutes. You have the day off?
SARAHSunday. So, you and all the normal people sleep in or go to church. Do family stuff.
JIMOr shop. Do you want one of these bananas? They’re not very good melted. Even when you re-freeze them, they’re off.
SARAHLet me see that box. Organic and vegan. Five bucks for a box of four? Dude, it’s just a banana on a stick.
JIMTry one. They’re good. (She does)
SARAHThat is good. Thanks. This is my breakfast.
JIMI’ve had worse things for breakfast.
SARAHMy name’s Sarah.
SARAHThanks for the cold banana, Jim.
JIMYou are welcome, Sarah.
SARAHYou look pretty together. That’s a nice watch.
JIMOh, thanks. It was a gift. I’d never buy myself something like this.
SARAHWhat do you do for a living, Jim?
JIMI’m an administrator at a small music school.
SARAHThat pay a lot?
JIMNot enough to keep me rolling in chocolate-covered bananas. My partner is an architect. He’s the real moneymaker.
SARAHAh, the secret of living. Finding the right sugar daddy.
JIMDavid would probably agree with you, but I love my job. I was doing it before we met. I just lucked out.
(Sarah throws what’s left of her banana away and walks as far away as she can get from Jim. She holds onto a railing.)
SARAHWow. I hate you.
Did I do something wrong?
SARAHReally, I hate you.
You don’t even know me.
Oh, I know you. You get everything handed to you. Nice watches and chocolate-covered bananas. You live in a really nice condo. All your furniture is either antique or Ikea. All you have to do is take it up the ass every once in awhile.
Wow. (Jim, shaken, sits back down for a moment and then walks back towards Sarah.) You have no idea. You have no ideas what it’s like. You think it’s all nice? Whenever David is remotely cold to me, I wonder, is this it? Is this when he kicks me out? Because he can. He owns everything. Everything.
SARAHThen he really is your sugar daddy.
I love him. I thought he loved me. He fucks around. I’ve tried to get him to stop. I try to make him happy. These fucking bananas aren’t even for me. They’re for him. He loves them. And I paid for them out of my own money.
(Jim sits down. Sarah makes her way over to him.)
I’m a jerk. I’m afraid you caught me on a particularly bitter morning. Woke up staring down the barrel of the rest of my life. This isn’t how I thought things would turn out for me. I’ve got the sugar, no daddy. Nice guy, Craig. But I doubt he’ll ever be anyone’s daddy. Unless it’s out of wedlock. And even then, she better have money of her own.
JIMSounds like a nice guy.
SARAHI’m getting what I expected. Never date an artist. Or marry one. That lesson’s been learned, too. I was his sugar daddy. Bastard still owes me $4,000 that I’ll never see. That jerk went from being someone whose entire life I revolved around and now, we don’t even speak. Haven’t seen him in years. If I saw him on the L, I’d probably pretend I didn’t see him and let the moment roll on by. I could use some lucking out. In money and love.
JIMSorry to hear all that.
SARAHWhatever. I’m not here to cry on your shoulder, Jim. Or, I was, then you started crying.
JIMI’ll survive. Always do. Just haven’t had to worry about it in so long. So, you’re an artist?
SARAHI’m an actress pushing 40.
JIMHave I ever seen you in anything?
SARAHHave you ever seen a play where the ticket price was less than $20?
JIMOh, I doubt it.
SARAHThen you haven’t seen me in anything. Sorry.
JIMI must seem like a real snob to you.
SARAHNo. You seem like a real normal person to me.
JIMDo you do a lot of plays?
SARAHI get cast. I just don’t get paid. And I didn’t plan to have some other skill set to fall back on at 40. There’s no future in what I want to do and I’m not qualified to do anything else, except retail. And waitressing, which kills my feet and gave me carpel tunnel. “Do what you love and the money will follow” is bullshit. Or it’s following way behind me and will catch up to me after I’m dead.
JIMLook, it’s none of my business, but it’s clear you don’t want this new job. Why put yourself in a situation that will make you unhappy?
SARAHCan I borrow your phone?
(She takes out a scrap of paper and calls)
SARAHHi, is Meghan there? Meghan, hi, it’s Sarah. …I’m really sorry. I didn’t plan for construction on the L. …I’ve been waiting for a train for 45 minutes. …Yeah, 45 minutes. You believe it? It’s insane. …Well, as soon as it gets here, I’m only 20 minutes away. …That’s very, very nice of you. I’ll see you as soon as I get there. (Hands phone to Jim) Thanks.
JIMWhat will you be selling?
SARAHMy soul, apparently.
(They hear the train coming.)
SARAHWell, thank fucking God, Brown Line. Thank you for sharing your bananas, Jim.
JIMThank you for sharing your company, Sarah. Things will work out for you. I like you.
SARAHYou know what? That’s good to hear. My first day on a new job, and my boyfriend didn’t even wake up to say good-bye to me. I appreciate what you just said. It’s like my mom seeing me off to school, or something. Thank you.
JIMYou’re welcome. Glad I could support the arts.