Written by Joe Janes
177 of 365
(Lights up on Bernard wearing an 80’s-style yellow jumpsuit with shoulder pads. It is a bit snug on him, especially around the waist. He is setting a table for a romantic candle lit dinner. We hear a door close offstage.)
BERNARDIn the dining room, Phyllis.
PHYLLISThe dining room? (She stands in the doorway, wearing a woman’s business suit and carrying a bag stuffed with papers from work.) I forgot we had a dining room.
BERNARDIt’s a shame we never used it.
PHYLLISIt smells like heaven in here.
BERNARDThat would be the eggplant parmesan.
PHYLLISEggplant parm and what else?
BERNARDUm, oh, my Axe Body Spray.
PHYLLISMy favorite dish and my favorite dish. And I thought it was just going to be another boring Tuesday night.
BERNARDSit, Phyllis. Sit. Have some wine.
PHYLLISMust say I could get used to this royal treatment, Bernard. What’s with the 80’s night?
BERNARDThis? It’s my uniform.
PHYLLISBernard, you were wearing that the night we met in Dayton, Ohio.
BERNARDSo, I was.
PHYLLISCan’t believe you dragged that thing out of mothballs. I’m so glad my sister dragged me to that nightclub, though. Never thought I’d meet my future husband there. I tell my students that if they want to meet the love of their life, they better learn how to dance and hold their liquor.
BERNARDWise words for third graders to hear.
PHYLLISI think I smell a rat. You cheated on me.
PHYLLISYou did! You cheated on me. You wouldn’t act like this unless there was something wrong. There must be something very, very wrong. Who is she?
BERNARDNo one, Phyllis. No one. I didn’t cheat on you. You’re the only one on earth for me.
PHYLLISMore wine. (Bernard pours her more wine.) So after twenty years of marriage, you just decide, out of the blue, to cook up a romantic evening for your wife.
BERNARDWell, no. Not exactly. I have something to tell you.
PHYLLISI knew it.
BERNARDI’m an alien.
(Phyllis looks serious for a moment and then laughs.)
BERNARD (continuing)I return to my home planet in an hour. (Phyllis laughs some more.) The mother ship is almost in range to pick me up.
PHYLLISStop, Bernard. I can’t eat if you keep making me laugh.
BERNARDPhyllis. I mean it. You know how we’ve never been able to have kids?
PHYLLISBecause of your low sperm count.
BERNARDThat’s just what I told you. It’s because my penis is actually a third arm. Very handy working the flonium mines on my planet. In my species, sexual organs are in the feet. For both genders.
PHYLLISSo, every time I gave you a foot massage I was actually…
BERNARDOh, yeah. And it was very good.
PHYLLISBernard. You’re putting me on. This eggplant parmesan is the best. Good job.
BERNARDPhyllis, I need you to believe me. I’m leaving. For good. Forever.
PHYLLISWell, if you want to leave then just leave. You don’t have to make up all this spaceman bullshit. Be a man about it.
BERNARDI can’t be a man about it. I’m not a man. I’m a Turlubian. From Turlubia. Several solar systems away.
PHYLLISOkay, fine. You’re a Turlubian. From Turlubia. What are you doing here? Why have you been Bernard, my husband, for the last twenty years?
BERNARDI’ve been doing research. I was sent here to study you humans and your planet to help determine if Tulurbia will invade and take over or leave you alone.
PHYLLISAnd the verdict?
BERNARDThis is where human arrogance has worked in your favor. Your species has messed up the eco-system so badly with pollution and global warming that we don’t want it. It stinks. Your species will kill itself off in less than ten years.
PHYLLISYou’re serious about this.
BERNARDI am, Phyllis. But I wanted you to know, because, well, you were always more than just a research project for me. I love you.
PHYLLISBernard… What’s your Turlubian name?
PHYLLISOh. …Bernard, take me with you. If my species is going to die, take me with you. We can live on your planet.
BERNARDYeah, well, fine in theory. You know how your species has such an intense disregard for the environment? My species is the same way when it comes to racism. You would be taken away from me and forced into slavery.
PHYLLISBut you pass for human. I could pass for Turlubian.
BERNARDThey would smell the difference. This isn’t Axe Body Spray. It’s my natural pheromones. And Turlubian women have their own distinct aroma. Much like spoiled milk, coffee and lemons.
PHYLLISEw. That’s why they always hated your special orders at Starbucks.
BERNARDThey would probably make you one of the royal foot massagers. And the prince has a reputation for foot odor and bunions. It’s not pretty and I could not live knowing that you’ll die rubbing someone else’s feet.
PHYLLISBut you’re fine with me dying here.
BERNARDMy wife is.
BERNARDDid I not mention that? I’m married on my planet. How’s your eggplant?
PHYLLISI’m not so hungry any more. Please get to the part where you say “Just kidding!” That this is all a bad joke.
BERNARDI wish I could. Phyllis (He picks her up from the chair.) Phyllis. Please let me just hold you one last time. (They hug. Noreen, a tall, David Bowie Ziggy Stardust-looking Amazon woman in a similar jumpsuit to Bernard’s stands in the doorway and clears her throat. Phyllis and Bernard separate) Noreen!
NOREENIt’s time to go, Bernard.
BERNARDWomen are also the dominant gender on our planet.
(He quickly runs off but gives Phyllis a quick wave from behind Noreen who, to discipline him, stomps on his foot without looking. He yelps and exits. Noreen walks and stands face-to-face to Phyllis. They sniff each other and are both repulsed by what they smell.)
NOREENKeep your stinky planet.
(She starts to exits.)
PHYLLISOh, yeah? Well, you have big, floppy feet!
(She exits. Phyllis sits and sadly takes another bite of eggplant.)
PHYLLISDamn, this is good.