Menage a Sartre

by Mike Mariano

On the Internet at: http://mikemariano.com/menageasartre/

A hotel room. Three people—Joe, Liz, and Chanel—lie asleep on the bed, their bodies intertwined. The debris of lovemaking surrounds them—clothes, condom wrappers, sex toys, etc. The room’s television set is on, displaying the freeze-framed face of a porn star. Slowly Joe begins to stir. He removes Chanel’s leg from around his neck and props himself up. He looks around. Liz also wakes.

Joe

Is it night?

He stands. Joe is wearing a vaguely “cowboy” costume. He wears leather chaps, a vest, and a canary yellow thong. He grabs a cowboy hat off of a night table, puts it on, and goes to the window. He begins to push the curtains aside.

Liz

Do you really want to open that window?

Joe stops.

Joe

Just for a peek?

Liz

Dressed like that?

Joe considers. He retreats from the window.

Joe

I suppose not. There’s no telling who’d see us.

Liz

Propping herself up by her elbows:

It’s not who sees us, it’s how much of us they see.

Joe

It would be nice, though, to see the moon. Or the sun; whatever’s outside. Only to get some sense of what time it is.

Liz

Look at the clock.

Joe looks at the night table; there is no clock there. He looks down at the floor, and from underneath the mess, pulls an alarm clock up by its cord. He looks at it.

What time is it?

Joe

6:15.

Liz

Morning or night?

Joe

Dropping the clock:

I don’t know. We’ve been here too long. Look at you. Liz, you are gorgeous. I wouldn’t ever want to give up what the three of us shared last night, and the night before, and however long before that. But let’s look at this for what it is.

Liz

For what?

Joe

For what? It’s an orgy. Wild, sexual revelry. Complete abandon. But it has to end.

Liz

Does it?

Joe

Yes! At some point, yes. And I think sooner rather than later.

Liz

You think Chanel will go for that?

Joe

I don’t think I need to care.

Liz

Well, I can certainly see your point. I’ve almost had my fill of having my fill, but do you know I am not in any way tired? What you’re talking about, Joe, is a fatigue. You’re seeing this as repetition. In and out, back and forth, two fingers or three. It’s a rut.

Joe

Isn’t it?

Liz

Smiles:

I’m still having fun. There’s something about you two, both you and Chanel. I’ve discovered things that make you squirm, but you never squirm in the same way. A touch on the same spot of Chanel’s body elicits a gasp, a moan, a sigh, a giggle. I see the differences.

Joe

There’s a reason for that, you know. The first time, it’s good. The second, feels a little numb. The third, that’s really chafing. That’s the definition of a rut: it wears you down. And I think I’m worn raw all over.

Liz

Poor Joe. All rested up and still sore. And Chanel; she’s still asleep. But me, I’m up...

Liz stands. She is wearing a strap-on sex toy.

And I’m up.

She approaches Joe, putting her arms around him.

So how about a game, just the two of us? We’ll play Spanish-American War: I’ll be the Rough Riders, and you be San Juan Hill.

Joe

Big stick diplomacy.

Liz

Now you’re getting the idea....

Liz takes a bottle of lubricant and pours a small amount into her hand. She begins to apply the lubricant to her strap-on. Joe watches.

The question is, what part of your body is healed enough to...speak softly to?

Joe

Listen to yourself. You’re talking like a drug addict, trying to find a usable vein.

Liz

I’ll take a usable vein, if that’s what you want to offer me.

Joe

That certainly sounds erotic.

Liz

It is for some people, Joe. But then I suppose you’re not the kind of guy who’d want to give himself a Doubting Thomas.

Joe

A Doubting Thomas? I’m sure I don’t want to know what that is.

Liz

It’s for stigmata fetishists. Men get surgery to put holes in their hands wide enough to...praise the Lord.

Joe

Amazing.

Liz

Human ingenuity! If you don’t like the holes you have, make a new one.

Joe

I’m sure it’s a wonderful arts and crafts project, Liz, but I’m not at all in the mood. If anything, I’d like a little more rest.

Liz

Have it your way. I guess it’s about time for Chanel’s wake-up call, anyway.

She gets onto the bed and kneels, preparing to assault Chanel.

Joe

Liz, leave her alone.

Liz

Why?

Joe

Why? She’s in the middle of....

He walks over to the television.

Look, Liz; we’ve got the rest of this video.

He reads from the box:

Peeing and Nothingness. Starring Greg Morgan, Perrin Lafayette, and Mariah Wind. So use your imagination and your imaginary phallus, and...whatever.

Liz

With two warm bodies in the room you want me to love the latex?

Joe

Really, I don’t care.

Liz

You claim you’re bored with all this so you want me to sit down and watch TV? That’s a lot more boring to me. You complain about your “rut”, but watch this and she just does the same thing over and over again.

Joe

You don’t need a weatherman to tell Mariah Wind blows.

Liz

Exactly. Just look at her. Is that all there is?

Joe

Sometimes that’s all you need. A girl and a smile. Accessories sold separately.

Joe glances around; frowns.

Do you think it’s past noon?

Liz

Why? Is that the time Mrs. Joe comes home for lunch?

Joe

Taken aback; recovering:

That’s quite an interesting question—

Liz

I don’t expect an interesting answer.

Joe

Why do you think there is a Mrs. Joe? I haven’t said one word.

Liz

You don’t need to.

Joe

I make love like a married man.

Liz

Assents:

You couldn’t hide it if you wanted to. Monogamists. You want it all or nothing, and you always get neither. No matter what Chanel and I do that your wife doesn’t—and believe me, she doesn’t—once you’ve committed to us you’re just as bored here as you are there.

Joe

My wife does do, in fact. Marlena is willing, and giving—she’s sexy. But when we’re together, I don’t know what’s wrong.

Liz

A seven year itch, Joe?

Joe

I don’t know.

Liz

Let’s scratch it.

Joe

We have. I’m hungry.

Liz

Too bad; I’m not taking this off.

Joe rummages for food.

Joe

I don’t suppose we planned ahead...?

Liz

You mean food? Take some granola along the happy trail?

Joe

Packing every conceivable vibrating or gliding device: that we don’t have a problem with. It’s only basic human necessities where we hit a snag. Ah, here’s a banana.

Joe picks it up and begins to peel it.

Liz

That’s Chanel’s.

Joe

I’m not the only one taking advantage of a sleeping woman.

He bites into it.

Liz

She didn’t bring it to eat.

Joe

Disgusted:

Oh God....

He spits out the remaining banana.

I need something to....

He grabs a bottle from the dresser and swigs.

Liz

And that’s not water.

Joe spits.

Joe

Oh, geez!

Liz

But it is water-based.

Joe

Oh, I’m drinking lube!

Joe collapses onto the bed and wipes his mouth.

Liz

It helps the banana go down easier.

Joe

Recomposing himself:

Liz, I can’t do this anymore. There’s nothing to drink, nothing to eat. And let’s face it, nothing to screw.

Liz

I’m sure I can find something.

Joe

Liz, Liz; listen to yourself! The way you think.

Beat.

I want to know: Liz, do you know what OPP stands for?

Liz

OPP?

Joe

Yes.

Liz

I’m down with it.

Joe

Naughty by Nature. In the song, OPP is Other People’s Property. Property’s being used as a euphemism for our genitals. There are a million words they could have used for that, but they chose “Property”. And I don’t think you realize how well that word fits. When you trespass on my “property”, it feels like you trespass on my property. I’m violated. And when you vi—

Chanel

From the bed, muffled:

What are you— Why—? Joe?

Joe

Chanel?

Chanel sits up, making herself more visible. She wears feet pajamas with the zipper half-undone and is younger than either Joe or Liz. She is blindfolded and handcuffed to the bed.

Chanel

Joe, you’re boring! Boring! Why are you two talking? Have seeeeeeeex!

Liz

Joe doesn’t want to.

Chanel

Joe....

Joe

Chanel, enough is enough.

Liz

Joe decided instead to spice things up by giving a little lecture about rap music.

Chanel

Are there any rap guys here?

Liz

No honey; it’s just me and Joe, just as it’s always been.

Chanel

Pouting:

Oh, that’s horrible. The things you two put me through. You blindfold me, tie me to the bed, and you don’t even have the courtesy to find rap stars to rape me.

Joe

I’ve become an endless source of disappointment, Chanel. Just ask Liz.

Chanel

Liz, what is he—?

Liz

You don’t have to shout; I’m right next to you.

Chanel

You are? Where are—?

With her limited reach, Chanel grabs Liz’s arm. She feels her arm, the side of her body, and, lastly, her strap-on phallus.

Oh, there you are.

Liz

Joe says he’s bored, Chanel. He thinks it’s time to check out of the hotel and get on with our wives.

Chanel

Joe! You have a wife?

Joe

I’m deeply sorry if I—

Chanel

And you want us to get it on with her?

Joe

What I want, Chanel, is a brand new day. One entirely unlike this one. One where I get up, get out the door, and go to work.

Chanel

Work’s not much different for me; I’m a teen porn star.

Joe

And you don’t see the monotony in all this?

Chanel

Not with the blindfold.

Liz removes her blindfold. Chanel looks at Joe, then laughs.

Oh, “Boo hoo; I have a wife. I don’t want to make love anymore. I’m returning your used panties.” I’ve heard this all before.

Liz

Slyly; an idea:

Joe, give us twenty minutes.

Joe

Twenty minutes?

Liz

Twenty minutes of abstinence. That will prove our point. After that you can walk out the door, though I very much think you’ll stay to play, instead.

Joe

You seem to think that I’m throwing a temper tantrum. And this is my time-out.

Liz

I prefer to discipline with spankings but I think you’d take that the wrong way.

Joe

You’re right.

Liz

So, are we agreed to put a moratorium on the orgy?

Chanel

I’m not; I just woke up. I don’t want to wait.

Joe

I agree, Liz.

Liz

Can we have a show of hands? Those in favor?

She and Joe raise hands.

Any opposed?

She and Joe leave their hands at their sides. Chanel looks at her bonds, then at Liz.

Chanel

Oh, ha ha. Ha ha ha.

Liz

Overlapping:

Then we’re decided. For twenty minutes, we’ll put aside what we came here for and enjoy a break from the action.

Liz sits on the bed and takes out a magazine—Martha Stewart Living?

Chanel

Joe, you don’t really want to—?

But Joe takes his hat, covers his face with it, and lies down against the bed. Liz flips a page. Joe sleeps. Chanel looks at them.

Can I say something?

Liz

We won’t listen, but go right ahead.

Chanel

I think that looking at the two of you like this is scary. You’re not doing anything! Meanwhile, I’m wasting valuable time in these restraints.

Joe snickers.

What?

Joe

Valuable? Can you really put a value on your time tied up or on the countless hours that we’ve spent here? It’s been days. If it were up to you, it would be a week more.

Chanel

It wouldn’t be a week of talking, I’ll tell you that.

Joe

Oh, I’m sure that in a week we could both put our tongues to better use. But for at least the next twenty minutes, I want a break.

Chanel

Seriously?

Joe

After that we have all the time we need.

Chanel

I don’t.

Chanel makes a face.

Well then, untie me. Please?

Joe

I don’t know, Chanel.... It’s keeping you out of trouble.

Chanel

You don’t tie someone up if you don’t want trouble.

Joe

Liz?

Liz

Throws down her magazine:

Fine, Chanel; you’ll get your freedom.

Chanel

Thank you....

Liz begins untying Chanel.

Liz

To Joe:

You tie a good knot.

Joe

I was a Boy Scout.

Liz

You should have worn the uniform.

Joe wags his finger. Liz frees Chanel.

Better?

Chanel

I’m horny.

Joe

I’m hungry. Neither of us are getting what we want.

Chanel

Hungry?

Joe

There’s nothing edible in this room.

Chanel

Of course there is....

Chanel reaches into her outfit and rips off a pair of edible underwear. She throws it at Joe. He stares at it.

Joe

Shrugs:

Why not?

He begins to eat the underwear.

Chanel

Coldly:

Glad I could satisfy you.

Liz

Cheer up, Chanel. After this is over we’ll play Spanish-American War. You’ll be the soldiers who go down on the Maine. I’ll be the Maine.

Chanel

OK, but no yellow journalism.

Liz

It’s a deal.

Liz returns to her magazine. Chanel reaches down and picks up a vibrator. Liz notices.

Chanel, what do you think you’re doing?

Chanel

My vagina.

Joe

Oh no....

Chanel

No one else will!

Joe

Chanel, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it really seems like you don’t understand the concept of “no sex for twenty minutes.” Why don’t you occupy yourself with a magazine like Liz?

Chanel

I don’t think it would fit. Unless you roll it up.

Liz

Chanel—

Chanel

To Liz:

Aren’t you worried about paper cuts?

Liz

Chanel, Joe isn’t going to stop his moaning unless we show him a little good faith. So why not put that down for a while?

Chanel

No.

She twists on the vibrator. Nothing happens. She tries again. Still nothing.

It’s out of batteries!

Joe

Unsympathetic:

Oh no!

Chanel

I must have left it on all night. Did either of you bring any extra?

Liz

No.

Joe

Sorry.

Chanel

What am I supposed to do?

Liz

We have jumper cables.

Chanel

That won’t do any good. Why do we have jumper cables?

Liz

Ask Joe’s nipples.

Joe begins to cough, uncomfortable.

What now?

Joe

Feeling his throat:

What? Nothing. Just a...hair in my food.

Chanel

I guess I missed a spot.

Joe

It’s quite all right.

Chanel

To Liz:

What about the camera? That has batteries.

Liz

It has a battery pack.

Chanel

Ohhh!

Joe

Chanel, perhaps you’re not getting the hint. We are ending this endless orgy.

Liz

For a limited time.

Joe

For however long, it means that this is not playtime.

Chanel

So that means no batteries.

Joe

That’s right.

Liz

Or you could just use the vibrator without any power.

Joe

No.

Chanel

No, I need motion in my ocean. Joe’s right.

She discards the vibrator.

Joe

Thank you.

Chanel

Oh? Well thank you for nothing. You sure know how to treat a teen porn star; this three-way is going nowhere. Honestly, I shaved my pubes for this?

Joe

I asked myself the same question. Chanel, you just woke up. Why don’t you freshen up—get your head cleared?

Chanel

Fine.

She gets off the bed. The rear flap of her pajamas is unbuttoned, leaving her exposed. She rummages through a bag.

Here we go.

Whatever Chanel has in her hands emits an audible buzz. Joe and Liz look over.

Liz

Chanel....

Chanel

What?

She displays the object.

It’s an electric toothbrush!

Joe

Used for what?

Chanel

For brushing my teeth!

Liz

And what’s in that tube?

Chanel

Toothpaste!

Liz

To Joe:

She’s got us there.

Joe

Then brush away....

Chanel applies toothpaste and begins to brush. She stands and begins to walk offstage.

Chanel

Unintelligible, still brushing:

I need water; I’m heading to the bathroom...

Before she exits, Chanel turns and faces Joe, her mouth still full.

You know, you tell me to freshen up, but why should I freshen up if nothing’s going to happen? The mood you’re in is terrible. Dental hygiene isn’t going to get you hard.

Joe

What?

Chanel grabs Joe’s hat and spits into it. She wipes her mouth and tosses it away.

Liz

Chanel’s right. Suddenly you’ve become this soggy, mopey mess. It’s embarrassing. And it’s because of that wife of yours.

Joe

It is not because of Marlena.

Liz

She can’t help it. She’s the wife. Monogamy has made both of you into self-flagellating, pleasureless drones. And I believe no one should flagellate himself. It’s so much more fun to let other people do it.

Joe

Liz, I’m not beating myself up. Not over adulterer’s guilt. I’ve had too much of a good thing. That’s all. It’s the hedonistic equivalent of an ice cream headache.

Liz

I don’t believe you.

Joe

Then don’t. But know this: I don’t make love to you thinking, “Oh, my poor wife. How can I do this to her?” I kiss Chanel and I don’t think, “My marriage is a sham. I’m living a lie.” I kiss Chanel thinking of Chanel. And I love my wife.

Liz

Joe, I’m losing my erection. What’s your point?

Joe

As long as we’re being personal, Liz, let me ask: do you have a husband?

Liz

Husband? Oh, no no no....

Joe

Because you certainly seem to be an expert—

Liz

Experience. This is what I know. Warning signs.

Joe

Thank you. I’m just not sure how valid those signs are. Who knows, maybe Chanel’s married.

Chanel

Oh, no.... I’m way too young....

Joe

Overlapping:

Maybe the only person who should be talking about my wife is her husband. The two of us together—the two of anybody together—only we know what we know.

Chanel

I’m not married.

Joe

Congratulations; you’re on the right path to living Life By Liz. All you need is your own strap-on.

Liz

Can I talk about somebody I do know?

Joe

A significant other?

Liz

A former significant other; yes.

Joe

Liz, by all means: be sentimental.

Liz

That’s not what I’ll be doing. Joe, Chanel: this is a warning. Like many people, young and full of hormones, I experimented with monogamy.

Joe

The gateway drug.

Liz

Joe, you’re a monogamist. You have at least a few lovers, but you have only one wife. Till death do you part. And you like it that way.

Joe

I do.

Liz

So did I. I had Florence. She was funny, beautiful, a natural blonde. And she loved me. As awful a person as I can be, she was never anything but smiles and kisses. And while I wasn’t looking for a significant other, I let it happen. Soon Florence moves in. Soon she’s making me dinner. Soon we go to barbecues. With couples. Who have babies.

Joe

You’re only human.

Chanel

And it’s so romantic, Liz; that’s not a bad thing.

Liz

You’d think that.

Chanel

It sounds like the perfect marriage.

Liz

Oh, Florence and I weren’t married. She was. I preferred to call what we had—

Joe

Excuse me, Liz: Florence was married?

Liz

She had a husband.

Joe

But she was living with you?

Liz

This is beside the point. Florence and I: we were the couple. Her husband? Her child? You’d be surprised how malleable the sacrament of marriage can be. Just as long as you end up with a one-on-one couple in the end.

Joe

It doesn’t sound like monogamy to me.

Liz

I’m sure it wouldn’t. Look at us, in this hotel room, sealed up, even from the sunlight. You seem to think of extramarital activity as some sort of disease. Some potential catastrophe. Let it loose and it spreads. Your monogamous world breaks down; all the happily married couples writhe naked in the streets with the neighbors. Block party intimacy.

Chanel

It’s what’s known in my field as the “gray goo” theory.

Liz

But there is no breaking point for monogamy. If Florence came home and found me naked with the paperboy, it wouldn’t make a difference. Florence wasn’t low-maintenance; she was no-maintenance. I never bought her flowers or jewelry. I bought her chocolate once. A specialty brand in a small box; something she liked. We had a function that night; we were dressed up. And afterward we went out to dinner. I gave her the chocolate; no big deal. I came back from the bathroom and Florence told me that the waiter watched me give her the box. He told her that he thought I was going to propose. I looked at Florence and said, “Well, you know better.”

Joe

A true romantic.

Liz

That was Liz the Monogamist; I was bad! But monogamy doesn’t care how bad you are. Abusive husbands are perfect monogamists; so are battered wives. Maybe they’ll die chained to a radiator, but it’s better than dying alone. Florence knew that.

Chanel

Jealous:

You never chained me to a radiator.

Liz

I didn’t with Florence, either; verbal abuse was enough. I made her unhappy. And she did what unhappy wives do.

Joe

She left you?

Liz

Joe, you of all people should know, bad relationships don’t end in breakups, not for the truly committed. For monogamists there’s only one way out.

Joe

I don’t like this.

Liz

Florence considered it the best option. One night she got up, walked to the kitchen, blew out the pilot light, and turned on the gas. Then she crept back into bed.

Chanel

She suffocated.

Liz

I suffocated, too.

Chanel

But you both recovered, right?

Liz

The paramedics were putting oxygen masks on us when I finally asked myself: was I breaking her heart? Did I mean life and death to Florence? I’m not that important. No one’s that important. Sex and love deserve better than one-on-one, forever-and-ever. Open hearts deserve open relationships. Joe, don’t make Marlena play the suffering wife. Chanel, don’t let your porn stars grow up to be housewives. Life’s too short.

Joe

Not in this hotel room.

Liz

Florence isn’t in this hotel room.

Joe

My history with monogamy is different, Liz. Let me share.

Liz

I don’t want to hear about Marlena.

Joe

This is a high school romance; a different story.

Liz

Please, Joe; no one wants to hear about how you never got to second base with Stacey Q. Prom Dress back in the ninth grade.

Joe

Her name was Margaret A. Prom Dress, actually. And I got past second base.

Liz

I underestimated you. In one department.

Chanel

I’m impressed, Joe. Most guys in ninth grade never get their hands down to third. Some of them don’t even know the way.

Liz

Not our Joe. He’s the man with his finger on the button.

Joe

Wait wait wait; that’s not third base.

Chanel

Of course it is.

Liz

Chanel’s right. Third base means your fingers—or your lips—are right where they should be.

Joe

No; that’s home plate. Any way you get there is a home run.

Liz

Oh, no. A home run is a home run.

Joe

Not in ninth grade!

Chanel

Joe, what did you do with this girl?

Joe

I got to third base—what I call third base. My hands were definitely under her shirt.

Liz and Chanel groan.

Oh, come on.

Liz

Bra or no bra?

Joe

Hesitant:

I didn’t go past the Maidenform.

Liz and Chanel groan louder.

Chanel

Boys are so dumb!

Joe

My hands went places on a sixteen year old that they’ll never be again. I’d like to think that counts for something.

Chanel

Not third base!

Liz

Your hand up her shirt? Joe, what’s first base? Good table manners?

Joe

None of this matters. The point I wanted to make wasn’t about baseball. It’s about the soul. You demonize marriage, Liz, but we have soulmates. Each one of us.

Liz

Listen to our Joe. A strictly platonic man in a casual encounters world.

Joe

Somewhere out there is someone who completes you. Who fills in every gap you have.

Liz

I’ve filled in your gaps, Joe. But I guess you mean Marlena.

Joe

Marlena is wonderful. She is warm, honest, faithful. My wife is everything I’m not.

Liz

Opposites attract.

Joe

But they don’t get any less opposite. Marlena has qualities—good qualities—that I’ve never understood. I’ve been envious of her. I can’t equal her, in any way. And I can’t look at her without seeing that.

To Liz:

I wasn’t lying when I said none of this would be out of bounds for her. Anything that went on in this hotel room she would have participated in and enjoyed. But she can’t do what I need the most. She can’t be imperfect.

Liz

Boo hoo.

Joe

Go ahead; laugh. But you’re the same as me; none of us can equal my wife. Marlena does things for me neither of you could do.

Chanel

She lets you pee in her mouth?

Joe

No.

Chanel

Because I wouldn’t do that.

Joe

That’s not what I’m talking about, Chanel.

Chanel

People have tried, but I say—

Joe

Chanel, I do not pee in my wife’s mouth.

Beat.

Besides, I can’t go while someone’s watching.

Chanel

She could close her eyes.

Liz

She should close her eyes anyway.

Joe

I think this proves my point; I bare my soul, and you two mistake it for something else.

Liz

Sorry....

Joe

No; no it’s my fault. I should think the next time before I start to wax nostalgia.

Chanel

Who’s Nostalgia? Is she stubbly?

Joe

Chanel, you amaze me.

Chanel

Crossing to the phone:

That’s why I’m a Jeremy Award winner. What’s your phone number?

Joe

Why?

Chanel

I’m calling your wife.

Joe

To expose me?

Chanel

To invite her!

Joe

No, Chanel—

Chanel

Yes. Joe, why should we have all the fun?

Joe

Chanel—

Chanel

You’re married to her; you like her. She likes pee....

Liz

Chanel, I’m not sure we should all at once reveal ourselves to Joe’s wife.

Chanel

Oh, if Joe’s been here this long she must know he has some secrets. Joe didn’t tell us about Marlena until now; he’s concealing something from everybody. It’s just like Albert Camus said: “We all have a face that we hide away forever, and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.”

Joe

“The Stranger?”

Chanel

Gently correcting his French:

“L’Étranger”.... So come on, Joe; what’s the number?

Joe

You’re not calling my wife.

Chanel

I’m calling your wife.

Liz

To Chanel:

Tell her to buy batteries on the way.

Chanel

Definitely.

Joe

I’m not going to give you the number, Chanel; put down the phone.

Chanel

Can I just say that is selfish of you, Joe? That is really selfish. You coop your wife up at home when she could be here with a teenage porn star and a lady with a big penis. I want to tell her that.

Liz

Well, Chanel, we should be truthful.

Chanel

I know it’s not a real penis...

Liz

I’m talking about you, Chanel. You’re not a real teenager.

Chanel sets the phone down.

Chanel

Excuse me?

Liz

You see it, don’t you Joe? She’s not 18 or 19.

Chanel

I’m sorry, have you seen my movies? I’m not described as “Lean, Obscene and Totally Twentysomething” on the packaging.

Liz

I could care less about your film credits; I’ve seen your driver’s license.

Chanel gasps.

Your purse is right over there, wide open. And you’re no teenager.

Chanel

Liz....

Liz

To Joe:

Our damsel this evening is the ripe old age of 25.

Chanel

Oh my God....

Liz

Just this week, actually. Happy Birthday.

Chanel

Advancing on her:

How could you, Liz?

Liz

I’m sorry; I should have bought a present.

To Joe:

Twenty-five years is silver, right?

Joe

Only in a relationship.

Liz

A gasp of mock surprise:

And here we are, in a relationship! Do you need any flatwear, Chanel?

Chanel

Leave me alone!

Chanel sulks, Joe approaches her.

Joe

Chanel, you’re 25.

Chanel

Joe, don’t remind—

Joe

You’re the youngest person in this room. And you’re beautiful.

Liz

You’re a quarter-century of loveliness.

Joe

Chanel, no one could possibly think that getting a little older has taken any of your appeal away from you.

Chanel

You’re wrong there.

Joe

My opinion of you hasn’t changed in the least, and no matter what Liz says she feels the same.

Chanel

Do you know how I spent my birthday?

Joe

No.

Chanel

I spent it at work.

Joe

Then I think I can guess.

Chanel

I began the day under the impression that I would be receiving a contract and shooting schedule for “Double-Stuffed Debutantes Volume Six”. Instead, my producer Ezra Pounds pulled me into his office and told me he was letting me go. I said, “Ezra, don’t do this!” But he said that the company has a policy of “All Teen, All the Time”. And my violations were in violation.

Joe

So, five years after your teenage years, you’re all of a sudden no longer a teen porn star.

Chanel

Ezra said he could get me a job with something non-teen, but what does that mean? That’s just a step away from granny porn.

Joe

Chanel, can’t you just do “porn”? Do they still make “porn” porn? Or nowadays does everyone have to have a fetish?

Chanel

Nobody hires a general practitioner anymore.

Joe

Well, Chanel, I don’t know what to tell you.

Chanel

There’s nothing you could say! I’ve spent the last thirteen years of my life as a teenager. I don’t know how to be anything else!

Liz

That’s the beauty of being here, Chanel. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Joe and I aren’t going to fire you.

Chanel

But it’s gone! As recently as last week on the set, I could be a teenager. No matter what my license said. Then I lost that. When I came here, it was the only refuge I had left. But you found out.

Liz

But we never believed you.

Chanel

Well it’s the same result. I’m old and I’m unemployed and I’ve lost my appetite for sex.

She stands.

Where’s my jacket?

Liz

You’re leaving?

Chanel takes a jacket from the floor and begins to put it on.

Chanel

Why not? The illusion is gone. I wanted my fantasy teen porn star fantasy, and you took that fantasy away from me!

Liz

Chanel....

Joe

Never reveal a woman’s age, Liz.

Chanel

Thank you.

Joe also stands, ready to leave.

Joe

And Liz, as much as I’ve enjoyed your company this era, I think Chanel has the right idea. All good things must come to an end.

Liz

If not at the end.

Chanel

Or in her end.

Joe

I think the end is now. Happy birthday, Chanel.

Chanel

Don’t remind me.

Joe

Slight wave:

Liz....

Liz

Are you really going to drive home to Marlena dressed like that?

Joe

Perhaps.

A beat.

You know, I’ll remember this as a beautiful thing.

No reaction.

Well, goodbye.

Joe grabs the doorknob as Cody enters. He is wide-eyed and resembles an overgrown fraternity brother. He carries a bag.

Cody

Hey Joe! Liz, Chanel; I am the man, I am the provider. I’m Santa Claus and here’s my bag of toys.

Joe

Cody.

Chanel

Hi, Cody.

Cody sets the bag down and begins removing sex toys.

Cody

All right, Chanel, I found just what you wanted: your own personal Jesus.

He tosses her a toy.

Chanel

Thanks, Cody.

Cody

Reach out and touch faith.

Chanel

Who’s Faith?

Cody

And my dear Elizabeth, I have something you can wear to work: Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand.

He presents her with a butterfly vibrator.

Liz

Cody, what can I say? You know me.

Cody

Ha, you bet I do. Hey, Joe?

Joe

Cody?

Cody

Get away from the door. Have a seat; Santa’s not done.

Joe

Am I getting coal in my stocking?

Cody

Not in your stocking, dude.

He throws a toy at Joe.

Joe

Cody, what is this?

Cody

It’s a mouth, man; just look at it. It has a tongue. You know what to do.

Joe

Displaying it:

Cody, it has a mustache.

Cody

So?

Joe

So, I— It has a mustache!

Cody

What do you want me to say, man? Just close your eyes and think of Tom Selleck.

Joe

Thank you.

Cody

So that’s it. I came bearing gifts. And what did I miss during this passion mash?

Liz

I would say everything, Cody. Joe and Chanel just announced they were ready to leave.

Cody

Leave?

Joe

Well....

Cody

No, that’s wrong; that’s an indignity! You three are on your way to beat the record! You can’t quit now!

Chanel

There’s a record?

Cody

Yeah, I think the Longfellow Brothers had something like a week and a half.

Joe

And who records this, Guinness?

Cody

I’ll record it. And yes, I’d love a Guinness.

Liz

What a noble effort. Chanel, make yourself back up; we owe it to history.

Cody

You got it, Liz; rock out with your prosthetic out! This is what I came here for! Let me hit the W.C. and then we’ll get to it.

He exits to the bathroom.

Liz

To Joe:

I thought you said Cody wouldn’t be here.

Joe

He said he had another orgy.

Cody

Offstage:

Hey, what a bathroom! You three really went all out!

Liz

Did we?

Cody returns, wearing a bathrobe.

Cody

And that shower stall; right on! You could fit a man, a woman, another woman, and a cameraman in there!

Chanel

I know.

Cody

But I guess you couldn’t test that out, huh? It’s only been the three of you. Man, I really regret that I didn’t make it earlier. But hey, I’m here now; that’s why dildos come with erasers, right?

Joe

Cody, that’s a pencil.

Cody

Dude, anything shaped like that that says “Number Two” on it, I can figure out what it’s used for.

Cody pulls his robe tighter.

It’s cold in here; I’m like a mushy walnut. Are any of you...?

He eyes them.

Hey, what’s got everybody so down? Chanel, where’s your youthful teen exuberance?

Chanel

I have youthful teen exuberance?

Cody

You’re nubile, baby!

Chanel

I’m not African....

Or “Well, I am African....”

Cody

So what’s wrong, then?

Chanel

Oh, nothing you can’t take care of, Cody.

Cody

Taking off her jacket, he looks her over:

She knows how to talk to me....

Cody tosses the coat on the floor. He notices a bottle and picks it up.

Hey, what’s this? I told you guys to change your anal lube every three months or every 3,000 miles.

Joe

Miles of what?

Cody

Wouldn’t you like to know.

Chanel

Don’t pay any attention to him, Cody. He’s been in a foul mood ever since his wife wouldn’t let him pee in her mouth.

Cody

Well, Joe, you’ve got to be careful with that. Does she have any piercings? Cause then your sun tea, it might rust it away, uric acid and all that. That’s unless it’s a silver piercing; then it’s like a tarnish. And don’t eat any asparagus.

Liz

Getting up:

Cody, stop talking and bend over.

Cody

Huh?

He notices her phallus.

Whoa! Now that’s an oil rig!

Liz

Just call me J.R. Ewing; I’m drilling for black gold.

Cody

I don’t know Liz; that might be too fleshy for me.

Liz looks down and pulls the phallus out of the strap. She replaces it with a more modest model.

Liz

Mazel Tov.

Cody

Liz, I’ve got to tell the truth; I can’t do any backend server maintenance. I was at this wild party last week—and I mean really wild. I’m talking about I still have the electric bug zapper marks on my back. And the helium balloons. I’m still in recovery. I mean, I found my Ben-Wa balls, but I still can’t find my keys. And every time I sit down, my trunk pops open.

Liz

Pity.

Cody

But that doesn’t mean we can’t pretzel ourselves some other way. My Vlassic is primed and pumped.

He puts an arm around Chanel.

What do you say, Chanel? You want Liz to get over here so you can rotisserie for a while?

Chanel

Mmmm, that’s tempting....

Cody

Don’t tease me, Chanel, do you want it? You want my Spool-Aid? My Wang-Tang? My Slutty Delight? My Hawaiian Munch? My Welch’s Grape Jizz? In your juice box?

Chanel

I do....

Cody

And you, too, Joe. Room for one more.

Joe

Cody, your enthusiasm is commendable, but I’m going home.

Liz and Chanel groan.

Liz

What is it about men, Cody? We sodomize you a little bit and you turn into big babies.

Joe

That’s a completely different fetish!

Cody

This is not a male issue. People just get hung up. It happened to me last night. I’m with this girl—young girl; younger than Chanel. We’re aligning the chakras, and I feel that I’m getting close. I ask her where she wants it, cause I don’t know if she wants to make a meal out of it, or get the shampoo plus conditioner, or maybe even a little return-to-sender; you know, I can be into that. So you know what she tells me? she tells me to go nuge in her sink. In her sink, man! And it’s not even like it’s in the room; I have to walk down the hall into the bathroom to take the shot. And I’m thinking what’s the point? That’s not sexy. It’s not intimate at all. Even if she’s not into the swim team, she’s got to know you completely chill the mood when you say you don’t want to be in the same room as an orgasm. And it’s such a double standard, man; such a double standard. So I have to have my face halfway up to her navel when she’s percolating, but when I’m doing it it’s got to be in the bathroom? Some girls, man.... And I drank a lot of pineapple juice for her....

He walks to Chanel.

But you wouldn’t do that to me, right Chanel?

Chanel

Hmmm?

Cody

Oh, look at you. You’re good to me. You’d let me gumdrop on you, right?

Cody begins undoing his robe.

Chanel

Preoccupied:

Oh....

Cody

Yeah, we can make it happen.

Chanel

Can I ask you a question, Cody?

Cody

Fire it up.

Chanel

How old do you think I am?

Cody

He stops, with his robe loose at his ankles.

Oh, this is one of those “women and their ages” questions....

Chanel

It is, it is; I’m sorry Cody. But I really need to know.

Cody

Aw, well honey, you know, I’d have to say... 22.

Chanel gasps. Immediately, Cody responds.

23?

Chanel lets out a cry and turns away.

Ah, 2? 1? Aw, Chanel. Chanel, baby, I’m sorry.

Chanel

Oh, Cody. You think I’m too old!

Cody

No, honey, I never think that.

Chanel

But you wouldn’t think I was 18 or 19?

Cody

Well, Chanel, you know, you’re an advanced girl. A teenager, she’s still perfecting her technique; no teeth and everything. But you, you’ve got all that down. You’re no amateur.

Chanel

But I am! Trailer Park Teen Amateurs I, II, and IV!

Joe

You didn’t grow up a trailer park. Your family owns a resort.

Chanel

Joe, I’m an actress. I was playing a trailer park teen.

Liz

So why can’t you now play someone who’s 25?

Cody

To Chanel:

Whoa, you’re 25?

Chanel

Oh! You see? No one wants me!

Cody

No, Chanel, that’s not true; that’s not true at all! Every time I look at you, I can’t go a minute without thinking about my prong in your gash!

Chanel

Anguished:

But I’m 25!

Chanel breaks down in tears. Cody brings her closer, allowing her to cry on his shoulder.

Cody

Oh, baby; baby, don’t cry....

Cody pats Chanel’s back in support. At the same time, he removes her arm from around his neck, placing her hand on his crotch.

Chanel

25!

Cody

No, that’s not old, Chanel.

Chanel

Breaking away:

But you don’t think I still look like a teenager?

Cody

Oh, baby, I think you can look the part, but you know, it’s not about looks, it’s about—like I said—it’s about the experience.

Chanel

So I don’t act like a teenager?

Cody

Oh, you know, honey....

Liz

Cody, enough of this. Just tell her to stop doing teen porn.

Cody

Turning to Liz:

Now wait a minute; I think—

Cody takes one step and falls flat onto the ground, tripping over his robe. Silence. Then a high-pitched squeal from Cody.

Liz

Are you all right?

Cody

My love sprinkler!

A collective rolling of the eyes.

I’ll never walk again!

Joe

Of course you will.

Cody

Not on my third leg!

Liz and Chanel help Cody to his feet, banging his head into Liz’s phallus on the way up. Cody limps around, testing his bearings. Pulling his briefs from his body, he inspects himself.

It’s V-shaped!

Chanel

Oh, Cody!

Joe

Well, it’s official. What began as sexual ecstasy has ended in genital mutilation.

Cody

End? What do you mean by—?

Joe

Cody, you’ve damaged yourself, and I—

Cody

You’re staying, Joe. This thing is bigger than you, bigger than all four of us! You’ve created something beautiful here—AAH!

Liz has forced Cody to his knees.

What are you doing?

Liz

Grab hold of something.

Cody grabs her phallus with both hands. Without another warning, Liz lifts his back leg, spreading his leg from his body and holding it there. Cody cries in pain. Liz spanks him once for effect, then releases him. Cody collapses on his back.

Feel better?

Cody

Yes?

Joe

What did you do?

Liz

Something to stop the rush of blood to his head.

Cody

Frozen in position:

Joe, if I don’t make it through, you have to take my place. You have to stay.

Joe

I’ve had too much of a good thing, Cody. Not even Liz has a cure for that.

Liz

Of course I do:

She pushes Cody to the ground—still part of the therapy.

More.

Cody

Hey, it worked!

Joe

Cody, I have cabin fever.

Chanel

Cabin fever? Joe, you said you were clean!

Cody

Hey, listen—

Chanel

Now my career is really over!

Cody

No, Chanel, you don’t have cabin fever.

Chanel

Well, I’m still old!

Cody

Hold up a minute, all right? Joe wants a change of scenery, Chanel wants to be young again, and Liz...?

Liz

I just want to get laid.

Cody

Right. And I’ve got the solution for all of you—another orgy!

Joe

What?

Cody

Another orgy! With Ambrose Jones at his beachhouse! A bunch of his buddies will be there. And a half-dozen honeys, not even counting you two. Six women! That’s like a golf course!

Joe

Cody, what makes you think we’re even interested in—?

Liz

Oh, shut up, Joe; of course we are, right Chanel?

Chanel

Right.

Liz

Is that good enough, or do you want to take another vote?

Joe

What I want is not here, and it’s not with Ambrose Jones.

Cody

Don’t say that, Joe; ’Bro has got one regular who I think is your type. She’s got this raven hair that goes halfway down her back, real straight. And—

Joe

Please, Cody.

Cody

No, Joe, all the guys I’ve seen her with agree. She is a natural beauty, a total natural. Even the way you hold her, man. She’s got these two birthmarks. One’s shaped like a crescent moon for your right hand, halfway between her belly button and her left side. The other’s around her back, just at the...

Joe and Cody

Together:

...top of her right shoulder blade.

Cody stops.

Joe

Shaped like a strawberry.

Beat.

Marlena.

Chanel gasps. Liz begins to laugh.

Chanel

Amazement:

Joe, oh my God!

Cody

What?

Liz

Still laughing:

She’s his wife!

Cody

Marlena’s your wife? Geez, Joe, I didn’t know!

Chanel

Neither did he!

Cody

I mean, she wasn’t wearing a ring. On her finger.

Liz

Joe, if you want to go home, go home. But if you want the loving embrace of your wife....

Cody

Looks like you should come with us, man.

Joe

To see my wife. Do you think I’ll have to stand in line?

Cody

Heh, you must be this tall to ride. Joe, don’t worry about it. This just means that you know you’ve found the right girl for you...and others.

Liz

I think this clinches it. We’re taking a field trip. Start packing, Chanel.

Chanel

Already stuffing items into a duffel bag:

I am.

Cody

All right; yeah! Let’s turn that lubricant into “lubri-can”! And hurry up, too; this is one of those things where you don’t want to come late. Like when you have to eat the cookie in the basement in middle school.

Chanel

What?

Cody

Don’t worry about it.

Liz

I think there’s a lesson in this for you, Joe. I really do. You’re not the only one who feels overwhelmed. But when other people say “Stop the world, I want to get off,” they mean something completely different.

Joe

Cute.

Cody

Joe, relax! Think of it like a family reunion. There’s even a sack race!

Liz

Are you packed?

Joe

I never had anything to unpack.

Liz

Then let’s go.

Cody

Excellent! This is going to be so sweet. Oh, Chanel, you’ll know someone there, too.

Chanel

Oh yeah?

Cody

Yeah, Ezra Pounds.

Chanel freezes, Joe and Liz look on.

Chanel

Ezra?

Cody

Yeah, isn’t he your producer?

Chanel is silent.

Yeah, what a guy. Every time I see him he’s got a teenager on each arm, and another on his—

Chanel

I can’t go.

Cody

Huh?

Chanel

I can’t face him, not now.

Cody

He could take you from the back.

Chanel

No!

Liz

Chanel, come on....

Chanel

Liz, he’s done with me! I’d only be reminded of what I don’t have.

Joe

Retreating from the door.

That’s how I feel.

Cody

OK, wait; now all of a sudden everybody’s not going?

Joe

It would be a change of scenery, but the same miserable situation. Liz can go.

Liz

Looking from Cody to Joe and Chanel:

No.

Cody

So it’s just me. Alone with a dozen other people. Ankle-deep in Astroglide.

Liz

Have fun, Cody.

Cody

I’ll miss you guys.

He starts to exit.

Joe

Cody. When you see Marlena....

Cody

Don’t worry, dude. I’ll pull out.

He exits.

Chanel

To herself:

I can’t go out anymore....

Liz

Chanel....

Chanel

I don’t have a job. I don’t have a social life. I don’t have my youth!

Liz

Chanel, calm down.

Joe

Why? She’s right. What do any of us have outside this room? Everything’s changed.

Liz

Joe.

Joe

I don’t know how to go home anymore.

Liz

Joe, Chanel, the two of you: stop moping. Watch the video.

Joe looks at the paused film while Chanel plays idly with the surrounding toys. Joe approaches the television. He stares at Mariah Wind. He laughs.

Joe

You know, Mariah Wind only had to do this once. We’re watching this for the sixth or seventh time; we could put it on repeat forever. But she only has to live it once. We don’t get that luxury. Liz, I was telling you before about Naughty By Nature. OPP. But other people’s property, that’s not the messy part. It’s not our physical entanglements, it’s the social ones that explain why Mariah Wind gets to act and walk away while we stay on and on and on. I’m looking at this woman on the screen and I understand. There’s no need for the last P. OPP is other people!

Chanel

Staring at the “Personal Jesus”.

You haven’t taken that off since we got here....

Joe

What?

Chanel

I mean Liz. Her and that strap-on.

Liz

I haven’t heard any complaints until now.

Chanel

No one’s gotten to you. You boss us around and you hide behind that thing all the time.

Liz

What can I say? I am comfortable in control.

Chanel turns on her vibrator.

Chanel

I’m going to make you lose it.

Chanel approaches Liz, who backs toward the bed.

Liz

Chanel, I honestly don’t see how this is an issue. If you wanted—

Chanel silences Liz with a full kiss on the lips. In the same instant, Chanel pushes the vibrator beneath Liz’s panties and pins her to the bed. Liz struggles and the two tumble off the other side of the bed, now unseen. They both grunt, Liz begins gasping. After a moment Liz begins moaning, pulling the covers off the bed and towards her. She stops struggling and lets out a series of deeper moans in release. Chanel stands, walks around the bed, and blows across the “barrel” of her vibrator. Liz peeks her head out, grinning.

Was I convincing?

Chanel

You faked it?

Liz

Straight out of the Meg Ryan playbook. Oh, you crazy creature; there’s no getting to me.

Chanel

But I—my Personal Jesus!

Joe

You didn’t change a thing, Chanel. We started this way and we’re stuck this way.

Chanel

Forever and ever....

Liz

Well, Joe, as long as I have this off....

She picks up a saddle with a phallus mounted on it for the rider.

Shall we saddle up?

Joe looks at Liz. Then at Chanel. He gets on all fours.

Joe

Well, well, let’s get on with it.

Liz comes around with the saddle as the lights fade.