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Standing in his living room, Richard holds a baseball bat, practicing his swing. Carol enters, on guard.
Richard stops swinging. He looks at her.
Carol. You here for Emily?
Is she around?
She’s upstairs. I’ll call her down for you.
Actually, Richard, I wanted to ask you a few questions first.
Richard finds this unusual. He sits.
You play baseball?
Later this afternoon, I’m meeting with a couple of guys from the office. I’m out of practice, so I’ve been trying to get in a few swings. So what do you want to ask? It’s not about a surprise party, is it?
Emily’s birthday; it’s in two months or something. Let me tell you right now, though, she doesn’t like parties. Emily is not a party person. Especially when she’s the center of attention.
It’s not a surprise party.
Good. Cause really, that would be something ugly. I mean, you know how she can get.
I can imagine.
I came here because I’ve been worried about Emily.
She hasn’t been looking well.
What’s she been telling you?
That’s why I’m asking you.
What? You think she might be sick or what?
She looks like she hasn’t been sleeping. She’s been on edge. Like something happened.
And she has a bruise on her arm—
Say what you think. If you come here to tell me something you might as well tell me.
Richard, I came here because maybe I don’t need to say anything. I can tell you what this looks like.
But that doesn’t mean that’s what I think, or what I want to think.
Emily talk to you at all about her arm?
What did she say?
She said she hit it in a door frame.
She said the same thing to me.
I guess so. She must have walked into the door frame twice.
She has more than one bruise.
Emily, can you get down here?
You want this settled, this is the way to have it settled.
Richard, this isn’t going to help.
I think it will.
Richard, I know what you want from her. And I think you like how you get it.
It doesn’t matter, Carol. What your impressions are. Or mine. You’ll hear it from my wife.
Yeah, honey; come down here.
He shoots Carol a look. Emily enters. She is a piñata. Her actress wears an oversized, multi-colored, paper maché suit, but her face shows through. Her arm is covered by a bandage.
Carol, hi. What are you doing here?
She was just stopping by.
Can I get you anything?
No, I only wanted to see how you were doing. How’s your arm?
Displaying the bandage:
Sore, tender. Nothing unexpected.
Are you going to see a doctor?
Oh, no; it’s only a few bumps. I’ve been taking it slow.
Not too slow, Emily; we miss you. You missed us for lunch last week and then you get yourself hurt like this.
I know; I’m sorry.
And you know April’s having her shower the Saturday after next. You won’t miss that, will you?
Carol, I don’t know—
What time’s your game?
Emily, why don’t I stop by later, then? I only had time to say hello.
I’ll see you later, Emily. Take care of yourself.
We look ridiculous.
In front of your friend? She’s putting us on the spot.
She should know enough to show you a little privacy.
Because I was going to say before, since I’ll be out with the guys from the office, you should get together with the girls and do your own thing. But the rest of them, if they’re going to put you on the spot like Carol, then you’re better off left alone.
Don’t let them disrespect you. You should be better than that.
Richard’s attention returns to his bat. Emily takes the stopper from a decanter and pours a drink. Richard watches.
You want ice?
Go back to the kitchen and get yourself some seltzer or something. You really have to—
Emily downs her drink.
Just swing your bat, Richard.
I don’t like what I’m seeing.
I can have a drink if I want to.
You shouldn’t drink alone.
Fine, I’ll pour you one.
She turns to grab another glass. Richard grabs her arm.
Put the glass down, Emily.
I want you to tell me we’re OK.
Is that it?
Because the way things look to me, we’re fine. But you start drinking like that and it changes things.
No, Richard; it’s fine.
Really fine or are you just saying that? That’s what I want to know.
Beat. Emily resets her glass and puts the stopper in the bottle.
I’m done for the night, Richard. It’s fine.
And we’re OK, too?
Emily nods. Richard walks over and puts his arms around her.
I want to hear it out loud....
Richard continues to hold her. He kisses her on the head.
You’re going to miss your game.
Nah, it’s all right.
Beginning to break away:
Well you should get ready.
Richard catches her hand.
Before I go, honey, how about giving me a little sugar?
Oh. Well, OK.
She gives Richard a peck on the cheek. He does not respond.
No. Emily, you know what I mean...a little sugar?
Richard, not now.
It makes me uncomfortable, you know that.
All I’m asking—
Wait until after the game. When you come home, I’ll have everything you want.
No, nothing after the game. I want one piece now. You can do that for me.
He stares at her. Emily relents and reaches inside her piñata suit—possibly into her wounded arm—and pulls out a piece of candy. She places it in Richard’s hand and withdraws her arm.
He pulls her closer and gives her a kiss. They break apart. Emily sits while Richard examines his candy. He is disappointed.
This is what you give me?
Oh, I guess so.
Yeah...you guess so. You know I don’t like Bit-O-Honey.
It’s small, tough—it isn’t even sweet. And it’s just a bit? Nothing else.
You get what comes out.
That’s not good enough, Emily.
Then what is good enough?
I don’t like that tone.
Get your own candy, Richard.
Richard grabs her arm, bringing Emily to her feet.
I have my own candy, Emily! I have you! Husband and wife!
I’m not a kitchen cabinet, Richard. To reach inside of myself like that, it’s very uncomfortable; it’s not something—
You can’t even say that to me, Emily. I know it isn’t true.
I was right here! You talked to Carol. Asked, “Can I get you anything?” I know what you meant. You wouldn’t give her Bit-O-Honey.
I can’t even talk to you....
So don’t lie to me. Take another reach in. Or I’ll do it.
Stay away from me, Richard.
They stare at each other.
I’m putting on the music.
Richard crosses to the stereo and flips through albums.
Moving to him:
You made your decision.
—Don’t do this.
Richard shoves Emily to the ground. He starts an album—“The Mexican Hat Dance”—picks up the bat and approaches Emily.
Richard swings into Emily’s stomach. She falls.
You don’t lie to me!
He hits her again.
And again. Emily cries out.
He moves to swing again.
Richard stops. He switches off the music.
Slowly, Emily stands. Though she clutches her stomach, pieces of candy tumble out of her, spilling to the floor.
Are you happy with yourself?
Richard shoves her to the side and scoops handfuls of candy from the ground. He unwraps a piece with his teeth, spitting out the wrapper.
This is a marriage, Emily. We don’t keep things from each other. Remember that.
To herself, breaking down:
I don’t know why....
I don’t know why you look at me and think you can treat me like this.
Get yourself cleaned up.
Richard takes his bat, his candy, and leaves. After a moment, Emily rises. She grabs a newspaper from the couch. She then retrieves a jar of paste and shakes it. She regards her new tear and begins tearing strips of the newspaper, holding them in front of her wound. As Emily repairs herself, Carol returns.
Carol, give me a minute.
Observing the wreckage:
Emily, my God; what’s this? What did he do to you?
No, Emily, you can’t begin to say that. I’m not letting you spend another minute in a house with a man that would do this to you.
I don’t have to.
You won’t. Start packing, Emily. Anything valuable, sentimental, take that first. Clothes, a toothbrush, we can buy—
Hold this. Here.
Emily has Carol hold a strip against her wound. Emily prepares the next strip. After a moment, Carol takes a long look at Emily’s body.
You need more than this, Emily.
I know what I’m doing.
I don’t want to fix you up just to see Richard—
Stop saying that! Richard won’t change.
I learned that last week.
Then you know. You can’t stay. Emily, let’s go now. Richard won’t be playing ball all night.
Oh, Richard won’t make it to his game tonight....
Richard appears, silent, still holding the bat and candy. His eyes are wide Carol sees him and gasps. Emily meets his gaze.
Richard’s had too much to eat.
Richard opens his mouth to respond and blood pours out. Not only blood, but other objects, too. He drops the candy and approaches Emily.
Through gurgled blood:
Before reaching Emily, Richard collapses, going silent. Carol approaches his body. She picks up a piece of candy. Examining it, she pulls something from the candy.
Isn’t that the first thing you’re supposed to do? Inspect your candy?
You should have been more careful.
Carol, what do I look like? A punching bag? A victim? Murderer?
Emily. You’re my friend.
Emily faces her.
Emily leads Carol off. The lights fade.