A Simple Love Story


1—DANIEL’S OFFICE

A student leaves.

DANIEL Next!

AMERICA I’m from Special Topics in Organic Chemistry.

DANIEL Which one?

AMERICA Friday mornings.

DANIEL Friday mornings.

AMERICA America.

DANIEL Ahhh, Miss Jones.

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL Perfect Test Score Jones.

AMERICA So far.

DANIEL Never Speaks in Class Jones.

AMERICA Not so far.

DANIEL Why is that?

AMERICA I haven’t had any questions.

DANIEL Not so far.

AMERICA No.

DANIEL Well, I guess you have one now.

AMERICA I’m sorry.

She goes for the door.

DANIEL What’s wrong?

AMERICA I do have a question.

DANIEL Please.

AMERICA Have lunch with me.

DANIEL You’d like to ask me your question over lunch?

AMERICA No, that’s my question.

DANIEL You said, “Have lunch with me.’’ That’s not a question.

AMERICA Will you have lunch with me, please?

DANIEL To talk about Special Topics in Organic Chemistry?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL America.

AMERICA I thought you were going to say no.

DANIEL I have to.

AMERICA I know. I had to ask anyway. I’m sorry.

DANIEL America.

AMERICA Yes?

DANIEL Stay, talk.

AMERICA About what?

DANIEL Special Topics.

AMERICA Special topics in what?

DANIEL Organic chemistry.

AMERICA No. Bye.

DANIEL See you in class?

AMERICA Of course.

She leaves.

DANIEL Bye.

2—A BAR

DANIEL She’s smokin.

SANDRO Oooh.

DANIEL Her name’s America.

SANDRO Jesus.

DANIEL Do you believe that?

SANDRO No.

DANIEL America Jones.

SANDRO Oh shit.

DANIEL Yeah.

SANDRO And she’s smokin? Jesus. So what are you gonna do?

DANIEL Nothing.

SANDRO You’re not gonna do nothing.

DANIEL That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

SANDRO She asked you to lunch?

DANIEL That’s right.

SANDRO Take her to lunch.

DANIEL If she asked me, wouldn’t it be her taking me?

SANDRO Go to lunch with her.

DANIEL No.

SANDRO Pussy.

DANIEL I’d lose my job.

SANDRO You wouldn’t lose your job for taking her to lunch, what?

DANIEL Lunch.

SANDRO What?

DANIEL Lunch.

SANDRO What?

DANIEL It’s not just lunch.

SANDRO How do you know? Maybe she doesn’t sleep with you, is that foregone?

DANIEL What about Rachel?

SANDRO She never had an affair?

DANIEL No.

SANDRO You sure?

DANIEL Do you think Rachel would have an affair?

SANDRO No, never.

DANIEL Never. Plus, the kids.

SANDRO What do the kids have to do with it?

DANIEL If I had an affair.

SANDRO Right.

DANIEL Kids have an idea about their parents.

SANDRO People have affairs all the time.

DANIEL Kids have an idea about their parents, though.

SANDRO People get divorced all the time.

DANIEL It fucks up the kids.

SANDRO You don’t have to stay monogamous for your kids.

DANIEL I want to though.

SANDRO Respect, respect.

DANIEL This girl, though.

SANDRO You like her, don’t you?

DANIEL I do.

3—DANIEL’S OFFICE

America comes in.

AMERICA I was thinking.

DANIEL Miss Jones.

AMERICA If we talk about Special Topics in Organic Chemistry, is it okay?

DANIEL Is what okay?

AMERICA If we go to lunch.

DANIEL I shouldn’t tell you this, but..I do like you.

AMERICA Then come to lunch with me.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Why, because we might fuck?

DANIEL If that happened, I could lose my job.

AMERICA Sometimes teachers fuck students.

DANIEL If that happened, I would lose my job.

AMERICA Do teachers lose their job for having lunch with students?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Well, I’m not inviting you to fuck, I’m inviting you to lunch.

DANIEL But we might fuck?

AMERICA We might.

She closes his office door.

DANIEL Open that.

She opens it.

AMERICA Alright.

DANIEL Alright?

AMERICA I’ll talk about Special Topics in Organic Chemistry.

DANIEL You will.

AMERICA Sure. Pick a topic.

DANIEL Heterocyclic chemistry.

AMERICA Nope.

DANIEL Medicinal chemistry.

AMERICA Too boring.

DANIEL You pick one then.

AMERICA You’re the teacher.

DANIEL I thought you wanted to talk.

AMERICA I want to talk over lunch.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA I have to go then.

DANIEL Why?

AMERICA I’m hungry.

DANIEL I’m hungry too.

AMERICA Then eat.

DANIEL What are you eating?

AMERICA Steak.

DANIEL I’m a vegetarian.

AMERICA Too bad.

She goes out.

DANIEL Wait.

He grabs his coat.

4—AT LUNCH

DANIEL You said we were eating steak.

AMERICA I lied, I can’t afford it. This is what I can afford, so we’re here.

DANIEL This is fine.

AMERICA Anyway, aren’t you a vegetarian?

DANIEL No, I lied too.

AMERICA Get a salad.

DANIEL No, I really did lie. I lie sometimes.

AMERICA I do too. I lie about stuff that doesn’t even matter.

DANIEL Like what?

AMERICA Like what my favorite color is. Why should I tell people that?

DANIEL What is your favorite color?

AMERICA Blue.

DANIEL So it’s really red or something.

AMERICA Right. Why do people even care?

DANIEL Do people ask you that a lot?

AMERICA You’re making fun of me.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA You are, I can feel it.

DANIEL I was. I’m sorry.

AMERICA It’s okay. You think I’m too young.

DANIEL Too young for what?

AMERICA To talk to. You think I’m stupid.

DANIEL I know you’re not stupid.

AMERICA Not about Chemistry.

DANIEL America, I didn’t mean to offend you.

AMERICA It’s okay. Give me a bite.

DANIEL Sure.

AMERICA Here..there..oooh..perfect.

DANIEL Like it?

AMERICA Love it. Mmm. Have a bite of mine.

DANIEL Mmm.

AMERICA I’m getting that next time.

DANIEL I’m getting that next time.

AMERICA Seriously?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Let’s switch.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA You seem young.

DANIEL I’m not though.

AMERICA Your mind..just seems young. Do you feel young?

DANIEL Mostly. Not my knees.

AMERICA What’s wrong with them?

DANIEL They hurt.

AMERICA Are they still the originals?

DANIEL Sadly.

AMERICA Originals are better.

DANIEL Not in knees.

AMERICA We connect.

DANIEL I feel we do.

AMERICA I feel it too.

DANIEL Promise me something.

AMERICA What.

DANIEL Don’t be mad at me if we can’t be..whatever we might have been.

AMERICA So we can’t be polo buds.

DANIEL I have a wife.

AMERICA Does she play?

DANIEL You’re not married. You don’t know what it’s like.

AMERICA I’m not her. I’m not gonna try to live her life, or live—

DANIEL And it’s not like I don’t love her.

AMERICA —or live how it’ll be convenient for her, how could I do that?

DANIEL You’re wise beyond your years.

AMERICA Gimme another bite.

DANIEL You’re not mad?

AMERICA Don’t want to talk about it.

DANIEL Do you have a boyfriend?

AMERICA (with her mouth full) Yeah I suck dick every night, don’t you wish it was you?

DANIEL Do you really have a boyfriend?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL What are we gonna do after this?

AMERICA I didn’t know we were going to do anything after this.

DANIEL I have a class at eight-forty, but..

AMERICA We don’t have to do anything.

DANIEL We could take a walk. If you want.

AMERICA Good.

DANIEL Good.

AMERICA But, what if people think we’re lovers?

DANIEL They might think we’re just talking.

AMERICA What would you and I be talking about?

DANIEL Special Topics.

AMERICA Very special topics.

DANIEL In organic chemistry.

AMERICA Of course.

DANIEL Let’s go.

5—THEIR WALK, PUBLICLY, ON THE GREEN

DANIEL I saw this woman today. She was about forty-five years old, maybe fifty, and..you know how time makes us tired? She wasn’t tired like that. At twenty-eight, you can start to see sadness on the face, but this woman, no. Some people have grace. It’s not born, and it’s not bred. I think maybe it’s cultivated. Anyway, she had it, and..it was beautiful.

AMERICA Keep talking.

DANIEL What about?

AMERICA Anything. You’re a wonderful talker. You talk in essays. Not essays, but full paragraphs. That’s something I noticed about you on the first day. You talk like a book. You’re not dry, but.. It’s like a book has already been written and you stand in front of the class and recite it.

DANIEL Do you ever feel like you missed a moment?

AMERICA Missed a moment?

DANIEL You should have, you didn’t though, there was something you could have—

AMERICA Yeah, no, yeah. I mean, yeah. Sure. All the time. You feel that?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Wha’d you miss?

DANIEL A kiss.

AMERICA When?

DANIEL Long ago.

AMERICA Describe it for me.

DANIEL I was near your age—how old are you?

AMERICA Twenty-one. How old are you?

DANIEL Fifty. I was twenty-one. There was this girl.

AMERICA You were in college?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA Where?

DANIEL It doesn’t matter.

AMERICA Was this when you were at Amherst?

DANIEL Stalker!

AMERICA It’s on your site, sorry.

DANIEL There was this girl. I should have kissed her. I didn’t.

AMERICA You’re right you should have.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA Did you make the same mistake twice though?

DANIEL I’ve made that one a couple of times.

AMERICA Never do that.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA That’s the only sin.

DANIEL Murder?

AMERICA Don’t ever make the same mistake twice.

DANIEL You’ve killed someone?

AMERICA Only one time that I shouldn’t have, and I learned my lesson.

DANIEL You’re a sage.

AMERICA People always say that.

DANIEL It’s true.

AMERICA Doesn’t feel like that from the inside.

DANIEL What does it feel like?

AMERICA Confused. Disconnected.

DANIEL I have that.

AMERICA Which one?

DANIEL Disconnected.

AMERICA Who do you hang out with? Who are your friends?

DANIEL Faculty.

AMERICA Which ones?

DANIEL Sandro, he’s the head of the—

AMERICA Math department.

DANIEL You take math?

AMERICA No, my friend takes him, says he’s weird.

DANIEL He’s a nut, but—

AMERICA What’s his specialty again? Something like..

DANIEL Numbers between zero and one.

AMERICA Right, that’s.. Do you do math?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA What do you guys do?

DANIEL We play pool.

AMERICA No shit, that’s what me and my friends do!

DANIEL Where at?

AMERICA In the quad. It’s a dollar an hour on Thursdays.

DANIEL Is it.

AMERICA Where do you play?

DANIEL A townie bar on Court Street.

AMERICA Which one?

DANIEL The Smiling Skull.

AMERICA Ewww.

DANIEL What.

AMERICA I got too drunk there.

DANIEL Yeah?

AMERICA I was going to say once but it was more than once.

DANIEL You drink a lot?

AMERICA Once I get started.

DANIEL What do you drink?

AMERICA Whatever. What do you drink?

DANIEL Whatever.

AMERICA Now you’re lying.

DANIEL My drink makes me sound old.

AMERICA What is it?

DANIEL Scotch.

AMERICA Never tried it.

DANIEL It’s disgusting, till you get used to it.

AMERICA All tastes are that way.

DANIEL What do you drink?

AMERICA Beer.

DANIEL Ewww.

AMERICA Why?

DANIEL I can’t drink it.

AMERICA You can’t drink any of it?

DANIEL It’s disgusting.

AMERICA I bet Scotch is impossible.

DANIEL It’s fairly impossible.

AMERICA You should date me.

DANIEL What do you think this is?

AMERICA This is just a walk.

DANIEL I shouldn’t have said that.

AMERICA Why?

DANIEL You’re less than half my age.

AMERICA I thought you didn’t do math.

DANIEL I don’t.

AMERICA Liar.

DANIEL Tease.

AMERICA You love it.

DANIEL I do.

AMERICA You should kiss me.

DANIEL Here?

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Yes. Kiss me.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Why not? It’s just a kiss.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Kiss me on the lips, no tongue.

DANIEL Why no tongue?

AMERICA Ewww, we’re in public, that’s disgusting!

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA No PDA.

DANIEL But kiss you?

AMERICA No tongue PDA.

DANIEL You could get me fired.

AMERICA I know, that’s not my goal.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA Kiss.

They kiss.

6—DANIEL’S AND HIS WIFE’S BEDROOM

Daniel comes into the bedroom, his wife is in bed.

RACHEL How was it?

DANIEL Same.

RACHEL Are you gonna have time to go with us on Saturday?

DANIEL Sure.

He climbs in bed.

7—AT THE BAR

DANIEL I’ve got a real problem.

SANDRO And what would that be?

DANIEL This girl is hot for me.

SANDRO You’ve got a simple choice to make.

DANIEL It’s not that simple.

SANDRO I didn’t say it was easy. I said it was simple.

DANIEL It’s not simple.

SANDRO Does the girl like you.

DANIEL I just said she was hot for me.

SANDRO Are you hot for her?

DANIEL What does that matter?

SANDRO It matters everything.

DANIEL But my wife.

SANDRO Doesn’t she know?

DANIEL No!

SANDRO You haven’t told her.

DANIEL Why would I tell her?

SANDRO Because you love her.

DANIEL I would tell her because I love her? It would kill her if she knew.

SANDRO If she knew? What do you mean if she knew?

DANIEL If she knew that I like this girl!

SANDRO I’m sure she knows that already.

DANIEL No.

SANDRO Wives know.

DANIEL I’ve never even mentioned her name.

SANDRO Women are very sensitive.

DANIEL I know.

SANDRO They can tell.

DANIEL I know.

SANDRO They can, trust me. She knows. And your little girlfriend knows too.

DANIEL What does she know now?

SANDRO That you haven’t told your wife.

DANIEL What the fuck difference does that make?

SANDRO It makes a difference..if..she thinks you’re keeping her at a distance.

DANIEL Another shot of this, right away. A double.

SANDRO I’ll go again as well.

DANIEL It’s on me.

SANDRO It’s always on you.

DANIEL I make more.

SANDRO And you’re more stressed.

DANIEL No shit. How’s your love life?

SANDRO Nonexistent.

DANIEL Fabulous, why don’t you get laid.

SANDRO Give me your little hottie’s number.

DANIEL No chance.

SANDRO Then get with the girl.

DANIEL No chance. That girl is trouble.

SANDRO Girls are never trouble.

DANIEL Girls are always trouble.

SANDRO You’re right.

DANIEL No, you are right. They’re wonderful. I love them.

SANDRO Not all of them.

DANIEL Of course not, but the beautiful ones.

SANDRO I love them too my friend.

DANIEL How’s your love life?

SANDRO I told you, nonexistent.

DANIEL Any students to speak of?

SANDRO Not that are hounding my bones my friend.

DANIEL Too bad.

SANDRO That is too bad.

DANIEL You want her number?

SANDRO Too much chaos for me.

DANIEL Yeah, right. Thank you, we’ll go ahead another round.

SANDRO On me.

DANIEL No.

SANDRO On me this time.

DANIEL Yes? Sweet, on him, make those triples.

SANDRO You are an addict, my friend.

DANIEL I’m fully aware of that.

SANDRO As long as you know.

DANIEL Believe me, I know.

SANDRO You need to get with that girl.

DANIEL Why?

SANDRO It’ll make you sane again.

DANIEL I am sane.

SANDRO But you’ve lost something.

DANIEL I know.

8—DANIEL’S OFFICE

A student leaves.

DANIEL Next!

AMERICA I’m from Special Topics in Organic Chemistry?

DANIEL Special topics, huh?

AMERICA Yeah.

DANIEL Close the door.

She closes the door.

AMERICA Come play pool with me tonight, with me and my friends.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Why not?

DANIEL At the quad? Everyone will see me.

AMERICA Like anyone cares.

DANIEL Am I flattering myself?

AMERICA Maybe.

DANIEL It’s too public.

AMERICA Somewhere else.

DANIEL Where?

AMERICA A dive bar.

DANIEL Which one?

AMERICA Some dive bar, I don’t know. You pick one.

DANIEL You think I know dive bars?

AMERICA In and out.

DANIEL Your last paper was perfect, Miss Jones.

AMERICA It’s Mrs.

DANIEL You’re married?

AMERICA Didn’t you know?

DANIEL Tell me you’re not.

AMERICA I’m not.

DANIEL Is that the truth?

AMERICA Come out with me.

DANIEL With them.

AMERICA Us.

DANIEL Who.

AMERICA It’s poets, you’d like them.

DANIEL I’d probably hate them, I hate everyone.

AMERICA Lovely.

DANIEL Especially poets.

AMERICA Come out.

DANIEL We’d have to go somewhere private.

AMERICA Pick a place.

DANIEL There’s only one place.

AMERICA Where?

DANIEL Hoek’s.

AMERICA Where the fuck is that?

DANIEL It’s private.

AMERICA Good.

DANIEL It’s a dive bar.

AMERICA Great.

DANIEL You won’t like it, the men are disgusting.

AMERICA That’s the draw?

DANIEL Spot on.

AMERICA You’re such a faggot.

DANIEL All professors are.

AMERICA Really?

DANIEL Yeah, we’re all sexually weird.

AMERICA Really.

DANIEL Part of the job description.

AMERICA Come with me.

DANIEL Who are these friends?

AMERICA Poets.

DANIEL You said.

AMERICA They are.

DANIEL But who.

AMERICA Andrew. Don’t worry, he’s a fag.

DANIEL Be careful.

AMERICA Will I lose you now?

DANIEL You might, if you introduce sufficiently attractive faggots.

AMERICA He’s goth.

DANIEL I hate goth.

AMERICA So I’m safe then.

She presses herself to him.

DANIEL You’re insane.

AMERICA Tell me something I don’t know.

DANIEL Do you play rugby?

AMERICA Why?

DANIEL Cause all the craziest girls I know play rugby.

AMERICA Rugby players are all lesbians.

DANIEL Not your game?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL Why’d your parents name you that?

AMERICA I don’t know. They’re patriotic.

DANIEL Really?

AMERICA No, they’re leftist revolutionaries.

DANIEL Like you said.

AMERICA Let’s talk about you.

DANIEL Me?

AMERICA Politically.

DANIEL Let’s not.

AMERICA Why?

DANIEL One clue, I’m not a leftist revolutionary.

AMERICA I don’t mind if we vote for different people.

DANIEL You’re barely old enough to vote.

AMERICA Does that excite you?

DANIEL Does it excite you? You really find me appealing?

AMERICA Shut the fuck up.

DANIEL No, how? How do you like me? I’m an old man.

AMERICA Fifty isn’t old.

DANIEL I wish that was true.

AMERICA You need to shut the fuck up, right now. Kiss me.

They kiss, he pulls away.

DANIEL I’m sorry.

AMERICA What?

DANIEL I have a job. This is my job.

AMERICA The door is closed.

DANIEL Teacher-student conference?

AMERICA Yeah.

DANIEL No. Seriously, no. How did you get to be such a nymph?

AMERICA It’s innate.

DANIEL Genetic?

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL How’d you get to be so smart?

AMERICA No idea.

DANIEL Your last test was perfect, again, but you already know that, don’t you.

AMERICA See, this is a teacher-student conference.

DANIEL Um, no.

AMERICA Relax.

DANIEL Did you lock the door?

AMERICA Does it have a lock?

DANIEL You need to go.

AMERICA You might need me to go. I don’t need to go.

DANIEL I’m going to introduce you to my wife.

AMERICA When is this?

DANIEL Whenever. I want you to see what I’m up against.

AMERICA I don’t give a shit about your wife.

DANIEL And you shouldn’t.

AMERICA I really don’t. That’s your problem.

DANIEL You would like her if you met her.

AMERICA I hope I never do.

DANIEL That’s nice.

AMERICA I’m not nice.

DANIEL I noticed.

AMERICA Nice is severely overrated.

DANIEL So you say.

AMERICA Nice is always the predecessor to an insult.

DANIEL Poets, huh?

AMERICA She’s such a nice person, but, I hate her. Yes. Poets, pool, drinks.

DANIEL What are we gonna drink?

AMERICA It’s your bar, motherfucker.

DANIEL Scotch.

AMERICA Fine.

DANIEL You’ll drink Scotch.

AMERICA If you are.

DANIEL I’ll get fired.

AMERICA Do you like your job?

DANIEL No, I like you.

AMERICA Right answer. Grab my tit.

DANIEL Not now.

AMERICA Fool.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA This is one of those missed moments, one of those moments..

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA You’ll look back on this moment.

DANIEL I’m looking back right now.

AMERICA Be with me. Be here.

DANIEL I am.

AMERICA Be here. Now.

DANIEL I am.

AMERICA Come with me.

DANIEL America, you are beautiful. Why’d your parents name you that?

AMERICA They’re hippies.

DANIEL Really.

AMERICA Yeah. We smoke pot together and everything.

DANIEL You smoke pot with your parents?

AMERICA We used to, I stopped smoking.

DANIEL Why?

AMERICA I’ll tell you later.

DANIEL Tell me now.

AMERICA What got you into chemistry?

DANIEL Just fascinated me.

AMERICA Are you kinky Daniel?

DANIEL Define kinky.

AMERICA Choking, tying up. Punching in the face.

DANIEL Punching in he face? Jesus.

AMERICA That’s what Sandro says.

DANIEL Jesus? Yes. Have you met Sandro?

AMERICA My friend says he says that.

DANIEL Is your friend a boy?

AMERICA Do you care?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA My friend is a boy.

DANIEL Are you together?

AMERICA Define together.

DANIEL Do you fuck.

AMERICA No.

DANIEL Good.

AMERICA Are you jealous?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA What about your wife?

DANIEL Don’t bring her up.

AMERICA I thought you were going to introduce me.

DANIEL Changed my mind.

AMERICA Yeah?

DANIEL Decided to keep you to myself.

AMERICA Good.

DANIEL So this boy.

AMERICA He’s not my boyfriend.

DANIEL No?

AMERICA He might be gay.

DANIEL Good.

AMERICA Kiss me again.

DANIEL You’ll end me.

AMERICA Kiss me.

ANOTHER STUDENT Dr. Drake?

A knock at the door.

DANIEL Go.

AMERICA Are we still on for pool?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA You’ll regret making me go.

DANIEL I might.

AMERICA No. You will.

She goes.

9—AMERICA’S PLACE—SOME NIGHT

DANIEL What is that?

AMERICA A pill.

DANIEL What is it?

AMERICA Taste.

DANIEL Is that ecstasy?

AMERICA Give me your tongue.

DANIEL You take that?

AMERICA I have.

DANIEL How many times?

AMERICA Give me your tongue.

DANIEL Maybe in a minute.

AMERICA Are you mad?

DANIEL You like drugs?

AMERICA I’ve only tried a few.

DANIEL Love is a drug.

AMERICA A potent one.

DANIEL I’m gonna brush my teeth.

AMERICA You don’t have to.

He kisses her.

AMERICA I’m gonna change. You stay here, I’ll leave this with you.

DANIEL Uh-oh, do you have one for you?

AMERICA Just eat it.

She gets under her covers, she’s changing clothes. He considers the pill, but puts it down. He gets comfortable in her room. He picks up a paperweight, a glass ball filled with water and snow. She is still under the covers.

AMERICA Did you take it?

DANIEL Yeah, I found your stash, they’re all gone.

She sticks her head out. He puts down the paperweight.

AMERICA Good.

DANIEL Do you need help? That looks difficult.

AMERICA Stay.

DANIEL When did you first try ecstasy?

AMERICA Two weeks ago.

DANIEL Who with?

AMERICA My friends. I was always curious about it.

DANIEL Yeah. Me too.

AMERICA Have you rolled?

She’s done changing, but she keeps her body hidden under the covers for now.

DANIEL I probably shouldn’t say this. But..

AMERICA It’s okay, a lot of people have tried it.

DANIEL I definitely shouldn’t say this.

AMERICA So what, you tried ecstasy.

DANIEL You know I’m a chemist..

AMERICA You make it?

DANIEL I make..other things.

AMERICA You sell stuff?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA You sell it to someone who sells it.

DANIEL I make it for myself.

She gets out of bed and goes to him.

AMERICA So, these are some of the special topics you don’t cover in class.

DANIEL You’re covering some special topics yourself.

AMERICA Did you eat it?

DANIEL Here.

AMERICA I want what you’re having. Do you have something with you?

DANIEL This cannot go beyond us.

AMERICA We’re alone.

DANIEL It’ll hurt. What I have to give you will hurt.

AMERICA What is it? When does it hurt?

DANIEL It..will..hurt.

AMERICA I..like..pain.

DANIEL It will hurt..going in..so to speak.

AMERICA It’s a shot?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA And you’ll give it to me.

DANIEL You must think I’m insane.

AMERICA It turns me on.

DANIEL Well yeah. That’s the whole point.

AMERICA Have you done this with other women?

DANIEL Like students?

AMERICA Like..your wife.

DANIEL No. She doesn’t like shots.

AMERICA Well I do. Give it to me, let’s go in the bathroom.

DANIEL We’ll do it right here.

AMERICA We’ll do it right here?

DANIEL And here..

AMERICA Give it to me.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA Will I still be myself?

DANIEL You don’t have to do this.

AMERICA Where’s that pill?

DANIEL Don’t mix and match.

AMERICA We used to say don’t trick or treat when I went to AA.

DANIEL You went to AA?

AMERICA In high school.

DANIEL What’s trick or treat?

AMERICA Hooking up with an addict. It’s bad, you always relapse.

DANIEL How much did you used to drink?

AMERICA That’s how I met my last boyfriend.

DANIEL At an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?

AMERICA Yeah, then we went to Denny’s and dropped acid.

DANIEL God.

AMERICA Do people really say dropped cause I always say took but I figured—

DANIEL That I would know, somehow.

AMERICA That since you grew up in the sixties..

DANIEL In the sixties I was five.

AMERICA I’m less nervous now. You’re good with people.

DANIEL My bedside manner coming through.

AMERICA Pretend you’re my doctor.

DANIEL That’s sick, that’s sick. I knew you were a freak. I love that about you.

AMERICA Check me for cancer.

DANIEL Jesus!

AMERICA (pleading for the wait to be over, she’s nervous) Is that shot ready?

DANIEL Hold on. You really want to do it this way?

AMERICA Would you stick the needle in my fucking arm.

DANIEL This might be different than things you’ve tried before.

AMERICA Why, because it’s laced with strychnine?

DANIEL This isn’t something standard, it’s something I made.

AMERICA Genius, you’re a genius. What is its chemical shape, tell me.

DANIEL It contains barium.

AMERICA That’s a muscle relaxant, right?

DANIEL In small doses.

AMERICA Is this gonna be a small dose?

DANIEL Yes. A large dose would paralyze you.

AMERICA Don’t make it too small though.

DANIEL I’ll make it medium.

AMERICA What else does it have?

DANIEL Let’s not talk shop.

AMERICA Really, you made this? You’re a genius. What does it do to you?

DANIEL It just feels good.

AMERICA Where?

DANIEL You’ll see.

AMERICA Where?

DANIEL Everywhere.

AMERICA It’s not not gonna make me stupid is it?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA If it did why would you take it.

DANIEL Not right away anyway.

AMERICA Seriously.

DANIEL It won’t make you stupid.

AMERICA Might paralyze me though.

DANIEL Right.

AMERICA I’m okay with paralysis.

DANIEL Okay. Hold this.

He gives her the paperweight.

AMERICA Like this?

DANIEL Squeeze.

AMERICA Got it.

DANIEL Tighter. Hold.

AMERICA Phew.

DANIEL You okay?

She nods.

DANIEL You sure?

AMERICA Go. Wait. I want to tell you something. There’s one problem.

DANIEL You don’t want to.

AMERICA I want to, I want to, I’ve been dying to.

DANIEL I am insane.

AMERICA Would you shut the fuck up. I’ve been meaning to tell you this.

DANIEL You always surprise me, every time we’re together, I love that.

AMERICA There’s something about me that I want you to know. I’m a virgin.

DANIEL That’s okay.

He gives her the shot. Her arm goes limp, her head rolls back. The paperweight hits the floor.

—INTERMISSION—

10—A MONTH LATER, HER PLACE

They’re kneeling on the floor. Silently, ritually, she shoots him up.

AMERICA Here we are.

DANIEL Yes, here we are.

She does herself.

AMERICA Damn.

DANIEL What?

AMERICA I love what it does to your ears.

DANIEL Describe how it seems to you.

AMERICA Like we’re in a tube.

DANIEL Is the music okay?

AMERICA The music is more than okay.

DANIEL Tell me if you want me to change anything.

AMERICA Change nothing, just lie.

DANIEL Just lie.

AMERICA Yeah. Be. Be be be.

DANIEL Sing for me.

She half-sits up to try.

AMERICA I can’t right now.

DANIEL That’s okay. I love your voice.

AMERICA Thanks.

DANIEL You have a spunk-ness about you. It’s like.. I saw this singer once.

AMERICA A girlfriend?

DANIEL I saw her on TV.

AMERICA I like it when you tell me about women.

DANIEL She had this same spunk-ness as you.

AMERICA I like to hear about women you’ve loved.

DANIEL Well I never loved this one.

AMERICA You loved her through the television.

DANIEL True.

AMERICA I bet you kissed the TV.

DANIEL I should have.

AMERICA No, you might have electrocuted yourself.

DANIEL Only if I kissed with tongue.

AMERICA I wouldn’t want that to happen to my baby.

DANIEL Anyway you two are similar. You have the same..it’s a spark..

AMERICA I think children can see auras.

DANIEL Children see more than we do. We’ve been taught not to see.

AMERICA These children in the park this weekend, they were looking at me.

DANIEL They were looking at you because you are beautiful.

AMERICA They were like angels. They stopped playing and stared right at me.

DANIEL They looked like angels?

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL You were an angel to them.

AMERICA No.

DANIEL You were, I know it.

AMERICA You think so?

DANIEL I know it. Children can see angels. And you..are an angel.

AMERICA You think I am, for real?

DANIEL Trust me, you are.

AMERICA I know.

DANIEL I was hoping you did. It’s sad when people don’t..

AMERICA When people don’t..

DANIEL ..know who they are.

AMERICA What are you? Tell me you know.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA What.

DANIEL I’m insane. I’m a fool. I’m a doctor. I’m the father of time.

AMERICA No doubt.

DANIEL I am the father of time.

AMERICA Yes you are. I’m glad you know that.

DANIEL I’m glad you can hear that.

AMERICA I can.

DANIEL I’m a scientist.

AMERICA You are.

DANIEL I mean, I’m a real scientist.

AMERICA I know.

DANIEL I’m real.

AMERICA You are real.

DANIEL You’re real yourself.

AMERICA I’m too young to be real.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA No?

DANIEL No. There is no too young to be real.

AMERICA I’m glad you think so.

DANIEL There isn’t.

AMERICA I need you to like me.

DANIEL Why is that? You could have any boy out there.

AMERICA Because you’re not a boy.

DANIEL You could have any boy you want.

AMERICA Because you’re not a boy.

DANIEL And why do I like you? Do you have the foresight to know, my sage?

AMERICA Hmmm.

DANIEL Choose carefully.

AMERICA Why, what happens if I’m wrong?

DANIEL I have no idea. Nothing.

AMERICA What’s the fun in that?

DANIEL Fine, I’ll spank you.

AMERICA That’s not a punishment.

DANIEL I’ll stab you in the neck.

AMERICA With a syringe?

DANIEL Sure.

AMERICA You will. If I’m wrong? You’ll stab me in the neck?

DANIEL Sure.

AMERICA What was the question again?

DANIEL Why do I like you.

AMERICA And this is where I should choose carefully?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA You will inject me in my jugular?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA If I choose wrong.

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA You will.

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA You’re sure.

DANIEL Yes, I will!

AMERICA Okay, why do you like me? Because I’m young..no.

DANIEL That’s not your answer?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL Fine.

AMERICA Because I..no. Because.. This is too much pressure.

DANIEL I’ll stab you in the neck either way.

AMERICA No you won’t you’ll only stab me in the neck if I’m wrong.

DANIEL Oh.

AMERICA Fine.

DANIEL Fine?

AMERICA Stab me in the next either way.

DANIEL I thought so.

AMERICA I’ll still guess.

DANIEL Good.

AMERICA You like me because..it’s not because I’m young?

DANIEL Is that your guess?

AMERICA Young implies so many things. You could like me cause I’m innocent.

DANIEL Except you are not innocent.

AMERICA Anymore. Not since you.

DANIEL No, not since me.

AMERICA I think that’s still the reason.

DANIEL What.

AMERICA Because I’m young.

DANIEL You’re wrong.

AMERICA Not literally that I’m young. Like I’m twenty-one doesn’t get you off—

DANIEL Are you sure?

AMERICA That isn’t it.

DANIEL Well..

AMERICA That might be part of it.

DANIEL That’s part of it.

AMERICA I’m okay with that.

DANIEL You’re a strange one.

AMERICA No, I’m typical.

DANIEL You’re not.

AMERICA Young women love old guys.

DANIEL Oh.

AMERICA Not that you’re old.

DANIEL But I am.

AMERICA You’re aged..

DANIEL And what are you?

AMERICA ..there’s nothing wrong with that.

DANIEL I’ll stab you in the neck.

AMERICA Go.

DANIEL Answer my question.

AMERICA Because I’m young.

DANIEL You said that.

AMERICA The color of my hair.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA My breasts.

DANIEL No. That’s..part of it.

AMERICA I can’t answer your question.

DANIEL Try.

AMERICA Because. I was a virgin.

DANIEL That is special. But that’s not the real reason.

AMERICA Just shoot me up.

DANIEL This stuff..

AMERICA Stop.

DANIEL ..this..

AMERICA Stop. Shut up.

DANIEL ..this stuff..

AMERICA Go. In my neck, go in my neck.

DANIEL You have to hold very still.

AMERICA I will.

DANIEL I’m talking very still.

AMERICA I’m still.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA Go.

DANIEL This will hurt.

AMERICA I know.

DANIEL Not like before.

AMERICA Just go.

DANIEL Promise me you will not move.

AMERICA Shoot the fucking vein.

DANIEL Last time for tonight.

AMERICA Fine.

DANIEL I’m serious.

AMERICA Fine.

DANIEL Be very still.

She is still, he shoots her in the neck.

DANIEL How is that?

AMERICA That is fine.

DANIEL Yeah?

AMERICA Now you go.

DANIEL I will.

AMERICA I’ll help you, or..

DANIEL Enjoy yourself.

AMERICA I’ll shoot you.

DANIEL Enjoy yourself.

AMERICA Oh..

DANIEL I’ve done this more than you.

AMERICA ..okay..

She lies back. He shoots himself.

AMERICA You good?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Yeah?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Good, baby, good. Lie down.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA Now. I’m gonna tell you a story.

DANIEL What kind of story?

AMERICA A happy one.

DANIEL You want to know something?

AMERICA Tell me.

DANIEL I’ll tell you why I like you.

AMERICA Not now.

DANIEL I’ll tell you why I like you.

AMERICA Mmm.

DANIEL You don’t want to know..

AMERICA Tell me later.

They trip out.

11—DANIEL’S OFFICE

Daniel comes into his office. Sandro is sitting in his chair.

DANIEL Jesus!

SANDRO That’s my word.

DANIEL You scared me.

SANDRO I meant to scare you.

DANIEL Well it worked. You meant to scare me? Don’t be a psychopath.

SANDRO I am a mathematician, and my study is the numbers between zero and one.

DANIEL I know.

SANDRO I know you know. But, do you know what it is that you do not know?

DANIEL What’s that?

SANDRO That your barium girl will kill you.

DANIEL My barium girl.

SANDRO Your barium girl.

DANIEL Your English is breaking up, Sandro, you need to talk more slowly.

SANDRO You understand me fine.

DANIEL My barium girl.

SANDRO Correct.

DANIEL My barium girl.

SANDRO You know what I mean.

DANIEL I do, and I don’t like it.

SANDRO What you don’t like?

DANIEL That you’re sitting in my chair.

SANDRO Sorry.

DANIEL How’d you get in?

SANDRO I know the dean.

DANIEL The dean let you in here?

SANDRO I am not going to lie to you, my friend. The dean is close to me.

DANIEL He’s close with me too.

SANDRO Better be sure.

DANIEL I am sure. What the fuck is your point?

SANDRO You need to watch out with that girl.

DANIEL Why?

SANDRO People see.

DANIEL Who.

SANDRO Me.

DANIEL Who?

SANDRO The dean.

DANIEL How?

SANDRO He sees.

DANIEL How?

SANDRO Who knows? People are talking, though, I warn you.

DANIEL Who.

SANDRO That Amber White.

DANIEL Political Theory? That bitch.

SANDRO Yes.

DANIEL That bitch? She’s talking?

SANDRO She’s not the only one.

DANIEL The dean?

SANDRO He’s mentioned it.

DANIEL Jesus.

SANDRO That’s my word.

DANIEL Consider it stolen.

SANDRO Fag.

DANIEL I am not a fag.

SANDRO That seems to be the problem.

DANIEL What are they saying?

SANDRO They know about the barium.

DANIEL It’s not barium.

SANDRO It’s something, and they know about it.

DANIEL What could they possibly know?

SANDRO I am not a chemist, my friend, and I know.

DANIEL What do you know?

SANDRO That you’re shooting barium.

DANIEL It’s not just barium.

SANDRO But you’re shooting it.

DANIEL So what?

SANDRO So what?

DANIEL So what.

SANDRO You are shooting barium and you think it’s so what?

DANIEL No one knows.

SANDRO The dean.

DANIEL How the fuck does the dean know?

SANDRO He knows.

DANIEL How?

SANDRO Was that girl a virgin?

DANIEL No.

SANDRO That girl was a virgin.

DANIEL What does that have to do with anything?

SANDRO How old is she?

DANIEL Doesn’t the dean know? If he’s complaining, hasn’t he looked it up?

SANDRO How could I know that?

DANIEL She’s over age.

SANDRO If you say she is, she is.

DANIEL She’s twenty-one.

SANDRO You are sure?

DANIEL Should I ask for ID? Before I fuck a girl? I have to ask for ID?

SANDRO What you do is up to you.

DANIEL I know it is. Thanks, thanks.

SANDRO I hope she was hot, this one.

DANIEL Don’t worry, she was.

SANDRO I hope she was very very hot.

DANIEL She was.

SANDRO I hope she was.

DANIEL She was.

SANDRO This chemistry you are shooting, it’s not—

DANIEL You know jack about chemistry.

SANDRO It’s not sustainable.

DANIEL Neither is sober life.

SANDRO It kills you.

DANIEL So does sober life.

SANDRO It’s less sustainable than sober life.

DANIEL So.

SANDRO It kills you faster than sober life.

DANIEL It also..

SANDRO What?

DANIEL It blows the lid off sober life.

SANDRO I’m sure.

DANIEL It does.

SANDRO Whatever you say.

DANIEL I’m trying to make my life better—

SANDRO Better than what?

DANIEL What do you know? What do you know about young girls?

SANDRO I know they make you crazy.

DANIEL You know shit about young girls.

SANDRO You think no?

DANIEL No.

SANDRO You think what you want.

DANIEL What girls do you know?

SANDRO I have daughters.

DANIEL Please.

SANDRO What is this please? Fuck.

DANIEL I’m sorry. Jesus.

SANDRO And you stealing my word! Fuck you!

DANIEL Fuck me?

SANDRO Fuck you for stealing my word. I want you still working here—

DANIEL I want you out of my office.

SANDRO I want you to still keep this job.

DANIEL Jobs aren’t everything, you know that? This job is shit.

SANDRO This job got you the girl you like.

DANIEL She’s not because of my job.

SANDRO You think that? She is.

DANIEL Get out.

SANDRO If you weren’t a professor—

DANIEL Professors are weird.

SANDRO If you weren’t a professor—

DANIEL She and I connect.

SANDRO Because of what?

DANIEL Our souls.

SANDRO There’s no such thing.

DANIEL Get out.

SANDRO You believe in the soul?

DANIEL (laughing—he really doesn’t believe in it) No.

SANDRO You should.

DANIEL You’re a mathematician.

SANDRO So?

DANIEL You believe in the soul?

SANDRO Yes.

DANIEL That’s absurd.

SANDRO You are a chemist. How can you say as a mathematician I cannot believe in the soul?

DANIEL Our domain is the earth, it’s physicality!

SANDRO Math is abstract!

DANIEL Of what, though? The earth! Space!

SANDRO Of time, too.

DANIEL Of days, they are concrete. Of years, they are concrete.

SANDRO And of love, is that concrete? The heart?

DANIEL There is no such thing as the heart.

SANDRO No?

DANIEL There is no such thing.

SANDRO Then why are you crazy with this girl?

DANIEL Because she’s young.

SANDRO You would risk your job?

DANIEL Job??

SANDRO Job!!

DANIEL Have you ever been in love? Have you ever been in love!?

SANDRO I won’t make claims to you.

DANIEL Afraid to make the abstract real?

SANDRO You will lose everything.

DANIEL Some student has flirted with you, I know, and you left her behind—

SANDRO You will lose it all for this girl, and you don’t care—

DANIEL Mathematics is supposed to be hardcore!

SANDRO Fuck her without the barium!

DANIEL Why do you care?

SANDRO The school—

DANIEL The school—

SANDRO They’re going to let you go.

DANIEL I’ve been teaching here for fifteen years.

SANDRO My friend, this is the cardinal rule of professorship.

DANIEL What’s that?

SANDRO Your students. Don’t fuck them.

DANIEL This girl, though.

SANDRO It doesn’t matter who she is.

DANIEL This girl is special.

SANDRO The dean—

DANIEL This girl—

SANDRO The dean says—

DANIEL You should meet her.

SANDRO That’s a bad idea.

DANIEL Why?

SANDRO Because.

DANIEL The dean says what? Why’s it a bad idea?

SANDRO If she’s as cool as you say she is..between friends..it’s a bad idea.

DANIEL And the dean?

SANDRO The dean..

DANIEL Mathematically speaking, what are my chances?

SANDRO Not good.

DANIEL Not good.

SANDRO No.

DANIEL Jesus.

SANDRO That’s my word.

12—DANIEL’S OFFICE

DEAN Are you with this girl?

DANIEL No.

DEAN You are with the girl.

DANIEL No.

DEAN You are with the girl, we know.

DANIEL Who’s we? Anyway, so what, yes, I’m with the girl.

DEAN You admit you’re with that girl?

DANIEL I’m with the goddammn girl. What the fuck do you care?

DEAN Are you recording in this room?

DANIEL Are you?

DEAN It’s a PR issue. It hurts our image.

DANIEL Doesn’t look good on the catalogue?

DEAN No. It doesn’t.

DANIEL Too bad.

DEAN We pay you.

DANIEL To teach.

DEAN Not to fuck.

DANIEL I am teaching.

DEAN We are not paying you to fuck those you teach.

DANIEL You are paying me to teach..

DEAN Yes.

DANIEL And I teach, I teach for you. Did she say something?

DEAN You do teach.

DANIEL Did she say something?

DEAN She didn’t say anything.

DANIEL Someone must have said something to you.

DEAN Someone has.

DANIEL Who.

DEAN Someone has.

DANIEL Who.

DEAN I’ve seen you two together.

DANIEL Where?

DEAN The green.

DANIEL When.

DEAN Last week, all the time, Jesus.

DANIEL That’s Sandro’s word.

DEAN Could you show some tact?

DANIEL Tact?

DEAN Tact.

DANIEL Love has no tact.

DEAN Is this love?

DANIEL Have I tact?

DEAN None at all.

DANIEL It must be love.

DEAN Hide it.

DANIEL Why?

DEAN Hide it from me.

DANIEL Why?

DEAN You force my hand.

DANIEL Act then.

DEAN I have to act. Students can’t..

DANIEL Do what?

DEAN Students can’t..

DANIEL Students do more than you think.

DEAN They can’t be in love with teachers.

DANIEL But they are.

DEAN No.

DANIEL They are.

DEAN No.

DANIEL They are. That’s your problem. They can’t be, but they are.

DEAN Is she really in love with you?

DANIEL Yes.

DEAN Then hide it.

DANIEL Hide?

DEAN Hide it from your wife, hide it from me. Hide it from everyone.

DANIEL Why would love hide?

DEAN Please.

DANIEL Why would it? Love never hides!

DEAN Because love is crazy, case in point.

DANIEL Dismiss me, fine.

DEAN You have my nod.

DANIEL Mm.

DEAN You have every respect from me.

DANIEL Mm.

DEAN You are the top. We couldn’t have gotten better than you.

DANIEL No.

DEAN No.

DANIEL Well.

DEAN It’s still a problem.

DANIEL What about Pythagoras?

DEAN What about him?

DANIEL Sex with students.

DEAN That was 50 A.D. or something. This is two-thousand years later!

DANIEL So?!

DEAN You can’t fuck students anymore.

DANIEL The world has changed so much?

DEAN Are you a chemist or a philosopher?

DANIEL Chemistry is everything. What about her?

DEAN Her?

DANIEL What does she say?

DEAN She who?

DANIEL She, she, come on, she, Jesus.

DEAN That’s Sandro’s word.

DANIEL I know. What does she say? Have you talked to her?

DEAN We’ve talked to her.

DANIEL And what does she say?

DEAN She says nothing.

DANIEL Now that I can’t believe.

DEAN It’s true. She protects you.

DANIEL Good girl.

DEAN You fucked her?

DANIEL You wouldn’t have done the same?

DEAN You gave her barium?

Daniel is startled.

DEAN Did you mix her barium?

DANIEL Have you ever fucked around?

DEAN Of course.

DANIEL Would you like that of course to come to light?

DEAN Of course not.

DANIEL Well.

DEAN Did you feed this girl barium?

DANIEL She likes it.

DEAN I don’t care.

DANIEL It’s about your reputation.

DEAN Yes. It’s about our reputation.

13—AT THE BAR

DANIEL What should I do?

SANDRO Be careful.

DANIEL Yeah.

SANDRO I’m serious. You be very careful this time.

14—DANIEL’S OFFICE—NIGHT

He’s working. The door opens, he looks up. It’s his wife.

DANIEL Hi.

RACHEL You’re alone.

DANIEL What did you think?

RACHEL I’ve talked to the dean.

Rachel sits in the same chair that America sits in when she comes.

DANIEL You went to him?

RACHEL He came to me.

DANIEL How does he know?

RACHEL I don’t know.

DANIEL How long have you known?

RACHEL Since the beginning.

DANIEL What exactly do you know?

RACHEL Please.

DANIEL Did the dean hit on you when he talked to you?

RACHEL Oh, don’t you wish that he did, that would make this so easy for you.

DANIEL No harm was meant.

RACHEL What about our kids!

DANIEL I thought of that.

RACHEL Children have an idea..of who their parents are. You can mess kids up.

DANIEL Since when did you become a puritan?

RACHEL You gave this girl barium?

DANIEL What’s your point?

RACHEL My point—

DANIEL You don’t even know what barium is.

RACHEL So you cut me.

DANIEL I didn’t mean—

RACHEL This is hard for me.

DANIEL I didn’t mean to cut—

RACHEL We are..

DANIEL Calm down.

RACHEL ..you and me are married!

DANIEL I know.

RACHEL We’re married.

DANIEL I’m sorry.

RACHEL Were the drugs her idea?

DANIEL What drugs?

RACHEL The barium.

DANIEL It’s not even barium.

RACHEL Whatever.

DANIEL Did the dean tell you that?

RACHEL Was it her idea? Tell me that part was her idea. At least tell me that.

DANIEL You want me to lie?

RACHEL Yes.

They embrace.

DANIEL Oh, baby, I love you.

RACHEL I love you, too.

DANIEL I’m so sorry.

RACHEL What are we gonna do?

DANIEL What did the dean tell you?

RACHEL He told me so many things.

DANIEL Did he say I’m fired?

RACHEL He said you might be.

DANIEL He told you that?

RACHEL He indicated.

DANIEL If I get fired—

RACHEL Don’t get fired.

DANIEL We can do something else.

RACHEL I like it here.

DANIEL I know.

RACHEL I don’t want to move again. I imagined us getting old here.

DANIEL I know.

RACHEL I like the river. And you’ve liked it here, haven’t you?

DANIEL Did he say I was definitely getting fired?

RACHEL I like those little shops by the river.

DANIEL Did he say I was definitely getting fired?

RACHEL He was saying very scary things.

DANIEL I don’t mean to scare you.

RACHEL You have your life—

DANIEL We have a life together.

RACHEL Your life is beyond my life. My life is simple.

DANIEL This is us.

RACHEL It’s not us anymore.

DANIEL Come on..

RACHEL Baby, no. Your life is something else. I’m just your tagalong.

DANIEL I’ve loved you.

RACHEL Our love is different.

DANIEL Love..

RACHEL We mean different things when we say the word.

DANIEL What do you mean when you say it?

RACHEL Do you love this girl?

DANIEL It’s complex.

RACHEL Fuck. Be straight with me.

DANIEL I love her.

RACHEL Jesus.

DANIEL You asked for the truth.

RACHEL I know.

DANIEL I’m sorry.

RACHEL I might go back to school..get my masters..

DANIEL For what?

RACHEL What do you think?

DANIEL Well. Of course, yeah..

RACHEL You’re such a dick. You and me were hot once, you know.

DANIEL I remember.

RACHEL I hope you think of that next time you’re with her.

DANIEL Grief.

RACHEL I hate that fucking bitch.

DANIEL Rachel.

RACHEL Next time you’re with her, you think of the first time we fucked.

Rachel goes for the door.

DANIEL Baby.

RACHEL Make up your mind.

DANIEL Baby..

RACHEL When you make up your mind, let me know.

DANIEL Where are you going?

RACHEL I’m going home, to our home, where we live.

DANIEL I’ll meet you later.

RACHEL Do whatever you like.

DANIEL If..

RACHEL If what? If you don’t come home?

DANIEL If I get fired. I’ll take care of you.

RACHEL I don’t care.

DANIEL I don’t want you to worry.

RACHEL I’m not looking to be taken care of.

DANIEL What? What?

RACHEL I want you to be with me.

DANIEL I’m sorry.

RACHEL I know, I know, you can’t.

Rachel leaves. Daniel dials a number.

DANIEL Hey, it’s me. Yeah, I know. I’m sorry. No. I’m..I’m..finishing up. Well. Really? How long has this been going on? You’re such a freak. I know, I know. No. You’ll never guess. Jesus, how did you know that? I know. Jesus. I’m sorry I know. No, well. Sure, okay. Fine, but. Listen, wait, there’s one problem. Of course there can’t be. No, shit, she’s, my wife, she’s. God damn it, I don’t know, baby. Soon. Very soon. Yesterday. I would, I would. Of course I will, baby, you know me better than that. Of course. Of course. I’ll be right there. Of course. Listen. Listen. Yes. Look lovely, I may be held up. Because, because, because..because my wife is sitting outside in the Range Rover shining the lights at my window. Fuck!

15—DANIEL’S OFFICE—THE NEXT MORNING

Daniel is sleeping. A syringe and tourniquet next to him. Little bottles, cotton.

SANDRO Daniel, get up. Daniel.

Daniel stirs.

SANDRO You have an eight o’clock class.

DANIEL What is it?

SANDRO It’s your survey class.

DANIEL I need a shower.

SANDRO There’s no time for your shower. There’s no time. Wash in the bathroom.

DANIEL Are you sure it’s my survey class?

Sandro gathers the drug tools.

DANIEL Don’t touch that! What?

SANDRO Sorry.

DANIEL What are you doing?

SANDRO Cleaning up.

DANIEL Leave it.

SANDRO The dean is in the hallway. I’m just cleaning up a little.

DANIEL I’ll do it.

SANDRO Go wash.

DANIEL Just leave it. Don’t touch it!

SANDRO Alright.

DANIEL Did you talk to the dean? Don’t lie.

SANDRO I wouldn’t lie to you. Yes. I told him about the girl.

DANIEL Thank you.

SANDRO That’s all, though.

DANIEL That is all you told him.

SANDRO You are killing yourself my friend.

DANIEL That’s none of your business. In fact, you know what?

SANDRO What.

DANIEL Why don’t you get the fuck out of my office.

SANDRO I think if you will get a little distance—

DANIEL Did you have an appointment scheduled with me? No. No you don’t.

SANDRO Just a little distance from your present life, and come back.

DANIEL Now I’ll thank you for that wonderful advice, professor, but leave.

SANDRO Hide that.

DANIEL What’s the point.

SANDRO He doesn’t know about it.

DANIEL Yes, thanks for not telling him everything! Get the fuck out of here.

SANDRO I will go, hide that.

DANIEL Don’t touch it!

SANDRO Fine.

DANIEL If you touch it again I’m going to slap you in the face.

SANDRO Okay.

DANIEL You act like a bitch and I am going to slap you like a bitch.

SANDRO The dean is outside.

DANIEL You think I care about the dean?

SANDRO He’s right outside your door.

DANIEL Oooh, the dean.

SANDRO The dean.

DANIEL Send him in on your way out.

Sandro leaves.

DANIEL Come in if you’re coming in.

The dean comes in. He sits in the chair that Rachel sat in.

DANIEL How are you?

DEAN Fine. How are you?

DANIEL Were you thinking of sitting in on my class?

DEAN I’m sure that would be interesting, but no, thank you.

DANIEL You’re welcome to drop by anytime.

DEAN I’ll keep that in mind.

DANIEL I don’t think I’m having class today, though.

DEAN No.

Daniel sits at his desk, straightens his shirt.

DEAN I have something to ask you. I’d like if you’d be calm about it.

DANIEL Fire away.

They both smile.

DEAN May I have your keys?

Daniel fishes for them.

DANIEL I’ll send someone by to pick up my books.

He gives over his keys.

DEAN We’ll send them to you.

The dean stands, waiting for Daniel to leave first. Daniel stands, he takes America’s paperweight off his desk and leaves.

16—DANIEL AND RACHEL’S BEDROOM

Daniel comes in carrying the paperweight, Rachel is packing. He sits on the bed and puts the paperweight beside him.

RACHEL Don’t put that there.

DANIEL What? Geez.

RACHEL That’s our bed.

DANIEL Not anymore, apparently.

RACHEL Not anymore for you either.

DANIEL Well, people get tired of things.

RACHEL Yes, I know.

DANIEL If you would just be reasonable, allow a man the occasional fling.

RACHEL She’s more than a fling. Take that off the bed.

DANIEL Not everyone can be like you. We’re not all professionally monogamous.

RACHEL A little part time monogamy is all I wanted from you.

DANIEL It’s stifling. Where are you going?

RACHEL Somewhere I can sleep.

DANIEL Sleep here.

RACHEL You know what it does to me? Thinking of you with her?

DANIEL Baby, why would you do that to yourself?

RACHEL I imagine the two of you together, sharing the most intimate thing.

DANIEL It’s just sex.

RACHEL I hope for her sake that isn’t true.

DANIEL Sometimes it is just sex.

RACHEL No. It never is.

DANIEL You never want it anyway.

RACHEL Yes I have.

DANIEL Not for years.

RACHEL It’s not just the lack of sex between us. Take that off the bed.

She takes it off and puts it in his hands. As they talk, he plays with it and eventually sets it back down.

DANIEL They took my keys today.

RACHEL You knew they would.

DANIEL Yeah.

RACHEL Why don’t you clean up?

DANIEL I’m clean.

RACHEL They love you there. You know the dean loves you. And Sandro.

DANIEL I’m through with Sandro.

RACHEL Since when?

DANIEL Today.

RACHEL You call him right now and make up. You’ve known him forever.

DANIEL No.

RACHEL Baby.

DANIEL He crossed a line.

RACHEL Consider cutting him some slack right now. He’s trying to help you.

DANIEL When you help people, you have to respect them at the same time.

RACHEL We are all of us clumsy around someone who demands so much.

DANIEL What? Only one thing, that’s loyalty from my friends.

RACHEL You’ve got yourself in such a state right now.

DANIEL Congratulations to you on staying calm.

RACHEL I’m trying to maintain my sanity.

DANIEL This world favors the insane.

RACHEL That may very well be.

DANIEL I have to stop.

RACHEL I’ll help.

DANIEL From where?

RACHEL From here. Just stop with that girl and we’ll work on the drugs together.

Rachel picks up the paperweight. Daniel gets up from the bed, crosses, looks out the window. He comes back to his wife.

RACHEL We can stay here. I know you love this house.

DANIEL What about my job?

RACHEL They’ll let you back.

DANIEL No.

RACHEL If you want, I’ll move anywhere in the world with you.

DANIEL I can’t.

He takes the paperweight.

DANIEL I can’t.

17—AMERICA’S PLACE—DUSK

DANIEL What do you mean?

AMERICA I mean that’s it.

DANIEL Gimme that. It’s flatter than before.

AMERICA It’s getting flatter and flatter all night.

DANIEL I mean it’s getting flatter faster than it should.

AMERICA Build that tolerance, baby. Are you ready?

DANIEL Going again?

AMERICA Going again.

DANIEL Are you ready already?

AMERICA Yeah, I think I am.

DANIEL Stuff wears off quick.

AMERICA It does these days. Will you mix mine for me?

DANIEL Gimme that. What happened to this thing?

AMERICA What are you talking about?

DANIEL This thing is flat.

AMERICA You’re gonna handle the mixing this time.

DANIEL It’s only been thirty minutes.

AMERICA It was longer than that.

DANIEL I looked at the clock.

AMERICA It’ll take you five minutes to mix it. We’ll be ready by then.

DANIEL Hold this. Geez.

AMERICA What?

DANIEL Just wanna lie down.

AMERICA I’ll mix.

DANIEL No. Wait one second.

AMERICA I kinda can’t.

DANIEL Grief.

AMERICA What?

DANIEL You’re a fiend.

AMERICA I’m a fiend for shots, you’re a fiend for pussy.

DANIEL We both fiend shots.

AMERICA Does that mean I also have to fiend for pussy?

DANIEL No, the shots belong to me.

AMERICA The pussy, on the other hand..

DANIEL The pussy on the other hand?

AMERICA You want to fuck while we do it?

DANIEL Get me hard.

AMERICA I’m just gonna sit on you this time.

She sits on him.

DANIEL Are you gonna mix that?

AMERICA Yeah.

DANIEL Good.

She mixes two shots on her desk. He can’t see because he’s lying on the floor.

DANIEL Give us a bigger one than last time.

AMERICA I know.

DANIEL Not too much more.

AMERICA I know how much to give us.

DANIEL Are you gonna shoot yourself?

AMERICA I’m gonna shoot us both.

DANIEL You’re gonna do me first?

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL How much more are you giving?

AMERICA A good amount.

DANIEL How much is left? Just split the bag.

AMERICA I did.

DANIEL Good girl. What time is it.

AMERICA Two minutes after the last time you asked me.

DANIEL We need to wait a little longer.

AMERICA There’s no way.

DANIEL Just ten minutes.

AMERICA Ten minutes isn’t gonna make any difference. We’ll be fine.

DANIEL I don’t know.

AMERICA Even if I said yes you wouldn’t wait ten minutes.

DANIEL No?

AMERICA You’d wait five.

DANIEL How’s that coming?

AMERICA Done.

She kneels over him with his shot. He gets his arm ready.

AMERICA Some people are drug addicts, some people are love addicts.

She puts the needle in.

DANIEL What if you fall in love with a love addict?

She shoots him.

AMERICA Trick or treat.

18—THE CHEMISTRY SUPPLY ROOM AT THE COLLEGE

The door is broken. They’re rooting around with a flashlight.

DANIEL There’s nothing here!

AMERICA What do you mean there’s nothing here? You have everything here!

DANIEL I can’t see! I’m sorry! I can’t see!

AMERICA Here’s something.

DANIEL That’s nothing!

AMERICA Yes!

DANIEL No, you can’t use that.

AMERICA Why.

DANIEL It’ll kill you.

AMERICA Will it get me high?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Fuck! What the fuck good is this place!?

DANIEL Hold on.

AMERICA What.

DANIEL This might be—

AMERICA What is it?

DANIEL Hold this.

AMERICA What is it.

DANIEL Open it. Get two out.

AMERICA This better be something.

DANIEL By itself it’s nothing.

AMERICA What do you mix it with?

DANIEL Something that’s so much like itself, it explodes.

AMERICA You’ve done it before?

DANIEL Well, not really explodes, but—

AMERICA What is it?

DANIEL It’s a crazy reaction.

AMERICA Is it good?

DANIEL Pff.

AMERICA Yeah?

DANIEL Crush those.

AMERICA Fine.

DANIEL And you need to produce the reagent.

AMERICA How?

DANIEL How do you think? A cyclic reagent and its pair..

AMERICA That’s like us.

DANIEL Which one are you?

AMERICA You’re the cyclic reagent, I’m the pair. What’s that part?

DANIEL Ammonia.

AMERICA What’s that part?

DANIEL Magnesium.

AMERICA This better get me fucking high.

DANIEL And if it doesn’t?

AMERICA Don’t play with me.

DANIEL No not that.

AMERICA This?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA Oh.

DANIEL That would have been a short trip. Give me that.

She holds it tight, then gives it to him. He tosses it in the trash.

AMERICA You’ve done this before, right?

DANIEL Not in a long time.

AMERICA When you were my age?

DANIEL Even younger.

AMERICA Why’d you quit?

DANIEL Got married.

AMERICA Oooh!

DANIEL Not to her.

AMERICA I don’t care, I like hearing about your wives.

DANIEL That’s sick.

AMERICA Here.

DANIEL Got it?

AMERICA Yeah, it’s done.

DANIEL Get a flame. And one of those.

AMERICA Please, professor, use proper names.

DANIEL You forget..

AMERICA Otherwise how will I learn my vocabulary?

DANIEL You forget that I am no longer a professor.

They kiss and stuff.

AMERICA Mmm, I like that. Now we can do anything we want.

DANIEL Cept I don’t have a job.

AMERICA I’ll whore myself out on the street.

DANIEL No you won’t.

AMERICA Fine, we’ll whore you out.

DANIEL Much better. Turn that up.

AMERICA Here?

DANIEL Higher. Stop.

AMERICA I like it when you boss me around.

DANIEL Would you stop with that?

AMERICA Seriously?

DANIEL Keep heating.

AMERICA Who’s the fiend now? Fuck you!

DANIEL Heat it ten more seconds.

AMERICA I really hate your moods.

DANIEL Sorry.

AMERICA You need to be nice to me, and at all times.

DANIEL Look at you though, earlier..screaming until we found a solution.

AMERICA I wasn’t scream—

DANIEL Stop, take it off the heat!

AMERICA Here.

DANIEL Careful!

AMERICA Sorry! Did I mess it up?

DANIEL No, you’re fine. Get yourself comfortable.

AMERICA It’s almost there?

DANIEL Almost.

She lifts herself onto the counter.

DANIEL Excited?

AMERICA I love to try new things.

DANIEL This qualifies.

AMERICA I’ll be the judge of that.

DANIEL Give me your arm.

America closes her eyes and exhales.

DANIEL Scared?

AMERICA A little.

He shoots her.

DANIEL How’s that, baby?

AMERICA Oh, fuck.

DANIEL Feel it?

AMERICA Jesus fucking god.

She slides herself off the counter, down to the floor.

DANIEL Yeah?

AMERICA That’s insane, I mean.. Wait, it’s really hitting now.

DANIEL You okay?

AMERICA Hold me.

DANIEL You feeling alright?

AMERICA Just stay with me. I just want someone to stay with me right now.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA Jesus.

DANIEL Hold my hand.

AMERICA Jesus.

DANIEL You feel me?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL You feel my hand?

AMERICA A little. This is amazing.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA Why didn’t we do this before?

DANIEL I don’t know.

AMERICA Baby?

DANIEL Yeah?

AMERICA It’s really hitting now.

DANIEL You okay?

AMERICA No.

DANIEL What’s happening?

AMERICA It’s hitting.

DANIEL Remember where you are. Feel this. Feel this texture. Baby. Can you hear me?

AMERICA A little.

DANIEL Baby?

AMERICA Ohhh..

—INTERMISSION—

19—A HOSPITAL WAITING AREA

Daniel goes to a middle-aged woman.

DANIEL There’s nothing I can say.

MARY I don’t think I want to see you right now.

DANIEL I’m so sorry.

Daniel leaves.

MARY Wait. Tell me how she’s been. Has she been happy?

Daniel sits beside her.

DANIEL She’s been up and down.

MARY She said she’s happy with you. She said she really likes you.

DANIEL She means the world to me.

MARY Oh, America, why are so so stupid? Sometimes you’re so stupid.

DANIEL We’ve both been stupid. I really wish—

MARY This isn’t the start of this for her, you know that.

DANIEL I never ever meant for anything bad to happen to her.

MARY She’s been in trouble since before this. She’s had such a hard time.

DANIEL There’s no excuse for what I did.

MARY You know this isn’t the start of this for her. For many years, she’s been—

DANIEL I shouldn’t have acted the way I did with her.

MARY She’s never learned to take care of herself. Which is my fault.

DANIEL No.

MARY If she didn’t learn that better by her age, that’s me.

DANIEL No.

MARY That’s all me. Yes. Yes, it is. You know she’s been to A.A.?

DANIEL Yeah, she said.

MARY That’s not all she’s been to. You know she took a year off school?

DANIEL When?

MARY Before this year. This has been going on with her since she was fourteen.

DANIEL She told me some things, but..

MARY Not this exact thing. No doubt you two have encouraged each other.

DANIEL I’m so sorry.

MARY But this kind of thing. She’s so reckless. You have to wonder, as a mother—

DANIEL She loves you very much.

MARY You know I used to drink? When she was little.

The weight of it all, not just this last fact, hitting him.

DANIEL Oh, god.

MARY I think it affected her most of the three of them.

She breaks up.

MARY Do you have children?

DANIEL Yes.

MARY So you know, you blame yourself.

DANIEL You don’t have to blame yourself for this.

MARY Oh, I don’t know.

DANIEL I was a huge part of this.

MARY No.

DANIEL Who gave her the shit?

MARY She wanted that anyway.

DANIEL I don’t think you understand the specifics of what we were doing.

MARY I’ve talked with her friends. She was doing it with them too.

DANIEL I don’t think she was doing exactly the level of stuff that we did.

MARY You don’t think I went through an experimentation phase in college?

DANIEL I wouldn’t expect you to ever forgive me.

MARY She liked you. I’m glad she was with you.

He breaks up.

DANIEL She’s so special.

MARY Do you know what she told her sister? She said..

DANIEL I don’t expect you to ever forgive me for this.

MARY She’s been writing her sister letters about you.

DANIEL She has?

MARY We get one in the mailbox about every two days.

DANIEL Ohh.

MARY Has she told you how she feels about you?

DANIEL You should hate me. You should want me dead.

MARY Are you suicidal?

DANIEL Yeah.

MARY I am too. But I’m not gonna do that. For her.

DANIEL I know.

MARY You know she really loves you.

DANIEL I love her more than anyone I’ve met.

MARY She’s in love with you. She said that.

Daniel exhales vocally.

MARY She said so in her letters. To her sister. She’s told us many times.

DANIEL You should want me dead.

MARY Has she ever told you?

DANIEL We’ve never said that to each other.

MARY You should have.

DANIEL I know. I’m sorry.

MARY You both should have.

DANIEL I’m so sorry this happened.

MARY I think she really may have done it to herself this time.

DANIEL Do you want me to go?

MARY No, I want you to be here, it’s good for me.

DANIEL I don’t see how that is.

MARY It feels good to be around someone she was close to.

DANIEL She’s gonna be okay. I know she’s gonna be okay.

MARY I don’t know.

DANIEL What’s the last thing they’re saying?

MARY They don’t know. Are you hungry?

DANIEL No.

MARY I am. Come down with me and get some fries.

DANIEL Okay.

They start to get up but she sits immediately back down.

MARY No. I can’t walk right now. How’s she doing in school?

DANIEL She’s doing great in my— She’s doing fine.

MARY That’s what I meant. How’s she doing in your class?

DANIEL She’s phenomenal.

MARY I know. She always has been smart. I hear your class is hard, too.

DANIEL She scores perfect on every test.

MARY She’s good at memorizing.

DANIEL Yes, but it’s more than that.

MARY She used to recite television commercials to us at dinnertime.

DANIEL She did?

MARY I mean every single commercial she knew. It was cute the first day.

DANIEL She doesn’t even watch T.V. now.

MARY I think she got tired of having commercials stuck in her head.

DANIEL But she used to recite them?

MARY It was annoying, trust me. Does she ever do stuff like that to you?

DANIEL Like what?

MARY Hound you with something until you have to give in.

DANIEL Well..

MARY No?

DANIEL Maybe.

MARY Maybe she’s mellowing in her old age. I hope she makes it out of this.

DANIEL Do you want to be alone?

MARY No. Walk me, let’s get a sandwich.

They get up. A doctor comes in.

DOCTOR She’s coming out of it.

MARY Can I see her?

DOCTOR There’s more I have to tell you.

20—DANIEL’S BEDROOM

He and America are in bed, it’s dark.

AMERICA Baby. Baby. I need more water, baby. Bring me a glass of water.

She switches on a bedside light. A folded wheelchair leans against the wall. America nudges Daniel, he doesn’t budge. Using only her arms and torso, she drags herself out of bed. She falls on the floor face down, Daniel wakes.

DANIEL Merica, what happened?

AMERICA I need some water. I tried to wake you up.

DANIEL I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.

AMERICA I’ve been trying for hours.

He helps her back into bed.

DANIEL I’m sorry. Come on. Just a second. Okay?

He goes.

AMERICA Bring the Vicodin.

DANIEL I’ll bring one.

AMERICA Bring two. No, bring three.

DANIEL Are you hurting?

AMERICA (under her breath) I’m always hurting.

He comes back.

DANIEL What hurts?

AMERICA My head. Give me two.

DANIEL Like a headache?

AMERICA Like a very bad headache, yes.

He gives her two. She takes them with a tiny bit of water.

DANIEL Drink some more.

AMERICA I’m fine.

DANIEL You don’t want to fuck up your stomach.

AMERICA My stomach’s fucked, baby, who gives a shit.

DANIEL It is not. Drink some more.

AMERICA Lay off!

DANIEL You want juice?

AMERICA Forget it.

DANIEL I’ll bring you juice.

AMERICA Back to bed, no juice. Back to bed, lights out. What are you doing?

DANIEL Putting this away.

AMERICA Leave it, save yourself a trip. You know what you need to do?

DANIEL What.

He sets the Vicodin down.

AMERICA Mix me some of that good shit.

She picks the Vicodin up and shakes out a few more.

DANIEL Please don’t say that.

AMERICA I’m serious, what is this bullshit?!

She throws the open Vicodin bottle across the room, pills scatter.

AMERICA I know you’ve got the stuff somewhere.

DANIEL I don’t.

AMERICA You’ve got it in the basement.

DANIEL I don’t have it anywhere.

AMERICA Get it then.

DANIEL Your mom would kill me.

AMERICA What the fuck is that? My mom?? Do you see my mom anywhere?

DANIEL You should have seen her.

AMERICA My mom doesn’t give a shit about me. She never has.

DANIEL She does.

AMERICA My mom doesn’t even know me. Neither do you by the way.

DANIEL She’s trying to.

AMERICA If you mention her again— Don’t you fucking mention her again.

DANIEL Let’s sleep.

AMERICA That’s what I just said. Bring me one of those.

DANIEL You’ve had enough.

AMERICA My head..

She laughs insanely.

AMERICA My head hurts.

DANIEL Wait twenty minutes.

AMERICA Six of these isn’t gonna do shit to me. I need another one. Please.

He brings her one more.

AMERICA What a ripoff.

He gets in bed, turns out the light.

AMERICA What you need to do—

DANIEL What?

AMERICA Mix me some of that good shit.

DANIEL Stop saying that.

She’s laughing.

AMERICA That would be great wouldn’t it, if we had some of that. Just a little..

DANIEL I think maybe you should go back with your mom.

AMERICA I’m not sure if you heard me from before, but she hates me.

DANIEL You know that isn’t true.

AMERICA Hates me.

DANIEL She doesn’t—

AMERICA Absolutely hates me. Has since birth.

DANIEL She sounds worried.

AMERICA She’s just acting like she is, she feels like she has to!

DANIEL I think she is really very worried about you.

AMERICA You’re just trying to get rid of me.

DANIEL I’m not—

AMERICA Also, stop talking to my mother.

DANIEL I think you should call her.

AMERICA I will call her, when I’m dead.

DANIEL What’s wrong?

AMERICA Everything’s perfect.

DANIEL Talk to me.

AMERICA Perfect.

DANIEL I’m going to bed.

AMERICA No.

DANIEL What does that mean, no.

AMERICA It means you’re not going to bed.

DANIEL Why is that?

AMERICA Because I don’t want you to.

She crawls over him and flips on the light. They stare at each other with animosity.

21—THEIR BEDROOM—NIGHT

She’s sleeping alone, he comes in.

DANIEL How is it?

AMERICA It’s really bad.

DANIEL I’m sorry baby. I brought you something.

AMERICA Did you? Oh, you’re so nice. Did you really.

DANIEL How bad is it?

AMERICA It really has been bad today.

DANIEL I’m so sorry. I’m sorry this happened to you.

AMERICA It’s not your fault. Will you mix it for me.

DANIEL Of course I’m gonna mix it for you.

AMERICA Where’d you get the stuff?

DANIEL I bought it off the Internet.

AMERICA You bought it yourself?

DANIEL Yeah, I bought it.

AMERICA How much was this?

DANIEL It was a lot.

AMERICA How much did you get?

DANIEL I want you to go slow with this, this time.

AMERICA I’m no good at going slow.

DANIEL I know, but..

AMERICA I’ll try.

DANIEL I need you to.

AMERICA I will.

DANIEL For me—

AMERICA I know, I will. I’m sorry.

DANIEL There’s nothing for you to be sorry about.

AMERICA I actually don’t want to do this.

DANIEL Then don’t. Do you know how happy that would make me?

AMERICA Do it with me.

DANIEL Okay.

AMERICA You will?

DANIEL I hate seeing you like this.

AMERICA I’m fine. You’ll be with me?

DANIEL Yes.

AMERICA Baby. Thank you.

DANIEL Please don’t thank me.

AMERICA You’re gonna love it. God, it’s like nothing else.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA But let’s do a little less this time.

DANIEL Jesus.

AMERICA Mix it.

He nods. He mixes it.

AMERICA You really don’t want me to do this?

DANIEL I really don’t.

AMERICA But you still bought it for me, because I want it?

DANIEL What can I do?

AMERICA That says something great about you.

DANIEL I wish we didn’t have to be saying something great.

AMERICA But it does.

DANIEL I wish we could just be happy. In a simple way this time.

AMERICA We are happy. Be happy with me.

DANIEL It’s risking your life, every time you do it.

AMERICA Risk with me.

DANIEL I want to! I want nothing more! I wish I had your pain!

AMERICA You’re close to me without my pain, you have always been a part of me.

DANIEL Can I talk you out of this?

AMERICA You don’t know how bad this is.

DANIEL I’m so sorry.

AMERICA What they give me doesn’t even help.

DANIEL It helps some though doesn’t it?

AMERICA What they give me is nothing, compared to this.

DANIEL What they give you is safer.

AMERICA You know that isn’t true, statistically speaking.

DANIEL You are my best student.

AMERICA I just had a bad run.

DANIEL I know.

AMERICA It’s just luck. Get in a car, plug in a hairdryer, go swimming.

DANIEL Sharks?

AMERICA Drowning. Whatever. You can die from taking Aspirin.

DANIEL This is so much more dramatic.

AMERICA You think dying in a car accident isn’t dramatic? I bet it is.

DANIEL You don’t have to do this, though. You have to drive.

AMERICA We could all stop driving if we wanted to.

DANIEL That would be a lot harder than everyone stopping doing drugs.

AMERICA Not if you include prescription drugs and alcohol.

DANIEL Then let’s just do a Prozac and a beer!

AMERICA No chance.

DANIEL None?

AMERICA Not after you put that in my face.

DANIEL I shouldn’t have.

AMERICA I’m glad you did.

DANIEL I’m not.

AMERICA I’m really glad you did. Thank you. Thank you, this is gonna help me.

DANIEL We’re doing a smaller amount this time.

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL A much smaller amount.

AMERICA Okay, but not too small.

DANIEL Grief, woman.

AMERICA Is it mixed?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Let me see the size.

DANIEL Do you want less?

AMERICA No. Anyway what about skydiving?

DANIEL What about it?

AMERICA It’s extremely dangerous, but no one thinks bad of you for doing it.

DANIEL I’m’onna have to get back to you on that one.

AMERICA It’s a totally optional activity. Are you gonna do me first?

DANIEL You’re first.

AMERICA Then you?

DANIEL Then me.

They have a long look.

AMERICA Do it.

He hits her slowly.

DANIEL Is this okay?

AMERICA Yes.

DANIEL Still okay?

AMERICA Do the rest of it.

DANIEL You feel it?

AMERICA Yeah. Enhh. There it is.

DANIEL You with me?

AMERICA Mmm.

She lies back. Daniel puts the syringe down and lies beside her.

AMERICA Are you doing it now?

DANIEL Yeah.

AMERICA Did you do it yet?

DANIEL I did it.

22—THEIR BEDROOM

She’s in bed, he comes in. He sets a new batch of chemicals on the bedside table.

AMERICA Shoot me up.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Stay.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Stay for a minute.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Sure you can.

DANIEL I can’t watch you—

AMERICA Don’t, then. Close your eyes.

DANIEL Don’t do it.

AMERICA I’ll wait till you’re gone.

DANIEL Don’t do it.

She mixes.

AMERICA I’m in a good run now.

DANIEL What if I said you’re hurting me?

AMERICA Look, I’m getting better.

She raises one leg.

DANIEL That’s wonderful!

AMERICA Wanna see the other one?

DANIEL Yes. Wow. When did this happen?

AMERICA Today.

DANIEL That’s amazing.

AMERICA I know, aren’t you proud of me?

DANIEL How’s your pain?

AMERICA Better. Somewhat.

DANIEL Then—

AMERICA Not all better.

DANIEL America, then, stop with this shit.

He puts a hand on hers, she stops mixing.

DANIEL You don’t need it.

AMERICA Just one more.

His hand falls off as she goes back to mixing.

AMERICA Don’t say it.

DANIEL It’s always just one more.

AMERICA I told you not to say it.

DANIEL Please. Please, you can move. Doesn’t that make you happy?

AMERICA I’m happy all over.

DANIEL Good. Good, then stop.

AMERICA You brought it to me.

DANIEL I thought you needed it.

AMERICA I do need it, just not where you think. I want you to fuck me.

DANIEL Can you?

AMERICA Yes I can.

DANIEL That’s wonderful.

AMERICA No, it’s not wonderful, you sound like my doctor, geez.

DANIEL I’m sorry.

AMERICA Put your tongue in me while I go.

DANIEL I’ll put my tongue in you.

AMERICA Go with this time.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA You can’t say no.

DANIEL I will put my tongue in you.

AMERICA You can’t say no!

DANIEL Let’s make love, since we can. Isn’t that enough for today?

AMERICA We will. We will, we’ll make love.

DANIEL That’s all I want.

AMERICA We’ll make love all day.

DANIEL Good.

AMERICA You’ll have to do most of the work.

DANIEL I’ll do all of it.

AMERICA Where’s the fun in that?

DANIEL Oh yeah, what are you gonna do for me?

AMERICA I’m gonna suck you off while you shoot.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Fine, I’ll just put my mouth on it then.

DANIEL I’m not gonna shoot.

AMERICA Come on.

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Come on.

DANIEL No, really, stop. I’m not gonna shoot. You go ahead if you have to.

AMERICA I don’t have to. I want to.

DANIEL Go ahead.

AMERICA I want to do it with you.

DANIEL I’ll be with you.

AMERICA I want you to do it with me.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Why.

DANIEL It’s too scary.

AMERICA I know it is.

DANIEL I can’t afford to be that scared anymore.

AMERICA Just do it with me this time. Then we’ll go for a walk.

DANIEL Could you?

AMERICA No. But we could go for a drive.

DANIEL Let’s do that.

AMERICA We will.

DANIEL Let’s do it now.

AMERICA Can I shoot in the car?

DANIEL No.

AMERICA Why?

DANIEL You’ll get arrested!

AMERICA Shoot me in the car.

DANIEL I’m not doing that.

AMERICA Then shoot me here.

DANIEL Shoot yourself.

AMERICA I’m gonna do this one way or the other. You might as well help.

DANIEL I’m thinking differently on that now.

AMERICA Fine. I’ll do it.

DANIEL Please listen to me.

AMERICA I’m listening.

DANIEL I have something to ask you.

AMERICA Shoot. Get it?

DANIEL I get it.

AMERICA Hit me and then ask your question.

DANIEL I can’t.

AMERICA Why.

DANIEL Because of my question.

She’s about to shoot herself.

AMERICA Which is?

DANIEL Will you stop with that?

AMERICA Ask your question.

DANIEL That is my question. Will you stop?

AMERICA Will I stop..this?

DANIEL Will you stop. Doing that. Will you stop doing it forever.

AMERICA Why don’t you stop bringing it to me?

DANIEL Because you want it..

AMERICA I love you for that.

DANIEL ..and I would do anything you asked.

AMERICA I’m mixing you a shot.

DANIEL Don’t.

AMERICA You need one. I know you want to too. You can use me for an excuse.

DANIEL It’s so nice today. It’s a perfect day for a drive.

AMERICA Wanna see me move my legs again?

DANIEL Yes. Go. Doesn’t that feel good?

AMERICA It feels wonderful. So will this, don’t try to be sneaky.

DANIEL Walk with me around the room.

AMERICA Don’t try to be sneaky.

DANIEL How long since you’ve walked?

AMERICA Walking is overrated.

DANIEL No it isn’t.

AMERICA Fuck you! I was joking. You want to make me feel bad?

DANIEL I’m sorry.

AMERICA I never made you stop. Have you thought of that?

DANIEL Stop with what? Sex?

AMERICA Maybe sex. Maybe this.

DANIEL I think you wanted the sex part.

AMERICA Maybe I wanted sex and to split an ecstasy pill with you, not this shit.

DANIEL It wasn’t this to start with.

AMERICA Don’t be technical. Maybe I never wanted to stick my arm!

DANIEL You shouldn’t have let me.

AMERICA I wanted to let you. I wanted to do whatever you wanted us to do. Together.

DANIEL Tell me at least you wanted the sex. You did invite me to lunch.

AMERICA Oh, baby, I want sex with you right now, I always wanted the sex.

DANIEL This shit is no way to live your life, believe me.

AMERICA You’re doing fine.

DANIEL No, I’m not. It might seem that way to you but I’m not.

AMERICA You can get another job.

DANIEL I shoulda stopped this shit a long time ago.

AMERICA You lived through it.

DANIEL You almost didn’t.

AMERICA But I did.

DANIEL That would have been the end of my life.

AMERICA But it wasn’t.

DANIEL I would have never gotten over that.

AMERICA Lucky for you, you didn’t have to.

She hands him a syringe and picks hers up off the table.

AMERICA Here we are.

DANIEL Yes, here we are.

He puts down the syringe.

DANIEL I’m going for a drive.

AMERICA I’ll meet you.

DANIEL I’ll be in the car.

AMERICA Good.

DANIEL I’m only waiting five minutes.

AMERICA I’ll see you there.

DANIEL I have nothing else to say.

AMERICA When you have nothing left to say, say nothing.

He leaves. She shoots herself up. With the energy it gives her, she gets out of bed and stands. She slides back onto the bed in her high. She takes the other syringe. She fiddles with it. She looks away, thinking of Daniel. Then she preps her arm and shoots it.

23—DANIEL’S BEDROOM

All the furniture is gone, drapes, everything. Daniel stands at a window, staring out. He is holding America’s paperweight. He strikes the window, turns. He throws the paperweight, it smashes, water and snow spilled on the floor.

24—IT SNOWS ON DANIEL

DANIEL I saw this woman today. She was like you but..she was maybe forty-five, fifty, somewhere in there. And.. You know how time has a tendency to wear us down? This woman..it was like she had somehow resisted that. Some people, even when they smile, there’s this..sadness in their eyes. But then there’s this rare example, every ten-thousand people you cross paths with, who have..a spark..of some sort..an elegance, an ease about them. I used to think only some people had it, but now I think that everyone is born with that spark. What’s rare is to find someone who over all those years would never let it be taken away.

America is there.

AMERICA Keep talking.

America is there with him, walking in the snow.

DANIEL What about?

AMERICA Anything you want.

DANIEL Do you have any regrets?

AMERICA I’m too young to have regrets.

DANIEL Even an eight-year-old has regrets.

AMERICA Like, I wish I hadn’t traded my PBJ for that cupcake?

DANIEL I’m sure there’s something you wish you hadn’t done.

AMERICA Yeah, there is.

DANIEL You don’t have to tell me.

AMERICA This wasn’t something recent.

DANIEL No?

AMERICA This was long ago, in college.

DANIEL Wha’d you miss?

AMERICA A kiss.

DANIEL Describe it for me.

AMERICA There was this guy. I should have kissed him, but..I didn’t.

DANIEL Why didn’t you?

AMERICA I was scared.

DANIEL You should have kissed him anyway.

AMERICA I know.

DANIEL And, since then, have you made that same mistake?

AMERICA No I haven’t.

She kisses Daniel.

25—DANIEL’S OFFICE

Daniel and the dean come in together. The place is cleaned out except the furniture.

DANIEL Is that a concern?

DEAN Somewhat.

DANIEL How much of a concern is it?

DEAN It’s somewhat of a concern. I can’t measure the precise quantity.

DANIEL What’s been the impact on our reputation?

DEAN Oh, this is something you concern yourself with now, reputation?

DANIEL No, I was just asking to be polite.

DEAN I’ll handle the reputations thanks. Although..

DANIEL Have I made things difficult for you?

DEAN You could help me out a little.

DANIEL When do I get my keys?

DEAN You get them now.

DANIEL Thank you.

DEAN Although..

DANIEL They feel a bit lighter.

DEAN ..you’ll notice there’s one missing.

DANIEL I didn’t need a key before.

DEAN Please don’t.

DANIEL I won’t. I promise.

DEAN That would be the end.

DANIEL How’d you handle the press on that one?

DEAN There wasn’t any press, that’s how I handled it.

DANIEL Thanks.

DEAN Reputation is my department.

DANIEL I’m glad to be back in mine.

DEAN I don’t doubt it.

DANIEL Thank you.

DEAN Just remember how glad you are to be back and we’ll be fine.

DANIEL I will.

DEAN If you need help, ever, tell me.

DANIEL Can you have my books shipped over from the house?

DEAN How bout you ship them this time.

DANIEL Fine.

DEAN You know how dear you are to me.

DANIEL I didn’t know that.

DEAN You are.

DANIEL Is that why I’m back?

DEAN No.

DANIEL No?

DEAN You’re back cause I can’t find anyone else.

DANIEL Please, less honesty.

DEAN You’re a wonderful teacher.

DANIEL And the students love me.

DEAN You are quite the charmer.

DANIEL I know, and it’s inappropriate..

DEAN Well..

DANIEL It won’t happen again.

DEAN Well..

DANIEL It’s just, with this one..

DEAN You loved her, didn’t you?

DANIEL Yes.

DEAN I wish she was still with you.

DANIEL No. It was wrong of me in the first place.

DEAN Oh, I don’t know. She loved you too I think.

DANIEL I hope so.

DEAN Think of Pythagoras.

DANIEL Oh?

DEAN Come on. You think I’m gonna tell you not to bang your students?

DANIEL Are you?

DEAN It’s an ancient tradition of the academic world!

DANIEL Do you bang the students?

DEAN It’s harder for a dean. But I would if they were coming onto me.

DANIEL I could send some your way.

DEAN No.

DANIEL I’ll send you all of mine.

DEAN No.

DANIEL Every other girl that walks in that door.

DEAN That’s the problem.

DANIEL What?

DEAN Every other girl.

DANIEL Oh.

DEAN So you see.

DANIEL Really?

DEAN Yes.

DANIEL I can’t help you there.

DEAN Didn’t think you could.

The dean nods, smiles, and gets up.

DEAN That’s between us.

DANIEL Figured.

DEAN Reputations and all.

DANIEL Of course.

The dean leaves. Daniel settles into his office. He sits in his chair, leans back. Something on a top shelf catches his eye. He gets up, climbs on the counter to get it. It’s a tourniquet. He takes it down, wraps it around his hand. Then he puts it in the trash and leaves.

26—AT THE BAR

They’re playing pool (or darts).

SANDRO You’ve lost your touch.

DANIEL I don’t think so.

SANDRO You play better when your mind is less occupied, that’s the problem.

DANIEL I’m sorry I just disappeared.

SANDRO Don’t worry about it.

DANIEL It’s like I’m not a human when I’m on drugs.

SANDRO Understood.

DANIEL I’m sorry I said..whatever I said to you.

SANDRO Now that apology I will accept.

DANIEL What did I say?

SANDRO Hmmm.

DANIEL I’m just kidding. Don’t tell me.

SANDRO I have forgotten anyway, my memory is too bad.

DANIEL Your memory is fine.

SANDRO I remember you being better at pool, so I think there is a problem.

DANIEL You’ve been practicing.

SANDRO Of course. Every Thursday I come here. And I think, where is my friend?

DANIEL I’m sorry.

SANDRO But every week, you are not here. So? I still play.

DANIEL Next week I’m gonna kick your ass.

SANDRO Not at this rate.

DANIEL She used to play pool with her friends.

SANDRO You went with her?

DANIEL No. She invited me once but I didn’t..

SANDRO It’s probably better.

DANIEL ..I didn’t go.

SANDRO I am sorry for what happened. If you don’t want to talk about it—

DANIEL I brought it up. Maybe next week.

SANDRO Get a drink.

DANIEL That’s okay.

SANDRO It’s on me.

DANIEL No thanks.

SANDRO Have a beer.

DANIEL No.

SANDRO A scotch.

DANIEL I’m fine.

SANDRO Something you need to understand, my friend..

DANIEL What?

SANDRO ..the importance, for former drug addicts, of being an alcoholic.

DANIEL Jesus.

SANDRO You have stolen my word.

DANIEL I’m just borrowing it.

SANDRO That is so not cool.

DANIEL Is it my turn?

SANDRO You would like that, wouldn’t you.

DANIEL Just another chance to miss.

SANDRO Another chance to win.

DANIEL I’m too far down.

SANDRO Make one run.

DANIEL Yeah, okay.

SANDRO One run is all you need. One turn, and you win the game.

DANIEL Easy for you, edge master. How do you always make those shots?

SANDRO I don’t always make them.

DANIEL Yes, you always to.

SANDRO Not always.

DANIEL Yes you do.

Sandro takes a shot, he intentionally hits the ball way off.

SANDRO See? You are wrong, my friend.

27—DANIEL’S OFFICE, FULLY FURNISHED

Daniel is already there. A student comes by tentatively.

DANIEL Come in.

LACY I’m from your class.

DANIEL Yes, I recognize you. Miss Brothers. C average.

LACY Lacy.

DANIEL Lacy Brothers. Always sits in the back of the class.

LACY Gives a better overall vantage point on the room.

DANIEL You sit in the same seat every single week.

She smiles.

DANIEL Why is that?

LACY Once you find something you like you should keep it.

DANIEL Even a chair?

LACY I like my chair. It has graffiti I like, and gum.

DANIEL What does it say?

LACY It says the dean sucks cock.

DANIEL And what do you think?

LACY I don’t know the dean.

DANIEL But I do.

LACY And?

DANIEL People write all sorts of things. Who knows if any of it means anything.

LACY Look, I came here for a reason, so..I..

DANIEL You’re not happy with your C—

LACY I don’t care about the C.

She kisses him, a peck, then pulls back, trying to judge his reaction.

LACY I’m sorry. It was a mistake to come here.

She goes.

DANIEL I don’t believe it’s possible, not to make mistakes.

LACY You don’t.

DANIEL The key for me, is..

LACY What?

DANIEL Making the right ones.

He goes for her.