Jennifer Ginzinger

Working Note

When I think about my writing and the themes I am drawn to or tend to use, I am struck by an image.  My mind conjures up Hokusai's silk-screen tidal wave, with its hundreds of finger-like water sprays that reach out to grasp the faceless, crouched figures in the boat, who remain frozen on silk and forever await the crushing wave.  My writing tends to focus on these moments of suspension, at times on the awesome, but destructive power of the wave, and at other times on the fate of the boaters.

When words I overhear or scenes I witness compel me enough to either jot them down or commit them to memory, strange things seem to happen.  For example, about a year ago while listening to public radio I heard for the first time about the bus accident Frida Kahlo survived at age 18, only to be tormented the rest of her life by the damage to her spine and pelvis.  I could (almost) imagine the pain.  A week later, PBS broadcast a special on Diego Rivera, which revealed their tumultuous relationship, and the complications her accident brought to their marriage.  The following weekend, I visited friends in Chicago.  We wander into a Mexican restaurant for lunch and on the wall, held in a large picture frame, is the likeness of Frida Kahlo.  She glares from across the room, and I think, "why is she following me?" 

Coincidence?  Maybe...but then I am compelled to run out and buy a book of her paintings.  I peruse. I mull.  I write.  "The Spiral and the Cycle" happens.  Borrowing images from certain paintings in the book, I explore and elucidate my own creative process.


The Spiral and the Cycle



The Spiral and the Cycle





The Surgeon

A Child

Street Signs

A Man

Passion Fruit


Scene 1: Without Hope

Cast for this scene: Freddie and Voice

Freddie lies in a bed, but not in a room. The backdrop depicts a desert. Miscellaneous objects (which Freddie has regurgitated) lie strewn all over the bedspread. The objects can be anything—there just needs to be a lot of them. Obviously, size is a concern, too. They have to be things which can fit on a bed (i.e., a typewriter, a beach ball, pearl necklace, a frame with photograph, a clock, etc.)—unless the bed is extremely oversized.

Freddie: Where is she? (vague and feverish look in her eyes)

Voice: Who?

Freddie: Hope. Where has she gone? I feel lost.

Voice: Not to worry. She’ll be back soon.

Freddie: When?

Voice: When you’re ready.

Freddie: It doesn’t look like I’ll ever be ready. (frantically with the urgency of a person with a very high fever, struggles to lift herself up in bed) What am I going to do with all of this? (Picks up a child’s Tonka-like truck, and tries to throw it off of the bed, but it falls from her weak hand and lands close to the edge of the bed, just not over it.) How am I supposed to think straight, write stories, edit thoughts…how am I supposed to focus beyond all of this junk?

Voice: It isn’t junk.

Freddie: Like hell it isn’t. No sense of order. No connection. No common thread holding it together. It’s crap.

Voice: You realize, this is your past and your future.

Freddie: What I realize is this is a mess. I need to clean this up!

Voice: Clean?

Freddie: If I could just bulldoze this all away. Then, then…

Voice: Then what?

Freddie: Then I’d feel better. God, maybe this is all a dream…

Voice: You remember what Frida Kahlo says.

Freddie: Not really.

Voice: She never painted dreams. She wasn’t a surrealist. She painted reality.

Freddie: Then reality’s a mess. Keep your trivia to yourself. I know what I need to do. Clean. Wipe the slate. Start over.

Voice: So, what exactly do you mean by clean?

Freddie: (Freddie exhales a rush of air revealing her annoyance.)
Isn’t hearing voices a bad sign? Someone once warned me. Or did I read

Voice: You can’t always trust what you read, Freddie.

Freddie: Now, what was it? When you hear a voice…when a voice calls out your name…

Voice: So, exactly what do you plan to do? Dust? Tidy up? Organize? Get rid of? Are you there? Hey! Freddie. Answer me!

Freddie: You know you’re in real trouble, if you see the voice. I mean, if you actually see the words themselves…audiovisual hallucinations... (moans while clutching at her stomach and turns her upper torso to one side of the bed, hand over mouth) Oh, god, not again. I don’t want to be sick.

(Freddie dry heaves a few times, and then sounds like a cat coughing up a fur ball.) Why can’t I keep this stuff down? Christ, there must be something I can do, something I can take...


Freddie: to get rid of all this.             Voice: Something you can make?

(Freddie continues hacking. Finally, when she pulls her hand away from her mouth there is a piece of fabric extending from her mouth and resting between two fingers. She straightens out her arm, and like the age-old magic trick, the fabric comes with it. She pulls and pulls in disbelief, because there seems to be no end to the fabric. Lights fade to black)


Scene 2: A Few Little Stabs

Cast: Freddie and the Surgeon

Again, a bed on the stage, but this time it is constructed of steel and sits high on rollers. The bedding is white. Freddie lies on the floor at the foot of the bed. A braided fabric rope (made from fabric similar to that of Scene 1) is tied to the headboard, and drapes across the length of the bed to dangle down next to Freddie. As if it is Rapunzel's hair, Freddie grabs the rope with both hands and uses it to pull herself up onto the bed.

The Surgeon enters. He holds a scalpel (which will become bloodied as the scene progresses) and begins to work over or in Freddie’s stomach. Various road signs hang down from the ceiling with wire, giving the appearance that the signs are levitating. Blue spotlight on Freddie and the bed. The white sheets and Freddie are now splattered with black. (Red under blue light appears black). At particular points in this scene an additional red spotlight will flash with a strobe light effect on each of the road signs.

Surgeon: Stop procrastinating! (Red spotlight on Stop sign.) We could be through with all of this (gestures to blood) if you’d just let me finish what we’ve started here.

Freddie: It’s not as easy as all that. I need your help. What am I supposed do when we’ve finished? (Red spotlight flashes on Yield sign.)

Surgeon: Well, we’ll be done, won’t we?

Freddie: That’s fine for you but then what’ll I do? What if this is all there is? What if what we finish now is really the end? What if that’s all there is?

Surgeon: Fine. We won’t finish then. (Puts down the scalpel, picks up cloth and roughly wipes the blood off the scalpel and Freddie’s face, arms, etc.)

Freddie: Don’t get an attitude. Don’t you see. I’ll always have something to come back to. I need that.

Surgeon: I'm not here for any half-ass operations. You're——we're going to finish...something.

Freddie: But then I'll have nothing to come back to. (Spotlight flashes on One-Way sign)

Surgeon: Is that what worries you?

Freddie: It's what I think.

Surgeon: You think too much.

Freddie: Haven’t heard that one before.

Surgeon: And I think—

Freddie: I know what you think. You think that it’s all about you.

Surgeon: It isn't?

Freddie: (ignores his last comment) You ask me to show you. You wonder, "Is this really how Freddie thinks of me?" You ask me, "Do you think my marriage is that bad, or do you really see me as such a horrible parent, or do I have a drinking problem?" You doubt yourself. You get angry with me because you only hit the kid once, and not that hard, and now I think and the world's going to know you’re a child abuser. You don’t even have a clue.

Surgeon: Now I’m stupid. Is that it? (Spotlight flashes on Slow-Deaf-Child-at-Play sign)

Freddie: God! It isn’t about you, dammit! Aren't you listening? Isn’t about you at all.

Surgeon: Then it’s all about you.

Freddie: Not about me. Of me, maybe. But not about. (sitting up and leaning up on her elbows) You know, no matter how depressed I get…

(Freddie’s voice is muffled as the Surgeon dabs at her mouth with the wet cloth, but she continues talking)

or how alone I feel, it’s the one thing I have (Freddie grabs his wrist and pulls his hand away from her face) The only thing I’ll ever have…that’s mine!

Surgeon: (softening) Look, Freddie. No one’s going to think any less of you if you don’t become a writer.

Freddie: (grabs the rope and twists it around her wrists and forearms) Oh, no. You’re not taking that away from me. You want to examine my stories, change my intent, substitute your own experience, misunderstand my meaning. You can do that. You do that. But I’ll be damned if you think you can change me!

Freddie shoves against the Surgeon with both hands which propels the bed offstage. Spotlight on Surgeon goes out. Red spotlight flashes on Construction Ahead sign for a few moments and then stage is black.


Scene 3: Girl with Death Mask I

Cast: Child, Man and Freddie.

A young female child runs or skips onto the stage barefoot and wearing a death mask (i.e., a bleached white skeletal face mask). She may be humming or singing. The stage floor is sand-colored or dirt brown. In her hands, the child clasps a sunflower. She stops short when she notices the audience, and drops her flower. From offstage an enormous rumbling is heard. An immense steamroller barrels across the stage, crushes her flower, and exits stage opposite. Her shoulders tremble as she looks at the flattened flower. Man enters the stage wearing a baseball cap, flannel shirt and jeans. He carries a Stanley thermos: a truck driver. Unaware of the Man, the child goes over to her flattened flower and attempts to pick it up. Parts of the flower still stick to the ground and she is pulling them up in strips. Tracks from Hendrix’s "Are You Experienced?" play throughout this scene at random, just below the dialogue.


Leave that alone.


(Quickly swings just her head to look up at him. His shadow falls over the crushed flower. She glances back at her hands and the remains of the flower ) But I—


(cutting her off) It’s dead.


But I could glue it back together.


(Gently) But it still would be dead. It was dead, so to speak, the moment you ripped it from its roots.


(she thinks about what he has said, while examining the pieces in her hand) I can fix it. It’s just broken, that’s all. See—it’s still green. I just got to pick up all the petals now.


(He kneels next to her, unfolds her hands, and places the bits of stem and leaves back onto the ground) Honey, it’s dead. Gone. I’m sorry, but you’ve got to concentrate on the living. Maybe we could find you another one.


(no longer looking at the ground) Do you want to play, Mister….


Name’s Joe. (brushes off his knees as he stands up)


(examining him from head to toe) Uhm. So, do you want to play, Joe? I don’t have no one to play with. There was some creepy monster here a minute ago, but he left. (points stage left) Went that way. And I don’t know what he was doing here (hands on hips), but I’m sure glad he’s gone.


So am I. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.


(not really listening to the man) I don’t know why he came here. Didn’t talk at all. Maybe she made him come here.


She? You mean, Ms. Kahlo.


Is that her name? I don’t know. I never got a good look at her. She just made me stand here. Told me to smile and stand here. Though I don’t know how she knows I’m smiling (gestures to her mask). Glad that creepy thing is gone.


I’ll bet. It doesn’t seem like he’d be the type you’d want to play with.


No way. So, what can we play? Hopscotch?


Do you have something to toss?


(scans the ground) No. (folds her arms behind her back, hands locked together) How ‘bout blind man’s bluff?


I suppose that might work. Now, would I wear the blindfold? (she nods) You know, I’m bigger than you and that gives me the advantage.


Ed-van-tij…what’s Edvantij?


It means I’ll win.


Well, I don’t want to play if you’re going to win.


Okay. We don’t have to play that.


I wish I would have brung my dolly. She’s pretty. She’s this big (swings her arms wide apart). An’ she’s got a bran’ new dress. And she goes to fancy balls with me.


(pinches either side of his flannel shirt and curtsies) Well, I didn’t know I had the pleasure of being with such a worldly person as yourself.


Her dress is a real pretty color. Just like mine. Well…almost. ‘Cept not so dark. And I feed her and dress her and she loves me.


(Man looks around at the mountains behind him and up toward the lights. He squints, pulls the cap from his head, and swipes his forearm across his forehead. He unscrews the thermos cap, pours liquid into the cap-cup and swigs)


(tugs at his shirt front) Mister. Mister.


Hey, watch it. You’re going to make me spill this.


Are you even listening to me?


Shhh. I thought I heard something.


What’re you drinking? Can I have some?


No, sorry, it’s not really for kids.


Do you want to play jacks? Marbles? Oh, sorry, I forgot. I don’t have any. (ringing her hands) Do you?


(Pats his jean pockets) Nope. Sorry.


Oh, I’ve got a good one. How ‘bout Mr. Clock?


Dear, dear girl. We can’t play that here. Not in this place.


(kicks at his feet and calves) Come on, Joe. Don’t you have any ideas?


(Sidestepping her) Now don’t throw a temper tantrum. I’m not going to play, if you’re going to be mean.


Okay. Sorry.

Freddie (VO):

(screaming) Would you both just shut up! All this back and forth. How am I supposed to get anything done around here? You’re giving me a headache.


(nudges the Child’s arm) See, I told you I heard something.


Yeah. (laughing nervously) That was loud.

Freddie (VO):

I’m warning you!


She’s not very happy with us.


Nuh-uh. She’s too serious.


(to himself) Or maybe just too confused.


She doesn’t want us to have any fun.


We could be just a little more quiet.


(softer) Okay. (looking around and up toward the sky/ceiling) There’s always hide-and-seek. (clapping her hands, her volume rising) Yes, let’s play. That's not loud. Let’s play hide and seek!


Uh-oh. I don’t think we’ll be able—

Freddie (VO):

Why don’t you just play hide and seek? Can’t you see she wants to play.


(whispers) Yeah. Let’s play hide and seek.


But we really don’t have anywhere to hide.


Always the voice of reason. Mr. Practicality. Always a definite beginning, a fixed endpoint…


(talking over Freddie) As far as I can see—hearing is another thing altogether, you understand—but, as far as I can see, it’s just you and me. (Man crouches down to the girl’s height, resting his elbows on his knees.) Just you and me. (Man reaches out his hand to stroke the side of the young girl’s face – i.e., the death mask.)


(she pulls away) Crack the whip? Can you play that?


It is not a question of ability, but one of desire.


Okay, stop it, mister! Jus’stop it. (angrily pulling at her dress) You use too many big words. An’ this isn’t no fun. No fun at all.


I’m sorry.


You said you would play.


You misunderstood.




You misunderstand.


Can’t you play with me? Please?


You just don’t know, do you?


I know you won’t play.


And you won't listen.


(she looks around) So. How come? How come you won’t play with me?


You know what? I’ve played an awful lot.


Yeah, you're pretty old.


You’re too young.


And you’re old.


(laughs) Really?


Yeah. You’re afraid, and that’s why you won’t play with me. An’ you know what? You know what? (stomping her feet with each syllable) I don’t feel like playin’ no more. Not with you. You’re no fun. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Nope. Uh-uh. No more. (She rips off her death mask, reaches over and whips the cap out of his hand. She puts it on her head, all the while giggling and skips in a serpentine fashion offstage as he calls out after her)


Hey, come on. Where are you going? Give me back my hat. (repeat and fade)

Child (OS):

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Nope. Uh-uh. No more. (repeat and fade)

Scene 4: Innocence Wins


Cast: The Child and Freddie

Same backdrop as Scene 3 except the bed from Scene 1 is center stage. The Man has left, but might possibly yell from offstage about his hat. The little girl leads Freddie around the stage, as if she had ordered Freddie with, "Walk this way." They giggle at each other, while they march and skip around the bed, and move in snake-like paths about the stage. Sometimes they pretend they’re airplanes with their arms spread like a condor’s wingspan. At other times, the child climbs over the bed (and all the miscellaneous objects lying on top of it) with Freddie following always closely behind.


Scene 5: My Birth

Cast: Freddie and the Surgeon.

A hospital bed lies center stage and as the scene progresses it slowly rotates as if on a mechanized lazy-susan. It might be the same bed from Scene 3. Freddie lies in the bed with her knees bent and her heels firmly stuck in stirrups. She wears a hospital gown and another sheet is draped across her mid-section which protrudes up from her torso, the bed and her thighs, even though her knees are bent and her feet flat on the bed. The Surgeon sits on a swivel foot-stool at the foot of the bed and between her open legs. He stares straight ahead. A tray table holding instruments stands to the right of the Surgeon. The bedsheets are stained with blood. But rather than splotches or large spots of blood soaking into the sheets, the blood lies sprayed across the sheets, as if it had shot out from open wounds in the wrists by panicked and flailing arms. Freddie is expelling large bursts of air from her lungs in groups of two. The sound of a metronome ticks out the time and an oversized metronome may even appear onstage.


Surgeon: Dammit! You’re not breathing properly.

Freddie: And I suppose you would know.

Surgeon: It’s heech, heech, heech and hoowh, hoowh, hoowh. Not huh, huh, huh.

Freddie: This isn't easy. Have you ever been (labored breathing) on my side of the table before?

Surgeon: Again. Try again.

Freddie: (laughing breathily) That sounds silly. (inhaling deeply) It reminds me of—

Surgeon: Just do as you’re told. Breathe! Don’t hold it in. Just breathe.

Freddie begins to mimic the Surgeon’s breathing technique, but has difficulty keeping up the tempo and trios of breaths. As the scene progresses, Freddie will gradually pick up the rhythm and will continue to parrot the breathing pattern, especially during the Surgeon’s more lengthy dialogue sections.

Surgeon: (He lifts his head up and gazes at Freddie for the first time) God! Would you look at what you’ve done? (She feebly attempts to look above and beyond her stomach, while still trying to breath.) You’ve gotten blood all over everything. Didn’t your mother ever teach you anything? Like how not to bleed? I wish you'd just listen to me. Take my advice.

Freddie: How much (heech, heech, heech) is it (hoowh, hoowh, hoowh) worth?

Surgeon: You’ll learn, once you receive the bill. You pay through the nose, and by the nose, but most often between the legs. At least one time.

Freddie: Look — I remember, you told me…(heech, heech, heech)…"Stay away from people or situations which stress you out." Shouting orders, (hoowh, hoowh, hoowh) correcting me all the time, and your little sermons—none of that makes much sense, or makes this any easier. (Freddie resumes breathing pattern.)

Surgeon: How dare you speak to me like that!

Freddie: Well, aren't you supposed to have the ability, the know-how to fix me?

(The Surgeon reaches over to the tray and picks up a cleaver.)

Freddie: Hey, that isn’t a scalpel!

Surgeon: But I am the doctor...

Freddie: What the hell do you think you’re doing?

Surgeon: ...and this...

Freddie: Put that thing down. For chrissakes!

Surgeon: (turning the cleaver in the light) is stainless steel.

(She attempts to press her knees together. He drops the knife back on the tray and with his left hand grabs her left leg just below the knee. With his right he feels on the tray, picks up a vice-like object and straps it to her left leg. He quickly straps the other end of the vice to her right leg. As he turns the screw mechanism, Freddie’s legs are forced apart.)

Surgeon: You should be equipped for anything. Preparation is the key.

Freddie: Please. I don’t think I can…I don’t want…I can’t do this anymore.

(He picks up the cleaver again.)

Surgeon: Just one minor incision, one little splice and everything will be smooth sailing. (He reaches down between her legs, beneath the canopy of the sheet.)

Freddie: Incision? What the hell are you cutting? We never went over this!

Surgeon: I’m making it easier.

Freddie: But it’s not easy.

Surgeon: I know. That’s why you need me.

Freddie: To have control.

Surgeon: To share control. Help you breathe. Lead you through. Let you know when it’s time.

Freddie: There isn’t time. There isn’t enough— (her sentence is cut off by her own scream)

Surgeon: There. (He places the knife back on the tray.) That wasn’t so bad. You didn’t even feel it, did you?

(Again, his hands and arms disappear beneath the canopy. Freddie is moaning much like an animal caught in a trap in winter.)

Surgeon: I can feel—the—yes, that’s the spine. It’s smooth. Not knotty.

Freddie: Spine? Who cares about the spine? Can you see it?

Surgeon: Just shut your trap. All your questions and godforsaken wailing doesn't help. It won’t erase the feeling. The pain. The joy. Trust me. I know what I’m doing.

Freddie: Okay, but…

Surgeon: You just need to listen to me, allright? Now what I need you to do is push. Okay? Really push. Come on. Push!

Freddie: No. I can’t. Please. It hurts.

Surgeon: You’re doing fine. We’re almost done here. Just a little more now. Come on, let it go.

Freddie: (Her rhythmic breathing gives way to tortured screams and moans. She tries to reach over her distended stomach with her hands.) No, no, I can’t. I told you, it hurts. Please. Put it back. Push it back in. I’m not ready. Please put it back. It’s not ready! (a lengthy wail extends from her last syllable)

Surgeon: (He brings his hands out from under the canopy and flips the sheet over her knees. He holds a book, each hand closed around a bottom corner. He triumphantly lifts the book up over her knees, his arms straight out. The cover of the book faces Freddie.) Well. We made it. Finally. Whooh. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

(She pulls the sheet across her legs and down over her calves. In a last surge of strength, Freddie sits up rips the book out of his hands and swats his hands away) Don’t you touch it! Doctor or not. Don’t you dare touch it. It’s mine.


Scene 6: Fruit of Life

Cast: Freddie, the Dove, the Voice and Passion Fruit

The stage is lit in yellow light. Freddie stands a few feet in front of an orange-red mango, a sliced-open fleshy watermelon, a papaya, and a bunch of bananas. Her back is to the audience. She has her head tilted to one side, resting on her right hand which rests on her left arm, bent at the elbow. She shakes her head and walks up to the fruit. Freddie guides each piece of fruit with her hands, carefully placing the mango next to the melon, the bananas to the left of them, etc. She then steps back to examine the affect. A dove flies down, on cables preferably, and lands between Freddie and the fruit. Freddie waves her arms at the dove.

Freddie: Shoo, shoo. Come on. Get out of here.

Dove: I belong here.

Freddie: No you don’t.

Dove: You’ve been waiting for me.

Freddie: What?

Dove: I have arrived.

Freddie: And you can just as quickly leave.

Dove: I have come.

Freddie: And now you can go. Get it. I don’t need you here.

Dove: I have come to tell you that you have arrived.

Freddie: What? I don’t need you here to mess things up.

Dove: That isn’t why I’m here.

Freddie: (waving her hand at the fruit) It’s not how I want it. And you’re distracting me. Shoo, shoo. Go on, fly away. (examines arrangement again) Something’s not right. It isn’t what I pictured...

Dove: It usually never is.

Freddie: (frustrated) But I don’t think I have it just right.

Dove: Just let it be. You have to give up control sometime.

Freddie: But it’s not quite right. It’s not (pauses while shuffling her feet) perfect.

Dove: It never will be. Once you put it into words, somehow that changes it. It can never really be what was in your head, can never really be exact.

Freddie: (defiantly) I want it to be.

(Freddie rearranges the fruit again, but roughly this time and around the Dove. After she finishes and steps back, she stops. As she examines what she’s done, the fruits begin to switch places. One may even begin wandering away from the group or even offstage.)

Freddie: Stop! Just stop it. Get over here!

(She grabs at the fruit and shoves them back into place, but as soon as she takes her hands off the mango to move the papaya, the mango steps out of place.)

Freddie: This isn’t right.

Dove and

Voice: Freddie, let it be. Language is not a perfect medium.

Freddie: This isn’t how it’s supposed to be! (She stomps her feet) Why can’t I get this to work?

Dove and

Voice: Because it’s finished.

Freddie: I am not finished!

Dove and

Voice: Freddie, you’re not listening. It’s never good enough, is it Freddie?

Freddie: (tiring) But I want it to be.

Dove and

Voice: Just let it be.

(Freddie watches the fruit wander about the stage, and finally sits down, cross-legged, her head resting in her hands.)


(softly) But I want it to be.

Dove and Voice:

(soothingly) That’s right, Freddie. That’s right.

  I want it to be.  

Let it be.
Let it become.

Freddie: I think… (covers mouth with one hand briefly) Oh, no. God, not again. (hands to her stomach) I think I’m going to be sick.

(Lights out)




i. Playing

Tomas sits at a piano. A doorway stands in the middle of the stage. The stage may or may not house two separate rooms. Jules is on the other side of the doorway. She might be washing the dishes, scrubbing the floor, folding clothes and putting them away, or primping in front of a mirror. What she is doing is not extremely important, just that her hands are occupied in some task.



(calling to her)

Here's a little song I wrote

(plays a couple of running notes on the keys)

after you left for work one day. Jules!


I can't hear you!

(begins to play, then stops abruptly)

Jules, I wrote a song. Listen.


I'll be done in a second.

(resumes playing, hits a wrong note, stops playing and then mutters to himself)

Aw. Hold on a second.

(resumes playing again and calls to her)

I can't remember how it goes.


Oh, that's convenient. (Jules steps through the doorway, stops, leans her back against the doorjamb, and smiles over at Tomas.)

(At first, his playing is faulty and hesitant, but gradually becomes more confident)

(talking to himself) Okay, yes, that's it.

(then louder) Come over here.


I can hear fine.

(patting the bench with his right hand, while still playing with his left) Come here and sit down.



(sits down on the bench next to him with an exaggerated exhalation)

Happy now?



(Each note played should correspond to each syllable of the following words)

A little song I composed,

while you

were not here.

(she looks away from his face and down at his hands on the keys)

(Tomas plays a couple of measures. The music might take on a classical feel--but, whatever the music is, it should begin to sound vaguely familiar)


(her head slowly turns to look at him as he plays, as if she recognizes the song)

(Suddenly he stops playing after a bang on ten keys. He turns to her, smiling)

Shoot. I didn't write that.


Lights out.



ii. In the Interim

A sparse representation of a living room. The summer sunlight spills in through the windows. Tomas leads Jules into the room. Although he is fully clothed, his hair is soaking wet. A stereo plays loudly.



Just give me a minute!

(Much louder and more punctuated than normal) No problem. The movie doesn't start until eight-twenty.

He picks up a towel that had been flung across the back of his couch and scrubs his head with it. He walks through a doorway and offstage. The sound of a blow dryer for a few minutes.






Tomas returns. He turns the stereo back up, though not quite as loud as before. He searches the table tops for his keys, wallet and cigarettes, and shoves them into his shirt and pants' pockets.

Jules sets her purse on the floor. Lights up a cigarette and plops down on the couch. She picks up a cd case which lies on the couch next to her and studies it a few moments. Then she stands up and walks across the length of the room toward the stereo. She peers at the front of the stereo and presses one of its buttons until there is only background music. She makes her way back to the couch and sits down.


She leans over, grabs her purse, opens it and pulls out a book and lays it on the endtable next to the couch.


I finished it.

Tomas glances over at Jules.


(pointing to the endtable) The book.

Oh, right. So, what'd you think?


I really liked it. It's a good story. I like how you don't know whether Connie's insane or if she really can make contact with the future.

(angrily) A good story?


Yes, a good story. Isn't that why you wanted me to read it?

It's the future.


It's a story. A future possibility, (pause) maybe.

It's prophetic. And I can't wait for it to happen. I'll let you in on a little secret. (quietly) I've never told anyone.

I've talked to her.


Jules looks over at him with a face that asks, "Who?"

Connie. this room.


Please, Tomas. It's a book.

(matter-of-factly) I wasn't hallucinating. (He walks over to the window and pulls the drapes aside.)


Come here.


(Smashing out her cigarette in an ashtray on the endtable.) What?! (She makes her way to the window, somewhat reluctantly.)

He puts his arm around her shoulder.


Look out there. Don't you see?


No, I'm blind.

Positioning her in front of him.


See how the grass grows out of the cracks. In the sidewalk, the street.



Most people believe in the permanency of concrete. They can't see how fallible it is. Oh, they feel...they know they need it. To drive their SUV's to their boring jobs. They cover everything with it. This man-made atrocity. Spouting off about the necessities of life. I hate this city. Civilization they call it. (laughing) Civilatio. Civis. Home. Civil, my ass. (leaning over and talking into her ear) They don't realize how fallible they are.


See how the grass and the weeds are running it over. They're taking over. (short pause, then triumphantly) The shaggy mushroom can grow right through concrete. Yes. And it does. One day...nature's going to win. Take a good look. In the end, this will all be gone. And the dirt and grass shall remain. Can you imagine what that'll be like? How beautiful? And I'll be here. A witness and an accessory. I'll be there. I've been called (pause) to help it along.



I've made plans.


What plans? What are you going to do? Go out there with your jackhammer and start breaking it up? They'll just lock you up and put down more.

Maybe. But it won't be long before I'm out again. (looks away from the window for a moment) It's not like that hasn't happened before.



Institutionalization. Brain-washing. The usual. You've got to control those people on the periphery. Rehabilitation. That's what they think, anyway. They tried. You have to give them that. (laughing) Guess they didn't do a very good job. I'm still on the outside. (in a more serious tone) What happened to Connie isn't going to happen to me.


Rubs her shoulders, then taps them quickly a couple of times.


Come on. We don't want to be late.


They both turn from the window and walk across the room toward the door.


Tomas grabs her free hand in his as they exit the stage.

Jules stoops to pick up her purse.


Yeah. I'd sure hate to miss the previews.

iii. Another Scene

Tomas' living room. Low lighting--to give the appearance that only the lamps are lit. Tomas paces in front of Jules as she sits cross-legged on the couch.



You know why I won't get help. D'ya know why? Because of that child in the picture.


What?! (her eyebrows draw together)

You know. The boy. So cute. Pretty eyes.


And they killed him.

Can you believe this?

They just kill him.

He was only twelve years old,

and they shot him.

Who's the little boy?

Is that boy You?

What the hell are you going on about?

Stop pacing, would you? Come here.

Sit down.


Who is they?

You know.

And the little boy...





(shaking her head)

I don't have any idea


you're talking about!


(quieter) Sit down. Please.

Is he someone you knew?

The boy... (nodding her head at him)

And they killed

all those children.

With "Gott mit Uns"

stamped on their belt buckles!

Fuckers. Gott mit uns.

(laughter) Right.

Someone on t.v.?

Where'd you see his picture?


How the hell did we get to World War II?

I haven't the faintest idea--

And they kill

100 million cows a year...its sickening

(he sits next to her on the couch)



Like they slaughtered the buffalo, so hundreds, no, thousands of Native Americans would die...did you know that?

OK. All right. (pats his arm)

Just stop yelling, would you?
That's enough!
No. I'm just a stupid American.

For no reason.



Because they were free.
They hate things that are free.


Enough. You're giving me a headache.

You don't want to talk about it.

We're not talking. You've been talking.

(her voice rises in volume)

And I'm getting a migraine!

You don't want to talk. You don't want to think.

(mumbles) Just shut up.

You don't think. You go on, day by day,


eating your hamburgers, killing the cows... (laughter) Right. Fuck them. Killing the rainforest, so you can have your damn McDonald's or your KFC's. Fucking

Shut up!

Do you want the neighbors to hear?

Americans. Never get enough. Greedy--

(Jules finally shoves her entire hand over Tomas' mouth. He continues to mumble beneath her fingers as the lights go down, then out.)



BIO: Jennifer Ginzinger lives in Hamtramck, Michigan, a 1.9 square mile city with (at last count) 38 different ethnicities residing within its boundaries. She received her Master's in English Literature from Wayne State University (Detroit) in May of 2000.  Currently, she is collaborating on a screenplay with a fellow writer.

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