A (Pinter-esque) Domestic Drama in Two Scenes

Today hubby was invited to a barbecue.

Where, self asked. Whereupon, the following conversation ensued:

SCENE I

Imagine: a living room. TV is going. Furniture rather indistinct because of wafting cigarette smoke.

Imagine: two characters, a husband and wife, both in middle age. Wife is very fetching. Reminds audience of older version of Vanessa Minillo. Husband has a paunch, is balding.

Hubby (in answer to self’s question): In Fremont.

Self: Who invited you?

Hubby: Just someone I know.

Self: Know from where?

Hubby: From my old company.

Self (incredulous): Your old company? Someone from there invited you? (Pause) Well, at least they still like you.

Hubby: (mumble mumble)

Self: What if your old boss shows up?

Hubby: He isn’t invited. Besides, he got fired.

Self (astonished): DON got fired?

Hubby (with relish): Yup.

Self: Well, maybe you didn’t have to quit after all.

(Silence)

Scene II

Self walks in the door with bag of books from the Sonoma Book Festival. All the blinds are drawn, all the windows are shut. Self sniffs the air, wrinkles her nose. After a few moments, audience should be able to make out Husband, supine on couch. A football game is on 50-inch flat screen HDTV.

Self: Hello! I got you some lumpia shanghai from Cotati!

Hubby: Notre Dame lost!

Self: Oh, is that bad?

Hubby (laughing maniacally): Yes! Ha ha ha ha ha (pause for breath) Ha ha ha ha ha ha! (He returns to watching the TV. There are a few moments of silence when suddenly) AAAARRRGGGGH!!!

Self (startled out of her wits, was just about to type on her computer, but stops dead in her tracks): What is it? What happened?

Hubby: There’s something wrong with my TIVO!!!!

(More swearing. This goes on for approximately 45 minutes)

Self: Don’t you have a barbecue to go to?

Hubby: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DAMN BOX?

Self: Why don’t you try unplugging it, waiting 30 seconds, then turning it back on?

(Hubby unplugs TV, waits 30 seconds and turns it back on)

Hubby: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DAMN THING?

Self: It didn’t work?

Hubby: No, it didn’t work.

Self: Why don’t you try changing the remote batteries?

Hubby: Go get me two batteries.

(Self retrieves the two batteries from hall closet, hands them to hubby, waits)

Hubby: AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

Self: It didn’t work? Don’t you have a barbecue to go to?

Hubby: I have to FIX THIS THING!

Self: Why don’t you try calling the cable company?

Hubby: Give me the number.

Self: I don’t have the number. It’s on the bill. YOU have the bills.

Hubby: I can’t — AAAARRRRGH!!

(Self tries looking up number in phone book)

Self: That’s funny, Comcast isn’t listed in the business section! Maybe I’ll try the yellow pages.

(After five minutes)

Hubby: (Into the phone) Hello, Could I speak to a technician?

Self: You found the number? Where?

(Pause. Self listens to phone conversation. Then, silence)

Self: What happened?

Hubby: It works now.

Self: What did you do?

Hubby: I turned it off.

Self: What? The TV? Didn’t I tell you to do that earlier?

Hubby: Well, it didn’t work when I did it earlier, but now it does.

Self: Oh. How long will you be out?

Hubby: An hour.

Self: AN HOUR??? You mean, you’re still having dinner here, at home?

Hubby: Yeah.

Self (thinking to herself): What is the use of going to a barbecue if you’re still going to have dinner when you get home? Isn’t that stupid? Maybe I’ll just go ahead and eat all this lovely lumpia while hubby is out. Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do.

EXEUNT to music: “Born to be Wild”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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