CAT: My husband? What's that mean?

ZACH: Well, I'm not sure of the dictionary definition. But I think it could be the term for the married mate of a wife.

CAT: I thought maybe that question meant something else. Yes. No. I don't think he likes football. [A loaded pause.] Are you going to be with your family tomorrow?

ZACH: My family? No.

[Lights up on JANICE sitting in the passenger seat of a car. Janice is a natural Northwest no make-up grunge-beauty. At the moment she has a pensive look on her face. A suitcase sits behind her in the back seat.]

ZACH: Nope. I don't have any family here. Just my girlfriend. [A sign says: "Janice. Born 1969."] And I just dropped her off at the airport.

CAT: For where?

ZACH: To be with her family.

CAT: Why didn't you go with her?

ZACH: I didn't have the funds.

CAT: Oh. And you were going to pay for my smokes.

[ZACH gets up and crosses to the car.]

ZACH: Actually, that's just an excuse. I didn't really want to go.

CAT: I understand.

ZACH: You do?

CAT: Perfectly.

[They stare at each other.]

ZACH: Now wait. Her parents aren't my in-laws yet or anything so it isn't like…

CAT: Yet?

ZACH: Yea. Yet. I don't know… [HE looks to JANICE. He gets in the drivers seat of the car next to JANICE.] I don't know. Maybe not yet. Yet.

[We now hear that the car is driving on wet freeway pavement. Lights fade on CAT. JANICE and ZACH sit, staring straight ahead, frozen in thought.]

JANICE: You ever been to Ohio?

ZACH: Ohio?

JANICE: Yea. Ohio.

ZACH: I thought your parents were in Nevada.

JANICE: They are in Nevada.

ZACH: Did you confirm your flight before we left?

JANICE: Of course. I didn't expect you to do anything.

[There's a beat as they look at each other and then look away.]

ZACH: So what's in Ohio?

JANICE: Nothing. I just wanted to know a little about Ohio. [ZACH looks confused.] Ohio. Ohio! The state? In the Mid-West. Kind looks like a big shield?

ZACH: I know where it is Janice.

JANICE: Forget it.

[JANICE takes out some lipstick and begins applying.]

ZACH: All right. Fine. We'll talk about Ohio. I know a lot about Ohio.

JANICE: You ever been to Ohio?

ZACH: No. But I know some things.

JANICE: What things?

ZACH: Lots of things.

JANICE: You do?

ZACH: Sure!

JANICE: You do not.

ZACH: I know plenty!

[JANICE becomes interested. She puts away her lipstick and purse.]

JANICE: Like what?

ZACH: Cleveland. Cleveland's in Ohio.

JANICE: Cleveland? What's in Cleveland?

ZACH: The Browns. The Browns are in Cleveland. The Cleveland Browns. The Cavaliers! The Cleveland Cavaliers!

JANICE: Aren't those sports teams? What else is in Ohio?

ZACH: Well, Cincinnati. Cincinnati's in Ohio.

JANICE: Cincinnati's in Ohio?

ZACH: Where did you think it was?

JANICE: I don't know. I just never pictured it in Ohio.

ZACH: Cincinnati? The Reds! The Bengals!


ZACH: WKRP! See, there's lots of things in Ohio. Toledo! Toledo's in Ohio.

JANICE: Toledo?! What's in Toledo?

ZACH: Well... there's people in Toledo. Toledo's a big city. A whole butt-load of people in Toledo.

JANICE: I never thought about Ohio. I want to travel Zach. We should travel while were young... see places like Toledo.

[JANICE looks to ZACH for a reply but gets only a smile. She looks out the window.]

ZACH: Chicago. Chicago's in Ohio.

JANICE: Chicago's not in Ohio.

ZACH: Sure it is! Chicago! Chicago, Ohio!

JANICE: You're just pulling my leg again. Chicago is not in Ohio.

ZACH: You want to put some money on it?

JANICE: Cincinnati and Cleveland may be in Ohio, but I know for a fact that Chicago is in Indiana. [ZACH holds back a laugh. Snickers.] What?

ZACH: You're right. Chicago is not in Ohio. But it's not in Indiana either.

JANICE: I hate it when you laugh at me. Like I'm stupid.

ZACH: I don't think you're stupid.

JANICE: You do. You think I'm stupid.

ZACH: Chicago is in Illinois. Not Indiana.

JANICE: They both begin with an "I" don't they?

ZACH: That's what I'm saying!

JANICE : They have too many states out there. They should just turn them into four or five big ones like we have out here. [a pause] What's the weather like in Ohio?

ZACH: What's the sudden fascination with Ohio? What's going on?

JANICE: [taking a deep breath] I talked, yesterday, to an old professor from school. Remember Dr. Ratatich?

ZACH: Old Mrs. What-a-bitch. What she have to say?

JANICE: She says I should go back to school. [JANICE now has ZACH's complete attention.] Graduate School. She says there's a good one in Ohio.

ZACH: A Master's? In Art History? You're still paying off your first degree.

JANICE: I thought I would continue my education.

ZACH: Spend more money to look at some more paintings? Haven't you seen them all by now? What the hell are you going to do with a degree like that?

JANICE: Lots of things.

ZACH: You starve. You starve is what you do.

JANICE: Which is what I'm doing now.

ZACH: The only jobs you might be able to get with two degrees are the same that you might be able to get with one: either conducting kiddie tours in a dank museum or listening to yourself talk while showing slides to sleeping students!

JANICE: Maybe I want to do that Zach! Maybe I want to do that.

ZACH: You'll get over this. It's a phase. It happens. It's the "I don't know what I'm doing with my life, so I think I'll go back to school phase." It'll pass.

JANICE: How ‘bout the "Waiting for Zach" phase? Will that pass too?

ZACH: What?

JANICE: Here's the terminal. Drop me off at Alaska Air.

[ZACH pulls over. The car stops.]

JANICE: [plainly] I've been waiting for you Zach. And I'm getting tired. I would rather be with you than study art… I think. Wouldn't you?

[No response from ZACH. JANICE gets out of the car and grabs her bag. ZACH gets out of the car and runs around to help her.]

JANICE: I have to get out of this town Zach. I feel stagnant. And stupid. [listening to the sounds of the airport] I love this place. I want to travel around the world!

[A loaded beat]

ZACH: [in a bad Humphrey Bogart] Well we're at the airport darlin', here's your chance.

[She's not laughing. JANICE looks into his eyes.]

JANICE: If life is in Ohio. Then that's where I have to go.

ZACH: Janice...

[JANICE takes out a piece of paper and hands it to ZACH.]

JANICE: Here's my itinerary. The plane lands Sunday. If you're here then you're with me. If you're not here… then your not.

[JANICE kisses her hand and puts it to his lips. She leaves him.]

[Lights slowly rise on CAT.]

ZACH: [watching JANICE go] My mother used to have a special drawer in the kitchen where she kept all these stale bread heels. Wheat, Rye, Sourdough… if it was left over it would go in the stale bread drawer. She would save all these stale bread heels for the sole purpose of making Thanksgiving Day stuffing. She would spend the whole day before Thanksgiving grating that stale bread. Sitting in front of the TV with her hands in a big paper bag grating away. The smells that used to come from that kitchen… best stuffing I ever had.

[ZACH has returned to the bar.]

ZACH: They don't make ‘em like that anymore.

CAT: What? Stuffing or moms?

ZACH: Women.

[CAT and ZACH drink their beer.]

CAT: You know what my two favorite movies in the whole world are? You like movies?

ZACH: Love ‘em? I make ‘em.

CAT: You make movies?

ZACH: No. But I know how. I want to. Actually I make videos.

CAT: Videos?

ZACH: Music videos.

CAT: For like MTV?

ZACH: No. It's just a job right now. Someday…

CAT: [getting to the point] Zach. What do you do?

ZACH: [taking a big swig of beer] I make karaoke videos. [CAT spits out a laugh.] Those cheesy movies that play behind the lyrics on the screen? The videos that everybody in the whole bar watches so they don't have to look at the off-key Japanese karaoke singer making a fool of himself?

CAT: And they're always really bad?

ZACH: Those are the ones. I make those.

CAT: I guess someone has to make ‘em.

ZACH: You try making a good three-minute movie on a fifty-dollar budget and we'll see what you come up with.

CAT: You ever seen this movie-- made in the 70's-- "Papillon?"

ZACH: Steve McQueen. Dustin Hoffman. Great film.

CAT: "Cool Hand Luke."

ZACH: Paul Newman and…

CAT: Yea?

ZACH: George Kennedy. Brilliant film.

CAT: That's it! They're my two favorite movies. I watch them once a week when the kids are gone-- I have them on tape. I love them. Absolutely love them. [ZACH smiles wryly.] You just said they were brilliant.

ZACH: No. It's not that.

CAT: What?

ZACH: They're great movies. It's just… [CAT is confused and a bit hurt.] Those are your favorite movies?

CAT: What's so funny?

ZACH: Those aren't your typical female movies. These are violent prison dramas for Christ's sake…

CAT: I cry at the end of each of them.

ZACH: Papillon. Steve McQueen spending a life sentence in solitary confinement on the notorious Devil's Island, finally to escape as an old man on a bag of coconuts?

CAT: Prove to me you've seen "Cool Hand Luke."

ZACH: What?

CAT: Prove it to me. What's your favorite scene?

ZACH: The egg scene. Paul Newman. On a bet, he's eaten fifty hard-boiled eggs in an hour-- and he lays there on a table with this big smile on his face in this perfect crucifixion pose. It's a biblical allegory. It's… great film making. They don't make ‘em…

[CAT is staring at him.]

CAT: I'm listening.

ZACH: They don't make ‘em like that… anymore. [a beat] He was here. Your husband. [a beat] Into nature shows?


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Copyright © 2003 by Nick Zagone

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