by: Eric Kaiser

Copyright © 2002 Eric Kaiser

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Sustained is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

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[Man and Woman are asleep on top of a large table. Man faces downstage. Woman is behind him. They do not hold each other. Man slowly wakes up. He has had many rough nights. He sits up, rubs his head a moment. A moment later, Woman wakes up. She does the same. They both stare downstage. Man notices her.]

MAN: Good Morning. [He yawns. He focuses his eyes on woman.] Who are you?

WOMAN: I don’t know. I have a stomach ache. Who are you?

MAN: I don’t know. I have a headache.

[They both laugh, for a longer time than normal.]

WOMAN: I’m serious. Who are we?

MAN: I don’t know. [They laugh again. Long pause.] Heeeeeeey, heeeey, I know how I know us… [Pause--as if remembering a long hidden secret, but still wary because he isn’t sure if he is correct.] The Roaches?

WOMAN: Oh my God the roach across my chest.

MAN: My forehead.

WOMAN: Yes, a roach ran across our bodies, while we were…

MAN: Sleeping

WOMAN: Three feet on each side of its body making a total of six feet with tiny barbs. Running across seventeen roach lengths of my chest, let’s say three touches per foot, per roach length that’s three touches by six barbed feet, for seventeen roach lengths that’s 306 precision barbed roach pricks on my body, I awoke about ¾ of a second before you, it was a fast roach. Your forehead

MAN: 162 barbed pricks.

WOMAN: 464 pricks that roach caused and each prick caused a tiny sensation on our skin awaiting a bloom of horror in our minds. I woke up far too often through the night remembering those pricks and feeling the dirt and disease soak its way in my skin. Yes, I remember that.

MAN: Me too.

WOMAN: So, if we both felt it--would you like a pain killer--we must have slept together last night.

MAN: You’re right. And no pills, I’ll have a Popov vodka and Grape Kool Aid in a large opaque red plastic cup.

WOMAN: [She grabs a pill from her pocket and pops it.] POP!

[Then in one fluid motion she pulls from under the table a jug of Kool-aid, a one liter plastic bottle of Popov vodka, and a large red opaque plastic cup. She pours the drink.]

WOMAN: [She says with a disgusted face.] Bo Mice?

MAN: Bo Mice?

WOMAN: Bo Mice?

[She fans her hand in front of his face.]

[She grabs the drink she just made and takes a large drink.]

[She takes a moment, calms herself, then:.]

WOMAN: Excuse me. I forgot to wash down the pill and it disintegrated in my mouth, and since I wasted that pill. [She pops another.] Pop! So what I was saying was. [She looks at the drink. Thinks a moment.] No ice?

MAN: No.

WOMAN: Here you go.

MAN: Thank you. [He drinks.] You were making a point.

WOMAN: Yes, the point being that I slept with you last night.

MAN: Of course. We slept together last night. [In a very suave voice, but still mocking pride of his prowess.] Pleased to meet you.

WOMAN: Stop it.

MAN: Sorry.

WOMAN: So we must have met last night.

MAN: We must have. Refill please. [She pours him another drink.] Thanks, gotta get that first one in quick

WOMAN: Yeah. That reminds me. [She pops a pill.] Pop!

MAN: So we met last night. I remember this table actually. Dinner?

WOMAN: Please. [He walks off-stage.] I remember this table too.

[She pours a new drink.]

MAN: [He comes back in with dinner.] Rice a Roni brand Paella. I added my own Rosemary.

WOMAN: Mmmh.

MAN: No better compliment than an “Mmmm” from the woman I slept with.

[He places the food. She pops a pill.]


[They start to eat.]

MAN: So we ate at this table last night.

WOMAN: Yes, we did we ate at this table last night, then we went to bed and a roach walked across us.

MAN: Food good?

WOMAN: Shrimps a bit rubbery.

MAN: Damm those little bastards.

WOMAN: It’s still good.

MAN: Thanks.

WOMAN: Yep. You said you put rosemary on this?

MAN: A dash.

WOMAN: Good.

MAN: Thank you. You know what, I’m thinking that we’ve had dinner at this table before.

WOMAN: Yeah?

MAN: Yeah. Last night you made cabbage rolls and boiled potatoes.

WOMAN: I did didn’t I?

MAN: You did.


MAN: Yeah, huh.

WOMAN: So--do you feel it?

MAN: A little. I need one more good one.

WOMAN: I don’t feel it at all.

[She Pops.]

[She makes him a drink.]

MAN: Where’s your ‘Pop?’

WOMAN: Oh yeah. [Pause. Very un-enthusiastic.] pop.

MAN: So we ate here, tonight, with rubbery shrimp and rosemary rice a roni paella. And we ate here last night.

WOMAN: Wait, wait, ‘rubbery shrimp,’ ‘rubbery shrimp We have had other rubbery meals at this table. We’ve had lots of other meals at this table.

MAN: I think you’re right.

WOMAN: I remember briscuit 84 times.
5 times too tough, see, tough.
And it just kills me.
I remember Goulash.
23 times
Thank you.
You made the Hungarian Goulash.
I made the English Goulash.
Always too much Cilantro.
I Loooove the rosemary.
Pepper steak I made 35 times
You never enjoyed real rice until
I cheated you with Uncle Ben’s
See I gave you some perspective.
I remember Glazed ham 19 times
Steak, good ole steak 39 times
Pancakes for dinner 9 times
I hate omelets.
Touché Touché
Chef Salad 14 times.
Cabbage rolls 87 times
I can remember 536 meals at this table.
That’s all I can remember back.
[She looks to the floor.]
Oh. I remember what I forgot.
MAN: Yes!
Briscuit, briscuit with “BullsEye” BBQ sauce. 79 times perfect.
5 times too tough, not enough
BullsEye. Too much broiling.
Goulash, Goulash, Oh My Gosh
23 times absolutely magnifique.
Thank me. I made it.
The English have a goulash?
When did they get a goulash?
I made Chile Rellano, 40 times.
You said you love the cilantro.
See I can’t trust you on the rosemary.
Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies,Lies
Pepper Steak, yes.
10 times you got cheap and made it with
Uncle Ben’s Instant rice, and it ruined it,
absolutely ruined it.
Pot roast, with gravy 12 times
Omelets twice
Once because I didn’t know you hated
them. Once, as revenge, because you
served me Uncle Ben’s instant the day
My famous Pork fried rice, WITH REAL RICE, 8 times.
Rice a roni and a rosemary chicken breast
85 times.
I can remember more, I remember 536 meals. And I remember about another 112 meals with Top Ramen filled with various ingredients, such as corn and cheese, and I can only account for 648 meals.

MAN: [He looks to the floor.] Oh. [Long pause.]

[She silently pops a pill, then she starts to refill his drink.]

MAN: No kool-aid.

[She pours in vodka.]

MAN: Thanks. [He drinks it all down.] I remember.

Yeah. This feeling, this feeling I’m feeling right now, this is the feeling I was afraid I would feel, when I first felt what I felt. Back then.

MAN: Yeah.

WOMAN: So, how much rosemary, did you put on this?

MAN: There were a few flakes on the kitchen counter, I just swept on top of the chicken before I baked it.

WOMAN: You should clean that kitchen counter.

MAN: Yeah.

WOMAN: That’s what attracts all the roaches.

MAN: Yeah. But the paella is good?

WOMAN: Shrimps a bit rubbery. The rosemary though-- [She smiles.] The disgusting rosemary, that the roaches have been feeding on, and supporting an entire hidden population on. The rosemary, you swept from the filthy counter onto the paella, actually made it pretty good.

MAN: Always prepared to please. So, what should we do now?

WOMAN: Go to bed I guess.

MAN: Yeah.

WOMAN: You feel your drinks?

MAN: Yeah, you feel yours.

WOMAN: [She takes one more pill.] Yeah. I had this dream last night.

MAN: Yeah? Can I have a drink?

WOMAN: Yeah. [She makes him one.] I had this dream I was at a Nazi Death camp, but it was a water park. With only the Jews sliding down hundreds of intertwined tubes. All the Nazis were watching from the ground. I walked and stood next to the Nazis and saw that all the rides ended in a violent death. Sometimes two different slides would end out of no where, and two Jews would fly out of the water tube slamming into each other and crushing their bones, limply falling to the ground already riddled with other limp bodies. Sometimes someone would fly out of the slide into a pool of razors and rusty spikes. Some would end in a great explosion, with flaming limbs landing all around the Nazis. In the movies the Nazi’s always laugh, and are cocky and are mean. But the Nazi’s were in as much pain as the Jews on the slides. They knew what they had caused, and they were ashamed. They knew their shame was a life long sentence. And the rides went on like that all day and all night. At night only the explosions of their bodies would for a milli-second light up all the horror sliding down the slides.


[She finishes his drink.]

[She takes the cup, pours a little vodka, in the cup. And drinks it.]

MAN: I had a dream last night also. It was nice. First nice dream in a long time. I loved it. I love you. I really do. And tonight, maybe we can share that nice dream. If that nice dream finds me again, I could hold you with everything I’m made of, and we could share that nice dream. [Pause.] We should go to bed huh?

WOMAN: I’m a bit scared of the roaches.

MAN: Then I’ll sleep on the side of the bed you slept on last night. That’s the direction they usually come from. And when it wakes me up. I’ll use that ¾ of a second before the roach hits you to catch it, and make sure it doesn’t touch you.

WOMAN: Thank you.

MAN: It’ll be fine this way.

WOMAN: Do you need another one?

MAN: I’m fine. You?

WOMAN: No. I’m going to have a stomach ache tomorrow

MAN: I’m gonna have a headache.

WOMAN: I’ll see you tomorrow then?

MAN: No. I’ll see you inside of that nice dream.

[They fall back lay back on the table This time Woman faces downstage, and Man goes behind her, he puts his arm around her.]

[Lights fade to black.]


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