Happy Pills

CHARACTERS, 3f

 

CELESTE, 25, writer

PSYCHIATRIST, 38

HELENE, 28, painter

 

 

 

 

SETTING

Seatle, Washington. Present Day.

 

Scene one takes place in a closet.

Scene two takes place in CELESTE and HELENE’s kitchen.

 

 

Scene One. Lights rise on psychiatrist who sits in the

                        closet taking notes. After a beat, CELESTE enters.

                        There should be clothes everywhere and anything else

                        you might find in a closet.  

 

CELESTE

Before you even ask, I took my happy pills today.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

I was going to ask how you were feeling.

 

CELESTE

I’m not supposed to be feeling anything. Isn’t that the point?

 

CELESTE sits down in the chair and takes out a

                        package of gummy bears.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

They say smokers need to do something with their hands.

 

CELESTE

Ex-smokers.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

What did you do today?

 

CELESTE

The usual. Sat on my balcony. Dreaded coming here. Then got in the car anyways.

 

Beat.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do I smell alcohol?

 

CELESTE

Ten points for Hufflepuff.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Harry Potter’s not real.

 

CELESTE

Yes. I know that.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Are you sure?

 

 

CELESTE

I’m not schizophrenic.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

How’s the medication treating you?

 

CELESTE

The way it’s supposed to.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you need a higher dosage?

 

CELESTE

No.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you want a lower one?

 

CELESTE

I want to feel something. Anything. I want to want something again.

 

Beat.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

We’ve known each other a long time.

 

CELESTE

Ten years.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Do you remember why?

 

CELESTE

My mother thought I was trying to kill myself.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste.

 

CELESTE

I don’t want to talk about it.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

We have to.

 

CELESTE

I had cut myself. A lot.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Because?

 

CELESTE

Don’t.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Because you thought you Hogwarts letter had come and you couldn’t find it.

 

CELESTE

I saw that owl.

 

PSYCHIATRIST starts scribbling some things down.

                       

 

PSYCHIATRIST

And lately, have you seen any owls?

 

CELESTE

No. I obviously haven’t.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Obviously? Why obviously?

 

CELESTE

I saw a little boy almost get hit by a car. The car slammed on its breaks and then swerved into a light pole. I stayed and called the police but—

 

PYCHIATRIST

That didn’t happen, Celeste.

 

CELESTE

Yes it did!

 

PSYCHIATRIST

When you called the police, there was no boy. No car. Just you. Crying on the sidewalk.

 

CELESTE

That’s not true.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste. You’re stronger than this. You have to—you say you want to feel something.

 

CELESTE

I do. And with these pills, I just feel—

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste. I know you stopped taking your pills months ago.

 

CELESTE

That’s not true.

 

PYCHIATRIST

Celeste. I know you.

 

CELESTE

No one knows me.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Get back on your pills, Celeste.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

No.

 

PSYCHIATRIST

Celeste.

 

CELESTE

(yelling)

I’m fine!

 

 

Blackout.

 

 

                        scene ii. HELENE is sitting at the kitchen, table,

                        crying. CELESTE enters and pours herself a cup of

                        coffee. Seeing CELESTE, HELENE wipes her tears

                        and gets up to start making breakfast.

 

HELENE

How was your morning?

 

CELESTE

Fine.

 

HELENE

Good.

 

CELESTE

What are you making?

 

HELENE

Pancakes.

 

CELESTE

Wheat, right?

 

HELENE

Yes dear.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

Are you going into the studio today?

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

Oh. But there are bags by the door.

 

HELENE

I know.

 

CELESTE

Are you going to visit your mother?

 

 

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

Are you making blueberry wheat pancakes? Like you did yesterday?

 

HELENE

We’re out of blueberries.

 

CELESTE

Oh.

 

Beat. HELENE has to fight back more tears.

 

HELENE

I have to tell you something.

 

CELESTE

Can we just pretend like you already did?

 

HELENE

No.

 

CELESTE

What painting are you working on?

 

HELENE

Celeste. Please don’t.

 

CELESTE

Don’t what?

 

HELENE

I’m leaving.

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

Do you have to?

 

HELENE

Yes. I have to.

 

CELESTE

But I love you.

 

HELENE

I know. I love you too.

 

HELENE stops cooking and wipes away her tears.

 

HELENE (cont)

You were in the closet. Again. This morning.

 

CELESTE

No. I went to the psychiatrist’s office this morning. Like you asked me to.

 

HELENE

No. Honey, you just went in the closet. You didn’t even—

 

HELENE turns back to the stove. She is trying to gather

                        herself.

 

HELENE (cont)

You didn’t even change out of your pajamas. Don’t you think it’s weird that you went to see a psychiatrist in your pjs?

 

CELESTE

No. We’re close.

 

HELENE

I can’t do this anymore, Celeste. I—just can’t. I don’t know why you stopped or what made you want—I’m leaving. And I called your mother. She should be here soon.

 

CELESTE

Why did you call her?

 

HELENE

What else was I supposed to do?

 

Beat.

 

CELESTE

You don’t know what it’s like for me.

 

HELENE

I was just about to say the same thing.

 

CELESTE

The world I live…the things I get to see. The things I get to be a part of. Why do you want to take that from me?

 

HELENE

Because it’s not real.

 

CELESTE

And why do you get to define what’s real and what isn’t?

 

HELENE

Real. As in it happened. The things you’ve supposedly seen have not happened.

 

CELESTE

That doesn’t make them not real.

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

You need to go back on your medication.

 

CELESTE

I can’t.

 

HELENE

Then I can’t stay.

 

CELESTE

I forget how to breathe on those things.

 

HELENE

Then maybe we could try a different kind.

 

CELESTE

No. I can’t go back to that world.

 

HELENE

What? The real one?

 

CELESTE

My world’s just as real as yours.

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

Please. We could find a therapist in town. Maybe someone with natural remedies so you don’t have to go back to the happy pills. We could—

 

CELESTE

Do you know why I used to call them happy pills?

 

HELENE

I—I thought it was because they made you happy.

 

CELESTE

No. They made everyone else happy. They made me feel—scattered. Like someone was trying to rearrange all these little broken pieces that used to be me. But that person wasn’t putting them back in the right place. So instead of healing and being happy, I was just a bunch of shards that don’t fit together.

 

HELENE

You should write that down.

 

CELESTE

Where? In my crazy journal?

 

Beat.

 

HELENE

What if we could find pills that made you happy?

 

CELESTE

Helene, some people are just meant to stay broken. I am meant to stay broken. I’m happier this way. I’m a writer. Hand me those pills and all of my emotions, all of my everything just goes—

 

HELENE

Do not give me that artistic crap. I’m an artist just like you. And I don’t need to see people who aren’t there to create a beautiful painting.

 

CELESTE

Well I’m happy sanity works so well for you.

 

HELENE

It works so well for everyone! One of these days, you’re going to walk into a fucking busy street thinking it’s the ocean and you know what’s going to happen. A very real, very fast car is going to hit you. And kill you. And then what? What will I have then?

 

CELESTE

Well apparently, you’ll have everything. You’re leaving.

 

HELENE

I don’t want to go.

 

CELESTE

Then don’t go.

 

HELENE

I can’t live this way.

 

CELESTE

I won’t beg you to stay.

 

The pancakes are finished. HELENE puts two in front

                        of CELESTE and takes two for herself.

 

HELENE

There’s help out there.

 

CELESTE

I told you. I’m already talking to a psychiatrist and I like the one I have.

 

HELENE

The one you have isn’t real.

 

CELESTE

I don’t care.

 

Silence as they eat their pancakes. After a beat or           

                        two, HELENE sets down her fork.

 

HELENE

When I met you, you were—brilliant. One of the best writers I had ever—met. And you were stunning. And quick on your feet. And everything I thought I wanted to be. But what is the point of being that person only one fourth of the time?

 

CELESTE

I know my demons. I know them by name. . I’m me all the time. It’s just that the version of me that you fell in love with is only around one fourth of the time.

 

Beat. HELENE kisses CELESTE on the forehead.

 

HELENE

Goodbye, Celeste.

 

HELENE leaves. END OF PLAY.

 

Mad Girl Underground

Here’s the one-act Mad Girl Underground by Rachel Washington

 

CHARACTERS 3f, 1m

 

IZZY (short for Isabel), 21, Black

 

BURKE (real name is Arlene Burke), 22, IZZY’s roommate, half Mexican, half White

 

IAN, 21, IZZY’s “friend”, White

 

GIRL, 20, White

 

 

 

 

SETTING

Time is present day. The play takes place in IZZY’s apartment.

 

 

NOTE

All of the characters are college students. They attend University of California at Santa Barbara.

 

 

scene i. BURKE is reading the school newspaper, while IZZY sets

                        out her pills. She takes Aderol, Prozac, a daily multivitamin,

                        a diet pill, iron pills, and a Calcium Pill. As IZZY separates her

                        pills out and places them on a napkin, she sings “Hit Me With

                        Your Best Shot.” She’s not a great singer. IZZY has a black eye

                        and walks with a slight limp.

 

BURKE

(still reading)

Huh.

 

IZZY keeps singing. She takes her pills and hums as

                        she drinks water to help the pills go down.

 

BURKE (cont)

Apparently there was this major guy on campus.

 

IZZY

O-kay.

 

BURKE

He was just walking around. Some guy spotted him and asked him for an impromptu interview.

 

IZZY

Well good for that guy.

 

BURKE

His name was…Aaron Kirk. Fortune 500. Self-made man. Billionaire now.

 

IZZY

Weird.

 

BURKE

Apparently there’s this big benefit dinner somewhere in town he’s going to.

 

IZZY

Again…o-kay.

 

Beat.

 

BURKE

Can you not be home next week Thursday?

 

 

 

IZZY

Sure. You have a shipment coming in?

 

BURKE

(playfully)

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

 

IZZY

Right. Look, I’m going to go for a run pretty soon. You need me to grab anything?

 

BURKE

I don’t think so.

 

IZZY

Okay cool.

 

Beat.

 

BURKE

Wanna tell me how you got that black eye?

 

IZZY

I ran into the door.

 

BURKE

And the limp?

 

IZZY

It was a big door.

 

BURKE

Right. Did you run into this door while on business or did it just run into you?

 

IZZY

Business.

 

BURKE

Okay.

 

There’s a knock on the door. IZZY and BURKE exchange

                        a quick glance. IZZY gives the Okay with her eyes. BURKE

                        goes to get the door. While she’s gone, IZZY takes a look at

                        her leg. She pulls up her pants to reveal a big scar that’s still

                        fresh. She limps towards the table and sits down.

 

 

BURKE

(to IZZY)

La conozco?

 

IZZY

Yeah. (to GIRL) Hey. What’s up?

 

GIRL

Someone told me that I could—I really need—um—shit. I’ve never done this before. I’m a friend of Maggie’s.

 

BURKE

Which Maggie?

 

GIRL

Oh sorry. Margery Hunt.

 

IZZY

(to BURKE)

Ya te lo dije. She’s cool. How many do you need?

 

GIRL

Four.

 

IZZY

They’re twenty each.

 

GIRL

Oh—okay.

 

IZZY

Xanax right?

 

GIRL

Oh! No. Aderol.

 

BURKE

We’re out.

 

IZZY

We have Ritalin though. That okay?

 

GIRL

Yeah. That’s perfect.

 

 

BURKE

Fifteen each.

 

GIRL hands the money to BURKE. IZZY gets up to get

                        the pills.

 

GIRL

Um, don’t you guys also have—um—other stuff?

 

BURKE

Like what?

 

GIRL

I—it’s um—

 

BURKE

If you can’t say it, you won’t get it.

 

GIRL

(almost a whisper)

Weed.

 

IZZY comes back.

 

IZZY

(to BURKE)

Don’t be a dick.

 

                        IZZY hands the pills to GIRL. BURKE leaves the room.

 

GIRL

My boyfriend used to do this for me.

 

IZZY

How cute.

 

GIRL

Yeah.

 

They are in silence until BURKE comes back.

                        She drops a bag of weed on the table.

 

BURKE

That’s fifty dollars worth. Do you want more or less?

 

 

GIRL

That’s good. Thanks.

 

IZZY takes the money from GIRL. GIRL gathers her

                        stuff and leaves.

 

BURKE

Maggie’s going to get us thrown in jail.

 

IZZY

Maggie’s going to make us millionaires.

 

BURKE

Still going for that run?

 

IZZY

I guess so. Hey. Do you want pizza tonight?

 

BURKE

No. I’m going vegan for a while.

 

IZZY

Gross.

 

BURKE

Go run.

 

IZZY limps out of the room.

 

                        scene ii. BURKE is cleaning up the apartment

                        in the living room. There is another knock on the door.

                        She looks under the couch and pulls out a .45 and hides

                        it in the cloth she was using to clean the house. She opens

                        the door. IAN steps forward, barely visible to the audience.

 

IAN

Hi. I’m looking for Isabel Johnson.

 

BURKE
(not letting him in)

Why?

 

IAN

I saw her this morning in the emergency room and thought I’d check in on her.

 

BURKE

You don’t look like a doctor. Or a med student.

 

IAN

Oh. Yeah. I’m majoring in Journalism and Poli-Sci. What about you?

 

BURKE

What?

 

IAN

You got to UCSB too right?

 

BURKE

Yes.

 

IAN

What are you majoring in?

 

BURKE moves away from the door and carefully

                        pushes the gun and the cleaning cloth under the couch.

                        IAN follows her in.

 

BURKE

Lit and Business.

 

IAN

Cool. And Isabel is majoring in Socio—

 

BURKE

Izzy.

 

IAN

What?

 

BURKE

She goes by Izzy.

 

IAN

Oh. Izzy. Why Izzy?

 

BURKE shrugs.

 

IAN (cont)

Well anyways. She’s Sociology and Dance right?

 

BURKE leaves the room. IAN sits uncomfortably on

                        the couch. He takes out a piece of paper and pen.

                        IZZY returns as BURKE walks back in the living

                        room with a beer. The next lines IZZY and BURKE

                        say at the same time.

 

 

        IZZY                                                                                 BURKE

This fucking guy.                                                                       (to IAN)

Do you want a beer?

 

IAN

I don’t drink. Thanks. Hi Izzy.

 

IZZY

Hi Ian.

 

BURKE

I’m going to the balcony. Can you deal with this?

 

IZZY

Yeah. Thanks.

 

BURKE leaves.

 

IAN

Did you just come back from running or something? Shouldn’t you stay off your leg?

 

IZZY

What the fuck do you want?

 

IAN

I’m honestly kind of surprised your roommate let me in. She doesn’t seem very…friendly.

 

IZZY

I’m not asking you twice.

 

IAN

Right. I wanted to check on you.

 

IZZY

Check on me?

 

IAN

Yeah. You were bruised pretty badly.

 

IZZY

I’m fine.

 

IAN

It’s funny. Because when I left the emergency room, I ran into Aaron Kirk.

 

IZZY

Oh wonderful.

 

IAN

He even gave me an interview right there on the spot.

 

IZZY

Listen kid. We’ve got at least three different guns in this house. And Burke out there is El Águila’s daughter. So I could pretty much make sure no one found you. Ever.

 

IAN

El Águila? The drug lord?

 

IZZY says nothing but simply watches IAN intensely.

 

IAN (cont)

Right. Look. I am not afraid of you. Especially not now.

 

IZZY

Really?

 

Beat.

 

 

IAN

I know Aaron Kirk raped you. I’m just—why did you deny a rape-kit?

 

IZZY

Go away.

 

IAN

I’m here to help.

 

IZZY

Sure. And then what? It’ll be in the papers a week from now? No thanks.

 

IAN

Well not the school paper.

 

IZZY

Get out.

 

IAN

Just hear me out. I’m trying to break into the—the school paper is shit and you know it. But I think the LA Times would love an article like this.

 

IZZY

Get out.

 

IAN

And…think of all the women you would be saving. I mean, how many other women do you think he’s raped? You don’t have to be afraid. This could—this could change the world.

 

IZZY

For fuck’s sake. So your big idea is to make an exposé on Aaron Kirk? Is that it?

 

IAN

On big business and abuse. And how once wealthy men think they can have literally anything.

 

IZZY

That’s because they can.

 

IAN

You don’t have to think that way. You’re the victim here. You should stand up to him. And anyone else who might’ve—

 

IZZY

What makes you so sure I was raped?

 

IAN

I wrote an article on rape victims last year. And I took a Women’s Studies class. I know the signs.

 

IZZY

How the hell did you find out where I lived?

 

IAN

I looked you up in the school directory.

 

IZZY

Oh. That’s not creepy at all.

 

Beat.

 

IAN

Your name would be totally anonymous.

 

IZZY

Uh huh.

 

IZZY gets up and walks into the kitchen. She grabs the school

                        paper and then scans the article as she walks into the living room.

 

IZZY (cont)

(reading the paper)

A Modest Self-Made Man.

 

IAN

Not my best title.

 

IZZY

This article is practically glorifying Kirk. Why demonize him?

 

IAN

I didn’t have sufficient proof. Plus I wanted him to trust me.

 

IZZY

How noble of you.

 

IAN

Thank you.

 

Beat. IZZY throws the paper down.

 

IZZY

I wasn’t raped, you idiot. And even if I was, why do you think it was Aaron Kirk?

 

IAN

He asked me about you.

 

IZZY

He what?

 

IAN

He was freaked out. And he asked me if I saw you in there.

 

IZZY

That’s impossible.

 

IAN

He said your name was Kat. Which it’s not and initially made it super hard to find you. But when he described this Kat person, I realized he was describing you.

 

IZZY

And you found my real name how?

 

IAN

I’m a journalist.

 

IZZY

Right.

 

IAN

If he didn’t rape you, what happened to you? And why did he feel responsible?

 

IZZY

Because he’s an idiot. Sure you don’t want a beer?

 

IAN

No.

 

Beat.

 

IZZY

You really wanted your story didn’t you?

 

IAN says nothing. It’s obvious he did.

 

IZZY (cont)

It’ll be anonymous right?

 

IAN

It would’ve been.

 

IZZY

Right. I wasn’t raped. I’m a prostitute.

 

IAN, in shock, takes a minute to process this. IZZY

                        watches entertained.

 

IAN

I—what?

 

IZZY

Aaron Kirk is one of my clients. Now. Before I say anything else, you realize that if my name or anyone else’s comes up in your little article to the LA Times, I will have you killed. And no one will ever know you were gone. So do not fuck with me.

 

IAN

I—okay.

 

IZZY

Good. I’m a prostitue. One of the things that I offer is the rape fantasy. It’s $2500 straight up and then $1500 after.

 

IAN

Rape fantasy?

 

IZZY

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

 

IAN needs another beat to process this.

 

IZZY (cont)

You might want to take notes. I am thorough. I give them five days with explicit details of where I’ll be at all times. They can get me whenever they want in those five days. And I’ll fight as though I’m actually trying to fight them off. And then—it happens.

 

IAN

I—I think I’m going to be sick.

 

IZZY

Don’t throw up in here. Burke will kill you.

 

IAN

Why? I just—why are you a—that?

 

IZZY

I needed the money. I sell pills too. But that’s really nothing compared to—well, being a whore.

 

IAN

I—what did you need the money for?

 

IZZY

College. My dad’s a janitor and my mom’s a secretary. Not enough money to go to a good school and not be in debt when I get out.

 

IAN

So you are literally doing it to pay for school. I always thought people—strippers—lied about that.

 

IZZY

I’m not a stripper. I’m a whore.

 

IAN

How are you so…nonchalant about it?

 

IZZY

Because I’m making 100,000 a year. I will walk out of college with no debt. At all. And look around. You think the average college student would be able to afford this? To live like this?

 

IAN

But you’re smart. Smart people aren’t—holy shit.

 

IZZY

Don’t throw up, Ian.

 

IAN swallows his throw-up.

 

IAN

Okay. So…Aaron Kirk mentioned that you’d be going out with him to that event dinner and he just wanted to make sure you were okay. So…is he paying you for that too?

 

IZZY

Yes.

 

IAN

Why? I mean, he’s Aaron Kirk! No offense but he could have—anyone. Why pay someone?

 

IZZY

I’m fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. I am proficient in Sign Language and Arabic. I know more about the political atmosphere than pretty much anyone else in this state. And I’m pretty.

 

IAN

How much are you charging him?

 

IZZY

Two hundred an hour.

 

IAN

You’re not that pretty.

 

IZZY

Maybe not to you.

 

IAN

Nobody’s that pretty. (beat) How’d you learn all those languages?

 

IZZY

I taught myself.

 

IAN

Oh. Okay.

 

IZZY goes into the kitchen to get water for IAN and

                         a beer for herself. While she’s gone, IAN starts writing

                        frantically. IZZY comes back.

 

IZZY

Here.

 

IAN

(taking the water)

Thank you. So…you’re…what are your grades like?

 

IZZY

Pretty fucking fantastic.

 

IAN

How do you have time for—how fantastic?

 

IZZY

I’m graduating summa cum laude.

 

IAN

You’re—seriously?

 

IZZY

Dude. I got into Yale and I chose to come here instead. Yes. Seriously.

 

IAN

Why didn’t you go to Yale?

 

IZZY

(pointing to her window)

Do you see that view? That’s not at Yale.

 

IAN

Where are you from?

 

IZZY

The Bay.

 

IAN

Were you a—prostitute there too?

 

IZZY

In Oakland? Are you kidding? No. I started my second semester of my first year.

 

IAN

But what about—don’t you care that—you’re young and loans aren’t that bad. And now you’re ruined. I mean, that’s a lot of sex with guys you don’t know.

 

IZZY

I was already having a lot of sex with guys I don’t know. And I was doing it for free. Which is stupid.

 

IAN

Right. I just—

 

IAN vomits.

 

IZZY

Burke is going to kill you.

 

LIGHTS fade. THE END.