SCENE: A coffee shop. By a lake. In a city. The lake may or may not be Lake Michigan. The city may or may not be Milwaukee. It’s open to interpretation. Deanna sits at a small table, drinking an iced latte and eating a veggie sandwich, complete with potato chips. She’s typing away on her laptop when a women carrying two plastic cups of water approaches her table.
WOMAN: Would you like some water?
DEANNA: (Looking up) Huh? Oh…uh…thanks, but no thanks. (She holds up her yellow water cup) I have some water already, but thanks for the offer.
WOMAN: Okay. (The woman exits)
(A man enters now, carrying two cups of coffee)
MAN: Excuse me, miss? Would you like a cup of coffee?
DEANNA: Uh…thank you, but I’m okay. (Holding up her latte) I’m good. Thank you, though.
MAN: Okay. (He exits)
(A little girl enters, carrying two ice cream cones)
GIRL: I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t mean to bother you but--
DEANNA: You’re going to offer me one of your ice cream cones, huh?
GIRL: Well, yes. Would you like one?
DEANNA: Thank you for the offer, but I’m quite alright.
GIRL: Okay. (The girl turns to go)
DEANNA: Wait! Do you have any idea why everyone keeps offering me things?
GIRL: Well…I don’t know if I should say…
DEANNA: Please. Say. Everyone seems to know something that I don’t, but that’s kind of frustrating. I mean…all I want to do is sit here and work.
GIRL: Okay. I guess I could…say a little…(She approaches the table again) You’re working?
GIRL: What are you working on?
DEANNA: I guess I’m trying to write a play.
GIRL: Well, there you go. That’s what people want.
DEANNA: They want to read my play?
GIRL: No. They want to be in your play.
DEANNA: I’m confused.
GIRL: Honestly, I think all of us are just looking for any excuse to talk to you.
DEANNA: Why me?
GIRL: Because you’re a writer.
DEANNA: Writer’s are a dime a dozen. Especially in this town.
GIRL: Oh, don’t get me wrong. You’re not the only one. There’s a novelist upstairs, another playwright right over there, and I think that lady over there is a poet.
DEANNA: I’m still confused.
GIRL: May I sit?
(The girl sits)
DEANNA: What’s your name?
GIRL: Oh no. That I won’t tell you. It’s best to remain an archetype. My name may bring up painful memories from you past or give you a preconceived notion about who I am. It’s better for me to be a blank slate. Anything you want me to be. I’m simply the girl.
DEANNA: So…what? You all have a story to tell or something?
GIRL: Yes. Of course.
DEANNA: And you want me to listen?
DEANNA: Um…okay. Tell me your story.
GIRL: Wait. What? It’s that easy?
DEANNA: I guess. Your ice cream is dripping all over your hands.
GIRL: Oh. Geeze. Here. Please. Take one.
DEANNA: I really shouldn’t.
GIRL: You’re not fat.
DEANNA: I didn’t say that I was fat. I’m trying to be a vegan.
GIRL: Well, I can’t eat two. (She smashes one of the cones onto Deanna’s plate where her sandwich and potato chips sit) I just need it to sit there for a minute, okay? I’ll take it back.
DEANNA: (Looking sadly at her sandwich) My poor hummus.
GIRL: So…my story. It’s funny, isn’t it?
DEANNA: (Half listening, still staring sadly at her sandwich) What is?
GIRL: My story. My life. The moral I’ve got hiding in my back pocket. The set up and the punchline. Everything I’ve thought so long and hard about. You know? I’ve gone along and have been collecting my truths and my experiences. And I’ve cultivated them in my brain. And I’m bursting at the seams, ready to share it with anyone who will listen. It’s the thing that I’ll say when my grandchildren ask me what the meaning of life is or what sage advice I have for them.
DEANNA: Aren’t you like nine?
GIRL: It’s there. I know the words. But now that I’m about to say them…what if they aren’t as clever as I’d imagined? It’s my story, but what if the story isn’t worth telling?
DEANNA: Welcome to my world.
(They share a look)
DEANNA: Why don’t you start at the beginning? Give me some sage advice.