Thursday, December 20, 2007

Suzanne Bachner: Fireworks

SETTING: PETER and GABY’s place. ANNA and HER husband, KEVIN, sit on a cramped modular sofa with PETER and GABY. ANNA looks at the walls.

ANNA: These photos are amazing.

GABY: They’re all Peter’s.

PETER: I shot most of them for National Geographic.

ANNA: Wow. That’s impressive.

GABY: Peter’s really talented.

PETER: I think the work speaks for itself, Gabrielle.

KEVIN: So when are the fireworks?

GABY: Tonight at nine.

KEVIN: I love fireworks.

GABY: Me too.

KEVIN: Cool. We just drove for 10 hours. I’m not missing them.

PETER: That's cool, Kev.

KEVIN: Vin. Kevin. Do you guys have anything to drink? I’m parched.

PETER: Gabrielle.

GABY jumps up.

GABY: Oh my god. I'm being such a bad hostess.

KEVIN: Relax, Gaby. I’ll help myself.

GABY: Great.

PETER: You should get Anna something to drink too.

GABY: Right. Of course. I should have offered you something when you came in.

ANNA: It’s okay, Gaby.

PETER: No, it’s not.

KEVIN: I got it, I got it.

GABY: Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN exits to the kitchen. GABY and PETER slide across the couch next to ANNA.

PETER: So, Anna, Gabrielle told me that you thought we were joking in New York.

GABY: You know, on the last day.

PETER: When Gabrielle and I were lying in bed and we asked you to join us.

ANNA: Oh, that.

PETER: Well, I was serious. And the offer still stands.

KEVIN returns with a beer.

KEVIN: What's up?

GABY: We’re trying to sort out sleeping arrangements.

PETER: Actually, we were just trying to seduce your wife, Kev.


PETER: What do you think of that?

KEVIN: Maybe you'll have better luck than me.

ANNA: Hey!

KEVIN: Take my wife, please!

GABY: You’re funny.

KEVIN: I wasn't kidding.

ANNA: He always jokes about that. But you're offering me to the wrong people. They'll take you up on it, honey.

PETER: We thought you could both sleep in the bedroom. With us.

KEVIN: I had no idea. That the two of you--

KEVIN points to GABY and ANNA.

GABY: Oh, no. Nothing happened in high school. We were just friends.

PETER: Close friends.

KEVIN: Very close friends.

ANNA: I can't believe this is happening.

PETER: Nothing's happening yet.

GABY: Peter's been obsessed with Anna since we visited you in New York.

KEVIN: Anna told me that you came on to her in New York.

PETER: She did?

ANNA: I told you they were joking. They were joking.

KEVIN: You said you thought they weren’t joking.


ANNA: I thought you were joking.

KEVIN: Look, whatever happens here, I don't want to miss the fireworks.

PETER: No problem, Kev.


PETER: Stick with me.

KEVIN: Aren’t you going to have a drink with us, man?

PETER: I don't drink.

GABY: Peter doesn't drink.

ANNA: Well, Kevin can more than make up for that.

KEVIN: Thanks, honey.

ANNA: Seriously, I hope you have a case back there for him.

KEVIN: Nice.

GABY: I can't drink right now because I'm on Depo.

ANNA: Depo? I told you not to go near that stuff.

GABY: I know, I know. But it’s the only birth control that works for me.

PETER: Gabrielle is really careless and irresponsible, so having a shot every three months really does the trick. No monsters running around, see? Do you see any monsters?

KEVIN: I don't see any monsters.

GABY: What do you guys use?

KEVIN: Abstinence.

GABY: That’s hilarious.

ANNA: We have a dog. Jumbo.

GABY: I can have one sip. That won't hurt. Can I have a sip, Peter?

PETER: You can have a sip.

KEVIN offers GABY HIS bottle. KEVIN still holds the bottle while GABY takes a sip. ANNA watches THEM.

ANNA: Kevin. What are we doing here?

KEVIN: I'm on vacation. I like to have a good time. I want to relax.

GABY: Want another?

KEVIN: Yeah.

GABY: We actually do have a case.

KEVIN: Cool.

GABY grabs KEVIN’s beer bottle and starts to the kitchen.

ANNA: I thought you guys didn’t drink. I mean, why do you have so much beer when neither of you drink?

PETER: It's the Fourth of July.

GABY: We knew you were coming.

PETER: We wanted to celebrate with you.

GABY: C’mere, Kevin.

KEVIN follows GABY to the kitchen. PETER turns to ANNA.

PETER: I love going down on a woman. I like it better than fucking.

ANNA: That’s nice.

PETER: I'm really amazing at eating pussy.

ANNA: Great.

PETER: Did Gaby mention that to you? Did she tell you about me?

ANNA: Well, it did come up. If you must know.


ANNA: After I met you in New York, I asked her -- I felt compelled to -- why are you with this controlling prick when he’s not even good in bed?

PETER: What did she say?

GABY and KEVIN enter together toasting and laughing.

GABY: Fourth of July!!!

KEVIN: Fireworks!!!

HOURS LATER: ANNA, KEVIN, GABY and PETER lounge on the modular sofa and the floor, drinking.

KEVIN: Fantastic fireworks. First-rate.

GABY: The best.

KEVIN staggers to HIS feet and holds up HIS glass to toast.

KEVIN: To the fireworks!


THEY all drink.

PETER: So how about it?

GABY: We're not going to do anything unless everyone is into it.

KEVIN: I'm game. What do you say, Squidge?

ANNA: Don't call me that in front of everyone.

KEVIN: Why not?

ANNA: It cheapens it. It's private.

PETER: Squidge? I could do better than that.

GABY: I’m sure you could.

PETER and GABY laugh together.

ANNA: Gaby? Why didn’t you tell me? Before we got here.

GABY: Peter asked me not to.

PETER: Another round, Kev?

KEVIN: Vin. Yeah.

PETER: Anna?

ANNA nods yes.

PETER: Gabrielle.

GABY jumps up, responding to PETER and walks towards the kitchen.

KEVIN: Do you do everything Peter says, Gaby?

PETER: Back off.

KEVIN: I just call it like I see it, man. Gaby's a free spirit. She doesn't like to be caged.

GABY returns with more beer and hands one to KEVIN.

GABY: Kevin. Shut up.

ANNA (to GABY): So why didn’t you tell me?

GABY: I didn’t want to tell you before you got here. I didn’t want to freak you out.

ANNA: As if I’m not freaked out now?

PETER: I just want to go down on you, Anna. Women love cunnilingus.

ANNA: So I hear.

GABY: Peter gives amazing head. For days.

KEVIN: Do you hear that, honey?

GABY: I hear that Kevin doesn't do that.

PETER: Are you kidding?


KEVIN: What? It's just not my thing.

PETER: That's criminal.

ANNA: Or mine.

PETER: You're afraid that you'll like it too much.

KEVIN: C’mon, Anna. Maybe, maybe you’ll…

KEVIN makes an explosion-like “coming” gesture with HIS hands.

ANNA: Kevin!

PETER: I just have to taste you.

KEVIN holds up HIS glass to toast.

KEVIN: To the ancestors even though my wife doesn’t have any!

GABY: You are so funny.

ANNA: I do so have ancestors.

KEVIN and GABY: To the ancestors!


THEY all drink.

PETER: So, are we doing this or what?

GABY: Anna and I used to have these sleepovers when we were in seventh grade.

ANNA: Gaby had a hammock in her room and we used to stay up all night rocking and talking in that hammock.

KEVIN and PETER: Cool.

ANNA: We both used to have this huge crush on our anthropology teacher, Mr. Ment. He wore these beige corduroys and he had this long, wavy hair down past his shoulders like—

ANNA and GABY: Bon Jovi!!!

ANNA: And he was so smart it was dreamy. He had this humungous forehead like the Neanderthal man he taught us about. Big brain.

GABY: I like big brains.

ANNA: So do I.

PETER: Don’t make me jealous.

GABY: Peter gets jealous really easily.

KEVIN: Great.

GABY: Did we ever tell you that Anna and I were spit sisters in the second grade?


KEVIN: And you could be again. Right now.

PETER: I like the way you're talking, Kev.

KEVIN (softly): Vin.

KEVIN and PETER watch as GABY and ANNA kiss.

KEVIN: Okay, for the record, I really enjoyed that.

PETER: I thought you would.

ANNA: This isn't fair. Gaby.

GABY (to PETER): Is that what you wanted?

PETER: Yeah, but now I'm jealous.

GABY: Told you.


PETER: I'm jealous of Gabrielle. Getting to kiss you, Anna.

PETER kisses ANNA. GABY goes over and kisses KEVIN. THEY all make-out like crazy, until ANNA pulls away.

ANNA: This whole thing really isn't a good idea. Kevin, I need to talk to you alone.

KEVIN: No secrets, honey. I feel comfortable here.

PETER: We all want you to feel comfortable, too, Anna. Gabrielle, you know Anna longer than anyone. How can we make Anna feel more comfortable?

GABY: Well, let's take the pressure off. Let's talk hypothetically for a moment. Like if we were going to do this, but we're not actually going to do it.

KEVIN: Vacation sex, Anna. C’mon. You always love vacation sex.

ANNA: Yeah. With you.

KEVIN: But don't you think this will be fun?

PETER: We could have done things differently. We could have ambushed you. We could have used deceit. We could have gotten you drunk or even drugged, waited till after the fireworks and coerced you, just completely seduced you without the benefit of forethought, honesty, and communication.

GABY: Exactly.

KEVIN: The man does make a great point.

PETER: We wanted to reach an agreement, responsibly, like adults. So that no one gets hurt.

ANNA: We're married, Peter. Kevin and I are married. We have the most at stake. Gaby and I have known each other since we were seven years old. You and Gaby have only been together for--what?

GABY: Eight months. But I just moved in.

PETER: That's why it takes me to be the pioneer here. To see through all the bullshit and boring social boundaries so that we can all express ourselves to our true potential. Is that so wrong?

KEVIN: I think it's noble. To Peter!


THEY all drink.

ANNA: I don't want this to be some kind of wife swap.

GABY: We're not married.

KEVIN: That's for damn sure. Here’s to living in sin!


THEY all drink.

ANNA: I'm serious. If we do this everyone is in the bed or the bedroom at the same time.

PETER: Agreed.

GABY: If we make it to the bedroom at all.

KEVIN: We don't tell anyone about this. Nothing goes further than this room.

GABY: Agreed.

ANNA: And we have to be safe.

PETER: Agreed.

GABY: But not for oral. I hate the taste.

KEVIN and PETER: Agreed.

KEVIN: I'm just going to make one more thing clear if we do this. I'm not doing the man-to-man thing.

PETER: You're not?

KEVIN: I won't touch him. That's my limit.

PETER: But I can touch you, right, Kevin?

KEVIN: Yeah.


"Fireworks" is from the new play We Call Her Benny. ©Suzanne Bachner. Used by permission.

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