Crossword Scene

Jo is bent down cutting the last leg of the table off. The table now comes up to her knees. Harry is off stage. She hums a song.

KEN (O.S)
Why are you using twenty five eggs?

JO
Because you need a lot of eggs for quiche. It’s what the recipe said. I know it does sound like a lot, doesn’t it? But it’s an easy recipe, besides the eggs you don’t need a whole lot more. What should we talk about when they come?

KEN (O.S)
You sound stressed.

JO
Stressed? No. I’m very relaxed. I just don’t really have a good subject. For conversation.

Ken walks into the room with a beer. Jo is still sawing the last leg of the table.

KEN
You can always talk about clothes.

JO
Clothes?

KEN
Yeah. Although it might be a little different with a small person. Maybe something a little more general. Like mattrasses. Or pillows. I don’t know.

JO
Those are all horrible subjects. We won’t even last an hour.

KEN
Are you ok?

JO
Sure. can you please hold the table, while I do this last part?

Ken walks over and holds the table.

KEN
It’s just a lot.

JO
What is a lot?

KEN
All those eggs and subjects of conversation and then… You’re taking on a lot.

JO
Not really.

KEN
You ever make a quiche before?

JO
Can you hold still please. My mother used to make quiches all the time, it can’t be that hard.

KEN
But to go out of your way for someone you don’t even know. Someone you haven’t even met yet.

JO
There is nothing strange about making a quiche. Midgets can eat quiche. It’s shallow and yellow, there is nothing intimidating about it.

KEN
It does smell strange. Don’t you smell that?

JO
You’ve made me saw this off much shorter than the others. It’s crooked now. Look at this.

KEN
How were you planning on doing this? Are you even checking the oven at all?

JO
We’ll all sit crooked now. She’ll have to sit on the high part. She’ll have to sit on the high part of the table or everything will be ruined.

KEN
It’s because you’re just doing too much.

JO
Or I’ll have to make them all shorter. I could just make them all shorter. Maybe I’ll do that.

KEN
Doing all these things all at once. All for one little human being.

JO
It’s not a lot of things. It is two things. That’s only fair for dinner guests. Two or three things.

KEN
Oh yeah?

JO
It’s not more than I would usually do.

KEN
You haven’t even checked on that quiche.

JO
That’s because you weren’t holding the table straight.

KEN
Are you sweating? You’re sweating. Why?

JO
Because now I have to start all over.

KEN
Well, I don’t think quiche is supposed to smell like this. And that table is extremely crooked. Just seems like a lot of work for a dinner party.

JO
It’s. Not.

KEN
No? And the table is now very short. She’s not an actual midget.

JO
You said she came to my chest.

KEN
Exactly. This table is way too short.

JO
Anyone coming up to my chest is midget-like, whether you like it or not. It’s the truth.

KEN
I think midgets come to around your thigh. That’s different.

JO
That’s not true. And either way. This way the midget will feel big. Can you imagine how degrading it must be? Living in a world with such onboxiously high tables? She must feel so small. Everyday she wakes up in a world that is too big for her.

KEN
Why are you so stressed?

JO
I don’t want the midget to be unhappy. So we are going to make her feel so big that the world seems miniature. Childish. A world built for children. The question is, is this short enough?

KEN
Why are you so concerned about how she will feel?

JO
Because I-

Jo continues to saw the table even shorter.

KEN
Because you don’t want her to think-

JO
I wish this was all over. Tonight. That I’m talking to someone else about this night, after it has passed, about how we laughed about something and couldn’t stop laughing until we were all bent over on the table and couldn’t even continue speaking because the moment we tried we would have to laugh again. That we would look at each other, you and me, and-

KEN
You and me?

JO
Say something funny.

KEN
Now?

JO
Yes, now. I just have this incredible craving for laughter at the moment. It can be anything at all, anything that could possibly be funny. It doesn’t even have to be, it doesn’t matter.

KEN
I should save those things for later, they won’t be here for a while.

JO
Please, I can’t just start laughing all by myself about nothing. That would be ridiculous.

KEN
I don’t know anything funny right now.

JO
Fine. It’s just that I’ve never had this need before, and I’m afraid it will go away, and that once they come I can’t laugh about anything. That I’ll just be blank faced when they say something hilarious.

KEN
You’re crying.

JO
No.

KEN
Why are you crying?

JO
I’m not. I’m laughing. See? I’m laughing.

Copyright Judith Goudsmit