Copyright Holly Arsenault, 2013. All rights reserved. This text may not be reproduced or performed without explicit, written consent of the author.

Please direct inquiries to hollypla@gmail.com.

 

Alfred premiered at 14/48: The World's Quickest Theatre Festival, January, 2013 at The Erickson Theatre in Seattle, Washington

 

ALFRED
By Holly Arsenault

 

CHARACTERS

Alfred, a man

Maureen 1, a woman

Maureen 2, the same woman 

 

A bus stop. It’s raining.

 Two women who are actually the same woman sit on either side of a bench, reading. Each one attempts to shield her book from the rain, somewhat unsuccessfully.

 A man enters with an umbrella and a suitcase. He stations himself just upstage of the bench.

ALFRED

Allow me. (He extends the umbrella over them.)

MAUREEN 1 & MAUREEN 2 both look up briefly from their books and smile politely. They stop shielding the books from the rain.

ALFRED

Nice day.

MAUREEN 1

Hm?

MAUREEN 2

Hm?

ALFRED

Nice day out.

MAUREEN 2

Oh. Yeah.

MAUREEN 1

Oh. Yeah.

Pause

ALFRED

What are you reading?

MAUREEN 1

(Looking around to see if there is anyone else there.) Me?

MAUREEN 2

(Looking around to see if there is anyone else there.) Me?

ALFRED

Yes.

MAUREEN 1

Oh, it’s called Parallels

 MAUREEN 2

Oh, it’s called Parallels

ALFRED

Is it good?

MAUREEN 1

Um, yeah. So far. I’m not that far into it.

MAUREEN 2

Um, yeah. So far. I’m not that far into it.

ALFRED

Ah.

Pause

ALFRED

Do you know when the bus is due to arrive?

MAUREEN 1

10 minutes

MAUREEN 2

10 minutes

ALFRED

It won’t be 10 minutes

MAUREEN 1

No, 20.

MAUREEN 2

No, 20.

ALFRED

That’s right. The bus always takes 20 minutes to come, no matter what time you arrive at the stop.

MAUREEN 1

(Warmly) Mmm hmm.

MAUREEN 2

(Dismissively) Mmm hmm.

Pause

ALFRED

What’s your name?

MAUREEN 1

It’s Maureen.

MAUREEN 2

Why would I tell you my name?

ALFRED

I’m Alfred.

MAUREEN 1

What a great name.

MAUREEN 2

Congratulations.

MAUREEN 2 goes back to her book.

ALFRED

Lovely to meet you.

MAUREEN 1

And you.

 MAUREEN 1 goes back to her book.

ALFRED

So, where are you headed?

MAUREEN 2

To visit my boyfriend in the insane asylum.

ALFRED

I get that. You’re funny.

Pause. She goes back to reading.

ALFRED

So, where are you really headed?

MAUREEN 2

Why would you look at a person reading quietly to themselves at a bus stop and think “she probably wants to talk to me.”

ALFRED

So sorry. Message received! Going silent.

Pause

ALFRED

I spent time in an insane asylum.

MAUREEN 2

I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION.

Pause. MAUREEN 2 closes her book, exasperated, but curious.

MAUREEN 2

For what?

ALFRED

Pardon?

MAUREEN 2

For what were you in an insane asylum?

ALFRED

Oh, custodial work? Cleaning windows and mopping floors, mostly.

MAUREEN 2

You were a janitor in an insane asylum.

ALFRED

In a facility, yes.

MAUREEN 2

And [what do you do] now?

MAUREEN 1

What do you do?

ALFRED

How do you mean?

MAUREEN 1

I mean, what do you do?

MAUREEN 2

I mean, what do you do?

ALFRED

Oh, for a job?

MAUREEN 1

Yes

MAUREEN 2

Yes

ALFRED

I’m a door-to-door salesman

MAUREEN 1

Oh, that’s nice

MAUREEN 2

We still have door-to-door salesmen?

ALFRED

You have one right next to you!

MAUREEN 1

What do you sell?

MAUREEN 2

What do you sell?

ALFRED

Knives.

MAUREEN 1 goes back to her book.

MAUREEN 2

You go door-to-door selling knives?

ALFRED

Yes.

MAUREEN 2

That’s your job?

ALFRED

Yes.

MAUREEN 2

Okay.

MAUREEN 2 goes back to her book, then closes it again.

 MAUREEN 2

Is it dangerous?

ALFRED

How do you mean?

MAUREEN 2

I mean, do people pull guns on you?

ALFRED

That’s happened.

MAUREEN 2

And what do you do?

ALFRED

I run.

MAUREEN 1

Do you have the knives with you?

MAUREEN 2

Do you have the knives with you?

ALFRED

Certainly.

MAUREEN 1

May I see them?

MAUREEN 2

Can I see them?

ALFRED opens up his suitcase on the bench, revealing a selection of kitchen knives. MAUREEN 1 immediately grabs a knife, stabs him in the stomach, takes his wallet from his coat pocket, and runs. ALFRED falls to the ground.

MAUREEN 2

Alfred! Are you okay?

ALFRED

(There is a pause, and then ALFRED pops up) Perfectly well, thanks! Got tripped up by my own shoelaces there, I guess!

MAUREEN 2

Nice knives.

ALFRED

Thank you.

MAUREEN 2

Thank you for not trying to sell them to me.

ALFRED

This isn’t your door.

She smiles

MAUREEN 2

The sun’s coming out.

They both look up. The bus arrives.

ALFRED

Here’s your bus.

MAUREEN 2

Aren’t you getting on?

ALFRED

No. I’m not in a hurry. I think I’ll stay here and enjoy the sun for a minute. Take the next one.

MAUREEN 2

Okay. Bye, Alfred.

ALFRED

Bye, uh…

MAUREEN

Maureen. I’m Maureen.

ALFRED

So long, Maureen.

She gets on the bus.

END OF PLAY