Scenes i – iii
Pegasus Books/Marcus McGee
No More Cheesecake! (Act I, Scenes i-iii)
Copyright © 2015 by Marcus McGee
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LEO SANDERS, A Janitor
PENNY SANDERS, A Janitor’s Wife
WAYNE NEWSOME, A Famous Writer
EVE NEWSOME, An Actor/ A Conspiritor; Wayne’s Wife
PIERRE, A Waiter/A Conspirator
CHARLES, The Chauffeur
ALBERTO FIGARATTI, The Restaurant Owner
MARIE, The Maid
A CHORUS LINE
Two sets will be used: 1) the floor and stage of FIGARATTI’S exclusive restaurant, and 2) the posh livingroom of the Newsome’s mansion.
The most challenging consideration with reference to the play is the requirement that Leo Sanders and Wayne Newsome are played by the same actor. Likewise, Penny Sanders and Eve Newsome, two profoundly dissimilar characters, are played by the same actor. As a result, the play’s eight characters are played by six actors.
Even before the curtain opening ACT I, the audience will be treated to the No More Cheesecake! Overture, a modern composition written by Dean McGee.
The curtain opens to Act I, Scene I as the overture ends while a solo violin plays the show’s principal musical theme. The Chorus Line performs an opening number as Leo and Penny are just finishing an anniversary dinner in Figaratti’s restaurant. Pierre offers dessert that Penny as all too ready to accept, but Leo, because he cannot afford dessert, makes excuses. Pierre insults Leo who orders the eleven dollar slice of cheesecake in an act of anger. After receiving a check onto which a gratuity has been added, Leo, who doesn’t have enough money, decides he and Penny should make a run for it. However, before the Sanders can escape, Figaratti introduces himself and, recognizing the two as Wayne and Eve Newsome, he offers to pay for their dinner. Naturally, though with some difficulty, Leo and Penny pretend to be Wayne and Eve. Finally, and in spite of Leo’s protests, the two agree to let Charles drive them home, that is, to the Newsome’s mansion.
Pierre and the Chorus Line perform a very brief character song as set is changed.
Act I, Scene II opens as Leo, Penny, and Charles rush into the mansion, chased by the dogs. Caught up in her new role as Eve, Penny orders Charles back out and to the restaurant. Next, she tries to seduce Leo who is only interested in calling a cab for a way home. Penny throws the phone receiver outside with the vicious dogs to keep Leo from calling and finally succeeds in convincing him to stay the night. Leo performs Penny, Why? during this scene.
Act I, Scene III opens with a fun song and dance number performed by Pierre, Marie, and the Chorus Line entitled Just Say No! Pierre’s rendez-vous with stunning, tough-as-nails Eve reveals that the two have conspired and have kidnapped Wayne and plan to do away with him, but Pierre has mistaken Leo earlier for Wayne. The two agree to do whatever necessary to re-kidnap Wayne at the Mansion.
As Act I, Scene IV opens, Marie has arrived at the mansion, and, thinking Leo is Wayne, she wants to resume an affair much to the displeasure of Penny who is animatedly angry. Nevertheless, the couple keeps up the pretense of being the Newsomes until Marie leaves. After Penny has gone up to take a bath, Pierre enters and kidnaps Leo, mistaking him for Wayne who is still tied up in the closet.
In Act I, Scene V, the final scene of Act I, Eve, sitting in the restaurant, is suspicious of Charles and hires him to drive for her again. Pierre drags in the unconscious body of Leo and revives him with smelling salt. The conspirators, thinking Leo is Wayne, begin the scheme of blackmail all while Leo tries to convince the two he is a janitor and not Wayne. Finally, and after he reluctantly kisses Eve, she realizes he is not her husband. Eve and Pierre blackmail Leo, threatening to have him arrested among other things, to assist them in their plot against Wayne.
INTERMISSION: CHAMPAGNE AND CHEESECAKE SALES IN LOBBY
[Curtain opens to the melody of a violin: LEO and PENNY Sanders are just finishing dinner at an exclusive Los Angeles restaurant; set requirements: one table, covered with white tablecloth and place settings; two chairs; spotlight cuts diagonally across stage to illuminate table; violin continues playing in the background.]
PEN. Oh honey—this was the most fantastic dinner I’ve ever had… and this place is so romantic… [she kisses him]
LEO. [proud] Yes— it’s perfect, isn’t it? Happy anniversary, Penny. [They kiss again; PIERRE, the waiter, ENTERS with a dessert tray; he takes plates; his accent is undoubtedly French]
PIE. Per’aps you woot lack to try our moose shocolat or one of zeese ozers?
PEN. Oh! How cute! I wish I could try em all! Leo, honey—Can we afford one?
LEO. [nervous] Oh… Oh sure! [to PIERRE] … she’s joking—I’ve got plenty a money… [he laughs] How much… How much is that cheesecake there?
PIE. Ze cheezecake eeze eleven dollarz.
LEO. No, no—I just want one… one slice.
PIE. Eleven dollarz, Monsieur.
LEO. Eleven dol— Whadaya think, Penny? I never was much on cheesecake…
PEN. I love it! Can I have it?
LEO. Well… I can afford it, but… but it’s so fattening—I’d hate to see all your, your dieting go to waste—
PEN. It’s our anniversary! Honey. I want it!
LEO. But Penny—
PIE. [disgusted] Ze Monsieur does not (h)ave enuf money?
PEN. How dare you talk to my husband like that! He’s got plenty of money—he’s got his own janitorial service!
PIE. [sarcastic] A janitor? Hmmh—Eef ah need mah toilet cleaned, maybee Ah let you know. You can not afford ze dessert?
LEO. [angry] Yes, Frenchy, I can afford it.
PIE. Any more excuses?
LEO. No! [he speaks with an attempted French accent] Now you just poot eet own ze table and geet ze hell outa here, okay?
PIE. [insulted] As you weesh, Monsieur.
PEN. Oh Leo— [she kisses him] Darling, I’m so proud of you! You really told him. Wanna bite of this cheesecake?
LEO. [ominous] Oh no! [he covers his eyes with his hands] What have I done?
PEN. Does that mean you don’t want a bite?
LEO. I don’t think you understand, Penny.
PEN. [she finally understands; she begins to panic] You mean you don’t have enough money?
LEO. I had it planned to the penny… until Mr. Cheesecake had to come along.
PEN. Oh no! What are we gonna do?
LEO. I don’t know! Okay! Heads down—he’s comin back!
[they bow their heads; PIERRE returns with check]
PIE. Ze check. [he puts it down] Ah ave included ze teep for your convenience. Thank you, janeetor.
LEO. Oh no!
LEO. I forgot all about the tip!
PEN. Leo—What are we gonna do?
LEO. [he counts money] I don’t know. Eat your cheesecake.
PEN. [nervous; she pushes plate away] I’m not hungry anymore.
LEO. Look!—I’m paying eleven dollars for that… that paper-thin, overpriced, bite-sized crumb of cheesecake on your plate—you’re gonna eat it if I gotta force it down your throat!
PEN. But I’m not hungry…
LEO. Eat the cheesecake!!!
PEN. [her face drops; she begins to cry as she takes a bite of the cheesecake] Okay…
LEO. Aw, come on, Penny—What’re you cryin for?
PEN. [in between sobs] It’s… it’s our anniversary night, and you’re, screamin at, at me.
LEO. Okay, I’m sorry. Don’t cry. Look—We gotta figure out somethin, Quick!
PEN. Do you still love me?
LEO. Yes! Get your purse—we’re gettin outa here.
[LEO tries to stand; PENNY pulls him back down, grabbing his wrist]
PEN. Without paying? That’s illegal!
LEO. Thanks, Sherlock. We’re gettin up and goin at three. One… Two…
PEN. No! I don’t want to.
LEO. Do you have the money to pay?
LEO. Then you don’t wanna be left with the bill when I’m gone, do you? One… Two…
[PIERRE re-enters; he carries extra menus]
PIE. Ees everysing okay?
LEO. [nervous] Just… Just fine! We know you want your table. We—
PEN. We’ll be leaving before you know it.
LEO. [he threatens] Penny— [to Pierre] Come to think of it—I’m gettin hungry all over again. Can we see a couple more menus?
PIE. [suspicious, as he gives them menus] You can afford anozer dinner?
LEO. Sure can. I got plenty a money.
PIE. [he gives up] Eef you say so.
LEO. Okay—Now we got cover. [they hide behind menus] On three. One… Two… Three!
[LEO and PENNY rise and move toward dark exit]
PEN. Leo! I don’t wanna go! I can’t do it!
[She leads him back to the table, dragging him by the arm.]
LEO. What is wrong with you? We were almost out the door!
PEN. That man was looking at us. He’s been staring all night. Don’t look! He’s staring right now.
LEO. [he searches] Where?
PEN. Leo! I told you not to look! Now he’s comin over here!
LEO. Okay. Don’t panic. Let’s try not to look suspicious. All right—very calmly, pick up your menu.
[In panic, LEO covers his face with menu; he slouches in chair so low that his chin is almost level with table top; PENNY calmly picks up her menu]
LEO. Okay, Penny—just sit there. Let me do the talking. I know how to handle these things.
[MR. FIGARATTI enters]
FIG. Well, hello there.
LEO. [from behind menu] Hi.
FIG. [he snatches menus] I know all about you two—don’t think you’re foolin me.
LEO. [cautious] You don’t know us… Who are you?
FIG. Alberto Figaratti. I own this place. You’re Wayne Newsome, the writer, and your wife there is Eve Newsome— famous actress? I am a fan to both of you. I have a mansion up in the hills not far from yours.
PEN. [confused] Mansion? We don’t have a mansion.
LEO. [he plays along] Darling—we can tell him… You’ve got a good eye, Mister. Sometimes we don’t like bein recognized.
FIG. I know the feelin. Have you already paid for dinner? Would you allow me to buy dinner for you tonight?
PEN. Honey? I think he thinks we’re someone else…
LEO. [he threatens as he smiles; he speaks between clenched teeth] We are, Darling. [to FIGARATTI] We usually insist on buying our own to support our… you know, our friends in the restaurant business, but since you’re so kind, we’ll let you buy tonight.
FIG. Thank you very much. It’s an honor… But tell me, Mr. Newsome—Where’d you get the idea for that last novel of yours? I’ve wondered about that for a long time now… I forget the name. What was it called?
LEO. [he stutters] I… I’ve written so many… I’m not sure I—
PEN. Murder From the Grave.
LEO. [he threatens] Darling— [to Figaratti] She’s… she’s such a kidder.
FIG. That’s it! She’s right! Murder From the Grave! Where on earth did you get that great idea?
LEO. Well… I… Darling? I’ll let my wife answer that.
PEN. [she plays along, whispering] He can’t tell. It’s an artist’s secret.
LEO. Yeah! I mean yeah, that’s right. I’m sorry Mr.?
LEO. Oh yes. I’m sorry. Oh well, [to Penny] we better get going, Darling. I’ve got some writing to do tonight.
FIG. But you said at a convention two months ago that you were officially retired from writing. [suspicious] Okay, what’s going on here?
LEO. [ready to admit truth] Well, I guess you were going to find out anyway—but I’m not really—
PEN. [she interrupts] He’s not really telling anyone, [she whispers] but that retirement speech was just a publicity stunt!
FIG. [secretive; in a quiet voice] Oh, I see! Well, you can certainly trust me with your secret, Mr. Newsome. Waitaminute—Eve Newsome… Can I call you Eve? Aren’t you supposed to be on a big movie shoot in Europe right now?
PEN. Well, I don’t know… The movie—
LEO. Was cancelled! The movie was cancelled! We thought we’d both just relax for awhile.
FIG. Oh, I see… Well, it really has been a pleasure meeting you, but I better rejoin my wife. Is your chauffeur here to take you home?
PEN. We gave her the night off.
FIG. How kind of you. I can arrange to have my chauffeur take you home. You remember Charles? He worked for you a few years ago. He’s already here and he has nothing else to do until I’m ready to go… and from the looks of things my wife and I will be here for a while yet.
PEN. How nice of you, Sir. We accept.
LEO. [nervous, between teeth] Honey, you don’t know what you’re saying…
PEN. Sure I do. It’s our anniversary.
FIG. Anniversary? Did you get one of our complimentary desserts? We always do that.
PEN. [snobbish and distinct] No we did not! That rude waiter charged us for everything.
FIG. My apology to you both. Pierre will be disciplined for his impoliteness.
PEN. Oh thank you, Sir. He was a barbarian, a real Neanderthal.
FIG. Really? I’ll speak with him immediately. And I’ll send Charles on over to take you home. [he shakes Leo’s hand and kisses Penny’s hand] It really has been a pleasure. I hope to see you two again real soon.
PEN. [she exaggerates] Don’t worry, Dahling, you will… And if you ever think about selling this charming little place, look us up! We’d buy it in a second! We just love it, right Honey?
LEO. [uncomfortable, as he plays along] That’s right… We love it.
FIG. Thank you. As a matter of fact, I’ve been trying to sell this place for quite a while now. I accept your offer. I’ll be in touch. Good night, Mr. and Mrs. Newsome.
LEO. Good night, and thanks again.
LEO. Whew! Would you believe what just happened? Crazy, wasn’t it?
PEN. We must look exactly like those people. You know what that means. Oh, I bet they’ve got a great big house.
LEO. You hear all the time about people looking alike, but two couples! Wonder what those odds are?
PEN. I wonder how many rooms? You think they might have a fireplace? Maybe with a marble floor and a bearskin rug?
LEO. What I wouldn’t give to meet that other couple. It’s all kinda funny… Penny?
PEN. [in a daze] Romantic…
LEO. What did you say?
PEN. [still dazing] So, so sensual.
LEO. Penny? Penny, come on! [he snaps his fingers in front of her face] Snap out of it.
PEN. [she comes to] What?
LEO. I got an idea.
LEO. Well, I got all this money I’m not spendin since I’m not payin for dinner… I was thinkin we could maybe go dancin… And then, insteada goin home, maybe we could go ta that hotel with the waterbeds and the mirrors and the TVs and all?
PEN. [disgusted] A sleazy motel! You wanna take me to a sleazy motel! Honey, didn’t you hear Mr. Figaratti? His chauffeur’s taking us to our mansion on the hill.
LEO. Penny! Are you outa your mind? We don’t have no mansion!
PEN. There’s a mansion on a hill out there somewhere, and that’s where I wanna spend the night.
LEO. [he threatens] Look, we’re lucky we got away with the dinner. Let’s not get inta any real trouble…
PEN. [stubborn] I wanna go there.
LEO. These other people! That writer and his famous wife—they might be there. It’s against the law to impersonate people.
PEN. It’s against the law to leave restaurants without payin—
LEO. There’s no way we’re goin ta that mansion.
PEN. [after a pause] I’m so proud you’ve decided to be honest. Do you want me to call that Mr. Figaratti over so you can tell him the whole truth? [PENNY raises hand, attempting to signal in Figaratti’s direction] Oh Dahling?
LEO. [he pulls her arm down] Are you crazy? I don’t have enough money to pay for dinner!
PEN. Can’t we just ride by?
PEN. But it’s our anniversary!
[PIERRE re-enters, solemn]
PIE. Monsieur et Madame—
LEO. If you’re here ta collect money, Frenchy, you’re flat outa luck. The owner’s buyin our dinner.
PIE. Ah ahm aware of zat. Ah came to apologize.
PEN. Well, Dahling, do it. Let’s hear it.
PIE. [after a pause] Ah ahm sorry for my eempoliteness.
PEN. [snobbish] What did he say, Dahling? I didn’t hear him.
PIE. Ah sayed Ah apologize for my eempoliteness.
LEO. That’s a little better. Just don’t let it happen again.
PIE. Ah wont. May Ah ask a question of ze lady?
PEN. Yes you may.
PIE. Eve—Why deed you say he waz a janeetor?
PEN. Well… [she whispers] Cuz he’s a famous writer and we didn’t want anyone to know.
PIE. [suspicious] You, you are not Eve. Ah don’t believe you. Are you supposed to be heez wife?
PEN. I am heez wife, and you better stop winking at me.
PIE. No. No! He eeze not Wayne Newsome, and you are not heez wife.
LEO. She eeze meez wife! I mean she is my wife!
[CHARLES enters in chauffeur’s outfit.]
PIE. Yes, but you are not who you say you are. Ah know eet for a fact! You can’t be!
CHA. Mr. and Mrs. Newsome. How nice it is to see you again. Are you ready to go?
PEN. We certainly are. Come on, Dahling! [to PIERRE, who stands bewildered] Pierre—don’t you have some tables to clear or something?
PIE. [insulted] Excuse me! Madame.
PEN. [to Charles, as she and Leo prepare to leave] Is it cold out tonight, James?
LEO. [he sings between clenched teeth] It’s Charles.
PEN. [she laughs, feigning sophistication] Oh yes! Charles?
CHA. It is a bit cold out, Madam.
PEN. [to Leo] Dahling, I told you to remind me to bring the mink or the sable! Why do you always forget to remind me?
LEO. Darling… [he threatens] I think you’re overdoing…
PEN. But the fox would have gone much nicer with this outfit—Don’t you think? The shades and shadows in that fox are so… I can’t find the words! Really, I can’t…
[PENNY throws her head back and makes a grand, flowing exit; LEO and CHARLES look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and follow her offstage.]
[Lights and musical introduction come up to reveal the warm living room of the Newsome mansion; there is an expensive white double-door UP CENTER; a large window with curtains is right of the door; the right wall contains both a fireplace and an exit to the kitchen while a staircase runs along most of the left wall; there is an exit to a bedroom at the foot of the stairs and a closet under the staircase; a loveseat, a table, and a couch are positioned in the CENTER of the room, and a large, black, furry rug lies before the fireplace. The loud barking of vicious dogs is heard before the front door flies open; LEO, PENNY, and CHARLES rush in, gasping for breath.]
CHA. [between breaths] I’m… I’m very sorry about the dogs, Sir and Madam—I’ve never seen the act quite like that before.
LEO. [he tries to catch his breath] I, I thought I was a goner for sure!
PEN. [she breathes hard as well] I didn’t think dogs could grow so large—
LEO. I’m just about sure one of em was a bear—the one that stood up and blocked the door—
CHA. It is a very good thing this door wasn’t locked—we’d have never made it.
PEN. [she relaxes; she straightens her hair] But it was and we did, Dahling. Thank you so much for bringing us home. You can leave us now. [she takes his arm and moves him toward the door]
CHA. You don’t expect me to go back out there, do you?
PEN. Don’t be silly. You must. We don’t want your boss angry with us because you’re not there to pick him up after dinner.
CHA. But they’re your dogs! Can’t you put them up? Can’t you do something with them?
PEN. Why? They’re harmless. [she pushes Charles toward door] They were only trying to scare you… Go on…
CHA. [to Leo] Sir! Surely you understand! Perhaps you can let me phone my employer to explain this, this dreadful predicament! Your dogs have surely gone mad!
LEO. Penny? [he realizes his mistake] No, no—Eve, maybe we should let him—
PEN. [she interrupts] Out of the question.
LEO. [threatening] Darling—
PEN. It’s our anniversary. [to Charles] Now look, James—those dogs are harmless… [she pushes him toward the door] If you just walk calmly to the gate without being threatening in any way, they’ll ignore you completely. Will you try that for me?
CHA. [after a pause] Well… [reluctant] I’ll try.
PEN. [she re-opens the door] Such a brave man! [she pushes him out] See you later, Dahling. [she closes the door; she goes over to hug Leo] Well… We’re alone at last.
LEO. Don’t be too sure about that. [he walks to the stairs; he calls] Anybody home? Anybody up there! [there is no answer]
PEN. I told you, Dahling. We’re all alone.
LEO. Yeah, but for how long. Please don’t call me that.
LEO. [imitating Penny] Dahling.
PEN. But I always call you Dahling…
LEO. You call me Darling, Penny. Darling! Darling! DARLING! You remember that?! I can’t believe the way you’re acting!!!
PEN. [she begins to cry] Leo…
LEO. [angry] What?
PEN. It’s our anniversary—it’s not nice to yell at your wife on your anniversary.
LEO. It’s not nice to send a man out there among those vicious, blood thirsty animals either.
PEN. They’re not bothering him. I don’t hear em barkin.
LEO. [he goes to the window; he looks out] That’s cuz they’re suckerin im. Look at em! Oh no! Run! Charlie, run!!!
[Sound cue: The loud growling and barking of dogs are heard outside.]
LEO. He’s headed back this way!
PEN. [she blocks the door] Don’t open the door! [she locks the door]
LEO. [he still looks out window] The ugly one cut im off! Run Mister! Oh no!
LEO. They’re catchin im! Wow! What a move! What a move!
PEN. [she still holding door closed] What’s happening?
LEO. He’s ridin the big black one!!! Come on, Buddy! Just a little further… All right!
PEN. [going to the window] What is it?
LEO. What an athlete! See! He jumped from the dog’s back to the gate. He made it! Climb Charlie!
PEN. [she leaves window] I told you he’d be okay. [she pulls Leo away from window, she attempts to be romantic] Now where were we? We’re all alone now. Aren’t you going to kiss me?
LEO. No! [he goes over to the fireplace] You know we shouldn’t even be here.
PEN. But we’re here. Let’s make the best of it. [Musical introduction begins for song, Penny, Why? ]
LEO. Why, Penny? Why can’t you just be happy with me. I’m a janitor– I know it isn’t much, but it’s what I am.
PEN. I am happy with you, Leo. Why don’t you just let me dream a little? Let’s live a little. Just tonight.
LEO. Penny, I’ve been alive all my life. Why? [he sings] Penny why—
Penny why… do you do… the things… that you do
When you know they’ll make me blue?
PEN. [she sings] I would never make you blue.
LEO. And why… do you want… what I cannot give?
It’s enough for us to live.
PEN. Then tonight I want to live.
LEO. Pen-ny—don’t think for once… that I understand… the things that you do,
But Penny—I love you.
Penny why… do you girls always want the boys…
Who can shower you with toys?
PEN. Most of us, we just want boys.
LEO. And why… do you dream… you’re loving a prince…
When I’m a bum… it makes no sense.
PEN. You will always be my prince.
LEO. Pen-ny—I hope I’m wrong… in thinking I make… you bluer than blue—
Cuz Penny—I love you.
Penny why… can’t you say… that you love me for…
What I am to you— no more—
PEN. You’re the man that I adore.
LEO. And why… can’t you stop… reaching… for that star…
And be glad for who we are.
PEN. I’ve just hoped and dreamed so far.
LEO. Pen-ny—just look at me… and know that my love
Is truer than true,
Yes Penny—I love you. Yes Penny I love you. [Music ends]
PEN. Leo, honey—let’s live for tonight, even if it’s for just tonight. Let’s make the best of it. You gotta admit it’s a nice house… Mmmmh, let’s see what they’ve got in the closet here… [she opens the closet door] Oooh! I just love furs! [she takes a fur jacket from the closet, but she and Leo fail to see man who is bound and gagged and on the closet floor] It’s just my size, too! [she tries on fur] Honey, I love it! I have got to see it on me! I’ll be back.
[PENNY exits into bedroom; LEO goes to phone]
LEO. [into receiver, after dialing] Yes, Culver City… Yellow Cab, please…
PEN. [from offstage] Leo, Darling, can you start up a fire in the fireplace—it’ll be so cozy and romantic. Oooh! What a sexy nightgown! You should see it, Honey!
LEO. [into receiver] Okay—444-8000. Thank you. Four, four, four, eight thousand… [he dials]
PEN. [naughty, from offstage] I’m putting it on just for you.
LEO. [he calls up the stairs] Yeah, do that… [he hurries his next words, knowing he will be put on hold] Yeah, I’d like a cab at 510 Mountain—Dammit! Never fails! I hate bein on hold!
PEN. [from offstage] Who are you talkin to, Leo? [PENNY enters in fur jacket and fluffy marabou slippers; she wears a nightgown under jacket] What are you doing?
LEO. [he does not look at her] I’m calling a cab.
PEN. But you can’t!
LEO. Watch me. [into receiver] Finally! I’d like a cab at 510 Moutain Rrrrr—
[LEO’s line is lost because PENNY, with her back to the audience, opens the fur coat to reveal the sexy nightgown under it; LEO attempts to continue]
LEO. I’m sorry! That’s 510 Mountain, Mountain… No, 510—nevermind! I’ll call back later. [to Penny as he hangs receiver] Honey, you are so beautiful! [he attempts to embrace her, but she dodges him and moves behind couch]
PEN. [in negation] Ah, ah, ah—no you don’t. Make a fire first.
LEO. Fire? We don’t need no fire!
PEN. I do.
LEO. Fire! Okay, fire! [as LEO rushes over and picks up a log, his haste causes him to drop the log on his toe] Ouch! My toe!!! Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! [he limps about the room]
PEN. Are you okay? [She tries to comfort him]
LEO. Don’t touch me!
PEN. I just wanted to see if you were okay!
LEO. Of course I’m okay! I just dropped a two hundred pound log on my big toe, which I think fell off and is rollin around in my shoe… [he tries to put pressure on foot] OW!!!
PEN. Can I kiss it for you?
LEO. No! Stay away! I’m gonna call that cab right now! [he dials]
PEN. You wouldn’t do that, would you? [she opens fur again]
LEO. It won’t work this time. My big toe isn’t in the mood for anything tonight. [PENNY goes over to and pushes bar to hang up phone] Your little games won’t work tonight, Penny. I can just dial again.
[When LEO dials again, PENNY snatches receiver from his hand, disconnects it from the body of phone, opens the door, and hurls receiver out into the yard; LEO starts outside after it, but the vicious sound of barking dogs scares him back inside; he slams door, opens curtains, and peers out window]
LEO. Now you’ve really done it! [he pauses, thinking] Waitaminute, there’s gotta be another phone in this house! [he hurries into kitchen and into bedroom]
PEN. [she sings] This is the only phone.
LEO. [from offstage in bedroom] I don’t believe this! What kinda people are these Newsomes, anyway? All that money… [he re-enters] and only one phone.
PEN. [she gloats] I told you so. We might as well relax and enjoy ourselves…
LEO. You really think you’ve won, don’t you? Well, obviously after one full year of marriage you don’t completely know what kinda man you married… [he takes off coat and rolls up his shirt sleeves] Yeah, there are still a few of us left—few and far between… Men who’ve never known the meaning of fear… men who take what they want… Men who can be denied nothing… [he heads for the door]
PEN. Where are you going?
LEO. I’m gonna go out there among those wolves and get me that receiver, then I’m gonna call a cab… and you and me… are goin home.
PEN. No, Honey! Can’t we stay? It’s our anniversary!
LEO. [looking at watch] It is now 12:14 A.M.—our anniversary was over as of fourteen minutes ago. Don’t tryn stop me. I’m goin out.
PEN. Leo, please don’t! It’s dangerous!
LEO. [in a manly way] Ha! I’ll be right back.
[LEO exits front door; PENNY goes to window; barking and growling sounds are heard.]
[PENNY rushes to door; she is unable to open it; Leo’s pounding is heard as well as the distinctive sound of fabric ripping; finally, door flies open and LEO dashes in; he does not carry receiver; his shirt is ripped and his pants are torn at the rump]
PEN. Leo! Leo, honey! Are you all right?
LEO. [between breaths] They, they tried to kill me! I swear they wanted to eat me alive!
PEN. [she giggles, imitating Leo] “Few and far between… Men who’ve never known the meaning of fear… Men who—”
LEO. [he interrupts] Don’t say it! I’m too angry with you right now.
PEN. [motherly] I’m so sorry, Darling. Come on and sit down… [she takes him to the couch; he realizes the true pain of the dog bite as he sits; he leans aside, rubbing his rump]
PEN. You’re in pain. Can I kiss it for you?
LEO. [painful] Considering where that creature bit me, I don’t think you’ll wanna do that…
PEN. Does it hurt real bad?
PEN. Poor baby! Here, let me take your shoes off… [LEO cringes as she removes second shoe]
LEO. Oh, oh, OW! My toe! Is it still connected?
PEN. Looks fine to me. What about your other wound?
LEO. It’s burning! I think I’ve got rabies.
PEN. Let me go find some alcohol to clean it…
[PENNY exits into kitchen.]
LEO. [he is lying on his stomach facing stairs; he directs his voice toward the heavens] Why me? All this over a crazy little piece of cheesecake!
[a loud “pop” is heard from offstage in kitchen; Leo cannot see PENNY as she re-enters with bottle of expensive champagne and two glasses; she pours a generous quantity on Leo’s behind; the cold liquid makes he cry out]
LEO. Whoo-oooo-ooh! Coooold! Aaah… Aaaaaaaah! Penny! Are you crazy!!!
PEN. It’s the only kinda alcohol I could find. Besides—this way’s much more interesting. And now… we’ll just have to get you outa those wet things and into something more comfortable, won’t we?
LEO. Penny? [PENNY turns out light; she joins husband on couch.] Penny! What are ya doin? Penny? Penny, stop that! Penny! Ouch! No—it’ll never work that way. I can’t… Can’t you see I’m in pain? It won’t work, not tonight. Penny? Penny! Oh well—we’ll give it our best shot… Tonight we’ll live a little. Happy anniversary, Penny!
PEN. [she laughs, mischevious] Happy anniversary! Dahling!
[Stage remains dark until light and music come up at commencement of next scene.]
[Light on table comes up to a jazzy melody; PIERRE sits at table with two martinis; Woman from chorus line enters and approaches table.]
1st WOM. [sexy] Buy me a martini?
PIE. [rude] No! Get away!
[disappointed, Woman exits; another Woman, MARIE, enters, flirts with Pierre, and sits at table]
MAR. [she flirts] You’re cute. I’m thirsty. You gonna buy me a drink?
PIE. [rude] No! [he stands] Go away from me!
[MARIE goes to another table where another Man sits]
MAR. [to man] You’ll buy me a drink, won’t you, you sexy man? [Man’s pulls wad of money from wallet.]
MAN. Anything for you, Doll.
[CHORUS LINE enters stage from left and right]
PIE. [to man] Don’t do it! Just say no! You’ll be much better off.
PIE. She was here last night. They’re always here—like pigeons snatching crumbs. They fly from restaurant to restaurant, from bar to bar. Just say no! You’ll feel much better. Listen to me!
PIE. Don’t buy her drink—
CHORUS: Ooh boy! I’m thirsty!
PIE. Cuz that girl next to you
Ain’t what you think,
CHORUS: Long Island Iced Tea!
PIE. She might stay for one or two,
But then she’ll up and fly away,
CHORUS: Twist please!
PIE. Grab the drink and let you pay!
CHORUS: And squeeze!
PIE. You’re too damn easy,
‘No!’s all ya gatta say!
PIE. She came last night,
CHORUS: I’ll have another!
PIE. And she’ll come tomorrow too,
Drank with a fella there,
Then I sat and bought a few—
Spent all my money from this gig,
And the pay round here ain’t big,
I’m too damn easy,
‘No!’s all I hadda say!
PIERRE and CHORUS:
Dance with her– till the sun begins to rise,
SOLO CHORUS: And even
PIERRE and CHORUS:
Hold her close— look into those brown eyes,
PIE. But don’t buy that girl a drink,
Cuz I’m tellin’ you, Jack—
Don’t cha let her fool ya with that act,
She’ll pretend she loves ya till you lack
The money for another round!
PIE. I met her ex—
CHORUS: That no good liar!
PIE. In the unemployment line.
He said she left!
CHORUS: Well, he got fired!
PIE. When the boss flashed dollar signs—
He thought he’d take her on the town,
Till a richer man came round,
She’s gonna use you
Make ya spend your money and lose you,
Till ya learn ta tell her like I do—
No!’s’ all ya gatta say!
PIE. If you say no,
CHORUS: Life ain’t no freebie
PIE. You’ll end up a millionaire.
Then she’ll come round,
CHORUS: I will, believe me!
PIE. Justa beggin you ta share,
Then you’ll be callin all the shots,
And she’ll say she loves ya lots,
Don’t spend your money—
Bein broke an lonely ain’t funny—
Save it for a rainy day, Sonny—
“No!’s” all ya gatta say!
[CHORUS LINE exits]
MAR. You didn’t buy any of the nonsense, did ja? Come on, honey—buy me a drink.
MAN. [he looks at Pierre and then at his money] No! [to Pierre] Hey, that felt kinda good! Liberating actually.
PIE. Now you’re a free man. All you gotta do is just say no.
MAN. [to woman] No. [he laughs] No!
MAR. [disgusted] What a loser!
[MARIE and MAN exit; PIERRE sits, sips cocktail for a moment until EVE NEWSOME enters very elegantly dressed; the two kiss politely; violin begins in the background; EVE takes cigarette out of gold case; PIERRE lights cigarette; EVE blows smoke into his face before speaking.]
EVE. All right, Pierre—what’s this all about? We weren’t supposed to see each other again until our rendez-vous in Mexico… after you had finished taking care of my husband.
PIE. [cool] Ah wouldn’t (h)ave called you here, Cherie, if zis wazn’t important…
EVE. What is it? You know we shouldn’t be seen together tonight.
PIE. Your huzband!
EVE. Wayne? What? I thought you took care of him yesterday.
PIE. Well, Ah did. Ah tied him up and put him in the closet for tonight…
PIE. [quiet] Look—Ah saw a man here in the restaurant tonight who looked exactly like him! [with a spirit of intrigue] He called imself… a janeetor.
EVE. Was it him?
PIE. Ah don’t know for sure, but he waz here with a woman who looked just like you—
EVE. No! Your conscience must be getting to you—you’re imagining things. [EVE takes a drag on cigarette] Do you know where they went?
PIE. They went to the mansion. Charles took them. Ah know that for sure.
EVE. Then it must be Wayne. You didn’t tie him well enough! He must have gotten away!
PIE. But Cherie—Houdini himself could not have (e)scaped zose ropes! Ah tied him well!
EVE. Then he had help. He’s probably got Charles working for him again. Surely he knows all about us and our little plan by now.
MAN. [in background to a woman who has approached his table] No!
EVE. He probably has a little plan of his own…
PIE. Yes! And he’s waiting for us to make ze first move!
EVE. We should not go to the mansion tonight. I think he would have a trap there for us…
[MR. FIGARATTI enters; EVE and PIERRE move apart nervously; EVE takes a drag on cigarette.]
FIG. Hello Pierre… [he recognizes Eve] Well, well Eve? You’re still here? I thought Charles took you and your husband home hours ago?
EVE. [she attempts to play along] Why… why yes, of course! But I came back out. I needed the atmosphere and a drink.
FIG. Really Eve? On your anniversary night?
EVE. [puzzled] Oh… oh yes—Wayne’s a regular workaholic… [sarcastic] He’s probably hard at work right now.
FIG. That’s a good way to be. Unfortunately, I’m not where I can help it… and that brings me to your offer earlier tonight. You want to buy my restaurant. I have accepted your offer and given you a fair price for this area’s finest. [he gives her a large envelope] I was gonna mail these contracts, but since you’re here, you’ve saved me the postage. My lawyers will be in touch tomorrow.
MAN. [in background to another woman] No! [he laughs]
EVE. [still confused, she takes envelope, playing along] Thank you… thank you very much.
FIG. [he looks across room] I can see Charles is here to take my wife and me home. Have a pleasant evening and thank you, Mrs. Newsome. Good night.
EVE. [she forces a smile] Good night.
[FIGARATTI exits. EVE puts out cigarette.]
EVE. [to Pierre] I wonder if that was part of some master plan? Wayne’s a real schemer.
PIE. I dont know about zat, but I think I know why he came into the restaurant tonight—it waz to lure us out to ze mansion!
EVE. Well, we won’t go out there tonight. We’ll wait for tomorrow morning. We’ll be able to devise a decent plan by then.
PIE. [he sips drink] Fine. What about zis lady who looked like you? What do you think?
EVE. It was either Marie or some hired woman—all part of a master plan. Believe me—my husband… is capable… of anything. We’ll be ready for him tomorrow.
PIE. I hope so, Cherie. I want to get rid of zat huzband of yours for once and for all.
EVE. [he smiles] Now I’ll drink to that!
[EVE and PIERRE tap glasses, they draw close, and they kiss as lights fade to blackness; violin fades with lights; music begins and builds but fades as lights come up for the next scene in the Newsome mansion’s living room.]
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