March 31, 2010

Opening Morning

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Parking Level 3
A new play

The time: This morning
The place: An underground parking garage

A young woman is parking her car.  It's dirty, as though she hadn't washed it in months, took it on a camping trip recently, and then continued to neglect its appearance.  She thinks she is singing the right words to some late 70's rock song on the only radio station that comes through in the underground structure.  She is not*.  She finishes straightening her parking job.  It is still not straight.  She is bad at parking.  She turns off her engine.

A man approaches the parking attendant.  He has a close-cropped haircut and wears a long sleeved tee shirt with the same of some place or event written on it.  He is not wearing it ironically.  He hands the parking attendant his keys.

The woman spots the man.  They know each other, work on the same television show.  She waves, approaches, and then freezes in the middle of the aisle, panic-stricken.  Is there anything that she and this coworker can talk about as they wait for the elevator up to their offices?  What about in the elevator?  As they walk to long corridor toward their respective desks?  If she can think of one question to ask this man, or one interesting thing that she herself can share to fill the journey to the second floor with some life, then she can proceed.  Her mind is blank.  She is unprepared for this mission.  It cannot but fail.  She must retreat.

Slapping her palm to her forehead in a gesture that can only be read as, "Oh no!  How stupid!  I completely forgot that thing in my car!" she makes an about face and returns to her vehicle where she sits on the driver's seat and showily runs her hand over the passenger's side searching for that missing invisible thing that called for her return. 

The man leaves the valet stand.  She waits, hears the faint ding of the elevator, slowly regathers her things, and, with a sigh that releases the weight of the world, makes the long journey upstairs safely.  Alone.

The End

*Production Note:  "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross would be a fine choice for this song, as the woman only recently realized that the lyrics are probably not "And I've got such a long way to go/To make it to the corner of Mexico."  Border.  That would be border.  Not corner.

Wardrobe note:  The young woman is wearing a flannel shirt that she thinks is feminine enough because it has purple in it, but a coworker later greets her with, "Good morning, Paul Bunyan."

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