Sal– 23,with bright eyes and a sense of style all his own
Vinnie– 20, is the darkest of the bunch, of slender build
Pablo– 22, a handsome character, the most stylish, built for the nightlife
Leo– 27, noticeably the oldest, dresses in plain clothes and has a curious look about him
Georgia– 20, a wistful girl, as old as the others but with at once an old soul and youthful spirit
Venus– 19, the perfect woman, physically beautiful, seductive and mysterious
The entire play takes place in the messy living room. There is a desk with laptop. A couch, a recliner, and a coffee table. (Each new day all characters but Venus are wearing slightly different clothing). Sal stands downstage of the scene, right on the lip. Leo is at his laptop, one hand grasping a cup of coffee. Vinnie is hunched over, drawing on a notepad resting on the coffee table. Lights are dim on the scene. Leo and Vinnie are frozen.
Sal: (addressing the audience) Um…hello. Hi. My name is Sal. Just…Sal. This, behind me, is where I live. It’s not much, but…it’s not much. These are my roommates. Two out of three, anyway. The third one’ll pop up sooner or later I’m sure. Leo’s on his laptop typing to his secret lover. At least, we think it’s a secret lover. Hard to tell. Don’t let his somewhat lackluster appearance fool you. He’s a genius. An inventor. If you ask me, he should be a multi-billionaire right now, working on government-military weapons as secret as his romantic interest. But he’s not…that’s the world for you. The ominous looking fellow on the couch is Vinnie. An artist. A self-proclaimed Bohemian.
Vinnie: (unfreezes) Damn it! Piping hot hellfire damn it! (freezes)
Sal: He’s also tends to be a bit…mentally askew. A hothead, too. Hm. I guess these stage freezes can’t last forever. I’ll go ahead and wrap things up then. Like I said my name is Sal. I’m nothing amazing, really, but after years and years of ceaseless searching, looking for every symbol, every hidden meaning in every facet of everything, I have discovered the meaning of life!
Leo: (unfreezes. Sighs loudly and takes a sip of coffee. Freezes)
Sal: Oh. Well, I’d better get back to my apartment then. It’s time to share my discovery with the world…or my roommates. (Sal sits down in his recliner, lifts his notepad into his hand) And action. (lights go up. Everything unfreezes. Sal writes a little, building himself up, making sure he’s gotten everything right) Leo. Vinnie. I have an announcement to make. (clears throat) I have discovered-
Vinnie: I’ve created the perfect woman!
Vinnie: For years and years I’ve searched…constantly, but I’ve done it. I have done it! Me! Vinnie! I knew that if I wanted it enough, if I embraced the true meaning of life, of love, I would eventually create the the perfect woman on paper for all the world to see!
Sal: The meaning of life?
Sal: You said you embraced the meaning of life? What is it?
Vinnie: What? I don’t- Who cares? I have on this paper, written in these notebooks, what combines to be the true definition of the perfect woman for me, for you. For everyone! Flawless in every way.
Sal: I’m just saying that I’m interested in your meaning of life because I myself have been-
Pablo: (bursts in through the door and, as if all his energy drains out, collapses onto the couch, obviously hung over) Guten tag, mi amigos!
Vinnie: Watch it!
Sal: (aside) Pablo, our fourth roommate, back from another night of the intense perversion.
Pablo: (singing) I love sex. Sexy, sexy sex. Sex with ladies of all shapes and sizes…except for the fat ones. And the midgets. Sometimes the midgets. I have to be in a particular mood. (puts arm around Vinnie) I am so hungover. Woooo!
Vinnie: Will you-?
Pablo: (jumps up) Damn, I’m thirsty. (exits)
Leo’s computer beeps. He is immediately excited and types rapidly in response.
Sal: Anyway, guys, as I was saying…
Vinnie: The perfect woman. My mind has conceived her, but now I have to find her. She’s out there somewhere I know. (starts toward the exit)
Sal: Are you sure-
Pablo: (entering, holding an empty carton of orange juice) Who drank all the OJ? (notices Vinnie. Leo’s computer beeps) Where are you going?
Vinnie: You’ll see.
Sal: (sighs) He’s going after the perfect woman. He created her on paper and has decided to find out if she actually exists.
Vinnie: She does exist!
Pablo: You can keep your perfect woman. I like my ladies a little rough around the panties if you know what I mean. Experienced in the art of pleasure. Perfect girls are too clean. Too boring.
Vinnie: Excuse me for wanting more out of a woman than a drunken night of weightless lust and perversion. When I find this flawless form, this swan amongst swine, I will sweep her off her feet and she will sweep me off mine. And as we two merge into one being, the shared love will be far greater, far more potent than any love that this world has ever felt. (Computer beeps and Vinnie exits, slamming the door)
Pablo: (to Sal) Did you drink this? (Sal shakes his head. To Leo) You? (no response) I mean, I was really, really craving some OJ and then I open the fridge and what do I see? OJ! Right there, calling for me. I reach for it and, to my surprise, it’s empty. Another shattered dream for Pablo. Keep in mind that I’d be a whole lot angrier if I didn’t have such a sexy night. (singing) Sexy, sex sex…
Sal: I found out the meaning of life!
Pablo: Oh. (pause) Later. (Rushes out)
Sal: (creeps toward Leo, trying not to startle him) Leo? Um…Leo? (Computer beeps, Leo types something with a smile and then turns to Sal) Leo, hey.
Sal: Sorry to bother you. I just- I made a discovery today and I- (Computer beeps, Leo returns to it and begins to type) I thought that I’d… You’d listen… Leo? Hey, Leo, I- Nevermind. (aside) It’s amazing how people can be so consumed by life that they fail to find the meaning in it. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…
Sal snaps his fingers and the lights go out. He snaps again and the lights go on. Pablo is sitting in the recliner, reading an old book while listening to music on his earphones. Leo is at the computer, and Sal sits close to Georgia on the couch. Everyone but Sal is frozen at the beginning.
Sal: This is Georgia, my girlfriend of six months. We’re in love. She’s into nature and art and finding deeper meaning in life, like me. If anyone will appreciate my discovery it’s her. In a way, I’m glad she’ll be the first to know. It seems right.
Georgia: So you wanted to tell me something?
Sal: Yes, love. Yes I did. I have discovered the meaning of life.
Georgia: The meaning of…
Sal: Yes. Yes. I know it seems like a bit much for a mere mortal such as myself.
Georgia: No. Not at all. In the time I’ve known you I’ve found that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. So, my dear, what is the meaning of life?
Sal: Well… (Computer beeps. Leo types) I… The meaning of life…
Georgia: What’s wrong?
Sal: I…I had it yesterday, I did. Something about…fate…brotherhood…the art of nature…the stars. The answer was so clear. I don’t know what happened.
Georgia: Maybe it’s different now.
Georgia: Sure. Why not? Maybe life as we know it is changing right under our noses. Maybe what was true yesterday isn’t true today.
Sal: But the meaning of life it’s…it’s as old as life itself. It’s constant. Always the same. Like…like the passing of time.
Georgia: (kisses Sal) Nothing is truly constant, love. Even constants like time are relative. The hour before your first art show is a lot longer than the hour after.
Sal: So life…
Georgia: …is going through a metamorphosis. Can you feel it?
Georgia: (rises from her seat) Give it time. You’ll see. Life is not what it was yesterday. (checks watch) Oo…I have to get going. I’ve got work in an hour. I’ll call when I’m done. Love you. Bye.
Sal: Love you, too. (Georgia exits) (aside) Isn’t she great?
Pablo: (to Sal, laughing) Hey, Sal, check out what I found when I was at my parents the other day. It’s the journal I kept when we were kids. Listen- listen to this. April 14th, 1994: “I found a baby rabbit today. I didn’t see its mom or dad I guess they got shot or hit by a car or something so I decided I’d be its new parents.” Ha. I was such a nerd.
Sal: I remember that day. You loved that little rabbit. What did you name it again?
Pablo: Bobby. Ricky. Who cares? It was just a stupid rabbit. (checks his watch) Oh, shit. I need to change. (places journal on recliner) I’ve got a date with a set of twins from Romania. They don’t speak much English but they won’t have to for what I’ve got in mind. Ha. (exits)
Leo gets up, puts his jacket on, and heads for the exit
Sal: Where are you going?
Leo: A date.
Sal: With your friend from the Internet?
Sal: Will this be the first time you two’ll be meeting in person?
Sal: Are you excited?
Leo: Yeah. I’m in love. (exits)
Sal: (pause) (aside) Life is changing. I think I’m starting can feel it. (exits)
Vinnie enters with Venus. The two sit down on the couch.
Vinnie: They didn’t believe me. They didn’t think you were real. But here you are, the perfect woman. You’re everything I knew you would be and more. So much more. And you’re all mine. And I’m all yours. Forever. (they kiss passionately)
Lights out. Lights go up. Pablo, in his boxers and a robe, is typing and focusing intensely on Leo’s computer. The journal is exactly where it had been before. Sal enters from his room.
Pablo: Hey, Sal, where’s Leo?
Sal: I don’t know. He had a date last night. What are you doing on his computer?
Pablo: Reading all his saved conversations.
Sal: Pablo! That’s private.
Pablo: This is the most sickeningly cute, make-me-want-to-vomit, crap I’ve ever read in my life. Leo. Sheesh.
Sal: Pab, you shouldn’t be on there.
Pablo: Did you know Leo’s gay?
Pablo: Yea. There are a few elements of the human anatomy mentioned here that I’m pretty sure are male-specific.
Pablo: Says here his homo-lover’s screen name is HardforYou16. Haha…hard for you- that’s pretty frickin’ hilarious. Hard for…
Sal: Pablo, leave Leo’s stuff alone. He obviously doesn’t want us knowing anything about it. Besides, who cares if he’s…gay. His partner…
Sal: They seem to be very happy. Now get away from there.
Pablo: Yes, mama. (Pablo sits down, lifting his journal)
Sal: Last night was their first date.
Pablo: Yea. I know. Read it ten minutes ago.
Sal: So, how were the Romanians?
Pablo: Pretty kinky. Europe really needs to enforce laws against unshaven…parts, though. Kind of a turn off.
Sal: Do you ever think about…I dunno…finding a nice girl…maybe getting married some day-?
Pablo: Ha, nope. That’s not my world. That’s yours. Not mine. Yours. Life’s a party, man. Spending every day with the same person is a waste when you can have a different one every night. Variety, the spice of life. Sex, drugs, rock and roll. The old legends had it right. Granted, they all OD’d, but while they were alive…oh man.
Sal: But what about love? The sacred kind between two people. Knowing that there is someone who will be there for you no matter what. Someone who accepts everything about you and cherishes every moment you spend together. Someone you can grow old with. I’ve got it. Leo’s got it. Even Vinnie’s out looking for someone.
Pablo: It’s not for me, alright? It’s just…love and I don’t mix. I don’t…love. It’s a waste. It’ll end in heartbreak every time. Maybe not now, but eventually. There’s too much stress involved. Arguments over nothing. Always compromising who you are to make the other happy. Forever trapped in the prison of a relationship. It’s a waste of good pure frivolous fun. Sex with strangers. Parties all night long without a care in the wold. Ultimate freedom. That’s the life for me.
Sal: I’m sorry you feel that way.
Vinnie: (enters from his room) I found the perfect woman. (silence) Don’t believe me? She’s in my bed right now. Go ahead, look at her. Gaze upon the immaculate.
Pablo: (pause) I gotta see this. (exits)
Leo enters, smiling.
Sal: Leo! How was the date?
Leo: Very good. (he goes to his computer) We’re in love.
Pablo: (enters) Well…
Vinnie: Wasn’t she the most beautiful thing your eyes have ever beheld?
Pablo: Um… Leo. How was your date?
Leo: We’re in love.
Pablo: My sincerest condolences.
Pablo: Yea. Beautiful. Whatever. Big deal.
Vinnie: Y-you’re just jealous because I have found true love and you have damned yourself to a life of hard liquor and STD’s! You will never know what love is! Never! (scurries to his room)
Pablo: No one was there.
Pablo: I walked into his room, looked around a bit. No one was there.
Sal: Maybe she was under the covers.
Sal: In the bathroom?
Pablo: Nope. Unless this girl took a fifteen story dive from the bedroom window there was no one back there.
Pablo: He’s nuts.
Sal: No, there’s got to be an explanation.
Pablo: There is. He’s nuts.
Vinnie: (enters) Oh, she’s awake. My Venus is awake. I know! I’ll make brunch for us all. Belgian waffles. Her favorite. (exits)
Pablo: Well then…wow. (slowly creeps to the recliner and pages through his journal) Remember yesterday when you wanted to know that rabbit’s name? It was Bucky. And I thought I was creative as a child.
Sal: (sits down on the couch, closest to Pablo) Are you sure there’s no one back there?
Pablo: (ignoring that comment) I made him a little house with a milk crate, furnished it with grass and a dog dish filled with lettuce and carrots and water. Remember?
Sal: Yea. You and Bucky were real close. Honestly, I was a little jealous.
Pablo: And then he ran away. After all those weeks I was there for him, caring for him, he just up and ran away. How could he do that to me? After all I’d done for him.
Sal: You loved him.
Pablo: …Yea. I should’ve taken that as a sign. Would’ve saved me a lot of shit down the line I can tell you that much.
Sal: Life’s not always easy.
Pablo: Mine is.
Leo, angry, slams his fist down on his desk, startling the other two. Leo types furiously.
Sal: Leo. Are you okay? (no answer) Hm.
Pablo: (reading still) Hm. Frickin’ rabbit. I could really use some hot sex right now.
Vinnie: (enters with Venus) Hello, everyone, I would like to introduce you to Venus, my angel on earth! Have a seat my dear. (They both sit on the couch with Vinnie in the middle) Have you ever seen anything quite like this?
Pablo: (looking past Vinnie) Can’t say that I have. No.
Sal: (pause) Haha, good one. You had us for a second.
Vinnie: What are you talking about?
Leo bangs on his computer, distraught.
Pablo: (whispers) I think he’s serious.
Vinnie: She’s into poetry just like me. Aren’t you, Venus? (she nods excitedly) She doesn’t say much but I’ve found that Venus and I are so in sync we communicate on a level that’s almost…telepathic. (he begins to stroke Venus’ hair and the two playfully kiss each other)
Sal: (to Pablo) There’s no one there-
Pablo: (to Sal) I know there’s no one there!
Sal: What should we do?
Pablo: Nothing. I’m pretty amused.
Sal: (to Vinnie) Vinnie, um, about this…Venus.
Vinnie: Isn’t she everything you could ever want in a woman?
Sal: About that…I-
Leo bangs on his desk three times and the door buzzer buzzes
Pablo: I’ll get it. (moves to the exit and presses the intercom button. Leo stands and starts for the exit, like walking dead) Who’s there?
Police: This is the police. Is there a Leonardo-?
Leo: (into the intercom) I’m coming. (to the others) I love him. (exits)
Sal: I can feel it.
Lights up. Vinnie is making out with Venus on the couch. Frozen. Sal addresses us. He changes his shirt as he talks.
Sal: We didn’t hear from Leo for the rest of that day and most of the next. Pablo suggested we go look for him…at the local precincts maybe…but I figured Leo had a good reason for keeping us in the dark. Besides, (gestures toward Vinnie) there were more pressing issues to attend to. Vinnie has been kissing and fondling his imaginary Siren for the better part of an hour. Though I wasn’t exactly sure how to break the news to him that his perfect woman didn’t exist, I thought I’d bring in someone who could.
There is a knock on the door. Everything unfreezes.
Sal: It’s open!
Georgia: (enters) Hey, love.
Sal: Hey there. Thanks for coming, I-
Georgia: (notices Vinnie) Oh wow.
Sal: Yea. I tried to get through to him a couple times yesterday but…he’s just…gone.
Georgia: (sits beside Vinnie) Vinnie. Excuse me…Vinnie?
Vinnie: Oh, Georgia! When did you get here? I was a bit occupied. I’ve found the perfect woman. Isn’t she amazing?
Georgia: (silence) She’s not real, Vinnie.
Vinnie: What…what are you talking about?
Georgia: Venus. She’s not real.
Vinnie: Haha, that’s the stupidest- She’s right here. Look.
Georgia: (thinks) When you kiss…how does it feel?
Vinnie: How does… It feels like- like the most wonderful, magical kiss that- that I’ve ever had!
Georgia: And when you make love?
Vinnie: It’s perfect. Perfect. It’s- I don’t have to talk about this with you!
Georgia: (to Venus) And, Venus, do you feel the same way?
Vinnie: (pause) She’s the quiet type. Shy. She only speaks to me. It’s…it’s…
Vinnie: Exactly. Beyond words.
George: Or all in your head.
Georgia: She’s not there.
Vinnie: She is!
Georgia: You need help.
Vinnie: You’re just- you’re just jealous! Pablo, you, all of you! Jealous that you and Sal will never ever have what I do! Ever!
Sal: Yesterday during breakfast. Belgian waffles. Her favorite. She didn’t take a bite. Not one bite. She didn’t even drink a sip of water. Or pull her chair back when she stood up.
Vinnie: Maybe I’m the only food and drink she needs. Did you think of that? Did you think of that?! Jealous bastards. Fucking jealous bastards… (tries to hold Venus but she backs away, startled by his angry display) What are you-? (Venus stands up. He pursues) I’m sorry I…scared you. They don’t understand us. No one understands! The people in the restaurants, the park- no one! B-but we understand and that’s all that matters. That’s all we need. (Venus starts for the door) Venus. Where are you- ? Don’t go. Please…don’t go. Venus? (Venus exits) Venus!
Vinnie runs off after her, pushing past Pablo who is entering, holding a newspaper.
Pablo: Whoa. Trouble in paradise?
Sal: Georgia got through to him. Venus…ran away.
Georgia: I think he’s starting to realize that he was living a lie. His girlfriend’s departure is proof of that. Now it’s only a matter of time before his subconscious desires return to the subconscious. I just hope he doesn’t…
Pablo: Do something stupid? We’re way beyond that point, George. (holds up the paper) Anyway, check out what I found during one of my drunken odysseys in the wee hours of the morning. I was a little too wasted to read it at the time but…yea. (hands the paper to Sal. He and Georgia read)
Georgia: Is that…?
Sal: Leo. “Taken to the local precinct yesterday…in a five month relationship with local sixteen year old Ethan Sallis……charged with statutory…escaped during questioning…Ethan had been confirmed missing hours later…both claim to be in love…police believe the two are on the run…if anyone has any information…”
There is a long pause. Leo bursts into the room with a duffel bag and exits to his room. He reappears with clothing thrown in his bag then stuffs his computer inside. He runs to the exit, stops, shares a look with Sal and the others, and exits. Pablo’s cell phone rings.
Pablo: Hello? Yo, Mikey, what’s up? Uh huh…haha yea! (suddenly startled) Oh. I see. (continues to talk as he exits to his room)
Sal: (to Georgia) Leo…
Georgia: I-I…hope he’s… (exhales)
Sal: Me too. I mean…wow. I-I had no idea. The cops never came and- Whew. And Vinnie. An imaginary girl…
Georgia: I know. It’d be funny if it weren’t so utterly tragic.
Sal: A part of me still thinks it was a joke. I mean…an imaginary girlfriend?!
Georgia: You said he was on medication. Maybe he’s been skipping out, you know?
Sal: Maybe. Do you remember all that stuff you were saying about life changing.
Georgia: Mm hm.
Sal: I can feel it more and more with each passing hour. It’s…like a heavy weightlessness floating all around. Indescribable. Morphing. Terrifying. It’s terrifying. (Pablo returns, ghost-like) Pab…are you alright?
Pablo: Yea. Sure. I’m fine. I just have to go, that’s all. I’ll be back. (exits hurriedly)
Georgia: It’s closing in.
Lights out. When lights come on. It’s dark in the room. Nighttime. Pablo sits in the recliner, mentally and physically disheveled, reading his journal. After a moment of silent reading Sal wanders in from his room in pajama pants and a closed robe, tired.
Sal: Pab. What are you doing up?
Pablo: (distant) Reading. I really did love that rabbit. L-listen to this. Listen to what I wrote with my little ten year old hands. “May 12th, 1994. Bucky’s been gone for a whole week now. I guess he’s never coming back. We were best friends. We played games and jumped and ate lunch together. But I guess he wanted to be off with the other rabbits. I guess it was time to go. But, I know wherever he is he’s still thinking about me just like I’m thinking about him. I bet he’s telling all his new rabbit friends about me. I’m sad that he’s gone, but I’m not mad. Because I will always have the memories of all the fun we had together. I’ll always have the love.” What happened to me? Why, because of a few tears at my heart, did I become this? You warned me. You’ve always warned me. But I was too far gone. Now I’m gone forever.
Pablo: It was Mikey who called yesterday. My buddy from around here. We go clubbing together sometimes, always competing to see who could get laid first. He said he ran into some street evangelist a couple few back with three ladies hanging from his arms. Heh. Said that evangelist put the fear of God into him and frightened him all the way to the hospital where he- he got…tested. The tests came out positive.
Pablo: He’s dying, Sal. He’s dying. My buddy…
Sal: I’m sorry.
Pablo: And you know what else? He told me he was pretty sure how he got it. He said it was after a night he’d spent with a pair of twins from Romania. (pause) Fucking rabbit. (Sal moves close to Pablo who is growing more emotional by the second and they hug)
Lights out. Lights go up with Pablo on the recliner and Sal on the couch, both sleeping. Vinnie stands behind the both of them, darkness in his expression. Sal wakes up with a yawn, noticing Vinnie.
Pablo: (Starts to wake up) Huh?
Sal: You’re back.
Vinnie: She’s gone. Gone. (reveals a handgun)
Sal: Vinnie, what are you?
Pablo: (sees gun) What the-?
Vinnie: (slowly raises it to his head) My Venus. My perfect woman. I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. We were going to get married and start a family and grow old together.
Pablo: She wasn’t real.
Sal: Vinnie, put the gun down. There’s no need for this.
Vinnie: (the gun is at his head) Of course there is. Without love there’s no reason to live. And when…when you’ve found the greatest love of all…and lose it, well…(to Sal) you’ll see.
Georgia: (in pajamas, from Sal’s room. Notices Vinnie)Vinnie!
Vinnie: Georgia. How could I forget? You’re the one who scared her away. (points his gun at her)
Sal: (leaps to tackle Vinnie) No!
A gunshot followed by silence. Smoke fills the stage floor as Sal moves down center, looking out to the audience. Behind him, in a perfect horizontal line, Georgia, Pablo, Sal, and Vinnie (with Venus on his arm) emerge from the darkness and freeze.
Sal: (clears his throat) The meaning of life…according to me. Sal. Um…life is always changing. One minute everything seems exactly as it should be and the next everything you ever believed turns out to be a lie. Life is disappointment. It’s agony and heartbreak. But it’s yours. It’s mine. And we are its masters when all is said and done. (Walks to Pablo) Sometimes life stings us with harsh revelations. (to Leo) Sometimes it calls for us to betray what is accepted in order to do what we feel is right. (to Vinnie) Sometimes it forces us to betray reality in order to achieve our dreams. (to Georgia) Sometimes it gives us everything we’ve ever wanted…only to tear it away. Whatever life hands us we have freedom to react however we see fit. And, no matter what, no matter how oppressed, offended, defeated we feel life does go on. We learn from the hard times and face the future with knowledge and power we could never have achieved without the past. The meaning of life is love. Loving every aspect of your life. Yourself. Your talents. Your body. Your imperfections. Loving your world. Loving others. (opens his robe revealing a spot of blood, soaked through his shirt) Until death do us part.