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Big Winner: Act I, Scene I
Ruth, a young woman, wearing a skirt and top
Johnny, a young man, dressed in coveralls
As the lights go up, Ruth is sitting at the computer. She types. She laughs. She types some more. She laughs again.
Johnny enters through front door.
Johnny: Hi, honey.
Ruth, clicking the mouse hastily: Hi, Johnny.
Johnny: How's the homework coming?
Ruth: Great. (clicks a couple more times, stands and faces Johnny.) I finished the algebra assignment that's due tomorrow and got started on the essay that's due Monday. How was your day?
Johnny: Not bad, not bad.
Ruth: I was going to make that frozen chicken you like.
Johnny: Okay, thanks, hon.
Ruth: You don't have to have that if you don't want it. There's also frozen fish, or frozen stir fry, or frozen veggie burgers.
Johnny: The chicken will be fine.
Ruth: You don't like it?
Johnny: What? Oh, I didn't say that. The chicken will be great. I'm grateful to you that you're going to make it. I'm just so tired is all.
Ruth: I'll be happy to make it for you. (heads for the kitchen) It'll be ready in about twenty minutes.
Johnny: (moves toward sofa) Thanks so much. Can you bring me a beer?
Ruth: (makes a face) Oh, please don't drink tonight.
Johnny: Oh. Okay.
Ruth exits through kitchen door. Johnny sits down at the sofa.
Johnny: (to himself) Hump tires all day and don't even get a beer. Guess I'll just turn on the news. (turns on TV)
News Anchor: ... and a spokesperson for Wilson Tire said that restructuring would begin tomorrow.
Johnny: Wait, that's where I work.
News Anchor: All locations will remain closed while the troubled tire company seeks a buyer.
Johnny: Damn. What happened to Friendly Tire?
News Anchor: Negotiations with Friendly Tire broke off yesterday.
News Anchor:Frank Jenson, attorney for Friendly Tire said that the numbers just wouldn't work.
Johnny: (clicks the TV off with the remote) Oh. (stands up.) Damn. (sits down again.) Shit. I gotta have a beer. (looks at the kitchen door, looks back at the TV, sighs, stands up and heads for the kitchen)
Ruth: (coming out of the kitchen) Oh! It won't be ready for another fifteen minutes, Johnny.
Johnny: Ruth, I uh...
(Ruth looks at him expectantly)
Johnny: I uh...
Ruth: What's the matter, Johnny?
Johnny: I uh, just need to have a beer. You know, I only have two or three a week. It ain't no problem, is it?
Ruth: No, it isn't a problem, Johnny. Go ahead. Have your beer. (heads toward the bedroom)
Johnny sighs and goes into the kitchen.
Ruth goes into the bedroom and shuts the door. A half a second passes. Ruth opens the bedroom door slowly and quietly and checks to see if Johnny is in the room. Seeing that he isn't, Ruth emerges from the bedroom with a suitcase, steps quickly and quietly to the front door, opens the door, puts the suitcase outside and shuts and locks the door as quietly as she can.
Johnny: (coming out of the kitchen, beer in hand) Is somebody here?
Ruth: Oh, uh, no, Johnny. I, uh, thought somebody was here so I looked out the peep hole, but there was nobody there, so I opened the door to check it out.
Johnny: Ruth, we talked about this.
Ruth: I know, honey, but -
Johnny: Don't you ever open that door unless you know who's there. Some guy could be hiding out of range of the peep hole. Please promise me you'll never do that again.
Ruth: I promise, honey.
Johnny: Thank you. I love you and I want to know you're safe.
Ruth: I love you, too, honey.
Ruth starts toward the kitchen, watching Johnny from the corner of her eye. Johnny starts toward the couch, then stops and shakes his head. Ruth stops, watching him over her shoulder.
Johnny: Don't need no more news. (turns and heads toward the computer) Check my email.
Ruth: (moving quickly toward the computer) Honey, just let me save my work.
Johnny: (waves her ahead of him) Okay. You go ahead, college girl.
Johnny turns and heads toward the couch. Ruth goes to the computer and clicks the mouse several times. Johnny picks up a newspaper from the coffee table.
Johnny: (looking at newspaper) I am so proud of you, Ruth.
Ruth types "gtg" and clicks the mouse a few more times, throwing a smile over her shoulder at Johnny.
Ruth: Thank you, Johnny. All set. It's all yours.
Ruth stands and goes into the kitchen.
Johnny puts down the paper and goes to take a seat at the computer. Johnny clicks the mouse a couple of times. He pulls his wallet out of his pocket, takes a lottery ticket out of the wallet and sets it on the desk.
Johnny: Come on, baby, come on. Let me be the big winner tonight. If not any other night, this night. I never needed it like I need it now. Why is this damn web page taking so long to load? What's this? What's Messenger? We've got a program called, 'Messenger'? What does it do? (clicks the mouse) Who's Cleopatra? I'm not Cleopatra. And who's this Marc Antony? Wait. Menu. Profile. Hmmm. Ruth Peters. Cleopatra is Ruth. Cleopatra is Ruth? That mean Ruth is Cleopatra. What's that? Marc Anthony says he wants to do what? Just like last night? I was here last night. Wait. Can't wait to see you tonight? Oh. Oh, shit. Oh, Jesus.
Johnny puts his head in his hands.
Johnny: Maybe it's just play. I mean, I work ten hours a day, six days a week. So she has a little virtual thing happening. Who am I to say shit about that? Maybe it does no harm. Maybe I should just leave it alone. Just leave it alone. I don't know. Little bitch. If she caught me doing something like this she'd be gone. Little bitch. Hold on, there, Johnny. You just lost your job. Don't want to lose your woman, too. (clicks the mouse) Come on baby, big winner, big winner, come on. Let's see. (holds the ticket up next to the screen, looks from the screen to the ticket and back again) Two. Two. Six. Six. Fourteen. Fourteen. Holy shit. Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven. Holy fuck. Thirty-four. Thirty-four. (claps his hand over his eyes) Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby. (takes a deep breath and takes his hand away from his eyes) Fifty-two. (looks very slowly from the screen to the ticket) Holy Christ. Holy fucking tamales. Holy holy holy. The big winner is me. I am the big winner. Oh, I gotta tell her. I gotta tell her. The little bitch. (clicks the mouse) Two Twenty-Four Hauser Avenue at nine o'clock. (checks his watch) That ain't but an hour and a half from now. The little bitch. Guess I got some deciding to do.
Ruth: (poking her head out of the kitchen) Dinner's ready, Johnny.
Johnny: Okay. I'm coming.
Ruth goes back into the kitchen. Johnny gets up and goes toward the kitchen, but stops and goes to the front door and looks through the peep hole. He curses under his breath and opens the door. Ruth appears at the kitchen door.
Ruth: Johnny, where are you going? Your supper's ready.
Johnny brings the suitcase in and sets it on the floor.
Johnny: Lose something, Cleo?
Ruth stares at him.
Ruth: Well, what? I don't know where that came from. And what are you talking about?
Johnny: Oh, well, then, let's just look at the luggage tag. Probably it's still on there from our Florida vacation last year. Sure enough. Ruth Peters. Or should I say Cleopatra?
Ruth: Will you stop this foolishness? Your dinner's getting cold.
Johnny: Listen, Ruth, while I was on the computer Marc Antony paid me a little visit.
Johnny: Marc Antony, your online squeeze.
Ruth: Johnny, I don't know what delusion you are suffering under, but I have no online squeeze as you call it. What happened when you were on the computer?
Johnny:Well, this Messenger window popped up and this guy started typing about meeting you on Hauser Ave at nine o'clock.
Ruth: That stuff happens all the time. It was probably some sex pervert. They see my screen name, Cleopatra, and they think they can con me into some sick role playing game or something. I never do that stuff. You didn't answer him, did you?
Ruth: That's good. I'll block him later. I only have Messenger to instant message with classmates. I don't need these bozos wasting my time.
Johnny: (points at suitcase) What about this?
Ruth: (sighs) That's some stuff I'm giving to the Salvation Army.
Johnny: How come you snuck it out there like that?
Ruth: Well, some of it's your stuff. I didn't want to fight with you about getting rid of a couple of those shirts I can't stand.
Johnny: Oh, my bowling shirt? You're not going to give away my bowling shirt are you.
Ruth: (sighs) Oh, all right. I won't give away you're beloved god awful bowling shirt. I'll take it out of the suitcase after dinner.
Johnny: Thanks, honey. I won't wear it when you're around.
Ruth heads toward the kitchen.
Johnny: I'll be right in. I'm just going to use the bathroom.
Ruth: Okay, but hurry up. (goes into kitchen)
Johnny heads toward the bathroom, but watches over his shoulder as Ruth goes into the kitchen. When she is out of sight, he squats down beside the suitcase, lowers it quietly to the floor and opens it. He smiles a big smile of relief as he takes out his bright green bowling shirt and holds it up for the audience to see. Quickly he puts it back, closes the suitcase and sets it upright again, then heads into the kitchen.
Johnny: Did I ever tell you how much I love that frozen chicken you make, babe?
Ruth: (from inside kitchen) You go ahead and sit down, honey. I'll be right back.
Ruth comes out of the kitchen, grabs the suitcase, quietly opens the front door and leaves.