Expired - A Play
Lights up on the set: a single parking meter stands alone, front, center stage, facing the audience. Behind the meter, off to the right, is a small, square table with two chairs. A man sits in the audience, acting as someone watching the show. After a moment of nothing happening, the man walks down and onto the stage. He digs through his pocket and withdraws two quarters, inserting them into the parking meter. After this is done, a woman approaches him from the right, just out of audience view.
Lindsay: Are you George?
George: Maybe I am.
Lindsay: It's so nice to finally meet you! I'm Lindsay.
George: [looking Lindsay up and down] It's a damn fine pleasure to meet you.
Lindsay: [giggles] You're quite a character.
George: I'm told that a lot. Would you like to grab some coffee?
Lindsay: Oh, I'd love to!
[They both sit down at the table, Lindsay the furthest away. A young waitress approaches them.]
Waitress: What can I get you today?
Lindsay: I'll just have a coffee. Black, please.
George: And I'll have your tea.
Waitress: Excellent choice. I'll be back in a moment with your orders. [She leaves]
George: You know, you look strangely familiar.
George: Yeah. I feel like I've seen you before. Weird.
Lindsay: [laughs quietly] Maybe we knew each other in a past life.
George: Ha, maybe. So, tell me about yourself, Lindsay. What does a beautiful woman like yourself do?
Lindsay: Oh, don't flatter me! [She giggles] Actually, I'm a third grade teacher.
George: You like kids?
Lindsay: For the most part.
George: Third grade. That must be a tough year.
Lindsay: It can be. It has its moments. But they're good kids. They try hard. They just need someone patient enough to work with them and have fun with it.
George: Sounds like you're the perfect person.
Lindsay: Ha. I sure try.
George: How long have you been teaching?
Lindsay: Well, third grade for three years. Before that I taught high school. Never. Teach. High school. It's a nightmare! Weed, sex, party, sleep. Weed, sex, party, sleep. It's all the same! They don't try.
George: Oh, come on, I'm sure there are some good students. I was never like that in high school.
Lindsay: I suppose. It's easy to overlook the good students when they are so few. Especially when you're teaching in a place like Lawrence.
George: I can imagine how difficult that would be.
Lindsay: And scary.
George: So you made a good decision to leave.
Lindsay: I like to think that. I feel bad though; the teacher's there have given up on the kids. It's so sad.
George: You're doing a good thing; don't worry about that.
Lindsay: Thanks. I've never had anyone listen to me talk about teaching. This is nice.
George: Oh, well, [laughs nervously] I think it's very interesting. I can't imagine what it must be like. You have to be so patient. I've never been very good with kids. Or maybe I'm never good with the parents. The kids seem to like me.
Lindsay: Bad role model?
George: Probably. [He laughs] So I like to have a little fun and pull pranks. What of it?
Lindsay: Well, we all have to grow up at some point.
George: You sound like my mother.
Lindsay: Do I?
George: Well, um, I mean, she's a very nice lady… when you're not her son… not like… well I didn't mean anything bad…
Lindsay: [laughing] Oh, it's just my teaching instincts kicking in. I'm sorry.
George: No, I'm not very good with pretty women. I'm sorry.
[The waitress returns with their orders]
Waitress: Can I get you anything else?
Lindsay: I'm all set, thanks.
George: We're good. Thank you.
Waitress: Alright, enjoy! [exits]
George: So, besides teaching, what else do you do?
Lindsay: Hmm… well, I like to paint. I used to teach in art class, but it's a difficult thing to teach. And after a year of teaching, I realized it wasn't for me. The teaching part, anyways. So I paint on my free time, when I'm not grading papers.
George: An artist, huh? That's sexy.
Lindsay: Sexy? You think?
George: Oh yea. Do you like, paint naked people? I could pose for you sometime…
Lindsay: [laughing] I'll remember that. [She sips her coffee, George stirs his tea around]
Lindsay: You're something else.
George: Is that a good thing?
Lindsay: I think so. You're not like many guys I've talked to. They're all so serious and can't make a good joke. You seem pretty confident and I get the vibe that you like to have fun.
George: Well, I'm glad someone thinks I have a good personality. Many of the girls I've talked to have been very insulted by the things I say, and I apologize ahead of time for anything stupid I say.
Lindsay: You haven't insulted me, and I wouldn't worry about it. You mean well.
George: Yeah, [stands up] I do!
George: [sits back down] Had to stretch my legs.
Lindsay: You know, George, you'll make some girl a very happy person. You have a great sense of humor, and I like that.
George: Ha, I try… George?
Lindsay: Um, what?
George: You called me George.
Lindsay: Isn't that your name?
George: No. What gave you that idea?
Lindsay: Is this some kind of joke? I'm not gonna lie, this one makes no sense. You can do better than that.
George: A joke? You're the one that called me George.
Lindsay: You said you were George.
George: I said nothing of the sort.
Lindsay: [angry, now] Excuse me? Who are you? I'm supposed to be meeting a George. Who are you?
[A police officer enters from the corner Lindsay entered from. She checks the parking meter, and seeing that there is only a few minutes left, she waits patiently, pen in one hand and a ticket in the other]
George: Oh, so now that I'm not George, you don't like me?
Lindsay: Who the hell are you?
George: I don't think I've done anything wrong. Five seconds ago you said I would make someone very happy and that I had a good sense of humor…
Lindsay: I'll call the cops!
George: …and now you don't like me because I'm not this George character…
Lindsay: WHO ARE YOU?
George:…What's he got that I don't?
Lindsay: SHUT UP!
George: Well, that wasn't very nice.
Lindsay: Listen to me, buddy, don't mess with me. I am an undercover agent with a gun in my jacket, and I'm pointing it at you under the table.
George: [looks under the table, bumps his head, then emerges]
Lindsay: [rolls her eyes] Idiot!
George: Whatcha gonna do with that gun?
Lindsay: If you don't tell me where George is, I'm going to have to shoot you.
George: George? I don't know any George. What do you want with this George person? Could you please put that gun away, you're aiming it at my crotch…
Lindsay: If you tell me what I want and keep quiet, I won't have to shoot you. Now tell me who you are working for and where George is.
George: Well, we never got to talking about me. I work in a button factory for-
Lindsay: SHUT UP! [Leans over the table and pulls George closer, whispering] I'm done playing your pathetic games. If you don't tell me what I need to know, I will shoot you.
[She readies the gun, still concealing it under the table]
[A man enters from the corner the police officer entered in. He walks towards the table where "George" and Lindsay sit, eyeing the officer.]
The Real George: Hey, Pete, there's a cop outside by your car.
Pete: No! I put two quarters in that damn meter! [He runs out][To the officer]: Stop! Hold on a minute!
George: Hello, there. I'm George, a friend of Pete's. I see he hasn't scared you off yet?
Lindsay: [standing up, laughing quickly] Oh, no, he's quite a character.
Pete: Look, ma'am, I still have a minute left! Let me put in another quarter. [Pete inserts another quarter. The officer rolls her eyes and walks back from where she came, just out of audience view]
Lindsay: I'm Lindsay.
George: It's very nice to meet you, Lindsay.
Lindsay: You as well. [She pulls out her gun and shoots George. George falls to the ground. The waitress runs out just as Lindsay runs out towards the parking meter, bumping into Pete. The waitress screams, Lindsay pushes Pete out of the way, and exits where she entered. The waitress dials 911 and is talking frantically into the receiver. Pete returns to the table, mumbling about how he had a minute left, stopping by George's head]
Pete: George, have you been drinking again?
Waitress: [speaking into the phone] Yes, she just shot him and ran!
Pete: I told you not to drink this early in the day!
Waitress: [speaking into the phone] Please hurry!
Pete: George, get up. Where did Lindsay go? I was really hitting it off with her. She thinks I'm this big jokester. She likes me. She said I had a great sense of humor. [He sits at the table, still talking] And she's a teacher and she paints. I told her I should model for her sometime. I mean, look at these guns! [He flexes the muscles in his arms] Yeah, that's right. I'm gonna get arrested for these bad boys.
Waitress: Sir, are you talking to him?
Pete: George? Yeah I am. I think he had a little too much to drink
Waitress: Sir, he's been shot!
Pete: Excuse me?
[Two medical personals enter with a stretcher. An officer enters and talks to the waitress while George is lifted onto the stretcher. They cover his body and take him out the same way they entered.]
Officer: [to waitress] Do you know what she looked like?
Waitress: I only got a brief look at her. She was sitting with that man over there. [She points to Pete who is staring at the spot where George was laying, his mouth hanging open. The officer approaches him. The waitress sobs into her hands and exits back stage.]
Officer: [to Pete] Sir, are you okay? [Pause] Sir, why don't you sit down? I'd like to have a word with you.
Pete: She shot George!
Officer: Sir, please sit down. [She pulls on his arm and he slumps into a chair. The officer sits across from him.]
Officer: What's your name, Sir?
Pete: Uh… Pete. My name's Pete. Pete Phillips. Where's George?
Officer: Pete, George has been taken to the hospital. Pete, what do you know about the girl that shot him? You were sitting here with her, weren't you?
Pete: Lindsay? Lindsay shot no one.
[Another officer enters.]
Officer 2: Linda, we have the list of phone calls from her cell phone. [He hands Linda a piece of paper]
Linda: Pete, the woman you were with is someone we have been trying to catch for a couple of months. We have been tracking the calls she has made, trying to stop her before she's done more damage. She killed another man last week.
Officer 2: Linda, we also matched up the bullets we found to the gun. The gun belongs to this man. [He hands her another piece of paper]
Linda: [in a more serious tone] Pete, who is Lindsay?
Pete: I just met her today.
Linda: Pete, I think you have something to do with this. Have you been working for her?
Pete: What the hell makes you think I've been working with her?
Linda: The gun she has been using belongs to you; Peter Phillips. This is your gun, am I correct? [She hands Pete the paper] She killed a man last week at the back of a 7/11. We used the security camera and found the serial number of the gun. After tracking the number, we found it belongs to Peter Phillips.
Pete: That's me. [takes the paper from Linda] And that's my gun, but I didn't buy it to shoot people with! How did she get my gun?
Linda: That's what I want to know, Pete. Did you buy this gun for her?
Pete: What? You can't be serious! That gun was bought for me. I bought it for protection. I've never used it in my life!
Linda: Do you recognize this number? [she shows Pete the list with the phone calls]
Pete: One of them is my cell phone. Do you have it? I lost it about a week back.
Linda: You lost your phone? How convenient.
Pete: I did! You think I've been making the calls to her?
Linda: Who else would?
Pete: I haven't had my phone all week!
Linda: So who has?
Pete: I don't know! If she has my gun, maybe she has my phone, too! She set me up!
Linda: [rubs her face] Pete, if you don't start being honest with me, you're gonna be in jail for a long time.
Pete: Jail? You can't take me to jail! I haven't done anything! [He slams his fist into the table] I want a lawyer!
Linda: Pete, work with me please. If you think she set you up, prove it. Have you seen her before?
Pete: No, I just met her today! But I swear I'm not working with her! Why would I work with someone who wanted to kill my best friend?
Linda: You tell me. Revenge? Did something happen between you and George?
Pete: Why are you blaming everything on me? You don't have proof.
Linda: We have more proof that you could have had something to do with this then proof that says you're innocent. For all we know, you could be a part of this, and we can't take chances. She has your gun, she's made calls to your phone, and this suggests that you could be guilty. We're going to have to take you down town for further investigation.
Pete: You can't! I didn't do anything wrong! She shot George! I want a lawyer!
Linda: Calm down, you'll get one. I hope you get a good one.
Pete: Wait. Wait! She did look familiar. Last week, around the time my phone went missing, someone came to my house saying that the state was doing inspections on the houses to make sure they were okay to live in. She went into the basement to check things. I wasn't worried about it. As far as I knew, she was keeping me safe! She could have stolen my things when I wasn't looking!
Linda: You said you lost your phone a week ago, when Lindsay "inspected" your home. But, she has been making calls for over a month to your phone…
Pete: Uh, that's what I meant. It must have been a month ago.
Linda: If that's what you meant, why didn't you just say that?
Linda: I'll give you one more chance, Pete.
Pete: She set me up!
Linda: Did she?
[a phone rings, the sound comes from Pete.]
Linda: Give me the phone, Pete. [Linda glances at the caller idea] She stole your phone, huh? [she answers the phone] Hello, Lindsay. This is officer Erb. I'm afraid your friend screwed up big time. Next time, try someone who's a better liar. [She hangs up, turns to Pete]
Pete: It wasn't my idea! George was my best friend! I didn't know what he did to Lindsay until she told me. She said when she was around twelve years old her mother hired George to fix some things in the house. George raped Lindsay and killed her mother. Apparently Lindsay over heard George and her father talking and found out her father hired George to kill his wife, and that's why Lindsay killed her father. The murder last month. And then she must have wanted to kill George.
Linda: So you knew about the other murder as well?
Linda: So you let Lindsay kill your friend?
Pete: No! I didn't know! She didn't say she was going to kill him! I knew he came here every day for a cup of coffee on his lunch break, so we played it off as if we didn't know each other waiting for him to show up. I had no idea she would do this!
Linda: Well, Pete, we're going to have to take you down town. [She stands up. Pete stands up as well. The second officer pulls Pete's arms behind his back and hand cuffs him. The three walk out towards the parking meter. As they leave, the waitress emerges and stands near the table. She pulls of a mask revealing her true identity: George.]
George: [pulls a cell phone out of his pocket and dials a number] Nice try, Lindsay, but you killed the wrong guy. Who would have though Pete had two friends named George? What a coincidence, and lucky for me. Poor guy, he had no idea what was going on. Just saw Pete's car outside and stopped in. It's too bad you jumped to conclusions. If you paid any attention, you would have realized it wasn't mean, even after all these years. Better luck next time, Suga. [He laughs and hangs up, and then exits back stage. At that moment, the meter expires. Linda stops, noticing the expired meter and pulls out a pen and paper and writes up a ticket. She hands the ticket to Pete who groans. They exit. Lights fade out.]