Romance by the Book by Jody Lebel


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

ACT ONE - Scene 1


SHEILA is at the kitchen table reading a romance novel.

ROSE comes in.

Thanks for letting me borrow this.

(Places item on table.)

You got coffee?

Sure, sit a minute. Carl's still in the shower getting ready for work.

(Pours coffee.)

So you got another birthday coming up, huh?

Yes, and I'm dreading it. Not because I'm a year older mind you,
but I just know Carl is going to fail miserably in the gift department.

Ah, yes, the gift. I've given up. I buy my own now.

At least that way you'll get what you want. I always have such high
hopes and then I get let down. You'd think I'd learn.

He used to get you great stuff.
I was always a little jealous to tell you the truth.

I know. When we were first married he used to bring me flowers and
sweet cards, and always a thoughtful gift like jewelry or perfume.
But then after a few years the flowers and cards stopped coming.

For me too. My Harry said he was allergic to flowers but I never
believed him. He's allergic to opening his wallet.

Then the gifts started being - let' say not so personal. Like
he got me a treadmill one year. And one time it was a sewing machine.
But last year was the worst. He handed me a gift certificate over my
breakfast Danish. Here, he says. Like he was passing the butter.

I remember that. You were pretty upset.

And it was from some rinky-dink store by his office. He couldn't
even take the time to go to a nice mall store. I like Victoria's
Secret. She doesn't like me.

(Plucks at housedress)

But I like her.

Better a rinky-dink store than from a gas station. My Harry did that
once. I can guarantee you he'll never do that again.

If you could have anything in the world for your birthday, what would
it be?

I really don't need things. I have things.

(Gestures around.)

What I'd really like is to go back to my first years of marriage
when Carl was still thoughtful.

Have you tried leaving him hints?

Carl doesn't take hints. It's more like I have to hit him over the head.

(Picks up her book and pretends to whack him then stares at the book
cover and says:)

Why can't our husbands be more like the men in my novels? They
know how to treat their women.

My first husband was romantic.

Vito? You were only married for three months before you left him.

Well, he was a cop. I didn't know that being married to a cop was
like getting a bikini wax: It starts off hot quickly turns painful and
you end up crying.

(Points to book.)

She has a lot of va-va-voom. Maybe you should show a little more

(Jiggles her shoulders.)

(Looks down at her own chest.)

What cleavage? There never was much of that and still Carl used to be
romantic. I don't know what happened. After only fifteen years of marriage
he's happy to plop in his big easy chair and hold the remote instead of me.

Didn't you two go out to dinner a few weeks ago?

(Makes face.)
He took me to Big Jim's Eatery. Not exactly a romantic dinner.

He's a good guy though, your Carl. A sweetheart.

Sure he is. I'm not saying that. He's good natured, dependable,
and always was a hard worker. The folks down at the office love him.
But he's also predicable, a home-body, and a bit boring to tell you
the truth. I'm afraid - I think we've lost the zing.

The zing?

Yeah, you know.

(Puts her hand on her stomach.)


I do know. My Harry is still feisty but the zing I can't say
I've heard it lately myself.

In the early days Carl would come home and sweep me up in his arms and
twirl me around until I was dizzy.


The last time I was dizzy was from the fish at Big Jim's.

And things in the romance department have been kinda quiet for some
time now. He used to nibble on my ear like I was something tasty. I
miss that stuff.

Maybe Carl just needs a little reminder. Does he read these romance
novels of yours?

Noooo. He reads spy thrillers. But I think you've got something
there, Rose. He does need a reminder. I've got to find some way to
turn him back into the man I married.

Maybe he can take a refresher class or something. They got everything
on-line these days.

I don't think you can get the zing on e-Bay.

If you could, housewives all over the world would be maxing out their
credit cards. So what are you going to do? Do you have a plan?

Not exactly. But I know I want more than a "peck on the check and a
what's for dinner?"


(checks watch.)
Speaking of a plan, if Harry plans to have breakfast, I'd better get
over there and make it.
(Rose gets up to leave.)
I'll call you later. Take it easy on him.

Not a chance. First I'll find out if it's as bad as I think it is.
Then I'll figure out something from there.

(They wave, Rose exits. Sheila picks up her book and begins to read.)


[end of extract]


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