• Joseph Johnston

"It’s Too Nice A Day For All That"


Setting: A horseshoe pit on an otherwise desolate stage

Cast: ROGER, a middle-aged or older man, paunchy, in a flannel shirt. Eyeglasses and papers in his breast pockets.

CHERYL, a middle-aged or older woman in pajamas with slippers and a housecoat that goes nearly to the ground.

At Rise: Roger and Cheryl are pitching horseshoes from stage right to left, then upon completing a turn, from left to right. Cheryl scores periodically, but Roger never connects with the post.

Cheryl

We should go down to the bar, Roger.

Roger

It's too nice a day for the bar, don't you think, Cheryl? Bars are for Saturday nights, aren't they?

Cheryl

I guess. Still, might be nice to drop some quarters into the jukebox. Have a few drinks. Dance. Remember dancing?

Roger

Not really.

Cheryl

There's darts at the bar. We could play darts.

Roger

I'm not really good at darts.

Cheryl

Remember drinks? Out in public, I mean.

Roger

Maybe on a day that's not so nice, Cheryl.

Cheryl

Hey, we could go down to the St. Priscilla's car show today. See the classic cars. Get some hot dogs. That would be fun. Nice change of pace.

Roger

It's too nice a day for car shows and hot dogs, don't you think? That's more of a miserable summer afternoon thing to do. Not something you do on a nice day like today.

Cheryl

What day is it, anyway?

(Roger removes several papers from his breast pockets and fumbles through them, finally unfolding what appears to be a large calendar, with various dates crossed off in no discernible order.)

Roger

It's today.

Cheryl

But what 'day' is it, you know? Like day of the week.

Roger

Why do you have to know? It doesn't matter.

Cheryl

Of course it matters.

Roger

Why? You got some place to be?

Cheryl

I just want to know what day it is. I'm sick of not knowing.

Roger

It's today. That's all that matters. And we're together. And it's too nice a day to worry about being anywhere else, or doing anything else. Don't you think?

(Cheryl pitches a horseshoe)

Cheryl

I'm rather tired of this game, Roger. We really need to end it.

Roger

I suppose we could get out the cornhole boards if you want. But one of the beanbags was chewed up by a mouse a year ago. Or two years ago. Something like that.

Cheryl

I don't think that happened.

Roger

Something chewing. In the garage.

Cheryl

Whatever. We need to end the game.

Roger

But you love horseshoes. Always loved horseshoes on a Sunday.

Cheryl

Is it Sunday?

Roger

Does it matter, Cheryl? You loved them on a Sunday. You can love them today.

Cheryl

I don't love them today, Roger. I want out.

Roger

Shhh! It's my turn.

(He completes his turn with a miss and they walk the length of the stage to retrieve their horseshoes and pitch again)

Cheryl

Aren't you bored, Roger? Aren't you bored of missing all the time?

Roger

I'm not bored. You might think I'd be, but I'm not. Nope. I'm improving my game and I'm quite satisfied. I'll get a ringer one of these days. You'll see.

Cheryl

Roger, we need to talk about the funeral arrangements.

Roger

Funeral? For who?

Cheryl

It's been dead a long time.

Roger

I'M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS. What about dinner arrangements? We should talk about dinner arrangements. I was thinking pizza, for instance, or fajitas. Do we have any fajita stuff?

Cheryl

We have tortillas. And some skirt steak. In the freezer. It's been in there a long time, Roger. With all the rest of it. I think I last saw it three or four years ago, wedged under the top tier of our wedding cake. Hey, maybe we can thaw out the wedding cake finally. For DESSERT.

Roger

Nah, it'll keep.

Cheryl

You really feel like grilling fajitas?

Roger

Sure.

Cheryl

Great! I'll go dust off the grill. (She begins to exit; Roger stands in her way)

Roger

WAIT WAIT wait wait, what am I talking about? I hate grilling. You know that. I mean I can turn a hot dog just fine but then you gotta remember to drag that wire brush over the thing after and I never could find the matches and UGGGGGH. So much effort for a hot dog, right? I'd rather save my efforts for other types of cooking.

Cheryl

Effort? You never expressed any effort for cooking. Or cleaning up. Dishes. Mop and a bucket. Fuck. (pause) Maybe we could go out somewhere to eat, huh?

Roger

No, I don't think so. I think we should just stay here and play the game.

Cheryl

But I'm hungry.

Roger

It'll go away.

Cheryl

It won't!

Roger

Just play the game, and it'll go away. I promise.

Cheryl

Like the day before. And the day before that. (She sighs)

Roger

That's great, that little sigh. That pout. You can let me know all about your displeasure with me and my decisions without having to express them directly. I've always loved that.

Cheryl

Maybe it wasn't that kind of sigh, Roger. Did you ever think of that? Maybe it was a pleasure sigh. Pleased. Pleased with the birds and this day, which was just like the day before and the day before that. Anyway it's too nice a day to deconstruct my sighs, don't you think?

Roger

I'm glad you see it my way, Cheryl. Too nice a day for talk of change. Too nice a day for minimum credit card charges and too nice a day for funeral arrangements and drinks at the bar. Too nice a day for changing the oil on the truck and patching the roof and changing the filter on the furnace. Too nice a day to consolidate debt and talk about adding that covered porch. Too nice a day for thawing out wedding cakes and for wire grill brushes and too nice a day to cook or eat. None of that forward motion stuff. Because it's all circular, you know? It's all circular and it all leads back here. No sense in moving forward when it all leads back here. One big circle. Remember how back in high school I used to round pi down to 3 so all my circles eventually turned into triangles?

Cheryl

No?

Roger

Well anyway, it's too nice a day for math and triangles. (He pitches a horseshoe and misses.)

Cheryl

Parabolas might be of more use to you than triangles. You can't throw for shit.

Roger

What?

Cheryl

Nothing. (She tosses.) You know what I miss? The yard. Remember the yard? It was so cute. We had some plans, man. Cold frame spinach, remember? We were going to grow vegetables when the price of food went up.

Roger

Price of food never went up that bad, I guess.

Cheryl

But it did go up. And down and up and down and up and you never built the cold frames.

Roger

Must not have gone up that bad. Else I would have built them. Like we talked about.

(They play.)

Cheryl

Marigolds in whiskey barrels out front. I always wanted them. Just for decoration. Remember?

Roger

Price of whiskey barrels was too high.

Cheryl

Price of whiskey never too high, though, right?

Roger

Listen, I can't change who I am. If I could, we might have had a nice house. And yard. With whiskey barrels and marigolds. But we don't gotta worry about yards and yard-work. Not today.

Cheryl