Dead Hour

After a late night of partying, JESSICA and LEXI have both gotten home separately.  The action takes place in their living room/kitchen.

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Jessica:  My head feels like a cracked walnut shell.

Lexi: I can’t even walk I’m in so much pain.

Jessica: What’s wrong with you?  Why did you go into that bathroom with that guy?

Lexi: To get laid, Jess.

Jessica: I know but isn’t that so raunchy?  You just met the guy.

Lexi: Didn’t cross my mind.

Jessica: I could never.

Lexi: He was hot.

Jessica: That was raw.

Lexi: He was good.

Jessica: Wouldn’t be me.

Lexi: Yeah, well, we’re just different that way.

Jessica: And you promised me you wouldn’t go hard last night.  Why do you always go over the edge?  I couldn’t find you.

Lexi: I was with that guy.  Weren’t you talking to his friend?

Jessica: Not for long.

Lexi: I thought he was cute.

Jessica: That’s cause you had four shots of Hennessy.

(pause.)

What time did you get home?

Lexi: An hour ago.

Jessica: How are you awake with all this energy?

Lexi: I had McDonald’s and a red bull.  Mario dropped me back.

Jessica: That’s his name?

Lexi: Yeah, he’s cool.

Jessica: Glad you got a lift cause I was stuck on subways all night, incoherent and barely able to find my way home, so thanks.

Lexi: Why is that my fault, Jess?

Jessica: Because you are the one who always says you will have my back, you will keep an eye on me like an older sister and I believe you, I drink and get loose and then you disappear on me.

Lexi: You need to learn.

Jessica: What?

Lexi: You need to fend for yourself.  You can’t depend on me.  I’m the worst person to count on.  I have no way of knowing what I will do on any given night we go out.  Don’t believe anything I say.

Jessica: Why do you lie to me?

Lexi: It’s not like I want to lie to you because I actually mean and believe what I’m telling you when I tell it.  It’s just that things evolve during the night and then stuff happens.

Jessica: I don’t want to go out with you anymore.

Lexi: That’s what you said last time.

Jessica: This time it’s different.

Lexi: You know going out with me is fun.  You can’t deny it.

Jessica: Last night, last night I could deny it…

(Jessica starts crying)

Lexi: Jess?  Jess what’s wrong? I won’t go off with anybody from now on okay?  Will that—

Jessica: No…no, it’s not that, even though your nasty and gross, it’s not that.

Lexi: Tell me…

Jessica: Someone followed me last night.

Lexi: Followed you?

Jessica: This man…he was older, like in his forties.  He had thick glasses on, light skin and dark brown hair…he looked like the most unsuspecting guy in the world. Fashionable and dignified looking.

Lexi: And?

Jessica: It started at the subway.  I took the uptown train instead of the stupid downtown train.  I didn’t realize for like five stops.  When I did I panicked for a second or two to get my bearings.  I got off the train and it was really quiet.  There weren’t any people and I got a little nervous because the station I got off at wasn’t a station that I could take back downtown.  I had to leave the station and walk to find the downtown location.  But I noticed the man.  He was behind me staring right at me and following me.

Lexi: Okay.

Jessica: I went back downstairs to take the downtown train and walked along the platform.  The guy was there keeping a distance from me.  I was so drunk and I could barely keep myself together.  My eyes kept closing, things were spinning.  I was in a nightmare, Lex.  I remember being afraid to sit down cause I didn’t want to pass out.  I was standing, holding on to one of those pole columns or whatever to keep myself up.  Finally, my train came and I got on.  But then I fell asleep on the train and went like fifteen stops out of the way.  I got off again and crossed the platform to go back and there was the guy again staring at me.

Lexi: Why didn’t you tell him to leave you alone?

Jessica: No, I didn’t want to communicate with him.  I had this sick feeling about him.  It took forever for the train to come and this man never once took his eyes off me.  I took my shoes off to use my heel as a weapon if he came too close.

Lexi: Oh my God…

Jessica: I threw up.  It went all over.  I can’t even tell you how disgusting.  The train came and this time I stood on the train but so did the man.  He still kept his distance from me but he stayed standing, staring at me.  Our stop comes and I get off but now I’m afraid to go home cause I don’t want this psycho to know where I live.  Everything is closed.  It was the dead hour.  Nobody around.  Quiet.  There was one deli, the candy store that’s open twenty-four hours.  I went in there and told the man I was being followed.  You know what he said to me?  He told me to get out before he calls the cops.  I told him to call the cops and I knocked over a rack.  Then I sat on the floor and waited.  The cops came and they took me home.  I told them there was a man but they just took me home.

Lexi: Why didn’t you call the cops sooner?

Jessica: Cause I lost my phone.  I left that part out of the story.  I don’t know how but I lost my phone.

(Lexi rubs Jessica’s back)

Lexi: I’m so sorry sweetheart.  I feel like the worst piece of shit friend.

Jessica: You’re not the worst.

Lexi: I am.  This is a wake up call for me.  (beat)  I shouldn’t have abandoned you.

Jessica: It worked out.

Lexi: No, no, no.  You don’t understand.  There’s something wrong with me.  I don’t know why it is but when I go out, I just want to let everything go, have fun, be free and throw my life to the wind.  I don’t know how to have a good time any other way.  I need to figure out how to get tame but I don’t want to be tame but I also don’t want to hear shit like what you just told me either.  It would have been my fault.

Jessica: No.

Lexi: Yeah.  And now your phone.

Jessica: Don’t worry.  I’ll get a new one.  I’m pissed but it’s just a phone.

Lexi: Do you think that guy knows where we live?

Jessica: Not unless he ran on foot and followed the cop car.  I was only a few blocks away.

Lexi: Shit.

Jessica: What?

Lexi: I bet he knows where we live.

Jessica: You think?

Lexi: Yeah.  If this dude followed you around the trains, why would he stop there?

Jessica: You’re scaring me.

Lexi: It’s okay.  We’re ready for him.  If we know he knows where we live, we can get him first.

Jessica: What the hell are you talking about?

Lexi: You remember what he looks like, right?

Jessica: Yeah.

Lexi: Well, we keep an eye out for him.  Watch our back more closely.  If he makes a move we pounce.

Jessica: How?

Lexi: We’ll buy some of those eye sprays.  A few knives.

Jessica: I’m not stabbing anybody.

Lexi: Fine.  Just the spray.  We protect ourselves better.

Jessica: Yeah.  What do you think he wanted?

Lexi: You said you had a sick feeling about him?

Jessica: Yeah.  A bad feeling, like he was trying to get me or something.

Lexi: Right.  You have to trust your gut.  That’s it.  We prepare, we’re cautious and I’ll be a better friend and look out for you.

(Lexi gives Jessica a hug)

I’m sorry, Jess.  I’ll never do that to you again.  I swear.

Joseph Arnone

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