A Ten Minute Play
WIFE, thirty-something woman in shorts and a tank top, no shoes
HUSBAND, thirty-something man in shorts and a polo shirt, flip flops
Just outside the exterior person-door of a garage in suburban Nevada. Night. The exterior light above the door is on. There are objects scattered near the door: a basketball, a bike with training wheels, a large rolling trashcan, a tangled garden hose. HUSBAND walks outside through the door, followed by WIFE, who shuts the door behind her. HUSBAND has a long barbeque lighter, a small glass pipe, a metal grinder, and a small, round container.
HUSBAND Pull that trashcan over here.
HUSBAND So I have somewhere to work.
WIFE Why didn’t you fill it in the house?
HUSBAND We’re already out here. Would you just get the trashcan please?
Wife drags the trashcan to just beside the door
WIFE Ugh, it smells.
HUSBAND I found a half-used carton of buttermilk in the back of the fridge the other day. Had to get rid of it.
WIFE We have a garbage disposal.
Husband sets the supplies on top of the trashcan lid and begins to open containers and place pinches of marijuana into the grinder
HUSBAND I poured it down the garbage disposal. Still had to get rid of the carton.
WIFE You could have kept it in the fridge until garbage day.
Husband stops packing the pipe and looks up
HUSBAND Do you want to do this or not?
WIFE Uh, yeah. These cramps are killing me.
HUSBAND Okay, then stop with the trashcan.
HUSBAND All right.
WIFE Okay. All right.
Husband finishes prepping the pipe
HUSBAND All set.
WIFE What do I do?
Husband places pipe in WIFE’S left hand and adjusts her fingers
HUSBAND Put your thumb over this hole here . . . now . . . put it in your mouth. When I light it, you have to suck in and keep sucking until the ember goes out.
Husband lights barbecue lighter and brings the flame towards the pipe. Wife pulls mouth away from the pipe.
WIFE Why are you putting the flame so close to my face?
HUSBAND What do you mean? I’m trying to light it.
WIFE The fire is like right there in my face. You never told me the fire would be so close to my face.
HUSBAND Yeah, well, I kinda thought it would be obvious.
WIFE How would I know that? You know I’ve never done this before and so did the people at the store. They should at least know to tell beginners, they’re professionals. They didn’t say a word about how you have to practically burn the eyebrows right off your face.
HUSBAND I don’t think it’s usually an issue for people. Also, you’re being kinda dramatic.
WIFE You know how I feel about fire.
Wife shoves pipe back into HUSBAND’S hand
WIFE You do it and then give it to me.
HUSBAND It doesn’t work that way. It’ll go out.
WIFE What about “puff, puff, pass?” I thought that was a thing.
HUSBAND Doesn’t work with this little bitty pipe.
WIFE Just try it! Please?
Husband takes a hit from the pipe and passes it quickly to WIFE
HUSBAND See? It went out. It’s not glowing anymore. You can’t do it that way. You gotta light it while you’re sucking in.
WIFE Fine. Let me try to light it myself.
Wife takes lighter from HUSBAND and tries to light pipe, but pulls away before it is lit
WIFE I can’t. I can’t do it.
HUSBAND It’s not a big deal. You’re not going to burn yourself.
WIFE I can feel the fire on my thumb. I can feel it. You try to light it again.
Husband takes the lighter, activates it, and moves it towards the pipe. Wife pulls away.
WIFE You’re angling the flame right towards my face!
HUSBAND I didn’t mean to! (pause, defeated) We should have gotten those cookies.
WIFE I thought you were worried about the kids getting into them.
HUSBAND We can always make more.
Oh god babe, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –
WIFE It’s fine.
HUSBAND No, it’s not fine. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.
WIFE What’s new.
HUSBAND Come on. How is that fair? That’s not fair.
WIFE Sorry. I know you didn’t mean it. I just feel like shit.
Wife places pipe back in mouth and HUSBAND moves the flame towards the pipe again. Wife pulls away and gives aggravated sigh.
WIFE Why are you using that big lighter?!
HUSBAND It doesn’t matter! A smaller lighter wouldn’t help.
Wife reluctantly puts pipe back into her mouth and Husband lights it.
HUSBAND Okay! Now suck in. No, no. All the way in.
WIFE’S cheeks are ballooned out.
No! You have to suck it in! Deep into your lungs.
Wife exhales forcefully
WIFE I did!
HUSBAND No you didn’t. It was only in your mouth.
WIFE I felt it in my lungs.
HUSBAND No you—
WIFE Yes, I did.
HUSBAND No you didn’t! I saw you. You have to inhale it like a cigarette, not keep it in your mouth like a cigar.
WIFE I think I know what I felt in my own lungs.
(very long pause)
Why do I feel this way?
HUSBAND I dunno—placebo effect?
WIFE No, like why do I feel…sad?
HUSBAND Why wouldn’t you feel sad?
WIFE Well, shouldn’t I feel like relieved? I didn’t want three.
HUSBAND You didn’t?
WIFE No! Morning sickness, fat ankles, labor, zero sleep, the crying, the shitting—honestly, how did we get through all that once, let alone twice?
I’d have to try to get all our stuff back from my sister, or more likely we’d have to buy new stuff. And think about the long run. With three, we’d have to get a minivan…
Shit, even a new dining set.
HUSBAND We wouldn’t have to get a minivan. We could get an SUV.
WIFE Same difference.
Why, did you want three?
HUSBAND I don’t know. I know it’s been a long time since we had to deal with dirty diapers and whatever, but think about it. Seeing Mikey get to be a big brother.
WIFE Mikey would hate that.
HUSBAND continues without pause
HUSBAND Your sister’s kids would have another little cousin to play with at the holidays.
WIFE One more to clothe and feed and send to daycare.
HUSBAND I guess I thought it’d be kind of cool . . . I don’t think about all that other stuff like you do.
Husband activates lighter