Skeletons in Her Closet [Part I]
Admittance Nurse, late 50s
Young Nurse, mid-20s
Setting: A hospital waiting room, the day after Thanksgiving
At Rise: The Admittance Nurse is sitting at her desk. The radio [a pre-recorded tape of songs] is playing over the sound system. Julia, wearing the same dress sheís been wearing since the previous day, and looking as if sheís go
en no sleep, is weakly flipping through a magazine. Wilder rushes in.
Wilder (to Nurse): Where is she? Show me how to get there!
Nurse: Whom are you looking for, young man?
Wilder: My mother... her nameís Linda Malone.
Nurse: Ah... sheís in maternity, B wing.
Wilder: Which way?
Nurse: Iím afraid I canít allow you in there at this time.
Wilder: What? Sheís my mother!
Nurse: Iím very sorry.
Wilder: Why canít I see her?
Nurse: They arenít my rules, sir. I would advise you to have a seat. Iíll make sure to let you know when I can allow visitors.
(Wilder sighs in frustration, walks over and takes the seat next to Julia.)
Wilder (to Julia): Who are you here for?
Wilder: I said, who are you here for? Iím here for my mother... sheís having a baby.
Julia: Thatís nice.
Wilder: What about you?
Julia (avoiding the question): My name is Julia.
Wilder (extending his hand): Wilder.
Julia (shaking it): Wilder?
Wilder (shrugging): Family name. So, why did you say you were here?
Julia: My brother. Heís in ICU.
Wilder: They wonít let you visit, either?
Wilder: What happened?
Julia: Um... he fell.
Wilder: Off what?
Julia: Hey, youíre getting a little personal.
Wilder: Sorry, I didnít mean--
Julia: All right.
Wilder: So... where do you go to school? Or am I allowed to ask that?
Julia: Berkshire High. You?
Wilder: Berkshire, huh? I go to Willow Union. Iím a junior.
Julia: Yeah? Iím a junior too. My brotherís girlfriend goes to Willow.
Wilder: How old is your brother?
Julia: Heís a senior.
Wilder: Does he play soccer or anything?
Julia: Nah, not since freshman year.
Wilder: Do you?
Wilder: Oh. I was just wondering, yíknow... we probably played eachother. Our schools, I mean.
(She returns to her magazine. Wilder picks up a Sports Illustrated, but doesnít look at it.)
Wilder: Do you want something to eat?
Wilder: Are you sure?
Wilder: Itís almost lunchtime.
Julia: I said, No, thank you.
Wilder: I bet youíre worried about your brother.
Julia: You think?
Wilder: Hey, chill out.
Julia: Look, Iím sorry. I really donít feel like talking right now.
Wilder: Well, Iím going for food. Are you sure you donít want anything?
Wilder: Suit yourself.
(Lights down, spot Julia.)
Julia: Why is he trying to make me eat? Why is everybody always trying to make me eat? I canít afford to gain any more weight. Yesterday was torture. All of them passing the food to me, putting it on my plate when I didnít even ask for it. ďH
e some turkey, Julia. Have some cranberry sauce, have some stuffing. Have some squash, some mashed potatoes, some dinner rolls. Lump some more pounds of fat onto your disgusting body!Ē I canít do it. I canít let them make me fatter. Iím not going to eat
nything but celery and water until David is home and safe.
(She picks up her magazine. Lights back up.)
(Vince and Jack, two men with Godfather-like accents and mannerisms, enter. They stop at the Nurseís desk.)
Vince: Hey there, beautiful. Howíd you like to make my day?
Nurse: It depends on what that entails.
Vince: Ah, smart and a looker. Listen, doll, me and Jack here need to know the location of Marty Shingler.
Nurse: And what is your relation to the patient?
Jack: Relation? Vince, she wants to know our relation.
Vince: Our relation, sweetheart, is that me and Jack and Marty are practically brothers.
Jack: Practically brothers.
Vince: We was born together, we grew up together, and weíre gonna die together.
Jack (nodding): Die together.
Nurse: But you have no blood relation?
Jack: No blood relation! Whatíre you talking about? Weíve got plenty of blood relation!
Vince: Yeah... cop blood, store clerk blood, the blood of them pesky garbage men...
Nurse: I mean genetic relation.
Vince: What does it matter? If we wanna see him, we wanna see him. So what?
Nurse: So what? The so what is this: how do I know youíre really friends with Marty? How do I know he isnít some guy you tried to bump off, and you just want to finish the job? Thatís the so what.
Jack: Oh. Well, ah...
Vince: Look, babycakes, I ainít got a lotta time to mess around. My best friend--
Vince: --one of my best friends is somewhere in this hospital. He could be dying. Marty is our poker buddy... our-- heh-- partner in crime. If I donít find out where he is real soon, things could get kinda ugly.
Jack: Yeah. Things could get real ugly.
Vince (to Jack): You, shaddup. (to Nurse) Have I made myself clear, honey?
Nurse: Let me make something clear to you. Unless you can prove to me that you are Mr. Shinglerís immediate family, you canít see him. And if you try any more of those persuasion techniques, I have a little button I can push right here
and several strong young men in blue uniforms will be here in thirty seconds. Capisce?
Vince: Uh, yeah. Iíll just sit over here. Címon, Jack.
(Jack and Vince sit in the two empty chairs across from Julia.)
(Wilder enters with a soda and a sandwich. He sits and leans over Julia as he speaks to her. Note: the can of soda should be shaken up while offstage.)
Wilder: Iím back.
Julia: I noticed.
Wilder: Do you like ham and cheese?
Wilder: Well, I think you should eat something.
Julia: Leave me alone! I donít need you to tell me whatís good for me!
(Wilder shrugs and begins eating the sandwich.)
Iím sorry. I didnít mean to shout.
Wilder: Díyou want some soda? Itís diet, if it makes you feel better. The machine was all out of regular.
Julia: Will you leave me alone if I do?
(Still leaning over her, Wilder opens the soda. It explodes all over Juliaís lap. She jumps up in disgust.)
Wilder: Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. Hey, listen, Iíll go get a paper towel.
Julia: No, you just stay here. I had to change anyway.
(She grabs her bag and stalks off.)
(Lights down, spot Wilder.)
Wilder: Geez. Girls are so sensitive sometimes. I hope the baby isnít a girl. I want a little brother... someone who I can wrestle with and play football and Nintendo... and I can take him to baseball games and action movies and weíll be best
riends, just like the brothers on TV. Well... kind of like the brothers on TV. Iím going to be sixteen years older than he is. Sixteen years... Iím almost old enough to be his father. When I graduate from high school, heíll be two. When I graduate from
llege, heíll be graduating from kindergarten. I bet when I get married, heíll still be in elementary school. When heís the age I am now, Iíll be thirty-two. I canít even imagine what itís like to be thirty-two... thatís so old! Am I even gonna be able t
talk to him? Iím not going to remember what itís like to be sixteen. Iím going to be worrying about income taxes and buying my kids sneakers, and heíll be worrying about SATs and getting a date for the prom. God, my parents sure have a sense of timing.
hy is it that whenever my life seems to get back on track, a baby has to come along and mess things up? First my parents, and now Emily... Iím too old to be a big brother, but I am not old enough to be a father.
(Lights back up.)
(Vince leans across the table towards Wilder.)
Vince: Hey, kid.
Vince: Yeah. Whatís your name?
Wilder: Ah, Wilder.
Vince: Wilder? (to Jack) This is my kinda kid.
Jack: Our kinda kid.
Vince: So, ah, Wilder... do you know how to play poker?
Wilder: Um... no.
Vince: Well, thatís a problem. Yísee, our poker buddy is holed up somewhere in this joint, the broad over there wonít tell us where, and we really need a third for poker. So I was hoping maybe youíd live up to your name and play a game or two
Jack: Yeah, a game or two.
Wilder: I can play Go Fish.
Vince: Go Fish!? Do we look like Go Fish types to you, buddy?
Wilder: Crazy Eights? I Doubt It? Spoons? War? Slapjack?
Jack: Excuse me?
Vince: Yeah, say that last one again.
Wilder (obviously intimidated by Jack but not wanting to upset Vince): Um... Slapjack.
Vince: Yeah, letís play that one. You got cards?
Vince: Lesson Number One: always have a pack of cards with you. Jacky, why donít you run over to the gift shop and buy us some cards?
(Jack obediently jumps up and goes to get cards.)
So, kid... you got a job?
Wilder: A job? Um, yeah.
Vince: Whaddaya do?
Wilder: I sharpen pencils, make coffee, yíknow.
Vince: So youíre what, an assistant?
Wilder: Yeah, pretty much,
Vince: The pay canít be very good.
Wilder: Itís enough.
Vince: Listen, kid, Iím gonna make you a proposition.
Vince: What would you say if... aw, cripes. Here comes your girlfriend.
Wilder: She isnít my girlfriend!
(Julia enters, now wearing jeans and a shirt.)
Is your dress okay?
Julia: Itís fine... no thanks to you.
Wilder: Hey, I didnít do it on purpose.
Julia: I know.
Wilder: Then why--
Julia: Forget it, okay?
(The Nurseís telephone rings. She answers it.)
Nurse: Admittance desk, Beverly speaking. Just a minute. (to waiting room) Is there a Julia Slattery here?
Julia: Yes, thatís me.
Nurse (to phone): Yes, Iíve got her. Whatís that? All right. Iíll let her know. Thank you.
(She hangs up the phone.)
(Julia crosses to the Nurseís desk.)
That was Davidís physician. Your brother is still in critical condition. Your parents have arrived, however, and they will be staying with him until other visitors are allowed. Unfortunately, I still cannot admit you to the Intensive Care Unit. Davi
will be entering surgery in approximately twenty minutes. Iíll tell you as we get more information. Please try to relax and get some sleep.
Julia: Thank you.
(She returns to her seat.)
Wilder: What was that?
Julia: My brother.
Wilder: Your brother was on the phone?
Julia: No... my brotherís doctor.
Wilder: What did he say?
Julia: Well... heís not any better. And I still canít see him. Theyíre sending him to surgery.
Julia: She told me to get some sleep. Can you imagine? Sleep! How can I sleep?
Wilder: More importantly, where can you sleep? I guess you could push all those magazines off the table, but it wouldnít be very--
Wilder: Sorry. So, is he going to be okay?
Julia: I donít know.
(Jack returns with the cards.)
Vince: Hey, ah, Wilder... you ready to play?
Julia: Whoís that?
Wilder: Um, some guy. Hey, listen, you want to play, too?
Julia: What are you playing?
Wilder: Slapjack, I think.
(Jack is struggling with the plastic wrapping on the pack of cards. He canít get it open.)
Jack: Hey, Vince... I canít get this thing open.
Vince: What are you talking about? Just open it.
Jack: I canít.
Wilder: Let me try.
(Jack hands Wilder the cards. Wilder canít get it open either.)
Vince: Give it here.
(He hands Vince the cards. Vince pulls out a jackknife and slowly flips through the blades.)
Julia: What is he doing?!
Wilder: I donít know... just stand up and back away slowly.
(Vince finally selects the blade he wants and uses it to cut open the plastic wrapping.)
(Julia and Wilder quickly take their seats again.)
Vince: So whatíre we playing? Hit Jack?
Jack: I donít want to play this game.
Vince: Shaddup. So how díyou play, Wilder?
Wilder: Well, um... you cut the deck in two... (seeing that Vince is pulling out his knife again) No! I mean, why donít you give me the cards.
(Vince gives Wilder the cards and he divides them into two piles, then hands one back to Vince.)
Now we both turn over the top card... yes, set it down there... and keep doing that until we see a Jack. When you see one, you have to hit it. Whoever gets their hand on it first gets to take all the cards underneath it. The object of the game is to
et the entire deck.
Vince: All right. I think I understand this game. So when I see a Jack, I hit it?
Wilder: Um, so turn over your card. Yeah, see, there arenít any Jacks so we donít do anything. Now your next card. Yup.
(They continue playing, ad-libbing dialogue as they go. A Young Nurse enters, holding a clipboard.)
Young Nurse: Capizio? Is there a Mr. Vince Capizio here?
Vince: Yes, thatís me.
Young Nurse: Mr. Capizio, do you know a man named Marty Shingler?
Vince: I certainly do.
Young Nurse: Heís asking about you. Would you like to come see him now?
Vince: Absolutely. Did he happen to mention my friend?
Young Nurse (looking at her clipboard): What would your friendís name be?
Vince: Jack. Jack Martello.
Young Nurse: No, but Iím sure it wouldnít be a problem if he came along.
Vince: Thank you, sweet cheeks. Hey, Jack! Weíre gonna go see Marty!
(Jack leaps up and he and Vince follow the Young Nurse out.)
(to Admittance Nurse, as he passes her desk) So long, sugar lips.
(All three exit.)
Wilder: Well. Looks like itís you and me again.
Julia: How about that.
Wilder: Youíre not still mad about the soda, are you?
Julia: No, itís okay. I always hated that dress anyway.
Wilder: Why were you wearing it then?
Julia: My aunt bought it for me, and my mom made me wear it because she was coming for Thanksgiving.
Wilder: But Thanksgiving was yesterday.
Julia: My brother fell yesterday afternoon. The ambulance brought him here, and I havenít been home since.
Wilder: So it was really serious, then? I figured he just slipped on a rug or something and landed funny. Is he hurt really badly?
Julia: It didnít do him any good. I donít really know how badly heís hurt. They wonít give me any straight answers. They think Iíll have a nervous breakdown or something if I know whatís going on. Iím more likely to have a nervous breakdown i
I donít know whatís happening.
Wilder: Yeah, so would I. Iím glad my momís not dying or anything. Sheís just having a kid.
Julia: My brother isnít dying!
Wilder: Thatís not what I meant.
Julia: You know, a lot of things can happen when a woman is giving birth. She could die, the baby could die, or both.
Wilder: Thanks a lot.
Julia: Well, anything that happens in a hospital shouldnít be taken lightly.
Wilder: Listen, I donít like hospitals any more than the next guy, but maybe you could consider the fact that my mother is in here right now.
Julia: And maybe you could consider the fact that itís my fault my brother is-- (She stops.)
Wilder: No... you said it was your fault that--
Julia: It was nothing. Forget about it.
Wilder: Julia, you wouldnít have said something like that for no reason.
Julia: I said it was nothing. All right?
Wilder: No, it isnít all right. Tell me what you meant.
Julia: Excuse me? Since when am I obligated to tell you anything? I donít even know your last name!
Wilder: Itís Malone.
Julia: Thatís great. Thereís a phone over there... call someone who cares.
Wilder: Youíll feel better if you tell someone.
Julia: There isnít anything to tell. Iím going to get a drink.
Wilder (grabbing her wrist): Sit down. You arenít going anywhere until you tell me what you were talking about.
Julia: Why should I? You donít know me! You donít know anything about me!
Wilder: So tell me.
(A long pause. Julia doesnít look at Wilder and refuses to say anything.)
How did David fall, Julia?
Julia: Leave me alone.
Wilder: Where did he fall from? Come on, Julia.
Julia: Shut up! Just shut up!
Wilder: Iíll leave you alone as soon as you tell me what happened.
Wilder: I know something happened. If you donít tell somebody, itís going to eat you up inside until you completely lose it.
Julia: Canít you see? Iíve already lost it.
Wilder: Just tell me.
Julia: The stairs.
Wilder: The stairs?
Julia: He fell down the stairs.
Julia: I was talking to him... asking him not to tell, please donít tell. But he kept saying that he had to, he was going to tell Mom and Dad. He said it was his responsibility to tell. I got so angry and scared.
Wilder: Did you push him?
Julia: No! I was saying... donít tell, please donít tell, and he was backing up, out into the hall, right up to the top of the stairs. I saw where he was going, but I couldnít stop him. It was too fast. Everything was happening so fast, but i
seemed like it was in slow motion. You know how in dreams, you try to run but you canít run fast enough? Itís like youíre frozen? Thatís what it was like. It was like a horrible nightmare and I couldnít wake up. His foot slipped over the top of the stai
He wobbled there for a moment before he lost his balance and tumbled down the flight of stairs, head over heels, again and again. Then he finally landed in a lump at the bottom of the stairs. I thought he was dead. They were all still down there eating
essert, my grandparents, his girlfriend, everyone, so they must have just looked out of the dining room and seen his broken body lying there. I donít know what happened after that. Somebody must have called 911. Maybe it was Lee. It wasnít me. I just sa
there, staring at the stairs, staring at David lying there. Even after the EMTs took him away on a stretcher, I couldnít tear my eyes away from the spot where heíd landed, wondering if that red spot was part of the pattern on the rug or if it was blood.
Wilder: Itís not your fault, you know. He would have fallen whether you were there or not.
Julia: But I should have saved him.
Wilder: So you panicked. Itís forgivable. Heíll understand.
Julia: But what if he isnít around to understand?
Wilder: Donít say that.
Julia: But what if itís true? What would I do?
Wilder: I donít know what you want me to tell you.
Julia: I want you to tell me that everything is going to be okay.
Wilder: Everything is going to be okay.
(They sit awkwardly; Julia stiffly with her head bent and hands folded, Wilder hunched over with his chin in his hands. There is a short silence.)
Julia: Hey, they have ďWhereís WaldoĒ.
Julia: Right there. Did you play ďWhereís WaldoĒ when you were a kid?
Wilder: Are you kidding? I was the ďWhereís WaldoĒ master.
(He picks up the book and begins flipping through the pages.)
Thereís Waldo. There he is again...
(He continues flipping through the book, finding Waldo and commenting on his own cleverness, ad lib.)
Mmm... now this one is extra hard. See, I have to find Waldo and his dog. Thereís Waldo... now where is the dog? Julia, do you see it? Julia?
(Wilder looks up to see that Julia has fallen asleep, slouched in her chair.)
(A long silence. Wilder looks at her for a moment, then speaks.)
I donít know what it is about people when theyíre sleeping. Theyíre so... defenseless, maybe. She looks like a little kid. When sheís asleep, she canít yell at me, or get all ticked off for something stupid I didnít mean to say. Why do I care if she yel
at me? Why do I care what she thinks of me? It doesnít make any sense. Sheís just a girl. I donít even know her. Why does it matter? Why does it matter if she thinks Iím a jerk? I bet she wouldnít even care if I told her that Iím the captain of the soc
r team. Or that Iím ranked second in my class. But thereís something about her that makes me want to stay here and watch her sleep.
(He regards her thoughtfully, then picks up his jacket and puts it over her.)
Iíll be back, Julia.
(Julia slumbers for a few moments longer, then awakens with a start.)
Julia: David? Oh, David... itís almost one oíclock. Theyíre probably operating on him right now. But heís going to be okay.
(A long pause. Julia picks up the ďWhereís WaldoĒ book.)
Oh, who am I kidding? Wilder said it was going to be okay because I told him to say that. It isnít going to be okay. Nothingís going to be okay, not ever. I wish I were little again. I wish yesterday had never happened. I wish that I were eig
years old and that David was home and we were playing Monopoly. We always played Monopoly. I always won. And I only cheated some of the time. David probably knew I was cheating. He probably let me win. But heís going to be okay. I bet this time tomorro
weíll both be home and playing Monopoly and all those other games we played. Everything is going to be fine. David is going to wake up, and weíll laugh about our little misunderstanding, and heíll say, of course I wonít tell, Julia, I would never tell.
... he will tell. Of course he will. David is going to wake up and say, ďMom and Dad, I caught Julia throwing up.Ē And then theyíll come and make me go to the doctor, and the doctor will have to put a label on me, like one of those girls in the b
chures. He is going to make me a statistic by saying, ďMr. and Mrs. Slattery, your daughter is bulimic.Ē What will they think of me? Theyíll make me go to a psychiatrist. Or a therapist, or something, and heíll just ask me dumb questions, like, ďDo you
ve a poor body image, Julia?Ē What am I supposed to say? ďWhat do you mean, a poor body image? You mean, do I have rolls of fat on my stomach? Do my legs look like two slabs of beef?Ē And theyíll all just try to help me. ďLet me help you,
lia. Iím only trying to help.Ē Well, maybe I donít need help! Maybe I can just take care of myself! Heíll ask why I make myself throw up. And Iíll have to tell him that itís because Iím disgusting. Because everywhere I look, there are mirrors, mi
ors, mirrors. Theyíre all around me, all of them laughing, all of them saying, ďLook at yourself Julia. Look at how ugly you are! No one loves you. No one will ever love you unless you stop looking like a pig!Ē Because when I get out of the shower, I lo
at my hips, my thighs, and I wonder why Iím not like the girls in the magazines. I wonder why the hell Iím not like the girls in the magazines!
(Julia collapses, sobbing hysterically. Wilder enters.)
Wilder: Julia! Whatís wrong?
Julia: Heís going to die, and itís my fault.
Wilder: Julia, we just went through this. It isnít your fault, and he isnít going to die.
Julia: Of course heís going to die! And if he doesnít, heíll be paralyzed and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Wilder: You donít know that.
Julia: He landed on his neck, Wilder. You donít land on your neck and then jump up and run around and do all the stuff you used to do.
Wilder: But even then, heíd still be alive.
Julia: He may as well be dead. David was always out doing something, playing basketball, running, swimming. If he has to be stuck in a wheelchair, with someone else feeding him and dressing him and doing everything for him, heíll go cr
Wilder: You have to stop blaming yourself for this.
Julia: Who else am I supposed to blame?
Wilder: It isnít your fault.
Julia: Why donít you just shut up and listen to me? I was in the bathroom, throwing up. I felt so disgusting; Iíd eaten twice as much as anyone else and I couldnít bear to look at my body.
Wilder (stunned): You were throwing up?
Julia: Iíd finally found a way to beat the system... I could eat whatever I wanted and then just throw it up later. But David caught me. He heard and he opened the door. I was trying to convince him not to tell Mom and Dad. I knew how angry t
yíd be. But he just kept saying that he had to tell. I was walking towards him, and he was backing down the hall... and then... oh, God!
(She begins sobbing again, but Wilder doesnít touch her.)
Wilder: You were throwing up. You were throwing up and he caught you, so you... you...
Julia: I tried to tell you.
Wilder: I canít believe it. You pushed him.
Julia: No! I didnít push him!
Wilder: You may as well have!
Julia (accusingly): You said it wasnít my fault. I thought you were on my side. I thought you believed I didnít do it on purpose.
Wilder (awkwardly): Okay, Iím sorry. It all hit me a little too fast. I shouldnít have blamed you. Of course you didnít do it on purpose.
Julia: Donít apologize for what I did. Look, I shouldnít have tried to dump this on you. No one can help me.
Wilder: I can help you! If youíll just trust me, if we can act like a team--
Julia: The only person on my team is me.
Wilder: I can be on your team if you let me. Why donít you just stop right now and tell me what youíre thinking.
Julia: What Iím thinking? You want to know what Iím thinking? Iím thinking that you wouldnít give a damn about me if I hadnít told you that I was bulimic. You think youíre being such a Good Samaritan now, helping the poor bulimic girl.
Wilder: That isnít true.
Julia: I donít want to be the bulimic girl! I want to be Julia! I want you to be my friend. I want you to like me.
Wilder: I do like you.
Julia: You donít like me. You pity me.
Wilder: I donít pity you!
Julia: You know, I donít care anymore.
Skeletons In Her Closet [Part II]