Time to go

 

SCENE: A rundown, working class kitchen, clean but worn. Mary is standing at an ironing board, ironing baby clothing. Joe is seated at the table, the newspaper spread out on the table before him with a cup of coffee to one side which he periodically lips from.

 

MARY: Iím leaving you, Joe.

 

JOE: Huh?

††††††††††† Donít start that again, Mary.

††††††††††† Weíve been through that a million times.

 

MARY:† I mean it this time.

††††††††††† Iím taking the baby and going off to see my sister in California.

 

JOE: (laughs) †† whatís she gonna do with you?

††††††††††† Let you swim in her pool.

 

(Joe rises; Mary cringes)

 

MARY: Donít you hit me, Joe

††††††††††† That stuff wonít work any more

††††††††††† Iím not afraid of you now.

 

JOE : (Turns to window with his hands in his pockets) Iím not gonna hit you.

††††††††††† I havenít hit you in a long time.

 

MARY: Not long enough for me to forget.

 

JOE: That was Hollywood.

††††††††††† Things were different back then.

 

MARY:† How were they different, Joe?

††††††††††† You still donít have a job.

 

JOE:†† So thatís whatís eating you.

††††††††††† I told you Iíll get another job.

††††††††††† Just because I quit a slave driver like Bentley doesnít mean you gotta leave.

 

MARY:† Doesnít it?

 

JOE: ††† †It was a rotten job.

 

MARY:† Thatís what you said about the last job, Joe.

 

JOE: It was rotten, too.

 

MARY: And the one before that?

 

JOE: ††† Most jobs these days ainít worth being worked.

††††††††††† Working people are treated like shit

††††††††††† It takes time for a man to find a job that suits him right.

 

MARY: Time?

††††††††††† Youíve been looking for that special job for almost five years, quitting job after job, telling me that itís the boss or the conditions.

 

JOE:† It was -- is (waves his hand in the air)

††††††††††† I know it when the right job comes along.

 

MARY: Well, I canít wait.

††††††††††† I canít go from week to week wondering if there will be a pay check.

 

JOE:† So you gonna abandon a sinking ship?

 

MARY: Stop that, Joe.

 

JOE: Stop what?

††††††††††† I already told you I wonít beat you.

 

MARY: You know what.

††††††††††† You have that lost puppy look in your eyes again.

††††††††††† The last time I saw that, you went into the bathroom and tried to kill yourself.

 

JOE:† I did not!

 

MARY: Then how the devil did I get this scar? (She holds up her hand)

 

JOE: You were careless.

 

MARY: I come into the bathroom and find you holding a razor against your risk and Iím being careless?

 

JOE: You shouldnít have tried to grab the dam thing out of my hand.

††††††††††† You know I didnít mean it.

 

MARY: My blood swirling down the drain and you didnít mean it.

 

JOE: I was only trying to keep you from leaving.

††††††††††† I figured you would feel sorry for me, that you would come to realize how much I needed you.

 

MARY: Which means you needed a doctor more than I did, one for your head.

 

JOE:† Thatís where youíre wrong, Mary.

††††††††††† That comes out of your fancy upbringing.

††††††††††† Rich folks need head doctors, not poor folks.

 

MARY: And who do poor people go to? Their mothers?

 

JOE:† Sometimes.

††††††††††† There were times when I was a kid that my momma used to hold me and tell me everything would be all right.

 

MARY:†† Iím not your mother, Joe.

††††††††††† Iím youíre wife.

††††††††††† There is a difference.

 

JOE:† I know.

††††††††††† You were hot stuff when all those guys used to hang around you, crooning over you like you was some kind of pet.

 

MARY:† You crooned, too.

 

JOE:† Yeah, I wanted what everybody else wanted. I was always scared you were gonna run off with one of those other guys.

 

MARY: You married me.

††††††††††† What more could you want?

 

JOE:† I donít want to be alone.

 

MARY: Youíve been alone before -- When the police hunted you.

 

JOE:† And I hated every minute of it, hiding in that little room in East LA.

††††††††††† I felt like one of those gangsters from the movies, waiting to blast the first person who came through the door.† I couldnít wait for you to come like you promise.

 

MARY: I came, didnít I?

 

JOE: Three weeks after I called to tell you where I was. Those three weeks was hell. Three weeks of eating tacos, smoking cigarettes, jerking off to Mary Tyler Moore on TV.

 

MARY: Joe, watch your mouth. The baby...

 

JOE: They baby doesnít understand anything.

 

MARY: Which is why I have to leave now. I donít want her to suffer.

 

JOE: (looking out the window) Look at that!

 

MARY:† What is it?

 

JOE:† Itís the old vulture from next door

††††††††††† (shouts out the window)

††††††††††† Mind your own business, you hag!

 

MARY:†† If you kept your voice down, Mrs. Greerson wouldnít know our business.

 

JOE:† She would read our lips.

††††††††††† Sheís a nosy hag, and if I ever catch her on the street...

 

MARY: What would you do, Joe?

††††††††††† Beat her, too?

 

JOE: Will you get off that.

††††††††††† You act like I do it all the time.

††††††††††† You act like you didnít hit me back just as hard.

 

MARY: That was the only way I could make you stop.

 

JOE:† Well, I stopped, didnít I?

††††††††††† Doesnít that count for something?

 

MARY:† I didnít say you were stupid, Joe, just lazy.

 

JOE:† Whoís going to provide for you if you leave?

 

MARY:†† Thatís the whole point, Joe.

††††††††††† Three isnít anybody providing for this family now.

††††††††††† You wonít work and you wonít like me wok either -- even if I could trust you to watch the baby while I did.

 

JOE:† So you figure you can do better on your own?

 

MARY:† Iím going to try.

††††††††††† This isnít the good old days.

††††††††††† This isnít Hollywood where you could walk out on the Boulevard, make a few deals so that we could make ends meet.

 

JOE:† We make ends meet. Weíre not out on the street.

 

MARY: We didnít have a baby back then. We ought to be doing better. Iím thinking about the baby. Iím thinking she canít eat your promises any better than I could.

 

JOE: Iíll find another job.

 

MARY: And quit it as soon as you get it.

 

JOE: There must be something I can say or do?

 

MARY:† Not any more Joe.

††††††††††† Be brave for once, let us go.

 

JOE: Brave?

††††††††††† Iím just trying to keep our family together like my old man couldnít.

††††††††††† I never figured you would hate me for it.

 

MARY: I donít hate you, Joe.

††††††††††† But I love our baby, and she deserves more than this lousy place in this rotten part of town.

††††††††††† Sheís going to grow up and want to feel good about herself, something that wonít happen around here, not with you crawling back from another job claiming the boss didnít understand you or treated you like a slave.

††††††††††† Now Iím going in the other room to pack. Iíve already called the cab.

 

JOE:† All right, maybe Iím no good like you say.

††††††††††† But I got feelings, too.

††††††††††† Let me go out first.

 

MARY:† Iím not going to raising my baby in this place with or without you.

 

JOE:† Thatís not what I mean.

††††††††††† Just let me go out, pretending like everything is all right, like Iím going off to look for another job -- pretending like when I come back everything will be like it ought to be, you, me and the baby like one happy family.

 

MARY:† All right, Joe.

††††††††††† Go for your walk.

††††††††††† But we wonít be here when you come back.

 

JOE: Goes out the door as MARY inside packs her bags. JOE halts, looks out towards the audience)

 

††††††††††† What are you staring at, you old vulture?

††††††††††† Didnít you get an earful enough this time?

 

 


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