I got feelings, too
(One act play)
Scene: a kitchen. Mary is at stage left at an ironing board, ironing baby things. Joe is seated at the table, newspaper open before him and a cup which he periodically lifts to his lips. There is a door to stage right and a window behind Joe.
††††††††††† Iím leaving you, Joe.
††††††††††† Iím leaving you.
††††††††††† Donít start that again, Mary.
††††††††††† Weíve been through that a million times.
††††††††††† I mean it this time.
††††††††††† Iím taking the baby and going to my sisters in California
††††††††††† Whatís she going to do for you? Let you swim in her pool?
(Joe rises; Mary cringes)
††††††††††† Donít hit me, Joe.
††††††††††† That doesnít work any more. Iím not afraid of you now.
JOE: (Turning to look out the window, hands in his pockets)
††††††††††† Iím not gonna hit you. I havenít hit you in a long time.
††††††††††† Not long enough for me to forget.
††††††††††† This isnít LA.
††††††††††† Things are different
††††††††††† How are they different, Joe?
††††††††††† You still donít have a job.
††††††††††† So thatís whatís eating you.
††††††††††† I told you Iíd get another job. Just because I quit a job with a slave-driver boss like Bentley, doesnít mean you gotta leave.
††††††††††† Doesnít it?
††††††††††† It was a rotten job.
††††††††††† And the one before that?
††††††††††† Most jobs these days ainít worth being worked. Working people get treated like shit. It takes time for a man to find a job that suits him right.
††††††††††† Time? Youíve been looking for that special job for over five years, quitting job after job, telling me itís this boss or that, or itís the working conditions.
††††††††††† It was Ė is!
(Joe waves his hand in the air)
††††††††††† Iíll know it when the right job comes along
††††††††††† I canít wait, Joe.
††††††††††† I canít go on from week to week wondering if thereíll be a pay check
††††††††††† So youíre abandoning a sinking ship?
††††††††††† Stop it, Joe.
††††††††††† Stop what?
††††††††††† You know whatís youíre doing.
††††††††††† You have that hurt puppy look in your eyes again.
††††††††††† The last time I saw that you went into the bathroom and tried to kill yourself.
††††††††††† I did not.
††††††††††† Then how did I get this scar?
(Mary holds up her hand)
††††††††††† I rush into the bathroom and find you hold a razor against your wrist and Iím careless?
††††††††††† You shouldnít have tried to grab the damned thing out of my hand.
††††††††††† You know I didnít mean it.
††††††††††† My blood swirling down the drain and you didnít mean it?
††††††††††† I was only trying to keep you from leaving.
††††††††††† I figured you would feel sorry for me.
††††††††††† I figured you would see how much I need you.
††††††††††† You need a psychiatrist.
††††††††††† Thatís where youíre wrong, Mary.
††††††††††† That comes out of your fancy upbringing. Rich people need head shrinkers, not poor people like me.
††††††††††† Oh, yes, I forgot.
††††††††††† What do poor people do, call their mothers?
††††††††††† There were times when I was a kid that Momma would hold me and tell me everything would be all right.
††††††††††† Iím not your mother, Joe, Iím your wife.
††††††††††† You donít seem to know the difference.
††††††††††† I knew the difference the first time I laid eyes and you and saw all those guys crooning over you.
††††††††††† I knew I had to get some of you, too.
††††††††††† You did.
††††††††††† You married me, remember?
††††††††††† Sometimes I wonder if I shouldnít have stayed home jerking off to Mary Tyler Moore on the television.
††††††††††† Watch your mouth, Joe Ė the baby.
JOE: (staring out the window)
††††††††††† Will you look at that!
††††††††††† That old hag next door is staring at us again
††††††††††† MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, YOU OLD HAG.
(Joe waves his fist)
††††††††††† If you kept your voice down, Mrs. Greedson wouldnít know our business.
††††††††††† She doesnít need to hear me. She reads lips. If I ever catch the old bitch on the street, IíÖ
††††††††††† Beat her, too?
††††††††††† Will you get off that.
††††††††††† You act you didnít fight back just as hard.
††††††††††† That was the only way I could make you stop.
††††††††††† I stopped, didnít I?
††††††††††† That should count for something.
††††††††††† I never said you were stupid, Joe, just lazy.
††††††††††† You wonít leave.
††††††††††† Youíre too used to having someone provide for you.
††††††††††† Thatís the whole point, Joe.
††††††††††† There isnít anyone providing for this family. You wonít work, and you wonít let me work Ė even if I could trust you to watch the baby.
††††††††††† So you figure youíre better off on your own?
††††††††††† Iím going to try, and with Godís help, Iíll do better than this.
JOE: ( Joe crosses over to the doorway and stands in front of the door.)
††††††††††† You ainít leaving me.
MARY: (puts the iron down. Folds the last item, then pulls out a suitcase from under the table.)
††††††††††† Iím thinking of the baby. She canít east words any better than I can. Iím tired of you making promises you never keep.
††††††††††† Iíll find another job
MARY: (Walking to the crib, she picks up the baby, and then with her free hand picks up the suitcase and heads towards the door where Joe is standing)
††††††††††† Be brave for once, Joe
††††††††††† Let me go for the babyís sake.
She needs more than some dark room in the cheap part of town. She needs something to make her feel good about herself.
††††††††††† Where is she going to find that around you with no job and no sense to keep one?
††††††††††† Youíre so busy crawling home after telling off some slave driving boss that you donít think how we might feed her or cloth her or what will happen when she gets older and has to go to school.
††††††††††† Someday, there wonít be a job, let a lone a boss to stick it to. Someday, weíll all starve.
††††††††††† Now please get out of the way.
††††††††††† No, I ainít gonna life with the memory of you walking out of me.
††††††††††† All right, maybe Iím no good like you say I am. But I got feelings, too.
††††††††††† I know, Joe butÖ
JOE: (Holds up his hand to shut Mary up)
††††††††††† Let me leave her first. Let me pretend like everythingís hunky dory, like Iím going off to look for a job, let me think while Iím gone that when I get back everything will be just like it ought to be.
MARY: (After a long pause)
††††††††††† All right, Joe.
††††††††††† Take your walk.
††††††††††† But I wonít be here when you get back.
JOE: (Goes through the door, then slides down to his knees outside. He looks out at the audience and yells)
††††††††††† What are you looking at, you old vulture.
††††††††††† Did you get enough of it this time?