Martha Patterson has written more than 185 plays and has been published in anthologies by Pioneer Drama Service, Smith & Kraus / Applause Books, the Afro-Hispanic Review, the Silver Birch Press, and the Univ. of Wisconsin's Sheepshead Review Journal of Arts & Literature. Her work has been produced Off-Off-Broadway and in nineteen states, as well as in England, Scotland, France, Denmark, Canada, Korea, and Australia. She has also had a half-hour mystery produced by Shoestring Radio Theatre in San Francisco. She earned her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from Emerson College, both degrees in Theatre. She is a member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
midnight call: A monologue
CAST OF CHARACTERS
LETITIA 30s, female
SCENE: A bedroom. On the end table next to the bed are a cell phone, a bottle of skin lotion, and a jar of beautifying facial clay. There is a window off to the side.
TIME: The present.
SYNOPSIS: Letitia doesn’t know how to get off the phone with an ex who harasses her.
AT RISE: LETITIA is lying in bed. She is reading a paperback mystery but suddenly sighs, puts the book aside, and sits upright in bed.
(Rubbing her eyes and getting out of bed.)
Murder mysteries. I read them ‘cuz my mother does. Runs in the family.
(Her cell phone rings and she answers it.)
(Pauses and listens.)
…Sean, I told you never to call me again.
(Pauses and listens again.)
…That’s very nice you got a new job plumbing. You said you never wanted to work again… That was part of the problem with us. ...No, don’t come over….
(There is a long pause.)
Well, that’s just too bad, Sweetie. I don’t have the money for your car payment. And you shouldn’t have called my cell. You can’t just call me at MIDNIGHT.
No, I never said “I love you.” Or if I did, I was being kind.
What am I wearing? Hold on a sec –
(She gets up, crosses to the window and makes sure it’s shut and locked, then checks the door also. Then she is back on the phone.)
You took a hot photo of me coming out of my place? …Look, I don’t want to hurt your feelings or be rude, but you and I are over. …Yes, I KNOW you can cook. I always liked the you knew how to make sushi at home, but really --
My cell is PRIVATE. Got it? You only have the number ‘cuz you went out with me way back when, and I don’t give it out to just anyone. That’s the problem today – everyone thinks they can REACH you. …You’ve got what???
(She picks up a bottle of lotion from the end table, pours lotion into her hand, and angrily slathers it onto her legs.)
What does a plumber need an axe for?... Jeez. You wanted to chop your own Christmas tree this year… Listen, you are not coming over here. You stalked me at my office, you got friends to send me nasty emails – I don’t know how you managed to talk them into doing that – what did we ever need email for, anyway? One more way to drive someone crazy… Look, if it weren’t for one thing - ONE THING - I would never have gotten together with you in the first place.
(She screws the cap back onto the bottle of lotion while she pauses and listens to him.)
The sex was okay. And you had a nice smile. But it’s the smile of a moron. …Calling me a twit for not going to the gym with you last time I saw you, for God’s sake. And always complaining in a loud voice on the bus about horrible public transportation. …And threatening a neighbor last year with an air rifle. You could have put his eye out, you know that? …Does that mean anything to you? That you cause DAMAGE? And you shouldn’t be calling my cell anyway. It’s private. …You’re an idiot. So just shut up.
(She opens the jar of facial mask and smears it over her face, avoiding her eyes.)
Look, you harass me. You won’t leave me alone. You know you can reach me any time of night, on the subway, at a club…I don’t know what’s so great about being able to reach someone any time of night. Who invented these things, anyway?
(Pauses and looks at her phone.)
I’m calling the police. …You don’t take “no” for an answer. So “Sayonara.” GOODBYE.
(She disconnects the phone, and then punches in three numbers. At this point her face is covered in green goop. She pauses and listens for a ring tone.)
Hello? I want to report someone harassing me. On my cell. And he’s got a new number and wouldn’t you think at midnight I would have guessed it was him, but I didn’t ‘cuz it’s a new number. Got it? And I’m scared.
(Suddenly she screams and drops the phone.)
(She picks up the phone and talks into it again.)
…Never mind, it was just a mouse running across the floor. Gotta notify my landlord. Forget it. …But my ex…he has an axe and I’ve checked the window and the door so he can’t get in, but he’s stalking me, and what do I do next? …Can the police come over?
Listen, I feel…I feel tethered to him, or something. By his phone! He’s filming me, taking pictures of me whenever I leave my apartment. Can he legally do that? With technology and digital pictures and everything? Don’t I have any rights? What am I supposed to do? I’m sorry I ever met the guy…
He’s on probation right now. Don’t know why he’s entitled to call. He ought to be in counseling. He ought to be in jail!
Come down to the precinct and file a restraining order? He’ll go nuts.
…Not that big a deal? Yes, well, I know he can still go out for a drink with his buddies…but what if he tries to kill me?
Take control back? …Yes, he really IS a coward. I do know that. All bullies are… He’s trying to isolate me, trying to make me feel I have no one to turn to. …I don’t want to get him in any big trouble, I don’t actually want to put him behind bars or anything, I don’t want him coming after me for revenge, I just want to be left alone…
Yes, I locked the windows. And I’ll get my number changed. Why does it have to be so easy to reach anyone you want these days? At any time of day or night? …I’ll come down first thing in the morning. …I’m just afraid. Because he’s ruining my life. And I have that female thing, I always try to be nice… I don’t want to cause problems… I don’t want to be a bitch…
(She listens on the phone and lights go down.)