Carlita’s Silhouette (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #2

(An outdoor café table.)

(CARLITA sits, with a cup of coffee in front of her. She looks at the time and gets really excited and nervous. She puts her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun.)

CARLITA
5… 4… 3…

(The WAITER appears with the coffee carafe and bends over her to pour with it. This incidentally shadows her so she can lower her shielding hand.)

CARLITA
Oh good! aaand 1! HEY YOU sir. You, sir, in the brown… thing.

(The WAITER politely ignores whatever she’s doing and pours the coffee.)

(Enter AYID.)

AYID
Oh, um, me? This brown thing? Don’t tell me there was some other person in a brown thing-

CARLITA
No! Nope! It’s you!

AYID
Oh good.

CARLITA
Yep.

(CARLITA smiles. The WAITER raises an eyebrow, then exits.)

AYID
Well hi.

CARLITA
Hiii.

AYID
Did you want to know where to-

CARLITA
Sit.

AYID
Sit.

CARLITA
Yes.

AYID
Do I knnn
Um.

CARLITA
No you don’t know me.

AYID
Oh good. Oof. That’s the worst thing you can ask someone you know, “Do I know you?” I mean that’s like saying-

CARLITA
Sit already!

AYID
O-
Okay-
I was going to-

CARLITA
No you weren’t.

AYID
(sitting like the chair might have nails on it)
Is there a hidden camera around…

CARLITA
Stop being nervous. Hi.

AYID
Yes hi.

CARLITA
What’s up.

AYID
Nothing.

CARLITA
Yeah?

AYID
So I don’t know you?

CARLITA
Don’t worry, you will.

AYID
O-
Okay-
That’s-
Cree-
That’s-
Cute.

(CARLITA giggles a little.)

AYID
Sure, we’ll go with cute.

CARLITA
I’m sorry.

AYID
Is there something in my nose? A sign on my back? Are you doing a social experiment?

CARLITA
I’m not sure I’m supposed to tell you.
Ooh that’s the tricky part isn’t it.

AYID
Did someone hire you to-

CARLITA
Is it weird to you a pretty girl might stop you and ask you to sit down just because she thought she’d like you to be sitting with her?

AYID
That’s pretty offbeat, yes. We’ll go with offbeat.

CARLITA
Don’t be down on yourself.

AYID
No no no I get lots of-
I get-
Lots of-

(Pause.)

AYID
Are you going to just wait for me to recover from that?

CARLITA
Yup.

AYID
Okay.
I get…
Lots of…
Insight…
On the world…
In my life…
And…
It tells me…
I’m…
Cute…
Enough…
To…
Some…
Women.

CARLITA
Don’t be modest.

AYID
You have a lot of commands.

CARLITA
I just want you to live up to your potential.

AYID
What-?
Look this is a freaking odd situation and I can’t help trying to figure out what’s really going on so maybe you should tell me.

CARLITA
Should I though? And spoil it?

AYID
Maybe I should be-

CARLITA
You’re not gonna leave now! Come oooon. After all that?

AYID
I do have a thing to-

(Enter the WAITER.)

WAITER
Your order, sir.

AYID
Uh.

WAITER
Very good, sir.

(The WAITER exits.)

CARLITA
Hey?!

AYID
The whole restaurant’s in on it…

CARLITA
Maybe they’re annoyed you just sat-

AYID
I should go then-

CARLITA
No no no!

AYID
Yeahhh-

CARLITA
No uh-uh.
Daniel.

AYID
Daniel?

CARLITA
Not Daniel?

AYID
No…
I’m… Ayid, hi…

CARLITA
Oh.
Dang.
Well that was just my own guess so it’s cool. Ayid. I like “Ayid.”

AYID
Ayid wonders what woman at café is doing.

CARLITA
Ayid is cute.

AYID
Ayid… wonders what woman’s name is?

CARLITA
Now we get somewhere.

AYID
Ayid continues to wonder.

CARLITA
Ooh.
I want to enjoy the moment.
Wait.

(CARLITA stirs her coffee, picks it up, sips it.)

CARLITA
Ahhh.

(CARLITA sits up straighter and sticks out her hand. AYID shakes it.)

CARLITA
I’m.
Carlita Torres.

AYID
Carlita.

CARLITA
Nice to meet you Mr. Ayid.

AYID
Mr. Mounier. Ayid Mounier.

CARLITA
(with her head propped on her chin, dreamily)
Ooo. Niiiice.

AYID
Thanks…

(CARLITA takes his hand and holds it in hers, while looking him in the eye.)

AYID
Let me say aloud, “gulp.”

CARLITA
Yeahhh?

AYID
Gulp.

CARLITA
Neat.

AYID
I feel very much that there is some mistaken identity at play here.

CARLITA
I just met you.

AYID
I want to know if you are on.

CARLITA
On?

AYID
Ohhh.

(AYID takes quick breaths in, as if pumping himself up.)

AYID
Drugs.
Drugs.
Are you on drugs.

(CARLITA laughs.)

AYID
God.
I am too nice.

CARLITA
Really!

AYID
I need to…

CARLITA
Nope.

AYID
I…
If you’d just…

CARLITA
You know you’re staying.

(AYID looks around 360, desperately seeking an explanation.)

(AYID sighs and slumps, giving in.)

CARLITA
No no no don’t do it sad.
Be happy to stay.

AYID
I am uncomfortable.

CARLITA
Oh.

(CARLITA bites her lip.)

CARLITA
What’s next, then.
The deep part.
Yes.
Oh, my heart’s beating, oh, Carlita.

(Enter the WAITER.)

AYID
Good news.

CARLITA
What is?

AYID
That…
Your heart is beating?

CARLITA
Whatever I say will be right.
Remember that.

AYID
Are you telling me that or-?

CARLITA
I am going to be in love with you.

AYID

Swell.

CARLITA
And you are going to be in love with me.

(The WAITER steps forward and refills the tiny bit of the coffee CARLITA drank.)

CARLITA
(absently, without looking, to the WAITER)
Thank you.
(to AYID)
Do you feel it yet?

AYID

Mmm.
Mm-hm.

CARLITA
Yeah?

AYID
Mmmm.

WAITER
What was that?

AYID
Mmmm?

WAITER
The scallops?

AYID
Mmm?!

WAITER
And the ahi appetizer. Sure thing.

AYID
MmmMno no hey.

WAITER
No?

CARLITA
Just some waters please.

WAITER
Waters.

AYID
I’m on my way to eat.

WAITER
A bottle of “mmmm” then?

AYID
Sorry.

CARLITA
We’re fine, thank you.

AYID
I’m just leaving.

CARLITA
Naww.

(The WAITER smiles and exits.)

AYID
This was nice.
I will put it on my Facebook wall.

CARLITA
That you fell in love?

AYID
Mmmm.
It was nice to play this game with you.

CARLITA
Oh, oh, okay.

(CARLITA starts standing up to go like AYID is.)

AYID
No, sit.
I mean-
Please don’t let me-

CARLITA
Ayid.

AYID
Car-
Miss Torres.

CARLITA
Now I am going to explain so you can enjoy this as much as me, because it’s been selfish of me this whole time to-
But you’ll get it.

AYID
Mmmm.

CARLITA
Sit. Sit sit sit, sweetie.

AYID
I.

(The WAITER enters with a large bottle of wine, presenting it.)

CARLITA
Yes FINE yes in fact that’s an awesome idea.

(CARLITA peels off a hundred dollar bill and hands it to the WAITER. The WAITER takes it, looks perplexed, pockets it, and starts opening the wine bottle while staring confusedly at CARLITA.)

CARLITA
Are you sitting?

AYID
Ergh.

CARLITA
Mmm?

AYID
I am taking picture first.

(AYID takes a phone picture.)

AYID
There now-
That’s all fair and we can hear this out.
Someone will enjoy this story.

CARLITA
You will.

AYID
You will.
Happy to oblige.

CARLITA
Uh-huh.

(CARLITA tweaks his nose playfully. AYID doesn’t react at all.)

AYID
Carlita.

CARLITA
Okay.

(The WAITER finishes pouring the wine and steps back. CARLITA starts to speak, then turns and notices the WAITER still nearby. The WAITER takes a larger step back out of CARLITA’s vision. AYID doesn’t react.)

CARLITA
A dream.

AYID
Mmm.

CARLITA
This café.

AYID
Mmm!

CARLITA
This time. That Miata next to the fire hydrant, for whatever reason. Identification purposes.

AYID
Miata.

CARLITA
Yeah. It just pulled up.
I got déjà vu.
I looked around.
I remembered.
There was this dream.
Going back to when I was five.
Every single birthday, on the dot.
Always, me, age 32, out of state, a café down the street from my institution-

AYID
Ah!
Mmmmmm.

CARLITA
-where I’m just starting my second Master’s-

AYID
-Ahh.
Mm.

CARLITA
-for a lot of years actually the idea that I could afford two Masters’ was the wild part-

AYID
Mm.

CARLITA
But eventually it became clear…
There would be a shadow under the sun on the street…
A man passing by…
That clock in the background.

AYID
Clock?
Oh.
That-
Mmmhmm.

(The WAITER coughs. CARLITA turns to look, but the WAITER dodges her vision. AYID continues to ignore this.)

CARLITA
And the knowledge in the dream…
This would be the man I’d fall in love with, and he with me.
A glowing knowledge.
It wouldn’t even matter what I say. No troubles. It would “be.”

AYID
Mm.

(CARLITA smiles.)

AYID
That’s the whole-
I mean.
What a lovely story.

CARLITA
You’re so nice.

AYID
Yes.
Aye.

CARLITA
Ayid.

AYID
How many times has this happened?

CARLITA
Hey! Once.
Now.
The only once and now.
I’m here for my Masters’ in French poetry.

AYID
Wow.

CARLITA
My other one is in English.

AYID
You want to combine them?

CARLITA
Translate! Yes!
There’s such a treasure trove of-
Oh but.
That’s details for-
Oh there’s so much to learn about each other.
Why don’t you seem excited yet?

AYID
Possibly…

(AYID eyes the WAITER for the first time.)

AYID
Because…
I am too polite to gush in public.
Perhaps we should…
Meet…
Later…

(The WAITER exits. AYID looks confused.)

CARLITA
Sweetie.

AYID
Miss Torres.

CARLITA
I have never been as certain as anything in my life than this.

AYID
Aw, shucks, you’re the woman with many advanced degrees. That takes certainty, huh?

(CARLITA giggles.)

AYID
Was that funny?

CARLITA
Kind of!

AYID
Okay.

CARLITA
You’re skeptical.
Hmm.

AYID
You’re perceptive.
I am excited to learn more.

CARLITA
Stop being nice.
No don’t.
But tell me.
Which part is skeptical?
This will be part of our falling in love, me convincing you-

AYID
It-
Will it?

CARLITA
Of course.
Whatever we do, will be part of it.

AYID
Oh dear…

CARLITA
What?

AYID
Oh dear…

CARLITA
Yes, dear?

(The WAITER reenters with a massive pile of dishes on the way to deliver them to a table.)

(The WAITER pauses with the precariously balanced dishes, eyes CARLITA and AYID, then continues.)

(The WAITER exits with the dishes.)

AYID
I am afraid…
I…

CARLITA
Don’t be afraid.

AYID
No, I’m afraid to say…

CARLITA
Don’t be.

AYID
No, I mean it’s the idiom, “I’m afraid,” as in-
I don’t…
Like…
That…
I need to say…
Sommmmething.

CARLITA
Aw say it.

AYID
I…

CARLITA
Or do you want to kiss first?

AYID
No I’ll say it first.

(CARLITA giggles.)

AYID
I-
Oh.

CARLITA
I’m ready…

AYID
Oh…
Ohh you…
You…
Person, you…

CARLITA
Me.

AYID
Ayid, Ayid…

CARLITA
I’m so excited to hear it.

AYID
I-
Yes.
Yes.
Here goes:
I’m-

(The WAITER reenters without the dishes and immediately returns to eyeing AYID and CARLITA from out of CARLITA’s sightline.)

AYID
Confused by the waiter.

(CARLITA turns to look at the WAITER. The WAITER turns to exit. CARLITA turns back around to AYID; the WAITER flips off AYID before exiting.)

AYID
Why should that affect me.
I am such a meager person…

CARLITA
Don’t say that, sweetie.

(CARLITA takes AYID’s hand.)

(AYID gets suddenly choked up a little.)

CARLITA
Sweetie!

AYID
I’m MARRIED!

CARLITA
“I’m MARRIED!”

(Pause.)

AYID
Yes, that’s what I said, I’m MARRIED.

CARLITA
You’re.

(Pause.)

CARLITA
Okay.

AYID
Oh kill me now.

CARLITA
Ayid Mounier.
Has a Mrs. Mounier.

AYID
Lily.

CARLITA
Oh pretty name.

AYID
Ye-
Yes.
Yep.
She’s…

She’s waiting at the park, reading her book.
We meet for lunch, by the…

CARLITA
University?

AYID
Mmm.
Mm-hm.

CARLITA
How strange.

(CARLITA pulls back from AYID a bit.)

AYID
I am so very apologetic and remorseful about your dream and what has happened to it.
Perhaps oh perhaps you got the time wrong-? Or-

CARLITA
No no no. This is it.

AYID
(starting to get up)
So sorry-

CARLITA
No no no.
Thinking.

AYID
My wife-

(CARLITA absently pulls out a hundred and hands it to him.)

CARLITA
You can tell her you were earning money for something. Just sit let me think it out.

AYID
Woah.

CARLITA
Married.

AYID
Right-o.
Twelve years.

CARLITA
Oh, you’re older than me.

AYID
No, I was married young. I’m 31.

CARLITA
Arranged!

AYID
…No…

CARLITA
Teenage!

AYID
Well technically yes but-

CARLITA
You have secret problems and oh god of course it’s all so perfect with me being lonely and it makes sense with the-
The golden sunshine-
The shadow-
It’s all the poetry of my dreams-
Of my head-
Since I was a child-
You save me-
I save you-
“You light up my-”

AYID
No-

CARLITA
Yes.
Yes.
Happiness forever, for both of us. The drastic fate of the world’s poetry. The fate of the gods. The transcendent beauty of a stranger made whole within your love.

AYID
That’s-
Lovely.

CARLITA
I got more of that, mister.
Your wife is great-

AYID
Yes-

CARLITA
I mean, her name’s Lily, so of course she’s-
But she’s no poet like me.
She won’t-
Not like me.

AYID
But-
Oh gosh.
But she does.

CARLITA
I know it will hurt-

AYID
I’m-
I’m not going to div-
To-
Ay!
This is ridiculous. Take your Benjamin back.

CARLITA
Sweetie.

AYID
I’m sorry about your dream, but I love my wife with all my heart, and maybe you shouldn’t put your faith for life and love in a childhood dream that you possibly repeated to yourself all these years so that whenever a relationship failed on you
BECAUSE YOU’RE CRAZY
you could fall back on the dream to say there’s a rainbow coming over the storms!

(CARLITA looks stunned. The WAITER reenters, having overheard the outburst.)

AYID
I AM SORRY I GET PASSIONATE ABOUT MY WIFE.
Some people have not supported us all the time.
My uncle didn’t send you to try and-

CARLITA
No.
This is for real.
I feel these things.

AYID
I believe you.
Okay.
I am sorry.
It’s the wrong shadow in the sun-
Gosh listen you’ve got me talking-
I am sorry sorry sorry.

CARLITA
(for the first time starting to think that he might actually leave)
Stop apologizing…

AYID
You should have gotten me when I was eighteen…
No no no that is horrible I-
Forget I said-

CARLITA
Ayid…
This can’t be right…

AYID
I…
Here…
I’ll give you my number.
Don’t go taking a kniiii-
Niiight aloooo-
Niiight alooone crying without a shoulder to-
My wife! My wife will talk to you. Call us if you are upset.
And good luck with your schooling. You are clearly very smart and I am sure it is already going very well.

CARLITA
Your… wife… waiting…

AYID
Yes.
She’s lovely.

CARLITA
She’s Lily.

AYID
Aye. Mm-hm.

CARLITA
I just sat down…
Saw the café…
I knew… I knew I knew I knew I knew I knew I KNEW I KNEW I KNEW-

(The WAITER starts to step forward but hesitates.)

AYID
(looking around nervously)
Hey hey hey-

CARLITA
Why do I get EVERYTHING but THIS-
All these YEARS-

AYID
Okay look-
I’ll write this other number-
It’s an 800 number-
Try that too okay?
Here’s your-

(CARLITA freezes up.)

AYID
Um.
Okay.
Why do I…
I…
I have to change…
Lily help me…

(AYID reaches up hand to smack CARLITA out of it. He can’t bring himself to do it. He tries, twice, fails. He at last reaches forward and taps her gently on the side of the head, then immediately runs off and exits.)

CARLITA
Ayid…
Ayid…
Was I wrong?
Did I need to say-
The right things…
Did we have a moment there…
When I said- And he said-
One moment of-?
Or…

(CARLITA looks at the written-down numbers.)

CARLITA
Is this just the beginning…
No dreams without nightmares first…
Calling…
Phone calls…
The wife…
“She’s lovely, Ayid…”
Picnics together…
A slow…
Dawning…
Realization…
It… could be…
And why would he even know?

I need to dream again.
Read some Breton and sleep.

WAITER!

(The WAITER steps slowly forward into her field of vision, expectantly.)

CARLITA
Switch me to decaf, please.

(The WAITER stares at her.)

CARLITA
Please?

(The WAITER takes her cup and slowly walks away with it.)

(CARLITA shields her eyes from the sun and sighs.)

(End of play.)

writing time: 1:14

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One comment

  1. […] from an accidental explorer Came from listening to music and getting the image of a sandbox 2) Carlita’s Silhouette – a woman seems to think a random stranger is important to her life Came from thinking about the […]

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