A Play By: Avery Jam
[The scene begins in a kitchen. JACK sits in a chair at the kitchen table reading a book and LIZA stands at the counter facing the audience carefully picking the dead leaves off some obviously dead plants.]
LIZA: Hey Jack?
LIZA: I want you to stop calling me stupid.
JACK: You know Liza, those plants are dead.
LIZA: No, they’re not they just need to be cleaned up a little.
LIZA: So…could you stop calling me stupid?
JACK: Why do you care?
LIZA: Because I don’t like the way it sounds and it makes me feel inferior. Plus it’s not like I’m stupid, I graduated with honors.
JACK: It’s not like I call you stupid in front of people.
LIZA: Yea but I’m not stupid…and also you do.
JACK: Liz, I call everything stupid. It’s a word. It doesn’t mean anything.
LIZA: Ok, but it means something to me.
JACK: Then stop letting it. I’m not going to change the way I talk because it makes you uncomfortable.
LIZA: [becoming more agitated] Is it that hard to change one word?
JACK: Is it that hard to stop letting one word affect you?
[silence. LIZA begins to water the dead plants with a small watering can.]
LIZA: What about bitch?
JACK: What about it?
LIZA: Could you stop calling me a bitch?
JACK: I call everyone a bitch.
LIZA: You don’t call your mom a bitch because you love and respect her. Do you not love and respect me?
JACK: You know that’s different.
[LIZA turns to JACK who is now disinterestedly looking at his phone]
JACK: We’ve been together for three years so you shouldn’t take it personally. Why are you asking me this? Why do you want to change me so bad?
LIZA: I just wish you were a little nicer to me. Especially in front of other people.
JACK: [Beginning to get fed up] The only reason you think I’m mean is because you take everything personally. That’s not my fault, it’s yours.
LIZA: Ok, but-
JACK: And the only reason people think I’m mean to you is because you tell them I am. I should be the one telling you to stop saying things.
[LIZA turns back to her plants and looks down at her hands before going back to caring for the plants.]
JACK: Liz there’s no point in watering them.
[silence as JACK looks at LIZA and then back down to his phone.]
LIZA: Do you remember… when you were coming off the pills and you thought I was hiding something from you so you put me in a chokehold and pushed me on the ground?
JACK: Liza why the fuck are you bringing that up?
LIZA: I don’t know.
JACK: Also it was hardly a chokehold. I put my arm around your neck and sat with you on the floor. It’s not my fault you’re so weak.
LIZA: It was a chokehold. It hurt.
JACK: No. It wasn’t. You always make me the bad guy and are telling me that I hurt you but you’re the one always exaggerating.
LIZA: I was just thinking…you never apologized for it.
JACK: sorry that you are weaker than me and I was struggling with drug withdrawal
LIZA: That’s not what I meant.
JACK: [Yelling] Well then what the fuck do you want from me Liza?
[silence. LIZA goes back to watering the plants]
JACK: Liza just give up on the fucking plants already. You’re stupid to keep trying to grow them.
LIZA: [Suddenly throws one of the dead plant pots on the floor.]
JACK: [Yelling] What the fuck was that for?!
LIZA: [Also yelling] You’re so mean to me! I know you are, no matter how many times you say you aren’t I know you are! You shouldn’t want to call your girlfriend stupid or a bitch!
JACK: [remains silent looking at LIZA]
LIZA: Go on tell me how it’s all my fault and how I need to stop being so irrational. If you loved me you would do anything not to hurt me. But all you do is hurt me and you never apologize and I’m fucking tired of it Jack!
JACK: What is wrong with you?
LIZA: Nothing is wrong with me. I am allowed to be angry. My therapist says I’m allowed to be angry.
JACK: This isn’t angry. This is fucking crazy. You’re crazy. Are you taking your pills? Are you trying to accuse me of abusing you? Do you know how serious that is? I can’t even believe you would consider that!
LIZA: Jack no I-
JACK: Compared to other women you have it so good. I would never punch you in the face or anything.
JACK: [putting on his coat to leave] Just stop Liza you’ve said enough. I understand how you feel.
LIZA: Jack please don’t leave I didn’t know what I was saying. Please don’t leave again.
JACK: I’m going to hang out with some coworkers.
LIZA: Don’t leave. I don’t like it when you leave angry. It makes me feel like you won’t come back.
JACK: Maybe one day I won’t. I’m not attached to you Liza. There are a million girls like you.
LIZA: Why do you stay with me then?
JACK: Because girls are a chore Liza. Getting a new girlfriend would be too much work.
LIZA: Oh. ok.
JACK: I’ll be back later. Pick this mess up while I’m gone [JACK gestures to the broken pot]. And please calm down.
[LIZA looks down at the floor and slowly nods]
JACK: Oh and Liza?
JACK: There’s no point in watering dead plants. They’re never going to grow.
[JACK walks offstage as LIZA sinks to the floor picking up a leaf or flower from the floor.]
LIZA: No point in taking care of you…you’re never going to grow…
[LIZA sets the piece down]
LIZA: Dead things can’t grow. I can’t grow.
[LIZA places her head in her hands as the lights fade to black.]