If Memory Serves

by Drew Mindell

 

 

Cast of Characters

 

 

PENELOPE LANE: She became sixteen too quickly, and then never quite stopped being sixteen.

 

HUNTER: The villain, the prince, or something in between.

 

LANA: PENELOPE’s live-in girlfriend.

Place

 

In and around Penelope Lane.

 

Time

 

Now and again.

Setting: A child’s bedroom. A young girl’s bedroom to be precise, and everything is as fantastical as she imagines it to be. 


At Rise: PENELOPE lies down on the bed, HUNTER standing nearby. They are both five, maybe six, and both are dressed for a winter holiday party.

PENELOPE

Oh no! I am falling into a deep, deep sleep! And only a kiss from my One True Love can wake me!


HUNTER

Do I hafta?


PENELOPE

Well, you are my One True Love, aren’t you?


HUNTER

This is boring. I wanna see if dessert’s ready.


PENELOPE

My mommy said ten more minutes, so you have time to kiss me.


HUNTER

Ugh, fine.

(PENELOPE settles back into her dream. HUNTER walks over and leans in to kiss her. Centimeters from her face, he stops.)

Are you sure this is how it happened?


PENELOPE

Of course I’m sure.


HUNTER

I don’t think so.

(PENELOPE sits up indignantly. Their foreheads smack together.)


BOTH

Ow!


HUNTER

Lie back down. It happened like this.


PENELOPE

Fine.

(PENELOPE lies down again. HUNTER backs up.)


HUNTER

I am the prince! I have battled dragons and witches and tax collectors, and I am here to kiss the princess to wake her from the curse, as is my birthright!


PENELOPE

What are tax collectors?


HUNTER

Shut up! You’re supposed to be sleeping.


PENELOPE

Tax collectors don’t belong in fantasy.


HUNTER

I said shut up, bitch!


(HUNTER hurls himself over PENELOPE and grabs her wrists. They are not in a bedroom anymore; it is a locker room now, the kind where you change before high school gym. Instead of a bed, PENELOPE is lying on a metal bench, and instead of nice holiday clothes, they are both wearing gym uniforms. They are fifteen, maybe sixteen.)

Shut up and take it!


PENELOPE

Stop! Stop it!


HUNTER

Why? Don’t you want it, bitch?


PENELOPE

This isn’t how it happened!

(Immediately, HUNTER lets PENELOPE go. She sits up, and he sits beside her on the bench.)


HUNTER

How did it happen, then?


PENELOPE

I kissed you first.


HUNTER

You did?


PENELOPE

I think I did.


HUNTER

How?


PENELOPE

Like this.

(PENELOPE straddles HUNTER and kisses him, real filthy (like a harlot). When she’s done, HUNTER is rather rumpled, and she sits beside him again like nothing happened.)

Remember?


HUNTER

I think I would’ve remembered that.


PENELOPE

Ugh fine. Maybe you did kiss me first.


HUNTER

Like this.

(HUNTER straddles PENELOPE, slaps her back and forth a few times, kisses her hard (like an asshole), and throws her back as he gets up from her lap. He sits beside her again. PENELOPE considers.)


      PENELOPE

But it wasn’t like that.


HUNTER

Wasn’t it?


PENELOPE

It felt like that, maybe, but you never hit me.


HUNTER

Are you sure?


PENELOPE

Yes… Yes. I’m sure. You Here.

(PENELOPE stands, motions for HUNTER to do the same. He does. As she describes, he performs the actions.)

It was after gym, and everybody else had changed and gone to class, but you told me to wait for you, so I did. I picked my sexiest sports bra, and I knew I’d done right because you checked it out when you came in. You said


HUNTER

Damn, you look good.


PENELOPE

And I giggled. And you put your arms around me, and I did this wiggly sort of thing, and I kissed you. Or you kissed me. Wait, no, not like that. Nicer. It was nicer, the first time. Yes! Just like that. You kissed me, and I kissed you back, and you put your hands on my ass. Tighter. Not that tight There. And I went sort of still. And you kept kissing me. Mmf. Wow. Lotta spit. Okay. We sat down. You made me sit on your lap, and we sat down, and you touched my breast. No, higher, like Right. Like you were half touching my breast and half about to choke me.


HUNTER (laughing)

You thought I was gonna choke you?


PENELOPE

Shutup I’m telling it.


HUNTER

I didn’t hurt you.


PENELOPE

I know.


HUNTER

I didn’t rape you.


PENELOPE

I know!


HUNTER

I never even took my dick outta my pants.


PENELOPE

I know Iknow SHUTUP OKAY!


HUNTER

Shit, you don’t need to get all hysterical. What happened next? I put my other hand on your thigh, right?

(HUNTER puts his hand on PENELOPE’s thigh.)


PENELOPE

Stop.


HUNTER

What?


PENELOPE

I don’t want to play anymore.


HUNTER

This was your idea.


PENELOPE

I said I don’t want to play anymore.

(They are children again, and they are in PENELOPE’s bedroom, and PENELOPE is getting up from her bed all flustered. Both of their heads hurt from where they just bumped together.)


HUNTER

Why don’t you wanna play anymore?


PENELOPE

Maybe my mommy said five minutes till dessert. We should check.


HUNTER

It’ll only take a second to kiss the princess.


PENELOPE

I said I don’t wanna.


HUNTER

You’re the one who picked the stupid princess game!


PENELOPE

I know! But-


HUNTER

It just takes a second. C’mon, Pen.

(PENELOPE harrumphs her way back onto the bed.)


PENELOPE

One time, then we go check on dessert.


HUNTER

One kiss is all it takes to wake the princess.

(HUNTER approaches the bed in grand princely fashion. He kisses PENELOPE, and the world gets swallowed up a little. And then HUNTER is not HUNTER, he’s LANA, and PENELOPE is in her twenties, and PENELOPE’s bed is not in her childhood home, it’s in the cramped apartment they share in SoHo. LANA is up and ready for the day, and PENELOPE is just waking up.)


LANA

Morning, princess.


PENELOPE

Mmf… what?


LANA

You slept through your alarm.


PENELOPE

You kissed me?


LANA

Sure did, Sleeping Beauty.


PENELOPE

Don’t do that.


LANA

Why not?


PENELOPE

Just don’t.


LANA

Yeah, sure. Okay.


PENELOPE

I’m serious.


LANA

Jesus, fine. Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.


PENELOPE

I’m fine.


LANA

You’re grouchy.


PENELOPE

I’m not fucking grouchy.


LANA

Whateverjust, I’m gonna go make coffee.

(LANA exits. PENELOPE sits up, and HUNTER is sitting beside her.)

HUNTER

You’re bitchy in the mornings, aren’t you?


PENELOPE

Pleasure seeing you here.


HUNTER

We didn’t finish.


PENELOPE

I know.


HUNTER

So what do you want to do?


PENELOPE

Fuck if I know.


HUNTER

This whole thing was your idea. Figure out what really happened, prove to yourself it wasn’t so bad, stop freaking out about it so you can move on with your life.


PENELOPE

Yeah, well.


HUNTER

Well, what?


PENELOPE

Maybe it was so bad.


HUNTER

Don’t be stupid.


PENELOPE

If I’m still thinking about it ten years later, it must have been something.


HUNTER

You’re wrong.


PENELOPE

You’re not real, you don’t get to tell me I’m wrong.


HUNTER

Exactly. You’re telling you you’re wrong.


LANA (offstage)

Penny, I went ahead and threw some workout clothes in a gym bag for you.


PENELOPE (calling offstage)

Thanks.


HUNTER

What’s that about?


PENELOPE

She’s been asking me to take this hot yoga class with her for months.


HUNTER

Hot yoga. Sounds fun. Why haven’t you gone before?


PENELOPE

Same reason I haven’t gone to the gym in ten years.


HUNTER

Yeah, I can tell.


PENELOPE

Dick.


HUNTER

Tell her you can’t go.


PENELOPE

I’m not going to do that.


HUNTER

You know I’ll be there, right?


PENELOPE

I figured.


HUNTER

So don’t go.


PENELOPE

Fuck, maybe I won’t.


HUNTER

Is that any way to live your life?


PENELOPE

You don’t care how I live my life. Which is so stupid. Because I’ve spent ten years caring how you lived yours. Wondering if I was too harsh when I finally pushed you off of me. Wondering if you felt guilty for something you didn’t really need to be guilty for. Except you did. I didn’t sleep for a week after it happened. I still don’t sleep, sometimes. And I bet you didn’t have any trouble falling asleep that night.

HUNTER

You don’t know that.


PENELOPE

Maybe I don’t. But I believe it now. Wherever you are, you’re not losing sleep anymore. You’re not thinking about it at all. And I am. That means something.


HUNTER

Means what?


PENELOPE

Means you hurt me.


HUNTER

I didn’t mean to


PENELOPE

Doesn’t matter if you meant to or not, you hurt me. And I don’t need to forget about that. I don’t need to do anything I don’t want to do.


Lana?

(Footsteps. LANA pokes her head into the bedroom. HUNTER begins fading.)


LANA

Yeah, babe?


PENELOPE

There’s something I need to tell you about.

(LANA sits down beside PENELOPE. HUNTER fades further.)


LANA

Are you okay?


PENELOPE

I’m fi No, actually. Um. It’s kind of a long story. We might be late for hot yoga.


LANA

Screw hot yoga. Talk to me.


PENELOPE

You sure?



LANA

I’m sure.


PENELOPE

Okay.

(PENELOPE tells her story as HUNTER fades completely. The lights begin to go down, and so does her voice. We never find out exactly what happened in that locker room. That’s okay. PENELOPE knows. And now LANA does, too.)


END

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