Ruby and Eme Create an Existential Crisis (A Play in One Act)

Scene:  A car.  Night time.  Melissa drives.  Ruby, 5, and Eme, 3, sit in the back seat.

Eme:  Are we there yet?

Melissa:  Yes.

(Time passes.)

Ruby:  Then why are we still driving?

Melissa:  Because I was using sarcasm.  That’s when you say the opposite of what’s actually true.

Ruby:  Oh.  Like you say we’re at home when we’re really driving?

M:  Yes.

R:  Or, if we were at home, you would say we’re out driving?

M:  Right.

R:  Because driving is the opposite of being at home.

M:  Well…

R:  And water?  Is the opposite of milk.

Melissa’s Internal Monologue:  “That’s not right.  But what IS the opposite of water?  No water?  No.  The opposite of something isn’t simply the absence of that something…  Hmmm.   I need to buy some time.”

Melissa (aloud):  Right.

R:  Right.  And orange juice is the opposite of apple juice.

M (aloud):  True.

M (Internal Monologue):  “That’s definitely true.”

R:  Because apple is the opposite of orange.

M (IM):  “Wait.  Is apple the opposite of orange?  They’re both fruit.  And they’re often compared, but they’re different.  That’s why people say you can’t compare apples and oranges…”

R:  So the opposite of apple JUICE is orange JUICE.

M (IM):  “…but just because they’re different doesn’t make them opposites.  So what’s the opposite of an apple?  Not NO apple.  Is there an opposite to an apple?”

R:  So things that are opposite are funny.

M (IM):  “Things that are opposites aren’t ALWAYS funny.  And anyway, the apple thing is too complicated.  Let’s go back to the water.  There’s definitely an opposite to water.   I know!  Dryness!  Wait, that’s the opposite of wet.  Well, water is wet.  But so is apple juice, and I know dry isn’t the opposite of apple juice.”

R:  Milk comes out of cows, but—

M (aloud):  Milk doesn’t come out of cow’s butts!

(Ruby and Eme burst into laughter.)

R:  I didn’t say milk comes out of cow’s BUTTS!  I said milks comes out of cows, BUT…  (She laughs.) (Scolding)  MOM-my.

M (aloud):  Okay, so milk comes out of cows, but what?

Eme:  Knock knock.

Ruby:  Milk comes out of cows, BUT—

Eme:  Knock knock.

Ruby:  Milk comes out of cows, BUT—

E:  Knock knock.

R:  Eme!

M:  Ruby, go.  Milk comes out of cows, but…

R:  …but what do cows eat?

M:  Grass.

R:  And what do cows drink?

M (Internal Monologue):  “I see where she’s going with this…”

M (aloud):  Water.

R:  So milk is made of—

M:  No.

R:  No, so cows must drink milk.

M:  They don’t drink milk, they drink water.

R:  Right.  So grass must be made of milk.

M:  No.  Cows eat grass and they drink water and then the milk comes from—

M (Internal Monologue):  “I don’t actually want to think about how the grass and the water turn into milk.”

Eme:  Knock knock.

M (IM):  “I definitely won’t want to drink milk after I go down this road.”

R:  So there must be a little bit of milk down in the grass that feeds the grass, so that—

M (IM):  “Or eat ice cream.  I won’t want to eat ice cream.”

E:  Knock knock!

M (IM):  “I really love ice cream.”

E:  MOMMY!  KNOCK KNOCK!

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Police!

M:  Police who?

E:  Po-lease open the door so I can come in!

(Ruby and Melissa laugh politely.)

M:  Good one.

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Orange.

M:  Orange who?

E:  Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

M (IM):  (An epiphany.) “I AM glad she didn’t say banana!”

R:  Hey mommy.  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Orange.

M:  Orange who?

(The joke continues under Melissa’s Internal Monologue.)

M (IM):  “Let’s get back to this water business.  I have to know if water has an opposite.  Don’t all things have opposites?  What’s the opposite of me?  Me, as a black person?  Me, but taller?  Me, but a Buddhist Asian man who hates ice cream?”

R:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Orange.

M (IM):  “An opposite of me would have to be tall, male…what’s the opposite of Portuguese?  The country on the exact opposite side of the planet?”

M:  Orange who?

M (IM):  “Too complicated.  Just think about the water.  That’s the easiest thing to solve.  I need an opposite of water….”

R:   Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

R:  Banana you glad I didn’t say orange?

(Melissa genuinely laughs.)

M (IM):  “That was actually funny.  But it wasn’t funny at all.  It was funny because it was so unfunny.  It was the opposite of funny!”

E:  Mommy, knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Butterfly.

M:  Butterfly who?

E:  Butterfly you glad I didn’t say orange?

M (IM):  “That was also unfunny.  But it wasn’t so unfunny it was funny.  Was that more or less the opposite of funny than the last joke?  Was the last joke sarcasm because it was funny, and the opposite of a joke?  Was this not sarcasm because it was less funny, or more sarcasm because it was so unfunny?”

M:  No more knock knock jokes.

(Silence)

M (IM):  “Water.  Wet.  Dry.  Clear.  Solid.  Liquid.  Ice.  Not appley or orangey.”

R:  Are we there yet?

M:  Yes.

(They drive.)

 

BLACKOUT

 


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