By Bob Shuman
SCENE: A wet dog park in the Bronx.
(MARY JANE, early 70’s, sits on a bench in the dog run. Using a launcher, SHE plays fetch with her spaniel, Lantern—although CHRISTIE (male), late 50’s, is throwing most of the balls today (to LANTERN and one of CHRISTIE’S two Jack Russell terriers, JASPER. The other, JUNO, sits on the ground near MARY JANE. )
CHRISTIE: Come on, Lantern, come back. Don’t go down so far.
MARY JANE: Lantern, come back.
CHRISTIE: Jasper got it.
MARY JANE: He knows not to go very far when I’m throwing the ball!
CHRISTIE: (To Lantern.) I’m trying to get it to you.
MARY JANE: I used to think he was smart.
CHRISTIE: I can’t throw it that far.
MARY JANE: Lantern, Christie’s wearing two pairs of gloves and has the ball in a plastic bag!
CHRISTIE: He missed it.
CHRISTIE: Lantern, come back this way.
MARY JANE: A hospital ship is being sent to the East Coast.
CHRISTIE: (Explaining to Lantern.) Jasper will intercept it if you go too far downfield.
MARY JANE: Another one is going to the West Coast.
CHRISTIE: I don’t have the arm for that.
MARY JANE: The problem is they only have 5,000 ventilators in New York.
CHRISTIE: How many do they need?
MARY JANE: 30,000.
MARY JANE: Do they give one to the 40-year-old—or do I get it, with underlying conditions?
CHRISTIE: (To Lantern.) Stay up here.
MARY JANE: It used to be a disease would wipe out segments of the population—but we’re not used to that. We got too smart in eradicating disease.
CHRISTIE: (To Lantern.) Forget it, Lantern—I’m not a professional quarterback!
MARY JANE: They were looking at the people who died in Italy. The largest group had cases in the elderly population with three or four underlying conditions. The second group had two–
CHRISTIE: It’s like fires out West.
MARY JANE: Exactly.
(The dogs suddenly begin to bark at children outside the fence.)
CHRISTIE: (To the dogs.) That’s enough, that’s enough. (About the dogs, to the children.)
MARY JANE: Lantern, stop barking.
CHRISTIE: (To the children and nanny.) They’re just saying good morning.
MARY JANE: All the children are off from school.
CHRISTIE: (To the children, about the dogs.) They’re just saying hello. You don’t have to be scared of them. They’re just big talkers.
(The nanny and children move on and the dogs stop barking. Silence.)
MARY JANE: How is your son?
CHRISTIE: Still in Edinburgh. Going on lockdown. He doesn’t want to come home. Says it’s as bad over here as it is there.
MARY JANE: You know in Venice, without all the tourists there, the canals are like glass. Crystal clear. Blue. You can see all the way to the bottom.
CHRISTIE: Lantern, you got the ball!
(C) Copyright 2020 by Bob Shuman. All rights reserved.