By Bob Shuman
SCENE: A dog park in the Bronx. There are two benches. The first is near the entrance to the run—the second it toward the opposite end.
MARY JANE, early 70’s, sits on one side of the second bench in the dog run. Using a launcher, SHE plays fetch with her spaniel, LANTERN. CHRISTIE, late 50’s, is sitting on the far side of the bench and throwing a ball to one of his two terriers—the other dog sits near MARY JANE. A sunny day)
CHRISTIE: (Calling, to one of his dogs.) Come on Jasper, stop taking Lantern’s ball.
MARY JANE: What to do? I wait for this all year long–I’m not sure if anything will change by May or June.
CHRISTIE: I saw, on the Web, that the worst should be over by the end of April–not that it might not recur . . .
MARY JANE: I get the same ABT tickets in the parterre–with my friend.
CHRISTIE: (To Jasper.) You have your own ball! Leave Lantern’s alone! (CHRISTIE stands.) Come on Jasper, put the ball over here!
MARY JANE: That’s all right. Just leave him. He’ll put it down when he’s ready.
(Jasper finally puts down the ball.)
MARY JANE: I told you. He always puts down the ball if you leave him alone.
CHRISTIE: Natan said we should just nuke New Rochelle—then our problems would be solved.
MARY JANE: And cancel 2020.
CHRISTIE: That will get rid of corona virus.
MARY JANE: The National Guard is taking food and medical supplies to the elderly.
CHRISTIE: How far away is New Rochelle? I’ve never been there.
MARY JANE: Depends on where you’re going. New Rochelle is a big place. Six schools. Two closed. Twenty-five minutes, maybe. That’s where my vet is and where I get my car repaired. We used to go to New Rochelle for the best pizza.
MARY JANE: They closed Fordham. Columbia.
CHRISTIE: Saint Xavier. Courses go online Thursday.
MARY JANE: Was anyone at the school found to be infected?
MARY JANE: What does that mean for you?
CHRISTIE: I can’t tutor because you have to work with the student face to face. (Pause.) They’re going on spring break anyway—it doesn’t matter.
(Pause. We hear the entry gate open and close. A small black and white dog, like on the old RCA records comes up to CHRISTIE—and he lightly begins petting the dog.)
CHRISTIE: (Changing the subject.) At least the weather’s better. That would stop the virus. That’s what happens with the flu. Knock it out. One of the workmen in our building said: “You want some Coronas? I got some.”
(Silence. CHRISTIE stops petting the dog.)
MARY JANE: (Speaking quietly.) You know Natan?
CHRISTIE: (Not hearing.) What?
MARY JANE: You see that man over there?
CHRISTIE: (To one of the terriers.) Come on Jasper—you can let Lantern have his own ball.
MARY JANE: He lives in Natan’s building.
CHRISTIE: Why is he holding a white handkerchief in front of his face?
MARY JANE: Natan often knows things about people.
CHRISTIE: (Throwing a ball.) The New Rochelle line was only a joke, you know that, right? I never know if people take things the wrong way. (Looking over at the man.) Maybe that guy is sick.
MARY JANE: His son is in quarantine.
CHRISTIE: I was just petting his dog–lightly on top.
MARY JANE: Can you get it from animals?
CHRISTIE: I don’t know.
MARY JANE: He seems sick. (The man is blowing his nose.)
CHRISTIE: I don’t want to wait to find out.
(The dog jumps up on the bench.)
CHRISTIE: I think I’m going to go in the other run.
MARY JANE: I’ve never gotten along with him. He takes up too much of a bench.
CHRISTIE: I want to wash my hands.
MARY JANE: I’m going to the doctor in a few minutes.
CHRISTIE: Let’s get out of here.
MARY JANE: (Suddenly.) Lantern! We’re leaving!
(C) Copyright 2020 by Bob Shuman. All rights reserved.