Scene from The Sunrise Side

Ashley Minihan


Laura is packing a suitcase for George. George is restless.

George: This is just not what I want to be doing now.

Laura: I know. You won't be gone long, though.

George: God, I hope not.

Laura: Why don't I come with you?

George: Don't talk crazy. You know you can't come.

Laura: Why are you going then, if it's so dangerous?

George: It's not really that dangerous.

Laura: Then, why can't I come?

George: Because it would look pretty darn bad, Laura, if you, of all people, got blown up. And if you're with me, then we're probably together, and if we both got blown up, then the girls will be orphans, and nobody wants that, okay? That would be really bad. Laura starts to put a dark blue tie in George's suitcase. Not that one. I hate that one.

Laura: I gave you this one.

George: No, you didn't.

Laura: Yes, I did.

George: No, Sweetie, my mother gave me that one. It's one of the ones she's been giving me every Christmas for the last forty years.

Laura: I got it for you, George.

George: You got me the red one. My mother gives me the dark ones.

Laura: Oh. . . wait, no. . .

George: Yes. You get me bright ones. You know I like bright ones. She gets me the dark ones. My mother gets me the dark ones.

Laura: Maybe I'm misremembering.

George: You are.

Laura: All right.

She takes out the dark blue tie and replaces it with a red one..

George: I'm so thirsty. Pause. I'm really thirsty. Do you think Happy's working tonight?

Laura goes to the telephone and picks up the receiver.

Laura: Yes, good evening. The President would like a glass of ginger ale. Thank you.

She puts down the receiver.

George: Ginger ale.

Laura: You're thirsty.

George: Yeah, I know, I know. Pause. Twenty years, one month, and three days.

Laura: That's great, baby.

George: Couldn'ta done it without you. Couldn't still do it now without you.

Laura: Don't say that.

George: It's the truth. You know you're my strength.

Laura: Oh, George, I'm not anybody's strength. I'm just a tired. . .

Knock on the door. Laura goes to the door and opens it. Hapner enters. The cart he is pushing has a single-serving-size bottle of ginger ale on it, a glass, and a bucket of ice.

George: Do you know what I miss?

Laura: What?

George: Two-liter bottles of soda. There's something comforting about them. Lots more soda if you want it. Now all we ever get are these tiny little bottles.

Laura: The soda always goes flat in those big bottles.

George: It's like we're constantly on an airplane.

Hapner: Would you like more soda, sir? I can get you some more.

George: No, that's fine, Happy. It's not like I love ginger ale so much.

Hapner: Would you like something else, sir?

George: No, no. . . this is fine. Hapner puts some ice into the glass, opens the bottle, and pours the ginger ale into the glass, which he hands to George. George takes a sip and then puts the glass down on his nightstand. He smiles at Hapner. How are ya tonight, Happy?

Hapner: Fine, Sir, thank you. How are you?

George: Oh, I'm all right. I have to take this big trip tomorrow. Not so happy about that. You take good care of Laura, all right?

Laura: George, that's not his job.

George: Of course it's his job. You make sure she gets everything she needs, okay?

Hapner: Yes, sir. Of course.

George: You're a good pal, Happy. How 'bout a joke before we call it a night?

Hapner: All right, Sir. I just heard this one the other day.

George: Great. Tell us.

Hapner: Well, there's this guy playing the saxophone at a club. He's played a great set, the audience has loved him, and as an encore he decides to play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and he gets through the first part:

Daah-daah-daah-da-da-da-da-daah-daah-da-da-da-daah. . .

He gets through that first part fine, but then he gets to the bridge, and he blanks, he can't remember the rest of the song, so he starts again:

Daah-daah-da-da-da-da-da-daah-daah-daah. . .

But he can't remember the rest of the song, and he's so embarrassed, he runs off the stage, and then he runs home, practicing the song over and over again:

Daah-daah-da-da-da-da-da-daah-daah-daah. . .
Daah-daah-da-da-da-da-da-daah-daah-daah. . .

Finally, he can't take it any more, and he throws himself out the window, throws himself out his tenth-story window, and as he falling, an ambulance goes by:

Daah-daah, daah-daah, daah-daah, daah-daah. . .


George: Huh?

Laura: It's the rest of the song. The siren is like the rest of the song.

George: Oh. That's depressing.

Hapner: Sorry, Sir.

George: That wasn't one of your best, Happy.

Hapner: Well, I just heard it. I guess it's not a keeper.

George: No, definitely not.

Hapner: Can I do anything else for you, Sir?

George: No, Happy, I think we're good.

Hapner: Well, good night, Sir. Have a safe trip.

George: Thanks, Happy.

Hapner: Good night, Ma'am.

Laura: Good night, Brian. Hapner exits, pushing the car with the empty ginger ale bottle and the ice bucket on it. He leaves the glass. That's a strange young man.

George: He's just fine.

Laura: That was a disturbing joke.

George: It wasn't a joke. It was "name-that-tune."

Laura: It took me by surprise.

George: What surprised me was that it wasn't funny.

Laura: There was something so dark about it.

George: Don't worry about it.

Laura: That siren part. . .

George: It was just a joke. Pause. You're just upset about my going. It won't be long.

Laura: I know.

George: Let's call it a night. I'm gonna go wash up. George exits. Sounds of water running come from the bathroom. Laura goes to the nightstand beside her side of the bed, opens the drawer, takes out the pill bottle, opens the bottle, and takes out a pill. She puts it in her mouth. Grimacing slightly from its bitterness, she catches sight of George's still almost-full glass of ginger ale and takes a few sips to wash it down. She then curls up on her side of the bed, facing the wall. George comes back out from the bathroom. You're asleep already?

Laura: Yes.

George: You're not gonna get undressed?

Laura: In the morning.

Ashley Minihan is the author of Ophelia, which was produced at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2006. She teaches academic reading and writing courses for English Language Learners at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. She would like to thank Han Ong and her playwriting classmates for a rewarding semester.

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