Happily Ever After
by Robert Moats

ACT 1

Scene 2

[The scene opens with the apartment pretty much the same. Table UC with old cloth on it, large candelabra in center, Jim enters from kitchen with odd plates, plops them on table. He looks at table with satisfaction, goes to shelves and removes clothes, to closet, opens door and goes in then out leaving clothes. To kitchen, brings out two chairs places them at table. Goes to TV, picks it up and puts it on floor, moves the two boxes to table. Moves TV back. To table, sees candelabra and says: "Matches!" Goes to kitchen brings out lighter, which doesn't' work. Takes candelabra and puts it on TV. Heads to kitchen as there is a knock on door.]

JIM: Come on in, the door's open.

MEL: [peeking in] Jim, are you ready...oh God, you're not ready. [she enters followed by mother]

JIM: [back from kitchen] Hi Mel, come on in. This must be your mother, hi, I'm Jim Boardman.

MARIE: Nice to meet you Mr. Boardman.

JIM: Please call me Jim.

MARIE: Thank you Jim.

JIM: Won't you have a seat? [offers kitchen chair]

MARIE: That would be nice, but first could I use your bathroom.

JIM: The bathroom?

MARIE: Yes, the bathroom. You do have a bathroom don't you?

JIM: Oh sure, it's down the hall.

MARIE: ...down the hall?

JIM: Yes, uh...out the door and to the right, all the way to the end of the hall.

MARIE: Oh, out in the hall.

JIM: To the right and at the end.

MARIE: I see, I'll be right back. [she exits]

JIM: Did you say anything to them about it?

MEL: I didn't think it was all that important to tell them about your bathroom.

JIM: No, I'm talking about getting married.

MEL: Jim, we have to break that to them gently. My dad still thinks of me as being 12 years old.

JIM: You haven't even hinted about it?

MEL: I couldn't, I was afraid of what dad might do.

JIM: Where is your father?

MEL: He's parking the car. He should be here shortly.

JIM: Mel, I have had nightmares for the last three nights thinking about this evening.

MEL: Well I haven't slept very well either, and when daddy sees this apartment the nightmare will get worse. [knock on door] Oh no, it's him.

JIM: Should we let him in?

MEL: Jim, you're going to have to let him in sometime.

JIM: How about next month.

MEL: Jim, you arranged this whole thing, now face up to it.

JIM: [knock again] If I live through it. [to door, open]

TOM: [entering] What kinda place is this? [to Mel] There's a drunk on the stairs preaching about the existence of some God named Ralph and there are two hookers above him claiming they're angels of mercy!

MEL: Daddy, calm down.

TOM: Calm down! We're in the middle of the seediest part of town and you want me to calm down!

MEL: Daddy please! I want you to meet Jim Boardman. Jim, this is my father, Tom Kellaway.

JIM: Pleased to meet you Mr. Kellaway.

TOM: You look familiar? Have I seen you in a line-up somewhere?

MEL: Daddy!

JIM: No sir, I've never been in a line-up.

TOM: Well, you still look familiar.

JIM: I have a pretty common face. Won't you sit down?

TOM: I guess so, where?

JIM: Oh here, on the couch. It's quite comfortable. [Tom sits] Mr. Kellaway, would you like some wine? I have a nice bottle of Mogen David.

TOM: Can't stand wine. You got a beer?

JIM: Sure, I'll bring you one right out. [into kitchen]

TOM: Where's your mother?

MEL: I'll give you one guess.

TOM: In the bathroom. [she nods] My god, that woman can't get into the car for two minutes without having to hit the bathroom as soon as she gets out of the car.

MEL: Daddy, you know mom hates to ride in the car.

TOM: That phobia started on the day you were born and she broke water on the front seat of the Buick.

MEL: Well you shouldn't have yelled at her, it was very traumatic.

JIM: [from kitchen] Mel, could you come here for a minute?

MEL: [to Tom] Excuse me. [to Jim] What's the matter?

JIM: Help me find a bottle opener please. [they go into kitchen] [Marie enters from hall and stands by door]

TOM: What are you doing in the hall? I thought you went to the bathroom.

MARIE: The bathroom is in the hall. [she looks distressed] TOM: In the hall! What kinda place is this?... What's the matter, you gotta go again?

MARIE: I didn't go the first time.

TOM: And why not?

MARIE: There was a man in there taking a shower. I was in and had the door locked before I realized he was in there. [Mel and Jim enter, Jim hands Tom an unopened beer bottle]

TOM: [to Jim] What kinda place is this? You mean there's only one bathroom for all these apartments and I use the word sparingly.

JIM: Well, it is a little inconvenient, but it keeps the rent low.

TOM: Just how much do you pay for this palace?

JIM: It's only $75.A month.

TOM: Well, you'd think with all the left over money you have you'd be able to build a bathroom in here.

MEL: Daddy, please! [door opens, enter Martin in robe and shower cap, surveys the people and announces:]

MARTIN: The bathroom is free, [to Marie] and you forgot to shut the door. [exits]

MARIE: Oh!! Melissa come with me! [exits]

MEL: Oh mother!

MARIE: [from hall] Melissa!

MEL: Be right back. [exits, closes door]

TOM: What kinda work you in that you can afford such splendor. [starts to drink unopened bottle]

JIM: I'm collecting unemployment right now.

TOM: Why isn't this bottle opened?

JIM: I'm sorry, I couldn't find a bottle opener. [Tom twists off cap] Gee, you certainly are strong, aren't you.

TOM: It had a twist off cap. [takes a swig]

JIM: Oh I'm sorry, I didn't read the instructions.

TOM: Unemployed?

JIM: Pardon me?

TOM: You say your unemployed.

JIM: Uh..Yeah, I happen to have applications in at the big three. I went to school for auto engineering.

TOM: Good work if you can get it.

JIM: Oh I certainly agree.

TOM: You lived here long?

JIM: All my life.

TOM: [looking around] I see your parents were smart and moved out.

JIM: Oh no, I meant that I lived in this town all of my life, not in this apartment. I've lived here only three months.

TOM: How long have you known my daughter?

JIM: Well, a little over two weeks. She's really a swell girl.

TOM: So why are my wife and I here? Is there some special reason?

JIM: [standing] Well...Mr. Kellaway, since we're alone, there is something I wanted to say.... [Marie enters in a panic, followed by Mel]

MARIE: Jim, quick the toilet is overflowing!

JIM: Oh great! [to shelf for plunger] Don't worry, I know what the problem is.It has to be fixed quickly or it backs up into the kitchen sink. [exits]

TOM: My God! What kinda place is this!

MEL: Daddy, will you please quit saying that.

TOM: Young lady, I'll say what I damn well please and don't ever forget it! [strolls to R.] What are we doing here? You've been very mysterious about this whole so called dinner date.

MEL: Dad, I just wanted you to meet Jim, he's really a nice person.

TOM: Well we met him, now can we go home. [opens closest, looks in]

MEL: Dad, we've been invited for dinner, can't you please make it through that?

TOM: My God! This closet looks like the city dump!

MEL: Dad!

MARIE: Tom, quit snooping, he'll be back any minute.

TOM: I'm not snooping! I'm just looking for an emergency exit, in case of fire... or plague.

MARIE: Tom! You promised me you'd be on your best behavior tonight. [to him] You've chased every male friend away that Melissa has known. She's not getting any younger.

TOM: For crying out loud, you act like she's a spinster. She's still in her twenties. When it comes to men, she should take her time.

MARIE: I married you when I was 18.

TOM: Things were different then. I want her to be more sensible when she gets married, not a foolish young girl.

MARIE: OH! Are you saying that I was foolish?

TOM: No, I just meant that you weren't as smart as girls are today.

MARIE: Well thank you!

JIM: [entering] Toilet's fixed! Now shall we sit down to eat. [to kitchen]

MARIE: We'd better or the toilet may get stuffed with something else.

TOM: Marie!

MARIE: Tom, sit! [Tom sulks to table, sits]

JIM: [back from kitchen, has large covered bowl] It's nothing fancy. Just some homemade potato salad.

TOM: Did you wash your hands after fixing the toilet?

MARIE: Tom!!

MEL: Dad!!

JIM: Yes I did Mr. Kellaway. Excuse me while I get the hot dogs. [to kitchen]

TOM: [Under his breath] Hot dogs! What kinda dinner is this?

MARIE: Are you going to start again?

TOM: Hot dogs. I would have at least expected a roast.

MEL: Daddy please!

TOM: Hot dogs!

JIM: [re-entering with covered pan] Here we go. Not exactly gourmet, but good. [removes cover, smoke bellows out] Oh no! I'm sorry, the oven's been acting up lately. It must have overheated.

TOM: That's not all that's overheating. [Marie whacks him]

JIM: Well there's plenty of potato salad. [removes foil, every one makes a face of distaste]

TOM: When did you make that, last year?

JIM: Uh, day before yesterday, but it's been in the refrigerator.

TOM: Is the refrigerator overheating too!

JIM: Listen, don't worry about dinner.I have another idea. [to phone] I'll order some pizza.

TOM: [perking up] Pizza! Now that I could go for.

JIM: Mr. Kellaway, just across the street is Marvin's Pizza and they've got great pizza.

TOM: Marvin's! Weren't they closed down twice last year by the board of health?

JIM: Oh don't worry Mr. Kellaway, they finally got all the roaches out of the...hello, yes this is Jim Boardman across the street. Could you send up one of your super jumbo pizzas...yes, everything.

TOM: With anchovies!

JIM: Uh, could you put anchovies on part of it. You do...great, thanks, bye. [hangs up] He said they have a super jumbo made up but the customer never picked it up. They'll add anchovies and bring it right over.

TOM: I hope they hold the roaches.

JIM: I'm sure they will Mr. Kellaway. [all sit quietly, Tom notices TV on floor]

TOM: Do you watch TV sitting on the floor?

JIM: No, I had to use the boxes from under it for chairs.

TOM: Oh. [quiet again] Is your bedroom down the hall too?

MEL: Oh dad, that's his bed over there.

TOM: He sleeps on the couch?

MEL: It's not a couch, it's a bed. He puts cushions on it to look like a couch.

TOM: And how did you know it was his bed? You said you've never been here before.

MEL: Uh, he told me earlier tonight.

TOM: Just when did he tell you? He hasn't had time to show you around here tonight. You have been here before, haven't you?

MEL: Dad, I...

TOM: Ah hah! [standing] Wednesday you came in at 2:00 in the morning and told me you went to a late movie and I believed the oldest excuse in the world!

MEL: All right dad, so I was here, but nothing happened!

TOM: Nothing happened! Nothing happened! You spent the evening alone in a sleazy flat with the local stud and you say nothing happened!!

MEL: Dad, nothing did! Believe me!

TOM: Now I know why we're here. You want to announce the final blow! You brought us here to the scene of the crime to tell us you're pregnant!!

MEL: DADDY!!

MARIE: TOM!

JIM: Mr. Kellaway! That's not the reason you're here.

TOM: Don't you talk to me you playboy!! I'll have you arrested for what you did to my daughter!!

JIM: [standing] I'm not a playboy and I would never get your daughter pregnant, at least not until after we're married!

TOM: MARRIED!!!

MEL: Oh, oh.

JIM: Uh, did I say married?

TOM: You most certainly did!

JIM: It's funny I should mention that.

TOM: Yes, very funny!

JIM: Well...Uh...we sort of had a talk about it, but it was really a silly idea.

MEL: Jim! [knock on door]

JIM: Excuse me. [to door, opens for delivery man] Come on in I'll get you the money. [searches his pockets and wallet] I don't seem to have any money.

TOM: You want to marry and support my daughter and you can't even afford a pizza? [digs in pocket, to del. man] How much is it?

DELIVERY MAN: 11.29

TOM: Here's 13.00 [takes pizza and puts it on bed]

DELIVERY MAN: Thanks. That's your ninth pizza this week Jim, the next one's on us. You're our best customer. Well, good night all. [exits]

TOM: [to Jim] DO you live on pizzas? [to Mel] I hope you learn to love pizzas too!

MEL: [standing] Dad I love Jim and if it means learning to love pizza, I'll eat them every day! I don't know why I let you intimidate me this long! All these years I've been afraid to break the ties between us, but as of tonight they are broken!! I'm growing tired sitting around the house letting you run my life! I'm fed up with your bullying and complaining! Jim asked me to marry him and I will marry him whether you like it or not!! Excuse me, but until you come to your senses, I'll be in the bathroom! [storms out]

MARIE: Melissa! I'd better go see that she doesn't hurt herself. [exits] [Tom stands glaring at Jim who is just looking around]

TOM: She's never, ever spoken to me like that before. My God, I've always been afraid that someday she would meet and marry someone, but I had hoped it would be someone who could support her better than this.

JIM: Mr. Kellaway, I'll have a job soon in the auto industry and there's good money in what I'm trained for. I'll take good care of her.

TOM: Do you plan on living with her in this dump?

JIM: It'd be only temporary, until we could afford a house.

TOM: You're an idiot Boardman. You've known my daughter two weeks and you think you've got the rest of your lives figured out. You know nothing of married life or even life in general. It's different when you can bounce around from one girl to another than it is having to live with one woman all your life. Believe me, I know. Love can go through so many changes during that life time and there will be times when you'll seriously doubt why you ever married that person.

JIM: But I do love Melissa, I always will.

TOM: Bull, you say you love her now but it won't always be the same.It'll take more than love to hold a marriage together. It takes determination, sacrifice, compassion and fear.

JIM: Fear?

TOM: Yes, fear. The fear of losing her. The fear of not having her around when you need her the most. When you wander around a big empty house after she's gone, then you'll know the fear of loneliness. When you feel that emotion, them maybe you'll know what marriage is all about. [short pause as that thought sinks into Jim]

MARIE: [entering] Tom! Your daughter has locked herself in the bathroom and won't come out. She won't listen to me. You're the one she's mad at and I think you should go talk to her.

TOM: I doubt it will do any good but if it will keep you happy. [to door] I don't think she wants my advice anymore. I hope you're prepared to be her father as well as her husband. [exits]

MARIE: Don't worry Jim, everything will work out.

JIM: Mrs. Kellaway, may I ask you a personal question?

MARIE: I suppose you could.

JIM: Why have you stayed married to Mr. Kellaway for all these years?

MARIE: Oh, I'd say fear.

JIM: Fear of loneliness?

MARIE: No, fear of a madman. Oh, I'm only joking. I've stayed with Tom despite his orneriness because I respect him. We've been married 32 years and I have to respect a man who can provide for and stabilize a marriage all those years. I know he can be difficult but he's a good man deep down where it counts. His worse fault is his over protectiveness for his children. Our oldest daughter, Linda, was so fed up with him that she ran off with a men's touring softball team. Our son Larry joined the Marines and Tom was so proud of him until he found out that Larry had joined just to get away from him. Despite Tom's problems, he is a good man.

JIM: Do you still love him like you did when you were first married?

MARIE: I love him in a different way than when we were first married. It's a different love now than the passionate love young people experience at first. Now it's a comfortable type of love. I can't explain it very well, it's just something you'll have to experience for yourself.

JIM: I'm getting a little frightened of this whole thing.

MARIE: Good, you should never go into marriage without being a little afraid, it sobers you up.

TOM: [entering] Boardman, you better get out there, the toilet is overflowing again.

JIM: Oh great! [exits]

TOM: Well, what do you think?

MARIE: I say let them do what they want. They're the ones who'll have to find out for themselves.

TOM: He's not exactly the best prospect she could have picked.

MARIE: Would you rather have another softball team?

TOM: I don't want to discuss that.

MARIE: Tom, whether you want to admit it or not, she's grown and no longer needed us. She now has needs of her own.

TOM: I have a feeling that we've got a son-in-law whether we like it or not. My God, where did I go wrong with our children?

MARIE: You were too hard on them Tom. You wanted them to be so perfect at any cost. So far it's cost you dearly. Maybe with this one you can still have a good relationship by being understanding and let them have there own way. Jim really doesn't seem to be such a bad person. Melissa could have done worse.

TOM: Yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe they'll even live close enough so I won't lose my daughter completely.

MARIE: And maybe they'll have children you could visit.

TOM: Yeah, a grandson. I could help bring him up the proper way.

MARIE: Tom, don't push it. You can spoil him a little but leave the child's development to his parents. [enter Mel, followed by Jim]

MEL: [to Tom] Father, I've decided that no matter how much you rant and rave, Jim and I are going to be married.

TOM: You're like your mother, you always get your way. Go ahead, get married. I'm not going to stop you. In fact, it's the best thing for you. About time you got out of the house and started a life of your own.

MEL: You're trying to trick me, aren't you?

MARIE: No dear, your father means it. He wants you to be happy.

MEL: [to Tom] You do?

TOM: Yes, I really do.

MEL: Oh thank you dad. [hugs him]

JIM: [holds hand out] Mr. Kellaway, you won't ever regret it.

TOM: [squeezing his hand] I'd better not or you will. Now I'm hungry, so let's get that pizza on the table before it gets cold. [all sit at table, Jim goes to bed, lifts pizza from box]

JIM: Mr. Kellaway, may this pizza be a peace offering and a new start between us. [he turns, sliding pizza off tray into Tom's lap]

TOM: Aaragh!! You IDIOT!!!

BLACKOUT, END ACT 1 SCENE 2

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Copyright 1985-2003 by Robert J. Moats, all rights reserved. This play may not be copied or re-produced in any manner without permission or performed in part or whole with out payment of a royalty. E-Mail to Magic1@mindless.com for more information.