—Why aren't you ready for the party?
—The one that started half an hour ago.
—I thought it was time for bed.
—I was counting on the party to save our marriage.
—Has the world gone topsy-turvy on me?
—Your girlfriend's going to be there.
—Topsy-turvy it is.
—I'm going to the party without you. I will waltz up to your girlfriend and say, you've been sleeping with my husband, you little hussy. And if you don't know what a hussy is, you can look it up in the dictionary. After all, we're in the home of a famous professor. So get that size four self of yours into his study and look it up. It starts with H.
—Do you know where my jammies are? More and more knowledge is seeping out of my brain like water from a leaky hose, leading to a gigantic water bill, one I've been trying to pay, I think.
—Hello Sweetheart, I'm back. There was an incident at the party. The police will be here any minute.
—Look, I found my jammies.
—Sweetheart, I know if you were in your right mind you would want to cover for me. You see, at the party, instead of confronting your girlfriend, I marched right into the professor's study to look up hussy for myself. But as fate would have it, or the alphabet, I first came upon the word, harlot. Perfect, I said to myself. When your girlfriend sauntered in, what was I to do but use it on her? There was quite an astounding reaction on her part. She came at me, leaving me no choice but to reach for the dictionary. I whacked her hard, and she went down like a typical harlot. I think prison will be easier on you than I, and it's far more logical for you to take the fall, after all you are at cause here, sweetheart. Definitely at cause. Where would the world be without cause, without effect?
—I will tell you before the police arrive and haul me away, that the harlot understood me, and it's more important to be understood than loved, and.
—And if I have the power to rule over the wording on her gravestone, I will see to it that it says, HARLOT. SO GOOD AT UNDERSTANDING.
—You hit the harlot with the dictionary on the left temple after a quarrel in the professor's study. I was not there. I am you, and stayed home. Got that? Is that the doorbell? All this subterfuge is bothering my ears.
—If the door needs answering, I'll leave it to you. I always admired how smart you were, and I believe it must be over between us because I'm speaking of you in the past tense. Is it still possible to believe in things?
—It's entirely possible, as long as you do exactly as I say. You must, must look like me. After all, I was seen at the party. Quick. Get out of your jammies. Put on this dress. Put on this wig. I'll get the lipstick.
—I think I better answer the door, and you put on the lipstick. Lipstick's a deal breaker for me.
—Hurry up. Ah, the dress fits you like a dream. You're very fortunate in the hips department. The wig is perfect. You should have been a blonde all along. Now the lipstick. Here. I'll do it myself. The police I fear are about to break down the door.
—But we have the burglar proof screen. We installed it right after we were burglarized. If it's burglar proof, surely it's police proof. Isn't that logical?
—Perfectly. Now hold still. Make your lips taut. Not that taut. Relax. Try for a relaxed intensity. It's time you knew the suffering women go through to look alluring and then for you to be unfaithful. I said hold still. There. The lipstick is the perfect shade for you.
—I had no idea that lipstick could be so tasty. I like licking my lips now. Plus they feel soft, and moist. I think they're puffing a bit as well.
—It's the bee sting look so popular now. You needn't bother with the heels. I'll tell them you're suffering from plantar fasciitis.
—Which is the truth. I can live with the truth. Painful though it is.
—You look divine as me.
—I feel divine. I wonder how long it'll last.
—I'm going to open the door. Compose yourself, and speak up when the police say my name. I'll answer to your name, though in my haste I forgot to disguise myself to look like you. Here, give me your jammies. There. All set. Oh quick, must shave my head. There. Now. Let the games begin.
received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of California, Irvine. A chapbook of her poems, Karmic Negotiations
was published by Sarasota Theatre Press
, and several of her short plays have been informally staged in Hollywood. Online, her stories have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Right Hand Pointing