Hello or Goodbye: Part Four

Part four of the one-act play, Hello or Goodbye- a love story of the broken-down

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Photo: The Eternal Solitude of a Restless Mind

Part One / Part Two / Part Three

KATHLEEN gets up and starts to walk around aimlessly. After a few moments, she sits back down. She starts to bounce up and down on the couch.

 KATHLEEN

 Did you ever bounce on your bed as a kid?

 ROY

 Not really, no.

 KATHLEEN

 Are you serious? God, I used to love bouncing on my bed. Oh, and then my parents bed! That was like, the Mecca for bed bouncing.

 ROY

 Interesting comparison.

 KATHLEEN

 The best was at hotels. We’d always get a room with two double beds. It was so much fun jumping from bed to bed. One time, my little sister jumped, missed the other bed and went tumbling into the wall. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

 ROY

 That’s terrible.

 KATHLEEN

 What’s terrible?

 ROY

 Your sister could’ve gotten really hurt. I’m glad you find that funny. What else amuses you? A grandparents funeral?

 KATHLEEN
(stops jumping)

 Yes, Roy. Nothing amuses me more than laughing at a deceased relative, in the funeral home with all my family around. It’s how I get my kicks.

 ROY

 Sick.

 KATHLEEN

In fact, there’s those days when I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, and I go around to different funeral homes and crack jokes about the stiff in the front of the room.

 ROY

Oh really?

KATHLEEN

Hell yeah, it’s great! A source of pure joy.

ROY

You should start charging. There’s nothing better than truly enjoying your work.

KATHLEEN

Oh no, I’d feel bad about charging people. It’s more for the love of the game.

ROY

Well that’s good.

KATHLEEN

That’s why I don’t think that clowns should be paid. They’re making people laugh. Smiles on people’s faces should be enough to make them happy. But no. It’s terrible. A disgrace to the concept of Happiness.

ROY

My Uncle Saul used to be a clown. He wasn’t very good though. Actually…he was pitiful. He’d show up all sauced and couldn’t even blow up the balloons, let alone make amusing forms out of them.

KATHLEEN

I bet he was a real hit at family gatherings.

ROY

He was the uncle who passed out up at the bar while telling old war stories. One time he got so drunk that he got in a fight with another uncle, Uncle Ralph. Uncle Ralph wore this really bad wig and at my cousin Sissy’s wedding, Uncle Saul ripped it off Uncle Ralph’s head and starting running around the banquet hall with it like he just scalped the poor bastard. His finale was when he dropped it down Aunt Loretta’s blouse. I’ve never seen a woman be so disgusted, yet so happy at the same time.

KATHLEEN

Interesting family you got there.

ROY

You got to love the Irish Catholic families. Nothing beats pints of Guinness, a lot of potatoes and fist fights. It’s called family togetherness.

KATHLEEN

I thought it was called a bar room brawl.

ROY

It is called a bar room brawl. That’s what makes it so disturbing. Especially when you’re a little kid.

KATHLEEN

I’ve never been to a family reunion.

ROY

Are you serious? No family volleyball games, cookouts or picture sessions? (with mock disgust) Deprived.

KATHLEEN

I don’t know. You really don’t make the whole family thing seem all that enjoyable.

ROY

I can’t believe you’ve never been to a family reunion.

KATHLEEN
(shrugging it off)

Oh well.

ROY

Are you even close with your family?

KATHLEEN

Not really. I’m close with one cousin, but that’s about it.

ROY

That’s too bad.

KATHLEEN

I don’t really see it that way. I used to be close with the whole army of them, but things change. People change. I can’t stand my family now. Except my cousin. But wouldn’t you know it, I barely see her.

ROY

Bummer.

KATHLEEN

No. It’d be a bummer if I still went to their little family gatherings even though I can’t stand any of them.

ROY

True.

KATHLEEN

Over half of my family are alcoholics who get so drunk, that fights break out, the women cry and the kids grow up so left of center that the cycle never really stops. I’ll pass thank you.

ROY

What do you for holidays? Hang out alone opening presents you got for yourself?

KATHLEEN

I usually travel on holidays. It’s always such a busy season that you see and meet so many people. I love it. Most of the friends I have now, I met at an airport, a train station or somewhere in between.

ROY

At least you don’t sit home alone. You know they say the worst night for drunk driving related accidents is Christmas Eve. Because there are so many people out there who are all alone and all they do is go to some bar, get all drunk and drive home.

KATHLEEN

My uncle…that’s how he died.

ROY

I’m sorry.

KATHLEEN

Don’t be. The guy was the textbook definition of a “fucking pervert.” He was always grabbing girl’s asses…girls in my family. It made for some uncomfortable situations, to say the least.

ROY
(sheepishly)

Oh.

KATHLEEN

I hate that. Just because I say someone died, people always assume that it’s this big loss. The guy was a damn pervert slash petafile. I was glad when I was told he died.

Pause.

ROY

I really have nothing to say right now.

KATHLEEN

I appreciate your honesty.

ROY
(lightly)

Hey, no problem.

KATHLEEN

Have you noticed, that no one is honest anymore? No one is. This whole…world is all just a bunch of liars wearing masks. Life has just become one big play.

ROY

I guess I missed that.

KATHLEEN

It’s getting on my nerves, Roy. It’s getting to the point where I can’t stand people. It kind of makes it hard to exist.

ROY

I could see that. (admittedly) I guess I’ve just learned to cope.

Pause.

KATHLEEN

You know, this just doesn’t make sense. I should be the one contemplating suicide, not you.

ROY
(shocked)

What?

KATHLEEN

At least you’ve “just learned to cope.” I can’t even see the point in trying anymore.

ROY

Shut up.

KATHLEEN

To tell you the truth, Roy, I’m not meeting anyone here. (pause, then frankly) I came here to kill myself. Then I saw you here, and for some reason, I put the whole suicide thing on the backburners and thought I’d give the whole communicating thing one last try.

ROY
(trying to make sense)

Wait a second, now you’re the one who wants to kill themselves?

KATHLEEN

Looks that way. I forgot for a little bit. I do that sometimes; forget what I’m doing while I’m doing it. Oh well. I gave up on perfection too.

Pause.

ROY

So…you’re killing yourself and not me?

KATHLEEN

Yes.

ROY
(weakly, but with passion)

Don’t.

KATHLEEN

Gee thanks, Roy. I’m going to kill myself, and the best way you’re using to talk me out of it, is “don’t.” That means a lot.

ROY

You know I didn’t mean it that way.

KATHLEEN

I don’t know what you mean.

ROY

What I meant was…

KATHLEEN
(quickly)

No Roy, I never know what you mean. I never know what anyone means. (pause) Basically what I’m saying is leave Roy. I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to kill myself now. And to tell you the truth, I’d feel a little weird doing it in front of you.

ROY

So…I guess I’m leaving…now?

KATHLEEN
(sadly but sternly)

Yeah.

ROY gets up and starts to walk off stage. Then he stops but still looks away from KATHLEEN.

ROY

This is a pretty interesting…askew ending isn’t it?

KATHLEEN

Expect the unexpected, Roy.

ROY

I will from now on.

KATHLEEN

Good talking to you Roy.

ROY

This is really strange.

KATHLEEN

Life’s really strange, Roy. Accept that. If nothing at all, accept that.

ROY just stands there and then turns, looking at KATHLEEN who stares blankly out into the audience, holding back tears.

KATHLEEN

Are you leaving, Roy?

ROY
(thinks)

I don’t know.

KATHLEEN
(more forcefully)

Are you leaving, Roy?

ROY
(defeated)

I guess so.

KATHLEEN

Then leave Roy! I want to get this over with. It involves a lot of mental preparation…I think I’m close.

ROY

I’ll…I’ll miss you.

KATHLEEN
(sadly agitated)

Leave Roy.

ROY

I don’t want to.

KATHLEEN
(starting to cry)

I don’t want to alter the rest of your life.

ROY

But you already have.

KATHLEEN

Only temporarily.

ROY

Not really. Not at all actually. This is pretty much the furthest thing from a temporary alteration…

 KATHLEEN
(cutting him off)

Roy!

ROY turns towards off stage.

ROY

The last thing I want you to hear…is that…

KATHLEEN

No Roy. Don’t do it.

ROY

I love you.

The lights quickly drop to black.

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