The following is a stage adaptation of a sketch I wrote for a radio program I created and produced in my college years. I am posting it here for the sake of anyone who wants it. I, the author of this work, hereby give you full permission to perform this in whatever capacity you desire, provided you give me due credit as its author.
Ruth: 32 years old; interior decorator
Johnny: 33 years old; accountant
Allison: 33 years old; real estate agent
Brad: 31 years old; record store clerk
Dinorah: 30 years old; elementary school teacher
Waiter: 25 years old
Lee’s Restaurant, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
SETTING: A small, intimate Chinese restaurant.
AT RISE: ALLISON, BRAD, RUTH, and JOHNNY sit around a round table. They have just finished their meal.
BRAD: I tell you, it’s just about the most spiritual album I’ve ever heard. I mean, a genuine religious experience. Brian Wilson really outdid himself with that one.
RUTH: Well, now I really need to find it.
BRAD: And don’t settle for anything less than vinyl. That’s the best way to hear all the little intricate bits in the harmonies.
(The WAITER enters, carrying the check and a platter with four fortune cookies.)
WAITER: How was everything?
ALLISON: It was magnificent!
JOHNNY: Just wonderful!
RUTH: I enjoyed every bite!
WAITER: I’m glad to hear that! (hands BRAD the check) Here’s your bill.
BRAD: Thank you.
(The WAITER places the fortune cookies on the table, then exits.)
RUTH: Ooh, fortune cookies! I absolutely adore fortune cookies! Quick, let’s open them and tell each other what we got! You first, Allison.
ALLISON: Okay. (cracks open fortune cookie; reads fortune) “Someone close to you finds you mysterious.”
RUTH: Ooh, sounds like you’ve got a secret admirer!
BRAD: (playfully) Well, he’s got some fierce competition. (short chuckle)
JOHNNY: What’s yours say, dear?
RUTH: Let me see... (cracks open fortune cookie; reads fortune) “A friend will soon reveal an exciting secret to you!” Allison, Brad, is there something we should know?
BRAD: Not to my knowledge. Allie?
ALLISON: I don’t know anything, either. We’ll let you know if anything exciting happens.
RUTH: Open yours, Brad! What does yours say?
BRAD: (cracks open fortune cookie; reads fortune) “You will find happiness with a new love.”
RUTH: That’s...that’s a little discomforting.
BRAD: Yeah. (beat) Maybe it just means Allie and I are gonna renew our vows or something like that!
RUTH: Yeah! That could be it! That’d be very nice! (beat) Ooh! Open yours up, honey! Open it up!
JOHNNY: Hold your horses, Ruth; I’m opening it! (cracks open fortune cookie; reads fortune) “Things done in the darkness are soon to be brought to light.” Huh. Well, that’s...that’s, uh...
RUTH: Johnny...are you hiding something from me?
JOHNNY: What? No! I’m not hiding anything!
RUTH: You seem awfully nervous about that fortune. Is there something going on that I don’t know about?
JOHNNY: Absolutely not! It’s just a stupid fortune cookie! Let’s just pay the bill and go home. (takes out his wallet)
RUTH: There’s something going on. I just know it!
JOHNNY: There’s nothing going on!
RUTH: There is so! Tell me, Johnny! What’s going on?!
JOHNNY: (slams wallet down onto the table) I’m not telling you again, Ruth! Nothing’s going on! I’ve got no secrets! It’s just a dumb fortune cookie fortune! They make ‘em so vague, they could apply to anybody! To me, to you, to Brad, anyone! Look, if you had gotten this cookie and you had gotten this fortune, I wouldn’t be giving you the third degree, now would I? I wouldn’t! So just...shut up about the fortune, okay? Just shut up!
RUTH: What’s her name, Johnny?
JOHNNY: Oh, my God!
RUTH: You’re getting awfully defensive over a “dumb fortune cookie fortune”! Now, tell me: what’s her name?
ALLISON: Ruth, just...drop the subject, okay? We came here to have a nice little get-together. Let’s not spoil it with suspicions over something as silly as a fortune cookie.
RUTH: Allison, this isn’t just something silly like a fortune cookie; this could be my whole marriage! Now, I wanna know what’s going on—
ALLISON: Nothing is going on, Ruth! Seriously! Let’s just drop the subject, okay?
RUTH: (beat) You know something, don’t you, Allison?
ALLISON: Now, Ruth—
RUTH: (stands up) You and Johnny are in this together, aren’t you? You’re keeping this big secret from me!
JOHNNY: Ruth, calm down! For God’s sake, you’re making a scene!
RUTH: I am not! Making!! A scene!!!
ALLISON: (stands up) Ruth, sit down!
RUTH: (grabs fork; holds it threateningly) You tell me what the secret is or I’ll gouge your eyes out!
BRAD: (stands up) Whoa, whoa, whoa! Now, this is getting a little outta hand! Ruth, put down the fork. We can settle this like nice, sane adults.
ALLISON: You really wanna know what the big secret is, Ruth?!
BRAD: Or not.
JOHNNY: Allie, don’t!
ALLISON: You really wanna know that bad, Ruth?!
RUTH: Yeah! I wanna know! Tell me!
ALLISON: Johnny and I are having an affair!
(Three beats. RUTH drops the fork.)
ALLISON: Johnny and I have been seeing each other in secret for about five years now! (sits)
JOHNNY: (facepalms) Ugh!
BRAD: (sits) Five years? Oh, my God...
RUTH: Johnny...Allison...how could you?
JOHNNY: It started the day after Thanksgiving, five years ago, while you were in the hospital. I was so worried you wouldn’t make it, and Allison came over with some leftover pecan pie. She comforted me. We got to talking. We...kinda connected...and then, it just...happened.
ALLISON: We felt bad about it at first. But then...I don’t know. I guess we liked it too much to stop it. I mean...it was really good.
BRAD: Aaaand I’m uncomfortable.
ALLISON: Not just the sex. The time we spent together. We could talk with each other. I could share things with him I wouldn’t dare dream of sharing with Brad.
RUTH: And that made it alright to sleep with my husband?
RUTH: That made it alright to stab me in the back?! You were my best friend, Allison!
ALLISON: Ruth, I—
RUTH: No apology in the world is going to fix this, Allison! You are dead to me! I never want to see you again after tonight! Ever! And as for you, Johnny...I want a divorce!
JOHNNY: Good. Something we can agree on.
ALLISON: Brad, I also want a divorce.
JOHNNY: Allie and I plan to get married as soon as possible once the divorces are both finalized.
RUTH: Brad, how can you take this so lightly? Your wife just told you she’s been cheating on you and she wants a divorce!
BRAD: I’ve had a hard-knock life. I’m used to disappointment. I’ll be fine. Allison, I love you with all my heart. And I want what’s best for you. If Johnny’s what’s best for you, so be it.
ALLISON: You know, that’s one thing I’ve always admired about you, Brad. You’re so understanding. (looks offstage) Here comes the waiter again. Everyone just try and look happy, okay?
(JOHNNY quickly picks up his wallet, pulls out some money, and puts it on the check. BRAD quickly pulls his wallet out to do likewise.)
RUTH: Fuck you, Allison!
JOHNNY: Ruth, for the love of God, just shut up and smile when the waiter gets here!
RUTH: Don’t fucking tell me what to do!
(The WAITER enters.)
WAITER: Is everything okay?
RUTH: No! Everything’s not okay! I’ve just found out that my husband and my best friend have been screwing behind my back!
WAITER: O...kay, I’ll just take the check and go, then.
(The WAITER takes the check and leaves in a hurry.)
RUTH: Yeah, you do that! Just take what you want and then leave! You’re all very good at that, you men!
JOHNNY: (gets up) C’mon, Allison. Let’s get outta here.
RUTH: And just where are you going?
(ALLISON gets up.)
JOHNNY: We’re gonna stay in a hotel for a while until we can get a place of our own. I’ll send for my things.
(JOHNNY and ALLISON exit together, silently.)
RUTH: (gets up) I’d better be going, too. I want to get an early start on burning all of Johnny’s things.
BRAD: Would you like a ride home? I mean, I’m pretty sure Johnny’s taking his car, and I wouldn’t mind—
RUTH: That’s fine. I’ll walk. (exits in a huff)
BRAD: Uh...be careful out there! Good night!
(BRAD puts his wallet back in his pocket. He takes a quick deep breath, then looks at the table in contemplation and reflection. DINORAH enters sheepishly, purse in hand.)
DINORAH: Hi. I couldn’t help overhearing what was going on here.
BRAD: Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if people in Champaign overheard what went on here. (short chuckle)
DINORAH: (laughs along) Well, anyway, my church has this small group for people who are dealing with divorce. I think it might be helpful. I’ve been going to it for a while now. It’s really helped me move on with my life. (pulls a small card out of her purse) Here’s some info about it. They meet on Wednesday nights.
BRAD: (takes card) Uh, thanks. I’m Brad, by the way. (holds his hand out)
DINORAH: Dinorah. Nice to meet you. (shakes BRAD’s hand)
BRAD: Nice to meet you, too. (gets up) Well, I’d better be going. See you ‘round.
(BRAD exits. DINORAH watches him as he goes.)
(END OF SKETCH)