One-Act Plays
Comedies | Dramas | Playwrights | Cast-Size

a play in one-act

by Ann Wuehler

The following one-act play is reprinted here with the author's permission. Inquiries concerning all rights, including amateur and professional performing rights, should be directed to the author at:


CELERINA SNAITH, a Las Vegas pick pocket, thief, con woman. Twenties or so. Plain. An optimist
ROBERT GRESSLEY, An Idahoan, a sometime firefighter and sometime construction worker. 30's. A realist.


A Las Vegas bus stop, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lots of trash. A sign announcing the bus stop number and route. A metal bench. Sounds of cars heard. A bright clear morning, late spring, right before the triple-digit heat sets in. Time is now.

[As the lights come up we see Robert patiently waiting at the bus stop. He has a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. He wears old, faded jeans and a t-shirt with a pocket on the breast. Work boots. He studies his surrounding area leisurely. Celerina enters, wearing a huge, oversize light jacket with a hood and pockets. The hood is up, hiding her face for a moment. She eyes Robert, who gives her the once-over, a friendly enough smile, then ignores her. She moves to opposite side of bench, remains standing.]

CELERINA: Out of towner, huh?

ROBERT: Uh...yeah. Guess so.

CELERINA: Rhodes scholar?

ROBERT: Vegas showgirl?

[Both look away. A horn honks.]

CELERINA: So I’m no beauty, you’re no genius. Where ya going?

ROBERT: Places.

CELERINA: I just like to ride the buses some days. Collect experiences. I sell em to writers who don’t have any ideas. Clever, huh? Like just today, I made up this story about the Snake River Killer-- how he or she, why be sexist, but killers tend to be male!, got trapped by a bunch of kids in this hole they dug. Clever, huh? They set a trap.

[Smiles at him as if waiting for praise.]

ROBERT: How much for an idea-- roundabout?

[Anything to shut her up.]

CELERINA: Oh that’s my business.

ROBERT: So it’s either a lot or not anything.

CELERINA: Yeah. Somewhere in there. [Pause. She peers off stage as if looking for the bus.] Got anything to eat? [Robert stares at her for a moment, then sighs, begins digging through his pockets, finds a pack of gum.] I’ll take it-- no, the whole pack. Hand it over.

ROBERT: Maybe you should go have some breakfast. I saw some sign for a ninety-nine cent...

CELERINA: What you got in that bag? Somebody’s head? I once sat next to this guy who had a human head in a bowling bag. The bag was green. There was this red stuff on the zipper. I didn’t know nothing about it until I saw it on the news-- guy with ex-wife’s head arrested. The heat does that to you here--makes you sharpen your knives and drink too much water. [Silence. Robert does not know what to make of this story or her.] Vegas, got to love it.

ROBERT: It’s all right.

CELERINA: You’re not very friendly, are ya? What, are ya shy?

ROBERT: Just not a talker.

CELERINA: Oh. That’s okay.

ROBERT: Thanks. [Celerina sits, flips back her hood. Chews gum loudly. Snaps it.] That’s the bus. [Celerina shakes her head but he ignores this.] Shi... [Steals look at her, then changes word.] Crap.

CELERINA: Shit indeed. That was one of those private tour buses. Probably heading out to Mt. Charleston or Red Rocks. Or heading out to Jean before they go back to California.


CELERINA: What do you do? In the real world. I'd say...cowboy. Or! Circus clown. Is it circus clown?

[She waits. Robert squirms around, then finally answers.]

ROBERT: Construction, some firefighting in summer.

CELERINA: A firefighter who can pave roads. Wow. How manly. How very, very manly.

ROBERT: Uh-huh.

CELERINA: Would you be more talkative if I were six foot, blonde and weighed about twenty pounds?

ROBERT: Well yeah...I might.

[She shrugs, but grins. He looks away, hoping this will finally quiet her.]

CELERINA: And what would you say if I were bee-uuuu-teee-fullll?

[Robert considers her, then decides to play along.]

ROBERT: I’d say-- I got a free coupon for a lube and oil job-- wanna come back to my garage for a tune up?


ROBERT: Really.

CELERINA: Does it work?

ROBERT: Yeah, it works.

CELERINA: So are ya a mechanic, too? A triple manly-man!! Guys who fix things are so...yummy. Finger-licking good.


CELERINA: But I bet you know things about engines. Isn’t this the weirdest thing?

[Stares at him. He does not look at her.]


CELERINA: I know you. Or...maybe I should know you. Do you believe in past lives?

ROBERT: Oh I don’t believe this.

CELERINA: I know, I know. You want to be left in peace. I was going to do that, I really was. But sometimes you just gotta get things out there--no matter what.

ROBERT: No--I do believe in past lives. [Celerina thrown off by this.] Oh sure. I was a knight, I helped build the Pyramids, I was in WWI...

CELERINA: Uh okay, what’s your game?


CELERINA: Nobody actually admits, to perfect strangers, that they believe in anything.

ROBERT: Oh they do in Idaho all the time.

CELERINA: They do not!

ROBERT: How do you know? You’re not from there...

CELERINA: I been there.

ROBERT: Which is not the same as from there.

[A point for Robert. Celerina shrugs, chews gum for a bit. Spits it out. Robert watches this with eyebrows racing a little.]

CELERINA: So-- you’re honestly saying you believe you been here before? That you lived before.


CELERINA: Okay. Great. So. Did you know me?

ROBERT: Is that the bus?

CELERINA: No. Did you know me? Do you have a name? I keep calling you Hector in my head--Hector McFester. That isn’t your name, is it? I have no psychic ability, none.

ROBERT: Close enough.

CELERINA: But I do know you.

ROBERT: How do you know me? How?! I have nothing in my pockets to pick...

CELERINA: Calm down! I’m not pulling anything. I made about five hundred last night picking pockets and stuff. Oh yeah. People get drunk while they pull the slots. They drop chips all the time...or just misplace them, right? My mom taught me.

ROBERT: She sounds GREAT.

CELERINA: She was, Hector. She was a fabulous mom, Hector McFestor. Hector Hector Hector--

ROBERT: Robert, it’s Robert.

CELERINA: Was that so hard? I’m Celerina, by the way. My mother loved celery. [Pause.] Okay, not true. She was trying to rhyme ballerina. She was high. She did ‘shrooms right before she went into labor with me-- figured they wouldn’t hurt anything cause they were natural.

ROBERT: Oh. Celerina ballerina...fits you.

[Celerina smiles. Robert smiles after a bit.]

CELERINA: So. Bobby? Bob? Rob?

ROBERT: Robert.

CELERINA: Why would you lie to me?

ROBERT: About what?


ROBERT: Maybe I should walk...

[Celerina gets up, blocks him from leaving.]

CELERINA: Nobody walks here--it’s unnatural. Now have a seat. We got things to work out.

ROBERT: Not really.

CELERINA: Every week I go to different bus stops. Every week I wait there for hours. At the different stops, hoping...hoping that at last I’ll find...

ROBERT: What’s left of your sanity? A box of Twinkies? I’m not interested in this or you. Sorry.

CELERINA: Hey. You wouldn’t be talking to me if you were indifferent, by golly, you'd a left! Who is perfectly sane? and Twinkies live in the stores.

ROBERT: Yeah well...

CELERINA: But you haven’t left because something is holding you here! Fate! Karma! Kismet! Coincidence! This is something that is supposed to be. Don’t you feel it? Don’t you have a tickle at the back of your throat?

ROBERT: No. I’m just waiting for the bus.

[Celerina stares at him then moves away.]

CELERINA: But why this bus? Why now? Why this hour and this day?

ROBERT: I took the Strip bus to the Sahara bus to this bus, then I’ll transfer again. Okay? No big mystery, no act of God...

CELERINA: The Maryland Parkway bus takes forever...

ROBERT: So it seems!

[Celerina sighs.]

CELERINA: Everything is an act of God. I don’t believe in random acts--just like there’s new souls and old souls. You and me, we’re old souls.

ROBERT: But it doesn't mean we're connected. It doesn't mean anything.

CELERINA: Just like you shouldn’t eat regular chickens. [Robert pauses, puzzled by this. Celerina continues.] I read about how they torture plants and animals so I switched. It’s three times as much as I used to spend on eats but I figure I have to do something.

ROBERT: What are you talking about?

CELERINA: Free-range chickens, free-range beef...

ROBERT: Free-range chickens? Do you know what a free-range chicken is? [Celerina gives him a look.] It’s a pheasant. Or a seagull. You’re probably paying twenty bucks a pound for seagull meat.

CELERINA: Don’t be stupid. A free-range chicken runs free until they gently, oh so gently, put it to sleep-- they stick them in this room and take out the air so they just go to sleep, much more humane than chopping their poor little heads off. I read that last year while I was waiting in line at Von’s.


CELERINA: Tortured food is so bad for you.

ROBERT: But stealing chips from drunk old people isn’t?

CELERINA: I don’t steal. It’s like they tip me-- they’re gonna lose it anyway-- isn’t it better to tip a stranger than give it back to some faceless casino bank?


CELERINA: Of course it is. I would much rather help someone in financial difficulty than give it to some corporation! I would much rather help someone out who’s so down they have to steal and beg and borrow! Charity is not dead with me.

ROBERT: So, you give your money away, you hand out chips to the down and out? Celerina of the Hood.

CELERINA: I AM down and out. And yes, sometimes I do give to the homeless and the addicts.

ROBERT: What a princess.

CELERINA: No, I was never a princess. I was never royalty. Not even close. Always just ordinary.

ROBERT: No I was trying to be...

CELERINA: I know. But I am choosing to ignore how defensive and closed down you are. [Human screams heard, a fight taking place off-stage. It moves away into distance. Celerina watches avidly. Robert has a seat.] It’s the heat. Not the heat now, the thought of the huge, monstrous heat that’s coming. Makes people cranky. Do you think he’ll have a black eye? She had one hell of an arm.

ROBERT: He was trying to rip her top off.

CELERINA: Yeah. He could have just asked to see her boobies.

ROBERT: He had no right to...

CELERINA: Maybe he did. Maybe she was a hooker. It might be illegal here but they still have em. Maybe he stupidly paid before she did anything. In that case, she owes him. Or maybe she was supposed to dance in one of those topless reviews and he was just testing her willingness to expose herself to strangers. Who are we to judge?

ROBERT: Oh sure, I never thought of it from his side.

CELERINA: There ya go.

ROBERT: You’re so open, so...tolerant of everything.

CELERINA: Thank you! I do try!

ROBERT: With your Robin Hood activities, your dedication to cruelty-free meals...

CELERINA: Now, Robert. You sound so depressed! Cheer up, dammnit.

ROBERT: Maybe I need to be think things through.

[Turns from her.]

CELERINA: Is that a hint? I’d just follow you if you left. And I’d find you. It might take another lifetime. But I would find you. I know, it’s stalker-scary. We always find each other.

ROBERT: Who do you think I am? I’m not anybody to you. And-- what if I’m a psycho killer? That’s all we grow in Idaho-- potatoes and psycho killers! What if I lured you to some dark alley...

CELERINA: would have to be off the Strip...

ROBERT: Whatever!! I could be anybody, could be anything.

CELERINA: I know that. [Takes out a switchblade, pops it. Or some other type of knife.] A girl can’t be trusting. Ever. I know that. You have to be on your toes. All the time. It’s exhausting. Better exhausted than dead, right?

ROBERT: I think that’s illegal.

CELERINA: So is being dead. I’ve only had to use it twice. [Puts knife away.] Don’t you know? Don’t you remember? Who you are to me?

ROBERT: No. [Celerina takes out a partial candy bar, eats it.] Hey. You said you didn’t have...

CELERINA: I just found it. I forgot I had it. [Pause.] We share a soul. You and me. And we’re always trying to get the two pieces back together. Except we can’t do it. Not ever. One of us dies, or both of us dies before we can hook up.

ROBERT: Did you sell that idea to a writer?

CELERINA: Nah. See, we never get the chance to be together. Sometimes we’re two men, or two women or mixed. A soul don’t care, as long as it can be whole, that’s what I figure.

ROBERT: Interesting. Where is that DAMN bus.

CELERINA: Oh it’s coming. [Silence as she stares upward.] So hey I could have been this seven foot biker dude. It’s your lucky day, Robert.


CELERINA: Unless you’re into guys.

ROBERT: I am not into guys, or dogs or you. Got it? Jeez.

CELERINA: But you’re still here.

[Robert shoulders his bag, then marches off. Celerina hums, looks at some of the garbage. She waits. A while goes by. Robert returns. Celerina says nothing. Robert sits, lets bag fall, mops at his face with his hand.]

ROBERT: Ninety degrees already.

CELERINA: I think we got off on the wrong foot. Sorry.

ROBERT: Just...let’s wait for the bus.

[Scoots bag between his feet. Very protective.]

CELERINA: Too much too soon. So what’s in the bag? A head?

ROBERT: Silence now.

CELERINA: Oh my God, you’re afraid, that’s it, isn’t it?

ROBERT: You have a concealed weapon on you.

CELERINA: Oh that. It probably wouldn’t even draw blood on you. You don’t have to be afraid of this, of fate or whatever has drawn us together again...

ROBERT: Do I have to be rude?

CELERINA: No. What shall we talk about, then?

ROBERT: Just like that, you give up?

CELERINA: You’ll be ready when you’re ready.

ROBERT: Gran’ma won’t believe this.

CELERINA: Is she nice? Does she bake? I have this theory all grandmothers bake. My mother never knew her mother...

ROBERT: No. She’s a lawyer.

CELERINA: What does that have to do with baking?

ROBERT: Not a thing.

CELERINA: What kind of lawyer? Wow. Does she defend murderers?

ROBERT: She’s retired.

CELERINA: Oh, okay. But what did she do? Was she a criminal...

ROBERT: Family law, if you absolutely must know everything.

CELERINA: Divorces, child custody, that sort of thing?

ROBERT: Yeah. She helped children.

CELERINA: Then she must be a great lady. Someone you’d want on your side in a fight.

ROBERT: Yes, she is. She teaches classes now and then for UNLV.

CELERINA: Here I was picturing some tiny little timid house frau...

ROBERT: She’s nearly as tall as me, with hands like pie plates.

CELERINA: A Viking! An Amazon!

ROBERT: She’s backed down many a guy waving around his fists at some woman she was helping.

CELERINA: And yet they do go back, don’t they. Almost every time. Take their kids and go back. Oh well. Nothing ever changes.

ROBERT: That’s not true. Soon the bus will come, and we won’t ever have to speak to each other again. That’s a change.

CELERINA: Oh please, I’m talking about the big things. The big events.

ROBERT: Such as?

CELERINA: Patterns. Designs. That sort of thing. Once a woman goes back, she always goes back. Once a man gives up, he always gives up. Acceptance. Acceptance of the way things are. You find your groove and fit in-- and then you’re madly happy.

ROBERT: That has to be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.


ROBERT: What you’re saying, what you’re implying, is that there’s no hope.

CELERINA: I never said that!!

ROBERT: People change all the time. Things change all the time! We started off in caves and now we live in penthouses! We started off with fire and now we have nuclear power. Democracy, human rights, civil rights, insanity defense...

CELERINA: You sound like a Republican. Except for that insanity defense-- that's pure tax-and-spend liberal...

ROBERT: Because I’m making sense and you’re not. If that makes me a Republican, fine. I can live with that.

CELERINA: Have we come a long way? I don’t think so. We still hate and hurt and rape each other. We still have wars, and famine and plague. That Snake River Killer mess. Jack the Ripper. The Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer, The Green River Killers! Women drowning their kids in bathtubs. Poisoned Kool-Aid. That freak Manson! The Nazi death camps!! Geez, Iraq, Iran, Africa!!! We could exterminate an entire continent if we wanted to. Drop some of those stockpiled nukes-- what are we saving them for, exactly? [Pause.] What long way have we come?

ROBERT: So...we should give up?

CELERINA: No, of course not. We should accept our roles as they’re given to us.


CELERINA: You know, some people are leaders. Some people are followers. Some people invent things. Some people do the artsy thing. Just accept what you are. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t try to be a tree if you’re a squirrel. [Silence. Celerina very pleased with herself. Robert stares out front, obviously sorting through this.] Has she always lived in Vegas?

ROBERT: Don’t be a tree...

CELERINA: Yeah, yeah. Has she always lived here? It seems like nobody’s from here. Everybody blew in with the winds.

ROBERT: So-- nobody ever changes, no matter what?

CELERINA: Move on, cabbage head. Do you visit her often? Or is this more of a one time, off the cuff thing?

ROBERT: Are you planning on robbing her? She’d break your arm. No more questions about my gran’ma.

CELERINA: I only rob people in casinos. Why would I rob your poor old granny? She’s probably not a lawyer or six foot tall. You’re lying.

ROBERT: [After a bit.] You’re right. I AM lying.

CELERINA: Or you’re telling the truth-- it’s one or the other. Or! Your don’t even have a grandmother. You’re just making interesting conversation.

ROBERT: Uh-huh!

CELERINA: You’re trying to think of interesting things we can talk about. That is so nice of you.

ROBERT: I hope you get food poisoning from a free-range seagull.

CELERINA: Nasty, nasty, nasty. Well! So why are you here-- right now, right this minute, at this bus stop?! The truth-- don’t lie to me or yourself anymore.

ROBERT: So I can take the right bus to where I need to go. Do you think there’s been maybe an accident or somebody’s got a gun on the driver...

CELERINA: The bus is late because it’s all about you and me today-- that bus won’t come until fate says it’s time.

ROBERT: A flat tire.

CELERINA: Honestly, I don’t bother people like this. I don’t start talking to just anyone...I mean what if they recognize me from last night’s binge? Hey, that’s the girl that had her hand in my pocket, and I don’t mean in a good way. [Pause.] Come on, ya gotta admit I got a great sense of humor. Most women don't. They're all about their feelings and if their hips are bony enough. We're worshipping death! All those bony women-- why not just hump a skeleton? Fuck a femur?

ROBERT: So we should go about fucking bloated hogs?

CELERINA: I thought you were gay.

ROBERT: No. Answer me. What should men do?

CELERINA: Whatever you want. You do anyway. That's what's so great about men-- they do whatever, and nobody thinks less of them. You can be a fat slob who loses his business and beats his wife-- you're still better than a woman. Any day of the week. Nobody calls you a castrating bitch or a sloppy whore. Hell no! You can sleep around with three different women a day! a day!! and nobody looks down on you. Because you're free. You're a free-range chicken-- wow, it me the shivers.

ROBERT: Oh my God, you're a feminist. I knew it...

CELERINA: What? I am not! I don't hate men...

ROBERT: Sounds like ya do. No wonder I can't stand ya. [Silence. Celerina sighs.] So let's just sit here. Enjoy this lovely morning. In peace.

CELERINA: You're a denier. [Robert groans, but maintains a steady silence. He starts looking both ways.] There's a bus stop way down there-- see it? Maybe you could find a phone, call a cab. I wouldn't-- they rip you off something fierce. Three bucks a mile some of em. I can't deny you've hurt what's left of my feelings. You said I was ugly, a thief, a psycho, stupid, the list goes on and on! I store up awful remarks-- that's my hangnail. My hair shirt-- people used to wear these awful, prickly, filthy shirts with hair linings-- for punishment...

ROBERT: Jesus.

[Gets up, leaves. Celerina watches him. He has left his duffle bag.]

CELERINA: Why can't I for once just... [Notices duffle. Trails off. Touches it with her toe. Bends to place it on bench. Touches it, runs finger along zipper.] What ya got in here. Should I? Shouldn't I?

[Rips the zipper open with supreme glee. Begins to nose through contents. Stops. Freezes for a moment as she frowns. She slowly lifts out carefully folded jeans and t-shirts, lays them aside. Next, she withdraws a pair of little girl panties, with one side carefully snipped. There is a dark stain on them, like blood. Celerina holds them between her hands, drops them. She takes out another pair, another, all carefully snipped, all stained with that same dark smear. These also litter the ground at her feet.]

CERERINA: I shouldn't have.

[Robert has re-entered. He stares at Celerina. She looks at him, a fourth pair of little girl panties in her hands. He is very still, calculating.]

ROBERT: It's not...mine, that's not mine.

CELERINA: I think it is.


[Walks toward her. Celerina rises at once, places bench between them. Then she smiles, shakes her head.]

CELERINA: Why am I worried? I'm too old for you.

ROBERT: You don't know...

CELERINA: You're right!! I don't know.

[Throws panties at him. Silence. He slowly gathers up the four pairs as she watches.]

ROBERT: They are not mine. You don't understand. You're not seeing this right.

[Begins repacking his duffle. Celerina stares at him.]

CELERINA: [Dazed voice. Stating of undeniable fact.] Little girls. Those belong to little girls.

ROBERT: You didn't see...

CELERINA: I can't unsee...

ROBERT: [With sudden smoking fury. A trapped tiger.] I suggest you do just that. Who's going to miss a Vegas thief? A Vegas nobody? You're not even a showgirl. That's the only woman that counts in this town...

[Stops abruptly, runs hand over face.]

CELERINA: Don't you dare threaten me. [They face off.] The other half of me, that would be you, likes to...kill children. Great. Just great.

ROBERT: I think we should go somewhere. And talk about this.

CELERINA: Like the desert? [Silence. She rubs her hands on her thighs.] Okay. Okay! Let's just...figure this out. Obviously, you have to turn yourself in. Confess. You're as crazy as a shithouse rat-- sane men don't...they just don't. God, I hope they don't.

ROBERT: Confess. Confess what? I found that duffle. It's not even mine. I was taking it to the police.

CELERINA: Oh sure. You never looked in it. You're a good citizen! Look here, officer! I found this. They'll have you spread-eagled in no time...

ROBERT: Think about it. That is not my duffle. We can catch the bus and never see each other again. You can forget. I can forget.

CELERINA: How do you know I won't tell? Because. I will. I'm quite the liberal, but're a... a freak. A real freak. And...and you should be in a cage so people can poke and prod at you. So people can study your habits! Hell, maybe they can fix ya. Rehabilitate you into the wilderness.

ROBERT: Don't.

CELERINA: Oh God. You're...are you the Snake River Killer?

ROBERT: Of course not. Come here. Sit down. Don't be melodramatic.

CELERINA: No way. All my instincts are screaming lion, tiger, bear.

ROBERT: What are you gonna do? I'm not this killer. Honest. What are you gonna do?? [He comes after her very slowly. She gives ground, but keeps bench between them as much as she can.] Go to the police? Who are they going to believe? You...or me? My grandmother will crucify you and them. I mean that literally-- she'll nail your ass to a cross. Besides, I have faith you'll keep silent.

CELERINA: Of course. Because I realize now...what I have to do. [Takes out her knife. Robert stops.] That's right, big boy. Time for you to find a new body. Until next time, blah blah blah.

ROBERT: You're not gonna stab me.

CELERINA: Uh--yeah, I am.

ROBERT: But don't you love me? Don't you LOVE ME?

CELERINA: You're an Old Yeller.

ROBERT: I'm more of a Sea Biscuit...

CELERINA: [As if he had not spoken.] That kid loved that dog but in the end, he shot him, because it was kinder to shoot than let that dog live another second. It's kinder to knife you than let you live.

ROBERT: Do you think I'd let you stick a knife in me? Huh??

CELERINA: If fate wills it. You kill little girls. That...has to be punished. I believe that. I have faith in that.

ROBERT: I'm not evil. I'm not this killer...

CELERINA: Shut up. [Both stop moving.] Admit it. Just for me. Admit who you are. I'm Celerina Snaith, clumsy thief, pickpocket and one-time child whore. My mom made a hundred dollars off me. I ran away after that, stayed away. That's the truth. Who are you?

ROBERT: [Studies her.] Just a guy going to visit his gran'ma.

CELERINA: Okay. What else?

ROBERT: There is nothing else...

CELERINA: Of course there is! [Silence.] You're a guy who hurts children.


CELERINA: A monster. The boogie man. Demon. Devil. Death, a ghost-maker. I bet all those little ghosts try to find you every night. All those little naked ghosts...

ROBERT: That is enough. [Tries to grab her. She skirts away barely in time.] Goddamnit.

CELERINA: You never know what your other half will come back as.

ROBERT: Hey, I was just seeing if your coat was as soft as it looked. We should go have some coffee or hell, a martini. Talk about...our past lives. You do seem familiar. I didn't want to admit it. I was playing hard to get, testing you, seeing what kind of character you have. You do seem familiar.

CELERINA: [She watches him, flattered but wary.] I do? I knew it. You wouldn't have stayed otherwise.

ROBERT: [Keeps voice level and soft.] I had to stay.

CELERINA: We're one. We get born over and over, try to find each other.

ROBERT: No matter what.

CELERINA: See, there's the rub, as they say. Are you gonna stop? It's not like drinking or shooting smack. There's no clinic for this.

ROBERT: Celerina. Of course. If you want me to stop, of course...

CELERINA: Mr. Agreeable.

ROBERT: You're not...seeing the big picture.

CELERINA: Baby, I think I am.

ROBERT: Forgiveness. Forgive and forget!

CELERINA: Forgive what exactly?

[Draws closer to him.]

ROBERT: For not admitting I knew you right away. [She draws away. He sits, tucks duffle between feet.] I'm taking this thing to my grandmother's. She'll know how to handle it. Jeez. You probably ruined all the fingerprints, destroyed DNA evidence.

CELERINA: An innocent man would've gone straight to the cops, an innocent man would have shouted out a find like this from the top of the Stratosphere! Don't bullshit me anymore. I know you're this killer, I know it. I bet there's no grandma.

ROBERT: Those cops would think I did it, same as you!! I should have just left it alone...

CELERINA: Would you shut up?! Enough. Stop the insanity! I KNOW. God, you're a lousy damn actor. I've seen better acting from the bums on Charleston. I've seen better shows from the winos...

ROBERT: What? You want to hear? You want to hear what I do when I'm not working?

CELERINA: You're out making pies of little girls.

ROBERT: Pies? What does that...

CELERINA: It sounded good in my head.

ROBERT: What if I were this killer guy?

[Silence. Celerina edges to very end of bench, sits.]


ROBERT: That's right. If. You're not a mother, are you?

CELERINA: Nope. Killing kids is still wrong, even if they are possessed by Satan or...

ROBERT: Shhh. Just listen.

CELERINA: Sure. The if factor. Go ahead. Make it sound good. Make it sound...reasonable.

ROBERT: Maybe the last one got away. And maybe I stole a car, came down to Vegas to get my lawyer grandmother's help, have her scrape up an insanity defense...

CELERINA: Did you watch some woman's movie last night? Tonight, on a very special...

ROBERT: LISTEN. [Celerina rolls her eyes. Robert waits but she says nothing.] Maybe...those girls would have told so maybe I had to silence them. You can't trust kids. They...have powers grownups don't.


ROBERT: They stay...good. They stay fresh. Sin just bounces off them, sin just...melts from one touch of their skin, one taste of their blood, one entry...

CELERINA: ...stop...

ROBERT: And I'm good again, I'm whole and innocent, fresh as new grass...

CELERINA: I was wrong, I don't want to know. Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP. Ever heard of soap?!! I want to wash my mind...

ROBERT: Come on. I thought we were in love. In love forever. Amen!

CELERINA: I know, it really sucks. What can you do? I can't let you live, can't let you continue this. You need some time in hell, then you can have a real fresh start. Maybe you'll get born a dog and I'll be this Siamese cat, or I'll be a bird and you'll be a turtle. I mean, wow, this time around you're just fucked up beyond all saving. If I thought there was a scrap of something worthwhile, I'd overlook this child thing. Therapy and drugs can work wonders anymore. I saw something about it on HBO one night...

ROBERT: Yeah. Whatever.

[Grabs her by arm. She whips out knife, sinks it into him. he doubles over, hand to where she stabbed him. Celerina on her feet, her hand holding the bloody knife.]

ROBERT: There's the goddamn bus...fuck...oh this hurts...god damn...

CELERINA: Those poor little ghosts. I told you I told you.

ROBERT: Murder...get you on a murder charge, not me...your duffle bag not mine...

CELERINA: Better luck next time.

[She pockets knife, runs off-stage. Lights dim on Robert trying to stand.]


Copyright © 2006 by Ann Wuehler

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Free Range Chickens is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author at

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