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TOUCH Act I, Scene 5

act1scene5

(Lights up on the alley. The DEALER is perched on the dumpster again, unaffected by the rain. He is whistling an upbeat tune in spite of the weather. The SEEKER enters, toting an umbrella. She is anxious. He notices her right away and jumps down from the dumpster.)

DEALER: What have we here? Back so soon?

SEEKER: Just following up on that rain check. Do you remember me?

DEALER: Oh, yes. I do. So... What can I do for you?

SEEKER: I’m not sure. I mean, I have an idea, but I’m open to suggestions.

DEALER: If you’d rather not do this out in the streets--

SEEKER: Do I have a choice?

DEALER: You always have a choice. (He takes a step toward the SEEKER. She steps closer to him and holds her umbrella over both of them.) We can go to my place. (He takes the umbrella from her and puts his arm around her. She flinches.) It’s all right. I didn’t mean anything by it. Relax.

SEEKER: (She lets him put his arm around her) I haven't paid you yet.

DEALER: I told you, sweetheart, first one's free. (They start to exit. The CURED enters. The DEALER drops his arm and breaks away from the SEEKER.)

CURED: What are you doing?

DEALER: The young lady was lost. I was giving her directions.

SEEKER: (To the DEALER) Forget it. She's my mother. (To the CURED) How did you find me?

CURED: I read your diary. I didn't want to, but I was worried. I paced back and forth in the living room for fifteen minutes trying to resist the temptation to snoop. But then I thought about those girls from your school who got arrested. I remembered what I was like at your age. I thought about my affair, the arrest, the trial, prison, rehab--I had to come after you. I needed to rescue you. So I read your diary. (She looks at the DEALER.) Have you done anything?

DEALER: No, not yet.

CURED: What do you mean, not yet?

DEALER: I mean we haven't gotten to it. We were interrupted.

CURED: You mean you're in the process?

DEALER: Exactly.

CURED: Has she paid you yet?

DEALER: No.

CURED: Thank God.

DEALER: She doesn't have to. Pay, I mean. She can thank God if she wants to. That's her decision. (He winks at the SEEKER. The CURED bristles.)

CURED: Forget whatever arrangement you have. There isn't going to be any transaction.

SEEKER: You don't have any say in this.

CURED: You're kidding me, right? I'm your mother. I gave birth to you. You're a minor living under my roof, and if you don't want to face some serious consequences--

SEEKER: The most you can do is ground me.

CURED: No, the least I can do is ground you. The most I can do is turn you in to the police. (The tension between mother and daughter is palpable. It's palpable and thick. It is clear that the CURED has gone too far, said the unthinkable. The relationship between the two of them will never be the same. The CURED senses this and, terrified, tries to backpedal.) Oh, honey, no. Non no no. I didn't mean that. I would never. (The SEEKER, determined, wanders over to the DEALER, slips her arm through his, and rests her head on his shoulder.)

SEEKER: Go home, Mother.

CURED: (Taken aback) You know I only want what's best for you.

SEEKER: Maybe this is best for me. Maybe I need to see what it's like for myself. Maybe it's not enough to hear all the reasons why I shouldn't without learning if I should. (Pause.) Maybe you should head back before somebody sees you. Don't want to violate parole. (The CURED stares at her daughter, almost looking right through her. She reacts as though she had been slapped, staggering backward, pausing, and trying to collect herself. Then, having come to terms with what she is about to do, she pivots on her heel and exits. The DEALER puts his arms around the SEEKER and she leans in. He kisses her. Lights fade as they kiss and thunder rumbles overhead.)

To Be Continued...

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-Briana Morgan