(Lights up on apartment, an hour or so later. The SEEKER is sitting up on the mattress, clutching a blanket to her chest. The DEALER, dressed only in his boxers, rummages through a stack of books.)
SEEKER: Are you so sure it’s in that pile?
DEALER: It may look like chaos, but it’s organized chaos. I know where everything is. It’s got to be here.
SEEKER: What about the books you pushed off the mattress?
DEALER: No. I haven’t had it that recently. (He continues rummaging through the pile of books. The SEEKER leans over and picks a book up off the floor.)
SEEKER: I think I found it.
SEEKER: On the floor like I told you. (She reads the title.) “The Holy Bible.” Wait. This can’t be real. I thought these were all destroyed?
DEALER: I bought a copy from an art dealer several years ago. Do you know why it was destroyed? (He goes over to the mattress and sits back down beside her. She pulls the blanket over both of them.)
SEEKER: Objectionable content. Is there touching?
DEALER: Oh, yes. (He takes the Bible from her, flips to a passage, and begins to read aloud.) “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind Jesus and touched the hem of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’ And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
SEEKER: She wasn’t supposed to touch him.
DEALER: No, but he still healed her.
SEEKER: She didn’t even ask. All she had to do was touch him.
DEALER: Contact, my dear, is a powerful thing. Don’t you agree?
SEEKER: I do. (She leans in and kisses him. The contact is gentle, not rushed. When they pull apart, the DEALER strokes the SEEKER’s hair.) Why are you looking at me like that?
SEEKER: Like you think I’m beautiful.
DEALER: Maybe because I do.
SEEKER: I bet you say that to all of your customers.
DEALER: Some of them, but never here. I told you, you’re different. You’re special to me. (The SEEKER gets up from the mattress, dresses, and begins to gather her belongings.) Hey, what’s the rush? Where are you going?
SEEKER: Home. My mother is going to freak out if I stay with you another minute. The last thing we want is her calling the police.
DEALER: Can’t you stay a little longer?
SEEKER: No way. I’m sorry.
DEALER: I have more books to read to you.
SEEKER: I wish I could stay. I have to get home. (She stoops to kiss him.)
DEALER: Will I see you again?
SEEKER: Do you usually set up appointments for this?
DEALER: Sweetheart, there’s nothing usual where you and I are concerned, believe me. Now give it to me straight–would you be willing to do this again?
SEEKER: Oh, yes. Most definitely yes.
DEALER: Then I am most definitely looking forward to that. Until then, beautiful.
SEEKER: (She starts toward the door, pauses in the doorway, and turns back to him.) I know you said this one was on the house, but next time, how do I…?
DEALER: (Shaking his head) There won’t be a need.
SEEKER: I’m your customer. I want to pay you.
DEALER: Given what you do to me, I should be paying you. (He winks.) If you’re so insistent on paying me… Well, you could always bring me a book.
SEEKER: I wouldn’t be able to get you one that hasn’t been edited.
DEALER: Doesn’t matter that much. I have several of those. Most of the time I can guess what they’ve taken out, anyway, so it’s almost like they haven’t taken out anything at all. They can take away what turns us on, but they can’t take away arousal. It’s human nature, sweetheart. (A siren goes off nearby. The DEALER and SEEKER freeze, exchanging nervous glances.) Must be getting close to curfew. They’re looking out for stragglers.
SEEKER: Oh my God, curfew. I completely forgot. It’s going to take me half an hour to get home if the buses have stopped running. What am I supposed to do?
DEALER: Have you ever violated curfew before?
SEEKER: Before you, I never so much as jaywalked.
DEALER: Okay, then, you’re set. Just say you got lost or held up or something. Pretty girl like you… They’ll give you a warning. “Just don’t let it happen again” and the like.
SEEKER: You sure about that?
DEALER: I break curfew all the time. I’ve learned all the tips and tricks to avoid getting charged. Unfortunately, you can only ever get one warning, but you don’t need to be worried about that. There are other ways around the law. I hope you’ll never need them.
SEEKER: I already do.
DEALER: Yeah, I guess you’re right.
(He walks over to her and kisses her again. The embrace lingers, no longer just business. Then, before she can second-guess herself, the SEEKER slips out of his arms and out the door. The DEALER locks it behind her, smiling. Lights fade.)
To Be Continued…
Thanks for reading my work!
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