• TOUCH Act II, Scene 1

    ActIIScene1

    (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.

    DEALER: Where?

    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: This?

    DEALER: Us.

    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…

    touchfooter

    Thanks for reading my work!

    Come back tomorrow for another installment of Touch, which I’m updating every weekday, and make sure you’re following along with the blog and on Twitter so you don’t miss an update!

    If you enjoy my writing, consider reading my novel Blood and Water–you can read more about it here.

    -Briana Morgan

  • 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…

    touchfooter

    Thanks for reading my work!

    Come back tomorrow for another installment of Touch, which I’m updating every weekday, and make sure you’re following along with the blog and on Twitter so you don’t miss an update!

    If you enjoy my writing, consider reading my novel Blood and Water–you can read more about it here.

    -Briana Morgan