You asked for it didn’t you? Be careful what you wish for…remember? Life was firing on all cylinders… It was good but you didn’t know how good, did you? A career, family, house in the suburbs, a 401K...
She sits at the vanity. Shaking, she is taking aim and missing her eyeliner, attempts to paint her lips.
Oh, screw the make up! Like they say, God never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have. Oil can! Oil can!
She squirts perfume on the backs of her knees and in the crooks of her elbows and flips two pills in the air catching them in her mouth.
It started off pretty rough, but who knew where the yellow brick road would lead? When did I first shake hands with the Tin Man? Oh yes -
Enter a Man and a Woman. They pull up two seats. The Man sits in one. The Woman takes Mary by the arm and invites her to sit opposite the Man who is formal and staring lidlessly. Woman takes her position behind the Man.
Really? I am floored. / Nothing personal? How personal is losing your job with kids to feed at home? / But y’know, times are tough, and if you were to pick a perfect time to make the bottom line look better, it’d be now wouldn’t it? Better to slice than be sliced right? / Soul search? What soul? What th’? My leg’s twitching like a frog on electrodes!/ I can hear the clinking of martini glasses in the executive offices right now. Cheers to another successful uptick! The stockholders will be so pleased... / I need that drink right now. Stop with the tremors already! They will not see me cry damn it!
You see? The sarcasm Mary. This is part of the reason why I… (He collects himself.) No promises but we will see if we can’t place you in another position elsewhere in the company but with the condition that if we are unsuccessful, in thirty days we’ll discuss your severance, ok?
Shall I get you a jacket? Is it cold in here? You’re shaking.
Sorry, sorry. That was uncalled for. No, I am fine, not cold. / What the hell? I am shivering like a freakin' junkie. / I don’t agree with your business decision but you obviously have/ a vested interest in keeping your own bloated salary funded/ the bigger picture in mind. /I wish I had a picture of you with a goat./ I have a lot of other skills in my war bag/ skills to drop kick your ass into the next county/ so I am sure something will come up in thirty days to challenge me. / I got your challenge. Go ahead and find two competent 20 year olds who will work for a fraction of what I cost. What is with my toes? God they’re cramping!/ I am sure you can see /you blind naked bottom feeder/ that there’s a ton of opportunity for a 15 year veteran in the company/ this top heavy arrogant money-grubbing company/ for someone like me/ lil ol’ expendable me.
Thank you for your understanding. Now my assistant here will go to your office and get your personal effects and you can leave directly from here –
No, I’ll get my personal effects myself if it’s all the same to you./ wouldn’t want you to discover the box of pens in my purse I stole from the office./ I want to say goodbye to everybody. / Oh my God, I am locking up. Must will the legs to move…Legs! Move! /Just give me a moment ok? /So you can reassure yourselves I won’t go postal on your sorry asses.
(She leans in to Mary in a faux sympathetic way.) You know, before I came here, I was a licensed practicing psychologist so if you need to talk about this… Here’s my card.
Thank you. How thoughtful of you. / Seriously? Consider yourself lucky I'm not talking with you from the top of a tall building with a loaded rifle. Hollow points. I am looking at you in the crosshairs first bitch! / I’ll take that under consideration./ That is if I can even aim properly. Tremors.
Man and Woman exit.
You said it. Out loud so God and all the cells in your body could hear. “I just need something to give me a break from this friggin' hamster wheel…Maybe a manageable disorder. Maybe migraines or chronic fatigue. Something to lean on.” So logically, it’s your entire fault. You knew that putting it out there was like poking a nestful of flying monkeys with a pointy stick. Tin Man needed an oil can and, as it turned out, so did you. You needed a certified mechanic to make the diagnosis and maybe put in the fix too…Enter the experts!
Man Enters in Lab Coat
(In a dry flat monotone) So your arm is stiff. Ok. Raise it. Ok. Only that far? Ok. Take ibuprophen. See you in six months.
Man takes her by the shoulders and spins her 180 degrees to face Woman in Lab Coat.
(Bubbly, plastic) So your arm is stiff. Ok. Raise it. Ok. Only that far? Ok. Take ibuprophen. Let’s give you a cortisone shot in the joint. See you in six months.
Woman spins her 180 degrees to face Man in Lab Coat.
(With eastern Indian accent) So your arm is stiff. Ok. Raise it. Ok. Only that far? And you are profoundly fatigued as well? Ok. Take ibuprophen. Let’s give you a cortisone shot in the joint and you must meditate morning and evening even until the day you die. See you in six months.
Man spins her 180 degrees to face Woman in Lab Coat.
(Gruffly, with authority, impatience) So your arm is stiff. Ok. Raise it. Ok. Only that far? And you are profoundly fatigued as well? Ok. Take ibuprophen. Let’s give you a cortisone shot in the joint and what’s this voodoo about meditating morning and evening even until the day you die? You need to toughen up Missy. Everyone’s got stress. Take it like a woman! Get a handle on it. Meanwhile let’s break up those adhesions in your shoulder. This is going to hurt…
Woman manipulates Mary’s arm and shoulder like a Russian wrestler and the sound of loud cracking is heard in concert with a yelp from Mary in pain. Woman then spins her 180 degrees to face Man in Lab Coat.
(With thick middle European accent) So your arm is stiff. Ok. Raise it. Ok. Only that far? And you are profoundly fatigued as well? You feel overwhelmed and your leg is dragging. Ok. Take ibuprophen. Let’s also get you started on some anti-depressant medication…What? You have no insurance?
Mary screams. All freeze.
Maybe we just prescribe a little something for anxiety as well…
Here’s what you said, “I wish I could get just a little rest, a hiatus from life, a reason to just drop out for a while.” And sure enough, somebody out there in the cosmos heard it…(She turns to the MAN who, still in a white coat is reaching out to gently touch her fingers, shoulders, arms…cradle her head in his hands… ) Doc, I have this weird shaking and stiffness in my arm and leg. My left leg drags when I walk. Foot cramps. Maybe it might be nerve damage from all the shots and adhesion busting when my shoulder froze up… maybe stress makes me shake? It's worse when I am stressed.
Frankly, I am not complaining. All this wiggling is making men wonder what it’d be like to make out with me. Remember those old “magic fingers” beds in motels? Quarter in the slot and 5 minutes of seismic bliss, you know. Unless it's the Bates Motel. Whole different vibe there...
(Laughing) Frozen shoulder is the first symptom you know. Let me have your arm. Quit resisting. Let me have it!
(She visibly cannot release her arm to him, but makes it into a claw grasping demonically for her own throat.) No, you can’t have it. There is no controlling the phantom alien arm. It is possessed!
Ok, ok. Very funny. Now walk for me.
Typical male. You don't want to see us coming at you, but can't stop watching us walk away. How do you want it? Goosestep, sashay or runway? Watch me work it... (She attempts a runway turn and stumbles. He catches her in his arms, steadies her, and holds her hand.)
Oooh Doc, the “magic fingers” comment hit a nerve eh?
(With gravity) You know it's Parkinson’s, don’t you?
(Full stop) Well, I guess I’ll be making all the martinis from now on.
Spotlight irises in on Mary looking at her reflection in the vanity mirror. She brushes a tear away from her cheek and resolutely grabs the lipstick with both hands and applies it carefully to her lips. She runs her fingers through her hair and straightens her blouse. She smiles, stands, wobbles a little but recovers, and exits.