Blackbird, Scene 2

HENRY is a dishevelled young man who in the previous scene had his hand stolen by a blackbird who is using it to become a famous pianist. In this scene, HENRY begins to forget that his hand has been stolen. Only a table and chair are present on stage. WAITER:Hello, what can I get you? HENRY:Nothing, thank you. HENRY tries to get up, but WAITER keeps him down. WAITER:You’re waiting for your friend, aren’t you? HENRY:No. I’m just looking for a blackbird. WAITER:Then why did you tell me before that you’re waiting for your friend? Anyway, you have to order something or you can’t stay here. HENRY:I don’t want to stay here. WAITER:Sure you do. What can I get you? HENRY:Nothing. WAITER:Come on now, less of this. I’ll bring you a bowl of olives. HENRY:But then what if my friend comes, and I’m stuffing my face? I’d have olive everywhere. I might burp! What if I get full and then fill myself up and when my friend comes, I have to eat another meal and then get so stuffed that my trouser button comes undone and it hits her straight in the eye? WAITER:Oh dear. Do you know when your date is going to arrive? The other customers are complaining that you look lonely. HENRY:It’s a date? WAITER:No, I won’t go on a date with you! HENRY:I mean now... am I waiting for a date? WAITER:I believe so—you’re all nervous and sweaty and have only ordered olives. HENRY:I’m not only nervous and sweaty when I’m waiting for a date. There are other times too. WAITER:Probably. You seem like you’re one of those people who gets nervous and sweaty even when you don’t need to be nervous and sweaty. Like when a bomb goes off or you’re about to go in for a job interview. HENRY:Yes, I do get nervous and sweaty then too. WAITER:See. HENRY:I’m getting even more nervous and sweaty now. WAITER:How fast is your heart beating? HENRY:Probably at about the speed of a caterpillar on top of a cheetah. WAITER:That’s quite fast. Should I call the doctor? HENRY:No! WAITER:Why not? HENRY:I’m going later anyway. WAITER:Why? HENRY:I forgot. WAITER:You forgot your doctor and you forgot your date. You must be one of those people with upside down ears. HENRY:That’s not true at all! WAITER:Prove it. HENRY:I can’t and I shan’t. WAITER:Why not? HENRY:It’s too hot. My ears are probably all nervous and sweaty and if you looked at them they might have a panic attack. WAITER:That wouldn’t be very good for business. HENRY:Are you going to bring me those olives? WAITER:I suppose, but are you going to give me your nose? HENRY:Definitely not. I need it for show. WAITER:It’s not even that nice anyway. All round and it’s got two holes in it! I don’t even think I want it after all. HENRY:Well you’ve got your own anyway. WAITER:Yes, but every now and again things get caught up it and I have to fish them out with a spade and a bucket. I think it’s faulty. HENRY:Maybe you should go to the doctor. WAITER:Me? HENRY:Yes, you. About your nose. WAITER:Oh, I thought you were talking about my toes. I’ve only got six you know. Dropped the other ones down the sink. HENRY:I could make you some out of napkins as replacement? WAITER:That won’t do. I might get all nervous and sweaty one day and the napkins would disintegrate. HENRY:Or soak it all up. WAITER:Soak what up? HENRY:The sweat. WAITER:I think you produce far too much sweat from being all nervous and sweaty for just a little napkin to soak up. You probably need to walk around with a paddling pool underneath you. HENRY:Don’t you think that I may get funny looks? WAITER:With a nose like that you probably already get funny looks. (raucous laughter) HENRY:Oh. Could you bring the olives now? What colour do you have? WAITER:Pink. HENRY:Pink olives? They’re my least favourite... WAITER:Perfect then. I’ll bring them right away. WAITER exits. Right-handed piano music plays. HENRY is intrigued to where it is coming from. He looks under the chairs and table. HENRY:Isn’t that strange? That music? It sounds like—(cut off by WAITER entering loudly) WAITER:No pink olives. Only yellow. Will have to do. HENRY:But yellow olives are my most favourite! WAITER:What a disaster this is. (collapses onto the floor in tears) I really can’t do anything right for this restaurant. HENRY:Look, what sort of restaurant is this anyway? I’ve been here for hours. And my watch was working fine yesterday and now I can’t find it anywhere. WAITER:Have you looked under the table? HENRY:That’s where I looked for the music. WAITER:What music? HENRY:The music that was playing earlier. I thought it was hiding under the table. WAITER:(kindly) Music doesn’t hide under tables. HENRY:I didn’t think so either. WAITER:So why did you look there? HENRY:I think I was looking for my watch. WAITER:You have to stop losing things under the table in my restaurant. It’s bad for business. The other customers just told me that you’re ruining their meal. HENRY:How? WAITER:You’re lonely. And nervous. And sweaty. Also they think it’s unfortunate that you’re wearing a nose with two holes in it. HENRY:None of those things are anything that I can help! WAITER:What a shame, because they’re paying customers and you’re not. HENRY:I could be a paying customer. WAITER:You haven’t paid me yet. Not with anything. (makes a gesture that HENRY could pay him with a sexual favour) HENRY:(getting up in horror) I don’t know if I have anything to pay you with. WAITER:Seems to me that you’ve got a problem. HENRY:I’ll leave then! HENRY tries to leave but is stopped by WAITER. WAITER:Oh no, no no no. We’ll talk about that later. We’ll need your chair in a minute. HENRY:Well even better for me to leave and then you can have it. WAITER:No. We need it warm and fresh. HENRY:Why? WAITER:There’s a couple in the restaurant about to have a baby. HENRY:A baby? WAITER:Don’t you know what a baby is? You used to be one, you know. So did I. HENRY:Prove it. WAITER:You see this mark over here, on my elbow? HENRY:Yes. WAITER:Well then, I’ve proven it. HENRY:No you haven’t. WAITER:(angrily) You are a FUCKING a nightmare. Look, we need your chair now. Your date isn’t even here yet. HENRY and WAITER start to fight over the chair. HENRY:You can’t take my chair. There are chairs over there! WAITER:No, those won’t do. The people who sat on them previously were having a mid-life crisis so we’re going to have to burn them. It’s policy. HENRY:Well my date will be here any second now. WAITER:Sir, the couple, they’re about to have a baby! They need your chair. HENRY:Wouldn’t they much prefer to hold their baby? WAITER:No! They want to finish their meal. WAITER and HENRY get very angry fighting over the chair. HENRY sees that WAITER is very upset so gives it up. HENRY:Oh, well can I have it back afterwards? WAITER:Certainly. We will wipe it down and bring it straight back. The baby is set to have ten fingers, twelve toes, and a little splatter of ketchup on its bottom! Aren’t babies cute? HENRY:I wouldn’t know, I’ve never held one. WAITER:You’ve never held a baby? HENRY:I don’t want to. WAITER:(drops the chair) You’re an awful person. HENRY:You don’t know that. WAITER:Yes, I do. Right handed piano music plays for the rest of the scene until WAITER sits down. The music reminds HENRY that his hand has been stolen from him. The music taunts him. HENRY:Wait. What was I here for again? WAITER:Sir. We need your chair. HENRY:You can have it. WAITER:I don’t need it yet. HENRY:Something happened. WAITER:You’re just waiting for your date. HENRY:No. You’re lying. There was something else. WAITER:Nothing else. Just the olives. HENRY:You’re distracting me! Shut up. WAITER:(a little scared) How about a glass of wine? You’re clearly nervous and sweaty. It will calm you. HENRY:No. Stop it. WAITER:Your chair is over here, sir. HENRY:You should really stop this. WAITER:Come on now, sit down. HENRY:(copying WAITER and shouting into his face) Come on now, sit down. Come on now, sit down. WAITER sits down on the table. HENRY (to WAITER) Who are you? WAITER:(WAITER seems to forget their whole previous conversation) Who are you? HENRY:What was I here for? WAITER:What were you here for? HENRY:(getting increasingly louder, angrier, and more scared) What did I come here for? Where is that music coming from? HENRY pushes the table to the corner with WAITER on top of it. WAITER:What are you doing? HENRY:Stop it, I can’t think! Music stops abruptly. WAITER sits down. HENRY:My hand... where did I put it? I distinctly remember using it to brush my teeth with this morning. (to the audience) Hey, do you know where I left it?

Miriam Schechter