They Are Coming This Time


A brightly lit room populated with plastic covered sofas and two arm chairs. A man who looks as though he ought to be retired sits facing a younger woman on one of the couches.

MAN:”When they come for me you have to stay calm. Call Ismail on this cell phone (held aloft in his left hand.)”

WOMAN: “We’ve been over this. Dozens of times and nothing ever happens. Sunday comes around and you are parked in the living room watching sports, numb to the world.”

MAN: “Can you tell me I don’t have reason to worry?”

WOMAN: “Concern, yes. Worry, not so much. It’s been eight years of this. I think you are safe. Plus, it’s not like you’ve actually told me what you did to begin with.”

He waves his hands.

MAN: “Need to know basis, Ellen. Need to know. You’re safe if you don’t know.”

WOMAN: “Tyler, I don’t feel safe. I feel exhausted. You’re paranoia is all-consuming. We don’t even go out anymore.”

He shifts in his chair as she gets up and walks off.

MAN: “We could go to that buffet tonight. We can sit in the back.”

Offscreen her voice is heard.

WOMAN: “Joy. Cutlets swimming in mystery sauce.”

MAN: “Of course, I’ll need to bring my phone. Just in case.”

WOMAN: “Tyler, you will be alone with that thing. Heat lamps and old pie. I’m going to back to Montreal. Tonight.”

He wanders offscreen.

MAN: “At least let me drive you. I’ll check to make sure it’s clear.”

She stomps back into the room.

WOMAN: “It is always clear. You’re a teacher, for Christ’s sake. A teacher with an inheritance, but that doesn’t make you a marked man. I’m done. Give me some travel money. I’m ordering an Uber right now and my suitcases are already packed.”

She stomps back offscreen. His defeated voice is heard in the distance.

MAN: “I’ve only got hundreds. They’re tucked in my slippers. Wait for me.”

He pads off up the stairs in the background.

© 2023 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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