Obsession

 

 

 

Anatomy
of a Mental Disorder
in One Act

 

 

 

Characters

Jelisaveta, female
Peter, male

Time

2005

Place

New York City

 

 

 

 

JELISAVETA.
You again?

PETER.
Do you have a minute?

JELISAVETA.
Thirty seconds.

PETER.
Happy anniversary!

JELISAVETA.
Huh?

PETER.
I said “Happy anniversary!”

JELISAVETA.
What are you talking about?

PETER.
Okay. Fine. Forget it.

JELISAVETA.
Forget what?

PETER.
Today's our anniversary. The anniversary of our first kiss. Our first night together.

JELISAVETA.
I'm busy.

PETER.
I guess you don't care.

JELISAVETA.
What do you want me to say?

PETER.
Nothing. Sorry I brought it up.

JELISAVETA.
Never mind. I gotta go.

PETER.
No problem. It's not important. It's only the second anniversary of the first of the fifteen most beautiful nights of my life.

JELISAVETA.
Sounds complicated. I'm bad with numbers. Have a nice day.

PETER.
Come on. You're a woman. You're supposed to be an anniversary junkie.

JELISAVETA.
Women aren't into anniversaries of their mistakes.

PETER.
Thanks for clearing that up. So you don't want your present?

JELISAVETA.
What is it? Another book? Another cutesy little card you made? More chocolate?

PETER.
No. Just a cutesy little play I wrote for you.

JELISAVETA.
You're out of your mind. Aren't you ever getting tired of being obsessed with me?

PETER.
Make a list of everything you want in your life right now, and then spend twenty-five years to get it. That's a line from a movie.

JELISAVETA.
Please don't tell me you're seriously planning to keep running after me for the next twenty-five years.

PETER.
Twenty-three. I did two already.

JELISAVETA.
Why can't you just let go and move on like a normal person?

PETER.
A normal person? I'd rather stick needles into my eyes. That's a line from a movie, too.

JELISAVETA.
That's your play? A collection of lines from stupid movies?

PETER.
Yes. And I hope you like your bunnies well cooked.

JELISAVETA.
Hilarious.

PETER.
It's your own fault. You said I should write a play.

JELISAVETA.
That was a joke. I didn't think you would actually do it.

PETER.
Thank God you didn't tell me to write an opera. I'd have spent a fortune on counterpoint classes.

JELISAVETA.
Too bad I didn't tell you to tie brick around your neck and jump in river.

PETER.
Cute line. Try it again. This time with articles.

JELISAVETA.
Fuck you.

PETER.
You know, I realized something.

JELISAVETA.
Oh dear. Another realization.

PETER.
I realized that you and I have a lot in common.

JELISAVETA.
Excuse me???

PETER.
Yes, because we're both obsessed.

JELISAVETA.
Oh really.

PETER.
Yep. I'm obsessed with you, and you're obsessed with having fun.

JELISAVETA.
That's not true. I just like having fun. I'm not obsessed with it.

PETER.
So you think you could stop having fun if you wanted to?

JELISAVETA.
Why would I want to stop having fun?

PETER.
This is what I mean. You don't want to stop, because you're obsessed with it.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever. At least I'm obsessed with something I can have and I am having. You're obsessed with what you don't have and can't have.

PETER.
I see. You're being realistic, and I'm just a poor misguided dreamer who's obsessing over the past.

JELISAVETA.
Exactly.

PETER.
Maybe you're obsessed with being realistic because you're too afraid to dream.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever.

PETER.
I'm not obsessing over the past. I always listen to my heart in the present. And in every present moment, my heart is saying your name.

JELISAVETA.
Perhaps you should go see cardologist.

PETER.
Car-dee-ologist.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever. Go see car-dee-ologist.

PETER.
You mean I should go see a cardiologist.

JELISAVETA.
Fuck you.

PETER.
The purpose of life is to follow the heart, because the heart always speaks the truth. What could possibly be more fulfilling than to follow the voice of truth?

JELISAVETA.
I don't see what's so fucking fulfilling about wasting your time writing hundreds of e-mails to a girl who doesn't even care. Sounds rather frustrating to me. Not fulfilling at all.

PETER.
It is both. Frustrating and fulfilling. But you don't understand because you've never been in love. You don't even love yourself.

JELISAVETA.
I love myself just fine. Thank you very much. Besides, to love is different from being in love.

PETER.
You always say that. It's your favorite line. Some confused Chinese tourist asks for directions to the museum, and you tell him that to love is different from being in love. Next you'll announce that to drink is different from getting drunk.

JELISAVETA.
I never get drunk. I only get buzzed.

PETER.
And I never beat up my girlfriend. I only slap her around. Does that mean I love her?

JELISAVETA.
You have a girlfriend???

PETER.
I was using an analogy in order to make a point.

JELISAVETA.
Your analogies suck.

PETER.
You suck. Because obviously you can't tell a guy who truly loves you from a coffee machine.

JELISAVETA.
You don't even know me.

PETER.
I know enough.

JELISAVETA.
You don't know anything.

PETER.
You don't believe that I'm truly in love with you?

JELISAVETA.
I believe that you believe it. Just like terrorists believe they go to paradise if they crash plans into buildings. Fanaticism is a mental disorder.

PETER.
I think you mean planes with an e. Planes with an e have wings. Plans without an e are what you have on a Friday night.

JELISAVETA.
Fuck you.

PETER.
Are you calling me a terrorist? Do you feel under attack from text messages and chocolate bars?

JELISAVETA.
I'm only saying that human mind has infinite capacity to passionately believe virtually anything, whether it's true or not.

PETER.
Look who's talking. Our little astrology buff here is suddenly waxing philosophical about bubbleheaded belief systems.

JELISAVETA.
Buff? Bubbles? Wax? What?

PETER.
No, I'm not talking about you naked in the bathtub shaving your legs. A buff is somebody who's into something specific. Like a fan. I'm a Jelisaveta buff, for example. You're a fun buff. And to wax means to become. So next time you're with a hot guy, instead of whispering in his ear that you're getting horny, you can say you're waxing horny. And now his dick is waxing harder. And then, when you take off your jeans, he'll notice that your ass is waxing fat.

JELISAVETA.
FUCK YOU!!!!

PETER.
I'm kidding. Calm down. I'm just being a dictionary now.

JELISAVETA.
You're just being a waxing dick now.

PETER.
Learning fast. Smart cookie.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever.

PETER.
I love you.

JELISAVETA.
You're nuts.

PETER.
I wish you were a squirrel.

JELISAVETA.
What?

PETER.
That was a joke.

JELISAVETA.
I don't get it.

PETER.
A squirrel. Veverica. Squirrels love nuts.

JELISAVETA.
Oh, I get it now. Hahaha. No, I'm not a squirrel.

PETER.
Too bad.

JELISAVETA.
Don't worry. You'll meet a nice squirrel some day.

PETER.
Can I ask you something?

JELISAVETA.
Go ahead.

PETER.
If I suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth, how long do you think it would take you to notice?

JELISAVETA.
I don't know.

PETER.
Would you ever notice at all if I were gone?

JELISAVETA.
I guess after a while I'd notice I'm getting no more letters from you. No more text messages. And no more presents.

PETER.
Would you miss my letters and my presents?

JELISAVETA.
Sure. Like cramps. Just joking. I don't know. I guess I wouldn't care either way.

PETER.
You mean whether I exist or not would make absolutely no difference to you?

JELISAVETA.
I guess not. Sorry. You know I'm cruel.

PETER.
Yeah, I remember.

JELISAVETA.
What do you want me to do? Lie to you?

PETER.
I appreciate your honesty. It's very sexy. Can I ask you something else?

JELISAVETA.
I'm meeting somebody. I don't have much time.

PETER.
Meeting your lover? Which one? Greg? Rob? Jim? John? Joe? Rich? Mitch? Mike? Matt? Mark? Pat? Tim? Tom? Bill? Phil? Dan? Dave? Mick? Rick? Nick? Dick?

JELISAVETA.
Very funny. Is this your question? Who am I spending the night with?

PETER.
No. My question is, will you marry me?

JELISAVETA.
WHAT???

PETER.
That was a proposal.

JELISAVETA.
Are you on drugs?

PETER.
I never intoxicate myself. Unfortunately. Because if I did, I'd be a much more fun guy to hang out with, and then you would be proposing to me.

JELISAVETA.
In your dreams. So if you're totally sober, how come you're asking me a stupid question like that?

PETER.
It's not a stupid question. It's a very logical question. I'm in my mid-thirties, I've never proposed to a woman before, and I would like you to be my first. So will you marry me?

JELISAVETA.
I'd rather be nun.

PETER.
You'd rather be what?

JELISAVETA.
I'd rather be nun.

PETER.
You'd rather be a what?

JELISAVETA.
Oops. I'd rather be a nun.

PETER.
No problem. That's exactly the response I had expected. I can read your mind.

JELISAVETA.
Very impressive. Anything else on your docket of insanity for today?

PETER.
Docket of insanity? Dating a lawyer? Your English is coming along great.

JELISAVETA.
The other day you made fun of my Whole Foods review, and now you're complimenting me on my English.

PETER.
I wasn't making fun of it. You did a nice job. You should have your own column like that Bradshaw chick from your favorite show. I was merely pointing out that there's a subtle difference in meaning between a champagne glass and a glass of champagne. You're always such a sucker for subtle differences anyway. Drunk versus buzzed. Love versus in love. At least be consistent. And there really was no need to mention those dopey homemade breads twice in your article. The second time you should have listed something different. Organic celery sticks or soy bean sprouts or whatever. Whole Foods is a health food store, for crying out loud, not a bakery.

JELISAVETA.
Okay. That's enough. I don't feel like talking to you anymore. I gotta get ready for my date.

PETER.
Was I being over-analytical again? I'm sorry.

JELISAVETA.
Fuck off. I really don't need that. I don't need some super-critical boring guy who keeps teasing me about the way I write, about the way I speak, and who freaks out every time I have a few drinks.

PETER.
It hurts me to see beauty being destroyed.

JELISAVETA.
I don't care. It's fun to get buzzed.

PETER.
I hope you'll be having as much fun looking in the mirror in twenty years.

JELISAVETA.
Stop lecturing me. I hate to be lectured.

PETER.
Everybody hates to be lectured. The guy who figured out that the Earth is round and circling around the sun was sentenced to death for lecturing about the truth. They were all having too much fun partying in their imaginary flat world at the center of the universe.

JELISAVETA.
It's fun to party, and it's healthy to have fun. That's the truth. And you're the one who's living in imaginary world. Otherwise you'd just leave me alone.

PETER.
If it's not too much trouble, my imaginary world needs an indefinite article.

JELISAVETA.
You see? You can't stop it. You can't stop being critical. It's your nature. You'll never change. And then you're surprised when a woman loses her passion for you.

PETER.
Critical my elbow. I told you a million times that you're the sweetest and loveliest creature I've ever met. You're my sun. The center of my cosmos. Do I really sound like a guy who's nothing but critical all the time?

JELISAVETA.
You sound like a guy who was in sun too long. The sun. Whatever. Next you're gonna tell me you'll do anything for me and then promise to get me stars from the sky. Give me a break. Why are ol' men so predictable?

PETER.
Sorry I'm too old for you.

JELISAVETA.
What?

PETER.
You were complaining about old men.

JELISAVETA.
I didn't say old men. I said ol' men.

PETER.
Oh, you mean all men. Aaawl.

JELISAVETA.
Ol'.

PETER.
You're making a diphthong. It's supposed to be a single vowel. Say salt.

JELISAVETA.
Soult.

PETER.
Saaawlt. Not soul with a t. What happened to the list with the boat-bought words that I made for you?

JELISAVETA.
I still have it.

PETER.
I didn't write it for you to have it. I wrote it for you to use it. Next time you're hanging out with one of those predictable men, perhaps you could ask him to take an unpredictable break from banging you and practice your list with him. Just make sure you don't call him old by mistake, or he may relapse into predictability and shove the list up your saucy little Serbian butt.

JELISAVETA.
Ha.

PETER.
Of course, if he hurts you, I'll come over and whack him over the head with a frozen chunk of homemade Whole Foods bread until he couldn't tell a lawn from a loan himself anymore. And sure I would steal you the stars from the sky, lovely. You're certainly adorable enough for a man to plunder the heavens for you.

JELISAVETA.
Blah-blah-blah. That's what they aaaaawl say. But the moment a girl starts to fall for this bullshit, the guy loses interest. Always the same crap about the fucking stars. What's the point? In the end we only get rejected anyway. It really turns me off. And you're the worst of them ol'. I mean owl. Whatever. Aaaaaaaaaaaawl. Happy now?

PETER.
You're doing fine.

JELISAVETA.
You're amazing. Sometimes I think a guy couldn't possibly turn me off any more, but then you still manage to do it.

PETER.
I'm a magician.

JELISAVETA.
If you're a magician, then why can't you simply pull a new girl out of your hat? One that never gets drunk and who always pronounces everything exactly the way you like it?

PETER.
I don't need to be a magician for that. There are plenty of girls like that.

JELISAVETA.
Great. So you don't need me anyway. What's the problem?

PETER.
Of course I don't need you. I don't need any woman. That's the problem. You see, there are two types of things in life. The essential ones, and the nonessential ones. And I just don't feel compelled to settle for compromises in nonessential areas.

JELISAVETA.
And women, in your mind, are nonessential things?

PETER.
They're not things. Just nonessential.

JELISAVETA.
Two minutes ago I was the loveliest creature on earth, and now all of a sudden I'm an unnecessary item. You really need to get your head examined.

PETER.
Have you ever heard a love song about oxygen?

JELISAVETA.
A what? No. I don't think so.

PETER.
Exactly. Nobody loves oxygen. Why? Because we need it. Love and need are inversely proportional. The more we need something, the less we can truly love it. Love is pure luxury. For instance, why do people have pets? Do pets serve a practical purpose? No. Can we survive without pets? Of course. So why have pets? Because we love them. That's all.

JELISAVETA.
You're saying women are pets? Having a girlfriend is like having a cat?

PETER.
Precisely.

JELISAVETA.
You're sick.

PETER.
I'm misunderstood.

JELISAVETA.
I'm not a cat, and I'm not a squirrel. I'm not your frigging petting zoo.

PETER.
No, you're my little mačkica.

JELISAVETA.
And I'm not your mačkica, and I'm not your girlfriend.

PETER.
Right. You'd rather be nun.

JELISAVETA.
Exactly.

PETER.
Just out of curiosity, is there anything about me that you like?

JELISAVETA.
There are lots of things about you that I like, believe it or not.

PETER.
Like what?

JELISAVETA.
I think you're a pretty smart guy. Very sensitive. And creative.

PETER.
You mean I'm over-analytical, I'm soft, and I'm crazy.

JELISAVETA.
Yeah, I guess that's what I mean.

PETER.
And boring.

JELISAVETA.
Definitely boring, yes.

PETER.
Boring as a cucumber.

JELISAVETA.
Cucumbers are more fun.

PETER.
And I don't know how to dress. I wear black during the daytime.

JELISAVETA.
Fashion disaster.

PETER.
Plus I'm emotionally dysfunctional. Obsessive.

JELISAVETA.
You have attachment issues. It's hard for you to let go of the past.

PETER.
On the contrary. It's much too easy for me to let go of the past and to forget about people. I'm delighted to find that I actually possess the ability to get completely obsessed about a particular person. I never thought I could fall in love like that. Thanks for showing me.

JELISAVETA.
You're welcome. Glad I could help out. But now that we've discovered your wonderful ability to fall in love, are you planning to ever fall out of love with me, or will you be sending me obsessive e-mails for the rest of your life?

PETER.
That's what I was trying to explain to you before about the women and the pets.

JELISAVETA.
That was either dumbest explanation I ever heard, or it was so brilliant it takes brain surgeon to understand. Can you explain that again?

PETER.
All right. Forget the pets. Let's take apartments.

JELISAVETA.
Ah, so now woman is apartment. You're using apartment as sexual metaphor, because every man wants to be inside of woman.

PETER.
No, I wasn't using apartments as a sexual metaphor. Forget about sex for a moment.

JELISAVETA.
You know how hard it is for me to forget about the sex.

PETER.
Fascinating. Now that none is needed, she throws one in.

JELISAVETA.
Did I make mistake again?

PETER.
Doesn't matter. I don't want to discuss articles now.

JELISAVETA.
Why don't you want to discuss the articles?

PETER.
Stop it. You're driving me nuts.

JELISAVETA.
Why am I driving you nuts and not the nuts?

PETER.
Shut up, or I'm gonna vhip you.

JELISAVETA.
You're gonna vhip me??? HA!!! Listen to Mr. Smartass Austrian English professor!

PETER.
Whip. I misspoke. You were irritating me with your articles.

JELISAVETA.
I think you need to find American girl who can teach you how to talk.

PETER.
Careful, young lady. As soon as I get my citizenship, I'll be running for governor of New York. First thing I'll do is sign an executive order to have you shipped off to Guantanamo as a national security threat. You infiltrated yourself into American society in the camouflage of an irresistible young female, and you are trained to break men's hearts. That's the most insidious form of international terrorism.

JELISAVETA.
You'll be governor of New York the day palm trees start growing in the Alps.

PETER.
Right, and that's the day I'll stop being obsessed with you. So you wanna hear my explanation or not?

JELISAVETA.
I'm sorry. Go ahead. You were saying that a woman is an apartment. Did I say it correct now?

PETER.
No, exactly the opposite. A woman is not like an apartment. That's the whole point. Apartments we actually need. And even if we can't find, or can't afford, the perfect apartment, we still need a roof over our heads, although it may not be exactly the kind of place we would like. We can't just live on the street until our dream castle happens to land in our lap.

JELISAVETA.
There are many homeless people who live on the streets.

PETER.
Okay. Fine. But my point is that even having a bad apartment is better than having no roof at all.

JELISAVETA.
True.

PETER.
Or food. Even if our favorite foods are not available, we still have to eat something, or else we'll starve. If the sushi place closes down, you'll have to eat those homemade breads from Whole Foods until a new sushi joint opens up.

JELISAVETA.
You see? That's why I mentioned them twice. Because I knew they would save people from starving.

PETER.
You're funny.

JELISAVETA.
Funny yourself.

PETER.
Or jobs. We all need jobs to pay the bills. Or cars. If you live in a city like L.A., for instance, you need a car. Now, at some point in your life you may have had a chance to test drive the perfect car for you, maybe a Jaguar or a Ferrari, and have totally fallen in love with it. But right now you can't afford the particular type of car that you love. And until you can, you must drive something else. Even though it wouldn't be your favorite car.

JELISAVETA.
Okay, okay. I get it now. There are two kinds of things in the crazy world of Peter. The essential ones, and the nonessential ones. Cars and jobs and apartments are essential. We always need them, even if we're not totally happy with the ones we have. But women and sex are nonessential, at least according to you, and so you can live without them until the day your perfect dream girl falls out of a plane with an e and happens to land right in front of your feet … with two ee's, right?

PETER.
No need to be cynical about it. It happens. You did in fact turn up right in front of me completely out of the blue one day. I’m sure you got kicked off that plane for making out with the pilot.

JELISAVETA.
Wrong. Pilot was gay. I only did copilot and flight engineer. Then a bunch of stewardesses waxed jealous and threw me out.

PETER.
Good word.

JELISAVETA.
Why do you think I'm so perfect?

PETER.
Because your presence makes me melt like ice cream in a pizza oven.

JELISAVETA.
I don't like melted men.

PETER.
Too bad I don't fake indifference as well as women fake orgasms.

JELISAVETA.
And I'm not the perfect girl for you. I love to get buzzed, and I always mess up my diphthongs.

PETER.
It is your flaws that make you perfect. If you had no flaws, you'd be too perfect, and that would make you less perfect.

JELISAVETA.
Now I'm getting a headache. So what if your next perfectly flawed dream girl never shows up? Then you're going to spend your whole life thinking about me with one hand down your pants?

PETER.
I always keep both hands close to my heart when I think of you.

JELISAVETA.
Yeah, right. And I'm a mermaid.

PETER.
For that other stuff there's teeniesluts dot com.

JELISAVETA.
Happy to hear that you don't do it watching O'Reilly.

PETER.
At least my obsession with you protects me from catching herpes.

JELISAVETA.
Wow. I'm safer than a condom.

PETER.
You're my guardian angel. No matter how attractive a woman may be, as long as I feel that I'd rather be with you, or Angelina Jolie for that matter, I'll most likely not want to sleep with that woman. I couldn't fully enjoy being romantic with somebody knowing that she's only my second choice. Or third. Or tenth. I'd rather play Scrabble.

JELISAVETA.
I see. So until you meet somebody who manages to knock your current number-one fantasy girl off the top spot of your chickparade, it'll be teeniesluts dot com and a nice glass of parsley juice. Or whatever sludge you're drinking all the time.

PETER.
I usually toss in some garlic. Keeps all those nonessential clitoris-bearing potential STD carriers at a safe distance.

JELISAVETA.
Between me and Angelina Jolie, who's your first choice? Just curious.

PETER.
That's a toss-up. She has those lips. You have your dots.

JELISAVETA.
I hate my dots. They're ugly.

PETER.
They're beauty spots. They're hot. I think your face is a secret map to the land of everlasting infatuation.

JELISAVETA.
They're ugly.

PETER.
Only a blind man would agree.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever.

PETER.
Between me and Johnny Depp, who's your first choice?

JELISAVETA.
Ha!

PETER.
No offense taken. Maybe you'll meet him some day. You never know.

JELISAVETA.
I don't waste my time hoping for things that are never going to happen. He's just a dream. Dreams aren't real. We must always be realistic.

PETER.
There you go again. I think after governor, I'll run for president. I already know all the right lines to win.

JELISAVETA.
No clue what you're talking about.

PETER.
There you go again. Famous quote from the Reagan-Carter debate. Guess you weren't watching. At the time you were just a tiny month-old baby brat fetus floating around in your mom's belly, probably anxious to get rid of that annoying umbilical cord as soon as possible so you could have your belly-button pierced.

JELISAVETA.
Yeah, but then later in life I regretted they cut the damn thing off, because it would have come in handy to strangle a few guys with. By the way, you can never be president, because you're not a natural born citizen. We learned that in college.

PETER.
I can be anything I want to be.

JELISAVETA.
Then I guess you want to be waiter.

PETER.
Today you can make all the fun of me you like. Tomorrow you'll be my First Lady.

JELISAVETA.
Take your medication.

PETER.
You're my medication.

JELISAVETA.
No. I'm a symptom of your disease. Firstchoice-itis. Either first choice, or no choice. Interesting. Does that mean you can't enjoy a song unless it's your favorite song? You can't enjoy watching a movie unless it's your favorite movie? You couldn't enjoy playing with a cute little dog unless you're one hundred percent sure it's the cutest dog in the whole world? You don't want to look at a flower unless it's your favorite color?

PETER.
I just feel bad looking a girl in the eyes and telling her she's my second choice. How would you like to be told by a guy that you're his second choice?

JELISAVETA.
When I'm with a guy that I like and I'm horny, I want him to fuck me, not psychoanalyze the situation. First choice. Second choice. Who cares? I want to have fun. Do you even know what that word means? Fun? FUN? F. U. N. ??? When do you ever have fun?

PETER.
I'm having fun arguing with you right now.

JELISAVETA.
You're hopeless.

PETER.
Sure you don’t wanna marry me?

JELISAVETA.
Eyes. Needles.

PETER.
Gotcha.

JELISAVETA.
Get a life first. Coal me in five years.

PETER.
Call.

JELISAVETA.
Whatever. Caaaaaaaaaawl me. Better?

PETER.
Perfect.

JELISAVETA.
Šupak.

PETER.
Love you too.

 

The End ... ?

Back to Top

BACK TO TOP

Copyright © 2009-2014. Cyberquill. All rights reserved.