20 Dec 2012

5 Days to Christmas

(SCENE: a WOMAN is sitting down on one of the benches located along the side-walk. She is huddling up in her coat, trying to keep her irritated nose under control. She occasionally sneezes, blowing her nose with a piece of tissue. A white-haired tall MAN enters stage left. Just as he walks in front of her...)

WOMAN:
Ahh...AAH...AHCHOO!

MAN:
(gets out of the way) Whoa! You've got a nasty cold there!

WOMAN:
Oh my gosh! I'm (sniff) so terribly sorry! Did I get anything on you? I have some tissues you can use...

MAN:
Naah it's fine, I'm clean. Thanks for the concern! I think you're the one who needs help though.

WOMAN:
Oh don't mind me. This kind of cold usually goes away in a few days... I hope...

MAN:
Tell you what, let me get you a hot drink. That might be what you need.

WOMAN:
Oh it's okay! You don't have to do it for me, I can get it by myself later—

MAN:
Don't worry! Besides I also came to get my own drink too, so I might as well do you a small favour.

WOMAN:
No I insist, you don't have to trouble yourself over thi—

(The MAN quickly exits stage right.)

WOMAN:
Geez... I wish this freaking cold will (sniff) go away soon... I can't miss the Christmas Eve play or it'll be ruined!

(A few PASSERS-BY walk past her from both sides. After a while, the WOMAN checks her watch.)

WOMAN:
Is he coming back soon? I don't feel comfortable here waiting like a (sniff) sitting duck... Maybe I should tell him to cancel the orde—

(The MAN returns from stage right, holding two cups of hot chocolate in his hands.)

MAN:
(passes the right cup to her) Here's your drink ma'am!

WOMAN:
(receives the cup from him) Erm... thanks.

(The MAN takes a seat on the bench, sitting on her right.)

MAN:
Your nose really looks red! You really should see a doctor!

WOMAN:
I already did. It's just that I usually take longer than most people to respond to the (sniff) medicine. With a few days I should be back to normal. Should

MAN:
You really should take a rest then. It'd be such a bummer to be unable to attend Christmas parties because you're too ill!

WOMAN:
Actually... (sniff) I have something else more important than tha— ah... AAH... AHCHOO! 

(The MAN flinches away a little from her.)

WOMAN:
Oh gosh not again! (sniff) I'm really sorry, it's just I can't be resting anymore! I have to play a major role in a Christmas play on the night of Christmas Eve, and we're running out of rehearsal time, so I can't skimp ou—AH... AHCHOO! SORRY!

(The MAN sighs, then takes a sip out of his cup.)

MAN:
Even then, you still need some rest! If you overwork yourself, you could compromise your health further. And would be more serious than missing out on a play.

WOMAN:
But there isn't anybody to (sniff) fill in for me on that night! I have to be there!

MAN:
And you're making it even more likely that you'll be absent by denying yourself rest. I know how you feel... (takes another sip from his drink) ...I've also been in a position where I had to meet a super tight deadline when there was still so much left to do and I was feeling under the weather. I braced myself and blitzed through all the work. Eventually I succeeded, but I felt so miserable and groggy. Later I learned better, and paced myself with switching between work and rest. 

WOMAN:
(takes a sip from her drink) I guess I should rest. But I can't help worrying about the others involved in this play! How much can they do (sniff) without me being there to help them out?

MAN:
I'm sure they're capable of handling things on their own. Would you think they'd let their accumulation of hard work just fall apart without you around? I am quite certain they would be working just as hard, if not even harder than usual. You can trust them!

WOMAN:
(sighs heavily) Yeah. I'm probably worrying too much. We've already practised diligently for the past few months, and our act is more or less in place. 

MAN:
And I'm sure you'll all do fine on the night itself without too much of a hitch... but only if you rest and let your body recover faster.

WOMAN:
Alright, "doctor." (giggles a little) I really should recuperate in my warm toasty apartment with a hot drink instead of being out here in the chilly weather so often.

MAN:
(smiles back) That's just what I like to hear. It's kinda a pity I won't be able to see your performance, for I would be terribly busy then...

WOMAN:
It's alright! If you want I can get someone to record it down on video, and I can send the file to you.

MAN:
Hmm... actually, I think a better idea would be to come over to my place where we can watch it on my home theatre system. I've got a Christmas night party, and this could be great entertainment for me and my guests as well!

WOMAN:
Really? You're inviting me over to your place just like that???

MAN:
Well why not? After putting yourself through much of the torture in the months of preparation, I'm sure you deserve a nice treat like this!

WOMAN:
That's really kind of you! (takes another sip from her cup) Perhaps I'll try to be there if I can. I'm sure the actors and crew are nearly getting sick of seeing each other so often...

MAN:
If that's the case, here's my name and address...

(He takes out a folded piece of paper from his pocket and passes it to her.)

WOMAN:
Thank you so much for the invite! Now I just wish I could get over this stupid cold...

MAN:
Actually I think you're already halfway there to full recovery. You've stopped your sniffling a while ago.

(She indeed just realises this fact, and is glad that she is almost able to operate at 100% again.)

MAN:
I really got to go now. Enjoy your drink— oh, silly me! I forgot to ask for your name!

WOMAN:
I'm Denise.

MAN:
It was a pleasure meeting you Denise. Merry Christmas!

(He stands up and exits stage right, taking his drink with him. The WOMAN takes another sip from her cup, then unfolds the piece of paper she just received.)

WOMAN:
So... you're Dominic, huh? 

(The lights fade out.)

[END SCENE]