Brunch

BRUNCH

A Short Play in the Revolution Cycle

by

J. Nelson Leith

CHARACTERS

All women in their mid-20’s.

KENDALL.

DINA. [pronounced dee-nah]

SHAYA.

JESS.

SERVER.

 

 

SCENE

(A sidewalk cafe, mid-morning. KENDALL, DINA, SHAYA, and JESS sit around a glass-topped table. They have bread, and several cell phones also rest on the table. SERVER enters with drinks, holding the tray carefully in both hands.)

KENDALL
(to SERVER, mimicking the classic, one-hand-up, restaurant server style)

Not one-handed?

SERVER

Oh, no.  I would spill everything.  I’m a total clutz.

(SERVER cautiously rests the tray halfway on the table, between KENDALL and DINA)

KENDALL

Aww, no, no, no! Don’t say that. You could do it!

SERVER
(laughing stiffly)

I’ve tried. This is way safer. Mimosas?

(SHAYA and JESS raise their hands. SERVER hands them their drinks)

KENDALL

A little practice…

(DINA removes her tea from the tray. She and SERVER smile at each other.)

SERVER

Thank you, but I’m really bad at it.

(SERVER hands JESS her Bloody Mary.)

KENDALL

Don’t be so hard on yourself!

SERVER
(forced smile)

Thank you. I’ll have your food in just a minute!

(SERVER exits.)

DINA

She’s not being hard on herself, she’s being honest.

KENDALL

She just needs to … I don’t know.  It’s sort of a hallmark of being a waitress.

JESS

Kendall … maybe she doesn’t want to work in a restaurant for the rest of her life.

KENDALL

That’s no reason to give up!

(KENDALL’S phone buzzes on the table. KENDALL picks it up and looks at it, then looks at her friends.)

Oh, Mike called. It’s on mute.

(KENDALL puts the phone back down on its face.)

SHAYA

Do you need to call him back?

KENDALL
(waving her hand dismissively)

No.

(the phone buzzes again)

Voice-mail.

(a beat as they sip their drinks)

DINA

You’re not going to listen to it?

KENDALL

Later, maybe.

SHAYA
(concerned)

Are you guys fighting?

KENDALL

No, no, no. Mike’s a great guy.  I’m just not sure a guy like that is who I want to spend the rest of my life with, you know?

JESS
(lifting the Bloody Mary to her mouth)

That’s no reason to give up.

 

DINA

You’re not dating “a guy like Mike.”

(A beat.)

KENDALL

What? That makes no sense, Dina.

SHAYA

Mike’s the name of the guy she’s dating.

DINA
(to SHAYA)

I know who Mike is.

(turning to KENDALL)

You’re not dating a “guy like Mike,” like he’s a product line on a shelf.  You’re dating Mike. A person.

JESS
(conciliatory)

You should at least text him and let him know you’re busy.

KENDALL

Jesus, the relationship Gestapo!

SHAYA

This conversation is sucking all the oxygen out of the air in here.

KENDALL
(laughing)

The air is made up of oxygen, stupid!

(SHAYA’s jaw drops in mock outrage, then she gets curious look on her face)

 

SHAYA

All of it?

KENDALL

Otherwise how would we breathe?

JESS

Well, some of the atmosphere is oxygen. It’s mostly nitrogen.

KENDALL

Jess, we can’t breathe nitrogen.

JESS

Kendall, nitrogen is about 80 percent of what you’re breathing, right now.

SHAYA

You’re a cosmetologist, Jen. How would you know?

(DINA picks up her phone and starts tapping on the screen.)

JESS

If the air were made up entirely of oxygen things would be catching fire way more often than they do.  That’s why hospitals—

KENDALL
(super-enthusiastic)

Maybe that’s why all those fires are happening in California! Too much oxygen in the air.

DINA
(looking up momentarily from her phone)

Nevada.

KENDALL

Nevada?  I thought they were near Las Vegas.

 

SHAYA

I think that might be in Nevada.

KENDALL
(shaking her head, lowering her gaze)

I used to live in LA. Vegas is just over the hills in the desert.

JESS

That’s Nevada.

KENDALL

Whatever.

SHAYA

But Las Vegas is right on the border, so the fires could be in California near Las Vegas.

JESS

The fires are in Nevada.

DINA
(reading her phone)

She’s right. This says the earth’s atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen, 29 percent oxygen, and … 1 percent argon? Weird.

SHAYA
(rolling her eyes)

Ha, yeah.  The internet says that?

KENDALL
(laughing)

Argon’s poison, Dina.

SHAYA
(peeking over DINA’s shoulder)

Wikipedia!

(SHAYA and KENDALL laugh harder.)

KENDALL

Isn’t nitrogen laughing gas?

JESS

No, that’s nitrous oxide.

KENDALL

So, what’s the difference?

JESS

Nitrous oxide has two atoms of oxygen for every nitrogen atom.

SHAYA

Nitrogen plus oxygen? So, according to Wi-ki-pe-di-a, the air is nitrogen oxide!

JESS

Nitrous oxide. And, no.

DINA

Shaya, that doesn’t even add up. It’s…

(counting in her head)

…three times more nitrogen.

KENDALL
(thinking)

Maybe, the fact that everything’s not on fire means that there’s the right balance of oxygen with something that doesn’t catch on fire.

JESS

That would be nitrogen. And oxygen doesn’t catch on fire, it—

 

SERVER
(enters with a serving tray tucked into her elbow)

Egg white omelets?

(KENDALL and DINA each raise a single finger. SERVER sets down their plates.)

DINA

This is all egg white?

KENDALL
(sighs)

Jess, why do you always have to be right?

SERVER
(to DINA)

Yes.

SHAYA
(to JESS)

You just think you’re smarter than everyone else in the world.

SERVER

Crêpe?

(SHAYA flops her hand in the air. SERVER sets her plate down.)

DINA

She’s smarter than everyone at this table.  Except maybe …

(peers at SERVER’s name tag)

Zoe.  Oh, that’s a pretty name!

SERVER
(to DINA)

Thank you.

(SERVER looks around the table)

Fruit and…

(realizing the absurdity of searching for the customer with the last plate, SERVER sets it in front of JESS, and quickly exits)

KENDALL
(to DINA)

Are you calling me stupid?

DINA

Kendall, come on.

(Using finger quotes…)

“Everyone at this table” includes me.

KENDALL

I am not stupid.

JESS

Nobody said you were stupid.

SHAYA

No, but you think she is stupid.

(a beat)

JESS

I don’t … think anyone is stupid …

(trails off)

SHAYA

Anyone?

JESS

Unless…

DINA

You do not have anything to apologize for, Jess.

(KENDALL sighs and sips her Mimosa while glaring at Jess)

JESS

Unless they insist on doing something they’re not good at.

(a beat)

Like balancing a tray on one hand.

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