Mutatis Mutandis Part I


MUTATIS MUTANDIS

Christmas Eve in Small Town America, a rural supermarket decorated kitschy Christmasy (lots of Christmas lights, garland). An entire wall of Twinkies can be seen. Baby it's cold outside (Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews version preferred) is playing at a slightly off/slower speed in the background. (If this cannot be secured, a similar Xmas song can be substituted.) Rose is a spark of possibility that shines through her average clothes, hair, and dialect. She speaks with a southern accent. Alex (female) has an English accent, well dressed, confident. She is the spark ignited.
Lights come up low, focused on Rose.
Rose rests one hand on her face, elbow on the counter, eyes heavy, she's having difficulty staying awake. Rose addresses the audience initially.
ROSE
Death can change your life. (pause) I had a husband, a home in the suburbs, and a job at the supermarket. Everything was perfect. Then she fell from the sky, and walked into my life. 
Lights up, and a Mrs Groscul, a fat woman on a handicap scooter who rolls up to the register and places bologna and Twinkies on the counter. Rose rings her up, slowly, as though the clock is the enemy of the hourly employee. Mrs Groscul, equally, takes forever to pull out her checks adorned with giant crosses on them out, as if to suck the seconds away from Rose's life. She writes out the check. and hands it to Rose:
ROSE
Twinkies and bologna again Miss Groscul?
MRS GROSCUL
Oh you know me Alice, I don't like change.
ROSE
It's Rose.
MRS GROSCUL
Sorry?
ROSE
My name, it's Rose. You've been coming in here for years, and you always call me Alice.
MRS GROSCUL
Oh, well you don't look like a Rose.
ROSE
Three dollars and fourteen cents, Mrs. Groscul.
MRS GROSCUL
Don't spend it all in one place hun. (with a smile and a wink). 
The scooter's motor has difficulty as it struggles to roll out of sight. 
Have a blessed day!
ALEX who's behavior is energetic, and wildly exciting surprises ALEX by popping up in front of her.
ALEX
I used to dream of killing my customers too. 
ROSE
(startled)
How did you?
ALEX 
Know? (she pokes Rose on the forehead with her finger) Because somewhere in that prison of a brain, I'm trying to get out.
ROSE 
Hey! Who do you think you are?
ALEX
I was going to ask you that.
ROSE
I'm confused.
ALEX
Ha! The look on your face! Hell, I practically wanted to shove the lady's patronizing face in a deep fryer, and I don't even work here.
ALEX grabs a soda from the case, drinks, then burps.
ROSE
You're going to have to pay for that you know?
ALEX
I used to be just like you, dreaming of grabbing my boss by the hair, dragging her over to the meat slicer, and turning it on. Sometimes I wondered if I was in a show on the telly, that somehow my life was scripted, and at any moment, someone would walk up to me and tell me that my reality was a joke. Surely if this is all real, if people are this blatantly consumed with normality, then perhaps, I might be meant for something greater?
Rose slaps her self
ROSE
Snap out of it!
ALEX
Wait! Before you blink, consider how quickly life can change. Will it be the same the next time you open your eyes?
ROSE 
I wasn't sure if you were real.
ALEX
We both know you're not.
ROSE
No, it's just, people like you don't, well... you know...
ALEX
Come into grocery stores in little towns? Really, we're going to play the (she slips into southern dialect) "your not from around these here parts" game?
ROSE
Yeah.
ALEX
Nostaphobia.
ROSE
Gesundheit.
ALEX
The answer lies in the infinite possibilities between the finite world.
Alex points to the register's read-out which reads 3.14. Just then ANGRY LADY appears in line with bologna and Twinkies. At first Alex and Rose don't seem to notice.
ROSE
Are you some sort of Jehovnah's witness?
ALEX
Run.
ROSE
What?
ANGRY LADY
Save it for someone who cares Tinkerbell!
Alex exits.
ROSE
I'm sorry? Where did she...?
ANGRY LADY
Excuse me young Miss! Are you just going to stand there?
ROSE
I'm sorry, yes, no, I mean would you like paper or plastic?
ANGRY LADY
Do I look like I drink happiness and crap sunshine? I couldn't give a shit.
ROSE
Excuse me?
ANGRY LADY commences writing a check, looks up and threatens:
ANGRY LADY
I hope you plan on carrying that to my Hummer too.
ROSE
Yes mam.
ANGRY LADY
It's in the handicap spot.
She escorts ANGRY LADY off stage, and then returns to find Alex sitting in her seat (a spinning stool), spinning around, reading Dicken's Tale of Two cities.
ALEX
"Repression is the only lasting philosophy".
ROSE
You're going to have to get out of my seat.
ALEX
Let me see... if I.... recollect.
ALEX floats her finger above the register keyboard, then finally decides on the correct one and presses it. The register opens. She takes a few notes from the drawer.
ROSE 
You can't do that.
ALEX
You mean you can't do that? I'm perfectly capable of doing that, and I just did.
ALEX places the money in a donation bucket labeled CHANGE A LIFE.
ROSE 
Who are you?
ALEX
I'm you. (dramatic pause) Can you hear that?
ROSE 
Hear what?
ALEX 
That voice inside of you: screaming, beckoning, demanding you stand up and...(pause) Rrrrrrr.....uuuuuuuu (Alex is leading Rose into the answer).
ROSE
Run?

ALEX
That's right sister, I'm what you become when you realize (slips into southern again) life ain't a box of chocolates.
Alex tries a candy-bar.
ROSE
Ah you're speaking metaphorically?
ALEX
Sure. (pause) You know that indescribable feel inside? That one you don't tell anyone because you fear ridicule? Something inside you, whispering to you, telling you that there must be more to life than this.
ROSE
uh...
ALEX
Well... There is.
ROSE
This is my life.
ALEX
...and girl, it is charming huh? Mine, not yours. I know you yearn for it. Life beyond the mundane, a life of purpose, something that means more than this.
She bites into a Slim-Jim.
ROSE
This is all very entertaining, but I don't see the point.
ALEX
It's right in front of you.
ROSE
What is?
ALEX
You see things as fixed, as concrete, as this is your life and there's no way out, right?
ROSE
Things are what they are.
ALEX
No they're not. 
ROSE
Prove it.
ALEX
Give me a cigarette.
She does.
ROSE
You can't smoke in here.
ALEX
Tant pis.
ROSE
What?
ALEX
It's my new favorite saying. (sudden thought) You should get yourself a favorite saying. Now give me your lighter.
ROSE
I don't understand.
ALEX lights the cigarette.
ALEX
My God it's been a long time.
ROSE
Since what?
ALEX
Since I quit. (pause as she enjoys the cigarette) Rose, what do you think is worse, dying skinny with cancer, or fat from Twinkies?
ROSE 
Will you tell me what's going on here?
ALEX
Choices Rose. I quit, but then I started again. You got espoused to an average man, you have a rubbish job, and tomorrow you won't.
ROSE
Oh really?
ALEX
Tonight you have a choice, an opportunity to change your life beyond your wildest expectations, or to wallow in mediocrity, and drown in apathy selling Twinkies and Bologna.
ROSE
Okay, I think its time for you to go.
ALEX
WAKE UP ROSE! You're meant for something greater! All these people, all this crap is here to stop you from leaving! That expensive phone you yours, your shitty little flat with its plasma screen, and its Rent-A-Center couch... all these things you own, will end up owning you Rose. I know you Rose, and I know you spent your childhood dreaming of what might become of you before all this consumed you. You prayed for someone to take you away. This is your moment, this is your time to change things. Every moment is another chance to get it right.
ROSE
What are you saying?
ALEX 
What do you do when all your dreams come true Rose?
ALEX pulls out an airline ticket, and a passport and lays it on the counter.
ROSE
Who are you?
ALEX
In the next few moments I'm going to walk out that door. You can either accept the possibility that I'm just another nutter that you experienced in your average, every-day life, and nothing will happen. You go on and live your life like everyone else: shooting babies from your vagina, like clowns in a circus cannon.
ROSE
or?
ALEX
Or take that airline ticket, walk out the door with me, and we will detonate that entire wall of Twinkies that just happen (she hesitates) to be filled with C4 filling. 
ROSE
You filled the Twinkies with explosive cream?
ALEX
My own special recipe. They're deliciously malicious.
ROSE
You're insane!
ALEX
Of course, everyone will think your dead and we will board this flight. 
ROSE
Abandoning my husband?
ALEX
Did you actually enjoy getting married in a court room with a judge that had an afro, and part-timed at the bar impersonating Elvis?
ROSE
But I love him.
ALEX
But do you love yourself more?
ROSE
Who the Hell are you?
ALEX
Take my hand Rose, and let me show you what's possible when you stop worrying about what others expect you to be. (beat) I offer you a life of no regrets.
ROSE
You're asking me to risk everything.
ALEX
I'm asking you: do you value your life?
ROSE
Of course I do!
ALEX
Time is life's currency Rose. What will you make of your riches?
ROSE
I'm just a cashier at Piggly Wiggly. 
ALEX
No Rose, you're not. 
Alex reaches across to Rose with both hands, pulls her forward, and kisses her. For a moment Rose resists, then begins to enjoy it, Alex finishes and steps back, as if she's been waiting the whole time to do that. They're both surprised by how good it was. Rose begins to change.
You're so much more, but you have to believe Rose, you have to have conviction of the heart, you must sacrifice everything to become something more. You need to choose rather than being chosen where you belong in the vastness of it all. This is your choice Rose: (beat) live or die?
Alex exits.

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