SANJAY: Excuse me. I know you. You were in my creative writing class.

RACHAEL: Really?

SANJAY: Yeah, yeah. I uh. Yeah.

RACHAEL: aside: weirdo

SANJAY: Well, I only went to the first class or so.

(awkward silence)

SANJAY: I had to drop the class. It was the workload. I just couldn’t balance 3 courses, a full-time job, and a drinking problem.


SANJAY: Funny, you’re not so gregarious outside the classroom.


SANJAY: No really, why is that? I know it can’t be a loss for words; you seem like such a great writer.

RACHAEL: You’ve read my work?

SANJAY: (Chuckles), No, no, of course not. I’m making broad-strokes with my air-brush and some oil-based assumption, if you will.

RACHAEL: What? …

SANJAY: I’m basing it on your looks: the sullen face thing, the unkempt apparel, the inky black hue, the obvious unfamiliarity with even the most basic of personal beauty products, toiletries: I’m not talking lip-liner, foundation, or anything, but you know, the basic stuff, like moisturizer, chapstick, … shampoo….soap.

RACHAEL: (evil eyes)

SANJAY: Hey, you’re a writer. Let me ask you something. How come “chapstick” still isn’t a word? I mean, it’s obviously popular enough. My 7 year-old niece knows what it means, and English is her second language. How the hell do you write it then? Are you supposed to wedge a hypen in there or something? Chap – stick. Seems absurd.

RACHAEL: (Growing restrainedly incensed)

SANJAY: But let’s get back to you. This thick wall of taciturnity that you’re producing— it’s really quite un-remarkable. I had assumed just a little more… phrase-wrangling on your part. A little less reticence.

SANJAY: Or, maybe it’s just the bottled angst, from your “troubled” childhood.

SANJAY: Oh right, this is dialogue. You can’t see the quotes I just put around the word “troubled” in troubled childhood. I refuse to do air-quotes on principle. The philistine masses have ruined it for everyone.

SANJAY: But really, what was you childhood like? Having two officious parents at your beck and call, rich cul-de-sac villa, with the stay-at-home mom always present, and the big investment father. The basketball hoop on the two car garage, that no one ever used, but kept, to provide that extra vintage domestic look to your house. Man, it must have been tough. No wonder you turned out to be a “writer”. That’s in quotes too by the way.

RACHAEL: (growing more incensed)

SANJAY: Please, I’m looking for some response here. You’re leaving me with the burden of maintaining this whole dialogue by the singular feat of a solitary interlocutor. What if no one was watching? I would look like a madman giving a soliloquy. Only this time, truly “Signifying nothing”.

RACHAEL: (opens the door to leave, angry look on her face)

SANJAY: (holds her back), wait wait, please. Tell me something. What if you write your responses for me. Take this (passes notebook). Here (pen)..

RACHAEL: (Scribbles on notebook extremely fast, for about 10 seconds of time, writes while Sanjay reads it periodically.)

SANJAY: You’re sure taking some liberty with that thing.

SANJAY: No need to be verbose. Only Dickens can really get away with it. Maybe even Hawthorne. Or, Faulkner. Yes, Faulkner.

SANJAY: Is that comma really needed?

SANJAY: (reading) well, that’s not very nice. (Rachael pauses)

RACHAEL: (Continues)

SANJAY: That’s strong language. But, Don’t hold it back, it’s good release. Very healthy.

RACHAEL: (continues)

SANJAY: Dicey!

SANJAY: Alright alright, you going a little too far, too strong? It’s getting a little tired … we’re not stevedores, or whalers out in the mid Atlantic—I bet even they would show a little more propriety.

SANJAY: I’m sure you can think of synonym for that.

RACHAEL: (Continues)

SANJAY: Comon! That’s clearly uncorroborated. If you’re going to make assumptions on size, you should back it up with some evidence.

SANJAY: You know if you want. We can go somewhere and you can allow me to “exculpate” myself.

RACHAEL: (Slaps Sanjay. walks away.)

SANJAY: (alone) I think we really hit it off. Damn! I should’a got her number.