By: Ben Dougherty (email@example.com)
Frank- Frank’s wife is cheating on him.
Sam- Sam is Frank’s best friend.
Joe- Joe is a professional tennis player.
The terrace of a private men’s club.
Sam and Frank are sitting at a table on a terrace of their private men’s club. There are two more chairs around the table that are empty. It is a beautiful spring dusk. Sam is shuffling a deck of cards.
Sam: I love this club, no women around to muddle things up.
Frank: You think they’re that bad?
Sam: Well, not Carol of course, but most of them, yes.
Frank: That’s a pretty cynical attitude to take.
Sam: Cynic, noun, a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are and not as they ought be!
Frank: Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1906
Frank: The first paperback edition was published in 1906!
Sam: Incomplete, and uncopyrighted until 1911!
Frank: It’s not worth arguing about.
Sam: Phaa, what was I ranting about before you distracted me? Oh yes, confounded women!
Frank: You should know, you’ve married enough of them.
Sam: And divorced more.
Frank: And so you’re-
Sam: Blissfully unattached!
Frank: That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but if you say so.
Sam: I do.
Frank: Saying those two words was exactly what caused all of your trouble in the first place.
Sam: True, why on earth did I keep saying them over and over?
Frank: More to the point, why did you divorce the last one?
Sam: I didn’t, she divorced me. She didn’t like my girlfriend.
Frank: That’s right, which one cheated on you?
Sam: The first one or the second one that cheated on me?
Frank: (Frustrated) I don’t care!
Sam: Linda was the last one who cheated on me, after that I turned the tables.
Frank: How’d you find out?
Sam: I was tying my tie one morning and suddenly realized that it wasn’t my tie. I asked Linda whose it was, and she couldn’t give me a straight answer. I put two and two together and she confessed. Why do you ask?
Frank: I don’t know, Carol’s seemed distant lately. She’s been acting strangely.
Sam: You think she’s fooling around behind your back?
Frank: Maybe, I don’t know.
Sam: Did you have a thing with Joe what’s his face the tennis guru’s daughter when she came home from college for spring break?
Frank: Yea that was the week Carol was working on the Charity benefit for the History Museum, I was lonely.
Sam: So maybe she’s lonely!
Frank: I’m not organizing a charity benefit!
Sam: No, but you sure do spend a hell of a lot of time up here at the club!
Frank: You’re one to talk, I swear they’re renting you a room!
Sam: Yea, but I’m-
Frank: (mockingly) Blissfully unattached. Yea I remember, don’t rub it in.
Sam: All I’m saying is, it sounds to me like you have a double standard, it’s ok for you to fool around on her, but not for her to fool around on you.
Frank: (Defending himself) I cheated on her once! It was a fluke, a statistical aberration in the eternal nexus of life.
Sam: Relax. Look, do you have any proof?
Frank: Proof? No, no proof.
Sam: Well then let it go until you have something more concrete than, “She seems distant.” Of course she seems distant, she’s at home and you’re at the club! She’s at least 30-40 miles away! (chuckling at himself)
Frank: (cracking a smile, and holding back a chuckle of his own) This isn’t funny.
Sam: Of course it is. The only thing funnier than this is a co-ed club.
Frank: Ha! Or a female club!
Sam: That’s just sad. You couldn’t pay me enough money to go there.
Frank: I don’t think they’d want you anyway.
Sam: Of course they would, all women want men around. That’s why they join female clubs!
Frank: (looking confused) Women join all female clubs because they want to be around men?
Frank: Please illuminate me.
Sam: Oh buddy, I can see you’ve been married WAY too long. Women love spending time with men, because we take care of them.
Frank: So why do they join female clubs?
Sam: Because we join male clubs to get away from them.
Frank: So women join female clubs because men join male clubs?
Sam: Precisely! Now you’ve got it!
Frank: I don’t know what I’ve got!
Sam: It’s very simple, women feel unloved and invalidated when men join male clubs. So they do the only illogical thing they can think of, join a female club.
Frank: Why do they do the only illogical thing they can think of?
Sam: For the simple reason that women don’t think logically.
Frank: They don’t?
Sam: Well with a few notable exceptions of course, Madam Curie, Catharine d’ Medici, Lady Macbeth…but then she was more of a man than a woman.
Frank: Quite literally when Macbeth was performed in Shakespeare’s time…
Sam: Ha! Quite right! (looking offstage) Whop whop! Battle-Stations, here comes Joe, Mr. Tennis Guru.
Joe: (Enters opposite Sam shaking both Frank and Sam’s hands) Hey, Frank, Sammy. Sorry I’m late. Had a tennis match. (sitting down).
Frank: That’s ok Joe, who won?
Joe: Hey, who else? I cleaned up of course.
Sam: (begins dealing the cards) It’s good to hear you haven’t lost your touch.
Frank: Or your confidence.
Joe: A man has nothing without his confidence.
Sam: Confidence and an empty bank account is still worth-
Frank: An empty bank account.
Sam: Speaking of empty bank accounts, Joe I heard your daughter is engaged.
Joe: Yep, finally happened. She fell for some kid at college.
Sam: You don’t sound too broken up about it.
Joe: Well why should I be? Once she’s married off, I’ll be free to travel and maybe even go back on the tour.
Frank: Play professional tennis again?
Joe: Sure why not?
Frank: Do you think you’re still that good?
Joe: Well I’d need to train for a while, but I miss the competition.
Sam: Say Joe, why didn’t you become the tennis pro here at the club?
Joe: Why be the tennis pro when you can be a member?
Sam: Good point.
Joe: I heard you’re thinking about moving down to Brazil Sam. IRS finally catch up to you?
Sam: (laughing) They haven’t caught me yet. But yea, I was thinking about moving down there to retire and teach.
Frank: You speak Portuguese?
Sam: Yea, don’t you remember that maid from Portugal I had for a while?
Joe: Isn’t that why your fourth wife left you?
Sam: Something like that.
Frank: Well, this is quite the adventurous group.
Sam: What about you Frank, where’s your adventure?
Frank: Well, I’m planning a trip to Africa. I’m going to hunt big game.
Sam: (excited and disbelieving) No!
Joe: Wow, isn’t that illegal?
Sam: What a rush.
Joe: I didn’t know you liked to hunt Frank.
Frank: Yea I used to do it all the time, but I’m so busy now I hardly ever go out.
Sam: Does Carol know?
Frank: (shaking his head) I haven’t told her yet, I don’t think she’s going to be very happy.
Joe: The wife?
Frank: (nodding) Yep.
Joe: How long?
Frank: Seventeen years.
An awkward silence ensues, and the men continue to play cards for fifteen to twenty seconds when Sam feeling like he has to end the silence speaks.
Sam: So I went out with this ho dish last weekend.
Frank: Yea, where’d you go?
Sam: I took her out on my yacht. There was no moon, and you could see every star in the sky.
Frank: Sounds nice.
Joe: How was she?
Sam: 5’6”, blond hair, green eyes, and curves in all the right places.
Joe: Reminds me of this babe I’m seeing. She’s got this husband, real up-tight bastard, you know what I mean? Doesn’t have any idea how to treat this lady.
Sam: Most men don’t.
Joe: She’s real lonely, husband’s never around, so I keep her company.
Frank: What’s her name?
Joe: I don’t know, she won’t tell me, but she gave me this to remember her by. (Joe pulls a pair of women’s underwear from his pocket chuckling.) They have her initials on them, C. S.
Sam gets a worried look on his face as he realizes that CS are the initials of Frank’s wife. Frank become enraged as he realizes that Joe is sleeping with his wife.
Frank: Those belong to my wife! I gave those to her for Valentine’s Day! You bastard, you’re sleeping with my wife!
Frank lunges across the table at Joe, Sam holds Frank back as Joe stands up and steps back from the table.
Joe: (Desperate) I swear Frank, I didn’t know. I’m sorry Frank, I didn’t know!
Frank takes a deep breath and moves around the table toward Joe. As Frank walks towards Joe, Joe backs up slowly until he hits a rail and Frank is standing right in front of him. Frank takes the underwear out of Joe’s hand, and slaps him across the face with it.
Frank: I challenge you to a duel!
Joe: A duel?
Frank: Yes a duel, it’s the only way to protect my honor.
Joe: What if I don’t want to?
Sam: You don’t have a choice. It’s in the by-laws of the club. (Sam exits)
Frank: Sam is getting the pistols. We start back to back, we each take ten paces, turn and fire. One shot only. It’s that simple.
Joe: This is nuts. (trying to run)
Frank: (grabbing Joe and holding him in place) You can’t run. I’ll find you.
The tension in Joe’s body relaxes as he resigns himself to the duel. Sam comes back with two pistols, standing between the two.
Sam: They’re loaded.
Frank and Joe each take a pistol and move center stage facing back to back. Sam stands up center holding a white handkerchief.
Sam: 10 paces, turn and fire. Start walking when I release the handkerchief.
He raises the handkerchief in the air, and then drops it. As it leaves his hand both men begin pacing off ten steps. They turn and Joe fires. He totally misses Frank. Joe drops the pistol and closes his eyes resigned to his fate. Frank pauses, smiles, takes aim and fires, also totally missing. Joe’s eyes open and a smirk crosses his face.
Joe: Does this mean I get to keep sleeping with your wife?
Sam pulls a revolver out of his jacket pocket and shoots and kills Joe.
Sam: And you’re going hunting in Africa?