MARTHA AND ELMER

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MARTHA AND ELMER

        It is around midnight here at this cheap “No-Tell-Motel”. My room is illuminated by streetlights from Main Street below. The walls are thin. I’m trying to sleep but I can hear the older couple in the next room:

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                        [“Martha”]

        I can’t stay here.

                        [“Elmer”] (drowsy)

        Huh? What?

                        [“Martha”]

        No. I feel funny now.

                        [“Elmer”]

        It’s the middle of the night. Hey, what’s wrong?

                        [“Martha”]

        I don’t like this anymore. Your “Don’t touch me, I’m tired”. “Don’t, it itches.” You’re playing too many games.

                        [“Elmer”]

        I’ve got some kind of rash! I’ve got to be up early tomorrow. I…”

                        [“Martha”]

        I don’t care. All I do is “bother” you. I can’t stay here.

                        [“Elmer”]

        Hey! Where are you going?

                        [“Martha”]

        Home.

                        [“Elmer”]

        You’re delirious. What’s wrong?

[The sound of drawers opening and closing and the chime of clothes hangers]

                        [“Martha”]

        No. It’s my own fault. I knew how you felt. This is better.

                        [“Elmer”]

        You are being a brat! What is the matter with you?

[The sound of bed creaking]

                        [“Elmer”]

        You are either one extreme or the other!

                        [“Martha”]

        I can’t just do this with you once a month.

                        [“Elmer”]

        Once a month?

                        [“Martha”]

        You want me to move on. I know it. Everything you say gives me that feeling. You’re insulting. You’re a…a… grump!

                        [“Elmer”]

        So you either have to live with me or never see me again?

[A long hissing exhalation].

                        [“Elmer”]

        I thought we already went through this on the phone a couple weeks ago.

                        [“Martha”]

        Now don’t get upset. I’ll ring for your nurse.

                        [“Elmer”]

        For chrissake! Look: You can’t go back home. I mean, right now? Your car isn’t running right. There’ll be no stations open. You’re crazy. At least stay ‘til morning…

                        [“Martha”]

        You do not tell me what to do! Look, this is for the best. I know.

                        [“Elmer”] (muffled, under a blanket?)

        Aw, go. Go!!

[A door squeaks open. The Door shuts]

[A car is heard starting after several times turning over]

                        [“Elmer”]

        Oh, man! GOOD! I hate these little scenes. She’s right. I like being alone. Who needs her shit? Ah, I tried. I… need…sleep…hmmmmm.

[A soft rap on their door]

                        [“Elmer”]

        What now?!

[Their door opens]

                        [“Martha”]

        My car is making funny noises. Can I stay here until morning?

                        [“Elmer”]

        Sure. But you’re not going to lean there above my head while I sleep.

                        [“Martha”] (can’t help laughing)

        Why not? OK. I’ll sit in the chair over there.

                        [“Elmer”] (very fed up)

        Do what you want. I don’t care. Good night.

                        [“Martha”]

        I still feel funny. You don’t want me here.

[The sound of the bed creaking]

                        [“Martha”]

        Why didn’t you let me go this afternoon when I wanted to?

                        [“Elmer”]

        Mmmm.

                        [“Martha”]

        We’re both a couple of spoiled brats. We’re too much alike.

                        [“Elmer”]

        You said it. C’mere.

[The sound of commotion in the bed. Springs creak. Tune in tomorrow night for more convalescent humor with Martha and Elmer]

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