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Bluffing

 

BLUFFING

 

By Richard Grossman

 

Copyright 2016

 

 

A Ten Minute Play in One Act

 

 

 

Cast of Characters

 

Judy: Woman in her 70’s/80’s

 

Rita: Woman in her 70’s/80’s

 

Evelyn: Woman in her 70’s/80’s

 

Alice: Woman in her 70’s/80s

 

Marty: 50-year-old son of Alice

 

SETTING: Dining room

 

TIME: Present

 

AT RISE: Judy, Rita, and Evelyn are sitting around a dining room table. In the middle of the table is a deck of cards, a big bowl filled with potato chips, and an empty dinner plate.

 

 

JUDY

So where are they? I mean we can’t stop without them.

 

RITA

You mean start.

 

JUDY

What did I say?

 

RITA

You said stop—“You can’t stop without them.”

 

EVELYN

Stop, start, at our age, they’re all the same.

 

RITA

You’re right. That’s brilliant, I hadn’t thought of it that way.

 

 

EVELYN

Always trying to learn…

 

JUDY

It’s amazing we can learn anything new at our age!

 

RITA

Yes, but we’re doing it! Every week we learn something new!

 

JUDY

What are we playing today? 5-card draw or 7-card stud?

 

EVELYN

It was 5-card draw last week, wasn’t it?

 

JUDY

I think you’re right.

 

EVELYN

Then today’s it’s 7-card stud.

 

RITA

Can you believe our husbands actually sit at this table and play poker? What a colossal waste of time!

 

JUDY

And time is the one thing we don’t have to waste!

 

EVELYN

But we’re wasting time right now. Where are they?

 

(Alice and Marty enter)

 

ALICE

Sorry!

 

MARTY

She insisted upon driving. Three wrong turns! I told her to use her GPS, but she refused.

 

ALICE

GPS? I don’t use any of those toys for tots. (Pointing to brain) This is what I use. (To people at the table) Use it or lose it—right?

 

JUDY, RITA, AND EVELYN

(together)

Right!

 

MARTY

But a 15-minute trip took an hour!

 

ALICE

We got here. That’s all that matters.

 

(Alice sits at the table. Marty sits in a chair away from the table. He takes his mobile phone from his pocket and begins texting.)

 

ALICE

(picks up deck of cards)

I forget—what is it today: 5-card draw or 7-card stud?

 

EVELYN

5-card draw—we played 7-card stud last week.

 

ALICE

Duh!

(taps side of her head)!

Of course! You brought your lovely daughter.

 

EVELYN

You remember!

 

ALICE

And do you know why I remember? Your daughter said the most beautiful things to you—like how much she appreciated all you did for her growing up! Didn’t she say something about a birthday cake you made when she was 9?

 

EVELYN

She did. Bravo!

 

ALICE

And how she would never forget your smile. She had tears streaming down her face.

(to Marty)

Did you hear that? Real tears.

 

MARTY

(Rolls eyes)

Of course I heard that. I’m the only person in this room who hears everything.

 

ALICE

What did you say?

 

MARTY

Nothing. So, I was thinking, rather than sitting here for with nothing to do for a couple hours, maybe I could join the game?

 

JUDY, RITA, EVELYN, AND ALICE

(together)

No!

 

MARTY

Just thought I’d ask.

 

ALICE

Ready?

 

JUDY

Absolutely!

 

ALICE

I forget—how many cards do I deal?

 

EVELYN

Seven.

 

ALICE

Some are face up, and some are face down, right?

 

RITA

I think it’s 4 up and 3 down. Not that it matters.

 

JUDY

Here are your chips.

(Judy distributes some potato chips to each player)

 

EVELYN

Remember your ante!

(Alice raises her hand. Judy points to Alice)

 

ALICE

Auntie Gertie.

 

MARTY

Oh, please! Not that kind of ante!

 

JUDY, RITA, and EVELYN

(together)

Quiet!

ALICE

… I remember the time we took her out to dinner, and when we asked her if she wanted dessert, the said yes, and when the cake came, she wrapped it up and put it in her purse.

 

EVELYN

Oy!

 

ALICE

Still, she loved me and always called to ask how I was doing.

 

JUDY

That’s touching. Anyone else?

(no response)

No, then how about Uncle-ing up?

 

ALICE

(raises hand again)

Me again. I was thinking about my Uncle Pete. What I remember best is that when I was young, he was always spitting into the toilet.

 

MARTY

That’s the best thing I ever heard about him.

 

JUDY

Well then, let’s forget Uncle Pete. Anyone else for today?

(no response)

Okay then, ante up. One chip apiece.

 

(Judy, Rita, Evelyn, and Alice each throw a potato chip into the empty plate in the center of the table.)

 

MARTY

You must be kidding! Where’s the dip?

 

JUDY, RITA, EVELYN, AND ALICE

(together)

 

Quiet!

 

 

(Judy, Rita, Evelyn, and Alice take more potato chips from the bowl. Rita and Evelyn each take a bite out of individual chips. The players each look at their hand.)

 

EVELYN

(while looking at her hand)

I bet one chip.

(Evelyn puts another chip on the plate.)

RITA

I’ll see your chip and raise you two.

(Rita puts two chips on the plate)

 

JUDY

(Judy puts two chips on the plate

 

Call.

 

ALICE

(enthusiastically)

I think you’re all bluffing. I’ll see your two and raise you…

(Alice grabs a whole handful of chips from the bowl then drops them on the plate.)

This much!

(suddenly, Alice goes silent and clutches her chest where her heart is)

 

JUDY

Alice, are you all right?

 

(Alice continues to clutch her chest and slumps to one side in the chair. Marty, who is texting on the phone, has not yet noticed)

 

RITA

(louder)

Alice, are you ok!!!?

 

(Alice collapses to the floor.)

 

MARTY

(sees Alice fall over)

Oh, my god!

 

(Everyone rushes to her.)

 

MARTY

Mom, are you OK? What’s happening?

ALICE

 

Is my son here?

 

MARTY

I’m here, Mom! I’m here!

(Mary flips hands his cell phone to Judy)

Quick, call 911!

(to Alice)

Mom, what is it? Are you ok?

 

ALICE

I’m not ok. It’s my heart! I think I’m dying!

 

MARTY

It’s her heart. Did someone call 911?

 

JUDY

I did. They’re on their way.

 

ALICE

(in a labored voice)

They won’t get here in time. Marty, was I a good mother to you?

 

MARTY

You were the best mother in the world!

 

ALICE

This is the last time we’re going to talk. Are you telling me the truth?’’

 

MARTY

Mom, of course I’m telling you the truth.

 

ALICE

Tell me what you’ll remember about me most?

 

MARTY

(slightly panicked)

What I’ll remember…what I’ll remember…I’ll remember the time you read Great Expectations to me in the car driving to upstate New York when I was 8.

 

EVELYN

(to Rita)

That’s what he’ll remember?

 

ALICE

(to Marty)

Please, tell me more. What else will you remember?

 

MARTY

(still panicked)

Remember…remember…that you always insisted upon buying organic fruit and vegetables for me when I was young because you thought they would be healthier for me.

 

(Judy, Rita, and Evelyn give each other puzzled looks.)

 

ALICE

(in a very labored voice)

Please, we don’t have much time. Tell me something more. Tell me what was the most important part of our relationship.

 

MARTY

I’m trying to think! I’m trying to think! You took me to ballet school when I was 5, and I was the only boy in the class. Because of that experience, you know, to protect my masculinity, I became a bully. It took me years of therapy to recover. Oh, God, I shouldn’t be saying that! There’s got to be something more positive I can say…

 

(Alice clutches her heart again)

 

MARTY

(to Judy, Rita, and Evelyn)

Good God, please, someone give me something positive I can say!

 

(Judy, Rita, and Evelyn shrug and gesture that they can’t help.)

 

MARTY

OK, Mom, you were a woman before your time!

 

EVELYN

(to Judy and Rita)

And you learned something from that, and appreciated her for it?

 

MARTY

(panicked)

I did, Mom. I did. Exactly.

 

EVELYN

(to Judy and Rita)

I don’t think it counts if I have to feed him the lines.

 

RITA

(To Judy and Evelyn)

I agree.

 

(Alice suddenly goes limp on the floor)

 

MARTY

Oh, my God, she’s gone! Did someone at least call 911?

 

(Judy, Rita, and Evelyn look searchingly at Marty for a few seconds. Then, Alice opens one eye.)

 

ALICE

(to Marty)

Help me up, would you?

 

MARTY

(in disbelief)

You’re not dead?

 

ALICE

Apparently not.

 

EVELYN

She was bluffing to see how you really felt about her.

 

ALICE

(cynically)

So, are you happy or sad that I’m still alive?

 

MARTY

(suddenly annoyed)

What should I be?

 

ALICE

Hmmm. Maybe happy? Are you going to help me up or not?

(to Judy, Rita, and Evelyn)

I told you you shouldn’t believe what’s written in Mother’s Day cards!

 

MARTY

(helping her up to her chair)

In fact you’re not only not dead, you’re just like your old self.

 

ALICE

Nothing but. You didn’t have to be like all the other boys, you know. It was OK to be different.

 

MARTY

Yeah, but ballet class at 5? And I wasn’t even gay.

 

ALICE

It improved your sense of aesthetics.

 

MARTY

Which helped my life, how?

 

 

Look how well you write!

 

JUDY

OK, OK, you two still have some time to work this all out. Who’s next?

 

EVELYN

 

Exactly, the question I ask my self every morning when I wake up!

 

RITA

Oh, you’re so smart! I think I’m next—to bluff, that is.

 

JUDY

And you’ll bring someone whom you’re not really sure how they feel about you?

 

RITA

I will. In fact, it’s my husband.

 

JUDY

Excellent! A great choice! We’ll look forward to it. Remember, next week we’ll be playing 5-card draw. Don’t you think poker is the best game in the world?!!!

 

 

 

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bluffing

A note about the author's other works: Selected from over 400 plays written by New England playwrights, "Reality Book Group" (see link below) was top-billed in The Boston Globe and performed at the 2012 Boston Theater Marathon. Grossman's play, SUICIDE SQUEEZE (see link below) was produced as part of a special "Director's Workshop" program by the Drew University Theater Department on September 26 and October 1, 2016.

  • ISBN: 9781370223572
  • Author: Richard Grossman
  • Published: 2016-12-17 22:35:07
  • Words: 1596
Bluffing Bluffing