ACT I

Scene 2
SETTING: A Coffee shop. There are some comfy couches and a half-filled latte sitting on a table in front of the couches. It has stupid artsy paintings and a general coffee shop atmosphere.

AT RISE: SUSIE and NINA are sitting on one of the couches, drinking lattes. NINA is quietly upset.

SUSIE
...So that one-eyed asshole won't leave me alone!

NINA
Maybe you should just...

SUSIE
What?

NINA
(A combination of mild upsettedness and curiosity. This is NOT a major thing)
I don't know! Why'd you do it? Did you honestly think it was a good idea?

SUSIE
(Shrugs)
I guess it'd be foolish to say "yes" now.

NINA
Yeah, Susie, it would.
(Semi-long pause. To herself)
Fuck!
SUSIE
What's up?

NINA
Nothing
(Looks down at her feet)

SUSIE
(Knows something's up)
Nina...

NINA
(Teensiest bit more adamant, but not too much)
Nothing!

SUSIE
You can't just say "nothing" and expect me to just accept it. I wanna know.

NINA
(Shakes head, quietly)
Forget it.

SUSIE
But I tell you everything.

NINA
(Bursts out, really upset)
I don't care! Forget it!

SUSIE
(Gently)
Okay, Nina. It's okay...

NINA
I dunno...

SUSIE
You don't know what?

NINA
I just don't know. God. Everything's coming down on me this week.

SUSIE
Amen to that.

NINA
I think I failed last week's exam. My grades have all gone down. Mom won't stop pestering me about every! single! thing! No one likes me. All my dates have been flops –

SUSIE
(Interrupts)
Even the dumb guy with the –

NINA
(Interrupts)
Even him.

SUSIE
Wow. So, your love life stinks. What's the big deal?

NINA
(Quiet inner turmoil lifts its ugly head again, here)
It's not just that!

SUSIE
Then what is it?

NINA
(Pause)
You wanna go get a hotdog or something?

SUSIE
Come on, Nina. Stop avoiding the question.

NINA
(Louder)
I would really like a hotdog right now.

SUSIE
(Sighs. Kinda peeved at NINA, but not rage-filled or anything. She knows that NINA isn't usually like this)
Okay. Fine. It's all good. Whatever.

NINA
(Apologetically)
I... I can't talk about it right now, okay?

SUSIE
I said, "Fine".

NINA
Yeah, but you're mad at me.

SUSIE
No, I'm not.

NINA
You are.

SUSIE
Okay, fine, I am a little.
(Pause)
Look, do you mind if we skipped out on the hotdog? I gotta get home, cook husband-dearest his supper.
(Says "husband-dearest" in that happy, oh-yes-I-got-married-yeah! tone)

NINA
(Shakes head, smiles)
I still can't believe you got married.

SUSIE
Why's it hard to believe?
(Teases)
You think I'm not woman enough to snag me a man?

NINA
No, no! It's just... Have you even seen his face?

SUSIE
(face falls)
Well...

NINA
Well?

SUSIE
Okay, so not exactly.
(Shrugs)
I'm grateful enough that he got out of his vow of silence.

NINA
But I thought... I mean, not even on your honeymoon?

SUSIE
Shhh, all right? This is a sore spot with me, Nina. Don't push it.

NINA
I know, and I'm sorry, but –

SUSIE
Look, I love Billy. He's sweet and funny and the sex is marvelous...

NINA
But you've never seen his face! What if he's hideous under there? Or maybe –

SUSIE
Shut up, Nina!

NINA
(Reacts as if slapped)
But...

SUSIE
Just shut up about it, okay?

NINA
(Pause. Whispers)
Okay.

SUSIE
(Pause, and then she bursts out)
I think that love should transcend physical appearances, so what does it matter? He's in training! I have to respect his beliefs! What kinda of wife would I be if I didn't accept the eccentricities of my husband? I love him and he… he reciprocates! Shouldn't that be enough?

NINA
So...do you love the mask?

SUSIE
Yes!
(Pause)
No?
(Pause)
I have no idea, anymore.
(Sullenly)
Why are we even talking about this? We were talking about you...

NINA
No.

SUSIE
Right now. Talk talk. What's going on in Nina's life? Share! Come on.

NINA
Susie, I ... I shouldn't have said anything. I mean, look at me. Who am I to question your marriage?

SUSIE
(Meanly)
Yeah, who are you to question anything? You can't even handle having a boyfriend!

NINA
(Hurt)
You really think that?

SUSIE
(Pause)
Shit. No.

NINA
Because I can understand it if you did. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder what the hell I'm doing wrong, and then I wonder –

SUSIE
(Interrupts)
Shhh!

NINA
(Shocked, then the teensiest bit amused)
Are you shushing me?

SUSIE
When you get like that, hon, you need to be shushed.
(Pause)
Look, let's just forget about it. Screw dinner. Billy can take care of himself. Let's go get a hotdog.

NINA
I didn't think Billy could cook, though.

SUSIE
(Grins)
You have no idea how bad he is! One time, he got this idea to make me a cake for my birthday. So I leave to go do something, errands or something, and when I get back, the entire fire department was at my house!

NINA
No way!

SUSIE
The entire cake had burnt to a crisp. He absolutely ruined the oven. Flames were shooting out of it and everything.
(Smiles warmly)
It was sweet of him to try, though.
(Introspective)
You'd think that studying the way of the Ninja would, you know, include basic cooking techniques. Who the hell tries to broil a pound cake?

NINA
(Giggles)
Well, you know, Billy!

SUSIE
Exactly. But that's why I love him, you know? Even if he flat out can't do it, he'll still try, just to make me happy. He's a good man. There are some things that bother me about him, but he's still, deep down, a wonderful guy.
(Pause)

NINA
Hey, Susie?

SUSIE
Yeah?

NINA
I know I've been kind of weird the past week...

SUSIE
Oh, Nina, honey, that's the understatement of the year.

NINA
Yeah, well, you know, the big thing, the reason I've been upset...

SUSIE
What is it?

NINA
Well, I –
(A cellphone rings)

SUSIE

(Reaches into purse and pulls out glittering, pink cellphone.)
Sorry! Sorry! Let me shut it off.

NINA
No, no! Answer it.

SUSIE
I don't have to...

NINA
It might be Billy, setting fire to the house again.

SUSIE
"Again"!? Honey, he's done it two times since the cake incident! It's gotten so bad that we got the fire department's number on speed dial! Man needs to learn how to operate a stove...
(Brief pause)
You sure you don't mind?

NINA
Answer it! Before they hang up!

SUSIE
All right…
(Turns on cellphone)
Hello? Billy? Hi!
(Pause)
Mmmmhmmmm... Shit! Fucking shitty motherfucking shitfaces! Who do those cockholes think they are? Fucking asshole dickhead motherfuckers!
(Pause)
Love you too, hunnybuns.
(Turns off cellphone)
Sorry!

NINA
I guess you have to go?

SUSIE
The entire clan decided to drop by the house for a bar-be-que, of all things! Celebrating some stupid victory or something.
(Shrugs, helplessly)
I can't leave Billy there to cook! You know what'll happen!

NINA
(Small smile. Sad)
I know. It's okay.

SUSIE
You sure you're okay? As soon as I can, I'll come over and help you with whatever's wrong.

NINA
No, it's fine! I'm okay and any stupid problem I have can wait.

SUSIE
I hate to bail out on you...

NINA
Go, before Billy accidentally burns down the entire house.

SUSIE
It wouldn't be the first time.
(Smiles warmly)
You. Are the best friggin friend that a girl could ever hope for.
(Gives NINA a hug)
As soon as there's time, we will fix whatever problem is bugging you, okay?

NINA
Okay.

SUSIE
Ciao, Nina.
(Leaves. NINA sits there, watching her go, before saying, quietly, to herself)

NINA
It's just... I think I might be going insane.

(End of Scene)