!RACHEL

(Fran is standing with her back to the audience looking out the door to her dorm room it is her first year and she is saying good buy to her parents)

Fran:

Bye mom! Bye dad! I'll miss you guys! Call me when you stop for the night. Yes mom I've got everything… yes I have a tooth brush, I'm not 5. No dad I don't have condoms… eww! I love you guys, I'll be fine! Call me ok? Love you guys! Bye! Bye!

(She closes the door behind her and then collapses with her back to it gently sliding down until she is sitting on the floor. She sits for a beats and then stands and looks around her room. It is a tiny single with a bed on a metal frame with risers under it, a fiberboard desk with all her school papers and keys on it, and a chest of drawers that takes up most of the room, with an ablutions bag and a curling iron on top. She sits on the bed and puts her head in her hands, then looks up at the ceiling and throws herself length ways across the bed.)

Fran:

Gah!

(Suddenly a knock is heard on the door. Fran jumps up to open it. Kate is standing in the doorway with her fist raised to knock again. She is Fran's age and is dragging an enormous suitcase)

Kate:

Hi, you must be Fran!

Fran:

Umm, yeah… hi. Are you the RA?

Kate:

No silly. I'm your roommate. I'm Kate.

Fran:

Umm… no. You have the wrong room. This is a single.

Kate:

This is 3-F right.

Fran:

Yeah…

Kate:

And you're Fran, right?

Fran:

Yeah, but…

Kate:

No mistake. It's really nice to meet you!

(She pushes past Fran and puts down her suitcase in the middle of the floor. It takes up most of the room, Fran turns and bumps into her due to the tight quarters.)

Fran:

No see…. I was promised a single and…

Kate:

Freshmen don't get singles. Don't worry there's always next year!

Fran:

No I really need a single. I have a medical thing… listen this room is really small. I think maybe they misprinted your slip or something.

(Kate has opened her case. There is one pair of pants and one shirt, no underwear, but three socks and a bra. She picks up this clothing, stands in the case and opens the chest of drawers)

Kate:

Could I move your stuff around a bit? Thanks.

Fran:

No, listen I don't really think… This is not your room.

Kate:

Ok, you seem upset. Just sit down and we'll talk ok?

(She shoves all of Fran's stuff to the right and puts her stuff in and then sits in the case and looks up at Fran. Fran looks at her. Kate reaches over and pats the bed. Fran looks at her for a moment and then steps over her and sits cross-legged on the bed)

Fran:

Listen… I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but I really, truly think you have the wrong room. See there's only one bed.

Kate:

Don't worry. We can trade.

Fran:

Trade?

Kate:

One night, you're in the bed, one night I'm in the bed. One night you're in the bed, the next night I'm in the bed, the night after that you're in the bed, at the end of the next day I'm in the bed, when the sun next sets you're…

Fran:

Yeah. Ok. No…no, where would the other one sleep?

Kate:

If you give me a blanket I think I can make this case very comfy.

(Kate grabs the blanket out from under Fran and curls up in a fetal position on her case clutching the blanket to her)

Kate:

See. It's like a plastic womb.

Fran:

Could I see your room sheet thing?

Kate:

My what?

Fran:

The sheet of paper that says your room number on it.

Kate:

I don't think I have that anymore.

Fran:

But it's the first day of school!

Kate:

I memorized my room number.

Fran:

See I think that there was a mistake and you maybe came into the wrong room and it's fine, but maybe you would be happier in your real room.

Kate:

You know, you were a whole lot nicer online.

Fran:

Ummm… what?

Kate:

You were nicer when we talked online.

Fran:

Sorry. I don't mean to be mean.

Kate:

I know. Listen, we're all stressed right now, I don't blame you. But I have been nothing but nice and you're being really hostile.

Fran:

I'm sorry. I guess, your right, I'm just really stressed out and I get these headaches so….

Kate:

Oh man that really sucks. My aunt used to get headaches too. Turns out it was a tumor the size of a grape fruit. Not that that's what's happening to you. Right?

Fran:

Wow, I'm really sorry. Did they catch it in time?

Kate:

Sort of.

Fran:

Oh, so…

Kate:

What I mean is that they found the tumor and operated but it pretty much destroyed most of her brain so now she just sits and paints pictures of butterflies. But she doesn't get head aches any more.

Fran:

Umm, yeah. When did we talk online?

Kate:

Are you kidding?

Fran:

No, I mean yes… hahaha (the laugh has a distinct manic edge), I'm just tired I guess. So did your parents drop you off?

Kate:

No.

Fran:

Oh. Mine just left.

Kate:

I just walked from home.

Fran:

OH! So you live really close by! That makes a ton of sense, maybe…

Kate:

No. It took me two days.

Fran:

Hahah. You're really funny.

Kate:

At least my case has wheels.

Fran:

Ha, so where are you from?

Kate:

Didn't I tell you?

Fran:

I guess I must have forgotten, sorry.

Kate:

It's ok, we can get to know each other all over right now! What's your favorite animal?

Fran:

Dogs!

Kate:

Do you have one?

Fran:

Yes his name is Mr. Cuddles.

Kate:

What breed?

Fran:

Basset. How about you, any pets?

Kate:

No. Favorite color?

Fran:

Blue. You?

Kate:

What do your parents do?

Fran:

My dad's a doctor and my mom teaches kindergarten.

Kate:

What kind of doctor?

Fran:

General practice.

Kate:

What school does your mom teach at?

Fran:

You probably don't know it.

Kate:

Come on try me.

Fran:

Wee Tots Country Day School.

Kate:

Nope never heard of it.

Fran:

So how about you? What do your parents…

Kate:

You're from New York right?

Fran:

Yeah. Rochester.

Kate:

Huh. A lot of people must think that you're from the city.

Fran:

Well I am from a city, but I guess sometimes when I say I'm from New York…

Kate:

I went to New York City once. I was very sad the whole time that I was there. I nearly didn't make it out alive.

Fran:

Oh.

Kate:

Oh, don't worry I'm not sad any more. Not at all.

(Kate has been curled up in the case the entire time. She suddenly sits up and leans her chin on the bed next to Fran)

Kate:

You strike me as a sort of sad person am I right, or at the least very nervous? Or both? And head aches to boot, that really sucks.

Fran:

Maybe a little. But I'm really lucky.

Kate:

Oh?

Fran:

Well I mean we all are, we got into college

Kate:

Yeah, huh, not going to college was never really an option for me.

Fran:

Oh me either! I've always known I wanted to go!

Kate:

No. I was presented with no other option, literally.

Fran:

Yeah I think that's how a lot of us feel.

Kate:

That either you go to college or time is just going to freeze up?

Fran:

Well more that we can go to college or our lives will be awful.

Kate:

You're right. You are lucky.

Fran:

Yeah. So umm… when did we talk online?

Kate:

Really?

Fran:

Sorry, I'm sure we did, but you know today's been a little crazy and you know I'm just really out of it.

Kate:

Don't worry about it, everyone stressed, maybe you need some sleep?

Fran:

It's 4 in the afternoon.

Kate:

You could get in my case.

Fran:

I don't think that would help.

Kate:

We could close the top.

Fran:

That seems a little creepy. No offense.

Kate:

Oh, don't worry I do it all the time. It's very peaceful in there, the plastic muffles the sound.

Fran:

Sound isn't the trouble. It's time.

Kate:

Well no one has enough time, not enough hours in the day, you know.

Fran:

Well we have an orientation cook out in… 10 minutes.

Kate:

Oh, yeah.

Fran:

So sleeping may not be my best idea right now. Wow I am really nervous.

Kate:

How come?

Fran:

Well, you know this is sort of my first chance to meet people and I really want to make friends.

Kate:

You met me.

Fran:

Good point…. Good point. But I really want to meet some other people too.

Kate:

So I'm not good enough for you?

Fran:

What?

Kate:

You meet me and you immediately want to get out and meet a whole lot of other people.

Fran:

Yes. I mean, no. No, yes, but I like you a lot, so…

Kate:

Ok, ok, calm down, I was kidding.

Fran:

Ok.

(Fran gets up from the bed and tries to step over the case. She finds that she cannot and ends up stepping in the case. She is heading for the door when Kate grabs her ankle.)

Kate:

Where are you going?

Fran:

To find that cook out. I want to get there early, you know?

Kate:

Ok, then wait for me. I just want to put on a nicer outfit.

Fran:

Ok, Should I wait in the hall?

Kate:

No, help me pick out an outfit, please!

Fran:

Umm… ok. Sure.

(Kate rummages through the chest of drawers and pulls out of a pink t-shit that was not one of the items that she put in there.)

Kate:

What do you think about this?

Fran:

I think that it's my shirt.

Kate:

Oh, sorry. Ok, what about this?

(She holds up a blue cardigan)

Fran:

No, that's also mine. Ummm, I don't think you even put your stuff in that drawer.

Kate:

(slaps her forehead)

You're right of course! Here we go.

(She pulls out her own shirt)

Kate:

Ok, could you just quickly turn around wile I slip this on.

Fran:

I can go out if you wan…

Kate:

It will literally be two seconds.

Fran:

Shoot. Could you hand me my medicine. It's in the bag on top of the bureau.

Kate:

Sure.

(Fran turns around. Kate lifts the curling iron and hefts it)

Kate:

You know Fran, you really are lucky.

(She hits Fran hard in the head with the curling iron. Fran crumples to the floor. Kate drags her into the case and positions her in it and hits her a couple more times before closing the lid)

Kate:

No more head aches.

(Kate takes off her shirt and puts on the pink one. She throws her old shirt on top of the small pool of blood on the floor, then goes over to the desk and looks through Fran's papers. She pockets the keys and it about to push the case under the bed when there comes a knock on the door. Kate answers the door. The RA is standing there)

Zoe:

Hi, I'm Zoe, your RA. Are you (She looks down at a list) Fran?

Kate:

Yes. Very nice to meet you.

Zoe:

Same here. Come down stairs. The cook out's about to start.

Kate:

Great, let me just get everything put away and I'll be down in a sec.

(Kate closes the door, pushes the trunk under the bed, runs her fingers through her hair and then exits, closing and locking the door behind her.)


© Rachel Greenhoe 2014


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