Saturday, January 15, 2011

Peaceful Dreams

mommy’s hands were cold and clammy on my skin. Like piano keys. I
felt  bad, because I didn’t really like she was touching me when I was
all snuggled into my blanket, and so close to havin’ a nice sleep. It
had been so long too. And my whole body was so tired. And I felt bad,
because I could hear her tellin’ daddy I shouldn’t fall asleep yet.
She hadn’t finished the story yet. But I was tired, I couldn’t help
it. I felt bad, I didn’t even have enough energy after my whole day to
tell her I was sorry she didn’t finish the story. I was so tired.
       I curled up on my side and felt her clammy hands let go of me. I
could feel she felt like I was killing her. She made a sad noise,
maybe it was angry too. Then I felt daddy’s lips on my forehead, and
mommy’s lips on my cheek. They told me goodnight and I bet they turned
off my big girl light and left on the Tinkerbelle nightlight by the
door like usual, but my eyes were closed so firm I cant tell you for
sure. I was so tired. I was ready to sleep.

       The forest is a very deep and uncertain place, even a little girl’s
own dreams. I am always honored to guide them. I held her hand, as she
moved with more energy that she had possessed for months, and it was
beautiful. We stopped every so often, and she picked up a stick, or
pointed out a deer as we made our way deeper into the woods.
       I told her it was a long walk, when we stopped for lunch.  She
offered me part of a nutella and cucumber sandwich, and I rejected
with a giggle. I stick primarily to the waters, wines and wheats of
these woods. We sat underneath an Oak. We were just about the place
where the trees tower too high to see above. Even if you have wings. I
once asked my father where the tops lie, and he said  only that  I was
lucky they didn’t disturb me at night.
       By afternoon we had made it past the tower her prior dreams had built
to keep her from growing fond of her future. We climbed the stairs one
by one hand in hand. When we reached the top and looked down at the
forest she asked me about the snow that began to fall. Her face was
pale and she stuck her torso out the tower window like a puppy does on
a car ride. She tossed up arms up in the air, as if she was to worship
and said to me with snow laced lashes:
“This is the warmest I have felt in a long time.” And I remember, as I
summon her face in my memory; why my job is such a beautiful thing.
       She loosened her mind, and the tower began to fall, brick by brick.
Never forcefully, never too quick. They slid away like melting sugar
crumbles of cotton candy. She and I stood, hand and hand, tasting the
snow on our tongues as we fell. We weren’t dizzy like we would have
been were we not yet this deep in the wood, and the change in altitude
caused us no discomfort. When the walls she had once built to confine
her imagination were belittled to a mere pedestal we stepped off into
the snow and swam among the flakes even deeper into the woods.
       She would swear she felt a mermaid slink by, and she would ask me if
I heard the dolphins chirp as we swam hand in hand. I reached down for
her, into the depths of what had become a sea made of the snow flakes
that were keeping her warm and I drew up a shell and whispered to her
that the mermaids use them for barrettes. She asked me to tie it into
her hair and I obliged, and told her that the sea would remember and
welcome forever to come.
       Eventually she tired of swimming and held onto the dorsal of a
dolphin. The beast pulled her along, up and down  and up and down.
When she would break the sea’s surface she would toss up her arms and
touch tree branches and pet woodland creatures who kept safe above the
water.  I could hear her giggle, and it brought me pleasure. Her long
blonde hair shook and waved below the water and she looked just like a
mermaid with her shell in her hair.
       Eventually we were so deep in the sea that it began to shallow again
and the dolphins had no room to sink back into the safety of their
salty homes so they sprouted legs and tails and grew brown fur and we
rode swimming horses, hand and hand, up and down and out of the sea.
On land our stags solidified and began to circle. The snow persisted
so an umbrella spouted and covered us and our circling companions and
before she realized we were above the wooded ground riding a carousel
up and down and up and down. And when the horses reached the highest
point she would toss her hands up and feel the silk and velvet strips
of umbrella that covered us.
       When night fell and the forest quieted I was ready to spend her night
with her. We rode the sun on its way down from the heavens that were
no longer out of reach and we slid down her rays like playground
slides into big piles of dark and safe forest leaves. And eventually,
like they usually do, she tired of running and playing and falling and
frolicking and sat in her pile of leaves until they covered and kept
her like the warmest and softest most lovely blanket could only dream
of doing.
       I recalled seeing her beg the heavens to let her sleep for weeks
before and I was moved to tears as I saw her small body lay before me
in comfort and peace. The best part being I could know that she was
really comfortable, that her child mind wasn’t fettered by thoughts of
her breath and parents and pain anymore. I was pleased beyond all the
glory we had seen in the day by the way that night had finally given
to her what every child deserves.
       In the morning we woke with the sun. I was sad to know it was the
end, and I feel like she knew we had reached the deepest depths of the
woods as well. With the sun above us but not yet lit, and the moon
beside it but turned off for the day, we waited in silence; hand and
       I cant tell you how long passed before the unicorn met us. I didn’t
hear her coming up the path, and usually I do. She snorts and sways a
lot when she moves. I would too, if I had her job. I remember the
girls face when she got close enough to come into focus.
“Unicorn” she whispered. She stood and looked at me for permission to
approach the beast. I smiled at her for the last time. Her shell
barrette winked at me in the unicorn’s aura of light, and I held back
tears I didn’t know I could produce. The girl’s skin wasn’t pale, her
face wasn’t sad and I know that she could tell I wanted the story to
go on but she was too tired for any more.
       I helped her on to the beast’s back, and she petted her long white
mane. The horned horse nayed and slowly cantered away from our perfect
place in the woods. My hands grew cold and clammy when they broke away
from hers. She looked so beautiful riding off into everything beyond
these woods. She tossed her hands up, as if in worship, and was gone
out of sight. I missed her before I could fall to my knees in my white
dress, dirtying it with mortal emotion and bow my head as if to pray.
       The long walk back out of these woods is lonely and there is no snow
and no sea and no hand to hold.

       The funeral home was cold and clammy. The piano keys were the only
color in the room. I stood before the casket that held my seven year
old baby on shaking heels. I held her cold and clammy hand in mine and
looked at her blonde wavy hair one last time. I wanted her buried in
the silly shell barrette I found her in the morning of her passing,
although it didn’t match the dress we put her in. She had loved it and
worn it all the time and I hoped that in whatever darkness between
here and heaven she was enduring, it could bring her some comfort.
       I told her I was sorry I tried to keep her awake. I told her I was
sorry it hurt. I told her that I loved her, and tucked the book she
didn’t hear but knew the end of in beside her. Then one last time I
felt my daughter’s cheek beneath my lip and my husband felt her
forehead beneath his. The walk back to the churches benches was cold
and wet with tears and we were fortunate only in that we could take it
hand and hand.

She Cried for Clean Hands

She Cried for Clean Hands

She heard him sigh and felt him inch closer. The room was dark, the raspberry blanket clung to their skin. He inhaled with a rhythmic and consistent predictability and exhaled with dominance, like usual. His breath was a protective embrace. His sleeping next to her was all that reminded her she was not an abused and tortured damsel, as she often was in her uncontrollable and syncopated dreams.
She was lost in sleep next to him. She was lost most of the time. The inside of her eyelids fettered her to a world that was too cruel for her to see when she was awake. She was not controlled, she was not content, she was not conscious of her actions and she was inconsistent. She was asleep, and the walls she built to protect her fragile skin and soul had deteriorated. She was shaking, her breathing was clustered and heavy, her makeup was on her hands and pillowcase as she twisted out of control. Se cried when she was alone, and when she was helpless, and being asleep made her both of those things. For even with him beside her, a rare delight, she was still sleeping alone.
He woke up to the reverberations from her frantic motion and the muffled alarm of her crying. He knew he was next to her, he could feel her damp body heat against his side of the blanket. She then felt his hand beneath the fabric of her college sweatshirt, a memoir of a time he belonged to no one and occasionally walked the nineteen steps to hold her at night. His hands felt cold, his fragile fingers always kept a chill. His clean hands belongs on piano keys, they were for rinsing conditioner, and turning the pages of The Times.
She shivered and whimpered at him. Half in response to his touch, and half because the guilt set in, and she fathomed his obligation to wake up and tame the wild within her was as aggravating and unromantic as a parent feeding a baby at four a.m. She curled in on her side to hide her make-up smeared eyes and hands, to protect him from having to cater to that as well. She was uncomfortable, she was already selfish and impotent. So she stretched and sprawled and begged him with unspoken neediness to control her. She was waiting for him to back up so she could fall back asleep with a clear conscience and dirtied hands. he needed to go back to his side of the bed, and release her into the isolating depths of her dreams.
He whispered, “you’re okay” and his hand warmed on her back. The two words, barely audible, brought her to life. She was no longer alone, she was no longer asleep, she was no longer in a nightmare. He, in initiating some contact, had given her control. Her walls were ready to rise between them again, she prepared to turn away from him to the horrors of her sleep. Part of her wanted him to fall back into rhythmic breathing, and find the peace her sobs and motions had slaughtered. Part of her was selfish and scared, and wanted his clean hands to soak the stains of a million bad dreams from her memory.
She screamed for him, like she had a million times in her nightmares. Her lips didn’t move, his name wasn’t echoed, but she screamed. She prayed he would hold onto her, as she told herself not to be needy. She was alone in that, like in a dream, she was distant and thus incapable of articulating the needs she deemed masochistic victims of suppression.
He took his hand from her back and lingered his structure bluntly against her. Refusing her walls reconstruction, and forcing her to be vulnerable. He sighed, his breath was warm and felt almost like compassion against her skin, but she couldn’t be sure because it had been so long since she’d been blessed with such a feeling.
He huffed in adjustment and his flat, broad shoulders collided with her coiled and helpless body. She extended next to him, to echo his aura of composure. She again whimpered, this time in fear of rejection, but she kept her back straight. He faded back to what she perceived as unaffected sleep. She unwillingly, but obligatorily, began to inch away from him, to remover herself from the safety and sanity of his presence. He shifted and whimpered in response to the distance between them. He plunged his hands beneath the blanket that concealed them, and took her hand in his. He bent his arm back up, and used her new found composure to pull himself closer to her. She again, listened to him sigh and felt him move closer.
With her fingers intertwined in his, she breathed more steadily she closed her eyes to fall back into a slumberous hell. The only difference being she couldn’t toss and turn or coil, or cry out to someone to far away to hear. Because he was right there, stabilizing her, and even in the worst of nightmares- and the darkest of depths, she felt like he did every night he spent at home with his wife. Having him next to her meant reality was not an isolated hell her thoughts provoked when the screaming of fluorescent lights and day jobs couldn’t quiet their nonsense. Her stable position allowed her to apperceive a reality that wasn’t sleeping with nightmares, that was waking up to consistent breath and clean hands.

I Remember


Do you remember
How my knuckles felt
Stretched and flat beneath your fingertips,
The first time we bent the form 
Of a palm to palm entwinement 
To an embrace more intimate than planned?
Remember how it felt to first hold your hand?

Do you remember
How my skin felt
When I held my breath-
Conscious of your shaky attempt at precision
As you pinned a white flower
To the low neck of my dress?
The blossom bit my bosom with a pin-prick
Though pinched I insisted I remain entranced
And the prodding pressure was worth it,
Because you asked me to dance.

Do you remember
How cold my naked arms felt
When you handed me your sweatshirt,
The one that always smells like exhaustion and yogurt?
I said I hadn’t planned to need you
That I was scared and slow to embrace honesty.
So you clung close, and called me a necessity.

Do you remember
How my hair fel
tOn the worn fabric of your lap?
Remember how my eyeliner soaked your denim
and how dark and sanguine, it streaked your knee?
I waited to find someone who cared enough to hear
Then I told you all my sins and secrets,
I explained every scar and every lie.
You drank my bloodstained past like wine,
And then you told me not to cry.

Do you remember 
How you felt the first time
You said you loved me?

Those three words
The ones-like petals- you bestowed
Are all that this pin-pricked chest,
This blushing belle in her bloodstained best
This stream of eyeliner on a fair-toned face
 With these scars and these secrets,
With these knuckles and these fingertips
Has ever needed.

Giving Notice (one act).

Cast: Marissa, Daisy, Jack, Edward, Well Dressed Woman, Cody, Chelsea, 

(Cody, Daisy, Jack all stand at a long table center stage in matching any colored polo shirts, black aprons, and hats. Table is set with industrial sized pots and pans and a scrub brush, four oranges, Styrofoam cups, silverware. A phone sits in front of Jack. A large purse sits beneath Daisy. The table has spots for four. Behind them to the left is Marissa at a small table with a coffee pot and carafes. Atop the machine sits two oven mitts. 

MARISSA: Ouch! I burned myself. 

(Daisy, Jack and Cody are all working. Daisy is cutting an orange into sections, Jack is sorting silverware and Cody is pouring juice.) 

DAISY: (She stands in the middle of the table with Jack on her right and Cody on her left. She looks around anxiously and can’t see a clock.) 
What time is it Jack? 

JACK: (looks at watch.)
 Half past eleven. We can go clock in for the start of our shift in… eight minutes. 

DAISY: (Smiles. Slices an orange.) 
Perfect. How was your night Jack? Any fun? How bout you Cody? 

CODY: (Growls when spoken to. Throws his arms up, and lets them slam into the table making a loud noise). 
DO NOT talk to me. I am way too sick for your nonsense. 
(coughs weakly.) 

DAISY: (Speaking to Cody, holding the knife she was slicing the fruit with in the air).
 I could have cut myself!

CODY: Too bad you didn’t. I might try again later. 

JACK: (Takes knife and orange from Daisy attracting her attention, and finishes slicing the fruit.) 
My night was alright Daisy. Boring. I tried to sneak out to meet some boys again, but a 94 Chevy howls when you ask her to start, and she woke up my folks. 
 Women, they’re always yelling at me. Cars, mothers, bosses, everyone…

DAISY: (Takes the slices of orange off the table as Jack cuts them and places them in an industrial pan in front of him). 
I don’t yell at you. You should have called me, I would have picked you up. 

MARISSA: (Drops a carafe of coffee, the top comes off and the liquid spills on the floor. No one turns to look at her.) 
 Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! 

DAISY: Where is Eddie? 

CODY: Maybe he will bring me some cigarettes. 

DAISY: You really shouldn’t smoke it is so bad for you and you’re such an attractive man when you don’t-

CODY: What did I say flower girl? I hate this place, I hate you, shut it. 

(Two people enter stage right  together talking. The three at the center table turn to look at them- lean their torso’s over the table to see the new characters clearly in unison and Jack cuffs his ear to enable better eavesdropping). 

EDWARD: (Standing a foot or so in front of a girl with an apron loose around her waist and her hair down.)
You’re  late again. That is the third time this week. 

CHELSEA: (She waves at the three at the table cordially as Edward addresses her. Then she  Whines at him, and plays with her hair.) 
Muffin, I like hit a pole on my way here- and I had to go all the way home and tell my mommy. You know she’s like the boss of this whole place right? She has a degree, she is a nutrient-est. Like, you know where being mean to me will get you right? Across the street- in the like trashy kitchen with the not so fast food and absolutely no fruit.  Plus, anyways, then I had to walk like all the way here, cause my car’s like broken now. 

EDWARD: We depend on you. If you’re going to have some tragedy everyday, start leaving earlier. 

(phone next to Jack rings.) 

CHELSEA: One, Two Three, not it! 
(All except Marissa press index fingertips to their nose and the phone goes unanswered). 

MARISSA: (Drops coffee filters.)
OOOOuch!! It hurts so baaaaad! 

JACK: Okay, let’s go clock in. 

(all follow him except Daisy and Edward. Marissa lags behind and holds her hands up to inspect burns all the way off stage. Daisy hesitates, reaches in the bag beneath her and withdraws a manila envelope with a white label across the front that reads “Notice”) 

EDWARD: (Walks to table and stands next to her where Jack was). 
No good morning today Princess?
(he takes the envelope from her playfully, his smile fades quickly). 
What is this? 

DAISY: (sadly speaks.) 
Well… my two weeks notice. 
(Looks at him for response, receives none). 
I need to go clock in. Eddie- please don’t say anything just yet. Okay?

EDWARD: (Throws envelope in front of her, shakes head unbelievingly, and sighs heavily). 
Wow. Have you found somewhere else? I hope it isn’t that place across the street…. It really is trashy. 

DAISY: (looks down sadly. Back up at him.) 
Not exactly.
(Voice shakes like she could cry). 
It’s just, Jack has had four raises, and I haven’t had a single one. And, Cody hates me- and Chelsea drives me crazy- and you don’t need me. You have Marissa now anyway. You don’t even notice when I’m here! Remember when I went to New York for six days and when I got back you hadn’t remembered I had gone at all? Remember when Cody threw the glass at me and corporate didn’t do anything? I don’t deserve this Eddie. 

EDWARD: (Desperation and aggression line his voice) 
So, it is just hitting you now? How ridiculous this place is? Three years, and you’re tired now Daisy? 
(waits for response, does not receive one. Almost yells). 
And I stayed late and picked glass shards out of your hair Daisy. And I didn’t need to notice you bein‘ gone on your trip, because I knew you were coming back here to me. 

DAISY: (Shrugs, looks down. Lets out a little cry. Snatches up envelope and stomps her feet. She turns to leave. )  
Please don’t do this now. I am going to clock in fir my shift. 

EDWARD: (Yells to Daisy as she saunters off stage Left as her co-workers did).
Can I trust you to come back? 

DAISY: (stops, faces him) 
You don’t need me to. There are a million other people in this town who can slice an orange. 
(stomps out). 
(Edward is left alone on Stage, takes an orange slice from the industrial pan and bites into it.) 

EDWARD: I don’t know anyone in this town- who can make an orange taste as sweet though Daisy. 

MARISSA: (Runs over to Edward when she returns with Cody and Chelsea. Jack lags behind, with a well dressed woman in toe. Marissa is practically shaking. Cody and Chelsea resume their place at the table resume activities.) 
Edward! I, I, I, I, I burned my, my, myself and it hurts real bad! Aaaand, I, I, I, got paper cuts from the coffee filters! 

EDWARD: Pour your coffee. Clean up the floor. 

(Edward walks by her dismissively and she moans and returns to her table. He pauses behind the well dressed woman scolding Jack and cuffs his ear to listen better, holding the peel of the orange in the other hand). 

WELL DRESSED WOMAN: Excuse me, young man
 (Jack turns to face woman and sighs heavily.) 
I have had three calls to the state office about this location this week. And you answer the phone correct? That is what we pay you to do? 
(she thumps his chest- he thrusts backwards and moans, afraid). 
Is that too much for you? Can you not be respectful? Do you have any manners? Answer me! 

JACK: (looks around frantically) 
Help! Edward! 

WELL DRESSED WOMAN: You think you can just call your supervisor and be out of all of this? Well think again bucko! 
(Woman stomps loudly on thin heels. Jack blocks his face as woman tosses her hands about frantically. Daisy enters slowly without envelope and smiles at Jack. Woman groans and turns to leave.) 
Get to work! 

DAISY: (Rushes to her place at the table past the woman)
Hello Ma’am. I like your-

(Notices Chelsea and smiles.) 
Chelsea Dear, do tell your mother I said hello. 

DAISY: (to audience and self)
 I need to get out of this place. 
(returns to table and begins to cut a new orange). 

CHELSEA: Let me just tell you- My mommy gets me almost as much as a reputation as all them boys I date do. Edward tries to sass me? I was like, no you did not. I am beast. No you do not talk to me like that. Right girl?
 (Backhands Daisy’s shoulder for support, which shakes her arm holding a knife) 

DAISY: (To audience) 
I really am going to get myself cut up into bits working with these people. 
(nods sarcastically at Chelsea.)

MARISSA: Ouch! I cant be doing this right! Ouch! I keep burning my skiiin! 

JACK: Why does everyone here hate me? Did you see that Woman yell at me? Women… I tried to tell you… 

DAISY: I love you. Just the high-ups hate you. 

JACK: that’s not super reassuring. 
(phone rings. Jack breathes heavily like he is terrified. Answers the phone slowly and weakly). 
He-He-Hello? Fru-Fruit and Fast Food , ho-how can I help you?

VOICE OF WELL DRESSED WOMAN: Rodent! You say ‘May I help you on the phone’

JACK: Thank you. 
(sarcasm. Then he hangs up the phone).
 I am pretty sure there are laws against name calling and terrorizing like that. 

DAISY: I am pretty sure there are laws against everything that goes on in this place. Just makes you want to get out? Doesn’t it… 
(She looks at Edward who is entering the room from stage right). 

EDWARD: (walks through in front of table singing ) 
I’m ganna make you feel- like you’re the only girl in the world 
(points at Daisy, leaves stage left) 

DAISY: Like I’m the only girl that you’ll ever love 
(points at Jack then returns to focusing on the oranges) 

JACK: Like I’m the only that is in command (points at Chelsea) 

CHELSEA: (not singing, ) 
Cause I am the only one who understands- how to make you feel like a man.
 (Winks suggestively at Jack, who responds by rolling his eyes. She . Points at Cody)  

CODY: Turn on the radio. Your voice makes me sick. 

CHELSEA: (Shrugs, smiles and looks at fingernails, Cody hits table. The noise scares Marissa and she drops something) 

CODY: I really hate you. 

CHELSEA: You must be mistaken. Boys do not hate me. I am the beautifulest, baddest, broad in this kitchen. 

MARISSA: Ouch!! 

(Edward enters sweeping behind the long center table) 

CHELSEA: Hey cutie.
(Waves at Edward. Edward nods at her apathetically.)
He is just trying to be professional..
(Chelsea looks around quickly seeking someone to pay attention to her, stops at Cody.- She makes a pouty face and reaches up to pat his head. He pounds the table fuming in response). 
Cody Cuddle Cake. Who needs Edward when I have you? You will love me soon enough honey, all boys do. 

CODY:  I hate you. So Much, Chelsea.
(glares quickly at Daisy). 
Give me that knife flower girl, I have some damage to do. 

DAISY: That really, that is really not a very good or safe idea. I really am just looking out for you and your safety and job reputatio- 

CODY: (Stops pouring juice.) 
 I will pour all of this on you till it blinds you Daisy!  Do not get in my way! 

CHELSEA: Let him cut me! That’s like the most romantic ever! Like, lovers always die in like literature and whatever! Please! 

CODY: (puts down work, looks up at her. Screams.) 
(looks uncomfortable.) 
Cigarette break. 
(he takes a single cigarette out of the pack in his apron pocket, looks quickly at Chelsea, takes four or five more cigarettes. He walks to leave stage.)

CHELSEA: Can I come? 
(she follows him without response. Bouncing joyfully behind him.  As she rounds the other side of the table, she looks at Daisy)
 He loves me. 
(Daisy raises eyebrows to audience. Audience sees Chelsea try to hold Cody’s hand as she skips beside him). 

CODY: (looks at Chelsea, moans)
 I will break your fingers. You make me need coffee. 
(he walks to the coffee table, interrupts Marissa and pours a cup of coffee for himself.) This has grinds in it. 
(He spit’s the coffee in his mouth at Melissa, and pours the remains of the carafe on the floor).

MARISSA: (Sobs, throws up her hands in defeat). 
Ouch! Please help me. 

JACK: (sighs heavily, and stops helping Daisy with fruit cutting) 
Is there coffee in her eyes? I think we have to report that or something. She is crying soooo loud. 
(Turns to face Marissa) 
Can you see? 

MARISSA: Yes! Please come help me! Please! Yes!
(Jumps up and down with excitement, but slides in coffee spill and fall back down, reverts to sobbing). 

(Jack begin to scrub oversized pans. Cody and Chelsea return from Stage right, She is on her cell phone). 

 EDWARD: (Calls from offstage)
Get off the phone and get to work Chelsea. 

CHELSEA: It’s mommy. I do what I want anyways Edward. She’s the boss of this whole place, she says me and Cody will get married once he realizes he is in love with me. 

CODY: No. 

CHELSEA: Mommy says you can have a raise if you marry me. 

DAISY: (To audience, aggravated). 
Of course she does. Everyone who isn’t me. Everyone who gets noticed…. 

CODY: Sure! We can get married- at the top of a very dangerous cliff Chelsea. 
(Puts his arm around her and moves his hand in front of them both as if he is displaying a pleasant image- then makes a fist and shakes it aggressively in front of her. She quivers.) 
 You will stand in front in case you fall! 

CHELSEA: I won’t fall! 

CODY: I may have to give you a little push then. 
 (Silence. Cody releases her. Jack suppresses laughter. Daisy raises eyebrows. Chelsea doesn’t understand). 

MARISSA: Ouch! Ouch! Danggit! 
(Cries, noise of attempts to stand, noise of failure). 

DAISY: (organizes orange slices in the large pan) 
That is all our oranges… And you have no more pots. When can we get out of this crazy bake Jack? 

JACK: We can leave in….eight minutes. Do you need a ride? 

DAISY: I will probably stay and “clean up” some for a while after. But thanks. 

JACK: What? Why? 

(Daisy mouthes Edward to Jack. He does not understand, raises his arms to indicate so. She tries the same motions again, and when they fail Daisy makes a heart with his hands and points at stage right where Edward most recently exited.) 

JACK: Ohhhh. 
(speaks very smugly). 
I got you girl. I’ma get these crazies gone for ya. Let us out of here!  

 (Cody, Chelsea, and jack leave. Edward enters to see them out.) 

EDWARD: Bye guys. Thanks. Have fun, drive safe.
(A moment passes, he addresses Daisy)
Did I miss anything while I was out back? 

DAISY: (Shrugs).
Typical stuff. 
(He walks to stand behind her at the table, puts his hands on her shoulders). 

MARISSA: Ouch! I can’ t take this heat! that’s my fifth burn today. 

EDWARD: There is something I want to tell you Daisy, before I don’t have the opportunity anymore. (he sighs, and slowly moves beside her.) 
Never mind, this isn’t appropriate. 

DAISY: What is it? I am pretty sure Cody killed appropriate a while back anyways. Stabbed it with a fruit knife.  We’re immune. 

EDWARD: You’re the only person who gets to call me Eddie. And I hate this place too, you know.

DAISY: Then why are you still here?  

JACK: I forgot my coat
 (enters. looks directly at Edward and Daisy). 

DAISY: You most certainly did not. Get out snoop! 

JACK: (To audience, in a loud whisper)
Not a chance. 

(Daisy throws her hands on her hips hearing Jack and glares at him briefly before returning to look at Edward). 

EDWARD: (To Daisy, completely unaffected by Jack’s presence) 
I appreciate you Daisy. And the way you slice oranges evenly, and the way it doesn’t take you a whole shift to pour the coffee for in the morning like some people. 

DAISY: I appreciate you saying that. 

EDWARD: I appreciate that you aren’t arguing, for a change. 

DAISY: (She puts one of her hands atop his) 
 I would appreciate a raise, I’d appreciate a day off now and then, I’d appreciate some silence when Chelsea is here. I’d appreciate some commitment. 

EDWARD: I would appreciate it if you stayed. 

(Daisy shrugs). 

EDWARD: Remember when  I had the flu, and you came in early and made me breakfast?  I appreciated that. 

DAISY: Remember when I didn’t go to prom and you stayed late and danced with me? I appreciated that. 

(They smile at each other). 

EDWARD: Remember when today, you said I didn’t need you?
(She nods) 
 Well, I didn’t appreciate that- because I do Daisy, I do. 

(Daisy Looks at Jack- drops her jaw in a silent  “aww” as if Edward can not see her. Jack nods at her. Edward does not break his gaze at her but with the hand she isn’t holding he gives the audience a thumbs up.) 

DAISY: That sounds like a commitment to me. 

EDWARD: So you’ll stay?

DAISY: For as long as you’ll notice me Eddie! For as long you need me. 

(They hug and kiss). 

JACK: Well Ima plan on us all being here for a while. 

DAISY: It does appear we both have some issues leaving Jack….

JACK: But none getting noticed girl, no issues getting noticed. 
(He walks center stage and puts his arm around Daisy so the three stand front and center linked.) 

MARISSA: (drops coffee on her foot) 
(Jumps about). 

EDWARD: Except her, she really should quit. 
(The three exit together).