Waiting For An Open Window

Act One
Scene One
Scene: A Bus Stop. A young man [Gary] walks in, and sits down, getting up every once in a while to pace. He looks at his watch repeatedly, and impatiently. Finally, he sits down, and waits.

Gary: Forget this, I'll just walk. Well, maybe I'll wait just a little longer. [He gets up, but sits back down again. Leigh comes running in.]

Leigh: Hey, Gary! [Gary looks up.]

Gary: Hey, Leigh. You waiting for the bus too? I think it's going to be late.

Leigh: Uh, no, actually, I'm not. I'm, uh, actually--

Gary: What? [He stiffens.] Oh, you're waiting for him.

Leigh: [sighs] Gary, it's been six months now, you know--

Gary: I know what?! Nothing, that's what. I don't even know why you dumped me!

Leigh: There's no point in getting so hostile, Gary, please--

Gary: You're right. No reason at all. Goodbye, Leigh. [He stomps off.]

Leigh: Gary! Wait! Gary--oh, it's hopeless. [She sits down. Tyler walks in.]

Tyler: Leigh! There you are. Nice to see you. You ready to go? [Leigh nods, and looks once in Gary's direction. She and Tyler leave.]

Scene Two
[Gary walks along a deserted street, kicking at small stones.]

Gary: This is so frustrating! It's been six months now. I should be over her. Like really over her. I should be over somebody else by now! This is so frustrating. I feel like kicking something. Well, maybe not kicking, more like--Oh, I don't know! I just feel like doing something....anything...Now she's gone and made me miss the bus! I hate her. I think. Well, maybe not. I don't know! I hate not knowing! And now I'm going to be late! This is just great! Peachy keen! Fabulous! Okay, that's it! I'm kicking something! And I mean it! I will! I know...I'll kick the..the garbage can! Stupid garbage can! Take that! [Gary kicks the garbage can, then howls, and hops up and down, holding his injured foot. He starts hopping around stage, and eventually off of it. Then you hear the sound of brakes squealing, and of a crash, plus shouts, etc. Curtain falls.]

Scene Three
[Curtain rises to show Gary lying in the middle of the street. There is a crowd milling around on either side. Slowly, he gets up, as if waking from a bad dream.]

Gary: That was weird. Really weird. Where am I? Why am I sitting in the middle of the street. I don't get it. This is very, very weird. [He gets up, and walks around. He stands next to two gossipy women, who are just chatting on the street.]

First Gossipy Woman: It was a shame, really. He was quite nice. I think. Actually, I didn't know him all that well. I think I may have known his mother. I suppose that he was nice enough, in that he was never in the paper for drug-dealing, or anything like that, but still. You never know, these days.

Second Gossipy Woman: Too true, too true. Shame really; these days you can't go two steps without bumping into a criminal. It's the fluoride in the water, I'm telling you.

First: I hear you. At any rate, it's a shame. A true shame. I remember when--

Second: [Nodding] Those were the days alright.

First:--When manners were manners! Not like today. It must be the lack of ozone.

Second: Too true, too true. It's still a shame about that young man. Getting run over like that. [Gary becomes attentative.]

Gary: Young man? Run over? What? [The women continue as if nothing has happened.]

First: A huge shame! 'Specially such a nice boy like that. I'm assuming.

Second: But it would be a shame even if he was a criminal!

First: But not as much...

Second: Too true, too true!

Gary: Excuse me, ladies, could you just, um, hello? [The two women ignore him. He tugs on FGW's sleeve.] Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but--[The women continue to ignore him. They then walk off.] That was weird. Too weird. [He turns to the crowd.] Hello? Can anyone here me? Hello! [Gary starts mingling among the crowd.] Hello!? Why doesn't anybody answer me! What's the matter with you people! [Al appears from off stage.]

Al: That's exactly it.

Gary: What?! You can hear me! [He rushes over, excited, but then stops, and asks suspiciously:] What's "exactly it"?

Al: They're matter.

Gary: To what?

Al: Pardon?

Gary: What do they matter? Or is it, who do they matter to?

Al: [confused.] I don't follow you.

Gary: There isn't anywhere to follow! What's going on here?

Al: Here?

Gary: Yes, here.

Al: Here, or there?

Gary: Here!

Al: Is it important?

Gary: [Exasperated.] Yes! [Al shrugs.]

Al: Same old, same old, I guess. Actually, it's pretty much the same thing that has been going on for the last billion years or so.

Gary: What's that?

Al: Life. Don't worry, you can get used to it. Or rather, the lack thereof.

Gary: What are you talking about? Why did I wake up in the middle of the street? Why aren't people listening to me? Who are you? What's going on?!

Al: [Ticking the answers off his fingers.] One: I am talking about your present situation. Two: That's where you went "to sleep", Three: They can't hear you, Four: I'm your Situation Supervisor, and Five: Nothing.

Gary: Who are you?

Al: I'm your Situation Supervisor, or SitSuper for short. You can call me Al.

Gary: I can, can I?

Al: Yes. Now, back to the present--so to speak--

Gary: What are you talking about?! What is going on! Give me a straight answer, damn you!

Al: [Sighs] Gary, this will take some getting used to--no, don't argue, hear me through--I know just what it feels like. But trust me, everything is going to turn out fine. Now listen: You can't talk to anybody, because they can't hear you.

Gary: Why not?

Al: Because you're not matter.

Gary: What do you mean I don't matter?!

Al: No, you aren't matter. That's why they can't hear you.

Gary: If I'm not matter, then, what...oh my god... that stuff you said about Life or lack thereof...I'm dead, aren't I?! [Gary begins to rush around the stage in a panic.]

Al: Gary, listen to me: You aren't dead. Repeat: Not dead.

Gary: Then what am I?!

Al: You're in a coma.

Gary: What?! What kind of a weirdo are you? I'm not in a coma! I can't be in a coma!

Al: Well, technically speaking, you aren't.

Gary: There see, I told you--what?! [Gary sits down on the curb, head in hands.] Why did today have to be so weird? Weirdness, that's all I've been surrounded by today. [Al sits next to him.]

Al: Listen: it's all very easy. I will explain it to you simply: You are not Gary. You are Gary's Astral Projection. When you were hit by a car last Wednesday--

Gary: Last Wednesday?!

Al: Last Wednesday. You were hit by a car. The shock jolted your Astral Projection out of your body, causing it (your body) to go into a coma. Since you are out of your body, you are on a different plane of existence. Therefore, ordinary, complete, made-of-matter human beings can't see you, or hear you. You're out of range, like a very high sound pitch: You've passed out of their range of sensory perception.

Gary: You are a freak. Get away from me. Where did you escape from? [He gets up hurriedly. Al merely shrugs.]

Al: Fine, have it your way. But if you don't listen to me, then you won't be able to get back.

Gary: I can get back?

Al: Of course. It's very simple. Just get back to your body.

Gary: That's it? That's all? Great! Well, I'll be off then, thanks, I guess. [He starts to walk off.]

Al: You know where your body is then? [Gary comes to a stop.]

Gary: Um, well, no....

Al: [Chuckling.] I didn't think you did. It's in the hospital.

Gary: Thanks! [He starts to walk off again.]

Al: Gary? One more thing before you go.

Gary: What's that?

Al: [Points in opposite direction, suppressing a grin.] The hospital is that way.

Gary: [Flustered.] I knew that, I did. Really. Well, um, bye. [He hurries off.]

Act Two
Scene One
Scene: Gary is sitting on the ground, looking off stage and sighing. On the border of the stage and wings, is a simple window frame. It's the hospital window. Al walks in and sits next to Gary.

Al: No luck, I see.

Gary: [starts] oh, it's you. Where'd you come from? And do I look like I'm back in my body?!

Al: Whoa, whoa. Didn't mean to get you all upset like that. Besides, it wasn't a question, it was an observation, of sorts. Now, what exactly is the problem?

Gary: [Gestures to wings upstage from the window.] It's those damn doors. I can't get through them! And it hurts so much when I go near them!

Al: Are they automatic?

Gary: Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?

Al: Everything. An automatic door produces an electric field--

Gary: Duh.

Al: [Annoyed] --And that field disrupts your own natural Astral Energies. Think really loud polyester pants from Hell.

Gary: Astral Energies?

Al: [Annoyed] Yes, Astral Energies. You mean you've never heard of them?

Gary: Nope.

Al: Then what the hell were they teaching you in school?!

Gary: Useful stuff. Like, um, the formation of cirrus clouds.

Al: [laughs] That's really useful!

Gary: [indignant] It's not just that. There's other stuff too--

Al: Like what?

Gary: Well, um, you can't get square roots of negative numbers! That's really useful. Plus that must books don't actually mean what they say, they're actually Symbols--

Al: Oh really? That's odd. And here I was always took them at face value. Oh well, goes to show that things haven't improved since my day. I thought they might have.

Gary: Hey! I get along really well with my education!

Al: [Bemused] Oh, you do, do you? Interesting. You don't seem to be doing very well to me.

Gary: What To Do When You Are Outside Your Body Which Is In A Coma is generally not taught in normal curriculums. Not even in Catholic schools.

Al: That's what I'm saying. It should be taught. Never mind the garbage they're teaching you now. Like the Trojan War, which never even existed in the first place!

Gary: [Shocked] It didn't! But--but--they found Troy!

Al: Troy existed, but the Trojan War was blown waaaaay out of proportion. Homer didn't even come close.

Gary: What--what happened then?

Al: Oh, there was a war. But it didn't start over Helen. It actually started over sandals.

Gary: Sandals?!

Al: Yep. Priam had this really nice pair--the kind that went with everything. You know the type. Anyway, Achilles--

Gary: I don't want to hear this. I don't! Really.

Al: Fine. [shrugs.] No problem at all.

Gary: Let's try a new topic: How am I going to get into my body if I can't get through the doors? [Al shrugs.] That's helpful. What good are you as a Situation Supervisor if you don't help me?

Al: Notice that it's "Supervisor". Situation "Supervisor". And anyway, the answer is as plain as the nose on your body's face.

Gary: [Turns to look at the window. Points at it excitedly.] The window! Of course! I'll get in through the window! [Al starts clapping. Gary goes over to the window, and attempts to open the window, but it won't open.] No! The window won't open! I'm going to be stuck here for the rest of my life! Except that I'm not alive! I'm in a coma! And I will be for the rest of my life! Because I can't get in the window!

Al: That's pretty much the gist of it. Glad you figured it out though. Guess you won't be needing my help then, will you? [Al walks off stage.]

Gary: Al? Al? Where'd you go? Come back! I still need your help! Really! I'm stupid and useless, Al! Come back! Please? [He looks around the empty stage.] Gosh. It's really quiet around here. I never realised how empty it can be. It's weird, like I'm standing the middle of a party, but nobody's talking to me, or noticing me. [He sits down depressed.] And now I have nothing to do except wait for the window to open. Hey! Maybe somebody will open the window because the hospital room is too warm! Yeah, that's it! [Slaps head.] Oh wait! It's February. Shoot. [Leigh walks in across stage followed by Tyler.]

Tyler: Come on, Leigh. I know he was your ex-boyfriend, but that's just what he was: an ex. Get over him! [Leigh stops and faces him.]

Leigh: Tyler! I can't believe you just said that! Gary's lying in a coma! Don't you have a heart?

Tyler: Maybe you have too much. [He walks off in the opposite direction off stage]

Leigh: Tyler! [She shakes her head. Gary gets up, and begins to talk in Tyler's direction.]

Gary: Yeah! Go away, you freak! Leigh's too good for you. Way too good! Yeah! Just keep on walking! I know you can't hear me, so there's no point in pretending not too--what am I saying? I'm going insane! That must be it! I'm getting Stuck Out Of My Body Syndrome! The ultimate case of homesickness! Hey, Leigh! [Leigh has walked off stage and Gary follows her.]

Scene Two
Scene: The hospital room, with Leigh by the bedside, and Gary looking in through the window.

Leigh: Oh Gary. Why did you have to get run over? I don't understand. For some reason I keep feeling like its my fault. Tyler keeps saying how I'm too sentimental, and how it's not my fault at all, and how I get guilty too easily, and how I shouldn't bother with you at all. I tried to tell him that I still care for you, but he got all mad and possessive. I can't see what I saw in him.

Gary: [At window] What?! Was that the past tense? You mean you're over him?

Leigh: I don't think it's working out with him. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I was much happier when I was with you. A lot. But still, that's old history.

Gary: It doesn't have to be, dammit! Open the window! [Tries frantically to get it open, but it won't budge.]

Leigh: The doctor said that sometimes coma patients hear things, and that it's good to talk to them.

Gary: It's certainly revealing.

Leigh: That's why I'm here. To say sorry, for all the misunderstandings. If you were here, you know, conscious and everything, I'd probably ask you out again.

Gary: But I am here! I am! [Begins pounding on the glass and shaking it.]

Leigh: [Getting up.] I guess I better be going.

Gary: No! Leigh! Don't go! Open the window! Open the window! OPEN THE WINDOW! [Just as the nurse is entering the room, Leigh begins to leave.]

Nurse: What are you doing here? It's not visiting hours, you know. This room is supposed to off-limits to non-family members. You aren't a family member, are you? I thought not. You had better go. [Unbeknownst to the Nurse, the Doctor comes and stands behind her.]

Leigh: But the doctor--

Nurse: Doctor schmoctor. They don't know ANYTHING about taking care of people. They think patients are big, 3-D text-book diagrams!

Leigh: Actually--

Nurse: Actually what? Actually nothing, that's what. Why the doctors of this hospital--

Leigh: Are standing right behind you. [The nurse turns, and sees the Doctor. She jumps, and hurries out of the room.]

Doctor: [chuckling] That was fun. Anyway, don't listen to her, you can visit whenever you want. This patient hasn't had many visitors, sadly.

Leigh: Really? I'd have thought that his family at least would have come.

Doctor: Well, yes, they did come, but not for very long, and at any rate, you're still welcome to visit. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Leigh: Well, i was wondering, maybe, if I could open the window a bit. [Gary leaps up at this.] You see, Gary has always been fond of fresh air, and I thought--

Doctor: Sorry. Against hospital regulations.

Leigh: Oh. Alright then. I guess I better be going. [She and the Doctor exit.]

Gary: Oh no. What am I going to do? I'm doomed. No open window. I'm doomed, I'm doomed! I'm never going to get back into my body.

Scene Three
Scene: same scene. Al walks in. Gray is leaning against the wall, singing.

Al: Hey there, Gary. Still no luck, huh?

Gary: take one down, and pass it around--what? Dammit, Al! Now I have start all over again! [Take a deep breath and belts out:] four hundred million bottles of beer on the wall, four hundred million bottles of beer--

Al: Gary! Stop that! Listen, I've come to tell you--

Gary: Oh, I see! Now you've come to give me a message of goodwill and caring, huh? Well, mister, I've been getting along fine without you! So there!

Al: Look, I just came to tell you to hang in there, it's almost over.

Gary: Oh, it is, is it? And what tells you that?! [Al points at Leigh, who just walks into the room.]

Leigh: Hi Gary. It's me. I just wanted to tell you, well, I broke up with Tyler. He accused me of--well, it got ugly. Anyway, I'm just visiting. I wish you would wake up. Maybe if they fixed up the decor a bit. You know, made it cosy, then they'd have more success. They could at least get some fresh air in here! It's smells funny. Like a dentists office. [She laughs.] I guess that makes sense, I mean, it is a hospital. Oh, what the hell, I'm going to open the window. It's quite mild out, and it's just for a little bit. Regulations be damned!

Gary: She's going to open the window! She's going to open the window! [Grabs Al by the shirt front.] She's going to open the window!!

Al: I gathered.

Gary: She's going to--oh no! [he rushes over to the window where Leigh is struggling to open it.] C'mon, you've gotta open it! Here, Al, help me push!

Al: You can't push! You're an astral projection!

Gary: I don't care! [Leigh manages to open the window. Gary scrambles through.]

Scene Three
Scene: Hospital Room. Gary is now in the bed. He sits straight up.

Gary: Leigh! I'm back!

Leigh: Gary! [She faints]

Gary: Uh oh. Um, Doctor! Doctor! [begins yelling.]

Doctor: [Rushes in] What's all the commotion?!

Gary: We have somebody unconscious in here.

Doctor: Of course we do! This is the coma--wait a second! You're the coma patient!

Gary: Absolutely right, Doc, but seeing as I'm pretty much alright and Leigh's fainted, I think she needs your attention.

Doctor: Leigh? Who's Leigh?

Leigh: Ouch! You're stepping on me! [Doctor looks down.]

Doctor: My goodness. An awake coma patient, and a bruised fainter. [walks out shaking his head.]

Leigh: Gary! You're awake! [They hug, awkwardly, since Gary's still in the bed.]

Gary: That I am. So, still want to go out with me?

Leigh: What? What are you talking about?

Gary: Oh yeah, um, well, see....

Leigh: I guess the doctor was right! You can hear things when you are in a coma!

Gary: That's it! Still...you never answered my question.

Scene Four
Scene: The town of the beginning. Gary and Leigh are walking along the road, holding hands. Tyler comes from the opposite direction.

Tyler: Oh, it's you.

Gary: That it is. Tell you something surprising, but it seems to be you, too.

Leigh: Gary! That's enough. Tyler, do you want to come with us to the cafe?

Tyler: Oh no. I'd rather not spoil your little party.

Gary: If you insist.

Leigh: Gary! Please, Tyler, don't be like this.

Tyler: Don't be like what? [He walks offstage. Sounds of cars squealing.]

Leigh: Tyler! Oh my god! [She rushes off. Al walks past Gary.]

Al: Hey, Gary.

Gary: Hey, Al. So is Tyler--?

Al: Yep. Well, anyway, see ya round.

Gary: You too, Al.

The End

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