CAST OF CHARACTERS PETER-24 year old business executive. He and Renee have been married for a little over a year. RENEE-23 year old high school teacher. MONA Renee's 46 year old mother HITCHHIKER -Hitchhiker that Peter and Renee run across on their trip. COP-Police officer that pulls Peter and Renee over for speeding. THE TIME Present. A pleasant summer day. THE PLACE Peter and Renee's car. A car rests in the middle of the stage. Luggage and other bags are packed behind the seats to give the impression of a fully-loaded car about to be taken on a road trip.. AT RISE Peter and Renee are loading bags into their car. They have loaded most of the bags and are almost ready to take off. Peter enters from stage right carrying a large suitcase and will attempt to jam it into the back of the car. Renee is trying to move bags around in the back in order to make room for the suitcase. PETER (struggling to carry the bag... speaks in a strained voice) Jesus Christ on steroids! What do you have in here, woman? Rocks? RENEE (sarcastic ) Yeah, I packed some slate to take with us to Omaha. (normal) Come on, there's only some clothes and shoes in there. Don't tell me the bag is too heavy for you! What are you, a wimp or something? PETER (trying to lift the bag higher off the ground... even more strained) N--no, I... can handle it. (finally reaches the back of the car, lets the bag drop to the ground... lets out a sigh of relief) You said you had shoes in here, right? (Renee nods) As in, more than one pair of shoes? (Renee nods again) How many pairs of shoes do you need? We're only going to be there for four days! RENEE (almost condescending) Peter, you should know by now that, as a sophisticated woman, I need different shoes to go with my different outfits. There is nothing worse than wearing shoes that the rest of your outfit doesn't go with PETER (muttering under his breath) Unless it's ending your sentence with a preposition. RENEE (does not hear what Peter said) What was that, Peter? I didn't quite hear you. PETER (lifting the bag from the ground and trying to wedge it into the back of the car) uh... I was just saying... (gets the bag into the back of the car) that you surely couldn't teach your English class wearing mismatched attire. RENEE Quite true. I'm already subjected to an amazing amount of ridicule in that classroom. All I need to do is give my students more ammunition. I can only imagine what names they already have for me. (Peter and Renee walk to the front of the car) PETER I doubt they have any really bad names for you, Renee. From what I've seen and heard, you're one of the students' most favoritest English teachers. (grins) RENEE Hey, buddy, watch your superlatives! (both laugh) Thanks for the
of confidence, but I'm sure some students don't like me. PETER Only the dumb ones, Renee. Only the dumb ones. (pause) Well, Mrs. Superlative, whenever you are ready to leave, we can go. RENEE smiles) Do you have your clothes for Friday? PETER Yes, I packed that suit you told me to bring. RENEE And the shoes? PETER Yes, and the shoes. Can we go now? RENEE Did you grab the gift? PETER (becoming a little annoyed) Yes I did. Anything else? RENEE Did you lock the house? PETER Yes, I locked the house. (sarcastically) I also made sure that the stove was turned on and that the water was running in the bathtub. Now, can we go? (smiles) RENEE You don't need to get snippy about it. Yes, we can go now. (Renee and Peter sit in the car seats as if they are on the road. Peter is driving. About an hour has passed since they have left their house.) RENEE How long have we been on the road? PETER (looking at his watch) Uh... it looks like we've been gone for an hour and ten minutes. RENEE So, how much longer? PETER How many times will you have to go to the bathroom? RENEE Puh-leez! You are the one with the transparent bladder. If we stop, it'll be for you, not for me. PETER Well, then I'd say we have another ten hours. Give or take an hour. We are making pretty good time right now. When do you want to stop for lunch? RENEE Don't tell me you are hungry already! We just ate before we left the house. PETER I could eat now, but I can wait, too. Just let me know when you want to eat. (pause) So, do you know exactly how to get to your mother's house once we get to Omaha? RENEE I've never been to her new house, so I'm not really sure. I think I basically know how to get there. PETER (sarcastic) Well, I'm sooo looking forward to visiting with your mother. Especially after the anniversary card she sent us. RENEE Come on. That card was a joke. PETER Well, I don't think a "Get Well Soon Card" on our first anniversary is a very funny joke. Besides I don't think your mom has a sense of humor. If she did have one, I think she traded it in and got a really good deal on lessons on "how to be a bitch." RENEE Peter! PETER What? You know I'm right. (silence as they look at each other for a few seconds) Anyway, once we get to Omaha and I get the lay of the land, I'm sure we'll have no problem finding your mom's house. RENEE (still a little angry) We'll see about that. PETER (trying to lighten the situation) You doubt my navigational skills? You know they used to call me the human compass in college. RENEE I thought that was because your head was always spinning from being drunk. (both smile, pause; Renee sniffs the air) Hey, Peter, do you smell bacon? PETER (becomes alert, looks around, sees the flashing lights and begins to pull over) Where? Damn! (holds his breath) Jesus Christ with a radar gun! Great, this is all I need! (Peter brings the car to a stop and they wait for the officer to join them at the window) RENEE How fast were you going? PETER I don't know. I think when I started slowing down we were doing over 80. (pause) Maybe if you show some cleavage, he'll let us go with a warning. RENEE Peter! I can't believe you. PETER What?!? I've seen it work before. Besides, it can't hurt to try. Just do it. Hurry up. I think he's about to get out of his car. (Renee unbuttons a few of the buttons on her blouse) PETER Here he comes. Let me do all the talking. (Peter rolls down the window and the officer slowly approaches. The officer is looking intently at Peter and Renee to make sure neither has a weapon of some sort. He finally reaches the window.) COP Hello, sir. Do you know how fast you were going back there? PETER Not fast enough to pass through here before you started your patrol? COP Pretty good, sir. I don't believe I've heard that one before. However, you were speeding. First, I clocked you at 84, then I clocked you again at 86, and when you passed me -- I imagine you had seen me by then -- you were down to 78. I still have the speeds locked on my radar gun if you'd like to see them. PETER No, that is okay. I trust you. COP Well, sir, I'm sure you are aware that the legal speed is 65 miles per hour. I'm going to need to see your license. (Peter hands the cop his license, the cop examines it) So where are you and the young lady off to in such a hurry, Mr. Jacob's? PETER We are on our way to Omaha, officer ... (waits for the cop to offer his name) COP Parkerson. Officer Parkerson, but you can read that on the bottom of this ticket. (hands Peter a piece of paper) marked the ticket at 78 miles per hour, but the next officer may not be as lenient as me. I'd recommend sticking to the legal speed, Mr. Jacob's. (hands Peter his license) PETER Good advice, Officer Parkerson. COP Well, be careful pulling out of here. Most of the cars along here are going at least 55 miles per hour and it may be difficult merging back into traffic. PETER Thank you, Officer Parkerson. Have a nice day. COP I will try. Oh, by the way, nice cleavage, ma'am. However, I'm gay. So long. (Officer Parkerson heads back to his car. Renee buttons her blouse again. Peter rolls up his window and hands the ticket to Renee.) PETER (raises hands>) He's gay!? RENEE (raises hands) You said "Have a nice day"?!? Peter I would have never guessed that he was a Homo. RENEE The man gives you a... (looks at the ticket) 185 dollar ticket and you tell him to have a nice day?!? PETER Hell, I would have taken off my shirt if I knew he was gay! RENEE 185 dollars!! How are we going to pay that? PETER (hears Renee) How much is it? RENEE One hundred and eighty five dollars. PETER Jesus Christ without a savings account! Where are we going to get that money? We spent all our savings on this damn trip! (pause) Maybe your mom will loan it to us. Yeah, we can probably talk your mom into giving us the money, right? I mean, it was her idea for us to make this damn trip... she better give us a loan. RENEE Well, you were the one speeding, so I think you are the one that needs to ask her. PETER But you are her daughter. And like she is really going to loan me any money. She'll probably laugh in my face. You ask her. RENEE You are probably right. I'll ask her, but I don't know what she'll say. I know she has the money... I suppose we could make up some story about how we need it to make some repairs on the house. Yeah, I think she'd buy that story. PETER When you have the story figured out let me know so that I can back you up. RENEE You make it sound like such a conspiracy. (About four hours have passed. Renee is now driving. Peter is asleep in the passenger seat) RENEE Peter. (no response; a little louder) Peter. (again no response; shakes Peter) Peter. PETER (groggy) Wh... what? Why did you wake me? RENEE I'm hungry. I wanted to see if you were ready to stop for lunch. PETER (rubbing his eyes) Sure, whatever you want, honey. RENEE I think there is a rest stop coming up in about 10 or 15 miles. You packed the cooler with lunch stuff, didn't you? PETER Do you honestly think that I'd forget the food? Come on. I might forget my clothes, but I would never forget the food. RENEE I know. (Hitchhiker walks on stage. Slowly walks past the side of the car as if the car is passing him. He is very dirty -- he obviously needs a shower and some new clothes. He walks past the car and continues off stage) RENEE (seeing the hitchhiker) > Have you ever picked up a hitchhiker? PETER No. Have you? RENEE Never. Maybe we should do it. PETER (looking at the back seat) Have you noticed the back seat? Where would he sit?. RENEE At the rest stop we could reorganize to make some room. PETER Tell you what... You reorganize and we'll see about picking up someone later. RENEE Okay. PETER (pointing at the sign outside) Look, the sign says rest area 5 miles. I'm really hungry. RENEE You are always hungry! You remind me of Jughead! PETER Huh?. RENEE You know, Jughead, from the Archie comics... He used to always eat all those hamburgers and still be hungry. You remind me of him. You eat and five minutes later you say you're hungry again. PETER Jesus Christ with a random thought! Where the hell did you pull that from? RENEE First, don't end your sentences with a preposition. And to answer your question, I used to read bathroom. I'd sneak a few into my room at night and read them by flashlight. Didn't you ever read Archie comics? PETER Sure, I did. But I don't really remember Jughead eating hamburgers. Besides, if I remember correctly, Jughead was kinda geeky. Are you saying that I remind you of a geek? (smiles) RENEE No. Your appetite reminds my of Jughead's appetite. And just because he never dated Betty or Veronica doesn't mean he was geeky. PETER (points ahead of the car) Oh look, it's the ramp for the rest area. It looks like we'll have to drop this conversation and eat lunch. And I was so hoping we could continue this... (Renee brings the car to a stop; they both get out and stretch as if they had been in the car for an extended period of time. Renee goes to the back of the car and starts moving some bags around) RENEE Peter, what kind of sandwich do you want? Wait, let me guess -- peanut butter and jelly!
You read my mind. I'm going to go to the bathroom. I'll be back in a little bit. RENEE See ya! (Peter walks off. Renee brings a cooler from the back of the car and sets it on the ground. Next, she brings out a family size jar of peanut butter and sets it on the ground. She sits next to the cooler and starts making sandwiches. When she finished making three sandwiches she goes to the car and starts rearranging the baggage in the back seat. When Peter returns, she has almost finished moving all the bags around) PETER > Whew! I feel a lot better. If you want to go to the bathroom, I'll watch the stuff. RENEE Okay. I didn't know how many sandwiches you'd want. I made one for me and two for you. PETER I'll probably want a third, but I'll make it. Go ahead and empty your bladder. (Renee walks off. Peter moves to the back seat of the car and finishes rearranging the bags. Peter finishes eating his first sandwich. He starts to make another sandwich. He lifts the jar of peanut butter and stares at it for a minute. Then he makes the sandwich. By the time he has finished making the sandwich, Renee has returned) RENEE So, how much longer do we have? PETER I'd say we have another 6 hours. Assuming we don't get pulled over again... RENEE Don't look at me, Speedy Gonzalez! I'm not the one with a lead foot. PETER Very funny. (Renee grabs her sandwich and starts eating; Peter starts eating his second sandwich) PETER Explain to me again who is getting married. RENEE Well, Rod and Toni are getting married on Friday. Rod's father was my dad's wartime buddy. Anyway, Rod and I used to play together when we were in junior high. I haven't seen him in about seven years. Mom got an invitation to the wedding and thought I'd want to go. PETER Is your mom going to the wedding too? I don't want to sit next to her. RENEE I don't know if she is going. I never asked. If she does go, I'll sit next to her. PETER Good. Hey, these sandwiches were really good. Do you want another? RENEE > No, I'm fine. But have another sandwich if you are still hungry. PETER I think I'll do that. (Peter makes another sandwich. After he is finished, Renee starts to clean up and put things back into the car.) PETER Do you want any help? RENEE No. But you can drive when we start back on the road. PETER Okay. (Renee finishes putting away the cooler and the jar of peanut butter) RENEE Here's the story I have for my mom. PETER (Pushes his ears forward with his hands.) I'm all ears. RENEE I'll tell her that we are painting the baby room and that we need about $250 to buy paint and equipment. PETER Didn't we already paint that room? RENEE Yes, but the point is that my mom doesn't know that. She wants a grandchild so bad she'd probably go through the labor herself. I think she'll pitch in the money if we tell her we're using it for the baby's room. PETER You are so callous, Renee... I like that. I think that story will work. Unless your mom is still upset that I'll be the father of the child. RENEE I think you are just paranoid. My mom might not totally like you, but she respects my choices. PETER Yeah, well I think she said it best at our wedding, "Peter, I don't think you are good enough to be in the same room as my daughter. (fake enthusiasm) Welcome to the family." I don't think I'm being paranoid. Your mom just doesn't like me. (Renee goes to the passenger side of the car and sits in the seat. Peter sits on the driver's side, finishing his sandwich.) (Peter starts the car and they leave the rest area) RENEE So, be on the lookout for a hitchhiker. PETER You are kidding right? RENEE No. You said if we made some room in the back seat, we could pick up a hitchhiker. PETER Oh, sure. So we can be killed! I didn't think you were serious. RENEE > Peter, I seriously doubt anyone is going to try and kill us. (Same hitchhiker we saw before enters the stage and walks by the car as before) RENEE (points out the window) Look. There's one. Let's stop. PETER No! Look at him. He's all dirty. I'm sure he'd kill us and take all our stuff. I'm not stopping to pick up a bum. RENEE But you said we could. I can't believe you'd lie to me. PETER Come on, Renee, I didn't lie to you. I'm just looking out for our best interests. RENEE You call it what you want to. I call it lying. PETER Dammit! Okay, we can get a hitchhiker. But I pick who we pick up. RENEE (happier) Great. Keep your eyes open. PETER Well, we aren't picking up anyone who looks like that one. He was too dirty. (A hitchhiker enters the stage. He is clean, but wears dirty looking clothes.) RENEE (pointing) Look. What about that one? PETER Him? His hair is too long. RENEE What?!? You think someone is going to kill us because he has long hair? PETER You agreed to let me pick, didn't you? RENEE Yes. Are you going to let us pick anyone up? PETER If I see the right guy... (Bikini-clad woman enters the stage. Follows the same ritual as the hitchhiker -- walking by the car) PETER Or chickie... (smiles) RENEE Don't even think about it mister! PETER Oh, come on! I say we pick her up. RENEE Pick her up and say goodbye to me. PETER Who are you again? RENEE (punching Peter in the arm) I was your wife. PETER (laughing) Well, don't say that I never offered to pick up a hitchhiker. RENEE (laughing) She doesn't count. (Another hitchhiker enters. This time the hitchhiker has shorter hair.) RENEE (pointing) Look, this one has short hair. What do you think? PETER Look at the clothes. Do you want those clothes sitting in our back seat? I don't. RENEE Good point. PETER Maybe we should just give up on this hitchhiker thing. I still don't think it is a good idea. RENEE No, we'll keep looking. We need to live a little. PETER Yeah, but I'd like to live a little LONGER. RENEE You're so paranoid. You watch too much TV. (Hitchhiker enters yet again. This time clean, with short hair, and dressed in a business suit.) RENEE (pointing) I think we've found one. What problem do you have that one? PETER He's too clean cut. Definitely a serial killer. RENEE What? PETER A serial killer. Do you want to add your name to his list of kills? RENEE (frustrated) You're impossible! Forget the whole thing. PETER If you say so. RENEE Hey, do you hear that? PETER What? RENEE It's like a thump-thump. I've heard it for awhile now. PETER Yeah, now I hear it. RENEE What is it? PETER It sounds like we have a flat! I really don't want to change a flat tire! (Peter slows the car down and pulls over. He gets out of the car and looks at the back tire) PETER Yep, we definitely have a flat tire. First a speeding ticket, now a flat tire. What's next? RENEE Well, put the spare tire on, Sparky. PETER I was just about to dig the spare out. And don't call me Sparky. RENEE Whatever you say, Shakey. (Peter sighs. He drags the spare tire from the back of the car and starts to work on replacing the flat tire. The well-dressed hitchhiker starts to approach) RENEE Don't look now, but that hitchhiker is walking toward us. PETER Don't say anything. Maybe he'll walk right past us. HITCHHIKER Hey! Do you guys need any help? PETER No, I think we have it under control. Thanks, though. See you later. Hope you find a ride. (The hitchhiker pulls out his knife.) HITCHHIKER That's nice. It almost makes me regret doing this... (hits Peter over the head with the handle of his knife; Peter falls to the ground) but I'll still do it. (Renee sees Peter fall. She starts screaming. She starts running. The hitchhiker chases her. They run around the car a few times.) HITCHHIKER Stop running, you bitch! I don't want to hurt you. I just want your money. (Renee stops; she is on the opposite side of the car where Peter is; the Hitchhiker slowly approaches her) RENEE (pulls money from her pockets) Here, this is all we have. Just leave us alone. (Renee throws the money on the ground. The hitchhiker bends over to gather the money. Renee kicks him in the head) RENEE Take that you bastard! (Hitchhiker appears to be knocked out. Renee runs over to Peter. She looks at his head which is stained with blood. She then goes to the back of the car and opens the trunk, looking for the first aid kit.) RENEE Damn, I know it's here. Where did the first aid kit go? (Renee finds the kit. Takes it over to Peter. Her back is turned to where the hitchhiker is. As she is attending Peter, the hitchhiker stands and makes his way around the car. At the last minute, Renee hears the hitchhiker. She stands and runs.) RENEE Come and get me, you sick bastard! (The hitchhiker looks at Peter and then chases Renee. They run around the car like before. Renee stops on the side of the car opposite to where Peter is.) RENEE (huffing and puffing) I can't take this anymore. I can't run anymore. Do what you want to me. (The hitchhiker stops and faces Renee. His back it to the car. Peter starts to move a little) HITCHHIKER (a little hesitant, remembering what happened last time he approached Renee) I just want your money. I'm not going to hurt you. (Peter starts to crawl to the back of the car) RENEE (sees that Peter is crawling to the back of the car) What do you want the money for? HITCHHIKER I need to buy some more juice, and I don't have any money. (Peter grabs something from the back of the car. He stands and sneaks behind the hitchhiker. Renee sees him, but does nothing. Peter raises the object over his head. The action pauses as a spotlight illuminates the object -- a family-sized jar of Jif peanut butter. Peter smashes the jar over the hitchhiker's head, knocking him out.) RENEE (rushing to Peter) Are you alright? PETER (hugging Renee) Yes, I'm fine. I think my head's stopped bleeding. What are we going to do with him? (kicks the hitchhiker) RENEE Just leave him. Finish with the tire and we can just get back on the road. I doubt he'll wake up before we leave. PETER I don't think we are ever going to make it to Omaha. RENEE What kind of attitude is that? We'll get there and it'll be relaxing. PETER I don't know what I'm more scared of -- staying with your mother for four days or staying out here with Billy Bob. (points to the hitchhiker) RENEE Stop talking and fix the tire. (Peter starts to work on the tire. Renee drags the hitchhiker's body off the stage. She returns a few seconds later.) PETER Okay, she's already to go. RENEE I'll drive. It looks like we are going to have to clean you up real well when we get to mom's. (Both climb into the car. Renee in the driver's seat and Peter in the passenger's seat. About two hours pass.) PETER Are we almost there yet? RENEE The last sign said Omaha is about 135 miles away. I'd say we have two and half hours until we get there. PETER Wake me up when we get there. RENEE Alright. (About two and a half hours pass) PETER Is this her house? RENEE This is where the directions say to go. Remember, we are painting the baby's room and it's going to cost around $250. PETER I hear you. Are you sure you want to lie to your mom? I mean we've already had so much go wrong on this trip, I'd hate to get thrown out on the street if she finds out we lied to her. RENEE I hate it when you are right. But you are probably right. We'll try the truth first. (Renee stops the car. Both Peter and Renee get out of the car. Mona walks on stage. She is a small, frail woman. She has trouble walking and it looks as if it takes all her energy just to take one step) MONA Renee, is that you? Are you alright? How's my daughter? What's wrong with Peter? Did you have to show him who the boss was? RENEE I'm fine, mother. We kinda had a little roadside accident on the way here. MONA I'd say so! Well, let's take Peter inside and get that gash cleaned up. MONA So how was the trip? RENEE and PETER Don't ask! RENEE By the way, could we borrow some money...