By Steven Dovers
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(Lights up on a simple set. Benjamin, an aspiring writer, and Emily, his publisher, are having lunch at a small café. Emily is deep inside Ben’s newest work.)
E: I got to tell ya, Benjamin. This is pure gold here.
E: Gold that flowed out on paper. This is it. Your big hit. Everyone is going to know your name after this one.
B: Thank you.
E: But I got to ask ya, who is Deborah?
E: Yeah, on the dedication page. You dedicated the book “For Deborah.” So who is she?
B: Oh, her… (Pause) No one.
(Emily freezes, Ben stands walks forward and begins to talk to the audience. While he is talking, the set is being changed from the café to his home office. By the end of his speech, he is sitting at his desk in front of his laptop.)
B: I first met Deborah about a year ago. It was a strange situation. I was trying to write my first novel and she was dating an associate of mine; but for some reason, she came to me. It was never supposed to happen. I never meant for it to happen. But I guess some people are just out of your control. Even if you created them in the first place.
(Ben is typing when in walks Deborah. She is wearing clothes from a past time period. She looks around the room to find Ben typing at the computer.)
D: Excuse me, Benjamin?
B: (startled) Yes.
D: Hi. I’m Deborah Fielding.
B: (in a bit of shock) I know who you are.
D: Oh, well of course you do. I guess it was silly of me to introduce myself.
B: (Long Pause) I don’t mean to be rude, Deborah, but why are you here? Didn’t I just leave you in the arms of William Waterson?
D: Oh yes, and I do thank you for that. William is a fine man. Thank you very much for giving him to me. At one moment I thought that you were going to give him to Jenna Young.
B: Well, again, I already knew that. You see, that is the great thing about being the writer. You already know what is going to happen.
D: Yes, I suppose you’re right. I just wanted to express my feelings to you in person.
B: Well, Deborah, another great thing about being the writer is that I already know how you feel. In fact, I’m the one who gave you those feelings.
D: Yes, I suppose you’re right again. (Pause. Ben continues to type) So what am I feeling right now?
B: Well, you are in love.
D: (with excitement) Yes. Yes I am.
B: William has just whisked you off to Paris, where you are expecting a proposal.
D: (Disappointed) Oh, yes, William.
B: I have a feeling that the two of you are going to be very happy together.
D: Yes, I am sure we are. Well, I should really be going to Paris, I guess. Maybe I’ll see you around later? (She exits slowly, while looking back at Ben, typing vigorously. He stops and speaks)
B: I guess this was all my fault. I shouldn’t have let her jump out of the story like that. I shouldn’t have made her so willful and strong; or so beautiful. I could have stopped it. But there was just something about seeing your creation come to life. It was like a mini high every time she came to visit. Plus, it was nice to have someone to talk to for a change. Someone who thought I had talent. Even if she wasn’t real.
(Ben is again typing at the computer. More papers can be seen around the room with a stack right next to Ben. Deborah enters and sneaks up on Ben while he is typing)
D: Hey Benjamin!
B: (Startled) Oh, hey Deborah. What are you doing here?
D: I just came by to tell you that an African safari was a great idea for a honeymoon. I had a marvelous time.
D: And I know that you already know that I loved it, but I just wanted to tell you in person. You really are brilliant.
B: Thank you Deborah.
D: Those things you had William do to me in bed, well I never knew such feelings existed!
B: (quite uncomfortable) Well, in all actuality, they might not.
D: Oh, but they do and I loved it! Thank you so much.
B: Well, you’re welcome. It was nothing really.
D: Nothing! Come on, it was like five pages straight of pure heaven.
B: Deborah please…
D: And I have you to thank for all of it.
B: Well, like I said, you’re welcome. (Begins typing again)
D: Do you want to know a secret?
B: Well I’m sure I already know what you are going to say, but I have a feeling that I can’t stop you.
D: I was thinking of you the whole time.
B: (almost chokes in surprise) Excuse me!
D: I was thinking of you the whole time I was with William in Africa.
B: No you weren’t!
D: In fact, I am thinking of you every time I’m with him.
B: No you don’t! Your mind is full of fireworks and magic. I know, because I wrote.
D: No, that is what you think that I was feeling.
B: Deborah, I have it written down on page 300 and something. I can show it to you if you would like me to.
D: (taken back by his tone and denial) No, I don’t want to see it. (Advancing toward him) But maybe I should start having an affair with a bright, young writer. That would be an interesting plot twist. Don’t ya think?
B: I think you should go. You’re supposed to be at the doctors waiting for the results of your pregnancy test.
D: (angrier for the first time) Oh, of course, I’m a woman; I just got married, so naturally I should just start popping out some kids. How original, Ben.
B: Thanks for the criticism, but the last time I checked you never wrote a novel.
D: Funny, because the last time I checked, you never have either. (Pause) Hey, I’m sorry. I’m just going to go. Don’t want to keep the doctor waiting. Good-bye Benjamin. (Exits is a hurry, Ben begins typing)
B: Frankenstein and his monster, Henry Higgins and Eliza, me and Deborah; we all have one thing in common, we all ended up losing control.
(Ben begins typing very fast and is in deep thought. A larger stack of papers can be seen next to him. Deborah enters very fast and walks right over to the desk.)
D: I have got a bone to pick with you, Benjamin. You have got a lot of nerve.
B: Oh no, I was afraid of this.
D: Why the hell did you make William sterile?
B: Hey, it wasn’t me. It was the gases he inhaled from the war.
D: And who made him inhale those gases? (Waits for response but Ben says nothing) Exactly. So what now, I just don’t get to have any kids! That’s not fair!
B: Hey, weren’t you just complaining that you didn’t want to start having kids!
D: I never said that I didn’t want to have them ever! This is bull shit, Ben. I can’t believe that you would do this to me.
B: Look; the story wouldn’t be interesting to read if you got everything you wanted. I’m not writing a fairy tale here. Would you like me to transfer you to Dr. Seuss? Maybe he would give you one kid, two kids, red kids, blue kids!
D: You know what I think. I think that you don’t want me to have children with William because you are secretly in love with me!
B: (shocked and stammered) What are you talking about? You’re not real. You are a figment of my imagination. You are just a character in a story that I am writing so I can become famous and show all them punks that told me that I could never do this. That’s all.
D: Oh, don’t play dumb with me mister. I know what you are thinking just as much as you know my thoughts. Remember, I came from inside your head. I can read all of your tiny thoughts. Like right now, you are thinking of throwing me down on this bed and making mad love to me.
B: (quietly) I want you to leave.
D: You want to do all the things to me that are etched on pages 364 through 369. Just because you never typed it down on your computer doesn’t mean that you don’t want it. Well, what is stopping you? I’m here and I want it to so let’s go. Take me Benjamin.
B: (slightly louder) Leave now.
D: No I will not leave. I refuse for you to sit at that computer and type out my life for me. I refuse to just do whatever your bidding is. And I refuse to let you deny yourself and me of this love that we feel for each other. I mean, what gives you the right to do that!
B: (slamming his laptop closed making her freeze in her tracks) Because I made you!
D: (tries to move but realizes that she can’t) Ben, what’s going on? Why can’t I move?
B: Because I’m not letting you, Deborah. I am not letting you move or say one more thing. (Close to breaking down) Okay, so you’re right. I love you! I love you more than anything I have ever known. And I keep writing and writing this stupid story because I don’t want to let you go. But this love isn’t real. It can’t be real. And I can’t live like this any more Deborah. I can’t have a relationship with a woman that doesn’t even exist. (He opens the laptop, which allows her to move again) That is why the story has to end. (Begins typing again)
B: I’ve decided that William is going to kill himself because he feels that he has let you down by not being able to give you children. And you are going to be left even more alone then before you met him.
B: It’s tragic and beautiful at the same time.
D: You can’t do this! Why…? So I am going to loose the man I love and my husband. Why would you do that to me?
B: Hey, look at it this way; you may become one of the great characters in American literature.
D: But I don’t want that. I don’t want this! (Stares into his eyes) How can you do this to someone you said that you love.
B: (with great pain) I do love you, Deborah. But like I said, if we get everything we want, no one is going to want to read it.
D: Please don’t do this to me Ben—to us. I don’t want the story to end. Not like this.
B: (Finishes typing, she begins to fade) Well it just did. (She fades back leaving Ben alone. A single spot is left showing just him and his laptop. Curtain)