September 6 2012 – Debug

Debug

A and B. Sisters. 30s. Standing on the front porch of A’s house. B has a large plastic bag filled with smaller Ziploc bags that contain various belongings. A has been inspecting these closely, holding them up to the porch light and laying them on the porch. B has been watching, growing more self-conscious and uncomfortable.

B
There are none.

A (continues inspecting)
I know.

B
I was careful.

A
I don’t doubt you.

B
Exacting.

A
Mm-hm.

B
Like you said.

A has placed all the small bags on the porch, now she takes the empty large bag and gives it the same treatment.

Jesus.

A
Thoroughness is the only-

B
I am cold and I would like to reacquaint myself with sleep.

A
Sweetie, I’ve got a shutdown at work tomorrow, I am wading around in the company’s brains for – I’m estimating – twelve hours. The last thing I need is to contaminate the server room.

B
Right.

A
Methodical is the way to get this.

B
Right.

A
Honestly, the best way would have been for you to stay put during the treatment-

B
I researched this shit, you know.

A
Volume.

B
I know all this.

A
Volume.

B
I can not stay there.

A
And that’s fine. I understand.

B
You think I want the fucking chore

A
Language.

B
of coming all the way out here?

A
I know.

B
This is fucking nowhere. You live nowhere.

A
At least you don’t have to commute these days.

Pause.

You showered?

B
Just before I left.

A (indicating the clothes B is wearing)
Those?

B
Right out of the dryer.

A
And the clothes you changed into those from?

B (choking on it a bit)
…Threw them out.

A
Okay.

Beat.

Just inside the door is a little sort of box you can put all this stuff in. It heats up to a killing temperature.

B
How much was that.

A
Couple hundred.

B starts to hyperventilate, but trying to hide it.

It’s, whatever, you can owe me. Part of the treatment.

B
I will.

A
Of course.

B
I will pay it.

A
It’s just my turn to be up right now, okay, that’s all. You take your time. Don’t even think about it. Okay?

B has a bit of a lid back on things.

Okay. So while your things are heating, head downstairs, have a shower down there. And I set up an air mattress for you in the laundry room, it’s right off the bathroom-

B
You-

A
It’s a very comfortable mattress, Michael and I slept on it for almost a week before all the furniture got here.

B
You-

A
It’s a queen. And the laundry room is huge

B
You have a guest room. Upstairs.

A
Oh god don’t be- Sweetie, this is just for containment, okay? The basement’s finished, it’s heated-

B
I’m just gonna go.

A
Where?

B
I’ll just call-

A
Who, one of your, what’s his name?

B
I can call Troy.

A
But he won’t take you.

Beat. B dials.

Out of the blue? Something this big? You guys don’t really have, you aren’t…like that. Are you? Is he answering?

B
Goodbye, thanks anyway.

Angrily pockets her phone gathers up bags.

A
I don’t understand what all this emotion is about-

B
You know, that’s your problem, this is normal to have feelings about, I’m not the fucking weirdo robot

A
YOU ARE NOT BRINGING YOUR BUGS IN HERE

Beat.

I will take on, I will accept a lot from you, okay, you are family. You are welcome. Your bugs are not.

B
I probably got them from here.

A
Oh do you figure.

B
They showed up after your housewarming, after I came out here.

A
That seems most likely to you?

B
You think you don’t get them out here?

A
No bites.

B
Not everyone reacts to bites.

A
So you figure here. You figure us.

B
Probably worse out here no one will admit, probably every other house-

A
Doesn’t seem likelier that it was Troy? Or one of the others? Some random…?

Beat.

Just some bad choice, one night?

Beat.

That seems likelier to me. Mathematically.

Beat.

I have situations here that can not be contaminated. You have to understand.

Pause.

B (ice, but cracking)
So the laundry room

A
Yes, but once you’re in, once you’re wearing things that have been heated

B
Right

A
feel free to

B
Right

A
the kitchen or

B
wherever

A
I moved a little table down there for you. To eat at or whatever.

B
Thank you

A
The little TV.

B
From the guest room

A
It’s a good TV.

Beat.

And anytime you come in from outside, whatever you’re wearing if you could just-

B
Little heat

A
About an hour.

B
Thank you

A
Great. All clear?

B
Grand

A
Awesome. Anything else?

B
Will you hug me? Will you just hold onto me?

Pause.

A
Of course.

Pause.

Can I owe you?

And B bursts into violent sobs, crouching into a ball on the porch. She just bawls.

Jesus. Oh sweetie Jesus.

An impulse to touch B, which she fights.

I’m sorry sweetie I’m so sorry I’m so sorry

B weeps.

You don’t need to pay for the heat machine. You don’t have to worry about the money.

B weeps.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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