I Want to Hear Stuff
The Stripper Played by Rose
Because this is a scene about hearing, the silences are important. Don’t rush through them.
The blind man sits on a bus bench (outside of Rose’s peepshow) next to a new bread maker in a box. In his hand he holds a red hat. Since he is no longer blind, he’s looking at the trees that line the street. He closes his eyes and listens. Rose approaches and quietly sits next to him. He does not open his eyes.
Blind Man: I didn’t know my hat was red. I’ve been wearing it for years and I had no idea that it was red.
Rose: It’s a nice hat.
They sit quietly. He opens his eyes and looks at her.
Blind Man: This is my newest bread maker.
Blind Man: My daughter thinks I’m insane baking all this bread. But really, have you listened to these things?
Rose: No…I can’t say that I have. But when I was little and living at home, my mom used to bake bread…the smell would fill the whole house. I was sure Heaven would smell just like that. If I believed in Heaven, that is.
Blind Man: Sure, everyone talks about the smell of home-baked bread, but does anyone ever listen to the sounds of these suckers?
Rose: To be honest, I’m sure most people find it annoying.
Blind Man: Annoying? I’ll tell you what’s annoying…the dumb things people say, like “oh, you’re blind—you must be able to hear really good.” First of all it’s “hear really well” not “good.” And secondly people are so talented at stating the obvious that they think they’ve just told you of something you might otherwise have been completely unaware.
Rose: Maybe they’re just uncomfortable. I make people uncomfortable.
Blind Man: What, when they find your about your job?
Rose: Oh, did you catch the show?
Blind Man: Yeah, Mistress Clytemnestra, right?
Rose: (smiling to herself) Something like that.
She takes a cigarette out of her purse and holds it, but doesn’t light it. The Blind Man watches her play with the cigarette in her fingers for a moment.
Blind Man: Well, if your job, and my blindness make people uncomfortable, then they should unbunch their panties.
Rose: Differences make people uncomfortable.
Blind Man: Some people are blind. Some people are deaf. Some people are in wheelchairs and some people are just morons. That shouldn’t make them uncomfortable. Saying “fuck you” to a nun should make them uncomfortable.
Rose: Ignorance never is bliss.
Blind Man: But it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. Do you know why? Because they know that they won’t be a nun…or that they’d have to make a conscious choice to be a nun…but they don’t know if they’ll ever go blind. I’m a reminder of what may happen. That’s what makes them uncomfortable.
They sit quietly again.
Blind Man: When you hear a bread maker churning, it’s like listening to life.
Rose: Life sounds like a bread maker?
Blind Man: Life sounds like life. There are whirrings and churnings all around us. Besides I’m sure there’s something somewhere that compares bread to life. Then why not a bread maker to the sounds of being alive.
Rose: The intestinal music of a bread machine.
Blind Man: The heartbeat of the bread machine.
Pause. The Blind Man wonders.
Blind Man: Why did you come out here?
Pause. Reasons, excuses, but no answer. She throws the cigarette to the ground and stomps it out even though it was never lit.
Blind Man: My daughter bought me an Ipod.
Rose: That was very nice of her.
Blind Man: I don’t know how to load any music on to it.
Pause. He thinks about admitting his ignorance.
Blind Man: I don’t even know if it’s “upload” or “download.”
Blind Man: Thank you.
They sit quietly. Rose reaches into her purse and pulls out a snow globe. The Blind Man watches her. She shakes it and they both watch the scene until the snow settles.
Blind Man: That was neato.
Pause. Rose quietly puts the snow globe back into her purse.
Blind Man: My turn. Close your eyes.
He closes his eyes.
Rose: What for?
Blind Man: Come on, are you saying you don’t trust a blind man?
Rose: I don’t trust men, blind or not.
Blind Man: Thank you for not discriminating. Now shut up and close your eyes.
Rose: You’re very pushy.
Blind Man: I’m old and have spent the majority of my life blind. It’s become kind of a superpower now.
She stares at him for a moment…then closes her eyes. Pause. He opens his eyes to make sure she has hers closed; then he closes his eyes again.
Blind Man: Now listen.
Rose: To what?
Blind Man: Everything.
Pause. They listen.
Blind Man: What do you hear?
Rose: The traffic.
Blind Man: And…
Rose: …more traffic. What do you want me to hear?
Blind Man: Slow down. Forget the traffic.
Pause. She listens. Concentrates. Filters out the traffic. She hears…
Rose: I hear…
Pause, does she want to tell what she hears? They begin talking quieter.
Blind Man: What do you hear?
Rose: I hear…well, I don’t know how to explain it.
Blind Man: Try.
Blind Man: Applause?Rose: Far away a crowd is cheering.
He listens for the sound. He recognizes it.
Blind Man: It’s the quaking aspens.
Rose: The what?Blind Man: The trees. The quaking aspen leaves in the slight breeze. It makes them rattle and they sound like an audience.
Rose: It’s kind of like ocean waves, too, isn’t it?
Pause. They listen to the applause. To the ocean waves. To the trees.
Blind Man: I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.
Rose: Haven’t we all.
Blind Man: I’ve made many bad choices.
Blind Man: I had a son.
Rose: I’m a classically trained ballerina. Could have gone to Julliard if I’d had the money.
Rose: What happened to him?
Blind Man: Who?
Rose: Your son.
Blind Man: I abandoned him. I have no idea what became of him or even who he is.
Rose: You’re kind of a bastard.
Blind Man: When I listen like this I can hear my own heart beating. Can you hear yours?
Pause. They listen. Everything gets quiet. Rose waits. With her eyes still closed, she smiles. She speaks in a whisper.
Rose: Yes. I can hear it. I can hear my heart. My own heart beats like this: Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Lub-dub.
The Blind Man opens his eyes and looks at her.
Blind Man: The Zojirushi X20 bread machine has a heartbeat at its center. If you listen close enough.
Blind Man: I miss the old days.
Rose: Like when you were a little boy?
Blind Man: No…back when I was blind.
Rose: You miss being blind?
Blind Man: When I couldn’t see how empty the world is without my wife in it.
He closes his eyes. Rose speaks quietly.
Rose: Lub-dub. Lub-dub.
She listens to her heart. Suddenly she opens her eyes.
Rose: I really just want to dance…to…to dance as an art. But no one wants art anymore. All they want is sex. So I dance to sell them sex. But they don’t see the dance…the art form. I love to dance. You might hear a heartbeat, but I hear the eight-count tapping out a rhythm.
Blind Man: Slow down. Listen.
Rose breathes in deeply. Sits quietly for a moment. Closes her eyes.
Rose: Lub-dub. Lub-dub.
Blind Man: My heart beats and I think… I think that maybe, just maybe, I can fix some of those mistakes.
Rose: Do you really think you can?
Blind Man: You’re making me into a spider, miss.
Rose: I have no idea what that means.
Blind Man: Me neither. Now shut up… Listen.
They sit quietly. Eyes closed. Listening. Fade Out.