A Full Length Play
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1990,
UNDER SIEGE (1995) aka CHOICES (1990) follows the education
of Emily, an idealistic young woman who begins training as an
abortion counselor after having seen a TV show where the charismatic
Allison described the important work that clinic counselors
do. Allison made a plea for courageous women to come help their
sisters deal with stressful choices at a time when the clinics
themselves are under siege.
Surrounded by pickets yelling "murderers!",
bombarded with death threats and bomb scares, the counselors
who take Emily under their wing --Sherrie, Jill, and Martha--
have various personal reasons for staying with their high-risk
low-pay jobs. But they also have unique ways of coping with
the stress-- notably, the group has developed a gallows humor
that includes a running contest for the most outrageous abortion "war
As we see the
counselors helping a cross-section of patients, and supporting
each other in their work and in their personal lives, we begin,
also, to sense the psychic costs. Their lives are inevitably
affected by the misery, desperation and sense of failure they
deal with daily -- and by the jaundiced view of men that results
During the course of the play, Emily becomes stronger
and more competent, even learning Spanish so that she can
help serve the Latino patients who are Allison's special concern;
but Allison burns out and quits. The last scene is a farewell-party-wedding-shower
for Allison, where all the emotional strands of the counselors'
lives come together in tears and bawdy laughter. Here's
a photo of
that scene from a workshop done at the Arlington Street
Church in Boston.
The play has a single unit set, and 27 women's parts---- which
can, with doubling, be played by as few as 10 actresses. It is
important that the women on stage represent the diversity in the
community where the play is performed, and directors are urged
to make dialogue changes to accomplish this. Research for the
play was done in clinics in Brookline, MA --including the two
where John Salvi murdered the abortion workers-- and in San Francisco.
Special thanks to Anna Gonzales Weiss and her colleagues, who
shared their stories.
As CHOICES, the script was developed at the SUNDANCE Institute
Lab in 1990, and it has had workshop productions in Boston and
at the University of Nebraska, and staged readings at Wisdom Bridge,
Potomac Theater, San Francisco Dramarama, Rhode Island Playwrights,
Unicorn Theater, and the International Center in Buffalo. Revised
in 1995 after the Brookline clinic attack, CHOICES had an April
1995 staging to benefit Planned Parenthood, and two performances
in May 1995 at the Out Loud Theatre.
UNDER SIEGE (a.k.a. CHOICES)
The setting is an abortion clinic. The main playing area of the
unit set is the counselors' lounge. Two cubicles are used for
counseling, and there should be a neutral space that represents
other areas in the clinic.
There are five main continuing characters, the counselors.
SALLY, the supervisor, is a continuing character who appears
in only a few short scenes, and the actress playing her may double:
EVE and MARIA are possibilities. With rapid changes of costume
and wig, a cast of eight could perform all 27 roles, but it is
suggested that some additional actors be used. Two must be able
to play a scene in Spanish.
The author worked on the script with two casts: one with 11
actors (5 were African-American, 2 Hispanic) and one with 13
actors (6, 2,& 5). The ethnic composition of the cast should
reflect the community -- a production in Duluth should look very
different from a production in Detroit.
ALLISON: late 20's; the daughter of a diplomat, Allison grew
up speaking Spanish. Warm and competent, with a wicked sense
of humor, she's everyone's best friend.
SHERRIE: 40's; married, earthy, Jewish. She is the artist, the
group griot, turning the tedium and tragedy of their days into
stories. Dresses well and expensively.
JILL: 20's; working class background, empathy and political
perspective. She wears punkish outfits, tight black leather that
threatens to burst from her anger and restlessness. Bulimic.
MARTHA: 40's; a widow with grown daughters. Motherly, religious,
EMILY: 20's; the "new girl". Insecure and overwhelmed at first,
she models herself on Allison and grows into a woman of understanding
SALLY: 30's; the supervisor. When she isn't being "boss", she's
KAY: 20's; the "new girl" who replaces Allison.
SARAH: 21, the med student
BABE: 15, second abortion
MARIA: 28, battered
MARY: 16, Catholic schoolgirl
GRETEL: 28, Yuppie
TERESA: 26, 5 kids, 4 abortions, no English.
EVE: 35, partner's a woman
PEG: 16, wants baby
JAN: 44, refuses counseling.
CAROLYN: 35, can't afford another child
TINA: 17, date rape
RUTH: 22, raped by her friend's husband
JUDY: 12, just a kid
GALE: 30,partner's totally dependent
ANDREA: 32, husband has AIDS
BRANDY: 22, a screw loose
SUE: 30, he ducks
SIS: 16, dope and incest
RITA: 23, The Repeater
CHOICES copyright 1988 (Sundance revision 8/90)
ACT ONE -- IN THE DARK
(Sounds of pro-lifers chanting. They
spot a woman coming into the clinic, and address her individually.
Allison is making her way through the crowd to get into the
Don't go in there!
Don't be a
Mommy, mommy, don't kill me!
Stop and think, honey.
You're so young.
You'll have this on your
conscience your whole life.
Don't do it! You'll be sorry.
can help you with your baby.
Don't be one of those murderers.
Have those bloodsucking killers
told you about the malpractice suit?
Every day a woman leaves
here in an ambulance.
You're going to die!
Murderer! You'll burn
in hell for this. Forever.
ALLISON (voice off, ad lib)
Please. Let me through.
the door, waving donut box) Donuts! Donuts!
SCENE ONE -- DONUTS
(in COUNSELORS' lounge)
Hot shit, breakfast!
Allison to the rescue!
JILL (crosses away)
Sugar and grease. Don't let me near
Hallelujah! I was about to faint from hunger. Sherrie
forgot to bring the fruit.
SHERRIE (opens donut package)
I shouldn't have promised.
Mondays I'm lucky to be here. Come to Momma, you luscious little
lumps of chloresterol-- Powdered? Fuck!
Allison, honey, I can't eat powdered. Not in this dress.
Even if I liked them.
Shit, Martha, I thought you were on the edge of starvation.
I am, but I'll stay there, thank you. Unless there's
something left over from the weekend.
Cupcakes. Pink cupcakes.
From last Thursday.
And they're moldy: I checked.
I didn't order powdered. I swear! I said "honey dip"!
Yeah? In Spanish, maybe?
I'll take them back. (takes box,
Fuck it, sweetie. The needy hordes are descending on
Leave them on the table. Somebody'll be desperate enough.
Don't you dare leave them!
You feel a binge coming
Yesterday, sombody put a death threat in my coat pocket.
My God, who? Did you show it to the police?
I don't know who. I threw it away. All I want is to forget
it, all right? Before I go berserk and eat everything that isn't
nailed down. A true friend would eat those stupid donuts and
get them away from me.
The whole box? Trevor claims he loves me for my mind,
but I don't really want to put him to the test.
Serve them to the patients.
Shit, those women have enough problems. (twirls
donut on her finger) They do sorta look like condoms, don't
JILL (picks up donut)
Only to a dirty mind!
To a medical mind. To a dirty mind they look like--
JILL (throws donut back in box)
Get them out of here!
We could hand them out to the pro-lifers.
Now you're talking!
Sprinkled with arsenic.
No, I think it'd be a fine gesture. Like the Bible says,
a good deed in the face of thine enemies heaps coals of fire
on their heads.
Too goddam metaphorical. Just throw em the donuts.
It'll drive them crazy. (opens window, sound
JILL (as cheerleader)
All right! Way to go! (MARTHA
and ALLISON giggle and wave donuts as SHERRIE lobs her donut
down to the crowd)
Cupcakes, too! (JILL prepares to throw down
SHERRIE (calling out)
O Mr. Righteous, want a donut?
Jackie-baby, aren't you building up an appetite, marching around
SALLY (enters with EMILY)
Ladies! Keep it down!! We
can hear you in the waiting room. (SHERRIE hands SALLY the
donut box and closes the window. SALLY sighs and hands the
box back) This is Emily. She's our new counselor, and she'll
be starting in training this morning. Allison, I'd like her
to observe with you.
ALLISON (shifts donut to left, shakes
Glad to have you.
EMILY (hand covered with powered sugar)
Thank you. I--
Allison'll show you the ropes. I'll talk to you after
lunch, after you've had a chance to get an idea of how it goes.
If you have any questions the counselors can't answer, write
them down and you can ask me then.
(SALLY exits. EMILY looks baffled)
ALLISON (hands EMILY a napkin)
Sally's short and sweet,
isn't she? This is Jill, and Martha, and Sherrie's the loud
MARTHA (leads EMILY to couch)
Don't worry, honey, we'll
take care of you.
SHERRIE (pressing her to sit)
Sit down. Have a donut!
the donut box on EMILY's lap. The others, laughing, offer EMILY
their donuts) Have them all!
SCENE TWO -- THE RAP
(ALLISON addresses audience. EMILY listens)
After we've finished counseling, I'll take you to
the procedure room. You'll go behind a curtain in the corner
and undress from the waist down, and cover yourself with a paper
drape. When you're ready, the doctor will come in.
Now, the first thing the doctor will do is a simple pelvic
exam: two fingers in the vagina and pushing on your stomach---
(show with plastic model)
to feel the size and position of your uterus. Then the doctor
will insert a speculum, and perform a pap test and gonorrhea
After that he'll swab the cervix and vagina with an antiseptic
solution called betadine, and then numb the cervix with a local
anesthetic called lidocaine--it's like novocaine, the stuff they
use at the dentist's. You may feel a few pinches with the anesthesia,
but it's not as bad as novocaine at the dentist's.
Next the doctor will begin to dilate your cervix, gradually
stretching it with slender metal rods until it's about the
size of a dime. This takes about one minute, and some women
feel some cramping about this time. That's normal, and happens
because the uterus muscle is being stretched. The final step
in the procedure is when the doctor takes this slender plastic
tube-- (shows instrument, demonstrates sound,
talks over it) called a cannula, which is attached to the aspiration
machine, and with a very gentle suction removes all the tissue
in the uterus. Some women feel more cramping at this time, or some
bumping sensations- it doesn't hurt, but it does feel strange.
The termination usually takes five to seven minutes from beginning
to end. Then the medical assistant will help you get up and
get dressed, and she'll take you to the recovery room, where
there are reclining chairs and heating pads, and she'll also
call whoever's waiting downstairs for you and let them know
you're OK. You'll go home in twenty to thirty minutes. By that
time you should be past the danger of hemorrhage.
You can expect some bleeding over the next couple of days --
less than a normal period -- and spotting for a while after that.
OK? Now, we'll see you individually and answer any questions.
SCENE THREE -- BOSTON UNIVERSITY STUDENT
(SARAH, 21, wears neat casual
clothes & carries a book)
Sarah? (SARAH enters from audience) Hi. My name
is Allison. I'm going to be your counselor. This is Emily. She's
training, and she's supposed to sit in and listen and not say
anything. Is that OK with you? Can you ignore her?
SARAH (shakes hands with EMILY)
Is it all right if I
I'm Sarah. How do you do?
We're going to go back here to talk. All right?
(THEY SIT in down
So. How are you feeling? Are you OK?
A little nauseous. I haven't had breakfast.
What's that you're reading?
It's for class. I'm a senior at BU. Pre med.
Great! Then you must have a good understanding of the
concepts. But do you have any questions? About the procedure?
No, I think you covered everything.
OK, so, having heard all that, how do you feel about
Nervous, I guess. I never thought I'd do this.
Never thought about it? I mean, accidents happen.
Not to me! You know, that's how you think. If birth control
failure's -- what? two percent? three percent? That's somebody
But now that it has happened, how do you feel?
Stupid! Jinxed. Cause it's not something I even want to
think about right now. I've got to graduate! Plus, my boyfriend
and I aren't even sure we'll be in the same part of the country
next year. There's no way we could cope with a child. Not now.
Not and be doctors.
Who have you been able to talk to about this?
Jimmy, of course. And my roommate.
God, no. I'll probably tell my mom, afterwards. Maybe
a long time afterwards.
Wouldn't she be there for you? Say, if there were complications?
I've got friends. And my aunt Jessie. She wouldn't be shocked.
What about tonight? Who's going to be with you?
Jimmy's waiting downstairs to drive me home. He rented
a couple of old movies: Bringing Up Baby.
He got you what?
That was a joke.
Good! That's good, that you can joke.
But what about later?
I feel horrible saying this, but I'm pretty sure all I'm
going to feel is relieved.
What's so horrible about that? It sounds to me as if
you've thought about this and you're comfortable with it. (SARAH
nods) OK, well, I have some consent forms here. If you want
to sign them now-- (passes SARAH papers) Emily, I'll
walk her down to the waiting area. You can go ahead.
up to leave. SARAH gives EMILY a friendly wave. Lights fade
on ALLISON and SARAH as EMILY exits)
SCENE FOUR -- OUT OF THE MOUTHS
(EMILY enters and sits silently
with MARTHA as she counsels in the down left cubicle. BABE wears
a loud top, jeans and heels. She's chewing gum and listening
to a Walkman)
It says here that you're fifteen years old, is that right?
BABE (takes off earphones)
And this is your second abortion. (BABE
nods) Have you
been using birth control?
Yeah. I have. I'm on the pill.
Then what do you think the problem is?
BABE (blows bubble with gum)
I don't know. The pills?
Maybe they're not strong enough.
What kind are you taking?
I don't know. The clinic gives them to me. They're pink.
Are you taking them every day?
Were you taking the pill before?
At the time of your first abortion. Six months ago.
Naw. I didn't know how to get them.
But you do now.
But you still got pregnant. What happened?
Don't you think it's likely to happen again?
What's going to be different?
It was an accident, OK? I'll remember. You think I like
You know, repeated abortions could mean that when you're
ready to have a baby, there'd be complications.
You're not gonna take my tubes out?!!
Of course not! We've explained the procedure. You understood
the explanation, didn't you?
A gentle suction. A vacuum aspiration machine.
Those people out there, they said you might suck my whole
insides out. I'd die, or never be able to have babies.
Don't worry. That's never happened.
Never. Once in about two hundred cases we have infection,
or a clot-- minor things, that just mean another trip to a doctor.
How many have died?
None. In twenty years at this clinic, not a single death.
BABE (blows bubble)
Unless you count the babies.
Do you think we should count them? (BABE
shrugs, pops bubble) Well, it's not quite the same as getting
your toenails cut, is it? How do you think you're going to
be feeling, after?
All right, I guess.
How did you feel last time?
When you had your first abortion.
I don't remember.
Try to think back.
It's hard. That's a long time.
Six months. How did you feel?
Oh. OK. Sleepy, I guess.
Anything else? Any reason to think that you'll be worried
or sad? Maybe depressed?
Maybe I had some cramps. At the time the machine was doing
it. And then afterwards--
I don't know. Afterwards.. Maybe I'll feel like going
out to eat afterwards. Is it OK if I have Chinese?
BABE and cubicle)
SCENE FIVE -- TROUBLES
(ALLISON joins EMILY and MARTHA in the "corridor",
passing into LOUNGE)
Don't you just want to shake her?! Tell her to grow
up, take care of herself! Not that I was so mature at her age.
But I wasn't trying to be cool. I wanted to be good. Please
everybody. Especially my Daddy. He was a deacon in the church,
very dignified, and I guess I thought if I obeyed his rules
and the Bible's rules and did my best, God and His good people
would provide. Well, the Lord's never let me down. But some
of those so-called Christians!
(They move into lounge, get
Telephone for Sherrie, line 6.
My daughters, now, they've got better sense.
SHERRIE (phone in LOUNGE)
Yeah, hello? Speaking.
But they've got you to talk to, Martha. For a lot of
girls, there's no communication.
Again? Oh shoot. OK, listen, this time call his father.
Call his father at work.
It's not easy. I failed my oldest girl-- didn't even
see she needed me. But I like to think I've learned some since
(ad lib getting snacks under SHERRIE's phone
SHERRIE (on phone)
I understand, and I'm grateful to you
for letting me know. But I'm out of ideas. I've spoken to Mark,
I've screamed at Mark, I've grounded him and cut off his allowance.
Nothing's made an impression. His father's a big shot, people
all day say "yes sir" and do what he tells them! Try his dad
for a change. -- I appreciate that, Mr. Schniderman. Thanks
for calling. (hangs up) Goddam cocksucking sonofabitch!
Your son again?
I know he's breaking a mother's heart. But in some neighborhoods,
he'd be a model citizen.
In mine he's a fucking disgrace! Summer school again,
and if he graduates next year it'll be a miracle. Then what?
Burger King? (ALLISON begins massaging SHERRIE's
It's better than prison.
Not in my neighborhood. Think of the investment! My
whole salary last year probably went for Mark's incidentals.
Sports equipment, concert tickets, parking tickets, dentists,
the tutors. No matter that my husband gave a couple of grand
to Brandeis, if Mark applies they'll laugh in his face. (Pause.
MARTHA's not listening)
EMILY (joins in, shyly)
My brother was wild as a teenager,
but once he got a job and a nice girl, he straightened right
out. He turned into a really fine man. And a super father.
Straightened out? Like teeth? I'll pay, where do I go?
An orthodontist of the soul!
ALLISON (puts arm around SHERRIE)
Cheer up. Would you
want him more like his dad?
God no! (they laugh and hug)
MARTHA (shows a thick file to EMILY)
Now, Emily, this
is why I maybe wanted to scare that little girl in there. So
she won't be back here in six months, building up a file like
Shit, look at that, will you? It's a novel, a fucking
epic! War and Peace!
First visit, December of 1978.
How many has she had?
We'll have a pool. A buck a guess!
I don't recognize her name.
I do! Oh, God, Martha, I've gotta have that chart! Suicide
attempts, on anti-depressants, abusive relationships, husband's
a junkie. She went back to school to get her high school diploma,
her husband tore up her textbooks, tried to make her eat them!
This is wonderful. I've gotta have her again, Martha,
I'll give you five dollars!
MARTHA (gives file)
Thanks! I owe you.
ALLISON (to EMILY)
No, we don't usually do this.
Just me, Sweetie.
Sherrie's philosophy is: "There's nothing like--
SHERRIE and ALLISON together
"troubles to make you forget
SCENE SIX -- WICKED KING
(LIGHTS UP on left cubicle, EMILY joins
ALLISON and patient to sit in silently. MARIA, 28, wears colorful
skirt, blouse, & scarf, speaks with an accent -- NOT Spanish.)
If I started to show, and he found out, my husband would
use it in court to take the children. He doesn't want children,
all he does is yell and hit us, but I guess he wants to make
us suffer because he can't always be the boss of everything
any more, so he's fighting me for the custody. I feel terrible,
to have an abortion, to kill my innocent baby. But it's life
against life. If my husband found out he would kill all of us!
You can get a court order--
He would find my boyfriend and smash him to pieces!
You aren't saying that like, "if I get home after dark,
my mother will kill me"?
MARIA (shows bruise)
He is a monster. You see this? He
did this to me. And others, many others. That's why I have to
divorce him. My family says, he's your husband, a husband is
for life. If he beats you, you must change and do what he says,
so he will be good to you. But I say, this husband is for death,
and I am going to get away from him and be happy.
Have you talked to your family? Will they help you?
No, they mustn't know! They might tell him! I can't even
tell my sister. She would want to help me, she would try, but
she has a big mouth and I can't be sure it won't get back to
You need somebody-- a support group-- legal aid--
My boyfriend. He will help me. I won't have to tell him
why, he will help. Whatever I do. This is a wonderful man whose
baby I'm carrying, a gentle man. He treats me like a queen.
to cry) I'm sorry. I want to have this baby. (EMILY
ALLISON (gives Kleenex to MARIA)
It's OK. You have a right
I didn't mean to, I thought my crying was all over. I'm
ALLISON (gives EMILY Kleenex)
That's what the Kleenex
It makes me feel so bad. I thought I was going to be
all right. I thought I'd finally gotten away from him, and here
one more time he's running my life. Like a wicked king. Ruining
SCENE SEVEN -- EMILY SOLOS
(MARY is 17, carries schoolbooks)
MARY (Monologue, in spotlight)
It's killing. I know that.
But I have to. There's nowhere for us to go. So how would we
live? Go on welfare? That's what my girlfriend says. But she
doesn't know any better. She's seventeen and she lives in a
project with her baby, with her mother and sister. They stay
in their creepy little place all the time, afraid to go out.
And Doreen says if I want to keep it I can live there with her!
I mean, I appreciate that, she's a real friend. But I've always
said, thank God my family's not like that. We've got morals,
we've got pride. So I can't do this to them, especially my Dad.
I'll have a baby when I've got a house, with a big back yard
for him to play in, when I marry a Daddy he can be proud of.
(goes into cubicle, sits down across from
EMILY, in middle of session. ALLISON observes silently )
So we couldn't afford to start a family, even if we did decide
to get married.
It sounds to me as if you've thought this over very carefully.
And you feel comfortable about it.
I don't know if I can say that--
But you feel you've come to the right
Yes. I do. For lots of reasons.
Sure. But, you know--?
You can't believe how hard it was to walk in to this place.
Even this morning, when I got here, I had to walk twice around
Those protesters can be intimidating. I know they scare
me. You think, one of these people could be crazy enough to
have a gun.
Oh, it wasn't that. I didn't pay any attention. I hardly
Are you afraid of the-- procedure? That it'll be painful?
MARY (begins to cry)
No, no, you don't understand.
I can try. (silence. MARY cries) If you were to
talk to me about it--
It's no use--
EMILY (gives her Kleenex)
If there's any way that I can
You can't help! (EMILY's
distressed. MARY takes pity on her) I'm sorry. I don't
mean it's your fault. Nobody can help. It's what I have to
do, you understand? (EMILY begins to cry.
MARY gives EMILY Kleenex) But it's hard. (cradles
her stomach) Because it's
(lights fade, EMILY walks into the next
scene, crying. ALLISON hugs her.)
SCENE NINE -- WHAT IT IS WE DO HERE
(JILL and SHERRIE are playing
gin in the LOUNGE )
EMILY (sits on sofa)
I feel like such a fool.
We all cry. It's OK. Look-- Kleenex boxes all over!
SHERRIE (hands EM kisses)
Chocolate, have chocolate. Chemically,
this is love.
It's so embarrassing. In front of the client!
Call them "Patients". "Client" sounds like welfare.
Twice in one day. I'm so-- useless. She's forced to talk
to me. To justify herself. And I'm not able to--
JILL (gives EMILY glass of water)
Listen, that's all.
That's your job: validate her.
A naive kid from the suburbs?
That might even be an advantage. Really.
respectability, you know? She tells you, you treat her with
sympathy, she won't have nightmares.
You think so?
I know so! I had my abortion back in the bad old days,
when it was against the law. On a table, in the back room of
a pet shop--
A pet shop?! Are you serious?
Her doctor must have been a vet.
I think it was his brother. Anyway, I felt dirty, and
it used to come back to me, just like those assholes with the
signs out front say it does. Until the feminist movement came
along, and I went to a speak-out. A dozen of us got up, including
a nun!-- and I haven't felt guilty since.
Allison went one better. Told thousands. Went on T.V.
Full frontal! Not even her eyes blocked out.
I know. I saw her.
Great P.R., huh? Upper class glamour, South American
I thought you were wonderful, Allison. So brave.
She can afford to be. Her mother's in Buenos Aires.
Your parents don't know?
They know. They don't approve.
I've explained to my family. But if our neighbors found
You want to call it a " woman's health clinic", hon.
"My daughter works in a woman's health clinic."
Cause it's dangerous. There's guys out there think any woman's
pro-abortion is a whore. You're fair game.
You mean they'd think it's OK to--?
Rape you? Hell, yes. It's practically the guy's duty.
Seriously, Emily. Be careful who you tell. I said to
Allison after she went on that talk show, she should stick close
to her boyfriend. Have Trevor escort her.
(MARTHA enters, listens,
holding her aching head.)
If she can trust him!
ALLISON (yelling, too)
A person can't live like that!
Ladies, please! I know the world is just waiting for the
results of the discussion, here. But this is our refuge. The
only place we have to come to when we need a little quiet and
SHERRIE (offers kisses)
Piece of chocolate?
the candy away)
MARTHA (sits, groans)
Is that Martha, actually grumpy? Human like the rest
As you might say, Sherrie dear, fuck off.
You've got a migraine. (MARTHA
nods, puts her head down for ALLISON to massage her neck)
It's the rotten ventilation. We ought to call OSHA!
Take this pillow.
SHERRIE (offers pills)
Here's some Advil. You need anything
stronger? I'll go hit up one of the medicals.
Thanks. (takes pills)
I feel better already.
You take good care of each other.
Damn right. Nobody else will.
The doctors think we're dirt.
They think anything with a uterus is dirt.
It's nothing personal, Sweetie. It's class. You want
to be noticed by somebody almighty as an M.D. you've got to
have an advanced degree. Or be bleeding from the mouth. We're
dirt because we're dirt cheap. Can you believe? Some girls actually
try to live on what we're paid here. I hope you don't, Emily.
Of course not.
Emily's like me, killing time before grad school.
Bored, sitting around the house.
JILL (mimes tea with pinkie)
Filling in around the trust
Until she can follow in Sherrie's footsteps and marry
the biggest wholesale plumbing supply man on the East Coast.
You don't need to work here?
I need it. Believe me.
But not the money. The drama. It's all a daytime serial
to Sherrie, pure entertainment. Nobody's ever seen her cry.
I don't believe it. When?
Three weeks ago, wasn't it? (SHERRIE
nods, "yeah") The
little Indian girl, who was supposedly eleven weeks pregnant.
She turned out to be more like seventeen. But once the machine
starts, they can't stop. That much Product Of Conception,
takes an hour. But all the patient's had is the local. She's
shaking and crying, and Sherrie's there with her, holding
Wishing to hell I could understand her language, since
her translator got sick and ran away to puke. Shit! Little pieces
of flesh are coming out, hands and feet, blood's splatting all
over the room. By this time the language doesn't matter, the
poor thing's just screaming, digging her nails into my hands.
I had to get a tetanus shot.
Sherrie was supposed to clean up after, but she couldn't.
Shouldn't be our job.
Somebody has to.
This tiny heap of body parts.
So what did you think it is we do here?
It's needed, it's necessary, but I don't
want to look at it! OK? I don't go out of my way to look at
shit or puke, either.
JILL (follows SHERRIE out)
She goes out of her way to
talk about it--
Oh, God, we've made Emily cry again! (looks
helpless-- she has to leave now) Martha?
(MARTHA nods-- she'll
take care of Emily. ALLISON hands MARTHA the box of tissues
and exits. EMILY goes to the window, opens it, looks out
on marchers. Their chants are heard faintly.)
MARTHA (standing behind EMILY, looking
It's hard. Especially
at first. (hands EMILY a tissue) I almost quit, the first
week I started. Oh, I was real happy to get the job: all I'd
had was three semesters and here I was a professional! But my
own sister told me I should give it up, said it's not right.
Told the pastor I was a disgrace to the congregation. Now all
this time I was a widow trying to support four kids, trying
to keep my pride and stay off welfare. Where were these good
Christian people then? About all the help I got was a chicken
casserole. Well, it's a lot easier to blame people than to change
them, wouldn't you say? (pats EMILY's shoulder, exits.)
EMILY (monologue, to audience)
When they scream "murderer" at
me, I feel the panic rise in my throat. I want to run, I want
to yell," not me! I'm a moral person. I'm trying to help!" Those
people have a right, I guess. It's what they believe. So I've
got to face it, and be strong. POC's, "products of conception",
that's what we're supposed say. "Tissue". "Termination". But
when that machine starts, it's not just "tissue" that's sucked
out. It's life: potentially human life. And like the Buddhists,
I believe in "reverence for life". That's why I'm a vegetarian.
But I also believe that conception should be a blessing.
My brother's wife: when she's pregnant she sings lullabies,
she organizes everything she eats and drinks-- she makes
herself a perfect vessel. But you can't order a woman to
do that! Not by bullying! What makes those people out there
think a person can be frightened into goodness? Oh, give
it up for adoption, they say! How can a mother do that? Carry
a baby under her heart for nine long months and then give
it away? Once it grows and moves it's a part of you. Loved,
the way you love your own knees, or your breasts. And does
your responsibility end, if you hand it over? What about
Lisa Steinberg's mother? Does she sleep nights, now? She
thought her daughter was going to be given every advantage,
not tortured to death. Even a good adoption-- suppose you're
a concert violinist, and your baby goes to a family that's
tone deaf, that thinks music is noise.... (sings
to the tune Mary Hamilton) "I put him in a tiny boat,
and cast him fro the sea, " That he might sink or he might
swim, but ne're return to me."
SCENE TEN -- SILENT PARTNER
(GRETEL is in her mid-twenties, dressed
My lover and I wanted to be
adults about this, so that no matter what happens, we won't
hate each other. We'll stay friends. We talked a lot about
our feelings. Well, mostly my feelings. I'm at a crucial point
in my career, not ready for marriage, all that. I don't have
insurance, so he offered right away to pay for it. Or even --and
this surprised me-- even to pay child support if I decided to
go ahead and have it on my own. If I'd thought about that, I
suppose that would have given me a clue that he may have some
scruples, or reservations about what when we were talking came
out as more like simply a medical procedure. But our whole attitude
seemed to be that I have this serious problem and his duty is
to go along with whatever I feel I have to do, and support me.
Which he is doing. He's downstairs waiting, he's with me. But
I just realized, talking with you, that he may have been hiding
feelings of his own, you know? Like it's part of him, too, and
there's a certain pain. But he won't be able to talk to anybody,
like I am now. Because we decided, and he was really adamant
about this, that we shouldn't tell anyone we know. Especially
not family. In case we should ever split up.
SCENE ELEVEN -- SPANGLISH
(in right cubicle. TERESA is 26, slight,
wearing heels and a bright skirt and blouse.)
I see your name is Teresa?
Si. Teresa. (Spanish
EMILY (tries to correct)
Uh-Teresa. I'm Emily. I'm here
to answer your questions, if I can. Is there anything you particularly
want to ask about?
No. Si. I wish--
I'll try to help.
About ... planificacion.... to stop babies.
What birth control. (TERESA
a married woman 26 years old, the recommended birth control is
the pill. Do you want to take the pill? Pill-- (mimes)
Pildora! No...no puedo. I can't.
You can't take pills? They make you
No. No. No puedo. I-- (she is very
Teresa, do you understand English?
Si. A little. Un poco.
Well, I have less than un poco Spanish. Would you be
more comfortable with a counselor who spoke Spanish?
Si. Yes. Gracias.
EMILY (into intercom)
Sally? Is Alma with a patient right
now? ... What about Allison? Would you ask her if she could
come to room four, please? (to TERESA) Allison's going
to come and take over for me. She's not as fluent as Alma, but
I think you'll find it a lot easier to talk to her. In Espanol.
(They sit, awkwardly,
EMILY (hands over chart)
Allison! This is Teresa.
Hello Teresa, my name is Allison. I'm going help out
your counselor. Is that OK?
OK? (confused) Espanol?
Hablo un poco de
She has some concerns about birth control.
Well, que clase quieres? Pildora?
No, no puedo.
Y La diafragma, o condones y espuma?
No eso, es imposible.
Tiene algo secreto, una inyeccion para que nadie sepa?
ALLISON (looks at chart)
Algo secreto? Teresa, que pasa?
Tu esposo, el...?
No. Mi senior. El dice que la planificacion es mala.
El es muy catolico, y es un pecado. Pero tenemos cinco babies.
ALLISON (points to chart)
And it says here, four abortions.
Teresa, tu esposo, el piensa que la planificacion es mala, pero
il aborto no?
No, no. El no sabe nada de los abortos. Dios mio, me
ALLISON (to EMILY)
He'll kill her. De verdad?...Teresa,
el te maltrata?
Quando encuentra mis pildoras, me pega.
Y quando digo "tenemos que usar un condon" tambien me pega,
y me llama
"puta, prostituta". (crying) Yo se que el aborto es un
pecado. Dios me va a castigar..ire al infierno. Pero que puedo
ALLISON (to EMILY)
He beats her when she tries to use
contraceptives. (to TERESA) Yo conozco una consejera,
Hispana, una mujer bien buena. Te gustaria hablar con ella?
En privado, para ti, para no tener que estar sola.
Si, por favor. Me gustaria.
ALLISON (writes name and gives)
Llamala. Ella es muy buena
gente...Vas a estar OK?
Buena suerte, Teresa. Y, mira, se me necesitas, llamame,
OK. Gracias, mija.
(TERESA goes out, EMILY and ALLISON pause
I gave her the name of a Puerto Rican friend, an ex-nun.
She'll help her get a tubal ligation.
Thanks. I was in over my head.
No problema. Why'd they give her to you?
I don't know. I had Spanish in high school, enough to read
maybe the headlines in a newspaper.
If you want to brush up to use it here, you need the
kind of newspaper they sell in the supermarket. A Spanish version
of the National Enquirer.
Where can I get one? Does it have the words for birth control?
You're really interested? I'll get you some. The words
it doesn't have, I can teach you. But I've got to dash, now.
Sally's going to "remind" me: Patient waiting. (exits)
EMILY (calls after ALLISON)
SALLY (comes up to EMILY)
Emily? You have a problem?
A patient who didn't speak English.
Damn! Was she Portuguese?
I thought you spoke Spanish. Your application said so.
I said I took it. But not-- I can't deal with any problem
more complex than the menu in a Mexican restaurant.
Did I you the impression that I was bilingual? Oh God--.
That wasn't the reason you hired me?
No. No, of course not. I probably read it wrong because
that's what I was wishing. And when Allison leaves--
Oh, no! Allison's leaving?!
She hasn't said so, but I know she's applied to graduate
school. I wrote her a recommendation.
She told me she's not sure--
Well, I'd love to keep her. But I've got to be realistic.
If the clinic paid Allison what her education says she's worth,
nobody could afford to come here!
She offered to help me brush up.
That's a kind thought. (laughs,
turns to leave.) You know,
you could take a course in "conversational", at night. Allison
(EMILY watches SALLY exit.)
SCENE TWELVE -- THE LOUNGE
He beat her. That's four I've seen. How many are there?
About one out of five, I'd say.
Mine today: he's a lawyer. So she's got a diamond she
can hardly lift her hand, a mink coat. He puts her in the hospital
and then he cries, he buys flowers, swears it'll never happen--!
How could she believe that?
Because women are fools, and men are scum. If she puts
up with it--
Sure, blame the victim! Society's program, Sherrie. Play
If she loves him, she keeps hoping.
Love! Neurotic dependency. Jill's sister and brother-in-law.
Ex brother in law. My sister married a real psychotic.
Knocked out her teeth, cracked three ribs, scalded her, broke
her arm. Joanne'd call me at midnight, she'd run away, would
I pick up the kids and take them over to mother's? Jesus.
She's not still with him?!
Depends on what you mean. She got a divorce, she got a
court order, she got a new apartment. But to get her child support
the fucking court says she's got to let him see the kids, and
so after a while she gets careless. Jesus Ke-rist! Larry's reformed,
she says to me. Larry's sorry. He takes the kids to a ball
game, and he brings back a pizza, he's talking real nice to
her. Shit! I mean, I have not exactly run my own love life
like Dr. Ruth, but--! Anyway, they all start watching television,
one happy family, and what should be on but the Burning Bed!
And my stupid sister-- well, Old Larry makes some remarks, "bitch
and "bitch that", but my stupid sister is so into this program!
I mean, Joanne is looking at her life, why should she notice
she's sitting next to a fucking time bomb? Until Farrah Fawcett
lights a match on her creep of a husband. At which time Larry
kicks in the TV set and starts beating the shit out of my sister.
If the kids hadn't called the cops he might have killed her.
Did they arrest him?
Arrest him? Why bother? He'll be out the next day--
Jill? I think maybe your sister called. The woman wouldn't
leave her name or a message, but it sounded like Joanne.
O Jesus, now what?
Doesn't she ever call you with good news?
She never HAS any good news.
Nobody around here does. You notice that, Emily? You
only see failures. Forty-five minutes they're with you pouring
out their hearts, and then either they walk out of your life
and live happily ever after, or they're back with another disaster.
And nobody wants to see them again but moi!
SCENE THIRTEEN -- A WOMAN
(in right cubicle. EVE is in her mid-thirties,
sophisticated, possibly with a Tennessee accent)
Uh--Have you settled on a method of birth control?
That won't be necessary.
A lot of women feel that way. Like "this is the end, I'm
never going to give in to a man again". But it's hardly realistic,
do you think?
It is in my case.
You may feel that way now. But most women once they've
been active find that they miss having a relationship.
You don't understand. I have a relationship. With a woman.
She was out of town on business, and I was just hanging out
with an old friend, somebody from way back when. "Back When" meaning
when I was married to a real jerk. And we got to talking about
how this was my second relationship since the divorce, and how
many years had it been since I slept with a man who wasn't a
jerk? So maybe I was a little lonely, and I got a little high
and came up with this silly idea that maybe I should try it
one more time. See if I was missing something. Which now I know
I'm not. I wasn't that high! It was a big nothing, and my lover
would never have guessed that I would do such a rotten stupid
thing except -- here I am. And, o, wow, she is so angry! If
I ever came home with birth control, or even the slightest hint
that I might ever do it again -- ! Well, I just won't. Once
SCENE FOURTEEN -- MOTHER MAY I?
(PEG is a young 16, in tennis shoes,
jeans, and a loose pastel overblouse. She has a ribbon in her
I'm going to hell.
Do you really think so? You seem like a good person to
me. I wouldn't send you to hell. And I think God's more understanding
than people are, don't you?
But I'm killing it.
You're sixteen years old. If God wanted you to be a parent,
maybe he'd supply what you need to bring up a child.
That's what my mother says. But she doesn't know how it
feels. It's not her as has the sin.
Is your mother the reason you're here?
She says I have to.
But it's not your choice. (PEG
shakes her head)
Would you keep it, or give it up for adoption?
Keep it! My boyfriend and I are going to get married next
year. He's getting a job at a body shop. Maybe we could live
with his mother. I can work, nights maybe while Don babysits,
and I could study in the daytime and get my G.E.D. My mother
doesn't understand. She won't help me, she won't even try, because
she's not the one as is going to burn in hell for it!
If you feel that way, what are you doing here?
My Mom sent me. I don't want to hurt her.
She's pretty upset already, isn't she?
I know. I feel really bad about it. But I don't want to kill
OK. I've got some pamphlets here. I want you to take
these home and go over them with your mother and your boyfriend.
What are they?
They lay out all the options. Welfare, a job, budgets,
It isn't for abortion?
That's in here too. You've got a lot of thinking to
My Mom says I'm a minor and I have to get rid of it.
Not without consent.
If I'm old enough to get pregnant, I ought to be old enough
to bring it up.
Are you asking me or telling me? Cause my opinion's not
worth beans, here. It's not my life.
You mean I get to decide?!
That's the rules.
But my mother's going to die -- (cries) I don't blame
her for being so mad at me. I understand that, she gave up so
much to raise me and I'm her high hopes. I really love her.
But I just--
Honey, it's not your mother's body. Or her soul, either.
We're not going to do an abortion on somebody who doesn't want
one. That's against the law. It's also wrong. For me, personally.
I tried to tell her.
I know a priest. One who's modern. I'll give you his
number. You can call him up for an appointment and talk over
this stuff about hell, if that's what's bothering you. And then
if you decide, you yourself, that an abortion is the best answer
-- which if you were my daughter is certainly the opinion you'd
get from me --
I can't go back down there without getting it. She'll kill
You want me to go with you? And talk to your mother?
OK, Honey, come on. We'll take her on together. Don't forget
SCENE FIFTEEN -- MYOB
(JAN is 44, conservatively dressed, dignified,
Uh, so-- how do you feel about the whole idea? (pause)
Of the termination?
I'd like to get it over with.
Are you-- nervous?
No. I'm not.
But you've given this some thought?
Yes I have.
And you feel you've come to the best decision?
The only decision.
Well-- uh-- who have you been able to talk to about this?
I would prefer not to talk about it.
Not with your partner?
I don't believe that's any of your business.
EMILY (smiles, flustered)
Well, I'm supposed to be counseling--
Why don't we assume that your job is over, and get on to
the next stage? Would you please give me the consent form? I
want to get this over with! I have a full schedule--
I'm afraid I can't do that.
Do you mean to tell me you won't?
I can't. The law says--
-- that we can't do the procedure without "informed consent".
That means I have to ask certain questions to know that--
JAN (gets up)
I find your questions impertinent! I am
a mature, responsible adult, and I've made my decision. That's
all you need to know.
I don't make the rules--
All right. Let me to talk to your supervisor.
Fine. (pushes intercom) Sally, would you come into
room four, please? (to JAN) If I've offended you in some
way, I'm sorry, that's not my intention. But to comply with the
Just stop it! Be quiet!
What seems to be the matter, here?
Ms. Jackson doesn't want to talk to me.
Oh? Why is that, Ms. Jackson?
It's Dr. Jackson.
If you're a doctor--
I'm a PhD. In microbiology. I am forty-four years old, and
I have been knowledgeable about reproduction and in charge of
my own life since I was sixteen. I do not believe that there is
any law that requires me to justify my decision about my body
and my private life to a college girl young enough to be my daughter.
SALLY (to EMILY)
Give her the forms. (EMILY
You can go right into the waiting room, Dr. Jackson. Down
to the end of the hall, turn to the right, second door. (JAN
crosses to monologue position, EMILY looks crushed.) Live
and learn, Emily.
I don't know how I set her off. I thought I was respectful.
SALLY (comforting, leads EMILY out)
It might not have
anything to do with you. Maybe you remind her of somebody. Or
maybe she really is upset, and is afraid if she starts to talk
she'll fall apart. Who knows? As the lady says, she's a grownup.
It's her life.
(SALLY meets ALLISON, passes EMILY
on to ALLISON to comfort, strides off busily)
Sally's really something, you know. One of the pro-lifers
out there was yelling "Don't kill! Adoption's the answer!" Sally
looked him right in the eye and said "How many kids have you
adopted, sir?" She's adopted two, besides the two she had:
a crack baby, and one from Ecuador.
JAN (monologue in spotlight)
I'm drying up, shutting
down. I'm going to be old, old and lonely. Then after that,
I'll be dead. Nobody to remember me-- Oh, I've got dozens of
friends. They call me up and cry on my shoulder, because their
kids are on dope, or flunking out, or marrying the wrong guy--
and I sympathize. But when I'm gone? Maybe they'll think about
me once a year: one less card on their birthdays. In ten years
I won't even be a name. If I'd had that first one, I might be
a grandmother now. But without my work-- No, I would have had
to give it up for adoption. But even so, even so, there'd
be a piece of me somewhere, my genes. But that's crazy. Almost
as bad as having this one! Bring a child into this world whose
gray haired old mother would have to be wheeled out of the nursing
home to see her graduate from college? -- which she wouldn't,
because I'd lose my research grant and I'd never be able to
afford to send her! But if I'd gone ahead back then, had the
baby, maybe we'd have got by. Somehow. Maybe she'd have gone
into computers. Or been a real con artist, like her dad.
SCENE SIXTEEN -- CHEESECAKE CONTEST
(in the LOUNGE )
OK, kids, what've you got? I have here one genuine
New York Deli cheesecake for the winner of our "can you top this
story contest today. Who'll it be? Step right up! Tell Momma
all about it.
All right! I had this woman, maybe 28, 30, comes in here
in a coordinated outfit that cost more than we make in a month--
How do you know?
Bet it had the designer's fucking signature on it.
I know! I know everything a girl needs to know to negotiate
her way through this materialistic society. Except how to bring
myself to do it. Anyway, she says to me that the reason she
wants an abortion is because she and her husband are going on
vacation to the Carribean, and they've already paid for the
tickets! I mean, my dear, my family was Upper Crass, but can
you believe it?!
Did you tell her that people have been known to be pregnant
in the Carribean?
SHERRIE (Carribean accent)
But they're not on vacation.
Well, if they're pregnant, they should be.
From month two, all you feel like doing is lying on the
beach. In the Carribean it's built into your schedule.
It sure beats clerking in a store, like my sister-in-law.
On her swollen feet all day.
Or driving a school bus. Squeezing under the steering
Or dipping chocolate in the Necco factory, green with morning
sickness and the candy fumes as thick as cocoa. Dip dip, puke.
Dip dip, puke.
You don't understand the ramifications, Ladies. The patient's
already bought three bathing suits! Designer bathing suits!
They won't fit! They'd be wasted!
I think you should have sent her away.
She gives a whole new depth to the term "shallow".
Spoil her whole fucking day.
And the kid's whole life. Can you imagine? Stuck with
that for a mother?
Son of a bitch! OK, I give that about a seven. Anybody
got a better one? Cheesecake going once.
EMILY (jumps up, eager)
I had one! A woman today who stopped
using birth control because she suddenly realized the diaphragm
F for effort, Emily. That's at most a two.
A two! Why?
Cause the diaphragm IS yucky! (laughter)
That's almost as common as (everybody
joins in) THE PILLS
MADE ME SICK!
Did you recommend the new method? Put stones in her husband's
shoes. It makes him limp.
I thought you were going to tell me she gave up the
diaphragm because it made her hobosexual.
A bum lay!
Or drisexual-- has to use vasoline.
"She was only a pilot's daughter, but she kept
her cockpit clean!" Come on, Jill. I know you've got some dirt!
Yeah. But I won't tell because I don't want your stupid
If you win, you'll take a ladylike sliver and pass the
rest around. Really, Jill. It's good practice.
Cheesecake's optional, but you've got to tell. If a
case's spectacular, it's community property.
One of our fringe benefits.
About our only fringe benefit!
You're forgetting the free abortions.
Which we would never use! Can you imagine? "Counselor
dies on operating table-- from embarrassment!"
All right! Back to business. Spill it, sweetie.
OK, OK. Did anybody notice the absolutely gorgeous blonde
I had about eleven o'clock?
Why should we notice?
JILL (strikes queenly poses)
Well, she was certified gorgeous.
Miss Colorado, no less. In town on a promotional tour for one
of her sponsors. If she doesn't get rid of the pregnancy, she
loses her crown.
An eight! At least an eight!
Your turn, Emily.
Last chance. Cheesecake going once!
JILL (kneels, pleads)
Save me from temptation!
EMILY (takes spotlight)
OK! I had one last weekend, who
wanted us to pretend to give her an abortion.
To do what?
This sounds like a possible nine.
Or even a ten! Days ago, and you haven't told us?
This woman's husband, she's been married to him for five
years and hadn't got pregnant. So he says it's her fault, he's
threatening to throw her out and all, like Sherrie's--
So while he was off visiting his new girlfriend the wife
took a lover. And-- blam!-- instant pregnancy. Now she's happy,
she's going to have a baby -- Except she tells her lover and
he gets mad! He doesn't want babies!
Throw them both out.
The men marched her down here to have an abortion.
But she doesn't want to do that.
Right. She wants us to tell her husband that she's having
the procedure. Then they'll go home, and next month she'll announce
there's been a miracle!
All right! Ticklish, though.
You'd have to falsify papers--
Get it past the doctor, yeah, but -- shit, I could do
Oh, come on, you'd never get away with it!
You'd just charge for counseling. If the husband thinks
the bill's going to Medicaid, who's to know?
Eventually, he'd figure it out. Even if he didn't, a marriage
relationship built on a lie--?
She's got to do what she can live with, whether her husband
leaves her or stays.
But couldn't he sue?
Sue? Us? (all laugh) Let him try! But he's more
likely to come after us with a Saturday Night Special.
Better him than one of the Pro-lifers. At least I'd be
shot for something personal. I call it a risk worth taking!
So Emily -- what'd you do?
I didn't know. You weren't around to ask, so I-- I can't
tell the rest. I gave the person my word.
Don't you trust us?
Of course I do!
Shit! OK. You're disqualified.
Come on, Sherrie, that's clearly a nine.
Tune in tomorrow? Sorry, no cigar.
That's not fair! You can't just make rules.
Sure I can. It's my cheesecake. I declare you the winner,
Jill. It's yours. Share it or we break your legs. (hands
Right. You'll all have some. A piece a piece. (cuts
cake, licks fingers) I'm going to call my sister. (dials
divide this out. (takes herself cake, begins
eating) Mom? Let
me talk to Joanne. She what?! Shit! (slams
down phone, redials)
ALLISON (taking a slice)
Well, I'm ready for a piece.
EMILY (rejected and dejected)
No, thank you. I'm not
hungry any more.
ALLISON (to EMILY)
Why don't you be in change here, Em?
What's left gets wrapped up, don't leave it out. Sherrie?
When I come back from the powder room.
JILL (waving vaguely)
Go ahead. Pass it around. (Into
Joanne?!! What are you doing home? Get the hell out of there!
(JILL eats away at the cake, compulsively,
while she is listening and talking on the phone.) No, don't
do that! If he said it, he means it. (EMILY stands holding
cake server, uncertain)
ALLISON (sits next to MARTHA)
Martha? One piece or three?
Three? Not today, thank you.
What's a few thousand calories, spread out among us--?
Spread out, right! No more than a sliver, then. The dress
I bought for my daughter's wedding-- it's a bit tight, right
Counseling staff report to the conference room, please.
For the meeting that was to begin eight minutes ago.
counselors are looking away from Jill, chatting and eating, not
willing to leave and go to the meeting until they know what's
going on with Jill, but trying to avoid blatant eavesdropping.
They aren't aware yet that she is devouring the cheesecake)
JILL (on phone)
Stay where you are. I'll have to find
you a shelter. (listens, eats) But that's what you are,
Joanne. Face it! It's no disgrace to you that he's a psycho
and you're a victim. Testosterone poisoning--! (listens,
eats) You have no choice,
Joanne. It's life and death. (to MARTHA) What's the status
at Susan B.?
Full with a waiting list.
Shit! (into phone) I can't get you in anywhere tonight,
I'll have to call around. So stay where you are. By tomorrow--
(SHERRIE reenters, sees Jill is attacking
the cake, eating with her hands, face smeared with goo.)
SHERRIE (overlaps, quiet but urgent)
Emily! How much of
that has Jill eaten?
All but Allison's. Should I have--?
ALLISON (goes to cake)
are frozen. Now what?)
Stop it! Listen to me. I'm the expert. I deal with abusers
six days a week, and I'm telling you what it is you have to
do. Now. Stay there, I'll be over as soon as I can get my coat.
SHERRIE, ALLISON, EMILY, JILL, and MARTHA, report to
the conference room immediately.
JILL (on phone)
Fuck it. I'll be there. (hangs
up, sees empty cake plate) Did I do that? Shit! Why didn't
you stop me?
I'm sorry. Turned out to be a really rotten idea.
I didn't know. I've never seen--
Shit. Oh, shit. Jesus fucking Christ, what kind of women
are you? God, oh-- (JILL bends over the
wastebasket and vomits.)
Leave me alone. (JILL sobs, SHERRIE
hugs and comforts her)
Sweetie. Honey pie. (they stroke
JILL, bathe her face, get her a glass of water)
ALLISON (puts JILL'S coat around her)
I'll make the calls.
We'll find a safe place for Joanne.
Not Casa Libre. He found her there last time.
Your sister could stay with me.
JILL (puts her coat and scarf on)
Including the kids?
He's threatening the kids.
I've got the room. But my husband's such a jerk--
Do you mean it, Martha? It's just till the week-end--
Heads up, ladies! You're on the clock
here, aren't you? Having a chat. While three MD's sit in the
conference room, twiddling their thumbs? Jill! Why have you
got your coat on? You're signed up for the shift!
Will you fuck off, please?
We're having a crisis, here.
Fine! Have it on your own time.
END OF ACT I
See Act II of Under Seige / Choices