Sure Thing, a play by David Ives

Characters: Bill and Betty, both in their late twenties
 

Setting: A café table, with a couple of chairs

Betty, reading at the table. An empty chair opposite her. Bill enters.
 

Bill: Excuse me. Is this chair taken?
Betty: Excuse me?
Bill: Is this taken?
Betty: Yes it is.
Bill: Oh, sorry.
Betty: Sure thing 

(A bell rings softly.)


Bill: Excuse me. Is this chair taken?
Betty: Excuse me?
Bill: Is this taken?
Betty: No, but I’m expecting somebody in a minute.
Bill: Oh. Thanks anyway.
Betty: Sure thing. 

(A bell rings softly.)
 
Bill: Excuse me. Is this chair taken?
Betty: No, but I’m expecting somebody very shortly.
Bill: Would you mind if I sit here till he or she or it comes?
Betty: (glances at her watch): They seem to be pretty late . . .
Bill: You never know who you might be turning down.
Betty: Sorry. Nice try, though.
Bill: Sure thing. 

(Bell.) 

Is this seat taken?
Betty: No, it’s not.
Bill: Would you mind if I sit here?
Betty: No. Go ahead.
Bill: Thanks. (He sits. She continues reading.) Everyplace else seems to be taken.
Betty: Mm-hm.
Bill: Great place.
Betty: Mm-hm.
Bill: What’s the book?
Betty: I just wanted to read in quiet, if you don’t mind.
Bill: No, sure thing. 

(Bell.)


Bill: Everyplace else seems to be taken.
Betty: Mm-hm.
Bill: Great place for reading
Betty: Yes, I like it.
Bill: What’s the book?
Betty: The Sound and the Fury.
Bill: Oh. Hemingway. 

(Bell.) 

What’s the book?
Betty: The Sound and the Fury.
Bill: Oh. Faulkner.
Betty: Have you read it?
Bill: Not . . . actually. I’ve sure read about . . . it, though. It’s supposed to be great.
Betty: It is great.
Bill: I hear it’s great. (Small pause.) Waiter? 

(Bell.) 

What’s the book?
Betty: The Sound and the Fury.
Bill: Oh. Faulkner.
Betty: Have you read it?
Bill: I’m a Mets fan, myself. 

(Bell.)
 
Betty: Have you read it?
Bill: Yeah, I read it in college.
Betty: Where was college?
Bill: I went to Oral Roberts University. 

(Bell.)
 
Betty: Where was college?
Bill: I was lying. I never really went to college. I just like to party. 

(Bell.)
 
Betty: Where was college?
Bill: Harvard.
Betty: Do you like Faulkner?
Bill: I love Faulkner. I spent a whole winter reading him once.
Betty: I’ve just started.
Bill: I was so excited after ten pages that I went out and bought everything else he wrote. One of the greatest reading experiences of my life. I mean, all that incredible psychological understanding. Page after page of gorgeous prose. His profound grasp of the mystery of time and human existence. The smells of the earth . . . What do you think?
Betty: I think it’s pretty boring. 

(Bell.)
 

Bill: What’s the book?
Betty: The Sound and the Fury.
Bill: Oh! Faulkner!
Betty: Do you like Faulkner?
Bill: I love Faulkner.
Betty: He’s incredible.
Bill: I spent a whole winter reading him once.
Betty: I was so excited after ten pages that I went out and bought everything else he wrote.
Bill: All that incredible psychological understanding.
Betty: And the prose is so gorgeous.
Bill: And the way he’s grasped the mystery of time —
Betty: — and human existence. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read him.
Bill: You never know. You might not have liked him before.
Betty: That’s true.
Bill: You might not have been ready for him. You have to hit these things at the right moment or it’s no good.
Betty: That’s happening to me.
Bill: It’s all in the timing. (Small pause.) My name’s Bill, by the way.
Betty: I’m Betty.
Bill: Hi.
Betty: Hi. (Small pause.)
Bill: Yes I thought reading Faulkner was . . . a great experience.
Betty: Yes. (Small pause.)
Bill: The Sound and the Fury . . . (Another small pause.)
Betty: Well. Onwards and upwards. (She goes back to her book.)
Bill: Waiter — ? 

(Bell.) 

You have to hit these things at the right moment or it’s no good.
Betty: That’s happened to me.
Bill: It’s all in the timing. My name’s Bill, by the way.
Betty: I’m Betty.
Bill: Hi.
Betty: Hi.
Bill: Do you come in here a lot?
Betty: Actually I’m just in town for two days from Pakistan.
Bill: Oh, Pakistan. 

(Bell.) 

To be continued on http://www.iupui.edu/~l105onln/surething.pdf
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