Ah, the thinly-disguised autobiographical Trick Becket plays. Most of which I burned or shredded or batched up in a Strand bag to support that air conditioner in Inwood. Trick is still around, but he hasn't aged a bit. He's the narrator of the novel based on the Cedar diaries, which I may actually finish some day, and he's the main character in a play called No Soap Radio, which I may actually write some day. Here's an early appearance in a one-act called Wildest Dreams that actually got produced way back when, though not very well as I remember it, which is probably why I'm blanking on the date. Just so you know: yes, this woman is real, but she is not named Sheila. Who is also real, and whom I saw for the first time in years a few months ago. Monologue for another day; here's this one.
TRICK: When I think of Sheila I see myself standing across the street from her building. Leaning against a lamppost. There's a light on in her apartment. Shadows on the curtains. Then the light goes out. And I try to picture the guy that she's with. The guy that she's with when the lights go out. And I think to myself, it could have been me. Turning out that light. The light by her bed. Where is her bed now? It changes. I've seen it against the right wall, against the left wall, lengthwise under the windows. It changes. Every time she dates someone, it changes. If you last a week, you wake up one morning to Sheila standing at the bathroom door, hands on hips, still wet from the shower, just staring. You're lying in the bed and she's standing there. Staring at the bed, the bureau, the bookcase with the twenty-nine pictures of her father. Just staring. A look on her face that says something's wrong, something's out of place. So she throws on a shirt, a guy’s shirt, not one of your shirts, somebody else’s, a shirt some guy left some night ages ago, a guy whose name she won’t even remember when you ask her, so don’t bother asking. She throws on a shirt and starts moving furniture around. And of course you help her, you get up out of bed and push things around, change things around, show her you’re helpful, dress the place up. Until it's done. Until she's happy. Until it's the picture of happiness. Until the next time, when somebody else is lying in the bed, and Sheila is standing there, dripping wet, staring. Moving things around in her mind. Knowing there’s something wrong here, but not knowing what it is. Knowing there’s something out of place. There’s always something out of place. And there always will be, no matter how many couches she moves. Because it's not the furniture that bothers her. It's never the furniture. It's that guy in the bed.
Copyright 1993 Matthew J Wells