A little something from a writing prompt. Worth a giggle. Certainly not a masterpiece.
An Unstoppable Time
A short play
By Kay Kestner
A frantic search delays two people from moving forward with their lives.
SAM: Can be any age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
CHRIS: Same. Can be any relation to Sam – partner, friend, sister, etc.
Modest, modern living room.
Lights up. SAM frantically fishes through a purse. CHRIS impatiently watches.
SAM: It’s not in here. My grandfather’s stopwatch. I can’t go anywhere without it.
CHRIS: How can you even tell it’s not in there? That bag has more in it than my house does.
SAM: I know everything in here. What’s in every compartment. Every day that I added something. What I’ve taken out. What’s missing. I know this is missing.
CHRIS: Then why are you still looking in there?
SAM: Why are you asking me that? I know what I’m doing.
CHRIS: Really? You say you know everything that’s in there. That you know it’s not in there. And I’m supposed to believe that you know why you’re still looking for something where you know it isn’t? That makes no sense. (Beat) Where was the last time you saw it? Look there.
SAM: I saw it in here.
CHRIS: Then maybe it’s still in there.
SAM: It’s not. But something in here might tell me when I lost it. Maybe where it went.
CHRIS: There’s nothing in that purse of yours that knows how to talk. Least, I hope there isn’t.
SAM: Everything in here knows how to speak. This. (Pulls out a hairbrush.) Listen to this. My hairbrush. (Waves the brush at Chris.) You don’t know the stories this can tell. The history of all the other brushes. The one I sang into as a little child. Tell me you had a hairbrush you sang into as a kid, dreaming you were on a stage.
CHRIS: No. Not that I would admit if I did.
SAM: Well, this here brush, it’s not ashamed. It’ll admit it.
CHRIS: Fine. Then can that brush tell you where your grandpa’s stopwatch went to?
SAM: No. It’s more of a pastime reminder. (Slips brush back into the purse.)
CHRIS: Does anything in there keep track of today’s time?
SAM: What do you mean?
CHRIS: An antique stopwatch, a reminiscing hairbrush?
CHRIS: Nothing about what is going on today?
SAM: No. Just the stopwatch to set limits on how and what I spend time on.
CHRIS: And you’re wasting how much time digging through that purse full of the past, trying to figure out how to spend time today?
SAM: You’re point?
CHRIS: Throw the damn purse away!
CHRIS: Or put it in storage. We’re right here, in this moment. I’m trying to get you to go out and do something now. You’re just digging into the past. Forget the stopwatch and let’s go.
SAM is shocked and can’t find words.
CHRIS: I’ll take you somewhere to make a new memory. But we can’t get there until you stop digging through the past. Now, get your nose out of that purse so we can go.
SAM: But my grandad’s stopwatch?
CHRIS: Do you really need one? It’s not like you can stop time.
SAM surrenders the search.
End of play.
About the author:
Kay Kestner grew up working at her family’s store in New Jersey. She’s an internationally published poet and the editor of Poetry Breakfast, an online literary journal publishing poetry and short plays. Her screenplay, “Art Never Lies,” was a 2022 finalist in the Bigfoot Collaboration with Trinity College Dublin Screenwriting Contest. You can learn more about her work at www.KayKestner.com.
Leave a Reply