The Donut Play

 Mukta (Sita Sarkar) and Darryl (Michael Alcide) The Donut Play, Castillo Theatre, May 2014 Photo: Ronald L. Glassman

Mukta (Sita Sarkar) and Darryl (Michael Alcide)
The Donut Play, Castillo Theatre, May 2014
Photo: Ronald L. Glassman

 

THE DONUT PLAY
(A Love Story in 24 Conversations)

by Dan Friedman

[+DOWNLOAD]

Post Castillo Production Version
Abby as Teen Version
April 2014
Copyright 2014

 

CHARACTERS
(in order of appearance)

Darryl - young African American man, construction worker
Tamara - young African American woman, works in Doughy Donuts
Mukta - young Indian woman, works in Doughy Donuts
Abby - Mukta’s 13-year-old daughter
Dora - young African American mother of Darryl’s daughter
Ritsika - Mukta’s older sister
Kim - Darryl’s sister

 

(The counter of a Doughy Donuts in New York City.)

DARRYL
Where’s your friend?

TAMARA
Which one?

DARRYL
The other girl, the Indian girl.

TAMARA
Why? You like her?

DARRYL
I saw her on the train. I tried to say hello, but she didn’t pay me no mind.

TAMARA
She got a kid.

DARRYL
She got a kid?

TAMARA
You want that kind of baggage?

DARRYL

(laughs) 

She’s cute.

TAMARA
Ain’t I cute?

DARRYL
Sure you are. I’m just asking…

TAMARA
The usual?

DARRYL
Yup.

(Blackout)

 

(A cramped working class apartment in Elmhurst, Queens. MUKTA and her daughter ABBY, 13 years old.)

MUKTA
Do your homework.

ABBY
I can’t.

MUKTA
Why not?

ABBY
I don’t know how.

MUKTA
Didn’t they teach you in school?

ABBY
I didn’t understand the teacher.

MUKTA
What are you, stupid?

ABBY
I’m not stupid.

MUKTA
Then do your homework.

ABBY
Help me.

MUKTA
Let me see that. 

(She looks at the homework.) 

What is it?

ABBY
Geometry.

MUKTA
Oh yeah, triangles and all that stuff.

ABBY

(Pointing to the paper.) 

Here’s the problem.

MUKTA
Figure it out.

ABBY
Help me.

MUKTA
I can’t.

ABBY
What are you, stupid? 

(MUKTA slaps ABBY.)
(Blackout.)

 

(The Doughy Donuts counter.)

DARRYL
There you are.

MUKTA
Where else would be?

DARRYL
You weren’t here the other day.

MUKTA
I’m always here.

DARRYL
Except when you’re not.

MUKTA
What do you want?

DARRYL
My usual.

MUKTA
Which is?

DARRYL
You don’t know?

MUKTA
Should I?

DARRYL
I come here every day.

MUKTA
I’m supposed to remember?

DARRYL
Okay, whatever. Medium coffee, cream, two sugars, and a Number 4.

MUKTA
Sausage and cheese?

DARRYL
Yeah, Number 4.

(Blackout.)


 

(A booth in a neon lit diner in a poor part of town.)

DARRYL
Live together? You’ve got to be kidding.

DORA
I’m serious as a heart attack.

DARRYL
Don’t you ever smile?

DORA
Not when I’m fighting for our relationship.

DARRYL
Our what?

DORA
You heard me.

DARRYL
Dora, we don’t have a relationship. We never had a relationship. What we have is a baby.

DORA
And where do you think she came from?

DARRYL
She came out of our fucking one night.

DORA
Our daughter is not nothing.

DARRYL
No our daughter is not nothing. She’s fine, she’s great, she’s… Fact is, Dora, I don’t know what she is cause you won’t hardly let me see her.

DORA
We should be a family.

DARRYL
But we’re not.

DORA
You just a hit and run daddy.

DARRYL
I’m paying child support and I’d love to see her every week, twice a week maybe.

DORA
Why don’t you live with us then?

DARRYL
Because I can’t stand you. You’re so needy, so angry, so hateful.

DORA
And what are you?

DARRYL
So sorry.

(Blackout)


 

(Doughy Donuts counter. There are no customers.)

TAMARA
What you think of Darryl?

MUKTA
Who?

TAMARA
Darryl, the Black guy always flirting with you, the construction worker.

(MUKTA shrugs.)

Don’t tell me you ain’t noticed.

(MUKTA shrugs.)

I think he likes you.

MUKTA
He don’t know me.

TAMARA
He wants to.

MUKTA
So what? Lots of guys come in here flirting. That’s what guys do, if you haven’t noticed.

TAMARA
I notice a lot of guys be hitting on you.

MUKTA
You like this Darryl? Knock yourself out.

TAMARA
Naw, it ain’t that.

MUKTA
What then?

TAMARA
I don’t know. He’s cute. You alone.

MUKTA
One: I don’t care about cute. Cute can get you in a lot of trouble. And two: I’m not alone. I got Abby.

TAMARA
Okay, whatever.

MUKTA
You pissed at me? Why you pissed at me?

TAMARA
I’m not. It’s just that when something that fine come sniffing around, I think you ought to let him sniff a little.

MUKTA
Don’t you get it? I don’t want any one sniffing around. Men haven’t, as you know, done too well by me.

TAMARA
All I’m saying is he’s a nice guy, plus he’s got a union job. How many brothers have a union job?

(Blackout)

 

(Cramped, working class apartment in Elmhurst.)

RITSIKA
How’s Abby?

MUKTA
She’s fine. She doesn’t like school.

RITSIKA
Who does?

MUKTA
Right.

(Pause)

RITSIKA
You doing all right?

MUKTA
All wrong.

RITSIKA
Always playing with words.

MUKTA
I amuse myself.

RITSIKA
Still at Doughy?

MUKTA
Still.

RITSIKA
Is it enough?

MUKTA
Of course not, but I bring a lot of donuts home to Abby.  

(Beat.)

How’s Satish?

RITSIKA
Fine. He got promoted. He’s manager now of the IT department.

MUKTA
Great.

RITSIKA
Yeah. We’re doing okay. Baba’s happy.

MUKTA
Of course he is. Good that he’s happy about something.

RITSIKA
Yeah.

(Beat.)

MUKTA
How’s Ma?

RITSIKA
She misses you.

(Blackout)

 

 

(The counter of Doughy Donuts.)

MUKTA
What you looking at?

DARRYL
You.

MUKTA
Don’t you have anything better to do?

DARRYL
You nice to look at.

MUKTA
You’re creeping me out.

DARRYL
Okay. Sorry. I don’t mean no harm.

MUKTA
The usual?

DARRYL
Now you know my usual?

MUKTA
Number 4.

DARRYL and MUKTA

(simultaneously) 

Sausage and cheese.

DARRYL
Nice smile.

MUKTA
Thanks.

DARRYL
You don’t smile much.

MUKTA
Don’t press your luck.

DARRYL
And a medium coffee, cream, two sugars.

MUKTA
Yeah, I know. I’m a quick study.

(Blackout)

 

(Kitchen of a modest working class house, Hempstead, Long Island.)

KIM
You seeing anyone?

DARRYL
Naw.

KIM
Odd.

DARRYL
I guess.

KIM
Definitely odd. When was the last time you didn’t have a girlfriend?

DARRYL
Long time.

KIM
Since we were kids.

DARRYL
Since I was 15.

KIM
Yeah, what was her name?

DARRYL
Yolanda. Yolanda was my first love.

KIM
Whatever happened to Yolanda?

DARRYL
She has five kids, living with her moms.

KIM
Who’d she dump you for?

DARRYL
She didn’t dump me.

KIM
Tyson, right? Tyson McClennon.

DARRYL
He’s upstate now. But she didn’t dump me.

KIM
Okay.

DARRYL
No really. I started seeing Denise.

KIM
You were quite the player.

DARRYL
Naw. I just fell in love a lot.

KIM
Yeah.

DARRYL
I did. I do. Fall in love a lot.

KIM
Alright. Who you in love with now?

DARRYL
That’s it. I’m not. Bummer.

KIM
What’s with that?

DARRYL
I dunno. Dora sort of, well, I got burned, you know.

KIM
You got burned? She got the baby.

DARRYL
Shit. We got the baby. She won’t let me see her.

KIM
And why is that, baby brother?

DARRYL
Kim, I want to be in love, I always want to be in love. But I not in love with Dora, never was. I was drunk. So was she and now she wants it to be like we the Huxtables or something.

KIM
She really won’t let you see the baby?

DARRYL
Twice. Seven months and I’ve seen Celeste twice. 

KIM
Why?

DARRYL
She wants me to live with them. I can’t live with Dora. I can’t. So that’s her revenge.

KIM
Celeste is your baby.

DARRYL
Yeah and I’ll support her as long as I got a job. But I can’t pretend family. 

KIM
That’s why you not seeing someone?

DARRYL
Damned if I know. All I know is I’m lonely. Yeah, I guess that’s it. Lonely.

KIM
Well, you got me and your nephews. You could come out more often. Hempstead isn’t that far.

DARRYL
True, Hempstead isn’t that far.

(Blackout)
 


 
(The counter at Doughy Donuts.)

DARRYL
Happy Dwali.

MUKTA
How you know about Dwali?

DARRYL
This is New York—all kinds of people, all kinds of holidays.

MUKTA
What is it? You know some Desi guys?

DARRYL
Naw. Internet.

MUKTA
How you know I’m Hindu?

DARRYL
Your name, Mukta. It’s Hindi for “liberated,” right? I like that.

MUKTA
Okay. One, how you know my name? And two, how you know what it means?

DARRYL
One, Tamara. Two, like I said, I Google.

MUKTA
Shit, that girl got a big mouth.

DARRYL
You don’t want me to know your name?

MUKTA
No, it’s fine. You could have asked me.

DARRYL
You wouldn’t have told me. My name’s Darryl.

MUKTA
I know.

DARRYL
How you know?

MUKTA
Tamara.

DARRYL
Seems like she wants us to know each other.

MUKTA
Tamara should mind her own business.

DARRYL
You don’t like me?

MUKTA
I don’t know you.

DARRYL
We can change that.

MUKTA
Why’re you so interested in me?

DARRYL
I dunno. You’re cute. And different.

MUKTA
Different than what?

DARRYL
Than me. I want to figure you out. 

MUKTA
You want to figure me out?

DARRYL
Yeah, all the girls I’ve, uh, dated, I knew who they were in the first five minutes. 

MUKTA
You mean ’cause I’m Indian?

DARRYL
I dunno, I guess that’s part of it. I just wonder who you are.  

(Beat.)

And I kind of like it that you work here. 

MUKTA
What’s that got to do with anything?

DARRYL
I like Doughy Donuts.

MUKTA
You’re crazy.

DARRYL
You don’t?

MUKTA
The coffee’s good. The money stinks.

DARRYL
You got a boyfriend?

MUKTA
No and I don’t want one.

DARRYL
But could we have coffee maybe?

MUKTA
Don’t take it personally, but I’m not interested in going out. Not with anyone.

DARRYL
We don’t have to go out. We can have coffee here. When you get off work someday. You can tell me about Dwali. It seemed pretty complicated on Wikipedia.

MUKTA
You’re serious?

DARRYL
Do I look like I’m kidding?

MUKTA
Not today.

DARRYL
Tomorrow?

MUKTA
Thursday. I get off at 4:00.

(Blackout)

 

(MUKTA and TAMARA at the counter of Doughy Donuts. TAMARA has a bandage over her left eye.)

MUKTA
What happened to you?

TAMARA
Ah, you know, I drank a little too much, fell, hit my head on the corner of a table.

(Beat.)

MUKTA
What really happened?

(Beat.)

TAMARA
Jarred. He got pissed.

MUKTA
About what?

TAMARA
Said I was flirting with another guy.  

(Beat.)

And I guess I was.

MUKTA
So what if you were? He ain’t got no right…

TAMARA
Don’t be looking at me that way.

MUKTA
I ain’t looking at you no way.

TAMARA
Damned if you ain’t. You think you’re better than me?

MUKTA
What’re you talking about?

TAMARA
You thinking us Black girls let our men beat us all the time.

MUKTA
Tamara, don’t be stupid. 

TAMARA
You saying I’m stupid?

MUKTA
No, what’s stupid is you thinking only Black men beat their women. 

TAMARA
I didn’t say that. I thought you thought…

MUKTA
It’s a man thing, Tamara, not a Black thing. My father slapped my mother around all the time.

TAMARA
He did?

MUKTA
Sure did.

TAMARA
For what?

MUKTA
For whatever he wanted. The last few years before I left home, it was mostly because of me.

TAMARA
You?

MUKTA
Yeah, I was fighting the arranged marriage thing. I told you about that. He’d get crazed and hit her for raising me to be “an American whore.”

TAMARA
Shit.

MUKTA
Yeah, shit.  

(Beat.)

What you going to do about it?

TAMARA
I dunno, what can I do?

MUKTA
You could go to the police.

TAMARA
I ain’t no snitch. I don’t want no cops, no white cops, getting all up in our business.

MUKTA
You could leave his ass.

TAMARA
It’s not that simple.

MUKTA
It could be.

TAMARA
Not. He lives on my block. My cousin’s married to his sister. His moms and mine go to the same church. And I love him. I think.

MUKTA
He beat you up, Tamara.

TAMARA
I dunno. The only way out I can see is to find another nigger who be bigger and tougher than Jarred. Then maybe he’d lay off me.

MUKTA
You see why I’m trying to keep away from men? 

TAMARA
Shit.

MUKTA
Yeah, shit.

(Blackout)

 

(MUKTA’s apartment in Elmhurst.)

MUKTA
What’s going on in school?

ABBY
Nothing.

MUKTA
Can’t be nothing. Nothing is nothing. Everything’s something.

ABBY
I guess.

MUKTA
How the geometry coming? Any better?

ABBY
Why you want to know?

MUKTA
You’re my daughter.

ABBY
I suck at math. You know that.

MUKTA
Abby, I sorry about last week, about, you know, how I…

ABBY
…How you hit me?

MUKTA
Yeah, how I hit you.

ABBY
Whatever.

MUKTA
I’ve been thinking about it. I hit you because I was embarrassed, ashamed, that I couldn’t help you.

ABBY
Whatever.

MUKTA
No, it’s not whatever; it’s bad. Your grandpa used to hit your Aunt Ritsika and me a lot. It’s no way to be with people you…no way to be with anybody.

ABBY
It’s okay Ma, I get it.

MUKTA
Don’t get it.

ABBY
What?

MUKTA
Unlearn. Unlearn what I taught you when I hit you. Unlearn hitting people because you’re ashamed or angry or just, just, because you can. Hitting people is well, it…

ABBY
…It sucks.

MUKTA
Yeah.  

(Beat.)

I don’t know how to help you at school, but I don’t have to make it any harder either.

ABBY
I got a 70 on my last math test. At least I didn’t fail. 

(Blackout)

 

(DARRYL sitting at table at Doughy, reading a thick paperback book. MUKTA enters.)

MUKTA
Hi.

DARRYL
Hi. 

(indicating chair) 

Sit. 

(Beat. She sits.)

MUKTA
What you reading?

DARRYL
It’s a history of the war in Vietnam.

MUKTA
Really?

DARRYL
Really.

MUKTA
Why?

DARRYL
I like history. It helps me figure things out.

MUKTA
You’re really into figuring things out, aren’t you?

DARRYL
I guess. It keeps life interesting, don’t you think?

MUKTA
I guess.

DARRYL
What’d you read?

MUKTA
I don’t very much. I watch TV.  

(Beat.) 

Sometimes mysteries. Mostly. My sister gives them to me when she’s done.

DARRYL
That’s cool.

MUKTA
And some poetry. I got into poetry, a little, in high school. It helps slow me down.

DARRYL
Focus.

MUKTA
Yeah slow down and focus.

DARRYL
You in a hurry now?

MUKTA
No. My daughter gets home about 4:30, but it’s okay. She has a key.

DARRYL
What’s your daughter’s name?

MUKTA
Abby.

DARRYL
How old is she?

MUKTA
Thirteen.

DARRYL
Thirteen?

MUKTA
Why you looking at me like that?

DARRYL
I’m not looking ... It’s just, ah, you must have been young.

MUKTA
Yeah, I was young.  You got a problem with that?

DARRYL
No, of course not.  I got a daughter too.

MUKTA
You married?

DARRYL
Naw. You know how it is.

MUKTA
Yeah, I know how it is. What’s her name?

DARRYL
Celeste. She’s eight months old.

MUKTA
You and her mother?

DARRYL
Naw. It don’t work.

MUKTA
A lot of things don’t work.

DARRYL
Yeah, sometimes it seems like nothing works.

MUKTA
The world’s broken.

DARRYL
You think? 

(MUKTA shrugs.) 

You want a donut? 

(MUKTA shrugs.) 

You like donuts?

MUKTA
Sure.

DARRYL
What kind?

(MUKTA shrugs. DARRYL looks toward the counter.) 

Well, you have plenty of choices. There’s plain croissants, chocolate croissants, bowties, frosted coffee rolls, cinnamon raisin bagels, and cheese Danish. None of those are donuts, strictly speaking. But they all sound good. Donuts. The choice is: powered sugar, glazed, chocolate glazed and chocolate frosted, I’m not sure of the difference, and then there’s the vanilla frosted, and the old fashioned. I like the old fashioned. Then there’s the Boston cream, the Bavarian cream and the French cream. Damned if I know the difference, but you might. Oh yeah, and the French cruller and the plain cruller, and last is wildberry frosted. It’s pink with purple sprinkles.

MUKTA
Darryl, you’re crazy.

DARRYL
I know that. What kind?

MUKTA
Boston cream.

(Blackout)

 

 

(KIM’s kitchen in Hempstead.)

KIM
Thanks for doing this.

DARRYL
Of course I’m doing this.  

(Beat.) 

How the boys doing?

KIM
They talked with him on Skype. They know he lost his leg. They’re happy their daddy’s finally coming home.

DARRYL
And you?

KIM
I’m doing okay. You know, it’s hard. He isn’t going to play basketball again or go dancing. But I thank God he’s coming home at all.

DARRYL
Yeah. You should be proud of him. 

KIM
I am.

DARRYL
He made a great sacrifice for his country. 

KIM
Kareem didn’t make this sacrifice for his country.

DARRYL
No?

KIM
No. What the country ever done for him? He did it for us—his family, for me and the kids.

DARRYL
He lost his leg for you and the boys?

KIM
Damned right. He went into the fucking army to feed us and keep a roof over our heads. He knew the risk he was taking, we both knew, but what choices did he have? He was a kid from the Tilden Houses. He got through high school somehow…

DARRYL
Because of you, you pushed him. You helped him study.

KIM
Whatever. The point is, what else could he do? He didn’t have the grades for college and he couldn’t have paid for it if he had. He had the gangs on one side and the cops on the other. No jobs around there that wouldn’t have landed him in jail. Where could he get a legit job with that kind of pay and benefits?

DARRYL
I hear you.

KIM
We had two kids. What could he do? You were lucky Daddy could get you into the union. And Daddy he was generous to us too, but he couldn’t take care of us for long, especially after he started getting sick. So signing up, it, well, it…

DARRYL
It just made sense.

KIM
Sure did.  

(Beat.) 

All those deployments. He was gone so much. But his paycheck kept coming every week.  

(Beat.) 

That’s what he lost his leg for.

DARRYL
I get it, Kim.

KIM
He bet his life and lost his leg, not bad.

DARRYL
I guess.

KIM
He’s going to get disability now. The VA gives him medical care for free. That’s for life.

DARRYL
That’s good.

KIM
Yeah, who gets that? Only veterans, that’s who.

 (Beat.)

DARRYL
And what’s he think about Bernard?

KIM
He don’t know anything, one way or the other. He never asked and I don’t think he will.  

(Beat.)

Kareem and me love each other. Look what he sacrificed to take care of us. And, if I got lonely, well it was years; you can bet your ass he did too.

DARRYL
And Bernard?

KIM
What about him?

DARRYL
How’s he feel about Kareem coming home?

KIM
He’d better be as happy as I am. He knew the situation. We never made promises. He got him some fun with a friend. Nobody’s complaining.

DARRYL
I’m just asking. 

KIM
And no one’s talking about it.

DARRYL
Silence is golden. When do we leave for the airport?

KIM
Six in the morning. I’ll wake you at five. I’ve put the sheets on the couch.

(Blackout)
 

 

(DARRYL and MUKTA at a table in Doughy Donuts. Each has a coffee and they’re sharing a glazed bowtie.)

MUKTA
I haven’t seen you for a few days.

DARRYL
I was out at my sister’s in Hempstead. Her husband, Kareem, he’s in the military, he got wounded.

MUKTA
Oh, I’m sorry.

DARRYL
Yeah, they took off his left leg, right over the knee.

MUKTA
Wow.

DARRYL
Yeah, well, so I took her and the kids to the airport. Then I spent a few days helping out. They’ve got this little two-bedroom house out there. Luckily it’s a ranch so he doesn’t have to get up and down stairs.

MUKTA
That’s good.

DARRYL
Yeah. They all pretty freaked out.

MUKTA
How many kids they have?

DARRYL
Two boys.

MUKTA
Cool.

DARRYL
Yeah, they’re good kids. Don’t hardly know their father, that’s the hard part. He’s been deployed three times. 

MUKTA
He’s home now to stay?

DARRYL
Yeah, he’s leaving the service.

MUKTA
That’s good, right?

DARRYL
Yeah, a little too late, I’d say. But they taught him some skills. Tech stuff. He’ll be able to get a job at a telco hotel or something.

MUKTA
Telco hotel?

DARRYL
That’s what they call the places where they keep the servers.

MUKTA
The internet servers?

DARRYL
Yeah. It’s not magic you know. They’re machines.

MUKTA
I know that, Darryl. I’m not a complete idiot. I just never heard that term before.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
Got it. Sorry.

MUKTA
You close to your sister?

DARRYL
For sure. You might say she’s my best friend. Known her all my life.

(Beat.)

You got any brothers or sisters?

MUKTA
I got a sister, an older sister, Ritsika.

DARRYL
You close?

MUKTA
I guess so. She’s all I got left of my family.

DARRYL
What’d you mean?

MUKTA
Well, I come from a traditional Indian family.

DARRYL
Yeah?

MUKTA
You marry who your parents tell you to.

DARRYL
You mean like…

MUKTA
Yeah. It’s all arranged. Someone from your country, your religion, you caste, from your family’s village back home, if they can pull it off.

DARRYL
Shit.

MUKTA
Damned right.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
And?

MUKTA
And I, well, I wouldn’t.

DARRYL
I see.

MUKTA
I wouldn’t marry the boring guy they chose for me, or the second one, or the third.

DARRYL
And Abby?

MUKTA
An older guy, my father’s friend from back home.

DARRYL
Wow.

MUKTA
And, of course I couldn’t tell my family and of course they disowned me, partiyaga karana.

DARRYL
Disowned?

MUKTA
Yeah, I’m not their daughter anymore. I’m dead to them.

DARRYL
Like they don’t talk to you?

MUKTA
Yeah, like that. Except for my sister Ritsika. She visits me.

DARRYL
Your parents know?

MUKTA
I think so, but they don’t say anything, neither does Ritsika.

DARRYL
Silence is golden.

MUKTA
I hate silence.

DARRYL
Me too.  

(Beat.)

So Abby, she’s never met her grandparents?

MUKTA
Never, and never will. To them she’s a bastard, a thing of shame, my shame, their shame.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
Mukta, I had no idea.

MUKTA
You still trying to figure me out?

(Blackout)
 

 

(TAMARA and MUKTA at the Doughy Donuts counter. There are no customers.)

TAMARA
Central Park? You’re kidding.

MUKTA
I’d never been there before. You?

TAMARA
Me and my friends we went over to the entrance at Columbus Circle last summer, you know, where they got all those big statues. We never went too far in. We thought it might be dangerous.

MUKTA
It’s not. They got all these people walking around.

TAMARA
Yeah, white people.

MUKTA
All kinds of people and nobody was bothering nobody. I didn’t even see any cops.

TAMARA
I like that part.

MUKTA
It’s beautiful. They have this fountain with an angel, the statue of an angel, in the middle. You’ve seen it a million times in the movies. And there’s this little lake where you can rent a rowboat. We didn’t, but we watched people rowing around. It seemed like the olden days. And there’s this part of the park called The Ramble, it’s hilly and full of trees and you can’t see the buildings and you can’t hear the cars and it’s like you’re not even in the city.

TAMARA
Can’t go in the park near me, too many crack heads.

MUKTA
Abby even rode on the merry-go-round.

TAMARA
Isn’t she a little old for that?

MUKTA
Give her a break, Tamara.  She never even saw a merry-go-round before.

TAMARA

You all acting mighty white these days.

MUKTA
Come on, Tamara, she loved it.

TAMARA
All I’m saying is it’s nice to have some extra change for something like that.

MUKTA
Well, he does have a good job.

TAMARA
Well, ain’t I been telling you that? 

(Beat.) 

MUKTA
Yes you have. Thank you.

TAMARA
He come home with you?

MUKTA
No, nothing like that.

TAMARA
Sounds like you like him.

MUKTA
I don’t want a relationship.

TAMARA
That’s not what I said. I said, it sounds like you like him.

MUKTA
Well, sure, but not that way.

TAMARA
What way then?

MUKTA
He’s interesting. He does things no one else I know does.

TAMARA
Like going to Central Park?

MUKTA
Yeah, and reading books on American history, and did you know he’s memorized the name of every donut Doughy makes?

TAMARA
Why doesn’t that surprise me?

MUKTA
Next week we’re going to the Museum of Natural History. Abby’s never been to a museum before.

TAMARA
Have you?

(Beat.)

MUKTA
No.

TAMARA
I went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum over in Times Square. It was a’right.

(Blackout)
 

 

(DORA and DARRYL seated at a booth in the neon-lit diner.)

DORA
I heard you banging a dot head.

DARRYL
Dora, don’t go there.

DORA
I didn’t go there. You did. Can’t keep your cock in your pants.

DARRYL
You know what I mean.

DORA
I guess you mean Black women ain’t good enough for you no more.

DARRYL
That’s what I’m saying; don’t get all racial on me.

DORA
Your daughter’s gonna be a Black woman. How’s she gonna feel when she hears you dumped her mother for some Indian bitch.

DARRYL
I didn’t dump you, Dora. We were never together. Let’s not go through all this again.

DORA
I’m always going through this.

DARRYL

I can see that. You should give yourself a break.

DORA
You getting it on with your Hindu, or whatever she is, and you telling me how to live my life?

DARRYL
No, I’m not telling you anything about how to live your life.

DORA
It sure as hell sounded that way to me.

DARRYL
Okay. Don’t give yourself a break.

DORA
What’d you want to meet for anyway? You just want to rub my face in your dot head’s shit?

DARRYL
Celeste.

DORA
What about her?

DARRYL
I’d love to have her on Sundays.

DORA
You want to take her to church?

DARRYL
No, after church, I want to take her to museums and stuff.

DORA
You want to take her to what?

DARRYL
On Sundays, Mukta and I…

DORA
That’s your Indian chick? Mukta?

DARRYL
Yeah, Mukta and me and her daughter Abby we’ve been going to Central Park and museums and the zoo, and…

DORA
The zoo? What fucking zoo?

DARRYL
The Bronx Zoo.

DORA
The Bronx Zoo? You’ve been taking her daughter to the Bronx Zoo? You been playing daddy to her kid, while Celeste is stuck back in Brooklyn with jack shit.

DARRYL
That’s just it. I’d like to take Celeste on these trips…

DORA
With your Indian slut?

DARRYL
Abby really loves it…

DORA
She does, huh?

DARRYL
And it gets her thinking about all sorts of new things, dinosaurs and trees and stuff. I want that for Celeste too.

DORA
Celeste is barely a year old; she don’t need to be thinking about no dinosaurs.

DARRYL
It’d be nice if these Sunday adventures—and me—could be part of her life. Don’t you want me to be a part of her life?

DORA
Not this way. Why would I let her run around with you and your new girlfriend?

DARRYL
Because it would be good for her and because she could get to know her father.

DORA
You want to be her daddy; you know what you got to do.

DARRYL
I could be her daddy in a different way.

DORA
She’d come home thinking she was better than her mother, same as you do.

DARRYL
Dora, please.

DORA
Go be a daddy to that Indian brat. And don’t call me again.

(Blackout)
 

 

(MUKTA’s apartment in Elmhurst.)

RITSIKA
So tell me about Darryl.

MUKTA
Darryl? What do you know about Darryl?

RITSIKA
Just what Abby’s told me.

MUKTA
And what did Abby tell you?

RITSIKA
She likes him a lot. He takes you two to the Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty…

MUKTA
Yeah, we’re having a good time.

RITSIKA
We are, are we?

MUKTA
Yes, he’s one of the weirdest people I’ve ever met.

RITSIKA
That’s good?

MUKTA
Weird in a good way, a fun way.

RITSIKA
Okay…

MUKTA
He enjoys life.

RITSIKA
No one you ever met before enjoyed life?

MUKTA
I didn’t say that, but now that you mention it, most people are pretty miserable.

RITSIKA
Don’t project your problems onto other people. I’m not miserable.

MUKTA
Alright, whatever, I wasn’t criticizing you.

RITSIKA
Abby says he’s Black.

MUKTA
Yeah. What of it?

RITSIKA
Nothing.  

(Beat.) 

You sleeping with him?

MUKTA
I am not. But it’s none of your business.

RITSIKA
I’m just saying…

MUKTA
What?

RITSIKA
Well, Abby’s father…

MUKTA
Yes?

RITSIKA
…At least he was Indian.

MUKTA
Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

 (Beat.)

RITSIKA
It would kill Baba if you had a black baby.

MUKTA
I’m not having any more babies, but if I was and it would kill him, then I would make a special effort to have a black baby.

RITSIKA
How can you say that? He’s your father.

MUKTA
Not any more. Partiyaga karana, remember? I’m dead to him. What does he care how many babies I have and what color they are?

RITSIKA
Mukta, you can do better.

MUKTA
Darryl is a nice man. In fact, he’s the first nice man I’ve ever met. So I don’t want to hear, I won’t listen to, this racist crap, not even from you, Ritsika.

RITSIKA
How can you say that? I voted for Obama.

MUKTA
Are you listening to yourself?

RITSIKA
All I’m saying, and believe me, I’m not attacking Darryl, I’m sure he’s a nice guy. I’ve never met him. Abby loves him. All I’m saying is don’t forget family and tradition.

MUKTA
My family threw me away, Ritsika. Baba threw me out in the street. Who are you talking to here? I don’t want that tradition, thank you very much. Not the old tradition that’s stuck in some backwater in India or the new tradition of racism that our family seems to have picked up as soon as they landed at Kennedy Airport.

RITSIKA
Alright, I see where this is going.

MUKTA
Don’t come in here saying shit about what you know nothing about. Leave your attitudes at home with your fucking traditions.

RITSIKA
Calm down, Mukta.

MUKTA
I’ve never been calm in my life and I don’t think I’m going to start now.

(Blackout)
 

 

(DARRYL and MUKTA at a table in Doughy Donuts. Each has a coffee and they’re sharing a chocolate glazed donut.)

MUKTA
What did Dora say?

DARRYL
She got all jealous and told me not to call her again. No Celeste.

MUKTA
I’m sorry.

DARRYL
Yeah, well, what can I do? Maybe in a few years.

MUKTA
Maybe.

DARRYL
My job here is done at the end of the week.

MUKTA
What do you mean?

DARRYL
The building I’m working on, the ironwork is almost done. So I won’t be coming in everyday. My next job is on the East Side.

MUKTA
That’s too bad.

DARRYL
Yeah, it is. But that’s construction, you finish building the thing and it’s time to move on to the next.

MUKTA
Darryl, how did you become an iron worker?

DARRYL
How? I got into the union’s apprenticeship program.

MUKTA
Yeah, but I mean there aren’t that many Black construction workers.

DARRYL
I owe it to my father and to the Civil Rights Movement. Back in the early seventies there was a big push to integrate the construction trades. My dad and lot of others, they sat down in front of bulldozers, stopped construction at sites all over the city, got arrested, picketed the all-white firms and unions, took it to the courts. Eventually they won and minorities were let in. There’s still not that many, but my father became one of the first Black iron workers in the city, and, well, the way it works, if your dad’s in the trade, the union takes you in.

MUKTA
You like your work, don’t you?

DARRYL
Yeah, I do. It’s hard and it’s dangerous. I know a couple of guys who’ve been hurt, seriously fucked up. But I like walking around the city looking up at the buildings I’ve worked on. I feel proud, you know.

MUKTA
Are there any women iron workers?

DARRYL
Hardly any. I met one once. Why? You interested?

MUKTA
Me? No, I’d be scared to go up that high. It’s Abby. Lately she’s saying she wants to be an iron worker like you.

DARRYL
Let’s wait a few years and see if she still wants to. Then we can talk.

MUKTA
You still going to get a Number 4 every morning on the East Side?

DARRYL
Yeah. They got Doughy’s everywhere. But they only got you here; won’t be the same.  

(Beat.) 

Mukta, I was thinking maybe, since I won’t be around here so much, maybe we could have our first, you know, formal date. There’s this jazz piano player, Cyprus Chestnut, he’s really good and he’s playing this weekend down in the Village.

MUKTA
I’ve never been to a jazz concert.

DARRYL
Me either. I download the music but I’ve never seen it live.

MUKTA
Cool.

DARRYL
Is that a yes?

MUKTA
Yes.

DARRYL
Why do you look so sad?

MUKTA
I’m not sad. I’m just in pain.

DARRYL
What kind of pain?

MUKTA
Oh, it’s just the cramps. My period. I get bad cramps.

DARRYL
I can help with that.

(DARRYL drops to his knees in front of MUKTA, lifts the bottom of her blouse and starts humming into her belly.)

MUKTA
Darryl, you’re crazy.

(Blackout)

 

(MUKTA and TAMARA behind the counter at Doughy. There are no customers.)

MUKTA
My landlord’s raising my rent.

TAMARA
Shit.

MUKTA
Yeah, it’s not like Doughy’s is raising our pay.

TAMARA
I don’t know how you’ve been doing it all these years. I mean, my moms doesn’t charge me rent and still I can’t hardly make it through the week.

MUKTA
Abby and me, we live in a basement apartment of a three-story house owned by an old Indian guy who had been a friend of Abby’s father. He and his family live on the top floor. The rent’s been, you know, pretty reasonable. But the boiler broke this winter; the roof’s starting to leak. He’s got expenses.

TAMARA
I guess, but where does that leave you?

MUKTA
Exactly. I don’t have a lease, so…

TAMARA
He can throw you out whenever he wants.

MUKTA
Yup.

TAMARA
What you gonna do?

MUKTA
Pay more rent. I just don’t think I can find a cheaper place. But I’m scared, Tamara. Abby and I have to eat something besides donuts.


TAMARA
I know you’re putting in a lot of hours, but maybe you gotta ask for more.

MUKTA
Yeah, and I’m looking for a second job, but this and McDonald’s and eight months at H&M is all I’ve done. I got no skills.

TAMARA
H &M? What happened there?

MUKTA
My manager, he wouldn’t keep his hands off me.

TAMARA
I should’ve guessed.  

(Beat.) 

Now that we’re onto the topic of men, how’s Darryl?

MUKTA
He’s good.

TAMARA
You two official now?

MUKTA
Official? What’s that mean?

TAMARA
You know what I’m talking about.

MUKTA
We’re having a good time.

TAMARA
I guess, going to jazz clubs and all that.

MUKTA
This weekend we went to see a play.

TAMARA
For real? A Broadway show?

MUKTA
Naw, one of those little theatres downtown. The play was really weird, but it was fun.

TAMARA
How bourgie can you get? Going to weird plays in SoHo and shit!

MUKTA
It’s nice to see something other than “Law and Order” or “Real Housewives of New Jersey” once in a while. Darryl likes to try new things.

TAMARA
You one of those new things?

MUKTA
Yeah, I guess. I’m new to him. He’s new to me. We’re trying to figure each other out.

TAMARA
That sounds nice. Ain’t nothing much to figure out about Jarred.

MUKTA
How’s he doing? You don’t talk much about him anymore.

TAMARA
He’s alright. You know that messenger job he had?

MUKTA
Yeah?

TAMARA
He got fired.

MUKTA
Why?

TAMARA
He got into a fight with his boss.

MUKTA
About what?

TAMARA
He said his boss dissed him.

MUKTA
I’m sure he did.

TAMARA
I’m sure he did too, but that’s not the point, is it? Now he’s got nothing to bring to the table. We can’t even go to the movies. His moms had to take on extra hours and all he does is sit around, smoke weed and watch television.

MUKTA
He hasn’t hit you again, has he?

TAMARA
Naw, but he snarls a lot.

MUKTA
You be careful.

TAMARA
He just don’t know what to do, so he gets angry.

MUKTA
That’s what I’m saying; you be careful.

(Blackout)

 

(DARRYL and MUKTA at a table at Doughy. They have no donuts. DARRYL has a coffee but doesn’t drink from it.)

DARRYL
How bad is it?

MUKTA
They had to do some reconstructive surgery on her cheek and there’re three broken ribs.

DARRYL
Damn.

MUKTA
The good news is her eye is okay, the retina wasn’t detached and the broken ribs didn’t puncture any organs.

DARRYL
And this guy’s locked up?

MUKTA
Yeah. I finally convinced Tamara and her mother press charges.

DARRYL
All this because he didn’t want her to go to the movies with us?

MUKTA
That’s what set him off.  

(Beat.) 

He’ll get out on bail sooner or later. I don’t know what she’ll do.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
Well, she’s got to make a clean break with him.

MUKTA
It’s not that easy. 

DARRYL
Nothing ever is.

MUKTA
Her family and his, they’re all mixed up with each other.

DARRYL
Right, she needs to get as far away from her family as she can; her family’s a trap.

MUKTA
Most families.

DARRYL
Word.

MUKTA
The thing is, Tamara, she’s still sort of a kid; always lived with her mother. 

DARRYL
Well, then she has to grow up quick.

MUKTA
How?

DARRYL
I don’t know. How did you do it?

MUKTA
I didn’t have a choice.

(Blackout)

 

(MUKTA’s apartment in Elmhurst. MUKTA and TAMARA, who has a bandage over one eye.)

MUKTA
It still hurt a lot?

TAMARA
Damn straight, girl.

MUKTA
Sorry.

TAMARA
The painkillers help. A little.  

(Beat.) 

I dropped the charges.

MUKTA
Why’d you go and do that for?

TAMARA
I don’t want him to go upstate.

MUKTA
You want him to beat you up again?

TAMARA
I just want my moms to… 

MUKTA
To what?

TAMARA
I want her to be okay. 

MUKTA
Your mother? Are you serious? You’re the one being sent to the hospital.

TAMARA
It like makes her look bad, you know, in the neighborhood, if I’m the reason Jarred gets put away.

MUKTA
He’s the reason he’s being put away.

TAMARA
Yeah, but I told you, his moms and mine, they’re friends. Good friends. 

(Beat. Enter ABBY with a backpack.)

ABBY
I hate school.

MUKTA
Say hello to your Aunt Tamara.

ABBY
(Dropping her back pack to the floor) 
Hi, Aunt Tamara, how’s your ribs?

TAMARA
They hurt. Why you hate school?

ABBY
The teachers are mean; the kids are mean. It sucks.

MUKTA
Don’t use that that kind of language in my house.

ABBY
Ah, Ma, it’s not like you liked school either. You told me you didn’t.

TAMARA
Abby, life is full of things we don’t like. You just gotta learn to live with them.

MUKTA
Not always.

ABBY
You mean I don’t have to go to school?
 
MUKTA
No, you have to go to school. But Tamara, you don’t have to put up with Jarred.

TAMARA
I can’t get away from him. He lives on my block. 

(Beat.)

MUKTA
Why don’t you move in with us? Elmhurst is a long way from Bed-Stuy. He isn’t gonna follow you here.

ABBY
Cool.

TAMARA
Here? Are you kidding?

MUKTA
Why not?

TAMARA
Well, to start with, you don’t have any room. Where would I sleep? 

MUKTA
You could sleep on the couch.

TAMARA
I don’t know. I mean, look at me; I don’t want to get in you and Abby’s way.

MUKTA
 You won’t be in anyone’s way. 

TAMARA
Mukta, thanks, really, but…

MUKTA
…you got to get out of your neighborhood, away from him.

ABBY
You any good at math?

TAMARA
Yeah, I’m pretty good. I like playing Sudoku. Why?

ABBY
You could help me with my math. I’m failing math.

MUKTA
Besides, you know my rent’s gone up. You could help me with the rent. We’d be helping each other.

TAMARA
This is really nice of you and all; I mean it, thanks. Really. But my moms, I don’t know if I can, you know, abandon her. 

MUKTA
Sounds like she’s abandoning you, to Jarred.

TAMARA
No, that’s not fair. If I move out, she’d be all alone.

MUKTA
You’re a grown woman. You’re gonna leave sooner or later.

ABBY
She could visit us, couldn’t she?

MUKTA
Of course.

ABBY
Aunt Tamara, what’s your favorite TV show?

TAMARA
I don’t know. “Grey’s Anatomy”?

ABBY
I like “Dancing with the Stars.” You like it?

TAMARA
Yeah. I like the dancing.

ABBY
Good, if you move in we can watch it together. My mom thinks it’s boring.

MUKTA
I like shows with a story.

 (Beat.)

TAMARA
Jeeze. Let’s do it!

(Blackout)

 

(DARRYL and MUKTA at a table in Doughy. They each have coffee and are sharing a chocolate glazed.)

DARRYL
How’s it working with Tamara?

MUKTA
Good. It’s going good.  

(Beat.) 

Mostly.  

(Beat.) 

It’s crowded and she can be annoying sometimes.

DARRYL
Who isn’t? 

MUKTA
Exactly. I’m sure I get on her nerves too, but the really good thing is how much she helps with Abby.

DARRYL
Like having another moms in the house.

MUKTA
Yeah, sort of. We’ve been coordinating our shifts so one of us is always home when Abby gets out of school. 

DARRYL
That’s cool.

MUKTA
Yeah. I mean Abby’s a big girl. She’s used to taking care of herself, but, you know, the boys are beginning to pay attention now, and that worries me.

DARRYL
Yeah.

MUKTA
And what’s really nice is that Tamara helps Abby with her arithmetic, all that long division and obtuse angles. All the stuff I never really got.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
You think you and Abby could come to Hempstead with me on Sunday?

MUKTA
To meet your sister and Kareem?

DARRYL
Yeah, I want you to meet Kim and I’d like Abby to know my nephews.

(Beat.)

MUKTA
Sure. That’d be nice.

DARRYL
They’re having a hard time. Kareem’s moved out.

MUKTA
Oh no.

DARRYL
Yeah. He can’t get over her seeing Bernard when he was over there.

MUKTA
I thought that was a secret.

DARRYL
I never knew a secret that stayed a secret.  (Beat.) He left last week. Got a place in Hollis.

MUKTA
He still has his job with eBay?

DARRYL
Oh yeah. His job’s solid. Financially they’re fine. He’s just furious at Kim.

MUKTA
Angry men are dangerous men.

DARRYL
Yeah. That’s why it’s good he’s gone to Hollis.

MUKTA
I guess.

DARRYL
But it’s hard on Kim and the kids, especially the kids, and I think it’d be good for them to have some other people in their lives.

MUKTA
I’d love to meet them.

(Blackout)

 

(TAMARA is sitting in MUKTA’s living room wearing a parka with a TV clicker in her hand. MUKTA enters wearing a winter coat with a box of Doughy Donuts.) 

MUKTA
Damn! Still no heat. 

TAMARA
Yeah, we lucky it’s not too cold out.

MUKTA
Yeah, lucky.

TAMARA
How was your shift? 

(MUKTA shrugs.) 

That bad? 

(MUKTA shrugs.) 
(Beat.)

MUKTA
I’m tired.

(Beat.) 

And hungry. 

(Opens box, takes a donut.)

TAMARA
I haven’t seen you since Sunday morning. How was Hempstead?

MUKTA
It was fine. Kim’s nice. We had a good meal. Virginia ham, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes.

TAMARA
Now you making me hungry. 

(TAMARA takes a donut.)

MUKTA
Abby had a good time. She was never part of big family dinner before.

TAMARA
Sounds good. 

(MUKTA shrugs, reaches for another donut.)  

Girl, you gonna get fat.

MUKTA
Tamara, we got a problem.

TAMARA
You mean on top of having no heat?

MUKTA
Yeah. Mr. Kapoor says you got to move.

TAMARA
Say what?

MUKTA
Says we’re violating the housing code; too many people in the space.

TAMARA
Too many people in his raggedy freeze-your-ass-off space?

MUKTA
Yeah.

TAMARA
First that fucker ups the rent, then the heat goes out and now this.

MUKTA
Yeah.

TAMARA
He don’t like black people.

MUKTA
I think he wants the apartment for his daughter and son-in-law; they’re finished with college in May.

TAMARA
Damn. I really don’t want to move back to my moms.  

(Beat.) 

I can’t Mukta.

MUKTA
Yeah. I know.

TAMARA
What we gonna do?

MUKTA
I don’t know.

TAMARA
We got to do something.

MUKTA
We start looking for a new place.

TAMARA
Can we find something we can afford?

MUKTA
I guess we have to, don’t we?

TAMARA
When’s he say I got to leave?

MUKTA
End of the month.

TAMARA
Shit, Mukta, shit. What we going to do?

MUKTA
We’re gonna find a way to stay together.

(Blackout)
 

(A Doughy Donuts in Queens. Sitting around two tables pushed together are MUKTA, TAMARA and ABBY. DARRYL is standing with a tray of coffee and a bag of donuts, which he puts down on the table.)

DARRYL

(Handing out the goodies as he announces them.) 

We got a Boston Cream for Mukta, chocolate glazed for Tamara, wildberry frosted, with purple sprinkles, for Abby and an old fashioned for me.

ABBY
Which coffee has the five sugars?

DARRYL
That one. 

(to MUKTA)  

Are you sure she’s old enough to drink coffee?

(MUKTA shrugs.)

TAMARA
Why not?

DARRYL
Isn’t it supposed to stunt your growth or something?

TAMARA
That’s cigarettes.

(ABBY takes a bite of her donut and slurps her coffee.)

MUKTA
Thanks for traipsing through Queens with us.

DARRYL
Well, we have to find you guys a place to live, don’t we? 

TAMARA
Three apartments, each worse than the next, they make our place seem almost okay.

MUKTA
That last one, the super didn’t even bother to clean up the mouse droppings.

DARRYL
You could get a cat.

ABBY
I’d like a cat.

MUKTA
No cat. 

TAMARA
Three weeks of looking. We’re running out of time.  

(Beat.) 

We have to live some where.

DARRYL
Listen, I have an idea. You know I got three bedrooms.

TAMARA
No, how’d you manage that?

DARRYL
Had it from forever, my uncle had the lease before me, and I get roommates to help me pay the rent.

TAMARA
Friends?

DARRYL
Naw, you know, they find me on Craig’s List.

MUKTA
What about it? We don’t have an uncle who died and left us three bedrooms.

DARRYL
Well, you know, Mukta, I told you about how my housemate Shelia, she’s been talking about moving in with her boyfriend.

MUKTA
Yeah.

DARRYL
She told me on Thursday that she’s leaving at the end of the month.

MUKTA
Yeah?

DARRYL
That opens up a room.

MUKTA
There’s three of us, one room is tough.

DARRYL
I could go stay with my sister and her kids out in Hempstead. 

TAMARA
We can’t put you out of your own house.

DARRYL
It’s just ‘till you guys can find a place.

MUKTA
You’d have to take the Long Island Rail Road to work everyday.

DARRYL
No big deal, lots of guys do it.

TAMARA
You one crazy brother.

DARRYL
I can’t let you go to a shelter.

(Beat.)

ABBY
Would I have to go to another school?

DARRYL
Yeah, my place is in Brooklyn.

ABBY
Are the schools better there?

TAMARA
No, they suck everywhere.

MUKTA
Darryl, this is really, really sweet, but we can’t stay at your place.

DARRYL
Why not?

TAMARA
For one thing, it’d be funny with your roommate, who we don’t know, living there.

DARRYL
He’s a nice guy.

TAMARA
Yeah, but sharing a bathroom and all. We don’t know him. He Black?

DARRYL
He’s Mexican from Colorado, trying to be an actor. What’s it matter?

TAMARA
I’d feel weird being with a stranger and all.

DARRYL
Better than feeling cold.

ABBY
Word.

MUKTA
I don’t know…

DARRYL
You got a better idea?

ABBY
I do. Why don’t you stay?

MUKTA
Stay where?

ABBY
Stay in your apartment. We could all live there, wouldn’t that be cool?

DARRYL
Now, that is a better idea.

MUKTA
Darryl has another housemate, Abby. There’s not enough room.

DARRYL
Maybe there is.

MUKTA
How you figure that?

DARRYL
Well, if Tamara and Abby’re willing to share a room…

ABBY
I am, for sure.

DARRYL
…then you and me can have the big bedroom.

MUKTA
No, we can’t. No way we’re there yet.

TAMARA
Oh, come on girl.

MUKTA
No, I mean it.

DARRYL
Okay, then, I’ll take the couch in the living room.

MUKTA
I don’t want to take your room away from you.

DARRYL
Half the time I fall asleep couch watching Nets games anyway.

MUKTA
It’d be crowded.

ABBY
Ma, it’d be fun to all live together.

MUKTA
Slow down. This is complicated.

DARRYL
What is?

MUKTA
You know, it’s a big deal. I’ve never lived with anyone before.

ABBY
What about Aunt Tamara and me?

MUKTA
You know, with a man.

DARRYL
But it’s me.

MUKTA
Yeah, that’s why it’s complicated.

(Beat.)

DARRYL
Sure there’s stuff to get used to, but Abby’s right, it could be fun.

MUKTA
You think?

DARRYL
We like each other. A lot. And we get along too. Some people like each other but don’t get along.

MUKTA
Yeah. We do. Like each other.

DARRYL
It’ll be good to see you more.

MUKTA
A lot more.

DARRYL
Yeah.  It’d be good to see you a lot more.

(Beat.)

TAMARA
This is great. I’m happy for you two. After all, I got you together, didn’t I?

DARRYL
Yeah.

TAMARA
But I don’t think I fit into this picture.

DARRYL
Why not?

TAMARA
Why not? Hello! I’d be like a fifth wheel. You two lovebirds don’t need me hanging around the house.

DARRYL
That’s just plain silly.

MUKTA
Yeah, you’re my friend, our friend, I want you to live with us.

ABBY
Me too. 

TAMARA
You guys are great, really, but I can take care of myself.

MUKTA
No, you can’t; that’s been established. Besides, why would you want to?

TAMARA
It’s kind of weird, don’t you think?

MUKTA
What’d you mean weird?

TAMARA
Well, I don’t know, you know, people, grown up people, usually live in couples, don’t they?

MUKTA
What’s weird would be you going back to live with your mother.

ABBY
Aunt Tamara, I like living with you.

DARRYL
The way I’m looking at this, people are usually doing stuff to push each other away. This thing with Jarred, my sister and her husband…

TAMARA
Yeah, I heard about that. Why you men always so jealous?

DARRYL
That’s what I’m talking about. Why we got to be like everyone else? Instead of pushing each other away, why don’t we find a way to pull together?

ABBY
You could come on our Sunday adventures, couldn’t she?

MUKTA
Of course.

TAMARA
Abby, thank you, but I don’t know…

DARRYL
Somebody’s got to help me pay the rent. I’d rather have you in the house than some stranger I find on Craig’s List.

(Beat.)

TAMARA
You really think this could work?

DARRYL
Yeah, I do. My roommate, Rey, the actor, he’s always talking about moving to LA. One of these days he might actually do it, and we could have the place to ourselves. 
MUKTA
Tamara, even though it’s scary, and even though you get on my nerves sometimes. …

TAMARA
I do?

MUKTA
Yeah, but I love you and I think Abby has a good idea here. 

TAMARA
Even with this guy Rey living in the apartment?

ABBY
I never met an actor before. Is he handsome?

DARRYL
Maybe we’ll even have Celeste visit us sometimes.

MUKTA
You think?

DARRYL
Her mother’s agreed to let her see me on Tuesdays after I get off work. Now that Dora’s got her a decent boyfriend, she’s not as crazy. 

(Beat.) 

Or scared.

MUKTA
That’d be nice.

TAMARA
Wow, are we really going to do this?

(They all look at each other. Beat.)

ABBY
Yeah, we are. Can I get a Boston Cream and another coffee?

 

THE END