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Jen Moon as Lacy, Ray Tagavilla as Greg, Alyson Scadron Branner as Carla, David Goldstein as Keith. Photo by Auston James
Fire Sleep With Me
produced at the 14/48 festival, 1/15/10. The randomly drawn theme for that night: "Into The Fire." My random actor draw: write a play for two men and two women. A table in a restaurant, at a resort on a tropical island. A couple is seated – LACY and GREG. Lacy is reading a brochure. Another couple enters, late for brunch – CARLA and KEITH. Everyone should have wedding rings on. LACY: Oh, there you are. I was about to have the concierge send up a search and rescue mission. KEITH: Sorry, we were moving a little slow this morning. I don't think Carla's as excited about today's adventure as the rest of us. LACY: It was hard coming up with a new one after all these years. Especially after last year's shamanic retreat in the Amazon. I still sort of puke a little when I think about that one. GREG: Before that was skydiving in Africa, the year before... was that the submarine trip, or was that- KEITH: That year was the Iceland camping trip. GREG: Right. After nine years, they're sort of blurring together. LACY: And for year number ten... She reads aloud from her brochure. “For centuries, cultures around the globe have practiced the purifying ritual of firewalking. Facing the glowing red coals, and walking steadfastly across them, burns away your fears and worries.” GREG: But not your feet and legs, apparently. LACY: “The ritual of firewalking is a ritual of change and transformation. You will emerge from your exposure to 1200 degree heat as a new spiritual entity, facing the world for the first time.” KEITH to Carla: See, honey, we'll be new spiritual entities. I bet that's even part of the base price. When she does not respond: Carla, are you okay? CARLA: I'm fine, I just... She takes a deep breath. GREG: Carla, if it's any consolation, I did a lot of research about this last night on my iPhone. The sweat around your feet will create a buffer as it turns to steam, protecting your feet. Plus the “glowing red coals” rarely actually get up to 1200 degrees. CARLA: What's the point of doing it if it's not actually dangerous? GREG: Well... I'm sure they're not room temperature coals. LACY: We could ask them to sprinkle broken glass all over the firepit. GREG: Right, or shoot a flamethrower at us every five seconds- CARLA: Every year, we keep trying to push the envelope on these adventure vacations. But it's always just about adrenaline, and there's always a guide making sure we're actually safe the whole time, and it's always easily contained in a week and then we immediately head back home, and it's just... LACY putting the brochure down: Not actually adventurous? CARLA: Not really. I mean, do you really feel we're going to be changed and transformed after tonight? Pause. Don't get me wrong, change and transformation are really excellent goals. They're totally on my list. KEITH: You would not have brought this up if you didn't have something else in mind. So that's why you were so quiet this morning. And you didn't want to tell me because...? CARLA: I wanted to make a suggestion while we were all together. Since we are very much in this together. Screwing up all of her courage: I think we should swap partners tonight. Pause. And have sex. Pause. With each other's partners. Pause. That's it, that's the suggestion. KEITH dumbfounded: Did you actually just say that out loud? CARLA: We've all known each other so long that we're obviously more than just friends, but we're all so timid, and we only really let ourselves take meaningful risks once a year, and it's just- KEITH: Can I please have a word with you? He pulls her to her feet and walks her a distance from the table. The two of them speak in quiet but intense tones. KEITH: What the hell are you doing? CARLA: I know you've thought about it. KEITH: How exactly do- CARLA: You make these little comments all the time, and even if it's just subconscious, you keep dropping these little hints, and you make it sound like it's actually a real fantasy- KEITH: It is just a fantasy- CARLA: Why does it have to be? We trust Greg and Lacy completely. We trust each other. Why can't we take a risk about something that actually matters in our lives just this once? He doesn't have an answer. Meanwhile, at the other table, a similar conference is held. GREG: What do you think? LACY: I'm torn. On the one hand, that could be some very hot sex. On the other hand, we put a deposit down with the firewalking people. GREG: You don't think you'd be jealous? LACY: Of course I'd be jealous, but presumably I would also be distracted. GREG: I don't know what she meant by “obviously more than just friends” - what's so obvious? LACY: Look. Greg. You stare. Seriously. You think you're being all sneaky, but sometimes I catch you staring, and you have this adorable expression on your face. Like when we first met. GREG: I still think you're the hotness, Lacy. LACY: Of course you do. But there is a lot of hotness in the world. I get it. They seem to come to a conclusion. KEITH: This could ruin our friendships. You don't just casually introduce sex into a situation like this. CARLA: What's casual about it? This is our yearly ritual, Keith. For one week every year, the rules are different by design. A little sad: We'll probably go back to Seattle and never mention it ever again, but... as long as we're still here, we can explore something new. KEITH: We may not like what we find. CARLA: That's always true, isn't it? Slowly she leads him back to the table, where they sit. Awkwardly. After a long beat: GREG: Carla, I'd like to congratulate you on the awkward silence you've created. CARLA: My pleasure. LACY: As this year's designated adventure organizer, I must confess that throwing out the main event at the absolute last second does give me pause. My Facebook status currently says that I will be walking on red hot coals in just a few hours, and I'm hesitant to be made into a liarhead. CARLA: Understandable. LACY: But. I can't deny the saucy appeal of your proposal. We're in. GREG: Would we start by swapping key cards or something? CARLA: I'm not really sure. I've never done this before. Pause. I don't think Keith is convinced yet. LACY: Keith, sweetie, I'm not going to try to convince you, because peer pressure in this situation seems a little rude. But maybe you could share your concerns with the group? GREG: So that we can systematically shoot them down. Lacy smacks Greg's arm. KEITH reluctantly: What if something goes wrong, and we can't speak to each other afterwards? Or what if we go home, and we're just... jealous and miserable, and we just keep... wanting more? CARLA: What if we go firewalking instead, and the coals actually are 1200 degrees and our feet and legs melt? GREG: I think we would get our money back in that case. Lacy smacks him again. Carla takes Keith's hand, and they eye each other for a long moment, not speaking, before finally, he nods. She smiles, and at that, so does he. They turn toward Greg and Lacy, and the four of them share a moment of anticipation. Greg becomes resolute and decides to take the first move. He stands up with determination, reaches over and grabs Keith's hand, yanks him up out of his chair, and pulls him into an extremely passionate and sexual kiss, which the women watch with a small amount of amazement and amusement. Finally, they break apart, breathless. GREG: I have wanted to do that for an extremely long time. KEITH: You should do some more of it, I think. Greg reaches behind him toward Lacy, who immediately slaps a key card into the palm of his hand. Keith looks back briefly, and then Greg enthusiastically pulls Keith off stage. The women regard each other with a bit of relief – and with a bit of sudden awkward flirtatiousness. LACY: How long have you been planning this little adventure? CARLA: Since yesterday. I don't- I don't really know what to do next. LACY: Is that so? Because in that case, I have a catalog of relatively naughty ideas that I would love to share with you. She takes Carla's hand. Carla, may I walk you back to your room? CARLA: I would like that quite a bit. Lights fade. End of play.
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