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You're different.


Karen Jennings. Black coed at predominately white college. Full of racial pride and self-awareness. Determined to be accepted as a cultural entity. A senior.

Earl. Black male student at the same college. He knows what the school has to offer him and is willing to overcome all obstacles to get it. Determined to be a doctor. A senior.

Stacy. Black coed at the same college. Has no interest in racial pride or identity. In search of herself. Determined to be .... A freshman.

(It is two weeks into the fall semester at this small Southern liberal arts college. Karen Jennings is frantically packing her belongings. Her radio is up high but not at full blast. There is a loud knock on the wall from the room next door.)

Voice: Could you please cut your radio down? Pleeeeeeease!

Karen: Will you please go to hell? Pleeeeeeeease! (To herself) Can I at least have one last peaceful moment? Jesus! (Plops down on the bed, lights up a cigarette and looks at it.) I didn't smoke ... why? Am I going crazy? Yep, I sure am! How does a person take four years of this crap. (Sarcastically) Three years and two weeks is enough for me.

(Looking around) What's the big deal about being here anyway? The ivy covered walls... the sprawling lawns? The history? (Mockingly) "The Harrrrrvard of The South ... it's so prestigious! You must be smart to go there ... how is it? I wanted to go, but I couldn't t afford it ..."

(To self) Yeah, a lot of us wanted to leave, but we didn't have the courage. (Returns to packing) Correction: They didn't have the courage.

(Phone rings. She picks up the receiver. Peeved) Well, how the hell are you? Oh, hello daddy! Sorry. I'm fine. Yeah, I'm sure. No sir, I usually don't answer the phone like that. I thought you were someone else ... Yes sir, I am glad it wasn't mama. .. but I do have the right to answer my ... Yes sir, I know, ladylike. No sir, I don't need anything. Yes, I'm sure. I've stuck it out long enough ... That's right, by bus. I'm glad you and mother are concerned ... Is Jerry there? Oh, he is! Could you put him on please? Yes sir, I'll be all right... I know you're not preaching ... (Aside) Although you are a preacher.

Could you excuse me, sir, for a second ... Oh, nowhere... Just hold on, dad. I'll be ... Yeah, that's right, my sinuses are acting up again. No,, don't hang up! Just get Jerry. (Puts receiver down and screams into pillow on her bed.)

Yes sir, I'm back. Oh, Jerry! Jesus Christ, you wouldn't believe ... No, dad, I'm not taking the Lord's name in vain. Why are you listening on the other end? Hero, mom. Goodbye, daddy. Mama, do you mind if I speak to Jerry for a minute alone? No mam, I really do want to talk to you. Mama, mama. Hello mom ...

(Almost in tears) I can't take it, Jerry! Leaving here and returning home would be like jumping from the pan into the fire. I really don't know what I want to do. I am not going off the handle. You don't know ...

(Exhales deeply) Okay, I'm calm, all right? I do not want to stay in this place, and I sure as hell don't want to come back home. What should I do? I can't go back to being their little girl. Mom would just die if she saw me with a cigarette, the regular kind ...

I told you, I am calm ... I know it's my senior year, but this place is a madhouse, and home won't be much better. Well, I'll just stay with you until I decide to go somewhere else or find a job or something.

I've given it a try! What do you think three years is? There's no social life ... Nothing that resembles Black culture can survive in this atmosphere, and the niggahs, man, some of them are worse than the whites when it comes to awareness ... I'm coming home. No, I won't change my mind! You sound like dad. I'll be on your doorstep in the morning ... I'll get somebody to put it on a bus later.

(Knock on the door.) I've got to go. Someone's at the door. Goodbye ... No. I'm not staying. See you tomorrow.

Voice: Could you please turn your radio down?

Karen: (Rushes to door, thinking it's her neighbor. Opens door.) No, I'm not turning my radio ... (Earl, a friend of Karen's, is standing in the doorway with a bottle of wine.)

Earl: Forget the radio. (Holds up wine.) Just don't turn me down.

Karen: (Disgusted. Goes back into her room, followed by Earl.) Forget it, Earl. Not now. Not them. Not ever.

Earl: once, remember?

Karen: That was an accident. I was drunk.

Earl: Drunk, right. Accident, no. Here, have some wine.

Karen: Besides, I was a freshman and didn't know any better. (Takes bottle.) I will take the wine though, as a going away present.

Earl: (Looks around room.) Going away? I don't believe it. I had heard the rumor. Well, at least, let's drink to old times.

Karen: (Falls back on bed exhausted.) That much, you will get. (Reaches under the bed for glasses in a box.)

Earl: No, baby. This is special ... like the old days. (Removes loose cork.) Straight out of the bottle! (Takes swig.)

Karen: (Pulls out two cartoon glasses.) Ronald McDonald or Cookie Monster?

Earl: Cookie Monster, of course. (Puts arms around Karen.)

Karen: (Warning) Okay, Earl. (Moves away.)

Earl: Okay, truce.

Karen: Yes. And remember, that's truce, not surrender. (Pours wine. They toast, then drink in silence.)

Earl: You like?

Karen: It's pretty good. I've had better - wine and company.

Earl: Sure. So what's your problem? I've only seen you two or three times in two weeks, and when I do come by to visit you, you're making like an elephant.

Karen Elephant?

Earl: Yeah, you got your trunk packed, leaving for good.

Karen: For good is right.

Earl: So, where to? What's the plan?

Karen: I don't have one, just yet. I think maybe I'll just take some time off and float, freelance.

Earl: Tell that to someone else, not me! You always knew where you were headed, even as a freshman. I'll give you a month ... no, two weeks, and you'll be ready for a little drudgery. Your system needs it.

Karen: And what better drudgery can you get than what's offered here, right? I think it's offered in Psych - third term.

Earl: Yeah, it's a crib course; I've taken it. Actually it's called endurance.

Karen: Yeah, but what is endurance good for but more endurance? Shouldn't a school be enjoyed as well as endured, hum? Earl, to be perfectly honest with you., I do not, that's right, do not enjoy this place, or these out-of-touch people - present company, in some measure, excluded, and that's getting shaky.

Earl: (Serious) Not even the academics? Look, Karen. This damn school is the pits for us in many ways, ninety percent of those ways being social, but where the hell are you going to get the caliber of professors you have in a Wiggins or a Haupstadt - or even the exchange programs? Look at the kind of influence you have when you get a recommendation from this place. They've got new damn buildings going up at this place all the time. They've got everything!

Karen: Careful Earl sounds like you're getting ivy on the brain. I can see prestige in your eyes. Too bad it doesn't convert into dollar signs. Sorry, I just can't pledge Tri-Delt' and follow the yellow brick road.

I'll tell you what. You hang in here, and in ten years we'll have an "I told you so" party, and the one with the most "I told you so's" wins.

Earl: (Pours more wine for the both of them.) You mean you can leave these fools we got on campus and not miss them at all.

Karen: (Smiles) Yep!

Earl: Hey, remember that homecoming when Joyce let the air out of all four of Tony's tires?

Karen: For taking his "off-campus" girl to the dance ...

Earl: Yeah, that was the year all the girls drew up a list of who was supposed to take whom to the dance, and the guys ignored it.

Karen: Please don't remind me. Aside from coming here, that had to have been one of the craziest ... (Shakes her head.) Jesus Christ! (Takes a drink.) Let's talk about Tony.

Earl: Yeah, well anyway, after Joyce crawled on all fours ...

Karen: In her mama's nine hundred dollar evening gown ...

Earl: Drunk ...

Karen: Without a date ...

Earl: And let all the air out of Tony's tire, Tony comes out, gets into the car, drunk as a fish not realizing the car is on four flats, drives two miles to a service station, and tells the guy to fill her up ... (Much laughter.) But when the guy points out to Tony that he's on four flats, Tony says, "Well fill them mothers up too!" (Even more laughter.)

Karen: Talking about wild times! (Pensive) And that reminds me, why is it that this place has twice as many Black women as men? I knew there was another reason I was leaving ...

Earl: Hell if I know ... You mean you're not going to miss this place, just a little bit ...

Karen: Well, a little, maybe ...

Earl: Why don't you just hang in there for this last year? Just don't think about it. You can coast for a year. With the exception of doing a few papers, senior year is a breeze.

Karen: Obviously, you haven't been checking the summer school roles for the past three years.

Earl: (Joking) That's only been true for the past three years. Seniors don't work that hard. How many have you seen break their backs the last year? By then, all of the professors are tired of you anyway. Hey, you even start calling them by their first names. (Starts to smile.) Did you know that Wiggins' first name is Arizona? Hell yes, Arizona.

(They laugh, then get more serious.) Karen, don't do something you'll regret later on ... Hey, don't look at me like that, I'm serious. I got a brother who dropped out his junior year and he hasn't been back since. But he keeps saying him's going back. He was one of those "lay out for a semester" people, and he's still laying out.

Karen: (Almost convinced) Well ...

Earl: You and I know a lot of it's just plain ole bull, and the administration knows it too well. More than we'll ever know. But that's what you're getting the degree, for. Like they say, that's what the B.S. stands for. Karen Jennings, B.S., Political Science. Earl Morgan, B.S., Biology. Bull. But necessary.

Karen: (Pensive) Fertilizer!

Earl: Fertilizer?

Karen: Yeah, it's crap, but you've got to have it to grow.

Earl: I don't think Descartes would have put it that way, but you're right.

Karen: Not bad, huh? (Karen laughs at the discovery and takes a drink.)

Earl: Not bad at all. It's a challenge. And challenges pay off in the long run.

Karen: I'll make it pay off! (Smiles broadly.)

Earl: That's the spirit, Jennings. Make the bullshit work for you. (Standing at the window) Speaking of bull ... it seems as though Ms. Prissy has lost her white shadow.

Kare: (Going to the window) Who?

Earl: Stacy! The new chick. You know, the freshman who likes white boys.

Karen: Look who's talking! You sure didn't turn your little Ms. Magnolia Blossom out in the cold when she came a calling did you, Rhett? Sneaking her up to Tony's room, claiming you were getting homework till 2:00 in the morning.

Hey, don't look so surprised! We all knew about it - we meaning the Black women. I guess the guys didn't care, since they were playing Gone with the Wind, too. What do you expect us to do? Sit in a comer knitting until you guys come knocking at the back door to ask us out. She's just one person who didn't.

Earl: But she's different. She never gave us a chance. She came in wrong. Besides, the rumor that's going around is that she's ... (Gives hand sign to indicate bisexuality.)

Karen: Aw, come off it, Earl. Somebody else, I'd believe, would say something like that, but you ... Any time a girl's not putting out for one of you guys she has to be funny. Between the mess flying overhead, and the crap you're walking in a person does well just to stand up straight every once in a while.

Earl: Hey, don't get so offended, I'm just telling you what I heard.

Karen: Does that mean you've got to pass the slander around?

Earl: Slander! All I said was ...

Karen: Earl, I'm not deaf. I know what you said, and it wasn't worth the time you took to say it.

Earl: (Silence. Continues to stare out the window.) Think she'll make it here?

Karen: (Wanders back to middle of room.) Who cares? Some do. Some don't.

Earl: Chilly. That really doesn't sound like the BSA president I know, who collared the Dean of Women for saying Negro, who stopped the band from playing Dixie" in the middle of "Look away...," who single-handedly tried to make '60s militants out of '80s eggheads, who ...

Karen: Who's packing her stuff!.

Earl: (Surprised) Packing her...

Karen: That's:right, Earl. And to think I had almost made up my mind ... But all of this mess about ... (imitates Earl miming bisexuality with hand) ... and about '60s militants out of '80s eggheads just lets me know you don't understand what I consider important. I guess all plants don't need the same type of dung to grow, if they need it at all. H ah, Earl? Maybe I am caught up in a time warp, and I might be warped for wanting to find out that there's more to life than what's in a book. Maybe I want so much more, and so many other different things, that I can't get here or even inside a book ... I might be totally wrong but I can take responsibility for that.

Earl: Well, I hope you find your Black Never-Never Land.

Karen: Look who's talking. You know what this is all about? This school? Let me tell you. It's about four years of nothing. A four-year academic retreat for most of the white kids, a four-year nod, complete with dreams, for us. We're odd, Earl. All of us. Odd for coming here. Why didn't you go to Fisk, Morehouse, or Howard? Huh? Because our cold water isn't as cold, right? But have you checked out some of the Black alumni who passed through these ivy-covered walls. None of them are knocking over Wall Street, sitting on the Board of Directors of General Motors. Who are we kidding? You think that because Big Daddy lets us go to school with Missy and Junior he's going to welcome us with open arms into the corporate structure too?

To tell you the truth, I really wouldn't mind it if some of our militant Black alumni who sat-in and protested would come back every now and then to raise a finger for our cause, or at least let us know how they stand, or what the world is really like outside this damned place.

Earl: Everybody's fault but your fault ...

Karen: Did I say that?

Earl: Didn't have to. Why did you come here in the first place, Karen? What did you expect - cornbread and collard greens three times a day? Did you think they were going to rename the student union Malcolm X Center for Social Change just for you? This is their school, Karen! They founded it, they support it, and they run it. That's the way it is. This place isn't for everybody. Face it. It's not for all of them, and it sho' ain't for all of us. But you've got to find your own reason for being here, after the ivy and stone wear off. The reasons I came here as a freshman and the reasons I'm here now just aren't the same.

Karen: Well, I guess I came here for all the wrong reasons, and now I'm here for no reason, so that means I have no reason to stay. A B.S. in Poli. Sci. is not enough for The Kid.

Earl: The "give-ups" are like the "hiccups," Karen. They come one right behind the other, and they're damned hard to stop.

Karen: Your baby sister tell you that one, or did you make it up yourself? Earl, please don't let my leaving keep you from taking advantage of the exchange programs, the noteworthy professors, and the new facilities. By the way, Earl, how many of those exchange programs were you able to go on? How many pre-med retreats have you been on this year? And you want me to stay? (They sit in silence.)

Earl: Would you stay for the baby?

Karen: What?

Earl: I don't know how to tell you this, Karen, but I'm pregnant, for you ... it's yours... (Karen is shocked.) I know I don't seem like the kind of guy that would try to trap a girl like you, and believe me, I don't want to tie you down with two mouths to feed for the rest of your life, but, well, it's yours and I, we ... (pointing to abdomen) we do love you ...

Karen: (Head it hands, not believing his antics. Laughing.)

Earl: (Stands by mirror.) Please, Karen, don't tell me to get rid of it. I've already thought about it and I just couldn't face myself in the mirror

Karen: (Laughing) Earl, please stop. My God, you're a fool... such a fool! I'm gonna miss, you too. Probably the only one in the bunch.

Earl: You don't have to go. You can stick it out here,l Karen.

Karen: Earl, you don't understand. Some people, like yourself, were made to stick it out here. That's your make-up. That's what you want. But I'm afraid that, if I don't leave, I'll blame myself for holding on to somebody else's four-year fantasy. Maybe I am looking for that Never-Never Land you spoke of. Don't you think I'm entitled to it, if that's what I want?

Earl: Well, excuse me, Tinker Bell! (She hits him with pillow.) Just finish out this year.

Karen: No way. I'm tired of reading Essence to find out how much fun I'm having in college. I want to experience it, the partying and the good grades that come from feeling at home even when things are difficult.

Earl: But why now? All of this has been happening all the time.

Karen: You know how some things sneak up on you ... like a cold? You know? One minute you're feeling good. The next, you've got a sore throat. Then you get a slight aching feeling all over, and your stomach starts churning ... well that's sort of the way it's been with me. There's really no one big thing that makes me want to leave. My friends are getting jobs, moving out on their own. Some are just traveling around the country, and a few are starting their own businesses. It's just a whole lot of things, and nothing in particular. (Coming out of it) I will never finish packing.

Earl: (Picking up the bottle) Let's finish the last of the wine.

Karen: (Taking the bottle from him) No, Earl. Thanks for the wine. Goodbye, Earl. (Kisses him.)

Earl: Karen ...

Karen: No, Earl ...

Earl: Another kiss?

Karen: No. Goodbye, Earl. (Pushes him toward the door.)

Earl: Promise to write?

Karen: Promise.

Earl: (Stepping through the doorway into the hall) What will I name the baby, Karen?

Karen: (Smiling.) Leave, Earl ... (Shuts door.)

Earl: Goodbye, Karen.

Karen: So long, Earl. (Takes deep breath and walks over to the dresser to finish packing clothes. The phone rings. She looks at it and, with some hesitation, pick it up after after seconds.) Hello, hello! (Other party hangs up. She hangs up.) I really didn't feel like talking either ... Oops, I knew I shouldn't have drunk all of that wine. (She runs out to the restroom. The phone rings again. The toilet flushes. Karen runs out to answer the phone.) Hello, hello! Go to hell and stop calling me. (Hangs up phone.) No peace, even in the last few minutes ... Why me, Lord? Why me? (The phone rings again.) Ring for all I care. You're just one of the many reasons I'm leaving and you can just go to ... (Phone stops ringing.) Hell.

(Looks around room.) I think that's everything. (Stares out the window.) It' starting to rain. (Picks up an all-weather coat and puts it on. Picks up bags.) Almost forgot my stash! (Runs to dresser and removes tuna fish from secret compartment. She then looks around one last time, sentimentally, then catches herself. Picks up bags and heads for the door.) Good riddance! (Cuts off lights. Walks to door. Opens it and is shocked by the figure of a person standing in the doorway. This person is Stacy, a very attractive, slender Black coed who can't settle in one place too long. Her emotional image is like a reflection in a pool that she shatters with boulders, not pebbles. Unfortunately, she shatters everyone else's image that comes close.)

Stacy: Ring! Ring! Ring! Well, aren't you going to answer it? It's not obscene.

Karen: (Coming out of her fight and trying to get a look at the face. Decides to play along.) Who is it?

Stacy: It's me. Stacy. Can I come in?

Karen: Sorry. I'm catching the last bus going south, plus the convention's over. Can't you tell?

Stacy: I tried calling to make a reservation, but your dizzy receptionist kept hanging up in my face.

Karen: Dizzy ... I see.

Stacy: Yeah, obviously, because she would ...

Karen: Okay, okay, this game is fun, but I really have a bus to catch, Stacy, in about ...

Stacy: You know my name? I see my reputation precedes me ...

Karen: I don't know anything about you or your reputation. You told me your name when you first came in, remember?

Stacy: (Completely disregards Karen's last comment) Oh ... some wine. Can I have some? (Walks into room and picks up bottle.)

Karen: (Getting angry) Look!

Stacy: (Takes out keys and jingles them.) Give me ten minutes, okay? I'll take you to the bus station. Anywhere you want to go. I'm much safer than a cab. Ten minutes, okay?

(Karen drops bags and closes door.) Now, can I have some wine? (Holds up bottle.)

Karen: I'll think about ...

Stacy: Don't worry. I'll drink out of the bottle. Bohemian style. You know, like the brothers on the corner.

Karen: Whatever turns you on...

Stacy: Pardon?

Karen: Nothing ... why were you calling me on the phone?

Stacy: I didn't have time to send a telegram. Besides, telephone distress signals are more urgent. (Playfully) Help!

Karen: Why me?

Stacy: Why not?

Karen: Get out!

Stacy: (Throws hands up in air as if under arrest.) I'll talk. Do you really like this place?

Karen: This room?

Stacy. No, the school.

Karen: No! Is that why you called?

Stacy: No. I'll get to that later ... but I love it here. Really!

Karen: Why?

Stacy: Because it's different ... (Pensive) Would you believe my boyfriend and I broke up today? He says I'm like the other girls on campus. I'm no different!

Karen: You're different.

Stacy: Thank you. You're not.

Karen: Like you? Thank you!

Stacy: But being different turns me on. (Laughs.)

Karen: Turns you on that much, huh?

Stacy: No, I was just thinking how heavy this conversation about being different is. Philosophy 201: You're Different. Maybe I can teach it in Continuing Ed.

Karen: (Looks at her watch.) Five minutes.

Stacy: (Ignores comment.) But think how dull it would be if you were always the same person, always did the expected, even accepted the same old challenges, got consumed by the same boring issues, like Civil Rights, belonged to the same outdated organizations, dated the same old people ... any of this sound familiar?

Karen: Afraid not. (Trying to figure her out) So that's what motivates you, huh, being different? You should really fit in here. Four minutes, thirty seconds.

Stacy: Yeah, that keeps me going. But you see, the paradox of it all is I don't fit. I stick out and I can't help it. It's me. I've always enjoyed the challenge of being odd, you might say. That's why I'm here. That's why you're here. You're actually different ...

Karen: (Mildly insulted) No, I'm Black, sweetheart. You!re different, remember?

Stacy: (Hurt) I'm Black.

Karen: Really?

Stacy: (Pensive) Tell me, what does it take to make that special formula called Blackness - a dash of color, a pinch of Blues? Are we to rehash the '60s all over again? My mother's Black, my fathers Black; therefore I'm Black. It's the associative theory of addition.

Karen: Stacy, I really don't care ...

Stacy: You don't care ... I thought you were the BSA president. You don't care about another "seemingly" Black student, a white sheep if you will, who's going astray? Look at me. I never attended one BSA meeting. I don't go out of my way to socialize with any Black people. (Says as if something very scary or frightening) I date white boys. (Laughs.) I don't know how to dance; I don't play whist or spades. Who am I? You got ten seconds to answer.

Karen: You've got one minute to prove your point.

Stacy. The point is, I like being dissimilar from you guys. But man, my folks would really fit in here. They'd love you You see, they're real '60s militants. They met in jail and everything. Can you believe that? One arrested for picketing a bank and the other was arrested for integrating the public library ... (Childlike) Hey! Guess what school I attended, what high school that is?

Karen: (Exits to restroom.) Who gives a ...

Stacy: C'mon, Carey ...

Karen: My name is Karen!

Stacy. C'mon and guess.

Karen: You didn't go to Washington, that's for sure.

Stacy. But I did! Isn't that wild? How'd you guess?

Karen: (Toilet pushes. Comes out of restroom.) You went to Washington! You must've caught plenty of hell!

Stacy: (Pensive) Yeah. (Happy) And I loved it. Nobody liked me. I was so crazy. Girls always wanted to fight me. Miss Harris, my eighty-year-old spinster history teacher wanted to be like me. Mr. Tucker ... (laughing) ... the assistant principal wanted to screw me. I had a ball. I was into all the weird shit in clothes and music, feathers, plastics, the Dead Kennedys, just plain freaky. Stuff that most Black folks just weren't into. Did I prove my point in one minute?

Karen: You went over by two hours. I'll tell you what. You stay, I'll leave. (Gets bags.)

Stacy. So, you're really leaving huh?

Karen: (Looks at Stacy as if she's crazy.) If that's what two suitcases in my hands and headed for the door means ... yep, I guess I am leaving.

Stacy. You mean you wouldn't stay to help a friend. Not even one who's contemplating suicide?

Karen: You haven't been here long enough. Wait 'til you're two weeks into your senior year ...

Stacy: (Shows Karen her wrist. Childlike) I got the scars to prove that I've tried before. See, these are barely a year old.

Karen: (Even more confused by Stacy) Stacy ... I ... what do you want from me? You don't make sense. You come in talking out of your head about you, your family, your boyfriend - personal stuff, and I . . . I don't know you. I have no idea who you are, and now you're talking about suicide at a school that has so many, you can practically get a minor in it ...

Stacy: (Disturbed almost to the point of tears) I want to talk to someone, to you ... Is that asking so fucking much? My God, you think you ... (Even closer to tears) Didn't you ever just want to talk to someone, and know that what you say is listened to, really heard and felt?

Karen: (Concerned but impatient) Well, talk!

Stacy: Don't yell at me!

Karen: Damn it, I'm not yelling at you!!

Stacy: Yes, you are ... yes, you are! (Hysterical) Yes, you arrrrrrrre!

Voice: Could you please cut your radio down?

Karen: (Confused and scared) Okay, okay. I'll stop yelling. Okay, just stop crying! Jesus Christ. (Goes to restroom to get tissue.)

Stacy: Wrong! You don't tell a hysterical person not to stop crying. (Karen returns with tissues.) You're not too good at this consoling business, are you? Could I have a tissue please? (Karen hands Stacy tissues.)

This may sound strange, but I've tried to live out my folk's fantasy of a perfectly integrated society, that they fought so hard for, and still maintain their culture. But I can't, nobody can, but I wear the scars from trying. (Perks up, artificially.) Quiz!

Which of the following have you ever experienced: Heroin, abortion, psychoanalysis, vegetation, miscegenation? Circle the correct answer. (Pause.) All of the above. What's left? That's why I called you.

Karen: I still don't understand. What is it you need, and why me?

Stacy: (Looks at Karen intently before speaking.) Would you believe I wish I had an older sister like you? Isn't that the dumbest thing you ever heard of. (Karen is speechless.)

I thought so ... you seem so sure, so determined to be something that most of us just take for granted. Your walk, that natural aloofness, even your bitchiness. I knew it when I first saw you, you are the daughter my parents always wanted, and the sister I never had. When Jay, my boyfriend, said I was no different from all the other girls, he wasn't talking about the "sisters," although he never said it. I guess he really wanted somebody like you, who is really different, you know what I mean.

(Pause. Slowly explains herself.) All my life, I've been fighting you and loving you at the same time. You are ... (Bends over to hug Karen.)

Karen: Leaving! (Rises to avoid Stacy.) Stacy, what can I say? I'm flattered by what you've said. But I guess I'm more shocked than anything ...

Stacy: Just don't leave now. I've talked to you longer tonight than I've talked to anyone in the past year except my analyst. For the first time in my life, I feel so far from home. Now that I have the chance to go crazy, all I really want to do is act like a goddamn normal human being. But I have no precedent I.'ve never wanted that for myself. I guess it's no fun to act crazy when the people who care about how you act aren't around. Most kids go away to college to act a fool. Did I miss something in the translation?

Karen: Sounds like you're coming down with senioritis, your freshman year. You're probably just homesick and don't want to admit it.

Stacy: I'd expect that from you, the pragmatic post-'60s revolutionary ...

Karen: Or maybe you're burnt out on being a fool.

Stacy: Is that another way of saying as Dean Jean Marie puts it, "Im becoming a mature young lady"?

Karen: I don't know. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had all the answers, or at least knew where to find them. But now, I'm out here searching too.

Stacy. Let's form a posse!

Karen: (Understands humor.) Yeah, and head'em off at the pass!

Stacy: Darn tootn! Bring those answers back dead or alive.

Karen: Either that or a few good lies.

Stacy: A good he is worth twice as much alive as dead. (They laugh.)

Karen: Sorry, Stacy, this conversation is getting too deep for me.

Stacy: But who wants a shallow conversation? I like it when it gets deep.

Karen: Too bad, Stacy, but I'm not into psychodrama. Plus the conversation sounds a little Freudian to me ... which is another reason I'm leaving - no social life.

Stacy: Who does stay? Who does make it here?

Karen: The people who graduate, the people who finish. That's the type who make it here, who make it period, anywhere. But this is just one place where you can make it. There's more than one. I'm just leaving to choose another one. Wherever you go, you'll everywhere have to be your own big sister. (Pause.) Get your coat. My bus isn't due for another forty minutes, and you did say you'd take me to the terminal?

Stacy. A very minor act ...

Karen: I'll give you some pointers on how not to make it here, and a few on how to. But you got to promise not to follow my advice to the letter. Just take what you need and leave the rest. (She takes a swig of wine from bottle, gives Stacy a swig, then takes bottle back. Puts cork back in.) You might need it later. You might not, but at least it'll always be there if you do. (Hands Stacy one of the bags.) Let's go, sister. (They exit.) (CURTAIN.)

Levi Frazier, Jr., is the artistic director of Blues City Cultural Center in Memphis, Tennessee, and a drama Instructor at Memphis University. All rights are reserved by Levi Frazier, Jr,m 3090 Carnes Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Section 2: Drama; play
Author:Frazier, Levi, Jr.
Publication:African American Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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