TIME AFTER TIME

Scene. ZEROS’ bedroom. ALYSSA sits upstage on a bed. She looks uncomfortable and takes up as little space as possible.

Zeros enters. He slurps a drink loudly.

ZEROS: Sure you’re not thirsty? Don’t want a drink?

ALYSSA: Sure. Are you finished now?

ZEROS: Yep. That was the last of the clients. We have the place to ourselves.

He slides onto the bed beside her and taps his lap, inviting her to sit on him. She does so and drapes her arms around his neck.

ALYSSA: I’ve missed you.

She leans in to kiss him but he moves his head back out of her reach.

ZEROS: What do you want to go and do that for?

ALYSSA: Do what for?

ZEROS: Be emotional. Women are always too emotional.

Alyssa rolls her eyes, sensing the start of a familiar tirade.

ALYSSA: Don’t…

Zeros slides her off himself roughly and begins to pace around, rather heated.

ZEROS: They cry and scream over the tiniest thing, and then when you tell them to shut up they get damned near hysterical. It’s all ’you don’t respect my feelings’ this and ’you’re a misogynist’ that. It does my head in.

ALYSSA: Please don’t…Can’t it just be us two…happy? Just tonight?

Zeros turns and his expression softens.

ZEROS: Of course it can babe. (laughing) So…where does the precious father think you are tonight?

ALYSSA: Studying at a friend’s.

ZEROS:(roughly) Come ’ere.

Alyssa stands and walks towards him, holding her arms out. He holds her face and they kiss passionately.

ALYSSA: I love you.

Zeros goes to kiss her again but Alyssa holds him at an arm’s distance.

Well?

ZEROS: Well what?

ALYSSA: Aren’t you gonna say you love me back?

ZEROS: Yeah…sure. I’ve told you before haven’t I?

He kisses her again and grabs her by the waist, leading her over to the bed.

ALYSSA:  Zeros…can you tell that friend of yours? Harry wasn’t it? The one with the really big ginger beard… (shudders) Can you tell him – remind him – I haven’t been paid yet.

Zeros stops trying to kiss her and glares at her instead.

ZEROS: What a time to bring that up, eh?

ALYSSA: I’m sorry. It’s just really difficult at the moment, y’know? Dad doesn’t want to let on, but we’re almost out of money. He’s getting so thin. I’m worried about him…

ZEROS: Your father’s problems are none of my fucking business.

ALYSSA: Please? For me? I should’ve been paid last week. You know that.

ZEROS: Yeah I know. There’ve been…problems. The guy’s a moron. But you’ll get paid when it’s sorted. Same as the other girls. You know that.

ALYSSA: But…

Zeros rises.

ZEROS: What the hell do you want from me?! You want special treatment is that it? Because you’re fucking the boss?

ALYSSA:

(holding her ground) No.

ZEROS: Good, because you won’t get any sweetheart. Don’t push me Alyssa. I can easily find someone to replace you. Maybe not as clever – I’ll give you that. But brains don’t mean anything, you hear me? I can find someone prettier, sexier. Girls that would kill to be in this position.

ALYSSA:

Stop it.

ZEROS:

(walking up to her, sneering) You’re no more special than any of the other sluts that work for me.

He’s found her breaking point. Alyssa buries her head in her hands, sobbing.

ALYSSA:

I don’t understand you.

ZEROS:

It’s just too easy to wind up a pathetic bitch like you. You’re disgusting you know that?

Pause.

Babe? Get me my light.

Alyssa sits, unresponsive.

 I said get me my light!

She refuses to move and he advances, as if to slap her then stops suddenly, realising he has lost. He collects the lighter from the bedside table and lights his own cigarette, inhaling and taking deep, calming breaths. After a while he looks at her with a sort of pained yet resentful longing.

ZEROS:

You’re not going to be a moody cow are you?

No response.

Awh c’mon babe, don’t take it out on me. I didn’t mean it. You know I didn’t.

Still no response. Zeros moves to sit beside her.

I just get frustrated sometimes. And you frustrate me, you frustrate me so much. C’mon, don’t be a silly baby. Don’t you want it to be how you said? You and me? Happy? Hmm?

ALYSSA:

Yes.

ZEROS:

Say you forgive me babe?

ALYSSA:

I couldn’t stay upset with you.

ZEROS:

Good. And look – I’ll try and see if you can get your wages a bit quicker. How does that sound?

ALYSSA:

Thank you Zeros!

ZEROS:

(kisses her) Now don’t you ever say I don’t treat you well, because I do.

ALYSSA:

You do, you do!

She flings her arms around his neck as his mobile rings. He shrugs her off and answers it.

ZEROS:

Hello…Oh yes, hi. No. Sorry…I know, I know. I’ll get it sorted. Yes. Course I will. Another one? When?

He covers the phone with his hand and whispers.

Got you another job darlin’.

Alyssa shakes her head frantically but Zeros ignores her.

ZEROS:

Tonight? Yeah. She’ll be there.

He glares at her.

I’ll make sure of it. About the payment…yeah, no, course. Sorry. Yes, I’ll sort it. B-

He stares as the person on the phone has evidently hung up quickly.

ALYSSA:

I’ve had enough for the day, what did you go book me another one for?

ZEROS:

It wasn’t my choice, was it? Guy’s a nut job.

ALYSSA:

Sally could’ve done it. Or Gerri…

ZEROS:

It’s a rich guy. He wants a blonde apparently.

He twists her hair in his hands in a teasing manner.

Now stop sulking. Are you going to be a good girl or what? Why don’t we pick up from where we were? You’ve got a while yet.

ALYSSA:

Let me just freshen up.

ZEROS:

Freshen up – like you’re the freaking queen or something? Airs and graces – that’s always been you. Listen love, there’s no ’freshening up’ that’s gonna sort you out. You’re as stale and common as a loaf of bread!

He chuckles at his own joke. Alyssa stands, unsure what to do.

Well go on! Hurry up then, I’ll be here. I need a smoke anyway.

Alyssa quickly exits stage left. Zeros leans backwards onto the bed, supporting himself on his elbows.

Women.

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