Heartbeat

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MILO – Narrator
MASKED MILO– Chorus member who acts out narration, wears a mask
BETH – innocent girl
CHORUS – play various characters

*

(MILO and MASKED MILO enter the stage with MM directly behind him, dressed the same, but wearing a mask. As MILO begins to speak, MM steps behind him and copies his every move. Eventually, they split apart from each other and MILO takes on a narrator-type of role.)

MILO: I took a walk last night…yeah…by her house. Just…just to catch a glance. (pause) If I can. It started sprinkling, but it didn’t bother me. It would hide what was already on my face. (Long pause. MILO crosses away offstage as MM begins to act out his narration.) Anyway, I didn’t mean to end up here, exactly, but I couldn’t sleep, so I wandered about town. I grabbed a Sprite and just kept wandering.

I remember her so vividly…My friend invited me to this party.

(CHORUS enters party guests and encircle MASKED MILO. They enter loudly through the audience and dull their sound into mime. They dance in mime to low dance music. MASKED MILO is standing the in middle, unbothered.)

BETH: (BETH enters and sits at the edge of the crowd. She looks sullen.)

(Music stops as crowd freezes in mid-dance. BETH and MM continue to move. She looks crestfallen and bored.)

MILO: (Begins to navigate through the frozen audience.) I saw her at this party and she really stood out. She wasn’t like anyone else. She was different.

MASKED MILO: (To Beth) Hi.

BETH: Hi…do I know you?

MASKED MILO: You do now. I’m Milo. (Gestures) You, uh, don’t look like you’re having fun.

BETH: Kind of just waiting it out. To leave, that is. Parties aren’t really my thing.

MASKED MILO: Oh, did you come with someone?

BETH: Yeah, my friend Mayra is…somewhere in there. (Begins to mime conversation)

MILO: (Addresses audience while BETH continues to mime talk with MM.) We must have talked for hours. And it wasn’t love or anything, she was just easy to talk to. I felt this…this…I don’t know… obsession.

CHORUS: Luuuuussstt. (CHORUS begin to exit in dance like movements, one by one. Eventually, all exit.)

BETH: (To Milo) What are you looking at?

MILO: I’m sorry, your fa—you caught me off guard.

(Through gesture, MM, summons the chorus and conducts the CHORUS. CHORUS begin to beat a heart beat sound offstage.)

MILO: My heart started beating out of my chest. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Weird thoughts. Bad thoughts. I asked her if she wanted to go someplace quiet. I took a chance.

BETH: (Rises and cross to him) No, no thank you. I’m not really that kind of girl.

MASKED MILO: (Gestures in a crestfallen manner)

CHORUS: Rejection.

MILO: I guess I wasn’t good enough.

(CHORUS beats five times: bum, bum, ba-da, bum)

MILO: I just kept hearing it.

BETH: I’m not really that kind of girl. I’m not really that kind of girl.

CHORUS: I’m not really that kind of girl.

BETH & CHORUS: I’m not that kind of girl. I’m not that kind of girl. I’m not that kind of girl.

(Sound builds immensely) I’m! Not! That! Girl!

(Loud percussion. Lights out, then rise slowly.)

MILO: (beat) What’s wrong with me…?

(MM gestures with each CHORUS response)

CHORUS: Nothing.

MILO: Was it something I said?

CHORUS: Everything.

(MM crouches behind CHORAL members in the shape of trees)

MILO: So here I am, hoping she will come out. Hoping that I can catch a glimpse of her through the window. What will I see? Only Fate has decided that.

CHORUS: Lust.

MILO: Cars drive by on occasion. I hide in some bushes, but I don’t want to miss anything. She can’t see me, but…

CHORUS & MILO: I can see her.

MILO: I see her…step out on to the porch. The moonlight danced on her skin.

(CHORUS shine lights on her to replicate a passing car)

MILO: A car catches me in the headlights and for a moment, a second of clarity. What am I doing? I’m sneaking around…

CHORUS: Lust.

BETH: Milo? Is that you?

MILO: Getting—

CHORUS: Caught.

(At this point and at the director’s discretion, either MILO or MM can deliver the lines)

MILO: B-Beth?

BETH: What are you doing here?

MILO: I, uh, I was walking arou—

BETH: In my yard?

MILO: Well, I—I thought we might have had something.

BETH: What? When?

MILO: At the party.

BETH: That was three weeks ago. It was just a conversation.

CHORUS: Just a conversation.

MILO: Not to me!

CHORUS: Obsession.

BETH: This is really weird. I think… I think you need to go.

MILO: Beth, I—

BETH: Right now. Please leave now.

MILO:  I was just in the neighborhood—

CHORUS: Honey, everything alright?

BETH: Fine, Daddy! (To MILO) I’m calling the police. Get out!

MILO: Beth, please listen to me! I want you—

BETH: Get out!

(CHORUS begins drumming anxiously)

MILO: I just want to be—

BETH: Get out! (Exits)

(CHORUS crescendos in volume and then abruptly stops. MILO returns off to the side to deliver his lines)

MILO: So word got out. People talk, of course. I never got to see much of her anymore. I didn’t act out of my heart… or logic. Just stupid animalistic urges.

CHORUS: (Faintly) Lusssssst.

MILO: Her father found out and tried to go to the authorities about it. I’ve seen movies. I know how this plays out. So I got smarter. I could see her if I wanted.

(CHORUS drum ba-dah bum)

MILO: And I did.

(CHORUS forms a wall.)

MILO: (Crossing behind the wall.) I found ways to keep tabs on her patterns, and I changed mine accordingly.

(BETH walks near audience, MASKED MILO cuts her off and she changes direction.)

MILO: She always walked the same way home, occasionally getting rides from her friend Mayra.

(CHORUS begin to walk as a wall while MASKED MILO hides behind it. BETH walks around and does various business; walking, sitting, talking on the phone. No matter what she does, MILO evades notice.)

CHORUS: Darker.

BETH: Hello? …Is anyone there?

CHORUS: Menace.

BETH: Hello? (Crosses away abruptly)

MILO: I knew that this wouldn’t last forever. I had my own life and I had to eventually get back to. But I didn’t care. All I wanted was Beth. Beth. (CHORUS lower themselves and drums.) Beth. (CHORUS drums.) Beth. (CHORUS drums.) And she would be mine. Beth started catching on to the fact that I was watching her. She started walking home faster.

(CHORUS drums a heartbeat.)

MILO: See this time, her heart was the one racing. And not for good. It was time she felt what I felt.

(CHORUS drums build and crescendo.)

MILO & CHORUS: It was time she knew what I knew.

MILO: It was time she lost what I lost.

MILO & CHORUS: It was time her heart broke…

(BETH walks faster and faster and MILO CHORUS attacks her from behind. BETH screams as the lights do out. In the darkness…)

MILO & MASKED MILO: Like mine did.

[ F I N ]

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author bio:

Michael Verderber is a Texas playwright who specializes in plays and disjointed poetry.  He has been published in several magazines and three books: “[nonspace]: theatre off the stage,” “Twas the FLOP Before Xmas,” and “Still Standing Still” and his plays have been produced Off Broadway. Contact him at zero_untitled_films@yahoo.com.