TOM: Ooo, there's something written here. "To Harry, with all my heart, our love will last forev--" (He is cut off as Harry quickly grabs the book from him) Hey! HARRY: Never mind that. TOM: Who was that from? HARRY: ... my ex-girlfriend. TOM: Ah. HARRY: (pause) Guess she was wrong, huh? TOM: Nothing lasts forever. Some things even less so than others. Harry, I'm sorry if I... HARRY: No, don't apologize. It's in the past. And a million miles away. TOM: Did you love her? HARRY: (pause) I don't know. I thought I did. What's the difference? TOM: There's a difference. You know when you're in love. HARRY: Can we talk about something else? TOM: Something other than love? HARRY: Something other than her. TOM: Sure. I'm sorry. HARRY: I said don't apologize! TOM: I'm sor... you know. (Pause) You get any vacation time from work? HARRY: Yeah. Two weeks. TOM: We should go somewhere. HARRY: Yeah. Sounds great. Where? TOM: I don't know. HARRY: Well, we're done moving. What do you want to do now? TOM: What do you want to do? HARRY: I don't know, what do you want to do? TOM: Don't start that. We could unpack. HARRY: We could. TOM: Or we could... HARRY: ... what? TOM: What do you think? HARRY: You know what I think. TOM: Mmm-hmm. (They kiss. Blackout.) SCENE13: JUST A JOKE (The Bar. Dick and Tom are laughing at a joke: Tom appreciatively, Dick uproariously, perhaps even disproportionately. Harry enters.) HARRY: What's so funny? TOM: Oh, nothing. HARRY: What do you mean, nothing? What are you guys laughing at? TOM: It's nothing, really. You wouldn't understand. HARRY: I wouldn't understand? What does that mean? DICK: It was a joke. HARRY: What? TOM: A joke. We were laughing at a joke. HARRY: Well, what's the joke? TOM: Never mind. HARRY: Tom... DICK: It's okay, Tom. Tell him. TOM: (pause) All right. Why should AIDS research be handled by the Department of Agriculture? HARRY: Why? TOM: Because it turns fruits into vegetables. (silence) HARRY: Oh. TOM: What's the matter? HARRY: I didn't think it was funny. TOM: No? HARRY: No. Actually, I a little surprised you'd say something like that. TOM: For chrissakes, Harry, it's just a joke.
HARRY: Don't you think it's sort of... insensitive? TOM: Tell me something, Harry. How many PWAs do you know? HARRY: PWAs? TOM: Persons-with-AIDS. HARRY: Okay, none. So what? I suppose you know hundreds. TOM: (pause) No. Just one. HARRY: Who? TOM: Forget it. HARRY: Do I know him? TOM: I said forget it. I don't want to talk about it! DICK: I know quite a few. HARRY: What? DICK: People with AIDS. I collect AIDS jokes to tell to some of them. I know it sounds crazy, but some of them are... comforted by being able to laugh at their situation. HARRY: How can you laugh about something like that? DICK: (pause) I don't know. Just one of those strange things that makes life so interesting. SCENE 14: GRID2AIDS2NOW DICK: I never understood why Andrew enjoyed those jokes so much. I found it... morbid that he'd laugh so hard at them, since they were ridiculing his sexuality and his disease. But I guess I understand now. It's the feeling that nothing is so horrible that it can stop you from laughing; it's the realization that if you can laugh at a clever turn of phrase despite its subject matter, you can enjoy every day you live even though your body is wasting away beneath you. Andrew came down with pneumonia. I remember thinking it was so odd that an athletic non-smoker who religiously played racquetball every second afternoon could get a lung infection. We didn't think it was serious, because this was the twentieth century, and no one died from pneumonia anymore. But it didn't go away. The doctor was baffled. Then he told us about a new syndrome that had been documented -it was called GRID in those days, Gay Related Immune Deficiency, can you believe it? It wasn't until a few years later when ordinary everyday heterosexual folks started dying that they came up with the name AIDS. Right after Andrew's funeral I prayed for the first time in my life. I prayed to God, wishing more than anything else in the world that I could be normal, that I could have a 9-to-5 job, a little house in the suburbs, a little wife to go with my little house, two point five kids, one point five pets, a lawnmower, a lawn, the works. I went to sleep praying to God to either make me normal or strike me dead. Needless to say, when I woke up, I was neither. You can only go on so long thinking that way. Eventually I stopped. Eventually I got my act together and opened my bar. Eventually I had sex again. Eventually I even enjoyed it. Funny, isn't it? That after all these years I find myself collecting those jokes again -- and laughing at them this time. Enjoying them for his sake... and for my own. SCENE 15: A PHONE CALL (The apartment. Harry enters.) HARRY: Hi honey, I'm home. (Tom enters from another room, wearing an apron and wiping a plate clean.)
TOM: I'll bet you always wanted to say that. (They kiss) How was your day? HARRY: Same as always. Overworked, underpaid. Any messages? TOM. No. Yeah. Some woman called for you. HARRY: A woman? Who? TOM: I don't know. Said her name was... Amy. HARRY: Amy? Are you sure? TOM: Yep. I never forget a woman's name, I hear them so rarely. HARRY: I wonder how she got this number. TOM: Who is she? HARRY: Oh, a friend. From back home. TOM: Ah. The ex-girlfriend. HARRY: (pause) Am I so transparent? TOM: Yes. Here's her number. (Gives it to him) Note the hotel room. HARRY: She must be in town. TOM: She must. Are you going to call her back? HARRY: I don't know. TOM: I assume she doesn't know. HARRY: Know what? TOM: All the words to Over the Rainbow, Harry. HARRY: You mean, does she know that I'm gay? TOM: Yes, Harry, I mean, does she know that you're gay. HARRY: The last time I saw her, I didn't know I was gay! TOM: Well, if you call her back, I think you should tell her. HARRY: Why? TOM: Oh, I don't know. Self-respect, that sort of thing. HARRY: Maybe I just won't talk about sex. Shouldn't be too hard... no pun intended. TOM: It's not about sex, Harry. HARRY: No? What's it about, Tom? TOM: Identity. HARRY: Identity. TOM: Yes, identity. If you talk to her without telling her you're gay, you're lying to her and you're pretending to be something you're not. HARRY: Come on, Tom. Don't you think that's a bit extreme? I just won't talk about it at all. That's not pretending to be heterosexual. TOM: Yes it is! The last time you saw each other, both of you thought you were straight. If you don't tell her you're not, she'll assume you are. And that's a lie. HARRY: You know, I'm not just a homosexual. I'm a person. TOM: You're a homosexual person. You can't have one without the other. HARRY: I'm not going to go around introducing myself as, "Hi, I'm Harry, a homosexual person." TOM: Then you'll essentially be lying to everyone you talk to. HARRY: I can't believe you're making these sweeping judgements. How are you going to get anyone to accept you if you throw your sexuality in their face? TOM: How are you going to get anyone to accept you if you hide your sexuality? You have to be accepted for what you are -- for everything you are, or I'm sorry, you're not being accepted at all. HARRY: (pause) I can't believe we're arguing like this. Okay... okay, fine, I'll tell her. Happy now?
Published on Jan 14, 2011