Play & Book Excerpts



Excerpt from: Drive
An original play
© Emily Dodi



Arthur tries to reach Grace before it's too late.  


Sally cracks a few jokes with Grace and Queenie.


Queenie and Honey steal a moment outside the Alibi bar.

Above photos by Tiffany Weigel: Courtesy Company of Angels Theater, Los Angeles



Three women are alone in the Alibi Bar while a thunderstorm rages outside. Grace is a stranger who has just driven off from a fight with her husband, Arthur. Arthur appears as a figment of Graceís imagination. Queenie, the owner of the bar, is thinking of selling and leaving with her younger lover, Honey. Sally is a barfly and Queenieís close friend.

SALLY: You okay?
GRACE: Not really.
SALLY: You walked out on your husband, didnít you?
GRACE: How did you know?
SALLY: We get a lot of business that way.

Queenie is dusting the framed photos hanging on the wall behind the bar. She notices that the glass is broken on one.

QUEENIE: Oh, no.
SALLY: What?
QUEENIE: The glass broke.
SALLY: Howíd that happen?
QUEENIE: I donít know.

Queenie shows it to Sally.

SALLY: (to Grace) Thatís a picture of all of us at Christmas 1979. Or was it 80?
SALLY: The good old days.
ARTHUR: We had some of those.
GRACE: But where do memories get you?
QUEENIE: Beats the hell out of me.
SALLY: That was the year you and Walter got the jukebox.
QUEENIE: Yeah. And he kept playing that Billie Holiday song over and
over again ... Iím gonna love you, like nobodyís loved you,
come rain or come shine. God it depressed the hell out of
SALLY: Yeah, those were good times.
GRACE: (looking at the photo) You look so happy.
GRACE: And now?
QUEENIE: Now what?
GRACE: Are you happy?
QUEENIE: Are you?
GRACE: Not so much.
QUEENIE: What have you got to be unhappy about?
ARTHUR: My point exactly.
GRACE: I feel like Iím missing out on something.
QUEENIE: Like what?
GRACE: Whatever it is that makes everybody else happy.
QUEENIE: What makes you think everybody else is happy?
GRACE: They canít all feel the way I do.
QUEENIE: So thatís why you walked out on your husband?
GRACE: I guess so.
QUEENIE: If people could find the answers in here Iíd have customers
lined up around the block.
SALLY: (wistfully)Nobody drinks anymore.
GRACE: Is that why youíre selling? Because you canít find the
answers here?
QUEENIE: There are no answers. Just choices. If youíre lucky you make
the right ones.
ARTHUR: Thereís the rub.
QUEENIE: Or at least wrong ones you can live with.
GRACE: Rub a dub dub.
QUEENIE: So why did you leave your husband? He hit you? Cheat
on you?
SALLY: The classics.
QUEENIE: Then what?
GRACE: I want to remember things.
SALLY: You got amnesia?
ARTHUR: Something like that.
GRACE: Iíd like to remember what it was that I wanted to be.
ARTHUR: You remember, Grace.
GRACE: Thatís a lie. I remember I wanted to be a writer. I guess I
want to remember if I ever really believed that I could be one instead of
just a wife and an errand girl.
ARTHUR: Sent by a grocery clerk ...
GRACE: Iím having an apocalypse of the spirit. You know what I
SALLY: Being a wife ainít so bad.
GRACE: Are you married?
SALLY: Sort of.
GRACE: Sort of?
SALLY: My Stanís a truck driver. He hauls frozen shrimp. You might
say we have an icy relationship.
GRACE: Thatís too bad.
SALLY: It is what it is.
GRACE: So distance doesnít make the heart grow fonder?
SALLY: What do you think, Queenie?
QUEENIE:The only thing my heart is growing is old.
SALLY: You got that right.
GRACE: But you get along?
SALLY: Yeah, but we get ours in. Everybody does.
GRACE: Do they?
SALLY: Sure they do.
QUEENIE: Of course they do.
ARTHUR: Do-be-do-be-do.
GRACE: So what do you do?
SALLY: I drive off just like you.
GRACE: Where do you go?
SALLY: Where do you think?
GRACE: And then you go home again?
SALLY: Sure.
GRACE: Because you love him.
SALLY: No. I like the shrimp.
QUEENIE: (To Grace) Whatís your husband like?
GRACE: Arthur is a very big person.
SALLY: Lots of people are fat...that donít mean ...
GRACE: No, heís big in the sense that he takes up a lot of space. He
always has. Thatís one of the reasons I fell in love with him. But it doesnít
leave much room for anybody else.
ARTHUR: Thereís room for both of us, Grace.
GRACE: So I had to shrink. Pretty soon Iím afraid there wonít be
anything left.
QIUEENIE: Iíve always felt too big, ever since I was a kid. It was one of the
reasons I left home. A lot of good it did me. Until I met Walter.
GRACE: Whyís that?
QUEENIE: Walter saved me.
GRACE: How did he save you?
QUEENIE: When I first set foot in this place I was nineteen, strung-out and
scared to death. I couldnít remember the last decent meal I had. So I walk in
and Walter pours me a drink. He even gave me the sandwich he was eating. Can
you believe that? A total stranger. But I didnít have any money so I was waiting
for him to go in the back or start talking with somebody so I could sneak out. But
he talked to me all night. Maybe he knew what I was up to, I donít know, but he
kept me talking and before I knew it he was giving me a job and
a place to stay. He saved my life that night. And I hated him for it for a long
time. But he loved me and pretty soon I loved him back.
GRACE: So you were happy. And then he died.
QUEENIE: What are you going to do? Lifeís like that.
SALLY: Life is like Uma Thurman. Beautiful and ugly at the same


GRACE: How is life now?
QUEENIE: Itís different.


SALLY: I think that was nine.
GRACE: Nine what?
SALLY: Nine counts between the lightning and the thunder. It was ten
a minute ago.
GRACE: Theís stormís getting closer.
ARTHUR: Youíre in the thick of it.
SALLY: What does he do? Your husband.
GRACE: Heís a teacher.
ARTHUR: Iím an English professor at Yale who has just won a year long
appointment at Oxford University.
GRACE: Heís an English teacher.
SALLY: Thatís nice.
ARTHUR: Why do you do that, Grace? Demote me all the time?
QUEENIE: So why tonight of all nights did you decide to walk out?
GRACE: (She begins to cry.) He invited people to dinner.
QUEENIE: That bastard.
ARTHUR Thatís not why.
GRACE: And weíre moving again.
ARTHUR: Thatís not why either.
GRACE: And I canít remember what it feels like to be happy. And I donít want to
pretend it doesnít matter anymore.
ARTHUR: Bingo.
QUEENIE: Who wants a drink?

Grace shakes her head. Sally raises her beer bottle. Queenie gets her another.

GRACE: When Arthur and I met it was so wonderful. We were so in love and I was so
proud to be with him that I didnít mind that everything revolved around his career.
I didnít realize that I was beginning to fade away.
SALLY: You take things awful hard, donít you, Gracie?
GRACE: Iím going to be forty and I can honestly say that Iíve never accomplished
anything of my own that I am truly proud of. Not really. Not anything big, you
know? Arthur has gotten ahead in everything heís tried and Iíve gotten nowhere.
And the further ahead he gets in his life, the further behind I get in mine. Itís
like I have to swim in his wake.
ARTHUR: Then swim faster, Grace.
GRACE: Itís not even that. I mean Iím happy for him. I think. No, I am. I am happy for
him. But itís like Iím on this bus somebody else is driving and Iíve missed my stop.
ARTHUR: Mixing metaphors. Iíd take points off for that.
GRACE: And the driver keeps driving and I keep ringing the bell but he keeps going and
Iím going to have to ride this same stupid bus all the way to the end of the line.
ARTHUR: Why not jump, Grace?
GRACE: Because Iím afraid to jump!
SALLY: Of course, the bus is moving!
GRACE: But Iím tired of being afraid.
SALLY: Itís okay, Gracie. Youíre getting yourself worked up over nothing. Youíll see.
Youíll go home tonight and you and hubby will make up and everything will be
fine. Tomorrow you wonít even remember what you fought about.
QUEENIE: So, you gonna jump?
GRACE: I donít know. How do you ever know? Itís like a game, but you get your pieces
one at a time so how can you know how to move?



Emily Dodi has been writing in the entertainment and publishing fields for more than 25 years.

She has written extensively for Disney, FOX, ABCFamily, The Hub and other companies, large and small. She is also the author of Drive, a full-length play that premiered at Company of Angels in Los Angeles. Her blog, Pura Vida Loca, documented her familyís adventures while living in Costa Rica. She is currently a television and theater critic for the VCReporter and loves that she can justify watching bad TV.

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