The Clawfoot Interviews
a short comedy
Cast note: If possible, the mens' roles should be played by
The back room of Olivia's house in the Pleasant Acres suburb.
The back room is empty except for a simple chair and table next to a
clawfoot bathtub. The clawfoot bathtub should not be real. It should
be a two dimensional cutout to look like a tub. There might be a
couple of dying plants in odd spots, but otherwise the space should
be noticeable for the lack of furnishings.
OLIVIA and JAKE stand by the tub.
Drafty back here, huh?
Here's the tub. A clawfoot.
You need somebody to get this place tight. I feel a gale around my
ankles. I could do it for you. Go over the place like a Nazi, you know?
Seal the cracks. Firm up the foundation. I can do all of that. I am one
hundred percent better than those monkeys you see on TV. Home
Improvement? That's an insult.
I don't think you'll find another tub like this. It's unique.
I know. I'll haul it away this afternoon or tomorrow. I gotta check my
calendar. But I'll take it off your hands. You haven't had any other
Yeah, I just made the best offer. I can pull it out myself. Let me lift
up this end. No prob. I'm strong that way. I don't go to the doctor. I
do not mess with those blood suckers. All I own is a box of band aids
and some rubbing alcohol. One time I sliced open my arm on this sheet
metal. Got a nasty cut right down to the muscle. My supervisor begged me
to go to the ER. Instead I went the house, had some shots of tequila and
sewed it up myself. I'm independent, do-it-yourself guy. You're like me.
Yeah, I've seen you out at Puritan Foods, getting those Soups for One.
You bought a hammer there. Was it last week? Yeah. Not the place to buy
tools, but I didn't say anything. I seen you buy feminine stuff at the
pharmacy. And those pills, too. I figure Valium or Prozac. Am I right?
It sounds like you're stalking me.
Nah, I'm just interested. And I got time on my hands. Anyway, with the
hammer I figure you were hanging a picture of a boat. One of those
catamarans in the Caribbean. I had fun thinking about how you were gonna
try to hang that picture and bang your thumb. I thought about how I
should be doing it.
Well. (Pause) What are your plans for the tub? I'd like to see it put to
You know you got one of the worst houses in Pleasant Acres. Your eves
are a joke. I could hang your pictures, install a water heater,
replaster your walls, regrout your tub, restain your furniture, insulate
your attic and weather strip your door frames. I'd make this house a
vault and you won't need to turn on the heater. You could walk around in
the middle of winter naked.
That's not high on my list of priorities.
I could turn this back here into a breakfast room. You got a nail that's
come up right here (showing with his foot) and another one here. You got
particle board under here. I can rip that up and put a layer of
underlayman and then a new floor. It'll hold up till our grandkids are
goin' ape crazy on it. Last for centuries. That's what's missing.
Permanence. And me.
Do you need the tub?
Christ no. I got a jacuzzi with big jets
Blackout. OLIVIA gets her hammer and tries to pound in the loose
nails that JAKE mentioned. She makes a few awkward taps and then takes
a wild swing and hits her hand. She lets out a little cry. Blackout.
OLIVIA and ANGUS stand by the tub.
. . . so the girl is in the tub, you see. But she's not the Creature
yet. Her hair's all wet and shit and hangin' down and she's got this
scowl, like you know somethin' is going on, somethin' is happenin' to
this chick. And the power chords are getting wicked at this point,
downright evil. Cut to the band and we're whippin' our hair back and
forth, then cut to the Doctor. The Doctor's eyes are buggin' out to here
cause he doesn't know what the hell he's got on his hands. You know,
what is this thing he made and what can he do about it now, but then at
the same time you can see that he thinks what the hell, it's too late at
this point, science or his ego or the karma got seriously out of whack
and let things get to this point. So WHAT THE HELL, you know?! So cut to
his hand throwing the switch and then cut to the tub where the girl is
shakin', water is bubblin' and smoke is everywhere. And we're at the
climax, laying down some heavy shit, and the Doctor with a big ax comes
up behind the Creature and cuts its head off. The End. Righteous, huh?
The point is that you can't fool with nature or if you do you gotta like
kill stuff with an axe. This clawfoot bathtub will be awesome! The name
sounds wicked, ya know? Anyway, after we shoot the video, the band is
goin' on the road. You can come. You can come with. Yeah! They'll be
four of us in the van so it won't be too crowded. The label is like
giving us like $25 a day for food. Talk about awesome! I've seen the way
you've stared at me in Puritan Foods.
I've stared at you?
Oh yeah. You always check out in my line. Haven't you seen that I give
you triple bags? Everybody else gets like two bags or one. But you get
triple so nothing breaks in the parking lot. At first I thought you were
too old. Yeah but then I had this like . . . thought. I'm not hung up on
all that. "You're too old." "You're brain damaged."
"Your band sounds like Metallica." All that oppression, you
know? Nobody understands that in this neighborhood. Man, Pleasant Acres
freaks me out and I was born here. Yeah, more like Petrified Acres. My
parents put me on too much Ritalin.
I couldn't tell.
Oh yeah, my dad Frank has a thing about management. Even at home. There
are too many chemicals, you know? In the water and in the air. You don't
have a joint, do ya? Anyway. The teachers say I'm scattered. I think
it's more like energy, ya know? Put me behind the kit with the sticks
and I can whack all night. Same goes in the sack.
See. I'm low-key. I don't go out. I keep to myself.
We'd be awesome. You know I never had lessons. I wouldn't know a note
from my own ass. Man, it's quiet in here. When my band gets big, you
know, on the charts, I'm gonna have stereos every freakin' where. The
toilet. You name it. You know that sound when you hear something pop in
the house and you have no idea what it is? You know that? I hate that.
You don't have a stereo?
You gotta have sound. Noise. You gotta have music all the time. (taping
a drumbeat on the chair) Gotta have that. Maybe that's why you're all by
I don't think that's the reason.
Nobody is gonna believe I'm here. There's a story goin' round that
you're a witch. I like that stuff, the pentagrams and incense and all
that. Do you think I'm a kid? Cause I'm not. My name is Angus. The guys
in the band call me Skank.
So do you have an offer?
After a while, you'll see I'm not as stupid as you think. Your name is
Olivia. I'm gonna call you Triple Bags. You could hold my drumsticks at
What about the tub?
Blackout. OLIVIA is sitting in the chair and staring straight
ahead. She hears a pop and looks in the direction of the noise. She
then stares straight ahead again but now concerned. Blackout.
RANDALL and OLIVIA stand by the tub.
Delicious. That's all I can say. Delicious.
So you're interested? In the tub?
Very. Who wouldn't be interested in a clawfoot? There are only so many
comets that fall out of the sky. There are none that fall out and lland
in this neighborhood. It can get a little too Pier One around here,
wouldn't you say? You didn't make the block cookout at the Marshes. The
Marshes have the pool and a very nasty Bijon Frieze that tinkles on
everything. Please save me from little yappy dogs. Bite me you floor mop
and I'll punt you over the hedge. I'm not necessarily into that
let's-get-together community vibe because there's something to be said
for keeping neighbors strangers. God knows we have a hard enough time
keeping Uncle Samuel out of the bedroom much less Mr. and Mrs. Hell and
Damnation Church that live across the clothesline. Pleasant Acres is
regimented enough for me, thank you very much. But you must feel the
same since you live by yourself.
How did you know that?
I'm a massage therapist, I hear everything. You and I are in this
together. Everybody else is living that perfect plastic suburban life.
We are cockatoos of a different stripe. My whole thing is alternative
spirituality. I'm into Feng Shui and I can tell you right now that if I
move this chair that your life would change in ways you couldn't
RANDALL starts to move the chair.
Oooo, feisty. I like that. A lot. I'm gonna blush. Well, you want to
circle our wagons?
You mean go out with you?
Or I could move right in. Wouldn't that be delicious? That would set the
neighborhood ears burning.
Nobody is gay, Olivia. Everybody is really a bisexual.
No they're not.
Maybe 5 percent of the population. Those survivalists wearing camouflage
perhaps, but put them in the woods long enough and they'd stick it in
whatever moves. A sophisticated person like yourself ought to
understand. You have the clawfoot.
That I'm trying to sell.
Honey, forget that. You ought to drag it to the curb.
No. Not yet.
Blackout. OLIVIA is sitting in the chair. After a moment, she gets
up and moves it to another spot. Uncomfortable, she gets up and moves
it back to the same spot at the beginning. Blackout.
OLIVIA and FRANK stand by the tub.
At this point I will almost give the tub away.
Yeah. Look, what did you say to Angus? Angus. My kid. The sacker at
Puritan Foods. The drummer. You told him that you'd run away with him.
Everybody around here knows you're desperate, but messing with my
messed-up kid is whacked. I don't blame you cause he's good lookin' like
his father. C'mon, let's get real, you're no pageant queen.
He came to look at the tub. He said he wanted to make a video.
Let me set you straight. There's no video, there's no tour, there's no
record deal. Jesus, there's no band. If we don't get his medication just
right, then I have to go around cleaning up the messes.
FRANK's cell phone rings.
What?! Stay in the car! I'm coming! I know we're late! It's just the
office party. You want a tub? I dunno, some kind of old tub. You want
something to do?! Play with yourself!
FRANK hangs up the cell phone.
(Taking off his tie and unbuttoning his shirt)
She doesn't want the tub. She wants everything else in the universe, but
not the tub.
What are you doing?
We're gonna have sex. In the tub. You need to get laid.
You think so?
Yeah, you're as warm as a box of rusty nails. This is how I keep things
smooth with wife number three in the car. I keep her in a sexual daze.
And it's about to kill me. I work out. run. I read too. I know where all
I'm no pageant queen.
We're living in Pleasant Acres. Who is?
What is wrong with you?
What is wrong with you?
Am I giving off a scent? That's what it is. I'm giving off a scent. Or
sending out a signal, an involuntary nod or shift that I'm unaware of.
What is it?
None of those things.
Blackout. OLIVIA, sitting in the chair, starts to play with her
breasts. She does this for a bit, doesn't get aroused, loses interest
and stops. Blackout.
OLIVIA and SIMON stand by the tub.
Why were you trying to sell it?
Because I wanted to get rid of the connotations. I found it with someone
else. Someone else who is gone. Who is long gone and who wants nothing
to do with me. Who you might say I drove away. I didn't want to be in
the same house with the tub because it would be like being in the same
house with that other person and I thought I could meet some interesting
people in Pleasant Acres because I'm really lonely. And I met them.
You're giving up? You've got a buyer right here. I'm ready to deal.
It's old. I haven't told anybody but it's starting to crack at the
bottom. It's ridiculous. You couldn't take a bath, not without a lot of
work. Why would you want it?
I don't know. I'm always rooting through boxes and bags at yard sales,
auctions. I'm restless that way. I'm guess I'm trying to find that
overlooked thing that everybody else ignored. You know, the prize.
So this clawfoot is a prize?
Could be. Could be nothing. I'll have to see.
You have an eye for finding the pearl in the garbage?
Oh no. I pick out stuff I like and sometimes I get lucky. But I don't
throw anything away. A habit that I can't shake. My house is never as
empty yours. But what I do with the tub shouldn't matter to you.
But it does matter to me. It matters a lot. I want it to go to the right
home and the right person.
I'm confused. Are you selling now?
I might be. What did you say your name was?
I didn't. It's Simon.
Hello. I'm Olivia.