The Love That Stopped Time: A Play, Consisting of Pure Conjecture,
in One Act.
BY TIM CARVELL
THE SETTING: A boardwalk in a sleepy New Jersey beach community, sometime in the 1950s. Or possibly the 1940s. Or the 1960s. It’s hard to tell.
A station wagon pulls up to the beach. The FATHER steps out of the car.
Everybody up! We’re here!
Wha’? We’re here already?
Oh, boy, we’re here! I’m gonna go build a sandcastle!
(JUNIOR runs off toward the water.)
Junior! Wait for your mother!
(MOTHER runs off to follow JUNIOR.)
FATHER opens the back door of the station wagon, leans in, and shakes a 17-year-old JANET RENO awake.
Janet? Janet? Wake up: We’re finally here.
Daaaa-aaad! I was sleeping! And I don’t want to go to the stupid old beach anyway.
Oh, come now, Janet. I know you wanted to go to cheerleading camp. But this is our last chance to spend a summer together before you go off to school. Now come on, punkin, cheer up!
JANET RENO gets out of the car, begins sulking toward the beach with her FATHER, when she hears a wolf-whistle behind her. She stands still, as her FATHER continues walking toward the water.
Hey! Who did that?
A young, tanned BILL GATES appears, carrying a surfboard.
Sorry, miss. I just had to get your attention. My name’s Bill. What’s yours?
It’s Janet. Janet Reno.
Janet Reno. That’s a pretty name. Almost as pretty as your eyes.
JANET RENO blushes.
Can I buy you a malt?
(calling toward the shore)
Daddy? I’m going off with Bill for a malt, okay?
CUE SOUNDTRACK: “The Look of Love,” by Dusty Springfield
MONTAGE: The two sharing a malt, laughing; they walk along the water as BILL GATES tosses stones into it; they ride a ferris wheel, sharing cotton candy; at a carnival booth, BILL GATES knocks over an array of milk bottles and wins an enormous stuffed animal, which he presents to JANET RENO; a seagull grabs JANET RENO’s hat, and the two chase it until they collapse, laughing; the two kiss and roll around in the frothing surf. As the music fades out, we see BILL and JANET, walking along the boardwalk at night.
Thank you, Bill. I had a beautiful day.
You look beautiful in the moonlight, Janet.
They kiss. But just as they do, we hear a crowd of men, yelling. They appear, all carrying surfboards.
Hey, Bill! Who’s your girlfriend? Aren’t ya gonna introduce us?
Um, Nathan! Paul! Hey, guys!
Bill? Who are these people?
So, Bill, who’s this?
Um, she’s just a girl I met.
Just a girl you met? Why, of all the nerve!
C’mon, Bill. We’re gonna go catch some waves.
(to JANET RENO)
Um, listen, Janet —I gotta go. See ya around sometime.
BILL GATES leaves with the rest of his CROWD. JANET RENO stands alone on the boardwalk, clutching the oversized stuffed animal he won for her earlier in the day.
I hate you, Bill Gates! I hate you with all my heart! Someday I’ll hurt you the way you’ve hurt me! I’ll pay you back for this if it’s the last thing I ever do!
SUGGESTED READSFifteen-Second Theater Presents, Proudly, “Quiniela.”
by Paul Heltzel (6/1/2000)
Fights I’ve Recently Seen in Which I was Not Involved, but Still Played a Part, However Minor, Done in Three Short Plays.
by John Warner (9/13/1999)
Four Short Plays About Selling a Glass-Top Coffee Table, as Posted by My Neighbor, George, in Our Apartment Building’s Elevator
by Matthew Summers-Sparks (7/9/2009)
RECENTLYAnnouncing McSweeney’s Internet Tendency’s 2015 Column Contest
by McSweeney's (8/28/2015)
Home On the Range: Abortion Control
by Robert Lawrence (8/28/2015)
Open Letters: An Open Letter to 17-Year-Old Boys Who Just Discovered The Doors
by Brad Lawrence (8/28/2015)
POPULARFirst Faculty Meeting of the Year Bingo
by Lisa Nikolidakis (8/25/2015)
“Hell is Empty and All the Devils are Here”: A Shakespearean Guide to the 2016 Republican Primary
by Emily Uecker (8/6/2015)
Bay Area to Standard American English Translator
by Louis Weinstein (7/28/2015)