Part One: The Landlord
Lights up. Immediately: greed. The hands are out, the belly is round. Smile. Step left, step back, step right, step forward. Squares. Now circles, like a vulture. Now turn, slowly. And freeze. Extend arms, as if for an embrace. Hold the potential tenant. Coddle him, stroke and swoon. Show the big bay windows, show the clawfoot tub. Big smiles. Agree to include heat and hydro. Twinkle toes, twinkle toes. Aren’t you a friendly pixie? Shake hands and twirl, and curtsy. Sign the lease and twirl, and curtsy. Now freeze. Slowly turn again. Freeze. Take the tenant and bend him over, gently. Hold him from behind, prostrate, and begin to thrust from the hips. Be nice, at first, but gradually increase speed. Thrust, thrust, and what you didn’t tell him is that the toilet runs all night and the neighbors raise pit bulls and only one of the baseboard heaters actually works and forget it if he thinks you’re going to do anything about the broken lock on the back door, and smash the Tenancy Act with punching fists! Thrust and pump and punch. But. Wait. Big back arch, now … pause … gasp, and buck: the stinging scorpion. The body goes limp. Pull away, grinning. And jazz hands. And scene.
Part Two: The Roommate
Begin in squat position. Let the face speak of bowel movements. Some pain. Balled fists. The mouth opens. (Think Japanese No theater—better, think slo-mo Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.) Arms to heaven, pleading, like Moses at the shores of the Red Sea. Exertion! A twitch! And now the face says glory. And flush. And slowly rise. And twirl past sink without washing hands. And skip two-three-four down dusty hallway, past broom leaning suggestively against wall, now rubbing the voided belly—hunger. To the kitchen. Circle the unwashed dishes, wavering. But not too long. Big step to the fridge and fling open the door. Convey something predatory—the food is not yours! The hands are flailing from fridge to mouth. The feet are doing that running-in-place thing from Flashdance. Grape leaves and dill pickles and 3-year-old cheddar and scones. The face, now it says yes. The wallet says beer money, the fridge says empty, the stomach says delicious. And the eyes! What’s that in the eyes? Oh, that’s right. The eyes say: absolute, pure, malevolent evil.
Part Three: The Rent
You lie on the floor, supine. Writhe. Now crawl on your stomach. Slither, you serpentine monster—stealthily, slowly, like something unearthed half-living from the depths of Hell. OK, now up on your feet. Use that breakdancing flip-up sort of move, if you can manage it. A step forward. You are a plodding zombie (à la “Thriller”). Another step. Convey a sense of dread. Now creepy gothic hands, beckoning. Then: hello, with fists on the door, pounding. The night, she is alive with thunder! Kaboom! And jump left and jump right, and—oh, fuck it—scream like a drunken soccer mom. Go freestyle for a bit. Dance like you own the world. Back to the door, fling it open. Touch your toes, touch the sky. Toes, sky, toes … sky! And again—but whoa. Hold on. What’s this? The tenant makes $11 an hour correcting the ESL exams of middle-aged Francophone businessmen? Backward somersault! Roll away! And now up again. Big belly laugh, with hands on hips and head lolling back and ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha, ha, ha. Stop. Freeze. Slowly, begin to pogo. Pogo, pogo, with arms at sides, feet together. Faster now. Up and down, jumping: the bouncing check. And pause. And wait. And lights. And curtain.