Jan/10
03

ACT ONE

The scene opens in a balmy tropical paradise, just after sunset, on New Year’s Eve. ANNIE and JEFF have renewed their wedding vows earlier in the evening and are sitting at an open air table, drinking wine and watching their children run around an open garden area, chasing native island lizards and geckos. They are all still wearing the flower crowns from their Polynesian ceremony. ANNIE is visibly tipsy.

JEFF: (watching their son D play with a gecko he has captured in the flower bed) Wow. D really loves those little lizards. We ought to get him one as a pet. He would love that.

ANNIE (woozily, relaxed) : A lizard? That sounds like a gweat idea. (strokes JEFF’S arm contentedly)

JEFF (thoughtfully, pouring more wine into Annie’s glass) : Uh huh. Maybe not a lizard. Maybe a gecko. They make great pets.

ANNIE takes a long sip of wine.

ANNIE : (absent mindedly, admiring tan on one leg) Gweko. Okay. Is it time for dinner yet?

END OF SCENE

——————-INTERMISSION———————-

ACT TWO

JEFF has returned from the reptile store with his son D. Under his arm he carries a small glass aquarium filled with various bowls and bags and light bulbs. D trails behind him, beaming, cradling a Chinese take out container. ANNIE mets them at the door.

ANNIE (very excitedly) : Let’s see!

D proudly, with meticulous care, opens the Chinese take-out container to reveal a small brown and black gecko, about the size of a popsicle stick.

ANNIE (softly, ruffling D’s hair affectionately): Awwwwww. He’s so cute, D! Are you excited?

D (with great enthusiasm) : Yes! And I love that he’ll be with me until college!

There is a long pause. ANNIE looks at JEFF, who busies himself with assembling the heat lamp in the new cage.

ANNIE (weakly, to no one in particular, heart sinking) : College?

D: Yep! They can live 20 years!

D busies himself with preparing the cage. ANNIE angrily taps JEFF on the shoulder and frantically motions him out of the room. JEFF follows as they move to their bedroom.

ANNIE closes door.

ANNIE ( pacing, wringing hands ): Are you…. insane?

JEFF: He’ll take care of it.

ANNIE: He’s TEN! TEN YEARS OLD! This gecko could live until he’s THIRTY, Jeff.

JEFF (calmly) : It will be good for him, he loves it, and he’ll do all the work. Trust me, it will be fine.

ANNIE (exploding) : All…the…work?? Are fucking kidding me? He can’t even find his shoes most mornings. I’ll be doing all the work. ME! I’ll be doing it! And I’ll be doing it for the next TWO DECADES!

ANNIE (continuing, furious) This is totally unacceptable. To make a commitment for me for the next twenty years and not even CONSULT me about it. Un-fucking-believable.

JEFF (arms crossed, calm) : Look, we can get one of those cricket delivery services. D can do the rest.

ANNIE (incredulous) : A…cricket…delivery…service.

JEFF (warming to the subject) : Yes. It’s a mail order service and they mail you the right number of crickets every week.

ANNIE (beginning to cry now) : I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe this discussion. I thought they lived like 2 years or something. I do not want to spend the next twenty years of my life caring for a lizard. (sobs) End. Of. Discussion.

JEFF: Okay, well why don’t you go tell him that we have to take it back. Go ahead.

ANNIE ( recognizing this is emotional blackmail, crying harder) : You… asshole! You go off to work…and now I’ll have to do all the work…AND I DON’T LIKE LIZARDS, OKAY? I DON’T LIKE LIZARDS.

JEFF: It’s not a lizard.

ANNIE: (quiet crying) Whatever the hell it is.

JEFF: Annie, he will take care of it. He learned all about the moisture bowl and the calcium and the heat lamps. He knows exactly what to do.

ANNIE: The moisture bowl? The moisture bowl? Oh, I’ll tell you all about the moisture bowl. That will be my job for the next two decades. Until I’m 59. Oh my god. (starting to cry again) I can’t believe you’ve done this to me.

Silence settles over the room. ANNIE continues to cry.

JEFF ( helpfully) : He’s from Iran.

ANNIE continues to cry.

JEFF (clearing throat, trying again) : You only have to feed him four days out of the week. You just shake out the right number of crickets into the cage.

ANNIE continues to cry.

There is a knock at the door. JEFF opens it.

D is standing there, tenderly holding the open Chinese food container.

D : I just thought of the perfect name! Taco! Taco the gecko!

ANNIE and JEFF both stand there, silent, knowing that once a Square child names the pet, the pet is there to stay, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in the moisture bowl and out, with cricket delivery service and without.

ANNIE straightens up and reaches for JEFF’S hand.

ANNIE: I think Taco is an excellent name, D. (deep breath) Let’s go fix up his house and get him settled.