The stage is set with two bar stools positioned close together, facing the audience. As the lights come up a man and woman are seen sitting on the stools holding wine glasses—his contains red wine, hers white–from which they sip occasionally as they speak. They are dressed as one might expect a man and a woman to be dressed in an upscale bar—he in a collared shirt and blazer, she in a cocktail dress, pearls, reserved earrings.
Husband: . . . so it turns out the boy at the game is her son by the first marriage, and the coach is the ex-husband of the woman the boy’s father married.
Wife: What a mess.
Husband: It was a little uncomfortable, to say the least.
As the husband and wife speak, a boorish man walks on stage behind them. He is dressed in a flashier style—a chain showing around his neck, doubled-breasted jacket, etc. He looks over the couple into the house, as if trying to catch the eye of a bartender.
Wife: Isn’t the commissioner supposed to keep track of that sort of thing?
Husband: It’s a kids’ soccer league, not divorce court.
Wife: Still . . .
Husband: And they wonder why it’s hard to get volunteers.
The Boor looks over the couple’s heads, his gaze bouncing from side to side as if following the movement of the bartender. He then speaks loudly as he leans between the man and woman:
Boor: Excuse me! (Realizing he has brushed against the man, he speaks to him.) Sorry—just trying to get a drink.
Husband: Sure, no problem. (To the woman) Anyway, the dad ends up yelling at the kid–
Wife: What for?
Husband: I don’t know—soccer’s not my game.
As they talk, the boorish man conveys impatience by his aspect and facial expressions.
Wife: In front of everybody?
Husband: Right—until finally the mom . . .
Wife: Which one—the real one or the second wife?
Husband: The new . . .
Boor: (Exasperated) Who do I have to screw to get a drink around here?
The husband and wife stop their conversation and turn around to look at the boor.
Boor: Geez—I’m sorry. I—you two are sitting here trying to have a nice time and I’m yelling like I’m at a goddamn hockey game or something.
The Boor waits for them to excuse him. They don’t, and instead turn back to the audience and begin to talk again.
Wife: So, the new one?
Boor: Hey—I’m really sorry. Let me buy you a drink.
Husband looks at wife and shrugs his shoulders.
Boor: C’mon . . .
Boor: (To wife) What are you drinking?
Wife: (With a jaundiced look first at her husband, then at the boor) Just a glass of chardonnay.
Boor: Sure. (To husband) How ‘bout you?
Husband: (Looking into audience as if scrutinizing liquors on a bar.) I was drinking merlot but I think I’m going to switch. (Beat, as he considers the choices that apparently line the top shelf before him.) I’ll have a single malt scotch.
Boor: Great! (Speaks into house as if he has finally attracted the bartender’s attention) Hi—a glass of the . . . uh . . .
Wife: The Genevieve chardonnay.
Boor: Genevieve chardonnay for the lady, and the gentleman will have–
Husband: I’ll have the McClellan’s.
Boor: . . . and I’ll have a gin and tonic.
Wife: (To the Boor) Thank you.
Boor: You’re very welcome. (Looks at husband as if sizing him up) So I’m guessing you’re . . . a lawyer.
Husband: I used to be . . .
Boor: Oh. What are you now?
Husband: I’m a shepherd.
Wife can give husband a look of repressed surprise, or she can play it straight.
Boor: Really? How did you . . . end up in that line of work?
Husband: Well, I hit forty and I just said to myself . . . screw it. I don’t want to end up regretting what might have been. I’m going to go out and do what I want.
Husband: I mean, you only go around the old merry-go-round of life once.
Bartender appears and serves drinks.
Boor: Excellent. (Takes out money with ostentatious flourish) How much?
Bartender: Sixty-five dollars, sir.
Boor: Sixty-five dollars!
Bartender: The scotch is $45 a glass.
The boor pays, grumbling as he does so.
Boor: Pretty expensive tastes for a shepherd . . .
Husband: Well, you begin to appreciate the finer things in life a little more when you’re all by yourself . . . out in a meadow watching a flock of sheep . . . miles away from civilization.
Boor: I guess. So—if you’re a shepherd—what are you doing here?
Husband: Do you realize how tough it is to take a vacation when you’re a shepherd?
Wife: (Joining in husband’s put-on) It’s virtually impossible to find a substitute shepherd. He can never take any time off. Always at the office—work, work, work.
Boor: Gee, that’s too bad.
Husband: Yeah. Still—I love what I do.
Boor: Speaking of love, and don’t get me wrong, your wife is a beautiful lady . . .
Wife: Thank you.
Boor: You’re very welcome—(to husband) but is it true what they say about shepherds and their sheep getting—you know—physical with each other?
Husband: (He turns to look the Boor over) What the hell kind of question is that?
Boor: Sorry . . .
Wife: I mean—really!
Husband: Jesus! Of course it’s true.
Boor: It is?
Wife: I wouldn’t want my husband fooling around with another woman!
Boor: That’s great—an open marriage—between species. (beat) So how exactly do you—do it—with a sheep?
Husband: Do what?
Boor: Make love.
Wife: I don’t think it qualifies as love.
Boor: Well, you know—the act.
Husband: Oh, that. Well, first you herd the sheep over to a stream.
Boor: Okay . . .
Husband: Then you pick out the one you want . . .
Wife: Making sure it’s a ewe.
Boor: A “you”?
Wife: E-W-E—a female sheep.
Boor: Oh, right.
Husband: Then you put its front legs into boots.
Husband: Yeah. You know—hip waders or galoshes.
Boor: O-kay. What are the boots for?
Husband: Keeps the sheep from running off to the side.
Wife: (To husband) And the stream keeps her from going forward, right?
Boor: Man—you’ve got it all figured out.
Husband: You better believe it. Then you ease on in and—boom—you’re banging away!
Boor: Huh. No foreplay?
Husband: They really have no appreciation for it.
Wife: You’re so gallant.
Boor: (To wife) And you don’t mind that . . .
Boor: Your husband is having sex with . . . an animal?
Wife: I made him promise me he’d always use a condom.
Husband: Which I’m okay with, even if I don’t like it. (Looks lovingly at wife) For her sake. To me it’s like taking a shower with a rain coat on.
Boor: Sure. So—same sheep every time?
Husband: It really doesn’t matter.
Husband: I mean, it’s hard to develop a long-term relationship with any of them.
Husband: They’re all over the lot, fer Chrissake.
Boor: I can imagine.
Wife: You don’t know where they’ve been.
Wife: (As she clasps husband’s hand) Anyway, that what he’s got me for—the long haul. (They kiss) In a lot of ways, it’s made our marriage stronger.
Wife: Sure. I want him to have outside interests.
Wife: And golf is so expensive!
Boor: (Comfortable as conversation is on familiar ground) Don’t I know it!
Husband: It’s impossible to get good tee times.
Boor: Oh, yeah.
Wife: (To Boor) So what do you do?
Boor: Me? Uh, I’m a real estate developer.
Wife: (With a disappointed tone) Really. That must be . . . interesting.
Boor: Sure. I mean, not like being a shepherd, of course.
Husband: Yeah, but that’s my passion. It’s not the most lucrative business in the world, but my wife’s been very supportive.
Boor: Actually, I was looking to do a condo project around here.
Wife: This is such a pretty area.
Boor: Yeah. Lot of rolling hills. I’ve got a parcel picked out that overlooks a little stream. (nervously to husband) You . . . don’t do any of your—shepherding around here, do you?
Husband: No, why?
Boor: Just wanted to make sure people won’t see you . . . doing your thing . . . out the window.
Husband: Oh, I got you. No, this is my hometown. I keep the whole sheep business entirely separate.
Wife: You know how people can talk.
Husband: That sort of thing is still frowned upon in our set.
Wife: If your husband is having an affair with another woman, people feel sorry for you. It it’s a sheep, somehow it’s your fault!
Husband: The suburbs can be very narrow-minded. Anyway, so I’m living my dream—what’s yours?
Boor: (at a loss for words) I . . . don’t really have one.
Wife: Oh, come on. There must be something you’ve always wanted to do when you’re done—real estate “developing.” (She says the last word as if it is an endeavor beyond her experience as a housewife.)
Boor: Not really.
Husband: What if you made the biggest score of your career today. Sold off some gigantic building or something. Never had to work another day in your life. What would you want to do when you woke up tomorrow morning?
Boor: Play golf, I guess.
Wife: (In a disappointed tone) Oh.
Husband: You wouldn’t want to get a tattoo or . . . buy a motorcycle or . . . join an S&M club?
Wife: You know—sadomasochism? Bondage and discipline? “British massage”?
Husband: You should find yourself a nice girl with a whip and a dog leash to really work you over.
Wife: (With a hint of menace) I’ll bet you’ve been a naughty boy.
Boor: (Nervously) No I haven’t.
Wife: I think you need a big dominatrix in leather boots to beat you into shape.
Boor: (Backs away uneasily.) Well, I hadn’t thought about it before.
Wife: I mean, inflict some real pain. Maybe tie you up. I bet you’d like that.
Boor: Sure. Maybe I’ll try it—some day.
Husband: You should! Variety is the spice of life!
Boor: Right, right. (Uncertainly, as if he’s making up an excuse.) Say, listen—I think I see a friend of mine I’ve been waiting for. I’m going to go join him.
Wife: (Pleasantly, no longer menacing) Well, nice to meet you.
Boor: Yeah, sure . . .
Husband: Maybe we’ll see you around here again.
Boor: I hope so.
Wife: Enjoyed talking to you!
Husband: And thanks for the drinks!
Boor: Sure, okay—see you around.
The boor walks off, and the couple waves and follows him with their eyes as he heads off stage. Once he is gone, they take a sip of their drinks, turn back towards the audience and after a moment, the wife speaks.
Wife: I’m getting tired of this chardonnay. I need to try something different.
Husband: What’s the matter with it?
Wife: Too, you know . . . “busy.”
Husband: You should ask for something drier.
Wife: Right—I always forget which word to use.
Husband: The scotch is good. (he takes a sip) That guy was weird.
Wife: I’ll say!
Husband: What was his problem?
Wife: I don’t know. I thought you handled it fairly well.
Husband: Thanks. Next time I think I’ll be—a lion tamer.
Performed in Boston, April 27, 2012 by the Roxbury Repertory Theatre. Part of the trilogy “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” (JAC Publishing).