Home / Writings / "Jane's Gates" - A short one act play

Jane's Gates

by Paul Nelson

 

Scene 1:  In a bar

 

(Six people, JANE, BEATRICE, JAKE, SCOTT, BOB, and PETER, are having drinks together at a table.)

 

JANE

I wanna go to the gates tomorrow. Who's gonna come with me? (she looks at each person at the table, one at a time)  Jake? Scott? Bob? Peter?

 

JAKE

(to SCOTT) And so I told him, like, fuck you. And he was like, well, if you're gonna be like that well I guess you don't need my help next Thursday.

 

BOB

(Ominously) The gates of hell!

 

PETER

(winces) Ow.

 

SCOTT

(to JAKE) That bastard! That evil cocksucking troll. You don't need that shit in your life. Just fuck him.

 

JAKE

(to BOB) Gates of hell? I heard once that a guy wore those once to a strip show, and, like, got permanently damaged.

 

BEATRICE

What are you talking about?

 

PETER

Double Ow.

 

JANE

They'll only be up for another couple of days. I was thinking we could meet at the chess and checkers house. They have a gift shop there. (To Jake) Promise me you'll be there!

 

JAKE

Sorry, babe, can't. I'm supposed to have lunch with Ron.

 

BEATRICE

No, I'm serious. Will someone tell me what the 'gates of hell' are? I presume we are not talking about something from Dante.

 

SCOTT

(To JAKE) No way you're going to lunch with that bastard.

 

JANE

Peter, Peter, sexy Peter. Will you go?

 

BOB

(To Beatrice)  Are you sure you want to know? It's kinky.

 

BEATRICE

(nods)

 

PETER

(to JANE) I have this workshop thing I'm supposed to go to tomorrow. (to the waitress)  Hey, could I get another drink?

 

JAKE

(to SCOTT) But, he's supposed to bring the buyer for Tommy Hilfiger, whose like, his old college roommate or something.

 

JANE

(to the waitress) Give me another, too.

 

BOB

(whispers something into BEATRICE's ear)

 

BEATRICE

(shocked) Is that for real? Why would anybody wear that? Wouldn't that be horribly painful?

 

SCOTT

(to JAKE) I see. So you're just going to network. It has nothing to do with Ron.

 

JAKE

(to SCOTT) Well....

 

PETER

(laughs at BEATRICE's reaction) Yes, but it's such sweet pain!

 

JANE

Beatrice! How about coming to see the gates with me tomorrow?

 

BEATRICE

The Christo Gates or Peter's Gates? (laughs) I'm sorry, Jane. I've got a budget analysis to do for that bastard Mr. Karp, and it's gonna take up the whole damn weekend.

 

SCOTT

(To JAKE) I thought as much. Let's go together. It'll be just friends, and he can't get pissy with you in front of the Hilfiger guy, especially if I'm there.

 

BOB

(gets up to go) It's getting late and I know my sweetheart is waiting up for me. See ya later guys.

 

JANE

Wait! Bob! (puts a hand on BOB's arm) How about coming with me to the gates tomorrow?

 

BOB

Well, I don't know... Gwen and I...

 

JANE

Of course... Gwen can come too!

 

BOB

Uh, sure. We'll see. Well, cheers, everyone!  (exits)

 

JAKE

(to SCOTT, after thinking over his suggestion) That's a great idea! It'll show Ron, too.

 

WAITRESS

(Puts down drinks in front of PETER and JANE)  It's two for one. You want your second one? It's free.

 

PETER

Sure.

 

JANE

Me too.

 

BEATRICE

I better be going too.

 

JANE

(puts a hand on BEATRICE's arm)  Leaving so soon?

 

BEATRICE

Yeah, I'm sorry. I better get started on that analysis. Maybe if I think of gates welded onto Mr. Karp I can stand it. See ya everyone! (exits)

 

SCOTT

(To Jake) Exactly. What are friends for?

 

JANE

What's that, Scott?

 

SCOTT

Jake and I are going to lunch together. A united front against the evil Ron.

 

PETER

(To JAKE) You mean, the evil Ron your boyfriend, that Ron?

 

JAKE

You mean, 'former boyfriend'? Yeah that's the one. Bastard.

 

JANE

But what happened to you. You were so in love!

 

JAKE

He screwed me over, that's what happened.

 

JANE

(puts a hand on JAKE's arm) Then why are you going to lunch with him?? Come to the gates with me instead.

 

JAKE

It's complicated, but I kinda have to go. Hey listen, I'm exhausted. I'll see you gents on Monday.

 

JANE

Okay.

 

SCOTT

I'll walk you home.

 

JANE

Scott! (puts a hand on SCOTT's arm) What about the gates tomorrow? We could go early and you could still do lunch...

 

SCOTT

Sorry, Jane. I saw them last week. Eh. They're allright. I guess I don't need to see them again. Take it easy, everyone.

 

JAKE

Goodbye, don't get too drunk.  (JAKE and SCOTT exit)

 

(WAITRESS brings the second drink for both JANE and PETER)

 

JANE

(to the WAITRESS) Get me another.

(to PETER)  Do you believe in heaven and hell?

 

 

 

SCENE 2:  In an apartment hallway

 

(Jane is fumbling for the keys to her apartment. Her handbag slips out of her fingers and tumbles onto the floor, its contents go flying everywhere.)

 

JANE

Shit. Nobody loves me.

 

PETER

Of course they do. (he stoops to help gather items from the floor)

 

JANE

(suddenly tearing up)  Well then, why the fuck won't anyone come see the Christo gates with me?

 

PETER

Hey, hey. They're just busy, that's all.

 

JANE

You too. Bastard. What's the fucking workshop you have to go to anyway?

 

PETER

Windows XP x64.

 

JANE

That's not even coming out for a year.

 

PETER

Yeah, well. Mr. Karp wants us to be ready. Also, there was an open slot or something...

 

JANE

What does it take, huh? What if I sucked your dick?

 

PETER

What?

 

JANE

Here. I'll do it. (she reaches for his fly and starts to fumble with the zipper) I know you're not gay. I saw you kissing Beatrice at the last Christmas party.

 

PETER

(flustered) Jane, please, no. You're drunk.

 

JANE

So what? You don't accept blow jobs from drunken bitches? (she successfully pulls down his fly) I'm good at this. I'll make you feel good.

 

PETER

Jane! Stop! (he pulls away and zips up) I'm not going to take advantage of you this way.

 

JANE

(shouting) Fine! Fuck you!

 

PETER

Hey, the neighbors.

 

JANE

Fuck the neighbors. Fuck you! Nobody gives a fuck. You don't give a fuck! (pushes him, PETER falls, sprawling on the floor) Just get the fuck out of here and go to your fucking workshop.

 

PETER

What's your problem?

 

JANE

(finally finds the keys to her apartment) I don't have a problem. You're the one with the problem. Go. Leave me alone. (Jane opens the door, enters her apartment, and slams the door behind her)

 

PETER

What the...

 

(PETER pauses outside the door, trying to decide what to do. We hear JANE sobbing through the door. Finally, he just leaves.)

 

 

 

SCENE 3:  Central Park.

 

(JANE is sitting on a park bench wearing a warm hat and mittens. Leading up to the bench on both sides, as well as in the distant background are the orange Christo gates. It is cold, cloudy, and grey out. The Christo gates are the only color on stage.)

 

(JANE has her head in her hands. After a few moments she pulls out a large bottle of coke and a small bottle of Tylenol. She takes two Tylenol and washes them down with coke. She winces in pain and then looks into the bottle of Tylenol. After a quick decision, she pours the entire bottle of Tylenol directly into her mouth and chases them with more coke and a lot of swallowing. She tosses the now-empty Tylenol bottle into a trash receptacle next to the park bench.)

 

(JANE fumbles through the pockets of her jacket for a moment and takes out a picture. As she holds the picture in her mittens, she starts to cry)

 

(PETER enters through a gate, spies JANE, hesitates for a second, but eventually decides to come to her)

 

PETER

(soothingly) Hey, Jane. Are you okay?

 

JANE

(looks up) Oh! Hi, Peter. (she wipes her eyes with her mittens, trying to keep up 'appearances') I didn't expect to see you here. I'm fine... I... (Jane can't help it, she dissolves into tears again) I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

 

PETER

Hey, it's okay. Really. (He hugs her) You know, I'm always here to talk if you need to... (PETER notices the picture in JANE's hand. He points to it.) Who is this?

 

JANE

(still sniffling) It's my dad.

 

PETER

I've never heard you talk about him before.

 

JANE

Well, we were estranged. I haven't seen him in like, ten years. And then my Mom called me yesterday at work... He's dead. He got into a car accident and died. (JANE turns away from PETER, screwing her eyes up tight)

 

PETER

Hey, hey. I'm so sorry. Is that why you were so anxious to have us join you to visit the gates? Why didn't you just tell us?

 

JANE

Because I didn't want to be so pathetic! I wanted friends to come just because I asked. I... I...

 

PETER

(holds her)

 

JANE

After my parents divorced, Dad used to come visit and would take me to Central Park... but only during the winter, for some reason, whenever everything was always so depressing, cold, grey, bare, and dead. I hated it... And now he's dead.

 

(JANE breaks into fresh tears, holding her head in her mittens. PETER gently comforts her by stroking her back.)

 

JANE

Thank you for coming, Peter, I'm sorry I was such a shithead last night.

 

PETER

Hey, forget about it. Just next time, trust me, okay?

 

JANE

Okay.

 

(Silence, as they watch the fabric of the gates gently flutter in the wind. The sun chooses this moment to peek out through the clouds and lights up one of the gates into a brilliant orange that floods the stage with color.)

 

PETER

Feeling better?

 

JANE

Yes. Thanks. (pause) So Peter, what, exactly, are the 'Gates of Hell'?

 

PETER

Are you sure you want to know? It's kinky.

 

JANE

Yes! Yes!

 

PETER

Okay, I'll tell you.

 

(Peter whispers his answer in her ear)

 

(blackout)

 

End of Play