Sunday, September 4, 2011

Waiting Room by Meriwether Falk

A sharply dressed woman in her 30's looks around a waiting room at other people sitting in a circle. She approaches the receptionist’s desk.

Irene-My name is Irene Catherine Engelbright. I have an appointment with Ms. Falk.

Receptionist-Please be seated. Ms. Falk will see you when she’s ready.

Irene- When she’s ready? I’ve been waiting for over a month.

Receptionist-Ms. Falk is a very busy woman.

Irene-That’s bullshit. Ms. Falk has been listening to the same Billie Holiday song and watching episodes of the Daily Show online. I can hear her.

Receptionist-Now Irene, I've told you before if you don’t calm down I’m going to tell Ms. Falk to write more likable protagonists.

Irene-Is this the way you treat your characters in this crap hole? Like they’re insignificant? I know I’m more interesting than these people! (Irene gestures to the people sitting around the waiting room.) These ignoramuses don’t even know their names! Have you tried having a conversation with any of them?

Receptionist-Please, Irene. Ms. Falk will see you when she’s ready to give you the attention you deserve. She’s working on a book with scenes set in Auschwitz right now. She’s preoccupied with that. Don’t worry. She hasn't forgotten about you.

Irene sits back down.

Irene-Well, at least I have a name. First, middle and last.

An old woman wearing a lab coat, eating from a plate of meatballs, scrutinizes Irene from a corner.

Old Woman-I will have a name soon. Don’t know what. Something long and German sounding.

Irene-Good for you.

Old Woman-And I have a thick comical German accent. Ms. Falk thinks that because she has German ancestors, she’s allowed to make fun of German people.


An androgynous teenager sits cross-legged on one chair, head down, reading a book.

A teenage boy sits, looking uncomfortable.

Teenage Boy-I learned about sex from watching guinea pigs. I have a crush on a girl who’s into old Greek stuff. She’s really smart and beautiful and I’m awkward. Do you know what I can do to impress her?

Old Woman-How about you win the Nobel Prize for physics? That’s what I’m trying to do. I am the world’s authority on black holes, you know.

The song “The Very Thought of You,” sung by Billie Holiday, drifts from the next room.

Irene-Great. This song again!

Old Woman pulls an ABBA Greatest Hits album from her lab coat pocket. She walks up to the receptionist’s desk and sets the plate of meatballs down.

Old Woman-How about we listen to ABBA? I love ABBA.

Receptionist-I know you love ABBA, but Ms. Falk does not. She simply gave you an ABBA obsession to try to make you funnier.

Old Woman-But I’m not funny.

Old Woman pulls some pages from her lab coat pocket and shows the receptionist.

Old Woman-There are no jokes. Ms. Falk has just scribbled all over the manuscript, “Make funny.” I don’t think she knows what she’s doing.

Receptionist-You will be funny, Ms. Whatever your name is. Now please have a seat.

Old Woman returns to her seat with her plate of meatballs.

Irene picks up a book from the pile belonging to the androgynous teenager.

Irene-Hmmm. ‘Mr. Peanut’ by Adam Ross. Looks interesting. And it got good reviews. Maybe I’ll go see if this Adam Ross wants to write about me, seeing as how Ms. Falk is taking forever!

Receptionist-Actually, Ms. Falk owns you. If you go to another writer, she could take legal action.

The song “The Very Thought of You” ends. The characters all hold still. Then “The Very Thought of You” comes back on.

Receptionist-And try to be patient, Irene. You haven’t been waiting as long as this girl.

Receptionist gestures to the androgynous teenager.

Irene-At least we don’t age here. Who is she?

Receptionist-That’s Ms. Falk’s inner anguished teenager. She’s very important too. But I think she’s a painful subject.

Androgynous Teenager flips everyone off, but doesn't look up.

Irene-Do you know if we have happy endings?

Receptionist answers the phone.

Receptionist-Thank you. I’ll let her know. Irene, Ms. Falk will see you now.


  1. Consider yourself applauded. I like it a lot, and so do the characters in my waiting room.

  2. Thanks! I'd like to meet your characters.