dispatches aperture poste restante etcetera

O'Jerusalem: a play in six acts
By Evelyn - 22 Sep, 1999

Page 3 of 9

ACT I: One Size Doesn't Fit All

It is mid-morning. There is a fair bit of activity about the common room. Mauri is mopping while travelers are trying to shuttle to and from the bathrooms without stepping in the wet areas. A few Australian women are in the kitchen lounge having Marmite and toast. An American guy is out on the small adjoining balcony, having coffee and reading newspapers. A blond woman is seated on the couch, watching Israeli TV. She is not unattractive, though her black summer tank-dress hangs loosely on her bony frame. Her legs are crossed, she inhales deeply on a cigarette. On her shoulder is a tattoo of stylized Hebrew letters. Sitting beside her is Eddie, slouching heavily and barely awake. Results from an Israeli opinion poll flash in Hebrew on the TV screen above the refridgerator. Eddie and the blond exchange comments, occasionally.

Marcos enters the room, Jimmy close at his heals.

Marcos: Jimmy, you hungry? Jimmy... (gets plastic bag of meet out of freezer and boils a pot of water)

American woman crosses the lounge to the doorway of the balcony. One of the Australians sees her. Musa comes in not long after her.

Australian: Did you get to the clinic then?

American: Oh, last night? Yes, we did, but it wasn't exactly the right place to seek a doctor for treatment of mosquito bites. Mosquito bites is hardly an emergency in this country... We'll go again today to a different hospital.

Musa: I tell you, I know this things before. Some tourists, you see, a Danish girl once she come to me from Al-Arabi Hostel, she face is so many bites, and she want room. I ask her what is this (gestures at his face). She tell me she don't know what. She body, all over is bugs bite. I ask where she come from,she say Arabi. I hear this before, you see, I no want her. She bring bugs - like lice - you know bed bug so small you cannot see. I no want her here, I say 'Sorry'. Bed bug not good they eat you. Some place dirty mattress like this. (shakes head disapprovingly)

American: Uh huh, but I think these are mosquito bites, they're big like others I've gotten, just never so many.

Australian: Do you have mossies at home? Maybe you are allergic to them.

American: I've been bitten for four months travelling now, but never like this. I probably am having an allergic reaction (looks down at the sores on both wrists). They're huge and I have about a hundred between my arms and legs...(Australian looks at them sympathetically)

Musa: No mosquite. I know this bite no mosquites. I have a cream for bed lice... you put on, no more itching. Only this thing work... you go to pharmacy and ask.

American: Anyway...

Helen comes up the few steps from the common room. She is wearing an all-blue fitted jump-suit; her yellow tweety-bird money pouch looks disproportionately large on her narrow frame. She has a cigarette in one hand, a few black plastic bags in the other.

Helen: Oh, good, you're still here. (everyone turns to see who she is talking to) I don't know what you like but I have these bras I just bought from the market... I got them for not very much and they really are nice (she's rushing to get them out of one of the bags as it becomes clear to whom she is speaking) I thought they were really nice and so I got a few in different colors and didn't even think that they might not fit (she holds them out to the blond on the couch)

blond: (looks interested) Mmmm, nice. I like this one. (her voice is a scratchy-low Demi Moore sound-alike)

Helen: They only had one size and I'm not very big so I thought they would be fine, but they turned out to be too small. I thought of you...

Musa, uninterested, leaves. Eddie barely stirs and continues watching the program. The American women joins her companion on the balcony

blond: I will try this one (picks up a laced pink bra)

Helen: O.K., good... good. It's really quite a shame but I was hoping someone could enjoy them. I'll have to go back next weekend and get more.

A half hour later, Helen has gone back up to her tent on the roof. The Aussies have left, the Americans are headed out the door. Eddie has fallen back asleep. The blond is sitting on one of the mattresses that has been converted to a couch in the common room. She looks worn, staring off blankly, thinking nothing, smoking one cigarette after another.




O'Jerusalem: a play in six acts
  Living with Terror
  Beholding Jerusalem
  Take a tech trek (and e-mail when you get there)

  New York
    New York City
  West Africa
    The Gambia
Middle East
    Palestinian Territories
    Eastern Anatolia
    Central Anatolia
    Pushkar Fair
    Madhya Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh
    West Bengal
    Sikkim & the NE
    (Rep. of China - Taiwan)
  USA - San Francisco, CA

"Travel is Travail"
-- The wandering Bedouins
  © 1999/2000 ~ All Rights Deferred.