Arch de Triomphe

Day 30, Play 30: Arch de Triomphe

LIGHTS UP. JANE is up, watching The Daily Show.
Sounds, off, are TOM, fumbling with the key.

JANE:
Hi!

TOM:
I’m home!

JANE:
Yay!

TOM:
Thank god!

JANE:
I was beginning to worry.

TOM:
What a day!

JANE:
Quite a day, yes.

TOM:
Got the car working.

JANE:
The Volkswagon? How?

TOM:
Solenoid, not starter. $20 spare part compared $200 special order.    Worth a try, anyway.

JANE:
But—

TOM:
Bought a flashlight and monkey wrench at the auto parts store along    with a solenoid.

JANE:
For $20?

TOM:
Not counting the flashlight and monkey wrench.

JANE:
Still.

TOM:
I saved the 75 bucks for a tow.

JANE:
Mein Held! That’s German for “My hero!”

TOM collapses onto the bed.

JANE:
How was your mom’s surgery?

TOM:
Was that today?

JANE:
This morning, yes.

TOM:
Fine. She was fine when I left her at, what, eight? Visiting hours were over.

JANE:
Was she awake?

TOM:
In and out.

JANE:
But it went okay.

TOM:
Doctor Borelli said it couldn’t have gone better.

JANE:
Is she still talking about Dr. Borelli?

TOM:
Said he ate yellow jello at the foot of her bad last night. Around 2am,      she said.

JANE:
Jeez! What does her real doctor say?

TOM:
The appropriately named Doctor Hunt? Ironically, I still haven’t seen him. I’d think he was as much a phantom as Borelli if I hadn’t seen his name on her charts.

JANE:
Did you get a hold of her doctor? What’s his name, Dunn?

TOM:
No, I left a message with his service. I don’t think he gets ‘em.

JANE:
Anything else?

TOM:
Talked to Marv about the website. He seemed confident we could swing it for what we can afford.

JANE:
I meant about your ma.

TOM:
No. She looked good when I left her.

(beat)

JANE:
That’s good about the website.

TOM:
Yeah.

(beat)

You know, you get through a rough patch, with an over dose of stress, gnawing uncertainty and herculean effort, and your reward is… well, that you got through. There’s no ticker-tape parade.

JANE:
No.

TOM:
And sometimes I just feel like—

The telephone rings, interrupting him. TOM looks at his cell,
sighs, and looks at JANE. JANE backs gracefully out of the room to give TOM some privacy.

JANE:
I’ll be right back.

TOM:
Hi mom! …Yeah, they didn’t used to let patients have phones by their beds, that’s right. … So, you know where you’re at? … I didn’t mean anything by it , Mom, I just— He was. Did he have some more lemon jello? … No, I don’t think even doctors are allowed to smoke there. … No, not even after hours. … No, that’s right, you’d have smelled it, and it would’ve set off the alarms. … Well, because— I don’t know, Mom. It’s a way for immigrants to advance, I guess. Yeah, she’s— No, not Filipino, I think she’s
Sudanese or something. … Well, even if she were Filipino, she wouldn’t speak Chinese. … No, you’re probably right there. Listen, I gotta get off of here, I’m exhausted. … Yeah, in the morning. First thing.
Okay, good night. I love you too.

TOM hangs up, sighs, relaxes. The instant he does so,
the phone rings again. TOM answers.

TOM:
Yeah, whadja forget, Mom? … In Paris? … That’s called the Arc d’ Triumph. … Yeah, there was a famous photo or something, of the Nazis marching through it. … Okay, maybe it was the American army. … You were alive then, I wasn’t. … Well, that one was from the French Revolution, I think, but the Romans built them all over Europe. … Yeah, whenever they conquered a new province, they’d erect on the road to Rome. … Yeah, like your own National Geographic. … Sure, I’ll see you then.

TOM hangs up. JANE enters, ripping pieces of scrap paper
into small pieces, which she sprinkles over TOM head.
TOM smiles broadly as LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK.

END OF PLAY.

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