My Short Stories

Fiction

A Play by Lee Su Min

Food seems to be the order of the day

A Night Out

CHARACTERS:

Adrian Wang

Bernard Chong

Chong Ai Jia

Corrine Chong

David Summers

Walter Tan

ACT I Saturday afternoon

ACT II  Sunday morning

ACT III Sunday night

ACT IVMonday afternoon

ACT VMonday night

ACT VITuesday morning

 

The scene of the play takes place in the house of David Summers in Singapore in December 2021. The house is three storeys, and the dining room is on the first floor. You must go through the living room and then walk up a few steps before you reach the dining room on the right. If you go further in, you see the kitchen. Apart from the television there is also a piano in the house.

 

ACT I

 

Scene: It is Saturday afternoon about 3:00 p.m. in the dining room and the curtains are drawn. Adrian, Ai Jia, and Bernard are seated at the dining table. David is playing the piano.

Adrian (yawns): I had a good sleep last night.

Bernard (to Adrian): So, was it good?

Adrian (to Bernard): What do you mean was it good?

Bernard (to Adrian): I mean, did you have a good sleep last night?

Ai Jia (pours tea for herself): He just said he did, what’s wrong with you Bernard?

Bernard (to Ai Jia): It’s unfair of you to say that of me.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): What Bernard is trying to find out is if you slept with Corrine last night.

Adrian (looks at Bernard): This is absurd!

Enter Walter.

Walter: Good morning, everyone!

Adrian (to Walter): A fine day this is.

Bernard (to Walter): Yes, indeed it is fine. Did you bring what I asked you to buy?

Walter (hands a McDonald’s bag to Bernard): There you are, Bernard, I brought you your favourite ham and cheeseburger.

Bernard (opens the bag): This is not what I wanted, I asked for roast beef croissant.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Just take it, Walter is doing you a favour.

Bernard (to Walter): No, I specifically asked for roast beef croissant.

Adrian (to Bernard): Walter must have forgotten.

Bernard (to Ai Jia): How could he forget a simple thing like that?

Walter (to Ai Jia): Sorry, this was your order, pointing to the cheeseburger.

Ai Jia (to Walter): Thanks!

Walter (sits down): By the way, have you noticed the cashiers at the supermarket lately?

Adrian (to Walter): What about them?

Walter (to Bernard): They are kind of weird.

Bernard (picks up the cheeseburger): Weird? In what way?

Walter (to Bernard): I was buying avocados, and as it was on offer right at the front entrance, naturally I picked it up.

Ai Jia (to Walter): And then, that was normal, no weird at all!

Walter (to Bernard.): The lady.

Bernard (to Walter): Which lady?

Walter (to Bernard): Her name was Jasmine Tan.

Bernard (to Walter): So? That is a common name.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): I can confirm that; Jasmine is a common name. It’s a Chinese flower.

Walter (to Bernard): No, she was very keen on explaining things to me.

Bernard (to Walter): Explain?

Walter (to Ai Jia): Yes, she kept telling me that the avocados were a “buy-one-get-one-free”.

At this time David stopped playing the piano and he joins in the conversation.

David: But won’t that be normal?

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Indeed. It was her job. Walter (to Ai Jia): Whatever. But the way she said it, it was a little over-emphasised, if you know what I mean.

David (to Walter): Was it spoken in English or Chinese?

Bernard (gets up and goes to the piano): How does the language play a part in her behaviour?

Walter: (to Bernard): English.

Bernard (to Walter): So, it wasn’t abnormal. She knew that you don’t like to speak in Chinese.

Walter (to Bernard): I guess so. But how would she know my language preference just by looking at my appearance.

Ai Jia (to Walter): No need to get annoyed. This is her lexicon.

Adrian (opens the bag as well): Ok, now that my brunch has arrived, may I start eating first?

Ai Jia ( pours tea): No, it is tea, not brunch.

Adrian (to Ai Jia): You mean it is already 3:00 p.m.?

Bernard (to Adrian): Yes of course, you think you are still in the U.K.?

Adrian (to Ai Jia): That means that I overslept.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): Yes, what time did you go to bed last night?

Adrian (to Bernard): I can’t remember when I dozed off to sleep. Was Netflixing.

Bernard (to Adrian): And what was the name of the drama?

Adrian (to Bernard, slightly crossed): Hey, why do I need to tell you?

Ai Jia (to Bernard): He can’t remember.

Bernard (to Ai Jia): Adrian is getting old.

Adrian (to Bernard): Of course not. How old are you?

Walter (to Adrian): I am older than Bernard.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Don’t you want to eat your cheeseburger, Adrian? Or is it ham burger?

Walter (rather annoyed): It is ham and cheese.

Bernard (to Adrian): Oh yeah, let’s get to the point. What were you watching last night before you went to bed?

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Let him. He can’t remember.

Adrian (to Ai Jia): Who says I can’t remember? It was “The Journalist”.

Walter (to Adrian): Oh yes, I used to be a journalist before I came here.

Bernard (to Walter): What has this got to do with Adrian’s movie?

Ai Jia (sipping her tea): So, this is Jasmine tea.

Bernard (to Ai Jia): No, it’s not. It is Ceylon tea. Jasmine tea is Chinese tea, not Ceylon tea.

Adrian goes to the table, picks up the teapot and he looks at the tag.

Adrian (to Ai Jia): It is Jasmine tea.

Walter (to Adrian): But how can you be so sure?

Bernard (to Ai Jia): Did Corrine pour the tea in front of you?

Exit Ai Jia. She goes to the kitchen and looks for Corrine.

 

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT II

Scene: It is Sunday morning about 10:00 a.m. in the dining room and the curtains are drawn as usual. Adrian, Ai Jia, and Walter are seated at the dining table. They are waiting for David to come in and play the piano.

Enter Bernard.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): You were talking about Jasmine.

Bernard (sitting down): Oh yes Jasmine. What about Jasmine? Did she annoy you again Walter?

Walter (to Bernard): She couldn’t have, she wasn’t there.

Ai Jia (to Walter): I know that flower. It is native to Iran, not a Chinese flower.

Adrian (to Ai Jia): Then why would the Chinese people want to call themselves Jasmine?

Bernard (shakes his head): Beats me, neither do I.

Enter David. David (holds a cigar): Good morning, everyone!

Bernard (to David): Did you sleep well last night?

David (goes to the piano, looking puzzled): For sure I did. This question should be directed at Adrian!

Bernard (to Adrian): And what did you sleep on this time?

Adrian (shakes his head): Let me think. I think it was “The Journalist”.

Ai Jia (to Adrian with disapproval): “The Journalist” again?

Adrian (to Ai Jia): It’s in Japanese. Walter, where is my roast beef croissant today?

Bernard (to Adrian): Walter is not your butler!

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Of course, Adrian knows.

David (puts his cigar down, goes to the piano): The robot ate up my food today.

Bernard (to David): That’s insane. How can a robot eat your food?

Ai Jia (to Bernard): David must have fed him.

David (shakes his head): Rubbish! I did no such thing.

Adrian (to David): Then why the accusation?

Bernard (to David): Come on, David, you have a lot of explanation to do now. What time did you sleep?

David (to Bernard): What has the robot got to do with my sleeping hour?

Bernard (quickly smiles): No, I was just concerned. Medical journals say that we are to sleep at least eight hours a day, and it must be before midnight.

David (to Ai Jia): Oh, then my answer is – before midnight.

Ai Jia (smiles): So, the journalist talked to you the entire time.

David (to Adrian, hits a few keys): Not the entire night of course, but she told me to quit smoking.

Bernard (to David): And are you taking her advice?

Walter (stands up): I am going to buy food now. Any orders? Everyone keeps quiet.

Exit Walter. He goes to the kitchen to look for Corrine before he leaves the house.

 

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT III

Scene: It is Sunday night about 7:00 p.m. in the dining room and the curtains are still drawn. Adrian, and Ai Jia are seated at the dining table. Bernard is at the piano.

Enter Walter. He goes straight to the dining table and puts the McDonald’s bag down.

Bernard (to Adrian): So, what time did you sleep last night?

Adrian (to Bernard): Before midnight!

Ai Jia (gets up and goes to the window): For Heavens’ sake Bernard, why do you need to know what time Adrian sleeps.

Adrian (gets up from his chair): I might as well tell you now, I slept with Corrine last night.

Enter David.

Ai Jia (signals to Bernard): Oh, David, have a cup of tea.

David (goes to the piano): Is it Jasmine tea again?

Bernard (to David): Let me try it, I can tell you.

David (to Ai Jia): Did you say it was from Iran?

Ai Jia (drawing the curtains): No, I said no such thing.

Walter (frowns): But yesterday morning you said that it was from Iran!

David (sits down and opens the fallboard): What about Corrine?

Bernard (sipping at the tea): By the way, I was also watching “The Journalist”.

David (starts playing the piano): Frankly, I don’t care where it comes from. Tea is tea, if I were to care where each blend comes from then I might as well eat fish.

Walter (surprised, he looks at David): Why fish?

Bernard (to Walter): The answer is simple. David likes fish.

Enter Corrine. She places a large plate of fish and chips at the table, she goes in and then comes out with two more plates of the same and they all start to have dinner. Bernard has his roast beef croissant.

David (to Corrine): Why don’t you joint us for a meal?

Corrine (to Bernard): Dad, can I sit down?

Bernard (to Ai Jia): I don’t know.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): You should let the journalist know that you have quit smoking.

Adrian (to Ai Jia): Which journalist?

Bernard (to Adrian): I thought you said you watch “The Journalist”?

Adrian (to Bernard): Not me, David is the one.

Bernard (to Corrine): This entire place is coated with a layer of dust.

Exit Corrine. She goes out and gets a piece of cloth, comes back, and starts to clean the dining table.

Adrian (starts to get angry): For Heaven’s sake! Why do you have to do it now? Can’t you see that we are eating?

Corrine walks to the television. There she picks up the remote control. David (shouting): What are you doing?

Corrine (sitting down): If I can’t do any housework, then I might as well watch television.

She changes the channel from English to Chinese.

Adrian (smiles): I think 茉莉花 is here again.

David (picks up the tea): Smells nice!

 

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT IV

Scene: It is Monday afternoon about 1:00 p.m. in the dining room. Adrian, Ai Jia, and Corrine are seated at the dining table. Bernard is sitting on the piano stool.

Adrian (to Bernard): How old are you?

Ai Jia (to Adrian): I thought we dropped that already.

Enter David. He walks straight to the piano.

Ai Jia (to David): Don’t you want your tea?

Adrian: You mean it’s 3:00 p.m. already?

Bernard (looks irritated): For Heaven’s sake, Adrian! Don’t you look at the time?

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Can’t blame him, he doesn’t wear a watch.

David (standing by the piano): Then buy him one.

Bernard (to David): Oh, I got one, I’ll give it to him.

Adrian: I think we should put a clock on the wall.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): Who is going to pay for it?

David (looks at his watch): I thought Bernard was going to give him a watch.

Bernard (stands up): David, this is your seat.

David (remains standing): No, I am waiting for my lunch.

Adrian (suddenly awake): Where is my lunch?

Bernard (looks at his watch smiling): Finally, Adrian is awake!

David opens the fallboard, and he hits a few keys.

David: Let me play a song to serenate this joyous occasion.

David plays “Santa Claus is coming to Town”.

Bernard (looks irritated): I thought this is Chinese New Year already.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Not yet we are still in December.

David (to Corrine): Why are you so late this month?

Adrian, Ai Jia, Bernard, and David look at each other and then they look at the door.

Enter Walter.

Ai Jia (to Walter): There you are Walter, why is the Tiger so late this year?

Walter (hands Bernard the bag): It’s not MacDonald’s.

Bernard (sits down): I know it is not MacDonald’s.

Walter (sits down): Corrine, no Jasmine today?

Bernard (to Walter): No.

Ai Jia (to Walter): Corrine is not the maid.

David (to Bernard): Then who is?

Walter (to David): It’s time I went to the supermarket.

Adrian (to Walter): I thought you didn’t like Jasmine.

Walter (to Adrian): I can’t avoid the supermarket just because she is there.

David (to Walter): Next time ask for a different check-out helper.

Walter (to David): Difficult, the cashiers there seem to be afraid of her.

Bernard (to Walter): Really? Why is that so?

Walter (to Bernard): But it is true that she seemed to be looking out for me ....

David (to Walter): Oh, then the answer is simple. You are still good looking.

Walter (to Bernard): God forbid! I am already passed my prime.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): How old are you?

Bernard (to Ai Jia): For Heaven’s sake! Stop asking people about their age. Once passed sixty, no one likes to disclose their age.

Adrian (wakes up again): No wonder she asked me to apply for a “Passion card”! That card is applicable only to persons sixty and above.

David (to Adrian): Woman is strange. Why couldn’t she just ask you for your age?

Adrian (to David): True. She thinks I am a liar.

Ai Jia (to Adrian): A late sleeper perhaps, but liar, no.

Corrine (to Ai Jia): Mummy!

 

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT V

Scene: It is Monday night about 7:30 p.m. in the dining room. Adrian, Ai Jia, and David are seated at the dining table. The television is on.

David (to Ai Jia): Ai Jia, don’t tell me Corrine is late again.

Enter Bernard. Bernard (sits down): Don’t tell me Adrian is sleeping again.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Don’t worry.

David (looks impatient): Where is Corrine?

Adrian (to David): No worries, she is coming soon.

Bernard (looks serious): I can confirm now. Adrian has been sleeping with Corrine.

Ai Jia (jumps up from her chair): What?

David (smiling): How can that be? I have been sleeping with her the entire time.

Enter Walter.

Walter: I narrowly missed the MP this morning.

Ai Jia (to Walter): Which MP?

Walter (looks frustrated): I can’t recall his name. I have seen him on television.

Bernard (looks irritated): Hang on! We have been talking about Corrine, and David.

Walter (to Bernard): What about Corrine and David?

Bernard: (to Walter): David said that he was sleeping with Corrine.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): So?

Bernard (to Ai Jia): No, the point was that I thought that she was sleeping with Adrian.

Adrian (to Bernard): But of course. Why do you think that I wake up so late in the mornings?

Bernard (to Walter): I don’t care who is sleeping with who. I want my lunch.

Ai Jia (to Bernard): Did you bring your old watch?

Bernard (embarrassed): Oh dear! I forgot!

Adrian (to Bernard): It’s about time you told us your age.

David (to Adrian): Why don’t you tell me your age first?

Adrian (to Walter): You said that you were younger than Bernard.

Walter (to Ai Jia): Yes, I might as well declare my age now that David has slept with Corrine.

Bernard: (to Walter): What has this got to do with it? You should have declared it before David made his confession.

Walter: I am seventy-two. In case one of you starts accusing me of having slept with Corrine as well.

Ai Jia: Come on! Corrine doesn’t sleep around. She is my daughter.

Bernard (irritated): Look! I am famished. I want my roast beef croissant.

David goes to the piano and starts to play the “White Christmas”.

Enter Corrine. She brings two plates of fish and chips and puts it in front of Walter, sits down, and starts to eat the other plate. Ai Jia opens the McDonald’s bag on the table, and she hands Bernard the roast beef croissant. Adrian watches the television and eats the cheeseburger.

 

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT VI

Scene: It is Tuesday morning about 11:00 a.m. in the dining room. Adrian, Bernard, David, and Walter are seated at the dining table.

Enter Ai Jia. She goes straight to the window, and she draws the curtains.

Adrian (to David): You said the robot ate up your food. How did it do that?

David: My order from Home Buffet changed my default mode from delivery to pick up.

Ai Jia (to David): You must have tapped on something wrong.

Bernard (to David): And then?

David (to Ai Jia): Naturally I rang the hotline officer when the food did not arrive.

Ai Jia (to David): And then what did she say?

David (to Ai Jia): She said that my food if not picked up within the hour will be registered as having been picked up.

Bernard (to David): That is too short an allowance.

David (to Ai Jia): So that I decided on the spot to reorder before the robot found its way into my house.

Bernard (to David): That is nonsense, how can the robot find you?

David (to Ai Jia): No, robots have the propensity to become very intelligent if they ate our foods.

David hands a clock to Bernard.

Bernard (to David): You remember!

Ai Jia: Now, who’s going to hang the clock.

Enter Walter. Walter (to Bernard): Nope, I am not going to do it this time.

Ai Jia (to Walter): Where is my lunch?

Enter Corrine. She goes to the piano and starts to play the scales.

Bernard (to Walter): Where is my McDonald’s?

Adrian (to Bernard): I thought you only eat roast beef croissant?

Walter (to Bernard): Ok, I will go out and buy roast beef croissant now.

Bernard (to Walter): So, where is the roast beef croissant from?

Walter (smiles sheepishly): It has always been from Home Buffet. David places the order and I pick it up from the entrance before coming in.

Bernard and Ai Jia stood up at the same time and walk towards the door.

David (to Adrian): I wonder if she could play other pieces.

Adrian (to David): I never slept with Corrine.

David (to Adrian): Neither have I.

And they both laugh wholeheartedly. David picks up the cigar from the dining table and he gives it to Walter.

Walter (to David): Thanks, I can put up the clock now.

David (to Walter): Take the journalist’s advice.

Currently Corrine stops playing the piano and –

 

THE CURTAIN SLOWLY FALLS

Thank you for reading my first play. Hope you've enjoyed the story and I wish everyone a Happy New Year! The next play will be coming soon, before the Tiger change into the Rabbit 🐯>🐰