Cats and Deserts
[Curtain. All that is placed on stage is a small round table with two chairs. The setting is a small private restaurant. Ginger is siting at one end alone, fidgeting with the napkin she placed in her lap. She then proceeds to looking around for the one she is waiting for, growing more impatient by the minute. She takes tiny sips from the glass of water, trying not to waste any of it. Ginger looks down at the napkin in her lap, heavy in thought.]
[Enter SL Felix. He comes in hurriedly, unexpectedly. He fumbles with his briefcase and coat taking considerable time to express an excuse for his late arrive- rather than having to express them in words.]
GINGER: [looking down at her napkin still]
Ginger, honey, I'm sorry. You know how busy I am. I had a meeting and you wouldn't believe at all the talk those boys had me sit through, I mean--
Good, because I'm starving.
GINGER: [looks up at Felix finally]
What are you starving for?
Well, what do you mean by that?
I mean… things seem so easy for you now. You could whistle, and the next moment have food on a platter delivered to you with no charge. Felix, I wouldn't think you could be starving for anything. Is that what you had always dreamed? When you woke up and felt inadequate or lonely, when that force inside was thirsty for something to fulfil it, to make you whole, you were starving, right?
FELIX: [A little dumbstruck, fumbling to unfold his napkin]
Well, yeah but-
Well, all my life I've never felt one moment where I wasn't thirsty for something. Life is the almighty drought. It brings you and sets you in a barren desert with little hope. When you finally reach an oasis, you always wonder, 'well, maybe this is a mirage?' It's always too good to be true.
What are you trying to say Ginger?
I'm trying to see what you're starving for. What I'm starving for. What there is to hold on to when you're just a Puss in Boots?
[Felix doesn't say anything but looks confused]
It's just like in the story. Everyone gets the power and the pleasure but you, so you go out and seek it. From the world you inherit a cat in boots. With it you achieve your oasis in the desert power.
Are you saying that I married you for your money? You know I love you Ginger.
It’s a small gesture of gratitude, I'm sure. A cat is wiser. You don't come home anymore. You're late on our engagements. What are you starving for?
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be hungry. If you don't want me to be hungry then I'll just go and leave you to your thoughts. I didn't mean to upset you.
GINGER: [shakes her head]
Hunger is something different. Hunger is a small pain that comes momentarily. Starvation lasts much longer. It's an illness inside the soul. I've lived my entire life in an oasis. I was cultured never to go outside of its waters. But a cat is curious. Boundaries will never tame its spirit. So behold how the story ends, the cat finds a master, and the master leaves the cat for the oasis. If you loved me, you would have been happy to starve with me in that desert.
Why are you using all of this nonsense of cats and deserts? How do you know my feelings? Did we not marry for the good and bad of things? I love you Ginger.
I know now that there is a difference between hunger and starvation. It appears in love. You weren't starving for me; I'm not what you are starving for. You were hungry for me, a heart pain easily remedied.
Why do we have to argue Ginger? All of this talk of cats and starving. You're right, I don't have a need for anything more, but I want for you to be happy. If, say, you're this cat you're talking about and you're in a desert, why don't you go back to the oasis?
Go back? One cannot go back in time! Life is a fixed point. There is only a forward and endless stretch of desert.
[There is a long pause in silence. A waiter comes in and asks them for anything to eat or drink, but Felix motions him away. Neither Ginger nor Felix looks at one another.]
So does this mean you're leaving me?
I haven't left you. I saw your hunger leave and your starvation return, leaving me many months ago.
What can I do?
Continue to live. Find what it is you're starving for; it's everybody's destiny.
So, you're not mad at me?
Madness would mean this cat has rabies. Angry? Perhaps.
[takes a deep breath and exhales. He still can't believe the conversation he's having]
Do you need anything then?
GINGER: [gets up. We can see now what she's wearing. The boots are distinctive and stand out the most. She puts her napkin on her plate and takes the flower on the table and puts it in her hair. While walking across stage right she says:]
In the desert…all a cat needs is her boots.
© Emily Rhodes, 2003