'Bill's Birthday': A Play In One Act

[Curtain rises on JEFF and LIBBY, seated, in the middle of a discussion they have clearly had many times before.]

LIBBY: So what do you want to do?

JEFF: Nothing. Ignore it. Pretend it’s not happening.

LIBBY: Come on. It’s a big deal. I know your friends want to celebrate with you.

JEFF: What friends? I don’t have any friends. Anyone who hangs out with me does it because I’m a joke. ‘Let’s go spend some time with the freak for a little while, that’ll be different.’

LIBBY: [Wearily] I hate when you say that about yourself.

JEFF: You know it’s true. I’m a sad, sorry nothing. Look at what my life is now. I had so much promise. Everyone thought I would be something special. Everyone! From the president of the United States on down. And now look at me. Or don’t. I don’t know how you stand to. I’m comical. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

LIBBY: Listen, you get like this every year around this time. It’ll pass. Next month you won’t even remember.

JEFF: [Agitated] That’s because next month everyone will have forgotten about me again. Nobody remembers unless they bump into me randomly and then they smile for a second before they recoil in disgust.

LIBBY: That’s not true.

JEFF: They recoil in disgust. You’re not me. You don’t know what it’s like to see the joy in someone’s face drain away as they realize who you are and how little you mean to them.

LIBBY: I don’t realize? Maybe that’s because I hardly ever get TAKEN OUT ANYMORE. I’m barely in circulation! You’re going to sit here on your 40th birthday and feel sorry for yourself while —

[JEFF’s phone rings. He looks at it and lets it go to voice mail.]

LIBBY: Aren’t you going to get it?

JEFF: God no, it’s Sue. You think I want to spend a second listening to that loser? Bahahaha, talk about embarrassments. Oh my God, she makes me seem adored! You know what? I’m feeling a little better. Let’s go get a drink.

[They exit to the sound of JEFF’s voice mail alert. Curtain.]