Dog Gone It – a play by Gary Picard

 

Characters

MINERVA, Wife mid 40’s

JOE, Husband mid 40’s

Setting

Their living room. Winter afternoon. The present. 

Lights come up and Joe is sitting on a chair opposite the couch. There is a fire in the wood stove slightly down stage. He is looking through vacation catalogs. Dog bones and toys are scattered on a rug between the chair and couch. 

                    MINERVA walks in with a cup of tea…

MINERVA

What are you doing now?                 (She sits on the

                                         couch opposite the

                                         chair, facing

                                         Joe.)                                              

                        JOE

(Answers without looking up.) Doing what I do every year at this time.Looking through these brochures, hoping some day we’ll actually take a vacation.

      MINERVA

You know because of the dogs we can’t. 

                        JOE

Minerva, when was the last time we went away. 

                        MINERVA

I really don’t want to have this conversation again. 

                        JOE

Please just humor me this one last time. When. 
 

      MINERVA

It was our honeymoon Joe. 

                        JOE

And how long ago was that? 

                        MINERVA

Twelve years, we’ve been married twelve years last October. Joe, I don’t see why- 

                        JOE

(Interrupting) So twelve years ago was our last vacation. The last time we went away. Don’t you think that’s a bit odd? 

                        MINERA

No. Not at all. You know how I feel about kennels and our dogs are not too friendly around people. I’ve heard horror stories about kennels Joe. Besides, they’re our kids. We just can’t leave them. They’d think we abandoned them. 

                        JOE

Well, here’s what I think. You’re a freak. You spoil these dogs and let them have the run of the house. You’re constantly taking their pictures and showing them to strangers. Does that sound like normal behavior to you? 

                        MINERVA

It’s normal behavior to me and everyone else who loves their pets. They’re part of our family. Joe, I love my kids. I don’t see why you have to be like this. 

                        JOE

Because I’m pissed that’s why! I’ve sacrificed twelve years for these stupid dogs. I’ve had it. We’ve turned into hermits for Gods sake. You never want to go anywhere or do anything. This isn’t how our life was supposed to turn out. When we first got together we had all kinds of dreams, remember? And I don’t recall three old smelly dogs being a part of those dreams. Is it because we couldn’t have kids of our own? Is that why you’re like this? 

                        MINERVA

(Quietly) Maybe.     

                                        (Lowers her head.)                  
 

                        JOE

Well I’m sorry about that. Really I am. But we still have to live our lives as best we can. Just because we can’t have kids doesn’t mean our lives can’t be fun and productive. It’s not the end of the world. It could be a lot worse Minerva. And I can’t keep putting my life on hold waiting for your dogs to die. I’ve already done that, and you’re asking too much if you think I want it to continue on like this. 

                        MINERVA

Why do you hate these dogs so much? What have they ever done to you? 

                        JOE

They shit in the house and have ruined my life. I’ve become a prisoner in my own home. 

                        MINERVA

They’re getting older and once in a while they have an accident. It’s no big deal. Besides, I’m the one that cleans it up, not you. 

                        JOE

So, you don’t care if the dogs shit in the house? 

                        MINERVA

No, like I said it doesn’t bother me. 

                        JOE

Why doesn’t it bother you? 

                        MINERVA

Because they’re only dogs and they can’t help it. 
 
 

                    JOE

Well, if you leave them outside longer, maybe that will force them to do their business where they should be doing it in the first place.  

                        MINERVA

But it’s cold out. 

                        JOE

They’re dogs. They’re covered in fur. I don’t think they mind that much. 

                        MINERVA

Well I mind, and I don’t mind cleaning up the occasional mess. 

                        JOE

Don’t you care that I find it disgusting? How would you like it if I squatted down right here? 
 

      MINERVA

Now you’re just being ridiculous. 

                        JOE

I’m not, I’m trying to make a point. You baby these dogs way too much. 

                        MINERVA

I’m their mommy. Somebody has to take care of them. 

                        JOE

(Pause) Are you still cold? Do you want me to put another log on the fire? 

                        MINERVA

That would be nice. Thank you. 

                        JOE

While I’m up can I warm up your tea for you? 

                        MINERVA

No, I’m OK. 

                        JOE

Fine.

(With exaggerated                  steps Joe walks over the dog toys and puts a log in the wood stove.)                                        

                                       
 

                        JOE(cont’d)        (Sits back in chair)

Where were we… 

                        MINERVA

You were telling me how much you hate our dogs. 

                        JOE

They’re your dogs, not mine. Nobody in their right mind would have three dogs. 

                        MINERVA

We do. 

                        JOE

Like I said… 
 

      MINERVA

Will you please tell me again why don’t you like these dogs? Because I’m having a hard time understanding that.  

      JOE

Oh, I don’t know why. Let me see, they sleep in my bed, crap in my yard, and sleep in my bed. It’s a never ending cycle. And you think it’s the cutest little thing.  

                        MINERVA

They’re dogs. That’s what they do, besides give us love. 

                        JOE

They give you love, they give me a pain in the ass. Speaking of asses, why does the little one always have to stick hers on my pillow? 

                        MINERVA

She loves you. She wants to be near you. 

                        JOE

She hates me and wants to gag me. 

                        MINERVA

I thought you had a dog growing up as a kid? 
 

      JOE

We did. And we did what every respectable dog owner did with their dog. We chained her to a spike in the ground in the middle of the back yard. 

                        MINERVA

You will not do that to my dogs! And why all of a sudden are you getting all worked up? 

                        JOE

All of a sudden! Minerva, we’ve been over this countless times before. It’s been so long already and they’re so healthy, I don’t see an end in sight. So I’ve been thinking. Since you don’t want to take a vacation and I do, I’ll go by myself and YOU can stay home with the dogs. What do you think of that? 

                        MINERVA

That doesn’t sound fair to me. We usually do everything together. 
 

      JOE

(Agitated)Look It’s either that or we get a divorce. I will not live like this any longer. You can decide how we will spend the rest of our lives. 

                        MINERVA

You ungrateful miserable prick! How dare you say that to me! I work full time just like you. I cooked and cleaned and paid all the bills while you were taking all those professional development courses and going back to school. I kept things going. I kept things together. Remember, you weren’t around too much during our early years. And yeah, I got lonely and bored so I got myself a few pets. I wanted something to fill in the spaces. Something to love and play with. We have a good marriage Joe, but these dogs are special. And now that you’re some big shot manager you’re threatening me like this?! No you will not! Who the hell do you think you are coming off so flippant?! If this was so important to you, you should have brought this up a long time ago. 

                        JOE

I tried but you never wanted to listen. 

                        MINERVA

Yeah well Joe, you never mentioned a divorce before. 

                        JOE

Minerva I’m at the end of my patience. We all have a breaking point and I’ve reached mine. You know my job is stressful. You must have known I’ve been dying to take off even just for a change of scenery. The same routine can be so damn depressing. 

                        MINERVA

Yes it can be but I thought you loved our house? Don’t you like just hanging out and relaxing with the puppies? 

                        JOE

(Glaring at her) I need some kind of stimulation other than watching your girls lick themselves.               

                        MINERVA

Don’t be gross and you don’t have to be fresh about it. If it bothers you so much we need to talk about it. We both have been so busy and caught up with things we really haven’t had a good long talk in quite a while. Maybe it’s time.                            (Dogs barking like idiots) 

                        JOE

Maybe? Don’t you think we earned this? Don’t you think I mentioned this before? God, you can be so stubborn. 
 

      MINERVA

Okay,okay take it easy. Do you really want a divorce? 
 

                    JOE

‘Course not. I just don’t know what else to do. You’re so weird when it comes to those dogs of yours. 
 

                   MINERVA

Good, me neither. Let me bring the girls in and get them settled then we’ll talk. We could start out small, you know? Maybe some long weekend we can spend at a Bed and Breakfast up in Vermont. Would you like that? 

                        JOE

That would be nice. But what about them…

                                            (Nods towards

                                             barking dogs) 

                        MINERVA

Well, I’ll need to do some research for a really good kennel. This may take awhile. Is that ok? Can you be patient for just a little while more. If I know my kiddies will be well taken care of, I’ll feel better about taking a vacation and leaving them behind. But promise me, next time things are on your mind you won’t wait to talk about it. Deal? We’re all we’ve got Joe. 

                        JOE

Deal. Just promise me you’ll try to act just a little bit more normal with these dogs. 

                    MINERVA

Can’t do that. 

                    JOE

Then promise me if this vacation goes well, there could be others. 

                    MINERVA

That I will promise you. 

                    JOE

Thanks Minerva. You sit and relax. I’ll bring the girls in. 

                              (Joe gets up and walks

                              around the dog toys normally

                              this time and exits.)

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One thought on “Dog Gone It – a play by Gary Picard

  1. I want to thank Mike Foran, my English teacher for 2 semesters at HCC, for showing me how to control and organize my thoughts. And for putting together our little trip to the Majestic Theater in W Spfld to see the play,”Bus Stop.”
    Alex Wagman, my Creative Writing teacher at HCC, for her enthusiasm,her enthusiasm, and her enthusiasm!!! You’re both living the life I dream of. Bastards.
    I wrote this play a few semesters ago in Alexis class for an assignment. My only goal was to write a very simple 10minute play focusing on dialogue. There’s not much depth and certainly no hidden meaning.
    It’s a story of a middle aged couple who have been married for years but who seem to have lost the ability to communicate.
    The story parallels my once pathetic life. My wife has 3 dogs who used to have the run of the house and my life. Not anymore. So the dialogue was already floating around out there. I just had to grab it and get it down on paper. So that’s that.
    I have no delusions about my writing. I do it for two reasons. The first one is me.
    I forwarded this play to a few friends at work the other day. Hours later I watched without being seen, someone read it. The smile and giggles were genuine.
    Enough said.

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