Cigarettes

MATT: 25 years old

GINA: 24 years old

 Cigarettes

SETTING: Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the LIE.  MATT is behind the wheel. GINA is in the passenger seat. A man smoking cigarettes in the car in front of them repeatedly drops smoked cigarettes out of his window.

GINA

Wow, this traffic is awful Matt. I told you we should’ve stayed on the service road.

MATT

No you didn’t. You said you were getting tired of stopping at all the red lights.

GINA

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you should’ve gotten off.

MATT

Well what did you want me to do?

GINA

(beat.) I don’t know.

MATT remains silent.

How much longer until the next exit? We should probably get off.

MATT

Sign said another mile.

GINA

This traffic’s really stressing me out. I don’t know how much longer I—

MATT

Just turn the radio on! Please. Put whatever you want on!

GINA

Chill out, Matt! Traffic isn’t even moving. We’re going to be here for a long time.

Person in car in front drops a cigarette out the window.

MATT

(To himself) I could really use one of those.

GINA

One of what?

MATT

Huh?

GINA

Didn’t you just say something?

MATT

The person in front of us dropped a cigarette out his window.

GINA

Okay.

MATT

I want one.

GINA

Why? I thought you quit. You quit, right? Why would you—

MATT

Cause I’m stressed out.

GINA

From the traffic?

MATT

(beat.) Yeah.

GINA

Am I stressing you out?

MATT

(beat.) No.

GINA

Don’t lie to me, Matt. I’m stressing you out, aren’t I? Just tell me and I’ll stop. I don’t want to stress you out. I’m just trying to pass the time because we really aren’t getting anywhe—

MATT

STOP! Jesus Christ, stop! Stop talking for five goddamn minutes, please!

(GINA stops talking, crosses her arms.)

Thank you. Let’s just listen to the radio and not talk for a little while.

GINA

(GINA turns on radio. Keeps music low.) (after a couple beats) That was really rude of you.

(MATT is about to explode. Can’t fake it.)

Don’t get angry at me. You’re the one that yelled first.

MATT

(MATT sighs and watches another cigarette fall from the car in front.) We really haven’t gone anywhere.

GINA

(beat.) Am I allowed to speak?

MATT

If you want.

GINA

Are you sure? I don’t want to upset you again.

MATT

Gina.

GINA

Matt.

MATT

Just tell me what you have to say!

GINA

Don’t fucking yell at me!

MATT

Alright—sorry. (beat.) What did  you want to say?

GINA

(beat.) I, uh. I—I can’t remember.

MATT

Naturally.

(Another cigarette falls from the car in front. Matt grips the wheel tighter.)

(beat.) You know, that’s like, the third cigarette this guy just went through.

GINA

Okay, so?

MATT

It’s only been like five, ten minutes and we haven’t moved an inch.

GINA

What’s your point?

MATT

Why’s he so stressed out?

GINA

Who says he’s stressed out?

MATT

I don’t know. No one smokes that many cigarettes so quickly unless they’re stressed out.

GINA

Maybe he just enjoys smoking cigarettes.

MATT

No one enjoys it. Everyone I know that smokes hates the fact that they smoke. Even if it’s just one.

GINA

Maybe you can ask him. Get out of the car and ask him why he’s smoking so much.

MATT

Funny.

GINA

No, please. Go. Go ask him why. You want to know so badly, right?

MATT

I might know.

GINA

Oh yeah? Alright. Why’s he smoking so much?

MATT

He’s probably dealing with a sarcastic girlfriend that won’t shut up.

GINA

(beat.) Fuck you.

(Another cigarette falls from the car in front.)

Another one fell. You should do something about it.

MATT

Something has to be wrong with this guy.

GINA

Why does something have to be wrong with him?! He’s stuck in traffic, just like us. If he wants to smoke, let him smoke! What’s the big deal?

MATT

Maybe he’s stressed about something he did.

GINA

(sighs) Like what?

MATT

I don’t know. (beat.) Maybe he killed someone.

GINA

Matt, what the fuck’s wrong with you? Why would you assume he killed someone?

MATT

We live in a sick world. If I killed someone, got stuck in traffic, and had to put up with a sarcastic girlfriend, I’d be smoking just as many, if not more cigarettes than this guy.

GINA

I doubt he killed anyone.

(Another cigarette falls out the window.)

MATT

Five.

GINA

Five what?

MATT

Cigarettes. Five cigarettes. Something bad must have happened.

GINA

WHO CARES?

MATT

I care! I don’t want to be stuck behind a murderer.

GINA

He didn’t murder anyone!

MATT

You don’t know that!

GINA

What makes you think he killed someone?

MATT

Just look at him! He looks like the type of person that would kill someone.

GINA

No he doesn’t! He seems like a normal guy.

MATT

(beat.) Fine, maybe he didn’t kill anyone. (beat.) But he definitely robbed someone.

(GINA attempts to turn the radio up, blatantly ignoring MATT.)

No, don’t! (MATT lowers volume.) Just hear me out.

GINA

You don’t know this guy! You don’t know anything about him. Stop acting like you know him. He’s just a random guy sitting in traffic, just like us. Are we murderers or robbers because we’re also sitting in traffic?

MATT

Gina—

GINA

NO! Is the guy behind us thinking that we’re murderers? NO! He’s just talking on the phone like any other normal person. If he is thinking about us, he probably thinks we’re just an average couple fighting over something serious, but what he doesn’t realize is that we’re arguing over nothing. Nothing!

MATT

I’m glad you don’t give a shit about our well-being, Gina. When we die, or get our car stolen, you’re to blame!

GINA

(beat.) Excuse me?

MATT

When we die, I blame you.

GINA

Get out of the fucking car.

MATT

I’m driving! What are you saying?

GINA

Get out and ask this guy why he’s smoking or I’m going to.

MATT

You’re not getting out, and neither am I.

GINA

Watch me (unbuckles seatbelt).

MATT

Okay…

GINA

(beat.) Fuck! (puts belt back on.)

MATT

What?

GINA

I can’t do it. He does look kind of weird. (Another cigarette drops.) Maybe his girlfriend cheated on him.

MATT

What? No, that’s stupid. Why would he be smoking?

GINA

Because she just told him. That on top of being parked on the LIE would drive anyone crazy.

MATT

Did you ever cheat on me?

GINA

Huh?

MATT

Cheat on me. Did you ever cheat on me?

GINA

No! What the fuck! I’d never—

MATT

You cheated on me! How could you cheat on me?! I always knew it. Deep down, I knew you—

GINA

Stop being so fucking stupid, Matt! Put the radio back on; you know I’d never do that!

MATT

(Puts volume back up.)

(1010 WINS Broadcaster: This just in: The 7-Eleven on Francis Lewis Boulevard was robbed. The man shot and killed the owner of the store and was seen running out of the store with money and a pack of cigarettes. If anyone has any information, please call the police immediately.)

(MATT looks at the car in front and then smiles at GINA. Another cigarette falls from the car.)

GINA

What?

MATT

(beat.) Told you. (Starts Laughing to himself.)

GINA

(Slaps MATT.) Don’t laugh!

(beat.) (Nervously laughs together with MATT. Another cigarette falls.)

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