. . . going by date, since I certainly haven’t written every day. See what can happen if I get a character?
a poet/professional football player with an eating disorder
A therapist’s office—two chairs, a desk
The therapist is sitting behind the desk when the poet enters. There are items on the desk, pencils and so on. During the scene, the therapist periodically picks something up and fiddles with it.
Therapist: Sit down, sit down.
Poet: Thank you. sits
Therapist: So. What do you want to talk about?
Poet: Food. I mean, food, really. I want to talk about food.
Therapist: Say more.
Poet: Well, I mean, I like it. I really like it. I eat it all the time. I have to, for work. I mean, I play football, right, so I have to stay bulked up. So I eat. Food. Steaks and chops and all like that. Bread. Donuts. Cake. Hamburgers. Ice cream. My favorite is chocolate but I like cherry and peach and chunky monkey and strawberry and even sherbet. Lemon, orange, lime. That mixture, you know, that’s striped together. You can scoop it out in your bowl so it looks like a rainbow. Salad—not as much salad as I oughta, but some. Just lettuce and tomato is the best with French dressing or blue cheese. Hotdogs but with just mustard, no relish. French Fries. Pie. Apple pie is the best, but rum raisin is pretty good. And date cream. And coconut cream. And banana cream. Pumpkin if it’s not canned. Mincemeat on Thanksgiving, but not with ice cream, and peach. And. . .
Therapist: It seems to me that you talk about food.
Poet: Right. You’ve got it. Once I start talking about food, I can’t stop. I mean, if I even think about it, right, I start talking about it. Baked beans. Macaroni and cheese. . .
Therapist: interrupting I see. I see. Your job is football. I recognize you, as a matter of fact, and I’m a fan, but that ought not to affect our work together. Unless, of course, you have a problem with that.
Poet: I don’t. Really. I mean, everybody who watches football knows who I am, so I’d have trouble finding a therapist who doesn’t know who I am. And even if they don’t watch football, there are those mustard commercials I do. You know where I eat hotdogs like it’s a test of some kind and one is plain, just in a bun, you know one of those soft kind of buns, not the whole wheat ones. Those are weird. If you’re going to eat a hotdog, you shouldn’t bother with whole wheat, unless you’re having a tofu hotdog but those are gross so why bother. And they say that a bunch of them even have meat in them anyway so what’s the point. And one of the hotdogs has relish and mustard and the other has just mustard and I always say in the commercial that I like the one with plain mustard the best, and I do, really. Relish kind of interferes with the taste of the hotdog, but mustard enhances it, if you know what I mean. Especially that red pepper relish. . .
Therapist: interrupting I understand that you also write poetry.
Poet: I do. I kinda like to have that as a sideline, you know. It gives me something to think about when I’m working out. Words. How they go together. LIke hotdog and mustard. Hotdog and mustard. Hotdog and mustard. Hotdog and mustard. . .
Therapist: I see. So do you write poems about food. . .
Poet: interrupting I most write about food. I like the way food words go together. Brown bread and butter. Turkey and stuffing. Potatoes and gravy. Pancakes and syrup. Bacon and eggs. Steak and eggs. BLT. That’s one of my favorites. BLT. BLT. BLT. BLT. BLT. ..
Therapist: interrupting I understand. What is your past experience with food? When you were a child, for instance?
Poet: I liked it. Mom says I was, like, always a good eater. A good little trencherman she said, whatever that means. She used to cut up hotdogs and put them into baked beans and I liked those. And chicken a la king. I like the sound of that, too. A la king. A la king. A la king.
Therapist: I can see that. So you always had enough to eat growing up?
Poet: Oh yeah. Mom was a good cook. Good mac and cheese, good hamburger casserole, good meatloaf. With baked potato and squash, usually and pie for dessert. And peanut butter sandwiches on homemade bread. With honey. Or jam. Or jelly. Or fluff.
Therapist: How long have you had this problem? Talking about food?
Poet: Is it a problem?
Therapist: Is it? I assumed that’s why you came to see me.
Poet: No! Why would that be a problem? No, I came to see you because my girlfriend wants to break up and I’m pretty depressed about that. We’ve been together for, like, five years.
Therapist: What are the reasons she gives for breaking up with you?
Poet: Communication. She says we have a communication problem.
Therapist: And how do you respond to that?
Poet: Well, I tell her that I don’t think we do. We go out all the time for dinner and talk. Chinese food, Mexican, sometimes Thai, but I don’t like that as well, and she doesn’t like Indian as much as I do because it’s too hot for her, even if she only gets the mild. Good old diner food sometimes, you know, hot turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and some pickled beets on the side. And sometimes we go out to breakfast. She always gets just yogurt and granola, though, so I don’t see the point. And I like sausage gravy on biscuits. Or sometimes three eggs over easy, or a cheese omelet with white toast. And sometimes. . .
Therapist: What does your girlfriend like to talk about?
Poet: Oh, well, she talks about plants. She grows a lot of plants. African violets and things. Ferns. Those hanging ones with the shiny leaves. Stuff like that. She talks about those all the time. They need water and stuff. Fertilizer. But she doesn’t have a garden outdoors. Just house plants. Nothing she can eat. But she has room, and sometimes I’m like, “Hey, you could like grow spinach and broccoli and lettuce and tomatoes and all like that. Grow your own stuff for BLTs except the bacon part. I really like that combination: BLT, BLT, BLT . . . .
The therapist slowly gets up and extis, while the poet happily repeats BLT until the curtain comes down