Continued from part one.
Scene: The oil drum, late afternoon.
PEGGY stands over the drum. She tore the plastic wrap off of the magazine and is flipping through it with indifference. She lets a centerfold fall down. Silence. She tosses it blithely into the fire.
She sits on the lawn chair. She takes a piece of paper, folded four ways, out of her pocket, unfolds it, and reads it over. Silence.
She takes out a pen, holds it to her leg and crosses something out. She struggles to write something over it. She places the paper on the arm of the chair and struggles to write only slightly less.
PEGGY [under her breath]: Though every home may be dark … every gaze hostile … [Trails off. Silence.] And every tree leafless and crooked … [Trails off. Silence. Marks the paper.] You … you … [sardonically] are the wind beneath my fucking wings. [Crumples paper. Limply tosses it toward the drum only for it to fall to the ground.] Shit.
Scene: The counter, a few minutes later. GRETA is checking out CUSTOMER 4 and bagging her items. PEGGY enters and takes her place on the crate.
GRETA: So that’s an ice-scraper, two cans of instant chicken noodle soup, one can of instant broccoli cheddar soup, the medium coffee, and cotton swabs.
CUSTOMER 4: That’s it.
GRETA: That’s going to come to 36 total.
CUSTOMER 4: Do you take debit?
GRETA: Yes, but there’s a glitch in the system that makes the debit minimum 200 dollars.
CUSTOMER 4: Oh.
GRETA: I can’t interest you in an extra ice-scraper … or three? You never know when they’re bound to break.
CUSTOMER 4 [going into her wallet]: Oh, that’s fine. I’m almost certain there are three more at home. [Takes cash out and hands it to GRETA.] Cash is fine.
GRETA: Fair enough. [Goes into register and givers her change.] Have a good day.
CUSTOMER 4 [taking hold of the bag]: You, too. [Goes to leave. Stops.] And thank you.
GRETA: Take care.
CUSTOMER 4 exits. Door chimes. GRETA’s face shifts from cheery to stoic. PEGGY takes out her phone and stares at it.
PEGGY: That’s like the most anyone’s bought here all day. [Pause.] Possibly even all week.
GRETA: I had the strangest experience while you were out.
GRETA: I was helping that woman with the milk for her coffee. I took her over to the dairy section and was going through the cartons. It was not as easy as I expected it would be as it turned out that nearly every carton of cream and nearly every carton of whole milk were nearing or just past their sell-by dates.
GRETA: I kept going further and further back into the cold case. It felt like going on an archeological dig … like peeling back layers of the earth. I kept on apologizing as I went back further in time. And each time she smiled and said it was fine. I froze for a few seconds, but it seemed like minutes. I got down and was about to ask her if skim or heavy cream would be a problem.
GRETA: I was in panic mode. [Pause.] Anyway, when I was about to tell her I closed the door and saw my reflection.
PEGGY: Your future self?
GRETA: No, I saw myself as I am … and I saw the woman taking a photo of me with her phone. Our reflections locked eyes as the fake shutter sound went off, and very quickly averted.
PEGGY: People do that all the time. You’re probably on Snapchat right now.
GRETA: I don’t think so.
PEGGY: She probably snapped you from the car before she peeled off. She probably used you to shame her kids. You’re her shining example of … something.
GRETA: I’m not sure she’s the type.
PEGGY: When do you learn who’s got what on their phones? Psych 300?
GRETA: It’s not that it’s … a connection we had. Like she saw something in me she recognized so deeply she had to make a record of it. [Pause.] Like what if it’s the opposite of what I see?
PEGGY: As in …
GRETA: As in the opposite kind of vision. Like she’s seeing a kind of past of hers. One that she didn’t take.
PEGGY: So is it a better past or a worse past? How does that work if her future already became her present?
GRETA: I was too afraid to ask. I felt like a figment, so I decided to show her around the store. Took her through all the aisles. She was game. I even convinced her to buy some extra items. With each one we seemed to feel more fulfilled, at least about our situation. [Silence.] Maybe I will stay here after all.
PEGGY: What about the bunker showroom? The power suit?
GRETA: Those are probably just metaphors.
PEGGY: Probably. [Pause.] Was the heavy cream fine?
GRETA: More or less.
Scene: Counter, later in the evening. GRETA is on the crate staring at PEGGY’s phone. PEGGY is sitting at the register. Silence.
Door chimes. CUSTOMER 5, a thin man in a black suit and carrying a briefcase, approaches the counter.
PEGGY [affectless]: Yeah?
CUSTOMER 5: Is your bathroom out back?
CUSTOMER 5: Do you mind if I have the key to it?
PEGGY: Nobody shits for free.
CUSTOMER 5: I’m not shitting.
PEGGY: Policy doesn’t change with the function.
CUSTOMER 5: I’ll buy something after I go.
CUSTOMER 5: On my honor.
GRETA: Leave your belongings where we can see them.
CUSTOMER 5: I’m not gonna steal your bathroom key. What good would that do me?
GRETA: Nothing. [She gets up, reaches under the counter and throws a key at CUSTOMER 5.] But them’s the rules.
CUSTOMER 5: Hold on a second. [He goes into the aisles and returns to the counter with two cans of Red Bull.] Just these. [Places cans on the counter.] Got a long drive ahead of me.
PEGGY: It’s not our policy to judge the habits of our patrons …
CUSTOMER: 5: What’s that?
PEGGY: I feel like it’s my professional obligation to warn you not to drink these all at once.
CUSTOMER 5: Is it?
PEGGY: They’re liable to burst your heart wide open. It happened to a friend of mine. It was the close of the fall semester, just before finals. He had three end of term papers due over a two day period. No professor in their right minds would grant him any more extensions. So you know what he did?
CUSTOMER 5: OD’d on Red Bull before he could finish his papers?
PEGGY: No, he choked on a Cheeto playing Call of Duty. The Red Bull thing is just a lie we tell ourselves.
CUSTOMER 5: Hell of a way to mourn a friend.
PEGGY: It’s what he would have wanted.
CUSTOMER 5 [smiling]: What do I owe you?
PEGGY: 12 dollars.
CUSTOMER 5 goes into his breast pocket for his wallet and takes out two bills.
CUSTOMER 5: There you go.
PEGGY [taking the bills, looks back to GRETA]: Madam? [GRETA hunches forward without looking up, pushes a button and opens the register. PEGGY takes out his change.] Three is your change.
CUSTOMER 5: Thanks. [Crouches down and opens up his briefcase, stands back up with two brochures.] You wouldn’t mind if I—
PEGGY: Can I ask you something?
CUSTOMER 5: Uhm … sure … but quickly, please.
PEGGY: Are you looking to get into murder?
CUSTOMER 5: Excuse me?
PEGGY: You kind of give off that look of wanting to.
CUSTOMER 5 [bemused curiosity]: What do I give off exactly?
PEGGY [mock flirtation]: It’s not something I can just summarize for you. A vibe is all.
CUSTOMER 5: A vibe?
PEGGY [mock flirtation]: But if you wanted to get into murder, there’s no better place to do it. You could kill us both. Zero of these cameras actually work. You can dismember us. Bury us out in the hills. You can take your sweet time. No one would find out for at least two months.
GRETA remains fixed on the phone.
CUSTOMER 5: Okay.
PEGGY: But before you do anything, can I just ask … could you … spare me?
CUSTOMER 5: Spare you?
PEGGY: And If I’m not being too forward … can I … come with you?
CUSTOMER 5: What?
PEGGY: I’ve been behind this counter for nearly two years. I’ve seen nearly a hundred people come and go through that door. And every now and then I spot someone with a special something—that vibe—and wonder, “Is this the one? Is this the one who’s going to take me away from all of this shit?” It used to be that I’d gladly settle for a cold dirt womb somewhere. I used to laugh at the idea of animals possibly fornicating on me. Defecating, until the End of Days. I would see it as my way of doing what I can to help keep legacies alive.
CUSTOMER 5: We all want to feel like we’re doing our part.
PEGGY: But suddenly I feel like taking the bull by the horns, the gun by the barrel, the axe by the handle, the duct tape by the roll, whatever it is you’d use. Get out on the open road and never look back. [Pause.] We can dispose of Cheyenne here together.
CUSTOMER 5: Her nametag says Gret—
PEGGY: Never mind what Cheyenne tells you, she’s sly fox, and she bites. I don’t bite. Or I won’t bite you … unless … no, no. I’m getting ahead of myself. But I’d be your number one, most loyal, least yielding partner in crime. I’ve worked with her for as long as I’ve been here. I know most of her fears and vulnerabilities. We probably don’t have to bury her, either. We could just leaver her in the ice chest out back. No one ever uses it. It’d be a cinch … and the tip of what I’m seeing even now [tilts her head high as if staring upward] as a very tall iceberg.
Silence. CUSTOMER 5 leaves the bathroom key, Red Bulls, and the brochures on the counter and exits. Door chimes. GRETA picks up a brochure.
GRETA: They’re opening a meditation atrium off exit seven.
PEGGY [hunches glumly over the counter]: I’m losing my edge in my old age. [Opens one of the Red Bulls and drinks from it.]
GRETA [covers her mouth to stifle laughter]: Look at this. [Shows PEGGY her phone.]
PEGGY [astonished]: Wow.
GRETA: You’ll thank me when the bombs do drop.
Scene: The oil drum, night. GRETA is pacing around it, close enough to be seen in the glow of the flame. A few seconds pass, she stands still. Silence.
She turns around and looks at the open field. She takes out her phone and turns on the flashlight.
She walks into the field, finds the skull of a pile of bones from a wild dog.
She picks up the skull and walks back towards the lawn chair.
She stops mid-walk and spots the ice chest on the side of the store. She walks towards it, opens it up looks in. Pause. She climbs inside and closes it.
Scene: PEGGY is leaning against the front of the counter, looking at her phone, and playing with the cross necklace she’s taken out from under her uniform shirt. Door chimes as GRETA enters to the back of the counter. Silence.
PEGGY turns around and leans over the counter but doesn’t look up.
GRETA: Any business while I was out?
PEGGY: No. [Pause.] Cold?
GRETA: Not where I was.
PEGGY: Wanna flip a coin for who does the mopping?
GRETA: You gave away your last quarter.
PEGGY: Get one out of the register.
GRETA [smiling]: Open the register and we’ll do it.
PEGGY: Fuck you. [Returns to looking at her phone.]
GRETA: I’ll deal with it [Goes to get up.] You’re not even on the schedule today.
PEGGY [having a sudden epiphany]: Oh yeah.
Door chimes. Enter CUSTOMER 6, a man dressed as a clown. His wig is off though his hair is still covered. His face is have exposed as his makeup has partly run off. He is exhausted. GRETA and PEGGY stand still. He stops in front of the counter.
CUSTOMER 6: Hi.
GRETA: Hi …
CUSTOMER 6: Coffee?
GRETA: Over there.
GRETA and PEGGY both point to their left.
CUSTOMER 6: Thanks. [He exits into the store, the girls watch him in bemusement as if tracking the movements of a benign ghost. Silence. He returns to the counter with a cup of coffee.] Hey where do you keep the No-Doz?
GRETA: Normally it’s on aisle six.
CUSTOMER 6: Uh huh?
GRETA: But we just ran out. There’s more coming next week.
CUSTOMER 6: I won’t need it next week. [Pause.] I mean I will, but …
GRETA [ashamed]: I’m sorry.
PEGGY: You want coffee and No-Doz?
CUSTOMER 6: I’m on hour two of a four-hour drive. [Pause.] Speaking of which, you wouldn’t happen to know how to get to the Interstate from here, would you?
GRETA: Make a right.
CUSTOMER 6: Sure.
GRETA: Go down 15 miles. Not the next turn-off, but the one after it.
PEGGY: The sign is missing crucial information, so it’s hard to tell.
CUSTOMER 6: What else is new, eh?
GRETA: If you reach an abandoned bookmobile you’ve gone too far.
CUSTOMER 6: Sure. [Pause. Takes coffee.] Anyway, thanks guys. Take it easy.
BOTH: Take it easy.
CUSTOMER 6 exits, door chimes. Silence.
PEGGY: He didn’t pay.
GRETA: He paid.