copyright © 2004 Matt Perry

The Sweetest ‘I Love You’

(Scene: Ruth sits down-center at a table, sadly holding a piece of paper. Her husband, Rick, enters up-left and happily crosses to her.)

Rick: Hello, darling! How’s your day been? I’ve had a wonderful day, let me tell you all about what happened at the office. . .

Ruth: Ahem.

Rick: Yes, honey?

Ruth: A letter came for you today.

Rick: Oh? Is that it? Dear, since when have you taken to opening my mail?

Ruth: Ever since it smelled like lilac perfume. Who is Belinda Krogenhagen?

Rick: Belinda Krogenhagen? I don’t know any Belinda Krogenhagen. . .

Ruth: Belinda "I haven’t heard from you in years, call me and we can rekindle our flame" Krogenhagen?

Rick: . . . Oh, that Belinda Krogenhagen!

Ruth: Yes, that Belinda Krogenhagen. It sounds like you two had something special.

Rick: Well, yes. . .

Ruth: What kind of special?

Rick: Would I be in big trouble if I said sticky, sweaty, sweet, sexy, peanut-buttery special?

Ruth: Oh, Rick!

Rick: Because it wasn’t anything of the sort! . . . It was maraschino cherries.

Ruth: Rick, how could you! You told me I was the only woman you ever loved!

Rick: In my defense, you worded the question wrong! Those encounters were lust, and infatuation, and revenge, and boredom, and bets on what was and wasn’t anatomically impossible. . . They were a lot of things, but not love!

Ruth: Oh Rick, I don’t think I know what to do about what I’m hearing! (Ruth heads for the door. As she is about to reach it. . .)

Rick: Darling, wait. I have just one thing to say to you. Sit down. Now, by all estimates, I have slept with 183 people. 145 women, and 39 men. Wait, no, that doesn’t add up. . . Ah yes, 184 people, 145 women and 39 men. Of those, I can remember at least 1 encounter with 97 of them. I can remember 64 names. I received 27 phone numbers, and called 28 numbers back. One of them was a wrong number, but I ended up sleeping with them, too. 185, I believe that makes it now. I regret sleeping with only 2 of them; a leper, and an octogenarian Chinese acrobat. Wait, the leper was actually kind of fun. . . But back to my point, I believe in something, Ruth. That something is fate. And the path I have chosen has led me to you. If I could do it all over again, then I would do it all over again. I would sleep with all those 141 women, 37 men, 7 minors who, I swear to God, told me they were of age, and one very bewildered chimpanzee, which now makes 186, if it would lead me back to you again.

Ruth: Oh Rick, I knew you loved me! (They kiss)

Rick: Ah yes, 187.

Man: (Walking across the stage) Gardenias, gardenias, gardenias! Allah commands more gardenias! (Exits)

Rick: That man looked awfully familiar. . . Who was that man, Ruth?

Ruth: Kensington the gardener, dear.

Rick: (Slapping his forehead) 188!

Ruth: Oh, you cad!

The End


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