In despair, Mickey turns to the audience:
MICKEY: (to the audience) And there it is. The moment my heart breaks into a million lil' lousy pieces. I shoulda known that'd happen. I should have.
I can't choose between my love and my dog. He's my best friend, my partner in crime, my... everything.
Thanks a lot "GOD" or whatever the fuck you are up there in the clouds playing with my heart like that! I should have known you'd tease me with love just so you could take it away. Some "GOD" you are. I shoulda known this would happen. Just like with Shelly in fifth grade, or with Joanna who dumped me 'cause I wasn't 'the one.' She has three kids now. Should have known. Luck of the draw... some people get whatever they want, like Joanna. Some get a gold platter of white fence, kids, "the one" or whatever, others like me, get shit. Get PLAYED. I shoulda known. Shoulda. It's my bad. All of it. Wish that car woulda burn to the ground and take me down with it.
Hope moves closer to Mickey:
HOPE: I mean, I haven't been diagnosed or anything.
HOPE: Yeah, It's just, like, I've always "been allergic." You know? Like, I'm allergic to mushrooms, and sandpaper, and the sound of chalk on the wall - ew, or the touch of velvet - yuck! Like, things I don't like - I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually "allergic" to.
MICKEY: So you don't LIKE dogs.
HOPE: Um, no, not really.
MICKEY: Not even a little?
HOPE: Um... I'd say, not. Like, I, how do you say it, I... I hate them.
MICKEY: Strong word.
HOPE: I know.
MICKEY: I don't know what's worse...
MICKEY: Being allergic is 'treatable', I heard..
MICKEY: But HATE? I don't know, that's...
MICKEY: Permanent, huh?
MICKEY: How, how permanent?
HOPE: Pretty permanent.
HOPE: I mean, I'd say about ninety three percent permanent. Gotta leave some room for improvement, you know? Growth mindset right here.
MICKEY: So seven percent chance for Steel to win you over then.
HOPE: Steel? The dog? Yeah, no. He's got none. But I'd say there's seven percent chance that I could TOLERATE him. Say, if I had to.
MICKEY: I see. Why, why would you have to?
HOPE: Well, if I saw him, like, here and there. You know, around. I'd be bothered, of course. But only ninety three percent of the time.
HOPE: Yeah... I'd say, I'd be hot and bothered.
MICKEY: Oh. Hot and bothered? How... how hot and bothered would you get...?
HOPE: We're still talking about the dog, right?
MICKEY: Yeah. The dog.
HOPE: Well, I'd get too bothered to walk a dog. Like, I'd NEVER do it.
MICKEY: Okay, okay.
HOPE: Like, not even in an emergency. No, NOT a dog walker, not me.
MICKEY: So... hypothetically, if there was a fire in the house.... Would you take Steel out then?
HOPE: If my tears don't blow it out you mean?
MICKEY: It's a serious question.
HOPE: Okay? Um, sure, I'd save a dog from a FIRE.
MICKEY: Okay, and... say there was a flood or something, would you save him then? 'Cause dogs don't swim.
HOPE: I guess so.
MICKEY: Okay. And if there was an earthquake, and Steel would be under rocks and debris in the kitchen or something...would you pick him up from under the rocks and rescue him?
HOPE: Yeah, of course. Look I may not like dogs and all, but I'm not an asshole.
MICKEY: Okay, cool.
MICKEY: Yeah, it's all clear, the rules here.
The rules of this game you're playing.
HOPE: I'm not playing a game.
MICKEY: Good. I'm not either.
To be continued...
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman