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Walter Meets Vincent

The spacious living room of a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Vincent, an actor in his thirties, has lived in New York for ten years. His roommate recently moved out, and Vincent is interviewing prospective new roommates. Vincent, smartly dressed, is on the phone with a friend.

Vincent: No. Nobody yet. I just spent an hour with a guy I thought would be perfect. Stage Manager at the Quincy. (listens) Yes. Currently. (listens) I know. I was thinking the same thing. And I was just about to give him a big Yes when he says, “I know you said non-smoker, but what if I smoke outside? (listens) I couldn’t believe it. In the dead of winter he’s gonna go down three flights of stairs and out into the frozen tundra to smoke? I don’t think so. And when I said I didn’t think this would work, he gave me a nasty look and said, “You’re making a big mistake. I’m very well-connected. (listens) Swear to God. And I almost said, “Get the fuck out of here you self-important prick.” But not wanting to risk burning a potential bridge, I apologized and… (reacts to intercom buzzer) Oh sorry. The next candidate has arrived. I’ll call you later. Bye.

Vincent goes to the door and presses the intercom button.

Vincent: Apartment 3C. Is this Walter?

Walter’s Voice: Se moi.

Vincent. Moi. Take the stairs. Elevator is merely symbolic.

Vincent buzzes Walter into the building, checks his appearance in the little mirror on the wall by the door, and in response to gentle knocking, opens the door and beholds Walter, a man in his twenties, nicely dressed.

Vincent: Entre. And that’s most of my French, along with oo la la.

Walter: (enters) Wow. This place is vast. And gorgeous. The last place I looked at was so small I thought it was the anteroom to the actual apartment. But no.

Vincent: (leading him into the living room) I know of what you speak. For the two years before I got this place, I slept on a sofa in the tiny living room of a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Two people shared the tiny bedroom, and I shared the tiny living room with a man who worked a graveyard shift and slept on the sofa during the day. Kafkaesque, and not in a good way. Then I found this place, and when the manager said, “It’s yours,” I thought there must be some mistake. But it’s been seven years now and nobody’s found out yet.

Walter: I would be happy to sleep on the sofa in this living room.

Vincent: No need. But before I show you around, tell me you don’t smoke. Tobacco.

Walter: I don’t smoke tobacco.

Vincent: Pot?

Walter: Rarely.

Vincent: Alcohol?

Walter: A bit of wine now and then. The occasional beer.

Vincent: Coffee?

Walter: Yes.

Vincent: (gestures to the room) Have a seat. Coffee?

Walter: No thanks. I just had some and I’m zooming. (sits on sofa) Love these high ceilings. And the light is exquisite.

Vincent: So you’re an actor.

Walter: Yes, and I write plays. Well… I’m writing a play.

Vincent: Blessings upon you.

Walter: Thanks.

Vincent: Margot says you’re wonderful. Tell me again how you know her?

Walter: College. Her last year was my first. We were in two plays together.

Vincent: Lovers?

Walter: Yes.

Vincent: She’s so gay now. Hard to imagine. (laughs) Well, not really. She’s gorgeous and something of a mink.

Walter: And you’re an actor, too.

Vincent: Yes. I’ve even been in some plays. Can you believe it? However, currently I’m working in an antique shop and auditioning like mad as per usual. My last really good gig was two years ago when I understudied Jackson Moore in Doldrums. I got to do the show seventeen times in seven months. Mostly matinees. Awful play, but such good money. Have you auditioned for anything yet?

Walter: No. I want to get settled first and then begin my quest.

Vincent: You know I’m gay.

Walter: Now I do.

Vincent: You didn’t until I told you?

Walter: I’ve been wrong too many times, so I’ve ceased to guess.

Vincent: I’m never wrong. I have an unerring sense of gayness and straightness. You know it won’t be easy for you. Being straight in the theater here. Especially in the lower echelons.

Walter: So I’ve been told.

Vincent: Forgive me for being blunt, but how will you pay your half of the rent?

Walter: I’ve got savings that should do me for a year or so, and I’m an excellent waiter. Two years in Los Angeles. Stellar references.

Vincent: I have to tell you, Walter, I don’t want to like you. You’re a little too charming and you exude an easygoing confidence I find disarming. Yet despite that, I do like you. Have you ever lived with a gay man before?

Walter: My third year of college, which was also my last, I shared a house with three other guys, two of whom were gay.

Vincent: It doesn’t really matter, but it kind of does. I’m fairly sexually active, though I keep it in my bedroom when I bring it home, and I hope you will, too.

Walter: I will.

Vincent: Do you stay up late? Get up early? Tell me.

Walter: Unless I’m in a play or working nights at a restaurant, I’m usually kaput by 10:30, and usually up by 7:00. Go for a walk and then write for an hour or so. Hope to find a tennis partner.

Vincent: Girlfriend?

Walter: No.

Vincent: Looking?

Walter: Not actively, but… I’m always on the lookout.

Vincent: I know of what you speak. Any questions before I show you the bedroom and bath?

Walter: I don’t do well with loud music.

Vincent: Nor do I. I’m very much into musicals. Very. Vast collection. You like?

Walter: Love.

Vincent: And jazz, right? You strike me as a jazz guy.

Walter: Especially solo piano.

Vincent: Do you sing?

Walter: Smoky tenor.

Vincent: Anything else you want to ask me?

Walter: Pets?

Vincent: No. They’re actually allowed in this building, but life is too complicated right now. Don’t tell me you have a dog.

Walter: I don’t have a dog, but something about this place says Cat to me.

Vincent: Let’s live together for a few months sans cat and see if we like each other, and then we can talk about a cat.

Walter: Does that mean I can move in?

Vincent: Yes. However, if we don’t get along, you move out, not I. Agreed?

Walter: Agreed. Buy you lunch?

Vincent: What’s our budget?

Walter: Fifty bucks.

Vincent: You like Italian?

Walter: Love.

Vincent: I know just the place.

fin

Boody Boody Ba piano solo