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Feb 27, 2022

The last can by D. M. Larson

Kamal Hammoud: "The Last Can" a short play by D. M. Larson (This is an early draft of the play. The published version is in the book "When Mel Fell for Nell" ISBN-13: 978-1512007183) NELL What's wrong, luv? MEL I'm hungry. (MEL is staring at a can.) NELL Then eat. I don't mind. MEL But it's the last one. NELL It's okay. MEL What about you? Aren't you hungry? NELL Not really. (He stares at it a long time.) MEL I can't believe it's the last one. NELL It had to happen sooner or later. MEL I was hoping for much later. (He's looking for a can opener.) NELL Check under the table. Maybe it fell down there. (While MEL is under the table, NELL rushes over and grabs the can and goes back to her chair, hiding the can. MEL gets up excited.) MEL Found it! Time to eat... sure you don't want... (MEL stops when he sees the can is missing.) MEL (CONT.) What is this! The hunger games! (MEL sits on the sofa and looks at the empty coffee table.) MEL (CONT.) Was I just imagining there was a can there? I am that hungry. (NELL has a playful voice.) NELL Maybe. MEL Or maybe someone took it. (MEL leaps up suddenly and starts tickling NELL.) NELL Stop, stop, you'll make me have to pee. MEL Hand it over! NELL Okay, okay. (NELL holds up the can still laughing. MEL takes the can.) MEL You sure you don't want any? NELL Nope. (MEL opens the can and keeps his eyes on her. She is still giggling a bit. He has the can open but has no forks. He gets up to get a fork. NELL moves forward a bit.) MEL Don't you dare. You'll make a mess. (NELL laughs. MEL gets two forks and sits. NELL goes and sits by him. He feeds her a bite and she returns the favor.) NELL The last can. MEL Afraid so. NELL Or maybe it is the first meal before the feast? MELL The feast? (They are still feeding each other.) NELL The feast that's waiting outside. MEL Maybe the radiation fried up all the critters and turned them to jerky? NELL Too bad you're a vegetarian. MEL And all the fruit is all dried up and ready for consumption. NELL And the water sparkles and bubbles like Perrier. MEL But you don't like Perrier. NELL I'll drink anything we can find that isn't plain old bottled water. I'm so sick of bottled water. I miss bubbles. MEL I can make bubbles in your water. NELL Ew, not those kind. (They laugh. Eat feed each other more and then grow quiet.) MEL I wonder what it's really like outside. NELL Not sure. The monitor still shows radiation. MEL We're out of food. Water is about out too. NELL Time to start recycling. MEL You don't mean... ew. I think I'd rather deal with the radiation. (They are quiet a minute and finish the food.) NELL Thank you for sharing. MEL Of course. I always do. NELL You've always shared everything with me. MEL You're my favorite person. I wanted to give you the best of everything... and the best of me. NELL You always did... and you stayed with me to the end. MEL It's not the end... not yet. NELL I remember when they said the bombs were coming... I was all alone. MEL I was terrified we wouldn't be together. NELL Everyone was driving out of the city, trying to get far away from targets. MEL I was driving the other way. NELL They wanted to arrest you... force you to go. MEL Nothing was going to keep me from you. NELL I wasn't going in the shelter without you. MEL I remember I found you on the porch, sitting and looking up at the sky. NELL I wondered what it would have looked like... all the missiles in the sky. MEL I crashed the car in to that big tree in the yard. NELL I was so glad you weren't hurt. You scared me. MEL I was in a hurry. No time for brakes. NELL That would have been an ironic ending to your trip home. Crashing and dying. MEL I didn't have a scratch on me. NELL We were meant to be mole people together. MEL Burrowed together in our little nest. NELL I like our little nest. MEL I think I've been happier here than I've ever been before. NELL Me too. MEL No interruptions. No problems at work. No outsiders getting their noses in our business. NELL I never wanted to go outside again. MEL Except for the last can. NELL We made it over a year. MEL I could go longer. NELL Me too. MEL I wonder what the chair tastes like. (MEL goes to the chair.) NELL That's my favorite chair! You're not eating that. (MEL removes the cushion.) NELL (CONT.) What are you doing? MEL Seeing if you dropped any food down here. NELL You should check your sofa. I'm a much cleaner eater than you. MEL What? NELL You need a bib. That's why I feed you so you don't make a mess. MEL Dang... you're right... no food here. (MEL goes to the sofa and removes the cushion.) MEL (CONT.) Jackpot. NELL Told you. MEL Ha... veggie chips... I love these. NELL Bon appetite. MEL Merci. (MEL muches on some veggie chips.) NELL How many are down there? MEL A year's supply I think. NELL You wish. MEL If wishes were fishes... NELL What does that mean? MEL No clue. (They laugh. MEL is munching on veggie chips. They grow quiet. NELL sits in her favorite chair.) NELL So what do we do? MEL Go outside? NELL But the radiation. MEL We might have to risk it. NELL I wonder what it looks like outside. MEL Maybe all the bombs missed and it's all the same as before. NELL Then how do you explain the radiation? MEL You left the microwave on? NELL Maybe. (They laugh. NELL is looking at a map now.) NELL (CONT.) I wonder where we go? MEL Where was the last radio broadcast we heard? NELL That was awhile ago. I think I marked it on the map. MEL Some little station out in the boonies wasn't it? NELL Who would have thought that the last bits of civilization would be in some little town in the middle of nowhere? MEL Nowhere became the only somewhere. NELL I wonder how many people from the city went there? MEL I bet there wasn't enough food to go around. NELL Scary. What are the survivors going to do for food? MEL Maybe we don't want to go out there. NELL I know I don't want to. (They are quiet.) MEL I wonder how our shoes would taste? Didn't Charlie Chaplin do that in a movie? NELL I don't know any Chaplin. Heard of him of course. MEL I'm amazed how many movies you do know. It's kept me pretty entertained. NELL Want me to perform another movie for you? (MEL laughs.) MEL I think Jurrasic Park is my favorite. You do all the dinosaur actions too. NELL I watched that one a lot as a kid. MEL I'm still amazed how well you memorized them all. NELL One of my many special useless skills. MEL Sure came in handy now. NELL I guess it did, didn't it? MEL You've kept me very entertained. NELL I love what you wrote for me. MEL I love what you drew for me. NELL It's probably been the most creative time in my life. MEL Me too. I wonder if anyone will ever see anything we did. NELL It doesn't matter. I did it for you. MEL You're very sweet to me. I can't imagine a better person to spend my life with. NELL To be stuck with? MEL I never felt stuck... even before we became mole people... you were the best choice I ever made. NELL You're very sweet to me. MEL You make me feel sweeter... I've never felt so happy. NELL You've always taken good care of me. MEL I never wanted to fail you. NELL You never did. MEL Until today... (NELL goes to him.) NELL What do you mean? MEL The food... it's gone. NELL But we probably had more food than anyone else. You prepared so much better than everyone else. You always had everything covered... you always took care of everything. MEL This is the first time I don't know what to do. I never felt like this before. NELL Like what? MEL Like I didn't know what to do... how to solve the problem. NELL Maybe it's time you let someone else handle everything. MEL You have a plan? NELL No, but I bet someone else does. (NELL points up.) MEL Oh... I've always admired your faith. NELL We've done well so far. MEL We have. NELL I have a feeling something is going to happen. Something good. MEL You know... I believe you. I really believe you. NELL I don't know what or how... but something good will happen. MEL I believe. NELL Then close your eyes and get on your knees. MEL We're going to pray? NELL Yes, pray. (MEL gets down on his knees at the coffee table. He closes his eyes and prays silently. Myla sneaks off.) MEL I know I don't pray as often as a I should, but I really want to know, more than ever... rather than begging for something... I want to thank you for giving us this wonderful year together... I'm so thankful we got to be with each other... you've given me this wonderful gift and she is the most precious gift I've even been given... I thank you for her... I thank you with all my heart. (NELL has come back during this and smiles so happily at his words. She places a box of donut cake type things in front of him.) MEL (Cont.) Amen. (He opens his eyes and sees her smiling happily and she points to the box. MEL laughs.) MEL (CONT.) You're an angel. (NELL hugs her happily.) NELL I saved the best for last. (They sit and share one of the donuts. Happy silence for a moment and they share smiles. Suddenly music is heard.) MEL Do you hear that? NELL That's the intercom. MEL It's picking up music from outside. Someone's playing music. NELL Beautiful, beautiful music. MEL Should we go see? NELL Maybe they're after our Diddly Doos? MEL Nothing is getting my Diddly Doos. (NELL gets a pouty face.) MEL (CONT.) Except you of course. (She smiles happily. The music gets louder.) NELL It's coming closer. MEL I feel like a kid hearing an ice cream truck. NELL Maybe it is an ice cream truck. MEL I like Diddly Doos better. NELL Yummy... ice cream. MEL Should we go see? NELL Okay. MEL Ready? NELL Let me get my sweater. (She gets her sweater.) MEL Ah... that's such a cute sweater. NELL Thank you. MEL Ready? NELL I'm a little scared. MEL I'll be with you. NELL Promise? MEL I promise. I'll never leave you. NELL You never do. MEL Let's go. (They go off stage and sounds of a massive door unlocking and opening. Music gets much louder. After a moment, MEL rushes back in and gets the box of donut/cake things and then runs off again.) END OF PLAY

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