Cast of Characters
Garnette: 55, White, Attractive with heavy, sad eyes
Frank: 29, Black, Conservative
Isolated airport baggage area. A couple of empty seats. A couple of unclaimed bags on the floor.
[Isolated airport baggage area. Two empty chairs, a couple of unclaimed pieces of luggage. FRANK leans heavily on the extended metal handles of a large suitcase. He is travel worn and frustrated. GARNETTE appears pulling an identical suitcase by its extended handles. She is flustered and anxious. Frank straightens up when he sees her.]
GARNETTE: Oh, my goodness, our bags are identical!
FRANK: (harshly) Not quite! Didnít you notice the name tag?
GARNETTE: I didnít, sorry. I had a couple of carry ons I was carrying and the nice gentleman from the hotel limo service retrieved this bag for me when I pointed it out to him on the turnstile.
FRANK: So, you didnít even bother to check to make sure it was yours? (he jerks the bag handles from her) You just carried your happy butt on out of the airport with my bag!
GARNETTE: (surprised by his aggression) Well, my goodness, I said I was sorry! Itís not like I intentionally set out to ruin your day!
FRANK: Intentional or not youíve done a good job of that! Iíve been standing in this frickiní place the last two hours trying to get this straight - do you know how important the contents of my bag are to me, lady? Do you have any idea?
GARNETTE: (cocks her head to one side.) Now, how could I? How could I know anything about you, sir? I never laid eyes on you until just now. (she gives the bag heís pulling from her a little shove) Here! Take your bag and good riddance. (she snatches the handle of the one he pushes towards her) Youíre not the only one who was in a panic, you know - I didnít come racing back out here in the middle of the night to get my own bag just because!
FRANK: There would have been hell to pay, lady, if I hadnít gotten my luggage back tonight - thatís why the airport tracked you down. Iím no one to jack with and they know it.
GARNETTE: (ruefully) Airport tracked me down? No one tracked me down - I called them once I discovered the mix-up! Thatís when they told me another passenger had just reported a similar problem! (pokes herself in the chest with her index finger) Iím the one who told them I was on my way back out here. It would have been devastating had my bag been really lost!
FRANK: (lightening up a little) All these new regulations, they are ridiculous! Under other circumstances I wouldnít have put anything truly important in my checked luggage.
GARNETTE: Yes, I know, neither would I -- especially not Irma... (she catches herself, shuts up, but Frank lifts an eyebrow.)
GARNETTE: (she ignores his question.) Well, sir, again, Iím sorry for the trouble. I need to get on back to the hotel so I can get some rest. (nervously) I tried to get the taxi to wait for me, but he had another call. (she starts to push the suitcase she just exchanged with Frank when one of the wheels comes off and the bag collapses onto its side) Now what! Doggone it! This is all I need!
FRANK: (looks around searchingly. He sounds exasperated.) Where is everybody? This terminal is like a ghost town! Nothingís open to get a cup of coffee, nobody is around manning counters - you have to try to get them on your cell phone - and now, you canít even find a janitor or a baggage handler to help when you need one.
GARNETTE: Well, it is almost 2 A.M. - there arenít too many flights that come in in the middle of the night like they used to do - I remember when this airport was bustling all night long ...
FRANK: (snaps) This isnít exactly the best time to be reminiscing! Youíve got a problem - a major problem. Iím no handy man, lady! (he reaches down and turns her bag back up)
GARNETTE: (raises her eyes skyward) Young people! (to him) Did I say that you were? I was simply making an observation in response to your observation. Goodness. Thatís all. Nothing more.
FRANK: The present is what matters. That is my observation now.
GARNETTE: Clearly. No need to be so testy.
FRANK: I guess I can carry it for you out the curb, though. I need to catch a cab too myself. (he starts to lift the bag and grimaces. It is very, very heavy) What in the world do you have in this bag? It feels like itís full of cement!
GARNETTE: (sadly) Memories, thatís what is in the bag, sir. Memories.
FRANK: Well your memories sure are heavy - too heavy to try to lug across this terminal.
GARNETTE: (nodding) That they are. (she walks over to one of the chairs and plops into it. She waves at him to sit her bag down.) You go on, young man, donít worry about me. Iíll wait here with my bag until I can get a baggage handler in the morning.
FRANK: I donít think you ought to wait here alone. Like I just said, I was here for hours and hardly saw another soul.
GARNETTE: (nodding again towards the bag) Oh, Iím not here alone - thereís another soul here with me (beat) now that weíre back together Iíll be just fine.
FRANK: (quietly) Is that the Irma you mentioned a moment ago?
GARNETTE: (she just looks at him without answering his question) It was nice to meet you - young man.
FRANK: (studies her a moment, then starts to leave, pulling his own bag) Sorry, I was so short with you (she doesnít respond. He keeps walking addressing her over his shoulder) I do appreciate you bringing my bag back. Iím meeting my motherís family for the first time and the gifts I purchased for them are packed away in this bag. (beat) I spent a lot of time selecting them - I would have hated to lose them.
GARNETTE: Glad it worked out.
FRANK: (still talking) Really would have hated to have to try to replace the gifts. (he stops, turns) I had a hard time finding stuff I thought they might like the first time.
GARNETTE: (dispassionately, dismissively) Well, you wonít have to go through that again. Good night.
FRANK: (quickly wheels his bag back and takes the seat beside her) I never knew my mother. (beat) She gave me up at birth. (beat) Her name was Irma.
GARNETTE: (her head jerks up) Irma?
FRANK: (nods) Yeah. Strange, huh? Strange that Irma means something to both of us. (beat) She died - I just found her family though through an agency. Thatís why Iím here.
GARNETTE: (hope starts to dawn in her eyes) Irma what?
GARNETTE: (hope dies) Oh. I thought maybe ... (beat) but, no ...
FRANK: (settling in beside her) Well, maybe you can tell me about your Irma while we wait...
GARNETTE: (considers a moment, smiles, nods) Maybe I can.